Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Alexandre Dumas, père, the story’s narrator, explains that he has spent part of 1841 traveling on horseback in Corsica. One evening in March, he arrives at the top of a hill overlooking the towns of Olmeto and Sullacaro and surveys the scene in search of a house at which to seek hospitality for the night. The customs of the island guarantee that he will not be refused, and they specify that he must not offer any monetary recompense. He selects a home in Sullacaro that promises to be the most comfortable, taking note that all of the houses are fortified and many scarred by bullets. His guide informs him that the house is the property of Madame Savilia de Franchi.
Dumas is given the room of one of Madame de Franchi’s twin sons, Louis, who has gone to Paris to study law. The other twin, Lucien, is determined to remain in Corsica and live as his forefathers had lived, although he regrets the gradual decline of ancient traditions, which he regards as an inexorable process of degeneration. Lucien even regrets the decline in the tradition of the vendetta, although such long-standing feuds are the principal factor requiring all the houses in Olmeto and Sullacaro to be fortified.
Although Lucien and Louis have chosen very different paths in life, according to their aptitudes—the bookish Louis has never handled a gun, while Lucien, a keen huntsman, is an expert marksman—they are very devoted to one other. While waiting for dinner to be...
(The entire section is 1163 words.)
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