Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The narrator of the book first meets Dominique de Bray at Villeneuve. Dominique lives at the large Château des Trembles with his wife and two children. The mayor of the commune, he is shy, unpretentious, and a friend to all in the community. On St. Hubert’s Day, Dominique is visited by Olivier d’Orsel, a wealthy, solitary man with captivating manners and a passion for luxury, who retired from social life. A few days after his visit, Olivier tries to commit suicide. This event leads Dominique to tell the narrator about himself.
Orphaned at an early age, Dominique grew up at Villeneuve. In his youth, he became a lover of the outdoors. He was cared for by Madame Ceyssac, his aunt, who provided him with a tutor named Augustin. The two differed greatly in temperament. Dominique was emotional, wild, and loved nature; Augustin was well-read, exact, practical, and apparently oblivious to nature. When he was not tutoring Dominique, he would remain in his room, writing plays and letters. After four years, the time came for Dominique to go away to school. Augustin went to Paris with high hopes of his own success.
Dominique went to live with Madame Ceyssac in her mansion at Ormesson. At school he befriended young Olivier d’Orsel, who also had an estate near Les Trembles. Dominique, who was a good student, helped Olivier with his schoolwork. Too shy to admit it, Dominique fell in love with Madeleine, Olivier’s cousin. At night he would spend his...
(The entire section is 1060 words.)
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