Sylvestre Bonnard (seel-VEHS-tr voh-NAHR), a shy philologist who has a penchant for getting involved in other people’s lives. A bachelor, Bonnard befriends a poor widow and, later, an orphan girl who is the daughter of Clementine, Bonnard’s love in his youth. He lives a good life among books and is happy in his late years because a young couple he has helped return his affection.
M. Coccoz (koh-KOHZ), a poverty-stricken bookseller from whom Bonnard buys no books. Out of compassion for the poor man and his wife and child, he sends logs to their attic room to keep them warm. Coccoz soon dies, leaving his wife and child to face the world alone. His beautiful widow eventually marries Prince Trépof, a wealthy Russian.
Prince Trépof (tray-POHF) and
Princess Trépof, who had married after M. Coccoz’s death. The prince, inordinately wealthy, travels the world expanding his matchbox collection. Princess Trépof, remembering the kindness Bonnard had shown her and her first husband, obtains for Bonnard the Golden Legend, a manuscript he had given up hope of ever owning.
Jeanne Alexandre (zhahn ah-lehk-
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