by Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve

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Characters Discussed

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Amaury (ah-moh-REE), the narrator, later a priest. A sensitive, melancholy youth, he engages in a platonic love affair with Madame de Couaën after putting aside Amélie de Liniers, the young woman who loves him. When the marquis de Couaën is arrested, he takes over Madame de Couaën’s affairs. When she rejoins her husband at Blois, Amaury has an unrewarding affair with Madame R. until he realizes the unhappiness he has caused three women. He takes holy orders and leaves for America soon after Madame de Couaën’s death.

Madame de Couaën

Madame de Couaën (deh kwah-EH[N]), the Irish wife of the marquis. She truly loves her husband and can return only platonic love for Amaury, yet she feels that no one can understand her as he does. She remains with her husband and is saddened by Amaury’s affair with Madame R.

Madame R.

Madame R., the wife of a royalist sympathizer. Lonely and disillusioned, she becomes Amaury’s constant companion in Paris. Although she refuses to become his mistress, she is jealous of his love for Madame de Couaën.

The marquis de Couaën

The marquis de Couaën, a friend of Amaury and an influential figure in royalist circles. He is arrested in Paris and later is sent to Blois.

Amélie de Liniers

Amélie de Liniers (ah-may-LEE deh leen-YAY), the granddaughter of Monsieur de Greneuc. She is the unmarried woman in Amaury’s life.

Monsieur R.

Monsieur R. and

Monsieur D.

Monsieur D., royalist sympathizers.


Monsieur and

Madame de Greneuc

Madame de Greneuc (deh greh-NUHK), friends of Amaury in his youth.

Monsieur Ploa

Monsieur Ploa (ploh-AH), Amaury’s Latin teacher.

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