The Conquering Power

1*
In the story of Eugenie Grandet,
Balzac, master word-painter of
human emotions, gave us all
the elements that control man's
destiny.

2*
Wealth, extravagance, passion,
failure, greed, dishonesty, poverty,
patience, fear, faith and love.
The greatest of these is love--
the all-conquering power.

3*
Commercialism tells us that you,
Great Public, do not like the
costume play. Life is life, so we
make our story of today, that you
may recognize each character
as it comes your way.

4
          France
As we picture her, with her
sparkling gaiety and irrepressible
spirit of youth.

5+
And of that youth, Charles
Grandet, the banker's son and
heir, led the most care-free life
in the French capital.

6
Lavishly celebrating the twenty-
seventh year of a pampered,
idle existence.

7
"To Annette, the prettiest
     woman in Paris!"

8+
"The young master -- he did not
expect you to return so soon.
It is his birthday."

9+
"Tell my son I wish to 
speak with him."

10
"Father, I did not expect 
   you back so soon."

11
"Your journey - was it
      successful?"

12
"My son, I wish to talk 
to you before I retire
      to-night."

13
"As yet I have not given
 you my birthday gift."

14
"Your mother and myself, the
year we were married. It
has been my most precious 
     possession."

15
"I am growing old, and it
is twenty-five years since
I have seen my brother
Charles. I wish you to heal
the breach of time."

16
"There are reasons why I
should be on friendly terms
with him, so to-morrow I wish
you to leave for Noyant."

17+
"And he has a daughter, a few
years younger than yourself."

18+
"I am curious to see what 
my cousin is like."

19+
"The sleepy village of Noyant
basked in the sunshine of the
wine country."

20
If a stranger were to ask
for the dwelling place of
Père Grandet, cooper, miller,
wine grower and ex-mayor,
he would be directed to -

21
And should one mention the
names of Rothschild and Morgan,
one would be asked - "Are
they as rich as Père Grandet?"

22
"Have patience, M'sieu, I
cannot pay you now. My
wife is ill - it would kill
her to lose our little home!"

23
"I cannot wait - and it will
do you no good to appeal 
to my wife. She knows better 
than to interfere with my 
business."

24
"Eugénie, my child, come 
        here!"

25
"I have not forgotten my 
little girl's birthday. Eugénie,
let me see your gold."

26
A golden louis for each year 
of her life. They were as
safe with her as in his 
own keeping.

27
"Gold! You are rich in beauty,
my Eugénie, with hair to
match the precious metal."

28
For twenty years Nanon had
watched over her master's
property with dog-like fidelity.
To her, his miserly whims
were law.

29
"It is Eugénie's birthday. We
will have a bottle of wine
to celebrate, but we must be
frugal the rest of the week."

30
"Great stupid! You might have 
        broken it!"

31
"As I suspected. The three
Cruchots - the Notary and
the Abbe have their eye
on our daughter for their 
young one."

32
"Of course the des Grassins
would have to come. The
banker is after Grandet's
money for Adolph."

33
"The chateau Froidfond. Père
Grandet owns it but he
lives in the village."

34
"You'll have to go round by 
the back way - he hasn't
used the front door for
twenty years."

35
"They are only after my 
gold, but Eugénie is not
for such as these."

36
"Adolph selected it himself,
         in Paris."

37
"Idiot! Why did you bring 
         flowers?"

38
"You - you are M. Grandet,
        my uncle?"

39
"I am Charles - Victor
    Grandet's son."

40
"Carry my nephew's luggage to
      the spare room."

41
"Your cousin, Eugénie."

42
"Why this extravagance? A
fire and a warming pan! Do
you take my nephew for an 
         invalid?"

43
"My good woman - am I really
in the house of Grandet of
Noyant, brother to Victor
Grandet of Paris."

44
The next morning.

45
"My boy, now you understand 
  that you are penniless."

46
"What is that to me when my 
     father is dead?"

47
"Your father left you in my 
charge. I will tell you later
of his last wishes."

48
With his nephew back again in
Paris, Grandet made crafty use
of his daughter's suitors.

49
"And when you have cleared up 
your brother's estate, I presume
it will be my privilege to draw
up the marriage agreement
between your nephew and
your daughter."

50
"I would rather see my daughter 
dead than married to Charles
Grandet!"

51
"While you have been in Paris,
my boy, I have devised a
plan by which to clear your
father's name from dishonour."

52
"We mourn with you my
       cousin."

53
Far into the night Grandet
counted his gold, that he
might reap a profit from his
brother's failure.

54
Woman has this in common
with the angels - - all
suffering creatures are
under her protection.

55
"Charles, I ask your
    forgiveness."

56
"Until to-day I did not realize
the value of money. It is
only to bring happiness to
those you - - you hold dear."

57
"A cousin is almost a brother,
surely you will borrow from 
your sister."

58
"I will not rise until you 
accept it - I have no other
use for it."

59
"These are my most precious 
possessions. The case - my
mother gave me."

60
"The miniatures of my parents
 - my father's last gift."

61
"The case is of gold and 
worth a great deal. Keep
them until I can repay
you."

62
And now began the springtime 
of love for Eugénie, while
Charles found there were still
roses to be gathered in the 
garden of life.

63
"Our Lady watches over them
while the mother bird is away."

64
"Eugénie, you are
   beautiful!"

65
"You are only laughing at
           me!"

66
"There is no woman in all
Paris who is more beautiful.
If my father had lived, I
would have proved it to 
         you."

67
The next move of Grandet's
  scheme was to speed
his nephew's departure for
Martinique.

68
"My dear Uncle! How ridiculous
for me to sign this paper! My
father left no estate!"

69
"The key shall always stay 
       there, dear."

70
"My heart shall always be 
     there with it."

71+
Woman's is the passive part
- the web of life interwoven with
love, sorrow and hope.

72
While the man busies himself
with the present and looks 
to the future with consolation.

73+
And so the months lengthen
to a year. It is again Eugenie's
birthday.

74
"Strange that we have never 
heard from Charles since 
he left!"

75
"My wife is dead - you -
    you killed her!"

76
"Some day your gold will 
       crush you!"

77
"Eugénie, let me see your 
          gold."

78
"Gold is scarce these days.
Yours has increased in value,
so I wish to invest it."

79
"I have hidden it away. Do
not force me to bring it 
to you, Father."

80
"She is indeed a Grandet. She
does not like to part with 
the shining pieces."

81
"Do not worry, child. In
a year I will double them."

82
"My - my gold is gone!"

83
"Where is it? Did someone
        steal it?"

84
"Did you give it to 
      anyone?"

85
"Answer me! Did you give 
     it to anyone?"

86
"Answer me, I tell you! Whom
    did you give it to?"

87
"You have no need to answer
  - what is he to you?"

88
"What else did he steal from 
   you besides the gold?"

89
"By Heaven, you shall stay
in your room until you do
        answer me!"

90
And so a month passed.
The affairs of the Grandet
household became the chief
topic of the village.

91
"I have just come from Père
Grandet's. There is something
very wrong. He seems crazed 
since his wife's death!"

92
"Crazed is right! All day
he sits and broods while he
keeps Eugénie locked in her
room with scarcely enough food
to keep her body alive."

93
A cradle of greed - each
glittering louis alive -
smiling back at his maddened 
senses, while behind the 
walls - beneath the floors
- voices croon the soothing
lullaby - Gold - Gold - Gold.

94
Later in the day the Notary
       pays a call.

95
"Grandet, everyone in the village
is gossiping about your treatment
of Eugénie."

96
"It is useless to be on bad
terms with her. Remember, I
am the only one in Noyant
who knows that Eugénie is
not your own child."

97
"Part of your fortune belonged
to your wife through her
former husband's estate."

98
"And if Eugénie knew, she
could demand a division
of the property."

99
"I have drawn up a paper 
for her to sign that will 
secure everything for you
during your lifetime."

100
"It has long been my desire 
to see the Cruchots and 
Grandets united if - agreeable
to you."

101
"Eugénie, my child, I could
stand it no longer. Forgive
your foolish old father."

102
"The Notary is here with a 
paper, which he wishes you 
to sign."

103
"How dare you meddle with 
      my papers!"

104
"How dare you keep us apart.
How dare you cheat Charles
of his inheritance and me of
my happiness!"

105
"Some day your gold will 
       crush you."

106
"You have robbed my 
        son!"

107
"You have cheated my
      daughter!"

108
"I am gold! All your life
you have sought me - now
you are mine!"

109+
And so Eugénie Grandet
was left alone, the mistress
of untold wealth.

110
"You are a very rich young 
woman, my dear.   You
should have someone to look
after your property - - a
husband to lean upon."

111
And the years passed. The
Cruchots and the des Grassins
still seeking the favour of
the heiress.

112
"I have just returned from Paris.
Everyone is talking of your 
cousin Charles."

113
"He has been back from the 
Colonies two months.  The
Government has handsomely
rewarded him for his services
and there is rumour of his
marriage to a wealthy young
lady."

114
"I am so glad you are all
here to-day, because I wish 
to announce my engagement
to de Bontons Cruchot."

115
"You said I needed a husband
to take care of my estate.
Will you draw up the
marriage agreement with that
stipulation!"

116
"Forgive me - I had to come 
back for a glimpse of the
old garden."

117
"Why did you not come 
       before?"

118
"I did not think you would live 
  here after your marriage."

119
"But your father wrote me 
       that you - "

The End



+ = reconstructed titles
* = modern titles

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