La Mere Bauche, an autocratic innkeeper in the Eastern Pyrenees, was excessively ambitious for her only son’s future. She had adopted an orphan girl, Marie Calvert, and brought her up as a daughter of the house until she learned that her son also loved the girl. The marriage would have made impossible her dreams for Adolphe’s success in life, and she sent him away for a year’s travel, planning to marry Marie to an elderly habitue of the inn, Theodore Campan. Before leaving, Adolphe required a promise from Marie that she would be true to him, but at the end of the year he returned and weakly submitted to his mother. Marie, brokenhearted, allowed the marriage to her elderly suitor to take place, and when she disappeared after the ceremony, Adolphe found her dead at the foot of the cliffs from which she had plunged.
© 1948 Princeton University Press, 1976 renewed PUP. Reprinted by permissions of Princeton University Press.