by Guy de Maupassant

Publication Date: 29/03/2019


In Enval, Auvergne, Dr. Bonnefille discovered a spring that he named after him. With the help of a few local businessmen, a large house was built in the centre of the valley where bathers come to relieve their various ills.

William Andermatt, a very wealthy fat and bald banker, and his wife Christiane, a 21-year-old blond girl, have been living in Enval for two years because she is expecting a child and the couple hopes that the thermal waters will solve this sterility problem. Christiane married her husband not out of love but to help her brother Gontran de Ravenel to pay off his debts. Initially reluctant for his daughter to marry a Jewish banker, the Catholic Marquis de Ravenel finally accepted, seeing Mr. Andermatt's high income on the one hand and also thanks to the influence of a friend on the other, Mrs. Icardon, who eventually made him understand that Jews should not be persecuted.

Several facilities have been built in Enval to entertain the fifty or so bathers who regularly come to the thermal waters of Bonnefille for treatment: 3 hotels, including the Splendid Hotel where the Marquis de Ravenel lives, and a casino. In Enval live 3 doctors: Doctor Lattone who has no affinity with Doctor Bonnefille and Doctor Honorat, a doctor from the Oriol family, who gets along well with the other two doctors. Father Oriol, the richest peasant in the region who owns the Enval vineyards, has been promising for 10 years that he will blow up the great dull, a huge stone that hinders cultivation and shades a large part of the field. Hundreds of people came to watch the destruction of the Great Morne. It was then that an important discovery was made: a mineral water spring was located in the very place where the rock had been lying.

William Andermatt saw this as a godsend and decided to build a spa to compete with Dr. Bonnefille's. He therefore went to Father Oriol, who owned the land surrounding the spring, to ask him to sell it to him, hoping that the water would be good for thermal cures.

Father Oriol asks Clovis, who is paralyzed in both legs, to take a bath every day for a month in the recently discovered spring to test its effects on the body. Mr. Andermatt agrees with this idea but, too busy with the fact that Mr. Oriol has still not signed the promise to sell, does not realize that his wife is getting closer to Paul Bretigny.

William Andermatt then decided to organize a charity event to get to know the Oriol family better and get closer to them, and the event went well and we discovered the Oriol girls, Louise and Charlotte, who charmed the audience. Only Mr. Bretigny remains insensitive to them because he has eyes only for Christiane who discovers her knowledge and sensitivity. Christiane takes baths every morning and befriends the Oriol girls. Her husband being on a business trip to Paris, she is gradually getting closer to Mr. Bretigny who is a gentle and caring man. Love feelings arise between them.

When Mr. Andermatt returns from Paris, Christiane refuses to let him touch her and she lies to him, telling him that she is pregnant with him. Nevertheless, she is afraid of her feelings towards Paul Bretigny and keeps her distance from him. Andermatt, still busy with his business, discovers that Clovis can walk again and buys the land from Father Oriol to build an establishment, a casino and a hotel. Wanting to create a board of directors with reliable people, he gave shares to Gontran, the Marquis and Paul Bretigny and left for Paris to continue his business.

Taking advantage of her husband's absence, Christiane lives an intense passion with Paul Bretigny. However, William Andermatt returned from Paris and created his company, which he named Mont-Oriol. Christiane has to leave with her husband and must separate from her lover by promising to see him again.

Christiane and Pierre haven't seen each other in a year. Meanwhile, the city of Enval has developed in an incredible way with the construction of new housing, a park, a casino... 3 new doctors have moved in: Professors Rémusot, Cloche and Marc-Roussel. Mont-Oriol is officially open and most of the bathers at the Bonnefille spring are there. Christiane is 6 months pregnant with Paul Bretigny. The latter, frightened by the news, distanced himself from Christiane. William Andermatt told Gontran that he was ruined and that the only way he could get away with it was to marry one of the Oriol girls.

All the doctors want to work at Mont-Oriol. Lattonne and Honorat also turned their backs on Bonnefille to go there. A new doctor comes on the scene, Dr. Black. Very generous, he often treats patients for free. But it is quickly forgotten the day when the Princess of Maldeburg came to settle in the region. She asks Dr. Black to treat her. People imitate him and all want him as their attending physician, not other doctors. However, the Duchess and the Duke of Ramas-Aldavarra came to Mont-Oriol with their doctor, Dr. Mazelli, who was intelligent and courteous, so all bathers turned to him. But he is the duchess' private doctor and can only give bathers simple advice.

Gontran and Charlotte Oriol have gotten closer and want to get married. Andermatt, coveting the inheritance, takes the opportunity to ask Father Oriol for the amount of dowries he intends to leave to his daughters. Learning that Louise must have the land around Mont-Oriol that interests her, Andermatt tries to dissuade Gontran from marrying Charlotte but rather her sister Louise.

Gontran therefore abandoned Charlotte and moved closer to his older sister Louise.

Andermatt would like more customers in his casino but for that he needs more land. Gontran explains to Paul what he set up with Andermatt to get money. Paul is invited to Mrs. Andermatt's house and gradually gets closer to Charlotte, while Gontran proposes to Louise. Andermatt took the opportunity to negotiate the amount of the dowries with Father Oriol.

Christiane, for her part, is jealous of the rapprochement between Paul Bretigny and Charlotte. Dr. Mazelli was interested in the latter and Paul once kissed Charlotte to compete with him. Surprised by Father Oriol, Paul says he wants to marry her and renounces his inheritance (dowry, land...).

Shocking events had irreparable repercussions: Mr. Aubry Pasteur, friend of the Marquis de Ravenel, died at the Spendid Hotel, which gave the thermal waters of Mont-Oriol a bad reputation, and Dr. Mazelli fled with Dr. Cloche's daughter. Thus, the Duke and Duchess of Aldavarra and Dr. Cloche left Mont-Oriol.

Andermatt, who has learned that Paul and Charlotte are getting married, will be able to own the entire Oriol Mound. For her part, Christiane called on Dr. Black to examine her and lose consciousness when she learned that Paul was going to marry Charlotte Oriol. When she came to her senses, she gave birth to a little girl whom she named Arlette. She then thinks of Paul who hid from her that he no longer loved her, but that he had fallen in love with Charlotte. As for Andermatt, business is booming and his objective is to praise the virtues of his thermal water by showing Clovis' progress during organized public sessions. Christiane asks Paul to come to her while her husband is in her establishment to help her business grow.

The two ex-lovers speak little to each other, and Christiane addresses him as if he were a stranger.

Publication Date:
Guy Deloeuvre
Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. In addition to his six novels, which include Bel-Ami (1885) and Pierre et Jean (1888), he wrote hundreds of short stories, the most famous of which is 'Boule de suif'.

By the late 1870s, he began to develop the first signs of syphilis, and in 1891 he was committed to an asylum in Paris, having tried to commit suicide. He died there two years later.

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