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This family gaiety in the old gray room dimly lighted by two tallowcandles; this laughter, accompanied by the whirr of Nanon's spinning-wheel, sincere only upon the lips of Eugenie or her mother; thistriviality mingled with important interests; this young girl, who,like certain birds made victims of the price put upon them, was nowlured and trapped by proofs of friendship of which she was the dupe,,all these things contributed to make the scene a melancholy comedy. Isit not, moreover, a drama of all times and all places, though herebrought down to its simplest expression? The figure of Grandet,playing his own game with the false friendship of the two families andgetting enormous profits from it, dominates the scene and throws lightupon it. The modern god,,the only god in whom faith is preserved,,money, is here, in all its power, manifested in a single countenance.The tender sentiments of life hold here but a secondary place; onlythe three pure, simple hearts of Nanon, of Eugenie, and of her motherwere inspired by them. And how much of ignorance there was in thesimplicity of these poor women! Eugenie and her mother knew nothing ofGrandet's wealth; they could only estimate the things of life by theglimmer of their pale ideas, and they neither valued nor despisedmoney, because they were accustomed to do without it. Their feelings,bruised, though they did not know it, but ever-living, were the secretspring of their existence, and made them curious exceptions in themidst of these other people whose lives were purely material.Frightful condition of the human race! there is no one of its joysthat does not come from some species of ignorance.

At the moment when Madame Grandet had won a loto of sixteen sous,,thelargest ever pooled in that house,,and while la Grande Nanon waslaughing with delight as she watched madame pocketing her riches, theknocker resounded on the house-door with such a noise that the womenall jumped in their chairs. wig head


"There is no man in Saumur who would knock like that," said thenotary. wig cap

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"How can they bang in that way!" exclaimed Nanon; "do they want tobreak in the door?"

"Who the devil is it?" cried Grandet. wig head


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