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Part 1 Chapter 1

    A Small TownPut thousands together Less bad, But the cage less gay.

  HOBBESThe small town of Verrieres may be regarded as one of the most attractive in the Franche-Comte. Its white houses with their high pitchedroofs of red tiles are spread over the slope of a hill, the slightest contoursof which are indicated by clumps1 of sturdy chestnuts2. The Doubs runssome hundreds of feet below its fortifications, built in times past by theSpaniards, and now in ruins.

  Verrieres is sheltered on the north by a high mountain, a spur of theJura. The jagged peaks of the Verra put on a mantle3 of snow in the firstcold days of October. A torrent4 which comes tearing down from themountain passes through Verrieres before emptying its waters into theDoubs, and supplies power to a great number of sawmills; this is an extremely simple industry, and procures5 a certain degree of comfort for themajority of the inhabitants, who are of the peasant rather than of the burgess class. It is not, however, the sawmills that have made this little townrich. It is to the manufacture of printed calicoes, known as Mulhousestuffs, that it owes the general prosperity which, since the fall of Napoleon, has led to the refacing of almost all the houses in Verrieres.

  No sooner has one entered the town than one is startled by the din6 of anoisy machine of terrifying aspect. A score of weighty hammers, fallingwith a clang which makes the pavement tremble, are raised aloft by awheel which the water of the torrent sets in motion. Each of these hammers turns out, daily, I cannot say how many thousands of nails. A bevyof fresh, pretty girls subject to the blows of these enormous hammers, thelittle scraps7 of iron which are rapidly transformed into nails. This work,so rough to the outward eye, is one of the industries that most astonishthe traveller who ventures for the first time among the mountains thatdivide France from Switzerland. If, on entering Verrieres, the traveller inquires to whom belongs that fine nail factory which deafens8 everybodywho passes up the main street, he will be told in a drawling accent: 'Eh!

  It belongs to the Mayor.'

  Provided the traveller halts for a few moments in this main street ofVerrieres, which runs from the bank of the Doubs nearly to the summitof the hill, it is a hundred to one that he will see a tall man appear, with abusy, important air.

  At the sight of him every hat is quickly raised. His hair is turning grey,and he is dressed in grey. He is a Companion of several Orders, has ahigh forehead, an aquiline9 nose, and on the whole his face is not wantingin a certain regularity10: indeed, the first impression formed of it may bethat it combines with the dignity of a village mayor that sort of charmwhich may still be found in a man of forty-eight or fifty. But soon the visitor from Paris is annoyed by a certain air of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency mingled11 with a suggestion of limitations and want of originality12.

  One feels, finally, that this man's talent is confined to securing the exactpayment of whatever is owed to him and to postponing13 payment till thelast possible moment when he is the debtor14.

  Such is the Mayor of Verrieres, M. de Renal. Crossing the street with asolemn step, he enters the town hall and passes from the visitor's sight.

  But, a hundred yards higher up, if the visitor continues his stroll, he willnotice a house of quite imposing15 appearance, and, through the gaps inan iron railing belonging to the house, some splendid gardens. Beyond,there is a line of horizon formed by the hills of Burgundy, which seem tohave been created on purpose to delight the eye. This view makes thevisitor forget the pestilential atmosphere of small financial interestswhich was beginning to stifle16 him.

  He is told that this house belongs to M. de Renal. It is to the profitsthat he has made from his great nail factory that the Mayor of Verrieresis indebted for this fine freestone house which he has just finished building. His family, they say, is Spanish, old, and was or claims to have beenestablished in the country long before Louis XIV conquered it.

  Since 1815 he has blushed at his connection with industry: 1815 madehim Mayor of Verrieres. The retaining walls that support the various sections of this splendid garden, which, in a succession of terraces, runsdown to the Doubs, are also a reward of M. de Renal's ability as a dealerin iron.

  You must not for a moment expect to find in France those picturesquegardens which enclose the manufacturing towns of Germany; Leipsic, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, and the rest. In the Franche-Comte, the morewalls a man builds, the more he makes his property bristle17 with stonespiled one above another, the greater title he acquires to the

respect of hisneighbours. M. de Renal's gardens, honeycombed with walls, are stillfurther admired because he bought, for their weight in gold, certainminute scraps of ground which they cover. For instance that sawmillwhose curious position on the bank of the Doubs struck you as youentered Verrieres, and on which you noticed the name Sorel, inscribed18 inhuge letters on a board which overtops the roof, occupied, six years ago,the ground on which at this moment they are building the wall of thefourth terrace of M. de Renal's gardens.

  For all his pride, the Mayor was obliged to make many overtures19 toold Sorel, a dour20 and obstinate21 peasant; he was obliged to pay him infine golden louis before he would consent to remove his mill elsewhere.

  As for the public lade which supplied power to the saw, M. de Renal,thanks to the influence he wielded22 in Paris, obtained leave to divert it.

  This favour was conferred upon him after the 182- elections.

  He gave Sorel four acres in exchange for one, five hundred yardslower down by the bank of the Doubs. And, albeit24 this site was a greatdeal more advantageous25 for his trade in planks26 of firwood, Pere Sorel, asthey have begun to call him now that he is rich, contrived27 to screw out ofthe impatience28 and landowning mania29 which animated30 his neighbour asum of 6,000 francs.

  It is true that this arrangement was adversely31 criticised by the localwiseacres. On one occasion, it was a Sunday, four years later, M. de Renal, as he walked home from church in his mayoral attire32, saw at a distance old Sorel, supported by his three sons, watching him with a smile.

  That smile cast a destroying ray of light into the Mayor's soul; ever sincethen he has been thinking that he might have brought about the exchange at less cost to himself.

  To win popular esteem33 at Verrieres, the essential thing is not to adopt(while still building plenty of walls) any plan of construction broughtfrom Italy by those masons who in spring pass through the gorges34 of theJura on their way to Paris. Such an innovation would earn the rash builder an undying reputation fot wrong-headedness, and he would be lostforever among the sober and moderate folk who create reputations in theFranche-Comte.

  As a matter of fact, these sober folk wield23 there the most irritatingform of despotism; it is owing to that vile35 word that residence in small towns is intolerable to anyone who has lived in that great republic whichwe call Paris. The tyranny of public opinion (and what an opinion!) is asfatuous in the small towns of France as it is in the United States ofAmerica.


1 clumps a9a186997b6161c6394b07405cf2f2aa     
n.(树、灌木、植物等的)丛、簇( clump的名词复数 );(土、泥等)团;块;笨重的脚步声v.(树、灌木、植物等的)丛、簇( clump的第三人称单数 );(土、泥等)团;块;笨重的脚步声
  • These plants quickly form dense clumps. 这些植物很快形成了浓密的树丛。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The bulbs were over. All that remained of them were clumps of brown leaves. 这些鳞茎死了,剩下的只是一丛丛的黃叶子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 chestnuts 113df5be30e3a4f5c5526c2a218b352f     
n.栗子( chestnut的名词复数 );栗色;栗树;栗色马
  • A man in the street was selling bags of hot chestnuts. 街上有个男人在卖一包包热栗子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Talk of chestnuts loosened the tongue of this inarticulate young man. 因为栗子,正苦无话可说的年青人,得到同情他的人了。 来自汉英文学 - 中国现代小说
3 mantle Y7tzs     
  • The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green.大地披上了苍翠欲滴的绿色斗篷。
  • The mountain was covered with a mantle of snow.山上覆盖着一层雪。
4 torrent 7GCyH     
  • The torrent scoured a channel down the hillside. 急流沿着山坡冲出了一条沟。
  • Her pent-up anger was released in a torrent of words.她压抑的愤怒以滔滔不绝的话爆发了出来。
5 procures 4fbfe291444bf6cb76870f72674d24d8     
v.(努力)取得, (设法)获得( procure的第三人称单数 );拉皮条
  • No doubt, it is his wife who procures his death. 毫不疑问,是他的妻子促成他的死亡。 来自辞典例句
  • The Marine Department designs, procures and maintains all government vessels. 海事处负责设计、采购和维修所有政府船舶。 来自互联网
6 din nuIxs     
  • The bustle and din gradually faded to silence as night advanced.随着夜越来越深,喧闹声逐渐沉寂。
  • They tried to make themselves heard over the din of the crowd.他们力图让自己的声音盖过人群的喧闹声。
7 scraps 737e4017931b7285cdd1fa3eb9dd77a3     
  • Don't litter up the floor with scraps of paper. 不要在地板上乱扔纸屑。
  • A patchwork quilt is a good way of using up scraps of material. 做杂拼花布棉被是利用零碎布料的好办法。
8 deafens fc3c14eac77e116f4bf420e68c025d44     
使聋( deafen的第三人称单数 ); 使隔音
9 aquiline jNeyk     
  • He had a thin aquiline nose and deep-set brown eyes.他长着窄长的鹰钩鼻和深陷的褐色眼睛。
  • The man has a strong and aquiline nose.该名男子有强大和鹰鼻子。
10 regularity sVCxx     
  • The idea is to maintain the regularity of the heartbeat.问题就是要维持心跳的规律性。
  • He exercised with a regularity that amazed us.他锻炼的规律程度令我们非常惊讶。
11 mingled fdf34efd22095ed7e00f43ccc823abdf     
混合,混入( mingle的过去式和过去分词 ); 混进,与…交往[联系]
  • The sounds of laughter and singing mingled in the evening air. 笑声和歌声交织在夜空中。
  • The man and the woman mingled as everyone started to relax. 当大家开始放松的时候,这一男一女就开始交往了。
12 originality JJJxm     
  • The name of the game in pop music is originality.流行音乐的本质是独创性。
  • He displayed an originality amounting almost to genius.他显示出近乎天才的创造性。
13 postponing 3ca610c0db966cd6f77cd5d15dc2b28c     
v.延期,推迟( postpone的现在分词 )
  • He tried to gain time by postponing his decision. 他想以迟迟不作决定的手段来争取时间。 来自辞典例句
  • I don't hold with the idea of postponing further discussion of the matter. 我不赞成推迟进一步讨论这件事的想法。 来自辞典例句
14 debtor bxfxy     
  • He crowded the debtor for payment.他催逼负债人还债。
  • The court granted me a lien on my debtor's property.法庭授予我对我债务人财产的留置权。
15 imposing 8q9zcB     
  • The fortress is an imposing building.这座城堡是一座宏伟的建筑。
  • He has lost his imposing appearance.他已失去堂堂仪表。
16 stifle cF4y5     
  • She tried hard to stifle her laughter.她强忍住笑。
  • It was an uninteresting conversation and I had to stifle a yawn.那是一次枯燥无味的交谈,我不得不强忍住自己的呵欠。
17 bristle gs1zo     
  • It has a short stumpy tail covered with bristles.它粗短的尾巴上鬃毛浓密。
  • He bristled with indignation at the suggestion that he was racist.有人暗示他是个种族主义者,他对此十分恼火。
18 inscribed 65fb4f97174c35f702447e725cb615e7     
v.写,刻( inscribe的过去式和过去分词 );内接
  • His name was inscribed on the trophy. 他的名字刻在奖杯上。
  • The names of the dead were inscribed on the wall. 死者的名字被刻在墙上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 overtures 0ed0d32776ccf6fae49696706f6020ad     
n.主动的表示,提议;(向某人做出的)友好表示、姿态或提议( overture的名词复数 );(歌剧、芭蕾舞、音乐剧等的)序曲,前奏曲
  • Their government is making overtures for peace. 他们的政府正在提出和平建议。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He had lately begun to make clumsy yet endearing overtures of friendship. 最近他开始主动表示友好,样子笨拙却又招人喜爱。 来自辞典例句
20 dour pkAzf     
  • They were exposed to dour resistance.他们遭受到顽强的抵抗。
  • She always pretends to be dour,in fact,she's not.她总表现的不爱讲话,事实却相反。
21 obstinate m0dy6     
  • She's too obstinate to let anyone help her.她太倔强了,不会让任何人帮她的。
  • The trader was obstinate in the negotiation.这个商人在谈判中拗强固执。
22 wielded d9bac000554dcceda2561eb3687290fc     
手持着使用(武器、工具等)( wield的过去式和过去分词 ); 具有; 运用(权力); 施加(影响)
  • The bad eggs wielded power, while the good people were oppressed. 坏人当道,好人受气
  • He was nominally the leader, but others actually wielded the power. 名义上他是领导者,但实际上是别人掌握实权。
23 wield efhyv     
  • They wield enormous political power.他们行使巨大的政治权力。
  • People may wield the power in a democracy.在民主国家里,人民可以行使权力。
24 albeit axiz0     
  • Albeit fictional,she seemed to have resolved the problem.虽然是虚构的,但是在她看来好象是解决了问题。
  • Albeit he has failed twice,he is not discouraged.虽然失败了两次,但他并没有气馁。
25 advantageous BK5yp     
  • Injections of vitamin C are obviously advantageous.注射维生素C显然是有利的。
  • You're in a very advantageous position.你处于非常有利的地位。
26 planks 534a8a63823ed0880db6e2c2bc03ee4a     
(厚)木板( plank的名词复数 ); 政纲条目,政策要点
  • The house was built solidly of rough wooden planks. 这房子是用粗木板牢固地建造的。
  • We sawed the log into planks. 我们把木头锯成了木板。
27 contrived ivBzmO     
  • There was nothing contrived or calculated about what he said.他说的话里没有任何蓄意捏造的成分。
  • The plot seems contrived.情节看起来不真实。
28 impatience OaOxC     
  • He expressed impatience at the slow rate of progress.进展缓慢,他显得不耐烦。
  • He gave a stamp of impatience.他不耐烦地跺脚。
29 mania 9BWxu     
  • Football mania is sweeping the country.足球热正风靡全国。
  • Collecting small items can easily become a mania.收藏零星物品往往容易变成一种癖好。
30 animated Cz7zMa     
  • His observations gave rise to an animated and lively discussion.他的言论引起了一场气氛热烈而活跃的讨论。
  • We had an animated discussion over current events last evening.昨天晚上我们热烈地讨论时事。
31 adversely 6zEzi6     
  • We commented adversely upon the imbecility of that message of telegraphic style. 我们对着这条电报式的愚蠢的留言发泄了一通不满。
  • Widely fluctuating exchange rates may adversely affect international trade. 浮动幅度很大的汇率可能会对国际贸易产生有害的影响。
32 attire AN0zA     
  • He had no intention of changing his mode of attire.他无意改变着装方式。
  • Her attention was attracted by his peculiar attire.他那奇特的服装引起了她的注意。
33 esteem imhyZ     
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • The veteran worker ranks high in public love and esteem.那位老工人深受大伙的爱戴。
34 gorges 5cde0ae7c1a8aab9d4231408f62e6d4d     
n.山峡,峡谷( gorge的名词复数 );咽喉v.(用食物把自己)塞饱,填饱( gorge的第三人称单数 );作呕
  • The explorers were confronted with gorges(that were)almost impassable and rivers(that were)often unfordable. 探险人员面临着几乎是无路可通的峡谷和常常是无法渡过的河流。 来自辞典例句
  • We visited the Yangtse Gorges last summer. 去年夏天我们游历了长江三峡。 来自辞典例句
35 vile YLWz0     
  • Who could have carried out such a vile attack?会是谁发起这么卑鄙的攻击呢?
  • Her talk was full of vile curses.她的话里充满着恶毒的咒骂。


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