Xavier Rabourdin fell desperately in love with Mademoiselle Celestine Leprince, then seventeen years of age, who had all the matrimonial claims of a dowry of two hundred thousand francs.
By the end of this time Celestine, alarmed at the non-advancement of her husband, insisted on investing the remaining hundred thousand francs of her dowry in landed property, which returned only a slender income; but her future inheritance from her father would amply repay all present privations with perfect comfort and ease of life.
Most women grow weary of this daily struggle; they complain but they usually end by giving up to fate and taking what comes to them; Celestine's ambition, far from lessening, only increased through difficulties, and led her, when she found she could not conquer them, to sweep them aside.
Celestine, much grieved, thought her husband narrow- minded, timid, unsympathetic; and she acquired, insensibly, a wholly false opinion of the companion of her life.
Thus, goaded by Celestine's ambition, Rabourdin had long considered the means of satisfying it, though he hid his hopes, so as to spare her the tortures of uncertainty.
He took an interest in me, and it is to him that I to-day owe it that I am a veritable man of letters, who knows Latin from the de Officiis of Cicero to the mortuology of the Celestine
Fathers, and a barbarian neither in scholastics, nor in politics, nor in rhythmics, that sophism of sophisms.
There the French widower had shaded the grave: of his Elmire or Celestine
with a brilliant thicket of roses, amidst which a little tablet rising, bore an equally bright testimony to her countless virtues.