In a small village in northern France, Monsieur Ouine, a retired professor, is taken in by the dull local squire, Anthelme de Näräis, and soon rules the life of both Anthelme and his wife, Ginette. A fourteen-year-old fatherless boy, Philippe Dorval, flees home and, on impulse, follows Madame de Näräis to her chÛteau. There the squire, who is dying, tells the boy that his father is actually alive and well?that despite what Philippe?s mother had told him, his father had not died in World War I. The forsaken boy finds himself on that fatal evening succumbing to Monsieur Ouine?s embrace after falling into a drunken sleep in the old professor?s bed. The events of the tempestuous night lead to upheaval in the village the next morning, when, at dawn, a boy?s body is found afloat in a stream near the chÛteau.
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already animal Anthelme Ardennes arms Arsene asked Bernanos Bernanos's Boulogne breath calm cheeks child cure of Fenouille Damned dead dead boy dear death death rattle doctor door dream empty everything eyes face fear feel felt fingers frightening galoshes gaze gently Georges Bernanos gesture Ginette going hands head heart knees laugh Listen longer look Madame de Nereis Madame Marchal Malicornes mare mayor of Fenouille Michelle midwife Monsieur Ouine Monsieur Philippe mouth moved mysterious neck never night Ouine's pale parish perhaps Philippe's pince-nez poor priest real dead road scarcely secret seemed shadows shoulders shrugged silence slipped smell smile sort soul speak stare Steeny Steeny's strange stupid suddenly talking there's thing thought trapped animal trembling turned understand Vandomme village voice wall What's woman Woolly-Leg word young