Hortense a dit : Je m’en fous ! Mais n’te promène donc pas toute nue ! Vautrin and Eugene de Rastignac, in Father Goriot. Vautrin over the body of Esther Van Gobseck, monsieur Vautrin PDF The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans.
French writer Honoré de Balzac in the La Comédie humaine series. By the time the Comédie humaine series begins, Jacques Collin is an escaped convict and criminal mastermind fleeing from the police. The character first appears in the La Comédie humaine series using the name of Vautrin, so he is usually referred to in literary criticism under this name. Little is known about Collin’s early life. From the novels it can be gathered that he is born in or around 1779, has an above-average education and that he worked as an apprentice in a bank—a position his aunt Jacqueline had obtained for him.
In the first decade of the 19th century he first came into contact with the criminal underworld. Collin lived under the name of Vautrin in the House Vauquer after an escape from the Bagne of Toulon in 1815. He is described as a cynical man, who likes to crack jokes, speaks rather intimately with everyone, and seems to know everything and have been everywhere. He also is very adept at repairing locks. Some years later, in the novel Illusions Perdues, one Abbé Carlos Herrera stops Lucien de Rubempré from drowning himself in the Charente. He strikes a pact with Lucien: He will make him rich and successful but Lucien has to obey him without questions.
In Splendeurs et misères de courtisanes, beginning in 1824, Herrera and Lucien have moved to Paris. Here we quickly learn that Herrera is really Collin. Lucien falls in love with one Esther Gobseck and they lead a happy life, although only meeting at nights, for approximately five years, until the Baron Nucingen glimpses Esther and falls in love with her. Collin realizes that they can get a lot of money out of Nucingen if he becomes Esther’s lover. The police suspect Herrera of being Collin but can’t prove it.
Collin, pretending that he is Lucien’s true father to explain his affection for the young man, plays the role of the priest so admirably that the judge is nearly convinced. When Esther’s suicide note and testament are found, Herrera’s and Lucien’s liberation seems to be only a matter of formalities. But Lucien cracks under questioning and reveals Herrera’s true identity. Three of Collin’s former partners in crime are also in prison but Collin convinces them to treat him as Abbé Herrera.
He learns from them that his friend Théodore Calvi is awaiting execution and that another of the men, La Pouraille, also has no hopes of escaping the death sentence. Calvi was Vautrin’s lover in Rochefort and the two escaped together. A small note informs us that Collin remained chief of the Sûreté for fifteen years and retired in 1845. Balzac’s death, included Vautrin in this story.
However, his Vautrin loses most of his former genius. Vautrin’s later lifestory is not considered canon. Vautrin is a seductive, enigmatic and complex character, not easily classified, not even as a villain. He is a well-built, strong man, about forty years old at the time he first appears in the series. Vautrin has a strong criminal energy and is ruthless in obtaining his purposes, manipulating people and sometimes resorting to murder.
The fact that he is not only bound to them by his hunger for power but also by emotional ties considerably increases the psychological tension of the novels and makes Collin’s character more humane. Un article de Wikipédia, l’encyclopédie libre. Mlle Michonneau, Gondureau veut se rendre compte si le prétendu Vautrin est en effet Trompe-la-Mort : il lui donne un flacon contenant une drogue qui doit simuler une apoplexie. Il réapparaît en 1822 dans Illusions perdues sous le nom du prêtre Carlos Herrera, sans qu’on sache d’abord sa véritable identité.
Herrera empêche Lucien de Rubempré de se suicider en lui proposant un pacte : lui, Herrera, l’aidera à faire fortune à la condition que Lucien lui obéisse aveuglément. C’est dans Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes qu’on saura comment le bagnard est devenu prêtre : Jacques Collin, évadé moins de deux ans après avoir été arrêté, avait trouvé ce moine, Carlos Herrera, un homme que personne ne connaissait, dont il était alors très simple de prendre l’identité. Lucien apprend peu à peu la véritable identité de Collin, mais il obéit au pacte. Esther en 1829, dont on les tient responsables : ils sont tous deux arrêtés.