L'Assommoir HTML version
Gervaise did not want to have a wedding-party! What was the use of spending money?
Besides, she still felt somewhat ashamed; it seemed to her quite unnecessary to parade
the marriage before the whole neighborhood. But Coupeau cried out at that. One could
not be married without having a feed. He did not care a button for the people of the
neighborhood! Nothing elaborate, just a short walk and a rabbit ragout in the first eating-
house they fancied. No music with dessert. Just a glass or two and then back home.
The zinc-worker, chaffing and joking, at length got the young woman to consent by
promising her that there should be no larks. He would keep his eye on the glasses, to
prevent sunstrokes. Then he organized a sort of picnic at five francs a head, at the
"Silver Windmill," kept by Auguste, on the Boulevard de la Chapelle. It was a small cafe
with moderate charges and had a dancing place in the rear, beneath the three acacias
in the courtyard. They would be very comfortable on the first floor. During the next ten
days, he got hold of guests in the house where his sister lived in the Rue de la Goutte-
d'Or—Monsieur Madinier, Mademoiselle Remanjou, Madame Gaudron and her
husband. He even ended by getting Gervaise to consent to the presence of two of his
comrades—Bibi-the-Smoker and My-Boots. No doubt My-Boots was a boozer; but then
he had such a fantastic appetite that he was always asked to join those sort of
gatherings, just for the sight of the caterer's mug when he beheld that bottomless pit
swallowing his twelve pounds of bread. The young woman on her side, promised to
bring her employer Madame Fauconnier and the Boches, some very agreeable people.
On counting, they found there would be fifteen to sit down to table, which was quite
enough. When there are too many, they always wind up by quarrelling.
Coupeau however, had no money. Without wishing to show off, he intended to behave
handsomely. He borrowed fifty francs of his employer. Out of that, he first of all
purchased the wedding-ring—a twelve franc gold wedding-ring, which Lorilleux
procured for him at the wholesale price of nine francs. He then bought himself a frock
coat, a pair of trousers and a waistcoat at a tailor's in the Rue Myrrha, to whom he gave
merely twenty-five francs on account; his patent leather shoes and his hat were still
good enough. When he had put by the ten francs for his and Gervaise's share of the
feast—the two children not being charged for—he had exactly six francs left—the price
of a low mass at the altar of the poor. He had no liking for those black crows, the
priests. It would gripe him to pay his last six francs to keep their whistles wet; however,
a marriage without a mass wasn't a real marriage at all.
Going to the church himself, he bargained for a whole hour with a little old priest in a
dirty cassock who was as sharp at dealing as a push-cart peddler. Coupeau felt like
boxing his ears. For a joke, he asked the priest if he didn't have a second-hand mass
that would do for a modest young couple. The priest, mumbling that God would take
small pleasure in blessing their union, finally let his have his mass for five francs. Well
after all, that meant twenty sous saved.