Eugenie Grandet was considered the best catch in the town of Saumur. Her father, a simple cooper, made a fortune during the Revolution, having bought for a pittance confiscated church possessions - the best in the county vineyards and several farms. At the Consulate, he was elected mayor, and in the days of the Empire he was called only Mr. Grandet - however, behind his back people familiarly called him "daddy." No one knew exactly what the capital has a former cooper, but smart people were talking that Grandet had at least six-seven million francs. Only two people could confirm this, but the notary Cruchot, and the banker des Grassins were able to keep their mouths shut. However, both so openly fawned before Grandet, that the city of Saumur was filled with the deepest respect for the old man. The notary, with the support of numerous relatives pressed for Eugenie’s hand for his nephew - Chairman of the Court of First Instance. In turn, the wife of the banker des Grassins cleverly intrigued, hoping to marry her own son Adolphe to a rich heiress.
The citizens of Saumur followed with interest the battle of the titans, and wondered who would get a tidbit. Some, however, claimed that the old man is going to marry his daughter with his nephew – son of Guillaume Grandet, who had made his fortune in the wholesale of wine and had settled in Paris. Both sides unanimously denied this, saying that Parisian Grandet is aiming for his son much higher and could well become related with some "Duke by the grace of Napoleon."
At the beginning of 1819, Grandet with the help of Cruchot family bought a magnificent estate of the Marquis de Fruafona. But this fact does not change their way of life the old man, he still is living in his dilapidated house with his wife, daughter and a sole servant. Thirty-five years ago, Grandet warmed impoverished peasant girl who was driven from all the doors - and since then for a tiny salary Nanon performed any work tirelessly blessing master for the kindness. However, Eugenie and her mother would sit all day for crafts and the old miser gave them candles in a row.
The event that changed the life of Eugenie Grandet occurred in the first half of October 1819, the day of her birth. On the occasion old Grandet allowed to set a fireplace, while November has not yet come, and presented daughter wih conventional gift - a gold coin. To a memorable dinner arrived Cruchots and des Grassins ready for the decisive quarrel.
In the midst of the bingo party there was a knock on the door and in front of the surprised provincials appeared the son of a millionaire Charles Grande. He handed his uncle a letter from his father, and began to look around, clearly stricken by poverty of the environment. All convinced the young man that Saumur relatives are languishing in poverty - a mistake that would be fatal to Eugenie. At twenty-three years, the timid girl knows neither of her wealth nor of her beauty. Adorable elegant cousin seemed to her to be a stranger from another world. In her heart awakened even a vague sense, and she begged Nanon to set a fireplace in the bedroom of Charles - an unheard-of luxury in this house.
Parisian Grandet in his suicide letter notified about his bankruptcy and intention to shoot himself, begging only one thing - to take care of Charlet. Poor boy spoiled with family love and treated kindly by the world - he will bear no shame and poverty. In the morning, all Saumur already knew about the suicide of Guillaume Grandet. Old curmudgeon with rough directness told his nephew the terrible news, and gentle young man could not help weeping. Eugenie was filled with compassion for him so that even the gentle Mrs. Grandet found it necessary to warn the daughter, because from pity to love there is only one step. And Charles deeply touched by the sincere participation of aunt and cousin - well, he knew how indifferent contempt would meet him in Paris.
After hearing talk of her uncle’s bankruptcy and having read Chares’s letter, Eugenie thought for the first time of money. She realized that her father could help her cousin, but the old miser was furious at the mere assumption that he would have to fork up for a miserable boy. Soon, however, old Grandet softened, yet here was affected the good name of the family, and with the arrogant Parisians he had to get even. Banker des Grassins went to the capital to pursue the liquidation of burnt firm, and at the same time to put the old man's savings in the state rent. The citizens of Saumur praised to the skies Grandet - such generosity from him no one expected.
Meanwhile, Eugenie persuaded Charles to accept a gift - her savings - gold coins amounting to about six thousand francs. In turn, Charles gave her to maintain a gold vanity case with the portraits of his father and mother. For both young people came love spring, they swore allegiance to each other to the grave, and sealed their vows with a chaste kiss. Soon, Charles went to the East India in the hope to gain wealth. A mother and daughter with trembling waited for the New Year: the old man used to enjoy the holidays with viewing gold coins of Eugenie. There was a terrifying scene: Grandet almost cursed his daughter and ordered to keep her in confinement only on bread and water. It could not bear even stabbed Mrs. Grandet: the first time in her life, she dared to argue with her husband, and then fell ill with grief. Eugene stoically endured his father's disgrace, finding comfort in her love. It was only when his wife was very bad, Grandet replaced anger at the mercy - the notary Cruchot told him that Eugenie may require inheritance section after her mother's death. To the great joy of the sick, the father solemnly forgave their daughter. But then he caught the eye on the Charles’ casket and the old miser decided to pull out gold plates to be melted - a threat to commit suicide by Eugenie stopped him. For dying it was the final blow - she faded in October 1822, regretting only leaving her daughter at the mercy of cruel world. After her death Eugene meekly signed the rejection of the inheritance.
The next five years does not change the monotonous existence of Eugenie. However, the party of Grassins suffered a complete collapse; arriving in Paris on Grandet’s business the banker plunged into debauchery, and his wife had to abandon plans to marry Adolphe with Eugenie. Grandet by dexterous manipulation with notes reduced the amount of his brother’s debt from four million to one million two hundred thousand. Sensing the approach of death, the old man began to acquaint daughter with the business and imparted his notions of avarice. At the end of 1827, he died at the age of eighty-two. At this point, Charles Grandet had already returned to France. Sensitive young man turned into a hard businessman, becoming rich on the slave trade. About Eugenie he barely remembered. Only in August, 1828 she received a letter from him, which was attached to the check. Henceforth Charles considered himself free from all childish oaths, and informs his cousin that he wants to marry Mademoiselle d'Obrion, which is much more suited to him in age and position.
Even this letter was enough to crush all hope of Eugenie. Fuel to the fire poured flaming vengeance of Mrs. des Grassins: Eugenie learned from her that cousin is in Paris for a long time, but the wedding is still far - Marquis d'Obrion would never give a daughter to the son of an insolvent debtor, and Charles was so stupid that he did not want to leave three thousand francs, which would completely satisfy the remaining creditors. The same evening, Eugenie agreed to marry chairman Cruchot and asked him to leave immediately for Paris - she was willing to pay all her uncle’s debts. He handed Charles the act of satisfaction of financial claims, the chairman did not deny himself the pleasure to click on the nose of a stupid ambitious man: he said that he would marry Mademoiselle Grandet - possessor of seventeen million.
Bearing in mind the conditions of the marriage contract, Mr Cruchot always showed the greatest respect for his wife, but in the soul ardently desired her death. But the all-seeing God soon cleaned him - Eugenie became a widow at thirty-six years. Despite her vast wealth, she lives under the schedule, organized by her father, although, unlike him, generously donates to charitable affairs. In Saumur people are talking about her new marriage - a rich widow is strongly courted by the Marquis de Fruafon.