Hautot, a wealthy farmer, and his son César were out hunting with their friends when Hautot accidentally shot himself. As he lay dying, he confessed to César that he had a mistress named Caroline Donet in Rouen and asked his son to take care of her and her child after his death. César promised to fulfill his father's dying wish.
I tell you she is good, really good, and but for you and the memory of your mother and also because we three lived here together in this house, I would have brought her here, and then married her, sure enough.
After Hautot's funeral, César went to Rouen to meet Caroline. He found her to be a kind and gentle woman, and he felt sympathy for her and her young son, Emile.
César decided to give Caroline a generous allowance to ensure their well-being. Caroline was grateful for César's kindness and invited him to visit them again.
You have plenty. … You can spare it.—I am leaving you well provided for. Listen! You won't find her at home on weekdays. She works at Madame Moreau's in the Rue Beauvoisine. Go on a Thursday. She always expects me on Thursdays.
César returned to Rouen the following week and spent more time with Caroline and Emile. He began to feel a connection with them, as they were the only remaining link to his father. Caroline and César agreed to continue meeting, and César promised to visit them every Thursday.
As time went on, César grew closer to Caroline and Emile, and their relationship developed into a deep bond. Despite the unconventional circumstances of their connection, César found solace in their company and was able to honor his father's dying wish by ensuring the well-being of his mistress and their child.