e a cooper, for instance, sitting in his doorway and twirling his thumbs as he talks with a neighbor. To all appearance he owns nothing more than a few miserable boat-ribs and two or three bundles of laths; but below in the port his teeming wood-yard supplies all the cooperage trade of Anjou. He knows to a plank how many casks are needed if the vintage is good. A hot season makes him rich, a rainy season ruins him; in a single morning puncheons worth eleven francs have been known to drop to six. In this country, as in Touraine, atmospheric vicissitudes control commercial life. Wine-growers, proprietors, wood- merchants, coopers, inn-keepers, mariners, all keep watch of the sun. They tremble when they go to bed lest they should hear in the morning of a frost in the night; they dread rain, wind, drought, and want water, heat, and clouds to suit their fancy. A perpetual duel goes on between the heavens and their terrestrial interests. The barometer smooths, saddens, or makes merry their countenances, turn and tu
A miserly, selfish tale
A stingy, avaricious, miserly merchant acquires a fortune utilizing cunning and deceit with complete disregard for principle or scruples - like a Republican running for Congress.
His neighbors envious of his wealth and prestige bow and genuflect at his feet, hoping to win his favors while he takes advantage of them at every turn – like conservative voters awaiting the trickle down.
Despite his fortune, his wife, daughter and faithful housekeeper suffer greatly as a result of his pious hypocrisy - like the Christian right.
His dandy nephew, woes his daughter, assures her of his love, takes what little money she has, takes her pride and then breaks her heat - like a Republican administration.
His wife then dies - like a second term.
In the end, justice prevails, the father dies, allowing the meek to inherit his wealth. Only, it turns out they never really needed it – like another tax break for the wealthy.
Bottom line: A great story by a great writer - all politics aside