Boule de Suif

by

Guy de Maupassant

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Count Hubert de Bréville Character Analysis

Count Hubert de Breville is the wealthiest among the travelers in the carriage to Havre. With one of the most “ancient and noble” names in Normandy, this man has been (and will be rich) for the rest of his life. The Count and Countess are a sublime pair—they seem to embody all of the dignity that comes with status. But, like so many things in Maupassant’s story, these appearances are only surface-level—the Count and Countess prove to be the most sly, shrewd, and opportunistic out of all of the married couples. The Count’s opinions plainly carry the most weight with the group, and he uses this to his advantage in pivotal moments, particularly when he convinces the tenacious Miss Rousset to go against her instincts and beliefs. Whereas Mr. Loiseau is brash but predictable, the Count is outwardly refined but truly cunning on the inside. Maupassant makes it clear that the Count abuses his awesome power and he is the most to blame for the tragic ending of the story.

Count Hubert de Bréville Quotes in Boule de Suif

The Boule de Suif quotes below are all either spoken by Count Hubert de Bréville or refer to Count Hubert de Bréville . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Boule de Suif published in 1992.
Boule de Suif Quotes

The three men installed their wives at the back [of the carriage] and then followed them. Then the other forms, undecided and veiled, took in their turn the last places without exchanging a word.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

These six persons formed the foundation of the carriage company, the society side, serene and strong, honest, established people, who had both religion and principle.

Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

A stir was felt around her […]. The Count approached her, saying:

“You are wrong, Madame, for your refusal may lead to considerable difficulty, not only for yourself but for all your companions. It is never worth while to resist those in power”

Everybody agreed with him, asking, begging, beseeching her to go […] they all feared the complications that might result from disobedience.

Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

They found themselves in a square […] where they perceived some Prussian soldiers. The first one they saw was paring potatoes. The second, further off, was cleaning the hairdresser’s shop. Another, bearded to the eyes, was tending a troublesome brat, cradling it and trying to appease it […]. One of them was even washing the linen of his hostess, an impotent old grandmother […]. Loiseau had a joke for the occasion: “They will repopulate the land!”

Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

The three men mounted the staircase and were introduced to the best room of the inn, where the officer received them, stretched out in an armchair, his feet on the mantelpiece, smoking a long, porcelain pipe, and enveloped in a flamboyant dressing-gown, appropriated, without doubt, from some dwelling belonging to a common citizen of bad taste. He did not rise, nor greet them in any way, not even looking at them.

Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

The breakfast was very doleful; and it became apparent that a coldness had arisen toward Ball-of-Fat, and that the night, which brings counsel, had slightly modified their judgements. They almost wished now that the Prussian has secretly found this girl, in order to give her companions a pleasant surprise in the morning. What could be more simple? Besides, who would know anything about it? She could save appearances by telling the officer that she took pity on their distress. To her, it would make little difference!

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Count Hubert de Bréville Character Timeline in Boule de Suif

The timeline below shows where the character Count Hubert de Bréville appears in Boule de Suif. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Boule de Suif
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...that they are also bringing their wives. These men are Mr. Loiseau, Mr. Carré-Lamadon, and Count Hubert de Breville. All three determine that they will not be returning to Rouen—they’d go... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...others who are still covered and indistinct. The three married women—Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon, and Countess Hubert de Breville—sit towards the back and bring out foot stoves. The carriage finally leaves,... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon, and the Countess start to whisper things like “public shame,” loud enough so that Miss Rousset can hear... (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
Cornudet, too, draws the married men together against his rabble-rousing democratic ideas. The Count discusses the “havoc” that the war has caused, such as losing cattle and crops (although... (full context)
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...though they’ll be lucky to make it there by nightfall. Mr. Loiseau, Mr. Carré-Lamadon, and Count Hubert expect to find some small eating-house or bar, but the Prussian occupation has scared... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...does not appreciate, as she is not interested in wasting money, even in jest. The Count says that he cannot understand why he didn’t think to bring food. Everyone else “reproach[es]”... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
At this point, Mr. Carré-Lamadon and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and the Count and Countess are in total agony—they can’t believe that food is so close but that... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...offer of food. The four hungry travelers still do not agree, until, after hesitation, the Count finally says that they will accept, with much thanks. (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
The whole group descends on the basket and quickly empties it. Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and the Countess now allow themselves to talk to Miss Rousset (feeling an obligation because they’ve eaten her... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...have done if he’d been in charge—would he have ever gone into battle himself? The Count then steps in to “calm” the “exasperated” young woman. Although there is awkwardness in the... (full context)
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...falls, and the group stops talking as they digest. They feel the cold again. The Countess gives her foot stove to Miss Rousset, and Mrs. Loiseau and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon give theirs... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
The two nuns obey the order first, followed by the Count and Countess, then Mr. Carré-Lamadon and Mrs. Carré-Lamadon then Mr. Loiseau and Mr. Loiseau. Mr.... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...bristles and insists that she will not go. The group is clearly bothered, but the Count says to her that she would be wrong to “resist those in power.” He makes... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
...minutes later she returns, flustered and angry but uninterested in sharing what happened. Even the Count cannot get it out of her. So, the group sits down to dinner. Despite their... (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...are certain they told the driver eight o’clock; mystified, Mr. Loiseau, Mr. Carré-Lamadon, and the Count walk into town to try to sort it out. In town, they come across Prussian... (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
...there were explicit orders from the Prussian officer not to let the group go. The Count requests to see the commander; he and Mr. Carré-Lamadon attempt to leverage their status and... (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
When the Prussian officer finally receives the Count, Mr. Carré-Lamadon, and Mr. Loiseau, the officer has his feet up on his desk, he... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
During lunch, this plan takes form. Mrs. Loiseau, Mrs. Carré-Lamadon, and the Countess are kind to Miss Rousset only to “increase her docility and her confidence in their... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
Spirits plummet. No one in the group knows what to do. The Countess, who has no more useful dialogue about duty, absently asks the nuns to tell a... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...wakes late in the afternoon the next day. They all go for a walk. The Count takes Miss Rousset’s arm and speaks to her in a tone that is at once... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...discontent “very green,” and he tells the others about Miss Rousset’s rejection of Cornudet. The Count and Mr. Carré-Lamadon double over in laughter. (full context)
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Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...group waits only on Miss Rousset. When she arrives, she looks flustered. She approaches the Countess—and the Count leads his wife away from Miss Rousset immediately. Miss Rousset tries to greet... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
The carriage moves towards Le Havre with an atmosphere of cold awkwardness. The Countess turns to Mrs. Carré-Lamadon and, breaking the silence, asks about a society friend of theirs.... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...hungry and his wife takes out a large basket of food which they share. The Count and Countess follow suit. Soon nine travelers are all eating the food that they have... (full context)