The President (Neversink)
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Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”
At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography—a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character—and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive... Nor when I’m dead, either.” Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power.
forms of cowardice which are to some extent collective, and above all, for certain kinds of indulgence.” It was in this spirit that he had felt it his duty to stand for the Presidency of the Republic. Contrary to the rumors that had been spread, he had had no intention of changing the Constitution, or of reducing the prerogatives of the executive. He was perhaps said to have brought a rather sterner spirit into politics, and those who knew him best had spoken of his secular Jansenism.
be possible to telephone to him. “It’s not the doctor who’s delivering her, it’s old Babette. . . . ” He didn’t ask who Babette was. He’d only meant to offer the car. But if they didn’t need it . . . “Will you be going to bed as usual?” “Yes, at ten o’clock.” He had no reason for making any change in the pattern of his life. He invariably went to bed at ten o’clock, whether tired or not, and invariably got up, winter and summer alike, at half past five in the morning. The only
they’re not to chuck him into a pauper’s grave. He’s to have a decent funeral, but no more. Ask what it will cost and make out a check for me to sign.” Did he feel relieved that Xavier Malate should have been the first to go, in spite of his bragging? His old schoolfellow had been mistaken. He’d clung to life for no purpose. His last chance now was for their two funerals to take place on the same day, and the Premier was determined that shouldn’t happen. There was only one person left now
administration. “I come from Evreux, like yourself, and when I was young my grandfather often talked to me about you, for you lived in the same street and he knew you well. . . . ” Milleran was watching him furtively, wondering whether he had dozed off, but his white, smooth-skinned hand, which now had the unquestionable beauty of an inanimate object, signed to her to continue. “Dear Sir, “I have applied everywhere, I have knocked on every door, and you are my last hope. The whole
and then, though less acutely, he’d had the feeling that his leg was taking its time to obey him. It sometimes came over him at night, too, in bed, a sort of cramp, or rather, a numbness that didn’t hurt at all. When it happened out walking, Emile would notice almost at the same time as himself. A kind of signal passed between them. Emile would come closer and the Premier would clutch his shoulder, stand still, though without taking his eyes off the landscape. Madame Blanche would come up then,