An appalling French historical novel with a translation that curls the teeth, about bosom-blasting illicit love in France of the 1860's. Charlotte Morel, rebounding from a snub by the ""handsome lieutenant"" for whom she had an infatuation, stumbles into marriage with pale Etienne. By this time Thomas Becque, ""brilliant"" journalist with one arm but more than sufficient in all other attributes, is in very hot pursuit. In Paris where Thomas is stunning the journalistic world with his anti-establishment articles, Charlotte is disillusioned with her weak and waspish husband. Finally, after much travail involving her husband's inadequacies as a journalist among other matters, she lunges where the author has been nudging her all along and with Thomas ascends to a windy tumult of passion. But alas, she bears Etienne's child (""Pregnant, pregnant! Do you know what that means, Thomas?""). Duty wins, Thomas weds a barmaid, and there are two more books promised. ""We shall have played out the farce of tragic love to the end,"" promises Thomas. Good grief!