RASTIGNAC (Baron and Baronne de) had, near Ruffec, Charente, an estate, where they lived in the latter part of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, and where were born to them five children: Eugene, Laure-Rose, Agathe, Gabriel and Henri. They were poor, and lived in close retirement, keeping a dignified silence, and like their neighbours, the Marquis and Marquise de Pimentel, exercised, through their connection with court circles, a strong influence over the entire province, being invited at various times to the home of Madame de Bargeton, at Angouleme, where they met Lucien de Rubempre and were able to understand him. [Father Goriot. Lost Illusions.]
RASTIGNAC (Eugene de),[*] eldest son of the Baron and Baronne de Rastignac, born at Rastignac near Ruffec in 1797. He came to Paris in 1819 to study law; lived at first on the third floor of the Vauquer lodging-house, rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, having then some association with Jacques Collin, called Vautrin, who was especially interested in him and wanted him to marry Victorine Taillefer. Rastignac became the lover of Madame de Nucingen, second daughter of Joachim Goriot, an old vermicelli-maker, and in February, 1820, lived on rue d'Artois in pretty apartments, rented and furnished by the father of his mistress. Goriot died in his arms. The servant, Christophe, and Rastignac were the only attendants in the good man's funeral procession. At the Vauquer lodging-house he was intimate with Horace Bianchon, a medical student. [Father Goriot.] In 1821, at the Opera, young Rastignac made fun for the occupants of two boxes over the provincialisms of Madame de Bargeton and Lucien de Rubempre, "young Chardon." This led Madame d'Espard to leave the theatre with her relative, thus publicly and in a cowardly way abandoning the distinguished provincial. Some months later Rastignac sought the favor of this same Lucien de Rubempre, who was by that time an influential citizen. He agreed to act with Marsay as the poet's witness in the duel which he fought with Michel Chrestien, in regard to Daniel d'Arthez. [A Distinguished Provincial at Paris.] At the last masquerade ball of 1824 Rastignac found Rubempre, who had disappeared from Paris some time before. Vautrin, recalling his memories of the Vauquer lodging-house, urged him authoritatively to treat Lucien as a friend. Shortly after, Rastignac became a frequenter of the sumptuous mansion furnished by Nucingen for Esther van Gobseck on rue Saint- Georges. Rastignac was present at Lucien de Rubempre's funeral in May, 1830. [Scenes from a Courtesan's Life.] About the same time the Comte de Fontaine asked his daughter Emilie what she thought of Rastignac-- among several others--as a possible husband for her. But knowing the relations of this youthful aspirant with Madame de Nucingen, she saved herself by replying maliciously. [The Ball at Sceaux.] In 1828 Rastignac sought to become Madame d'Espard's lover, but was restrained by his friend, Doctor Bianchon. [The Interdiction.] During the same year Rastignac was treated slightingly by Madame de Listomere, because he asked her to return a letter, which through mistake had been sent to her, but which he had meant for Madame de Nucingen. [A Study of Woman.] After the Revolution of July he was a guest at Mademoiselle des Touches's evening party, where Marsay told the story of his first love. [Another Study of Woman.] At this time he was intimate with Raphael de Valentin, and expected to marry an Alsatian. [The Magic Skin.] In 1832, Rastignac, having been appointed a baron, was under- secretary of state in the department of which Marsay was the minister. [The Secrets of a Princess.] In 1833-34, he volunteered as nurse at the bedside of the dying minister, in the hope of being remembered in his will. One evening about this same time he took Raoul Nathan and Emile Blondet, whom he had met in society, to supper with him at Very's. He then advised Nathan to profit by the advances made him by the Comtesse Felix de Vandenesse. [A Daughter of Eve.] In 1833, at the Princesse de Cadignan's home, in the presence of the Marquise d'Espard, the old Ducs de Lenoncourt and de Navarreins, the Comte and the Comtesse de Vandenesse, D'Arthez, two ambassadors, and two well- known orators of the Chamber of Peers, Rastignac heard his minister reveal the secrets of the abduction of Senator Malin, an affair which took place in 1806. [The Gondreville Mystery.] In 1836, having become enriched by the third Nucingen failure, in which he was more or less a willing accomplice, he became possessed of an income of forty thousand francs. [The Firm of Nucingen.] In 1838 he attended the opening reception given at Josepha's mansion on rue de la Ville-l'Eveque. He was also witness at Hortense Hulot's marriage to Wenceslas Steinbock. He married Augusta de Nucingen, daughter of Delphine de Nucingen, his former mistress, whom he had quitted five years previously. In 1839, Rastignac, minister once more, and this time of public works, was made count almost in spite of himself. In 1845 he was, moreover, made a peer. He had then an income of 300,000 francs. He was in the habit of saying: "There is no absolute virtue, all things are dependent on circumstances." [Cousin Betty. The Member for Arcis. The Unconscious Humorists.]
[*] In a recent publication of Monsieur S. de Lovenjoul, he speaks of a recent abridged biography of Eugene de Rastignac.
RASTIGNAC (Laure-Rose and Agathe de),[*] sisters of Eugene de Rastignac; second and third children of the Baron and Baronne de Rastignac; Laure, the elder, born in 1801; Agathe, the second, born in 1802; both were reared unostentatiously in the Rastignac chateau. In 1819 they sent what they had saved by economy to their brother Eugene, then a student. Several years after, when he was wealthy and powerful, he married one of them to Martial de la Roche-Hugon, the other to a minister. In 1821, Laure, with her father and mother, was present at a reception of M. de Bargeton's, where she admired Lucien de Rubempre. [Father Goriot. Lost Illusions.] Madame de la Roche-Hugon in 1839 took her several daughters to a children's dance at Madame de l'Estorade's in Paris. [The Member for Arcis.]
[*] The Mesdemoiselles de Rastignac are here placed together under their maiden name, as it is not known which one married Martial de la Roche-Hugon.
RASTIGNAC (Monseigneur Gabriel de), brother of Eugene de Rastignac; one of the youngest two children of the Baron and Baronne de Rastignac; was private secretary to the Bishop of Limoges towards the end of the Restoration, during the trial of Tascheron. In 1832 he became, when only a young man of thirty, a bishop. He was consecrated by the Archbishop Dutheil. [Father Goriot. The Country Parson. A Daughter of Eve.]
RASTIGNAC (Henri de), the fifth child, probably of the Baron de Rastignac and his wife. Nothing is known of his life. [Father Goriot.]
RATEL, gendarme in the Orne district; in 1809, along with his fellow- officer, Mallet, was charged with the capture of "Lady" Bryond des Miniares, who was implicated in the affair known as the "Chauffeurs de Mortagne." He found the fugitive, but, instead of arresting her, allowed himself to be unduly influenced by her, and then protected her and let her escape. This action on his part was known to Mallet. Ratel, when imprisoned, confessed all, and committed suicide before the time assigned for trial. [The Seamy Side of History.]