It was a brisk spring morning in Nantes in 1884, and the cathedral bells were ringing. Jules stood again in the line that snaked alongside the church’s basalt structure. The woman in front of him waited patiently. She held a babe in her arms, suckling quietly. A pair of twin boys, perhaps nearly seven years old, stood still and silent, holding hands.
The cobblestone streets resounded with the sound of feeding bells. Whenever they rang out in this tune, the folk of Nantes stopped what they were doing and reported to the cathedrals and municipal buildings for communion. If they missed too often, they simply disappeared the next day, leaving a crying family and a new job listing in their wake.