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Relationships: Combeferre & Courfeyrac & Enjolras, Minor or Background . When Marius had thrown off his grandfather's oppressive hold he'd been destitute, .. "If you want my advice, get your rest now, while you still can. George Blagden on Enjolras and Grantaire's relationship - This doesn't When i first realized that Marius is Newt I literally just like, flipped out << I read this and. "Cosette, why did you accept dating Enjolras if you don't see him the way he does ? Romance/Drama - [Enjolras, Eponine] [Cosette, Marius Pontmercy] When they all got used to go for her advice, she finally felt like she.
You haven't used that one in a while. Why not just tell us what you're really up to? Going to have your own private party? You can tell us, you know. We'll still love you. You don't have to hide from us. Or do you value your status as an 'ally' so much that you'll not risk tainting it with being the thing you profess to ally to?
By the thirtieth, there was high color in his cheeks and his teeth were clenched tight. By the last words, all of that had faded and his eyes were full of a quiet, terrible rage.
Enjolras sighed and shook his head for a moment before threading his fingers through Courfeyrac's hair to reach his temples and start up a gentle massage. A moment later, Courfeyrac shook him off, shook his head, then winced, again.
Enjolras bent closer, a frown etched harshly onto his face. Enjolras turned to face them, met each of their gazes in turn, saving Grantaire's for last. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get him home while he can still walk.
There was dead silence for a moment, two moments, three It continued, unabated, for several minutes, until Combeferre noticed that Courfeyrac had buried his face in his arms and was softly whimpering into them. Combeferre obligingly shushed the others and then shook his head when those voices dropped into almost equally loud whispers.
Eventually it was Joly's voice which broke through the others. What if he has a brain tumor? He could have given it to all of us! Did anyone share his drink tonight? Before Combeferre even had a chance to ask it of him, Bossuet ushered Joly away from the group to calm him down. Combeferre edged onto the bench next to Courfeyrac and regarded him for a moment out of sad eyes. Eventually, he said, "Is there anything I can do?
So, it was Enjolras who eventually answered the question with a brisk, "Yes. He's far enough gone at this point that I'll need help to wrestle him up the stairs to his apartment. If you'd be willing to assist, that would be a great help, indeed. If not, you can at least get him into his coat. In spite of the absolutely pathetic picture Courfeyrac now made, Combeferre couldn't help but smile at that presumption on Enjolras' part.
It was the work of several minutes to get a very reluctant Courfeyrac to release his head from its protective hold long enough to get him into his coat, but once Combeferre had gotten him into it, he immediately drew the hood up over his head and lowered it back to the table.
As Combeferre stood to slip into his own coat, he noted Enjolras off to the side, one hand lightly gripping Grantaire's arm just above the elbow, a look of earnest apology scrawled all over his face.
The sight made him smile. Unbeknownst to Grantaire, his feelings for Enjolras had been the group's second-largest "open secret" and it was nice to know they'd at least been right about one of those secrets When they finished their talk, Enjolras parted from Grantaire with a tentative smile and moved back over to help Combeferre get Courfeyrac up from the table - the poor man was all but a dead weight between them and fighting to pull his arms out of their grip to protect his head.
In the end, Enjolras leaned in and whispered something in Courfeyrac's ear, to which Courfeyrac responded by closing his eyes and giving them back his arms. Navigating out the door with a willfully blind Courfeyrac wasn't the easiest task, but between them, they managed it. Once outside, however, it got more difficult, with Courfeyrac constantly tripping on things whose presence neither thought to warn him of. After two blocks of this, Courfeyrac opened his eyes, shook off both their hands and, squinting, struck off on his own.
Combeferre leaned over towards Enjolras and said quickly, "My apartment is closer by far and I live on the ground floor. Understandably, Courfeyrac immediately protested, arms wind-milling wildly as he expressed his irritation. The argument came to an abrupt end when Enjolras caught both of Courfeyrac's hands and, with a beseeching look, said softly, but vehemently, "I know you're embarrassed.
I know you're in pain. We just want to help. Combeferre hurried to catch up, but pulled up short when Enjolras reached out to prevent him doing so. At Combeferre's raised eyebrow, Enjolras finally offered the explanation he'd been holding back since leaving the bar. His parents dragged him to just about every kind of doctor in existence to try to get to the bottom of it and when that failed, tried him on every migraine drug known to man.
He refused to believe that nothing in modern medicine existed that could get to the bottom of such a problem. He was about to say so, but at the rueful look in Enjolras' eyes, the words died unbidden on his tongue. With a bitter laugh, Enjolras said, "If you're thinking it now, I guarantee you I've thought it at least twice before and so has he. During our freshman year, he did some exhaustive research on the subject, discovered that there were foods that could cause migraines. He called up one of the premier specialists and worked out an exclusion diet to try to ferret out what his own triggers were.
A life where giving up everything you love still doesn't give you surcease from pain It's barely even existing. They kept a decent distance from Courfeyrac as they walked - his entire body language just screamed "Keep away from me! Combeferre let them both in, then winced as Courfeyrac immediately pushed past him to reach the bathroom in the hall.
A moment later, came the sounds of Courfeyrac being quietly but thoroughly sick. When he reemerged from the bathroom, he was paler than before, still squinting and was now pressing a hand to the side of his head.
He hadn't even gotten out of his coat. Softly, almost too much so to be heard, Courfeyrac said, "For the record A short, softly murmured conversation saw Enjolras leading Courfeyrac slowly down the hall to Combeferre's bedroom, helping him strip down to his boxers and undershirt and climb under Combeferre's covers.
After confirming with Combeferre that his curtains were blackout curtains, Enjolras went about systematically drawing them closed and tucking them as firmly against the windows as he could. Once that was done, he stripped out of his own clothes and returned to Courfeyrac's side.
In the dim light reaching down the hall from the living room, Combeferre could just make out Enjolras tucking the covers around him and lifting a hand to stroke softly through now sweat-soaked dark curls. Courfeyrac let out a quiet whimper which Enjolras hushed by edging close enough that Courfeyrac could turn to press his face against Enjolras' hip and curl the rest of his body as tightly against Enjolras as he could manage.
They stayed in that tableau - Courfeyrac curled around Enjolras with Combeferre watching uselessly from the doorway - until Enjolras happened to look up. And the look in his eyes Combeferre had never seen Enjolras' eyes carry such a look.
He'd seen them fired with anger. He'd seen them blazing with righteous passion. He'd seen them grow cold with disgust. He'd seen them fill with pity He'd never seen them brimming to overflowing with shared pain, with empathy Moving quietly about the room, Combeferre checked all the curtains and unplugged the alarm clock.
Once that was accomplished, he retrieved a filter bottle from the kitchen and filled it with cool water - dehydration made any headache worse and the bottle would be easier to manage than a glass and less likely to spill. He grabbed a roll of duct tape from the hall closet, then turned off all the lights in the apartment save the nightlight in the bathroom.
He pulled the bathroom door shut so that only the smallest amount of light reached the hallway from beneath the door. That done he returned to the bedroom and taped down the curtains so that no light at all could penetrate to illuminate the room. Disposing of the roll of tape, he pulled the door shut and finally approached the bed, one hand held out and gently questing after the other two people he knew were there, but could no longer see.
A hand reached out to grasp Combeferre's in the dark.
Les Miserables, Volume III, Marius
He was sure it was Enjolras' until it squeezed his and Courfeyrac's roughened voice said quietly, "Thank you. Enjolras had asked for his help. So, he was going to help however he could. Combeferre pulled Courfeyrac's hand closer and closed it around the water bottle he carried.Red Song :: Marius/Enjolras [Les Misérables (2012)]
When he was finished drinking, Combeferre helped to ease him back down. And though he knew that Enjolras couldn't see him in the darkness, Combeferre couldn't help but shoot him a look that said, "Now, what? An hour later, Courfeyrac was still tossing and turning, alternating pushing them away, slinging himself half across one of their laps to press his head against them and sitting up to cradle his head in his head in his hands and rock violently back and forth, whimpering and trying not to cry from the pain.
An hour after that, Combeferre was forced to reevaluate what he'd thought of Enjolras since they'd first met - that the man was incapable of compassion and empathy on as small a scale as a single person. For that, quite obviously, was not the case. In fact, if anything, it now seemed that Enjolras was far too capable of such empathy and compassion Combeferre almost couldn't see how he had the energy to maintain it, either.
After a mere three hours, Combeferre was ready to leap from the bed and rage at anything that might alleviate the helplessness he was feeling, the frustration and anger at his own inability to do anything that would give his friend ease.
No wonder Enjolras was so quick to take his ire out on the rest of an unjust world. After one particular violent fit of rocking and whimpering ended with Courfeyrac off the bed and pacing the corner of Combeferre's room, he finally had an idea. With Enjolras' help, they convinced Courfeyrac to return to the bed and to get back under the covers. Combeferre offered him another drink. Once he'd taken it, Combeferre helped him out of his undershirt and turned him to rest against Enjolras, head tucked into the crook of Enjolras' neck, arms looped loosely around his shoulders.
Once Courfeyrac was settled as Combeferre wanted him, he tipped the water bottle over just enough to wet his own fingers. Reaching up, he then started gently massaging the cool moisture into the tense muscles of Courfeyrac's neck and shoulders. Initially, Courfeyrac tensed further still, but after several minutes of that cool, gentle massage, he finally started to relax.
Combeferre gently worked down over the muscles of his back, then up again to his shoulders, his neck, the base of his skull. It wasn't until he threaded his fingers up through Courfeyrac's hair to massage his head, though, that he finally heard the noise he'd been waiting for - Enjolras letting out a soft 'oof' as Courfeyrac grew suddenly heavier in his arms Combeferre continued his thorough massage for another few minutes, working out whatever kinks he could.
Once satisfied that Courfeyrac was well and truly asleep, he helped Enjolras ease him back down to the bed and tucked him back in, again. They both tensed as Courfeyrac turned over in his sleep, and made a few restless, abortive movements before settling, again. In silent accord, they waited another ten minutes before making any moves of their own.
It was Enjolras who made the first. Reaching over Courfeyrac's sleeping form, by luck or by instinct, he found Combeferre's shoulder, gave it a small squeeze and said, "Thank you. Taking that in stride, he said, "All right. Then we'll stay with him. Perhaps sensing that Combeferre needed a moment to process that information, Enjolras blessedly kept his peace. Eventually he got out, "Three to five Enjolras, is that normal? How the hell should I know? It's normal for him and that's all I know.
When he doesn't get his pills into himself in time, these damned things hold on like lampreys. And since he only rarely gets auras beforehand, most of the time the first warning he has that one's on the way is when the pain hits and by then it's too late to take anything and have it be effective. So, unless by some miracle he was telling the truth earlier, you may well be stuck with him for a while. It's possible you may be in for a long few days. I tried to protect you from this.
He let out a soft sigh. He ached from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. Even his hair ached. He hadn't missed the feeling of someone driving a pick axe through the side of his skull in the months since his last migraine and he sure as hell didn't welcome it, now. His entire body drew in, trying in vain to curl protectively around the pain in his head, and succeeding only in undoing all of Combeferre's good work from the night before.
Even the pressure of the pillow pushing his head up from beneath him was too much for the tense muscles of his neck to take, and he whimpered, tried to push it away. It was only when he failed that he realized there were two other heads resting on that pillow with him.
All but sobbing in frustration at the cage his friends had created around him with their good intentions, Courfeyrac pushed and kicked at them in an attempt to gain a little space. Only, the more frantic he grew, the more tense he became And the more he hurt, the more frantic he became Finally, tears of pure frustration leaking from his eyes, he managed to elbow whoever was behind him in the ribs, touching off a harsh spate of coughing right in his ear.
And that was that. He couldn't take anymore and, heedless of the pain that it would cause him to do so, yelled out, "Would you both get the fuck off this pillow so I can fucking well get it out from under me, already? Heart racing, now, and still unable to get comfortable even with the pillow gone, Courfeyrac threw off the covers, too, moved to sit on the side of the bed. Stomach churning with nausea, he braced his head in his hands and let out a low moan.
Enjolras was immediately at his side, hovering, hands reaching out to touch but not daring to do so. Courfeyrac let out a whimper that threatened to turn into hysterics as he began to rock slowly back and forth, trying to escape a pain from which there was no escape. The gentle creak of the door betrayed Combeferre's exit from the room and Courfeyrac winced. There were reasons, good reasons, he hadn't involved any friend who wasn't Enjolras in this. In the grips of a migraine he would lash out indiscriminately, uncaring who he might hurt in his efforts to escape his own pain.
Enjolras had known him too long to take it personally, but Combeferre Combeferre probably hated him by now, probably never wanted to see him, again. Any minute now, he'd come back and throw their asses out onto the sidewalk. Combeferre did come back, but it wasn't to throw them out.
It was to press two pills into one of Courfeyrac's hands and the bottle of water into the other. Courfeyrac gritted out, "I already took them.
Until that steady state is reached, some medications aren't even at therapeutic levels. Combeferre was the only man he knew who could out-stubborn Enjolras and Courfeyrac was definitely not up for a battle of wits with the man, right now. It wasn't going to do any good, but he took the damned pills. Once he'd done so - and taken several drinks of water besides, also on Combeferre's orders - Combeferre slid an arm around him and dragged him off the bed. Enjolras made an abortive move to stop him but, in the end, simply wedged himself under Courfeyrac's other arm and helped them down the hallway.
The gamin in his perfect state possesses all the policemen of Paris, and can always put the name to the face of any one which he chances to meet.
He can tell them off on the tips of his fingers. He studies their habits, and he has special notes on each one of them. He reads the souls of the police like an open book. He will tell you fluently and without flinching: That one imagines that he owns the Pont-Neuf, and he prevents people from walking on the cornice outside the parapet; that other has a mania for pulling person's ears; etc.
Gaminerie is a shade of the Gallic spirit. Mingled with good sense, it sometimes adds force to the latter, as alcohol does to wine. Sometimes it is a defect.
Homer repeats himself eternally, granted; one may say that Voltaire plays the gamin. Camille Desmoulins was a native of the faubourgs. Championnet, who treated miracles brutally, rose from the pavements of Paris; he had, when a small lad, inundated the porticos of Saint-Jean de Beauvais, and of Saint-Etienne du Mont; he had addressed the shrine of Sainte-Genevieve familiarly to give orders to the phial of Saint Januarius. The gamin of Paris is respectful, ironical, and insolent.
He has villainous teeth, because he is badly fed and his stomach suffers, and handsome eyes because he has wit. If Jehovah himself were present, he would go hopping up the steps of paradise on one foot. He is strong on boxing. All beliefs are possible to him.
He plays in the gutter, and straightens himself up with a revolt; his effrontery persists even in the presence of grape-shot; he was a scapegrace, he is a hero; like the little Theban, he shakes the skin from the lion; Barra the drummer-boy was a gamin of Paris; he Shouts: This child of the puddle is also the child of the ideal.
Page 15 Measure that spread of wings which reaches from Moliere to Barra. To sum up the whole, and in one word, the gamin is a being who amuses himself, because he is unhappy. The gamin is a grace to the nation, and at the same time a disease; a disease which must be cured, how? All generous social irradiations spring from science, letters, arts, education. Make men, make men. Give them light that they may warm you. Sooner or later the splendid question of universal education will present itself with the irresistible authority of the absolute truth; and then, those who govern under the superintendence of the French idea will have to make this choice; the children of France or the gamins of Paris; flames in the light or will-o'-the-wisps in the gloom.
The gamin expresses Paris, and Paris expresses the world. For Paris is a total. Paris is the ceiling of the human race. The whole of this prodigious city is a foreshortening of dead manners and living manners.
He who sees Paris thinks he sees the bottom of all history with heaven and constellations in the intervals. Its majo is called "faraud," its Transteverin is the Page 16 man of the faubourgs, its hammal is the market-porter, its lazzarone is the pegre, its cockney is the native of Ghent.
Everything that exists elsewhere exists at Paris. The fish- woman of Dumarsais can retort on the herb-seller of Euripides, the discobols Vejanus lives again in the Forioso, the tight-rope dancer.
Therapontigonus Miles could walk arm in arm with Vadeboncoeur the grenadier, Damasippus the secondhand dealer would be happy among bric-a-brac merchants, Vincennes could grasp Socrates in its fist as just as Agora could imprison Diderot, Grimod de la Reyniere discovered larded roast beef, as Curtillus invented roast hedgehog, we see the trapeze which figures in Plautus reappear under the vault of the Arc of l'Etoile, the sword-eater of Poecilus encountered by Apuleius is a sword-swallower on the Pont- Neuf, the nephew of Rameau and Curculio the parasite make a pair, Ergasilus could get himself presented to Cambaceres by d'Aigrefeuille; the four dandies of Rome: Alcesimarchus, Phoedromus, Diabolus, and Argyrippus, descend from Courtille in Labatut's posting-chaise; Aulus Gellius would halt no longer in front of Congrio than would Charles Nodier in front of Punchinello; Marto is not a tigress, but Pardalisca was not a dragon; Pantolabus the wag jeers in the Cafe Anglais at Nomentanus the fast liver, Hermogenus is a tenor in the Champs-Elysees, and round him, Thracius the beggar, clad like Bobeche, takes up a collection; the bore who stops you by the button of your coat in the Tuileries makes you repeat after a lapse of two thousand years Thesprion's apostrophe: Quis properantem me prehendit pallio?
The wine on Surene is a parody of the wine of Alba, the red border of Desaugiers forms a balance to the great cutting of Balatro, Pere Lachaise exhales beneath nocturnal rains same gleams as the Esquiliae, and the grave of the poor bought for five years, is certainly the equivalent of the slave's hived coffin.
Seek something that Paris has not. The vat of Trophonius contains nothing that is not in Mesmer's tub; Ergaphilas lives again in Cagliostro; the Brahmin Vasaphanta become incarnate in the Comte de Saint-Germain; the cemetery of Page 17 Saint-Medard works quite as good miracles as the Mosque of Oumoumie at Damascus. It is terrified, like Delphos at the fulgurating realities of the vision; it makes tables turn as Dodona did tripods.
It places the grisette on the throne, as Rome placed the courtesan there; and, taking it altogether, if Louis XV. Paris combines in an unprecedented type, which has existed and which we have elbowed, Grecian nudity, the Hebraic ulcer, and the Gascon pun. It mingles Diogenes, Job, and Jack-pudding, dresses up a spectre in old numbers of the Constitutional, and makes Chodruc Duclos.
The Tiber was a Lethe, if the rather doctrinary eulogium made of it by Varus Vibiscus is to be credited: Contra Gracchos Tiberim habemus, Bibere Tiberim, id est seditionem oblivisci. Paris drinks a million litres of water a day, but that does not prevent it from occasionally beating the general alarm and ringing the tocsin.
With that exception, Paris is amiable. It accepts everything royally; it is not too particular about its Venus; its Callipyge is Hottentot; provided that it is made to laugh, it condones; ugliness cheers it, deformity provokes it to laughter, vice diverts it; be eccentric and you may be an eccentric; even hypocrisy, that supreme cynicism, does not disgust it; it is so literary that it does not hold its nose before Basile, and is no more scandalized by the prayer of Tartuffe than Horace was repelled by the "hiccup" of Priapus.
No trait of the universal face is lacking in the profile of Paris. The bal Mabile is not the polymnia dance of the Janiculum, but the dealer in ladies' wearing apparel there devours the lorette with her eyes, exactly as the procuress Staphyla lay in wait for the virgin Planesium.
The Barriere du Combat is not the Coliseum, but people are as ferocious there as though Caesar were looking on. Geniuses flash forth there, the red tails prosper there. Adonai passes on his chariot with its twelve wheels of thunder and lightning; Silenus makes his entry there on his ass.
For Silenus read Ramponneau. All civilizations are there in an abridged form, all barbarisms also. Paris would greatly regret it if it had not a guillotine. A little of the Place de Greve is a good thing.
What would all that eternal festival be without this seasoning? Our laws are wisely provided, and thanks to them, this blade drips on this Shrove Tuesday. No city has had that domination which sometimes derides those whom it subjugates. To please you, O Athenians!
Paris makes more than the law, it makes the fashion; Paris sets more than the fashion, it sets the routine. Paris may be stupid, if it sees fit; it sometimes allows itself this luxury; then the universe is stupid in company with it; then Paris awakes, rubs its eyes, says: What a marvel is such a city! Paris has a sovereign joviality.
Its gayety is of the thunder and its farce holds a sceptre. Its tempest sometimes proceeds from a grimace. Its explosions, its days, its masterpieces, its prodigies, its epics, go Page 19 forth to the bounds of the universe, and so also do its cock-and- bull stories. Its laugh is the mouth of a volcano which spatters the whole earth. Its jests are sparks. It imposes its caricatures as well as its ideal on people; the highest monuments of human civilization accept its ironies and lend their eternity to its mischievous pranks.
It is superb; it has a prodigious 14th of July, which delivers the globe; it forces all nations to take the oath of tennis; its night of the 4th of August dissolves in three hours a thousand years of feudalism; it makes of its logic the muscle of unanimous will; it multiplies itself under all sorts of forms of the sublime; it fills with its light Washington, Kosciusko, Bolivar, Bozzaris, Riego, Bem, Manin, Lopez, John Brown, Garibaldi; it is everywhere where the future is being lighted up, at Boston inat the Isle de Leon inat Pesth inat Palermo init whispers the mighty countersign: Liberty, in the ear of the American abolitionists grouped about the boat at Harper's Ferry, and in the ear of the patriots of Ancona assembled in the shadow, to the Archi before the Gozzi inn on the seashore; it creates Canaris; it creates Quiroga; it creates Pisacane; it irradiates the great on earth; it was while proceeding whither its breath urge them, that Byron perished at Missolonghi, and that Mazet died at Barcelona; it is the tribune under the feet of Mirabeau, and a crater under the feet of Robespierre; its books, its theatre, its art, its science, its literature, its philosophy, are the manuals of the human race; it has Pascal, Regnier, Corneille, Descartes, Jean-Jacques: Voltaire for all moments, Moliere for all centuries; it makes its language to be talked by the universal mouth, and that language becomes the word; it constructs in all minds the idea of progress, the liberating dogmas which it forges are for the generations trusty friends, and it is with the soul of its thinkers and its poets that all heroes of all nations have been made since ; this does not prevent vagabondism, and that enormous genius which is called Paris, while transfiguring the world by its light, sketches in charcoal Bouginier's nose on the wall of the temple of Theseus and writes Credeville the thief on the Pyramids.
Page 20 Paris is always showing its teeth; when it is not scolding it is laughing. The smoke of its roofs forms the ideas of tho universe. A heap of mud and stone, if you will, but, above all, a moral being. It is more than great, it is immense. Because it is daring.
To dare; that is the price of progress. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the prizes of daring. In order that the Revolution should take place, it does not suffice that Montesquieu should foresee it, that Diderot should preach it, that Beaumarchais should announce it, that Condorcet should calculate it, that Arouet should prepare it, that Rousseau should premeditate it; it is necessary that Danton should dare it.
It is necessary, for the sake of the forward march of the human race, that there should be proud lessons of courage permanently on the heights. Daring deeds dazzle history and are one of man's great sources of light. The dawn dares when it rises. To attempt, to brave, to persist, to persevere, to be faithful to one's self, to grasp fate bodily, to astound catastrophe by the small amount of fear that it occasions us, now to affront unjust power, again to insult drunken victory, to hold one's position, to stand one's ground; that is the example which nations need, that is the light which electrifies them.
The same formidable lightning proceeds from the torch of Prometheus to Cambronne's short pipe.
It is in the faubourgs, above all, we maintain, that the Parisian race appears; there is the pure blood; there is the true physiognomy; there this people toils and suffers, Page 21 and suffering and toil are the two faces of man.
There exist there immense numbers of unknown beings, among whom swarm types of the strangest, from the porter of la Rapee to the knacker of Montfaucon. Fex urbis, exclaims Cicero; mob, adds Burke, indignantly; rabble, multitude, populace. These are words and quickly uttered. But so be it.
What does it matter? What is it to me if they do go barefoot! They do not know how to read; so much the worse. Would you abandon them for that? Would you turn their distress into a malediction? Cannot the light penetrate these masses? Let us return to that cry: Who knows whether these opacities will not become transparent? Are not revolutions transfigurations? Come, philosophers, teach, enlighten, light up, think aloud, speak aloud, hasten joyously to the great sun, fraternize with the public place, announce the good news, spend your alphabets lavishly, proclaim rights, sing the Marseillaises, sow enthusiasms, tear green boughs from the oaks.
Make a whirlwind of the idea. This crowd may be rendered sublime. Let us learn how to make use of that vast conflagration of principles and virtues, which sparkles, bursts forth and quivers at certain hours.
These bare feet, these bare arms, these rags, these ignorances, these abjectnesses, these darknesses, may be employed in the conquest of the ideal. Gaze past the people, and you will perceive truth. Let that vile sand which you trample under foot be cast into the furnace, let it melt and seethe there, it will become a splendid crystal, and it is thanks to it that Galileo and Newton will discover stars. This child was well muffled up in a pair of man's trousers, but he did not get them from his father, and a woman's chemise, but he did not get it from his mother.
Some people or other had clothed him in rags out of charity. Still, he had a father and a mother. But his father did not think of him, and his mother did not love him. He was one of those children most deserving of pity, among all, one of those who have father and mother, and who are orphans nevertheless.
This child never felt so well as when he was in the street. The pavements were less hard to him than his mother's heart. His parents had despatched him into life with a kick. He simply took flight. He was a boisterous, pallid, nimble, wide-awake, jeering, lad, with a vivacious but sickly air.
He went and came, sang, played at hopscotch, scraped the gutters, stole a little, but, like cats and sparrows, gayly laughed when he was called a rogue, and got angry when called a thief. He had no shelter, no bread, no fire, no love; but he was merry because he was free. When these poor creatures grow to be men, the millstones of the social order meet them and crush them, but so long as they are children, they escape because of their smallness.
The tiniest hole saves them. Nevertheless, abandoned as this child was, it sometimes happened, every two or three months, that he said, "Come, I'll go and see mamma! Precisely at that double number with which the reader is acquainted -- at the Gorbeau hovel.
At that epoch, the hovel generally deserted and eternally decorated with the placard: All belonged to that indigent class which begins to Page 23 separate from the lowest of petty bourgeoisie in straitened circumstances, and which extends from misery to misery into the lowest depths of society down to those two beings in whom all the material things of civilization end, the sewer-man who sweeps up the mud, and the ragpicker who collects scraps.
The "principal lodger" of Jean Valjean's day was dead and had been replaced by another exactly like her. I know not what philosopher has said: This new old woman was named Madame Bourgon, and had nothing remarkable about her life except a dynasty of three paroquets, who had reigned in succession over her soul. The most miserable of those who inhabited the hovel were a family of four persons, consisting of father, mother, and two daughters, already well grown, all four of whom were lodged in the same attic, one of the cells which we have already mentioned.
At first sight, this family presented no very special feature except its extreme destitution; the father, when he hired the chamber, had stated that his name was Jondrette. Some time after his moving in, which had borne a singular resemblance to the entrance of nothing at all, to borrow the memorable expression of the principal tenant, this Jondrette had said to the woman, who, like her predecessor, was at the same time portress and stair-sweeper: He arrived there and found distress, and, what is still sadder, no smile; a cold hearth and cold hearts.
When he entered, he was asked: It did not cause him suffering, and he blamed no one. He did not know exactly how a father and mother should be. Page 24 Nevertheless, his mother loved his sisters. We have forgotten to mention, that on the Boulevard du Temple this child was called Little Gavroche.
Why was he called Little Gavroche? Probably because his father's name was Jondrette. It seems to be the instinct of certain wretched families to break the thread. The chamber which the Jondrettes inhabited in the Gorbeau hovel was the last at the end of the corridor. The cell next to it was occupied by a very poor young man who was called M.
Let us explain who this M. Gillenormand, and who mention him with complaisance. This good man was old when they were young. This silhouette has not yet entirely disappeared -- for those who regard with melancholy that vague swarm of shadows which is called the past -- from the labyrinth of streets in the vicinity of the Temple to which, under Louis XIV. Gillenormand, who was as much alive as possible inwas one of those men who had become curiosities to be viewed, simply because they have lived a long time, and who are strange because they formerly resembled everybody, and now resemble nobody.
He was a peculiar old man, and in very truth, a man of another age, the real, complete and rather haughty bourgeois of the eighteenth century, who wore his good, old bourgeoisie with the air with which marquises wear their marquisates.
He was over ninety years of age, his walk was erect, he talked loudly, saw clearly, drank neat, ate, slept, and snored. He had all thirty-two of his teeth. He only wore spectacles when he read. He was of an amorous disposition, but declared that, for the last ten years, he had wholly and decidedly Page 26 renounced women. He could no longer please, he said; he did not add: His dream was to come into an inheritance and to have a hundred thousand livres income for mistresses.
He did not belong, as the reader will perceive, to that puny variety of octogenaries who, like M. He was superficial, rapid, easily angered. He flew into a passion at everything, generally quite contrary to all reason. When contradicted, he raised his cane; he beat people as he had done in the great century. He had a daughter over fifty years of age, and unmarried, whom he chastised severely with his tongue, when in a rage, and whom he would have liked to whip.
She seemed to him to be eight years old. He boxed his servants' ears soundly, and said: Gillenormand on account of his wife, a pretty and coquettish barberess. Gillenormand admired his own discernment in all things, and declared that he was extremely sagacious; here is one of his sayings: The words which he uttered the most frequently were: He did not give to this last word the grand acceptation which our epoch has accorded to it, but he made it enter, after his own fashion, into his little chimney- corner satires: Europe possesses specimens of Asia and Africa on a small scale.
The cat is a drawing-room tiger, the lizard is a pocket crocodile. The dancers at the opera are pink female savages. They do not eat men, they crunch them; or, magicians that they are, they transform them into oysters and Page 27 swallow them.
The Caribbeans leave only the bones, they leave only the shell. Such are our morals. We do not devour, we gnaw; we do not exterminate, we claw. He owned the house. This house has since been demolished and rebuilt, and the number has probably been changed in those revolutions of numeration which the streets of Paris undergo.
He occupied an ancient and vast apartment on the first floor, between street and gardens, furnished to the very ceilings with great Gobelins and Beauvais tapestries representing pastoral scenes; the subjects of the ceilings and the panels were repeated in miniature on the arm-chairs. He enveloped his bed in a vast, nine-leaved screen of Coromandel lacquer. Long, full curtains hung from the windows, and formed great, broken folds that were very magnificent.
The garden situated immediately under his windows was attached to that one of them which formed the angle, by means of a staircase twelve or fifteen steps long, which the old gentleman ascended and descended with great agility.
In addition to a library adjoining his chamber, he had a boudoir of which he thought a great deal, a gallant and elegant retreat, with magnificent hangings of straw, with a pattern of flowers and fleurs-de-lys made on the galleys of Louis XIV.
Gillenormand had inherited it from a grim maternal great-aunt, who had died a centenarian. He had had two wives. His manners were something between those of the courtier, which he had never been, and the lawyer, which he might have been. He was gay, and caressing when he had a mind. In his youth he had been one of those men who are always deceived by their wives and never by their mistresses, because they are, at the same time, the most sullen of husbands and the most charming Page 28 of lovers in existence.
He was a connoisseur of painting. He had in his chamber a marvellous portrait of no one knows whom, painted by Jordaens, executed with great dashes of the brush, with millions of details, in a confused and hap-hazard manner.
Gillenormand's attire was not the habit of Louis XIV. He had thought himself young up to that period and had followed the fashions. His coat was of light-weight cloth with voluminous revers, a long swallow-tail and large steel buttons.
With this he wore knee-breeches and buckle shoes. He always thrust his hands into his fobs. Caught between two fires, he had beaten a heroic retreat towards a little dancer, a young girl named Nahenry, who was sixteen like himself, obscure as a cat, and with whom he was in love.
He abounded in memories. He was accustomed to exclaim: Madame de Boufflers, having seen him by chance when he was twenty, had described him as "a charming fool. He read the journals, the newspapers, the gazettes as he said, stifling outbursts Page 29 of laughter the while. There's a minister for you! I can imagine this in a journal: They are so stupid that it would pass"; he merrily called everything by its name, whether decent or indecent, and did not restrain himself in the least before ladies.
He uttered coarse speeches, obscenities, and filth with a certain tranquillity and lack of astonishment which was elegant. It was in keeping with the unceremoniousness of his century. It is to be noted that the age of periphrase in verse was the age of crudities in prose. His god-father had predicted that he would turn out a man of genius, and had bestowed on him these two significant names: The Duc de Nevers was, in his eyes, the great figure of the century.
Gillenormand, Catherine the Second had made reparation for the crime of the partition of Poland by purchasing, for three thousand roubles, the secret of the elixir of gold, from Bestucheff. He grew animated on this subject: Gillenormand adored the Bourbons, and had a horror of ; he was forever narrating in what manner he had saved himself during the Terror, and how he had been obliged to display a vast deal of gayety and cleverness in order to escape having his head cut off.
If any young man ventured to pronounce an eulogium on the Republic in his presence, he turned purple and grew so angry that he was on the point of swooning. He sometimes alluded to his ninety years, and said, "I hope that I shall not see ninety- three twice. Here is one of them: This abdication sets him free.
Then his wife busies herself, grows passionately fond of handling coin, gets her fingers covered with verdigris in the process, undertakes the education of half-share tenants and the training of farmers, convokes lawyers, presides over notaries, harangues scriveners, visits limbs of the law, follows lawsuits, draws up leases, dictates contracts, feels herself the sovereign, sells, buys, regulates, promises and compromises, binds fast and annuls, yields, concedes and retrocedes, arranges, disarranges, hoards, lavishes; she commits follies, a supreme and personal delight, and that consoles her.
While her husband disdains her, she has the satisfaction of ruining her husband. Gillenormand had himself applied, and it had become his history.
His wife -- the second one -- had administered Page 31 his fortune in such a manner that, one fine day, when M. Gillenormand found himself a widower, there remained to him just sufficient to live on, by sinking nearly the whole of it in an annuity of fifteen thousand francs, three-quarters of which would expire with him. He had not hesitated on this point, not being anxious to leave a property behind him.
Besides, he had noticed that patrimonies are subject to adventures, and, for instance, become national property; he had been present at the avatars of consolidated three per cents, and he had no great faith in the Great Book of the Public Debt. His house in the Rue Filles-du-Clavaire belonged to him, as we have already stated. He had two servants, "a male and a female.
He bestowed on the men the name of their province: Nimois, Comtois, Poitevin, Picard. His last valet was a big, foundered, short-winded fellow of fifty- five, who was incapable of running twenty paces; but, as he had been born at Bayonne, M. Gillenormand called him Basque. All the female servants in his house were called Nicolette even the Magnon, of whom we shall hear more farther on.
One day, a haughty cook, a cordon bleu, of the lofty race of porters, presented herself. Gillenormand, sorrow was converted into wrath; he was furious at being in despair. He had all sorts of prejudices and took all sorts of liberties. One of the facts of which his exterior relief and his internal satisfaction was composed, was, as we have just hinted, that he had remained a brisk spark, and that he passed energetically for such. This he Page 32 called having "royal renown.
One day, there was brought to him in a basket, as though it had been a basket of oysters, a stout, newly born boy, who was yelling like the deuce, and duly wrapped in swaddling-clothes, which a servant-maid, dismissed six months previously, attributed to him. Gillenormand had, at that time, fully completed his eighty-fourth year. Indignation and uproar in the establishment. And whom did that bold hussy think she could persuade to believe that? What an abominable calumny! Gillenormand himself was not at all enraged.
He gazed at the brat with the amiable smile of a good man who is flattered by the calumny, and said in an aside: You are finely taken aback, and really, you are excessively ignorant. Virginal, Marquis d'Alluye, brother to the Cardinal de Sourdis, Archbishop of Bordeaux, had, at the age of eighty-three, by the maid of Madame la Presidente Jacquin, a son, a real child of love, who became a Chevalier of Malta and a counsellor of state; one of the great men of this century, the Abbe Tabaraud, is the son of a man of eighty-seven.
There is nothing out of the ordinary in these things. And then, the Bible! Upon that I declare that this little gentleman is none of mine. Let him be taken care of. It is not his fault. The woman, whose name was Magnon, sent him another parcel in the following year.
It was a boy again. He sent the two brats back to their mother, promising to pay eighty francs a month for their maintenance, on the condition that the said mother would not do so any more. I shall go to see them from time to time. He had had a brother who was a priest, and who had been rector of the Academy of Poitiers for three and thirty years, and had died at seventy-nine.
This Page 33 brother, of whom but little memory remains, was a peaceable miser, who, being a priest, thought himself bound to bestow alms on the poor whom he met, but he never gave them anything except bad or demonetized sous, thereby discovering a means of going to hell by way of paradise.
Gillenormand the elder, he never haggled over his alms- giving, but gave gladly and nobly. He was kindly, abrupt, charitable, and if he had been rich, his turn of mind would have been magnificent. He desired that all which concerned him should be done in a grand manner, even his rogueries. One day, having been cheated by a business man in a matter of inheritance, in a gross and apparent manner, he uttered this solemn exclamation: I am really ashamed of this pilfering.
Everything has degenerated in this century, even the rascals. I am robbed as though in a forest, but badly robbed. Silva, sint consule dignae! He took an immense amount of snuff, and had a particularly graceful manner of plucking at his lace ruffle with the back of one hand. He believed very little in God.
Luc-Esprit Gillenormand, who had not lost his hair, -- which was gray rather than white, -- and which was always dressed in "dog's ears. Page 34 He had something of the eighteenth century about him; frivolous and great. In and during the early years of the Restoration, M. Gillenormand, who was still young, -- he was only seventy-four, -- lived in the Faubourg Saint Germain, Rue Servandoni, near Saint-Sulpice.
He had only retired to the Marais when he quitted society, long after attaining the age of eighty. And, on abandoning society, he had immured himself in his habits. The principal one, and that which was invariable, was to keep his door absolutely closed during the day, and never to receive any one whatever except in the evening. He dined at five o'clock, and after that his door was open. That had been the fashion of his century, and he would not swerve from it. Fashionable people only light up their minds when the zenith lights up its stars.
This was the antiquated elegance of his day. They had come into the world ten years apart. In their youth they had borne very little resemblance to each other, either in character or countenance, and had also been as little like sisters to each other as possible. The youngest had a charming soul, which turned towards all that belongs to the light, was occupied with flowers, with verses, with music, which fluttered away into glorious space, enthusiastic, ethereal, and was wedded from her very youth, in ideal, to a vague and heroic figure.
The elder had also her chimera; she espied in the azure some very wealthy purveyor, a contractor, a splendidly stupid husband, a million made man, or even a prefect; the receptions of the Prefecture, an usher in the antechamber with a chain on his neck, official balls, the harangues of the town-hall, to be Page 36 "Madame la Prefete," -- all this had created a whirlwind in her imagination. Thus the two sisters strayed, each in her own dream, at the epoch when they were young girls.
Both had wings, the one like an angel, the other like a goose. No ambition is ever fully realized, here below at least. No paradise becomes terrestrial in our day. The younger wedded the man of her dreams, but she died. The elder did not marry at all. At the moment when she makes her entrance into this history which we are relating, she was an antique virtue, an incombustible prude, with one of the sharpest noses, and one of the most obtuse minds that it is possible to see.
A characteristic detail; outside of her immediate family, no one had ever known her first name. She was called Mademoiselle Gillenormand, the elder.