home | authors | books | about

Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

Les MisÚrables - First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

1. M. Myriel

2. M. Myriel becomes M. Welcome

3. A Hard Bishopric for a Good Bishop

4. Works corresponding to Words

5. Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long

6. Who guarded his House for him

7. Cravatte

8. Philosophy after Drinking

9. The Brother as depicted by the Sister

10. The Bishop in the Presence of an Unknown Light

11. A Restriction

12. The Solitude of Monseigneur Welcome

13. What he believed

14. What he thought

15. The Evening of a Day of Walking

16. Prudence counselled to Wisdom

17. The Heroism of Passive Obedience

18. Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

19. Tranquillity

20. Jean Valjean

21. The Interior of Despair

22. Billows and Shadows

23. New Troubles

24. The Man aroused

25. What he does

26. The Bishop works

27. Little Gervais

28. The Year 1817

29. A Double Quartette

30. Four and Four

31. Tholomyes is so Merry that he sings a Spanish Ditty

32. At Bombardas

33. A Chapter in which they adore Each Other

34. The Wisdom of Tholomyes

35. The Death of a Horse

36. A Merry End to Mirth

37. One Mother meets Another Mother

38. First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

39. The Lark

40. The History of a Progress in Black Glass Trinkets

41. Madeleine

42. Sums deposited with Laffitte

43. M. Madeleine in Mourning

44. Vague Flashes on the Horizon

45. Father Fauchelevent

46. Fauchelevent becomes a Gardener in Paris

47. Madame Victurnien expends Thirty Francs on Morality

48. Madame Victurnien's Success

49. Result of the Success

50. Christus nos Liberavit

51. M. Bamatabois's Inactivity

52. The Solution of Some Questions connected with the Municipal Police

53. The Beginning of Repose

54. How Jean may become Champ

55. Sister Simplice

56. The Perspicacity of Master Scaufflaire

57. A Tempest in a Skull

58. Forms assumed by Suffering during Sleep

59. Hindrances

60. Sister Simplice put to the Proof

61. The Traveller on his Arrival takes Precautions for Departure

62. An Entrance by Favor

63. A Place where Convictions are in Process of Formation

64. The System of Denials

65. Champmathieu more and more Astonished

66. In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

67. Fantine Happy

68. Javert Satisfied

69. Authority reasserts its Rights

70. A Suitable Tomb

71. What is met with on the Way from Nivelles

72. Hougomont

73. The Eighteenth of June, 1815

74. A

75. The Quid Obscurum of Battles

76. Four o'clock in the Afternoon

77. Napoleon in a Good Humor

78. The Emperor puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste

79. The Unexpected

80. The Plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean

81. A Bad Guide to Napoleon; a Good Guide to Bulow

82. The Guard

83. The Catastrophe

84. The Last Square

85. Cambronne

86. Quot Libras in Duce?

87. Is Waterloo to be considered Good?

88. A Recrudescence of Divine Right

89. The Battle-Field at Night

90. Number 24,601 becomes Number 9,430

91. In which the reader will peruse Two Verses which are of the Devil's Composition possibly

92. The Ankle-Chain must have undergone a Certain Preparatory Manipulation to be thus broken with a Blow from a Hammer

93. The Water Question at Montfermeil

94. Two Complete Portraits

95. Men must have Wine, and Horses must have Water

96. Entrance on the Scene of a Doll

97. The Little One All Alone

98. Which possibly proves Boulatruelle's Intelligence

99. Cosette Side by Side with the Stranger in the Dark

100. The Unpleasantness of receiving into One's House a Poor Man who may be a Rich Man

101. Thenardier at his Manoeuvres

102. He who seeks to better himself may render his Situation Worse

103. Number 9,430 reappears, and Cosette wins it in the Lottery

104. Master Gorbeau

105. A Nest for Owl and a Warbler

106. Two Misfortunes Make One Piece of Good Fortune

107. The Remarks of the Principal Tenant

108. A Five-Franc Piece Falls on the Ground and Produces a Tumult

109. The Zigzags of Strategy

110. It Is Lucky That the Pont D'Austerlitz Bears Carriages

111. To Wit, the Plan of Paris in 1727

112. The Gropings of Flight

113. Which Would be Impossible With Gas Lanterns

114. The Beginning of an Enigma

115. Continuation of the Enigma

116. The Enigma Becomes Doubly Mysterious

117. The Man with the Bell

118. Which Explains How Javert Got on the Scent

119. Number 62 Rue Petit-Picpus

120. The Obedience of Martin Verga

121. Austerities

122. Gayeties

123. Distractions

124. The Little Convent

125. Some Silhouettes of this Darkness

126. Post Corda Lapides

127. A Century under a Guimpe

128. Origin of the Perpetual Adoration

129. End of the Petit-Picpus

130. The Convent as an Abstract Idea

131. The Convent as an Historical Fact

132. On What Conditions One can respect the Past

133. The Convent from the Point of View of Principles

134. Prayer

135. The Absolute Goodness of Prayer

136. Precautions to be observed in Blame

137. Faith, Law

138. Which treats of the Manner of entering a Convent

139. Fauchelevent in the Presence of a Difficulty

140. Mother Innocente

141. In which Jean Valjean has quite the Air of having read Austin Castillejo

142. It is not Necessary to be Drunk in order to be Immortal

143. Between Four Planks

144. In which will be found the Origin of the Saying: Don't lose the Card

145. A Successful Interrogatory

146. Cloistered







The mouse which had been caught was a pitiful specimen; but the cat
rejoices even over a lean mouse.

Who were these Thenardiers?

Let us say a word or two of them now. We will complete the sketch
later on.

These beings belonged to that bastard class composed of coarse
people who have been successful, and of intelligent people who have
descended in the scale, which is between the class called "middle"
and the class denominated as "inferior," and which combines some
of the defects of the second with nearly all the vices of the first,
without possessing the generous impulse of the workingman nor
the honest order of the bourgeois.

They were of those dwarfed natures which, if a dull fire chances
to warm them up, easily become monstrous. There was in the woman a
substratum of the brute, and in the man the material for a blackguard.
Both were susceptible, in the highest degree, of the sort of hideous
progress which is accomplished in the direction of evil. There exist
crab-like souls which are continually retreating towards the darkness,
retrograding in life rather than advancing, employing experience
to augment their deformity, growing incessantly worse, and becoming
more and more impregnated with an ever-augmenting blackness.
This man and woman possessed such souls.

Thenardier, in particular, was troublesome for a physiognomist.
One can only look at some men to distrust them; for one feels that
they are dark in both directions. They are uneasy in the rear and
threatening in front. There is something of the unknown about them.
One can no more answer for what they have done than for what they
will do. The shadow which they bear in their glance denounces them.
From merely hearing them utter a word or seeing them make a gesture,
one obtains a glimpse of sombre secrets in their past and of sombre
mysteries in their future.

This Thenardier, if he himself was to be believed, had been a soldier--
a sergeant, he said. He had probably been through the campaign of 1815,
and had even conducted himself with tolerable valor, it would seem.
We shall see later on how much truth there was in this. The sign
of his hostelry was in allusion to one of his feats of arms.
He had painted it himself; for he knew how to do a little of everything,
and badly.

It was at the epoch when the ancient classical romance which, after having
been Clelie, was no longer anything but Lodoiska, still noble, but ever
more and more vulgar, having fallen from Mademoiselle de Scuderi
to Madame Bournon-Malarme, and from Madame de Lafayette to Madame
Barthelemy-Hadot, was setting the loving hearts of the portresses
of Paris aflame, and even ravaging the suburbs to some extent.
Madame Thenardier was just intelligent enough to read this sort of books.
She lived on them. In them she drowned what brains she possessed.
This had given her, when very young, and even a little later, a sort
of pensive attitude towards her husband, a scamp of a certain depth,
a ruffian lettered to the extent of the grammar, coarse and fine at
one and the same time, but, so far as sentimentalism was concerned,
given to the perusal of Pigault-Lebrun, and "in what concerns the sex,"
as he said in his jargon--a downright, unmitigated lout. His wife was
twelve or fifteen years younger than he was. Later on, when her hair,
arranged in a romantically drooping fashion, began to grow gray,
when the Magaera began to be developed from the Pamela, the female
Thenardier was nothing but a coarse, vicious woman, who had dabbled
in stupid romances. Now, one cannot read nonsense with impunity.
The result was that her eldest daughter was named Eponine; as for
the younger, the poor little thing came near being called Gulnare;
I know not to what diversion, effected by a romance of Ducray-Dumenil,
she owed the fact that she merely bore the name of Azelma.

However, we will remark by the way, everything was not ridiculous
and superficial in that curious epoch to which we are alluding,
and which may be designated as the anarchy of baptismal names.
By the side of this romantic element which we have just indicated
there is the social symptom. It is not rare for the neatherd's
boy nowadays to bear the name of Arthur, Alfred, or Alphonse,
and for the vicomte--if there are still any vicomtes--to be called
Thomas, Pierre, or Jacques. This displacement, which places the
"elegant" name on the plebeian and the rustic name on the aristocrat,
is nothing else than an eddy of equality. The irresistible
penetration of the new inspiration is there as everywhere else.
Beneath this apparent discord there is a great and a profound thing,--
the French Revolution.




© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary