home | authors | books | about

Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

Les MisÚrables - In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

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 day had begun to dawn. Fantine had passed a sleepless and
feverish night, filled with happy visions; at daybreak she fell asleep.
Sister Simplice, who had been watching with her, availed herself
of this slumber to go and prepare a new potion of chinchona.
The worthy sister had been in the laboratory of the infirmary but
a few moments, bending over her drugs and phials, and scrutinizing
things very closely, on account of the dimness which the half-light
of dawn spreads over all objects. Suddenly she raised her head
and uttered a faint shriek. M. Madeleine stood before her;
he had just entered silently.

"Is it you, Mr. Mayor?" she exclaimed.

He replied in a low voice:--

"How is that poor woman?"

"Not so bad just now; but we have been very uneasy."

She explained to him what had passed: that Fantine had been
very ill the day before, and that she was better now, because she
thought that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil to get her child.
The sister dared not question the mayor; but she perceived plainly
from his air that he had not come from there.

"All that is good," said he; "you were right not to undeceive her."

"Yes," responded the sister; "but now, Mr. Mayor, she will see you
and will not see her child. What shall we say to her?"

He reflected for a moment.

"God will inspire us," said he.

"But we cannot tell a lie," murmured the sister, half aloud.

It was broad daylight in the room. The light fell full
on M. Madeleine's face. The sister chanced to raise her eyes to it.

"Good God, sir!" she exclaimed; "what has happened to you?
Your hair is perfectly white!"

"White!" said he.

Sister Simplice had no mirror. She rummaged in a drawer, and pulled
out the little glass which the doctor of the infirmary used to see
whether a patient was dead and whether he no longer breathed.
M. Madeleine took the mirror, looked at his hair, and said:--

"Well!"

He uttered the word indifferently, and as though his mind were
on something else.

The sister felt chilled by something strange of which she caught
a glimpse in all this.

He inquired:--

"Can I see her?"

"Is not Monsieur le Maire going to have her child brought back to her?"
said the sister, hardly venturing to put the question.

"Of course; but it will take two or three days at least."

"If she were not to see Monsieur le Maire until that time," went on
the sister, timidly, "she would not know that Monsieur le Maire
had returned, and it would be easy to inspire her with patience;
and when the child arrived, she would naturally think Monsieur le
Maire had just come with the child. We should not have to enact
a lie."

M. Madeleine seemed to reflect for a few moments; then he said
with his calm gravity:--

"No, sister, I must see her. I may, perhaps, be in haste."

The nun did not appear to notice this word "perhaps," which communicated
an obscure and singular sense to the words of the mayor's speech.
She replied, lowering her eyes and her voice respectfully:--

"In that case, she is asleep; but Monsieur le Maire may enter."

He made some remarks about a door which shut badly, and the noise of
which might awaken the sick woman; then he entered Fantine's chamber,
approached the bed and drew aside the curtains. She was asleep.
Her breath issued from her breast with that tragic sound which is
peculiar to those maladies, and which breaks the hearts of mothers
when they are watching through the night beside their sleeping
child who is condemned to death. But this painful respiration
hardly troubled a sort of ineffable serenity which overspread
her countenance, and which transfigured her in her sleep.
Her pallor had become whiteness; her cheeks were crimson; her long
golden lashes, the only beauty of her youth and her virginity
which remained to her, palpitated, though they remained closed
and drooping. Her whole person was trembling with an indescribable
unfolding of wings, all ready to open wide and bear her away,
which could be felt as they rustled, though they could not be seen.
To see her thus, one would never have dreamed that she was an invalid
whose life was almost despaired of. She resembled rather something
on the point of soaring away than something on the point of dying.

The branch trembles when a hand approaches it to pluck a flower,
and seems to both withdraw and to offer itself at one and the same time.
The human body has something of this tremor when the instant arrives
in which the mysterious fingers of Death are about to pluck the soul.

M. Madeleine remained for some time motionless beside that bed,
gazing in turn upon the sick woman and the crucifix, as he had done
two months before, on the day when he had come for the first time to see
her in that asylum. They were both still there in the same attitude--
she sleeping, he praying; only now, after the lapse of two months,
her hair was gray and his was white.

The sister had not entered with him. He stood beside the bed,
with his finger on his lips, as though there were some one in the
chamber whom he must enjoin to silence.

She opened her eyes, saw him, and said quietly, with a smile:--

"And Cosette?"




© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary