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Les MisÚrables - The Unexpected

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







There were three thousand five hundred of them. They formed
a front a quarter of a league in extent. They were giant men,
on colossal horses. There were six and twenty squadrons of them;
and they had behind them to support them Lefebvre-Desnouettes's
division,--the one hundred and six picked gendarmes, the light
cavalry of the Guard, eleven hundred and ninety-seven men,
and the lancers of the guard of eight hundred and eighty lances.
They wore casques without horse-tails, and cuirasses of beaten iron,
with horse-pistols in their holsters, and long sabre-swords. That
morning the whole army had admired them, when, at nine o'clock,
with braying of trumpets and all the music playing "Let us watch
o'er the Safety of the Empire," they had come in a solid column,
with one of their batteries on their flank, another in their centre,
and deployed in two ranks between the roads to Genappe and Frischemont,
and taken up their position for battle in that powerful second line,
so cleverly arranged by Napoleon, which, having on its extreme
left Kellermann's cuirassiers and on its extreme right Milhaud's
cuirassiers, had, so to speak, two wings of iron.

Aide-de-camp Bernard carried them the Emperor's orders. Ney drew
his sword and placed himself at their head. The enormous squadrons
were set in motion.

Then a formidable spectacle was seen.

All their cavalry, with upraised swords, standards and trumpets
flung to the breeze, formed in columns by divisions, descended,
by a simultaneous movement and like one man, with the precision
of a brazen battering-ram which is effecting a breach, the hill
of La Belle Alliance, plunged into the terrible depths in which
so many men had already fallen, disappeared there in the smoke,
then emerging from that shadow, reappeared on the other side of
the valley, still compact and in close ranks, mounting at a full trot,
through a storm of grape-shot which burst upon them, the terrible
muddy slope of the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean. They ascended,
grave, threatening, imperturbable; in the intervals between the
musketry and the artillery, their colossal trampling was audible.
Being two divisions, there were two columns of them; Wathier's division
held the right, Delort's division was on the left. It seemed as
though two immense adders of steel were to be seen crawling towards
the crest of the table-land. It traversed the battle like a prodigy.

Nothing like it had been seen since the taking of the great redoubt
of the Muskowa by the heavy cavalry; Murat was lacking here, but Ney
was again present. It seemed as though that mass had become a monster
and had but one soul. Each column undulated and swelled like the
ring of a polyp. They could be seen through a vast cloud of smoke
which was rent here and there. A confusion of helmets, of cries,
of sabres, a stormy heaving of the cruppers of horses amid the cannons
and the flourish of trumpets, a terrible and disciplined tumult;
over all, the cuirasses like the scales on the hydra.

These narrations seemed to belong to another age. Something parallel
to this vision appeared, no doubt, in the ancient Orphic epics,
which told of the centaurs, the old hippanthropes, those Titans
with human heads and equestrian chests who scaled Olympus at
a gallop, horrible, invulnerable, sublime--gods and beasts.

Odd numerical coincidence,--twenty-six battalions rode to meet
twenty-six battalions. Behind the crest of the plateau, in the
shadow of the masked battery, the English infantry, formed into
thirteen squares, two battalions to the square, in two lines,
with seven in the first line, six in the second, the stocks
of their guns to their shoulders, taking aim at that which was on
the point of appearing, waited, calm, mute, motionless. They did
not see the cuirassiers, and the cuirassiers did not see them.
They listened to the rise of this flood of men. They heard the
swelling noise of three thousand horse, the alternate and symmetrical
tramp of their hoofs at full trot, the jingling of the cuirasses,
the clang of the sabres and a sort of grand and savage breathing.
There ensued a most terrible silence; then, all at once, a long file
of uplifted arms, brandishing sabres, appeared above the crest,
and casques, trumpets, and standards, and three thousand heads with
gray mustaches, shouting, "Vive l'Empereur!" All this cavalry debouched
on the plateau, and it was like the appearance of an earthquake.

All at once, a tragic incident; on the English left, on our right,
the head of the column of cuirassiers reared up with a frightful clamor.
On arriving at the culminating point of the crest, ungovernable,
utterly given over to fury and their course of extermination of the
squares and cannon, the cuirassiers had just caught sight of a trench,--
a trench between them and the English. It was the hollow road of Ohain.

It was a terrible moment. The ravine was there, unexpected, yawning,
directly under the horses' feet, two fathoms deep between its
double slopes; the second file pushed the first into it, and the third
pushed on the second; the horses reared and fell backward, landed on
their haunches, slid down, all four feet in the air, crushing and
overwhelming the riders; and there being no means of retreat,--
the whole column being no longer anything more than a projectile,--
the force which had been acquired to crush the English crushed
the French; the inexorable ravine could only yield when filled;
horses and riders rolled there pell-mell, grinding each other,
forming but one mass of flesh in this gulf: when this trench
was full of living men, the rest marched over them and passed on.
Almost a third of Dubois's brigade fell into that abyss.

This began the loss of the battle.

A local tradition, which evidently exaggerates matters, says that two
thousand horses and fifteen hundred men were buried in the hollow
road of Ohain. This figure probably comprises all the other corpses
which were flung into this ravine the day after the combat.

Let us note in passing that it was Dubois's sorely tried brigade which,
an hour previously, making a charge to one side, had captured
the flag of the Lunenburg battalion.

Napoleon, before giving the order for this charge of Milhaud's
cuirassiers, had scrutinized the ground, but had not been able to see
that hollow road, which did not even form a wrinkle on the surface of
the plateau. Warned, nevertheless, and put on the alert by the little
white chapel which marks its angle of junction with the Nivelles highway,
he had probably put a question as to the possibility of an obstacle,
to the guide Lacoste. The guide had answered No. We might almost affirm
that Napoleon's catastrophe originated in that sign of a peasant's head.

Other fatalities were destined to arise.

Was it possible that Napoleon should have won that battle?
We answer No. Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blucher?
No. Because of God.

Bonaparte victor at Waterloo; that does not come within the law of
the nineteenth century. Another series of facts was in preparation,
in which there was no longer any room for Napoleon. The ill will
of events had declared itself long before.

It was time that this vast man should fall.

The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the balance.
This individual alone counted for more than a universal group.
These plethoras of all human vitality concentrated in a single head;
the world mounting to the brain of one man,--this would be mortal
to civilization were it to last. The moment had arrived for the
incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the
principles and the elements, on which the regular gravitations
of the moral, as of the material, world depend, had complained.
Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears,--
these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from
too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades,
to which the abyss lends an ear.

Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite and his fall had been
decided on.

He embarrassed God.

Waterloo is not a battle; it is a change of front on the part
of the Universe.




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