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Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> Austerities

Les MisÚrables - Austerities

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



One is a postulant for two years at least, often for four; a novice
for four. It is rare that the definitive vows can be pronounced
earlier than the age of twenty-three or twenty-four years.
The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga do not admit widows
to their order.

In their cells, they deliver themselves up to many unknown macerations,
of which they must never speak.

On the day when a novice makes her profession, she is dressed in her
handsomest attire, she is crowned with white roses, her hair is
brushed until it shines, and curled. Then she prostrates herself;
a great black veil is thrown over her, and the office for the dead
is sung. Then the nuns separate into two files; one file passes
close to her, saying in plaintive accents, "Our sister is dead";
and the other file responds in a voice of ecstasy, "Our sister is
alive in Jesus Christ!"

At the epoch when this story takes place, a boarding-school
was attached to the convent--a boarding-school for young girls
of noble and mostly wealthy families, among whom could be remarked
Mademoiselle de Saint-Aulaire and de Belissen, and an English girl
bearing the illustrious Catholic name of Talbot. These young girls,
reared by these nuns between four walls, grew up with a horror
of the world and of the age. One of them said to us one day,
"The sight of the street pavement made me shudder from head to foot."
They were dressed in blue, with a white cap and a Holy Spirit
of silver gilt or of copper on their breast. On certain grand
festival days, particularly Saint Martha's day, they were permitted,
as a high favor and a supreme happiness, to dress themselves
as nuns and to carry out the offices and practice of Saint-Benoit
for a whole day. In the early days the nuns were in the habit
of lending them their black garments. This seemed profane, and the
prioress forbade it. Only the novices were permitted to lend.
It is remarkable that these performances, tolerated and encouraged,
no doubt, in the convent out of a secret spirit of proselytism
and in order to give these children a foretaste of the holy habit,
were a genuine happiness and a real recreation for the scholars.
They simply amused themselves with it. It was new; it gave them
a change. Candid reasons of childhood, which do not, however,
succeed in making us worldlings comprehend the felicity of holding
a holy water sprinkler in one's hand and standing for hours together
singing hard enough for four in front of a reading-desk.

The pupils conformed, with the exception of the austerities,
to all the practices of the convent. There was a certain young
woman who entered the world, and who after many years of married
life had not succeeded in breaking herself of the habit of saying
in great haste whenever any one knocked at her door, "forever!"
Like the nuns, the pupils saw their relatives only in the parlor.
Their very mothers did not obtain permission to embrace them.
The following illustrates to what a degree severity on that point
was carried. One day a young girl received a visit from her mother,
who was accompanied by a little sister three years of age.
The young girl wept, for she wished greatly to embrace her sister.
Impossible. She begged that, at least, the child might be permitted
to pass her little hand through the bars so that she could kiss it.
This was almost indignantly refused.

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