home | authors | books | about

Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> Prudence counselled to Wisdom

Les MisÚrables - Prudence counselled to Wisdom

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







That evening, the Bishop of D----, after his promenade through the town,
remained shut up rather late in his room. He was busy over a great
work on Duties, which was never completed, unfortunately. He was
carefully compiling everything that the Fathers and the doctors
have said on this important subject. His book was divided into
two parts: firstly, the duties of all; secondly, the duties
of each individual, according to the class to which he belongs.
The duties of all are the great duties. There are four of these.
Saint Matthew points them out: duties towards God (Matt. vi.);
duties towards one's self (Matt. v. 29, 30); duties towards one's
neighbor (Matt. vii. 12); duties towards animals (Matt. vi.
20, 25). As for the other duties the Bishop found them pointed out
and prescribed elsewhere: to sovereigns and subjects, in the Epistle
to the Romans; to magistrates, to wives, to mothers, to young men,
by Saint Peter; to husbands, fathers, children and servants,
in the Epistle to the Ephesians; to the faithful, in the Epistle
to the Hebrews; to virgins, in the Epistle to the Corinthians.
Out of these precepts he was laboriously constructing a harmonious whole,
which he desired to present to souls.

At eight o'clock he was still at work, writing with a good deal
of inconvenience upon little squares of paper, with a big book open
on his knees, when Madame Magloire entered, according to her wont,
to get the silver-ware from the cupboard near his bed. A moment later,
the Bishop, knowing that the table was set, and that his sister
was probably waiting for him, shut his book, rose from his table,
and entered the dining-room.

The dining-room was an oblong apartment, with a fireplace,
which had a door opening on the street (as we have said),
and a window opening on the garden.

Madame Magloire was, in fact, just putting the last touches
to the table.

As she performed this service, she was conversing
with Mademoiselle Baptistine.

A lamp stood on the table; the table was near the fireplace.
A wood fire was burning there.

One can easily picture to one's self these two women, both of whom
were over sixty years of age. Madame Magloire small, plump, vivacious;
Mademoiselle Baptistine gentle, slender, frail, somewhat taller
than her brother, dressed in a gown of puce-colored silk, of the
fashion of 1806, which she had purchased at that date in Paris,
and which had lasted ever since. To borrow vulgar phrases,
which possess the merit of giving utterance in a single word to an idea
which a whole page would hardly suffice to express, Madame Magloire
had the air of a peasant, and Mademoiselle Baptistine that of a lady.
Madame Magloire wore a white quilted cap, a gold Jeannette cross
on a velvet ribbon upon her neck, the only bit of feminine jewelry
that there was in the house, a very white fichu puffing out from a gown
of coarse black woollen stuff, with large, short sleeves, an apron
of cotton cloth in red and green checks, knotted round the waist
with a green ribbon, with a stomacher of the same attached by two pins
at the upper corners, coarse shoes on her feet, and yellow stockings,
like the women of Marseilles. Mademoiselle Baptistine's gown
was cut on the patterns of 1806, with a short waist, a narrow,
sheath-like skirt, puffed sleeves, with flaps and buttons.
She concealed her gray hair under a frizzed wig known as the baby wig.
Madame Magloire had an intelligent, vivacious, and kindly air;
the two corners of her mouth unequally raised, and her upper lip,
which was larger than the lower, imparted to her a rather crabbed
and imperious look. So long as Monseigneur held his peace,
she talked to him resolutely with a mixture of respect and freedom;
but as soon as Monseigneur began to speak, as we have seen,
she obeyed passively like her mistress. Mademoiselle Baptistine did
not even speak. She confined herself to obeying and pleasing him.
She had never been pretty, even when she was young; she had large,
blue, prominent eyes, and a long arched nose; but her whole visage,
her whole person, breathed forth an ineffable goodness, as we stated
in the beginning. She had always been predestined to gentleness;
but faith, charity, hope, those three virtues which mildly warm the soul,
had gradually elevated that gentleness to sanctity. Nature had made
her a lamb, religion had made her an angel. Poor sainted virgin!
Sweet memory which has vanished!

Mademoiselle Baptistine has so often narrated what passed at
the episcopal residence that evening, that there are many people
now living who still recall the most minute details.

At the moment when the Bishop entered, Madame Magloire was talking
with considerable vivacity. She was haranguing Mademoiselle Baptistine
on a subject which was familiar to her and to which the Bishop was
also accustomed. The question concerned the lock upon the entrance door.

It appears that while procuring some provisions for supper,
Madame Magloire had heard things in divers places. People had spoken
of a prowler of evil appearance; a suspicious vagabond had arrived
who must be somewhere about the town, and those who should take it
into their heads to return home late that night might be subjected
to unpleasant encounters. The police was very badly organized,
moreover, because there was no love lost between the Prefect and
the Mayor, who sought to injure each other by making things happen.
It behooved wise people to play the part of their own police,
and to guard themselves well, and care must be taken to duly close,
bar and barricade their houses, and to fasten the doors well.

Madame Magloire emphasized these last words; but the Bishop had just
come from his room, where it was rather cold. He seated himself
in front of the fire, and warmed himself, and then fell to thinking
of other things. He did not take up the remark dropped with design
by Madame Magloire. She repeated it. Then Mademoiselle Baptistine,
desirous of satisfying Madame Magloire without displeasing her brother,
ventured to say timidly:--

"Did you hear what Madame Magloire is saying, brother?"

"I have heard something of it in a vague way," replied the Bishop.
Then half-turning in his chair, placing his hands on his knees,
and raising towards the old servant woman his cordial face,
which so easily grew joyous, and which was illuminated from below
by the firelight,--"Come, what is the matter? What is the matter?
Are we in any great danger?"

Then Madame Magloire began the whole story afresh, exaggerating it
a little without being aware of the fact. It appeared that
a Bohemian, a bare-footed vagabond, a sort of dangerous mendicant,
was at that moment in the town. He had presented himself at Jacquin
Labarre's to obtain lodgings, but the latter had not been willing
to take him in. He had been seen to arrive by the way of the
boulevard Gassendi and roam about the streets in the gloaming.
A gallows-bird with a terrible face.

"Really!" said the Bishop.

This willingness to interrogate encouraged Madame Magloire;
it seemed to her to indicate that the Bishop was on the point
of becoming alarmed; she pursued triumphantly:--

"Yes, Monseigneur. That is how it is. There will be some sort
of catastrophe in this town to-night. Every one says so. And withal,
the police is so badly regulated" (a useful repetition). "The idea
of living in a mountainous country, and not even having lights
in the streets at night! One goes out. Black as ovens, indeed!
And I say, Monseigneur, and Mademoiselle there says with me--"

"I," interrupted his sister, "say nothing. What my brother does
is well done."

Madame Magloire continued as though there had been no protest:--

"We say that this house is not safe at all; that if Monseigneur
will permit, I will go and tell Paulin Musebois, the locksmith,
to come and replace the ancient locks on the doors; we have them,
and it is only the work of a moment; for I say that nothing is more
terrible than a door which can be opened from the outside with a latch
by the first passer-by; and I say that we need bolts, Monseigneur,
if only for this night; moreover, Monseigneur has the habit of always
saying `come in'; and besides, even in the middle of the night,
O mon Dieu! there is no need to ask permission."

At that moment there came a tolerably violent knock on the door.

"Come in," said the Bishop.




© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary