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Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

Les MisÚrables - Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

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







Now, in order to convey an idea of what passed at that table,
we cannot do better than to transcribe here a passage from one
of Mademoiselle Baptistine's letters to Madame Boischevron,
wherein the conversation between the convict and the Bishop
is described with ingenious minuteness.


". . . This man paid no attention to any one. He ate with the
voracity of a starving man. However, after supper he said:

"`Monsieur le Cure of the good God, all this is far too good for me;
but I must say that the carters who would not allow me to eat with
them keep a better table than you do.'

"Between ourselves, the remark rather shocked me. My brother replied:--

"`They are more fatigued than I.'

"`No,' returned the man, `they have more money. You are poor;
I see that plainly. You cannot be even a curate. Are you really
a cure? Ah, if the good God were but just, you certainly ought
to be a cure!'

"`The good God is more than just,' said my brother.

"A moment later he added:--

"`Monsieur Jean Valjean, is it to Pontarlier that you are going?'

"`With my road marked out for me.'

"I think that is what the man said. Then he went on:--

"`I must be on my way by daybreak to-morrow. Travelling is hard.
If the nights are cold, the days are hot.'

"`You are going to a good country,' said my brother. `During the
Revolution my family was ruined. I took refuge in Franche-Comte
at first, and there I lived for some time by the toil of my hands.
My will was good. I found plenty to occupy me. One has only to choose.
There are paper mills, tanneries, distilleries, oil factories,
watch factories on a large scale, steel mills, copper works,
twenty iron foundries at least, four of which, situated at Lods,
at Chatillon, at Audincourt, and at Beure, are tolerably large.'

"I think I am not mistaken in saying that those are the names which
my brother mentioned. Then he interrupted himself and addressed me:--

"`Have we not some relatives in those parts, my dear sister?'

"I replied,--

"`We did have some; among others, M. de Lucenet, who was captain
of the gates at Pontarlier under the old regime.'

"`Yes,' resumed my brother; `but in '93, one had no longer
any relatives, one had only one's arms. I worked. They have,
in the country of Pontarlier, whither you are going, Monsieur Valjean,
a truly patriarchal and truly charming industry, my sister.
It is their cheese-dairies, which they call fruitieres.'

"Then my brother, while urging the man to eat, explained to him,
with great minuteness, what these fruitieres of Pontarlier were;
that they were divided into two classes: the big barns which belong
to the rich, and where there are forty or fifty cows which produce
from seven to eight thousand cheeses each summer, and the associated
fruitieres, which belong to the poor; these are the peasants of
mid-mountain, who hold their cows in common, and share the proceeds.
`They engage the services of a cheese-maker, whom they call the grurin;
the grurin receives the milk of the associates three times a day,
and marks the quantity on a double tally. It is towards the end
of April that the work of the cheese-dairies begins; it is towards
the middle of June that the cheese-makers drive their cows to
the mountains.'

"The man recovered his animation as he ate. My brother made him
drink that good Mauves wine, which he does not drink himself,
because he says that wine is expensive. My brother imparted all these
details with that easy gayety of his with which you are acquainted,
interspersing his words with graceful attentions to me. He recurred
frequently to that comfortable trade of grurin, as though he wished
the man to understand, without advising him directly and harshly,
that this would afford him a refuge. One thing struck me.
This man was what I have told you. Well, neither during supper,
nor during the entire evening, did my brother utter a single word,
with the exception of a few words about Jesus when he entered,
which could remind the man of what he was, nor of what my brother was.
To all appearances, it was an occasion for preaching him a little sermon,
and of impressing the Bishop on the convict, so that a mark of the
passage might remain behind. This might have appeared to any one else
who had this, unfortunate man in his hands to afford a chance to nourish
his soul as well as his body, and to bestow upon him some reproach,
seasoned with moralizing and advice, or a little commiseration,
with an exhortation to conduct himself better in the future.
My brother did not even ask him from what country he came,
nor what was his history. For in his history there is a fault,
and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could remind him
of it. To such a point did he carry it, that at one time, when my
brother was speaking of the mountaineers of Pontarlier, who exercise
a gentle labor near heaven, and who, he added, are happy because
they are innocent, he stopped short, fearing lest in this remark
there might have escaped him something which might wound the man.
By dint of reflection, I think I have comprehended what was passing
in my brother's heart. He was thinking, no doubt, that this man,
whose name is Jean Valjean, had his misfortune only too vividly
present in his mind; that the best thing was to divert him from it,
and to make him believe, if only momentarily, that he was a person
like any other, by treating him just in his ordinary way. Is not
this indeed, to understand charity well? Is there not, dear Madame,
something truly evangelical in this delicacy which abstains from sermon,
from moralizing, from allusions? and is not the truest pity,
when a man has a sore point, not to touch it at all? It has seemed
to me that this might have been my brother's private thought.
In any case, what I can say is that, if he entertained all these ideas,
he gave no sign of them; from beginning to end, even to me he
was the same as he is every evening, and he supped with this Jean
Valjean with the same air and in the same manner in which he would
have supped with M. Gedeon le Provost, or with the curate of
the parish.

"Towards the end, when he had reached the figs, there came a knock
at the door. It was Mother Gerbaud, with her little one in her arms.
My brother kissed the child on the brow, and borrowed fifteen sous
which I had about me to give to Mother Gerbaud. The man was not paying
much heed to anything then. He was no longer talking, and he seemed
very much fatigued. After poor old Gerbaud had taken her departure,
my brother said grace; then he turned to the man and said to him,
`You must be in great need of your bed.' Madame Magloire cleared
the table very promptly. I understood that we must retire,
in order to allow this traveller to go to sleep, and we both went
up stairs. Nevertheless, I sent Madame Magloire down a moment later,
to carry to the man's bed a goat skin from the Black Forest,
which was in my room. The nights are frigid, and that keeps one warm.
It is a pity that this skin is old; all the hair is falling out.
My brother bought it while he was in Germany, at Tottlingen, near the
sources of the Danube, as well as the little ivory-handled knife
which I use at table.

"Madame Magloire returned immediately. We said our prayers in the
drawing-room, where we hang up the linen, and then we each retired
to our own chambers, without saying a word to each other."




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