The Beauty of Victor Hugo (Pt. 3)

battle_of_waterloo_copy_2.3mb_1024x683{In this section of the book, Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo, Cosette is saved, and the Thénardiers tell lies.}

And so Fantine was buried in the common grave of the cemetery, which belongs to everybody and to nobody, and in which the poor are lost.  Fortunately, God knows where to find the soul. (p. 299-300)

Old age has no hold on the geniuses of the ideal; for the Dantes and Michelangelos, to grow older is to grow greater; for the Hannibals and Bonapartes, is it to diminish? (p. 310)

Tyranny follows the tyrant.  Woe to the man that leaves behind a shadow that bears his form. (p. 313)

To paint a battle requires those mighty artists with chaos in their brush.  Rembrandt is better than Vandermeulen. Vandermeulen, exact at noon, lies at three o’clock. (p. 315)

The victory was completed by the assassination of the vanquished.  (p. 339)

They are majestic because they think. (p. 344)

It is only barbarous nations that experience sudden growth after victory. (p. 344)

Wellington was the Barrême of war, Napoleon was its Michelangelo, and this time genius was vanquished by calculus.  (p. 345)

The fact is that revolution can not really be conquered, and that being providential and absolutely decreed, it keeps reappearing […]. (p. 349)

If you wish to understand what revolution is, call it Progress; and if you wish to understand what Progress, call it Tomorrow.  Tomorrow performs its work irresistibly, and it does it from today. It always accomplished its aim through unexpected means.  (p. 349)

But what difference does it make to the Infinite? This entire tempest, this vast cloud, this war, then this peace, all of this darkness, do not for one moment the light of that infinite Eye, before which the smallest insect leaping from one blade of grass to another equals the eagle frying from spire to spire among the towers of Norte-Dame.  (p. 352)

Night sometimes lends such tragic assistance to catastrophe.  (p. 352)

[T]he permission to do wrong is part of kindness. (p. 354)

In Montreuil-sur-mer after his disgrace, there was that egoistic partitioning that follows the fall of great men-that fatal carving up of prosperous enterprises, a hidden daily occurrence in human society and one that history has noted only once, and then because it took place after the death of Alexander. (p. 361)

It had been estimated that in salutes, royal and military compliments, exchanges of courteous hubbub, signals of etiquette, roadstead and citadel formalities, rising and setting of the sun saluted daily by all vessels of war, the opening and closing of gates, etc., etc., the civilized world, in every part of the globe, fires off daily one hundred and fifty thousand useless canon shots.  At six francs per shot, that amounts to nine hundred thousand francs a day, or three hundred million a year, gone up in smoke.  This is only one item.  Meanwhile, the poor are dying of hunger.  (p. 366-367)

They fell into the tremendous error of mistaking the obedience of the solider for the acquiescence of the nation.  That fond delusion destroys thrones.  No one can afford to fall asleep in the shade of a poisonous tree or in the shadow of an army. (p. 369)

Whenever immense strength is put forth only to end in immense weakness, it makes men meditate. (p. 370)

Darkness is dizzying.  We need light; whenever we are plunged into the opposite of day we feel our hearts chilled.  When the eye sees darkness, the mind sees trouble. (p. 388)Mon_Mme_Thenardier

Forests are apocalypse; and a tiny soul’s beating wings make an agonizing sound beneath their monstrous vault.  (p.389)

At that moment, only the Eternal Father saw this sad thing.  And undoubtedly her mother, alas!  For there are things that open the eyes of the dead in their grave. (p. 390)

She had entirely forgotten the bread.  She took recourse to the expedient of constantly terrified children.  She lied. (p. 400)

The three little girls did not have twenty-four years between them, and they already represented the whole of human society: on one side envy, on the other scorn. (p. 402)

While she was doing this serious and difficult work, she was talking to her sister in that sweet and charming language of children, whose grace, like the splendor of butterfly wings, escapes when we try to catch it.  (p. 404)

As birds make nests out of anything, children do the same with dolls. (p. 404)

The doll is one of the most imperative needs, and at the same time one of the most charming instincts, of feminine childhood.  To care for, clothe, adorn, dress, undress, dress over again, teach, scold a little, rock, cuddle, put to sleep, pretend that something is somebody- the whole future of the woman is there. (p. 405)

A little girl without a doll is almost as unfortunate and just as impossible as a woman without children. (p. 405)

It’s hard to let go of a mystery once you catch hold of it. (p. 422)

A hundred years is youth to a church, but old age to a private house.  It would seem that Man’s dwelling shares the brevity of his existence and God’s dwelling, His eternity. (p.  430)

Nothing is so stifling as symmetry.  Symmetry is boredom, the quintessence of mourning.  Despair yawns.  There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering-a hell of boredom. (p.  432)

Children instantly accept joy and happiness with quick familiarity, being happy and joyful by nature. (p435)

He approached the bed where she slept and trembled with delight; he felt inwards yearnings, like a mother, and did not know what they were, since the strange and great motion of a heart beginning to love is incomprehensibly sweet.  (p. 436)


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