The Memoirs of Victor Hugo

Author: Victor Hugo


February 23, 1850.

During the session Lamartine came and sat beside me in the place usually occupied by M. Arbey. While talking, he interjected in an undertone sarcastic remarks about the orators in the tribune.

Thiers spoke. "Little scamp," murmured Lamartine.

Then Cavaignac made his appearance. "What do you think about him?" said Lamartine. "For my part, these are my sentiments: He is fortunate, he is brave, he is loyal, he is voluble—and he is stupid."

Cavaignac was followed by Emmanuel Arago. The Assembly was stormy. "This man," commented Lamartine, "has arms too small for the affairs he undertakes. He is given to joining in mêlées and does not know how to get out of them again. The tempest tempts him, and kills him."

A moment later Jules Favre ascended the tribune. "I do not know how they can see a serpent in this man," said Lamartine. "He is a provincial academician."

Laughing the while, he took a sheet of paper from my drawer, asked me for a pen, asked Savatier-Laroche for a pinch of snuff, and wrote a few lines. This done he mounted the tribune and addressed grave and haughty words to M. Thiers, who had been attacking the revolution of February. Then he returned to our bench, shook hands with me while the Left applauded and the Right waxed indignant, and calmly emptied the snuff in Savatier-Laroche’s snuffbox into his own.


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Chicago: Victor Hugo, "Lamartine.," The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, ed. Maurice, Paul and trans. Colbron, Grace Isabel, 1869-1948 in The Memoirs of Victor Hugo (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed August 8, 2022,

MLA: Hugo, Victor. "Lamartine." The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, edited by Maurice, Paul, and translated by Colbron, Grace Isabel, 1869-1948, in The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 8 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: Hugo, V, 'Lamartine.' in The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 8 August 2022, from