The Memoirs of Victor Hugo

Author: Victor Hugo


Dupin has a style of wit that is peculiar to himself. It is Gaulish, tinged with the wit of a limb of the law and with jovial grossness. When the vote upon the bill against universal suffrage was about to be taken some member of the majority, whose name I have forgotten, went to him and said:

"You are our president, and moreover a great legist. You know more about it than I do. Enlighten me, I am undecided. Is it true that the bill violates the Constitution?"

Dupin appeared to think for a moment and then replied:

"No, it doesn’t violate it, but it lifts its clothes up as high as possible!"

This reminds me of what he said to me the day I spoke upon the Education Bill. Baudin had permitted me to take his turn to speak, and I went up to the presidential chair to notify Dupin.

"Ah! you are going to speak! So much the better!" said he; and pointing to M. Barthélemy Saint Hilaire, who was then occupying the tribune and delivering a long and minute technical speech against the measure, added:

"He is rendering you a service. He is doing the preparatory work. He is turning the bill’s trousers down. This done you will be able to at once—"

He completed the phrase with the expressive gesture which consists of tapping the back of the fingers of the left hand with the fingers of the right hand.


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Chicago: Victor Hugo, "Dupin.," 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 June 4, 2023,

MLA: Hugo, Victor. "Dupin." 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. 4 Jun. 2023.

Harvard: Hugo, V, 'Dupin.' 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 4 June 2023, from