Les Miserables

Author: Victor Hugo  | Date: 1862



AFTER the departure of the bandits, the Rue Plumet resumed its quiet night appearance.

What had just taken place in this street would not have astonished a forest. The trees, the copse, the heath, the branches roughly intertangled, the tall grass, have a darkly mysterious existence; this wild multitude sees there sudden apparitions of the invisible; there what is below man distinguishes through the dark what is above man; and there in the night meet things unknown by us living men. Nature, bristling and tawny, is startled at certain approaches in which she seems to feel the supernatural. The forces of the shadow know each other, and have mysterious balancings among themselves. Teeth and claws dread the intangible. Bloodthirsty brutality, voracious and starving appetites in quest of prey, instincts armed with nails and jaws which find in the belly their origin and their object, behold and snuff with anxiety the impassive spectral figure prowling beneath a shroud, standing in its dim shivering robe, and seeming to them to live with a dead and terrible life. These brutalities, which are matter only, confusedly dread having to do with the infinite dark condensed into an unknown being. A black figure barring the passage stops the wild beast short. That which comes from the graveyard intimidates and disconcerts that which comes from the den; the ferocious is afraid of the sinister: wolves recoil before a ghoul.


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Chicago: Victor Hugo, "V," Les Miserables, trans. Charles E. Wilbour Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UHBFED2EX54AR4W.

MLA: Hugo, Victor. "V." Les Miserables, translted by Charles E. Wilbour, Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UHBFED2EX54AR4W.

Harvard: Hugo, V, 'V' in Les Miserables, trans. . Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UHBFED2EX54AR4W.