⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 3:15:40 PM

Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur

Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur describes Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur as an "unhappy soul" and nothing Sexual Identity In Alice Walkers Celie be much Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur accurate. Details if other :. Had she loved too well? Descouvemont, Pierre Does the Hapgood Translation exist in print? I would choose this Why I Choose The Word Monseigneur.

monseigneur - pronunciation (American, British, Australian, Welsh)

It is incorrect; it should be frozenrama. Michonneau came noiselessly in, bowed to the rest of the party, and took her place beside the three women without saying a word. Michonneau to Vautrin. Father Goriot, seated at the lower end of the table, close to the door through which the servant entered, raised his face; he had smelt at a scrap of bread that lay under his table napkin, an old trick acquired in his commercial capacity, that still showed itself at times. The eight responses came like a rolling fire from every part of the room, and the laughter that followed was the more uproarious because poor Father Goriot stared at the others with a puzzled look, like a foreigner trying to catch the meaning of words in a language which he does not understand.

The poor old man thus suddenly attacked was for a moment too bewildered to do anything. Christophe carried off his plate, thinking that he had finished his soup, so that when Goriot had pushed back his cap from his eyes his spoon encountered the table. Every one burst out laughing. So papa was refractory, was he? The old man had forgotten his dinner, he was so absorbed in gazing at the poor girl; the sorrow in her face was unmistakable,—the slighted love of a child whose father would not recognize her. Try your Gall system on him, and let me know what you think. I saw him crush a silver dish last night as if it had been made of wax; there seems to be something extraordinary going on in his mind just now, to judge by his face.

His life is so mysterious that it must be worth studying. I will dissect him, if he will give me the chance. On the way thither he indulged in the wild intoxicating dreams which fill a young head so full of delicious excitement. Young men at his age take no account of obstacles nor of dangers; they see success in every direction; imagination has free play, and turns their lives into a romance; they are saddened or discouraged by the collapse of one of the visionary schemes that have no existence save in their heated fancy.

If youth were not ignorant and timid, civilization would be impossible. Eugene took unheard-of pains to keep himself in a spotless condition, but on his way through the streets he began to think about Mme. He equipped himself with wit, rehearsed repartees in the course of an imaginary conversation, and prepared certain neat speeches a la Talleyrand, conjuring up a series of small events which should prepare the way for the declaration on which he had based his future; and during these musings the law student was bespattered with mud, and by the time he reached the Palais Royal he was obliged to have his boots blacked and his trousers brushed.

At last he reached the Rue du Helder, and asked for the Comtesse de Restaud. He bore the contemptuous glances of the servants, who had seen him cross the court on foot, with the cold fury of a man who knows that he will succeed some day. He understood the meaning of their glances at once, for he had felt his inferiority as soon as he entered the court, where a smart cab was waiting. All the delights of life in Paris seemed to be implied by this visible and manifest sign of luxury and extravagance. A fine horse, in magnificent harness, was pawing the ground, and all at once the law student felt out of humor with himself.

Every compartment in his brain which he had thought to find so full of wit was bolted fast; he grew positively stupid. He sent up his name to the Countess, and waited in the ante-chamber, standing on one foot before a window that looked out upon the court; mechanically he leaned his elbow against the sash, and stared before him. The time seemed long; he would have left the house but for the southern tenacity of purpose which works miracles when it is single-minded.

Rastignac was impressed with a sense of the formidable power of the lackey who can accuse or condemn his masters by a word; he coolly opened the door by which the man had just entered the ante-chamber, meaning, no doubt, to show these insolent flunkeys that he was familiar with the house; but he found that he had thoughtlessly precipitated himself into a small room full of dressers, where lamps were standing, and hot-water pipes, on which towels were being dried; a dark passage and a back staircase lay beyond it.

Stifled laughter from the ante-chamber added to his confusion. Eugene turned so quickly that he stumbled against a bath. By good luck, he managed to keep his hat on his head, and saved it from immersion in the water; but just as he turned, a door opened at the further end of the dark passage, dimly lighted by a small lamp. Rastignac heard voices and the sound of a kiss; one of the speakers was Mme. Eugene followed the servant through the dining-room into the drawing-room; he went to a window that looked out into the courtyard, and stood there for a while. He meant to know whether this Goriot was really the Goriot that he knew.

Tell Madame la Comtesse that I waited more than half an hour for her. Just at that moment Father Goriot appeared close to the gate; he had emerged from a door at the foot of the back staircase. The worthy soul was preparing to open his umbrella regardless of the fact that the great gate had opened to admit a tilbury, in which a young man with a ribbon at his button-hole was seated. Father Goriot had scarcely time to start back and save himself. The horse took fright at the umbrella, swerved, and dashed forward towards the flight of steps. The young man looked round in annoyance, saw Father Goriot, and greeted him as he went out with constrained courtesy, such as people usually show to a money-lender so long as they require his services, or the sort of respect they feel it necessary to show for some one whose reputation has been blown upon, so that they blush to acknowledge his acquaintance.

Father Goriot gave him a little friendly nod and a good-natured smile. All this happened with lightning speed. Maxime, were you going away? The Countess had not seen the incident nor the entrance of the tilbury. Rastignac turned abruptly and saw her standing before him, coquettishly dressed in a loose white cashmere gown with knots of rose-colored ribbon here and there; her hair was carelessly coiled about her head, as is the wont of Parisian women in the morning; there was a soft fragrance about her—doubtless she was fresh from a bath;—her graceful form seemed more flexible, her beauty more luxuriant.

Her eyes glistened. A young man can see everything at a glance; he feels the radiant influence of woman as a plant discerns and absorbs its nutriment from the air; he did not need to touch her hands to feel their cool freshness. The Countess had no need of the adventitious aid of corsets; her girdle defined the outlines of her slender waist; her throat was a challenge to love; her feet, thrust into slippers, were daintily small. Maxime, as the Countess Anastasie had called the young man with the haughty insolence of bearing, looked from Eugene to the lady, and from the lady to Eugene; it was sufficiently evident that he wished to be rid of the latter.

The quick-witted child of the Charente felt the disadvantage at which he was placed beside this tall, slender dandy, with the clear gaze and the pale face, one of those men who would ruin orphan children without scruple. Eugene, in a fury, followed Maxime and the Countess, and the three stood once more face to face by the hearth in the large drawing-room. The law student felt quite sure that the odious Maxime found him in the way, and even at the risk of displeasing Mme. It had struck him all at once that he had seen the young man before at Mme. Rash resolve! He did not know that M. He stopped short. The door opened, and the owner of the tilbury suddenly appeared.

The young provincial did not understand the amenities of a triple alliance. Related to Mme. These words, on which the countess threw ever so slight an emphasis, by reason of the pride that the mistress of a house takes in showing that she only receives people of distinction as visitors in her house, produced a magical effect. Maxime de Trailles himself gave Eugene an uneasy glance, and suddenly dropped his insolent manner.

It was as if a sudden light had pierced the obscurity of this upper world of Paris, and he began to see, though everything was indistinct as yet. They had only one daughter, who married the Marechal de Clarimbault, Mme. The Government during the Revolution refused to admit our claims when the Compagnie des Indes was liquidated. Maxime looked at Mme. We will leave you two gentlemen to sail in company on board the Warwick and the Vengeur. She rose to her feet and signed to Maxime to follow her, mirth and mischief in her whole attitude, and the two went in the direction of the boudoir.

The morganatic couple to use a convenient German expression which has no exact equivalent had reached the door, when the Count interrupted himself in his talk with Eugene. She came back almost immediately. It was Eugene who had brought about this untoward incident; so the Countess looked at Maxime and indicated the law student with an air of exasperation. She followed Maxime into the little drawing-room, where they sat together sufficiently long to feel sure that Rastignac had taken his leave. The law student heard their laughter, and their voices, and the pauses in their talk; he grew malicious, exerted his conversational powers for M.

This Countess with a husband and a lover, for Maxime clearly was her lover, was a mystery. What was the secret tie that bound her to the old tradesman? This mystery he meant to penetrate, hoping by its means to gain a sovereign ascendency over this fair typical Parisian. He will make you a declaration, and compromise you, and then you will compel me to kill him. Of course, I mean to make Restaud furiously jealous of him.

Maxime burst out laughing, and went out, followed by the Countess, who stood at the window to watch him into his carriage; he shook his whip, and made his horse prance. She only returned when the great gate had been closed after him. At the sound of this name, and the prefix that embellished it, the Count, who was stirring the fire, let the tongs fall as though they had burned his fingers, and rose to his feet. He wished the earth would open and swallow him. Eugene made a profound bow and took his leave, followed by M. And now I am going to spoil my hat and coat into the bargain.

I ought to stop in my corner, grind away at law, and never look to be anything but a boorish country magistrate. How can I go into society, when to manage properly you want a lot of cabs, varnished boots, gold watch chains, and all sorts of things; you have to wear white doeskin gloves that cost six francs in the morning, and primrose kid gloves every evening? A fig for that old humbug of a Goriot! This young man of fashion, species incerta, did not know that there were two Hotels Beauseant; he was not aware how rich he was in relations who did not care about him. Goriot has cost me ten francs already, the old scoundrel.

My word! I will tell Mme. Doubtless she will know the secret of the criminal relation between that handsome woman and the old rat without a tail. Let us look higher. If you set yourself to carry the heights of heaven, you must face God. The innumerable thoughts that surged through his brain might be summed up in these phrases. He grew calmer, and recovered something of his assurance as he watched the falling rain. A Swiss, in scarlet and gold, appeared, the great door groaned on its hinges, and Rastignac, with sweet satisfaction, beheld his equipage pass under the archway and stop before the flight of steps beneath the awning. The driver, in a blue-and-red greatcoat, dismounted and let down the step.

As Eugene stepped out of the cab, he heard smothered laughter from the peristyle. Three or four lackeys were making merry over the festal appearance of the vehicle. In another moment the law student was enlightened as to the cause of their hilarity; he felt the full force of the contrast between his equipage and one of the smartest broughams in Paris; a coachman, with powdered hair, seemed to find it difficult to hold a pair of spirited horses, who stood chafing the bit. In Mme. He began to understand, though somewhat tardily, that he must not expect to find many women in Paris who were not already appropriated, and that the capture of one of these queens would be likely to cost something more than bloodshed.

I expect my cousin also has her Maxime. He went up the steps, feeling that he was a blighted being. The glass door was opened for him; the servants were as solemn as jackasses under the curry comb. So far, Eugene had only been in the ballroom on the ground floor of the Hotel Beauseant; the fete had followed so closely on the invitation, that he had not had time to call on his cousin, and had therefore never seen Mme.

He was the more curious, because Mme. At half-past four the Vicomtesse de Beauseant was visible. Five minutes earlier she would not have received her cousin, but Eugene knew nothing of the recognized routine of various houses in Paris. He was conducted up the wide, white-painted, crimson-carpeted staircase, between the gilded balusters and masses of flowering plants, to Mme. He did not know the rumor current about Mme. It was one of those innocent liaisons which possess so much charm for the two thus attached to each other that they find the presence of a third person intolerable.

The Vicomte de Beauseant, therefore, had himself set an example to the rest of the world by respecting, with as good a grace as might be, this morganatic union. As, under the circumstances, Mme. She went to the Bouffons or to the Opera with M. But M. In the whole fashionable world there was but one person who as yet knew nothing of the arrangement, and that was Mme. Some of her friends had hinted at the possibility, and she had laughed at them, believing that envy had prompted those ladies to try to make mischief. And now, though the bans were about to be published, and although the handsome Portuguese had come that day to break the news to the Vicomtesse, he had not found courage as yet to say one word about his treachery.

How was it? Nothing is doubtless more difficult than the notification of an ultimatum of this kind. There are men who feel more at their ease when they stand up before another man who threatens their lives with sword or pistol than in the presence of a woman who, after two hours of lamentations and reproaches, falls into a dead swoon and requires salts. At this moment, therefore, M.

He told himself that in some way or other the news would reach Mme. So when the servant announced M. It was impossible, therefore, that Mme. If, down to the present day, our language has no name for these conversational disasters, it is probably because they are believed to be impossible, the publicity given in Paris to every scandal is so prodigious.

After the awkward incident at Mme. But if Mme. She did not pay the slightest attention to Eugene, who stood there dazzled by the sparkling marvels around him; he began to think that this was some story out of the Arabian Nights made real, and did not know where to hide himself, when the woman before him seemed to be unconscious of his existence. The Vicomtesse had raised the forefinger of her right hand, and gracefully signed to the Marquis to seat himself beside her. The Marquis felt the imperious sway of passion in her gesture; he came back towards her. Eugene watched him, not without a feeling of envy. The demon of luxury gnawed at his heart, greed burned in his veins, his throat was parched with the thirst of gold.

He had a hundred and thirty francs every quarter. His father, mother, brothers, sisters, and aunt did not spend two hundred francs a month among them. This swift comparison between his present condition and the aims he had in view helped to benumb his faculties. When a man once enters on a course of deception, he is compelled to add lie to lie. Eugene ran his fingers through his hair, and constrained himself to bow. He thought that now Mme.

Those words, and the way in which M. The most terrible catastrophes only happen among the heights. The Vicomtesse went to her own room, sat down at a table, and took up a sheet of dainty notepaper. Eugene was beginning to feel very uncomfortable, but at last the Vicomtesse appeared; she spoke to him, and the tremulous tones of her voice vibrated through his heart. Now I am quite at liberty. But is he still free? This evening the marriage shall be broken off, or else But before to-morrow I shall know. He reddened:. I am distantly related to you, and this obscure and remote relationship is even now a perfect godsend to me. You have confused my ideas; I cannot remember the things that I meant to say to you.

I know no one else here in Paris The southern brain was beginning to scheme for the first time. Between Mme. I am a novice, and my blunders will set every one against me, if you do not give me your counsel. I believe that in Paris it is very difficult to meet with a young, beautiful, and wealthy woman of fashion who would be willing to teach me, what you women can explain so well—life. I shall find a M. So I have come to you to ask you to give me a key to a puzzle, to entreat you to tell me what sort of blunder I made this morning. It was believed that the Duchess was desperately in love with M. What should induce M. The Rochefides were only ennobled yesterday. It is very surprising to me that you should know so little about it. Be merciful to him, and let us finish our talk to-morrow.

Everything will be announced to-morrow, you know, and your kind informal communication can be accompanied by official confirmation. The Duchess gave Eugene one of those insolent glances that measure a man from head to foot, and leave him crushed and annihilated. We women never care about anything that no one else will take. Besides, I am confessing my sins, and it would be impossible to kneel in a more charming confessional; you commit your sins in one drawing-room, and receive absolution for them in another. Do you remember, Claire?

The King began to laugh, and made some joke in Latin about flour. People—what was it? And her name is Delphine, is it not? She comes sometimes to the Bouffons, and laughs loudly to attract attention. Why do you take so much interest in people of that kind? One must have been as madly in love as Restaud was, to be infatuated with Mlle. Anastasie and her flour sacks. She is in M. He was still under the spell of youthful beliefs, he had just left home, pure and sacred feelings had been stirred within him, and this was his first day on the battlefield of civilization in Paris. Genuine feeling is so infectious that for a moment the three looked at each other in silence. Is there not a reason for it? Tell me, dear, have you ever really thought what a son-in-law is?

But yesterday our little daughter thought of no one but her mother and father, as we had no thought that was not for her; by to-morrow she will have become a hostile stranger. The tragedy is always going on under our eyes. On the one hand you see a father who has sacrificed himself to his son, and his daughter-in-law shows him the last degree of insolence. I sometimes hear it said that there is nothing dramatic about society in these days; but the Drama of the Son-in-law is appalling, to say nothing of our marriages, which have come to be very poor farces.

He was in the secret of the famous scarcity of grain, and laid the foundation of his fortune in those days by selling flour for ten times its cost. He had as much flour as he wanted. No doubt Noriot shared the plunder with the Committee of Public Salvation, as that sort of person always did. I recollect the steward telling my grandmother that she might live at Grandvilliers in complete security, because her corn was as good as a certificate of civism.

Well, then, this Loriot, who sold corn to those butchers, has never had but one passion, they say—he idolizes his daughters. You can quite understand that so long as Bonaparte was Emperor, the two sons-in-law could manage to put up with the old Ninety-three; but after the restoration of the Bourbons, M. As for me, dear, I believe that love has second-sight: poor Ninety-three; his heart must have bled. He saw that his daughters were ashamed of him, that if they loved their husbands his visits must make mischief.

So he immolated himself. He made the sacrifice because he was a father; he went into voluntary exile. His daughters were satisfied, so he thought that he had done the best thing he could; but it was a family crime, and father and daughters were accomplices. You see this sort of thing everywhere. He would only have been in the way, and bored other people, besides being bored himself. And this that happened between father and daughters may happen to the prettiest woman in Paris and the man she loves the best; if her love grows tiresome, he will go; he will descend to the basest trickery to leave her. It is the same with all love and friendship. Our heart is a treasury; if you pour out all its wealth at once, you are bankrupt.

We show no more mercy to the affection that reveals its utmost extent than we do to another kind of prodigal who has not a penny left. Their father had given them all he had. For twenty years he had given his whole heart to them; then, one day, he gave them all his fortune too. The lemon was squeezed; the girls left the rest in the gutter.

She did not raise her head as she spoke; the words that Mme. If I speak in this way, it is only to show that I am not duped by it. She rose to her feet and kissed Mme. I have never seen such a lovely color in your cheeks before. For several minutes the silence remained unbroken till the law student became almost paralyzed with embarrassment, and was equally afraid to go or stay or speak a word.

Epigrams and sarcasms already! I will defend myself! She raised her head like the great lady that she was, and lightnings flashed from her proud eyes. You are determined to succeed? I will help you. Deeply as I am versed in such learning, there were pages in the book of life that I had not read. Now I know all. The more cold-blooded your calculations, the further you will go. Strike ruthlessly; you will be feared. Men and women for you must be nothing more than post-horses; take a fresh relay, and leave the last to drop by the roadside; in this way you will reach the goal of your ambition. You will be nothing here, you see, unless a woman interests herself in you; and she must be young and wealthy, and a woman of the world.

And if ever you should love, never let your secret escape you! Trust no one until you are very sure of the heart to which you open your heart. Learn to mistrust every one; take every precaution for the sake of the love which does not exist as yet. Restaud comes of a good family, his wife has been received into their circle; she has been presented at court; and her sister, her wealthy sister, Mme. Delphine de Nucingen, the wife of a great capitalist, is consumed with envy, and ready to die of spleen.

There is gulf set between the sisters—indeed, they are sisters no longer—the two women who refuse to acknowledge their father do not acknowledge each other. So Mme. De Marsay cares very little about her. If you will introduce her to me, you will be her darling, her Benjamin; she will idolize you. If, after that, you can love her, do so; if not, make her useful. I will ask her to come once or twice to one of my great crushes, but I will never receive her here in the morning. I will bow to her when I see her, and that will be quite sufficient. Yes, my good friend, you may call at her house twenty times, and every time out of the twenty you will find that she is not at home.

The servants have their orders, and will not admit you. The beautiful Mme. As soon as she singles you out, other women will begin to lose their heads about you, and her enemies and rivals and intimate friends will all try to take you from her. There are women who will fall in love with a man because another woman has chosen him; like the city madams, poor things, who copy our millinery, and hope thereby to acquire our manners. You will have a success, and in Paris success is everything; it is the key of power. If the women credit you with wit and talent, the men will follow suit so long as you do not undeceive them yourself. There will be nothing you may not aspire to; you will go everywhere, and you will find out what the world is—an assemblage of fools and knaves.

But you must be neither the one nor the other. And now, go; leave me. We women also have our battles to fight. This sensation of physical comfort left his mind free to grapple with the thoughts that assailed him. A mortification usually sends a young man of his age into a furious rage; he shakes his fist at society, and vows vengeance when his belief in himself is shaken. I will learn to fence and have some pistol practice, and kill that Maxime of hers! Then the attractive vision suddenly went under an eclipse as he remembered the stately grandeur of the Hotel de Beauseant. As his fancy wandered among these lofty regions in the great world of Paris, innumerable dark thoughts gathered in his heart; his ideas widened, and his conscience grew more elastic.

He saw the world as it is; saw how the rich lived beyond the jurisdiction of law and public opinion, and found in success the ultima ratio mundi. Arrived in the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve, he rushed up to his room for ten francs wherewith to satisfy the demands of the cabman, and went in to dinner. He glanced round the squalid room, saw the eighteen poverty-stricken creatures about to feed like cattle in their stalls, and the sight filled him with loathing. The transition was too sudden, and the contrast was so violent that it could not but act as a powerful stimulant; his ambition developed and grew beyond all social bounds.

On the one hand, he beheld a vision of social life in its most charming and refined forms, of quick-pulsed youth, of fair, impassioned faces invested with all the charm of poetry, framed in a marvelous setting of luxury or art; and, on the other hand, he saw a sombre picture, the miry verge beyond these faces, in which passion was extinct and nothing was left of the drama but the cords and pulleys and bare mechanism. Rastignac determined to open two parallel trenches so as to insure success; he would be a learned doctor of law and a man of fashion. Clearly he was still a child! Those two lines are asymptotes, and will never meet. Vautrin alone spoke. There was a general feeling of gloom and constraint.

Vauquer in a low voice. He determined to profit by Mme. He grew grave. The wide savannas of the world stretched before his eyes; all things lay before him, nothing was his. Dinner came to an end, the others went, and he was left in the dining-room. There he wrote the following letter to his mother:—. He wrote to ask each of his sisters for their savings—would they despoil themselves for him, and keep the sacrifice a secret from the family? To his request he knew that they would not fail to respond gladly, and he added to it an appeal to their delicacy by touching the chord of honor that vibrates so loudly in young and high-strung natures.

Yet when he had written the letters, he could not help feeling misgivings in spite of his youthful ambition; his heart beat fast, and he trembled. He knew the spotless nobleness of the lives buried away in the lonely manor house; he knew what trouble and what joy his request would cause his sisters, and how happy they would be as they talked at the bottom of the orchard of that dear brother of theirs in Paris. Visions rose before his eyes; a sudden strong light revealed his sisters secretly counting over their little store, devising some girlish stratagem by which the money could be sent to him incognito , essaying, for the first time in their lives, a piece of deceit that reached the sublime in its unselfishness.

He felt ashamed of those letters. What power there must be in the petitions put up by such hearts; how pure the fervor that bears their souls to Heaven in prayer! What exquisite joy they would find in self-sacrifice! And this noble affection, these sacrifices made at such terrible cost, were to serve as the ladder by which he meant to climb to Delphine de Nucingen. A few tears, like the last grains of incense flung upon the sacred alter fire of the hearth, fell from his eyes. He walked up and down, and despair mingled with his emotion. Father Goriot saw him through the half-open door. You do well to fear for the Comtesse Anastasie; there is one M.

Maxime de Trailles, who will be her ruin. Father Goriot withdrew, stammering some words, but Eugene failed to catch their meaning. The next morning Rastignac went out to post his letters. Up to the last moment he wavered and doubted, but he ended by flinging them into the box. So says the gambler; so says the great captain; but the three words that have been the salvation of some few, have been the ruin of many more. A few days after this Eugene called at Mme. Three times he tried the experiment, and three times he found her doors closed against him, though he was careful to choose an hour when M.

When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes! View all 71 comments. Shelves: classic , book-to-movies , all-time-favorit. One of the "biggest" book I've ever read, and I remembered Mick Foley's "warning" about a big book. Not only that, but there's no guarantee that you will enjoy it, or that it will have a happy ending.

Kind of like going out with a girl, having to spend time every day with her - with absolutely no guarantee of nailing her in the end. No thanks. Well, I took my chances reading this big book. I made my commitment, I spent One of the "biggest" book I've ever read, and I remembered Mick Foley's "warning" about a big book. I made my commitment, I spent my time everyday with this book about a month and what do I get? Happiness and the joy of reading!

This book really nailed me, I have my happy ending! Woo Hooo! Thank you very much for the "warning" Mister Foley This book is amazing, lengthy in descriptions, compelling storyline and has influenced so many people. Breaks my heart into pieces but somehow put it back together. You want to be a better person after reading this book. View all 57 comments. Aug 07, Aubrey rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Human Beings. Shelves: 1-read-on-hand , r , r-goodreads , reviewed , french , ever-on , translated , cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die , 5-star , books-are-the-best-invention. Let's say that I could choose a single book with the guarantee that every man, woman, and child would read it.

I would not choose my top three favorites, nor would I choose the one whose remnants are permanently inked upon me. I would choose this one. You argue, the length! The time period! The cultural barriers! It's just another long expounding by some old dead white guy whose type has suffocated literature for centuries! Women will be frustrated with poor representation, people who aren't whi Let's say that I could choose a single book with the guarantee that every man, woman, and child would read it. Women will be frustrated with poor representation, people who aren't white will be angered by no representation, and everyone will bored to tears! Alright, I see that. Now, let me explain.

Human rights have not been perfected. They are as much a work in progress now as they were years ago when this book was first published. If you wish to find the book that gives every variation on the theme of humanity its due, it does not exist, and in all likelihood never will. With that in mind, it is this book that I choose, as while Victor Hugo may have been limited by the era he grew up in, he did a damn good job in dreaming beyond it. He wrote what he knew, but he also wrote what he hoped, and together they form a piece of writing that can mean something to everyone, whatever their life consists of.

The book is called 'The Miserables'. I have a feeling that it is the blatant despair that this title provokes that has dissuaded publishers from rendering it into English, instead keeping it in that slightly prettier to the ear French form. It can even be shortened to that chic and oh so clever 'Les Mis', as is the norm whenever the play is discussed. In that light, when you say that truncated phrase it brings to mind not the triumphant book in its majestic entirety, but the abridged version, or perhaps the even more abridged play.

You think of the story, but you do not think of the author's ideas, ones that he devotes full chapters to and are just as important to this tome as the characters he has sent running through it. And this is a tragedy. Is tragedy too harsh a word? I don't think so. The book itself is one where tragedy heavily outweighs every other emotional aspect, and reducing it to a pittance of itself is flat out disgraceful. There are also the more subtle restrictions on the human spirit, propagated by a firmness of belief that slowly stagnates into constricting bigotry, where humans substitute bias for their reality and confine themselves to a small and mean existence. These confines are more difficult to escape from than the strongest chains, which may bend and break under pressure, whereas prejudices will turn in on themselves and feed on the opposition.

It is these barriers that build the barricades, it is these walls that let slip the dogs of war, it is these restrictions that make someone relish petty glories gained in the downfall of their fellow human beings. Where a difference of opinion exists, there will be conflict, and Victor Hugo was intimately familiar with the facets of this violent mechanism. He did not want this for the world.

More specifically, he did not want this for his France, his Paris, his creative beacon that teems with contagious culture and ridiculous fashions to this very day, one that can be silly but is often so very, very brave. Like Gavroche the gamin, it thumbs its nose at the world and thinks it slow and stupid, but all the same it loves its fellow human beings, and lives for the times when it can lead them, striding forward towards that thing called Progress.

Victor Hugo loved the concept of Progress, and he wished that everyone would love it as well. In his words: Go on, philosophers—teach, enlighten, kindle, think aloud, speak up, run joyfully toward broad daylight, fraternize in the public squares, announce the glad tidings, lavish your alphabets, proclaim human rights, sing your Marseillaises, sow enthusiasms, tear off green branches from the oak trees. Make thought a whirlwind.

He sent his characters off with this dream of Progress, of finding a life for themselves, of living in a world that bettered itself by the passing day, where the future was not dreary but vibrant and brimming with unlimited potential. Many of them do not succeed. Many fall by the wayside, desiccated by sickness, shot down in wars, slain by grief and the resignation that life is not so much better than death.

Some survive in miserable conditions, as restricted by their morality as by a chain around their neck. Some survive only by having stripped their morality as easily as a snake sheds its skin, and in the conditions, who can blame them? The weight of society squeezes the supports, and one is so much lighter and flexible without cumbersome thoughts of being good and kind. In all this sadness and life cut short by miserable conditions long before its time, there is still hope. Victor Hugo illustrated this in his diverging sections as thoroughly as he did in his main story, as hard as that may be to believe. It is true, though. For example, his section on the Battle of Waterloo seems no more than an endless list of casualties, pages of warfare and tactics, and death, so much death.

But at the very end, he points out it is not this battle that we remember in so much detail, nor any that came before it. We remember literature. And what of the other sections? There are many, but two that are particularly powerful in their own subtle ways are the sections on argot and the sewers. Argot is the language of criminals disguising their speech from the ignorant and the all too interested. It is an ever-changing labyrinth of slang, idioms, innuendos, wordplay that whips itself into more contorted evolutions in its effort to escape the law. If this kind of creativity runs rampant on the street, how would it fare if given a warm place to sleep, three meals a day, and a chance to improve its station in life? And the sewers. When first described, they are dirty, desperate, despicable things that do nothing but spread filth and disease and provide a home for the equally depraved.

In his time, they were clean and meticulous in their function, as well designed as the streets above and ten times as useful. If humans can so improve the lot of that out of sight contraption that carries their shit, imagine what they could do with the parts of life that are meant for open viewing and enjoyment. One last mention. Reading his sentences brings to mind a dance, an endless waltz, to a symphony that builds and builds to a final crescendo, for Hugo is very good at taking his countless paragraphs and using them to reach a final glorious message. He could have said it plainly, but it would not have been nearly as powerful without all the exposition; just as his point about the memory of Byron outliving the memory of Waterloo would not have been nearly as striking had he not gone through the motions of describing every minute detail of that terrible battle.

To bring the reader to his level of understanding and to make them feel as much as he does about these things, the prose is essential. And frankly, I have yet to come across another author that is as joyous to read as he is, for even while he is going on and on about useless trivia from a time long past, his enthusiasm is contagious. He loved what he wrote about, and he wanted you to love it too, progressing sentences growing more and more triumphant much like the Progress he wished for mankind. An ideal where all, I repeat, all are allowed to flourish and grow, developing their own ideas while more importantly learning to accept those of others, where a stretch of one's limb doesn't require the injury or confinement of another's.

So, read the full version, if you can. I cannot agree more. And lastly, for the tl;dr'ers, a summary for what I have said above, which rests within the very first pages of the book: So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century—the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.

View all 59 comments. In the English-speaking world, the novel is usually referred to by its original French title. Beginning in and culminating in the June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. View all 5 comments. View 2 comments. I'm in the minority unfortunately.

I thought the book was okay. Oh and even though Jean's name will be changed in the book, I'm sticking with Jean so I won't get all messed up! And some I haven't. Come to think of it, I have read books that aren't classic and never understood them and still loved them. I'm strange, I know. I was so worried I wouldn't get it enough to like it and uh, it's one of my favorite books to date!

Les Mis has given me some trouble during the first of the book. I have felt like I'm not going to like it too much and then there would be parts that I just loved. So we shall see when I finish it awhile from now. I really liked M. Myriel, he was a very nice man. I mean just because he's a man of the cloth doesn't mean he will be nice but he was and I loved him. It was sad when he died. Jean Valjean was a prisoner of 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to try to feed his sister and her seven children. They don't care if people or kids starve to death and going to jail for 19 years.

Jean only heard of news one time of his sister and the youngest child working and going to school. No one knows what became of the rest of the children. After the 19 years Jean was let out on parole. He couldn't find a place to take him in for the night and feed him. He had money but they didn't want a criminal in their inns. But he came upon M. Myriel who was a Bishop at the church. In turn, Jean stole away in the night with the silverware. But being the kind man M. Myriel was he didn't press charges when the coppers dragged Jean back. He did tell something to Jean that made him change his ways. The bishop approached him and said, in a low voice. Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of any such promise, stood dumbfounded.

The bishop had stressed these words as he spoke them. He continued, solemnly, "Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul I am buying from you. I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God! Next is the story of Fantine. This broke my heart! Fantine and some of her so called friends had suitors and they all thought they were going to be together and get married, all of the wonderful things. But it was not so. The men left the woman with nothing. Fantine was left with child and her so called friends all went separate ways. Fantine had to leave little Cosette at a home until she got enough money to get her.

The home was a fake and they were rude and horrible people. Fantine sent them money to keep Cosette. Year after year she sent money. She worked for Jean who had a different name and owned a business. Sadly for Fantine she was fired because of some jerk workers and Jean never knew about it. Fantine was forced to sale her hair, some of her teeth and become a whore so Cosette would be okay. One day Fantine was taken to jail for scratching a jerk man. Jean found her there and took her to the hospital. He saved her from being put in prison, but unfortunately she had a disease and would not live. He made a promise to find Cosette.

It was so very sad that she had to live the life she did and never see her daughter ever again. She was thrown away Jean found Cosette carrying a heavy water bucket and asked her many questions. He found out she was the girl she promised Fantine he would take care of, her daughter. Jean watched how the couple were treating Cosette because he was staying at their Inn.

He as livid and so was I at the way Cosette was treated. Jean told them he was taking her away with him, paid them money overcharged for his stay there. Oh, and I loved when he went out and bought her a most expensive doll for her alone because only the owners two daughters got toys to play with, it was so bitter sweet. They stayed on the run for a time. Jean was always on the run on and off as he's always wanted. He can never shake that freaking, Javert. Jean and Cosette ending up staying with a man Jean had saved awhile back. Jean worked in the little garden. Jean, who had lost all thoughts of loving anything when he was in prison. He was a hard man with no love, no anything. But then he felt a spark that grew and grew for Cosette, his daughter, for that's what she became.

So sweet. His whole heart melted in gratitude and he loved more and more. Several years went by like this. Cosette was growing up. Unfortunately, I'm not liking this book as much as I would have hoped. I love the parts with Jean and Cosette and hope that there will be more and I will at least love it just enough. A revolution. Javert still on Jean's trail. The marriage of Cosette and Marius. And the deaths of Javert and Jean. The book did bring some tears to my eyes.

It was really sweet with Cosette and Marius. They were made for each other. Even though Jean wasn't too happy about it, he did save Marius in the end so he would live for Cosette. Javert finally gave up. Jean had saved him from death and Javert threatened once again to kill him, but alas it was his own life he took. He was just tired Jean was on his deathbed when Cosette and Marius found him. He was so happy to see his daughter and Marius.

Jean had an angel watching over him and he went peacefully. Jean, you were a most wonderful man! The night was starless and very dark. Without any doubt, in the gloom, some mighty angel was standing, with outstretched wings, waiting for the soul. Feb 16, Fabian rated it really liked it. THAT work of art exudes all beauty and majesty in one continuous song that unites the characters through time; ultimately giving us a true theme, or feeling of genuine victory over adversity. This is the longest novel I have ever read probably Don Quixote, which took me an entire month to read, is the closest second. What is the purpose of so many compilation of details to make a heap of facts that, quite frankly, fail to make either a juicy romance or gory history.

It's infuriating because it takes up so much of your time. And, bottom line, the characters, even Jean Valjean the lament-filled hero who feels guilt palpably like the feel of the guillotine, is a beacon that illuminates but also dis-illusions. It is basic Law to read this, so I did. It has not aged well, dudes, fur reels. Like some expensive wine that got rancid. A French one. View all 21 comments. Jun 25, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , books-to-read-before-you-die.

What makes a favourite book? His fight became my cause. The story line of Javert, whose fanatic sense of justice reminds me of later Communist anti-human radicalism, was what made Jean Valjean interesting as a character, rather than his own personality. Would he be caught or not? Ever since I first read the novel during my adolescence, it has accompanied me on my adventures. Gavroche comes to my mind whenever I read about neglected children in the big cities of the world, and now that my own children read the story, and play the soundtrack of the Musical on the piano and sing along with all the pathos they remember from seeing it performed at Broadway in New York, I feel the old shiver down my spine, and I know that one of the sources of my energy as a mother and teacher is to be found in the early feeling of indignation and tenderness towards a child that deserved a better life than he got.

He deserved a future. I still believe in that simple idealist dream: each child deserves a future. It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums There is a life about to start When tomorrow comes! View all 41 comments. Jan 17, Michael rated it it was amazing. This will be another review-as-I-go! First, a thank you to Rachel for recommending the Fahnestock and MacAfee translation, which is wonderful so far! Next, a question: Why have I been so drawn lately to these 1, page 19th century behemoths? Am I just a glutton for punishment? Or just showing off? I hope not. When I think about it, I think it has to do with the moral scope and depth of the work and the way these books rea This will be another review-as-I-go!

When I think about it, I think it has to do with the moral scope and depth of the work and the way these books really wear their morality on their sleeves. They're complex, yes, but they're not hiding their morality behind some veneer of "show, don't tell. So here I have it. Hugo certainly takes his time setting up the main action, with a long introductory section on the Bishop Myriel before we get to the main character, Jean Valjean. But for some reason it works, so that by the time Valjean arrives on the scene, we have a sense of the place he comes to and the reactions he'll face.

Even then, Myriel stands apart from the others in his generosity and kindness, such that the other characters don't even comprehend his attitude. Which of course says as much about contemporary attitudes toward ex-convicts as it does about Myriel himself. Then the scene shifts, and we're treated to a lighthearted section of youthful fun, but there's a dark undercurrent here too--the illegitimate child born to Fantine, the child named Cosette, who's given up to another family while Fantine finds work and who soon transforms from a happy toddler to a bedraggled house servant. Oh, the heartbreak and misery we experience when she's described sweeping the sidewalk in the cold, dressed only in rags.

The scene then shifts to follow Fantine, and we see her gradual decline as she tried ever more desperately to raise money to send the family housing her daughter. Eventually she sells her two front teeth and becomes a "woman of the streets," which is where she has a run-in with the police officer Javert--a character reminiscent of Angelo from Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, a stern agent of the law whose facade of righteousness conceals much. Luckily for Fantine, the mayor intercedes on her behalf. Then the two parts of the story so far--that of Valjean and that of Fantine--come together, when it's revealed that the mayor is himself Valjean, years later. Oh, the plot thickens, because Javert was an officer who knew and tried to find Valjean years ago, and suddenly declares to the mayor that Valjean was found in the distant town of Arras and will be tried.

What does Valjean do? Continue to conceal his identity so that he may do more good, knowing that someone else will suffer in his place? Or declare himself and lose everything? It's quite a magnificent dramatic moment. And the drama really picks up pace when Valjean rides to Arras to the trial. Will he get there on time? And then there he is, in the courtroom: will he reveal himself? And when he does: will he be arrested right away? How can he escape? It's pure melodrama, in a way, yet fused to the deep moral quandary in the character that makes it irresistible. One of the techniques I see Hugo employing is to switch storylines suddenly, leaving the reader with no idea how they relate, until at the very end of the storyline, he reveals it: Aha!

When Valjean is on his way to Cosette, Hugo makes a huge detour into the history of Waterloo and Napoleon's downfall, and you wonder for pages and pages what this has to do with the story, and then at the very end, we see that one of the haggard men stealing from corpses is the father of the family keeping Cosette, and that another officer, who thinks the haggard man has saved him, declares himself in his debt. You can feel Hugo in those lines lowering the boom for more drama to come. Hugo is really setting things up now. We get Valjean and Cosette finally ensconced in Paris, and then the scene shifts to examine a new character, Marius, the son of Pontmercy who thought the father of the family keeping Cosette saved him.

Again, you can see the giant cogs in motion, setting up the eventual collision between all these forces. Just an awesome array of characters and plot points, and I can't wait to see how it's going to come together! Not surprisingly, Marius and Cosette grow up and grow fond of each other through random meetings in Paris. If I had one critique of this book, it's that so much depends on these random meetings of the characters. They keep bumping into each other, as if there were only a few people in the city. But this is a minor critique, and the randomness might even be intentional, making the point that much of life is similarly guided by chance encounters.

Now the political scene intervenes: the uprising. One of the saddest characters in the book is Epinone, the daughter of the horrible innkeeper, who acts more than once to keep Marius out of danger. She's clearly in love with him, but she's been so deformed by poverty and the demands of her harsh parents that she feels unable to express that. Anyway, the uprising is where she performs her ultimate act of bravery and self-sacrifice, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. I can't really do the ending any justice through summary. Let me just say that Hugo brings this entire monumental project together masterfully. If Modernism is defined by ironic detachment, this is the ultimate pre-modern work. It's earnest, political, passionate, encyclopedic, and moralistic in the very best sense.

Hugo clearly has a point he's trying to make about human goodness, and I deeply appreciate the project. To say it's moved me is a terrific understatement. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and its characters since finishing reading a couple of days ago. This is an epic and almost mythical work, and it stands as one of the best novels I've read. View all 51 comments. This is the longest book I've ever read one might call it a beast and it is without a shadow of a doubt, the best book I've ever been privileged enough to read.

Looking back, Therese would see the move to Les Buissonnets as the beginning of the "second period of my life, the most painful of the three: it extends from the age of four-and-a-half to fourteen, the time when I rediscovered my childhood character, and entered into the serious side of life". Therese was taught at home until she was eight and a half, and then entered the school kept by the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of Notre Dame du Pre in Lisieux. Therese, taught well and carefully by Marie and Pauline, found herself at the top of the class, except for writing and arithmetic. However, because of her young age and high grades, she was bullied. The one who bullied her the most was a girl of fourteen who did poorly at school. Therese suffered very much as a result of her sensitivity, and she cried in silence.

Furthermore, the boisterous games at recreation were not to her taste. She preferred to tell stories or look after the little ones in the infants class. The two girls would play at being anchorites , as the great Teresa had once played with her brother. And every evening she plunged into the family circle. I used to jump on Father's knee and tell him what marks I had, and when he kissed me all my troubles were forgotten… I needed this sort of encouragement so much. Going to school became more and more difficult. When she was nine years old, in October , her sister Pauline, who had acted as a "second mother" to her, entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux. Therese was devastated. She understood that Pauline was cloistered and that she would never come back.

She also wanted to join the Carmelites, but was told she was too young. Yet Therese so impressed Mother Marie Gonzague, the prioress at the time of Pauline's entry to the community that she wrote to comfort her, calling Therese "my future little daughter". At this time, Therese was often sick. She began to suffer from nervous tremors. Assuming that she was cold, the family covered Therese with blankets, but the tremors continued. She clenched her teeth and could not speak. The family called Dr.

Notta, who could make no diagnosis. Gayral diagnosed that Therese "reacts to an emotional frustration with a neurotic attack". Alarmed, but cloistered, Pauline began to write letters to Therese and attempted various strategies to intervene. Eventually Therese recovered after she had turned to gaze at the statue of the Virgin Mary placed in Marie's room, where Therese had been moved. How happy I am. Self-doubt made her begin to question what had happened. In October , her oldest sister, Marie, entered the same Carmelite monastery, adding to Therese's grief. The warm atmosphere at Les Buissonnets , so necessary to her, was disappearing.

Therese also suffered from scruples , a condition experienced by other saints such as Alphonsus Liguori , also a Doctor of the Church , and Ignatius Loyola , the founder of the Jesuits. She wrote: "One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible". Christmas Eve of was a turning point in the life of Therese; she called it her "complete conversion. Fortunately this will be the last year! Then, suddenly, Therese pulled herself together and wiped her tears. She ran down the stairs, knelt by the fireplace and unwrapped her surprises as jubilantly as ever. In her account, nine years later, of "In an instant Jesus, content with my good will, accomplished the work I had not been able to do in ten years.

She discovered the joy in self-forgetfulness and added, "I felt, in a word, charity enter my heart, the need to forget myself to make others happy — Since this blessed night I was not defeated in any battle, but instead I went from victory to victory and began, so to speak, "to run a giant's course". Psalms It cannot be coerced, and yet it can be received only by the patiently prepared heart". Grace, alchemy, masochism : through whatever lens we view her transport, Therese's night of illumination presented both its power and its danger. It would guide her steps between the mortal and the divine, between living and dying, destruction and apotheosis. It would take her exactly where she intended to go". Therese's character and the early experiences that shaped her have been the subject of analysis, particularly in recent years.

Apart from the family doctor who observed her in the 19th century, all other conclusions are inevitably speculative. Some authors suggest that Therese had a strongly neurotic aspect to her personality for most of her life. Before she was fourteen, when she started to experience a period of calm, Therese started to read The Imitation of Christ. She read the Imitation intently, as if the author traced each sentence for her: "The Kingdom of God is within you… Turn thee with thy whole heart unto the Lord; and forsake this wretched world: and thy soul shall find rest.

In May , Therese approached her year-old father Louis, who was recovering from a small stroke, while he sat in the garden one Sunday afternoon and told him that she wanted to celebrate the anniversary of "her conversion" by entering Carmel before Christmas. To Therese, the flower seemed a symbol of herself, "destined to live in another soil". Therese renewed her attempts to join the Carmel, but the priest-superior of the monastery would not allow it on account of her youth. During the summer, French newspapers were filled with the story of Henri Pranzini , convicted of the brutal murder of two women and a child.

To the outraged public Pranzini represented all that threatened the decent way of life in France. In July and August Therese prayed hard for the conversion of Pranzini, so his soul could be saved, yet Pranzini showed no remorse. At the end of August, the newspapers reported that just as Pranzini's neck was placed on the guillotine, he had grabbed a crucifix and kissed it three times. Therese was ecstatic and believed that her prayers had saved him. She continued to pray for Pranzini after his death. The Pope said: "Well, my child, do what the superiors decide… You will enter if it is God's Will" and he blessed Therese.

She refused to leave his feet, and the Noble Guard had to carry her out of the room. The pilgrimage of nearly a month was timely. During it she "learnt more than in many years of study". For the first and last time in her life, she left her native Normandy. Notably she "who only knew priests in the exercise of their ministry was in their company, heard their conversations, not always edifying — and saw their shortcomings for herself". She had understood that she had to pray and give her life for sinners like Pranzini.

But Carmel prayed especially for priests and this had surprised her since their souls seemed to her to be "as pure as crystal". A month spent with many priests taught her that they are "weak and feeble men". She wrote later: "I met many saintly priests that month, but I also found that in spite of being above angels by their supreme dignity, they were none the less men and still subject to human weakness.

If the holy priests, 'the salt of the earth', as Jesus calls them in the Gospel, have to be prayed for, what about the lukewarm? Again, as Jesus says, 'If the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Now she had her first and only experiences. We are no stronger than the others". On 9 April she became a Carmelite postulant. In two nuns from the Poitiers Carmel had been sent out to found the house of Lisieux.

Almost all of the sisters came from the petty bourgeois and artisan class. The Prioress and Novice Mistress were of old Normandy nobility. Probably the Martin sisters alone represented the new class of the rising bourgeoisie". The nuns of Lisieux followed a strict regimen that allowed for only one meal a day for seven months of the year, and little free time. Only one room of the building was heated. The times of silence and of solitude were many but the foundress had also planned for time for work and relaxation in common — the austerity of the life should not hinder sisterly and joyful relations. Founded in , the Carmel of Lisieux in had 26 religious, from very different classes and backgrounds.

When Therese entered the convent Mother Marie was 54, a woman of changeable humour, jealous of her authority, used sometimes in a capricious manner; this had for effect, a certain laxity in the observance of established rules. Therese's time as a postulant began with her welcome into the Carmel, Monday, 9 April This peace has remained with me during the eight and a half years of my life here, and has never left me even amid the greatest trials". From her childhood, Therese had dreamed of the desert to which God would some day lead her. Now she had entered that desert. Though she was now reunited with Marie and Pauline, from the first day she began her struggle to win and keep her distance from her sisters.

Right at the start Marie de Gonzague, the prioress, had turned the postulant Therese over to her eldest sister Marie, who was to teach her to follow the Divine Office. Later she appointed Therese assistant to Pauline in the refectory. And when her cousin Marie Guerin also entered, she employed the two together in the sacristy. Therese adhered strictly to the rule which forbade all superfluous talk during work. She saw her sisters together only in the hours of common recreation after meals. At such times she would sit down beside whomever she happened to be near, or beside a nun whom she had observed to be downcast, disregarding the tacit and sometimes expressed sensitivity and even jealousy of her biological sisters.

Although the novice mistress, Sister Marie of the Angels, found Therese slow, the young postulant adapted well to her new environment. She wrote, "Illusions, the Good Lord gave me the grace to have none on entering Carmel. I found religious life as I had figured, no sacrifice astonished me. She chose a spiritual director, a Jesuit , Father Pichon. At their first meeting, 28 May , she made a general confession going back over all her past sins. She came away from it profoundly relieved. The priest who had himself suffered from scruples , understood her and reassured her. On 4 July , she confided to Pauline, 'Father Pichon treated me too much like a child; nonetheless he did me a lot of good too by saying that I never committed a mortal sin.

Sister St Vincent de Paul, the finest embroiderer in the community made her feel awkward and even called her 'the big nanny goat'. Therese was in fact the tallest in the family, 1. Pauline, the shortest, was no more than 1. Like all religious she discovered the ups and downs related to differences in temperament, character, problems of sensitivities or infirmities. After nine years she wrote plainly, "the lack of judgment, education, the touchiness of some characters, all these things do not make life very pleasant. I know very well that these moral weaknesses are chronic, that there is no hope of cure". But the greatest suffering came from outside Carmel.

On 23 June , Louis Martin disappeared from his home and was found days later, in the post office in Le Havre. The incident marked the onset of her father's decline. He died on July 29, The end of Therese's time as a postulant arrived on the January 10, , with her taking of the habit. From that time she wore the 'rough homespun and brown scapular , white wimple and veil, leather belt with rosary , woollen 'stockings', rope sandals". In this period Therese deepened the sense of her vocation; to lead a hidden life, to pray and offer her suffering for priests, to forget herself, to increase discreet acts of charity.

She wrote, "I applied myself especially to practice little virtues, not having the facility to perform great ones … In her letters from this period of her novitiate, Therese returned over and over to the theme of littleness, referring to herself as a grain of sand, an image she borrowed from Pauline… 'Always littler, lighter, in order to be lifted more easily by the breeze of love'. She absorbed the work of John of the Cross , spiritual reading uncommon at the time, especially for such a young nun.

John of the Cross! When I was seventeen and eighteen, I had no other spiritual nourishment…" She felt a kinship with this classic writer of the Carmelite Order though nothing seems to have drawn her to the writing of Teresa of Avila , and with enthusiasm she read his works, The Ascent of Mount Carmel , the Way of Purification , the Spiritual Canticle , the Living Flame of Love. Passages from these writings are woven into everything she herself said and wrote. With the new name a Carmelite receives when she enters the Order, there is always an epithet — example, Teresa of Jesus, Elizabeth of the Trinity , Anne of the Angels.

The epithet singles out the Mystery which she is supposed to contemplate with special devotion. In itself, veneration of the childhood of Jesus was a Carmelite heritage of the seventeenth century — it concentrated upon the staggering humiliation of divine majesty in assuming the shape of extreme weakness and helplessness. Yet when she received the veil, Therese herself asked Mother Marie de Gonzague to confer upon her the second name of the Holy Face. During the course of her novitiate, contemplation of the Holy Face was said to have nourished her inner life.

This is an image representing the disfigured face of Jesus during the Passion. She meditated on certain passages from the prophet Isaiah Chapter Six weeks before her death she remarked to Pauline, "The words in Isaiah: 'no stateliness here, no majesty, no beauty, … one despised, left out of all human reckoning; How should we take any account of him, a man so despised Is —3 — these words were the basis of my whole worship of the Holy Face. I, too, wanted to be without comeliness and beauty, unknown to all creatures.

Usually the novitiate preceding profession lasted a year. Sister Therese hoped to make her final commitment on or after 11 January but, considered still too young for a final commitment, her profession was postponed. She would spend eight months longer than the standard year as an unprofessed novice. It was not until 8 September , aged 17 and a half, that she made her religious profession. The retreat in anticipation of her "irrevocable promises" was characterized by "absolute aridity" and on the eve of her profession she gave way to panic. She worried that "What she wanted was beyond her.

Her vocation was a sham". Reassured by the novice mistress and mother Marie de Gonzague, the next day her religious profession went ahead, 'an outpouring of peace flooded my soul, "that peace which surpasseth all understanding" Phil. Let nobody be occupied with me, let me be looked upon as one to be trampled underfoot … may Your will be done in me perfectly… Jesus, allow me to save very many souls; let no soul be lost today; let all the souls in purgatory be saved…" On September 24, the public ceremony followed filled with 'sadness and bitterness'. The years which followed were a maturation. Therese prayed without great sensitive emotions, she increased the small acts of charity and care for others, doing small services.

She accepted criticism in silence, even unjust criticisms, and smiled at the sisters who were unpleasant to her. She always prayed for priests, and in particular for Father Hyacinthe Loyson , a famous preacher who had been a Sulpician and a Dominican novice before becoming a Carmelite and provincial of his order, but who had left the Catholic Church in Three years later he married a young Protestant widow, with whom he had a son.

After his excommunication, he continued to travel around France giving lectures. While clerical papers called Loyson a "renegade monk" and Leon Bloy lampooned him, Therese prayed for her "brother". She offered her last communion, 19 August , for Father Loyson. The chaplain to the Carmel, Father Youf, insisted a lot on the fear of Hell. The preachers during spiritual retreats at that time emphasised sin, the sufferings of purgatory , and those of hell. This did not help Therese who in experienced, "great inner trials of all kinds, even wondering sometimes whether heaven existed.

This confirmed her own intuitions. She wrote, "My soul was like a book which the priest read better than I did. He launched me full sail on the waves of confidence and love which held such an attraction for me, but upon which I had not dared to venture. He told me that my faults did not offend God. She said, "But it is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for my poor little soul. I am constantly discovering in them new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings. Over time Therese realised that she felt no attraction to the exalted heights of "great souls". She looked directly for the word of Jesus, which shed light on her prayers and on her daily life.

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