"Terribly sorry, old top," said the National Guardsman, who - if it was worth anything - really did mean it. "It’s just - regulations and that. Rum luck you’ve got. Untouched the whole time, what?"
Enjolras, who had until this point been attempting to embody the spirit of Liberté herself in a square-shouldered pose against the wall, nodded curtly. Enjolras, as the reader knows, possessed of both an unearthly beauty and charming but terrible nature that sends this narrator into convulsions of ecstasy. But that is a story for another time.
The Guardsman sighed and repeated, “Rum luck, what. I say, would you like a blindfold at least?”
“No,” said Enjolras, at once a vision of light, freedom, justice and the refined sort of manners that come of an impeccable upbringing. “Thank you, but I should think not.” He blinked once, and the assembled Guardsmen were forced to lean forward in unison so as to secure a better view of his impossibly sweet, blue eyes.
“Ah well,” said the Guardsman who had spoken before. “As you do, then.” He raised his rifle slowly, then lowered it again as a second figure arose with a clatter and the clang of fallen bottles from a little table in the back of the room.
Grantaire, the reader remembers, had fallen asleep here the day before and remained in this state throughout the entirety of the battle. Jolted awake by the sudden, jarring silence, he straightened his monocle and stumbled over his upturned chair, suddenly hyper-aware of the entire situation. This is not an uncommon occurrence for a drunkard awakening from an alcohol-induced slumber, as any party-goer or regular drinker can attest, but rather a skill that develops out of necessity; one must be able to quickly and accurately assess to what extent one has made a fool of oneself the night prior in order to react to a potentially offended or angry host.
“I say,” said Grantaire in a clear and firm voice. The assembly blinked, surprised, for it did not suit him at all. He crossed to Enjolras’ side and turned to stare down the Guardsmen. “I say,” he repeated, “if you’re going to shoot him, comrades, you’ll have to shoot me as well, what. Solidarity and all that.”
“Grantaire.” Enjolras stared at him.
“Enjolras, old chum?”
“Are you drunk?”
Grantaire shook his head regretfully. “On nothing but a sudden and inexplicable enthusiasm for the Revolution, old top. I finished off all my wine last night - as well as a rather impressive row of tumblers of stout, absinthe and brandy - and now it appears I’ve been imbibed with the spirit of the Republic itself. Liberty, justice and equality for all, what.”
Turning to the assembly of Guardsmen, who had begun fiddling with their rifles so as not to disturb what had clearly become a rather private and tender moment between the priest of the ideal and a surprise convert, he adjusted the sit of his monocle and added cheerfully, “So, as you were, men. Ready, aim, fire and all that. We’ve a special running today - a two-for-the-price-of-one affair. I expect it will translate very well into the official report. A stunning show. The entire Revolution summed up in the thud of two bodies hitting the floor. Shakespeare couldn’t have staged it better himself, though I’m sure he’d have been tearing out his rummy little beard in an attempt to do so. Pointy little thing it was, what. I say, do you think it would have suited me?”
He held his hand up to his chin as an example for Enjolras’ critical, cornflower blue eye.
“No,” said Enjolras at last. “But, to be fair, I don’t think anything suits you.”
“Alas,” sighed Grantaire sadly, then brightened once more. “I say, Enjolras, old hare, I rather forgot to ask you - silly of me - but would you mind terribly, that is, would you permit it if we go down together? Last display of solidarity in the face of adversity and all that, straight-backed and proud until we crumple in a bloodied heap, bosoms heaving with the last, revolutionary breaths and cries of ‘long live the Republic’ on our lips - all that sort of thing, what?”
Enjolras, flooded with an all-encompassing affection that rounded out all the cornery bits of his soul and completed his metaphorical transformation into the Successfully Well-Rounded Ideal , smiled sublimely and took the convert’s hand into his own.
There was a momentary lapse as the two were given time to press the wrinkles from their trousers, straighten their jackets and - in Grantaire’s case - re-adjust the sit of their monocles. They looked dashing - and revolutionary to the last word - as the report sounded.