Oh, and is there a prayer in heck that "ceci est bon" is really just a nineteenth century French way of saying "whatever - moving on".
I certainly hope so! (I was hoping
, Merlin, before picking up the French book, that the original of that line would turn out to have been 'Eh bien.', but 'Ceci est bon.' seems frightfully much like an actual statement.) It's the only way in which that line can possibly be anything but brutal (and it can't have been meant to be - when it comes to Gillenormand Hugo never tires of stressing that He Really Did Care For Marius, though he may have expressed it 'curs[ing], shout[ing], and storm[ing] and brandish[ing] his cane', in 'grave and angry' tones, a 'violent fashion', or 'with an accompaniment of snappishness and boxes on the ear'-- all courtesy of Hapgood).
Mlle Gillenormand found him when he was living in the same building as Courfeyrac.
Ye-es, but it is
only the same building, isn't it (i.e. there could be a dozen people living there, all strangers to one another except at dinner time, no reason to assume M. was above-averagely acquainted with any of them)? They aren't actually roommates at that point, merely neighbours. (Though, Courfeyrac does 'answer for' Marius when he fails to pay his rent on time, so the connection has been noted by the landlord, at least.) I think it was the Annotated Thingummy™ that made an explicit point of Marius' agreeing to live in the same building, but not
the same room
, but, er, I may be making that up. (Too late here to look up the small print
@Cary - I must confess, I do actually view Gillenormand in negative terms much in line with those you mention adopting before you read the book.
All-apparent bon-vivant charm aside, what
is there to be liked about the man? Particularly in contrast with the ever-popular punching bag that is Monsieur le Baron. Goodness knows there are
a dozen good reasons to disapprove of Marius in just about any context, but 'he is so harsh towards his grandfather, who, unlike himself, has always been such a darling, showing such sound opinions and kind, considerate behaviour' seems hard
ly the best of them. Those (-- I regularly clash with an otherwise dear acquaintance who holds the aforementioned view, literally) who rush to attack self-serving behaviour, short sight, and stubbornness in the young, where it is (to speak as an optimist) a temporary phase, are markedly quick to accept it in the old, where it is settled, definite and true.
(But charming he is.)
It does seem more than a little improbable unless Courfeyrac was spreading wild rumors about Marius's political activism.
That is adorable/hilarious. 'No, no, I swear, he single-handedly translated the Republican Institutions
into the dialects of at least thirty-five German dwarf states last week!'.