So, I know that the tumblr Les Mis fandom is typically sort of scorned, but let me tell you right now that we heathens (or at least a select group of us) do our homework! Specifically, we love dissecting puns- and considering all the puns in Les Mis, and the fact that most of the scenes in the book involving Les Amis consist nearly entirely of heavy symbolism or complicated puns, we have our hands full!
So yesterday evening several of us were having a Skype shouting party, and RobertaWickham pulled out this sort of interesting thing involving Bossuet's "five-louis jade" pun. I'm just going to quote this because she explains it far better than I ever could... make of this what you will.
"Okay, so here’s the thing: “Tirer,” the French verb “to pull,” has a slang meaning of “to fuck.” (WordReference). “Tire-moi” means “fuck me.” I have so far been UNABLE TO CONFIRM that this slang existed in the 1820s. But let’s suppose that it did.
"In that case, Bossuet’s “pull off my boots” line can be read as “tire-moi…” and then a hastily-added “mes bottes” at the end to provide faux-innocent cover for his blatant shameless innuendo. I think this makes it much less obnoxious than if he’d actually just been commanding her to pull of his boots, because, you know, this is a context where innuendo is okay (not to mention hilarious in a “so awful it’s great” way). Though a smack upside the head is probably still called for, just for a different reason."
So... yeah. Bear in mind that we haven't been able to either confirm or deny that this slang existed back then, but, assuming it did... fucking Bossuet. No, literally, fucking Bossuet. Never thought I'd say that.
I change barricade boyfriends by the day.