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Here is a dream which I dreamt this night. I write it soley on account of the date.

A Dream

by Victor Hugo

November 14, 1842

Here is a dream which I dreamt this night. I write it soley on account of the date.

I was at home, but in a home which is not my own, and which I do not know. There were several large reception rooms, very handsome, and brilliantly lighted. It was evening -- a summer evening. I was in one of these rooms, near a table, with some friends, who were my friends in the dream, but not one of whom do I know. A lively conversation was going on, accompanied by shouts of laughter. The windows were all wide open. Suddenly I hear a noise behind me. I turn around, and I see coming towards me, amid a group of persons whom I do not know, the Duke of Orleans.

I held out my hand to him, thanking him for coming thus cordially to my house without sending up his name. I remember very distinctly having said to him, "Thank you, prince." He answered me with a shake of the hand.

At that moment I turned my head and saw three or four men placing upon the mantelpiece a bust of the Duke of Orleans in white marble. I then perceived that there was already on the same mantelpiece another buts of the prince in bronze. The men placed the marble bust in the place of the bronze bust and silently withdrew. The prince led me towards one of the windows, which, as I have said, were open. It seems to me that in doing so we went out of one room into another. My mind is not clear as to this. The prince and I sat down near the window, which looked out upon a splendid prospect. It was the interior of a city. In my dream I perfectly recognized this city, but in reality it was a place I had never seen.

Underneath the window stretched for a long distance between two dark blocks of buildings a broad stream, made resplendent in parts by the light of the moon. At the far end, in the mist, towered the two pointed and enormous steeples of a strange sort of cathedral; on the left, very near to the window, the eye looked in vain down a little dark alley. I do not remember that there were in this city any lights in the windows or inhabitants in the streets.

This place was known to me, I repeat, and I was speaking of it to the prince as of a city which I had visited, and which I congratulated him in having come to see in his turn.

The sky was of a tender blue and a lovely softness. In one place some trees, barely visible, were wafted in a genial wind. The stream rippled gently. The whole scene had an indescribable air of calm. It seemed as though in this spot one could penetrate into the very soul of things. I called the attention of the prince to the fineness of the night, and I distinctly remember that I said these words to him: "You are a prince; you will be taught to admire human politics; learn also to admire Nature."

As I was speaking to the Duke of Orleans I felt that my nose began to bleed; I turned, and I recognized among some persons who were conversing at a little distance behind us in low tones M. Mélesville and M. Blanqui. The blood which I felt streaming down my mouth and cheeks was very dark and thick. The prince looked at it as it streamed, and continued to speak to me without betraying any surprise. I tried to stop this bleeding with my handkerchief, but without success. At length I turned to M. Blanqui and siad, "You are a doctor; stop this bleeding, and tell me what it means." M. Blanqui, who was a doctor only in my dream, and who in reality is a political economist, did not answer me, and the blood continued to flow.

I do not quite know how it was that I ceased to take any notice of the blood which deluged my face. At this point there is a brief interval of mist and confusion, in which I no longer distinguish, except very imperfectly, the figures of the dream. What I do know is that suddenly I heard, in the apartment which we had just left, a fresh commotion, similar to that which had ushered in the arrival of the Duke of Orleans. One of my friends came in and said to me, "It is General Lafayette who has come to see you." I hastily rose, and re-entered the first apartment. General Lafayette was really there; I recognized him perfectly, and I looked upon his visit quite as a matter of course. He was leaning upon his son George, who was broad-faced, ruddy, and jovial-looking, and who laid hold of my hands, shaking them very heartily. The general was very pale; he was surrounded by many unknown persons.

It is impossible for me to recall what I said to the general, and what he said to me in reply. At the end of a few moments he said to me, "I am in a hurry; I must go. Give me your arm to the door." Then he leaned his left elbow upon my right shoulder, and his right elbow upon the left shoulder of his son George, and we made our way at a very slow pace towards the door.

Just as I arrived at the staircase, and was about to descend with the general, I turned and cast a glance behind me. My look evidently darted at this instant through the thickness of all the walls, for I saw all over several apartments. There was no one in them now; there were lights everywhere still, but all was deserted. But I saw, alone, and still seated in the same place, in the recess of the same window, the Duke of Orleans looking sadly at me. At this moment I awoke.

I had this dream on the night of the 13th to the 14th of November, 1842, precisely four months after the death of the Duke of Orleans, who was killed on the 13th of July, and on the very night of the day when the period of mourning for the death of the prince expired.