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Quotes From
Les Miserables Notre Dame de Paris '93 Other

Les Miserables - Quotations

Whether true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence on their lives, and particularly on their destinies, as what they do. (p. 1)

As there is always more misery at the lower end than humanity at the top, everything was given away before it was received, like water on parched soil. (p. 8)

We do not claim that the portrait we present here is a true one, only that it comes close. (p. 9)

buying a pennyworth of paradise (p. 12)

If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness. (p. 14)

We may be indifferent to the death penalty and not declare ourselves either way so long as we have not seen a guillotine with our own eyes. But when we do, the shock is violent, and we are compelled to choose sides, for or against... Death belongs to God alone. (p. 16)

Solomon names thee Compassion, and that is the most beautiful of all thy names. (p.19)

Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murderers. (p. 27)

He who has not been a determined accuser during prosperity should hold his peace in adversity. (p. 48)

In passing, we might say that success is a hideous thing. Its false similarity to merit deceives men...They confuse heaven's radiant stars with a duck's footprint left in the mud. (p. 51-52)

A character, as well as a rock, may have holes worn into it by drops of water. (p. 53)

The Heroism of Passive Obedience (Title of Fantine, Bk II, Chapter 3)

Monsieur to a convict is a glass of water to a man dying of thirst at sea. Ignominy thirsts for respect. (p.76)

Jean Valjean entered the galleys sobbing and trembling; he left hardened. He entered in despair; he left sullen. What had happened within the soul? (p.87)

Anger may be foolish and absurd, and one may be wrongly irritated, but a man never feels outraged unless in some respect he is fundamentally right. (p.89)

Liberation is not deliverance. A convict may leave prison behind but not his sentence. (p.97)

His brain was in one of those violent, yet frighteningly calm, states where reverie is so profound it swallows up reality. We no longer see the objects before us, but we see, as if outside of ourselves, the forms we have in our minds. (p. 112)

All people of common sense agreed that the era of revolutions had been closed forever by King Louis XVIII (p. 117)

A thing that smoked and clacked along on the Seine, making the noise of a swimming dog, came and went beneath the windows of the Tuileries, from the Pont Royal to the Pont Louis XV; it was a machine of little value, a kind of toy, the daydream of a visionary, a utopia -- a steamboat. The Parisians regarded the useless thing with indifference. (p. 118)

Cuvier, with one eye on the book of Genesis and the other on nature, was endeavoring to calm reactionary bigotry by reconciling fossils with texts and making the mastodons support Moses. (pp. 118-19)

That day was sunshine from start to finish. All nature seemed to be on a vacation. The flower beds and lawns of Saint-Cloud were balmy with perfume; the breeze from the Seine vaguely stirred the leaves; the boughs were gesticulating in the wind; the bees were pillaging the jasmine; a whole bohemian crew of butterflies had settled in the yarrow, clover, and wild oats. The stately park of the King of France was invaded by a swarm of vagabonds, the birds. (p. 127)

All things considered, sire, there is nothing to fear from these people. They are as carefree and lazy as cats. The lower classes in the provinces are restless, those in Paris are not...They are not dangerous. In sum: dependable riffraff. (p. 131)

That a cat may change into a lion, prefects of police do not believe possible; this can happen, nonetheless. (p. 131)

The Parisian is to Frenchmen what the Athenian was to Greeks: Nobody sleeps better than he, nobody is more frivolous and idle than he, nobody seems to forget things more easily than he; but best not trust him nonetheless; he has adapted to all sorts of indolence, but when there is glory to be gained, he is wondrous at every kind of fury. (pp. 131-132)

This uninspired play on words had the effect of a stone thrown into a country pond...All the frogs fell silent. (p. 134)

Each of our passions, even love, has a stomach that must not be overloaded. We must in all things write the word finis in time; we must restrain ourselves, when it becomes urgent, draw the bolt on the appetite, play a fantasia on the violin, then break the strings with our own hand. (p. 135)

Mother's arms are made of tenderness, and sweet sleep blesses the child who lies within. (p. 147)

The most ferocious animals are disarmed by caresses to their young. (p. 150)

For Cosette, read Euphrasie. The name of the little one was Euprhasie. But the mother had made Cosette out of it, by that sweet and charming instinct of mothers and of the people, who change Josefa into Pepita, and Francoise into Sillette. It is a kind of derivation that confuses and disconcerts the entire science of etymology. (p. 151)

There are souls that, crablike, crawl continually toward darkness, going backward in life rather than advancing, using their experience to increase their deformity, growing continually worse, and becoming steeped more and more thoroughly in the intensifying viciousness. (p. 153)

For he knew how to do a little of everything--all badly. (p. 154)

There are certain natures that cannot have love on one side without hatred on the other. (p. 156)

Mayor Madeline: "The two highest functionaries of the state are the wet nurse and the school teacher." (p. 161)

When they saw him making money, they said "He is a merchant." When they saw the way in which he scattered his money, they said, "He is ambitious. "When they saw him refuse honors, they said, "He is an adventurer."When they saw him repel the advances of the fashionable, they said, "He is a brute." (p. 162-3)

A good mayor is a good thing. Are you afraid of the good you might do? (p. 163)

Mayor Madeline: "If we took a little time, the nettle would be useful; we neglect it, and it becomes harmful. Then we kill it. Men are so like the nettle! There are no bad herbs, and no bad men; there are only bad cultivators." (p. 164-165)

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves--say rather, loved in spite of ourselves (p. 167)

This man was a compound of two sentiments, simple and good in themselves, but he made them almost evil by his exaggeration of them: respect for authority and hatred of rebellion. (p. 171 about Javert)

For prying into other people's affairs, none are equal to those of whom it is no concern. (p. 178)

A soul for a piece of bread. Misery makes the offer; society accepts. (p.187)

If they were richer, we should say they are dandies; if they were poorer, we should say they are tramps. They are simply idlers. (p.189)

One can no more keep the mind from returning to an idea than the sea from returning to a shore. For the sailor, this is called the tide; in the case of the guilty, it is called remorse. God stirs up the soul as well as the ocean. (p.225)

Curiosity is gluttony. To see is to devour. (p. 191)

And whatever he did, he always fell back onto this paradox at the core of his thought. To remain in paradise and become a demon! To re-enter hell and become an angel! (p. 235)

In less than two hours, all the good he had done was forgotten. (p. 295)

The sunshine was enchanting: the branches of the trees had that gentle tremor of May that seems to come from the birds' nests more than from the wind. A hardy little bird, probably in love, was desperately singing away in a tall tree. (p. 302)

Beside this door were a dung-hill, mattocks and shovels, some carts, an old well with its flagstone and iron pulley, a frisky colt, a strutting turkey, a chapel topped by a little steeple, an espaliered pear tree in bloom, against the wall of the chapel; such was the court whose conquest was Napoleon's dream. This bit of earth, if he could have taken it, would perhaps have given him the world. (p. 303)

Death has its own way of embittering victory, and its glory is followed by pestilence. Typhus comes with triumph. (p. 306)

Old age has no hold on the geniuses of the ideal; for the Dantes and the Michelangelos, to grow older is to grow greater; for the Hannibals and the Bonapartes, is it to diminish? (p. 310)

To paint a battle requires those mighty artists with chaos in their brush. (p. 315)

like an aloe tree in Siberia. (p. 362)

He had nothing in his favor except that he was a drunkard. (p. 364)

He smiled habitually as a matter of good business and tried to be polite to everybody, even to the beggar to whom he was refusing a penny. (p. 378)

The three little girls did not have twenty-four years among them, and they already represented the whole of human society: on one side envy, on the other scorn. (p. 402)

She had always been naked under the biting north wind of misfortune, and now it seemed to her she was clothed. Before her soul had been cold; now it was warm. (p. 420)

Children instantly accept joy and happiness with quick familiarity, being happy and joyful by nature. (p. 435)

As all children do, like the vine's young shoots that cling to everything, she had tried to love. (p. 436)

All those places that we no longer see, which perhaps we shall never see again, but whose image we have preserved, assume a painful charm, return to us with the sadness of a ghost. (p. 447)

All extreme situations have their flashes that sometimes blind us, sometimes illuminate us. (p. 458)

He plainly perceived the truth: from then on she would be the basis of his life, so long as she were there, so long as he had her with him, he would need nothing except her and fear nothing except on her account. He did not even feel cold, even though he had taken off his coat to cover her. (p. 464)

There are moments when hideous possibilities besiege us like a throng of furies and break down the doors of our brain. (p. 466)

He thought himself stronger than he was and believed he could play mouse with a lion. (p. 476)

It was there, too, that these sweet and heartrending words were said by a little foundling whom the convent was rearing through charity. She heard the others talking about their mothers, and in her little nook she whispered, "As for me, my mother wasn't there when I was born." (p. 491)

That eternally returning specter, the past, not infrequently falsifies its passport. Let us be ready for the snare. Let us beware. The past has a face, superstition, and a mask, hypocrisy. Let us denounce the face and tear off the mask. (p. 508)

In the light of history, reason, and truth, monastic life stands condemned. (p. 510)

Superstitions, bigotries, hypocrisies, prejudices, these phantoms, phantoms though they be, cling to life; they have teeth and nails in their shadowy substance, and we must grapple with them individually and make war on them without truce; for it is one of humanity's inevitabilities to be condemned to eternal struggle with phantoms. (p. 514)

The greatness of democracy is that it denies nothing and renounces nothing of humanity. Next to the rights of Man, side by side with them, at least, are the rights of the Soul. (p. 517)

As for methods of prayer, all are good, as long as they are sincere. (p. 518)

Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread. (p. 519)

We bow to the man who kneels. A faith is a necessity to man. Woe to him who believes in nothing. A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor. To meditate is to labor; to think is to act. (p. 521)

We are for religion, against the religions. (p. 522)

"People are ignorant of things they ought to know, and know things of which they ought to be ignorant." (p. 540)

Everybody has noticed the way cats stop and loiter in a half-open door. Hasn't everyone said to a cat: For heavens sake why don't you come in? With opportunity half-open in front of them, there are men who have a similar tendency to remain undecided between two solutions, at the risk of being crushed by fate abruptly closing the opportunity. The overprudent, cats as they are, and because they are cats, sometimes run more danger than the bold. (p. 548)

A prince is nothing beside a principle. (p. 551)

Laughter is sunshine; it chases winter from the human face. (p. 569)

So long as man is a child, God wills him to be innocent. (p. 576)

Give a creature the useless, deprive him of the necessary, and you have the gamin. (p. 577)

All the crimes of man begin with the vagrancy of childhood. (p. 582)

A hatred for educating the children of the people was dogma. What good was "a little learning"? (p. 582)

Under Louis XV, children disappeared in Paris; the police carried them off--nobody knew for what mysterious use. With horror, people whispered monstrous conjectures about the king's crimson baths. (p. 583)

In summer, he metamorphoses into a frog; and in the evening, at nightfall, by the bridges of Austerlitz and Jena, from the coal rafts and washerwomen's boats, he plunges headfirst into the Seine, and into total infraction of the laws of modesty and the police. (p. 585)

Sooner or later, the splendid question of universal education will take its position with the irresistible authority of absolute truth. (p. 588)

He was one of those children so deserving of pity above all others, who have fathers and mothers and yet are orphans. (p. 594)

To break all links seems to be the instinct of some wretched families. (p. 596)

They ridiculed the century, which did away with the need to understand it. (p. 621)

What floods ideas are! How quickly they cover all that they are commissioned to destroy and bury, and how rapidly they create frightful abysses! (p. 622)

"Certainly I approve of political opinions, but there are people who do not know where to stop." (p. 629)

We see that like all new converts to a religion, his conversion intoxicated him. (p. 634)

There is a way of falling into error while on the way to truth. (p. 634)

There is nothing like dogma to produce the dream. There is nothing like dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow. (p. 646)

Puns can be serious in politics. (p. 647)

He was not willing for there to be any man on earth without a country. (p. 652)

Sooner or later the submerged country floats to the surface and reappears...You cannot remove the identifying mark from a nation as you can from a handkerchief. (p. 653)

Skepticism, that dry rot of the intellect, had not left one entire idea in his mind. (p. 657)

A skeptic adhering to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors. What we lack attracts us. Nobody loves the light like the blind man. (p. 658)

He looked like a caryatid on vacation; he was supporting nothing but his daydreams. (p. 659)

Leaning back is a way of lying down upright that is not disliked by dreamers. (p. 659)

The turbulent seesawing of all these minds at liberty and at work set his thoughts in a whirl. Sometimes, in the confusion, they roamed so far he had some difficulty finding them again. (p. 663)

"Every good quality runs into a defect; economy borders on avarice, the generous are not far from the prodigal, the brave man is close to the bully; he who is very pious is slightly sanctimonious." (pp. 665-666)

"Which do you admire, the slain or the slayer, Caesar or Brutus? Generally people are for the slayer. Hurrah for Brutus! He slew. That's virtue. Virtue, but folly too...The Brutus who slew Caesar was in love with a statue of a little boy. This statue was by the Greek sculptor Strongylion, who also designed that statue of an Amazon called the "beautiful limbed," Euknemos, which Nero carried with him on his journeys. This Strongylion left nothing but two statues which put Brutus and Nero in harmony. Brutus was in love with one and Nero with the other." (p. 666)

The jostling of young minds against each other has this wonderful attribute, that one can never foresee the spark, nor predict the flash. (p. 671)

If Caesar had given me / Glory and war, / And if I must abandon / The love of my mother, / I would say to great Caesar: / Take your scepter and chariot / I love my mother more, alas! / I love my mother more. (p. 674)

He was experiencing what the earth may experience at the moment when it is opened by the plow so wheat may be sown; it feels only the wound; the thrill of the seed and joy of the fruit do not come until later. (p. 675)

Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields that have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes. (p. 679)

In all his trials he felt encouraged and sometimes even upheld by a secret force within. The soul helps the body, and at certain moments raises it. It is the only bird that sustains its cage. (p. 682)

All political opinions were alike to him, and he approved them all without distinction, provided they left him alone...He had, like everybody else, his suffix ist, without which nobody could have lived in those days...he was an old-bookist. (p. 688)

A head that Raphael would have given to Mary, on a neck that Jean Goujon would have given to Venus. (p. 702)

It was a hippopotamus attempting to catch a chamois. (p. 708)

Beautiful with a beauty that combined all of the woman with all of the angel, a beauty that would have made Petrarch sing and Dante kneel. (p. 710)

Destroy the cave Ignorance, and you destroy the mole Crime...The only social peril is darkness. (p. 721)

He had been married and had had offspring. He did not know what had become of his wife and children. He had lost them the way he might have lost his handkerchief. (p. 723)

The cause of all this young mans crimes was his desire to be well dressed. The first grisette who had said to him, "You are handsome," had spattered a stain of darkness into his heart and had made a Cain of this Abel. (p. 724)

One day, in the course of that winter, the sun had come out for a while in the afternoon, but it was the second of February, that ancient Candlmas-day whose treacherous sun, the precursor of six weeks of cold, inspired Matthew Laensberg with the two lines, which have deservedly become classic: Let it gleam or let it glimmer / The bear goes back into his cave. (p. 730)

Despair is surrounded by fragile walls, which all open into vice or crime. (p. 743)

"Oh! Somebody ought to take society by the four corners of the sheet and toss it all into the air! Everything would be broken, most likely, but at least nobody would have anything, there'd be that much gained!" (p. 754)

"Seeing all those snowflakes fall, it's like a swarm of white butterflies in the sky." (p. 775)

The victims should always be arrested first. (Chapter XXI title p. 813)

The conflict between right and fact has endured since the origins of society. To bring the duel to an end, to consolidate the pure ideal with the human reality, to make the right peacefully interpenetrate the fact, and the fact the right, this is the work of the wise. (p. 827)

Errors are excellent projectiles ... Factions are blind men who aim straight. (p. 838)

First problem: Produce wealth. Second problem: To distribute it...England solves the first of these two problems. She creates wealth admirably; she distributes it badly...Communism and Agrarian law think they have solved the second problem. They are mistaken. Their distribution kills production. Equal partition abolishes emulation. And consequently labor. It is a distribution made by the butcher, who kills what he divides...The two problems must be solved together to be well solved. (pp. 840-841)

A social deformity perhaps still more hideous than the evil rich: the evil poor. (p. 860)

Nothing is more dangerous than discontinued labor; it is habit lost. A habit easy to abandon, difficult to resume. (p. 861)

Woe to the intellectual who lets himself fall completely from thought into reverie! He thinks he will rise again easily, and he says that, after all, it is the same thing. An error! Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie its pleasure. To replace thought with reverie is to confound poison with nourishment. (p. 861)

Algebra applies to the clouds; the radiance of the star benefits the rose; no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? (p. 886)

One evening, little Gavroche had had no dinner; he remembered that he had had no dinner the day before either; this was becoming tiresome. (p. 916)

Sleep of a cat, sleep with one eye. (p. 918)

If noone loved, the sun would go out. (p. 935)

What leads and controls the world is not locomotives, but ideas. Harness the locomotives to the ideas, yes, but do not mistake the horse for the horseman. (p. 955)

The bourgeois in their Sunday clothes, who passed by the elephant of the Bastille, often said, eyeing it scornfully with their bulging eyes, "What's the use of that?" It's use was to save from the cold, the frost, the hail, the rain, to protect from the wintry wind, to spare from sleeping in the mud, which breeds fever and from sleeping in the snow, which breeds death, a little being with no father or mother, with no bread, no clothing, no sanctuary. Its use was to receive the innocent whom society repelled....This idea of Napoleon's, disdained by men, had been taken up by God. What had been merely illustrious had become august...The emperor had a dream of genius; in this titanic elephant, armed, prodigious, brandishing his trunk, bearing his tower and making the joyous and vivifying waters gush out on all sides around him, he wanted to incarnate the people. God had done a grander thing with it, he sheltered a child. (p. 957)

Do you think that Dante has fewer things to say than Machiavelli? Is the underworld of civilization, because it is deeper and gloomier, less important than the upper? Do we really know the mountain when we do not know the cavern? (p. 983)

Man is not a circle with a single center; he is an ellipse with two focii. Facts are one, ideas are the other. (p. 984)

I do not understand how God, the father of men, can torture his children and his grandchildren, and hear them cry without being tortured himself. (p. 995)

Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. (p. 1004)

They were living in that ravishing condition that might be called the dazzling of one soul by another. (p. 1004)

She gave anyone who saw her a sensation of April and of dawn. There was dew in her eyes. Cosette was a condensation of auroral light in womanly form. (p. 1007)

Love almost replaces thought. Love is a burning forgetfulness of everything else. (p. 1009)

With eyes closed is the best way to look at the soul. (p. 1010)

Marius and Cosette did not ask where this would lead them. They looked at themselves as arrived. It is a strange pretension for men to ask that love should lead them somewhere. (p. 1010)

Suspicions are nothing more nor less than wrinkles. Early youth has none. What overwhelms Othello glides over Candide. (p. 1041)

There are moments when a man has a furnace in his brain. (p. 1042)

Whoever harbors in his soul some secret revolt against any act whatsoever of the state, of life or of fate, borders on the riot, and as soon as it appears, begins to quiver, and feel lifted up by the whirlwind. (p. 1048)

The Atom Fraternizes with the Hurricane (Title of Book Eleven p. 1069)

"I have only one of everything: God, king, sou, boot." (p. 1080)

She astounds at ten paces, terrifies at three; a large wart inhabits her perilous beak; you constantly tremble lest she blow it your way, and lest her nose slip in her mouth some fine day. (p. 1087)

"The heap of oyster shells they call a library disgusts me to think of. What a lot of paper! What a lot of ink! What a lot of scribbling! Somebody has written all of that! What idiot was it who said that man is a featherless biped?" (p. 1089)

There is one reality alone: to drink. (p. 1090)

"What you fellows call progress moves by two motors, men and events. But sad to say, from time to time the exceptional is necessary. For events as well as men, the stock company is not enough...seeing a comet, one would be tempted to believe that Heaven itself is in need of star actors."
(p. 1090)

"It's the fifth of June, it's very dark; since morning I've been waiting for daybreak. It hasn't come, and I'll bet it won't come all day. It's the negligence of a badly paid clerk." (p. 1091)

Great perils share this beauty that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers. (p. 1101)

He had the appearance of the chief of the eunuchs in the slave market discovering a Venus among frumps, and the air of an amateur recognizing a Raphael in a heap of daubs..."Trust the little folks, distrust the big-" (pp. 1110-1111)

"Citizens, in the future there shall be neither darkness nor thunderbolts, neither ferocious ignorance nor blood for blood...In the future no man will slay his fellow, the earth will be radiant, the human race will love. It will come, citizens, that day when all shall be concord, harmony, light, joy, and life." (p. 1116)

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers? (p. 1126)

Monarchy is the foreigner; oppression is the foreigner; divine right is the foreigner. (p. 1127)

There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices; after philo-sophy there must be action. (p. 1127)

What are the convulsions of a city compared to the émeutes of the soul? (p. 1148)

In violent emotions, we do not read, we prostrate the paper we hold, so to speak, we strangle it like a victim, we crush the paper, we bury the nails of our wrath our delight in it. (p. 1160)

"Let them come to our aid or let them not come, what does it matter? Let us die here to the last man." (p. 1182)

"Citizens," cried Enjolras, and in his voice there was almost an angry tremor, "the Republic is not rich enough in men to incur useless expenditures. Vainglory is a waste. If it is duty of some to leave, that duty should be performed as well as any other." (p. 1182)

"Suicides like those that will be carried out here are sublime; but suicide is restricted, and can have no extension; and as soon as it touches those next to you, the name of suicide is murder." (p. 1183)

"We have tamed the hydra, and he is called the steamship; we have tamed the dragon, and he is called the locomotive; we are on the point of taming the griffin, we already have him, and he is called the balloon. The day when this promethean work will be finished, and man will have definitely harnessed to his will the triple chimera of the ancients, the hydra, the dragon, and the griffin, he will be the master of water, fire, and air, and he will be to the rest of living creation what the ancient gods formerly were to him." (p. 1189)

"Equality has an organ; free and compulsory education ... From identical schools spring an equal society." (p. 1190-1191)

"A cannonball travels only two thousand miles an hour; light travels two hundred thousand miles a second. Such is the superiority of Jesus Christ over Napoleon."(p. 1197)

"What a pity!" said Combeferre. "What a hideous thing these bloodbaths are! I'm sure, when there are no more kings, there will be no more war. Enjolras, you're aiming at that sergeant, you're not looking at him. Just think that he's a charming young man; he's intrepid; you can see that he's a thinker; these young artillerymen are well educated; he has a father, a mother, a family; he's in love, probably; he's 25 at most; he might be your brother." "He is," said Enjolras. "Yes," said Combeferre, "and mine, too. Well, don't let's kill him." "Leave me alone. We must do what we must." And a tear rolled slowly down Enjolras's marble cheek. (p. 1200)

Thus is youth constituted; it quickly dries its eyes; it believes sorrow useless and does not accept it. (p. 1203)

An Eastern tale says that the rose was made white by God, but since Adam looked at it while it was half open, it was ashamed and blushed. We are among those who feel speechless in the presence of young maidens and flowers, finding them almost sacred. (p. 1204)

The sight was appalling and fascinating. Gavroche under fire, was mocking the firing. He seemed to be very much amused. It was the sparrow pecking at the hunters. (p. 1217)

The barricade was trembling; he was singing. It was not a child; it was not a man; it was a strange mystic gamin, the invulnerable dwarf of the mêlée. (p. 1217)

Man suffers, that may be so; but look at Taurus rising!...These thinkers forget to love. The zodiac has such success with them that it prevents them from seeing the weeping child. God eclipses the soul. (p. 1220)

He who does not weep does not see. (p. 1220)

The Utopia that grows impatient and turns into riot knows what awaits her; almost always she is too soon. Then she resigns herself and stoically accepts, instead of triumph, catastrophe. (p. 1236)

Every blade has two edges; he who wounds with one wounds himself with the other. (p. 1237)

An admirable thing, the poetry of a people is the gauge of its progress. The quantity of civilization is measured by the quantity of imagination. (p. 1240)

He walked with his head down for the first time in his life, and for the first time in his life as well, with his hands behind his back. Until that day, of Napoleon's two attitudes, Javert had assumed one, the one that expresses resolution, arms folded across breast; the one that expresses uncertainty, hands behind back, was unknown to him. (p. 1319)

Before him he saw two roads, both equally straight; but he did see two; and that terrified him--he who had never in his life known anything but one straight line. And, bitter anguish, these two roads were contradictory. (p. 1320)

Javert's ideal was not to be humane, not to be great, not to be sublime; it was to be irreproachable. Now he had just failed. (p. 1324)

There was Boulatruelle's mistake. He believed in the straight line; a respectable optical illusion, but one that ruins many men. (p. 1334)

To him the idea of life was not distinct from the idea of Cosette; he had decreed in his heart that he would not accept the one without the other, and he was unalterably determined to demand from anybody, no matter whom, who might wish to compel him to live, from his grandfather, from Fate, even from Hell, the restitution of his vanished Eden. (p. 1338)

"Angel" is the only word in the language that cannot be worn out. No other word would resist the pitiless use lovers make of it. (p. 1345)

Love is the foolishness of men, and the wisdom of God. (p. 1347)

Suddenly finding such a secret in the midst of one's happiness is like the discovery of a scorpion in a nest of turtledoves. (p. 1406)

There was in Paris, at that period, in an old hovel, in the Rue Beautreillis, near the Arsenal, an ingenious Jew, whose business it was to change a rascal into an honest man. (p. 1436)

He is asleep. Though his mettle was sorely tried, / He lived, and when he lost his angel, died. / It happened calmly, on its own, / The way the night comes when day is done. (p. 1463)