LES MIS: WHAT THEY WERE REALLY THINKING
the hit song 2 close 4 comfort
fantine greets eponine in the afterlife
"then you do not hate me?" eponine asks, confused and no less sad than before. the woman has been so kind to her. "after what i did? when we were children, i was cruel to the lark… and then when i found her again… i tried to… well, i…"
fantine smiles kindly, turning to eponine and cupping her face. ”we all make foolish mistakes as children, and when we are older do no less wild things to protect love and find happiness.” she kisses eponine’s brow before leaning away. “come in from the rain. come into the light.”
eponine takes her hand and follows, leaving the shadows behind her. a gust of air blows over her, drying and warming her at once. fantine does not drop her hand all the while, but continues to lead her on through the paradise.
"and i know when my daughter joins us," fantine speaks, "someday in a long while, that she will bear her cheek to you so that you may kiss it, and the pair of you will live in peace as sisters forevermore from then. i promise you; just like that it is all forgiven."
tears prickle eponine’s eyes, but no longer from sorrow. her chest swells with so much joy that she is certain she will simply burst.
"like sisters?" she asks slowly. "then might you be like my mother? might i have a mother again? one who will brush my hair and sing sweet songs and love me very much?"
fantine smiles back at her. ”i should very much like to have another daughter i can love.”
and rain will make the flowers—
at the fall of the barricades, the bodies of students and working-men are claimed, gathered, and buried by their families. and montparnasse knows, the moment the words fall, that no one will be claiming eponine, and she’ll be buried in the dirt, grave unmarked. so he goes. he goes and picks her out and takes her away. he has her buried, has her grave named. it’s small and it’s ugly but it suits its purpose, and he doesn’t stop staring once it’s all said and done.
the man who approaches him is a doctor, one who helped gather and check corpses at the barricades. though a servant of the state his personal politics align with the republic. so he did what he could for those he might. assuming montparnasse to be the husband of the girl he found, he offers a lock of her hair, a little piece he took - just in case, he always says. at the mistake of being titled husband, montparnasse does not correct him. he says nothing.
but he takes the token anyway.
"M O N T P A R N A S S E was a child; less than twenty years of age, with a handsome face, lips like cherries, charming black hair, the brilliant light of springtime in his eyes; he had all vices and aspired to all crimes. The digestion of evil aroused in him an appetite for worse… Few prowlers were so dreaded as Montparnasse."
victor hugo, les misérables
book vii, chapter iii
MUSICHETTA/OLYMPE ('BAHOREL'S LAUGHING MISTRESS') ;; POST-BARRICADE
They had their downfalls; Musichetta could hold a grudge longer than university boys could hold a barricade and Olympe could not help but make that awful joke in the first place.
Of course, that was not Olympe’s sole weakness.
For all the leniency in her affair with Bahorel, and even though she hardly believed his beard would ever grey, his death struck her with surprising force. It was almost enough for her to finally relent and heed her mama’s wisdom. She was not a child, and surely these flights of fancy and passionate whirlwinds were something to leave in the past.
But Olympe did not surrender yet. Perhaps she was not matched to Musichetta in holding grudges, but she could stand just as surely. She thought back now to their little congregation earlier, to Musichetta and the other grisettes, careful whispers that grew into shouts, ideas that never died, the sorts of things that certainly outlived barricades – maybe even outlived Musichetta’s grudges. Olympe thought about that spark, rekindled again in the ash of times she meant to forget. She thought about clever little smiles and the rush of anticipation when, caught in the whirlwind of rhetoric or debate or a plain good fight, laughter would ring until hands and bodies fell together to burn the fever out.
And she stood where she was now, alone, supposing she had numerous paths ahead of her.
But who was she trying to fool? After all, this was her greatest weakness; her mama always told her so. A single glance at one who possessed a fever for revolution and fire bright eyes, and Olympe knew exactly where she was going next.