Thursday, February 5, 2009

Les Miserables


I am a collector of quotations. I used to write them down wherever I found them, onto scraps of paper… old receipts, canceled checks, napkin corners… and compile them into my quotation book later. now i mainly turn down the corners of the pages on which there is a quote i want to remember. the more dog-eared the book, the more beautiful i found it.

So imagine my surprise and delight, when in reading Les Miserables, I encountered two quotations that I had noticed years ago, which I found who-knows-where, extricated from the body of the text. And there they were, on pages 389 and 391, in context.

“Certain thoughts are like prayers. There are moments when, whatever the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.” ~Marius to Cosette

“He fell upon the seat, she by his side. There were no more words. The stars were beginning to shine. How was it that their lips met? How is it that birds sing, that the snow melts, that the rose opens, that May blooms, that the dawn whitens behind the black trees on the shivering summit of the hills?

One kiss, and that was all.”
(That, as you may have guessed, was Marius and Cosette kissing.)

And two new passages that jumped out at me from Monsieur Hugo’s book:

“The power of a glance has been much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only. The rest is only the rest, and comes afterwards.”

Beautiful. And the line in italics is so true. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but perhaps it can be the impetus for love to begin… I wouldn't go so far as to say the rest is only the rest... because the rest is what is important. Though not as poetic. :)

“A walk at early dawn, to him who loves solitude, is equivalent to a walk at night, with the gaiety of nature added. The streets are empty and the birds are singing.”

I am she who loves solitude. And mornings.