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Chapter XIV. Wherein Will Appear the Name of Enjolras' Mistress

Courfeyrac, seated on a paving-stone beside Enjolras, continued to insult the cannon, and each time that that gloomy cloud of projectiles which is called grape-shot passed overhead with its terrible sound he assailed it with a burst of irony.

"You are wearing out your lungs, poor, brutal, old fellow, you pain me, you are wasting your row. That's not thunder, it's a cough."

And the bystanders laughed.

Courfeyrac and Bossuet, whose brave good humor increased with the peril, like Madame Scarron, replaced nourishment with pleasantry, and, as wine was lacking, they poured out gayety to all.

"I admire Enjolras," said Bossuet. "His impassive temerity astounds me. He lives alone, which renders him a little sad, perhaps; Enjolras complains of his greatness, which binds him to widowhood. The rest of us have mistresses, more or less, who make us crazy, that is to say, brave. When a man is as much in love as a tiger, the least that he can do is to fight like a lion. That is one way of taking our revenge for the capers that mesdames our grisettes play on us. Roland gets himself killed for Angelique; all our heroism comes from our women. A man without a woman is a pistol without a trigger; it is the woman that sets the man off. Well, Enjolras has no woman. He is not in love, and yet he manages to be intrepid. It is a thing unheard of that a man should be as cold as ice and as bold as fire."

Enjolras did not appear to be listening, but had any one been near him, that person would have heard him mutter in a low voice: "Patria."

Bossuet was still laughing when Courfeyrac exclaimed:

"News!"

And assuming the tone of an usher making an announcement, he added:

"My name is Eight-Pounder."

In fact, a new personage had entered on the scene. This was a second piece of ordnance.

The artillery-men rapidly performed their manoeuvres in force and placed this second piece in line with the first.

This outlined the catastrophe.

A few minutes later, the two pieces, rapidly served, were firing point-blank at the redoubt; the platoon firing of the line and of the soldiers from the suburbs sustained the artillery.

Another cannonade was audible at some distance. At the same time that the two guns were furiously attacking the redoubt from the Rue de la Chanvrerie, two other cannons, trained one from the Rue Saint-Denis, the other from the Rue Aubry-le-Boucher, were riddling the Saint-Merry barricade. The four cannons echoed each other mournfully.

The barking of these sombre dogs of war replied to each other.

One of the two pieces which was now battering the barricade on the Rue de la Chanvrerie was firing grape-shot, the other balls.

The piece which was firing balls was pointed a little high, and the aim was calculated so that the ball struck the extreme edge of the upper crest of the barricade, and crumbled the stone down upon the insurgents, mingled with bursts of grape-shot.

The object of this mode of firing was to drive the insurgents from the summit of the redoubt, and to compel them to gather close in the interior, that is to say, this announced the assault.

The combatants once driven from the crest of the barricade by balls, and from the windows of the cabaret by grape-shot, the attacking columns could venture into the street without being picked off, perhaps, even, without being seen, could briskly and suddenly scale the redoubt, as on the preceding evening, and, who knows? take it by surprise.

"It is absolutely necessary that the inconvenience of those guns should be diminished," said Enjolras, and he shouted: "Fire on the artillery-men!"

All were ready. The barricade, which had long been silent, poured forth a desperate fire; seven or eight discharges followed, with a sort of rage and joy; the street was filled with blinding smoke, and, at the end of a few minutes, athwart this mist all streaked with flame, two thirds of the gunners could be distinguished lying beneath the wheels of the cannons. Those who were left standing continued to serve the pieces with severe tranquillity, but the fire had slackened.

"Things are going well now," said Bossuet to Enjolras. "Success."

Enjolras shook his head and replied:

"Another quarter of an hour of this success, and there will not be any cartridges left in the barricade."

It appears that Gavroche overheard this remark.

Victor Hugo

    Volume I - Book First--A Just Man

    Volume I - Book Second.--The Fall

    Volume I - Book Third.--In the Year 1817

    Volume I - Book Fourth.--To Confide is Sometimes to De

    Volume I - Book Fifth.-- The Descent

    Volume I - Book Sixth.--Javert

    Volume I - Book Seventh.--The Champmathieu Affair

    Volume I - Book Eighth.--A Counter-blow

    Volume II - Book First.--Waterloo

    Volume II - Book Second.--The Ship Orion

    Volume II - Book Third.--Accomplishment of the Promise

    Volume II - Book Fourth.--The Gorbeau Hovel

    Volume II - Book Fifth.--For A Black Hunt, A Mute Pack

    Volume II - Book Sixth.--Le Petit-Picpus

    Volume II - Book Seventh.--Parenthesis

    Volume II - Book Eighth.--Cemeteries Take That Which i

    Volume III - Book First.--Paris Studied in its Atom

    Volume III - Book Second.--The Great Bourgeois

    Volume III - Book Third.--The Grandfather and the Gran

    Volume III - Book Fourth.--The Friends of the ABC

    Volume III - Book Fifth.--The Excellence of Misfortune

    Volume III - Book Sixth.--The Conjunction of Two Stars

    Volume III - Book Seventh.--Patron Minette

    Volume III - Book Eighth.--The Wicked Poor Man

    Volume IV - Book First.--A Few Pages of History

    Volume IV - Book Second.--Eponine

    Volume IV - Book Third.--The House in the Rue Plumet

    Volume IV - Book Fourth.--Succor From Below May Turn O

    Volume IV - Book Fifth.--The End of Which Does Not Res

    Volume IV - Book Sixth.--Little Gavroche

    Volume IV - Book Seventh.--Slang

    Volume IV - Book Eighth.--Enchantments and Desolations

    Volume IV - Book Ninth.--Whither are they Going?

    Volume IV - Book Tenth.--The 5th of June, 1832

    Volume IV - Book Eleventh.--The Atom Fraternizes with

    Volume IV - Book Twelfth.--Corinthe

    Volume IV - Book Thirteenth.--Marius Enters the Shadow

    Volume IV - Book Fourteenth.--The Grandeurs of Despair

    Volume IV - Book Fifteenth.--The Rue de L'Homme Arme

    Volume V - Book First.--The War Between Four Walls

    Volume V - Book Second.--The Intestine of the Leviatha

    Volume V - Book Third.--Mud but the Soul

    Volume V - Book Fourth.--Javert Derailed

    Volume V - Book Fifth.--Grandson and Grandfather

    Volume V - Book Sixth.--The Sleepless Night

    Volume V - Book Seventh.--The Last Draught from the Cu

    Volume V - Book Eighth.--Fading Away of the Twilight

    Volume V - Book Ninth.--Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn

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