Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Chapter 6

A DREAM.

September 6, 1847.

Last night I dreamed this--we had been talking all the
evening about riots, a propos of the troubles in the Rue
Saint Honoré:

I entered an obscure passage way. Men passed and elbowed
me in the shadow. I issued from the passage. I
was in a large square, which was longer than it was wide,
and surrounded by a sort of vast wall, or high edifice that
resembled a wall, which enclosed it on all four sides. There
were neither doors nor windows in this wall; just a few
holes here and there. At certain spots it appeared to have
been riddled with shot; at others it was cracked and hanging
over as though it had been shaken by an earthquake.
It had the bare, crumbling and desolate aspect of places in
Oriental cities.

No one was in sight. Day was breaking. The stone was
grey, the sky also. At the extremity of the place I perceived
four obscure objects that looked liked cannon levelled
ready for firing.

A great crowd of ragged men and children rushed by me
with gestures of terror.

"Save us!" cried one of them. "The grape shot is
coming!"

"Where are we?" I asked. "What is this place?"'

"What! do you not belong to Paris?" responded the
man. "This is the Palais-Royal."

I gazed about me and, in effect, recognised in this frightful,
devastated square in ruins a sort of spectre of the
Palais-Royal.

The fleeing men had vanished, I knew not whither.

I also would have fled. I could not. In the twilight I
saw a light moving about the cannon.

The square was deserted. I could hear cries of: "Run!
they are going to shoot!" but I could not see those who
uttered them.

A woman passed by. She was in tatters and carried a
child on her back. She did not run. She walked slowly.
She was young, cold, pale, terrible.

As she passed me she said: "It is hard lines! Bread is
at thirty-four sous, and even at that the cheating bakers
do not give full weight."

I saw the light at the end of the square flare up and
heard the roar of the cannon. I awoke.

Somebody had just slammed the front door.

Victor Hugo