At that time, for the thought written in stone, there existed a privilege perfectly comparable to our present liberty of the press. It was the liberty of architecture.
It had been written with one foot in the grave and a finger in heaven. These lines, falling one by one onto the paper, were what could be called soul drops. Who could these pages come from? Who could have written them? Cosette did not hesitate for a second. There was only one man it could have come from. Him!
Owing money was the beginning of slavery ..... a creditor was worse than a boss, for a boss only owns your person but a creditor owns your dignity and can slap it around.
History has its truth, and so has legend. Legendary truth is of another nature than historical truth. Legendary truth is invention whose result is reality. Furthermore, history and legend have the same goal; to depict eternal man beneath momentary man.
He fell to 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 the birds sing, 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?
After a pause he added: "My friends remember this: There is no such thing as a weed and no such thing as a bad man.There are only bad cultivators".
At the moment when her eyes closed, when all feeling vanished in her, she thought that she felt a touch of fire imprinted on her lips, a kiss more burning than the red-hot iron of the executioner.
Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.
But secondly you say 'society must exact vengeance, and society must punish'. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.
It is in Paris that the beating of Europe's heart is felt. Paris is the city of cities.
The quantity of civilization is measured by the quality of imagination.
He had not lived long enough to have discovered that nothing is more close at hand than the impossible, and what must be looked for is the unforeseen.
Nothing chills the heart like symmetry, for symmetry is ennui and ennui is at the heart of grief.
It was like a hand which had opened and thrown suddenly upon her a handful of sunbeams.
We may remain more or less open-minded on the subject of the death penalty, indisposed to commit ourselves, so long as we have not seen a guillotine with our own eyes.
He had no shelter, no bread, no fire, no love; but he was merry because he was free.
To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.
He saw nothing of all this. People who are crushed do not look behind them. They know but too well the evil fate which follows them.
Jean Valjean had entered the galleys sobbing and shuddering; he emerged impassive. He had entered in despair; he emerged gloomy.
On the contrary, as there is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher, everything was given away, so to speak, before it was received, like water on thirsty soil; it was well that money came to him, for he never kept any, and besides he robbed himself.
Gentlemen, my father always detested me because I could not understand mathematics. I understand only love and liberty.
The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he turned abruptly to the director of the hospital.
In vain we chisel, as best we can, the mysterious block of which our life is made, the black vein of destiny reappears continuously.
In Burgundy and in the cities of the South the tree of Liberty was planted. That is to say, a pole topped by the revolutionary red bonnet.
Conscience is a strange thing...No matter how great the happiness around me, my soul would have been in darkness. The circumstances of happiness are not enough, there must also be peace of mind.
All that he might have felt of love in his entire life melted into a sort of ineffable radiance.
He had caught the general malevolence. He had picked up the weapon with which he had been wounded.
Now, there's a young man who looks like a real pedant, for you!
It was all over with him. Marius loved a woman. His destiny was entering upon the unknown.
Alas! sir," said Gringoire, "I would that I could lend you some, but, my breeches are worn to holes, and 'tis not crowns which have done it.
Let us show that, if the people abandon the republicans, the republicans do not abandon the people.
Be a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
Be it said in passing, that success is a very hideous thing. Its false resemblance to merit deceives men.
This first glance of a soul which does not yet know itself is like dawn in the heavens; it is the awakening of something radiant and unknown.
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.
He had, they said, tasted in succession all the apples of the tree of knowledge, and, whether from hunger or disgust, had ended by tasting the forbidden fruit.
Is there not in every human soul a primitive spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world and immortal in the next, which can be developed by goodness, kindled, lit up, and made to radiate, and which evil can never entirely extinguish.
The hospital was a low and narrow building of a single story, with a small garden.
To know how to distinguish the agitation arising from covetousness, from the agitation arising from principles, to fight the one and aid the other, in this lies the genius and the power of great revolutionary leaders.
She worked to live; then, also to live, for the heart too has its hunger, she loved.