Fragments on the Friends of the ABC (en)

The Cougourde of Aix, which “was being outlined,” must still have had very few members [in 1828]. Under the July monarchy it comprised about eighty, its president at that time was named Prives, and it was “the most advanced” of the republican societies of the Bouches-du-Rhone.

Around Courfeyrac, who had all the qualities of a center, roundness and radiance, were found several young men who, as we will see later, had furthermore another bond: Combeferre, characterized as the furious one; Joly, pronounced ‘Jolly’; Grangé who signed his name with the rebus G.; Enjolras, cold, fanatical, and sad, with the complexion of a woman, the smile of a virgin, and the sweetest blue eyes that could have existed in the world; finally Lègle, who was from Meaux, and whom they called Bossuet. Except for Bossuet, they were all from the south.

Without doubt it is Enjolras that Victor Hugo, in his notes, made the following remark belong to:

“He cried out:
“‘Long live France! there is nothing but France! Spain is a monk’s frock, Italy is a burial shroud. London is built up of ennui; the Russian monarchy is winter made into government.'”

Combeferre’s song (J’aime mieux ma mère / “I love my mother more”) recalls a song that Alcestis sings on the banks of the Orontes, in “The Misanthrope” (Act I, sc. II).

If the king had given me
His great city of Paris
And I were obliged to leave
The love of my sweetheart
I would say to King Henry,
“Take back your Paris!
I love my sweetheart more, alas!
I love my sweetheart more.”

Grantaire’s verses, which form two lines, are to the same tune as Vive Henri IV, which Collé composed for his comedy “Henry IV’s Hunting Party.” Here is the whole happy quatrain:

I loves the girls
And I love good wine
Of our fine games
Here’s the whole refrain.

Another version of the chapter where Marius meets the friends of the ABC:

Courfeyrac, at the door, sees a cabriolet pass by in the square, walking, and as though undecided. “Hullo! why is the cabriolet going at a walk?” He looks and thinks he recognizes a face.


“If you please?”

“Aren’t you the one named Marius Pontmercy?”


“Well, I’m in the same class as you. Three days ago the professor called roll, and marked you absent. You know that they are strict now, and that after three absences they strike out your name. As for me, I could care less, I never go. They’ve struck out my name from the roll, but I’m still a student. I was signed up under your name by a friend who is in the café.”

“Thank you, monsieur.”

“My name is Courfeyrac. Where do you live?”

“In this cabriolet.”


“I’m in the street for the moment. It’s a long story. I don’t know where to go.”

“Come home with me,” said Courfeyrac.

Marius got out and entered the café.

“I’m going to present you to the Friends,” said Courfeyrac.

“Who are the Friends?”

“Look and you will see, listen and you will hear.”

Marius entered the back room. Everyone there was talking and seemed to be debating heatedly. But before Courfeyrac could have said a word and presented Marius, E…, seeing a stranger, had furrowed his brow and made a signal. Everyone turned around towards the newcomer. Marius listened, according to Courfeyrac’s advice, and this is what he heard:

(Here, the part about the game of dominoes.)

Marius had not consented to encumber Courfeyrac’s room, but he was living in the same building as him, having found him friendly. (The day after next, conversation about resources. The day after, about politics.)

“Hullo!” said Laigle de Meaux, “you’ll catch cold. No umbrella!”

Courfeyrac shrugged. The romantic school, to which he belonged, has always hated and scorned umbrellas.

“An umbrella!” he cried, “never! I’d sooner die!”

“You’re wrong,” said Bossuet, “they’re elegant. Don’t you know the great English fashion, an enormous parasol?”

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