"Heart's-Ease" is a collection of pensées, or short soliloquies, of Enjolras and Grantaire throughout the events of Book Two. It is meant as a companion piece, to show thoughts and motivations which are otherwise obscured.
The title: thoughts = pensées = pansies = heart's-ease = peace of mind, consolation. Anyone who thinks of making the other, tangential pun there will be summarily tickled to death.
And as you move between the worlds,
such sorrow makes us real...
I envy you your inexperience. I can't get that muddled that easily anymore. And God, how I'd like to, like to drown and die. I don't want to think about widows and orphans, I don't want to think about love and marriage, I don't want to think about the dead or the future, I don't want to think. Now you know how I feel.
But you'll let me help you, won't you? Lost like this, it's easier to let people help you. So much for pride, so much for embarrassment, it all goes away, doesn't it?
Let me help you. Let me do this for you, such a little thing. I told you I would. There are so many things I can do for you, if you'll let me, if you don't turn me away. See, it doesn't kill you, does it -- God, what an expression to use, very tactful of me, I'm sure. It's a mercy you don't hear me, but then, when have you ever?
Beautiful. Like a Grecian godlet, like something woven of sunshine. You have never been so beautiful as now, lost child, strayed angel, demigod in shirtsleeves, alone and confused. You aren't marble at all, are you, and now you know it, poor newborn. I could bruise you in my blundering, me with my ungrace, my sharp edges, I could make you bleed if I'm not careful. I am all broken glass inside, where you, if I don't miss my guess, were smothered in silk.
I don't want to think about your beauty. I don't want to think about my broken glass. I don't want to think.
What, shall I stay here? Shall I look after you tonight? Do you actually mean to grant me that grace? Of course you don't. You don't know what you're doing. I should go home.
Home is such a silly, meaningless word. So is love.
Do I want to talk to you? No, I never do, but there is no one else to talk to, and I have to talk. If only I had not drunk so much, perhaps I could find the right things to say to explain. Will you understand me?
God, how could I send away Chantal and Combeferre like that? Who am I to judge them so harshly, when they have only just promised to wed? A month ago, that first morning, I could have screamed in holy rage, and perhaps it would have made sense, but it's long past that moment. I had more things to worry about, larger things. I was a better man then, when I was concerned with impossibilities rather than the pathetic state of my own daily life and my own stunted soul.
I cannot talk to Combeferre because I am not a good enough man to be seen with him. If I am capable of being that cruel to him, I cannot bear myself. I have never met a better man, certainly not myself, and yet I cast stones at him. I only hope that he can forgive me, but I would not ask him to give me a moment of his time tonight, when I have never deserved it less. Courfeyrac has just wed, and even if he had not, I could not approach him about my internal turmoil; I doubt I ever could have. He is my friend, but never my confidant. Feuilly is busy, and I cannot depend on him. He does not need my whimpering, nor does anyone else. How could I have the audacity to blight their lives? I am but a lost idiot, severed from the light that led me, left to wander in the darkness and discover that, somehow, everyone lives here and always has. They have no lanterns of Justice and Truth, but tend to muddle through just the same. Was I blind before I lost my faith? Has that loss taken my sight? I cannot answer, and I cannot know.
You would know, if I could find the words to ask you, but I have given up my fine words in favor of a little oblivion. You are used to darkness; I always knew that, and despised you for it. Now I have fallen into the pit, where I envy you. You are comfortable here where I stumble and fall at every turn. Teach me to wander in the darkness. Forgive me; I was once above you, but I am no longer anything that you are not. Did you know that I had a Purpose, or did you laugh at me because you could not see the light I followed? It does not matter now, not if you can allow me to make amends. Let me heal the wounds I gave you, if I can. I ought to be able to do that without knowledge of a higher cause. I ought to be able to be human to that degree, enough to admit that you are better suited for this than I, and that I can learn from you.
Do not leave me alone. Please. I have driven off anyone and everyone who could care for me, handed them to the firing squad, led them to certain death. Please help me find my way. I do not know where I am going, but I cannot bear to be alone in the darkness. If I must pretend that I am more confused than the wine makes me, that is not a lie. I have been this confused for weeks now, though I could walk a straight line for all of them. I need someone to take care of me, someone who understands confusion better than I do, because I cannot stand being lost much longer. Not alone. If you will help me because you think I have departed from my wits, will you forgive me tomorrow when I tell you the truth?
You will stay, won't you. I thought you might. Thank you. I do not know why you tolerate me, but you cannot understand how much I appreciate it.
You're welcome, soul, to be with me
I'll happy be your guide...
I am dreaming. I am drowning. I am drunk on you, your skin, your hair, your need, your kindness; nothing can touch me now. I could stay here forever, watching you breathe, watching the light on your face. I am enraptured.
When I leave you it will all come home to me, what I've done with you, what I've done to you, how crazy all this is, and then I don't know what will happen. Right now it's all a sort of golden haze, it casts a glow on everything, nothing is quite real.
And after all, it's not wrong when the gods do it.
When I leave you, I'll be able to understand what's happened, what kind of desperation could make you turn to me, how much you must have been hurt before you'd ever let me touch you; and I know I won't want you at such a price.
Damn it. I didn't mean to want you. I didn't want to love you.
Love's an addiction, you know, it's a far worse vice than drink or dice or tobacco, it's a harder master than any mortal tyrant you care to name. It's a fever, a sickness, and I'm infected with you.
When I leave you, that's when the shakes will set in.
I trust you to be who I think you are. You always have been: I can ignore you for a month, two months, and when I look back you haven't changed. That was what I loathed most about you, when all I wanted was change. I was stirring the city's youth, leading them to a higher, virtuous cause, and you were always drunk, always cynical, always in the way. Unremittingly Grantaire. You could not have been more irritating to me.
I had my change. I found out I didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. I thought the world would change, and I could still be myself, but the world did not change, and I did. I cannot be that man anymore, because there is nothing to be done. Paris is Paris, the King is the King, no matter what I do or say. Q.E.D.
If I am not myself in the same way I once was, who notices? My friends, and few there are of them. They have all changed, are all changing themselves. They, like me, are trying to find where they fit. I envy you; you fit everywhere, just as you always did. I don't fit anywhere. This was my old place, almost: Le Musain. I was alive here, and proud, a priest consecrating men to accept the Second Coming of the Republic. It did not come. I was rejected, and yet I go on. I am an excommunicate still allowed inside his church. It is hollow. Without the dreams, it is only a building. Even the altar is missing. I do not remember the old rituals. There are other things to do. They have not the grace nor power, but they make me feel alive. I have never done that before.
Let them laugh and stare. I do not know who I am, but I know who you are. Strange, that you should be my certainty. Frightening. But when I am with you, I can remember that once I was great, once I could see the Possibility inside the reality. I was more than this before it was stolen away.
I know you remember. Help me see through your eyes. What do you see when you look at me? That man, who knew he was right and did not hesitate to inform you that you were not, that other me, do you ever see him? I have no wish to be him again, even if I could. I find that he was wrong about many things, but that knowledge does not hurt as much as I thought it might. Do you see who I am now?
Tell me who I am. I always knew who you were. Surely you owe me the same in return.
I cannot of two places be
Cannot be the shore and be the sea
To seek... to search... to find the place...
As dawn and dusk find their resting place
Am I in love? What a good question. How should I know the answer?
I was not raised to think that love is important. If a man's name is Enjolras, he loves his country, his family, his money, and his belongings, but it is rare to love his spouse. Chantal is lucky, or perhaps she made her own luck. She escaped from the iron control of our mother by breaking the rules. How fortunate for her that her lover is acceptable to the clan. You are not, and never will be, no matter how I feel about you. You are not a suitable match for many reasons. The presenting problem, that I could never marry you, will, perhaps, be subsidiary to the others. If I should bring you home, explaining you as a friend, your manners, upbringing, and perhaps even your bloodline would be more questionable than your gender.
Have I broken enough rules to acknowledge my emotions? I should think so, but I do not know the name for them. Poets write of love, but they do not say where dependence and desire stop and love begins. I am as lost in this as in everything else. Perhaps I can blunder through the dark and find the name for this feeling. I want you, your conversation, your companionship. I need the way you make me feel. You make me human. I know of no other way to be human.
Stay with me. Have you ever been in love? Would you know mine, if you saw it? Help me.
Slipped those ways into a life
Not knowing that you'd grow with me
The freedom that you gave... to see
Threefold earned this loyalty
All this frightens you, doesn't it? Lost child. You thought you knew how the world worked, how it all fit together; you thought you had the answers. You still think there are answers, if you can just find the right ones.
No, I don't have answers for you. All I can give you is my own oblivion. All I can do is help you forget.
I could teach you not to care; but I won't. You wouldn't really want to be like me.
But that won't wash, will it, because I do care. For you. In spite of myself. For you I'd like to be a better man, if I could, if I knew how; you deserve better, God knows. I would do anything for you. I would do things, willingly, that you'd never ask of me. I would die, if necessary, without hope of heaven or of hell. Even now, as bewildered as you are, you hold me in the palm of your hand.
I've told you as much. I don't know if you believe me or not. I'm not sure it matters if you believe me.
I have never been sure of anything. But I do care for you. Love, if you like. I will take care of you, as long as you need me.
It is obvious to everyone that I care for you. If it was not, we would not have as many problems. They can all see better than I can. They know what is happening, or they seem to, at least. That is more than I say for myself. I know very little, only that for whatever bizarre reasons, I do not want you to leave. I am holding on to whatever I can. Do not abandon me.
I care for you. I don't know what to call it but that. There is too much of a gap between me and the world without you. My dreams have fallen away, my friends with them. You are still here, still yourself. Can I change myself enough to laugh when you are rude to me? Can I ignore the wine, and see the man whose affection I need? I have not found out yet. It would be so much easier if you were not so troublesome.
If I loved you, would you listen to me when I asked you to be a little kind to me, or to leave the wineglass empty? Perhaps if I tell you so, I can convince you to be sensible. But if you are sensible, who will you be? Not the man I need at my side. Stay yourself, but make this easier for me.
Maybe I do love you. Why else would I spend time, words, and thoughts on you when you persist in insulting me?
By the same explanation, you must love me. Do I owe you an equal emotion? I do not know if I can give it, or if anyone could. Is this what love is, some fleeting emotion that holds people together when any sensible man would shun the other's company? If I give you that power over me, you must promise not to abuse it. I do not want you to be able to control me, but you already have some power over me. Does this mean I am lost?
Now... silence... would you not... spend more time just here
Your breeze is as a lover fine, a lover fine to me
And in the quiet darkness of our sacred place
I'd hold your court and bid you never leave here or away
Be careful. Oh, be careful.
I keep forgetting how fragile this is, how easily it could fall apart. I don't know you as well as I used to; the rules have changed; and I don't think you know me at all, do you? I tell you there's nothing but broken glass where my soul ought to be, and you're going to slice us both to ribbons if you keep poking at it.
Love, the boy says.
And how the hell should I know? My mother loved my father, and he beat her bloody. Courfeyrac loves his girl, and she'll walk all over him. Little what's-her-name loves you, God help her. You want me to tell you how love mends everything?
I don't want to hurt you. I would rather anything than hurt you, but I don't want to lie to you either. Reprehensible but honest. I will give you my truth, which is all I really have to give. I certainly can't give you yours.
But you're safe with me, I swear, as long as you care to stay. As long as you care to keep me, rather. You have nothing to fear from me, God knows, and I'm rather good at fending off the other bugbears.
I do not understand what's wrong with me. I have known you for years. Then again, I have not known you at all. I have known that you were there, yes, and annoying, and drunk, but I did not know the man who was not always all of those things at once.
I wonder if I would have accepted you as a friend in other circumstances. I would have had to be different, or perhaps you would. If you had not been so consistently inebriated, I might have listened to you. If you had not stared at me, I might have spoken to you.
You stared at me. You loved me? Even then? Do you hate yourself so much to let that happen? Love must be a hideous thing. I was so cruel to you. I would have been worse if I had known. I do not suppose I would have let you stay anywhere I could see you. It would have disgusted me. Why is that? I feel something for you, now. It is not devotion. I could bear to be without you, if only that did not mean I would be altogether alone.
How is it I have changed so much? I was saving all of my energy for the revolution, and now that it has come and gone, futile, I find I have more feelings than I know how to use.
Love, the boy says.
Why do you want to know? Are you afraid it's caught up with you? It hasn't, you know. If you don't know, I do. You don't love me. Maybe you pity me, maybe you like me, maybe you're just used to me; maybe you think I can help you, but that's not love, fair-haired boy.
And I'm not going to confuse you into thinking it is, by telling you anything pretty. Yes, it's worth all the exasperation -- but why muddy the waters?
Oh, the more I think about this, the less sense it makes. I don't do this sort of thing. God help me.
Through worlds divine and shadows fine
and 'cross the seven seas
Forever searching... in hopes of home to see
If, silence, you've a home, a place for us to be
You have no right to be interesting. I never wanted to like you at all. I never wanted to talk to you in the first place, but that was not acceptable to you, was it? No, you would not be ignored.
Are you happy now? You have caught my attention and completed the changes begun by that awful day in June. I hardly know myself now. When did I ever need what you give me?
Yes, I wanted it when I was younger, and did not know the right name for carnality. One of my family's maids held me quite in thrall. She haunted my dreams. I did not understand what I wanted from her. It was not such a mystery to my father, and he did not approve. I touched her once, where I should not have, and she protested. My father beat me until I could not sit or stand, and promised twice as much if I should so much as consider doing it again.
I did not know what I had done, but I feared that he would kill me if I should try it again. I pushed away the desire, killed it as much as I could. It was enough. I never did anything to earn that kind of punishment. Until you.
This is a larger sin than that little transgression. I will not be punished by my father, because, God willing, he will never know, but does it injure my soul? You do not believe in God. Do you believe in Hell? Teach me your atheism, if it will save me. If there is no God, I will not be punished for what I do.
My other sins are grave enough. Do you know that I think I might love you? Madness, perhaps, but you do not leave. Does it please you that I depend on you?
How long before I can stand on my own feet and escape this? Will I ever be able to leave this behind? Once I have the ability, will I want to?
It frightens me. Hold me.
You are not what you were. How could you be? Is that's what hurting both of us, the loss of the hero, the demigod, the champion of liberty? He was you, and he drew me along after him like a twig in his shining wake. And now he's gone, and at best we are stumbling along through the mud with hands on each other's shoulders.
More or less.
Ah, God, I don't do this sort of thing. Would you believe me, if I told you this has never happened to me before either?
And yet I begin to think that I have a hell of a lot better idea of how to deal with all this than you do. Fair-haired boy, whose maman still scolds him, who's still deep down afraid that God will find him out.
Things are out of joint. I am not supposed to be stronger than you are. The very thought scares me out of any claim to good sense. Ye gods -- but the way you look at me, with that imperious look of yours and something close to terror in those blue eyes. Demanding, Tell me it will be all right.
Well, all right, it will. Just-- don't forget to yell at me from time to time.
I do not understand why I can accept comfort from you. You said it yourself, that your only belief was in me, and what do I give you to believe in now? I am broken. Pathetic, that I should need you. I do not want to need anyone.
But I do.
If it is too dark at night, I can see Prouvaire fall. If it is too quiet, I can hear Pontmercy scream. If I am idle, I know that Bahorel is dead, and that it was my fault. Distract me. God knows you are good at that. I know it, too.
Do not believe in me so strongly. There is nothing left of me. I only continue because I am afraid. If I was truly the man you thought I was, I would have given myself to the law long since, so that the whole city could see that I would rather die than live a slave to this government.
I am not that man. I am a coward, a traitor, a hypocrite. I want to live, though it means betraying sacred oaths. For that, if nothing else, I deserve punishment.
I take it back. I should have known you couldn't continue to exist without one bee or another in your bonnet. If you can't save France, you'll settle for saving me, is that it? Good God.
You bloody naive child. You damned stubborn fair-haired boy, you don't understand, do you? You think it's just that simple. You think I haven't tried to save myself. It's not worth the trouble, in the end.
This is how it is: one of us must be steeped in vice, one of us must be lost, so that the other can be innocent, and that choice is no choice at all. I know how these things work, you see. I am to be your scapegoat, I will sin for both of us, so none of the mud comes off on you and you have the choice of virtue if you want it.
Balance, you see. Justice, of a kind. You were always a great one for justice.
Don't go trying to rescue me. I am comfortable on my ledge, halfway down the cliff; if you try to pull me up after you, we'll both fall, and a lot of good that will do anyone.
And you won't listen to me, will you, you're going to try anyway. Damn you. Damn me. Why do I corrupt everything I touch?
What do I have left to lose? My virtue? You still tout it, but it is gone. It was gone when I ran from my responsibilities at the barricade. It was gone when I forfeited my ability to think. It has been gone since you came home with me. I am no better than any other sinner, worse, for I am unrepentant. Give me my sin again.
Don't you see that I can bear you when you are sober? You are not so rough then, not so crude. I know that you can stop destroying yourself, or I can stop you. And if I fail, what of that? No one will be shot if I am wrong, now. Perhaps you will stay drunk; I have to try. I will drink with you. It is not painful, and is no new betrayal of myself.
If I drink, it will not be because I must. It will show you what you have chosen. Have faith in my promise; I can keep this one, at least, but I do not know how long I will be able to stand incapacitating myself for your sake. Learn quickly, please.
How ironic, that I beg you to change. Did you think of that? I did not care before, but now it hurts me to see you destroy yourself. I want you to change, this much. If you cannot find any other reason, not that I ask you, not that I will be with you, then realize that I only have a small tolerance for you when you are drunk.
If you want to keep me, pathetic, broken boy that I am, humor my naivete. Do not let this drive us apart. I shall be more alone than you. Do you understand? I need you to do this. If you do not, I will have to be strong again. I do not want to be strong enough to hurt us both.
I do not want to leave you. Be the man I need you to be, so that I can stay. Do not send me out alone for the sake of a glass of wine.
For you, fallen angel, I would change if I could. Believe that. I would like to have been someone you could respect, or failing that, someone you could tolerate. But fate never consulted me. Nature ran roughshod over my intentions.
I was going to grow up nothing at all like my father.
Didn't I know what he was like when he'd been drinking? Didn't I know what happened when his temper got the better of him? Didn't I despise his ignorance and indolence and spite?
Yes and yes and yes. I swore to be different, I swore I wouldn't let him drag me down. I was thirteen. What price a thirteen-year-old's vows? If I'd had his brute force of will, I might have pulled it off; but you know, fallen angel, what my willpower's worth.
So I drink, and sneer, and idle, and occasionally browbeat innocent law students for no reason except their appalling manners.
Ah, don't you see? If I could have been better than this, I would be. It kills me that you should ask it of me, you who above all I can't bear to disappoint. Why couldn't you demand the possible?
Because I will try, of course. And fail. And what will you think of me then?
No one loves me. No one could. I do not understand how you can even tolerate me, after what I've said and done to you. Perhaps you were drunk at the time; indeed, the chance of that is good. But who else would be foolish enough to try to care for me? I have never been a good man, never been anything more than a self-absorbed, selfish boy who thought that his dreams were more important than anything or anyone else in the world.
I do not know if I can love anything but the visions in my head. That is what I love of you: the person I wish you were, the person I think I can help you be. But what do I know of drinking? What do I know of helping anyone improve? I cannot make myself a more worthy person. I cannot love you as you are. When I look at you, I can pretend, sometimes, that you are more of what I want and less of the reality. It is not easy, and becomes less so when you are rude or drunk. And you do not know this. You can only see what you have done for years, and that it will be difficult to stop.
Become the person I want you to be. If you persist in shattering my illusion of you, I will have no one. No one in their right mind would love me. Stay with me, my madman.
Strange how my heart beats
to find myself upon your shore;
strange how I still feel
my loss of comfort go before.
Forgive me. I don't know what else to call it, this reluctant tenderness, this reverence mingled with desire, this feeling of light when I look at you; I don't know any name for it but love. Maybe I'm wrong. I usually am.
I didn't mean to hurt you with it, to appall you like that. I wasn't asking for pity, or probing for shame. I never knew it myself, if that makes you feel any better. But I can't take it back now.
If I say any of these things to you, you'll only sputter and protest, and end up more confused than ever. Someday I really must learn to just keep my mouth shut. I haven't a tenth of your eloquence, and even if I did, there are some things I don't guess you could ever understand.
Hell, I don't understand myself. Why should you?
That, for example, I meant it when I spoke of what I have a right to expect. It's not a question of worthiness -- it's that you didn't ask for this, any more than I did. Why should you put up with me if you don't want to? Because (God preserve me) I love you, but that's a damned poor reason. The Morienval girl loves you too, and she's miserable company if I ever knew it. Why let yourself be put upon?
No, if I stay with you, let it be because you want me, not because I want you to.
Why do you love me? I wish you did not. It would make it so much easier; not to say goodbye, because I am not ready for that, but to say almost anything else. I do not want to hurt you any more than I already have. It would be unfair, almost unchivalrous. You are the only chance I have ever had at love, and perhaps the only one I shall ever have. If my parents are angry at me about the trouble with Chantal, they may be arranging some hideous marriage for me. It would be just like my father to do that, and not so much as warn me.
I am so afraid. I did not know that you could love anything. I would never have guessed that you thought more of me than I did of you. And if I had known, what then? Nothing sane or good.
Is it better now that we share something? I do not know that either. I do not know anything. I wish I had not hated you; I would not feel so indebted now. Beside your great devotion, I am nothing. Do you understand how wrong that is?
I had an all-encompassing love, and she betrayed me. Not because I loved my sister, not because I was only a man. I do not know why my one great dream fell flat and failed, why Louis-Philippe is still happy and powerful. Such things are beyond me now. I am a stranger to the mysteries I once commanded.
I only know that I cannot do the same to you. For all that I never cared about your heart, then, I find that I do now. Forgive me; there were larger things on my mind, and everything else was in the way.
Let me make amends, in the little ways I can. Do not efface yourself to me. Not now.
She's a cold bitch, your Patria. She led you on, promised you heaven, and then she left you, didn't she? I know. None of her ilk ever had use for mortal men; you fall in love with her, and she uses you shamelessly, and drops you like a toy when she's weary of you. I hate her for breaking your heart.
Ideals are whores, all of them.
Combeferre knows. He never fell for the ideal, for some abstract France, but for his fellow men, who can give something back. I begin to think, now, that they can. Combeferre cares for you, and me, and the doorkeeper, and your sister -- particularly your sister --
I don't know. I will have to think this out. But it seems to me that he has a better idea than you did; your passion wouldn't let you be human, where his makes him more so. And now -- now that your slut of a dream-mistress has left you in the lurch -- now that you're noticing the people around you -- so are you.
Does that make sense? No, it doesn't, does it? I have never had the knack for making sense. But I feel it's true. I do. I believe it. God help me, I believe in it.
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