MINUS FIVE, PLUS ONE
After the man who decreed the "protest of corpses" had spoken, and had given this formula of their common soul, there issued from all mouths a strangely satisfied and terrible cry, funereal in sense and triumphant in tone:
"Long live death! Let us all remain here!"
"Why all?" said Enjolras.
"The position is good; the barricade is fine. Thirty men are enough. Why sacrifice forty?"
"Because not one will go away."
"Citizens," cried Enjolras, and there was an almost irritated vibration in his voice, "this republic is not rich enough in men to indulge in useless expenditure of them. Vain-glory is waste. If the duty of some is to depart, that duty should be fulfilled like any other."
Enjolras, the man-principle, had over his co-religionists that sort of omnipotent power which emanates from the absolute. Still, great as was this omnipotence, a murmur arose. A leader to the very finger-tips, Enjolras, seeing that they murmured, insisted. He resumed haughtily:
"Let those who are afraid of not numbering more than thirty say so."
The murmurs redoubled.
"Besides," observed a voice in one group, "it is easy enough to talk about leaving. The barricade is hemmed in."
"Not on the side of the Halles," said Enjolras. "The Rue Mondetour is free, and through the Rue des Precheurs one can reach the Marche des Innocents."
"And there," went on another voice, "you would be captured. You would fall in with some grand guard of the line or the suburbs; they will spy a man passing in blouse and cap. `Whence come you?' `Don't you belong to the barricade?' And they will look at your hands. You smell of powder. Shot."
Enjolras, without making any reply, touched Combeferre's shoulder, and the two entered the tap-room.
They emerged thence a moment later. Enjolras held in his outstretched hands the four uniforms which he had laid aside. Combeferre followed, carrying the shoulder-belts and the shakos.
"With this uniform," said Enjolras, "you can mingle with the ranks and escape; here is enough for four." And he flung on the ground, deprived of its pavement, the four uniforms.
No wavering took place in his stoical audience. Combeferre took the word.
Les Miserables -by- Victor HugoBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.