Les Amis de l'ABC

Chapter 17

Combeferre arrived early to his first class, pleased that Enjolras was already there. After a night’s sleep, he felt much better, in spite of Grantaire. “Enjolras, I must speak with you.”

“Yes, Combeferre,” Enjolras said icily.

“In reference to Sunday last. I would like to explain my deplorable behaviour.” Combeferre paused, planning every word. “I left because someone needed to temper this group. Fanaticism is very good, but in order to generate support, it will be necessary to cater to the feelings and needs of the working class. I feel that we need more involvement from that sector of the population now, at the beginning. Courfeyrac recruited a willing worker, one who will organise, plan, and fully support our group. One cannot have a revolution without revolutionaries. You had no cause to turn her away.”

“I had every right to turn her away. A woman would only confuse our aims. She will distract these schoolboys from our true goal.”

“I thought our true goal was complete freedom and equality. Why else would I have been on a barricade? Why else would I consider going back? If she understands the betrayal of ’30, then she is our equal. I thought that is why you fought as well.”

“There is a time and place for everything. This is not the time to speak of equality for women, nor is the barricade a place for one.”

“What about the girl who brought messages to us in July?” Enjolras was about to speak, but Combeferre stopped him. “No, I am wrong is speaking thus. I came here to make peace. I would like, and Courfeyrac would like, your continued involvement in our organisation. We are holding a meeting on Thursday, at seven o’clock in the evening, at the Café Musain. We would be pleased if you would join us.”

“Combeferre, you know it to be impossible. To go to that meeting would eliminate all control that I would ever have. If I do not lead, I fear that there will be no revolution.”

“I invite you to take control from me. Only you know what you desire from this crusade.”

“No, I will not. I will make you a counter offer. I shall conduct a meeting at Corinth, on Sunday, as usual.”

“May the girl attend?”


“Then I believe we have finished.” The professor entered the room. “I am sorry, Enjolras,” Combeferre said as he took his seat.


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