"Saint-Denis," Book Eleven: Chapter V
The Old Man
Let us recount what had taken place.
Enjolras and his friends had been on the Boulevard Bourdon, near the public storehouses, at the moment when the dragoons had made their charge. Enjolras, Courfeyrac, and Combeferre were among those who had taken to the Rue Bassompierre, shouting: "To the barricades!" In the Rue Lesdiguières they had met an old man walking along. What had attracted their attention was that the goodman was walking in a zig-zag, as though he were intoxicated. Moreover, he had his hat in his hand, although it had been raining all the morning, and was raining pretty briskly at the very time. Courfeyrac had recognized Father Mabeuf. He knew him through having many times accompanied Marius as far as his door. As he was acquainted with the peaceful and more than timid habits of the old beadle-book-collector, and was amazed at the sight of him in the midst of that uproar, a couple of paces from the cavalry charges, almost in the midst of a fusillade, hatless in the rain, and strolling about among the bullets, he had accosted him, and the following dialogue had been exchanged between the rioter of fire and the octogenarian:—
"M. Mabeuf, go to your home."
"There's going to be a row."
"Thrusts with the sword and firing, M. Mabeuf."
"That is well."
"Firing from cannon."
"That is good. Where are the rest of you going?"
"We are going to fling the government to the earth."
"That is good."
And he had set out to follow them. From that moment forth he had not uttered a word. His step had suddenly become firm; artisans had offered him their arms; he had refused with a sign of the head. He advanced nearly to the front rank of the column, with the movement of a man who is marching and the countenance of a man who is sleeping.
"What a fierce old fellow!" muttered the students. The rumor spread through the troop that he was a former member of the Convention,—an old regicide. The mob had turned in through the Rue de la Verrerie.
Little Gavroche marched in front with that deafening song which made of him a sort of trumpet.
He sang: "Voici la lune qui paraît, Quand irons-nous dans la forêt? Demandait Charlot à Charlotte. Tou tou tou Pour Chatou. Je n'ai qu'un Dieu, qu'un roi, qu'un liard, et qu'une botte. "Pour avoir bu de grand matin La rosée à même le thym, Deux moineaux étaient en ribotte. Zi zi zi Pour Passy. Je n'ai qu'un Dieu, qu'un roi, qu'un liard, et qu'une botte. "Et ces deux pauvres petits loups, Comme deux grives étaient soûls; Un tigre en riait dans sa grotte. Don don don Pour Meudon. Je n'ai qu'un Dieu, qu'un roi, qu'un liard, et qu'une botte. "L'un jurait et l'autre sacrait. Quand irons nous dans la forêt? Demandait Charlot à Charlotte. Tin tin tin Pour Pantin. Je n'ai qu'un Dieu, qu'un roi, qu'un liard, et qu'une botte."
They directed their course towards Saint-Merry.