Monsieur L'Abbé

He never notices that I am watching him. I know that when he is not with me he is busy with all the rich, clean girls who want his attention, and that he never thinks of me when he is with them. Because I am not like them I cannot win his affection. I will never be able to touch him the way they do, to brush my lips against his cheek and make him smile, to whisper a line of verse in his ear and earn a kiss. I envy them because they can touch him. If I tried to do the same, he would shy away. I am only the one who lives next door. I am nothing to him. If I touched him he would shy away. I know how frightening I am. I know it every time I see myself reflected in his eyes.

Sometimes I try to talk to him, but he does not pay attention to me. His mind is on the beautiful girl he will see later, and there is no room in him for thoughts of me. My presence in the room is a distraction to him. I leave, though I have nowhere to go. I do not want to be in his way. Moreover, I cannot bear to hear him talk about the girl who has stolen his affections.

When I know he is thinking of his lover, I cannot bear to stay in the same building as him and his reverie. His thoughts crowd me out the door. I know that the streets make me more pitiable to him, and I do not want his pity for my worn clothes, but there is nothing for me to do but wander. He shakes his head at me when I return, dirtier than ever, and he is sorry for me. It makes no difference. Without a true smile from him, I could not feel clean no matter how long I bathed. I will keep the dust on my clothes. I fear that it may inspire him to offer me charity. I will not take his money, though my stomach is a hungry knot inside me. I want his love, and he has given it to another.

But I know that when this love affair is over, he will be there and I will be here, and we will go to the cafe together though everyone there teases me and my father's politics. Imagine if I spoke to them of my love for Courfeyrac. How they would laugh at me. I have already heard a few of them say that Pontmercy is a fool. I do not want to prove them right. I shall not give him one of my cards when I call upon him. I shall knock on his door, and he will look up and smile and ask, "Marius, haven't you found a mistress yet?" I will only blush, shake my head, and wish.

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