Hugo In New York?

photo: pantheon, rue soufflot

The Panthéon, in the Latin Quartier of Paris near
the Sorbonne.

Count-Downs In Paris

Email from Linda and Jim Auman. Sent via the Internet on Saturday, 9. February:-

Bonjour Ric!

A belated Happy New Year's and thanks once again for the superb first meeting of Club Metropole West which took place west of Paris, on the west bank of the Atlantic Ocean, on the West Side of New York and the East Coast of the US, on the West Bank of the East River, the East Bank of the Hudson River and west of the rising sun and east of the setting sun.

A few suggestions for Metropole count-downs. First, how about the number of days until the first coat of paint gets splashed on the Eiffel Tower - and the number of days until the tower is completely painted?

Along with Victor Hugo not being a member of the club, what about a count-back to Wednesday, 6. June 1832. This was when a minor uprising in Paris was immortalized in 'Les Misérables' as 'The Revolt,' second only to the Révolution.

And on a final note about non-member Hugo, it was the play 'Les Misérables' which got mephoto: petit pont interested in France again. Linda and her niece dragged me to see the show in New York - on the west side. After it was over I felt like I had been drained and left limp.

Did 'Les Misérables' cross the Petit-Pont? Did they not?

A few weeks later I read the abridged version of 'Les Miz' - a few months later I read the entire book. And a few months later, keeping the Italian saying 'a translator is a traitor' in mind, I started to read it in French. All 1500-plus pages. Now, when someone asks where did I learn French, I repeat the above story and add, "But I don't speak French, I speak 'Victor Hugo.'"

This has been the year of the non-winter here. The only cold spell occurred when you came to visit New York in December. Temperatures for much of January and February have been in the 40s, 50s and even 60s. I haven't converted these to euros yet.

A la prochaine,

Linda & Jim Auman

Email from Alena Bohmova. Sent via the Internet on Thursday, 7. February:-

dear ric,

after reading the latest issue of metropole, i think it is clear - we need the countdown of 1001 nights from the day of publishing issue 7.06! every week 7 nights less and a few tales more... and if you continue with your stories for those 1002 days, your readers will be kept alive...

anyway, this countdown would be only one, and therefore clear even to me, who tends to get lost in those numbers of numerous countdowns - and moreover i dislike the word 'visaless', for which my electronic dictionary offers only substitutes of 'viceless', 'voiceless' and 'baseless.'

from once-upon-a-time-it-was-a-city-of-the-week praha,


Hugo's Count-Down?

Bonjour Alena, Linda and Jim -

Paris, Monday, 18. February:- it has taken me longer than usual to think up a reply to the burning 'count-up' or totally boring 'count-down' issues that you've raised.

The first problem is with the date of Wednesday, 6. June 1832. Jim mentions, 'This was when a minor uprising in Paris was immortalized in 'Les Misérables' as 'The Revolt,' second only to the Révolution.'

I have learned that this was planned from 1827. The 'Révolution' of 1830 was raised, lasted three republican days and then was hijacked by a man who would be king. For the public, the idea was to push out the retrograde king Charles X in favor of republican reforms.

Plotted by a an unlikely alliance including Tallyrand, Lafayette, Thiers and the endlessly recycled Louis-Philippe of Orléans - and with the essential manpower supplied by the republican students, artists, printers and artisans of Paris - who were anti-royalist, and also annoyed by unreasonable bread prices and high unemployment.

When a printing press was threatened with closure, these Parisian forces defended it. The king, Charles X, commanded a couple of regiments to restore order, but they were outfought in the narrow confines of Paris' mediaeval streets, and the troops broke ranks.

Then the Duke of Orléans began his passage from the Palais-Royal with difficulty - causedphoto: cloister st severin by rude Parisians - but arrived at the Hôtel de Ville in near triumph, sharing a balcony with Lafayette and the tricolor flag. At first the largely republican crowd of Parisians was astonished, but then began applauding.

The cloisters in the Square Lefèvre, attached to the Saint-Séverin church.

The only other 'Révolution' of 1832, was a mere plot involving the kidnapping of the king. It was called 'La Rue des Prouvaires,' after the street where it was supposed to take place.

It was discovered in advance by the police and the usual suspects were rounded up and jailed or deported to some malaria-infested colony. The actual date of this 'Révolution' was on 2-3. February of 1832. It was at a time when a 'Plot of the Month' was normal.

For 'Les Misérables,' I think Victor Hugo might have fiddled the date.

1002 Nights?

By going back from today, Monday, 18. February 2002, 1002 nights ago gives a date of Monday, 24. May 1999. Going forward 1002 nights in time results in the date of Monday, 15. November 2004.

On Monday, 24. May 1999, the following appeared in Metropole's Café column - 'Some mysterious thing went 'pop' in the night, possibly over Saturday-Sunday, and Metropole went off the Internet for the first time I can remember since February 1996.'

Can this be true? Is it possible, by just taking any random Monday and by counting-down 1002 nights, we end up with 'Some mysterious thing that went 'pop' in the night?'

Oh, I know that it was followed by some 'Internet' mumble-jumble, but it is indeed curious that my explanation of what happened also includes the word 'February' - as if some unseen will was anticipating a 'count-up' to today's date.

I take this as a definite 'sign' that I have to continue 'my stories' for another 1002 nights. 'Nights' is apt as well, because this is the time of day when most of Metropole is written - because 'days' are generally used for being out, and looking for stories.

As for 'some mysterious thing went 'pop' in the night,' this happened here all of last weekend. I have a haunted drawing cabinet and every once in a while it starts making mysterious 'pops,' and it chose last weekend to do this. There hasn't been a squeak out of it since then.
signature, regards, ric

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