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At the table in this chapter sit a sad group of four couples – eight people at a table all interested in themselves. Four young men indulging in hedonistic self-gratification, and four young women consumed by their present desires to be happy and loved. Favourite’s cogitations about which man it is she really loves discloses her hopes for the secure steadfast man who thinks outside of himself. Fantine seems to have been caught up in the wrong crowd, but is clearly unprotected, having been left alone without a true father.

And noticeably absent at the table, is any sense of guilt, or mention of a nobler life of purity. We in our modern day suburban Bible Belt know that at least our teenage youth sitting around a similar table at Starbuck’s after an evening out would at least be legalistically uncomfortable with the disparity between immoral suggestions and the teachings of their parents. But perhaps in the early 1800s the French aristocracy and it’s parasitical class had already lost awareness of the higher life of love. Yes, the horrible ravages of the Romantics who legitimize license to use and abuse as long as it suits their personal journey of experience.

But wonderful Romantic thought that flows with eternal love! Celebrate the small joys and unseemly triumphs that cannot be sufficiently expressed in words, but must be experienced. Celebrate the story of a new acquaintance. Celebrate the excitement of another day on a steady path of service and faithfulness. Celebrate the latest brushstroke on the partially painted masterpiece! Celebrate trust in the Lord.

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