The day Grantaire drank from Prouvaire's bottle

Part 1

Grantaire strode somehow steadily across the café and snatched the verse Jean Prouvaire was reading to some of the other Amis from his hand.

"What's this pretty posey Jehan? Something new to impress your dainty dears? Let's see," Squinting at the lines he was able to make out a few, and so orated them loudly, "Do you remember our sweet life/When we were so young, we two..." He interrupted himself with a loud burp.

Jehan looked up at him plesantly. "We've read that part Capital-R, skip to the bit about Plato."

Grantaire laughed loudly and tossed the page back at the poet, "Oh Jehan, enough with your flowers and pretty girls all rhymed up one line with the other. Or better still, here- hand me a pen, and I'll have a go at some of these ladies who only live for a summer night of sweetly spoken words and the chance to share a line or two with you. Aha!" He erupted satisfactorily, "I have already begun!" And, sitting down at the table with Jehan and the others, he began to scribble furiously with the former's pen, on a piece of paper borrowed from his next neighbor, Joly.

While Grantaire mumbled, cursed, and wrote, Jehan quietly finished his love poem, (met with an accolade by his audience that R. paid no attention to) and waited good-naturedly for the fledgling rhymester to finish his opus, remarking casually to Feuilly, "This should be interesting."

Feuilly, eying Grantaire warily replied, "To say the very least about it." and laughed, joined by the others, which made Grantaire scowl but not look up.

Finally he finished, and with a satisfied "Voila!" rose, planting a foot on his chair and the other on the floor.

"Now," He began, commanding silence with a fierce twinkle in his bloodshot eye, "Which grissette, one may wonder, will have been the subject of my first piece? Which indeed! I must apologise to those mademoiselles I have slighted in this topic- for I have chosen to make my virgin dalliance in the bed of poetry with none other than that much haggled over baggage, Helen, late of Troy. Ah, Menelaus, forgive me! Paris, the scoundrel, gets no consideration, for he deserves none." And with that charming introduction, Grantaire launched headlong into the fruits of his vine-inspired labour.

"Helen, Late of Troy- by R.

"Ah, thou whom the Gods have blest
With charms to cause an emuté spanning seas,
Should thy face be just as fair as Marlowe said
Thy face alone shall never yet launch me.

"Let me look at you- and tell me plainly,
Trojan Harlot, fallen woman thou,
What words you spake that laid Fell Hector out,
What did you say to Bring Achilles low?

"No words at all! Just for thy pretty face,
That not so pretty in the morning be
When swords are flashing; Paris what a fool!
Stay but one night, then send her on to me,

"Then tarry with me Helen, just one day;
And then to thy husband go thou on thy way,
Daanan Doxy, I will soon send thee packing;
That our brave warriors's lives shall not be lacking.

"And the same goes for Breisis." He added, landing again in his chair with an air of satisfaction while the others looked around at each other in wonder. Bahorel finally broke the stunned stillness with a rauccous laugh.

"Pretty!" He exclaimed, slapping his thigh, "That's telling her!" And he laughed again, this time joined by the group, save for Jehan, who was somewhat scandalized by R.'s treatment of Aphrodite's disciple. Grantaire broke through the laughter with noise of his own,

"But wait my friends; there is more where that came from, if you will grant me a moment." And he filched another feiulle, this time from Feuilly.

"What now?" Asked Bahorel with humor in his eye ,"Going to bring Aphrodite down to your level? Will you slander Psyche, or change Cassandra's fortune?" Jehan looked wan at the Idea, but Grantaire laughed.

"No, no, I'm done with grissettes for the day; now I shall rhapsodize on something just as easy to get, but infinately less trouble and infinately more pleasant..."

Note: the poem that Prouvaire is reading in the beginning is on page 1105 of the Signet Classic translation, in Ch VI of book 12: Corinth, entitled, "While Waiting".