The Bishop's Candlesticks

Based on an incident in Victor Hugo’s play ‘Les Miserables,’ ‘The Bishop’s Candlesticks’ is an extremely moving story by Norman McKinnel. The story talks about a kind bishop who saves the soul of a desperate absconding convict. The writer has focused on the transformation of heart in the convict.

The story’s protagonist, the bishop, is a compassionate person who is always ready to help anyone in distress. His simplicity and nobility is always a matter of concern for his sister, Persome, who opines that he is often misused of his generosity by people like Mere Gringore, who befools him by making him sell his silver salt cellars to pay her rent. Norman introduces Jean, the convict, as rude, rough, suspicious and full of fear. He enters the bishop’s house stealthily one night. Seizing the bishop, he asks for food at the point of his knife. He threatens to kill him, but the bishop treats him with utmost kindness and provides him food and shelter. Jean tells him his painful story and the reason why he broke the prison. He is also tempted to steal the silver candlesticks, which he does, but gets caught and is brought before the bishop. The bishop being a pious soul saves Jean by calling him his friend and lying that the candlesticks were a gift to Jean (those were instead a parting gift from his dying mother to him, and thus, were very precious and dear to him). The candlesticks play a very touching part in the story and cause the reformation of heart in Jean, who becomes a man with restored human values and goodness.

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