He is Gillenormand’s great-grand-nephew on the paternal side, who led a garrison life, outside the family and far from the domestic hearth. He is a vain young man and a favourite of his Aunt Gillenormand, who preferred him because she did not see him.
He had ‘a lady’s waist,’ a victorious manner of trailing his sword and of twirling his moustache in a hook. He visited Paris very rarely, and so rarely that Marius had never seen him. The cousins knew each other only by name. Not seeing people permits one to attribute to them all possible perfections. He tries to become Gillenormand’s favourite when Marius is out of the picture, but he can’t replace Marius in the old man’s affections.