This sentence from Les Misérables were translated by Isabel F. Hapgood in the 19th century as: "If the system of ambush and traps had not already existed, they would have been invented there." while a recent translation by Julie Rose says: "If this ambush had not already been planned, someone would have invented it there." Now both English translations render the subordinate clause (as I expected) in the case as past conditional clause, while the Hugo used present conditional. Are the translations correct? If so, what difference would it make to say it in French "Si le guet-apens n'avait/eût pas existé...."? My other question concerns the "guet-apens". According to the first translation the concept of ambush was already invented, while the second translation talk about one, definite, "this" ambush that was already planned. Which one is correct? (My guess is that the first one.) Please help me especially with the past conditional. Thanks/Merci. This sentence from Les Misérables WAS translated... - sorry.