"He pulled out a copy of Pascal’s Pensées"


 Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was born in Clermont Ferrand, the town which Charlotte visits.  He was a mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher.


He died before completing the Pensées, which he originally entitled Apologie de la Religion Chrétienne (Defense of the Christian Religion).  The collection of notes includes the argument that we should live as if God exists, because there's little disadvantage if He doesn't and everything to gain if He does.  This idea became known as Pascal's Wager:

 A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager?

                         Pensées online