From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
M. Georges Ramponneau is the guy who throws the fabulous ball that just might be the best few hours of Mathilde's life. He's the Minister of Education, which makes him M. Loisel's boss (which is probably why M. Loisel was able to get the invitation). And he apparently "notices" Mathilde at the ball, like every other guy there.