Les Miserables

1 of the Best book :- Les Misérables (Summary)

Les Misérables (Summary)

Summary of LES MISÉRABLES Volume-1



BOOK FIRST—A JUST MANCHAPTER I—M. MYRIELIn 1815, M. Charles-François-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D——  M. Charles-François-Bienvenu. He was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix; hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar. True or false, that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in their lives, and above all in their destinies, as that which they do. M.

Charles Myriel emigrated to Italy at the very beginning of the Revolution. His wife died of a malady of the chest, from which she had long suffered. In 1804, M. Myriel was the Curé of B—— [Brignolles]. He was already advanced in years, and lived in a very retired manner.

M. Myriel had to undergo the fate of every newcomer in a little town, where there are many mouths which talk, and very few heads which think.  Madame Magloire was a little, fat, white old woman, corpulent and bustling; always out of breath. All the stories and subjects of conversation which engross petty towns and petty people at the outset had fallen into profound oblivion. Mademoiselle Baptistine was a long, pale, thin, gentle creature; she realized the ideal expressed by the word “respectable”; for it seems that a woman must needs be a mother in order to be venerable.

M. Myriel had arrived at D—— accompanied by an elderly spinster, Mademoiselle Baptistine, who was his sister, and ten years his junior. Monsieur Myriel was installed in the episcopal palace of D—— on July 29, 1714. The mayor and the president paid the first call on him, and the general and the prefect. The Bishop replied: “And then, when there is a ray of sun, the garden is very small for the convalescents”.

On the very day when he took up his abode in the hospital, M. Myriel settled on the disposition of this sum once for all, in the following manner.  Their only servant, Madame Magloire, grumbled a little. This arrangement was accepted with absolute submission by Mademoiselle Baptistine.  M. Myriel made no change in this arrangement during the entire period that he occupied the see of D—— As has been seen, he called it regulating his household expenses.

On the other hand, this affair afforded great delight to Madame Magloire.  “Good,” said she to Mademoiselle Baptistine; “Monseigneur began with other people, but he has had to wind up with himself, after all.  Such was M. Myriel’s budget. When the Bishop of D– became treasurer of all benevolence and cashier of all those in distress, no matter how much money he received, he never had any. The poor people of the country-side had a sort of affectionate instinct, among the names and prenomens of their bishop, that which had a meaning for them; and they never called him anything except Monseigneur Bienvenu [Welcome]. “I like that name,” said he. Those who had and those who lacked knocked at M. Myriel’s door,—the latter in search of the alms which the former came to deposit.  “Monsieur the Mayor,” he said, “I have done so from necessity, and not from vanity”. Among them: “Look at those good peasants in the valley of Queyras!” and “the mountaineers of Devolny”. If, at the harvest season, the father of a family has his son away on service in the army, and his daughters at service in the town, and if he is ill and incapacitated, the curé recommends him to the prayers of the congregation; and on Sunday, after the mass, all the inhabitants of the village—men, women, and children—go to the poor man’s field and do his harvesting for him, and carry his straw and his grain to his granary.”  To villages where he found no schoolmaster, he quoted once more the people of Queyras: “Do you know how they manage?”. He discoursed gravely and paternally; in default of examples, he invented parables, with few phrases and many images, which characteristic formed the real eloquence of Jesus Christ.

Madame Magloire liked to call him Your Grace [Votre Grandeur]. When he laughed, it was the laugh of a schoolboy. He put himself on a level with the two old women who had passed their lives beside him. One of his distant relatives, Madame la Comtesse de Lô, rarely allowed him to escape of enumerating “the expectations” of her three sons. When it was a question of charity, he was not to be rebuffed even by a refusal.

After the delivery of that sermon, it was observed that he gave a sou every Sunday to the poor old beggar-women at the door of the cathedral. The Bishop caught sight of him in the act of bestowing this charity, and said to his sister, “There is M. Géborand purchasing paradise for a sou”. He wrote: “I do not blame the law, but I bless God.” He condemned nothing in haste and without taking circumstances into account. He understood how to say the grandest things in the most vulgar of idioms. When he saw everyone exclaiming very loudly, and growing angry very quickly, “Oh! oh!” he said, with a smile; “to all appearance, this is a great crime which all the world commits.” He was indulgent towards women and poor people, on whom the burden of human society rest.

The Bishop listened to all this in silence as they discussed the case at the Court of Assizes. The chaplain of the prison fell ill on the eve of the trial, and was sent for the curé. The curé refused, saying, That is no affair of mine. I, too, am ill; and besides, it is not my place. When the Bishop of Londonderry saw the guillotine fall, he said: God raises from the dead him whom man slays; he whom his brothers have rejected finds his Father once more.

Pray, believe, enter into life: the Father is there! He mounted the scaffold with the sufferer, who had been so gloomy and cast down on the previous day that he felt his soul was reconciled. He said: “It is wrong to become absorbed in the divine law to such a degree as not to perceive human law”. M. Myriel could be summoned at any hour to the bedside of the sick and dying.

The private life of M. Myriel was filled with the same thoughts as his public life. Like all old men, and like the majority of thinkers, he slept little. He meditated for an hour, then he said his mass, and broke his fast on rye bread dipped in the milk of his own cows. The Bishop of D—— was a curé who sought to counsel and calm the despairing man by showing him the grief which gazes upon a grave.

At half-past eight in the evening he supped with his sister, Madame Magloire standing behind them and serving them at table.  Every curé furnished the pretext for a good meal: the Bishop did not interfere.  After supper he conversed for half an hour with Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire; then he retired to his own room and set to writing, sometimes on loose sheets, and again on the margin of some folio.  He was a man of letters and rather learned; he left behind him five or six very curious manuscripts. They include a dissertation on a verse in Genesis, In the beginning, the spirit of God floated upon the waters.

And a note written by him on the margin of a quarto entitled Correspondence of Lord Germain with Generals Clinton, Cornwallis, and the Admirals on the American station. Behind the house was a garden, a quarter of an acre in extent, behind which he kept two cows and two calves. The Bishop’s oratory was at the end of this suite was a detached alcove with a bed, for use in cases of hospitality. Mademoiselle Baptistine’s ambition had been to purchase a set of drawing-room furniture in yellow Utrecht velvet, stamped with a rose pattern, and with mahogany in swan’s neck style, with a sofa. She had ended by renouncing the idea, as she had only been able to lay by forty-two francs and ten sous for this purpose.

Madame Magloire having taken the pictures down to dust, the Bishop had discovered these particulars written in whitish ink on a little square of paper, yellowed by time, and attached to the back of the portrait of the Abbé of Grand-Champ with four wafers. Mademoiselle Baptistine Magloire discovered beneath the paper which had been washed over, paintings ornamenting the Bishop of D——’s apartment. The Bishop often called attention to it: “How delightful that is!” he said. He said, “That takes nothing from the poor!”. However, in their latter years, Madame Magloire discovered beneath the paper which had been washed over, paintings, ornamenting the apartment of Mademoiselle Baptistine, as we shall see further on.   “Madame Magloire,” retorted the Bishop, “you are mistaken.  The Bishop had all this ironwork removed, and this door was never fastened, either by night or by day, with anything except the latch. He watered his flower-beds every summer evening with a tin watering-pot painted green. Madame Magloire alone had frights from time to time.

Madame Magloire asked Monsieur Bès whether he was sure that he was not committing an indiscretion, to a certain extent, in leaving his door unfastened day and night, at the mercy of any one who should choose to enter. The Bishop of D—— replied that he did not fear lest some misfortune might occur in a house so little guarded. It chanced that a worthy curé, I know not whether it was the curé of Couloubroux or the curé of Pompierry, took it into his head to ask him one day, probably at the instigation of Madame Magloire, whether Monsieur was sure that he was not committing an indiscretion, to a certain extent, in leaving his door unfastened day and night, at the mercy of any one who should choose to enter, and whether, in short, he did not fear lest some misfortune might occur in a house so little guarded.  Cravatte was in possession of the mountains as far as Arche, and beyond; there was danger even with an escort. The mayor came to meet him, and urged him to retrace his steps.

“Monseigneur, you will not do that!” exclaimed the mayor. His obstinacy was bruited about the country-side, and caused great consternation among the clergy. They could only place at his disposal a wretched village sacristy, with a few ancient chasubles of threadbare damask adorned with imitation lace. They had to allow him to do as he pleased. He would take neither his sister nor Madame Magloire.

He mentioned it to the curé.  Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire, who were waiting for him, said to his sister: “Well! was I in the right?”. When he returned to Chastelar, the people came out to stare at him as at a curiosity, all along the road. He said again: Let us never fear robbers nor murderers; those are petty dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves.

The senator then declared: As one makes one’s philosophy, so one lies on it. I have all the philosophers in my library gilded on the edges, Count. He even sometimes laughed at him with an amiable authority in the presence of M. Myriel himself, who listened to him. Needham: I hate Diderot; he is an ideologist, a declaimer, and a revolutionist, a believer in God at bottom, and more bigoted than Voltaire.

The Jehovah hypothesis tires me, Bishop. It is good for nothing but to produce shallow people, whose reasoning is hollow. Needham’s eels prove that God is useless.

They never interfered with him by so much as a word or sign, in any action once entered upon. At certain moments, without his having occasion to mention it, when he was not even conscious of it himself, they vaguely felt that he was acting as a bishop; then they were nothing more than two shadows in the house. If obedience consisted in disappearing, they disappeared. This man, we will state at once, was a former member of the Convention.  A member of the Convention, G—— was mentioned with a sort of horror in the little world of D–.

This man was almost a monster. He had been a terrible man. How did it happen that such a man had not been brought before a provost’s court? The Bishop meditated on the subject, and he said, “There is a soul yonder which is lonely”. As he had not voted for the death of the king, he had not been included in the decrees of exile, and had been able to remain in France.

He found it strange, impossible, and almost repulsive; but at bottom, he shared the general impression. — “I am going to recover, Monsieur,” replied the old man with a half-smile. It will be night then.  The Bishop did not think he discerned God in this manner of dying; let us say the whole, for these petty contradictions of great hearts must be indicated like the rest. Meanwhile, the member of the Convention had been surveying him with a modest cordiality, in which one could have distinguished, possibly, that humility which is so fitting when one is on the verge of returning to dust.

A member of the Convention produced on him the effect of being outside the law, even of the law of charity. G—— was one of those octogenarians who form the subject of astonishment to the physiologist. The Revolution had many of these men, proportioned to the epoch. At this solemn moment, G—— resembled the king in that tale of the Orient. The French Revolution is the most important step of the human race since the advent of Christ, says a delegate at the Convention of 1814.

I was expecting that word!  And he added, regarding the member of the Convention steadily the while, “Louis XVII.?” “Cartouche? Louis XV.?  The conventionary was the first to break it, and appealed to the Bishop with a gaze full of all the forces of the death agony. “Yes, sir, the people have been suffering a long while,” he said. The Conventionary said, “I do not know you, I tell you; but that affords me no information as to your moral personality.” The Bishop replied, “Vermis sum—I am a worm”. “What think you of Marat clapping his hands at the guillotine?” the Bishop replied. The conventionary began to pant; the asthma of the last breaths of his agony interrupted his voice. Apart from the Revolution, which, taken as a whole, is an immense human affirmation, ’93 is, alas! a rejoinder.  The French Revolution had its reasons for existence; its wrath will be absolved by the future. Fouquier-Tainville is a rascal; but what is your opinion as to Lamoignon-Bâville? Maillard is terrible; but Saulx-Tavannes, if you please? Jourdan-Coupe-Tetê is a monster; but not so great a one as M. the Marquis de Louvois. The Bishop made no reply; he was seized with a fit of trembling and said: Good cannot have an impious servitor. He who is an atheist is but a bad leader for the human race. The Conventionary replied: “Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions.” “I was sixty years of age when my country called me and commanded me to concern myself with its affairs,” he said. He went on: “Our territory was invaded, I defended it; France was menaced, I offered my breast”. In 1793 the Bishop of G——, a conventionary of the Convention of France, wrote: For many years past, I was hunted down, pursued, persecuted, blackened, jeered at, scorned, cursed, proscribed. And I accept this isolation of hatred, without hating any one myself.

All those revolutionists are backsliders. Then why go there? What was there to be seen there? asked one commentator. Although Monseigneur Bienvenu was far from being a politician, this is, perhaps, the place to indicate very briefly what his attitude was in the events of that epoch, supposing that Monseigneur Bienvenu ever dreamed of having an attitude.

M. Myriel was summoned by Napoleon to the synod of the bishops of France and Italy convened at Paris. He was one of the ninety-five bishops who attended it, but he was present only at one sitting and at three or four private conferences. Napoleon made him a baron of the Empire, in company with many other bishops. Luxury is wrong in churchmen, except in connection with representations and ceremonies.

An opulent priest is a contradiction; the priest must keep close to the poor. The Bishop of D– was glacial towards Napoleon in his decline; he gave in his adherence to or applauded all hostile manifestations of the Emperor. If he had been strongly pressed, it seems that he would have been found to be an ultramontane rather than a gallican. His other brother, the ex-prefect, remained more affectionate. Thus Monseigneur Bienvenu also had his hour of party spirit, his hour of bitterness, his cloud.

He was harsh for a time towards the former, because, holding a command in Provence at the epoch of the disembarkation at Cannes, the general had put himself at the head of twelve hundred men and had pursued the Emperor as though the latter had been a person whom one is desirous of allowing to escape.  It was a crime to applaud, in 1814, in the presence of those marshals who betrayed, and insulting after having deified, it was a duty to turn aside the head. In 1815, when the supreme disasters filled the air, when France was seized with a shiver at their sinister approach, when Waterloo could be dimly discerned before Napoleon, the mournful acclamation of the army and the people to the condemned of destiny had nothing laughable in it. In the course of nine years Monseigneur Bienvenu filled the town of D–with a sort of tender and filial reverence. He was an old non-commissioned officer of the old guard, a member of the Legion of Honor at Austerlitz, as much of a Bonapartist as the eagle.

Even his conduct towards Napoleon had been accepted and tacitly pardoned by the people. Every career has its aspirants, who form a train for those who have attained eminence in it. To please a bishop is equivalent to getting one’s foot in the stirrup for a sub-diaconate. This is what that charming Saint François de Sales calls somewhere “les prêtres blancs-becs,” callow priests. There are big mitres in the Church – there are bishops who stand well at Court.

As they advance themselves, they cause their satellites to progress also; it is a whole solar system on the march. The larger the diocese of the patron, the fatter the curacy for the favorite. And then, there is Rome. How many blushing choristers bear on their heads Perrette’s pot of milk? Monseigneur Bienvenu, poor, humble, retiring, was not accounted among the big mitres.

We have seen that he “did not take” in Paris. Not a single future dreamed of engrafting itself on him. His canons and grand-vicars were good old men, rather vulgar like him. For the masses, success has almost the same profile as supremacy. Success, that Menaechmus of talent, has one dupe, history.

In our day, a philosophy which is almost official has entered into its service. Moses, Æschylus, Dante, Michael Angelo, or Napoleon, the multitude awards on the spot, and by acclamation, to whomsoever attains his object, in whatsoever it may consist. We are not obliged to sound the Bishop of D—— on the score of orthodoxy. In the presence of such a soul we feel ourselves in no mood but respect. The point on which we are certain is, that the difficulties of faith never resolved themselves into hypocrisy in his case.

No decay is possible to the diamond. He examined without wrath, and with the eye of a linguist who is deciphering a palimpsest, that portion of chaos which still exists in nature. Every man, even the best, has within him a thoughtless harshness which he reserves for animals. His universal suavity was less an instinct of nature than the result of a grand conviction. It is not its fault; these sublime puerilities were peculiar to Francis d’Assisi and Marcus Aurelius.

Monseigneur Bienvenu had formerly been, if the stories anent his youth, and even in regard to his manhood, were to be believed, a passionate, and, possibly, a violent man.  He began to radiate something of the emotion which one would feel on beholding a smiling angel slowly unfold his wings. That, it will be recalled, was the effect which he produced upon Napoleon.  He was moved amid the darkness by the splendor of the constellations and the invisible splendor of God, opening his heart to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown. As we have seen, prayer, the celebration of the offices of religion, alms-giving, the consolation of the afflicted were all part of his daily routine. He thought of the grandeur and presence of God; of the future eternity, that strange mystery.

He did not study God, he was dazzled by him. Mysterious exchange of the abysses of the soul with the depths of the universe!

There is a sacred horror beneath the porches of the enigma; those gloomy openings stand yawning there, but something tells you, you, a passer-by in life, that you must not enter. There is nothing to indicate that he risked his mind in apocalypses. He would probably have felt a scruple at sounding too far in advance certain problems which are reserved for terrible great minds. Human meditation has no limits. At his own risk and peril, it analyzes and digs deep into its own bedazzlement.

There are on earth men who perceive distinctly at the verge of the horizons of reverie the heights of the absolute. Monseigneur Welcome was one of these men. He discovered that “love each other is nonsense” and declared this to be complete, desired nothing further, and that was the whole of his doctrine. He was of medium stature, thickset and robust, in the prime of life. Made his entrance into D—— by the same street which had seen the Emperor Napoleon pass through seven months before.

From the south; from the seashore, perhaps, for he made his entrance into D—— by the same street which, seven months previously, had witnessed the passage of the Emperor Napoleon on his way from Cannes to Paris.  Jacquin Labarre of the Three Dauphinsisted that General Bertrand, disguised as a carter, had distributed crosses of honor to the soldiers and handfuls of gold to the citizens of D– Grenoble when he entered the city on 4th of March. The Inn of the Cross of Colbas was owned by a landlord named Labarre, a man of consideration in the town on account of his relationship to another Labarre who kept an inn of the same name in the village.  While the newcomer was warming himself before the fire, with his back turned, the worthy host, Jacquin Labarre, drew a pencil from his pocket, then tore off the corner of an old newspaper which was lying on a small table near the window.  Are you afraid that I will not pay you in advance?

I have money, I tell you. Landlord of the Cross of Colbas: I am in the habit of being polite to every one. The man dropped his head, picked up the knapsack which he had deposited on the ground, and took his departure. He chose the principal street and walked straight on at a venture, keeping close to the houses like a sad and humiliated man. Just then a light flashed up at the end of the streets; a pine branch suspended from a cross-beam of iron was outlined against the white sky of the twilight.

It proved to be, in fact, a public house which is in the Rue de Chaffaut. The entrance to this public house, which is also a sort of an inn, is by two doors. One opens on the street, the other upon a small yard filled with manure. This fishmonger had been a member half an hour previously of the group which surrounded Jacquin Labarre, and had himself related his disagreeable encounter of the morning to the people at the Cross of Colbas.  A voice said: The prison is not an inn.

Get yourself arrested, and you will be admitted. He peered through the pane as he had done at the public house.  He wore a huge leather apron, which reached to his left shoulder, and carried a hammer, a red handkerchief, a powder-horn, and all sorts of objects which were upheld by the girdle caused to bulge out. The stranger paused a moment in reverie before this tender and calming spectacle. Have you been to Labarre?”

and the traveller replies with embarrassment: I do not know. He did not receive me. then he closes the door and shoots two large bolts through the window-shutter. When a stranger came across a garden, he saw a sort of hut which seemed to him to be built of sods. He thought without doubt that it was the dwelling of a road-laborer; he was suffering from cold and hunger, but this was, at least, a shelter from the cold. At that moment, a ferocious growl became audible, and he raised his eyes to see the head of an enormous dog at the entrance of the hut.

He armed himself with his staff, made a shield of his knapsack, and made his way out of the kennel. The horizon was perfectly black, caused by very low-hanging clouds which seemed to rest upon the hill itself, and which were mounting and filling the whole sky. There was nothing in the field or on the hill except a deformed tree, which writhed and shivered a few paces distant from him. Napoleon dictated the proclamations of the Emperor and of the Imperial Guard to the army to be published for the first time. The Bishop of D—— was writing over a great work on Duties, which was never completed, unfortunately.

He was divided into two parts: firstly, the duties of all; and second, those of each individual according to the class to which he belongs. As she performed this service, she was conversing with Mademoiselle Baptistine. Madame Magloire was, in fact, just putting the last touches to the table. Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire wore clothes of the fashion of 1806, which she had purchased at that date in Paris, and which had lasted ever since. To borrow vulgar phrases, which possess the merit of giving utterance in a single word to an idea which a whole page would hardly suffice to express, they were both peasants.

A moment later he added:—”‘Monsieur Jean Valjean, is it to Pontarlier that you are going?'” Monsieur Valjean: They have, in the country of Pontarlier, a truly patriarchal and truly charming industry, my sister. It is their cheese-dairies, which they call fruitières. He continues: “My brother imparted all these details with that easy gayety of his with which you are acquainted”. My brother did not even ask him from what country he came, nor what was his history. For in his history there is a fault, and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could remind him of it.

In any case, what I can say is that, if he entertained all these ideas, he gave no sign of them; from beginning to end, even to me he was the same as he is every evening, and he supped with this Jean Valjean with the same air and in the same manner in which he would have supped with M. Gédéon le Prévost, or with the curate of the parish. Madame Magloire: My brother kissed the child on the brow, and borrowed fifteen sous which I had about me to give to Mother Gerbaud. The man was not paying much heed to anything then. He was no longer talking, and he seemed very much fatigued.

Monseigneur Bienvenu took one of the two silver candlesticks from the table, handed the other to his guest, and led him to his room.  CHAPTER VI—JEAN VALJEANTowards the middle of the night Jean Valjean woke. Jean Valjean was of that thoughtful but not gloomy disposition which constitutes the peculiarity of affectionate natures. He had lost his father and mother at a very early age. His father, a tree-pruner, like himself, had been killed by a fall from a tree.

The eldest of the seven children was eight years old. His sister, Jeanne, often took the best part of his repast from his bowl while he was eating to give to one of her children. It was Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean was sentenced to five years in the galleys of Paris for breaking and entering an inhabited house at night. The terms of the Penal Code were explicit.

Montenotte: What an ominous minute is that society draws back and consummates the irreparable abandonment of a sentient being. When Jean Valjean was sent to Toulon, he was chained to the end of the fourth line in the courtyard of the prison. Then still sobbing, he raised his right hand and lowered it gradually seven times, as though he were touching in succession seven heads of unequal heights, and from this gesture it was divined that he had done for the sake of clothing and nourishing seven little children. She was in Paris, and lived in a poor street near Saint-Sulpice, in the Rue du Gindre. She had with her only one child, a little boy, the youngest.

The clock-tower of what had been their village forgot them; the boundary line of their field forgot them. In that heart, where there had been a wound, there was a scar. That is all. That is what was told to Jean Valjean.

Jean Valjean felt himself exasperated. He declared to himself that there was no equilibrium between the harm he had caused and the harm which was being done to him. And besides, human society had done him nothing but harm. He resolved to whet it in the galleys and to bear it away with him when he departed. Jean Valjean had not, as we have seen, an evil nature.

He was still good when he arrived at the galleys of Toulon. He there condemned society, and felt that he was becoming wicked. Does human nature change utterly and from top to bottom? He would have pitied this sick man, of the law’s making; but he would not have essayed any treatment. Like Dante at the portals of hell, he effaced from this existence the word which the finger of God has inscribed upon the brow of every man: hope.

Was this state of his soul, which we have attempted to analyze, as perfectly clear to Jean Valjean as we have tried to render it for those who read us?  He was transformed, little by little, by a sort of stupid transfiguration, into a wild beast. When he was recaptured, the fresh severities inflicted on him only served to render him more wild. His comrades nicknamed him Jean the Jack-screw, from which Rue Montorgueil, near the Halles [Fishmarket] in Paris is named. Jean Valjean’s successive and obstinate attempts at escape would alone suffice to prove this strange working of the law upon the human soul.

To climb a vertical surface, and to find points of support where hardly a projection was visible, was play to Jean Valjean. An angle of the wall being given, with the tension of his back and legs, fitted into the unevenness of the stone, he raised himself as if by magic to the third story. He saw laws, prejudices, men, and deeds, collected and mounted above him, beyond the range of his vision. It seemed to him that these distant splendors, far from dissipating his night, rendered it more funereal and black. In this situation Jean Valjean meditated; and what could be the nature of his meditation?

His reason, at one and the same time riper and more troubled than of yore, rose in revolt. He gazed at the galley-sergeant standing a few paces from him; the galleys seemed a phantom to him. It was not without reason that Jean Valjean’s passport described him as a very dangerous man. His deliberate deeds passed through three successive phases, which natures of a certain stamp can alone traverse. The point of departure, like the point of arrival, for all his thoughts, was hatred of human law.

From year to year this soul had dried away slowly, but with fatal sureness. He is conscious that he is becoming an abyss, that he forms part of the foam; the waves toss him from one to another; all the tongues of water dash over his head; confused openings half devour him; he sees glimpses of precipices filled with night; he hears noises strange to man, which seem to come from beyond the limits of the earth. Jean Valjean was dazzled by the idea of liberty and believed in a new life. The sea is the inexorable social night into which the penal laws fling their condemned. When evening arrived, as he was forced to set out again on the following day, he presented himself to the owner of the distillery and requested to be paid.

This is what happened to Jean Valjean.  His memories of the olden time and of the immediate present floated there pell-mell and mingled confusedly. He had observed the six sets of silver forks and spoons and the ladle which Madame Magloir had placed on the table. They haunted him for a whole hour in fluctuations with which there was certainly some struggle. We will mention this thought at once: he had observed the six sets of silver forks and spoons and the ladle which Madame Magloire had placed on the table.

He thought of a convict named Brevet, whose trousers had been upheld by a single suspender of knitted cotton, and of the checkered pattern of that suspender incessantly in his mind. The night was not very dark; there was a full moon across which coursed large clouds driven by the wind. On arriving at the window, Jean Valjean examined it.

Jean Valjean listened.  Jean Valjean shuddered. The noise of the hinge rang in his ears with something of the trump of the Day of Judgment. He heard the arteries in his temples beating like two forge hammers, and it seemed to him that his breath issued from his breast with the roar of the wind issuing from a cavern. Jean Valjean: This room was in a state of perfect calm.

Here and there vague and confused forms were distinguishable, which in the daylight were only shadowy corners and whitish spots. He could hear the even and tranquil breathing of the sleeping Bishop at the extremity of the room. At the moment when the ray of moonlight superposed itself, so to speak, upon that inward radiance, the sleeping Bishop seemed as in a glory. Jean Valjean was in the shadow, and stood motionless, with his iron candlestick in his hand, frightened by this luminous old man. At the expiration of a few minutes his left arm rose slowly towards his brow, and he took off his cap; then his arm fell back with the same deliberation, and Jean Valjean fell to meditating once more, his cap in his left hand, his club in his right hand, his hair bristling all over his savage head.

He presented it to Madame Magloire. Madame Magloire: Monseigneur, the man is gone! The silver has been stolen! Bishop: “And, in the first place, was that silver ours?”. it makes one shudder to think of it!

The three men were gendarmes; the other was Jean Valjean. Jean Valjane was dejected and seemed overwhelmed, raising his head with an air of stupefaction. The gendarmes released Jean Valjean, who recoiled. Jean Valjean was like a man on the point of fainting. The Bishop drew near to him, and said in a low voice: “Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man”.

He then turned to the gendarmes and said: “You may retire, gentlemen.” There came over him at times a strange emotion which he resisted and to which he opposed the hardness acquired during the last twenty years of his life. He was conscious of a sort of rage; he did not know whether he was touched or humiliated. At times he would have actually preferred to be in prison with the gendarmes. As the sun declined to its setting, Jean Valjean sat down behind a bush upon a large ruddy plain, which was absolutely deserted. A path which intersected the plain passed a few paces from the bush.

In the middle of this meditation, which would have contributed not a little to render his rags terrifying to any one who might have encountered him, a joyous sound became audible. He turned his head and saw a little Savoyard coming up the path and singing, his hurdy-gurdy on his hip, and his marmot-box on his back. “Give me back my money, sir!” cried the child. Jean Valjean raised his head.

and shouted with all his might: “Little Gervaius!”. The landscape was gloomy and deserted. Little Gervais!” If the child had heard him, he would have been alarmed and would have taken good care not to show himself. He set out on his march again, then he began to run; and from time to time he halted and shouted into that solitude, with a voice which was the most formidable and the most disconsolate that it was possible to hear, “Little Gervais!”. Jean Valjean set out on a run, in the direction which he had first taken. When Jean Valjean left the Bishop’s house he was quite thrown out of everything that had been his thought hitherto. He ran across the plain towards something which conveyed the effect of a human being reclining or crouching down; it turned out to be nothing but brushwood or rocks nearly on a level with the earth. In this way he traversed a tolerably long distance, gazing, calling, shouting, but he met no one. He sent his gaze into the distance and shouted for the last time, “Little Gervais!

Little Gervais! Little Gervais!”  It is doubtful whether Jean Valjean was in a condition to disentangle all that we have here indicated. On emerging from that black and deformed thing which is called the galleys, the Bishop had hurt his soul. Like an owl, who should suddenly see the sun rise, the convict had been dazzled and blinded by virtue. In this state of mind he had encountered little Gervais, and had robbed him of his forty sous.  When intelligence reawakened and beheld that action of the brute, Jean Valjean recoiled with anguish and uttered a cry of terror. At the moment when he exclaimed “I am a wretch!” he had already separated from himself to such a degree, that he seemed to himself to be no longer anything more than a phantom. Jean Valjean’s reverie is one of those violent and yet perfectly calm moments in which reverie so profound absorbs reality. He actually saw that he was looking at himself, as though apart from one’s self, the figures which one has in one’s own mind. At the same time he perceived in a mysterious depth a sort of light which he at first took for a torch. After a certain time he was no longer anything more than a shade. The Bishop alone remained; he filled the whole soul of this wretched man with a magnificent radiance. As he wept, daylight penetrated more and more clearly into his soul; an extraordinary light; a light at once ravishing and terrible. His past life, his first fault, his long expiation, his external brutishness, his internal hardness, rejoicing in manifold plans of vengeance, all this recurred to him at the Bishop’s. It seemed to him that he beheld Satan by the light of Paradise. How many hours did he weep? Whither did he go? No one ever knew. The French army was dressed in white, after the mode of the Austrian. Napoleon was at St. Helena and since England refused him green cloth, he was having his old coats turned. Madame Saqui had succeeded to Forioso; there were still Prussians in France.

Lord Byron was beginning to make his mark; a poem by Millevoye introduced him to France in these terms: “Even when Loyson steals, one feels that he has paws”. The Parisians stared indifferently at this useless thing.  Four young Parisians arranged a farce for the year of 1817. They were four Oscars; for, at that epoch, Arthurs did not yet exist. History neglects nearly all these particulars, and cannot do otherwise; the infinity would overwhelm it.

Deserters from Ligny and Quatre-Bras exhibited their devotion to the monarchy in the most barefaced manner. These Oscars bore the names, one of Félix Tholomyès, of Toulouse; the second, Listolier, of Cahors; the next, Fameuil, of Limoges; the last, Blachevelle, of Montauban.   Favourite, Dahlia, Zéphine, and Fantine were four ravishing young women, perfumed and radiant, still a little like working-women, and not yet entirely divorced from their needles; somewhat disturbed by intrigues, but still retaining on their faces something of the serenity of toil, and in their souls that flower of honesty which survives the first fall in woman.  She was admired by Dahlia, Zéphine and Dahlia; her father met her father from time to time, and he bowed to her. Fantine’s mother never spoke to her for hours without uttering a word, dined and dined, and supped for four, and ate and drank.

Good! some one will exclaim; and Tholomyès?  Fantine Tholomyès was born at M. sur M. of what parents?

Who can say? She had never known father or mother. Fantine was one of those beings who blossom, so to speak, from the dregs of the people. At the age of ten she came to Paris “to seek her fortune”. But as his youth disappeared, he replaced his teeth with buffooneries, his hair with mirth and his health with irony. One day Tholomyès took the three others aside, with the gesture of an oracle, and said to them:—”Fantine, Dahlia, Zéphine, and Favourite have been teasing us for nearly a year to give them a surprise.  The Paris of 1862 is a city which has France for its outskirts. The four couples conscientiously went through with all the country follies possible at that time. On the preceding day, Favourite had written the following to Tholomyès in the name of the four: “It is a good hour to emerge from happiness”.  Listolier and Fameuil, who were engaged in discussing their professors, explained to Fantine the difference that existed between M. Delvincourt and M. Blondeau. Tholomyès followed, dominating the group.  As for Fantine, she was a joy to behold. There was something indescribably harmonious and striking about her entire dress. She wore a gown of mauve barège, little reddish brown buskins, whose ribbons traced an X on her fine, white, open-worked stockings, and that sort of muslin spencer, a Marseilles invention, whose name, canezou, is a corruption of the words quinze août, signifies fine weather, heat, and midday. Under Fantine’s feminine adornments and ribbons one could divine a statue, and in that statue a statue a soul. Fantine was beautiful without being too conscious of it. The daughter of the shadows was thoroughbred; she was beautiful in the two ways—style and rhythm. Fantine had the long, white, fine fingers of the vestal virgin who stirs the ashes of the sacred fire with a golden pin. Her brow, her nose, her chin, presented that equilibrium of outline which is quite distinct from equilibrium of proportion, and from which harmony of countenance results. All nature seemed to be having a holiday, and to be laughing. The flower-beds of Saint-Cloud perfumed the air; the breath of the Seine rustled the leaves vaguely; the branches gesticulated in the wind, bees pillaged the jasmines; a whole bohemia of butterflies swooped down upon the yarrow, the clover, and the sterile oats; in the august park of the King of France there was a pack of vagabonds, the birds. CHAPTER IV—THOLOMYÈS IS SO MERRY THAT HE SINGS A SPANISH DITTYT After breakfast the four couples went to what was then called the King’s Square to see a newly arrived plant from India. There is in the air the brilliance of an apotheosis—what a transfiguration effected by love! Such things are joys. Philosophers, poets, painters, observe these ecstasies and know not what to make of it. Fantine alone refused to swing the two chestnut-trees celebrated by the Abbé de Bernis. As he swung these beauties, one after the other, producing folds in the fluttering skirts which Greuze would have found to his taste, amid peals of laughter, Fantine sang the old ballad gallega. “Patience,” replied Tholomyès.  The Champs-Élysées, filled with sunshine and with people, were nothing but light and dust, the two things of which glory is composed. The Russian mountains having been exhausted, they began to think about dinner; and the radiant party of eight became stranded in Bombarda’s public house. Police Chief of Police Anglès to the King: There is nothing to be feared from these people. They are as heedless and as indolent as cats. The Parisian is to the Frenchman what the Athenian was to the Greek. The cat so despised by Count Anglès possessed the esteem of the republics of old. As though to serve as pendant to the Minerva Aptera of the Piraeus, there stood on the public square in Corinth the colossal bronze figure of a cat. When the hour strikes, this man of the faubourgs will grow in stature; this little man will arise, and his breath will become a tempest, and there will issue forth from that slender chest enough wind to disarrange the folds of the Alps. As long as he has for refrain nothing but la Carmagnole, he only overthrows Louis XVI.

Zéphine was laughing, Fantine smiling, Listolier blowing a wooden trumpet which he had purchased at Saint-Cloud. Tholomyès was drinking.  Favourite gazed tenderly at Blachevelle and said:—”Blachevelle, I adore you.” Fameuil and Dahlia were humming.  Favourite: I love the little fellow opposite me in my house. He is very nice, that young man; do you know him?

One can see that he is an actor by profession. Blachevelle: He is avaricious. I detest him, replied Favourite.  CHAPTER VII—THE WISDOM OF THOLOMYÈSI “Leave us in peace, Tholomyès,” said Blachevelle. “I am sad, you see, Dahlia.  Tholomyès: Friends, this pun which has fallen from the skies must not be received with too much stupor. Everything which falls in that way is not necessarily worthy of enthusiasm and respect. The pun is the dung of the mind which soars; and the mind after producing a piece of stupidity plunges into the azure depths. Félix Tholomyès: There must be a limit, even to dinners. Gluttony chastises the glutton, Gula punit Gulax. Indigestion is charged by the good God with preaching morality to stomachs. The sage is the man who knows how, at a given moment, to effect his own arrest. Tholomyès! cried Blachevelle, you are drunk. Then be gay, said Tholomy ès. And, refilling his glass, he rose. The arrobe of Castille contains 16 litres; the cantaro of Alicante, twelve; the almude of the Canaries, twenty-five. Fantine Tholomyès Dahlia: I am called Félix, and I am not happy. Fantine is a phantom possessed of the form of a nymph and the modesty of a nun, who has strayed into the life of a grisette, and who sings and prays and gazes into the azure without very well knowing what she sees or what she is doing, and wanders in a garden where there are more birds than are in existence. Tholomyès Blachevelle, supported by Listolier and Fameuil, struck up to a plaintive air, one of those studio songs composed of the first words which come to hand, rhymed richly and not at all, as destitute of sense as the gesture of the tree and the sound of the wind. This is the couplet: In love there are no friends. No quarter, war to the death! Forget all that I have said. Let us be neither prudes nor prudent men nor prudhommes! Zéphine Fameuil: My soul flits away into the virgin forests and to the savannas. All is beautiful. Embrace me, Fantine! “Désaugiers,” said Tholomyès. Blachevelle persisted:— Tholomyès: “There are still human beings here below who know how to open and close the surprise box of the paradox merrily.” Fameuil interrupted him: Ber-Ber, your opinions fix the law. Who is your favorite author? Fantine cried: “How can one be such a pitiful fool as that?”. “On the brow,” added Tholomyès. “It begins with a kiss,” said Blachevelle. “It will certainly be something pretty,” said Dahlia. Their attention was soon distracted by the movements on the shore of the lake, which they could see through the branches of the large trees, and which diverted them greatly. This surprised Fantine. “Yes, by the way,” joined in Dahlia, “the famous surprise?” Dahlia tore the letter open hastily, opened it, and read:—You must know that we have parents. Parents—you do not know much about such things. They are called fathers and mothers by the civil code, which is puerile and honest. Fantine laughed with the rest. “Long live Tholomyès!” exclaimed Dahlia and Zéphine. Signed:  BLACHEVELLE. FAMUEIL. LISTOLIER. FÉLIX THOLOMYÈS.”Postscriptum.

Over the door there was a board painted something which resembled a man carrying another man on his back. Below ran this inscription:. AT THE SIGN OF SERGEANT OF WATERLOO (Au Sargent de Waterloo). This cook-shop was kept by some people named Thénardier, husband and wife.  A handkerchief cleverly knotted about them prevented their falling out as the chain swung.

Their innocent faces were two delighted surprises; a blossoming shrub which grew near wafted to the passers-by perfumes which seemed to emanate from them; the child of eighteen months displayed her pretty little bare stomach with the chaste indecency of childhood.  As she rocked her little ones, the mother hummeddded in a discordant voice a romance then celebrated:—It must be, said a warrior. to the fair and tender Imogene. Her song, and the contemplation of her daughters, prevented her hearing and seeing what was going on in the street. A woman stood before her, a few paces distant, with a child, which she carried in her arms.

This woman’s child was one of the most divine creatures that it is possible to behold. Her hands are sunburnt and all dotted with freckles; she wears a cloak of coarse brown woollen stuff, a linen gown, and coarse shoes. She was young.  It was Fantine. Fantine heard the gossips say, as they looked at her child: Who takes those children seriously!

One only shrugs one’s shoulders over such children! Fantine had committed a fault, but the foundation of her nature, as will be remembered, was modesty and virtue. The father of her child gone, she found herself isolated, minus the habit of work and plus the taste for pleasure. She had neglected to keep her market open; it was now closed to her. Tholomyès replied to none of them.

When they learned that the child was probably a bastard, and that the mother could not acknowledge it, they exacted fifteen francs a month for her care. From year to year the child grew, and so did her wretchedness. Injustice made her peevish, and misery had made her ugly. “The sly creature,” said the Thénardiers. It was a heart-breaking thing to see this poor child, not yet six years old, shivering in the winter in her old rags of linen, full of holes, sweeping the street before daylight, with an enormous broom in her tiny red hands, and a tear in her great eyes.

After leaving her little Cosette with the Thénardiers, she had continued her journey, and had reached M. sur M. Fantine had quitted her province ten years before.  Father Madeleine was a stranger in the Department of M. sur M.

Of his origin, nothing was known; of the beginning of his career, very little was known. He was a man about fifty years of age, who had a preoccupied air, and who was good. He saved the lives of two child belonging to the captain of the gendarmerie; this is why they had forgotten to ask him for his passport. M. sur M.

almost rivalled London and Berlin in this branch of commerce. Father Madeleine’s factory was so successful that Spain, which consumes a good deal of black jet, made enormous purchases there each year. He had separated the work-rooms in order to separate the sexes, and so that the women and girls might remain discreet. When Madeleine d’Oratoire de M. sur M.

is divided into two towns, one had but one school, a miserable hovel, which was falling to ruin: he constructed two, one for girls, the other for boys. He allotted a salary from his own funds to the two instructors, a salary twice as large as their meagre official salary. As his factory was a centre, a new quarter, in which there were a good many indigent families, rose rapidly around him; he established there a free dispensary. The hospital was badly endowed; he founded six beds there.  A fresh excitement in the little town.

When he was known to be rich, “people in society” bowed to him, and he received invitations in the town; he was called, in town, Monsieur Madeleine; his workmen and the children continued to call him Father Madeleine, and that was what was most adapted to make him smile.  Monsieur Madeleine became Monsieur le Maire. He had gray hair, a serious eye, and the sunburned complexion of a laborer. When he was seen to decline honors, they said, “He is an adventurer”. His pleasure consisted in strolling in the fields, and he lived in solitude.

In proportion as leisure came to him with fortune, he seemed to take advantage of it to cultivate his mind. He always took his meals alone, with an open book before him, which he read. When he passed through a village, the ragged brats ran joyously after him, and surrounded him like a swarm of gnats. The nettle leaf makes an excellent vegetable; when it is older, it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. The children loved him because he knew how to make charming little trifles of straw and cocoanuts.

He performed a multitude of good deeds, concealing his agency in them as a man conceals himself because of evil actions. Some people maintained that he was a mysterious person, and that no one ever entered his chamber, which was furnished with winged hour-glasses and enlivened by cross-bones and skulls of dead men. CHAPTER IV—M. MADELEINE IN MOURNING To be blind and to be loved is one of the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness on this earth, where nothing is complete. The Bishop of D– had been blind for many years before his death, and content to be with his sister beside him. Few felicities equal this: to have continually at your side a woman, a daughter, a sister, a charming being, who is there because you need her and because she cannot do without you.

To be served in distress is to be caressed. There is no blindness where there is certainty. Soul seeks soul, gropingly, and finds it. To have everything of her, from her worship to her pity, never to be left, to touch Providence with one’s hands, and to be able to take it in one’s arms, what bliss!

On the following day he appeared clad wholly in black and with crape on his hat. The mourning was noticed in the town of Saint-Germain, and it was concluded that some relationship existed between him and the Bishop. It seemed to throw a light on M. Madeleine’s origin.  Another thing which was remarked, was, that every time that he encountered in the town a young Savoyard who was roaming about the country and seeking chimneys to sweep, the mayor had him summoned, inquired his name, and gave him money.

Monsieur Madeleine, or Monseigneur le Maire was pronounced at M. sur M. with almost the same accent as Monsieur the Bishop had been pronounced in D—— in 1815. He put an end to differences, he prevented lawsuits, he reconciled enemies. Every one took him for the judge, and with good reason.

He was sent by Comte Anglès to M. Chabouillet, the secretary of the Minister of State and prefect of police at Paris. When Javert arrived at M. sur M. the fortune of the great manufacturer was already made, and Father Madeleine had become Monsieur Madeleine.

Since animals are mere shadows, God has not made them capable of education in the full sense of the word. Javert had been born in prison, of a fortune-teller, whose husband was in the galleys. Social education can always draw from a soul, of whatever sort it may be, the utility which it contains. The visible I in nowise authorizes the thinker to deny the latent I. Javert, serious, was a watchdog; when he laughed, he was a tiger.

The human face of Javert consisted of a flat nose, with two deep nostrils, towards which enormous whiskers ascended on his cheeks. He enveloped in a blind and profound faith every one who had a function in the state, from the prime minister to the rural policeman.  Javert’s whole person was expressive of the man who spies and who withdraws himself from observation. The mystical school of Joseph de Maistre would not have failed to declare that Javert was a symbol. M.

Madeleine had finally perceived the fact; but it seemed to be of no importance to Javert.  One day, nevertheless, his strange manner appeared to produce an impression on M. Madeleine.  Javert was evidently somewhat disconcerted by the perfect naturalness and tranquillity of M. Madeleine.

M. Madeleine Javert sent for a jack-screw to be brought in from Flachot’s place, where there is a farrier, but it will take a quarter of an hour, she says. The old carter cried out for help: “Who will be good and save the old man?”. Monsieur Madeleine Javert: “One would have to be a terrible man to lift a cart like that on his back, and he was a convict”. My ribs are breaking! a screw!

something! Monsieur Javert adds: “In the galleys at Toulon, he was that convict.” Madeleine rose.   As for him, he bore upon his countenance an indescribable expression of happy and celestial suffering, and he fixed his tranquil eye on Javert, who was still staring at him.   Such was the condition of the country when Fantine returned thither.  Fortunately, the door of M. Madeleine’s factory was like the face of a friend.


 When Fantine saw that she was making her living, she felt joyful for a moment. She bought a looking-glass, took pleasure in surveying in it her youth, her beautiful hair, her fine teeth; she forgot many things; she thought only of Cosette and of the possible future, and was almost happy. At first, as the reader has seen, she paid the Thénardiers promptly. For the sake of obtaining the key to these enigmas, which are of no consequence whatever to them, they spend more money, waste more time, and take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, for their own pleasure, without any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity. They will follow up such and such a man or woman for whole days; they will bribe errand-porters, make the drivers of hackney-coaches tipsy, buy a waiting-maid, suborn a porter.

For no reason. They managed to obtain the address of Monsieur, the inn-keeper at Montfermeil. The public writer, a good old man who could not fill his stomach with wine without spilling secrets, was made to talk in the wine-shop. So Fantine was watched. They managed to obtain the address: Monsieur, Monsieur Thénardier, inn-keeper at Montfermeil.

Fantine had been at the factory for more than a year, when the superintendent of the workroom handed her fifty francs from the mayor, told her that she was no longer employed in the shop, and requested her, in the mayor’s name, to leave the neighborhood. CHAPTER IX—MADAME VICTURNIEN’S SUCCESS This was the very month when the Thénardiers, after having demanded twelve francs instead of six, had just exacted fifteen francs instead of twelve. But M. Madeleine had heard nothing of all this.   Fantine tried to obtain a situation as a servant in the neighborhood; she went from house to house.  It was at this point that she began to pay the Thénardiers irregularly.

Fantine Thénardiers learned how to live without fire entirely in the winter; how to give up a bird which eats a half a farthing’s worth of millet every two days. Fantine acquired this sublime talent, and regained a little courage. She thought of having her daughter with her in this distress, but what then! Make her share her own destitution! And then, she was in debt to the Thenardiers!

How could she pay for that? Fantine had to accustom herself to disrepute, as she had accustomed herself to indigence. She was dismissed towards the end of the winter; the summer passed, but winter came again. Madame Victurnien sometimes saw her passing, from her window, noticed the distress of “that creature” who, “thanks to her,” had been “put back in her proper place,” and congratulated herself.  The Thénardiers, who were not promptly paid, wrote to her constantly letters whose contents drove her to despair, and whose carriage ruined her.

I have clothed her with my hair! Dark thoughts held possession of Fantine’s heart. She had long shared the universal veneration for Father Madeleine; yet, by dint of repeating to herself that it was he who had discharged her, that he was the cause of her unhappiness, she came to hate him also, and most of all.  This petticoat made the Thénardiers furious.   “How horrible!” exclaimed Fantine.

Fantine Thénardiers’ candle burned all night, and was almost entirely consumed. The next morning she found Fantine on her bed, pale and frozen; her cap had fallen on her knees; her hair was gone; her mouth was bloody; she had a black hole in her mouth. Fantine threw her mirror out of the window. She had long since quitted her cell for an attic with only a latch to fasten it, next the roof; one of those attics whose extremity forms an angle with the floor, and knocks you on the head every instant. Fantine had lost her shame; she lost her coquetry.

Madeleine coughed a great deal, but made no complaint. She sewed seventeen hours a day; but a contractor for the work of prisons, who made the prisoners work at a discount, suddenly reduced the daily earnings of working-women to nine sous. Her creditors were more pitiless than ever. Fantine felt that she was being hunted, and something of the wild beast developed in her.  What is this history of Fantine?

There is a class of men who nibble away an income of fifteen hundred francs with the same air with which their prototypes devour two hundred thousand francs a year in Paris. These are beings of the great neuter species: impotent men, parasites, cyphers, who would be rustics in a drawing-room, and who think themselves gentlemen in the dram-shop. Among these there are bores, the bored, dreamers, and some knaves. At that period a dandy was composed of a tall collar, a big cravat, three vests of different colors, worn one on top of the other—the red and blue inside. Add to this, high shoes with little irons on the heels, a tall hat with a narrow brim, an enormous cane, and conversation set off by puns of Potier.

At that epoch moustaches indicated the bourgeois, and spurs the pedestrian.  It was Fantine. She had recognized Javert. On arriving at the police station, which was a low room, warmed by a stove, with a glazed and grated door opening on the street, Javert opened the door, entered with Fantine, and shut the door behind him, to the great disappointment of the curious, who raised themselves on tiptoe, and craned their necks in front of the thick glass of the station-house, in their effort to see. On entering, Fantine fell down in a corner, motionless and mute, crouching down like a terrified dog, and Javert was impassive.

Fantine Thénardiers: “I swear to you by the good God that I was not to blame” for putting snow down her back. Fantine dragged herself across the damp floor, among the muddy boots of all those men, without rising, with clasped hands, and taking great strides on her knees. Monsieur Javert, good Monsieur Inspector!  I did wrong to spoil that gentleman’s hat. Why did he go away?

I would ask his pardon! Cosette: It is the Thénardiers, inn-keepers, peasants; and such people are unreasonable. Don’t put me in prison! Have pity on me, Monsieur Javert!”  At that moment Fantine had become beautiful once more.  Javert raised his eyes and recognized M. Madeleine.  Javert felt that he was on the verge of going mad.  Fantine then began speaking in a low voice, as though talking to herself. Monsieur Javert: If that is not a horror, what is? To dismiss a poor girl who is doing her work honestly! Then I could no longer earn enough, and all this misery followed! He adds: That blackguard of a mayor caused all the mischief; he had spoiled my whole dress with snow. After that I stamped on that gentleman’s hat in front of the officers’ café. Javert spat in Fantine Madeleine’s face, causing her to cry: “Ah!

you old wretch of a mayor, you came here to frighten me, but I’m not afraid of you!”. He fumbled in his waistcoat, drew out his purse and said to Fantine, “How much did you say that you owed?”. She replied: “For the sake of the little one, for six months in prison would prevent my supporting my child!”. I am afraid of my good Monsieur Javert!” Who bade you let her go? Fantine trembled at the sound of Javert’s voice, and let go of the latch as a thief relinquishes the article which he has stolen.

“I,” said Madeleine. Madeleine Javert called the mayor’s suggestion that Fantine should be set at liberty “disgraceful and ill-thought-out” Javert may have reached the point of forgetting the mayor, had he finally declared to himself that any “authority” should have given such an order? And I am within the bounds of my authority; she will not serve a single day in prison, said the mayor. Javert replied: I am obeying my duty. My duty demands that this woman shall serve six months in prison.

Fantine stood aside from the door and stared at him in amazement as he passed. “But—””Leave the room,” said M. Madeleine. Must she change her whole soul? She did not know; she trembled”.

When Javert had taken his departure, M. Madeleine turned to her and said to her in a deliberate voice, like a serious man who does not wish to weep and who finds some difficulty in speaking:— M. Madeleine: I was even ignorant of the fact that you had left my shop. Why did you not apply to me? But here; I will pay your debts, I will send for your child, or you shall go to her.

You shall live here, in Paris, or where you please. I undertake the care of your child and yourself. I declare to you that if all is as you say, you have never ceased to be virtuous and holy in the sight of God. Fantine’s limbs gave way beneath her, she knelt in front of him, he felt her grasp his hand and press her lips to it, she fainted.


 CHAPTER I— He took her to the sisters, who put her to bed; she passed a part of the night with a burning fever. He knew Fantine’s history in all its heart-rending details.  M. Madeleine had been there for an hour.  The post-mistress thought Javert was sending in his resignation.

In the meantime, Fantine did not recover.  M. Madeleine made haste to write to the Thénardiers.  The sisters were moved to tears when Fantine said: “For her sake that I did evil, and that is why God pardoned me”. M.

Madeleine shuddered. Police Inspector Javert wrote to Fantine: I have the honor to salute you with respect Fantine replied: Oh! she is coming. I behold happiness close beside me! Madeleine could not refrain from a disagreeable impression on hearing this name.

But what do those Thénardiers mean by keeping my Cosette from me!  If any physiognomist who had been familiar with Javert, and who had made a lengthy study of this savage in the service of civilization, this singular composite of the Roman, the Spartan, the monk, and the corporal, this spy who was incapable of a lie, this unspotted police agent—if any physiognomist had known his secret and long-cherished aversion for M. Madeleine, his conflict with the mayor on the subject of Fantine, and had examined Javert at that moment, he would have said to himself, “What has taken place?”  Javert’s physiognomist would have said to himself, “What has taken place?” if he had examined Javert at that moment. His physiognomy had never been more peculiar and startling. Jean Valjean: An inferior agent of the authorities has failed in respect, and in the gravest manner, towards a magistrate.

Mr. Mayor, I have come to bring the fact to your knowledge, as it is my duty to do. What have you done to me? Why?” exclaimed M. Madeleine.  Javert interrupted him:— M. Madeleine Javert: Jean Valjean, as it appears, robbed a bishop; then he committed another theft, accompanied with violence, on a public highway on the person of a little Savoyard. He disappeared eight years ago, no one knows how, and he has been sought, I fancied. In short, I did this thing! Wrath impelled me; I denounced you at the Prefecture. And what reply did you receive? “That I was mad.” Jean Valjean was a pruner of trees in various localities, notably at Faverolles, where all trace of him was lost. He is said to have been a wheelwright and to have had a daughter, who was a laundress, but that has not been proved. Jean Mathieu: “What more natural to suppose than that, on emerging from the galleys of Toulon, he should have taken his mother’s name for the purpose of concealing himself, and have called himself JeanMathieu?”.

On the afternoon following the visit of Javert, M. Madeleine went to see Fantine according to his wont. Vincent de Paul traces the features of the Sister of Charity in these admirable words: They shall have for their convent only the house of the sick; for cell only a hired room; for chapel only their parish church; for enclosure only obedience; for gratings only the fear of God; for veil only modesty. This ideal was realized in the living person of Sister Simplice.

On returning to his room, he communed with himself and meditated in the dark. He deluded himself at first; he had a feeling of security and of solitude; the bolt once drawn, he thought himself impregnable. A moment later he extinguished his light; it embarrassed him. Is it really true that I have seen that Javert, and that he spoke to me in that manner?  Who can that Champmathieu be?

He shuddered at the very thought that this was possible. Out of his confrontation with the phantom of Jean-Valjean he hoped to make his existence clearer and more impenetrable. His reverie continued to grow clearer.  Assuredly, if any one had said to him at such moments that the hour would come when that name would ring in his ears, when the hideous words, Jean Valjean, would suddenly emerge from the darkness and rise in front of him, when that formidable light, capable of dissipating the mystery in which he had enveloped himself, would suddenly blaze forth above his head, and that that name would not menace him, that that light would but produce an obscurity more dense, that this rent veil would but increase the mystery, that this earthquake would solidify his edifice, that this prodigious incident would have no other result, so far as he was concerned, if so it seemed good to him, than that of rendering his existence at once clearer and more impenetrable, and that, out of his confrontation with the phantom of Jean Valjean, the good and worthy citizen Monsieur Madeleine would emerge more honored, more peaceful, and more respected than ever—if any one had told him that, he would have tossed his head and regarded the words as those of a madman.  He then experienced a convulsion of the conscience, which stirs up all that there is doubtful in the heart, and which is composed of irony, of joy, and despair, and of despair – and may be called an outburst of inward laughter.

The light became complete, and he acknowledged this to himself: That his place was empty in the galleys; that do what he would, it was still awaiting him; that the theft from little Gervais had led him back to it; that this vacant place would await him, and draw him on until he filled it; that this was inevitable and fatal; and then he said to himself, “that, at this moment, he had a substitute; that it appeared that a certain Champmathieu had that ill luck, and that, as regards himself, being present in the galleys in the person of that Champmathieu, present in society under the name of M. Madeleine, he had nothing more to fear, provided that he did not prevent men from sealing over the head of that Champmathieu this stone of infamy which, like the stone of the sepulchre, falls once, never to rise again.” Jean Valjean: “I had but one partly open door through which my past might invade my life, and behold that door is walled up forever!”. Javert, who has been annoying me so long, is thrown off the scent, engaged elsewhere, absolutely turned from the trail. And all this has been brought about without any aid from me, and I count for nothing in it; where is the misfortune in this? He said: “One can no more prevent thought from recurring to an idea than one can the sea returning to the shore of the shore.” To allow this error of fate and of men to be carried out, not to hinder it, to do nothing was to lend himself to it through his silence. That was hypocritical baseness in the last degree!

that it was a base, cowardly, sneaking, abject, hideous crime! Mayor Madeleine, with all his virtues, would be abominable to Jean Valjean. He was inflicting on him that frightful living death, that death beneath the open sky, which is called the galleys. To surrender himself to save that man, struck down with so melancholy an error, to resume his own name, was to achieve his resurrection, and to close forever that hell whence he had just emerged. He said: “Well, let us do our duty; let us save this man.” He took his books, verified them, and put them in order.

He flung in the fire a bundle of bills which he had against petty and embarrassed tradesmen. He drew from his secretary a pocket-book containing several bank-notes and the passport of which he used when he went to the elections. In the midst of the darkness and the lights, Jean Valjean beheld within himself, in that infinity of which we were recently speaking, a goddess and a giant contending. He was filled with terror; but it seemed to him that the good thought was getting the upper hand. He felt that he was on the brink of the second decisive crisis of his conscience and of his destiny; that the Bishop had marked the first phase of his new life, and that Champmathieu marked the second.

They were antagonistic. He began to think of other things, of indifferent matters, in spite of himself; and then he thought of Fantine and the poor woman. Fantine, by appearing thus abruptly in his reverie, produced the effect of an unexpected ray of light; it seemed to him as though everything about him were undergoing a change of aspect: he exclaimed:—”Ah!  but I have hitherto considered no one but myself; it is proper for me to hold my tongue or to denounce myself, to conceal my person or to save my soul, to be a despicable and respected magistrate, or an infamous and venerable convict; but, good God! all this is egotism! I am arrested; this Champmathieu is released; I am put back in the galleys; that is well—and what then?  “What is that to me?” he asked himself. What the deuce! he has stolen, for he has! I remain here; I go on: in ten years I shall have made ten millions; I scatter them over the country; I have nothing of my own, he said. For the sake of saving from a punishment, no one knows whom, a thief, a good-for-nothing, evidently, a whole country-side must perish. And without the mother even having seen her child once more, almost without the child’s having known her mother; and all that for the sake of an old wretch of an apple-thief who, most assuredly, has deserved the galleys for something else, if not for that. He thought: “This is right; I am on the right road; I have the solution; I must end by holding fast to something”. “Yes,” he thought, “this is right; I am on the right road; I have the solution; I must end by holding fast to something; my resolve is taken; let things take their course; let us no longer vacillate; let us no longer hang back; this is for the interest of all, not for my own; I am Madeleine, and Madeleine I remain.  Woe to the man who is Jean Valjean!

When Jean Valjean passed through D—— in October, 1815, he fumbled in his pocket, drew out his purse, opened it, and took out a small key. He inserted the key in a lock whose aperture could hardly be seen, so hidden was it in the most sombre tones of the design which covered the wall-paper. With a quick and abrupt movement, he took the whole in his arms at once, without bestowing so much as a glance on the things which he had so religiously and so perilously preserved for so many years, and flung them all into the fire.

He felt a sense of real comfort as he stirred the coals with one of the candlesticks. At that moment it seemed to him that he heard a voice within him shouting: “Jean Valjean! Jean Valjean!” That is right! He fixed a haggard eye on the candlesticks. The perspiration streamed from his brow as he looked around the room in utter bewilderment. It seemed to him that it had detached itself from him, and that it was now speaking outside of him.

The voice continued:—”Jean Valjean, there will be around you many voices, which will make a great noise, which will talk very loud, and which will bless you, and only one which no one will hear, and which will curse you in the dark.  Destroy this Champmathieu, do!  When Champmathieu arrived at the end of his journey, he recoiled in equal terror before both the resolutions at which he had arrived in turn. The two ideas which counselled him appeared to him equally fatal. After the lapse of a few minutes he no longer knew his position. With immense despair he faced all that he should be obliged to leave, and said he should have to bid farewell to that existence which was so good and pure. He should never more stroll in the fields or hear the birds sing in the month of May. instead of that, the convict gang, the iron necklet, the red waistcoat, the chain on his ankle, fatigue, the cell, the camp bed all those horrors – he should quit that house which he had built, that little chamber. Oh, what misery! but to be addressed in his old age as “thou” by any one who pleased; to be searched by the convict-guard; to receive the galley-sergeant’s cudgellings; to wear iron-bound shoes on his bare feet; to have to stretch out his leg night and morning to the hammer of the roundsman who visits the gang; to submit to the curiosity of strangers, who would be told: “That man yonder is the famous Jean Valjean, who was mayor of M. sur M.”; and at night, dripping with perspiration, overwhelmed with lassitude, their green caps drawn over their eyes, to remount, two by two, the ladder staircase of the galleys beneath the sergeant’s whip.  When poor Romainville fell into a state of despair, he struggled with the dilemma which lay at the foundation of his reverie: Should he remain in paradise and become a demon? Should he return to hell and become an angel? He wavered outwardly as well as inwardly. His ideas began to grow confused once more; they assumed a kind of stupefied and mechanical quality which is peculiar to despair.  Romainville: “I reflected that it must be Romainville” when he entered a village which he espied. He saw the door of a house open, and I entered. Behind the angle formed by the two streets, a man was standing erect against the wall. I inquired of this man, ‘Whose house is this? Where am I?’. The man replied not. They were the lanterns of a carriage containing a horse and a tilbury harnessed to a small white horse. That name sent a shudder over him, as though lightning had passed in front of his face. “M. Scaufflaire?” That night it collided with a little tilbury harnessed to a white horse as it entered a town, just as it was entering the town. He had resolved on nothing, decided nothing, formed no plan, done nothing; none of the actions of his conscience had been decisive. He plunged into the night as into a gulf; something urged him forward; something drew him on. Why was he going? He could not have told. that Javert was a hundred leagues from suspecting the truth; that all conjectures and all suppositions were fixed on Champmathieu, and that there is nothing so headstrong as suppositions and conjectures; that accordingly there was no danger. He repeated what he had already said to himself when he had hired Scaufflaire’s cabriolet: that, whatever the result was to be, there was no reason why he should not see with his own eyes, and judge of matters for himself; that this was even prudent; that he must know what took place; that no decision could be arrived at without having observed and scrutinized; that one made mountains out of everything from a distance; that, at any rate, when he should have seen that Champmathieu, some wretch, his conscience would probably be greatly relieved to allow him to go to the galleys in his stead; that Javert would indeed be there; and that Brevet, that Chenildieu, that Cochepaille, old convicts who had known him; but they certainly would not recognize him;—bah! what an idea!  Scaufflaire travelled five leagues in two hours, and had not a drop of sweat on his loins; he did not get out of the tilbury. He watched the horizon grow white, saw all the chilly figures of a winter’s dawn as they passed before his eyes, but without seeing them. At daybreak he was in the open country; the town of M. sur M. lay far behind him, he felt something within him draw back.

It is a miracle that you should have travelled five leagues without you and your horse rolling into some ditch on the highway. Just see here! The wheel really had suffered serious damage. Master Bourgaillard, the wheelwright, came, examined the wheel and made a grimace like a surgeon when the latter thinks a limb is broken. Two new spokes and a hub must be made.

Monsieur will not be able to start before to-day morning. We live in a poor country. Some one can surely sell me a saddle in the neighborhood, for what matters it to me? But the bourgeois must not see it pass—and then, it is a calash; it would require two horses. “To Arras.” Javert: It was evident that Providence was intervening.

He had not yielded to this sort of first summons; he had just made every possible effort to continue the journey. It was not the act of his own conscience, but the act of Providence of Providence. The wheelwright and the stable-man, in despair at the prospect of the traveller escaping their clutches, interfere. “Monsieur, my good woman, my boy tells me that you wish to hire a cabriolet which I can hire,” says the wheelwright. All this was true; but this trap, this ramshackle old vehicle, this thing, whatever it was, ran on its two wheels and could go to Arras.

An hour later he had quitted Saint-Pol and was directing his course towards Tinques, which is only five leagues from Arras. He had lost a great deal of time at Hesdin.  He stopped his horse and asked: “How far is it from here to Arras?”. The postilion said: “There is a good inn there; sleep there; you can reach Arras to-day, but I must be there this evening.” The doctor ordered that she should be informed as soon as M. Madeleine arrived.

She was delirious, said but little, and laid plaits in her sheets, murmuring the while, in a low voice. Each time that Sister Simplice asked her how she felt, she replied invariably, “Well.  But at that moment Fantine was joyous. She had a wrinkled brow, flabby cheeks, pinched nostrils, teeth from which the gums had receded, a leaden complexion, a bony neck, clayey skin, and her golden hair was growing out sprinkled with gray. The nun heard her utter one of those profound sighs which seem to throw off dejection. Sister Simplice herself was surprised at M. Madeleine’s delay. About half-past two, Fantine began to be restless.  The song was an old cradle romance with which she lulled her little Cosette to sleep, and which had never recurred to her mind in all the five years during which she had been parted from her child. Sister Simplice sent a serving-maid to inquire of the portress of the factory, whether the mayor had returned, and if he would not come to the infirmary soon.  This is what Fantine was singing: The servant informed Sister Simplice in a very low tone, that the mayor had set out that morning before six o’clock, in a little tilbury harnessed to a white horse, cold as the weather was; that he had gone alone, without even a driver; that no one knew what road he had taken; that people said he had been seen to turn into the road to Arras; that others asserted that they had met him on the road to Paris.   While the two women were whispering together, with their backs turned to Fantine’s bed, the sister interrogating, the servant conjecturing, Fantine, with the feverish vivacity of certain organic maladies, which unite the free movements of health with the frightful emaciation of death, had raised herself to her knees in bed, with her shrivelled hands resting on the bolster, and her head thrust through the opening of the curtains, and was listening.  You know the reason. I want to know it! Sister Simplice blushed faintly, for it was a lie that the maid had proposed to her. “Answer me!” cried Fantine.

When she was finished, Fantine lay down and said: “I am willing to lie down again; I will do anything you wish; I was naughty just now; I beg your pardon for having spoken so loud”. She lay down again, with the nun’s assistance, and kissed the little silver cross which she wore on her neck, and which Sister Simplice had given her. The good God is good, M. Madeleine is good; he has gone to get my little cosette, says Fantine. he has gone to Montfermeil to get my little Cosette.”

 “He set out this morning for Paris; in fact, he need not even go through Paris; Montfermeil is a little to the left as you come thence.  It is nearly five years since I saw her last; you cannot imagine how much attached one gets to children, and then, she will be so pretty; you will see. She will have very beautiful hands; she had ridiculous hands when she was only a year old; like this; she must be a big girl now; she is seven years old; she’s quite a young lady; I call her Cosette, but her name is really Euphrasie. How far is it from here to Montfermeil to Mont-Fermeil? She said to her sister Fantine: “I am no longer ill; I am mad; I could dance if any one wished it!”.

Fantine lay her head on her pillow and said, “Oh, I think that he will be here to-day!”. Fantine laid her head on her pillow and said in a low voice: “Yes, lie down again; be good, for you are going to have your child; Sister Simplice is right; every one here is right.” The doctor took Sister Simplice aside, and she explained matters to him; that M. Madeleine was absent for a day or two, and that in their doubt they had not thought it well to undeceive the invalid, who believed that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil; that it was possible, after all, that her guess was correct: the doctor approved.  —  He was not acquainted with Arras; the streets were dark, and he walked on at random; but he seemed bent upon not asking the way of the passers-by.  He asked: Do you take an interest in this affair?

Is it a criminal case? Are you a witness? Nothing else was possible. When he saw that nothing was settled, he breathed freely once more; but he could not have told whether what he felt was pain or pleasure. The docket of the session was very heavy; the president had appointed for the same day two short and simple cases.

They had begun with the infanticide, and now they had reached the convict, the “return horse”. There is not room for another one? The Councillor of the Royal Court of Douai, who was presiding over this session of the Assizes at Arras, was acquainted with the rest of the world, with this name which was so profoundly and universally honored. He crushed the paper in his hand as though those words contained for him a strange and bitter aftertaste. A few minutes later he found himself alone in a sort of wainscoted cabinet of severe aspect, lighted by two wax candles, placed upon a table with a green cloth.

He was in the very place where the judges deliberated and condemned. He approached a black frame which was suspended on the wall, containing an autograph letter from a former mayor of Paris and minister. He read it two or three times without paying any attention to it, and unconsciously. His glance, calm at first, remained fixed on that brass handle, then grew terrified, and little by little became impregnated with fear. He was thinking of Fantine and Cosette.

At length he bowed his head, sighed with agony, dropped his arms, and retraced his steps. It seemed as though some one had overtaken him in his flight and was leading him back. Had he listened, he would have heard the sound of the adjoining hall like a sort of confused murmur. M. Madeleine thought he was looking at himself, grown old, with his bristling hair, with that wild and uneasy eye, as it was on the day when he entered D——, full of hatred, concealing his soul in that hideous mass of frightful thoughts which he had spent 19 years in collecting on the floor of the prison.

He was horrified by it; he shut his eyes, and exclaimed in the deepest recesses of his soul, “Never!”. Jean Valjean. He looked for Javert, but did not see him; the seat of the witnesses was hidden from him by the clerk’s table, and then, as we have just said, the hall was sparely lighted.  an examination had been made; witnesses had been heard, and they were unanimous; light had abounded throughout the entire debate; the accusation said: “We have in our grasp not only a marauder, a stealer of fruit; we have here, in our hands, a bandit, an old offender who has broken his ban, an ex-convict, a miscreant of the most dangerous description, a malefactor named Jean Valjean, whom justice has long been in search of, and who, eight years ago, on emerging from the galleys at Toulon, committed a highway robbery, accompanied by violence, on the person of a child, a Savoyard named Little Gervais; a crime provided for by article 383 of the Penal Code, the right to try him for which we reserve hereafter, when his identity shall have been judicially established.

“He is Jean Valjean,” said Cochepaille. “He was even called Jean-the-Screw, because he was so strong,” said Arras. At that moment there was a movement just beside the President; a voice was heard crying:—Brevet! Chenildieu! He replied:—”I say, ‘Famous!'” Madeleine, mayor of M.

sur M., said: “Do you not recognize me?”. He then turned towards the witnesses Cochepaille, Brevet, and Chenildieu. All three remained speechless, and indicated by a sign of the head that they did not know him. “He is not the man whom you are in search of; it is I: I am Jean-Valjean,” he said. He is not the man whom you are in search of; it is I: I am Jean Valjean.” M. Madeleine did not allow the district-attorney to finish; he interrupted him in accents full of suavity and authority.  M. Madeleine interrupted the district-attorney by saying: I am fulfilling a duty; I am that miserable criminal. God, who is on high, looks down on what I am doing at this moment, and that suffices. I robbed Monseigneur the Bishop, it is true; it is true that I robbed Little Gervais; they were right in telling you that Jean Valjean was a very vicious wretch.  Perhaps it was not altogether his fault. Judge: “The galleys make the convict what he is; reflect upon that, if you please”. Javert: What! these men do not recognize me! I wish Javert were here; he would recognize me! The judge: “Do not, at least, condemn this man!”. the district-attorney shakes his head; you say, ‘M. Madeleine has gone mad!’ you do not believe me!  Jean Valjean said: “Do you remember the suspenders with a checked pattern which you wore in the galleys?”. Brevet gave a start of surprise, and surveyed him from head to foot with a frightened air. He continued: “Chenildieu, you who conferred on yourself the name of ‘Jenie-Dieu,’ your whole right shoulder bears a deep burn, because you one day laid your shoulder against the chafing-dish full of coals, in order to efface the three letters T.

F. P., which are still visible, nevertheless; answer, is this true?”. It was evident that they had Jean Valjean before their eyes.   BOOK EIGHTH—A COUNTER-BLOW CHAPTER I—IN WHAT MIRROR M. MADELEINE CONTEMPLATES HIS HAIR The mayor asked: “Is it you, Mr. Mayor?”. The light fell full on M. Madeleine’s face.  The nun did not appear to notice the mayor’s word “perhaps,” which communicated an obscure and singular sense to the words of the mayor’s speech. She replied, lowering her eyes and her voice respectfully:—In that case, she is asleep; but Monsieur Le Maire may enter. M. Madeleine seemed to reflect for a few moments; then he said with his calm gravity:—”No, sister, I must see her.  with such faith and certainty that he found not a word of reply. He came to the aid of M.

Madeleine. “When you are reasonable, I will bring her to you myself,” he said. M. Madeleine was sitting on a chair beside the bed.  Cosette is well; she will not recognize me, poor darling!

Children have no memories. And did she have white linen? How have they fed her? Oh! if you only knew how I have suffered, putting such questions as that to myself during all the time of my wretchedness, now, it is all past.

M. Madeleine was still holding her hand, and gazing at her with anxiety; it was evident that he had come to tell her things before which his mind now hesitated.  Fantine’s face clouded over, and he cried out: How wicked that doctor is not to allow me to see my daughter! that man has an evil countenance, that he has! Fantine listened for a while longer, then her face clouded over, and M.

Madeleine heard her say, in a low voice: “How wicked that doctor is not to allow me to see my daughter!  She removed one hand from his arm, and with the other made him a sign to look behind him. “Good God!” he exclaimed; “what ails you, Fantine?”. she did not remove her eyes from the object which she seemed to see. Nevertheless, the district-attorney was bent on having a Jean Valjean; and as he had no longer Champmathieu, he took Madeleine. CHAPTER III—JAVERT SATISFIED The half-hour after midnight had just struck when M. Madeleine quitted the Hall of Assizes in Arras.  However, he had hardly quitted the audience hall of the Court of Assizes, when the district-attorney, recovering from his first shock, had taken the word to deplore the mad deed of the honorable mayor of M. sur M., to declare that his convictions had not been in the least modified by that curious incident, which would be explained thereafter, and to demand, in the meantime, the condemnation of that Champmathieu, who was evidently the real Jean Valjean.  Police Inspector Javert was sent to arrest the mayor of M. sur M. when he heard Champmathieu refer to the Emperor, and not Bonaparte, when alluding to the landing at Cannes. The district-attorney forwarded the order for his arrest to Javert by a special messenger, at full speed, and entrusted its execution to the police inspector.

Madeleine Arras, mayor of M. sur M., was recognized as the liberated convict Jean Valjean. Javert entered Fantine’s infirmary and entered with the gentleness of a sick-nurse or a police spy. He stood erect in the half-open door, his hat on his head and his left hand thrust into his coat, buttoned up to the chin. When Madeleine’s glance encountered Javert’s glance, Javert became delirious with joy.

The satisfaction of at last getting hold of Jean Valjean caused all that was in his soul to appear in his countenance. Javert personified justice, light and truth in their celestial function of crushing out evil. Jean Valjean’s Fantine hid her face in both hands, and shrieked: “Monsieur Madeleine, save me!”. Javert replied:—”Be quick about it!” Fantine had not seen Javert since the day on which the mayor had torn her from the man.  Javert Javert, the police spy, seized the mayor of Madeleine, Jean Valjean, by the collar of his coat. Javert burst out laughing with that frightful laugh which displayed all his gums.

Javert shouts at Fantine: And now there’s the other one! Will you hold your tongue, you hussy? There is a thief, a brigand, a convict! Fantine raises herself in bed with a bound, supporting herself on her stiffened arms and on both hands; she opens her mouth as though to speak, then falls back on her pillow and dies. There is a thief, a brigand, a convict named Jean Valjean!

He stared intently at Fantine, and added, once more taking into his grasp Jean Valjean’s cravat, shirt and collar:—”I tell you that there is no Monsieur Madeleine and that there is no Monsieur le Maire.   Javert deposited Jean Valjean in the city prison. The arrest of M. Madeleine occasioned a sensation, or rather, an extraordinary commotion in M. sur M. Arras. In less than two hours all the good that he had done had been forgotten, and he was nothing but a “convict from the galleys”. All day long conversations like the following were to be heard in all quarters of the town:. You don’t know? He was a liberated convict, nearly every one deserted him. “The mayor.”  He never found out how he managed to get into the courtyard without opening the big gates, but he must have been searched and his latch-key taken from him. Jean Valjean was still Monsieur le Maire to her. It was M. Madeleine.  They hear a tumult of ascending footsteps, and the old portress shrieking in her loudest and most piercing tones: “My good sir, I swear to you by the good God, that not a soul has entered this house all day, nor all the evening, and that I have not even left the door”. Jean Valjean blew out the light and placed himself in this angle.  Javert entered. But there was another duty which bound him and impelled him imperiously in the opposite direction. The fundamental point in Javert, his element, was veneration for all authority. In his eyes, the ecclesiastical authority was the chief of all; he was religious on this point as on all others. He has escaped; we are in search of him—that Jean Valjean; you have not seen him?” Jean Valjean’s Fantine was buried in the free corner of the cemetery which belongs to anybody and everybody, and where the poor are lost. The curé thought that he was doing right, and perhaps he really was, in reserving as much money as possible for the poor. But he had a very simple funeral for Fantine, and reduced it to that strictly necessary form known as the pauper’s grave.

Summary of LES MISÉRABLES Volume-2

On a beautiful May morning (1861), a traveller was coming from Nivelles, and directing his course towards La Hulpe. He had passed Lillois and Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, in the west he saw the slate-roofed tower of Braine-l’Alleud, which has the form of a reversed vase. A quarter of a league further on, he arrived at the bottom of a little valley, where there is water which passes beneath an arch made through the embankment of the road. He finds himself before a door of Louis XIV-style arched stone, with a rectilinear impost, in the sombre style of Napoleon. For the antiquary, Hougomont is Hugomons.

“It was a French cannon-ball which made that,” she said to him.   Napoleon sent his brother Jérôme against Hougomont; the divisions of Foy, Guilleminot, and Bachelu hurled themselves against it; nearly the entire corps of Reille was employed against it, and miscarried; Kellermann’s balls were exhausted on this heroic section of wall.  A bit of the north door, broken by the French, hangs suspended to the wall.   Beside the chapel, one wing of the château, the only ruin now remaining of the manor of Hougomont, rises in a crumbling state,—disembowelled, one might say.  The English barricaded themselves there; the French made their way in, but could not stand their ground.

Half a score of steps still cling to the wall; on the first is cut the figure of a trident; all the rest resembles a jaw which has been denuded of its teeth. There are two old trees there: one is dead; the other is wounded at its base, and is clothed with verdure. The French, who were masters of the chapel for a moment, and were then dislodged, set fire to it.   He was a peasant who lived at Hougomont, and was gardener there.  There are French names with exclamation points,—a sign of wrath.

The well is isolated in the middle of the courtyard; three walls, part stone, part brick, and folded like the leaves of a screen surround it on all sides. This well has not in front of it that large blue slab which forms the table for all wells in Belgium.  At the moment when the Hanoverian lieutenant, Wilda, grasped this handle in order to take refuge in the farm, a French sapper hewed off his hand with an axe.  The Hanoverians lined this balustrade and fired from above.  It was a seignorial garden in the first French style which preceded Le Nôtre; to-day it is ruins and briars.

As they had no ladders, the French scaled the wall and fought hand-to-hand amid the trees. A battalion of Nassau, seven hundred strong, was overwhelmed there. Thirty-eight loopholes pierced by the English at irregular heights are there still. If it had not rained in the night between the 17th and the 18th of June, 1815, the fate of Europe would have been different. The battle of Waterloo could not be begun until half-past eleven o’clock, and that gave Blücher time to come up.

Twenty French battalions, besides the forty from Reille’s corps, decimated, three thousand men in that hovel of Hougomont alone cut down, slashed to pieces, shot, burned, with their throats cut. A few drops of water, more or less, decided the downfall of Napoleon.  Napoleon was an artillery officer, and felt the effects of this. The key to his victory was to make the artillery converge on one point. Wellington had only one hundred and fifty-nine mouths of fire; Napoleon had two hundred and forty.

What amount of blame attaches to Napoleon for the loss of this battle? Is the shipwreck due to the pilot? But has he gone into a frenzy in order to hide his weakened powers from himself? Had Napoleon lost the direct sense of victory?  At the centre of the A chord is the point where the final word of the battle was pronounced, and it is there that the lion has been placed, the involuntary symbol of the supreme heroism of the Imperial Guard.

Genappe and Nivelles, d’Erlon facing Picton, Reille facing Hill, are included in the capital A. The top of the A is Mont-Saint-Jean, where Wellington is; the lower left tip is Hougomont, where Reille is stationed with Jérôme Bonaparte; the right tip is the Belle-Alliance, where Napoleon was.  It is almost superfluous to sketch the appearance of Napoleon on horseback, glass in hand, upon the heights of Rossomme, at daybreak, on June 18, 1815. Wellington had the good post, and for this duel, on the 18th of June, Napoleon the bad post. The English army was stationed above, the French army below.

Every one is acquainted with the first phase of this battle; a beginning which was troubled, uncertain, hesitating, menacing to both armies, but still more so for the English than for the French. The action was begun furiously, with more fury, than the Emperor would have wished, by the left wing of the French resting on Hougomont. At the same time Napoleon attacked the centre by hurling Quiot’s brigade on La Haie-Sainte, and Ney pushed forward the French against the English, which rested on Papelotte. It was something of a feint; the plan was to draw Wellington thither, and to make him swerve to the left. After the taking of La Haie-Sainte the battle wavered.

The middle portion of this battle is almost indistinct, and participates in the sombreness of the hand-to-hand conflict. We perceive vast fluctuations in that fog, a dizzy mirage, paraphernalia of war almost unknown to-day. The Hanoverian light-horse with their oblong casques of leather, with brass hands and red horse-tails, the Scotch with their bare knees and plaids, the great white gaiters of our grenadiers. In order to depict a battle, there is required one of those powerful painters who have chaos in their brushes. The immobility of a mathematical plan expresses a minute, not a day.

There is a certain instant when the battle degenerates into a combat, and disperses into innumerable detailed feats, which, to borrow the expression of Napoleon himself, “belong rather to the biography of the regiments than to the history of the army”.  The battle had, for Wellington, two bases of action, Hougomont and La Haie-Sainte; Hougomont still held out, but was on fire; La Haie-Sainte was taken.  At the very moment when the English had captured from the French the flag of the 105th of the line, the French had killed the English general, Picton, with a bullet through the head.   This punic labor, incontestably authorized by war, which permits traps, was so well done, that Haxo, who had been despatched by the Emperor at nine o’clock in the morning to reconnoitre the enemy’s batteries, had discovered nothing of it, and had returned and reported to Napoleon that there were no obstacles except the two barricades which barred the road to Nivelles and to Genappe.   To his English, to the regiments of Halkett, to the brigades of Mitchell, to the guards of Maitland, he gave as reinforcements and aids, the infantry of Brunswick, Nassau’s contingent, Kielmansegg’s Hanoverians, and Ompteda’s Germans.

“The beginning of retreat!” cried Napoleon. On the 18th of June, Napoleon was in a good humor on the field of Waterloo. His impenetrability had been smiling ever since the morning. At half-past two, near the wood of Hougomont, he heard the tread of a column on the march; he thought at the moment that it was a retreat on the part of Wellington. The silence on earth was profound; the only noise was in the heavens.

Two Belgian deserters reported to him that the English army was ready for battle. “I prefer to overthrow them rather than to drive them back,” said Napoleon. Napoleon jested with his generals: “We have ninety chances out of a hundred”. During the mysterious trip from the island of Elba to France, on the 27th of February, on the open sea, the French brig of war, Le Zéphyr, having encountered the brig L’Inconstant, on which Napoleon was concealed, and having asked the news of Napoleon from L’Inconstant, the Emperor, who still wore in his hat the white and amaranthine cockade sown with bees, which he had adopted at the isle of Elba, laughingly seized the speaking-trumpet, and answered for himself, “The Emperor is well.”  When the French army took Mont-Saint-Jean, at the intersection of the Nivelles and the Genappe roads, the Emperor was touched, and twice exclaimed, Magnificent! Between nine o’clock and half-past ten the whole army, incredible as it may appear, had taken up its position and ranged itself in six lines.

He had over his head the shriek of the bullets and of the heavy artillery, and could hear the shrieks of the gunfire. His guard was massed on a slope of the plain between La Belle-Alliance and La Haie-Sainte. Around this knoll the balls rebounded from the pavements of the road up to him. Around this knoll the balls rebounded from the pavements of the road, up to Napoleon himself.  Every one is aware that the variously inclined undulations of the plains, where the engagement between Napoleon and Wellington took place, are no longer what they were on June 18, 1815.

There was a hillock which descended in an easy slope towards the highway but which is now almost an escarpment on the side of the highway. The whole of that plain is a sepulchre for France.  Where the great pyramid of earth, surmounted by the lion, rises to-day, there was a hillock which descended in an easy slope towards the Nivelles road, but which was almost an escarpment on the side of the highway to Genappe.  They are connected by a road about a league and a half in length, which traverses the plain along its undulating level, and often enters and buries itself in the hills like a furrow. In 1815, as at the present day, this road cut the crest of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean between the two highways from Genappe and Nievelles.

This road was, and still is, a trench throughout the greater portion of its course; a hollow trench, sometimes a dozen feet in depth, and whose banks crumbled away here and there, under driving rains. In 1815, as at the present day, this road cut the crest of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean between the two highways from Genappe and Nivelles; only, it is now on a level with the plain; it was then a hollow way.

On the morning of Waterloo, Napoleon was content. The resistance of Hougomont; the tenacity of La Haie-Sainte; the killing of Bauduin; the disabling of Foy; the unexpected wall against which Soye’s brigade was shattered; Guilleminot’s fatal heedlessness when he had neither petard nor powder sacks.  Napoleon was accustomed to gaze steadily at war; he never added up the heart-rending details, cipher by cipher; ciphers mattered little to him, provided that they furnished the total—victory; he was not alarmed if the beginnings did go astray, since he thought himself the master and the possessor at the end; he knew how to wait, supposing himself to be out of the question, and he treated destiny as his equal: he seemed to say to fate, Thou wilt not dare. When one has Bérésina, Leipzig, and Fontainebleau behind one, it seems as though one might distrust Waterloo. Composed half of light and half of shadow, Napoleon thought himself protected in good and tolerated in evil.

At the moment when Wellington retreated, Napoleon shuddered. He suddenly beheld the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean cleared, and the van of the English army disappear. The Emperor half rose in his stirrups. He gazed with some intentness at the English barricades of the two highways,—two large abatis of trees, that on the road to Genappe above La Haie-Sainte, armed with two cannon, the only ones out of all the English artillery which commanded the extremity of the field of battle, and that on the road to Nivelles where gleamed the Dutch bayonets of Chassé’s brigade.  Napoleon ordered his cuirassiers to carry the table-land of Mont-St-Saint-Jean.

They formed a front a quarter of a league in extent, with six and twenty squadrons of them; and they had behind them Lefebvre-Desnouettes’s division. Aide-de-camp Bernard carried Napoleon’s orders; Ney drew his sword and placed himself at their head. It was as though two immense adders of steel were to be seen crawling towards the crest of the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean. Nothing like it had been seen since the taking of the great redoubt of the Muskowa by the heavy cavalry. It seemed as though that mass had become a monster and had but one soul.

There ensued a most terrible silence; then, all at once, a long file of uplifted arms, brandishing sabres, appeared above the crest, and casques, trumpets, and standards, and three thousand heads with gray moustaches, shouting, “Vive l’Empereur!”  Napoleon’s catastrophe originated in that sign of a peasant’s head. Was it possible that Napoleon should have won that battle? We answer No. Because of Wellington? because of Blücher?

Another series of facts was in preparation, in which there was no longer any room for Napoleon. Warned, nevertheless, and put on the alert by the little white chapel which marks its angle of junction with the Nivelles highway, he had probably put a question as to the possibility of an obstacle, to the guide Lacoste.  It is not a battle, but a change of front on the part of the Universe. The cuirassiers hurled themselves on the English squares at full speed, with bridles loose, swords in their teeth and pistols in fist. Their great horses reared, strode across the ranks, leaped over the bayonets and fell, gigantic, in the midst of these four living wells.

Hanoverian cuirassiers died thinking of Ben Lothian, as did the Greeks recalling Argos. Their valor was something indescribable. Had Napoleon at that same moment thought of his infantry, he would have won the battle.  For such Frenchmen nothing less than such Englishmen was needed.   One thing is certain, that on the day after the battle, a cuirassier and his horse were found dead among the woodwork of the scales for vehicles at Mont-Saint-Jean, at the very point where the four roads from Nivelles, Genappe, La Hulpe, and Brussels meet and intersect each other.   Almost at that same moment, a singular coincidence which paints the exhaustion of the two armies, Ney demanded infantry from Napoleon, and Napoleon exclaimed, “Infantry!  A few men clustered round a flag marked the post of a regiment; such and such a battalion was commanded only by a captain or a lieutenant; Alten’s division, already so roughly handled at La Haie-Sainte, was almost destroyed; the intrepid Belgians of Van Kluze’s brigade strewed the rye-fields all along the Nivelles road; hardly anything was left of those Dutch grenadiers, who, intermingled with Spaniards in our ranks in 1811, fought against Wellington; and who, in 1815, rallied to the English standard, fought against Napoleon.  On the side of the English there was Alten wounded, Barne wounded, Delancey killed, Van Meeren killed, Ompteda killed, the whole of Wellington’s staff decimated, and England had the worse of it in that bloody scale. The Hanoverian hussars of Cumberland, a whole regiment, with Colonel Hacke at its head, fled to the forest of Soignes, sowing defeat all the way to Brussels. Pringle, exaggerating the disaster, goes so far as to say that the Anglo-Dutch army was reduced to thirty-four thousand men. This panic was such that it attacked the Prince de Condé at Mechlin, and Louis XVIII at Ghent. The Dutch, mowed down by the French cavalry, cried, “Alarm!”  If the little shepherd who served as guide to Bülow, Blücher’s lieutenant, had advised him to debouch from the forest above Frischemont, instead of below Plancenoit, the form of the nineteenth century might, perhaps, have been different. Napoleon would have won the battle of Waterloo. Had the action begun two hours earlier, it would have been over at four o’clock, and Blüler would have fallen on the battle won by Napoleon. CHAPTER XI—A BAD GUIDE TO NAPOLEON; A GOOD GUIDE TO BÜLOW  A little later, the divisions of Losthin, Hiller, Hacke, and Ryssel deployed before Lobau’s corps, the cavalry of Prince William of Prussia debouched from the forest of Paris, Plancenoit was in flames, and the Prussian cannon-balls began to rain even upon the ranks of the guard in reserve behind Napoleon.

a fresh battle precipitating itself on our dismantled regiments at nightfall; the whole English line resuming the offensive and thrust forward; the gigantic breach made in the French army; the English grape-shot and the Prussian grape-shot aiding each other; the extermination; disaster in front; disaster on the flank; the Guard entering the line in the midst of this terrible crumbling of all things.

 Not a man was missing in that battle; each battalion of the Guard was commanded by a general. Unhappy man, thou wert reserved for French bullets!   In vain does Napoleon erect walls from what is left to him of his Guard; in vain does he expend in a last effort his last serviceable squadrons.  He strives to detain the army, he recalls it to its duty, he insults it, he clings to the rout.  Zieten putting France to the sword at its leisure.  The Prussian cavalry, newly arrived, dashes forwards, flies, hews, slashes, kills, exterminates.

At night a sort of visionary mist arises from the field of Waterloo. Napoleon, Wellington and Hougomont, Mont-Saint-Jean, Frischemont, Papelotte, Plancenoit, appear confusedly crowned with whirlwinds of spectres. To us, Waterloo is but the stupefied date of liberty. If one places one’s self at the culminating point of view of the question, Waterloo is intentionally a counter-revolutionary victory. It is Europe against France; it is Petersburg, Berlin, and Vienna against Paris.

The solidarity of the Brunswicks, the Nassaus, the Romanoffs, the Hohenzollerns, the Hapsburgs with the Bourbons. Bonaparte overthrowing the old thrones; after Waterloo, in Louis XVIII. Foy falls at Hougomont and rises again in the tribune. Bonaparte places a postilion on the throne of Naples, and a sergeant on the throne of Sweden, employing inequality to demonstrate equality; Louis XVIII. at Saint-Ouen countersigns the declaration of the rights of man.

The prowler answered rapidly, and in a low voice:—”Like yourself, I belonged to the French army.  Jean Valjean had been recaptured. Police discover that Jean Valjean was no other than an ex-convict who had broken his ban, condemned in 1796 for theft, and named the thief. A bandit named Jean Valjean has appeared before the Court of Assizes of the Var, under circumstances calculated to attract attention. He is accused of highway robbery accompanied with violence, about eight years ago, on the person of one of those honest children who, as the patriarch of Ferney has said, in immortal verse, “Arrive from Savoy every year, do clear Those long canals choked up with soot”. Jean Valjean changed his number in the galleys of M. sur M. de Villèle from 9,430 to 9, which was considered a triumph of the priestly party. After this fall, everything was done on a small scale, instead of on a grand scale, for lucre instead of the general good. There was no longer a centre; everywhere there was competition and animosity. The state itself perceived that some one had been crushed somewhere. In the region of Montfermeil there exists a superstition that the devil has chosen the forest as a hiding place for his treasures. Goodwives affirm that it is no rarity to encounter at nightfall, in secluded nooks of the forest, a black man with the air of a carter or a wood-chopper, wearing wooden shoes, clad in trousers and a blouse of linen, and recognizable by the fact, instead of a cap or hat, he has two immense horns on his head. This man is habitually engaged in digging a hole. There are three ways of profiting by such an encounter: to approach the man and speak to him; to watch him, to wait until he has dug his hole and has filled it and has gone away; then to run with great speed to the trench and to seize the “treasure” which he has necessarily placed there. Finally, the last method is not to look at him, not to flee at the best speed of one’s legs, and to flee – and to die within the year. The success of the operation appears to be but moderate, if the tradition is to be believed. Jean Valjean Boulatruelle was a road-mender on the crossroad from Gagny to Lagny. He was viewed with disfavor by the inhabitants of the district as too respectful, too humble, too prompt in removing his cap to every one, and trembling and smiling in the presence of the gendarmes.  Boulatruelle drank an enormous amount, but said very little.  Boulatruelle saw a person who “did not belong in those parts” of the forest, and refused to reveal his name. Two or three hours later he saw this person emerge from the brushwood carrying no longer the coffer, but a shovel and pick. He had explored, sounded, searched the entire forest and the thicket, and had dug wherever the earth appeared to have been recently turned up. In 1823 the inhabitants of Toulon beheld the entry into their port, after heavy weather, of the ship Orion, which was employed later at Brest as a school-ship, and which formed a part of the Mediterranean squadron. It flew some colors which procured for it the regulation salute of eleven guns, which it returned, shot for shot; total, twenty-two.  Such was this war, made by the princes descended from Louis XIV., and conducted by generals who had been under Napoleon.  a European halt, called to the French idea, which was making the tour of the world;  It was a debasing war in which the Bank of France could be read in the folds of the flag. Bonaparte: France is made to arouse the soul of nations, not to stifle it – liberty darts rays from France. France is made to arouse the soul of nations, not to stifle it.  As for France, having re-established el rey netto in Spain, might well have restored the absolute king at home. As for the Bourbons, the war of 1823 was fatal to them. They fell into the alarming error of taking the obedience of the soldier for the consent of the nation. A ship of the line is composed, at once, of the heaviest and the lightest of possible matter. It has eleven claws of iron with which to seize the granite on the bottom of the sea, and more antennae than winged insects to catch the wind in the clouds. The English main-mast rises to a height of two hundred and seventeen feet above the water-line. It is said that a warship is as inexhaustible in force as is the Infinite in gales. And yet there comes an hour when the gale breaks that sixty-foot yard like a straw, when the wind bends that mast four hundred feet tall, when that anchor is twisted in the jaws of the waves like a fisherman’s hook – when those monstrous cannons utter plaintive and futile roars, which the hurricane bears forth into the void and into night. The Orion was a ship that had been ailing. A violent equinoctial gale had come up, which had first staved in a grating and a porthole on the larboard side, and damaged the foretop-gallant-shrouds. In consequence of these injuries, the Orion had run back to Toulon. It is a terrible thing to see a living being detach himself from a rope and fall like a ripe fruit. Not one of the sailors, all fishermen of the coast, recently levied for the service, dared to attempt it. All were awaiting the minute when he should release his hold on the rope, and, from instant to instant, heads were turned aside.

The frigate Algésiras was anchored alongside the Orion, and the poor convict had fallen between the two vessels: it was to be feared that he would slip under one or the other of them.  In 1823 Jean Valjean was sent to Montfermeil, a village in the forest between Livry and Chelles on the southern edge of that lofty table-land which separates the Ourcq from the Marne. At the present day it is a tolerably large town, ornamented all the year through with plaster villas, and on Sundays with beaming bourgeois. In 1823 it was a peaceful and charming place, which was not on the road to anywhere: there people lived a peasant rustic life which is so bounteous and so easy; only, water was rare there, on account of the elevation of the plateau. Yesterday, a convict belonging to the detachment on board of the Orion, on his return from rendering assistance to a sailor, fell into the sea and was drowned.

It will be remembered that Cosette was useful to the Thénardiers in two ways: they made the mother pay them, and they made the child serve them.  Among the curiosities displayed in the square was a menagerie of vultures and clowns. On Christmas eve itself, a number of men, carters, and peddlers were drinking and smoking around four or five candles in the public room of Theneradier’s guestelry. The date of the year 1823 was indicated, nevertheless, by two objects: a kaleidoscope and a lamp of ribbed tin. In order to play the part of a faithful historian, we ought even to add that, among the curiosities displayed in the square, there was a menagerie, in which frightful clowns, clad in rags and coming no one knew whence, exhibited to the peasants of Montfermeil in 1823 one of those horrible Brazilian vultures, such as our Royal Museum did not possess until 1845, and which have a tricolored cockade for an eye.

The female Thénardier was attending to the supper, which was roasting in front of a clear fire; her husband was drinking with his customers and talking politics. When the Thénardiers of Nanterre and Suresnes were growing grapes, a miller would call out: Are we responsible for what is in the sacks? We find a quantity of small seed which we cannot sift out, and which we are obliged to send through the mill-stones? “In those parts the grapes should not be ripe,” he adds. He was nearing his fiftieth birthday; she was approaching her forties; so that there existed a balance of age between husband and wife.

So far in this book the Thénardiers have been viewed only in profile; the moment has arrived for making the circuit of this couple, and considering it under all its aspects. Thénardier was a small, thin, pale, bony, feeble man, who had a sickly air. Cosette was her only servant; a mouse in the service of an elephant. Her big face, dotted with red blotches, presented the appearance of a skimmer. When one heard her speak, one said, “That is a gendarme”.

His coquetry consisted in drinking with the carters. He pretended to be a sergeant in the 6th or 9th light something or other at Waterloo. Thence arose for his wall the flaring sign, and for his inn the name which it bore in the neighborhood, of “the cabaret of the Sergeant of Waterloo”.

Thénardier was one of those marauding sutlers of which we have spoken, beating about the country, stealing from others, and travelling like a family man, with wife and children, in a rickety cart, in the rear of troops on the march, with an instinct for always attaching himself to the victorious army. Madame Thénardier was one of those people who accuse everything that passes before them of everything which has befallen them, and who are always ready to cast upon the first person who comes to hand, as a legitimate grievance. When all this leaven was stirred up in him and boiled forth from his mouth and eyes, he was terrible. Woe to the person who came under his wrath at such a time! He had something of the look of sailors, who are accustomed to screw up their eyes to gaze through marine glasses.

Madame Thénardier was possessed of virtues after her own kind. She would never have blamed her husband in public on any subject whatever. Their concord had only evil as its result, but there was contemplation in her submission to her husband. The mastodon moved under the little finger of that frail despot, this was grand and universal thing, the adoration of mind by matter. In 1823, Thénardier was burdened with about fifteen hundred francs’ worth of petty debts.

The man had but one thought: how to enrich himself. In Switzerland or in the Pyrenees this penniless scamp would have become a millionaire, but an inn-keeper must browse where fate has hitched him. The Thénardier hostelry was like a spider’s web, in which Cosette had been caught, and where she lay trembling. Cosette ran upstairs and down, washed, swept, rubbed, dusted, ran, fluttered about, panted, moved heavy articles, and weak as she was, did the coarse work. The ideal of oppression was realized by this sinister household; it was something like the fly serving the spiders.

Her eye was black in consequence of a blow from Madame Thénardier’s fist, which caused the latter to remark from time to time, “How ugly she is with her fist-blow on her eye!” The child had raised her head and was following all the woman’s movements as she tried to fill the faucet. “Well, there is no more water,” she said: “this will be enough”. “Yes, it has,” said Madame Thénardier. Cosette had emerged from under the table. “Come,” said the pedler, in a rage, “let my horse be watered, and let that be the end of it!”.

She threw the street door wide open; Cosette went for an empty bucket which was bigger than she was. The Thénardier resumed:—”Mademoiselle Dog-lack-name, go and water that horse.” “Are you coming?” shrieked Madame Thénardier. The last of these stalls, established precisely opposite the Thénardiers’ door, was a toy-shop all glittering with tinsel, glass, and magnificent objects of tin.   With the sad and innocent sagacity of childhood, Cosette measured the abyss which separated her from that doll.  The further she went, the denser the darkness became; there was no one in the streets.

The Thénardier had cast a glance into the street, and had caught sight of Cosette in her ecstasy. As the Thénardier hostelry was in that part of the village which is near the church, it was to the spring in the forest in the direction of Chelles that Cosette was obliged to go for her water. Cosette traverses the labyrinth of tortuous and deserted streets which terminate in the village of Montfermeil on the side of Chelles. When she had passed the corner of the last house, Cosette paused. She set her bucket on the ground, thrust her hand into her hair, and began slowly to scratch her head.

In proportion as she advanced, her pace slackened mechanically, as it were. Now it was the Thénardier who appeared to her, with her hyena mouth and wrath flashing in her eyes.  Cosette knew the way, through having gone over it many times in daylight.  Overhead the sky was covered with vast black clouds, which were like masses of smoke. The forest was dark, not a leaf was moving; there were none of the vague, fresh gleams of summertide.

When the eye sees black, the heart sees trouble. One beholds floating, either in space or in one’s own brain, one knows not what vague and intangible thing, like the dreams of sleeping flowers, looms on the horizon. One inhales the effluvia of the great black void. There is no hardihood which does not shudder and feels the vicinity of anguish. She began counting aloud, one, two, three, four, and so on up to ten, in order to escape from that singular state which she did not understand, but which terrified her.

When she had finished, she returned to a true perception of the things about her, and fled at full speed through the forest. Her glance fell upon the water which stood before her; such was the fright which the Thénardier inspired in her, that she dared not flee without that bucket of water: she seized the handle with both hands; she could hardly lift the pail. Without understanding her sensations, Cosette was conscious that she was seized upon by that black enormity of nature; it was no longer terror alone which was gaining possession of her; it was something more terrible even than terror; she shivered.  In the depths of a forest, at night, in winter, far from all human sight, an eight-year-old girl was so afraid of the Thénardier that she walked bent forward, with drooping head, like an old woman. In this manner she advanced a dozen paces, but the bucket was full; it was heavy; she was forced to set it on the ground once more.

And her mother, no doubt, alas! However she could not make much headway in that manner, and she went on very slowly. On arriving near an old chestnut-tree with which she was acquainted, made a last halt, longer than the rest, in order to get well rested. At that moment she suddenly became conscious that her bucket no longer weighed anything at all: a hand, which seemed to her enormous, had just seized the handle, and lifted it vigorously. In spite of diminishing the length of her stops, and of walking as long as possible between them, she reflected with anguish that it would take her more than an hour to return to Montfermeil in this manner, and that the Thénardier would beat her.

On Christmas Day, 1823, a man walked for rather a long time in the most deserted part of the Boulevard de l’Hôpital in Paris. This man had the air of a person who is seeking lodgings, and he seemed to halt at the most modest houses on that dilapidated border of the faubourg Saint-Marceau. At that epoch, King Louis XVIII. went nearly every day to Choisy-le-Roi: it was one of his favorite excursions. Towards two o’clock, almost invariably, the royal carriage and cavalcade was seen to pass at full speed along the Boulevard de l’Hôpital.

And some rushed forward, and others drew up in line, for a passing king always creates a tumult; besides, the appearance and disappearance of Louis XVIII. produced a certain effect in the streets of Paris.  The promenader in the yellow coat evidently did not belong in the quarter, and probably did not belong in Paris, for he was ignorant as to this detail.  M. le Duc de Havré, as captain of the guard on duty that day, said to his Majesty, “Yonder is an evil-looking man” when he saw the promenader in the royal carriage debouched on the boulevard of the Salpêtrière.

He drew up hastily behind the corner of a wall of an enclosure, though this did not prevent others from spying him out. The police tried to follow him, but he fled into deserted little streets of the faubourg, and as twilight was beginning to fall, the agent lost trace of him.  Towards six o’clock in the evening they reached Chelles.  The man accosted her with a voice that was grave and almost bass. He said: “My child, what you are carrying is very heavy for you; give it to me.” It was the man who had just met Cosette.

He asks: “And have you come from far like this?”. The child replies: “From the spring in the forest.” “It was Madame Thénardier.” “Cosette.” Cosette replied: “When I have finished my work and they let me, I amuse myself, too”. They passed the bakeshop, but Cosette did not think of the bread which she had been told to fetch. The Thénardier appeared with a candle in her hand. Her husband replied by making an imperceptible movement of the forefinger, which, backed up by an inflation of the lips, signifies in such cases: A regular beggar.

“I don’t lodge poor folks for less,” added her husband, gently; “it ruins a house to have such people in it.” Thereupon, the Thénardier exclaimed:—”Ah!  In the meantime, the man, laying his bundle and his cudgel on a bench, had seated himself at a table, on which Cosette made haste to place a bottle of wine and a glass.  Cosette was ugly.  Her entire clothing was but a rag which would have inspired pity in summer, and inspired horror in winter. Her skin was visible here and there and everywhere black and blue spots could be descried, which marked the places where the Thénardier woman had touched her.  Madame Thénardier. Cosette, the baker’s shopkeeper, had never known what it is to pray. Madame Thénadier exclaimed: “By the way, where’s that bread?”. Cosette contracted herself into a ball, with anguish, within the angle of the chimney, endeavoring to gather up and conceal her poor half-nude limbs. The Thénardier raised her arm, and said she saw something which had fallen from this little one’s apron pocket, and rolled aside. She held out a silver coin to Cosette, but it was not it, for it was a twenty-sou piece. She put the coin in her pocket and confined herself to casting a fierce glance at the child, accompanied with the remark, “Don’t let this ever happen again!”.

When they entered, the Thénardier said to them in a grumbling tone which was full of adoration, “Ah! there you are, you children!”

 All at once, the Thénardier, who had been going back and forth in the room, perceived that Cosette’s mind was distracted, and that, instead of working, she was paying attention to the little ones at their play. Éponine and Azelma did not look at Cosette.  She said: If such is your fancy, you will be allowed to have them for five francs. We can refuse nothing to travellers. The man replied: “Five francs! the deuce, I should think so!”.

“You must pay on the spot,” said the Thénardier, in her curt and peremptory fashion. Then he turned to Cosette. “Thanks, Madame,” said Cosette.  Thénardier accompanied and encouraged them. Azelma listened admiringly to Éponine.

The doll is one of the most imperious needs of feminine childhood. At this word, Monsieur, the man turned; up to that time, the Thénardier had addressed him only as brave homme or bonhomme. Madame Thénardier approached the yellow man; “My husband is right,” she thought; “perhaps it is M. Laffitte; there are such queer rich men!” During the whole of this conversation Cosette, as though warned by some instinct that she was under discussion, had not taken her eyes from the Thénardier’s face; she listened vaguely; she caught a few words here and there. Meanwhile, the drinkers were singing their unclean refrain with redoubled gayety. “Decidedly, he is a beggar” thought Madame Thénardier.

Cosette, from her post under the table, gazed at the fire, which was reflected from her fixed eyes.  Madame Thénardier’s countenance assumed that peculiar expression which is composed of the terrible mingled with the trifles of life, and which has caused this style of woman to be named Megaeras. She shrieked in a voice rendered hoarse with indignation:—”Cosette!”. Cosette started as though the earth had trembled beneath her; she turned round. That pink and shining foot, projecting from the shadow, suddenly struck the eye of Azelma, who said to Éponine, “Look! sister.” Perhaps he is both.

The face of the male Thénardier presented that expressive fold which accentuates the human countenance whenever the dominant instinct appears there in all its bestial force.  Madame Thénardier, petrified and mute, recommenced her conjectures: “Who is that old fellow?  As soon as he had gone, the Thénardier profited by his absence to give Cosette a hearty kick under the table, which made the child utter loud cries. The Thénardier, Éponine, and Azelma were like statues also; the very drinkers had paused; a solemn silence reigned through the whole room.  “Yes, my child,” replied the Thénardier. She ended by drawing near and murmuring timidly as she turned towards Madame Thénardier:—”May I, Madame?” “Truly, sir?” said Cosette.  It was now the turn of Éponine and Azelma to gaze at Cosette with envy. She sent her two daughters to bed and asked the stranger’s permission to send Cosette off, “for she has worked hard all day,” she added with a maternal air. Cosette went off to bed, carrying Catherine in her arms. it is perfectly simple,” replied Thénardier, “if that amuses him!  The stranger remained in the same place and the same attitude until 2 o’clock in the morning. “Is he going to pass the night in that fashion?” grumbled Thenardier. “Sir!” exclaimed Thénardier, with a smile, “I will conduct you, sir.” That was all; but he had not said a word since Cosette had left the room.  Thénardier replied coldly:—”How you do go on!” When she heard her husband’s step she turned over and said to him:—”Do you know, I’m going to turn Cosette out of doors to-morrow.” The landlord threw himself into an armchair and remained for some time buried in thought. He traversed a corridor and came upon a staircase, and followed a faint sound like the breathing of a child. It led him to a sort of triangular recess built under the staircase, or rather formed by the space created by the staircase itself. There, in the midst of all sorts of old papers and potsherds, among dust and spiders’ webs, was a bed with a straw pallet and a coverlet so full of holes as to display the straw. In this bed Cosette was sleeping, and against her breast was pressed a doll, whose eyes glittered in the dark. They belonged to Éponine and Azelma.  The stranger conjectured that this chamber connected with that of the Thénardier pair.  The stranger conjectures that this chamber is connected with that of the Thénadier pair. He finds a pair of children’s shoes, coquettish in shape and unequal in size, on the hearth-stone. It was Cosette’s sabot.  Éponine and Azelma had taken care not to omit this, and each of them had set one of her shoes on the hearth.


  “Up so early?” said Madame Thénardier; “is Monsieur leaving us already?” Monsieur, times are so hard! and then, we have so few bourgeois in the neighborhood! All the people are poor, you see. We earn nothing and we have to pay out a great deal. Just see, that child is costing us our very eyes.

“What child?” he asked, stupefied at not witnessing another sort of explosion. “Cosette—the Lark, as she is called hereabouts!” she replied. “Cosette!” screamed the Thénardier. How strange it is, one grows attached. Thénardier continued: Thénardier: As true as you are an honest man, I will not consent to it.

I shall miss that child. Cosette is just the same as our own child; I want to keep her to babble about the house. The stranger continued: One must do something for the good God’s sake. She has neither father nor mother; I have brought her up. In truth, I think a great deal of that child!

Monsieur Thénardier Cosette: “If I take Cosette away, I shall take her away, and that is the end of the matter”. He had devoted the whole of the time to observing the stranger like a cat, watching him like a mathematician. The geniuses, like demons, recognize the presence of a superior God by certain signs. It was like an intuition; he comprehended it with his clear and sagacious promptitude. He had caught glimpses of everything, but he saw nothing.

His conjectures were put to the rout when he heard the stranger’s firm retort: When one has a right, one asserts it. Thénardier was one of those men who take in a situation at a glance.  He could not be Cosette’s father.  When Cosette awoke one morning to find she had found a gold piece, it was not a Napoleon but one of those perfectly new twenty-franc pieces of the Restoration, on whose effigy the little Prussian queue had replaced the laurel wreath. She hid it quickly in her pocket, as though she had stolen it; she felt that it really was hers, but the joy which she experienced was full of fear.

The Thénardier took out three bank-bills and said to the inn-keeper: Go and fetch Cosette.  It was during one of these periods of contemplation that the Thénardier joined her.  It was our man and Cosette. Madame Thénardier Cosette had dared to criticise one of the master’s acts. Thénardier was one of those double natures which sometimes pass through our midst without our being aware of the fact, because destiny has only exhibited one side of them.

He was a shopkeeper in whom there was some taint of the monster. The inn-keeper and Cosette were far ahead of him; but a child walks slowly, and he walked fast; and then, he paused and dealt himself a blow on his forehead like a man who has forgotten some essential point and is ready to retrace his steps. The inn-keeper asked: “What is the meaning of this?”. to which the stranger replied: “I am an honest man, you see; this child does not belong to me; she belongs to her mother.” He then fumbled in his pocket-book and drew out a paper that said: MONSIEUR THÉNARDIER:—  You will deliver Cosette to this person. You will be paid for all the little things.

Monsieur Thénardier’s sensations were those of the wolf at the moment when he feels himself nipped and seized by the steel jaw of the trap. It is well, sir, but I must be paid for all those little things. A great deal is owing to me, he says. He takes Cosette by his left hand, and with his right he picks up his cudgel, which was lying on the ground. The man plunges into the forest with the child, leaving the inn-keeper motionless and speechless.

He led Cosette off in the direction of Bondy and Livry. All at once he caught sight of Thénardier.


 When Jean Valjean fell into the sea, or rather, when he threw himself into it, he was not ironed, as we have seen. He swam under water until he reached a vessel at anchor, to which a boat was moored. At night he swam off again, and reached the shore a little way from Cape Brun. Then he directed his course towards Grand-Villard, near Briançon, in the Hautes-Alpes. Later on, some trace of his passage into Civrieux was discovered; in the Pyrenees, at Accons; at the spot called Grange-de-Doumec, near the market of Chavailles, and in the environs of La Chapelle-Gonaguet.

He reached Paris. On the evening of the day when Jean Valjean rescued Cosette from the claws of the Thénardiers, he returned to Paris.  He returned to the Salpêtrière and re-entered it, with the child, by way of the Barrier Monceaux. They walked through the deserted streets of the Ourcine and the Glacière towards the Boulevard de l’Hôpital. The day had been strange and filled with emotions for Cosette.

He would have reached little known latitudes at the corner of the Rue des Vignes-Saint-Marcel. There could be seen, at that epoch, a mean building, which, at first glance, seemed as small as a thatched hovel, and which was, in reality, as large as a cathedral. The door was nothing but a collection of worm-eaten planks roughly bound together by cross-beams which resembled roughly hewn logs. Above the door it said, “Number 50”; the inside replied, “no, Number 52”. The postmen called the house Number 50-52; but it was known as the Gorbeau house.

A parody was immediately put in circulation in the galleries of the court-house. A parody was immediately put in circulation in the galleries of the court-house, in verses that limped a little:—Maître Corbeau, sur un dossier perché, Tenait dans son bec une saisie exécutoire; Maître Renard, par l’odeur alléché, Lui fit à peu près cette histoire: Hé! bonjour.  Their petition was presented to Louis XV. on the same day when the Papal Nuncio, on the one hand, and the Cardinal de la Roche-Aymon on the other, both devoutly kneeling, were each engaged in putting on, in his Majesty’s presence, a slipper on the bare feet of Madame du Barry, who had just got out of bed.

Their petition was presented to Louis XV. on the same day as the Papal Nuncio and the Cardinal de la Roche-Aymon were putting on Madame du Barry’s slipper. It was through it that prisoners condemned to death re-entered Paris on the day of their execution. This barrier itself evoked gloomy fancies in the mind, and has never been solved. It was the road to Bicêtre.

As far as the eye could see, one could perceive nothing but the abattoirs, the city wall, and the fronts of a few factories, resembling barracks or monasteries. Bourgeois houses only began to spring up there twenty-five years later. Nothing oppresses the heart like symmetry, and ennui is at the very foundation of grief. In addition to the gloomy thoughts which assailed one there, one was conscious of being between the Salpêtrière, a glimpse of whose dome could be seen, and Bicêtre, whose outskirts one was fairly touching; that is to say, between the madness of women and the madness of men.  Since the Orleans railway has invaded the region of the Salpêtrière, the ancient, narrow streets which adjoin the moats Saint-Victor and the Jardin des Plantes tremble.

It seems as though, around these great centres of a people, the earth, full of germs, trembled and yawned, to engulf the ancient dwellings of men and to allow new ones to spring forth. The old houses crumble and new ones rise. One morning,—a memorable morning in July, 1845,—black pots of bitumen were seen smoking there; on that day it might be said that civilization had arrived in the Rue de l’Ourcine, and that Paris had entered the suburb of Saint-Marceau.  It was in front of this Gorbeau house that Jean Valjean halted. Like wild birds, he had chosen this desert place to construct his nest.

He fumbled in his waistcoat pocket, drew out a sort of a pass-key, opened the door, and ascended the staircase. At the top of the stairs he drew from his pocket another key, with which he opened another door. The chamber which he entered, and which he closed again instantly, was a kind of moderately spacious attic, furnished with a mattress laid on the floor, a table, and several chairs; a stove in which a fire was burning, stood in one corner. And at the extreme end there was a dressing-room with a folding bed, where he laid Cosette down without waking her. Cosette caught sight of Catherine at the foot of her bed, and took possession of her.

Jean Valjean had never loved anything; for twenty-five years he had been alone in the world. He was vicious, gloomy, chaste, ignorant, and shy. The heart of that ex-convict was full of virginity. When he saw Cosette his passion and affection within him awoke. Was Paris very large?

The Bishop had caused the dawn of virtue to rise on his horizon. Cosette became another being, poor little thing, unknown to herself, when her mother left her. When these two souls perceived each other, they recognized each other as necessary to each other. The man no longer produced on her the effect of being old or poor; she thought Jean Valjean handsome, just as she thought the hovel pretty. The entrance of that man into the destiny of that child had been the advent of God.

This situation caused him to become Cosette’s father after a celestial fashion. He and Cosette lived in Number 50-52, a sort of dilapidated penthouse for market-gardeners. Moreover, Jean Valjean had chosen his refuge well.

Jean Valjean’s Cosette was no longer in rags; she had emerged from misery, and she was entering into life. He taught her to read, and to teach her to play, this constituted nearly the whole of his existence. The ex-convict saw a whole future stretching out before him, illuminated by Cosette as by a charming light. He had just viewed the malice of men and the misery of society under a new aspect. They lived soberly, always having a little fire, but like people in very moderate circumstances.

It turned out that Cosette was a very gay little person. Who knows whether Jean Valjean had not been on the eve of growing discouraged and of falling once more?  He had just viewed the malice of men and the misery of society under a new aspect—incomplete aspects, which unfortunately only exhibited one side of the truth, the fate of woman as summed up in Fantine, and public authority as personified in Javert.  He began to be known in the neighborhood under the name of the beggar who gives alms. A spy saw him with an air which struck the old gossip as peculiar, entering one of the uninhabited compartments of the hovel.

She followed him with the step of an old cat, and was able to observe him without being seen, through a crack in the door. The old woman fled in alarm when she saw him fumble in his pocket and draw out a bank-bill for a thousand francs. She had questioned Cosette, who had not been able to tell her anything, since she knew nothing herself except that she had come from Montfermeil.  Jean Valjean accepted the sou with a deep bow.  A few days later, Jean Valjean is seen sawing some wood in the Rue des Vignes Saint-Marcel.

The old woman felt of it carefully, and noticed that it was his quarterly income, which he had received the day before. She went to get the bill changed, and mentioned her surmises. Cosette was occupied in admiring the wood as it was sawed.  Jean Valjean was struck with a shudder when he saw the beggar in his usual place, beneath the lantern which had just been lighted. He experienced the same impression that one would have on finding one’s self, all of a sudden, face to face, in the dark, with a tiger.

He recoiled, terrified, petrified, daring neither to breathe, to speak, nor to flee, staring at the man who had dropped his head, which was enveloped in a rag, and no longer appeared to know that he was there. At this strange moment, an instinct—possibly the mysterious instinct of self-preservation restrained him from uttering a word. He hardly dared to confess, even to himself, that the face which he thought he had seen was the face of Javert. “How the deuce could I have thought that I saw Javert?” he thought. It was unmistakably the ex-beadle.

He had sent Cosette to bed, and as he kissed her brow, the steps paused. The step was heavy, and sounded like that of a man; but the old woman wore stout shoes, and there is nothing which strongly resembles the step of an old woman. Jean Valjean listened. Jean Valjean Javert was awakened by the creaking of a door which opened on some attic at the end of the corridor, then he heard the same masculine footstep which had ascended the stairs on the previous evening. He sprang off the bed and applied his eye to the keyhole, which was tolerably large, hoping to see the person who had made his way by night into the house and had listened at his door, as he passed.

It was a man of lofty stature, clad in a long frock-coat, with a cudgel under his arm; the formidable neck and shoulders belonged to Javert. Jean Valjean thought he perceived one. The author of this book, who regrets the necessity of mentioning himself, has been absent from Paris for many years. In consequence of demolitions and reconstructions, the Paris of his youth, which he bore away religiously in his memory, is now a Paris of days gone by. “Come.” he said to Cosette.

If you imagine that the streets of Paris are a matter of indifference to you, and that those windows, those roofs, and those doors are nothing to you: that those walls are strangers to you; that those trees are haphazard; that the houses which you do not enter are useless to you – that the pavements which you tread are merely stones. Later on, when you are no longer there, you perceive that the old Paris is dear to you. And you love them as they are, as they were, and you persist in this, and will submit to no change.  The Black Hunt Jean Valjean was not sorry for this.  Jean Valjean described many and varied labyrinths in the Mouffetard quarter, which was already asleep, as though the discipline of the Middle Ages and the yoke of the curfew still existed.

He was determined not to return to the Gorbeau house, and sought a hole in which he might hide until he could find one where he might dwell. At one point he saw three men who were following him closely, pass, one after the other, under a commissary’s lantern, on the dark side of the street. Was not he believed to be dead? Still, queer things had been going on for several days? “Come, child,” he said to Cosette; and he made haste to quit the Rue Pontoise.

He was not even absolutely sure that it was Javert, and then it might have been Javert, without Javert knowing that he was Jean Valjean.  In the thirteenth century it was inhabited by potters, and its real name is Rue des Pots. Jean Valjean recognized Javert perfectly.

Cosette was beginning to be tired.  Uncertainty was at an end for Jean Valjean: fortunately it still lasted for the men.  Four shadows were just entering on the bridge, with their backs turned to the Jardin des Plantes, and were on their way to the right bank. Cosette’s pace retarded Jean Valjean’s. CHAPTER III—TO WIT, THE PLAN OF PARIS IN 1727 The point of Paris where Jean Valjean found himself is one of those which recent improvements have transformed from top to bottom.

To-day, there are brand-new, wide streets, arenas, circuses, hippodromes, railway stations, and a prison, Mazas, there; progress, as the reader sees, with its antidote. The Revolution destroyed it soundly; and to-day, it has been utterly blotted out by the erasing process of new buildings. It was here that Jean Valjean stood. The Petit-Picpus, of which no existing plan has preserved a trace, is indicated with sufficient clearness in the plan of 1727, published at Paris by Denis Thierry, Rue Saint-Jacques, opposite the Rue du Plâtre; and at Lyons, by Jean Girin, Rue Mercière, at the sign of Prudence.  He saw that black form standing out in relief against the white pavement, illuminated by the moon; to advance was to fall into this man’s hands; to retreat was to fling himself into Javert’s arms.

Chapter IV—THE GROPINGS OF FLIGHT. Jean Valjean felt himself caught, as in a net, which was slowly contracting; he gazed heavenward in despair.  Jean Valjean’s description of the interior of a building on the Rue Droit-Mur is rigorously exact and will awaken a very precise memory in the mind of old inhabitants of the quarter. The niche was entirely filled by a thing which resembled a colossal and wretched door; it was a vast, formless assemblage of perpendicular planks, the upper ones being broader than the lower, bound together by long transverse strips of iron. At one side there was a carriage gate of the ordinary dimensions, and which had evidently not been cut more than fifty years ago. This odd espalier, with its branches of lead and iron, was the first thing that struck Jean Valjean.

He seated her with her back against a stone post, with an injunction to be silent, and ran to the spot where the conduit touched the pavement. Perhaps there was some way of climbing up by it and entering the house? But the pipe was dilapidated and past service, and hardly hung to its fastenings. The windows of this silent dwelling were grated with heavy iron bars, even the attic windows in the roof. And finally, what was to be done with Cosette?

And the galleys now meant not only the galleys, but Cosette lost to him forever; that is to say, a life resembling the interior of a tomb. Jean Valjean risked a glance round the corner of the street.  This was some patrol that Javert had encountered—there could be no mistake as to this surmise—and whose aid he had demanded. Jean Valjean crawled up without ladder or climbing-irons, by sheer muscular force, by leaning on the nape of his neck, his shoulders, his hips, and his knees, and helping himself on the rare projections of the stone, in the right angle of a wall, as high as the sixth story, if need be. He reached the corner of the Conciergerie of Paris by which Battemolle, condemned to death, made his escape twenty years ago.

Cosette was the difficulty, for she did not know how to climb a wall.  Jean Valjean did not once think of that.  At that epoch there were no gas-jets in the streets of Paris. Jean Valjean, with the energy of a supreme struggle, crossed the street at one bound, entered the alley, broke the latch of the little box with the point of his knife, and an instant later he was beside Cosette once more. She contented herself with plucking Jean Valjean by the skirt of his coat.

Then, without haste, but without making a useless movement, with firm and curt precision, the more remarkable at a moment when the patrol and Javert might come upon him at any moment, he undid his cravat, passed it round Cosette’s body under the armpits, taking care that it should not hurt the child, fastened this cravat to one end of the rope, by means of that knot which seafaring men call a “swallow knot,” took the other end of the rope in his teeth, pulled off his shoes and stockings, which he threw over the wall, stepped upon the mass of masonry, and began to raise himself in the angle of the wall and the gable with as much solidity and certainty as though he had the rounds of a ladder under his feet and elbows.  Then, without haste, but without making a useless movement, with firm and curt precision, he undid his cravat, passed it round Cosette’s body under the armpits, taking care that it should not hurt the child. Half a minute had not elapsed when he was resting on his knees on the wall. Jean Valjean’s injunction, and the name of Madame Thénardier, had chilled her blood.All at once she heard Jean Valjean’s voice crying to her, though in a very low tone:—”Put your back against the wall.”She obeyed.”Don’t say a word, and don’t be alarmed,” went on Jean Valjean.And she felt herself lifted from the ground.  Whether from terror or courage, Cosette had not breathed a sound, though her hands were a little abraded.

Jean Valjean grasped her, put her on his back, took her two tiny hands in his large left hand, lay down flat on his stomach and crawled along on top of the wall as far as the cant.  The thundering voice of Javert was audible:—”Search the blind alley!

It is one of those melancholy gardens which seem made to be looked at in winter and at night. Jean Valjean had beside him the building whose roof had served him as a means of descent, a pile of fagots, and, behind the fagots, directly against the wall, a stone statue, whose mutilated face was no longer anything more than a shapeless mask which loomed vaguely through the gloom. They heard the noise of the patrol searching the blind alley and the streets; the blows of their gun-stocks against the stones; Javert’s appeals to the police spies whom he had posted, and his imprecations mingled with words which could not be distinguished. Cosette trembled and pressed close to him.  Jean Valjean held his breath.

Poor Cosette said nothing.  “Who?” said Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean saw a human form lying face downward on the pavement, with the arms extended in the form of a cross, in the immobility of death. The whole chamber was bathed in that mist of places which are sparely illuminated, which adds to horror. All at once he felt himself overpowered by an inexpressible terror, and he fled.

He stepped up to Cosette.  Who could ever have imagined anything like that sort of sepulchre in the midst of Paris!  Jean Valjean shuddered with the continual tremor of the unhappy. Javert and the spies distrust the day because it enables people to see them, and the night because it aids in surprising them. He took the sleeping Cosette gently in his arms and carried her behind a heap of old furniture, which was out of use, in the most remote corner of the shed.

The goodman exclaimed, trembling all over: Ah, good God! How come you here? Where did you enter? Dieu-Jésus! Did you fall from heaven?

And what a state you are in! It was absolutely necessary that Cosette should be in bed and beside a fire in less than a quarter of an hour.  In a few strides Jean Valjean stood beside him. and what house is this?” demanded Jean Valjean. “Ah!

pardieu, this is too much!” exclaimed the old man; “I am the person for whom you got the place here, and this house is the one where you had me placed.” “And what are you doing here?” resumed Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean’s mind went back to the convent in Saint-Antoine where old Fauchelevent, crippled by the fall from his cart, had been admitted on his recommendation two years ago. The old man cried with joy as he saw Jean Valjean approach him, and exclaimed: “Oh! that would be a blessing from the good God, if I could make you some little return for that!”. You did not recognize me immediately; you save people’s lives, and then you forget them! Less than half an hour afterwards Cosette, who had grown rosy again before the flame of a good fire, was lying asleep in the old gardener’s bed.  He added not a word further, and followed Jean Valjean as a dog follows his master. CHAPTER X—WHICH EXPLAINS HOW JAVERT GOT ON THE SCENT Javert’s zeal and intelligence on that occasion had been remarked by M. Chabouillet, secretary-in-prefecture of the police force of Paris. Javert had, in fact, rendered powerful assistance in the recapture of Jean Valjean.

A police report concerning the abduction of a child named Cosette, which had taken place under peculiar circumstances, set him to thinking again. Just as he was finishing the article, which interested him; a name, the name of Jean Valjean, attracted his attention at the bottom of a page.  This report came under Javert’s eye and set him to thinking. Jean Valjean had been arrested in Paris at the very moment when he was stepping into the coach for Montfermeil. Javert, without saying anything to anybody, took the coach from the Pewter Platter, Cul-de-Sac de la Planchette, and found a great deal of obscurity.

and what was his name? But their first vexation having passed off, Thénardier, with his wonderful instinct, had very quickly comprehended that it is never advisable to stir up the prosecutor of the Crown, and that his complaints with regard to the abduction of Cosette would have as their first result to fix upon himself, and upon many dark affairs which he had on hand, the glittering eye of justice.  “Jean Valjean is certainly dead,” said he, “and I am a ninny.” Thereupon Javert returned to Paris.  At that moment Javert raised his head, and the shock which Jean Valjean received on recognizing Javert was equal to the one received by Javert when he thought he recognized Jean Valjean. The old woman confirmed the fact regarding the coat lined with millions, and narrated to him the episode of the thousand-franc bill.

On the following day Jean Valjean decamped; but the noise made by the fall of the five-franc piece was noticed by the old woman, who, hearing the rattling of coin, suspected that he might be intending to leave, and made haste to warn Javert.  Javert kept the name of the individual whom he wanted to seize secret for three reasons: because the slightest indiscretion might put him on the alert; next, because he feared being deprived of his convict; and last, because Javert hated those well-heralded successes which are talked of long in advance and have the bloom brushed off. Why had not Javert arrested Jean Valjean?  The police agents were afraid of making a mistake; the prefect laid the blame on them; a mistake meant dismissal. Javert had scruples of his own; injunctions of his conscience were added to the injunctions, and he was really in doubt.

Sadness, uneasiness, anxiety, depression, this fresh misfortune of being forced to flee by night, to seek a chance refuge in Paris for Cosette and himself, the necessity of regulating his pace to the pace of the child—all this, without his being aware of it, had altered Jean Valjean’s walk, and impressed on his bearing such senility, that the police themselves, incarnate in the person of Javert, might, and did in fact, make a mistake.  To arrest him too hastily would be “to kill the hen that laid the golden eggs,” said Javert. It was only quite late in the Rue de Pontoise, that, thanks to the brilliant light thrown from a dram-shop, he decidedly recognized Jean Valjean. Javert, with his powerful rectitude of instinct, went straight to the bridge of Austerlitz. He saw Jean Valjean traverse the small illuminated spot on the other side of the water, leading Cosette by the hand.

He made sure of his back burrows, as huntsmen say; he hastily despatched one of his agents, by a roundabout way, to guard that issue. In such games soldiers are aces, and Javert experienced one ecstatic and infernal moment. But when he reached the centre of the web he found the fly no longer there, his exasperation can be imagined. He interrogated his sentinel of the Rues Droit-Mur and Petit-Picpus; that agent had not seen the man pass. Accompanied as he was, the very idea of resistance was impossible, however vigorous, energetic, and desperate Jean Valjean might be.

Javert on the Hunt Javert committed all these blunders, and nonetheless was one of the cleverest and most correct spies that ever existed. He was, in the full force of the term, what is called in venery a knowing dog, but what is there that is perfect? The hunter cannot be too cautious when he is chasing uneasy animals like the wolf and the convict. He fought back with traps and ambuscades and beat the quarter all night long. Javert explored the gardens and waste stretches as though he had been hunting for a needle.

Jean Valjean evidently must have fled in that direction.   If a living being had been so wonderfully thin as to essay an entrance or exit through the square hole, this grating of interlacing iron bars would have prevented it. The little green flowers of the nankin paper ran in a calm and orderly manner to those iron bars, without being startled or thrown into confusion by their funereal contact. When one enters a grated baignoire into a cellar-like half-twilight, one experiences the same impression as when one enters at the theatre into a theatre before the grating is lowered and the chandelier is lighted. One is in a sort of theatre-box, furnished with two old chairs, and a much-frayed straw matting; a regular box, with its front just of a height to lean upon, bearing a tablet of black wood.

On raising the latch and crossing the threshold, one finds himself in a grated baignoire, made of iron bars and riveted fastenings which resemble clenched fists. If one chanced to be within certain prescribed and very rare conditions, the slat of one of the shutters opened opposite you. Behind the grating, behind the shutter, one perceived a head, of which only the mouth and the chin were visible; the rest was covered with a black veil. That head spoke with you, but did not look at you and never smiled at you.

He founded a congregation of Bernardines-Benedictines, with Salamanca for the head of the order, and Alcala as the branch establishment. It was the interior of that severe and gloomy edifice which was called the Convent of the Bernardines of the Perpetual Adoration.  CHAPTER II—THE OBEDIENCE OF MARTIN VERGA Cîteaux dates from Saint Robert, Abbé de Molesme, in the diocese of Langres, in 1098, and is an offshoot of that order. After the rule of the Carmelites, who go barefoot, wear a bit of willow on their throats, and never sit down, the harshest rule is that of the Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga.  The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga practise the Perpetual Adoration, like the Benedictines called Ladies of the Holy Sacrament, who, at the beginning of this century, had two houses in Paris,—one at the Temple, the other in the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Geneviève.

The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga practised the Perpetual Adoration. The nuns of the Petit-Picpus were a totally different order from the Ladies of the Holy Sacrament. Their only resemblance lies in this practice, which was common to the two orders. The Benedictines-Benedictines of this obedience fast all the year round, abstain from meat, fast in Lent and on many other days which are peculiar to them. They wear drugget chemises for six months in the year, from September 14th, which is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, until Easter.

Their submission to the prioress is absolute and passive; it is the canonical subjection in the full force of its abnegation. This is the Perpetual Adoration. When they meet, one says, “Blessed and adored be the most Holy Sacrament of the altar”. The other responds, “Forever”. They call everything our; thus: our veil, our chaplet, if they were speaking of their chemise, they would say our chemise.

No tooth-brush ever entered that convent. The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga chant the offices to a solemn psalmody, a pure Gregorian chant, and always with full voice during the whole course of the office. At The Infant Jesus they say, “At this hour and at every hour may the love of Jesus kindle my heart”. When a nun is summoned to the parlor, even were it the prioress herself, she drops her veil, as will be remembered, so that only her mouth is visible. Such is the rule of Saint-Benoît, aggravated by Martin Verga.

Between 1825 and 1830 three of them went mad. One day one of the mother precentors intoned a psalm beginning with Ecce instead of Ecce. The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga do not admit widows to their order. One is a postulant for two years at least, often for four; a novice for four. In their cells, they deliver themselves up to many unknown macerations, of which they must never speak.

It is remarkable that these performances were tolerated and encouraged out of a secret spirit of proselytism, and in order to give these children a foretaste of the holy habit, were a genuine happiness and a real recreation for the scholars. They simply amused themselves with it; it was new; it gave them a change. Their very mothers did not obtain permission to embrace them. After the psalmodies, the bells, the peals and knells and offices, the sound of these little girls burst forth on a sudden more sweetly than the noise of bees. The hive of joy was opened, and each one brought her honey.

Thanks to these children, there was, among so many austere hours, one hour of ingenuousness. In that house more than anywhere else, perhaps, arise those children’s sayings which are so graceful and which evoke a smile that is full of thoughtfulness. It was between those four gloomy walls that a child of five exclaimed one day: “Mother! one of the big girls has just told me that I have only nine years and ten months longer to remain here.” It was here, too, that a memorable dialogue took place:—. A Vocal Mother. Why are you weeping, my child?

It was there that a little abandoned child, a foundling whom the convent was bringing up out of charity, uttered this sweet and heart-breaking saying: “As for me, my mother was not there when I was born”. She murmured in her corner: “It was Punchinello who bestowed it on the cat.” At the beginning of this century Écouen was one of those strict and graceful places where young girls pass their childhood in a shadow that is almost august. In order to take rank in the procession of the Holy Sacrament, a distinction was made between virgins and florists. Every pupil belonged to one of these four nations according to the corner of the refectory in which she sat.

Two narrow tables, each flanked by two wooden benches, formed two long parallel lines from one end to the other of the refectory. The walls were white, the tables were black; these two mourning colors constitute the only variety in convents. The meals were plain, and the food of the children themselves severe. A single dish of meat and vegetables combined, or salt fish—such was their luxury. Mademoiselle Bouchard: They played in an alley of the garden bordered with a few shabby fruit-trees.

When one goes upstairs to put the veil on the bed before supper, one stuffs them under one’s pillow and at night one eats them in bed, and when one cannot do that, one can eat them in the closet.   M. de Rohan, vicar-general of the Archbishop of Paris, was an object of attention to the schoolgirls of the Petit-Picpus convent 16 years ago. Not one of the young recluses could see him, because of the serge curtain, but he had a sweet and rather shrill voice, which they had come to know and to distinguish. The girls passed hours in listening to it, the vocal mothers were upset by it, brains were busy, punishments descended in showers.

This flute always played the same air, an air which is very far away nowadays,—”My Zétulbé, come reign o’er my soul”. When the Empire was established, all these poor old dispersed and exiled women had been accorded permission to come and take shelter under the wings of the Bernardines-Benedictines. The convent of the ladies of Sainte-Aure occupied, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, this very house of the Petit-Picpus, which belonged later to the Benedictines of Martin Verga. Although very old, she still played the harp, and did it very well. A few years ago, there were still to be seen, pasted in a little cupboard in her cell,  five lines in Latin, written with her own hand in red ink on yellow paper, which she feared would frighten away robbers.

The convent was built in such a manner as to separate the Great Convent from the Boarding-school like a veritable intrenchment. When the nuns were present at services where their rule enjoined silence, the public was warned of their presence only by the folding seats of the stalls. Among them were some of the most esteemed among the vocal mothers of the convent: Mother Saint-Augustin, the nurse, the only one in the nunciature who was malicious. With the exception of the archbishop, no man entered the convent. The main building, taken in its entirety, was a juxtaposition of hybrid constructions which, viewed from a bird’s-eye view, outlined, with considerable exactness, a gibbet laid flat on the ground.

Their parlor was a salon with a polished wood floor, whose windows were draped in white muslin curtains and whose walls admitted a portrait of a Benedictine nun with unveiled face, painted bouquets, and even the head of a Turk. As we have said, this convent of the Temple was occupied by Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration, Benedictines quite different from those who depended on Cîteaux.  In 1649 the holy sacrament was profaned in two churches in Paris. This outrage committed on “the most holy sacrament of the altar,” though but temporary, would not depart from these holy souls. It seemed to them that it could only be extenuated by a “Perpetual Adoration” in some female monastery.

Two sainted women, Madame Courtin and Marquise de Boucs, made donations of notable sums to Mother Catherine de Bar, called of the Holy Sacrament, a Benedictine nun. Such is the origin of the legal consecration of the establishment of the Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration of the Holy Sacrament at Paris.  In 1657 Pope Alexander VII authorized the Perpetual Adoration of the Holy Sacrament to be practised by the Bernardines of the Petit-Picpus. Their convent was consecrated by Mesdames de Boucs and de Châteauvieux. The Perpetual Adoration is so rigid in its nature that it alarms.

In 1847, the prioress was young, a sign that the circle of choice was restricted. Forty years ago, the nuns numbered nearly a hundred; fifteen years ago there were not more than twenty-eight of them. Book is a drama, whose leading personage is the Infinite. The past has a visage, superstition, and a mask, hypocrisy. It is necessary to know them, if only for the purpose of avoiding them.

As for convents, they present a complex problem: a question of civilization, which condemns them, and liberty, which protects them. From the point of view of history, of reason, and of truth, monasticism is condemned. Monasteries, when they abound in a nation, are clogs in its circulation. Their prosperity and their fatness mean the impoverishment of the country. Cloisters, useful in the early education of modern civilization, have embarrassed its growth.

Spanish convent is the most funereal of all. The abbess, a spectre, sanctifies them and terrifies them. Their breath under their veil resembles the tragic respiration of death. Such are the ancient monasteries of Spain. Catholic Spain is more Roman than Rome.

To-day the upholders of the past, unable to deny these things, have adopted the expedient of smiling at them. There has come into fashion a strange and easy manner of suppressing the revelations of history, of invalidating the commentaries of philosophy, of eliding all embarrassing facts and all gloomy questions. Facts, however, are awkward things to disconcert, and they are obstinate. Monasticism, such as it existed in Spain, is a sort of phthisis for civilization. It stops life short, simply depopulates.

Claustration, castration, has been the scourge of Europe. Add to this the violence so often done to the conscience, the forced vocations, feudalism bolstered up by the cloister. To dream of the indefinite prolongation of defunct things, and of the government of men by embalming, to regild shrines, to patch up cloisters, to refurnish superstitions, to revictual fanaticisms, to reconstitute monasticism and militarism, to believe in the salvation of society by the multiplication of parasites, to force the past on the present seems strange. But there are theorists who hold such theories. A convent in France, in the broad daylight of the nineteenth century, is a college of owls facing the light.

In ordinary times, in order to dissolve an anachronism and to cause it to vanish, one has only to make it spell out the date. But we are not in ordinary times. Let us fight, but let us make a distinction.

There is no prince among them; that prince is the same shadow as the rest. All undergo the same tonsure, wear the same frock, eat the same black bread and die on the same ashes. They are clothed in coarse woollen or coarse linen; not one of them possesses in his own right anything whatever. The Middle Ages cast aside, Asia cast aside and the historical and political question held in reserve. Is it not the latter’s mirror, reflection, echo, an abyss which is concentric with another abyss?

Is this second infinity intelligent also? If these two infinites are intelligent, each of them has a will principle, and there is an I in the upper infinity – subjacent to the first? Some faculties in man are directed towards the Unknown; thought, reverie, prayer. Whither go these majestic irradiations of the soul? Into the shadow; that is to say, to the light.

The grandeur of democracy is to disown nothing and to deny nothing of humanity. With nihilism, no discussion is possible, for the nihilist logic doubts the existence of its interlocutor, and is not quite sure that it exists itself. To deny the will of the infinite, that is to say, God, is impossible on any other conditions than a denial of the infinite. Philosophy should not be a corbel erected on mystery to gaze upon it at its ease, without any other result than that of being convenient to curiosity. Philosophy should be an energy; it should have for effort and effect to ameliorate the condition of man.

Morality is a blossoming out of truths. Science should be a cordial. The absolute should be practicable. When one speaks of convents, those abodes of error, but of innocence, of aberration but of good-will, of torture but of martyrdom, it always becomes necessary to say either yes or no. The convent is supreme egoism having for its result supreme abnegation.

In the cloister, hell is accepted in advance as a post obit on paradise. To meditate on the Shadow is a serious thing. We are of the number who believe in the wretchedness of orisons, and the sublimity of prayer. In the presence of the darkness which enviromental dispersion will make of us, we reply: “There is probably no work more divine than that performed by these souls”. In our century it is woman who suffers the most, and in this exile of the cloister there is something of protestation.

This cloistered existence which is so austere, so depressing, a few of whose features we have just traced, is not life, for it is not liberty, but plenitude. It is the strange place whence one beholds, as from the crest of a lofty mountain, the abyss between two worlds, illuminated and obscured by both.

Jean Valjean had, henceforth, but one thought,—to remain there.  This remark trotted through Fauchelevent’s head all night long.

 He made up his mind to rescue her when it was a question of thrusting himself under a cart for the purpose of dragging her out. Only, from some words which Jean Valjean had let fall, the gardener thought he could draw the inference that M. Madeleine had probably become bankrupt through the hard times, and that he was pursued by his creditors; or that he had compromised himself in some political affair, and was in hiding; which last did not displease Fauchelevent, who, like many of our peasants of the North, had an old fund of Bonapartism about him.

Nevertheless, he put many questions to himself and made himself divers replies: After what he did for me, would I save him if he were a thief? Just the same? Father Fauchelevent was an old man who had been an egoist all his life, and who, towards the end of his days, halt, infirm, with no interest left to him in the world, found it sweet to be grateful, and perceiving a generous action to be performed, flung himself upon it like a man, who at the moment when he is dying, should find close to his hand a glass of good wine which he had never tasted, and should swallow it with avidity.  So he took his resolve: to devote himself to M. Madeleine.

 He was a notary, which added trickery to his cunning, and penetration to his ingenuousness. His physiognomy was of the kind which succeeds with an observer, he had none of those disagreeable wrinkles at the top of the forehead, which signify malice or stupidity. This remark summed up the situation and aroused Jean Valjean from his reverie.

 Fauchelevent belonged, in fact, to that species, which the impertinent and flippant vocabulary of the last century qualified as demi-bourgeois, demi-lout, and which the metaphors showered by the château upon the thatched cottage ticketed in the pigeon-hole of the plebeian: rather rustic, rather citified; pepper and salt.  Madeleine seated on his truss of straw, and watching Cosette’s slumbers.

“Well?” said Jean Valjean.

 “It is the knell, Monsieur Madeleine.  Fauchelevent exclaimed:—

 Monsieur Madeleine Fauchelevent: To be a man here is to have the plague. You see how they fasten a bell to my paw as though I were a wild beast? Jean Valjean: “This convent would be our salvation,” he murmured. Jean Valjean Fauchelevent: The good God must have taken you in his hand for the purpose of getting a good look at you close to, and then dropped you. Only, he meant to place you in a man’s convent; he made a mistake. Come, there goes another peal, that is to order the porter to go and inform the municipality that the dead-doctor is to view a corpse.  Jean Valjean had fallen to gazing at her.  Fauchelevent caught the word.

 Mother Crucifixion is dead, and Father Madeleine—”

 The gardener hastened out of the hut, crying: “This time it is for me,” and ran across the garden as fast as his crooked leg would permit. Jean Valjean watched him hurrying across the garden as fast as his crooked leg would permit, casting a sidelong glance by the way on his melon patch.

 Monsieur Madeleine, don’t stir from here, and wait for me.  CHAPTER II—FAUCHELEVENT IN THE PRESENCE OF A DIFFICULTY

 He knew all and concealed all; that constituted his art. The congregation thought a great deal of him; they would have found it difficult to replace him.

Fauchelevent, the ex-notary, belonged to the category of peasants who have assurance.  He talked for some time about his age, his infirmities, the surcharge of years counting double for him henceforth, of the increasing demands of his garden, of nights when he was forced to put straw mats over the melon beds because of the moon. “Yes, reverend Mother,” replied Fauchelevent.

“Father Fauvent!” Prioress de Béthune: Three years ago, a Jansenist, turned orthodox, merely from having seen Mother Crucifixion at prayer Father Fauchelevent: No other man than you can or must enter that chamber. See to that! “Father Fauvent, what the dead wish must be done.” For a clever man like Fauchelevent, this allusion was an awkward one. The prioress, completely absorbed in her own thoughts, did not hear it. She continued:—”Father Fauvent?”.

Saint Didorus, Archbishop of Cappadocia, desired that this single word might be inscribed on his tomb: Acarus, which signifies, a worm of the earth; this was done. And we are to reject the undertaker’s coffin? Fauchelevent Saint Benoît Fauvent: “Mother Crucifixion shall be buried, according to her wish, in her own coffin, under our altar”. He adds: “But it is forbidden by men, enjoined by God.” “What if it became known?”. “I have on my right Benoît and on my left Bernard.  Fontaines in Burgundy is blest because it gave birth to Saint Benoît Fauvent. He began at Cîteaux, to end in Clairvaux; he was ordained abbot by the bishop of Châlon-sur-Saône, Guillaume de Champeaux. His father was named Técelin, and his mother Alèthe. Benoît Burgundy Cîteaux: We live in times of terrible confusion. We do not know that which it is necessary to know, and we should ignore it. The name of Voltaire is known, but not the name of César de Bus, he writes. Is not the body of Saint Benoît himself in France, in the abbey of Fleury, called Saint Benoît-sur-Loire, although he died in Italy at Mont-Cassin, on Saturday, the 21st of the month of March, of the year 543?

Moreover, Fauchelevent was in a dilemma.  At the moment when Fauchelevent entered, Jean Valjean was pointing out to her the vintner’s basket on the wall, and saying to her, “Listen attentively to me, my little Cosette.  “But you, Father Madeleine?” M. Madeleine Cosette was buried there because she was one of those dead to whom “nothing is refused”. The government sent a coffin and undertaker’s men to get the coffin and carry it to the cemetery; there will be nothing in it. Fauchelevent replied:—”The coffin of the administration.” “Me!” said Jean Valjean. “You are not like other men, Father Madeleine,” Jean Valjean says to Fauchelevent. To behold such devices, which are nothing else than the savage and daring inventions of the galleys, spring forth from the peaceable things which surrounded him, and mingle with what he called the petty course of life in the convent, is as much amazement as a gull fishing in the gutter of the Rue Saint-Denis would inspire in a passer-by. And how about food? I shall be hungry. “I will bring you something.” “You can come and nail me up in the coffin at two o’clock,” he told him. Fauchelevent, who had recovered himself a little, exclaimed:—”But how will you manage to breathe?” Jean Valjean had been in worse straits than this.  Jean Valjean’s coolness prevailed over him in spite of himself. He grumbled: Well, since there is no other means. I will tell you what will take place at the cemetery. “That is the very point that is not troublesome,” exclaimed Fauchealvent. Fauchelevent was of this hesitating nature.  They will arrive a little before dusk, three-quarters of an hour before the gates of the cemetery are closed. The hearse halts, the undertaker’s men knot a rope around your coffin and lower you down. I am left alone with Father Mestienne. One of two things will happen, he will either be sober, or he will not be sober. If he is drunk, I shall say to him: ‘Be off; I will do your work for you’. Jean Valjean held out his hand, and Fauchelevent precipitated himself upon it with the touching effusion of a peasant. All will go well. “That is settled, Father Fauchelevent.

The gates of the Paris cemeteries closed at sundown, and this being a municipal regulation, the Vaugirard cemetery was bound by it like the rest. These gates swung inexorably on their hinges at the instant when the sun disappeared behind the dome of the Invalides. If any grave-digger were delayed after that moment in the cemetery, there was but one way for him to get out. A sort of letter-box was constructed in the porter’s window. The Vaugirard cemetery was a venerable enclosure, planted like an old-fashioned French garden.

The bourgeois did not care much about being buried there; it hinted at poverty. This cemetery, with its peculiarities outside the regulations, embarrassed the symmetry of the administration. Père-Lachaise is equivalent to having furniture of mahogany. The lame man who followed it was no other than Fauchelevent. The interment of Mother Crucifixion in the vault under the altar, the exit of Cosette, the introduction of Jean Valjean to the dead-room,—all had been executed without difficulty, and there had been no hitch.

Mestienne’s head adjusted itself to the cap of Fauchelevent’s will.  Jean Valjean’s composure was one of those powerful tranquillities which are contagious.  His twin plots, the one with the nuns, the one for the convent, the other against it, the other with M. Madeleine, had succeeded, to all appearance.  Do you know who little Father Lenoir is?

He is a jug of Surêne, morbigou! of real Paris Surannene? The digger replied: I have been a student. I passed my fourth examination. I never drink!

stammered Fauchelevent. The old gardener was so exasperated that he could not move for a quarter of an hour named after Rabelais in the dark, and that not unintentionally. Fauchelevent did not understand this last word. As for himself, he did not wish to pay. “What a farce this is!” repeated Fauchelevent in consternation.

Jean Valjean, like Fauchelevent, had no doubt as to the end that he was playing with death. The four planks of the coffin breathe out a kind of terrible peace; it seems as though something of the repose of the dead entered into his tranquillity. Patience for a little while longer. That will be the work of a good hour. But then he heard a sound which seemed to him to be a clap of thunder and saw a shovelful of earth falling on the coffin.

Fauchelevent continued. Jean Valjean lost consciousness.   Fauchelevent held him back. Madeleine: “Ah! Jésus-mon-Dieu-bancroche-à-bas-la-lune!”. 17 he exclaimed.

“Fifteen francs fine!”. “Three pieces of a hundred sous!” the grave-digger replied. Fauchelevent’s turn had come. Jean Valjean’s face appeared in the twilight; it was pale and his eyes were closed. Madeleine Fauchelevent’s hair rose on his head as he cried: —And this is the way I save his life.

He drew himself up, and folding his arms with such violence that his clenched fists came in contact with his shoulders. The poor man fell to sobbing, for it is an error to suppose that the soliloquy is unnatural. One should not do such things. He stared at Jean Valjean. To see a corpse is alarming, to behold a resurrection is almost as much so.

The two men were troubled even when they recovered themselves, although they did not realize it. This remark recalled Fauchelevent thoroughly to reality, and there was pressing need of it.  “I am cold,” said Jean Valjean. Then he sprang to his feet and cried:—”Thanks, Father Madeleine!” The grave-digger’s card was lost by the “conscript” at home, and without a card he could not get back into the cemetery. “You are benumbed,” said Fauchelevent.

“Here it is,” said Jean Valjean. “How well everything is going!” said Fauchelevent; “what a capital idea that was of yours, Father Madeleine!” Fauchelevent opened the door.  The whole of this poverty-stricken interior bore traces of having been overturned. It was plain that the grave-digger had made everybody in the garret, from the jug to his wife, responsible for its loss. He entered and said:—”I have brought you back your shovel and pick”.

They were Fauchelevent, Jean Valjean, and Cosette. The two old men had gone to fetch Cosette from the fruiterer’s in the Rue du Chemin-Vert, where Fauchelevent had deposited her on the preceding day.  The two old men had gone to fetch her from the fruiterer’s in the Rue du Chemin-Vert, where they had deposited her on the preceding day. Fauchelevent replied:—”Ultime Fauchelevent.” The prioress passed Jean Valjean in review.  The prioress, that pronounced prognosticator, said of Cosette: “She will grow up ugly.” His name was Ultime Fauchelevent. Jean Valjean was, in fact, regularly installed; he had his belled knee-cap; henceforth he was official.

The convent was enabled to retain the coffin of Mother Crucifixion under the altar, eluded Caesar and satisfied God. It is in vain that mirrors are banished from the convent; now, girls who are conscious of their beauty do not easily become nuns. Fauchelevent became the best of servitors and the most precious of gardeners.  The whole of this adventure increased the importance of good, old Fauchelevent; he won a triple success; in the eyes of Jean Valjean, whom he had saved and sheltered; in those of grave-digger Gribier, who said to himself: “He spared me that fine”; with the convent, which, being enabled, thanks to him, to retain the coffin of Mother Crucifixion under the altar, eluded Caesar and satisfied God.  Cosette continued to hold her tongue in the convent.

We have seen a note addressed by the then reigning Pope, Leo XII., to one of his relatives, a Monsignor in the Nuncio’s establishment in Paris, and bearing, like himself, the name of Della Genga; it contained these lines: “It appears that there is in a convent in Paris an excellent gardener, who is also a holy man, named Fauvent.”  Father Fauchelevent Jean Valjean made Madeleine Cosette wear the same mourning suit which he had made her put on when she quitted the Thénardiers’ inn. He locked up these garments, plus the stockings and the shoes, with a quantity of camphor and all the aromatics in which convents abound, in a little valise which he found means of procuring. The nuns did not adopt the name of Ultime; they called him the other Fauvent. Javert watched the quarter for more than a month. Jean Valjean saw enough of the sky there to preserve his serenity, and Cosette enough to remain happy.

Fauchelevent’s chamber had for ornament, in addition to the two nails whereon to hang the knee-cap and the basket, a Royalist bank note of ’93. The principal one had been given up, by force, for Jean Valjean had opposed it in vain, to M. Madeleine, by Father Fauchelevent.  God has his own ways, and the convent contributed, like Cosette, to uphold and complete the Bishop’s work in Jean valjean. At recreation hours, Jean Valjean watched her running and playing in the distance, and he distinguished her laugh from that of the rest.

He thought of the beings under his eyes: how wretched they were; how they rose at dawn, and toiled until night; hardly were they permitted to sleep; they lay on mattresses two inches thick, in rooms which were heated only in the very harshest months of the year. They lived nameless, designated only by numbers, and converted, after a manner, into ciphers themselves, with downcast eyes and with lowered voices, beneath the cudgel and in disgrace.  Jean Valjean understood thoroughly the expiation of the former; that personal expiation, the expiation for one’s self.  We put ourselves at the point of Jean Valjean’s point of view, and we translate his impressions of the sublime summit of abnegation. Here all personal theory is withheld; we are only the narrator of the story.

In the middle of the night he heard the grateful song of those innocent creatures weighed down with severities, and the blood ran cold in his veins at the thought that those who were justly chastised raised their voices heavenward only in blasphemy. He began meditating on the Bishop’s holy injunctions: Cosette through love, the convent through humility. His heart melted in gratitude and he loved more and more.

 Summary of LES MISÉRABLES Volume-3

The Gamin, the street Arab of Paris is the dwarf of the giant. He is from seven to thirteen years of age, lives in bands, roams the streets, lodges in the open air, wears an old pair of trousers of his father’s, which descend below his heels, and an old hat of some other father, which descends below his ears. He has no shirt on his body, no shoes on his feet, no roof over his head; he is like the flies of heaven, who have none of these things. If one were to ask that enormous city: “What is this?” she would reply: “My little one”. He has his own coinage, which is composed of all the little morsels of worked copper which are found on the public streets.

His games include calling hackney-coaches, cleaning out the cracks in the pavement, and crying discourses by the authorities in favor of the French people. Each region of Paris is celebrated for the interesting treasures which are to be found there. There are ear-wigs in the timber-yards of the Ursulines, there are millepeds in the Pantheon. This curious money, which receives the name of loques—rags—has an invariable and well-regulated currency in this little Bohemia of children. As far as sayings are concerned, this child has as many of them as Talleyrand.

He ranges boldly from comedy to farce, from high comedy to comedy. The gamin is not devoid of literary intuition, but he is not very academic by nature. “Hey there!” shouts some street Arab, “how long has it been customary for doctors to carry home their own work?” The Gamin of Paris begins with the lounger and ends with the street Arab. This being bawls and scoffs and ridicules and fights, has rags like a baby and tatters like a philosopher. He is mad to the point of thieving, is lyrical to filth, would crouch down on Olympus, wallows in the dunghill and emerges from it covered with stars.

Paris alone has this in its natural history: the whole of the monarchy and anarchy in the gamin. The street Arab of Paris is Rabelais in this youth. The Spirit of Paris is that demon which creates the children of chance and the men of destiny. A God has always passed over the street Arab. The gamin loves the city but also loves solitude, since he has something of the sage in him.

He who writes these lines has long been a prowler about the barriers of Paris, and it is for him a source of profound souvenirs. It is said that the campagna of Rome is one idea, and the banlieue of Paris is another; to behold nothing but fields, houses, or trees in what a stretch of country offers us, is to remain on the surface; all aspects of things are thoughts of God. The spot where a plain effects its junction with a city is always stamped with a certain piercing melancholy. Any one who has wandered about in these solitudes contiguous to our faubourgs, which may be designated as the limbos of Paris, has seen here and there, at the most desert spot,  in the most unexpected moment, behind a meagre hedge, or in the corner of a lugubrious wall, children grouped tumultuously, muddy, dusty, ragged, dishevelled, playing hide-and-seek, and crowned with corn-flowers. All of them are little ones who have made their escape from poor families.

There they are eternally playing truant. Paris, centre, banlieue, circumference; this constitutes all the earth to those children. For them, nothing exists two leagues beyond the barriers: Ivry, Gentilly, Arcueil, Belleville, Choisy-le-Roi, Billancourt, Meudon, Issy, Vanvre, Sèvres, Puteaux, Gennevilliers, Chatou, Asnières, Bougival, Enghien, Drancy, Gonesse; the universe ends there. At the epoch, nearly contemporary by the way, when the action of this book takes place, there was not, as there is to-day, a policeman at the corner of every street (a benefit which there is no time to discuss here), stray children abounded in Paris. The statistics give an average of two hundred and sixty homeless children picked up annually at that period, by the police patrols.

Let us make an exception in favor of Paris, nevertheless.  This abandonment of children was not discouraged by the ancient monarchy, as it was in Egypt and Bohemia. This is called, for this sad thing has given rise to an expression, “to be cast on the pavements of Paris.” Under Louis XV. children disappeared in Paris; the police carried them off, for what mysterious purpose no one knew. The body of street Arabs in Paris almost constitutes a caste.

This word gamin was printed for the first time, and reached popular speech through the literary tongue, in 1834. A certain audacity on matters of religion sets off the gamin. The child of Paris exclaims: He is talking to his black cap! Oh, the sneak! This is a famous exclamation of a Parisian gamin, a profound epiphonema which the vulgar herd laughs at without comprehending.

The gamin is born a tiler as he is a mariner. He calls the guillotine by all sorts of pet names. Samson and the Abbé Montès are the truly popular names. Lacenaire, when a gamin, on seeing the hideous Dautin die bravely, said: “I was jealous of him”.

His cry, which was celebrated about 1830, is a strategic warning from gamin to gamin. Ohé, Titi, ohééé! Here comes the bobby, here comes the p’lice, and be off, through the sewer with you! The gamin in his perfect state possesses all the policemen of Paris, and can always put the name to the face of any one which he chances to meet. He reads the souls of the police like an open book.

Camille Desmoulins was a native of the faubourgs; Beaumarchais had something of it. The gamin of Paris is respectful, ironical, and insolent. He plays in the gutter, and straightens himself up with a revolt. He was a scapegrace, he is a hero; like the little Theban, he shakes the skin from the lion. The gamin expresses Paris, and Paris expresses the world. Paris has a capital, the Town-Hall, a Parthenon, Notre-Dame, a Mount Aventine, the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, an Asinarium, the Sorbonne, a Pantheon, a Via Sacra, the Boulevard des Italiens, and the Pantheon.

M. Gillenormand, who was as much alive as possible in 1831, was one of those men who had become curiosities to be viewed. The streets of the new Tivoli quarter have received the names of all the capitals of Europe; a progression, by the way, in which progress is visible. He was superficial, rapid, easily angered, flew into a passion at everything, generally quite contrary to all reason. His dream was to come into an inheritance and to have a hundred thousand livres income for mistresses. He made nature into his little chimney-corner satires: “Nature, in order that civilization may have a little of everything, gives it even specimens of its amusing barbarism”.

This house has since been demolished and rebuilt, and the number has probably been changed in those revolutions of numeration which the streets of Paris undergo.  M. Gillenormand was one of those men who are always deceived by their wives and never by their mistresses, because they are, at the same time, the most sullen of husbands and the most charming of lovers in existence. His manners were something between those of the courtier and the lawyer; he was gay, and caressing when he had a mind. He said: “The French Revolution is a heap of blackguards”.

His god-father had predicted he would turn out a man of genius, and had bestowed on him these two crudities. M. Gillenormand was crowned Duc de Nevers at the College of Moulins, where he was born. Neither the Convention nor the death of Louis XVI. nor the return of the Bourbons, nor anything else had been able to efface the memory of this crowning.

In his eyes Catherine the Second had made reparation for the crime of the partition of Poland by purchasing, for three thousand roubles, the elixir of gold. He had one of them: “When a man is passionately fond of women, and when he has himself a wife for whom he cares but little, who is homely, cross, legitimate, and jealous at need, there is but one way of extricating himself from the quandry and of procuring peace”.

When M. Gillenormand lived in the Rue Servandoni, he frequented many very good and very aristocratic salons. Although a bourgeois, he was received in society as he had a double measure of wit. His domination in the Royalist salons cost his self-respect nothing; he was an oracle everywhere. Madame de T.’s salon was the home of the Bonapartistes, who amused themselves with puns which were considered terrible, with innocent plays upon words which they supposed to be venomous, with quatrains like: Refoncez dans vos culottes. Le bout d’ chemis’ qui vous pend.

Ont arboré l’ drapeau blanc? The Comte de Lamothe was “held in consideration” in this salon on account of his “celebrity” and, strange to say, because of his name of Valois. M. Du Barry, the god-father of the Vaubernier, was very welcome at the house of M. le Maréchal de Richelieu. He also said that “All kings who are not the King of France” were provincial kings.

At the Te Deum on the anniversary of the return of the Bourbons, he said, “There goes his Excellency the Evil One”. About 1817 a man of about 50 years of age lived in one of those enclosures which abut on the bridge, and border the left bank of the Seine like a chain of terraces. All these enclosures abut upon the river at one end, and on the house at the other, and are decorated with flowers of which one could say: “these are gardens”.  Georges Pontmercy was a soldier in Saintonge’s regiment, which formed part of the army of the Rhine. He fought at Spire, at Worms, at Neustadt, at Turkheim, at Alzey, at Mayence.

He was under Kléber at Marchiennes and at Mont-Palissel, where a ball from a biscaïen broke his arm. When Berthier’s grape-shot of that day at Lodi caused Bonaparte to say: “Berthier has been cannoneer, cavalier, and grenadier” he was sub-lieutenant of Genoese commander Joubert. Now, who was this Georges Pontmercy?

There lay the essence and quintessence of the Parisian white society.  At Madame de T.’s the society was superior, taste was exquisite and haughty. Chateaubriand, had he entered there, would have produced the effect of Père Duchêne. Comte Beug*** was received there, subject to correction. The “noble” salons of the present day no longer resemble those salons.

Madame de T.’s salon was a mummified society. All was harmonious, nothing was too much alive; speech hardly amounted to a breath. Nearly the whole dictionary consisted of Conserver, Conservation, Conservateur. To be ultra is to attack the sceptre and the mitre in the name of the altar. At one and the same time brilliant and gloomy, smiling and sombre, illuminated as by the radiance of dawn and entirely covered with the shadows of the great catastrophes which still filled the horizon and were slowly sinking into the past.

There existed a complete little new and old world, comic and sad, juvenile and senile, which was rubbing its eyes; nothing resembles an awakening like a return. These salons had a literature and politics of their own. They believed in Fiévée. M. Agier laid down the law in them. Their way was to be Royalists and to excuse themselves for being so.

The mistake or the misfortune of the doctrinarian party was to create aged youth. France’s mistake is not to understand the Revolution, the Empire, glory and liberty. But this mistake which it makes with regard to us, have we not been guilty of it towards them? Bouvines belongs to us as well as Marengo. To attack Royalism is a misconstruction of liberalism.

The colonel had been attacked by brain fever three days before, and had a foreboding of evil at the beginning of his illness. But was it his fault? He did not love his father? Why should he! After the interment he returned to his law studies, with no more thought of his father than if the latter had never lived.

I think that he has recently been keeping a little inn, in a village in the neighborhood of Paris, at Chelles or Montfermeil.  The old man said to Marius: “I do not wish you to have a bad opinion of me, sir”. This spot has become sanctified in my sight, and I have contracted a habit of coming hither to listen to the mass. The father kept behind a pillar, so that he might not be seen, gazed at his child and he wept. a man is not a monster because he was at Waterloo; a father is not separated from his child for such a reason as that.

Marius was absent for three days, then returned to Paris and read the files of the Moniteur. He devoured all the histories of the Republic and the Empire, the Memorial de Sainte-Hélène, and the bulletins of the grand army. He recoiled as he saw Mirabeau, Vergniaud, Saint-Just, Robespierre, Desmoulins, Danton, and a sun arise, Napoleon. At the same time his ideas underwent an extraordinary change.

He was filled with regret and remorse, and he reflected in despair that all he had in his soul could now be said only to the tomb. When Napoleon Bonaparte became an almost fabulous monster, the party of 1814 made him appear under all sorts of terrifying masks in succession, from that which is terrible and becomes grotesque, from Tiberius to the bugaboo. It execrated him even more than Robespierre; it had very cleverly turned to sufficiently good account the fatigue of the nation, and the hatred of mothers. The Ogre of Corsica, the tyrant, the monster who was the lover of his own sisters, the poisoner of Jaffa, the tiger that killed Buonaparte were all gone. Marius saw in Bonaparte the dazzling spectre which will always rise upon the frontier, and which will guard the future.

Despot but dictator; a despot resulting from a republic and summing up a revolution. Napoleon became for him the incarnation of France, conquering Europe by the sword which he grasped, and the world by the light which he shed. When he was away from the house for four days, he went to Montfermeil to find the inn-keeper Thénardier, and no one knew what happened to him. Lieutenant Théodule Gillenormand was a great-grand-nephew of M. Gillianormand, on the paternal side of the family.

He visited Paris very rarely, and so rarely that his cousin Marius had never seen him. The cousins knew each other only by name; he was the favorite of his aunt’s older sister, who preferred him because she did not see him. One morning, Mademoiselle Gillenormand the elder returned to her apartment as much disturbed as her placidity was capable of allowing.  The work was clumsy, the worker cross. But it is always agreeable to see a lancer enter one’s chamber to entertain an aunt.

It is necessary to pass through Paris in order to get from the old post to the new one.  Mademoiselle Gillenormand raised her nose.  Lieutenant Théodule stood before her, making the regulation salute.  He replied: “Just as I am going to do.” “But you—it is your duty; in his case, it is wildness!”. Here an event occurred to Mademoiselle Gillenormand the elder,—an idea struck her.

Argus snored all night long. He growled: “Good, this is where I get out!”. And Lieutenant Théodule woke. The scene at Vernon caused an almost immediate counter-shock at Paris, and Lieutenant Théoudule was so shaken that he decided not to write to his aunt. Lieutenant Théodule was absolutely put out of countenance by this unexpected encounter with a sepulchre; he experienced a singular and disagreeable sensation which he was incapable of analyzing, and which was composed of respect for the tomb, mingled with respect for the colonel.

The old man took it and exclaimed: “Here we have the romance itself!”. “I like this better,” said M. Gillenormand. What is the meaning of this? Mademoiselle Gillenormand picked it up and unfolded the blue paper.

When the Royalist Marius Gillenormand was asked what his father was, he replied: “A humble and heroic man, who served the Republic and France gloriously, who was great in the greatest history that men have ever made, died forgotten and abandoned, and never committed but one mistake, which was to love too fondly two ingrates, his country and myself.” Marius quivered in every limb, he did not know what would happen next, his brain was on fire. How was he to avenge the one without outraging the other? He was the priest who beholds all his sacred wafers cast to the winds, the fakir who spit upon his idol. In his turn, it was Marius who was the firebrand and M. Gillenormand the bellows.

What was to become of Marius?   The Cougourde was being outlined at Aix; there existed at Paris, among other affiliations of that nature, the society of the Friends of the A B C. The Royalists were becoming liberals, liberals were turning democrats.  Enjolras, Combeferre, Jean Prouvaire, Feuilly, Courfeyrac, Bahorel, Lesgle or Laigle, Joly, Grantaire were members of the Friends of the A B C. They assembled in Paris in two localities, near the fish-market and near the Pantheon. Enjolras was a charming young man, who was capable of being terrible. His eyes were deep, his lids a little red, his lower lip was thick and easily became disdainful.

He was an officiating priest and a man of war; from the immediate point of view, a soldier of the democracy; above the contemporary movement, the priest of the ideal. On Mount Aventine, he would have been Gracchus or Saint-Just. His two and twenty years appeared to be but seventeen; he was serious, it did not seem as though he were aware there was on earth a thing called woman. Woe to the love-affair which should have risked itself beside him! Enjolras represented the logic of the Revolution; Combeferre represented its philosophy.

The Revolution was more adapted for breathing with combeferre than with Enjolrares, says Le Monde de l’Homme. Combeferre was less lofty, but broader. He desired to pour into all minds the extensive principles of general ideas: he said: “Revolution, but civilization”. Enjolras was a chief, Combeferre was a guide. One would have liked to fight under the one and to march behind the other.

A conflagration can create an aurora, no doubt, but why not await the dawn? A volcano illuminates, but daybreak furnishes a still better illumination. Jean Prouvaire was a still softer shade of blue than Combeferre. He was cold, but he was pure; methodical, but irreproachable; phlegmatic, but imperturbable. The grandeur of the Revolution consists in keeping the dazzling ideal fixedly in view, and of soaring thither with fire and blood in its talons.

He was learned even to erudition, and almost an Orientalist. His voice was ordinarily delicate, but suddenly grew manly. Feuilly was a fan-maker, orphaned both of father and mother, who earned with difficulty three francs a day, and had but one thought, to deliver the world. In this club of young Utopians, occupied chiefly with France, he represented the outside world. He had for his specialty Greece, Poland, Hungary, Roumania, Italy.

Above all things, the great violence of 1772 aroused him.  Courfeyrac had a father who was called M. de Courfeyrac.  Enjolras was the chief, Combeferre was the guide, Courfeyrac was the centre.  Enjolraus was the chief, combeferre was the guide, Courfeirac was the centre-point; Bahorel, a man of caprice, was scattered over numerous cafés. To saunter is Parisian.

The signature of the petition read: LESGLE. This non-Bonaparte orthography touched the King and he began to smile. Bossuet was a gay but unlucky fellow. As an offset, he laughed at everything. Everything failed him and everybody deceived him; what he was building tumbled down on top of him.

Bossuet had not much domicile, sometimes none at all. He lodged now with one, now with another, most often with Joly. Joly was the “malade imaginaire” junior of the French Revolution. He believed that man becomes magnetic like a needle, and in his chamber he placed his bed with its head to the south, and the foot to the north, so that his blood might not be interfered with by the great electric current of the globe. During thunder storms, he felt his pulse.

Grantaire was a man who took good care not to believe in anything. He was one of the students who had learned the most during their course at Paris. He sneered at all devotion in all parties, the father as well as the brother, Robespierre junior and Loizerolles, saying: “They are greatly in advance to be dead”. Enjolras was the opposite of Grantaire, a sceptic who adhered to a believer is as simple as the law of complementary colors – that which we lack attracts us. He was not a dogma nor an idea, nor an art, nor a science; it was a man: Enjolra.

His chaste, healthy, firm, upright, hard, candid nature charmed him, without his being clearly aware of it, and without his understanding of it having occurred to him. Enjolras, the believer, disdained this sceptic; and, a sober man himself, scorned this drunkard. Grantaire was an unaccepted Pylades. Laigle de Meaux was pondering without melancholy, over a little misadventure which had befallen him two days before at the law school. “You are M. Marius Pontmercy?” “I do not know you,” says Laigle de Meaux.

“You were not at the school day before yesterday.” “That is possible””That is certain.” “You are a student?” demanded Marius. When Blondeau called for Marius Marius Pontmercy, I said to myself: ‘Here’s a brave fellow who is going to get scratched out’. No erasures; the universe was present. This is why you were not crossed off!’.

“Monsieur!—” said Marius. Blondeau, who must be the malicious nose alluded to by Boileau, skipped to the letter L. L as he crossed me off. At that moment, Courfeyrac emerged from the café. Courfeyrac: “Bossuet, Bossuet,” said the coachman, “I aspire to get rid of it; but there is a sort of history attached to it, and I don’t know where to go”.

Marius: What are you? A democrat-Bonapartist? The gray hue of a reassured rat? Marius Courfeyrac Enjolras was a little fluttered by this covey of young men around him. The tumultuous movements of these minds at liberty and at work set his ideas in a whirl.

He heard them talk of philosophy, of literature, of art, of history, of religion, in unexpected fashion. Marius heard singular propositions on every sort of subject, which embarrassed his still timid mind. He said: I admire that man. He denied his own children, but he adopted the people. Marius was vaguely surprised.  And Enjolras addressed Courfeyrac roughly:—”Silence in the presence of Jean-Jacques!  Paris Review: “Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances, and happiness is an antique reliquary painted on one side only”. Charles Dickens: One breaks one’s neck in living. One agrees with that good man, who never existed, perhaps, not wishing to go stark naked, clothed himself in vanity.

Aigle de Meaux, down with your paws. Grantaire, more than intoxicated, launched into speech, catching at the dish-washer in her passage, from his corner in the back room of the Café Musain. Bossuet, extending his hand towards him, tried to impose silence on him, and Grantaire began again worse than ever: What do you wish me to say to you? God made a mistake with that animal? In the angle opposite Grantaire, Joly and Bahorel were playing dominoes, and talking of love.

One’s mistress does wrong to laugh. To see her gay removes your remorse; if you see her sad, your conscience pricks you, said Joly. The third corner was delivered up to a poetical discussion of the Holy Alliance between Vaud and Gex. Courfeirac said: “The gods are dreams, you say; well, even in nature, such as it is to-day, after the flight of these dreams, we still find all the grand old pagan myths”. Courfeyrac was energetically making a breach in it.

Combeferre was upholding it weakly.  Combeferre: To save the transition, to soften the shock, to cause the nation to pass insensibly from the monarchy to democracy by the practice of constitutional fictions. No! no! let us never enlighten the people with false daylight!

Desmarets: “Principles dwindle and pale in your constitutional cellar!”.  At this name of Waterloo, Marius, who was leaning his elbows on a table, beside a glass of water, removed his wrist from beneath his chin, and began to gaze fixedly at the audience. This was tempting, and Courfeyrac could not resist.  Enjolras, who had remained mute up to that point, broke the silence and addressed this remark to Combeferre:—”You mean to say, the crime and the expiation.” Place Louis in front and Brumaire behind, you have the whole destiny of the man, with this significant peculiarity, that the end treads close on the heels of the commencement.”  Marius felt no desire to retreat; he turned towards Enjolras, and his voice burst forth with a vibration which came from a quiver of his very being:—”God forbid that I should diminish France!  He had in his brain the sum of human faculties.

He made codes like Justinian, dictated like Caesar, his conversation was mingled with the lightning-flash of Pascal, with the thunderclap of Tacitus, he made history and he wrote it, his bulletins are Iliads, he combined the cipher of Newton with the metaphor of Mahomet, he left behind him in the East words as great as the pyramids, at Tilsit he taught Emperors majesty, at the Academy of Sciences he replied to Laplace. He was a legist with the attorneys and sidereal with the astronomers; like Cromwell blowing out one of two candles, he went to the Temple to bargain for a curtain tassel; he saw everything; he knew everything; which did not prevent him from laughing good-naturedly beside the cradle of his little child. And all at once, frightened Europe lent an ear, armies put themselves in motion, parks of artillery rumbled, pontoons stretched over the rivers, clouds of cavalry galloped in the storm, cries, trumpets, a trembling of thrones in every direction, and the frontiers of kingdoms oscillated on the map, the sound of a superhuman sword was heard, as it was drawn from its sheath. Marius Enjolras Combeferre said: What a splendid destiny for a nation to be the Empire of such an Emperor, when that nation is France and when it adds its own genius to the genius of that man! To appear and to reign, to march and to triumph, to have for halting-places all capitals, to transfigure Europe at the pace of a charge!

He was left with a melancholy shadow in his soul; but he did not consider himself beaten. Later, when he was gone, they heard some one singing on the stairs as he went down the stairs. It was combeferre. Marius, however, having rallied his ideas to some extent, did not consider himself beaten; there lingered in him a trace of inward fermentation which was on the point, no doubt, of translating itself into syllogisms arrayed against Enjolras, when all of a sudden, they heard some one singing on the stairs as he went.   “I do not know in the least,” replied Marius.

“What is to become of you?” said Courfeyrac.  CHAPTER I—MARIUS INDIGENT  “And the hotel bill?” observed Courfeyrac. When poor Marius de la vache enragé became an adult, he found it was nothing to eat his clothes and his watch. He endured days without bread, nights without sleep, evenings without a candle, a hearth without a fire, weeks without work, a future without hope, a coat out at the elbows, an old hat which evokes the laughter of young girls, a door locked on one at night because one’s rent is not paid, the insolence of the porter and the cook-shop man, the sneers of neighbors, dignity trampled on, disgusts, bitterness and despondency. He learned how all this is eaten, and how such are often the only things which one has to devour.  It was Marius.

When he was admitted to practice as a lawyer, he informed his grandfather of the fact in a letter which was cold but full of submission and respect. This is the mode in which the existence of Marius Pontmercy was arranged: He had his letters addressed to Courfeyrac’s quarters.

 Two or three days later, Mademoiselle Gillenormand heard her father, who was alone in his room, talking aloud to himself.  He drew up prospectuses, translated newspapers, annotated editions, compiled biographies, etc.; net product, year in and year out, was his work. He learned German and English; thanks to Courfeirac’s friend the publisher, Marius filled the modest post of utility man in the literature of the publishing house. At six o’clock in the evening he dined at Rousseau’s, opposite Basset’s, the stamp-dealer’s, on the corner of the Rue des Mathurins. He had learned German and English; thanks to Courfeyrac, who had put him in communication with his friend the publisher, Marius filled the modest post of utility man in the literature of the publishing house.

Marius Courfeyrac was fed, lodged, and waited on for four hundred and fifty francs a year. His clothing cost him a hundred francs, his linen 50 francs; he sometimes lent ten francs to a friend. He had but three shirts, one on his person, the second in the commode, and the third in the washerwoman’s hands. Marius Thénardier was a soldier who saved the colonel amid the bullets and cannon-balls of Waterloo. He never separated the memory of this man from that of his father, and he associated them in his veneration.

Marius had beaten the whole country; he had gone to Chelles, Bondy, Gourney, Nogent, Lagny. I will find him! It was the only debt left him by the colonel, and Marius made it a matter of honor to pay it. To see Thénardier, to render Thénardier some service, to say to him: “You do not know me; well, I do know you!  Marius was mistaken as to his grandfather’s heart; he thought his grandfather never loved him. The writer’s grandfather idolized Marius after his own fashion, with an accompaniment of snappishness and box-eyes. At bottom, as we have said, M. Gillenormand idolized Marius.   Strong as his nature was, the absence of Marius had wrought some change in him.  But the weeks passed by, years passed; to M. Gillenormand’s great despair, the “blood-drinker” did not make his appearance.  Father Gillenormand’s secret suffering was so hidden that he locked it all up within his breast, and did not allow its existence to be divined. As for his aunt, she thought too little to love much; Marius was no longer for her much more than a vague black form. The hardness of his life satisfied and pleased him. He was happy at having suffered, and at suffering still, for his father’s sake. Misery, we repeat, had been good for him. Poverty in youth, when it succeeds, has this magnificent property about it, that it turns the whole will towards effort, and the whole soul towards aspiration. The poor man wins his bread with difficulty; he eats; when he has eaten, he has nothing more but meditation. And is he unhappy?

When M. Mabeuf’s hopes were extinguished one after the other, he remained rather puerilely, but profoundly serene. However, as we have just pointed out, brains which are absorbed in some bit of wisdom, or folly, or, as it often happens, in both at once, are but slowly accessible to the things of actual life.  He was known there only under the name of M. Marius. Marius met Courfeyrac and sought out M.

Mabeuf.  But he remained the same, setting aside his fits of wrath; only, they had been tempered with thought and thought-provoke. Marius’ political fevers vanished thus.  An eye which could have cast a glance into Marius’ interior would have been dazzled with the purity of that soul. In this state of reverie, which is utterly spontaneous, takes and keeps, even in the gigantic and the ideal, our spirit.

Nothing proceeds more directly and more sincerely from the very depth of our soul, than our unpremeditated and boundless aspirations towards the splendors of destiny. Our chimaeras are the things which the most resemble us. This inspired Aunt Gillenormand with a second idea.  Take it as a simple erratum, she thought, such as one sees in books. For Marius, read Théodule!

It did not take much more than this to swell M. Gillenormand’s rage. M. Gillenormand made a salute composed of the involuntary and mechanical outline of the military salute finished off as a bourgeois salute at Lieutenant Théodule’s entrance to the Place du Panthéon. The Republicans and the galley-slaves, he said, “form but one nose and one handkerchief”.

He went on: “That’s what the Republicans are like.” M. Gillenormand: Do you understand, idiot? Is it not a horrible caprice? To fall in love with Père Duchesne, to make sheep’s-eyes at the guillotine, to sing romances, and play on the guitar under the balcony of ’93—it’s enough to make one spit on all these young fellows, such fools are they! They are all alike.

Not one escapes. Théodule: “Such are the rascalities of this age!”. Marius de Medici: They are deformed, and they complete themselves by being stupid; they repeat the puns of Tiercelin and Potier. And all this awkward batch of brats has political opinions, if you please. Ah!

you blackguard! to go and vociferate on the public place, to discuss, to debate, to take measures, just God!

When Marius first saw the girl, she looked at him indifferently, as she would have stared at the brat running beneath the sycamores, or the marble vase which cast a shadow on the bench, and Marius, on his side, continued his promenade, and thought about something else. On the following days, as was his wont, he returned to the Luxembourg; as usual, he found there “the father and daughter;” but he paid no further attention to them. The following day, at the accustomed hour, he dressed himself in “every-day clothes” and set off for the Luxembourg. That evening, on his return to his garret, Marius cast his eyes over his garments, and perceived, for the first time, that he had been so slovenly, indecorous, and inconceivably stupid as to go for his walk in the Luxembourg with his “every-day clothes,” that is to say, with a hat battered near the band, coarse carter’s boots, black trousers which showed white at the knees, and a black coat which was pale at the elbows.  Courfeyrac, on his return home, said to his friends:— On arriving at the Luxembourg, Marius made the tour of the fountain basin, and stared at the swans.

At last he directed his course towards “his alley,” slowly, and as if with regret. He did not perceive it himself, and thought that he was doing as he always did. On turning into the walk, he saw M. Leblanc and the young girl at the other end, “on their bench”. As he drew near to the end of the walk, his pace slackened more and more, and he could not explain to himself why he retrace his steps.

He held himself very erect, in case any one should be looking at him from behind. A few seconds later he rushed in front of the bench, erect and firm, reddening to the very ears, without daring to cast a glance either to the right or to the left. He even got to within three intervals of trees, but there he felt an indescribable impossibility of proceeding further, and he hesitated.  He did not attempt to approach the bench again; he halted near the middle of the walk, and reflected in the most profoundly indistinct depths of his spirit, that after all, it was hard that persons whose white bonnet and black gown he admired should be absolutely insensible to his splendid trousers and his new coat. For the first time, also, he was conscious of some irreverence in designating that stranger, even in his secret thoughts, by the sobriquet of M.

Leblanc.  Marius went out in his new coat.  n the following day, Ma’am Bougon, as Courfeyrac styled the old portress-principal-tenant, housekeeper of the Gorbeau hovel, Ma’am Bougon, whose name was, in reality, Madame Burgon, as we have found out, but this iconoclast, Courfeyrac, respected nothing,—Ma’am Bougon observed, with stupefaction, that M. Marius was going out again in his new coat. Marius betook himself to the Luxembourg.

The young girl was there with M. Leblanc.   CHAPTER VI—TAKEN PRISONEROn one of the last days of the second week, Marius was seated on his bench, as usual, holding in his hand an open book, of which he had not turned a page for the last two hours.  Marius went to the Luxembourg no longer for the sake of strolling there, but to seat himself always in the same spot, and that without knowing why.  Leblanc and his daughter had just left their seat, and the daughter had taken her father’s arm, and both were advancing slowly, towards the middle of the alley where Marius was.

He thought: “What are they coming in this direction for?”. Marius closed his book, then opened it again, then forced himself to read; he trembled when they were two paces from him. Leblanc was darting angry glances at him.  He followed her with his eyes until she disappeared and then walked about the garden like a madman. At the same time, he was horribly vexed because there was dust on his boots.

They went off to Rousseau’s and spent six francs on dinner and drank like an ogre. Marius ate like an ogre.  At dessert, he said to Courfeyrac.  He quitted the Luxembourg, hoping to find her again in the street. When the mine is charged, when the conflagration is ready, nothing is more simple.

A glance of women resembles certain combinations of wheels, which are tranquil in appearance yet formidable. The wheels hold you fast, the glance has ensnared you. You struggle in vain; no more human succor is possible. You go on falling from gearing to gearing, from agony to agony, from torture to torture, you, your mind, your fortune, your future, your soul; and, according to whether you are a wicked creature or a noble heart, you will not escape from this terrifying machine otherwise than disfigured with shame. Marius Courfeyrac had reached that first violent and charming hour with which grand passions begin.

His fate was entering the unknown. You are lost.  When the hour arrived, nothing could hold Marius Courfeyrac back. His worship of his father had gradually become a religion, and, like all religions, it had retreated to the depths of his soul. He lived in a state of delight behind the trees and the pedestals of the statues at the Luxembourg.

It must be supposed, that M. Leblanc finally noticed something, for often, when Marius arrived, he rose and began to walk about.   Then Marius did not stay.  In the days which followed the finding of this treasure, he only displayed himself at the Luxembourg in the act of kissing the handkerchief and laying it on his heart.   Marius saw it.

It was on one of the days when she persuaded M. Leblanc to leave the bench and stroll along the walk.  When “his Ursule” retraced her steps with M. Leblanc, and passed in front of the bench on which Marius had seated himself once more, Marius darted a sullen and ferocious glance at her. The girl gave way to that slight straightening up with a backward movement, accompanied by the raising of the eyelids, which signifies: “Well, what is the matter?”.

When M. Leblanc arrived at the Luxembourg, Marius discovered that she was named Ursule. He then committed a series of blunders, including falling into the ambush of the bench by the Gladiator. When M. Leblanc and his daughter Ursule arrived at the Luxembourg, Marius followed them to their home in the Rue de l’Ouest. He saw them disappear through the carriage gate, and said boldly to the porter: “Is that the gentleman who lives on the first floor?”. The porter raised his head and said: “Are you a police spy, sir?”.

He rapped at the porte-cochère, entered the house, and said to the porter: “Can they have gone out?”. The porter replied: “No, I don’t know anything about it.” And the porter, raising his eyes, recognized Marius. On the morrow,—for he only existed from morrow to morrow, there was, so to speak, no to-day for him,—on the morrow, he found no one at the Luxembourg; he had expected this.  Utopias travel about underground, in the pipes, and branch out in every direction. People hail and answer each other from one catacomb to another.

At a certain depth, the excavations are no longer penetrable by the spirit of civilization. The limit breathable by man has been passed; a beginning of monsters is possible. A world in limbo, in the state of foetus, what an unheard-of spectre! Saint-Simon, Owen, Fourier, are there also, in lateral galleries. Their works vary greatly, and the light of some contrasts with the blaze of others.

The first are paradisiacal, the last are tragic. We have just seen, in Book Fourth, one of the compartments of the great political, revolutionary, and philosophical excavation. The moment has now come when we must take a look at other depths, hideous depths. There exists beneath society, we insist upon this point, and there will exist, until that day when ignorance shall be dissipated, the great cavern of evil. This cavern is below all, and is the foe of all: hatred, without exception.

Including the upper superior mines, which it execrates. He goes on: It is darkness, and it desires chaos. Its vault is formed of ignorance. All the others, those above it, have but one object—to suppress it. The diaphaneity of Babet contrasted with the grossness of Gueulemer.

Babet was a man of purpose, a fine talker, who underlined his smiles and accentuated his gestures. His occupation consisted in selling plaster busts and portraits of “the head of the State”. In addition to this, he extracted teeth and exhibited phenomena at fairs. Claquesous was vague, terrible, and a roamer. He waited until the sky was daubed with black, before he showed himself.

Montparnasse was a child, less than twenty years of age, with all vices and aspired to all crimes. Babet: “Claquesous is a nocturne for two voices”. Montparnasse was a fashion-plate in misery and given to the commission of murders. He was genteel, effeminate, graceful, robust, sluggish, ferocious. The digestion of evil aroused in him an appetite for worse.

At 18, he had already numerous corpses in his past, with his face in a pool of blood. Four rascals were charged with the general enterprise of the ambushes of the department of the Seine. The inventors of ideas of that nature, men with nocturnal imaginations, applied to them to have their ideas executed. In the fantastic, ancient, popular parlance, which is vanishing day by day, Patron-Minette signifies the morning, the same as entre chien et loup—between dog and wolf—signifies the evening. Those beings, who were not very lavish with their countenances, were not among the men whom one sees passing along the streets.

Horace speaks of them: Ambubaiarum collegia, pharmacopolae, mendici, mimae. Beneath the obscure roof of their cavern, they are continually born again from the social ooze.

Thenceforth Marius has but one thought: What is necessary to cause these spectres to vanish? Not a single bat can resist the dawn. Light up society from below! Neither M. Leblanc nor the young girl had again set foot in the Luxembourg garden.  Once, having confidence in a fine September sun, Marius had allowed himself to be taken to the ball at Sceaux by Courfeyrac, Bossuet, and Grantaire, hoping, what a dream!

that he might, perhaps, find her there.  He returned home on foot, alone, through the night, with sad and troubled eyes, stunned by the noise and dust of the merry wagons filled with singing creatures on their way home from the feast. Strange to say, he thought that he recognized M. Leblanc.  Everything is dear!

Marius had just emerged from his: night was falling.  He had just crossed his threshold, where Ma’am Bougon was sweeping at the moment, as she uttered this memorable monologue:—”What is there that is cheap now?  They plunged among the trees of the boulevard behind him, and for a few minutes created a sort of vague white spot, then disappeared. He put the package in his pocket and went off to dine; but on his way back he saw a child’s coffin, covered with a black cloth, and illuminated by a candle. Marius had halted for a moment. He fell to thinking once more of his six months of love and happiness in the open air and the broad daylight, beneath the beautiful trees of Luxembourg. It was a sort of envelope which appeared to contain papers. He read: €Monsieur PABOURGEOT, Elector, wholesale stocking merchant, Rue Saint-Denis on the corner of the Rue aux Fers, No. 9; À Madame, Madame la Comtesse de Montagnet, Rue Cassette, Rue d’Ormeau, no. 9. This is what Marius read in it: Genfrancis Pabourgeot, the man of letters, sent a drama to the Théâtre-Français. The subject is historical, and the action takes place in Auvergne in the time of the Empire. There are couplets to be sung in four places; the style, I think, is natural, laconic, and may have some merit. If you deign to honor me with the most modest offering, I’ll make a piesse of verse to pay you my tribute of gratitude. The handwriting was exactly the same in all four of the letters, the odor of tobacco was the same, and the orthographical faults were reproduced with the greatest tranquillity. After perusing these four letters, Marius did not find himself much further advanced than before. Marius was too melancholy to take even a chance pleasantry well, and to lend himself to a game which the pavement seemed desirous of playing with him. “You will be robbed,” said Ma’am Bougon.  The door opened.

She has the form of a young girl who has missed her youth, and the look of a corrupt old woman. The remains of beauty are dying away in that face of 16, like the pale sunlight under hideous clouds at dawn on a winter’s day. That face was not wholly unknown to Marius.  He read:—MY AMIABLE NEIGHBOR, YOUNG MAN:. I have learned of your goodness to me, that you paid my rent six months ago.

I bless you, young man. My eldest daughter will tell you that we have been without a morsel of bread for two days, four persons and my spouse ill. If I am not deseaved in my opinion, I think I may hope that your generous heart will melt at this statement. Marius had lived in the house for a tolerably long time, and he had had, as we have said, but very rare occasion to see, to even catch a glimpse of, his extremely mean neighbors.  The Spanish Captain Don Alvarès, the unhappy Mistress Balizard, the dramatic poet Genflot, the old comedian Fabantou, were all four named Jondrette, if, indeed, Jondrette himself were named Jondrette.

P.S. My eldest daughter will await your orders, dear Monsieur Marius. While Marius bent a pained and astonished gaze on her, the young girl was wandering back and forth in the garret with the audacity of a spectre. She moved the chairs about, she disarranged the toilet articles which stood on the commode, she handled Marius’ clothes, she rummaged about to see what there was in the corners. I know about that battle long ago. We are fine Bonapartists in our house, that we are!

Her accent expressed the happiness which she felt in boasting of something no human creature is insensible of. She dipped her pen in the ink, and turning to Marius: “Ah! Waterloo!  Mademoiselle de Montrachette: Do you ever go to the play, Monsieur Marius? I don’t like the benches in the galleries of the theatre. One is cramped and uncomfortable there. There are rough people there sometimes; and people who smell bad. At the same moment she scrutinizes Marius, assumes a singular air and says: “Do you know, Mr. Marius?”. Marius: Dieu de Dieu! how my sister and I have hunted! And it was you who found it! On the boulevard, was it not? You see, we let it fall when we were running. When we got home, we could not find it anywhere. We said that we had carried the letters to the proper persons, and that they had said to us: ‘Nix’.  By dint of searching and ransacking his pockets, Marius had finally collected five francs sixteen sous.  When a man reaches his last extremity, he has reached his last resources at the same time. Work, wages, bread, fire, courage, good will, all fail him simultaneously. Despair is surrounded with fragile partitions which all open on either vice or crime. In these shadows man encounters the feebleness of the woman and the child, and bends them violently to ignominy. This young girl was to Marius a sort of messenger from the realm of sad shadows. The payment of their rent had been a mechanical movement, which any one would have yielded to; but he, Marius, should have done better than that. It is permissible to gaze at misfortune like a traitor in order to succor it, says Marius Jondrettes.

Marius was poor, and his chamber was poverty-stricken, but as his poverty was noble, his garret was neat. The den upon which his eye now rested was abject, dirty, fetid, pestiferous, mean, sordid. All the light was furnished by a dormer window of four panes, draped with spiders’ webs. Napoleon in a glory, leaning on a very blue column with a yellow capital ornamented with this inscription:MARINGO AUSTERLITS IENA WAGRAMME ELOT. Marius Lavater saw a colored engraving in a black frame suspended to a nail on the wall, and at its bottom was the inscription: The Dream. He rants about the idea that there is no equality, even when you are dead!

Just look at Père-Lachaise! The little people, the poor, the unhappy, well, what of them? they are put down below, where the mud is up to your knees, in the damp places – they will decay the sooner! He was writing probably some more letters like those which Marius had read. No doubt the younger sister of the one who had come to his room.

The young girl was of that puny sort which remains backward for a long time, then suddenly starts up rapidly. It is indigence which produces these melancholy human plants. Marius gazed for a while at this gloomy interior, more terrifying than the interior of a tomb. The man held his peace, the woman spoke no word, the young girl did not even seem to breathe. Marius, with a load upon his breast, was on the point of descending from the species of observatory which he had improvised, when a sound attracted his attention and caused him to remain at his post.

The eldest girl made her appearance on the threshold, she had large, coarse, men’s shoes, bespattered with mud, and she was wrapped in an old mantle which hung in tatters. She entered, pushed the door to behind her, paused to take breath, for she was completely breathless, then exclaimed with an expression of triumph and joy:—”He is coming!”. She replied: “Monsieur, I will show you my address, my daughter has some purchases to make”. He said: “Never mind, I’ll come when the mass is finished, and I’ll take a carriage and reach your house at the same time that you do.” When the mass was finished, he left the church with his daughter, and saw them enter a carriage. A sort of illumination appeared on his countenance, and he exclaimed: “Here is the number of the Rue Petit-Banquier!”.

“Good, you are a clever girl.” The mother, who had not said a word so far, eventually throws herself on the pallet and wept silently. An icy breeze whistled through the window and entered the room. Through the broken pane the snow could be seen falling. The father cast a glance about him as though to make sure he had forgotten nothing. He seized an old shovel and spread ashes over the wet brands in such a manner as to entirely conceal them.

When a man of ripe age and a young girl knocked on their father’s attic door, he said: “Oh! how I hate them, and with what joy, jubilation, enthusiasm, and satisfaction I could strangle all those rich folks!”. He went on: These men who pretend to be charitable, who put on airs, who go to mass, in their skullcaps, and who think themselves above us, and bring us ‘clothes,’ as they say! old duds that are not worth four sous and bread! That’s not what I want, pack of rascals that they are, it’s money! Marius had not quitted his post.

The Jondrette family’s attic was so dark that people coming from without felt on entering it the effect of entering a cellar. The two newcomers advanced with a certain hesitation, being hardly able to distinguish the vague forms surrounding them, while they could be clearly seen and scrutinized by the eyes of the inhabitants of the garret. M. Leblanc approached, with his sad but kindly look, and said: “Monsieur, in this package you will find some new clothes and some woollen stockings and blankets.” Marius shuddered in dismay.  Monsieur Fabantou, yes, that is it.

The adorable young girl, whom Marius, in his heart, called “his Ursule,” approached her hastily. “My child wounded!” added Jondrette.

“You see, my beautiful young lady,” pursued Jondrette “her bleeding wrist!  Then, turning to M. Leblanc, and continuing his lamentations:—”You see, sir!   Jondrette lied.  The father of the girl said he could not owe four francs, because six months had not elapsed since Marius had paid for two. “That’s what comes of incurring expenses,” said the father. M.

Leblanc had taken the arm of the young girl, once more, and had turned towards the door. Jondrette darted an annihilating look at his daughter, accompanied by a formidable shrug of the shoulders. He could not believe that it really was that divine creature whom he saw in the midst of those vile creatures in their lair. But everything was drowned in the lamentable exclamations and trumpet bursts of Jondrette. This added a touch of genuine wrath to Marius’ ecstasy.

While the young girl was engaged in opening the package, unfolding the clothing and the blankets, questioning the sick mother kindly, and the little injured girl tenderly, he watched her every movement, he sought to catch her words.  He saw a fiacre turning the corner of the Rue du Petit-Banquier, on its way back to Paris. The carriage was already a long way off, and there was no means of overtaking it; what! run after it? “What is it?” said Marius.

The corridor was long, the staircase steep, Jondrette was talkative, M. Leblanc had, no doubt, not yet regained his carriage; if, on turning round in the corridor, or on the staircase, he were to catch sight of him, Marius, in that house, he would, evidently, take the alarm, and find means to escape from him again, and this time it would be final.  The driver’s only reply was to whistle the air of la Palisse and whip up his horse. Marius recollected that he had but sixteen sous about him. As he was on the point of mounting the staircase, he perceived, on the other side of the boulevard, near the deserted wall skirting the Rue De la Barrière-des-Gobelins, Jondrette, wrapped in the “philanthropist’s” great-coat, engaged in conversation with one of those men of disquieting aspect who have been dubbed by common consent, prowlers of the barriers; people of equivocal face, of suspicious monologues, who present the air of having evil minds, and who generally sleep in the daytime, which suggests the supposition that they work by night.

He might have told himself that M. Leblanc had promised to return in the evening, and that all he had to do was to set about the matter more skilfully, so that he might follow him on that occasion; but, in his contemplation, it is doubtful whether he had heard this. Marius Jondrette, alias Printanier, alias Bigrenaille, was at the head of a school towards the end of Courfeyrac’s reign. He was discussed at La Force in the Fosse-aux-Lions, where the sewer which served the unprecedented escape of thirty prisoners, in 1843, passes under the culvert, read his name, PANCHAUD, audaciously carved by his own hand on the wall of the sewer, during one of his attempts at flight. The very sight of this girl was odious to him; it was she who had his five francs, it was too late to demand them back, the cab was no longer there, the fiacre was far away.

Marius entered his room and pushed the door to after him, but it did not close; he turned when he saw the girl following him through the corridor. It was the Jondrette girl. She did not enter, but held back in the darkness of the corridor, where Marius could see her through the half-open door. He cried: “What do you want with me?”. She said: “There is nothing the matter with me!”.

He drew near to the Jondrette girl. “This them which had turned into her had something indescribably significant and bitter about it.” He replied: “You shall have the address of the father and daughter!”. “Well, can you do it?” said Marius. Of whom was Jondrette speaking?  Was he about to learn at last who it was that he loved, who that young girl was?

M. Leblanc?


  Marius redoubled his attention. Jondrette had evidently just returned.  Marius could not doubt that it was really she of whom they were speaking. But Jondrette had bent over and spoke to his wife in a whisper.   This is what Marius heard:—”Listen carefully.  Jondrette made a sinister gesture, and said:—”We’ll fix him.” This was the first time Marius had seen him laugh.  The philanthropist then exclaimed: If he had recognized me, he would have slipped through our fingers! It was my beard that saved us! Jondrette opened a cupboard near the fireplace, and drew from it an old cap, which he placed on his head, after brushing it with his sleeve. At that moment, one o’clock struck from the church of Saint-Médard. Jondrettes heard his step die away in the corridor of the hovel, and descend the staircase rapidly. Athwart the mysterious words which had been uttered, the only thing of which he caught a distinct glimpse was the fact that an ambush was in course of preparation. Marius, dreamer as he was, was, as we have said, firm and energetic by nature.  Not one of the enigmas which he had hoped to see solved had been elucidated; on the contrary, all of them had been rendered more dense, if anything; he knew nothing more about the beautiful maiden of the Luxembourg and the man whom he called M. Leblanc, except that Jondrette was acquainted with them.   By thrusting his head over the wall, Marius could hear their remarks. But Jondrette and his men would see him on the watch, the spot was lonely, they were stronger than he, they would devise means to seize him or to get him away, and the man whom Marius was anxious to save would be lost.  Should he wait for M. Leblanc at the door that evening at six o’clock, at the moment of his arrival, and warn him of the trap?  M. Leblanc Jondrettes: “It’s as good as a warrant for each one, of five hundred balls, and the worst that can happen is five years, six years, ten years at the most”. He was directed to Rue de Pontoise, No. 14 in Saint-Marceau by the commissary of police. Marius went his way. Marius Pontmercy, a lawyer, heard the whole plot through the partition of the den. Marius Jondrette was to be inveigled into a trap by a certain Panchaud, alias Printanier, alias Bigrenaille. The inspector remained silent for a moment, then said: “Patron-Minette must have had a hand in this?”. Inspector: “You didn’t see a little imp of a dandy prowling about the premises?”. Nor a big lump of matter, resembling an elephant in the Jardin des Plantes? “Nor a scamp with the air of an old red tail?”. As for the fourth, no one sees him, not even his adjutants, clerks, and employees? Marius: “Besides, this is not the time for them!”. Inspector Javert: Hide in your chamber, so that you may be supposed to have gone out. You will keep watch; there is a hole in the wall, as you have informed me. These men will come. Leave them to their own devices for a time. When you think matters have reached a crisis, and that it is time to put a stop to them, fire a shot into the ceiling, the air, no matter where. Not too soon. A pistol shot. “Rest easy,” said Marius.


 Bossuet was just saying: “One would say, to see all these snow-flakes fall, that there was a plague of white butterflies in heaven.” “There’s Marius.” A few moments later, about three o’clock, Courfeyrac chanced to be passing along the Rue Mouffetard in company with Bossuet.  He quitted the Rue Mouffetard, and Marius saw him enter one of the most terrible hovels in the Rue Gracieuse; he remained there about a quarter of an hour, then returned to the Rue Mouffetard.  Marius posted himself on the watch at the very corner of the Rue Pierre-Lombard, which was deserted, as usual, and did not follow Jondrette into it. He saw him enter a terrible hovel in the Rue Gracieuse; he remained there about a quarter of an hour, then returned to the Rue Moufertetard. Marius returned to No. 50-52 with great strides.

He saw four men fall through a dormer window and then heard the ticking of a watch in the dark. His chamber was bordered on both sides by attics which were, for the moment, empty and to let. There was a light in the Jondrette den.   Marius heard him lay something heavy on the table, probably the chisel which he had purchased. “Good,” returned Jondrette.

Marius Jondrette crawled silently under his bed to conceal himself, when he saw a light through the crack of his door. The door opened, and Marius’s eldest daughter appeared with a candle in her hand. She was as she had been in the morning, only still more repulsive in this light. “How ugly Paris is when it has put on a white chemise!” she sang. A moment more, and Marius heard the sound of the two young girls’ bare feet in the corridor, and Jondrette’s voice shouting to them:—”Pay strict heed!  Marius went to investigate, and found an explanation of the singular light which he had seen. The interior of the Jondrette apartment presented a curious aspect, and Marius found an explanation of the singular light which he had noticed.  A candle was burning in a candlestick covered with verdigris, but that was not what really lighted the chamber. The lair thus lighted up more resembled a forge than a mouth of hell. The moon, entering through the four panes of the window, cast its whiteness into the crimson and flaming garret; and to the poetic spirit of Marius, who was dreamy even in the moment of action, it was like a thought of heaven mingled with the misshapen reveries of earth. The Jondrette lair was, if the reader recalls what we have said of the Gorbeau building, admirably chosen to serve as the theatre of a violent and sombre deed, and as the envelope for a crime.  If Courfeyrac had been a man, he would have burst with laughter when his gaze fell on the Jondrette woman. She had on a black bonnet with plumes not unlike the hats of the heralds-at-arms at the coronation of Charles X., an immense tartan shawl over her knitted petticoat, and the man’s shoes which her daughter had scorned in the morning. The whole thickness of a house and a multitude of uninhabited rooms separated this den from the boulevard,  and the only window that existed opened on waste lands enclosed with walls and palisades. If Marius had been Courfeyrac, that is to say, one of those men who laugh on every occasion in life, he would have burst with laughter when his gaze fell on the Jondrette woman.  As for Jondrette, he had not taken off the new surtout, which was too large for him, and which M. Leblanc had given him, and his costume continued to present that contrast of coat and trousers which constituted the ideal of a poet in Courfeyrac’s eyes.  “Those are the utensils of an edge-tool maker,” thought Marius. The Jondrette entered.  CHAPTER XVIII—MARIUS’ TWO CHAIRS FORM  Jondrette started, half rose, listened a moment, then began to laugh and said:—”What a fool I am!

M. Leblanc made his appearance. Meanwhile, M. Leblanc had seated himself. The scene is described as a cold night, covered with snow and white as winding-sheets in the moonlight, in the midst of those solitudes, and in that den two men seated at a table, Jondrette smiling and alarming, and Marius invisible, erect, not losing a word.

“She is dying,” said Jondrette.  “Jondrette!” said M. Leblanc, “I thought your name was Fabantou?” While Jondrette thus talked, with an apparent incoherence which detracted nothing from the thoughtful and sagacious expression of his physiognomy, Marius raised his eyes, and perceived at the other end of the room a person whom he had not seen before.  Who is that man? Don’t pay any attention to him; he’s a neighbor of mine!

“Who is that man?” said M. Leblanc. He went on:—”Excuse me; what were you saying, M. Fabantou?” He rose and said to his benefactor:—A painting by a master, a picture of great value, my benefactor! I am as much attached to it as I am to my two daughters! But I am so wretched that I will part with it!

Marius could make nothing out of it, as Jondrette stood between the picture and him; he only saw a coarse daub, and a sort of principal personage colored with the harsh crudity of foreign canvasses and screen paintings. “What is that?” asked M. Leblanc. If you do not buy my picture, my dear benefactor, said Jondrette M. Leblanc in a plaintive tone, with so vague an eye, and so lamentable an intonation, that he might have supposed that what he had before him was a man who had simply gone mad with misery. The four men did not stir, and did not even seem to be looking on.

Marius Jondrette M. Leblanc seemed to be asking himself: “Is this man an idiot?”. The door of the garret of Montparnasse opened abruptly, and allowed a view of three men clad in blue linen blouses, and masked with masks of black paper. M. Leblanc was very pale.  Three of the men had armed themselves from a pile of old iron, one with a heavy pair of shears, the second with weighing-tongs, the third with a hammer, and had placed themselves across the entrance without uttering a syllable.

Marius decided that in a few seconds more the moment for intervention would arrive, and he raised his right hand towards the ceiling to discharge his pistol. Then Jondrette advanced to the table.  Thénardier!  When Jondrette said: “My name is Thénardier,” Marius had trembled in every limb, and had leaned against the wall, as though he felt the cold of a steel blade through his heart. An almost imperceptible flush crossed M.

Leblanc’s brow, and he replied with his accustomed placidity: No more than before. His father had commanded him to repay this man for his father’s life. The ideas which Marius had cherished for the last four years were pierced through and through, as it were, by this unforeseen blow. His father said to him: “Succor Thénardier!”  When M. Leblanc Thénardier saw the scene before his eyes, he felt that he was going mad. He held in his hand all those beings who were moving about there before him.

Should he dash down the one or allow the other to fall? What was he to do? Remorse awaited him in either case.  And, apostrophizing M. Leblanc:— Thénardier Fabantou: For fifteen hundred francs you got a girl whom I had, and who certainly belonged to rich people, and from whom I might have extracted enough to live on all my life.

You were the stronger. I’m the one to hold the trumps to-day! He was out of breath; his little, narrow chest panted like a forge bellows. His eyes were full of the ignoble happiness of a jackal which is beginning to rend a sick bull, or a dwarf who should be able to set his heel on the head of Goliath. M. Leblanc did not interrupt him, but said to him when he paused:—”I do not know what you mean to say.  I do not know you. You are mistaking me for some other person. You’re floundering, my old buck! At this word “villain,” the female Thénardier sprang from the bed, Thénardier grasped his chair as though he were about to crush it in his hands.  It’s three days since I have had anything to eat, so I’m a villain. You warm your feet with Sakoski boots and wadded great-coats, like archbishops, you eat asparagus at forty francs the bunch in the month of January, and green peas, you gorge yourselves, and when you want to know whether it is cold, you look in the papers to see what the engineer Chevalier’s thermometer says about it. But we, it is we who are thermometers. We feel our blood congealing in our veins, and the ice forming round our hearts, and we say: ‘There is no God’. “I saved his life at the risk of my own, and I am a soldier of Waterloo, by all the furies, let’s have an end of it!”. Marius shuddered at that reproach of ingratitude directed against his father, and which he was on the point of so fatally justifying.  Then addressing M. Leblanc with a fresh outburst of frenzy: It certainly was the Thénardier of the will.  There was in all these words of Thénardier, in his accent and gesture, there was, in this explosion of an evil nature disclosing everything, a mixture of braggadocio and abjectness, of pride and pettiness, of rage and folly. The picture of the master, the painting by David which he had proposed that M. Leblanc should purchase, was nothing else, as the reader has divined, than the sign of his tavern painted, as it will be remembered, by himself, by Marius. For the last few minutes M. Leblanc had appeared to be watching and following all the movements of Thénardier, who, blinded and dazzled by his own rage, was stalking to and fro in the den with full confidence that the door was guarded, and of holding an unarmed man fast, he being armed himself, of being nine against one. During his address to the man with the pole-axe, he had turned his back to M. Leblanc. The old man on the bed, who seemed under the influence of wine, descended from the pallet and came reeling up, with a stone-breaker’s hammer in his hand. At the same time, the woman had wound her hands in his hair. Colonel Thénardier Panchaud, alias Printanier, alias Bigrenaille, daubed the word “chimney-builders” on M. Leblanc’s head with two balls of lead at the two ends of a bar of iron. Marius could not resist this sight.

M. Leblanc let them take their own course. “Now,” said Thénardier, “search him, you other fellows!” Monsieur Thénardier no longer looked like himself. Marius M. Leblanc found it difficult to recognize in that polished smile of a man in official life the almost bestial mouth which had been foaming but a moment before; he gazed with amazement on that fantastic and alarming metamorphosis, and he felt as a man might feel who should behold a tiger converted into a lawyer. “Mon Dieu!  “Murder!’ is said occasionally, and, so far as I am concerned, I should not have taken it in bad part,” he said. He continued: When a man shouts, who comes? And after the police? The silence preserved by the prisoner, that precaution which had been carried to the point of forgetting all anxiety for his own life, that resistance opposed to the first impulse of nature, which is to utter a cry, all this, it must be confessed, now that his attention had been called to it, troubled Marius, and affected him with painful astonishment. As he spoke thus, it seemed as though Thénardier, who kept his eyes fixed on M. Leblanc, were trying to plunge the sharp points which darted from the pupils into the very conscience of his prisoner.  Monsieur Courfeyrac had bestowed the sobriquet of Monsieur Leblanc on M. Thénardier. Marius could not refrain from admiring at such a moment the superbly melancholy visage. “Here, evidently, was a soul which was inaccessible to terror, which did not know the meaning of despair”. M. Leblanc uttered not a word. M. Leblanc Thénardier said: You see that I put not a little water in my wine; I’m very moderate. I don’t know the state of your fortune, but I do know that you don’t stick at money, and a benevolent man like yourself can certainly give two hundred thousand francs to the father of a family who is out of luck. “No human power can get you out of this, and that we shall be really grieved if we are forced to proceed to disagreeable extremities,” he wrote to the prisoner: “I will dictate.” M. Leblanc had written the whole of this. Thénardier resumed:—”Ah!

Urbain Fabre.  He said “the Lark,” he said “the little one,” but he did not pronounce her name—the precaution of a clever man guarding his secret from his accomplices.  Mademoiselle Fabre, at M. Urbain Fabre’s, Rue Saint-Dominique-D’Enfer, No. 17, is a long way from Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, but I don’t know in what street. As you have not lied about your name, you will not lie about your address.

“Good!” growled Thénardier.  The candle, on which a large “stranger” had formed, cast but a dim light in the immense hovel. Marius waited in a state of anxiety that was augmented by every trifle. He heard a faint noise in the direction of the prisoner, who was fast asleep. All at once, Thénardier addressed the prisoner:”By the way, Monsieur Fabre, I might as well say it to you at once.” On the other hand, the two letters U.

F. were explained; they meant Urbain Fabre; and Ursule was no longer named Ursule.  Who was this “little one” whom Thénardier had called the Lark?  Marius Thénardier: I think that the Lark really is your daughter, and it seems to me quite natural that you should keep her. Only, listen to me a bit.

As for the young lady, no harm will be done to her; the trap will conduct her to a place where she will be quiet, and just as soon as you have handed over those little two hundred thousand francs, she’ll be returned to you.  But the horrible man with the meat-axe would, nonetheless, be out of reach with the young girl, and Marius reflected on Thénardier’s words, of which he perceived the bloody significance: “If you have me arrested, my comrade will give a turn of his thumb to the Lark.” Rue Saint-Dominique, No. 17, no Monsieur Urbain Fabre!  While his exasperated wife vociferated, Thénardier had seated himself on the table. The prisoner was only attached to the bed now by one leg, and had no choice but to shake off his bonds. He brandished above his head the chisel, which emitted a threatening glow, and said: “To gain time!”.

Police found a large sou of this sort which, during the subsequent search of the police, was found under the bed near the window. These hideous and delicate products of wonderful art are to jewellers’ work what the metaphors of slang are to poetry. The unhappy wretch who aspires to deliverance finds means sometimes without tools, sometimes with a common wooden-handled knife, to saw a sou into two thin plates. Bigrenaille to Thénardier: He still holds by one leg, and he can’t get away. I’ll answer for that.

Marius looked at them with no hatred, and where suffering vanished in serene majesty. Marius Thénardier heard below him, at the base of the partition, a colloquy conducted in a low tone: “There is only one thing left to do.” “Cut his throat.”

Let’s leave the bacon in the mousetrap and decamp! cried the Theneradier woman, as the assassin advanced. “Where did this come from?” demanded Thénardier. “Without cutting that man’s throat?” asked, the Thénardier woman. Bigrenaille: “Not much, come now, you old dog, after us!”.

Javert had posted his men and had gone into ambush himself between the trees of the Rue de la Barrière-des-Gobelins which faced the Gorbeau house. Thénardier exclaimed: She snatched up an enormous paving-stone which lay in the angle of the window and served her daughters as an ottoman. Javert said: “Don’t let’s fall to collaring each other like men of Auvergne!”. Thénardier pulled the trigger.  “Parbleu!” replied Thénardier.

Javert smiled, and advanced across the open space which the Thénardier was devouring with her eyes. The Thénardier woman cast a glance at the ruffians who had allowed themselves to be pinioned, and muttered in hoarse and guttural accents:—”The cowards!” M. Leblanc, M. Urbain Fabre, the father of Ursule or the Lark, was freed from his bonds by Javert in a house on the Boulevard de l’Hôpital of Austerlitz. Javert said to the ruffians’ prisoner: “Good day, Babet!” and to the ventriloquist: “Your health, Claquesous!”. An old woman in a mask of Decrepitude, all hollowed into angles and wrinkles, with crow’s-feet meeting the corners of her mouth, refused to let him kiss her as he walked past.

“If I hadn’t been bending over, I know well where I would have planted my foot on you!” she grumbled. What’s this? He’s battering the door down! He’s knocking the house down! she shrieked.

Summary of LES MISÉRABLES Volume-4

In 1831 and 1832, the two years which are immediately connected with the Revolution of July, Napoleon Bonaparte writes of the revolution and its aftermath. The Restoration had been one of those intermediate phases, hard to define, in which there is fatigue, buzzing, murmurs, sleep, tumult, and nothing else than the arrival of a great nation at a halting-place.  Princes “grant” them, but in reality, it is the force of things which gives them.  The predestined family, which returned to France when Napoleon fell, had the fatal simplicity to believe that it was itself which bestowed, and that what it had bestowed it could take back again; that the House of Bourbon possessed the right divine, that France possessed nothing, and that the political right conceded in the charter of Louis XVIII. was merely a branch of the right divine, was detached by the House of Bourbon and graciously given to the people until such day as it should please the King to reassume it.

The House of Bourbon was to France the illustrious and bleeding knot in her history, but was no longer the principal element of her destiny. It formed a part of the past, but the whole past was France. The roots of French society were not fixed in the Bourbons, but in the nations. Never, since the origin of history, had princes been so blind in the presence of facts and the portion of divine authority which facts contain and promulgate. It did not perceive that it also lay in that hand which had removed Napoleon.

The Bourbons were an instrument of civilization which broke in the hands of Providence. The Revolution had had the word under Robespierre; the cannon had had the word under Bonaparte; it was under Louis XVIII. and Charles X. that it was the turn of intelligence to have the word.  France free and strong had offered an encouraging spectacle to the other peoples of Europe.

The Restoration fell. Charles X. during the voyage from Cherbourg, causing a round table to be cut over into a square table, appeared to be more anxious about imperilled etiquette than about the crumbling monarchy. The fall of the Bourbons was full of grandeur, not on their side, but on the side of the nation. It was neither the spectral calm of Charles I., nor the eagle scream of Napoleon.

France, France entire, France victorious and intoxicated with her victory, faded out in the horizon. The Revolution of July is the triumph of right overthrowing the fact. The most discontented, the most irritated and the most trembling saluted it; whatever our egotism and our rancor may be, a mysterious respect springs from events in which we are sensible of the collaboration of some one working above man. This strange revolution had hardly produced a shock; it had not even paid to vanquished royalty the honor of treating it as an enemy, and of shedding its blood. As soon as a revolution has made the coast, the skilful make haste to prepare the shipwreck.

To say “statesmen” is sometimes equivalent to saying “traitors”. The Revolution of July severed arteries; a prompt ligature is indispensable. In the first case, Napoleon concealed the scaffolding and covered the ambulance. Now, it is not always easy to procure a dynasty. After a revolution, what are the qualities of the king which result from it?

He may be and it is useful for him to be a revolutionary; that is to say, a participant in his own person in that revolution, that he should have lent a hand to it. But the first family that comes to hand does not suffice to make a dynasty. This explains why the early revolutions contented themselves with finding a man, Cromwell or Napoleon. The attempt has been made, and wrongly, to make a class of the bourgeoisie. 1830 is a revolution arrested midway.

The phenomenon of 1814 after Napoleon was reproduced in 1830 after Charles X. The halt is the restoration of forces; it is repose armed and on the alert. His name was Louis Philippe d’Orleans. Louis Philippe: The Revolution of 1830, in its deviation, had good luck. In the establishment which entitled itself to order after the revolution had been cut short, the King amounted to more than royalty. Louis Philippe: When the skilful had finished, the immense vice of their solution became apparent.

Napoleon was a gentleman, but not a chevalier; simple, calm, and strong; adored by his family and his household; a fascinating talker, an undeceived statesman, inwardly cold, dominated by immediate interest, incapable of rancor and of gratitude, making use without mercy of superiority on mediocrity, clever in getting parliamentary majorities to put in the wrong those mysterious unanimities which mutter dully under thrones. Fertile in expedients, in countenances, in masks; making France fear Europe and Europe France! Louis Philippe was a prince who understood how to create authority in spite of the uneasiness of France. He was accepted by the surface, but little in accord with France lower down. Louis Philippe will be classed among the most illustrious governors of history had he loved glory but a little.

He wore the uniform of the national guard, like Charles X., and the ribbon of the Legion of Honor, like Napoleon. The Royalists jeered at this ridiculous king, the first who had ever shed blood with the object of healing. He was a bit of a mason, a bit of a gardener, something of a doctor; he bled a postilion who had tumbled from his horse; Louis Philippe no more went about without his lancet, than did Henri IV. without his poniard.

Metternich: Louis Philippe was rather too much of a paternal king; that incubation of a family with the object of founding a dynasty is afraid of everything and does not like to be disturbed; hence excessive timidity, which is displeasing to the people, who have the 14th of July in their civil and Austerlitz in their military tradition. He was modest in the name of France. We will state it. He was one of the first to bear in his person the contradiction of the Restoration and the Revolution. He had been proscribed, a wanderer, poor, and lived by his own labor in Switzerland.

Louis Philippe is 1830 made man.  He was the companion of Dumouriez, he was the friend of Lafayette; he had belonged to the Jacobins’ club; Mirabeau had slapped him on the shoulder; Danton had said to him: “Young man!”  Louis Philippe was a king of the broad daylight. The trace left in him by the Revolution was prodigious. He rectified from memory the whole of the letter A in the Constituent Assembly. Although fully aware of the gnawing power of light on privileges, he left his throne exposed to the light. Louis Philippe was as gentle as Louis IX.

and as kindly as Henri IV. He obstinately maintained his opinion against his keeper of the seals. After the Fieschi machine, he exclaimed: What a pity that I was not wounded! Then I might have pardoned. It is not greatly to be feared that it will ever be said of two tombs in exile: “This one flattered the other”. Louis Philippe had entered into possession of his royal authority without violence, without any direct action on his part, by virtue of a revolutionary change, evidently quite distinct from the real aim of the Revolution, but in which he exercised no personal initiative.

He was convinced, wrongly, to be sure, that the offer was in accordance with right and duty. A clash of principles resembles a clash of elements: society bleeds in this conflict, but that which constitutes its suffering to-day will constitute its safety later on. Those who combat are not to be blamed. Now, we say it in good conscience, Louis Philippe being in possession in perfect good faith, and the democracy being in good faith in its attack, the amount of terror discharged by the social conflicts weighs neither on the King nor on the democracy.  The Revolution of July, which gained but little acceptance outside of France by kings, had been diversely interpreted in France, as we have said.

God delivers over to men his visible will in events, an obscure text written in a mysterious tongue. Men immediately make translations of it; translations hasty, incorrect, full of errors, of gaps, and of nonsense. The cry was uttered equally by the republicans and the legitimists. But coming from them, this cry was logical. As it was no longer a revolution and had become a monarchy, 1830 was obliged to take precedence of all Europe.

From this secret conflict was born armed peace. Pushed on in France by progress, it pushed on the monarchies, those loiterers in Europe.   To the rights of man, as proclaimed by the French Revolution, they added the rights of woman and the rights of the child. From the proper employment of forces results public power. It is impossible to pause over these pretended solutions.

Slaying wealth is not the same thing as dividing it. You will die by an act of violence, as Venice died, or by bankruptcy, as England will fall. And the world will allow to die and fall all that is merely selfishness. That is all that does not represent for the human race either a virtue or an idea. Solve the two problems, encourage the wealthy, and protect the poor, suppress misery, put an end to the unjust farming out of the feeble by the strong, put a bridle on the iniquitous jealousy of the man making his way against the man who has reached the goal, and you will be worthy to call yourself France.

When the French Revolution of 1832 began, Louis Philippe de l’Orme found France being more France than ever – and it was necessary to use Lafayette to defend Polignac, the intuition of progress transparent beneath the revolt, the chambers and streets, the competitions to be brought into equilibrium around him, his faith in the Revolution, perhaps an eventual indefinable resignation born of the vague acceptance of a superior definitive right preoccupied Louis Philippe almost painfully. Efforts worthy of admiration!  At the end of the chapter, everything has become aggravated; the fermentation entered the boiling state. Glimpses could be caught of the features still indistinct and imperfectly lighted, of a possible revolution.  France kept an eye on Paris; Paris kept an eye on the Faubourg Saint-Antoine.

The wine-shops of the Rue de Charonne were, although the union of the two epithets seems singular when applied to wine-shops, grave and stormy. The government was there purely and simply called in question. There were back shops where workingmen were made to swear that they would hasten into the street at the first cry of alarm, and “that they would fight without counting the number of the enemy”. They treated the government with contempt, says a secret report of that time.  As during the Revolution, there were patriotic women in some of these wine-shops who embraced newcomers.

There is no other. Other deeds, more audacious still, were suspicious in the eyes of the people by reason of their very audacity. On the 4th of April, 1832, a passer-by on the angle of the Rue Sainte-Marguerite shouted: “I am a Babouvist”. —”Here are the fixed terms: action or reaction, revolution or counter-revolution.

The police collected singular dialogues, not only in the wine-shops, but in the streets of Paris, which were fraught with evident Jacquerie: “Who governs us?”. A certain Aug—, chief of the Society aid for tailors, Rue Mondétour, had the reputation of serving as intermediary central between the leaders and the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Under each capital letter were inscribed names followed by very characteristic notes:. Q. C D E. Learn this list by heart.

After so doing you will tear it up. The men admitted will do the same when you have transmitted their orders to them. Health and Fraternity, u og a’ fe L. In the Rue Popincourt, in the house of a dealer in bric-à-brac, there were seized seven sheets of gray paper, all folded alike lengthwise and in four; these sheets enclosed twenty-six squares of this same gray paper folded in the form of a cartridge, and a card, on which was written the following:—Saltpetre. Marseillaise.

Quincampoix. The government one day received a warning that arms and cartridges had just been distributed in the faubourg. On the following week thirty thousand cartridges were distributed – and the police were not able to seize a single one. Not a point in Paris nor in France was exempt from the revolutionary fever. From the associations of the Friends of the People, which was at the same time public and secret, sprang the Society of the Rights of Man.

It was destined to survive even the mandate of the Court of Assizes which pronounced its dissolution. The society of the Rights of Man, the Charbonnière, and The Free Men had a society called the Cougourde in the Rue de la Paix. The Society of the Friends of the A B C was affiliated to the Mutualists of Angers met in the Cafe Musain. The Society of the Friends of the A B C affiliated to the Mutualists of Angers, and to the Cougourde of Aix, met, as we have seen, in the Café Musain.  In Paris, the Faubourg Saint-Marceau kept up an equal buzzing with the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and the schools were no less moved than the faubourgs.

“In the Rue de la Paix.”  The Faubourg Saint-Antoine is a reservoir of suffering and ideas. In times of revolution misery is both cause and effect. Revolutionary agitations create fissures there, and the blow which it deals rebounds upon it. It is particularly in the matter of distress and intelligence that it is dangerous to have extremes meet. In ’93, according as the idea which was floating about was good or evil, there leaped forth from the Faubourg Saint-Antoine now savage legions, now heroic bands.

They were savages, yes; but the savages of civilization. All were present at a secret meeting at the Café Musain. Enjolras: We must go over all the seams that we have made and see whether they hold fast. How many of us are there? There is no question of postponing this task until to-day.

Courfeyrac: “Revolutionists should always be hurried; progress has no time to lose”. Grantaire: At the Barrière du Maine there are marble-workers, painters, and journeymen in the studios of sculptors. There is urgent need that some one should go and talk with them a little, but with firmness. Enjolras: You indoctrinate republicans! you warm up hearts that have grown cold in the name of principle.

“I am wild,” he said to his friend’s incredulous laughter; “but I don’t receive justice when I set about it, I am terrible”. Grantaire lived in furnished lodgings very near the Café Musain.  Enjolras: When facts, the premonitory symptoms of latent social malady, move heavily, the slightest complication stops and entangles them. A phenomenon whence arises ruin and new births. He composed, in his own mind, with Combeferre’s philosophical and penetrating eloquence, Feuilly’s cosmopolitan enthusiasm, Courfeyrac’s dash, Bahorel’s smile, Jean Prouvaire’s melancholy and Bossuet’s sarcasms, a sort of electric spark which took fire nearly everywhere at once. The revolution was again majestically taking possession of France and saying to the world: “The sequel to-morrow”.

He took his belongings with him and moved to a hovel in the Rue de la Verrerie “for political reasons” Javert thought Marius was an accomplice of the robbers who had been seized the night before. Marius betook himself to Courfeyrac.  “Whence can this come to me?” he asked himself. Moreover, Marius was heart-broken.  Marius was still with Courfeyrac.

And why had he not called for help? Was he, or was he not, the father of the young girl of the Luxembourg? The white-haired workman whom Marius had encountered in the vicinity of the Invalides recurred to his mind.  Marius had begun in that way, as the reader will remember. He felt that icy breath close to him, on his heels, and long before this, he had discontinued his work.

To replace thought with reverie is to confound a poison with a food, he writes. It is said that the memory of an absent being kindles in the darkness of the heart. Marius was descending this declivity at a slow pace, with his eyes fixed on the girl whom he no longer saw. The gloomy and despairing soul sees this light on its horizon; the star of the inner night. She—that was Marius’ whole thought.

When Ruysdael was at the end of his days of anguish and despair, he had lost the faculty of working and of moving firmly towards any fixed goal, but he was endowed with more clear-sightedness and rectitude than ever. Marius surveyed by a calm and although peculiar light, what passed before his eyes, even the most indifferent deeds and men; he pronounced a just criticism on everything with a sort of honest dejection and candid disinterestedness. As the place is worth looking at, no one goes thither. Javert’s triumph in the Gorbeau hovel seemed complete, but had not been so. Marius, vaguely impressed with the almost savage beauty of the place, asked this passer-by:—”What is the name of this spot?” The long-haired man of the Rue du Petit-Banquier had been let loose in the Charlemagne courtyard and the eyes of the watchers were fixed on him.

As for Marius, “that booby of a lawyer,” who had probably become frightened, and whose name Javert had forgotten, Javert attached very little importance to him.  This man was Brujon, the long-haired man of the Rue du Petit-Banquier.  The Brujon of 1811 was the father of the Brujon  of 1832. He was a cunning and very adroit young spark, with a bewildered and plaintive air. The magistrate released him, thinking he was more useful in the Charlemagne yard than in prison.

He was put in a solitary cell for a month; the police learned nothing further about it. The guardian entered, Brujon was put in a solitary cell for a month, but they were not able to seize what he had written.  It was addressed to Babet, one of the four heads of Patron Minette, and passed on to Éponine and Azelma. This is what Brujon had written the night before. Éponine Brujon’s programme for La Force, in which he describes the foetus of crime engendered by Brujon in La Force miscarry, had its consequences, however, which were perfectly distinct from the programme.

Marius no longer went to see any one, but he sometimes encountered Father Mabeuf by chance. He had reduced his breakfast to two eggs and left one of them for his old servant. He no longer smiled with his infantile smile, he had grown morose and no longer received visitors. Marius did well not to dream of going thither.  M.

Mabeuf could cultivate there only a few plants which love shade and dampness.  When M. Mabeuf was nearly eighty years of age he had a singular apparition. He returned home while it was still broad daylight to find Mother Plutarque was ill and in bed. M. Mabeuf’s natural timidity rendered him accessible to the acceptance of superstitions in a certain degree.

The twilight had begun to whiten what was on high and to blacken all below. As he read, over the top of the book which he held in his hand, Father Mabeuf was surveying his plants, and among others a magnificent rhododendron which was one of his consolations. At the same time, a girl appeared and said to him: “I am the devil, but that’s all the same to me”. The goodman replied by saying: “God will bless you, since you take care of the flowers”. Before Father Mabeuf, who was easily terrified, and who was, as we have said, quick to take alarm, was able to reply by a single syllable, this being, whose movements had a sort of odd abruptness in the darkness, had unhooked the chain, plunged in and withdrawn the bucket, and filled the watering-pot, and the goodman beheld this apparition, which had bare feet and a tattered petticoat, running about among the flower-beds distributing life around her.

Monsieur Marius? he said, and then exclaimed: I know what you mean. In the meantime, M. Mabeuf had searched his memory.


  He lived in the Lark’s meadow more than in Courfeyrac’s lodgings.  He heard behind him, beneath him, on both banks of the river, the laundresses of the Gobelins beating their linen, and above his head, the birds chattering and singing in the elm-trees. All at once he heard a familiar voice saying: Come! Here he is! In the meantime, she had halted in front of Marius with a trace of joy in her livid countenance, and something which resembled a smile.

How I have hunted for you! Poor Mr. Marius!  Do you know, Monsieur Marius, Father Mabeuf calls you Baron Marius, I don’t know what.  “Monsieur Marius, how do you know that my name is Éponine?”. “I will not tell your father the address,” she says.

Marius fumbled in his pocket.  BOOK THIRD—THE HOUSE IN THE RUE PLUMET CHAPTER I—THE HOUSE WITH A SECRET Only the birds beheld this curiosity; it is probable that the linnets and tomtits of the last century gossiped a great deal about him. It had remained fitted with its old furniture, was always for sale or to let, and the ten or a dozen people who passed through the Rue Plumet were warned of the fact by a yellow and illegible bit of writing which had hung on the garden wall since 1819. Thénardier: In the month of October, 1829, a man of a certain age had hired a house just as it stood, including, of course, the back building and the lane which ended in the Rue de Babylone. The house, as we have just mentioned, was still very nearly furnished with the justice’s old fitting.

Jean Valjean: If all that happiness were really his, if it were composed of the happiness of another, of that child which he, an old man, was confiscating and stealing, if that were not theft? Jean-Bertrand Piccini: And who knows if, when she came to be aware of all this some day, and found herself a nun, Cosette would not hate him?  He discovered the house in the Rue Plumet, and hid himself from sight there.  At the same time he hired two other apartments in Paris, in order that he might attract less attention than if he were to remain always in the same quarter, and so that he could, at need, take himself off at the slightest disquietude which should assail him, and in short, so that he might not again be caught unprovided as on the night when he had so miraculously escaped from Javert.  At the same time he hired two other apartments in Paris so that he could take himself off at the slightest disquietude.

These two apartments were very pitiable, poor in appearance, and far remote from each other. However, properly speaking, he lived in the Rue Plumet, and he had arranged his existence there in the following fashion:— When Toussaint Jean Valjean moved into Cosette’s little house, he brought with him a canopied bed of antique damask in three colors and a Persian rug purchased in the Rue du Figuier-Saint-Paul at Mother Gaucher’s. In order to redeem the severity of these magnificent old things, he amalgamated with this bric-à-brac all the gay and graceful little pieces of furniture suitable to young girls. Their wood and wine were put into a half-subterranean hollow lined with rock-work which had formerly served as a grotto. In the door opening on the Rue de Babylone, there was a box destined for the reception of letters and papers; only, as the three inhabitants of the pavilion in the Rue Plumet received neither papers nor letters, the entire usefulness of that box, formerly the go-between of a love affair, and the confidant of a love-lorn lawyer, was now limited to the tax-collector’s notices, and the summons of the guard.

When Jean Valjean went out with Cosette, he dressed as the reader has already seen, and had the air of a retired officer. When he went out alone, which was generally at night, he was always dressed in a workingman’s trousers and blouse, and wore a cap which concealed his face. Unless seen through the garden gate it would have been difficult to guess that they lived in the Rue Plumet. The garden was once a garden, but has now become a colossal thicket, as impenetrable as a forest, as peopled as a city, quivering like a nest, and sombre like a cathedral. In Floréal34 this enormous thicket, free behind its gate and within its four walls, quivered in the rising sun.

At midday, a thousand white butterflies took refuge there, and it was a divine spectacle to see that living summer snow whirling about there in flakes amid the shade. There, in those gay shadows of verdure, a throng of innocent voices spoke sweetly to the soul, and what the twittering forgot to say the humming completed.

It was of no avail that the pavements of Paris were there on every side, the classic and splendid hotels of the Rue de Varennes a couple of paces away, the dome of the Invalides close at hand, the Chamber of Deputies not far off; the carriages of the Rue de Bourgogne and of the Rue Saint-Dominique rumbled luxuriously, in vain, in the vicinity, in vain did the yellow, brown, white, and red omnibuses cross each other’s course at the neighboring crossroads; the Rue Plumet was the desert; and the death of the former proprietors, the revolution which had passed over it, the crumbling away of ancient fortunes, absence, forgetfulness, forty years of abandonment and widowhood, had sufficed to restore to this privileged spot ferns, mulleins, hemlock, yarrow, tall weeds, great crimped plants, with large leaves of pale green cloth, lizards, beetles, uneasy and rapid insects; to cause to spring forth from the depths of the earth and to reappear between those four walls a certain indescribable and savage grandeur; and for nature, which disconcerts the petty arrangements of man, and which sheds herself always thoroughly where she diffuses herself at all, in the ant as well as in the eagle, to blossom out in a petty little Parisian garden with as much rude force and majesty as in a virgin forest of the New World.

 The pavements of Paris were there on every side; the hotels of the Rue de Varennes and the dome of the Invalides were just a few paces away. The death of the former proprietors, the revolution which had passed over it, had restored ferns, mulleins, hemlock, yarrow, tall weeds, and lizards, beetles, uneasy and rapid insects to the area. There are marvellous relations between beings and things, from the sun to the grub, nothing despises the other; all have need of each other. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. A bit of mould is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an ant-hill of stars.

The phenomenon is perpetually returning upon itself. Cosette: It seemed that this garden, created in olden days to conceal wanton mysteries, had become fitted to shelter chaste mysteries. A justice assisted by a gardener, a goodman and another goodman who thought that he was a continuation of Lamoignon, had turned it about, cut, ruffled, decked, moulded it to gallantry; nature had taken possession of it once more, had filled it with shade, and had arranged it for love. Love had only to show himself. All the nuns in the world are not worth as much as one mother in the formation of a young girl’s soul.

The convent is a compression which, in order to triumph over the human heart, should last throughout the whole life. As for Jean Valjean, he was, indeed, all tenderness, all solicitude; but he was only an old man and he knew nothing at all. Cosette had had no mother.  On quitting the convent, Cosette could have found nothing more sweet and more dangerous than the house in the Rue Plumet.   And then, she loved her father, that is to say, Jean Valjean, with all her soul, with an innocent filial passion which made the goodman a beloved and charming companion to her.

Jean Valjean’s daughter Cosette adored the goodman; she was always at his heels. She gave him those charming and tender scoldings which are so graceful when they come from a daughter to her father. The Thénardiers had remained with her as two hideous figures in a dream. He felt a certain religious horror at letting that shadow enter Cosette’s thought. “Through martyrdom,” replied Jean Valjean.

When Cosette went out with him, she leaned on his arm, proud and happy, in the plenitude of her heart.  She had always thought herself homely, and grew up in the belief that she was not beautiful. And here, all at once, was her mirror saying to her, as Jean Valjean had said: “No indeed!”  The dawn that was smiling for all was gloomy for him when he met her. Jean Valjean, on his side, experienced a deep and undefinable oppression at heart. In fact, he had, for some time past, been contemplating with terror that beauty which seemed to grow more radiant every day on Cosette’s sweet face.

From the very first day, Jean Valjean’s sombre eye was wounded by the unexpected light which was rising slowly and enveloping the whole of the young girl’s person. He felt that it was a change in a happy life, a life so happy that he did not dare to move for fear of disarranging something. The man who had dragged the chain of the galleys, was now dragging the invisible but heavy chain of indefinite misery, this man whom the law had not released from its grasp, accepted all, excused all, pardoned all, and merely asked of Providence, of man, of society, of nature, of the world, one thing, that Cosette might love him. With faith in her beauty, the whole feminine soul expanded within Cosette. She at once acquired the science of the bonnet, the gown, the mantle, the cuff, the stuff which is in fashion, the color which is becoming, coquetry.

Love is the other. Jean Valjean watched these ravages with anxiety. With that machine on my head, I have the air of Madame Mad-dog! It was at this epoch that Marius, after the lapse of six months, saw her once more at the Luxembourg.  Jean Valjean heaved a deep sigh.

This took place in Cosette’s chamber.  Cosette and Marius fell in love because they looked at each other. The glance has been so much abused in love romances that it has finally fallen into disrepute. Destiny, with its mysterious and fatal patience, drew together these two beings, all charged and all languishing with the stormy electricity of passion. Cosette in her shadow, like Marius in his, was all ready to take fire.

The reader will recall Marius’s hesitations, his palpitations, his terrors; he remained on his bench and did not approach. One day, she said to Jean Valjean: “Father, let us stroll about a little in that direction.”  This vexed Cosette.  It melts in love, which is its sun. When Cosette left the convent she did not know what love was. On the books of profane music which entered the convent, amour (love) was replaced by tambour (drum) or pandour.

This created enigmas which exercised the imaginations of the big girls: Ah, how delightful is the drum! or, Pity is not a pandour? It turned out that the love which presented itself was exactly suited to the state of her soul. He was a distant lover who lingered in the ideal, a chimaera with a form, he was a vision. She set herself to adoring Marius as something charming, luminous, and impossible. Every day, she looked forward to the hour for their walk with impatience, she found Marius there, she felt herself unspeakably happy, and thought in all sincerity that she was expressing her whole thought when she said to Jean Valjean:—”What a delicious garden that Luxembourg is!” Any nearer and more palpable meeting would have alarmed Cosette at this first stage, when she was still half immersed in the exaggerated mists of the cloister.

Marius and Cosette were in the dark as to one another.  She was a coquette to boot through her ignorance. Marius’ manners were no longer in the least natural.  Nevertheless, it came to pass that Jean Valjean sometimes espied him.  It was thus that Cosette gradually became a woman and developed, beautiful and loving, with a consciousness of her beauty, and in ignorance of her love.

But one day he could not refrain from saying: “What a very pedantic air that young man has”. Jean Valjean had instituted an undeclared war against Marius, which Marius, with the sublime stupidity of his passion and his age, did not divine.  But Cosette remained immured in her apparent unconcern and in her imperturbable tranquillity, so that Jean Valjean arrived at the following conclusion: “That ninny is madly in love with Cosette, but Cosette does not even know that he exists.” Jean Valjean had not discontinued his trips to the Luxembourg, as he did not wish to do anything out of the way, and as, above all things, he feared to arouse Cosette; but during the hours which were so sweet to the lovers, while Cosette was sending her smile to the intoxicated Marius, who perceived nothing else now, and who now saw nothing in all the world but an adored and radiant face, Jean Valjean was fixing on Marius flashing and terrible eyes.  Jean-Valjean felt the old depths of his soul, which had formerly contained so much wrath, opening once more and rising up against Marius. It almost seemed to him that unknown craters were forming in his bosom.

He came to prowl about his, Jean Valjean’s, life!  Jean Valjean: What is he in search of? What does he want? A love affair! Marius Rue Plumet: “I have been first, the most wretched of men, and then the most unhappy, and I have traversed sixty years of life on my knees”.

Jean-Valjean swore to himself that he would never again visit the Luxembourg or the Rue de l’Ouest. One day he followed Cosette to the Rue de l’Ouest.  Cosette did not complain, she said nothing, she asked no questions, she did not seek to learn his reasons; she had already reached the point where she was afraid of being divined, and of betraying herself. Marius no longer went there. Jean Valjean was hurt by this sadness, and heart-broken at this gentleness.

When Jean Valjean ceased to take Cosette on their customary strolls, a feminine instinct murmured confusedly, at the bottom of her heart, that she must not seem to set store on the Luxembourg garden. On her side, Cosette languished. She suffered from the absence of Marius as she rejoiced in his presence, peculiarly, without exactly being conscious of it. The day on which she returned to the Luxembourg, Marius was no longer there. So Marius had disappeared; all was over.

These two beings who had loved each other so exclusively, and with so touching an affection, and who had lived so long for each other now suffered side by side, each on the other’s account; without acknowledging it to each other, without anger towards each other, and with a smile.  At times, Jean Valjean suffered so greatly that he became puerile.  He had a childish notion of the influence of gold lace on the imaginations of young girls. In the isolated life which they led, and since they had come to dwell in the Rue Plumet, they had contracted one habit.  Cosette, a bird herself, liked to rise early.

He would have liked to resist, to retain her, to arouse her enthusiasm by some external and brilliant matter.  In 1831, Jean Valjean and Cosette visited a sort of poor meadows near Paris, where grew in summer sickly grain, and which, in autumn, after the harvest had been gathered, presented the appearance, not of having been reaped, but peeled. There, she became a little girl once more, she could run and play; she took off her hat, laid it on his knees, and gathered bunches of flowers; gentleness and tenderness are born with love, and the young girl who cherishes within her breast a trembling and fragile ideal has mercy on the wing of a butterfly. They heard a noise at the elbow of the causeway and the boulevard where it branches, and they heard a sort of confused pile making its appearance. The causeway is a prolongation of the Rue de Sèvres, and is cut at right angles by the inner boulevard.

Jean Valjean raised his eyes. Cosette was right.   It was a vehicle, in fact, which had just turned from the boulevard into the highway, and which was directing its course towards the barrier near which sat Jean Valjean; a second, of the same aspect, followed, then a third, then a fourth; seven chariots made their appearance in succession, the heads of the horses touching the rear of the wagon in front.  Two men armed with muskets stood erect, each holding one end of the chain under his foot. On each side marched a double hedge of guards of infamous aspect, wearing three-cornered hats, and covered with spots and holes, muffled in uniforms of the beggars’ men.

It was impossible not to shudder at the sight of these human beings thus bound and passive beneath the cold clouds of autumn, and delivered over to the rain, to the blast, to all the furies of the air, like trees and stones. It was evident that to-day, that an hour hence, a pouring rain might descend, that their dilapidated garments would be drenched, and that once soaked, these men would not get dry again. Suddenly, the sun made its appearance; the immense light of the Orient burst forth, and one would have said that it had set fire to all those ferocious heads. The spectacle of the parade of the damned met all sorts of distress; here were to be found the facial angles of every sort of beast, old men, youths, bald beards, cynical monstrosities, sour resignation, savage grins, infantile visages, and blasphemed God. Dante would have thought that he beheld his seven circles of hell on the march.

As the songs and blasphemies increased, the man who appeared to be the captain of the escort cracked his whip, and at that signal a fearful dull and blind flogging, which produced the sound of hail, fell upon the seven dray-loads. Jean Valjean’s eyes had assumed a frightful expression. Cosette was no less terrified, but in a different way. Such encounters are shocks, and the memory that they leave behind them resembles a thorough shaking up. But it seems to me, that if I were to find one of those men in my pathway, I should die merely from the sight of him close at hand.

Nevertheless, Jean Valjean did not observe that, on his way back to the Rue de Babylone with Cosette, the latter was plying him with other questions on the subject of what they had just seen; perhaps he was too much absorbed in his own dejection to notice her words and reply to them.  “Sometimes,” answered the unhappy man. It is a sad irony of man’s nature that Jean Valjean did violence to his habits, and took Cosette to Paris for the purpose of diverting her from the memory of the day before, and of effacing, beneath the smiling tumult of all Paris, the abominable thing which had passed before her. However, this trip seemed to attain its object, and he was able to believe that no trace of that hideous vision remained. He was fascinated by the contemplation of those tiny fingers on that flower, and forgetful of everything in the radiance emitted by that child.

She turned her head over her shoulder with the delicate languor of a swan, and asked him: “What are the galleys like?”. Jean Valjean was fascinated by the contemplation of those tiny fingers on that flower, and forgetful of everything in the radiance emitted by that child.  Cosette did not know the delightful legend, I love a little, passionately, etc.—who was there who could have taught her?  Cosette went on attentively tearing the leaves from her flower; she seemed to be thinking about something; but whatever it was, it must be something charming; all at once she turned her head over her shoulder with the delicate languor of a swan, and said to Jean Valjean: “Father, what are the galleys like?”   She passed nearly all her days beside Jean Valjean and read to him the books which he desired.  When Cosette urged him, “Call the dog-doctor,” said he.

“What a lamentable family in distress, what a hideous vision of the Barrière du Maine,” he thought. The man had succeeded in making his escape; all traces of him were lost; he only thought of those wretched beings to pity them. Jean Valjean’s wound had created a diversion. “As you like, father,” said Cosette. It is a mistake to suppose that a person can stroll alone in that fashion in the uninhabited regions of Paris without meeting with some adventure.

In spring, sad souls grow light, as light falls into cellars at midday. Jean Valjean, intoxicated, beheld Cosette Gavroche’s growing fresh and rosy once more. “Oh!   Gavroche became thoughtful also.  The old man, without raising his eyes from the ground, made up his mind to answer:—”What is it, Mother Plutarque?”  This second form was well known to Gavroche; it was Montparnasse. What was he to do?  Gavroche watched as Montparnasse attacked the old man with a knee of marble upon his breast. He could not refrain from clapping his hands: “Here’s a hearty veteran!” he thought, but it was applause wasted. A moment later one of these men was underneath the other, groaning, struggling, and they were both on top of each other. The old man had received the shock, had returned it, and that in such a terrible fashion, that in a twinkling, the assailant and the assailed had exchanged rôles. The old man of Montparnasse addressed Gavroche with a solemn harangue, in the midst of the darkness where they stood. He said: There is a certain formidable machine, have you seen it? It is the rolling-mill. You must be on your guard against it, it is crafty and ferocious; if it catches hold of the skirt of your coat, you will be drawn in bodily. The old man’s reverie lasted for some time, then he moved on to his next point: “Labor is the law; he who rejects it will find ennui his torment”. Every minute that passes will make your muscles crack. Life will become monstrous all about you. Whether you shall walk here rather than there, will become a problem that must be solved. Every man who wants to go out simply gives his door a push, and there he is in the open air. To go, to come, to breathe, will be just so many terrible labors. Your lungs will produce on you the effect of weighing a hundred pounds. When you are a man, you will hollow out the plates of a watch-spring and screw them together so that they can be adjusted one upon the other like a box and its cover. With this saw, as long as a pin, and concealed in a sou, you’ll cut the bolt of the lock, the padlock of your chain and the bar at your window, and the fetter on your leg. And then you will pass years in a dungeon, riveted to a wall, groping for your jug that you may drink, gnawing at a horrible loaf of darkness which dogs would not touch, eating beans that the worms have eaten before you. There is your future. Have pity on yourself, you miserable young child, who were sucking at nurse less than twenty years ago, and who have, no doubt, a mother still alive. I conjure you, listen to me, I entreat you. You desire fine black cloth, varnished shoes, to please low women, to be handsome. You will be shaven clean, and you will wear a red blouse and wooden shoes. You want rings on your fingers, you will have an iron necklet on your neck, if you glance at a woman, you’ll receive a blow. And you will enter there at the age of twenty, and come out at fifty, with brilliant eyes, and all your white teeth, and your hair curled and sweet-smelling oils on your locks. Ah! my poor child, you are on the wrong road; idleness is counselling you badly; the hardest of all work is thieving. Believe me, do not undertake that painful profession of an idle man – it is not comfortable to become a rascal. It is less disagreeable to be an honest man.

Gavroche crawled after Montparnasse in the dark, as the latter stood motionless. Mother Plutarque: “That has fallen from heaven!”. This commotion roused him. Cosette’s grief, which had been so poignant and lively four or five months previously, had, without her being conscious of the fact, entered upon its convalescence.  Nature, spring, youth, love for her father, the gayety of the birds and flowers, caused something almost resembling forgetfulness to filter gradually, drop by drop, into that soul, which was so virgin and so young.

— A man without name, without birth, without fortune, is a marble column which bears up a temple of grand sentiments and grand ideas. He is nothing more than a block obscurely haunted by violent, unclean, and vinous passions; the post of a drinking-shop. So Jean Valjean was absent.  Cosette did not know. It seemed to Cosette that it was the tread of a man, and that he was walking very softly.

She mounted rapidly to the first floor, to her chamber, opened a small wicket in her shutter, and peeped into the garden. The garden was absolutely calm, and all that was visible was that the street was deserted as usual.  Jean Valjean grew anxious. Cosette told him what she thought she had heard and seen.  “It cannot be anything,” said he.

She returned to her bed, saying to herself: “He is very uneasy”. But as she was about to scream, the moon lighted up the man’s profile, and it was her father. Jean Valjean passed that night and the two succeeding nights in the garden.  Cosette saw him through the hole in her shutter. She did not question herself as to the peculiarity of a chime-pot which is afraid of being caught in the act, and which retires when some one looks at its shadow.

One evening during that same month of April, Jean Valjean had gone out; Cosette had seated herself on this bench after sundown.  She fled without glancing behind her, took refuge in the house, and immediately closed with shutter, bolt, and bar the door-like window opening on the flight of steps. Toussaint, a thoughtful man, given to nocturnal strolls, often returned quite late at night. Jean Valjean, a thoughtful man, and given to nocturnal strolls, often returned quite late at night. “Be quiet,” said Cosette.

She locked herself up in her chamber, bolted her door, looked under her couch, went to bed and slept badly; all night long she saw that big stone, as large as a mountain and full of caverns, and dreamed of a man in a round hat in the garden. At sunrise she was so frightened that she could not look at the bench, for fear of opening the garden gate and allowing “the men” in. Cosette examined it.  Love is the salutation of the angels to the stars. To love a being is to render that being transparent, that is love.

She opens it and reads: How sad is the soul, when it is sad through love! Cosette  Oh!  Thou art a letter that I write to her. Parted lovers beguile absence by a thousand chimerical devices, which possess, however, a reality of their own. They send each other the song of the birds, the perfume of the flowers, the smiles of children, the light of the sun, the sighings of the breeze, the rays of stars, all creation.

And why not? All the works of God are made to serve love. Love is the plenitude of man. When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned. True love is in despair and is enchanted over a glove lost or a handkerchief found, and eternity is required for its devotion and its hopes.

To die for lack of love is horrible. Nothing suffices for man – if you are a man, be love.

Shame on the passions which belittle man! Honor to the one which makes a child of him. Love has contemplation as well as heaven, and more than heaven, it has voluptuousness. Oh joy of the birds, it is because they have nests that they sing. To die of love, is to live in it.

The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. Cosette reads on: What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! It was as if a hand had opened and suddenly flung upon her a handful of rays of light. The education which she had received had always talked to her of the soul, and never of love.

What was this manuscript of fifteen pages? A letter without name, without address, without date, without signature, pressing and disinterested, an enigma composed of truths, a message of love made to be brought by an angel and read by a virgin. It was an absent man, tranquil and dejected, who sent to the absent love, his lady, the secret of fate, the key of life, love. These lines, which had fallen one by one on the paper, were what might be called drops of soul. Cosette felt an unheard-of joy, and a profound anguish.

She had always loved him, always adored him. He! Oh transfiguration of love! That celestial chance was a pellet of bread tossed by one thief to another thief, from the Charlemagne Courtyard to the Lion’s Ditch, over the roofs of La Force. When evening came, Jean Valjean went out; Cosette dressed herself.

This comes from him, and is for me!” He seemed to be not yet a ghost, and he was no longer a man. Then she heard his voice, that voice which she had never heard. Cosette, in her retreat, encountered a tree and leaned against it.  Have you read what I placed there on the bench? Do you recognize me at all? Have no fear of me? “Oh! my mother!” she sank down as though on the point of death. “Forgive me, but I do not know what I am saying; I may have displeased you.” But no.  She took his hand and laid it on her heart; he felt the paper there, he stammered: “You love me, then?”. She replied in a voice so low that it was no longer anything more than a barely audible breath: Hush! Thou knowest it! At intervals, Cosette stammered a word.  He was beside himself with love.  “My name is Cosette.”  BOOK SIXTH—LITTLE GAVROCHE CHAPTER I—THE MALICIOUS PLAYFULNESS OF THE WINDS “My name is Marius,” said he.  The Thénardier of La Mothe-Houdancourt was a mother to her daughters only. “I have no need of a litter of squalling brats,” said the most unanswerable of retorts. Because.  In the midst of a great epidemic of croup which ravaged the river districts of the Seine in Paris thirty-five years ago, the Magnon Thénardiers lost both her boys, one in the morning, the other in the evening of the same day. These children were precious to their mother; they represented eighty francs a month. The money was paid for by collector of his rents, M. Gillenormand, in the Rue du Roi-de-Sicile. The registry office raised no objections, and the change was effected in the most simple manner in the world. When a certain degree of misery is reached one is overpowered with a sort of spectral indifference, and one regards human beings as though they were spectres. His two daughters and Gavroche had hardly had time to discover that they had two little brothers.  The Thénardier catastrophe involved the catastrophe of Magnon. The two little creatures who had fallen to Magnon had no reason to complain, as is everything from which profit is derived. They were neither badly clothed, nor badly fed; they were treated almost like “little gentlemen,”—better by their false mother than by their real one. When they tried to enter the house, they found the door fastened and the house empty. A cobbler opposite called them to him, and delivered a paper which “their mother” had left for them. On this paper there was an address: M. Barge, collector of rents, Rue du Roi-de-Sicile, No. 8.


 Two children of unequal stature, very neatly dressed, and still smaller than himself, one apparently about seven years of age, the other five, timidly turned the handle and entered the shop. The barber wheeled round with a furious look, and without abandoning his razor, thrust back the elder with his left hand and the younger with his knee, and slammed his door. Gavroche led them up the Rue Saint-Antoine in the direction of the Bastille, and cast an indignant backward glance at the barber’s shop. “That fellow has no heart, the whiting,” he muttered, “He’s an Englishman.” Gavroche spattered the polished boots of a man as he strode over a gutter, and apostrophized a bearded portress who was worthy to meet Faust on the Brocken, and who had a broom in her hand. When a certain stage of distress has been reached in his misery, the poor man no longer groans over evil, no longer returns thanks for good.

And he set out on the march once more, when a downpour of rain, redoubled in its spite, became furious. Gavroche: “We have been wandering about these two hours looking for things at the corners of the streets, but we have found nothing”. The elder of the two children, who had almost entirely recovered the prompt heedlessness of childhood, uttered this exclamation: —It’s queer, all the same. Mamma told us that she would take us to get a blessed spray on Palm Sunday. Gavroche’s to the baker: White bread, boy!

white bread [larton savonné]! I’m standing treat. The baker understood perfectly, and replied: Well! It’s bread, and very good bread of the second quality. “You mean larton brutal [black bread]!” retorted Gavrochet, calmly and coldly disdainful.

They set off once more in the direction of the Bastille, as they passed the lighted shop of the baker.  Gavroche expressed his admiration for this skill. He makes me a present of a sermon and his purse.  Montparnasse winked.  Gavroche replied with great simplicity: “Oh!  Unfortunately, Montparnasse was troubled. if I were on the square with my dog, my knife, and my wife, and if you were to squander ten sous on me, but this isn’t Shrove Tuesday. The gamin wheeled hastily, darted his little sparkling eyes about him with profound attention, and perceived a police sergeant standing with his back to them a few paces off. He allowed an: “Ah!

good!” to escape him, but immediately suppressed it, and shook Montapargasse’s hand. You will inquire for Monsieur Gavroche.” — “Very good,” said Montparnasse. And they parted, Montparnasse betaking himself in the direction of the Grève, and Gavroche towards the Bastille.  It was an elephant forty feet high, constructed of timber and masonry, bearing on its back a tower which resembled a house, and painted black by heaven, the wind, and time. It was some mighty, visible phantom, one knew not what, standing erect beside the invisible spectre of the Bastille.

It was unclean, despised, repulsive, and superb, ugly in the eyes of the bourgeois. Night is the real element of everything that is dark. As soon as twilight descended, the old elephant became transfigured. Being of the past, he belonged to night; and obscurity was in keeping with his grandeur. The architect of the stove has succeeded in turning it into a pretty thing out of bronze.

It is quite natural that a stove should be the symbol of an epoch in which a pot contains power. This fact noted, we proceed.On arriving in the vicinity of the colossus, Gavroche comprehended the effect which the infinitely great might produce on the infinitely small, and said:—”Don’t be scared, infants.”Then he entered through a gap in the fence into the elephant’s enclosure and helped the young ones to clamber through the breach.  Harness locomotives to ideas,—that is well done; but do not mistake the horse for the rider.At all events, to return to the Place de la Bastille, the architect of this elephant succeeded in making a grand thing out of plaster; the architect of the stove has succeeded in making a pretty thing out of bronze.This stove-pipe, which has been baptized by a sonorous name, and called the column of July, this monument of a revolution that miscarried, was still enveloped in 1832, in an immense shirt of woodwork, which we regret, for our part, and by a vast plank enclosure, which completed the task of isolating the elephant.It was towards this corner of the place, dimly lighted by the reflection of a distant street lamp, that the gamin guided his two “brats.”The reader must permit us to interrupt ourselves here and to remind him that we are dealing with simple reality, and that twenty years ago, the tribunals were called upon to judge, under the charge of vagabondage, and mutilation of a public monument, a child who had been caught asleep in this very elephant of the Bastille.  When the older boy reached the aperture he entered it as an adder slips through a crevice, and disappeared within. Gavroche raised it with remarkable vigor, and placed it against one of the elephant’s forelegs.

The child of five was pushed, dragged, pulled, thrust and stuffed into the hole, before he had time to recover himself. Long live General Lafayette! Gavroche was at home, in fact. The bourgeois decked out in their Sunday finery who passed the elephant of the Bastille, were fond of saying as they scanned it disdainfully with their prominent eyes: “What’s the good of that?”  The Bastille was a lair open to one against whom all doors were shut. It seemed as though the miserable old mastodon, invaded by vermin and oblivion, had taken pity on that other mendicant, the poor pygmy, who roamed without shoes to his feet, without a roof over his head, blowing on his fingers, clad in rags, fed on rejected scraps.

This idea of Napoleon, disdained by men, had been taken back by God. Are you scoffing at me? This remark drew an exclamation from Gavroche.  And plunging into the darkness with the assurance of a person who is well acquainted with his apartments, he took a plank and stopped up the aperture. Gavroche, paternally touched by this confidence, passed from grave to gentle, and addressing the smaller:.

—”Stupid,” said he, accenting the insulting word, with a caressing intonation, “it’s outside that it is black.” He pushed them towards what we are very glad to be able to call the end of the room. There stood his bed, complete; it had a mattress, a blanket, and an alcove with curtains. Go to sleep! But he felt obliged to add a few words of instruction for the benefit of these creatures, and he continued:—”You crawl over the walls and you don’t care a straw for the government.” Gavroche cast a pleased eye on the blanket. Man Gavrochef: The idea of a big fellow like you crying!

It’s idiotic; you looked like a calf! Child: We have no lodging. And then, we were afraid of being alone like that at night. I’ll take care of you. You shall see what fun we’ll have!

“The deuce!” said he, “there’s the wick giving out.  He said: People don’t say ‘burn the house down’ – they say ‘blaze the crib’. “You’re taken in, rain!” said Gavroche.  He said: Since the good God is lighting his candle, I can blow out mine. Wrap yourself up well in the hide! “Hey?” said Gavroche. “Sir?” he began again. Who ate the cat? But Gavroche added:—”Don’t be afraid.  Darkness covered the vast Place de la Bastille.

Monsieur Gavroche Montparnasse Bastille guard-house was situated at the other end of the square, and that what took place in the vicinity of the elephant could neither be seen nor heard by the sentinel. The patrol searched all the doorways, alleys, enclosures, and obscure nooks, and in their search for nocturnal vagabonds they passed in silence before the elephant. A wintry gale mingled with the rain, blew in gusts, and the monster, erect, motionless, had the appearance of dreaming happily over his good deed. Twice he repeated this cry, of whose orthography the following barely conveys an idea:—”Kirikikiou!”

Come, lend us a hand. He crawled out of his “alcove” and opened the trap, and descended through the ranks of market-gardeners’ carts which descend towards the markets at that hour. The man and child recognized each other silently amid the gloom. Babet had arranged the matter for his own benefit, on the same day, as the reader has seen from Montparnasse’s account to Gavroche.  An escape had been planned between Babet, Brujon, Guelemer, and Thénardier, although Thénardier was in close confinement.

The New Building was the most cracked and decrepit thing to be seen anywhere in the world. The walls were eaten by saltpetre to such an extent that the authorities had to line the vaults of the dormitories with a sheathing of wood. Brujon, of whom it is high time that the reader should have a complete idea, was, with an appearance of delicate health and a profoundly premeditated languor, a polished, intelligent sprig, and a thief, had a caressing glance and an atrocious smile.  No one was ever able to discover how, and by what connivance, he succeeded in procuring, and secreting a bottle of wine, invented, so it is said, by Desrues, with which a narcotic is mixed, and which the band of the Endormeurs, or Sleep-compellers, rendered famous. Thénardier was directly over their heads in the top story known as Fine-Air.

On that same night, then, when Little Gavroche picked up the two lost children, Brujon and Guelemer, who knew that Babet, who had escaped that morning, was waiting for them in the street as well as Montparnasse, rose softly, and with the nail which Brujon had found, began to pierce the chimney against which their beds stood.  Brujon and Guelemer, who knew that Babet, who had escaped, was waiting for them in the street as well as Montparnasse, began to pierce the chimney against which their beds stood. They fastened one end of a rope which Brujon had spun in his dungeon to the stumps of the iron bars which they had just wrenched off, flung the other over the outer wall, clung to the coping of the flue, and crossed the abyss at one bound, got astride of it, and let themselves slip, one after the other, along the rope, onto a little roof which touches the bath-house. At the bottom of this abyss, they could see the musket of a sentinel gleaming through the gloom.  Thénardier recognized him, and understood.

When they came to relieve the conscript, he was found asleep on the floor, lying like a log near Thénadier’s cage. They also seized in his cell a half-empty bottle which contained the remains of the stupefying wine with which the soldier had been drugged. As for Thénardier, he was no longer there.  How he got there is a mystery which no one has ever been able to explain. How had he got there?

Had Thénardier, spurred on by that thirst for liberty which changes precipices into ditches, iron bars into wattles of osier, a legless man into an athlete, a gouty man into a bird, stupidity into instinct, instinct into intelligence, and intelligence into genius, had Thénardier invented a third mode?  When Thénardier reached the edge of the wall of the ruin, there he had stretched himself out at full length, and there his strength had failed him. The man who makes his escape, we repeat, is inspired; there is something of the star and of the lightning in the mysterious gleam of flight. One says of the escaped thief: “How did he contrive to scale that wall?”. A man named Thénardier was on top of a wall ten inches wide, stretched out under the heavy rains, unable to stir, subject to the giddiness of a possible fall, and to the horror of a certain arrest, and his thoughts swung from one of these ideas to the other: “Dead if I fall, caught if I stay”.

At the same time, he saw in the direction of the Bastille a wan whiteness lighting up the edge of the sky in doleful wise. A few moments later, that terrified and confused uproar which follows the discovery of an escape broke forth in the prison, reached his ears. The sound of doors opening and shutting, the creaking of gratings on their hinges, a tumult in the guard-house, the hoarse shouts of the turnkeys, the shock of musket-butts on the pavement of the courts were all heard. These men had evidently chosen this vacant space in order to consult without being seen by passers-by. By the icigo he recognized Brujon, who was a prowler of the barriers, by the icicaille he knew Babet, who had been an old-clothes broker at the Temple.

Had it not been for the icigia he would not have recognized Guelemer, for the third man had entirely changed his voice. He did not hesitate when one of the men said: “How do we know that he doesn’t stand in need of us?”. By this, which was nothing but French, Thénardier recognized Montparnasse, who made it a point in his elegance to understand all slangs and to speak none of them. Montparnasse Thénardier: Do you hear those shouts in the prison? You have seen all those lights.

He’s recaptured, there! He’ll get off with twenty years. I ain’t a coward, but there ain’t anything more to do, or otherwise they’d lead us a dance. Brujon: At the present moment, the inn-keeper ain’t worth a ha’penny; we can’t do nothing for him. Let’s be off.

Don’t get mad, come with us, let’s go drink a bottle of old wine together. “A young ‘un like me’s a man, never! it would take a brat to get him down,” exclaimed Brujon. “And then?” said Gavroche. Montparnasse answered:—”Climb up that flue.” An ancient plaster flue, which had served for a stove that had been used in the shanty in former times, ran along the wall and mounted almost to the very spot where they could see Thénardier.   Guelemer seized Gavroche by one arm, set him on the roof of the shanty, whose worm-eaten planks bent beneath the urchin’s weight, and handed him the rope which Brujon had knotted together during Montparnasse’s absence.

These were this man’s first words:—”Now, whom are we to eat?” A moment later, Thénardier was in the street.  When Gavroche had disappeared at the corner of the Rue des Ballets, Babet took Thénardier aside. And off he went.

— It is not an easy task to examine a man’s language which is dripping with filth when thus brought to the light, that pustulous vocabulary each word of which seems an unclean ring from a monster of the mire and the shadows. One thinks one beholds a frightful, living, and bristling thicket which quivers, rustles, wavers, returns to shadow, threatens and glares. The thinker who should turn aside from slang would resemble a surgeon who should avert his face from an ulcer or a wart. What is slang, properly speaking? It is the language of wretchedness.

the infantry soldier who says: “My shooting-iron,” the cavalry-man who says: “My turkey-cock,” the fencing-master who says: “Tierce, quarte, break,”  The physicians of the Middle Ages who, for carrot, radish, and turnip, said Opoponach, perfroschinum, reptitalmus, dracatholicum, angelorum, postmegorum, talked slang.  the sheriff of the Norman Isles who says: “The holder in fee reverting to his landed estate cannot claim the fruits of that estate during the hereditary seizure of the real estate by the mortgagor,” the playwright who says: “The piece was hissed,” the comedian who says: “I’ve made a hit,” the philosopher who says: “Phenomenal triplicity,” the huntsman who says: “Voileci allais, Voileci fuyant,” the phrenologist who says: “Amativeness, combativeness, secretiveness,”

It is in this cellar that nearly all the slang songs had their birth. The majority of these songs are melancholy; some are gay; one is tender: “Here is the theatre Of the little archer (Cupid) Do what you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic in the heart of man, love”. He begins by asking: Will no one come to the succor of the human soul in that darkness? Will she forever summon in vain the lance of light of the ideal? The hare in hiding, the fugitive mouse, the flying bird, the cauldron for the boiling of counterfeiters are all part of his art.

He hardly complains, he contents himself with sighing; one of his moans has come down to us: “I do not understand how God, the father of men, can torture his children and his grandchildren and hear them cry, without himself suffering torture.” Mirliton ribonribette was sung in a cellar or in a nook of the forest while cutting a man’s throat. In the eighteenth century, the ancient melancholy of the dejected classes vanishes. A sort of gleam proceeds from these miserable wretches, as though their consciences were not heavy within them any more. Man of La Bretonne: The work of the eighteenth century is healthy and good and wholesome. But by the side of and above the philosophers, there were the sophists, a venomous vegetation mingled with a healthy growth, hemlock in the virgin forest.

He adds: While the executioner was burning the great books of the liberators of the century, writers now forgotten were publishing, with the King’s sanction, no one knows what strangely disorganizing writings, which were eagerly read by the unfortunate. In Germany, during a given period, theft and pillage rose up in protest against property and labor, assimilated certain specious and false elementary ideas, which, though just in appearance, were absurd in reality. This work, peculiar to the whole of Europe, effected more ravages in Germany than anywhere else. It is this peril, possibly imminent towards the close of the eighteenth century, which the French Revolution cut short. It may be said of it that it created man a second time, by giving him a second soul, the right to freedom.

There is no more of the Middle Ages in our constitution. Progress is an honest man; the ideal and the absolute do not filch pocket-handkerchiefs. Since ’89, the whole people has been dilating into a sublime individual. The first cry of the enlightened and increasing throngs is: death to thieves! There is no Jacquerie; society may rest assured on that point; blood will no longer rush to its head.

Apoplexy is no longer to be feared, but phthisis is there. One can perish from being undermined as well as from being struck by lightning. The true question is this: labor cannot be a law without being a right. And, let us say it, all this is but the beginning.  As the human race mounts upward, the deep layers of misery will be accomplished by a simple elevation of level.

The people, sketched out by the eighteenth century, will be finished by the nineteenth. There is but one way of rejecting To-Tomorrow, and that is to die. If man cannot solve contradictions in the attitude of problems, which seem impossibilities to the vulgar herd, then he is not alarmed by them. A force composed of earth and heaven results from humanity and governs it; this force is a worker of miracles; marvellous issues are no more difficult to it than extraordinary vicissitudes. Social philosophy consists essentially in science and peace.

Ancient civilizations of India, of Chaldea, of Persia, of Syria, of Egypt, have disappeared one after the other. What are the causes of these disasters? We do not know. Could these societies have been saved? Was it their fault?

Did they persist in the fatal vice which destroyed them? Questions to which there exists no reply. The thinker of to-day has a great duty—to auscultate civilization. Why?  And yet, any one who follows the course of social clinics shakes his head at times.

The ideal is lost in the depths of darkness, surrounded by those great, black menaces, monstrously heaped around it. Marius was slender and readily passed through. The reader has probably understood that Éponine, having recognized through the gate, the inhabitant of that Rue Plumet whither Magnon had sent her, had begun by keeping the ruffians away from the Rue Plumet, and had then conducted Marius thither, and that, after many days spent in ecstasy before that gate, Marius, drawn on by that force which draws the iron to the magnet and a lover towards the stones of which is built the house of her whom he loves, had finally entered Cosette’s garden as Romeo entered the garden of Juliet.  Beginning with that blessed and holy hour when a kiss betrothed these two souls, Marius was there every evening.  If Cosette had fallen in love with a man in the least unscrupulous or debauched, she would have been lost; for there are generous natures which yield themselves, and Cosette was one of them.

God willed that Cosette’s love should encounter one of the loves which save. Marius was conscious of a barrier, Cosette’s innocence; and Cosette of a support, Marius’ loyalty. They lived in this ecstatic state which can be described as the dazzling of one soul by another soul. For him, Cosette was a perfume and not a woman.  Magic power which we should find it difficult to understand were we to read in a book these conversations which are made to be borne away and dispersed like smoke wreaths by the breeze beneath the leaves.

The man who has never heard, the man who has never uttered these absurdities, these paltry remarks, is an imbecile and a malicious fellow.  Once Marius said to Cosette:—  In the middle of another conversation, he chanced to exclaim:—”Oh!  Marius pictured life with Cosette to himself like this, without anything else; to come every evening to the Rue Plumet, to displace the old and accommodating bar of the chief-justice’s gate, to sit elbow to elbow on that bench, to gaze through the trees at the scintillation of the on-coming night, to fit a fold of the knee of his trousers into the ample fall of Cosette’s gown, to caress her thumb-nail, to call her thou, to smell of the same flower, one after the other, forever, indefinitely.  Oh! murmured Marius, how beautiful you are. I dare not look at you. how strange it is and how charming, I am really beside myself. The man’s blandishments, all saturated with fancy, were of azure hue. They were mingled with them, nevertheless, life, humanity and positiveness of which Marius was capable. Oh Cosette!

Marius Cosette was a condensation of the auroral light in the form of a woman. Her whole person was ingenuousness, ingenuity, transparency, whiteness and candor. She never made a mistake about anything, and she saw things justly. The most sovereign symptom of love is tenderness that is, at times, almost unbearable. Marius Pontmercy and Cosette hid themselves in the twilight, in the invisible, with the birds and the roses.

They did not notice the cholera which decimated Paris precisely during that very month. Marius had told Cosette that he was an orphan, that he lived by writing things for publishers. Cosette did not know the meaning of the word baron. Strange to say, in the sort of symphony which Marius had lived since he had been in the habit of seeing Cosette, the past, even the most recent past, had become so confused and distant to him, that what Cosette told him satisfied him completely.  He did not even tell her about his adventures in the hovel, nor what he had done, nor who had spoken to him.

For Cosette and Marius nothing existed except Marius and Cosette. The universe around them had fallen into a hole. There was nothing before them, nothing behind. It hardly occurred to Marius that Cosette had a father. And was he very sure that this nightmare had actually existed?

But the father, the realities, that lair, the ruffians, that adventure, to what purpose?  It is a strange claim on man’s part to wish that love should lead to something, says Jean Valjean. The best way to look at the soul is through closed eyes. Sometimes, beautiful as Cosette was, Marius shut his eyes in her presence.  When Jean Valjean met his beloved Cosette, she was at the age when the virgin bears her love as the angel of the lily.

The thoughts which Cosette cherished, her tender preoccupations, Marius’ image which filled her heart, took away nothing from the incomparable purity of her beautiful, chaste, and smiling brow. When two lovers come to an understanding, things always go well; the third party who might disturb their love is kept in a state of perfect blindness by a restricted number of precautions which are always the same in the case of all lovers. When he was with Cosette they hid themselves in a recess near the steps, in order that they might not be seen nor heard from the street. Old Toussaint, who retired early, thought of nothing but her sleep, and was as ignorant of the matter as Jean Valjean. One morning, he threw him this admonition:—”My dear fellow, you produce upon me the effect of being located in the moon, the realm of dreams, the province of illusions, capital, soap-bubble.  Courfeyrac, being a practical man, did not take in good part this reflection of an invisible paradise upon Marius; he was not much in the habit of concealed passions; it made him impatient, and now and then he called upon Marius to come back to reality. During this sweet month of May, Marius and Cosette learned to know these immense delights.  It is an error to think that passion, when it is pure and happy, leads man to a state of perfection. In this situation, man forgets to be bad, but he also forgives to be good. At any other time, Marius would have behaved quite differently to Éponine. He had no reasons for anything but gratitude towards her, he owed her his happiness; yet, it was embarrassing to him to meet her. We show Marius as he was.  He replied: Why do you call me you? Have I done anything to you? The following day was the 3d of June, 1832, a date which it is necessary to indicate on account of the grave events which at that epoch hung on the horizon of Paris. “Good evening, Mr. Marius,” said she suddenly and abruptly; and away she went.  She murmured in a low voice and in gloomy accents:—”None of that, Lisette!” The man was trying to escape from a deserted spot of evil repute when he heard a dull and threatening voice saying: “I’m no longer surprised that he comes here every evening.” Thus he came to the bar which Marius had loosened.  At the apparition of Éponine, Claquesous, Guelemer, Babet, Brujon, and Montparnasse, Thénardier grumbled: What do you want with us? The five men of the night had noiselessly drawn near, without precipitation, without uttering a word. Some indescribable but hideous tools were visible in their hands. One man held one of those pairs of curved pincers which prowlers call fanchons.  The ventriloquist, however, finished his grin.  That frightful tongue had become impossible to her since she had known Marius. Brujon growled between his teeth: “Why, what’s the matter with her?”. This is not what you want. You are men.

I’m not afraid. Aren’t they ridiculous, these ninnies of men, to think they can scare a girl? Oh, yes, much! Because you have finical poppets of mistresses who hide under the bed when you put on a big voice! Éponine, who never took her eyes off of them, saw them retreat by the road by which they had come.

Montparnasse flashed the knife, which he held open in his hand, in the light of the lantern. Thénardier said not a word, and seemed ready for whatever the rest pleased. Brujon, who was somewhat of an oracle, and who had, as the reader knows, “put up the job,” had not as yet spoken. The six men plunged into the gloom, where they appeared to melt away. He seemed thoughtful.

A black figure barring the way stops the wild beast short.  Marius’ first word had been: “What is the matter?” But he had found Cosette sad; Cosette had been weeping.  For the last six weeks, Marius had little by little, slowly, by degrees, taken possession of Cosette each day. The Faublas and the Prudhommes add: “Because there is none”; but the sarcasm is, fortunately, a blasphemy. So Marius possessed Cosette as spirits possess, but he enveloped her with all his soul.

For six weeks Marius felt Cosette within him. He gazed upon and adored the things that she wore, her knot of ribbon, her gloves, her sleeves, her shoes, her cuffs, as sacred objects of which he was the master. The words: “We are going away,” fell suddenly, at a blow, and that the harsh voice of reality cried to him: “Cosette is not yours”. How silly we are! He demanded in a weak voice:—”And when do you start?” Marius, I have an idea.” Cosette felt rather than understood the meaning of these words.  Go away with you! Are you mad? Why, I should have to have money, and I have none! At last he heard behind him a faint stifled noise, which was sweet yet sad; it was Cosette sobbing. He went on: She had been weeping for more than two hours beside Marius as he meditated. “If you go away I shall die before the day after to-morrow,” he said. He continued: “There is a man, named Courfeyrac, who never changes his habits, and he has never received any one except in the evening.” “Tell me your thought, Marius; you have some idea.

“Yes, Cosette.” Mademoiselle Gillenormand: I will sing that music from Euryanthe that you love, and that you came one evening to listen to, outside my shutters. I will expect you at dusk, at 9 o’clock precisely, I warn you. And I also. The man and woman fell into each other’s arms, without perceiving that their lips met as they gazed upon the stars. When Marius went forth, the street was deserted.

The old man was deeply dejected. He thought of Marius only with profound tenderness, and the mute despair of an elderly, kindly old man who is about to vanish in the dark. M. Gillenormand was, or thought himself, above all things, incapable of taking a single step, he—the grandfather, towards his grandson; “I would die rather,” he said to himself.   That gentleman is a knave, a wretched scoundrel, a vain little ingrate, a heartless, soulless, haughty, and wicked man!” “With that poor Marius.” “To my sister?” inquired Mademoiselle Gillenormand.  When one is a veritable man, one holds equally aloof from swagger and from affected airs. And then, throwing out your chest like a bully and lacing yourself like a girl, with stays under your cuirass, is doubly ridiculous. However, as the reader has been able to conjecture, Mademoiselle Gillenormand had failed in her attempt to substitute her favorite, the officer of lancers, for Marius. A vacancy in the heart does not accommodate itself to a stop-gap.

Father Gillenormand was thinking of Marius lovingly and bitterly; and, as usual, bitterness predominated. He was alone in his chamber, amid its pastoral scenes, with his feet propped on the andirons, half enveloped in his huge screen of coromandel lacquer, with its nine leaves, engulfed in his tapestry armchair, and a book which he was not reading. The old man was dressed, according to his wont, like an incroyable, and resembled an antique portrait by Garat. “It gives one a look of age,” said he. “I don’t know,” replied Basque, intimidated and put out of countenance by his master’s air; “I have not seen him for four years.” The goodman became delirious with amazement and joy when he saw Marius through a dazzling light.

Father Gillenormand stammered in a low voice:—”Show him in.” The old man said: What do you want of me? I am losing my memory, infirmity, isolation! I possess all the poverty of age and isolation! He went on: “You are entering into life, I am leaving it”. Marius clasped his hands, advanced a step, and said in a feeble and trembling voice:—”Sir, have pity on me.” These words touched M.

Gillenormand; uttered a little sooner, they would have rendered him tender, but they came too late.  “You are a fool!” said the old man; “Who said that you were to go away?”. He would have liked to have Marius understand, and Marius did not understand, which made the goodman furious. His grief was straightway converted into wrath, and increased his harshness. M.

Gillenormand rang the bell.  At one and twenty, you have arranged that! You have only a permission to ask! he said. What’s the father?” “Sir!” exclaimed Marius. M. Gillenormand continued: The old man burst into a shout of strident and mournful laughter, coughing and laughing at the same time. He then seized Marius by the collar, flung him into an armchair and said to him: “Never, sir, never, never!”. M. Gillenormand’s mobile face was no longer expressive of anything but rough and ineffable good-nature.  “This is the whole truth, and I do not think that I have omitted anything,” he says, as he drinks snuff and takes a protracted pinch of snuff. He rummaged in a drawer, drew forth a purse, which he laid on the table: “Here are a hundred louis, buy yourself a hat.” “Well, father—” said Marius. “Ah, by the way,” interrupted M. Gillenormand, “you really have not a penny then?

Marius de Robespierre: I think it quite proper that a young man like you should be in love. It’s the right thing at your age, and I like you better in love with a petticoat, sapristi! with twenty petticciats, than with M. le Maire! The Marquis of Pardieu: “In the line of sans-culottes, I have never loved any one but women”.

A voice called out to him through the trees: “Mr. Marius, are you there?”. “Hey?” said he. Cosette was not there.  Jean Valjean’s purse was of no use to M. Mabeuf, in his venerable, infantile austerity, had not accepted the gift of the stars; he had not admitted that a star could coin itself into louis d’or.

He had taken the purse to the police commissioner of the quarter, as a lost article placed by the finder at the disposal of claimants. It is unnecessary to say that no one claimed it, and that it did not succor the man. Diogenes Laertius, printed at Lyons in 1644, contained the famous variant of the manuscript 411, thirteenth century, of the Vatican. Mabeuf never had any fire in his chamber, and went to bed at sundown, in order not to consume any candles. People avoided him when he went out; he perceived the fact.

The wretchedness of an old man interests no one. Mother Plutarque saw a sombre veil, which was never more lifted, descend over the old man’s candid face. Mabeuf opened his bookcase, took a long look at all his books, one after another, then seized one hastily, put it in under his arm and went out. He returned two hours later, with 30 sous on the table, and said: “You will get something for dinner”. The following day, on the day after, and on the days after that, it had to be done again.

He had no money to buy bread at the baker’s or medicine at the apothecary’s. Something must be done for him! — All at once, Mother Plutarque fell ill.  All that was left to him was Diogenes Laertius.   It rained at intervals; the old man did not seem to perceive the fact. The rabble, that mud which catches fire, are among the elements of revolt.

Woe to him whom it bears away as well as to him whom it strikes!  Revolt strengthens those governments which it does not overthrow. Power is in better health after a revolt, as a man is after a good rubbing down. There is for everything a theory, which proclaims itself “good sense”; Philintus against Alcestis. A whole political school called “the golden mean” has been the outcome of this.

Revolts have illuminated with a red glare all the most original points of the Parisian character. The first day of a riot costs France twenty millions, the second day forty, the third sixty, a three days’ uprising costs one hundred and twenty millions. To the bloodshed add the future darkness, progress compromised, uneasiness among the best men, honest liberals in despair, foreign absolutism happy in these wounds dealt to revolution by its own hand. For our parts, we reject this word uprisings as too large, and consequently as too convenient. We do not inquire whether an uprising costs as much as a battle.

Here the question of war comes up. Is war less of a scourge than an uprising is of a calamity? And what if the revolt of July did cost a hundred and twenty millions? The sound of right in movement is recognizable, but it does not always proceed from the trembling of excited masses. Sometimes the populace counterfeits fidelity to itself; sometimes the masses are traitors to the people.

“Death to the salt duties,” brings forth, “Long live the King!”  If insurrection in given cases may be, as Lafayette says, the most holy of duties, an uprising may be the most fatal of crimes. Danton against Louis XIV. is insurrection; Hébert against Danton is revolt. As the Neros reign in a black way, they should be painted to match. The man who writes the Annales is of the Latin race, let us rather say he is a Roman.

The less spread of sail in the phrase, the more intensity in the blow. Despots count for something in the question of philosophers. There is corruption under all illustrious tyrants, but moral pest is still more hideous under infamous tyrants. Tacitus thinks with all his might.

Rome smells worse under Vitellius than under Sylla. The villainy of slaves is a direct product of the despot; a miasma exhales from these cowering consciences. Juvenal and Tacitus, like Isaiah in Biblical times, like Dante in the Middle Ages, is man. Riot and insurrection are the multitude, which is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. In the beginning, the insurrection is a riot, just as a river is a torrent.

Ordinarily it ends in that ocean: revolution. Sometimes, however, coming from those lofty mountains which dominate the moral horizon, justice, wisdom, reason, right, formed of the pure snow of the ideal, is lost in some quagmire. Man Booker Toni Morrison: This movement of 1832 had, in its rapid outbreak and in its melancholy extinction, so much grandeur, that even those who see in it only an uprising, never refer to it otherwise than with respect. The facts which we are about to relate belong to that dramatic and living reality, which the historian sometimes neglects. Lamarque was a man of renown and of action.

He was as eloquent as he had been valiant; a sword was discernible in his speech. He hated Wellington with a downright hatred which pleased the multitude. In his death agony, at his last hour, he clasped to his breast a sword presented to him by the officers of the Hundred Days. On the evening of the 5th of June, they armed themselves as best they might. They carried off door-weights of their establishments “to break down doors”.

One man had made himself a dagger of a stocking-weaver’s hook by breaking off the hook and sharpening the stump. Among them was observed a certain Mavot, who never remained more than a week in one shop, as masters discharged him “because they were obliged to dispute with him every day”. Mavot was killed on the following day at the barricade of the Rue Ménilmontant.  A man armed with a pair of pistols in full view, seemed to pass the host in review, and the files separated before him. Four squadrons of carabineers could be seen in the Place Louis XV in their saddles.

Four squadrons of carabineers could be seen in the Place Louis XV. in their saddles, with their trumpets at their head, cartridge-boxes filled and muskets loaded, all in readiness to march; in the Latin country and at the Jardin des Plantes, the Municipal Guard echelonned from street to street; at the Halle-aux-Vins, a squadron of dragoons; at the Grève half of the 12th Light Infantry, the other half being at the Bastille; the 6th Dragoons at the Célestins; and the courtyard of the Louvre full of artillery.  The funeral of the Duc de Fitz-James was marked out for death by God at the moment when the populace were designating him for the Empire. A man with a red beard announced that two overseers who had been won over would open a factory of arms to the people. At the Bastille, long files of curious and formidable people descended from the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, effected a junction with the procession.

A man on horseback, clad in black, made his appearance in the middle of the group with a pike surmounted with a red liberty-cap. This red flag raised a storm, and disappeared in the midst of it. Lafayette spoke and bade Lamarque farewell. The dragoons advanced at a walk, in silence, with their pistols in their holsters. The incident took place during a dark moment when two clouds come together.

CHAPTER IV—THE EBULLITIONS OF FORMER DAYS In the Rue Saint-Pierre-Montmartre, men with bare arms carried about a black flag, on which could be read in white letters this inscription: “Republic or Death”. In the Rue des Jeûneurs, Rue du Cadran, Rue Montorgueil, Rue Mandar, groups appeared waving flags, the word section with a number. In a very well-dressed bourgeois, who had a prominent belly, a sonorous voice, a lofty brow, and a black beard, offered cartridges publicly to passers-by. One man said: “There’s going to be a row!”. The National Guard disarmed isolated sentinels and National Guardsmen in the streets on their way to the Townhall.

They broke street lanterns, unharnessed carriages, unpaved the streets, broke in the doors of houses, uprooted trees, rummaged cellars and made barricades. In less than an hour, twenty-seven barricades sprang out of the earth in the quarter of the Halles alone. On a single point the inhabitants resisted, at the corner of the Rue Sainte-Avoye and the Rue Simon-Le-Franc, where they destroyed the barricade with their own hands. At one point the insurgents yielded; they abandoned a barricade begun in the Rue de Temple after having fired on a detachment of the National Guard. In the centre was that famous house No. 50, which was the fortress of Jeanne and her six hundred companions, and which commanded three streets, the Rue des Arcis, Rue Saint-Martin and Rue Aubry-le-Boucher.

Without reckoning innumerable barricades in twenty other quarters of Paris, in the Marais, at Mont-Sains-Geneviève, Rue Ménilmontant and the Grande-Truanderie, fell back. The National Guardsmen tore up the flag, and carried off its tattered remains on the points of their bayonets. The barricades at right angles fell back, the one of the Rue Montorgueil on the Grande-Truanderie, the other of the Rue Geoffroy-Langevin on the Rue Sainte-Avoye.  At the barricade of the Rue des Ménétriers, a well-dressed man distributed money to the workmen. A man killed in the Rue du Ponceau who was searched had on his person a plan of Paris.

In less than three hours, like a train of powder catching fire, the insurgents had invaded and occupied, the Arsenal, the Mayoralty of the Place Royale, the whole of the Marais, la Galiote, the Château-d’Eau, and all the streets near the Halles. The man who witnessed the beginning of the French Revolution was an observer, a dreamer, who had gone to get a near view of this volcano, found himself in the passage between the two fires. The call to arms was beaten, the National Guard armed in haste, the legions emerged from the Mayoralities, the regiments from their barracks. In front of the Cour-Batave, a detachment of National Guards found a red flag bearing the following inscription: Republican revolution, No. 127. Two intrepid men, tried in great wars, the Marshal Lobau and General Bugeaud, were in command of the National Guards of the suburbs.

The insurgents, on their side, placed videttes at the corners of all open spaces, and audaciously sent their patrols outside the barricades. The Government, with an army in its hand, hesitated; the night was almost upon them.

At the time of the insurrection of 1839, in the Rue Saint-Martin a little, infirm old man, pushing a hand-cart, said: “There appears to be a squabble” or “in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine” when he heard the drum, the call to arms. The city of Voltaire and Napoleon felt something which was perhaps, perhaps, stronger than itself: it was afraid. Why did not he attack at once?  The man of Lyons, Lagrange, harangued valiantly at the Conciergerie. The Prefecture of Police was encumbered with arrests.

People barricaded themselves in their homes; wives and mothers were uneasy. From moment to moment, as the darkness descended, Paris seemed to take on a more mournful hue. At that moment when the insurrection, arising from the shock of the populace and the military in front of the Arsenal, started a movement in advance and towards the rear in the multitude which was following the hearse, there arose a frightful ebb. The rout was shaken, their ranks were broken, all ran, fled, made their escape, some with shouts of attack, others with the pallor of flight. Two minutes later, a flood of frightened bourgeois who were fleeing through the Rue Amelot and the Rue Basse encountered the lad brandishing his pistol and singing:—La nuit on ne voit rien, Le jour on voit très bien, D’un écrit apocryphile Le bourgeois s’ébouriffe, Tutu, chapeau pointu!

At that moment, a ragged child who was coming down through the Rue Ménilmontant, holding in his hand a branch of blossoming laburnum which he had just plucked on the heights of Belleville, caught sight of an old holster-pistol in the show-window of a bric-à-brac merchant’s shop. The man Gavroche had no suspicion of the fact that when he had offered the hospitality of his elephant to two brats on that villainously rainy night, it was to his own brothers that he had played the part of Providence. His brothers in the evening, his father in the morning, that is what his night had been like. The two children, picked up by some policeman and placed in the refuge, or stolen by some mountebank, did not return. He shouted: How fat those moneyed men are!

They’re drunk! They just wallow in good dinners. They don’t know what they do with their money. As much as their bellies will hold! At that moment, the horse of a lancer of the National Guard having fallen, he laid his pistol on the pavement, picked up the man and raised the horse.

It is said that the four corners of old age are decrepitude, decay, ruin, and sadness. In this open-air society, it is the rag-picker who salutes and the portress who patronizes. — Gavroche disdainfully contented himself, by way of reprisal, with elevating the tip of his nose with his thumb and opening his hand wide. The rag-picker cried:—”You malicious, bare-pawed little wretch!”. Patagon clapped her hands together in horror.

And all this is going to make tobacco dearer! He replied: “And I shall certainly go to see him beheaded on the guillotine.”

The Emperor Gavroche opened the paternal interior of the elephant to two little fellows. He was as neat as a new sou.” How fine that is! exclaimed the hair-dresser, in Pindaric accents, to die on the field of battle! On my word of honor, rather than die in bed, of an illness, slowly, a bit by bit each day, with drugs, cataplasms, syringes, medicines, I should prefer to receive a cannon-ball in my belly! CHAPTER IV—THE CHILD IS AMAZED AT THE OLD MAN Gavroche accosted them calmly:—”Where are we going?” Bahorel and Jean Prouvaire had found them and swelled the group.  Enjolras had a double-barrelled hunting-gun, Combeferre the gun of a National Guard bearing the number of his legion, and in his belt, two pistols which his unbuttoned coat allowed to be seen, Jean Prouvaire an old cavalry musket, Bahorel a rifle; Courfeyrac was brandishing an unsheathed sword-cane.  The Archbishop had warned against “fear of the red to horned cattle”. “The reds, the reds!” retorted the bourgeois, and he tore the charge from the nail. CHAPTER V—THE OLD MAN This conquered Gavroche.  From that instant Gavroche set himself to study Bahorel. “Each one in his own fashion, Enjolras,” retorted Bahorel.  Gavroche caught sight of him:—”Keksekça?” said he to Courfeyrac. Enjolras Courfeyrac and his friends were among those who had taken to the Rue Bassompierre, shouting: “To the barricades”. They had met an old man walking in a zig-zag, as though he were intoxicated, with his hat in his hand. Father Mabeuf accosted him, saying: “We are going to fling the government to the earth, that is good”. Little Gavroche marched in front with that deafening song which made of him a sort of trumpet. He sang:”Pour avoir bu de grand matin La rosée à même le thym, Deux moineaux étaient en ribotte”. “What a fierce old fellow!” muttered the students. The mob had turned in through the Rue de la Verrerie. They directed their course towards Saint-Merry. He advanced nearly to the front rank of the column, with the movement of a man who is marching and the countenance of a man who is sleeping.

Gavroche Courfeyrac, Enjolras, and Combeferre joined a man of lofty stature, whose bold and daring mien was remarked by the band, but whom none of them knew. The band augmented every moment, singing, whistling, humming, running on ahead and pounding on the shutters of the shops with the butt of his triggerless pistol; paid no attention to this man. It chanced that in the Rue de la Verrerie, they passed in front of Courfeirac’s door, and the portress hailed him:. “There is some one who wants to speak with you.” “In my lodge!”. It was there that lay the Rue de la Chanvrerie, which ancient deeds spell Chanverrerie, and the celebrated public-house called Corinthe.

It was only a quarter of an hour after this that he saw the young man, who had actually followed them. The Parisians who nowadays on entering on the Rue Rambuteau at the end near the Halles, notice on their right, opposite the Rue Mondétour, a basket-maker’s shop having for its sign a basket in the form of Napoleon the Great with this inscription:—NAPOLEON IS MADE WHOLLY OF WILLOW,have no suspicion of the terrible scenes which this very spot witnessed hardly thirty years ago. The old Rue Mondetour cut the three strokes of the N at the most crooked angles to form the embouchure of the Rue Rambuteau. The name of the neighbourhood paints marvellously well the sinuosities of that set of streets. The street was narrow and the gutter broad, the pedestrian there walked on a pavement that was always wet, skirting little stalls resembling cellars, big posts encircled with iron hoops, excessive heaps of refuse, and gates armed with enormous, century-old gratings.

A little further on, they are found still better expressed by the Rue Pirouette, which ran into the Rue Mondétour. The passer-by who got entangled from the Rue Saint-Denis in the Rue de la Chanvrerie beheld it gradually close in before him as though he had entered an elongated funnel.  At the end of this street, which was very short, he finds further passage barred in the direction of the Halles by a tall row of houses. He would have thought himself in a blind alley, had he not perceived on the right and left two dark cuts through which he could make his escape. The ellipsis is the zig-zag of the phrase.

Nothing is more natural to drunken men than ellipses. This was the Rue Mondétour, which on one side ran into the Rue de Prêcheurs, and on the other into the Rue du Cygne and the Petite-Truanderie.   — The Mondétour labyrinth was disembowelled and widely opened in 1847. Father Hucheloup, that amiable man, was a wine-shop-keeper with a moustache. With him disappeared the secret of stuffed carps.

As we have already said, Corinthe was the meeting-place if not the rallying-point, of Courfeyrac and his friends.   Et qu’un beau jour son nez ne tombe dans sa bouche. Before entering the restaurant room, the visitor read on the door the following line written there in chalk by Courfeyrac:—Régale si tu peux et mange si tu l’oses. Mame Hucheloup, a good likeness, went and came from morning till night before this quatrain with the most perfect tranquillity.   “Especially in the mouth of a man whose head is stuffed up,” said Grantaire.

Grantaire: “How plainly it is to be seen that in former days there were nothing but convents here!”. Joly: “They were all around here, they fairly swarmed, booted and barefooted, shaven, bearded, gray, black, white, Franciscans, Minims, Capuchins, Carmelites, Little Augustines, old Augustines—there was no end of them”. Grantaire continued: “Don’t let’s talk of monks, it makes one want to scratch one’s self.” And then he exclaimed: Bouh! I’ve just swallowed a bad oyster. Now hypochondria is taking possession of me again.

I hate the human race! When a young woman was virtuous in an attic, she adjusted little brass rings in the eyelet-holes of corsets, what do you call it? She sewed, she had a camp bed, she dwelt beside a pot of flowers, she was contented. Now here she is a bankeress, and her financier did not show in her face. There is no more modesty in the one case than in the other.

So we believe in nothing. There is but one reality: drink, said the man who drank and went on, of which no one, not even himself, had taken any notice. The ordinary troupe suffices neither for event nor for men: among men geniuses are required, among events revolutions. When I see so much distress in heaven and on earth, from the bird who has not a grain of millet to myself without a hundred thousand livres of income, I suspect that God is not rich. The appearance exists, it is true, but I feel that he is hard up.

He gives a revolution as a tradesman whose money-box is empty gives a ball. That is why I am discontented. This is a man who was not intended to be a Parisian, that is to say, to rebound forever, like a shuttlecock between two battledores. The universe is what it is. I speak here without evil intent and to ease my conscience.

Besides, Laigle de Meaux, that bald-head, offends my sight. Grantaire: The earth is a great piece of stupidity, and it appears that they are going to fight, all those imbeciles, and to break each other’s profiles and to massacre each other in the heart of summer, in the month of June, when they might go off with a creature on their arm, to breathe the immense heaps of new-mown hay in the meadows. Oh! frightful old world. People strive, turn each other out, prostitute themselves, kill each other, and get used to it.

Grantaire, after this fit of eloquence, had a fit of coughing, which was well earned. An old broken lantern which I have just seen at a bric-à-brac merchant’s suggests a reflection to my mind; it is time to enlighten the human race.

Marius is a fog, and he must have found a vapor. Marius is of the race of poets. He who says poet, says fool, madman, Tymbraeus Apollo. They must make a queer pair of lovers, said Gavroche de Grantaire.  “Shall we go?” ejaculated Bossuet.

Grantaire was a daring drinker of dreams. The blackness of a terrible fit of drunkenness yawning before him, far from arresting him, attracted him. Wine enjoys only a conventional popularity with serious drinkers. There is, in fact, in the matter of inebriety, white magic and black magic; wine is only white magic. Grantaire added to the eccentric accentuation of words and ideas, a peculiarity of gesture; he hurled solemn words at the big maid-servant Matelote: Let every one be a member of the French Academy and have the doors of the palace thrown open!

Grantaire added to the eccentric accentuation of words and ideas, a peculiarity of gesture; he rested his left fist on his knee with dignity, his arm forming a right angle, and, with cravat untied, seated astride a stool, his full glass in his right hand, he hurled solemn words at the big maid-servant Matelote:—”Let the doors of the palace be thrown open!  Bossuet: Matelote and Gibelotte, dod’t gib Grantaire anything more to drink. He has already devoured, since this bording, in wild prodigality, two francs and ninety-five centibes. Gavroche Courfeyrac: Well, here! This is a good place! Make it here! Corinthe created an obstacle, the Rue Mondétour was easily barricaded on the right and the left, no attack was possible except from the Rue Saint-Denis, that is to say, in front, and in full sight.   — In the meantime, in the space of a few minutes, twenty iron bars had been wrenched from the grated front of the wine-shop, ten fathoms of street had been unpaved; Gavroche and Bahorel had seized in its passage, and overturned, the dray of a lime-dealer named Anceau; this dray contained three barrels of lime, which they placed beneath the piles of paving-stones:  Bossuet had gone down to meet Courfeyrac. Ah my God!” sighed Mame Hucheloup. Mame Hucheloup, quite upset, had taken refuge in the first floor of the Rue Mondétour. The horses were unharnessed and went off at their will, through the streets of Paris. He besought Love to give it life, and this produced Matelote.  Grantaire: Mother Hucheloup has chromate-of-lead-colored hair, like Titian’s mistress.

Comrades, we shall overthrow the government as true as there are fifteen intermediary acids between margaric acid and formic acid; that is a matter of perfect indifference to me. I understand only love and liberty. Enjolras, as the reader knows, had something of the Spartan and of the Puritan in his composition. He would have perished at Thermopylae with Leonidas, and burned at Drogheda with Cromwell. Courfeyrac shouted: “This is the place for enthusiasm, not for drunkenness!”.

Enjolras, Combeferre, and Courfeyrac directed everything. They smashed the only street lantern in the Rue de la Chanvrerie. Rue Mondétour, du Cygne, des Prêcheurs, de la Grande and de la Petite-Truanderie were all closed off. The father asked: “On which cheek did you receive the blow?”  One man was shouting: “Let us exterminate them to the last man and die at the point of our bayonet”. Another spread out over his coat the cross-belt and cartridge-box of a National Guardsman.

In the billiard-hall, Mame Hucheloup, Matelote, and Gibelotte, variously modified by terror, had stupefied one, rendered another breathless. Gavroche Courfeyrac, Combeferre, and Enjolras had observed the man of lofty stature working on the smaller barricade at the corner of the Rue des Billettes. The man was a whirlwind; he was constantly visible, he was incessantly audible, he filled the air, as he was everywhere at once. He went, came, mounted, descended, re-mounted, whistled, and sparkled. The enormous barricade felt him on its haunches, he excited the idle, he reanimated the weary, he inspired gayety in some and wrath in others.  He went from one to another, demanding: “A gun, I want a gun!  “Greenhorn!” said Gavroche. An aperture large enough to allow a man to pass through had been made between the wall of the houses and the extremity of the barricade which was furthest from the wine-shop. Enjolras and Courfeyrac had not thought fit to barricade the other fragment of the Rue Mondétour which opens through the Rue des Prêcheurs. The barricade of the Rue de la Chanvrerie was laid out by a man named Courfeyrac, and covered an interval of twenty paces between the grand barrier and the lofty houses which formed the background of the street. The very bourgeois who still ventured at this hour of riot to enter the Rue Saint-Denis cast a glance at the barricade, and redoubled their pace. When the mob saw the cartridges, a tremor ran through the bravest, and a momentary silence ensued. Many had powder, and set about making others with the bullets which they had run.

They loaded the guns and carbines, all together, without haste, with solemn gravity, and stationed three sentinels outside the barricades. For hours they waited, alone in those redoubtable streets through which no one passed, surrounded by those dumb houses which seemed dead and in which no human movement palpitated. These:—Vous rappelez-vous notre douce vie,  While the men made bullets and the women lint, while a large saucepan of melted brass and lead, destined to the bullet-mould smoked over a glowing brazier, while the sentinels watched, weapon in hand, on the barricade, while Enjolras, whom it was impossible to divert, kept an eye on the sentinels, Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Jean Prouvaire, Feuilly, Bossuet, Joly, Bahorel, and some others, sought each other out and united as in the most peaceful days of their conversations in their student life, and, in one corner of this wine-shop which had been converted into a casement, a couple of paces distant from the redoubt which they had built, with their carbines loaded and primed resting against the backs of their chairs, these fine young fellows, so close to a supreme hour, began to recite love verses. Je les entendais dire: Est elle belle! Comme elle sent bon!

Quels cheveux à flots, quand je vous menais au Prado dîner, Vous étiez jolie avec toi, pressant ton bras souple. Pour manger gaîment un cent de marrons.   The man was attacked by impatience which seizes on strong souls on the threshold of redoubtees events. He went in search of Gavroche, who had set to making cartridges in the tap-room, by the dubious light of two candles placed on the counter by way of precaution, on account of the powder which was scattered on the tables.  Enjolras felt attacked by that impatience which seizes on strong souls on the threshold of redoubtable events.

When Gavroche Enjolras saw the man of the Rue des Billettes, he was astounded. His whole being was at work, the instinct which scents out, and the intelligence which combines. When Gavroche Enjolras Javert met the man of the Rue des Billettes, he said: Do you see that big fellow there? He’s a police spy! The four men, four porters with broad shoulders, went and placed themselves without doing anything to attract his attention.

Gavroche Courfeyrac, Bossuet, Joly, Combeferre and the men scattered over the two barricades came running up. They seized the watch of Inspector Javert, bound him to the post in the middle of the room which had formerly given the wine-shop its name. Under the watch, at the bottom of his fob, they felt and seized a paper in an envelope, which Enjolras unfolded, which he read from the very hand of the Prefect of Police: “As soon as his political mission is accomplished, inspector Javert will make sure, by special supervision, whether it is true that the malefactors have instituted intrigues on the right bank of the Seine, near the Jena bridge.” The man who caught the cat-catching incident was so rapidly executed that it was all over when those about the wine shop noticed it. The tragic picture which we have undertaken would not be complete, the reader would not see those grand moments of social birth-pangs in a revolutionary birth, which contain convulsion mingled with effort, in their exact and real relief, were we to omit, in the sketch here outlined, an incident full of epic and savage horror which occurred almost immediately after Gavroche’s departure.  This man, whose name or nickname was Le Cabuc, and who was, moreover, an utter stranger to those who pretended to know him, was very drunk, or assumed the appearance of being so, and had seated himself with several others at a table which they had dragged outside of the wine-shop.

Among the passers-by who had joined the rabble led by Enjolras, Combeferre, and Courfeyrac, there had been a person wearing the jacket of a street porter, which was very threadbare on the shoulders, who gesticulated and vociferated, and who had the look of a drunken savage.   “No, gentlemen.” He bent the man like a reed and brought him to his knees in the mire. The whole barricade hastened up, then all ranged themselves in a circle at a distance, feeling it impossible to utter a word. Enjolras held a pistol in his hand.

Then he spurned the corpse with his foot and said:—”Throw that outside.” Enjolras was thoughtful.  Three men raised the body of the unhappy wretch, which was still agitated by the last mechanical convulsions of the life that had fled, and flung it over the little barricade into the Rue Mondétour. Enjolras: In executing this man, I have obeyed necessity; but necessity is a monster of the old world, necessity’s name is Fatality. Now, the law of progress is, that monsters shall disappear before the angels, and that Fatality shall vanish before Fraternity. Jean Prouvaire and Combeferre pressed each other’s hands silently, and, leaning against each other in an angle of the barricade, they watched with some compassion, that grave young man, executioner and priest.

Marius entered the Rue Saint-Honoré through the Passage Delorme. Courfeyrac beheld on the barricade of the Rue de la Chanvrerie, the man who had inquired of him that morning for Marius. The whole insurgent group was still under the influence of the emotion of that tragic case which had been so quickly tried and so quickly terminated. As the man left the Palais-Royal, Marius followed the Rue Saint-Honoré to the Rue du Roule and the Rue de Béthisy. There was no longer a single window in which a candle was burning; only the solitary and diminishing rows of lanterns could be seen.

Entering a street was like entering a cellar; his foot recognized pools of water, gullies and paving-stones scattered and piled up. Was it a man?  A being who could have hovered over Paris that night with the wing of the bat or the owl would have had beneath his eyes a gloomy spectacle. Thanks to the broken lanterns, thanks to the closed windows, there all radiance, all life, all sound, all movement ceased. The necessary tactics of insurrection are to drown small numbers in a vast obscurity, to multiply every combatant by the possibilities which that obscurity contains.

All around this deserted and disquieting labyrinth, in the quarters where the Parisian circulation had not been annihilated, the aerial observer might have distinguished the metallic gleam of swords and bayonets, the dull rumble of artillery, and the swarming of silent battalions. The invested quarter was no longer anything more than a monstrous cavern; everything there appeared to be asleep or motionless, and, as we have just seen, any street which one might come to offer nothing but darkness. As it often happens, nature seemed to have fallen into accord with what men were about to do. Here only one sound was audible, a sound as heart-rending as the death rattle, as menacing as a malediction, the tocsin of Saint-Merry. It was indispensable that all should be ended on the following day, that triumph should rest either here or there, that the insurrection should prove itself a revolution or a skirmish.

Then the unhappy young man seated himself on a post, folded his arms, and fell to thinking about his father. In this manner he reached the elbow of that short section of the Rue Mondétour which was, as the reader will remember, the only communication which Enjolras had preserved with the outside world.  He beheld civil war laid open like a gulf before him, and into this he was about to fall. He thought of Colonel Pontmercy, who guarded the frontier of France under the Republic. He said to himself that his day had also come now, that his hour had struck, that following his father, he too was about to show himself brave, intrepid, bold, to run to meet the bullets, to offer his breast to bayonets, to shed his blood, to seek the enemy, to seek death, that he was about to wage war in his turn and descend to the field of battle, and that the field of battle upon which he was to descend was the street, and that the war in which he was about to engage was civil war!

He thought of his father’s sword, which his grandfather had given to a second-hand dealer as a presentiment of this rebellion. He told himself that it was fortunate that it was not there and that it had disappeared, that that was well, that that was just, that his grandfather had been the true guardian of his father’s glory, and that it was far better that the colonel’s sword should be sold at auction, sold to the old-clothes man, thrown among the old junk, than that it should, to-day, wound the side of his country. This was horrible. But what was he to do? Live without Cosette he could not.

Had he not given her his word of honor that he would die? She had gone knowing that; this meant that it pleased her Marius should die. Inquisition is no longer one of sacred territory, but of a holy idea. The country wails, that may be, but humanity applauds. There is no such thing as foreign or civil war; there is only just and unjust war.

Outside the pale of that holy thing, justice, by what right does one form of man despise another? Leonidas against the stranger, Timoleon against the tyrant, which is the greater? Men must be stirred up, pushed on, treated roughly by the very benefit of their deliverance, their eyes must be wounded by the true, light must be hurled at them in terrible handfuls. Great combatants must rise, must enlighten nations with audacity, and shake up that sad humanity covered with gloom. When the master falls in France, he falls everywhere.

There is a divine right in Louis XVI., there is because a Bourbon in Louis Philippe. Principles are not to be parcelled out, the logic of the true is rectilinear. All encroachments on man should be repressed.

The man killed by Le Cabuc has a strange aptitude for reasoning almost coldly in the most violent extremities. One would have said that the man who was dead was surveying the men about to die. Enjolras and Combeferre had gone and seated themselves, carbines in hand, near the outlet of the grand barricade.  Forty-three insurgents, among them Enjolras, Combeferre, Courfeyrac, Bossuet, Joly, Bahorel, and Gavroche, were kneeling inside the large barricade, with their heads on a level with the crest of the barrier. Two sentinels from the end of the street had fallen back, and the vidette of the Lane des Prêcheurs had remained at his post, which indicated that nothing was approaching from the bridges and Halles.

Each man had taken up his position for the conflict.  Enjolras replied in a haughty and vibrating tone:—”The French Revolution!” Not a man answered when Courfeyrac Enjolras asked: “Who will plant the flag on the barricade again?”. Father Mabeuf became motionless and his eyes no longer had the appearance of being alive. The clatter of the ramrods in the guns could be heard; the troops were re-loading their arms. When Enjolras was attacked, a man appeared on the threshold of the wine-shop where Javert was bound to the post.

At the moment of the attack, at the detonation, the physical shock had reached him and awakened him; he started up abruptly, crossed the room, and at the instant of the appeal: “Does no one volunteer?”. The old man of eighty, with shaking head but firm foot, began slowly to ascend the staircase of paving-stones arranged in the barricade. This was so melancholy and so grand that all around him cried: “Off with your hats!”. Equality! and Death!

The old man fell on his knees, dropped the flag and fell backwards on the pavement, like a log, at full length, with outstretched arms. His aged head, pale and sad, seemed to be gazing at the sky; his eyes lighted up with the mournful flame of aberration. Courfeyrac bent down to Enjolras’ ear:—”This is for yourself alone, I do not wish to dampen the enthusiasm.  Courfeyrac Enjolras, Jean Prouvaire, Combeferre, Joly, Bahorel, Bossuet, and all the rest ran tumultuously from the wine-shop. They threw a long black shawl of Widow Hucheloup’s over Father Mabeuf. Six men made a litter of their guns; on this they laid the body, with bared heads, with solemn slowness, to the large table in the tap-room. When the corpse passed near Javert, who was still impassive, he said to the spy:—”It will be your turn presently!”. All at once he shouted:—”Look out!” Marius, still concealed in the turn of the Rue Mondétour, had witnessed the first phase of the combat. With his first shot he saved Gavroche, and with the second delivered Courfeyrac. The man who killed Mabeuf was able to resist that mysterious vertigo which may be designated as the call of the abyss. The shot sped, traversed the hand and possibly, also, the workman, since he fell, but the ball did not strike Marius. All this, which was rather to be apprehended than seen through the smoke, Marius hardly noticed. But he had, in a confused way, perceived that gun-barrel aimed at him, and the hand which blocked it, and he had heard the discharge. But in moments like this, the things which one sees vacillate and are precipitated, and one pauses for nothing.  “Fire!” replied Enjolras. The most determined, with Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Jean Prouvaire, and Combeferre, had proudly placed themselves with their backs against the houses at the rear, unsheltered and facing the ranks of soldiers and guards who crowned the barricade. The National Guards, Municipal Guards, officers and soldiers, huddled at the other extremity of the barrier, gazed stupidly at him as he stood with his foot on the stones, his torch in his hand, drooping the flame of the torch towards that redoubtable pile of powder where they could make out the broken barrel of powder. “If it had not been for you, I should have been gobbled up!” said Bossuet. Courfeyrac flung himself on his neck. “You are he!” said Enjolras. CHAPTER V—END OF THE VERSES OF JEAN PROUVAIRE Marius had had a furnace in his brain all day long; now it was a whirlwind which was within him, produced on him the effect of being outside of him and of bearing him away. His two luminous months of joy and love, ending abruptly at that frightful precipice, Cosette lost to him, that barricade, M. Mabeuf getting himself killed for the Republic, himself the leader of the insurgents, all these things appeared to him like a tremendous nightmare. The insurgents had thrown tables out of the shop and barricade, and replaced them with mattresses from the bed of the widow Hucheloup and her servants. Manly voice shouted: Vive la France! Long live France! at the end of the street. Combeferre said to Enjolras:—”They have our friend; we have their agent.  Jean Prouvaire.

It was deserted and guarded only by a fire-pot which trembled between the paving-stones. “Monsieur Marius!” Moreover, the Mondétour alley, and the branches of the Rue de la Petite Truanderie and the Rue du Cygne were profoundly calm.

 Poor child, if that is all, it is nothing, let me carry you to a room and treat you there! — “Do you know what, Monsieur Marius?  Monsieur Marius: When I saw them taking aim at you, I put my hand on the muzzle of the gun. How queer it is! But it was because I wanted to die before you! How happy I am! Every one is going to die! Monsieur Marius met Éponine Thénardier as he was meditating in the most bitter and sorrowful depths of his heart. don’t go away, Marius, it will not be long now! He replied: “Promise to give me a kiss on my brow when I am dead—I shall feel it.” The heart of man is so constituted that the unhappy child had hardly closed her eyes when Marius began to think of unfolding this paper. It was not without a tremor that he had taken the letter which Éponine had given him. The address was in a woman’s hand and ran:. Monsieur, Monsieur Marius Pontmercy, at Courfeyrac’s, Rue de la Verrerie, No. 16. It was she who had conveyed to Jean Valjean in the Champ de Mars the expressive warning: “Leave your house.”  We shall be this evening in the Rue de l’Homme Armé, No. 7.  But how was she to get the letter to the post? Toussaint, surprised at such a commission, would certainly show it to M. Fauchelevent? She caught sight through the fence of Éponine in man’s clothes, who now prowled incessantly around the garden. The next day, on the 5th of June, she went to the Rue Plumet to inquire for Marius, not for the purpose of delivering the letter, but to see what she wanted to see. When Courfeyrac had told her: “We are going to the barricades,” an idea flashed through her mind, to fling herself into that death, as she would have done into any other, and to thrust Marius into it also.  He wrote on it: Our marriage was impossible; I asked my grandfather, he refused; I have no fortune, neither hast thou. Nothing is changed in our fates. “Good God!  “Well, but!” he said, “the barricade will be attacked until daybreak, according to all appearances, and will not be taken before to-day noon.” Man is a depth still greater than the people.  Jean Valjean at that very moment was the prey of a terrible upheaval.  For the first time since they had lived side by side, Cosette’s will and the will of Jean Valjean had proved to be distinct, and had been in opposition, at least, if they had not clashed.

Both had arrived in the Rue de l’Homme Armé without opening their lips, and without uttering a word, each being absorbed in his own personal preoccupation. The abrupt advice: “Leave your house,” hurled at Jean Valjean by a stranger, had alarmed him to the extent of rendering him peremptory. Cosette had not quitted the Rue Plumet without making an effort at resistance. When Jean Valjean reached the Rue de l’Homme Armé his anxiety was lightened and by degrees dissipated. The man experienced an indescribable contagion of tranquillity in that alley of ancient Paris, which is so narrow that it is barred against carriages by a transverse beam placed on two posts.

Jean Valjean had eaten a wing of the chicken with a good appetite, and with his elbows on the table, had regained possession of his sense of security. While he was discussing this modest dinner, he had, twice or thrice, noticed in a confused way, Toussaint’s stammering words: “Monsieur, there is something going on, they are fighting in Paris.” In this peaceful street where he had taken refuge, Jean Valjean got rid of all that had been troubling him for some time past. To have quitted the Rue Plumet without complications or incidents was one good step already accomplished. He arranged in his own mind, with all sorts of felicitous devices, his departure for England with Cosette, and he beheld his felicity reconstituted wherever he pleased, in the perspective of his reverie. What difference did it make to him whether he was in France or in England, provided he had Cosette beside him?

What difference did it make to him whether he was in France or in England, provided he had Cosette beside him?  He saw the four lines which follow:—My dearest, alas! my father insists on our setting out immediately. In a week we shall be in England. We shall be this evening in the Rue de la Armé, No. 7. In the inclined mirror facing him which surmounted the sideboard, he saw the four lines which follow:—”My dearest, alas! my father insists on our setting out immediately.  Jean Valjean stepped up to the mirror.  We shall be this evening in the Rue de l’Homme Armé, No. 7.

When Jean Valjean’s eyes fell upon the mirror again, and again he beheld the four lines outlined with inexorable clearness, this time it was no mirage. The recurrence of a vision is a reality; it was palpable, it was the writing restored in the mirror. He heard his soul, which had become terrible once more, give vent to a dull roar in the gloom. He dropped the blotter, and fell into the old armchair beside the buffet, with drooping head, and glassy eyes, in utter bewilderment. At that very moment, Marius had not yet received Cosette’s letter, but chance had treacherously carried it to him before delivering it to the man he loved.

Poor old Jean Valjean certainly did not love Cosette otherwise than as a father; but we have already remarked, above, that into this paternity the widowhood of his life had introduced all the shades of love. He loved Cosette as his daughter, and he loved her as his sister; and, as he had never had either a woman to love or a wife, as nature is a creditor who accepts no protest, that sentiment also, the most impossible to lose, was mingled with the rest. In short, and we have insisted on it more than once, all this interior fusion – of which the sum total was a lofty virtue – ended in rendering Jean Valjean a father to Cosette. Alas! the supreme trial, let us say rather, the only trial, is the loss of the beloved being.

No marriage was possible between them; not even that of souls; yet, it is certain that their destinies were wedded. He felt, even in the very roots of his hair, the immense reawakening of egotism, and the I in this man’s abyss howled. Grief, when it attains this shape, is a headlong flight of all the forces of the conscience. He measured the terrible step which his destiny had taken without his having a suspicion of the fact; he recalled his fears of the preceding summer, so foolishly dissipated; he recognized the precipice, it was still the same; only, Jean Valjean was no longer on the brink, he was at the bottom of it. His instinct did not hesitate; he put together certain circumstances, certain dates, certain blushes and certain pallors on Cosette’s part, and he said to himself: “It is he!”.

He then looked into his own breast and there beheld a spectre, Hate. The divination of despair is a sort of mysterious bow which never misses its aim. He did not know the name, but he found the man instantly.  Jean Valjean rose and asked her:—”In what quarter is it?  He struck Marius with his first conjecture.  Jean Valjean, five minutes later, found himself in the street. He sat on the stone post at the door of his house, bareheaded and motionless as a form of ice. The clock of Saint-Paul struck 11: for the tocsin is man; the hour is God. At about that moment, a brusque report burst forth in the direction of the Halles, a second yet more violent followed, and it was probably that attack on the barricade in the Rue de la Chanvrerie which we saw repulsed by Marius.  “Poor creature,” he said in a low tone, and speaking to himself, “he is hungry.” Jean Valjean stepped up to Gavroche. You can’t bribe me. That has got five claws; but it doesn’t scratch me! Moreover, he had just noticed that the man who was addressing him had no hat, and this inspired him with confidence. “Of course,” said Jean Valjean. Gavroche was touched.  “Cosette,” muttered Gavroche.  Gavroche: Don’t go and fancy it’s a love letter, but it’s for the people. We are not as they are in fine society, where there are lions who send chickens55 to camels. Jean Valjean: “After all, you have the air of an honest man.” What’s-your-name, for Mamselle Cosette is waiting.” Jean Valjean went into the house with Marius’ letter. When thou readest this, my soul will be near thee.

He groped his way up the stairs and plunged three or four matches into the bottle of the Fumade lighter before he could evoke a spark. In Marius’ note to Cosette, Jean Valjean saw only these words:—”I die.  Gavroche had an adventure of his own in the Rue des Vieilles-Haudriettes. The man who discharges two shots between eleven o’clock and midnight will not be attacked until daybreak, but that makes no difference. Jean Valjean felt himself delivered.  So he was about to find himself alone with Cosette once more.  Gavroche, as he sang, was lavish of his pantomime. Gesture is the strong point of the refrain. The man’s face, an inexhaustible repertory of masks, produced grimaces more convulsing than the rents of a cloth torn in a high gale. “How bully that cart would look on our barricade,” said Gavroche, as he tugged at the Auvergnat from behind, “and at the front, that is to say, by the feet, and at the expiration of another minute the man’s cart was reposing flat on the pavement.” The sergeant of the banlieue lent an ear. He was a prudent man. He waited until the mad rattle of the cart filled to overflowing the possible measure of waiting, and decided the sergeant to make a reconnaisance. Blind-man’s-buff musketry lasted for a quarter of an hour and killed several panes of glass. The sergeant, struck full in the stomach, tumbled over backwards into the gutter while his gun went off in the air. Gavroche retorted: “Perhaps you were a man of wit yesterday, but you have degenerated this morning”.  And as he ran:—”Ah, by the way, where was I?” said he. Gavroche’s adventure, which has lingered as a tradition in the quarters of the Temple, is one of the most terrible souvenirs of the elderly bourgeois of the Marais, and is entitled in their memories: “The nocturnal attack by the post of the Royal Printing Establishment.”

Summary of LES MISÉRABLES Volume-5

It was of this rabble that Saint Jerome was thinking, no doubt, and of all these poor people and all these vagabonds and all these miserable people whence sprang the apostles and the martyrs, when he uttered this mysterious saying: “Fex urbis, lex orbis,”—the dregs of the city, the law of the earth. Titlepage Volume Five  The man of probity sacrifices himself, and out of his very love for this crowd, he combats it. June, 1848, let us hasten to say, was an exceptional fact, and almost impossible of classification, in the philosophy of history. All the words which we have just uttered, must be discarded, when it becomes a question of this extraordinary revolt.  Sisyphus had thrown his rock there and Job his potsherd.

He said: The whole army of Paris is to strike. There is nothing to expect; nothing to hope for. Neither from a faubourg nor from a regiment. You are abandoned. He listened for a moment to all this joy with folded arms, and one hand on his mouth.

Enjolras reappeared.  Enjolras, the man-principle of the French Revolution, declared that if the people abandoned the republicans, “the republicans do not abandon the people”. His words were hailed with an enthusiastic acclamation; no one ever has known the name of the man who said them. Enjolras, without making any reply, touched Combeferre’s shoulder, and the two entered the tap-room. They emerged a moment later with the four uniforms which he had laid aside.

“With this uniform, you can mingle with the ranks and escape; here is enough for four,” said the man of the barricade. When one supports one’s relatives by one’s toil, one has not the right to sacrifice one’s self. That is deserting one’s family. And those who have daughters! what are you thinking of?

You get yourselves killed, you are dead, that is well. Young girls without bread—that is a terrible thing. Man begs, woman sells. Let us see, those who have families must be tractable, and leave us here alone to attend to this affair. I know well that courage is required to leave, that it is hard; but the harder it is, the more meritorious.

Statistics show that the mortality among abandoned children is fifty-five per cent. You are not alone in this world. There are other beings of whom you must think. You must not be egoists, said Enjolais Marius. He was “an egoist.” “Enjolras and Combeferre are right,” said he; “no unnecessary sacrifice.  The revolutionary barricades were assembling points for heroism; these men did not astonish each other, they denounced each other. It is true, said one young man to a full grown man, you are the father of a family. You have two sisters whom you maintain, retorted another. “I order it,” cried Enjolras. “I entreat you,” said Marius. Bossuet: “Who is this man?”. Marius: “A man who saves others,” replied Combeferre. The moment was too grave to admit of the sentinel abandoning his post of observation. Enjolras turned to Jean Valjean. Enjolras was a man of the French Revolution, but he was incomplete, so far as the absolute can be so; he had too much of Saint-Just about him, and not enough of Anacharsis Cloots. As far as violent means were concerned, a violent situation being given, he wished to be violent. He was of that epic and redoubtable school which is summed up in the words: “Eighty-three”. When man has harnessed to his will the triple Chimaera of antiquity, the hydra, the dragon and the griffin, he will be the master of water, fire, and of air. He will be for the rest of animated creation that which the ancient gods formerly were to him.

Enjolras Marius Fauchelevent was under the shadow of the great, dark wings which are spread over those in the death agony. He felt that he had entered the tomb, it seemed to him that he was already on the other side of the wall, and he no longer beheld the faces of the living except with the eyes of one dead. He had always felt the absolute impossibility of addressing that enigmatical man, who was, in his eyes, both equivocal and imposing. The five chosen men left the barricade by way of Mondétour lane; they bore a perfect resemblance to members of the National Guard. When the five men sent back to life had taken their departure, Enjolaq thought of the man who had been condemned to death, and entered the tap-room.

Enjolras Jean Valjean: “Bind me as you please, but you surely might lay me out on a table like that other man”. He points to the body of M. Mabeuf, and says: “And with a motion of the head, he indicated the dead man’s body”. Four insurgents unbound Javert from the post, and a fifth held a bayonet against his breast. They laid him down, closely bound about the middle of the body.

Enjolras Rues du Cygne and de la Petite Truanderie, to the right on the Rue Mondétour, were hemmed in by a barricade. — As soon as Enjolras had seized his double-barrelled rifle, and had placed himself in an embrasure which he had reserved for himself, all the rest held their peace. A barricade before the arrival of danger is chaos; in danger, it is discipline itself. Left-handed men are precious; they take the places that are inconvenient to the rest. Each man selects his place as though at the theatre.

They could see the smoke of the burning lint-stock; they could hear the clashing of chains, the jolting of a mass, the click of brass skipping along the pavement. Not one of them had been struck. “Fire!” shouted Enjolras. “It is a piece of eight, new model, brass,” said bossuet; “those pieces are liable to burst as soon as the proportion of ten parts of tin to one hundred of brass is exceeded”. The artillery-men tried to fix the defect by encircling the piece on the outside with bands of unwelded steel bands, from the breech to the trunnions.

“Present!” shouted a joyous voice. “Reload your guns,” said Enjolras. Gavroche produced a greater sensation in the barricade than the cannon-ball. At the most there was an omnibus wheel broken, and the old Anceau cart was demolished. He asked: “Do you know that man?”.

Gavroche had, in fact, as we have just mentioned, seen Jean Valjean only at night. And he stared at Marius intently with his epic effrontery.  Courfeyrac: “I authorize you to hit ’em a tremendous whack” with a grape-shot. Enjolras: “Down with your heads, hug the wall, all on your knees along the barricade!”. Courfeirac had it returned to him.

Courfeyrac had it returned to him. Enjolras took aim at the captain of the artillery, who was bearing down on the breach of his gun. The man fell with his side on the gun, and lay there motionless; he was dead. A woman had placed her mattress in front of a six-storey attic window and it fell into the street. Enjolras, who had just re-loaded his, handed it to him.

“Can some one lend me a double-barrelled rifle?” said Jean Valjean.  — “Citizen,” said Enjolras to Jean Valjean, “the Republic thanks you.” Some one, who was Marius, had appeared to her in the light.  Cosette felt that she could not live without Marius, and that, consequently, that was sufficient. She sprang out of bed and accomplished the two ablutions of soul and body, her prayers and her toilet. Marius absent three days, this was horrible on the part of the good God. Now, this cruel teasing from on high had been gone through with.

It is not fitting that all this should be narrated, and it is too much to have even called attention to it. The eye of man must be more religious in the presence of a young girl than in the rising of a star. The possibility of hurting should inspire an augmentation of respect. She looked out of every window and tried to descry some bit of the street, an angle of the house, an edge of pavement, so that she might be able to watch for Marius. But no view of the outside was to be had; the back court was surrounded by tolerably high walls, and the outlook was only on several gardens.

She decided to gaze at the sky, as though she thought that Marius might come from that quarter. All at once, she burst into tears. Musketry and grape-shot alternated, but without committing great ravages. Courfeyrac called the grape shot to order for the little effect which it produced, and said to the cannon: “We want some lint”. Enjolras had not fallen into this trap; the barricade did not reply.

Cosette, with her hair in the sunlight, her soul absorbed in chimaeras, illuminated by love within and by the dawn without, bent over mechanically, and almost without daring to avow to herself that she was thinking at the same time of Marius, began to gaze at these birds, at this family, at that male and female, that mother and her little ones, with the profound trouble which a nest produces on a virgin.  Bossuet: “He is a man who does good by gun-shots,” said Combeferre. “There’s an embarrassing watcher,” said Enjolras. Bossuet asked Jean Valjean. This one was an officer.

At critical moments, on “days” they took counsel less of their leaders than of their instincts. Civilization was represented at this epoch rather by an aggregation of interests than by a group of principles. People were for order in combination with lack of discipline. The anarchy mingled with governmentalism was the barbarous name of the correct party. The drum suddenly beat capricious calls, at the command of such or such a Colonel of the National Guard; such and such a captain went into action through inspiration; such and such National Guardsmen fought, “for an idea,” and on their own account.

Captain Fannicot, a bold and impatient bourgeois, could not resist the temptation to fire prematurely, and the ambition of capturing the barricade alone and unaided, that is to say, with his company. His company, the same which had shot Jean Prouvaire the poet, was the first of the battalion posted at the angle of the street. This courageous throng of National Guards, very brave men but lacking in military tenacity, was forced to fall back, after some hesitation, leaving fifteen corpses on the pavement. The man who commanded men as resolute as himself, “raging fellows,” as a witness said. Enjolras: “They are getting their own men killed and they are using up our ammunition for nothing”.

Fannicot was killed by the cannon, that is to say, by order. Insurrection and repression do not fight with equal weapons. An empty cartridge-box, a man killed, cannot be replaced. In front of the Porte Saint-Martin, a man armed with a rifle attacked a squadron of cavalry. In the Rue Saint-Denis, a woman fired on the National Guard from behind a lowered blind.

A child 14 years of age was arrested in the Rue de la Cossonerie, with his pockets full of cartridges. At the entrance to the Rue Bertin-Poirée, a regiment of cuirrassiers welcomed General Cavaignac de Barague. They delayed the attack on the barricades Maubuée, de la Chanvrerie and Saint-Merry until these sparks had been extinguished. In less than half an hour what was in the air vanished, it was a flash of lightning unaccompanied by thunder, and the insurgents felt leaden cope fall over them once more. “You are wearing out your lungs, poor, brutal, old fellow, you pain me, you are wasting your row.  CHAPTER XIV—WHEREIN WILL APPEAR THE NAME OF ENJOLRAS’ MISTRESSC When a man is as much in love as a tiger, the least that he can do is to fight like a lion. A man without a woman is a pistol without a trigger; it is the woman that sets the man off. The rest of us have mistresses, more or less, who make us crazy, that is to say, brave. I admire Enjolras, said Bossuet. The aim of this mode of firing was to drive the insurgents from the summit of the redoubt, and to compel them to gather close in the interior, that is to say, this announced the assault. “Another quarter of an hour of this success, and there will not be any cartridges left,” he said. “Things are going well now,” said Bossuet to Enjolras.  The object of this mode of firing was to drive the insurgents from the summit of the redoubt, and to compel them to gather close in the interior, that is to say, this announced the assault. He rifled the first seven or eight cartridge-boxes without much danger. On one body, that of a corporal, he found a powder-flask. He sprang to his feet and sang: Men are ugly at Nantersterre, ‘Tis the fault of Voltaire; And dull at Palaiseau, Rousseau’ – C’est la faute à Rousseau. He sprang to his feet, stood erect, with his hair flying in the wind, his hands on his hips, his eyes fixed on the National Guardsmen who were firing, and sang:”On est laid à Nanterre, C’est la faute à Voltaire; Et bête à Palaiseau, C’est la faute à Rousseau.” 

Gavroche, though shot at, was teasing the fusillade. To each discharge he retorted with a couplet. They aimed at him constantly, and always missed him. The National Guardsmen and the soldiers laughed as they took aim at him. He was not a man, he was a strange gamin-fairy.

The elder, who was already somewhat of a protector, was leading his brother with his left hand and in his right he carried a small stick. If the superintendents had caught sight of them, they would have driven such rags forth. The gardens and meadows, having water at their roots, and sun in their flowers, become perfuming-pans of incense, and smoke with all their odors at once. The springtime is a provisional paradise, the sun helps man to have patience. Aldebaran: There are beings who demand nothing further; mortals, who, having the azure of heaven, say: It is enough!

Dreamers of cosmos and radiantly forgetful of man, who do not understand how people can occupy themselves with the hunger of these and the thirst of those. Strange to say, the infinite suffices them. Their life lies in surrendering their personality in contemplation. The history of humanity is for them only a detailed plan.

Bossuet asked him.

 “They,” replied Enjolras. He said to Marius: “We are the two leaders.  These arrangements made, he turned to Javert and said:”I am not forgetting you.” Enjolras: “The last man to leave this room will smash the skull of this spy”. Jean Valjean: In the name of the Republic. The man is well pinioned. He shall be taken thither and put to death. Javert: “Do you think that I deserve a recompense?”. “Take care!” shouted Marius from the top of the barricade. When they had crossed this barrier, they found themselves alone in the lane. Javert began again:”Thou saidst Fauchelevent, Rue de l’Homme Armé?” Then he turned to Jean Valjean. Marius alone, stationed on one side, at the extreme left of the barricade, saw them pass.  Is this the man who told me that his name was Javert? Marius called to Enjolras, who had just stationed himself at the other extremity of the barricade:”Enjolras!” Jean Valjean followed him with his eyes:  If a people does not let itself go at random, then it abandons the insurrection to itself. The insurgents become noxious, infected with the plague. A house is an escarpment, a door is a refusal, a façade is a wall. Fear excuses this fearful lack of hospitality; terror is mixed with it, an extenuating circumstance. Progress is man’s mode of existence. The Utopia which grows impatient and becomes revolt knows what awaits it; it almost always comes too soon. It serves those who deny it without complaint, even excusing them, and its magnanimity consists in consenting to abandonment. Progress is indomitable in the face of obstacles and gentle towards ingratitude. Utopia quits its radiant sphere when it makes war. It borrows its mode of procedure, battle, from the lie of yesterday. It seems as though Utopia had no longer any faith in its own radiance. — It is impossible for us not to admire, whether they succeed or not, those the glorious combatants of the future, the confessors of Utopia. John Brown is greater than Washington, and Pisacane greater than Garibaldi. Even when they miscarry, they are worthy of veneration; and it is, perhaps, in failure, that they possess the most majesty. The French Revolution is an act of God, a man’s struggle for the grand work with the inflexible logic of the ideal. There are accepted revolutions, revolutions which are called revolutions; there are refused revolutions, which are riots. A priori, insurrection is repugnant to them, in the first place, because it often results in a catastrophe. An insurrection is an enthusiasm. But every insurrection, which aims at a government or a régime, aims higher. Paris without a king has as result the world without despots. That which they wished to overturn in overturning royalty in France was, as we have explained, the usurpation of man over man, and of privilege over right in the entire universe. The ideal is nothing but the culminating point of logic, the beautiful is the summit of the true. The torch of Europe was first borne by Greece, who passed it to Italy, who handed it on to France. A civilizing people should remain a manly people. Whoever becomes effeminate makes himself a bastard. In the matter of civilization, he must not refine, but he must sublime. A+B: The modern ideal has its type in art, and its means is science. Eden will be reconstructed by A+B. At the point which civilization has now reached, the exact is a necessary element of the splendid, and the artistic sentiment is not only served, but completed by the scientific organ; dreams must be calculated. Genuflection before the idol or before money wastes away the muscles which walk and the will which advances.

France is in the same quality of race as Greece and Italy. She is Athenian in the matter of beauty, and Roman in her greatness. The ideas which obstruct that sublime brain have no longer anything which recalls French greatness. And therein lies the great peril for those who run when she desires only to walk, or who walk on when she wants to halt. The author’s aim is to show the march of human progress, from evil to good, from the unjust to the just, from night to day, from rottenness to heaven, from nothingness to God.

The barricade once scaled had a mane of lightning flashes, bearing a bullet or a biscaïen at the tip of each one of its jets of flame, and picking off dead men one after another from its clusters of lightning. There is no more violent prodigal than the man who takes the bit in his teeth; there is no man more terrible in action than a dreamer. The barricade had Enjolras at one of its extremities and Marius at the other.  The interior of the barricade was so strewn with torn cartridges that one would have said that there had been a snowstorm. Feuilly: “They have finally taken it away from me with cannon-balls, or they uttered haughty comments”.

And Combeferre: “Who are our generals, and who abandon us?”. The epic alone has the right to fill twelve thousand verses with a battle, says the poet William Wordsworth. Marius, still fighting, was so riddled with wounds, particularly in the head, that his countenance disappeared. Bossuet was killed; Feuilly was killed; Courfeyrac was killed; Combeferre, transfixed by three blows from a bayonet in the breast at the moment when he was lifting up a wounded soldier, had only time to cast a glance to heaven when he expired. Enjolras alone was not struck.   This ingenuous little soldier, yesterday a peasant of Bauce or Limousin, who prowls with his clasp-knife by his side, around the children’s nurses in the Luxembourg garden, this pale young student bent over a piece of anatomy or a book, a blond youth who shaves his beard with scissors,—take both of them, breathe upon them with a breath of duty, place them face to face in the Carrefour Boucherat or in the blind alley Planche-Mibray, and let the one fight for his flag, and the other for his ideal, and let both of them imagine that they are fighting for their country; the struggle will be colossal; and the shadow which this raw recruit and this sawbones in conflict will produce in that grand epic field where humanity is striving, will equal the shadow cast by Megaryon, King of Lycia, tiger-filled, crushing in his embrace the immense body of Ajax, equal to the gods.

When Jean Valjean saw that Marius was trapped under a barricade of paving-stones, he looked at the ground with the violence of the last extremity, bewildered, and as though he would have liked to pierce a hole there with his eyes. His old art of escape rose to his brain like an illumination; he lifted Marius, who was as inert as a dead body, onto his shoulders, and lowered him into a well three metres below the surface. Marius, the man who fell from the wall into the convent of Cosette, could barely hear the formidable tumult in the wine-shop, taken by assault, like a vague murmur overhead. The earth in China is still as young as Abraham, thanks to human dung, and Chinese wheat yields a hundred times that of the seed. When you see the heaps of filth at the gate-posts, those tumbrils of mud which jolt through the street by night, those fetid drippings of subterranean mire, which the pavements hide from you, do you know what they are?

They are the meadow in flower, the green grass, wild thyme, thyme and sage. The nutrition of the plains furnishes the nourishment of men. The cleverness of man is such that he prefers to get rid of these five hundred millions in the gutter. A man-made system of elementary drainage, simple as the lungs of a man, which is already in full working order in many communities in England, would suffice to send back to the fields the rich water of the cities, and this easy exchange would retain among us the five hundred millions now thrown away. When drainage, everywhere, with its double function, restoring what it takes, shall have replaced the sewer, then, combined with the data of a now social economy, the product of the earth will be increased tenfold, and the problem of misery will be singularly lightened.

In the meanwhile, the public wealth flows away to the river, and leakage takes place. Europe is being ruined in this manner by exhaustion. Now, Paris contains one twenty-fifth of the total population of France, and Parisian guano being the richest of all, we understate the truth when we value the loss on the part of Paris at twenty-five millions in the half milliard which France annually rejects.  Paris is the metropolis of the ideal, that august country of the initiative, of impulse and of effort, that centre and dwelling of minds, that nation-city, that hive of the future, that marvellous combination of Babylon and Corinth, would make a peasant of the Fo-Kian shrug his shoulders. “The sewers of Rome,” says Liebig, “have absorbed all the well-being of the Roman peasant”.

He adds: “Imitate Paris and you will ruin yourselves”. If the eye could penetrate its surface, Paris would present the aspect of a colossal madrepore. A sponge has no more partitions and ducts than the mound of earth for a circuit of six leagues round about. Without reckoning the tubular system for the distribution of fresh water which ends in the pillar fountains, the sewers alone form a tremendous, shadowy network under the two banks. The history of man is reflected in the history of sewers.

The sewer of Paris has been a sepulchre, it has served as an asylum. Vagrancy, that Gallic picareria, accepted the sewer as the adjunct of the Cour des Miracles. All sorts of phantoms haunt these long, solitary corridors. The sewer is the conscience of the city. Everything there converges and confronts everything else.

The mask of Basil is to be found there, but one beholds its cardboard and its strings and the inside as well as the outside, and it is accentuated by honest mud. All the uncleannesses of civilization, once past their use, fall into this trench of truth, where the immense social sliding ends. A livid foetus rolls along, enveloped in the spangles which danced at the Opera last Shrove-Tuesday, a cap which has pronounced judgment on men wallows beside a mass of rottenness which was formerly Margoton’s petticoat; it is more than fraternization, it is equivalent to addressing each other as thou. This mixture is a confession.  For the eye of the thinker, all historic murderers are to be found there, in that hideous penumbra, on their knees, with a scrap of their winding-sheet for an apron, dismally sponging out their work.

The Saint-Barthélemys filter through there, drop by drop, between the paving-stones. From the cesspool, it reconstitutes the city; from mud, it reconstructs manners; from the potsherd it infers the amphora or the jug. Philosophy is the microscope of the thought. Everything desires to flee from it, but nothing escapes it. The sewer of Paris in the Middle Ages was legendary.

One could no more find one’s bearings in the sewer than one could understand one’s position in the city. At times, that stomach of civilization digested badly, the cesspool flowed back into the throat of the city, and Paris got an after-taste of her own filth. One could no more find one’s bearings in the sewer than one could understand one’s position in the city; above the unintelligible, below the inextricable; beneath the confusion of tongues there reigned the confusion of caverns; Daedalus backed up Babel. The inundation of 1802 is one of the actual memories of Parisians of the age of eighty. The mud spread in cross-form over the Place des Victoires, where stands the statue of Louis XIV. It entered the Rue Saint-Honoré by the two mouths to the sewer in the Champs-Élysées, through the Saint-Florentin sewer, the Rue Pierre-à-Poisson and the Rue de l’Échaudé.

Fagon attributed the Marmoussey fever of 1685 to the great hiatus of the sewer of the Marais. The popular imagination seasoned the sombre sink with some indescribably hideous intermixture of the infinite. The popular imagination seasoned the sombre Parisian sink with some indescribably hideous intermixture of the infinite.  In 1805, during one of the rare apparitions which the Emperor made in Paris, the Minister of the Interior said he saw the most intrepid man in your Empire. Bruneseau: “What man is that?” asked the Emperor brusquely, “and what has he done?” —to visit the sewers of Paris.

The operation was complicated; the visit entailed the necessity of cleaning; hence it was necessary to cleanse and at the same time, to proceed. One of the survivors of this expedition, an intelligent workingman, who was very young at the time, related curious details with regard to it, several years ago, which Bruneseau thought himself obliged to omit in his report to the prefect of police, as unworthy of official style.  Bruneseau, in his exploration of the Grand-Hurleur, found the handiwork of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The masonry of the belt sewer dates back to 1412, when the brook of fresh water of Ménilmontant was elevated to the dignity of a lord’s first-class peasant. These two vaults, especially the less ancient, that of 1740, were more cracked and decrepit than the masonry of the belt sewer, which dated from 1412, an epoch when the brook of fresh water of Ménilmontant was elevated to the dignity of the Grand Sewer of Paris, an advancement analogous to that of a peasant who should become first valet de chambre to the King; something like Gros-Jean transformed into Lebel.

The most surprising rencounter was at the entrance to the Grand Sewer.  A Marquise had slept in it; Marat had rotted in it and ended with the rats of the sewer. Bruneseau held his lantern close to this rag and examined it. Nothing could equal the horror of this old, waste crypt, the digestive apparatus of Babylon, he described it as. At the same time, he had the whole network disinfected and rendered healthful.

Parisian sewer is clean, cold, straight, correct. It almost realizes the ideal of what is understood in England by the word “respectable” Villon would no longer meet with his ancient temporary provisional lodging. The sewer has, nowadays, assumed a certain official aspect. The prefecture of police and the commission of health have done their best. Nevertheless, do not trust yourself too much to it.

Miasmas still inhabit it. It resembles a tradesman who has become a councillor of state.  The sewer of Paris is a mysterious polyp with a thousand antennae, which expands below as the city expands above. The old monarchy had constructed only twenty-three thousand three hundred metres of sewers; that was where Paris stood in this respect on the first of January, 1806. Between the ancient and the present sewer there is a revolution.

What has effected this revolution? The man whom all the world forgets, and whom we have mentioned, Bruneseau. Paris is built upon a soil which is singularly rebellious to the pick, the hoe, the bore, and to human manipulation. It was with great difficulty that the ancient monarchical provostship and, during the last ten years of the eighteenth century, the revolutionary mayoralty, had succeeded in perforating the five leagues of sewer which existed previous to 1806. The man-made labyrinth of Paris is to-day more than ten times what it was at the beginning of the century.

He saw eight or ten forms moving about in a confused way, black, upright, indistinct, horrible. The police patrol of the right bank of the belt sewer had just visited the curving gallery of the gallery du Cadran. They fancied that they heard the sound of footsteps in the direction of the sewer – and they were, in fact, the steps of Jean-Valjean. He beheld a gleam, and around that gleam, forms.  They were, in fact, the steps of Jean Valjean.

It was feared that the vanquished might have taken to them for refuge, and Prefect Gisquet was to search occult Paris while General Bugeaud swept public Paris; a double and connected operation which exacted a double strategy on the part of the public force, represented above by the army and below by the police.  They held a consultation and discovered that they had been mistaken. In 1832, the word bousingot formed the interim between the word jacobin, which had become obsolete, and the word demagogue which has since rendered such excellent service. Jean Valjean saw these spectres form a sort of circle.  Jean Valjean, not daring to stir as yet, remained for a long time leaning with his back against the wall, with straining ears, and dilated pupils, watching the disappearance of that phantom patrol.

The police of that period “spun” a thief in the midst of an incalculable political event already begun, under the pressure of a possible revolution, without allowing himself to be distracted by insurrection and barricades. CHAPTER III—THE “SPUN” MAN It was not easy to see these two men, except from a quay opposite, and to any person who had scrutinized them at that distance, the man who was in advance would have appeared like a bristling, tattered, and equivocal being, who was uneasy and trembling beneath a ragged blouse, and the other like a classic and official personage, wearing the frock-coat of authority buttoned to the chin. What was the object of the second man? Probably to succeed in clothing the first more warmly. The driver understood, evidently recognized the person with whom he had to deal, turned about and began to follow the two men.

While these two men were manoeuvring, each on his own side, with irreproachable strategy, they approached an inclined plane which allowed cab-drivers to water their horses. What was he intending to do, if not to throw himself into the Seine? It is true that this termination of the shore was hidden from sight by a heap of rubbish six or seven feet high. But did this man hope to conceal himself effectually behind that pile of rubbish, which one need but skirt? He certainly was not dreaming of such a thing.

The coachman, foreseeing a prolonged wait, encased his horses’ muzzles in the bag of oats which is damp at the bottom, and which is so familiar to Parisians, to whom, be it said in parenthesis, the Government sometimes applies it. The Grand Sewer is eight feet wide and seven feet high. The average height of these vaults varies, and has been calculated for the stature of a man. Jean Valjean was forced to bend over, in order to strike Marius against the vault; at every step he had to bend, then to rise, and to feel incessantly of the wall. He stumbled along in the hideous dung-heap of the city.

Between these four ways, a less sagacious man would have remained undecided. Jean Valjean selected the broadest, that is to say, the belt-sewer. The Grand Sewer, which is, it must be remembered, nothing else than the old brook of Ménilmontant, terminates, if one ascends it, in a blind sack. If Jean Valjean had ascended the gallery he would have arrived, after a thousand efforts, and broken down with fatigue, and in an expiring condition, in the gloom, at a wall.  If he had to descend a little way, he might have reached the outlet on the Seine near the Arsenal.

He left on his right the two narrow passages which branch out in the form of a claw under the Rue Laffitte and the Rue Saint-Georges. Now, we must again insist that he knew nothing of that frightful drain which he was traversing. The young man’s face was covered in blood; his eyes were closed, his hair was plastered down on his temples like a painter’s brushes dried in red wash. Jean Valjean tore up his shirt, bandaged the young man’s wounds as well as he was able and stopped the flowing blood; then bending over Marius, who still lay unconscious and almost without breathing, in that half light, he gazed at him with inexpressible hatred. The Grand Sewer, directed according to the course of the valley of Ménilmontant, is about two leagues long.

When Jean Valjean entered the depths of Paris, he did not know what zone of the city he was traversing, nor what way he had made. The gloom deepened around the man as he groped his way in the dark. He felt that he was entering the water, and that he no longer had a pavement under his feet, but only mud. In the case of sand as in that of a man or a woman, there is a fineness which is treacherous.  He is not uneasy.

When a man is engulfed by sand on a beach, he is condemned to a long, infallible, implacable interment, which it is impossible to either retard or hasten, which lasts for hours, which will not come to an end, which seizes you erect, free, in the flush of health, which drags you down by the feet, which, at every effort that you utter, draws you a little lower, which has the air of punishing you for your resistance by a redoubled grasp, which forces a man to return slowly to earth. This engulfment is the sepulchre which assumes a tide, and which mounts from the depths of the earth towards a living man. Sometimes a rider is engulfed with his horse; sometimes the carter is swallowed up with his cart; all founders in that strand.   Before the important works, undertaken in 1833, the subterranean drain of Paris was subject to these sudden slides.

When a man dies in a cesspool, instead of the open air, the broad daylight, and the clear horizon, there is death in the mire beneath a cover of asphyxia and filth. There are shadows enough for hell, and mire enough to render it nothing but a slough; and the dying man knows not whether he is on the point of becoming a spectre or a frog. In the Lunière fontis, it would have taken a man a day to disappear, while he would have been devoured in five minutes by the Philippeaux slough. Sometimes a fontis was three or four feet deep, sometimes eight or ten; sometimes the bottom was unfathomable. The mire bears up more or less, according to its density.

When a sewer was broken in under the pressure of the houses, the mischief was sometimes betrayed in the street above by a space, like the teeth of a saw, between the paving-stones. This crevice developed in an undulating line throughout the entire length of the cracked vault, and then, the evil being visible, the remedy could be promptly applied. In this manner, the heaping up of the Parthénon, obliterated, a century ago, a portion of the vaults of Saint-Geneviève hill, Jean Valjean found himself in the presence of a fontis. Ancient registers make mention of several scavengers who were buried in fontis in this manner. They give many names, including that of the sewerman who was swallowed up in a quagmire under the man-hole of the Rue Carême-Prenant.

When Jean Valjean visited the Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 1836, he found a pit of mire in a cavern of night under the gallery des Martyrs. The quicksand, which forms the subsoil of the Champs-Élysées as far as the Seine, presented such an obstacle that the operation lasted nearly six months.  He must pass it.  Jean Valjean advanced.  He walked on, raising Marius in his arms, as far above the water as he could.

When Jean Valjean reached the other side of the quagmire, he came in contact with a stone and fell upon his knees. He reflected that this was but just, and he remained there for some time, with his soul absorbed in words addressed to God. He rose to his feet, shivering, chilled, foul-smelling, bowed beneath the dying man whom he was dragging after him, all dripping with slime, and his soul filled with a strange light. Once he was forced to seat himself on the banquette in order to alter Marius’ position, and he thought that he should have to remain there.  Jean Valjean was no longer conscious of fatigue, he no longer felt Marius’ weight, he found his legs once more of steel, he ran rather than walked.

As he approached, the outlet became more and more distinctly defined. It was a pointed arch, lower than the vault, which gradually narrowed, and narrower than the gallery, which closed in as the vault grew lower. The tunnel ended like the interior of a funnel; a faulty construction, imitated from the wickets of penitentiaries, logical in a prison, illogical in a sewer, and has since been corrected. It was one of those prison locks which old Paris was so fond of lavishing. The Frenchman layed Marius down along the dry portion of the vaulting, then went to the grating.

He seized the bars one after the other, in the hope that he might be able to tear away the least solid, and to make of it a lever wherewith to raise the door or to break the lock. Not a bar stirred; the obstacle was invincible. Jean Valjean seized the bars one after the other, in the hope that he might be able to tear away the least solid, and to make of it a lever wherewith to raise the door or to break the lock.  The two faced each other in a half-gloom; the man was clad in a blouse; his feet were bare; he held his shoes in his left hand; he had evidently removed them without allowing his steps to be heard. Jean Valjean made no reply.

The man was Thénardier. Marius Thénardier says to Jean Valjean: You didn’t kill that man without looking to see what he had in his pockets; that’s all right. I have the key to liberty. Paris Thénardier: “Why didn’t you toss the man in there?”. Jean Valjean: The river, that great hider of folly, is what you want.

I’ll get you out of your scrape. Paris: At the end of a month they fish up your man in the nets at Saint-Cloud. It’s carrion! How much did the stiff have in his bags? The Frenchman took out his pocket-book full of ooze and spread it out on the banquette of the vault one louis d’or.

Jean Valjean searched his pockets. While handling Marius’ coat, Thénardier, with the skill of a pickpocket, and without being noticed by Jean Valjean, tore off a strip which he concealed under his blouse, probably thinking that this morsel of stuff might serve, later on, to identify the assassinated man and the assassin.  Had he, in lending to this stranger the aid of his key, and in making some other man than himself emerge from that portal, the pure and disinterested intention of rescuing an assassin?   Jean Valjean found himself in the open air.  CHAPTER IX—MARIUS PRODUCES ON SOME ONE WHO IS A JUDGE OF THE MATTER, THE EFFECT OF BEING DEADHe allowed Marius to slide down upon the shore.

Thénardier helped Jean Valjean to replace Marius on his shoulders, then he betook himself to the grating on tiptoe, and barefooted, making Jean Valjean a sign to follow him, looked out, laid his finger on his mouth, and remained for several seconds, as though in suspense; his inspection finished, he placed the key in the lock.  For several seconds, Jean Valjean was irresistibly overcome by that august and caressing serenity; such moments of oblivion do come to men. Night was drawing on, the great deliverer, the friend of all those who need a mantle of darkness that they may escape from an anguish. The sky presented itself in all directions like an enormous calm. The river flowed to his feet with the sound of a kiss.

The aerial dialogue of the nests bidding each other good night was audible. Jean Valjean bathed in the sea of ecstasy and prayer in the majestic silence of the eternal heavens. Then he bent down swiftly to Marius, as though the sentiment of duty had returned to him, and, dipping up water in the hollow of his hand, he gently sprinkled a few drops on the latter’s face. Marius’ eyelids did not open; but his half-open mouth still breathed. A man of lofty stature, enveloped in a long coat, with folded arms, and bearing in his right fist a bludgeon of which the leaden head was visible, stood a few paces in the rear of the spot where Jean Valjean was crouching over Marius.

With the aid of the darkness, it seemed a sort of apparition. An ordinary man would have been alarmed because of the twilight, a thoughtful man on account of the bludge.

The man, Javert, caught sight of Thénardier’s surveillance of the shore on the right bank of the Seine, which had aroused the attention of the police, and followed him back to the prefecture of police. “Who is ‘I?”. “Jean Valjean.” Jean Valjean to Javert: Inspector Javert, I did not give you my address with any intention of escaping from you. Only grant me one favor. Javert does not appear to hear him.

At length he lets go of Jean-Valjean, straightens himself stiffly up without bending, grips his bludgeon again firmly, and murmurs:What are you doing here? And who is this man? “He is the one they called Marius.” Jean Valjean fumbled in Marius’ coat, pulled out his pocket-book, opened it at the page which Marius had pencilled, and held it out to Javert. The hackney-coach was waiting in case of need to take them to their destination. Then he exclaimed: “Coachman!” Jean Valjean and the coachman had taken Marius out of the carriage.

Everyone in the house was asleep. Javert addressed the porter in a tone befitting the government. For Javert, the usual incidents of the public highway were categorically classed. And each contingency had its own compartment; all possible facts were arranged in drawers. The porter watched them take their departure as he watched their arrival, in terrified somnolence.

“Driver,” said he, “Rue de l’Homme Armé, No. 7.”  What did Jean Valjean want?  To finish what he had begun; to warn Cosette, to tell her where Marius was, to give her, possibly, some other useful information, to take, if he could, certain final measures.  Jean Valjean’s coach was covered with the blood of the assassinated man, and with mire from the assassin. “How much do you want, including your time of waiting and the drive?” asks inspector Javert. Jean Valjean, either for the sake of getting the air, or mechanically, thrust his head out of this window.

He placed him on a camp bed, without a pillow, with his head hanging out over the street, and with his bust bare in order to facilitate respiration. A lantern was lit from end to end; there was no longer any one there. CHAPTER XII—THE GRANDFATHER Mademoiselle Gillenormand, on perceiving that they were undressing Marius, withdrew.   This was the grandfather. At the moment when the doctor was wiping Marius’ face, and lightly touching his still closed eyes with his finger, a door opened at the end of the drawing-room, and a long, pallid figure made its appearance.

He saw the bed, and on the mattress that young man, bleeding, white with a waxen whiteness, with closed eyes and gaping mouth, and pallid lips, stripped to the waist, slashed all over with crimson wounds, motionless and brilliantly lighted up. The grandfather trembled from head to foot as powerfully as ossified limbs can tremble, his eyes were veiled in a sort of vitreous glitter, his whole face assumed in an instant the earthy angles of a skull, his arms fell pendent, as though a spring had broken. “He is dead!” cried the old man in a terrible voice. The rascal! said the doctor, he has got himself killed on the barricade!

The grandfather trembled from head to foot as powerfully as ossified limbs can tremble, his eyes, whose corneae were yellow on account of his great age, were veiled in a sort of vitreous glitter, his whole face assumed in an instant the earthy angles of a skull, his arms fell pendent, as though a spring had broken, and his amazement was betrayed by the outspreading of the fingers of his two aged hands, which quivered all over, his knees formed an angle in front, allowing, through the opening in his dressing-gown, a view of his poor bare legs, all bristling with white hairs, and he murmured:”Marius!” He threw open a window and began shouting into the night: “Pierced, sabred, exterminated, slashed, hacked in pieces, just look at that, the villain!”. The doctor, who was beginning to be uneasy in both quarters, quitted Marius for a moment, and went to take his arm. he is dead, and this is my awakening.” Doctor Albrecht: I am composed, I am a man, I witnessed the death of Louis XVI., I know how to bear events. It is abominable! Dead before me! Ah, the scamp! He adds: You are wrong to think that I am angry. One does not fly into a rage against a dead man. Marius!

Where did he stand? He sought to comprehend his position, and could no longer find his bearings. The very violence of all these conflicting emotions forced him to think. To deliver up Jean Valjean was bad; to leave Jean Valjean at liberty was bad.  Javert had reached one of those extremities.

Something barred his way in that direction. Jean Valjean was the load which weighed upon his spirit. And that the deed of Javert! M. Madeleine reappeared behind Jean Valjean, and the two figures were superposed in such fashion that they now formed but one, which was venerable. Javert felt that something terrible was penetrating his soul—admiration for a convict, respect for a galley-slave is that possible thing?

He shuddered at it, yet could not escape from it. In vain did he struggle, he was reduced to confess, in his inmost heart, the sublimity of that man. He said: This man is forever a prisoner of the law; the law may do with him what it will! What could be more just? A score of times he had been tempted to fling himself upon Jean Valjean, to seize him and devour him, that is to say, to arrest him.  Javert had said all this to himself; he had wished to pass beyond, to act, to apprehend the man, and then, as at present, he had not been able to do it; and every time that his arm had been raised convulsively towards Jean Valjean’s collar, his hand had fallen back again, as beneath an enormous weight, and in the depths of his thought he had heard a voice, a strange voice crying to him:—”It is well.  Javert’s ideal was to be grand, to be sublime and to be irreproachable. He felt that he had been uprooted. The code was no longer anything more than a stump in his hand. To remain in his former uprightness did not suffice. A whole order of unexpected facts had cropped up and subjugated him. He saw amid the shadows the rising of an unknown moral sun; it horrified and dazzled him. And he himself, unprecedented circumstance, had just been good also. How had he come to such a pass?  He had certainly always entertained the intention of restoring Jean Valjean to the law of which Jean Valjean was the captive, and of which he, Javert, was the slave.  He asked himself: What have I done? So there is something beyond duty? His duty?  Something more.  He did not know what to do with this superior, who was not ignorant of the fact that the subordinate is bound always to bow, nor find fault, nor discuss, and that in the presence of a superior who amazes him too greatly, the inferior has no other resource than that of handing in his resignation. Henceforth, he must be a different man.  The man-projectile is no longer acquainted with his route and retreating. The Fampoux of a rectilinear conscience, the derailment of a soul, the crushing of a probity which had been irresistibly launched in a straight line and was breaking against God. Did Javert understand this? Evidently he did not. Javert was less the man transfigured than the victim of this prodigy. He was not accustomed to having something unknown hanging over his head. Javert had never beheld the unknown except from below. The irregular, the unforeseen, the disordered opening of chaos, the possible slip over a precipice—this was the work of the lower regions, of rebels, of the wicked, of wretches. Now Javert threw himself back, and he was suddenly terrified by this unprecedented apparition: a gulf on high. It was abominable that actual facts could reach such deformity. That which had been agreed upon was giving way, was the state of the case. A violent state, if ever such existed, is summed up in one simple and terrible feature by Jean Valjean Javert. He saw a man with a green cap on his head and a halo round his brow standing at the summit of all that ruin; this was the astounding confusion to which he had come. All the dogmas on which rest political and civil security, sovereignty, justice, public truth, all this was rubbish, a shapeless mass, chaos; he himself, Javert, the spy of order, incorruptibility in the service of the police, the bull-dog providence of society, was vanquished and hurled to earth. There were only two ways of escaping from it: One was to go resolutely to Jean Valjean, and restore to his cell the convict from the galleys; the other to escape from the state itself. Javert: “The mode of keeping track of a man with relays of police agents from distance to distance, is good, but, on important occasions, it is requisite that at least two agents should never lose sight of each other, so that if one agent should, for any cause, grow weak in his service, the other may supervise him and take his place”. He adds: I beg Monsieur le Préfet to cast his eyes on this. Many of them cough on their return to prison. This entails hospital expenses. He wrote a note for the administration, folded it like a letter, and left it on the table. Javert bent his head and gazed.  Javert remained motionless for several minutes, gazing at this opening of shadow; he considered the invisible with a fixity that resembled attention. The water roared. All at once he took off his hat and placed it on the edge of the quay. A moment later, a tall black figure, which a belated passer-by in the distance might have taken for a phantom, appeared erect. It was Sieur Boulatruelle, a man who was occupied with divers and troublesome matters, and broke stones and damaged travellers on the highway. Boulatruelle, although intoxicated, had a correct and lucid memory, a defensive arm that is indispensable to any one who is at all in conflict with legal order. He could make himself no answer, except that the man resembled some one of whom his memory preserved a confused trace. Whence came he? Not from a very great distance, but from Paris, no doubt.

Old as he was, he was agile.  The man led him to a heap of stones, destined for no one knows what employment, which was visible there 30 years ago, is doubtless still there. For many weeks Marius lay in a fever accompanied by delirium, and by tolerably grave cerebral symptoms, caused more by the shocks of the wounds on the head than by the wounds themselves. The extent of some of the lesions presented a serious danger, the suppuration of large wounds being always liable to become re-absorbed, and to kill the sick man, under certain atmospheric conditions. Dr Gillenormand repeated Cosette’s name for whole nights in the melancholy loquacity of fever, and with the sombre obstinacy of agony.

“Above all things,” he repeated, “let the wounded man be subjected to no emotion”. Mademoiselle Gillenormand, like a sage and elderly person, contrived to spare the fine linen, while allowing the grandfather to think that he was obeyed. In France, there is no wrath, not even of a public character, which six months will not extinguish. So Marius was left in peace, and the councils of war did not dare to trouble any one. He executed a multitude of mechanical actions full of joy; he ascended and descended the stairs, without knowing why.

There is an indescribable aurora in beaming old age. Every moment, he kept asking the doctor: “Is he no longer in danger?”  He did not know how nor by whom he had been saved, and no one of those around him knew this; all that they had been able to tell him was, that he’d been brought home at night in a hackney-coach from the Rue des Filles-du-Calvaire. And with health, there returned to him a sort of harshness towards his grandfather, and he refused to talk to him. The old man was gently pained by this.   — “I’m going to signify this squarely to my grandfather, to that mummy of the Regency and of the Directory”. Ah!

“Monsieur Tranchelevent, Monsieur Boulard, one of my acquaintances, never walked out without a book under his arm either, and he always had some old volume hugged to his heart like that,” said Father Gillenormand. It is queer that a person can suffer like that. I have cried till I have no eyes left. Do you still love me? We live in the Rue de l’Homme Armé.

There is no garden, I made lint all the time; it is your fault, I have a callous on my fingers. Her father: “I told you that this is what would happen to you if you stood on ceremony”. She cried: Call each other thou. Don’t stand on ceremony! “Mademoiselle Gillenormand senior,” said her father to her, “I told you that this is what would happen to you.” Mademoiselle, my rogue, you are getting off nicely with me, you’re happy; if I were not fifteen years too old, we would fight with swords to see which of us should have her.

Ah! what a sweet, charming little wedding this will make! Jean Valjean: “She will only be a Baroness, which is a come down for her; she was born a Marquise!”. And he laid on the table the package which Mademoiselle Gillenormand had mistaken for a book. “What has Mademoiselle Euphrasie to do with the question?” inquired the startled grandfather.

“Five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs!” repeated Mademoiselle Gillenormand. Jean Valjean had hidden the sum in a forest of Montfermeil, in the locality known as the Blaru-bottom. The money was all in bank-bills, and was contained in a box, filled with chestnut shavings. Jean Valjean and Toussaint set the two candlesticks on the chimney-piece. The grandfather was not the least happy of them all; he kept gazing at Cosette for long periods.

He arranged for her to be declared an orphan, both father and mother being dead. Jean Valjean so arranged it that he was appointed, under the name of Fauchelevent, as Cosette’s guardian, with M. Gillenormand as supervising guardian over him. Cosette became in the eyes of the law, Mademoiselle Euphrasie Fauchelevent.  He gave her a robe of Binche guipure which had descended to him from his own grandmother.

Nevertheless, she continued to call Jean Valjean: Father. Every day, a fresh offering of bric-à-brac from the grandfather to Cosette glittered around her. From these fripperies, the grandfather extracted a bit of wisdom. “Love is all very well; but there must be something else to go with it,” he said. Dry happiness resembles dry bread.

One eats, but one does not dine. I want the superfluous, the useless, the extravagant, excess, that which serves no purpose. For my part, I am of the opinion of the big clock of Strasburg, and I prefer it to the cuckoo clock from the Black Forest. Marian Gillenormand: Your nineteenth century is weak. It lacks excess.

It ignores the rich, it ignores the noble. In everything it is clean-shaven. Your third estate is insipid, colorless, odorless, and shapeless. I regret the bride’s garter. I regret everything about them, their elegance, their chivalry, those courteous and delicate ways.

Homer would put in his poem, a loquacious old fellow, like me, and he would call him Nestor. My friends, in bygone days, in those amiable days of yore, people married wisely; they had a good contract, and then they had carouse. When the bourgeois is avaricious, the bourgeoise is a prude; your century is unfortunate. The ideal of an urchin of twenty when he marries, is to resemble M. Royer-Collard.

A marriage should be royal and chimerical; it should promenade its ceremony from the cathedral of Rheims to the pagoda of Chanteloup. Aunt Gillenormand watched Marius and Cosette as they gazed freely at each other. Within the last five or six months she had experienced a certain amount of emotions. She went regularly to service, told her beads, read her euchology, mumbled Aves in one corner of the house, while I love you was being whispered in the other. Cosette’s half-million pleased the aunt of Marius, and altered her inward situation so far as this pair of lovers were concerned.

Her father had acquired the habit of taking her so little into account, that he had not consulted her in the matter of consent to Marius’ marriage. She could not do otherwise than leave her fortune to these young people, since they did not need it.

“This is reversing things,” said Mademoiselle Gillenormand, “to have the bride come to the house to do the courting like this.”  Once, on the subject of education, which Marius wished to have free and obligatory, multiplied under all forms lavished on every one, like the air and the sun in a word, respirable for the entire population, they were in unison, and they almost conversed.  Cosette came with M. Fauchelevent. Marius, inwardly, and in the depths of his thought, was surrounded with all sorts of mute questions this M. Fauchelevent, who was to him simply benevolent and cold.

At times, Marius clasped his face between his hands, and the vague and tumultuous past traversed the twilight which reigned in his brain. He beheld Mabeuf fall, he heard Gavroche singing amid the grape-shot, he felt Éponine; Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Jean Prouvaire, Combeferre, Bossuet, Grantaire, all his friends rose erect before him, then dispersed into thin air. When Marius introduced into the conversation the Rue de la Chanvrerie, the name of the street in question, his friend replied: “Of course, you are acquainted with that street?”. He, the poor man, was rich; he, the abandoned, had a family; he, the despairing, was to marry Cosette.  Marius, ignorant of the real scene in the battle of Waterloo, was not aware of the peculiar detail that his father, so far as Thénardier was concerned, was in the strange position of being indebted to the latter for his life, without being owed any gratitude.

Marius endeavored to find these two men, not intending to marry, to be happy, and to forget them, and fearing that, were these debts of gratitude not discharged, they would leave a shadow on his future, which promised so brightly for the future.  As for the other person, as for the unknown man who had saved Marius, the researches were at first to some extent successful, then came to an abrupt conclusion.  Everything about this singular enigma was inexplicable. This was the man for whom Marius was searching.  “They are yours,” interrupted Jean Valjean.

One evening, Marius was speaking in the presence of Cosette and Jean Valjean of the whole of that singular adventure, of the innumerable inquiries which he had made, and of the fruitlessness of his efforts.  The manner of marriage in 1833 was not the same as it is to-day. It had not been the grand festival dreamed by the grandfather, a fairy spectacle, with a confusion of cherubim and Cupids over the heads of the bridal pair. People had not yet grasped to the full the chastity, exquisiteness and decency of jolting their paradise in a posting-chaise. Toussaint was of no use to her lover Jean-Valjean; Cosette inherited her and promoted her to the rank of lady’s maid.

On the preceding evening, Jean Valjean handed to Marius, in the presence of M. Gillenormand, the five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs. A few days before that fixed on for the marriage, an accident happened to Jean Valjean; he crushed the thumb of his right hand.  M. Gillenormand, in his capacity of Cosette’s supervising-guardian, had supplied his place on the wedding page.

The wedding train became entangled in a long procession of vehicles which formed an endless chain from the Madeleine to the Bastille. In spite of the fact that it was raining at intervals, Merry-Andrew, Pantaloon and Clown persisted. The first wedding coach held Cosette and Aunt Gillenormand, M. Gillenormand and Jean Valjean.  Marius, still separated from his betrothed according to usage, did not come until the second.  From the Turk to the savage, Hercules supporting Marquises, fishwives to Aristophanes, all possible grotesquenesses, immodesty and shamelessness jolted along high above the passers-by.

Everything can be parodied, even parody, in Parisian culture. The Bacchanal, formerly crowned with sprays of vine leaves and grapes, has become known as the Jack-pudding. The tradition of carriage-loads of maskers runs back to the most ancient days of the monarchy. It is charged with proving the Carnival to the Parisians. It is sad that turpitude heaped up should give a sum total of gayety, that by piling ignominy upon opprobrium the people should be enticed.

But what can be done about it? These be-ribboned and be-flowered tumbrils of mire are insulted and pardoned by the laughter of the public. The King has Roquelaure, the populace has the Merry-Andrew. Paris is a mad city on every occasion that it is a great sublime city; there the Carnival forms part of politics. Rome was of the same mind.

She only demands of her masters when she has masters: “Paint me the mud”. She loved Nero.   Jean Valjean Marius Cosette: If I leave the cart, the first inspector who gets his eye on me will arrest me. You know that well enough, I do. “I’m bought by the government for to-day.” “All the same, that old fellow bothers me,” he adds.

Cosette wore over a petticoat of white taffeta, her robe of Binche guipure, a veil of English point, a necklace of fine pearls, a wreath of orange flowers; all this was white, and, from the midst of that whiteness she beamed forth.  Marius’ handsome hair was lustrous and perfumed; here and there, beneath the thick curls, pale lines were visible. The bride-to-be was a virgin on the point of turning into a goddess. Jean Valjean, dressed in black, followed them with a smile. She looked at Marius, she looked at the mayor and before the priest all possible “yesses,” after having signed the registers at the municipality and at the sacristy.

Her amazed and uneasy air added something indescribably enchanting to her beauty. They entered the same carriage to return home, Marius beside Cosette; M. Gillenormand and Jean Valjean sat opposite them; Aunt Gillenormand had withdrawn one degree, and was in the second vehicle. The long agony of their love was terminating in an ascension. They realized the verses of Jean Prouvaire; they were forty years old taken together. It was marriage sublimated.

Cosette perceived Marius in the midst of a glory; Marius perceived Cosette on an altar.  The house was no less fragrant than the church; after the incense, roses. She regained, for the purpose of addressing Jean Valjean, inflections of voice belonging to the time when she was a little girl.  Marius, triumphant and radiant, mounted side by side with Cosette the staircase up which he had been borne in a dying condition.  The chateau was filled with all sorts of colored birds, girandoles, on the walls, sconces with triple and quintuple branches, and a flute by Haydn.

Jean Valjean began to laugh. A few moments before they sat down to table, Cosette came, as though inspired by a sudden whim, and made him a deep courtesy, spreading out her bridal toilet with both hands, and with a tenderly roguish glance, she asked him:”Father, are you satisfied?” When Jean Valjean’s widow Cosette and her husband Marius got married, they were in one of those egotistical and blessed moments when no other faculty is left to a person than that of receiving happiness. M. Gillenormand said: Pardieu, this armchair is empty. Come hither, Marius.

Your aunt will permit it, although she has a right to you. Marius Cosette: Ask that demagogue of a Marius if he is not the slave of that little tyrant of a Cosette. He who says love, says woman. What is the sun? It is love.

Ah! ah! behold omnipotence—women!

A little after midnight, the Gillenormand house became a temple of love. On the threshold of wedding nights stands a smiling angel with his finger on his lips. Love is the sublime crucible wherein the fusion of the man and the woman takes place. This birth of two souls into one, ought to be an emotion for the gloom. When two mouths, rendered sacred by love, approach to create, it is impossible that there should not be, above that ineffable kiss, a quivering throughout the immense mystery of stars.

If at that supreme hour, the wedded pair, dazzled with voluptuousness were to listen, they would hear in their chamber a confused rustling of wings. Jean Valjean: To love, or to have loved, this suffices. Demand nothing more. There is no other pearl to be found in the shadowy folds of life. To love is a fulfilment.

Love is the only ecstasy. All the rest weeps. What had become of Jean Valjean? This road, through which Cosette had passed, excluded for him all possibility of any other itinerary. Basque, in a black coat, knee-breeches, white stockings and white gloves, was arranging roses round all of the dishes that were to be served.

Jean Valjean entered his lodgings in the Rue de l’Homme Armé. The apartment was empty, even Toussaint was no longer there. All the little feminine objects which Cosette was attached to had been carried away. He looked at the walls, closed some of the cupboard doors, and went and came and came from one room to another. One bed only was made up, and seemed to be waiting some one, and this was Jean-Valjean’s bed.

He, Jean Valjean, had made her abandon those rags to clothe herself in these mourning habiliments.  He thought of that forest of Montfermeil; they had traversed it together, Cosette and he; he thought of what the weather had been, of the leafless trees, of the wood destitute of birds, of the sunless sky; it mattered not, it was charming.  Jean Valjean: “How many times had that conscience, mad for the good, clasped and overthrew him?”. And how many times, hurled to earth by the light, had he begged for mercy? What secret wounds which he alone felt bleed, what excoriations in his lamentable existence.

Once more, Jean Valjean had the choice between the terrible port and the smiling ambush. He was counselled to the one which alarmed him by that mysterious index finger. Cosette had Marius, Marius possessed Cosette. And this was his doing. But what was he to do with this happiness, now that it existed?

Jean Valjean’s Cosette, that charming existence, was the raft of this shipwreck. Good or evil stands behind this severe interrogation point. What are you going to do? demands the sphinx. If he clung to it, he should emerge from disaster.

And if he let go his hold? Martyrdom is sublimation, corrosive sublimating, it is a torture which consecrates. Jean Valjean weighed, he reflected, he considered the alternatives, the mysterious balance of light and darkness. On one side lay the sacrifice of Cosette, on the other that of himself.  “Is your master up?” asked Jean Valjean.

Basque opened the door, and beheld M. Fauchelevent.  Monsieur le Baron? “I will tell him that M. Fauchelevent is here.” Tell him that some one wishes to speak to him in private, and mention no name. “Ah!” ejaculated Basque once more, emitting his second “ah!” as an explanation of the first.

Jean Valjean remained alone. Marius obeyed.  And then, Cosette, in whom the woman was beginning to dawn, was delighted to be a Baroness.

Jean Valjean stared at the window outlined on the polished floor at his feet by the sun.

 Marius entered, his head well up, his mouth smiling, an indescribable light on his countenance, his brow expanded, his eyes triumphant.  Cosette is asleep.” “It is you, father!” he exclaimed, on catching sight of Jean Valjean; “that idiot of a Basque had such a mysterious air!  Jean Valjean: We want nothing more to do with the Rue de l’Homme Armé. We will have no more of it at all!

Cosette: How could you go to live in a street like that, which is sickly,  disgraceful, ugly, has a barrier at one end, where one is cold and into which one cannot enter? You are to come and install yourself here. Or you will have to deal with Cosette. She means to lead us all by the nose, I warn you, he says. You must not forget that you have a chamber here, we love you too!

Jean Valjean and M. Fauchelevent: “I am an ex-convict,” proceeding from the mouth of Monsieur Pontmercy and entering the ear of Marius overshot the possible. The writer was so dazzled in his own dazzled state that he did not know what had just been said to him. When he undid the cravat which supported his right arm, unrolled the linen from around his hand, bared his thumb and showed it to Marius. In vain did Marius recoil before the reality, refuse the fact, resist the evidence, he was forced to give way.

“You are Cosette’s father!” Jean Valjean: I am not related to Cosette. I love her, it is true, he says. Marius: “Who will prove that to you?”. the Count of Pontmercy: “Since I tell you so” The Count continues: “When one is old, one feels oneself a grandfather towards all little children.” Jean Valjean: She was an orphan without either father or mother. She needed me.

That is why I began to love her. He adds: I have fulfilled this duty towards Cosette. Nothing more can be demanded of me. I complete the restitution by announcing my true name. Marius was stupefied by the novel situation which presented itself to him, to the point of addressing that man almost like a person who was angry with him for this avowal.

When Jean Valjean met Marius Cosette in the Rue Bouloy, he asked: From what motive, in fact, has this convict just said ‘I am a convict’? Well, yes! the motive is strange. It is out of honesty! I do not belong to any family of men.

In houses where people are among themselves, I am superfluous. Cosette: Did I have a father and mother? I almost doubt it. On the day when I gave that child in marriage, all came to an end. He adds: “So long as it was for her, I could lie; but now it would be for myself, and I must not”.

His conscience forced him to reveal his secret: “It was sufficient for me to hold my peace, it is true, and all would go on”. I have seen her happy, and that she is with a man whom she loves, and that there exists here a kind old man, a household of two angels, and all joys in that house, and that it was well, I said to myself: ‘Enter thou not.’

His grief was not audible, but from the quivering of his shoulders it was evident that he was weeping. He was seized with a sort of convulsion, he threw himself against the back of the chair as though to gain breath, and let his arms fall, and allowing Marius to see his face inundated with tears. “I shall never see her more,” murmured Jean Valjean.  Jean Valjean struggled with what seemed a last hesitation, and, without voice, without breath, he stammered rather than said:”Now that you know, do you think, sir, you, who are the master, that I ought not to see Cosette any more?” If you will allow it, I will come to see her. I assure you that I desire it greatly, he said.

He was no longer pale, he was livid. His voice had regained a strange composure. You follow my reasoning, do you not? it is a matter easily understood? If I had not cared to see Cosette, I should not have made to you the confession that I have made, I should have gone away; but, as I desired to remain in the place where Cosette is, and to continue to see her, I had to tell you about it honestly.

If you do not disapprove of it, Monsieur Pontmercy, I will come to see Cosette from time to time. You shall give orders that I am to be received in the little waiting-room. And then, we must be cautious. If I no longer come at all, it would produce a bad effect – it would be considered singular. “You will come every evening,” said Marius, “and Cosette will be waiting for you.” “You are kind, sir,” said Jean Val jovially.

This M. Fauchelevent was the convict Jean Valjean. In vain may one be crowned with light and joy, in vain may one taste the grand purple hour of life, happy love, such shocks would force even the archangel in his ecstasy, even the demigod in his glory, to shudder. He recalls his intoxication with Cosette, his love absorbing everything, that catching away of each other into the ideal, and perhaps also, like the imperceptible quantity of reason mingled with this violent and charming state of the soul, a vague, dull instinct impelling him to conceal and abolish in his memory that redoubtable adventure. Marius’ ancient estrangement towards this man, towards this Fauchelevent who had turned into Jean Valjean, was at present mingled with horror. In this horror, let us state, there was some pity, and even a certain surprise.

For a condemned man, a mask is not a mask, it is a shelter; a false name is security, and he had rejected that false name. And with what motive? Through a conscientious scruple. What did Jean Valjean inspire?  Here, for Marius, there was a strange reversal of situations.

How had it come to pass that Jean Valjean’s existence had elbowed that of Cosette for so long a period? The Corsican vendetta has penetrated to certain lower strata and has become the law there; it is so simple that it does not astonish souls which are but half turned towards good, says Marius. He recalls perfectly that funereal sight of Javert dragging the pinioned Javert out of the barricade. Who could have arranged that inexplicable pairing off? What was this Jean Valjean educating Cosette?

Here questions exfoliated, so to speak, into innumerable enigmas, abysses yawned at the bottoms of abysses, and Marius could no longer bend over Jean Valjean without becoming dizzy.  Cosette’s childhood and girlhood, her advent in the daylight, her virginal growth towards life and light, had been sheltered by that hideous devotion.  In the presence of this double secret, Marius recoiled.  God was as visible in this affair as was the writer of the play. God has his instruments, he makes use of the tool which he wills, and is not responsible to men, says God.

The workman was horrible, but the work was admirable. Jean Valjean was a passer-by.  Cosette was a light.  Cosette had sought the azure in a person like herself, in her lover, her husband, her celestial male.  Marius, on penal questions, still held to the inexorable system, though he was a democrat and entertained all the ideas of the law on the subject of those whom the law strikes.

After the very last of men comes the convict. The law has deprived him of the entire quantity of humanity of which it can deprive a man. Jean Valjean appeared to Marius hideous and repulsive. It is especially when one loves that one gives way to cowardice. Jean Valjean did not seem like a man who would draw back, and who knows whether Marius, after having urged him on, would not have himself desired to hold him back?

The purest figures may forever preserve the reflection of a horrible association. In this state of mind the thought that that man would, henceforth, come into any contact whatever with Cosette was a heartrending perplexity to Marius. Marius felt that he was too good, too gentle, too weak, and allowed himself to be touched. Jean Valjean played the part of fire, and that is what he should have done, and freed his house from that man. But love is a talent, and Marius succeeded in hiding his trouble from Cosette.

Jean Valjean Basque was in the courtyard of the Gillenormand house at the appointed hour, as though he had received his orders. He addressed Jean Valvieur without waiting for the latter to approach him: “Monsieur le Baron has charged me to inquire whether Mr. So and So-and-so desires to go upstairs or to remain below?”. The wall was daubed with an ochre yellow wash and the ceiling was scaling off in large flakes. At one end there was a chimney-piece painted in black with a narrow shelf and a fire was burning. Basque returned, set a lighted candle on the chimney and retired.

Jean Valjean was fatigued.  Marius told me that you wish me to receive you here.” Cosette was standing beside him.

Jean Valjean Cosette: What have I done to you? I declare that I am perplexed. You owe me reparation. But never mind, I pardon you. Jesus Christ said: Offer the other cheek.

Here it is. I always have loved my black corner. “But it is cold here, one cannot see distinctly,” he replied. And with supreme grace, setting her teeth and drawing back her lips, she blew at Jean Valjean.  Cosette became angry.

You do not defend me against Marius. Marius will not uphold me against you. I am all alone. I arrange a chamber prettily. If I could have put the good God there I would have done it!

She went on: “Ever since yesterday, you have made me rage, all of you.” Jean Valjean turned pale. “Well?” said Cosette. Cosette asked him no questions, was no longer astonished, no longer exclaimed that she was cold, no longer spoke of the drawing-room, she avoided saying either “father” or “Monsieur Jean.”  The curiosity of lovers does not extend very far beyond their own love. Marius arranged matters so as to be absent at the hours when Jean Vali-Valjean came. The lower room had made a little toilet, and Basque had suppressed the bottles and spiders.

Marius arranged matters so as to be absent at the hours when Jean Valjean came.   Jean Valjean came every day. Cosette’s pleasures were not costly, they consisted in one thing: being with Marius.  Jean Valjean’s love for Cosette grew as she became more and more gay and less and less tender. She said to him: Who are you then?

I don’t like all this. If I did not know how good you are, I should be afraid of you. He was at his own request and through his own complicity driven out of all his happinesses one after the other, he lost her again in detail. The gardens of the Rue Plumet produced on them the effect of the dawn. Marius’s economy was severe, and that word “severe” had its absolute meaning for Jean Val jàValjean.

Jean Valjean asked her. Cosette did not return.  “Madame went out with Monsieur and has not yet returned,” Basque said to him.  When it is the heart which is slipping, one does not halt on the downward slope. Jean Valjean’s visits were not abridged.

He sang the praises of Marius; he pronounced him handsome, noble, courageous, witty, eloquent, good. Cosette outdid him. They were never weary. “Was it you who told Basque not to make a fire then?” Provided that it was with you. “Adieu!” murmured Jean Valjean.

It was evident that Marius had his doubts as to the origin of the six hundred thousand francs, that he feared some source that was not pure, who knows?  Cosette shrugged her shoulders. “I think that Basque needed the chairs for the drawing-room.” On the following day he did not come, and Cosette paid no heed to this, and slept well that night, as usual, and thought of it only when she woke. She despatched Nicolette to M. Jean’s house to inquire whether he were ill, and why he had not come on the previous evening.

“—It is two days since I have been there,” said Jean Valjean gently. And she felt a slight twinge at her heart, but she hardly perceived it, being immediately diverted by a kiss from Marius. The nearer he approached the corner the more his eye lighted up; a sort of joy illuminated his pupils like an inward aurora. Whatever time he spent on arriving, he was obliged to arrive at last; he halted, he trembled, he thrust his head with a melancholy timidity round the corner. After a few minutes he shook his head slowly from right to left, as though refusing himself something, and retraced his steps. One would have said he was a pendulum which was no longer wound up, and whose oscillations were growing shorter before ceasing altogether.

The old man’s countenance expressed this single idea: What is the use of living? His eye was dim; no more radiance; they no longer collected in the corner of his eye-lid. He thought that he had serious reasons which the reader has already seen, and others which will be seen later on, for getting rid of Jean Valjean without harshness, but without weakness. Marius did what he considered necessary and just.  He had, in a manner, always placed himself between Cosette and Jean Valjean, sure that, in this way, she would not perceive nor think of the latter.

Monsieur Valjean’s wife Cosette had an all-powerful magnetism which caused her to do, instinctively and almost mechanically, what Marius wished. She yielded to the vague but clear pressure of his tacit intentions, and obeyed blindly. He believed at that moment that he had a grave duty to perform: the restitution of the six hundred francs to some one whom he sought with all possible discretion. Jean Valjean caused the answer “no” to be given. Marius gradually won Cosette away from Jean Valjean.

The ingratitude of children is not always a thing so deserving of reproach as it is supposed. Young people feel the cooling off of life; old people, that of the tomb. Jean Valjean: Why not to-day? The idea of leaving my platter without even touching it? Doctor of the Quarter: What is the matter with him?

Everything and nothing! Jean Valjean: “He told me that he was in good health.” “Shall you come again, doctor?” asks the doctor. He opened the valise and drew from it Cosette’s outfit. The chair into which he allowed himself to fall was placed in front of that mirror, so fatal for him, so providential for Marius, in which he had read Cosette’s reversed writing on the blotting book.  His cheeks were pendulous; the skin of his face had the color which would lead one to think that it already had earth upon it; the corners of his mouth drooped as in the mask which the ancients sculptured on tombs.

He was eighty years old; before Marius’ marriage, he would have hardly been taken for fifty; that year had counted for thirty. There is a little error in what he believed, though he was in the right. Love him well even after I am dead. He wrote slowly the few following lines:”Cosette, I bless thee.  Oh! he exclaimed within himself [lamentable cries, heard by God alone], all is over. She is a smile which passed over me. It may be said that amazement has its lightning flashes.Marius was, as it were, illuminated by one of these flashes.The sense of smell, that mysterious aid to memory, had just revived a whole world within him.  CHAPTER IV—A BOTTLE OF INK WHICH ONLY SUCCEEDED IN WHITENINGThat same day, or to speak more accurately, that same evening, as Marius left the table, and was on the point of withdrawing to his study, having a case to look over, Basque handed him a letter saying: “The person who wrote the letter is in the antechamber.”Cosette had taken the grandfather’s arm and was strolling in the garden.A letter, like a man, may have an unprepossessing exterior.  If the Supreme Being had given me the talents, I might have been baron Thénad, member of the Institute [acadenmy of ciences]. but I am not. happy if this memory recommends me to the eccellence of your kindnesses, he wrote. The letter was signed “Thénard”. A fresh surprise for Marius.  Basque announced:”Monsieur Thénard.”   If Marius Basque had been familiar with the occult institutions of Paris, he would instantly have recognized upon the back of the visitor whom Basque just shown in. Marius’ disappointment on beholding another man than the one whom he expected to see turned to the newcomer’s disadvantage. Monsieur le Baron, egotism is the law of the world. “What are you driving at?” asked the Baron. “What are you driving at?” interrupted Marius, who had passed from disappointment to impatience.

Monsieur le Baron. The stranger then said: “I have a secret to sell to you.” “His name is Jean Valjean.” Marius shuddered. Monsieur le Baron: “I know Jean Valjean’s name, just as I know your name, and I know what you wish to say to me”. Marius: What I have to tell you is known to myself alone. It concerns the fortune of Madame la Baronne.

It is for sale—I make you the first offer of it. Twenty thousand francs. He rips back his hair, tears off his spectacles, and withdraws from his nose by sleight of hand the two quills of which mention was made, and which the reader has also met with on another page of this book. And not only was this Baron perfectly informed as to Thénardier, but he seemed well posted as to Jean Valjean.  Thénardier, the reader will remember, although he had been Marius’ neighbor, had never seen him, which is not unusual in Paris; he had formerly, in a vague way, heard his daughters talk of a very poor young man named Marius who lived in the house.

He did not know exactly who was Cosette, but he knew that she was Madame la Baronne Pontmercy. From Thénardier’s point of view, the conversation with Marius had not yet begun.  Marius Cosette felt humiliated that his father should have owned anything to this villain. The letter of change drawn from the depths of the tomb by his father, Marius, had been protested up to that day. He could honor Colonel Pontmercy’s recommendation.

By the side of this duty there was another—to elucidate the source of Cosette’s fortune. Jean Valjean, as you have said, is an assassin and a thief.  Thénardier: I will make myself intelligible. Jean Valjean killed the agent Javert; he shot him with a pistol. I, the person who is speaking to you, was present.

Marius: Do you dispute that? These are facts. They are chimaeras. Monsieur Thénardier: “Jean Valjean and Madeleine are one and the same man, and I say that Javert had no other assassin than Javert”. Marius: “And this is the second: he did not assassinate Javert, because the person who killed Javert was Javert.” prove it!

cried Marius beside himself. Monsieur le Baron Thénardier: Jean Valjean did not rob Madeleine, but he is a thief. He is an assassin and a robber! Marius: Well, then this unhappy wretch is an admirable man! the whole of that fortune really belonged to him!

The Baron: “What I have to reveal to you is absolutely unknown”. Marius drew his chair closer to that of the orator and murmured as he pecked at the Drapeau Blanc with his nail. The grating of the outlet from the sewer was not far off. A little light which fell through it permitted him to recognize the newcomer, and to see that the man was carrying something on his back. He was walking in a bent attitude, and what he was dragging on his shoulders was a corpse.

Assassination caught in the act, if ever there was such a thing. Jean Valjean Marius Thénardier: Monsieur le Baron, a sewer is not the Champ de Mars. One lacks everything there, even room. That is what happened. “I’m struck all of a heap!” exclaims Marius as he fumbles in his pocket for the ritade.

But Thénardier continued:”Monsieur le Baron, I have the strongest of reasons for believing that the assassinated young man was an opulent stranger lured into a trap by Jean Valjean, and the bearer of an enormous sum of money.” Jean Valjean: I wouldn’t give a ha’penny for a general. And you come here to commit infamies! Only be happy, that is all that I desire! Thénardier left the room, understanding nothing, stupefied and delighted with this sweet crushing beneath sacks of gold, and with that thunder which had burst forth over his head in bank-bills. Two days after the events which we are at this moment narrating, he set off for America under a false name, furnished with a draft on New York for twenty thousand francs.

Marius was bewildered.  Cosette, come.  Basque, a carriage!  Jean Armé: I am a monster of ingratitude. Cosette, after having been your providence, he became mine! Marius Cosette: “We are going to bring him back, to take him with us, whether he is willing or not, he shall never leave us again.”

Jean Valjean said to him. Cosette and Marius made their appearance. Imagine, Monsieur Pontmercy, at the very moment when you entered, I was saying to myself: ‘All is over.  Jean Valjean: I really needed to see Cosette a little bit now and then. A heart needs a bone to gnaw, but I was perfectly conscious that I was in the way.

Jean-Monsieur Pontmercy: “They do not want you, keep in your own course, one has not the right to cling eternally”. Stay, Marius, feel how cold his hand is!” “I owe my life to you, why not have said so?” asks Marius Cosette. Ah! good heavens! when I reflect that it was by an accident that I have learned all this, retorts Jean ValJean. “If you only knew, father, I have had a sorrow, there was a robin redbreast which had made her nest in a hole in the wall, and a horrible cat ate her,” she tells him. No,” replied Jean Valjean.  And no more ‘madame,’ no more ‘Monsieur Jean,’ we are living under a Republic, everybody says thou, don’t they, Marius?

“Father!” said Cosette. Jean Valjean: I am going to die presently. I insist upon your living, do you hear? Monsieur Pontmercy: Death is a good arrangement. God knows better than we what we need.

Cosette: “Marius says that Marius says that you shall not die”. Marius stepped up to the doctor.   Jean Valjean turned to Cosette.  Monsieur Pontmercy: I am glad to see you, Jean Valjean. I will explain to you, my children, why you have not been willing to touch that money.

For bracelets, I invented a way of substituting for slides of soldered sheet iron, slides of iron laid together. It is prettier, better and less costly. You will understand how much money can be made in that way. doctor, he is coming back,” cried Marius. So Cosette’s fortune is really hers.   He made a sign to Cosette to draw near, then to Marius; the last minute of the last hour had, evidently, arrived. So there is no occasion for surprise at the six hundred thousand francs, Monsieur Pontmercy.  I have done what I could. Cosette, dost thou remember how I took hold of the handle of the water-bucket? That was the first time that I touched thy poor, little hand. Do not weep, my children, I am not going very far, I shall see you from there, and you will see me smile. And you too, Monsieur Pontmercy.  Jean Valjean: I imagined that all that belonged to me. In that lay my stupidity, and those Thénardiers were wicked. Love each other well and always. There is nothing else but that in the world: love for each other. His white face looked up to heaven, he allowed Cosette and Marius to cover his hands with kisses. In a cemetery of Père-Lachaise, far from all the tombs of fancy, there lies a stone. It is no more exempt than others from the leprosy of time, of dampness, of the lichens and from the defilement of the birds. A hand wrote upon it in pencil these four lines, which have become gradually illegible beneath the rain and the dust, and which are, to-day, probably effaced. Les Misérables is addressed to England as well as to Spain. It is written for all, but I wrote it for all. Your admirable Italy has all miseries on the face of it. Few nations are more deeply eaten by that ulcer of convents which I have endeavored to fathom. Like us, you have prejudices, superstitions, tyrannies, fanaticisms, blind laws lending assistance to ignorant customs. You have a barbarian, the monk, and a savage, the lazzarone. Have you not, like ourselves, an opulent war-budget and a paltry budget of education? Have you also that passive obedience which is so easily converted into soldierly obedience? military establishment which pushes the regulations to the extreme of firing upon Garibaldi; that is to say, upon the living honor of Italy? Let us subject your social order to examination, let us take it where it stands and as it stands. It is by the amount of protection with which these two feeble creatures are surrounded that the degree of civilization is to be measured.

Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo, is no less your mirror than ours. In proportion as I advance in life, I become more and more patriotic for humanity. This is, moreover, the tendency of our age, and the law of radiance of the French Revolution; books must cease to be exclusively French, Italian, German, Spanish, or English, and become European. This is, moreover, the tendency of our age, and the law of radiance of the French Revolution; books must cease to be exclusively French, Italian, German, Spanish, or English, and become European, I say more, human, if they are to correspond to the enlargement of civilization. Victor Hugo: “Whether we be Italians or Frenchmen, misery concerns us all”. He writes to the Italian critic of Les Misérables: “I am doing what I can, I suffer with the same universal suffering, and I try to assuage it, but I possess only the puny forces of a man.” Hugo: In France, some critics have reproached me, to my great delight, with having transgressed the bounds of what they call French taste.

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