Les Miserables

By Victor Hugo
Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood

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So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom,
decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially
creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding
the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the
three great problems of the century— the degradation of
man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through
hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light— are
unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part
of the world;—in other words, and with a still wider sig-
nificance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth,
books of the nature of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of

 Les Miserables


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In , M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop
of D—— He was an old man of about seventy-five years of
age; he had occupied the see of D—— since 1806.
Although this detail has no connection whatever with the
real substance of what we are about to relate, it will not be
superfluous, if merely for the sake of exactness in all points,
to mention here the various rumors and remarks which had
been in circulation about him from the very moment when
he arrived in the diocese. 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.
Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix;
hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar. It was said that
his father, destining him to be the heir of his own post, had
married him at a very early age, eighteen or twenty, in ac-
cordance with a custom which is rather widely prevalent in
parliamentary families. In spite of this marriage, however,
it was said that Charles Myriel created a great deal of talk.
He was well formed, though rather short in stature, elegant,
graceful, intelligent; the whole of the first portion of his life

 Les Miserables

had been devoted to the world and to gallantry.
The Revolution came; events succeeded each other with
precipitation; the parliamentary families, decimated, pur-
sued, hunted down, were dispersed. M. Charles Myriel
emigrated to Italy at the very beginning of the Revolution.
There his wife died of a malady of the chest, from which
she had long suffered. He had no children. What took place
next in the fate of M. Myriel? The ruin of the French soci-
ety of the olden days, the fall of his own family, the tragic
spectacles of ‘93, which were, perhaps, even more alarming
to the emigrants who viewed them from a distance, with
the magnifying powers of terror,—did these cause the ideas
of renunciation and solitude to germinate in him? Was he,
in the midst of these distractions, these affections which
absorbed his life, suddenly smitten with one of those mys-
terious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm,
by striking to his heart, a man whom public catastrophes
would not shake, by striking at his existence and his for-
tune? No one could have told: all that was known was, that
when he returned from Italy he was a priest.
In 1804, M. Myriel was the Cure of B—— [Brignolles].
He was already advanced in years, and lived in a very re-
tired manner.
About the epoch of the coronation, some petty af-
fair connected with his curacy—just what, is not precisely
known—took him to Paris. Among other powerful per-
sons to whom he went to solicit aid for his parishioners
was M. le Cardinal Fesch. One day, when the Emperor had
come to visit his uncle, the worthy Cure, who was waiting

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in the anteroom, found himself present when His Majes-
ty passed. Napoleon, on finding himself observed with a
certain curiosity by this old man, turned round and said
‘Who is this good man who is staring at me?’
‘Sire,’ said M. Myriel, ‘you are looking at a good man,
and I at a great man. Each of us can profit by it.’
That very evening, the Emperor asked the Cardinal the
name of the Cure, and some time afterwards M. Myriel
was utterly astonished to learn that he had been appointed
Bishop of D——
What truth was there, after all, in the stories which were
invented as to the early portion of M. Myriel’s life? No one
knew. Very few families had been acquainted with the Myri-
el family before the Revolution.
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. He was obliged to undergo
it although he was a bishop, and because he was a bishop.
But after all, the rumors with which his name was con-
nected were rumors only,—noise, sayings, words; less than
words— palabres, as the energetic language of the South ex-
presses it.
However that may be, after nine years of episcopal pow-
er and of residence in D——, all the stories and subjects of
conversation which engross petty towns and petty people at
the outset had fallen into profound oblivion. No one would
have dared to mention them; no one would have dared to
recall them.

 Les Miserables

M. Myriel had arrived at D—— accompanied by an el-
derly spinster, Mademoiselle Baptistine, who was his sister,
and ten years his junior.
Their only domestic was a female servant of the same
age as Mademoiselle Baptistine, and named Madame Ma-
gloire, who, after having been the servant of M. le Cure,
now assumed the double title of maid to Mademoiselle and
housekeeper to Monseigneur.
Mademoiselle Baptistine was a long, pale, thin, gen-
tle 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. She had never been pretty;
her whole life, which had been nothing but a succession of
holy deeds, had finally conferred upon her a sort of pallor
and transparency; and as she advanced in years she had ac-
quired what may be called the beauty of goodness. What
had been leanness in her youth had become transparency
in her maturity; and this diaphaneity allowed the angel to
be seen. She was a soul rather than a virgin. Her person
seemed made of a shadow; there was hardly sufficient body
to provide for sex; a little matter enclosing a light; large eyes
forever drooping;— a mere pretext for a soul’s remaining
on the earth.
Madame Magloire was a little, fat, white old woman,
corpulent and bustling; always out of breath,—in the first
place, because of her activity, and in the next, because of
her asthma.
On his arrival, M. Myriel was installed in the episcopal
palace with the honors required by the Imperial decrees,

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which class a bishop immediately after a major-general. The
mayor and the president paid the first call on him, and he,
in turn, paid the first call on the general and the prefect.
The installation over, the town waited to see its bishop
at work.

 Les Miserables



The episcopal palace of D—— adjoins the hospital.
The episcopal palace was a huge and beautiful house,
built of stone at the beginning of the last century by M.
Henri Puget, Doctor of Theology of the Faculty of Paris,
Abbe of Simore, who had been Bishop of D—— in 1712.
This palace was a genuine seignorial residence. Everything
about it had a grand air,—the apartments of the Bishop,
the drawing-rooms, the chambers, the principal court-
yard, which was very large, with walks encircling it under
arcades in the old Florentine fashion, and gardens plant-
ed with magnificent trees. In the dining-room, a long and
superb gallery which was situated on the ground-floor and
opened on the gardens, M. Henri Puget had entertained in
state, on July 29, 1714, My Lords Charles Brulart de Genlis,
archbishop; Prince d’Embrun; Antoine de Mesgrigny, the
capuchin, Bishop of Grasse; Philippe de Vendome, Grand
Prior of France, Abbe of Saint Honore de Lerins; Francois
de Berton de Crillon, bishop, Baron de Vence; Cesar de Sa-

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bran de Forcalquier, bishop, Seignor of Glandeve; and Jean
Soanen, Priest of the Oratory, preacher in ordinary to the
king, bishop, Seignor of Senez. The portraits of these sev-
en reverend personages decorated this apartment; and this
memorable date, the 29th of July, 1714, was there engraved
in letters of gold on a table of white marble.
The hospital was a low and narrow building of a single
story, with a small garden.
Three days after his arrival, the Bishop visited the hospi-
tal. The visit ended, he had the director requested to be so
good as to come to his house.
‘Monsieur the director of the hospital,’ said he to him,
‘how many sick people have you at the present moment?’
‘Twenty-six, Monseigneur.’
‘That was the number which I counted,’ said the Bishop.
‘The beds,’ pursued the director, ‘are very much crowded
against each other.’
‘That is what I observed.’
‘The halls are nothing but rooms, and it is with difficulty
that the air can be changed in them.’
‘So it seems to me.’
‘And then, when there is a ray of sun, the garden is very
small for the convalescents.’
‘That was what I said to myself.’
‘In case of epidemics,—we have had the typhus fever
this year; we had the sweating sickness two years ago, and a
hundred patients at times,—we know not what to do.’
‘That is the thought which occurred to me.’
‘What would you have, Monseigneur?’ said the director.

 Les Miserables

‘One must resign one’s self.’
This conversation took place in the gallery dining-room
on the ground-floor.
The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he turned
abruptly to the director of the hospital.
‘Monsieur,’ said he, ‘how many beds do you think this
hall alone would hold?’
‘Monseigneur’s dining-room?’ exclaimed the stupefied
The Bishop cast a glance round the apartment, and
seemed to be taking measures and calculations with his
‘It would hold full twenty beds,’ said he, as though
speaking to himself. Then, raising his voice:—
‘Hold, Monsieur the director of the hospital, I will tell
you something. There is evidently a mistake here. There are
thirty-six of you, in five or six small rooms. There are three
of us here, and we have room for sixty. There is some mis-
take, I tell you; you have my house, and I have yours. Give
me back my house; you are at home here.’
On the following day the thirty-six patients were in-
stalled in the Bishop’s palace, and the Bishop was settled in
the hospital.
M. Myriel had no property, his family having been ru-
ined by the Revolution. His sister was in receipt of a yearly
income of five hundred francs, which sufficed for her per-
sonal wants at the vicarage. M. Myriel received from the
State, in his quality of bishop, a salary of fifteen thousand
francs. On the very day when he took up his abode in the

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hospital, M. Myriel settled on the disposition of this sum
once for all, in the following manner. We transcribe here a
note made by his own hand:—


For the little seminary … … … …. . 1,500 livres
Society of the mission … … … …. . 100 ‘
For the Lazarists of Montdidier … … …. 100 ‘
Seminary for foreign missions in Paris … … 200 ‘
Congregation of the Holy Spirit … … …. 150 ‘
Religious establishments of the Holy Land …. . 100 ‘
Charitable maternity societies … … …. 300 ‘
Extra, for that of Arles … … … …. 50 ‘
Work for the amelioration of prisons … …. 400 ‘
Work for the relief and delivery of prisoners … 500 ‘
To liberate fathers of families incarcerated for debt 1,000 ‘
Addition to the salary of the poor teachers of the
diocese … … … … … …. 2000 ‘
Public granary of the Hautes-Alpes … …. . 100 ‘
Congregation of the ladies of D——, of Manosque, and of
Sisteron, for the gratuitous instruction of poor
girls … … … … … …. . 1,500 ‘
For the poor … … … … … …. 6,000 ‘
My personal expenses … … … … … 1,000 ‘
Total … … … … … …. . 15,000 ‘

 Les Miserables

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.
This arrangement was accepted with absolute submis-
sion by Mademoiselle Baptistine. This holy woman regarded
Monseigneur of D—— as at one and the same time her
brother and her bishop, her friend according to the flesh
and her superior according to the Church. She simply loved
and venerated him. When he spoke, she bowed; when he
acted, she yielded her adherence. Their only servant, Ma-
dame Magloire, grumbled a little. It will be observed that
Monsieur the Bishop had reserved for himself only one
thousand livres, which, added to the pension of Mademoi-
selle Baptistine, made fifteen hundred francs a year. On
these fifteen hundred francs these two old women and the
old man subsisted.
And when a village curate came to D——, the Bishop
still found means to entertain him, thanks to the severe
economy of Madame Magloire, and to the intelligent ad-
ministration of Mademoiselle Baptistine.
One day, after he had been in D—— about three months,
the Bishop said:—
‘And still I am quite cramped with it all!’
‘I should think so!’ exclaimed Madame Magloire. ‘Mon-
seigneur has not even claimed the allowance which the
department owes him for the expense of his carriage in
town, and for his journeys about the diocese. It was cus-
tomary for bishops in former days.’
‘Hold!’ cried the Bishop, ‘you are quite right, Madame

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And he made his demand.
Some time afterwards the General Council took this de-
mand under consideration, and voted him an annual sum
of three thousand francs, under this heading: Allowance to
M. the Bishop for expenses of carriage, expenses of posting,
and expenses of pastoral visits.
This provoked a great outcry among the local burgesses;
and a senator of the Empire, a former member of the Coun-
cil of the Five Hundred which favored the 18 Brumaire,
and who was provided with a magnificent senatorial office
in the vicinity of the town of D——, wrote to M. Bigot de
Preameneu, the minister of public worship, a very angry
and confidential note on the subject, from which we extract
these authentic lines:—
‘Expenses of carriage? What can be done with it in a town
of less than four thousand inhabitants? Expenses of jour-
neys? What is the use of these trips, in the first place? Next,
how can the posting be accomplished in these mountainous
parts? There are no roads. No one travels otherwise than
on horseback. Even the bridge between Durance and Cha-
teau-Arnoux can barely support ox-teams. These priests are
all thus, greedy and avaricious. This man played the good
priest when he first came. Now he does like the rest; he must
have a carriage and a posting-chaise, he must have luxuries,
like the bishops of the olden days. Oh, all this priesthood!
Things will not go well, M. le Comte, until the Emperor has
freed us from these black-capped rascals. Down with the
Pope! [Matters were getting embroiled with Rome.] For my

 Les Miserables

part, I am for Caesar alone.’ Etc., etc.
On the other hand, this affair afforded great delight to
Madame Magloire. ‘Good,’ said she to Mademoiselle Bap-
tistine; ‘Monseigneur began with other people, but he has
had to wind up with himself, after all. He has regulated all
his charities. Now here are three thousand francs for us! At
That same evening the Bishop wrote out and handed
to his sister a memorandum conceived in the following


For furnishing meat soup to the patients in the hospital. 1,500
For the maternity charitable society of Aix … …. 250 ‘
For the maternity charitable society of Draguignan … 250 ‘
For foundlings … … … … … … … 500 ‘
For orphans … … … … … … …. 500 ‘
Total … … … … … … …. . 3,000 ‘

Such was M. Myriel’s budget.
As for the chance episcopal perquisites, the fees for
marriage bans, dispensations, private baptisms, sermons,
benedictions, of churches or chapels, marriages, etc., the
Bishop levied them on the wealthy with all the more asper-
ity, since he bestowed them on the needy.
After a time, offerings of money flowed in. Those who

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had and those who lacked knocked at M. Myriel’s door,—
the latter in search of the alms which the former came
to deposit. In less than a year the Bishop had become the
treasurer of all benevolence and the cashier of all those in
distress. Considerable sums of money passed through his
hands, but nothing could induce him to make any change
whatever in his mode of life, or add anything superfluous to
his bare necessities.
Far from it. As there is always more wretchedness below
than there is brotherhood above, all was given away, so to
speak, before it was received. It was like water on dry soil;
no matter how much money he received, he never had any.
Then he stripped himself.
The usage being that bishops shall announce their bap-
tismal names at the head of their charges and their pastoral
letters, the poor people of the country-side had selected,
with 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 Monsei-
gneur Bienvenu [Welcome]. We will follow their example,
and will also call him thus when we have occasion to name
him. Moreover, this appellation pleased him.
‘I like that name,’ said he. ‘Bienvenu makes up for the
We do not claim that the portrait herewith presented is
probable; we confine ourselves to stating that it resembles
the original.

 Les Miserables



The Bishop did not omit his pastoral visits because he had
converted his carriage into alms. The diocese of D—— is a
fatiguing one. There are very few plains and a great many
mountains; hardly any roads, as we have just seen; thirty-two
curacies, forty-one vicarships, and two hundred and eighty-
five auxiliary chapels. To visit all these is quite a task.
The Bishop managed to do it. He went on foot when it
was in the neighborhood, in a tilted spring-cart when it was
on the plain, and on a donkey in the mountains. The two old
women accompanied him. When the trip was too hard for
them, he went alone.
One day he arrived at Senez, which is an ancient episco-
pal city. He was mounted on an ass. His purse, which was
very dry at that moment, did not permit him any other equi-
page. The mayor of the town came to receive him at the gate
of the town, and watched him dismount from his ass, with
scandalized eyes. Some of the citizens were laughing around
him. ‘Monsieur the Mayor,’ said the Bishop, ‘and Messieurs

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Citizens, I perceive that I shock you. You think it very ar-
rogant in a poor priest to ride an animal which was used by
Jesus Christ. I have done so from necessity, I assure you, and
not from vanity.’
In the course of these trips he was kind and indulgent,
and talked rather than preached. He never went far in search
of his arguments and his examples. He quoted to the inhab-
itants of one district the example of a neighboring district.
In the cantons where they were harsh to the poor, he said:
‘Look at the people of Briancon! They have conferred on the
poor, on widows and orphans, the right to have their mead-
ows mown three days in advance of every one else. They
rebuild their houses for them gratuitously when they are ru-
ined. Therefore it is a country which is blessed by God. For a
whole century, there has not been a single murderer among
In villages which were greedy for profit and harvest, he
said: ‘Look at the people of Embrun! If, at the harvest sea-
son, 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 cure 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 families di-
vided by questions of money and inheritance he said: ‘Look
at the mountaineers of Devolny, a country so wild that the
nightingale is not heard there once in fifty years. Well, when
the father of a family dies, the boys go off to seek their for-

 Les Miserables

tunes, leaving the property to the girls, so that they may find
husbands.’ To the cantons which had a taste for lawsuits, and
where the farmers ruined themselves in stamped paper, he
said: ‘Look at those good peasants in the valley of Queyras!
There are three thousand souls of them. Mon Dieu! it is like
a little republic. Neither judge nor bailiff is known there. The
mayor does everything. He allots the imposts, taxes each
person conscientiously, judges quarrels for nothing, divides
inheritances without charge, pronounces sentences gratu-
itously; and he is obeyed, because he is a just man among
simple men.’ To villages where he found no schoolmaster,
he quoted once more the people of Queyras: ‘Do you know
how they manage?’ he said. ‘Since a little country of a doz-
en or fifteen hearths cannot always support a teacher, they
have school-masters who are paid by the whole valley, who
make the round of the villages, spending a week in this one,
ten days in that, and instruct them. These teachers go to the
fairs. I have seen them there. They are to be recognized by
the quill pens which they wear in the cord of their hat. Those
who teach reading only have one pen; those who teach read-
ing and reckoning have two pens; those who teach reading,
reckoning, and Latin have three pens. But what a disgrace to
be ignorant! Do like the people of Queyras!’
Thus he discoursed gravely and paternally; in default of
examples, he invented parables, going directly to the point,
with few phrases and many images, which characteristic
formed the real eloquence of Jesus Christ. And being con-
vinced himself, he was persuasive.

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His conversation was gay and affable. He put himself on
a level with the two old women who had passed their lives
beside him. When he laughed, it was the laugh of a school-
boy. Madame Magloire liked to call him Your Grace [Votre
Grandeur]. One day he rose from his arm-chair, and went
to his library in search of a book. This book was on one of
the upper shelves. As the bishop was rather short of stature,
he could not reach it. ‘Madame Magloire,’ said he, ‘fetch me
a chair. My greatness [grandeur] does not reach as far as
that shelf.’
One of his distant relatives, Madame la Comtesse de Lo,
rarely allowed an opportunity to escape of enumerating, in
his presence, what she designated as ‘the expectations’ of
her three sons. She had numerous relatives, who were very
old and near to death, and of whom her sons were the nat-
ural heirs. The youngest of the three was to receive from
a grand-aunt a good hundred thousand livres of income;
the second was the heir by entail to the title of the Duke,

 Les Miserables

his uncle; the eldest was to succeed to the peerage of his
grandfather. The Bishop was accustomed to listen in silence
to these innocent and pardonable maternal boasts. On one
occasion, however, he appeared to be more thoughtful than
usual, while Madame de Lo was relating once again the de-
tails of all these inheritances and all these ‘expectations.’
She interrupted herself impatiently: ‘Mon Dieu, cousin!
What are you thinking about?’ ‘I am thinking,’ replied the
Bishop, ‘of a singular remark, which is to be found, I be-
lieve, in St. Augustine,—‘Place your hopes in the man from
whom you do not inherit.’’
At another time, on receiving a notification of the de-
cease of a gentleman of the country-side, wherein not only
the dignities of the dead man, but also the feudal and no-
ble qualifications of all his relatives, spread over an entire
page: ‘What a stout back Death has!’ he exclaimed. ‘What a
strange burden of titles is cheerfully imposed on him, and
how much wit must men have, in order thus to press the
tomb into the service of vanity!’
He was gifted, on occasion, with a gentle raillery, which
almost always concealed a serious meaning. In the course of
one Lent, a youthful vicar came to D——, and preached in
the cathedral. He was tolerably eloquent. The subject of his
sermon was charity. He urged the rich to give to the poor,
in order to avoid hell, which he depicted in the most fright-
ful manner of which he was capable, and to win paradise,
which he represented as charming and desirable. Among
the audience there was a wealthy retired merchant, who
was somewhat of a usurer, named M. Geborand, who had

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amassed two millions in the manufacture of coarse cloth,
serges, and woollen galloons. Never in his whole life had
M. Geborand bestowed alms on any poor wretch. 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. There were six of them to share it. One day
the Bishop caught sight of him in the act of bestowing this
charity, and said to his sister, with a smile, ‘There is M. Ge-
borand purchasing paradise for a sou.’
When it was a question of charity, he was not to be re-
buffed even by a refusal, and on such occasions he gave
utterance to remarks which induced reflection. Once he
was begging for the poor in a drawing-room of the town;
there was present the Marquis de Champtercier, a wealthy
and avaricious old man, who contrived to be, at one and the
same time, an ultra-royalist and an ultra-Voltairian. This
variety of man has actually existed. When the Bishop came
to him, he touched his arm, ‘You must give me something,
M. le Marquis.’ The Marquis turned round and answered
dryly, ‘I have poor people of my own, Monseigneur.’ ‘Give
them to me,’ replied the Bishop.
One day he preached the following sermon in the
‘My very dear brethren, my good friends, there are thir-
teen hundred and twenty thousand peasants’ dwellings in
France which have but three openings; eighteen hundred
and seventeen thousand hovels which have but two open-
ings, the door and one window; and three hundred and
forty-six thousand cabins besides which have but one open-

 Les Miserables

ing, the door. And this arises from a thing which is called
the tax on doors and windows. Just put poor families, old
women and little children, in those buildings, and behold
the fevers and maladies which result! Alas! God gives air to
men; the law sells it to them. I do not blame the law, but I
bless God. In the department of the Isere, in the Var, in the
two departments of the Alpes, the Hautes, and the Basses,
the peasants have not even wheelbarrows; they transport
their manure on the backs of men; they have no candles,
and they burn resinous sticks, and bits of rope dipped in
pitch. That is the state of affairs throughout the whole of the
hilly country of Dauphine. They make bread for six months
at one time; they bake it with dried cow-dung. In the winter
they break this bread up with an axe, and they soak it for
twenty-four hours, in order to render it eatable. My breth-
ren, have pity! behold the suffering on all sides of you!’
Born a Provencal, he easily familiarized himself with the
dialect of the south. He said, ‘En be! moussu, ses sage?’ as
in lower Languedoc; ‘Onte anaras passa?’ as in the Basses-
Alpes; ‘Puerte un bouen moutu embe un bouen fromage
grase,’ as in upper Dauphine. This pleased the people ex-
tremely, and contributed not a little to win him access to
all spirits. He was perfectly at home in the thatched cot-
tage and in the mountains. He understood how to say the
grandest things in the most vulgar of idioms. As he spoke
all tongues, he entered into all hearts.
Moreover, he was the same towards people of the world
and towards the lower classes. He condemned nothing in
haste and without taking circumstances into account. He

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said, ‘Examine the road over which the fault has passed.’
Being, as he described himself with a smile, an ex-sinner,
he had none of the asperities of austerity, and he professed,
with a good deal of distinctness, and without the frown of
the ferociously virtuous, a doctrine which may be summed
up as follows:—
‘Man has upon him his flesh, which is at once his burden
and his temptation. He drags it with him and yields to it. He
must watch it, cheek it, repress it, and obey it only at the last
extremity. There may be some fault even in this obedience;
but the fault thus committed is venial; it is a fall, but a fall
on the knees which may terminate in prayer.
‘To be a saint is the exception; to be an upright man is the
rule. Err, fall, sin if you will, but be upright.
‘The least possible sin is the law of man. No sin at all is
the dream of the angel. All which is terrestrial is subject to
sin. Sin is a gravitation.’
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. These are hypocrisies which have taken fright,
and are in haste to make protest and to put themselves un-
der shelter.’
He was indulgent towards women and poor people, on
whom the burden of human society rest. He said, ‘The faults
of women, of children, of the feeble, the indigent, and the
ignorant, are the fault of the husbands, the fathers, the mas-
ters, the strong, the rich, and the wise.’
He said, moreover, ‘Teach those who are ignorant as

 Les Miserables

many things as possible; society is culpable, in that it does
not afford instruction gratis; it is responsible for the night
which it produces. This soul is full of shadow; sin is therein
committed. The guilty one is not the person who has com-
mitted the sin, but the person who has created the shadow.’
It will be perceived that he had a peculiar manner of his
own of judging things: I suspect that he obtained it from
the Gospel.
One day he heard a criminal case, which was in prepara-
tion and on the point of trial, discussed in a drawing-room.
A wretched man, being at the end of his resources, had
coined counterfeit money, out of love for a woman, and for
the child which he had had by her. Counterfeiting was still
punishable with death at that epoch. The woman had been
arrested in the act of passing the first false piece made by the
man. She was held, but there were no proofs except against
her. She alone could accuse her lover, and destroy him by
her confession. She denied; they insisted. She persisted in
her denial. Thereupon an idea occurred to the attorney for
the crown. He invented an infidelity on the part of the lover,
and succeeded, by means of fragments of letters cunningly
presented, in persuading the unfortunate woman that she
had a rival, and that the man was deceiving her. Thereupon,
exasperated by jealousy, she denounced her lover, confessed
all, proved all.
The man was ruined. He was shortly to be tried at Aix
with his accomplice. They were relating the matter, and each
one was expressing enthusiasm over the cleverness of the
magistrate. By bringing jealousy into play, he had caused

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the truth to burst forth in wrath, he had educed the justice
of revenge. The Bishop listened to all this in silence. When
they had finished, he inquired,—
‘Where are this man and woman to be tried?’
‘At the Court of Assizes.’
He went on, ‘And where will the advocate of the crown
be tried?’
A tragic event occurred at D—— A man was condemned
to death for murder. He was a wretched fellow, not exactly
educated, not exactly ignorant, who had been a mounte-
bank at fairs, and a writer for the public. The town took a
great interest in the trial. On the eve of the day fixed for the
execution of the condemned man, the chaplain of the prison
fell ill. A priest was needed to attend the criminal in his last
moments. They sent for the cure. It seems that he refused to
come, saying, ‘That is no affair of mine. I have nothing to
do with that unpleasant task, and with that mountebank:
I, too, am ill; and besides, it is not my place.’ This reply was
reported to the Bishop, who said, ‘Monsieur le Cure is right:
it is not his place; it is mine.’
He went instantly to the prison, descended to the cell
of the ‘mountebank,’ called him by name, took him by the
hand, and spoke to him. He passed the entire day with him,
forgetful of food and sleep, praying to God for the soul of the
condemned man, and praying the condemned man for his
own. He told him the best truths, which are also the most
simple. He was father, brother, friend; he was bishop only to
bless. He taught him everything, encouraged and consoled
him. The man was on the point of dying in despair. Death

 Les Miserables

was an abyss to him. As he stood trembling on its mourn-
ful brink, he recoiled with horror. He was not sufficiently
ignorant to be absolutely indifferent. His condemnation,
which had been a profound shock, had, in a manner, bro-
ken through, here and there, that wall which separates us
from the mystery of things, and which we call life. He gazed
incessantly beyond this world through these fatal breaches,
and beheld only darkness. The Bishop made him see light.
On the following day, when they came to fetch the un-
happy wretch, the Bishop was still there. He followed him,
and exhibited himself to the eyes of the crowd in his purple
camail and with his episcopal cross upon his neck, side by
side with the criminal bound with cords.
He mounted the tumbril with him, he mounted the scaf-
fold with him. The sufferer, who had been so gloomy and
cast down on the preceding day, was radiant. He felt that his
soul was reconciled, and he hoped in God. The Bishop em-
braced him, and at the moment when the knife was about
to fall, he said to him: ‘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.’ When he descended from the scaffold, there was
something in his look which made the people draw aside to
let him pass. They did not know which was most worthy of
admiration, his pallor or his serenity. On his return to the
humble dwelling, which he designated, with a smile, as his
palace, he said to his sister, ‘I have just officiated pontifi-
Since the most sublime things are often those which are

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the least understood, there were people in the town who
said, when commenting on this conduct of the Bishop, ‘It
is affectation.’
This, however, was a remark which was confined to the
drawing-rooms. The populace, which perceives no jest in
holy deeds, was touched, and admired him.
As for the Bishop, it was a shock to him to have beheld
the guillotine, and it was a long time before he recovered
from it.
In fact, when the scaffold is there, all erected and
prepared, it has something about it which produces hallu-
cination. One may feel a certain indifference to the death
penalty, one may refrain from pronouncing upon it, from
saying yes or no, so long as one has not seen a guillotine
with one’s own eyes: but if one encounters one of them, the
shock is violent; one is forced to decide, and to take part for
or against. Some admire it, like de Maistre; others execrate
it, like Beccaria. The guillotine is the concretion of the law;
it is called vindicte; it is not neutral, and it does not permit
you to remain neutral. He who sees it shivers with the most
mysterious of shivers. All social problems erect their inter-
rogation point around this chopping-knife. The scaffold is a
vision. The scaffold is not a piece of carpentry; the scaffold is
not a machine; the scaffold is not an inert bit of mechanism
constructed of wood, iron and cords.
It seems as though it were a being, possessed of I know
not what sombre initiative; one would say that this piece
of carpenter’s work saw, that this machine heard, that this
mechanism understood, that this wood, this iron, and these

 Les Miserables

cords were possessed of will. In the frightful meditation
into which its presence casts the soul the scaffold appears
in terrible guise, and as though taking part in what is go-
ing on. The scaffold is the accomplice of the executioner; it
devours, it eats flesh, it drinks blood; the scaffold is a sort of
monster fabricated by the judge and the carpenter, a spectre
which seems to live with a horrible vitality composed of all
the death which it has inflicted.
Therefore, the impression was terrible and profound; on
the day following the execution, and on many succeeding
days, the Bishop appeared to be crushed. The almost vio-
lent serenity of the funereal moment had disappeared; the
phantom of social justice tormented him. He, who gener-
ally returned from all his deeds with a radiant satisfaction,
seemed to be reproaching himself. At times he talked to
himself, and stammered lugubrious monologues in a low
voice. This is one which his sister overheard one evening
and preserved: ‘I did not think that it was so monstrous.
It is wrong to become absorbed in the divine law to such a
degree as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God
alone. By what right do men touch that unknown thing?’
In course of time these impressions weakened and prob-
ably vanished. Nevertheless, it was observed that the Bishop
thenceforth avoided passing the place of execution.
M. Myriel could be summoned at any hour to the bedside
of the sick and dying. He did not ignore the fact that therein
lay his greatest duty and his greatest labor. Widowed and
orphaned families had no need to summon him; he came
of his own accord. He understood how to sit down and hold

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his peace for long hours beside the man who had lost the
wife of his love, of the mother who had lost her child. As
he knew the moment for silence he knew also the moment
for speech. Oh, admirable consoler! He sought not to efface
sorrow by forgetfulness, but to magnify and dignify it by
hope. He said:—
‘Have a care of the manner in which you turn towards the
dead. Think not of that which perishes. Gaze steadily. You
will perceive the living light of your well-beloved dead in
the depths of heaven.’ He knew that faith is wholesome. He
sought to counsel and calm the despairing man, by point-
ing out to him the resigned man, and to transform the grief
which gazes upon a grave by showing him the grief which
fixes its gaze upon a star.

 Les Miserables



The private life of M. Myriel was filled with the same
thoughts as his public life. The voluntary poverty in which
the Bishop of D—— lived, would have been a solemn and
charming sight for any one who could have viewed it close
at hand.
Like all old men, and like the majority of thinkers, he
slept little. This brief slumber was profound. In the morning
he meditated for an hour, then he said his mass, either at the
cathedral or in his own house. His mass said, he broke his
fast on rye bread dipped in the milk of his own cows. Then
he set to work.
A Bishop is a very busy man: he must every day receive
the secretary of the bishopric, who is generally a canon, and
nearly every day his vicars-general. He has congregations
to reprove, privileges to grant, a whole ecclesiastical library
to examine,— prayer-books, diocesan catechisms, books of

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hours, etc.,—charges to write, sermons to authorize, cures
and mayors to reconcile, a clerical correspondence, an ad-
ministrative correspondence; on one side the State, on the
other the Holy See; and a thousand matters of business.
What time was left to him, after these thousand details
of business, and his offices and his breviary, he bestowed
first on the necessitous, the sick, and the afflicted; the time
which was left to him from the afflicted, the sick, and the
necessitous, he devoted to work. Sometimes he dug in his
garden; again, he read or wrote. He had but one word for
both these kinds of toil; he called them gardening. ‘The
mind is a garden,’ said he.
Towards mid-day, when the weather was fine, he went
forth and took a stroll in the country or in town, often en-
tering lowly dwellings. He was seen walking alone, buried
in his own thoughts, his eyes cast down, supporting himself
on his long cane, clad in his wadded purple garment of silk,
which was very warm, wearing purple stockings inside his
coarse shoes, and surmounted by a flat hat which allowed
three golden tassels of large bullion to droop from its three
It was a perfect festival wherever he appeared. One would
have said that his presence had something warming and lu-
minous about it. The children and the old people came out
to the doorsteps for the Bishop as for the sun. He bestowed
his blessing, and they blessed him. They pointed out his
house to any one who was in need of anything.
Here and there he halted, accosted the little boys and
girls, and smiled upon the mothers. He visited the poor so

 Les Miserables

long as he had any money; when he no longer had any, he
visited the rich.
As he made his cassocks last a long while, and did not
wish to have it noticed, he never went out in the town with-
out his wadded purple cloak. This inconvenienced him
somewhat in summer.
On his return, he dined. The dinner resembled his break-
At half-past eight in the evening he supped with his sis-
ter, Madame Magloire standing behind them and serving
them at table. Nothing could be more frugal than this re-
past. If, however, the Bishop had one of his cures to supper,
Madame Magloire took advantage of the opportunity to
serve Monseigneur with some excellent fish from the lake,
or with some fine game from the mountains. Every cure
furnished the pretext for a good meal: the Bishop did not
interfere. With that exception, his ordinary diet consisted
only of vegetables boiled in water, and oil soup. Thus it was
said in the town, when the Bishop does not indulge in the
cheer of a cure, he indulges in the cheer of a trappist.
After supper he conversed for half an hour with Made-
moiselle 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; among others, a disserta-
tion on this verse in Genesis, In the beginning, the spirit of
God floated upon the waters. With this verse he compares
three texts: the Arabic verse which says, The winds of God

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blew; Flavius Josephus who says, A wind from above was
precipitated upon the earth; and finally, the Chaldaic para-
phrase of Onkelos, which renders it, A wind coming from
God blew upon the face of the waters. In another disserta-
tion, he examines the theological works of Hugo, Bishop of
Ptolemais, great-grand-uncle to the writer of this book, and
establishes the fact, that to this bishop must be attributed
the divers little works published during the last century, un-
der the pseudonym of Barleycourt.
Sometimes, in the midst of his reading, no matter what
the book might be which he had in his hand, he would
suddenly fall into a profound meditation, whence he only
emerged to write a few lines on the pages of the volume it-
self. These lines have often no connection whatever with the
book which contains them. We now have under our eyes
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.
Versailles, Poincot, book-seller; and Paris, Pissot, booksell-
er, Quai des Augustins.
Here is the note:—
‘Oh, you who are!
‘Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees
call you the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you
liberty; Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you
Wisdom and Truth; John calls you Light; the Books of
Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls you Providence; Levit-
icus, Sanctity; Esdras, Justice; the creation calls you God;
man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion,

 Les Miserables

and that is the most beautiful of all your names.’
Toward nine o’clock in the evening the two women re-
tired and betook themselves to their chambers on the first
floor, leaving him alone until morning on the ground floor.
It is necessary that we should, in this place, give an exact
idea of the dwelling of the Bishop of D——

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The house in which he lived consisted, as we have said,
of a ground floor, and one story above; three rooms on the
ground floor, three chambers on the first, and an attic above.
Behind the house was a garden, a quarter of an acre in ex-
tent. The two women occupied the first floor; the Bishop was
lodged below. The first room, opening on the street, served
him as dining-room, the second was his bedroom, and the
third his oratory. There was no exit possible from this ora-
tory, except by passing through the bedroom, nor from the
bedroom, without passing through the dining-room. At
the end of the suite, in the oratory, there was a detached al-
cove with a bed, for use in cases of hospitality. The Bishop
offered this bed to country curates whom business or the
requirements of their parishes brought to D——
The pharmacy of the hospital, a small building which
had been added to the house, and abutted on the garden,
had been transformed into a kitchen and cellar. In addition
to this, there was in the garden a stable, which had formerly

 Les Miserables

been the kitchen of the hospital, and in which the Bishop
kept two cows. No matter what the quantity of milk they
gave, he invariably sent half of it every morning to the sick
people in the hospital. ‘I am paying my tithes,’ he said.
His bedroom was tolerably large, and rather difficult to
warm in bad weather. As wood is extremely dear at D——,
he hit upon the idea of having a compartment of boards
constructed in the cow-shed. Here he passed his evenings
during seasons of severe cold: he called it his winter salon.
In this winter salon, as in the dining-room, there was no
other furniture than a square table in white wood, and four
straw-seated chairs. In addition to this the dining-room
was ornamented with an antique sideboard, painted pink,
in water colors. Out of a similar sideboard, properly draped
with white napery and imitation lace, the Bishop had con-
structed the altar which decorated his oratory.
His wealthy penitents and the sainted women of D——
had more than once assessed themselves to raise the money
for a new altar for Monseigneur’s oratory; on each occasion
he had taken the money and had given it to the poor. ‘The
most beautiful of altars,’ he said, ‘is the soul of an unhappy
creature consoled and thanking God.’
In his oratory there were two straw prie-Dieu, and there
was an arm-chair, also in straw, in his bedroom. When, by
chance, he received seven or eight persons at one time, the
prefect, or the general, or the staff of the regiment in gar-
rison, or several pupils from the little seminary, the chairs
had to be fetched from the winter salon in the stable, the
prie-Dieu from the oratory, and the arm-chair from the

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bedroom: in this way as many as eleven chairs could be col-
lected for the visitors. A room was dismantled for each new
It sometimes happened that there were twelve in the
party; the Bishop then relieved the embarrassment of the
situation by standing in front of the chimney if it was win-
ter, or by strolling in the garden if it was summer.
There was still another chair in the detached alcove, but
the straw was half gone from it, and it had but three legs, so
that it was of service only when propped against the wall.
Mademoiselle Baptistine had also in her own room a very
large easy-chair of wood, which had formerly been gild-
ed, and which was covered with flowered pekin; but they
had been obliged to hoist this bergere up to the first sto-
ry through the window, as the staircase was too narrow; it
could not, therefore, be reckoned among the possibilities in
the way of furniture.
Mademoiselle Baptistine’s ambition had been to be
able to purchase a set of drawing-room furniture in yellow
Utrecht velvet, stamped with a rose pattern, and with ma-
hogany in swan’s neck style, with a sofa. But this would have
cost five hundred francs at least, and in view of the fact that
she had only been able to lay by forty-two francs and ten
sous for this purpose in the course of five years, she had
ended by renouncing the idea. However, who is there who
has attained his ideal?
Nothing is more easy to present to the imagination than
the Bishop’s bedchamber. A glazed door opened on the gar-
den; opposite this was the bed,—a hospital bed of iron, with

 Les Miserables

a canopy of green serge; in the shadow of the bed, behind a
curtain, were the utensils of the toilet, which still betrayed
the elegant habits of the man of the world: there were two
doors, one near the chimney, opening into the oratory; the
other near the bookcase, opening into the dining-room.
The bookcase was a large cupboard with glass doors filled
with books; the chimney was of wood painted to represent
marble, and habitually without fire. In the chimney stood
a pair of firedogs of iron, ornamented above with two gar-
landed vases, and flutings which had formerly been silvered
with silver leaf, which was a sort of episcopal luxury; above
the chimney-piece hung a crucifix of copper, with the silver
worn off, fixed on a background of threadbare velvet in a
wooden frame from which the gilding had fallen; near the
glass door a large table with an inkstand, loaded with a con-
fusion of papers and with huge volumes; before the table
an arm-chair of straw; in front of the bed a prie-Dieu, bor-
rowed from the oratory.
Two portraits in oval frames were fastened to the wall
on each side of the bed. Small gilt inscriptions on the plain
surface of the cloth at the side of these figures indicated that
the portraits represented, one the Abbe of Chaliot, bishop
of Saint Claude; the other, the Abbe Tourteau, vicar-general
of Agde, abbe of Grand-Champ, order of Citeaux, diocese
of Chartres. When the Bishop succeeded to this apartment,
after the hospital patients, he had found these portraits
there, and had left them. They were priests, and probably
donors—two reasons for respecting them. All that he knew
about these two persons was, that they had been appointed

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by the king, the one to his bishopric, the other to his ben-
efice, on the same day, the 27th of April, 1785. Madame
Magloire having taken the pictures down to dust, the Bish-
op 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 Abbe of Grand-Champ with
four wafers.
At his window he had an antique curtain of a coarse
woollen stuff, which finally became so old, that, in order
to avoid the expense of a new one, Madame Magloire was
forced to take a large seam in the very middle of it. This
seam took the form of a cross. The Bishop often called atten-
tion to it: ‘How delightful that is!’ he said.
All the rooms in the house, without exception, those
on the ground floor as well as those on the first floor, were
white-washed, which is a fashion in barracks and hospitals.
However, in their latter years, Madame Magloire dis-
covered beneath the paper which had been washed over,
paintings, ornamenting the apartment of Mademoiselle
Baptistine, as we shall see further on. Before becoming a
hospital, this house had been the ancient parliament house
of the Bourgeois. Hence this decoration. The chambers were
paved in red bricks, which were washed every week, with
straw mats in front of all the beds. Altogether, this dwelling,
which was attended to by the two women, was exquisitely
clean from top to bottom. This was the sole luxury which
the Bishop permitted. He said, ‘That takes nothing from the
It must be confessed, however, that he still retained

 Les Miserables

from his former possessions six silver knives and forks and
a soup-ladle, which Madame Magloire contemplated ev-
ery day with delight, as they glistened splendidly upon the
coarse linen cloth. And since we are now painting the Bish-
op of D—— as he was in reality, we must add that he had
said more than once, ‘I find it difficult to renounce eating
from silver dishes.’
To this silverware must be added two large candlesticks
of massive silver, which he had inherited from a great-aunt.
These candlesticks held two wax candles, and usually fig-
ured on the Bishop’s chimney-piece. When he had any one
to dinner, Madame Magloire lighted the two candles and
set the candlesticks on the table.
In the Bishop’s own chamber, at the head of his bed,
there was a small cupboard, in which Madame Magloire
locked up the six silver knives and forks and the big spoon
every night. But it is necessary to add, that the key was nev-
er removed.
The garden, which had been rather spoiled by the ugly
buildings which we have mentioned, was composed of four
alleys in cross-form, radiating from a tank. Another walk
made the circuit of the garden, and skirted the white wall
which enclosed it. These alleys left behind them four square
plots rimmed with box. In three of these, Madame Magloire
cultivated vegetables; in the fourth, the Bishop had planted
some flowers; here and there stood a few fruit-trees. Madame
Magloire had once remarked, with a sort of gentle malice:
‘Monseigneur, you who turn everything to account, have,
nevertheless, one useless plot. It would be better to grow sal-

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ads there than bouquets.’ ‘Madame Magloire,’ retorted the
Bishop, ‘you are mistaken. The beautiful is as useful as the
useful.’ He added after a pause, ‘More so, perhaps.’
This plot, consisting of three or four beds, occupied the
Bishop almost as much as did his books. He liked to pass
an hour or two there, trimming, hoeing, and making holes
here and there in the earth, into which he dropped seeds. He
was not as hostile to insects as a gardener could have wished
to see him. Moreover, he made no pretensions to botany; he
ignored groups and consistency; he made not the slightest
effort to decide between Tournefort and the natural method;
he took part neither with the buds against the cotyledons,
nor with Jussieu against Linnaeus. He did not study plants;
he loved flowers. He respected learned men greatly; he re-
spected the ignorant still more; and, without ever failing in
these two respects, he watered his flower-beds every sum-
mer evening with a tin watering-pot painted green.
The house had not a single door which could be locked.
The door of the dining-room, which, as we have said, opened
directly on the cathedral square, had formerly been orna-
mented with locks and bolts like the door of a prison. The
Bishop had had all this ironwork removed, and this door
was never fastened, either by night or by day, with anything
except the latch. All that the first passerby had to do at any
hour, was to give it a push. At first, the two women had been
very much tried by this door, which was never fastened,
but Monsieur de D—— had said to them, ‘Have bolts put
on your rooms, if that will please you.’ They had ended by
sharing his confidence, or by at least acting as though they

 Les Miserables

shared it. Madame Magloire alone had frights from time to
time. As for the Bishop, his thought can be found explained,
or at least indicated, in the three lines which he wrote on the
margin of a Bible, ‘This is the shade of difference: the door
of the physician should never be shut, the door of the priest
should always be open.’
On another book, entitled Philosophy of the Medical
Science, he had written this other note: ‘Am not I a physi-
cian like them? I also have my patients, and then, too, I have
some whom I call my unfortunates.’
Again he wrote: ‘Do not inquire the name of him who
asks a shelter of you. The very man who is embarrassed by
his name is the one who needs shelter.’
It chanced that a worthy cure, I know not whether it was
the cure of Couloubroux or the cure 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. The Bishop touched his shoulder, with
gentle gravity, and said to him, ‘Nisi Dominus custodierit
domum, in vanum vigilant qui custodiunt eam,’ Unless the
Lord guard the house, in vain do they watch who guard it.
Then he spoke of something else.
He was fond of saying, ‘There is a bravery of the priest
as well as the bravery of a colonel of dragoons,—only,’ he
added, ‘ours must be tranquil.’

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It is here that a fact falls naturally into place, which we
must not omit, because it is one of the sort which show us
best what sort of a man the Bishop of D—— was.
After the destruction of the band of Gaspard Bes, who
had infested the gorges of Ollioules, one of his lieutenants,
Cravatte, took refuge in the mountains. He concealed him-
self for some time with his bandits, the remnant of Gaspard
Bes’s troop, in the county of Nice; then he made his way to
Piedmont, and suddenly reappeared in France, in the vi-
cinity of Barcelonette. He was first seen at Jauziers, then at
Tuiles. He hid himself in the caverns of the Joug-de-l’Aigle,
and thence he descended towards the hamlets and villages
through the ravines of Ubaye and Ubayette.
He even pushed as far as Embrun, entered the cathedral
one night, and despoiled the sacristy. His highway robber-
ies laid waste the country-side. The gendarmes were set on
his track, but in vain. He always escaped; sometimes he re-
sisted by main force. He was a bold wretch. In the midst of
all this terror the Bishop arrived. He was making his circuit
to Chastelar. The mayor came to meet him, and urged him

 Les Miserables

to retrace his steps. Cravatte was in possession of the moun-
tains as far as Arche, and beyond; there was danger even
with an escort; it merely exposed three or four unfortunate
gendarmes to no purpose.
‘Therefore,’ said the Bishop, ‘I intend to go without es-
‘You do not really mean that, Monseigneur!’ exclaimed
the mayor.
‘I do mean it so thoroughly that I absolutely refuse any
gendarmes, and shall set out in an hour.’
‘Set out?’
‘Set out.’
‘Monseigneur, you will not do that!’
‘There exists yonder in the mountains,’ said the Bishop,
‘a tiny community no bigger than that, which I have not
seen for three years. They are my good friends, those gen-
tle and honest shepherds. They own one goat out of every
thirty that they tend. They make very pretty woollen cords
of various colors, and they play the mountain airs on little
flutes with six holes. They need to be told of the good God
now and then. What would they say to a bishop who was
afraid? What would they say if I did not go?’
‘But the brigands, Monseigneur?’
‘Hold,’ said the Bishop, ‘I must think of that. You are
right. I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the
good God.’
‘But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of

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‘Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock
of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who
knows the ways of Providence?’
‘They will rob you, Monseigneur.’
‘I have nothing.’
‘They will kill you.’
‘An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mum-
bling his prayers? Bah! To what purpose?’
‘Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!’
‘I should beg alms of them for my poor.’
‘Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You
are risking your life!’
‘Monsieur le maire,’ said the Bishop, ‘is that really all?
I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard
They had to allow him to do as he pleased. He set out, ac-
companied only by a child who offered to serve as a guide.
His obstinacy was bruited about the country-side, and
caused great consternation.
He would take neither his sister nor Madame Magloire.
He traversed the mountain on mule-back, encountered
no one, and arrived safe and sound at the residence of his
‘good friends,’ the shepherds. He remained there for a fort-
night, preaching, administering the sacrament, teaching,
exhorting. When the time of his departure approached, he
resolved to chant a Te Deum pontifically. He mentioned it to
the cure. But what was to be done? There were no episcopal
ornaments. They could only place at his disposal a wretched

 Les Miserables

village sacristy, with a few ancient chasubles of threadbare
damask adorned with imitation lace.
‘Bah!’ said the Bishop. ‘Let us announce our Te Deum
from the pulpit, nevertheless, Monsieur le Cure. Things will
arrange themselves.’
They instituted a search in the churches of the neigh-
borhood. All the magnificence of these humble parishes
combined would not have sufficed to clothe the chorister of
a cathedral properly.
While they were thus embarrassed, a large chest was
brought and deposited in the presbytery for the Bishop,
by two unknown horsemen, who departed on the instant.
The chest was opened; it contained a cope of cloth of gold,
a mitre ornamented with diamonds, an archbishop’s cross,
a magnificent crosier,—all the pontifical vestments which
had been stolen a month previously from the treasury of
Notre Dame d’Embrun. In the chest was a paper, on which
these words were written, ‘From Cravatte to Monseigneur
‘Did not I say that things would come right of them-
selves?’ said the Bishop. Then he added, with a smile, ‘To
him who contents himself with the surplice of a curate, God
sends the cope of an archbishop.’
‘Monseigneur,’ murmured the cure, throwing back his
head with a smile. ‘God—or the Devil.’
The Bishop looked steadily at the cure, and repeated with
authority, ‘God!’
When he returned to Chastelar, the people came out
to stare at him as at a curiosity, all along the road. At the

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It consisted of very handsome things. Prejudices are the real robbers. Those are dangers from without. We relate those of which we know. very tempt- ing things. God permits. who were waiting for him. such incidents were rare in his life. and things which were very well adapted to be stolen for the benefit of the unfortunate. What matters it what threat- ens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul. before he went to bed. but that our brother may not fall into sin on our account. One month of his year resembled one hour of his day. Let us fear ourselves. turning to his sister: ‘Sister. but generally he passed his life in doing the same things at the same moment. and he returns from them with his hands full.’ However. never a precaution on the part of the priest. I have brought back the treasure of a cathedral. Stolen they had  Les Miserables . The great dangers lie within ourselves.priest’s house in Chastelar he rejoined Mademoiselle Bap- tistine and Madame Magloire.’ That evening. vices are the real murderers. As to what became of ‘the treasure’ of the cathedral of Embrun. Let us pray. I set out bear- ing only my faith in God. we should be embarrassed by any inquiry in that direction. not for ourselves. That which his fellow does. Let us confine ourselves to prayer. petty dangers. and he said to his sister: ‘Well! was I in the right? The poor priest went to his poor mountaineers with empty hands. he said again: ‘Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. when we think that a danger is approaching us.’ Then. against his fellow-man.

com  . to decide whether this should be turned over to the cathedral or to the hospi- tal. it only remained to impart a new direction to the theft. Only.already been elsewhere.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and to cause it to take a short trip in the direction of the poor. we make no assertions on this point. ‘The question is. However. a rather obscure note was found among the Bishop’s papers. Half of the adventure was complet- ed. which may bear some relation to this matter. and which is couched in these terms.

He laughed willingly and pleasantly over infinite and eter- nal things. He was an old attorney. sworn faith.  Les Miserables . while he was. He was intelligent. softened by success. Everything else seemed to him very stupid. good sides. and even to his friends. good opportunities. heedless of those things which present obstacles. and which are called conscience. his relations. without once flinching in the line of his advancement and his in- terest. in life. and just suf- ficiently educated to think himself a disciple of Epicurus. not a bad man by any means. having wisely seized upon. duty: he had marched straight to his goal.CHAPTER VIII PHILOSOPHY AFTER DRINKING The senator above mentioned was a clever man. and at the ‘Crotchets of that good old fellow the Bishop. good windfalls. Myriel himself. his sons-in-law. only a product of Pigault-Lebrun. in reality. who rendered all the small services in his power to his sons. who had made his own way. who listened to him. justice.’ He even sometimes laughed at him with an ami- able authority in the presence of M.

’ said the Bishop.’ continued the senator. Bishop. a declaimer.’ ‘Good devils even. Bishop. I have all the philosophers in my library gilded on the edges. a believer in God at bottom.’ ‘Like yourself. so one lies on it. though still perfectly dignified. he is an ideologist. A drop of vinegar in a spoonful of flour paste supplies the fiat lux. you have the world. and a rev- olutionist. It is hard for a sena- tor and a bishop to look at each other without winking. Man is the eel. and went on:— ‘Let us be good fellows. I have a philosophy of my own. At dessert. Pyrrhon. and he was wrong. You are on the bed of purple. Voltaire made sport of Needham. I am going to make a confession to you. senator. the senator.’ ‘And you are right. It is good for nothing but to produce shallow people. and M. ‘that the Mar- quis d’Argens. The senator resumed:— ‘I hate Diderot. and more bigoted than Voltaire. ‘I declare to you. ‘As one makes one’s philosophy. Hobbes.’ interposed the Bishop.’ The senator was encouraged. exclaimed:— ‘Egad. Count*** [this senator] and M. We are two augurs. whose rea- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Count. Myriel were to dine with the prefect. I do not recol- lect what. for Needham’s eels prove that God is useless. Then what is the good of the Eternal Father? The Jehovah hypothesis tires me.com  . On some semi-official occasion or other. let’s have a discussion. Naigeon are no rascals. Suppose the drop to be larger and the spoonful bigger. who was slightly exhilarated.’ replied the Bishop.

and who have raised the veil of Isis: there is no such thing as either good or evil. Why? Because I shall have to render an account of my actions. Down with that great All. I must take heed to everything I do. Then you grow strong. dig in the earth for it. below. and in order to empty my sack. Let us go into it thoroughly. if one sees no further than the end of other people’s noses? Let us live merrily. I am not enthusiastic over your Jesus. We are at the top. I am. Renunciation. I am square on the bottom. What a fine dream! After my death it will be a very clever person who can catch me. Let us tell the truth. Let us seek the real. I don’t believe. and make confes- sion to my pastor. not one single word of it. That man has another future elsewhere. Life is all.soning is hollow. and you laugh. on high. Immor-  Les Miserables . Let us get to the bottom of it. over the just and the unjust. over the fas and the nefas. Let us stick to nature. let us have a superior philosophy. When? After death. we who are initiated. anywhere. there is vegetation. Ah! sacrifice and renunciation are recommended to me. What is the advantage of being at the top. who preaches renunciation and sacrifice to the last extremity. ‘Tis the counsel of an avaricious man to beggars. why? Sacrifice. if you can. which torments me! Hurrah for Zero which leaves me in peace! Between you and me. and seize it. Have a handful of dust seized by a shadow-hand. What the deuce! let us go to the bottom of it! We must scent out the truth. I will admit to you that I have good sense. as it behooves me to do. then. to what end? I do not see one wolf immolating himself for the happiness of another wolf. I must cudgel my brains over good and evil. Then it gives you exquisite joys.

buga- boo for children. One must eat or be eaten. Inter pocula. I shall eat.com  . but I shall have suffered. with blue wings on our shoulder-blades. Be the dupe of the infinite! I’m not such a fool. Ta. our to-morrow is the night. Ah! what a charming promise! trust to it. senator. Do come to my as- sistance: is it not Tertullian who says that the blessed shall travel from star to star? Very well. egad! but I may whisper it among friends. We shall be the grasshop- pers of the stars. Bishop. I call myself Monsieur le Comte Nought. if you like! What a fine lot Adam has! We are souls. and we shall be angels. This is the vanishing-point. we shall see God. My choice is made. I am a nought. but I shall have enjoyed myself. I would not say that in the Moniteur. Whither will enjoyment lead me? To noth- ingness. the grave-digger is there. be- lieve me. is a chance.tality. the Pantheon for some of us: all falls into the great hole. you have been Vincent Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Whither will suffering lead me? To nothingness. What am I to do on this earth? The choice rests with me: suffer or enjoy. It is better to be the tooth than the grass. go whither I push thee. What am I? A little dust collected in an organism. Shall I exist after death? No. Did I ex- ist before my birth? No. You have been Sardanapalus. Such is my wisdom. To sacrifice the world to paradise is to let slip the prey for the shadow. Death is death. a waiting for dead men’s shoes. After which. ta. Finis. End. besides. ta! What twaddle all these paradises are! God is a nonsensi- cal monster. Total liquidation. No. I laugh at the idea of there being any one who has anything to tell me on that subject. And then. Beyond the tomb there is nothing but equal nothing- ness. Fables of nurses. Jehovah for men.

—places. You  Les Miserables . the soul. knife- grinders. one is no longer a dupe. In truth. Nevertheless.—and that they shall enter the tomb with their digestion accomplished. and of thinking that they can de- vour everything without uneasiness. nor stoned like Stephen. The good God is good for the populace. They gobble it down. He who has nothing else has the good. I tell you that I have a philosophy of my own. but I re- serve Monsieur Naigeon for myself. Make use of your I while you have it.—for the barefooted beggars. How agreeable that is! I do not say that with reference to you. I oppose no objection to that. immortality. lucrative recantations.de Paul—it makes no difference. useful treacheries. whether well or ill acquired. the stars. it is im- possible for me to refrain from congratulating you. Of course. and miserable wretches. That is the least he can have.’ The Bishop clapped his hands. above all things. God. ‘What an excellent and really marvellous thing is this materialism! Not every one who wants it can have it. Those who have succeeded in pro- curing this admirable materialism have the joy of feeling themselves irresponsible. chimeras. senator. paradise. Ah! when one does have it. They spread it on their dry bread. Legends. Bishop. there must be something for those who are down. one does not stupidly allow one’s self to be exiled like Cato. I don’t let myself be taken in with that nonsense. Then live your life. power. sinecures. ‘That’s talking!’ he exclaimed. nor burned alive like Jeanne d’Arc. and I have my philosophers. That is the truth. savory capitulations of conscience. dignities. are provided for them to swallow.

and which seasons the vo- luptuousness of life admirably. accessible to the rich alone.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which is exquisite. But you are good-natured princes. and for yourselves.com  . and unearthed by special seek- ers.great lords have. and you do not think it a bad thing that belief in the good God should constitute the philosophy of the people. a philosophy of your own. good for all sauces. very much as the goose stuffed with chestnuts is the truffled turkey of the poor. so you say. This philosophy has been extracted from the depths. refined.

16. and of the manner in which those two sainted women subordinated their actions.CHAPTER IX THE BROTHER AS DEPICTED BY THE SISTER In order to furnish an idea of the private establishment of the Bishop of D——. Dec. their thoughts. to the habits and purposes of the Bishop. now our two chambers hung with antique pa- per whitewashed over. without his even taking the trouble of speaking in order to explain them. MY GOOD MADAM: Not a day passes without our speak- ing of you. the friend of her childhood. while washing and dusting the ceilings and walls. 18—. Madam Magloire has made some discoveries. which are easily alarmed. Madam Magloire has pulled off all the pa-  Les Miserables . but there is another reason besides. It is our established custom. Just imagine. we cannot do better than transcribe in this place a letter from Mademoiselle Baptistine to Madame the Vicomtess de Boischevron. their feminine instincts even. This letter is in our possession. would not discredit a chateau in the style of yours. D——.

under at least ten thicknesses of paper pasted on top. where the Roman ladies repaired on one single night. He gives all he has to the poor and sick.com  . and they are very ugly besides. which contains no furniture. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. This was covered with a cloth while this was the hospital. and the whole train. which without being good are very tolerable. is fifteen feet in height. and my chamber will be a regular museum. The subject is Telemachus being knighted by Minerva in some gardens. eighteen square. Madam Magloire has cleaned it all off. and we really must do something for those who are in need. this summer she is going to have some small inju- ries repaired. and I should much prefer a round table of mahogany. and Roman ladies [here occurs an illegible word]. What shall I say to you? I have Romans. and which we use for spreading out the linen after washing. and with beams. You see that these are great treats. as in yours. There were things beneath. But my room is the one you ought to see. And the woodwork was of the era of our grandmothers. My drawing-room. with a ceiling which was formerly painted and gild- ed. Madam Magloire has discovered. some paintings. We are almost com- fortably lighted and warmed. In short. and the whole revarnished. I am always very happy. The country is trying in the winter. My brother is so good. the name of which escapes me. She has also found in a corner of the attic two wooden pier-tables of ancient fashion. but it is much better to give the money to the poor. They asked us two crowns of six francs each to regild them. We are very much cramped.per.

I make a sign to Madam Magloire that she is not to oppose him. My brother has ways of his own. Last year he went quite alone into a country of robbers. I am at ease.’ Now I have ended by getting used to it. he was thought to be dead. nor night. he says that a bishop ought to be so. Whoever chooses to enter finds himself at once in my brother’s room. but was perfectly well. He fears neither suspicious roads nor dangerous encounters. He would not take us. taking care. he travels in winter. ‘This is the way I have been robbed!’ And then he opened a trunk full of jewels. When he talks. At first I used to say to myself. however. On his return nothing had happened to him. He risks himself as he sees fit. I enter my chamber. and said. I pray for him and fall asleep. all the jewels of the cathedral of Embrun. which the thieves had given him. I carry off Madam Magloire. he walks in the water. He exposes himself to all sorts of dangers. ‘There are no dangers which will stop him. He goes out in the rain. When he returned on that occasion. he is terrible. Just imagine! the door of our house is never fastened. not to speak except when the carriage was making a noise. so that no one might hear me. because I know that if anything  Les Miserables . One must know how to understand him. I could not refrain from scolding him a little. He fears nothing. even at night. He does not wish me or Madame Magloire feel any fear for him. That is his sort of bravery. and he does not like to have us even seem to notice it. He was absent for a fortnight. he says.

married Adrien-Charles de Gra- mont. and was commander of a regiment. It is written Faux. and we abandon ourselves to the care of Providence. His daughter. I should go to the good God with my brother and my bishop. and one of whom was a seigneur de Rochefort. Marie-Louise. My brother has no longer any need of saying a word to me. I have interrogated my brother with regard to the infor- mation which you desire on the subject of the Faux family. Five hundred years ago there was a Raoul de Faux. we tremble together. and that he has memories. a Jean de Faux. The devil may pass through it. what is there for us to fear in this house? There is always some one with us who is stronger than we. colonel of the French guards.com  . who were gentle- men. and something in the light horse of Bretagne. and lieutenant-general of the army. They re- ally are a very ancient Norman family of the generalship of Caen. he would be allowed to do so. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and Faoucq. The last was Guy-Etienne-Alexandre. After all. but the good God dwells here. Fauq. We pray together. and we fall asleep. because he is still a very good royalist. This suffices me.were to happen to him. But now the habit has been acquired. I understand him without his speak- ing. son of the Duke Louis de Gramont. If the devil were to enter this house. it would be the end of me. It has cost Madam Magloire more trouble than it did me to ac- custom herself to what she terms his imprudences. You are aware that he knows everything. peer of France. That is the way one has to do with a man who possesses grandeur of soul. and a Thomas de Faux.

BAPTISTINE. works as you would wish. sometimes did things that were grand. ‘Hu!’ As will be perceived from this letter. and magnificent. A thousand good wishes. in any action once entered upon. and it makes me very happy. like a carriage. and saying. She is well. Sometimes Madame Magloire essayed a remonstrance in advance. ‘What has he got on his knees?’ He is a charming child! His little brother is dragging an old broom about the room. Your grand nephew is charming. Good Madame. The Bishop of D——. Monsieur the Cardinal. but they let him alone. these two women understood how to mould themselves to the Bishop’s ways with that special feminine genius which comprehends the man better than he comprehends himself. nor afterwards. and this forces me to leave you. That is all that I desire. At certain moments. The souvenir which she sent through you reached me safely. They never interfered with him by so much as a word or sign. without seeming to have even a suspicion of the fact.S. and yet I grow thin- ner every day. and he said. As for your dear Sylvanie. Farewell. my paper is at an end. Do you know that he will soon be five years old? Yesterday he saw some one riding by on horseback who had on knee-caps. in spite of the gentle and candid air which never de- serted him. bold. she has done well in not wasting the few moments which she passes with you in writing to me. but never at the time. P. They trembled. and loves me. without his having oc-  Les Miserables . My health is not so very bad. recommend us to the prayers of your sainted relative.

They understood. Moreover. so perfect was his simplicity. even when believing him to be in peril. they disappeared. they vaguely felt that he was acting as a bishop. but his nature. They served him passively. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but she knew it. Thus. then they were nothing more than two shadows in the house. they understood. as we have just read. Baptistine said. that certain cares may be put under constraint. that her brother’s end would prove her own.casion to mention it. with an admirable delicacy of instinct.com  . I will not say his thought. when he was not even conscious of it himself in all probability. Madame Magloire did not say this. to such a degree that they no longer watched over him. They confided him to God. and if obedience consisted in disappearing.

G—— was mentioned with a sort of horror in the little world of D—— A member of the Convention—can you imagine such a thing? That ex- isted from the time when people called each other thou. on the return of the legitimate princes? They need  Les Miserables . He had been a terrible man. How did it hap- pen that such a man had not been brought before a provost’s court. but almost. he did a thing which. if the whole town was to be believed. and when they said ‘citizen.CHAPTER X THE BISHOP IN THE PRESENCE OF AN UNKNOWN LIGHT At an epoch a little later than the date of the letter cited in the preceding pages. In the country near D—— a man lived quite alone. His name was G—— Member of the Convention.’ This man was almost a monster. was even more hazardous than his trip across the mountains infested with bandits. was a former member of the Convention. He was a quasi-regicide. we will state at once. He had not voted for the death of the king. This man.

far from any road. let us avow it. the Bishop meditated on the subject. without his being clearly conscious of the fact himself. if you please. which seemed natural at the first blush. if he were to be judged by the element of ferocity in this solitude of his. he shared the general impression. this idea. Besides. For. The locality was spoken of as though it had been the dwelling of a hangman. As he had not voted for the death of the king. in some hidden turn of a very wild valley. in short. with that sentiment which Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and had been able to remain in France. agreed. ‘I owe him a visit. a hole. An example. but a good banishment for life. far from any hamlet. no one knew exactly where. etc. deep in his own mind. ‘There is a soul yonder which is lonely. and the old member of the Convention inspired him. and from time to time he gazed at the horizon at a point where a clump of trees marked the valley of the former member of the Convention. and almost repulsive. Gossip of the geese about the vulture.’ But. clemency must be ex- ercised. he was an atheist. like all the rest of those people. it was said. a lair. He had there. Since he had dwelt in that valley. he had not been includ- ed in the decrees of exile.’ And he added. appeared to him after a moment’s reflection. Nevertheless. the path which led thither had disap- peared under a growth of grass.com  . at bottom. a sort of field. There were no neighbors. and he said. impossible.not have cut off his head. Was G—— a vulture after all? Yes. He dwelt at a distance of three-quarters of an hour from the city. not even passers-by. as strange.

the rumor one day spread through the town that a sort of young shepherd. made his way through a fence of dead boughs. smiling at the sun. had come in quest of a doctor. and clean. in an old wheel-chair.  Les Miserables . and that he would not live over night. there was a white-haired man. then he returned. that the old wretch was dying. put on his cloak. entered a neglected paddock. on account of his too threadbare cassock. he caught sight of the cavern. small. With a certain beating of the heart. that paralysis was gaining on him. and which is so well expressed by the word estrangement. and behind lofty brambles. and because of the evening breeze which was sure to rise soon. as we have mentioned. who served the member of the Convention in his hovel. should the scab of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil? No. and suddenly. Near the door. The sun was setting.—‘Thank God!’ some added. and had almost touched the horizon when the Bishop arrived at the excommunicated spot. at the extremity of the waste land.borders on hate. He strode over a ditch. and set out. the arm-chair of the peasants. he recognized the fact that he was near the lair. Sometimes he set out in that direction. with a vine nailed against the outside. Still. It was a very low hut. Finally. The Bishop took his staff. But what a sheep! The good Bishop was perplexed. took a few steps with a good deal of boldness. poor. leaped a hedge.

’ he said. At the sound which he made in walking.’ ‘Monsieur.’ The member of the Convention extended his hand to the Bishop. ‘This is the first time since I have been here. ‘that any one has entered here. Near the seated man stood a young boy.’ And his smile quitted the sun to rest upon the child. you are my bishop?’ ‘Something of that sort. While the Bishop was watching him.com  . sir?’ The Bishop answered:— ‘My name is Bienvenu Myriel. the shepherd lad. The Bishop confined himself to the remark:— ‘I am pleased to see that I have been misinformed. You certainly do not seem to me to be ill.’ He paused. and his face expressed the sum total of the surprise which a man can still feel after a long life. Are you the man whom the people call Monseigneur Welcome?’ ‘I am.’ said he. the old man turned his head.’ ‘Enter. the old man spoke: ‘Thank you. He was offering the old man a jar of milk.’ replied the old man.’ The old man resumed with a half-smile ‘In that case. The Bishop stepped forward. sir. ‘I am going to recover.’ Then he continued:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Bienvenu Myriel? I have heard that name. but the Bishop did not take it. ‘I need nothing. and then said:— ‘I shall die three hours hence. Who are you.

let us say the whole. So be it. You have done well to come and look at a man who is on the point of death. for these petty con- tradictions of great hearts must be indicated like the rest: he. to-day. I shall stop. thou wert awake all last night. common enough to doctors  Les Miserables . now I feel it mounting to my waist. One has no need of the light for that. was so fond of laughing at ‘His Grace. The two slumbers may be good neighbors. only my feet were cold. it does not fatigue me. He did not think he discerned God in this manner of dying.’ The old man turned to the shepherd lad:— ‘Go to thy bed. who on occasion. is it not? I had myself wheeled out here to take a last look at things. as though speaking to himself:— ‘I shall die while he sleeps. One has one’s caprices. ‘I am something of a doctor. and he was almost tempted to retort ‘citizen. I know in what fashion the last hour draws on. The old man followed him with his eyes. when it reaches the heart. after all? Dying is a simple affair. I should have liked to last until the dawn. Yesterday.’ The child entered the hut.’ The Bishop was not touched as it seems that he should have been. You can talk to me. What does it matter. It will be night then.’ He was assailed by a fancy for peevish familiarity.’ was rather shocked at not being addressed as Monseigneur. the chill has ascended to my knees. I shall die by starlight. thou art tired. The sun is beautiful. and added. It is well that there should be witnesses at that moment. but I know that I shall hardly live three hours.

in connection with any other man. on his side. In his clear glance. after all. could not refrain from examining the member of the Con- vention with an attention which. in his firm tone. bordered on a fault. had been one of the powerful ones of the earth. calm. as it did not have its course in sympathy. and thought that he had mistaken the door. this member of the Convention. for the first time in his life. in which one could have distinguished. the member of the Convention had been surveying him with a modest cordiality. The Bishop. proportioned to the epoch. probably.com  . which. but which was not habitual with him. Though so near to his end. in the robust movement of his shoulders. he preserved all the gestures of health. There was freedom in his agony. the Mohammedan angel of the sepulchre. although he generally restrained his curiosity. his body almost upright. would have served his conscience as a matter of reproach. The Revolution had many of these men. G—— seemed to be dying because he willed it so. was one of those octogenarians who form the subject of as- tonishment to the physiologist. the Bishop felt in a mood to be severe. this representa- tive of the people. there was something calculated to disconcert death. This man. In this old man one was conscious of a man put to the proof. possibly. Meanwhile. in his opinion. G——.and priests. would have turned back. His legs alone were mo- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Azrael. his voice vibrating. that humility which is so fit- ting when one is on the verge of returning to dust. A member of the Convention produced on him somewhat the effect of being outside the pale of the law. even of the law of charity.

’ said he. after all. resembled the king in that tale of the Orient who was flesh above and marble below. Conscience is the quantity of innate science which we have within us.’ ‘And conscience. Man should be governed only by science. sir.’ It was the tone of austerity answering the tone of sever- ity. which was very new to him. ‘You did not vote for the death of the king. ‘What do you mean to say?’ resumed the Bishop. which is authority falsely understood. ‘I mean to say that man has a tyrant.tionless. His feet were cold and dead. ‘I congratulate you. I did vote for the death of the tyrant.’ added the Bishop. but his head survived with all the power of life.—ignorance. It was there that the shadows held him fast. in the tone which one uses for a reprimand. I voted for the death of that tyrant. The exor- dium was abrupt. The Bishop sat down. G——. The member of the Convention resumed:—  Les Miserables . while science is au- thority rightly understood. and seemed full of light.’ He replied.’ The old member of the Convention did not appear to no- tice the bitter meaning underlying the words ‘after all. at this solemn moment. That tyrant engendered royalty. ‘Do not congratulate me too much. The smile had quite disappeared from his face. ‘It is the same thing. There was a stone there.’ Monseigneur Bienvenu listened in some astonishment to this language.

which is called 1814. The crumbling away of prejudices and errors causes light. it may be. the end of night for the child. the end of slavery for man. the wind is still there. was concerned. The mill is there no longer. It was a good thing. but I distrust a demolition complicated with wrath. en- lightened. The French Revolution is the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I voted the end of the tyrant. has become.’ ‘You have demolished. we were not able to suppress it entirely in ideas. I voted for fraternity. and in spite of whatever may be said. through its upsetting upon the human race. but sublime. concord. it calmed. an urn of joy.com  . the end of prostitution for woman. It may be of use to demolish. ‘You may say troubled joy. it softened spirits. that is to say. after that fa- tal return of the past. but I felt it my duty to exterminate evil. I admit: we demolished the ancient regime in deeds.’ said the Bishop.’ I did not think that I had the right to kill a man. joy which has disappeared! Alas! The work was incomplete. It set free all the unknown social quantities. ‘So far as Louis XVI.’ ‘Right has its wrath. To destroy abuses is not suffi- cient. that vase of miseries. In voting for the Repub- lic. Bishop. the dawn. and the wrath of right is an element of progress. and the old world. the French Revolution is the most important step of the human race since the advent of Christ. appeased. In any case. I voted for that. it caused the waves of civilization to flow over the earth. customs must be modified. Incom- plete. I have aided in the overthrow of prejudices and errors. I said ‘no.’ ‘Mixed joy. We have caused the fall of the old world. and to-day.

an innocent child who was hung up by the armpits in the Place de Greve. which is nothing but a more lofty jus- tice. ‘93! I was expecting that word. for the sole crime of having been the brother of Car- touche. until death ensued.’ And he added. and exclaimed. for the  Les Miserables . For whom do you mourn? is it for the innocent child? very good. that some- thing within him had suffered extinction. He replied:— ‘The judge speaks in the name of justice. regarding the member of the Convention steadily the while. he put a good face on the matter.! let us see.?’ The conventionary stretched forth his hand and grasped the Bishop’s arm. perhaps.consecration of humanity. without. there you go. the brother of Cartouche. You are putting the thunderbolt on its trial.’ The Bishop could not refrain from murmuring:— ‘Yes? ‘93!’ The member of the Convention straightened himself up in his chair with an almost lugubrious solem- nity. an innocent child. A thunderbolt should commit no error. ‘Louis XVII. martyred in the tower of the Temple. A cloud had been forming for the space of fifteen hundred years. at the end of fifteen hundred years it burst. Is it for the royal child? I demand time for reflection. the priest speaks in the name of pity.’ The Bishop felt.. confessing it. ‘Louis XVII. To me. is no less painful than the grandson of Louis XV. Nevertheless. so far as a dying man is capable of exclamation:— ‘Ah. in that case I mourn with you.

But in that case.’ ‘That is true.com  . It would not have embarrassed him to bring together the Dauphin of Barab- bas and the Dauphin of Herod. Innocence. He seized a rod and cleared out the Temple. to me.? To which of the two do you ob- ject?’ A momentary silence ensued. as I have told you. all martyrs. ‘Sinite parvulos. It is as august in rags as in fleurs de lys.’ said the Bishop.’ said the Bishop. When he cried.’ said the Bishop in a low voice. The conventionary resumed:— ‘Ah.’ ‘Cartouche? Louis XV.sole crime of having been grandson of Louis XV. His scourge. Christ loved them. Shall we weep for all the innocent. Monsieur Priest. and yet he felt vaguely and strangely shaken. is its own crown.’ ‘Monsieur. you love not the crudities of the true. full of lightnings. provided that you will weep with me over the children of the people.’ he made no distinction between the little children. the lowly as well as the exalted? I agree to that.’ continued the conventionary G—— ‘You have mentioned Louis XVII. we must go back further than ‘93. all children. Monsieur. ‘and if the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The Bishop almost re- gretted having come. was a harsh speak- er of truths.’ ‘I weep for all. ‘Equally!’ exclaimed conventionary G——. and our tears must begin before Louis XVII. Let us come to an under- standing. I will weep with you over the children of kings. Innocence has no need to be a highness. ‘I persist. ‘I like not this conjunction of names.

He raised himself on one elbow. behind the coppice at the fork of the roads. and seeing no one but that child who helps me. the people have been suffering a long while.  Les Miserables . who eat moor-hens on Friday. I do not know you. Who are you? You are a bishop. why have you just questioned me and talked to me about Louis XVII. ten thousand in perquisites. who make good cheer. you have left it yonder.balance must incline. it is true. and ap- pealed to the Bishop with a gaze full of all the forces of the death agony. the people. let it be on the side of the people. Your name has reached me in a con- fused manner. In short. Ever since I have been in these parts I have dwelt in this enclosure alone.’ Another silence ensued. but that affords me no information as to your moral personality.— the bishopric of D—— fifteen thousand francs settled income. who have liveries. It was almost an explosion.? I know you not. a lackey before. never setting foot outside. that is to say. as one does mechanically when one interrogates and judges. no doubt. ‘Yes. I repeat my question. I must admit. and very badly pronounced. By the way. who have vast prebends. I did not hear the sound of your carriage. And hold! that is not all. who strut about. but that signifies nothing: clever men have so many ways of imposing on that honest goodman. a prince of the church. You have told me that you are the Bishop. either. sir. I tell you. They have been suffering longer.— who have kitchens. twenty-five thousand francs. took a bit of his cheek between his thumb and his forefinger. one of those gilded men with heraldic bearings and revenues. total. The conventionary was the first to break it.

and who have palaces. in a gala coach. You discuss my ideas.a lackey behind. which is a few paces off behind the trees yonder. and that ‘93 was not in- exorable. You are at my house. To whom do I speak? Who are you?’ The Bishop hung his head and replied. ‘I beseech you to pardon me. all the sensualities of life.—revenues. and who roll in their carriages in the name of Jesus Christ who went barefoot! You are a prelate. you have this like the rest. It was the conventionary’s turn to be arrogant. how my good table and the moor-hens which I eat on Friday. ‘Vermis sum—I am a worm.com  . But explain to me how my carriage. sir. and it becomes me to confine myself to combating your ar- guments. it is well. The Bishop resumed mildly:— ‘So be it. servants. I have just committed a wrong. but this says either too much or too little. and the Bishop’s to be humble. sir. and like the rest. palace. Your riches and your pleasures are advantages Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Before replying to you. horses. you are my guest.’ ‘A worm of the earth in a carriage?’ growled the conven- tionary. you enjoy it.’ The conventionary passed his hand across his brow.’ he said. I owe you courtesy. how my palace and my lackeys prove that clemency is not a duty. how my twenty- five thousand francs income. this does not enlighten me upon the intrinsic and essential value of the man who comes with the probable intention of bringing wisdom to me. good table. as though to sweep away a cloud.

He went on:— ‘Let me say a few words more in this and that direction. sir. I promise you to make no use of them in the future. ‘93 is. the asthma of the ag- ony which is mingled with the last breaths interrupted his voice. there was a perfect lucidity of soul in his eyes. but what of the whole monarchy. The conventionary began to pant.’ said the Bishop.which I hold over you in the debate. Where were we? What were you saying to me? That ‘93 was inexorable?’ ‘Inexorable. sir? Carrier is a bandit. yes. still. You think it inexorable. which. The best of minds will have their fetiches. but good taste dictates that I shall not make use of them.’ said the Bishop. and they sometimes feel vaguely wounded by the want of respect of logic. I am willing. but what name do you give to Montrevel? Fouquier-Tainville is a rascal. ‘Let us return to the explanation which you have asked of me. G—— resumed. Apart from the Revolution. The Bishop quivered un- der it. no reply occurred to him.’ ‘I thank you. but what is your opinion as to Lamoignon-Baville? Maillard is ter-  Les Miserables . is an immense human affirmation. ‘What think you of Marat clapping his hands at the guillotine?’ ‘What think you of Bossuet chanting the Te Deum over the dragonnades?’ The retort was a harsh one. alas! a re- joinder. but it attained its mark with the directness of a point of steel. but he was offended by this mode of alluding to Bossuet. taken as a whole.

in 1685. What say you to that torture of Tantalus as applied to a mother? Bear this well in mind sir: the French Revolu- tion had its reasons for existence.’ The conventionary doubted not that he had successively conquered all the inmost intrenchments of the Bishop.com  .rible. who. naked to the waist. Sir. if you please? Duchene senior is ferocious.—that the human race has been treated harshly. the little one. I am dying. sir. but I am also sorry for that poor Huguenot woman. the Marquis de Louvois. a mother and a nurse. archduchess and queen. I have too much the advantage. ‘Abjure!’ giving her her choice between the death of her infant and the death of her con- science. sir. came forth Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I stop. hungry and pale. was bound. the executioner said to the wom- an. but Saulx-Tavannes. the last resource of Monseigneur Bienvenu’s resistance. its result is the world made better. the conventionary concluded his thoughts in these tranquil words:— ‘Yes. and the child kept at a distance. the brutalities of progress are called revolutions. I am sor- ry for Marie Antoinette. under Louis the Great.’ And ceasing to gaze at the Bishop. however. while with a nursing infant. but not so great a one as M. From its most terrible blows there comes forth a caress for the hu- man race. moreover. to a stake. I abridge. beheld that breast and cried and agonized. her breast swelled with milk and her heart with anguish. but what epithet will you allow me for the el- der Letellier? Jourdan-Coupe-Tete is a monster. but that it has progressed. this fact is recognized. and from this intrenchment. When they are over. its wrath will be absolved by the future. One remained.

the tear trickled down his livid cheek. quite low. an I. If the infinite had no person. There is. while his eyes were plunged in the depths:— ‘O thou! O ideal! Thou alone existest!’ The Bishop experienced an indescribable shock. When he had spoken.this reply. it would not be infinite. as though he be- held some one. it was as a priest that he had come: from extreme coldness he had  Les Miserables . It was evident that he had just lived through in a moment the few hours which had been left to him. The Bishop understood this. and he said. After a pause. The supreme moment was approach- ing.’ The former representative of the people made no reply. the old man raised a finger heavenward and said:— ‘The infinite is. wherein appeared nearly all the harshness of the beginning:— ‘Progress should believe in God. The effort had exhausted him. When the eyelid was full. He who is an atheist is but a bad leader for the human race. and with the shiver of ecstasy. He is there. He looked towards heaven. in other words. then. it would not exist. time pressed. person would be without limit.’ The dying man had pronounced these last words in a loud voice. That I of the infinite is God. and in his glance a tear gathered slowly. He was seized with a fit of trembling. Good cannot have an impious servitor. That which he had said brought him nearer to him who is in death. almost in a stammer. his eyes closed. and to himself.

tyran- nies existed. Our territory was invad- ed. I tore the cloth from the altar. France was menaced. I have comforted the suffering.com  . A gravity min- gled with gloom was imprinted on his countenance. in Flanders. at twenty-two sous. men of your profession. I proclaimed and confessed them. I dined in Dead Tree Street. forward towards the light. with a slowness which probably arose more from his dignity of soul than from the failing of his strength. at the very spot where the Merovingian kings had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which were on the point of bursting beneath the weight of gold and silver. protected my own adver- saries. I obeyed. ‘I have passed my life in meditation. when the occasion offered. but it was to bind up the wounds of my country. I was sixty years of age when my country called me and commanded me to concern myself with its affairs. he took that wrinkled. ‘Bishop. And there is at Peteghem. Abuses existed. Do you not think that it would be regrettable if we had met in vain?’ The conventionary opened his eyes again. I have succored the oppressed. study. I defended it. I combated them. I destroyed them. he gazed at those closed eyes. I offered my breast. ‘This hour is the hour of God. and bent over the dying man. I have been one of the masters of the state. I was not rich. I have. aged and ice-cold hand in his. and contemplation. I have always upheld the march forward of the human race. the vaults of the treasury were encumbered with spe- cie to such a degree that we were forced to shore up the walls.’ said he. it is true. and I have sometimes resisted progress without pity.passed by degrees to extreme emotion. rights and principles existed. I am poor.

the face of the conventionary had become august. a convent of Urbanists. This ‘pastoral visit’ naturally furnished an occasion for a  Les Miserables . And I accept this isolation of hatred. After which. And he knelt down. Now I am eighty-six years old. persecuted. which I saved in 1793. I with my white hair have been conscious that many people think they have the right to despise me. he contented himself with pointing heavenward. to the poor ignorant masses I present the visage of one damned. He passed the whole night in prayer. pursued. and the reflection of that grand conscience upon his. cursed.’ said the Bishop. No one could say that the passage of that soul before his. I have done my duty according to my powers. scorned. proscribed. I am on the point of death. without hating any one myself. What is it that you have come to ask of me?’ ‘Your blessing. Any allusion to ‘that old wretch of a G——‘ caused him to fall into a singular preoccupation. The Bishop returned home.their summer palace. did not count for something in his approach to perfection. the Abbey of Sainte Claire en Beaulieu. On the following morning some bold and curi- ous persons attempted to speak to him about member of the Convention G——. For many years past. When the Bishop raised his head again. He had just expired. and all the good that I was able. blackened. I was hunted down. From that moment he redoubled his tenderness and brotherly feeling towards all children and sufferers. deeply absorbed in thoughts which cannot be known to us. jeered at.

‘It is lucky that those who despise it in a cap revere it in a hat. people are inquiring when Your Greatness will receive the red cap!’—‘Oh! oh! that’s a coarse color.’ One day a dowager of the impertinent variety who thinks herself spiritual. addressed this sally to him. All those revolutionists are backsliders.’ replied the Bishop.com  .’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.murmur of comment in all the little local coteries. ‘Monseigneur. Then why go there? What was there to be seen there? He must have been very curious indeed to see a soul carried off by the devil. ‘Was the bedside of such a dying man as that the prop- er place for a bishop? There was evidently no conversion to be expected.

Let us. the Emperor had made him a baron of the Empire.CHAPTER XI A RESTRICTION We should incur a great risk of deceiving ourselves. supposing that Monseigneur Bienvenu ever dreamed of having an at- titude. Myriel was sum- moned by Napoleon to the synod of the bishops of France and Italy convened at Paris. This synod was held at Notre-  Les Miserables . which rendered him still more gentle. 1809. with conventionary G——. as every one knows. Myriel to the episco- pate. on the night of the 5th to the 6th of July. were we to conclude from this that Monseigneur Welcome was ‘a philosophical bishop. which may almost be designated as his union.’ His meet- ing. then. in company with many other bishops. left behind it in his mind a sort of astonishment. That is all. go back a few years. The arrest of the Pope took place. Although Monseigneur Bienvenu was far from being a politician. Some time after the elevation of M. M. this is.’ or a ‘patriotic cure. on this occasion. the place to indicate very briefly what his attitude was in the events of that epoch. perhaps.

He very soon re- turned to D—— He was interrogated as to this speedy return. I am only a poor peasant bish- op. It seems to reveal habits which have very little that is chari- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in churchmen. I would not have all those superfluities. M. that the hatred of luxury is not an intelligent hatred. crying in- cessantly in my ears: ‘There are people who are hungry! There are people who are cold! There are poor people! There are poor people!’’ Let us remark. 1811. luxury is wrong.’ The fact is that he displeased them. by the way. ideas which altered the temperature of the assembly. when he found himself at the house of one of his most notable colleagues: ‘What beautiful clocks! What beauti- ful carpets! What beautiful liveries! They must be a great trouble. Bishop of a mountain diocese. in rusticity and deprivation. ‘What would you have? Those gentlemen are princes. Nevertheless. it is said that he chanced to remark one evening. it appeared that he imported among these eminent personages. under the presidency of Cardinal Fesch. and assembled for the first time on the 15th of June. except in connection with representations and ceremonies. I produced on them the ef- fect of an open door.com  . Myriel 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. The outside air penetrated to them through me.Dame. This hatred would involve the hatred of the arts.’ On another occasion he said. living so very close to nature. Among other strange things. and he replied: ‘I embarrassed them.

in the bishop espe- cially. Besides his sister. He took very little part in the theological quarrels of the moment. he had two brothers. and he abstained from ordering public prayers for the Emperor in his diocese during the Hundred Days. and since we do not wish to conceal anything. It must not be supposed. it seems that he would have been found to be an ultramontane rather than a gallican. He refused to see him. one a general. can one come in contact incessantly night and day with all this distress. what the Bishop of D—— thought. This is. He wrote to both with tolerable frequency. An opulent priest is a contradiction. Mademoiselle Baptistine. He was harsh for a time towards  Les Miserables . without having about one’s own person a little of that misery. as he passed through on his return from the island of Elba. he gave in his adherence to or applauded all hostile manifestations. and this poverty. but if he had been strong- ly pressed. all these misfortunes. nor a speck of ashes on his face? The first proof of charity in the priest. however. like the dust of la- bor? Is it possible to imagine a man near a brazier who is not warm? Can one imagine a workman who is working near a furnace. that he shared what we call the ‘ideas of the century’ on certain delicate points. nor a drop of sweat. is poverty. and who has neither a singed hair. The priest must keep close to the poor. no doubt. Beginning with 1813. Since we are making a portrait. Now.table about them. we are forced to add that he was glacial towards Napoleon in his decline. and maintained silence on questions in which Church and State were implicated. nor blackened nails. the other a prefect.

com  .the former. justice. which in our day should be the very foundation of every generous intellect. Certainly. his hour of bitterness. While admitting that it was not for a political office that God created Monseigneur Welcome. remained more affectionate. such a man would have done well not to entertain any political opinions. for a single instant. with the sublime faith. the beaming of those three pure radiances. because. above the stormy vicissitudes of human things. and if his glance had never been. we should have un- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Rue Cassette. worthy man who lived in retirement at Paris. Let there be no mistake as to our meaning: we are not confounding what is called ‘political opinions’ with the grand aspiration for progress. holding a command in Provence at the epoch of the disembarkation at Cannes. The shadow of the passions of the moment traversed this grand and gen- tle spirit occupied with eternal things. truth. turned away from that serene contemplation in which is distinctly discernible. a fine. His correspondence with the other brother. patriotic. With- out going deeply into questions which are only indirectly connected with the subject of this book. humane. democratic. above the fictions and the hatreds of this world. the ex-prefect. 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. we will simply say this: It would have been well if Monseigneur Bienvenu had not been a Royalist. and charity. his cloud. Thus Monseigneur Bienvenu also had his hour of par- ty spirit.

He who has not been a stubborn accuser in prosperity should hold his peace in the face of ruin. insulting after having deified. As for us. And it was a crime to applaud. in the presence of that senate which passed from one dunghill to another. the mournful acclamation of the army and the people to the condemned of destiny had noth- ing laughable in it. in 1814. his proud opposition. ought not perhaps to have failed to recognize the august and touching features presented by the embrace of a great nation and a great man on the brink of the abyss. his just but perilous resistance to the all-powerful Napoleon. we let it work. The denunciator of suc- cess is the only legitimate executioner of the fall.— it was a duty to turn aside the head. when Waterloo could be dimly discerned opening before Napoleon. in the presence of that idolatry which was loosing its footing and spitting on its idol. a heart like that of the Bishop of D——. when Providence intervenes and strikes. We only love the fray so long as there is danger. and. But that which pleases us in people who are rising pleases us less in the case of people who are falling. possessed only traits which aroused indignation. after making all allowance for the despot. when France was seized with a shiver at their sinister approach. in the presence of those marshals who betrayed. the combatants of the first hour have alone the right to be the exterminators of the last. In 1815. emboldened by ca- tastrophe. and in any case.derstood and admired his protest in the name of right and liberty. In 1813 the cowardly breach of silence of that taciturn legislative body.  Les Miserables . 1812 commenced to disarm us. when the supreme disasters filled the air.

reproved him gen- tly. The Bishop sent for him. In the course of nine years Monseigneur Bienvenu had. that even in the political views with which we have just reproached him. ‘The gouty old creature in English gaiters!’ he said. with his wife and children. and which we are disposed to judge almost with severity. Prussia and Eng- land. He was an old non-commissioned of- ficer of the old guard. and he would not put anything in its place. a sage. and without bread. He was a priest. he was in all things just. so that he should not be obliged to wear his cross. beneficent and kindly. ‘let him take himself off to Prussia with that queue of his. There he was. perhaps. This poor fellow occasionally let slip inconsiderate remarks. true. With this exception.’ he said. he was tolerant and easy. turned out of the house.com  . which the law then stigmatized as seditious speeches. ‘I will die. this made a hole. more so. humble and dignified. He did it so often that he lost his place.’ He was happy to combine in the same imprecation the two things which he most detested. and appointed him beadle in the cathedral. than we who are speaking here. a member of the Legion of Honor at Austerlitz. intelligent. He had himself devoutly removed the imperial effigy from the cross which Napoleon had given him. as he said. ‘rather than wear the three frogs upon my heart!’ He liked to scoff aloud at Louis XVIII. The porter of the town-hall had been placed there by the Emperor. After the im- perial profile disappeared from the Legion of Honor. and a man. which is only another sort of benevolence. he never dressed himself in his regimentals. It must be admitted. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as much of a Bonapartist as the eagle. eq- uitable.

by the people. filled the town of D—— with a sort of tender and filial reverence.  Les Miserables .by dint of holy deeds and gentle manners. Even his conduct towards Napoleon had been accepted and tacitly pardoned. as it were. the good and weakly flock who adored their emperor. but loved their bishop.

just as a general is by a covey of young of- ficers. who form a train for those who have attained eminence in it. and mounts guard over monseigneur’s smile. There is no power which has not its dependents.com  . The seekers of the future eddy around the splen- did present. There is no fortune which has not its court. which goes the round. To please a bishop is equivalent to getting one’s foot in the stirrup for a sub-diaconate. and maintains good order in the episcopal palace. Every metropolis has its staff of officials. This is what that charming Saint Francois de Sales calls somewhere ‘les pretres blancs-becs.CHAPTER XII THE SOLITUDE OF MONSEIGNEUR WELCOME A bishop is almost always surrounded by a full squadron of little abbes. Every bishop who possesses the least influence has about him his patrol of cherubim from the seminary. It is necessary to walk one’s path discreetly.’ callow priests. there are big mi- tres in the Church. the apostleship does not disdain the canonship. These are the bishops who stand well at Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Just as there are bigwigs elsewhere. Every career has its aspirants.

Every skull-cap may dream of the tiara. carries you with him as conclavist. you enter a court of papal ju- risdiction. skilful. and cathedral posts. Their radiance casts a gleam of purple over their suite. Their prosperity is crumbled up behind the scenes. upon the assiduous and the fa- vored. The larger the diocese of the patron. and upon all the young men who understand the art of pleasing. an archbishop who knows how to become a cardinal. of large parishes. the fat- ter the curacy for the favorite. into nice little promotions. who are abbes rather than priests. The priest is nowadays the only man who can become a king in a regu- lar manner. but who know also how to beg. well endowed. prebends.Court. and between the Eminence and the Holiness there is but the smoke of a ballot. archidiaconates. and from a Grace to an Eminence is only a step. and behold! you are an auditor. how many youthful abbes bear on their heads  Les Miserables . then monsignor. there is Rome. while awaiting episcopal honors. you receive the pallium. they create a shower about them. A bishop who understands how to become an archbishop. chaplaincies. who feel little scruple at making a whole dio- cese dance attendance in their person. and what a king! the supreme king. it is a whole solar system on the march. Happy those who approach them! Being persons of influence. And then. who know how to pray. they cause their satel- lites to progress also. Then what a nursery of aspirations is a seminary! How many blushing choristers. who are rich. then a papal chamberlain. who are connecting links between the sacristy and diplomacy. no doubt. accepted by the world. prelates rather than bishops. As they advance themselves.

For. humble. he might communicate to you. Hence the isolation of Monseigneur Bienvenu. perchance. This was plain from the complete absence of young priests about him. was not accounted among the big mitres. in short. Monseigneur Bienvenu. an incurable poverty. by contagion. poor. rather vulgar like himself. Its false resemblance to merit deceives men. that they were finished and he was completed. and this infectious virtue is avoided. men wish to be pushed. which are useful in advancement. The impossibility of growing great under Monseigneur Bienvenu was so well understood. His canons and grand-vicars were good old men. retiring. and who resembled their bishop. For the masses. an anchylosis of the joints. with this difference. without exit to a cardinalship.Perrette’s pot of milk! Who knows how easy it is for am- bition to call itself vocation? in good faith. we repeat it. We live in the midst of a gloomy society. that is the les- son which falls drop by drop from the slope of corruption.com  . Success. more re- nunciation than you desire. and in short. A saint who dwells in a paroxysm of abnegation is a dangerous neighbor. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. We have seen that he ‘did not take’ in Paris. Be it said in passing. and went off in a great hurry. and deceiving itself. Not a single sprouting ambition committed the folly of putting forth its foliage in his shadow. that no sooner had the young men whom he ordained left the seminary than they got themselves recom- mended to the archbishops of Aix or of Auch. that success is a very hideous thing. Not a single future dreamed of engrafting itself on this solitary old man. walled up like him in this diocese. devotee that it is.

He who triumphs is venerated. of which he is the father and of which it is the mother. which compose the splendor of a century. and who applauds the vulgar herd. wears the livery of success. the multitude awards on the spot. The common herd is an old Narcissus who adores himself. has one dupe. That enormous ability by virtue of which one is Moses. Gilding is gold. in whatsoever it may consist. and performs the service of its ante- chamber. let a military Prudhom- me accidentally win the decisive battle of an epoch. let a preacher become a bishop  Les Miserables . let a pork-packer espouse usury.success has almost the same profile as supremacy. Prosperity argues capacity. a philosophy which is almost official has entered into its service. Juvenal and Tacitus alone grumble at it. and construct for himself. and cause it to bring forth seven or eight millions. contemporary admiration is nothing but short-sightedness. so long as you do arrive. Win in the lottery. Success. be happy. Be born with a silver spoon in your mouth! everything lies in that. Be lucky. Aeschylus. let a eunuch come to possess a harem. It does no harm to be the first arrival by pure chance. Let a notary transfigure himself into a deputy: let a false Corneille compose Tiridate. let an apothecary invent cardboard shoe-soles for the army of the Sambre-and-Meuse. and by acclamation.—history. or Napoleon. four hundred thousand francs of income. Out- side of five or six immense exceptions. In our day. Michael Angelo. that Menaechmus of talent. Dante. to whomsoever attains his object. and behold! you are a clever man. out of this cardboard. and you will have all the rest. and people will think you great. sold as leather. Succeed: theory.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . With the constellations of space they confound the stars of the abyss which are made in the soft mire of the puddle by the feet of ducks.by force of his nasal drawl. let the steward of a fine family be so rich on retiring from service that he is made minister of finances. just as they call the face of Mousqueton Beauty. and the mien of Claude Majes- ty.—and men call that Genius.

we admit the possible development of all beauties of human virtue in a belief that differs from our own. he drew from good works that amount of satisfaction which suffices to the conscience. that outside of and beyond his faith. as it were. In was in that quarter. and which whispers to a man.’ he often exclaimed. The conscience of the just man should be accepted on his word.CHAPTER XIII WHAT HE BELIEVED We are not obliged to sound the Bishop of D—— on the score of orthodoxy. What did he think of this dogma. The point on which we are certain is. Moreover. the Bishop pos- sessed an excess of love. or of that mystery? These secrets of the inner tribunal of the conscience are known only to the tomb. No decay is possible to the diamond. In the presence of such a soul we feel ourselves in no mood but respect. ‘Credo in Patrem. that the difficulties of faith never resolved themselves into hypocrisy in his case. ‘Thou art with God!’ The point which we consider it our duty to note is. He believed to the extent of his powers. certain na- tures being given. quia multum  Les Miserables . where souls enter naked. Moreover.

and which.—because he loved much—that he was regarded as vulnerable by ‘serious men. as we have already pointed out. de- formity of instinct. Every man. He did not go as far as the Brahmin. on occa- sion. which is peculiar to many priests.amavit. favorite locutions of our sad world where egotism takes its word of command from pedantry. that portion of chaos which still exists in nature. or the excuse for them. He lived without disdain. the explanation. but he seemed to have weighed this saying of Ecclesiastes: ‘Who knoweth whither the soul of the animal goeth?’ Hideousness of aspect.com  . and did not arouse his indignation. frightful spider. He was touched. extended even to things. even the best. One morning he was in his garden. hairy. What was this excess of love? It was a serene benevolence which overflowed men. it was a large. His sister heard him say:— ‘Poor beast! It is not its fault!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. un- seen by him: suddenly he paused and gazed at something on the ground. almost softened by them. nevertheless. He examined without wrath. It seemed as though he went thoughtfully away to seek be- yond the bounds of life which is apparent. This revery sometimes caused him to utter odd sayings. and with the eye of a linguist who is deci- phering a palimpsest. He seemed at times to be asking God to commute these penalties. The Bishop of D—— had none of that harshness. He was indulgent towards God’s creation. but his sister was walking behind him. black. troubled him not. has within him a thoughtless harshness which he re- serves for animals. and thought himself alone. the cause.’ ‘grave persons’ and ‘reasonable people”.

if the stories anent his youth. In 1815. and then there was nothing more venerable possible. he reached his seventy-fifth birthday. these formations are indestructible.. Thus lived this just man. Monseigneur Bienvenu had formerly been. for. Gregory XVI. which did not prevent him from being a bad bishop. a violent man. When he conversed with that infantile gayety which was one of his charms. and even in regard to his manhood. possibly. a detail from which we do not pretend to draw any conclu- sion. These hollows are uneffaceable. and of which we have already spoken. as in a rock. Monseigneur Welcome had what the people term a ‘fine head. Why not mention these almost divinely childish sayings of kindness? Puerile they may be. he was fond of taking long strolls on foot. but these sublime puer- ilities were peculiar to Saint Francis d’Assisi and of Marcus Aurelius.’ but so amiable was he that they forgot that it was fine. he was rather plump. in a character. a passionate. there may exist apertures made by drops of water.  Les Miserables . thought by thought. One day he sprained his ankle in his effort to avoid stepping on an ant. held himself erect and smiling. Sometimes he fell asleep in his garden. as we think we have already said. and his form was but slightly bent. and. his step was firm. at the age of eighty. He was not tall. and had trickled there slowly. and. in order to combat this tendency. but he did not appear to be more than sixty. were to be believed. His universal suavity was less an instinct of nature than the re- sult of a grand conviction which had filtered into his heart through the medium of life.

Respect. ‘He’s a good fellow”. rendered august by his white locks. and indulgent souls where thought is so grand that it can no longer be anything but gentle. confidence.’ That. penetrated you by degrees and mounted to your heart. all of which he had preserved. an unutterable respect. and joy seemed to radiate from his whole person. the consolation of the afflicted. fraternity. one experienced something of the emotion which one would feel on beholding a smiling angel slowly unfold his wings.com  . and of an old man. His fresh and ruddy complexion. and beheld him in the least degree pensive. his broad and serious brow. his very white teeth. study. and which were displayed by his smile. became august also by virtue of meditation. though his goodness ceased not to be radiant. without ceasing to smile. and took on some imposing quality. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. it will be recalled. filled every day of his life. alms-giving. As we have seen. prayer. and one felt that one had before him one of those strong. gave him that open and easy air which cause the remark to be made of a man. Filled is exactly the word. but a fine man. work. the cultivation of a bit of land. I know not what.people felt at their ease with him. the celebration of the offices of religion. certainly the Bishop’s day was quite full to the brim. the fine man became gradually transfigured. thoroughly tried. frugality. hospitali- ty. he was nothing. On the first encounter. was the effect which he produced upon Napo- leon. ‘He is a fine man. But if one remained near him for a few hours. in fact. and to one who saw him for the first time. majesty radiated from his goodness. renunciation. of good words and good deeds.

it was not complete if cold or rainy weather prevented his passing an hour or two in his garden before going to bed. He considered those magnificent conjunctions of atoms. of all the infinities. he was dazzled by him. adoring. probably. he gazed upon it. he could not have told himself. a mystery still more strange. It seemed to be a sort of rite with him. Sometimes. com- muning with himself. He was there alone. peaceful. Mysterious exchange of the abysses of the soul with the abysses of the universe! He thought of the grandeur and presence of God. he felt something take its flight from him. if the two old women were not asleep. reveal forces by verifying  Les Miserables . moved amid the darkness by the visible splendor of the constella- tions and the invisible splendor of God.Nevertheless. of the eternity past. opening his heart to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown. comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the ether. that strange mystery. what was passing in his spirit. which communicate aspects to matter. of the future eternity. they heard him pacing slowly along the walks at a very advanced hour of the night. and after the two women had retired. to prepare himself for slumber by meditation in the presence of the grand spectacles of the nocturnal heavens. He did not study God. while he offered his heart at the hour when noc- turnal flowers offer their perfume. and. and something descend into him. with- out seeking to comprehend the incomprehensible. which pierced their way into all his senses. illuminated like a lamp amid the starry night. At such moments. beneath his eyes. as he poured himself out in ecstasy in the midst of the universal radiance of creation.

who divided the leisure of his life. These conjunctions are formed and dissolved inces- santly. This quarter of an acre. and all the stars in the sky. What more was needed by this old man. so encumbered with mean build- ings and sheds. and immensity in which to dream. past the puny and stunted silhouettes of his fruit-trees. through light. where there was so little leisure. and. At one’s feet that which can be cultivated and plucked. produce beauty. create individualities in unity. he gazed at the stars. in fact? and what is there left to desire beyond it? A little garden in which to walk. over head that which one can study and meditate upon: some flowers on earth. He seated himself on a wooden bench. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with his back against a decrepit vine.them. between gardening in the daytime and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow enclosure.com  . hence life and death. suf- ficient to enable him to adore God in his most divine works. was dear to him. so poorly planted. and satisfied his wants. the innumerable in the infinite. proportions in extent. with the heavens for a ceiling. in turn? Does not this comprehend all.

that not one of those persons who knew Monseigneur Welcome would have thought himself authorized to think anything of the sort. There is a sacred horror beneath the porches of the enigma. particularly at the present moment. no. No systems. Since this sort of details might. but the bishop must be timid. His wisdom was made of the light which comes from there. Abstruse speculations contain vertigo. He would probably have felt a scru- ple at sounding too far in advance certain problems which are. either to his credit or discredit. give to the Bishop of D—— a certain ‘pantheistical’ physiognomy. there is nothing to indicate that he risked his mind in apocalypses. and to use an expression now in fashion. and there take on a form and grow until they usurp the place of religion. and induce the belief. many works. those  Les Miserables . The apostle may be daring. that he entertained one of those personal philosophies which are peculiar to our century. which sometimes spring up in soli- tary spirits. reserved for terrible great minds. That which enlightened this man was his heart.CHAPTER XIV WHAT HE THOUGHT One last word. in a manner. we insist upon it.

Monseigneur Welcome was not a genius.gloomy openings stand yawning there. and by these arduous paths one approaches to ideal perfection. situated. However that may be. it with it dazzles nature. you. which is full of anxiety and responsibility for him who attempts its steep cliffs. like Swedenborg and Pascal. above all dogmas. He would have feared those sublimities whence some very great men even. As for him. and who have the terrible vision of the in- finite mountain. it analyzes and digs deep into its own bedazzlement. so to speak. that by a sort of splendid reaction. the mysterious world which sur- rounds us renders back what it has received. Woe to him who penetrates thither! Geniuses in the impenetrable depths of abstraction and pure speculation. he did not see to condense in flame Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but something tells you. One might almost say. Their adoration interrogates. propose their ideas to God. Their prayer audaciously offers discussion. these powerful reveries have their moral utility. Certainly. he projected no ray of future upon the dark groundswell of events. there are on earth men who—are they men?— perceive distinctly at the verge of the horizons of revery the heights of the absolute. This is direct reli- gion. a passer-by in life. it is probable that the contemplators are contemplated.com  . He did not attempt to impart to his chasuble the folds of Elijah’s mantle. Monseigneur Welcome was one of these men. At his own risk and peril.— the Gospel’s. that you must not enter. he took the path which shortens. have slipped into in- sanity. Human meditation has no limits.

everywhere he felt fever. that man who believed himself to be a ‘philosopher. the  Les Miserables . everywhere he heard the sound of suffering. said to the Bishop: ‘Just survey the spectacle of the world: all war against all.’—‘Well. he was occupied only in finding for himself. without contesting the point. ‘if it is nonsense. and that was all. The universe appeared to him like an immense malady.’ the senator who has already been alluded to. That which exists was for this good and rare priest a permanent subject of sadness which sought consolation. He inclined towards all that groans and all that expiates. This humble soul loved. desired nothing further. without seeking to solve the enigma. Your love each other is nonsense. The terrible spectacle of created things developed tenderness in him. the strongest has the most wit. The sadness which reigned everywhere was but an excuse for unfailing kindness. Love each other. and that was the whole of his doctrine.’ replied Monseigneur Wel- come. One day. he toiled at the extraction of pity. and if it is a heresy to pray beyond the texts. he strove to dress the wound. Saint Theresa and Saint Jerome would be heretics. That he carried prayer to the pitch of a superhuman as- piration is probable: but one can no more pray too much than one can love too much.the light of things. and in inspiring others with the best way to compassionate and relieve. There are men who toil at extracting gold. Universal misery was his mine. and. he had nothing of the prophet and noth- ing of the magician about him. he declared this to be complete.

the soul. and the Ens. the precipices of metaphysics—all those pro- fundities which converge. he lived there. the thought- ful somnambulism of the animal.’ Thus he shut himself up. the recapitulation of existences which the tomb con- tains. and without troubling his own mind with them. and who cherished in his own soul a grave respect for darkness. destiny. leaving on one side the prodigious ques- tions which attract and terrify. for the atheist in nothingness. the incomprehensible grafting of successive loves on the persistent I. the transformation in death.soul should shut itself up in it. nature. Manou. which Lucretius. the conscience of man. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. perpendicu- lar problems. which seems by its steady gaze on the in- finite to cause stars to blaze forth there. the essence. he was absolutely satisfied with it.com  . the substance. liberty. where lean the gigantic archangels of the human mind. formidable abysses. good and evil. as the pearl in the oyster. Saint Paul. necessity. the fathomless perspectives of abstraction. the way of being against being. sinister obscurities. Dante. for the apostle in God. the Nile. Monseigneur Bienvenu was simply a man who took note of the exterior of mysterious questions without scrutinizing them. contemplate with eyes flashing lightning.

BOOK SECOND—THE FALL  Les Miserables .

It was difficult to en- counter a wayfarer of more wretched appearance. in the prime of life. knotty stick in his hand. thickset and robust. a man who was travelling on foot entered the little town of D—— The few inhabitants who were at their windows or on their thresholds at the moment stared at this traveller with a sort of uneasiness. patched on one of the elbows with a bit of green cloth sewed on with twine.com  . His shirt of coarse yellow linen. A cap with a drooping leather visor partly concealed his face. about an hour be- fore sunset. well buckled and perfectly new. 1815. fastened at the neck by a small silver anchor. an old gray. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.CHAPTER I THE EVENING OF A DAY OF WALKING Early in the month of October. worn and threadbare. He might have been forty-six or forty-eight years old. burned and tanned by sun and wind. tattered blouse. trousers of blue drilling. an enormous. on his back. permitted a view of his hairy breast: he had a cravat twisted into a string. He was a man of medium stature. and dripping with perspiration. white on one knee and torn on the other. a tightly packed soldier knapsack.

at the fountain in the market-place. the dust. His hair was closely cut. from the seashore. then came out a quarter of an hour later. two hundred paces further on. Whence came he? From the south. the heat. The man pulled off his cap and humbly saluted the gendarme. a shaved head and a long beard. No one knew him. for he made his entrance into D—— by the same street which. the journey on foot. He seemed very much fatigued. yet bristling. He entered. seven months previously. and directed his steps toward the town- hall. and drink at the fountain which stands at the end of the prom- enade. On arriving at the corner of the Rue Poichevert. added I know not what sordid quality to this dilapidated whole. had witnessed the passage of the Emperor Napoleon on his way from Cannes to Paris. He was evidently only a chance pass- er-by. and  Les Miserables . Some women of the ancient market town which is situated below the city had seen him pause beneath the trees of the boulevard Gassendi. perhaps. followed him for a while with his eyes. and did not seem to have been cut for some time.iron-shod shoes on his stockingless feet. on the stone bench which General Drouot had mounted on the 4th of March to read to the frightened throng of the inhabitants of D—— the proclamation of the Gulf Juan. The sweat. stared at- tentively at him. without replying to his salute. he turned to the left. He must have been very thirsty: for the children who followed him saw him stop again for a drink. The gendarme. A gendarme was seated near the door. for it had begun to grow a little. This man must have been walking all day.

and laugh- ter were audible from an adjoining apartment. who was also the chief cook. and that he had distributed crosses of honor to the soldiers and handfuls of gold to the citizens. saying.com  . who kept the inn of the Three Dauphins in Grenoble. whose loud talking. He entered the kitchen.then entered the town-hall. and he had betaken himself to the Three Dauphins. ‘I am going to the house of a brave man of my acquaintance”. There then existed at D—— a fine inn at the sign of the Cross of Colbas. that when the Emperor entered Grenoble he had refused to install himself at the hotel of the prefecture. ‘That is the cousin of the man of Grenoble. disguised as a carter. many ru- mors had circulated throughout the country with regard to this inn of the Three Dauphins. very busily superintending an excellent dinner designed for the wagoners. had made frequent trips thither in the month of January. and had served in the Guides. At the time of the Emperor’s landing. The truth is. was going from one stew-pan to another.’ The man bent his steps towards this inn. Any one who Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he had thanked the mayor. a huge fire blazed gayly in the fireplace. The host. This glory of the Labarre of the Three Dauphins was reflected upon the Labarre of the Cross of Colbas. which opened on a level with the street. It was said that General Ber- trand. conversation. This inn had for a landlord a certain Jacquin Labarre. which was the best in the country-side. at a distance of five and twenty leagues. a man of consideration in the town on ac- count of his relationship to another Labarre. All the stoves were lighted. It was said of him in the town.

removed his knapsack from his back. ‘Immediately. was turning on a long spit be- fore the fire.has travelled knows that there is no one who indulges in better cheer than wagoners. on the stove.’ replied the landlord. But as the host went back and forth. Jacquin Labarre. A fat marmot. and seated himself on a low stool close to the fire. ‘Will dinner be ready soon?’ said the man. ‘By paying for it. The eve- nings are cold there in October. On the white margin he wrote a line or two. At that moment he turned his head. retained his stick in his hand.’ ‘In that case. folded  Les Miserables . ‘Nothing easier. The man put his purse back in his pocket. took in the traveller’s appearance with a single glance.’ said the man. the worthy host.’ said the host. and added. without raising his eyes from his stoves:— ‘What do you wish.’ replied the host. D—— is in the mountains. two huge carps from Lake Lauzet and a trout from Lake Alloz were cooking. we are at your service.’ The man drew a large leather purse from the pocket of his blouse. While the newcomer was warming himself before the fire. hearing the door open and seeing a newcomer enter. then tore off the corner of an old newspaper which was lying on a small table near the window. ‘I have money. said. with his back turned. flanked by white partridges and heather-cocks. drew a pencil from his pocket. put it on the ground near the door. he scrutinized the traveller. sir?’ ‘Food and lodging. and answered. The host.

like a person who is expecting a reply.’ responded the host. and remained thoughtful for a moment. The child returned.’ said he. and the child set off on a run in the direction of the town-hall. and then intrusted this scrap of paper to a child who seemed to serve him in the capacity both of scullion and lackey.’ said the host. sir. ‘Put me in the stable.’ ‘Very well!’ retorted the man. ‘I cannot receive you.’ ‘Why?’ ‘The horses take up all the space. ‘And I. The traveller saw nothing of all this.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The man resumed tranquilly. Then he took a step in the direction of the traveller. The man half rose. He brought back the paper. He seemed to read it attentively. ‘a corner of the loft then. a truss of straw.’ said the man.’ ‘What then?’ ‘You have money—‘ ‘Yes. Once more he inquired. The host unfolded it eagerly. The landlord whispered a word in the scullion’s ear. ‘Will dinner be ready soon?’ ‘Immediately. ‘have no room. who appeared to be immersed in reflections which were not very serene. I tell you. ‘What! Are you afraid that I will not pay you? Do you want me to pay you in advance? I have money.com  . We will see about that after dinner.’ ‘I cannot. then tossed his head.it without sealing.’ ‘It is not that.

’ said the landlord. without raising his voice. and said in a tone which made him start. I sent to  Les Miserables .’ ‘I have nothing. made in a measured but firm tone. ‘Go away!’ At that moment the traveller was bending forward and thrusting some brands into the fire with the iron-shod tip of his staff. and said. I wish to eat. and turned towards the fireplace and the stoves: ‘Nothing! and all that?’ ‘All that is engaged. I am hungry. Do you want me to tell you your name? Your name is Jean Valjean. still in a low voice: ‘Stop! there’s enough of that sort of talk.’ ‘By whom?’ ‘By messieurs the wagoners. Now do you want me to tell you who you are? When I saw you come in I suspected something. ‘Ah! bah! But I am dying of hunger. and I shall remain. The man burst out laughing. I pay.’ The man seated himself again. and as he opened his mouth to reply. He rose. he turned quickly round. the host gazed steadily at him and add- ed.’ ‘There is enough food there for twenty. ‘I cannot give you any dinner. struck the stranger as grave. I have travelled twelve leagues. ‘I am at an inn.’ ‘They have engaged the whole of it and paid for it in ad- vance.’ This declaration. I have been walking since sunrise.’ ‘How many are there of them?’ ‘Twelve.’ Then the host bent down to his ear.

All at once he felt the pangs of hunger sharp- ly. He walked straight on at a venture. and all the passers-by in the street. Had he done so. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to see whether he could not discover some shelter. forgetful of his fatigue. he would have seen the host of the Cross of Colbas standing on his threshold. He glanced about him. picked up the knapsack which he had deposited on the ground. talking viva- ciously. and this was the reply that was sent to me. Thus he proceeded for some time. traversing at random streets of which he knew nothing. the paper which had just travelled from the inn to the town- hall. and pointing him out with his finger. keeping close to the houses like a sad and hu- miliated man. Night was drawing near. ‘I am in the habit of being polite to every one. and took his depar- ture. and from the town-hall to the inn. He chose the principal street. The landlord resumed after a pause. They know but too well the evil fate which follows them. he might have divined that his arrival would speedily become an event for the whole town. He saw nothing of all this. he held out to the stranger.the town-hall. walking on without ceasing. and. surrounded by all the guests of his inn. as is often the case when a man is sad. Go away!’ The man dropped his head. The man cast a glance upon it. fully unfolded.com  . He did not turn round a single time. from the glances of terror and distrust cast by the group. Can you read?’ So saying. People who are crushed do not look behind them.

Come and warm yourself. then raised the latch timidly and opened the door. The fine hostelry was closed to him. The landlord was warming himself. The supper is cooking in the pot. It proved to be. The lamp illuminated him on one side. the firelight on the other. ‘Some one who wants supper and bed. some hovel. is by two doors. He proceeded thither. All the men who were drinking turned round. the other upon a small yard filled with manure. he was seeking some very humble public house. The wayfarer halted for a moment.’ He approached and seated himself near the hearth. in fact. a pine branch suspended from a cross-beam of iron was outlined against the white sky of the twilight. The host said to him. ‘There is the fire. The traveller dare not enter by the street door. Just then a light flashed up at the end of the streets. One opens on the street. Some men were engaged in drink- ing there. We furnish supper and bed here. He slipped into the yard. The entrance to this public house. comrade. suspended from a crane. and peeped through the window into the interior of the low-studded room of the public house.’ He entered. They examined him for some time while he was taking off his knapsack. halted again. which were exhausted with fatigue. a public house. He stretched out his feet. ‘Who goes there?’ said the master. however lowly. which is also a sort of an inn. bubbled over the flame. The public house which is in the Rue de Chaffaut.  Les Miserables .’ ‘Good. An iron pot. illuminated by a small lamp on a table and by a large fire on the hearth.

It was. a firm. The eye shone beneath its lashes like a fire beneath brushwood. was a fish- monger who. This fishmonger had been a mem- ber half an hour previously of the group which surrounded Jacquin Labarre. The tavern-keeper went to him. laid his hand abruptly on the shoulder of the man. and ended by seeming severe. which was well pulled down. Now. From where he sat he made an imperceptible sign to the tavern-keeper.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to which the fishmonger had made no reply except by redoubling his gait.com  . it began by seeming humble. It chanced that he had that very morning encountered this unprepossessing stranger on the road between Bras d’Asse and—I have forgotten the name. the man. who then seemed already extremely weary. had been to stable his horse at Labarre’s. before entering the public house of the Rue de Chaffaut. This physiognomy was strangely composed. when he met him.to the fire. moreover. energetic. and melancholy pro- file. and said to him:— ‘You are going to get out of here. assumed a vague appearance of comfort. a fine odor was emitted by the pot. The tavern-keeper returned to the fireplace. The man had again become absorbed in his reflections. had requested him to take him on his crupper. They exchanged a few words in a low tone. All that could be distinguished of his face. I think it was Escoublon. and had himself related his disagreeable encounter of the morning to the people at the Cross of Col- bas. beneath his cap. however. One of the men seated at the table. mingled with that other poignant aspect which habitual suffering bestows.

’ The wicket closed again. the window of which was lighted up. The wicket opened. ‘will you have the kindness to admit me. He passed before the prison. He rang. some children who had followed him from the Cross of Colbas. As he went out. The stranger turned round and replied gently. which lends a cheerful aspect to the street. and you will be admitted. Get yourself arrested. He peered through the pane as he had done at the public house. and who seemed to be lying in wait for him. In the midst of these gardens and hedges he caught sight of a small house of a single story.’ ‘Where would you have me go?’ ‘Elsewhere. Some of them are enclosed only by hedges. ‘Ah! You know?—‘ ‘Yes.’ said he. Within  Les Miserables . He entered a little street in which there were many gar- dens. threw stones at him.’ ‘I was sent away from the other inn. ‘Turnkey. removing his cap politely. At the door hung an iron chain attached to a bell. He retraced his steps in anger.’ The man took his stick and his knapsack and departed.’ ‘And you are to be turned out of this one. and threatened them with his stick: the children dis- persed like a flock of birds. and give me a lodging for the night?’ A voice replied:— ‘The prison is not an inn.

who was dandling a little child on his knees. It is probable that he thought that this joyous house would be hospitable. Close by a very young woman was nursing another child. He wore a huge leather apron. The husband rose. half arti- san. and a cradle in one corner. that some one is knocking. he would find perhaps a little pity. which he opened. He tapped a third time. and that. ‘It seems to me. He heard the woman say. the mother was smiling. the child was laughing. smoking soup-tureen. He was a man of lofty stature. husband. the pewter jug shining like silver.com  . A copper lamp illuminated the tablecloth of coarse white linen. in a place where he beheld so much happiness. A table was spread in the centre of the room. and a double-barrelled gun hanging on the wall.’ ‘No. a few wooden chairs. and the brown. with a merry and open countenance. At this table sat a man of about forty. half peasant.’ replied the husband. He tapped on the pane with a very small and feeble knock. and went to the door. and filled with wine. which reached to his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. What was taking place within him? He alone could have told. The father was laughing. They did not hear him. He tapped again.was a large whitewashed room. The stranger paused a moment in revery before this ten- der and calming spectacle. with a bed draped in print- ed cotton stuff. took the lamp.

that air of being on his own ground.’ said the peasant. a powder-horn.’ ‘Well?’ The traveller replied with embarrassment: ‘I do not know. in the Rue Chaf- faut?’  Les Miserables . He did not receive me. in consid- eration of payment. He had thick eyelashes. the lower part of his face like a snout. give me a plate of soup and a corner of that shed yonder in the garden. ‘to lodge any re- spectable man who would pay me. Have you been to Labarre?’ ‘Yes. displayed his bull neck.’ ‘Have you been to What’s-his-name’s. Can you?— if I pay?’ ‘I would not refuse. This is neither a fair nor a market day.’ ‘Bah! Impossible. which is inde- scribable. white and bare. promi- nent eyes. and besides all this.’ said the wayfarer. in which to sleep? Tell me. He car- ried his head thrown backwards. as in a pocket. can you? For money?’ ‘Who are you?’ demanded the master of the house. his shirt.left shoulder. ‘Could you. I have walked all day long. enormous black whiskers. a red handkerchief. I have travelled twelve leagues. caused to bulge out. widely opened and turned back. ‘Pardon me. sir. But why do you not go to the inn?’ ‘There is no room. and which a hammer. and all sorts of objects which were upheld by the girdle. The man replied: ‘I have just come from Puy-Moisson.

‘A shot from my gun!’ said the peasant. and the sound of a bar of iron which was placed against it was audible outside. a glass of water. All this took place in less time than it requires to picture it to one’s self. Are you the man? the woman had risen. rascally marauder. at the words. with a sort of shudder:— ‘Are you the man?—‘ He cast a fresh glance upon the stranger. and with frightened eyes. with her bosom uncovered. A cold wind from the Alps was Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The peasant’s countenance assumed an expression of distrust.com  . ‘Tso- maraude. placed the lamp on the table. had clasped her two children in her arms. After having scrutinized the man for several moments.’ said the man. the window- shutter was closed. and had taken refuge precipitately behind her husband. staring in terror at the stranger. the master of the house returned to the door and said:— ‘Clear out!’ ‘For pity’s sake. Then he closed the door violently. took three steps backwards. Meanwhile. ‘He did not receive me either. as she murmured in a low tone.’[1] [1] Patois of the French Alps: chat de maraude. A moment later. he surveyed the newcomer from head to feet. and the man heard him shoot two large bolts. and suddenly exclaimed. as one scrutinizes a viper. he stammered. Night continued to fall. and took his gun down from the wall. The stranger’s embarrassment increased.

and found him- self in the garden. and made his way out of the kennel in the best way he could. for a moment. It was a dog’s kennel. in fact. he armed him- self with his staff. a pillow ready to his hand. but this was. to have recourse to that manoeuvre with his stick which masters in  Les Miserables . being obliged. the dwelling of a road-laborer. made a shield of his knapsack.blowing. in order to keep the dog respectful. He threw himself flat on his face. a sort of hut. By the light of the expiring day the stranger per- ceived. that it was. He raised his eyes. he was suffering from cold and hunger. as the knapsack on his back was in his way. He climbed over the wooden fence resolutely. The head of an enormous dog was outlined in the darkness at the en- trance of the hut. He approached the hut. and as it furnished. stretched out on this bed. He thought without doubt. so fatigued was he. He lay. He was himself vigorous and formidable. a fe- rocious growl became audible. It was warm there. At that moment. and crawled into the hut. and he found a tolerably good bed of straw. which seemed to him to be built of sods. not with- out enlarging the rents in his rags. at least. moreover. he set about unbuckling one of the straps. He left the garden in the same manner. with- out the power to make a movement. and it resembled those buildings which road-laborers construct for themselves along the roads. a shelter from the cold. Then. its door consisted of a very low and narrow aperture. in one of the gardens which bordered the street. This sort of dwelling is not usually occupied at night. but backwards.

chased even from that bed of straw and from that miserable ken- nel. with his head still droop- ing. not without difficulty. He was in a field. ‘I am not even a dog!’ He soon rose again and resumed his march. and which were mounting and filling the whole sky. The whole effect was hideous. which. without refuge. as the moon was about to rise. repassed the fence.com  . Before him was one of those low hills covered with close-cut stubble. hoping to find some tree or haystack in the fields which would afford him shelter. it was caused by very low-hanging clouds which seemed to rest upon the hill itself. without shelter. whose contour was poor and mean. was outlined vague and wan against the gloomy horizon. and as there was still floating in the zenith a remnant of the brightness of twilight. He walked thus for some time. When he had.that sort of fencing designate as la rose couverte. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he dropped rather than seated himself on a stone. The earth was thus better lighted than the sky. The horizon was perfectly black. and the hill. alone. He went out of the town. Meanwhile. which produces a particularly sinister effect. resemble shaved heads. he raised his eyes and gazed searchingly about him. these clouds formed at the summit of the sky a sort of whitish arch. without a roof over his head. and it appears that a passer-by heard him exclaim. When he felt himself far from every human habitation. whence a gleam of light fell upon the earth. This was not alone the obscurity of night. after the harvest. and found himself once more in the street.

It might have been eight o’clock in the evening. Worn out with fatigue. were printed for the first time. he shook his fist at the church. he lay down on a stone bench which stands at the  Les Miserables . There are instants when nature seems hostile. the gates of D—— were closed. he recommenced his walk at random.petty. there was something in that sky. He passed through a breach and entered the town again. brought from the Island of Elba and dictated by Napoleon himself. and narrow. It is there that the proclamations of the Emperor and of the Imperial Guard to the army. in that tree. This man was evidently very far from having those delicate habits of intelligence and spirit which render one sensible to the mysterious aspects of things. He retraced his steps. D——. which was so profoundly desolate. in that hill. in that plain. As he passed through the Cathedral Square. which had sustained sieges during the wars of reli- gion. lugubrious. that after a moment of immobility and revery he turned back abruptly. then to the semi- nary. As he was not acquainted with the streets. which writhed and shivered a few paces distant from the wayfarer. There was nothing in the field or on the hill except a de- formed tree. was still surrounded in 1815 by ancient walls flanked by square towers which have been demolished since. nevertheless. and no longer entertaining any hope. In this way he came to the prefecture. At the corner of this square there is a printing establish- ment.

‘I have only four sous in my purse. But have you tried? It is impossible for you to pass the night thus. ‘to-day I have a mattress of stone. my good woman. no doubt. which stood beside the Bishop’s palace. She saw the man stretched out in the shadow.’ ‘You have been a soldier?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Alas!’ said Madame de R——.’ The ‘good woman’ touched the man’s arm. a soldier. At that moment an old woman came out of the church.’ said the man. in fact. low house. my friend?’ said she. ‘What are you doing there. and pointed out to him on the other side of the street a small.doorway of this printing office. ‘I have had a mattress of wood for nineteen years.’ ‘Give it to me all the same. He answered harshly and angrily: ‘As you see.’ The good woman. You are cold and hungry.’ ‘Why do you not go to the inn?’ ‘Because I have no money. was the Marquise de R—— ‘On this bench?’ she went on.’ The man took the four sous. ‘You have knocked at all doors?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. my good woman.’ ‘I have knocked at all doors.com  . Some one might have given you a lodging out of charity. I am sleeping. Madame de R—— contin- ued: ‘You cannot obtain lodgings in an inn for so small a sum. who was well worthy the name.’ ‘Well?’ ‘I have been driven away everywhere.

’ ‘Have you knocked at that one?’ ‘No.’  Les Miserables .’ ‘Knock there. ‘Yes.

). fathers. the Bishop of D——. to hus- bands. by Saint Peter. 29. to young men. duties towards animals (Matt. That evening. duties towards one’s self (Matt. to wives.com  . He was carefully compil- ing everything that the Fathers and the doctors have said on this important subject. Saint Matthew points them out: duties towards God (Matt. His book was divided into two parts: firstly. children and servants. the duties of all. As for the other duties the Bishop found them pointed out and prescribed elsewhere: to sovereigns and subjects. to the faithful. remained shut up rather late in his room. the duties of each individual. after his prome- nade through the town. in the Epistle to the Romans. in the Epistle to the Ephesians. 30). duties to- wards one’s neighbor (Matt. in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 25). which was never completed. unfortunately. vii. to mothers. 20. vi. He was busy over a great work on Duties. according to the class to which he belongs. 12). There are four of these. secondly. to magistrates. v. to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The duties of all are the great duties.CHAPTER II PRUDENCE COUNSELLED TO WISDOM. vi.

when Madame Magloire en- tered. with a big book open on his knees. somewhat taller than her brother. and en- tered the dining-room. which he desired to present to souls. One can easily picture to one’s self these two women. the Bishop. which possess the merit of giving utterance in a single word to an idea which a whole page would hardly suffice to express. frail. A moment later. Madame Ma-  Les Miserables . in the Epistle to the Corinthians. rose from his table. and a window opening on the garden. know- ing that the table was set. according to her wont.virgins. with a fire- place. of the fashion of 1806. which she had purchased at that date in Paris. she was conversing with Mademoiselle Baptistine. Out of these pre- cepts he was laboriously constructing a harmonious whole. and which had last- ed ever since. As she performed this service. the table was near the fire- place. just putting the last touches to the table. A wood fire was burning there. to get the silver-ware from the cupboard near his bed. To borrow vulgar phrases. Madame Magloire was. shut his book. The dining-room was an oblong apartment. Mademoiselle Baptistine gentle. A lamp stood on the table. and that his sister was probably waiting for him. dressed in a gown of puce-colored silk. Madame Magloire small. vivacious. writing with a good deal of inconvenience upon little squares of paper. At eight o’clock he was still at work. slender. plump. which had a door opening on the street (as we have said). both of whom were over sixty years of age. in fact.

a narrow. the two corners of her mouth unequally raised. charity. Mademoi- selle Baptistine’s gown was cut on the patterns of 1806. a gold Jeannette cross on a velvet ribbon upon her neck. with flaps and buttons. with large. Mademoiselle Baptistine did not even speak. Madame Magloire had an intelligent. prominent eyes. she had large. as we stated in the be- ginning. as we have seen. She had never been pretty. coarse shoes on her feet. the only bit of feminine jewelry that there was in the house. and Mademoiselle Baptistine that of a lady.gloire had the air of a peasant. and kindly air. had gradually elevated that gentleness to sancti- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She concealed her gray hair under a frizzed wig known as the baby wig. a very white fichu puffing out from a gown of coarse black woollen stuff. and a long arched nose. She confined herself to obey- ing and pleasing him. those three virtues which mildly warm the soul. like the women of Marseilles. with a stomacher of the same attached by two pins at the upper corners. She had always been predestined to gentleness. which was larger than the lower. she obeyed passively like her mistress. sheath-like skirt. imparted to her a rather crabbed and imperious look. but her whole visage. her whole person. an apron of cotton cloth in red and green checks. but as soon as Monseigneur began to speak. and her upper lip. but faith. breathed forth an ineffable goodness. vivacious. knotted round the waist with a green ribbon. So long as Monseigneur held his peace.com  . even when she was young. hope. and yellow stockings. with a short waist. Madame Magloire wore a white quilted cap. puffed sleeves. she talked to him resolutely with a mixture of respect and free- dom. short sleeves. blue.

and to fasten the doors well. and care must be taken to duly close. It appears that while procuring some provisions for sup- per.  Les Miserables . because there was no love lost between the Prefect and the Mayor. People had spoken of a prowler of evil appearance. a suspi- cious vagabond had arrived who must be somewhere about the town. At the moment when the Bishop entered. It behooved wise people to play the part of their own police. and to guard themselves well. moreover. and warmed himself. Poor sainted virgin! Sweet memory which has van- ished! Mademoiselle Baptistine has so often narrated what passed at the episcopal residence that evening. Madame Ma- gloire was talking with considerable vivacity. and those who should take it into their heads to return home late that night might be subjected to unpleasant encounters. bar and barricade their houses. Madame Magloire had heard things in divers places. where it was rather cold. that there are many people now living who still recall the most min- ute details. She was haranguing Mademoiselle Baptistine on a subject which was familiar to her and to which the Bishop was also accus- tomed. religion had made her an angel. Madame Magloire emphasized these last words. Nature had made her a lamb. who sought to injure each other by making things happen. but the Bishop had just come from his room. He seated himself in front of the fire. The question concerned the lock upon the entrance door. The police was very badly organized.ty.

ventured to say timidly:— ‘Did you hear what Madame Magloire is saying. and raising towards the old servant woman his cordial face. the police is so badly regulated’ (a useful rep- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. desirous of sat- isfying Madame Magloire without displeasing her brother. a sort of dangerous mendicant. a bare-footed vagabond. exaggerating it a little without being aware of the fact.’ replied the Bishop. Every one says so. A gallows-bird with a terrible face. He had presented himself at Jacquin Labarre’s to obtain lodg- ings. which so easily grew joyous. broth- er?’ ‘I have heard something of it in a vague way. and which was il- luminated from below by the firelight. There will be some sort of catastrophe in this town to-night. ‘Really!’ said the Bishop.and then fell to thinking of other things. He had been seen to arrive by the way of the boulevard Gassendi and roam about the streets in the gloaming. placing his hands on his knees. she pursued triumphantly:— ‘Yes. And withal. This willingness to interrogate encouraged Madame Ma- gloire. She repeated it. That is how it is. He did not take up the remark dropped with design by Madame Magloire. but the latter had not been willing to take him in. It ap- peared that a Bohemian. it seemed to her to indicate that the Bishop was on the point of becoming alarmed.—‘Come. Monseigneur. what is the matter? What is the matter? Are we in any great danger?’ Then Madame Magloire began the whole story afresh.com  . Then half-turning in his chair. was at that moment in the town. Then Mademoiselle Baptistine.

‘The idea of living in a mountainous country. O mon Dieu! there is no need to ask permission. ‘Come in. to come and replace the ancient locks on the doors.’ Madame Magloire continued as though there had been no protest:— ‘We say that this house is not safe at all.’ said the Bishop. indeed! And I say.etition). and I say that we need bolts. Monseigneur. and it is only the work of a moment. ‘say nothing. we have them.’ interrupted his sister. Black as ovens. if only for this night.’ At that moment there came a tolerably violent knock on the door. the locksmith. even in the middle of the night. for I say that nothing is more terrible than a door which can be opened from the outside with a latch by the first passer- by. and Made- moiselle there says with me—‘ ‘I. I will go and tell Paulin Musebois. Monseigneur. moreover. that if Monsei- gneur will permit. and besides. Monseigneur has the habit of always say- ing ‘come in’. and not even having lights in the streets at night! One goes out.  Les Miserables . What my brother does is well done.

We already know the man. The fire on the hearth lighted him up. He was hideous. advanced a step. and stood with her mouth wide open. she began to observe her brother. and half started up in terror. A man entered. turning her head by degrees towards the fireplace again.CHAPTER III THE HEROISM OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE. Madame Magloire had not even the strength to utter a cry. and halted. as though some one had given it an energetic and resolute push. It was a sinister apparition. audacious. Mademoiselle Baptistine turned round. He had his knapsack on his shoulders. She trembled. It was the wayfarer whom we have seen wandering about in search of shelter. It opened wide with a rapid movement. He entered. and her face became once more pro- foundly calm and serene. The door opened. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. weary.com  . beheld the man entering. a rough. and violent expression in his eyes. his cudgel in his hand. then. leaving the door open behind him.

which I earned in the galleys by my labor. in a loud voice:— ‘See here. which is my destination. beneath the stars. because of my yellow passport. This evening. The Bishop fixed a tranquil eye on the man. I meant to sleep on a stone bench. and am on my way to Pontarlier. in the square. There were no stars. I went into the fields. I am a convict from the galleys. ‘Knock there!’ I have knocked. What is that to me? I have money. in the course of nineteen years. What is this place? Do you keep an inn? I have money—savings. One would have said that he knew who I was. directed his gaze at the old man and the two women. and I re- entered the town. the jailer would not admit me. I went into a dog’s kennel. A good wom- an pointed out your house to me. I thought it was going to rain. doubtless to ask the new-com- er what he desired. and they turned me out. I have travelled a dozen leagues to-day on foot. I will pay. I went to an inn. and without waiting for the Bishop to speak. One hundred and nine francs fifteen sous. I went to an inn. which I had shown at the town-hall. I was liberated four days ago. he said. to seek the recess of a doorway. I went to the prison. Yonder. I have been walking for four days since I left Toulon. I have passed nineteen years in the galleys. intending to sleep in the open air. They said to me. twelve leagues on foot. and said to me. I had to do it. when I arrived in these parts. No one would take me. the dog bit me and chased me off. My name is Jean Valjean. the man rested both hands on his staff.’ at both plac- es. I am very weary. as though he had been a man. I am  Les Miserables . ‘Be off. As he opened his mouth.

and your bed will be prepared while you are supping. I come from the galleys. The ex- pression of his face. four- teen years for having attempted to escape on four occasions.’ At this point the man suddenly comprehended. ‘Here’s my passport.’ he resumed. The Bishop turned to the man. and warm yourself. sir.’ said the Bishop. ‘you will set anoth- er place.very hungry. discharged convict. ‘you will put white sheets on the bed in the alcove. I learned in the galleys. which he unfolded. Madame Magloire retired to execute these orders. as though he had not quite understood. bore Free eBooks at Planet eBook. native of’—that is nothing to you—‘has been nineteen years in the galleys: five years for house-breaking and burglary.’ said the Bishop. this is what they put on this passport: ‘Jean Valjean. Did you hear? I am a gal- ley-slave. We are going to sup in a few moments. Will you read it? I know how to read. Hold.’ The man advanced three paces.’ We have already explained the character of the two women’s obedience. Are you willing that I should remain?’ ‘Madame Magloire. ‘Stop. Yellow. and approached the lamp which was on the table. ‘Sit down.’ There! Every one has cast me out. a convict. up to that time sombre and harsh. ‘that’s not it. This serves to expel me from every place where I go. as you see. There is a school there for those who choose to learn. He is a very dangerous man.’ He drew from his pocket a large sheet of yellow paper.com  . Are you willing to receive me? Is this an inn? Will you give me something to eat and a bed? Have you a stable?’ ‘Madame Magloire.

How much have you? Did you not tell me one hundred and nine francs?’ ‘And fifteen sous. You are a fine man.’ replied the Bishop. you dog!’ is what people always say to me. Oh. Pardon me. Then you do not re- quire me to pay?’ ‘No.the imprint of stupefaction. I have money. He began stammering like a crazy man:— ‘Really? What! You will keep me? You do not drive me forth? A convict! You call me sir! You do not address me as thou? ‘Get out of here. what a good woman that was who directed me hither! I am going to sup! A bed with a mattress and sheets. ‘a priest who lives here. you have not scorned me. and became extraordinary.’ ‘A priest!’ said the man. like the rest of the world! a bed! It is nineteen years since I have slept in a bed! You actually do not want me to go! You are good people.  Les Miserables . are you not? the cure of this big church? Well! I am a fool. ‘keep your money. I felt sure that you would expel me.’ added the man. replaced his passport in his pocket. so I told you at once who I am. what a fine priest! Then you are not going to demand any money of me? You are the cure. He continued: ‘You are humane. ‘Oh. but what is your name? I will pay anything you ask. Monsieur le Cure. he deposited his knapsack and his cudgel in a corner. monsieur the inn-keeper. truly! I had not perceived your skull-cap. You are an inn-keeper. and seated himself. Mademoiselle Baptistine gazed mildly at him. are you not?’ ‘I am. of joy. A good priest is a very good thing. of doubt.’ said the Bishop. I will pay well.’ As he spoke. Besides.

it glittered in the bright light of midday. We were all ranged in lines on the three sides. and we did not hear. which I earned by helping unload some wagons at Grasse. The man continued: ‘I have still the whole of my mon- ey. I say that very badly.’ ‘Nineteen years!’ The Bishop sighed deeply. ‘Madame Magloire. That is what a bishop is like. You must be cold. with cannons with lighted matches facing us. which had remained wide open. Pardon me. the Bishop had gone and shut the door. in his voice which was so gently grave and polished. but it is such a far-off thing to me! You understand what we are! He said mass in the middle of the galleys. He is the cure who rules over the other cures. We could not see very well. And one day I saw a bishop there.’ Each time that he uttered the word sir.’ said the Bishop.com  . He was the Bishop of Majore at Marseilles. made of gold. on an altar. Madame Magloire returned. Since you are an abbe. on his head. And how long did it take you to earn that?’ ‘Nineteen years. She brought a silver fork and spoon. ‘place those things as near the fire as possible. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ And turning to his guest: ‘The night wind is harsh on the Alps. the man’s face lighted up. ‘One hundred and nine francs fifteen sous. sir. He spoke. He had a pointed thing. I will tell you that we had a chaplain in the gal- leys. which she placed on the table. In four days I have spent only twenty-five sous. you understand.’ While he was speaking. Monseigneur is what they call him. but he was too far off.

you are welcome. Ignominy thirsts for consider- ation. Monsieur le Cure. ‘Monsieur le Cure.’ exclaimed the man. You receive me into your house. ‘you are good. gently touched his hand. that you are much more at home here than I am myself. lighted.’ The Bishop.’ ‘Stop. but you are so good. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name. you do not despise me. on the table. And do not thank me. who was sitting close to him. This is not my house. and placed them.’ The man opened his eyes in astonishment. You light your candles for me. ‘This lamp gives a very bad light. before you told me you had one which I knew. but whether he has a grief. that I no  Les Miserables . I say to you. Everything here is yours. except the man who needs a refuge.Monsieur to a convict is like a glass of water to one of the shipwrecked of the Medusa. ‘you are called my brother. ‘You could not help telling me who you were. who are passing by. What need have I to know your name? Besides. Madame Magloire understood him.’ said the Bishop. do not say that I receive you in my house. it is the house of Jesus Christ. Yet I have not concealed from you whence I come and that I am an unfortunate man. ‘I was very hungry when I entered here. You suffer.’ said the man. ‘Really? You knew what I was called?’ ‘Yes. you are hun- gry and thirsty. and went to get the two silver candlesticks from the chimney-piece in Mon- seigneur’s bed-chamber.’ replied the Bishop. No one is at home here.

She had. ‘you have come from a very sad place. the red coat. then helped the soup him- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. made with water. a bit of mutton.’ In the meantime. Ma- demoiselle Baptistine. the cell for one word. toil. took her seat at his left. the thrashings. a little bacon. ‘To table!’ he cried vivaciously. bread. Listen. and a large loaf of rye bread. The Bishop asked a blessing.’ ‘Yes. even sick and in bed. he made the man sit on his right. figs. dogs are happier! Nineteen years! I am forty-six. a fresh cheese.longer know what has happened to me. As was his custom when a stranger supped with him. That is what it is like. you are deserving of pity.’ The Bishop looked at him. cold. oil. the double chain for nothing. and salt. added to the Bishop’s or- dinary fare a bottle of his old Mauves wine. the ball on the ankle. perfectly peaceable and natural.com  . If you emerge from that sad place with thoughts of hatred and of wrath against man- kind. The Bishop’s face at once assumed that expression of gayety which is peculiar to hospitable natures. the convicts. heat. and said.’ resumed the Bishop. you are more worthy than any one of us. if you emerge with thoughts of good-will and of peace. There will be more joy in heaven over the tear-bathed face of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men. Now there is the yellow passport. still the chain! Dogs. a plank to sleep on. Madame Magloire had served supper: soup. of her own accord.— ‘You have suffered much?’ ‘Oh.

when the Bishop had any one to supper. Now. only placed the three sets of forks and spoons which were absolutely necessary. The man began to eat with avidity. All at once the Bishop said: ‘It strikes me there is some- thing missing on this table. which raised poverty into dignity. This graceful semblance of luxury was a kind of child’s play. it was the usage of the house.  Les Miserables .self. which was full of charm in that gentle and severe household. and a moment later the three sets of silver forks and spoons demanded by the Bishop were glit- tering upon the cloth. went out without saying a word. in fact. Madame Magloire understood the remark. symmetrically arranged before the three persons seated at the table. to lay out the whole six sets of silver on the table- cloth—an innocent ostentation. according to his custom.’ Madame Magloire had.

but I must say that the carters who would not allow me to eat with them keep a better table than you do. You are poor. after supper he said: ‘‘Monsieur le Cure of the good God.com  .’ ‘Between ourselves. the remark rather shocked me. However.CHAPTER IV DETAILS CONCERNING THE CHEESE-DAIRIES OF PONTARLIER. You cannot be even a curate.’ ‘‘No. wherein the conversation between the convict and the Bishop is described with ingenious minuteness.’ returned the man. in order to convey an idea of what passed at that table. ‘… This man paid no attention to any one. Now. I see that plainly. Are Free eBooks at Planet eBook. all this is far too good for me. My brother replied:— ‘‘They are more fatigued than I. we cannot do better than to transcribe here a passage from one of Mademoiselle Baptistine’s letters to Madame Boischevron. ‘they have more money. He ate with the voracity of a starving man.

There are paper mills.’ ‘I think I am not mistaken in saying that those are the names which my brother mentioned. They  Les Miserables . my dear sis- ter?’ ‘I replied. Then he interrupted himself and addressed me:— ‘‘Have we not some relatives in those parts.’ said my brother. if the good God were but just. If the nights are cold.’ ‘‘Yes. I took refuge in Franche-Comte at first. twenty iron found- ries at least. de Lucenet. at Chatillon. among others. tanneries. copper works. four of which.— ‘‘We did have some. watch factories on a large scale. ‘A moment later he added:— ‘‘Monsieur Jean Valjean. situated at Lods. the days are hot.’ ‘‘You are going to a good country. steel mills. Travelling is hard. are tolerably large. M. who was captain of the gates at Pontarlier under the old regime. distilleries. you certainly ought to be a cure!’ ‘‘The good God is more than just.’ resumed my brother. ‘but in ‘93. is it to Pontarlier that you are going?’ ‘‘With my road marked out for me. I found plenty to occupy me.’ ‘I think that is what the man said. One has only to choose. Then he went on:— ‘‘I must be on my way by daybreak to-morrow. ‘Dur- ing the Revolution my family was ruined.you really a cure? Ah. and at Beure. at Audincourt. My will was good. one had only one’s arms. and there I lived for some time by the toil of my hands. oil factories.’ said my brother. one had no lon- ger any relatives. I worked.

and where there are forty or fifty cows which produce from seven to eight thousand cheeses each summer. while urging the man to eat. It is their cheese-dairies. which belong to the poor. what these fruitieres of Pon- tarlier were. with great minuteness. whom they call the grurin. neither during supper. without advising him directly and harshly. He recurred frequent- ly to that comfortable trade of grurin. who hold their cows in common. that this would afford him a refuge. and share the proceeds.com  . interspersing his words with graceful attentions to me. which they call fruitieres. which he does not drink himself. It is towards the end of April that the work of the cheese-dairies begins. My broth- er made him drink that good Mauves wine. in the country of Pontarlier. the grurin receives the milk of the associ- ates three times a day. a truly patriarchal and truly charming industry. My brother imparted all these details with that easy gay- ety of his with which you are acquainted. nor during the entire evening.’ ‘Then my brother. Well. it is towards the middle of June that the cheese-makers drive their cows to the mountains. whither you are going. and marks the quantity on a double tally.have. my sister. as though he wished the man to understand. ‘They engage the services of a cheese-maker. because he says that wine is expensive. that they were divided into two classes: the big barns which belong to the rich. these are the peasants of mid-mountain. explained to him.’ ‘The man recovered his animation as he ate. Monsieur Valjean. One thing struck me. and the associated fruitieres. This man was what I have told you. did my broth- Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

no doubt. something truly evangelical in this delicacy which abstains from ser-  Les Miserables . nor of what my brother was. with an exhortation to conduct himself better in the future. and of impressing the Bishop on the convict. who exercise a gentle labor near heaven. if only momentarily. unfortunate man in his hands to afford a chance to nourish his soul as well as his body. that he was a person like any other. By dint of reflection. and who. fearing lest in this remark there might have escaped him something which might wound the man. that at one time. it was an occasion for preaching him a little sermon. and to bestow upon him some reproach. nor what was his history. which could remind the man of what he was. to under- stand charity well? Is there not. I think I have comprehended what was passing in my brother’s heart.er utter a single word. or a little commiseration. when my brother was speaking of the mountain- eers of Pontarlier. he stopped short. and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could remind him of it. To all appear- ances. that the best thing was to divert him from it. that this man. seasoned with moralizing and advice. by treating him just in his ordinary way. This might have ap- peared to any one else who had this. are happy because they are innocent. dear Madame. had his misfor- tune only too vividly present in his mind. so that a mark of the passage might remain behind. he added. To such a point did he carry it. He was thinking. My brother did not even ask him from what country he came. and to make him believe. For in his history there is a fault. whose name is Jean Valjean. with the exception of a few words about Jesus when he entered. Is not this indeed.

and we both went up stairs. from allusions? and is not the truest pity. at Tottlingen. when a man has a sore point. The man was not paying much heed to anything then. and that keeps one warm.mon. not to touch it at all? It has seemed to me that this might have been my brother’s private thought. near the sources of the Danube. and he seemed very much fatigued.com  . I understood that we must retire. what I can say is that. when he had reached the figs. my brother said grace. he gave no sign of them. which was in my room. to carry to the man’s bed a goat skin from the Black Forest.’ Madame Magloire cleared the table very prompt- ly. and he supped with this Jean Valjean with the same air and in the same manner in which he would have supped with M. My brother bought it while he was in Germany. I sent Madame Magloire down a moment later. It is a pity that this skin is old. Never- theless. He was no longer talking. In any case. from moralizing. in order to allow this traveller to go to sleep. and borrowed fifteen sous which I had about me to give to Mother Gerbaud. then he turned to the man and said to him. My brother kissed the child on the brow. We said our Free eBooks at Planet eBook. from beginning to end. or with the curate of the parish. Gedeon le Provost. if he entertained all these ideas. ‘You must be in great need of your bed. even to me he was the same as he is every evening. ‘Towards the end. all the hair is fall- ing out. It was Mother Gerbaud. as well as the little ivory-handled knife which I use at table. After poor old Gerbaud had taken her departure. there came a knock at the door. The nights are frigid. with her little one in her arms. ‘Madame Magloire returned immediately.

without say- ing a word to each other. where we hang up the linen. and then we each retired to our own chambers.’  Les Miserables .prayers in the drawing-room.

and said to him. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.CHAPTER V TRANQUILLITY After bidding his sister good night. before you set out. As might have been observed from what has been said above.com  . ‘may you pass a good night. Monseigneur Bienv- enu took one of the two silver candlesticks from the table.’ said the Bishop.’ ‘Thanks. Madame Magloire was putting away the silverware in the cupboard near the head of the bed.’ said the man. you shall drink a cup of warm milk from our cows. it was necessary to traverse the Bishop’s bedroom. This was her last care every evening before she went to bed. At the moment when he was crossing this apartment. Monsieur l’Abbe. ‘Well. To- morrow morning.— ‘Monsieur. A fresh white bed had been prepared there. or to get out of it. The man set the candle down on a small table.’ The man followed him. the house was so arranged that in order to pass into the oratory where the alcove was situated. handed the other to his guest. The Bishop installed his guest in the alcove. I will conduct you to your room.

had they witnessed it. he exclaimed in a hoarse voice:— ‘Ah! really! You lodge me in your house. he re- turned to his bedroom. and bending upon his host a savage gaze. contemplating. he made a strange movement. his heart and soul wholly absorbed in those grand and mysterious things which God shows at night to  Les Miserables . he raised two fingers of his right hand and bestowed his benediction on the man. when all of a sudden. and without turning his head or looking behind him. Did he intend to convey a warning or to throw out a menace? Was he simply obeying a sort of instinctive impulse which was obscure even to himself? He turned abruptly to the old man. and without transition. a large serge curtain drawn from wall to wall concealed the altar. Even at this day it is difficult for us to explain what inspired him at that moment. Hardly had he pronounced these words full of peace. When the alcove was in use. and added with a laugh in which there lurked something monstrous:— ‘Have you really reflected well? How do you know that I have not been an assassin?’ The Bishop replied:— ‘That is the concern of the good God.’ Then gravely. close to yourself like this?’ He broke off. who did not bow. The Bishop knelt be- fore this curtain as he passed and said a brief prayer. which would have frozen the two saint- ed women with horror. A moment later he was in his garden. and moving his lips like one who is praying or talking to himself. walking. meditating. folded his arms.

Snuffing out his candle with his nostrils after the manner of convicts. where he im- mediately fell into a profound sleep. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . all dressed as he was. he was actually so fatigued that he did not even profit by the nice white sheets. upon the bed.the eyes which remain open. A few minutes later all were asleep in the little house. Midnight struck as the Bishop returned from his garden to his apartment. he dropped. As for the man.

had been killed by a fall from a tree. His mother had died of a milk fever. This sister had brought up Jean Valjean. His mother was named Jeanne Mathieu. ‘here’s Jean. He had lost his father and mother at a very early age. The eldest of the seven children was  Les Miserables . and so long as she had a husband she lodged and fed her young brother. like himself. boys and girls. On the whole.’ Jean Valjean was of that thoughtful but not gloomy dis- position which constitutes the peculiarity of affectionate natures. and a con- traction of viola Jean. When he reached man’s estate. he became a tree-pruner at Faverolles. All that remained to Jean Valjean was a sister older than himself. The husband died.CHAPTER VI JEAN VALJEAN Towards the middle of the night Jean Valjean woke. however. His father. at least. his father was called Jean Valjean or Vlajean. a tree-pruner. there was something de- cidedly sluggish and insignificant about Jean Valjean in appearance. probably a sobriquet. Jean Valjean came from a poor peasant family of Brie. He had not learned to read in his childhood. which had not been properly attended to.—a widow with seven children.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then he hired out as a hay-maker. often took the best part of his repast from his bowl while he was eating.—to give to one of her children. which they drank behind a hedge or in some alley corner. the heart of the cabbage. as laborer. and the children were not punished. a slice of bacon. Thus his youth had been spent in rude and ill-paid toil. Jean Valjean had just attained his twenty-fifth year.—a bit of meat. His sister. snatching the jug from each other so hastily that the little girls spilled it on their aprons and down their necks. and. supported the sister who had brought him up. he had the air of perceiving nothing and allowing it.eight years old. In pruning season he earned eighteen sous a day. and ate his broth without uttering a word. the Valjean children. a farmer’s wife named Marie-Claude. as neat-herd on a farm. on the other side of the lane. with his head bent over the table and almost into his soup. If their mother had known of this marauding. his long hair falling about his bowl and concealing his eyes. Jean Valjean gruffly and grumblingly paid Marie-Claude for the pint of milk behind their mother’s back. He took the father’s place. As he went on eating. mother Jeanne. habitually famished. one. This was done simply as a duty and even a little churlishly on the part of Jean Valjean. sometimes went to borrow from Marie-Claude a pint of milk. she would have punished the delinquents severely. in his turn. He returned at night weary. There was at Faverolles. He had never known a ‘kind woman friend’ in his native parts. He had not had the time to fall in love. in their moth- er’s name.com  . not far from the Valjean thatched cottage. The youngest.

he was a bit of a poacher. The mountain. He did whatever he could. The cities make ferocious men because they make corrupt men.  Les Miserables . when he heard a violent blow on the grated front of his shop. It was Jean Valjean. which was being gradually annihilated. like the smuggler. the smuggler lives in the mountains or on the sea. The thief had flung away the loaf. He had a gun which he used better than any one else in the world. we will remark cursorily. Nevertheless.as a drudge. the baker on the Church Square at Faverolles. Isabeau ran after him and stopped him. smacks too strongly of the brigand. the forest. make savage men. A very hard winter came. the sea. but his arm was still bleeding. The family had no bread. through the grating and the glass. Seven chil- dren! One Sunday evening. Isabeau ran out in haste. His sister worked also but what could she do with seven little children? It was a sad group enveloped in misery. Jean had no work. was preparing to go to bed. No bread literally. but often without destroy- ing the humane side. Jean Valjean was taken before the tribunals of the time for theft and breaking and enter- ing an inhabited house at night. the robber fled at the full speed of his legs. there is still an abyss between these races of men and the hideous assassin of the towns. He arrived in time to see an arm passed through a hole made by a blow from a fist. This took place in 1795. The arm seized a loaf of bread and carried it off. Maubert Isabeau. There exists a legitimate prejudice against poachers. The poacher lives in the forest. The poacher. and this injured his case. they develop the fierce side.

of the 2d of Floreal. Jean Valjean was pronounced guilty. On the 22d of April. What an ominous minute is that in which society draws back and consummates the irreparable aban- donment of a sentient being! Jean Valjean was condemned to five years in the galleys. and from this gesture it was divined that the thing which he had done. Jean Valjean formed a part of that gang. except that it was horrible. It is probable that he. something excessive. who is now nearly eighty years old. The terms of the Code were explicit. also. the victory of Montenotte. whom the message of the Directory to the Five Hundred. as though he were touching in succession seven heads of unequal heights. ‘I was a tree-pruner at Faverolles. they impeded his speech. There occur formidable hours in our civilization. he only managed to say from time to time. his tears stifled him. was announced in Par- is. he raised his right hand and lowered it gradually seven times. An old turnkey of the prison. in the north angle of the courtyard. 1796. he had done for the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. While the bolt of his iron collar was being riveted behind his head with heavy blows from the hammer. was disentangling from amid the vague ideas of a poor man. He did not seem to comprehend his position. ignorant of every- thing. on that same day a great gang of galley-slaves was put in chains at Bicetre.. there are moments when the penal laws de- cree a shipwreck. won by the general-in-chief of the army of Italy. he wept. year IV. He was seated on the ground like the others. whatever it was.’ Then still sobbing. still recalls perfectly that unfortunate wretch who was chained to the end of the fourth line. calls Buona-Parte.com  .

He set out for Toulon. She lived in a poor street Rear Saint-Sulpice. in the Rue du Gindre. What became of his sister? What became of the seven children? Who troubled himself about that? What becomes of the handful of leaves from the young tree which is sawed off at the root? It is always the same story. I think. even to his name. He arrived there. he was no longer even Jean Valjean. wandered away at random. after a journey of twenty-seven days. without refuge. Some one who had known them in their own country had seen his sister. I know not through what channels the news reached him. in the sombre march of the human race. there was a scar. towards the end of the fourth year of his captivity. They quitted the country. these creatures of God. She was in Paris. These poor living beings. This happened.sake of clothing and nourishing seven little children. where there had been a wound. with a chain on his neck. At Toulon he was clothed in the red cassock. was effaced. did he hear his sister mentioned. gloomy shades. She  Les Miserables . during all the time which he spent at Toulon. In that heart.—who even knows?— each in his own direction perhaps. he was number 24. henceforth without support. All that had constituted his life. That is all. the boundary line of what had been their field forgot them. on a cart.601. The clock-tower of what had been their village forgot them. and little by little buried themselves in that cold mist which engulfs solitary destinies. Jean Valjean himself forgot them. into which disappear in succession so many unlucky heads. after a few years’ residence in the galleys. with- out guide. Only once.

and two wooden chairs. he never met them again. pressing himself close to the cat that he might suffer less from cold. then all closed again. and often fast asleep in the shadow. In the same building with the printing office there was a school. They talked to him about it for one day. and he entered. the youngest. because he was in the way. it was a moment. He heard nothing more forever. a spinning-wheel. Every morning she went to a printing office. At seven o’clock the school opened. he never beheld them.had with her only one child. and in the continuation of this Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a little boy. took pity on him. they said. the portress. for the school to open. 3 Rue du Sabot. as though a window had suddenly been opened upon the destiny of those things whom he had loved. When the workmen passed in the morning. where there was a pallet. She was obliged to be there at six o’clock in the morning—long before daylight in winter. and the little one slumbered in a corner. a flash. and the school only opened at seven. But as she entered the printing office at six. overcome with drowsiness. crouched down and doubled up over his basket. who was seven years old. where she was a folder and stitcher. Where were the other six? Perhaps she did not know herself. the child had to wait in the courtyard. When it rained. That is what was told to Jean Valjean. she took him into her den. for an hour— one hour of a winter night in the open air! They would not allow the child to come into the printing office. No. an old woman. and to this school she took her little boy.com  . Nothing from them ever reached him again. they beheld this poor little being seated on the pavement.

The maritime tribunal condemned him. of a bush. to be afraid of everything. he availed himself of it.—of a smoking roof. 1815. I think it was during his thirteenth year. as is the custom in that sad place. of the highway.mournful history they will not be met with any more. he resisted the galley guards who seized him. Towards the end of this fourth year Jean Valjean’s turn to escape arrived. he made a last attempt. he was released. but could not accomplish his flight fully. two of them in the double chain. to quake at the slightest noise. of a passing man. of a striking clock. he had entered there in 1796. to a prolonga- tion of his term for three years. He was missing at roll-call. He wandered for two days in the fields at liberty. he again profited by it. he succeeded no better. of sleep. for having broken a  Les Miserables . In October. In the sixth year his turn to escape occurred again. of a barking dog. Nineteen years. He escaped. Thirteen years. His comrades assisted him. of the night because one cannot see. if being at liberty is to be hunted. of the path. Three years for those four hours. The cannon were fired. Sixteen years. and only succeeded in getting retaken at the end of four hours of absence. Escape and rebellion. of the day because one can see. for this crime. On the evening of the second day he was captured. of a galloping horse. Finally. and at night the patrol found him hidden under the keel of a vessel in process of construction. This case. to turn the head every instant. He had neither eaten nor slept for thirty-six hours. was punished by an addition of five years. In the tenth year his turn came round again. provided for by a special code. which made eight years. Three years for this fresh attempt.

This is the second time. that the author of this book has come across the theft of a loaf of bread as the point of departure for the disaster of a destiny. he emerged gloomy. Claude Gaux had stolen a loaf. Jean Valjean had entered the galleys sobbing and shud- dering. during his studies on the penal question and damnation by law. Jean Valjean had stolen a loaf. Room for a brief parenthesis.pane of glass and taken a loaf of bread. What had taken place in that soul? Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . he emerged impassive. He had entered in despair. English statistics prove the fact that four thefts out of five in London have hunger for their immedi- ate cause.

that. upon the plank bed of the convict. that that loaf of bread would probably not have been refused to him had he asked for it. as we have said. It is necessary that society should look at these things. aug- mented the small amount of daylight which existed in this mind. an ignorant man. Beneath the cudgel. in hardship. He constituted himself the tribunal.CHAPTER VII THE INTERIOR OF DESPAIR Let us try to say it. it would have been better to wait until he could get it through compassion or through work. He was. ‘Can one wait when  Les Miserables . Unhappiness. he withdrew into his own con- sciousness and meditated. which also possesses a clearness of vision of its own. beneath the burning sun of the galleys. because it is itself which creates them. that it is not an unanswerable argument to say. in the cell. beneath the chain. He recognized the fact that he was not an innocent man unjustly punished. The light of nature was ignited in him. but he was not a fool. in any case. He admitted that he had committed an extreme and blameworthy act. He began by putting himself on trial.

of converting the guilty man into the vic- tim. should have lacked bread. out of work. a la- borer. the fault once committed and confessed. Wheth- er there had not been an excess of weights in one balance of the scale. and of ranging the law definitely on the side of the man who had violated it. fortunately or unfortunately. in the one which contains expiation. of replacing the fault of the delinquent by the fault of the repression. and to imagine that one can escape from misery through theft. that it had been an act of madness for him. an industrious man.one is hungry?’ That. it is very rare for any one to die of hunger. literally. and next. that he. unfortu- nate wretch. a miserable. And whether. without dying. and the debtor into the creditor. man is so constituted that he can suffer long and much. the chastisement had not been ferocious and dis- proportioned. in respect to the penalty. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . that he. Whether the over-weight of the penalty was not equivalent to the an- nihilation of the crime. that. in the first place. Whether it was not a serious thing. to take society at large violently by the collar. that it is therefore necessary to have patience. in short. Then he asked himself— Whether he had been the only one in fault in his fatal history. that that is in any case a poor door through which to escape from misery through which infamy enters. than there had been on the part of the culprit in respect to his fault. that he was in the wrong. Whether there had not been more abuse on the part of the law. and did not result in reversing the situation. that that would even have been better for those poor little children. both morally and physically.

and he said to himself that it might be that one day he should not hesitate to call it to account. Whether it was not outrageous for society to treat thus precisely those of its members who were the least well endowed in the division of goods made by chance. and con- sequently the most deserving of consideration. a crime which was being committed afresh every day. a default of work and an ex- cess of punishment. Anger may be both foolish and absurd. one is exasperated only when there is  Les Miserables . complicated by successive aggra- vations for attempts at escape. He declared to him- self that there was no equilibrium between the harm which he had caused and the harm which was being done to him. Whether this penalty. unjust. a crime of society against the individual. and in the other case for its pitiless foresight. but that it most assuredly was iniqui- tous. He condemned it to his hatred. These questions put and answered. and to seize a poor man forever between a defect and an excess. He asked himself whether human society could have the right to force its members to suffer equally in one case for its own unreasonable lack of foresight. had not ended in becoming a sort of outrage perpetrated by the stronger upon the feebler. he judged society and condemned it. he finally arrived at the conclusion that his punishment was not. one can be ir- ritated wrongfully. a crime which had lasted nineteen years. in truth. He made it responsible for the fate which he was suffer- ing.

He felt that to fortify his intelligence was to fortify his hate. since his infan- cy. From suffering to suffering. and which it shows to those whom it strikes. and he condemned it also. he had gradually arrived at the con- viction that life is a war. where the most necessary branches were taught to those of the unfortunate men who had a mind for them. Every contact with them had been a blow. kept by the Ignorantin friars. an evil nature. and that in this war he was the conquered. He had no other weapon than his hate. he judged Providence. which had made society. which had caused his unhappiness. He was of the number who had a mind. this soul mounted and at the same time fell. This is a sad thing to say. of his sister. Thus during nineteen years of torture and slavery. Light entered it on one side. education and enlightenment can serve to eke out evil. Jean Valjean felt himself exasperated. and darkness on the other.some show of right on one’s side at bottom.com  . he had never seen anything of it save that angry face which it calls Justice. to cipher. to write. after having judged society. had he ever encountered a friendly word and a kindly glance. Jean Valjean had not. and learned to read. He re- solved to whet it in the galleys and to bear it away with him when he departed. In certain cases. as we have seen. He went to school at the age of forty. And besides. since the days of his mother. Men had only touched him to bruise him. There was at Toulon a school for the convicts. human society had done him nothing but harm. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Never.

serious. Does human nature thus change utterly and from top to bottom? Can the man created good by God be rendered wicked by man? Can the soul be completely made over by fate. ignite. fan. had he beheld at Toulon. immortal in the other.—and we make no attempt to dissimulate the fact. and felt that he was becoming wicked. as the vertebral column beneath too low a vault? Is there not in every human soul.He was still good when he arrived at the galleys. Certainly. He there condemned society. condemned by civilization. this gloomy galley-slave. seated with folded arms upon the bar of some capstan. and thoughtful. and was conscious that he was becoming impious. and regarding heaven with severity. a first spark. he there condemned Providence. silent. with the end of his chain thrust into his pocket to prevent its dragging.— the observing physiologist would have beheld an ir-  Les Miserables . to the last of which every physiologist would probably have responded no. and become evil. a pariah of the laws which regarded the man with wrath. which were for Jean Valjean hours of rev- ery. and which evil can never wholly extinguish? Grave and obscure questions. fate being evil? Can the heart be- come misshapen and contract incurable deformities and infirmities under the oppression of a disproportionate un- happiness. which good can develop. and make to glow with splen- dor. a divine element. It is difficult not to indulge in meditation at this point. and that without hesitation. incorruptible in this world. during the hours of repose. was there not in the soul of Jean Valjean in particular.

Jean Valjean was in the shad- ows. but he would not have even essayed any treatment. he hated in the shadows. Only. formed the inner horizon of his spirit? Was he conscious of all that passed within him. which we have attempted to analyze. and had he seen distinctly during the process of their formation. he would have effaced from this existence the word which the finger of God has.remediable misery.com  . perchance. and of all that was working there? That is something which we do not presume to state. he would. all the ele- ments of which his moral misery was composed? Had this rough and unlettered man gathered a perfectly clear per- ception of the succession of ideas through which he had. after their formation. he would have turned aside his gaze from the caverns of which he would have caught a glimpse within this soul. it is something which we do not even believe. like Dante at the portals of hell. At times he did not rightly know himself what he felt. feeling his way like a blind man and a dreamer. to prevent much vague- ness from still lingering there. nevertheless. at intervals. as perfectly clear to Jean Valjean as we have tried to render it for those who read us? Did Jean Valjean dis- tinctly perceive.—hope. by degrees. there suddenly came Free eBooks at Planet eBook. of the law’s making. There was too much ignorance in Jean Valjean. He dwelt habitually in this shadow. he suffered in the shadows. mounted and descended to the lugubrious aspects which had. Was this state of his soul. inscribed upon the brow of every man. and. one might have said that he hated in advance of himself. have pitied this sick man. even after his misfortune. for so many years.

behind. ‘Flee!’ Reason would have said. in which that which is pitiless—that is to say. an access of wrath.to him. as often as the opportunity had presented itself.  Les Miserables . by a sort of stupid transfiguration. sometimes into a ferocious beast. little by little. amid the gleams of a fright- ful light. nor on the experiences which he had already gone through. ‘Remain!’ But in the presence of so violent a temptation. The beast alone acted. in front. The flash passed. like the wolf who finds his cage open. When he was recaptured. One detail. the hideous precipices and the sombre perspective of his destiny. Jean Valjean’s successive and obstinate attempts at es- cape would alone suffice to prove this strange working of the law upon the human soul. and caused to appear abruptly all around him. the night closed in again. which we must not omit. The peculiarity of pains of this nature. without re- flecting for an instant on the result. a surcharge of suffering. a livid and rapid flash which illu- minated his whole soul. utterly useless and foolish as they were. the fresh severities inflicted on him only served to render him still more wild. is to transform a man. Instinct said to him. reason vanished. At work. Jean Valjean was worth four men. is that he possessed a physical strength which was not approached by a single one of the denizens of the galleys. into a wild beast. He escaped impetu- ously. at paying out a cable or winding up a capstan. and where was he? He no longer knew. noth- ing remained but instinct. from without and from within. that which is brutalizing—predominates. Jean Valjean would have renewed these attempts.

whence. he seemed to be occupied in the constant contemplation of something Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He spoke but little. when they were repairing the balcony of the town-hall at Toulon. who was present. He sometimes mounted thus even to the roof of the galley prison.He sometimes lifted and sustained enormous weights on his back. To all appearance. that lugubrious laugh of the convict. Jean Valjean. and was formerly called orgueil [pride]. and was on the point of falling. with the tension of his back and legs. supported the caryatid with his shoulder. which support the balcony. he replaced that implement which is called a jack-screw. and to find points of support where hardly a projection was visible. He laughed not at all. An entire system of mysterious statics is daily practised by prisoners. we may remark in passing. men who are forever envious of the flies and birds. An angle of the wall being given. is derived the name of the Rue Montorgueil. An excessive emotion was required to wring from him.com  . Once. with his elbows and his heels fitted into the unevenness of the stone. he raised him- self as if by magic to the third story. and when the occasion demanded it. Certain con- victs who were forever dreaming of escape. once or twice a year. which is like the echo of the laugh of a demon. To climb a vertical surface. near the Halles [Fishmarket] in Paris. became loos- ened. and gave the workmen time to arrive. was play to Jean Valjean. His suppleness even exceeded his strength. ended by making a veritable science of force and skill combined. one of those admirable caryatids of Puget. It is the sci- ence of muscles. His comrades had nicknamed him Jean the Jack-screw.

collecting and mounting above him. some detail. whose mass terrified him. men. here the galley-sergeant and his cudgel. a sort of frightful accumulation of things. now near him. away at the top. crowned and dazzling. It seemed to him that these distant splendors. here and there in that swarming and formless mass. Athwart the unhealthy perceptions of an incomplete nature and a crushed intelligence. each time that he turned his neck and essayed to raise his glance. now afar off and on inaccessible table- lands. some group. he perceived with terror.—whose outlines escaped him. in accordance with the complicated and mysterious movement which God imparts to civilization. and which was nothing else than that prodigious pyramid which we call civilization. prejudices.terrible. the Emperor. prejudic- es. mingled with rage. he was confusedly con- scious that some monstrous thing was resting on him.— laws. beyond the range of his vision. vividly illuminated. and deeds. things—went and came above him. deeds. men. like a sort of sun. rendered it more funereal and more black. walking over him and crushing him with I know not what peacefulness in its cruelty and inexorability in its indiffer- ence. over his head. He distin- guished.  Les Miserables . unhappy men lost in the lowest of those limbos at which no one any longer looks. there the gendarme and his sword. All this— laws. Souls which have fallen to the bottom of all possible misfortune. In that obscure and wan shadow within which he crawled. the reproved of the law. yonder the mitred archbishop. far from dissipating his night. He was absorbed. in fact.

the inoffensive Free eBooks at Planet eBook. All of a sudden the phantom dealt him a blow with his cudgel. To sum up. that which can be summed up and translated into positive results in all that we have just pointed out. in the course of nineteen years. He fell to thinking.com  . the galley-sergeant seemed a phantom to him. so frightful for him who is beneath. he paused. All these things. ‘It is a dream. Jean Valjean. nor fresh April dawns. Everything which had happened to him seemed to him absurd. nor fine summer days. it would. amid his convict toil. I know not what vent-hole daylight habitually illu- mined his soul. we will confine ourselves to the statement that. Visible nature hardly existed for him. phantasmago- ries full of realities. In this situation Jean Valjean meditated. doubtless. in conclusion. It would almost be true to say that there existed for Jean Valjean neither sun. think that same thing which Jean Valjean thought. His reason. at one and the same time riper and more troubled than of yore. rose in revolt. At times. everything that surrounded him seemed to him impossible. nor radiant sky. so formidable for him who is without. He said to himself. and what could be the nature of his meditation? If the grain of millet beneath the millstone had thoughts.’ He gazed at the galley-sergeant standing a few paces from him. realities full of spectres. resting upon their heads.feel the whole weight of this human society. had eventually created for him a sort of interior state which is almost indescribable.

if there are any such.—rea- soning. the formidable convict of Toulon. the reaction even against the good. the eye is dry. for all his thoughts. perseverance. On his departure from the galleys it had been nineteen years since he had shed a tear. but with fatal sureness. which natures of a certain stamp can alone traverse. the hatred of society. the innocent. becomes. then the hatred of the human race. en- tirely instinctive. if it be not arrested in its development by some providential incident. His deliberate deeds passed through three successive phases. The point of departure. and the just. a profound sense of in- dignities suffered. It will be perceived that it was not without reason that Jean Valjean’s passport described him as a very dangerous man. with the false ideas which such a misfortune can furnish. within a given time. in the nature of reprisals for the evil which he had undergone. When the heart is dry. that hatred which. bitterness of soul.  Les Miserables . was hatred of human law. unpremeditated. will. of evil action which was seri- ous. no matter whom. and which manifests itself by a vague.tree-pruner of Faverolles. grave. consciously argued out and premeditated. From year to year this soul had dried away slowly. had become capable. incessant. thanks to the manner in which the gal- leys had moulded him. of evil action which was rapid. secondly. He had for moving causes his habitual wrath. dashing. then the hatred of creation. like the point of arrival. and brutal desire to do harm to some living being. of two sorts of evil action: firstly.

torn and lashed by the wind. what has taken place? He has slipped. it grows dim. The man disappears. he calls. He gives vent to desperate cries from out of the depths. He is in the tremendous sea. he plunges. trembling under the hurricane. he was one of the crew.com  . all is at an end. What a spectre is that retreating sail! He gazes and gazes at it franti- cally. It retreats. he went and came along the deck with the rest. he rises again to the surface. he is not heard. It passes on. is wholly absorbed in its own workings. The wind blows. Under foot he has nothing but what flees and crumbles. he had his part of breath and of sunlight. The vessel. That sombre ship has a path which it is forced to pur- sue. he was a living man. he stretches out his arms. He was there but just now. the passengers and sailors do not even see the drowning man. it diminishes in size. Now. he has fallen.CHAPTER VIII BILLOWS AND SHADOWS A man overboard! What matters it? The vessel does not halt. his miserable head is but a speck amid the immensity of the waves. The billows. the tossings of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. encompass him hideously. then reappears.

all the foam overwhelms him. that he forms part of the foam. the cowardly ocean at- tacks him furiously. amid his death-pangs. he struggles. he swims. then.abyss bear him away. a populace of waves spits upon him. the waves toss him from one to another. combats the inexhaustible. draw him to them. The wind blows in gusts. Barely visible in the pale shadows of the horizon. he is conscious that he is becoming an abyss. the other is a shroud. Where. all the tongues of water dash over his head. the enormity plays with his agony. the ocean and the sky. It seems as though all that water were hate. and he. frightful and un- known vegetations seize him. He tries to defend himself. he catches glimpses of precipices filled with night. he rattles in the death agony. There are birds in the clouds. his petty strength all ex- hausted instantly. He feels himself buried in those two infinities. Nevertheless. He raises his eyes and beholds only the lividness of the clouds. he drinks in the bitterness. every time that he sinks. knot about his feet. which seem to come from beyond the limits of the earth. confused open- ings half devour him.  Les Miserables . and from one knows not what fright- ful region beyond. to drown him. He witnesses. is the ship? Yonder. he makes an effort. He. He is tortured by this madness. he tries to sustain himself. the immense madness of the sea. he hears noises strange to man. at one and the same time: the one is a tomb. just as there are angels above human distresses. but what can they do for him? They sing and fly and float.

Oh. the reef. the undefined curling of those wild waters. Beneath him the depths. use- less stars! What is to be done? The desperate man gives up. fog. and then he tosses forevermore in the lugubrious dreary depths of en- gulfment. he abandons his grip. In him horror and fatigue. he resists not. the imper- turbable tempest obeys only the infinite. he sinks. solitude. Help! Help! He still shouts on. moral death! The sea is the inexorable social night into which the pe- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and grasp nothingness. they are deaf. losses of men and of souls on the way! Ocean into which falls all that the law lets slip! Disastrous absence of help! Oh. He thinks of the gloomy adventures of the corpse in the limitless shadow. clouds. Not a point of support.com  . he feels under him the monstrous billows of the invisible. the waves. he twists himself. His hands contract convulsively. The bottomless cold para- lyzes him. he has been swimming for hours. that distant thing in which there were men. his strength is exhausted. whirlwinds. they close. nothing in heaven. he chooses the alternative of death. Where is God? He shouts. he shouts. he is weary. Winds. gusts. he is alone in the formidable twilight gulf. There are no more men. He implores the expanse. the seaweed. has vanished. he stiffens himself. Nothing on the horizon. the stormy and non- sentient tumult. implacable march of human societies! Oh. He beseeches the tempest. he lets himself go. that ship. Night descends. Around him darkness.

going down stream in this gulf. Who shall resuscitate it?  Les Miserables . The sea is the immensity of wretchedness. The soul.nal laws fling their condemned. may become a corpse.

Let us say the word—robbed. which entailed a diminution of about eighty francs. It is but just to add that he had forgotten to include in his calculations the forced repose of Sundays and festival days during nineteen years. which had been counted out to him on his departure. He had calculated that his earnings. when Jean Valjean heard in his ear the strange words. Jean Valjean had been dazzled by the idea of liberty. a ray of vivid light.CHAPTER IX NEW TROUBLES When the hour came for him to take his departure from the galleys. He had understood nothing of this. his hoard had been reduced by various local levies to the sum of one hundred and nine francs fifteen sous. But it was not long before this ray paled. Thou art free! the moment seemed improbable and unprecedented. And this was encompassed with much bitterness. He very speedily perceived what sort of liberty it is to which a yellow passport is provided. ought to amount to a hundred and seventy-one francs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. At all events. a ray of the true light of the living. during his sojourn in the gal- leys. and had thought himself wronged. He had believed in a new life.com  . suddenly penetrated within him.

they were accepted. He set to work. some men engaged in unloading bales. Liberation is not deliverance. The owner did not utter a word. He was intelligent. as he was forced to set out again on the following day.’ He persisted. The master looked him straight between the eyes. observed him. he saw. He offered his services. It was necessary to show him the yellow passport. he considered that he had been robbed. A little while before he had questioned one of the workmen as to the amount which they earned each day at this occupa- tion. he pre- sented himself to the owner of the distillery and requested to be paid. he did his best. Now it was the individual who was robbing him at retail. again. He objected. Jean Valjean resumed his labor. by diminishing his hoard.’ There. ‘That is enough for thee. and demanded his papers. Business was press- ing. adroit. On the day following his liberation. Society. at Grasse. We have seen in what manner he was received at D——  Les Miserables . but not from the sentence. That is what happened to him at Grasse. and said to him ‘Beware of the prison. He was told. That done. but handed him fifteen sous. robust. the State. One gets free from the gal- leys. a gendarme passed. in front of an orange-flower distillery. While he was at work. When evening arrived. he had been told thirty sous. the master seemed pleased. had robbed him wholesale.

When many varied sensations have agitated the day. then he closed them again. Sleep comes more easily than it returns. al- though he had not undressed. with the intention of going to sleep once more. He opened his eyes and stared into the gloom which sur- rounded him. and he fell to thinking. and. the sensation was too novel not to disturb his slumbers. There was a sort of dark confusion in his brain. His fatigue had passed away. He was accustomed not to devote many hours to repose. but not a second time. This is what happened to Jean Valjean. Jean Valjean awoke. He was at one of those moments when the thoughts which one has in one’s mind are troubled.com  . It was nearly twenty years since he had slept in a bed. What woke him was that his bed was too good. His memories of the olden Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He had slept more than four hours.CHAPTER X THE MAN AROUSED As the Cathedral clock struck two in the morning. He could not get to sleep again. one falls asleep once. when various matters preoccupy the mind.

stretched out his arm and felt of his knapsack.—They were there. Those six sets of silver haunted him.— From the ladle one could get at least two hundred francs. seated on his bed.time and of the immediate present floated there pell-mell and mingled confusedly.— He had taken careful note of this cupboard. Three o’clock struck.—They were solid. We will mention this thought at once: he had observed the six sets of silver forks and spoons and the ladle which Madame Ma- gloire had placed on the table.—It is true that he would have earned more if ‘the administra- tion had not robbed him. but there was one which kept constantly present- ing itself afresh. as you en- tered from the dining-room. which he had thrown down on a corner of the alcove. then he hung his legs over the edge of the bed. He remained for a time thoughtfully in this attitude. becom- ing disproportionately large. drew himself up abruptly into a sitting posture. then suddenly disappearing.’ His mind wavered for a whole hour in fluctuations with which there was certainly mingled some struggle. al- most without knowing it. as in a muddy and perturbed pool. and thus found himself.—And old silver. He opened his eyes again. Many thoughts occurred to him.— Double what he had earned in nineteen years.—A few paces distant.  Les Miserables . and placed his feet on the floor.—Just as he was traversing the adjoining room to reach the one in which he then was. losing their proper forms.—On the right. the old servant-woman had been in the act of placing them in a little cupboard near the head of the bed. and which drove away all others.

had not the clock struck one—the half or quarter hour. ‘Come on!’ He rose to his feet. then he walked straight ahead. even until daybreak. intermittent on account of the clouds. and became motionless once more. and indoors a sort of twilight. It seemed to him that that stroke said to him. of which he caught a glimpse. then bright openings of the clouds. sufficient to enable a person to see his way. re-entered.which would have been suggestive of something sinister for any one who had seen him thus in the dark. all was quiet in the house. removed his shoes and placed them softly on the mat beside the bed.com  . resem- bled the sort of livid light which falls through an air-hole Free eBooks at Planet eBook. eclipses. then he resumed his thoughtful attitude. and listened. of a convict named Brevet. alternate shadow and gleams of light. also. outdoors. He remained in this situation. This created. entered. whom he had known in the galleys. and with the mechanical persistence of revery. hesitated still another moment. across which coursed large clouds driven by the wind. The checkered pattern of that suspender recurred incessantly to his mind. and would have so re- mained indefinitely. Throughout this hideous meditation. without know- ing why. the thoughts which we have above indicated moved incessantly through his brain. and then he thought. This twilight. and in a manner oppressed him. All of a sudden he stooped down. the only person awake in that house where all were sleeping. withdrew. to the window. The night was not very dark. and whose trousers had been upheld by a single suspender of knitted cotton. there was a full moon. with short steps.

grasped his knapsack. Having taken this survey. spaced at regular intervals. shut the whole thing up again. put on his cap. In the daytime it would have been possible to recognize it as nothing more than a miner’s candlestick. The garden was enclosed by a tolerably low white wall. possibly it was a club. It would have been difficult to distinguish in that darkness for what employment that bit of iron could have been de- signed. Far away. he closed it again immediately. accord- ing to the fashion of the country. drew the vi- sor down over his eyes. only by a small pin. then returned to the bed. He opened it. sometimes employed in quarrying stone from the lofty hills which environ Toulon. opened it. strode to his al- cove. Jean Valjean examined it. put his shoes into one of his pockets. before which the passersby come and go. and resolutely seized the object which he had deposited there. he perceived tops of trees. He scru- tinized the garden with that attentive gaze which studies rather than looks. pulled out of it something which he placed on the bed. fumbled in it. threw the knapsack on his shoulders. It had no grating. easy to climb. Perhaps it was a lever. went and placed it in the angle of the window. pointed like a pike at one end.in a cellar. It resembled a short bar of iron. it opened in the garden and was fastened. Convicts were. and it was  Les Miserables . On ar- riving at the window. at the extremity. felt for his cudgel. but as a rush of cold and piercing air penetrated the room abruptly. he executed a movement like that of a man who has made up his mind. which indicated that the wall separated the garden from an avenue or lane planted with trees. at that period.

terminated at the lower extremity by a point. holding his breath and trying to deaden the sound of his tread. These miners’ candlesticks are of massive iron. by means of which they are stuck into the rock. he found it ajar. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. occupied by the Bishop.com  .not rare for them to have miners’ tools at their command. as we already know. The Bishop had not closed it. He took the candlestick in his right hand. he di- rected his steps to the door of the adjoining room. On arriving at this door.

lightly.CHAPTER XI WHAT HE DOES Jean Valjean listened. But near the door there stood a little table. He decided on his course of action. It was necessary. This time a badly oiled hinge suddenly emitted amid the silence a hoarse and prolonged cry. He gave the door a push. then gave the door a second and a bolder push. at any cost. It continued to yield in silence. Jean Valjean recognized the difficulty. Not a sound. He waited a moment. and gave the door a third push. The opening was now large enough to allow him to pass. with the furtive and uneasy gentleness of a cat which is desirous of entering. He pushed it gently with the tip of his finger. more energetic than the two preceding.  Les Miserables . which formed an embarrassing angle with it. and made an imper- ceptible and silent movement. to enlarge the aperture still further. which enlarged the opening a little. and barred the entrance. The door yielded to this pressure.

the old man would rise at once. in less than a quarter of an hour the town would be in an uproar. like the shock of an earthquake. This first danger was past. Jean Valjean shuddered. The noise of the hinge rang in his ears with something of the piercing and formidable sound of the trump of the Day of Judgment. the two old women would shriek out. he did not retreat. shuddering. and that it was barking like a dog to arouse every one. pushed by him. not daring to make a movement. He remained where he was. Nevertheless. and it seemed to him that his breath issued from his breast with the roar of the wind issuing from a cavern. petrified like the statue of salt. Nothing was moving in the house. The noise made by the rusty hinge had not awakened any one. he had not drawn Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He heard the arteries in his temples beating like two forge hammers. Even when he had thought himself lost. and warn and to wake those who were asleep. He lent an ear. and the gendar- merie on hand. bewil- dered. It seemed impossible to him that the horrible clamor of that irritated hinge should not have disturbed the entire house- hold. and had shouted. the door. He halted. and fell back from the tips of his toes upon his heels. He ventured to peep into the next room. but there still reigned a fright- ful tumult within him. For a moment he thought himself lost.com  . In the fantastic exaggerations of the first moment he al- most imagined that that hinge had just become animated. and had suddenly assumed a terrible life. people would come to their assistance. Nothing had stirred there. Several minutes elapsed. The door had fallen wide open. had taken the alarm.

He could hear. His whole face was illumined with a vague expression of satisfaction. a prie-Dieu. taking care not to knock against the furniture. was hanging over the edge of the bed. For the last half-hour a large cloud had covered the heavens. He lay in his bed al- most completely dressed. and which at that hour were only shadowy corners and whitish spots. open folios. at the extremity of the room. this cloud parted. and a ray of light. He took a step and entered the room. It was more than a  Les Miserables . He was sleeping peacefully.back. Here and there vague and confused forms were distinguishable. his hand. His head was thrown back on the pillow. which covered his arms to the wrists. the even and tran- quil breathing of the sleeping Bishop. Jean Valjean advanced with pre- caution. on account of the cold of the Basses-Alps. as though she desired to make us reflect. of hope. He was near the bed. volumes piled upon a stool. and whence had fallen so many good deeds and so many holy actions. His only thought now was to finish as soon as pos- sible. tra- versing the long window. He suddenly came to a halt. adorned with the pastoral ring. in the careless attitude of repose. At the mo- ment when Jean Valjean paused in front of the bed. an arm-chair heaped with cloth- ing. He had arrived there sooner than he had thought for. and of felicity. suddenly illuminated the Bishop’s pale face. in a garment of brown wool. This room was in a state of perfect calm. which in the daylight were papers scattered on a table. as though on purpose. Nature sometimes mingles her effects and her spectacles with our actions with sombre and intelligent appropriate- ness.

a luminous transparency. That heaven was his conscience. that head of an old man. so to speak. with his iron candlestick in his hand. This confidence terrified him. that garden without a quiver. for that heaven was within him. gentle and veiled in an ineffable half-light. Jean Valjean was in the shadow. There was something almost divine in this man. The moral world has no grander spectacle than this: a troubled and uneasy con- science. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that house which was so calm. At the moment when the ray of moonlight superposed itself. the sleeping Bishop seemed as in a glory.smile. added some solemn and unspeakable quality to the vener- able repose of this man. who was thus august. the silence. those closed eyes. and enveloped in a sort of serene and majestic aureole that white hair. at the same time. That slumber in that isolation. It remained. frightened by this lu- minous old man. Never had he beheld anything like this. without being himself aware of it. A reflection of that heaven rested on the Bishop. upon that inward radiance. contemplating the slumber of the just. the moment. and that slumber of an infant. which has arrived on the brink of an evil action. It was. the hour. and with a neighbor like himself. and stood motionless.com  . The soul of the just contemplates in sleep a mysterious heaven. that face in which all was hope and all was confidence. that slumbering nature. however. That moon in the sky. had about it something sublime. of which he was vaguely but imperiously conscious. He bore upon his brow the indescribable reflection of a light which was invisible. and almost a radiance.

It was a sort of haggard astonishment. and Jean Valjean fell to meditating once more. his club in his right hand. The gleam of the moon rendered confusedly visible the crucifix over the chimney-piece. At the expiration of a few minutes his left arm rose slow- ly towards his brow. his hair bristling all over his savage head. not even himself. then his arm fell back with the same deliberation. The Bishop continued to sleep in profound peace be- neath that terrifying gaze. One would have said that he was hesitating between the two abysses. Even on his visage it would have been impossible to distinguish anything with certain- ty. with a benediction for one and pardon for the other. No one could have told what was passing within him. his cap in his left hand. What was evident was. But what was his thought? It would have been impossible to divine it. it is necessary to think of the most violent of things in the presence of the most gentle. without glancing at the Bish-  Les Miserables .— the one in which one loses one’s self and that in which one saves one’s self. and he took off his cap. that he was touched and astounded. But what was the nature of this emotion? His eye never quitted the old man. and that was all. He gazed at it. He seemed prepared to crush that skull or to kiss that hand. The only thing which was clearly to be inferred from his attitude and his physiog- nomy was a strange indecision. then stepped rapidly past the bed. In order to attempt to form an idea of it. which seemed to be ex- tending its arms to both of them. Suddenly Jean Valjean replaced his cap on his brow.

the key was there. leaped over the wall like a tiger. and fled.op. opened the window. the first thing which pre- sented itself to him was the basket of silverware. traversed the chamber with long strides. bestrode the window-sill of the ground-floor. straight to the cupboard. re-entered the oratory. he opened it. without taking any precautions and without troubling himself about the noise.com  . seized his cudgel. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he raised his iron candlestick as though to force the lock. gained the door. he seized it. put the silver into his knapsack. threw away the basket. crossed the garden. which he saw near the head.

with all the vivacity of an alert old wom- an.’ returned the Bishop.’ ‘Great. The Bishop had just bent down. ‘Jesus the Lord be blessed!’ she resumed.’ In a twinkling. and returned to the Bishop. Monseigneur!’ she exclaimed. good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night has stolen it. ‘Here it is. ‘Nothing in it! And the silver?’ ‘Ah. and was sighing as he examined a plant of co-  Les Miserables .’ ‘Well!’ said she. ‘does your Grace know where the basket of silver is?’ ‘Yes. ‘I did not know what had become of it. He presented it to Madame Magloire.CHAPTER XII THE BISHOP WORKS The next morning at sunrise Monseigneur Bienvenu was strolling in his garden.’ The Bishop had just picked up the basket in a flower-bed. ‘so it is the silver which trou- bles you? I don’t know where it is.’ replied the Bishop. Madame Magloire had rushed to the oratory. Madame Magloire ran up to him in utter consternation. ‘Monseigneur. entered the alcove.

Ah. Who was that man? A poor man. ‘Ah. ‘Stay! yonder is the way he went. which the basket had broken as it fell across the bed.chlearia des Guillons. nor for Mademoiselle’s. He jumped over into Cochefilet Lane. and said gently to Madame Magloire:— ‘And. come! Are there no such things as pewter forks and spoons?’ Madame Magloire shrugged her shoulders.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But it is for the sake of Monseigneur. then the Bishop went on:— ‘Madame Magloire. It belonged to the poor. ‘Monseigneur.’ ‘Alas! Jesus!’ returned Madame Magloire. in the first place. He rose up at Madame Magloire’s cry. then.com  . I have for a long time detained that silver wrongfully. What is Monseigneur to eat with now?’ The Bishop gazed at her with an air of amazement. evidently.’ ‘Iron forks and spoons. Another silence ensued. then he raised his grave eyes. the abomination! He has stolen our sil- ver!’ The Bishop remained silent for a moment. where traces of the wall having been scaled were visible. The coping of the wall had been torn away. her eyes fell upon a corner of the garden. It makes no difference to us. was that silver ours?’ Madame Magloire was speechless. the man is gone! The silver has been sto- len!’ As she uttered this exclamation. ‘It is not for my sake. ‘Pewter has an odor.

was standing near the door. Madame Magloire made an expressive grimace. ‘to take in a man like that! and to lodge him close to one’s self! And how fortunate that he did nothing but steal! Ah. Jean Valjean. As he ate his breakfast. He entered and advanced to the Bishop.’ said Madame Magloire to herself.’ said the Bishop.’ ‘Very well. in order to dip a bit of bread in a cup of milk. who said nothing. mon Dieu! it makes one shudder to think of it!’ As the brother and sister were about to rise from the ta- ble. A brigadier of gendarmes. there came a knock at the door. ‘wooden ones then. as she went and came. ‘Monseigneur—‘ said he. the other was Jean Valjean.’ said the Bishop. even of wood. ‘Iron has a taste. ‘Monseigneur!’ he murmured. At this word. who seemed to be in com- mand of the group. who was grumbling under her breath. raised his head with an air of stupefaction. and to Madame Ma- gloire. The three men were gendarmes. ‘A pretty idea.’ A few moments later he was breakfasting at the very ta- ble at which Jean Valjean had sat on the previous evening. Three men were holding a fourth man by the collar. ‘Come in. The door opened. A singular and violent group made its appearance on the threshold. who was dejected and seemed overwhelmed. Monseigneur Welcome remarked gayly to his sister. making a military salute. ‘So he is not the cure?’  Les Miserables . truly. that one really does not need either fork or spoon.

then? We came across him.’ In the meantime. ‘Silence!’ said the gendarme. We stopped him to look into the matter. Well. Monseigneur Bienvenu had advanced as quickly as his great age permitted.’ ‘In that case.com  . ‘Ah! here you are!’ he exclaimed. who recoiled. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ interposed the Bishop with a smile. ‘that it had been given to him by a kind old fellow of a priest with whom he had passed the night? I see how the matter stands.’ replied the brigadier. and for which you can certainly get two hundred francs. ‘Monseigneur. thou art released. dost thou not understand?’ said one of the gendarmes. And you have brought him back here? It is a mis- take.’ replied the Bishop. He was walking like a man who is running away. and stared at the ven- erable Bishop with an expression which no human tongue can render any account of. and as though he were talking in his sleep. looking at Jean Valjean. in an almost inarticulate voice. The gendarmes released Jean Valjean. ‘Is it true that I am to be released?’ he said. ‘I am glad to see you. but how is this? I gave you the candlesticks too. ‘we can let him go?’ ‘Certainly.’ said the brigadier of gendarmes. He had this silver—‘ ‘And he told you. ‘Yes. ‘He is Monseigneur the Bishop. Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?’ Jean Valjean opened his eyes wide. which are of silver like the rest. ‘so what this man said is true.

my brother. The two women looked on without uttering a word. and with a bewildered air. never forget. without a ges- ture. It is never fastened with anything but a latch. and I give it to God. turning to the gendarmes:— ‘You may retire. He took the two candlesticks mechanically. it is not necessary to pass through the garden. my friend. The Bishop drew near to him. The Bishop had emphasized the words when he uttered them. Jean Valjean was like a man on the point of fainting. that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man. who had no recollection of ever having promised anything. I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition. you no longer belong to evil. He resumed with solemnity:— ‘Jean Valjean. and brought them to Jean Valjean. You can always enter and depart through the street door. here are your candlesticks. without a look which could disconcert the Bishop.’ The gendarmes retired. and said in a low voice:— ‘Do not forget. ‘My friend. ‘go in peace. but to good. either by day or by night. remained speechless. By the way. ‘Now.’ said the Bishop.’ Jean Valjean.’  Les Miserables . ‘before you go.’ He stepped to the chimney-piece. It is your soul that I buy from you.’ resumed the Bishop. Jean Valjean was trembling in every limb. Take them. took the two silver candlesticks.’ Then. when you return. gentlemen.

He wandered thus the whole morning. He was the prey of a throng of novel sensations. At times he would have actually preferred to be in prison with the gendarmes. Although the season was tolerably far advanced. without hav- ing eaten anything and without feeling hungry.CHAPTER XIII LITTLE GERVAIS Jean Valjean left the town as though he were fleeing from it. He perceived with dismay that the sort of frightful calm which the injustice of his misfortune had conferred upon him was giving way within him. He was conscious of a sort of rage. This state of mind fatigued him. He could not have told whether he was touched or humili- ated. There came over him at moments a strange emotion which he resisted and to which he opposed the hardness ac- quired during the last twenty years of his life. He set out at a very hasty pace through the fields. it would have agitated him less.com  . he did not know against whom it was directed. there were still a few late flowers in the hedge- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. tak- ing whatever roads and paths presented themselves to him. without perceiving that he was incessantly retracing his steps. and that things should not have happened in this way. He asked himself what would replace this.

a joyous sound became audible. and played at knuckle-bones with some coins which he had in his hand—his whole fortune. One of those gay and gentle children. In the middle of this meditation. the lad halted in his march from time to time. who go from land to land affording a view of their knees through the holes in their trousers. Jean Valjean sat down behind a bush upon a large ruddy plain. Jean Valjean might have been three leagues distant from D—— A path which intersected the plain passed a few paces from the bush. These memories were almost intolerable to him. and his marmot-box on his back. whose odor as he passed through them in his march recalled to him memories of his childhood. which would have con- tributed not a little to render his rags terrifying to any one who might have encountered him. Not even the spire of a distant village. casting long shadows athwart the soil from every pebble. prob- ably. Without stopping his song. which was abso- lutely deserted. Among this money there was one forty-sou piece. He turned his head and saw a little Savoyard.  Les Miserables . There was nothing on the horizon except the Alps. it was so long since they had recurred to him. Unutterable thoughts assembled within him in this man- ner all day long. about ten years of age. coming up the path and singing. his hurdy- gurdy on his hip. As the sun declined to its setting.rows here and there.

The child was standing with his back to the sun. Jean Valjean set his foot upon it. which was traversing the heavens at an immense height.’ ‘What is your name?’ said Jean Valjean. sir. the child had looked after his coin and had caught sight of him.’ said Jean Valjean. As far as the eye could see there was not a person on the plain or on the path. ‘Sir. up to that time.’ Jean Valjean dropped his head. ‘Sir. ‘My piece of money!’ cried the child. he had caught with a good deal of adroitness on the back of his hand. without perceiving Jean Valjean. This time the forty-sou piece escaped him. with that childish confi- dence which is composed of ignorance and innocence.’ Jean Valjean’s eyes remained fixed on the earth. The only sound was the tiny. which. The child began again. ‘my money. ‘give me back my money. ‘My money. and made no reply.’ resumed the child.’ said the little Savoyard. He showed no astonishment. The child halted beside the bush. but walked straight up to the man. ‘my white piece! my Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Go away. which cast threads of gold in his hair and empurpled with its blood-red gleam the savage face of Jean Valjean. In the meantime. ‘Little Gervais. and went roll- ing towards the brushwood until it reached Jean Valjean.com  . feeble cries of a flock of birds of passage. The spot was absolutely solitary. and tossed up his handful of sous. sir.

will you take your foot away? Take your foot away. He still remained seated. if you please!’ Then irritated. his foot still resting on the silver piece.  Les Miserables . and rising abrupt- ly to his feet. and after a few moments of stupor he set out. His eyes were troubled. in a sort of amazement. then began to trem- ble from head to foot. and Jean Valjean heard him sobbing. ‘I want my piece of money! my piece of forty sous!’ The child wept. if you please! Take your foot away. in the midst of his own revery.silver!’ It seemed as though Jean Valjean did not hear him. running at the top of his speed. He gazed at the child. ‘Little Gervais! I! Give me back my forty sous. then he stretched out his hand towards his cudgel and cried in a terrible voice. lack of breath forced him to halt after a certain distance. he added:— ‘Will you take yourself off!’ The frightened child looked at him. sir. Jean Valjean raised his head. ‘Who’s there?’ ‘I. and becoming almost menacing:— ‘Come now. Nevertheless. or we’ll see!’ ‘Ah! It’s still you!’ said Jean Valjean. though he was so small.’ replied the child. The child grasped him by the collar of his blouse and shook him. without daring to turn his neck or to utter a cry. sir. At the same time he made an effort to displace the big iron- shod shoe which rested on his treasure.

It was as though he had re- ceived a galvanic shock. seemed to be scrutinizing with pro- found attention the shape of an ancient fragment of blue earthenware which had fallen in the grass. His gaze. and straightened himself up again and began to gaze afar off over the plain.com  . At the expiration of a few moments he darted convul- sively towards the silver coin. He had eaten nothing all day. ‘What is this?’ he muttered between his teeth. The sun had set. then halted. He had remained standing and had not changed his at- titude after the child’s flight. sought me- chanically to cross and button his blouse. and which was shining among the pebbles. which his foot had half ground into the earth. at the same time casting his eyes towards all points of the horizon. fixed ten or twelve paces in front of him. it is probable that he was fever- ish. The breath heaved his chest at long and irregular intervals. as he stood there erect and shivering. he had just begun to feel the chill of evening. At the end of a few moments the child had disappeared. He settled his cap more firmly on his brow. without be- ing able to detach his gaze from the spot which his foot had trodden but an instant before. advanced a step and stopped to pick up his cudgel. All at once he shivered. At that moment he caught sight of the forty-sou piece. He recoiled three paces. as though the thing which lay glittering there in the gloom had been an open eye riveted upon him. like a terri- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The shadows were descending around Jean Valjean. seized it.

if the child had heard him. The bushes shook their thin little arms with incredible fury. One would have said that they were threatening and pursuing some one. He set out on his march again.fied wild animal which is seeking refuge. ‘Ah!’ and set out rapidly in the direction in which the child had disappeared. then he began to run. But the child was no doubt already far away. and from time to time he halted and shouted into that solitude. Then he shouted with all his might:— ‘Little Gervais! Little Gervais!’ He paused and waited. He saw nothing. with a voice which was the most formidable and the most disconsolate that it was possible to hear. He encountered a priest on horseback. The landscape was gloomy and deserted. looked about him and saw nothing. After about thirty paces he paused. There was nothing around him but an obscurity in which his gaze was lost. Night was falling. and a silence which engulfed his voice. great banks of violet haze were rising in the gleam of the twilight. the plain was cold and vague. and imparted to things around him a sort of lugubrious life. There was no reply. An icy north wind was blowing. He said. He was en- compassed by space. he would have been alarmed and would have taken good care not to show himself. He stepped up to him and said:—  Les Miserables . ‘Little Gervais! Lit- tle Gervais!’ Assuredly.

I think. One of those Savoyards.com  . We know nothing of them. in the direction which he had first taken. ‘Monsieur le Cure. Monsieur le Cure. about ten years old. I am a thief.’ he said. he was a little lad. In this way he traversed a tolerably long distance. Such persons pass through these parts. shouting. Then he added. ‘For your poor.’ He drew two five-franc pieces from his money-bag and handed them to the priest. this is for your poor people. have you seen a child pass?’ ‘No. but he met no one. my friend. and a hurdy-gurdy. you know?’ ‘I have not seen him.’ The priest put spurs to his horse and fled in haste.’ Jean Valjean seized two more coins of five francs each with violence.’ said the priest. gazing. have me arrested. wildly:— ‘Monsieur l’Abbe. ‘Monsieur le Cure. Two or three times he ran across the plain towards something which conveyed to him the effect of a human being reclining or crouching Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and gave them to the priest. ‘One named Little Gervais?’ ‘I have seen no one. he is a little stranger. much alarmed. with a mar- mot. calling. Jean Valjean set out on a run.’ ‘Little Gervais? There are no villages here? Can you tell me?’ ‘If he is like what you say.

that his obduracy was fi- nally settled if he resisted this clemency. I buy your soul. He was indistinctly conscious that the pardon of this priest was the greatest assault and the most formidable attack which had moved him yet. and he began to cry. that if he yielded. which is the fortress of evil within us. without even awakening an echo.’ This recurred to his mind unceasingly. as we have seen.down. When Jean Valjean left the Bishop’s house. it turned out to be nothing but brushwood or rocks nearly on a level with the earth. He sent his gaze into the distance and shouted for the last time. ‘You have promised me to become an honest man. He murmured yet once more. I take it away from the spirit of perversity. on a large stone. It was the first time that he had wept in nineteen years. and he cried. he was. He hardened himself against the angelic action and the gentle words of the old man. at a spot where three paths intersected each other. To this celes- tial kindness he opposed pride. his fists clenched in his hair and his face on his knees. He could not yield to the evidence of what was going on within him. ‘Little Gervais!’ but in a feeble and almost inarticulate voice. It was his last effort. as though an invis- ible power had suddenly overwhelmed him with the weight of his evil conscience.  Les Miserables . ‘Little Gervais! Little Gervais! Little Gervais!’ His shout died away in the mist. At length. I give it to the good God. The moon had risen. he fell exhausted. his legs gave way abruptly under him. he stopped. ‘I am a wretch!’ Then his heart burst. quite thrown out of everything that had been his thought hitherto.

As he walked thus with haggard eyes. and they only succeeded in throw- ing him into an unutterable and almost painful state of emotion. again. a colossal and final struggle. and that a struggle. some questions must be put. did he have a distinct perception of what might result to him from his adventure at D——? Did he understand all those mysterious murmurs which warn or importune the spirit at certain moments of life? Did a voice whisper in his ear that he had just passed the solemn hour of his desti- ny. that if he wished to remain evil. had been begun between his vi- ciousness and the goodness of that man.he should be obliged to renounce that hatred with which the actions of other men had filled his soul through so many years. or fall lower than the convict. nevertheless. If these ideas occurred to him. and which pleased him. On emerging from that black and deformed thing Free eBooks at Planet eBook. does form the education of the in- telligence. to mount higher than the Bishop. he proceeded like a man who is intoxicated. that this time it was neces- sary to conquer or to be conquered. which we have already put to ourselves elsewhere: did he catch some shad- ow of all this in his thought. In the presence of these lights. that it behooved him now.com  . that if he wished to become good be must become an angel. he but caught glimpses of. rather than saw them. it is doubtful whether Jean Valjean was in a condition to disentangle all that we have here indi- cated. so to speak. that if he were not henceforth the best of men. as we have said. that there no longer remained a middle course for him. in a confused way? Misfortune certainly. he would be the worst. he must become a monster? Here.

that everything about him was changed. was that he was no longer the same man. Let us say it simply. who should suddenly see the sun rise. filled him with tremors and anxiety. by virtue. When intelligence re-awakened and beheld that action of the brute. and one which was possible only in the situation in which he found  Les Miserables . acquired force? It was that. It was because. perhaps. of the evil thoughts which he had brought away from the galleys.— a remnant of impulse. even less than that. was this the last effect and the supreme effort. as it were. The future life. and had robbed him of his forty sous.—strange phenomenon. the convict had been dazzled and blinded. He no longer knew where he really was. by habit and instinct. That which was certain. who. as it were. all pure and radiant. the possible life which offered it- self to him henceforth. Like an owl. In this state of mind he had encountered little Gervais. had simply placed his foot upon that money. the Bishop had hurt his soul. that which he did not doubt. a result of what is called in statics.which is called the galleys. it was not he who stole. that it was no longer in his power to make it as though the Bishop had not spoken to him and had not touched him. Why? He certainly could not have explained it. it was the beast. Jean Valjean recoiled with anguish and uttered a cry of terror. as too vivid a light would have hurt his eyes on emerging from the dark. and it was also. it was not the man. while the intelligence was struggling amid so many novel and hitherto unheard-of thoughts be- setting it.

He had almost reached the point of asking himself who that man was. Excess of unhappiness had. like one who seeks to save himself. there before him. and on the other the light. then. that he seemed to himself to be no longer anything more than a phantom. the hideous galley-convict. he tried to find the child in order to return his money to him. He actually saw that Jean Valjean. in the state in which it then was. His brain was going through one of those violent and yet perfectly calm moments in which revery is so profound that Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in flesh and blood. he had done a thing of which he was no longer capable. with his thoughts filled with abominable projects. made him in some sort a visionary. as we have remarked. when he recognized the fact that this was impossible. with his resolute and gloomy visage. First of all.—in stealing the money from that child. This.himself. was in the nature of a vision. and as if he had. his knapsack filled with stolen objects on his back. then. he halted in despair. However that may be. before him. At the moment when he exclaimed ‘I am a wretch!’ he had just perceived what he was.com  . and he was already separated from himself to such a degree. even before examining himself and reflect- ing. Jean Valjean. as certain chemical reagents act upon a troubled mixture by precipitating one element and clarifying the other. all bewildered. cudgel in hand. it abruptly traversed that chaos which he bore in his mind. that sinister face. and acted on his soul. placed on one side the thick obscurity. and he was horrified by him. his blouse on his hips. and dispersed it. this last evil action had a deci- sive effect on him.

his first fault. the last thing that he  Les Miserables . which are peculiar to this sort of ec- stasies. By one of those singular effects. he per- ceived in a mysterious depth a sort of light which he at first took for a torch. He wept burning tears. the figures which one has in one’s own mind. face to face. Jean Valjean wept for a long time. an extraordinary light. he filled the whole soul of this wretched man with a magnificent radiance. in proportion as his revery continued. His conscience weighed in turn these two men thus placed before it. rejoicing in manifold plans of vengeance. with more fright than a child. so to speak. daylight penetrated more and more clearly into his soul. After a certain time he was no longer anything more than a shade. what had happened to him at the Bishop’s. so did Jean Valjean grow less and vanish.— the Bishop and Jean Valjean. his dismiss- al to liberty. and at the same time. On scrutinizing this light which appeared to his conscience with more attention. his internal hardness. His past life. and one sees. The Bishop alone remained. he sobbed with more weakness than a woman.it absorbs reality. his external brutishness. One no longer beholds the object which one has before one. athwart this hallucination. As he wept. his long expiation. Nothing less than the first was required to soften the second. as the Bishop grew great and resplendent in his eyes. he recognized the fact that it possessed a human form and that this torch was the Bishop. All at once he disappeared. Thus he contemplated himself. a light at once ravishing and terrible. as though apart from one’s self.

and all the more monstrous since it had come after the Bishop’s pardon. kneeling on the pavement in the shadow. and who arrived at D—— about three o’clock in the morning. a crime all the more cowardly. his soul. How many hours did he weep thus? What did he do af- ter he had wept? Whither did he go! No one ever knew. The only thing which seems to be authenticated is that that same night the carrier who served Grenoble at that epoch. that theft of forty sous from a child.had done. and it seemed horrible to him. in front of the door of Mon- seigneur Welcome. In the meantime a gentle light rested over this life and this soul. It seemed to him that he beheld Satan by the light of Paradise. a man in the attitude of prayer. but with a clearness which he had never hitherto witnessed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He examined his life. and it seemed frightful to him. as he traversed the street in which the Bishop’s resi- dence was situated.—all this recurred to his mind and appeared clearly to him.com  . saw.

—IN THE YEAR   Les Miserables .BOOK THIRD.

the Duke d’Angouleme. the regiments were called legions. All the hairdressers’ shops. after the mode of the Austrian. Napoleon Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Hence his peerage. instead of numbers they bore the names of departments. The brilliant action performed by M. hoping for powder and the return of the royal bird.. with a certain roy- al assurance which was not wanting in pride. on the 12th of March. entitled the twenty-second of his reign. The French army was dressed in white.com  . were be- smeared with azure and decked with fleurs-de-lys. Lynch was this: be- ing mayor of Bordeaux. with his red ribbon and his long nose and the majesty of pro- file peculiar to a man who has performed a brilliant action. in his costume of a peer of France. It is the year in which M. Bru- guiere de Sorsum was celebrated. In 1817 fashion swallowed up little boys of from four to six years of age in vast caps of morocco leather with ear-tabs resembling Esquimaux mi- tres. It was the candid time at which Count Lynch sat every Sunday as church-warden in the church-warden’s pew of Saint-Ger- main-des-Pres. 1814. he had surrendered the city a little too promptly to M.CHAPTER I THE YEAR   is the year which Louis XVIII.

was at St. rotting amid the grass. of Pleignier. There were still Prussians in France. on the 14th of July. In this year. appointed minister of finance. Louis had served it in the capacity of deacon. Delalot was a personage. two great cylinders of wood might have been seen lying in the rain. who had thrown his brother’s head into the fountain of the  Les Miserables . Odry did not yet exist. The Field of May had this remarkable point: that it had been held in the month of June and in the Field of March (Mars). and the Abbe Louis. from which the gild- ing was falling. he was having his old coats turned. 1790. in the side-alleys of this same Champ de Mars. grand chamber- lain. the mass of federation in the Champ de Mars. two things were popu- lar: the Voltaire-Touquet and the snuff-box a la Charter. Mademoiselle Bigottini danced. Legitimacy had just asserted itself by cutting off the hand. and since England refused him green cloth. The Prince de Talleyrand. Potier reigned. painted blue. M. Two or three of these columns had disappeared in these bivouac fires. with the laugh of the two augurs. Helena. with traces of eagles and bees. 1817. both of them had celebrated. and had warmed the large hands of the Im- perial troops. and of Tolleron. In 1817 Pelligrini sang. then the head. Madame Saqui had succeeded to Forio- so. The most recent Parisian sensation was the crime of Dautun. In 1817. These were the columns which two years before had upheld the Emperor’s platform in the Champ de Mai. They were blackened here and there with the scorches of the bivouac of Austrians encamped near Gros-Caillou. laughed as they looked at each other. of Carbonneau. Talleyrand had said it as bishop.

—Napoleon and Mathurin Bruneau. The N’s were scratched off the Louvre. On the platform of the octagonal tower of the Hotel de Cluny. Bellart was officially eloquent. The palace of Thermes. The bridge of Austerlitz had abdicated. heroes who have become emperors. which had served as an observa- tory to Messier. which was destined to cover Chaumareix with in- famy and Gericault with glory. the little shed of boards. served as a shop for a cooper. until there should be a false Marchangy. was still to be seen. named d’Arlincourt. The Duchesse de Duras read to three or four friends her unpublished Ourika.. There was a false Chateaubriand. Claire d’Albe and Malek-Adel were masterpieces. in sky-blue satin. named Marchangy.com  . In his shadow could be seen germinating that fu- ture advocate-general of Broe. The Hap- piness procured through Study. on account of the lack of news from that fatal frigate. in the interim. a double enigma. and makers of wooden shoes who have become dauphins. had two anxieties.Flower-Market. dedicated to the sarcasms of Paul-Louis Courier. Louis XVIII. in her boudoir fur- nished by X. Madame Cottin was pro- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. much preoccupied while annotating Horace with the cor- ner of his finger-nail. M.. which disguised the bridge of Auster- litz and the Jardin des Plantes at one stroke. The French Academy had given for its prize subject. the naval astronomer under Louis XVI. in the Rue de La Harpe. The Medusa. and was entitled the bridge of the King’s Garden [du Jardin du Roi]. Colonel Selves was going to Egypt to become Soliman-Pasha. They had begun to feel anxious at the Naval Department.

insulted the exiles of 1815. That t made the good middle-class people laugh heartily at the expense of the great writer. prostituted journalists. David had no longer any talent. directed the little private concerts of the Marquise de Sasenaye in the Rue Ville l’Eveque. All the young girls were singing the Hermit of Saint-Avelle. otherwise the monarchical principle would have received a wound. a good sort of fellow. the author of Agnese. The grand newspapers were all very small. Arnault had no lon- ger any wit. which adorned Franconi’s advertising posters. al- ready surveyed from the shadow by Louvel. Carnot was no longer honest. The Institute had the academician. against the Cafe Valois. The body-guard hissed Mademoiselle Mars. with a square face and a wart on his cheek. The Constitutionnel was constitutional. Soult had won no  Les Miserables . it was evident that the city of Angouleme had all the qualities of a seaport. In the Council of Ministers the question was agitated whether vignettes represent- ing slack-rope performances. M. being lord high ad- miral.claimed the chief writer of the epoch. should be tolerated. La Minerve called Chateaubriand Cha- teaubriant. which upheld the Bourbons. Paer. In journals which sold themselves. had just been married to a princess of Sicily. The Yellow Dwarf was transferred into Mirror. stricken from its list of members. The Duc de Berri. Napoleon Bonaparte. with words by Edmond Geraud. but their liberty was great. The Cafe Lemblin stood up for the Emperor. for the Duc d’Angouleme. A royal ordinance erected Angouleme into a naval school. Madame de Stael had died a year previously. Their form was restricted. and which attracted throngs of street urchins.

No one is ignorant of the fact that letters sent to an exile by post very rarely reached him. This is no new fact. with his eyes fixed on a mirror. it struck the royalist journals as amusing. reigned. shown some displeasure at not receiving letters which had been written to him. Descartes complained of it in his exile.com  . The lead- ers of the Right said at grave conjunctures. No. and they derided the prescribed man well on this occasion. was making the rough draft of his privy assembly to consolidate the monarchy.battles. ‘We must write to Bacot. as the police made it their reli- gious duty to intercept them. the regicides. to say the enemies. or to say the voters. and De Chappedelaine were preparing the sketch. What separated two men more than an abyss was to say. Decazes. or to say the allies. 27 Rue Saint-Dominique. to say Napoleon. of what was to become later on ‘The Conspira- cy of the Bord de l’Eau’—of the waterside. Delaverderie was conferring with Trogoff.’ MM. M. it is true that Napoleon had no longer any genius. Chateaubriand stood every morning at his window at No. Canuel. surnamed ‘The Immortal Author of the Charter. O’Mahoney. having. Piet. to some extent with Monsieur’s approval. M. who was liberal to a degree. the word Redivivus was carved on the pedestal that awaited the statue of Henry IV. in the Rue Therese. a complete set Free eBooks at Planet eBook. clad in footed trousers. 4.. with a madras kerchief knotted over his gray hair. and slippers. All sensible people were agreed that the era of revolution had been closed forever by King Louis XVIII. or to say Buonaparte.’ On the platform of the Pont-Neuf. Now David. L’Epingle Noire was already plotting in his own quarter. in a Bel- gian publication.

The collegians. M. the portrait. fought each other apropos of the King of Rome. decorated on the collar with a golden fleur- de-lys. M. The city of Paris was having the dome of the Invalides regilded at its own expense. of M. preferred Lafon to Talma. the Duc d’Orleans. which the comedian Moliere had not been able to do. upon whose pediment the removal of the letters still allowed THEATRE OF THE EMPRESS to be plainly read. Clausel de Montals dif- fered on divers points from M. Fab- vier was factious. The comedian Picard. cleaning his teeth. Criticism. which were charming. while he dictated The Monar- chy according to the Charter to M. People took part for or against Cugnet de Montarlot. everywhere exhibited. in his uniform of colonel-general of dragoons— a serious inconvenience. Bavoux was revolutionary.. had The Two Philiberts played at the Odeon. of the French Academy. Serious men asked themselves what M. Divorce was abolished. Clausel de Coussergues. who belonged to the Academy.of dentist’s instruments spread out before him. ‘That will attract purchasers. The Liberal. de Trinquelague would do on such or such an occasion. his secretary. The general  Les Miserables . assuming an authoritative tone. Pelicier. the Duc de Berri. Charles Nodier wrote Therese Aubert. who made a better appearance in his uniform of a colonel-general of hussars than M. Pilorge. Lyceums called themselves colleges. Hoffmann signed himself Z. de Salaberry was not satisfied. with the following title: Works of Voltaire. The counter-police of the chateau had denounced to her Royal Highness Madame. M. M.’ said the ingenious editor. de Feletez signed himself A. published an edition of Voltaire.

The quarrel over the valley of Dappes was begun between Switzerland and France by a memoir from Captain. A thing which smoked and clattered on the Seine with the noise of a swimming dog went and came beneath the windows of the Tuileries. the reformer of the Insti- tute by a coup d’etat. it was a piece of mechanism which was not good for much. an utopia—a steamboat. a note to a poem by Millevoye introduced him to France in these terms: a certain Lord Baron. envy was beginning to gnaw at him—a sign of glory. from the Pont Royal to the Pont Louis XV. the distinguished author of numerous Free eBooks at Planet eBook. David d’Angers was trying to work in marble. Lord Byron was beginning to make his mark. in terms of praise. who. The Parisians stared indifferently at this useless thing. Arch- bishop of Amasie. became Lamennais. Charles Loyson would be the genius of the century. The Abbe Caron was speaking. the idle dream of a dream-ridden inventor. administered the diocese of Lyons. a sort of plaything. whom the future will re- call. of an unknown priest. to a private gathering of seminarists in the blind alley of Feuillantines. M. and in some garret an obscure Fourier. ignored. one feels that he has paws.’ As Cardinal Fesch refused to resign.com  . de Vaublanc.opinion was that M. whom posterity has forgotten. after- wards General Dufour.. M. Saint-Simon. at a latter date. de Pins. was erecting his sublime dream. named Felic- ite-Robert. There was a celebrated Fourier at the Academy of Science. and this verse was composed on him:— “Even when Loyson steals.

had passed. M. the praiseworthy cultiva- tor of the memory of Parmentier. was still recognizable on account of its whiteness. ex- bishop. ordinances. with one eye on Gen- esis and the other on nature. and batches of members.’ The locution of which we have made use—passed to the state of—has been condemned as a neologism by M. made a thousand efforts to have pomme de terre [potato] pronounced parmentiere. in the royalist polemics. to the state of ‘Infamous Gregoire. after having created them. Six months in prison. on account of his piety. The Faubourg Saint-Germain and the pavilion de Marsan wished to have M. The Abbe Gregoire. Francois de Neufchateau. Dupuytren and Recamier entered into a quarrel in the amphitheatre of the School of Medicine. Under the third arch of the Pont de Jena.academicians. ex-senator. the new stone with which. and threatened each other with their fists on the subject of the divinity of Jesus Christ. tried to please bigoted reaction by reconciling fossils with texts and by making mastodons flatter Moses. Cuvier. had said aloud: ‘Sapristi! I re- gret the time when I saw Bonaparte and Talma enter the Bel Sauvage. on seeing the Comte d’Artois enter Notre Dame. Royer Col- lard.’ A seditious utterance. Delaveau for prefect of police. could not succeed in becoming one himself. Jus- tice summoned to its bar a man who. the mining aperture made by Blucher to blow up the bridge had been stopped up. arm in arm. men who had gone over to the enemy on the eve of battle made no  Les Miserables . the two years previously. ex-conventionary. Traitors showed themselves unbuttoned. and succeeded therein not at all.

com  . the infinity would overwhelm it. which are wrong- ly called trivial. desert- ers from Ligny and Quatre-Bras. History neglects nearly all these particulars. It is of the physiog- nomy of the years that the physiognomy of the centuries is composed. nor little leaves in vegetation.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in the cynicism of riches and dignities.secret of their recompense. in the brazenness of their well-paid turpitude. and strutted immodestly in the light of day. This is what floats up confusedly.— there are no trivial facts in humanity.—are useful. these details. and is now forgotten. exhibited their devotion to the monar- chy in the most barefaced manner. In this year of 1817 four young Parisians ar- ranged ‘a fine farce. for the year 1817. Nevertheless. pell-mell. and cannot do otherwise.

so named because she had been in England. elegance was Scandinavian and Caledonian. of Cahors. of Toulouse. Blachevelle loved Favourite. for. and the fourth from Mon- tauban. These Oscars bore the names. neither ge- niuses nor fools. Burn for him the perfumes of Araby! exclaimed romance. Listolier. the last. and the first of the Arthurs. and when one says student. the next. I shall behold him! People had just emerged from Ossian. Oscar. Fameuil. with that charming April which is called twenty years. one of Felix Tholomy- es. every one has seen such faces. the pure English style was only to prevail later. the third from Cahors. had but just won the battle of Waterloo. Oscar advances. another from Limoges. of Montauban. of Limoges. Li-  Les Miserables .CHAPTER II A DOUBLE QUARTETTE These Parisians came. at that ep- och. Naturally. Blachevelle. neither good nor bad. but they were students. Arthurs did not yet exist. handsome. one says Parisian: to study in Paris is to be born in Paris. neither wise nor ignorant. These young men were insignificant. one from Toulouse. the second. four specimens of humanity taken at random. They were four Oscars. each of them had his mistress. Wel- lington.

an abridgment of Josephine. the three first were more experienced. one scolds and the other flatters. Zephine. perfumed and radiant. the old one was twenty-three. and not yet entirely divorced from their needles.stolier adored Dahlia. called the Blonde. Fameuil idolized Zephine. and in their souls that flower of honesty which survives the first fall in woman. They are overwhelmed with splendor of all that is immaculate and inaccessible.com  . and the stones which are thrown at them. and the beautiful daughters of the people have both of them whispering in their ear. and Gustave in the third. but still re- taining on their faces something of the serenity of toil. One of the four was called the young. be- cause she was the youngest of them. and the lover who had borne the name of Adolph in the first chapter had turned out to be Alphonse in the second. Dahlia. still a little like working-women. could not have said as much. sunny hair. more heedless. Not to conceal anything. Alas! what if the Jung- frau were hungry? Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Hence the falls which they accomplish. Zephine. Dahlia. each on its own side. somewhat disturbed by intrigues. and especially Favourite. who had taken for her nickname the name of a flower. These badly guarded souls listen. Favourite. who was still in her first illusions. and Fantine were four rav- ishing young women. Tholomyes had Fantine. Poverty and coquetry are two fatal counsellors. There had already been more than one epi- sode in their romance. be- cause of her beautiful. though hardly begun. and more emancipated into the tumult of life than Fantine the Blonde. and one was called the old.

to idleness. and supped for four. and had said to her. Mamemoiselle?’ ‘No. How could she make such nails work? She who wishes to remain virtuous must not have pity on her hands. As for Zephine. to others perhaps. She had had an establishment of her own very early in life. ‘You do not know me. and ate and drank. who went out to give lessons in spite of his age.’ Then the old wom- an opened the sideboard. Goodness and philosophy are two distinct things. She met her father from time to time. One morn- ing an old woman with the air of a devotee. had one day seen a chambermaid’s gown catch on a fender. dined. was admired by Dahl- ia and Zephine. after making all due allowances for  Les Miserables . and went down to the porter’s quarters for company. when he was a young man. had a mattress which she owned brought in. she had conquered Fameuil by her roguish and ca- ressing little way of saying ‘Yes. breakfasted.’ ‘I am your mother. re- mained hours without uttering a word. Such loves are always accompanied by such friend- ships. and installed herself. and he bowed to her. This cross and pious old mother never spoke to Favourite. where she spoke ill of her daughter.’ The young men were comrades. It was having rosy nails that were too pretty which had drawn Dahlia to Listolier. sir. had entered her apartments. This professor. a brutal man and a braggart. the proof of this is that. he had fallen in love in consequence of this accident. Her father was an old unmarried profes- sor of mathematics. The result had been Favourite. the young girls were friends. Favourite having been in England.

who had encountered her. She re- ceived the name as she received the water from the clouds upon her brow when it rained. she bore on her brow the sign of the anonymous and the unknown. and remained pure as long as she could. and Tholomyes? Solomon would reply that love forms a part of wisdom. and Dahlia were philosophical young women. She was a lovely blonde. no baptismal name.com  . of all the four. a sole love. Why Fantine? She had never borne any other name. a faithful love.’ Fantine was beautiful. No one knew more than that. This human creature had entered life in just this way. At fifteen she came to Paris ‘to seek her for- tune. At the age of ten. We will con- fine ourselves to saying that the love of Fantine was a first love. Though she had emerged from the most unfathomable depths of social shadow. Of what parents? Who can say? She had never known father or mother. running bare-legged in the street. She had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was called Fantine. She bore the name which pleased the first random passer-by. Fantine quit- ted the town and went to service with some farmers in the neighborhood. Fantine was one of those beings who blossom. Good! some one will exclaim. Zephine. so to speak.these little irregular households. when a very small child. She had no family name. the Church no longer existed. with fine teeth. was not called ‘thou’ by a single one of them. At the epoch of her birth the Directory still existed. from the dregs of the people. while Fantine was a good girl. She alone. Favourite. she had no family. She was born at M. She was called little Fantine. sur M.

where so many adventurers twine and untwine. then. of which he himself said with sadness. and badly preserved. Listolier. the eclogue took place. his health with irony.gold and pearls for her dowry. He was dilapidated but still in flower. In short. he was rich. There is a way of avoid- ing which resembles seeking. his weeping eye laughed incessantly. and Fameuil formed a sort of group of which Tholomyes was the head. beat a retreat  Les Miserables . She worked for her living.—she loved. four thousand francs! a splendid scandal on Mount Sainte-Genevieve. the skull at thirty. still for the sake of her living. filled with throngs of students and grisettes. passion for her. He was wrinkled and toothless. but in such a way as constantly to encounter him again. he replaced his teeth with buffooneries. His youth. he had an income of four thousand francs. It was he who possessed the wit. Fantine had long evaded Tho- lomyes in the mazes of the hill of the Pantheon. An amour for him. and he had the beginning of a bald spot. His digestion was medio- cre. The streets of the Lat- in quarter. has its hunger. Blachevelle. Tholomyes was a fast man of thirty. and her pearls were in her mouth. which was packing up for departure long before its time. She loved Tholomyes. his hair with mirth. and he had been attacked by a watering in one eye. the knee at forty. also.— for the heart. Tholomyes was the antique old student. gayety was kindled. but her gold was on her head. But in proportion as his youth disappeared. saw the beginning of their dream.

’ so our beau- ties say to me incessantly. They are forever talking about it to us. the four young men inviting the four young girls. let us discuss the question. they entered. perform thy miracle. it seems to me. and said to them:— ‘Fantine. bursting with laughter. Pressure on both sides. fa o miracolo. and Blach- evelle exclaimed. The moment has ar- rived. We have promised them solemnly that we would. Tholomyes lowered his voice and articulat- ed something so mirthful.’ A smoky tap-room presented itself.in good order. ‘Faccia gialluta. He had had a piece rejected at the Vaudeville. Being thus ironical and bald. and Favourite have been teas- ing us for nearly a year to give them a surprise. and the remainder of their confidential colloquy was lost in shad- ow. Yellow face.’ Thereupon. he was the leader. ‘That is an idea. He made a few verses now and then. The result of these shades was a dazzling pleasure party which took place on the following Sunday. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which is a vast force in the eyes of the weak. and no one saw any- thing but fire. Zephine. with the gesture of an oracle. just as the old women in Naples cry to Saint Januarius. to me in particular. ‘Tholomyes. Is it possible that irony is derived from it? One day Tholomyes took the three others aside. Iron is an English word. Dahlia. that a vast and enthusiastic grin broke out upon the four mouths simultaneously. when will you bring forth your surprise?’ At the same time our parents keep writing to us. In addition to this he doubted everything to the last degree.com  .

bright. there is now the steamboat. and it was a warm. The vacation was beginning. the only one who knew how to write. The suburbs of Paris are no longer the same. where there was the cuckoo.’ That is why they rose at five o’clock in the morning. where  Les Miserables . looked at the dry cascade and exclaimed. summer day. had written the following to Tholomyes in the name of the four: ‘It is a good hour to emerge from happiness.CHAPTER III FOUR AND FOUR It is hard nowadays to picture to one’s self what a plea- sure-trip of students and grisettes to the country was like. the physiognomy of what may be called circumpa- risian life has changed completely in the last half-century. Then they went to Saint-Cloud by the coach. ‘This must be very beautiful when there is water!’ They breakfasted at the Tete-Noir. The Paris of 1862 is a city which has France for its outskirts. Favourite. The four couples conscientiously went through with all the country follies possible at that time. where there was a tender-boat. people speak of Fecamp nowadays as they spoke of Saint-Cloud in those days. there is the railway car. forty-five years ago. On the preceding day.

with a beloved woman holding your hand. they treated themselves to a game of ring-throwing under the quincunx of trees of the grand fountain. they ascended Diogenes’ lantern. my new boots! what a state they are in!’ Let us say at once that that merry obstacle. then famous. and exclaimed.’ All four were madly pretty. whoever you may be. From time to time they bestowed little taps on the young men. was lacking in the case of this good-humored party. picked bouquets at Pateaux. ‘There is one too many of them. do you not remember? Have you rambled through the brushwood. they gam- bled for macaroons at the roulette establishment of the Pont de Sevres. ‘The slugs are crawling in the paths. The young girls rustled and chatted like warblers escaped from their cage. Blachevelle’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. bought reed-pipes at Neuilly. a good fellow who had an Eleonore. on account of the charming head which is coming on behind you? Have you slid. although Favourite had said as they set out. ate apple tarts everywhere.’ as he thought of the Graces. A good old classic poet. It was a perfect delirium. children. Favourite. as he strolled that day beneath the chest- nut-trees of Saint-Cloud.Castaing had not yet been. saw them pass about ten o’clock in the morning. holding aside the branches. Matutinal in- toxication of life! adorable years! the wings of the dragonfly quiver. a shower. M. and were perfectly happy. ‘Ah. with a magisterial and maternal tone. le Chevalier de Labouisse. and crying.—a sign of rain. laughing. Oh. down a slope all wet with rain.com  .

with straps of braided copper wire. stalked distractedly over bushes. the one aged three and twenty. but one felt the force of government in him. the first keepsakes had just made their appearance. and the hair of the tender sex began to droop dolefully. Blachevelle seemed to have been created expressly to carry Favourite’s single-bordered. imitation India shawl of Ternaux’s manufacture. and. as later on. he carried a stout rattan worth two hundred francs in his hand. He was very gay. and clinging to each other. as he treated himself to everything. they assumed English poses. whom chance had made beautiful in such a way that they set each off when they were together. with veneration. explained to Fantine the difference that existed between M. on his arm on Sundays. Listolier and Fameuil. there was dictation in his joviality. ‘What trousers! What energy!’  Les Miserables . Zephine and Dahlia had their hair dressed in rolls. Zeph- ine and Dahlia. his principal ornament was a pair of trousers of elephant-leg pattern of nankeen. jumped the ditch- es. Tholomyes followed. and presided over this merry-making with the spirit of a young female faun. Blondeau. ran on in front under the great green boughs. Delvin- court and M. dominating the group. never left each other. melancholy was dawning for women. the old one. ‘That Tholomyes is astounding!’ said the others. more from an instinct of coquetry than from friendship. a strange thing called a cigar in his mouth. he smoked. Nothing was sacred to him. Byronism dawned for men. who were engaged in discussing their professors. and completed each other.friend.

and which easily uncoiled. shadowy lashes drooped discreetly over the jollity of the lower part of the face as though to call a halt. The three others. and which it was necessary to fasten up in- cessantly. in the contest for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and its reticence. whose ribbons traced an X on her fine. beneath flower-adorned hats.com  . and that sort of mus- lin spencer. blond Fantine’s canezou. presided over by the Vicomtesse de Cette. concealing and displaying at one and the same time. had an air of encouraging the audacious. seemed an alluring godsend of decency. a corruption of the words quinze aout. whose name. but her long. are very graceful and enticing. Her rosy lips babbled enchantingly. heat. which in summer. a Marseilles invention. less timid. as we have already said. seemed made for the flight of Galatea under the willows. perhaps. little reddish brown buskins. open-worked stockings. with its long white strings. canezou. and the famous Court of Love. in her hand rather than on her head. and midday. The corners of her mouth voluptuously turned up. its indiscretion. as in the antique masks of Erigone. with its transparencies. which was inclined to wave. with the sea-green eyes. but by the side of these audacious outfits. Her splendid teeth had evidently received an office from God. would. She preferred to carry her little hat of sewed straw. signifies fine weather. Her thick blond hair. wore low-necked dresses without disguise. have award- ed the prize for coquetry to this canezou. pronounced after the fashion of the Canebiere. She wore a gown of mauve barege. white.—laughter. There was something indescribably harmonious and striking about her entire dress. she was a joy to behold. As for Fantine.

This chaste astonishment is the shade of difference which separates Psyche from Venus. and in that statue a soul. the season. joy. the robust throat of the Juno of AEgina. a cheek that was young and fresh.the prize of modesty. Those rare dreamers. and beneath these feminine adornments and these ribbons one could divine a statue. heavy lids.  Les Miserables . the wisest. Fantine was beautiful. of the ancient sacred eu- phony. visible through the muslin. We have said that Fantine was joy. white. This does happen. Fantine had the long. feet arched and small. would have caught a glimpse in this little working-woman. She was beautiful in the two ways— style and rhythm. mysterious priests of the beautiful who silently confront everything with perfection. with eyes of a deep blue. with a voluptuous dimple in the middle. and her love affair. The most ingenious is. a gayety cooled by dreaminess. shoulders modelled as though by Coustou. she was also mod- esty. Style is the form of the ideal. rhythm is its movement. To an observer who studied her attentively. at times. a strong and supple nape of the neck. Brilliant of face. a white skin which. She remained a little astonished. This daughter of the shadows was thoroughbred. without being too conscious of it. that which breathed from her athwart all the intoxication of her age. through the transparency of her Parisian grace. sculptural and exquisite—such was Fantine. wrists and ankles ad- mirably formed. here and there allowed the azure branching of the veins to be seen. was an invincible expression of reserve and modesty. delicate of profile.

a sort of serious and almost austere dignity sud- denly overwhelmed her at certain times. she had that imperceptible and charming fold. her face in repose was supremely virginal. as we shall have more than ample opportunity to see.com  . Fantine was innocence floating high over fault. which makes Barberousse fall in love with a Diana found in the treasures of Iconia. and from which harmony of countenance results. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Love is a fault. her nose. Her brow. so be it. Although she would have re- fused nothing to Tholomyes.fine fingers of the vestal virgin who stirs the ashes of the sacred fire with a golden pin. and there was nothing more singular and disturbing than to see gayety become so suddenly extinct there. and meditation succeed to cheerfulness without any transition state. a mysterious sign of chastity. pre- sented that equilibrium of outline which is quite distinct from equilibrium of proportion. This sudden and sometimes severely accentuated gravity resembled the disdain of a goddess. her chin. in the very characteristic interval which separates the base of the nose from the upper lip.

the clover. the branches gesticulated in the wind. talking. all received. All nature seemed to be having a holiday. fresh. mingled with the sun. the birds. the kisses of all. from one end to the other. and the sterile oats. running. bees pillaged the jasmines. who was hedged about with that vague resistance of hers composed  Les Miserables . were resplendent. The flower-beds of Saint-Cloud perfumed the air. wetting their pink. dancing. the breath of the Seine rustled the leaves vaguely. in the august park of the King of France there was a pack of vagabonds. the flowers.CHAPTER IV THOLOMYES IS SO MERRY THAT HE SINGS A SPANISH DITTY That day was composed of dawn. the fields. chasing butterflies. with the exception of Fantine. open-work stockings in the tall grass. wild. without malice. plucking convol- vulus. to some ex- tent. And in this community of Paradise. The four merry couples. and to be laugh- ing. a whole bohemia of butterflies swooped down upon the yarrow. the trees. singing.

those adorations which burst forth in the manner of pronouncing a syllable.—in that eternal hedge-school of lovers. After breakfast the four couples went to what was then Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the duke and the peer. ‘You al- ways have a queer look about you. and d’Urfe mingles druids with them.com  . the painter of plebeians. These passages of happy couples are a profound appeal to life and nature. They think that this will never come to an end. Such things are joys.’ said Favourite to her. And the little cries. which is forev- er beginning anew. con- templates his bourgeois. the pursuits through the grass. as they used to say in olden times. Beau- tiful women waste themselves sweetly.—all this blazes forth and takes its place among the celestial glories. poets. The departure for Cythera! exclaims Watteau. and who was in love. the waists embraced on the fly. all are subjects of this fairy. and which will last as long as there are hedges and scholars. Diderot stretches out his arms to all these love idyls. The patrician and the knife-grinder. Lancret. the limb of the law. painters. Hence the popularity of spring among thinkers. so greatly are they dazzled by it. those cherries torn from one mouth by another. who have flitted away into the azure sky. those jargons which are melodies. observe these ecstasies and know not what to make of it. There was once a fairy who created the fields and forests expressly for those in love. Philosophers. and make a caress and light spring forth from everything. the courtiers and townspeo- ple. and there is in the air the brilliance of an apotheosis—what a transfiguration effected by love! Notaries’ clerks are gods.of dreaminess and wildness. They laugh and hunt.

they returned by way of Vanvres and Issy. “Badajoz is my home. There was always an admiring crowd about it. Toulouse being the cousin of Tolosa.  Les Miserables . The truly national park. They had stoutly shaken the swing attached to the two chestnut-trees celebrated by the Abbe de Bernis. the Toulousan Tholomy- es.called the King’s Square to see a newly arrived plant from India. and which. It was an odd and charming shrub with a long stem. producing folds in the fluttering skirts which Greuze would have found to his taste. at that time owned by Bourguin the contractor. probably inspired by some lovely maid dashing in full flight upon a rope between two trees:— “Soy de Badajoz. sang. visited the manikin anchorite in his grotto. They passed the gates. to a melancholy chant. Tholomyes exclaimed. the wanton trap worthy of a satyr become a millionaire or of Turcaret metamorphosed into a Priapus. happened to be wide open. this gave the shrub the air of a head of hair studded with flowers. whose name escapes our memory at this moment. Amor me llama. And Love is my name. After viewing the shrub. At Issy an incident occurred. the old ballad gallega. who was somewhat of a Spaniard. at that epoch. were covered with a million tiny white rosettes. one after the other. whose numerous branches. As he swung these beauties. was attracting all Paris to Saint- Cloud. tried the mysterious little effects of the famous cabinet of mirrors. bristling and leafless and as fine as threads. ‘I offer you asses!’ and having agreed upon a price with the own- er of the asses. amid peals of laughter.

‘I don’t like to have people put on airs like that. were sliding down the Russian mountains. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They had been up since five o’clock that morning. To my eyes in flame. they crossed the Seine in a boat. and whose undulating line was visible above the trees of the Champs Elysees. on Sunday fatigue does not work.’ ‘Patience. a sin- gular edifice which then occupied the heights of Beaujon. About three o’clock the four couples. All my soul doth come. After leaving the asses there was a fresh delight. Es en mi ojos.’ replied Tholomyes. Toda mi alma. and proceeding from Passy on foot they reached the barrier of l’Etoile. said Favourite.’ muttered Favourite. as the reader will remem- ber. I receive at thy feet” Fantine alone refused to swing.com  . with a good deal of acrimony. but bah! there is no such thing as fatigue on Sunday. Porque ensenas. From time to time Favourite exclaimed:— ‘And the surprise? I claim the surprise. For instruction meet A tuas piernas. frightened at their happiness.

upon one of them a triumphant mountain of bouquets. and bottles. became stranded in Bombarda’s public house. jugs of beer mingled with flasks of wine. somewhat weary at last. a branch establishment which had been set up in the Champs-Elysees by that famous restaurant-keep- er. with an alcove and a bed at the end (they had been obliged to put up with this accommodation in view of the Sunday crowd). Bombarda. and the radiant party of eight.’  Les Miserables . A large but ugly room. min- gled with the hats of men and women. the quay and the river. whose sign could then be seen in the Rue de Rivoli. two windows whence they could survey beyond the elms. two tables. near Delorme Alley. “They made beneath the table A noise. at the other the four couples seated round a merry confusion of platters. a magnifi- cent August sunlight lightly touching the panes. very little order on the table. a clatter of the feet that was abominable. some disorder beneath it. glasses.CHAPTER V AT BOMBARDA’S The Russian mountains having been exhausted. dishes. they be- gan to think about dinner.

filled with sunshine and with peo- ple. which had become the Place Louis XV.’ Groups of dwellers in the suburbs. which had not yet wholly disappeared from button-holes in the year 1817. Give us back our father. says Moliere. This was the state which the shepherd idyl. begun at five o’clock in the morning. some- Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Give us back our father from Ghent. Rendez-nous notre pere. Carriages were going and coming.com  . Here and there choruses of little girls threw to the winds. were nothing but light and dust. the then celebrated Bourbon air. their appetites were satis- fied. who formed into circles and applauded. the two things of which glory is composed. The sun was setting. and which had for its refrain:— “Rendez-nous notre pere de Gand. The Champs-Elysees. with their clarions at their head. which was des- tined to strike the Hundred Days with lightning. once more. the white flag. The horses of Marly. amid the passersby. was choked with happy promenaders. were descending the Avenue de Neuilly. in Sunday array. were prancing in a cloud of gold. The Place de la Concorde. floated over the dome of the Tuileries. A squadron of magnificent body-guards. had reached at half-past four in the afternoon. Many wore the silver fleur-de-lys suspended from the white-watered ribbon. those neighing mar- bles. showing faintly rosy in the set- ting sun.

Every thing was radiant. however. and as though to serve as pendant to the Minerva Aptera of the Piraeus. It would take all of two of them to make one of your grenadiers. Moreover. They are as heedless and as indolent as cats. on the subject of the suburbs of Paris. Sire. it is an ami- able rabble. and the populace of the suburbs is still more puny than at the time of the Revolution. It is not dangerous. it is not in Paris. others were engaged in drinking. The populace is restless in the provinces. These are very pretty men. scattered over the large square and the Marigny square. and in that lies the miracle wrought by the populace of Paris. terminated with these lines:— ‘Taking all things into consideration. that does happen. In their eyes it was liberty in- carnate. some journeyman printers had on paper caps. there is noth- ing to be feared from these people. There is nothing to be feared on the part of the populace of Paris the capital. The ingenuous police of the Restoration beheld the populace of Paris in too  Les Miserables . there stood on the public square in Corinth the colossal bronze figure of a cat.’ Prefects of the police do not deem it possible that a cat can transform itself into a lion. like the bourgeois.times even decorated with the fleur-de-lys. it was the epoch when a special and private report of Chief of Police Angeles to the King. In short. their laughter was audible. Sire. It is remarkable that the stature of this popula- tion should have diminished in the last fifty years. the cat so despised by Count Angles possessed the esteem of the republics of old. were playing at rings and revolving on the wooden horses. It was a time of undisputed peace and profound roy- alist security.

this man of the faubourgs will grow in stature. he enlists. let him not be trusted nevertheless. and his breath will become a tempest. The Parisian is to the Frenchman what the Athenian was to the Greek: no one sleeps more soundly than he. It is. is epic. as we have said. no one is more frankly frivolous and lazy than he. we will return to our four couples. thanks to the suburban man of Paris. and there will issue forth from that slender chest enough wind to disarrange the folds of the Alps. and he will free the world. Beware! his hair filled with wrath. was drawing to its close.‘rose-colored’ a light. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. When the hour strikes. it is his delight. Is it a question of country. and his gaze will be terrible. but when there is glory at the end of it. he will produce the 10th of August. it is not so much of ‘an amiable rab- ble’ as it is thought. He sings. The dinner. is it a question of liberty. his blouse drapes itself like the folds of a chlamys. Give him a pike. This note jotted down on the margin of Angles’ report. Pro- portion his song to his nature. give him a gun. conquers Europe. make him sing the Marseillaise. no one can better assume the air of forgetfulness. mixed with arms. he tears up the pavements. this little man will arise. He is Napoleon’s stay and Danton’s resource. and you will see! As long as he has for refrain nothing but la Carmagnole. that the Revolution.. he only over- throws Louis XVI. he is worthy of admiration in every sort of fury.com  . he is ready for any sort of cool deed. Take care! he will make of the first Rue Grenetat which comes to hand Caudine Forks. you will have Austerlitz.

the chat of love. Fameuil and Dahlia were humming.’ This called forth a question from Blachevelle:— ‘What would you do.CHAPTER VI A CHAPTER IN WHICH THEY ADORE EACH OTHER Chat at table. the chat of love is a cloud. if I were to cease to love you?’ ‘I!’ cried Favourite. it is as impossible to repro- duce one as the other. I would spring after you. Listoli- er blowing a wooden trumpet which he had purchased at Saint-Cloud. Favourite resumed:—  Les Miserables .’ Blachevelle smiled with the voluptuous self-conceit of a man who is tickled in his self-love. I would have you arrested. Favourite. Favourite gazed tenderly at Blachevelle and said:— ‘Blachevelle. I would scratch you. ‘Ah! Do not say that even in jest! If you were to cease to love me. Fantine smiling. the chat at table is smoke. I should rend you. Tholomyes was drinking. I would throw you into the water. Zephine was laughing. I adore you.

‘Yes. Dahlia. There he goes with his shouting. you are splitting my head!’ So he goes up to rat-ridden garrets. ‘He is avaricious. But. my dear.com  . I tell Blachevelle that I adore him—how I lie! Hey! How I do lie!’ Favourite paused. his mother says to him: ‘Ah! mon Dieu! my peace of mind is gone. He idolizes me so. as high as he can mount. make your gloves into fritters. He is very nice. that Blachevelle of yours?’ ‘I? I detest him. I love the little fellow opposite me in my house.’ replied Favourite in the same tone. that one day when he saw me making batter for some pancakes. seiz- ing her fork again. you see. said in a low voice to Favourite. how do I know what? so that he can be heard down stairs! He earns twenty sous a day at an attorney’s by penning quibbles. Ah! he is very nice. I would scream to the police! Ah! I should not re- strain myself. as she ate. Dahlia. He is the son of a former precentor of Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas. and I will eat them. amid the uproar:— ‘So you really idolize him deeply.’ It is only artists who can say such things as that. in an ecstasy. As soon as he comes in. to black holes. that young man. he said to me: ‘Mamselle. I love actors. and there he sets to singing. and closed both eyes proudly. not at all! Rabble!’ Blachevelle threw himself back in his chair. It has done nothing but rain Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Ah! he is very nice. and then went on:— ‘I am sad. I am in a fair way to go out of my head over that little fellow. Never mind. de- claiming. do you know him? One can see that he is an actor by profes- sion.

as the English say. and that disgusts me with life. I have the spleen. Blachevelle is very stingy. here we are dining in a room with a bed in it.’  Les Miserables . there are hardly any green peas in the market.all summer. the wind does not abate. the wind irritates me. butter is so dear! and then you see it is horrible. one does not know what to eat.

it was no longer anything but noise.com  .’ A hollow sound of rebellion rumbled through the group. Let us eat with meditation. Let us not hurry.CHAPTER VII THE WISDOM OF THOLOMYES In the meantime. ‘Down with the tyrant!’ said Fameuil. Excess of zeal kills the grace and the mirth of good dinners. gentlemen! Grimod de la Reyniere agrees with Talleyrand. the rest talked togeth- er tumultuously all at once. that is to say. Consider the springtime. Ex- cess of zeal ruins peach-trees and apricot-trees. ‘Let us not talk at random nor too fast. if we wish to be brilliant. if it makes haste. and Bambochel!’ cried Listolier. ‘Leave us in peace. No haste. No zeal. Bombance. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Tholomyes intervened. it is done for. Too much impro- visation empties the mind in a stupid way. ‘Bombarda. while some sang.’ said Blachevelle. ‘Let us reflect.’ he exclaimed. gentlemen. let us make haste slowly. Tholomyes. Let us mingle maj- esty with the feast. Running beer gathers no froth. it gets frozen.

have made puns. I repeat. ‘Come to yourselves. gayety. ‘contemplate my calmness [mon calme]. no excess. Peter. The Marquis de Montcalm was at that time a celebrated royalist. Far be it from me to insult the pun! I honor it in pro- portion to its merits. ‘Tholomyes. no zeal. I repeat. AEschylus on Polynices. Jesus Christ made a pun on St. Moses on Isaac. ‘Friends. This pun which has fallen from the skies must not be received with too much stupor. I have the prudence  Les Miserables . The jest falls.’ remarked Blachevelle. and perhaps outside of humanity. And observe that Cleopatra’s pun preceded the battle of Actium.’ cried Tholomyes. Cleopatra on Octavius. Listen to me.’ added Listolier. ‘Sunday exists.’ retorted Tholomyes. This mediocre play upon words produced the effect of a stone in a pool. a Greek name which signifies a ladle. ‘We are sober. All the most august. brothers. A whitish speck flattened against the rock does not prevent the condor from soaring aloft. the most charming of humanity. and that had it not been for it.’ ‘You are the Marquis of that. and the mind after producing a piece of stupidity plunges into the azure depths. jol- lities. The pun is the dung of the mind which soars. even in witticisms. no hubbub. Everything which falls in that way is not necessarily worthy of enthusiasm and respect.’ resumed Fameuil. or plays on words. nothing more. no matter where. All the frogs held their peace. I return to my exhortation. no one would have remembered the city of Toryne. That once conceded. the most sublime. with the accent of a man who had recovered his empire.

the bolt must be drawn on appetite. for I know the difference between the question put and the question pend- ing.’ Favourite listened with profound attention. at a given mo- ment. Gluttony chastises the glutton. The sage is the man who knows how. good sense and art are requisite. even love. takes a heroic resolve. Happy is he who. You are fond of apple turnovers. In all things the word finis must be written in good season. And remember this: each one of our passions. according to the verdict of my examinations. be- cause I am going to be a doctor. and ab- dicates like Sylla or Origenes. self-control must be exercised when the matter be- comes urgent. ‘Felix. ‘There must be a limit.’ said she. I speak well. Have some confidence in me. and carry one’s self to the post. Even in the matter of turnovers. ladies. Est modus in rebus.of Amphiaraus and the baldness of Caesar. even to rebuses. I recommend you to moderation in your desires. It is true that my name is Felix Tholomyes. has a stomach which must not be filled too full. for I have succeeded to some extent in my study of the law. when the hour strikes. ‘what a pretty word! I love that name. Gula punit Gu- lax. Indigestion is charged by the good God with preaching morality to stomachs.com  . one must set one’s own fantasy to the violin. There must be a limit. for I have sustained a thesis in Latin upon the manner in which torture was administered at Rome at the epoch when Munatius Demens was quaestor of the Parricide. apparently it does not follow that it is absolutely necessary that I should be an imbecile. even to dinners. do not indulge in them to excess. to effect his own arrest. It Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

’ responded Tholomyes. starve yourself. And the proof of it.’ ‘I prefer a woman. and fomentations of oxycrat. ‘Woman. She detests the serpent from professional jealousy. is this: like people. and add thereto cold baths. the boot of Tzar Peter. The arrobe of Castile contains sixteen litres. refilling his glass. it means prosper. that is Spanish. the cantaro of Alicante. and long live his boot. sleep not. take  Les Miserables . ‘Then be gay. caballeros. Woe to him who yields himself to the unstable heart of woman! Woman is perfidious and disingenuous. twenty-five. And. the cuartin of the Balearic Isles.’ Tholomyes went on:— ‘Quirites. ‘Glory to wine! Nunc te. gorge yourself with nitrous beverages. girdles of herbs. Bacche. to do without the nuptial bed. like cask. he rose. work yourself to death.is Latin.’ said Listolier. Do you wish never to feel the prick. senoras.’ ‘Tholomyes!’ cried Blachevelle. and to brave love? Nothing more simple. ‘I agree to that. twelve. thirty. the application of a plate of lead. drag blocks. Long live that Tzar who was great. ‘you are drunk!’ ‘Pardieu.’ said Tholomyes. which was still greater! Ladies. drink emul- sions of poppies and agnus castus. hard labor. gentlemen. ‘distrust her.’ resumed Tholomyes. twenty-six. lotions made with the subacetate of lead. canam! Pardon me la- dies. season this with a strict diet.’ resumed Blachevelle. The serpent is the shop over the way. hold vigil. my friends. and potions of nymphaeas. excessive exercise. Here is the receipt: lemonade. the almude of the Canaries.

I have just referred to Eve. make a mistake in your neighbor if you see fit. I am called Fe- lix. whoever we may be. Ladies. I cease to address you as ‘thou. face more than ir- regular. Listen! before thee. it errs gayly.com  . and I am not happy. The property of love is to err. but let us. beauty begins with thee. That touched me. there was never a creature worthy of the name. or to eat it like Eve. It has been said. A love affair is not made to crouch down and brutalize itself like an English serving-maid who has callouses on her knees from scrub- bing. O Zephine. which displayed her legs. I say. he espied a beautiful girl with white stock- ings well drawn up.’ because I pass from poetry to prose. our gentle love. thou hast Ionian lips. It is not made for that. error is human. you would be charming were you not all askew. Let us not blindly accept the indications which they afford us. I idolize you all. O nymphs and muses! one day when Blachevelle was crossing the gutter in the Rue Guerin-Boisseau. There was a Greek painter named Euphorion. The one he loved was Favourite. and to Pau for gloves. It would be a mistake to write to Liege[2] for corks. Thou deservest the letters-patent of the beautiful wom- an. distrust names. and Blachevelle fell in love. As for Favourite.the advice of a friend. Words are liars. You were speaking of my name a little while ago. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. O Favourite. error is love. Thou wert made to receive the apple like Venus. That Greek alone would have been wor- thy to paint thy mouth. They may delude us. This prologue pleased him. O Josephine. who was surnamed the painter of the lips. it is thou who hast created her. O Favourite. You have the air of a pretty face upon which some one has sat down by mistake.

that blond maid of Chimeras! as for the rest. sweet morning light. hence death. heed me well. A flower should smell sweet. That is why diabetes borders on consumption. you eat too much sugar. my beauties. and woman should have wit. who has strayed into the life of a grisette. O Fantine. suavity. sugar is a salt. maid worthy of being called Marguerite or Pearl. wanders in a garden where there are more birds than are in existence. thought- ful. were I in your place. hence tubercles in the lungs. Sugar is the most desiccating of all salts. I am all illusion. remember this. a second piece of advice: do not marry. your pretty little white teeth adore sugar. so be it. I would call myself Rosa. and then the solidification of the blood. and that is nibbling sugar. it sucks the liquids of the blood through the veins. but.  Les Miserables . But bah! what am I saying? I am wasting my words. avoid that risk. marriage is a graft. with her eyes fixed on heaven. but who takes refuge in illusions. you are a woman from the beauteous Orient. it takes well or ill. she is a dreamer. she is a phantom possessed of the form of a nymph and the modesty of a nun. youth. Well. O woman. every- thing about her is freshness. O nib- bling sex. pensive person. All salts are withering. a musing. know this: I. Tholomyes. hence the coagulation. and who. Now. Ladies. Girls are incurable on the subject of marriage. and all that we wise men can say will not prevent the waistcoat-makers and the shoe-stitchers from dreaming of husbands studded with diamonds. and who sings and prays and gazes into the azure without very well knowing what she sees or what she is doing. O Fantine. I say nothing of Fantine. but she does not even hear me.Miss Dahlia. You have but one fault.

and for my own part. Tholomyes paused. Romulus carried off the Sabines. supported by Listolier and Fameuil.Then. as destitute of sense as the ges- ture of the tree and the sound of the wind. the enemy has it. rhymed richly and not at all. skin. you are in need of everything. one of those stu- dio songs composed of the first words which come to hand. Chassez across. William carried off the Saxon women. and you will live. struck up to a plaintive air. Pau: a jest on peau. to all those unfortunate men who are widow- ers. All the invasions of history have been determined by petticoats. No quarter. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. This is the couplet by which the group replied to Tholomyes’ harangue:— “The father turkey-cocks so grave Some money to an agent gave. I turn to the men: gentlemen. The man who is not loved soars like a vulture over the mistresses of other men. a pretty woman is flagrant misde- meanor. which have their birth in the vapor of pipes. ‘Take breath. Everywhere where there is a pretty wom- an hostility is open. I throw the sublime proclamation of Bonaparte to the army of Italy: ‘Soldiers. At the same moment Blachevelle. do not crunch sugar. war to the death! a pretty woman is a casus belli.’ said Blachevelle. Woman is man’s right. rob each other of your well-beloved without remorse.com  . and are dissipated and take their flight with them. make conquest. In love there are no friends.’ [2] Liege: a cork-tree. Caesar carried off the Roman women. Tholomyes.

And then their agent. I am happy. and of the Allee de l’Observatoire! O pensive infantry soldiers! O all those charming nurses who. I salute thee! O Luxembourg! O Georgics of the Rue Madame. The birds are astonishing. All is beautiful. he emptied his glass. amuse themselves! The pampas of America would please me if I had not the arcades of the Odeon. while they guard the children. That master good Clermont-Tonnerre Might be made pope on Saint Johns’ day fair. Let us complete our course of law by folly and eating! Indigestion and the digest.  Les Miserables . Summer. because no priest was he. What a festival everywhere! The nightingale is a gratuitous Elleviou. But this good Clermont could not be Made pope. The flies buzz in the sun. I propose a toast to mirth. The sun has sneezed out the hum- ming bird. My soul flits away into the virgin forests and to the savannas. Let Justin- ian be the male. Let us be neither prudes nor prudent men nor prudhommes. O creation! The world is a great diamond. the female! Joy in the depths! Live. Fantine!’ He made a mistake and embraced Favourite. Embrace me. be merry. and began again:— ‘Down with wisdom! Forget all that I have said.’ This was not calculated to calm Tholomyes’ improvi- sation. With all their money back returned. filled. refilled it. whose wrath burned. and Feasting.

It is more Asiatic.com  . ‘a quar- rel is better. there are mirrors [glaces] on the walls.’ ex- claimed Zephine. Blachevelle persisted:— ‘Look at the knives. which was visible from Bombarda’s windows. ‘There is more luxury.’ ‘I prefer them [glaces.’ replied Tholomyes. ices] on my plate.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘A discussion is a good thing. Look at the room down- stairs.’ said Favourite. The handles are of silver at Bombar- da’s and of bone at Edon’s. A pause ensued.’ exclaimed Fameuil.’ observed Tho- lomyes. ‘Listolier and I were having a discussion just now. ‘Tholomyes.CHAPTER VIII THE DEATH OF A HORSE ‘The dinners are better at Edon’s than at Bombarda’s. Now. silver is more valuable than bone. ‘I prefer Bombarda to Edon.’ ‘We were disputing about philosophy.’ ‘Except for those who have a silver chin. He was looking at the dome of the Invalides.’ declared Blachevelle.

One affirms. This. Descartes or Spinoza?’ ‘Desaugiers. This decree pronounced. ladies. All is not at an end on earth since we can still talk nonsense. Attention while you drink! three hundred and seventeen fathoms! and Monsieur Bombarda. but one laughs. he took a drink. There are still human beings here below who know how to open and close the surprise box of the paradox merrily. the magnificent eating-house keeper. ‘Well?’ ‘Which do you prefer.’ And Tholomyes continued:— ‘Honor to Bombarda! He would equal Munophis of El- ephanta if he could but get me an Indian dancing-girl. The unexpected bursts forth from the syl- logism. and went on:— ‘I consent to live.’ Again Fameuil interrupted him:— ‘Tholomyes. That is fine. gives you those three hundred and seventeen fathoms for four francs and fifty centimes. you must know. Choux. One lies. from the vineyard of Coural das Freiras. but one doubts. Who is your fa- vorite author?’ ‘Ber—‘ ‘Quin?’ ‘No. For that I return thanks to the im- mortal gods. which is three hundred and seventeen fathoms above the level of the sea. We lie. which you are drinking with so tranquil an air is Madeira wine. and Thygelion of Chaeronea if he could bring me a Greek cour-  Les Miserables .’ said Tholomyes. your opinions fix the law.

which was dragging a very heavy cart. amor omnibus idem. never to rise again. On hearing the hubbub made by the passersby. she was the goddess prostitute. fresher than the dawn. backed up with a piti- less cut of the whip. no soul. Apuleius tells us of them.’ Tholomyes. ladies? Although she lived at an epoch when women had. when the jade fell. as Aspasia embarked with Pericles upon the fleet at Samos. This incident attracted a crowd. Socrates plus Manon Lescaut. would have found some diffi- culty in stopping. more ardent hued than fire.com  . nothing more unpublished by the creator in creation! Nil sub sole novum. One last word. says Virgil. the worn- out. had not a horse fallen down upon the quay just at that moment. for.tesan. Tholomyes’ merry auditors turned their heads. once started. a soul of a rosy and purple hue. Aspasia was a creature in whom two extremes of womanhood met. Matin (the jade). and one fit for the knacker. and nothing new. Alas! always the same. Aspasia was created in case a mistress should be needed for Prometheus. On arriving in front of Bombarda’s. ladies! there were Bombardas in Greece and in Egypt. Do you know what Aspasia was. Hardly had the cursing and indignant carter had time to utter with proper energy the sacramental word. old and thin. exhausted beast had refused to proceed any further. as yet. It was a Beauceron mare. says Solomon. and Carabine mounts with Carabin into the bark at Saint-Cloud. and Tholomyes took ad- vantage of the opportunity to bring his allocution to a close with this melancholy strophe:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she was a soul. oh. The shock caused the cart and the ora- tor to come to a dead halt.

’ said Blachevelle. and a jade herself. Wait for us a moment.’ replied Tholomyes. How can one be such a pitiful fool as that!’ At that moment Favourite.’ added Tholomyes. then all four filed out through the door.’ said she. And Dahlia exclaimed:— ‘There is Fantine on the point of crying over horses. ‘It is beginning to be amusing already. folding her arms and throw- ing her head back. as jades live. rosse. elle a vecu ce que vivant les rosses.’ ‘It begins with a kiss. Favourite clapped her hands on their departure. L’espace d’un matin!’ [3] She belonged to that circle where cuckoos and car- riages share the same fate. looked resolutely at Tholomyes and said:— ‘Come. Each gravely bestowed a kiss on his mistress’s brow. now! the surprise?’ ‘Exactly. Et.’  Les Miserables . The moment has arrived. the hour for giving these ladies a surprise has struck.’ murmured Fantine. ‘On the brow. “Elle etait de ce monde ou coucous et carrosses[3] Ont le meme destin. ‘Gentlemen. ‘we are waiting for you. with their fingers on their lips. she lived. ‘Don’t be too long. ladies. for the space of a morning (or jade). ‘Poor horse!’ sighed Fantine.

smiled. which they could see through the branches of the large trees.CHAPTER IX A MERRY END TO MIRTH When the young girls were left alone.com  . chatting. ‘It will certainly be something pretty. The latter turned round. From moment to moment. made signs to them. It was the hour for the departure of the mail-coaches and diligences. they leaned two by two on the window-sills.’ said Favourite.’ Their attention was soon distracted by the movements on the shore of the lake. some huge vehicle. craning out their heads. ‘For my part. They saw the young men emerge from the Cafe Bom- barda arm in arm. and talking from one window to the other. ‘What are they going to bring us?’ said Zephine. and disappeared in that dusty Sunday throng which makes a weekly invasion into the Champs-Elysees. ‘I want it to be of gold. and which diverted them great- ly. painted yel- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Don’t be long!’ cried Fantine.’ said Dahlia. The major- ity followed the quay and went through the Passy Barrier. Nearly all the stage-coaches for the south and west passed through the Champs-Elysees.

by the way. ‘I thought the diligence never stopped. This uproar delighted the young girls. ‘This Fantine is surprising. you shall pick me up on the quay as you pass. with dust for smoke. heavily loaded.’ In this manner a certain time elapsed. sees me. ‘I will go on in advance. As Fantine concluded this sigh. changing all the pav- ing-stones into steels. which they could only see with difficulty through the thick elms. I am coming to take a look at her out of curiosity.’ The diligence passes.’ It chanced that one of these vehicles. Suppose a case: I am a traveller. then set out again at a gallop. I say to the diligence. This surprised Fan- tine.’ joined in Dahlia. halted for a moment. the waiter who had  Les Miserables . rushed through the crowd with all the sparks of a forge. and valises. ‘That’s odd!’ said she. Favourite exclaimed:— ‘What a row! One would say that it was a pile of chains flying away. ‘Well.’ Favourite shrugged her shoulders.’ said she. my dear. She is dazzled by the simplest things. rendered shapeless by trunks. That is done every day. tarpaulins. halts. All at once Favou- rite made a movement. full of heads which immediately disappeared. grinding the pavements. and takes me. and an air of fury. ‘the famous sur- prise?’ ‘They are a very long time about it!’ said Fantine. ‘and the surprise?’ ‘Yes. like a person who is just waking up. noisily harnessed.low and black. You do not know life.

‘the gentlemen ordered me not to deliver it to the ladies for an hour. we are gone. they desire our return.’ said the waiter. Being virtuous.com  . It was.’ ‘Why did you not bring it at once?’ ‘Because. but this is what is written on it—‘ ‘THIS IS THE SURPRISE. opened it. ‘Stop!’ said she. which is puerile and honest. We are pulling up our stakes. The Toulouse dili- gence tears us from the abyss. Now. and offer to kill calves for us. The waiter replied:— ‘It is a paper that those gentlemen left for these ladies. ‘What is that?’ demanded Favourite. We are going. these old folks implore us. and read [she knew how to read]:— ‘OUR BELOVED:— ‘You must know that we have parents. He held in his hand some- thing which resembled a letter.served them at dinner entered. They are called fa- thers and mothers by the civil code. O our little beauties! We return to society. as Bossu- et says. to duty. these parents groan. Parents—you do not know much about such things. we obey them. to respecta- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in fact. ‘there is no address.’ Favourite snatched the paper from the waiter’s hand. We flee in the arms of Lafitte and on the wings of Caillard. five fiery horses will be bearing us to our papas and mammas. At the hour when you read this.’ She tore the letter open hastily. a letter. and the abyss is you. these good men and these good women call us prodi- gal sons.

 Les Miserables . FELIX THOLOMYES. at full trot. do the same by it. That is evident. F A M U E I L . ‘ S i g n e d : B L A C H E V E L L E . like the rest of the world.bility.’ resumed Favou- rite. and councillors of state. and long live Tholomyes!’ ‘Long live Tholomyes!’ exclaimed Dahlia and Zephine. at the rate of three leagues an hour. ‘Well!’ she exclaimed.’ said Dahlia.’ retorted Favourite. It is necessary for the good of the country that we should be. ‘it’s a very pretty farce. L I S T O L I E R . ‘That must have been Blachevelle’s idea.’ ‘No. fathers of families. ‘death to Blachevelle. And they burst out laughing. No sooner is he gone than he is loved. ‘it was one of Tholomyes’ ideas. ‘It makes me in love with him. indeed. Favourite was the first to break the silence. This is an adventure. The dinner is paid for.’ The four young women looked at each other. If this letter lacerates you. rural police. and replace us with speed. ‘Postscriptum. We bear you no grudge for that. We are sacri- ficing ourselves. ‘For the space of nearly two years we have made you happy. ‘In that case.’ said Zephine. Mourn for us in haste. Adieu. Venerate us. all the same. prefects.’ ‘It is very droll.

she wept. An hour later. as we have said. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. when she had returned to her room.com  . and the poor girl had a child. she had giv- en herself to this Tholomyes as to a husband. It was her first love affair. Fantine laughed with the rest.


CHAPTER I ONE MOTHER MEETS ANOTHER MOTHER There was. by its mass. a sort of cook-shop which no lon- ger exists. husband and wife. at Montfermeil. and probably represented a battle. the vehicle. Nevertheless. Be- low ran this inscription: AT THE SIGN OF SERGEANT OF WATERLOO (Au Sargent de Waterloo). one evening in the spring of 1818. This cook-shop was kept by some people named Thenardier. It was situated in Boulanger Lane. red spots represented blood. during the first quarter of this century. which encum- bered the street in front of the cook-shop of the Sergeant of Waterloo. the latter wearing the big gilt epaulettes of a general. to speak more accurately. the fragment of a vehicle. Nothing is more common than a cart or a truck at the door of a hostelry. the attention of any painter Free eBooks at Planet eBook. would certain- ly have attracted. Upon this board was painted something which re- sembled a man carrying another man on his back. near Paris. with large sil- ver stars. or. Over the door there was a board nailed flat against the wall. the rest of the picture consisted of smoke.com  .

This fore-carriage was composed of a massive iron axle-tree with a pivot. and which have no other reasons for existence than the above. The ruts of the road had bestowed on the wheels. tolerably like that with which people are fond of ornamenting cathe- drals. This chain sug- gested. There is a throng of institutions in the old social order. which one comes across in this fashion as one walks about outdoors. but of cyclo- pean and superhuman galleys. a layer of mud. not the beams. and the shaft. and which serve to trans- port thick planks and the trunks of trees. the fellies. It was the fore-carriage of one of those trucks which are used in wooded tracts of country. The wood was disappearing under mud. into which was fitted a heavy shaft. which it was its office to transport. It seemed like the gun-carriage of an enormous cannon. a huge chain. and which was supported by two huge wheels. the axle. to encumber the street. in order that it might finish the process of rusting. over- whelming. the hub. and misshapen. but the mastodons and mammoths which it might have served to harness. worthy of some Goliath of a convict. a hideous yellowish daubing hue.who had passed that way. The centre of the chain swung very near the ground in  Les Miserables . and it seemed to have been detached from some monster. Caliban. Under the axle-tree hung. Why was that fore-carriage of a truck in that place in the street? In the first place. like drapery. Homer would have bound Polyphemus with it. The whole thing was compact. and the iron beneath rust. next. it had the air of the galleys. and Shakespeare.

all made of happiness and steeped in light. as in the rope of a swing. the younger in the arms of the other. black with rust.com  . almost terrible. A mother had caught sight of that frightful chain. who were dressed prettily and with some elegance. like the entrance of a cavern. the mother. all entangled in curves and wild angles. Above and around these two delicate heads. prevented their falling out. which resembled a cry of rage. and in the loop. a blossoming shrub which grew near wafted to the passers-by perfumes which seemed to emanate from them. and had said. by the way. on that particular evening. were radiant with pleasure. rose in a vault. the child of eighteen months displayed her pretty little bare stomach with the chaste indecency of childhood. was swinging the two children by means of a long cord. eighteen months. crouching down upon the threshold of the hostelry. though touching at that moment. one about two years and a half old. there were seated and grouped. At every backward and forward swing the hideous links emitted a strident sound. not a very prepossess- ing woman. for fear of accidents. brown. ‘Come! there’s a plaything for my children. A handkerchief. in ex- quisite interlacement. their fresh cheeks were full of laughter.’ The two children. their eyes were a triumph.the middle. the other. cleverly knot- ted about them. the gigantic fore- carriage. with that an- imal and celestial expression which is peculiar to maternity. one would have said that they were two roses amid old iron. A few paces apart. the other. One had chestnut hair. two little girls. watching them carefully. the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Their innocent faces were two delighted surprises.

said a warrior. then she turned her head. which seemed very heavy. Madame. two or three years of age. the setting sun mingled in this joy. a few paces distant. She was carrying. A woman stood before her. She could have entered into competition with the two other little ones. so far as the coquetry of her dress was  Les Miserables . As she rocked her little ones. as she was beginning the first couplet of the romance. pre- vented her hearing and seeing what was going on in the street. This woman also had a child. and the contemplation of her daughters.’ “To the fair and tender Imogene—‘ replied the mother.’ Her song. some one had approached her. This woman’s child was one of the most divine creatures that it is possible to behold.little girls were in ecstasies. and suddenly she heard a voice saying very near her ear:— ‘You have two beautiful children there. In the meantime. and nothing could be more charming than this caprice of chance which had made of a chain of Titans the swing of cherubim. which she carried in her arms. continuing her romance. in addition. the mother hummed in a discordant voice a romance then celebrated:— “It must be. a large carpet-bag. It was a girl.

She slept with that slumber of absolute confidence pecu- liar to her age. and coarse shoes. but was severely concealed beneath an ugly. and that they had magnificent lash- es. was folded into a fichu. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and concealed her figure clumsily. Her eyes did not seem to have been dry for a very long time. but in that attire it was not appar- ent. such as the Invalides use. Her hands were sunburnt and all dotted with freckles.concerned. but she did not smile. She was dressed like a working-woman who is inclined to turn into a peasant again. She was admirably rosy and healthy. The arms of mothers are made of tenderness. a linen gown.com  . She was pale. and dimpled leg. ribbons on her bod- ice. It was Fantine. and Valenciennes lace on her cap. Was she handsome? Perhaps. her appearance was sad and pover- ty-stricken. in them children sleep profoundly. tied under the chin. A large blue handkerchief. her forefinger was hardened and lacerated with the needle. The little beauty inspired a desire to take a bite from the apples of her cheeks. Of her eyes nothing could be known. a golden lock of which had escaped. tight. firm. A smile displays beautiful teeth when one has them. As for the mother. Her hair. seemed very thick. except that they must be very large. she wore a cloak of coarse brown woollen stuff. nun-like cap. she wore a cap of fine linen. she had a very weary and rather sickly ap- pearance. She was young. The folds of her skirt were raised so as to permit a view of her white. She gazed upon her daughter asleep in her arms with the air peculiar to a mother who has nursed her own child. close. She was asleep.

it melts and leaves the branch quite black. and did not know how to write.’ What had taken place during those ten months? It can be divined.— she found herself absolutely isolated. which resembled the beginning of irony. and of music.—alas! such ruptures are irrevocable. then a third. It was Fantine. straightened circumstances. it was now closed to her. and perfumed with lilacs had vanished like that beautiful and dazzling hoar-frost which is mistaken for diamonds in the sunlight. A melancholy fold. she had neglected to keep her market open. there no longer existed any reason for such a thing. As for her toilette. she had a public letter-writer indite an epistle to Tholomyes. then a second. the bond once broken on the side of the men. She had no resource. Nevertheless. it was loosed between the women. of folly. Zephine and Dahlia. full of bells. but difficult to recognize. minus the habit of work and plus the taste for pleasure. Drawn away by her liaison with Tholomyes to disdain the pretty trade which she knew. Fan- tine had immediately lost sight of Favourite. Fantine had remained alone. that aerial toilette of muslin and ribbons. in her childhood she had only been taught to sign her name. Ten months had elapsed since the ‘pretty farce. on scrutinizing her attentively. Tholomyes replied to none of them. The father of her child gone. that they had been friends. After abandonment. Fantine barely knew how to read. wrinkled her right cheek. which seemed made of mirth. they would have been great- ly astonished had any one told them a fortnight later. Fantine  Les Miserables . it was evident that she still retained her beauty.

and a holy one it was. all her ribbons. in all the world. occurred to her. but it would be necessary to conceal her fault. She had committed a fault. as will be remembered. She had already valiantly renounced finery. Any one who had seen these two pass would have had pity on them. but she took her resolu- tion.heard the gossips say. she possessed it. her little debts paid. and held herself firm. and of gliding into a worse state. and all her laces on her daughter. Fantine Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she had only about eighty francs left. But what was she to do? She no longer knew to whom to apply. The idea of returning to her native town of M. Courage was necessary. and who did not take that innocent being seriously. She sold all that she had. Her heart contracted. all her ornaments. and the child had. and had put all her silks. as we shall see. bearing her child on her back. She was vaguely conscious that she was on the verge of falling into distress. There. This woman had. nothing but her child. which produced for her two hundred francs. At the age of twenty-two. on a beautiful spring morning.com  . some one might possibly know her and give her work. in all the world. but the foundation of her nature. and her heart grew gloomy toward that man. In a confused way she perceived the ne- cessity of a separation which would be more painful than the first one. she quitted Paris. yes. as they looked at her child: ‘Who takes those children seriously! One only shrugs one’s shoul- ders over such children!’ Then she thought of Tholomyes. who had shrugged his shoulders over his child. was modesty and virtue. had dressed her- self in linen. the only van- ity which was left to her. no one but this woman. had the fierce bravery of life. Fantine. sur M.

She gazed at them in much emotion. The presence of an- gels is an announcement of Paradise. the ‘little suburban coach service. the two little girls. for the sake of resting herself. under King Louis Philippe. from time to time. a wise elector. wealthy and influential. and she coughed a little. twenty years later.’ Fan- tine found herself at Montfermeil. for three or four sous a league. Let us confine ourselves to saying. blissful in the monster swing.’ The most ferocious creatures are disarmed by caresses be- stowed on their young. she could not refrain from addressing to her the remark which we have just read:— ‘You have two pretty children. and bade the  Les Miserables . he was still a man of pleasure. that. and a very severe juryman. above this inn. Charms exist. had dazzled her in a manner. travelled. We shall have no further occasion to speak of M. she beheld the mysterious HERE of Providence. in what was then known as the Petites Voitures des Environs de Paris. These two little girls were a charm to this mother. Towards the middle of the day. in the alley Boulanger. in such emotion that at the moment when their mother was recovering her breath between two couplets of her song.had nursed her child. As she passed the Thenardier hostelry. The mother raised her head and thanked her. Madame. These two little creatures were evidently happy. after having. and this had tired her chest. Felix Tholomyes. she admired them. She thought that. and she had halted in front of that vision of joy. he was a great provin- cial lawyer. She gazed at them.

wayfarer sit down on the bench at the door. And I am off to Palestine. Old romances produce that effect when rubbed against the imagination of cook- shop woman. she resumed humming between her teeth:— “It must be so. might have frightened the traveller at the outset.com  . and disturbed what caused what we have to relate to vanish.’ This Madame Thenardier was a sandy-complexioned woman. If this crouching woman had stood upright. and that she was on her way to seek it elsewhere. which she owed to her perusal of romances. her lofty stature and her frame of a perambulating colossus suitable for fairs. but masculine creature. and what was odd. troubled her confidence. and felt fatigued. as she was carrying her child. that her husband was dead. that her work in Paris had failed her. That she was a working-woman. she had got into the Villemomble Free eBooks at Planet eBook. thin and angular— the type of the soldier’s wife in all its unpleasantness. She was still young. with slight modifications. that she had left Paris that morning on foot. The two women began to chat. that.’ Then. her mind still running on her romance. she herself being seated on the threshold. The traveller told her story. She was a simpering. with a languish- ing air. A person who is seated instead of standing erect— destinies hang upon such a thing as that. I am a knight. in her own native parts. she was barely thirty. ‘We keep this inn.’ said the mother of the two little girls. ‘My name is Madame Thenardier.

At this word she bestowed on her daughter a passionate kiss. The new-comer was very gay. The two women pursued their chat. with that serious and sometimes severe air of little children. the goodness of the mother is written in the gayety of the child. she had seized a scrap of wood which served her for a shovel. but not much. The grave-digger’s business be- comes a subject for laughter when performed by a child. which woke her. The child opened her eyes. that from Villemomble she had come to Montfermeil on foot. and looked at—what? Nothing. that the little one had walked a little. and energetically dug a cavity big enough for a fly. and at the expiration of a minute the little Thenardiers were playing with the new-comer at making holes in the ground. made them descend from the swing. in sign of admiration. and put out her tongue. because she was so young.coach when she met it. all three of you. Then the child began to laugh. and although the mother held fast to her. and that she had been obliged to take her up.’ Children become acquainted quickly at that age. One would say that they feel them- selves to be angels. and said:— ‘Now amuse yourselves.  Les Miserables . stopped short. great blue eyes like her mother’s. which is a mystery of their luminous innocence in the presence of our twilight of virtue. Mother Thenardier released her daughters. All at once she caught sight of the two others in the swing. she slipped to the ground with the unconquerable energy of a little being which wished to run. and that they know us to be men. and the jewel had fallen asleep. which was an immense pleasure.

and they were afraid. one would have said that there were three heads in one aureole. ‘What is your little one’s name?’ ‘Cosette. The child’s name was Eu- phrasie. It is a sort of derivative which disarranges and dis- concerts the whole science of etymologists. Cosette’s mother continued:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘How old is she?’ ‘She is going on three. an event had happened.’ For Cosette. ‘How easily children get acquainted at once!’ exclaimed Mother Thenardier. read Euphrasie. and Francoise into Sillette. She seized the Thenardier’s hand. and said:— ‘Will you keep my child for me?’ The Thenardier made one of those movements of surprise which signify neither assent nor refusal. Their radiant brows touched each other. a big worm had emerged from the ground. and they were in ecstasies over it. But out of Euphrasie the mother had made Cosette by that sweet and graceful instinct of mothers and of the pop- ulace which changes Josepha into Pepita. ‘one would swear that they were three sisters!’ This remark was probably the spark which the other mother had been waiting for. We have known a grandmother who succeeded in turning Theodore into Gnon.’ In the meantime.com  . the three little girls were grouped in an attitude of profound anxiety and blissfulness. looked at her fixedly.’ ‘That is the age of my eldest.

it over- whelmed me. ‘I have eighty francs.’ said the Thenardier. and so happy. that will make three sisters. People are ridiculous in the country. I shall have enough left to reach the country. And she hummed vaguely. it will not be long before I return. so clean. ‘Total.’ said the mother.’ Here a man’s voice called from the depths of the cook-shop:— ‘Not for less than seven francs. That is just the thing.’ ‘I will pay it.’ said the mother. and as soon as I have a little I will return for my darling.’ The man’s voice resumed:— ‘The little one has an outfit?’  Les Miserables . I shall earn money there. so pretty.’ said Madame Thenardier. Will you keep my child for me?’ ‘I must see about it.’ And then.’ ‘Six times seven makes forty-two. I said: ‘Here is a good mother. ‘You see. When I caught sight of your little ones. It was the good God who caused me to pass your inn. With a child one can find no situ- ation. by travelling on foot. fifty-seven francs. I cannot take my daughter to the country.’ added the man’s voice. And six months paid in advance.’ replied the Thenardier. ‘I will give you six francs a month. said a warrior. ‘And fifteen francs in addition for preliminary expenses. My work will not permit it. with these figures:— “It must be. ‘I will give it.

intending to return soon. I lacked fifty francs. gave up her money and left her child. People arrange such departures tranquilly. Do you know that I should have had a bailiff and a protest af- ter me? You played the mouse-trap nicely with your young ones.com  . ‘It would be very queer if I were to leave my daughter quite naked!’ The master’s face appeared. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. everything by the dozen. and came back with the remark:— ‘I have just seen a woman crying in the street so that it was enough to rend your heart. now reduced in volume by the re- moval of the outfit. in my carpet-bag.’ said he.’ said the woman. and light henceforth and set out on the following morning. the man said to the woman:— ‘That will serve to pay my note for one hundred and ten francs which falls due to-morrow. ‘That’s good. but they are despairs! A neighbor of the Thenardiers met this mother as she was setting out.’ said the mother. The bargain was concluded.—And a beautiful outfit.—I under- stood perfectly that it was your husband. ‘That is my husband.’ struck in the man’s voice again. The mother passed the night at the inn. fastened her carpet-bag once more.’ When Cosette’s mother had taken her departure. It is here. and silk gowns like a lady. the poor treasure. ‘Of course she has an outfit.’ ‘Without suspecting it. too! a senseless outfit. ‘Of course I shall give it to you.’ said the Thenardier.’ ‘You must hand it over.

but the cat rejoices even over a lean mouse.CHAPTER II FIRST SKETCH OF TWO UNPREPOSSESSING FIGURES The mouse which had been caught was a pitiful specimen. These beings belonged to that bastard class composed of coarse people who have been successful. if a dull fire chances to warm them up. without possessing the generous impulse of the workingman nor the honest order of the bourgeois. We will complete the sketch later on. and in the man  Les Miserables . and of intelligent people who have descended in the scale. They were of those dwarfed natures which. Who were these Thenardiers? Let us say a word or two of them now. There was in the woman a substratum of the brute. which is between the class called ‘middle’ and the class denominated as ‘infe- rior.’ and which combines some of the defects of the second with nearly all the vices of the first. easily become monstrous.

and becoming more and more impregnated with an ever-augmenting blackness. in particular. They are uneasy in the rear and threatening in front. From merely hearing them utter a word or seeing them make a gesture. for he knew how to do a little of every- thing. There is some- thing of the unknown about them. This Thenardier.com  . Thenardier. This man and woman pos- sessed such souls. for one feels that they are dark in both directions. had been a soldier— a sergeant. retrograding in life rather than advancing. One can only look at some men to distrust them. There exist crab-like souls which are continually retreating towards the dark- ness. The sign of his hostelry was in allusion to one of his feats of arms. was troublesome for a physi- ognomist. in the highest degree. employing experience to augment their deformity. was no longer anything Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He had probably been through the campaign of 1815. One can no more answer for what they have done than for what they will do. after having been Clelie. and badly. He had painted it himself. he said. of the sort of hideous progress which is ac- complished in the direction of evil. The shadow which they bear in their glance denounces them. one obtains a glimpse of sombre secrets in their past and of sombre mysteries in their future. if he himself was to be believed. It was at the epoch when the ancient classical romance which. it would seem. Both were susceptible.the material for a blackguard. We shall see later on how much truth there was in this. growing incessant- ly worse. and had even conducted himself with tolerable valor.

I know not to what diversion. a sort of pensive attitude towards her husband. when the Magaera began to be developed from the Pamela. Now. and which may be designated as the anarchy of baptismal names. still noble. In them she drowned what brains she possessed. vicious wom- an. given to the perusal of Pigault-Lebrun. She lived on them. However. and even a little later. the female Thenardier was nothing but a coarse. Later on. began to grow gray. she owed the fact that she merely bore the name of Azelma. everything was not ridiculous and superficial in that curious epoch to which we are alluding. so far as sentimentalism was concerned. The result was that her eldest daughter was named Eponine. as for the younger. a scamp of a certain depth. and ‘in what concerns the sex. and even ravaging the sub- urbs to some extent. when her hair. but. who had dabbled in stupid romances. arranged in a romantically drooping fashion. having fallen from Mademoiselle de Scuderi to Madame Bournon-Malarme. coarse and fine at one and the same time. we will remark by the way. This had given her. a ruffian lettered to the extent of the grammar. the poor little thing came near being called Gulnare. but ever more and more vulgar. when very young.’ as he said in his jargon—a down- right. one cannot read nonsense with impunity. Madame Thenardier was just intelligent enough to read this sort of books.but Lodoiska. His wife was twelve or fifteen years younger than he was. By the side of this romantic element  Les Miserables . effected by a romance of Ducray-Dumenil. unmitigated lout. and from Madame de Lafayette to Ma- dame Barthelemy-Hadot. was setting the loving hearts of the portresses of Paris aflame.

— the French Revolution.com  . or Alphonse. Beneath this apparent discord there is a great and a profound thing.which we have just indicated there is the social symptom. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Alfred. which places the ‘elegant’ name on the plebeian and the rustic name on the aristo- crat. or Jacques. Pierre. is nothing else than an eddy of equality. The irresistible penetration of the new inspiration is there as everywhere else. It is not rare for the neatherd’s boy nowadays to bear the name of Arthur. This displacement. and for the vicomte— if there are still any vicomtes—to be called Thomas.

sur M. They fed her on what all the rest had left—a little better than the dog. The mother. they dressed her in the cast-off petticoats and chemises of the Thenardier brats. caused to be written.CHAPTER III THE LARK It is not all in all sufficient to be wicked in order to prosper.. and pawned it at the pawnbroker’s for sixty francs. at M. wrote. Thenardier had been able to avoid a protest and to honor his signature. As soon as that sum was spent. that she might have news of her child. a letter every month. as we shall see later on. The cook-shop was in a bad way. the cat and the dog were her habitual table-companions. and they treated her accordingly. ‘Cosette is do-  Les Miserables . from a wooden bowl similar to theirs. Cosette ate with them under the table. in rags. that is to say. who had established herself. On the following month they were again in need of money. The Thenardiers replied invariably. Moreover. the Thenardiers grew accustomed to look on the little girl merely as a child whom they were caring for out of char- ity. The woman took Cosette’s outfit to Paris. more correctly. As she had no longer any clothes. a little worse than the cat. Thanks to the traveller’s fifty-seven francs. or.

like many women of her sort. The year was not completed when Thenardier said: ‘A fine favor she is doing us. The sweet. Her daughters received noth- ing but caresses. in sooth! What does she expect us to do with her seven francs?’ and he wrote to demand twelve francs.’ At the expiration of the first six months the mother sent seven francs for the seventh month. idolized as they were. Cosette could not make a motion which did not draw down upon her head a heavy shower of violent blows and unmerited chastisement.ing wonderfully well. but the stranger did them the service to divert the blows to herself. who should not have understood anything of this world or of God. It is sad to think that the love of a mother can possess vil- lainous aspects. whom they had persuaded into the belief that her child was happy. and seeing beside her two little creatures like herself.com  . feeble being. Little as was the space occupied by Cosette. and that that little child diminished the air which her daugh- ters breathed. who lived Free eBooks at Planet eBook. beaten.’ submit- ted. it is cer- tain that her daughters. scolded. and continued her re- mittances with tolerable regularity from month to month. it seemed to her as though it were taken from her own. incessantly punished. ill-used. Mother Thenardier loved her two daughters passionately. This woman. Certain natures cannot love on the one hand without hat- ing on the other. The mother. If she had not had Cosette. had a load of caresses and a burden of blows and injuries to dispense each day. and forwarded the twelve francs. which caused her to hate the stranger. would have received the whole of it. ‘and was coming on well.

and yet they are bringing up a poor child who was aban- doned on their hands!’ They thought that Cosette’s mother had forgotten her. having learned. that the child was probably a bastard. Social suffering begins at all ages. being alone in the world. it is im- possible to say by what obscure means. as soon as she began to develop a little. then another. A year passed. Children at that age are only cop- ies of their mother. They are not rich. Five years old! the reader will say. she was the scape-goat of the two other children. as the of- ficial documents state. Eponine and Azelma were vicious. ‘or I’ll fire her brat right into the middle of her secrets. People in the village said:— ‘Those Thenardiers are good people. I must have an increase. and that the mother could not acknowl- edge it. As long as Cosette was little. In the meanwhile. ‘worked for  Les Miserables .’ The mother paid the fifteen francs. Thenardier. Have we not recently seen the trial of a man named Dumollard. that is to say. from the age of five. she became the servant of the household.’ and threatening to send her away. who. saying that ‘the creature’ was growing and ‘eating. and so did her wretch- edness. before she was even five years old. that is all. Alas! it is true. From year to year the child grew.’ he exclaimed. The size is smaller. ‘Let her not bother me.in a ray of dawn! Madame Thenardier was vicious with Cosette. that is not probable. an orphan turned bandit. exacted fifteen francs a month.

and a tear in her great eyes. frightened. who was awake every morning before any one else in the house or the village. she would not have recognized her child. and shivering little creature. and was always in the street or the fields before daybreak.. large as they were. She had an indescribably uneasy look. The Thenardiers considered themselves all the more authorized to behave in this manner. full of holes. Cosette. It was a heart-breaking thing to see this poor child. which inspired pain.com  . with an enormous broom in her tiny red hands. If this mother had returned to Montfermeil at the end of these three years. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Only the little lark never sang. to sweep the rooms. who was still at M. the street. sweeping the street before daylight. it seemed as though one beheld in them a still larger amount of sadness. She was called the Lark in the neighborhood. Injustice had made her peevish. who are fond of these figures of speech. not yet six years old. had become irregular in her pay- ments. Some months she was in arrears. to even car- ry burdens. Nothing remained to her except her beautiful eyes. since the mother. The popu- lace. the courtyard. and misery had made her ugly. was now thin and pale. because.’ said the Thenardiers. no bigger than a bird. to wash the dishes. had taken a fancy to bestow this name on this trembling. sur M. so pretty and rosy on her arrival in that house. shivering in the winter in her old rags of linen. ‘The sly creature.his living and stole’? Cosette was made to run on errands.

BOOK FIFTH.— THE DESCENT.  Les Miserables .

com  . and had reached M. we should almost say. M. had changed its aspect. and we regard it as useful to de- velop it at length. About two years previously one of those industrial facts which are the grand events of small districts had taken place. This detail is important.CHAPTER I THE HISTORY OF A PROGRESS IN BLACK GLASS TRINKETS And in the meantime. sur M. Fantine had quitted her province ten years before. to underline it. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. seemed to have abandoned her child? Where was she? What was she doing? After leaving her little Cosette with the Thenardiers. it will be remembered. sur M. While Fantine had been slowly descending from wretchedness to wretchedness. her native town had prospered. what had become of that mother who according to the people at Montfermeil. This. she had continued her journey. was in 1818.

enlisted in the service of  Les Miserables . At the moment when Fantine returned to M. in this man- ufacture. which was a benefit to the manufacturer.. This industry had always vegetated. of the beginning of his career. while trebling the profit. to raise the price of manufacture. which reacted on the manufacture. nothing was known. It was rumored that he had come to town with very little money. an advantage to the consumer. sur M. This very small change had. which is good. an unheard-of transformation had taken place in the production of ‘black goods. a benefit to the country. for slides of sol- dered sheet-iron. This very small change had effected a revolution. He was a stranger in the Depart- ment. had established himself in the town. It was from this slender capital. M. had had for its spe- cial industry the imitation of English jet and the black glass trinkets of Germany. a few hundred francs at the most. very little. and had been inspired with the idea of substituting. to improve the work- manship. a stranger. and had made every one about him rich. slides of sheet-iron simply laid together. which had rendered it possible in the first place.’ Towards the close of 1815 a man. to sell at a lower price. From time immemorial. and. for bracelets in particular. in the third place. Of his origin. which is better. In less than three years the inventor of this process had become rich. Thus three results ensued from one idea. on account of the high price of the raw material. in fact. prodigiously reduced the cost of the raw material. gum-lac for resin. sur M. in the second place.

he had only the garments. sur M. Afterwards they had learned his name. sur M. and the language of a workingman. this is why they had forgotten to ask him for his passport. that he had drawn his own fortune.com  . two children who belonged to the captain of the gendarmerie. a large fire had broken out in the town-hall. at the risk of his own life. just at nightfall. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.an ingenious idea. On his arrival at M. and the fortune of the whole countryside.. He was called Father Madeleine. developed by method and thought. on a December evening. It appears that on the very day when he made his ob- scure entry into the little town of M. This man had rushed into the flames and saved. the appearance. knapsack on back and thorn club in hand.

in which there were two vast workrooms. M. pro- bity. almost rivalled London and Berlin in this branch of commerce. who had a preoccu- pied air. and was sure of finding employment and bread. and the other for women. He was all the more firmly set on this severity.CHAPTER II MADELEINE He was a man about fifty years of age. On this point he was inflexible. sur M. and so that the women and girls might remain discreet. and who was good. since M. It was the only thing in which he was in a manner intolerant. Father Madeleine required of the men good will. sur M. Spain. Father Madeleine’s profits were such. He had separated the work-rooms in order to separate the sexes. one for the men. that at the end of the second year he was able to erect a large factory. and of all. made enormous purchases there each year. being  Les Miserables . That was all that could be said about him. M. sur M. which consumes a good deal of black jet.. had become a rather important centre of trade. of the women pure morals. Any one who was hungry could present himself there. Thanks to the rapid progress of the industry which he had so admirably re-constructed.

had but one school. one for girls. As we have said. and one day he said to some one who expressed surprise. M. ‘The two prime func- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. no dwelling so lowly that there was not some little joy within it. and little of himself. a salary twice as large as their meagre official salary. everything had languished in the country. Father Madeleine made his for- tune. and his presence was a godsend. There was no pocket so obscure that it had not a little money in it. but a singular thing in a simple man of business. Slack seasons and wretched- ness were unknown. he founded six beds there. is divided into the upper and the lower town. opportunities for corruption abounded. The lower town. he had spent more than a million for the town and its poor. the other for boys. in which he lived. A strong circulation warmed everything and penetrated everywhere. He exacted but one thing: Be an honest man. In 1820 he was known to have a sum of six hundred and thirty thou- sand francs lodged in his name with Laffitte. a miserable hovel. Before Father Madeleine’s arrival. which was falling to ruin: he constructed two. but before reserving these six hundred and thirty thousand francs.com  . However. sur M. He allotted a salary from his own funds to the two instructors. his coming had been a boon.a garrison town. The hospital was badly endowed. He appeared to be thinking much of others. Father Madeleine gave employment to every one. now everything lived with a healthy life of toil. in the midst of this activity of which he was the cause and the pivot. it did not seem as though that were his chief care. Be an honest woman.

a thing which was very favorably viewed at that epoch. for the honorable deputy also founded two beds in the hospital. Nevertheless. The poor profited by this terror as well as the good God. rose rapidly around him. who nosed out all rivalry everywhere. a race to the steeple. He in- dulged in gentle raillery at God with closed doors. At first.’ When they saw him enriching the country before he enriched himself. in the direct acceptation of the word. he perceived in him a possible candi- date. and went to high mass and to vespers. The local deputy.’ This seemed all the more probable since the man was religious. whose creature and friend he had been. a thing then almost unknown in France.tionaries of the state are the nurse and the schoolmaster. soon began to grow uneasy over this religion. ‘He’s a jolly fellow who means to get rich. This deputy had been a member of the legislative body of the Empire. he established there a free dispensary. which made twelve. ‘He is an ambitious man. and even practised his religion to a certain degree. and shared the religious ideas of a fa- ther of the Oratoire. As his factory was a centre. in 1819 a rumor one morning circulated  Les Miserables . he took a Jesuit confessor. when they watched his beginnings. Duc d’Otrante. Ambition was at that time. in which there were a good many indigent families. the good souls said. and resolved to outdo him. But when he beheld the wealthy manufacturer Madeleine going to low mass at seven o’clock. and a fund for aiding old and infirm workmen.’ He created at his own expense an infant school. He went regularly to low mass every Sunday. the good souls said. a new quar- ter. known under the name of Fouche.

and he en- dured this adoration with a sort of melancholy gravity. ‘people in society’ bowed to him. ‘After all. Monsieur Madeleine. adored him. When he was known to be rich. In proportion Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ We have seen that the country owed much to him. he was called. The rumor was well founded. Several days later the ap- pointment appeared in the Moniteur. in town. Father Madeleine was to be appointed by the King. On the following day Father Madeleine refused. ‘There! what did we say!’ All M. His workmen. when the jury made their report. Well.com  . he is some sort of an adventurer. Those who had pronounced this new-comer to be ‘an ambitious fellow. sur M. his workmen and the chil- dren continued to call him Father Madeleine. so it was the cross that he wanted! Father Madeleine refused the cross. Decidedly this man was an enigma. in particular. the poor owed him everything. A fresh ex- citement in the little town. and that was what was most adapted to make him smile. sur M. and he received invitations in the town.’ seized with de- light on this opportunity which all men desire.through the town to the effect that. he was so useful and he was so gentle that people had been obliged to honor and respect him. to exclaim. The good souls got out of their predicament by saying. In this same year of 1819 the products of the new process invented by Madeleine figured in the industrial exhibition. was in an uproar. on the representations of the prefect and in consideration of the services rendered by him to the country. the King appointed the inventor a chevalier of the Legion of Honor. mayor of M.

as he mounted.’ When they saw him repulse society. they said. invitations rained down upon him. they said.. The prim little drawing- rooms on M. who called to him from her thresh- old. He again declined. He would not know how to behave in society.’ In 1820. they said.. ‘He is an adventur- er. ‘He is a brute. sur M. Is he drawing back before the good which he can do?’  Les Miserables . ‘He is an ambitious man. five years after his arrival in M. opened both leaves of their folding- doors to the millionnaire. of course. He refused. No one knows where he came from. the services which he had rendered to the district were so daz- zling. ‘He is an ig- norant man. but the prefect resisted his re- fusal. they said. which. all the notabilities of the place came to implore him.’ When he was seen to decline honors. of no education. sur M. This time the good gossips had no trouble. It was noticed that the thing which seemed chiefly to bring him to a decision was the almost irritated apostrophe addressed to him by an old woman of the people. the opinion of the whole country round about was so unanimous.’ When they saw him making money. throve. They made a thousand advances to him. It has not been absolutely proved that he knows how to read. ‘Society’ claimed him for its own.’ When they saw him scattering his mon- ey about. ‘He is a man of business. the urging was so vigorous that he ended by accepting. in an angry way: ‘A good mayor is a useful thing. the people in the street besought him. that the King again appointed him mayor of the town. had at first been closed to the artisan.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . This was the third phase of his ascent. Monsieur Madeleine be- came Monsieur le Maire. Father Madeleine had become Monsieur Madeleine.

‘What a good-natured bear!’ His pleasure consisted in strolling in the fields. the sunburned com- plexion of a laborer. In propor- tion as leisure came to him with fortune. with that exception. He had gray hair. and a long coat of coarse cloth. the thoughtful visage of a philosopher. with an open book be- fore him.CHAPTER III SUMS DEPOSITED WITH LAFFITTE On the other hand. in order to get rid of the necessity for smiling. buttoned to the chin. He loved books. ever since his arrival at M. he remained as simple as on the first day. a serious eye. He fulfilled his du- ties as mayor. but. He avoided polite attentions. he escaped quickly. which he read. he smiled to relieve himself of the neces- sity of talking. he gave. He spoke to but few people. The women said of him. He had a well-selected little library. his language had grown more polished. he seemed to take advantage of it to cultivate his mind. sur M. It had been observed that. He always took his meals alone. and more gentle with  Les Miserables . He habitually wore a hat with a wide brim.. he lived in solitude. books are cold but safe friends. more choice.

or stopped a runaway bull by the horns. He defended a rabbit warren against rats. released a wheel clogged in the mud. One day he saw some country people busily engaged in pulling up nettles. lifted a horse. by sprinkling it and the granary and inun- dating the cracks in the floor with a solution of common salt. but they were empty on his return. He offered his assistance to any one who was in need of it. He never killed an inoffensive animal. When he did happen to do so.every passing year. he examined the plants. it was thought that he was still prodigiously strong. He always had his pockets full of money when he went out. which he taught to the peasants. He had ‘recipes’ for exterminating from a field. and all parasitic growths which destroy the wheat. and how to chase away weevils by hanging up orviot in bloom everywhere. in the past. He never shot at a little bird. It was thought that he must. He liked to carry a gun with him on his strolls. on the walls and the ceilings. blight. simply by the odor of a guinea-pig which he placed in it. foxtail. since he knew all sorts of useful secrets. among the grass and in the houses. Although he was no longer young. tares. but he rarely made use of it. He taught them how to destroy scurf on wheat. When he passed through a village. have lived a country life. the ragged brats ran joyously after him. his shooting was something so infallible as to inspire terror. and said: ‘They are dead.com  . Nev- ertheless. it would be a good thing to know how to make Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which were uprooted and already dried. and surrounded him like a swarm of gnats.

those sad voices which sing on the verge of the obscure abyss of death. When the nettle is young. and it is difficult to collect it. after a pause: ‘Remember this. gives gloss to the hair of animals. nettles are good for poultry.  Les Miserables . produces a beautiful yellow coloring- matter. they are good for horned cattle. it is an excellent hay. it is neglected and it becomes hurtful. When he saw the door of a church hung in black. because of his great gentleness. when it is older. he listened with a sort of aspiration towards all the mysteries of the infinite. Chopped up. mixed with fodder. which can be cut twice. with the priests groaning around a coffin. with families dressed in black. he en- tered: he sought out funerals as other men seek christenings. it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. With the exercise of a little care. And what is required for the nettle? A little soil. no culture. There are only bad cultivators. That is all. Widowhood and the grief of others attracted him. Moreover. With his eyes fixed on heaven.’ The children loved him because he knew how to make charming little trifles of straw and cocoanuts. It is exterminated. the leaf makes an excellent vegetable. no care. the nettle could be made useful. The seed of the nettle. mixed with salt. the root. he mingled with the friends clad in mourning.use of them. Only the seed falls as it is ripe. pound- ed. He seemed to like to give to his thoughts for text these funereal psalmodies filled with the vision of the other world. How many men resem- ble the nettle!’ He added. Nettle cloth is as good as linen cloth. my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men.

There is a happy man who has not a contented air. The ‘malefactor’ who had been there was Father Madeleine. It is said to be a grotto.com  . like all furniture of that sort.’ an observation full of the type of wit of petty towns. He penetrated houses privately. furnished with winged hour-glasses and enlivened by cross-bones and skulls of dead men! This was much talked of. pray show us your chamber. he as- cended staircases furtively. which was a regular anchorite’s cell. He was affable and sad.’ Some people maintained that he was a mysterious per- son.’ He smiled. and the first thing he beheld was a piece of gold lying forgotten on some piece of furniture. at night. A poor wretch on returning to his attic would find that his door had been opened. some- times even forced. and hung with pa- per worth twelve sous. during his absence. and asked: ‘Monsieur le Maire. sur M. concealing his agency in them as a man conceals himself because of evil actions. which was rather ugly. The room was very simply furnished in mahogany. ‘for they were hall-marked. came to him one day. The people said: ‘There is a rich man who has not a haughty air. and introduced them instantly into this ‘grotto. so that one of the elegant and malicious young women of M. The poor man made a clamor over it: some malefactor had been there! He en- tered. and that no one ever entered his chamber. He performed a multitude of good actions. except two candlesticks of antique pattern which stood on the chimney-piece and appeared to be silver. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They could see nothing remarkable about it.’ They were well punished for their curiosity.

a mysteri- ous retreat. ‘these two or three millions’ were reducible. with this peculiar feature. and that it was a hermit’s cave. so that. people continued to say that no one ever got into the room. sign a receipt. as we have said. and carry off his two or three mil- lions in ten minutes. a tomb. Nevertheless. In reality. M. it was added. It was also whispered about that he had ‘immense’ sums deposited with Laffitte. to six hundred and thirty or forty thousand francs. that they were always at his immediate disposal. Madeleine could make his appearance at Laffitte’s any morning. a hole.  Les Miserables .

one of the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness upon this earth. to behold her Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to know that we are indispensable to a person who is necessary to us. who is there because you need her and because she cannot do without you. MADELEINE IN MOURNING At the beginning of 1820 the newspapers announced the death of M.com  . Bishop of D——. and content to be blind.CHAPTER IV M. in fact. Let us remark by the way. is. a daughter. ‘Since she consecrates the whole of her time to me. and to say to our- selves. The Bishop of D——to supply here a detail which the pa- pers omitted— had been blind for many years before his death. Myriel.’ who had died in the odor of sanctity at the age of eighty-two. where nothing is complete. a sis- ter. surnamed ‘Monsei- gneur Bienvenu. a charming being. as his sister was beside him. it is because I possess the whole of her heart”. that to be blind and to be loved. To have continually at one’s side a woman. to be able to incessantly measure one’s affection by the amount of her presence which she bestows on us.

return.—God made tangible. loved for one’s own sake—let us say rather. to manifest at each in- stant one’s personal attraction. A hand sustains you. One does not lose the sight when one has love. and finds it. it is but to return again. from her worship to her pity. is a woman.thought in lieu of her face. One would not exchange that shadow for all brightness! The angel soul is there.—what bliss! The heart. found and tested.—few felicities equal this. it is her mouth: you hear a breath very near you. The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved. to lean upon that immovable reed. sing. And this soul. she vanishes like a dream. to hear her come and go. of this speech. One feels warmth approaching. it is hers. and behold! she is  Les Miserables . to touch Providence with one’s hands. to become in one’s ob- scurity. loved in spite of one’s self. uninterruptedly there. Does he lack anything? No. and through one’s obscurity. this conviction the blind man possesses. retire. to regard the rus- tle of a gown as the sound of wings. never to be left. celes- tial flower. speak. And what love! A love wholly constituted of virtue! There is no blindness where there is certainty. and reappears like reality. groping- ly. and to be able to take it in one’s arms. to have that sweet weakness aiding you. that obscure. Soul seeks soul. To have everything of her. to feel one’s self all the more powerful because of one’s infirmity. the star around which this angel gravitates. undergoes a mysterious blossoming. if she departs. it is hers: a mouth lightly touches your brow. To be served in distress is to be caressed. to be able to verify the fidelity of one being amid the eclipse of the world. and to think that one is the centre of these steps.

One is caressed with the soul. sur M. sur M. and commented on. a certain consideration in the noble world of M. It seemed to throw a light on M. a ruler in that petty great world. with ec- stasy. by the more numerous courtesies of the old women and the more plentiful smiles of the young ones. It is a paradise of shadows. and with crape on his hat. This mourning was noticed in the town. but one feels that one is adored. and supplying the vanished universe to you. which are enormous in that void. On the following day. One evening. The microscopic Faubourg Saint-Germain of the place meditated raising the quarantine against M. ‘M. M. One sees nothing. Madeleine’s credit greatly. The announcement of his death was reprinted by the lo- cal journal of M. the probable relative of a bishop. And there are a thousand little cares. Madeleine. Madame. ‘No. Madeleine perceived the advancement which he had obtained. Madeleine’s origin.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. one is a radiance amid the night. le Maire is doubtless a cousin of the late Bishop of D——?’ He said. with gayety. One overflows with serenity. ventured to ask him.com  . who was curious by right of senior- ity. The most ineffable accents of the feminine voice em- ployed to lull you. and procured for him.there. this raised M. instantly and at one blow. Nothings. It was concluded that some relationship existed between him and the venerable Bishop. M. It was from this paradise that Monseigneur Welcome had passed to the other. ‘He has gone into mourning for the Bishop of D——‘ said the drawing-rooms. Madeleine appeared clad wholly in black.

that every time that he encountered in the town a young Savoyard who was roaming about the country and seeking chimneys to sweep. inquired his name. and gave him money. the mayor had him summoned. ‘you are wearing mourning for him.  Les Miserables . ‘It is because I was a servant in his family in my youth. ‘But. The little Savoyards told each other about it: a great many of them passed that way.’ resumed the dowager.’ He replied. was.’ Another thing which was remarked.

which in the course of six or seven years gradually took possession of the whole district. then even this entirely disappeared. One single man in the town. It was like an epidemic of veneration. There had at first been exercised against M. all this op- position subsided. It seemed as though he had for a soul the book of the natural law. Madeleine. respect became complete. Every one took him for the judge. in the arrondissement. and towards 1821 the moment arrived when the word ‘Monsieur le Maire’ was pronounced at M. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he pre- vented lawsuits. with almost the same accent as ‘Monseigneur the Bishop’ had been pronounced in D—— in 1815. cordial. he reconciled enemies. unanimous. Madeleine. then merely mali- cious remarks. and in the course of time. sur M. blackening and calumnies. then they grew to be nothing more than ill-nature. People came from a distance of ten leagues around to consult M. in virtue of a sort of law which all those who rise must submit to. and with good reason.CHAPTER V VAGUE FLASHES ON THE HORIZON Little by little.com  . He put an end to differences.

in fact. calm. Madeleine was passing along a street. a man of lofty stature. intracta- ble. was one of those men who.absolutely escaped this contagion. infallible. grave with a gravity which was almost men- acing. and. stubborn to all counsels of the intelligence and to all the dissolvents of reason.’ This person. It frequently happened that when M. in whatever manner destinies are arranged. clad in an iron- gray frock-coat. remained his opponent as though a sort of incorruptible and imperturbable instinct kept him on the alert and uneasy. which feels no dis- quiet. In any case. turned round abruptly behind him. clear in its obscurity. which does not hold its peace. surrounded by the blessings of all.  Les Miserables . whatever Father Madeleine did. which creates antipathies and sympathies. and wearing a battered hat. and which never belies itself. like all instincts. secretly warns the man-dog of the presence of the man-cat. which does not hesitate. and his upper lip raised in company with his lower to his nose. It seems. and fol- lowed him with his eyes until he disappeared. I am not his dupe. which fatally separates one nature from another nature. with folded arms and a slow shake of the head. though pure and upright. and which. imperious. a sort of significant grimace which might be translated by: ‘What is that man. and the man-fox of the presence of the man-lion. armed with a heavy cane. after all? I certainly have seen him somewhere. as though there exist- ed in certain men a veritable bestial instinct. affectionate. arrest the spectator’s attention. even when only seen by a rapid glimpse.

Javert owed the post which he occupied to the protection of M. the fortune of the great manufacturer was already made. and he belonged to the police. Comte Angeles. sur M. that is to say. the pos- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. God has not made them capable of education in the full sense of the word. It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eyes. God has bestowed on them intelligence. He had not seen Madeleine’s be- ginnings. When Javert arrived at M. Only since animals are mere shadows. from the pig to the tiger. our souls being re- alities and having a goal which is appropriate to them. Javert possessed this physiognomy mi- nus the baseness. His name was Javert. straying before our eyes. the visible phan- toms of our souls. then prefect of police at Paris.com  . Certain police officers have a peculiar physiognomy. Chabouillet. and Father Madeleine had become Monsieur Madeleine. Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices. the secretary of the Minis- ter of State. and that each one of them is in a man. sur M. and we could easi- ly recognize this truth. that from the oyster to the eagle. he exercised the unpleasant but useful functions of an inspector. At M. hardly perceived by the thinker. we should be able to see distinctly that strange thing that each one individual of the human race corresponds to some one of the species of the animal creation. God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect. what is the use? On the contrary. Sometimes even several of them at a time. which is complicated with an air of baseness mingled with an air of authority. all animals exist in man.

Social education. Having made this reservation. it will be easy for us to say what there was in Police Officer Javert. and he despaired of ever re-entering it. the util- ity which it contains. which is killed by the mother because. with us. and probity. and the re- sult will be Javert. can always draw from a soul. Now. He observed that society unpardoning- ly excludes two classes of men. if the reader will admit. The visible I in nowise authorizes the thinker to deny the latent I. as he grew up. of whatever sort it may be. is of course from the restricted point of view of the terrestrial life which is apparent. be it said. when well done. let us pass on.— those who attack it and those who guard it. that in every man there is one of the animal species of creation. he  Les Miserables . The peasants of Asturias are convinced that in every lit- ter of wolves there is one dog. This. He entered the police. As he grew up. Give to this dog-son of a wolf a human face. complicated with an inexpressible hatred for the race of bo- hemians whence he was sprung. he would devour the oth- er little ones. and without prejudging the profound question of the anterior or ulterior personality of the beings which are not man.sibility of education. Javert had been born in prison. whose husband was in the galleys. of a fortune-teller. regularity. for a moment. he thought that he was outside the pale of society. at the same time. otherwise. he had no choice except between these two classes. he was conscious of an in- describable foundation of rigidity.

At forty years of age he was an inspector. from the prime minister to the rural police- man. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. hatred of rebellion. As for the rest. One felt ill at ease when he saw these two forests and these two caverns for the first time. ‘human face.com  . towards which enormous whiskers as- cended on his cheeks. and around his nose there formed a flattened and savage fold. his gaze was obscure. The human face of Javert consisted of a flat nose. he was a tiger. with two deep nostrils. he had very little skull and a great deal of jaw.’ which we have just applied to Javert. Javert. let us come to an understand- ing as to the words. are only forms of rebellion.—and his laugh was rare and terrible. central frown. murder. when he laughed.—respect for authority. like an im- print of wrath. by dint of exaggerating them. but he rendered them almost bad. his air that of ferocious command. his mouth pursed up and terrible. between his eyes there was a permanent. and in his eyes. all crimes.succeeded there. During his youth he had been employed in the convict establishments of the South. his hair concealed his forehead and fell over his eyebrows. rob- bery. This man was composed of two very simple and two very good sentiments. as on the muzzle of a wild beast. He covered with scorn. comparatively.—his thin lips parted and revealed to view not only his teeth. Before proceeding further. When Javert laughed. and disgust every one who had once crossed the legal threshold of evil. He enveloped in a blind and profound faith every one who had a function in the state. but his gums. serious. was a watchdog. aversion.

and admitted no exceptions. withal. And he would have done it with that sort of inward satisfaction which is conferred by virtue. and would have denounced his mother. a life of privation. It was implacable duty. and he was a spy as other men are priests. a ferocious honesty. which at that epoch seasoned with lofty cosmogony those things which were called the ultra newspapers. On the one hand. a marble informer. He had introduced a straight line into what is the most crooked thing in the world. Brutus in Vidocq. isolation. he said. Javert’s whole person was expressive of the man who spies and who withdraws himself from observation. a pitiless lying in wait. of authenticating. ‘These men are irremediably lost. or. serious. Nothing good can come from them. and who place a Styx at the base of society.was absolute. if the reader will have it so. ‘The functionary can make no mistake. And.’ He fully shared the opinion of those extreme minds which attribute to human law I know not what power of making. abnegation. would not have failed to declare that Jav-  Les Miserables . The mystical school of Joseph de Maistre.’ On the other hand. if she had broken her ban. with never a di- version. a melancholy dreamer. cold and piercing. austere. if the latter had escaped from the galleys. His glance was like a gimlet. as the Spartans understood Sparta. he said. His whole life hung on these two words: watch- fulness and supervision. demons. the magis- trate is never the wrong. the religion of his functions. he pos- sessed the conscience of his usefulness. humble and haughty. He was stoical. the police understood. chastity. Woe to the man who fell into his hands! He would have arrested his own father. like fanatics.

he permitted himself a pinch of snuff. When he was pleased with himself. As we have said. The name of Javert routed them by its mere utterance. which were far from frequent. they were drawn up in his sleeves: and his cane was not visible. The reader will have no difficulty in understanding that Javert was the terror of that whole class which the annual statistics of the Ministry of Justice designates under the ru- bric. as from an ambuscade. But when the occasion presented itself. this caused him to be not wholly illiterate. enormous hands. An eye full of suspicion and conjecture. he carried it under his coat. Vagrants. Javert was like an eye constantly fixed on M. but it seemed to be of no impor- tance to him.com  . Madeleine had finally perceived the fact. Madeleine. a baleful glance. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He did not even put a question to Javert. it disappeared beneath his hat: his eyes were not visible. although he hated books. M. This could be recognized by some empha- sis in his speech. he had no vices. a narrow and angular forehead. the face of Javert petrified them at sight. In his leisure moments. His brow was not visible. Therein lay his connection with humanity. a threatening chin. and a monstrous cudgel. Such was this formidable man.ert was a symbol. there was suddenly seen to emerge from all this shad- ow. since they were lost under his eyebrows: his chin was not visible. for it was plunged in his cravat: his hands were not visible. he bore that embarrassing and almost oppressive gaze without appearing to notice it. he neither sought nor avoided him. he read.

it would be superior to intelligence. that some one had gleaned certain information in a certain district about a family which had disappeared. Moreover.  Les Miserables . and defeated.He treated Javert with ease and courtesy. ‘I think I have him!’ Then he remained pensive for three days. that he had secretly investigated. as he was talking to himself. and this furnishes the necessary corrective for the too absolute sense which certain words might present. Once he chanced to say. One day. his strange manner appeared to produce an impression on M. and he sometimes said in covert words. all the anterior traces which Father Mad- eleine might have left elsewhere. nevertheless. Madeleine. and the peculiarity of instinct is that it can become con- fused. thrown off the track. and into which there enters as much instinct as will. Otherwise. with that curiosity which belongs to the race. Javert was evidently somewhat disconcerted by the per- fect naturalness and tranquillity of M. and the beast would be found to be provided with a better light than man. It seemed that the thread which he thought he held had broken. He seemed to know. there can be nothing really infallible in a human creature. and uttered not a word. from some words which escaped Javert. Madeleine. as he did all the rest of the world. It was divined. It was on the fol- lowing occasion.

had a business which was begin- ning to be in a bad way. Fauchelevent. while he. and neither family nor children. An old man named Fa- ther Fauchelevent had just fallen beneath his cart. sur M.. and he had done all he could. and as the old man had nothing left but a cart and a horse. When Madeleine arrived in the neighborhood. Father Fauchelevent was rat- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his horse having tumbled down. This Fauchelevent was one of the few enemies whom M. Madeleine was passing through an un- paved alley of M. The fall had been so unlucky that the whole weight of the vehicle rested on his breast. This had filled him with jealousy. The cart was quite heavily laden.com  . on every occasion. Fauchelevent had seen this simple workman grow rich. a lawyer. Madeleine had at that time. Then bank- ruptcy had come. he had turned carter. He approached.CHAPTER VI FATHER FAUCHELEVENT One morning M. The horse had two broken legs and could not rise. The old man was caught in the wheels. an ex-notary and a peasant who was almost educated. to injure Madeleine. he heard a noise. was being ruined. and saw a group some distance away.

had sent for a jack-screw. The cart was sinking deeper into the earth every mo- ment. where there is a farrier. but in vain. ‘Help!’ cried old Fauchelevent. It was impossible to disengage him otherwise than by lifting the vehicle off of him.’ answered the peasant. They had tried. Madeleine arrived.tling in the throat in the most lamentable manner. to Flachot’s place. An unmethodical effort.’ ‘A quarter of an hour!’ exclaimed Madeleine. It was evident that his ribs would be broken in five minutes more. ‘It is impossible to wait another quarter of an hour. and crushing the old carter’s breast more and more. to drag him out. ‘Who will be good and save the old man?’ M. it will take a good quarter of an hour. the soil was soaked. People stood aside respectfully. who were staring at him. Madeleine turned towards those present:— ‘Is there a jack-screw to be had?’ ‘One has been sent for. ‘We must!’ ‘But it will be too late then! Don’t you see that the cart is sinking?’ ‘Well!’  Les Miserables . might kill him. Javert. It had rained on the preceding night.’ said Madeleine to the peasants. who had come up at the moment of the accident. but it makes no difference. aid awkwardly given. M. a wrong shake. ‘How long will it take to get it?’ ‘They have gone for the nearest.

One would have to be a terrible man to do such a thing as lift a cart like that on his back.com  . And then he runs the risk of getting crushed!’ ‘Come.’ The same silence. M. he went on. Is there any one here who has stout loins and heart? There are five louis d’or to be earned!’ Not a man in the group stirred. but without removing his eyes from Madeleine:— ‘He was a convict. ‘Ten louis.’ resumed Madeleine. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘In the galleys at Toulon. with an air of indifference. The persons present dropped their eyes. ‘there is still room enough under the cart to allow a man to crawl beneath it and raise it with his back. ‘Listen. Javert added.’ Then.’ said a voice. ‘twenty louis. One of them muttered: ‘A man would need to be devilish strong.’ Madeleine turned pale. and the poor man can be taken out. ‘It is not the will which is lacking. Only half a minute. I have never known but one man capable of doing what you ask. and recognized Javert. Javert went on:— ‘It is strength.’ began Madeleine again. Madeleine. He had not noticed him on his arrival.’ Madeleine shuddered. gazing fixedly at M. emphasizing every word that he uttered:— ‘Monsieur Madeleine.’ said Madeleine.’ ‘Ah!’ said Madeleine. Madeleine turned round.

The wheels had con- tinued to sink. and before the crowd had even had time to utter a cry. and shrieked:— ‘I am strangling! My ribs are breaking! a screw! some- thing! Ah!’ Madeleine glanced about him.’ ‘Ah! It is crushing me!’ cried the old man. ‘Is there. They shouted to him. he fell on his knees. almost flat on his stomach be- neath that terrible weight. looked at the motionless peasants. the wheels half emerged from the ruts. no one who wishes to earn twenty louis and save the life of this poor old man?’ No one stirred. Then. ‘Fa- ther Madeleine. ‘Monsieur Madeleine. They  Les Miserables . make two vain efforts to bring his knees and his elbows together. the cart rose slowly. Meanwhile. without saying a word. Madeleine raised his head. then. go away! You see that I am fated to die! Leave me! You will get yourself crushed also!’ Mad- eleine made no reply. A terrible moment of expectation and silence ensued. Suddenly the enormous mass was seen to quiver. come out!’ Old Fauchelevent himself said to him. and smiled sadly. All the spectators were panting. Father Fauchelevent rattled in the throat. and he was that convict. and it had become almost impossible for Madeleine to make his way from under the vehicle. Javert resumed:— ‘I have never known but one man who could take the place of a screw. met Javert’s falcon eye still fixed upon him. They beheld Madeleine. the cart continued to sink slowly. he was underneath the vehicle.

Old Fauchelevent was saved. The devotion of a single man had given force and courage to all.com  . He was pale. His clothes were torn and covered with mud. though dripping with per- spiration. ‘Make haste! Help!’ It was Mad- eleine. All wept. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and he fixed his tranquil eye on Javert.heard a stifled voice crying. The cart was raised by twenty arms. who was still staring at him. They rushed forwards. Madeleine rose. who had just made a final effort. he bore upon his countenance an inde- scribable expression of happy and celestial suffering. As for him. The old man kissed his knees and called him the good God.

M.CHAPTER VII FAUCHELEVENT BECOMES A GARDENER IN PARIS Fauchelevent had dislocated his kneepan in his fall. Fauchelevent re- covered. got the good man a place as gardener in a female convent in the Rue Saint-Antoine in Paris. When the re-  Les Miserables . Father Madeleine had him conveyed to an infirmary which he had established for his workmen in the factory building itself. Madeleine was appointed may- or.’ The cart was broken. M. on the recommendation of the sisters of charity and of his priest. he felt the sort of shudder which a watch-dog might experience on smelling a wolf in his master’s clothes. with these words in Father Madeleine’s writing: ‘I purchase your horse and cart. but his knee remained stiff. The first time that Javert beheld M. Some time afterwards. Madeleine. On the following morning the old man found a thousand-franc bank-note on his night-stand. and the horse was dead. Madeleine clothed in the scarf which gave him authority over the town. and which was served by two sisters of charity. From that time forth he avoided him as much as he possibly could.

he exhausts and oversteps his respite. she could not be very skilful at it. the problem was solved.com  . and was admitted to the wom- en’s workroom. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She presented herself there. The trade was entirely new to Fantine. This never deceives. When the population suf- fers. by Father Madeleine had. and she therefore earned but little by her day’s work. an- other symptom which was none the less significant for not being visible. In the course of seven years the expense of collecting the taxes had diminished three-fourths in the arrondissement of M. de Villele. This prosperity created at M. No one remembered her. when the country is rich and happy. the tax-payer resists imposts through penury. he addressed him with profound respect. the door of M. when work is lacking.—the cost of collecting the taxes.quirements of the service imperatively demanded it. besides the visible signs which we have mentioned. then Minister of Fi- nance. but it was sufficient. and the state expends a great deal of money in the charges for compelling and collection. and he could not do otherwise than meet the mayor. she was earning her living. and this led to this arrondissement being frequently cited from all the rest by M. Madeleine’s factory was like the face of a friend. when there is no commerce. It may be said. that there is one infallible thermometer of the pub- lic misery and riches. sur M. the taxes are paid easily and cost the state nothing. Such was the condition of the country when Fantine re- turned thither. Fortunately. sur M. When work is abundant..

as the reader has seen. took pleasure in surveying in it her youth. At first. her beautiful hair. she felt joyful for a moment. she thought only of Cosette and of the possible future. she forgot many things. what mercy from heaven! The taste for work had really re- turned to her. It began to be said in an undertone. not to mention her little girl. she was obliged to write through a public letter-writer. that Fantine  Les Miserables . She wrote often. her fine teeth. and was almost happy. in the women’s workroom. As she only knew how to sign her name. she paid the Thenardiers promptly. She bought a looking-glass.CHAPTER VIII MADAME VICTURNIEN EXPENDS THIRTY FRANCS ON MORALITY When Fantine saw that she was making her living. She hired a little room and furnished on credit on the strength of her future work—a lingering trace of her improvident ways. and this was noticed. as we have seen. To live honestly by her own labor. As she was not able to say that she was married she took good care.

failures. There exist beings who. A pure itch for talking. they will make the drivers of hackney-coaches and lackeys tipsy. they will do sentry duty for hours at a time on the cor- ners of the streets. take more trouble. and broken lives.’ There is no one for spying on people’s actions like those who are not concerned in them. waste more time. So-and-So never hang his key on its nail on Tuesday? Why does he al- ways take the narrow streets? Why does Madame always descend from her hackney-coach before reaching her house? Why does she send out to purchase six sheets of note paper. and by pure instinct. moreover. for their own pleasure. spend more money. Why? For no reason. they will bribe errand-porters. bring on catastrophies. buy a wait- ing-maid. And often these secrets once known. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and penetrating into things. which are. than would be required for ten good actions. for the sake of obtaining the key to these enigmas. to the great joy of those who have ‘found out everything. these enigmas illuminated by the light of day. when she has a ‘whole stationer’s shop full of it?’ etc.com  . under alley-way doors at night. the ruin of families. these mysteries made public. suborn a porter. They will follow up such and such a man or woman for whole days. and that gratuitously.‘wrote letters’ and that ‘she had ways about her. without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity. in cold and rain. A sad thing. A pure passion for seeing. knowing. duels.’ without any interest in the matter. of no consequence whatever to them. Why does that gentleman never come except at nightfall? Why does Mr.

inn-keeper at Montfermeil. and said on her return: ‘For my five and thirty francs I have freed my mind.’ The gossip who did this thing was a gorgon named Ma- dame Victurnien. So Fantine was watched. These were the moments when she was thinking of her child. Their conversation. It was observed that she wrote twice a month at least. the guardian and door-keeper of every one’s virtue. Breaking the gloomy bonds of the past is a mournful task. In addition. The public writer. the chat of the drawing- room. In short. I have seen the child. A  Les Miserables . and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors. Madame Victurnien was fifty-six. Monsieur Thenardier. also. talked to the Thenardiers. and that she paid the carriage on the letter. they need a great amount of com- bustibles. it was discovered that Fantine had a child.for talking. is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly. was made to talk in the wine-shop. gossip of the anteroom. It was remarked that in the workroom she often turned aside. per- haps. many a one was jealous of her golden hair and of her white teeth.’ An old gossip was found. a good old man who could not fill his stomach with red wine with- out emptying his pocket of secrets. of the man whom she had loved. who made the trip to Montfermeil. They managed to obtain the address: Monsieur. ‘She must be a pretty sort of a woman. to wipe away a tear. and re- enforced the mask of ugliness with the mask of age. in the midst of the rest.

’ All this took time. in the mayor’s name. She was in high favor at the episcopal palace of Arras. which she bequeathed with much ostentation to a religious community. So this Madame Victurnien went to Montfermeil. almost venomous. after having demanded twelve francs instead of six. The superintendent ordered her to leave the shop on the instant. and requested her. all this in memory of her monk. Fantine was overwhelmed.quavering voice. Fantine had been at the factory for more than a year. whose widow she was. Fantine was only a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. sharp. to leave the neighbor- hood. had just ex- acted fifteen francs instead of twelve. This was the very month when the Thenardiers. Fifty francs was not sufficient to cancel this debt. she was in debt for her rent and furniture. At the Restoration she had turned bigot. She was a nettle in which the rustle of the cassock was vis- ible. This old dame had once been young—astonishing fact! In her youth. when. peevish. she had married a monk who had fled from his cloister in a red cap. She stammered a few supplicating words. told her that she was no longer employed in the shop. She had a small property. rough. the superintendent of the workroom handed her fifty francs from the mayor. She was dry. a whimsical mind.com  . one morning. captious. Besides. and passed from the Bernardines to the Jacobins. and that with so much energy that the priests had forgiven her her monk. She could not leave the neigh- borhood. ‘I have seen the child. and returned with the remark. in ‘93. and who had ruled over her masterfully and bent her to his will.

She bowed before the de- cision. even more than with despair. she did not dare.  Les Miserables . she quitted the shop. So her fault was now known to every one. and returned to her room.moderately good workwoman. Overcome with shame. The may- or had given her fifty francs because he was good. She no longer felt strong enough to say a word. She was advised to see the mayor. and had dismissed her because he was just.

judged. At the head of this room he had placed an elderly spin- ster. but not having in the same degree that charity which consists in understanding and in forgiving. firm. Madeleine had heard nothing of all this. condemned. But M. and executed Fantine. Madeleine had intrusted to her for charita- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she had given them from a fund which M. Madeleine was in the habit of almost never entering the women’s work- room. full of the charity which consists in giving. It was with this full power. equitable. The best men are of- ten obliged to delegate their authority. Life is full of just such combinations of events. M.—a truly respectable person. As regards the fifty francs. that the superintendent had instituted the suit. upright.CHAPTER IX MADAME VICTURNIEN’S SUCCESS So the monk’s widow was good for something.com  . Madeleine relied wholly on her. and he had full confidence in this superintendent. whom the priest had provided for him. and the conviction that she was doing right. M.

there is the living on noth- ing. No one knows all that certain feeble creatures. It was at this point that she began to pay the Thenar- diers irregularly. by taking one’s meals by the light of the oppo- site window. kept only necessaries.  Les Miserables . No one would have her. Fantine tried to obtain a situation as a servant in the neighborhood. She could not leave town. Fantine learned how to live without fire entirely in the winter. She began to make coarse shirts for soldiers of the gar- rison. The second-hand deal- er. ‘You are young and pretty. and earned twelve sous a day. without a trade.’ She divided the fifty francs between the landlord and the furniture-dealer. Her daughter cost her ten. she went from house to house. and still about fifty francs in debt.ble purposes. and for giving assistance to the workwomen. said to her. how to make a coverlet of one’s petticoat. how to save one’s candle. and a petticoat of one’s coverlet. returned to the latter three-quarters of his goods. you can pay. Back of living on little.’ The householder. the second is black. and of which she rendered no account. These are the two chambers. ‘If you leave. and found herself without work. taught her the art of living in misery. the old woman who lighted her candle for her when she returned at night. I will have you ar- rested as a thief. However. the first is dark. how to give up a bird which eats a half a farthing’s worth of millet every two days. with nothing but her bed. whom she owed for her rent. to whom she was in debt for her furniture—and what furniture!—said to her.

It ends by being a talent. She thought of having her come. the cold and bitter scorn of the passers-by penetrated her very flesh and soul Free eBooks at Planet eBook. When she was in the street. and regained a little courage. trouble on the other. Fantine acquired this sub- lime talent. ‘Bah! I say to myself. she divined that people turned round behind her.’ It would have been a great happiness to have her little girl with her in this distress. Well. knowing how to write just sufficiently to sign herself Marguerite. was a sainted spinster named Marguerite. There are many such virtuous people in this lower world. and believing in God. then. uneasiness.com  . can get out of a sou. and even towards the rich. and working all the rest of the time at my sewing.—all this will support me. But what then! Make her share her own destitution! And then. every one stared at her and no one greeted her. by only sleeping five hours. one eats less. This life has a morrow.who have grown old in privation and honesty. when one is sad. which is science. And. suf- ferings. a little bread on one hand. At first. I shall always manage to nearly earn my bread. poor and char- itable towards the poor. some day they will be in the world above. and pointed at her. who was pious with a true piety. she was in debt to the Thenardiers! How could she pay them? And the journey! How pay for that? The old woman who had given her lessons in what may be called the life of indigence. At this epoch she said to a neighbor. Fantine had been so ashamed that she had not dared to go out.

She went and came. with a bitter smile. It seems as though an unfortunate woman were utterly bare beneath the sarcasm and the curiosity of all in small towns.’ had been ‘put back in her proper place. Marguerite. ‘thanks to her. Madame Victurnien sometimes saw her passing. when she combed her beautiful hair in the morning with an old broken comb. The happiness of the evil-minded is black. she experienced a moment of happy coquet- ry. Oh! how she would have liked to betake herself to Paris! Impossible! She was obliged to accustom herself to disrepute. and was conscious that she was becoming bra- zen-faced. no one knows you. Excess of toil wore out Fantine. and this obscu- rity is a garment. She sometimes said to her neighbor. ‘It is all the same to me. and began to go about as though there were nothing the matter. and it flowed about her like floss silk. At the expiration of two or three months she shook off her shame. ‘Just feel how hot my hands are!’ Nevertheless. and the little dry cough which troubled her increased.’ and congratulated herself. from her window. at least.like a north wind. bearing her head well up.’ she said.  Les Miserables . In Paris. Gradually she decided on her course. as she had accustomed herself to indigence. noticed the distress of ‘that creature’ who.

and whose carriage ruined her.CHAPTER X RESULT OF THE SUCCESS She had been dismissed towards the end of the winter. One day they wrote to her that her little Cosette was entirely naked in that cold weather. no light. Her creditors har- rassed her. the summer passed. Her debts had increased. less work. no noonday.com  . that she needed a woollen skirt. Winter: no warmth. wrote to her constantly letters whose contents drove her to despair. Fantine earned too little. ‘What splendid hair!’ exclaimed the barber. the window is gray. and pulled out her comb. it is impossible to see clearly at it. the eve- ning joining on to the morning. The whole day is a cavern. but winter came again. She received the letter. Short days. That evening she went into a barber’s shop at the corner of the street. A frightful season! Winter changes the water of heaven and the heart of man into a stone. who were not promptly paid. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The sky is but a vent-hole. fogs. The Thenardiers. The sun has the air of a beggar. Her admirable golden hair fell to her knees. twilight. and that her mother must send at least ten francs for this. and crushed it in her hands all day long.

a sort of mendicant musician. Fantine thought: ‘My child is no longer cold. ‘How much will you give me for it?’ said she. a man whom she did not love.’ She put on little round caps which concealed her shorn head.’ She purchased a knitted petticoat and sent it to the Th- enardiers. she came to hate him also. that he was the cause of her unhappiness.  Les Miserables . He was a miserable scamp. she affected to laugh and sing. ‘There’s a girl who will come to a bad end. Dark thoughts held possession of Fantine’s heart. An old workwoman who once saw her laughing and singing in this fashion said. When she saw that she could no longer dress her hair. This petticoat made the Thenardiers furious.’ ‘Cut it off. by dint of repeating to herself that it was he who had discharged her. a lazy beggar. yet. who beat her. she began to hate every one about her. out of bravado and with rage in her heart. They gave the petticoat to Eponine. when the workpeople were at the door. and most of all. and in which she was still pret- ty.’ She took a lover. ‘Ten francs. She adored her child. and who abandoned her as she had taken him. When she passed the factory in working hours. the first who offered. It was the money that they wanted. I have clothed her with my hair. She had long shared the universal veneration for Father Madeleine. The poor Lark continued to shiver. in disgust.

‘What makes you so gay?’ She replied: ‘A fine piece of stupidity that some country people have written to me. They demand forty francs of me. So much for you. and we can no longer pay for them. you peasants!’ As she crossed the square. One day she received from the Thenardiers a letter couched in the following terms: ‘Cosette is ill with a malady which is going the rounds of the neighborhood. The lower she descended. A miliary fever. they call it. ‘When I get rich. Expensive drugs are required. Then she descended the stairs and emerged.com  . truly. Her cough did not leave her. who was holding forth. she saw a great many people collected around a carriage of eccentric shape. Some one met her and said to her. the darker everything grew about her. If you do not send us forty francs before the week is out. and said to her old neighbor: ‘Ah! they are good! Forty francs! the idea! That makes two napoleons! Where do they think I am to get them? These peasants are stupid. running and leaping and still laugh- ing.’ Nevertheless she went to a dormer window in the stair- case and read the letter once more.’ and she laughed. and she had sweats on her back. upon the top of which stood a man dressed in red. This is ru- ining us. She said. I will have my Cosette with me. the more radiant shone that little angel at the bot- tom of her heart. He was a quack dentist on his rounds.’ She burst out laughing. who was offering to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the little one will be dead.

the two upper ones.’ ‘And what did he offer?’ asked Marguerite. Fantine mingled in the group. but my teeth! Ah! what a monster of a man! I should prefer to throw myself head first on the pavement from the fifth story! He told me that he should be at the Tillac d’Argent this evening.’ ‘How horrible!’ exclaimed Fantine.’ ‘What are my palettes?’ asked Fantine. She was furious.  Les Miserables .’ Fantine returned home. ‘Two napoleons!’ grumbled a toothless old woman who was present. opiates. ‘are the front teeth. The tooth-puller espied the lovely. powders and elixirs. you will find me there.’ replied the dental professor. and related the occurrence to her good neighbor Marguerite: ‘Can you un- derstand such a thing? Is he not an abominable man? How can they allow such people to go about the country! Pull out my two front teeth! Why.the public full sets of teeth. come this evening to the inn of the Tillac d’Argent. and began to laugh with the rest at the harangue. ‘Here’s a lucky girl!’ Fantine fled and stopped her ears that she might not hear the hoarse voice of the man shouting to her: ‘Reflect. they may prove of service. who are laughing. which contained slang for the pop- ulace and jargon for respectable people. If your heart bids you. laughing girl. my beauty! two napoleons. I should be horrible! My hair will grow again. if you want to sell me your palettes. and suddenly exclaimed: ‘You have beautiful teeth. I will give you a gold napoleon apiece for them. ‘The palettes. you girl there.

Fantine left the room and went to read her letter once more on the staircase.com  .’ said Marguerite.’ ‘Do people die of it?’ ‘They may. ‘it is a disease. ‘Two napoleons. At the ex- piration of a quarter of an hour she left her sewing and went to read the Thenardiers’ letter once more on the staircase. who was at work beside her:— ‘What is a miliary fever? Do you know?’ ‘Yes.—for they always worked together. where the inns are situ- ated. pale and frozen.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then it attacks children?’ ‘Children in particular.’ ‘That makes forty francs. and began her work.’ She remained thoughtful. and was seen to turn her steps in the direction of the Rue de Paris. She had not lain down. and in this manner used only one candle for the two. The next morning.— she found Fantine seated on her bed. That evening she went out. On her return. when Marguerite entered Fantine’s room before daylight.’ said Fantine.’ answered the old spinster. and was almost entirely con- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘that makes forty francs. she said to Marguerite. Her candle had burned all night. Her cap had fallen on her knees.’ ‘Does it require many drugs?’ ‘Oh! terrible drugs.’ ‘How does one get it?’ ‘It is a malady that one gets without knowing how.

Fantine had grown ten years older since the preceding night. ‘what is the matter with you. She had long since quitted her cell on the second floor for an at- tic with only a latch to fasten it. Marguerite halted on the threshold. Cosette was not ill. At the same time she smiled. Fantine threw her mirror out of the window. My child will not die of that frightful malady. Fantine?’ ‘Nothing. one of those  Les Miserables .’ Then she looked at Fantine. A reddish saliva soiled the corners of her lips. ‘Quite the contrary. ‘Jesus!’ said Marguerite. and she had a black hole in her mouth. for lack of succor. and exclaimed:— ‘Lord! the candle is all burned out! Something has hap- pened. she pointed out to the spinster two napoleons which were glittering on the table. ‘Ah! Jesus God!’ cried Marguerite.’ So saying. It was a bloody smile. next the roof.sumed. petrified at this tremendous wastefulness. The two teeth had been extracted. it is a fortune! Where did you get those louis d’or?’ ‘I got them. The candle illuminated her countenance. ‘Why. After all it was a ruse of the Thenardiers to obtain money. She sent the forty francs to Montfermeil.’ replied Fantine. I am content.’ replied Fantine. who turned toward her her head bereft of its hair.

She deeply hated Father Madeleine. which froze in winter. which was old and worn out. A final sign. As the heels wore out. but a contractor for the work of pris- ons. who made the prisoners work at a discount. Seventeen hours of toil. suddenly made prices fall. only by bending over more and more. a rag which she called her coverlet. with scraps of calico which tore at the slightest movement. She found them in the street. with dirty caps. This was evident from the perpendic- ular wrinkles. had dried up. and a seatless chair still remained. She had no longer a bed. and knocks you on the head every instant. in one corner.attics whose extremity forms an angle with the floor. In the other corner was a butter- pot to hold water. Whether from lack of time or from indifference. She coughed a great deal. A little rosebush which she had. She passed many a night weeping and thinking. and nine sous a day! Her creditors were more pitiless than ever. a mattress on the floor. She had lost her shame. She patched her bodice. Her eyes were very bright. and in which the various levels of the water remained long marked by these circles of ice. but made no complaint. which reduced the daily earnings of work- ing-women to nine sous. she lost her coquetry. she found them again on her staircase.com  . forgotten. she no longer mended her linen. The people to whom she was indebted made ‘scenes’ and gave her no peace. She sewed seventeen hours a day. she dragged her stockings down into her shoes. The Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The poor occupant can reach the end of his chamber as he can the end of his destiny. She went out. and she felt a steady pain in her shoulder towards the top of the left shoulder-blade.

second-hand dealer. who had taken back nearly all his fur- niture. ‘let us sell what is left. ‘When will you pay me. Thenardier wrote to her that he had waited with decidedly too much amiability and that he must have a hundred francs at once. into the cold and the streets. you hussy?’ What did they want of her. otherwise he would turn little Cosette out of doors. About the same time.’ thought Fantine.  Les Miserables . ‘A hundred francs.’ The unfortunate girl became a woman of the town. ‘But in what trade can one earn a hundred sous a day?’ ‘Come!’ said she. and die if she chose. said to her incessantly. and that she might do what she liked with herself. and something of the wild beast de- veloped in her. good God! She felt that she was being hunted. convalescent as she was from her heavy illness.

This is not one of the least of man’s disgraces. beauty. weakness. Whoever touches her feels cold. At the point in this melancholy drama which we have now reached. maternity. She has become marble in becoming mire. and it is called prostitution. From whom? From misery. From hunger. isolation. It weighs upon the woman. she endures you. It still exists.CHAPTER XI CHRISTUS NOS LIBERAVIT What is this history of Fantine? It is society purchasing a slave. permeate it. destitution. Life and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. society accepts. she is the severe and dishonored figure. it is said that slavery has disappeared from European civilization. A dolorous bargain. Misery offers. She passes. but it does not. A soul for a morsel of bread. cold. that is to say. nothing is left to Fantine of that which she had formerly been. This is a mistake. upon grace.com  . as yet. but it weighs only upon the woman. she ig- nores you. The sacred law of Jesus Christ governs our civilization.

and all the ocean sweep over her! What matters it to her? She is a sponge that is soaked. experienced everything. All has happened to her that will happen to her. At least. He is alone. She has felt every- thing. as death resembles sleep. She is re- signed. driven on pell-mell? Whither are they going? Why are they thus? He who knows that sees the whole of the shadow. mourned everything. His name is God. She no longer avoids anything. Let all the clouds fall upon her. and that one has reached the bottom of anything whatever. but it is an error to imag- ine that fate can be exhausted. suffered everything. with that resignation which resembles indifference.the social order have said their last word for her.  Les Miserables . lost everything. borne everything. she believes it to be so. Alas! What are all these fates.

a little folly. who would be rustics in a drawing-room. sur M. my peasants. and Paris through the medium of Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . wear out their old boots. quarrel with the officers of the garrison to prove that they are men of war. who hiss actresses at the theatre to prove that they are persons of taste. These are beings of the great neuter species: impotent men. stare at travellers as they descend from the diligence. cyphers. who have a little land. parasites. smoke. live at the cafe. despise women. ad- mire tragedy. have a dog which eats the bones under the table. dine at the inn. ‘My fields. copy London through Paris. who stick at a sou. and who think themselves gentlemen in the dram-shop. exaggerate the fashions. my woods”. smell of tobacco. play bil- liards. a little wit. in particular. drink.CHAPTER XII M. and there was at M. who say. yawn. and a mistress who eats the dishes on the table. a class of young 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. hunt. BAMATABOIS’S INACTIVITY There is in all small towns.

varying from one to eleven—a limit which was never exceeded. and some knaves. would have been one of these men. Over all. and spurs the pedestrian. Add to this. had he remained in his own prov- ince and never beheld Paris. an enormous cane.Pont-A-Mousson. and conversa- tion set off by puns of Potier. If they were richer. M. Narrow-brimmed hats were royalist. The provincial dandy wore the longest of spurs and the fiercest of mustaches. spurs and a mustache. At that epoch mustaches indicated the bourgeois. the bored. a tall hat with a narrow brim. At that period a dandy was composed of a tall collar. and a pair of trousers of a lighter shade of olive. one would say. serve no use. ‘They are idlers. Among these un- employed there are bores. three vests of different col- ors. with a codfish tail. dreamers. and were called moril-  Les Miserables . number of lines. a big cravat. worn one on top of the other—the red and blue inside. ‘They are dandies. never work. high shoes with little irons on the heels. of Bolivar against Morillo. ornamented on the two seams with an indefinite. and do no great harm. one would say. hair worn in a tuft. of a short-waisted olive coat. a double row of silver buttons set close to each other and running up to the shoulder. Felix Tholomyes. grow old as dullards.’ They are simply men without employment. a watch with trinkets. but always uneven. It was the period of the conflict of the republics of South America with the King of Spain.’ if they were poorer.

with neck uncovered and flowers in her hair.los. between her bare shoulders. like the condemned soldier who returns under the rods. and nevertheless continued her promenade in silence. moreover. The woman..com  . This gentleman was known as M. The small effect which he produced no doubt piqued the lounger. This dandy was smoking. a ‘right thinker. in front of the officers’ cafe. picked up a hand- ful of snow from the pavement. did not even glance at him. liberals wore hats with wide brims. he crept up behind her with the gait of a wolf. 1823. which brought her every five minutes within reach of this sarcasm. and with a sombre regularity. one of these dandies. warmly enveloped in one of those large cloaks which completed the fashionable costume in cold weath- er. decorated spectre which went and came through the snow. for he was decidedly fashionable. such as. towards the first of January. The woman uttered a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. together with a puff from his cigar. made him no re- ply. etc. was amusing himself by tormenting a creature who was prowling about in a ball-dress. Eight or ten months. and thrust it abruptly into her back. one of these unem- ployed. some apostrophe which he considered witty and mirthful. ‘How ugly you are!— Will you get out of my sight?—You have no teeth!’ etc. and was.’ for he wore a morillo. and stifling his laugh. Bamatabois. he bestowed on her. which were called bolivars. Each time that the woman passed in front of him. on a snowy evening. after that which is related in the preceding pages. and taking advantage of a moment when her back was turned. then. bent down. a melancholy.

and she trembled with a quiver of terror. proceed in hideous wise from a mouth which lacked its two front teeth. horrible. The dandy took advantage of the incident to make his escape.  Les Miserables . his hat on the ground. passers-by collected. indeed. was formed around this whirlwind composed of two beings. hooting and applauding. burying her nails in his face. ‘Follow me!’ The woman raised her head. She had rec- ognized Javert. minus hair and teeth. Suddenly a man of lofty stature emerged vivaciously from the crowd. and a large and merry circle. she turned pale instead of livid. and hurled herself upon the man. Her eyes were glassy. her furious voice suddenly died away. did. These insults. howling. whom there was some difficulty in recognizing as a man and a woman: the man struggling. At the noise thus produced. the woman striking out with feet and fists. with the most frightful words which could fall from the guard-room into the gutter. gave a leap like a panther. whirled round. It was Fantine. the officers ran out in throngs from the cafe. which was covered with mud. livid with wrath. seized the woman by her satin bodice. and said to her. bareheaded.roar. poured forth in a voice rough- ened by brandy.

She yielded mechanically. jesting. The cloud of spectators followed. and guarded by a detachment. warmed by a stove. which is situated at the extremity of the square. broke the circle. with a glazed and grated door opening on the street. to the great disappointment of the curious. in a paroxysm of delight. Curi- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Javert opened the door. in their effort to see. which was a low room. and set out with long strides towards the police station.com  . and shut the door behind him. who raised themselves on tiptoe. and craned their necks in front of the thick glass of the station-house. Neither he nor she uttered a word. Supreme misery an occa- sion for obscenity. entered with Fantine.CHAPTER XIII THE SOLUTION OF SOME QUESTIONS CONNECTED WITH THE MUNICIPAL POLICE Javert thrust aside the spectators. On arriving at the police station. dragging the wretch- ed woman after him.

and began to write. It was evi- dent that he had just witnessed the commission of a crime. The sergeant of the guard brought a lighted candle to the table. as he handed it to him. He summoned all the ideas which could possibly exist in his mind. A prostitute had made an attempt on the life of a citizen. He was entering judg- ment. and confiscate at their will those two sorry things which they entitle their indus- try and their liberty. Nevertheless. This class of women is consigned by our laws entirely to the discretion of the police. and said to the sergeant of the guard. but subject to all the scruples of a severe conscience. punish them. It was one of those moments when he was exercising without control. He had just beheld. in the street. On entering. drew a sheet of stamped paper from his pocket. motionless and mute.osity is a sort of gluttony. The latter do what they please. in the per- son of a freeholder and an elector. society. The more he examined the deed of this woman. he. He wrote in silence. insulted and attacked by a creature who was outside all pales. yonder. He judged and condemned. Javert was impassive. he was seri- ously and deeply preoccupied. Jav- ert. Fantine fell down in a corner. When he had finished he signed the paper. around the great thing which he was doing. folded it. his grave face betrayed no emotion whatever. He had seen that. crouching down like a terrified dog. Javert seated himself.  Les Miserables . To see is to devour. his redoubtable discre- tionary power. the more shocked he felt. At that moment he was conscious that his police agent’s stool was a tribunal. as seems good to them.

without rising. ‘Six months! six months of prison!’ she exclaimed. ‘Six months in which to earn seven sous a day! But what will be- come of Cosette? My daughter! my daughter! But I still owe the Thenardiers over a hundred francs. you would have seen. I did not speak to him. Monsieur Javert.’ said she. ‘Monsieur Javert. ‘You are to have six months of it. turning to Fantine.‘Take three men and conduct this creature to jail. and doing no harm to any one? I am rather ill. I said to myself. whom I do not know. You know that one is not master of one’s self at the first moment. I as- sure you that I was not in the wrong. One gives way to vi- vacity. as you see. Monsieur Inspector?’ She dragged herself across the damp floor. I swear to you by the good God that I was not to blame! That gentleman. good Monsieur Inspector! is there not some person here who saw it and can tell you that this is quite true? Per- haps I did wrong to get angry. ‘The gentleman is amusing him- self. I did nothing. Has any one the right to put snow down our backs when we are walk- ing along peaceably.’ Then. It was at that moment that he put the snow down my back. with clasped hands.com  . And then. and taking great strides on her knees. the bourgeois. put snow in my back. and then.’ The unhappy woman shuddered. If you had seen the beginning.’ I was honest with him. he had been saying imper- tinent things to me for a long time: ‘You are ugly! you have no teeth!’ I know well that I have no longer those teeth. when some one puts something cold down Free eBooks at Planet eBook. do you know that. ‘I beseech your mercy. among the muddy boots of all those men.

your back just when you are not expecting it! I did wrong to spoil that gentleman’s hat. she might earn her living. it was out of misery. my God! It makes no difference to me whether I ask his pardon. a great deal of linen. I had linen. in the very heart of the winter. my Cosette! Oh. but seven sous is one’s earnings. but it benumbs the senses. I do not love it. Hold! you do not know that in prison one can earn only seven sous a day. They want money. inn-keepers. for this once. shaken with sobs. poor creature? I will tell you: it is the Thenardiers. and you must have pity on such a being. and such people are unreasonable. I must pay one hundred francs. What I do is so vile! Oh. but it cannot be done at that age. and cough- ing with a dry. it was only necessary to glance into my closets. If she were older. When I was happy. If I have drunk brandy. wringing her hands. peasants. Oh. Monsieur Javert!’ She spoke thus. Don’t put me in prison! You see. Have pity on me. or my little girl will be sent to me. and it would have been evident that I was not a coquettish and untidy woman. my little angel of the Holy Virgin! what will become of her. it is not the govern- ment’s fault. It is not cowardliness and gluttony that have made me what I am. Do me the favor to-day. stammering softly with a voice of agony. Monsieur Javert. short cough. rent in twain. which  Les Miserables . Great sorrow is a divine and terrible ray. Why did he go away? I would ask his pardon. Oh. her neck bare. there is a little girl who will be turned out into the street to get along as best she may. and just fancy. my good Monsieur Javert. my God! I cannot have her with me. I am not a bad woman at bottom. blinded with tears.

’ At these solemn words. he emerged from the shadow. Have you en- tirely finished? You will get six months. Madeleine. and. A few moments earlier a man had entered. ‘I have heard you out.’ she understood that her fate was sealed. ‘Mercy!’ Javert turned his back. Mr. The soldiers seized her by the arms. From time to time she paused. who would not rise. She rose to her feet with one bound. At the instant when the soldiers laid their hands upon the unfortunate woman. but no one had paid any heed to him. leaned his back against it.’ Javert raised his eyes and recognized M. ‘the Eternal Father in person could do nothing more. thrust aside the soldiers with both arms. At that moment Fantine had be- come beautiful once more. Now march! The Eternal Father in person could do nothing more. like a spec- tre springing from the earth. She sank down. and tenderly kissed the police agent’s coat. but a heart of wood cannot be softened. Mayor’ produced a curious effect upon Fantine.transfigures the unhappy.com  . murmuring. Mayor—‘ The words ‘Mr. He shut the door. She would have softened a heart of granite. and listened to Fantine’s despairing supplica- tions. Madeleine before any Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if you please. He removed his hat. ‘Come!’ said Javert. saluting him with a sort of aggrieved awkwardness:— ‘Excuse me. walked straight up to M. and said:— ‘One moment.

calmly wipe his face and say. The words had produced no less strange an effect on Fantine. with horror. and then he. with a bewildered air. She raised her bare arm. she cried:— ‘Ah! so it is you who are M. ‘Set this woman at liberty. and spit in his face. le Maire!’ Then she burst into a laugh.’ Javert felt that he was on the verge of going mad. M. set this woman at liberty. that magistrate. and clung to the damp- er of the stove. blow upon blow and almost si- multaneously. he would have regarded it as a sac- rilege to believe it possible. in his most daring flights of fancy. To see a woman of the town spit in the mayor’s face was a thing so monstrous that. and gazing intently at him.one could prevent her. and said:— ‘Inspector Javert. Madeleine wiped his face. He remained mute. the sum total of possible astonishment had been exceeded in his case. as though talking to herself:— ‘At liberty! I am to be allowed to go! I am not to go to prison for six months! Who said that? It is not possible that  Les Miserables . the most violent emotions which he had ever undergone in all his life. Nevertheless.’ he underwent a sort of intoxication of amazement. thought and word failed him equally. He experienced at that moment. and as to what this mayor might be. caught a glimpse of I know not what simple explanation of this prodigious attack. she glanced about her. he made a hideous comparison as to what this woman was. On the other hand. like a person who is reeling. But when he beheld that mayor. and began to speak in a low voice. at the very bottom of his thought.

You see that I did not do wrong deliberately—truly. my good Monsieur Javert. O Monsieur Javert! it was you who gave or- ders that I am to be set free. what is? To dismiss a poor girl who is doing her work honestly! Then I could no longer earn enough. Then one has to become whatever one can. was it not? Make inquiries. We women have but one silk dress for evening wear. In the first place. I am paying my rent now. see here! I will tell you about it. but he had spoiled my whole dress with snow. is the cause of all. who said that I was to be set free? Oh. and who are much happier. Ah! my God! I beg your pardon. who gossip in the workroom. Just imagine. and I was actually forced to become a bad woman. If that is not a horror. there is one improvement which these gentlemen of the police ought to make. Now you understand how it is that that blackguard of a mayor caused all the mischief. to prevent prison contractors from wronging poor people. I will explain it to you. speak to my landlord. you see: you are earning twelve sous at shirt-making. I have unintentionally touched the damper of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.any one could have said that. Monsieur Javert. I did not hear aright. It can- not have been that monster of a mayor! Was it you. and it is not enough to live on. and you will let me go. they will tell you that I am perfectly honest. After that I stamped on that gentleman’s hat in front of the officers’ cafe. and everywhere I be- hold women who are far more wicked than I. the price falls to nine sous. That monster of a mayor. that old blackguard of a mayor. Monsieur Javert. and that is.com  . he turned me out! all because of a pack of rascally women. I had my little Cosette. As for me. and all this misery followed.

you are certainly obliged to preserve order. you see. I understand that you are just. since you are a good man. Mr. Mr. and it has made it smoke. drew out his purse and opened it. don’t do it again. for six months in prison would prevent my supporting my child. ‘Only. Monsieur Javert! They may do whatever they please to me now. addressing the soldiers:— ‘Say. ‘How much did you say that you owed?’ Fantine. and that makes the officers laugh.stove. you see. in fact. turned towards him:— ‘Was I speaking to you?’ Then. of course! And then. did you see how I spit in his face? Ah! you old wretch of a mayor. it is necessary to be just. Inspector. who was looking at Javert only. It was empty. he fumbled in his waistcoat. But to-day. you come. Madeleine listened to her with profound attention. you hussy!’ Oh! I won’t do it again. you. He put it back in his pocket. it is perfectly simple: a man amuses himself by putting snow down a woman’s back. you came here to frighten me. you fellows. I will not stir. you say that I am to be set at liberty. we are here for them to amuse themselves with. it is for the sake of the little one. one must divert themselves in some way. and we—well. While she was speaking. but on reflection. I am afraid of Monsieur Javert. I am afraid of my good Monsieur Javert!’ So saying. you lead off the woman who is in the wrong. she turned to the inspector again:— ‘And yet. He said to Fantine.’ M. I cried because it  Les Miserables . Inspector. but I’m not afraid of you.

One step more and she would be in the street. All at once she rapidly adjusted her disordered garments. and I am going.’ Here. Javert up to that moment had remained erect.’ She laid her hand on the latch of the door. which is waiting to be put away somewhere. motion- less. with his eyes fixed on the ground. I have a cough. ‘Sergeant!’ he cried. almost to the height of her knee. white throat and looked smilingly at him. give me your hand. I am not well. her voice was caressing. saying to the soldiers in a low voice. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I seem to have a burning ball in my stomach. ferocious in the wild beast. an expression all the more alarming in proportion as the authority rests on a low level. Monsieur l’Inspecteur has said that I am to be released. ‘Take care of yourself. dropped the folds of her skirt. ‘don’t you see that that jade is walk- ing off! Who bade you let her go?’ ‘I.’ said Madeleine. cast athwart this scene like some displaced statue. I was not expecting that snow from the gentleman at all. and the doc- tor tells me. atrocious in the man of no estate. she placed Javert’s coarse hand on her delicate. don’t be afraid— it is here. The sound of the latch roused him. and stepped towards the door.hurt me. feel. and with a friendly nod:— ‘Children. He raised his head with an expression of sovereign authority.’ She no longer wept.com  . and then as I told you. which had been pushed up as she dragged herself along.

order. and that. that the police spy should transform him- self into a magistrate. his whole body agitated by an impercep- tible quiver and an unprecedented occurrence. government. in this prodigious extremity. pale. according to which was speaking. with blue lips. and that the mayor must certainly have said one thing by mistake for another. after the mayor’s suggestion that Fantine should be set at liberty. when M. At the sound of Madeleine’s voice she turned around. and let go of the latch as a thief relinquishes the article which he has stolen. and from that moment forth she uttered no word. Police Inspector Javert was seen to turn toward the mayor. nor dared so much as to breathe freely. without intending it? Or. in view of the enormities of which he had been a witness for the past two hours. society in its entirety. as we have just heard. Fantine trembled at the sound of Javert’s voice. that it was indispensable that the small should be made great. Javert? However that may be. did he say to himself. law. but her glance strayed from Madeleine to Javert. and from Javert to Madeleine in turn. Had he reached the point of forgetting the mayor’s presence? Had he finally declared to himself that it was impossible that any ‘authority’ should have given such an order. and say to  Les Miserables . that the policeman should become a dispenser of justice. cold. morality. It was evident that Javert must have been exasperated beyond measure before he would permit himself to apos- trophize the sergeant as he had done. that it was necessary to recur to supreme resolutions. Madeleine uttered that word. was personified in him. I. and a look of despair.

‘This miserable woman has insulted a citizen.’ ‘Why not?’ said M.’ Javert retorted:— ‘This wretch has just insulted Monsieur le Maire. Mayor. she will not serve a single day. there were still groups of people standing about. it was the townsman who was in the wrong and who should have been arrested by properly conducted po- lice. in a calm and con- ciliating tone.’ replied M. ‘the highest law is conscience.’ ‘And I. ‘listen.’ ‘Inspector Javert. Madeleine.’ ‘Then content yourself with obeying. Mr. I know what I am doing. You are an honest man. I think.’ M.com  . that cannot be.’ ‘That concerns me. and I feel no hesitation in explaining matters to you. with downcast eyes but a firm voice:— ‘Mr. Madeleine. Madeleine.’ ‘I am obeying my duty.’ said M. I have heard this woman. Javert ventured to fix a searching Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ At this decisive word. do not know what I see. My duty demands that this wom- an shall serve six months in prison. and I made inquiries and learned everything. I can do what I please about it.’ ‘Inspector Javert. ‘My own insult belongs to me.’ ‘I beg Monsieur le Maire’s pardon. Here is the true state of the case: I was passing through the square just as you were leading this woman away. Mayor.him.’ replied the mayor. Madeleine replied gently:— ‘Heed this well. The insult is not to him but to the law.

’ Then M. and concerns me. since Monsieur le Maire desires it. Mr. fifteen. and said in a severe voice which no one in the town had heard hitherto:— ‘The matter to which you refer is one connected with the municipal police. eleven. to the question of the gentle- man. Madeleine.’ ‘But—‘ ‘Leave the room. Mayor—‘ ‘I refer you to article eighty-one of the law of the 13th of December. This woman flung herself on Monsieur Bamatabnois.’ Javert ventured to make a final effort. and I shall detain this woman Fantine.’ said M. According to the terms of articles nine. but in a tone of voice that was still profoundly respectful:— ‘I am sorry to oppose Monsieur le Maire. 1799. in regard to arbitrary detention. Mon- sieur le Maire.  Les Miserables . I order that this woman shall be set at liberty. Such things as there are in the world! In any case. I confine myself. Madeleine folded his arms. and sixty-six of the code of criminal exami- nation. this is a question of police regulations in the streets. which forms the corner of the esplanade. who is an elector and the proprietor of that handsome house with a balcony. permit me—‘ ‘Not another word. three stories high and entirely of cut stone.’ ‘Monsieur le Maire. it is for the first time in my life. I am the judge.look on the mayor and to say. I was present. ‘But. but he will permit me to remark that I am within the bounds of my authority.

Fantine stood aside from the door and stared at him in amazement as he passed. the other like her good angel. these two men had appeared to her like two gi- ants. she looked on in affright. this liberator. in his breast. like a Russian soldier. in com- bat before her very eyes. Javert received the blow erect. one of these men was drawing her towards darkness. confidence and love. that mayor whom she had so long regarded as the author of all her woes. When Javert had taken his departure. her soul. and some- thing warm and ineffable. Nevertheless. then. dawn in her heart. and. the one spoke like her demon. She had seen two men who held in their hands her liberty. the other was leading her back towards the light. she also was the prey to a strange confu- sion. been mistaken? Must she change her whole soul? She did not know. The angel had conquered the demon. he had saved her! Had she. like a se- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. indescribable. she trembled. full in the face. which was both joy. her life. viewed through the exaggerations of terror. M. that Madeleine! And at the very moment when she had insulted him in so hideous a fashion. Madeleine turned to her and said to her in a deliberate voice. strange to say. She had just seen herself a subject of dispute between two opposing powers. was the very man whom she abhorred. She listened in bewilderment. Madeleine she felt the frightful shades of hatred crumble and melt within her. and at every word uttered by M. In this conflict. He bowed to the very earth before the mayor and left the room.com  . her child. that which made her shudder from head to foot was the fact that this angel.

and could only give vent to two or three sobs.rious man who does not wish to weep and who finds some difficulty in speaking:— ‘I have heard you. or where you please. I will send for your child. in Paris. and I feel that it is true. And listen! I declare to you that if all is as you say.’ This was more than Fantine could bear. I will give all the money you require. I believe that it is true. Why did you not apply to me? But here. rich. ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’ Her limbs gave way beneath her. To have Co- sette! To leave this life of infamy. Madeleine. happy. You shall not work any longer if you do not like. I knew nothing about what you have mentioned.— you have never ceased to be virtuous and holy in the sight of God. and before he could prevent her he felt her grasp his hand and press her lips to it. To live free. she knelt in front of M. You shall be honest and happy once more. She stared stupidly at this man who was talking to her. or you shall go to her. to see all these realities of paradise blossom of a sudden in the midst of her misery. Then she fainted. I was even ignorant of the fact that you had left my shop.  Les Miserables . respectable with Cosette.—and I do not doubt it. You shall live here. I will pay your debts. I undertake the care of your child and yourself. Oh! poor woman.

com  .—JAVERT Free eBooks at Planet eBook.BOOK SIXTH.

who put her to bed. She gazed at him for a long time without daring to interrupt him. A burning fever had come on. He had been  Les Miserables . Madeleine was transfigured in Fantine’s eyes. He seemed to her to be clothed in light. and supplication. His gaze was full of pity. He was ab- sorbed in a sort of prayer. Fantine awoke. M. however. Madeleine had been there for an hour. She heard some one breathing close to her bed. Thenceforth. she drew aside the curtain and saw M. She followed its direction. Madeleine had Fantine removed to that infirmary which he had established in his own house. At last she said timidly:— ‘What are you doing?’ M. At length. He confided her to the sisters. Madeleine standing there and look- ing at something over her head. towards midday. and saw that it was fixed on a crucifix which was nailed to the wall. On the morrow. She passed a part of the night in delirium and raving. she fell asleep.CHAPTER I THE BEGINNING OF REPOSE M. anguish.

Madeleine had passed the night and the morning in making inquiries. That same night. thought that he was sending in his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But she smiled on him with that sub- lime smile in which two teeth were lacking.’ M. It was ad- dressed to Paris. ‘I think that I am better. It is nothing. responding to the first question which she had put to him as though he had just heard it:— ‘I was praying to the martyr there on high. As the affair in the station-house had been bruited about. I have slept. and the superscription ran: To Monsieur Chabouillet. Secretary of Monsieur le Prefet of Police. Javert wrote a letter. Oh! do not com- plain. It is not their fault they do not know how to go to work otherwise. the post-mistress and some other persons who saw the letter before it was sent off. and who recognized Javert’s hand- writing on the cover. and replied:— ‘How do you feel?’ ‘Well.’ And he added in his own mind.’ He sighed deeply. you now have the dowry of the elect. He knew all now.waiting for Fantine to awake. ‘For the martyr here be- low. It is thus that men are transformed into angels. He took her hand. He went on:— ‘You have suffered much. poor mother. He knew Fantine’s history in all its heart-rending details. It was necessary to begin there. sur M. The next morning be posted it himself at the office of M.com  . felt of her pulse.’ He answered. You see this hell from which you have just emerged is the first form of heav- en.’ she replied.

where her sick mother required her presence. The sisters had at first only received and nursed ‘that woman’ with repugnance. Madeleine made haste to write to the Thenardiers. ‘The devil!’ said the man to his wife. sur M. Fantine owed them one hundred and twenty francs. Those who have seen the bas-re- liefs of Rheims will recall the inflation of the lower lip of the wise virgins as they survey the foolish virgins. It was only a question of a trifling substitution of names. M. as we have already said. The an- cient scorn of the vestals for the ambubajae is one of the  Les Miserables .—one for the doctor. At the foot of the memorandum Thenardier wrote. She still re- mained in the infirmary. He sent them three hundred francs. In this memorandum two indisput- able items figured up over three hundred francs. Received on account. ‘don’t let’s allow the child to go. This dazzled Thenardier. This lark is going to turn into a milch cow. and to fetch the child instantly to M. telling them to pay themselves from that sum. the other for the apothecary who had attended and physicked Eponine and Azelma through two long ill- nesses.’ He replied with a very well drawn-up bill for five hundred and some odd francs.’ ‘Christi!’ said Thenardier. had not been ill.. Cosette. M. Some ninny has tak- en a fancy to the mother. Fantine did not recover. I see through it. ‘Make haste to bring Cosette. Madeleine immediately sent three hundred francs more. and wrote. ‘let’s not give up the child. three hundred francs.resignation.’ In the meantime.

Madeleine went to see her twice a day. but when I have my child beside me. you see. One day the sisters heard her say amid her fever: ‘I have been a sinner. I could not have borne her sad. But in a few days Fantine disarmed them. While I was leading a bad life. That handful of snow applied to her bare skin between her shoulder-blades had brought about a sudden suppression of perspiration. the sisters felt it with the double force contributed by religion. It was for her sake that I did evil. On the contrary. She knows nothing at all. ‘Oh!’ she said. She may arrive at any moment. At that age the wings have not fallen off. She said all kinds of humble and gentle things.’ And the mother’s pale face grew radiant. ‘how happy I am going to be!’ We have just said that she did not recover her health. astonished eyes.most profound instincts of feminine dignity. I shall feel the benediction of the good God when Cosette is here. perhaps. She is an angel. At that time Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the mother in her provoked tender- ness. and each time she asked him:— ‘Shall I see my Cosette soon?’ He answered:— ‘To-morrow. her condition seemed to become more grave from week to week. I am expecting her. I shall gaze at her.’ M. it will do me good to see that innocent creature.com  . I should not have liked to have my Cosette with me. and that is why God pardons me. it will be a sign that God has pardoned me. as a consequence of which the malady which had been smouldering within her for many years was violently developed at last. my sisters.

there still remained some petty but pressing debts in the neighborhood. ‘I shall send some one to fetch Cosette!’ said Father Mad- eleine. and they were collecting the bills for them.’ and gave a hundred insufficient reasons for it. Cosette was not quite well enough to take a journey in the winter.people were beginning to follow the fine Laennec’s fine sug- gestions in the study and treatment of chest maladies. and made her sign it:— ‘MONSIEUR THENARDIER:—  Les Miserables . ‘He said that your child was to be brought speedily. ‘If necessary. Madeleine forced himself to smile. Fantine inquired:— ‘What did the doctor say?’ M. Madeleine said to the doctor:— ‘Well?’ ‘Has she not a child which she desires to see?’ said the doctor. etc.. etc.’ ‘Well! Make haste and get it here!’ M. And then. At last I behold happiness close beside me!’ In the meantime Thenardier did not ‘let go of the child. ‘Yes.’ He wrote the following letter to Fantine’s dictation.’ ‘Oh!’ she rejoined. I will go myself. Madeleine shuddered. That that would restore your health. The doctor sounded Fantine’s chest and shook his head. M. ‘he is right! But what do those The- nardiers mean by keeping my Cosette from me! Oh! she is coming.

‘FANTINE. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I have the honor to salute you with respect.’ In the meantime a serious incident occurred. the black vein of destiny constantly reappears in it.com  .You will deliver Cosette to this person. Carve as we will the mysterious block of which our life is made. You will be paid for all the little things.

and which contained the trials of the commission on highways for the infraction of police regu- lations. when he was informed that Police Inspector Javert was desirous of speaking with him. ‘Admit him. occupied in arranging in advance some pressing matters connect- ed with the mayor’s office. He did not disturb himself on Javert’s account. and it suited him to be glacial in his manner. M.CHAPTER II HOW JEAN MAY BECOME CHAMP One morning M. Javert entered.’ he said. and M. Madeleine was in his study. Madeleine had not seen him. Mad- eleine could not refrain from a disagreeable impression on hearing this name. Javert had avoided him more than ever since the affair of the police-station. pen in hand. his eyes fixed on the docket which he was turning over and annotating. Madeleine had retained his seat near the fire.  Les Miserables . He could not help thinking of poor Fantine. in case he should decide to take the trip to Montfermeil.

in genuine humility and tran- quil resignation. calm. with the cold. he waited without uttering a word. he would have said to himself. serious. ingenu- ous roughness of a man who has never been gentle and who has always been patient. this spy who was incapable of a lie. this unspotted police agent—if any physi- ognomist had known his secret and long-cherished aversion for M. the monk. perfectly erect. If any physiognomist who had been familiar with Javert. His physiognomy had never been more peculiar and startling. whose back was turned to him. in an attitude almost of discipline. anger. the Spartan. and who had made a lengthy study of this savage in the ser- vice of civilization. he halted a few paces in the rear of the mayor’s arm-chair. and there he stood. On entering he bowed to M. upright. Madeleine with a look in which there was neither ran- cor. he was subject to abrupt changes of opinion. but went on annotating this docket. nor distrust. without breaking the silence. without making a movement. and ferocious conscience. with eyes cast Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . Like violent people in general. and halted. and had examined Javert at that moment. and the corporal. ‘What has taken place?’ It was evident to any one acquainted with that clear. Javert advanced two or three paces into the study. this singular composite of the Roman. hat in hand. Javert had nothing in his soul which he had not also in his countenance. that Jav- ert had but just gone through some great interior struggle. his conflict with the mayor on the sub- ject of Fantine. Javert bestowed a respectful salute on the mayor. sincere. The mayor did not look at him. austere. honest. Madeleine.

Mr. All the sentiments as well as all the memories which one might have attributed to him had disappeared. which did not. ‘This is the matter. as it is my duty to do. no longer bore any trace of anything but a melancholy depression. Madeleine. That face. At last the mayor laid down his pen and turned half round. however. as impenetrable and simple as granite. then raised his voice with a sort of sad solemnity.’ said Javert. ‘You?’ ‘I. and in the gravest manner.down. until it should please the mayor to turn round.’ ‘Who is the agent?’ asked M.’ ‘And who is the magistrate who has reason to complain of the agent?’ ‘You. towards a magistrate. ‘I. a culpable act has been committed. preclude simplicity. His whole person breathed lowliness and firmness and an inde- scribable courageous despondency. ‘Well! What is it? What is the matter.’  Les Miserables . I have come to bring the fact to your knowledge. Mayor. Mayor. Mr.’ ‘What act?’ ‘An inferior agent of the authorities has failed in respect. and an expression which was half-way between that of a soldier in the presence of his officer and a criminal in the presence of his judge. Javert?’ Javert remained silent for an instant as though collecting his ideas.

‘Turned out. Madeleine opened his mouth in amazement. with a severe air and his eyes still cast down. Mayor. ‘Mr. so it be. Be so to-day. you were severe with me the other day. I ought to be pun- ished.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and resumed. That is well.’ ‘You shall understand. Madeleine sat erect in his arm-chair. Mayor. I do not under- stand.’ M. Javert interrupted him:— ‘You will say that I might have handed in my resigna- tion. six weeks ago. Mayor. and unjustly. Javert went on. with justice.’ Javert sighed from the very bottom of his chest.com  . M.’ And after a pause he added:— ‘Mr. and I informed against you. still coldly and sadly:— ‘Mr. now! Why?’ exclaimed M. I was furious. you wish to be superseded—‘ ‘Turned out.’ said Javert. but that does not suffice. Handing in one’s resignation is honorable.’ ‘Informed against me!’ ‘At the Prefecture of Police in Paris. Mayor. Mr. Madeleine. I must be turned out. in consequence of the scene over that woman. I have come to request you to instigate the authorities to dismiss me. then.’ ‘Come. I have failed in my duty. ‘What nonsense is this? What is the meaning of this? What culpa- ble act have you been guilty of towards me? What have you done to me? What are your wrongs with regard to me? You accuse yourself.

I had had an idea for a long time. and he has been sought. the strength of your loins. which you drag a little. burst out laughing now:— ‘As a mayor who had encroached on the province of the police?’ ‘As an ex-convict. Javert. He was a convict whom I was in the habit of seeing twenty years ago. a resemblance. on a public highway on the person of a little Savoyard. I denounced you at the Prefecture!’ M. I took you for a certain Jean Valjean. I did this thing! Wrath impelled me. In short. who was not in the habit of laughing much oftener than Javert himself. went on:— ‘I thought it was so. I fancied. your leg. resumed with an air of perfect indifference:— ‘And what reply did you receive?’ ‘That I was mad. accompanied with violence. robbed a bishop.—absurdities! But.’ The mayor turned livid. Madeleine. who had not raised his eyes. inquiries which you had caused to be made at Faverolles. as it appears. On leaving the galleys. M. at all events. Madeleine.— I hardly know what all.’ ‘A certain—What did you say the name was?’ ‘Jean Valjean. then he committed another theft. your skill in marksmanship. this Jean Valjean. who had taken up the docket again sev- eral moments before this. when I was adjutant-guard of convicts at Toulon. He disappeared eight years ago. the adventure with old Fauchelevant. no one knows how.’ ‘Well?’  Les Miserables .

a theft had been committed. ‘The jail being in a bad condition. The scamp is locked up. Up to this point it was merely an affair of a misdemeanor. gazed fixedly at Javert.’ ‘I am forced to do so.com  . Madeleine was holding dropped from his hand. No one knows what such people subsist on. ‘Well. the examining magis- trate finds it convenient to transfer Champmathieu to Arras. since the real Jean Valjean has been found. He was a very wretched creature. where the departmental prison is situated. No one paid any attention to him. My Champmathieu was arrested. Mr. no soon- er had Champmathieu arrived than Brevet exclaims: ‘Eh! Why. He still had the branch of apple-tree in his hand.’ ‘It is lucky that you recognize the fact. no matter. In this prison at Arras there is an ex-convict named Brevet. Fa- ther Champmathieu was arrested for the theft of some cider apples from—Well. and who has been appointed turnkey of the house. It seems that there was in the neighborhood near Ailly-le-Haut-Clocher an old fel- low who was called Father Champmathieu. who is detained for I know not what. and said with his indescribable accent:— ‘Ah!’ Javert continued:— ‘This is the way it is. Mr. a wall scaled. Lately. he raised his head. branches of trees broken.’ The sheet of paper which M. Mayor. But here is where Providence intervened. Mayor. because of good behavior. last autumn. I know that man! He is a fagot![4] Take a good look Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they were right.

and to have had a daughter. When such people are not mud. This Valjean’s Christian name was Jean. there is  Les Miserables . do you not? Inquiries were made at Faverolles. Where? At Faverolles. Parbleu! You understand. a pruner of trees in various localities. as the beginning of the story dates thirty years back. before going to the galleys for theft.at me. There all trace of him was lost. and nothing was found. It is not known where they have gone. who was a laundress. You know that among those classes a family of- ten disappears. and have called himself Jean Mathieu? He goes to Auvergne. where he is said to have been a wheelwright. on emerging from the galleys. then in Paris. it was twenty years ago. A long time afterwards he was seen again in Auvergne. The local pronunciation turns Jean into Chan—he is called Chan Mathieu. and his mother’s sur- name was Mathieu. but that has not been proved. thirty years ago. notably at Faverolles. ‘Don’t play the innocent dodge. What more natural to suppose than that. and behold him transformed into Champmathieu. what was Jean Valjean? A pruner of trees.’ Champmathieu denies it.’ says Brevet. You follow me. he should have taken his mother’s name for the purpose of concealing himself. The family of Jean Valjean is no longer there. Another fact. my good man! You are Jean Valjean!’ ‘Jean Valjean! who’s Jean Valjean?’ Champmathieu feigns astonishment. we were there together. The case is investigated. Now. This is what they dis- covered: This Champmathieu had been. The thing was well ventilated for me. Our man offers no opposition. Search was made. they are dust. And then. ‘You are Jean Valjean! You have been in the galleys of Toulon.

com  . It was precisely at this moment that I forward- ed my denunciation to the Prefecture in Paris. I was told that I had lost my reason.— the same height. You can imagine whether this surprised me. his face incorruptible. he is Jean Valjean for them as well as for Brevet. and as melancholy as ever:— ‘Mr. and that Jean Valjean is at Arras. they are Cochepaille and Chenildieu. I am sorry. there are only two convicts in existence who have seen Jean Valjean. a very low voice:— ‘You are sure?’ Javert began to laugh. I write to the examining judge. Mayor. but that man is Jean Valjean. ‘O! Sure!’ He stood there thoughtfully for a moment. Javert replied. the truth is the truth. Champmathieu is conducted to me—‘ [4] An ex-convict. Madeleine resumed in. Besides Brevet. In- quiries were made at Toulon.—he is fifty-four. They do not hesitate. mechanically taking pinches of powdered wood for blotting ink from the wooden bowl which stood on the table. the same air. it is he. ‘Well?’ interposed M. with that mournful laugh which comes from profound conviction. Madeleine. and he added:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The same age. in the power of the authorities. and are sentenced for life. the same man. he sends for me. in short. I recognized him also.’ M. They are taken from the galleys and confronted with the pretended Champmathieu.no longer any one at Faverolles who knew Jean Valjean. when I thought that I had that same Jean Valjean here.

But Jean Valjean is a sly dog. he would cry out—the kettle sings before the fire. he pretends to be stupid. he says. to purloin apples. he would not be Jean Valjean. there is the affair with the little Savoyard. It is no longer a matter of a few days in prison. If he is Jean Valjean. that haughty man.’—Javert. Robbing and housebreaking—it is all there. to break a branch. as he addressed these grave and supplicating words to the man. To climb a wall. I beg your pardon. for a convict it is a crime. Oh! the rogue is clever! But it makes no difference. was uncon- sciously full of simplicity and dignity. Madeleine made no other reply to his prayer than the abrupt question:— ‘And what does this man say?’ ‘Ah! Indeed. The deuce! there is plenty to dispute in the mat- ter. I do not see how I could have thought otherwise. ‘I am Champmathieu. Mr. for a man it is a misdemeanor.—M. he would struggle. is there not? Yes. But he has not the appearance of understanding. That is the way I recognized him. for any one but Jean Valjean. Any other man would have felt that things were getting hot for him. The proofs  Les Miserables . it is the galleys for life. it’s a bad business. Mr. et cetera.’ Javert. he has his previous conviction against him. is a mis- chievous trick in a child. and bade him ‘leave the room. I hope. ‘And even now that I have seen the real Jean Valjean. Mayor. who six weeks before had humiliated him in the presence of the whole station-house. and I won’t depart from that!’ He has an astonished air. Mayor. And then. who will return. it is a matter for the Court of Assizes. it is far better. It is no longer a question of correctional police.

who came near crushing this woman and her child.are there.’ M. the old scamp will be condemned. I have been summoned. reading and writing by turns. then?’ ‘Why. You will tell her that she must enter her complaint against carter Pierre Chesnelong. Charcellay. He has been recognized by four persons. who sells herbs at the corner of the Rue Saint-Saulve. After that. He complained that there is a gutter on the adjoining house which dis- charges rain-water on his premises. and is undermining the foundations of his house. I thought that I had said to Monsieur le Maire that Free eBooks at Planet eBook. you will betake yourself at once to the house of the woman Buseaupied.com  . Javert. and was turning over the leaves tranquilly. like a busy man. at Widow Doris’s. But I am giving you a great deal of work. Rue Montre-de-Champigny. you will verify the infractions of police regulations which have been report- ed to me in the Rue Guibourg. and taken up his docket. and you will prepare documents. all these details interest me but little. Are you not to be absent? Did you not tell me that you were going to Arras on that matter in a week or ten days?’ ‘Sooner than that. In truth. and we have pressing business on hand. and Rue du Garraud-Blanc.’ ‘On what day. Mayor. We are wasting our time. Madeleine had turned to his desk again. He must be punished. The case has been taken to the Assizes at Arras. He turned to Javert:— ‘That will do. Javert. at Madame Renee le Bosse’s. Mr. I shall go there to give my testimony. The man is a brute. You will then go to M.

you deserve promotion instead of deg- radation. ‘And how long will the case last?’ ‘One day. You exaggerate your fault. in whose depths his not very enlightened but pure and rigid conscience seemed visible. and I esteem you. ‘What is it now?’ demanded M. Mr. this is an offence which concerns me. Madeleine. Mayor.’ But Javert. Madeleine.’ ‘What is it?’ ‘That I must be dismissed. Madeleine made an imperceptible movement. But I shall not wait for the sen- tence. ‘Javert. and said in a tranquil voice:— ‘Mr. Madeleine with his candid eyes. you are a man of honor.’ M. And he dismissed Javert with a wave of the hand. The judgment will be pronounced to-morrow evening at latest. at the most.’ said he. heeding his own thought only. and that I am to set out by diligence to-night.’ ‘That is well.’ said M. I wish you to retain your post.’ M. Javert did not withdraw.the case was to be tried to-morrow. Mayor. ‘Mr. Madeleine rose. I cannot grant you that. I shall return here as soon as my deposition has been taken. which is certain. Mayor. Moreover. ‘that the matter con- cerns me. Javert.’ ‘I repeat.’ Javert gazed at M. Madeleine.’ replied M. continued:—  Les Miserables . ‘Excuse me. there is still something of which I must re- mind you.

Mayor. I should be a black- guard! Those who say. a mayor. Mr. the police agent against the mayor. the difficulty lies in being just. Ought I to spare myself more than others? No! What! I should be good for nothing but to chastise others. I should not have been kind to you. That is nothing. very serious. This is the way I reason: I have suspected you unjustly. Come! if you had been what I thought you. one word more. and not myself! Why. Now. That is just. in a fit of rage. a re- spectable man. I have often been severe in the course of my life towards others. I. I have denounced you as a convict. I should have declared him unworthy of the service. I have insulted authority in your person. with the object of wreaking my vengeance. The kindness which consists in upholding a woman of the town against a citizen. and have expelled him. I must Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It is our right to cherish suspicion. ‘So far as exaggeration is concerned. Good God! it is very easy to be kind. your kindness roused sufficient bad blood in me when it was directed to others. you. is what I call false kindness. although suspicion directed above ourselves is an abuse. the man who is down against the man who is up in the world. I want none of it for myself. I do not desire that you should treat me kindly. I am not exaggerat- ing. an agent of the authorities! If one of my subordinates had done what I have done. Mayor. all the justice that I have done would become injustice. Mayor. a magistrate! That is serious. ‘That blackguard of a Javert!’ would be in the right. I have done well. not I! You would have seen! Mr. That is the sort of kindness which disorganizes society. Well? Stop.com  . But with- out proofs. if I were not severe towards myself. Mr.

A mayor does not offer his hand to a police spy. Mr. you may rest at your ease!’ I have flinched. Javert recoiled.’ He withdrew. despairing. ‘If you flinch. sure step. cashiered. but this must not be. expelled! That is well. humble.’ He added between his teeth:— ‘A police spy. Mayor. I will till the soil. M. honest man. I have often said to myself. and directed his steps to- wards the door. I sim- ply require the discharge of Inspector Javert. it makes no difference to me. from the moment when I have misused the police.’ said M. I am no more than a police spy.  Les Miserables .’ Then he bowed profoundly. I have caught myself in a fault. And he offered him his hand. the good of the service demands an example.’ he said. and with eyes still downcast:— ‘Mr. and said in a wild voice:— ‘Excuse me. I have arms. yes. When I have subdued malefactors.’ All this was uttered in a proud. Madeleine remained thoughtful- ly listening to the firm. ‘I shall continue to serve until I am superseded. which died away on the pavement of the corridor. Mayor. yet convinced tone. which lent indescribable grandeur to this singular.treat myself as I would treat any other man. There he wheeled round. if I ever catch you in fault. ‘We shall see. Mr. when I have proceeded with vigor against rascals. Madeleine. So much the worse! Come. discharged. Mayor.

com  .—THE CHAMPMATHIEU AFFAIR Free eBooks at Planet eBook.BOOK SEVENTH.

Lazariste ladies. These rustics  Les Miserables . The monastic orders gladly accept this heavy peasant earthenware. Before entering Fantine’s room. a sister of char- ity in a coarse style. which is eas- ily fashioned into a Capuchin or an Ursuline. On the afternoon following the visit of Javert. She was a nun as other women are cooks. Mad- eleine went to see Fantine according to his wont. he had Sister Simplice summoned. Sister Perpetue was an ordinary villager. which we preserve out of respect for the truth. Among these details the read- er will encounter two or three improbable circumstances. M. like all sisters of charity. This type is not so very rare.CHAPTER I SISTER SIMPLICE The incidents the reader is about to peruse were not all known at M. The two nuns who performed the services of nurse in the infirmary. sur M. who had entered the service of God as one enters any other service. bore the names of Sister Perpetue and Sister Simplice. But the small portion of them which became known left such a memory in that town that a seri- ous gap would exist in this book if we did not narrate them in their most minute details.

for cell only a hired room. roughly. and it seemed as though she would never grow old. She touched Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with a waxen pallor. for veil only modesty. and it becomes a frock. stoned their death agony with prayers mumbled in a rage. well-bred. for cloister only the streets of the town and the wards of the hospitals.’ This ideal was realized in the living person of Sister Simplice: she had never been young. Vin- cent de Paul has divinely traced the features of the Sister of Charity in these admirable words. droned. Sister Simplice was white. in which he mingles as much freedom as servitude: ‘They shall have for their con- vent only the house of the sick.com  . She was so gentle that she appeared fragile. almost flung God in their faces. was crabbed with the dying. for gratings only the fear of God. was bold. the fund of ignorance common to the village and the cloister is a prep- aration ready at hand. for chapel only their parish church. No one could have told Sister Simplice’s age. sugared the potion according to the big- otry or the hypocrisy of the invalid. Sister Perpetue was a robust nun from Marines near Pontoise. who chattered her patois. but she was more solid than granite. Beside Sister Perpetue. the one turns into the other without much effort. grumbled. austere. for en- closure only obedience. treated her patients abruptly.are utilized for the rough work of devotion. she was the taper beside the candle. cold. and who had never lied. and places the boor at once on the same footing as the monk: a little more amplitude in the smock. honest. She was a person— we dare not say a woman—who was gentle. and ruddy. The transition from a drover to a Carmelite is not in the least violent.

Satan has two names. This delicacy accommodated itself to the serge gown. Her smile was white. her glance was white. silence in her speech. On entering the order of Saint Vincent de Paul. she had taken the name of Simplice by special choice. in- nocent lie. Let us emphasize one de- tail. She did not. and as she thought. it was the accent of her virtue. for any interest whatever. even in indifference. on the glass window of that conscience. as we know. To lie is the very face of the demon. any single thing which was not the truth. To lie a little is not possible: he who lies. is the saint who preferred to allow both her breasts to be torn off rather than to say that she had been born at Segesta  Les Miserables . was Sister Simplice’s distinc- tive trait.the unhappy with fingers that were charmingly pure and fine. That is what she thought. lies the whole lie. She was almost renowned in the congregation for this imperturbable verac- ity. and she possessed a tone of voice which would have equally edified a confessional or enchant- ed a drawing-room. However pure and sincere we may be. she said just what was necessary. innocent lie—does such a thing exist? To lie is the absolute form of evil. the sacred truth. finding in this harsh contact a continual reminder of heaven and of God. we all bear upon our candor the crack of the little. Simplice of Sicily. There was not a single spider’s web. Little lie. he is called Satan and Lying. so to speak. so she did. There was. The Abbe Sicard speaks of Sister Simplice in a letter to the deaf-mute Massieu. The result was the whiteness which we have men- tioned—a whiteness which covered even her lips and her eyes with radiance. never to have said. not a grain of dust. Never to have lied.

Madeleine took Sister Simplice apart and recom- mended Fantine to her in a singular tone. Fantine awaited M.com  . M. Madeleine’s appearance every day as one awaits a ray of warmth and joy. probably feeling a latent virtue there.when she had been born at Syracuse— a lie which would have saved her. but she understood the book. She did not understand Latin. in coarse type. Sister Simplice. to Fantine’s great delight. She never read anything but a book of prayers printed in Latin. ‘I only live when Monsieur le Maire is here. This patron saint suited this soul. It was noticed that there was a moment when his countenance became very sombre. She said to the sisters. Madeleine she asked him:— ‘And Cosette?’ He replied with a smile:— ‘Soon. He urged every one repeatedly not to allow the invalid to want for anything. Madeleine was the same as usual with Fantine. he approached Fantine. on her entrance into the order.’ She had a great deal of fever that day. and she liked to receive letters. which the sister recalled later on.’ M. This pious woman had conceived an affection for Fan- tine. But this was explained when it became known that the doc- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Only he remained an hour instead of half an hour. and she had devoted herself almost exclusively to her care. had had two faults which she had gradually corrected: she had a taste for dainties. As soon as she saw M. On leaving the sister.

tor had bent down to his ear and said to him. He wrote a few figures on a bit of paper with a pencil.  Les Miserables . and the clerk ob- served him attentively examining a road map of France which hung in his study. ‘She is losing ground fast.’ Then he returned to the town-hall.

He laid his hand quickly on the knocker and lifted it. to a Fleming named Master Scaufflaer. French Scaufflaire. and after the lapse of a few sec- onds. then turned about. Madeleine resided. instead of allowing the knocker to fall abruptly.CHAPTER II THE PERSPICACITY OF MASTER SCAUFFLAIRE From the town-hall he betook himself to the extremity of the town. a worthy. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . which had an iron knocker. and sensible man. Madeleine arrived in front of the parsonage there was but one passer-by in the street. who let out ‘horses and cabriolets as desired. and retraced his steps to the door of the parsonage. and this person noticed this: After the mayor had passed the priest’s house he halted. The cure was. it was said. the shortest way was to take the little-frequented street in which was situated the parsonage of the parish in which M. as though in thought. respectable. and resumed his way with a sort of haste which had not been apparent previously. stood motionless. he placed it gently. then he paused again and stopped short. At the moment when M.’ In order to reach this Scaufflaire.

‘have you a good horse?’ ‘Mr. he laid everybody flat on the ground. M.’ ‘Hitched to a cabriolet?’ ‘Yes. What do you mean by a good horse?’ ‘I mean a horse which can travel twenty leagues in a day. Madeleine found Master Scaufflaire at home. he is a small beast from Lower Boulonnais. Mayor.’ ‘The deuce!’ said the Fleming. He is full of fire.’ said the Fleming. He was thought to be vicious.’ he inquired. ‘You see. He showed it to the Fleming. They wanted to make a saddle-horse of him at first. ‘Twenty leagues!’ ‘Yes. engaged in stitching a harness over.’ ‘The deuce! the deuce! And it is twenty leagues?’ M.’ he said. ‘Master Scaufflaire. nineteen and a half. as well say twenty leagues. ‘all my horses are good. My little white horse—you may have seen him pass occasionally. ‘I have just what you want.’ ‘Mr. 8 1/2. ‘total.’ ‘And how long can he rest at the end of his journey?’ ‘He must be able to set out again on the next day if nec- essary. he kicked.’ ‘To traverse the same road?’ ‘Yes. and no one knew  Les Miserables . 6. Madeleine drew from his pocket the paper on which he had pencilled some figures. Bah! He reared. The figures were 5.’ returned the Fleming. Mayor.

sir. and some one must be by while he is eating to prevent the stable boy of the inn from stealing his oats.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I harnessed him to a carriage.’ ‘In the second place—is the cabriolet for Monsieur le Maire?’ ‘Yes. It does not suit his ideas to be a saddle-horse. Carry? No. and in less than eight hours. Every one has his ambition.’ ‘Well.what to do with him. he goes like the wind. But here are the conditions. you will give him half an hour’s breath- ing spell midway of the road. he is as gentle as a girl. Monsieur le Maire will travel alone and without baggage.’ ‘And he will accomplish the trip?’ ‘Your twenty leagues all at a full trot.’ ‘In the first place. he will eat. ‘Draw? Yes.’ We must suppose that is what he said to himself.’ ‘Some one will be by.’ ‘Does Monsieur le Maire know how to drive?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘That is understood. I bought him.com  . in order not to overload the horse?’ ‘Agreed. for I have noticed that in inns the oats are more often drunk by the stable men than eaten by the horses. Ah! indeed he must not be mounted. That is what he wanted.’ ‘But as Monsieur le Maire will have no one with him.’ ‘State them. he will be obliged to take the trouble himself of seeing that the oats are not stolen.

Where is Monsieur le Maire going?’  Les Miserables . Madeleine preserved silence.’ M. ‘I am to have thirty francs a day. The days of rest to be paid for also—not a farthing less.’ ‘Has Monsieur le Maire reflected that we are in the mid- dle of winter?’ M. and the beast’s food to be at Monsieur le Maire’s expense.’ replied Scaufflaire. he resumed with that careless air which the Flemings understand so well how to mingle with their shrewdness:— ‘But this is what I am thinking of now: Monsieur le Maire has not told me where he is going. Monsieur le Maire. scratching a speck in the wood of the table with his thumb- nail.’ ‘That makes no difference to me.’ ‘It is light.’ ‘Of course. Madeleine did not reply. ‘Here is the pay for two days in advance. Monsieur le Maire must consent to travel in a little tilbury that I own.’ ‘Fourthly. Master Scaufflaire continued:— ‘That it may rain?’ M. Madeleine raised his head and said:— ‘The tilbury and the horse will be in front of my door to- morrow morning at half-past four o’clock. and would fatigue the horse. The Fleming resumed:— ‘That it is very cold?’ M. but it has no cover. for such a journey a cabriolet would be too heavy. then.’ ‘I consent to that. Madeleine drew three napoleons from his purse and laid them on the table.

The mayor had been gone two or three minutes when the door opened again. ‘Monsieur Scaufflaire. The Fleming remained ‘utterly stupid. Madeleine laid a bank-bill on the table.— the one bearing the other?’ ‘The one dragging the other.’ replied M.’ said the Fleming.com  . Monsieur le Maire. Madeleine. Monsieur le Maire. ‘So be it. it was the mayor once more. At what value do you estimate your horse and cabriolet?’ ‘Five hundred francs. He had been thinking of nothing else since the begin- ning of the conversation.’ said he. You must hold him in a little when going down hill. Monsieur le Maire. but I wish to guarantee you in any case. then left the room. and he took his departure. ‘at what sum do you esti- mate the value of the horse and tilbury which you are to let to me.’ as he himself said some time afterwards. Madeleine. He still wore the same impassive and preoccupied air. and this time he did not return.’ M. ‘Are your horse’s forelegs good?’ said M. but he did not know why he had not dared to put the question. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Well?’ ‘Does Monsieur le Maire wish to purchase them or me?’ ‘No. with a broad smile. You shall give me back the sum at my return.’ ‘Here it is. ‘Yes. Are there many descends between here and the place whither you are going?’ ‘Do not forget to be at my door at precisely half-past four o’clock to-morrow morning.

and there he shut himself up. eight and a half from Saint-Pol to Arras. Master Scaufflaire experienced a frightful regret that he had not said a thousand francs.’ Meanwhile. M. as though the parsonage door had been a temptation for him. and it lay on the chimney-piece. who was.’ He turned to his wife:— ‘I have found out. six. He had taken the longest way to return from Master Scaufflaire’s. ‘Five.’ said the wife. and he had wished to avoid it. M. ‘I don’t believe it. M. Madeleine had returned home. since he liked to go to bed early. noticed that the latter’s light was extinguished at half-past eight. and related the affair to her. six from Hesdin to Saint-Pol. and she mentioned it to the cashier when he came home. at the same time. the portress of the factory. ‘He is going to Paris.’ This cashier occupied a room situated directly under  Les Miserables . Madeleine had forgotten the paper with the figures on it. The Fleming called his wife. adding:— ‘Is Monsieur le Maire ill? I thought he had a rather sin- gular air. which was a very simple act. Besides the horse and tilbury together were worth but a hundred crowns.’ ‘What?’ ‘It is five leagues from here to Hesdin.’ said the husband. eight and a half? That must designate the posting relays. Nevertheless. ‘Where the devil could Monsieur le Maire be going?’ They held counsel together. Madeleine’s only servant. The Fleming picked it up and studied it. He is going to Arras. He ascended to his room.

Towards midnight he woke up with a start. The reflection wavered. then a piece of furniture was disarranged. as though it came rath- er from a fire which had been lighted than from a candle. as though some one were walking in the room above him. Madeleine’s chamber.M. An hour or two later he waked again. it was a footstep pacing back and forth. usually. This struck him as strange. from the direction of the rays. and through his window-panes he saw the reddish gleam of a lighted win- dow reflected on the opposite wall. The cashier fell asleep again. Madeleine’s chamber. He paid no heed to the portress’s words. Madeleine’s chamber until he rose in the morning. He listened. but went to bed and to sleep. but now it was pale and peaceful. in his sleep he had heard a noise above his head. and staring. He listened more attentively. and recognized M. The reflection was still visible on the wall. and then shut again. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The same step was still passing slowly and regularly back and forth overhead. The shadow of the window-frame was not shown. which in- dicated that the window was wide open. Madeleine’s step. The window was still open. then the step began again. then a pause ensued. it could only come from the window of M. The fact that this window was open in such cold weather was surprising. quite awake now. This is what had taken place in M. A moment later the cashier heard a noise which resembled that of a cupboard being opened. like the reflection of a lamp or of a can- dle. The cashier sat up in bed.com  . Madeleine’s room. there was no noise in M.

no doubt. it is the battlefield of the passions. already divined that M. would be to blend all epics into one superior and definitive epic. of lusts. There is a spectacle more grand than the sea. were it only in connection with the basest of men. Mad- eleine is no other than Jean Valjean. it can fix itself on no other thing which is more formidable. There is nothing more terrible in existence than this sort of contemplation. and more infinite. more complicated. and of temptations. the furnace of dreams. it is the pande- monium of sophisms. the lair of ideas of which we are ashamed.CHAPTER III A TEMPEST IN A SKULL The reader has. it is heaven: there is a spectacle more grand than heaven. To make the poem of the human conscience.  Les Miserables . We do so not without emotion and trepidation. were it only with reference to a single man. the moment has now come when we must take another look into it. it is the inmost recesses of the soul. The eye of the spirit can nowhere find more dazzling brilliance and more shadow than in man. Conscience is the chaos of chi- meras. We have already gazed into the depths of this conscience. more mysterious.

succeeded in rendering himself safe from seizure and inaccessible. reassured and hopeful. traversed France. and. We have but little to add to what the reader already knows of what had happened to Jean Valjean after the ad- venture with Little Gervais.. as in Dante. What a solemn thing is this infinity which every man bears within him. to escape men and to return to God. are in progress. skirmishes of dragons and hydras and swarms of phantoms. like those recorded in Homer. sold the Bishop’s silver. reserving only the candlesticks as a souvenir. He succeeded in disappearing. battles of giants. From that moment forth he was. accomplished what we have related. What the Bish- op had wished to make of him. con- ceived the idea which we have mentioned. happy in feeling his conscience saddened by the past and the first half of his existence belied by the last.com  . crept from town to town. having henceforth only two thoughts. at certain hours.Penetrate. past the livid face of a human being who is engaged in reflection. visionary circles. It was more than a transformation. gaze into that soul. as in Milton. that he carried out. a totally different man. thenceforth. gaze into that obscurity. it was a transfiguration. came to M. and which he measures with despair against the caprices of his brain and the actions of his life! Alighieri one day met with a sinister-looking door. nevertheless. There. and look behind. be- fore which he hesitated. beneath that external silence. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. sur M.. upon whose threshold we hesitate.—to conceal his name and to sanctify his life. Here is one before us. as we have seen. sur M. Let us enter. he lived in peace. established at M.

engaged in so serious a struggle. the man whom all the country of M. as though he thought. These two thoughts were so closely intertwined in his mind that they formed but a single one there. he was struck with stupor. despite the disquieting insinuations of Javert. sur M. called M. as the reader will remember. both were equally absorbing and imperative and ruled his slightest ac- tions. holy. they conspired to regulate the conduct of his life. when the latter entered his study. Never had the two ideas which governed the unhappy man whose sufferings we are narrating. he had pre- served the Bishop’s candlesticks. they rendered him kindly and simple. In general. collected information regarding the fami- lies at Faverolles. following the ex- ample of all those who have been wise. as we have already remarked. it must be confessed. At the moment when that name. however. summoned and interrogated all the little Savoyards who passed that way. and just. in spite of all his reserve and all his prudence. they conflicted. which he had buried beneath so many layers. In that case. Sometimes. they counselled him to the same things. that his first duty was not towards himself. Thus. was so strangely articu- lated. Madeleine did not hesitate to sacri- fice the first to the second—his security to his virtue. It seemed. He understood this confusedly but profoundly at the very first words pronounced by Javert. At the same time. and through  Les Miserables . they turned him towards the gloom. and as though intoxicated with the sinister eccentricity of his destiny. nothing just like this had yet presented itself. and saved old Fauchelevent’s life. worn mourning for him.

postponed all decision with the firmness of terror.this stupor he felt that shudder which precedes great shocks. It would be beautiful. at first.com  . We must render an account of the things which went on in this soul. Every- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if this man had not flinched for an instant. Then it passed away. He bent like an oak at the approach of a storm. took into consideration Javert’s presence. to take that Champmathieu out of prison and place himself there. a whirlwind within. at the bottom of which lay heaven. after so many years of repentance and abnegation. and he said to himself. generous instinct. shook off thought as to what he had to do. the first thought which occurred to him was to go. As he listened to Javert. that would have been beautiful. and resumed his calmness as a warrior picks up his buckler. to run and denounce himself. a profound tranquillity without.’ as they may be called. but had continued to walk with the same step towards this yawning precipice. by the instinct of self-preser- vation. and we can only tell what there was there. this was as painful and as poignant as an incision in the living flesh. even in the presence of so ter- rible a conjecture. he rallied all his ideas in haste. no doubt. stifled his emotions. ‘We will see! We will see!’ He repressed this first. that great danger. He was carried away. but it was not thus. He felt shadows filled with thunders and lightnings descending upon his head. after the Bishop’s holy words. like a sol- dier at the approach of an assault. in the midst of a penitence admirably begun. and recoiled before heroism. He remained in this state during the rest of the day. He took no ‘preservative measures.

in case he should be obliged to be absent himself. except that he had received a great blow. By whom? Alas! That on which he desired to close the door had al- ready entered. He dined with a good deal of appetite. through a kindly instinct. telling him- self that he must behave thus. as he was. He feared lest something more should enter. and recommend her well to the sisters. that which he desired to blind was staring him in the face. On returning to his room. He examined the situation. He had a vague feeling that he might be obliged to go to Ar- ras. He repaired to Fantine’s bed of suffering. and jostling together in his brain.  Les Miserables . He was barricading himself against possibilities. and he engaged the tilbury from Scaufflaire in order to be prepared in any event. beyond the shadow of any suspicion. His trouble was so great that he could not perceive the form of a single idea distinctly. it embarrassed him. and without having the least in the world made up his mind to this trip. as usual. so unprecedented that in the midst of his revery he rose from his chair. A moment later he extinguished his light. and bolted his door. moved by some inexplicable impulse of anxiety. and prolonged his visit. there could be nothing out of the way in being a witness to what was to take place. and found it unprecedented. he said to himself that being. and he could have told nothing about himself.thing was still confused.— his conscience. he communed with himself. It seemed to him as though he might be seen.

His head was burning. and he clutched his brow in both hands to arrest them. Nevertheless. the candle extinguished. leaned his head on his hand. he felt him- self invisible. he thought himself impregnable. The first hour passed in this manner. His conscience. His brain had lost its power of retaining ideas. Then he took possession of himself: he set his elbows on the table. Nothing but anguish extricated itself from this tumult which overwhelmed his will and his reason. however. vague outlines began to take form and to fix themselves in his meditation. he had a feeling of security and of solitude. Gradually. ‘Where do I stand? Am not I dreaming? What have I heard? Is it really true that I have seen that Javert. they passed like waves. There were no stars in the sky.—not the whole Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the bolt once drawn. God. he deluded himself at first. and so far from suspecting anything! What was I doing yesterday at this hour? What is there in this incident? What will the end be? What is to be done?’ This was the torment in which he found himself. and began to meditate in the dark. He returned and seated himself at the table. He went to the window and threw it wide open. and that he spoke to me in that manner? Who can that Champma- thieu be? So he resembles me! Is it possible? When I reflect that yesterday I was so tranquil. and he was able to catch a glimpse with precision of the reality. that is to say.com  . and from which he sought to draw proof and resolution.

he had said to himself. that that would be the end of all things for him. and that. that on the day when that name made its reappearance it would cause his new life to vanish from about him. and—who knows?— perhaps even his new soul within him. would suddenly emerge from the darkness and rise in front of him. This only caused an increase of his stupor. if so it seemed good to him.situation. all that he had made up to that day had been nothing but a hole in which to bury his name. than that of rendering his existence at once clearer and more impenetrable. Assuredly. out of his confrontation with the phantom of Jean Valjean. capable of dissipating the mystery in which he had en- veloped himself. when the hid- eous words. That which he had always feared most of all in his hours of self-communion. critical and extraordinary as was this situa- tion. also. that that light would but produce an obscurity more dense. that this rent veil would but increase the mystery. Jean Valjean. and that that name would not menace him. He began by recognizing the fact that. that this earthquake would solidify his edifice. when that formidable light. so far as he was concerned. he was completely master of it. during his sleepless nights. but some of the details. was to ever hear that name pronounced. Independently of the severe and religious aim which he had assigned to his actions. He shuddered at the very thought that this was possible. the good  Les Miserables . that this prodigious incident would have no other result. would suddenly blaze forth above his head. if any one had said to him at such moments that the hour would come when that name would ring in his ears.

It seemed to him that he had but just waked up from some inexplicable dream. it was neces- sary that some one. He distinctly perceived in the darkness a stranger. The light became complete. it was still awaiting him. and that he found himself slip- ping down a declivity in the middle of the night. himself or that other man. he would have tossed his head and regarded the words as those of a madman. Well. and then he said to himself. at this moment. that this vacant place would await him. that it appeared that a certain Champmathieu had that ill luck. and more respected than ever—if any one had told him that.com  . more peaceful. and whom she was thrusting into the gulf in his stead. erect. and he acknowledged this to himself: That his place was empty in the galleys. all this was precisely what had just come to pass. and that. ‘that. on the very brink of the abyss. He came more and more to an understanding of his position. in order that the gulf might close once more. present in society under the name Free eBooks at Planet eBook. holding back all in vain. as regards himself. and draw him on until he filled it. being present in the galleys in the person of that Champmathieu. and God had permitted these wild fancies to become real things! His revery continued to grow clearer. that the theft from little Gervais had led him back to it. that do what he would. a man unknown to him. should fall into it: he had only let things take their course. that this was inevitable and fatal. shivering. he had a substitute.and worthy citizen Monsieur Madeleine would emerge more honored. all that accumu- lation of impossibilities was a fact. whom destiny had mistaken for him.

of M. never to rise again. which is composed of irony. like the stone of the sepulchre. and I count for nothing in it! Ah! but where is the misfortune in this? Upon my honor. He hastily relighted his candle. that is not my fault in  Les Miserables . all is over. I had but one partly open door through which my past might invade my life. ‘Well. if it does bring harm to some one. engaged else- where. that there sudden- ly took place in him that indescribable movement. is thrown off the scent. he had nothing more to fear. Who knows? it is even probable that he will wish to leave town! And all this has been brought about without any aid from me. to see me. that some catastrophe had happened to me! After all.’ All this was so strange and so violent. and which may be called an outburst of inward laughter. and of despair. what then?’ he said to himself. Madeleine. provided that he did not prevent men from sealing over the head of that Champmathieu this stone of infamy which. which no man feels more than two or three times in the course of his life. who has been annoying me so long. which had divined me— good God! and which followed me everywhere. that frightful hunting-dog. people would think. he will leave me in peace. and behold that door is walled up forever! That Javert. a sort of convulsion of the conscience which stirs up all that there is doubtful in the heart. ‘what am I afraid of? What is there in all that for me to think about? I am safe. that terrible instinct which seemed to have di- vined me. always making a point at me. absolutely turned from the trail: henceforth he is satisfied. he has his Jean Valjean. falls once. of joy.

and why does God will it? In order that I may continue what I have begun. what! I am not satisfied: but what more do I want? The goal to which I have aspired for so many years. a little while ago.—I have now attained. my resolve is taken!’ but he felt no joy. it is because it wishes it so to be. do what he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. evidently. and began to pace the room: ‘Come. the dream of my nights. that it may be said at last. it is God who wills it.the least: it is Providence which has done it all. to enter the house of that good cure. let the good God do as he likes!’ Thus did he address himself in the depths of his own conscience. he rose from his chair.’ said he. this is evidently what he would have said to me: It is settled. that I may do good. I do not understand why I was afraid. I can do nothing against the will of God. that a little happiness has been attached to the pen- ance which I have undergone. After the expiration of a few moments. Quite the reverse. Really.—security. the object of my prayers to Heaven. and to that virtue to which I have returned. bending over what may be called his own abyss. let things take their course. ‘let us think no more about it. the guilty man calls it remorse. Have I the right to disarrange what it has arranged? What do I ask now? Why should I meddle? It does not concern me.com  . that I may one day be a grand and encouraging example. One can no more prevent thought from recurring to an idea than one can the sea from returning to the shore: the sailor calls it the tide. God upheaves the soul as he does the ocean. and to ask his advice.

to lend himself to it through his silence. he exclaimed. and listened to that which he would have preferred not to hear. It may even be said that the word is never a more magnificent mystery than when it goes from thought to conscience within a man. The realities of the soul are none the less realities because they are not visible and palpable. exclaims to one’s self without breaking the external silence. ab-  Les Miserables . one speaks to one’s self. talks to one’s self. saying that which he would have preferred to ignore. must be understood. yielding to that myste- rious power which said to him: ‘Think!’ as it said to another condemned man. to do nothing. cowardly. It is certain that people do talk to themselves.would. He interrogated himself upon that ‘settled resolve. there is no living being who has not done it. that ‘to let things take their course. it is in this sense only that the words so often employed in this chapter. everything about us talks except the mouth. he resumed the gloomy dialogue in which it was he who spoke and he who listened. to let the good God do as he liked. and when it returns from conscience to thought. he said.’ He confessed to himself that all that he had just arranged in his mind was mon- strous. sneaking. So he asked himself where he stood. in short. there is a great tumult. ‘March on!’ Before proceeding further. let us insist upon one necessary observation. and in order to make our- selves fully understood. to allow this error of fate and of men to be carried out. not to hinder it. two thousand years ago.’ was simply horrible. was to do everything! that this was hypocritical baseness in the last degree! that it was a base.

to fall back there in appearance was to escape from it in reality. not his person. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that alone. but his soul. hideous crime! For the first time in eight years. that death beneath the open sky. morally murdering. struck down with so melancholy an error. a wretched man. in truth. to resume his own name. He was becoming an as- sassin. and the most odious of thieves! He was robbing another of his existence. his life. to achieve his resurrection. He was murdering. which was the true one—to save. his peace. the convict Jean Valjean. He asked himself se- verely what he had meant by this. ‘My object is attained!’ He declared to himself that his life really had an object. but what object? To conceal his name? To deceive the police? Was it for so petty a thing that he had done all that he had done? Had he not another and a grand object. He was inflicting on him that frightful living death. which the Bishop had enjoined upon him—to shut the door on his past? But he was not shutting it! great God! he was re-opening it by committing an infamous action! He was becoming a thief once more. out of duty. He continued to question himself. and to close forever that hell whence he had just emerged. the wretched man had just tasted the bitter savor of an evil thought and of an evil action. to surrender himself to save that man.com  . which he had always de- sired. to be- come honest and good once more. On the other hand. He spit it out with disgust. to become once more. his place in the sunshine. that was. to be a just man? Was it not that above all. which is called the galleys.ject.

that the Bishop was present all the more because he was dead. all his penitence was wast- ed. that henceforth Mayor Made- leine. that men saw his life. had there been any one in his chamber at the moment. without perceiving that he was speaking aloud. deliver the false Jean Valjean. Banker. ‘let us decide upon this.This must be done! He had done nothing if he did not do all this. Paris. Sad fate! he would enter into sanctity only in the eyes of God when he returned to infamy in the eyes of men. the most poignant of victories. So he must go to Arras. He wrote and sealed a letter.’ He uttered these words aloud. verified them. ‘What is the use?’ He felt that the Bishop was there. and put them in order. There was no longer any need of saying. and on the envelope it might have been read. with all his virtues. let us save this man. but that the Bishop be- held his conscience. He flung in the fire a bundle of bills which he had against petty and embarrassed tradesmen. but that the Bishop saw his face. and denounce the real one. let us do our duty. ‘Well. that the Bishop was gazing fixedly at him. Rue d’Artois. and that the convict Jean Valjean would be pure and admirable in his sight. Any one who had seen him during the execution of these  Les Miserables . He took his books.’ said he. the last step to take. that men beheld his mask. his whole life was useless. He drew from his secretary a pocket-book which contained several bank- notes and the passport of which he had made use that same year when he went to the elections. but it must be done. would be abominable to him. To Mon- sieur Laffitte. Alas! that was the greatest of sacrifices.

He con- tinued to see his duty clearly. my neighbor. in that infin- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. myself. and it seemed to him that he beheld within himself. that the one said. while the other might become bad. would have had no suspicion of what was going on within him. For the first time they appeared to him as absolutely distinct. necessarily. They had now attained colossal statures. and he perceived the distance which separated them. He saw them in conflict. the sanctification of his life. and the other from darkness. They were antagonistic.—the con- cealment of his name. he put it into his pocket. formed the double rule of his soul. His revery had not swerved from its course. He recog- nized the fact that one of these ideas was. In proportion as he meditated. and that the other was personality. and began his walk once more. they grew before the eyes of his spirit.various acts. the two ideas which had. written in luminous letters. When he had finished the letter to M.com  . that the first was self- devotion. as though they had passed before him in visible forms. that one emanated from the light. good. into which there entered such grave thought. Only occasionally did his lips move. Laffitte. as though there existed at that point something which he wished to elucidate or interrogate. at other times he raised his head and fixed his gaze upon some point of the wall. and that the other said. up to that time. together with the pocket-book. which flamed before his eyes and changed its place as he altered the direction of his glance:— ‘Go! Tell your name! Denounce yourself!’ In the same way he beheld.

that means a month in prison. After the grand crisis. and that they would have mercy on him. and seems to dispense with proofs. the heroism of his deed might. He was filled with terror. One moment he said to himself that he was. and that he had actually been guilty of theft. in the midst of the darkness and the lights. allayed for an instant. And who knows? Did he steal? Has it been proved? The name of Jean Valjean overwhelms him. but it seemed to him that the good thought was getting the upper hand. But the fever. gradually resumed possession of him. taking the matter too keenly. that. It is a long way from that to the galleys. and that Champ- mathieu marked the second. perhaps. this Champ- mathieu was not interesting. But this supposition vanished very quickly. A thousand thoughts traversed his mind. after all. a goddess and a giant contending. that the Bishop had marked the first phase of his new life. when he denounced himself. Do not the attorneys for the Crown always proceed in this manner? He is supposed to be a thief because he is known to be a convict. perhaps. but they continued to fortify him in his resolution. stolen a few apples. He answered himself: ‘If this man has. be taken into consideration. He felt that he was on the brink of the second decisive crisis of his conscience and of his destiny.’ In another instant the thought had occurred to him that. and he smiled  Les Miserables . the grand test. and what he had done for the district. indeed. and his honest life for the last seven years.ity of which we were recently speaking.

his good name. the defer- ence and veneration paid to him. if he accomplished his sacrifice. would be seasoned with a crime. and. detached himself more and more from earth. that his des- tiny was thus allotted. He began to think of other things. and sought strength and conso- lation elsewhere. that perhaps he should not be more unhappy after doing his duty than after having avoided it. He turned aside from all illusions. he must make his choice: virtue without and abomination within. his consideration. At length he told himself that it must be so. The veins in his temples throbbed violently. The stirring up of these lugubrious ideas did not cause his courage to fail. in spite of him- self. And what would be the taste of all these holy things when bound up with this hideous thing? while.bitterly as he remembered that the theft of the forty sous from little Gervais put him in the position of a man guilty of a second offence after conviction. according to the precise terms of the law. the post. in any case. that he had not authority to alter the arrangements made on high. a celestial idea would be mingled with the galleys. He told himself that he must do his duty. unceasing toil. his popularity. that this affair would certainly come up.com  . sur M. the green cap. of indifferent matters. if he remained at M. the iron necklet. would render him liable to penal servitude for life. or holiness within and infamy without. and pitiless shame. his virtue. his good works. but his brain grow weary. that. his charity.. his wealth. that if he allowed things to take their own course. he still paced Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

good God! all this is egotism. ‘Ah! yes. 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. He was cold. he recalled in this connection the fact that. and compared the sounds of the two bells. he lighted a small fire. but it is egotism all the same. it is proper for me to hold my tongue or to denounce myself. all of a sudden. ‘Hold!’ said he. he thought of Fantine. these are diverse forms of egotism.’ he said to himself. ‘and what about that poor woman?’ Here a fresh crisis declared itself. Antoine-Albin de Romainville. then from the town-hall. Fantine. he counted the twelve strokes of the two clocks. by appearing thus abruptly in his revery. it is I. he had seen in an ironmonger’s shop an ancient clock for sale. he finally succeeded in doing this. to be a despica- ble and respected magistrate. a few days previ- ously. it did not occur to him to close the window. pro- duced the effect of an unexpected ray of light. or an infamous and venerable convict. midnight sounded first from the parish church. ‘I had resolved to inform against myself. he was obliged to make a tolerably vigorous effort to recall what had been the subject of his thoughts before midnight had struck. upon which was written the name. it is always I and nothing but I: but.to and fro. to conceal my person or to save my soul.’ And then. In the meantime he had relapsed into his stupor. What if I were to think a lit-  Les Miserables .

I take myself off. what happens? The mother dies. aged grandsires. but what Free eBooks at Planet eBook. this man is going to the galleys. The I excepted. circulation. I have elevated. let us see how it will be if I do not denounce myself. an industry. the child becomes what it can. this Champ- mathieu is released. that is well— and what then? What is going on here? Ah! here is a country. enriched the whole country-side. credit. if I denounce myself.’ After putting this question to himself. the I ef- faced. If I do not denounce myself? come. he seemed to undergo a momentary hesitation and trepidation. both men and women. the cause of all whose misery I have unwittingly been! And that child whom I meant to go in search of. the I forgotten. everywhere where there is a smoking chimney.tle about others? The highest holiness is to think of others. who possesses so many merits in spite of her fall. I have created ease. fecundated. and he answered himself calmly:— ‘Well. what would be the result of all this? What if I denounce myself? I am arrested. poor peo- ple! All this I have created. informed with life. it is I who have placed the brand on the hearth and meat in the pot. let us examine the matter. the soul is lacking. workers. do I not also owe something to this woman. before me there was nothing. but it did not last long. I am put back in the galleys.com  . whom I have promised to her mother. a town. that is what will take place. children. here are factories. stimulated. who has suffered so much. he paused. lacking me. all these I provide with their living. in reparation for the evil which I have done her? If I disappear. come. it is true. vivified. every- thing dies: and this woman.

evidently. indeed. fami- lies. what is that to me? It is not for myself that I am doing it. the idea! for the sake of saving from a punishment. this is abominable! And without the mother even having seen her child once more. for he has! I remain here. a thousand families. a hundred families. has deserved the galleys for something else. murder. which save a guilty  Les Miserables . a good-for-nothing. I have nothing of my own. because I should have thought of no one but myself. a whole country-side must perish! a poor woman must die in the hospital! a poor little girl must die in the street! like dogs. fine scruples. perhaps. are happy. and all that for the sake of an old wretch of an apple-thief who.the deuce! he has stolen! There is no use in my saying that he has not been guilty of theft. wretchedness disappears. What! because it would have pleased me to play the grand and generous. and with wretchedness debauchery. prostitution. industries are aroused and animated. all vices disappear. theft. ah. no one knows whom. the district becomes populated. and behold a whole country rich and honest! Ah! I was a fool! I was ab- surd! what was that I was saying about denouncing myself? I really must pay attention and not be precipitate about any- thing. almost without the child’s having known her mother. most assuredly. I go on: in ten years I shall have made ten millions. but just at bottom. a thief. I scatter them over the country. the pros- perity of all goes on augmenting. after all. factories and shops are multiplied. villages spring up where there were only farms before. all crimes: and this poor mother rears her child. this is melodrama. a trifle exaggerated. farms rise where there was nothing. if not for that.

‘Yes. This poor little Cosette who has no one in the world but me. ‘this is right. let us no longer vacillate. I am on the right road. and who is. after having long groped among the darkest of these shadows. I have the solution. and I was going off to denounce myself. It seemed to him.’ He rose and resumed his march.’ he thought. children. in that alone there is vir- tue. and I was going to neglect my duty towards all these poor creatures. and which sacrifice a whole population. those peoples are rascals. which save an old vagabond who has only a few years to live at most. for the good of others. let us no longer hang back. these reproaches which weigh only on myself. and he was dazzled as he gazed upon it. one of these truths. to ac- cept. and that he now held it in his hand. and that my conscience will reproach me for it some day. that. and who will not be more unhappy in the galleys than in his hovel. this is for the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. blue with cold at this moment in the den of those Thenardiers. in that lies self-sacrifice. I must end by holding fast to something. this evil action which compromises my soul alone. wives. he had at last found one of these diamonds. mothers. after having descended into these depths. no doubt. this time. let things take their course.man and sacrifice the innocent. and I was about to commit that unspeakable folly! Let us put it at the worst: suppose that there is a wrong action on my part in this. he seemed to be content. my resolve is taken. Diamonds are found only in the dark places of the earth.com  . truths are found only in the depths of thought.

and said:— ‘Hold! it has relieved me to come to a decision. in this very room there are objects which would betray me. I am quite another man now. it turns out that some one is Jean Valjean at the present moment. I am Madeleine. let him look out for himself.’ He looked into the little mirror which hung above his chimney-piece. a sort of false cupboard construct- ed in the angle between the wall and the chimney-piece. he inserted the key in a lock whose aperture could hardly be seen. an old knapsack. if it halts and descends on a head. a secret receptacle opened.’ He proceeded a few paces further. dumb things which would bear witness against me. there are still threads which attach me to that Jean Valjean. it is settled. I no longer know anything. I do not know that man. so much the worse for that head. an old pair of trousers. ‘Come!’ he said. drew out his purse. all these things must disappear. Those who had seen  Les Miserables . and a huge thorn cudgel shod with iron at both ends. they must be broken. ‘I must not flinch before any of the con- sequences of the resolution which I have once adopted. and took out a small key. then he stopped short.interest of all. Woe to the man who is Jean Valjean! I am no longer he. opened it. so hidden was it in the most sombre tones of the design which covered the wall-paper. it is a fatal name which was floating abroad in the night. that does not concern me. and Mad- eleine I remain. in this hiding-place there were some rags— a blue linen blouse.’ He fumbled in his pocket. not for my own.

com  . with a quick and abrupt movement. then. and he had allowed the candlesticks which came from the Bishop to be seen. could easily have recognized all the pieces of this miserable outfit. it revealed something which sparkled in the ashes. After the lapse of a few seconds. in order to remind himself continually of his starting-point. the room and the oppo- site wall were lighted up with a fierce. since it was now emp- ty. but paced back and forth with Free eBooks at Planet eBook.Jean Valjean at the epoch when he passed through D—— in October. As the knapsack was consumed. together with the hid- eous rags which it contained. tremulous glow. He had preserved them as he had preserved the silver candlesticks.—no doubt the forty-sou piece stolen from the little Savoyard. cudgel. which he pushed in front of it. he took the whole in his arms at once. and flung them all. rags. He closed the false cupboard again. red. and with redoubled precautions. without bestowing so much as a glance on the things which he had so religiously and so perilously preserved for so many years. By bending over. one could have read- ily recognized a coin. he concealed the door behind a heavy piece of furniture. henceforth unnecessary. knapsack. but he had concealed all that came from the galleys. He cast a furtive glance towards the door. into the fire. He did not look at the fire. Everything was on fire. as though he feared that it would open in spite of the bolt which fastened it. the thorn cudgel snapped and threw out sparks to the middle of the chamber. 1815.

All at once his eye fell on the two silver candlesticks. ‘Yes. which shone vaguely on the chimney-piece. He stirred the live coals with one of the candlesticks. ‘the whole of Jean Valjean is still in them. resolved. They must be destroyed also. fixed.’ He seized the two candlesticks. He bent over the hearth and warmed himself for a mo- ment. He felt a sense of real comfort. A minute more. through the glow. perhaps. whose whole misfortune lies in your name. upon whom your name weighs like a crime. ‘Hold!’ he thought. that’s it! finish!’ said the voice.  Les Miserables . and converted into a sort of unrecognizable bar of metal. At that moment it seemed to him that he heard a voice within him shouting: ‘Jean Valjean! Jean Valjean!’ His hair rose upright: he became like a man who is lis- tening to some terrible thing. There was still fire enough to allow of their being put out of shape. do! That is right! Applaud yourself! So it is settled.the same step. who is about to be taken for you. who will be con- demned. done nothing. who will finish his days in abjectness and horror. an innocent man. ‘How good warmth is!’ said he. and they were both in the fire. agreed: here is an old man who does not know what is wanted of him. ‘Complete what you are about! Destroy these candlesticks! Annihilate this sou- venir! Forget the Bishop! Forget everything! Destroy this Champmathieu. who has.

Then he resumed. and admired. which will make a great noise. and which had proceeded from the most obscure depths of his conscience. virtuous. Yes. who will bear your name in ignominy. and which will curse you in the dark.That is good! Be an honest man yourself. enrich the town. it is well ar- ranged thus. which will talk very loud. remain Monsieur le Maire. and only the malediction will ascend to God. and. live happy. and he now heard it in his very ear. there will be a man who will wear your red blouse. He fixed a hag- gard eye on the candlesticks. ‘Is there any one here?’ he demanded aloud. and that it was now speaking outside of him. and which will bless you. remain honorable and honored. feeble at first. It seemed to him that it had detached itself from him. nourish the indigent. in utter be- wilderment. had gradually become startling and formidable. infamous man! All those benedictions will fall back before they reach heaven. that he glanced around the room in a sort of terror. He thought that he heard the last words so distinctly. while you are here in the midst of joy and light.com  . during this time. and only one which no one will hear. with a laugh which resembled that of an idiot:— ‘How stupid I am! There can be no one!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But that within him which had spoken had not finished. and who will drag your chain in the galleys. The voice continued:— ‘Jean Valjean. Well! listen. there will be around you many voices. rear the orphan. Ah. wretch!’ The perspiration streamed from his brow.’ This voice.

he should never more bestow alms on the little children. at first. to be overwhelmed by precisely the means which Providence seemed to have employed. After the lapse of a few minutes he no longer knew his position. he should never more experience the sweetness of having  Les Miserables . to strengthen his position! There was a moment when he reflected on the future. This tramping to and fro soothed and at the same time intoxicated him. so pure. he should never more hear the birds sing in the month of May. all that he should be obliged to take up once more. but the person who was there was of those whom the human eye cannot see. He now recoiled in equal terror before both the resolu- tions at which he had arrived in turn. It sometimes seems. great God! Deliver himself up! With immense despair he faced all that he should be obliged to leave. and awoke him with a start. to hon- or. as though people moved about for the purpose of asking advice of everything that they may encounter by change of place. The two ideas which counselled him appeared to him equally fatal. He should have to bid farewell to that existence which was so good. so radiant. He placed the candlesticks on the chimney-piece. to the respect of all. Then he resumed his monotonous and lugubrious tramp. which troubled the dreams of the sleeping man beneath him. on supreme occasions. What a fa- tality! What conjunction that that Champmathieu should have been taken for him. He should never more stroll in the fields. to liberty. There was some one. Denounce himself.

to remount.com  . his old portress. what misery! Can destiny. the red waistcoat. the chain on his ankle. who would be told: ‘That man yonder is the famous Jean Valjean. and at night. overwhelmed with las- situde. the camp bed all those horrors which he knew so well! At his age. dripping with perspiration. to be searched by the convict-guard. to receive the galley-sergeant’s cud- gellings.’. their green caps drawn over their eyes. he always fell back upon the heartrending dilemma which lay at the foundation of his revery: ‘Should he remain in paradise and become a de- mon? Should he return to hell and become an angel?’ What was to be done? Great God! what was to be done? Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Never again should he read those books. then. to have to stretch out his leg night and morning to the hammer of the roundsman who visits the gang. the cell. would never more bring him his coffee in the morning. to wear iron-bound shoes on his bare feet. the ladder staircase of the galleys beneath the sergeant’s whip. who was mayor of M. the convict gang. never more should he write on that little table of white wood.glances of gratitude and love fixed upon him. fatigue. after having been what he was! If he were only young again! but to be addressed in his old age as ‘thou’ by any one who pleased. that little chamber! Ev- erything seemed charming to him at that moment. Great God! instead of that. sur M. to submit to the curi- osity of strangers. and become as monstrous as the human heart? And do what he would. the iron necklet. two by two. he should quit that house which he had built. the only servant whom he kept. be as malicious as an intelligent being. Oh.

where young lovers go to pluck lilacs in the month of April. His ideas be- gan to grow confused once more. fallen prostrate with fatigue: Ought he to denounce himself? Ought he to hold his peace? He could not manage to see anything distinctly. into smoke. The vague aspects of all the courses of reasoning which had been sketched out by his meditations quivered and vanished. and without his being able to escape the fact. or the agony of his virtue. Thus did this unhappy soul struggle in its anguish. He tried to put to himself. Alas! all his resolution had again taken possession of him. they assumed a kind of stupefied and mechanical quality which is peculiar to de- spair. one after the other. At intervals. he made an effort to recover the mastery of his mind. and that of necessity. that he was passing through a death agony. the problem over which he had. He was no further advanced than at the beginning. He walked like a little child who is permitted to toddle alone. to whatever course of action he made up his mind. The torment from which he had escaped with so much difficulty was unchained afresh within him. with the two verses of a song which he had heard in the past. that he was entering a sepulchre on the right hand as much as on the left. The name of Romainville recurred incessantly to his mind. He thought that Romainville was a little grove near Paris.  Les Miserables . and definitely. He wavered outwardly as well as inwardly. for the last time. something in him must die.— the agony of his happiness. in a manner. as he combated his lassitude. He only felt that.

the mysterious Being in whom are summed up all the sancti- ties and all the sufferings of humanity had also long thrust aside with his hand.com  . the terrible cup which appeared to Him dripping with darkness and overflowing with shadows in the depths all studded with stars. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. while the olive-trees quivered in the wild wind of the infinite.Eighteen hundred years before this unfortunate man.

Here it is.  Les Miserables . This dream. ‘The Dream I had that Night. almost uninterruptedly. like the majority of dreams. There he fell asleep and had a dream. the history of this night would be incomplete if we were to omit it: it is the gloomy adventure of an ailing soul. It is one of the papers in his own handwriting which he has be- queathed to us. except by its painful and heart-rending character. and he had been walking thus for five hours. On the envelope we find this line inscribed.’ ‘I was in a plain. but it made an impression on him. It did not seem to me to be daylight nor yet night.CHAPTER IV FORMS ASSUMED BY SUFFERING DURING SLEEP Three o’clock in the morning had just struck. gloomy plain. We think that we have here reproduced the thing in strict accordance with the text. a vast. where there was no grass. when he at length allowed himself to drop into his chair. This nightmare struck him so forcibly that he wrote it down later on. Of whatever nature this dream may be. bore no rela- tion to the situation.

‘The first chamber was deserted. We saw a man passing close to us. the brother of whom. the brother of my child- ish years. I must say. ‘I was walking with my brother. ‘I entered a village which I espied. As we talked we felt cold be- cause of that open window. of the hue of ashes. and whom I now hardly remember. He was entirely nude. After proceeding a few paces. I entered the second. I never think. ‘The first street that I entered was deserted. we could see his skull and the veins on it. I said to this Man:— ‘‘What country is this? Where am I?’ The man made no reply. We were talking of a neighbor of ours in former days. I received no re- ply when I spoke: I perceived that my brother was no longer with me. Everything was dirt-colored. and mounted on a horse which was earth color. In his hand he held a switch which was as supple as a vine-shoot and as heavy as iron. The man had no hair. Behind the angle formed by the two streets. who had always worked with her window open from the time when she came to live on the street.com  . I entered a sec- ond street. even the sky. (Why Romainville?)[5] [5] This parenthesis is due to Jean Valjean. This horseman passed and said nothing to us.’ ‘There existed a hollow way wherein one saw neither a sin- gle shrub nor a spear of moss. I reflected that it must be Romainville. ‘There were no trees in the plain. and I entered. ‘My brother said to me. a man was standing erect against the wall. ‘We were conversing and we met some passers-by. I saw the door of a house open. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Let us take to the hollow road.

yet they walked faster than I did. Not a single living being was passing in the streets. ‘I left the town and began to ramble about the fields. A wind which was chill like the  Les Miserables . I quitted the house and entered the garden.Behind the door of this chamber a man was standing erect against the wall. I inquired of this man. All the streets were deserted. ‘What gar- den is this? Where am I?’ The man did not answer.’ He woke. These men watched me pass. ‘The house had a garden. He was icy cold. They had strange heads. and perceived that it was a town. ‘Then the first one whom I had seen and questioned on entering the town said to me:— ‘‘Whither are you going! Do you not know that you have been dead this long time?’ ‘I opened my mouth to reply. walking through the chambers or strolling in the gardens. In an instant this crowd had overtaken and surrounded me. behind each tree. I recognized all the men whom I had seen in that town. behind each door. ‘Whose house is this? Where am I?’ The man replied not. all the doors were open. They made no noise as they walked. ‘After the lapse of some time I turned back and saw a great crowd coming up behind me. ‘I strolled into the village. stood a silent man. and I perceived that there was no one near me. The faces of these men were earthen in hue. Behind the first tree I found a man standing upright. Only one was to be seen at a time. But behind each angle of the walls. They did not seem to be in a hurry. The garden was deserted. I said to this man.

‘What vehicle is this?’ he said to himself. whose rays length- ened and shortened in a singular manner through the darkness. ‘there are no stars in the sky. which made him drop his eyes. ‘Who is coming here so early in the morning?’ At that moment there came a light tap on the door of his chamber. As his thoughts were still half immersed in the mists of sleep. he looked and recognized the fact that these two stars were the lanterns of a carriage. resounded from the earth. It was still black night. which had been left open on their hinges. They are on earth now. Below him he perceived two red stars.breeze of dawn was rattling the leaves of the window. ‘Hold!’ said he. It was a tilbury harnessed to a small white horse. He rose. and cried in a terrible voice:— ‘Who is there?’ Some one said:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ But this confusion vanished. There were no stars in the sky even yet. The noise which he had heard was the trampling of the horse’s hoofs on the pavement. A sharp. From his window the yard of the house and the street were visible. He shuddered from head to foot. The can- dle was nearing its end. he went to the window.com  . harsh noise. a second sound similar to the first roused him thoroughly. The fire was out. By the light which they cast he was able to distinguish the form of this vehicle.

as though a flash of lightning had passed in front of his face. Monsieur le Maire?’ ‘Say that it is well. The old woman waited for him. Monsieur le Maire.’  Les Miserables . She even ventured to uplift her voice once more:— ‘What am I to say. and from around the wick he took some of the burning wax. A tolerably long silence ensued.’ ‘What is that to me?’ ‘The cabriolet is here. He examined the flame of the candle with a stupid air. ‘Well!’ he replied. ‘The coachman says that he has come for Monsieur le Maire.’ ‘What tilbury?’ ‘Did not Monsieur le Maire order a tilbury?’ ‘No. and that I am coming down.’ ‘What cabriolet?’ ‘The tilbury.’ ‘M. Scaufflaire’s coachman.’ ‘What coachman?’ ‘M. it is just five o’clock in the morning. Scaufflaire!’ If the old woman could have seen him at that moment.’ He recognized the voice of the old woman who was his portress. which he rolled between his fingers.’ said he.’ he resumed. ‘M. Monsieur le Maire. ‘what is it?’ ‘Monsieur le Maire. ‘I. ‘Ah! yes. she would have been frightened. Scaufflaire?’ That name sent a shudder over him.

which have no counterparts nowadays. The post-wagon which set out from Arras at one o’clock every night. they resembled the insects which are called. and climbing up some road to the horizon. offensive axles which keep other vehicles at a distance. This coffer was painted black. and which. and when one saw them passing in the distance. a little before five Free eBooks at Planet eBook. arrived at M. though with but little corselet. one for the postboy. after the mail from Paris had passed. The despatch box. But they travelled at a very rapid rate. sur M. was placed behind the vehicle and formed a part of it.com  . the other for the traveller. drag a great train behind them. These mail-wagons were two-wheeled cabrio- lets. and which may still be seen on the road in Germany. upholstered inside with fawn-colored leather. had something distorted and hunchbacked about them. and the cabriolet yellow. These vehicles.CHAPTER V HINDRANCES The posting service from Arras to M. termites. hung on springs. I think. The wheels were armed with those long. and having but two seats. an immense oblong coffer. was still op- erated at this period by small mail-wagons of the time of the Empire. sur M.

by the Hesdin road. and he shuddered. decided nothing. That night the wagon which was descending to M. He plunged into the night as into a gulf. just as it was entering the town. The postman shouted to the man to stop. He was. but the traveller paid no heed and pursued his road at full gallop. Why was he hastening? He did not know.o’clock in the morning. done nothing. and in which there was but one person. Why was he going to Arras? He repeated what he had already said to himself when  Les Miserables . which was going in the opposite direction. sur M. Whither? To Arras. formed no plan. straight ahead. Something urged him forward. At times he was conscious of it. something drew him on. ‘That man is in a devilish hurry!’ said the postman. The man thus hastening on was the one whom we have just seen struggling in convulsions which are certainly de- serving of pity. with a little tilbury harnessed to a white horse. What man is there who has not entered. into that obscure cavern of the unknown? However. he had resolved on nothing. collided at the corner of a street. The wheel of the tilbury received quite a vio- lent shock. more than ever. no doubt. every one will understand it. as he had been at the first moment. Whither was he going? He could not have told. None of the actions of his conscience had been decisive. No one could have told what was taking place within him. at least once in his life. but he might have been going elsewhere as well. He was driving at random. a man enveloped in a mantle.

after all. whatever the result was to be. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and that Brevet. That it was. and judge of matters for himself.he had hired Scaufflaire’s cabriolet: that. some wretch. which was proceeding at that fine. that he must know what took place. that all conjectures and all sup- positions were fixed on Champmathieu. that. that this was even prudent. Nevertheless. that accordingly there was no danger. As he meditated. that Javert would indeed be there. but that he should emerge from it. he would have pre- ferred not to go to Arras.com  . that he was master of it. and even trot which accom- plishes two leagues and a half an hour. that. his conscience would probably be greatly relieved to allow him to go to the gal- leys in his stead. He clung to this thought. however bad it might be. he whipped up his horse. he was going thither. but they certainly would not recognize him. and that there is nothing so headstrong as suppositions and conjectures. to tell the whole truth. that one made mountains out of everything from a distance. at any rate. At bottom. regular. that Cochepaille. in his own hand. he held his destiny. In proportion as the cabriolet advanced. there was no reason why he should not see with his own eyes. no doubt. that Chenildieu.—bah! what an idea! that Javert was a hundred leagues from suspecting the truth. old convicts who had known him. he felt some- thing within him draw back. when he should have seen that Champmathieu. a dark moment. that no decision could be arrived at without having observed and scrutinized.

These things are charming when one is joyous. At daybreak he was in the open country. ‘And yet there are people there within who are sleeping!’ The trot of the horse. lay far behind him. which has too much head. fine legs. sur M. It was broad daylight when he arrived at Hesdin. and lugubrious when one is sad. monotonous noise. but which has a broad chest. The excel- lent beast had travelled five leagues in two hours. The stableman who brought the oats suddenly bent down and examined the left wheel. the bells on the harness.  Les Miserables . The horse belonged. produced a gentle. as Scaufflaire had said. the wheels on the road. The morning has its spectres as well as the evening. he said to himself. He did not see them. and to have him given some oats. and not enough neck and shoulders. and had not a drop of sweat on his loins. Each time that he passed one of those isolated dwellings which sometimes border on the highway. and by means of a sort of penetration which was almost physical. he stared at all the chilly figures of a winter’s dawn as they passed before his eyes. too much belly. to that small race of the Boulonnais. and solid hoofs—a homely. but without seeing them. He halt- ed in front of the inn. He watched the horizon grow white. these black silhouettes of trees and of hills added some gloomy and sin- ister quality to the violent state of his soul. to allow the horse a breathing spell. a large crupper. the town of M. thin. He did not get out of the tilbury. but without his being aware of it. but a robust and healthy race.

was standing on his own threshold. He replied. it certainly will not travel another quarter of a league. the wheelwright.’ he said to the stableman. ‘Five leagues.’ ‘He is only a step from here. The shock administered by the mail-wagon had split two spokes and strained the hub. with an air of not having roused himself from his revery:— ‘Why?’ ‘Have you come from a great distance?’ went on the man. then he rose erect and said:— ‘Because. ‘My friend. my friend?’ ‘I say that it is a miracle that you should have travelled five leagues without you and your horse rolling into some ditch on the highway. so that the nut no longer held firm. though this wheel has travelled five leagues. Just see here!’ The wheel really had suffered serious damage.’ He sprang out of the tilbury. sir.’ ‘Do me the service to go and fetch him. ‘What is that you say. ‘is there a wheel- wright here?’ ‘Certainly.’ ‘Ah!’ ‘Why do you say. Hey! Master Bourgaillard!’ Master Bourgaillard.com  . examined the wheel and made Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Are you going far in this condition?’ said the man. with his eyes fixed on the wheel. was silent for a mo- ment. ‘Ah?’’ The man bent down once more. He came.

sir. sir.’ ‘Impossible.’ ‘Impossible to-day.’ ‘I have no wheel on hand that would fit your cabriolet.’ ‘Have you not a wheel that you can sell me? Then I could start again at once.’ ‘Impossible.’  Les Miserables .’ ‘A spare wheel?’ ‘Yes. ‘Can you repair this wheel immediately?’ ‘Yes. Two new spokes and a hub must be made.a grimace like a surgeon when the latter thinks a limb is broken.’ ‘I will pay whatever you ask. then. Two wheels cannot be put together hap-hazard. Monsieur will not be able to start before to-morrow morning.’ ‘The matter cannot wait until to-morrow.’ ‘Well. What if you were to replace this wheel instead of repairing it?’ ‘How so?’ ‘You are a wheelwright?’ ‘Certainly.’ ‘When can I set out again?’ ‘To-morrow.’ ‘To-morrow!’ ‘There is a long day’s work on it. I must set out again in an hour at the latest. sir. sir?’ ‘In a very great hurry. in two hours. Are you in a hurry. Two wheels make a pair.

nevertheless.’ ‘By taking two post-horses?’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Does it make any difference whether Monsieur arrives Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He shrugged his shoulders.’ ‘I have none. that is to say.com  . sir.’ ‘What! not even a spring-cart? I am not hard to please.’ ‘Try. then. I might let that to you. There is. I would not let it to you!’ ‘Well. which belongs to a bourgeois of the town.’ ‘Where is Monsieur going?’ ‘To Arras.’ added the wheelwright. it is a calash. I have nothing to sell but cart-wheels. and who only uses it on the thirty-sixth of the month—never. ‘You treat the cabriolets that people let you so well! If I had one. ‘an old calash under the shed yonder. in truth. as you see. ‘In that case. sell me a pair of wheels.’ ‘Have you a cabriolet that you can let me have?’ The wheelwright had seen at the first glance that the tilbury was a hired vehicle. sir.’ ‘I will take two post-horses.’ ‘Not all wheels fit all axles.’ ‘And Monsieur wishes to reach there to-day?’ ‘Yes. sell it to me.’ ‘It is useless. it would require two horses. who gave it to me to take care of. of course. We are but a poor country here. for what matters it to me? But the bourgeois must not see it pass— and then.’ ‘We live in a poor country.

then. they drive at a walk. by taking post-horses. you see. And. The season for ploughing is just beginning. the horses are in the fields. Unharness the cabriolet. from the post as well as elsewhere. he will not bear it. or for a thousand. for five hundred francs.at four o’clock to-morrow morning?’ ‘Certainly not.’ ‘Then—‘ ‘But I can surely hire a horse in the village?’ ‘A horse to travel to Arras at one stretch?’ ‘Yes.’  Les Miserables . and horses are seized upon everywhere.’ ‘Well. You would have to buy it to begin with. There are many hills to ascend.’ ‘What am I to do?’ ‘The best thing is to let me repair the wheel like an honest man. Monsieur will have to wait three or four hours at the least at every relay. by tak- ing post-horses— Monsieur has his passport?’ ‘Yes. Some one can surely sell me a saddle in the neigh- borhood. But will this horse bear the saddle?’ ‘That is true. But you will not find one for sale nor to let. heavy teams are required. We are on a cross-road. Monsieur cannot reach Ar- ras before to-morrow. I will go on horseback.’ ‘Come then. because no one knows you. The relays are badly served.’ ‘Without doubt. and set out on your journey to-morrow. you remind me of that.’ ‘That would require such a horse as does not exist in these parts.’ ‘There is one thing to be said about that.

too. Both the posts pass at night.’ ‘What! It will take you a day to mend this wheel?’ ‘A day. It did not concern him further. If he went no further. not with the hub. he had been deterred neither by the season.’ ‘Is there another wheelwright?’ The stableman and the wheelwright replied in concert. That it was it who had broken the wheel of the tilbury and who was stopping him on the road. and a good long one. It was no lon- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that was no fault of his.’ ‘Is there any one in this village who lets out teams?’ ‘No.’ ‘What if the spokes were to be tied together with ropes?’ ‘That could be done with the spokes. with a toss of the head ‘No. he had loyally and scrupulously exhausted all means. It was evident that Providence was intervening. he had nothing with which to reproach himself. ‘To-morrow will be too late. nor by the expense. He had not yielded to this sort of first summons.’ ‘The deuce!’ ‘Is there not a mail-wagon which runs to Arras? When will it pass?’ ‘To-night. nor fatigue.com  . he had just made every possible effort to continue the journey. the one going as well as the one coming.’ He felt an immense joy.’ ‘If you set two men to work?’ ‘If I set ten men to work. and the felly is in a bad state.

no one would have heard him. He breathed again.ger his fault. Any colloquy in the street inevitably attracts a crowd. ‘my boy tells me that you  Les Miserables . after the inward de- liberation which we have just described. If his conversation with the wheelwright had taken place in a chamber of the inn. While he was questioning the wheelwright. He said himself that he had done all he could. He breathed freely and to the full extent of his lungs for the first time since Javert’s visit. this child returned. detached himself from the group and ran off. He was accompanied by an old woman. to whom no one had paid any heed. and that now he had nothing to do but retrace his steps quietly.’ said the woman. things would have rested there. and it is probable that we should not have had to relate any of the occurrences which the reader is about to peruse. it would have had no witnesses. After listening for a few minutes. a young lad. It was not the act of his own conscience. It seemed to him that God was for him now. There are always people who ask nothing better than to become spectators. At the moment when the traveller. but the act of Providence. resolved to retrace his steps. some people who were passing back and forth halted around them. It seemed to him that the hand of iron which had held his heart in its grasp for the last twenty hours had just released him. and was manifesting Himself. ‘Monsieur. but this conversation had taken place in the street.

The fatal hand had grasped him again. but this trap. He answered:— ‘Yes. ‘Where?’ interpolated the wheelwright. it rests flat on the axle. the wheels were rusted and eaten with moisture.’ said the old woman. whatever it was. it is an actual fact that the seats were suspended inside it by leather thongs. my good woman. The wheelwright and the stable-man. ‘It was a frightful old trap.’ etc.wish to hire a cabriolet..’ replied the old woman. interfered. it would not go much further than the tilbury.’ These simple words uttered by an old woman led by a child made the perspiration trickle down his limbs. in de- spair at the prospect of the traveller escaping their clutches. I am in search of a cabriolet which I can hire. this thing. ‘At my house. the rain came into it. ran on its two wheels and could go to Arras. All this was true. ready to seize him once more. this ramshackle old ve- hicle. the gentle- man would make a great mistake if he trusted himself to it. He thought that he beheld the hand which had relaxed its grasp reappear in the darkness behind him.’ ‘Certainly there is. The old woman really had in her shed a sort of basket spring-cart. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . etc. He shuddered. a regular ramshackle old stage-wagon.’ And he hastened to add:— ‘But there is none in the place.

‘it was I who got the cart for you. It was the old woman’s little boy. he was taking this trip of his own free will. and resumed the road which he had been travelling since morn- ing. climbed into it. left the tilbury with the wheel- wright to be repaired. No one was forc- ing him to it. He had lost a great deal of time at Hesdin. intending to reclaim it on his return. a certain joy in the thought that he should not go whither he was now proceed- ing. you scamp?’ said he. a moment previously.’ He whipped up his horse and set off at full speed.’ He who gave to all so readily thought this demand exor- bitant and almost odious.’ said the latter. ‘Monsieur. He wanted to  Les Miserables . ‘you shall have noth- ing. had the white horse put to the cart. and found it absurd. He paid what was asked. Why should he feel joy at turning back? After all. he heard a voice shouting to him: ‘Stop! Stop!’ He halted the cart with a vigorous movement which contained a feverish and convulsive element resem- bling hope. At the moment when the cart moved off. he admitted that he had felt. ‘Ah! it’s you. And assuredly nothing would happen except what he should choose. He examined this joy with a sort of wrath. As he left Hesdin.’ ‘Well?’ ‘You have not given me anything.

make it good. it was no longer the tilbury. he looked at the girl with a sensation of comfort.’ His breakfast was served. took a mouthful. and did not touch it again.’ A big Flemish servant-maid placed his knife and fork in all haste. The inn-keeper’s wife came to the stable.com  . but it was the month of February. who had a rosy. ‘I must start again. A carter was eating at another table. ‘Make haste!’ said he. I even have a good appetite. there had been rain. that is true. And then. and then slowly replaced it on the table. and pulled for two. I am in a hur- ry. he thought of sad and confusing things. four hours for five leagues. ‘That is what ailed me. ‘Does not Monsieur wish to breakfast?’ ‘Come. the roads were bad. At Saint-Pol he had the horse unharnessed at the first inn he came to and led to the stable. The little horse was courageous. there were many ascents. cheerful face. he said to this man:— ‘Why is their bread so bitter here?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I had not breakfast- ed. as he had promised Scaufflaire. he seized the bread. he stood beside the manger while the horse was eating.’ he thought.’ He followed the woman. He took nearly four hours to go from Hesdin to Saint- Pol. The cart was very heavy. she led him to the public room where there were tables cov- ered with waxed cloth. and in addition.

Twilight was falling when the children who were coming out of school beheld this traveller enter Tinques. we hasten. the gloomy horse of life. An hour later he had quitted Saint-Pol and was direct- ing his course towards Tinques. he did not halt at Tinques. he did make comparisons between the shift- ing horizon and our human existence: all the things of life are perpetually fleeing before us. we distinguish an obscure door. as he emerged from the village. he watched the trees. and almost relieves it from thought. perhaps. in the vaguest region of his mind. and the way in which the landscape. He returned to the stable and remained near the horse. raised his head and said to him:—  Les Miserables . an eclipse. we look. it is true that the days were still short. we feel a shock. all at once. broken at every turn of the road. this is a sort of contemplation which sometimes suffices to the soul. a laborer. and. all is black. vanished. the thatched roofs. which has been drawing us halts. we are old. the tilled fields pass by. we stretch out our hands to grasp what is passing. What is more melancholy and more profound than to see a thousand ob- jects for the first and the last time? To travel is to be born and to die at every instant. The carter was a German and did not understand him. after a dazzling moment. What did he do during this journey? Of what was he thinking? As in the morning. and we see a veiled and unknown person unharnessing amid the shadows. each event is a turn in the road. which is only five leagues from Arras. who was mending the road with stones. the dark and bright inter- vals are intermingled.

’ ‘Really?’ ‘You will take the road on the left.’ ‘How is that? the posting guide only says five leagues and a quarter. in fact. when you reach Camblin. ‘so you don’t know that the road is under repair? You will find it barred a quarter of an hour further on. going at a walk.’ ‘I must be there this evening. you can reach Arras to-morrow.’ ‘That is different.’ ‘But it is night. ‘shall I give you a piece of advice? your horse is tired. return to Tinques. the stable-boy will guide you through the cross-roads.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and asked the laborer:— ‘How far is it from here to Arras?’ ‘Nearly seven good leagues. you will cross the river. leading to Carency. there is no way to proceed further. it is all cross-roads. and I shall lose my way.’ He stopped his horse. stop! sir. you will turn to the right. besides. that is the road to Mont-Saint-Eloy which leads to Arras.com  . and get an extra horse. sleep there.’ resumed the road-mender. but go to the inn all the same. ‘Are you going to Arras?’ added the road-mender. there is a good inn there. ‘That horse is very much fatigued.’ ‘And.’ ‘If you go on at that rate you will not arrive very early.’ ‘You do not belong in these parts?’ ‘No. ‘Yes.’ ‘Ah!’ returned the road-mender.’ The poor beast was.

he said to the postilion:— ‘Keep at a trot. everything that could be seen assumed attitudes of terror.’ said the postilion. the cart lurched from one rut to the other. he passed the same spot again. but they set out again at a gallop. a stable- boy. black. was seated on the shaft of the cariole. They turned into the cross-road.’ He replied. ‘I don’t know how to harness my horse now. and. but this time at full speed. sir. sir. retraced his steps. Night had fully come.’ He cut a branch from a tree and made a whiffle-tree of it. as of some one moving furniture. ‘There’s the whiffle-tree broken. the way became fright- fully bad. half an hour later. crisp fogs crept over the hills and wrenched themselves away like smoke: there were whitish gleams in the clouds. How many things shiver beneath these vast breaths of the  Les Miserables . This caused another loss of twenty minutes. who called himself a postilion. we could be in Arras early to-morrow morning. He followed the road-mender’s advice. a strong breeze which blew in from the sea produced a sound in all quarters of the horizon. he felt that he had lost time. with a good horse to aid. and you shall have a double fee. Still. the whiffle-tree broke. ‘Have you a bit of rope and a knife?’ ‘Yes.’ In one of the jolts. if you wish to return and sleep at Tinques. this road is very bad at night. The plain was gloomy. low-hanging.

The hour struck from a distant tower. he for the first time indulged in this re- flection. that he did not know so much as the hour of the trial. have informed himself of that.night! He was stiff with cold. four or five depositions. we have but three leagues still to go.com  . then he sketched out some calculations in his mind: that. at least. he vaguely recalled his other nocturnal trip in the vast plain in the neighborhood of D——. that he should arrive after all was over. sir. that he was foolish to go thus straight ahead without knowing whether he would be of any service or not. The postilion whipped up the horses. we shall reach Arras at eight. perhaps. ordinarily. that it could not be a long affair. he had eaten nothing since the night before. he asked the boy:— ‘What time is it?’ ‘Seven o’clock. The night grew more profound. and very little for the lawyers to say. that there would then re- main only a question of identity. that the theft of the apples would be very brief. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. thinking it odd the while that it had not occurred to him sooner: that all this trouble which he was taking was. that he should. eight years previously.’ At that moment. the sittings of the Court of Assizes began at nine o’clock in the morning. and it seemed but yesterday. they had crossed the river and left Mont-Saint-Eloy behind them. useless.

in a low voice.’ Some months before this. her fever had doubled in intensity. All the morning she was melancholy. ‘Well. They seemed almost extinguished at intervals. when the doctor paid his visit. and ordered that he should be informed as soon as M. her cough was fright- ful. It seems as though. She had passed a very bad night. I should like to see M. at the approach of a certain dark hour. and laid plaits in her sheets. her last shame.CHAPTER VI SISTER SIMPLICE PUT TO THE PROOF But at that moment Fantine was joyous. she replied invariably. the light of heaven fills those who are quitting the light of earth. she had had dreams: in the morning. then lighted up again and shone like stars. Her eyes were hollow and staring. at the moment when Fantine had just lost her last modesty. said but little. Madeleine. Madeleine arrived. calculations which seemed to be calculations of distances. and her last  Les Miserables . murmuring the while. he assumed an alarmed look. Each time that Sister Simplice asked her how she felt. she was de- lirious.

At the third stroke. her eyes riv- eted on the door. she was the shadow of herself. The sister dared not speak to her. a leaden complexion. fleshless hands in a sort of convulsive clasp. Fantine began to be restless. now she was the spec- tre of herself. She remained thus for a quarter of an hour.com  . In the course of twenty minutes. Madeleine usually came to see the invalid at three o’clock. This creature of five and twenty had a wrinkled brow. Alas! how illness improvises old-age! At mid-day the physician returned. and the nun heard her utter one of those profound sighs which seem to throw off dejection. No one entered. and her golden hair was growing out sprinkled with gray. she who could. motionless and apparently holding her breath. she asked the nun more than ten times. gave some directions. M. flabby cheeks. Fantine fell back on her pillow. pinched nostrils. inquired whether the mayor had made his appearance at the infirmary. but began to plait the sheets once more. The clock struck a quarter past three. a clayey skin. About half-past two. the door did not open. he was exact. frail limbs. Then Fantine turned and looked at the door. and shook his head.joy. Physical suffering had completed the work of moral suffering. in general. sister?’ Three o’clock struck. Fantine sat up in bed. a bony neck. As exactness is kindness. teeth from which the gums had receded. She said nothing. hardly turn over. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. prominent shoulder-blades. joined her yellow. ‘What time is it.

she blamed no one. in a broidered mantle clad. She smiled now and then. This is what Fantine was singing:— “Lovely things we will buy As we stroll the faubourgs through. hide ‘neath my veil the child whom you one day begged from me. Madeleine’s delay. then fell back again. very low and gently. Half an hour passed. Roses are pink.’ “Lovely things we will buy  Les Miserables .’ Sister Simplice herself was surprised at M. corn-flowers are blue. Fantine started up and looked to- wards the door. ‘Yestere’en the Virgin Mary came near my stove. Then the sister heard her say. buy a needle. Her thought was clearly perceptible. One would have said that something dark was descending upon her. But she coughed in a melancholy way. no one came. She was livid and her lips were blue. corn-flowers are blue. In the meantime. She seemed to be endeavoring to recall something. All at once she began to sing in a voice as feeble as a breath. she made no complaint. ‘Here. The nun listened. and said to me. I love my love. buy thread. then an hour. since I am going away to-morrow. Five o’clock struck. Haste to the city. Fantine was staring at the tester of her bed. buy linen. but she uttered no name. every time the clock struck. ‘He is wrong not to come to-day.

Make of it. spoiling not. that it was enough to make any one. even a nun. what shall I do with this linen fine?’—‘Make of it clothes for thy new- born babe. The sister.com  . ‘Dear Holy Virgin.’—‘Where?’—‘In the stream.’ “Roses are pink and corn-flowers are blue. corn-flowers are blue. and to so sweet an air. lulled her little Cosette to sleep. in former days. God may give me his loveliest star. the child is no longer here. I love my love. which I will embroider and fill with flowers. and which had never recurred to her mind in all the five years during which she had been parted from her child. She sang it in so sad a voice. As we stroll the faubourgs through.’—‘Madame. beside my stove I have set a cradle with ribbons decked. and corn-flowers are blue. soiling not. ‘‘Wash this linen. corn-flowers are blue. I love my love. felt a tear spring to her eyes. accustomed as she was to austerities. ‘Madame. weep. I prefer the child thou hast granted me. what is to be done?’—‘Then make of it a winding-sheet in which to bury me.’ “Lovely things we will buy As we stroll the faubourgs through. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Roses are pink.’ This song was an old cradle romance with which she had. a petticoat fair with its bodice fine.

cold as the weather was. She no longer seemed to pay attention to anything about her. Fantine. and her head thrust through the opening of the curtains. in a little tilbury harnessed to a white horse. had raised herself to her knees in bed. that the mayor had set out that morning before six o’clock. That when he went away he had been very gentle. While the two women were whispering together. that no one knew what road he had taken. with her shrivelled hands resting on the bolster. which unite the free movements of health with the frightful emaciation of death. The servant informed Sister Simplice in a very low tone. Sister Simplice sent a serving-maid to inquire of the por- tress of the factory. without even a driver. the servant conjecturing. and that he had merely told the portress not to expect him that night. that he had gone alone. as usual. that people said he had been seen to turn into the road to Arras. The clock struck six. with their backs turned to Fantine’s bed. The girl returned in a few minutes. Fantine was still motionless and seemed absorbed in her own thoughts. and if he would not come to the infirmary soon. Fantine did not seem to hear it. All at once she cried:— ‘You are speaking of M. Madeleine! Why are you talking so low? What is he doing? Why does he not come?’  Les Miserables . with the feverish vivacity of certain organic maladies. and was listening. whether the mayor had returned. that others asserted that they had met him on the road to Paris. the sister interrogat- ing.

‘Gone!’ she cried.’ ‘Be calm. ‘Answer me!’ cried Fantine. without changing her attitude. deal her a terrible blow. my child. for it was a lie that the maid had proposed to her. the sister raised her calm.’ Fantine. Her voice was so abrupt and hoarse that the two women thought they heard the voice of a man. sad eyes to Fantine. I want to know it. they wheeled round in affright. Her flush did not last long. her lips moved. she was praying in a low voice.com  . You are whispering it to each other there. indescribable joy beamed from that melancholy face.’ Fantine raised herself and crouched on her heels in the bed: her eyes sparkled.’ said the sister.’ The servant-maid hastened to say in the nun’s ear. and said. continued in a loud voice.’ Then she raised her arms to heaven. without doubt. ‘Monsieur le Maire has gone away. ‘he has gone to get Cosette. On the other hand. and her white face became ineffable. ‘lie down again. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and with an accent that was both imperious and heart-rending:— ‘He cannot come? Why not? You know the reason. it seemed to her that the mere com- munication of the truth to the invalid would.’ Sister Simplice blushed faintly. The servant stammered:— ‘The portress told me that he could not come to-day. ‘Say that he is busy with the city council. and that this was a serious matter in Fantine’s present state.

I will do anything you wish.’ she said. just think! he has gone to Montfermeil to get my little Cosette. Montfermeil is a little to the left as you come thence. When her prayer was finished. and do not talk any more. for they have been paid. Do not make signs to me that I must not talk. the authorities will not allow them to keep the child since they have received their pay. and then. I beg your pardon for having spoken so loud. Madeleine is good. helped the nun to arrange her pillow. sister! I am extreme- ly happy. I know that well. I am going to see Cosette again. and kissed the little silver cross which she wore on her neck. and the latter was pained to feel that perspiration. M. you see. he need not even go through Paris. ‘My child. I am doing well. I am not ill at all any more. I am very happy: the good God is good. can they? they will give back Cosette. but. and which Sister Simplice had given her. they cannot say anything. my good sister. it is nearly five years since I saw her last. I am even quite hungry. you cannot imagine how much attached one gets to children. it is very wrong to talk loudly. when I spoke to him of Cosette. ‘I am willing to lie down again. Do you remember how he said to me yesterday. in fact. with the nun’s assistance. ‘He set out this morning for Paris. soon? He wants to give me a surprise. Soon.’ said the sister. she will  Les Miserables . I was naughty just now.’ Fantine took the sister’s hand in her moist hands.’ She lay down again. you know! he made me sign a letter so that she could be taken from the Thenardiers. ‘try to rest now. ‘Sister.

Stop! this morning I was looking at the dust on the chimney-piece. Mon Dieu! how wrong it is not to see one’s chil- dren for years! One ought to reflect that life is not eternal. good sister of the good God. like this! she must be a big girl now. she was all rosy now. What a place that Montfermeil is! I took that journey on foot once. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. le Maire is to go! it is very cold! it is true. you must remind me to put on my little cap that has lace on it. the joy of a mother is almost infantile. I am mad. I call her Cosette. how good M. but her name is really Euphrasie.’ ‘To-morrow! to-morrow!’ said Fantine. replied. she laughed softly. now and then she talked. you will see! If you only knew what pretty little rosy fingers she had! In the first place. she is quite a young lady. but the dil- igences go very quickly! he will be here to-morrow with Cosette: how far is it from here to Montfermeil?’ The sister. she will have very beautiful hands. and I had a sort of idea come across me. I could dance if any one wished it. she had ridiculous hands when she was only a year old. sister. that I am no longer ill. ‘I shall see Co- sette to-morrow! you see. Oh. that I should see Cosette again soon.’ A person who had seen her a quarter of an hour previ- ously would not have understood the change. I think that he will be here to-morrow.com  . her whole face was one smile. will he not? to-morrow will be a festival day. at least? he will be here to-morrow. she spoke in a lively and natural voice. to-morrow morn- ing. he had on his cloak.be so pretty. ‘Oh. like that. she is seven years old. who had no idea of distances. it was very long for me.

I shall be able to say good morning to her. for you are going to have your child. Sister Simplice is right. ‘Well. without stirring. and approached the bed on tiptoe. he saw Fantine’s big eyes gazing at him.’ Fantine laid her head on her pillow and said in a low voice: ‘Yes. She said to him.’ And then. after all. and she went on:— ‘You see. and that in their doubt they had not thought it well to undeceive the invalid. who believed that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil. poor kitten. she began to stare all about her with wide-open eyes and a joyous air. every one here is right. and do not talk any more. he opened the curtains a little. Between seven and eight o’clock the doctor came. entered softly. hoping that she would fall into a doze. and she explained matters to him. that M. not hearing any sound. her little gentle  Les Miserables . will she not.’ resumed the nun.’ The doctor took Sister Simplice aside. ‘now that you are happy. and she said nothing more. be good. Madeleine was absent for a day or two. She added:— ‘See! there is just room. when she wakes up in the morning. by the light of the taper. that her guess was correct: the doctor approved. without even moving her head. mind me. that it was possible. He returned to Fantine’s bed. he thought Fan- tine was asleep. and when I cannot sleep at night. and. ‘She will be allowed to sleep beside me in a little bed. lie down again. I can hear her asleep. sir?’ The doctor thought that she was delirious. The sister drew the curtains together again.

‘Doctor. hold! in truth. in case the fever should increase again during the night. As he took his departure. and exclaimed with a laugh:— ‘Ah.’ The doctor was surprised. you did not know it. Co- sette will arrive to-morrow. her pulse had regained its strength. ‘did the sister tell you that M. and.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I am cured. great joy has been known to arrest maladies.com  . he said to the sister:— ‘She is doing better. but all those things are such mysteries: we may be able to save her.’ ‘Give me your hand. worn-out creature. she was better.’ she went on. le Maire has gone to get that mite of a child?’ The doctor recommended silence. who knows? there are crises so astounding. a sort of life had suddenly supervened and reanimated this poor. if good luck willed that the may- or should actually arrive to-morrow with the child. She stretched out her arm. and in an advanced state.breathing will do me good. he prescribed an infusion of pure chinchona. the pressure on her chest had decreased. I know well that this is an organ- ic disease. a calming potion. and that all pain- ful emotions should be avoided.’ said the doctor.

responded with an abstracted air to the attentions of the people of the inn. which we left on the road. but at bottom. sat down there. and leaned his elbows on a table.CHAPTER VII THE TRAVELLER ON HIS ARRIVAL TAKES PRECAUTIONS FOR DEPARTURE It was nearly eight o’clock in the evening when the cart. entered the porte-cochere of the Hotel de la Poste in Arras. the man whom we have been fol- lowing up to this moment alighted from it. he did himself the justice to acknowledge that it was not his fault. then he opened the door of a billiard-room which was situated on the ground floor. The landlady of the hotel entered. ‘Does Monsieur wish a bed? Does Monsieur require sup-  Les Miserables . he was not sorry. sent back the extra horse. he had tak- en fourteen hours for the journey which he had counted on making in six. and with his own hands led the little white horse to the stable.

com  . He crossed the little river Crinchon. ‘Monsieur. and inquired whether there was any way of re- turning that same night to M. and he walked on at random. sur M. as though he feared lest some one should hear the question which he was about to put. Monsieur! he must rest for two days at least. but he seemed bent upon not asking the way of the passers-by.’ The hostess conducted him to the office. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said the clerk. ‘The stableman says that Monsieur’s horse is extremely fatigued. A citizen was passing along with a lantern. ‘Will not the horse be in a condition to set out again to- morrow morning?’ ‘Oh. he decided to apply to this man.’ This done. sir.’ He inquired:— ‘Is not the posting-station located here?’ ‘Yes. he left the hotel and began to wander about the town. he showed his passport. he en- gaged it and paid for it. the seat beside the post-boy chanced to be vacant.’ Here he broke his silence. not without having first glanced behind and in front of him. He was not acquainted with Arras. and found himself in a labyrinth of narrow al- leys where he lost his way. by the mail-wagon. the streets were dark. ‘do not fail to be here ready to start at precisely one o’clock in the morning.per?’ He made a sign of the head in the negative. After some hesitation.

’ On the way. and they are holding an evening session. The matter must have been greatly protracted. the prefecture of to-day was the bishop’s palace before the Revolution.’ said the bourgeois. follow me. The sittings generally close at six o’clock. There is light there. I only wish to speak to one of the lawyers. ‘where is the court-house. ‘Certainly. ‘Monsieur. Do you see those four windows? That is the Court of Assizes. I happen to be go- ing in the direction of the court-house. sir.’ said he. ‘Stop. It is in this grand hall that the court is held. however. ‘Upon my word. you have arrived in season. and the courts are holding their sittings provisionally in the prefecture. Do you take an interest in this affair? Is it a criminal case? Are you a witness?’ He replied:— ‘I have not come on any business. the man pointed out to him four long windows all lighted up. you are in luck. built a grand hall there. that is to say. who was bishop in ‘82. in the direction of the hotel of the prefecture. M. sir?’ replied the bourgeois. sir. the bourgeois said to him:— ‘If Monsieur desires to witness a case.’ When they arrived on the grand square. in the front of a vast and gloomy building. who was an oldish man. ‘well.’ ‘Is it there that the Assizes are held?’ he asked. it is rather late.’ ‘You do not belong in town. sir.’ ‘That is different. for the court-house is undergoing repairs just at this moment. here is  Les Miserables . so they are not through. de Conzie. you see. if you please.

Has judgment been pro- nounced?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. intermingled with lawyers in their gowns. was the old hall of the episcopal palace. ‘Excuse me sir. and a few minutes later he was in a hall containing many people. and where groups. separated it from the large apart- ment where the court was sitting. sir?’ he asked.com  . ‘It is finished. murmuring together in low voices. The obscurity was such that he did not fear to accost the first lawyer whom he met. on the threshold of the halls of justice. which was closed at that moment. You have only to ascend the grand staircase. I know no one here. It is always a heart-breaking thing to see these congre- gations of men robed in black.the door where the sentry stands. were whispering together here and there. All these groups seem to the passing and thoughtful observer so many sombre hives where buzzing spirits con- struct in concert all sorts of dark edifices. This spacious hall. perhaps you are a relative?’ ‘No. It is rare that charity and pity are the outcome of these words. and served as the large hall of the palace of justice. Condem- nations pronounced in advance are more likely to be the result. ‘What stage have they reached.’ said the lawyer.’ He conformed to the bourgeois’s directions. A double-leaved door. illuminated by a single lamp. ‘Finished!’ This word was repeated in such accents that the lawyer turned round.

’ He continued. a man arrested for a second offence. ‘Why. and she was condemned for life. ‘I really think that there is not. sir?’ said he. certainly.’ ‘Is there any way of getting into the court-room. The Limosin woman. and when the hearing is resumed. the infanticide was proved. I don’t know his name exactly.’ ‘To penal servitude?’ ‘For life. It is about a sort of blackguard. There’s a bandit’s phiz for you! I’d send him to the galleys on the strength of his face alone. how comes it that the hall is still lighted?’ ‘For another case. the hearing has been suspended. But since it is all over. ‘Of course. The matter was very simple.’ ‘So it was a woman?’ said he. the jury threw out the question of premeditation. The woman had murdered her child. a convict who has been guilty of theft. ‘There was no iden- tity to be established. Some people have gone out. There is a great crowd. in a voice so weak that it was barely audible:— ‘Then his identity was established?’ ‘What identity?’ replied the lawyer. Nothing else was possible. you might  Les Miserables .’ ‘What other case?’ ‘Oh! this one is a clear case also. which was begun about two hours ago. However. Of what are you speaking?’ ‘Nothing.

and the speech of the public prosecutor were still to come. the president had appointed for the same day two short and simple cases. sir?’ ‘It will not be opened at all. but that did not appear to be entirely proved. almost intermin- gled with each other. pierced his heart like needles of ice and like blades of fire. It was that which lent a bad aspect to his case. An usher stood at the door communicating with the hall of the Assizes.make an effort. They had begun with the infanticide.’ This man had stolen apples.com  .’ ‘Where is the entrance?’ ‘Through yonder large door. He inquired of this usher:— ‘Will the door be opened soon. and now they had reached the convict. he was a brilliant fellow who wrote verses. the old offender. that he had already been in the galleys at Toulon. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the attorney-gen- eral was very clever. almost simultaneously. all possible emotions. what had been proved was. The words of this indifferent spectator had. the man’s examination and the depositions of the witnesses had been completed. The docket of the session was very heavy. but he could not have told whether what he felt was pain or pleasure. The man would probably be condemned. In the course of a few moments he had experienced. but the lawyer’s plea. in turn. and never missed his culprits. he breathed freely once more. He drew near to many groups and listened to what they were saying. it could not be finished before midnight. When he saw that noth- ing was settled. However.’ replied the usher.’ The lawyer left him. the ‘return horse.

. then he ascended the stairs once more with great strides. and slowly descended the stairs. drew out his pocket-book. ‘What! It will not be opened when the hearing is re- sumed? Is not the hearing suspended?’ ‘The hearing has just been begun again. and every moment he encountered some new phase of it. walked straight up to the usher. The violent conflict which had been going on within him since the preceding evening was not yet ended. to tell the truth.’ So saying. He retired with bowed head. No one can enter now. as though hesitating at every step. It is probable that he was holding counsel with himself. Mayor of M. The door is closed. traversed the antecham- ber. he leaned his back against the balusters and folded his arms. sur M. Madeleine. two or three extra places behind Monsieur le President. and upon that leaf he wrote rapidly.’ The usher added after a pause: ‘There are. by the light of the street lantern. the usher turned his back. handed him the paper. tore out a leaf. took from it a pencil. made his way through the crowd.’ ‘What! There is not room for one more?’ ‘Not another one. All at once he opened his coat.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because the hall is full. but Monsieur le President only admits public functionaries to them. and said in an authoritative manner:—  Les Miserables .’ replied the ush- er. ‘but the door will not be opened again. On reaching the landing-place. this line: M.

‘Take this to Monsieur le President. and obeyed.’ The usher took the paper.com  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. cast a glance upon it.

Besides the service which he had rendered to the chief town by resuscitating the black jet industry. It was thus that he had. which was not indebted to him for some benefit. who was presiding over this session of the Assizes at Arras. The Councillor of the Royal Court of Douai. enjoyed a sort of celebrity. it had eventually passed the confines of a small district and had been spread abroad through two or three neighbor- ing departments. when occasion offered. Madeleine was pronounced with venera- tion. its mayor. the flax-spinning industry at Frevent. and the hydraulic manufacture of cloth at Boubers-sur-Canche. For the space of seven years his reputation for virtue had filled the whole of Bas Boulon- nais. sur M. Everywhere the name of M. supported with his credit and his funds the linen factory at Boulogne.CHAPTER VIII AN ENTRANCE BY FAVOR Although he did not suspect the fact. there was not one out of the hundred and forty communes of the arrondissement of M. Arras and Douai envied the happy little town of M. was ac-  Les Miserables . sur M. the mayor of M. sur M. He had even at need contrived to aid and multiply the industries of other arrondissements.

he could read it. When the usher. with this name which was so profoundly and universally honored. At the same time. with a quick and deferential movement. discreetly opening the door which con- nected the council-chamber with the court-room. ‘Will Mon- sieur do me the honor to follow me?’ It was the same usher who had turned his back upon him but a moment previous- ly. you are now in the council-chamber. the usher handed him the paper. and as he chanced to be near the light. saying.’ The unhappy man whose history we are relating had re- mained near the door of the hall. ‘The President of the Court of Assizes presents his re- spects to M. lighted by two wax candles. bent over the back of the President’s arm-chair and handed him the paper on which was inscribed the line which we have just perused. placed upon a table with a green cloth. The last words of the usher who had just quitted him still rang in his ears: ‘Monsieur.’ the President. in the same place and the same attitude in which the usher had left him. and who was now bowing to the earth before him. Madeleine. He followed the usher. A few minutes later he found himself alone in a sort of wainscoted cabinet of severe aspect. you Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in common with the rest of the world. ‘Admit him. He unfolded it.quainted. seized a pen and wrote a few words at the bottom of the pa- per and returned it to the usher.’ He crushed the paper in his hand as though those words contained for him a strange and bitter aftertaste. In the midst of his revery he heard some one saying to him.com  . adding: ‘The gentleman desires to be present at the trial.

and in which Pache forwarded to the commune the list of ministers and deputies held in arrest by them. he was worn out by the jolts of the cart. of the year II. mayor of Paris and minister. He was in the very place where the judges deliberated and condemned. behind the Pres- ident’s chair. It is chiefly at the moment when there is the greatest need for at- taching them to the painful realities of life. doubtless. would have imagined. for he  Les Miserables . He approached a black frame which was suspended on the wall. It seemed to him that he felt nothing. The usher had left him alone. but could not. Any spectator who had chanced to see him at that moment. and which his fate was at that moment traversing. and you will find yourself in the court-room. and who had watched him. no doubt. an ancient au- tograph letter of Jean Nicolas Pache. and which contained. With stupid tranquillity he surveyed this peaceful and terrible apart- ment. but he was not conscious of it. The supreme moment had arrived. where so many lives had been broken.have only to turn the copper handle of yonder door. wondering that it should be that chamber and that it should be he. the 9th of June. that this letter struck him as very curious. then he looked at himself.’ These words were mingled in his thoughts with a vague memory of narrow corridors and dark stair- cases which he had recently traversed. that the threads of thought snap within the brain.. under glass. He had eaten nothing for four and twenty hours. which was soon to ring with his name. and dated. through an error. He stared at the wall. He sought to collect his faculties.

com  . he listened. he straightened him- self up with a shiver. he leaned against the wall.did not take his eyes from it. and he read it two or three times. not a sound behind him. he still listened. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. not a sound in front. caught sight of the door through which he had entered in front of him. He read it without paying any attention to it. and his eyes fell upon the brass knob of the door which separated him from the Court of Assizes. and he fled as though pursued. remained fixed on that brass handle. His glance. he stag- gered. mak- ing all sorts of angles. which is in- tended to convey. He breathed. and little by little became impregnated with fear. Beads of perspiration burst forth among his hair and trickled down upon his temples. he was outside in a corridor. He had almost forgotten that door. At a certain moment he made that indescribable gesture of a sort of authority mingled with rebellion. calm at first. paused there. The same silence reigned. and un- consciously. the perspiration lay ice-cold on his brow. narrow corridor. then grew terrified. he turned round. a long. the corridor through which he had approached. As he dreamed. He was out of breath. went to it. opened it. broken by steps and gratings. and there was the same darkness around him. and which does so well convey. and passed out. lighted here and there by lanterns similar to the night taper of invalids. When he had turned many angles in this corridor. The stone was cold. ‘Pardieu! who compels me to this?’ Then he wheeled briskly round. He was no longer in that chamber. He was thinking of Fantine and Cosette.

He was in the court-room. he found himself near the door.  Les Miserables . shone like a terrible star for him. From time to time he advanced a step and approached the door. and retraced his steps. sighed with agony. It seemed as though some one had overtaken him in his flight and was leading him back. He walked slowly. At length he bowed his head. Suddenly. He had meditated all night long. ‘Alas!’ A quarter of an hour passed thus. and he did not hear. He re-entered the council-chamber. he had meditated all the day: he heard within him but one voice. This knob. which was round and of polished brass. trembling with cold and with something else. He gazed at it as a lamb might gaze into the eye of a tiger. without himself knowing how it happened. and as though crushed. He could not take his eyes from it. there alone in the darkness. Then. too. he would have heard the sound of the adjoining hall like a sort of confused murmur. but he did not listen. dropped his arms. perchance. which said. Had he listened. he meditated. The first thing he caught sight of was the knob of the door. he grasped the knob convul- sively. the door opened.

were judges. spotted woodwork. in threadbare robes. ugliness. suspended from nails in the wainscot. lawyers in all sorts of attitudes. now full of silence. where all the apparatus of a criminal case. and from all this Free eBooks at Planet eBook.CHAPTER IX A PLACE WHERE CONVICTIONS ARE IN PROCESS OF FORMATION He advanced a pace. doors blackened by handmarks. the one where he was. was in process of development. with abstracted air. tap-room lamps which emitted more smoke than light.com  . closed the door mechanically behind him. who were gnawing their nails or closing their eyelids. tables covered with serge that was yellow rath- er than green. It was a vast and badly lighted apartment. now full of uproar. with its petty and mournful gravity in the midst of the throng. darkness. at the other end. a dirty ceiling. ancient. soldiers with hard but honest faces. a ragged crowd. and remained standing. on the tables candles in brass candlesticks. At the one end of the hall. sadness. contemplating what he saw.

as though they had known beforehand where that figure was. the attorney-general. Madeleine at  Les Miserables . grown old. illuminated by several candles. No one in all that throng paid any attention to him. sur M. He said to himself with a shudder. who had seen M. understanding that the personage who had just entered was the mayor of M. for one there felt that grand human thing which is called the law. in the stretch of wall on the President’s left. with that blouse. with his bristling hair. concealing his soul in that hideous mass of frightful thoughts which he had spent nineteen years in collecting on the floor of the prison. He did not seek him. stupid. he saw him. This man was the man. his eyes went thither naturally. At the sound made by the opening door. full of hatred.there was disengaged an austere and august impression. on this bench. with that wild and uneasy eye. but exactly similar in attitude and aspect. a wood- en bench placed against a small door. He thought he was looking at himself. of course. he had bowed to him. just as it was on the day when he entered D——. ‘Good God! shall I be- come like that again?’ This creature seemed to be at least sixty. and that grand divine thing which is called justice. and. there was some- thing indescribably coarse. and frightened about him.. sat a man between two gendarmes. not absolutely the same in face. the President had turned his head. people had drawn aside to make way for him. all glances were directed towards a single point.

he shut his eyes. gendarmes. all these he had already beheld once. Everything was there. something which the courts had lacked at the time of his condemnation: God had been ab- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they moved. they exist- ed. the hour of the night. ‘Never!’ And by a tragic play of destiny which made all his ideas tremble. he had encountered those fatal things once more. a throng of cruelly curious heads.M. only above the President’s head there hung a crucifix. and rendered him nearly mad. and real men of flesh and blood: it was all over. unheard-of vision. and of spectators. He was horrified by it. he beheld the monstrous aspects of his past reappear and live once more around him. a real crowd. it was another self of his that was there! all called that man who was being tried Jean Valjean. they were real gendarmes and real judges.com  . he had a sort of representation of the most horrible moment of his life.. a mirage of his thought. in days gone by. of soldiers. the apparatus was the same. all were the same. and exclaimed in the deepest recesses of his soul. All this was yawning before him. it was no longer an effort of his memory. the faces of the judges. whither the duties of his office had called him more than once. twenty-seven years before. with all that there is formidable in reality. sur M. en- acted by his spectre. Under his very eyes. recognized him and saluted him also: he had hardly perceived it. he was watching. there they were. clerks. Judges. he was the victim of a sort of hallu- cination.

as the reader already knows. a miscreant  Les Miserables . the affair had lasted for three hours: for three hours that crowd had been watching a strange man.sent when he had been judged. was a vagabond who had been found in a field carrying a branch laden with ripe apples. Bamatabois was one of the jurors. when he was seated. he took advantage of a pile of cardboard boxes. an old offender who has broken his ban. which stood on the judge’s desk. ter- rified at the thought that he might be seen. At the moment of this entrance. the ac- cusation said: ‘We have in our grasp not only a marauder. he had fully regained consciousness of the reality of things. He looked for Javert. There was a chair behind him. a bandit. broken in the orchard of a neighbor. gradually bending beneath the weight of a terrible likeness. and they were unanimous. either profoundly stupid or profoundly subtle. as we have just said. a stealer of fruit. he attained that phase of compo- sure where it is possible to listen. he dropped into it. a miserable specimen of humanity. we have here. he could now see without being seen. but did not see him. Who was this man? an examination had been made. to conceal his face from the whole room. witnesses had been heard. an ex-convict. in our hands. and then. the defendant’s lawyer had just finished his plea. This man. light had abounded throughout the entire debate. gradually he recovered. called the Pier- ron orchard. M. The attention of all was excited to the highest pitch. the seat of the witnesses was hidden from him by the clerk’s table. the hall was sparely lighted.

a Savoyard named Little Gervais. the accused appeared to be astonished more than anything else. from head to foot. eight years ago.com  . it was a question of the most menacing future for him. a malefactor named Jean Valjean. He has just committed a fresh theft. neverthe- less.’ In the face of this accusation. Who was this man? what was the nature of his apathy? was it imbecility or craft? Did he understand too well. replied with embarrass- ment. in the face of the unanimity of the witnesses. which descended ever closer over his head. but his whole person. a crime provided for by article 383 of the Penal Code. in case his identity were established. or did he not under- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. con- demn him for the fresh deed. a possible death penalty. on the person of a child. on emerging from the galleys at Toulon.of the most dangerous description. with more anxiety than he did himself. and the entire crowd surveyed. was a denial. there was even a glimpse of a possibility af- forded. or else he stared at the ceiling: he spoke with difficulty. he was an idiot in the presence of all these minds ranged in order of battle around him. later on he will be judged for the old crime. he made signs and ges- tures which were meant to convey No. the likeness increased every moment. committed a highway robbery. it is a case of a second offence. whom justice has long been in search of. when his identity shall have been judicially established. and the affair of Little Ger- vais were to end thereafter in condemnation. that sen- tence freighted with calamity. the right to try him for which we reserve hereafter. and like a stranger in the midst of this society which was seizing fast upon him. and who. besides the galleys. accompanied by violence.

and seemed to divide the jury. and which was formerly employed by all advocates. the king. the age of Louis XIV. and he extricated himself from the situation in stately fashion. the district-attorney. errors imputed to newspapers. in that provincial tongue which has long constituted the el- oquence of the bar. The lawyer established the fact that the theft of the apples had  Les Miserables . who. the grand age. it was also obscure. a sainted pontiff. a tongue in which a husband is called a consort. but Benigne Bossuet himself was obliged to al- lude to a chicken in the midst of a funeral oration. Paris. begun with an explanation as to the theft of the apples. the pupils in the seminary. the illustrious warrior. the imposture which distills its venom through the columns of those organs. etc. the monarch. etc. and a woman a spouse. the General Commandant of the province.—an awkward matter couched in fine style. The counsel for the defence had spoken tolerably well. a concert. the centre of art and civili- zation.. at Paris as well as at Romorantin or at Mont- brison. a theatre. is no longer spoken except by the official orators of magistracy. and which to-day. there was something both terrible and puzzling in this case: the drama was not only melancholy. the accents which we have just listened to. these tender levities. the august blood of our kings. the eloquent interpret- er of public prosecution. having become classic. a musical solemnity. the arguments. Monseigneur the Bishop. The lawyer had. the reigning family. accordingly.. to whom it is suited on account of its grave sonorousness and its ma- jestic stride.stand at all? these were questions which divided the crowd. the temple of Melpomene.

and would have won for him the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the theft and his char- acter of convict. unhappily. The lawyer did not deny that that character appeared to be. The prisoner. the counsel could oppose nothing but the denial of his client. as that convict. An admission upon this last point would certainly have been better. then thrown away by the alarmed marauder. it was true. whom he. the denial of an interested party. ‘in good faith. but he said that he had found it broken off and lying on the ground. Where was there any proof to the contrary? No doubt that branch had been broken off and concealed after the scaling of the wall. He had been taken with that branch (which the lawyer preferred to call a bough) in his posses- sion. not a proof. all that was true. to these signs. His character as an ex-convict. and his counsel. to this testimony. did that prove that he was the thief of the apples? that was a presumption at the most. His client. but supposing that he was the con- vict Jean Valjean. persisted in calling Champma- thieu. and had picked it up. there was no doubt that there had been a thief in the case.— in short. But what proof was there that that thief had been Champmathieu? One thing only. Jean Valjean.not been circumstantially proved.’ He obstinately denied everything. the accused had resided at Faverolles. in his character of counsel. well attested.’ was obliged to admit it. the accused had exercised the calling of a tree-pruner there. had not been seen scaling that wall nor breaking that branch by any one. four witnesses recognize Champ- mathieu.com  . positively and without hesitation. the name of Champma- thieu might well have had its origin in Jean Mathieu. had adopted ‘a bad system of defence.

The advocate had seemed to admit that the prisoner was Jean Valjean. Long-continued wretchedness in the galleys. This point had been conceded to the accusation and could no longer be disputed.indulgence of his judges. that he would save everything by admitting nothing. the counsel need not dis- cuss it. He congratulated the counsel for the defence on his ‘loy- alty. Here. long misery outside the galleys. He was violent and florid. So this man was Jean Valjean. if the identity of Jean Valjean appeared to them to be evident. it did not enter into the case. then dawning under the name of the Satanic school. The district-attorney answered the counsel for the de- fence. which had been bestowed upon it by  Les Miserables . was that a reason for condemning him? As for the affair with Little Gervais. as district-attorneys usually are. He reached the accused through all the concessions made by his law- yer. had brutalized him. It was an error. the district-attorney thundered against the immo- rality of the romantic school.’ and skilfully took advantage of this loyalty. the counsel had advised him to do this. The lawyer wound up by beseeching the jury and the court. no doubt. etc. He defended himself badly. He took note of this. thinking. and not the frightful chastisement which descends upon the convict guilty of a second offence. by means of a clever autonomasia which went back to the sources and causes of crime. to apply to him the police penalties which are provided for a criminal who has broken his ban. but the accused had obstinately refused. but ought not the paucity of this intelligence to be taken into consideration? This man was visibly stupid.

four witnesses recognize him—Javert. inured by his past life to culpable deeds. which is not useful to tragedy. caught upon the highway in the very act of theft. the convicts Brevet. What obduracy! You will do justice. without means of existence. etc. Javert. not without some probability. etc. and three of his former companions in infamy. beggar. etc. etc. While the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to speak more correctly. he passed on to Jean Valjean himself...’ The description finished. and Cochepaille. the climbing the wall. or rather. etc.. the district-attorney resumed with an oratorical turn calculated to raise the en- thusiasm of the journal of the prefecture to the highest pitch on the following day: And it is such a man. What does he offer in opposition to this overwhelming unanimity? His denial.the critics of the Quotidienne and the Oriflamme. still holding in his hand the object stolen. of Jean Valjean.. etc. it is such a man. etc. the upright inspector of police. a few paces from a wall that had been scaled. The model for this sort of de- scription is contained in the tale of Theramene. vagabond..com  . the theft. gentlemen of the jury.. etc. he attrib- uted.. as was proved by the crime committed against Little Gervais. etc. Chenildieu. Having exhausted these considerations. but which every day renders great services to judicial eloquence.. Who was this Jean Valjean? Description of Jean Valjean: a monster spewed forth. denies everything. The audience and the jury ‘shuddered. to the influence of this perverse literature the crime of Champmathieu. etc. who denies the crime. and but little re- formed by his sojourn in the galleys. denies even his own identity! In addition to a hundred other proofs. to which we will not recur.

skill. The counsel for the defence rose. He was evidently sur- prised that a man could talk like that. From time to time. He ended by making his reserves on the affair of Little Gervais and demanding a severe sentence. and which set forth in all its nakedness the ‘profound perversity’ of this man. the ground was evidently slipping away from under his feet. Two or three times the spectators who were nearest to him heard him say in a low voice. when eloquence which cannot contain itself overflows in a flood of withering epithets and envelops the accused like a storm. evidently delib- erate. ‘That is what comes of not having asked M.district-attorney was speaking. Baloup.  Les Miserables . he moved his head slowly from right to left and from left to right in the sort of mute and melancholy protest with which he had contented himself since the beginning of the argu- ment. which denoted not imbecility. At that time. a habit of deceiving justice. began by compliment- ing Monsieur l’Avocat-General on his ‘admirable speech. but he weakened. it was penal servitude for life. the accused listened to him open-mouthed. at those ‘energetic’ moments of the prosecutor’s speech.’ The district-attorney directed the attention of the jury to this stupid attitude. but craft. with a sort of amazement in which some admiration was assuredly blended. as the reader will remember.’ then replied as best he could.

fixing his glance upon the district-attorney.com  . his counsel. He seemed to understand.— incoherent. stared at the audience. and addressed to him the customary question. It was like an eruption. the court. impetuous. He said:— ‘This is what I have to say. took another look. ‘Have you anything to add to your de- fence?’ The man did not appear to understand.CHAPTER X THE SYSTEM OF DENIALS The moment for closing the debate had arrived. This time the man heard it. tumbling over each other. That I have been a wheel- wright in Paris. as he stood there. and that it was with Monsieur Baloup. the jury. The President repeated the question. It seemed. twisting in his hands a terrible cap which he had. pell-mell. It is Free eBooks at Planet eBook. laid his monstrous fist on the rim of woodwork in front of his bench. He made a motion like a man who is just waking up. cast his eyes about him. he began to speak. The Presi- dent had the accused stand up. from the manner in which the words escaped from his mouth. and all at once. the gendarmes.— as though they were all pressing forward to issue forth at once.

I was fifty-three. and went to bed at once. She earned a little also. She had trouble. and wait until late. never in closed workshops. she was so tired. It sufficed for us two. old beast! I was not earning more than thirty sous a day. which is terrible. they say it wastes time. The planks are badly joined. When the wind cuts your face. you see. She came home at seven o’clock in the evening. they call him nothing but an old bird. you must still wash. In the wheelwright’s trade one works always in the open air. I was in a bad state. in snow. you are not so cold. and water drops on you from everywhere. also. it is all the same. Handling iron when there is ice between the paving-stones is hard work. but the masters don’t like it. She has also worked at the laundry of the Enfants-Roug- es. in rain. and rinse in a basin behind you. you wash at the faucet in front of you.a hard trade. you lose your custom. you have your petticoats all damp above and below. That wears a man out quickly One is old while he is still quite young in that trade. when it freezes. In winter one gets so cold that one beats one’s arms together to warm one’s self. where the water comes through faucets. and which ruins your eyes. At forty a man is done for. And then. Her  Les Miserables . You are not in the tub there. under sheds when the mas- ters are good. As it is enclosed. if you do not wash. They paid me as little as possible. workmen are so mean! When a man is no longer young. who was a laundress at the river. There are people who have not much linen. all day long up to her waist in a tub. but there is that hot steam. in courtyards. That penetrates. The masters took ad- vantage of my age— and then I had my daughter. because space is required.

I tell you. and remained standing. hoarse voice. and was not to be found. perceiving that they were laughing. formerly a master-wheelwright. He stared at the public.’ Then turning to the accused. and to each he added the gesture of a wood- cutter who is splitting wood. I don’t know what is wanted of me. and may induce vital results. Baloup’s. I remember one Shrove-Tuesday when she went to bed at eight o’clock. Who knows Father Champmathieu there? But M. and not understanding why. She was a good girl. The gravest presumptions rest upon you. He had said these things in a loud. Prisoner. yes! how stupid I am! Paris is a gulf. raised his voice. rapid. with a sort of irritated and savage ingenuousness. She is dead.husband beat her. The sort of affirmations which he seemed to fling out before him at random came like hiccoughs. The President. I am telling the truth. an attentive and benevolent man. who did not go to the ball. you have only to ask. Once he paused to salute some one in the crowd. with whom the ac- cused stated that he had served. When he had finished.’ The man ceased speaking. in your Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and who was very peaceable. We have not been very happy.com  . He had become bankrupt. and. It was inauspicious. had been summoned in vain. the audience burst into a laugh. He reminded ‘the gentlemen of the jury’ that ‘the sieur Baloup. Ah. Go see at M. he enjoined him to listen to what he was about to say. There. and added: ‘You are in a position where reflection is necessary. and after all. Ba- loup does. he began to laugh himself.

that you were born at Faverolles. and said:— ‘In the first place—‘ Then he stared at his cap. are you the discharged convict. I could not find words for it at first. It is evident that your name is not Champmathieu.’ The prisoner had finally resumed his seat. Jean Valjean— yes or no?’ The prisoner shook his head with a capable air. in a severe voice. that you went to Auvergne. and exclaimed:— ‘You are very wicked. did you or did you not climb the wall of the Pierron orchard. It is evident that you have been guilty of entering. I have stolen noth-  Les Miserables . and who knows what answer he is going to make. Jean Valjean. In the first place. and steal the apples.own interests. and of the theft of ripe apples from the Pierron orchard. turned towards the President. where you were a pruner of trees. that you are! This what I wanted to say. and held his peace. stared at the ceiling. commit the crime of breaking in and theft? In the second place. He opened his mouth. concealed first under the name of Jean Mathieu. You are not answering anything that has been asked of you. Your embarrassment condemns you.’ said the district-attorney. break the branch. I summon you for the last time to explain yourself clearly on two points. ‘pay attention. that you are the convict. he arose abruptly when the district-attorney had finished. like a man who has thoroughly understood. which was the name of his mother. ‘Prisoner. that is to say. The gentlemen of the jury will form their own opinion.

I have been Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I was coming from Ailly. which had made the whole coun- try yellow: even the ponds were overflowed. they called me young fellow. I have not stolen. I have no education. I am a man who does not have something to eat every day. I have been in prison. that would be too convenient. You are very clever to tell me where I was born. Boulevard de l’Hopital. I don’t know myself: it’s not everybody who has a house in which to come into the world. and nothing sprang from the sand any more but the little blades of grass at the wayside. Well! can’t a man have been in Auvergne. ‘Answer!’ The gendarme. now they call me old fellow. nudges my elbow. and that I am Father Champmathieu. Baloup. I picked up from the ground things that were lying there. I have been in Auvergne. I have been at Faverolles.com  . or at Faverolles. I found a broken branch with apples on the ground. answer!’ I don’t know how to explain. those are my baptismal names. Jean Valjean. I picked up the branch without knowing that it would get me into trouble. who is a good fellow. they are villagers. take that as you like. and they have been dragging me about for the last three months. people talk against me. because they do not see this. Jean Mathieu! I don’t know those persons. ‘Come. my name is Champ- mathieu. I know nothing different. I was walking through the country after a shower. and says to me in a low voice.ing. Pardi. I think that my father and mother were people who strolled along the highways. I worked for M. I am a poor man. they tell me. more than that I cannot say. that is where they wrong me. You say. When I was a child. without having been in the galleys? I tell you that I have not stolen.

he addressed the President:— ‘Monsieur le President. You worry me with your nonsense.’ ‘I would remind the district-attorney. I recognize him perfectly. left the court- room and the town as soon as he had made his deposition. in view of the confused but ex- ceedingly clever denials of the prisoner. and question them for the last time as to the identity of the prisoner with the convict Jean Valjean. we have accorded him permission.’ responded the district-at- torney.  Les Miserables . who does honor by his rigorous and strict probity to inferior but important functions. These are the terms of his deposition: ‘I do not even stand in need of circumstantial proofs and moral pre- sumptions to give the lie to the prisoner’s denial. with the consent of the district-attorney and of the counsel for the prisoner.— we shall attend to that. who would like to pass himself off as an idiot. Cochepaille. I have had a settled residence.’ ‘That is true. I think it my duty to remind the gentlemen of the jury of what he said here a few hours ago. there! Why is everybody pursuing me so furiously?’ The district-attorney had remained standing. ‘that Police-Inspector Javert. but who will not succeed in so doing. The name of this man is not Champmathieu. and Police-Inspector Javert. Mr. and Chenildieu.’ said the Presi- dent. Javert is an estimable man.—we demand that it shall please you and that it shall please the court to summon once more into this place the convicts Brevet. President.with M. ‘In the absence of sieur Javert. Baloup. recalled by his duties to the capital of a neighboring arrondissement.

The ex-convict Brevet wore the black and gray waistcoat of the central prisons. and from the Pierron orchard. It must not be forgotten Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who had a sort of business man’s face. that in default of Javert. The usher. The two sometimes go together. I suspect him of a theft com- mitted in the house of His Grace the late Bishop of D—— I often saw him at the time when I was adjutant of the galley- guard at the prison in Toulon. and the air of a ras- cal. Brevet was a person sixty years of age. and. accompanied by a gendarme ready to lend him armed assistance. he had become something in the na- ture of a turnkey. and all breasts heaved as though they had contained but one soul. and is very vicious and much to be feared. ‘He tries to make himself of use.com  .’ The chaplains bore good testimony as to his religious habits. introduced the convict Brevet. and Cochepaille should be heard once more and solemnly interrogated. a moment later. It is only with extreme regret that he was released at the expiration of his term. He underwent nineteen years of penal servitude for theft. The district- attorney concluded by insisting. Besides the theft from Little Gervais. The President transmitted the order to an usher. He made five or six attempts to escape.he is an ex-convict named Jean Valjean. Chenildieu. He was a man of whom his superiors said. In prison. I repeat that I recognize him perfectly. whither fresh misdeeds had led him.’’ This extremely precise statement appeared to produce a vivid impression on the public and on the jury. The audi- ence was in suspense. the three witnesses Brevet. the door of the witnesses’ room opened.

that man is Jean Valjean. ‘even in the man whom the law has degraded. and tell us on your soul and conscience. ‘Prisoner. on the other hand. If it still exists in you. ‘Yes. whom a word from you may ruin. which a word from you may enlighten. President. whence he had  Les Miserables . a sentiment of honor and of equity. if you persist in recognizing this man as your former com- panion in the galleys. remain standing. there is still time to retract if you think you have been mistaken. who entered at Toulon in 1796.—reflect before re- plying to me: consider on the one hand. justice. as was indicated by his red cassock and his green cap.that this passed under the Restoration. there may remain.’ continued the President. It is to this sentiment that I appeal at this decisive hour. Brevet. a prisoner for life. I left a year later.’ Chenildieu was brought in. ‘you have undergone an ig- nominious sentence. Mr. He has the air of a brute now. take a good look at the accused. and left in 1815. and I stick to it. when the divine mercy permits it. The instant is solemn.’ Brevet dropped his eyes. ‘Brevet. He was serv- ing out his sentence at the galleys of Toulon.’ ‘Take your seat.—and I hope it does. I was the first to recognize him. and you cannot take an oath. Jean Valjean?’ Brevet looked at the prisoner. he was sly at the galleys: I recognize him positively. ‘Nevertheless.’ said the President. re- call your souvenirs. Rise. prisoner.’ said the President. this man. then turned towards the court. but it must be because age has brutalized him.

and an immense force in his glance. The President invited him to reflection. who had come from the galleys. brazen-faced. and on whom society puts the finishing touches as convicts in the galleys. Chenildieu raised his head and looked the crowd in the face. He was a small man of about fifty. was a peasant from Lourdes.com  . Chenildieu burst out laughing. The President tried to touch him with some grave and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. His companions in the galleys had nicknamed him I-deny-God (Je-nie Dieu. yellow. Chenildieu). and a half-bear of the Pyrenees. The President addressed him in nearly the same words which he had used to Brevet. ‘Pardieu. He had guarded the flocks among the mountains. wrinkled. At the moment when he re- minded him of his infamy which deprived him of the right to take an oath. who had a sort of sickly feebleness about all his limbs and his whole person. as if I didn’t recognize him! We were attached to the same chain for five years. feverish.’ said the President. like Chenildieu. brisk.been brought for this case. So you are sulking. and from a shepherd he had slipped into a brigand. and asked him as he had asked Brevet. Cochepaille was no less savage and seemed even more stupid than the prisoner. if he persisted in rec- ognition of the prisoner. old fel- low?’ ‘Go take your seat. He was another con- vict for life. He was one of those wretch- ed men whom nature has sketched out for wild beasts. The usher brought in Cochepaille. and was dressed in red. frail.

as he had asked the other two.—a murmur which increased and lasted longer each time that a fresh declara- tion was added to the proceeding. well. had raised in the audience a murmur of bad augury for the prisoner. his neighbors. ‘enforce silence! I am going to sum up the arguments. evi- dently sincere and in good faith. in recog- nizing the man who was standing before him.’ said Cochepaille. a voice was heard crying:— ‘Brevet! Chenildieu! Cochepaille! look here!’ All who heard that voice were chilled. had heard him mutter between his teeth: ‘Ah. with that astounded face which was.’ At that moment there was a movement just beside the President. ‘Famous!’ The President addressed him:— ‘Have you heard. he’s a nice one!’ after the second. and was com- municated to the jury.’ Each of these affirmations from these three men. he said. ‘Famous!’’ An uproar broke out among the audience. a little louder. and asked him.’ said the President. if he persisted. according to the accusation. his principal means of defence. the gendarmes. prisoner? What have you to say?’ He replied:— ‘I say. ‘He was even called Jean-the-Screw. he cried. without hesitation or trouble. so lamentable and  Les Miserables . ‘He is Jean Valjean. at the first.pathetic words. ‘Good!’ at the third. ‘Ushers. The prisoner had listened to them. because he was so strong. it was evident that the man was lost. with an air that was almost that of satisfaction.

Madeleine!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. had pushed open the half-door which separated the tribunal from the audience. and exclaimed in concert:— ‘M. recognized him.terrible was it. placed among the privileged specta- tors who were seated behind the court.com  . the district-attorney. A man. the President. had just risen. M. and was standing in the middle of the hall. twenty persons. all eyes were turned to the point whence it had proceeded. Bamatabois.

was now entirely white: it had turned white during the hour he had sat there. there was a momentary hesitation in the audience.CHAPTER XI CHAMPMATHIEU MORE AND MORE ASTONISHED It was he. This indecision only lasted a few seconds. the man whom all still called. The clerk’s lamp illumined his counte- nance. before the ushers and the gendarmes could make a gesture. the voice had been so heart-rending. M. he was very pale. his hair. there was no disorder in his clothing. He held his hat in his hand. which had still been gray on his arrival in Arras. and he trembled slightly.  Les Miserables . They asked themselves whether he had indeed uttered that cry. the man who stood there ap- peared so calm that they did not understand at first. they could not believe that that tranquil man had been the one to give that terrible outcry. All heads were raised: the sensation was indescribable. Even before the President and the district-attorney could utter a word. Made- leine. his coat was carefully buttoned. at that moment. had advanced towards the witnesses Cochepaille. in fact.

’ Not a mouth breathed. You all know. and Chenildieu.Brevet. ‘Do you not recognize me?’ said he. he had exchanged a rapid sign with the district-attorney and a few low-toned words with the assistant judges. Madeleine. mayor of M.. by reputation at least. the very strange and unexpect- ed incident which disturbs the audience inspires us. In the meantime. we join the President in request- ing him to attend to M. who was intimidated. M. order the prisoner to be released! Mr. sur M. only with a sentiment which it is unnecessary for us to express. and to conduct him to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. All three remained speechless. Madeleine turned towards the jury and the court. and said in a gentle voice:— ‘Gentlemen of the jury. the first commotion of astonish- ment had been followed by a silence like that of the grave. President. made a military salute. like yourselves. He is not the man whom you are in search of. it is I: I am Jean Valjean.com  . and indicated by a sign of the head that they did not know him. Madeleine. the honorable M. have me arrested. those within the hall experienced that sort of religious ter- ror which seizes the masses when something grand has been done. Cochepaille. the face of the President was stamped with sympathy and sadness. and asked in accents which all understood:— ‘Is there a physician present?’ The district-attorney took the word:— ‘Gentlemen of the jury. if there is a physician in the audience. he addressed the public.

here they are literally. I have tried to re-enter the ranks of the honest. you will hear it one of these days. you shall see. release this man! I am fulfilling a duty.his home. Before  Les Miserables . Madeleine did not allow the district-attorney to finish. he interrupted him in accents full of suavity and au- thority. I robbed Monseigneur the Bishop. but I am not mad. it is true. if you please. there are many things which I cannot tell. and I am telling you the truth. Mr. reflect upon that. they were right in tell- ing you that Jean Valjean was a very vicious wretch. the infamy from which I have tried to escape is an injurious thing. I have be- come rich. honorable judges! a man who has been so greatly humbled as I have has neither any remonstrances to make to Providence. but. you were on the point of committing a great error. it is true that I robbed Little Gervais. the galleys make the convict what he is. These are the words which he uttered. who is on high. I have become a mayor. I am that mis- erable criminal. you see. I concealed myself under another name. You can take me. Listen. for here I am: but I have done my best. immediately after the trial by one of the witnesses to this scene.’ M. looks down on what I am doing at this moment. It seems that that is not to be done. District-Attorney. I am the only one here who sees the matter clearly. In short. God. nor any advice to give to society. and as they now ring in the ears of those who heard them nearly forty years ago:— ‘I thank you. as they were written down. and that suffices. I will not narrate the story of my life to you. Perhaps it was not altogether his fault.

answer. with very little intelligence. I became vicious: I was a block of wood. F. ‘M. in order to efface the three letters T. he would recognize me.com  . you say. because you one day laid your shoulder against the chafing- dish full of coals. pardon me. the galleys wrought a change in me. I have nothing farther to add. I was stupid. take me. you who conferred on yourself the name of ‘Jenie-Dieu. I became a firebrand.’ Nothing can reproduce the sombre and kindly melan- choly of tone which accompanied these words. hesitated for an instant. the forty-sou piece which I stole. But. Later on. I recognize you. Madeleine has gone mad!’ you do not believe me! that is distressing. He continued:— ‘Chenildieu. I was a poor peasant.. at least. You will find at my house. indulgence and kindness saved me.going to the galleys.’ your whole right shoulder bears a deep burn. a sort of idiot. from little Gervais. among the ashes in the fireplace. Good God! the district- attorney shakes his head. and surveyed him from head to foot with a frightened air. as severity had ruined me. you cannot understand what I am saying. which are still visible. is this true?’ ‘It is true. condemn this man! What! these men do not recog- nize me! I wish Javert were here. seven years ago.’ said Chenildieu. Brevet?’ He paused. Do not. He turned to the three convicts. He addressed himself to Cochepaille:— Free eBooks at Planet eBook. P. nevertheless. and said:— ‘Do you remember the knitted suspenders with a checked pattern which you wore in the galleys?’ Brevet gave a start of surprise. and said:— ‘Well. do you remember.

near the bend in your left arm. all eyes were focused on him and on his bare arm. The unhappy man turned to the spectators and the judg- es with a smile which still rends the hearts of all who saw it whenever they think of it. It was a striking circumstance that no question was put. the counsel for the defence that he was there to defend. No one recalled any longer the part that each might be called upon to play. It was a smile of triumph.’ In that chamber there were no longer either judges. the President that he was there to preside. you have. no one. The appearance of this man had suf- ficed to suffuse with light that matter which had been so  Les Miserables . 1815. probably. could have explained what he felt. said to himself that he was witnessing the splen- did outburst of a grand light: all felt themselves inwardly dazzled. that no authority intervened. nor gendarmes.’ he said. The peculiarity of sublime spectacles is. A gendarme held a light close to it. March 1. That was clear. It was evident that they had Jean Valjean before their eyes. pull up your sleeve!’ Cochepaille pushed up his sleeve. there was nothing but staring eyes and sympathizing hearts. ‘that I am Jean Valjean. probably. there was the date. it was also a smile of despair. the district- attorney forgot he was there for the purpose of prosecuting. ‘You see plainly. that they capture all souls and turn witnesses into spectators. the date is that of the landing of the Emperor at Cannes. ‘Cochepaille. No one. ac- cusers. a date stamped in blue letters with burnt powder.

not an arm extended to hinder him. I should have preferred not to have had this occur. Mr. he knows whither I am going.com  . Not a voice was raised. The district-attorney knows who I am. since you do not arrest me. It was an impression which vanished speedily. but which was irresistible at the moment. Never- theless. The details. were swallowed up in that vast and luminous fact. I have many things to do. I consider that I am to be envied. ‘I shall withdraw.’ resumed Jean Valjean. he can have me arrested when he likes. District-Attorney. He traversed the crowd slowly. the hesitations.’ He withdrew.’ Then he addressed the audience:— ‘All of you.’ He directed his steps towards the door. little possible oppositions. without any further ex- planation: the whole crowd.obscure but a moment previously. understood instantly and at a single glance the simple and magnificent history of a man who was delivering himself up so that another man might not be condemned in his stead. all who are present—consider me worthy of pity. At that moment there was about him that divine something which causes multitudes to stand aside and make way for a man. do you not? Good God! When I think of what I was on the point of doing. On arriving there he turned round and said:— ‘I am at your command. All stood aside. and the door closed behind him as it had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I do not wish to disturb the court further. as by a sort of electric revelation. It was never known who opened the door. but it is certain that he found the door open when he reached it.

 Les Miserables .opened. for those who do certain sovereign things are al- ways sure of being served by some one in the crowd. thinking that all men were fools. went off in a state of stupefaction. and com- prehending nothing of this vision. being at once released. and Champmathieu. the verdict of the jury freed the said Champmathieu from all accusations. Less than an hour after this.

BOOK EIGHTH.com  .—A COUNTER-BLOW Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

bending over her drugs and phials. Madeleine stood before her. ‘Is it you. Mayor?’ she exclaimed. and scrutinizing things very close- ly.CHAPTER I IN WHAT MIRROR M. M. filled with happy visions. availed herself of this slumber to go and prepare a new potion of chinchona. Sister Simplice. at daybreak she fell asleep. Suddenly she raised her head and uttered a faint shriek.’ She explained to him what had passed: that Fantine had  Les Miserables . The worthy sister had been in the lab- oratory of the infirmary but a few moments. but we have been very uneasy. who had been watching with her. He replied in a low voice:— ‘How is that poor woman?’ ‘Not so bad just now. Mr. Fantine had passed a sleepless and feverish night. he had just entered silently. on account of the dimness which the half-light of dawn spreads over all objects. MADELEINE CONTEMPLATES HIS HAIR The day had begun to dawn.

and said:— ‘Well!’ He uttered the word indifferently.’ responded the sister.been very ill the day before. ‘you were right not to unde- ceive her. The sister felt chilled by something strange of which she Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘what has happened to you? Your hair is perfectly white!’ ‘White!’ said he. Sister Simplice had no mirror. half aloud. and that she was better now. sir!’ she exclaimed.’ ‘Yes. The sister chanced to raise her eyes to it. she will see you and will not see her child. but she perceived plainly from his air that he had not come from there. ‘Good God. be- cause she thought that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil to get her child. Madeleine took the mirror. and as though his mind were on something else. The light fell full on M. She rummaged in a drawer. What shall we say to her?’ He reflected for a moment. Mayor.’ murmured the sister. ‘All that is good. ‘But we cannot tell a lie.’ said he. The sister dared not question the mayor. Mr. looked at his hair. Madeleine’s face. It was broad daylight in the room.com  .’ said he. ‘but now. and pulled out the little glass which the doctor of the infir- mary used to see whether a patient was dead and whether he no longer breathed. M. ‘God will inspire us.

’ which communicated an obscure and singular sense to the words of the mayor’s speech. hardly venturing to put the question. We should not have to enact a lie. Madeleine seemed to reflect for a few moments. I must see her. she is asleep. then he entered Fantine’s chamber. She was asleep. He inquired:— ‘Can I see her?’ ‘Is not Monsieur le Maire going to have her child brought back to her?’ said the sister. Her breath issued from her breast with that tragic sound which is peculiar to those maladies. she would naturally think Monsieur le Maire had just come with the child. sister.’ M. ‘she would not know that Mon- sieur le Maire had returned.’ The nun did not appear to notice this word ‘perhaps. and the noise of which might awaken the sick woman. She replied.’ ‘If she were not to see Monsieur le Maire until that time.caught a glimpse in all this. timidly.’ went on the sister. lowering her eyes and her voice respectfully:— ‘In that case. I may. but Monsieur le Maire may enter.’ He made some remarks about a door which shut bad- ly. ‘Of course. perhaps. and when the child arrived. be in haste. and it would be easy to inspire her with patience. but it will take two or three days at least. and which breaks the hearts of moth- ers when they are watching through the night beside their  Les Miserables . approached the bed and drew aside the curtains. then he said with his calm gravity:— ‘No.

Her whole person was trembling with an indescribable un- folding of wings. Madeleine remained for some time motionless beside that bed. But this pain- ful respiration hardly troubled a sort of ineffable serenity which overspread her countenance. To see her thus.sleeping child who is condemned to death. which could be felt as they rustled. M. one would never have dreamed that she was an invalid whose life was almost despaired of. after the lapse of two months. and which transfig- ured her in her sleep. They were both still there in the same attitude— she sleeping. as though there were some one in the chamber whom he must enjoin to silence. her hair was gray and his was white. Her pallor had become whiteness. The sister had not entered with him. and seems to both withdraw and to offer itself at one and the same time. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  . though they remained closed and drooping. though they could not be seen. her long golden lashes. on the day when he had come for the first time to see her in that asylum. the only beauty of her youth and her virginity which remained to her. with his finger on his lips. The human body has something of this tremor when the instant arrives in which the mysteri- ous fingers of Death are about to pluck the soul. all ready to open wide and bear her away. as he had done two months before. gazing in turn upon the sick woman and the cru- cifix. He stood beside the bed. palpitated. he praying. her cheeks were crimson. She resembled rather something on the point of soaring away than something on the point of dying. only now. The branch trembles when a hand approaches it to pluck a flower.

and said quietly. with a smile:— ‘And Cosette?’  Les Miserables . saw him. She opened her eyes.

I have seen you for a long.’ Fantine’s eyes beamed and filled her whole face with Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but I saw you. and you had around you all sorts of celestial forms.’ she resumed. the doctor had been warned. You were in a glory. ‘But. long time. I was asleep. ‘And Cosette?’ was put with so profound a faith. Why did not you place her on my bed against the moment of my waking?’ He made some mechanical reply which he was never af- terwards able to recall. She continued:— ‘I knew that you were there. ‘tell me where Cosette is.com  .’ He raised his glance to the crucifix. He came to the aid of M. with so much certainty.’ said the doctor. she was joy itself. Fortunately. I have been following you with my eyes all night long. with such a complete absence of disquiet and of doubt. my child. and he now made his appearance. That simple question. Madeleine. ‘your child is here.CHAPTER II FANTINE HAPPY She made no movement of either surprise or of joy. ‘Calm yourself. that he found not a word of reply.

I have been seeing her. I tell you that I am cured! What an ass that doctor is! The idea! I want to see my child!’ ‘You see. you fear the emotion. I understand you. When you are reasonable. I really beg your pardon.’ She interrupted him impetuously:— ‘But I am cured! Oh. I should talk to her very gently. still the little child who is carried. it is necessary that you should live for her. I will bring her to you myself. The sight of your child would agitate you and do you harm. ‘I beg your pardon.’ The poor mother bowed her head. but I swear to you that it would not have harmed me to see my daughter. who has been brought to me expressly from Montfermeil?  Les Miserables . ‘Not yet. Is it not quite natural that I should desire to see my daughter.’ said the doctor. that I sometimes do not know what I am saying. ‘bring her to me!’ Touching illusion of a mother! Cosette was. ‘how excited you become. You still have some fever. You must be cured first. I will wait as long as you like. Do you know? If she were brought to me now.’ said the doctor. So long as you are in this state I shall oppose your having your child. She clasped her hands with an expression which con- tained all that is possible to prayer in the way of violence and tenderness. That is all. For- merly I should never have spoken as I have just done. I have not taken my eyes from her since yesterday evening. ‘not just now. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed. for her. so many misfortunes have happened to me. It is not enough to see her.light. doctor.

how I should like to see her! Do you think her pretty. and persons who smiled at me. Now. it is all past. I have no longer any fever. But while she controlled herself she could not refrain from questioning M. seeing her so peaceable. and not stir. I am happy. ‘Did you have a pleasant trip.I am not angry. they might make no difficulty about bringing Cosette to her. She turned towards him. and thinks of nothing any longer. She must have forgotten me by this time. poor darling! Children have no memories. They are like birds.’ as she expressed it in the feebleness of illness which resembles infancy. ‘She must have her child. she was making a visible effort to be calm and ‘very good. Madeleine. When it is seen that I am very calm.com  . put- ting such questions as that to myself during all the time of my wretchedness. All night long I have seen white things. Monsieur le Maire? Is not my daughter beautiful? You must have been very cold in that diligence! Could she not be brought for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but I am going to behave as though I were ill. And did she have white linen? Did those Thenardiers keep her clean? How have they fed her? Oh! if you only knew how I have suffered. he shall bring me Cosette. A child sees one thing to-day and another thing to-morrow. I am perfectly conscious that there is nothing the matter with me any more. in order that. Madeleine was sitting on a chair beside the bed.’’ M. they will say. Oh. I know well that I am about to be happy. to please these ladies here. When Monsieur le Docteur pleases. I am well. Did she stand the journey well? Alas! she will not recognize me. Monsieur le Maire? Oh! how good you were to go and get her for me! Only tell me how she is.

retired. ‘Co- sette is well. There was a child playing in the yard—the child of the portress or of some work-woman. The doctor. is it not? People go there on pleasure parties in summer. That inn of theirs is a sort of a cook-shop.’ he said. and that makes you cough.’ M. Fantine did not murmur. it was evident that he had come to tell her things before which his mind now hesitated. she feared that she had injured by her too passionate lamentations the confidence which she was desirous of inspiring. fits of coughing interrupted Fantine at nearly ev- ery word. Madeleine was still holding her hand. Tell me. and you are throwing your arms out from under the clothes. but calm yourself. and gazing at her with anxiety. You shall see her soon. and began to listen with rapture. you are talking with too much vivacity. it could be so if you chose!’ He took her hand.just one little instant? She might be taken away directly af- terwards. ‘Montfermeil is quite pretty.’ In fact. you are the master. held her breath. But in the midst of this pause Fantine exclaimed:— ‘I hear her! mon Dieu. Sister Simplice remained alone with them. and she began to talk of indif- ferent things. ‘Cosette is beautiful. I hear her!’ She stretched out her arm to enjoin silence about her. It was one of those acci-  Les Miserables . having finished his visit. Are the Thenardiers prosper- ous? There are not many travellers in their parts.

She will run over the grass after butterflies.’ The child retreated as it had come. I will watch her. ‘it is my Cosette! I recognize her voice. I will make her spell. two. you do not know how foolish I become when I think of my daugh- ter’s first communion!’ She began to laugh. she will look like a little woman. with her head resting on the pillow: ‘How happy we are going to be! We shall have a little garden the very first thing. The child—a little girl— was going and coming. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. singing at the top of her voice. running to warm herself. She must know her letters by this time. then her face clouded over.dents which are always occurring. Alas! in what are the plays of children not intermingled. O my good sister. and which seem to form a part of the mysterious stage-setting of mournful scenes. four—she is seven years old. In five years she will have a white veil. Then she will take her first communion. Ah! when will she take her first communion?’ She began to reckon on her fingers. ‘Oh!’ she resumed. three. in a low voice: ‘How wicked that doctor is not to allow me to see my daughter! That man has an evil countenance. and openwork stockings.’ But the smiling background of her thoughts came to the front again. M. She continued to talk to herself. It was this little girl whom Fantine heard singing.com  . Madeleine heard her say. and M. the voice died away. laughing. ‘One. that he has. Fantine listened for a while longer. Madeleine has promised it to me. My daughter will play in the garden.

She no longer spoke. rendered large with terror. and this caused him to raise his head mechanically. All at once she ceased speaking. was ghastly. which had been radiant but a moment before. He turned. He had released Fantine’s hand. on something alarming at the other extremity of the room. ‘Good God!’ he exclaimed. She removed one hand from his arm. his mind absorbed in reflection which had no bottom. and beheld Javert. she did not remove her eyes from the object which she seemed to see. and with the other made him a sign to look behind him. and she seemed to have fixed her eyes. her face. ‘what ails you. Fantine had become terrible. with his eyes on the ground. Fantine?’ She made no reply.  Les Miserables . she no longer breathed. He listened to her words as one listens to the sighing of the breeze. her thin shoulder emerged from her chemise. she had raised herself to a sitting posture.

to declare that his convictions had not been in the least modified by that curious incident. The half-hour after midnight had just struck when M. and his first care had been to post a letter to M. of the public. sur M.CHAPTER III JAVERT SATISFIED This is what had taken place.. who was evidently the real Jean Valjean.com  . The counsel for the defence had some dif- ficulty in refuting this harangue and in establishing that. Madeleine quitted the Hall of Assizes in Arras. when the district-attorney.. the condemnation of that Champmathieu. sur M. he had hardly quitted the audience hall of the Court of Assizes. A little before six o’clock in the morning he had arrived at M. and of the jury. recover- ing from his first shock. in which he had engaged his place. then to enter the in- firmary and see Fantine. which would be explained thereafter. The district-attorney’s persistence was visibly at variance with the sentiments of every one. and to demand. However. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. of the court. in the meantime. Laffitte. He regained his inn just in time to set out again by the mail-wagon. had taken the word to deplore the mad deed of the honorable mayor of M.

had joined the counsel for the defence. the district-attorney shut himself up with the President. His first emotion having passed off. in which there was a great deal of of. the aspect of the matter had been thoroughly altered. Immediately after Champmathieu had been set at liber- ty. etc. The district-attorney forwarded it to M. le Maire of M. Justice must. is the district-attorney’s. take its course. the President. They conferred ‘as to the necessity of seizing the person of M. Thence the lawyer had drawn some epiphonemas. not very fresh. sur M. in his summing up. sur M. on the minutes of his report to the attorney-gen- eral. written with his own hand.in consequence of the revelations of M. at full speed. although the President was a kindly and a tolerably intelligent man. unfortu- nately. and in a few minutes the jury had thrown Champmathieu out of the case. and not Bonaparte.. when alluding to the landing at Cannes. The order for his arrest was accordingly despatched.’ This phrase. after all. say the Emperor.. and as he had no longer Champmathieu. the district-attorney was bent on having a Jean Valjean. etc. Madeleine. he took Madeleine. and he had been shocked to hear the Mayor of M. And then. by a special mes- senger. Nevertheless. sur M. a devoted and almost an ardent royalist. and that the jury had before their eyes now only an innocent man. when all was said. that is to say. at the same time. upon judicial errors. of the real Jean Valjean. the President did not offer many objections. and entrusted its execution to Police  Les Miserables . he was.

methodical with malefactors. and would have thought his air the most ordinary in the world. sur M.Inspector Javert. informed Javert of what had taken place at Arras. would have shuddered. it Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Any one who did not know Javert. his gray hair was perfectly smooth upon his temples. He was cool.. and who had examined him attentively at the moment. could have divined nothing of what had taken place.com  . mayor of M. immediately after having given his deposition. and he had just mounted the stairs with his habitual deliberation. Any one who was thoroughly acquainted with him. Javert was a complete character. in two words. who. and who had chanced to see him at the moment when he penetrated the ante- chamber of the infirmary. signed by the dis- trict-attorney. was recog- nized as the liberated convict. The reader knows that Javert had returned to M. was couched in these words: ‘Inspector Javert will apprehend the body of the Sieur Madeleine. This betrayed unwonted agitation. rigid with the buttons of his coat. grave. Javert was just getting out of bed when the messenger handed him the order of arrest and the command to pro- duce the prisoner. sur M. who. Jean Valjean. The order of arrest. That he should have set the buckle of his stock awry. The messenger himself was a very clever member of the police. calm. in this day’s session of the court. The buckle of his leather stock was under his left ear instead of at the nape of his neck. who never had a wrinkle in his duty or in his uniform.

He had come in a simple way. without stirring.  Les Miserables . had made a requisition on the neighboring post for a corporal and four soldiers. without his pres- ence being perceived. and made M. Madeleine turn round. On arriving at Fantine’s chamber. could be seen. He stood erect in the half-open door. he did not enter. and entered. Javert. became terrible. It was the visage of a demon who has just found his damned soul. No human sentiment can be as terrible as joy. which was hidden behind him. The satisfaction of at last getting hold of Jean Valjean caused all that was in his soul to appear in his countenance. pushed the door open with the gentleness of a sick- nurse or a police spy. had had Fantine’s room pointed out to him by the portress. All at once Fantine raised her eyes. which was buttoned up to the chin. who was utterly unsuspicious. without moving from his post. saw him. Javert turned the handle. mounted to the surface. Thus he remained for nearly a minute. The instant that Madeleine’s glance encountered Javert’s glance. without approaching him. had left the soldiers in the courtyard. In the bend of his elbow the leaden head of his enormous cane. The depths having been stirred up. Properly speaking. accustomed as she was to seeing armed men inquiring for the mayor.was indispensable that there should have taken place in him one of those emotions which may be designated as internal earthquakes. his hat on his head and his left hand thrust into his coat.

the legal conscience. had nothing ignoble about him. hell. lost the scent. he had authority. he was radiant. the sense of duty. candor. and there was an in- contestable grandeur in this monstrous Saint Michael.The humiliation of having. all the stars. and of having for so long cherished a just instinct. at an infinite distance. Javert. though frightful. rebellion. the case judged.com  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. personified justice. he was lending a help- ing hand to the absolute. was effaced by pride at having so well and accurately divined in the first place. The terrible shadow of the action which he was accomplishing caused the vague flash of the social sword to be visible in his clenched fist. he. he smiled. There existed in his victory a remnant of defi- ance and of combat. All the demonstra- tions of horror which a satisfied face can afford were there. happy and indignant. brilliant. the public prosecution. conviction. he exterminated. perdition. for a few moments. he was causing the law to yield up its thunders. but with a confused intuition of the necessity of his presence and of his success. he was standing erect in the midst of a glory. and of having indulged. and truth in their celestial func- tion of crushing out evil. haughty. reason. in some slight degree. he held his heel upon crime. he was avenging society. Erect. he flaunted abroad in open day the superhuman bestiality of a ferocious archangel. Javert. The deformity of triumph overspread that narrow brow. Javert’s con- tent shone forth in his sovereign attitude. vice. Javert was in heaven at that moment. Behind him and around him. Without putting the thing clearly to himself. Probity. he was protecting order. in an er- ror with regard to Champmathieu. sincerity. light.

 Les Miserables . even when hideous. remain grand: their majesty. Without himself suspecting the fact. Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face. wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good. The honest. as is every ignorant man who triumphs.—error. they are virtues which have one vice. pitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his atrocity preserves a certain lugubri- ously venerable radiance. clings to them in the midst of horror. but which. the majesty peculiar to the human conscience.are things which may become hideous when wrongly di- rected. Javert in his formidable happiness was to be pitied.

it is not for you that he is come.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she hid her face in both hands. she felt her life quitting her. He said to Fantine in the gentlest and calmest of voices:— ‘Be at ease.’ Then he addressed Javert. but the only thing which she did not doubt was that he had come to get her. and shrieked in her anguish:— ‘Monsieur Madeleine.’ Javert replied:— ‘Be quick about it!’ There lay in the inflection of voice which accompanied these words something indescribably fierce and frenzied. and said:— ‘I know what you want.com  . Her ailing brain compre- hended nothing. Javert did not say. ‘Be quick about it!’ he said ‘Bequiabouit. She could not endure that terrible face. save me!’ Jean Valjean—we shall henceforth not speak of him oth- erwise— had risen.CHAPTER IV AUTHORITY REASSERTS ITS RIGHTS Fantine had not seen Javert since the day on which the mayor had torn her from the man.

This arrest was not a beginning. she saw the mayor bow his head. a thing so unprecedented that nothing equal to it had appeared to her even in the blackest deliriums of fever. She shud- dered. In his eyes. he did not advance a single step. At Javert’s exclamation. he exhibited no warrant of arrest. It seemed to her that  Les Miserables . He confined himself to saying. seize the mayor by the collar. what had she to fear? Javert advanced to the middle of the room. he hurled at Jean Valjean a glance which he threw out like a grappling-hook. who was not to be laid hands upon. No orthography can do justice to the accent with which it was uttered: it was no longer a human word: it was a roar. No one was present excepting the nun and the mayor. It was this glance which Fantine had felt penetrating to the very marrow of her bones two months previously. he did not enter into the matter. ‘Be quick about it!’ As he spoke thus. Fantine opened her eyes once more. Jean Valjean was a sort of mysterious combatant. and with which he was accustomed to draw wretches violently to him. But the mayor was there. without being able to throw him. a wrestler in the dark whom he had had in his grasp for the last five years. He did not proceed according to his custom. but an end. Then she beheld a most unprecedented thing. She beheld Javert. and cried:— ‘See here now! Art thou coming?’ The unhappy woman glanced about her. To whom could that abject use of ‘thou’ be addressed? To her only. the police spy.

com  . grasped Jean Valjean by the collar.’ Jean Valjean turned towards him and said very rapidly and in a very low voice:— ‘Grant me three days’ grace! three days in which to go and fetch the child of this unhappy woman. He said:— ‘Javert—‘ Javert interrupted him: ‘Call me Mr. ‘people are in the habit of talking aloud to me. in fact. ‘Monsieur le Maire!’ shrieked Fantine. ‘I should like to say a word to you in private. You shall accompany me if you choose.’ ‘You are making sport of me!’ cried Javert. Javert had.’ said Jean Valjean. Javert burst out laughing with that frightful laugh which displayed all his gums. ‘There is no longer any Monsieur le Maire here!’ Jean Valjean made no attempt to disengage the hand which grasped the collar of his coat.’ ‘Monsieur.’ ‘Aloud! Say it aloud!’ replied Javert.’ Jean Valjean went on in a lower tone:— ‘I have a request to make of you—‘ ‘I tell you to speak loud.’ ‘But you alone should hear it—‘ ‘What difference does that make to me? I shall not lis- ten. I did not think you such a fool! You ask me to give you three days in which to run away! You say that it is for the purpose of fetching that creature’s child! Ah! Ah! That’s good! That’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I will pay what- ever is necessary. Inspector. ‘Come now.the world was coming to an end.

a rattle pro- ceeded from the depths of her throat. she gazed at the nun. support- ing herself on her stiffened arms and on both hands: she gazed at Jean Valjean. then suddenly fell back on her pillow.  Les Miserables . you hussy? It’s a pretty sort of a place where con- victs are magistrates. and where women of the town are cared for like countesses! Ah! But we are going to change all that. a convict named Jean Valjean! And I have him in my grasp! That’s what there is!’ Fantine raised herself in bed with a bound. once more taking into his grasp Jean Valjean’s cravat. sister. she gazed at Javert. sightless eyes. her teeth chattered. There is a thief. a brigand. with gaping mouth and staring. then! Answer me. she stretched out her arms in her agony. it is high time!’ He stared intently at Fantine. she opened her mouth as though to speak. ‘to go and fetch my child! She is not here. opening her hands convulsively.really capital!’ Fantine was seized with a fit of trembling. Her head struck the head-board of the bed and fell forwards on her breast. and added. and fumbling about her like a drowning per- son. ‘And now there’s the other one! Will you hold your tongue. shirt and collar:— ‘I tell you that there is no Monsieur Madeleine and that there is no Monsieur le Maire. ‘My child!’ she cried. where is Cosette? I want my child! Monsieur Madeleine! Monsieur le Maire!’ Javert stamped his foot.

Let us economize all that. or you’ll get the thumb- screws!’ In the corner of the room stood an old iron bedstead. and leaned against the door-post. When he arrived there he turned and said to Javert. Jean Valjean stepped up to this bed. but Jean Valjean might avail himself of that moment to effect his es- cape. which was in a decidedly decrepit state. and which served the sisters as a camp-bed when they were watching with the sick. and began to contem- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and glanced at Javert. then he said to Javert:— ‘You have murdered that woman. and his brow on his hand. in a voice that was barely audible:— ‘I advise you not to disturb me at this moment. so he remained.’ ‘Let’s have an end of this!’ shouted Javert. ‘I am not here to listen to argument. which was already in a dilapi- dated condition. the guard is below. that Javert trembled. an easy matter to muscles like his. and that is. without removing his eyes from Jean Valjean. walked slowly up to Fantine’s couch. grasped his cane by the small end. Jean Valjean laid his hand upon the detaining hand of Javert. march on instantly. armed with his bar of iron. in a fury. and opened it as he would have opened the hand of a baby. Jav- ert retreated towards the door. It did occur to him to summon the guard.’ One thing is certain. Jean Valjean rested his elbow on the knob at the head of the bed.com  . Jean Valjean. in a twinkling wrenched off the head-piece. grasped the principal rod like a bludgeon. She was dead.

he closed her eyes. What did he say to her? What could this man. that signifies entrance into the great light. absorbed. Fantine’s face seemed strangely illuminated at that mo- ment. who was reproved. evidently with no further thought of anything connected with this life.’ said he. the sole witness of the incident. often said that at the moment that Jean Valjean whispered in Fantine’s ear. and turned to Javert. then he tied the string of her chemise. sublime realities. who was dead? What words were those? No one on earth heard them. That done. she distinctly beheld an ineffable smile dawn on those pale lips.plate the motionless body of Fantine. Did the dead woman hear them? There are some touching illusions which are. Then he rose. mute. ‘I am at your disposal. Upon his face and in his attitude there was nothing but inexpress- ible pity. and in those dim eyes. Death. and kissed it. and smoothed her hair back under her cap. say to that woman. and arranged it on the pillow as a mother might have done for her child. He remained thus. perhaps. After a few moments of this meditation he bent towards Fantine. ‘Now. that Sister Simplice. and spoke to her in a low voice. filled with the amazement of the tomb.’  Les Miserables . Jean Valjean knelt down before that hand. Jean Valjean took Fantine’s head in both his hands. The point as to which there exists no doubt is. lifted it gently. which lay extended there. Fantine’s hand was hanging over the side of the bed.

he had a frightful name. an extraordinary commotion in M.com  . Madeleine?’ ‘Yes. That man was too good.’ ‘Ah! Good God!’ ‘He has been arrested.’ ‘Really?’ ‘His name was not Madeleine at all. Bejean. or rather.’ ‘Arrested!’ ‘In prison. Madeleine occasioned a sensation. In less than two hours all the good that he had done had been forgotten. ‘He was a convict. while waiting to be transferred. The arrest of M. in the city prison. All day long conversa- tions like the following were to be heard in all quarters of the town:— ‘You don’t know? He was a liberated convict!’ ‘Who?’ ‘The mayor. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.CHAPTER V A SUITABLE TOMB Javert deposited Jean Valjean in the city prison.’ nearly every one deserted him. We are sorry that we cannot conceal the fact.’ ‘Well! I suspected as much. Bojean. Boujean. that at the single word. sur M. and he was nothing but a ‘convict from the galleys.’ ‘Bah! M.’ ‘Until he is transferred!’ ‘He is to be trans- ferred!’ ‘Where is he to be taken?’ ‘He will be tried at the Assizes for a highway robbery which he committed long ago.’ It is just to add that the details of what had taken place at Arras were not yet known.

It will be a lesson to the Bonapartists!’ It was thus that the phantom which had been called M. The old portress who had served him was among the number. I always thought there was some evil history back of all that. Towards the hour when M. One old lady. who were watching beside the body of Fan- tine. a subscriber to the Drapeau Blanc. made the following remark. There was no one in the house but the two nuns. then she hung the key on the nail whence he was accustomed to take it. Then she sat down again on her chair. Madeleine vanished from M. Madeleine’s chamber. and set the candlestick on one side. The poor. On the evening of that day the worthy old woman was sitting in her lodge. He refused the cross. and the flat candlestick which he used every evening to go up to his quarters. and absorbed in sad reflections. the street was deserted. Only three or four per- sons in all the town remained faithful to his memory. the carriage gate was bolted. too affected. sur M. Madeleine was accustomed to return home. as though she was expecting him.too perfect. the good portress rose mechanically. Sister Perpetue and Sister Simplice. and became absorbed in thought once more. took from a drawer the key of M. the depth of which it is impossible to fathom:— ‘I am not sorry.’ The ‘drawing-rooms’ particularly abounded in remarks of this nature. good old woman bad done all this without being  Les Miserables . The factory had been closed all day. he bestowed sous on all the little scamps he came across. still in a thorough fright.

’ she cried at last. and stood there with gaping mouth. ‘I was there. He gave her no orders. go and find Sister Simplice for me. She knew that hand. I am going up to my room. The portress raised her eyes. ‘Good God. ‘In prison. He finished her thought. Madeleine. ‘I thought you were—‘ She stopped. seized the key and the candlestick. and a shriek which she confined to her throat. and exclaimed. Monsieur le Maire. that arm. the conclusion of her sentence would have been lacking in respect towards the beginning. the sleeve of that coat.’ The old woman obeyed in all haste. and lighted the taper at the candle which was burning there. a hand passed through. ‘Hold! My good God Jesus! And I hung his key on the nail!’ At that moment the small window in the lodge opened. Jean Valjean was still Monsieur le Maire to her. I let myself drop from the top of a roof. I broke a bar of one of the windows.com  . She is with that poor woman. It was M. he was quite sure that she would guard him better than he should guard himself. It was several seconds before she could speak. as she said herself. no doubt. she had a seizure.’ said he. It was only at the expiration of two hours that she roused herself from her revery. and here I am. No one ever found out how he had managed to get into Free eBooks at Planet eBook. when she related the adventure afterwards.conscious of it.

only she had picked out of the ashes and placed neatly on the table the two iron ends of the cudgel and the forty-sou piece which had been black- ened by the fire. On ar- riving at the top. which he tore in pieces. and always carried about him. No trace of the disorder of the night before last remained. at his table. went and closed his window and his shutters by feeling. He had. at his chair. opened his door with very little noise.’ and he arranged this piece of paper. This point was never explained. but he must have been searched. The portress had ‘done up’ his room. and his latch- key must have been taken from him. he  Les Miserables . a pass-key which opened a little side-door. He ascended the staircase leading to his chamber. at his bed which had not been disturbed for three days. and the coin in such a way that they were the first things to be seen on entering the room. then returned for his candle and re-entered his room. the bits of iron.the courtyard without opening the big gates. and while he was wrapping up the Bishop’s candlesticks. In the strips of linen thus prepared he wrapped the two sil- ver candlesticks. From a cupboard he pulled out one of his old shirts. it will be recollected that his window could be seen from the street. He betrayed neither haste nor agitation. on which he wrote: ‘These are the two tips of my iron-shod cudgel and the forty-sou piece stolen from Little Gervais. which I mentioned at the Court of Assizes. It was a useful precaution. He cast a glance about him. he left his candle on the top step of his stairs. He took a sheet of paper.

however:— ‘Does not Monsieur le Maire desire to take a last look at Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was probably the prison- bread which he had carried with him in his flight. She was pale. She succeeded in saying. There came two taps at the door. ‘Come in. and she was trembling.’ said he. saying. ‘You can read it. but she only managed to stam- mer a few inarticulate sounds.’ The sister tried to speak. and force it to reappear on the surface. This was proved by the crumbs which were found on the floor of the room when the authorities made an examina- tion later on. It was Sister Simplice. She had wept. She cast a glance upon it. they wring human nature from our very bowels. the candle which she carried trembled in her hand.nibbled at a piece of black bread.com  . The peculiar feature of the vi- olences of destiny is. She read:— ‘I beg Monsieur le Cure to keep an eye on all that I leave behind me. that however polished or cool we may be. ‘Sister.’ said he. which he handed to the nun. The emotions of that day had turned the nun into a woman once more. Jean Valjean had just finished writing a few lines on a paper. her eyes were red. and of the funeral of the woman who died yesterday. you will give this to Monsieur le Cure. The rest is for the poor.’ The paper was not folded. He will be so good as to pay out of it the expens- es of my trial.

The nun did not raise her eyes. unhappy woman?’ ‘No. that not a soul has entered this house all day. The whispers of many men and the protestations of the portress were audible in the corridor. ‘I am pursued.’ He had hardly finished when a loud noise became au- dible on the staircase. it would only end in their ar- resting me in that room.’ said he.that poor. In his eyes. This was impregnable. It will be remembered that the fundamental point in Javert. his element.  Les Miserables . The candle was on the chimney-piece. nor all the evening. and gave but very little light.’ They recognized Javert’s voice. Javert caught sight of the nun and halted in amazement. and admitted of neither objection nor restriction. and that I have not even left the door. I swear to you by the good God.’ A man responded:— ‘But there is a light in that room. of course. and the old portress saying in her loudest and most piercing tones:— ‘My good sir. nevertheless. and that would disturb her. Javert entered. Jean Valjean blew out the light and placed himself in this angle. She was praying. The door opened. was venera- tion for all authority. They heard a tumult of ascending footsteps. the very air he breathed. The chamber was so arranged that the door in opening masked the corner of the wall on the right. Sister Simplice fell on her knees near the table.

’ said he. he was reli- gious.’ She lied. his first movement was to re- tire. His second movement was to remain and to venture on at least one question.the ecclesiastical authority was the chief of all. as a person does when sacrificing herself. The sister raised her eyes and answered:— ‘Yes. ‘are you alone in this room?’ A terrible moment ensued. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with a single door which never opened except to allow the truth to pass through.’ resumed Javert. during which the poor por- tress felt as though she should faint. ‘Sister. without hesitation. it is my duty.com  .’ ‘Then. they were souls walled in from this world. you have not seen a certain person—a man— this evening? He has escaped. who had never told a lie in her life. Javert knew it. a priest was a mind. But there was also another duty which bound him and impelled him imperiously in the opposite direction. who never makes a mistake. one after the other. promptly. ‘you will excuse me if I persist. you have not seen him?’ The sister replied:— ‘No. She had lied twice in succession. and held her in special veneration in consequence. superficial and correct on this point as on all others. we are in search of him—that Jean Valjean. On perceiving the sister. a nun was a creature who never sins. In his eyes. This was Sister Simplice.

Perhaps that was the one. and he retired with a deep bow.’ said Javert. and which was still smoking on the table. sur M. That is why he had a very simple funeral for Fantine. was rapidly departing from M. that he was carrying a bundle. a man. you have rejoined your sisters. Where had he obtained that blouse? No one ever found out. Who was concerned. ‘Pardon me. Fantine was given back to that mother. An hour later. and perhaps he really was. the virgins. in the direction of Paris. may this lie be counted to your cred- it in paradise! The sister’s affirmation was for Javert so decisive a thing that he did not even observe the singularity of that candle which had but just been extinguished. That man was Jean Valjean. One last word about Fantine.—the earth. marching amid trees and mists. and where the  Les Miserables . O sainted maid! you left this world many years ago. leaving behind him nothing but his blouse. So Fantine was buried in the free corner of the cemetery which belongs to anybody and everybody. and reduced it to that strictly necessary form known as the pauper’s grave. It has been established by the testimony of two or three carters who met him. that he was dressed in a blouse. in reserving as much money as possible from what Jean Valjean had left for the poor. and your brothers. in the light. after all? A convict and a woman of the town. the angels. But an aged workman had died in the infirmary of the fac- tory a few days before. We all have a mother. The cure thought that he was doing right.

[The end of Volume I.poor are lost. she was subjected to the promiscuous- ness of ashes. among the first bones that came to hand.com  . Fortunately. Fantine was laid in the shade. She was thrown into the public grave. ‘Fantine”] Free eBooks at Planet eBook. God knows where to find the soul again. Her grave resembled her bed.

VOLUME II. COSETTE  Les Miserables .

—WATERLOO Free eBooks at Planet eBook.BOOK FIRST.com  .

He was pursuing a broad paved road. He had just left be- hind a wood upon an eminence. a traveller. Private Cafe. which has the form of a reversed vase. a public house. the person who is telling this story. raise the road and let it fall again. bear- ing on its front this sign: At the Four Winds (Aux Quatre Vents). by the side of a sort of mouldy gibbet bearing the inscription Ancient Barrier No. Echabeau. He was on foot. He had passed Lillois and Bois-Seigneur-Isaac. over the hills which succeed each other. A quarter of a league further on.CHAPTER I WHAT IS MET WITH ON THE WAY FROM NIVELLES Last year (). was coming from Niv- elles. on a beautiful May morning. he arrived at the bottom of a little valley. which undulated between two rows of trees. In the west he perceived the slate-roofed tower of Braine-l’Alleud. where there is water which passes beneath an arch made through the embankment of the road. and at the angle of the cross-road. and produce some- thing in the nature of enormous waves. 4. and directing his course towards La Hulpe. The  Les Miserables .

and flanked it with an abrupt right angle. a badly paved path plunged into the bushes. a heap of dried brushwood near a flourishing hedge. The sun was charming. On the right.clump of sparsely planted but very green trees. skirting a wall of the fifteenth century. with bricks set in contrast. a plough. In the meadow before the door lay three harrows. The door was closed. The two decrepit leaves which barred it were ornamented with an old rusty knocker. After traversing a hundred paces. was flut- tering in the wind. probably of some outside spectacle. and a ladder suspended along an old penthouse with straw partitions. A se- vere facade rose above this door. where a huge yellow poster. probably a lover. At one corner of the inn. which fills the valley on one side of the road.. close to the road. in the sombre style of Louis XIV. beside a pool in which a flotilla of ducks was navigating. was carolling in a distracted manner in a large tree. and disappears gracefully and as in order in the direction of Braine-l’Alleud. he found himself before a large door of arched stone. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. through which. a wall. grew all the flowers of May. was an inn. flanked by two flat medallions. perpendicular to the facade. a large bundle of hop-poles. surmounted by a pointed gable. lime smoking in a square hole.com  . with a four- wheeled cart at the door. A young girl was weeding in a field. which seems to proceed rather from the nests than from the wind. such as a parish festival. the branches had that soft shiv- ering of May. almost touched the door. with a rectilinear impost. The wayfarer struck into this. is dispersed over the meadows on the other. in disorder. A brave little bird.

in the stone on the left. She saw the wayfarer. is the hole of a big iron bullet as large as an egg. The traveller straightened himself up.’ said the peasant woman. at the foot of the pier of the door. he perceived a sort of lit- tle elevation. At this moment the leaves of the door parted. On the horizon through the trees.’ ‘What is the name of this place?’ inquired the wayfarer. The wayfarer bent over and examined a rather large cir- cular excavation. higher up in the door. He was on the battle-field of Waterloo. The bullet did not pierce the wood. ‘Hougomont. He walked on a few paces. near a nail. and perceived what he was look- ing at. And she added:— ‘That which you see there.  Les Miserables . and on this elevation something which at that distance resembled a lion. resembling the hollow of a sphere. and a peas- ant woman emerged.’ she said to him. ‘It was a French cannon-ball which made that. and went off to look over the tops of the hedges.

com  . A monumental aspect often has its birth in ruin. a chapel surmounted by a small bell-tower. it is no longer anything but a farm.—this was a funereal spot. some shovels. called Napoleon. a chicken jumping. It was a chateau. a blossoming pear-tree Free eBooks at Planet eBook.. a manure-hole. which here simulates an ar- cade. In a wall near the arcade opens another arched door. The traveller pushed open the door.CHAPTER II HOUGOMONT Hougomont. with its flagstone and its iron reel. of the time of Henry IV. some pickaxes. elbowed an ancient calash under the porch. beside this door. permitting a glimpse of the trees of an orchard. and a turkey spreading its tail. For the antiquary. the beginning of the obstacle. Sire of Somerel. encountered at Waterloo. The first thing which struck him in this paddock was a door of the sixteenth century. the first knot under the blows of his axe. and entered the courtyard. This manor was built by Hugo. which that great wood-cut- ter of Europe. the same who endowed the sixth chaplaincy of the Abbey of Villiers. some carts. an old well. everything else having fallen prostrate around it. Hougomont is Hugomons. the first resistance.

guarded by this wall. as a geometrical plan. Hougomont viewed on the map. and miscarried. that of the chateau. Bauduin’s brigade was not strong enough to force Hougomont on the north.—the southern door. who shows his teeth and replaces the English. nearly the entire corps of Reille was employed against it. could he but have seized it. Cooke’s four com- panies of guards there held out for seven hours against the fury of an army. which commands it only a gun’s length away. but without taking it. A growl is audible. The farm buildings border the courtyard on the south. and the brigade of Soye could not do more than effect the beginning of a breach on the south. the divisions of Foy. A bit of the north door. comprising buildings and enclosures.trained in espalier against the wall of the chapel—behold the court. The English behaved admirably there. Guilleminot. belonging to the farm. the conquest of which was one of Napoleon’s dreams. presents a sort of ir- regular rectangle. it is a huge dog. on which the scars of the attack are visible. would. one angle of which is nicked out. have given him the world likewise. It is this angle which contains the southern door. Napoleon sent his brother Jerome against Hougomont. Hougomont has two doors. broken by the French. Kellermann’s balls were exhausted on this heroic section of wall.  Les Miserables . hangs sus- pended to the wall. and Bachelu hurled themselves against it. and the northern door. It consists of four planks nailed to two cross-beams. perhaps. Chick- ens are scattering its dust abroad with their beaks. This corner of earth.

—from behind the walls. stands half-open at the bottom of the paddock. fired on from ev- ery point. of brick above which closes in the courtyard on the north. The northern door. such as exist in all farms. with the two large leaves made of rustic planks: beyond lie the mead- ows. from the summits of the garrets. through all the air-holes. it was only yesterday. the holes are wounds. the chapel for a block-house. The French. The walls are in the death agony. the breaches cry aloud. the stones fall. The English barricaded themselves there. Be- side the chapel. the confusion of the fray was petri- fied there. For a long time. This courtyard was more built up in 1815 than it is to- day. rises in a crum- bling state. through all the case- ments. it is cut squarely in the wall. quivering trees seem to be making an effort to flee. one wing of the chateau. built of stone below. It is a simple door for carts. Buildings which have since been pulled down then formed redans and angles. its horror is visible there. from the depths of the cellars. There men exterminated each other. one might say. The dispute over this entrance was furious.—disembowelled. which was beaten in by the French. and which has had a piece applied to it to replace the panel suspended on the wall. it lives and it dies there. all sorts of imprints of bloody hands were visible on the door-posts. The storm of the combat still lingers in this courtyard. the drooping. the French made their way in.com  . It was there that Bauduin was killed. but could not stand their ground. through every crack in the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The chateau served for a dungeon. the only ruin now remaining of the manor of Hougomont.

a door opposite the altar. and is clothed with verdure in April. through windows garnished with bars of iron. the other is wounded at its base. the altar has been left there— an altar of unpolished wood. Nevertheless. had cut off the lower steps.— fetched fagots and set fire to walls and men. the spiral of the staircase. the English.stones. Near the altar there is nailed up a wooden statue of Saint Anne. A massacre took place in the chapel. All the rest resembles a jaw which has been denuded of its teeth. below the crucifix a square air-hole stopped up with a bundle of hay. These inaccessible steps are solid in their niches. an old window-frame with the glass all broken to pieces—such is the chapel. which has recovered its calm. in one corner. the English guards were in ambush in these rooms. the head of the infant Jesus has been car-  Les Miserables . These consisted of large slabs of blue stone. over the door a large wooden crucifix. placed against a background of roughhewn stone. be- sieged on the staircase. cracked from the ground floor to the very roof. is singular. of the fifteenth century. and massed on its upper steps. Four white- washed walls. The staircase has two stories. on the first is cut the figure of a trident. the reply to the grape-shot was a conflagration. on the ground. the dismantled chambers of the main build- ing of brick are visible. Half a score of steps still cling to the wall. In the ruined wing. two small arched windows. which form a heap among the nettles. The interior. Since 1815 it has taken to growing through the staircase. The mass has not been said there since the carnage. appears like the inside of a broken shell. There are two old trees there: one is dead.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the wooden Christ was not burned. set fire to it. was less fortu- nate than the Christ. The walls are covered with inscriptions. 1815. and were then dislodged. then it stopped.ried off by a large ball.com  . Why is water not drawn there? Because it is full of skeletons. and was gardener there. it was a perfect furnace. The nations insulted each other there. the door was burned. who were masters of the chapel for a moment. One inquires.—a sign of wrath. according to the assertion of the people of the neighborhood. It was at the door of this chapel that the corpse was picked up which held an axe in its hand.— a miracle. The last person who drew water from the well was named Guillaume van Kylsom. The wall was freshly whitewashed in 1849. decapitated. The French. Then these others: Conde de Rio Maior Marques y Marquesa de Al- magro (Habana). The fire preyed upon his feet. Why is there no bucket and pulley to this? It is because water is no lon- ger drawn there. of which only the blackened stumps are now to be seen. There are two in this courtyard. On the 18th of June. The infant Jesus. a well is visible on the left. The forest surrounding the Abbey of Villiers sheltered these unfortunate people who had been scattered abroad. Near the feet of Christ this name is to be read: Henquinez. his family fled and concealed themselves in the woods. The flames filled this building. He was a peasant who lived at Hou- gomont. this corpse was Sub-Lieutenant Legros. the floor was burned. There are French names with exclamation points. On emerging from the chapel.

and simulating a small. part stone. This well where drank so many of the dead was destined to die itself. possibly the hole made by a shell. Death has a fashion of harassing victory. feeble voices were heard calling from the well. It seems that on the night succeeding the interment. After the engagement. This well is isolated in the middle of the courtyard.for many days and nights. Three hundred dead bodies were cast into it. and the combatants forced this frightened man to serve them. which mark the site of these poor bivouacs trembling in the depths of the thickets. Guillaume van Kylsom remained at Hougomont. It is there that the water was drawn. The English discovered him there. Were they all dead? Legend says they were not. This little tower had a platform. On leaning  Les Miserables . such as old boles of burned trees. They were thirsty. They tore him from his hid- ing-place. and folded like the leaves of a screen. they were in haste to bury the dead bodies. by administering blows with the flats of their swords. The fourth side is open. The iron supports of the well on the right form a cross.’ and concealed himself in the cellar. square tower. There are at this day certain trac- es recognizable. With too much haste perhaps. This well was deep. Many drank there their last draught. It was from this well that he drew it. surround it on all sides. and it was turned into a sepulchre. and she causes the pest to follow glory. this Guillaume brought them water. The wall at the bottom has a sort of shapeless loophole. Three walls. ‘to guard the chateau. The typhus is a concomi- tant of triumph. of which only the beams remain. part brick.

The base of the walls all about the well is concealed in a growth of nettles. was terrified and wept. The rain-water collects there. We glued our ears to the earth to hear. the eye is lost in a deep cylinder of brick which is filled with a heaped-up mass of shadows. The family who occupy the house had for their grand- father Guillaume van Kylsom. is still inhabited. a French sapper hewed off his hand with an axe. grasped this handle in order to take refuge in the farm. One house in this ruin. and then flies away. My sister. chain. This well has not in front of it that large blue slab which forms the table for all wells in Belgium. the farm- house. the third Free eBooks at Planet eBook. there is an iron handle with trefoils placed slanting. and from time to time a bird of the neighboring forests comes thither to drink. Wilda. The orchard is terrible. I was three years old.com  . so we were told. the old gardener. The first part is a garden.over. I went there in my mother’s arms. one might almost say. At the moment when the Hanoverian lieutenant. against which lean five or six shapeless fragments of knotty and petrified wood which resemble huge bones. Upon this door. The door of this house opens on the courtyard. dead long since. A woman with gray hair said to us: ‘I was there. It is in three parts. They carried us off to the woods. beside a pretty Gothic lock- plate. and went boum! boum!’ A door opening from the courtyard on the left led into the orchard. The slab has here been replaced by a cross-beam. the second is an orchard. or pulley. I imi- tated the cannon. who was older. in three acts. There is no longer either pail. but there is still the stone basin which served the overflow.

and being unable to escape. Almost all bear scratches of bullets. on the left. It was a seignorial garden in the first French style which preceded Le Notre. hunted down and caught like bears in their dens. the rest lie prostrate in the grass. The infantry men. The pilas- ters are surmounted by globes which resemble cannon-balls of stone.  Les Miserables .is a wood. Forty-three balusters can still be counted on their sockets. on the right. One mounts a few steps and passes from the garden into the orchard. It was in this garden. to-day it is ruins and briars. One broken baluster is placed on the pediment like a fractured leg. having made their way thither. These three parts have a common enclosure: on the side of the entrance. one of which was armed with carbines. The Hanoverians lined this balustrade and fired from above. with balustrade with a double curve. There. six against two hundred. It slopes downwards. fifteen hundred men fell in less than an hour. choked with a wild growth of vegetation. the wall at the bottom is of stone. and at the end. The wall on the right is of brick. intrepid and with no shelter save the currant-bushes. a hedge. further down than the orchard. accepted the combat with two Hanoverian companies. within the limits of those few square fathoms. the buildings of the chateau and the farm. One enters the garden first. a wall. properly speaking. is planted with gooseberry bushes. replying from below. took a quarter of an hour to die. that six light-infantry men of the 1st. and terminated by a mon- umental terrace of cut stone. The wall seems ready to renew the combat. a wall.

traverse the spaces between the trees and force the passer-by to bend his head. An aged and falling Free eBooks at Planet eBook. are there still. descended from a French family which fled on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. thinking that they had to deal only with a hedge. with the English guards behind it. Major Blackmann leaned against it to die. This orchard is sentient. seven hundred strong. the French came up. pierced by the English at irregular heights.com  . Duplat. As they had no lad- ders. and one’s foot dives into mole-holes. on which linen is drying. in the month of May. Nevertheless. one walks over this uncultivat- ed land. like others. In front of the sixth are placed two English tombs of granite. Beneath a great tree in the neighborhood fell the German general. It has its buttercups and its daisies. They fought hand to hand amid the trees. against which Kellermann’s two batteries were trained. A battalion of Nassau. is gnawed by grape-shot. the orchard was taken. the French scaled it with their nails. crossed it. the cart-horses browse there. The wall is hidden on the outside by a tall hedge. Thus Waterloo be- gan. All this grass has been soaked in blood. and found the wall both an obstacle and an am- buscade. In the middle of the grass one observes an uprooted tree-bole which lies there all verdant. the grass is tall there. The outside of the wall. the thirty-eight loopholes firing at once a shower of grape-shot and balls. There are loopholes only in the south wall.Thirty-eight loopholes. as the principal attack came from that quarter. cords of hair. and Soye’s brigade was broken against it. was overwhelmed there.

a well crammed with corps- es. twenty French battalions.apple-tree leans far over to one side. carnage. killed. I will explain to you the affair of Waterloo!  Les Miserables . besides the forty from Reille’s corps. Blackmann killed. There is not one which has not had its bullet or its biscayan. the regiment of Nassau and the regiment of Brunswick destroyed. [6] A bullet as large as an egg. and at the end of it is a wood full of violets. and if you like. a rivulet formed of English blood. Duplat killed. Foy wounded. German blood mingled in fury. Bauduin. three thousand men in that hovel of Hougomont alone cut down. decimated. the English Guards mutilated. Nearly all the apple- trees are falling with age. burned. give me three francs.—and all this so that a peasant can say to-day to the traveller: Monsieur. shot. slashed to pieces.[6] The skeletons of dead trees abound in this orchard. French blood. Crows fly through their branches. conflagration. with their throats cut. massacre. its wound dressed with a bandage of straw and of clayey loam.

1815. more or less. and even a little earlier than the epoch when the action narrated in the first part of this book took place. The artillery had to wait until it became a little firmer before they could manoeuvre. and that gave Blucher time to come up. said: Such Free eBooks at Planet eBook. All that Providence required in or- der to make Waterloo the end of Austerlitz was a little more rain.com  . A few drops of water.  Let us turn back. decided the downfall of Napoleon. and a cloud traversing the sky out of season sufficed to make a world crumble. Why? Because the ground was wet.CHAPTER III THE EIGHTEENTH OF JUNE. Napoleon was an artillery officer. in the report to the Directory on Aboukir.—that is one of the story-teller’s rights. and felt the effects of this. The foundation of this wonderful captain was the man who. If it had not rained in the night between the 17th and the 18th of June. The battle of Waterloo could not be begun until half-past eleven o’clock.— and put ourselves once more in the year 1815. the fate of Europe would have been different.

He treated the strate- gy of the hostile general like a citadel. The key to his victory was to make the artillery converge on one point. A redoubtable method.— and he intrusted this task to the can- non-ball.—for him everything lay in this. strike. On the 18th of June. three hours before the change of fortune in favor of the Prussians. to pulverize regiments. and made a breach in it. He overwhelmed the weak point with grape-shot. to crush and disperse masses. the soul as well as the body? Did the vet- eran make himself disastrously felt in the leader? In a word. Napo- leon had two hundred and forty. There was some- thing of the sharpshooter in his genius. What amount of blame attaches to Napoleon for the loss of this battle? Is the shipwreck due to the pilot? Was it the evident physical decline of Napoleon that complicated this epoch by an inward diminution of force? Had the twenty years of war worn out the blade as it had worn the scabbard. Suppose the soil dry. to strike. as many historians of note have thought. the action would have begun at six o’clock in the morning.  Les Miserables . strike incessantly. 1815. rendered this gloomy athlete of the pugilism of war invincible for the space of fifteen years. he relied all the more on his artillery. All his plans of battle were arranged for projectiles. united with genius.a one of our balls killed six men. because he had numbers on his side. The battle would have been won and ended at two o’clock. To beat in squares. and one which. to break lines. Wellington had only one hundred and fifty-nine mouths of fire. and the artillery capable of moving. was this genius. he joined and dissolved battles with cannon.

is it to grow less for the Hannibals and the Bonapartes? Had Napoleon lost the direct sense of vic- tory? Had he reached the point where he could no longer recognize the reef. to make two shattered fragments of Wellington and Blucher.suffering from an eclipse? Did he go into a frenzy in order to disguise his weakened powers from himself? Did he be- gin to waver under the delusion of a breath of adventure? Had he become—a grave matter in a general—unconscious of peril? Is there an age. and who. to drive the Brit- ish half back on Hal. pointed them out with a sovereign finger. to make a breach in the enemy. in this class of material great men. a master- piece. for the Dantes and Michael Angelos to grow old is to grow in greatness. and the Prussian half on Tongres. when genius grows short-sighted? Old age has no hold on the geniuses of the ideal. to the precipice? Was he seized at the age of forty-six with a supreme madness? Was that titanic chari- oteer of destiny no longer anything more than an immense dare-devil? We do not think so. To go straight to the centre of the Allies’ line.com  . to carry Mont-Saint-Jean. to seize Brussels. no lon- ger discern the crumbling brink of abysses? Had he lost his power of scenting out catastrophes? He who had in former days known all the roads to triumph. to cut them in two. to hurl the Ger- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. His plan of battle was. had he now reached that state of sinis- ter amazement when he could lead his tumultuous legions harnessed to it. by the confession of all. who may be called the giants of action. could no longer divine the snare. from the summit of his chariot of lightning.

in our opinion. Vaulabelle. Of course.  Les Miserables . and from another point of view by a whole pleiad of historians. we have no right to oppose. Lamartine. we possess neither military practice nor strategic ability which authorize a system. we do not here pretend to furnish a history of the battle of Waterloo. and the Englishman into the sea. we leave the historians at loggerheads. no doubt. has been finished. from one point of view by Napoleon. Thiers. a collection of facts which contain illusions. a passer-by on the plain. we judge like that ingenious judge. Charras. but this history is not our subject. All this was contained in that battle. perchance. Qui- net. one of the scenes of the foundation of the story which we are relating is connected with this battle. moreover. and finished in a masterly manner. we are but a distant witness. this history. As for us. and when it becomes a question of destiny. Afterwards people would see. a seek- er bending over that soil all made of human flesh. a chain of accidents dominated the two lead- ers at Waterloo.[7] [7] Walter Scott. in the name of science. that mysterious culprit. according to Napoleon. taking appearances for realities.man into the Rhine. the populace.

CHAPTER IV A Those persons who wish to gain a clear idea of the battle of Waterloo have only to place. It was there that the lion has been placed. where Wellington is. At the centre of this chord is the precise point where the final word of the battle was pronounced. the right limb is the road to Genappe. The dispute over this plateau constituted the whole battle. where Na- poleon was. mentally. is the forest of Soignes. between the two limbs and the tie. on the ground. behind the plateau of Mont- Saint-Jean. Behind the tip of the A. the right tip is the Belle-Alliance. The top of the A is Mont-Saint-Jean. a capital A. d’Erlon facing Picton. the tie of the A is the hollow road to Ohain from Braine-l’Alleud. The triangle included in the top of the A. the lower left tip is Hougomont. Reille facing Hill. The left limb of the A is the road to Nivelles. The wings of the two armies extended to the right and left of the two roads to Genappe and Nivelles. the involuntary symbol of the supreme heroism of the Imperial Guard. is the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. where Reille is stationed with Jerome Bonaparte.com  .

on June 18. a ravine. The English army was stationed above. and prevent its retreat. Welling- ton had the good post. glass in hand. now called the plain of Waterloo. a grove. a cross-path encountered at the right moment. an unevenness in the ground. In the preceding year. and for this duel. That calm profile under the little three-cornered hat of the school of Brienne. had examined it as the possible seat of a great battle. and of studying deeply the slightest relief in the ground. They clutch at everything: a bush is a point of support. with the sagacity of foresight. Upon this spot. at daybreak. Wellington. Two hostile troops on a field of battle are two wrestlers. and all the undulations mount towards Mont- Saint-Jean. The one seeks to trip up the other. the French army below. and there end in the forest. hence the necessity devolving on the responsible leader. can stay the heel of that colossus which is called an army. let the reader picture to himself a vast undulating sweep of ground. upon the heights of Rossomme. that  Les Miserables . 1815. a regiment yields its ground. each rise commands the next rise. on the 18th of June. As for the plain itself. It is a question of seizing the opponent round the waist. The two generals had attentively studied the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean. of examining the most insignificant clump of trees. It is almost superfluous here to sketch the appearance of Napoleon on horseback. Napoleon the bad post. All the world has seen him before we can show him. He who quits the field is beat- en. an angle of the wall offers them a rest to the shoulder. for the lack of a hovel under whose cover they can draw up. a chance turn in the landscape.

tyranny follows the tyrant. That figure stood for a long time wholly in the light. silver spurs. and the one attacks the other and executes justice on it. his leather trousers. severely regarded by others. and precisely because it is wholly light. the sword of Marengo. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. it possesses this pecu- liar and divine quality. It is a misfortune for a man to leave be- hind him the night which bears his form. Hes- sian boots over silk stockings. but to-day history and daylight have arrived. the cor- ner of red ribbon peeping from beneath his vest. and which always veils the truth for a longer or shorter time. saluted with acclamations by some.green uniform. Jerusalem murdered lessens Titus. that.com  . Babylon violated lessens Alexander. Rome enchained lessens Caesar. pure light as it is. the white horse with the saddle-cloth of purple velvet bearing on the corners crowned N’s and eagles. Hence arises a truer measure in the definitive judgments of na- tions. it often casts a shadow in places where people had hitherto beheld rays. his great coat hiding his epaulets. from the same man it constructs two different phantoms. the white revers concealing the star of the Legion of Honor.—that whole figure of the last of the Caesars is present to all imaginations. and the shadows of the despot contend with the brilliancy of the leader. That light called history is pitiless. this arose from a certain legendary dimness evolved by the majority of heroes.

a beginning which was troubled. If the wheat and rye trampled down by this cohort of transports on the march had not filled in the ruts and strewn a litter be- neath the wheels. the earth had been cut up by the downpour. The affair began late. at some points the gear of the artillery carriages was buried up to the axles. was in the habit of keeping all his artillery well in hand. uncertain. particularly in the valleys. It had rained all night. but still more so for the English than for the French. the water had accumulated here and there in the hollows of the plain as if in casks. as we have already ex- plained.CHAPTER V THE QUID OBSCURUM OF BATTLES Every one is acquainted with the first phase of this battle. and it had been his wish to wait until the horse batteries could move and gallop freely. now at an- other. In order to do  Les Miserables . like a pistol. in the direction of Papelotte would have been impossible. men- acing to both armies. of the battle. Napoleon. aiming it now at one point. all movement. hesitating. the circ- ingles of the horses were dripping with liquid mud.

thence on Hal. in fact. to force Mont-Saint-Jean. With the exception of a few incidents this attack succeeded Papelotte was taken. to bar the passage against possi- ble Prussians. It was no longer the rendezvous of Austerlitz. La Haie-Sainte was carried. The attack of the right wing of the French on Papelotte was calculated. the English general. to cut off the road to Brussels. could con- fine himself to despatching thither.that it was necessary that the sun should come out and dry the soil. The action was begun furiously.com  . by the left wing of the French resting on Hougomont. instead of massing his troops there. only four more companies of guards and one battalion from Brunswick. and to make him swerve to the left. which rested on Papelotte. The attack on Hougomont was something of a feint. nothing easier. with more fury. than the Emperor would have wished. perhaps. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to overthrow the English left. Colville. thence on Braine-l’Alleud. But the sun did not make its appearance. and Ney pushed forward the right wing of the French against the left wing of the English. to turn Wellington back on Hougomont. and noted that it was thirty-five minutes past eleven. as reinforcements. the plan was to draw Wellington thither. and Wellington. At the same time Na- poleon attacked the centre by hurling Quiot’s brigade on La Haie-Sainte. This plan would have succeeded if the four companies of the English guards and the brave Belgians of Perponcher’s division had not held the position solidly. When the first cannon was fired. looked at his watch.

This novice of an infantry had dash. with brass hands and red horse-tails. the middle portion of this battle is almost indistinct. the Hanoverian light- horse with their oblong casques of leather. not strategic lines—what Salvator Rosa requires. heavy sha- kos garlanded with torsades. his own general. These young soldiers were valiant in the presence of our redoubtable infantry. Twilight reigns over it. particularly in Kempt’s brigade. This displeased Wellington. A detail to be noted. pendant colbacks. their inexperience extricated them intrepidly from the dilemma. and participates in the sombreness of the hand- to-hand conflict. not what is suited to the needs of Gribeauval. from mid-day to four o’clock. A certain amount of tempest is always mingled with a  Les Miserables . We perceive vast fluctuations in that fog. cross-belts. left somewhat to himself. pictures. so to speak. There was in the English infantry. hussar dolmans. cartridge-boxes for grenades. These recruits displayed some of the French ingenuity and fury. paraphernalia of war almost unknown to-day. the almost black infantry of Brunswick mingled with the scarlet infantry of England. There is in this day an obscure interval. becomes. a great many raw recruits. the English soldiers with great. the Scotch with their bare knees and plaids. the great white gaiters of our grenadiers. floating sa- bre-taches. white circular pads on the slopes of their shoulders for epaulets. red boots with a thousand wrinkles. they performed particularly excellent service as skirmishers: the soldier skirmisher. a dizzy mirage. After the taking of La Haie-Sainte the battle wavered.

all these reefs are continually moving in front of each other. During the action the plans of the two leaders enter into each other and become mutually thrown out of shape. lies at three o’clock. It has disappeared. there is required one of those powerful painters who have chaos in their brushes.battle. that there Free eBooks at Planet eBook. exact at noon. quid divinum. That is what confers on Fo- lard the right to contradict Polybius. What is a fray? an oscillation? The im- mobility of a mathematical plan expresses a minute. the open spots change place. the shock of armed masses has an incalculable ebb. distends. a series of expenditures which are the unfore- seen. to some extent. The line of battle waves and undulates like a thread. hurls back. and disperses these tragic multitudes. just as more or less spongy soils soak up more or less quickly the water which is poured on them. the trails of blood gush illogically. It becomes necessary to pour out more soldiers than one would like. Each historian trac- es. the battal- ions are like smoke. a sort of wind from the sepulchre pushes forward. not a day. the particular feature which pleases him amid this pell-mell. the hurricane alone is trustworthy. Whatever may be the combinations of the generals. Quid obscurum. Vandermeulen.com  . the fronts of the armies waver. the regiments form capes and gulfs as they enter and withdraw. the cavalry rushes in where the artillery was. Let us add. the sombre folds advance and retreat. There was something there. Such a point of the field of battle devours more combatants than such another. Rem- brandt is better than Vandermeulen. Where the infantry stood the artillery arrives. In order to depict a battle. Geometry is deceptive. seek it.

to borrow the expression of Napoleon himself. Nevertheless.is a certain instant when the battle degenerates into a com- bat. which. the form of that horrible cloud which is called a battle. however conscientious he may be. to fix. becomes specialized. and it is not given to any one narrator. the evident right to sum up the whole. He cannot do more than seize the principal outlines of the struggle. in this case. at a certain moment in the afternoon the battle came to a point. which is true of all great armed encounters. absolutely.  Les Miserables . is par- ticularly applicable to Waterloo. and disperses into innumerable detailed feats.’ The historian has. ‘belong rather to the biography of the regiments than to the history of the army. This.

com  . had been killed there by a little Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Three thousand combatants had been massacred in that barn. having been weakened. The battle had. Of the German battalion which defended it. for Welling- ton. Picton was dead. Picton. only forty-two men survived. desperate and intrepid. had come up to the support of Wellington. Hougomont still held out. shouted to the Hollando-Belgians: ‘Nassau! Brunswick! Never retreat!’ Hill. The Prince of Orange was in command of the centre. The Prince of Orange. all the officers. were either dead or captured. but was on fire. A sergeant of the English Guards. Picton of the left wing. except five. with a bullet through the head. La Haie-Sainte was taken. the French had killed the English general.CHAPTER VI FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON Towards four o’clock the condition of the English army was serious. reputed invulner- able by his companions. two bases of action. Hougomont and La Haie-Sainte. the foremost boxer in England. At the very moment when the English had captured from the French the flag of the 105th of the line. Hill of the right wing.

who was at Merle-Braine. rather concave. riddled by seven lance- thrusts. Ponsonby had fallen. Gordon was dead. carried by a prince of the house of Deux-Ponts. Two divisions. He summoned thither Hill.French drummer-boy. having behind it the village. thrust the throat of a cannon between two branches. and which marks the in- tersection of the roads—a pile of the sixteenth century. there now existed but one rallying-point. very dense. made embrasures in the hawthorn- trees. out of three lieu- tenant-colonels. who was at Braine-l’Alleud. the centre. had been annihilated. The Scotch Grays no longer existed. Alten put to the sword. and so robust that the cannon-balls rebounded from it without injuring it. That point still held firm. the fifth and the sixth. was strongly posted. one from Alten’s division. Baring had been dislodged. Marsh was dead. It rested on that stout stone dwelling which at that time belonged to the domain of Nivelles. Wellington reinforced it. which was tolerably steep then. All about the plateau the English had cut the hedges here and there. out of twelve hundred horses. he summoned Chasse. and in front of it the slope. The centre of the English army. and one from the battalion of Lunenburg. two lay on the earth.—Hamilton wounded. six hundred remained. That valiant cavalry had bent beneath the lancers of Bro and beneath the cuirassiers of Travers. It occupied the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. Mater slain. embattled the shrubs. Many flags had been lost. There artillery was ambushed in the  Les Miserables . Hougomont injured. La Haie-Sainte taken. and very compact. Ponsonby’s great dragoons had been hacked to pieces.

To his English. according to many a man versed in the art. to the brigades of Mitchell. The right wing. on the edge of the plateau a battalion of Kempt’s brigade.—would have been a disorganized flight. he gave as rein- forcements and aids. the centre of the Anglo- Dutch army was well posted. then adjoining the field of battle.—though it is disputed by others. Nassau’s contingent. to the regiments of Halkett. the infantry of Brunswick.brushwood.com  . It was at the season when the grain is tall. that Haxo. the regiments would have broken up immediately there. and had returned and reported to Napoleon that there were no obstacles except the two bar- ricades which barred the road to Nivelles and to Genappe. armed with carabines. was thrown back on the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. To this centre. This punic labor. to the guards of Maitland. which permits traps. An army could not retreat thither without dissolving. Wellington added one of Chasse’s bri- gades taken from the right wing. and Ompteda’s Germans. This placed twenty-six battalions under his hand. plus Clinton’s division. incontestably authorized by war. The peril of this position lay in the forest of Soignes. and intersected by the ponds of Groenendael and Boitsfort. who had been despatched by the Emperor at nine o’clock in the morning to reconnoitre the enemy’s batteries. Kielmansegg’s Hanoverians. as Charras says. Thus assured and buttressed. the 95th. and one of Wincke’s brigades taken from the left wing. The artillery would have been lost among the morasses. The re- treat. was concealed in the tall wheat. had discovered nothing of it. was so well done.

was ranged behind a very low garden wall. of Vittoria. Wellington. The bullets rained about him. the rest had disappeared:  Les Miserables . Wellington was coldly heroic. of Salamanca: ‘Boys. if completed. which is still in existence. and carried off. beneath an elm. said to him: ‘My lord. cut down. backed up with a coating of bags of sand and a large slope of earth. would have been al- most a redoubt. an enthu- siastic vandal. Lord Hill. can retreat be thought of? Think of old England!’ Towards four o’clock.’ replied Wellington. the English line drew back. Somerset remained. To Clinton he said laconically. It was the remaining half of the justly celebrated English cavalry. An enormous battery was masked by sacks of earth at the spot where there now stands what is called the ‘Mu- seum of Waterloo. and there remained the whole day in the same attitude. pointing to a shell which had burst. which an Englishman. was on horseback. purchased later on for two hundred francs. Ponsonby destroyed. fourteen hundred horse strong. Wellington had. Wellington shouted to his old companions of Talavera. behind a rise in the ground.centre. fell at his side. which. His aide-de-camp. Gordon. Sud- denly nothing was visible on the crest of the plateau except the artillery and the sharpshooters. Somerset’s Dragoon Guards. there had been no time to make a palisade for it.’ The day was evidently turning out ill.’ Besides this. what are your orders in case you are killed?’ ‘To do like me. The battery. This work was not finished. ‘To hold this spot to the last man. uneasy but impassive. a little in advance of the old mill of Mont-Saint-Jean.

dislodged by the shells and the French bul- lets. ‘The beginning of retreat!’ cried Napoleon. Wellington drew back. a retrograde move- ment took place. retreated into the bottom. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the English front hid itself.the regiments.com  . now intersected by the back road of the farm of Mont-Saint-Jean.

Ridet Caesar. On the 18th of June. in storm and rain. he  Les Miserables . The man who had been gloomy at Austerlitz was gay at Waterloo. Our joys are composed of shadow. said the legionaries of the Fulminatrix Legion. The supreme smile is God’s alone. that profound soul masked by marble beamed blindly. Pompeius flebit. it had seemed to him that fate. in company with Bertrand. His impenetrability had been smiling ever since the morning. the com- munes in the neighborhood of Rossomme.CHAPTER VII NAPOLEON IN A GOOD HUMOR The Emperor. Pompey was not destined to weep on that occasion. was exact to the appointment. satisfied at the sight of the long line of the English camp-fires illuminating the whole horizon from Frischemont to Braine-l’Alleud. While ex- ploring on horseback at one o’clock on the preceding night. though ill and discommoded on horse- back by a local trouble. The greatest fa- vorites of destiny make mistakes. but it is certain that Caesar laughed. to whom he had assigned a day on the field of Waterloo. had never been in a better humor than on that day.

he regained the animation which he had shown at his landing on the first of March. a peasant was brought in to him by Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the thunder rolled while the Emperor was speaking. He traversed the line of the principal outposts. At half-past three o’clock in the morning. and remained for some time motionless. and cried.com  . At four o’clock. halting here and there to talk to the sentinels. He took not a moment for sleep. gazing at the lightning and listening to the thunder. he lost one illusion. and this fatalist was heard to cast into the darkness this mys- terious saying. when he pointed out to the Grand-Marshal the enthusiastic peasant of the Gulf Juan. here is a rein- forcement already!’ On the night of the 17th to the 18th of June he rallied Wellington. not a bivouac-fire had been extinguished.’ Napoleon was mistaken. ‘We are in accord. the English army was asleep. near the wood of Hougomont. I will take prisoners the six thousand English who have just arrived at Ostend. The rain redoubled in violence. The silence on earth was profound. ‘That little Englishman needs a lesson. officers who had been despatched to reconnoi- tre announced to him that the enemy was not making any movement. he thought at the moment that it was a retreat on the part of Wellington.’ He conversed expansively. Nothing was stirring. At half-past two. He said: ‘It is the rear-guard of the English getting under way for the purpose of decamping. every instant of that night was marked by a joy for him.stopped his horse.’ said Napoleon. he heard the tread of a column on the march. Bertrand. the only noise was in the heavens. They were no longer in accord. ‘Well.

’ In the morning he dismounted in the mud on the slope which forms an angle with the Plancenoit road. the soldiers had had no sleep.the scouts. it was said that Wellington had been to a ball two nights before. with a face of an archbish- op. and spread out on the table the chart of the battle-field.’ In consequence of the rains during the night. had not been able to arrive by morning. at the ex- treme left. saying to Soult as he did so. they were wet and fasting. He invited many generals to it.’ says Fleury de Chaboulon. and Soult. ‘He was fond of jesting. this peasant had served as guide to a brigade of English cavalry.’ says Gourgaud. said. seated himself. During breakfast. had a kitch- en table and a peasant’s chair brought to him from the farm of Rossomme. two Belgian deserters reported to him that they had just quitted their regiment. with a truss of straw for a car- pet. in Brussels. the trans- ports of provisions. ‘We have ninety chances out of a hundred. ‘So much the better!’ ex- claimed Napoleon. embedded in the soft roads. ‘A pretty checker-board.’ At eight o’clock the Emperor’s breakfast was brought to him. This did not prevent Napoleon from exclaiming cheerfully to Ney. however. a rough man of war. ‘Wellington will not be so simple as to wait for Your Majesty. At five o’clock. who said. ‘He  Les Miserables . ‘A merry humor was at the foundation of his character. ‘I prefer to overthrow them rather than to drive them back.’ That was his way. at the Duchess of Richmond’s. which was on its way to take up a position in the village of Ohain. ‘The ball takes place to-day. probably Vivian’s brigade. and that the English army was ready for battle.’ The Emperor jested with Ney.

mighty. having encountered the brig L’Inconstant. and of bayonets on the horizon. who still wore in his hat the white and am- aranthine cockade sown with bees.abounded in pleasantries. ranged in echelons and set in motion in five columns. joyous. After breakfast he meditated for a quarter of an hour. It was he who called his grenadiers ‘his grumblers”.’ says Benjamin Constant. laughingly seized the speaking-trumpet. with rolls on the drums and the blasts of trumpets. he pulled their mustach- es. at the instant when the French army. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. on which Napoleon was concealed. pen in hand and their paper on their knees.’ is the remark of one of them.’ A man who laughs like that is on familiar terms with events. had deployed— the divisions in two lines. ‘The Emperor is well. the Emperor was touched. of sabres. At nine o’clock. During the mysterious trip from the island of Elba to France. then two generals seated themselves on the truss of straw. and having asked the news of Napoleon from L’Inconstant. vast. which were more peculiar than witty.com  . and twice ex- claimed. These gayeties of a giant are worthy of insistence. a sea of casques. the artillery between the brigades. ‘The Emperor did nothing but play pranks on us. the Emperor. the French brig of war. which he had adopted at the isle of Elba. as they beat the march. on the open sea. the music at their head. Napoleon indulged in many fits of this laughter during the breakfast at Waterloo. ‘Magnificent! Magnificent!’ Between nine o’clock and half-past ten the whole army. he pinched their ears. and the Emperor dictated to them the order of battle. and answered for himself. Le Zephyr. on the 27th of February.

’ A few moments after the formation of the battle-array. which he had appointed to barricade Mont-Saint-Jean as soon as the village should be carried. with their superb horses. he encouraged with a smile. like that which heralds the beginning of a storm.’ Sure of the issue. ‘the figure of six V’s. which was situated at the intersection of the Nivelles and the Genappe roads. and destined to begin the action by tak- ing Mont-Saint-Jean. ‘It is a pity. had taken up its position and ranged itself in six lines. he said. ‘There are four and twenty handsome maids. as they passed before him. General. detached by his orders from the corps of Erlon. forming. the company of sappers of the first corps. per- ceiving on his left. All this serenity had been traversed by but a single word of haughty pity. and said to him. Around this knoll the balls rebounded from the  Les Miserables . advanced beyond Rossom- me. massing themselves.’ Then he mounted his horse. it is a rather elevated knoll. is formidable. between La Belle-Alliance and La Haie-Sainte. which was his second station during the battle. in the midst of that profound silence. the Emperor tapped Haxo on the shoulder. Reille.incredible as it may appear. and selected for his post of observation a contracted elevation of turf to the right of the road from Genappe to Brussels. and Lobau. which still ex- ists. and behind which the guard was massed on a slope of the plain. the one adopted at seven o’clock in the evening. as he beheld the three batteries of twelve- pounders. The third station. which precedes engagements. those admirable Scotch Grays. to repeat the Emperor’s expression. at a spot where there now stands a large tomb.

It was at this last post that the Emperor said to his guide.pavements of the road. exclaimed. its real relief has been taken away. up to Napoleon himself. on turning over the sand. Scabra rubigine. a shell of sixty pounds. A few years ago. Wellington. old sword-blades. there was a hillock which descended in an easy slope towards the Nivelles road. are no longer what they were on June 18. surmounted by the lion. he had over his head the shriek of the bullets and of the heavy artillery. ‘They have altered my field of bat- tle!’ Where the great pyramid of earth. rises to-day. and who turned round at every discharge of canister and tried to hide behind Napoleon: ‘Fool. and shapeless projectiles.com  . were picked up at the spot where his horse’ feet stood. it is shameful! You’ll get yourself killed with a ball in the back. disconcerted. two years later. when he beheld Waterloo once more. by the oxi- dization of six and forty years. in the friable soil of this knoll. was unearthed. still charged. disintegrated. By taking from this mournful field the where- withal to make a monument to it. It has been disfigured for the sake of glorify- ing it. and old fragments of iron which parted like elder-twigs between the fingers. the remains of the neck of a bomb. who was attached to the saddle of a hussar. Mouldy cannon-balls. Lacoste. and with its fuse broken off level with the bomb. As at Bri- enne. no longer finds her bearings there. eaten up with rust. and history.’ He who writes these lines has himself found. Every one is aware that the variously inclined undula- tions of the plains. 1815. a hostile and terrified peasant. but which was almost Free eBooks at Planet eBook. where the engagement between Napoleon and Wellington took place.

Thanks to the thousands upon thousands of cartloads of earth employed in the hillock one hundred and fifty feet in height and half a mile in circum- ference. There is no French tomb. it was abrupt and difficult of approach. situated in the bottom of the valley. The whole of that plain is a sepulchre for France. which was the centre of the combat. the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean is now accessible by an easy slope. What was this trench? Let us explain. is on the left. is on the right. which travers- es the plain along its undulating level. and often enters and buries itself in the hills like a furrow. are connected by a road about a league and a half in length. the rains had still farther increased this acclivity. which makes a ravine of this road in some places. as at the present day. In 1815. On the 18th of June. particularly on the side of La Haie-Sainte. Braine-l’Alleud is a Belgian village. the mud com- plicated the problem of the ascent.an escarpment on the side of the highway to Genappe. Along the crest of the plateau ran a sort of trench whose presence it was im- possible for the distant observer to divine. only.  Les Miserables . the other. The elevation of this escarpment can still be measured by the height of the two knolls of the two great sepulchres which enclose the road from Genappe to Brussels: one. the Eng- lish tomb. this road cut the crest of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean be- tween the two highways from Genappe and Nivelles. and the men not only slipped back. Ohain is another. both of them concealed in curves of the landscape. but stuck fast in the mire. The slope there is so steep that the English cannon could not see the farm. the German tomb. On the day of battle. These villages. 1815.

MONSIEUR BERNARD DE BRYE MARCHAND A BRUXELLE LE [Illegible] FEVRIER 1637. the top of which has disappeared in the process of clearing the ground.com  . CY A ETE ECRASE PAR MALHEUR SOUS UN CHARIOT. crumbled away here and there. Monsieur Bernard Debrye. sometimes a dozen feet in depth. being too steep. O.[8] It was so deep on the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean that a peasant. particularly in winter. it was then a hollow way. this hollow road whose existence was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the date of the accident. was crushed there. Its two slopes have been appropriated for the monumental hillock. This road was. [8] This is the inscription:— D. 1637. On the day of battle. and still is. but whose overturned pedestal is still visible on the grassy slope to the left of the highway between La Haie-Sainte and the farm of Mont-Saint-Jean. un- der driving rains. a hollow trench. a trench throughout the greater portion of its course. Ma- thieu Nicaise. February.it is now on a level with the plain. The road was so narrow at the Braine-l’Alleud entrance that a passer-by was crushed by a cart. and whose banks. M. as is proved by a stone cross which stands near the cemetery. in 1783. and which gives the name of the dead. Accidents happened here. as is stated on another stone cross. Merchant of Brussels. by a slide from the slope.

in no way indicated. that is to say. terrible. was invisible. a trench at the summit of the escarpment. a rut concealed in the soil.  Les Miserables . bordering the crest of Mont-Saint-Jean.

on the morning of Waterloo. really admirable. the fifteen une- scorted pieces overwhelmed in a hollow way by Uxbridge. the plan of battle conceived by him was. all that caval- ry. so that the canister was turned into a splash. Guillem- inot’s fatal heedlessness when he had neither petard nor powder sacks.—the re- sistance of Hougomont. the small effect of the bombs falling in the English lines. and there embedding themselves in the rain-soaked soil. the disabling of Foy. He was right. its very various changes. almost exterminated. the right wing Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the unexpected wall against which Soye’s brigade was shattered. the miring of the batteries. the tenacity of La Haie-Sainte. the uselessness of Pire’s demonstration on Braine-l’Alleud. Napoleon was content. fifteen squadrons. as we have seen.CHAPTER VIII THE EMPEROR PUTS A QUESTION TO THE GUIDE LACOSTE So. and only succeeding in producing volcanoes of mud. the killing of Bauduin. The battle once begun.com  .

the left wing badly cut into. wounded at the moment when he was beating in with an axe the door of La Haie-Sainte under the downright fire of the English barricade which barred the angle of the road from Genappe to Brussels. Lieutenant Vieux. in spite of the Comte d’Erlon. instead of echelonning the four divisions of the first corps. and Durutte compromised. Napoleon was accustomed  Les Miserables . the flag of the 105th taken. put to the sword by Ponsonby. the alarming things that had been said by prisoners. his battery of seven pieces spiked. the side-battery suddenly unmasked on their flank. Bourgeois. that black Prussian hussar stopped by runners of the flying column of three hundred light cavalry on the scout between Wavre and Plancenoit. Ney’s strange mistake in massing. the Prince of Saxe-Weimar holding and guarding. fif- teen hundred men killed in the orchard of Hougomont in less than an hour.—all these stormy incidents passing like the clouds of battle before Napoleon. that Hercules graduated at the Polytechnic School. Quiot re- pulsed. attacking columns disorga- nized. the frightful holes made in these masses by the cannon-balls.of the English badly alarmed. shot down at the very muzzle of the guns amid the grain by Best and Pack. both Frisch- emont and Smohain. Grouchy’s delay. men delivered over to grape-shot. the flag of the 45th captured. Donzelot. eighteen hundred men overthrown in a still shorter time about La Haie-Sainte. Marcog- net’s division caught between the infantry and the cavalry. had hardly troubled his gaze and had not overshadowed that face of imperial certainty. arranged in ranks twenty-seven deep and with a frontage of two hundred.

of events in his favor. The Emperor half rose in his stirrups. provided that they furnished the total. when one has Beresina. standing behind him with ground- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but hiding itself. His guard. swept his glass for the last time over all the points of the field of battle. he was not alarmed if the beginnings did go astray. and he treated destiny as his equal: he seemed to say to fate.com  . he knew how to wait. He had. Napoleon shuddered. It was rallying. which was equivalent to the invulnerability of antiquity. A mysterious frown becomes perceptible in the depths of the heavens. He suddenly beheld the table-land of Mont-Saint- Jean cleared. The man of Marengo was wiping out Agincourt. it seems as though one might distrust Waterloo. Poitiers. The lightning of victory flashed from his eyes. Leipzig. or thought that he had. and Fontainebleau behind one. it was Crecy. Napoleon thought himself protected in good and tolerated in evil. since he thought himself the master and the possessor at the end. So the Emperor. cipher by cipher. a connivance. meditating on this terrible turn of for- tune. Nevertheless. supposing himself to be out of the question. Thou wilt not dare. ciphers mattered little to him. driven into a corner at the forest of Soignes and destroyed—that was the definitive conquest of England by France. victory.to gaze steadily at war. At the moment when Wellington retreated. one might almost say a complicity. Composed half of light and half of shadow. he never added up the heart-rend- ing details. and the van of the English army disappear. and Ramillies avenged. Wellington. Malplaquet.

He had just found his clap of thunder. Near this barricade he observed the old chapel of Saint Nicholas. noted the declivities. The guide made a negative sign with his head. Wellington had drawn back. he examined the slopes. which stands at the angle of the cross-road near Braine-l’Alleud. Napoleon turning round abruptly. All that remained to do was to complete this retreat by crushing him. that on the road to Genappe above La Haie-Sainte. armed with two cannon. and that on the road to Nivelles where gleamed the Dutch bayonets of Chasse’s brigade. painted white.ed arms.  Les Miserables . he bent down and spoke in a low voice to the guide Lacoste. He gave orders to Milhaud’s cuirassiers to carry the ta- ble-land of Mont-Saint-Jean. The Emperor straightened himself up and fell to think- ing. the only ones out of all the English artillery which commanded the extremity of the field of battle. despatched an express at full speed to Paris to announce that the battle was won. he seemed to be counting each bush. the path. He pondered. the square of rye. He gazed with some intentness at the English barricades of the two highways.— two large abatis of trees. which was probably perfidious. scrutinized the clumps of trees. watched him from below with a sort of religion. Napoleon was one of those geniuses from whom thun- der darts.

at nine o’clock. another in their centre. had. with one of their batteries on their flank. two wings of iron. They were giant men. and long sabre-swords. and deployed in two ranks between the roads to Genappe and Frischemont. That morning the whole army had admired them. and tak- en up their position for battle in that powerful second line. eleven hundred and ninety-seven men. so cleverly arranged by Napoleon.’ they had come in a solid column. on colossal horses. with horse-pistols in their holsters. There were six and twenty squadrons of them.CHAPTER IX THE UNEXPECTED There were three thousand five hundred of them. which. They wore casques without horse-tails.com  . and cuirasses of beaten iron. with braying of trumpets and all the music playing ‘Let us watch o’er the Safety of the Empire.—the one hundred and six picked gendarmes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. when. having on its ex- treme left Kellermann’s cuirassiers and on its extreme right Milhaud’s cuirassiers. the light cavalry of the Guard. and they had behind them to support them Lefebvre-Desnouettes’s division. and the lancers of the guard of eight hundred and eighty lances. so to speak. They formed a front a quarter of a league in extent.

Aide-de-camp Bernard carried them the Emperor’s or- ders. but Ney was again present. of  Les Miserables . They could be seen through a vast cloud of smoke which was rent here and there. their colossal trampling was audible. disappeared there in the smoke. imperturbable. They ascended. reappeared on the other side of the valley. Ney drew his sword and placed himself at their head. with the precision of a brazen battering-ram which is effecting a breach. plunged into the terrible depths in which so many men had already fallen. It seemed as though two immense adders of steel were to be seen crawling towards the crest of the table-land. formed in columns by divi- sions. Being two divisions. It seemed as though that mass had become a monster and had but one soul. mounting at a full trot. the terrible muddy slope of the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean. Wathier’s division held the right. the hill of La Belle Alliance. threatening. standards and trumpets flung to the breeze. Then a formidable spectacle was seen. The enormous squadrons were set in motion. A confusion of helmets. All their cavalry. It traversed the battle like a prodigy. with upraised swords. Delort’s division was on the left. then emerging from that shadow. still compact and in close ranks. Nothing like it had been seen since the taking of the great redoubt of the Muskowa by the heavy cavalry. descended. Each column undulated and swelled like the ring of a polyp. by a simultaneous movement and like one man. Murat was lacking here. in the inter- vals between the musketry and the artillery. through a storm of grape-shot which burst upon them. grave. there were two columns of them.

and casques. the clang of the sabres and a sort of grand and savage breath- ing. in the shadow of the masked battery. of sabres. waited. ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ All this cavalry debouched on the plateau. They listened to the rise of this flood of men. six in the second. the jingling of the cuirasses. taking aim at that which was on the point of appearing. They did not see the cuirassiers. two battalions to the square. These narrations seemed to belong to another age. There ensued a most terrible silence. and it was like the appearance of an earthquake. brandishing sabres. then. and three thousand heads with gray mustaches. the old hip- panthropes. They heard the swelling noise of three thousand horse. calm. Behind the crest of the plateau. sublime—gods and beasts. all at once. with seven in the first line.cries. motionless. and the cuirassiers did not see them. in the ancient Orphic epics. the alternate and symmetrical tramp of their hoofs at full trot. in two lines. those Titans with human heads and equestrian chests who scaled Olympus at a gallop.—twenty-six battalions rode to meet twenty-six battalions. Odd numerical coincidence. the cuirasses like the scales on the hydra. formed into thirteen squares. Some- thing parallel to this vision appeared. a terrible and disciplined tumult. the English infantry. no doubt. a long file of uplifted arms.com  . a stormy heaving of the cruppers of horses amid the cannons and the flourish of trumpets. and standards. mute. the stocks of their guns to their shoulders. appeared above the crest. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which told of the centaurs. horrible. shouting. trumpets. over all. invulner- able.

ungovernable. a tragic incident. Almost a third of Dubois’s bri- gade fell into that abyss. This figure prob- ably comprises all the other corpses which were flung into this ravine the day after the combat. the hors- es reared and fell backward.— a trench between them and the English. horses and riders rolled there pell-mell. It was a terrible moment. yawning. on our right. the second file pushed the first into it.— the force which had been acquired to crush the English crushed the French. on the English left. the inexorable ravine could only yield when filled. which evidently exaggerates matters. forming but one mass of flesh in this gulf: when this trench was full of living men. landed on their haunches. On arriving at the culminating point of the crest. all four feet in the air. and there being no means of retreat.  Les Miserables . A local tradition. unexpect- ed. grind- ing each other. the rest marched over them and passed on. crushing and overwhelming the riders. slid down. It was the hollow road of Ohain. says that two thousand horses and fifteen hundred men were buried in the hollow road of Ohain. utterly given over to fury and their course of extermination of the squares and cannon. directly under the horses’ feet. the head of the column of cuirassiers reared up with a frightful clamor.— the whole column being no longer anything more than a projectile. This began the loss of the battle. the cuirassiers had just caught sight of a trench. and the third pushed on the second. two fathoms deep between its double slopes. All at once. The ravine was there.

had captured the flag of the Lunenburg battalion. The excessive weight of this man in human destiny dis- turbed the balance. which did not even form a wrinkle on the surface of the plateau. an hour previously.—this would be mortal to civilization were it to last. nevertheless. Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blucher? No. Another series of facts was in preparation. It was time that this vast man should fall. before giving the order for this charge of Mil- haud’s cuirassiers. We might al- most affirm that Napoleon’s catastrophe originated in that sign of a peasant’s head. Was it possible that Napoleon should have won that bat- tle? We answer No. but had not been able to see that hollow road. The guide had answered No. This individual alone counted for more than a universal group. Let us note in passing that it was Dubois’s sorely tried brigade which. he had prob- ably put a question as to the possibility of an obstacle. in which there was no longer any room for Napoleon. Bonaparte victor at Waterloo.com  . the world mounting to the brain of one man. The ill will of events had declared itself long before. that does not come within the law of the nineteenth century. Warned. These plethoras of all human vital- ity concentrated in a single head. Napoleon. making a charge to one side. to the guide Lacoste. had scrutinized the ground. The moment had arrived for the incorruptible Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Because of God. Other fatalities were destined to arise. and put on the alert by the little white chapel which marks its angle of junction with the Nivelles highway.

Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite and his fall had been decided on. mothers in tears.and supreme equity to alter its plan. He embarrassed God. world depend. Waterloo is not a battle. there are mysterious groanings of the shades. over-filled cemeteries. it is a change of front on the part of the Universe. had complained.  Les Miserables . When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden. to which the abyss lends an ear. Probably the principles and the elements. as of the material. on which the regular gravitations of the moral.— these are formidable pleaders. Smoking blood.

—such was the attack. The whole of the flying artillery of the English had re- entered the squares at a gallop. had arrived whole. with bridles loose. Sixty cannons and the thirteen squares darted lightning point-blank on the cuirassiers. as though he had a presentiment of an ambush. in- crease in courage. The cuirassiers hurled themselves on the English squares.com  . swords in their teeth pistols in fist. They belonged to that class of men who. when diminished in number. The intrepid General Delort made the military salute to the English battery. De- lort’s column. The cuirassiers had not had even the time for a halt. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The disaster of the hollow road had decimated. but not discouraged them. Wathier’s column alone had suffered in the disaster. which Ney had deflected to the left. At full speed.CHAPTER X THE PLATEAU OF MONT-SAINT-JEAN The battery was unmasked at the same moment with the ravine.

gigan- tic. The bayonets plunged into the bel- lies of these centaurs. the cuirassiers made breaches in the squares. des- perately assaulted. hence a hideousness of wounds which has probably never been seen anywhere else. Their great horses reared. permitted the passage of an eruption of grape-shot. The form of this combat was monstrous. All the faces of the English squares were attacked at once. The English battalions. the most exposed of all. the second ranks shot them down. they created explosions in their assailants’ midst. The cannon-balls ploughed furrows in these cuirassiers. was almost annihilated at the very first  Les Miserables . Inexhaustible in the matter of grape-shot. and when all this flesh turns into granite. There are moments in battles in which the soul hardens the man until the soldier is changed into a statue. These squares were no longer battalions. The squares. they were craters. in the midst of these four living wells. being in the air. Then it was terrible. Each square was a volcano attacked by a cloud. lava contended with lightning. A frenzied whirl enveloped them. did not stir. wasted by this mad cavalry. those cuirassiers were no lon- ger cavalry. strode across the ranks. The square on the extreme right. closed up their ranks without flinching. and closed again. Files of men disappeared. The cuirassiers replied by crushing them. The first rank knelt and received the cuirassiers on their bayonets. behind the second rank the cannoneers charged their guns. leaped over the bayonets and fell. they were a tempest. ground to dust under the horses. That cold infantry remained impassive. the front of the square parted.

relatively few in number. filled with the reflections of the forests and the lakes. This forgetfulness was his great and fatal mistake. had to face all sides. The sword of a cuirassier. the cuirassiers attacked on the flank and in front. found themselves assailed. and seated on a drum. Nev- ertheless. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who had been the assailants. These Scotchmen died thinking of Ben Lothian. but they multiplied themselves so that each man of them was equal to ten. and still fur- ther diminished by the catastrophe of the ravine.shock. which hewed down the bagpipes and the arm which bore it. in profound inattention. The English cavalry was at their back. the cuirassiers. and thought of his cavalry. The cuirassiers. Their valor was something indescribable. put an end to the song by killing the singer. he would have won the battle. The bagpipe-player in the centre dropped his melancholy eyes. What mattered it to them? They were a whirlwind. as did the Greeks recalling Argos. played the Highland airs. before and in the rear. Wellington perceived it. had almost the whole English army against them. while men were being extermi- nated around him. Had Napoleon at that same moment thought of his infantry. and on his left. Somerset meant fourteen hundred dragoons of the guard. with his pibroch under his arm. by infantry and cavalry. lt was formed of the 75th regiment of Highlanders. All at once.com  . some Hanoverian battalions yielded. Before them two squares. behind them Somerset. Somerset had Dornberg with the German light-horse. Trip with the Belgian carabi- neers. On the right.

It was necessary that it should be so. who had seen Ta- lavera and Badajoz. they had behind them the battery. Ney had four horses killed under him. it was a shadow. For such Frenchmen nothing less than such Englishmen was needed. three-quarters vanquished. [9] A heavy rifled gun. their lieutenant-colonel. It was no longer a hand-to-hand conflict. Half the cuirassiers remained on the plateau. or. ‘Sublime!’  Les Miserables . In addition to this.[9] is in the collection of the Waterloo Mu- seum. The cuirassiers quitted the cavalry to return to the infantry. a dizzy transport of souls and courage. Wellington. to put it more exactly. There is no doubt that. recaptured. had they not been enfeebled in their first shock by the disaster of the hollow road the cuirassiers would have overwhelmed the centre and decided the victory. pierced on the shoulder by a ball from a biscayan. This conflict lasted two hours. a fury. One of their cuirasses. or they could never have been wounded in the back. which was still thundering. The squares still held firm. Fuller. This extraordinary cavalry petrified Clinton. In an instant the fourteen hundred dragoon guards numbered only eight hundred. admired heroically. captured again. The English army was profoundly shaken. There were a dozen assaults. Ney rushed up with the lancers and Lefebvre-Desnouettes’s light-horse. a hurricane of lightning swords. fell dead. The plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean was captured. the whole of that formidable rout collared each other without releasing the other. He said in an undertone.

and in fact it remained. La Hulpe. which three cuirassiers and three chasseurs of the Guard bore to the Emperor. His name is Dehaze. and Brussels meet and intersect each other. to a great extent. that on the day after the battle. What had become of the cuirassiers? No one could have told. Ney had only the crest and the slope. The cuirassiers annihilated seven squares out of thirteen. with the English. They seemed rooted in that fatal soil on both sides. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and captured from the English regiments six flags. wounded men. Wellington felt that he was yielding. each of whom. a cuirassier and his horse were found dead among the wood- work of the scales for vehicles at Mont-Saint-Jean. Wellington’s situation had grown worse. no one held it. is expending all his blood. at the very point where the four roads from Nivelles. One thing is certain. Genappe. But the weakening of the English seemed irremediable. One of the men who picked up the body still lives at Mont-Saint-Jean.com  . The crisis was at hand. This strange battle was like a duel between two raging. As every one was in possession of the plateau. in front of the farm of La Belle Alliance. still fighting and still resisting. Wellington held the village and the culminating plain. He was eighteen years old at that time. The cuirassiers had not succeeded. This horseman had pierced the English lines. Which of the two will be the first to fall? The conflict on the plateau continued. took or spiked sixty pieces of ordnance. since the centre was not broken through.

The loss in officers was considerable. intermingled with Spaniards in our ranks in 1811. Delancey killed. Dnop. already so roughly handled at La Haie-Sainte. Barne wounded. Col- bert. rallied to the Eng- lish standard.’ replied Wellington. ‘Infantry! Where does he expect me to get it? Does he think I can make it?’ Nevertheless. hardly anything was left of those Dutch grenadiers. on the left wing. had his knee shattered. If. the whole of Wellington’s staff decimated. l’Heritier. in that tussle of the cuirassiers. the English army was in the worse case of the two. was almost destroyed. on the French side. Lord Uxbridge. who had his leg buried on the following day. Ney demanded infantry from Napoleon. Ompteda killed. and Blancard were disabled. and England had the worse of it in that bloody scale. and  Les Miserables . on the side of the English there was Alten wounded. in 1815. and Napoleon exclaimed.The bleeding of that army was horrible. ‘he must let himself be killed!’ Almost at that same moment. demanded reinforcements. Alten’s di- vision. fought against Wellington. four captains. Delort. the intrepid Belgians of Van Kluze’s brigade strewed the rye-fields all along the Nivelles road. The furious onsets of those great squadrons with cuirasses of iron and breasts of steel had ground the infan- try to nothing. such and such a battalion was commanded only by a captain or a lieutenant. a singular coincidence which paints the ex- haustion of the two armies. Kempt. who. Van Meeren killed. fought against Napoleon. and who. ‘There are none. Travers. A few men clustered round a flag marked the post of a regiment. The second regiment of foot- guards had lost five lieutenant-colonels.

thought the Duke lost.three ensigns. the wagons filled with wounded. the Spanish commissioner. who was destined to be tried later on and cashiered. The transports. according to the testi- mony of eye-witnesses who are still alive. and Pringle. The Hanoverian hussars of Cumberland. the Austrian commission- er. and had fled to the forest of Soignes. a whole regiment. sowing defeat all the way to Brussels. and Louis XVIII. 18 officers killed. rushed headlong thither. goes so far as to say that the Anglo-Dutch army was reduced to thirty-four thousand men. but his lips blanched. at Ghent. At five o’clock Wellington drew out his watch. The Dutch. A number of batteries lay unhorsed. and of Vivian’s and Vandeleur’s brigades. The Iron Duke remained calm. With the exception of the feeble reserve ech- elonned behind the ambulance established at the farm of Mont-Saint-Jean. Alava.200 soldiers. These facts are attest- ed by Siborne. mowed down by the French cavalry. the roads were encumbered with fugitives. Vincent. Wellington had no cavalry left. who were present at the battle in the English staff. the 79th Highlanders had lost 24 officers wounded. and he was heard to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ammunition-wag- ons. which flanked the left wing. ‘Alarm!’ From Vert-Coucou to Groentendael. had turned bridle in the presence of the fray. This panic was such that it at- tacked the Prince de Conde at Mechlin. exaggerating the disaster. for a distance of nearly two leagues in the direction of Brussels. on perceiving that the French were gaining ground and ap- proaching the forest. 450 soldiers killed. the first battalion of the 30th infantry had lost 24 officers and 1.com  . cried. with Colonel Hacke at its head. the baggage-wagons.

 Les Miserables . ‘Blucher.murmur these sinister words. or night!’ It was at about that moment that a distant line of bayonets gleamed on the heights in the direction of Frischemont. Here comes the change of face in this giant drama.

A GOOD GUIDE TO BULOW The painful surprise of Napoleon is well known.CHAPTER XI A BAD GUIDE TO NAPOLEON. instead of below Plancenoit. Grouchy hoped for. declares that one hour’s delay. and Bulow would not have arrived. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the form of the nineteenth century might. Muffling. the throne of the world was expect- ed. Death instead of life. have been different. By any other route than that below Plancenoit. Napoleon would have won the battle of Waterloo. and Blucher would not have found Wellington on his feet. If the little shepherd who served as guide to Bulow. perhaps. ‘The battle was lost. the Prussian army would have come out upon a ravine impassable for ar- tillery. it was Saint Helena that was seen.’ It was time that Bulow should arrive. as will be seen.com  . Now the Prussian general. Blucher arriving. had advised him to debouch from the forest above Frischemont. Blucher’s lieutenant. Fate has these turns.

’ The truth is. which seems to me to be troops. His vanguard was very  Les Miserables . He had said. and his divisions stuck fast in the mire. in fact. answered. Moreover. it would have been over at four o’clock. as early as mid-day. ‘I see yonder a cloud.had. Bulow had not moved. Such are these immense risks proportioned to an infinite which we cannot compre- hend. It was mid-day before Bulow’s vanguard had been able to reach Chapelle-Saint-Lambert. and had been obliged to wait until the conflagration was extinguished. The Emperor detached Domon’s di- vision of light cavalry to reconnoitre in that quarter. but the roads were impassable. Had the action been begun two hours earlier. he had been obliged to pass the Dyle on the narrow bridge of Wavre. been very much delayed. and Blucher would have fall- en on the battle won by Napoleon. moreover. Some said: ‘It is trees. that the cloud did not move.’ Then he asked the Duc de Dalmatie. He had bivouacked at Dion-le-Mont. ‘Soult. some- thing which had attracted his attention. to descry with his field-glass. The ruts were up to the hubs of the cannons. what do you see in the direction of Chapelle-Saint-Lambert?’ The marshal. ‘Four or five thousand men. evidently Grouchy. Sire. the street leading to the bridge had been fired by the French.’ But it remained motionless in the mist. The Emperor had been the first. All the glasses of the staff had studied ‘the cloud’ pointed out by the Emperor. level- ling his glass. so the caissons and ammunition-wagons could not pass between two rows of burning houses. and had set out at daybreak. on the extreme horizon.

the divisions of Losthin. Plancenoit was in flames.’ A little later. the cavalry of Prince William of Prussia debouched from the forest of Paris. Blucher or- dered Bulow to attack. and he had received orders to concentrate his forces before entering into line.com  . and Ryssel deployed before Lobau’s corps. He was obliged to wait for the body of the army corps. and could accomplish nothing. and uttered these remarkable words: ‘We must give air to the English army. but at five o’clock. Hacke. and the Prussian cannon-balls began to rain even upon the ranks of the guard in reserve behind Napoleon. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.feeble. perceiving Wellington’s peril. Hiller.

and allowed the grand and  Les Miserables . eighty-six months of fire thun- dering simultaneously. Donzelot and Quiot retreating. Conscious that they were about to die. ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ History records nothing more touching than that agony bursting forth in acclamations. disaster on the flank. Marcognet swept from the plateau of Ohain. the English grape-shot and the Prussian grape-shot aiding each other. Pirch the first coming up with Bulow. The sky had been overcast all day long. at that very moment. Durutte dislodged from Papelotte. disaster in front. Zieten’s cavalry led by Blucher in person.—it was eight o’clock in the evening—the clouds on the horizon parted. the Guard entering the line in the midst of this ter- rible crumbling of all things. the battle broken to pieces.—the irruption of a third army. they shouted. a fresh battle pre- cipitating itself on our dismantled regiments at nightfall. the whole English line resuming the offensive and thrust forward. the French driven back. Lobau caught on the flank.CHAPTER XII THE GUARD Every one knows the rest. the extermination. All of a sudden. the gigantic breach made in the French army.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the enemy felt a respect for France. lying flat behind the hedg- es.sinister glow of the setting sun to pass through. believing themselves to be vanquished. Each battalion of the Guard was commanded by a gener- al for this final catastrophe. tranquil. Harlet. in the midst of that combat. were there. symmetrical. in line. When the tall caps of the grenadiers of the Guard. all hurled themselves forwards. offered himself to all blows in that tempest. Michel. it continued to advance. bewildered. his eyes aflame. Friant. and those who were the con- querors. Perspiring. They had seen it rise at Auster- litz. great with all the grandeur of accepted death. a cloud of grape-shot riddled the tricolored flag and whistled round our eagles. with wings outspread. He had his fifth horse killed under him there. The soldier in that troop was as much of a hero as the general. Mallet. and the final carnage began. with uniform unbuttoned. more crushed. Not a man was missing in that suicide. There were none who hesitated. retreated. with their large plaques bear- ing the eagle appeared. athwart the elms on the Nivelles road. and aim straight!’ The red regiment of English guards. Poret de Morvan. with flight behind it. In the darkness. losing more men at every step that it took. no timid men in its ranks. and in the vast shock of the rout it heard the desperate flight which had taken the place of the ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ and.com  . foaming at the mouth. but Wellington shouted. Guards. ‘Up. Ney. they thought they beheld twenty victories entering the field of battle. Roguet. sprang up. the Imperial Guard felt the army losing ground around it.

he said. magnificent. he shouted: ‘So there is nothing for me! Oh! I should like to have all these English bullets enter my bowels!’ Unhappy man. his plaque with the great eagle dented by a bul- let. a broken sword in his hand. he did not die. At Drouet d’Erlon he hurled this ques- tion. thou wert reserved for French bullets!  Les Miserables . ‘Are you not going to get yourself killed?’ In the midst of all that artillery engaged in crushing a handful of men. He was haggard and angry.one of his epaulets half cut off by a sword-stroke from a horseguard. bemired. ‘Come and see how a Marshal of France dies on the field of battle!’ But in vain. bleeding.

he clings to the rout. floats. is precipi- tated. Pack. cravat. All yields. stopping both English and French. plac- es himself across the Brussels road. he recalls it to its duty. the worst of hand-to-hand conflicts is the defeat. Papelotte. The disintegration is unprecedented.—Hou- gomont. The cry ‘Treachery!’ was followed by a cry of ‘Save yourselves who can!’ An army which is disbanding is like a thaw. and Reille at the other. Lobau at one extremity. falls. are drawn into the tide. He strives to detain the army. Best. friends kill each other in order to escape. La Haie-Sainte. In vain does Free eBooks at Planet eBook. hastens. shouting. Ney borrows a horse. or sword. and Rylandt. He is overwhelmed. Plancenoit.com  . splits.CHAPTER XIII THE CATASTROPHE The rout behind the Guard was melancholy. cracks. ‘Long live Marshal Ney!’ Two of Durutte’s regiments go and come in affright as though tossed back and forth between the swords of the Uhlans and the fusillade of the brigades of Kempt. he insults it. like the tremendous foam of battle. and without hat. leaps upon it. jostles. squad- rons and battalions break and disperse against each other. The army yielded suddenly on all sides at once. rolls. The soldiers fly from him.

the valleys. the woods. Lions con- verted into goats. harangues. the paths. passag- es forced at the point of the sword. no more comrades. the soldiers of the artillery-train unharness the caissons and use the horses to make their escape. the cannons flee.Napoleon erect walls from what is left to him of his Guard. the hills. an inexpressible terror. dash- es forwards. en- cumbered by this invasion of forty thousand men. entreats them. Zieten putting France to the sword at its leisure. Arms are lost. Guyot. Such was the flight. to draw up in line. Kellermann be- fore Vandeleur. Morand before Pirch. exterminates. all took to flight  Les Miserables . others walk over the dead and the living. Shouts despair. Quiot retreats before Vivian. but at the first volley of Prussian canister. they hardly recognize him. All the mouths which in the morning had shouted. an effort was made to wheel about. Domon and Subervic before Prince William of Prussia. kills. the bridges. with all four wheels in the air. slashes. who led the Emperor’s squadrons to the charge. threatens. newly arrived. flies. Lobau rallied three hundred men. the plains. transports overturned. knapsacks and guns flung among the rye. Men are crushed. no more officers. in vain does he expend in a last effort his last serviceable squadrons. The entrance to the village was barricaded. At Genappe. Lobau before Bulow. falls beneath the feet of the English dragoons. Horses lash out. The Prussian cavalry. no more generals. ‘Long live the Emperor!’ remain gaping. Napoleon gal- lops past the line of fugitives. to pres- ent a battle front. A dizzy multitude fills the roads. urges. trampled down. hews. clog the road and occasion massacres.

Blucher out- did Roguet. The force which is mightier than man produced that day. Alas! and who. The desperate route traversed Genappe.again. and Lobau was taken. Roguet had set the lugubrious example of threatening with death any French grenadier who should bring him a Prussian prisoner. Duhesme. The shadow of an enormous right is project- ed athwart Waterloo. hence all those great souls surren- dering their swords. furious. feeling the present shadow of a terrible presence. this terror. surren- dered his sword to a huzzar of death. Hence the terrified wrinkle of those brows. hemmed in at the doorway of an inn at Genappe. Those who had conquered Europe have fallen prone on the earth. this downfall into ruin of the loftiest bravery which ever astounded history. Let us inflict punishment. then. The victory was completed by the as- sassination of the vanquished. and only halted at the frontier. Hoc erat in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It is the day of destiny. that they were not more entirely the conquerors. the general of the Young Guard. The pursuit was stupendous. traversed Charleroi. with nothing left to say nor to do. traversed Frasnes. This vertigo. That volley of grape-shot can be seen to-day imprinted on the ancient gable of a brick building on the right of the road at a few minutes’ distance before you enter Genappe. no doubt. since we are history: old Blucher disgraced himself. traversed Thuin. who took the sword and slew the prisoner.—is that causeless? No. traversed Quatre-Bras.com  . The Prussians threw themselves into Genappe. This fe- rocity put the finishing touch to the disaster. traversed Gosselies. Bluch- er ordered extermination. was fleeing in that manner? The Grand Army.

The pan- ic of heroes can be explained. God has passed by. and with wild eye was returning alone to Waterloo.fatis. dragged to that point by the current of the rout. Waterloo is the hinge of the nineteenth century. Some one. haggard. the immense somnambulist of this dream which had crumbled. essaying once more to advance. It was Napoleon. In the battle of Waterloo there is something more than a cloud. who. pensive. Bernard and Bertrand seized by the skirt of his coat and detained a man. had passed the bridle of his horse over his arm. The disappearance of the great man was necessary to the advent of the great century. a person to whom one replies not. in a meadow near Genappe. That day the perspective of the human race underwent a change. took the responsibility on himself. sinister. gloomy. had just dismounted.  Les Miserables . At nightfall. there is something of the meteor.

some on the heights of Rossomme. now shattered in every part. and having no bond with the army. They had taken up position for this final action. those gloomy squares endured their death-throes in formidable fashion. Each regiment. held their own until night. At each discharge. at the foot of that declivity which the cuir- assiers had ascended. It was commanded by an obscure officer named Cambronne. the square diminished and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Ulm. In that fatal valley. as rocks in running water. Night came.com  . they awaited that double shadow. terrible. and. this square fought on. towards nine o’clock in the evening. Wagram. now inundated by the masses of the English. under the converging fires of the victorious hostile cavalry. vanquished. death also. There. abandoned.CHAPTER XIV THE LAST SQUARE Several squares of the Guard. one of them was left at the foot of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. isolated from the rest. died alone. under a frightful density of projectiles. Jena. allowed themselves to be enveloped therein. Friedland. others on the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean. invincible. motionless amid this stream of the defeat. At twilight. died with them.

became silent. ‘——-. in the depths of the battle. The fugitives pausing breathless for a moment in the distance. when nothing was left of their flag but a rag. Through the shades of twilight they could hear the pieces being loaded. like the eyes of tigers at night. Colville according to some. silhouettes of men on horseback. when the heap of corpses was larger than the group of survivors.replied. when their guns. and the Eng- lish artillery. listened in the darkness to that gloomy and ever-decreasing thunder. These combatants had around them some- thing in the nature of a swarm of spectres. which the heroes saw constantly through the smoke. Maitland according to others. an English general. It replied to the grape-shot with a fusillade. were no longer anything but clubs. taking breath. This furnished a sort of respite. formed a circle round their heads. around those men dying so sublimely. brave Frenchmen!’ Cam- bronne replied. shouted to them.}  Les Miserables . ‘Surrender. the colos- sal death’s-head. a sort of sacred terror. con- tinually contracting its four walls. When this legion had been reduced to a handful. the black profiles of cannon. the matches all lighted. the bullets all gone.’ {EDITOR’S COMMENTARY: Another edition of this book has the word ‘Merde!’ in lieu of the ——above. all the lintstocks of the English batteries approached the cannons. there reigned among the conquerors. holding the supreme moment suspended above these men. the white sky viewed through wheels and gun-carriages. advanced upon them and gazed at them. and then. with emotion.

let us violate this injunction.com  . To thunder forth such a reply at the lightning-flash that kills you is to conquer! Thus to answer the Catastrophe. nor Blucher. to the treacherous wall of Hou- Free eBooks at Planet eBook.— Cambronne. among those giants there was one Titan. The winner of the battle of Waterloo was not Napoleon. nor Wellington. in despair at five. what could be grand- er? For being willing to die is the same as to die. one would have to refrain from repeating in his presence what is perhaps the finest reply that a Frenchman ever made. to hurl such a challenge to the midnight rainstorm. and it was not this man’s fault if he survived after he was shot. This would enjoin us from consigning some- thing sublime to History. to give this pedestal to the future lion. then.CHAPTER XV CAMBRONNE If any French reader object to having his susceptibilities offended. thus to speak to Fate. giving way at four o’clock. At our own risk and peril. who was put to flight. The winner of Waterloo was Cambronne. who took no part in the engagement. To make that reply and then perish. Now.

‘Tis like the breaking of a heart under a weight of scorn. to have the laugh on your side after such a carnage. to Grouchy’s delay. the Jupiter’s darting thunderbolts. and the grand army. they have just crushed Napo-  Les Miserables . this man spending his last hour. to offer kings privies which the Caesars once knew. Who conquered? Wel- lington? No! Had it not been for Blucher. the match is lighted. to make the lowest of words the most lofty by entwining with it the glory of France. and back of the hundred thousand a million.gomont. re- alizes that here is a falsehood. to Blucher’s arrival. a falsehood in a catastrophe. Was it Blucher? No! If Wellington had not begun. and so doubly agonizing. This Cambronne. to drown in two syllables the European coalition. he was lost. to set the crown on this victory by a word impossible to speak. to act so as to stand upright though fallen.—this is immense! It was an insult such as a thunder-cloud might hurl! It reaches the grandeur of AEschylus! Cambronne’s reply produces the effect of a violent break. to finish Leonidas with Rabellais. and at the moment when his rage is bursting forth because of it. ‘Tis the overflow of agony bursting forth. the general’s flushed with victory. to lose the field and preserve history. he is offered this mockery. they have a hundred thousand victo- rious soldiers. to be Irony itself in the tomb.— life! How could he restrain himself? Yonder are all the kings of Europe. this unknown soldier. they grind down under their heels the Imperial guards. insolently to end Wa- terloo with Mardigras. to the sunken road of Ohain. their cannon stand with yawning mouths. this infinitesimal of war. Blucher could not have finished.

to invent such an expression. by brute matter.—that would be a trifle: he hurls it at the past in the name of the Revolution. Borne down by numbers. and the froth is the word. An emanation from the divine whirlwind leaps forth and comes sweeping over these men.leon.— to use that word. and when the smoke Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by superi- or force. Danton seems to be speaking! Kleber seems to be bellowing! At that word from Cambronne. a vast volume of smoke. he finds in his soul an expression: ‘Excrement!’ We repeat it. This challenge of titanic scorn Cambronne hurls not only at Europe in the name of the Empire. He will protest. and he does more than spit upon it. in face of this victory which counts none victorious. is to be the conqueror! The spirit of mighty days at that portentous moment made its descent on that unknown man. and only Cambronne remains. Cambronne invents the word for Waterloo as Rouget invents the ‘Marseillaise. and one of them sings the song supreme. It is heard. the hill trembled.com  .— only this earthworm is left to protest. His mouth froths. rolled out. from all those brazen mouths belched a last terrible gush of grape-shot. In face of this mean and mighty victory. Then he seeks for the ap- propriate word as one seeks for a sword. to do thus.’ under the visitation of a breath from on high. vaguely white in the light of the rising moon. this desperate soldier stands erect. but he establishes its triviality. and they shake. the English voice re- sponded. ‘Fire!’ The batteries flamed. He grants its overwhelm- ing immensity. and the other utters the frightful cry. and Cambronne is recognized as possessed by the ancient spirit of the Titans.

The four walls of the living redoubt lay prone. who drives the post-wagon from Nivelles. passes whistling. expired on Mont-Saint-Jean. on the spot where nowadays Joseph. greater than the Roman legions.  Les Miserables . on the soil wa- tered with rain and blood. it was thus that the French legions. there was no longer anything there. here and there. amid the gloomy grain. That formi- dable remnant had been annihilated. the Guard was dead. and hardly was there discernible. even a quiver in the bodies. and cheerfully whipping up his horse at four o’clock in the morning.dispersed.

drew all the kingdoms after it— the fall of force. to the vast stupefaction of kings. For Napoleon it was a panic. It is as obscure to those who won it as to those who lost it. Jomini divides the battle of Wa- terloo into four moments. the defeat of war. though we hold another judgment than his on some points.—all was lost by a moment of panic. false measures repaired. It was a day of lightning brilliancy. [10] ‘A battle terminated. All the other historians suf- fer from being somewhat dazzled. The bulletins are confused. a crumbling of the military monarchy which. seized with his haughty glance the characteristic outlines of that catastrophe of human genius in conflict with divine chance. others lisp. Charras alone. Dictees de Sainte Helene. a day finished. Muffling cuts it up into three changes. Look at the reports. the commentaries involved. Some stammer. in fact. greater successes assured for the morrow. terror.’—Napoleon.[10] Blucher sees nothing in it but fire. and in this dazzled state they fumble about.CHAPTER XVI QUOT LIBRAS IN DUCE? The battle of Waterloo is an enigma. Welling- ton understands nothing in regard to it. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  .

Germany has Schiller. thank God! their dignity. reason takes the word. The drum holds its peace. are neither elevated nor abased by the good or bad fortune of a captain.  Les Miserables . are not numbers which those gamblers. do we thereby deprive England and Germany of anything? No. independently of the lugubrious feats of the sword. nor France is con- tained in a scabbard. their intelligence. na- tions are great. Civilized people. their genius. above Wellington. Thank Heaven. stamped with superhuman necessity. It is a game in which he who loses wins. Neither England. espe- cially in our day. Let us. and in that aurora England and Germany have a magnificent radiance. A vast dawn of ideas is the peculiarity of our century. above Blucher. They are ma- jestic because they think. the part played by men amounts to nothing. The elevation of level which they contribute to civilization is intrinsic with them. England has Byron. can put in the lottery of battles. Neither that illustrious England nor that august Germany enter into the problem of Waterloo. There is less glory and more liberty. Their specific gravity in the hu- man species results from something more than a combat. The aggrandize- ment which they have brought to the nineteenth century has not Waterloo as its source. In this event. It is only barbarous peoples who undergo rapid growth after a victory. it proceeds from themselves and not from an accident. That is the temporary vanity of torrents swelled by a storm. heroes and conquerors. At this epoch when Waterloo is only a clashing of swords. nor Germany. Often a battle is lost and progress is conquered. Their honor. If we take Waterloo from Wellington and Blucher.

they are opposites. prudence. [11] Five winning numbers in a lottery. strategy. war regu- lated. paid by France. faith in a star mingled with strategic science. On one side. forced to obey. associated with destiny. The quine[11] won by Europe. and which strikes like the lightning. moreover. Napoleon and Wellington. geometry. the forest. precision. an imperturbable method. divination. foresight. all the mysteries of a profound soul. Wellington was the Ba- reme of war. military oddity. and on this occasion. in- tuition. a pro- digious art in disdainful impetuosity.therefore. They are not enemies. an indescribable something which gazes like an eagle. a more extraordinary comparison. the despot going even so far as to tyrannize over the field of battle. and in a manner. On both Free eBooks at Planet eBook. carnage. What is Waterloo? A victory? No. is the strangest encounter in history. which takes advantage of the ground. the plain. on the other. speak of Waterloo coldly from both sides. which preserve the equilibrium of battalions. superhuman instinct. absolute regularity. Waterloo. the stream. Never did God. watch in hand. with an obstinate coolness.com  . tactics. nothing voluntarily left to chance. a flaming glance. executed according to rule. It was not worth while to place a lion there. elevating but perturbing it. Let us render to chance that which is due to chance. The winning number in the lottery. reserves spared. the ancient classic courage. an assured retreat. genius was vanquished by calculation. and to God that which is due to God. Napoleon was its Michael Angelo. summoned. who is fond of antitheses. make a more striking contrast. the hill.

Mantua. Napoleon was waiting for Grouchy. The old owl had fled before the young vulture. Wellington is classic war taking its revenge. it wrote: Waterloo. who almost without taking breath. nothing in his favor. Wellington expected Blucher. with- out ammunition. he did not come. and beaten him superbly. Melas on Wurmser. The old tactics had been not only struck as by lightning. Mon- tebello. Montenotte. at his dawning. that rancor had the last word. the implacable rancor of the old Caesarism against the new. A triumph of the mediocres which is sweet to the majority. and beneath Lodi. and absurdly won victories in the impossible? Whence had issued that fulmi- nating convict. In his decline. one after the other. On the 18th of June.  Les Miserables . 1815. almost without an army. without shoes. again in front of him. and as it lost its footing. pulverized. without cannon. with everything against him. Wurmser on Beaulieu. Bonaparte. and of the exchequer against genius. he came. but disgraced. the five armies of the emperor of Germany. Mack on Melas? Who was this novice in war with the effrontery of a luminary? The academical mili- tary school excommunicated him. of the regular sword against the flaming sword. had encountered him in Italy. Arcola. the younger. without provisions. hence. with a mere handful of men against mass- es.sides some one was awaited. Napoleon found Wurmser. and with the same set of combatants in hand. Who was that Corsican of six and twenty? What signified that splendid ignoramus. who. hurled himself on Europe combined. It was the exact calculator who succeeded. Destiny consented to this irony. up- setting Beaulieu on Alvinzi.

in that lay his merit. no of- fence to her. the English blood. it sufficed to blanch the hair of Wellington. won by a captain of the second.—that is what was grand. that his army. it was her army. was herself. those utterly raw recruits. oddly ungrateful. those regiments of Mai- tland and of Mitchell. It was not her captain. was a ‘detestable army.’ What does that som- bre intermingling of bones buried beneath the furrows of Waterloo think of that? England has been too modest in the matter of Welling- ton. the superb thing about England there. Those Scotch Grays. Wellington was tenacious. those battalions of Rylandt. declares in a letter to Lord Bathurst. is England. Waterloo is a battle of the first order. those Highlanders playing the pibroch under the shower of grape-shot. 1815. The iron sol- dier is worth as much as the Iron Duke. that cavalry of Ponsonby and Somerset. In fact. all our glorification goes to the English soldier. Wellington is nothing but a hero like many another. the army which fought on the 18th of June. the English firmness. As for us. and we are not seeking to lessen it: but the least of his foot-soldiers and of his cavalry would have been as solid as he.com  . that infantry of Pack and Kempt. That which must be admired in the battle of Waterloo. the English resolution. those Horse Guards. to the English army. To make Wellington so great is to belittle England. Wellington. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to get Wurmser. who hard- ly knew how to handle a musket holding their own against Essling’s and Rivoli’s old troops.

let us say it plainly.— the whole of this cataclysm is wonderfully conducted. if. it appears. Grouchy deaf to the cannon. could not be mentioned by Lord Paglan. that at the battle of Inkermann a sergeant who had. She believes in heredity and hier- archy. the hollow road of Ohain. A nocturnal rain. That which we admire above all. it allows itself to be flogged. She still cherishes. The column of Waterloo would be more just. as the English military hierar- chy does not permit any hero below the grade of an officer to be mentioned in the reports. half a league. If trophy there be. seventy-two thousand combatants on each side. And as a peo- ple.to the English people. it bore on high the statue of a people. it allows itself to be disdained. As a workman. and not as a people. Napo- leon three-quarters of a league. Waterloo is the one which has the smallest front for such a number of combatants. instead of the figure of a man. it willingly subordinates itself and takes a lord for its head. it is to England that the trophy is due. Napoleon’s guide de- ceiving him. after her own 1688 and our 1789. Of all pitched battles. On the whole. saved the army. is the marvellous cleverness of chance. it was more of a mas- sacre than of a battle at Waterloo. Wellington. It will be remembered. the wall of Hougomont. as a soldier. regards itself as a nation. surpassed by none in power and glory. Bulow’s guide enlightening him. in an encounter of the nature of Waterloo. From this  Les Miserables . the feudal illusion. This people. But this great England will be angry at what we are say- ing here.

as it were. French. The following calculation has been made. the lion vanishes in air. fourteen. the battle-field resumes its reality. and the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. furious gallops traverse the horizon. moreover. the Allies. forty-four. At Wagram. the gleam of bayonets. fourteen. the impassive support of man. the tremendous interchange of thunders. those lights are cuirassiers. one hundred and forty- four thousand combatants.com  . French. thirteen per cent. Russians. he hears. fourteen per cent. the false monumental hillock disappears. the death rattle in the depths of a tomb. and the fol- lowing proportion established: Loss of men: at Austerlitz. thirty per cent. and if a traveller strolls there. Russians and Prussians. At Wa- terloo. fifty-six per cent. and it resembles all plains. Austri- ans. thirteen per cent. the hallucination of the catastrophe takes possession of him. Austrians. forty-one per cent. French.denseness the carnage arose. forty-four per cent. that skeleton Napo- leon. those shadows are grenadiers. the vague clamor of the battle phantom. French. At night. To-day the field of Waterloo has the calm which belongs to the earth. The frightful 18th of June lives again. Russians. if he watches. sixty thousand dead. that other skeleton is Wellington. the frightened dream- er beholds the flash of sabres. all this no longer exists. thirty-one. At Bautzen. a sort of visionary mist arises from it. At the Moskowa. lines of infantry undulate over the plain. thirty- seven per cent. Total for Waterloo. French. if he listens. the flare of bombs. if he dreams like Virgil in the fatal plains of Philippi. and yet it clashes together and combats still.

Hougomont. appear confusedly crowned with whirlwinds of spectres engaged in exterminating each oth- er. Mont-Saint-Jean. and the trees quiver. Frischemont. Plancenoit.  Les Miserables . Papelotte.ravines are empurpled. all those ter- rible heights. and there is fury even in the clouds and in the shadows.

was forced to be liberal. 1789. it is Petersburg. it is the statu quo against the initiative. the Hapsburgs with the Bourbons. and that a constitutional Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Waterloo bears divine right on its crupper.com  . it is the monarchies clearing the decks in opposition to the indomitable French rioting. It is Europe against France.CHAPTER XVII IS WATERLOO TO BE CONSIDERED GOOD? There exists a very respectable liberal school which does not hate Waterloo. attacked through the 20th of March. It is true. Berlin. If one places one’s self at the culminating point of view of the question. The final extinction of that vast people which had been in eruption for twenty-six years—such was the dream. that the Empire hav- ing been despotic. the Hohenzo- llerns. We do not belong to it. Waterloo is but the stupefied date of liberty. the Romanoffs. the Nassaus. and Vienna against Paris. 1815. The solidarity of the Brunswicks. That such an eagle should emerge from such an egg is certainly unexpected. the kingdom by the natural reaction of things. it is the 14th of July. Waterloo is intentionally a counter-revolu- tionary victory. To us.

 Les Miserables . after Waterloo. That sinister victory was vanquished by liberty. had no other effect than to cause the revolutionary work to be continued in another direction. It does not become disconcerted. it was the turn of the thinkers. and if you wish to acquire an idea of the nature of progress. an orator. It employs Wellington to make of Foy. to the great re- gret of the conquerors. To-morrow fulfils its work irresistibly. call it Progress. It is because revolution cannot be really conquered. of the conqueror without. who was only a soldier. and that being providential and absolute- ly fatal. of the gouty man within. and the good old tottering inval- id of Father Elysee. but adjusts to its divine work the man who has bestridden the Alps. Louis XVIII. It always reaches its goal strange- ly. The century that Waterloo was intended to arrest has pursued its march. Thus does progress proceed.order was the unwilling result of Waterloo. at Saint-Ouen coun- tersigns the declaration of the rights of man. in Louis XVIII. If you wish to gain an idea of what revolution is. There is no such thing as a bad tool for that workman. Bonaparte places a postilion on the throne of Naples. The slashers have finished. by cutting short the demolition of European thrones by the sword. granting and conforming to the charter. it is always cropping up afresh: before Waterloo. and a sergeant on the throne of Sweden. It makes use of the gouty man as well as of the conqueror. Waterloo. and it is already fulfilling it to-day. call it To-morrow. in Bonaparte overthrowing the old thrones. employing inequality to demonstrate equality. Foy falls at Hougomont and rises again in the tribune.

1815. and incontestably. that which triumphed at Wa- terloo. was the counter-revolution. that which smiled in Wellington’s rear.’ On arriving in Paris.com  . by a corresponding phenomenon. hovered over France as over its prey. in the same manner as. that which brought him all the marshals’ staffs of Europe. On the 18th of June. and it changed its mind. it beheld the crater close at hand. Of intentional liberty there is none. including. It was the counter-revolution which murmured that infamous word ‘dismemberment. Let us behold in Waterloo only that which is in Waterloo. the mounted Robespierre was hurled from his saddle. that which encouraged Blucher. that which joy- ously trundled the barrows full of bones to erect the knoll of the lion. Napoleon was involuntari- ly revolutionary. it returned to the stammer of a charter. the staff of a marshal of France. that which triumphantly inscribed on that pedes- tal the date ‘June 18. it is said. The counter-revolu- tion was involuntarily liberal. that which. it felt those ashes which scorched its feet. 1815”. from the heights of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as he put the flying army to the sword. In short.

The exile reigned. only the barbarism of 1815. re-entered Paris.—and bewept by heroic eyes. The flag on the dome of the Tuileries was white. Compared to the true daylight. Again we behold the abyss. it is night. If glory lies in the sword converted into a sceptre. The Corsican became the antithesis of the Bearnese. which must be called by its pet name of the counter-rev- olution.— let us acknowledge the fact. was not long breathed. Louis XVIII. It had diffused over the earth all the light which tyranny can give a sombre light. soon fell to panting. the Empire had been glory in person. The Empire sank into a gloom which resembled that of the Roman world as it expired.  Les Miserables . A whole European system crum- bled away. an ob- scure light. The Empire was bewept. The circling dances of the 8th of July effaced the enthusiasms of the 20th of March. as in the days of the barbarians. We will say more.CHAPTER XVIII A RECRUDESCENCE OF DIVINE RIGHT End of the dictatorship. This disappearance of night produces the effect of an eclipse. and halted short.

a little ashamed. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the kings resumed their thrones. Pope Pius VII. and the old regime became the new regime. Austerlitz having become antiquated.Hartwell’s pine table took its place in front of the fleur-de- lys-strewn throne of Louis XIV. Bouvines and Fontenoy were mentioned as though they had taken place on the preceding day. a terrible pauper’s grave in 1793. One of the most undisput- ed forms of the health of society in the nineteenth century was established over France. it may be. was covered with jasper and marble. In the moat of Vincennes a sepulchral shaft sprang from the earth. of Marengo and Arcola. The altar and the throne fraternized majestically. and the master of Europe was put in a cage. recalling the fact that the Duc d’Enghien had per- ished in the very month when Napoleon was crowned. At Schoenbrunn there was a little shadow. there was now a red house. tranquilly bestowed his blessing on the fall as he had bestowed it on the elevation. whom it was seditious to call the King of Rome. and Marie An- toinette lay in that dust. The device non pluribus impar re-appeared on the stone rays representing a sun upon the front of the barracks on the Quai d’Orsay. The cemetery of the Madeleine. Trestaillon was celebrated.com  . extricated itself from its predicament with the stat- ue of the Duc d’Angouleme.. aged four. thrown out of its element among these novelties. all laden with badly borne victories. since the bones of Louis XVI. and over the continent. The Arc du Carrousel. Where there had been an Imperial Guard. And these things took place. who had performed the coronation very near this death. Europe adopted the white cockade.

fictions became constitutional. In presence and in face of that antique Europe recon- structed. ‘Go this way. that food for cannon which is so fond of the cannoneer. because.all the shadows and all the light of the earth changed place.  Les Miserables . prejudices. Ancient un- healthy and poisonous realities were covered with new appearances. Belle-Alliance. There was a Holy Alliance. A lie wedded 1789. however. ‘He dead!’ cried the soldier. Something enormous re- mained long empty through Napoleon’s disappearance. Ancient Eu- rope profited by it to undertake reforms. Where is he? What is he doing? ‘Napoleon is dead.’ Imagination distrusted this man. on the afternoon of a certain summer’s day. superstitions and mental reservations. The populace. Beautiful Alliance. Under this reign of splendid matter. and not that!’ This 1815 was a sort of lugubrious April. The kings placed themselves in this void. It was the ser- pent’s change of skin. sought him with its glance.’ said a passer-by to a veteran of Marengo and Waterloo. the ideal had received the strange name of ideology! It is a grave impru- dence in a great man to turn the future into derision. the features of a new France were sketched out. were varnished over with liberalism. Man had been rendered both greater and smaller by Na- poleon. the fatal field of Waterloo had said in advance. even when overthrown. the right divine was masked under a charter. with Article 14 in the heart. The depths of Europe were full of darkness after Waterloo. a shep- herd said to a Prussian in the forest. ‘you don’t know him.

made its en- try. England had him guarded by Hudson Lowe. but ill at their ease. But what matters it to the Infinite? all that tempest. Defeat had rendered the vanquished greater. On its brow it bore the star. Singular fact! people were. Bonaparte fallen seemed more lofty than Napoleon erect. While Napoleon was passing through the death struggle at Longwood. Those who had triumphed were alarmed. His folded arms became a source of uneasiness to thrones. The glowing eyes of all young generations were turned on it. that war. Liberty. That is what explains and excuses Bonapartist liberalism.com  . The kings reigned. This is what Waterloo was. all that cloud. which the Emperor had rallied. The Congress of Vienna made the treaties in 1815.’ This terror was the result of the quan- tity of revolution which was contained in him. with the rock of Saint Helena on the horizon. Liberty. then that peace? All that darkness did not trouble for a moment the light of that immense Eye before which a grub skipping from one blade of grass to an- other equals the eagle soaring from belfry to belfry on the towers of Notre Dame. This phantom caused the old world to tremble. the sixty thousand men who had fallen on the field of Waterloo were quietly rotting. Napoleon. and something of their peace was shed abroad over the world. and Europe called this the Restoration. at one and the same time. and France had him watched by Montchenu.The future. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in love with the fu- ture. and the past. Alexander called him ‘my sleeplessness.

On the 18th of June the moon was full. If ever the sic vos non vobis was applicable. Such tragic favors of the night do occur sometimes during catastrophes. The Prussians. the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean remained deserted. Its light favored Blucher’s ferocious pursuit. Mont-Saint-Jean  Les Miserables . Wellington went to the village of Waterloo to draw up his report to Lord Bathurst. The English occupied the encampment of the French. pushed for- ward. Waterloo took no part. betrayed the traces of the fugi- tives. delivered up that disastrous mass to the eager Prussian cavalry. it certainly is to that village of Waterloo.CHAPTER XIX THE BATTLE-FIELD AT NIGHT Let us return—it is a necessity in this book—to that fatal battle-field. After the last cannon-shot had been fired. and aided the massacre. it is the usual sign of victory to sleep in the bed of the van- quished. They established their bivouac beyond Rossomme. and lay half a league from the scene of action. let loose on the retreating rout.

Papelotte was burned. out of the question. some hideous features.was cannonaded. and Waterloo. One of the most surprising is the prompt stripping of the bodies of the dead after the victory. when the occasion presents itself. especially the contemporary soldier. to strip a corpse a bit when one is the author of that corpse. furtive hand is that which is slipped into the pocket of victory? What pickpockets are they who ply their trade in the rear of glory? Some philosophers—Voltaire among the number—affirm that it is precisely those persons have made the glory. Plancenoit was burned. One thing is certain. Every army has a rear-guard. which worked not in the battle. it has also. there is no re- lief corps. One has assuredly the right. which is. The hero of the day is the vampire of the night. that generally after con- querors follow thieves. they say. For our own part. The dawn which follows a battle al- ways rises on naked corpses. Who does this? Who thus soils the triumph? What hid- eous. It is the same men. Hougomont was burned. we do not think so. it seems to us impossible that the same hand should pluck laurels and purloin the shoes from a dead man. we acknowledge. War has frightful beauties which we have not concealed. those who are erect pillage those who are prone on the earth. and it is that which must Free eBooks at Planet eBook. we tell the truth about it. La Haie-Sainte was taken by assault. after all. La Belle-Alliance beheld the embrace of the two conquerors. We are not of the number of those who flatter war. But let us leave the soldier. bears off all the honor.com  . these names are hardly known.

pretended invalids. The marauders in the train of an army were more or less in number. Turenne was so good that he allowed the Palatinate to be delivered over to fire and blood. according as the chief was more or less severe. which a strict discipline alone could heal. The rascal sprang from this marauding. There are reputations which are deceptive. one does not always know why certain generals.— we are not speaking of the present. so that in the special language they are called ‘stragglers.  Les Miserables . they spoke Italian and followed the Germans. soldiers’ servants. Turenne was adored by his soldiers because he tolerated pillage. deceived by his Picard jargon. Live on the enemy! produced this leprosy. and taking him for one of our own men.—dragged all this behind them. in the course of the night which followed the victory of Cerisoles. Bat-like creatures. was responsible for those beings. Hoche and Marceau had no stragglers. no nation. armies on the march in days gone by. wearers of uniforms. trotting along in little carts. who take no part in the fighting.be blamed. that the Marquis of Fervacques. great in other directions. a Spanish straggler who spoke French. half brigands and lackeys. It was by one of these wretches. The detestable maxim. have been so popular. marauders. Wellington had few. then spoke French and followed the English. all the sorts of vespertillos that that twilight called war engen- ders. and stealing things which they sell again. formidable limpers. sometimes accompanied by their wives.’ No army. was traitorously slain and robbed on the battle-field itself. beggars offering themselves as guides to officers. interloping sut- lers. evil permitted constitutes part of goodness.

less a man than a ghoul attracted by the scent of the dead bodies having theft for his victory. his mysterious and rapid gestures. he walked forwards and gazed behind him. or rath- er. on the night from the 18th to the 19th of June. caused him to resemble those twilight larvae which haunt ruins. neither peasant nor soldier. His sliding motion. and come to rifle Waterloo. He was clad in a blouse that was something like a great coat. the dead were robbed. his attitudes. The moon was sinister over this plain. Towards midnight. To all appearance he was one of those whom we have just described. disturbed something silent and motionless on the ground. he was uneasy and audacious. but evidently he had large pockets under his coat. Nevertheless. climbing in the direction of the hollow road of Ohain. He had no sack. The marauders stole in one corner of the battlefield while others were being shot in another. scrutinized the plain around him as though to see whether he were observed. A glance capable of piercing all that mist deeply would have perceived at some distance a sort of little sutler’s wag- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then rose and fled. and which ancient Norman legends call the Alleurs.com  . bent over abruptly. but rapine is tenacious. From time to time he halted.and we do him the justice to mention it. Certain nocturnal wading birds produce these silhou- ettes among the marshes. he gave orders that any one caught in the act should be shot.—neither English nor French. a man was prowling about. Wellington was rigid. Who was this man? The night probably knew more of him than the day.

if there exists a reality which surpasses dreams. to rush towards a glory which one sees  Les Miserables . hid- den. What matters it if the earth be red! the moon remains white. it is this: to live. branches of trees broken by grape-shot. In the distance the coming and going of patrols and the general rounds of the English camp were audible. harnessed to a famished nag which was cropping the grass across its bit as it halted. swayed gently in the breeze of night. a sort of woman seated on coffers and packages. behind the hovel which adjoins the highway to Nivelles. upheld by their bark. Quivers which resem- bled the departure of souls ran through the grass. The heart is terrified at the thought of what that death must have been to so many brave men. and in the wagon. If there is anything terrible. In the fields. the other in the east. A breath. to possess health and joy. Perhaps there was some connec- tion between that wagon and that prowler.on with a fluted wicker hood. as they extended in an immense semicircle over the hills along the horizon. moved the shrubbery. as it were. The darkness was serene. Not a cloud in the zenith. at the angle of the road from Mont-Saint-Jean to Braine l’Alleud. one in the west. We have described the catastrophe of the road of Ohain. Hougomont and La Haie-Sainte continued to burn. almost a respiration. like a necklace of rubies with two carbuncles at the extremities. these are the indifferences of the sky. but not fallen. to be in full possession of virile force. two great flames which were joined by the cordon of bivouac fires of the English. to see the sun. to laugh valiantly. forming.

dazzling in front of one. to have children. to crush. to have the light—and all at once. to sink into an abyss. at a spot which is still pointed out. that the destruction of the cuirassiers had taken place. not to be able to catch hold of anything. in the direction of the Genappe road. in less than a minute. inextricably heaped up. The edges of the hollow road were encumbered with horses and riders. a heart which beats. ‘But just a little while ago I was a living man!’ There. since one’s bones have been broken by some kick in the darkness. flowers. men beneath one. A heap of dead bodies in the upper part. to writhe. The thickness of the lay- er of bodies was proportioned to the depth of the hollow Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a river of blood in the lower part—such was that road on the evening of the 18th of June. to be beneath. to fall. to roll. Terrible entanglement! There was no longer any slope. It will be remembered that it was at the opposite point. where that lamentable disaster had uttered its death-rattle. to feel a heel which makes one’s eyes start from their sockets. love. 1815. to be crushed. a will which reasons. in the space of a shout. to yell. to bite horses’ shoes in one’s rage. hope. horses on top of one. to have a wife. and there overflowed in a large pool in front of the abatis of trees which barred the way. branches. all was silence now. and to say to one’s self. to feel in one’s breast lungs which breathe. and reached the brim like a well-filled bushel of barley. to have a mother. to feel one’s sword useless. to struggle in vain. The blood ran even to the Nivelles highway. to see ears of wheat. leaves. for the corpses had levelled the road with the plain. to speak. think. to stifle.com  .

road. where Delort’s division had passed. A few paces in front of him. He felt some one clutch him from behind. scanning the horizon on his knees. That hand had on its finger something sparkling. at the point where it became lev- el. an open hand. and had seized the skirt of his coat. The man bent over. Then coming to a decision. with the whole upper portion of his body supported on his two forefingers. He was searching that vast tomb. it was the open hand. and when he rose there was no longer a ring on the hand. he rose to his feet. illumined by the moon. The jackal’s four paws suit some actions. He wheeled round. he gave a terrible start. which had closed. with his back turned to the heap of dead. remained in a crouching attitude for a moment. All at once he paused. and his head peering above the edge of the hollow road. At that moment. which was a ring of gold. The nocturnal prowler whom we have just shown to the reader was going in that direction. An honest man would have been terrified. He walked with his feet in the blood. He did not precisely rise. the layer of corpses was thinner. projected from beneath that heap of men. this man burst  Les Miserables . at the point where the pile of dead came to an end. Towards the middle. which rested on the earth. he remained in a stooping and frightened attitude. in the hollow road. He gazed about. He passed the dead in some sort of hideous review.

A furious sword-cut had scarred his face. he did not appear to have any broken limbs. ‘Well now. or at least the unconscious. discovered a watch there. an officer. I prefer a spook to a gendarme. freed the head.com  . seized the hand. found a purse and pocketed it. where nothing was discern- ible but blood. He was a cuirassier. through the shadows of hollow road. ‘is that dead fellow alive? Let’s see. Effort is quick- ly exhausted in the grave. Then he felt of the officer’s fob. grasped the arm. fumbled among the heap. if that word is permissible here. On his cuirass he wore the silver cross of the Legion of Honor.’ said he. pushed aside everything that was in his way. The prowler tore off this cross. pulled out the body. However. a large gold epaulette peeped from beneath the cuirass. and.’ But the hand weakened and released him. Next he searched his waistcoat. the dead had been vaulted above him in such a manner as to preserve him from being crushed.’ said the prowler.’ He bent down again. man. this officer no longer possessed a helmet. and took possession of it. and even an officer of consid- erable rank. ‘it’s only a dead body. by some happy chance. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which disappeared into one of the gulfs which he had beneath his great coat. and a few moments later he was dragging the lifeless.into a laugh. ‘Come. His eyes were still closed.

A sound of footsteps was audible in the plain. and detained him.’ ‘I have been robbed. and in a low voice:— ‘Like yourself. Who are you?’ The prowler answered rapidly. You should have had them. Take them. had roused him from his lethargy.’ answered the prowler. When he had arrived at this stage of succor which he was administering to this dying man.’ The steps of the patrol became more and more distinct. The abruptness of the movements of the man who was manipulating him.’ said the officer. the air which he could inhale freely. you will find a watch and a purse. The officer went on:— ‘Look in my pockets. ‘I am sorry for that. I must  Les Miserables .’ It was already done. and said:— ‘There is nothing there. The officer raised his arm feebly. with the move- ment of a man who is taking his departure. The prowler made no reply. He raised his head. The prowler executed the required feint. ‘Thanks. for the death agony was still in his voice:— ‘Who won the battle?’ ‘The English. the officer opened his eyes.’ he said feebly. ‘You have saved my life. the freshness of the night. I belonged to the French army. ‘Some one is coming. The officer murmured. some patrol was prob- ably approaching.’ said the prowler.

My name is Pontmercy. If they were to catch me.’ said the officer.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘and do you remember mine. I have saved your life.’ ‘What is your name?’ ‘Thenardier. they would shoot me.com  .’ ‘I shall not forget that name.’ ‘What is your rank?’ ‘Sergeant. Now get out of the scrape yourself.leave you.

— THE SHIP ORION  Les Miserables .BOOK SECOND.

1823. the manufacture of jet and of black glass trinkets. He had made his fortune in the business. It must be remem- bered. that at that epoch the Gazette des Tribunaux was not yet in existence. It bears the date of July 25. who was a stranger in the Department. BECOMES NUMBER .com  . Jean Valjean had been recaptured. resuscitated some years ago an ancient local industry. and that of the arrondissement Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Madeleine. An arrondissement of the Pas de Calais has just been the theatre of an event quite out of the ordinary course. We borrow the first from the Drapeau Blanc. A man.CHAPTER I NUMBER . a few months after the surprising events which had taken place at M. thanks to the new methods. had. and who bore the name of M. The reader will be grateful to us if we pass rapidly over the sad details. These articles are rather summary. We will confine ourselves to transcribing two paragraphs published by the journals of that day. sur M.

and had succeeded in get- ting himself appointed mayor of one of our small northern towns. is an extract from the Journal de Paris. and by perfectly legitimate means. Jean Valjean has been recommitted to prison. He had been appointed mayor. we will admit. It appears that previous to his arrest he had succeeded in withdrawing from the hands of M. at the very moment when he was entering one of those little vehicles which run between  Les Miserables . This scoundrel. named Jean Valjean.as well. who had been liberated. The police discovered that M. who died of a shock at the moment of his arrest. The second article. which enters a little more into detail. has just appeared before the Court of Assizes of the Var. thanks to the indefatigable zeal of the public prosecutor. but three or four days after his flight the police laid their hands on him once more. a sum of over half a million which he had lodged there. moreover. and named Jean Valjean. condemned in 1796 for theft. He had for his concubine a woman of the town. under circumstances calculated to attract attention. in recognition of his services. who is endowed with Herculean strength. in Paris itself. Madeleine was no other than an ex-convict who had bro- ken his ban. He has at last been unmasked and arrested. No one has been able to discover where Jean Valjean has concealed this money since his return to prison at Toulon. Laffitte. found means to escape. and which he had. he had changed his name. in this town he had established a considerable com- merce. A former convict. of the same date. acquired in his business. This wretch had succeeded in escaping the vigilance of the police.

“. and it has not been possible to lay hands on it. about eight years ago. However that may be. with gentle hands. This criminal refused to lodge an appeal. he has hidden it in some place known to himself alone.com  .. The king.. And who. to withdraw a considerable sum deposited by him with one of our leading bankers. This sum has been estimated at six or seven hundred thousand francs. has deigned to commute his pen- alty to that of penal servitude for life. in his inexhaustible clemency. the said Jean Valjean has just been brought before the Assizes of the Department of the Var as accused of highway robbery accompanied with violence. Jean Valjean was immediately taken to the prison at Toulon. that the theft was committed in complicity with others. and that Jean Valjean was a member of a band of robbers in the south.’ This bandit refused to defend himself. on the person of one of those honest children who. It was proved by the skilful and eloquent representative of the public pros- ecutor. Jean Valjean was pronounced guilty and was condemned to the death penalty in consequence. The reader has not forgotten that Jean Valjean had reli- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. If the indictment is to be trusted. do clear Those long canals choked up with soot.the capital and the village of Montfermeil (Seine-et-Oise). in immortal verse. He is said to have profited by this interval of three or four days of liberty. Arrive from Savoy every year. as the patriarch of Ferney has said.

Some of them quitted the country. M. others abandoned the trade. Envious rivalries arose.430. than each pulled things to himself. that egotistical division of great existences which have fallen. and we will mention it at once in order that we may not be obliged to recur to the subject. M. because it occurred after the death of Alexander. for lucre instead of the general good. sur M. the prosperity of M. his buildings fell to ruin. presented this commutation as a triumph of the priestly party. Lieutenants are crowned kings. all that he had fore- seen during his night of fever and hesitation was realized. hatred of one another to the benevolence of the founder towards all. the threads which M. Some papers. Jean Valjean changed his number in the galleys. sur M. vanished with M. bitterness to cordiality. in the human community. and which his- tory has noted only once. among others the Constitutional. sur M. He was called 9. Madeleine had reigned over all and directed all. Madeleine’s vast workshops were shut. instead of on a grand scale. There was no longer a centre. Madeleine. everything was done on a small scale.gious habits at M. lacking him. superinten- dents improvise manufacturers out of themselves. that fatal dismem- berment of flourishing things which is accomplished every day. everywhere there was com- petition and animosity. Thenceforth. the spirit of combat succeeded to the spirit of organization. his workmen were scattered. No sooner had he fallen. After this fall. obscurely. there took place at M. However. there actually was a soul lacking. Madeleine had set were tangled and  Les Miserables .

de Villele called attention to the fact in the rostrum. in the month of February. confidence was killed. Less than four years after the judgment of the Court of Assizes establishing the identity of Jean Valjean and M. the methods were adulterated. the market diminished. 1827.. The state itself perceived that some one had been crushed somewhere.broken. All had vanished. And then there was nothing more for the poor. the products were debased.com  . for lack of orders. for the benefit of the galleys. salaries were reduced. the cost of collecting taxes had doubled in the arrondissement of M. bankruptcy arrived. the workshops stood still. and M. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Madeleine. sur M.

has selected the forest as a  Les Miserables . and which is not lacking in coincidence with certain conjectures of the indictment. in Montfermeil. is the superstition of Montfermeil: it is thought that the devil. then. We are among those who re- spect everything which is in the nature of a rare plant.CHAPTER II IN WHICH THE READER WILL PERUSE TWO VERSES. WHICH ARE OF THE DEVIL’S COMPOSITION. a singular occurrence which took place at about the same epoch. from time immemorial. which is all the more curious and all the more precious. Here. There exists in the region of Montfermeil a very ancient superstition. it will be to the purpose to narrate in some detail. because a popular superstition in the vicinity of Paris is like an aloe in Siberia. POSSIBLY Before proceeding further.

and to flee at the best speed of one’s legs. to render him recognizable. Goodwives affirm that it is no rarity to encounter at nightfall. thanks to the perspective of evening. the last method is not to speak to the black man. that he is not digging any hole whatever. in secluded nooks of the for- est. clad in trousers and a blouse of lin- en. until he has filled it and has gone away. that he appears black because it is nightfall. have quite fre- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. to wait until he has dug his hole. So bold men. among others that of possessing a treasure. As all three methods are attended with their special in- conveniences. Then it is seen that the man is simply a peasant.hiding-place for his treasures. in fact. seemed to spring from his head.com  . a black man with the air of a carter or a wood-chopper. and recognizable by the fact. The sec- ond way is to watch him. the second. which at all events. This ought. who are tempted by every chance. but is cutting grass for his cows. instead of a cap or hat. presents some advantages. that. Finally. if only for a month. wearing wooden shoes. and whose teeth. then to run with great speed to the trench. he has two immense horns on his head. and that what had been taken for horns is nothing but a dung-fork which he is carrying on his back. One then dies within the year. The first is to approach the man and speak to him. not to look at him. There are three ways of profiting by such an encounter. The man returns home and dies within the week. This man is habitually engaged in digging a hole. In this case one dies within the month. is the one most generally adopted. to open it once more and to seize the ‘treasure’ which the black man has necessarily placed there.

As. lapides. and tried to rob the devil. nihilque. a stone. breaks his mattock. a bit of a sorcerer. and when he ar- rives at the bottom of the hole. sometimes nothing. as we are assured. which an evil Norman monk.’ what does he find? What is the devil’s trea- sure? A sou. which has evidently served the devil. cadaver. enormous efforts are made. This Tryphon is buried at the Abbey of Saint-Georges de Bocher- ville. and in particular the two enigmatical lines in barbarous Latin. since Tryphon lived in the twelfth century. and since the devil does not appear to have had the wit to invent powder before Roger Bacon’s  Les Miserables . Try- phon does not record these two finds. At least. simulacra. near Rouen. digs.’ It seems that in our day there is sometimes found a powder-horn with bullets. Such trench- es are ordinarily extremely deep. sometimes an old pack of cards greasy and worn. named Tryphon has left on this subject. nummas. et in fossa thesauros condit opaca. toils all night— for it must be done at night. he wets his shirt. sometimes a spectre folded in four like a sheet of paper in a portfolio. Accordingly. when he lays his hand on the ‘treasure. opened the holes excavated by the black man.quently. a bleeding body. a man sweats. a skeleton. if the tradi- tion is to be believed. and toads spawn on his grave. sometimes a crown-piece. The success of the operation appears to be but moderate. burns out his candle. This is what Tryphon’s verses seem to announce to the indiscreet and curious:— “Fodit.

too prompt in removing his cap to every one. in the wildest thickets. the administration employed him at re- duced rates as a road-mender on the cross-road from Gagny to Lagny. if one plays at cards. it possess- es the property of making your gun burst in your face. suspected of lying in ambush at verge of copses at nightfall. one is sure to lose all that one possesses! and as for the powder in the horn. and trembling and smiling in the presence of the gendarmes. and he had the appearance of being in search of something. He was sub- jected to certain police supervision. Boulatruelle had taken to quitting his task of stone-breaking and care of the road at a very early hour.time. a very short time after the epoch when it seemed to the prosecuting attorney that the liberated convict Jean Valjean during his flight of several days had been prowling around Montfermeil. and. too humble. This is what people thought they had noticed:— Of late. He was encountered towards evening in the most deserted clear- ings. People thereabouts thought they knew that this Boulatruelle had been in the galleys. The only thing in his favor was that he was a drunkard. it was remarked in that village that a certain old road-laborer. as he could find work nowhere. named Boulatruelle. and sometimes he was dig- Free eBooks at Planet eBook.com  .— probably affiliated to robber bands. and cards before the time of Charles VI. and to betaking himself to the forest with his pickaxe. had ‘peculiar ways’ in the forest. This Boulatruelle was a man who was viewed with disfa- vor by the inhabitants of the district as too respectful. Now. Moreover. they said.

but some fine windfall of a more serious and palpable sort than the devil’s bank-bills. These encounters seemed to cause Boulatruelle a lively displeasure. and had not dis- dained to ally himself with Boulatruelle. and that he would have been put to  Les Miserables .ging holes. and that the latter would have been forced to speak.’ said Thenardier. It was evident that he sought to hide.’ One evening the schoolmaster affirmed that in former times the law would have instituted an inquiry as to what Boulatruelle did in the forest.’ The Voltairians added. Boulatruelle has seen him. and that there was some mystery in what he was doing. In sooth. then they recognized Boulatruelle. ‘Eh! Good God! no one knows who has been there or will be there. or will the devil catch Boulatruelle?’ The old women made a great many signs of the cross. and people gossiped of something else. the proprietor of the tavern. Boulatruelle’s manoeuvres in the forest ceased. he is cunning enough to pocket Lucifer’s hoard. however. and that the road- mender had half discovered the secret. and were not in the least reassured thereby. who was everybody’s friend. The most ‘puzzled’ were the school-master and Thenardier. The goodwives who passed took him at first for Beelzebub. In the meantime. and is on the search. were still curious. Some persons. It was said in the village: ‘It is clear that the devil has ap- peared. surmising that in all this there was probably no fabulous treasure of the legends. ‘Will Boulatruelle catch the devil. ‘He has been in the galleys. and he resumed his regular occupation of road- mending.

without being seen himself. Translation by Thenardier: A comrade of the galleys. the water- carrier. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Bou- latruelle obstinately refused to reveal his name. this is what Thenardier and the schoolmaster imagined that they had made out:— One morning. like a large box or a small trunk. con- cealed. for example. Boulatruelle drank an enormous amount. This person carried a package—something square. ‘a person who did not be- long in those parts. at a nook of the forest in the underbrush. He combined with admirable art. he saw. and would have thought no more about it. Surprise on the part of Boulatruelle. he might have supposed that they were probably the shovel and pick of Father Six-Fours.’ said Thenardier. by dint of returning to the charge and of comparing and putting together the few obscure words which he did allow to escape him. a shovel and a pickaxe. as one might say. and that Boulatruelle would not have resisted the water test. at daybreak. as he was hidden by a large tree.’ directing his steps towards the densest part of the wood. the thirst of a gormandizer with the discretion of a judge. ‘Let us put him to the wine test. Nevertheless. However. it was only after the expiration of seven or eight minutes that the idea of following that ‘person’ had occurred to him. but said very little. knew well. However.com  . Boulatruelle. when Boulatruelle was on his way to his work. They made an effort. and got the old road-mender to drinking. and in masterly proportions. But.the torture in case of need. on the evening of that day. and whom he. he had been surprised to see.

and had not dreamed of accosting him. Then he had adopted the course of watching for him at the edge of the woods. who said. and on perceiving that he was recognized. and reclosed the hole with his shovel.’  Les Miserables . sounded. and Boulatruelle had not been able to catch up with him. Hence his researches. had dug a hole with his pick. and had dug wherever the earth appeared to him to have been recently turned up. the coffer was too small to contain a body. He had ‘ferreted out’ nothing. There were only a few brave gos- sips. buried the coffer. Bou- latruelle had explored. Touching effusion of two old comrades on meeting again. No one in Montfermeil thought any more about it. once in the forest. and that he would probably knock him over the head on recognizing him. carrying no longer the coffer. From this he had drawn the inference that this person. and armed with a pickaxe. Boulatruelle had allowed the person to pass. night had descended. In vain. therefore it contained money. ‘You may be certain that the mender on the Gagny road did not take all that trouble for nothing. Now. and had found neither shovel nor pick. the person was already in the thicket. be- cause he said to himself that the other man was three times as strong as he was.But it was too late.’ Two or three hours later. he had hastened to the thicket in the morning. searched the entire forest and the thicket. ‘It was moon- light. he was sure that the devil had come. Boulatruelle had seen this person emerge from the brushwood. But the shovel and pick had served as a ray of light to Boulatruelle. but a shovel and pick.

This vessel.com  . which was employed later at Brest as a school-ship. the inhabitants of Toulon beheld the entry into their port. of the ship Orion. shot for shot. battered as it was.—for the sea had handled it roughly. after heavy weather. 1823. It flew some colors which procured for it the regulation salute of eleven guns. and which then formed a part of the Mediter- ranean squadron. which it returned.— produced a fine effect as it entered the roads. total. twen- Free eBooks at Planet eBook.CHAPTER III THE ANKLE-CHAIN MUST HAVE UNDERGONE A CERTAIN PREPARATORY MANIPULATION TO BE THUS BROKEN WITH A BLOW FROM A HAMMER Towards the end of October. in that same year. and for the purpose of repairing some dam- ages.

At six francs the shot. one hundred and fifty thousand useless shots. sunrises and sunsets. surnamed by the liberal sheets the hero of Andujar. M. royal and military politenesses.. discharged all over the earth. the civilized world. saluted every day by all fortresses and all ships of war. com- plicated by servitude and by subjection to the cabinets of the North. monarchy opposing an obstacle to progress described as anarchy. the branch of France succoring and protecting the branch of Madrid. under the name of descamisados. the theories of ‘89 roughly interrupted in the sap. that comes to nine hun- dred thousand francs a day. openings and closings of ports. an apparent return to our national traditions. le Duc d’Angouleme.’ This war contained many events in one. which was making the tour of the world. which vanish in smoke. The year 1823 was what the Restoration called ‘the epoch of the Spanish war. formalities of roadsteads and citadels. in the course of four and twenty hours. compressing in a triumphal at- titude that was somewhat contradicted by his peaceable air. that is to say. to the great terror of dowagers. All this time the poor were dying of hunger. the sansculottes resuscitated. etc. called to the French idea. a European halt. and a quantity of peculiarities. This is a mere detail. performing an act devolving on the elder. the ancient and very powerful terrorism of the Holy Office at variance with the chimerical terrorism of the liberals. courteous exchanges of uproar. signals of etiquette. It has been calculated that what with salvos. three hundred millions a year.  Les Miserables . A grand family affair for the house of Bourbon.ty-two.

but after all. in addi- tion to this. made by the princes descend- ed from Louis XIV. enrolling himself in that crusade of kings against people as a volunteer. the taking of the Tro- cadero. among others. it appears as though generals and not battles had been won. France undoing by her arms that which she had done by her mind. no military perils. and yet possible ex- plosions. monks mingled with our troops. but aged. with grenadier epaulets of red worsted. as in every mine which is surprised and invaded. soldiers hesitating. history approves of France for making a difficulty about accepting this false triumph. the tricolored standard waved abroad by a heroic handful of Frenchmen. hostile leaders sold. principles slaughtered by cannonades. Its sad fate was to recall neither the grand war nor grand politics.. the Prince de Carignan. the soldiers of the Em- pire setting out on a fresh campaign. Some feats of arms were serious.com  . the idea of cor- ruption was connected with the victory. as the white standard had been thirty years earlier at Coblentz.beside the son of France as generalissimo. we repeat. afterwards Charles Albert. glory for no one. and the conquering Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the spirit of liberty and of novelty brought to its senses by bayo- nets. the whole effect was suspicious. but little bloodshed. shame for some. after eight years of repose. was a fine military action. saddened. and conducted by generals who had been under Napoleon. the trumpets of this war give back a cracked sound. Such was this war. cities besieged by millions. little honor won. and under the white cockade. It seemed evident that certain Spanish officers charged with resistance yielded too easily.

They took it for a success. An army is a strange masterpiece of combination where force results from an enormous sum of impotence. for. and began to regret Palafox. an outrage on the French Revolution. Blind is he who will not see! It was Bonaparte who said it. an outrage on the generous Spanish na- tion. the son of democracy. not to stifle it. enraged the democratic spir- it. In that campaign. by foul means. It was France who committed this monstrous violence. Thus is war. with the exception of wars of liberation. the object of the French soldier. frowned in 1823 at the easy surrender of citadels. on whom Saragossa had fall- en in formidable ruin. A debasing war. and one which it is also proper to insist upon here. in short. From a still more serious point of view. A hideous contradiction. France is made to arouse the soul of nations. despite humanity. in which the Bank of France could be read in the folds of the flag. The war of 1823. That is a solar fact. It was an enterprise of inthralment. Soldiers of the war of 1808. As for the Bourbons. this war. which wounded the military spirit of France. explained. at the same time. They did not perceive the danger  Les Miserables . the war of 1823 was fatal to them. everything that armies do is by foul means. The words passive obedience indicate this. was then. made by human- ity against humanity. was the conquest of a yoke for others.soldier returned humiliated. It is the nature of France to prefer to have Rostopchine rather than Balleste- ros in front of her. All the revolutions of Europe since 1792 are the French Rev- olution: liberty darts rays from France.

nor in the shadow of an army. Such confidence is the ruin of thrones. It is not permitted to fall asleep. to such a degree that they introduced the immense enfeeblement of a crime into their establishment as an element of strength. We have just stated that the Orion belonged to this fleet. and that accidents of the sea had brought it into port at Toulon. having re-estab- lished elrey netto in Spain. France.that lies in having an idea slain to order. and fluid. a squadron had been cruising in the Mediterranean. liquid. The Spanish campaign became in their counsels an argument for force and for adventures by right Divine. 1830 had its germ in 1823. It is because it is great. Let us return to the ship Orion. might well have re-established the absolute king at home. They fell into the alarming er- ror of taking the obedience of the soldier for the consent of the nation.com  .—sol- id. The presence of a vessel of war in a port has something about it which attracts and engages a crowd. They went astray. A ship of the line is one of the most magnificent combi- nations of the genius of man with the powers of nature. A ship of the line is composed. The spirit of the ambush entered into their politics.— and it must do battle with all three. It has eleven claws of iron with which to seize the granite Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the crowd loves what is great. for it deals at one and the same time with three forms of substance. in their innocence. at the same time. either in the shadow of a machineel tree. of the heaviest and the lightest of possible matter. During the operations of the army commanded by the prince generalissimo.

its com- pass. against immensity. which counsels it and always shows it the north. brass. a needle.on the bottom of the sea. Taking it from its root in the stocks to its tip in the clouds. ours employs chains. It is a floating forest. its light. And moreover. Its breath pours out through its hundred and twenty cannons as through enormous trumpets. and its di- ameter at its base is three feet. as it were. The simple pile of chains on a ship of a hun- dred guns is four feet high. that great column of wood which stretches out on the earth as far as the eye can reach is the main-mast. This colossal beam is a yard. If one wishes to form an idea of all those gigantic pro- portions which. against the rocks. against the shadows. let this be borne in mind. Thus. one has only to enter one of the six-story covered con- struction stocks. taken as a whole. it is sixty fathoms long. against the water. In the blackest nights. The English main-mast rises to a height of two hundred and seventeen feet above the water-line. but the vessel has its soul. against the wind. to catch the wind in the clouds. it has its cordage and its canvas. in the ports of Brest or Toulon. twenty feet in breadth. and lead. and more wings and more anten- nae than winged insects. its lanterns supply the place of the stars. The vessels in process of construction are under a bell-glass there. And how much wood is required to make this ship? Three thousand cubic metres. and eight feet in depth. The navy of our fathers employed cables. wood. it is only a  Les Miserables . The ocean seeks to lead it astray in the alarming sameness of its billows. and replies proudly to the thunder. its iron. constitute the ship of the line.

It is as inexhaustible in force as is the Infinite in gales. Every time that immense force is displayed to culminate in an immense feebleness it affords men food for thought. the quays. for example. when all that power and all that majesty are engulfed in a power and majesty which are superior. sluices. At the present time.com  .question here of the military vessel of forty years ago. when the wind bends that mast four hundred feet tall. has since added new miracles to that prodigy which is called a war vessel. from morning until night. Hence in the ports curious people abound around these marvellous machines of war and of navigation. the mixed vessel with a screw is a surprising machine. when the gale breaks that sixty-foot yard like a straw. Every day. steam. and it reigns. which the hurricane bears forth into the void and into night. propelled by three thousand square metres of canvas and by an engine of two thousand five hundred horse-power. it stores up the wind in its sails. when those mon- strous cannons utter plaintive and futile roars. is twisted in the jaws of the waves like a fisherman’s hook in the jaws of a pike. There comes an hour. it is pre- cise in the immense vagueness of the billows. nevertheless. then in its infancy. without be- ing able to explain perfectly to themselves why. of the simple sailing-vessel. accordingly. when that anchor. it floats. the ancient vessel of Christopher Columbus and of De Ruyter is one of the masterpieces of man. which weighs tens of thousands. Not to mention these new marvels. and the jetties of the port of Toulon were covered with a Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

then it had put to sea again. it had gone into the dry dock the year before this. The Orion was a ship that had been ailing for a long time. whose business consisted in staring at the Orion. as the plating in those days was not of sheet iron. A violent equinoctial gale had come up. according to custom. which had first staved in a grating and a porthole on the larboard side. the man’s head overbalanced his body. he was seen to waver. then with the  Les Miserables . in order to have the barnacles scraped off. It anchored near the Arsenal. but this cleaning had affected the bolts of the keel: in the neighborhood of the Balearic Isles the sides had been strained and had opened. lost his balance. first with one hand. the Orion had run back to Toulon. who had to take the upper corner of the main-top-sail on the starboard. and. One morning the crowd which was gazing at it witnessed an accident. the topman. as they say in Paris. the mul- titude thronging the Arsenal quay uttered a cry. The hull had received no damage on the starboard. on his way he seized the footrope. in consequence of these injuries. with his hands outstretched towards the abyss. in the course of its previous cruises thick layers of barnacles had collected on its keel to such a degree as to deprive it of half its speed. the vessel had sprung a leak. but some of the planks had been unnailed here and there. to permit of air enter- ing the hold. The crew was busy bending the sails.multitude of idlers and loungers. and damaged the foretop-gallant-shrouds. it was fully equipped. the man fell around the yard. and repairs were begun.

the branch of a tree. but his exhaustion was visible in every limb. in fact. and. dared to attempt it. A convict employed on board with a detachment from the galleys had. he wore a green cap. he was a life convict. On arriving on a level with the top. hastened to the officer of the watch. like a stone in a sling. It was incurring a frightful risk to go to his assistance. his arms were contracted in hor- rible twitchings. the unfortunate topman was losing his strength. and remained hanging from it: the sea lay below him at a dizzy depth. All were awaiting the minute when he should release his hold on the rope.other. while all the sailors were Free eBooks at Planet eBook. In the meantime.com  . he did not shout. and it is a terrible thing to see a living being detach himself from it and fall like a ripe fruit. for fear of exhausting his strength. a gust of wind carried away his cap. from instant to instant. There are moments when a bit of rope. this man was dressed in red. every effort which he made to re-ascend served but to augment the oscillations of the foot-rope. not one of the sailors. his an- guish could not be discerned on his face. the man swayed back and forth at the end of that rope. all fishermen of the coast. at the very first instant. in the midst of the consterna- tion and the hesitation of the crew. he was a convict. All at once a man was seen climbing into the rigging with the agility of a tiger-cat. and. is life itself. the shock of his fall had imparted to the foot-rope a violent swinging motion. a pole. heads were turned aside that his fall might not be seen. recently levied for the service. and allowed a perfectly white head to be seen: he was not a young man.

only here the spider brought life. then he had caught up a rope. The convict had  Les Miserables .—instead of one man suspended over the gulf. the same tremor contracted every brow. there were two. It was high time. and allowed the other end to hang down. it was only later on that the incident was recalled. then he began to descend the rope. he paused for a few seconds and appeared to be measuring it with his eye. At last. In a twinkling he was on the yard. one minute more. the convict raised his eyes to heaven and advanced a step: the crowd drew a long breath. One would have said it was a spider coming to seize a fly. not a word. seemed centuries to those who were looking on. hand over hand. not death. all mouths held their breath as though they feared to add the slightest puff to the wind which was swaying the two unfortunate men. and the exhausted and despairing man would have allowed himself to fall into the abyss.—and the anguish was indescribable. and then. Ten thousand glances were fastened on this group. not a cry. the convict had succeeded in lowering himself to a position near the sailor. with what ease that chain had been broken. at the instant. He was seen to run out along the yard: on arriving at the point. at an affirmative sign from the officer he had broken the chain riveted to his ankle with one blow of a hammer.trembling and drawing back. he had asked the officer’s per- mission to risk his life to save the topman. during which the breeze swayed the topman at the extremity of a thread. he fastened the rope which he had brought to it. these seconds. and had dashed into the rigging: no one noticed. In the meantime.

all eyes were following him.com  . and the poor convict had fallen be- tween the two vessels: it was to be feared that he would slip under one or the other of them. ‘Pardon for that man!’ He. he held him there a moment to allow him to recover his strength. where he left him in the hands of his comrades. then he grasped him in his arms and carried him. Four men flung themselves hastily into a boat. he was seen to climb back on the yard. and all voices were heard to cry with a sort of tender rage. the man had not risen to the surface. had immediately begun to make his descent to rejoin his detachment. he had disappeared in the sea without leaving a ripple. In order to reach them the more speedily. All at once the crowd uttered a loud shout: the convict had fallen into the sea. or that his head turned. anxiety again took possession of all souls.moored him securely with the cord to which he clung with one hand. The search was continued until the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and from there to the main-top. the crowd cheered them on. At a certain moment fear assailed them. The frigate Algesiras was anchored alongside the Orion. walking on the yard himself to the cap. whether it was that he was fatigued. while he was working with the other. as though he had fallen into a cask of oil: they sound- ed. and ran along one of the lower yards. At that moment the crowd broke into applause: old con- vict-sergeants among them wept. In vain. he dropped into the rigging. they dived. and women embraced each other on the quay. The fall was perilous. in the meantime. they thought they saw him hesitate and stagger. and to drag the sailor up after him. At last.

on his return from rendering assistance to a sailor.430.’  Les Miserables . Yesterday. fell into the sea and was drowned. it is supposed that it is entangled among the piles of the Arsenal point: this man was committed under the number 9. 17. 1823. and his name was Jean Valjean. a convict belonging to the detachment on board of the Orion. The body has not yet been found. On the following day the Toulon newspaper printed these lines:— ‘Nov.evening: they did not even find the body.


that peasant rustic life which is so bounteous and so easy. their balconies in twisted iron. to be sure. Some pleasure-houses of the last century were to be met with there. on the southern edge of that lofty table-land which separates the Ourcq from the Marne.CHAPTER I THE WATER QUESTION AT MONTFERMEIL Montfermeil is situated between Livry and Chelles. ornamented all the year through with plaster villas. which were recog- nizable by their grand air. and on Sundays with beaming bourgeois. which was not on the road to anywhere: there people lived. In 1823 there were at Montfermeil neither so many white houses nor so many well-satisfied citizens: it was only a vil- lage in the forest. on account of the elevation of  Les Miserables . only. At the present day it is a tol- erably large town. whose tiny panes cast all sorts of varying shades of green on the white of the closed shutters. it was a peaceful and charming place. but Montfermeil was none the less a village. and their long windows. Retired cloth- merchants and rusticating attorneys had not discovered it as yet. and cheaply. water was rare there.

In this capacity she it was who ran to fetch water when it was required. took great care that water should never be lacking Free eBooks at Planet eBook.the plateau. the reason for which we have read in pre- ceding chapters. found drinking-water only at a lit- tle spring half-way down the slope. and five in winter. but this good man only worked until seven o’clock in the evening in summer. the Thenardiers kept Cosette. This constituted the terror of the poor creature whom the reader has probably not forgotten. Thus each household found it hard work to keep sup- plied with water. and who earned about eight sous a day in his enterprise of supplying Montfermeil with water. the aristocracy.com  . It was necessary to fetch it from a considerable distance. She took the place of a servant in their house. near the road to Chelles. about a quarter of an hour from Montfermeil. he who had no water to drink went to fetch it for himself or did without it. who was greatly terrified at the idea of going to the spring at night. So when the mother ceased to pay altogether. It will be remembered that Cosette was useful to the Thenar- diers in two ways: they made the mother pay them. and night once come and the shutters on the ground floor once closed.—little Cosette. The other end. of which the Thenardier tavern formed a part. The large houses. the end of the village towards Gagny drew its water from the magnificent ponds which exist in the woods there. paid half a farthing a bucketful to a man who made a business of it. which surrounds the church and which lies in the direction of Chelles. and they made the child serve them. So the child.

These people filled the inns and drinking-shops.in the house. On Christmas eve itself. and even extended them into Boulanger Alley. Some mountebanks from Paris had obtained permission of the mayor to erect their booths in the principal street of the vil- lage. Some good old Bonapartist soldiers. The mountebanks gave out that the tricolored cockade was a unique phenom- enon made by God expressly for their menagerie. I believe that naturalists call this bird Caracara Polyborus. in which frightful clowns. there was a menagerie. Christmas of the year 1823 was particularly brilliant at Montfermeil. clad in rags and coming no one knew whence. and peddlers. and a band of itinerant merchants. were seated at table. and which have a tricolored cockade for an eye. under protection of the same tolerance. among the curiosities displayed in the square. the Th- enardiers’ hostelry was situated. had constructed their stalls on the Church Square. who had retired to the village. a number of men. In order to play the part of a faithful historian. where. carters. The beginning of the winter had been mild. such as our Royal Museum did not possess until 1845. there had been neither snow nor frost up to that time. as the reader will perhaps remember. went to see this creature with great devotion. we ought even to add that. and to the family of the vultures. it belongs to the order of the Apicides. exhibited to the peasants of Montfermeil in 1823 one of those horrible Brazilian vultures. drinking and smoking around four or five candles in the public room of Thenar-  Les Miserables . and communicated to that tranquil little district a noisy and joyous life.

by two objects which were then fashionable in the bourgeois class: to wit.’ ‘Then it is very thin wine?’ ‘There are wines poorer even than these. Or a miller would call out:— ‘Are we responsible for what is in the sacks? We find in them a quantity of small seed which we cannot sift out.’ Etc. pewter jugs. were audible amid the uproar:— ‘About Nanterre and Suresnes the vines have flourished greatly. hempseed. strictly local parentheses. bottles. her husband was drinking with his customers and talking politics. le Duc d’Angouleme. which was roasting in front of a clear fire. fennel. nevertheless. and a host of other weeds. When ten pieces were reckoned on there have been twelve. Besides political conversations which had for their prin- cipal subjects the Spanish war and M.’ ‘But the grapes cannot be ripe?’ ‘In those parts the grapes should not be ripe. not to mention pebbles. and which we are obliged to send through the mill-stones. The female Thenardier was attending to the supper. The date of the year 1823 was indicated. a kaleido- scope and a lamp of ribbed tin. This room resembled all drinking-shop rooms. like the following. especially in Breton wheat.—tables. there are tares. fox-tail. which abound in cer- tain wheat. any more than long-sawyers like to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. drinkers. smokers. I am not fond of grinding Breton wheat. vetches.com  .dier’s hostelry. but little light and a great deal of noise. The grapes must be gathered while green. the wine turns oily as soon as spring comes. They have yielded a great deal of juice under the press.

And then people complain of the flour. The flour is no fault of ours. which was somewhere in the house. Laughter and chatter were audible in the adjoining room. Dew is a good thing.’—and who was a little more than three years old.’ Etc.’  Les Miserables . When the persistent clamor of the brat became too annoying.—‘she did not know why. It yields before the iron. from two fresh children’s voices: it was Eponine and Azelma. You can judge of the bad dust that makes in grinding. It makes no difference with that grass. It cuts better.saw beams with nails in them. A very young kitten was playing about among the chairs. her bare feet were thrust into wooden shoes. ‘the result of the cold.’ she said. was saying:— ‘It does no harm to have the grass wet. She was in rags. seated on the cross-bar of the kitchen table near the chimney. At intervals the cry of a very young child.’ In a space between two windows a mower. and by the firelight she was engaged in knitting woollen stockings destined for the young Thenardiers. Your grass is young and very hard to cut still. sir. In the chimney-corner a cat-o’-nine-tails was hanging on a nail. rang through the noise of the dram-shop. It’s terribly tender. who was seat- ed at table with a landed proprietor who was fixing on a price for some meadow work to be performed in the spring. Cosette was in her usual place. The mother had nursed him. ‘Your son is squalling. but she did not love him. They are in the wrong. It was a little boy who had been born to the The- nardiers during one of the preceding winters.

‘do go and see what he wants.com  .Thenardier would say.’ ‘Bah!’ the mother would reply. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ And the neglected child continued to shriek in the dark. ‘he bothers me.

enormous. and considering it under all its aspects.—made the beds. blond. as we have said. square. a mouse in the service of an elephant.—window panes. Cosette was her only servant. Madame Thenardier was approaching her forties. did the washing. the moment has arrived for making the circuit of this couple.— tall. she belonged. furniture. and agile. who contort themselves at fairs with paving- stones hanging from their hair.CHAPTER II TWO COMPLETE PORTRAITS So far in this book the Thenardiers have been viewed only in profile. Everything trembled at the sound of her voice. dotted with red blotches. Our readers have possibly preserved some recollection of this Thenardier woman. fat. Thenardier had just passed his fiftieth birthday. angular. the cooking. and everything else. presented the ap-  Les Miserables . ever since her first appearance. Her big face. which is equivalent to fifty in a woman. to the race of those colossal wild women. so that there existed a balance of age be- tween husband and wife. and people. red. She did everything about the house.

one said. No one had ever succeeded in rendering him drunk. She was an ideal market-porter dressed in woman’s clothes. by way of precaution. He declared that he had ‘a system. and was almost polite to everybody. who had a sickly air and who was wonderfully healthy. Raynal. There were certain names which he often pronounced to support whatever things he might be saying.’ One of her teeth projected when her face was in repose. His cunning began here. ‘That is the hangman. he smiled habitually. bony. singularly enough. thin. When one heard her speak. and under his blouse an old black coat.’ This Thenardier female was like the product of a wench engraft- ed on a fishwife. one said. Parny. angular.pearance of a skimmer. ‘That is a carter”.com  . He smoked a big pipe.—Voltaire. A filousophe [philosophe]. Saint Augustine. and. Thenardier was a small. fee- ble man. ‘That is a woman. in a very queer way. she boasted of being able to crack a nut with one blow of her fist. even to the beggar to whom he refused half a farthing. a scientific thief. when one saw her drink. ‘That is a gendarme”. He had the glance of a pole-cat and the bearing of a man of letters. when one saw her handle Cosette. She swore splen- didly. the idea would never have oc- curred to any one to say of her. one said. She had a beard. pale. Except for the romances which she had read. he was a great swindler. and which made the affected lady peep through the ogress at times. He greatly resembled the portraits of the Abbe Delille. He wore a blouse.’ In addition. The Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He made pretensions to literature and to material- ism. His coquetry consisted in drinking with the carters.

1815. at Waterloo. selling to some. apparently at the stormy epoch of June 18. It will be remembered that he pretended to have served in the army. as he said. wandering. how. being comfortably astride of both frontiers. of ‘the cabaret of the Sergeant of Waterloo. adventure. in a rickety cart. and. He had subscribed for the Champ d’Asile. and for his inn the name which it bore in the neighborhood. It was said in the village that he had studied for the priest- hood. a classic.’ he had  Les Miserables . ‘a general. and travel- ling like a family man. Thenardier belonged to that variety of ma- rauding sutlers of which we have spoken. cov- ered with his body and saved from death. stealing from others. and in the presence of a squadron of death-dealing hussars. in the midst of the grape-shot.’ He was a liberal. and having. and a Bonapartist.’ Thence arose for his wall the flaring sign. he had alone. the reader is already acquainted with that. This rascal of composite order was. a tattered conscience entails a fragmentary life.species does exist. some Fleming from Lille. who had been dangerously wound- ed. being a sergeant in the 6th or the 9th light something or other. This cam- paign ended. he was in the habit of relating with exuberance. a Frenchman in Paris. ‘some quibus. in all prob- ability. beating about the country. in the rear of troops on the march. It will be perceived that he exaggerated it a trifle. with wife and children. As for his prowess at Waterloo. a Belgian at Brussels. in Flanders. Ebb and flow. with an instinct for always attaching himself to the victorious army. was the leven of his existence. We believe that he had simply studied in Holland for an inn-keeper.

and did not carry this sutler turned eating-house-keeper very far. above all. and by a sign of the cross. slothful. pronounced a t or an s at the end of words where the opposite letter should occur. And since he was one of those people who are con- Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but this was very rare. He composed the travellers’ tariff card in a superior man- ner. hypocrisy enters into it. since he was enraged with the hu- man race in general. and clever. It seemed to her that that thin and yellow little man must be an object coveted by all. on occasion. i. greedy. This giantess was jealous. or used either one of them where neither exists. who was. but practised eyes sometimes spied out orthographical errors in it. an astute and well-bal- anced man. gathered in harvest-time in furrows sown with corpses. of gold rings and silver crosses. did not amount to a large total. He did not disdain his servants. This is the worst species. the schoolmaster had noticed that he pronounced improperly. which caused his wife to dispense with them. Nevertheless. He was a fine talker. was a scamp of a temperate sort. This quibus. the seminary. composed of purses and watches. Thenardier. and at such times. as he bore within him a deep furnace of hatred. accompanied by an oath.com  . recalls the barracks. Thenardier had that peculiar rectilinear something about his gestures which.[12] [12] Literally ‘made cuirs”. e. capable of wrath to quite the same degree as his wife. He allowed it to be thought that he was an educated man.. Thenardier was cunning.come to Montfermeil and set up an inn there. It is not that Thenardier was not.

by the way. on catch- ing sight of Madame Thenardier.—she would not have blamed her husband in public on any subject whatever. the bankruptcies. Thenardier was a statesman. and who are always ready to cast upon the first person who comes to hand. The hus- band was both master and mistress. sometimes a sign. She was possessed of vir- tues after her own kind.’ A mistake. he was terrible. as a legitimate grievance.’—which was an inadmissible hypothesis. if she had ever had a disagreement as to any detail with ‘Monsieur Thenardier. She would never have committed ‘before strangers’ that mistake so often committed by women. and always highly intelligent. He directed everything by a sort of invisible and constant magnetic action. who accuse everything that passes before them of everything which has befallen them. Thenardier was at- tentive and penetrating. the sum total of the deceptions. She was not even the mistress. and which is called in par-  Les Miserables . though she did not thoroughly realize it. according to circumstances. silent or talkative. the mastodon obeyed. Every new-comer who entered the tavern said. ‘There is the master of the house. A word was sufficient for him.—when all this leaven was stirred up in him and boiled forth from his mouth and eyes. Thenardier was a sort of special and sovereign being in Madame Thenardier’s eyes. who are accustomed to screw up their eyes to gaze through marine glasses. She worked. and the calamities of their lives. He had some- thing of the look of sailors.tinually avenging their wrongs. Woe to the person who came under his wrath at such a time! In addition to his other qualities. he created.

and does not extend to an entire class.com  . hence the absolute empire of the man over that woman. but an inn-keeper must browse where fate has hitched him. She was a mother because she was mammif- erous. in Switzerland or in the Pyrenees this penniless scamp would have become a millionaire. This woman was a formidable creature who loved no one except her children. the adoration of mind by matter. there was contemplation in Madame Thenardier’s submission to her husband. this was that grand and universal thing. In this same year. and who did not fear any one except her husband. if ruin is possible to zero. It will be understood that the word inn-keeper is here employed in a restricted sense. as we shall see.’ Although their concord had only evil as its result. He did not succeed in this. The man had but one thought. At certain moments she beheld him like a lighted candle. Thenardier was ruining himself at Montfermeil. That mountain of noise and of flesh moved under the little finger of that frail despot. for certain ugly features have a cause in the very depths of eternal beauty. There was an unknown quantity about Thenardier. Thenardier was burdened with about fifteen hundred francs’ worth of petty debts. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. at others she felt him like a claw. and. and this rendered him anxious. 1823. A theatre worthy of this great talent was lacking.—how to enrich himself. But her maternity stopped short with her daughters. ‘exposing the crown.liamentary language. Viewed on its dwarfed and grotesque side. did not extend to boys.

the feather-bed. Besides. to know how much the shadow uses up the mirror. to shelter trav- elling families respectfully: to shave the man. His theories as a landlord sometimes burst forth in lightning flashes. the chair. the chimney-corner. the stool. and to honestly lighten heavy ones. which he inserted into his wife’s mind. with the most profundity and in the most modern fashion. to make the traveller pay for everything. Whatever may have been the obstinate injustice of des- tiny in this case. stews. the mattress and the truss of straw. and quoted for his skill in shooting. and lived in a fit of anger. to empty small purses. and to put a price on it. that thing which is a virtue among barba- rous peoples and an object of merchandise among civilized peoples. to pluck the woman. all in a minute. to pick the child clean. the window shut. While the husband pondered and combined. lice. He had a certain cold and tranquil laugh. a servant. light. He had professional aphorisms. took no heed of yesterday nor of to-morrow. which was particularly dangerous. and in a low voice. violently. ‘is to sell to the first comer. the arm-chair. he was an admirable poach- er. Madame Thenardier thought not of absent creditors. by five hundred thousand devils. even for the flies which his dog eats!’ This man and this woman were ruse and rage wedded—a hideous and terrible team.  Les Miserables . and. fire.’ he said to her one day. the ottoman.—hospitality. dirty sheets. Thenardier was one of those men who understand best. to stop passers-by. and a smile. ‘The duty of the inn-keeper. repose. to quote the window open.

There was no mercy for her. a fierce mistress and venomous master. panted. Cosette was between them. Such were these two beings. Cosette ran up stairs and down. did the coarse work. in which Cosette had been caught. The Thenardier hostelry was like a spider’s web.com  . subjected to their double pressure. The ideal of oppression was realized by this sinister household. she went barefooted in winter— that was the man’s doing. The man and the woman each had a different method: Cosette was overwhelmed with blows— this was the woman’s. fluttered about. and weak as she was. rubbed. It was something like the fly serving the spiders. like a creature who is at the same time being ground up in a mill and pulled to pieces with pincers. dusted. swept. washed. find themselves thus. very small and in the midst of men all naked! Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ran. and where she lay trembling. at the very dawn of life. moved heavy arti- cles. What takes place within these souls when they have but just quitted God. The poor child passively held her peace.

Cosette was meditating sadly. Thirsty people were never lacking there. although she was only eight years old. AND HORSES MUST HAVE WATER Four new travellers had arrived. ‘How ugly she is with her fist-blow on her eye!’ Cosette was thinking that it was dark.CHAPTER III MEN MUST HAVE WINE. very dark. for. She was somewhat reassured because no one in the Th- enardier establishment drank much water. which caused the latter to remark from time to time. but their thirst was of the sort which applies to the jug rather than to the pitcher. that the pitchers and caraffes in the chambers of the travellers who had arrived must have been filled and that there was no more water in the cistern. Any one who had asked for a glass of water among all those glasses  Les Miserables . Her eye was black in consequence of a blow from Madame Thenar- dier’s fist. she had already suffered so much that she reflected with the lugubrious air of an old woman.

From time to time one of the drinkers looked into the street. ‘I tell you that it has not. it has.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘It’s as black as an oven!’ or. A thin stream of water trickled from the faucet. examining the half- filled glass. sir!’ said she. and it was I who took the water to him. ‘Bah!’ resumed Madame Thenardier. But there came a moment when the child trembled. ‘Well. and said in a harsh voice:— ‘My horse has not been watered. and half filled the glass. a whole bucketful.of wine would have appeared a savage to all these men.’ retorted the pedler. but for a quarter of an hour she felt her heart leaping in her bosom like a big snow-flake. All at once one of the pedlers who lodged in the hostelry entered. ‘Oh. and I spoke to him. She turned the faucet.’ said she. Cosette had emerged from under the table. ‘the horse has had a drink.’ ‘Yes.’ Cosette applied herself to her work once more. the child had raised her head and was following all the woman’s movements. She counted the minutes that passed in this manner. ‘there is no more water!’ A momen- tary silence ensued. yes.’ said Madame Thenardier. The child did not breathe. ‘this will be enough. he drank out of a bucket. Madame Thenardier raised the cover of a stew-pan which was boil- ing on the stove. ‘One must needs be a cat to go about the streets without a lantern at this hour!’ And Cosette trembled. and exclaimed.com  . and wished it were the next morning. then seized a glass and briskly approached the cistern.

’ exclaimed the pedler. ‘I tell you that he has not been watered. go and get some. let my horse be watered. now! Where’s that other beast?’ She bent down and discovered Cosette cowering at the other end of the table. This bucket was bigger than she was.’ ‘Come. and added in a voice rendered hoarse with anguish.’ said Cosette. The Thenardier returned to her stove. ‘In truth. and which was hardly audible:— ‘And he drank heartily. feebly. ‘Are you coming?’ shrieked Madame Thenardier. Cosette crawled out of the sort of hole in which she had hidden herself. Cosette lied. ‘There’s a brat as big as my fist who tells lies as big as the house.’ The Thenardier threw the street door wide open:— ‘Well. go and water that horse. in a rage. Madame.’ said the pedler. and the child could have set down in it at her ease.’ Then glancing about her:— ‘Well. and tasted what  Les Miserables . it must be. It was not true. which I know well. ‘if the beast has not been watered. The Thenardier resumed:— ‘Mademoiselle Dog-lack-name. that is fair!’ said Madame Thenardier.’ ‘But.’ Cosette persisted. ‘there is no water. almost under the drinkers’ feet. then!’ Cosette dropped her head. and let that be the end of it!’ Cosette crept under the table again. ‘this won’t do at all. you little jade! He has a way of blowing when he has had no water. and went for an empty bucket which stood near the chimney-corner.

She seemed to be waiting for some one to come to her rescue. she took the coin without saying a word.’ Then she rummaged in a drawer which contained sous. pepper. the open door before her. I think I should have done better to strain my onions. Cosette went out. ‘on your way back. Here’s a fifteen-sou piece. The door closed behind her. with a wooden spoon.’ she added. bucket in hand.was in the stewpan. Mam’selle Toad. and shallots. ‘Get along with you!’ screamed the Thenardier. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Cosette had a little pocket on one side of her apron.com  . Then she stood motionless. and put it in that pock- et. grumbling the while:— ‘There’s plenty in the spring. you will get a big loaf from the baker. ‘See here. There never was such a ma- licious creature as that.

was a toy-shop all glittering with tinsel. then seated at the table at the Thenardiers’ observed. extend- ed. without a mother be- ing found in Montfermeil sufficiently rich or sufficiently  Les Miserables . produced ‘a magical effect. which had real hair and enamel eyes. with candles burning in paper funnels. which. These booths were all illuminated. not a star was visible in the sky. and magnificent objects of tin. with gold wheat-ears on her head. as the schoolmaster. The last of these stalls. nearly two feet high. In the first row. as far as the hostelry of the Thenardiers. and far forwards. established precisely opposite the Thenardiers’ door. as the reader will remember. glass. who was dressed in a robe of pink crepe.CHAPTER IV ENTRANCE ON THE SCENE OF A DOLL The line of open-air booths starting at the church. the merchant had placed on a background of white napkins. an immense doll.’ In compensation. All that day. this marvel had been displayed to the wonderment of all passers-by under ten years of age. because the citizens would soon pass on their way to the midnight mass.

riches. She said to her- self that one must be a queen. which appeared in a sort of chimerical halo to that unhappy little being so profoundly engulfed in gloomy and chilly misery.extravagant to give it to her child. With the sad and innocent sagacity of childhood. She had not yet beheld that doll close to. The poor child paused in amazement. bucket in hand. as she called it. on the sly. produced on her somewhat the effect of being the Eternal Father. At the moment when Cosette emerged. to have a ‘thing’ like that. even the errand with which she was charged. who was pacing back and forth in front of his shop. ‘How happy that doll must be!’ She could not take her eyes from that fantas- tic stall. happiness. it was a vi- sion. you silly jade! you have not gone? Wait! I’ll give it to you! I want to know what you are doing there! Get Free eBooks at Planet eBook. There were other dolls behind the large one. or at least a princess. and she thought. It was joy. In this adoration she forgot everything. which seemed to her to be fair- ies and genii. the more dazzled she grew. that beautiful smooth hair. She gazed at that beautiful pink dress. The whole shop seemed a palace to her: the doll was not a doll. and Cosette herself had ventured to cast a glance at it. towards the lady. Eponine and Azelma had passed hours in contemplating it. She thought she was gazing at paradise. The more she looked. melancholy and overcome as she was. she could not refrain from lifting her eyes to that wonderful doll. All at once the Thenardier’s coarse voice recalled her to reality: ‘What. it is true. The merchant.com  . Cosette measured the abyss which separated her from that doll. splendor.

 Les Miserables .along. dragging her pail. and had caught sight of Cosette in her ecstasy. you little monster!’ The Thenardier had cast a glance into the street. and taking the longest strides of which she was capable. Cosette fled.

she did encoun- ter a woman. However. There was no one in the streets. She plunged into it. The further she went.CHAPTER V THE LITTLE ONE ALL ALONE As the Thenardier hostelry was in that part of the village which is near the church. as a certain emotion overcame her. The poor child found herself in the dark. Only. and stood still. who turned around on seeing her.com  . She did not glance at the display of a single other mer- chant. it was to the spring in the forest in the direction of Chelles that Cosette was obliged to go for her water. This made a noise which afforded her company. the lighted stalls illuminated the road. but soon the last light from the last stall vanished. So long as she was in Boulanger Lane and in the neighborhood of the church. muttering between her teeth: ‘Where can that child be going? Is it a werewolf child?’ Then the woman recognized Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she made as much motion as possible with the handle of the bucket as she walked along. the denser the darkness became.

When she had passed the corner of the last house. So long as she had the houses or even the walls only on both sides of her path. fear had lent her audacity. thrust her hand into her hair. where there was no longer any one. and she distinctly saw spectres moving in the trees. and wrath flashing in her eyes. But in proportion as she advanced. ‘Well. it became impossible to proceed further than the last house. she proceeded with tolerable boldness. where there were beasts. and it reassured her. She set her buck- et on the ground. hyena mouth. From time to time she caught the flicker of a candle through the crack of a shut- ter—this was light and life.Cosette. Cosette paused. She took a good look. it was the open fields. as it were. She gazed in despair at that darkness. It had been hard to advance further than the last stall. there were people there. and began slowly to scratch her head. her pace slackened mechanically. Black and desert space was before her.’ said she. The child cast a melancholy  Les Miserables . ‘I will tell him that there was no more water!’ And she resolutely re- entered Montfermeil. where there were spectres. ‘Bah!’ said she.—a gesture peculiar to children when terrified and undecided what to do. It was no longer Montfermeil. ‘it’s the Lark!’ In this manner Cosette traversed the labyrinth of tortu- ous and deserted streets which terminate in the village of Montfermeil on the side of Chelles. with her hideous. Now it was the Thenar- dier who appeared to her. possibly. and heard the beasts walking on the grass. Hardly had she gone a hundred paces when she paused and began to scratch her head again. Then she seized her bucket again.

com  . Strange to say. and paved with several large stones. She no longer thought. she entered the forest at a run. she did not get lost. It was very dark. through having gone over it many times in daylight. but she did not halt in her advance. no longer looking at or listen- ing to anything.’s frills. The immensity of night was facing this tiny creature. The nocturnal quivering of the forest surrounded her completely.glance before her and behind her. A brook ran out of it. crimped grasses which are called Henry IV. On the one hand. In this manner she reached the spring. It was only seven or eight minutes’ walk from the edge of the woods to the spring. She resumed her path to the spring. about two feet deep. but Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Cosette did not take time to breathe. surrounded with moss and with those tall. A remnant of instinct guided her vague- ly. on the other. with a tranquil little noise. But she did not turn her eyes either to right or to left. behind her all the phantoms of the night and of the forest. for fear of seeing things in the branches and in the brushwood. Cosette knew the way. She emerged from the village. As she ran she felt like crying. It was a narrow. natural basin. hollowed out by the water in a clayey soil. all shadow. an atom. She only paused in her course when her breath failed her. she no longer saw. She went straight before her in desperation. It was before the Thenardier that she recoiled. and began to run. What was she to do? What was to become of her? Where was she to go? In front of her was the spectre of the Thenardier.

One would have called it a luminous wound. The mist. she did not notice that the pocket of her apron had emptied itself into the spring. and set it on the grass. That done. Overhead the sky was covered with vast black clouds. Cosette neither saw nor heard it fall. and which terrified her. She shut her eyes. and plunged the bucket in the water. in fact. clung to it. which were like masses of smoke. found one of its branches. She drew out the bucket nearly full. then she opened them again. magnified the star. with which she was unfamiliar. She dropped on the grass. gloomily empurpled.  Les Miserables . The planet was. without knowing why. and remained crouching there. She was in a state of such violent excite- ment that her strength was trebled. bent down. The child stared with bewildered eyes at this great star. very near the horizon and was traversing a dense layer of mist which imparted to it a horrible ruddy hue. Jupiter was setting in the depths. She was forced to sit down.she was in the habit of coming to this spring. and which usually served to support her. The tragic mask of shad- ow seemed to bend vaguely over the child. She felt with her left hand in the dark for a young oak which leaned over the spring. She would have liked to set out again at once. The fifteen-sou piece fell into the wa- ter. but the effort required to fill the bucket had been such that she found it impossible to take a step. The agitated water in the bucket beside her was describing cir- cles which resembled tin serpents. While thus bent over. she perceived that she was worn out with fa- tigue. but because she could not do otherwise.

When the eye sees black. obscure dishevelments. things grown haggard. There are fierce attitudes on the hori- zon. tossed by the breeze. bendings of mysterious branches. there were none of the vague. On all sides there were lugubrious stretches. A chimerical reality appears in the indistinct depths.com  . unknown but possible beings. The tall grasses undulated like eels under the north wind. irritated tufts. flew rapidly by. either in space or in one’s own brain. A cold wind was blowing from the plain. taciturn profiles which vanish when one advances. yet desirous of doing so. alarming Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in the sooty opacity. One is afraid to glance behind him. The cavities of night. Who- ever buries himself in the opposite of day feels his heart contract. One inhales the effluvia of the great black void. fresh gleams of summertide. The darkness was bewildering. The forest was dark. No one walks alone in the forest at night without trembling. Slender and misshapen bushes whistled in the clearings. and had the air of fleeing in terror before something which was com- ing after. The nettles seemed to twist long arms furnished with claws in search of prey. the lugubrious reflected in the fu- nereal. there is anxi- ety even for the stoutest of hearts. Great boughs uplifted them- selves in frightful wise. the heart sees trouble. Shadows and trees— two formidable densities. Man requires light. one knows not what vague and intangible thing. livid pools. not a leaf was moving. the sepulchral immensity of silence. Some bits of dry heather. One be- holds floating. In an eclipse in the night. like the dreams of sleeping flowers. The inconceivable is outlined a few paces distant from you with a spectral clearness.

she shivered. in order to escape from that singular state which she did not understand. Forests are apocalypses. There is no hardihood which does not shudder and which does not feel the vicinity of an- guish. This penetration of the shadows is indescribably sinister in the case of a child. and so on up to ten. it was something more terrible even than terror. to the lighted candles. but which terrified her. Without understanding her sensations. she began again.torsos of trees. had returned: she had but one thought now. her eye grew wild.— against all this one has no protection. one. long handfuls of quivering plants. she began to count aloud. and the beating of the wings of a tiny soul produces a sound of agony beneath their mon- strous vault. across the fields to the houses. she rose. Cosette was conscious that she was seized upon by that black enormity of nature. Her glance fell upon  Les Miserables . four. Then. a natural and unconquerable ter- ror. by a sort of instinct. There are no words to express the strangeness of that shiver which chilled her to the very bot- tom of her heart. she thought she felt that she should not be able to refrain from returning there at the same hour on the morrow. two. her terror. which she had wet in drawing the water. to the windows. felt cold. it was no longer terror alone which was gain- ing possession of her. One is conscious of something hideous. when she had finished. as though one’s soul were becoming amalgamated with the darkness. three. Her hands. this restored her to a true perception of the things about her.—to flee at full speed through the forest. and.

and resumed her march. In spite of dimin- ishing the length of her stops. even at a distance: it was her custom to imagine the Thenardier always present. like an old woman. the weight of the bucket strained and stiffened her thin arms. far from all human sight. with drooping head. but again she was obliged to pause. and of walking as long as Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she was forced to set it on the ground once more. In this manner she advanced a dozen paces. sobs contracted her throat. alas! For there are things that make the dead open their eyes in their graves. such was the fright which the Thenardier inspired in her. and she went on very slowly. However.the water which stood before her. After some seconds of repose she set out again. she could hardly lift the pail. The iron handle completed the be- numbing and freezing of her wet and tiny hands. she could not make much headway in that manner. She walked bent forward. but the bucket was full. And her mother. but she dared not weep. she was a child of eight: no one but God saw that sad thing at the moment. This took place in the depths of a forest. no doubt. then lifted the handle of the bucket again. She took breath for an instant. in winter. that she dared not flee with- out that bucket of water: she seized the handle with both hands. at night. the cold water which splashed from the pail fell on her bare legs.com  . and each time that she did so. so afraid was she of the Thenardier. she was forced to halt from time to time. She panted with a sort of painful rattle. it was heavy. proceeding a little further this time.

The child was not afraid. but the poor little desperate creature could not refrain from crying. longer than the rest.  Les Miserables . had seized the handle of the bucket which she was carrying. There are instincts for all the encounters of life. was walking beside her through the darkness.possible between them. which seemed to her enormous. She raised her head. in order that she might get well rested. she was worn out with fatigue. A large black form. then she summoned up all her strength. without ut- tering a word. and courageously resumed her march. and lifted it vigorously. This anguish was mingled with her terror at being alone in the woods at night. and that the Thenardier would beat her. it was a man who had come up behind her. straight and erect. made a last halt. On arriving near an old chestnut-tree with which she was acquainted. she reflected with anguish that it would take her more than an hour to return to Montfermeil in this manner. picked up her bucket again. and whose approach she had not heard. ‘O my God! my God!’ At that moment she suddenly became conscious that her bucket no longer weighed anything at all: a hand. had just seized the handle. and had not yet emerged from the forest. This man.

—ex- treme wretchedness combined with extreme cleanliness.com  . 1823. He wore a very old and very well brushed round hat. by preference. This man had the air of a person who is seeking lodgings. a color that Free eBooks at Planet eBook. hired a chamber in that isolated quarter. This man. of an ochre yellow. as in all his person. a coarse coat. worn perfectly threadbare. We shall see further on that this man had. a man had walked for rather a long time in the most deserted part of the Boulevard de l’Hopital in Paris. and for the man who is very worthy. realized the type of what may be called the well-bred mendicant.CHAPTER VI WHICH POSSIBLY PROVES BOULATRUELLE’S INTELLIGENCE On the afternoon of that same Christmas Day. This is a very rare mixture which inspires intelligent hearts with that double respect which one feels for the man who is very poor. in his attire. and he seemed to halt. in fact. at the most modest houses on that di- lapidated border of the faubourg Saint-Marceau.

and it had received a coral-like head. stockings of black worsted. black breeches. The man seemed to avoid them rather than to seek them. Judging from his firm tread. To- wards two o’clock. made from red wax: it was a cud- gel. returned from the emigration. This stick had been carefully trimmed. almost invariably. He would have been taken for more than sixty years of age. and had an air that was not too threatening. There are but few passers-by on that boulevard.was not in the least eccentric at that epoch. the most had been made of its knots. the royal carriage and cavalcade was seen to pass at full speed along the Boulevard  Les Miserables . went nearly every day to Choisy-le-Roi: it was one of his favorite excursions. cut from some hedge. In his left hand he carried a little bundle tied up in a handkerchief. and would have disposed in his favor any one who observed him attentively. particu- larly in the winter. There was in the depth of his glance an inde- scribable melancholy serenity. The wrinkles on his brow were well placed. and it seemed to be a cane. where everything breathed de- pression and weariness of life. a large waistcoat with pockets of a venerable cut. his livid lips. He would have been pronounced a precep- tor in some good family. and which was humble. his wrinkled brow. from the singular vigor which stamped all his movements. he would have hardly been thought fifty. worn gray at the knee. King Louis XVIII. His lip con- tracted with a strange fold which seemed severe. but this without any affectation. and thick shoes with copper buckles. from his perfectly white hair. and his countenance. in his right he leaned on a sort of a cudgel. At that epoch.

the ap- pearance and disappearance of Louis XVIII. He passed.de l’Hopital. It was rapid but ma- jestic. Outside of Paris. the smile of an ed- ucated man. thundered noisily along. he held his hat decked with white ostrich plumes on his knees enwrapped in high Eng- lish gaiters. When he appeared for the first time in the Saint-Marceau quarter. This impotent king had a taste for a fast gallop. the silver plaque of the Saint-Esprit. ‘It is two o’clock. and a wide blue ribbon: it was the king. in the midst of naked swords. crafty eye. the whole success which he pro- duced is contained in this remark of an inhabitant of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. hard. for a passing king always creates a tumult. This served in lieu of a watch or clock to the poor women of the quarter who said. and they returned it in kind. and others drew up in line. all covered with gilding. he put on his hat and saluted rarely. a brow freshly powdered a l’oiseau royal.com  . with great branches of lilies painted on the panels. as he was not able to walk. the cross of the Legion of Honor. produced a certain effect in the streets of Paris. he stared coldly at the people. His mas- sive couch. there he is return- ing to the Tuileries. the cross of Saint Louis. In the rear angle on the right there was visible on tufted cushions of white satin a large. and ruddy face. a huge belly. the Golden Fleece. a proud.’ And some rushed forward. firm. he wished to run: that cripple would gladly have had himself drawn by the lightning. two great epaulets with bullion fringe floating over a bourgeois coat. when he re-entered the city. There was hardly time to cast a glance upon it. besides. pacific and severe.

‘That big fellow yonder is the gov- ernment. not without turning round many a time to assure himself that he was not being followed. took equal note of him: one of them received an order to follow him. opposite the king. he passed in front of the theatre of the Porte  Les Miserables . le Duc de Havre from spying him out.faubourg to his comrade. that is to say. when night was fully come. He said to his Majesty.’ This infallible passage of the king at the same hour was. as is stated in a report addressed that same evening to M. and probably did not belong in Paris. le Duc de Havre. who were clearing the king’s route. le Comte d’Angles. surrounded by a squadron of the body-guard all covered with silver lace.’ Members of the police. He drew up hastily behind the corner of the wall of an enclosure. the agent lost trace of him. When the man in the yellow coat had thrown the agent off his track. therefore. after having made the turn of the Salpetriere. M. at two o’clock. There was no one but him- self in this cross-lane. the daily event of the Boulevard de l’Hopital. as captain of the guard on duty that day. Minister of State. Prefect of Police. though this did not prevent M. and as twilight was beginning to fall. was seated in the carriage. debouched on the boulevard. ‘Yonder is an evil-looking man. for he was ignorant as to this detail. When. he redoubled his pace. But the man plunged into the deserted little streets of the faubourg. he appeared surprised and almost alarmed. At a quarter-past four. The promenader in the yellow coat evidently did not be- long in the quarter. the royal carriage.

‘Are you going as far as Lagny?’ demanded the coach- man.’ Nevertheless. and he entered the Plat d’Etain [the Pewter Platter]. Towards six o’clock in the evening they reached Chelles. illuminated by the theatre lanterns. The traveller paid to Lagny. ‘I will take it. The man inquired:— ‘Have you a place?’ ‘Only one—beside me on the box. They started. struck him.Saint-Martin. the coachman tried to enter into conversation.’ said the coachman. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the travellers. the coachman cast a glance at the traveller’s shabby dress. where the office of the coach for Lagny was then sit- uated. The man did not appear to be thinking of that. but the traveller only replied in monosyllables. although he was walking rapidly. he halt- ed to read it.com  . were hastily climbing the lofty iron ladder of the vehicle. This poster. at the diminutive size of his bundle. The coachman wrapped himself up in his cloak. for. This coach set out at half-past four. and made him pay his fare. summoned by the coachman. The horses were harnessed.’ said the man. ‘Yes. An instant later he was in the blind alley of La Planchette. Thus they passed Gournay and Neuilly-sur-Marne.’ ‘Climb up. before setting out. The coachman took to whis- tling and swearing at his horses. When they had passed the barrier. It was cold. where The Two Convicts was being played that day.

for I do not know him. ‘I get down here. and there waited until the passers-by were at a distance. When the coach set out for Lagny a few minutes later. down the princi- pal street of Chelles. all the houses are shut. however. but he does not consider money.’ The man had not plunged into the earth.’ said he. and he goes only as far as Chelles. he does not enter the inn. An instant later he had disappeared. The precaution was nearly superfluous. as we have already said.’ said the man. He had not the air of owning a sou. it did not encounter him in the principal street of Chelles. and he is not to be found. then he had turned to the right before reaching the church. he heard people coming. for.The coachman drew up in front of the carters’ inn installed in the ancient buildings of the Royal Abbey. ‘There. So he has dived through the earth. He followed this road rapidly. He con- cealed himself precipitately in a ditch. to give his hors- es a breathing spell. He did not enter the inn. into the cross-road leading to Mont- fermeil. The coachman turned to the inside travellers. like a person who was acquainted with the country and had been there before.  Les Miserables . It is night. ‘is a man who does not belong here. He took his bundle and his cudgel and jumped down from the vehicle. At the spot where it is intersected by the ancient tree-bordered road which runs from Gagny to Lagny. he pays to Lagny. but he had gone with great strides through the dark.

at a clearing where there was a great heap of whitish stones. and examined them attentively through the mists of night. there was a chest- nut-tree. he struck across the fields to the right. step by step. to which a band of zinc had been nailed by way of dressing. advancing. he took his bearings. He raised himself on tiptoe and touched this band of zinc.com  . Opposite this tree. suffering from a peeling of the bark. It is at this point that the ascent of the hill begins. as though seeking and following a mysterious road known to himself alone. and he paused in indecision. At last he ar- rived. The man did not return to the road to Montfermeil. Once in the forest he slackened his pace. That done. by dint of feeling his way inch by inch. Not more than two or three stars were visible in the sky. stood a few paces distant from the pile of stones. as though he were passing them in review. He went up to this tree and passed his hand over the bark of the trunk. There came a moment when he appeared to lose himself. and resumed his march Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and began a careful examination of all the trees. as though seeking to recognize and count all the warts. covered with those excrescences which are the warts of vegetation. He stepped up briskly to these stones. which was an ash. and entered the forest with long strides. like a person who is trying to assure himself that the soil has not recently been disturbed. A large tree.it was a very dark December night. Then he trod about for awhile on the ground comprised in the space between the tree and the heap of stones.

and perceived that it was a very young child. It was the man who had just met Cosette. As he walked through the thicket in the direction of Montfermeil. and silently grasped the handle of the bucket. laden with an enormous bucket of water. depositing a burden on the ground. Then he approached the child. he had espied that tiny shadow moving with a groan. He drew near. then taking it up and setting out again.  Les Miserables .through the forest.

sir. The man accosted her. ‘My child. ‘I will carry it for you. The man walked along beside her.com  .’ ‘Are you going far?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. little one?’ ‘Eight. what you are carrying is very heavy for you.’ he muttered between his teeth. He spoke in a voice that was grave and almost bass.’ Cosette let go of the bucket-handle.’ ‘And have you come from far like this?’ ‘From the spring in the forest. Then he added:— ‘How old are you.’ Cosette raised her head and replied:— ‘Yes.’ said the man. ‘It really is very heavy.CHAPTER VII COSETTE SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE STRANGER IN THE DARK Cosette. sir.’ ‘Give it to me. as we have said. was not frightened.

’  Les Miserables . ‘What is your name?’ said the man.’ The man seemed to have received an electric shock. bent down and placed both hands on the child’s shoulders.’ He paused. mak- ing an effort to look at her and to see her face in the dark. she added:— ‘I don’t think so. he set the bucket on the ground.’ ‘That is where we are going?’ ‘Yes.’ And after a silence she went on:— ‘I think that I never had any. Cosette’s thin and sickly face was vaguely outlined by the livid light in the sky. then he removed his hands from Cosette’s shoulders.’ The man halted. seized the bucket. then began again:— ‘Who sent you at such an hour to get water in the for- est?’ ‘It was Madame Thenardier. sir. Other people have mothers. I have none. then he remarked abruptly:— ‘So you have no mother. ‘Cosette.’ ‘I don’t know.’ The man said nothing for a moment. and set out again. little one?’ ‘At Montfermeil. Before the man had time to speak again. After a moment he inquired:— ‘Where do you live. ‘A good quarter of an hour’s walk from here. He looked at her once more. if you know where that is.’ answered the child.

com  . a singular tremor:— ‘What does your Madame Thenardier do?’ ‘She is my mistress.’ ‘Are you alone there?’ ‘Yes. with a sort of tranquillity and an indescribable confidence.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said the child. she felt within her something which resembled hope and joy. ‘She keeps the inn. ‘Well. She had never been taught to turn to Providence and to pray.’ This was the way the child simplified the romantic names so dear to the female Thenardier. as you would say.’ ‘The inn?’ said the man. nevertheless. sir. but in which there was.’ ‘We are on the way there.’ ‘What little girls?’ ‘Ponine and Zelma. Several minutes elapsed. From time to time she raised her eyes towards the man.’ Another pause ensued. nevertheless. The man resumed. sir. Show me the way. Cosette lifted up her voice:— ‘That is to say.’ said the child. The man resumed:— ‘Is there no servant in Madame Thenardier’s house?’ ‘No. her daugh- ters. Cosette followed him without difficulty. ‘Who are Ponine and Zelma?’ ‘They are Madame Thenardier’s young ladies. there are two little girls. in a voice which he strove to render indifferent. and which mounted towards heaven. She no longer felt any fatigue. The man walked tolerably fast. I am going to lodge there to-night.

but Cosette did not think of the bread which she had been ordered to fetch. which was not visible because of the darkness. ‘it cuts salad and the heads of flies. ‘And it will not cut?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘All day long?’ ‘Yes. in which hung a tear. and replied gently:— ‘Yes. all full of affairs. no longer than that.’ ‘How do you amuse yourself?’ ‘In the best way I can. sir.’ ‘All day long?’ The child raised her great eyes. I amuse myself.’ The child held up her tiny finger. I have only a little lead sword. sir. but I have not many playthings. they amuse themselves. things with gold in them.’ ‘And you?’ ‘I? I work. when I have finished my work and they let me. too. They let me alone. ‘they have beautiful dolls. Ponine and Zelma will not let me play with their dolls.’ After an interval of silence she went on:— ‘Sometimes. sir. Cosette guided the stranger through the streets.’ said the child. They passed the bakeshop. The man had ceased to ply her with questions. They play. ‘And what do those girls do?’ ‘Oh!’ said the child.’ They reached the village. and  Les Miserables .

on perceiving all the open-air booths. she will beat me. When they had left the church behind them. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.now preserved a gloomy silence. asked Cosette:— ‘So there is a fair going on here?’ ‘No. Cosette timidly touched his arm:— ‘Monsieur?’ ‘What. it is Christmas.’ As they approached the tavern. sir.’ The man handed her the bucket. my child?’ ‘We are quite near the house. An instant later they were at the tavern door.com  .’ ‘Well?’ ‘Will you let me take my bucket now?’ ‘Why?’ ‘If Madame sees that some one has carried it for me. the man.

CHAPTER VIII THE UNPLEASANTNESS OF RECEIVING INTO ONE’S HOUSE A POOR MAN WHO MAY BE A RICH MAN Cosette could not refrain from casting a sidelong glance at the big doll. you little wretch! good mercy. The Thenardier appeared with a candle in her hand. raising his hand to his hat. which was still displayed at the toy-mer- chant’s. ‘Yes.’ replied the man. and eagerly sought the new-comer with her eyes. trembling all over.’ The Thenardier speedily replaced her gruff air by her amiable grimace. Madame. but you’ve taken your time! The hussy has been amusing herself!’ ‘Madame. a change of aspect common to tavern- keepers.  Les Miserables . then she knocked. ‘This is the gentleman?’ said she. The door opened. ‘Ah! so it’s you.’ said Cosette. ‘here’s a gen- tleman who wants a lodging.

paid particular attention to his frock-coat. This gesture. ‘it ruins a house to have such people in it. I will pay as though I occupied a room. in the same tone.’ The ‘good man’ entered. agreed. backed up by an inflation of the lips. Wealthy travellers are not so polite. the Thenardier exclaimed:— ‘Ah! see here. in the stable. gently. ‘I don’t lodge poor folks for less. ‘why.’ ‘Very well. The husband replied by that imperceptible movement of the forefinger. T