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Part Fifth. 


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University of Ottawa 





Part Fifth. 





»w« r m " W^aj i Mi* i 

Copyright, 1SS7, 
By Little, Beown, and Compant. 

University Press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



iSoofe f. 


Chapter Page 

I. The Charybdis of the Faubourg St. An- 

DU Temple 1 


III. Clearing and Clouding 18 

IV. FivE Less and One More 21 

V. The Horizon one sees from the Barri- 

cade's Summit 31 

VI. Marius haggard, Javert laconic ... 37 

VII. The Situation becomes Aggravated . . 40 

VIII. The Artillery sets to work in Earnest 46 

IX. Employment of THE Poacher's Old Skill 

and his Unerring Shot, which had an 

Influence on the Condemnation in 1796 50 

X. Dawn 53 

XI. The Shot which does not Miss and which 


XII. DisoRDER the Partisan of Order ... 61 
XIII. Gleams which Fade 66 



Chaptee I^age 
XIV. In which we read the Name of tue 

MiSTREss OF Enjolkas ...... G9 

XV. Gavroche Outside 72 

XVI. How a Brother becomes a Father . . 77 
XVII. MoRTuus Pater Filium Moriturûm ex- 


XVIII. The Vulture becomes Frey .... 92 

XIX. Jean Val.jean Revenges Himself . . 98 
XX. The De ad are Right and the Living 

are not Wrong 102 

XXI. The Heroes 115 

XXII. Step by Step 121 

XXIII. Orestes sober and Pylades drunk . . 126 

XXIV. Prisoner! 131 

BoOft IL 


I. The Earth impoverished by the Sea . 135 

II. The Old History of the Sewer . . . 141 

III. Bruneseau 146 

IV. Concealed Détails 151 

V. Présent Progress 157 

VI. Future Progress 159 

23oofe III. 


I. The Cloaca and its Surprises . . . 166 


IIL The Tracked Man 178 

IV. He toc bears his Cross 184 


Chapter Page 

V. Sand, lire Woman, has a Fineness that 

• is Perfidious 189 

VI. The Fontis 196 



VIII. The Torn Coat-Skirt 203 

IX. Marius appears Dead to a Connoisseur 210 

X. Return of THE Son prodigal of his Life 216 

XI. A ShAKING in THE Absolute 219 

XIL The Grandfather 222 

Booit IV. 

Booft V. 


I. Where we again meet THE Tree with 

THE Zinc Patch 247 

II. Marius, leaving Civil War, prépares for 

a Domestic War 252 

III. Marius Attacks 259 

IV. Mlle. Gillenormand has no Objections 

TO THE Match 264 

V. Deposit your Money in a Forest rather 


VI. The Two Old Men, each in his Fashion, 

DO Everything for Cosette's Happiness 274 
VII. The Effects of Dreaming blended with 

Happiness 2S6 

Vni. Two Men impossible to Find 290 


Boofe VI. 


Chapter Page 

I. February 16, 1833 296 

II. Jean Valjean still has his Akm in a 

Sling 309 

III. The Inséparable 322 

IV. Immortale Jecur 326 



I. The Seventh Circle and the Eighth 

Heaven 332 

II. TrfE Obscurity which a Révélation may 


Boolt VIII. 


I. The Ground-floor Room 369 

II. Other Backward Steps 376 

III. They remember the Garden in the Rue 

Plumet 380 

IV. Attraction and Extinction 387 


33ooit IX. 


Chaptee Pauk 


THE IIappy 390 

IL The Last Flutterings of the Lamp with- 

ouT OïL 394 

III. A Pen is too Heavy for the Man who 

LiFTED Fauchelevent's Cart .... 397 

IV. A Bottle of Ink which only Whitexs . 401 


VI. The Grass hides, and the Rain effaces . 441 





The two most mémorable barricades wliich the 
observer of social diseases eau mention do not be- 
long to the period in which the action of this book 
is laid. Thèse two barricades, both symbols under 
différent aspects of a formidable situation, emerged 
from the earth during the fatal insurrectiou of June, 
1848, the greatest street-war which historj has seen. 
It happeus sometimes that the canaille, that great 
despairing crowd, contrary to principles, eveu cou- 
trary to liberty, equality, and fraternity, eveu con- 
trary to the universal vote, the goverument of ail by 
ail, protests, in the depths of its agony, its discour- 
agement, its destitution, its fevers, its distresses, its 
miasmas, its ignorance, and its darkness, and the 
populace ofFers battle to the people. The beggars 
attack the common right, the ochlocracy rises in 


insurrection against thc démos. Those are mournful 
days ; for tliere is always a certain ainouut of right 
even in this mania, there is suicide in this duel, and 
thèse words, intended to be insults, such as beggars, 
canaille, ochlocracy, and populace, prove, alas ! rather 
the fault of those who reign than the fanlt of those 
who suffer ; rather the fault of the privileged than 
the fault of the disinherited. For our part, we 
never pronounce thèse words without grief and re- 
spect, for when philosophy probes the facts with 
which they correspond it often finds much grandeur 
by the side of misery. Athens was an ochlocracy ; 
the beggars produced Holland ; the populace more 
than once saved Rome ; and the canaille followed 
the Saviour. There is no thinker who has not at 
times contemplated the magnificence below. Saint 
Jérôme doubtless thought of this canaille, of ail 
thèse poor people, ail thèse vagabonds, and ail the 
wretches whence the apostles and martyrs issued, 
when he uttered the mysterious words, — " Fex 
urbis, lux orbis." 

The exaspérations of this mob, which sufFers and 
which bleeds, its unwilling violence against the prin- 
ciples which are its life, its assaults upon the right, 
are popular coups d'état, and nuist be repressed. 
Thc just man dévotes himself, and through love for 
this very mob, combats it. But how excusable he 
finds it while resisting it ; how he vénérâtes it, even 
while opposing it ! It is one of those rare moments 
in which a man while doing his duty feels something 
that disconcerts him, and almost dissuades him from 
going further ; he persists, and nmst do so, but the 


satisfied conscience is sad, and the accomplishment 
of the duty is complicated by a contraction of the 
heart. June, 1848, was, lot us hasten to say, a 
separate fact, and ahnost impossible to classify in 
the philosophy of histoiy. AU the words we hâve 
uttered must be laid aside when we hâve to deal 
with tins extraordinary riot, in which the holy anxiety 
of labor claiming its right was felt. It must be com- 
bated, and it was a duty to do so, for it attackcd the 
Republic ; but, in reality, what was June, 1848 ? 
A revolt of the people against itself. When the 
subject is not left ont of sight there is no digression, 
and hence we may be permitted to concentrate the 
reader's attention momentarily upon the two abso- 
lutely ur iquo barricades to which we hâve alluded, 
and which charactcrized this insurrection. The one 
blocked up the entrance to the Faubourg St. Antoine, 
the other defended the approachcs to the Faubourg 
du Temple ; those bcfore whoni thèse two frightful 
masterpieces of civil war were raised in the dazzling 
June sun will never forget thera. 

The St. Antoine barricade was monstrous ; it was 
three stories high and seven hundred feet in width. 
It barred from one corner to the other the vast 
mouth of the faubourg, that is to say, three streets ; 
ravined, slashed, serrated, surmounted by an immense 
jagged line, supported by masses which were them- 
selves bastions, pushing ont capes hère and there, 
and powerfully reinforced by the two great promon- 
tories of the houses of the faubourg, it rose like 
a Cyclopean wall at the back of the formidable 
square which had seen July 14. There were nine- 


teen barricades erected in the streets behind the 
mother barricade ; but, on seeing it, you felt in the 
faubourg the immense agonizing sufFering which had 
reached that extrême stage in wliich misery desires 
to come to a catastrophe. Of what vvas this barri- 
cade made ? Of the tumbling in of three six-storied 
houses demolished on purpose, say some ; of the 
prodigy of ail the passions, say others. It possessed 
the lamentable aspect of ail the buildings of hatred, 
ruin. You might ask who built this, and you 
might also ask who destroyed this. It was the 
improvisation of the ebullition. Hère with that door, 
that grating, that awning, that chimney, that broken 
stove, that cracked stewpan ! Give us anything ! 
Throw éverything in ! Push, roll, pick, d'smantle, 
overthrow, and pull down éverything ! It was a 
collaboration of the pavement-stones, beams, iron 
bars, planks, broken Windows, unseated chairs, cab- 
bage-stalks, rags, tatters, and curses. It was great 
and it was little ; it was the abyss parodied on the 
square by tlie hurly-burly. It was the mass side by 
side with the atom, a pulled-down wall and a broken 
pipkin, a mcnacing fraternization of ail fragments, 
into which Sisyphus had cast his rock and Job his 
potsherds. Altogether it was terrible, — it was the 
acropolis of the barefootcd. Overturned carts studded 
the slope ; an immense wagon sprcad out across it, 
with its wheels to the sky, and looked like a scar 
on this tumultuous façade ; an omnibus gayly hoisted 
by strength of arm to the very top of the pile, as 
if the architects of this savage édifice had wished 
to add mockery to the horror, offered its bare pôle 


to the horses of the air. Tins gigantic mound, the 
alluvium of the riot, represented to the mind an 
Ossa upon Pelion of ail révolutions, — '93 upon '89, 
the 9th Thermidor upon the lOth August, the 18th 
Brumaire upon January 21 st, Vendémiaire upon 
Prairial, 1848 upon 1830. The place was worth 
the trouble, and this barricade was worthy of appear- 
ing upon the very spot whence the Bastille had dis- 
appeared. If the océan made dykes it would build 
them in this way, and the fury of the tide was 
stamped on this shapeless encumbrance. What tide ? 
The multitude. You fancied that you saw a petrified 
riot, and heard the enormous dark bées of violent 
progress humming about this barricade as if they 
had their hive there. Was it a thicket ? Was it a 
Bacchanalian feast ? Was it a fortress ? Vcrtigo 
seemed to hâve built it with the flapping of its 
wings. There was a sewer in this redoubt, and 
something Olympian in this mass. You saw there 
in a confused heap, full of desperation, gables of 
roofs, pièces of garrets with their painted paper, 
window-frames with ail their panes planted in the 
rubbish and awaiting the cannon, pulled-down mantel- 
pieces, chests of drawers, tables, benches, a howling 
topsy-turvy, and those thousand wretched things cast 
away even by a beggar which contain at once fury 
and uothingness. It may be said that it was the 
rags of a people, rags of wood, of iron, of bronze, 
of stone ; that the Faubourg St. Antoine had swept 
them to their door with a gigantic broom, and made 
a barricade of their misery. Logs resembling exe- 
cutiouers' blocks, disjointed chains, anvil-frames of 


the shape of gallows, horizontal wheels emerging 
from the heap, produced on this édifice of anarchy 
the représentation of the okl punislnnent suflered 
by the people. The St. Antoine barricade made a 
wéapon of everything. Ail that civil war can throw 
at the head of society came from it ; it was uot a 
fight but a paroxysm : the muskets which defended 
this redoubt, among which were several blmider- 
busses, discharged stones, bones, coat-buttons, and 
even the casters of niglit-commodes, very dangerous 
owing to the copper. This barricade was furious ; 
it hurled an indescribable clamor into the clouds ; 
at certain moments when challenging the army it 
was covered witli a.crowd and a tempest ; it had a 
prickly crest of guns, sabres, sticks, axes, pikes, and 
bayonets ; a mighty red flag fluttered upon it in the 
breeze, and the cries of command, the songs of attack, 
the rolling of the drum, the sobs of women, and the 
sardonic laughter of men dying of starvation could 
be heard there. It was immeasurable and living, 
and a flash of lightning issued from it as from the 
back of an electric animal. The spirit of révolution 
covered with its cloud this suramit, where that voice 
of the people which resembles the voice of God was 
growling, and a strange majesty was disengaged from 
tliis Titanic mass of stones. It was a dungheap, and 
it was Sinai. 

As we said above, it attacked in the name of the 
révolution — what? The révolution. It, this barri- 
cade, an accident, a disorder, a misunderstanding, an 
unknown thing, had, facing it, the constituent assem- 
bly, the sovereignty of the people, universal suffrage. 


tlie nation, the republic : and it was the Carmagnole 
defying the Marseillaise. A mad défiance, but heroic, 
for tins old faubourg is a hero. The faubourg and 
its redoubt supported eacli other ; the faubourg rested 
on the redoubt, and the redoubt backed against the 
faubourg. The vast barricade was like a cliff against 
which the strategy of the African gênerais was 
broken. Its caverns, its excrescences, its warts, its 
humps, made grimaces, if we niaj employ the ex- 
pression, and grinned behind the smoke. The grape- 
shot vanished in the shapeless heap ; shells buried 
themselves in it and were swallowed up ; cannon- 
balls only succeeded in forming holes, for of what 
use is it bonibarding chaos ? And the régiments, ac- 
customed to the sternest visions of war, gazed witli 
anxious eye at this species of wild-beast redoubt, 
which was a boar through its bristling and a moun- 
tain through its enormity. 

A quarter of a league farther on, at the corner 
of the Rue du Temple, which débouches on the 
boulevard near the Château d'Eau, if y ou boldly ad- 
vanced your head beyond the point formed by the 
projection of the magazine Dallemagne, y ou could 
see in the distance across the canal, and at the high- 
est point of the ascent to Belleville, a strange wall 
rising to the second floor and forming a sort of Con- 
necting link between the houses on the right and 
those on the left, as if the street had folded back its 
highest wall in order to close itself up. This was 
built of paving-stones ; it was tall, straight, correct, 
cold, perpeudicular, and levelled with the plumb-line 
and the square ; of course there was no cément, but, 


as in some Roman walls, this in no way disturbed its 
rigid architecture. From its height, its thickness 
couîd be guessed, for the entablature was mathemati- 
cally parallel to the basement. At regidar distances 
almost invisible loopholes, resembling black threads, 
could be distinguished in the gray wall, separated 
from each other by equal intervais. This street was 
deserted throaghout its length, and ail the Windows 
and doors were closed. In the background rose this 
bar, which converted the street into a blind alley ; it 
was a motionless and tranquil wall ; no one was seen, 
nothing was heard, not a cry, nor a sound, nor a 
breath. It was a sepulchre. The dazzling June sun 
innndated this terrible thing with light, — it was the 
barricade of the Faubourg du Temple. So soon as 
you reached the ground and perceived it, it was im- 
possible even for the boldest not to become pensive 
in the présence of this mysterious apparition. It 
was adjusted, clamped, imbricated, rectilinear, sym- 
mctrical, and funereal ; science and darkness were 
there. You felt that the chief of this barricade was 
a geometrician or a spectre, and as you gazed you 
spoke in a whisper. From time to time if any one — 
private, officer, or représentative of the people — ven- 
tured to cross the solitary road, a shrill faint whist- 
ling was heard, and the passer-by fell wounded or 
dead ; or, if he escaped, a bullet could be seen to 
bury itself in some shuttcr, or the stucco of the wall. 
Sometimes it was a grape-shot, for the man of the 
barricade liad made ont of gas-pipes, stoppcd up 
at one end with tow and clay, two small cannon.. 
There was no useleas expenditure of gunpowder, smà 


nearly every shot told. There were a few corpses 
hère and there, and patches of blood ou the pave- 
ment. I reniember a white butterfly that fluttered 
up and down the street ; summer does not abdieate. 
Ail the gateways in the vicinity were crowded with 
corpses, and you felt in tliis street that you were 
covered by some one you could not see, and that 
the whole street w^as under tlie marksman's aim. 

The soldiers of the attaeking colunni, massed be- 
hind the species of ridge which the canal bridge 
forms at the entrance of the Faubourg du Temple, 
watched gravely and thoughtfully tliis mournful re- 
doubt, this immobility, tliis impassiveness, from which 
death issued. Some crawled on tlieir stomachs to 
the top of the pitch of the bridge, while careful not 
to let their shakos pass beyond it. Brave Colonel 
Monteynard admired this barricade with a tremor. 
*' How it is built," he said to a représentative ; " not 
a single paving-stone projects beyond the other. It 
is raade of porcelain." At this moment a bullet 
smashcd the cross on his chest and he fell. " The 
cowards ! " the troops shouted, " Why do they not 
show themselves ? They dare not ! They hide ! " 
The barricade of the Faubourg du Temple, defended 
by eighty men and attacked by ten thousand, held 
out for three days, and on the fourth day the troops 
ftcted as they had doue at Zaatcha and Constantine, 
--they broke through houses, passed along roofs, 
and the barricade was takeu. Not one of the eighty 
cowards dreamed of flying ; ail were killed with the 
exception of Barthélémy, the chief, to whom we shall 
allude directly. The barricade of St. Antoine was 


the tumult of the thunder ; tlie barricade of the 
Temple was the silence. ïhere was between the 
two barricades the saine différence as exists between 
the formidable and the sinister. The one seemed a 
throat, the other a mask. Adniitting that the gigan- 
tic and dark insurrection of June was composed of 
a fury and an enigma, the dragon was seen in the 
first barricade and the sphinx behind the second. 

Thèse two fortresses were built hj two men, 
Cournet and Barthélémy : Cournct made the St. 
Antoine barricade, Barthélémy the Temple barricade, 
and each of them was the image of the man who 
built it. Cournet was a man of tall stature ; he had 
wide shoulders, a red face, a smashing fist, a brave 
heart, a loyal soûl, a sincère and terrible eye. He 
was intrepid, energetic, irascible, and stormy ; the 
most cordial of men, and the most formidable of 
combatants. War, contest, medley were the air he 
breathed, and put him in good temper. He had 
been an officer in the navy, and from his gestures 
and his voice it could be divined that he issued from 
the océan and came from the tempest ; he contin- 
ued the hurricane in battle. Omitting the genius, 
there was in Cournet something of Danton, as, 
omitting the divinity, there was in Danton something 
of Hercules. Barthélémy, thin, weak, pale, and 
taciturn, was a species of tragical gamin, who, having 
been struck by a policeman, watched for him, waited 
for him, and killed him, and at the âge of seventeen 
was sent to the galleys. He came out and built this 
barricade. At a later date, when both were exiles 
in London, Barthélémy killed Cournet : it was a 


melancholy duel. Some time after that, Barthélémy^ 
caught iu tbe cog-wheels of oiie of those niysterious 
aclventures in whieli passion is mingled, catastrophes 
in which French justice sees extenuating circura- 
stances and English justice only sees death, was 
hanged. The gloomy social édifice is so built that, 
owing to maternai denudation and moral darkness, 
this wretched being, who had had an intellect, cer- 
tainly firm and possibly great, began with the galleys 
in France and ended with the gibbet in England. 
Barthélémy only hoisted one flag, — it was the black 



SiXTEEN years count in the subterranean éduca- 
tion of revolt, and June, 1848, knew a great deal 
more than June, 1832. Hence the barricade in the 
Rue de la Chanvrerie was onlj a sketch and an 
embryo when compared with the two colossal bar- 
ricades which we bave just described ; but for the 
period it was formidable. The insurgents, under the 
eye of Enjolras, — for Marins no longer looked at any- 
thing, — had turned the night to good account : tlie 
barricade had not only been repaired but increased. 
It had been raised two feet, and iron bars planted 
in the paving-stones rcsembled lances in rest. AU 
sorts of rubbish, added and brought from ail sides, 
complicated the external confusion, and the redoubt 
had been cleverly converted into a wall inside and a 
thicket outside. The staircase of paving-stones, which 
allowed the top of the barricade to be reached, wns 
rcstored, the ground-floor of the room of the inn was 
cleared ont, the kitchen converted into an infirmary, 
the wounds were dressed, the powder scattered aboiit 
the tables and floor was collected, bullcts were cast, 
cartridges manufactured, lint plucked, the fallen arms 
distributed ; the dead were carried off and laid in a 


heap in the Mondétour Lane, of which they were 
still masters. The paA^emeiit remained for a long 
time red at that s))ot. Amoiig the dcad were four 
suburban National Guards, and Enjolras ordered their 
uniforms to be laid on one side. Enjolras had ad- 
vised two hours' sleep, and his advice was an order ; 
still, only three or four took advantage of it, and 
Feuillj emplojed the two hours in engraving this 
inscription on the wall facing the wine-shop, — 


Thèse four words, carved in the stone with a nail, 
could still be read on this wall in 1848. The three 
woinen took advantage of the respite to disappear 
entirely, which allowed the insurgents to breathe 
more at their case ; and thej contrived to find refuge 
in some neighboring house. Most of the wounded 
could and would still fight. There were, on a pile 
of mattresses and trusses of straw laid in the kitchen 
converted into an infirniary, five men seriously 
wounded, of whom two were Municipal Guards ; the 
wounds of the latter were dressed first. No one re- 
mained in the ground-floor room save ISIabœuf under 
his black cere-cloth, and Javert fastened to the post. 

"This is the charnel-house," said Enjolras. 

In the interior of tins room, which was scarce 
lighted by a solitary candie, the mortuary table at 
the end being behind the post like a horizontal bar, a 
sort of large vague cross resulted from Javert stand- 
ing and Mabœuf lying down. Although the pôle of 
the omnibus was mutilated by the bullets, sufïicient 
remained for a flag to be attached to it. Enjolras, 


who possessed that qualitj of a cliief of always doing 
wliat lie said, fastened to it the bullet-pierced and 
blood-stained coat of the killed old man. No meal 
was possible, for there was neither bread nor méat. 
The fifty men during the sixteen hours they had 
stood at the barricade speedily exhausted the scanty 
provisions of the inn. At a given moment every bar- 
ricade that holds ont becomes the raft of the Méduse, 
and the combatants niust resign themselves to hun- 
ger. They had reached the early hours of that Spar- 
tan day, June 6, when at the barricade of St. JNIerry, 
Jeanne, surrounded by insurgents who cried for 
bread, answered, " What for ? It is three o'clock ; at 
four we shall be dead." As theycould no longer eat, 
Enjolras prohibited drinking ; he put the wine under 
an interdict, and served out the spirits. Sonie fifteen 
full bottles, hernietically sealed, were found in the 
cellar, which Enjolras and Combefcrre examined. 
Combeferre on coming up again said, " It belongs to 
Father Huchcloup's stock at the tinie when he was a 
grocer." " It raust be real wine," Bossuet observed ; 
" it is lucky that Grantaire is asleep, for if he were 
up, we should bave a difficulty in saving those bot- 
tles." Enjolras, in spite of the murmurs, put his veto 
on the fifteen bottles, and in order that no one might 
touch them, and that they should be to some extent 
sacred, he had placed them under the table on which 
Father Mabœuf lay. 

At about two in the morning they counted their 
strength ; there were still thirty-seven. Day was 
beginning to appear, and the torch, which had been 
returned to its stone lantern, was extinguished. The 


interior of the barricade, that species of small yard 
taken from tlie street, was batbed in darkness, and 
resembled, through the vague twiligbt horror, the 
deck of a dismasted ship. The combatants moved 
about like black forms. Above this frightful nest of 
gloom the floovs of the silent houses stood ont lividlv, 
and above them again the chimney-pots were assum- 
ing a roseate hue. Tlie sky had that charming tint 
which may be white and niay be blue, and the birds 
flew about in it with twitterings of joy. The tall 
house which formed the background of the barricade 
looked to the east, and had a pink reflection on its 
roof. At the third-floor window the morning breeze 
blew about the gray hair on the head of the dead man. 

" I am delighted that tlie torch is put out," Cour- 
feyrac said to Feuilly, " That flame flickering in the 
breeze annoyed me, for it seemed to be frightened. 
The light of torches resembles the wisdom of cow- 
ards ; it illumines badly because it trembles." 

The dawn arouses minds like birds, and ail were 
talking. Joly, seeing a cat stalking along a gutter, 
extracted this philosophy from the fact. 

" What is the cat? " he exclaimed. " It is a correc- 
tion. Le bon Dieu ha\dng niade a mouse, said to 
himself, ' Hilloh ! I hâve donc a foolish trick,' and he 
made the cat, whicb is the erratum of the mouse. 
The mouse plus the cat is the revised and corrected 
proof of création." 

Combeferre, surrounded by students and workmen, 
was talking of the dead, of Jean Prouvaire, of Baho- 
rel, of Mabœuf, and even of Cabuc, and the stern 
Borrow of Enjolras. He said, — 


"Harmodius and Aristogiton, Brutus, Chereas, 
Stephanus, Crorawell, Charlotte Corday, Sand, ail 
Lad ttieir moment of agony after the blow was struck. 
Our heart is so quivering, and Imman life such a 
mystery, that even in a ci vie murder, even in a liber- 
ating mm-der, if there be such a thing, the remorse at 
having struck a man exceeds the joy of having beue- 
fited the human race." 

And, such are the meanderings of interchanged 
words, a moment later, by a transition which came 
from Jean Prouvaire's verses, Combeferre was com- 
paring together the translators of the Georgics, Raux 
with Cournand, Cournand with Delille, and pointing 
out the few passages translated by ]\Ialfilâtre, espe- 
cially the wonders of the deatli of Csesar, and at that 
name the conversation reverted to Brutus. 

" Cœsar," said Combeferre, " fell justly. Cicero 
was severe to Csesar, and was in the right, for such 
severity is not a diatribe. When Zoïlus insults 
Homer, when JNIsevius insults Virgil, when Visé in- 
sults Molière, when Pope insults Shakspeare, when 
Fréron insults Voltaire, it is an old law of envy and 
hatred being carried out ; for genius attracts insuit, 
and great men are ail barked at more or less. But 
Zoïlus and Cicero are différent. Cicero is a justiciary 
with thought in the same way as Brutus is a justi- 
ciary with the sword. For my part, I blâme that last 
justice, the glaive ; antiquity allowed it. Caesar, the 
violator of the Rubicon, conferring, as if coming from 
him, dignities that came from the people, and not 
rising on the entrance of the senate, behaved, as 
Eutropius said, like a king, and almost like a tyrant, 


regiâ ac pcne tyrannica. He was a great maii ; ail 
the worse or ail tlie better, the lessoii is the more 
elevated. His three-and-twenty wounds affect me 
less thau the spitting on the brow of Christ. Ceesar 
is stabbed by the seiiators, Christ is bufFeted by sol- 
diers. God is felt in the greater outrage.' 

Bossuct, standing on a. pile of stones, and com- 
manding the speaker, exclaimed, gun in hand, — 

" Cydathenseum ! O ^Nlyrrhinus ! O Probalyn- 
thus ! O grâces of xEanthus ! Oh, who will inspire 
me to pronounce the verses of Homer like a Greek 
of Laureum or Edapteon ! " 

VOL. V. 



Enjolras had gone ont to reconnoitre, and had 
left by the Mondétour Lane, keeping in the shadow 
of the houscs. The insurgents, we must state, were 
full of hope : the way in which they had repulsed 
the uight attack almost made them disdain before- 
hand the attack at daybreak. They waited for it 
and smiled at it, and no more doubted of their suc- 
cess than of tlieir cause ; moreover, help was evi- 
dently going to reach them, and they reckoned on 
it. With that facility of triumphant prophccy which 
is a part of the strength of the French fighter, they 
divided into three certain phases the opening day, — 
at six in the morning a régiment, which had been 
worked upon, would turn ; at mid-day insurrection 
ail over Paris ; at sunset the révolution. The tocsin 
of St. Merry, which had not ceased once since the 
previoua evening, could be heard, and this was 
a proof that the other barricade, the great one, 
Jeanne's, still held out. AH thèse hopes were in- 
terchanged by the groups with a species of gay and 
formidable buzzing which resemble the war-hum of 
a swarm of bées. Enjolras reappeared returning 
from his gloomy walk in the external darkncss. He 


listened for a moment to ail this joy with his arms 
folded, and then said, frcsh and rosy in the growing 
light of dawn, — 

" The wliole army of Paris is ont, and one tliird of 
that army is preparing to attack the barrièade behind 
which you now are. There is, too, the National 
Guard. I distinguished the shakos of the fifth line 
régiment and the colors of the sixth légion. You 
will be attacked in an hour ; as for the people, they 
were in a state of ferment yesterday, but this moni- 
ing do not stir. There is nothing to wait for, noth- 
ing to hope ; no' more a faubourg than a régiment. 
You are abandoned." 

Thèse words fell on the buzzing groups, and pro- 
duced the same effect as the first drops of a storm 
do on a swarm. Ail remaincd dumb, and there was 
a moment of inexpressible silence, in which death 
might hâve been heard flying past. This moment 
was short, and a voice shouted to Enjolras from the 
thickest of the crowd, — 

" Be it so. Let us raise the barricade to a height 
of twenty feet, and ail fall upon it. Citizens, let us 
offer the protest of corpses, and show that if the 
people abandon the republicans, the republicans do 
not abandon the people." 

Thèse words disengaged the thoughts of ail from 
the painful cloud of individual anxieties, and an 
enthusiastic shout greeted them. The name of the 
man who spoke thus was never known ; he was 
some unknown blouse-wearer, an unknown man, 
a forgotten man, a passing hero, that great anony- 
mous always mixed up in humau crises and social 


Genèses, who at the given moment utters the déci- 
sive Word in a suprême fashion, and who fades away 
into darkness after having represented for a minute, 
in the light of a flash, the people and.God. This 
inexorable ^"esolution was so strongly in the air of 
June 6, 1832, that almost at the same hour the in- 
surgents of the St. Merry barricade uttered this cr}^ 
which became liistorical, — " Whether they corne to 
our help, or whether they do not, what matter ! 
Let us ail fall hère, to the last man ! " As we see, 
the two barricades, thougli materially isolated, com- 



After the man, whoever he iiiight be, who de- 
creed the " protest of corpses," had spoken, and 
given the formula of tlie common soûl, a strangely 
satisfied aud terrible cry issued from every mouth, 
funereal in its meaning and triumphal in its 

" Long live death ! Let us ail remain hère." 

" Why ail ? " Enjolras asked. 

" Ail, ail ! " 

Enjolras continued, — 

" The position is good and the barricade fine. 
Thirty men are sufficient, then why sacrifice forty ? " 

They replied, — 

" Because not one of us will go away." 

" Citizens," Enjolras cried, and there was in his 
voice an almost irritated \ibration, "the repubiic 
is not rich enough in men to make an unnecessary 
outlay. If it be the duty of sonie to go away, that 
duty must be performed like any other." 

Enjolras, the man-principle, had over his co-religion- 
ists that kind of omnipotence which is evolved from 
the absolute. Still, however great that omnipotence 
might be, they murmured. A chief to the tips of 


his fingers, Enjolras, on seeing that they murmured, 
insisted. He continued haughtily, — 

" Let those who are afraid to be only thirty 
say so." 
, The murmurs were redoubled. 

" Bcsides," a voice in the throng remarked, " it 
is easy to say, ' Go away/ but the barricade is 

'' Not on the side of the markets," said Enjoh'as. 
" The Rue Mondétour is free, and the Marché des 
Innocents can be reached by the Rue des Prêcheurs." 

" And then," another voice in the group remarked, 
" we should be caught by falling in with some grand 
rounds of the line or the National Guard. They will 
see a man passing in blouse and cap : ' Where do you 
corne from ? Don't you bclong to the barricade ? ' 
and they will look at your hands ; you smell of 
powder, and will be shot." 

Enjolras, without answering, touched Combeferre's 
shoulder, and both entered the ground-floor room. 
They came out again a moment after, Enjolras hold- 
ing in his outstretched hands the four uniforms which 
he had laid on one side, and Combeferre foUowed 
him carrying the cross-belts and shakos. 

*' In this uniform," Enjolras said, " it is easy to 
enter the ranks and escape. Hère are four at any^ 

And he threw the four uniforms on the unpaved 
ground ; but as no one moved in the stoical audience, 
Combeferre resolved to make an appeal. 

" Corne," he said, " you must show a little pity. 
Do you know what the question is hère ? It is 


about women. Look you, are tliere wives, — yes or 
no? Are there cliildren, — yes or no? Are thèse 
nothing, who rock a cradle with their foot, and liave 
a heap of children around tliem ? Let him among 
you wlio has never seen a nurse's breast hold up his 
hand. Ah ! you wish to be killed. I wish it too, 
I who am addressing you ; but I do not wish to feel 
the ghosts of women twining their arms around me. 
Die, — very good ; but do not cause people to die. 
Suicides like the one which is about to take place 
hère are sublime ; but suicide is restricted, and does 
not allow of extension, and so soon as it affects your 
relations, suicide is called murder. Think of the 
little fair heads, and think too of the white hair. 
Listen to me ! Enjolras tells me that just now he 
saw at the corner of the Rue du Cygne a candie 
at a poor window on the fifth floor, and on the panes 
the shaking shadow of an old woman who appeared 
to hâve spent the night in watchiug at the window ; 
she is perhaps the mother of one of you. Well, 
let that man go, and hasten to say to his mother, 
* Mother, hère I am ! ' Let him be easy in his mind, 
for the work will be donc hère ail the same. When 
a man supports his relatives by his toil, he has no 
longer any right to sacrifice himself, for that is de- 
serting his family. And then, too, those who hâve 
daughters, and those who hâve sisters ! Only think 
of them. You let yourselves be killed, you are dead, 
very good ; and to-morrow ? It is terrible when 
girls hâve no bread, for man begs, but woman sells. 
Oh, those charming, graceful, and gentle créatures 
with flowers in their caps, who fill the house with 


chastity, who sing, who prattle, who are like a living 
jxîrfunie, who pvove tlie existence of angels in lieaven 
by the purity of virgins on earth ; tliat Jeanne, tliat 
Lise, that Mimi, those adorable and honest créatures, 
who are your bles.sing and your pride, -^ ah, niy God ! 
they will starve. What would you hâve me say to 
you ? There is a human flesli-uiarket, and you will 
not prevcnt them entcring it with your shadowy 
hands trembling around them. Think of the strect ; 
think of the pavement covered with strollers ; think 
of the shops beforo which women in low-necked 
dresses come and go in the mud. Those women, 
too, were pure. Think of your sisters, you who 
hâve any ; misery, prostitution, the police. St. 
Lazare, that is what thèse délicate maidens, thèse 
fragile marvels of chastity, modesty, and beauty, 
fresher than the lilies in May, will fall to. Ah, you 
hâve let yourselves bc killcd ! Ah, you are no longer 
there! That is, — very good, — yoU hâve wished to 
withdraw the people from royalty, and you give your 
daughters to the police. My friends, take care and 
hâve compassion ; we are not wont to think nuich 
about women, hapless women ; we trust to the fact 
that women hâve not received the éducation of men. 
They are prevented reading, thinking, or occupying 
themselves with politics ; but will you prevent them 
going to-night to the Morgue and recognizing your 
corpses ? Come, those who hâve familles must be 
good fellows, and shake our hand and go away, 
leaving us to do the job hère ail alonc. I am well 
aware that courage is needed to go away, and that 
it is difficult ; but the more difficult the more mcri- 


torious it is. You say, ' I hâve a giin and am at 
tlie barricade ; ail the worse, I remaiu.' ' Ail the 
worse ' is easily said. IVIy friends, there is a morrow, 
and that morrow you wili not see ; but your familles 
will see it. And what sufFerings ! Stay ; do you 
know what becomes of a healthy child with cheeks 
like an apple, who ehatters, prattles, laughs, and 
smilcs as fresh as a kiss, when he is abandoned ? 
I saw one, quite little, about so high ; his father 
was dead, and poor people had taken him in through 
charity ; but tliey had not bread for themsclves. The 
child was always hungry ; it was winter-time, but 
though he was always hungry he did not cry. He 
was seen to go close to the stove, whose pipe was 
covcred with yellow earth. The boy detached with 
his fingers a pièce of this earth and ate it ; his 
breathing was hoarse, his face livid, his legs soft, 
and his stomach swollen. He said nothing, and 
when spoken to made no answer. He is dead, and 
was brought to die at the Xecker Hospital, where 
I saw him, for I was a student there. Xow, if there 
be any fathers among you, fathers who delight in 
taking a walk on Sunday, holding in their power- 
ful hand a child's small fingers, let each of thèse 
fathers fancy this lad his own. The poor brat I can 
remember perfectly ; I fancy I see him now, and 
when he lay on the dissecting table, his bones stood 
ont under his skin like the tombs under the grass 
of a cemetery. We found a sort of mud in his 
stomach, and he had ashes between his teeth. Come, 
let us examine our conscience and take the advice 
of our heart ; statistics prove that the mortality 


among deserted chiîdren is fifty-five per cent. I 
repeat, it is a question of wives, of motliers, of 
daughters, and babes. Am I saying anything about 
you ? I know very well what you are. I know tliat 
you are ail brave. I know that you bave ail in your 
hearts tbe joy and glory of laying down your lives 
for the great cause. I know very wcll that you feel 
yourselves cbosen to die usefully and magnificently, 
and that each of you clings to bis share of the 
triumph. Very good. But you are not alone in 
this world, and there are other beings of whom you 
must think ; you should not be selfish." 

Ail hung their heads with a gloomy air. Strange 
contradictions of the hunian heart in the sublimest 
moments ! Combeferre, who spoke thus, was not an 
orphan ; he remembered the mothers of others and 
forgot bis own ; he was going to let himself be killed, 
and was "selfish." Marins, fasting and feverish, who 
had successively given up ail hope, cast ashore on 
grief, the most mournful of shipwrecks, saturated 
with violent émotions, and feeling the end coming, 
had buried himself deeper and deeper in that vis- 
ionary stupor which ever précèdes the fatal and vol- 
untarily accepted hour. A physiologist might hâve 
studied in liim the growing syniptoms of that fébrile 
absorption which is known and classificd by science, 
and which is to suffering what voluptuousness is to 
pleasure, for despair also bas its ecstasy. Marius 
had attained that stage ; as we hâve said, things 
which occurrcd beforc him appcared to him remote, 
he distinguished the ensemble, but. did not pcrceive 
the détails. He saw people coming and going before 


him in a flash, and he heard voices speaking as if 
from tlie bottom of an abjss. Still this afFected 
him, for there was in this scène a point which 
pierced to him and aroused him. He had but 
one idea, to die, and he did not wish to avevt his 
attention from it ; but he thought in his gloomy 
somnambulism that in destroying himself he was 
not prohibited from saving somebody. He raised 
his voice, — 

"Enjoh-as and Combeferre are right," he said ; " let 
us hâve no useless sacrifice. I join them, and we 
must make haste. Combeferre has told you décisive 
things : there are men among you who hâve families, 
mothers, sisters, wives, and children. Such must 
leave the ranks." 

Not a soûl stirred. 

" Married men and supporters of families will 
leave the ranks," Marius repeated. 

His authority Avas great, for thougli Enjolras was 
really the chief of the barricade, Marius was its 

" I order it," Enjolras cried. 

" I implore it," JNlarius said. 

Then thèse heroic men, stirred up by Combeferre's 
speech, shaken by Enjolras's order, and moved by 
Marius's entreaty, began denouncing one another. 
" It is true," a young man said to a groA\Ti-up man, 
" you are a father of a family ; begone ! " " No ! 
you ought to do so rather," the man replied, " for 
you hâve tv/o sisters to support ; " and an extraor- 
dinary contest broke out, in which each struggled not 
to be thrust out of the tomb. 


" Make haste," said Combeferre ; " iii a quarter ol- 
an hour there will no longer be tinie." 

" Citizens," Enjolras addcd, " we hâve a republic 
hère, and universal suffrage reigns. Point out your- 
selves the men who are to leave us."' 

Thej obeyed, and at the end of a fcw minutes 
five were unanimously pointed out and left the 

" There are five of them ! " jNIarius exelaimed. 

There were only four uniforms. 

" Well, " the five replied, " one will hâve to remain 

And then came who should remain, and -who 
should find reasons for others not to remain. The 
generf)us quarrél began again. 

" You hâve a wife who loves you. — You hâve 
your old mother. — You hâve neither father nor 
mother ; what will bccome of your three little broth- 
ers ? — You are the father of five children. — You 
hâve a right to live, for you are only seventeen, and 
it is too early to die." 

Thèse great revolutionary barricades were meeting- 
places of heroisms. The improbable was simple 
there, and thèse men did not astonish one another. 

" Make haste," Courfeyrac repeated. 

Cries to Marins came from the groups. 

" You must point out the one who is to remain." 

"Yes," the five said; ''do you choose, and we 
will obey you." 

Marins did not believe himself capable of any émo- 
tion ; still, at this idca of choosing a man for death 
ail the blood flowed back to his heart, and he would 


have turned pale coukl lie liave growu paler. He 
walkcd iip to tlie fivc, who smiled ui^on him, and 
each, with liis eye full of that great flame whicli 
gleams through history ou Thermopylse, cried to 
him, — 

"I! I! I!" 

Aiid ]\Iarius stupidly coinited them. There were 
stiU five ! Theii his eyes settled on tlie four uniforms. 
AU at once a fifth uniform fell, as if froni lieaven, on 
the other four ; the fifth man was saved. Marias 
raised his eyes, and rccognized M. Fauclielevent. 

Jean Valjean had just entered the barricade ; 
either througli information lie had obtained, through 
instinct, or through accident, he arrived by the 
Mondétour Lane, and, thanks to his National Guard 
uniform, passed without difficulty. The vedette 
stationed by the insurgents in the Rue Mondétour 
had no cause to give the alarm-signal for a single 
National Guard, and had let him enter the street, 
saying to himself, " He is probably a reinforcemeiit, 
or at the worst a prisoner." The moment was too 
serious for a sentry to turn avvay from his duty or his 
post of observation. At the moment when Jean 
Valjean entered the redoubt, no one noticed him, 
for ail eyes were fixed on the five chosen men and 
the four uniforms. Jean Valjean, however, had seen 
and heard, and silently took off his coat and threw it 
on the pile formed by the other coats. The émotion 
was indëscribable. 

" Who is this man ? " Bossuet asked. 

" He is a man," Combeferre replied, " who saves 
his fellow-man." 


Marins added in a grave voice, — 

" I know liim." 

This bail was sufficient for ail, and Enjolras tnrned 
to Jean Valjean. 

" Citizen, y ou are welcome." 

And lie added, — 

" You are aware tliat you will die." 

Jean Valjean, without answering, helped the man 
he was saving to put on his uniform. 



The situation of the whole partj in this fatal hour, 
and at this inexorable spot, had as resuit and pin- 
nacle the suprême melancholy of Enjoiras. Enjolras 
had within him the plénitude of the révolution ; he 
was imperfcct, however, so far as the absolute can be 
so, — he had too much of St. Just and not enough 
of Anacharsis Clootz ; still his mind in the societj of 
the Friends of the A. B. C. had eventually received a 
certain magnetism of Combefcrre's ideas. For some 
time i^ast he had been gradually emerging from the 
narrow form of dogmatism and yielding to the expan- 
sion of progress, and in the end he had accepted, as 
the définitive and magiiificent évolution, the trans- 
formation of the great French republic into the im- 
mense human republic. As for the immédiate means, 
a violent situation being given, he was williiig to be 
violent ; in that he did not vary, and he still belonged 
to that epic and formidable school which is resumed 
in the words " '93." Enjolras was standing on the 
paving-stone steps, with one of his elbows on the 
muzzle of his gun. He was thinking ; he trembled, 
as men do when a blast passes, for spots where death 
lurks produce this tripod efFect. A sort of stifled fire 


issued from beneath lus cyelashes, which were fiill of 
tlie internai glance. Ail at once he raised liis head, 
his light liair fell back like that of tlie angel on the 
dark quadriga composed of stars, and he cried : — 
' "Citizens, do y ou represent the future to yourselves? 
The streets of towns inundated with light, green 
branches on the thresholds, nations sisters, men just, 
old men blessing children, the past loving the prés- 
ent, men thinking at perfect liberty, believers enjoy- 
ing perfect equality, for religion the heaven, God, 
the direct priest, the human conscience converted 
into an altar, no more hatrcd, the fraternity of the 
workshop and the school, notoriety the sole punish- 
ment and reward, work for ail, right for ail, peace 
for ail, no more bloodshed, no more wars, and happy 
mothers ! To subdue the matter is the first step, to 
realize the idéal is the second. Reflect on what pro- 
gress has already donc ; formerly the first human 
races saw with terror the hydra that breathed upon 
the waters, the dragon that vomited fire, the griffin 
which was the monster of the air, and which flew 
with the wings of an eagle and the claws of a tiger, 
pass before their eyes, — frightful beasts which were 
below man. ]\Ian, however, set his snares, the 
sacred snares of intellect, and ended by catching the 
monsters in them. We hâve subdued the hydra, and 
it is called the steamer ; we hâve tamed the dragon, 
and it is called the locomotive ; we are on the point 
of taming the griffin, we hold it already, and it is 
called the balloou. The day on which that Prome- 
thean task is terminated and man has definitively 
attached to his will the triple antique chimera, the 


dragon, the hydra, and the grifïin, lie will be master of 
water, fire, and air, and he will be to the rest of ani- 
mated création what the ancient gods were forraerly 
to hini. Courage, and forward! Citizens, whither 
are we going ? To science niade government, to the 
strengtli of things converted into the sole public 
strength, to tlie natural law having its sanction and 
penalty in itself and pronuilgating itself by évi- 
dence, and to a dawn of truth corresponding with 
the dawn of day. We are proceeding to a union 
of the peoples"; we are proceeding to a unity of 
man. No more fictions, no more parasites, The 
real governcd by the true is our object. Civilization 
will hold its assize on the suniniit of Europe, and 
eventually in the centre of the continent, in a great 
Parlianient of intellect. Sometliing like this has 
becii seen already ; the Amphictyons held two ses- 
sions a year, one at Delphi, the place of the gods, 
the other at Theraiopylse, the place of heroes. 
Europe will hâve her Amphictyons, the globe will 
hâve its Amphictyons, France bears the sublime 
future witliin her, and this is the gestation of 
the 19th century. What Greece ske tched ont is 
worthy of_ _being finished by Franc e. 'Hearken to 
me, Feuilly, val ià!nt~ worlïmàn, man of the people, 
man of the people. I venerate thee ; yes, thou seest 
clcarly future times ; yes, thou art right. Thou hast 
neither fathcr nor mother, Feuilly, and thou hast 
adopted humanity as thy mother and right as thy 
father. Thou art about to die hère, that is to say, 
to triumph. Citizens, whatever may happen to-day, 
we are about to make a révolution, by our defeat as 

VOL. V. 3 


well as by our victory. In the same way as fires 
light up a whole city, révolutions light up the whole 
human race. And what a révolution shall we make ? 
I hâve just told you, the révolution of the True. 
Froni the political point of view, there is but one 
principle, the sovereignty of man over himself. This 
sovereignty of me over me is called liberty, and 
where two or three of thèse liberties are associated 
the State bcgins. But in this association there is 
no abdication, and each sovereignty concèdes a cer- 
tain amount of itself to form the common right. This 
quality is the same for ail, and this identity of con- 
cession which each makes to ail is called Equality. 
The common right is nought but the protection of 
ail radiating over the right of each. This protection 
of ail over each is termed Fraternity. The point 
of intersection of ail aggregated societies is called 
Society, and this intersection being a junction. the 
point is a knot. Hence cornes what is called the 
social tie ; some say the social contract, which is 
the same thing, as the word contract is etymologi- 
cally fornied with the idea of a tie. Let us come 
to an understanding about equality ; for if liberty be 
the summit, equality is the base. Equality, citizens, 
is not ail végétation on a level, a society of tall 
blades of grass and small oaks, or a neighbor- 
hood of entangled jealousies ; it is, civilly, every 
aptitude having the same opening, politically, ail 
votes having the same weight, and religiously, ail 
consciences having the same right. Equality has an 
organ in gratuitous and compulsory éducation, and 
it should begin with the right to the alphabet. The 


prinmry school imposée! on ail, tlie secondary school 
offered to ail, such is the law, and from the identical 
school issues equal instruction. Yes, instruction ! 
Light, light ! Everything cornes from light and every- 
thing returns to it. Citizens, the 19th century is 
great, but the 20th century will be happy. Then 
there will be nothing left resembling ancient history, 
there will be no cause to fear, as at the présent day 
a conquest, an invasion, usurpation, an armed rivalry 
of nations, an interruption of civilization depending 
on a marriage of kings, a birth in hereditary tyran- 
nies, a division of peoplcs by Congress, a dismember- 
ment by the collapse of dynasties, a combat of two 
religions, clashing, like two goats of the darkness, on 
the bridge of infinity ; there will be no cause longer 
to fear famine, exhaustion, prostitution through des- 
tiny, misery through stoppage of work, and the 
scaffold, and the sword, and battles, and ail the brig- 
andage of accident in the forest of events ; we 
niight almost say there will be no more events, we 
shall be happy ; the human race will accomplish its 
law as the terrestrial globe does its law ; harmony 
will be restored bctween the soûl and the planet, 
and the soûl will gravitate round the truth as the 
planet does round light. Friends, the hour we are 
now standing in is a gloomy hour, but there are such 
terrible purchases of the future. Oh, the human 
race will be delivered, relieved, and consoled ! We 
affirm it on this barricade, and where should the cry 
of love be raised if not on the sumniit of the sacri- 
fice ? Oh, my brothers, this is the point of junctiou 
between those who think and those who sufFer. This 


barricade is not made of paving-stones, beams, and 
iron bars ; it is made of two masses, — a mass of 
ideas and a mass of sorrows. Misery meets then the 
idéal ; day embraces the night there, and says to it, 
' I am about to die with thee, and thou wilt be born 
a'^ain with me.' Faitli springs from the embrace 
of ail the désolations ; sufferings bring hither their 
agony, and ideas their immortality. This agony and 
this immortality are about to be mingled and com- 
pose one death. Brothers, the man who dies hère 
dics in the radiance of the future, and we shall enter 
a tomb ail filled with dawn." 

Enjolras interrupted himself rather than was si- 
lent ; his lips moved silently as if he were talking to 
himself, which attracted attention, and in order still 
to try to hear him théy held their tongues. There 
was no applause, but they whispered together for a 
long time. Language beiiig brcath, the rustling of 
intellects resembles the rustling of leaves. 



Let us describe wliat was going on in jNlarius's 
thoughts. Our readers will remember his state of 
niind, for, as we just now said, everything was only 
a \âsion to him. His appréciation was troubled, for 
he was (we urge the fact) beneath the shadow of 
the great gloomy wings opened above the dying. 
He felt that he had entered the tomb, he fancied 
that he was already on the other side of the wall, 
and he only saw the faces of the living with the eyes 
of a dead nian. How was M. Fauchelevent présent ? 
Why was he hère, and what did lie corne to do ? Ma- 
rins did not ask himself ail thèse questions. More- 
over, as our despair has the peculiar thing about it 
that it envelops others as it does ourselves, it ap- 
peared to him logical that everybody should die. 
Still he thought of Cosette with a contraction of the 
heart. However, M. Fauchelevent did not speak to 
him, did not look at him, and did not even seem 
to hear ]\Iarius when he raised his voice, saying, 
" I know him." As for ISIarius, this attitude of 
M. Fauchelevent relieved him, and if such a word 
were permissible for such impressions, we might say 
that it pleased him. He had ever felt au absolute 


impossibility in addrcssing this ciiigmatical nian, wlio 
was at once equivocal and iinposing to him. It was 
a very long time too since he had seen him ; and 
this augumented the impossibility for a timid and 
reserved nature like Marius's. 

The five men selected left the barricade by the Mon- 
détour Lane, perfectly resembling National Guards. 
One of them wept as he went away, and before doing 
so they embraced those who remained. When the 
five men sent back to life had left, Enjolras thought 
of the one condemned to death. He went to the 
ground-floor room, where Javert, tied to the post, 
was reflecting. 

" Do you want anything ? " Enjolras asked him. 

Javert answered, — 

" When will you kill me ? " 

" Wait. We require ail our cartridges at this 

" In that case, give me some drink," Javert said. 

Enjolras himself held ont to him a glass of water, 
and, as Javert was bound, helped him to drink. 

" Is that ail ? " Enjolras resumed. 

" I feel uncomfor table at this post," Javert replied ; 
" you did not act kindly in leaving me fastened to it 
the whole night. Bind me as you please, but you 
might surely lay me on a table, like the other man." 

And with a nod of the head he pointed to M. 
Mabœuf 's corpse. It will be remembered that there 
was at the end of the room a long, wide table on 
which bullets had been run and cartridges made. 
AU the cartridges being made, and ail the powder 
expended, this table was free. By Enjolras's order, 


four insurgents unfostened Javert from the post, and 
wliile they did so a fiftli lield a bayonet to liis chest. 
His hands remained fastened behind his back, a tliin 
strong cord was attached to his feet, which enabled 
him to step fifteen inches, like tliose wlio are going 
to asceud tbe scafFold, and he was forced to walk to 
the table at the end of the room, on which they hiid 
him, securely fastened round the waist. For greater 
security, a System of knotting was employed by means 
of a cord fastened to the neck, which rendered any 
escape impossible ; it was the sort of fastening called 
in prisons a martingale, which starts from the nape 
of the neck, is crossed on the stomach, and is turned 
round the hands after passing between the legs. 
While Javert was being bound, a man standing in 
the doorway regarded him with singular attention, 
and the shadow this man cast caused Javert to turn 
his head. He raised his eyes and recognized Jean 
Valjean, but lie did not even start ; he merely looked 
down haughtily, and restricted himself to saying, 
" It is ail plain." 



Day grew rapidlj, but not a wiiidow opened, not 
a door was ajar ; it was the dawn, not an awaking. 
The end of tlie Rue de la Chanvrerie opposed to the 
barricade had been evacuated by the troops, as we 
stated ; it appeared to be free and open for passers- 
by with sinister tranquillity. The Rue St. Denis was 
dunib as the Avenue of the Sphinxes at Thebes ; 
there was not a living being on tlie square, which a 
sunbeam whitened. Nothing is so mehincholy as this 
brightness of descrted streets ; nothing could be seen, 
but something could be heard, and there was a mys- 
terious movement at a certain distance ofF. It was 
évident that the critical moment was arriving, and, as 
on the previous evcning, the vedettes fell back, but 
this time ail of them did so. The barricade was 
strongcr than at the prior attack, for since the depar- 
ture of the five it had been heightened. By the ad- 
vice of the vedette who had been watching the région 
of the Halles, Enjolras, through fcar of a surprise in 
the rear, formed a serions resolution. Pie barricaded 
the small passage of the Mondétour Lane, which had 
hithcrto rcmaincd frcc, and for this purpose a further 
portion of the street was unpaved. lu this way the 


barricade, walled in on three sides, — in front by the 
Rue de la Chanvrerie, on the left by the Rue du 
Cygne, and on the right by the Rue Mondétour, — 
was truly ahnost impregnuble, but it is true that tliey 
were fatally enclosed within it. It had three fronts 
but no issue, it was a fortress but a mouse-trap, as 
Courfeyrac said with a smilc. Enjoh-as had sonie 
tliirty paviug-stoncs pilcd up by the door of the 
inn. " They dug up more than enough," said 
Bossuet. The silence was now so profound in the 
direction whence the attack must corne, that Enjolras 
ordered ail his nien to return to tlieir fighting-posts, 
and a ration of brandy was distributed to each 

Nothing is more curions than a barricade prepar- 
ing for an assault ; overy man chooses his place, as at 
the théâtre. They crowd, elbow, and shoulder one 
another, and some make stalls of paving-stones. 
Hcre an angle of the wall is in the way, and it is 
avoided ; there is a redan which may offer protection, 
and they seek shelter in it. Left-handed men are 
precious, for they take places inconvénient for others. 
Many arrange so as to fight seated, for they wish to 
be at their ease to kill, and comfortable in dying. 
In the fatal war of June, 1848, an insurgent, who 
was a wonderful marksman, and who fought from a 
terraced roof, had a Voltaire easy-chair carried there, 
and was knocked over in it by a volley of grape-shot. 
So soon as the chief has given the signal for action 
ail disorderly movements cease ; there is no longer 
any sharp-shooting, any conversations or asidcs : ail 
that minds contaiu converges, and is changed into 


the expectation of tlie assailant. A barricade before 
danger is a chaos, in danger discipline, for péril pro- 
duces order. So soon as Enjolras bad taken bis 
double-barrelled gun, and placed himself at a species 
of parapet wbich be reserved for bimself, ail were 
siîent ; a quick, sbarp crackling ran confusedly along 
the wall of paving-stones ; it was the niuskets being 
cocked. However, the attitudes were baughtier and 
more confident than cver, for an excess of sacrifice is 
a consolidation, and though they no longer bad hope, 
they bad despair, — despair, that last weapon, wbich 
at times gives victory, as Virgil tells us. Suprême 
resources issue from extrême resolutions. To embark 
on death is at times the means of escaping the ship- 
wreck, and the cover of the coffin becomes a plank 
of salvation. As on the previous evening, ail their 
attention was turned upon the end of the street, 
wliicb was now lighted up and visible. They bad 
not long to wait ère the movement began again, dis- 
tinctly in the direction of St. Leu, but it did not re- 
semble the Sound of the first attack. A rattling of 
chains, the alarming rolling of a heavy weight, a clang 
of bronze leaping on the pavement, and a species of 
solemn noise, announced that a sinister engine was 
approaching ; there was a trenior in the entrails of 
thèse old peaceful streets, pierced and built for the 
fruitful circulation of interests and ideas, and wbich 
are not made for the monstrous rolling of the wheels 
of war. The fixity of the eyes turned toward the end 
of the street became stern, as a cannon appcared. 
The gunners pushed the gun on ; the limber was de- 
tached, and two men supported the carriage, wliile 


four were at the wheels; others followed with the 
tunibril, and the liglited match could be seeii smoking. 

" Fire ! " shouted Enjoh-as. . 

The whole barricade burst into a flame, and the 
détonation was friglitful ; an avahmclie of smoke 
covered and concealed the gun and the men. A few 
seconds after the cloud was dispersed, and the gun 
and the men reappeared ; the gunners were bringing 
it up to the front of the barricade, slowlj, correctly, 
and without hurry ; not one had been wounded. 
Then the captain of the gun, hanging with his Avhole 
weight on the breech to elevate the muzzle, began 
pointing the gun M'ith the gra%âty of an astronomer 
setting a télescope. 

" Bravo for the artillery ! " cried Bossuet. 

And ail the men at the barricade clapped their 
hands. A moment after the gun, standing in the 
very centre of the street across the gutter, was in 
position, and a formidable mouth yawned at the 

" Corne, we are going to be gay," said Courfeyrac. 
" Hère is the brutality ; after the fillip the blow with 
the fist. The army is extending its heavy paw to- 
ward us, and the barricade is going to be ^eriously 
sliaken. The musketry-fire feels, and the cannon 

" It is an erght-pounder of the new pattern in 
bronze," Combeferre added. " Those guns, if the 
proportion of ten parts of tin to one hundred of 
copper is exceeded, are liable to burst, for the excess 
of tin renders them too soft. It thus happens that 
they hâve holes and ca\aties in the vent, and in order 


to obviate tliis danger and be able to îoad, ît would 
perhaps be advisable to revert te. the process of the 
14th century, circling and reinforcing the giin witli 
a séries of steel rings, without any welding from 
the breech to the trunnions. In the mean while 
they rcmedy the defect as well as they can, and they 
nmnage to discover where the iioles are in the vent 
of the gun by means of a scarcher; but there is a 
better method in Gribeaiivals raovable star." 

" In the 16th century," Bossuet observed, " guns 
were rifled." 

" Yes," Conibeferre replied ; " that augments the 
ballistic force, but lessens the correctness of aini. 
At short distances the trajectory has not ail the dé- 
sirable rigidness, the parabola is exaggerated, the 
path of tlie pi'ojectile is not sufficiently rectilinear 
for it to hit intermediate objects, though that is a 
condition of fighting whose importance grows with 
the proximity of the eneniy and the précipitation 
of the firing. Tins defective tension of the curve of 
the projectile in rifled cannon of the 16th century 
emanated from the weakness of the charge ; wcak 
charges for such engines are imposed by the ballistic 
necessities, such, for instance, as the préservation of 
the carriage. After ail, the cannon, that despot, 
cannot do ail that it wishes, and strength is a great 
weakness. A cannon-ball goes only six hundred 
leagues an hour, while light covers seventy thousand 
leagues per second. This is the superiority of Jésus 
Christ over Napoléon." 

" Reload your guns," said Enjoiras. 
I In what manner would the revetment of the bar- 


ricacle behavc against a cannon-ball ? Would a breach 
be fonned ? Tliat was the tjucstion. While the iu- 
surgents were reloading their gmis the artillerymen 
loaded the cannoii. The anxiety within the redoubt 
was profound ; the shot was fired, and the détona- 
tion burst forth. 

" Présent ! " a jojous voice cried. 

And at the sanie time as the cannon-ball struck 
the barricade, Gavroche bounded inside it. He 
came from the direction of the Rue du Cygne, 
and actively clambered over the accessory barricade 
which fronted the labyrinth of the Little Truanderie. 
Gavroche produced greater effect at the barricade 
than the cannon-ball did ; for the latter was lost in 
the heap of rubbish. It had broken a wheel of the 
omnibus, and finished the old truck, on seeing which 
the insurgents burst into a laugh. 

" Persévère ! " cried Bossuet to the gunners. 



Gavroche was surrouiided, but he had no time 
to report aiiything, as JMarius, shuddering, drew hini 
on one side. 

"■ What hâve you come to do hère ? " 

" What a question ? " the boy said ; " and you, 
pray ? " 

And he gazed fixedly at Marius with his epic 
effrontery : his eyes were dilated by the proud bright- 
ness which they contained. It was with a stcrn 
accent that jNIarius continued, — 

" Who told you to return ? I only trust that you 
hâve delivered niy letter at its address." 

Gavroche felt soine degree of reniorse in the matter 
of the letter ; for, in his hurry to return to the barri- 
cade, he had got rid of it rath^r than delivered it. 
He was forced to confess to himself that he had con- 
fided somewhat too lightly in this stranger, whose 
face he had not even been ablc to distinguish. It is 
true that this man was bareheaded, but that was not 
enough. In short, he reproached himself quietly for 
his conduct, and feared IMarius's reproaches. He 
took the siinplest process to get out of the scrape, 
— he told an abominable falsehood. 


" Citizen, I delivered the letter to the porter. The 
lady was aslcep, and she will liavc the letter wheu 
she wakes." 

INIarius h ad two objects in sending the letter, — 
to bid Cosette farewell and save Gavroche. He was 
obliged to satisfy himself with one half of what he 
wanted. The connection betwecn the sending of 
the letter and M. Fauchelevent's présence at the 
barricade occurred to his miud, and he pointed him 
eut to Gavroche. 

" Do you know that man ? " 

" No," said Gavroche. 

Gavroche, in truth, as we know, had only seen 
Jean Valjean by night. The troubled and sickly 
conjectures formed in jNIarius's mind were dissipated. 
Did he know M. Fauchelevent's opinions ? Ferhaps 
he was a republican ; hence his présence in the 
action would be perfectly simple. In the mean while 
Gavroche had run to the other end of the barricade, 
crying, " My gun ! " and Courfeyrac ordered it to be 
given to him. Gavroche warned " his comrades," as 
he called them, that the barricade was invested, and 
he had found gréât difBculty in reaching it. A bat- 
talion of the line, with their arms piled in the Little 
Truanderie, Avas observing on the side of the Rue du 
Petit Cygne ; on the opposite side the Municipal 
Guard occupicd the Rue des Prêcheurs ; while in front 
of them they had the main body of the army. This 
information given, GaATOche added, — 

" I authorize you to give them a famous pill." 

Enjolras was in the mean while watching at his 
loop-hole with open ears ; for the assailauts, doubt- 


lesslittle satisfied witli tlie gun-shot, liad not repeated 
it. A Company of linc inûmtiy liad come up to 
occiipy the extremity of tlie strcet behind the gun. 
The soldiers uiipaved tlie street, and erected with the 
stones a sniall low wall, a species of epaulement, only 
eighteen iiichcs high, and facing the barricade. At 
the left-liand angle of this work could be seen the 
liead of a suburban column, massed in the Rue St. 
Denis. Enjolras, from his post, fancied he could 
hear the peculiar sound produced by canister when 
taken out of its box, and he saw the captain of the 
gun change his aim and turn the gun's muzzle slightly 
to the left. Then the gunncrs began loading, and 
the captain of the gun himself took the port-fire and 
walked up to the vent. 

" Fall on your knees ail along the barricade," 
Enjolras shouted. 

The insurgent», scattered in front of the wine-shop, 
and who had left their posts on Gavroches arrivai, 
rushed pell-mell toward the barricade ; but ère En- 
jolras's ordcr was executcd, the discharge took place 
with the frightful rattle of a round of grapc-shot ; it 
was one, in fact. The shot was ainicd at the open- 
ing in the redoubt, and ricochetted against the wall, 
killing two men and wounding three. If this con- 
tinued, the barricade would be no longer tenable, for 
the grape-shot entered it. There was a murmur of 

"Let us stop a second round," Enjolras said: and 
levelling his carbinc lie aimed at the captain of the 
gun, who was leaning ovcr the breech and rectifying 
the aim. He was a handsome young sergeant of 


artillery, fair, gentle-faced, and having tlie intelligent 
look peculiar to that predestined and formidable arm 
which, owing to its constant iiiiprovement, must end 
by killing war. Combcferre, wlio was standing bj 
Enjolras's side, gazed at this young man. 

" What a pity ! " said Conibeferre. " What a hid- 
eous thing such butchery is ! Well, when tliere are no 
kings left tliere will be no war. Enjolras, you aini at 
that sergeant, but do not notice him. Just reflect 
that he is a handsonie young man ; he is intrepid. 
You can see that he is a thinker, and thèse young 
artillerymen are well educated ; lie lias a father, 
mother, and faniily ; he is probably in love ; he is but 
twenty-five years of âge at the most, and uiight be 
your brother." 

" He is so," said Enjolras. 

" Yes," Conibeferre added, " and mine too. Do 
not kill him." 

" Let me alone. It must be." 

And a tear slowly coursed down Enjolras's marble 
cheek. At the same time he pulled the trigger and 
the fire flashed forth. The artillerynian turned twice 
on his heel, with his arms stretched ont before him, 
and his head raised as if to breathe the air, and then 
fell across the cannon motion less. His back could 
be seen, from the middle of which a jet of blood 
gushed forth ; the bullet had gone right through his 
chest, and he was dead. It was necessary to bear 
him away and fill up his place, and tlius a few min- 
utes were gaiued. 



Opinions varied in the barricade, for the firing of 
the pièce was going to begin again, and the barricade 
could iiot hold out for a quarter of an liour under the 
grape-shot ; it was absolutely necessary to abate the 
firing. Enjoh^as gave the command. 

" We must hâve a mattress hère." 

" We hâve none," said Combeferre ; " the wounded 
are lying on them." 

Jean Valjean, seated apart on a bench, near the 
corner of the wine-shop, with his gun between his 
legs, had not up to the présent taken any part in 
what was going on. He did not sceni to hear the 
coin bâtants saying around hini, " Thcre is a gun that 
docs nothing." On hcaring tlie order given by En- 
jolras, he rose. It will be reniembered that on the 
arrivai of the insurgents in the Rue de la Chanvrerie, 
an old wonian, in lier terror of the bullets, placed her 
mattress in front of lier window. This window, a 
garret window, was on tlic roof of a six-storied house, 
a little beyond the barricade. The mattress, placed 
across it, Icaning at the bottom upon two clothcs- 


props, was held above by two ropes, which, at a dis- 
tance, sepmed two pièces of pack-thread, and were 
fastened to nails driven into the frames of the roof. 
Thèse cords could be distinctly seen on the sky, like 

" Can any one lend me a double-barrelled gun ? " 
Jean Valjean asked. 

Enjoh'as, who had just reloaded his, handed it to 
him. Jean Valjean aimed at the garret window and 
fircd ; one of the two cords of the mattress was eut 
asunder, and it hung by only one thread. Jean Val- 
jean fired the second shot, and the second cord lashed 
the garret Avindow ; the mattress glided between the 
two pôles and fell into the street. The insurgents 
applauded, and every voice cried, — 

" There is a mattress." 

"Yes," said Combeferre, "but who will go and 

The mattress, in truth, had fallen outside the barri- 
cade, between the besiegers and besieged. Now, as 
the death of the sergeant of artillery had exasperated 
the troops, for some time past they had been lying 
flat behind the pile of paving-stones which they had 
raised ; and in order to make up for the enforced 
silence of the gun, they had opened fire on the barri- 
cade. The insurgents, wishing to save their ammu- 
nition, did not return this musketry : the fusillade 
broke against the barricade, but the street which it 
filled with buUets was terrible. Jean Valjean stepped 
out of the gap, entered the street, traversed the bail 
of bullets, went to the mattress, picked it up, placed 
it on his back, and re-entering the barricade, himself 


placed the mattress in the gap, and fixed it against 
the wall, so that the gunners should not see it. This 
done, they waited for tlie next round, which was soon 
fired. The gun belchcd f'orth its canister with a 
hoarse roar, but there was no ricochet, and the grape^, 
sliot was checked by the mattress. The expected 
resuit was obtained, and the barricade saved. 

" Citizen," Enjolras said to Jean Valjean, " the 
republic thanks y ou." 

Bossuct admired, and laughingly said, — 
" It is immoral for a mattress to hâve so much 
power : it is the triumph of that whicli yields over 
that which thuntlors. But no matter, glory to the 
mattress that annuls a caunon I " 



At this moment Cosette awoke : her becl-room was 
narrow, clean, circumspect, with a long window on 
tlie east side looking ont into the court-jard of the 
house. Cosette knew nothing of what was going on 
in Paris, for she had returned to her bed-room at the 
time when Toussaint said, " Tiiere is a row." Cosette 
had slept but a few hours, though well. She had 
had sweet dreanis, which resulted perliaps from the 
fact that her small bed was very white. Somebody, 
who was Marins, appeared to her in light ; and she rose 
with the sun in her eyes, which at first produced the 
effect of a continuation of her dream upon her. Her 
first thought on coniing ont of the dream was of a 
smiling nature, and she felt quite reassured. Like 
Jean Valjean a few hours before, she was passing 
through that reaction of the soûl which absolutely 
desires no misfortune. She began hoping with ail 
her strength, without knowing why, and then suf- 
fered from a contraction of the heart. She had 
not seen Marins for three days ; but she said to 
herself that he must hâve received her letter, that 
he knew where she was, tliat he was clever and 
vrould find means to get to her, — certainly to-day, 


and perhaps that very morniiig. It was bright day, 
but the suiibeam was iiearly horizontal, and so she 
tiiought that it must be early, but that she ought to 
rise in order to receive Marius. She felt that she 
could not live without Marius, and that consequently 
was sufficient, and JNIarius would corne. No objec- 
tion was admissible ; ail this was certain. It was 
monstrous enough to hâve suffered for three days : 
Marius absent for three days, that was horrible on 
the part of le bon Dieu. Now this cruel suspense 
sent from on high was a trial passed through ; Marius 
was about to conie and briilg good news. Thus is 
youth constituted : it wipes away its tears quickly, 
and finding sorrow useless, does not accept it. 
Youth is the smile of the future of an unknown 
thing, which is itself : it is natural for it to be 
happy, and it seems as if its breath were made of 

However, Cosette could not succeed in recalling to 
mind what jNIarius had said to her on the subject of 
this absence, which was only to last one day, and 
what exjîlanation he had given her about it. Every 
one will hâve noticed with what skill a coin let fall 
on the ground runs to hide itself, and what art it has 
in rendering itself invisible. There are thoughts 
which play us the same trick ; they conceal them- 
selves in a corner of our brain : it is ail over, they 
are lost, and it is impossible to recall them to mem- 
ory. Cosette felt somewhat vexed at the little uso- 
less effort her memory made, and said to hcrself that 
it was very wrong and culpable of her to forget 
words pronounced by Marius. She left her bcd, and 

DAWN. 55 

performed the two ablutions of the soûl and the 
body, lier prajers and her toilette. 

We may, if absolutely requjred, introduce a reader 
into a nuptial cliamber, but not iuto a \'irgin's room. 
Verse could liardly venture it, prose ought not. 
It is the interior of a still elosed flower, a ^Yllite- 
ness in the gloaming, the inner cell of a elosed lily, 
which must not be guzod at by nian till it has been 
gazed at by the suu. Woman in the bud is sacred : 
this innocent bud which discovers itself, this adora- 
ble senii-nudity which is afraid of itself, this white 
foot which takes refuge in a slipper, this throat which 
veils itself bcfore a niirror as if the mirror were an 
eye, this chemise which hurricdly rises and covers 
the shoulder at the sound of a pièce of furniture 
creaking or a passing vehicle, thèse knotted strings, 
this stay-lace, this tremor, this shudder of cold and 
shame, this exquisite shyncss in every moveraent, this 
almost winged anxiety when there is nothing to fear, 
the successive phases of the apparel, wdiich are as 
charraing as the clouds of dawn, — it is not befitting 
that ail this should be described, and it is too much 
to hâve merely indicated it. The eye of nian nmst 
be even more religions before the rising of a maiden 
than before the rising of a star. The possibility of 
attaining ought to be turned into augmented respect. 
The down of the peach, the first bloom of the plum, 
the crystal radiate of the snow, the butterfly's wing 
powdered with feathers, ave but coarse things by the 
side of this chastity, which does not know itself that 
it is chaste. The maiden is only the flash of the 
dream, and is not yet a statue ; her alcôve is cou- 


cealecl in the dim part of the idéal, and the indiscrect 
touch of the eye brutalizes this vague twilight. Li 
this case contemplation is profanation. We will 
tberefore say nothing about the sweet awaking and 
rising of Cosette. An Eastern fable tells us that 
the rose Avas made white by God, but that Adam 
having looked at it for a moment when it opened, 
it felt ashamed, and turned pink. We are of those 
who feel themselves abashed in the présence of 
maidens and flowers, for we find them worthy of 

Cosette dressed herself very rapidly, and combcd 
and dressed her hair, which was very simple at that 
day, when women did not swcll their ringlets and 
plaits with cushions and pads, and placed no crino- 
line in their hair. Then she opened the window and 
looked ail around, hoping to discern a little of the 
street, an angle of the house, or a corner of the pave- 
ment, to watch for INIarius. But nothing could be 
seen of the outside : the court-yard was surrounded 
by rather lofty walls, and was bounded by other gar- 
dons. Cosette declared thèse gardons hideous, and 
for the first time in her life considered flowers ugly. 
The paltriest street gutter would hâve suited her pur- 
pose better ; and she resolved to look up to heaven, 
as if she thought that Marins might possibly corne 
thence. Snddenly she burst into tears, not through 
any fickleness of tempérament, but her situation con- 
sisted of hopes dashed with despondency. She con- 
fusedly felt somcthing horrible ; that it was really in 
the air. She said to herself that she was sure of 
nothing, that letting herself out of sight was losing 

DAWN. 57 

herself; and the idea that Marins might return to 
her froni heaven appeared to lier no longer charm- 
ing but lugubrious. Then — for such thèse clouds 
are — calnniess returned, and hope, and a species 
of smile, unconscious, but trusting in God. 

Everybody was still asleep in the house, and a 
provincial silence prevailed. No shutter was opened, 
and the porter's lodge was still closcd. Toussaint 
was not up, and Cosette naturally tliought that her 
father was asleep. She must hâve sufFered greatly, 
and must still be sufFering, for she said to herself 
that her father had been nnkind, but she reckoned 
on INIarius. The éclipse of such a light was decidedly 
impossible. At moments she heard some distance 
off a sort of heavy shock, and thought how singular 
it was that gâtes were opened and shut at so early 
an hour ; it was the sound of the cannon-balls batter- 
ing the barricade. There was a martin's nest a few 
feet below Cosette's window in the old smoke- 
blackened cornice, and the mouth of the nest pro- 
jected a little beyond the cornice, so that the interior 
of this little Paradise could be seen from above. The 
mother was there expandiiig her wings like a fan 
over her brood ; the maie bird fluttered round, went 
away, and then returned, briiiging in his bill food 
and kisses. The risiiig day gildcd this happy thing ; 
the great law, increase and multiply, was there smil- 
ing and august ; and the sweet mystery was uiifolded 
in the glory of the morn. Cosette, with her hair in 
the sunshine, her soûl in fiâmes, enlightened by love 
within and the dawn without, bent forward as if 
mechanically, and, almost without dariiig to confess 


to lierself tliat she was thiiiking at the same tinie of 
Marius, she began looking at thèse birds, this familj, 
this maie and female, this mothcr and her little ones, 
with ail the profound agitation which the sight of a 
nest occasions a virgin. 



The fire of tlie assailants continued, and the 
musketry and grape-shot alternated, though without 
13roducing niucli miscliief. The upper part of Corinth 
alone sufFered, and the first-floor and garrot Windows, 
pierced by slugs and bullets, gradually lost their 
shape. The conibatants posted there w^ere compelled 
to w^ithdraw ; but, in fact, such are the tactics of an 
attack on a barricade, — to skirniish for a long tinie 
and exhaust the aniniunition of the insurgents, if 
they commit the error of returning the fire. When 
it is discovered by the slackening of their fire that 
they bave no powder or bail left, the assault is made. 
Enjolras had not fallen into this trap, and the barri- 
cade did not reply. At each platoon fire Gavroche 
thrust his tongue into his cheek, a sign of suprême 

" That 's good," he said ; " tear up the linen, for 
we require lint." 

Courfeyrac addressed the grape-shot on its want 
of eff'ect, and said to the cannon, — 

" You are becoming diffuse, my good fellow." 

In battle, intrigues take place as at a bail ; and 
it is probable that the silence of the redoubt was 


beginning to render tlie assailants anxious, and make 
them fear lest some unexpected incident had occuvred. 
They feit a need of seeing clearly tlirough this pile of 
paving-stones, and what was going on beliind tliis 
impassive wall, which received shots without an- 
swering them. The insurgcnts suddenly perccived 
a hehiiet glistening in the sun upon an adjoining 
roof: a sapper was leaning against a tall chimney- 
pot and apparcntly a sentry there. He looked down 
into the barricade. 

" That 's a troublesome spy," said Enjolras. 

Jean had retnrned Enjoh'as his fowling-piece, but 
still had his own musket. Without saying a word 
he aime.d at the sapper, and a second later the hel- 
met, struck by a bulkt, fcll noisily into the street. 
The soldier disappeared with ail possible haste. A 
second watchman took his place, and it was an 
officer. Jean Valjean, who had rcloadcd his musket, 
aimed at the new-comer, and sent the officer's helmet 
to join the private's. The ofRcer was not obstinate, 
but withdrew very quickly. This time the hint was 
understood, and no one again appeared on the roof. 

" Why did you not kill the nian ? " Bossuet asked 
Jean Valjean, who, however, made no reply. 



BossuET muttered in Corabeferre's ear, — 

" He lias not answered my question." 

" He is a man who does kind actions with musket- 
shots," said Combeferre. 

Those who hâve any recollection of this now dis- 
tant epoch know that the suburban National Guards 
were valiant against the insurrection, and they were 
peculiarly brave and obstinate in the days of June, 
1832. Any worthy landlord, whose establishment 
the insurrection injured, became léonine on seeing 
his dancing-room deserted, and let himself be killed 
in order to save order represented by the suburban 
public-house. At this tinie, which was at once 
heroic and bourgeois, in the présence of ideas which 
had tlieir knights, interests had their Paladins, and 
the prosaic nature of the motive took away none 
of the bravery of the movement. The decrease of 
a pile of crowns made bankers sing the INIarseillaise, 
men lyrically shed their blood for the till, and de- 
fended with Lacedsemonian enthusiasm the shop, 
that immense diminutive of the country. Altogether 
there was a good deal that was very serions in ail 
this ; social interests were entering into a contest, 


while awaiting the day when they would enter a 
state of equilibrium. Another sign of this time was 
the aiiai'chy miiigled witli the governiiientalism (a 
barbarous name of the correct party), and men were 
for order withoiit discipline. The drùms played 
unexpectedly fancy calls, at the conimand of sonie 
colonel of the National Guard : one captain went 
under fire through inspiration, while some National 
Guards fought " for the idea," and on thcir own 
account. In critical moments during the riots men 
followed the advice of their chiefs less than their 
own instincts, and there were in the army of order 
real Guérilleros, some of the SAvord like Fannicot, 
and others of the pen like Henry Fonfrède. Civili- 
zation, unhappily represented at this period more by 
an aggregation of intercsts than by a group of prin- 
ciples, was, or believed itself to be, in danger ; it 
uttcred the alarm cry, and every man, constituting 
himself a centre, defended, succored, and protected 
it in his own way, and the first corner took on him- 
self to save Society. 

Zeal sometimes went as far as extermination ; 
a platoon of National Guards constituted themselves 
of their own authority a council of war, and tried 
and executed in five minutes an insurgent prisoner. 
It was an improvisation of this nature which killed 
Jean Prouvaire. It is that fcrocious Lynch law with 
which no party has the right to reproach another, 
for it is applied by the Republic in America as by 
monarchy in Europe. Tins Lynch law was compli- 
catcd by mistakes. On a day of riot a young poet 
of the name of Paul Aimé Garnier was pursued on 


the Place Royale at thc bayonet's point, and only 
escaped by taking shelter under the gateway at Xo. G. 
" There 's another of those Saint Simonians," they 
shouted, and wishcd to kill him. Now, he had 
under his arni a volume of the Memoirs of the 
Duc de Saint Simon ; a Natienal Guard read on 
the back the words " Saint Simon," and shouted, 
" Death to him!" On June 6, 1832, a company 
of suburban National Guards, commanded by Cap- 
tain Fannicot, to whom we bave already referred, 
decimated the Rue de la Chanvrerie for his own 
good pleasure, and on his own authority. This fact, 
singular though it is, was proved by the judicial 
report drawn up in conséquence of the insurrection 
of 1832. Captain Fannicot, an impatient and bold 
bourgeois, a species of condottiere of order, and a 
fanatical and insubmissive governmentalist, could not 
resist the attraction of firing prematurely, and taking 
the barricade ail by himself, that is to say, with his 
company. Exasperated at the successive apparition 
of the red flag and the old coat, which lie took for 
the black flag, he loudly blamed the gênerais and 
commanders of corps, who were holding councils, 
as they did not think the décisive moment for assault 
had arrived, but wcre " letting the insurrection stew 
in its own gravy," according to a celebrated expres- 
sion of one of them. As for him, he thought the 
barricade ripe, and as everything that is ripe is bouud 
to fall, he made the attempt. 

He commanded men as resolute as himself. " Mad- 
ïnen," a witness called them. His company, the same 
which had shot Jean Prouvaire, was the first of the 


battalioii posted at the strcet corner. At the 
iiionient wheu it was least expected the captain 
daslied his men at the barricade ; but this move- 
ment, executed with more good-will tliau strategy, 
cost Fannicot's company dearly. Before it had 
covered two thirds of the strcet a gênerai discharge 
from the barricade greeted it ; four, the boldest men 
of ail, running at the head, were shot down in point- 
blank range at the very foot of the barricade, and 
this courageous mob of National Guards, very brave 
men, but not possessing the military tenacity, Avas 
compelled to fall back after a few moments, leaving 
fifteen corpses in the street. The momcntary hésita- 
tion gave the insurgents time to reload, and a second 
and most deadly discharge assailed the company 
before the men were able to regain tlieir shelter at 
the corner of the street. In a moment they were 
caught between two fires, and received the voUey 
from the cannon, which, having no orders to the con- 
trary, did not cease firing. The intrepid and impru- 
dent Fannicot was one of those killed by this round 
of grape-shot ; he was laid low by the cannon. This 
attack, which was more furious thau serions, irritated 

" The asses ! " he said, " they hâve their men 
killed and expend our ammunition for nothing." 

. Enjolras spoke like the true gênerai of the riot 
that he was : insurrection and repression do not fight 
with equal arms ; for the insurrection, which can be 
soon exhaustcd, has only a certain number of rounds 
to fire and of combatants to expend. An expended 
cartouche-box and a killed man cannot hâve their 


place filled up. Repression, on the other hand, 
having the army, does not count men, and having 
Vincennes, does not count rounds. Repression has 
as many régiments as the barricade has men, and as 
many arsenals as the barricade has cartouche-boxes. 
Hence thèse are always contests of one man against 
a hundred, which ever end by the destruction of the 
barricade, unless révolution, suddenly dashing up, 
casts into the balance its flashing archangels glaive. 
Such things happen, and then everything rises, 
paving-stones get into a state of ebullition, and 
popular redoubts swarm. Paris has a sovereign 
tremor, the quid cUvinum is evolved; there is an 
August 10 or a July 29 in the air, a prodigious light 
appears, the yawning throat of force recoils, and the 
army, that lion, sees before it, standing erect and 
tranquil, that prophet, France. 

VOL. V. 



In tlie chaos of feelings and passions which défend 
a barricade there is everything, — bravery, youth, the 
point of honor, enthusiasm, the idéal, conviction, the 
obstinacy of the gambler, and above ail intermitting 
gleams of hope, One of thèse intermittences, one 
of thèse vague quiverings of hope, suddenly ran 
along the Chanvrerie barricade at the most unex- 
pected moment. 

" Listen," Enjolras, who was ever on the watch, 
exclaimed. " I fancy that Paris is waking up." 

It is certain that on the morning of June 6 the 
insurrection had for an hour or two a certain re- 
animation. The obstinacy of the tocsin of St. Merry 
arouscd a few slight desires, and barricades were 
begun in the Rue du Poirier and in the Rue des 
Gravilliers. In front of the Porte St. ]\Iartin, a 
young man armed with a gun attacked a squadron 
of cavalry alone, unprotcctcd, and on the opcn bou- 
levard he knelt down, raiscd his gun, fired and killed 
the INIajor, and then turncd away, saying, " There 's 
another who will do us no more misciiief." He was 
eut down. In the Rue St. Denis a woman fired at 
the National Guard from behind a Venetiau shutter, 


and the wooclen laths could be seen to tremble every 
moment. A boy of fourteen was arrested in the 
Rue de la Cossonnerie witli his pockets full of car- 
tridges, and several guard-houses were attacked. At 
the entrance of the Rue Bertin Poirée a very sharp 
and quite unexpected fusillade greeted a régiment 
of cuirassiers, at the head of which rode General 
Cavaignac de Barague. In the Rue Planche ]\libray 
old crockery and household utensils were thro\yn 
from the roofs down on the troops ; this was a bad 
sign, and when ]\Iarshal Soult was iuformed of the 
fact, Napoleon's old lieutenant became pensive, for 
he remembered Suchet's reniark at Saragossa : " We 
are lost when old women empty their pots de cham- 
bre on our heads." Thèse gênerai symptoms mani- 
fested at a moment when the riots were supposed to 
be localized, this fever of anger which regained the 
upper hand, thèse will-o'-the-wisps flying hère and 
there over the profound masses of combustible mat- 
ter which are called the faubourgs of Paris, and ail 
the accompanying fjicts, rendered the chiefs anxious, 
and they hastened to extinguish the beginnings of 
the conflagration. Until thèse sparks were quenched, 
the attacks on the barricades Maubuée, de la Chan- 
vrerie, and St. Merry were deferred, so that ail might 
be finished at one blow. Columns of troops were 
sent through the streets in a state of fermentation, 
clearing the large streets and searching the smaller 
ones, on the right and on the left, at one moment 
slowly and cautiously, at another at quick march. 
The troops broke open the doors of the houses 
whence firing was heard, and at the same time 


cavalry manœuvres dispersed the groups on the bou- 
levards. This repression was not efFected without 
turmoil, and that tumultuous noise peculiar to col- 
lisions between the arniy and the people, and it was 
this that had attracted Enjolras's attention in tlie 
intervais between the cannonading and the platoon 
fire. Moreover, he had seen wounded men carried 
along the end of the street on litters, and said to 
Courfeyrac, " Those wounded are not our handi- 

The hope lasted but a short time, and the gleam 
was quickly eclipsed. In less than half an hour 
what there was in the air vanished ; it was like a 
flash of lightning without thunder, and the insur- 
gents felt that leaden pall, whicli the indifférence of 
the people casts upon abandoned obstinate men, fall 
upon them again. The gênerai movement, wliich 
seemed to hâve been obscurely designed, failed, and 
the attention of the INIinister of War and the strategy 
of the gênerais could now be concentrated on the 
three or four barricades tliat remained standing. The 
sun rose on the horizon, and an insurgent addressed 
Enjolras, — 

" We are hungry hère. Are we really going to 
die like this, without eating ? " 

Enjolras, still leaning at his parapet, made a nod 
of affirmation, wùthout taking his eyes off" the end 
of the street. 



CouRFEYRAC, seated on a stone by the side of 
Enjolras, continued to insiilt the cannon, and each 
time that the gloomy shower of projectiles which is 
called a grape-shot passed with its monstrous noise 
he greeted it with an ironical reniark. 

" You are wasting your breath, my poor old brute, 
and I feel sorry for you, as your row is thrown away. 
That is not thunder, but a eough." 

And those around him laughed. Courfeyrac and 
Bossuet, whose valiant good-humor increased with 
danger, made up for the want of food, like Madame 
Scarron, by jests, and as wine was short, poured out 
gayety for ail. 

"I admire Enjolras," said Bossuet. "His temerity 
astonishes me. He lives alone, which, perhaps, ren- 
ders him a little sad ; and Enjolras is to be pitied 
for his greatness, which attaches him to widowhood. 
We fellows hâve ail, more or less, mistresses, who 
make us niad, that is to say brave, and when a man 
is as full of love as a tiger the least he can do is to 
fight like a lion. That is a way of avenging our- 
selves for the tricks which our grisettes play us. 
Roland lets himself be killed to vex Angélique, and 


ail our heroism cornes from our women. A man 
without a woman is like a pistol witliout a hammer, 
and it is the woman who makes the man go oiF. 
Well, Enjolras lias no woman, lie is not in love, and 
finds means to be intrepid. It is extraordinary that 
a man can be cold as ice and daring as fire." 

Enjolras did not appear to liston ; but anj one who 
had been near liim might hâve heard him murmur, 
in a low voice, Patria. Bossuet laughed again, when 
Courfeyrac shouted, " Hère 's something fresh." 

And assuming the voice of a groom of the cham- 
bers who announces a visitor, he added, — " JNlr. 

In fact, a new character had come on the stage ; 
it was a second pièce of artilleiy. The gunners 
rapidlj got it into position by the side of the first 
one, and this was the beginning of the end. A few 
minutes later both guns, being actively served, were 
at work against the barricade, and the platoon fire of 
the line and the suburban National Guards supported 
the artillery. Another cannonade was audible some 
distance oft". At the same time that the two guns 
were furiously assaulting the redoubt in the Hue de la 
Chanvrerie, two other pièces placed in position, one 
in the Rue St. Denis, the other in the Rue Aubry 
le Boucher, were pounding the St. Merry barricade. 
The four guns formed a lugubrious écho to one 
another, the barks of the grim dogs of war an- 
swered one another. Of the two guns now opened 
on the barricade of the Rue de la Chanvrerie, one 
fired shell, the other solid shot. The gun vvliich fired 
the latter was pointed at a slight élévation, and the 


fii'iiig was so calculated that thc bail struck tlie ex- 
trême edge of the crest of the barricades, and hurled 
tlie broken paving-stones ou the heads of the iiisur- 
gcnts. This mode of fire was intended to drive the 
combatants from the top of the redoubt, and compel 
thcm to close up in the interior ; that is to say, it 
announced the assault. Once the combatants were 
driven from the top of the barricade by the cannon, 
and from the Windows of the public-house by the 
canister, the columns of attack could venture into 
the street withoiit being ainied at, perhaps without 
evên being seen, suddenly escalade the barricade, as 
on the previous evening, and take it by sur])rise. 

" The annoyance of thèse guns must be reduced," 
said Enjolras; and he shouted, "Fire at the artillery- 
men ! " 

Ail were ready : the barricade, which had so long 
been silent, was belted with flame ; seven or eight 
rounds succceded one another with a sort of rage and 
joy ; the street was filled with a blinding smoke, and 
at the expiration of a few minutes there might be con- 
fusedly seen through the mist, ail striped with flame, 
two thirds of the artillerymen lying under the gun- 
whecls. Those who remained standing continued to 
serve the guns with a stem tranquillity, but the fire 
was reduced. 

" Things are going well," said Bossuet to Enjolras ; 
" that is a success." 

Enjolras shook his head, and replied, — 

" Another quarter of an hour of that success, and 
there will uot be ten cartridges left in the barricade." 

It appears that Gavroche heard the remark. 



CouRFEYRAC ail at once perceived somebody in 
the street, at tlie foot of tbe barricade, aniid the 
shower of bullets. Gavroche had fetched a ham^jer 
from the pot-house, passed through the gap, and was 
quickly eîigaged in emptying into it the full cartouche- 
boxes of the National Ouards killed on the slope of 
the barricade. 

" What are you doing there ? " Courfeyrac said. 

Gavroche looked up. 

" Citizen, I am filling my hamper." 

" Do you not see the grape-shot ? " 

Gavroche replied, — 

" Wcll, it is raining ; what then ? " 

Courfeyrac cried, " Come in." 

" Directly," said Gavroche. 

And with one bound he reached the street. It 
will be borne in mind that Fannicot's company, in 
retiring, left behind it a number of corpses ; some 
twenty dead lay hère and there ail along the pave- 
ment of the street. That made twenty cartouche- 
boxes for Gavroche, and a stock of cartridgcs for the 
barricade. The smoke lay in the street like a fog ; 
any one who lias seen a cloud in a mountain gorge. 


between two précipitons escarpments, can form an 
idea of this smoke, contractée!, and as it were ren- 
dered denser, by tlie two dark lines of tall houses. 
It rose slowly, and was incessantly renewed ; whence 
came a graduai obscurity, which dulled even the 
bright daylight. The combatants could scarce see one 
another froni either end of the street, Avhich was, how- 
ever, very short. This darkness, probably desired 
and calculated on by the chiefs who were about to 
direct the assault on the barricade, w'as useful for 
Gavroche. Under the cloak of this smoke, and 
thanks to his shortness, he was enabled to advance 
a considérable distance along the street unnoticed, 
and he plundered the first seven or eight cartouche- 
boxes without any great danger. He crawled on his 
stomach, galloped on ail fours, took his hamper in 
his teeth, w^rithed, glided, undulated, w^ound from 
one corpse to another, and emptied the cartouche- 
box as a monkey opens a nut. They did not cry to 
him from the barricade, to which he was still rather 
close, to return, for fear of attracting attention to 
him. On one corpse, which was a corporal's, he 
found a powder-flask. 

" For thirst," he said, as he put it in his 

While moving forward, he at length reached the 
point where the fog of the fire became transparent, 
so that the sharp-shooters of the line, drawn up be- 
hind their parapet of paving-stones, and the National 
Guard at the corner of the street, ail at once pointed 
out to one another something stirring in the street. 
At the moment when Gavroche was taking the car- 


tridgcs from a sergeant lying near a post, a bullet 
struck the corpse. 

" Oli, for shame ! " said Gavroche ; '' they are kill- 
iiig m Y dead for me." 

A second bullet caused the stones to strike fire 
close to him, while a third upset liis hamper. Ga- 
vroche looked and saw that it came from the National 
Guards. He stood upright, with liis hair floating in 
the breeze, his hands on his bips, and bis eyes fixed 
on the National Guards who were firiug, and be 
sang, — 

" On est laid à Nanterre, 
C'est la faute à Voltaire, 
Et bête à Palaiseau, 
C'est 1-a faute à Rousseau." 

Then he picked up his hamper, put into it the car- 
tridges scattered around without missing one, and 
walked toward the firing party, to despoil another 
cartouche-box. Then a fourth bullet missed him. 
Gavroche sang, — 

" Je ne suis pas notaire, 
C'est la faute à Voltaire ; 
Je suis petit oiseau. 
C'est la faute à Eousseau." 

A fifth bullet only succeeded so far as to draw a 
third couplet from him, — 

** Joie est mon caractère. 
C'est la faute à Voltaire ; 
Misère est mon trousseau. 
C'est la faute à Rousseau." 


They went on for some time longer, and the sight 
vras at once terrifie and charming ; Ga^Toche, wliile 
fired at, ridiculed the firing, - and appeared to be 
greatly amused. He was like a sparrow deriding tlie 
sportsnien, and answered each discharge bj a verse. 
The troops aimed at him incessantly, and constantly 
missed him, and the Xational Guards and the sokliers 
laughed while covering him. He lay down, then 
rose again, hid himself in a doorway, then bounded, 
disappeared, reappeared, ran off, came back, replied 
to the grape-shot by putting liis fingers to his nose, 
and ail the while plundered cartridges, emptied 
boxes, and filled his hamper. The insurgents watclied 
him, as they panted with anxiety, but while the bar- 
ricade trembled he sang. He was not a child, he 
was not a nian, he was a strange goblin gamin, and 
he resembled the invulnérable dwarf of the combat. 
The bullets ran after him, but he was more active 
than they ; he played a frightful game of hide-and- 
seek with death : and each time that the snub-nosed 
face of the spectre approached the gamin gave it a 
fillip. One bullet, however, better aimed or more 
treacherous than the rest, at length struck the will- 
o'-the-wisp lad ; Gavroche was seen to totter and 
then sink. The wiioïe barricade uttered a cry, but 
there was an x\ntceus in this pygmy : for a gamin to 
tonch the pavement is like the giant touching the 
earth ; and Gavroche had only fallen to rise again. 
He remained in a sitting posture, a long jet of blood 
ran down his face, he raised both arms in the air, 
looked in the direction whence the shot had corne, 
and began singing, — 


" Je suis tombé par terre, 
C'est la faute à Voltaire ; 
Le uez dans le ruisseau, 
C'est la ftiute à — " 

He did iiot finish, for a second shot from the same 
marksnian stopped him short. This time he lay with 
his face on the pavement, and did not stir again. 
This little great soûl had flown away. 



There were at this very moment in tlie Luxem- 
bourg garden — for the eye of the drama must be 
everyvvhere présent — two lads holding each other's 
hand. One miglit be seven, the other five, years. of 
âge. As they were wet through with the rain they 
walked along sunshiny paths ; the elder led the 
younger, both were in rags and pale, and they looked 
like wild birds. The younger said, " I am very hun- 
gry." The elder, who had already a protecting air, 
led his brother with the Icft hand, and had a switch 
in his right. They were alone in the garden, which 
was deserted, as the gâtes were closed by police order 
on account of the insurrection. The troops who had 
bivouacked there had issued forth for the exigences 
of the combat. How were thèse children hère ? 
Perhaps they had escaped from some guard-roora 
where the door was left ajar ; perhaps in the \'icinity, 
at the Barrière d'Enfer, on the esplanade of the Ob- 
servatory, or in the neighboring square overshad- 
Qwed by the cornice, on which may be read, Invene- 
runt parvulum pannis involutum, there was some 
mountebank's booth from which they had fled : per- 
haps they had on the previous evening kept eut of 


sight of the garclen inspectors at the liour of closîng, 
and liad sj^ent the niglit in one of those suminer- 
houses in which people read the papers : the fact is, 
that they were wandering about, and seenied to be 
free. To be a wanderer, and to appear free, is to be 
lost, and thèse poor little créatures were really lost. 
The two lads were the sanie about whom Gavroche 
had been in trouble, and wdioni the reader will 
remember, sons of Thénardier, let out to JNIagnon, 
attributed to M. Gillenormand, and now leaves fallen 
from ail thèse rootless branches, and rolled along the 
ground by the wind. 

.Their clothes, clean in the time of Magnon, and 
which served hcr as a prospectus to M. Gillenor- 
mand, had become rags ; and thèse beings henceforth 
belonged to the statistics of " deserted children," 
whom the police pick up, lose, and find again on the 
pavement of Paris. It nceded the confusion of such 
a day as this for thèse two poor little wretches to be 
in this garden. If the inspectors had noticed thèse 
rags they would hâve cxpellcd them, for poor little 
lads do not enter public gardens, and yet it ought to 
be remembered that as children they hâve a right to 
flowers. They were hère, thanks to the locked gâtes, 
and were committiiig an offcnce ; they had stepped 
into the garden and remained there. Thougli locked 
gâtes do not give a holiday to the keepcrs, and their 
surveillance is supposed to continue, it grows weaker 
and rests ; and the inspectors, aiso aflfected by the 
public afïairs, and more busied about the outside than 
the inside, did not look at the garden, and had not 
seen the two delinquents. It had rained on the pre- 


vious evening, and even slightly on this morning, but 
in June, showers are of no great conséquence. People 
hardly perceive, an hour after a storm, tliat this fair 
beauteous day bas wept, for the earth dries up as 
rapidly as a child's cheek. At this moment of the 
solstice the midday light is, so to speak, poignant, 
and it seizes everything. It clings to and spreads 
itself over the earth with a sort of suction, and we 
might say that the sun is tliirsty. A shower is a 
giass of water, and rain is at once drunk up. In the 
morning everything glistens, in the afternoon every- 
thing is dusty. Xothing is so admirable as verdure 
cleansed by the rain and dried by the sun ; it is 
wartn freshness. Gardens and fields, ha\dng water 
in tlieir roots and sunshine in their flowers, become 
censcrs of incense, and smoke with ail their per- 
fumes at once. Everything laughs, sings, and offers 
itself, and we feel softly intoxicated : summcr is a 
temporary Paradise, and the sun helps man to be 

There are beings who ask no more, — living créatures 
wlio, hay-ing the azuré of heaven, say it is enough ; 
dreamers absorbed in the prodigy, drawing from the 
idolatry of nature indifférence to good and evil ; con- 
te mplators of the Cosmos, radiantly distracted from 
man, who do not understand how people can trouble 
themselves ^bout the hunger of one person, the thirst 
of another, *the nudity of the poor man in wiuter, 
the lymphalic curvature of a small backbone, the 
truck-bed," the garret, the cell, and the rags of young 
shivering girh, when they can dream under the trees : 
they are peaceful and terrible minds, pitilessly satis- 


fied, and, strange to say, infinitude sufRces them. 
Tliey ignore that great want of man, the finite which 
adniits of an embrace, and do not dream of the finite 
which admits of progress, that sublime toil. The 
indefinite, which springs from the divine and human 
combination of the infinité and the finite, escapes 
them, and provided that they can be face to face 
with immensity, they smile. They never feel joy, 
but always ecstasy, and tlicir life is one of abstrac- 
tion. The history of liumanity is to them but a grand 
détail : the Ail is not in it, the Ail remains outside of 
it. Of what use is it to trouble one's self about that 
item, man? Man suifers, it is possible, but just look 
at Aldebaran rising ! The mother has no milk left, 
the new-born babe is dying. I know nothing of ail 
that, but just look at the marvellous rose made by a 
sprig of hawthorn when looked at through a micro- 
scope ; just compare the finest Mechlin lace with that ! 
Thèse thinkers forget to love, and the zodiac has 
r3uch an attraction over them that it prevents them 
seeing the weeping cliild. God éclipses their soûl, 
and they are a family of minds at once great and 
little. Homer belonged to it ; so did Goethe, and 
possibly Lafontaine, magnificent egotists of the infi- 
nité, calm spectators of sorrow, who do not see Nero 
if the weather be fine ; from whom the suii hides the 
pyre; who would look at a guillotininf, to seek a 
light effbct in it ; who hear neither cri^s nor sobs, 
nor the death-rattle nor the tocsin ; for whom every- 
thing is good, since there is the month of May ; who 
so long as they hâve clouds of purple and gold above 
their heads déclare themselves satisfied ; and who are 


determined to bc happy until the radiance of the 
stars and the song of birds are exhausted. 

Thèse are darkly radiant, and they do not suspect 
that they are to be pitied. But they are certainly so, 
for the man who does not weep does not see. We 
must admire and pity them, as we would pity and 
admire a being at once night and day, who had no 
eyes under his brows, but a star in the centre of his 
forehead. The indifférence of thèse thinkers is, ac- 
cording to some, a grand philosophy. Be it so ; but 
in this superiority there is infirmity. A man may be 
immortal and limp, as witness Vulcan, and he may 
be more than man and less than man ; there is im- 
mense incompleteness in nature, and who knows 
whether the sun be not blind ? But in that case, whom 
to trust? Solem quis clicere falsum aucleat? Hence, 
certain geniuses, certain human deities, star-men, 
might be mistaken ? What is above at the summit, 
at the zénith, which pours so much light on the 
earth, might see little, see badly, not see at ail ? Is 
not that desperate ? No : but what is there above 
the sun? God. 

On June 6, 1832, at about eleven in the forenoon, 
the Luxembourg, solitary and depopulated, was deli- 
cious. The quincunxes and flower-beds sent balm 
and dazzlement into the light, and the branches, wild 
in the brilliancy of midday, seemed trying to embrace 
one another. There was in the sycamores a twittering 
of linnets, the sparrows were triumphal, and the 
woodpeckers crept along the chestnut, gently tap- 
ping holes in the bark. The beds accepted the 
legitimate royalty of the lilies, for the most august of 

VOL. V. 6 


perfiimes is that which issues froin whiteness. The 
sharp odor of the carnations vvas inhaled, and the old 
rooks of Marie de Medicis made Jove on the lofty 
trees. The sun gilded, purpled, and illumined the 
tulips, which are nothing but ail the varieties of 
iiame niade into flowers. Ail around the tulip-beds 
hunimed the bées, the flashes of thèse fire-flowers. 
AU was grâce and gayety, even the coming shower, 
for that relapse by which the lilies of the valley and 
honeysuckles would profit had nothing alarming about 
it, and the swallows made the delicious menace of 
flying low. What was there inhaled happiness : life» 
smelt pleasantly, and ail this nature exhaled candor, 
help, assistance, paternity, caresses, and dawn. The 
thoughts that fell from heaven were as soft as a babe's 
little hand that we kiss. The statues under the trees, 
nude and white, were robed in dresses of shadow 
shot with light ; thèse goddesses were ail ragged 
with sunshine, and beams hung from theni on ail 
sides. Around the grcat basin the earth was alrcady 
so dry as to be parched, and there was a breeze suffi- 
ciently strong to create hère and there small riots of 
dust. A few yellow leaves remaining from the last 
autumn joyously pursued one another, and scemed to 
be sporting. 

The abundance of light had somcthing strangely 
reassuring about it ; life, sap,. beat, and exhalations 
overflowed, and the greatness of the source could be 
felt beneath création. In ail thèse blasts penetrated 
with love, in this movement of reflections and gleams, 
in this prodigious expenditure of beams, and in this 
indefinite outpouring of fluid gold, the prodigality of 


the inexhaustible could be felt ; and beliind tins splen- 
dor, as behind a ciirtain of flanies, glimpses of God,that 
millionnaire of the stars, could be caught. Thanks 
to the sand, there was not a speck of mud ; and, 
thanks to the rain, there was not a grain of dust. 
The bouquets had just perfornied their ablutions, and 
ail the velvets, ail the satins, ail the varnish, and ail 
the gold which issue from the earth in the shape of 
flowers, were irreproachable. Tliis magnificence was 
clean, and the grand silence of happy nature filled 
the garden, — a heavenly silence, compatible with a 
thousand strains of music, the fondling tones from 
the nests, the buzzing of the swarms, and the pal- 
pitation§ of the wind. Ail the harniony of the 
season was blended into a graceful whole, the en- 
trances and exits of spring took place in the desired 
order, the lilacs were finishing, and the jessamine 
begiifning, a few flowers were behindhand, a few 
insects before their time, and the vanguard of the 
red butterflies of June fraternized with the rearguard 
of the white butterflies of May. The plane-trees 
were putting on a fresh skin, and the breeze formed 
undulations in the magnificent enormity of the chest- 
nut-trees. It was splendid. A vétéran from the 
adjoining barra cks who was looking through the 
railings said, " Spring présents arms in full dress." 

AU nature was breakfasting ; the création was at 
table ; it was the hour : the great blue cloth was laid 
in heaveu, and the great green one on earth, while 
the sun gave an à giorno illumination. God was 
ser\'ing His universal meal, and each being had its 
pasture or its pasty. The wood-pigeon found hemp- 


seed, tlie cbaffinch found millet, the goldfinch found 
chickweed, the redbreast found worms, tbe bee found 
flowers, the fly found infusoria, and the greenfinch 
found Aies. They certainly devoured one another to 
some extent, which is the mystery of evil mingled 
with good, but net a single animal had an empty 
stomach. The two poor abandoned boys had got 
near the great basin, and somewhat confused by ail 
this light, tried to hide themselves, which is the 
instinct of the poor and the weak in the présence of 
magnificence, even when it is impersonal, and they 
kept behind the swan's house. Now and then, at 
intervais when the .wind blew, confused shouts, a 
rumbling, a sort of tumultuous death-rattle which 
was musketry, and dull blows which were cannon- 
shots, could be heard. There was smoke above the 
roofs in the direction of the markets, and a bell which 
seemed to be summoning sounded in the distance. 
The children did not seem to notice the noises, and 
the youngcr lad repeated every now and then in a 
iow voice, " I ani hungry," 

Almost simultaneously with the two boys another 
couple approached the basin, consisting of a man of 
about fifty, leading by the hand a boy of six years of 
âge. It was doubtless a father with his son. The 
younger of the two had a cake in his hand. At this 
period certain contiguous houses in the Rue Madame 
and the Rue d'Enfer had keys to the Luxembourg, 
by which the lodgers could Ict themselves in when 
the gâtes were locked ; but this permission has since 
been withdrawn. This father and son evidently 
came from one of thèse houses. The two poor little 


créatures saw " tbi^ gentleman " coming, and hid 
theniselves a little more. He was a citizen, and per- 
haps tlie same whoni Marins during his love-fever 
liad one day heard near the >ame great basin conn- 
selling his son " to avoid excesses." He had an 
affable and hauglity look, and a mouth which, as it 
did not close, alwajs smiled. Tins mechanical smile, 
produced by too much jaw and too little skin, shows 
the teeth rather than the soûl. The boy with the 
bitten cake which he had not tinislied, seemed glutted ; 
the boy was dressed in a National Guard's unilbrni, 
on account of the riots, and the father remained in 
civilian garb for the sake of prudence. Father and 
son had halted near the great basin, in which the two 
swans were disporting. Tins bourgeois appeared to 
hâve a spécial admiration for the swans, and resem- 
bled them in the sensé that he walked like them. 
At this moment the swans were swinmiing, which is 
their principal talent, and were superb. Had the two 
little fellows listened, and been of an âge to compre- 
hend, they might hâve overheard the remarks of a 
serions man ; the father was saying to his son, — 

" The sage lives contented with little ; look at me, 
my son, I do not care for luxury. You never see me 
in a coat glistening with gold and precious stones ; 
I leave that false lustre to badly-organized minds." 

Hère the deep shouts which came from the direc- 
tion of the Halles broke ont, with a redoublement of 
bells and noise. 

" What is that ? " the lad asked. 

The father replied, — 

" That is the saturnalia." 


Ail at once he perceived the tvvo little ragged 
boys standing raotionless beliind the swan's greeii 
ho use. 

" Hère is the beginning," he said. 

And after a silence he added, — 

" Anarchy enters this garden." 

In the niean wliile the boy bit the cake, spat it 
ont again, and suddenly began crying. 

" Why are you crying ? " the father asked. 

" I am no longer huugry," said the boy. 

The father's sinile became more niarked than 

" You need not be hungry to eat a cake." 

"I am tired of cake; it is so tilling." 

" Don't you want any more ? " 

" No." 

The father showed him the swans. 

" Throw it to those palmipeds." 

The boy hesitated, for if he did not want any more 
cake that was no reason to give it away. 

The father continued, — 

"Be humane : you ouglit to hâve pity on animais." 

And, taking the cake from his son, he threw it 
into the basin, where it fcll rather near the bank. 
The swans were some distance off, near the centre of 
the basin, and engaged with some prey : they had 
seen ncither the citizen nor the cake. The citizen, 
feeling that the cake ran a risk of bcing lost, and af- 
fected by this useless shipwreck, began a télégraphie 
agitation which eventually attracted the attention 
of the swans. They noticed sometliing floating on 
the surface, tacked, like the vessels they arc, and 


came towards the cake slowly, with the majcsty that 
befits white beasts. 

" Swans uiiderstaiid signs," said the bourgeois, 
pleased at liis own cleverness. 

At tliis moment the distant tumult of the city was 
suddenly swoUen. This time it was siuister, and 
there are some pufFs of wind which speak more dis- 
tinctly than others. The one which blew at this 
moment distinctly brought up the rolling of drnms, 
shonts, platoon fires, and tlie mournful re])lies of the 
tocsin, and the cannon. This coincided with a black 
clond which suddenly veiled the sky. The swans 
had not yet reached the cake. 

" Let us go home," the fatlier said ; " they are 
attacking the Tuileries." 

He seized his son's h and again, and then con- 
tinued, — 

" From the Tuileries to the Luxembourg there is 
only the distance which séparâtes the royalty froni 
the peerage ; and that is not far. It is going to rain 

He looked at the cloud, — 

"And perhaps we shall hâve rain of the other 
sort too ; heaven is interfering : the younger branch 
is condemned. Let us make haste home." 

" I should like to see the swans eat the cake," 
said the boy. 

" It would be imprudent," the father answered ; 
and he led away his little bourgeois. The son, re- 
grctting the swans, turncd his head toward the basin, 
until a bend in the quincunxes concealed it from 
him. The two little vagabonds had in the mean 


wliile approached the cake siraultaneously with the 
swans. It was floating on the water; the sraaller 
boj looked at the cake ; the other looked at tlie 
citizen, who was going ofF. Father and sou entered 
the labyrinth of trees that runs to the grand stair- 
case of the clump of trees in the direction of the 
Rue Madame. When they were no longer in sight, 
the elder hurriedly lay down full length on the 
rounded bank of the basin, and hokling by his left 
hand, while beuding over the water, till he ail but 
fell in, he stretclied out his switch toward the cake 
with the other. The swans, seeing the eneniy, hast- 
ened up, and in hastening tlieir breasts produced an 
eftect useful to the little fisher : the water flowed 
back in front of the swans, and one of the gcntle, 
concentric undulations slightly irapelled the cake 
toward the boy's switch. AVhen the swans came up, 
the stick was touching the cake ; the lad gave a 
quick blow, startled the swans, seized the cake, and 
arose. The cake was soaking, but they were hungry 
and thirsty. The elder boy divided the cake into 
two parts, a large one and a small one, kept the 
small one for himself, and gave the larger pièce to 
his brother, saying, — 

" Shove that into your gun." 



Marius rushed ont of the barricade, and Combe- 
ferre followed him ; but it was too late, and Ga- 
vroche was dead. Combeferre brought in the hamper 
of cartridges, and Marins the boy. Alas ! he thought 
he was requiting the son for what the father had 
done for bis father ; bnt Thénardier had brought in 
his father alive, while he brought in the hid dead. 
When ^larius re-entered the barricade with Gavroche 
in his arms, his face was deluged with blood, like 
the boy's ; for at the very instant when he stooped 
to pick up Gavroche, a buUet had grazed his skull, 
but he had not noticed it. Courfeyrac took ofiF his 
neckcloth and bound Marius's forehead ; Gavroche 
was deposited on the same table with Mabœuf, and 
the black shawl was spread over both bodies ; it was 
large enough for the old man and the child. Combe- 
ferre distributed the cartridges which he had brought 
in, and they gave each man fifteen rounds to fire. 
Jean Valjean was still at the same spot, motionless 
on his bench. ^yhen Combeferre offered him his 
fifteen cartridges he shook his head. 

" That is a strange eccentric," Combeferre said in 
a whisper to Enjolras. " He manages not to fight 
inside this barricade." 


" Which does not prevent him from defending it," 
Eiijolras answered. 

" Heroism lias its original cliaractcrs," Combeferre 

And Courfeyrac, who overlieard him, said, — 
" He is a différent sort from Father Mabœuf." 
It is a thing worth mentioning, that the fire which 
struck the barricade scarce disturbed the interior. 
Those who hâve never passed the tornado of a warfare 
of this nature cannot form any idea of the singular 
moments of calmness mingled with thèse convulsions. 
Men come and go, they talk, they jest, they idle. A 
friend of ours heard a combatant say to him, in the 
midst of the grape-shot, " It is like being at a bache- 
lor's breakfast hère." The redoubt in the Rue de la 
Chanvrerie, we repeat, appeared intcrnally most calm ; 
and ail the incidents and phases were, or would 
shortly be, exhausted. The position had become 
from critical menacing, and from menacing was 
probably about to become desperate. In proportion 
as the situation grew darker an heroic gleam more 
and more purpled the barricade. Enjolras com- 
manded it in the attitude of a young Spartan, devot- 
ing his bare sword to the gloomy gcnius, Epidotas. 
Combeferre, with an apron tied round him, was dress- 
ing the wounded. Bossuct and Feuilly were making 
cartridges with the powdcr-flask found by Gavroche 
on the dead corporal, and Bossuet was saying to 
Feuilly, " We are soon going to take the diligence 
for another planet." Courfeyrac, seatcd on the few 
paving-stones which he had set aside near Enjolras, 
w as preparing and arranging an entire arsenal — his 


sword-caue, his giin, two hostler-pistols, and a club — 
Avitli the ease of a girl settiug a small what-not iii 
order. Jean Yaljean was silently looking at the wall 
facing him, and a workman was fasteniug on his 
head, with a pièce of string, a broad-brimmed straw 
bonnet of Mother Hucheloup's, '^ for fear of sun- 
strokes," as he said. The young men of the Aix 
Cougourde were gayly chatting together, as if désir- 
ons to talk patois for the hist tinie. Joly, who had 
taken down WidoNV Hucheloup's niirror, was examin- 
ing his tongue in it ; while a few combatants, who 
had discovered some nearly mouldering crusts of 
bread in a drawer, were eating theni greedily. 
Marius was anxious about what his father would 
sav to hini. 



We miist lay a stress upon a psychological fact 
peculiar to barricades, for nothing wliich characterizes 
this surprising war of streets ought to be omitted. 
Whatever the internai tranquillity to which we hâve 
just rcferred niay be, the barricade does not tlie less 
remain a vision for those who are inside it. There 
is an apocalypse in a civil war, ail the darkness of 
the unknown world is niingled with thèse stern 
flashes, révolutions are sphinxes, and any one who 
has stood behind a barricade belieyes that he has 
gone through a dreani. What is felt at thèse spots, 
as we hâve shown in the matter of Marins, and whose 
conséquences we shall see, is more and less than life. 
On leaving a barricade, a nian no loniier knows what 
he has seen ; he may hâve been terrible, but he is 
ignorant of the fact. He has been surroundcd there 
by combating ideas which possessed human faces, 
and had his head in the light of futurity. There 
were corpscs laid low and phantoms standing up- 
right ; and the hours were colossal, and seemcd liours 
of eternity. A man has lived in death, and shadows 
hâve passed. AVliat was it ? He has seen liands on 
which was blood ; it was a deafening din, but at the 


sanie time a startling silence : there were open moutlis 
that cried, and other open mouths which were silent, 
and men were in snioke, perhaps in night. A nian 
fancies lie lias touchcd tlie sinister dripping of un- 
known depths, and he looks at something red which 
he has in his nails, but he no longer recollects 

Let us return to the Rue de la Chanvrerie. Sud- 
denly, between two discharges, the distant sound of 
a clock striking was heard. 

" It is midday," said Conibeferre. 

The twelve strokes had not died ont ère Enjolras 
drew himself up to his full height and hurled the 
loud cry from the top of the barricade, — 

" Take up the paving-stones into the house, and 
line the Windows with theni. One half of you to 
the stones, the other half to the muskets. There 
is not a moment to lose." 

A party of sappers, with their axes on their 
shoulders, had just appeared in battle-array at the 
end of the street. This could only be the head 
of a column ; and of what column ? Evidently the 
column of attack ; for the sappers ordered to de- 
molish the barricade always précède the troops ap- 
pointed to escalade it. It was plain that the 
moment was at hand which M. Clermont Tonnerre 
called in 1822 "a strong pull." 

Enjolras's order was carried ont with that correct 
speed peculiar to ships and barricades, the only two 
battle-fields whence escape is impossible. In less 
than a minute two thirds of the paving-stones which 
Enjolras had ordered to be piled up against the door 


of Corinth were carrieJ to tlie first-floor and attic, 
and before a second minute had passed thèse pavmg- 
stones, artistically laid on one another, walled up 
one half of tlie window. A few spaces carefullj 
arranged by Feiiilly, the chief constructor, allowed the 
gun-barrels to pass through. This armament of 
the Windows was the more easily effected because 
the grape-shot had ceased. The two cannon were 
now tirjng solid shot at the centre of the barricade, 
in order to make a hole, and if possible a breach, 
for the assault. When the stones intended for the 
final assault were in their places, Enjolras carried 
to the first-floor the bottles he had placed under 
the table, on which Mabœuf lay. 

" Who will drink that ? " Bossuet asked him. 

" They will," Enjolras answered. 

Then the ground-floor window was also barricaded, 
and the iron bars which closcd the door at night 
were held in readiness. The fortress was complète ; 
the barricade was the rampart, and the wine-shop 
the keep. With the paving-stones left over the gap 
w^as stopped up. As the defendcrs of a barricade 
are always obliged to save their ammunition, and 
the bcsiegers are aware of the fact, the latter com- 
bine their arrangements with a sort of irritating 
leisure, expose themselves before the time to the 
fire, though more apparently than in reality, and 
take their ease. The préparations for the attack 
are always raade with a certain methodical slowness, 
and after that comes the thunder. This slowness 
enablcd Enjolras to revise and rciidcr evcrything 
perfect. He felt that sincc such nicn were about 


to die, their death must be a masterpiece. He said 
to Marins, — 

" We are the two chiefs. - I am going to give 
the final orders iuside, while vou remain outside 
and watch." 

IMarius posted himself in observation on the crest 
of the barricade, while Enjolras had the door of 
the kitchen, which it will be remenibered served 
as ambulance, nailed up. 

" Xo splashing on the wounded," he said. 

He gave his final instructions in the ground- 
floor room in a sharp but wonderfully calm voice, 
and Feuilly listened and answered in the name of 

" At the first-floor hold axes ready to eut down 
the stairs. Hâve you them ? " 

" Yes," Feuilly answered. 

" How many ? " 

" Two axes and a crowbar." 

" Very good. In ail, twenty-six fighting men left. 
How many guns are there ? " 

" Thirty-four." 

"Eight too many. Keep those guns loaded likc 
the others, and within reach. Place your sabres and 
pistols in your belts. Twenty men to the barricade. 
Six will ambush themselves in the garret and at the 
first-floor window, to fire on the assailants through 
the loop-holes in the paving-stones. There must not 
be an idle workman hère. Presently, when the 
drummer sounds the charge, the twenty men below 
will rush to the barricade, and the firet to arrive will 
be the best placed." 


Thèse arrangements niade, lie turnecl to Javcrt, 
and said to him, — 

" I hâve not forgotten you." 

And laying a pistol on the table he added, — 

" The last man to îeave hère will blow out this 
spy's brains." 

" Hère ?" a voice ansvvered. 

" No, let us not hâve this corpse near ours. It is 
easy to stride over the sniall barricade in Alondctour 
Lanc, as it is only four fcet high. This luan is se- 
curely bound, so lead Iiim thcre and exécute him." 

Some one was at this moment even more stoical 
than Enjoh'as ; it was Javert. Hère Jeau Valjcan 
appeared ; he ^vas mixed up with the group of insur- 
gents, but stepped forward and said to Enjoh'as, — 

" Are you the commander ? " 

" Yes." 

" You thanked me just now." 

*' In the name of the Republic. The barricade has 
two saviors, — jNIarius Pontmercy and yourself." 

" Do you think that I deserve a reward ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Wcll, then, I ask one." 

" What is it ? " 

" To let me blow out that man's brains myself." 

Javert raiscd his head, saw Jean Valjean, gave an 
imperceptible start, and said, " It is fair." 

As for Enjolras, he was reloading his gun. He 
looked around him. 

" Is there no objection ? " 

And he turned to Jean Valjean. 

" Take the spy." 


Jean Valjean took possession of Javert by seatiug 
himself on the end of tlie table. He seized tlie pis- 
tol, and a faint clink sliowcd that he had cocked it. 
Almost at the sanie moment the bugle-call was 

" Mind yourselves ! " Marins shouted from the top 
of the barricade. 

Javert began laughing that noiseless laugh peculiar 
to him, and, looking intently at tlie insurgents, said 
to them, — 

" You are no healthier than T am." 

" Ail outside," Enjolras cried. 

The insurgents rushed tunmltuously forth, and as 
they passed, Javert smote them on the baek, so to 
speak, with the expression, " We shall meet again 

VOL. T. 



So soon as Jean Valjean was alone with Javert 
he undid the rope which fastened the prisoner round 
the waist, the knot of wliich was under the table. 
After tliis, he made him a signal to rise. Javert 
obeyed with that indefinable smile in which the su- 
premacy of enchained authority is condensed. Jean 
Valjean seized Javert by the martingale, as he would 
hâve taken an ox by its halter, and dragging him 
after him, quitted the wine-shop slowly, for Javert, 
having his fect hobbled, could only take very short 
steps. Jean Valjean held the pistol in his hand, and 
they thus crossed the inner trapèze of the barricade ; 
the insurgcnts, preparcd for the imminent attack, 
turned their backs. 

JNIarius alone, placed at the left extreniity of the 
barricade, saw them pass. This group of the victim 
and the cxecutioner was illumined by the sepulchral 
gleams which he had in his soûl. Jean Valjean 
forced Javert to climb over the barricade with some 
difficulty, but did not loosen the cord. When they 
had crossed the bar, they found thcmselves alone in 
the lane, and no one could now sec them, for the 
clbow formcd by the liouses hid them from the 


iusiirgents. The corpses removed from the barricade 
formed a horrible pile a few paces from them. 
Among the dead could be distinguished a livid face, 
dishevelled hair, a pierced haiid, and a half-naked 
feniale bosom ; it was Eponine. Javert looked 
askance at this dead girl, and said with profound 
calniness, — 

" It seems to me I know that girl." 

Then he turned to Jean Yaljean, who placed the 
pistol nnder his arm, and fixed on Javert a glance 
whicli had no need of words to say, " Javert, it is I." 

Javert answered, " Take your revenge." 

Jean Yaljean took a knife from his pocket and 
opened it. 

" A clasp-knife," Javert exclaimed. " You are 
right, that suits you better." 

Jean Yaljean eut the martingale which Javert had 
round his neck, then he eut the ropes on his wrists, 
and stooping down, those on his feet ; then rising 
again, he said, " You are free." 

It was not easy to astonish Javert, still, master 
though he was of himself, he could not suppress his 
émotion ; he stood gaping and motionless, while 
Jean Yaljean continued, — 

" I do not believe that I shall Icave this place. 
Still, if by accident I do, I live under the name of 
Fauchelevent, at Xo. 7, Rue de l'Homme x\rmé." 

Javert gave a tigerish frown, which opened a cor- 
ner of his mouth, and rauttered between his teeth, — 

" Take care ! " 

" Begone ! " said Jean Yaljean. 

Javert added, — 


*' You said Fauchelevent, Rue de l'Homme Armé ? " 

"No. 7." 

Javert repeated in a low voice, — " No. 7." 

He rcbuttoned bis frock-coat, restored liis military 
stifFness between his slioulders, made a half turn, 
crossed his arms while supporting his chin with 
one of his hands, and walkcd ofF in the direction of 
the markcts. Jean Valjean looked after liim. After 
going a few yards Javert turned and said, — 

" You annoy me. I would sooner be killed by 

Javert did not even notice that he no longer 
addressed Jean Valjean with familiarity. 

" Begone ! " said Jean Yaljcan. 

Javert retired slowly, and a moment after turned 
the corner of the Rue des Prêcheurs. When Javert 
had disappeared, Jean Valjean discharged the pis- 
tol in the air, and then rcturned to the barricade, 
saying, — 

" It is ail over." 

This is what had taken place in the mcan while. 
Marins, more occupied with tlie outside than the in- 
side, had not hitherto attcntively regarded the spy 
fastened up at the darkened end of the ground-floor 
room. When he saw him in the opcn daylight 
bestriding the barricade, he recognized him, and a 
sudden hopc entercd his mind. He remembered the 
inspector of the Rue de Pontoise, and the tvvo pis- 
tols he had given him, which he, Marins, had em- 
ployed at this vcry barricade, and he not only remem- 
bered his face but his namc. 

This recollection, however, was foggy and dis- 


turbed, like ail his ideas. It was not an affirmation 
he made so much as a question which lie asked him- 
self. " Is that not tlie Police Inspector, who told 
me that his name was Javert ? " Marins shouted to 
Enjolras, who had just statioued himself at the other 
end of the bamcade, — 

" Enjolras ? " 


" What is that nian's name ? " 

" Which man ? " 

" The police agent. Do you know his name ? " 

" Of course I do, for he told it to us." 

" What is it ? " 

" Javert." 

Marius started, but at this moment a pistol-shot 
was heard, and Jean Valjean reappeared, saying, 
" It is ail over." A dark chill crossed Marius's 



The death-struggles of the bariicade were aboiit 
to begin, and everytliing added to the tragical maj- 
esty of this suprême moment, — a thousand mjs- 
terious sounds in the air, the breathing of armed 
masses set in motion in streets wliich could not be 
seen, the intermittent gallop of cavahy, the heavy 
rumor of artillery, the platoon firing and the cannon- 
ade Crossing each other in the labyrinth of Paris, 
the smoke of the battle rising ail golden above the 
roofs, distant and vaguely terrible cries, flashes of 
menace everywhere, the tocsin of St. Merry, which 
now had the sound of a sob, the mildness of the 
season, the splendor of the sky full of sunshine and 
clouds, the beauty of the day, and the fearful silence 
of the houses. For since the previous evening the 
two rows of houses in the Rue de la Chanvrerie had 
become two walls, — ferocious walls with closed 
doors, closed Windows, and closed shutters. 

At that day, so dificrent from the présent time, 
wlien the hour arrived in which the people wislied 
to be donc with a situation which had lastcd too 
long, with a conccded charter or a rcstrictcd suffrage, 
when the universal wrath was diffused in the atmos- 


pliere, wlieii the city conscnted to an upheaviiig of 
paving-stoues, wheii the insurrection made the bour- 
geoisie smile by whispering -its watchword in their 
car, then the inhabitant, impregnated with riot, so to 
speak, was the auxiliary of the combatant, and the 
house fraternized with the improvised fortress which 
it supported. When the situation was not ripe, 
when the insurrection was not decidedly accepted, 
wlien the masses disavowed the movement, it was 
ail over with the coinbatants, the town was changed 
into a désert round the revolt, minds were chilled, 
the asylums were walled up, and the street became 
converted into a défile to help the arniy in taking 
the barricade. A people cannot be forced to move 
faster than it wishes by a surprise, and woe to the 
man who tries to compel it ; a people will not put 
up with it, and then it abandons the insuri'ection to 
itself. The insurgents become lepers ; a house is an 
escarpment, a door is a refusai, and a façade is a 
wall. This wall sees, hears, and will not ; it miglit 
open and save you, but no, the wall is a judge, and 
it looks at you and condemns you. What gloomy 
things are thèse closed houses ! They seem dead 
though they are alive, and life, which is, as it were, 
suspended, clings to theni. No one has corne out 
for the last four-and-twenty hours, but no one is 
absent. In the interior of this rock people corne 
and go, retire to bed and rise again ; they are in the 
bosom of their fomily, they eat and drink, and are 
afraid, terrible to say. Fear excuses this formidable 
inhospitality, and the alarm offers extenuating cir- 
cumstauces; At times eveu, and this has been wit- 


nessed, the fear becomes a passion, and terror may 
be chaiigcd iiito furj, and prudence into rage ; lience 
the profound remark, " Tlie enraged modérâtes." 
There are flashes of suprême terror, from wliich 
passion issues like a mournful smoke. " Wliat do 
thèse people want ? They are never satisfied ; they 
compromise peaceable men. As if \ve had not had 
révolutions of that nature ! What hâve they corne to 
do herc ? Let them get out of it as they can. AU 
the worse for them, it is their fault, and they hâve 
only what they deserve. That does not concern us. 
Look at our poor street torn to pièces by cannon : 
they are a heap of scamps ; above ail do not open 
the door." And the house assumes the aspect of a 
tomb : the insurgent dies a lingering death before 
their door ; he sees the grape-shot and naked sabres 
arrive ; if he cries out, he knows tlicre are people 
who hear him but will not help him ; there are 
walls which might protect him, and men who might 
save him, and thèse walls hâve ears of flesh, and 
thèse men hâve entrails of stone. 

Whom should we accuse? Nobody and every- 
body, — the imperfect times in which we live. It 
is always at its own risk and péril that the Utopia 
couverts itself into an insurrection, and becomes an 
armed protest instead of a philosophie protest, — a 
Pallas and no longer a Minerva. The Utopia which 
grows impatient and becomes a riot knows what 
awaits it, and it nearly always arrives too soon. In 
that case it resigns itself, and stoically accepts the 
catastrophe in lieu of a triumph. It serves, without 
complaiuing, and almost exculpating them, those who 


deny it, and its magiiaiiimity is to consent to aban- 
donment. It is indomitable against obstacles, and 
gentle toward ingratitude. ïs it ingratitude after 
ail ? Yes, from the hunian point of view ; no, froni 
the individual point of view. Progress is the fashion 
of nian ; the gênerai life of the human race is called 
progress ; and the collective step of the human race 
is also called progress. Progress marches ; it makes 
the great human and earthly jouniey toward the 
celestial and divine ; it has its halts where it rallies 
the straying flock ; it has its stations where it médi- 
tâtes, in the présence of some splendid Canaan sud- 
denly unveiling its horizon ; it has its nights when 
it sleeps ; and it is one of the poignant auxieties 
of the thinker to see the shadow on the human 
soûl, and to feel in the darkness sieeping progress, 
without being able to awaken it. 

" God is perhaps dead, ' Gérard de Xerval said 
one day to the writer of thèse lines, confounding 
progress with God, and taking the interruption of 
the movement for the death of the Being. The man 
who despairs is wrong : progress infallibly reawakens, 
and we might say that it moves even when sieeping, 
for it has grown. When we see it upright again 
we find that it is taller. To be ever peaceful dé- 
pends no more on progress than on the river ; do 
not raise a bar, or throw in a rock, for the obstacle 
makes the water foam, and humanity boil. Ilence 
çome troubles ; but after thèse troubles we notice 
that way has been made. Until order, which is 
nought else than univcrsal peace, is established, until 
harniouy and unity reign, progress will hâve revo- 


lutions for its halting-places. What, then, is pro- 
gress ? We bave just said, tlie permanent life of 
the peoples. Now, it happens at tinies that the 
niomentary life of individuals offers a résistance to 
the eternal life of the hunian race. 

Let us avow without bitterness that the individual 
has his distinct interest, and can without felony 
stipulate for that interest and défend it ; the présent 
has its excusable amount of egotisni, momentary 
right has its clainis, and cannot be expected to 
sacrifice itself incessantly to the future. The génér- 
ation which at the présent moment is passing over 
the earth is not forced to abridge it for the génér- 
ations, its equals, after ail, whose turn will corne 
at a later date. " I exist," murmurs that some one, 
who is everybody. " I am young and in love, I am 
old and wish to rest, I am father of a family, I work, 
I prosper, I do a good business, I hâve houses to 
let, I hâve money in the funds, I am happy, I bave 
wife and children, I like ail that, I wish to live, and 
so leave us at peace." Hence at certain hours a 
profound coldness falls on the magnanimous van- 
guard of the human race. Utopia, moreover, we 
confess it, émerges from its radiant sphère in waging 
war. It, the truth of to-morrow, borrows its process, 
battle, from the falsehood of yestcrday. It, the 
future, acts like the past ; it, the pure idea, bccomes 
an assault. It complicates its heroism witli a violence 
for which it is but fair that it should answer, — a 
violence of opportunity and ex])cdiency, contrary to 
principles, and for which it is fatally punished. The 
Utopia, when in a state of insurrection, combats with 


tlie old military code in its hand ; it shoots spies, 
exécutes traitors, suppresses liviiig beings and liurls 
theni iiito unknown darkness. It makes use of death, 
a serious thing. It seems that tbe Utopia no longer 
puts faith in the radiance, which is its irrésistible 
and incorruptible strength. It strikes witli tlie sword, 
but no sword is simple ; every sword bas two edges, 
and the nian who wounds with one wounds himself 
with tbe other. 

This réservation made, and made with ail severity, 
it is impossible for us not to admire, whether they 
succeed or no, the glorious combatants of tbe future, 
the confessors of the Utopia. Even wben they fiiil 
they are vénérable, and it is perhaps in ill-success 
that they possess most majesty. Victory, wben in 
accordance with progress, deserves the applause of 
the peoples, but an beroic defeat merits their tender- 
ness. The one is magnificent, the other sublime, 
With us who prefer martyrdom to success, John 
Brown is greater than Washington, and Pisacane 
greater than Garibaldi. There should be somebody 
to take the part of the conquered, and people are 
unjust to thèse great assayers of the future wben they 
fail. Revolutionists are accused of sowing terror 
and every barricade appears an attack. Their theory 
is incriminated, their object is suspected, their after- 
thouglît is apprehended, and their conscience is de- 
nounced. They are reproached with elevating and 
erecting against the reigning social fact a pile of mis- 
eries, griefs, iiiiquities, and despair, and with pulling 
down in order to barricade themselves behind the 
ruina and combat. People shout to theni, " You are 


unpaving hell ! " Antl tliey might answer, "' That is 
the reason wliy our barricade is made of good inten- 
tions." The best thing is certainly the pacifie solu- 
tion ; after ail, let us allow, when people see the 
paA'enicnt, they think of the bear, and it is a good 
will by which society is alarnied. But it dépends ou 
Society to save itsclf, and we appeal to its own good- 
will. No violent remedy is necessary : study the evil 
amicably, and then cure it, — that is ail we désire. 

However this may be, those men, eveu when they 
hâve fallen, and especially then, are august, who at 
ail points of the universe, with their eyes fixed on 
France, are struggling for the great work with the 
inflexible logic of the idéal ; they give their life as a 
pure gift for progress, they accomplish the will of 
Providence, and perform a religions act. At the ap- 
pointed hour, with as much disinterestedness as an 
actor who takes up his eue, they enter the tomb in 
obédience to the divine scénario, and they accept this 
hopeless combat and this stoical disappearance in 
order to lead to its splendid and superior universal 
conséquences. The magnificent human niovement 
irresistibly began on July 14. Thèse soldiers are 
priests, and the French révolution is a gesture of God. 
Moreover, there are — and it is proper to add this 
distinction to the distinctions already indicated in 
another ch.apter, — there are accepted insurrections 
which are called révolutions ; and there are rejected 
révolutions which are called riots. An insurrection 
which breaks out is an idea which passes its exami- 
nation in the présence of the people. If the peo- 
ple drops its blackball, the idea is dry fruit, and the 


insurrection is a street-riot. Waging war at every ap- 
peal and each time that the Utopia désires it is not 
the fact of the peoples ; for nations hâve not always, 
and at ail hours, the tempérament of heroes and 
martyrs. They are positive ; a priori insurrection is 
répulsive to them, in the first place, because it fre- 
quently has a catastrophe for resuit, and, secondly, 
because it ahvays lias an abstraction as its starting- 

For, and tins is a grand fact, thosc who dévote 
themselves do so for the idéal, and the idéal alone. 
An insurrection is an enthusiasm, and enthusiasm 
may become a fury, whence cornes an upraising of 
muskets. But every insurrection which aims at a 
government or a régime aims higher. Hence, for in- 
stance, we will dwell on the fact that what the chiefs 
of the insurrection of 1832, and especially the young 
enthusiasts of the liue de la Chanvrerie, combated 
was not precisely Louis Philippe. The majority, 
spcaking candidly, did justice to the qualities of this 
king who stood between monarchy and révolution, and 
not one of them hated him. But they attacked the 
younger branch of the right divine in Louis Philippe, 
as they had attacked the elder branch in Charles X., 
and what they wished to overthrow in overthrowing 
the Monarchy in France was, as we hâve explained, 
the usurpation of man over man, and the privilège 
opposing right throughout the universe. Paris with- 
out a king has as its counterstroke the world without 
despots. They reasoned in this way. Their object 
was far ofF without doubt, vague perhaps, and re- 
treating before the effort, but grand. 


So it is. And men sacrifice themselves for thèse 
visions, which are for the sacrificed nearly alwajs 
illusions, but illusions with which the whole of 
liuman certainty is mingled. The insurgent poet- 
izes and gilds the insurrection, and men hurl them- 
selves into thèse tragical things, intoxicating them- 
selves upon what they are about to do. Who 
knows ? Perhaps they will succeed ; they are the 
minority ; they hâve against them an entire army ; 
but they are defending the right, natural law, the 
sovereignty of each over hiniself, which allows of 
no possible abdication, justice, and truth, and, if 
necessary, they die like the three hundred Spartans. 
They da not think of Don Quixote, but of Leonidas, 
and they go onward, and once the battlc has bcgun 
they do not recoil, but dasii forward head down- 
wards, having for hope an cxtraordinary victory, the 
révolution completed, progress rcstored to liberty, 
the aggrandizement of the human race, universal 
deliverance, and at the worst a Thcrraopylse. Thèse 
combats for progress frequently ïn'û, and we hâve 
explained the cause. The mob is rcstive against 
the impulse of the Paladins ; the hcavy masses, 
the multitudes, fragile on account of thcir vcry 
heavincss, fear adventurcs, and tlicrc is adventure 
in the idéal. Moreover, it must not be forgotten 
that thèse are interests which arc no great fricnds 
of the idéal and the sentimental, Sometimcs the 
stomach paralyzes the heart. The grcatness and 
beauty of France are, that shc docs not grow so 
stout as othcr nations, and knots the ropc round 
her bips with greater facility. She is the first to 


wake and the last to fall asleep ; shc goes onward. 
Slie is seeking. 

The rcason of tliis is becaiise she is artistic. The 
idéal is nought else thau the culminating point of 
logic, in the same way as the beautiful is only the 
summit of the true. Artistic peoples are also con- 
sistent peoples ; lo\ing beauty is to see light. The 
resuit of this is, that the torch of Europe, that is to 
say of civilization, was first borne by Greece, who 
passed it to Italy, who passed it to France. Divine 
enlightening nations ! Vitœ lamjKtda tradunt. It is 
an admirable tliing that the poetry of a people is 
the élément of its progress, and the amount of civili- 
zation is raeasured by the amount of imagination. 
Still, a civilizing people must remain masculine ; 
Corinth yes, but Sybaris no, for the man who grows 
effeminate is bastardized. A man must be neither 
dilettante nor virtuoso, but he should be artistic. In 
the matter of civilization, there must not be refine- 
ment, but sublimation, and on that condition the 
pattern of the idéal is given to the human race. 
The modem idcal has its type in art and its means 
in science. It is by science that the august \dsion 
of the poet, the social beauty, will be realized, and 
Eden will be remade by A + B. At the point 
which civilization has reached exactitude is a neces- 
sary élément of the splendid, and the artistic feeliiig 
is not only served but completed by the scientific 
organ ; the dream must calculate. Art, which is the 
conqueror, ought to havc science, which is the mover, 
as its base. The strength of the steed is an impor- 
tant factor, and the modem mind is the genius of 


Greece, having for veliicîe the genius of India, — 
Alexander mounted on an éléphant. Races petrified 
in dogma or demoralized by tinie are unsuited to 
act as guides to civilization. Genuflection before 
tlie idol or the crown-piece ruins the muscle whicli 
moves and the will that goes. Hieratic or mercan- 
tile absorption reduces the radiance of a people, 
lowers its horizon by lowering its level, and with- 
draws from it that both human and divine intel- 
ligence of the universal object which renders 
nations missionaries. Babylon has no idéal, nor 
has Carthage wliile Athens and Rome hâve, and 
retain, even through ail the nocturnal density of 
âges, a halo of civilization. 

France is of the same quality, as a people, as 
Greece and Rome ; she is Athenian through the 
beautiful, and Roman through her grandeur. Ré- 
sides, she is good, and is more often than other 
nations in the humor for dévotion and sacrifice. 
Still, this humor takes lier and leaves her ; and this is 
the great danger for those who run when she merely 
wishes to walk, or who walk when she wishes to 
hait. France has her relapses into materialism, and 
at seasons the ideas which obstruct this sublime 
brain hâve nothing that recalls French grandeur, and 
are of the dimensions of a Missouri or a South 
Carolina. What is to be donc ? The giantess plays 
the dwarf, and inmiense France feels a fancy for 
littleness. That is ail. To this nothing can be said, 
for peoples likc planets hâve the right to be eclipsed. 
And that is well, providcd that light return and the 
éclipse does not degencratc into night. Dawn and 


résurrection are sjnonymous, and tlie reappearance 
of liglît is synonynious with the existence ûf the 
Ego. Let us state tliese facts calnily. Death on a 
barricade, or a tomb in exile, is an acceptable occa- 
sion for dévotion, for the real nanie of dévotion is 
disinterestedness. Let the abandoned be abandoned, 
let the exiles be exiled, and let us confine ourselves 
to imploring great nations not to recoil too far when 
they do recoil. Under the pretcxt of returning to 
reason, it is not necessary to go too far down the 
incline. IMatter exists, the moment exists, interests 
exist, the stomach exists, but the stomach must not 
be the sole wisdom. Momentary life has its rights, 
we admit, but permanent life has theni also. Alas ! 
To hâve mounted does not prevent falling, and we 
see this in history more frequently than we wish ; 
a nation is illustrions, it tastes of the idéal, then it 
bites into the mud and finds it good, and when we 
ask it why it abandons Socrates for Falstaif, it re- 
plies, " Because I like statesmen." 

One Word before returning to the barricade. A 
battle like the one which we are describing at this 
moment is only a convulsion toward the idéal. Im- 
peded progress is sickly, and has sueh tragic attacks 
of epilepsy. This malady of progress, civil war, we 
bave met as we passed along, and it is one of the 
social phases, at once an act and an interlude of 
that drama whose pivot is a social condenniation, 
and whose véritable title is " Progress." Progress ! 
This cry, which we raise so frequently, is our entire 
thought, and at the point of our drama which we 
bave reached, as the idea which it contains has still 


more than oiie trial to undergo, we niay be permitted, 
even iF we do not raise the veil, to let its gleams 
pierce through clearly. The book wliich the reader 
lias before liim at this moment is, from one end to 
the other, in its entirety and its détails, whatever 
the intermittences, exceptions, and short-comings may 
be, the progress from evil to good, from injustice to 
justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, 
from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life, 
from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, and from 
nothingness to God. The starting-point is matter, the 
terminus the soûl ; the hydra at the commencement, 
the angel at the eud. 



SuDDENXY the drum beat the charge, and the 
attack was a hurricane. On the previous evening 
the barricade had been silently approached in the 
darkness as by a boa ; but at présent, in broad day- 
light, within this gutted street, surprise was impos- 
sible ; besides, the armed force was unmasked, the 
cannon had begun the roaring, and the troops rushed 
upon the barricade. Fury was now skill. A power- 
ful column of line infontry, intersected at regular 
intervais by Xatioiial Guards and dismounted Mu- 
nicipal Guards, and supported by lieavy masses that 
could be heard if not seen, debouched into the street 
at a running step, with drums beating, bugles bray- 
ing, bayonets levelled, and sappers in front, and im- 
perturbable under the shower of projectiles dashed 
straight at the barricade with ail the weight of a 
bronze battering-ram. But the wall held out firmly, 
and the insurgents fired impetuously ; the escaladed 
barricade displayed a flashing mane. The attack was 
so violent that it was in a moment inundated by 
assailants ; but it shook off the soldiers as the lion 
does the dogs, and it was only covered with besiegers 
as the cliff is with foam, to reappear a minute later 
scarped, black, and formidable. 


Tlie columns, conipeiled to fall back, remained 
massed in the strcet, cxposed but terrible, and an- 
swered tlie redoubt by a tremendous nmsketry-fire. 
Any one who bas seen firevvorks Avill rcmember the 
pièce composed of a cross-fire of lightnings, which 
is called a bouquet. Imagine this bouquet, no longer 
vertical but horizontal, and bearing at the end of 
each jet a bullet, slugs, or iron balls, and scattering 
death. The barricade was beneath it. . On either 
side was cqual resolution. The bravery was almost 
barbarous, and was complicated by a species of 
heroic ferocity which began with self-sacrifice. It 
was the ei)och when a National Guard fought like 
a Zouave. The troops desired an end, and the insur- 
rection wished to wrestle. The acceptance of death 
in the height of youth and health couverts intrepidity 
into a frenzy, and each man in this action had the 
grandeur of the last hour. The street was covered 
with corpses. The barricade had JNIarius at one of 
its ends and Enjolras at the other. Enjolras, who 
carried the whole barricade in his head, reservcd and 
concealed himself. Three soldiers fell under his loop- 
hole without even seeing him, while Marins displayed 
himself opcnly, and made himself a mark. More 
than once half his body rose above the barricade. 
There is no more violent prodigal than a miser who 
takes the bit between his teeth, and no man more 
startling in action than a dreamer. Marins was 
formidable and pensive, and in the battle was like 
a dream. He looked like a ghost firing. The car- 
tridgcs of the besiegcd were cxhausted, but not 
their sarcasms ; and they laughcd in the tornado of 


tlie tomb in which tliey stood. Courfeyrac was 

" What hâve you done with your hat ? " Bossuet 
asked him ; and Courfeyrac answered, — 

" Tbey carried it away at last with eannon-balls." 

Or else thcy macle haughty reniarks. 

" Can you understand," Feuilly exclaimed bitterly, 
"those men," — and he nientioned names, well-known 
and even celebrated names that beloiiged to the old 
army, — "wlio promiscd to joiu us and pledged their 
honor to aid us, and who are gênerais, and aban- 
don us ? " 

And Combeferre restricted himself to replying with 
a grave smile, — 

" They are people who observe the rules of honor 
as they do the stars, — a long distance oiF." 

The interior of the bamcade was so sown ^vith 
torn cartridges that it seemed as if there had been a 
snow-storm. The assailants had the numbcrs and 
the insurgents the position. They were behind a wall, 
and crushed at point-blank range the soldiers who 
were stumbling over the dead and wounded. This 
barricade, built as it was, and adniirably streugthened, 
was really one of those situations in which a handful 
of men holds a légion in check. Still, constantly 
recruited and growing beneath the shower of buUets, 
the column of attack inexorably approached, and 
little by little, step by step, but with certainty, the 
army squeezed the barricade as the screw does the 

The assaults succeeded each other, and the horror 
becanie constantly greater. Then there broke eut on 


this pile of paving-stoiies, in tliis Rue de la Chan- 
vrerie, a struggle worthy of the wall of Troy. Thèse 
sallow, ragged, and exhausted meii, who had not 
eaten for four-and-twenty hoiirs, who had not slept^ 
who had only a few rounds more to fire, who felt 
their empty pockets for cartridges, — thèse men, nearly 
ail wounded, with head or arm bound round with a 
blood-stained blackish rag, having holes in their coat 
from whicii the blood flowed, scarce arnied with bad 
guns and old rusty sabres, became Titans. The bar- 
ricade was ten times approached, assaulted, escaladed, 
and never captured. To forni an idea of the contest 
it vvould be necessary to imagine a heap of terrible 
courages set on fire, and that you are watching the 
fiâmes. It was not a combat, but the interior of a 
furnace ; mouths breathed fiâmes there, and the faces 
were extraordinary. The human form seemed im- 
possible there, the combatants fiashed, and it was a 
formidable sight to see thèse salamanders of the 
mêlée flitting about in this red smoke. The succes- 
sive and simultaneous scènes of this butchery are be- 
yond our povver to depict, for the epic alone has the 
right to fin twelve thousand verses with a battle. 
It might hâve been called that Inferno of Brahmin- 
ism, the most formidable of the seventeen abysses, 
which the Veda calls the Forest of Swords. They 
fought foot to foot, body to body, with pistol-shots, 
sabre-cuts, and fists, close by, at a distance, above, 
below, on ail sides, from the roof of the house, from 
the wine-shop, and even from the traps of the cellars 
into which some had slipped. The odds were sixty 
to one, and the frontage of Corinth half demolished 


was liideous. Tlic window, pock-marked with grape- 
sliot, liad lost glass and frame, and was only a shape- 
less hole tuniultuously stopped up with paving-stones. 
Bossuet was killed, Feuilly was killed, Courfcyrac 
was killed, Joly was killed. Coinbeferre, traversed 
by three bayonet stabs in the brcast at the moment 
wheii he was raising a woundcd soldier, had only 
time to look up to heaven, and expired. Marins, 
still fighting, had received so many wounds, especially 
in the head, that bis face disappcared in blood and 
looked as if it werc covered by a red liandkerchief. 
Enjolras alone was not Avoiinded ; when he had no 
weapon he held ont his arni to the right or left, and 
an insurgent placed some instrument in his hand. 
He had only four broken sword-blades left, — one 
more thau Francis I. had at Marignano. 

Homer says : " Diomed slew Axylus, the son of 
Teuthras, who dwelt in well-built Arisba ; Euryalus, 
son of INIecisteus, slew Dresus and Opheltius, iEsepus 
and Pedasus, whom the Naiad Abarbarea brought 
forth to blamcless Bucolion ; Ulysses killed Percosian 
Pidytes ; Antilochus, Ablerus ; Polypœtes, Astyalus ; 
Polydamas, Otus of Cyllene ; and Teucer, Aretaus. 
Meganthius fell by the spear of Euripilus ; Agamem- 
non, king of heroes, struck down Elatus, born in the 
lofty walled town which the g^unding river Satniois 

In our old poems of the Gesta, Esplandian attacks 
with a flaming falchion Swantibore, the giant mar- 
quis, who défends hirasclf by storming the kniglit 
with towers which he uproots. Our old mural fres- 
cos show us the two Dukes of Brittany and Bour- 


bon armed for war and monnted, and approaching 
each other, axe in Imnd, niasked with steel, sliod 
with steel, gloved with steel, one caparisoned with 
ennine and the other draped in azuré ; Brittany with 
his lion between the two horns of his crown, and 
Bourbon with an enormous fleur-de-lys at liis visor. 
But in order to be superb it is not necessary to wear, 
like Yvon, the ducal morion, or to hâve in one hand 
a li\ing flame like Esplandian ; it is sufficient to lay 
down one's life for a conviction or a loyal deed. This 
little simple soldier, yesterday a peasant of Bearne 
or the Limousin, who prowls about, cabbage-cutter 
by his side, round the nursemaids in the Luxembourg, 
this young, pale student bowed over an anatomical 
study or book, a fair-haired boy who shaves himself 
with a pair of scissors, — take them both, breathe 
duty into them, put them face to foce in the Carre- 
four Boucherat or the Planche Mibray blind alley, 
and let one fight for his flag and the other combat 
for his idéal, and let them both imagine that they 
are contending for their country, and the struggle 
will be colossal ; and the shadow^ cast by thèse two 
contending lads on the great epic field w^here hu- 
manity is struggling will be eqnal to that thrown 
by jNIegarion, King of Lycia, abounding in tigers, 
as he wrestles with the iumiense Ajax, the equal of 
the gods. 



When there were no chiefs left but Enjolras and 
Marins at the two ends of the barricade, the centre, 
which had so long been snpported by Courfejrac, 
Bossuet, Joly, Feuilly, and Combeferre, yielded. 
The cannon, without making a practicable breach, 
had severely injured the centre of the redoubt, then 
the crest of the wall had disappeared under the balls 
and fallen down, and the fragments wliich had col- 
lected both inside and ont had in the end formed two 
slopes, the outer one of which offered an inclined 
plane by which to attack. A final assault was at- 
temptcd tlius, and tins assault was successful ; the 
bristling mass of bayonets, hurled forward at a run, 
came up irresistibly, and the dense line of the attack- 
ing column appeared in the smoke on the top of the 
scarp. Tliis time it was ail over, and the band of 
insurgents defending the centre recoiled pell-mell. 

Then the gloomy love of life was rekindled in 
some ; covered by this forest of muskets, several did 
not wish to die. It is the moment when the spirit of 
self-preservation utters yells, and wiien the beast 
reappears in man. They were drawn up against the 
six-storied house at the back of the barricade, and 


this lioiise miglit be tîieir salvation. This house was 
barricadccl, as it were walled up froni top to Lottoni, 
but before the troops reached the interior of the 
redoubt, a door would hâve tinie to open and sliut, 
and it would be life for thèse desperate men ; for at 
the back of this house were streets, possible flight, and 
space. ïhey began kicking and knocking at the door, 
while calling, crying, imploring, and clasping their 
hands. But no one opened. The dead head looked 
down on them from the third-floor window. But 
INIarius and Enjolras, and seven or eight men who 
rallied round them, had rushed forward to protect 
them. Enjolras shouted to the soldiers, " Donot ad- 
vance," and as an officer declined to obey he killed 
the officer. He was in the inner yard of the redoubt, 
close to Corinth, w4th his sword in one liand and 
carbine in the other, holding open the door of the 
wine-shop, which he barred against the assailants. 
He shouted to the desperate men, " There is only one 
door open, and it is this one ; " and covering them 
with his person, and alone facing a battalion, he 
made them pass behind him. AU rushed in, and 
Enjolras, whirling his musket round his head, drove 
back the bayonets and entered the last, and there was 
a frightful moment, during which the troops tried to 
enter and the insurgents to bar the door. The latter 
"was closcd with such violence that the five fingers of 
a soldier who had caught hold of a doorpost were 
eut ofF clean, and remained in the crevice. Marins 
remainod outside ; a bullet broke his collar-bone, aud 
he felt himself fainting and falling. At this moment, 
when his eyes were already closed, he felt the shock 


of a powerful liancl seizing him, and Iiis faiiiting-fit 
scarce left hini tinie for tins thought, blended with 
the suprême reeollection of. Cosette, " I am made 
prisoner and shall be sliot." 

Enjolras, iiot seeing jNIarius among those who had 
sought shelter in the house, had the same idea, but 
they had reached that moment when each could only 
tliink of his own death. Enjoh*a.s put the bar on the 
door, bolted and locked it, while the soldiers beat it 
with niusket-butts, and the sappers attacked it with 
their axes outside. The assailants were grouped 
round this door, and the siège of the wine-shop now 
began. The soldiers, let us add, were full of fury ; 
the death of the sergeant of artillery had irritated 
them, and then, more mournful still, during the few 
hours that preceded the attack a whisper ran along 
the ranks that the insurgents were mutilatiug their 
prisoners, and that there was the headless body of a 
soldier in the cellar. This species of fatal rumor is 
the gênerai accompaniment of civil wars, and it was 
a false report of the same nature whieh at a later 
date produced the catastrophe of the Rue Trans- 
nonain. When the door was secured, Enjolras said 
to the others, — 

" Let us sell our lires dearly.' 

Then he went up to the table on which Mabœuf 
and Gavroche were lying ; uhder the black cloth two 
forms could be seen straight and livid, one tall, the 
other short, and the two faces were vaguely designed 
under the cold folds of the winding-sheet. A hand 
emerged from under it, and hung toward the ground ; 
it was that of the old man. Enjolras bent down and 


kissed tliis vénérable hanci, in the same A^ay as lie 
had done the forehead on tlie previous evening. 
They were the only two kisses he had ever given in 
his life. 

Let us abridge. The barricade had resisted like a 
gâte of Thebes, and the wine-shop resisted like a 
house of Saragossa. Such résistances are violent, 
and there is no quarter, and a flag of truce is impos- 
sible ; people are willing to die provided that they 
can kill. When Suchet says " capitulate," Palafox 
answers, " After the war with cannon, the war with 
the knife." Nothing was wanting in the attack on 
the Hucheloup wine-shop : neither paving-stone 
showering froni the window and roof on the assail- 
ants, and exasperating the troops by the frightful 
damage they committed, nor shots from the attics 
and cellar, nor the fnry of the attack, nor the rage of 
the defence, nor, finally, when the door gave way, the 
frenzied mania of extermination. When the assail- 
ants rushed into the wine-shop, their feet entangled 
in the panels of the broken door which lay on the 
ground, they did not find a single combatant. The 
winding staircase, eut away with axes, lay in the 
middle of the ground-floor room, a fcw woundcd men 
were on the point of dying, ail who were not killed 
were on the first-floor, and a terrifie fire was dis- 
cllargcd thence through the holc in the ceiling which 
had been the entrance to the restaurant. Thèse were 
the last cartridgcs, and when they were expended 
and nobody had any powdcr or balls left, each man 
took up tvvo of the bottles rcserved by Enjolras, 
and defendcd the stairs with thèse frightfully fragile 


weapons. Tliey were bottics of aquafortis. We 
describe the glooniy tliings of carnage exactly as 
tliey are : the besieged, alas 1 makes a weapon of 
evei-ytliing. Greek fire did not dishonor Archimedes, 
builing pitch did not dishonor Bayard ; every war is 
a horror, and there is no choice. Tlie musketry-fire 
of the assailants, though impeded and discharged 
from balow, was nuirderous ; and the brink of the 
hole was soon lined witli dead heads, whence dripped 
long red and steaming jets. The noise was inde- 
scribable, and a compressed burning smoke almost 
threw night over the combat. Words fail to describe 
liorror wlien it has reached this stage. There were 
110 longer meii in this now infernal struggle, no 
longer giants contending against Titans. It resem- 
bled Miltoii and Dante more than Homer, for démons 
attacked and spectres resisted. It was a monster 



At lengtli, by employing the skeleton of tlie stair- 
case, by cliinbing iip tlie walls, clinging tô the ceiling, 
and killing on the very edge of the trap the hist who 
resisted, some twenty assailants, soldiers, National 
and jSIunicipal Guards, niostly disfigurcd by Avounds 
in the face rcceived in tliis formidable ascent, blinded 
by blood, furious and savage, burst into the first-floor 
room. There was only one man standing there, — 
Enjolras ; without cartridges or sword, he only held 
in his hand the barrel of hi.s carbine, whose butt he 
had brokcn on the heads of those who entered. He 
had placed the bilJiard-table between himself and his 
assailants, he had fallcn back to the end of the rooni, 
and there, with flashing eye and head erect, holding 
the pièce of a weapon in his hand, he was still sufïi- 
ciently alarniing for a space to be fornied round hini. 
A cry was raised, — 

" It is the chief ; it was he who killcd the artillery- 
man ; as he has i)laced himself there, we will let him 
remain there. Shoot him on the spot ! " 

" Shoot me ! " Enjolras said. 

And throwing away his weapon and folding his 
arms, he olfered his chest. The boldness of dying 


bravely always moves raen. So soon as Eiijolras 
folcled his arins, accepting the end, the din of thc 
struggle ceased in the rooui, and tlie chaos was sud- 
denly appeased in a species of sepulchral solemnity. 
It seemed as if the menacing majesty of Enjolras, 
disarmed and motionless, produced an effcct on the 
tumult, and that merely by the aiithority of his 
tranquil glanée, this young man, who alone was un- 
wounded, superb, blood-stained, charming, and indif- 
fèrent like one invuhiei'able, constrained this sinister 
mob to kill hini rcspectfully. His beauty, heightened 
at this moment by his haughtiness, was dazzling, and 
as if he coukl be no more fatigued than wounded 
after tlie frightful four-and-tAventy hours which liad 
elapsed, he was fresh and rosy. It was to him that 
the witness referred when lie said at a later date 
befoi'e the com't-martial, " Tliere was an insurgent 
whom I heard called Apollo." A National Guard 
who aimed at Enjolras lowered his musket, saying, 
" I feel as if I were going to kill a flower." Twelve 
men fornied into a platoon in the corner opposite to 
the one in which Enjolras stood, and got their mus- 
kets ready in silence. Then a sergeant shouted, 
" Présent ! " 

An officer interposed. 

" Wait a minute." 

And, addressing Enjolras, — 

" Do you wish to hâve your eves bandaged ? " 

" No." 

" It was really you who killed the sergeant of 
artillery ? " 

" Yes." 


Grantaire liad beeii awake for some minutes past. 
Grantaire, it will be remembered, had beeii sleeping 
siuce thc past evening in the uppcr rooni, with his 
head lying on a table. Ile realized in ail its energy 
the old nietaphor, dead drunk. The hidieous philter 
of absintlie, stout, and aleohol, bad tlirown him into 
a léthargie state, and, as his table was small, and 
of no use at the barricade, they had left it him. Ile 
was still in the same posture, with his chest upou 
the table, his head reeling on his arms, and sur- 
rounded by glasses and bottles. He was sleeping 
the dcadly sleep of the hibernating bear or the 
filled leecli. Nothhig had ronsed him, — neither the 
platoon fire, nor the cannon-balls, nor the canister 
which penetrated through the window into the room 
where he was, nor the prodigious noise of the assault. 
Still, he at times responded to the cannon by a snore. 
He seemed to be waiting for a bullet to save him 
the trouble of waking ; several corpses lay around 
him, and at the first glance nothing distinguished 
him from thèse deep sleepers of death. 

Noise does not wake a drunkard, but silence 
arouses him, and this j^eculiarity has bcen more than 
once observed. The fall of anything ncar him in- 
creased Grantaire's lethargy, and noise Inlled him. 
The species of hait which the tuniult niade before 
Enjolras was a shock for this heavy sleep. It is 
the effect of a galloping coach which stoj)s short. 
Grantaire started up, stretched out his arms, rubbed 
his eyes, looked, yawned, and understood. Intoxi- 
cation wearing off resembles a curtain that is rent, 
and a man sees at once, and at a single glance, ail 


that it coiicealed. Evervtliing présents itself sud- 
denly to the memorv, and the drunkard, who knows 
nothing of ^vhat has liappened.during the last twenty- 
four hours, has scarce opened his evcs ère he under- 
stands it ail. Ideas return with a sudden lucidity ; 
the species of siids that blinded the brain is dis- 
persed, and makes way for a clear aud distinctive 
appréhension of the reality. 

Concealed, as he was, in a corner, and sheltered, 
so to speak, by the billiard-table, the soldiers, who 
had their eyes fixed on Enjolras, had not eveu per- 
ceived Grantaire, and the sergeant Avas preparing to 
repeat the order to fire, when ail at once they heard 
a powerful voice crying at their side, — 

" Long live the Republic ! I belong to it." 

Grantaire had risen ; and the immense gleam of 
ail the combat which he had missed appeared in 
the flashing glance of the transfigured drunkard. 
Ile repeated, " Long live the Republic ! " crossed 
the room with a firm step, and placed himself before 
the muskets by Enjolras's side. 

" Kill us both at once," he said. 

And turning gently to Enjolras, he asked him, — 

" Do y ou permit it ? " 

Enjolras pressed his hand with a smile, and this 
smile had not passed away ère the détonation took 
place. Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained 
leaning against the wall as if nailed to it ; he merely 
hung his head. Grantaire was lying stark dead at 
his feet. A fcw minutes later the soldicrs dislodgcd 
the last insurgents who had takeu refuge at the top 
of the house, and were firing through a partition 

VOL. V. 9 


in the garret. They fought desperately, and threw 
bodies ont of Windows, some still alive. Two vol- 
tigeurs, who were trying to raise the smashed om- 
nibus, were killed by two shots froni the attics ; a 
man in a blouse rushed out of them, with a bayonet 
thrust in his stomach, and lay on the ground expiring. 
A private and insurgent slipped together down the 
tiles of the roof, and as they would not loosen their 
hold fell into the street, holding each other in a 
ferocious embrace. There was a similar struggle in 
the cellar, — cries, shots, and a fierce clashing, — then 
a silence. The barricade was captured, and the 
soldiers began searching the adjacent houses and 
pursuing the fugitives. 



Marius was really a prisoner; — prisoner to Jean 

The hancl which had clutched him behind at the 
moment when he was falling, and of which he felt 
the pressure as he lost his sensés, was that of Jean 

Jean Valjean had taken no other part in the 
struggle than that of exposing himself. Had it not 
been for him, in the suprême moment of agony no 
one would hâve thought of the wounded. Thanks 
to him, who was everywhere présent in the carnage 
like a Providence, those who fell were picked up, 
carried to the ground-floor room, and had their 
wounds dressed, and in the intervais he repaired 
the barricade. But nothing that could resemble a 
blow, an attack, or even personal defence, could be 
seen with him, and he kept quiet and succored. 
However, he had only a few scratches, and the 
bullets had no billet for him. If suicide formed 
part of what he dreamed of when he came to tins 
sepulchre, he had not been successful ; but we doubt 
whether he thought of suicide, which is an irréligions 
act. Jean Valjean did not appear to see Marins in 


the thick of the coiiibat ; but in trutli lie did not 
take his eyes off him. When a bullet laid Marins 
low, Jean Valjean leapcd npon liim with the agility 
of a tiger, dashed npon him as on a prev, and 
cavried him ofF. 

The Avlîirlwind of the attack was at this moment 
80 violently concentrated on Enjolras and the door of 
the wine-shop, that no one saw Jean Valjean, sup- 
porting the fainting Marins in his arms, cross the 
unpavcd gronnd of the barricade and disappear round 
the corner of Corinth. Our readers will remember 
this corner, which formed a sort of cape in the street, 
and protected a few square feet of gronnd from bul- 
lets and, grape-shot, and from glances as well. There 
is thus at times in fires a room which does not burn, 
and in the most raging seas, bcyond a promontory, 
or at the end of a reef, a little quiet nook. It was in 
this corner of the inner trapèze of the barricade that 
Eponine drew her last breath. Hère Jean Valjean 
stopped, let Marins slip to the gronnd, leaned against 
a wall, and looked around him. 

The situation was frightful ; for the instant, for 
two or three minutes perhaps, this ])iece of wall was 
a shelter, but how to gct ont of this massacre ? He 
recalled the agony he had felt in the Rue Polonceau, 
eight years previously, and in Avhat way he had suc- 
ceeded in escaping ; it was difficult thcn, but now it 
was impossible. Ile had in front of him that impla- 
cable and silent six-storied house, which only seemed 
inhabited by the dead man leaning ont of his windoAV ; 
he had on his right the low barricade which closed 
the Petite Truandcrie ; to climb ovcr this obstacle 


appeared easy, but a row of bayonet-points could be 
seeii over the crest of tlie barricade ; they were Une 
troops posted beyoud the barricade aud on the watch. 
It was évident tliat crossing the barricade was seeking 
a platoon fire, and that any head which appeared 
above the vvall of paving-stones would serve as a 
mark for sixty muskets. He had on his left the 
battle-field, and death was behind the corner of the 

What was he to do ? A bird alone could hâve es- 
cajDed from this place. And he must décide at once, 
find an expédient, and make up his mind. They 
were fighting a few paces froni hini, but fortunately 
ail were obstinately engaged at one point, the wine- 
shop door; but if a single soldier had the idea of 
turning the house or attacking it on the flank ail 
would be over. Jean Valjean looked at the house 
opposite to hini, he looked at the barricade by his 
side, and then looked on the ground, with the vio- 
lence of suprême extremity, wildly, and as if he would 
bave liked to dig a hole with his eyes. By much 
looking, something vaguely discernible in such an 
agony became perceptible, and assumed a shaj)e at 
his feet, as if the eyes had the power to produce the 
thing demanded. He perceived a few paces from 
him, at the foot of the small barricade so pitilessly 
guarded and watched from without, and beneath a 
pile of paving-stones which almost concealed it, an 
iron grating, laid flat and flush with the ground. 
This grating made of strong cross-bars was about 
two feet square, and the framework of pa\nng-stones 
which supported it had been torn out, and it was as 


it were dismounted. Through the bars a glimpse 
could be caught of an obscure opening, soraething 
liko a chimney-pot or tlie cylinder of a cistern. Jean 
Valjean dashed up, and his old skill in escapes rose 
to his brain like a beani of light, To remove tlie 
Ijaving-stoues, tear up the grating, take Marins, who 
was inert as a dead body, on his shoulders, descend 
with this burden on his loins, helping himself with 
his elbows and knees, into this sort of well which 
was fortunately of no great depth, to let the grating 
fall again over his head, to set foot on a paved sur- 
face, about ten feet below the earth, — ail this was exe- 
cuted like something doue in delirium, with a giant's 
strcngth and the rapidity of an eagle : this occupied 
but a few minutes. Jean Valjean found himself with 
the still fainting Marins in a sort of long subterranean 
corridor, where there was profound peace, absolute 
silence, and night. The impression which he had 
formerly felt in falling out of the street into the cou- 
vent recurred to him ; still, what he now carried was 
net Cosette, but Marins. 

He had scarce heard above his head like a vague 
murmur the formidable tumult of the wine-shop being 
taken by assault. 




Paris casts twenty-five millions of francs annually 
into the sea ; and we assert this without any nieta- 
phor. How so, and in wliat way? By day and night. 
For what object ? For no object. With what 
thonght ? Without thinking. What to do ? Nothing. 
By nieans of what organ ? Its intestines. What are 
its intestines ? Its sewers. Twenty-five millions are 
the most moderate of the approximative amounts 
given by the estimâtes of modem science. Science, 
after groping for a long time, knows now that the 
most fertilizing and effective of manures is human 
manure. The Chinese, let us say it to our shame, 
knew this before we did ; not a Chinese peasant — 
it is Eckeberg who states the fact — who goes to the 
city, but brings at either end of his bamboo a bucket 
full of what we call filth. Thanks to the human 
manure, the soil in China is still as youthful as in the 
days of Abraham, and Chinese wheat yields just one 
hundred and twenty fold the sowing. There is no 


guano comparable in fertility to tlie détritus of a cap- 
ital, and a large city is the strongest of stercoraries. 
To employ the towu in manuring the plain would be 
certain success ; for if gold be dung, on the other 
liand our dung is gold. 

What is donc with tins golden dung? It is swept 
into the gulf. We send at a great expense flects of 
ships to collect at the southern pôle the guano of 
pétrels and penguins, and cast into the sea the incal- 
culable clément of wealth which we hâve under our 
hand. Ail the human and animal manure which the 
world loses, if returned to the land instead of bcing 
thrown into the sea, would sufRce to nourish the 
world. Do you know what those piles of ordure 
are, collected at the corners of streets, those carts of 
mud carried off at night from the streets, the friglit- 
ful barrels of the night-man, and the fetid streams 
of subterranean inud which the pavement conceals 
from you ? Ail this is a flowering field, it is green 
grass, it is mint and thyme and sage, it is game, it is 
cattle, it is the satisfied lowing of heavy kine at 
night, it is perfumed hay, it is gilded wheat, it is 
brcad on your table, it is warm blood in your veins, 
it is health, it is joy, it is life. So desires that mys- 
terious création, wliich is transformation on earth 
and transfiguration in heaven ; restoro tliis to tlie 
great crucible, and your abundançe will issue from it, 
for the ni\tritîon of the plains produces the nourish^ 
ment of men. You arc at liberty to |ose this wealth 
and çonsider me ridiculous into tlie bargain ; it 
would be the mastei-piece of your ignorance. Sta- 
tistiçs hâve calculatcd that France alone pours every 


year into the Atlantic a sum of half a milliard. 
Note tliis ; witli thèse five hundred niillious one 
quarter of the expenses of the budget would be 
paid. The cleverness of man is so great that he 
prefers to get rid of thèse five hundred millions in the 
gutter. The very substance of the people is borne 
away, hère drop by drop, and there in streams, by 
the wretched vomiting of our sewers into the rivers, 
and the gigantic vomiting of our rivers into the océan. 
Each éructation of our cloacas costs us one thousand 
francs, and this has two results, — the earth impover- 
ished and the water poisoned ; hunger issuing from 
the furrow and illness from the river. It is notorious 
that at this very hour the Thames poisons London ; 
and as regards Paris, it has been found necessary to 
remove most of the mouths of the sewers dowu the 
river below the last bridge. 

A double tubular apparatus supplied with valves 
and flood-gates, a System of elementary drainage as 
simple as the human lungs, and which is already in 
full work in several English parishes, would suffice 
to bring into our towns the pure water of the fields 
and send to the fields the rich water of the towns; 
and this easy ebb and flow, the most simple in the 
world, would retain among us the five hundred mil- 
lions thrown away. But people are thinking of 
other things, The présent process does mischief 
while mcaning well. The intention is good, but the 
resuit is sorrowful ; they believe they are draining 
the city, while they are destroying the population. 
A sewer is a misunderstanding ; and when drainage, 
with its double functions, restoring what it takes, is 


everywhere substituted for the sewer, that simple 
and impoverishing washing, and is also combined 
with the data of a new social economy, the produce 
of the soil will be increased tenfold, and the prob- 
lem of misery will be singularly attenuated. Add 
the suppression of parasitisms, and it will be solved. 
In the mean while the public wealth goes to the 
river, and a sinking takes place, — sinking is the 
right Word, for Europe is being ruined in this way 
by exhaustion. As for France, we hâve mentioned 
the figures. Now, as Paris contains one twenty- 
fifth of the whole French population, and the Paris- 
ian guano is the richest of ail, we are beneath the 
truth wben we estimate at twenty-five millions the 
share of Paris in the half-milliard which France 
annually refuses. Thèse twenty-five millions, em- 
l^loyed in assistance and enjoynient, would double 
the splendor of Paris, and the city expends them in 
sewers. So that we may say, the grcat prodigality 
of Paris, its marvellous fête, its Folie Beaujon, its 
orgie, its lavishing of gold, its luxury, splendor, and 
magnificence, is its sewerage. It is in this way that 
in the blindness of a bad political economy people 
allow the comfort of ail to be drowned and wasted 
in the water ; there ought to be St. Cloud nets to 
catch the public fortunes. 

Economically rcgarded, the fact may be thus sum- 
marizcd : Paris is a regular spendthrilt. Paris, that 
model city, that pattern of well-conducted capitals, 
of which every people strives to hâve a copy, that 
metropolis of the idéal, that august home of initia- 
tive, impulse, and experiment, that centre and gath- 


ering-place of minds, that nation city, that beehive 
of the future, that niarvellous composite of Babylon 
and Corinth, would make . a peasaut of Fo-Kian 
shrug his shoulders, froni our présent point of view. 
Imitate Paris, and you will ruin yourself ; moreover, 
Paris imitâtes itself particularly in this immémorial 
and insensate squandering. Tliese surprising follies 
are not new ; it is no youthful uonsense. The 
aneients acted like the modems. " The cloacas of 
Rome," says Liebig, " absorbed the entire welfare of 
the Roman peasant." ^Yheu the Campagna of Rome 
was ruined by the Roman sewer, Rome exhausted 
Italy ; and when it had placed Italy in its cloaca, it 
poured into it Sicily, and then Sardinia, and then 
Africa. The sewer of Rome swallowed up the 
world. This cloaca offered its tunnels to the city 
and to the world. Urbi et orbi. Eternal city and 
unfathomable drain. 

For thèse things, as for others, Rome gives tlie 
example, and this example Paris follows with ail the 
folly peculiar to witty cities. For the requirements 
of the opération which we hâve been explaining, 
Paris bas beneath it another Paris, a Paris of sewers, 
which has its streets, squares, lanes, arteries, and cir- 
culation, which is mud, with the human forces at 
Icast. For nothing must be flaftered, not eveu a 
great people. Where there is everything, there is ig- 
nominy by the side of sublimity ; and if Paris contain 
Athens the city of light, Tyre the city of power, 
Sparta the city of virtue, Xineveh the city of prodi- 
gies, it also contains Lutetia the city of mud. 
Moreover, the starap of its power is there too, and 


the Titanic sewer of Paris realizes amoiig monuments 
the strange idéal realized in humanity by a few men 
like Machiavelli, Bacon, and jNlirabeau, — the grand 
abject. The subsoil of Paris, if the eye could pierce 
the surface, would offer the aspect of a gigantic 
madrépore ; a sponge has not more passages and 
holes than the pièce of ground, six leagues in circum- 
ference, upon which the old great city rests. With- 
out alluding to the catacombs, which are a separate 
cellar, without speaking of the inextricable net of 
gas-pipes, without referring to the vast tubular Sys- 
tem for the distribution of running water, the drains 
alone form on either bank of the river a prodigious 
dark ramification, a labyrinth which has its incline 
for its clew. In the damp mist of this labyrinth is 
seen the rat, which seems the produce of the 
accouchement of Paris. 



If \ve imagine Paris removed like a cover, the 
siibterranean network of sewers, regarded from a 
birds'-eye view, would represent on eitlier bank a sort 
of large brandi grafted npon the river. On the right 
bank the encircling sewer will be the trunk of this 
branclî, the secondary tubes the branches, and the 
blind allejs the twigs. This figure is only sunimary 
and half correct, as the right angle, which is the usual 
angle in subterranean ramifications of this nature, is 
very rare in végétation. Our readers will form a 
better likeness of this strange géométrie plan by sup- 
posing that they see lying on a bed of darkness some 
strange Oriental alphabet as confused as a thicket, 
and whose shapeless letters are welded to each other 
in an apparent confusion, and as if accidentally, hère 
by their angles and there by their ends. The sewers 
and drains played a great part in the Middle Ages, 
under the Lower Empire and in the old East. Plague 
sprang from them and despots died of it. The multi- 
tudes regarded almost \\àth a religions awe thèse beds 
of corruption, thèse monstrous cradlcs of death. The 
vermin-ditch at Benares is not more fearful tlian the 
Lion's den at Babylon. Tiglath-Pileser, according to 


the rabbinical books, swore by the sink of Nineveh. 
It was frora the drain of Munster that John of Ley- 
den produced his false moon, and it was from the 
cesspool-well of Kekhseheb that his Oriental mensech- 
mus, Mokanna, the veiled prophet of Khorassau, 
brought his false sun. 

The history of nien is reflected in the history of the 
sewers, and the Gemonise narrated the story of Rome. 
The sevver of Paris is an old formidable thiiig, it lias 
been a sepulchre, and it has been an asylum. Crime, 
intellect, the social protest, liberty of conscience, 
thought, robbery, ail that human laws pursue or hâve 
pursued, hâve concealed themsclves in this den, — the 
Maillotins in the fourteenth century, the cloak-stealers 
in the tiftcenth, the Huguenots in the sixtecnth, the 
illuminés of ^Nlorin in the seventeenth, and the Chauf- 
feurs in the eighteenth. One hundred years ago the 
nocturnal dagger issued from it, and the rogue in 
danger glided into it ; the wood had the cave and 
Paris had the drain. The Truanderie, that Gallic 
picareria, accepted the drain as an annex of the 
Court of Miracles, and at night, cunning and fero- 
cious, entered beneath the INIaubuée vomitory as into 
an alcôve. It was very simple that those who had 
for thcir place of daily toil the Yide-Gousset lane, or 
the Rue Coupe-Gorge, shoiild hâve for their nightly 
abode the ponccau of the Chemin-Vert or the Hure- 
poix cagnard. Hence cornes a swarm of recollcctions, 
ail sorts of phantoms haunt thèse long solitary corri- 
dors, on ail sides are putridity and miasma, and hère 
and there is a trap through which Villon insidc con- 
verses with Rabelais outside. 


The sewer in old Paris is the of ail 
exhaustions and of ail experiments ; political econ- 
omy sees there a détritus, and social philosophy a 
residuum. The sewer is the conscience of the city, 
and everything converges and is confronted there. 
In this livid spot there is darkness, but there are no 
secrets. Each thing bas its true form, or at least its 
définitive form. The pile of ordure has this in its 
favor, that it tells no falsehood, and simplicity has 
taken refuge there. Basile's mask is found there, 
but you see the pasteboard, the threads, the inside 
and out, and it is niarked with honest filth. Scapin's 
false nose is lying close by. Ail the uncleanlinesses 
of civilization, where no longer of service, fall iiito 
this pit of truth ; they are swallowed up, but dis- 
play themselves in it. This pell-mell is a confession : 
there no false appearance nor any plastering is pos- 
sible, order takes off its shirt, there is an absolute 
nudity, a rout of illusions and mirage, and there 
nothing but what is assuming the gloomy face of 
what is finishing. Reality and disappearance. There 
a bottle-heel confesses intoxication, and a basket- 
handle talks about domesticity ; there, the apple-core 
which has had literary opinions becomes once again 
the apple-core, the effigy on the double sou grows 
frankly vert-de-grised, the saliva of Caiaphas meets 
the vomit of Falstaff, the louis-d'or which comes from 
the gambling-hell dashes against the nail whence 
hangs the end of the suicides rope, a livid fœtus 
rolls along wrapped in spangles, which danced last 
Shrove Tuesday at the opéra, a wig which has judgcd 
men wallows by the side of a rottenness which was 


Margotton's petticoat : it is more tlian fraternity, it 
is the extremest faniiliarity. Ail tliat paintcd itself 
is bedaubed, and the last veil is torii away. The 
sevver is a cynic and says everything. This sincerity 
of uncleanliness pleases us and reposes" the niind. 
Wheri a man has spent his time upon the earth in 
enduring the great airs assumed by state reasons, the 
oath, political wisdom, human justice, professional 
probity, the austerities of the situation, and incor- 
ruptible robes, it relieves him to enter a sewer and 
see there the mire which suits it. 

It is instructive at the same time, for, as we said 
just now, history passes through the sewer. St. 
Bartholoniew filters there drop through the 
paving-stoncs, and great public assassinations, political 
and religions butcherics, traverse this subterranean 
way of civilization, and thrust their corpses into it. 
For the eye of the dreamer ail historical murderers 
are there, in the hideous gloom, on their knees, with 
a bit of their winding-sheet for an apron, and mourn- 
fully sponging their task. Louis XI. is there with 
Tristan, Francis I. is tliere with Duprat, Charles IX. 
is there with his mother, Richelieu is there with 
Louis XIII., L(mvois is there, Letellier is there, 
Hébert and Maillard are there, scratching the stones, 
and trying to cfllace the trace of their deeds. The 
brooms of thèse spectres can be heai'd undcr thèse 
vaults, and the enormous fetidness of social catas- 
trophes is breathed there. You sce in corners red 
flashcs, and a terrible watcr flows there in wliich 
blood-stained hands hâve been washcd. 

The social observer should enter thèse shadows, 


for tliey forin part of liis laboratorv, Philosopliy is 
tlie microscope of tliouglit ; evervtliir.g strives to fly 
froni it, but nothing escapes it. Tergiversation is 
useless, for wliat sidc of liiniself does a mau show 
in tergiversatiiig ? His ashamcd side. Philosophy 
pursues evil with its upriglit glauce, and does iiot 
allow it to escape into nothingness. It recognizes 
everything in tlie effacement of disappearing things, 
and in the diminution of vanishing things. It re- 
constructs the purple after the rags, and the woman 
after the tattcrs. With the sewer it re-makes the 
town ; with the mud it re-makes manners. It judges 
from the potsherds whether it v,'ere an amphora or 
an earthenware jar. It recognizes by a nail-mark 
on a parchment the différence which séparâtes the 
Jewry of the Juden-gasse from the Jewry of the 
Ghetto. It finds again in wliat is left what has been, 
— the good, the bad, the false, the true, the patch of 
blood in the palace, the ink-stain of the cavern, the 
tallow-drop of the brothel, trials undergone, tempta- 
tions welconie, orgies vomited up, the wrinkle which 
characters hâve formed in abasing themselves, the 
traces of prostitution in the soûls whose coarseness 
rendered them capable of it, and on the jacket of 
the street-porters of Rome the mark of the nudge 
of Messalina. 

VOL. V. 10 



The sewer of Paris in the Middle Ages was legen- 
clarv. In the sixteenth century Henry II. attempted 
soundings wliicli failed, and not a liundred years ago, 
as Mercier testifies, the ckiaca was abandoned to it- 
self, and became what it could. Snch was that an- 
cient Paris, handed over to quarrels, indécisions, and 
groping. It was for a long time thus stupid, and a 
hiter period, '89, showed how cities acquire sensé. 
But in the good old tinies the capital had but little 
head ; it did not know how to transact its business 
either morally or materially, and could no more 
sweep avvay its ordure than its abuses. Everything 
was an obstacle, everything raised a question. The 
sewer, for instance, was refractory to any itinerary, 
and people could no more gct on under the city than 
they did in it ; above, everything was unintelligible ; 
below, inextricable ; beneath the confusion of tongues 
Avas the confusion of cellars, and Dœdalus duplicatcd 
Babel. At times the sewer of Paris thought proper 
to overflow, as if this misunderstood Nile had sud- 
dcnly fallen into a passion. There Avere, iufamous 
to relate, inundations of the sewer. At moments 
this stomach of civiliziition digcsted badly, the sewer 


flowecl back into the tliroat of the city, and Paris 
had the after-taste of its ordure. Thèse resem- 
blances of the drain to remorse had some good 
about them, for they were warnings, very badly 
taken however ; for the city was indignant that 
its mud should hâve so much boldness, and did not 
admit that the ordure should return. Discharge 
it better. . 

The inundafion of 1802 is in the memory of 
Parisians of eiglity years of âge. The mud spread 
across the Place des Victoires, on which is the statue 
of Louis XIV. ; it entered Rue St. Honoré by the 
two mouths of the sewer of the Champs Elysées, 
Rue St. Florentin by the St. Florentin sewer, Rue 
Pierre à Poisson by the sewer of the Sonnerie, Rue 
Popincourt by the Chemin-Vert sewer, and Rue de 
la Roquette by the Rue de Lappe sewer ; it covered 
the level of the Rue des Champs Elysées to a height 
of fourteen inches, and in the south, owing to the 
vomitory of the Seine performing its duties contrari- 
wise, it entered Rue Mazarine, Rue de l'Echaudé, 
and Rue des Marais, where it stopped affcer running 
on a hundred and twenty yards, just a few yards 
from the house which Racine had inhabited, respect- 
ing, in the seventeenth century, the poet more than 
tlie king. It reached its maximum depth in the 
Rue St. Pierre, where it rose three feet above the 
gutter, and its maximum extent in the Rue St. Sabin, 
where it extended over a length of two hundred and 
fifty yards. 

At the beginning of the présent century the sewer 
of Paris was still a mysterious spot. Mud can ne ver 


be well famecl, but hère the ill réputation extended 
ahnost to terror. Paris knew confusedly tliat it had 
beneath it a grewsome cave ; people talked about it 
as of tluit monstrous niud-bed of Thebes, in whicli 
centipedes fifteen feet in length swarmed, and wliich 
could hâve served as a bathing-place for Behemoth. 
The great boots of the sewers-men never ventured 
beyond certain known points. It was still very close 
to the time when the scavengcrs' car^s, from the top 
of whicli St. Foix fi'aternized with the INIarquis de 
Créqui, were siniply unloaded into the sewer. As 
for the cleansing, the duty was intrusted to the 
showers, which clioked up rather than swept away. 
Rome allowed sonie jîoetry to hcr cloaca, and called 
it the Gemoniœ, but Paris insulted its own, and 
called it the stench-hole. Science and superstition 
were agreed as to the horror, and the stench-hole 
was quite as répugnant to hygiène as to the 
legend. The goblin was hatched under the fetid 
arches of the Mouffetard sewer : the corpses of 
the Marmousets were thrown into the Barillcrie 
sewer : Fagot attributed the malignant fever of 
1685 to the great opening of the INIarais sewer, 
v.hich remained yawning until 1833 in the Rue 
St. Louis, nearly opposite the sign of the ^Messager 
Galant. The mouth of the sewer in the Rue de 
la Mortel lerie was celebrated for the pestilences 
which issued from it ; with its iron-pointed grating 
that resembled a row of teeth it yawned in tins 
fatal strect like the throat of a dragon breathing 
hell on niankind. The popular imagination sea- 
soned the gloomy Parisian sewer with some hideous 


mixture of infiiiitude : the sewer was bottomless, the 
sewer was a Baratliruni, and the idea of exploi'ing 
thèse leprous régions never . even occurred to the 
police. Who would hâve dared to cast a sound 
into this darkness, and go on a journey of discov- 
ery in this abyss ? It was frightful, and yet some 
one presented himself at last. The cloaca had its 
Christopher Colunibus. 

One day in 1805, during one of the rare appari- 
tions which the Eniperor niade in Paris, the Minister 
of the Interior attended at his master's J^ef^ï lever. 
In the court-yard could be heard the clanging sabres 
of ail the extraordinary soldiers of the great Repub- 
lic and the great Empire ; there was a swarm of 
heroes at Napoleon's gâtes ; men of the Rhine, the 
Schelde, the Adage, and the Xile ; conu'ades of Jou- 
bcrt, of Desaix, of Marceau, Hoche, and Kléber, 
aeronauts of Fleurus, grenadiers of Mayence, pon- 
tooners of Genoa, hussars whom the Pyramids had 
gazed at, artillerymen who had bespattered Junot's 
cannon-balls, cuirassiers who had taken by assault 
the fleet anchored in the Zuyderzee ; some had fol- 
lowed Bonaparte upon the bridge of Lodi, others 
had accompanied Murât to the trenches of Mantua, 
while others had outstripped Lannes in the hollow 
way of ]Montebello. The whole army of that day 
was in the court of the Tuileries, represented by a 
squadron or a company, and guarding Napoléon, 
then resting ; and it was the splendid pcriod 
when the great army had Marengo bchind it and 
Austerlitz before it. " Sire," said the Minister of 
the Interior to Napoléon, " I hâve seen to-day the 


most intrepid man of jour Empire." "Who is 
the man ? " the Emperor asked sharply, " and what 
lias lie done ? " " He wislies to do sometliing, 
Sire." "What is it?" " To visit the sewers of 
Paris." Tliis man existed, and his naine was 



The visit took place, and was a formidable cam- 
paigiî, — a nocturnal battle against asphyxia and 
plague. It was at the same time a voyage of dis- 
covery, and one of the survivors of the exploration, 
an intelligent workman, very young at that time, used 
to recount a few years ago the curious détails whieh 
Bruneseau thought it right to omit in his report to 
the Prefect of Police, as iinworthy of the adminis- 
trative style. Disinfecting processes were very rudi- 
mentary at that day, and Bruneseau had scarce 
passed the first articulations of the subterranean net- 
work ère eight workmen out of twenty refused to go 
farther. The opération was com])licated, for the 
visit entailed cleansing : it was, therefore, requisitc to 
cleanse and at the same time take measurements ; 
note the water entrances, count the traps and mouths, 
détail the branches, indicate the currents, recognize 
the respective dimensions of the différent basins, 
Sound the small sewers grafted on the main, measure 
the height undcr the key-stone of each passage, and 
the width both at the bottom and the top, in order 
to détermine the ordinates for levelling at the right 
of each entrance of water. They advanced with diffi- 


culty, and it was not rare for the ladders to sink into 
three feet of niud. The lanterns would scarce burn 
in the mephitic atmosphère, and from timc to time a 
sewer-man was carried away in a fainting state. At 
certain spots there was a précipice ; the soil had 
given way, the stones were swallowed np, and the 
drain was converted into a lost well ; notliing solid 
could be found, and they had great difficulty in 
dragging out a man who suddenly disa]:)peared. By 
the advice of Fourcroy large cages filled with tow 
saturated with resin were set fire to at regular dis- 
tances. The wall was covered in spots with shape- 
Icss fnngi, which might hâve been called tumors, and 
the stoiie itself seemed diseased in this unbreathable 

Bruneseau, in liis exploration, proceeded down-hill. 
At the point where the two water-pipes of the Grand 
Hurleur separate he deciphered on a projecting stone 
the date 1550 ; this stone indicated the limit where 
Philibert Delorme, instructed by Henri H. to inspect 
the subways of Paris, stopped. This stone was the 
mark of the sixteenth century in the drain, and 
Bruneseau found the handiwork of the seventcenth in 
the Ponceau conduit and that of the Rue Vieille du 
Temple, wiiich were arched bctween 1000 and 1650, 
and the mark of the eightecnth in the west section 
of the collecting canal, enclosed and arched in 1740. 
Thèse two arches, cspecialiy the youngcr onc, that 
of 1740, were more décrépit and cracked than the 
masonry of the begirding drain, wliich dated from 
1412, the period when the INIcnihnontant strcam 
of running water was raiscd to the digiiity of the 


Great Sewer of Paris, a promotion aualogous to 
that of a peasant who became first valet to the 
king ; something like Gros Jean trausformed into 

They fancied tliey recognized hère and there, 
especially under the Palais du Justice, the form of old 
dungeons formed in the sevvcr itself, hideous in pace. 
An iron collar hung in one of thèse cells, and they 
were ail bricked up. A few of the things found were 
peculiar ; aniong others the skeleton of an ourang- 
outang, which disappeared froni the Jardin des 
Plantes in 1800, a disappearance probably connected 
Avith the fanions and incontestable apparition of the 
dovil in the Rue des Bernardins in the last year of 
the eighteeuth century. The poor animal eventually 
drowned itself in the sewer. Under the long vaulted 
passage leading to the Arche Clarion a rag-picker's 
hotte in a perfect state of préservation caused the 
admiration of connoisseurs. Everywhere the mud, 
which the sewer-men had corne to handle intrepidly, 
abounded in precious objects ; gold and silver, jew- 
eh"y, precious stones, and coin. A giant who had 
filtered tins cloaca would hâve found in his sieve the 
wealth of centuries. At the point where the two 
branches of the Rue du Temple and the Rue Sainte 
Avoye divide, a singular copper Huguenot medal 
was pickcd up, bearing on one side a pig wearing a 
cardinals hat, and on the other a wolf with the tiara 
on its head. 

The most surprising discovery was at the entrance 
of the Great Sewer. This entrance had been for- 
merly closed by a gâte, of which only the hingcs now 


remained. From ono of thèse hinges liung a filthy 
shapeless rag, wliich doubtless caugnt there as it 
passed, floated in tlie shadow, and was gradually 
mouldering away. Bruneseau raised his lantern 
and examined tins fragment; it was of very fine 
linen, and at one of the corners less gnawcd 
than tiie rest could be distinguished an lieraldic 
crown embroidered above thèse seven letters, 
Lavbesp. The crown was a Marquis's crown, 
and the seven letters signified Laubespine. What 
they had under their eyes was no less than a 
pièce of ]\larat's winding-slieet. JNIarat, in his 
youth, had had amours, at the time when he was 
attached to the household of tlie Comte d'Artois 
in the capacity of physician to the stables. Of 
thèse amours with a great lady, which are histori- 
cally notorious, this sheet had remained to him as 
a waif or a souvenir ; on his death, as it was the 
only fine linen at his lodgings, he was buried in it; 
Old women wrapped up the tragic friend of the peo- 
ple for the tomb in this sheet which had known 
voluptuousness. Bruneseau passed on ; the strip 
was left where it was. Was it througli contempt or 
respect? ]\Iarat deserved both. And then destiny 
was so impressed on it that a hésitation was felt 
about touching it. Moreover, tliings of the sepul- 
chre should be left at the place which they sélect. 
Altogethcr the relie was a strange one : a INIarquise 
liad slei)t in it, Marat had rotted in it ; and it had 
passed through the Panthéon to reach the sewer- 
rats. This rag from an alcôve, every crease in 
which Watteau in former days would joyously hâve 


painted, ended by bcconiiiig worthy of the intent 
glanée of Dante. 

The visit to the subwajs of Paris lasted for seven 
years, — from 1805 to 1812. While goiug along, 
Bruneseau designed, directed, and carried out con- 
sidérable opérations. In 1808 he lowered the Ponceau 
sewcr, and everywhere pushing out new lines, carried 
the sewer in 1809 under the Rue St. Denis to the 
Fountain of the Innocents; in 1810 under the Rue 
Froidmanteau and the Salpêtrière ; in 1811 under 
the Rue Neuve des Petits Pères, under the Rue du 
INIail, the Rue de l'Echarpe and the Place Royal ; 
in 1812 under the Rue de la Paix and the Chaussée 
d Antin. At the samc time he disinfected and 
cleansed the entire network, and in the second year 
called his son-in-law Nargaud to his assistance. It 
is thus that at the beginning of this century the old 
Society flushed its subway and performed the toilette 
of its sewer. It was so uiuch cleaned at any rate. 
Winding, cracked, unpaved, full of pits, broken by 
strange elbows, ascending and dcscending illogically, 
fetid, Savage, ferocious, submerged in darkness, with 
cicatrices on its stones and scars on its walls, and 
grewsonie, — such was the old sewer of Paris, retro- 
spectively regarded. Ramifications in ail directions, 
crossings of trenches, branches, dials and stars as 
in saps, blind guts and alleys, arches covered with 
saltpctre, infected pits, scabby cxudations on the 
walls, drops falling from the roof, and darkness, 
nothing equalled tlie liorror of this old excremental 
crypt, — the digestive apparatus of Babylon, a den, 
a trench, a gulf pierced with streets, a Titanic 


mole-hill, in which the inind fancics that it sees 
crawliiig through the sliadow, amid the ordure 
which had beeii splendor, that euormous bhnd 
mole, the Past. 

Sucli, we repeat, was the sewer of the oldeu 



At the présent day the sewer is clean, eold, 
straight, and correct, and almost realizes the idéal 
of what is understood in England by the word 
" respectable." It is neat and gray, built ^^^th the 
plunib-line, — we might almost say coquettishly. 
It resenibles a contractor who bas become a Coun- 
cillor of State. You almost see clearly in it, and 
the mud behaves itself decently. At the first glance 
you might be inclined to take it for one of those 
subterranean passages so common formerly, and so 
useful for the flights of monarchs and princes in 
the good old times " when the people loved its 
kings." The présent sewer is a handsome séwer ; 
the pure style prevails there, — the classic rectilinear 
Alexandrine, which, expelled from poetry, appears 
to hâve taken refuge in architecture, seems blended 
with ail the stones of this long, dark, and white 
vault ; each vomitory is an arcade, and the Rue de 
Riv^oli sets the fashion even in the cloaca. How- 
ever, if the géométrie line be anywhere in its place, 
it is assuredly so in the stercoraceous trench of a 
great city, where everything rnust be subordinated 
to the shortest road. The sewer has at the présent 


day assuuicd a certain officiai aspect, and the police 
reports of Avhich it is sometimes the object are no 
longer déficient in respect to it. The words which 
characterize it in the administrative language are 
lofty and dignified ; what used to be called a gut 
is now called a gallery, and what used to be a hole 
is now a " look." Villon would no longer recognize 
the ancient lodgings he used for emergencies. This 
network of cellars stiil bas its population of rodents, 
puUuIating more than ever ; froni time to time a rat, 
an old vétéran, ventures bis head at the window 
of the drain and examines the Parisians : but even 
thèse vermin are growing tame, as they are satisfied 
with their subterranean palace. The cloaca no longer 
retains its primitive ferocity, and the rain which sul- 
lied the sewer of olden times, washes that of the 
présent day. Still, do not trust to it too entirely, 
for miasmas yet inhabit it, and it is rather hjpo- 
critical than irreproachable. In spite of ail the pré- 
fecture of police and the Board of Health bave done, 
it exhales a vague suspicions odor, like Tartuffe after 
confession. Still, wc nmst allow that, take it ail to- 
gcther, sweeping is an homage which the sewer pays 
to civilization, and as from this point of view Tartuffe's 
conscience is a progress upon the Augean stable, 
it is certain that the sewer of Paris has becn im- 
proved. It is more than a progress, it is a transmu- 
tation ; bctwecn tlie old and the présent sewer there 
is a révolution. WIïo cffectcd this révolution ? The 
man whom every one forgets, and whom we bave 
nanied, — Bruneseau. 



DiGGiNG the sewerage of Paris was no small task. 
Tlie last ten centuries hâve toiled at it without being 
able to finish, any more than they could finish Paris. 
The sewer, in fact, receives ail the counterstrokes of 
the growth of Paris. It is in the ground a species of 
dark polypus with a thonsand antenna3, which grows 
below, equally with the city above. Each time that 
the city forms a street, the sewer stretches ont an 
arm. The old monarchy only constructed twenty- 
three thousand three hundred mètres of sewers, 
and Paris had reached that point on Jan. 1, 180G. 
From this period, to which we shall presently revert, 
the work has been usefully and energetica'ly taken 
up and continued. Xapoleon built — and the figures 
are curions — four thousand eight hundred and four 
mètres ; Charles X., ten thousand eight hundred and 
thirty-six ; Louis Philippe, eighty-nine thousand and 
twenty ; the Republic of 1848, twenty-three thousand 
three hundred and eighty-one ; the présent govern- 
ment,seventy thousand five hundred : ail together two 
hundred and twenty-six thousand six hundred mètres, 
or sixty leagues, of sewer, — the enormous entrails of 
Paris, — an obscure ramification constantly at wo.'k, 


an unkiiown and immense construction. As we see, 
the subterranean labvriiith of Paris is, at tlie présent 
day, more than tenfoid wliat it was at the beginning 
of the centurj. It would be difficult to imagine ail 
the persévérance and efforts required to raise this 
cloaca to the point of relative perfection at wliich it 
now is. It was witli great trouble that the old mon- 
archical Provostry, and in the last ten years of the 
eighteenth century the revolutionary Mayoralty, suc- 
ceeded in boring the five leagues of sewers which 
existcd prior to 180G. Ail sorts of obstacles impcdcd 
this opération ; some peculiar to tlie nature of tiie 
soil, othcrs inhérent in the préjudices of the working 
population of Paris. Paris is built on a stratum 
strangely rebellions to the pick, the spade, the borer, 
and human manipulation. Nothing is more difficult 
to pierce and penetrate than this geological formation 
on which the marvellous historical formation callcd 
Paris is superposed. So soon as labor in any shape 
ventures into this layer of alluvium, subterranean 
résistances abound. They are liquid clay, running 
springs, hard rocks, and that soft and deep nuid 
which the spécial science calls "mustard." The pick 
advanccs laboriously in the calcareous layers altcrnat- 
ing with very thin veins of clay and schistose strata 
incrusted with oyster-shells, which are contemporaries 
of the Pre-Adamite océans. At times a stream sud- 
denly bursts into a tunnel just commenced, and inun- 
dates the workmen, or a slip of chalk takes place and 
rushes forward with the fury of a cataract, brcaking 
like glass the hirgest supporting shores. Very recently 
at La Villettc, wlien it was found necessary to carry 


tlie collecting sewer uiider the St. jMartiii canal witli- 
out stopi3ing the navigation or letting oft' the water, 
a tissure formée! in the bed of the canal, and the water 
poured into the tunnel deriding the efforts of the 
draining-pumps. It was found necessary to eniploy a 
diver to seek for the fissure which was in the mouth 
of the great basin, and it was only stopped up witli 
great diiiiculty, Elsewhere, near the Seine, and even 
at some distance from the river, as, for instance, at 
Belleville, Grande Rue, and Passage Lunière, bottoni- 
less sands are found, in which mcn liave been swal- 
lowed up. Add asphyxia by miasmas, interment by 
slips and suddcn breaking in of the soil ; add typhus, 
too, with which the workmen are slowly impregnated. 
In our days, after having hollowed the gallgry of 
Clichy with a banquette to convey the mainwater 
conduit of the Ourque, a work perfornied by trenches 
ten mètres in depth ; after having arched the Bièvre 
from the Boulevard de l'Hôpital to the Seine, in the 
midst of earth-slips and by the help of trenching often 
through putrid mattcr, and of shores ; after having 
in order to deliver Paris from the torrent-like waters 
of the Montmartre, and give an outlet to the fluvi- 
atic pond of twenty-three acres which stagnated near 
the Barrière des ]Martyrs ; after having, we say, con- 
structed the line of sewers from the Barrière Blanche 
to the Aubervilliers road, in four raonths, by working 
day and night at a depth of eleven mètres ; after 
having — a thing unknown before — executed subter- 
raneously a sewer in the Rue Barre du Bec, without- 
trench, at a depth of six mètres, the surveyor 
Monnot died. After arching three thousaud mètres 

VOL. V. 11 


of sewer in ail parts of tlie city, froni tlie Rue Traver- 
sière St. Antoine to the Rue de rOurcine ; altcr 
having, by tlie Arbalète branch, freed the Censier- 
Moufîetard square from pluvial inundations ; after 
luiviug constructed the St. George sewer through 
liquid sand upon rubble and béton, and after having 
lowered the formidable pitch of the Nôtre Dame de 
Nazareth branch, the enginecr Duleau died. Thcre 
are no bulletins for such acts of bravery, which are 
more useful, however, than the brutal butchery of 

The sewers of Paris were in 1832 far from being 
what they are now. Brunescau gave the impulse, 
but it required the choiera to détermine the vast 
reconstruction which has taken place since. It is 
surprising to say, for instance, that in 1821 a portion 
of the begirding sewer, called the Grand Canal, as 
at Yenice, still stagnated in the open air, in the Rue 
des Gourdes. It was not till 1823 that the city of 
Paris found in its pocket the twenty-six thousand 
six hundred and eighty francs, six centimes, needed 
for covering tins turpitude. The three absorbing 
wclls of the Combat, la Cunette, and St. iNIandè, 
with their disgorging apparatus, draining-wells, and 
deodorizing branches, merely date from 1836. The 
intestine canal of Paris lias been re-made, and, as 
we said, augniented more than tenfold during the 
last quarter of a ccntury. Thirty years ago, at the 
period of the insurrection of June 5 and 6, it was 
still in many parts almost the old sewer. A grcat 
numbcr of streets, now convex, Averc at that time 
broken causcways. Thcre could bc frequently secn 


at the bottom of thc water-sheds of streets and 
squares, large square gratings, whose iron glistened 
from the constant passage of the crowd, dangerous 
and slippery for vehicles, and throwing horses down. 
The officiai language of the department of the roads 
and bridges gave thèse gratings the expressive nanie 
of Cassis. In 1832 in a number of streets, — Rue 
de l'Etoile, Rue St. Louis, Rue du Temple, Rue 
Vieille du Temple, Rue Nôtre Dame de Nazareth, 
Rue Folie ^Icricourt, Quai aux Fleurs, Rue du Petit 
Musc, Rue de Normandie, Rue Pont aux Biches, 
Rue des Marais, Faubourg St. Martin, Rue Nôtre 
Dame des Victoires, Faubourg jSIontmartre, Rue 
Grange Batelière, at the Champs Elysées, the Rue 
Jacob, and the Rue de Tournon, the old Gothic 
cloaca still cjnically displayed its throats. They 
were euormous stone orifices, sometimes surrounded 
with posts, with a monumental effrontery. Paris in 
1806 was much in the same state as regards sewers 
as in May, 1663, — five thousand three hundred 
and twenty-eight toises. After Bruneseau, on Jan. 
1, 1832, there were forty thousand three hundred 
mètres. From 1806 to 1831 seven hundred and 
fifty mètres were on the average constructed annu- 
ally ; since then eight and even ten thousand mètres 
hâve been made every year in brick-work, with a 
coating of concrète on a foundation of béton. At 
two hundred francs the mètre, the sixty leagues of 
drainage in the Paris of to-day represent forty-eight 
million francs. 

In addition to the économie progress to which we 
alluded at the outset, serions considérations as to the 


public licalth are attaclied to this immense question, 
— tlie drainage of Paris. Paris is situated betvveen 
two shects, — a sbeet of water and a sbeet of air. 
Tbe sbeet of water, lying at a very great deptb, but 
already tapped by two borings, is supplied by the 
stratum of green sandstone situated between the 
chalk and the Jurassic liniestone ; this stratum may 
be represcnted by a dise with a radius of twcnty-tive 
leagues ; a multitude of rivers and strearas drip 
into it, and the Seine, the Marne, the Yonne, the 
Oisin, the Aisne, the Cher, the Vienne, and the 
Loire are drunk in a glass of water from the Gre- 
nelle well. The sbeet of water is salubrious, for it 
cornes from the sky first, and then from the earth ; 
but the sbeet of air is unhealthy, for it comes from 
the sewer. Ail the miasmas of the cloaca are min- 
gled with the breathing of the city ; hence this bad 
breath. The atmosphère taken from above a dung- 
heap, it has been proved scientifically, is purer tiian 
the atmosphère taken from over Paris. Within a 
given time, by the aid of progress, improvements in 
machinery, and enlightenment, the sheet of water 
will be employed to purify the sheet of air, that is 
to say, io wash the sewer. It is known that by 
washing the sewer we mean restoring the ordure to 
the earth by sending dung to the arable lands and 
manure to the grass lands. Through this simple 
fact there will be for the whole social conmiunity a 
diminution of wretchedness and an augmentati(m of 
health. At the présent hour the radiation of the 
diseases of Paris extends for fifty leagues round the 
Louvre, taken as the axle of this pestilential wheel. 


We might say tliat for tlie last ten centuries the 
cloaca lias been tlie luisery of Paris, and the sewer 
is the viciousness which the. city has in its blood. 
The popular instinct has never been deceived, and 
the trade of the sewer-man was formerly almost as 
dangerous and ahnost as répulsive to the people as 
tliat of the horse-slaughtcrer, which so long was re- 
garded with horror and left to the hangman. Great 
wages were required to induce a bricklayer to dis- 
appear in tins fctid sap ; the ladder of the well- 
digger hesitated to plunge into it. It was said 
proverbially, " Going into the sewcr is entering the 
tonib ; " and ail sorts of hideous legends, as we said, 
covered this colossal cesspool with terrors. It is a 
formidable fosse which bears traces of the révolutions 
of the globe as well as the révolutions of men ; and 
vestiges may be found there of evcry cataclysm from 
the shells of the Déluge to the ragged sheet of 




It was in the sewer of Paris that Jean Valjcan 
found himsclf. This is a further reseniblance of 
Paris with the sea, as in the océan the diver can 
disappear there. It Avas an extraordinary transition, 
in the very heart of the city. Jean Valjean had Icft 
the city, and in a twinkling, the time required to 
lift a trap and let it fall again, lie had passed from 
broad daylight to complète darkness, from midday 
to midnight, from noise to silence, from the uproar 
of thunder to the stagnation of the tomb, and, by 
an incident far more prodigious even than that of 
the Rue Polonceau, from tlie extremest péril to the 
most absolute security. A suddcMi fall into a cellar, 
disappearance in the oubliette of Paris, leaving this 
Street where death was ail around for this species of 
sepulchre in which was life, — it was a strange mo- 
ment. He stood for some minutes as if stunned, 
listening and amazed. The trap-door of safcty had 
suddenly opened beneath him, and tlie Celestial Good- 


ness liad to some extent taken liim by treachery. 
Admirable ambuscades of Providence ! Still, the 
wounded man did not stir, and Jean Valjean did iiot 
know whetlier wliat he was carrying in this pit were 
alive or dead. 

Ilis tîrst sensation was blindncss, for he ail at once 
could see uothing. He felt too that in a moment he 
had become deaf, for he could hear nothing more. 
The frenzied storm of murder maintained a few yards 
above him only reached him confusedly and indis- 
tinctly, and like a noise from a depth. He felt that 
he had something solid under his feet, but that was 
ail ; still, it was sufficicnt. He strctched ont one 
arm, then the other ; he touched the wall on both 
sides and understood that the passage was uarrow ; 
his foot slipped, and he understood that the pave- 
ment was damp. He advanced one foot cautiously, 
fearing a hole, a cesspool, or some gulf, and satisfied 
himself that tlie pavement went onwards. A fetid 
gust warned him of the spot where he was. At the 
expiration of a few minutes he was no longer blind, 
a little light fell through the trap by which he de- 
scended, and his eye grew used to this vault. He 
began to distinguish something. The passage in 
which he had run to earth — no other word expresses 
the situation better — was walled up behind him ; 
it was one of those blind alleys called in the pro- 
fcssional language branches. Before him hc had 
another wall, — a wall of niglit. The light of the trap 
expired ten or twelve feet from the spot where Jean 
Valjean was, and scarce produced a livid whiteness 
on a few yards of the damp wall of the sewer. Be- 


yond tliat tlie opaqucness was massive ; to pierce it 
appeared horrible, and to enter it seenied like being 
swallowcd iip. Yet it was possible to bury one's self 
in tliis wall of fog, and it niust be done ; and nuist 
even be done quickly. Jean Valjean thought that 
the grating which hc liad noticed in the strcet niight 
also be notieed by the troops, and that ail depended 
on chance. They niight also conie down into the 
well and search, so lie had not a minute to lose. He 
had laid Marins on the ground and now picked him 
iip, — that is again the ïight expression, — took him 
on his shoulders, and set ont. He resolutely entered 
the darkucss. 

The truth is, that thcy were less saved than 
Jean Valjean believed ; périls of another nature, but 
equally great, avvaited tliem. After the flashing 
whirlwind of the combat came the cavern of miasmas 
and snares ; after the chaos, the cloaca. Jean Val- 
jean had passcd from one circle of the Inferno into 
another. Whcn he had gone fifty yards lie was 
obliged to stop, for a question occurred to him ; the 
passage ran into another, which it intersectcd, and 
two roads offered themselves. Which sliould he 
take ? Ought he to turn to the left, or right ? ITow 
was he to find his way in this black labyrinth ? This 
labyrinth, we hâve said, has a clew in its slope, and 
following the slope Icads to the river. Jean Val- 
jean understood this inimediately : he said to himself 
that he was probably in the scwer of the markets ; 
that if hc tnrned to the left and followed the incline 
he wonld arrive in a quarter of an hour at sonie 
opening on the Seine betwecn the Pont au Change 


and the Pont Xeuf, that is to say, appear in broad 
dayliglit in the busiest part of Paris. Perhaps lie 
might corne ont at some street opening, and passers- 
by would be stupefied at seeing two blood-stained 
nien émerge froni the groiind at their feet. The 
police would conie up and they would be carried 
off to the nearest guard-rooni ; they would be pris- 
oners before they had come out. It would be 
better, therefore, to bury himself in the labyrinth, 
confide in the darkness, and leave the issue to 

He went up the incline and turned to the right ; 
when he had gone round the corner of the gallery 
tiie distant light from the trap disappeared, the 
curtain of darkness fell on him again, and he be- 
canie biind once more. For ail that he advanced as 
rapidly as he could ; ]Marius's arms were passed 
round his neck, and his feet hung down behind. 
He held the two arms with one hand and felt the 
wall with the other. Marius's cheek touched his 
and was glued to it, as it was bloody, and he felt 
a warni stream which came from Marins drif) on 
him and penetrate his clothing. Still, a warm breath 
in his ear, which touched the wounded man's mouth, 
indicated respiration, and consequently life. The 
passage in which Jean Valjean was now walking 
was not so narrow as the former, and he advanced 
\nt\\ some difficulty. The rain of the prcAious night 
had not yet passed off, and formed a small torrent 
in the centre, and he was forced to hug the wall 
in order not to lave his feet in the water. He went 
on tlius darkly, like a créature of the night groping 


in tlie invisible, and subterraneouslj lost in the 
vcins of glooni. Still, by degrees, either that a dis- 
tant grating sent a littie floating liglit into this 
oj)aque niist, or that liis eyes grew accustomed to 
the obscurity, he regained some vague vision, and 
began to notice confusedly, at one moment the wali 
he was touching, at another the vault under which 
he was passing, The pupil is dilated at niglit and 
eventually finds daylight in it, in the same way as 
the soûl is dilated in misfortunc and eventually linds 
God in it. 

To direct hiniself was difficult, for the sewers 
represent, so to speak, the outline of the streets 
standing over theni. There were in the Paris of 
that day two thousand two hundred streets, and 
imagine beneath them that forest of dark branches 
called the sewer. The System of sewers existing 
at that day, if placed end on end, would hâve given 
a length of eleven leagues. We hâve already said 
that the présent network, owing to the spécial activity 
of the last thirty years, is no less than sixty leagues. 
Jean Valjean began by deceiving himself ; he fancied 
that he was under the Rue St. Denis, and it was 
unlucky that he was not so. There is under that 
street an old stone drain, dating from Louis XIll,, 
which runs straight to the collecting sewer, called 
the Great Sewer, with only one turn on the right, 
by the old Cour des Miracles, and a single brandi, 
the St. Martin sewer, whose four arms eut each 
other at right angles. But the passage of the Littie 
Truanderie, whose entrance was ncar the Corinth 
wine-shop, never communicated with the sewer of 


the Rue St. Denis ; it falls iiito the Montmartre 
scwer, and tliat is where Jean Valjean now was. 
Thcre oj^portunities for losing himself vvere abundant, 
for the ^lontmartre drain is one of the most labyrin- 
thian of the old network. Luckily Jean Valjean 
had Icft bchind him the sewer of the markets, whose 
gcometrical pkin represents a number of eutangled 
top-galhint-masts ; but he had before hini more than 
one embarrassing encounter, and more than one street 
corner — for they are streets — oftering itself in the 
obseurity as a note of interrogation. In the first 
phice on his left, the vast Phitrière sewer, a sort of 
Chinese puzzle, thrusting forth and iutermingling its 
chaos of T and Z under the Post Office, and the 
rotunda of the grain-markets, as far as the Seine, 
where it terminâtes in Y ; secondlv, on his riglit 
the curved passage of the Rue du Cadran, with its 
tliree teeth, Avhich are so niany blind allcys ; thirdly, 
on his left the ^Nlail branch, complicated almost at 
the entrance by a species of fork, and running with 
repeated zigzags to the great cesspool of the Louvre, 
which ramifies in cvery direction ; and lastly, on his 
right the blind alley of the Rue des Jeûneurs, without 
counting other pitfalls, ère he reached the engirdling 
sewer, which alone could lead him to some issue 
sufficiently distant to be safe. 

Had Jean VaPean had any notion of ail we hâve 
just stated he would hâve quickly perceived, mercly 
by feeling the wall, that he was not in the sub- 
terranean gallery of the Rue St. Denis. Instead of 
the old freestone, instead of the old architecture, 
haughty and royal even in the sewer, with its arches 


and continuous courses of granité, wliicli cost eight 
hundred livres the fathoni, lie would feel under his 
hand modem cheapness, the économie expédient, 
brick-work supported on a layer of béton, whicli 
costs two hundred francs the mètre, — that bourgeois 
masonry known as à lietits matériaux ; but he kncw 
nothing of ail this. He advanced anxiously but 
calmly, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, plunged into 
chance, that is to say, swallowed up in Providence. 
By degrees, however, we are bound to state that 
a certain amount of horror beset him, and the shadow 
whicli enveloped him entered his mind. He was 
walking in an enigma. This aqueduct of the cloaca 
is formidable, for it intersects itself in a vertiginous 
manner, and it is a mournful thing to be caught in 
this Paris of darkness. Jean Valjean was obliged 
to find, and almost invent, his road without seeing 
it. In this unknown région each step that he ven- 
tured might be his last. How was he to get out 
of it ? Would he find an issue ? Would he find 
it in time ? Could he picrce and penetrate this 
colossal subterranean sponge with its passages of 
stone ? Would he meet there some unexpected 
knot of darkness ? Would he arrive at something 
inextricable and impassable ? Would jNIarius die 
of hemorrhage, and himself of hunger ? Would 
they both end by being lost there, and forin two 
skcletons in a corner of this night ? He did not 
know ; he asked himself ail this and could not find 
an answer. The intestines of Paris are a préci- 
pice, and like the prophet he was in the monster's 


He suddenly had a surprise ; at tlie most unex- 
pected moment, and withuut ceasing to walk in a 
straight Une, he perceived that he was no longer as- 
cending ; the water of the gutter phished against his 
heels instead of coming to his toes. The sewer was 
now descending ; wliy ? Was he about to reach the 
Seine suddenly ? That danger was great, but the 
péril of tm-ning back was greater still, and he con- 
tinned to advance. He was not proceeding toward 
the Seine ; the shelving ridge which the soil of Paris 
makes on the right bank empties one of its water- 
sheds into the Seine and the other into the Great 
Sewer. The crest of tliis ridge, which détermines 
the division of the waters, designs a most capricious 
line ; the highest point is in the Sainte Avoye sewer, 
beyond the Rue Michel-le-comte, in the Louvre sewer, 
near the boulevards, and in the Montmartre drain, 
near the markets. Tins highest point Jean Valjean 
had reached, and he was proceeding toward the en- 
girdling sewer, or in the right direction, but he knew 
it not. Each time that he reached a brandi he fclt 
the corners, and if he found the opening narrower 
than the passage in which he was he did not enter, 
but continued his mardi, correctly judging tliat any 
narrower way must end in a blind alley, and could 
only take him from his object, that is to say, an out- 
let. He thus avoided the fourfold snare laid for him 
in the darkness by the four labyrinths which we hâve 
enumerated. At a certain moment he recognized that 
he was gctting from under that part of Paris petriHed 
by the riot, where the barricades had suppresscd cir- 
culation, and returning under living and normal 


Paris. He suddeuly heard above his Iiead a 
like thunder, distant but coutinuous ; it was the 
rolling of vehicles. 

He had been walking about half an hour, at least 
tliat was the calculation he made, and had not 
thought of resting ; he had merely changed the hand 
which held Marins up. The darkness was more pro- 
found than ever, but this darkness reassured him. 
A\\ at once he saw his shadow before him ; it sto:d 
ont upon a faint and ahnost indistinct redness, which 
vaguely impurpled the roadway at his feet and the 
vault above his head, and glided aloHg tlie greasy 
walls of the passage. Stupefied, he turned around. 

Behind him, in the part of the passage he had 
corne from, at a distance which appeared immense, 
shone a sort of horrible star, obliterating the dark 
density, which seemed to be looking at him. It was 
the gloomy police star rising in the sewer. Behind 
this star there moved confusedly nine or ten black, 
upright, indistinct, and terrible forms. 



Ox tbe day of Jiine 6 a battue of the sewers 
was ordered, for it was feared lest the conquered 
should fiy to them as a refuge, and Prefect Gisquet 
ordered occult Paris to be searched, while General 
Bugeaud swept public Paris, — a double connected 
opération, which required a double strategy of the 
public force, represented above by the arniy and be- 
neath by the police. Three squads of agents and 
sewer-nien explored the subway of Paris, — the first 
the right bank, the second the left bank, and the third 
the Cité. The agents were arnied with carbines, 
bludgeons, swords, and daggers, and what was at 
this moment pointed at Jean Valjean was the lantern 
of the round of the right bank. This round had just 
inspected the winding gallery and three blind alleys 
which are under the Rue du Cadran. \Yhile the 
lantern was moved about at the bottom of thèse 
blind alleys, Jean Valjean in his progress came to the 
entrance of the gallery, found it narrower than the 
main gallery, and had not entered it. The police, on 
coming out of the Cadran gallery, fancied that they 
could hear the sound of footsteps in the direction of 
the engirdling sewer, and they were really Jean Val- 
jean's footsteps. The head sergeant of the round 


raised bis lantern, and the squad began pecring iiito 
the mist in the direction whence the noise had corne. 
It was an indescribable moment for Jean Yaljean ; 
luckily, if he saw tlie lantern well the lantern saw 
him badly, for it was the light and he was the dai'k- 
ness. He was too far ofF, and blended with the 
blackness of the spot, so he drew himself u]) agaiiist 
the Avall and stopped. However, he did not explain 
to himself what was moving behind him, want of 
sleep and food and émotion having madc him pass into 
a visionary state. He saw a flash, and round tliis flasli, 
spectres. What was it? He did not understand. 
When Jean Valjcan stopped the noise ceased ; the 
police listened and heard nothing, they looked and saw 
nothing, and hence consulted togcther. There was 
at that period at that point in the INIontmartre scwer 
a sort of square callcd de service, which has since 
been doue away with, owing to the small internai 
lake which the torrents of rain formed there, and the 
squad assembled on this square. Jean Valjean saw 
them make a sort of circlc, and thcn bull-dog heads 
came together and whispered. The rcsult of this 
council held by the watch-dogs was that they werc 
mistaken, that there had been no noise, that there 
was nobody there, that it was useless to enter the 
surrounding sewer, that it would be time wasted, but 
that they must hasten to tlie St. Merry drain ; for if 
there were anything to be done and any " boussingot " 
to track, it would be there. From time to time 
parties new-sole their old insults. In 1832 the 
Word "boussingot" formed the transition betwcen the 
Word "jacobin," no longer current, and the word 


" démagogue," at tliat time almost iinusetl, and wliich 
has silice doue such excellent service. The sergeant 
gave orders to left-wheel toward the watershed of 
tlie Seine. Had tlicy thouglit of dividing into two 
squads and going in botli directions, Jean Yaljcan 
would hâve been caught. It is probable that the 
instructions of the Préfecture, fcaring the chance of a 
fight with a large bodj of insurgents, forbade the 
round from dividing. The squad set out again, leav- 
ing Jean Valjean behind ; and in ail this movement 
he perceived nothing except the éclipse of the lantern, 
which was suddenly turned away. 

Before starting, the sergeant, to satisfy his police 
conscience, discharged his carbine in the direction 
where Jean Valjean was. The détonation rolled echo- 
ing along the crypt, like the ruinbling of thèse Titanic 
bowcls. A pièce of plastcr wliich fell into the gutter 
and plashed up the water a few yards from Jean 
Valjean warned him that the bullet had struck the 
vault above his head. Measured and slow steps 
echoed for some time along the wooden causeway, 
growing more and more deadcned by the growing 
distance ; the group of black forms disappeared ; a 
light oscillated and floated, forniing on the vault a 
ruddy circle, which decreased and disappeared ; the 
silence again became 2)rofound, the obscurity again 
became complète, and blindness and deafness again 
took possession of the gloom ; Jean Valjean, not 
daring yet to stir, remained Icaning for a long time 
against the wall, with outstrctched car and dilatcd 
eyeballs, watching the vanishing of this patrol of 

VOL. V. 12 




We must do the police of that day the justice of 
saying that even in the gravest public conjunctures 
they impertuvbably accomplished thcir duties of 
watching the highways and of inspectorship. A riot 
was not in their eyes a pretext to leave the bridle to 
malefactors, and to neglect society for the reason tliat 
the Government was in danger. The ordinary duties 
were performed correctly in addition to the extraor- 
dinary duties, and were in no way disturbed. In the 
midst of an incalculable political event, under the 
pressure of a possible révolution, an agent, not allow- 
ing himself to be affected by the insurrection and the 
barricade, would track a robber. Something very 
like this occurred on the afternoon of June 6, on the 
right bank of tlie Seine, a little beyond the Pont des 
Invalides. There is no bank there at the présent day, 
and the appearance of the spot has been altered. On 
this slope two men, a certain distance apart, were 
observing each other ; the one in front seemed to be 
trying to get away, while the one behind wanted to 
catch hini up. It was like a game of chcss played at 
a distance and silently ; neither of them seemed to 
be in a hurry, and both walked slowly, as if tliey 


werc afraid that increased speed on the part of one 
would be imitated by the other. It might bave been 
called an appetite following a prey, without appear- 
ing to do so purposely ; the prey was crafty, and 
kept on giiard. 

The proportions required between the tracked mar- 
ten and the tracking dog were observed. The one 
trying to escape was thin and mean looking ; the one 
trying to capture was a tall determined fellow, of rug- 
ged aspect, and a rough one to nieet. The fii'st, feel- 
ing himself the weaker, avoided the second, but did 
so in a deeply furious way ; any one who could hâve 
observed him would hâve scen in liis eyes tlic gloomy 
hostihty of flight, and ail the threat which therc is in 
fear ; the slope was deserted, there were no passers- 
by, not even a boatman or raftsman in the boats 
moored hère and there. They could only be noticed 
easily from the opposite quay, and any one wdio had 
w^atched them at that distance would hâve seen that 
the man in front appeared a bristling, ragged, and 
shambling fellow, anxious and shivering undcr a torn 
blouse, while the other was a classic and officiai per- 
sonage, wearing the frock-coat of authority buttoned 
up to the chin. The reader would probably recognize 
thèse two men, were lie to see them more closely. 
What was the object of the last one ? Probably he 
wished to clothc the other man more warmly. Wlien 
a man dressed by the State pursues a man in rags, it 
is in order to make him also a man dressed by the 
State. The différence of color is the sole question ; 
to be dressed in blue is glorious, to be dressed in red 
is disagreeable, for there is a purple of the lower 


classes. It was probably some disagreeable thing, 
and some purple of this sort, which the first man 
desired to avoid. 

If the other allowcd hira to go on aliead, and did 
not yet arrest hini, it was, in ail appearance, in the 
hope of seeing hini arrive at some significative ren- 
dezvous and some group wortli capturing. This déli- 
cate opération is called tracking. What renders this 
conjecture higlily probable, is the fact that the but- 
toned-up man, perceiving from the slope an empty 
fiacre passing, made a sign to the driver ; the driver 
understood, evidently perceived with wliom he had to 
deal, turned round, and bcgan following the two men 
along the quay. This was not perceived by the rag- 
ged, shambling fellow in front. The hackney coach 
rolled along under the trees of the Champs Elysées, 
and over the parapet could be seen the bust of the 
driver, whip in hand. One of the secret instructions 
of the police to the agents is, " Always hâve a hackney 
coach at hand in case of need." While each of thèse 
men manœuvred with irrcproachablc strategy, they 
approached an incline in the quay, which allowed 
drivers coming from Passy to water their horses in the 
river. This incline has since been suppressed for tlie 
sake of symmetry, — horses die of thirst, but the eye 
is gratified. It was probable that the man in the 
blouse would ascend by this incline in ordcr to try 
to escape in the Champs Elysées, a place adorned 
with trees, but, in rcturn, much frequented by police 
agents, where the other couhl casily procure assist- 
tancc. This point of the quay is a very little distance 
from the house brought from Moret to Paris in 1824 


by Colonel Brack, and callcd tlie house of Francis I. 
A guard is at haiid there. To the great surprise of 
his wateher, the tracked mau did not tum up the 
road to the wateriiig-plaee, but continued to advance 
along the bank parallel with the quaj. His position 
was evidently becoming critical, for unless he threw 
himself into the Seine, what coukl he do ? 

There were no means now left hiiu of returning to 
the quay, no incline and no steps, and they were close 
to the spot marked by the turn in the Seine, near the 
Pont de Jena, where the bank, gradually contracting, 
ended in a narrow strip, and was lost in the water. 
There he must inevitably find himself blockaded be- 
tween the tall wall on his right, the river on his left 
and facing him, and authority at his heels. It is 
true that this teriuination of the bank was masked 
from sight by a pile of rubbish seven feet high, the 
resuit of some démolition. But did this man hope 
to conceal himself profitably behind this heap ? The 
expédient would hâve been puérile. He evidently 
did not dream of that, for the innocence of robbers 
does not go so far. The pile of rubbish formed on 
the water-side a sort of eminence extending in a pro- 
montory to the quay wall ; the pursued man reached 
this small mouud and went round it, so that he was 
no longer seen by the other. The latter, not seeing, 
was not seen, and he took advautage of this to give 
up ail dissimulation and walk very fast. In a few 
minutes he reached the heap and turned it, but there 
stood stupefied. The man he was pursuing was not 
there ; it was a total éclipse of the man in the blouse. 
The bank did not run more than thirty yards beyond 


the beap, and tlien pliiiiged under the water which 
washed the quay wall. The fugitive couid not hâve 
thrown himself into tlie Seine, or hâve clinibed up 
the quay wall, without being seen by bis pursuer. 
What had beconie of him ? 

The man in the buttoned-up coat walked to the end 
of the bank and stood there for a moment, thought- 
fully, with clenched tists and seowling eye. Ali at 
once he smote his forehead ; he had just perceived, 
at the point where the ground ended and the water 
began, a wide, low, arched iron grating, provided 
with a heavy lock and three massive hinges. This 
grating, a sort of gâte pierced at the bottom of the 
quay, opened on the river as much as on the bank, 
and a black stream poured from under it into the 
Seine. Beyond the heavy rusty bars could be dis- 
tinguished a sort of arched and dark passage. The 
man folded his arms and looked at the grating re- 
proachfully, and this look not being sufficient, he 
tried to push it open, he shook it, but it offered a 
sturdy résistance. It was probable that it had just 
been opened, although no sound had been heard, — 
a singular thing with so rusty a gâte, — but it was 
certain that it had been closed again. This indi- 
cated that the man who had opened the gâte had 
not a pick-lock but a key. This évidence at once 
burst on the mind of the man who was trying to 
open the grating, and drew from him this indignant 
apostrophe, — 

" That is strong ! A government key ! " 
Then calming himself immediatcly, he expressed 
a whole internai world of ideas by this outburst 


of monosyllables, markcd by an almost ironical 
accent, — 

"Well! Well! Well ! Well ! " 

This said, hoping we know not what, either to see 
the man corne out or others enter, he posted himself 
on the Avatcli beîiind the heap of rubbish, with the 
patient rage of a yard-mastiff. On its side, the hack- 
ney coach, which regulated itself by ail his move- 
ments, stopped above him near the parapet. The 
driver, foreseeing a long hait, put on his liorses the 
nose-bag full of damp oats so well known to the Pa- 
risians, upon whom the Government, we may remark 
parenthetically, sometimes puts it. The few passers 
over the Pont de Jeua, before going on, turned their 
heads to look for a moment at thèse motionless ob- 
jects, — the man on the bank and the hackney coach 
on the quay. 



jEAiST Valjean liad resumed his march, and had 
not stopped again. This mardi grew more and more 
laborious, for the level of thèse passages varies ; 
the average height is about five feet six inclies, and 
was calcnlated for a man's stature. Jean Valjean 
was compelled to stoop so as not to dasli Marins 
against tlie roof, and was forced at each moment 
to bend down, then draw liimself up and incessantly 
feel the wall. The dampness of the stones and of 
the flooring rendered them bad supports, eithcr for 
the hand or the foot, and he tottered in the hideous 
dungheap of the city. The intermittent flashcs of 
the street gratings only appeared at lengthened in- 
tervais, and were so faint that the bright sunshine 
seemed to be nioonlight ; ail the rest was fog, miasma, 
opaqueness, and blackness. Jean Valjean was hungry 
and thirsty, the latter most, and it was like the 
sea ; there was " water, water everywhere, but not a 
drop to drink." Ilis strength, which, as we know, 
was prodigious, and but slightly diminished by âge, 
owing to his chaste and sober life, was, however, 
bcginning to give way ; ^fatigue assailed him, and 
his decreasing strength increased the weiiïht of his 


burden. ]Marius, who was peHiaps ckad, was hea\^, 
like ail iuert bodies ; but Jean Valjean lield liiin so 
that his chest was not afïected, and he could breathe 
as easily as possible. He felt bctween his legs the 
rapid gliding of rats, and one was so startled as to 
bite liim. From time to time a gush of fresli air 
came throfigh tlie gratings, wliicli revived him. 

It might be about 3 p. m. when lie reached the 
engirdling sewer, and he was at first amazed by the 
sudden widening. He unexpectedly found hiniself 
in a gallery whose two walls his outstretched arnis 
did not reach, and nnder an arcli which his head 
did not touch. The Great Sewer, in fact, is eight 
feet in width by seven high. At the point where 
the ^Montmartre drain joins the Great Sewer two 
other subterranean galleries, that of the Rue de 
Provence and that of the Abattoir, form cross-roads. 
Between thèse four ways a less sagacious man would 
bave been undecided ; but Jean Valjean selected the 
widest, that is to say, the engirdling sewer. But 
hère the question came back again, " Should he 
ascend or descend ? " He thought that the situation 
was pressing, and that he must at ail risks now reach 
the Seine, in other words, descend, so he turned 
to the left. It was fortunate that he did so, for 
it would be an error to suppose that the engirdling 
sewer lias two issues, one toward Bercy, the other 
toward Passy, and that it is, as its naine indicates, 
the subterranean belt of Paris on the right bank. 
The Great Sewer, which is nought else, it must 
be borne in niind, than the old Menilmontant stream, 
leads, if you ascend it, to a blind alley, that is to say, 


to its old starting-point, a spriug at the foot of the 
Menilmontant mound. It lias no direct comnmni- 
cation witli the brandi Avliicli collects the waters 
of Paris after lea\ing the Popincourt quarter, and 
which falls into the Seine by the Amelot sewer above 
the old isle of Louviers. Tins brandi, which com- 
plètes the collecting sewer, is separated frotn it under 
the Rue Menilmontant by masonry-work, which marks 
the point of the division of the waters into up-stream 
and down-stream. If Jean Valjean had remounted 
the gallery he w^ould hâve arrived, exhausted by 
fatigue and dying, at a wall ; he would hâve been 

Strictly speaking, by going back a little way, 
entering the passage of the Filles du Calvaire, on 
condition that he did not hesitate at the subterranean 
point of junction of the Boucherat cross-roads, by 
taking the St. Louis passage, then on the left the 
St. Gilles trench, then by turning to the right and 
avoiding the St. Sébastian gallery, Jean Valjean 
might hâve reached the Amelot sewer ; and then if 
he did not lose his way in the species of F which is 
under the Bastille, he would hâve reached the outlet 
on the Seine near the Arsenal. But for that he must 
hâve thoroughly known, in ail its ramifications and 
piercings, the enormous madrépore of the sewer. 
Now, we dwell on the fact that he knew nothing 
of this frightful labyrinth in which he was niarching, 
and had he been asked where he was he would hâve 
replicd, " In night." His instinct served him well ; 
going down, in fact, was the only salvation possible. 
Ile left on his right the two passages which ramify 


in the shape of a claw under the Rues Laffitte and 
St. Georges, and the long bifuvcate comdor of the 
Chaussée d'Antin. A little beyond an affluent, which 
was likely the Madeleine branch, he stopped, for he 
was very weary. A large gratiiig, probably the one 
in Ihe Rue d'Anjou, produced an almost bright light. 
Jean Valjean, with the gentle movements which a 
brother would bestow on a wounded brother, laid 
Marins on the banquette of the sewer, and his white 
face gleamed under the white light of the air-hole 
as from the bottom of a tonib. His eyes were closed, 
his hair stuck to his forehead like paint-brushes on 
which the red paint had dried, his hands were hang- 
ing and dead, his limbs cold, and blood was clotted 
at the corner of his lips. Coagulated blood had 
collected in his cravat knot, his shirt entered the 
wounds, and the cloth of his coat rubbed the gaping 
edgcs of the quivering flesh. Jean Valjean, remov- 
ing the clothes with the tips of his fingers, laid 
his hand on his chest ; the heart still beat. Jean 
Valjean tore up his shirt, bandaged the wounds as 
well as he could, and stopped the blood that was 
flowing ; then, stooping down in this half daylight 
over Marius, who was still unconscious and almost 
breathless, he looked at him with iudescribable 

In moving Marius's clothes he had found in his 
pockets two things, — the loaf, which he had forgotten 
the previous evening, and his pocket-book. He ate 
the bread and opened the pocket-book. On the first 
page he read the Unes written by Marius, as will 
be remembered, — 


" My name is Marius Pontmcrcy. Carry my body 
to my grandfather, M. Gillenormand, No. 6, Rue des 
Filles du Calvaire, in the Marais. " 

Jean Valjean read by the light of the grating thèse 
lines, and remained for a tinie as it were absorbed in 
hiniself, and repeating in a low voice, M. Gillenor- 
mand, No. 6, Rue des Filles du Calvaire. He returned 
the portfolio to Marius's pocket ; he had eaten, and 
his strength had come back to hini. He raised Marius 
again, carefully laid his head on his right shoulder, 
and began descending the sewer. The Great Sewer, 
running along the roadway of the valley of Menilmon- 
tant, is nearly two leagues in length, and is paved for 
a considérable portion of the distance. This torch of 
names of Paris streeta, with which we enlighten for 
the rcader Jean Yaljean's subterranean march, he did 
not possess. Nothing informed him what zone of 
the city he was traversing, nor what distance he had 
gone ; still, the growing paleness of the flakes of light 
which he met from time to time indicated to him that 
the Sun was retiring from the pavement, and that day 
would be soon ended, and the rolling of vehicles over 
his head, which had become intermittent instead of 
continuons, and then almost ceased, proved to him 
that he was no longer under central Paris, and was 
approaching some solitary région, near the external 
boulevards or most distant quays, where there are 
fewer houses and streets, and the drain has fewer 
gratings. The obscurity thickened around Jean Val- 
jean ; still he continued to advance, groping his way 
in the shadow. 

This shadow suddenly became terrible. 



He feit that lie was entering water, and that he 
had under his feet no longer stone but mud. It often 
happens on certain coasts of Brittany or Scotland that 
a nian, vvhetlier traveller or fishernian, walking at low 
tide on the sand, some distance froni the shore, sudden- 
ly perçoives tliat during the last few minutes he has 
found some difficulty in walking. The shore beneath 
his feet is like pitch, his heels are attached to it, it is 
no longer sand but bird-lime ; the sand is perfectly dry, 
but at every step taken, so soon as the foot is raised 
the imprint it leaves fills with water. The eye, how- 
ever, has perceived no change, the immense expanse 
is smooth and calm, ail the sand seems alike, nothing 
distinguishes the soil which is solid from that wdiich 
is no longer so, and tlie little merry swarm of water- 
fleas continue to leap tuniultuously round the feet of 
the wayfarer. The man follows his road, turns toward 
the land, and tries to approach the coast, not that he 
is alarmed ; alarmed at what ? Still, he feels as if the 
heaviness of his feet increased at every step that he 
takes ; ail at once he sinks in, sinks in two or three 
inches. Pie is decidedly not on the right road, and 
stops to look about him. Suddenly he looks at his 


feet, but they hâve disappeared, the sand covers them. 
Hc draws his feet out of the sand and tries to turn 
back, but he sinks in deeper still. The sand cornes 
up to liis ankle ; he pulls it out and turns to his left, 
when the sand cornes to his knee ; he turns to the 
right, and the sand cornes up to his thigh ; then he 
recognizes with indescribable terror that he is caught 
in a quicksand, and has under him the frightful mé- 
dium in which a man can no more walk than a fish 
can swim. He throws away his load, if he hâve one, 
and lightens himself like a ship in distress ; but it is 
too late, for the sand is already above his knees. He 
calls out, waves his hat or handkerchicf, but the sand 
gains on him more and more. If the shore is deserted, 
if land is tôo distant, if the sand-bank is too ill- 
famed, if thsre is no hero in the vicinity, it is ail over 
with him, and he is condemned to be swallowed by 
the quicksands. He is doomed to that long, awful, 
inii)lacable interment, impossible to delay or hasten, 
wiiich lasts hours ; which never ends; which seizes you 
whcn erect, frce, and in perfect health ; which drags 
you by the feet ; which, at every effort you attempt, 
every cry you utter, drags you a little deeper ; which 
seems to punish you for your résistance by a redou- 
bled clutch ; which makcs a man slowly enter the 
ground whilc allowing him ample time to regard the 
houses, the trccs, the green fields, tlie smoke from 
the villages on the plain, the sails of the vcssels on 
the sea, the birds that fly and sing, the sun, and the 
sky. A quicksand is a sepulchre that couverts itself 
into a tide, and ascends from the bottom of the eartli 
toward a living man. Each moment inexorably wraps 


grave-clothes about him. The wretch tries to sit, to 
lie down, to walk, to crawl ; ail tlie movemeiits that 
he makes bury him ; he draws himself iip, and only 
sinks deeper ; he feels liimself being swallowed up ; 
he yells, implores, cries to the clouds, writhes his 
arras, and grows desperate. ïhen he is in the sand 
up to his waist ; the sand reaches his chest. he is but 
a bust. He raises his hands, utters furious groans, 
digs his nails into the sand, tries to hold by this dust, 
raises himself on his elbows to tear himself from this 
soft sheath, and sobs frenziedly. The sand mounts, 
the sand reaches his shoulders, the sand reaches his 
neck, the face alone is \isible now. The mouth cries, 
the sand fills it ; silence. The eyes still look, the 
sand closes them ; night. Then the forehead sinks, 
and a little hair waves above the sand ; a hand 
émerges, digs up the sand, is waved, and disappears, 
— a sinister effacement of a man. 

At times the rider is swallowed up with his horse, 
at times the carter with his cart. It is a shipwreck 
otherwhere than in the water ; it is the laud droAming 
man. The land penetrated by the océan becomes a 
snare ; it offers itself as a plain, and opens like a 
wave. The abyss has its acts of treacheiy. 

Such a mournful adventure, always possible on 
some seashore, was also possible some thirty years 
ago in the sewer of Paris. Before the important 
Works began in 1833 the subway of Paris was sub- 
ject to sudden breakings-in. The water filtered 
through a subjacent and peculiarly friable soil ; and 
the roadway, if made of paving-stones, as in tiie old 
drains, or of concrète upon béton, as in the new 


galleries, having no support, bcnt. A bend in a 
planking of tins nature is a crevice, and a crevice is a 
bursting-in. The roadwaj broke away for a certain 
lengtli, and such a gap, a gulf of nmd, was called in 
professional language fontis. Wliat is â fontis ? It 
is tlie quicksand of the seashore suddenly met witli 
underground ; it is the strand of IMont St. Michel in 
a sewer. The moistened soil is in a state of fusion, 
ail its particles are held in suspense in a shifting 
médium ; it is not land and it is not water. The 
depth is at times very great. Nothing can be more 
formidable than meeting with such a thing ; if water 
predominatc death is quick, for a man is drowned ; 
if earth predominate death is slow, for lie is sucked 

Can our readers imagine such a death ? If it be 
frightful to sink in the sea-strand, what is it in a 
cloaca ? Tnstcad of fresh air. daylight, a clear horizon, 
vast sounds, the free clouds froni which life rains, 
the barque perceived in the distance, that hope under 
every forni, of possible passers-by, of possible helj) up 
to the last minute, — instead of ail tliis, deafness, blind- 
ness, a black archway, the interior of a tomb already 
made, death in the mud under a tombstone ! Slow 
asphyxia by unclcanlincss, a sarcophagus where as- 
phyxia opens its claws in the filth and clutches you 
by the throat ; fctidness minoled with the death- 
rattle, mud instead of tlie sand, sulphurcttcd hydro- 
gen in lieu of the hurricane, ordure instead of the 
océan ! And to call and gnash the tceth, and writhe 
and struggle and expire, with this enormous city 
which knows nothing of it above one's hcad. 


Iiiexpressible the horror of dying thus ! Deatli 
sonietimes expiâtes its atrocity by a certain terrible 
dignity. On the pyre, in sliipwreck, a man may be 
great ; in the fiâmes, as in the foani, asuperb attitude 
is possible, and a man transfigures himself. But in 
this case it is not so, for the death is unclean. It is 
humiliating to expire in such a way, and the last 
floating visions are abject. Mud is the synonyni of 
sliamc, and is little, ugly, and infamous. To die in a 
butt of Malmsey like Clarence, — very well ; but in 
a sewer like d'Escoubleau is horrible. To struggle in 
it is hideous, for at the samc time as a man is dying, 
he is dabbling. There is enough darkness for it to 
bc Hell, and enough mud for it to be merely a slough, 
and the dying man does not know whether he is 
about to become a spectre or a frog. Everywhere else 
the sepulchre is sinister, but hère it is deformed. 

The depth of the fontis varicd, as did the lengtli 
and dcnsity, according to the nature of the subsoil. 
At times a fontis was three or four feet deep, at 
times eight or ten, and sometimes it was bottomless. 
In one the mud was almost solid, in another nearly 
liquid. In the Lunière fontis, a man would hâve 
taken a day in disappcaring, while he would hâve 
been devoured in five minutes by the Phélippeaux 
slough. The mud bears more or less well according 
to its dcgree of density, and a lad escapes where a 
man is lost. The first law of safety is to throw a way 
every sort of loadiug, and every sewer-man who felt 
the ground giving way under liim began by gcttiiig 
rid of his basket of tools. The fontis had varions 
causes, — friability of soil, some convulsion at a dcpth 

VOL. V. 13 


beyond a man's reach, violent summer showers, tlic 
incessant winter rain, and long drizzling rains. At 
times the weiglit of the surrounding houses upon a 
nmrshy or sandy soil broke the roofs of tlie subter- 
ranean galleries and made them shrink, or else it 
happened that the roadway broke and slit iip under 
the terrifie pressure. The pile of the Panthéon de- 
stroyed in tins way about a century ago a portion 
of the cellars in jNIont Sainte Geneviève. When a 
sewer gave way under the weight of the houses, the 
disorder was expressed above in the street by a sort 
of saw-toothed parting between the paving-stones. 
This rent was developed in a serpentine line, along 
the whole length of tlie cracked vault, and in such a 
case, the evil being . visible, the remedy might be 
prompt. It often happened also that the internai 
ravage was not revealed by any scar outside, and in 
that case, woe to the sewer-men. Entering the in- 
jured drain incautiously, thcy might be lost in it. 
The old registers mention several night-men buried in 
this manner in the fontis. They mention several 
names, among others that of the sewer-man swallowed 
up in a slough under the opcning on the Rue Carême 
Prenant, of the name of Biaise Poutrain ; this Biaise 
was brother of Xicliolas Poutrain, who Avas the last 
scxton of the cemetery called the Charnier des Inno- 
cents in 1785, when that cemetery cxpired. There 
was also the young and. charming Vicomte d'Escou- 
bleau, to whom we hâve alluded, one of the heroes 
of the siège of Lerida, where the assault was made 
in silk stockings and with violins at their head. 
D'Escoubleau, surprised one night with his cousin, 


the Duchesse de Sourdis, drowned himself in a cess- 
pool of the Beautreillis sewer, wliere he had taken 
refuge to escape the Duc. . Madame de Sourdis, 
when told the story of this death, asked for her 
snielling-bottle, and forgot to weep through inhal- 
ing her salts. In such a case there is no love that 
holds out ; the cloaca extinguishes it. Hero refuses 
to wash the corpse of Leander. Thisbe holds her 
nose in the présence of Pjramus, and says, Pah ! 



Jean Valjean found himself in presencô of a 
fontis : this sort of breakiiig-in was fréquent at that 
day in the subsoil of the Champs Élysées, which was 
difficult to nianage in liydraulic works, and not pre- 
servative of subterranean construetions, owing to its 
extrême fluidity. This fluidity exceeds even the in- 
consistency of the sands of the Quartier St. Georges, 
which could only be overcome by hiying rubble on 
béton, and of the gas-infected clay strata in the 
Quartier des Martyrs, which are so liquid that a pas- 
sage coukl be effected under the gallery only by 
means of an iron tube. When in 1836 the authori- 
ties demolished and rebuilt under the Faubourg St. 
Honore the okl stone sewer in which Jean Valjean 
is now engaged, the sliifting sand which is the sub- 
soil of the Champs Élysées as far as the Seine offcred 
such an obstacle that the opération lastcd six montlis, 
to the great aimoyancc of those living on the water- 
side, espeeially such as had mansions and coaches. 
The Works wcre more than diflicult, thcy were dan- 
gerous ; but we must allow that it rained for four 
and a half months, and the Seine overflowed thrice. 
The fontis which Jean Valjean came across was 


oc'casioned by tlic sliower of the previous evening. 
A giviiîg way of the pavement, whicli was badly sup- 
ported by tlic subjaceiit sand, had produced a deposit 
of raiii-wator, and wlien tlie filtering had taken place 
the ground broke in, and the roadway, being dislo- 
cated, fell into the mud. How far ? It was impos- 
sible to say, for the darkness was denser there than 
any where else ; it was a slough of mud in a cavern 
of niglit. Jean Valjean felt the pavement départ 
from undcr him as he entered the slough ; there was 
water at top and mud underncath, He must pass 
it, fur it was impossible to turn back ; Marins was 
dying, and Jean Valjean worn out. Where else 
could he go ? Jean Valjean advanced ; the slough 
appcared but of slight depth at the first few steps, 
but as lie advanced his legs sank in. He soon had 
mud up to the middle of the kg, and water up to 
the middle of the knee. He walkcd along, raising 
Marins with both arms as high as he could above 
the surface of the water ; the mud now came up to 
his knees and the water to his waist. He could no 
longer draAV back, and he sank in deeper and deeper. 
This mud, dense enough for the weight of one man, 
could not evidently bear two ; Marius and Jean Val- 
jean might hâve had a chance of getting out sepa- 
rately ; but, for ail that, Jean Valjean continued to 
advance, bearing the dying man, who was perhaps a 
corpse. The water came up to his armpits, and he 
felt himself drowning ; he could scarce move in the 
depth of mud in which he was standing, for the den- 
sity which was the support was also the obstacle. 
He still kcpt Marins up, and advanced with an ex- 


traordinaiy expenditure of strength, but he was sink- 
ing. He had only bis bead out of water and bis two 
arms sustaining jMarius. In tbe old paintings of tbe 
Déluge tbere is a motber bolding ber cbild in tbe 
same way. As be still sank be tbrcw back bis face 
to eseape tbe water and be able to breatlic ; any one 
wbo saw bim in tbis darkness would bave fancied 
he saw a mask floating on tbe gloomy waters ; be 
vaguely perceived above bim Marius's banging bead 
and Uvid face ; be made a dcsperate eftbrt and ad- 
vanced bis foot, wbicb struck against sometbing 
soHd, — a resting-place. It was bigb time. 

He drew bimself up, and writbed and rooted bim- 
self witb a species of fury upon tbis support. It pro- 
duced on bim tbe effcct of tbe first step of a staircase 
reascending to bfe. Tbis support, met witb in tbe 
mud at tbe suprême moment, was tbe beginning of 
tbe otber side of tbe roadway, wbicb bad fallen in 
witbout breaking, and bent under tbe water bke a 
plank in a single pièce. A well-constructed pave- 
ment forms a curve, and possesses sucb firmness. 
Tbis fragment of roadway, partly submerged, but 
solid, was a real incline, and once upon it tbey were 
saved. Jean Valjean ascended it, and attained tbe 
otber side of tbe slough. On Icaving tbe water bis 
foot caugbt against a stone and he fell on bis knees. 
He found tbat tbis was just, and rcmained on tbcm 
for some time, witb bis souI absorbcd in words 
addressed to God. 

He rose, sbivering, cbillcd, polluted, bent beneath 
tbe dying man be carricd, ail dripping witb filtb, but 
witb bis soûl fiill of a strange brigbtness. 



He set out once again ; still, if he had not left his 
life in the fontis, lie seemed to hâve left his strength 
there. This suprême effort had exhausted him, and 
his fatigue was now so great that he was obliged to 
rest every three or four paces to take breath, and 
Icaned against the wall. Once he was obliged to sit 
down on the banquette in order to alter ISIarius's 
position, and believed that he should remain there. 
But if his vigor were dead his energy was not so, 
and he rose again. He walkcd desperately, almost 
quickly, went thus one hundred yards without rais- 
ing his head, almost without breathing, and ail at 
once ran against the wall. He had reached an elbow 
of the drain, and on arriving head down at the turn- 
ing, came against the wall. He raised his eyes, and 
at the end of the passage down there, far, very far 
away, perceived a light. But this time it was no 
terrible light, but white, fair light. It was daylight. 
Jean Valjean saw the outlct. A condemned soûl 
that suddenly saw from the middle of the furnace 
the issue from Gehenna would feel what Jean Val- 
jean felt. It would fly wildly with the stumps of its 
burnt wings toward the radiant gâte. Jean Valjean 


110 longer felt fatigue, lie no longer fclt Marius's 
weight, lie found again his muscles of steel, and ran 
ratlier tlian walked. As lie drew ncarer, the outlet 
became more distinctly designed ; it was an arcli, 
not so tall as the roof, wliich gradually contracted, 
and not so wide as the gallery, whicli grew narrower 
at the sanie time as the roof became lowered. The 
tunnel finished inside in the sliape of a funnel, — a 
faulty réduction, imitatcd from the wickcts of houses 
of correction, logical in a prison, but illogical in a 
drain, and which lias since been corrected. 

Jean Valjean reached the issue and thcn stopped ; 
it was certainly the outlet, but they could not get 
ont. The arcli was closed by a strong grating, and 
this grating, which apparently rarcly turned on its 
oxidized hingcs, was fastened to the stone wall by a 
heavy lock, which, red with rust, seemcd an enor- 
nious brick. The kcy-hole was visible, as well as 
the boit deeply plunged into its iron box. It was 
one of those Bastille locks of which ancient Paris 
was so prodigal. Beyond the grating were the open 
air, the river, daylight, the bank, — very narrow but 
sufficient to départ, — the distant quays, Paris, — that 
gulf in Avhich a man hides himself so easily, — the 
wide horizon, and liberty. On the right could be 
distinguished, down the river, the Pont de Jéna, and 
at the left, up stream, th.e Pont des Invalides ; the 
spot would hâve bccn a favorable one to await night 
and escape. It was one of the most solitary points 
in Paris, the bank facing the Gros-C^iillou. The flics 
went in and ont through the grating bars. It might 
be about half-past cight in the evening, and day was 


drawiiig in : Jean Valjean laid Marins along the wall 
on the dry part of the way, then walked np to the 
grating and seized the bars with both hands ; the 
shock was frenzicd, but the efFect nil. The grating 
did not stir. Jean Valjean seized the bars one after 
the other, hoping he might be able to bre^k ont the 
least snbstantial one and eniploy it as a lever to lift 
the gâte ofF the hinges or break tlie lock, but not a 
bar stirred. A tiger's teeth are not more solidly set 
in their sockcts. Without a lever it was impossible 
to open the grating, and the obstacle was invincible. 

Must he finish, then, there? What should he 
do ? What would become of him ? He had not the 
strength to turn back and reconnnence the frightful 
journey which he had already niade. JNIoreover, how 
was he to cross again that slough from which he had 
only escapcd by a miracle ? And after the slough, 
was there not the police squad, which he assuredly 
would not escape twice ; and then where should he 
go, and what direction take ? Following the slope 
would not lead to his object, for if he reached 
another outlet he would find it obstructed by an 
iron plate or a grating. Ail the issues were indu- 
bitably closed in that way ; accident had left the 
grating by which they entercd open, but it was plain 
that ail the other mouths of the sewer were closed. 
They had only succeeded in escaping into a prison. 

It was ail over, and ail that Jean Valjean had 
done was useless : God opposed it. They were both 
caught in the dark and immense web of death, and 
Jean Valjean felt the fearful spider already running 
along the black threads in the darkness. He turned 


liis back to the grating and fell on the pavement near 
Marins, who was still motionless, and whose liead 
had fallen between his knees. There was no outlet ; 
that was the last drop of agony. Of whom did lie 
think in tins profound despondency ? Ncither of 
himself nor of Marins ! He thought of Cosette. 



In the midst of his annihilation a hand was laid 
on his shoulder, and a low voice said, — 


Some one in this shadow ? As nothing so resem- 
bles a dream as despair, Jean Valjean fancied that he 
was dreaming. He had not heard a footstep. Was 
it possible ? He raised his eyes, and a man was 
standing before him. This man was dressed in a 
blouse, his feet were naked, and he held his shoes in 
his hand ; he had evidently taken them ofF in order 
to be able to reach Jean Valjean mthout letting his 
footsteps be heard. Jean Valjean had not a mo- 
ment's hésitation : however unexpected the meeting 
might be, the man was known to him : it was Thé- 
nardier. Although, so to speak, aroused with a start, 
Jean Valjean, accustomed to alarnis and to unex- 
pected blows which it is necessarj to parry quickly, 
at once regained possession of ail his présence of 
mind. Besides, the situation could not be worse ; 
a certain degree of distress is not capable of any 
crescendo, and Thénardier himself could not add any 
blackness to this night. There was a moments 


expectation. Thénardier, raising liis riglit hand to 
the level of liis forehead, made a screen of it ; then 
he drcw his cvebrows together vvith a wink, which, 
witli a slight piiiching of the lips, characterizes the 
sagacious attention of a man who is striving to rec- 
ognize another. He did not siicceed. Jean Valjean, 
as we said, was turning his back to the light, and 
was besides so disfigured, so filthy, and blood-stained 
that he could not hâve been recognizcd in broad day- 
light. On the other hand, Tliénardier, with his face 
lit up by the light from the grating, — a cellar bright- 
ness, it is true, — li\id but précise in his lividness, 
leaped at once into Jean Yaljean's eyes, to employ 
the energetic popular metaphor. This inequahty of 
conditions sufficed to iiLsure sonie advantage to Jean 
Valjean in the niystcrious duel which was about to 
begin between the two situations and the two men. 
The meeting took place between Jean Valjean 
masked and Thénardier unmasked. Jean Valjean at 
once perceived that Thénardier did not recognize him ; 
and they looked at each other silently in this gloom, 
as if taking each otlier's measure. Thénardier was 
the first to break the silence. 

" How do you mean to get out ? " 

Jean Valjean not replying, Thénardier continued : 

" It is impossible to pick the lock : and yet you 
must get out of herc." 

'' That is truc," said Jean Valjean. 

"Well, then, halfshares." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" You hâve killed the man ; very good, and I 
luiA'e the kev." 


Thénardier pointed to ISIarius, and contiimed, — 

" I do not know jou, but you must be a friend, 
and I wish to lielp you." 

Jean Valjcan began to understand. Thénardier 
took him for an assassin. The latter continued, — 

" Listen, mate ; you did not kill this nian without 
looking to see what he had in his pockets. Givc nie 
ray half and I open the gâte." 

And half drawing a heavy key fi'om under his 
ragged blouse, he added, — 

" Would you like to see how the key to liberty is 
made ? Look hère." 

Jean Valjean was so dazed that he doubted 
whether what he saw was real. It was Pro\idence 
appearing in a horrible form, and the good angel 
issuing from the ground in the shape of Thénardier. 
The latter thrust his hand into a wide pocket hidden 
under his blouse, drew ont a roj)e, and handed it to 
Jean Valjean. 

*' There," he said, " I give you the rope into the 

" What am I to do with the rope ? " 

" You also want a stone, but you will find that 
outside, as there is a heap of theni." 

" What am I to do with a stone ? " 

"Why, you ass, as you are going to throw the stiff 
into the river, you want a rope and a stone, or else 
the body will float on the water." 

Jean Valjean took the rope mechanically, and 
Thénardier snappcd his fingers as if a sudden idea 
had occurred to him. 

"Hilloh, mate! how did you manage to gct 


through tliat slough ? I did not dare venture into it. 
Peulî ! y ou do not smell pleasant." 

After a pause he added, — 

" I ask you questions, but you are right not to 
answer : it is an apprenticesliip for the examining 
magistrate's. ugly quarter of an hour. And thcn, by 
not speaking at ail a man runs no risk of spcaking 
too loud. No matter, thougli I cannot see your face 
and do not know your name, you would do wrong iu 
supposing that I do not know wlio you are and wliat 
you want. I know ail about it : you hâve rather 
split tins gentleman, and now want to get rid of 
liim somewhere. You prefer the river, that great 
nonsense-hider, and I will help you out of the hob- 
bîe. It is my delight to aid a good fellow whcu 
in trouble." 

While conimending Jean Valjean for his silence 
it was plain that he was trying to make him speak. 
He pushed his shoulder, so as to be able to see his 
profile, and exclaimed, though without raising the 
pitch of his voice, — 

" Talking of the slough, you are a precious ass. 
Why did you not throw the nian into it ? " 

Jean Yaljean prcserved silence. Thénardier con- 
tinucd, raising his rag of a cravat to the Adani's 
applc, — a gcsture which complètes the capable air 
of a serions man. 

" Really, you may hâve acted sensibly, for the 
workmen who Avill come to-morrow to stop up the 
hole would ccrtainly hâve found the swcll, and your 
trail would be followed up. Some one has passed 
through the sewer. Who ? How did he get out ? 


Was he seen to do so ? The police are full of sensé ; 
the drain is a traitor, and denounces you. Such a 
find is a rarity ; it attracts attention ; for few people 
employ the sewer for their little business, while the 
river belongs to everybody, and is the real grave. 
At the end of a month your nian is fished up at 
the nets of St. Cloud. Well, who troubles himself 
about that ? It 's carrion, that 's ail. Who killed 
the man ? Paris. And justice makes no inquiries. 
You acted wisely." 

The more loquacious Thénardier became, the more 
silent Jean Yaljean was. Thénardier shook his 
shoulder again. 

" And now, let s settle our business. You ha^•e 
seen niy key, so show me your money." 

Thénardier was haggard, firm, slightly menacing, 
but remarkably friendly. There was one strange 
fact : Thénardier's manner was not simple ; he did 
not appear entirely at his ease. While not afFecting 
any mysterious air, he spoke in a low voice. Frora 
time to time he laid his finger on his lip, and mut- 
tered " Chut ! " It was difficult to guess why, for 
there were only themselves présent. Jean Yaljean 
thought that other bandits were probably hidden in 
some corner no great distance off, and that Thénardier 
was not anxious to share with thcm. The latter 
continued, — 

"Now for a finish. How much had the swell 
about him ? " 

Jean Yaljean fclt in his pockets. It was, as will 
be remembered, always his rule to hâve money about 
him, for the gloomy life of expédients to which he 


was conclemned rendcred it a \aw for liini. Tliîs 
time, however, he was unprovided. In putting on 
upon the previous evening liis National Giiard uni- 
form, he forgot, niouvnfully absorbed as he was, to 
take eut bis pocket-book, and he had only sonie 
change in bis waistcoat-pocket. He turned out bis 
pocket, which was saturated with sHme, and laid 
on the banquette a louis d'or, two five-franc pièces, 
and five or six double sous. Thénardier thrust 
out bis lower lip with a significant twist of the 

" You did not kill him for niuch," he said. 

He began most familiarly feeling in Jean Valjean 
and Marius's pockets, and Jean Valjean, who was 
most anxious to keep bis back to the light, allowcd 
him to do so. While feeling in Marius's coat, Thd- 
nardier, with the dexterity of a conjurer, managed to 
tear ofF, without Jean Valjean perceiving the fact, 
a strip, which he concealed undcr bis blouse ; prob- 
ably thinking that this pièce of cloth might help 
him to recognize bereafter the assassinatcd man and 
the assassin. However, he found no more than the 
thirty francs. 

" It is true," lie said ; " one with the otlier, you 
bave no more than that." 

And forgettiug bis phrase, half-shares, bc took 
ail. He hesitatcd a littlc at the double sous, but 
on reflection he took them too, while grunibling, 
" I don't care, it is killing pcople too cheaply." 

This donc, he again took tlie key from undcr bis 

" Now, my friend, you must be off. It is hère 


as at the fairs ; y ou pay when vou go ont. You 
Il ave paid, so you can go." 

And he began laugliing. We may be permitted 
to doubt whetlier he had the pure and disinterested 
intention of sa\ang an assassin, when he gave a 
strangcr the help of this key, and allowed any one 
but himself to pass through this gâte. Thénardier 
helped Jean Valjean to replace INIarius on his back, 
and then proceeded to the grating on the tips of 
his naked feet. After niaking Jean Valjean a sigu 
to follow him, he placed his finger on his lip, and 
remained for some seconds as if in suspense ; but 
when the inspection was over he put the key in 
the lock. The boit slid, and the gâte turned on 
its hinges without either grinding or creaking. It 
was plain that this grating and thèse hinges, care- 
fully oiled, opened more frequently than might be 
supposed. This smoothness was ill-omened ; it spoke 
of furtive comings and goings, of the mysterious en- 
trances and exits of night-men, and the crafty foot- 
fall of crime. The sewer was evidently an accomplice 
of some dark band, and this taciturn grating was a 
receiver. Thénardier held the door ajar, left just 
room for Jean Valjean to pass, relocked the gâte, 
and plunged back into the darkness, maki ng no more 
noise than a breath ; he seemed to walk with the 
velvety pads of a tiger. A moment later this hideous 
providence had disappeared, and Jean Valjean was 




He let Marins slip down on to the bank. They 
were oiitside : the iniasmas, the clarkness, the horror, 
were behind him ; the healthj, pure, living, joyous, 
freeiy respirable air inundated him. Ail around him 
was silence, but it was the charming silence of the 
suii setting in the f'ull azuré. Twilight was passing, 
and night, the great liberator, the friend of ail those 
who need a cloak of darkness to escape from an 
agony, was at hand. The sky prcsented itself on ail 
sides like an enormous calm, and the river rippled 
up to his feet with the sound of a kiss. The aerial 
dialogue of the nests bidding each other good-night in 
the elms of the Champs Elysées was audible. A few 
stars, faintly studding the pale blue of the zénith, 
formed in the innnciisity little imperceptible flashes. 
Night unfolded over Jean Valjean's head ail the 
sweetness of infinitude. It was the undecided and 
exquisite hour which says neither yes nor no. There 
was already sufficient night for a man to losc himself 
in it a short distance off, and yet sufficient daylight 
to recogiiize any oiie close by. Jean Valjcun was for 
a few seconds irresistibly overcome by ail this august 
and caressing screnity. Thcre are minutes of obliv- 


ion in wliich suiFering gives up harassing the wretcli ; 
ail is eclipsed in the thought ; peace covers the 
dreamer like night, and under the gleaming twilight 
the soûl is lit with stars in imitation of the sky which 
is beconiing illumined. Jean Valjean could not re- 
frain fi'om conteniplating tlie vast clear night above 
him, and pensively took a bath of ecstasj and prayer 
in the majestic silence of the eternal heavens. Then, 
us if the feeling of duty returned to hini, he eagerly 
bent down over jMarius, and lifting some water in 
the hollow of his hand, softly threw a few drops into 
his face. jNIarius's eyelids did not move, but he still 
breathed through his parted lips. Jean Valjean was 
again about to plunge his hand into the river, when 
he suddenly felt an indescribable nneasiness, as when 
we feel therc is some one behind us without seeing 
him. He turned round, and there was really some 
one behind him, as there had been just before. 

A man of tall stature, dressed in a long coat, with 
folded arms, and carrying in his right hand a " life- 
preservcr," whose leaden knob could be seen, was 
standing a few paces behind Jean Valjean, who was 
leaning over Marius. It was with the help of the 
darkness a species of apparition ; a simple man would 
hâve been frightened at it owing to the twilight, and 
a thoughtful one on account of the bludgeon. Jean 
Valjean recognized Javert. The reader has doubtless 
guessed that the tracker of Thénardier was no other 
than Javert. Javert, after his unhoped-for escape 
from the barricade, went to the Préfecture of Police, 
made a verbal report to the prefcct in person in a 
short audience, and then immediately returned to 


duty, which implied — the note fouiul on him will 
be remembered — a certain surveillance of the right 
bank of the river at the Champs Elysées, which had 
for some time past attracted the attention of the 
police. There he perceived Thénardier and followed 
him. The rest is known. 

It will be also understood that the grating so oblig- 
ingly opened for Jean Valjean was a clever trick on 
the part of Thénardier. He feit that Javert was still 
there, — the watched man has a scent which never 
deceives him, — and it was necessary to throw a bone 
to this greyhound. An asssasin, — what a chance ! he 
could not let it slip. Thénardier, on jîutting Jean 
Valjean. outside in his place, offered a prey to the 
policeman, made him.loose his hold, caused himself 
to be forgotten in a greater adventure, recompensed 
Javert for his loss of time, — which always flattcrs 
a spy, — gained thirty francs, and fully intendcd 
for his own part to escape by the help of this 

Jean Valjean had passed from one rcef to another. 

Thèse two meetings one upon the other, falling 
from Thénardier on Javert, were rude. Javert did 
not recognize Jean Valjean, who, as wx hâve said, no 
longer resembled himself. lie did not unfold his 
arms, but made sure his " life-preserver " by an im- 
perceptible movement, and said, in a sharp, calm 
voice, — 

" Who are you ? " 

" Myself." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I am Jean Valjean." 


Javert placed his life-preserver between his teeth, 
bent his kuees, bowed his back, laid his two povver- 
fiil hands on Jean Valjean's shoulders, which they 
lield as in two vises, exaniined and recognized him. 
Their faces ahiiost touched, and Javert's glanée was 
terrifie. Jean Valjean remained inert under Javert s 
gripe, like a lion enduring the elaw of a lynx. 

" Inspecter Javert," he said, " you hâve me. Be- 
sides, since this morning I bave considered myself 
your prisoner. I did not give you my address in 
order to try to escape you. Take me, but grant 
me one thing." 

Javert did not seem to hear, but kept his eye- 
balls fixed on Jean Valjean. His wrinkled chin 
thrust up his lips toward his nose, a sign of stern 
rêverie. At length he loosed his hold of Jean Valjean, 
drew himself up, clutched his cudgel, and, as if in a 
dreani, muttered rather than asked this question, — 

" What are you doing hère, and who is that 
man ? " 

Jean Valjean replied, and the sound of his voice 
seemed to awaken Javert, — 

" It is of him that I wislied to speak. Do witli 
me as you please, but help me first to carry him 
home. I only ask this of you." 

Javert's face was contraeted in the same way as 
it always was when any one believed him capable 
of a concession ; still he did not say no. He 
stopped again, took from his pocket a handkerchief, 
which he dipped in the water, and wiped Marius's 
ensanguined forehcad. 

" This man was at the barricade," he said in a 


low Toice, and as if speaking to himself ; " lie was 
the one whom they called Marius. " 

He was a first-class spy, wlio had observed everj- 
thiug, listened to everything, lieard everytliing, and 
picked up everything, when he believed himself a 
dead man ; who spied even in his death agony, and, 
standing on tlie first step of the sepnlchre, took 
notes. He seized Marius's hand, and felt his puise. 

" He is wounded," said Jean Valjean. 

*' He is a dead man," said Javert. 

Jean Valjean replied, — 

" No ; not yet." 

" Then you brought him from the barricade hère ? " 
Javert observed. 

His préoccupation must hâve been great for him 
not to dvvell on this alarming escape through the 
sewers, and not even remark Jean Valjean's silence 
after his question. Jean Valjean, on his side, seemed 
to hâve a sole thought ; lie continued, — 

" He lives in the Marais, in the Rue des Filles 
du Calvaire, with his grandfather. I do not know 
his name." 

Jean Valjean felt in INIarius's pocket, took ont 
tlie portfolio, opened it at the page on which INIarius 
liad written in pencil, and offered it to Javert. There 
was still sufficient floating light in the air to be 
able to read, and Javert, besides, liad in his eyes 
the féline pliosphoresccnce of night-birds. He de- 
ci[)hered the few Unes written by Marius, and growled, 
" Gillcnormand, No. G, Rue des Filles du Calvaire." 
Tlicn he cricd, " Driver ! " 

Onr readcrs will remember the coachman waiting 


above in case of ueecl. A moment after the haekney, 
which came down the incline leading to the watering- 
place, was on the bank. ]\larius was deposited on 
the back seat, and Javert sat down bj Jean Valjean's 
side on the front one. When the door was closed 
the fiacre started ofF rapidly along the quavs in the 
direction of the Bastille. Thej quitted the quay 
and turned into the streets ; and the driver, a black 
outline on his seat, lashed his lean horses. There 
w^as an icy silence in the haekney coach ; ^Marins 
motionless, with his body reclining in one corner^ 
his head on his chest, his arms pendent, and his legs 
stifï, appeared to be only waiting for a coffin. Jean 
Yaljean seemed made of gloom, and Javert of stone ; 
and in this fiacre full of night, whose interior, eacli 
tinie that it passed a lamp, seemed to be lividly lit 
up as if by an intermittent flash, accident united and 
appeared to confront the three immobilities of tragedy, 
— the corpse, the spectre, and the statue. 



At eacli jolt c'er tlie pavement a drop of blood 
fell from jSIarius's hair. It was quite uight when 
the hackney coacli reacbed No. 6, Rue des Filles du 
Calvaire. Javert got eut first, exaniined at a glance 
the number over tbe gateway, and raising the heavy 
knocker of hamniered steel, enibellished in the old 
style with a goat and a satyr contending, gave a 
violent knock. The folding-door opencd slightiy, and 
Javert pushed it open. The jDorter half sliowed him- 
self, yawning, and scarce awake, candie in haiid. 
AU were asleep in the house, for people go to bed 
early at the JMarais, especially on days of rioting. 
This good old district, territied by the révolution, 
takes refuge in sleep, like children who, when they 
hcar " old Bogcy coniing," quickly hidc thcir heads 
under the counterpane. In the mean while Jean 
Valjean and the driver rcnioved Marins from the 
hackney coach, Valjean holding him under the arni- 
pits and the coachman under the knces. While 
carrying Marins in this way Jean Valjean passcd his 
hands under his clothes, which wcre tcrribly torn, 
fclt his chcst, and assured himself that his heart 
still beat. It cven beat a little less feebly, as if the 


motion of the veliicle liad produced a certain renewal 
of vitalitj. Javert addressed the porter in the toiie 
which becomes the goverument in the présence of 
the porter of a factionist. 

" Any one live hère of the nanie of Gillenormand? " 

" It is hère. AVhat do you want with hioi ? " 

" We bring him his son." 

" His son ? " the porter asked in amazement. 

" He is dead." 

Jean Valjcan, wlio came up ragged and filthy 
behind Javert, and whom the porter regarded with 
some horror, made him a sign tliat it was not so. 
The porter seemed neither to understaud Javert's re- 
mark nor Jean Yaljean's sign. Javert continued, — 

" He has been to the barricade, and hère he is." 

" To the barricade ! " the porter exclaimed. 

" He has been killed. Go and wake his father." 

The porter did not stir. 

"Be off!" Javert continued; and added, *' There 
will be a fanerai hère to-morrow." 

For Javert, the ordinary incidents of the streets 
were classified categorically, which is the commence- 
ment of foresight and surveillance, and each eventu- 
ality had its compartment ; the possible facts were 
to some extent kept in draAvers, whence they issued 
on occasions, in variable quantities ; there were in the 
streets. disturbance, riot, carnival, and interments. 

The porter limited himself to awaking Basque ; 
Basque awoke Nicolette ; Nicolette awoke Aunt 
Gillenormand. x\s for the grandfather, he was left 
to sleep, as it was thought that he would know the 
affair (j[uite soon enough as it was. Marins was 


carried to the first-floor, no one beiug acquainted with 
the fact in the rest of the house, and he was laid on 
an old sofa in M. Gillenorniand's ante-room, and 
while Basque went to fetch a physician and Nicolette 
opened the linen-presses, Jean Valjean felt Javert 
touch liis shoulder. He understood, and went down, 
Javert following close at his lieels. The porter saw 
them départ, as he h ad seen them arrive, with a star- 
tled sleepiness. They got iuto the hackney coach, 
and the driver on his box. 

" Inspecter Javert," Jean Valjean said, " grant me 
one thing more." 

" Wliat is it ? " Javert answered roughlj. 

" Let me go home for a moment, and you can then 
do with me what you please." 

Javert remained silent for a few moments with his 
chin thrust into the collar of his great-coat, and then 
let down the front window. 

"Driver," he said, "No. 7, Rue de l'Homme 



They did not speak during the eiitire ride. What 
did Jean Valjean vvant ? To finish wliat he had 
begun ; to warn Cosette, tell lier where Marins was, 
give lier perhaps some other useful information, and 
niake, if he conld, certain final arrangements. For 
his own part, as regarded wliat concerned him per- 
sonally, it was ail over ; he had been arrested bj 
Javert, and did not resist. Any other than he, in 
snch a situation, would perhaps hâve thought vaguely 
of the rope which Thénardier had given'him, and the 
bars of the first cell he entered ; but since his meet- 
ing with the Bishop, Jean Yaljean had within him a 
profound religious hésitation against every assault, 
even on himself. Suicide, that mysterious attack 
on the unknown, which may contain to a certain ex- 
tent the death of the soûl, was impossible to Jean 

On entering the Rue de l'Homme Armé the coach 
stopped, as the street was too narrow for vehicles to 
pass along it. Jean Yaljean and Javert got out. 
The driver humbly represented to " INIr. Inspecter " 
that the Utrecht velvet of his coach was quite spoiled 
by tlie blood of tlie assassinated man and tlie filth of 


the assassin, — that is how lie undcrstood tlie afFair, 
— and lie added that an indemnity Avas due to him. 
At the same time taking his license-book from his 
pocket, he begged INIr. Inspector to hâve the kind- 
ness to Avrite liim a little bit of a certificate. Javert 
thrust back the book which the driver ofFered him 
and said, — 

" How much do you want, including the time yoii 
waited and the journey ? " 

" It 's seven hours and a quarter," the driver 
answered, " and my velvet was brand new. Eighty 
francs, Mr. Inspector." 

Javert took from his pocket four Napoléons, and 
dismissed the hackney coach. Jean Valjean thought 
that it Avas Javert's intention to take him on foot to 
the Blancs Manteaux ])Ost, or that of the Archives, 
which Avere close by. They entered the street, Avhich 
Avas as usual deserted. Javert followed Jean Valjean, 
and, on reaching No. 7, the latter rapped, and the 
gâte opened. 

" Very good," said JaA^ert ; " go up." 

He added, Avith a strange exj)ression, and as if 
making an effort to speak in tins Avay, — 

" I Avill Avait for you hère." 

Jean Valjean looked at Javert, for this style of 
conduct Avas not at ail a habit of Javert's. Still, it 
could not surprise him grcatly that Javert should 
noAv place in him a sort of haughty confidence, — the 
confidence of the cat Avhich grants the mouse liberty 
to the Icngth of its chiAv, dotermined as Jean Valjean 
Avas to give himself up and make an end of it. He 
tln'ust open the gâte, entered the housc, shoutcd to 


the porter, who was lying clown and had puUed the 
string from his bed, " It is I," and mounted the stair- 
case. On reacliing the first story he paused, for every 
Via Dolorosa has -its stations. The window at the 
head of the stairs, a sash-window, was open. As is the 
case in many old houses, the staircase obtained light 
from, and looked out on, the street. The street km- 
tern, situated precisely opposite, threw some little hght 
on the stairs, which caused a saving of a lamp. Jean 
Valjean, either to breathe or mechanically, thrust his 
head out of this window and looked down into the 
street. It is short, and the lamp lit it from one end 
to the other. Jean Valjean had a bedazzlement of 
stupor : there was no one in it. 
Javert had gone away. 



Basque and the porter had carried ]\Iarius, who 
was still lying motionless on the sofa on wliich he 
had been laid on arriving, into the drawing-room. 
ïhe physician, who liad been sent for, hurried in, and 
Aunt Gillenorniand had risen. Aunt Gillenormand 
came and went, horritied, clasping her hands, and 
incapable of doing anything but saying, " Can it be 
possible ? " She added at intervais, " Evcrything 
will be stained with blood." When the first horror 
had passed away a certain pliilosophy of the situation 
appeared even in her mind, and was translated by 
the exclamation, " It must end in that way." She 
did not go so far, though, as " Did I not say so ? " 
which is usual on occasions of tins nature. 

By the surgeon's orders a folding-bed was put up 
near tlie sofa. He examined Marius, and after satis- 
fying himsclf that the puise still beat, that the patient 
had no penetrating wound in the chest, and that the 
blood at the corners of the lipscame from the nostrils, 
he had hiin laid flat on the bed, without a ])illow, 
the head level with the body, and even a little lowir, 
the chest bare, in order to facilitate the breathing. 
Mademoiselle Gillenormand, seeing that Marius was 


being undressed, withdrew, and told her beads in her 
bed-room. The body had received no internai injury ; 
a bail, deadened by the pocket-book, had deviated, 
and passed round the ribs with a frightful gash, but 
as it was not deep, it was therefore not dangerous. 
The long subterranean march had completed the dis- 
location of the collar-bone, and there were serious 
injuries there. The amis were covered with sabre- 
cuts ; no scar disfigured the face, but the head was 
eut ail over with gashes. What would be the state 
of thèse wounds on the head, — did they stop at the 
scalp, or did they reach the brain ? It was impossi- 
ble to say yet. It was a serious syniptoni that they 
had caused the faintness. And men do not always 
awake from such fainting-fits ; the hemorrhage, more- 
over, had exhausted the wounded man. From the 
waist downward the lower part of the body had been 
protected by the barricade. 

Basque and Nicolette tore up linen and prepared 
bandages : Nicolette sewed them and Basque rolled 
them. As they had no lint, the physician had tem- 
porarily checked the effusion of blood with cakes of 
wadding. By the side of the bed three candies burned 
on the table on which the surgeon's pocket-book lay 
open. He washed Marius's face and hair with cold 
water, and a bucketful was red in an instant. The 
porter, candie in hand, lighted him. The surgeon 
seemed to be thinking sadly : from time to time he 
gave a négative shake of the head, as if answering 
some (]ucstion which he mentally addressed to himself. 
Such mysterious dialogues of the physician with him- 
self are a bad sign for the patient. At the moment 


when the surgeon was wiping thc face and gcntly 
touching with his fingcr the still closecl eyelids, a door 
opened at the end of the rooni, and a tîdl, pale figure 
appearcd : it was the grandfather. The riot during the 
hist two days had greatly agitatcd, ofFended, and occu- 
pied M. Gillenormand ; he had not been able to sleep 
on the previous night, and he had been feverish ail day. 
At night he went to bed at a very early hour, bidding 
his people bar up the house, and had fallen asleep 
through weariness. 

Old men hâve a fragile slecp. M. Gîllenormand's 
bed-room joined the drawing-room, and whatever 
précautions had been takcn, thc noise awoke him. 
Surprised by the crack of îight which he saw in his 
door, lie had got out of bed and groped his way to 
the door. He was standing on the threshold, with 
one hand on the door-handle, his head slightly bent 
forward and shaking, his body enfolded in a white 
dressing-gown as straight and creaseless as a winding- 
sheet : he was surprised, and looked like a ghost 
peering into a tondj. He noticcd the bed, and 
on the mattress this young bleeding nian, of the 
whiteness of wax, with closed eyes, opcn mouth, 
livid cheeks, naked to the waist, niarked ail ovcr 
with verniilion, wounded, niotionless, and brightly 

The grandfather had from head to foot that shud- 
der which ossified limbs can hâve. His eyes, whose 
cornea was yellow owing to their great âge, were 
vciled by a sort of glassy stare ; his entire face as- 
sumed in an instant the carthly angles of a skelcton's 
head ; his anus fell pendent as if a spring had been 


broken in them, and his stupor was displajed by the 
ontspreadiiig of ail the fingers of his two old trem- 
bling hands. His knees formed a salient angle, dis- 
playing throiigh the opening of his dressing-govvn 
his poor naked legs bristling with white hairs, and 
he murniured, — 

" Marins !" 

" He has just been brought hère, sir," said Basque ; 
" he went to the barricade, and — " 

" He is dead," the old gentleman exclaimed in a 
te rible voice. " Oh, the brigand ! " 

Then a sort of sepulchral transfiguration drew up 
tins centenarian as straight as a young man. 

" You are the surgeon, sir," he said ; " begin by 
telling me one thing. He is dead, is he not ? " 

The surgeon, who was frightfully anxious, niain- 
tained silence, and M. Gillenormand wrung his hands 
with a burst of terrifying laughter. 

" He is dead, he is dead ! He has let himself be 
killcd at the barricade throngh liatred of me ; it was 
against me that he did it ! Ah, the blood-drinker, 
that is the way in which he returns to me ! Woe of 
my life, he is dead ! ' 

He went to a window, opened it quite wide, as if 
he were stifling, and standing there began speaking 
to the night in the street. 

"Stabbed, sabred, massacred, cxterminated, slashed, 
eut to pièces ! Do you sce that, the beggar ! He 
knew very well that I expectcd him, and that I had his 
rooni ready, and that I had placcd at my bed-head 
his portrait when he was a child ! He knew very 
well that he need only return, and that for years I 

VOL. V. 15 


luid beeii recalling him, and that I sat at night by 
niy fire-side with niy hands on my knees, iiot know- 
ing wliat to do, and that I was crazy about hini ! 
You knew that very well ; you had only to return 
and say, ' It is I,' and you would be tlie master of 
the house, and I would obey you, and you could do 
anything you liked with your oid ass of a grand- 
father ! You knew it very well, and said, * No, he 
is a royalist, I will not go ! ' and you went to the 
barricades, and hâve let yourself be killed out of 
spite, in order to revenge yourself for what I said 
on the subject of JVIonsieur le Duc de Berry ! Is not 
that infamous ! Go to bed and sleep quietly, for he 
is dead, This is my awaking." 

The surgeon, who was beginning to be anxious for 
both, left Marins, and going up to M. Gillenornmnd, 
took his arm. The grandfather tu'rned, looked at 
him with eyes that seemed dilated and bloodshot, 
and said calmly, — 

** I thank you sir, I am calm. I am a man. I 
saw the death of Louis XVI., and can endure cvents. 
Tliere is one tliing that is terrible, — it is the thought 
that it is your nevvspapers which do ail the mischief. 
You hâve scribblers, speakers, lawyers, orators, tri- 
Dunes, discussions, progress, lights, rights of man, 
liberty of the press, and that is the way in which 
your children are brought back to your houses. Oh, 
Marius, it is abominable ! Killed ! dcad before me ! 
a barricade ! Oh, the bandit ! Doctor, you live in 
the quarter, I belicve ? Oh yes, I know you well. 
I hâve seen your cab pass from my window. Well, 
I will tell you. You are wrong if you tliink that I 


am in a passion, for people do not get in a passion 
with a dead man, it would be stupid. That is a boy 
I brought up ; I was old when he was still quite 
little. He played in the Tuileries with his little 
spade and his httle chair, and, in order that the in- 
spectors shonkl not scold, I used to fill up with my 
cane the holes which he made with his spade. One 
day he cried, ' Down with Louis XVIII. ! ' and went 
ofF. It is not niy fault. He was ail pink and white, 
and his mother is dead : hâve you noticed that ail 
little children are light-haired ? He is a son of one 
of those brigands of the Loire, but children are inno- 
cent of their fathers' crimes. I remeniber him when 
he was so high, and he could never manage to pro- 
nounce a d. He spoke so sweetly and inconipre- 
hensibly that you might hâve fancied him a bird. 
I remember one day that a circle was formed in front 
of the Farnese Hercules to admire that child, he 
was so lovely. He had a head such as you see in 
pictures. I used to speak loud to him, and threaten 
him with my cane ; but he knew very well that it was 
a joke. In the morning, when he entered my room, 

I scolded; but it produced the effect of sunshine 
upon me. It is not possible to défend yourself against 
thèse brats, for they take you, and hold you, and do 
not let you go again. It is the fact that there never 
was a Cupid like that child. And now what do you 
say of your Lafayette, your Benjamin Constant, and 
your Tirecuir de Corcelles, who kill him for me ? Oh, 
it cannot pass away like that ! " 

He went up to ]Marius, who was still livid and mo- 
tionless, and began wringing his hands again. The old 


gentleman's white lips moved as it were mechanically, 
and allowed indistinct sentences to pass, which were 
scarce audible. " Ah, lieartless ! ah, clubbist ! ah, 
scoundrel ! ah, Septembrizer ! " — reproaches uttered 
in a ]ow voice by a dying man to a corpse. By degrees, 
as siich internai éruptions niust always burst forth, 
the flood of vvords returncd ; but tlie grandfather 
seemed no longer to hâve the strength to utter tliem ; 
his voice was so hollow and choked that it seemed 
to conie from the other brink of an abyss. 

" I do not care a bit ; I will die too. And then 
to think there is not a wench in Paris who would 
not be happy to produce the happiness of that 
scoundrel, — a scamp, who, instead of amusing him- 
self and enjoying life, went to fight, and let himself 
be shot like a brute ! And for whom, and for what ? 
For the republic, instead of going to dance at the 
Chaumière, as is the duty of young men ! It is really 
worth whilc being twenty years of âge. The re- 
public, — a fine absurdity ! Poor mothers bring pretty 
boys into the world for that ! Well, he is dcad ; that 
will make two hearscs undcr the gateway. So you 
hâve got yourself served in that way for love of 
General Lainarquc ! What did General Lamarque 
do for you ? A sabrer ! a chattcrer ! to get one's self 
killed for a dead man ! Is it not enougli to drive 
one mad ? Can you understand that? At twenty ! 
and without turning his head to see whether he left 
anything behind him ! Xow, see the poor old fellows 
who are obligcd to die ail alone. Rot in your 
corner, owl ! Well, aftcr ail, that is what I hoped 
for, and is for the best, as it will kill me right ofF. 


I am too old ; I am one hundred ; I am a hundred 
thousand, and I had a right to be dead long ago, 
Well, tliis blow settles it. It Is ail over. What liap- 
piness ! What is the use of making him inhale am- 
monia and ail that pile of drugs ? You ass of a 
doctor, you are wasting your tirae. There, he 's 
dead, quite dead ! I know it, for I am dead too. 
He did not do the thing by halves. Yes, the présent 
âge is infamous, infamous, infamous ! And that is 
what I think of you, your ideas, your Systems, your 
masters, your oracles, your doctors, your scamps of 
writcrs, your rognes of philosophers, and ail the 
révolutions which hâve startled the Tuileries ravens 
during the last sixty years. And since you were 
pitiless in letting yourself be killed so, I will not even 
feel sorry at your death. Do your hear, assassin ? " 

At this moment Marins slowly opened his eyes, 
and his glanée, still veiled by léthargie surprise, settled 
on M. Gillenormand. 

" Marins ! " the old man eried ; " Marins, my little 
Marins ! My child ! My beloved son ! You open 
your eyes ! You look at me ! You are alive ! 

And he fell down in a fainting fit. 


Javert retirée! slowlj from the Rue de l'Homme 
Armé. He walked with drooping head for the first 
time in his life, and equally for the first time in his 
life with his hands behind his back. Up to that day 
Javert had only assumed, of Napoleon's two attitudes, 
the one which expresses resolution, the arms folded 
on the chest ; the one indicating uncertainty, the 
arms behind the back, was unknovvn to him. Now 
a change had taken place, and his whole person, 
slow and sombre, was stamped with anxiety. He 
buried himself in the silent streets, but followed 
a certain direction. He wcnt by the shortest road 
to the Seine, reached the Quai des Ormes, walked 
along it, passed the Grève, and stopped, a little dis- 
tance from the Place du Châtelct, at the corner of 
the Pont Nôtre Dame. The Seine makes there, 
between that bridge and the Pont au Change on 
one side, and the Quai de la Mégisserie and the 
Quai aux Fleurs on the otlier, a species of square 
lake traversed by a rapid. This point of the Seine 
is feared by sailors ; nothing can be more dangerous 


than this rapid, at tliat period contracted and irri- 
tated by the piles of tlie mill bridge, since de- 
molished. The two bridges, so close to each other, 
heighten the danger, for the water hurries formidably 
through the arches. It rolls in broad, terrible waves, 
it increases, and is heaped up ; the flood strives to 
root ont the piles of the bridge with thick liquid 
cords. ISIen who fall in there do not reappear, and 
the best swimmers are drowned. 

Javert leaned his elbows on the parapet, his chin 
op his hand, and while his hands mechanically closed 
on his thick whiskers, he reflected. A novelty, a 
révolution, a catastrophe liad just taken place within 
hini, and he nuist examine into it. Javert was suf- 
fering horribly, and for some hours past Javert had 
ceased to be simple. He was troubled ; this brain, 
so linipid in its blindness, had lost its transparency, 
and there was a cloud in this crvstal. Javert felt in 
his conscience duty doubled, and he could not hide 
the fact from himself. When he met Jean Valjean 
80 unexpectedly on the Seine bank, he had some- 
thing within him of the wolf that recaptures its prey 
and the dog that finds its master again. He saw 
bcfore him two roads, both equally straight ; but he 
saw two of them, and this terrified him, as he had 
never known in his life but one straight line. And, 
poignant agony ! thèse two roads were contrary, and 
one of thèse right lines excluded the other. Which 
of the two was the true one ? His situation was inde- 
scribable : to owe his life to a malefactor, to accept 
this debt and repay hira ; to be, in s^iite of himself, on 
the same footing ^vith an escaped convict, and requite 


oiie service witli aiiother service ; to let it be said 
to liim, " Be ofF! " and to say in his turn, " Be free ! " 
to sacrifice to personal motives diity, that gênerai 
obligation, and to feel in thèse personal motives some- 
thing gênerai too, and perhaps superior ; to betray 
Society in order to remain faithful to his conscience, 
— that ail thèse absurdities should be realized, and 
accumnlated npon liira, was what startled him. One 
thing had astonished him, — that Jean Valjean had 
shown him mercy ; and one thing had petrified liini, — 
that he, Javert, had shown mercy to Jean Valjean. 

Where was he ? He sought and no longer found 
himself. What was he to do now ? To give up 
Jean Valjean was bad, to leave Jean Valjean at lib- 
erty was bad. In the former case, the man of au- 
thority fell lower than the man of the galleys ; in the 
second, a convict rose higher than the law, and set 
his foot npon it. In either case, dishonor for him, 
Javert. Whatever resolution he might form, thcre 
was a fall, for destiny has certain extremities projcct- 
ing over the impossible, beyond which life is only a 
précipice. Javert had rcached one of thèse extrem- 
ities : one of his anxietics was to be constraincd to 
tiiink, and the very violence of ail thèse contradictory 
émotions compelled him to do so. Now, thought was 
an unnsual tliing for liim, and singularly painful. 
There is always in thought a certain amount of inter- 
nai rébellion, and he was irritated at having that 
witliin him. Thought, no mattcr on what subjcct 
beyond the narrow circle of his destiny, would hâve 
been to him in any case usele«s and wearisome ; but 
thinking about the day which had just passed was a 


torture. And yet he must after such shocks look into 
his conscience, and give liimself an account of liim- 
self. What he had donc caused him to shudder ; lie, 
Javert, had thought lit to décide — against ail police 
régulations, against ail social and judicial organiza- 
tion, and against the entire codes — a discliarge : that 
had suited hini. He had substituted his own afFairs 
for public afFairs ; was not that unjustifiable ? Each 
time that he stood facing the nameless action which 
he had committed, he trembled froni head to foot. 
What should he résolve on ? Only one resource was 
left him, — to return at full speed to the Rue de 
l'Homme Armé and lock up Jean Valjean. It was 
clear that tins was what he ought to do, but he could 
not do it. Sometliing barred the way on that side. 
What ! is there anything in the world besides sen- 
tences, the police, and the authorities ? Javert was 

A saci'ed galley-slave ! a convict impregnable by 
justice, and that through the deed of Javert ! Was 
it not friglitful that Javert and Jean Yaljean, the 
man made to punish and the nian made to endure, — 
that thèse two men, wlio were both the property of 
the law, should hâve reached the point of placing 
themselves both above the law ? What ! such enor- 
mities could happen and no one be punished ? Jean 
Valjean, stronger than the whole social order, would 
be free, and he, Javert, would continue to eat the 
bread of the Government ! His rêverie gradually 
became terrible : he mi^ht through tins rêverie hâve 
reproached himsclf slightly on the subject of the in- 
surgent carried home to tlie Rue des Filles du Cal- 


vaire, but he did iiot think of it. The slighter fault 
was lost in the greater ; and besides, tins insurgent 
was evidently a dead man, and, legally, death cliccks 
persécution. Jean Valjean, — that was the weight 
which he-had on his mind. Jean Valjean disconcertcd 
him. Ail the axionis which had becn the support of 
his whole life crunibled away before this man, and 
the generosity of Jean Valjean to liim, Javert, over- 
whelmed him. Other facts which he remembered, and 
which he had formerly treated as fiUsehoods and folly, 
now returned to his mind as realities. M. Madeleine 
reappeared behind Jean Valjean, and the two figures 
were blended into one, which was vénérable. Javert 
felt that something horrible, admiration for a convict, 
w^as entcring his soûl. Respect for a galley-slave, 
is it possible ? He shuddered at it, and could not es- 
•cape from it, although he struggled. He was reduced 
to confess in his soûl the sublimity of this villain, and 
this was odious. A benevolent malefactor, a com- 
passionate, gentlc, helping, and mercifui convict, — 
repaying good for evil, pardon for hatred, preferring 
pity to vengeance, ready to destroy himself sooner 
than his enemy, saving the man who had struck him, 
kneeling on the pinnacle of virtue, and nearer to the 
angels than to man. Javert was constrained to con- 
fess to himself that such a monster existed. 

This could not last. Assuredly — and we lay 
stress on the fact — he liad not yielded without ré- 
sistance to this monster, to this infamous angel, to 
this hideous hero, at whom he felt almost as indig- 
nant as stupefied. Twenty tinies while in that hack- 
ney coach face to face with Jean Valjean the légal 


tiger had roareci withiii hini. Twenty times he liad 
feit tempted to hurl himself on Jean Valjean, to 
seize and devour hini, — thai is to say, arrest liim. 
What more simple, in fact, — shout to the nearest 
post before which he passed, '' Hère is a convict 
who lias broken liis ban ! " and then go away, leave 
the condemned man there, be ignorant of the rest. 
and interfère no further ? This man is eternally the 
prisoner of the law, and the law will do what it 
pleases with him. What was fairer ? Javert had said 
ail this to himself ; he had wislied to go further, — to 
act, apprehend the man, — and then, as now, had been 
unable ; and each time that his hand was convulsively 
raised to Jean Valjean's collar, it fell back as if un- 
der an enormous weight, and he heard in the bottora 
of his heart a voice, a strange voice, crying to him, 
*' That is well. Give up your saviour, then send for 
Pontius Pilate's basin, and wash your hands in it ! " 

Then his thoughts reverted to himself, and by the 
side of Jean Valjean aggrandized he saw himself de- 
graded. A convict was his benefactor, but why had 
he allowed that man to let him live ? He had the 
right of being killed at that barricade, and should 
hâve employed that right. It would hâve been better 
to call the other insurgents to his aid against Jean 
Valjean, and hâve himself shot by force. His su- 
prême agony was the disappearance of certainty, and 
he felt himself uprootcd. The code was now only a 
stump in his hand, and he had to deal with scruples 
of an unknown species. There was within him a 
sentimental révélation entirely distinct from the légal 
affirmation, his sole measure hitherto, and it was not 


sufficient to remaiii in his old honesty. A whole 
ordei- of unexpected facts arose and subjugated him, 
an eutire new wovld appeared to his soûl ; bencfits 
accepted and returncd, dévotion, mercy, indulgence, 
violence done by pity to austerity, no more définitive 
condenination, no more damnation, the possibility of 
a tear in the eye of the law, and perhaps some justice 
according to God acting in an inverse ratio to justice 
according to man. He })erceived in the darkness the 
rising of an unknown moral sun, and he was horrified 
and dazzled. He was an owl forced to look like the 

He said to hiraself that it was true, then, that 
there wcre exceptions, that authority might be dis- 
concertcd, that the rule might fall short in the prés- 
ence of a fact, that everything was not contained in 
the text of a code, that the unforeseen made itself 
obeyed, that the virtue of a convict might set a snare 
for the virtue of a functionary, that the monstrous 
might be divine, that destiny had such ambuscades ; 
and he thought with despair that he had himself not 
been protected from a surprise. He was compellcd 
to recognize that goodncss existed ; this galley-slave 
had been good, and he, extraordinary to say, had 
been good also. Hence he was bccoming dcpravcd. 
He felt that he was a coward, and it horrified him. 
The idéal ibr Javert was not to be human, grand, or 
sublime ; it was to be irreproachable, — and now he 
had broken down. How had he reached this stage ? 
How had ail this happened? He could not hâve 
told himself. He took his hcad betwecn his hands ; 
but whatever he might do, he could not succeed in 


explailling it. He certainly liad hacl the intention of 
delivering Jean Yaljean ovcr to the law, of which 
Jean Valjean was the captive and of which he was 
the slave. He had not confessed to hiniself for a 
single instant, while he lield him, that he had a 
thought of letting him go ; it was to some cxtent 
unconsciously that his hand had opened and allowed 
him to escape. 

Ail soi'ts of enigmatic novelties passed before his 
eyes. He asked himself questions and gave himself 
answers, and his answers terrified him. He asked 
himself, " What has tins convict, tliis desperate man, 
whom I followed to persécution, and who had me 
under his heel, and could hâve avenged hiniself, and 
ought to hâve acted so, both for his rancor and 
his security, donc in leaving me my life and showing 
me mercy, — his duty ? No, something more. And 
what hâve I done in showing him mercy in my turn, 
— my duty ? Nq, something more. Is there, then, 
something more than duty ? " Hère he was terrified, 
he was thrown oiF his balance, — one of the scales fell 
into the abyss, the other ascended to heaven ; and 
Javert felt no less horror at the one above than at the 
one bclow. Without being the least in the world 
what is termed a Voltairian, or philosopher, or in- 
credulous man, respectful, on the contrary, instinc- 
tive ly to the Established Church, he only knew it as 
an august fragment of the social ensemble; order 
was his dogma, and sufficient for him. Since he 
had attained man's âge and office, he had set nearly 
ail his religion in the police, being, — and we employ 
the words without the slightest irony, and in their 


most serions acceptation, — being, as we hâve said, 
a spy, as another maii is a priest. He had a superior, 
M. Gisquet ; but he had never thought iip to this 
day of that other superior, God. He felt the prés- 
ence of this nevv Chief unexpectedly, and was trou- 
bled by Him. He was thrown ont of gear by this 
person ; he knevv not what to do with this Superior, 
for he was not ignorant tiiat the subordinate is bound 
always to bow the head, that he must neither dis- 
obey, nor blâme, nor discuss, and that when facing a 
superior who astonishes him too much, the infcrior 
has no other resource but liis résignation. But how 
could he manage to give in liis résignation to 

Howevcr this might be, one fact to which he con- 
stantly returned, and which ruled everything else, 
was that he had just committed a frightful infraction 
of the law. He had closed his eyes to a relapscd 
convict who had broken his ban ; he had set a galley- 
slave at liberty. He had stolen from the laws a man 
who belonged to them. He had donc this, and no 
longer understood himself. He was not certain of 
being himself. The very reasons of his deed escaped 
him, and he only felt the dizziness it produccd. He 
had lived up to this moment in that blind faith which 
engenders a dark probity ; and this faith was leaving 
him, this probity had failcd him. Ail that he had 
believed was dissipated, and truths which he did not 
désire inexorably besieged him. He must hence- 
forth be another man, and he suffcred the strange 
pain of a conscience suddcnly operated on for cata- 
ract. He saw what it was répulsive to him to see. 


and felt himsclf spent, useless, dislocated from his 
past life, discharged and dissolved. Authority was 
dead within him, and lie no longer had a reason for 
living. Terrible situation ! to be moved. To be 
made of granité, and doubt ! To be the statue of 
punishment cast ail of one pièce in the niould of the 
law, and suddenly to perceive that you hâve under 
your bronze bosom something absurd and disobe- 
dient, which almost resembles a heart ! To hâve 
requited good for good, though you hâve said to 
yourself up to this day that such good is evil ! To 
be the watch-dog, and fawn ! To be ice, and melt ! 
To be a pair of pincers, and become a hand ! sud- 
denly to feel your fingers opening ! To lose your 
hold. Oh, what a frightful thing ! The man pro- 
jectile, no longer knowing his road, and recoiling ! 
To be obliged to confess this : infallibility is not in- 
fallible ; there may be an error in the dognia ; ail is 
not said when a code has spoken, society is not per- 
fect, authority is coniplicated with vacillation, a crack 
in the imniutable is possible, judges are men, the law 
may be deceived, the courts may make a mistake ! 
To see a flaw in the immense blue window-glass o^ 
the firmament. 

What was taking place in Javert was the Fam- 
poux of a rectilinear conscience, the overthrow of a 
mind, the crushing of a probity irresistibly hurled in 
a straight line and breaking itself against God. It 
was certainly strange that the fireman of order, the 
engineer of authority, mountcd on the blind iron 
horsc, could be unsaddled by a beam of light ! That 
the incommutable, the direct, the correct, the geo- 


metrical, tlie passive, the perfect, could beiid ; that 
there sliould be for the locomotive a road to Uamas- 
cus ! God, ever within man, and Himself the true 
conscience, refractorj to the false conscience ; the 
spai'k forbidden to expire, the ray ordered to re- 
membcr the sun, the mind enjoined to recognize the 
true absolute when it confronts itself with the ficti- 
tious absolute, a humanity that cainiot be lost ; the 
human heart inadmissible, — did Javert comprehend 
this splendid phenomcnon, the most glorious, per- 
haps, of our internai prodigies? Did he penetrate 
It ? Did he explain it to himself ? Evidently no. 
But undcr the pressure of this incompréhensible in- 
contestability he felt his brain cracking. He was 
less transfigured than the victim of this prodigy : he 
endured it with exaspération, and only saw in ail 
this an immense difïiculty of living. It seemed to 
him as if henceforth his breathing was eternally im- 
peded. He was not accustomed to hâve anything 
unknown over his head ; hitherto every thing he had 
above him had bcen to his eye a clear, simple, limpid 
surface ; there was nothing unknown or obscure, 
— nothing but what was definite, co-ordinated, en- 
chaincd, précise, exact, circumscribed, limited, and 
closed. Everything foresccn, authority was a flat sur- 
face ; there was no fall in it or dizziness before it. 
Javert had never seen anything unknown except be- 
low him. Irregularity, unexpcctcd things, the dis- 
orderly opening of the chaos, and a possible fall over 
a précipice, — ail this was the doing of the lower 
régions, of the rebels, the wicked and the wretched. 
How Javert threw himself back, and was suddcnly 


startled by tliis extraordinarj apparition, — a gulf 
above him ! 

What then ! tlie world was disiiiantled from top 
to bottom and absolutely disconcerted ! In what 
could men trust, when what they felt convinced of 
was crumbling away ! What ! the flaw in the cuirass 
of Society could be formed by a magnanimous scoun- 
drel ! What ! an honest servant of the hiw could 
find hiniself caught between two crimes, — the crime 
of letting a man escape and the crime of arresting 
him ! Ail was not certain, then, in the orders given 
by the State to the officiai ! There could be blind 
alleys in duty ! What then ? ail this was real ! Was 
it true that an ex-bandit, bowed under condemna- 
tions, could draw himself up, and end by being in the 
right ? Was this crédible ? Were there, then, cases 
in which the law niust retire bcfore transfigured 
crime, and stammer its apologies ? Yes, it was so ! 
and Javert saw it, and Javert touched it ! And not 
only could he not deny it, but he had a share in it. 
Thèse were rcalities, and it was abominable that real 
facts could attain such a deformity. If facts did 
their duty they would restrict themselves to bring 
proofs of the law, for facts are sent by God. Was, 
then, anarchy about to descend from on high ? Thus, 
both in the exaggeration of agony and the optical 
illusion of consternation, everything which might 
hâve restricted and corrected his impression faded 
away, and society, the human race, and the universe 
henceforth were contained for his eyes in a simple 
and hideous outline. Punishnient, the thing tried, 
the strength due to the législature, the decrees of 

VOL. V. 16 


sovereign courts, tlie magistracy, tlie govcrninent, 
prévention and repression, officiai v/isdom, légal in- 
fallibility, thc principle of authority, ail tlie dognias 
on wliich political and civil security, tlie sovereignty, 
justice, logic flowing from tlie code and public trutli, 
were a lieap of ruins, chaos. Ile hiipself, Javert, tlie 
watclier of order, incorruptibility in tlie service of 
tlie police, tlie trusty inastiff of society, conquercd 
and liuiled to tlie ground ; and on thc sumniit of ail 
tliis ruin stood a man in a greeii cap, and with a 
glory round liis brow, — sucli was tlie state of over- 
tlirow lie liad reaclied, such the friglitful vision wliicli 
lie liad in liis mind. Was this endurable ? No, it 
was a violent state, were there ever one, and there 
were only UVo ways of escaping from it : one was to 
go resolutely to Jean Valjean and restore to tlie 
dungeon the man of the galleys ; the other — 

Javert Icft the parapet, and with liead crect this 
time walked firndy toward the guard-room indicated 
by a lantern at one of the corners of the Place du 
Chatclet. On reaching it lie saw through the window 
a policeman, and went in. The police recognize each 
other merely by the way in which they push open 
the door of a guard-room. Javert nientioncd his 
nanic, showed his card to the sergeant, and sat down 
at the table on which a candie was burning. There 
were also on thc table a pen, a leaden inkstand, and 
paper, rcady for contingent reports and the records 
of the night patrols. This table, al ways completed 
by a straw chair, is an institution ; it exists in ail 
police offices ; it is always adorned with a boxwood 
saucer fuU of sawdust, and a box of rcd walers, and 


it is the lower stage of the officiai style. It is hère 
that the State literature commences. Javert took 
the pen and a slieet of paper and began writing. 
This is what he wrote : — 


" 1. I beg M. le Préfet to cast his eyes on this. 

" 2. Prisoners when they return from examination 
at the magistrate's office take off their shoes and 
remain barefoot on the slabs while they are being 
searched. Some cough on re-entering prison. This 
entails infirmary expenses. 

" 3. Tracking is good, with relays of agents at reg- 
ular distances ; bnt on important occasions two agents 
at the least should not let each other out of sight, be- 
cause if for any reason one agent were to fail in his 
duty, the other would watch him and take his place. 

" 4. There is no explanation why the spécial rules 
of the prison of the ^ladelonnettes prohibit a prisoner 
from having a chair, even if he pay for it. 

" 5. At the jNladelonnettes there are only two 
gratings to the canteen, which allows the canteen 
woman to let the prisoners touch her hand. 

"6. The prisoners called 'barkers,' who call the 
other prisoners to the visitors' room, demand two 
sous from each prisoner for crying his name distinctly. 
This is a robbery. 

" 7. Ten sous are kept back from the pay of a 
prisoner working in the weaving room for a running 
thread ; this is an abuse on the part of the manager, 
as the cloth is not the less îrood. 


" 8. It is aiinoying that visitors to La Force are 
obliged to pass through the boys' court in proceeding 
to the speaking-room of Sainte Marie rÉgyptienne. 

" 9. It is certain that gendarmes are daily heard 
repeating, in the court-yard of the Préfecture, the 
examination of prisoners by the magistrates. For a 
gendarme, who ought to be consecratcd, to repeat 
what he has heard in the examination room is a 
serious breach of duty. 

" 10. Madame Henry is an honest woman, her 
canteen is very clean ; but it is wrong for a woman to 
hold the key of the secret cells. This is not worthy 
of the Conciergerie of a great civilization." 

Javcrt wrote thèse, lines in bis calmest and most 
correct handwriting, not omitting to cross a t, and 
making the paper creak firmly beneath his pen. 
Under the last line he signed, — 

'' Javert, Inspector of the first cîass. 
" At the pnst of the Phice du Chatclet, 

ahout oue in the nioruiug, June 7, 1832." 

Javert dried the ink on the paper, folded it like 
a letter, sealed it, wrote on the back, " Note for the 
Administration," left it on the table, and quitted 
the guard-room. The glass door fell back after him. 
He again diagonally crosscd the Place du Chatclet, 
reachcd the quay again, and went back witli auto- 
matic précision to the same spot which he had left 
a quarter of an hour previously ; he bent down and 
found himsclf again in the same attitude on the same 
parapet slab ; it seemed as if he had not stirred. The 


darkness was complète, for it was tlie sepulchral 
moment which follows midnight ; a ceiliiig of clouds 
hid the stars ; the houses in.the Cité did not display 
a single liglit, no one passed, ail the streets and quays 
that could be seen were deserted, and Nôtre Dame 
and the towers of the Palace of Justice appeared 
linéaments of the night. A lamp reddened the edge 
of the quay, and the shadows of the bridges looked 
ghostly one behind the other. Rains had swelled the 
river. The spot where Javcrt was leaning was, it 
will be remembcred, precisely above the rapids of the 
Seine and that formidable whirlpool which unrolls 
itself and l'olls itself up again like an endless screw. 
Javert stooped down and looked ; ail was dark, and 
nothing could be distinguished. A sound of spray 
was audible, but the river was invisible. At moments 
in this dizzy depth a flash appeared and undulated, 
for water has the power, even on the darkest night, 
of obtaining light, no one knows whence, and chang. 
ing itself into a lizard. The glimmer vanished and 
ail became indistinct again. Immensity seemed open 
there, and what was beneath was not water, but the 
gulf. The quay-wall, abrupt, confused, mingled with 
the vapor, hidden immediately, produced the effect 
of a précipice of infinitude. 

Nothing could be seen but the hostile coldness 
of the water, and the sickly smell of the damp stones 
could be felt. A ferocious breath rose from this 
abyss ; and the swelling of the river, divined rather 
thau perceived, the tragic muttcring of the water, 
the mournful immensity of the bridge arches, a pos- 
sible fall into this gloomy vacuum, — ail this sliadow 


Avas full of liorror. Javert remained for some mo- 
ments motionless, gazing at tins opeiiing of tlie dark- 
ness, and considered the invisible with an intentness 
which resemblcd attention. Ail at once he took off 
his bat and placed it on tbe brink of the quay. A 
moment after a tall black figure, which any belated 
passer-by might hâve taken at a distance for a ghost, 
appeared standing on the parapet, stooped toward 
the Seine, then drew itself up, and fell straight into 
the darkness. There was a dull plash, and the 
shadows alone were in the secret of tins obscure 
form which had disappeared beneath the waters. 




SoME time aftev tlie events wliich we hâve jiist 
recorded, the Sieur Boulatriielle liad a lively émotion. 
The Sieur Bouhitnielle is the road-niender of Mont- 
fermeil of whom Ave hâve ah'eady cauî^ht a glinipse 
in the dark portions of this book. Bouhitruelle, it 
will possibly be remembered, was a nian occupied 
with troubled and various things. He broke stoncs 
and phmdered travellers on the high^vay. Road- 
mender and robber, he had a dream : he believed 
in the treasures buried in the forest of ]\Iontfermeil. 
He hoped some day to find nioney in the ground 
at the foot of a tree, and in the mean while wilHngly 
fished for it in the pockets of passers-by. Still, for 
the présent he was prudent, for he had just had 
a narrow escape. He was, as we know, picked up 
with the other ruffians in Jondrette's garret. There 
is some usefulness in a vice, for his drunkenness 
^aved him, and it never could be cleared up whether 
he werc there as a robber or as a robbed man. He 


was set at liberty on account of liis proved intoxi- 
cation on the night of tlie attack, and returned to 
tlie woods. He went back to his road from Gagny 
to Lagny, to break stoncs for the State, under sur- 
veillance, with hanging hcad and very- thoughtlul, 
slightly chillcd by the robbcry which had alniost 
ruined hini, but turning with ail tlie more tendernesa 
to the wiue which had saved him. 

As for the lively émotion which he had a short 
time after his return bencath the turf-roof of liis 
road-mender's cabin, it was this : One morning 
Boulatruelle, while going as usual to w^ork and to 
his lurkinu-place, possibly a little before daybreak, 
perceived among the branches a man whose back 
he could alone see, but ^Yhose shape, so he fancied, 
through the mist and darkness, was not entirely un- 
known to him. Boulatruelle, though a drunkard, 
had a correct and lucid memory, an indispensable 
défensive weapon for any man who is at ail on bad 
terms with légal order. 

" Where tlie dcvil hâve I seen some one likc tliat 
man ? " he askcd. 

But he could give himself no reply, save that he 
resembled somebody of wliom lie had a confused 
rccollection. Boulatruelle, however, made his com- 
parisons and calculations, though lie was unable to 
scttle the idcntity. ïhis man did not belong to 
tliose parts, and had come thcre evidently afoot, 
as no public vehiclo passed tln-ough Montfermeil at 
that liour. Ile must hâve becn walking ail night. 
Whcre did hc come from ? Xo groat distance, for 
he had iieither haversack nor bundle. Doubtless 


from Paris. Wliy was he in tliis wood ? Why was 
lie there at such an hour ? Wliat did he want there ? 
Boulatruelle thought of the. treasure. By dint of 
racking his memory he vaguely rcniembcred having 
had, several years previously, a simihir alarm on the 
subject of a man who niight very well be this nian. 
While meditating he had, under the very weight 
of his méditation, hung his head, a natural but not 
élever thing. When he raised it again the man had 
disappeared in the forest and the mist. 

"By the deuce ! ' said Boulatruelle, "I will find 
liim again, and discover to what parisli that parish- 
ioner bclongs. This walker of Patron-lNliuette has a 
motive, and I will know it. No one must hâve 
a seeret in my forest without my being niixed up 
in it." 

He took up his pick, which was very sharp. 
'^ Hère 's something," he growled, " to searcli the 
ground and a man," 

And as one thread is attached to another thread, 
covering the steps as well as he could in the direction 
which the man must hâve pursued, he began march- 
ing through the coppice. When he had gone about 
a hundrcd yards, day, which was beginning to break, 
aided hini. Footsteps on the sand hère and there, 
trampled grass, broken heather, young branches bent 
into the shrubs and rising with a graceful slowness, 
like the arms of a pretty wonian who stretches her- 
self on waking, gave hiin a spccies of trail. He fol- 
lowed it and then lost it, and time slipped away ; he 
got decper into the wood and reached a species of 
eminence. An early sportsman passing at a distance 


along a patli, and wliistling tlie air of Guillery, gavo 
him the idea of clinibing iip a tree, and thougli old, 
he was active. There was on the mound a very largo 
beecli, worthy of ïityrus and Boulatruelle, and lie 
climbed up the tree as high as he could. The idea 
was a good one ; for while exploring the solitude on 
the side where the wood is niost entangled, Boula- 
truelle suddenly perceived the man, but had no 
sooner seen him than he lost him out of sight again. 
The man entered, or rather glided, into a rather 
distant clearing, masked by large trees, but which 
Boulatruelle knew very well, because he had noticed 
near a large heap of stones a sick chestnut-tree ban- 
daged with a zinc plate nailed upon it. This clear- 
ing is what was formerly called the Blaru-bottom, 
and the pile of stones, intended no one knows for 
what purpose, which could be seen there tliirty years 
ago, is doubtless there still. Nothing equals the 
longevity of a heap of stones, except that of a plank 
paling. It is there temporarily; what a reason for 
lasting ! 

Boulatruelle, with the rapidity of joy, tumbled ofF 
the tree rather than came down it. The lair was 
found, and now he had only to seize the animal. 
The famous treasure he had dreamed of was probably 
there. It was no small undertaking to reach the 
clearing by bcaten paths which make a thousand 
annoying windings ; it would take a good quarter of 
an hour. In a straight line through the wood, which 
is at that spot singularly dense, very thorny, and 
most aggressive, it would take half an hour at least. 
This is what Boulatruelle was wrong in not under- 


standing ; he believcd in the straight line, — a re- 
spectable optical illusion whicli bas ruined many 
men. The wood, bristling thpugli it was, appeared 
to him the right road. 

" Let us go hy the Rue de Rivoli of the wolves," 
he said. 

Boulatruelle, accustomed to crooked paths, this 
time committed the error of going straight, and reso- 
lutely cast himself among the shrubs. He had to 
coiitend with holly, ncttles, hawthorns, eglantines, 
thistles, and most irascible roots, and was fearfully 
scratchcd. At the bottom of the ravine he came to 
a stream which he was obliged to cross, and at last 
reached the Blaru clearing after forty minutes, per- 
spiring, wet through, blowing, and fcrocious. There 
was no one in the clearing. Boulatruelle hurried to 
the heap of stones ; it was still in its place, and had 
not been carried off. As for the man, he had van- 
ished in the forest. He had escaped. Where ? In 
which direction? Into which clump of trees? It 
were impossible to guess. And, most crushing thing 
of ail, there was behind the heap of stones and in 
front of the zinc-banded tree a pick, forgotten or 
abandoned, and a hole ; but the hole was empty. 

" Robber ! " Boulatruelle cried, shaking his fists 
at heaven. 



Marius was for a long time neitlier dead iior 
alive. He bad for several weeks a fever accompanicd 
by deliriuni, and very serions brain syniptoms caused 
by tlie sliocks of the wounds in the hcad rather tlian 
tlie wounds themselvcs. He repeated Cosette's name 
for whole nights witli the lugubrious loquacity of 
fever and the glooniy obstinacy of agony. The width 
of certain wounds was a serious danger, for the sup- 
puration of wide wounds may always be absorbed 
into the System, and consequcntly kill the patient 
under certain atniospheric influences ; and at eacli 
change in the weather, at the slightest storni, the 
physician became anxious. "Mind that the patient 
suffers froni no émotion," he repeated. The dressings 
were complicated and difficult, for the fixing of ban- 
dages and lint by the sparadrap had not been imag- 
ined at that period. Nicolette expendcd in lint a 
sheet " as large as a cciling," she said ; and it was 
not without difhculty that the chloruretted lotions 
and nitrate of silvcr reachcd the end of the gangrené. 
So long as there was danger, M. Gillenorniand, 
broken-hearted by the bedside of his grandson, was 
like Marius, neither dead nor alive. 


Eveiy day, and sometimes twice a day, a wliite- 
haircd and well-dressed gentleman, — such was the de- 
scription given by the porter, : — came to inqnire after 
the woundcd nian, and left a hirge parcel of lint for 
the dressiugs. At length, on September 7th, four 
months, day by day, from the painful night on which 
lie had been brought home dying to his grandfather, 
the physician dcclarcd that he could answer for him, 
and that convalescence was setting in. JMarius, how- 
evcr, would be obliged to lie for two months longer 
on a couch, owing to the accidents produced by the 
fracture of the collar-bone. There is always a last 
wound like that which will not close, and eternizes 
the dressings, to the great annoyance of the patient. 
This long illness and lengthened convalescence, how- 
ever, saved him from prosecution : in France there 
is no anger, even public, which six months do not 
extinguish. Riots, in the présent state of society, 
are so much everybody's fault, that they are followed 
by a certain necessity of closing the eyes. Let us 
add that Gisquet's unjusti fiable decree which ordered 
physicians to denounce their patients having out- 
raged opinion, and not merely opinion, but the king 
first of ail, the wounded were covered and protected 
by this indignation, and, with the exception of those 
taken prisoners in the act of fighting, the courts- 
martial did not dare to molest any oue. Hence 
Marins was left undisturbed. 

M. Gillenonnand first passed through every form 
of agony, and then through every form of ecstasy. 
Much difRculty was found in keeping him from pass- 
ing the whole night by Marius's side ; he had his 


large easy-chair brought to the bed, and he insisted 
on his daughter taking the liiiest linen in tlie house 
to make compresses and bandages. Mademoiselle 
Gillenormand, as a sensible and elderly lady, nian- 
aged to save the fine linen, while making her father 
believe that he was obeyed. M. Gillenormand would 
not listen to any explanation, that for the purpose of 
making lint fine linen is not so good as coarse, or 
new so good as worn. Hc was présent at ail the 
dressings, from which ISIademoiselle Gillenormand 
modestly absented herself. When the dead flesh 
was eut away with scissors he said, " Aïe, aïe ! " 
Nothing was so touching as to see him hand the 
womidcd man a cup of broth with his gentle senile 
trembling. He over\yhehiied the surgeon with ques- 
tions, and did not pereeive that he constantly re- 
peated the same. On the day when the physician 
informed him that Marins was ont of danger he 
was bcside himself. He gave his porter three 
louis d'or, and at night, when he went to his bed- 
room, danced a gavotte, making castagnettes of his 
thumb and forefingcr, and sang a song somethiug 
like this : — 

" Jeanne est née à Fougère, 
Vrai nid d'une bergère ; 
J'adore son jupon 

" Anionr, tn vis en elle ; 
Car c'est dans sa prunelle 
Que tu mets ton carquois, 
Narquois 1 


" Moi, je la chante, et j'aime, 
Plus que Diane même, 
Jeanne et ses durs tetous 

Thcn lie knclt on a chair, and Basque, who was 
watching hini through the crack of the cloor, felt cer- 
tain that lie was praying. Up to tliat day lie had 
never bclieved in God. At eacli new phase in the 
improvenient of the patient, which went on steadily, 
the grandfather was extravagant. He performcd a 
multitude of mechanical actions full of delight : he 
went up and down stairs without knowing why. A 
neighbor's wife, who was very pretty, by the way, 
was stupefied at recciving one morning a large bou- 
quet : it was M. Gillenormand who sent it to lier, 
and her husband got up a jealous scène. M. Gille- 
normand tried to draw Nicolette on his knees : he 
called Marins Monsieur le Baron, and shouted, ''Long 
live the Republic ! " Every moment he asked the 
médical man, " There is no danger now, is there ? " 
He looked at Marins with a grandmother's eyes, and 
gloated over him when he slept. He no longer 
knew himself, no longer took himself into account. 
JMarius was the master of the house ; there was abdi- 
cation in his joy, and he was the grandson of his 
grandson. In his présent state of merriment he was 
the most vénérable of children : through fear of 
wearying or annoying the convalescent he would 
place himself behind him in order to smile upon him. 
He was satisfied, joyous, ravished, charming and 
young, and his white hair added a gentle majesty 
to the gay light which he had on his face. When 


grâce is mingled with wrinklcs it is adorable ; and 
there is a pcculiar dawii in expansive old âge. 

As for Marins, while letting himsclf be nnrsed and 
petted, he had onc fixed idea, — Cosette. Since the 
lever and deliriuni had left liim he nô h)nger pro- 
nounced this name, and it raight be supposcd tljat he 
had forgottcn it ; but he was silent precisely because 
his soûl was there. He knew not what had become 
of Cosette : the whole afFair of the Rue de la Chan- 
vrerie was like a cloud in his memory ; shadows 
almost indistinct tioatcd through his spirit. Epoiiine, 
Gavroche, Mabœuf, the Thénardiers, and ail his 
friends niournfully mingled with the smoke of the 
barricade ; the strange passage of M. Fauchelevent 
through that blood-stained adventurc produced upon 
him the eftcct of an enigma in a tcmpest : he under- 
stood nothing of his own life, he knew not how or 
by whom he had been saved, and no one about 
knew it either : ail they were able to tell him was 
that he had been brought there at night in a hackney 
coach. Past, présent, future, — ail this was to him like 
the mist of a vague idea ; but there was in this niist 
one immovable point, a clear and précise linéament, 
sometliing made of granité, a resolution, a will, — to 
find Cosette again. For him the idea of life was not 
distinct from the idea of Cosette : he had decrecd in 
his heart that he Avould not reçoive one without the 
other, and he unalterably determined to demand of 
his grandfather, of dcstiny, of fate, of Hades itself, 
the restitution of liis lost Kden. 

Ile did not conceal the obstacles from himself. 
Hère let us underline one fact : he was not won or 


greatly affected by ail tlie anxiety and ail the tender- 
ness of bis grandfatber. In tbe first place lie was 
not in tbe secret of tbem ail, and next, in bis sick 
man's rêveries, whicb were perbaps still feverisb, be 
distrusted tbis gentleness as a strange and new tbing 
intended to subdue bim. He remained cold to it, 
and tbe poor grandfatber lavisbed bis smiles in pure 
loss. Marins said to bimself tbat it was ail very well 
so long as lie did not speak and let matters rest ; but 
wben be came to Cosette, be sbould find anotber 
face, and bis grandfatber's rcal attitude would be 
unmasked. Tben lie would be rougli ; a warming up 
of faniily questions, a comparison of positions, every 
possible sarcasm and objection at once. Faucbelevent, 
Coupelevent, fortune, poverty, wretcbeduess, tbe stone 
on tbe neck, tbe future a violent résistance, and tbe 
conclusion — a refusai. Marins stifFened bimself 
against it beforeband. And tben, in proportion as 
be regained life, bis old wrongs reappeared, tbe old 
ulcers of bis memory reopened, be tbougbt again of 
tbe past. Colonel Pontmercy placed bimself once 
more between M. Gillenormand and bim, Marins, and 
he said to bimself tbat be bad no real kindness to 
hope for from a man wbo bad been so unjust and 
barsb to bis fatber. And witb bealtb came back a 
sort of bitterness against bis grandfatber, from wbicb 
tbe old man gently suffered. M. Gillenormand, witb- 
out letting it be seen, noticed tbat Marins, since be 
bad been brougbt bome and regained consciousness, 
bad never once called bim fatber. He did not say 
Sir, it is true, but be managed to say neitber one nor 
the otber, by a certain w\iy of turning bis sentences. 



A crisis was evideiitly approacliing, and, as nearlj 
always happens in sucli cases, Marins, in order to 
try himself, skirmished before oftering battle ; tins is 
called feeling the ground. One morning it happened 
that M. Gilleuormand, alluding to a newspaper which 
lie had come aeross, spoke lightly of the Convention, 
and darted a Royalist epigram at Danton, St. Just, 
and Robespierre. " The nien of '93 were giants," 
Marins said sternly ; the old man was silent, and did 
not utter another syllable ail the day. JMarius, who 
had the inflexible grandfather of his early years ever 
preseiît to his mind, saw in this silence a profonnd 
concentration of anger, augured from it an obstinate 
struggle, and augmentcd his préparations for the con- 
test in the most hidden corners of his inind. He 
determined that in case of refusai he would tcar off 
his bandages, dislocate his collar-bone, expose ail the 
wounds still unhealed, and refuse ail food. His 
wounds were his ammunition ; he niust hâve Cosette 
or die. He awaited the favorable moment with the 
crafty patience of sick persons, and the moment 



One day J\I. Gillenonnand, while his daugliter 
was arranging the phials and cups on the marble 
slab of the sideboard, leaned over Marias, and said 
in his most tender accent, — 

" Look you, my little Marins, in your place I would 
rather cat méat than fish ; a fried sole is excellent at 
the beginning of a convalescence ; but a good cutlet 
is necessary to put the patient on his legs." 

Marins, whose strength had nearly quite returned, 
sat up, rested his two clenched fists on his sheet, 
looked his grandfather in the face, assumed a terrible 
air, and said, — 

" That induces me to say one thing to you." 

" What is it ? " 

" That I wish to marry." 

" Foreseen," said the grandfather, bursting into 
a laugh. 

" How foreseen ? " 

" Yes, foreseen. You shall hâve your little maid." 

Marins, stupefied and dazzled, trembled in ail his 
limbs, and M. Gillenormand continued, — 

" Yes, you shall hâve the pretty little dear. She 
cornes every day in the form of an old gentleman 


to ask after you. Ever since you liave been wounded 
shc bas spent her time in crying and niaking lint. 
I madc inquiries ; she lives at No. 7, Rue de l'Homme 
Armé. Ah, there we are ! Ah, you want her, do 
you ? Well, you shall hâve her. You 're tricked 
this time ; you had made your little plot, and had 
said to yourself, ' I will tell it point-blank to that 
grandfather, that munmiy of the Regeney and the 
Directory, that old beau, that Dorante who has 
become Géronte ; he has had bis frolics too, and bis 
amourettes, and bis grisettes, and bis Cosettes ; he 
bas had bis fling, he has had bis wings, and he has 
eaten the bread of spring : he must surely remember 
it, we shall see. Battle ! ' Ah, you take the cock- 
chafer by the horns ; very good. I offer you a cutlct, 
and you answer me, ' By the bye, I wish to marry.' 
By Jupiter! Hère 's a transition! Ah, you made 
up your mind for a quarrel, but you did not know 
that I was an old coward. What do you say to 
that ? You are done ; you did not expect to find 
your grandfather more stupid than yourself. You 
\m\e lost the speech you intended to make me, 
master lawyer, and that is annoying. Well, ail the 
worse, rage away ; I do what you waiit, and that 
stops you, stupid ! Listen ! I bave made my in- 
quiries, for I too am cunning ; she is charming, she 
is virtuous ; the Lancer does not spcak the truth, 
she made hcaps of lint. She is a jewel ; shc adores 
you ; if you had died there would hâve been thicc 
of us, and her coffin would bave accompanicd mine. 
I had the idea as soon as you wcre botter of planting 
her there by your bedside ; but it is only in romances 


that girls are introduced to the beds of handsome 
young wounded meii in whom they take an interest. 
That would not do, for wliat would jour aunt say ? 
You were quite nakcd three parts of tlie time, sir ; 
ask Nicolette, wlio never left you for a moment, 
whether it were possible for a female to be hère ? 
And then, what would the doctor hâve said ? for 
a pretty girl does not cure a fever. Well, say no 
more about it ; it is settled and done ; take her. Such 
is my fury. Look you, I saw that you did not love 
me, and I said, ' What eau I do to niake that animal 
love me ? ' I said, ' Stay, I hâve my little Cosette 
ready to hand. I will give hcr to him, and then 
lie must love me a little, or tell me the reason why.' 
Ah I you believed that the old man would storm, 
talk big, cry no, and lift his cane against ail tins 
dawn. Not at ail. Cosette, very good ; love, veiy 
good. I ask for nothing botter ; take the trouble, 
sir, to marry ; be happy, my beloved child ! " 

After saying this the old man burst into sobs. 
He took Marius's head and pressed it to his old 
bosom, and both began weeping. That is one of 
the forms of suprême happiness. 

" Aly fatlier ! " Marins exclaimed. 

" Ah, you love me, then ! " the old man said. 

There was an ineffable moment ; they were chok- 
ing and could not speak. At length the old man 
stammered, — 

" Come ! the atopper is taken ont of him ; he 
called me father." 

INlarius disengaged his head from his grandfather's 
arms, and said gcntly, — 


" Now that I am better, father, I fancy 1 could 
see lier." 

" Foreseen, too ; you will see her to-morrow." 

" Father ? " 

" Well, what ? " 

" Why not to-day ? " 

" Well, to-day ; done for to-day. You hâve called 
me father thrice, and it s wortli that. I will see 
about it, and she shall be brought hère. Foreseen, 
I tell you. That has already been put in verse, and 
it is the dénouement of André Chénier's elegy, the 
'Jeune Malade,' — André Chénier, who was butchered 
by the scound — by the giants of '93." 

M. Gillenormand fancied he could see a slight 
frown on Marius's face, though, truth to tell, he 
was not listening, as he had flown away into ecstasy, 
and was thinking much more of Cosette than of 
1/93. The grandfather, trembling at having intro- 
duced André Chénier so inopportunely, hurriedly 
continued, — 

" Butchered is not the word. The fact is that the 
great rcvolutionary geniuses who were not wicked, 
that is incontestable, who were hcroes, Pardi, fuund 
that André Chénier was slightly in tlieir way, and 
they had him gnillo — that is to say, thèse great men 
on the 7th Thermidor, in the intercst of the public 
safety, begged André Chénier to be kind enougli 
to go — " 

M. Gillenormand, garroted by his own sentence, 
could not continue. Unablc to termiiiate it or retract 
it, the old man rushed, with ail the speed which his 
âge allowed, out of the bed-rooni, shut the door after 


him, and purple, choking, and foaming, with his eyes 
out of his liead, found himself nose to nose with 
honest Basque, who was cleaning boots in the ante- 
room. He seized Basque by the collar and furiously 
shouted into his face, " By the hnndred thousand 
Javottes of the devil, those brigands assassinated 
him ! " 

" Whom, sir ? " 

"André Chénier." 

" Yes, sir," said the horrified Basque» 



CosETTE aud Marius saw each other again. We 
will not attempt to describe the interview, for there 
are things which we must not attempt to paint : the 
sun is of the number. ïhe whole faniily, Basque 
and Nicolette included, were assembled in Marius's 
chamber at the moment when Cosette entered. She 
appeared in the doorway, and seemed to be sur- 
rounded by a halo : precisely at this moment the 
grandfather was going to blow his nose, but he 
stopped short, holding his nose in his handkerchief 
and looking over it. 

" Adorable ! " he cried. 

And then he blew a sonorous blast. Cosette was 
intoxicated, ravished, startled, in heaven. She was 
as tiniid as a person can be through hap|)iness ; she 
stanimcred, turned pale and then pink, and wished 
to throw herself into Marius's arms, but dared not. 
She was ashamed of loving before so many people ; 
for the world is merciless to happy lovers, and always 
remains at the very moment when they most long to 
be alone. And yet they do not want thèse people at 
ail. With Cosette, and bchind lier, had entered a 
whitc-haired man, serious, but still smiling, though 


the smile was wandering and poignant. It was 
"Monsieur Fauchelevent, " — it was Jean Valjean. 
He was well-dressed, as the porter had said, in a new 
black suit and a whitc cravat. The porter was a 
thousand leagues from recognizing in this correct 
citizen, this probable notary, the frightful corpse- 
bearer who had arrived at the gâte on the night of 
June 7, ragged, filthy, hideous, and haggard, with a 
mask of blood and mud on his face, supporting in 
liis arnis the unconscious Marius ; still his porter's 
instincts were aroused. When M. Fauchelevent ar- 
rived with Cosette, the porter could not refrain fi'om 
confiding this aside to his wife, " I don't know why, 
but I fancy that I hâve seen that face before." 
M. Fauchelevent remained standing by the door 
of Marius's room, as if afraid ; he held under his 
ami a packet rather like an octavo volume wrapped 
in paper. The paper was green, apparently from 

" Has this gentleman always got books under his 
arm like that ? " Mademoiselle Gillenormand, who was 
not fond of books, asked Nicolette in a whisper. 

"Well," M. Gillenormand, who had heard her, 
answered in the same key, " he is a savant; is that 
his fault ? Monsieur Boulard, whoni I knew, never 
went ont without a book either, and like him had 
always had an old book near his heart." 

Then bowing, he said in a loud voice, — 

" M. Tranchelevent." 

Father Gillenormand did not do it purposely, but 
an inattention to proper names was an aristocratie 
way of his. 


" Monsieur Tranchulevcnt, I hâve the honor of re- 
questing this ladj's hand for mj grandson, M. le 
Baron IVIarius Pontmercy." 

Monsieur " Tranclielevent " bowed. 

" Ail riglit," the grandfather said. 

And turning to Alarius and Cosette, Avith both 
arms extended in bénédiction, he cried, — 

" You hâve leave to adore each other." 

They did not let it be said twice, and the prattling 
began. They talked in a whisper, Marins reclining 
on his couch and Cosette standing by his side» " Oh, 
Heaven ! " Cosette niurmured, " I see you again : it 
is you. To go and tight like that ! But why ? It 
is horrible. For four months I hâve been dead. Oh, 
how wicked it was of you to hâve been at that bat- 
tle ! What had I done to you ? I forgive you, but 
you will not do it again. Just now, when they came 
to tell me to come to you, I thought again that I was 
going to die, but it was of joy. I was so sad ! I did 
not take the time to dress myself, and I must look 
frightful ; what will your relation say at seeing me in 
a tuniblcd collar ? But speak ! you let me speak ail 
alone. We are still in tlic Rue de ITIomme Armé. 
It seenis that your shouldcr was terrible, and I was 
told that I could hâve put my hand in it, and that 
your flcsh was as if it had been eut with scissors. 
How frightful that is ! I wept so that I hâve no eyes 
left. It is strange that a person can sufter like that. 
Your gi-andfather has a very kind look. Do not dis- 
turb yourself, do not rcst on your clbow like that, or 
you will hurt yourself. Oh, how happy I am ! So 
our misfortunes arc ail endcd ! I am quite foolish. 


There were things I wantcci to say to you wliicli I 
hâve quite forgotten. Do you love me still? We 
live in the Rue de l'Homme Armé. There is no gar- 
den there. I made lint the whole time ; look hère, 
sir, it is your fault, my fingers are quite rough." 

" Angel ! " said Marins. 

Angel is the only word in the language which can- 
not be worn out ; no other word would resist the 
pitiless use which lovers raake of it. Then, as there 
was Company présent, they broke ofF, and did not say 
a word more, contenting themselves with softly clasp- 
ing hands. M. Gillenormand turned to ail the rest 
in the room, and cried, — 

" Speak loudly, good people ; make a noise, will 
you ? Come, a little row, hang it ail ! so that thèse 
children may prattle at their ease." 

And going up to Marins and Cosette, he whispered 
to them, — 

" Go on ; d'on't put yourselves out of the way." 

Aunt Gillenormand witnessed with stupor this 
irruption of light into her antiquated house. This 
stupor had nothing aggressive about it ; it was 
not at ail the scandalized and envious glance cast 
by an owl at two ring-doves : it was the stupid 
eye of a poor innocent of the âge of fifty-seven ; 
it was a spoiled life looking at that triumph, 

" Mademoiselle Gillenormand the elder," her father 
said to her, " I told you that this would happen." 

He remained silent for a moment, and added^ — 

" Look at the happiness of others." 

Then he turned to Cosette. 


" IIow pretty sbe is ! how pretty slie is ' she is a 
Greuze ! So you are going to hâve ail that for your- 
iself, scamp ? Ah, my boy, you hâve had a lucky 
escape from me ; for if I were not tifteen years too 
old we would fight with svvords and see who should 
hâve lier. There, I ain in love with you, INIadeinoi- 
selle ; but it is very natural, it is your right. What 
a famous, charming little wedding we will bave ! 
St. Denis du Saint-Sacranient is our parish ; but I 
will procure a dispensation, so that you may be niar- 
ried at St. Paul, for the church is better. It was 
built for the Jesuits, and more coquettish. It is op- 
posite Cardinal Birague's fountain. The mastcrpiece 
of Jesuit- architecture is at Namur, and is called St. 
Loup; you should go and see that whcn you are 
married, for it is worth the journey. jMadcmoisclle, 
I am cntirely of your opinion ; I wish girls to marry, 
for tlicy are made for it. There is a certain Sainte 
Catlmrine whom I would always like to see with 
hair disordered. To remain a maid is fine, but it is 
cold. jNlultiply, says the Bible. To save the people 
a Joan of Arc is Avanted ; but to make a people 
we want Mother Gigogne. So marry, my darlings ; 
I really do not see tlie use of remaining a maid. I 
know vei-y well that they bave a separate chapel in 
church, and join the confraternity of the Virgin ; but, 
sapristi ! a good-looking young husband, and at the 
end of a ycar a plnmp bantling, who sucks at you 
bravely, and who lias roUs of fat on his thighs, and 
who clutches yonr l)osoni with his piiik little paws, 
are a good deal better than holding a candie at ves- 
pers and singing Turris Eburnea." 


Tlie graiidfather piroiietted on his nonagenarian 
heels, and began speaking again, like a spring which 
had been wound iip : — 

"Ainsi, bornant le cours de tes rêvasseries, 
Alcippe, il est donc vrai, dans peu tu te maries." 

" By the bye ? " 

"What, father?" 

" Had vou not an intimate friend ? '' 

" Yes, Courfeyrac." 

" What has become of liim ? " 

" He is dead." 

" That is well." 

He sat down by their side, made Cosette take a 
chair, and took their four hands in his old wriukled 

" This darling is exquisite ! This Cosette is a 
masterpiece ! She is a very little girl and a very 
great lady. She M'ill be only a baroness, and that is 
a dérogation, for she is born to be a marchioness. 
What eyehashes she has ! oNIy children, drive it well 
into your pâtes that you are on the right road. Love 
one another ; be foolish over it, for love is the stu- 
pidity of men and the cleverness of God. So adore 
one another. Still," he added, suddenly growing 
sad, " what a misfortune ! More than half I possess 
is sunk in annuities ; so long as I live it will be 
ail right, but when I am dead, twenty years hence, 
ah ! my poor children, you will not hâve a farthing ! 
Your pretty white hands, ^Madame la Baronne, will 
be wrinkled by work." 

Hère a serious and calm voice was heard saying : 


" INIademoiselle Euphrasie Fauchelcvent lias six 
hundrcd thousand francs." 

It was Jean Valjean's voice. He liad not yet 
uttered a syllable ; no one seemed to remember that 
he was présent, and lie stood motionless bchind ail 
thèse happy people. 

" Who is the ^Mademoiselle Euphrasie in ques- 
tion? " the startled grandfather asked. 

"Myself," said Cosette. 

" Six hundred thousand francs ! " M. Gillenormand 

" Less fourteen or fifteen thousand, perhaps," Jean 
Valjean said. 

And he laid on the table the parcel wliich Aunt 
Gillenormand had taken for a book. Jean Valjean 
hiniself opened the packet ; it was a bundle of bank- 
notes. They were turned over and counted ; there 
were six hundred bank-notcs for a thousand francs, 
and one hundred and sixty-eight for five hundred, 
forniing a total of five hundred and eighty-four 
thousand francs. 

" That 's a fanions book," said M. Gillenormand. 

" Five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs ! " 
the aunt murmurcd. 

"ïhat arranges a good inany things, does it not, 
Mademoiselle Gillenormand the elder ? " the grand- 
father continucd. " That dcvil of a ]Marius lias found 
a miiliomiaire grisette upon the tree of dreams ! Now 
trust to the amourettes of young people ! Students 
find studcntesses with six hundred thousand francs. 
Chérubin works better than Rothschild." 

*' Five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs ! " 


Mademoiselle Gillenormand repeated ; " five huiidred 
and eighty-four thousand francs ! We niaj as well 
say six hundred thousand." 

As for Marins and Cosette, tliey were looking at 
each other during this period, and hardly paid any 
attention to this détail. 



Of course our readers hâve understood, and no 
lengthened explanation will be required, tliat Jean 
Valjean after the Cliampmathieu afFair was enabled 
by his escape for a few dajs to come to Paris, and 
withdraw in time from Laffitte's the sum he had 
gained under the name of M. Madeleine at INI.-sur-M. ; 
and that, afraid of being recaptured, which in fact 
happened to liim shortly after, he buried this sum 
in the forest of Montfermeil, at the spot called the 
Blaru bottom. This sum, six hundrcd and thirty 
thousand francs, ail in bank-notes, occupied but little 
space, and was contaiiied in a box ; but in order to 
protect the box from damp he placcd it in an oak 
cofFer filled with chips of chestnut-wood. In the 
same coifer he placcd his other treasurc, the Bish- 
op's candlesticks. It will be rcmembcred that he 
carried ofF thèse candlesticks in his escape from 
M.-sur-]M. The man seen on one prcvious evening 
by Boulatruelle was Jean Valjeaii, and aftei'wards, 
whenever Jean Valjean required money, he fetched 
it from the Blaru clearing, and hence his absences to 
which wc hâve rcferred. He liad a pick concealed 
soraewhere in the shrubs, in a hiding-place known to 


liimself alone. Wlien he found Marius to be conva- 
lescent, feeling that tlie liour was at hand wlien tliis 
moncy niight be useful, lie went to fetch it ; and it 
was also he whom Boulatruelle saw in the wood, but 
this time in the niorning, and not at night. Boula- 
truelle inherited the pick. 

The real sum was five hundred and eighty-four 
thousand five hundred francs, but Jean Valjean kept 
back the five hundred francs for himself. " We will 
see afterwarcls," he thought. The différence between 
this sum and the six hundred and thirty thousand 
francs withdrawn from Laflfttte's represented the ex- 
penditure of ten years from 1823 to 1833. The five 
years' résidence iu the couvent had cost only five 
thousand francs. Jean Yaljean placed the two 
silver candlesticks on the mantel-piece, where they 
glistened, to the great admiration of Toussaint. 
Moreover, Jean Valjean kncw himself freed from 
Javert ; it had been stated in his présence, and he 
verified the fact in the Moniteur which had pub- 
lished it, that an Inspector of Police of the nanie of 
Javert had been found drowned under a waslier- 
woman's boat between the Pont-au-change and the 
Pont-Xeuf, and that a letter left by this man, hitherto 
irreproachable and highly esteemed by his chiefs, led 
to the belief in an attack of dementia and suicide. 
" In truth," thought Jean Yaljean, " since he let me 
go wlien he had hold of me, he must bave been mad 
at that time." 

VOL. V. 18 



All préparations were made for the marriage, 
and the physician, on being consulted, declared tliat 
it miglit take place in Februarj. It was now De- 
ccniber, and a few ravishing weeks of perfect liap- 
piness slipped away. The least happy nian was not 
the grandfather : he sat for a whole qiiarter of an 
hour conteraphiting Cosette. 

" The admirably pretty girl ! " he wouhl exclaim, 
" and she has so soft and kind an air ! She is the 
most cliarming créature I hâve ever seen in my life. 
Preseiitly she will hâve virtues with a violet scent. 
She is one of the Grâces, on niy faith ! A man can 
only live nobly with such a créature. ]\larius, my 
lad, you are a baron, you are rich ; so do not be 
a pettifogger, I implore you." 

Cosette and Marins had suddenly passed from the 
sepulchre into paradisc : the transition had not been[)arc(l, and they would havc been stunned if they 
had not been dazzled. 

" Do you understand anything of all this ? " JNIarius 
would say to Cosette. 

" No," Cosette answcrcd ; " but it seems to nie 
as if the good God were looking at us." 


Jean Yaljean did everything, smoothed everything, 
conciliated everything, and rendered everything easy. 
He hurried toward Cosette's happiness with as much 
eagerness and apparently with as much joy as Cosette 
herself. As he had been Mayor, he was called to 
solve a délicate problem, the secret of which he alone 
possessed, — the civil status of Cosette. To tell her 
origin openly might hâve prevented the marriage ; 
but he got Cosette out of ail the difficulties. He 
arranged for her a family of dead people, a sure 
method of not incurring any inquiry. Cosette was 
the only one left of an extinct family. Cosette 
was not his daughter, but the daughter ôf another 
Fauchelevent. Two brothers Fauchelevent had been 
gardcners at the couvent of the Little Picpus. They 
proceeded to tins couvent ; the best testimonials and 
most satisfactory character were given ; for the good 
nuns, little suited and but little inclined to solve 
questions of paternity, had never known exactly of 
which of the two Fauchelevents Cosette was the 
daughter. They said what was wanted, and said 
it zealously. An instrument was drawn up by a 
notary and Cosette became by law Mademoiselle 
Euphrasie Fauchelevent, and was declared an orphan 
both on the father's and mother's side. Jean Yaljean 
raanaged so as to be designated, under the name 
of Fauchelevent, as guardian of Cosette, with M. 
Gillenormand as supcrvising guardian. As for the 
five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs, they 
were a legacy left to Cosette by a dead person who 
wished to remain unknown. The original legacy had 
been five hundred and ninety-four thousaud francs, 


but ten tliousand had been speiit in the éducation 
of ]\Iademoiselle Euplirasie, five thousand of which 
had been paid to the couvent. This legacy, deposited 
in the hands of a third partj, was to be handed over 
to Cosette upon her majority, or at the period of 
her marriage. Ail this was highly acceptable, as 
we see, especiallj when backed up by more than 
half a million francs. There were certainly a few 
singular points hère and there, but they were not 
seen, for onc of the persons interested had his eyes 
bandaged by love, and the others by the six Imndred 
thousand francs. 

Cosette learned that she was not the daughter 
of the old man whom she had so long called father ; 
he was only a relation, and another Fauchelevent 
was her real father. At another moment this would 
hâve grieved her, but in the ineffable hour she had 
now reached it was only a slight shadow, a passing 
cloud ; and she had so much joy that tins cloud 
lasted but a short time. She had Marins. The young 
man came ; the old man disappeared : life is so. 
And tlien, Cosette had been accustomcd for many 
long years to see enigmas around her ; every being 
who has had a mysterious childhood is ever ready 
for certain rcnunciations. Still she continued to call 
Jean Valjean " father." Cosette, who was among the 
angels, was enthusiastic about Father Gillenormand ; 
it is true that he overwlielmed her with madrigals 
and présents. While Jean Valjean was constructing 
for Cosette an unassailable position in socicty, M. 
Gillenormand attended to the wcdding trousseau. 
Nothing amuscd him so nmch as to be magnificent ; 


and lie liad given Cosette a gown of Binche guipure, 
which he iuherited froni his own grandmother. 
" Thèse fashions spriug up again," he said ; " an- 
tiquities are the great demand, and the young ladies 
of my old days dress themselves like the old ladies 
of my youth." He plundered his respectable round- 
bellied commodes of Coromandel lacquer, which had 
not been opened for years. " Let us shrive thèse 
dowagers," he said, " and see what they hâve in 
their paunch." He noisily violated drawers full of 
the dresses of ail his wives, ail his mistresses, and 
ail his female ancestry. He lavished on Cosette 
Chinese satins, damasks, lampas, painted moires, 
gros de Naples dresses, Indian handkerchiefs cm- 
broidered with gold that can be washed, Genoa and 
Alençon point lace, sets of old jewelry, ivory bonbon 
boxes adorned with microscopic battles, laces, and 
ribbons. Cosette, astounded, wild with love for 
Marins and with gratitude to M. Gillenormand, 
dreamed of an unbounded happiness, dressed in satin 
and velvet. Her wedding-basket seemed to lier sup- 
ported by seraphim, and her soûl floated in cther 
with wings of Mechlin lace. The intoxication of 
the lovers was only equalled, as we stated, by the 
ecstasy of the grandfather, and there was something 
like a flourish of trumpets in the Rue des Filles du 
Calvaire. Each morning there was a new ofFcring 
of bric-à-brac from the grandfather to Cosette, and 
ail sorts of ornamcnts were spread ont splcndidly 
around her. One day Marins, who not unfrequcntly 
talked gravely through his happiness, said, with réf- 
érence to some incident which I hâve forgotten, — 


" The men of the révolution are so great that they 
already possess the prestige of centuries, like Cato 
and like Phocion, and each of them seems a mémoire 

" JNIoire antique ! " exclaimed the old gentleman ; 
" thank you, Marins, that is the verj idea which I 
was seeking for." 

And on the morrow a splendid tea-colored moire an- 
tique dress was added to Cosette's outfit. The grand- 
father cxtracted a wisdom from tins frippery : — 

" Love is ail very well, but this is requircd with it. 
Something useless is required in happiness ; happi- 
ness is only what is absolutely necessary, but season 
it, say I, witli an enormous amount of superfluity. 
A palace and her heart ; lier heart and the Louvre. 
Give me my shepherdess, and try that she be a 
duchess. Bring me Phillis crowned with corn- 
flowers, and add to lier onc thousand francs a, year. 
Open for me an endless Bucolic under a marble 
colonnade. I consent to the Bucolic and also to the 
fairy scène in marble and gold. Dry happiness re- 
sembles dry bread ; you cat it, but you do not dinc. 
I wish for superfluity, for the useless, for extrava- 
gance, for that which is of no use. I remember to 
to hâve scen in Strasburg Cathcdral a dock as tall 
as a three-storied house, which marked the hour, 
which had the kindness to mark the hour, but did 
not look as if it was madc for the purpose ; and 
which, after striking midday or midnight, — midday, 
the hour of the sun, and midnight, the hour of love 
or any othcr hour you please, — gave you the moon 
and the stars, carth and sea, birds and fislics, Phœbus 


and Phœbe, and a heap of things tliat came ont of a 
corner, and the twelve apostles, and the Emperor 
Charles Y., and Eponine and Sabinus, and a number 
of little gilt men who played the trumpet into the 
bargain, without counting the ravishing chiraes which 
it scattered in the air on every possible occasion, 
without jour knowing why. Is a wretched, naked 
clock, which only marks the hours, worth that ? I 
am of the opinion of the great clock of Strasburg, 
and prefer it to the Black Forest cuckoo clock." 

M. Gillenormand talked ail sorts of nonsense about 
the marriage, and ail the ideas of the eighteenth cen- 
tury passed pell-mell into his dithyrambs. 

" You are ignorant of the art of festivals, and do 
not know how to get up a day's pleasure in thèse 
times," lie exclaimed. " Your nineteenth century is 
soft, and is déficient in excess : it is ignorant of what 
is rich and noble. In everything it is clqèse-shorn. 
Your third estate is insipid and has no color, smell, 
or shape. The dream of your bourgeoises, who es- 
tablish themselves, as they call it, is a pretty bou- 
doir fi'eshly decorated with mahogany and calico. 
Make way, there ! The Sieur Grigou marries the 
Demoiselle Grippesou. Sumptuousness and splen- 
dor. A louis d'or has been stuck to a wax candie. 
Such is the âge. I insist on flying beyond the Sarma- 
tians. Ah, so far back as 1787 I predicted that ail 
was lost on the day when I saw the Duc de Rohan, 
Prince de Léon, Duc dj Chabot, Duc de iSIontbazon, 
Marquis de Soubise, Yicomte de Thouars, Peer of 
France, go to Longchanips in a tapecul: that bore 
its fruits. In this centurv men hâve a business, 


gamble on the Stock Exchange, win nioney, and are 
nican. Tliey take care of and varnish their surface : 
they are carefully dressed, washcd, soapcd, shaved, 
combed, rubbed, brushed, and cleaned externally, 
irreproachable, as polished as a pebble, discreet, trini, 
and at tlie same tinie, — virtue of niy soûl ! — they 
hâve at the bottom of their conscience dungheaps and 
cess-pools, at which a milkniaid who blows her nose 
with her fingers would rccoil. I grant the présent 
âge tliis motto, — dirty cleanliness. JNIarius, do not 
be annoyed ; grant me the permission to speak, for I 
hâve bcen saying no harm of the people, you see. 
I hâve my mouth full of your people, but do let 
me give thé bourgeoisie a pill. I tell you point- 
blank that at the présent day people niarry, but no 
longer know how to marry. Ah, it is true, I regret 
the gentility of the old manners ; I regret it ail, — 
that élégance, that chivalry, that courteous and dainty 
manner, that rcjoicing luxury which evcry one pos- 
sesscd, the music forming part of the wedding, sym- 
phony above and drunis beating below stairs, the 
joyous faces seated at table, the spicy madrigals, the 
songs, the fireworks, the hearty laugh, the de\âl and 
his train, and the large ribbon bows. I regret the 
brides garter, for it is first cousin of the girdle of 
Venus. On what does the siège of Troy turn ? Par- 
bleu ! on Hclen's garter. Why do men fight ? Why 
does the divine Diomcdes smash on the head of 
Merioneus that grand brass helmet with the ten 
points? Wliy do Achilles and Hector tickle each 
other with lances? Becanse llelen Ict Paris take her 
garter. With Cosette's garter Homer would write 


the Iliad ; lie would place in his poem an old chat- 
terer like myself, and call liim Nestor. My friends, 
in former times, in those amiable former times, people 
married Icarnedly : they made a good contract and 
then a good merry-making. So soou as Cujas had 
gone ont, Ganiacho came in. Hang it ail ! the 
stomach is an agreeable beast, that demands its due, 
and wishes to hold its wedding too. We supped 
well, and had at table a pretty neighbor without a 
neckcrchief, who only concealed her throat moder- 
ately. Oh, the wide laughing mouths, and how gay 
people were in those days ! Youth was a bouquet, 
every young man finished with a branch of lilac or a 
posy of roses ; if he were a warrior, he was a shep- 
herd, and if by chance he were a captain of dra- 
goons, he managed to call himself Florian. Ail were 
anxious to be pretty fellows, and they wore enibroi- 
dery and rouge. A bourgeois looked like a flower, 
and a marquis like a precious stone. They did not 
wear straps, tliey did not wear boots ; they were 
flashing, lustrous, gilt, light, dainty, and coquettish, 
but it did not prevent them wearing a sword by their 
side ; they were humming-birds with beak and nails. 
It was the tinie of the Indes galantes. One of the 
sides of that âge was délicate, the other magnificent ; 
and, by the vertu-choux ! people amused themselves. 
At the présent day they are serions ; the bourgeois 
is miserly, the bourgeoise prudish, — your âge is out 
of shape. The Grâces would be expelled because 
their dresses were eut too low in the neck. A las ! 
beauty is concealed as an ugliness. Since the révo- 
lution ail wear trousers, even the ballet girls ; a ballet 


girl iDust be serious, and your rigadoons are doctri- 
naire. A mail iiiust be inajestic, and would fcel very 
mucli annoyed at not having his cliin in liis cravat. 
The idea of a scamp of tweiity, who is about to marry, 
is to reseinblc Monsieur Royer-Collard. And do you 
know what people reach by this majesty ? Tiiey are 
little. Learn tliis fact : joy is not nierely joyous, it 
is grand. Be gayly in love ; tliough, hang it ail ! 
niarry, wlien you do marry, with fever and amaze- 
ment and tumult, and a hurly-burly of happiness. 
Gravity at cliurch, if you will ; but so soon as tlie 
mass is ended, sarpejeu ! you ouglit to make a dream 
whirl round your wife. A marriage ouglit to be 
royal and cliimerical, and parade its ceremony from 
the Cathedra! of Rheinis to the Pagoda of Chante- 
loup. I hâve a horror of a scrubby marriage. Yentre- 
goulette ! Be in Olympus at least upon that day. 
Be gods. Ah, people might be sylphs, jests and 
smilcs, Argyi-aspides, but they are scrubs! My 
fricnds, every newly-married man ought to be Prince 
Aldobrandini. Take advaiitage of this unique mo- 
ment of lifc to fly into the Empyrean with the swans 
and the cagles, even if you fall back to-morrow into 
the bourgeoisie of frogs. Do not save upon the 
hymencal rites ; do not nibble at tins splcndor, nor 
split farthings on the day when you are radiant. A 
\v€dding is not housckeeping. Oh, if I had my way 
it should be a gallant aftair, and violins should be 
heard in the trees. Hère is my programme : sky- 
blue and silver. I wonld mincie in the fête the 
rustic divin iti(;s, and convene the Dryads and tlio 
Xereids. The wedding of Amphitrite, a pink cloud, 


nymphs with their liair carefully dressed and quite 
nudc, an academician oftering quatrains to tlie Deess, 
a car drawn by marine monsters. 

* Triton trottait devant, et tirait de sa conque, 
Des sons si ravissants qu'il ravissait quiconque ! ' 

Tliere is a programme for a fête, or l 'm no judge, sac 


While tlie grandfather, in the heat of his lyric effu- 
sion, was listening to liiniself, Cosette and IVIarius 
werc intoxicating themselves by looking freely at each 
otlier. Aunt Gillenormand regarded ail tins with her 
imperturbable placidity ; she had, during the last five 
or six months, a certain amount of émotions ; jNlarius 
returned, Marius brought back bleeding, Marius 
brought from a barricade, JNlarius dead, then living, 
Marius reconciled, Marius affianced, Marius marrying 
a poor girl, Marius marrying a millionnaire. The six 
hundred thousand francs had been her last surprise, 
and then the indifférence of a leading communicant 
returned to her. She went regularlv to her mass 
told her beads, read her cuchology, whispered in one 
corner of the house her Aves, while " I love you " was 
being whispered in another, and saw^ ^Marius and 
Cosette vaguely like two shadows. The shadow was 
herself. Tliere is a certain state of inert asceticism 
in which the niind,neutralized by torpor, and a stran- 
ger to what might be callcd the business of living, 
does not perceive, with the exception of earthquakes 
and catastrophes, any hunian impressions, eithcr 
pleasant or painful. " This dévotion," Father Gille- 
normand would say to his daughter, " resembles a 


cold in the head ; you smell nothing of life, iieither a 
good odor nor a bad oiie." However, the six hun- 
dred tliousaiid francs had settled the old maid's in- 
décision. Her father vvas accustomed to take her so 
little into account that he had not consulted her as 
to the consent to IVIarius's marriage. He had acted 
impetuously, according to his wont, having, as a des- 
pot who liad become a slave, but one thought, that 
of satisfying Marins. As for the aunt, he had scarce 
remembered that the aunt existed, and that she 
might hâve an opinion of her own, and, sheep though 
she was, this had ofFended her. Soniewhat roused 
internally, but externally impassive, she said to 
herself, '■ My father settles the marriage question 
without me, and I will settle the question of the in- 
heritance without him." She was rich, in fact, and 
her father was not so, and it is probable that if the 
marriage had been poor she would hâve left it poor. 
" Ail the worse for my nephew ! If he chose to 
marry a beggar, he may be a beggar too." But Co- 
sette's half a million of francs pleased the aunt and 
changed her feelings with respect to the loving cou- 
ple ; considération is due to six hundred thousand 
francs, and it was évident that she could not do 
othcrwise than leave her fortune to thèse young peo- 
plc, because they no longer required it. 

It w\as arranged that the cou])le should réside at 
M. Gillenormand's, and the grandfîither insisted on 
giving them his bed-room, the finest room in the 
house. " It will make me younger," he declared. 
"Tt is an old place. I always had the idca that the 
wcdding should take place in my room." He fur- 


nished tins room witli a beap of old articles of gal- 
Jautry ; lie bad it bung witli au extraordinary fabric 
wbicb lie had in the pièce, and believed to be Utrecbt, 
a gold satin gronnd witb velvet auriculas. " It 
was witb tbat stuft'," be said, " tbat tbe bed of the 
Ducbess d'An ville à la Kocbeguyon was bung." He 
placed on tbe mautel-piece a ligure in Saxon porce- 
lain carrying a niuft' on its naked stomacb. M. Gille- 
norniand's library becanie tbe office wbicb Marins 
required ; for an office, it will be borne in niiud, is 
insisted upon by tbe couucil of tbe order. 



The lovers saw each other daily, and Cosette 
came with M. Fauchelevent. " It is turning tliiugs 
topsy-turvy," said Mademoiselle Gilleuormand, " tliat 
the lady shoiild come to the gentleman's liouse to 
hâve court paid to her in that way." But Marius's 
convalescence liad caused tlie adoption of the habit, 
and the casy-chairs of thejiue des Filles du Calvaire, 
more convenient for a téfe-à-tête than the straw- 
bottomed chairs of the Rue de l'Homme Armé, had 
decided it. INIarius and INI. Fauchelevent saw each 
other, but did not speak, and this seemed to be agreed 
on. Every girl needs a chaperon, and Cosette could 
not havc come without JM. Fauchelevent ; and for 
]\Iarius, M. Fauchelevent was the condition of Co- 
sette, and hc accepted him. In discussing vaguely, 
and without any précision, political matters as con- 
nected with the improvement of ail, they managed 
to say a little more than Yes and No. Once, on the 
subject of instruction, wliich Marins wished to be 
gratuitous and obligatory, multiplied in every form, 
lavished upon ail like light and air, and, in a word, 
rcspirable by the entire peoplc, they were agreed, and 
almost talkcd. Marins remarked on this occasion 


tliat M. Fauchelevent spoke well, and even with a 
certain élévation of language, though somcthing was 
wanting. M. Fauchelevent had something less than 
a man of the world, and something more. INfarius, 
in his innermost tlioughts, surrounded with ail sort? 
of questions this M. Fauchelevent, vi^ho was to him 
simple, well-wishing, and cold. At times doubts oc- 
curred to him as to his own recollections ; he had a 
hole in his memory, a black spot, an abyss dug by 
four months of agony. Many things were lost in it, 
and he was beginning to ask himself whether it was 
the fact that he had seen jM. Fauchelevent, a man so 
serious and so calm, at the barricade. 

This was, however, not the sole stupor which the 
appearances and disappearances of the past had Icft 
in his mind. We must not believe that he was 
delivered from ail those promptings of memory 
which compel us, even when happy and satisfied, 
to take a melancholy backward glance. The head 
which does not turn to effaced horizons contains 
neither thought nor love. At moments Marins 
buricd his face in his hands, and the tumultuous 
and vague past traversed the fog which he had in 
his brain. He saw Mabœuf fall again, he heard 
Gavroche singing under the grape-shot, and he felt 
on his lips the coldness of Éponine's forehead ; 
Enjolras, Courfeyrac, Jean Prouvaire, Combeferre, 
Bossuet, Grantairc, ail his friends rose before him, 
and then disappeared. Were they ail dreams, thèse 
dear, sorrowful, valiant, charming, and tragic bcings? 
Had they really existed ? The riot had robed every- 
thing in its smoke, and thèse great fevers hâve great 


dreanis. He questioned himself, he felt himself, and 
had a dizziness from ail tliese vanished realities. 
Where were thej ail, tlien ? Was it really true that 
everything was dead ? A fall into tlie darkness had 
carried away everything except himself; ail this 
had disappcared as it were behind the curtain of 
a théâtre. There are sueh curtains which drop on 
life, and God passes on to the next act. In him- 
self was he really the same man? He, poor, was 
rich ; he, the abandoned man, had a family ; he, 
the desperate man, was going to marry Cosette. 
He seemed to hâve passcd through a tomb, and to 
hâve gone in black and corne ont white. And in 
this tomb the others had remained. At certain times 
ail thèse beings of the past, returning and présent, 
formed a circle round him, and rendered him gloomy. 
Then he thonght of Cosette, and became serene 
again, but it required no less than this fclicity to 
efface this catastrophe. INI. Fauchelevent had almost 
a place among thèse vanished beings. Marius hesi- 
tated to believe that the Fauchelevent of the bar- 
ricade was the same as that Fauchelevent in flcsh 
and bone so gravely seated by the side of Cosette. 
The first was probably one of those nightmarcs 
brought to him and carried away by his hours of 
delirium. However, as thcir two natures were so 
far apart, it was impossible for Marius to ask any 
question of M. Fauchelevent. Tlie idea had not 
even occurred to him ; we bave already indicated this 
characteristic détail. Two men who havc a common 
secret, and who, by a sort of tacit agreement, do 
not exchange a syllable on the subject, are not so 


rare as may be supposed. Once, liowcver, ]Marius 
made an effort ; he turued the conversation on the 
Rue de la Chanvrerie, and turniug to M. Fauche- 
levent, he said to him, — 

" Do you know that street well ? " 

" What Street ? " 

" The Rue de la Chanvrerie." 

" I hâve never heard the name of that street," M. 
Fauchelevent said, iu the most uatural tone in the 

The answer, wliich related to the name of the 
street, and not to the street itself, seemed to Marius 
more conclusive than it really was. 

"Decidedly," he thought, "I must hâve been 
dreaming. I had an hallucination. It was some 
one that resembled him, and M. Fauchelevent was 
not there." 




The encliantment, great though it was, did not 
efface other thouglits from Marius's mind. While 
the marriage arrangements were being made, and 
thc fixed period was waited for, he inade some 
troublesome and scrupuloiis rétrospective researches. 
He owed gratitude in several quarters ; lie owed it 
for his fathcr, and lie owed it for liiniself. Tliere 
was Théiiardier, and tliere was the stranger who liad 
brouglit liim back to M. Gillenorniand's. Marins 
w^as anxious to find thèse two men again, as he did 
not wish to marry, be happy, and forget theni, and 
fearcd lest thèse unpaid debts of honor inight cast a 
shadow over liis life, which would henccforth be so 
luminous. It was impossible for him to leave ail 
thèse arrears siiffering bchind him, and he wished, 
ère he entcrcd joyously into the future, to obtain a 
receipt from the past. That Thénardier was a villain 
took nothing from the fact that he had saved Colonel 
Pontmercy. Thénardier was a bandit for ail the 
world excepting for Marius. And Marius, ignorant 
of the real scène on the battle-licld of Waterloo, 
did not kiiow tliis pcculiarity, that his father stood 
to Thénardier in the straiige situation of owing 
him life without owing him gratitude. Not one 


of tlie agents whom INIarius eniployecl coiilcl find 
Thénardier's trail, and the disappearance seemed 
complète on that side. Mother Thénardier had died 
in prison before trial, and Thénardier and his daugli- 
ter Azelnia, the only two left of this lamentable 
group, had plunged again into the shadow. The 
gulf of the social nnknown had silently closed again 
upon thèse beings. No longer could be seen on the 
surface that quivering, that tremor, and those ob- 
scure concentric circles which announce that some- 
thing has fallen tliere, and that a grappling-iron may 
be thrown in. 

Mother Thénardier being dead, Boulatruelle being 
ont of the question, Claquesous having disappeared, 
and the principal accused having escaped from prison, 
the trial for the trap in the Gorbeau attic had pretty 
nearly failcd. The afFair had remained rather dark, 
and the assize court had been compelled to sat- 
isfy itself with two subalterns, Panchaud, alias 
Printanier, alias Bigrcnaille, and Demi-Liard, alias 
Deux Milliards, who had been condemned, after 
hearing both parties, to ten years at the galleys. 
Pénal servitude for life was passed against their 
accomplices who had escaped ; Thénardier, as chief 
and promoter, was condemned to death, also in de- 
fault. This condemnation was the only thing that 
remained of Thénardier, casting on this buried name 
its sinister gleam, like a candie by the side of a coffin. 
However, this condemnation, by thrusting Thénardier 
back into the lowest depths through the fear of being 
recaptured, added to the dense gloom which covered 
this man. 


As for the other, the unknown man who had saved 

Marins, the researches had at first sonie resuit, and 

■ "T stopped short. They succeedcd in finding again 

hackney coach which had brought Mai'ius to the 

ue des Filles du Calvaire on the night bf Junc 6. 
The driver declared that on the 6th of June, by the 
order of a police agent, he had stopped from three 
P. M. till nightfall on the quay of the Champs Elysées, 
above the opening of the Great Sewer ; that at about 
nine in the evening the gâte of the sewer which looks 
upon the river-bank opened ; that a man came out, 
bearing on his shoulders another man, who appeared 
to be dead ; that the agent, who was watching at 
this point, had arrested the living man and seized 
the dead man ; that he, the coachman, had takcn 
" ail thèse people " into his hackney coacli ; that they 
drove first to the Rue des Filles du Calvaire and 
deposited the dead man there ; that the dead man 
was M. Marins, and that he, the coachman, recog- 
nized him thoroughly, though he was alive this time ; 
that afterwards tliey got into his coach again, and 
a few yards from the gâte of the Archives he was 
ordered to stop ; that he was paid in the street and 
discharged, and the agent took aA\'ay the other man ; 
that he knew nothing more, and that the nigiit was 
very dark. Marins, as we said, remembered nothing. 
He merely remembered tliat he had becn seized from 
behind by a powerful hand at the moment when he 
fell backwards from the barricade, and then ail was 
effaced for him. He had only regained his sensés 
when he was at M. Gillenormand's. 

He lost himself in conjectures ; he could not doubt 


as to his own identity, but how was it that lie, who 
had falleu in the Rue de la Chau\Terie, had been 
picked up by the police agent on the bauk of the 
Seine, near the bridge of the Invalides ? Some one 
had brought hini from the market district to the 
Champs Elysées, and how, — by the sevver ? Extraor- 
dinary dévotion ! Some one ? Who ? It was the 
man whom Marins was seeking. Of this nian, who 
was his saviour, he could find nothing, not a trace, 
not the slightest sign. Marins, thougli compelled on 
this side to exercise a great reserve, pushed on his 
inquiries as far as the Préfecture of Police, but there 
the information which he obtained led to no better 
resuit than elsewhere. The Préfecture knew less 
about the matter than the driver of the hackney 
coach ; they had no knowledge of any arrest having 
taken place at the outlet of the great drain on June 6 ; 
they had received no report from the agent about 
this fact which, at the Préfecture, was regarded as a 
fable. The invention of this fable was attributed to 
the driver ; for a driver anxious for driuk-money is 
capable of anything, even imagination. The fact, 
however, was certain, and Marins could not doubt it, 
unless he doubted his own identity, as we hâve just 
said. Everything in this strange enigma was inex- 
plicable ; this man, this mysterious man, whom the 
driver had seen come out of the grating of the great 
drain, bearing the fainting Marius on his back, and 
whom the police agent caught in the act of sa\ang an 
insurgent, — what had become of him ? ^Yhat had 
become of the agent himself ? Why had this agent 
kept silence ? Had the man succeeded in escaping ? 


Had lie corrupted the agent? Why did this man 
give no sign of lifc to Marias, who owed everything to 
him ? The disinterestedness was no less prodigious 
than the dévotion. Why did this man not reappear? 
Perhaps he was above reward, but no man is above 
gratitude. Was he dead ? Who was the man ? What 
was he like ? No one was able to say : the driver 
replied, " The night was very dark." Basque and 
Nicollette in their start had only looked at tlieir 
young master, who was ail bloody. The porter, 
whose candie had lit up Marius's tragic arrivai, had 
alone remarkcd the man in question, and this was 
the description he gave of him : " The man was 

In the hope of deriving some advantage from them 
for his researches. Marins kept his blood-stained 
clothcs which he wore when he was brought to his 
grandfather's. On exaniining the coat it was noticed 
that the skirt was strangely torn, and a pièce was 
missing. One evening Marins was speaking in the 
présence of Cosctte and Jean Valjean about ail this 
singular adventure, the countless inquiries he had 
madc, and the inutility of his efforts; Monsieur 
Fauchclevent's cold face offended him, and hc ex- 
clainied with a vivacity which had almost the vibra- 
tion of anger, — 

" Yes, that man, whoever he may be, was sub- 
lime. Do you know what he did, sir? He inter- 
vened like an archangel. He was obliged to throw 
himsclf into the midst of the contcst, carry me away, 
open the sewer, drag me ofï", and carry me. He must 
liave gone more than a league and a half through 


frightful subterranean galleries, beiit and bowed in 
the darkness, in tlie sewer, for more than lialf a 
league, sir, with a corpse on his back ! And for 
what objcct? For the sole object of saving tliat 
corpse ; and tbat corpse was myself. He said to 
himself, ' There is, perliaps, a gleam of life left 
hère, and I will risk my existence for this wretched 
spark ! ' and he did not risk his existence once, but 
twenty tiiues ! And each step was a danger, and the 
proof is, that on leaving the sewer he was arrested. 
Do you know, sir, that this man did ail that ? And 
he had no reward to expect. What was I ? An in- 
surgent. What was I ? A conquered man. Oh ! if 
Cosette's six hundred thousand francs were mine — " 

" They are yours," Jean Valjean interrupted. 

" Well, then," ISIarius continued, " I would give 
them to find that man again." 

Jean Valjean was silent. 



FEBRUARY 16, 1833. 

The night of February 16 was a blessed iiiglit, 
for it had above its sliadow tlie open sky. It was 
the wedding-iiight of Marins and Cosette. 

The daj had been adorable ; it was not the blue 
festival dreanied of by the grandfather, a fairy scène, 
with a confusion of cherubini and cnpids above the 
head of the married couple, a marriage worthy of 
being rcprcsentcd over a door, but it had been swect 
and sniiling. The fashion of marrying in 181^3 was 
not at ail as it is now. France liad not yet borrowed 
froni Eiigland that suprême delicacy of carrying 
oft' a wife, of flying on leaving the church, hiding 
one's self as if ashamcd of one's happiness, and 
combining the manœuvres of a bankru])t with the 
ravishment of the Song of Songs. We had not yct 
understood how chaste, exquisite, and décent it is 
to jolt one's paradise in a postchaise ; to vary the 
mystery with click-clacks of the whip ; to sclcct an 
inn bed as the nuptial couch, and to leave behind 

FEBRUARY 16, 1833. 297 

one, at tlie conventional alcôve at so mucli per uiglit, 
tlie most sacrcd recollectiou of life, juin bled witli 
the tête-à-têtes of the guard of tlie diligence and the 
chamber-maid. In the second half of the nineteenth 
centiirv, in which we now are, the niayor and his 
scarf, the priest and his chasuble, the law and God, 
are no longer sufficient ; they must be complemcntcd 
bv the postillon of Lonjumcau ; bine jacket with red 
facings and bell buttons, a leather-bound plate, grceu 
leather breeches, oaths to the Norman horses with 
their knotted tails, imitation gold lace, oil-skin liât, 
heavy, dusty horses, an enormous whip, and strong 
boots. France does not carry the élégance to such 
an extcnt as to shower on the postchaise, as the 
English nobility do, old shoes and battered slippers, 
in memory of Churchill, afterwards Marlborough or 
Malbrouck, who was assailed on his wedding-day 
by the anger of an aunt which brought him good 
luck. Shoes and slippers do not y et form part of 
our nuptial célébrations ; but, patience, with the 
spread of good taste we shall yet corne to it. 

In 1833, — it is a century since thcn, — marriage 
was not performed at a smart trot ; people still sup- 
posed at that epoch, whimsically cnough, that a 
marriage is a private and social festival, that a patri- 
archal banquet does not spoil a domestic solemnity ; 
that gayety, even if it be excessive, so long as it 
is décent, does no harm to happiness ; and finally, 
that it is vénérable and good for the fusion of thèse 
two destinies from which a faniily will issue, to 
begin in the house, and that the household may 
liave in future the nuptial chamber as a witness ; 


and people were so iinmodest as to marry at home. 
The weddiiig took plaee, then, according to this fashioii 
which is novv antiquated, at M. Gilleuorniand's ; aiid 
though this afFair of marrying is so simple and natural, 
the publication of the banns, drawing iip the deeds, 
the mayoraltj, and the church ahvays cause some 
complication, and they could not be ready before 
February 16. Now — we note tliis détail for the 
pure satisfaction of bcing exact — it happened that 
the 16th was Mardi Gras. There were hésita- 
tions and scruples, especially on the part of Aunt 

"A INIardi Gras!" the grandfather exclaimed ; 
*' ail the better. There is a proverb that, — 

* Mariage un Mardi gras 
N'aura poiut d'eiifauts ingrats.' 

Ail right. Donc for the ICth. Do you wish to 
put it off, ]Marius ? " 

" Certainly not," said the amorous youth. 

*' We'll marry thcn," said the grandfather. 

The niarriagc, therefore, took place on the 16th, 
in spite of the public gayety. It rained on that 
day, but there is always in the sky a little blue 
patch at the service of happincss, which lovers sce, 
cven when the rest of création are under their um- 
brellas. On the previous day Jean Valjcan had 
lianded to jNIarius, in the présence of M. Gillenormand, 
the five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs. As 
the marriage took place in the ordinary way, the 
deeds were vcry simple. Toussaint was hencci'orth 
useless to Jean Valjean, so Cosette inherited lier, 

FEBRUAllY ]6, 1833. 299 

and promoted her to tlie raiik of lady's-maid. As 
for Jean Valjcan, a nice room was furnished ex- 
pressly for him at M. Gillenormand's, and Cosette 
had said to him so irresistiblv, " Fatlier, I implore 
you," that she had ahiiost made him promise that 
he would come and occupy it. A few days before 
that fixed for the marriage an accident happened 
to Jean Valjean ; he slightly injured the thnmb of 
his right hand. It was not serions, and he had not 
allowed any one to poultice it, or even see it, not 
eveu Cosette. Still, it compclled him to wrap up 
his hand in a bandage and wear his arm in a sling, 
and this, of course, prevented him from signing any- 
thing. M. Gillenorniand, as supervising guardian to 
Cosette, took his place. We will not take the reader 
either to the mayoralty or to church. Two lovers 
are not usually folio wed so far, and we are wont 
to turn our back on the drama so soon as it puts 
a bridegroom's bouquet in its button-hole. We will 
restrict ourselves to noting an incident which, thougli 
unnoticed by the bridai party, marked the drive from 
the Rue des Filles du Calvaire to St. Paul's Church. 

The Rue St. Louis was being repaired at the time, 
and it was blocked from the Rue du Parc Royal, 
hence it was impossible for the carriage to go direct 
to St. Paul's. As they were obliged to change their 
course, the most simple plan was to turn into the 
boulevard. One of the guests drew attention to the 
fact that, as it was ^Mardi Gras, there would be a 
block of vehicles. " Why so ? " M. Gillenorniand 
asked. "On account of the masks." "Famous," 
said the grandfather ; " we will go that way. Thèse 


young people are going to marry and see tlie scrious 
side of life, and seeing tlie masqueradc will be a slight 
préparation for it." They turned into the boulevard : 
the first of the wedding carriages contained Cosette 
and Aunt Gillenormand, M. Gillenormand, and Jean 
Valjean. Marins, still separated from his bride, ac- 
cording to custom, was in the second. The nuptial 
procession, on turning out of the Rue des Filles du 
Calvaire, joined the long file of vehicles making an 
endless chain from the Madeleine to the Bastille, and 
from the Bastille to the Madeleine. JNIasks were 
abundant on the boulevard : and though it rained 
every now and then. Paillasse, Pantalon, and Gille 
were obstinate. In the good humor of that winter 
of 1833 Paris had disguised itself as Venus. We do 
not see a Mardi Gras like tins now-a-days, for as 
everything existing is a wide-spread carnival, there is 
no carnival left. The sidewalks were thronged with 
pedestrians, and the Windows with gazers ; and the 
terraces crowning the péristyles of the théâtres were 
covered with spectators. In addition to the masks, 
they look at the file — peculiar to ]Mardi Gras as to 
Longchamp — of vehicles of every description, cita- 
dines, carts, curricles, and cabs, marching in order 
rigorously riveted to each other by police régulations, 
and, as it were, running on rails. Any one who hap- 
pens to be in one of thèse vehicles is at once specta- 
tor and spectacle. Policemen standing by the side 
of the boulevard kept in place thèse two interminable 
files moving in a contniry direction, and watched that 
nothing should inipede the double currcnt of thèse 
two streams, one running up, the other down, one 

FEBRUARY 16, 1833. 301 

towards the Chaussée d'Antin, tlie other towards the 
Faubourg St. Antoine. The escutcheoned carriages 
of the Peers of France and Anibassadors held the 
crown of the causeway, coming and going freely ; and 
certain magniticent and gorgeous processions, notably 
the Bœuf Gras, had the same privilège. In this 
Parisian gajety England clacked his whip, for the 
post-chaise of Lord Seymour, at which a popuhxr 
sobriquet was hurled, passed with a great noise. 

In the double tile, along which INlunicipal Guards 
galloped like watch-dogs, honest family arks, crowded 
with great-aunts and grandmothers, displayed at Win- 
dows healthy groups of disguised children. Pierrots 
of seven and Pierrettes of six, ravishing little crea^ 
tures, feeling that they officially formed part of the 
public merrinient, penetrated with the dig'nity of their 
Harlequinade, and displaying the gravity of function- 
aries. From time to time a block occurred some- 
where in the procession of vehicles ; one or other of 
the two side files stopped until the knot was untied, 
one impeded vehicle sufficing to block the whole 
Une. Then they started again. The wedding car- 
riages were in the file, going towards the Bastille on 
the right-hand side of the boulevard. Opposite the 
Rue du Pont-aux-Choux there was a stoppage, and 
alraost at the same moment the file on the other side 
proceeding towards the Madeleine stopped too. At 
this point of the procession there was a carriage of 
masks. Thèse carriages, or, to speak more correctly, 
thèse cartloads of masks, are wcll known to the 
Parisians ; if they failed on INIardi Gras or at mid- 
Lent, people would say, " There 's something behind 


it. Probably we are going to hâve a change of 
Ministry." A heap of Harlequius, Coluinbiiie.s, and 
Pantaloons jolted above the heads of the passers-by, 
— ail possible grotesques, froni the Turk to the 
Savage. Hercules supporting Marquises, fish-fogs 
who would niake Rabelais stop his ears, as well as 
Msenads who would make Aristophanes look down, 
tow perukes, pink fleshings, three-cornered hats, pan- 
taloons, spectacles, cries given to the pedestrians, 
hands on bips, bold postures, naked shouldcrs, 
masked faces, and unmuzzlcd imniodesty ; a chaos of 
effronteries driven by a coachman in a head-dress of 
flowers, — such is this institution. Greece felt the 
want of Thespis' cart, and France needs Vadé's fiacre. 
Ail may be parodied, even parody. The Saturnalia, 
that grimace of antique beauty, by swelling and 
swclling becomes the jNlardi Gras : and the Bacclia- 
nal, formerly crowned with vine-leaves, inundated by 
sunshine, and displaying nuirble breasts in a divine 
semi-nudity, is novv flabby under the drenched rags of 
the Xorth, has ended by being called a chie-en-lit. 

The tradition of the coaches of masks dates back 
to the oldest times of the INIonarchy. The accounts 
of Louis XI. alhjw the Palace steward " twenty sous 
tournois for three coaches of masquerades." In our 
tinie thèse noisy piles of créatures gcncrally ride in 
somc old coucou the roof of which they encuniber, 
or cover with thcir tunudtuous group a landau the 
hood of which is thrown back. There arc twenty 
in a carriage intended for six. You sec theni on 
the seat, on the front stool, on the springs of the 
hood, and on the pôle, and tiiey even straddle across 

FEBRUARY 10, 1833. 303 

the lamps. They are standing, Ijing clown, or seated, 
cross-legged, or Avith pendent legs. The women 
occupy the knees of the mcn, and this wild pyramid 
is seen for a long distance over the heads of the 
crowd. Thèse vehicles forni mountains of merriment 
in the midst of the niob, and Collé, Panard, and Piron 
flow from them enriched with slang, and the fish-fag's 
catechism is expectorated from above upon the people. 
This fiacre, which has grown enornious through its 
burden, has an air of conquest ; Hubbub is in front 
and Hurly-burly behind. People shout in it, sing in 
it, yell in it, and writhe with happiness in it ; gayety 
roars there, sarcasni flashes, and joviality is displayed 
like a purple robe ; two jades drag in it farce ex- 
panded into an apothcosis, and it is the triumphal 
car of laughtcr, — a laughter, thongh, too cynical to 
be franlc, and in truth this langhter is suspicious. 
It has a mission, — that of verifying the carnival to 
the Parisians. Thèse fish-fag vehicles, in which some 
strange darkness is perceptible, cause the philosoplïer 
to reflect ; there is something of the government in 
them, and you lay your finger there on a curions 
afRnity between public men and public women. It 
is certainly a sorry tliought, that heaped-up turpi- 
tudes give a sum-total of gayety ; tliat a people can 
be amused by building up ignominy on opprobrium ; 
that spying, acting as a caryatid to prostitution, 
amuses the mob wliile affronting it ; that the crowd 
is pleased to see pass on four wheels this monstrons 
living pile of beings, spanglcd rags, one half ordure, 
one half light, who bark and sing ; that they should 
clap their hands at ail this shame, and that no festival 


is possible for the multitude unless the police prome- 
nade in its midst thèse twenty-headed liydras of joy. 
JNIost sad this certainly is, but what is to be doue ? 
Thèse tumbrels of bcribboned and flowered filth are 
insulted and pardoned by the public laughter, and 
the laughter of ail is the accomplice of the universal 
dégradation. Certain unhealthy festivals disintegrate 
the people and couvert them into populace ; but a 
populace, like tyrants, requires bufFoons. The king 
has Roquelaure, and the people has Paillasse. Paris 
is the great mad city wherever it is not the great 
sublime city, and the carnival there is political. Paris, 
let us confess it, willingly allows infaniy to play a 
farce for its amusement, and only asks of its masters 
— when it has masters — one thing, " paint the mud 
for me." Rome was of the same hunior ; she lovcd 
Nero, and Nero was a Titanic débardeur. 

Accident willed it, as we hâve just said, that one 
of the shapeless groups of masked men and women 
collectcd in a vast barouche stopped on the left of 
the boulevard while the wedding party stopped on 
the right. The carriage in which the masks were, 
noticed opposite to it the carriage in which was 
the bride. 

" Ililloh ! " said a mask, " a wedding." 

" A false wedding," another rctorted, " we are the 
true one." 

And, as they were too far off to address the wed- 
ding party, and as they also feared tiie interférence 
of the police, the two masks looked clscwhere. The 
whole vehicle-load of masquers had plenty of work 
a moment after, for the mob began hissing it, which 

FEBRUARY 16, 1833. 305 

is tlie caress given by the mob to masquerades, and 
the two masks who liad just spoken were obliged 
to face the crowd witli tlieir. comvades, and found 
ail the missiles of the market repertory scarce suf- 
ficient to reply to the atrocious jaw-lashing from 
the people, A frightful exchange of metaphors took 
place between the masks and the crowd. In the 
mean while two other masks in the same carriage, 
a Spaniard with an exaggerated nose, an oldish look, 
and enormous black moustaches, and a thin and very 
youthful fish-girl, wearing a half-mask, had noticed 
the wedding also, and while tlieir companions and 
the spectators were insulting eacli other, held a con- 
ver.^ation in a low voice. Tlieir aside was covered 
by the tnmult and was lost in it. The showers had 
drenched the open carriage ; the February wind is 
not warm, and so the fish-girl while answering the 
Spaniard shivered, laughed, and coughed. This was 
the dialogue, which we translate from the original 
slang ; — 

" Look hère." 

" What is it, pa ? " 

" Do you see that old man ? " 

" What old man ? " 

"There, in the wedding coach, with his arm in 
a sling." 

"Yes. Well?" 

" I feel sure that I know him." 

" Ah ! " 

" May my neck be eut, and I ne ver said you, thou, 
or I, in my life, if I do not know that Parisian." 

" To-day Paris is Pantin." 

VOL. V. 20 


" Can you see the bride by stooping ? " 

" No." 

" And the bridegroom ? " 

" There is no bridegroom in that coach." 


" Unless it be the other old man." - 

" Corne, trj and get a look at the bride bj 

" I can't." 

" No matter, that old fellow who has something 
the matter with his paw, I feel certain I know 

" And wliat good will it do you, yom* knowing 
him ? " . 

" I don't know. Sometimes ! " 

" I don't care a curse for old fellows." 

" I know him." 

" Know him as much as you like." 

" How the deuce is he at the wedding ? " 

" Why, we are there too." 

" Where does the wedding corne from ? " 

" How do I know ? " 

" Listen." 

" AVcll, what is it ? " 

" You must do something." 


" Get out of our trap and follow that wedding." 

" What to do ? " 

" To know where it goes and what it is. JNIake 
haste and get down ; run, niy daughtcr, for you are 

" I can't leave the carriage." 

FEBRUARY 16, 1833. 307 

" Why not ? " 

" I am hired." 

" Oh, the devil ! " 

" I owe the Préfecture my day's work." 

" That 's true." 

" If I leave the carriage, the first inspecter who 
sees me will arrest me. You know that." 

" Yes, I know it." 

" To-day I am bought by Pharos" (the government). 

" No matter, that old fellow bothers me." 

" Ail old men bother you, and yet you ain't a 
chicken yourself." 

" He is in the first carriage." 

" Well, what then ? " 

" In the bride's carriage." 

" What next ? " 

" So he is the father." 

" How does that concern me ? " 

" I tell you he is the father." 

" You do nothing but talk about that father." 

" Listen." 

" Well, what ? " 

" I can only go away masked, for I am hidden hère, 
and no one knows I am hère. But to-morrow 
there will be no masks, for it is Ash Wednesday, 
and I run a risk of being nailed. I shall be obligcd 
\o go back to my hole, but you are free." 

" Not quite." 

" Well, more so than I am." 

" Well, wliat then ? " 

" You must try to find out where that wedding 
party is going to." 


" Going to ? " 

" Yes." 

" Oh, I know." 

" Where to, then ? " 

" To tlie Cadran Bleu." 

" But that is not the direction." 

" Well, tlien ! to La Râpée.'* 

" Or elsewhere." 

" They eau do as they like, for weddings are 

" That is not the thing. I tell you that you must 
try to find out for me what that wedding is, and 
where it cornes from." 

"Of course! that would be funny. It'ssojolly 
easy to find out a week after where a wedding party 
has gone to that passed during the Mardi Gras. A 
pin in a bundle of hay. Is it possible ? " 

" No matter, you must try. Do you hear, 
Azelma ? " 

The two files recommenced their opposite move- 
ment on the boulevard, and the cari'iage of niasks 
lost out of sight that which contained the bride. 



To realize one's dream — to whom is this granted? 
There must be élections for tins iu heaven ; we 
are the unconscious candidates, and the angels 
vote. Cosette and Marins had been elccted. Cosette, 
both at the mayoralty and at church, was brilliant 
and touching. Toussaint, helped bj Nicolette, had 
dressed her. Cosette wore over a skirt of white 
taffetas her dress of Binche lace, a veil of English 
point, a necklace of fine pearls, and a crown of 
orange-flowers ; ail this was white, and in this white- 
ness she was radiant. It was an exquisite candor 
expanding and becoming transfigured in light ; she 
looked like a virgin on the point of becoming a 
goddess. Marius's fine hair was shining and per- 
fumed, and hère and there a glimpse could be cauglTt, 
under the thick curls, of pale lines, which were the 
scars of the barricade. The grandfather, superb, 
with head erect, amalgamating in his toilette and 
manners ail the élégances of the time of Barras, gave 
his arm to Cosette. He took the place of Jean Val- 
jean, who, owing to his wound, could not give his 
hand to the bride. Jean Valjean, dressed ail in 
black, followed and smiled. 


"■ ^Monsieur Fauchelevent," the grandfather said to 
him, " this is a glorious day, and I vote the end of 
afflictions and cares. Henceforth there must be no 
sorrow anywhere. By Pleaven ! I decree joy ! mis- 
fortune has no right to exist, and it is "a disgrâce for 
the azuré of lieaven that there are unfortunate mon. 
Evil does not conie from nian, who, at the bottom, is 
good ; but ail liuman miseries hâve their capital and 
central governnient in hell, otherwise called the 
Tuileries of the devil. There, I am making déma- 
gogie remarks at présent ! For my part I hâve no 
politieal opinions left ; and ail I stick to is that men 
should be rich, that is to say, joyous." 

When, at the end of ail the cérémonies, — after 
pronouncing before the mayor and before the priest 
every yes that is possible, after signing the register 
at the municipality and in the sacristy, after exchang- 
ing rings, after knecling side by side under the canopy 
of white moire in the smoke of the censer, — they 
arrived holding each other by the hand, admired and 
envicd by ail. Marins in black, she in white, pre- 
ceded by the bcadle in the colonels epaulcttes, strik- 
iug the flag-stones with his halbcrt, bctwcen two 
rows of dazzled spectators, at the church doors which 
were thrown wide opcn, ready to get into their car- 
riage, — and then ail was over. Cosette could not 
yet believe it. She looked at Marins, she lookcd at 
the crowd, she lookcd at heavcn ; it seemed as if she 
were afraid of awaking. Her astonished and anxious 
air iniparted something strangely enchanting to her. 
In returning they both rode in the same carriage, 
Marius seated by Cosette's side, and M. Gillenor- 


maud and Jean Valjean forming their vis-à-vis. 
Aunt Gillenormand had fallcn back a step and was 
in the second carriage. " My children," the grand- 
father said, " yoii are now M. le Baron and Madame 
la Baronne with tliirty thousand francs a year." And 
Cosette, nuzzling against Marins, caressed his ear 
with the angelic whisper, " It is true, then, my name is 
Marins and I am Madame Thou." Thèse two beings 
were resplendent ; they had reached the irrévocable 
and irrecoverable moment, the dazzling point of in- 
tersection of ail youth and ail joy. They realized 
Jean Prouvaire's line ; together they did not nnm- 
ber forty years. It was marriage sublimated, and 
thèse two children were two lilies. They did not 
see each other, but contemplated each other. Cosette 
perceived INIarius in a glory, and Marins perceived 
Cosette upon an altar. And upon this altar, and in 
this glory, the two apothéoses blending behind a cloud 
for Cosette and a flashing for Marins, there was the 
idéal thing, the real thing, the meeting-place of kisses 
and of sleep, the nnptial pillow. 

Ail the torments they had gone throngh returned 
to them in intoxication ; it appeared to them as if 
the griefs, the sleeplessness, the tears, the angnish, 
the terrors, and the despair, by being converted into 
caresses and sunbeams, rendered more charming still 
the chaniiing hour which was approaching ; and that 
their sorrows were so many handmaidens who per- 
formed the toilette of joy. How good it is to hâve 
snfFered ! Their misfortunes made a halo for their 
happiness, and the long agony of their love ended in 
an ascension. There was in thèse two sonls t'ie 


same enchantnient, tingcd witli voluptuousness in 
INIarius and with niodesty in Cosette. They said to 
each other in a whisper, " AVe will go and see again 
OUI* little garden in the Rue Plumet." The folds of 
Cosette's dress were upon ]\Iarius. Such a day is an 
ineffable blending of dreani and ccrtainty : you possess 
and you suppose, and you still hâve time before you 
to divine. It is an indeseribable émotion on that 
day to be at midday and think of midnight. The 
delight of thèse two hearts overflowed upon the 
crowd, and imparted merriment to the passers-by. 
People stopped in the Rue St. Antoine, in front of 
St. Paul's, to look through the carriage-window, — 
the orange flowers trembling on Cosette's head. 
Thcn they returned to the Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 
— home. Marins, side by side with Cosette, as- 
cended, triumphantly and radiantly, that staircase up 
which he had been dragged in a dying state. The 
beggars, collected before the gâte and dividing the 
contents of their purses, blessed them. There were 
flowers everywhcrc, and the house was no less fra- 
grant than the church : after the inccnse the rose. 
They fancied they could hear voices singing in infini- 
tude; they had God in their hearts ; destiny appeared 
to them like a ceiling of stars ; they saw abovc their 
heads the flashing of the rising sun. INIarius gazcd 
at Cosette's charmiiig bare arm and the pink things 
which could be vaguely seen through the lace of the 
stomacher, and Cosette, catching Marius's glance, 
blushed to the white of lier eyes. A good many old 
friends of the Gillenormand family had been invited, 
and they throng(;d round Cosette, outvying oiie 


another in calling lier Madame la Baronne. The 
ofRcer, Théodule Gillenorniand, now captain, liad 
corne from Chartres, wherc .hé was stationed, to be 
présent at his cousin 's niarriage : Cosctte did not 
recognize hini. He, ou his side, accustomed to be 
thought a pretty fellow by the women, reniembered 
Cosette no more than any other. 

" How right I was in not believiug that story of 
the lancer ! " Father Gillenormand said to himseif 

Cosette had never been more affectionate to Jean 
Valjean, and she was in unison with Father Gille- 
normand ; while he built up joy in aphorisms and 
maxims, she exhaled love and beauty like a perfume. 
Happiness wishes everybody to be liappy. She found 
again in speakiug to Jean Valjean inflections of lier 
voice of the time when she was a little girl, and 
caressed him with a smile. A banquet had been 
prepared in the dining-room ; an illumination « giorno 
is the necessary seasoning of a great joy, and niist 
and darkness are not accepted by the happy. They 
do not consent to be black : night, yes ; darkness, 
no ; and if there be no sun, one niust be made. The 
dining-room was a furnacc of gay tliings ; in the cen- 
tre, above the wliite glistening tables, hung a Vene- 
tian chandelier, with ail sorts of colored birds, blue, 
violet, red, and green, perched among the candies ; 
round the chandelier were girandoles, and on th.e 
walls wcre mirrors with three and four branches ; 
glasses, crystal, plate, china, crockery, gold, and silver, 
ail flashed and rejoiced. The spaces between the 
candelfibra were filled up with bouquets, se that where 


tliere was not a liglit there was a fiower. In the ante- 
roomthree violins and a flûte played some of Haydn s 
quartettes. Jean Valjean had seated himself on a 
chair in the drawing-room, behind the door, which, 
being thrown back, ahnost concealed him. A few 
minutes before they sat down to table Cosette gave 
him a deep eourtesy, while spreading out her 
wedding-dress with both hands, and with a tenderly 
mocking look asked him, — 

" Fathcr, are you satisfied ? " 

" Yes," said Jean Valjean, " I am satisfied." 

" Well, then, laugh." 

Jean Valjean began laughing. A few minutes 
later Basque came in to announce that dinner was 
on the table. The guests, preceded by M. Gillcnor- 
mand, who gave his arm to Cosette, entered the 
dining-room, and collected round the table in the 
prescribcd order. There was a large easy-chair on 
either side of the bride, one for M. Gillenormand, the 
other for Jean Valjean. M. Gillenormand seated 
himself, but the other chair remained empty. AU 
looked round for M(msicur Fauchelevent, but he was 
no longer there, and M. Gillenormand hailed Basque : 

" })o you know where M. Fauchelevent is ? " 

" Yes, sir, I do," Basque replicd. " Monsieur 
Fauchelevent requested me to tell you, sir, that his 
hand pained him, and that he could not dinc with 
M. le ]3aron and Madame la Baronne. Ile thcrefore 
begged to be excused, but would call to-morrow. 
He lias just left." 

This emj)ty chair momentarily chillcd tlic effusion 
of the wedding feast ; but tliough M. Fauchelevent 


was absent M. Gilleuormand was there, and tlie 
grandfather shone for two. He declared that M. 
Fauchelevent acted going to bed early if 
he were in pain, but that it was only a small hurt. 
Tliis déclaration was sufficient ; besides, what is a 
dark corner in such a submersion of joy? Cosette 
and ^larius were in one of those cgotistic and blessed 
moments wlien people possess no other faculty than 
that of perceiving joy ; and then M. Gillenormand 
had an idea, " By Jupiter ! this chair is empty ; come 
hither, iNIarius ; your aunt, though she has a right to 
)t, will permit you ; this chair is for you ; it is légal, 
and it is pretty, — Fortunatus by the side of Fortu- 
nata." The wliole of the guests applauded. Marius 
took Jean Valjean's place by Cosette's side, and tliings 
were so arranged that Cosette, who had at first been 
saddened by the absence of Jean Valjean, ended by 
being pleased at it. Froni the moment when INIarius 
was the substitute, Cosette would not hâve regretted 
God. She placed her little white-satin-slippered foot 
upon jNIarius's foot. When the easy-chair was occup- 
pied, jNI. Fauchelevent was effaced, and nothing was 
wanting. Five minutes later ail the guests were 
laughing from one end of the table to the othcr, with 
ail the forgetfulness of humor. At dessert M. Gille- 
normand rose, with a glass of Champagne in his hand, 
only half full, so that the trcmbling of ninety-two 
years might not upset it, and proposed the healtli of 
the new-married couple. 

" You will not escapc from two sermons," he ex- 
claimed : " this morning you had the curé's, and tins 
evening you will hâve grandpapa's. Listen to me, for 


I am going to give you some advice : Adore each 
othcr. I do not beat round the bush, but go straight 
to the point ; be liappy. Tliere are no other sages 
in création but the turtle-doves. Philosophers say, 
jModerate your joys ; but 1 say, Throw tlic bridle on 
the neck of your joys. Love like fiends, be furious. 
The philosophers babble, and I should like to thrust 
their philosophy down their throats for theni. Can 
we hâve too many perfunies, too many opcn rose- 
buds, too many singing nightingales, too many green 
leaves, and too much dawn in lif e ? Can we love too 
much ? Can we plcase one another too much ? Take 
care, Estelle, you are too pretty ! Take care, Némorin, 
you are too handsome ! What jolly nonsense ! Can 
people enchant each other, tease each othcr, and 
charni each other too much ? Can they be too lov- 
ing? Can they be too happy? Moderate your joys, 
— oh, stufF ! Down witli the philosophers, for wis- 
dom is jubilation. Do you jubilate? Let us jubilate ; 
are we happy because we are good, or are we good 
because we are happy ? Is tlie Sancy diamond called 
the Sancy because it belonged to Hariay de Sancy, 
or because it weighs one hundred and six carats ? I 
do not know ; and life is full of such problcms : the 
important thing is to hâve the Sancy and happincss. 
Let us be happy without quibbling. Let us blindly 
obey the sun. What is the sun ? It is love ; and 
when I say Icrvc, I mean woman. Ah, ah ! woman 
is an omnipotence. Ask that démagogue, Marius, 
if he is not the slave of that little shc-tyrant, 
Cosette, and uillingly so, the coward ? Woman ! 
There is not a Robespierre who can stand ; but 


woman reigns. I ara now only a royalist of that 
royalty. "What is Adara? The royalty of Eve. There 
is no '89 for Eve. There .was the royal sceptre 
surmounted by the fleur-de-lys, there was the im- 
périal sceptre surmounted by a globe, there was 
Cliarlemagne's sceptre of iron, and the sceptre of 
Louis the Great, which was of gold. The Révolu- 
tion twisted thera between its thuaib and forefinger 
like straws. It is finished, it is broken, it lies on 
the ground, — there is no sceptre left. But just 
make a révolution against that little embroidered 
handkerchief wliich smells of patchouli! I should like 
to see you at it. Try it. Why is it solid ? Because 
it is a rag. Ah ! you are the uineteenth ceutury. 
Well, what then? We were the eighteenth, and were 
as foolish as you. Do not suppose that you hâve 
made any tremendous change in the world because 
your gallant-trusser is called cholera-morbus, and 
yonr bourrée the cachucha. After ail, woman must 
always be loved, and I defy you to get ont of that. 
Thèse she-devils are our angels. Yes, love, woman, 
and a kiss form a circle from which I defy you to 
issue, and for my own part I should be very glad to 
enter it again. Who among you has seen the star 
Venus, the great coquette of the abyss, the Celimène 
of océan, rise in infinité space, appeasing everything 
below her, and looking at the waves like a woman ? 
The océan is a rude Alcestis ; and yet, however much 
he may growl, when Venus appears lie is forced to 
smile. That brute-beast submits, and we are ail 
thus. Anger, tempest, thunder-bolts, foam up to 
the ceiling. A woman comes upon the stage, a star 


rises, and you crawl iu the dust. Marius was fight- 
ing six montlis ago, and is marrying to-day, and that 
is well done. Yes, Marius, y es, Cosette, you are 
riglit. Exist bravely one for the other, niake us 
burst with rage because we cannot do tlïe same, and 
idolize each other. Take in both your beaks the 
little straws of felicity which lie on the ground, and 
niake of them a nest for life. By Jove ! to love, to be 
loved, : — wliat a great miracle when a man is young! 
Do not suppose that you invented it. I too hâve 
dreamed, and thought, and sighed. I too hâve had 
a moonlit soûl. Love is a child six thousand years 
of âge, and has a right to a long white beard. 
Methuselah is a baby by the side of Cupid. Sixty 
centuries back man and woman got out of the scrape 
by loving. The de vil, who is cunning, took to hating 
man ; but man, who is more cunning still, took to 
loving woman. In this way he did hiniself more 
good than the devil did him harm. That trick was 
discovered simultaneously with the terrestrial para- 
dise. My friends, the invention is old, but it is brand 
new. Take advantage of it ; bc Daphnis and Chloe 
while waiting till you are Baucis and Philemon. 
]\Ianage so that when you are together you may 
want for nothing, and that Cosette may be the sun 
for ]\Iarius, and Marius the universe for Cosette. 
Cosette, let your fine wcather be your husband's 
smiles. Marius, let your wife's tears be the rain^ 
and mind that it nevcr does rain in your household. 
You hâve drawn the good nunibcr in the lottcry, 
love in the sacrament. You hâve the prize numbcr, 
80 keep it carcfuUy under lock and key. Do not 


squander it. Adore each other, and a fig for the 
rest. Believe what I tell you, theu, for it is good 
sensé, and good sensé cannot deceive. Be to one 
anotlier a religion, for each man has his own way of 
adoring God. Saperlotte ! the best way of adoring 
God is to love one's wife. I love you ! that is my 
catechism ; and whoever loves is orthodox. The 
oath of Henri IV. places sanctity between guttling 
and intoxication. Ventre Saint Gris ! I do not 
belong to the religion of that oath, for woman is 
forgotten in it, and that surprises me on the part of 
Henri IV.'s oath. My friends, long live woman ! I 
am old, so people say ; but it is amazing how dis- 
posed I feel to be young. I should like to go and 
listen to the bagpipes in the woods. Thèse children, 
who succeed in being beautiful and satisfied, intoxi- 
cate me. I am quite willing to marry if anybody 
will hâve me. It is impossible to imagine that God 
has made us for anything else than this, — to idolize, 
to purr, to strut, to be a pigeon, to be a cock, to 
caress our lovers from morning till night, to admire 
ourselves in our little wife, to be proud, to be trium- 
phant, and to svvell. Such is the object of life. 
That, without ofFence, is what we thought in our 
time, when we were young men. Ah ! vertu-bam- 
boche ! what charming women tliere were in those 
days ! what ducks ! I made my ravages among them. 
Then love each other. If men and women did not 
love, I really do not see what use there would be in 
having a spring. And for my part, I would pray the 
good God to lock up ail the fine things he shows 
us and take them back from us, and to return to his 


box tlie flowers, the birds, and the pretty girls. Mj 
children, reçoive an old nian's blessing." 

The evening was lively, gay, and pleasant ; the 
sovereign good-humor of the grandfather gave the 
tone to the whole festivity, and each was regulated 
by this almost centenary lieartiness. There was a 
little dancing and a good deal of laughter ; it was 
a mcrry wedding, to which that worthy old fellow 
" Once on a time " might hâve been invited ; how- 
ever, lie was présent in the person of Father Gille- 
normand. There was a turault and then a silence ; 
tlic niarried couple disappeared. A little after mid- 
night the Gillenormand mansion became a temple. 
Hère we stop, for an angel stands on the threshold 
of wedding-nights, smiling, and with finger on lip ; 
the mind becomes contemplative before this sanc- 
tuary in which the célébration of love is held. There 
must be rays of light above such houses, and the 
joy which they contain must pass through the walls 
in brilliancy, and vaguely irradiate the darkness. It 
is impossible for this sacred and fatal festival not to 
send a celestial radiancc to infinitude. Love is the 
sublime crucible in which the fusion of man and 
woman takes place ; the one bcing, the triple bcing, 
the final bcing, the human trinity issue from it. 
This birth of two soûls in one must hâve émotion 
for the shadows. The lover is the priest, and the 
transportée! virgin feels an awe. A portion of this 
joy ascends to God. When there is really marriage, 
that is to say, when there is love, the idéal is minglcd 
with it, and a nuptial couch forms in the darkness a 
corner of the dawn. If it was givcn to the mental 


eye to perceive tlie formidable and charmiiig %'isions 
of higher life, it is probable that it would see the 
forms of night, the uDknown winged beings, tbe blue 
wayfarers of the invisible, bending down round the 
luminous house, satisficd and blessing, poiuting out 
to each other the virgin bride, who is gently startled, 
and having the reflection of hunian felicity on their 
divine countenances. If, at tins suprême hour, the 
pair, dazzled with pleasure, and who believe them- 
selves alone, were to listen, they would liear in their 
chamber a confused rustling of wings, for perfect 
happiness implies the guarantee of angels. Tins 
little obscure alcôve has an entire heaven for its ceil- 
ing. AVhen two mouths, which hâve become sacred 
by love, approach each other in order to create, it is 
impossible but that there is a tremor in the immense 
mystery of the stars above this ineftable kiss. Thèse 
felicities are the real ones, there is no joy beyond 
their joy s ; love is the sole ecstasy, and ail the rest 
weeps. To love or to hâve loved is sufficient ; ask 
lîothing more after that. There is no other pearl to 
be found in the dark folds of life, for love is a 




What had become of Jean Valjean ? Directly 
after he had laughed in accordance with Cosette's 
request, as no one was paying any attention to hini, 
Jean Valjean rose, and unnoticed reached the ante- 
room. It was the same room which he had entered 
eight months previoûsly, black with nmd and blood 
and gnnpowder, bringing back the grandson to the 
grandfatlier. The old panelling was garlanded with 
flowers and leaves, the musieians were seated on the 
sofa upon which Marins liad bccn deposited. Basque, 
in black coat, knee-breeches, white cravat, and wliite 
gloves, was placing wreaths of roses round cach of 
the dishes which was goiiig to be servcd up. Jean 
Valjean showxd him his arni in the sling, requested 
hini to explain his absence, and quitted the house. 
The Windows of the dining-rooni looked out ou the 
Street, and Valjean stood for some minutes motion- 
less in the obscurity of those radiant windoAvs. He 
listened, and the confused sound of the banquet 
reached his ears ; he heard the grandfathcr's loud 
and dictatorial voice, the violins, the rattling of plates 
and glasses, the bursts of laughtcr, and aniid ail thèse 
gay sounds he distinguishcd Cosette's soft, happy 


voice. He left the Rue des Filles du Calvaire and 
returned to the Rue de l'Homme Armé. In ffoinff 
home he went along the Rue St. Louis, the Rue 
Culture-Sainte-Catherine, and the Blancs ]\Ianteaux ; 
it was a little longer, but it was the road by which 
he had been accustomed to corne with Cosette dur- 
ing the last three months, in ordcr to avoid the crovvd 
and mud of the Rue Vieille du Temple. This road, 
which Cosette had passed along, excluded the idea 
of any other itinerary for him. Jean Valjean re- 
turned home, lit his candie, and went upstairs. The 
apartments were empty ; not even Toussaint was 
in there now. Jean Valjean's footsteps made more 
noise in the rooms than usual. Ail the wardrobes 
were open ; he entered Cosette's room, and there 
were no sheets on the bed. The pillow, without a 
case or lace, was laid on the blankets folded at the 
foot of the bed, in which no one was going to sleep 
again. Ail the small féminine articles to which Co- 
sette clung had been removed ; only the heavy furni- 
ture and the four walls remained. Toussaint's bed 
was also unmade, and the only one made which 
seemed to be expecting somebody was Jean Val- 
jean's. Jean Valjean looked at the walls, closed 
some of the wardrobe drawers, and walked in and 
ont of the rooms. Then he returned to his own 
room and placed his candie on the table ; he had 
taken his arm out of the sling, and used it as if he 
were sufFering no pain in it. He went up to his bed 
and his eyes fell — was it by accident or was it pur- 
poscly ? — on the inséparable of which Cosette had 
been jealous, the little valise which never left him. 


On Jiine 4, when he arrivée! at the Rue de l'Homme 
Armé, he laid it on a table ; he now walked up to 
this table with some eagerness, took thc key out of 
his pocket, and opened the portmantcau. He slowly 
drew out the clothes in which, ten years previously, 
Cosette had left Montfermeil ; first, the littlc black 
dress, then the black handkerchief, then the stout 
shoes, which Cosette could almost hâve worn still, 
so small was her foot ; ncxt the petticoat, then the 
apron, and lastly, the woollen stockings. Thèse 
stockings, in which the shape of a little leg was 
gracefully marked, were no longer than Jean Val- 
jean's hand. AU thèse articles were black, and it 
was he who took them for her to ]\Iontfermeil. He 
laid each article on the bed as he took it out, and he 
tliought and remembered. It was in wintcr, a very 
cold Deceniber ; she was shivcring under her rags, 
and her poor feet were quite red in her wooden shoes. 
He, Jean Yaljean, had made her take ofF thèse rags 
and put on this mourning garb ; the mother must 
hâve been pleased in her tomb to see her daughter 
wearing mourning for her, and abovc ail, to see that 
she was well clothed and was warm. He thought 
of that forest of ]\Iontfermcil, he thought w^hat 
the weather was, of thc trees without leavcs, of the 
wood without birds and the sky without sun ; but 
no matter, it was charming. He arranged the littlc 
clothes on thc bed, the handkerchief near the petti- 
coat, the stockings along with thc shoes, thc apron 
by the side of the dress, and he lookcd at them one 
after the othcr. She was not much taller than that, 
she had her large doll in her arms, she had put her 


louis d'or in the pocket of this apron, she laughed, 
they walked along holding eacli other's haud, and 
she had no one but him in the world. 

Then his vénérable white hèad fell on the bed, his 
old stoical heart broke, his face was buried in Co- 
sette's clothes, and had any one passed upstairs at 
that moment he would hâve heard frightful sobs. 



The old formidable struggle, of which we hâve 
already seen several phases, began again. Jacob 
only wrestled with the angel for one night. Alas ! 
how many times hâve we seen Jean Valjean caught 
round the waist in the darkness by his conscience, 
and struggling frantically against it. An extraordi- 
nary struggle ! At certain moments the foot slips, at 
others the ground gives way. How many times had 
that conscience, clinging to the right, strangled and 
crushed him ! How many times had inexorable trutli 
set its foot on his chest ! How many times had he, 
felled by the light, cried for mercy ! How many 
times had that implacable light, illumined within and 
over him by the Bishop, dazzlcd him when he wishcd 
to be blinded ! How many times had he riseu again 
in the contcst, clung to the rock, supported himself 
by sophistry, and been dragged through the dust, at 
one moment throwing his conscience under liim, at 
anothcr thrown by it ! How many times, after an 
equivocation, after the treachcrous and spccious rea- 
soning of egotism, had he heard his irritated con- 
science cry in his cars, " Trickster ! wretch ! " How 
many times had his refractory thoughts groancd con- 


vulsively iinder tlie évidence of duty ! What aecret 
wounds he had, whicli lie aione felt bleeding ! Wliat 
excoriations there were in his lamentable existence ! 
How niany times had he risen, bleeding, mutilated, 
crushed, enlightened, with despair in his heart and 
serenitj in his soûl ! And though vanquished, he felt 
hiniself the victor, and after having dislocated, tor- 
tured, and broken him, his conscience, erect before 
hini, luminous and tranquil, would say to him, — 
" Xow go in peace ! " What a mournful peace, alas ! 
after issuing from such a contest. 

This night, however, Jean Valjean felt that he was 
fighting his last battle. A crushing question pre- 
sented itself; prédestinations are not ail straight ; 
they do not develop themselves in a rectilinear ave- 
nue before the predestined man ; they hâve blind 
alleys, zigzags, awkward corners, and perplexing 
cross-roads. Jean Yaljean was halting at this mo- 
ment at the most dangerous of thèse cross-roads. He 
had reached the suprême crossing of good and evil, 
and had that gloomy intersection before his eyes. 
This time again, as had already happened in other 
painful interludes, two roads presented themselves 
before him, one tempting, the other terrifying ; which 
should he take ? The one which frightened him was 
counsellcd by the mysterious pointing hand which 
we ail perceive every time that we fix our eyes upon 
the darkness. Jean Yaljean had once again a choice 
between the terrible haven and the smiling snare. 
Is it true, then ? The soûl may be cured, but not 
destiny. What a frightful thing, — an incurable des- 
tiny ! The question which presented itself was this : 


In what way was Jean Valjcan going to bchave 
to tlie happiness of Cosette and Marins ? That hap- 
piness lie had willcd, lie had niadc ; and at tliis honr, 
in gazing upon it, he could hâve tlie species of satis- 
faction which a entier would hâve who recognized 
his trade-mark npon a knife when he drew it ail 
smoking from his chest. Cosette had Marins, INIarius 
possessed Cosette ; they possessed everything, evcn 
wcalth, and it was his doiiig. Bnt now that this 
happiness existed and _ was therc, how was he, Jean 
Valjean, to treat it? Should he force himself upon 
it and trcat it as if belonging to himself ? Doubtless 
Cosette was another mans ; bnt should he, Jean 
Valjean, retain of Cosette ail that he could retain ? 
Should he remain the sort of father, scarce seen 
bnt respected, which he had hitherto been ? Should 
he introduce himself quietly into Cosette's house ? 
Should he carry his past to this future without say- 
ing a Word ? Should he présent himself there as one 
having a right, and should he sit down, veiled, at 
this luminous hearth ? Should he smilingly take the 
hands of thèse two innocent créatures in his tragic 
hands? Should he place on the andirons of the 
Gillenormand drawing-room his fcet, which draggcd 
after thcm the degrading shadow of the law? Should 
he render the obscurity on his brow and the cloud 
on theirs denser? Should he join his catastrophe to 
their two felicitics ? Should he continue to be silent ? 
In a Word, should he be the sinister dumb man of 
dcstiny by the side of thèse two happy beings ? We 
must be accustomed to fatality and to meeting it, to 
raise our cyes when certain questions appear to us in 


their terrible nudity. Good and evil are behind this 
sterii note of interrogation. What are you going to 
do ? the Sphinx asks. This habit of trial Jean Val- 
jean had, and he looked at the Sphinx fixedly, and 
examincd the pitiless problem from ail sides. Co- 
sette, that channing existence, was the raft of this 
shipwrecked man ; what should hc do, cling to it, or 
let it go ? If he clung to it, he issued froni disaster, 
he rcmpuntcd to the sunshine, he let the bitter water 
drip off his clothes and hair, he was saved and lived. 
Suppose he let it go ? Then there was an abyss. He 
thus dolorously held counsel with his thoughts, or, to 
speak more correctly, he combated ; he rushed furi- 
ously within himself, at one moment against his will, 
at another against his convictions. It was fortunate 
for Jean Valjean that he had been able to weep, for 
that enlightened liim, perhaps. Still, the beginning 
was stern ; a tempest, more furious than that which 
had formerly forced him to Arras, was let loose with- 
in him. The past returned to him in the face of the 
présent ; he compared and sobbcd. Once the sluice 
of tears was opened, the dcspairing man writhed. 
He felt himself arrested, alas ! in the deadly fight 
between one egotism and one duty. When we thus 
recoil incli by inch before our idéal, wildly, obsti- 
nately, exasperated at yielding, disputing the grouud, 
hoping for a possible flight, and seeking an issue, 
what a sudden and sinistcr résistance behind us is the 
foot of the wall ! To feel the holy shadow stand- 
ing in the way ! The inexorable, invisible, — what a 
pressure ! 

Hence we hâve never finished with our conscience. 


Make up your iiiind, Brutus ; make up your mind, 
Cato. It is bottomless, for it is God. You cast iiito 
tliis pit tlie labor of your whole life, — your fortmie, 
your wealth, your success, your liberty, or your couu- 
try, your conitbrt, your repose, your joy. -More, more, 
luoré ! Empty tlie vase, tread over the uni, you nuist 
end by throwing iu your heart. Tliere is a barrcl 
like tlîis somewhere in the Hades of old. Is it uot 
pardouable to refuse at last ? Can tliat wliich is iu- 
exliaustible hâve any claiui ? Are not endless chaius 
beyond human strength ? Who then would bhime 
JSisyphus and Jean Yaljean for saying, It is enougli ! 
The obédience of niatter is hniited by friction : is 
there not a limit to the obédience of the soûl ? If 
perpétuai motion be impossible, why is perpétuai dé- 
votion demanded ? ïhe first step is nothiiig, it is the 
last that is difficult. What was the Champmathieu 
affair by the side of Cosette's marriage ? What did 
it bring with it ? What is rcturniiig to the hulks by 
the side of entering nothingness ? Oh, first step to 
descend, how gloomy thon art ! oh, second step, how 
black thou art ! How could lie help turning his head 
away this tinie ? JMartyrdom is a sublimation, a cor- 
rosive sublimation, it is a torture which consecrates. 
A man may consent to it for the first hour ; he sits 
on the throne of red-hot iron, the crown of red-hot 
iron is placed on his head, — hc accepts the red-hot 
globe, he takes the red-hot sceptre, but he still lias 
to don the mantle of (lame, and is there not a moment 
when the misérable flesh revolts and lie Aies from the 
punishment ? At length Jean Valjean cntered the 
calmness pf prostration ; he wishcd, thought over, and 


nonsidered the alternations, the mysterious balance of 
light and shadow. Sliould he force his galleys on 
thèse two dazzling cliildren, or consiimmate his own 
irrémédiable destruction ? On one side was the sac- 
rifice of Cosette, on the other his own. 

On which solution did he décide ? What déter- 
mination did he form ? What was in his inner self 
the définitive reply to the incorruptible interrogatory 
of fatality ? What door did he résolve on opening ? 
Which side of his life did he make up his mind 
to close and condemn ? Amid ail those unfathom- 
able précipices that surrounded him, which was his 
choice ? What extremity did he accept ? To which 
of thèse gulfs did he nod his head ? His confusing 
rêverie lasted ail night ; he remained till daybreak 
in the same position, leaning over the bed, prostrate 
beneath the enorniity of fate, perhaps crushed, alas ! 
with hands convulsed, and arms extended at a right 
angle like an unnailed crucified man thrown with 
his face on the ground. He remained thus for 
twelve hours, — the tvvelve hours of a long winter's 
night, frozen, without raising his head or uttering a 
syllable. He was motionless as a corpse, while his 
thoughts rolled on the ground or fled away ; some- 
times like a hydra, sometinies like the eagle. To see 
him thus you would havc thought him a dead man ; 
but ail at once he started convulsivcly, and his mouth 
pressed to Cosette's clothes, kissed them ; then one 
saw that he was alive. 

What One, since Jean Valjean was alone and 
nobody was there? 

The One who is in the darkness. 




The day after a wedding is solitary, for people 
respect tlie retirement of tlie happy, and to some 
extent their lengthened slumbers. The confusion of 
visits and congratulations does not begin again till 
a later date. On the raorning of Feb. 17 it was a 
little past midday wlicn Basque, with napkin and 
feather-brush under liis arni, dusting the anteroom, 
heard a low tap at the door. There had not been 
a ring, which is discreet on such a day. Basque 
opcned and saw IM. Fauchelevent ; he conducted 
him to the drawing-room, which was still topsy- 
turvy, and looked like the battle-ficld of the préviens 
«lay's joys. 

" Rcally, sir," obscrvcd Basque, " we woke late." 

" Is your master up ? " Jean Valjean asked. 

" How is your liand, sir? " Basque replied. 

" Better. Is your master up ? " 

" Wliich one, the old or the new ? " 

" Monsieur Pontmercy." 


" Monsieur le Baron ! " said Basque, drawing liim- 
self up. 

A baron is before ail a baron to his servants ; a 
portion of it cornes to them, and they hâve what a 
philosopher would call the spray of the title, und 
that flatters them. INIarius, we may mention in pass- 
ing, a militant reisublican as he had proved, was now 
a baron in spite of himself. A little révolution had 
taken place in the faniily with référence to this title 
it was M. Gillenormand who was attached to it, and 
Marius who had fallen away from it. But Colonel 
Poutmercy had written, " INIy son will bear my title," 
and Marius obeyed. And then Cosette, in whom 
the woman was beginning to germinate, was de- 
lighted at being a baroness. 

" Monsieur le Baron ? " repeated Basque; " I will 
go and see. I will tell him that Monsieur Fauche- 
Icvent is hère." 

" No, do not tell him it is I. Tell him that some 
one \\dshes to speak to him privately, and do not 
mention my name." 

" Ah ! " said Basque. 

" I wisli to surprise him." 

" Ah ! " Basque repeated, giving himself his second 
" Ah ! " as an explanation of the first. 

And he left the room, and Jean Valjean nemained 
alone. The drawing-room, as we said, was ail in 
disorder, and it secmed as if you could still hear 
the vague sounds of the wcdding. On the floor 
were ail sorts of flowers, which had fallen from 
garlands and head-dresses, and the candies burned 
down to the socket added wax stalactites to the 


crystal of the lustres. Not an article of furniture 
was in its place ; in the corner three or four easy- 
chairs, drawn close togetlier, and forming a circle, 
looked as if tliey were continuing a conversation. 
The ensemble was laughing, for there is a certain 
grâce left in a dead festival, for it bas been bappy. 
Upon those disarrangcd chairs, amid those fading 
flowers and under those extinguished lamps, persons 
bave tbought of joy. The sun succeeded the chan- 
delier, and gayly entercd the drawing-room. A few 
moments passed, during which Jean Valjean remained 
motionless at the spot where Basque left him. His 
eyes were bollow, and so sunk in tlieir sockcts by 
sleeplessness that thcy ahnost disappeared. His black 
coat displayed the fatigued creases of a coat which 
bas been up ail night, and the elbows were white 
with that down which friction with linen leaves on 
cloth. Jean Valjean looked at the window designed 
on the floor at his feet by the sun. There was a 
noise at the door, and lie raiscd his eyes. Marins 
came in with head erect, laughing moutb, a peculiar 
light over his face, a smooth forchcad, and a flashing 
eye. He, too, liad not slcpt. 

" It is you, father ! " hc exclaimed, on perceiving 
Jean Valjean ; " why, that ass Basque affccted the 
mystcriotis. But you bave conic too early ; it is 
only half-past twelve, and Cosette is aslcep." 

That Word, father, addressed to INI. Fauchelcvcnt 
by jMarius, signified suprême felicity. There had 
always been, as we know, a clilf, a coldness and 
constraint bctwecn tliem ; ice to nielt or break. 
jVIarius was so intoxicated that the clifF sank, the 


ice clissolved, and M. Fauchelevent was for him, 
as for Cosette, a fathcr. He continued, the words 
overflowed with him, which is peculiar to thèse 
divine paroxysnis of joy, — 

" How delighted I am to see yoii ! If you only 
knew how we raissed you yesterday ! Good-day, 
fatlier. How is your hand ? Better, is it not ? " 

And, satisfied with the favorable answer which 
he gave himself, he went on, — 

" We both spoke about you, for Cosette loves 
you so dearly. You will not forget that you hâve 
a room hère, for we will not hear a word about the 
Rue de l'Homme Armé. I do not know how you 
were able to live in that street, which is sick, and 
mean, and poor, which has a barrier at one end, 
whcre you feel cold, and which no one can enter ! 
You will corne and install yourself hère, and from 
to-day, or else you will hâve to settle with Cosette. 
She intends to lead us both by the nose, I warn 
you. You hâve seen your room ; it is close to ours, 
and looks out on the gardens. We hâve had the 
lock mended ; the bed is made ; it is ail ready, and 
you hâve only to move in. Cosette has placed close 
to your bed a large old easy-chair, of Utrecht velvet, 
to which she said, ' Hold out your arms to him ! ' 
Every spring a nightingale cornes to the clump of 
acacias which faces your Windows, and you will hâve 
it in two months. You will hâve its nest on your 
left, and ours on your right ; at night it will sing, 
and by day Cosette ^\^ll talk. Your room faces due 
south ; Cosette v.ill arrange your books in it ; the 
Travels of Captain Cook, and the other, Vaucouver's 


Travels, and ail your matters. There is, I believe, 
a valise to whicli you are attaclied, and I hâve 
arranged a corner of honor for it. You hâve won 
niy grandfather, for you suit him. We will live 
together. Do you know whist ? You will over- 
whelm my grandfather if you are acquainted with 
whist. You will take Cosette for a walk on tlie 
day when I go to the Courts ; you will give her 
your arm, as you used to do, you remember, fornicrly 
at the Luxembourg. We are absolutely determined 
to be very happy, and you will share in our happiness, 
do you hear, father ? By the bye, you will breakfast 
with us this morning ? " 

" Sir !" said Jean Valjean, " I hâve one thing to 
say to you. I am an ex-convict." 

The limit of the perceptible acute sounds may 
be as well exceeded for the mind as for the ear. 
Thèse words, " I am an ex-convict," coming from 
M. Fauchelevent's mouth and entering Marius's ear 
went bcyond possibility. INIarius did not hear. Tt 
seemed to him as if something had been just said 
to him, but he knew not what. He stood with 
gaping mouth. Jean Valjean unfastened the black 
liandkcrchief that supportcd his right arm, undid 
the linen rollcd round his hand, bared his thumb, 
and showed it to INIarius. 

" I hâve nothing tlic mattcr with my hand," he said. 

Marins looked at the thumb. 

*' There was never anything the matter with it," 
Jean Valjean added. 

There was, in fact, no sign of a wound. Jean 
Valjean continucd, — 


" It was proper tliat I should be absent froni your 
marriage, aiicl I was so as far as I could be. I 
feigned this wouiid in order not to commit a forgerj, 
and render the marriage-(Jeeds uull and void." 

Marins stammered, — 

" What does this mean ? " 

" It means," Jean Yaljean replied, " that I hâve 
been to the galleys." 

" You are dri\ing me mad ! " said the horrified 

" Monsienr Pontmercy," said Jean Yaljean, " I 
was nineteen years at the galleys for robbery. Then 
I was seutenced to them for life, for robbery and a 
second oftence. At the présent moment I am an 
escaped con^^ct." 

Although Marins recoiled before the reality, re- 
fused the facts, and resisted the évidence, he was 
obliged to yield to it. He was beginning to under- 
stand, and as always hapi^ens in snch a case, he un- 
derstood too much. He had the shudder of a hideous 
internai flash, and an idea that made him shudder 
crossed his mind. He foresaw a frightful destiuy for 
himself in the future. 

"Say ail, say ail," he exclaimed ; " you are Cosette's 
father ! " 

And he fell back two steps, with a movement of 
indescribable horror. Jean Yaljean threw up his 
head with such a majestic attitude that he seemed 
to rise to the ceiling. 

" It is necessary that you should believe me hère, 
sir, although the oath of raeu like us is not takeu in 
a court of justice — " 

VOL. V, 22 


Hère tlierc was a silence, aiul then with a sort of 
sovereign and sepulchral authority lie added, speak- 
ing slowly and laying a stress on the syllables, — 

" You will believe me. • I, Cosette's fatlier ! Be- 
fore Heavcn, no, Monsieur le Baron Pontmercy. I 
am a peasant of Faverolles, and earned my livelihood 
by pruning trees. My name is not Fauchelcvent, 
but Jean Valjean. I am notliing to Cosette, so 
reassure yourself." 

Marins stammered, — 

" Who proves it to me ? " 

" I do, since I say it." 

Marins lookcd at this raan : lie was mournful and 
calm, and no falseliood could issue from sucli calm- 
ness. Wliat is frozen is sincère, and the truth could 
be felt in tliis coldness of the tonib. 

" I do believe you," said Marins. 

Jeau Valjean bowed his hcad, as if to note the 
fact, and coiitinued, — 

" What am I to Cosette ? A passer-by. Ten years 
ago I did not know that she existed. I love lier, it 
is true, for men love a child which they hâve seen 
little when old themselves ; when a man is old lie 
feels like a grandfather to ail little children. You 
can, I suppose, imagine that I hâve something which 
resemblcs a heart. She was an orphan, without 
father or mother, and nceded me, and that is why I 
came to love her. Children arc so wcak that the 
first corner, even a man like myself, may bc their 
protector. I performed this duty to Cosette. I can- 
not suppose that so small a thing can be called a 
good action : but if it be one, wcll, assume that I 


dit! it. Record that extenuatiiig fact. To-day 
Cosette leaves niy life, and our two roads separate. 
Henceforth I caii do no more for lier ; she is JVIadame 
Pontmercy ; her providence lias changed, and she 
has gained by tlie change, so ail is well. As for the 
six hundrcd thousand francs, you say nothing of theni, 
but I will mcet your thought half-way : they are a 
deposit. How was it placed in my hands ? No 
matter. I give up the deposit, and there is nothing 
more to ask of me. I complète the restitution by 
stating my real name, and this too concerns myself, 
for I am anxious that you should know who I am." 

And Jean Valjean looked Marins in the face. Ail 
that jNIarius experienced was tumultuous and inco- 
hérent, for certain blasts of the'wind of destiny pro- 
duce such waves in our soûl. We hâve ail had 
such moments of trouble in which everything is dis- 
persed within us : we say the first things that occur 
to us, which are not always precisely those which we 
ought to say. There are sudden révélations which 
we cannot bear, and which intoxicate like a potent 
wine. Marins was stupefied by the new situation 
which appeared to him, and spoke to this man almost 
as if he were angry at the avowal. 

"But why," he exclaimed, "do you tell me ail 
this ? Who forces you to do so ? You might hâve 
kept your secret to yourself. You are neither de- 
nounced, nor pursued, nor tracked. You hâve a 
motive for making the révélation so voluntarily. 
Continue ; there is something else : for what purpose 
do you make this confession ? For what motive ? " 

" For what motive ? " Jean Valjean answered in a 


voice so low and dull that it seemed as if he were 
speaking to liimself ratlier thaii Marius. " For what 
motive, in truth, does tins convict conic hère to say, 
' I am a convict ' ? Well, yes, the motive is a strange 
one : it is through honesty. The misfdrtnne is that 
I hâve a thread in my heart which hokls me fast, 
and it is especially when a man is okl that thèse 
threads are most soHd. The whole of life is undone 
around, but they resist. Had I been enabled to tear 
away that thread, break it, unfasten or eut the knot, 
and go a long way ofF, I would be saved and needed 
only to start. There are diligences in the Rue du 
Bouloy ; you are happy, and I am off. I tried to 
break that thread. I pulled at it, it held out, it did 
not break, and I pulPed ont my heart with it. Thcn 
I said, I cannot live anywhere else, and must reniain. 
Well, yes, but you are right. I am a fool ; why not 
remain simply ? You offer me a bed-room in the 
house. Madame Pontmercy loves me dearly, she 
said to that fauteuil, ' Hold out your arnis to him ; ' 
your grandfather asks nothing better than to hâve me. 
I suit hira, we will live ail togcther, hâve our meals in 
common, I will give my arm to Cosctte, — to jNIadame 
Pontmercy, forgive me, but it is habit, — we will hâve 
only one roof, one table, one fire, the same chimney- 
corner in winter, the same walk in summer : that is 
joy, that is happiness, that is everything. We will 
live in one family." 

At this Word Jean Valjean became fierce. He . 
folded his arms, looked at the board at his fcet, as if 
he wished to dig a pit in it, and his voice suddenly 
became loud. 


" In one family ? No. I beloiig to no family ; I do 
not belong to yours, I do not even belong to the 
huuian family. In hoiises where people are together 
I am in the way. There are families, but none for 
me ; I am the unhappy man, I am outside. Had I 
a father and niother ? I almost doubt it. On the 
day when I gave you that child in marriage, it vvas 
ail ended ; I saw her happy, and that she was with 
the man she loved, that there is a kind old gentle- 
man hère, a household of two angels, and every joy 
in this house, and I said to myself, Do not enter. I 
could lie, it is true, deceive you ail, and remain Mon- 
sieur Fauchelevent ; so long as it was for her, I was 
able to lie, but now that it would be for myself I 
ought not to do so. I only required to be silent, it 
is true, and ail would hâve gone on. You ask me 
what compels me to speak? A strange sort of thing, 
my conscience. It would hâve been very easy, how- 
ever, to hold my tongue ; I spent the night in trying 
to persuade myself into it. You are shriving me, 
and what I hâve just told you is so extraordinary 
that you hâve the right to do so. Well, yes, I spent 
the night in giving myself reasons. I gave myself 
excellent reasons, I did what I could. But there 
are two things in which I could not succeed ; I could 
neither break the string which holds me by the hcart, 
fixed, sealed, and riveted hère, nor silence some one 
Avho speaks to me in a low voice when I am alone. 
That is why I hâve come to confess ail to you this 
morning, — ail, or nearly ail, for it is useless to tell 
what only concerns myself, and that I keep to myself. 
You know the essential thing. I took my mystery, 


then, and brought it to you, and ripped it up bcfore 
jour eyes. It was not au easy resolution to form, 
and I debated the point the whole night. Ah ! you 
niay fancy tliat I did not say to niyself that tliis Avas 
not the Champmathieu atfair, that in hiding niy 
name I did no one any harm, that the nanie of 
Fauchelevent was given lue by Fauchelevent hiniself 
in gratitude for a service rendered, and that I niight 
fairly keep it, and that I should be happy in this 
room which you ofFer me, that I should net be at ail 
in the way, tliat I should be in my little corner, and 
that while you had Cosette I should hâve the idea of 
being in the sanie house with her ; each would hâve 
his proportioned happiness. Continuing to be Mon- 
sieur Fauchelevent airanged everything. Yes, ex- 
cept my soûl ; there would be joy ail over me, but 
the bottom of my soûl would remain black. Thus 
I should hâve remained Monsieur Fauchelevent. I 
should hâve hidden my rcal face in the présence of 
your happiness ; I should hâve had an enigma, and 
in the midst of your broad sunshine I should hâve 
had darkness ; thus, without crying ' Look eut,' I 
should hâve introduced the hulks to your hearth, 
I should hâve sat down at your table with the thought 
that if you knew who I was you would cxpel me, 
and let myself be served by the servants who, had 
tliey known, would havc said, ' What a horror ! ' I 
should hâve touched you Avith my elbow, which you 
hâve a right to feel ofTcnded at, and swindlcd you 
out of shakes of the hand. There would hâve been 
in your house a divided respect between vénérable 
gray hairs and bmnded gray hairs; in your niost 


intimatc hours, whcn ail heurts formecl tlicniselvcs 
to cacli otlicr, wlieii we were ail four together, the 
grandfatber, you two, and I, there would hâve beeii 
a straiiger there. Hence I, a dead man, would hâve 
imposed niyself on you who are living, and I should 
hâve sentenced her for life. You, Cosette, and I 
would hâve been three heads in the green cap î Do 
you not shudder ? I am only the niost crushed of 
men, but I should hâve been the most monstrous. 
And this crime I should hâve committed every day, 
and this falsehood I should havc told every day, and 
this face of night I should hâve worn every day, 
and to you I should hâve given a portion of my stain 
every day, — to you, niy beloved, to you, my cliildren, 
to you, my innocents ! Holding one's tongue is notli- 
ing ? Keeping silence is simple ? No, it is not 
simple, for there is a silence whicli lies ; and my 
falsehood, and my fraud, and my indignity, and 
my cowardice, and my treachery, and my crime I 
should hâve drunk drop by drop ; I should hâve 
spat it ont, and then drunk it again ; I should hâve 
ended at midnight and begun again at midday, 
and my good day would hâve lied, and my good 
night would hâve lied, and I should hâve slept upon 
it, and eaten it Avith my bread : and I should hâve 
looked at Cosette, and responded to the smile of the 
angcl with the smile of the condemncd man ; and I 
should hâve been an abominable scoundrel, and for 
what purposc ? To be happy. I, happy ! Hâve I the 
right to be happy ? I am ont of life, sir." 

Jean Valjean stopped, and Marius listened, for 
such enchainments of ideas and agonies cannot be 


inteiTupted. Jean Yaljean lowcred his voice ao^aiii, 
yct it was no longer the dull voice, but the sinister 

" You ask why I speak ? I am neither denounced, 
nor pursued, nor tracked, you say. Yes, I ani de- 
nounced ! Yes, I am pursued ! Yes, I am tracked ! 
By whom? By myself. It is I who bar my own 
passage, and I drag myself along, and I push myself, 
and I arrest myself, and exécute myself, and wlien a 
nian holds himself he is securely held." 

And, seizing his own collar, and dragging it to- 
ward Marins, he continued, — 

"Look at this fist. Do you not think that it 
holds this collar so as not to let it go ? Well, con- 
science is a very différent hand ! If you wish to be 
happy, sir, you nuist never understand duty ; for so 
soon as you hâve understood it, it is imphicable. 
People may say that it punishes you for understand- 
ing it ; but no, it rewards you for it, for it places you 
in a hell wherc you feel God by your side. A man 
has no sooncr torn his entrails than he is at peace 
with himself." 

And with an indescribable accent he added, — 

" Monsieur Pontmercy, that has no connnon-sense. 
I am an honest man. It is by dcgrading myself in 
your eyes that I raise myself in my own. This has 
happened to me once before, but it was less painful ; 
it was nothing. Yes, an honest man. I should not 
be one if you had, through my fault, continued to 
esteem me ; but now that you dcspise me I am so. 
I hâve this fatality upon me, that as I am never 
able to hâve any but stolen considération, this cou- 


sideration humiliâtes and crushes me internally, and 
111 order that I may respect myself people must de- 
spise me. Then I draw myself up. I am a galley- 
slave wlio obeys his conscience. I know very well 
that this is not likely ; but what would you hâve 
me do ? It is so. I hâve made engagements Avith 
myself and keep theni. There are meetings which 
bind us ; there are accidents which drag us into 
duty. Look you, Monsieur Pontmercy, things hâve 
happened to me in niy life." 

Jean Valjean made anotlier pause, swallowing his 
saliva with an effort, as if his words had a bitter 
after-taste, and he continued, — 

" When a man lias sucli a horror upoii him ; he has 
110 right to make others share it unconsciously ; he 
has no right to communicate his plague to tliem ; lie 
has no right to make them slip over his précipice 
without their perceiving it ; he has no right to drag 
his red cap over them, and no right craftily to eii- 
cuinber tlie happiness of another man with his misery. 
To approach tliose who are healthy and touch them 
in the darkness with his invisible ulcer is-hideous. 
Fauchelevent may hâve lent me his name, but I 
hâve no right to use it : he may hâve given it to me, 
but I was unable to take it. A name is a self. 
Look you, sir, I hâve thought a little and read a 
little, though I am a peasant, and you see that I 
express myself properly. I explain things to myself, 
and hâve carried out my own éducation. Well, yes ; 
to abstract a name and place one's self under it is dis- 
honest. The letters of the alphabet may be filched 
like a purse or a watch. To be a false signature in 


flesh and bloocl, to bc a living falsc key, to enter 
among honest folk by picking their lock, uever to 
look, but always to squint, to be internally infamous, — 
no ! no ! no ! no ! It is better to sufï'er, bleed, weep, 
tear one's flesh with one's nails, pass the niglits 
writhing in agony, and gnaw one's stoniacli and soûl. 
That is why I hâve corne to tell you ail this, — volun- 
tarily, as you remarked." 

He breathed paiufully, and uttered this last 
remai'k, — 

" Formerly I stole a loaf in order to live ; to-day I 
will not steal a name in order to live." 

" To live ! " jMarius interrupted ; " you do not re- 
quire that name to live." 

" Ah ! I understand niysclf," Jean Valjean replied, 
raising and drooping his head several times in suc- 
cession, ïhere was a stillness ; botl) remained silent, 
sunk as they were in a gulf of thought. IVIarius was 
sitting near a table, and supporting the corner of his 
mouth on one of his fingers. Jean Valjean walked 
backwards and forwards ; he stopped bcfore a glass 
and remained motioidess. ïlien, as if answering 
some internai reasoning, he said, as he looked in this 
glass, in whicli he did not see himself, — 

" While at présent 1 am relieved." 

He began walking again, iind went to the othcr 
end of the room. At the moment when he turned 
he perceived that ^larius was watching his walk, and 
he said to him, with an indescribable accent, — 

" I drag my leg a little. You understand why, 

Then liQ turned round full to Marias. 


" And now, sir, imagine tliis. I hâve said notliing. 
I hâve remained iNlonsienr Fauchelevent. I hâve 
taken mv place in your house. I am one of yonr 
faniily. I am in my room. I come down to break- 
fast in my slippers ; at night we go to the play, ail 
thrce. I accompany ^Madame Pontmercy to the 
Tuileries and to the Place Royale ; we are together, 
and you believe me yonr equal. One fine day I am 
hère, you are there. We are talking and laughing, 
and you hear a voice cry this name, — Jean Valjeau ! 
and theu that fearful hand, the police, issues from the 
shadow and suddenly tears ofF my mask ! " 

He \vas silent again. Marins had risen with a 
shudder and Jean Valjean continued, — 

" What do you say to that ? " 

Mariuss silence replied, and Jean Valjean con- 
tinued : — 

" You see very well that I did right in not hold- 
ing my tongue. Be happy, be in heaven, be the 
angel of an angel, be in the sunshine and content 
yourself with it, and do not trouble yourself as to 
the way in which a poor condemned man opens his 
heart and does his duty ; you hâve a wretched man 
before you, sir." 

Marins slowly crossed the room, and when he was 
by Jean Valjean's side ofFered him his hand. But 
Marius was compelled to take this hand which did 
not otFer itself. Jean Valjean let him do so, and it 
seemed to jNIarius that he was pressing a hand of 

" ^ly grandfather has friends " said Marius. " I 
will obtain your pardon." 


" it is useless," Jean Valjcan replied ; "I am 
supposée! to be dead, and that is sufficient. The 
dead are not subjected to surveillance, and are sup- 
posed to rot quietly. Death is the same tliing as 

And liberating the hand which Marius held, he 
added with a sort of inexorable dignity, — 

" INIoreover, duty, my duty, is the friend to whom 
I hâve recourse ; and I only need one pardon, that of 
my conscience." 

At this moment the door opened gently at the 
other end of the drawing-room, and Cosette's head 
appeared in the crevice. Only her sweet face was 
visible. Her hair was in admirable confusion, and 
her eyelids were still swollen with slcep. She made 
the movement of a bird thrusting its head out of the 
ncst, looked first at her husband, then at Jean Val- 
jcan, and cried to them laughingly, — it looked like a 
smile issuing from a rose, — 

" I will bet that you are talking politics. How 
stupid that is, instead of being with me ! " 

Jean Valjcan started. 

" Cosette," Marius stammered, and he stopped. 
They looked like two culprits ; Cosette, radiant, con- 
tinued to look at them both, and tliere were in her 
eyes gleams of Paradise. 

" I havc caught you in tlie act," Cosette said ; " I 
just heard through this, Fatlier Fauchelevent saying, 
' Conscience, doing one's duty.' That is politics, and 
I will hâve noue of it. Pe()])le must not talk politics 
on the very next day ; it is not right." 

" You are mistaken, Cosette ; " Marius replied, " we 


are talking of business. We are talking aboiit the 
best way of investing your six hundred thousand 

" I am coming," Cosette iuterrupted. " Do you 
want me hère ? " 

And resolutely passing tlirough the door, she en- 
tered tlie drawing-room. She was dressed in a large 
combing gown with a thousand folds and large 
sieeves, which descended from her neck to her feet. 
Thcre are in the golden skies of old Gothic paiutings, 
thèse charming bags to place an angel in. She 
contemplated herself from head to foot in a large 
mirror, and then exclaimed with an ineffable outburst 
of ecstasy, — 

" ïhere was once upon a time a king and queen. 
Oh, how delighted I am ! " 

This said, she courtesied to Marius and Jean 

" Then," she said, " I am going to install myself 
near you in an easy-chair ; we shall breakfast in half an 
hour. You will say ail you like, for I know very well 
that gentlemen must talk, and I will be very good. ' 

Marins took her by the arm and said to her 
lovingly, — 

" We are talking about business." 

" By the way," Cosette answered, " I hâve opened 
my window, and a number of sparrows [pierrots] hâve 
just entered the garden. Birds, not masks. To-day 
is Ash Wednesday, but not for the birds." 

" I tell you that we are talking of business, so go, 
my little Cosette ; leave us fov a moment. We are 
talking figures, and they would only annoy you." 


" Yoli hâve put ou a charming cravat this niorn- 
ing, INIarius. You are very coquettish, Monseigneur. 
No, they will not annoy me." 

" I assure you tliat they will." 

" No, since it is you, I shall not understand you, 
but I shall hear you. When a woman hears voices 
she loves, she docs not require to understand the 
words they say. To be together is ail I vvant, and I 
shall stay with you, — thcre ! " 

" You are my beloved Cosette ! Impossible." 

" Impossible ? " 

" Yes." 

" Very good," Gosette remarked ; " I should hâve 
told you some news. I should hâve told you that 
grandpapa is still askep, that your aunt is at Mass, 
that the chimney of my papa Fauchelevent's room 
smokes, that Nicolette has sent for the chimney- 
swcep, that Nicolette and Toussaint hâve already 
quarrelled, and that Nicolette ridicules Toussaiut's 
stammering. Well, you shall know nothing. Ah, 
it is impossible ? You shall see, sir, that in my turn 
I shall say, * It is impossible.' Who will be caught 
then ? I implore you, my little Marins, to let me 
stay with you two." 

" I assure you that wc must be alone." 

" Well, am I anybody ? " 

Jean Valjean did not uttcr a word, and Cosette 
turncd to him. 

" In the first place, fathcr, I insist on your coming 
and kissing me. What do you mcan by saying noth- 
ing, instead of taking my part ? Did one cver see 
a father like that? That will show you how un- 


happy my marriage is, for my husband beats me. 
Corne aud kiss me at once." 

Jean Valjeau approached lier, and Cosette turned 
to Marius. 

" I make a face at you.' 

Then she offered lier forehead to Jean Yaljean, 
wlio nioved a step towards lier. Ail at once Cosette 

" Fatlier, yoii are pale ; does your arm pain you ? ' 

" It is cured/' said Jean Yaljean. 

" Hâve you slept badly ? " 

" Xo." 

" Are you sad ? " 

" No." 

" Kiss me. If you are well, if you sleep soundly, 
if you are happy, I Avill not scold you." 

And she again offered liim her forehead, and Jean 
Yaljean set a kiss on this forehead, upon which 
there was à heavenlv reflection. 

" Sniile." 

Jean Yaljean obeyed, but it was the smile of 
a ghost. 

" Xow, défend me against my husband." 

" Cosette — " said Marius. 

" Be angiT, father, and tell him I am to remain. 
You can talk before me. You must think me very 
foolish. What you are saying is very astonishing, 
then ! Business, — placing money in a bank, — that 
is a great tliing. jNIen make mysteries of nothing. 
I mean to say I am very pretty tliis morning. Marius, 
look at me." 

And with an adorable shrug of the shoulders and 


an exquisite pout she looked at IMarius. Soniething 
like a flasli passed between thèse two bcings, and 
they cared little about a third party bcing présent. 

" I love you," said IMarius. 

*' I adore you," said Cosette. 

And tlicy irresistibly fell into each other's arms. 

" And now," Cosette continued, as she snioothed 
a crease in her dressing-gown, with a little triuniphant 
pout, " I remain." 

" No," Marins replied imploriiigly, ." wc hâve some- 
thing to finish." 

" Again, no ? " 

Marins assunied a serious tone. 

" I assure you, Cosette, that it is impossible." 

" Ah, you are putting on your man's voice, sir ; 
very good, I will go. You did not support me, 
father ; and so you, my hard husband, and you, my 
dear papa, are tyrants. I sliall go and tell grandpapa. 
If you bclieve that I intend to return and talk plati- 
tudes to you, you are mistaken. I am proud, and 
I intend to wait for you at présent. You will see 
how wearisome it will bc witliout me. I am going, 
very good." 

And she left thc room, but two seconds after the 
door opened again, her fresli, rosy face passed once 
again between the two folding-doors, and she cried 
to them, — 

" I am very angry." 

The door closed again, and darkness returned. It 
was likc a straggling sunbeam, wliich, witliout sus- 
specting it, had suddenly travcrsed thc niglit. jNlarius 
assured himself that the door was really closed. 


" Poor Cosette ! " lie muttered, " when slie learns — " 

At thèse words Jean Yaljean trcnibled ail over, and 
he fixed liis haggard eyes ou Marius. 

" Cosette ! Oh, y es, it is true. You will tell 
Cosette about it. It is fair. — Stay, I did not think 
of that. A man has strength for one thing, but not 
for another. I implore you, sir, I conjure you, sir, 
give me your most sacred word, — do not tell her. Is 
it not sufficient for you to know it ? I was able 
to tell it of my own accord, without being com- 
pclled. I would liave told it to the universe, to 
the whole world, and I should not hâve cared ; but 
she, — she does not know what it is, and it would 
hprrify her, A convict. What ! You w^ould be 
obliged to explain to her, tell her it is a man who 
has been to the galleys. She saw the chain-gang 
once. Oh, my God ! " 

He sank into a chair and buried his face in bis 
hands ; it could not be heard, but from the heaving 
of his shoulders it could be seen that he was weep- 
ing. They were silent tears, terrible tears. There 
is a choking in a sob ; a species of con\'ulsion seized 
on him, he threw himself back in the chair, letting 
his arms hang, and displaying to INIarius his face 
bathed in tears, and Marius heard him mutter so low 
that his voice seemed to come from a bottomless 
abyss, " Oh ! I would like to die ! " 

"Be at your ease," Marius said; "I will keep your 
secret to myself." 

And, Icss affected than perhaps he ought to hâve 
been, but compelled for more than an hour to listen 
to unexpected horrors, gradually seeing a convict 

VOL. V. 23 


taking M. Fauchelevent's place, gradually overcome 
by this mournful reality, and led by the natural state 
of the situation to notice the gap which had formed 
between hiniself and this man, JMarius added, — 

" It is impossible for me not to say -a word about 
the trust money which you hâve so faithfully and 
honestly given up. That is an act of probity, and 
it is but fair that a reward should be given you ; fix 
the sum yourself, and it shall be paid you. Do not 
fear to fix it vcry high." 

" I thank you, sir," Jean Valjean replied gently. 

He remained pensive for a moment, mechanically 
passing the end of his forefinger over his thumb-nail, 
and then raised his voice, — 

" Ail is nearly finislied ; there is only one thing 
left me." 

" What is it ? " 

Jean Valjean had a species of suprême agitation, 
and voicelessly, almost breathlessly, hc stammered, 
rather than said, — 

" Now that you know, do you, sir, who are the 

master, believe that I ought not to see Cosctte 

again ? " 

" I bclicvc that it would be bettcr," Marius replied 


" 1 will not see her again," Jean Valjean mur- 
mured. Ile walkcd toward the door ; he placed 
his hand upon the handle, the door opened, Jean 
Valjean was going to pass out, when he suddcnly 
closed it again, then opened the door again and 
returned to Marins. Ile was no longer pale, but 
livid, and in his cyes was a sort of tragic llamc 


instead of tears. His voice hacl grown strangelj 
calm again. 

" Stay, sir," he said ; " if you are willing, I will 
corne to see lier, for I assure you tbat I désire it 
greatly. If I had not longed to see Cosette I should 
not hâve made you tlie confession I hâve donc, but 
hâve gone away ; but wishing to remain at the spot 
where Cosette is, and continue to see her, I was obliged 
to tell you everything honestly. You follow niy rea- 
soning, do you not ? It is a thing easy to understand. 
Look you, I hâve had her with me for nine years : 
we lived at first in that hovel on the boulevard, then 
in the couvent, and then near the Luxembourg. It 
was there that you saw her for the first time, and 
you remember her blue plush bonnet. Next we 
went to the district of the Invalides, Avhere there 
were a railway and a garden, the Rue Plumet. I 
lived in a little back yard where I could hear her 
pianoforte. Such was my life, and we never sepa- 
rated. That lasted nine years and seven months ; I 
was like her father, and she was my child. I do not 
know whether you understand me, M. Pontmercy, 
but it would be difficult to go away now, see her no 
more, speak to her rio more, and hâve nothing left. 
If you hâve no objection, I will corne and see Cosette 
every now and then, but not too often, and I will 
not remain long. You can tell them to show me 
into the little room on the ground-floor ; I would 
certainly come in by the back door, which is used by 
the servants, but that might cause surprise, so it is 
better, I think, for me to come by the front door. 
Really, sir, I should like to see Cosette a little, but 


as rarely as you please. Put youvsclf in my place. I 
hâve only that left. And tlien, again, we ràust be 
careful, and if I did not conie at ail it would havc a 
bad eftcct, and appear singular. For instance, what 
I can do is to corne in the evening, when it is begin- 
ning to grow dark." 

"You can corne every evening," said Marius, "and 
Cosette will expect you." 

" You are kind, sir," said Jean Valjean. 

]\Iarius bowed to Jean Valjean, liappiness accom- 
panied despair to the door, and thèse two nien 



Marius was overwhelmed ; the sort of estrange- 
ment wbicli lie had ever felt for the man Avitb whom 
he saw Cosette was henceforth explained. There 
was in this person something enigmatic, against 
which his instinct warned him. This enigma was 
the most hideous of shames, the galleys. This M. 
Fauchelevent was Jean Valjean the convict. To 
find suddenlj such a secret in the midst of his happi- 
ness is like discovering a scorpion in a turtle-dove's 
nest. Was the happiness of Marius and Cosette in 
future condensed to this proximity? Was it an 
acconiplished fact ? Did the acceptance of this man 
form part of the consummated marriage ? Could 
nothing else be donc ? Had ]Marius also niarried the 
convict? Although a man may be crowned with 
light and joy, though he be enjoying the grand hour 
of life's purple, bappy love, such shocks would com- 
pel even the archangel in his ecstasy, even the demi- 
god in his gloiy, to shudder. 

As ever happens in sudden transformation-scènes 
of this nature, Marius askcd himself Avhether he 
ought not to reproach himself? Had he failed in 
divination ? Had he been déficient in prudence ? 


Ilad lie voluntarily becn headstrong ? Sliglitly so, 
peihaps. Had he entered upoii this love-adveiiture, 
which resulted in liis marriage with Cosette, without 
takiiig sufficient précaution to tlirovv liglit upon tlie 
suiToundings ? He verified, — it is thus, by a séries 
of vérifications of ourselves on ourselves, that life is 
gradually corrected, — he verified, we say, tlie vision- 
ary and chimerical side of liis nature, a sort of internai 
cloud. peculiar to many organizations, and which in 
the paroxysms of passion and grief expands, as the 
température of the souI changes, and invades the 
entire man to such an extent that he merely becomes 
a conscience enveloped in a fog. We hâve more 
than once indicated this characteristic élément in 
Marius's individuality. He remembered that during 
the intoxication of his love in the Rue Plumet, dur- 
ing those six or seven ecstatic weeks, he had not 
even spoken to Cosette about the drama in the Gor- 
beau hovel, during which the victim was so strangely 
silent both in the struggle and eventual escape. How 
was it that he had not spoken to Cosette about it, 
and yet it was so close and so frightful ? How was 
it that he had not even mcntioncd the Thénardiers, 
and especially on the day when he met Eponine ? 
He found almost a difficulty in explaining to himself 
uow his silence at that period, but he was able to 
account for it. He remembered his confusion, his 
intoxication for Cosette, his love absorbing every- 
thing, the carrying ott" of onc by the otlicr into the 
idéal world, and pcrhaps, too, as the imperceptible 
amount of rcason minglcd with that violent and 
charming state of the mind, a vague and dull instinct 


to hidc and efface from his meniory that formidable 
adventure with whicîi he fcared contact, in which lie 
wished to play no part, from. which he stood aloof, 
and of which he could not be narrator or watness 
without being an accuser. Moreover, thèse few 
weeks had been a lightning flash ; he had not had 
time for anything except to love. In short, when ail 
was revolved, and everything examined, supposing that 
he had described the Gorbeau trap to Cosette, had 
mentioned the Thénardiers to her, what would hâve 
been the conséquence, even if he had discovered that 
Jean Valjean was a convict ; would that hâve changed 
him, Marins, or his Cosette ? Would he hâve drawn 
back ? Would he hâve loved her less ? Would he 
hâve refused to marry her? No. Woidd it hâve 
made any change in what had happened ? No. 
Tliere was nothing, therefore, to regret, nothing to 
reproach, and ail was well. There is a God for those 
drunkards who are called lovers, and Marius had 
blindly followed the road which he had selected with 
his eyes open. Love had bandaged his eyes to lead 
him whither ? To paradise. 

But this paradise was henceforth complicated by 
an infernal proximity, and the old estrangement of 
Marius for this man, for this Fauchelevent who had 
become Jean Valjean, was at présent mingled with 
horror ; but in this horror, let us say it, there was 
some pity, and even a certain degree of surprise. 
This robber, this relapsed robber, had given up a 
deposit, and what dcposit ? Six hundred thousand 
francs. He alone held the secret of that deposit, he 
could hâve kept it ail, but he gave it ail up. Moreover, 


hc had revealed his situation ofhisownuccord,notliiiig 
compelled him to do so ; and if he, Marins, knew 
who he was it was through liimself. Thcre was in 
this confession more than the acceptance of humilia- 
tion ; there was the acceptance of perih For a con- 
demned man a mask is not a mask but a shelter, and 
he had renounced that shelter. A false uame is a 
security, and he had thrown away that false name. 
He, the galley-slave, could conceal himself forever in 
an honest family, and he had resisted that temp- 
tation, and for what motive ? Through scruples of 
conscience. He had explained himself with the irré- 
sistible accent of truth. In short, whoever this Jean 
Valjean might be, his was incontestably an awakened 
conscience. Some mysterious rehabilitation had been 
begun, and according to ail appearances scruples had 
been master of this man for a long time past. Such 
attacks of justice and honcsty are not peculiar to 
vulgar natures, and an awakening of the conscience 
is greatncss of soûl. Jean Valjean was sincère ; and 
this sincerity, visible, palpable, irréfragable, and évi- 
dent in the grief which it caused him, rendered his 
statements valuable, and gave authority to ail that 
this man said. Hère, for Marins, was a strange in- 
version of situations. What issued from M. Fauche- 
levent ? Distrust. What was disengaged from Jean 
Valjean? Confidence. In the mysterious balance- 
sheet of this Jean Valjean which Marins mentally 
drew up, he verified the crédit, he verified the débit, 
and tricd to arrive at a balance. But ail this was as 
in a storm, Marins striving to form a distinct idea of 
this man, and pursuing Jean Valjean, so to speak, to 


the bottom of liis thouglits, lost liim, and found him 
agaiu iu a fatal mist. 

The honest restoratiou of the trust-money and tbe 
probity of the confession were good, and fornied as 
it were a break in the cloiid ; but then the cloud 
became black again. However confused Marius's 
réminiscences niight be, sonie shadows still returned 
to him. What, after ail, was that adventure in the 
Jondrette garret ? Why, on the arrivai of the police, 
did that man, instead of coniplaining, escape? Hère 
Marins found the answer, — because this man was a 
convict who had broken his ban. Another question. 
Why did this man come to the barricade ? For at 
présent Marins distinctly saw again that recollection, 
which reappeared iu his émotions like sympathetic 
ink before the fire. This man was at the barricade 
and did not fight ; what did he want there ? Before 
this question a spectre rose and gave the answer, — 
Javert. Marins perfectly remembered now the moum- 
ful vision of Jean Valjcan dragging the bound Javert 
ont of the barricade, and heard again behind the 
angle of the little Mondétour Lane the frightful pistol- 
shot. There was probably a hatred between this 
spy and this galley-slave, and one annoyed the other. 
Jean Valjean went to the barricade to revenge him- 
self ; he arrived late, and was probably aware that 
Javert was a prisoner there. Corsican Vendetta has 
penetrated certain lower strata of society, and is the 
law with them ; it is so simple that it does not as- 
tonish minds which hâve half returned to virtue, and 
their hearts are so constituted that a criminal, when 
on the path of repentance, may be scrupulous as to 


a robbery and not so as to a vengeance. Jean Val- 
jcan had killed Javert, or at Icast that seemed évi- 
dent. The last question of ail admitted of no reply, 
and tins question Marius felt like a pair of pinccrs. 
How was it that the existence of Jean Yaljeau had 
so long bi'ushed against that of Cosette ? What was 
tins gîooniy sport of Providence which had brought 
tliis man and tins child in contact ? Are there chains 
for two forged in heaven, and does God take pleasure 
in coupling the angel with the denion ? A crime and 
an innocence can, then, be chaniber companions in 
the mysterious hulks of misery? In that défile of 
condemned men which is called human destiny, two 
foreheads niay pass along side by side, one simple, 
the other formidable, — oiie ail bathed in the divine 
whiteness of dawn, the other eternally brandcd ? 
W ho can hâve determined tins inexplicable approxi- 
mation ? In what way, in conséquence of what pro- 
digy, could a community of life hâve been established 
between this celestial child and this condemned old 
man ? Who could hâve attached the lamb to the 
wolf, and even more incompréhensible still, the wolf 
to the lamb ? For the wolf loved the lamb, the fcro- 
cious being adored the weak being, and for nine 
years the angel had leaned on the monster for support. 
The childhood and maidenhood of Cosette and lier 
Virgin growth toward life and light had been pro- 
tected by this deformed dévotion. Hère questions 
cxfoliated themselves, if we may employ the expres- 
sion, into countless enigmas ; abysses opcned at the 
bottom of abysses, and Marius could no longer bcnd 
over Jean Valjean without feeling a dizzincss : what 


coiild this man-precipice be? The old gencsiacal 
syuibols are ctenial : in liuman society, sucli as it 
iiow exists uiitil a greater light shall change it, there 
are ever two men, — one superior, the other subterra- 
nean : the one who holds to good is xVbel, the one 
who holds to bad is Gain. What was this tender 
Cain ? What was this bandit rcligiously absoi-bed in 
the adoration of a virgin, watching over her, bringing 
her up, guarding her, dignifying her, and though 
hiniself impure, surrounding her with piiritj? What 
was this cloaca which had venerated this innocence 
so greatly as not to Icave a spot upou it ? What 
was this Valjean carrying on the éducation of Co- 
sette ? What was this figure of darkness, whose sole 
carc it was to préserve froni every shadow and every 
cloud the rising of a star ? 

That was Jean Valjean's secret ; that was also 
God's secret, and ^larius recoiled before this double 
secret. The one, to some extent, reassured him about 
the other, for God was as visible in this adventure 
as was Jean Yaljean. God has his instruments, and 
employs whom lie likes as tool, and is not responsi- 
ble to him. Do we know how God sets to work ? 
Jean Yaljean had labored on Cosette, and had to 
some extent formed her niind ; that Avas incontesta- 
ble. Well, what then ? The workman was horrible, 
but the work was admirable, and God produces his 
miracles as ho thinks proper. He had constructed 
that charming Cosette, and employed Jean Valjean 
on the job, and it had pleased him to choose this 
strange assistant. What explanation hâve we to ask 
of him ? Is it the first time that manure has helped 


spring to produce the rose? jNIarius gave himself 
thèse answers, and declared to himself that they were 
good. On ail the points whieh we hâve indicatcd 
he had not darcd to prcss Jean Valjean, though lie 
did not confess to himself that he dared not. He 
adored Cosette, he possessed Cosette ; Coscttc was 
splendidly pure, and that was sufïicient for him. 
What enlightenment did he require when Cosette 
was a light ? Does light need illumination ? He had 
everything ; what more could he désire ? Is not 
everything enough ? Jean Valjean's personal affairs 
in no way concerncd him, and in bending down over 
the fatal shadow of this wretched man he clung to 
his solemn déclaration, " I am nothing to Cosette ; 
ten years ago I did not know that she existed." Jean 
Valjean was a passer-by ; he had said so himself. 
Well, then, he passed, and whoever he might be, his 
part was played out. Henceforth Marins would 
hâve to pcrform the functions of Providence toward 
Cosette; she had found again in ether her equal, 
her lover, her husband, her celestial maie. In flying 
away, Cosette, winged and transfigurcd, left behind 
her on earth her empty and hideous chrysalis, Jean 
Valjean. In whatever circle of ideas Marins might 
turn, he always came back to a certain liorror of 
Jean Valjean ; a sacred horror, perhaps, for, as we 
hâve stated, he felt a qidd divinum in this man. 
But though it was so, and whatever cxtenuating 
circumstances he might seck, he was always com- 
pelled to fall back on this : he was a convict, that 
is to say, a being who lias not even a place on the 
social laddcr, being beneath the lowest rung. After 


the last of m en cornes tlie couvict, who is no longer, 
so to speak, iu the likeness of liis fellow-men. The 
law has depiived him of the entire amount of hu- 
manity which it can strip ofl' a man. Marins, in 
pénal matters, democrat though he was, was still of 
the inexorable system, and he entertained ail the 
ideas of the law about those whom tlie law strikes. 
He liad not yet made everj progress, we are forced 
to say ; he had not yet learned to distinguish be- 
tween what is written by man and what is written 
by God, — between the law and the right. He had 
examined and weighed the claim whicli man sets up 
to dispose of the irrévocable, the irréparable, and the 
Word vindicta was not répulsive to him. He cou- 
sidered it simple that certain breaches of the written 
law should be followed by etcrnal penalties, and he 
accepted social condemnation as a ci\'ilizing process. 
He was still at this point, though infallibly certain 
to advance at a later date, for his nature was good, 
and entirely composed of latent progress. 

In this médium of ideas Jean Valjean appeared 
to him deformed and repelling, for he was the pun- 
ished man, the conWct. This word was to him 
like the sound of the trumpet of the last Judgment, 
and after regarding Jean Valjean for a long time 
his last gesture was to turn away his head — vade 
rétro. Marins, — we must recognize the fact and lay 
a stress ou it, — while questioning Jean Valjean to 
such an extent that Jean Valjean himself said, " You 
are shriving me," had not, however, asked him two 
or three important questions. It was not that they 
had not presented themselves to his mind, but he 


had been afraid of them. The Joiidrette garret ? 
The barricade ? Javert ? Who knew where the reve- 
latious might hâve stopped ? Jean Valjcau did not 
seem the maii to recoil, and who knows whether 
Marins, after urging him on, might not hâve wished 
to check him ? In certain suprême conjunctures has 
it not happened to ail of us that after asking a 
question we hâve stopped our ears in order not to 
hear the answer ? A mau is specially guilty of such 
an act of cowardice when he is in love. It is not 
wise to drive sinister situations into a corner, especially 
when the indissoluble side of our own life is fatally 
mixed up with them. What a frightful light might 
issue from Jean Valjean's desperate explanations, 
and who knows whether that hidcous brightness 
mitrht not hâve been reflccted on Cosette ? Who 
knows whether a sort of infernal gleam might not 
hâve remained on that angcl's brow? Fatality knows 
such complications, in which innocence itself is branded 
with crime by the fatal law of coloring reflections, 
and the purest faces may retain forever the im- 
pression of a horrible vicinity. Whether rightly or 
wrongly. Marins was terrified, for he already knew 
too much, and he tried rather to deafen than to en- 
lighten hiinself. He wildly bore off Cosette in his 
arms, closing his eyes upon Jean Valjcan. This man 
bclonged to the night, the living and terrible night ; 
how could he dare to scck its foundation ? It is 
a horrible thing to question the shadow, for who 
knows what it will answer ? The dawn miglit bc 
eternally blackened by it. In this state of mind 
it was a cnishing perplcxity for Marins to think that 


hencefortli this man would hâve any contact with 
Cosette ; and he now almost reproached himsclf for 
not having asked thèse formidable questions before 
Avhich he had recoiled, and from which an implacable 
and définitive décision niight hâve issued. He con- 
sidered himself too kind, too gentle, and, let us 
say it, too weak ; and the weakness had led him to 
make a fatal concession. He had allowed himself 
to be aÔected, and had done wrong. He ought 
simplj and purely to hâve rejected Jean Valjean. 
Jean Valjean was an iucendiary, and he ought to 
hâve fi-eed his house from the présence of this man. 
He was angry with himself ; he was angry with that 
whirlwind of émotions which had deafened, blinded, 
and carried him away. He was dissatisfied with 

What was he to do now ? The visits of Jean 
Valjean were most decply répulsive to him. Of 
what use was it that this man should come to liis 
house ? What did he want hère ? Hère he refused 
to investigate the matter ; he refused to study, and 
he was unwilliiig to probe his own heart. He had 
promised ; he had allowed himself to bc drawn into 
a promise. Jean Valjean held that promise, and 
he must keep his word even with a convict, — above 
ail with a convict. Still, his first duty was to\vard 
Cosette. On the whole, a repulsion, which over- 
came everything else, caused him a loathing. ^Nlarius 
confusedly revolved ail thèse ideas in his mind, 
passing from one to the other, and shakcn by ail. 
Hence arose a deep trouble which it was not easy 
to conceal from Cosette ; but love is a talent, and 


Marins succeeded in doing it. However, lie asked, 
without any apparent motive, some questions of 
Cosette, wbo was as candid as a dove is wliite, 
and suspected nothing. He spoke to lier of lier 
childhood and lier youth, and he conviriced himself 
more and more tliat tliis convict had been to Cosette 
as good, paternal, and respectful as a nian can be. 
Everything which INIarius had imagined and sup- 
posed, he found to be real : this sinister nettle had 
loved and protected this lily. 




On the morrow, at nightfall, Jean Valjean tapped 
at the gateway of the Gilleuormand mansion, and 
it was Basque who received him. Basque was in 
the yard at the appointed time, as if lie had had 
his orders. It sometimes happens that people say 
to a servant, " You will watch for Mr. So-and-so's 
arrivai," Basque, without waiting for Jean Valjean 
to corne up to him, said, — 

" Monsieur le Baron has instructed me to ask you, 
sir, whether you wish to go upstairs or stay down 
hère ? " 

" Stay down hère," Jean Valjean replied. 

Basque, who, however, was perfectly respectful in 
his manner, opened the door of the ground-floor room, 
and said, " I will go and inform her ladyship." The 
room which Jean Valjean entered was a damp, 
arched, basement room, employed as a cellar at times, 
looking ont on the street, with a flooring of red tiles, 
and badly lighted by an iron-barred window. Tins 
room was not one of those which are harassed by the 

A'OL. V. 24 


broom and mop, and the dust was quiet tliere. No 
persécution of the spiders had been organizcd ; and a 
fine web, extensively drawn out, quite black, and 
adorned witli dead flics, formed a wheel on one 
of the window-panes. The room, which was small 
and k)w-ceilcd, was furnishcd with a pile of enipty 
bottlcs collected in a corner. The wall, covered with 
a ycllow-ochre wash, crumbled off in large patches ; 
at the end was a niantel-piecc of panelled black wood, 
with a narrow shelf, and a fire was lighted in it, 
which indicated that Jean Valjean's reply, " Stay 
down hère," had been calculated on. Two chairs 
were placed, one in each chimney-corner, and betwecn 
the chairs was spread, in guise of carpet, an old bed- 
room rug, which displayed more cord tlian wool. 
The room was illumined by the flickering of the fire, 
and the twilight through the window. Jean Valjean 
was fatigued ; for scveral days he had not eaten or 
slept, and hc fell into one of the arm-chairs. Basque 
returned, placed a lighted candie on the mantel-piece, 
and Avithdrcw. Jean Valjean, who was sitting with 
hanging head, did not notice cither Basque or the 
candie, till ail at once he started up, for Cosette was 
bcliind him : he had not seen lier corne in, but hc felt 
that she Avas doing so. He turned round and con- 
templated her ; she was adorably lovcly. But what 
he gazed at with this profound glance was not the 
beauty, but the soûl. 

" Well, father," Cosette exclaimed, " I knew that 
you were singular, but I could never hâve expected 
this. What an idea ! Marius told me that it was 
your wish to sce me hcre." 


" Yes, it is." 

" I expected tliat answer, and I vvarn y ou that I 
am going to hâve a scène with you. Let us begin 
with the begînning : kiss nie, fatlier." 

And she offered her clieek, but Jean Valjean 
remained motionless. 

*' You do not stir : I mark tlie fact ! It is the atti- 
tude of a culprit. But I do not care, I forgive you. 
Christ said, ' OfFer the other cheek ; ' hère it is." 

And she ofFercd the other check, but Jean Valjean 
did not stir ; it seenied as if his feet were riveted to 
the floor. 

" Things are growing serions," said Cosette. 
" What hâve I done to you ? I am ofFended, and 
you must make it up with me ; you will diue with 

" I hâve dined." 

" That is not true, and I will hâve you scolded by 
M. Gillenormand. Grandfathers are made to lay 
down the law to fathers. Corne, go with me to the 
drawing-room. At once." ' 

" Impossible ! " 

Cosette hère lost a little ground ; she ceased to 
ordcr and began questioning. 

" But why ? And you choose the ugliest room in 
the house to see me in. It is horrible hère." 

"Youknow— " 

Jean Valjean broke off — 

" You know, Madame, that I am peculiar, and 
hâve my fancies." 

" Madame — you know — more novelties ; what 
does this ail mean ? " 


Jean Yaljean gave lier that heart-broken smile to 
whicli he sometimes had recourse. 

" You wislied to be Madame. You are." 

" Not for you, father." 

" Do not call me father." 


" Call me Monsieur Jean, or Jean, if you like." 

*'You are no longer father? I am no longer 
Cosette ? Monsieur Jean ? Why, what does it 
mean ? Thèse are révolutions. What has hap- 
pened ? Look me in the face, if you can. And 
you will not live with us ! And you will not accept 
our bed-room ! What hâve I donc to offend you ? 
Oh, what hâve I done ? There must be something." 

" Nothing." 

" In that case, then ? " 

" Ail is as usual." 

" Why do you change your name ? " 

"You havc changed yours." 

He smiled the same smile again, and added, — 

" Since you are Madame Pontmercy, I may fairly 
be Monsieur Jean." 

" I do not understand anything, and ail this is 
idiotie. I will ask my husband's leave for you to be 
^Monsieur Jean, and I hope that he will not consent. 
You cause me great sorrow ; and though you may 
hâve whims, you hâve no right to make your little 
Cosette grieve. That is wrong, and you hâve no 
right to be naughty, for you are so good." 

As he made no reply, shc scized both his hands 
eagerly, and with an irrésistible movcment raising 
them to lier face slie pressed them against lier 


neck under lier chin, whicli is a profound sign of 

''Oh," she said, " be kind to me!" And she 
continued : " Tins is what I call being kind, — to 
behave yourself, corne and live hère, for there are 
birds hère as in the Rue Plumet ; to live with us, 
leave that hole in the Rue de l'Homme Armé, give 
us no more riddles to guess ; to be like everybody 
else, dine with us, breakfast with us, and be mj 

He removed her hands, — 

" You no longer want a father, as you hâve a 

Cosette broke out, — 

" I no longer want a father ! Things like that 
hâve no common sensé, and I really do not know 
what to say." 

" If Toussaint were hère," Jean Valjean continued, 
like a man seeking authorities and who clings to 
every branch, " she would be the first to allow that 
I hâve always had strange ways of my own. There 
is nothing ncAV in it, for I always loved my dark 

"But it is cold hère, and we cannot see distinctiy; 
and it is abominable to wish to be Monsieur Jean; 
and I shall not allow you to call me Madame." 

" As I was coming along just now," Jean Valjean 
replied, " I saw a very pretty pièce of furniture at 
a cabinet-maker's in the Rue St. Louis. If I were 
a pretty woman, I should treat myself to it. It is a 
very nice toilette table in the présent fashion, made 
of rosewood, I think you call it, and inlaid. There 


is a ratlier large glass with drawers, and it is very 

" IIoii ! tlie ugly bcar ! " Cosette replied. And 
clenching lier teeth, and parting her lips in the most 
graceful way possible, slie blew at Jean Valjean ; it 
was a grâce iniitating a cat. 

" I am furious," she went on, '' and since yester- 
day you hâve ail put me in a passion. I do not 
understand it at ail ; you do not défend me against 
Marius, jSIarius does not take niy part against you, 
and I am ail alone. I bave a nice room prepared, 
and if I could bave put my dear fatbcr in it, I 
would liave doue so ; but my room is left on my 
hands and my lodger fails me. I order Nicolette 
to prépare a nice little dinncr, and — tbey will 
not toucb your dinncr. Madame. And my father 
Faucheleveut wishes me to call him Monsieur Jean, 
and tbat I sbould receive him in a friglitful old, ugly, 
mildewed cellar, in which the walls wear a beard, 
and empty bottles represent the looking-glasses, and 
spiders' webs the curtains. I allow that you are a 
singular man, it is your way ; but a truce is accordcd 
to newly-married folk, and you ought not to hâve 
begun to be singular again so soon. You arc goiiig 
to be very satisfied, thcn, in your Rue de l'IIonnne 
Armé ; well, I was very wretchcd there. What 
hâve I donc to offcnd you? You cause me grcat 
sorrow. Fie ! " 

And suddcnly growing serions, she looked intcntly 
at Jean Valjean and addcd, — 

" You arc angry with me for being happy ; is 
that it?" 


Simplicity sometimes pénétrâtes unconsciously very 
deep, and this question, simple for Cosette, was pro- 
found for Jean Yaljean. Cosette Tvished to scratch, 
but she tore. Jean Valjean tUrned pale, lie remained 
for a moment without answering, and then raur- 
mured "svith an indescribable accent, and speaking to 
liimself, — 

" Her happiness was the object of my life, and at 
présent God may order my departure. Cosette, thou 
art happy, and my course is run." 

" Ah ! you said thou to me," Cosette exclaimed, 
and leaped on liis neck. 

Jean Valjean wildly strained lier to his heart, for 
lie felt as if lie were almost taking lier back again. 

" Tliank you, father," Cosette said to liim. 

The excitement was getting too painful for Jean 
Valjean ; lie gently witlidrew himself from Cosette s 
arnis, and took up his liât. 

" Well ? " said Cosette. 

Jean Valjean replied, — 

" I ani going to leave you, INIadame, as you will be 

And on the threshold he added, — 

" I said thou to you ; tell your husband that it 
shall not happen again. Forgive me." 

Jean Valjean left Cosette stupefied by this enig- 
niatical leave-taking. 



The next day Jean Valjean came at the same 
hour, and Cosette asked him no questions, was no 
longer astonished, no longer exclaimed tliat it was 
cold, no longer alluded to the drawing-room ; she 
avoided saying either fatlier or Monsieur Jean. She 
allowed . herself to be called Madame ; there was 
only a diminution of her deliglit perceptible, and she 
would bave been sad, had sorrow been possible. It 
is probable that she had held with JMarius one of 
those conversations in which the beloved man says 
what he wishes, explains nothing, and satisfies the 
beloved woman ; for the curiosity of lovers does not 
extend far bcyond their love. The basemcnt room 
had been furbished up a little ; Basque had sup-- 
pressed the bottles, and Nicolette the spiders. Every 
following day brought Jean Valjean back at the same 
hour; he came daily, as he had not the strength to 
take Marius's permission otherwise than literally. 
Marins arranged so as to be absent at the hour Avhcn 
Jean Valjean came, and the house grew accustomcd 
to M. Fauchelevent's new mode of bchaving. Tous- 
saint helped in it ; " ^Nly master was always so," she 
repeated. The grandfather issucd this decree, " He 


is an origiual," and everything was said. Moreover, 
at the âge of ninety no connection is possible ; every- 
thing is juxtaposition, and a new-comer is in the 
way ; there is no place for him, for habits are unalter- 
ably formed. jNI. Fauchelevent, M. Tranchelevent, — 
Father Gillenormand desired nothing better than to 
get rid of " that gentleman," and added, " Xothing is 
more common than sucli originals. They do ail sorts 
of strange things without any motive. The ^Marquis 
de Canoples did worse, for he bought a palace in 
order to live in the garret." 

No one caught a glimpse of the siuister reality, 
and in fact who could hâve divined such a thing ? 
There are marshes like this in India : the water seenis 
extraordinary, inexplicable, rippling when there is 
no brecze, and agitated when it ought to be calm. 
People look at the surface of this ebullition which 
bas no cause, and do not suspect the hydra dragging 
itself along at the bottom. ]\Iany nien hâve in this 
way a secret monster, an evil which they nourish, a 
dragon that gnaws them, a despair that dwells in 
their night. Such a mau resembles others, cornes 
and goes, and no one knows that he has within him 
a frightful parasitic pain with a thousand teeth, which 
dwells in the wretch and kills him. They do not 
know that this mau is a gulf; he is stagnant but 
deep. From time to time a trouble which no one 
undcrstands is produced on his surface ; a mysterious 
ripple forms, then fades away, then reappears ; a 
bubble rises and bursts. It is a slight thing, but it 
is terrible, for it is the respiration of the unknown 
beast. Certain strange habits, such as arriving at 


the liour wlien otliers go away, liiding oiie's self when 
otliers show themselves, wearing ou ail occasions 
what may be called tlie wall-colored cloak, seeking 
tlie solitaiy walk, preferring the deserted street, not 
mixing in conversation, avoiding crowds and festivi- 
ties, appearing to be comfortably ofF and living poorly, 
having, rich though one is, one's key in one's pocket 
and one's candie in the porter's lodge, entering by the 
small door and going np the back stairs, — ail thèse 
insigniticant singulaiities, ripples, air-bubblcs, and 
fugitive marks on the surface, frequently corne froni a 
formidable depth. 

Several weeks passed thus ; a new life gradually 
seized on Cosette, — the relations which marriage 
créâtes, visits, the management of the houshold, and 
pleasures, that great business. The pleasures of 
Cosette were not costly ; they consisted in only one, 
being with INlarius. To go out witli him, remain at 
home with him, was the great occupation of her life. 
It was for theni an ever novcl joy to go out arm in 
arm, in the sunshine, in the open strccts, without hid- 
ing themselves, in the face of everybody, botli alone. 
Cosette had one vexation : Toussaint could not agrée 
with Nicolettc (for the wclding of the two old maids 
was impossible), and Icft. The grandfather was 
quite well ; Marins had a few briefs now and then ; 
Aunt Gillcnormand pcacefuUy lived with the married 
pair that latéral life which sulïiccd her, and Jean Val- 
jean came daily. The jNladame and the Monsieur 
Jean, howcver, niade him différent to Cosette, and the 
care he had himself taken to dctach himself from her 
succeeded. She was more and more gay, and Icss 


and less afFcctionatc ; and yet she loved him dearly 
still, and lie iclt it. One day she suddenly said to 
him, " You were my father, you are uo longer ray 
father ; you were my uncle, you are no longer my 
uncle ; you were Monsieur Fauchelevent, and are 
now Jean. Who are you, then ? I do not like ail 
this. If I did not kuow you to be so good, I should 
be afraid of you." He still lived in the Rue de 
l'Homme Arme, as he could not résolve to remove 
from the quarter in which Cosette lived. At first he 
stayed only a few minutes with Cosette, and then 
went away ; but by degrees he grew into the habit 
of making his visits longer, It might be said that 
he took advantage of the lengthening days ; he arrived 
sooner and went away later. One day the word 
"father' slipped over Cosettc's lips, and a gleam of 
joy lit up Jean Valjean's old solemn face, but he 
chided her : " Say Jean." 

" Ah, that is true," she replied, with a burst of 
laughter, " Monsieur Jean." 

" That is right," he said ; and he turned away that 
she might not see the tears in his eyes. 



This was the last occasion, and after this last 
flare total extinction took place. There was no 
more familiarity, no more good-day witli a kiss, and 
never again that so deeply tender word " fether ; " 
lie had been, at his own rcqnest and with Iiis own 
complicity, expelled from ail those joys in succession, 
and lie underwent this niisery, — that, after losing 
Cosette entirely on one day, he was then obliged to 
lose her again bit by bit. The eye eventually grows 
accustonied to cellar light, and he found it enough to 
hâve an apparition of C'osctte daily. His Avhole life 
was concentrated in that liour ; lie sat down by her 
side, looked at her in silence, or else talked to 
her about former years, her childhood, the convent, 
and her little friends of those days. One aftcrnoon 
— it was an early day in iVpril, already warni but 
still fresh, the moment of the sun's grcat gayety ; 
the gardens that surrounded -Nlarius's and Cosette's 
Windows were rousing from their sluniber, the haw- 
thorn was about to bourgeon, a jewelry of wall- 
flowers was displayed on tlie old wall, there was on 
the grass a fairy carpet of daisies and buttercups, the 
white butterflics were springing forth, and the wind, 


that niiiistrel of the eternal weddiiig, was trying in 
the trees the first notes of that great auroral syni- 
phony which the old poets. called the renewal — 
Marias said to Cosette, " AVe said that we would go 
and see our garden in the Rue Plumet again., 
we must not be ungrateful." And they flevv ofF like 
two swallows toward the spring. This garden in the 
Rue Plumet produced on them the efFect of a dawn, 
for they already had behind them in life something 
that resemblcd the springtime of their love. The 
house in the Rue Plumet, being taken on lease, still 
belonged to Cosette ; they went to this garden and 
house, found themselves again, and forgot themselves 
there. In the evening Jean Valjean went to the 
Rue des Filles du Calvaire at the usual h our. " My 
lady went out with the Baron," said Basque, " and 
lias not returned yet." He sat down silently and 
waited an hour, but Cosette did not come in ; he 
hung his head and went away. Cosette was so in- 
toxicated by the walk in "their garden," and so 
pleased at ha\'ing " lived a whole day in her past," 
that she spoke of nothing else the next day. She did 
not remark that she had not seen Jean Valjean. 

" How did you go there? " Jean Valjean asked her. 

" On foot." 

" And how did you return ? " 

" On foot too." 

For some time Jean Valjean had noticed the close 
life which the young couple led, and was annoyed at 
it. Marius's economy Avas severe, and that word had 
its full meaning for Jean Valjean ; he hazarded a 


" Why do yoii iiot keep a carnage ? A little 
coupé would not cost you more thau five Imndred 
francs a month, and you are rich." 

" I do not know," Cosette ansvvered. 

" It is tlie same with Toussaint," Jean Valjean 
continued ; " slie has left, and you hâve engaged no 
one in lier place. Why not ? " 

" Nicolette is sufficient." 

" But you nmst want a lady's maid ? " 

" Hav-e I not Marius ? " 

" You ought to hâve a liouse of your oAvn, ser- 
vants of your own, a carriage, and a box at the 
opéra. Nothing is too good for you. Then why 
not take advantage of the fact of your being rich ? 
Wealth adds to happiness." 

Cosette made no reply. Jean Valjean's visits did 
not grow shorter, but the contrary ; for when it is the 
heart that is slipping, a man does not stop on the 
incline. When Jean Valjean wished to prolong his 
visit and make the hour be forgotten, he sung the 
praises of Marius; he found him handsome, noble, 
brave, witty, éloquent, and good. Cosette added to 
the praise, and Jean Valjean began again^ It was 
an inexhaustible subject, and there were volumes in 
the six letters composing Marius's name. In tins 
way Jean Valjean managed to stop for a long time, 
for it was so sweet to see Cosette and forget by lier 
side. It was a dressing for his wound. It frc- 
quently happened that Basque would come and say 
twicc, " M. Gillenorniand has sent me to reniind 
Madame la Baronne that dinner is waiting." On 
those days Jean Valjean would return home very 


thouglitful. Was tliere any truth in tliat comparison 
of the chrysalis whicli had occurred to Marius's 
mind ? Was Jean Valjean really an obstinate chry- 
salis, constantly paying \isits to his butterfly ? One 
day he remained longer tlian usual, and the next 
noticed there was no lire in the grate. " Stay," he 
though, " no lire ? " And he gave himself this ex- 
planation : " It is very simple ; we are in April, and 
the cold weather has passed." 

" Good gracions ! How cold it is hère ! " Cosette 
exclaimed as she came in. 

" Oh no," said Jean Valjean. 

" Then it was you who told Basque not to light a 

" Yes ; we shall hâve ]May hère directly." 

" But lires keep on till June ; in this cellar there 
ought to be one ail the year round." 

*' I thought it was unnecessary." 

"That is just like one of your ideas," Cosette 

The next day there was a fire, but the two chairs 
were placed at the other end of the room, near the 
door. " What is the meaning of that ? " Jean 
Valjean thought ; he fetched the chairs and placed 
them in their usual place near the chimney. This 
rekindled fire, however, encouraged him, and he 
made the conversation last even longer than usual. 
As he rose to leave, Cosette remarked to him, — 

" My husband said a funny thing to me yesterday." 

" What was it ? " 

" He said to me, ' Cosette, we hâve thirty thou- 
sand francs a year, — twenty-seven of yours, and 


tliree that my grandfathcr allows me.' I replicd, 
' That niakes thirty ; ' and he continued, ' Would you 
hâve the courage to live on thc three thousand ? ' I 
answered, ' Yes, on nothing, providcd that it be with 
you ; ' and then I asked him, ' Why did you say that 
to me ? ' He replied, ' I mercly wished to know.' " 

Jean Valjeaii had not a word to say. Cosette 
probably expected some cxphmation from him, but 
he listened to her in a sullen silence. He went back 
to the Rue de l'Homme Armé, and was so pro- 
foundly abstracted that, instead of entering his own 
house, he went into the next one. It was not till 
he had gone up ilearly two flights of stairs that he 
noticed his mistake, and came down again. His 
mind was cràmmed with conjectures : it was évident 
that INIarius entcrtained doubts as to the origin of 
the six hundred thousand francs, that he feared some 
impure source; he might even — who knew? — hâve 
discovered that this money came from him, Jean 
Valjcan ; that he hesitated to touch this suspicions 
fortune, and was répugnant to use it as his own, 
prcfcrring that Cosette and he should remain poor 
rather than be rich with dubious wealth. JMorcover, 
Jean Valjean was beginning to feel himself shown 
to the door. On thc following day he had a spc- 
cies of shock on entering the bascment room ; thc 
fauteuils had disappcared, and there was not cvcn 
a seat of any sort. 

" Dcar me, no chairs ! " Cosette exclaimed on enter- 
ing ; " whcre are thcy ? " 

" Thcy are no longer hero," Jean Valjcan replicd. 

" That is rather too much." 


Jean Valjean stammered, — 

" I told Basque to remove theni." 

" For what reasoii ?" 

" I shall only remain a few minutes to-day." 

" Few or many, that is no reason for standing." 

" I believe that Basque required tlie chairs for the 

" Why ? " 

" You hâve probably company this evening." 

" Not a soûl." 

Jean Valjean had not another word to say, and 
Cosette shrugged her shoulders. 

" Hâve the chairs removed ! The other day you 
ordered tlie fire to be left ofF! How siugular you 
are ! " 

" Good-by," Jean Valjean murmured. 

He did not say " Good-by, Cosette," and he had 
not the strength to say " Good-by, Madame." 

He went away crushed, for this time he had com- 
prehended. The next day he did not come, and 
Cosette did not remark this till the evening. 

" Dear me," she said, " Monsieur Jean did not 
come to-day." 

She felt a slight pang at the heart, but she scarce 
noticed it, as she was at once distracted by a kiss 
from Marins. The next day he did not come either. 
Cosette paid no attention to this, spent the evening, 
and slept at night as usual, and only thought of it 
when she woke ; she was so happy ! She very soon 
sent Nicolette to Monsieur Jean's to sce whetlier lie 
were ill, and why he had not come to see her on the 
previous day, and Nicolette brought back Monsieur 

VOL. V. 25 


Jean's aiiswer. "He was not ill, but was busy, 
and would corne soon, — as soon as he could. But 
lie was going to make a little journey, and INladame 
would reniember that he was accustomed to do so 
every now and then. She need not feel at ail alarmed 
or trouble herself about him." Nicolette, on entering 
Monsieur Jean's room, liad repeated to him her niis- 
tress's exact words, — " That Madame sent to know 
' why Monsieur Jean had not called on the previous 
day ? '" 

" I hâve not called for two days," Jean Valjean 
said quietly ; but the observation escaped Nicolette's 
notice, and she did not repeat it to Cosette. 



DuRiNG tlie last months of spring and tlie early 
months of summer, 1833, the scanty passers-by in the 
Marais, the shop-keepers, and the idlers in the door- 
ways, noticed an old gentleman, decently dressed in 
black, who every day, at nearly the same hour in the 
evening, left the Rue de l'Homme iVrmé, in the direc- 
tion of the Rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie, 
passed in front of the Blancs Manteaux, reached the. 
Rue Culture Sainte Catharine, and on coming to the 
Rue de l'Echarpe, turned to his left and entered 
the Rue St. Louis. There he walked slowly, with 
head stretched forward, seeing nothing, hearing noth- 
ing, with his eye incessantly fixed on a spot which 
always seemed his magnet, and which was nought 
else than the corner of the Rue des Filles du Cal- 
vaire. The nearer he came to this corner the more 
brightly his eye flashed ; a sort of joy illumined his 
eycballs, like an internai dawn ; he had a fascinated 
and affcctionate air, his lips made obscure movements 
as if speaking to some one whom he could not see, 
he smilcd vaguely, and he advanced as slowly as he 
could. It seemed as if, while wisliing to arrive, he 
was afraid of the moment when he came quite close. 


When he had oiily a fuw hoiises between himsclf aiul 
the street which appeared to attract him, his step 
became so slow tliat at moments he seemed iiot to be 
moving at ail. The vacillation of his head and the 
fixedness of his eye suggested the needle seeking 
the pôle. However he miglit delay his arrivai, he 
must arrive in the end ; when he reached the cor- 
ner of the Rue des Filles du Calvaire, he trembled, 
thrust his head with a specics of gloomy timidity be- 
yond the corner of the last house, and looked into 
this street, and there was in this glance something 
that resembled the bedazzlcment of the impossible 
and the reflcction of a closed paradise. Thcn a tcar, 
which had been gradually collecting in the corner 
of his eyelashes, having grown large enough to fall, 
glided down his cheeks, and sometimes stopped at 
his mouth. The old man tasted its bitter flavor. He 
stood thus for some minutes as if he were of stone ; 
then returned by the same road, at the same pace, 
and the farther he got away the more lustreless his 
eye became. 

By degrecs this old man ceased going as far as the 
corner of the Rue des Filles du Calvaire ; he stopped 
half-way in the Rue St. Louis : at timcs a little far- 
ther ofF, at timcs a little nearer. One day he stopped 
at the corner of the Rue Culture Sainte Catharine 
and gazed at the Rue des Filles du Calvaire from a 
distance ; then he silently shook his head from right 
to left, as if refusing himself something, and turned 
back. Ere long he did not reach even the Rue St. 
Louis ; he arrived at the Rue Pavie, shook iiis head, 
and turned back; then he did not go beyond the 


Rue des Trois Pavillons ; and then lie did not pass 
tlie Blancs Manteaux. He seenicd like a clock whieli 
was not wound up, and whose oscillations groAV 
shoi-ter and shorter till they stop. Every day he 
left his house at tlie same liour, undertook tlie same 
walk but did not finish it, and incessantly shortened 
it, though probably unconscious of the fact. His 
whole countenance exj)ressed this sole idea, Of what 
good is it ? His eyes were lustreless, and there was 
no radiance in them. The tears were also dried up ; 
they no longer collected in the corner of his eye- 
lashes, and this pensive eye was dry. The old man's 
head was still thrust forward ; the chin moved at 
times, and the creases in his thin neck were painful 
to look on. At times, when the weather was bad, 
he had an umbrella under his arm, which he never 
opened. The good women of the district said, " He 
is an innocent," and the children followed him with 
shouts of laughter. 




It is a terrible tliing to be liappy ! How satisfied 
people are ! How sufficient tliey fmd it ! How, Avheii 
possessed of the false objcct of life, happiness, tliey 
forget the true one, duty ! We are bound to say, 
liowever, tliat it would be unjust to accuse Marius. 
Marius, as we liave explained, before his marriage 
asked no questions of JM. Fauchelevent, and since 
had been afraid to ask any of Jean Valjean. He 
had regretted the promise which he had allowed to 
be drawn from him, and had repeatedly said to him- 
self that he had donc wrong in making this con- 
cession to despair. He had rcstricted hiniself to 
gradually turning Jean Valjean out of his house, 
and cfïacing him as far as possible in Cosctte's niind. 
Ile had to some extent constantly stationed himsclf 
between Cosette and Jean Valjean, feeling certain 
that in this way she would not perçoive it or think 
of it. It was more than an effacement, — it was an 
éclipse. Marius did what he considered necessary 


and just ; he believed tliat lie had serious reasons, 
some of wliich we luive seen, and some we hâve yet 
to see, for getting lid of JeanValjean, without harsh- 
ness, but without weakness. Chance havmg made 
hiin acquainted, in a trial in which he was retained, 
witli an ex-clcrk of Laffitte's bank, he had obtained, 
without seeking it, mysterious information, which, 
in truth, he had not been able to examine, through 
respect for the secret he had promised to keep, and 
through regard for Jean Valjean's perilous situation. 
He believed, at this very moment, that he liad a 
serious duty to perform, — the restitution of the six 
hundred thousand francs to some one whom he was 
seeking as discreetly as he could. In the mean while 
he abstained from touching that money. 

As for Cosette, she was not acquainted with any 
of thèse secrets, but it would be harsh to coudemn 
her either. Between Marins and lier was an om- 
nipotent magnetism, whicli made her do instinctively 
and almost mechanically whatever Marins wished. 
She felt a wish of Marins in the matter of jNIonsieur 
Jean, and she conformed to it. Her husband had 
said nothing to her, but she suffered the vague but 
clear pressure of his tacit intentions, and blindly 
obeyed. Her obédience in this case consisted in 
not remembering what Marius forgot ; and she had 
no effort to make in doing so. Without knowing 
why herself, and without there being anything to 
blame her for, her raind had so thoroughly become 
that of her husband, that whatever covered itself 
with a shadow in Marius's thoughts was obscured in 
hers. Let us not sro too far, however ; as regards 


Jean Valjean, tliis effacement and tliis Ibrgetfulness 
were onlv superfiçial, and she was thoughtless rather 
than forgetful. In her heart slie truly loved thc ma« 
whom she liad so long called fatlier ; but slie lovcd 
her husband more, and this had slightly falsified the 
balance of this heart, which weighed down on one 
side only. It happened at times that Cosette would 
speak of Jean Valjean and express her surprise, and 
theu Marins would calm her. " He is away, I be- 
lieve ; did he not say that he was going on a journey ? " 
" That is true," Cosette thought, " he used to dis- 
appear like that, but not for so long a time." Twice 
or thrice she sent Nicolette to inquire in the Rue de 
l'Homme Armé whether Monsieur Jean had returned 
from his tour, and Jean Valjean sent answer in the 
négative. Cosette asked no more, as she had on 
earth but one want, — Marins. Let us also say that 
Marins and Cosette had been absent too. They went 
to Vernon, and Marins took Cosette to his father's 
tomb. Marins had gradually abstracted Cosette from 
Jean Valjean, and Cosette had allowed it. IIow- 
ever, what is called much too harshly in certain cases 
the ingratitude of children is not always so repre- 
hensible a tliing as may bc believcd. It is the in- 
gratitude of nature ; for nature, as we hâve said 
elscwhere, " looks before her," and di vides living 
beings into arrivais and departures. The departures 
are turned to the darkness, and the arrivais toward 
liglit. Ilence a divergence, which on the part of the 
old is ftital, on the part of the young is involuntary ; 
and this divergence, at first insensible, increases 
slowly, like every séparation of branches, and the 


twîgs separate witliout dctacliing themselves froni 
the parent stem. It is iiot tlieir faiilt, for youth goes 
where there is joy, to festivals, to bright light, and 
to love, wliile old âge proceeds toward tiie end. 
Thej do not lose each otlier out of siglit, but there 
is no longer a Connecting link : the young people feel 
the chill of life, and the old that of the tomb. Let 
us not accuse thèse poor children. 



One day Jean Valjean went down his staircase, 
took three steps in tlie street, sat down upon a post, 
the same one on which Gavroche had found him sitting 
in thought on the niglit of June 5; he stayed thcre 
a few minutes, and then went up again. This was 
the last oscillation of the pendulum ; the next day 
lie did not leave his room ; the next to that he did 
not leave his bed. The porter'» wife, who prepared 
his poor mcals for hiui, some cabbage or a few pota- 
toes and a little bacon, looked at the brown earthen- 
ware plate and exclaimed, — 

" VVliy, poor dear man, you ate nothing yesterday ! " 

" Yes, I did," Jean Yaljcan answercd. 

" The plate is quite full." 

" Look at the water-jug : it is empty." 

" Tliat proves you hâve drunk, but does not prove 
that you hâve eaten." 

, " Well," said Jean Valjean, " suppose that I only 
felt hungry for water ? " 

" Tliat is called thirst, and if a mau docs not cat 
at the sanie tiine it is called fcver." 

" I will eat to-morrow." 

" Or on Trinity Sunday. Why not to-day ? AVho- 


ever thought of sayîng, I will eat to-morrow ? To 
leave my plate without touching it ; iny rasliers were 
so good." 

Jean Valjeau took the olJ woman's liand. 

" I promise jou to eat them," he said, in his gentle 

'' I am not pleased wiih jow" the woman replied. 

Jean Valjean never saw any other human créature 
but tliis good woman : tliere are in Paris streets 
througli which people never pass, and houses wliieh 
people never enter, and he lived in one of those 
streets and one of those houses. During the time 
when he still weut ont he had bought at a brazier's 
for a few sous a small copper crucifix, which he 
suspended from a nail opposite his bed ; that gibbet 
is ever good to look on. A week passed thus, and 
Jean Valjean still remained in bed. The porter's 
wife said to lier husband, " The old gentleman ui> 
stairs does not get up ; he does not eat, and he will 
not last long. He has a sorrow, and no one will 
get it ont of ray head but that his daughter has 
made a bad match." 

The porter replied, with the accent of marital 
sovereignty, — 

" If he is rich, he can havc a doctor ; if he is 
not rich, he can't. If he has no doctor, he will 

" And if he has one ? " 

" He will die," said the porter. 

The porter's wife began digging up with an old 
knife the grass between what she called her pave- 
ment, and while doing so grumbled, — 


" It 's a pity — an old maii wlio is so tidy. Ile is 
as white as a pullet." 

Shc saw a doctor belonging to the quarter passing 
along the bottom of the street, and took upon her- 
self to ask him to go iip. 

" It 's on the second floor," she said ; " vou will 
only hâve to go in, for, as the old gentleman no 
longer leaves his bed, the key is always in the door." 

The physician saw Jean Valjean and spoke to 
him : when he came down again the portera wife 
was waiting for him. 

"Well, doctor?" 

*' He is very ill." 

" What is the matter with him ? " 

" Everything and nothing. He is a man who, 
from ail appearances, has lost a beloved person. 
People die of that." 

" Wliat did he say to you ? " 

" He told me that he was quite well." 

" Will you call again, doctor ? " 

" Yes," the physician rcplied, " but some one 
beside me ought to come too." 


a pex is too hea^^ for the max who lifted 
fauchelevent's CART. 

OxE evening Jean Valjean had a difficultj in 
rising on hia elbow ; he took hold of his WTist and 
could not find his puise ; his breathing was short, 
and stopped every uow aud then, and he perceived 
that he was weaker than he had ever yet been. 
Then, doubtless, under the pressure of some suprême 
préoccupation, he made an efFort, sat up, and dressed 
himself. He put on his old workman's clothes ; for, 
as he no longer went out, he had returned to them 
and preferred them. He was compelled to pause 
several times while dressing himself; and the per- 
spiration poured off his forehead, merelj through 
the effort of putting on his jacket. Ever since he 
had been alone he had placed his bed in the ante- 
room, so as to occupy as little as possible of the 
deserted apartments. He opeued the valise and 
took out Cosette's clothing, which he spread on his 
bed. The Bishop's candlesticks were at their place 
on the mantel-piece ; he took two wax candies out 
of a drawer and put them up, and then, thougli it 
was broad summer daylight, he lit them. We some- 
times see candies lighted thus in open day in rooms 
where dead men are lying. Each step he took in 


goiiig from one article of fiirnituve to another ex- 
hausted him, aud lie was obliged to sit dowii. It 
was not ordinary fatigue, which expends the strength 
in order to renew it ; it was the reinnant of possible 
motion ; it was exliaiisted life falling drop by drop 
in crushing efforts which will not be made again. 

One of the chairs on which he sank was placed 
near the niirror, so fatal for hini, so providential for 
Marins, in which he had read Cosette's reversed 
writing on the blotting-book. He saw himself in 
this mirror, and could not recognize himself. He 
was eighty years of âge ; before Marius's marriage 
he had looked scarce fifty, but the last year had 
reckoned as thirty. What he had on his forehead 
was no longer the wrinklc of âge, but the raysterious 
mark of death, and the lacération of the pitiless nail 
couid be traced on it. His chèeks were flaccid ; the 
skin of his face had that color which makes one 
think that the earth is alrcady ovcr it ; the two 
corners of his mouth drooped as in that niask which 
the ancicnts sculptured on the tomb. He looked 
at space reproachfuUy, and he rcsemblcd one of those 
tragic beings who hâve cause to coniplain of sonie 
one. He had reached that stage, the last phase of 
déjection, in which grief no longer flows ; it is, so 
to speak, coagulated, and there is on the soûl some- 
thing like a clôt of despair. Night had set in, and 
he witli dilïiculty dragged a table and the old easy- 
chair to the chinniey, and laid on the table, pcn, 
ink, and paper. This donc he fainted away, and 
when he regained his sensés he was thirsty. As he 
could not lift the water-jar, he bcnt down with an 


effort and drank a moutliful. Then he turned to 
the bed, and, still seated, for he was unable to stand, 
he gazed at the little black dress and ail those dear 
objects. Such contemplations last hours which ap- 
pear minutes. AU at once he shuddered, and felt 
that the cold had struck him. He leaned his elbows 
on the table which the Bishop's candlesticks illuniined, 
and took up the pen. As neither the pen nor the 
iuk had been used for a long time, the nibs of the 
pen were bent, the ink was dried up, and he was 
therefore obliged to put a few drops of water in 
the ink, which he could not do without stopping 
and sitting down twice or thrice, and was forced 
to Write witli the back of the pen, He wiped his 
forehead from time to time, and his hand trembled 
as he wrote the few folio wing lines : — 

" CosETTE, — I bless you. I am about to explain 
to you. Your husband did right in making me 
understand that I ought to go away ; still, he was 
slightly in error as to what he believed, but he 
acted rightly. He is a worthy man, and love him 
dearly wlien I am gone from you. iNIonsieur Pont- 
mercy, always love my beloved child. Cosette, tins 
paper will be found : tins is what I wish to say 
to you ; you shall see the figures if I hâve the 
strength to remember them ; but listen to me, the 
money is really yours. This is the whole affair. 
"NYhite jet cornes from Xorway, black jet cornes from 
England, and black beads comc from Germany. Jet 
is lighter, more valuable, and dearer ; but imitations 
can be made in France as well as in Germany. You 


must hâve a small anvil two inclies square, and a 
spirit lamp to soften tlie wax. The wax used to 
be made with resin and smoke-black, and costs four 
francs the pound ; but I hit on the idea of making 
it of gum-lac and turpentine. It onlj costs thirty 
sous, and is much better. The rings are made of 
violet glass, fastened by means of the wax on a 
small black iron wire. The glass must be violet 
for iron ornaments, and black for gilt ornaments. 
Spain buys large quantities ; it is the country of 
jet — " 

Hère he stopped, the pen slipped from his fingers, 
he burst into one of those despairing sobs which 
rose at timcs from the depths of his being. The 
poor man took his head between his hands and 

" Oh ! " he exclaimed internally (lamentable cries 
heard by God alone), " it is ail ovcr. I shall never 
sce her again ; it is a smile which flash ed across me, 
and I am going to enter night without even seeing 
lier. Oh ! for one moment, for one instant to hear 
her voice, to touch her, to look at her, — her, the 
angel, and thcn die ! Deatli is nothing, but the 
frightful thing is to die without seeing her ! She 
would smile on me, say a word to me, and would 
that do any one harm? No, it is ail over forever. 
I am now ail alone. My God ! my God ! I shall 
see her no more." 

At this moment there was a knock at his door. 



That same daj, or, to speak more correctly, that 
same evening, as Marins was leaving the dinner-table 
to witlidraw to his study, as he had a brief to get up, 
Basque lianded him a letter, saying, " The persoii wlio 
wrote the letter is in the anteroom." Cosette had 
seized her grandfather's arm, aud was taking a turn 
round the garden. A letter may hâve au ugly ap- 
pearance, like a man, aud the mère sight of coarse 
paper and clumsy foldiug is displeasiug. The letter 
"vvhich Basque brought was of that description. 
]\Iarius took it, and it smelt of tobacco. Xothing 
arouses a recollectiou so much as a smell, apd Marins 
rccognized the tobacco. He looked at the address, 
" To Monsieur le Baron Pommerci, At his house.'* 
The rccognized tobacco made him recognize the hand- 
writing. It miglit be said that astonishment lias its 
flashes of lightning, and ^larius was, as it were, illu- 
mined by one of thèse flashes. The odor, that mys- 
terious aid to memory, had recalled to him a world : 
it was really the paper, the mode of folding, the pale 
ink ; it was really the well-known handwriting ; and, 
above ail, it was the tobacco. The Joudrette garret 
rose again before him. Hence — strangc blow of 

VOL. V. 26 


accident ! — oiie of ilie two trails whicli lie had so 
long sought, the one for whicli lie had latterly niade 
so many efforts and believed lost Ibrever, came to 
oiFer itself voluntarily to liim. He eagerly opened 
the letter and read : — 

" Monsieur le Baron, — If the Suprême Being 
had endowed me with talents, I might hâve becn 
Baron Thénard, member of the Institute (academy of 
ciences), but I am not so, 1 nierely bear the same 
name with him, and shall be happy if this reminisence 
recommcnds me to the excellense of your kindncss. 
The benetits with w^hich you niay honor me will bc 
reciprocal, for I am in possession of a secret consern- 
ing an individuah This individual conserns you. I 
hold the secret at your disposai, as I désire to hâve 
the honor of being uceful to you. I will give you 
the simple means for expeling from your honorable 
family this individual who lias no right in it, Madam 
hi Barronne being of high birth. The sanctuary of 
virtue co«ld no longer coabit with crime wàthout 

*' ï await in the anteroom the ordcr of Monsieur 

^^ ^^"■^"- "Respectfully." 

The letter was signcd "Thénard." This signa- 
ture w^as not false, but oïdy slightly abridged. How- 
cver, the bombast and the orthography completed 
the révélation, the ccrtifîcate of origin was perfcct, 
and no doubt was j)ossible. Marius's émotion was 
la-ofound ; and after the movement of surprise he had 
a movement of happiness. Let him now tind the 


other man lie souglit, tlie man who had saved Iiim, 
Marius, and he would hâve notliing more to désire. 
He opened a drawer in his bureau, took out several 
bank-notes, which he put in his pocket, closed the 
drawer again, and rang. Basque opened the door 

" Show the man in," said Marius. 

Basque announced, — 

" M. Thénard." 

A man came in, and it was a fresli surprise for 
Marius, as the man he now saw was a perfect stran- 
ger to him. This man, who was old, bj the way, had 
a large nose, his chin in his cravat, green spectacles, 
with a double shade of green silk over his eyes, and 
his hair smoothed down and flattened on his forehead 
over his eyebrows, like the wig of English coachmen 
of high life. His hair was gray. He was dressed 
in black from head to foot, — a very seedy but clean 
black, — and a bunch of seals, emerging from his fob, 
led to the supposition that he had a watch. He held 
an old hat in his hand, and walked bent, and the 
curve in his back augmentcd the depth of his bow. 
The tliing which struck most at the first glanée \\?'\ 
that this person's coat, too large, though carefully 
buttoned, had not been made for him. A short 
digression is necessary hère. 

There was at that period in Paris, in an old house 
situated in the Rue Beautreillis near the arsenal, an 
old Jew whose trade it was to couvert a rogne into 
an honest man, though not for too long a period, as 
it might hâve been troublesome to the rogue. The 
change was eifected at sight, for one day or two, at 


the rate of tliirty sous a day, by mcans of a costume 
resembling as closely as possible every-day honcsty. 
This letter-out of suits was called the " excli ange- 
broker." Parisian thieves had given him that iianic, 
and knew him by no other. lie had a Very complète 
wardrobe, and the clothes in which he invested people 
suited almost every condition. He had specialties 
and catégories : from each nail of his store liung a 
social station, worn and thrcadbare ; hère the niagis- 
trate's coat, therc the curés coat, and the banker's 
coat ; in one corner the coat of an ofFicer on half 
pay, elsewhere the coat of a nian of letters, and 
further on the statesman's coat. This créature was 
the costumer of the immense drama which roguery 
plays in Paris, and his den was the side-scene from 
which robbery went out or swindling re-entered. A 
ragged rogue arrived at this wardrobe, deposited 
thirty sous, and selected, according to the part which 
he wished to play on that day, the clothes which 
suited him ; and, on going down the stairs again, 
the rogue was somcbody. The next day the clothes 
were faithfully brought back, and the ''exchange- 
broker," who entirely trustcd to the thieves, was 
never robbed. Thèse garments had one inconvcn- 
ience, — they did not fit ; not being made for the 
man who wore tliem, they were tight on one, loose 
on another, and fitted nobody. Any swindler who 
exceeded the avcrage mean in height or shortness 
was uncomfortable in tlie " exchange-broker's " suits. 
A man nuist be neithcr too stout nor too thin, for 
the broker had only provided for ordinary mortals, 
and had taken the measure of the species in the 


pcrson of tlie first tliicf who turued up, and is 
iieither stout nor thiii, iior tall iior short. Hence 
arose at times diliicult adaptations, which tlie brokers 
customers got over as best they could. Ail the 
worse for the exceptions ! The statesman's garmeuts, 
for instance, black from head to foot, would hâve 
been too loose for Pitt and too tight for Castelcicala. 
The statesman's suit was thus described in the bro- 
ker's catalogue, from which we copied it : "A black 
cloth coat, black moleskin trousers, a silk waistcoat, 
boots, and white sliirt." There was ou the niargin 
" Ex-Ambassador," and a note which we also tran- 
scribe : " In a separate box a carefully-dressed per- 
uke, green spectacles, bunch of seals, and two little 
quills an incli in length, wrapped in cotton." AU 
tliis belonged to the statesman or ex-ambassador. 
The whole of this costume was, if we may say so, 
extenuated. The seams were white, and a small 
button-hole gaped at one of the elbows ; moreover, 
a button was missing off the front, but that is only a 
détail, for as the hand of the statesman nmst always 
be thrust into the coat, and upon the heart, it liad 
the duty of hiding the absence of the button. 

Had INIarius been familiar with the occult institu- 
tions of Paris, he Avould at once hâve recognized in 
the back of the visitor whom Basque had just showu 
in, the coat of the statesman borrowed from the 
Unhook-me-that of the " exchange-broker." INIarius's 
disappointmcnt on seeing a différent man from the 
one whom he expected to enter, turned into disgust 
with the new-comer. He examined him from head 
to foot, while the personage was gi^^ng him an ex- 


aggerated bow, and askcd liiiu curtly, " Wliat do 
}'ou waut ? " 

The nian replied with an amiable rictus, of whicli 
the caressing smile of a crocodile would supply sonic 
idea : — 

" It appears to me impossible that I hâve not 
alreadj liad the honor of seeing Monsieur le Baron in 
Society. I hâve a peculiar impression of having met 
him a few years back at the Princess Bagration's, 
and in the salons of his Excellency Vicomte Dambray, 
Peer of France." 

It is always good tactics in swindling to prétend 
to recognize a person whom the swindler does not 
know. -Marins paid attention to the man's words, 
lie watchcd the action and movement, but his disap- 
pointment increased ; it was a nasal pronunciation, 
absolutely différent from the sharp dry voice he ex- 
pected. He was utterly routed. 

" I do not know," he said, " either IMadame 
Bagration or Monsieur Dambray. I never set foot 
in the house of either of them." 

The answer was rough, but the personage con- 
tinued with undiminishcd affability, — 

" Thcu it must hâve bcen at Chateaubriand's that 
I saw jNIonsieur ! I know Chateaubriand intimatcly, 
and he is a most affable man. Ile says to me somc- 
times, Thénard, my good friend, will you not drink a 
glass with me ? " 

Marius's brow became stcrner and sterner. " I 
ncvcr had the honor of bcing rcccived at M. de 
Chateaubriand's house. Come to the point; what do 
you want with me ? " 


The nian bowcd lower still before tliis harsh voice. 

" Monsieur le Baron, deign to listen to me. There 
is in x4.nîenca, in a country near Panama, a village 
called La Joya, and this village is composed of a 
single house. A large square house three stories 
higli, built of bricks dried in the sun, each side of 
tlie square being five luindred feet long, and each 
storj" retiring from the one under it for a distance of 
twelve feet, so as to leave in front of it a terrace 
which runs ail round the house. In the centre is an 
inner court, in which provisions and amnmnition are 
stored ; there are no windows, only loop-holes, no 
door, only ladders, - — ladders to mount from the 
ground to the first terrace, and from the first to the 
second, and from the second to the third ; ladders to 
descend into the inner court ; no doors to the rooms, 
only traps ; no staircases to the apartments, only lad- 
ders. At night the trap-doors are closed, the ladders 
are drawn up, and blunderbusses and carbines are 
placcd in the loop-holes; there is no way of entering; 
it is a house by day, a citadcl by night. Eight hun- 
dred inhabitants, — such is this village. Why such 
précautions ? Because the country is dangerous, and 
full of man-eaters. Then, why do people go there ? 
Bt^cause it is a marvellous country, and gold is found 

" What are you driving at ? " ]\Iarius, who had 
passed from disappointment to impatience, inter- 

" To this, ]M. le Baron, I am a worn-out ex-diplo- 
matist. I am sick of our old civilization, and wish to 
try the savages." 


" What next ? " 

"Monsieur le Baron, egotism is the law of tlie 
world, The proletarian peasant-wench who works 
by the day turns round when the diligence passes, 
but the peasant-woman who is laboring^on lier own 
field docs not turn. The poor man's dog barks after 
the rich, the rich man's dog barks after the poor ; 
each for himself, and self-interest is the object of 
mankind. Gold is the magnct." 

" What next ? Conclude." 

" I should like to go and settle at La Joya. There 
are three of us. I hâve my wife and niy daughtcr, a 
very lovely girl. The voyage is long and expensive, 
and I am short of funds." 

" How does that conccrn me ? " jMarius asked. 

The stranger thrust his ncck out of his cravat, with 
a gesture peculiar to the vulture, and said, with a 
more affable smile than before, — 

" JNIonsieur le Baron cannot hâve read my letter ? " 

That was alraost truc, and the fact is that the con- 
tents of the cpistle had escaped Marins ; lie had seen 
the writing rathcr than read the letter, and he scarce 
remembered it. A new hint had just been giveu 
him, and he noticcd tlie détail, " My wife and daugh- 
tcr." He fixed a pcnetrating glance on the stranger, 
— a magistrate could not hâve doue it better, — but 
he confincd himself to saying, — 

" Be more précise." 

The stranger thrust his hands in his trousers' 
pockets, raised his head without straightening liis 
backbone, but on his side scrutinizing jNIarius through 
his grcen spectacles. 


" Veiy good, ]M. le Barou. I will be précise. I hâve 
a secret to sell y ou." 
^" Does it couceru me ? " 

" Sliî?htly." 

" What is it ? " 

jNIarius more and more examiued the man wliile 

" I will begin gratis," the stranger said ; " you will 
soon see that it is interesting." 

" Speak." 

" ^Monsieur le Baron, you hâve in your house a 
robber and an assassin." 

Marius gave a start. 

" In niy house ? No," he said. 

The stranger imperturbably brushed his hat witli 
liis arm, and went on. 

" An assassin and a robber. Remark, M. le Baron, 
that I am not speaking hère of old-forgotten facts, 
which might be efFaced by prescription before the 
law — by repeutance before God. I am speaking of 
récent facts, présent facts, of facts still unknown to 
justice. I continue. This man has crept into your 
confidence, and almost into your family, under a false 
namc. I am going to tell you his real name, and 
tell it you for nothiug." 

" I am listening." 

" His name is Jean Yaljean." 

" I know it." 

" I will tell, equally for nothing, who he is." 

" Speak." 

" He is an ex-convict." 

" I know it." 


" You have known it since I hacl the honor of teli- 
ing you." 

" No, I was aware of it before." 

Marius's cold tone, this double reply, " I know it," 
and his stubborn shortness in the conversation aroused 
sonie latent anger in the stranger, audhe gave Marins 
a furious side-glance, which was inimediately extin- 
guished. Rapid though it was, the glanée was one 
of those which are recognized if they have once been 
seen, and it did not escape Marins. Certain flashes 
can only corne froni certain soûls ; the eyeball, that 
cellar-door of the soûl, is lit up by them, and green 
spectacles conceal nothing ; you might as well put 
up a glass window to hell. The strauger continued, 
smiling, — 

'' I will not venture to contradict M. le Baron, 
but in any case you will see that I am well informed. 
Now, what I have to tell you is knowu to myself 
alonc, and it affects the fortune of Madame la Baronne. 
It is an extraordinary secret, and is for sale. I offer 
it you first. Cheap ! twenty thousand francs." 

" I know that secret as I know the other," said 

The personage felt the necessity of lowering his 
j)rice a little. 

" Monsieur le Baron, let us say ten thousand francs, 
and I will speak." 

" I repeat to you that you have nothing to tell 
me. I know what you want to say to me." 

There was a fresh flash in the niau's eye, as lie 
continued, — 

" Still, I must dine to-day. It is an extraordinary 


secret, I tell you. Monsieur, I am goiiig to speak. 
I am speaking. Give me tweiity francs." 
«vjMarius looked at him fixedlj. 

" I know your extraordinary secret, just as I kuew 
Jean Valjcan's name, and as I know yours." 

" My name ? " 

" Yes." 

"That is not difficult, M. le Baron, for I had 
the lîonor of writing it and mentioning it to you. 
Thénard— " 

" — dicr." 

" What ? " 

" Thénardier." 

" What does tliis mean ? " 

In danger the porcupine bristles, the beetle feigns 
death, the old guard forms a square. This man 
began laughing. Then he flipped a grain of dust 
off lus coat-sleeve. Marius continued, — 

" You are also the workman Jondrette, the actor 
Fabantou, the poet Genflot, the Spanish Don Alvares, 
and Madame Balizard." 

" Madame who ? " 

" And you once kept a pot-house at Montfermeil." 

" A pot-housc ! Xever." 

" And I tell you that you are Thénardier." 

" I deny it." 

" And that you are a scoundrel. Take that." 

And INIarius, taking a bank-note from his j)ocket, 
tlirew it in his face. 

" Five hundred francs ! Monsieiu' le Baron ! " 

And the man, overwhehiied and bowing, clutched 
the note and examined it. 


" Five hundrcd francs ! " lie continuedj quite dr.z- 
zled. And lie stammcred half aloud, " No countcr- 
feit ; " tlien suddenly exclaimed, " Wcll, be it so. 
Let us be a,t oiir ease." 

And with monkey-likc dexterity, tln-'owing back 
liis liair, tearing ofF liis spectacles, and rcmoving the 
tvvo quiîls to wliich we alluded just now, and Avliich 
we hâve seen before in another part of tliis book, 
lie took off his face as you or I take off our liât. 
His eye grew briglit, the forehead — uneven, gullied, 
scarred, hidcously wrinkled at top — became clear, 
the iiose sharp as a beak, and the ferocious and 
shrewd profile of the man of prey reappeared. 

" Monsieur le Baron is infallible," he said in a 
sharp voice, ffoni whieh the nasal twang had entirely 
disappeared ; " I am Thénardier." 

And he stràightened his curved back. 

Thénardier — for it was really he — was sti-angcly 
surprised, and would hâve been troubled could he 
hâve been so. He had come to bring astonishnient, 
and it was hiniself who was astonished, This humil- 
iation was paid for with five hundred francs, and 
he accepted it ; but he was not the less stunned. 
He saw for the first tinie this Baron Pontniercy, 
and in spite of his disguise this Baron Pontniercy 
rccognized him, and recognized hira thoroughly ; and 
not alone was this Baron acquainted with Thénardier, 
but he also seemed acquainted with Jean A^aljean. 
Who was this almost beardless young nian, so cold 
and so generous ; who knew people's names, knew 
ail tlieir names, and opencd his purse to thcm ; who 
bullied rogues like a judgc, and paid theni likc a 


dupe ? Thénardicr, it will be reniembcred, tliougli 
lie liad been jNIarius's neighbor, had iicver seen hiiii, 
which is frequently the case in Paris. He bad for- 
merly vaguely beard liis daughter speak of a very 
poor young man of tbe name of Marius, who lived 
in the bouse, and be bad written bim, witbout 
knowing bim, tbe letter we fornierly read. No ap- 
proximation between tnis INlarius and M. le Baron 
Pontmercy was possible in bis mind. With regard 
to tbe nanie of Pontmercy, we must rccoUect tbat on 
tbe battle-ficld of Waterloo be bad beard only the 
last two syllables, for wbicb be bad always bad the 
justifiable disdain wbicb oue is likely to bave for 
wbat is merely thanks. 

However, he bad mauaged tbrough his daughter 
Azelma, wbom be put on the track of tbe married 
couple on February IG, and by bis own researches, 
to Icarn a good many things, and in his dark den 
had succeeded in seizing more tban one mysterious 
tbread. He bad by sheer industry discovered, or 
at least by the inductive process bad divined, who 
the man was whoni he had met on a certain day 
in tbe Great Sewer. From the man he had easily 
arrived at the name, and he knew tbat Madame la 
Baronne Pontmercy was Cosette. But on tbat point 
be intended to be discreet. Who Cosette was he 
did not know exactly himself. He certainly got a 
glimpse of some bastardism, and Fantine's story bad 
always appeared to bim doubtful. But wbat was 
tlie good of speaking, — to bave his silence paid ? 
He bad, or fancicd he had, something bettLT to sell 
tban tbat ; and according to ail expectation, to go 


and mate to Baron Pontmercy, witliout further proof, 
the révélation, " Your wife is only a bastard," would 
only hâve succeeded in attracting the husband's boot 
to the broadest part of his person. 

In Thénardier's thoughts the conversation with 
Marins h ad not y et begun ; he h ad been obliged to 
fall back, niodify his strategy, leave a position, and 
make a change of front ; but nothing essential was 
as yet compromised, and he had five hundred francs 
in his pocket. Moreover, he had something décisive 
to tell, and he felt himself strong even against this 
Baron Pontmercy, who was so well-informed and so 
wcll-arnied. For nîen of Thénardier's nature every 
dialogue is a combat, and what was his situation in 
the one which was about to begin ? He did not 
know to whom he was speaking, but he knew of 
what he was speaking. He rapidly made this mental 
review of his forces, and after saying, " I am Thé- 
nardier," waitcd. Marins was in deep thought ; he 
at length held Thénardier, and the man whom he 
had so eagerly desired to find again was before him. 
Ile would be able .at last to honor Colonel Pont- 
mercy's recommendation. It humiliated him that 
tiiis hero owed anything to this bandit, and that the 
bill of exchange drawn by his fathcr from the tomb 
upcm him, jNIarius, had remained up to this day pro- 
tested. It scemed to him, too, in the complex state 
of his mind as regarded Thénardier, that lie was 
bound to avenge the Colonel for the misfortune of 
having been saved by such a villain. But, howevcr 
this might be, he was satisfied ; he was at length 
going to free the Colonel's shadow from this un- 


worthy creditor, and felt as if he were releasiiig his 
father's memory froni a debtor's prison. By ttie sidc 
of this duty he had anothei", clearing up if possible 
the source of Cosette's fortune. The opportunity 
appeared to présent itself, for Thénardier probably 
knew something, and it might be useful to see to the 
bottom of this man ; so he began with that. Thé' 
nardier put away the " no counterfeit " carcfully 
in his pocket, and looked at Marins with almost 
tender gentleness. Marius was the first to break 
the silence. 

" Thénardier, I hâve told you your name, and 
now do you wish me to tell you the secret whicli 
you hâve corne to impart to me ? I hâve my infor- 
mation also, and you shall see that I know more 
than you do. Jean Valjean, as you said, is an assas- 
sin and a robber. A robber, because he plundered 
a rich manufacturer, M. Madeleine, whose ruin he 
caused : an assassin, because he murdered Inspecter 

" I do not understand you, M. le Baron," said 

" I will make you understand ; listen. Thcre was 
in the Pas de Calais district, abont the year 1822, a 
man who had been in some trouble with the authori- 
ties, and who had rehabilitated and restored himself 
under the name of Monsieur ^Madeleine. This man 
had bccome, in the fullest extent of the term, a just 
man, and he made the fortune of an entire town by a 
trade, the manufacture of black beads. As for his pri- 
vate fortune, he had made that too, but secondarily, 
and to some extent as occasion offered. He was tlie 


foster-father of the poor, hc founded liospitals, opcned 
schools, visited the sick, dowered girls, supported 
widows, adopted orphaus, and was, as it were, guar- 
dian of the town. He had refused the cross, and 
was.appointcd niayor. A liberatcd convict kncw the 
secret of a penalty formerly incurred by this man ; 
he denounced and had him arrested, and toolc advan- 
tage of the arrest to corne to Paris and draw ont of 
Laffitte's — I hâve the facts from the cashier him- 
self — by means of a false signatnre, a suni of half a 
million and more, which belonged to JNl. Madeleine. 
The convict who robbed M. Madeleine was Jean 
Valjean ; as for the other fact, you can tell me no 
more than I know either. Jean Yaljean kiîled In- 
spector Javert with a pistol-shot, and I, who am 
speaking to yon, was présent." 

Thénardier gave Marins the sovereigu glance of a 
beaten man who sets his hand again on the victory, 
and has regained in a minute ail the ground he had 
lost. But the smilc at once returned, for the in- 
fcrior, when in présence of h^ superior, must keep 
his triumph to himself, and Thénardier confined him- 
sclf to saying to Marins, — 

" ]\Ionsieur le Baron, we are on the wrong track." 

And he undcrlined tliis sentence by giving his 
bunch of seals an expressive twirl. 

" What ! " Marius replied, " do you dispute it ? 
They are facts." 

" They are chinieras. The confidence with which 
Monsieur le Baron honors me makes it niy duty to 
tell him so. Before ail, truth and justice, and I do 
not like to sec people accuscd wrongfuUy. Monsieur 


le Baron, Jean Valjean did not rob M. Madeleine, 
and Jean Valjean did not kill Javert." 

" That is rather strong. Wliy not ? " 

" For two reasons." 

" What are they ? Speak." 

" The first is tliis : he did not rob ]M. ^Madeleine, 
becanse Jean Valjean hiniself is M. ^Madeleine." 

" What nonsense are you talking ? " 

" And this is the second : he did not assassinate Ja- 
vert, becanse the man who killed Javert was Javert." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" That Javert committed suicide." 

" Prove it, prove it ! " jNIarius cried wildly. 

Thénardier repeated slowly, scanning his sentence 
after the fashion of an ancient Alexandrian, — 

" Police- Agent- Javert-was-found-drowned-uu-der-a 

" But prove it, then." 

Thénardier drew frora his side-pocket a large gray 
paper parcel which seemcd to contain folded papers 
of various sizes. 

" I hâve my proofs," he said calmly, and he added : 
"Monsieur le Baron, I wished to know Jean Val- 
jean thoroughly on your behalf. I say that Jean 
Valjean and ^Madeleine are the sanie, and I say that 
Javert had no other assassin but Javert ; and when I 
say this, I hâve the proofs, not manuscript proofs, for 
writing is suspicions and complaisant, but printed 

Whilc spcaking, Thénardier extractcd from the 
parcel two newspapcrs, yellow, faded, and tremen- 
dously saturated wiih tobacco. One of thèse two 

VOL. v. 27 


papers, broken in ail the folds, and falling in square 
rags, seemed much oldcr than the other. 

"Two facts, two proofs," said ïliénardier, as lie 
handed Marins the two open newspapers. 

Thèse two papers the reader knows ; one, the 
older, a number of the Dnvpeaii Blanc, for July 25, 
1823, of which the exact text was given in the sec- 
ond volume of this work, established the identity of 
M. Madeleine and Jean Valjean. The other, a Mon- 
iteur, of June 15, 1832, announced the suicide of 
Javert, adding that it was found, from a verbal report 
niade by Javert to the Préfet, that he had becn 
made prisoncr at the barricade of the Rue de la 
Chanvi-erie, and owed his life to the magnanimity of 
an insurgent, who, when holding him under his pis- 
tol, instead of blowing ont his brains, fired in the air. 
Marius read ; there was évidence, a certain date, irré- 
fragable proof, for thèse two papers had not been 
printed expressly to support Thënardier's statement, 
and the note published in the Moniteur was officially 
communicated by the Préfecture of Police. INIarius 
could no longer doubt ; the cashicr's information was 
false, and he was himself mistaken. Jean Valjean, 
suddenly growing great, issued from the cloud, and 
JNlarius could not restrain a cry of joy. 

" What, then, this poor fellow is an admirable 
man ! Ail this fortune is really his ! He is Made- 
leine, the providence of an entire town ! He is Jean 
Valjean, the savior of Javert ! Ile is a liero ! He 
is a saint ! " 

"lie is not a saint, and he is not a hcro," said 
Thénadier ; " he is an assassin and a robber." And 


he adcled witb the accent of a man beginning to feel 
himself possessed of some autlioiity, " Lefc us calin 

Robber, assassin, — those words wbich Marius be- 
lieved bad disappeared, and whicb bad returned, fell 
upon him like a cold sbower-bath. " Still — " he said. 

" Still," said Tbénardier, " Jean Valjean did not 
rob M. jNIadeleine, but he is a robber ; he did not 
assassinate Javert, but he is an assassin." 

" Are you alluding," jNIarius continued, " to that 
wretched theft committed forty years back, and ex- 
piated, as is proved from those very papers, by a 
whole life of repentance, self-denial, and virtue ? " 

" I say assassination and robbery, M. le Baron, and 
repcat that I am alluding to récent facts. What I 
hâve to reveal to you is perfectly unknown and uu- 
published, and you may perhaps find in it the source 
of the fortune cleverly offered by Jean Yaljean to 
Madame la Baronne. I say cleverly, for it would not 
be a stupid act, by a donation of that nature, to step 
into an honorable house, whose comforts he would 
share, and at the same tinie hide the crime, enjoy 
his robbery, bury his name, and create a family." 

" I could interrupt you hère," Marins observed, 
"but go on." 

" Monsieur le Baron, I will tell you ail, leaving 
the reward to your gcnerosity, for the secret is worth 
its weight in gold. You will say to me, ' Why not 
apply to Jean Valjean ? ' For a veiy simple reason. 
I know that he bas given up ail his property in your 
favor, and I consider the combination ingénions ; but 
he bas not a halfpenny left ; he would show me his 


cmpty liands, and as I want money for my voyage to 
La Joya, I prefer you, who hâve everything, to him, 
who lias nothing. As I am rather fatigued, permit 
me to take a chair." 

Marius sat down, and made him a sign to do the 
same. Thénardier installcd himself in an easy-chair, 
took up the newspapers, put them back in the parce!, 
and muttered as he dug his nail into the Drajjeau 
Blanc, " It cost me a deal of trouble to procure this." 
This done, he crossed his legs, threw himself in the 
chair in the attitude of men who are certain of what 
thcy are stating, and then began his narrative gravely, 
and laying a stress on his words : — 

" ]\Ionsieur le Baron, on June 6, 1832, about a 
year ago, and on the day of the riots, a man was in 
the Great Sewer of Paris, at the point where the 
sewer falls into the Seine between the Pont des In- 
valides and the Pont de Jéna." 

]\Iarius hurriedly drew his chair doser to Thënar- 
dier's. Thénardier noticed this movement, and con- 
tinued with the slowness of an orator who holds his 
hearer, and feels his adversary quivering under his 
words : — 

" This man, forced to hide himself, for reasons, 
however, unconnected with politics, liad selected the 
sewer as his domicile, and had the key of it. It was, 
I repeat, June G, and about eight in the cvcning the 
man heard a noise in the sewer ; feeling grcatly sur- 
prised, hc concealed himself and watched. It was a 
Sound of footstcps ; somc one was walking in the 
darkness, and coming in his direction ; strange to say, 
there was another man beside himself in the sewer. 


As tlie outlet of tlie sewer was no great distance off, 
a iittle liglit wliicli passed through enabled hini to 
see the new-comer, and that- he was carrying sonie- 
thing on his back. Hc walked in a stooping posture ; 
lie was an ex-convict, and wliat he liad on his shoul- 
ders was a corpse. A flagrant case of assassination, 
if there ever Avas onc ; as for tlie robbery, that is a 
matter of course, for no one kills a man gratis. This 
convict was going to t'arow the body into the river, 
and a fact worth notice is, that, before reaching the 
outlet, the convict, wlio had corne a long way through 
the sewer, was obliged to pass a frightful hole, in 
which it seenis as if he might hâve left the corpse ; but 
the sewer-nieu who came to eftect the repairs next 
day would hâve found the murdered man there, and 
that did not suit the assassin. Heuce he preferred 
carrying the corpse across the slough, and his efforts 
must hâve been frightful ; it was impossible to risk 
one's life more perfectly, and I do not understand 
liow he got out of it alive." 

Marius's chair came nearer, and Thénardier took 
advantage of it to draw a long breath ; then he con- 
tinued : — 

" Monsieur le Baron, a sewer is not the Champ 
de Mars ; everything is wanting there, even space, 
and when two men are in it together they must meet. 
This happened, and the domiciled man and the passer- 
by were compelled to bid each other good-evening, 
to their mutual regret. The passer-by said to the 
domiciled man, ' You see what I hâve on my back. 
I nmst go out ; you hâve the key, so give it to me.' 
This convict was a man of terrible strengtli, and there 


"was 110 chance of refusiiig him ; still, the man wlio 
lield the key parleyed, solely to gain time. He ex- 
amined the dead man, but could see nothing, except 
tliat he was young, well dressed, had a rich look, and 
was quite disfigured with blood. Wliiîe talking, lie 
managed to tear off, without the nmrderer pcrceiving 
it, a pièce of tlie skirt of the victim's coat, as a con- 
vincing proof, yoii understand, a nieans of getting on 
the track of the affair, and bringing the crime home 
to the criminal. He placed the pièce of cloth in his 
pocket ; after which he opened the grating, allowed 
tlie man with the load on his back to go ont, locked 
the grating again, and ran away, not feeling at ail 
désirons to be niixed iip any further in the adventure, 
or to be présent when the assassin threw the corpse 
into the river. You now understand : the man who 
carricd the corpse was Jean Valjean ; the one Avho 
had the key is speaking to you at this moment, and 
the pièce of coat-skirt — " 

Thénardier completed the sentence by drawing 
from his pocket and holding level with his eyes a 
ragged pièce of black cloth ail covered with dark 
spots. Marins had risen, pale, scarce breathing, with 
his cye fixed on the black patch, and, without uttering 
a syllable, or without taking his eycs off the rag, he 
fell back, and, with his riglit hand extended behind 
him, felt for the key of a wall-cupboard near the 
mantel-picce. He found this key, opened the cup- 
board, and thrust in his hand without looking or once 
taking his eyes off the rag which Thënardier dis- 
played. In the mcan while Thënardier continued, — 

" Monsieur le Baron, I hâve the strongcîst grounds 


for belie\ing tluit tlie assassinated young man was a 
wealthy foreigner, drawn by Jean Yaljean into a trap, 
and cavryiug an euormous sum about him." 

" I was the young man, and, hère is the coat ! " 
cried ]Marius, as he threw on the floor an old black 
coat ail covered ^^^th blood. Then, taking the patch 
from Thénardier's hands, he bent over the coat and 
put it in its place in the skirt ; the rent fitted exactly, 
and the fragment completed the coat. Thénardier 
was petrified, and tliought, " l 'm sold." Marius 
drew himself up, shuddering, desperate, and radiant ; 
he felt in his pocket, and walking furiously towards 
Thénardier, thrusting almost into his face his hand 
full of five hundred and thousand franc notes, — 

" You are an infamous wretch ! You are a liar, 
a calumniator, and a villain'! You came to accuse 
that man, and you hâve justified him ; you came to 
ruin him, and hâve only succeeded in glorifying him. 
And it is you who are the robber I It is you who are 
an assassin ! ï saw you, Thénardier — Jondrette, at 
that den on the Boulevard de l'Hôpital. I know 
enough about you to send you to the galleys, and 
even farther if I liked. There are a thousand fi-ancs, 
ruiïian that you are ! " 

And he threw a thousand-franc note at Thénardier, 

" Ah ! Jondrette — Thénardier, ^^le scoundrel, let 
this serve you as a lesson, you hawker of secrets, 
you dealer in mysteries, you searcher in the darkness, 
you villain, take thèse five hundred francs, and be 
off. Waterloo protects you.' 

" Waterloo ! " Thénardier growled, as he pocketed 
the five hundred francs. 


" Yes, assassin ! Yoii saved there the life of a 

" A gênerai ! " Thénardier said, raising his head. 

" A colonel ! " Mai^us repeated furiously. " I would 
not give a farthing for a gênerai. And you come 
hère to commit an infamy ! I tell you that you hâve 
committed every crime ! Begone ! Disappear ! Be 
happy, tliat is ail I désire. Ah, monster ! Hère are 
three thousand francs more : take them. You will 
start to-morrow for America with your daughter, for 
your wife is dead, you abominable liar ! I will 
watch over your departure, bandit, and at the mo- 
ment when you set sail, pay you twenty thousand 
francs. Go and get hanged elscAvhere." 

" Monsieur le Baron," Thërnardier answered, bow- 
ing to the ground, " accèpt my eternal gratitude." 

And Thénardier left the room, understandiiig iioth- 
ing of ail this, but stupefied and ravished by this 
sweet crushing under bags of gold, and this light- 
ning flashing over his head in the shape of bank- 
notes. Let us finish at once with this man : two 
days after the events we hâve just recorded he 
started for America, under a false name, with his 
daughter Azelma, and provided with an order on 
a New York banker for tweuty thousand francs. 
The moral destitution of Thénardier, the spoiled 
bourgeois, w^as irrémédiable, and he was in Amer- 
ica w^liat he had been in Euroj^c, Tlie contact with 
a wacked man is sometimes sufficicnt to rot a good 
action, and to make somcthing bad issue from 
it : with Marius's raoney Thénardier turncd slave 


So soon as TLénardier had departed, Marius raii 
into the gardcii where Cosette was still walking. 

"Cosette, Cosette ! ' he cried, "coiue, corne quickly, 
let us be ofF ! Basque, a backney coach ! Cosette, 
come ! Oh, lieavens ! It was he who saved my life ! 
Let us uot lose a minute ! Put on your sliawl." 

Cosette thought him mad, and obeyed. He could 
not breathe, and laid his hand on his heart to check 
its beating. He walked up and dowu with long 
strides, and embraced Cosette. " Oh, Cosette ! " he 
said, "I am a wretch." ^Nlarius was amazed, for he 
was beginning to catch a glimpse of some strange, 
lofty, and sombre figure in this Jean Yaljean. An 
extraordinaiT virtue appeared to him, suprême and 
gentle, and humble in its immensity, and the con\-ict 
was transfigured into Christ. ]Marius was dazzled 
by this prodigy, and though he knew not exactly 
what he saw, it was grand. In an instant the back- 
ney coach was at the gâte. Marius helped Cosette 
in, and followed her. 

" Driver," he cried, " Xo. 7, Rue de l'Homme 

" Oh, how glad I am ! " said Cosette. " Rue de 
l'Honnne Armé ; I did not dare speak to you about 
Monsieur Jean, but we are going to see him." 

" Your father, Cosette ! your father more than 
ever. Cosette, I see it ail. You told me that you 
never received the letter I sent you by Gavroche. It 
must hâve fallen into his hands, Cosette, and he 
came to the barricade to save me. As it is his sole 
duty to be an angel, in passing he saved others : 
he saved Javert. He drew me out of that gulf to 


give me to you ; lie carried me on lus back through 
that frightful sewer. Ah ! I am a monstrous in- 
grate ! Cosette, after having been your providence, 
he was mine. Just imagine that there.was a hor- 
rible pit, in which a man could be drowned a hun- 
dred times, drowned in mud, Cosette; and he carried 
me through it. I had fainted; I saw nothing, I 
heard nothing, I could not know anything about my 
own adventures. We are going to bring him back 
with us, and whether he is willing. or not he shall 
never leave us again. I only hope he is at home ! 
I only hope we shall find him ! I will spend the 
rest of my life in revering him. Yes, it nmst hâve 
been so, Cosette, and Gavroche must hâve given 
him ray letter. That explains everything. You 

Cosette did not understand a word. 

" You are right," she said to him. 

In the mean while the hackney coach rolled along. 



At the knock he heard at his door Jean Valjean 
turned round. 

" Come in," he said feebly. 

The door opened, and Cosette and Marins ap- 
peared. Cosette rushed into the room. Marins 
remained on the threshold, leaning against the 

" Cosette ! " said Jean Valjean, and he sat up in 
his chair, with his arms outstretched and opened, 
haggard, livid, and sinister, but with an immense joy 
in his eyes. Cosette, sufFocated with émotion, fell 
on Jean Valjean's breast. 

" Father ! " she said. 

Jean Valjean, utterly overcome, stammered, " Co- 
sette ! She — you — Madame ! It is thou ! Oh, 
my God ! " 

And clasped in Cosette's arms, he exclaimed, — 

" It is you ! You are hère ; you forgive me, 
then ! " 

Marins, drooping his eyelids to keep his tears from 
flowing, advanced a step, and muttered between his 
lips, which were convulsively clenched to stop his 
sobs, — 


" Father ! " 

" And you too, you forgive me ! " said Jean Valjcan. 

Marins could not find a woid to say, and Jean 
Valjean added, " Thank you." Cosette took oiF lier 
shawl, and threw her bonnet on tlie bed. 

" It is in niy vvay," she said. 

And sitting down on the old man's knees, she 
parted his gray liair with an adorable movement, 
and kissed his forehead. Jean Valjean, who was 
wandering, let her do so. Cosette, who only com- 
prehended very vaguely, redoubled her caresses, as 
if she wished to pay Marius's debt, and Jean Valjean 
stammered, — 

" How foolish a nian can be ! I fancied that I 
should not see her again. Just imagine, Monsieur 
Pontmercy, that at the very moment when you came 
in I was saying, ' It is ail over.' There is her little 
dress. ' I am a wretched man, I shall not see Co- 
sette again,' I was saying at the very moment when 
you were coming up the stairs. What an idiot I 
was ! A man can be as idiotie as that î But people 
count without the good God, who says, ' You 
imagine that you are going to be abandoned ; no, 
things will not happen like that. Down below there 
is a poor old fellow who has need of an angel.' And 
the angel cornes, and he sees Cosette again, and 
he sees his little Cosette again. Oh, I was very 
imhappy ! " 

For a moment he was unable to speak ; then he 
went on, — 

" I really wantcd to see Cosette for a little while 
every now iind then, for a heart rcquires a bonc to 


gnaw. Still, I knew well that I was in the way. 
I said to mvself, ' They do iiot Avant you, so stop in 
vour corner ; a man has no right to pay everlasting 
visits.' Ah, blessed be God ! I see lier again. Do 
you know, Cosette, iJiat your husband is very hand- 
some? What a pretty enibroidered collar you are 
wearing ; I like that pattern. Your husband chose it, 
did he not ? And then, you will need cashmere 
shawls. Monsieur Pontmercy, let me call her Co- 
sette, it will not be for long." 

And Cosette replied, — 

" How unkind to hâve left us like that ! "Wliere 
hâve you been to ? Why were you away so long ? 
Formerly your absences did not last over three or 
four days. I sent Xicolette, and the answer al\^'ays 
was, ' He has not returned.' When did you get 
back? Why did you not let us know? Are you 
aware that you are greatly changed ? Oh, naughty 
papa, he has been ill, and we did not know it. Hère, 
Marins, feel how cold his hand is ! " 

" So you are hère ! So you forgive me, Monsieur 
Pontmercy? " Jean Valjean repeated. 

At this remark, ail that was swelling iu Marius's 
heart found a vent, and he burst forth, — 

" Do you hear, Cosette ? He asks my pardon. 
And do you know what he did for me, Cosette ? He 
saved my life ; he did more, he gave you to me, and, 
after saving me, and after giving you to me, Cosette, 
what did he do for himself ? He sacrificed himself. 
That is the man. And to me, who am so ungrateful, 
so pitiless, so forgetful, and so guilty, he says, ' Thank 
you ! ' Cosette, my whole life spent at this man's 


feet woiild be too little. That barricade, that sewer, 
that furnace, that pit, — lie went through thein ail for 
me and for you, Cosette ! He carried me throus'h 
every form of death, which he held at bay from me 
and acccptcd for himself. This man possesses every 
courage, every virtue, every heroism, and every holi- 
ness, and he is an angel, Cosette ! " 

" Stop, stop ! " Jean Valjean said in a whisper ; 
" why talk in that way ? " 

" But why did you not tell me of it ? " exclaimed 
INIarius, with a passion in whicli was vénération ; " it 
is your fault also. You save people's lives, and con- 
ceal the fact from them ! You do more ; under the 
prctext of unmasking yourself, you calumuiate your- 
self. It is frightful ! " 

" I told the truth," Jean Valjean replied. 

" No ! " Marius retortcd, " the truth is the whole 
truth, and you did not tell that. You were Mon- 
sieur ]Madcleine ; why not tell me so ? You saved 
Javert ; why not tell me so ? I owed you my life ; 
why not tell me so ? " 

" Because I thought like you, and found that you 
were right. It was necessary that I should leavc 
you. Had you known of the sewer, you would hâve 
compelled me to remain with you, and hence I held 
my tongue. Had I spoken, I should hâve been in 
tlie way." 

" Been in the way of whom, — of what ? " Marius 
broke out. " Do you fancy that you are going to 
remain hère ? Wc mean to takc you back with us. 
Oh, good heaven ! when I think that I only learned 
ail this by accident ! We shall take you away with 


US, for jou forni a part of ourselves. You are her 
father and mine. You shall not spend anotlier day 
in this frightful house, so do not fancy you will be 
hère to-morrow." 

" To-morrow," said Jean Yaljean, " I sliall be no 
longer hère ; but I shall not be at your housc." 

" What do you mean ? " Marins asked. " Oh, 
no ! we shall not let you travel any more. You 
shall not leave us again, for you beloug to us, and 
we will not let you go." 

" This time it is for good," Cosette added. " We 
hâve a carriage below, and I mean to carry you ofF ; 
if necessary, I shall employ force." 

And laughing, she feigned to raise the old man 
in her arms. 

" Your room is still ail ready in onr house," she 
weut on. " If you only knew how pretty the garden 
is just at présent ! The azaleas are getting on splen- 
didly ; the walks are covered with river sand, and 
there are little violet shells. You shall eat my straw- 
berries, for it is I who water them. And no more 
Madame and no more Monsieur Jean, for we live 
in a republic, do we not, iNIarius ? The programme 
is changed. If you only knew, father, what a sorrow 
I had ; a redbreast had made its nest in a hole in 
the wall, and a horrible cat killed it for me. My 
poor, pretty little redbreast, that used to thrust its 
head out of its window and look at me ! I cried 
at it, and could hâve killed the cat ! But now, 
nobody weeps, everybody laughs, everybody is happy. 
You will corne with us ; how pleased grandfather 
will be ! You will hâve your bed in the garden, 


you will cultivate it, and we will see whetlier jour 
strawberries are as fine as mine. And theu, I will 
do ail you wish, and you will obey me." 

Jean Valjean listened without hearing ; he heard 
the music of her voice ratlier than tlie meaning of 
her words, and one of those heavy tears, whicli are 
the black pearls of the soûl, slowly collected in his 
eye. He murmured, — 

" The proof that God is good is that she is hère." 

" My father ! " said Cosette. 

Jean Valjean continued, — 

" It is true it would be charming to live together. 
They hâve their trees fuU of birds, and I shoukl walk 
about with Cosette. It is sweet to be with persons 
who live, who say to each other good-morning, and 
call each other in the garden. We should each cul- 
tivate a little bed; she would give me her straw- 
berries to eat, and I would let her pick my roses. 
It would be delicious, but — " 

He broke off, and said gently, " It is a pity ! " 

The tear did not fall, it was recalled, and Jean 
Valjean substituted a smile for it. Cosette took 
both the old man's hands in hers. 

" Good Heaven ! " she said, " your hands hâve 
grown colder. Can you be ill ? Are you suffering ? " 

" I — no," Jean Valjean replied, " I am quite well. 
It is only — " He stopped. 


" I am going to die directly." 

Marins and Cosette shuddcrcd. 

" Die ! " Marins exclaimed. 

" Yes ; but that is nothing," said Jean Valjean. 


He breathed, smiled, and added, — 

" Cosette, you were talking to me ; go on, speak 
again. Your redbreast is dead, then ? Speak, that I 
may hear your voice." 

Marins, wlîo was petrified, looked at the old man, 
and Cosette uttered a piercing shriek. 

" Father, father, you will live ! You are going 
to live. I insist on yoiu* living, do you hear ? " 

Jean Valjean raised his head to her with adoration. 

" Oh, yes, forbid me dying. Who knows ? Per- 
haps I sliall obey. I was on the road to death 
when you arrived, but that stopped me. I fancied 
I was coming to life again." 

" You are full of strength and life," Marins ex- 
claimed ; " can you suppose that a man dies like 
that ? You hâve known grief, but you shall know 
no more. It is I who ask pardon of you, and on 
my knees ! You are going to live, and live with 
us, and live a long time. We will take you with 
us, and shall hâve henceforth but one thought, your 
happiness ! " 

"You hear," said Cosette, who was ail in tears. 
"Marins says that you will not die." 

Jean Valjean continued to smile. 

" Even if you were to take me home with you, 
Monsieur Pontmercy, would that prevent me being 
what I am ? Xo. God has thought the same as you 
and I, and he does not alter his opinion. It is bet- 
ter for me to be gone. Death is an excellent arrange- 
ment, and God knows better than we do what we 
want. I am certain that it is right, that you should 
be happy, that Monsieur Pontmercy shoidd hâve 

VOL. v. 28 


Cosette, that youth should espouse the dawn, that 
there should be around you, niy childrcn, lilacs and 
uightiugales, that your life should be a lawn bathed 
in sunlight, that ail the enchantments of Heaveii 
should fill your soûls, and that I who am good for 
nothing should now die. Corne, be reasônable ; notli- 
ing is possible now, and I fully feel that ail is over. 
An hour ago I had a fainting-fit, and last night I 
drank the whole of that jug of water. How kind 
your husband is, Cosette ! You are much better 
with him than with me ! " 

There was a noise at the door ; it was the physi- 
cian corne to pay his visit. 

" Good-day, and good-by, doctor," said Jean Val- 
jean ; " hère are my poor children." 

Marius wènt up to the physician, and addressed 
but one word to him, "Sir?" — but in the manner 
of pronouncing it there was a whole question. The 
physician answered the question by an expressive 

"Because thîngs are unpleasant," said Jean Val- 
jean, "that is no reason to be unjust to God." 

There was a silence, and every breast was oppressed. 
Jean Valjean turned to Cosette, and began contem- 
plating her, as if he wished to take the glance with 
him into eternity. In the deep shadow into which 
he had already sunk ecstasy was still possible for him 
in gazing at Cosette. The reflection of her sweet 
countenance illumincd his pale face, for the sepulchre 
may hâve its brilliancy. The physician felt his puise. 

" Ah, it was you that he wanted," he said, looking 
at Marius and Cosette. 


And bending down to Marius's ear, lie wliispered, 
"Too late!" 

Jean Valjean, almost without ceasing to regard 
Cosette, looked at Marins and the physician with 
serenit}^ and the scarcely articulated words could be 
heard passing liis lips. 

" Itis nothing to die, but it is frightful not to live." 

Ail at once he rose ; such return of strength is at 
times a sequel of the death-agony, He walked with 
a firm step to the wall, thrust aside Marins and the 
doctor, who wished to help him, detached from the 
wall the sinall copper crucifix hanging on it, retnrned 
to his seat with ail the vigor of full health, and said, 
as he laid the crucifix on the table, — 

" There is the great Martyr." 

Then his chest sank in, his head vacillated, as if 
the intoxication of the tomb were seizing on him, and 
his hands, lying on his knees, began pulling at the 
cloth of hi^ trousers. Cosette supported his shoul- 
ders, and sobbed, and tried to speak to him, but was 
unable to do so. Through the words mingled with 
that lugubrious saliva which accompanies tears, such 
sentences as this could be distinguished : " Father, 
do not leave us. Is it possible that we hâve only 
found you again to lose you ? " It might be said 
that the death-agony moves like a serpent ; it cornes, 
goes, advances toward the grave, and then turns back 
toward life ; there is groping in the action of death. 
Jean Valjean, after this partial syncope, rallied, 
shook his forehead as if to make the darkness fall 
ofF it, and became again almost lucid. He caught 
hold of Cosette's sleeve and kissed it. 


" He is recovering, doctor, he is recoveriiig," 
Marins cried. 

" You are both good," said Jean Valjean, " and I 
am going to tell you wliat causes me sorrow. It 
causes me sorrow, Monsieur Pontmercy, that you 
liave rcfused to touch tliat money ; but it is really 
your wife's. I will explain to you, my childrcn, and 
that is why I am so glad to see you. Black jet 
cornes from England, and white jet from Norway ; it 
is ail in that paper there, which you will read. I 
invented the substitution of rolled-up snaps for 
wclded snaps in bracelets ; they are prettier, better, 
and not so dear. You can understand what money 
can be.earned by it; so Cosette's fortune is really 
hers. I give you thèse détails that your mind may 
be at rest ! " 

The porter's wife h ad come up, and was peep- 
ing through the open door ; the physician sent lier 
off, but could not prevent the zealous .old woman 
shouting to the dying man before she weut, — 

" Will you hâve a priest ? " 

'*' I hâve one," Jean Valjean answered. 

And he seemed to point with his finger to a spot 
ovcr his head, where it seemed as if he saw some one ; 
it is probable, in truth, that the Bisliop was présent 
at this death-scene. Cosette gently placed a pillow 
behind Jean Valjean's loins, and he continued, — 

" jNIonsieur Pontmercy, hâve no fears, I conjure 
you. The six hundred thousand francs are really 
Cosette's ! I should hâve thrown away my life if you 
did not eiijoy them ! Wc had succeeded in making 
those bcads famously, and we competed with what 


is called Berlin jewelry. For instance, the black 
beads of Germany cannot be equalled ; for a gross, 
which contains twelve hundred well-cut beads, only 
costs three francs." 

When a being who is dear to us is about to die, 
we regard hini witli a gaze which grapples him, and 
would like to retain him. Cosette and Marins stood 
before him hand in hand, dumb through agony, not 
knowing what to say to death, despairing and trem- 
bling. With each moment Jean Valjean declined 
and approached nearer to the dark horizon. His 
breathing had become intermittent, and a slight rat- 
tle impeded it. He had a difficulty in moving his 
fore-arm, his feet had lost ail movement, and at the 
same tinie, as the helplessness of the limbs and the 
exhaustion of the body increased, ail the majesty of 
the soûl ascended and was displayed on his forehead. 
The light of the unknown world was already visible 
in his eyeballs. His face grew livid and at the same 
time smiling ; life was no longer there, but there was 
something else. His breath stopped, but his glance 
expanded ; he was a corpse on whom wings could 
be seen. He made Cosette a sign to approach, and 
then Marins ; it was evidently the last minute of the 
last hour, and he began speaking to them in so faint 
a voice that it seemed to come from a distance, and it 
was as if there were a wall between them and him. 

" Come hither, both of you ; I love you dearly. 
Oh, how pleasant it is to die like this ! You too 
love me, my Cosette ; I felt certain that you had 
always a fondness for the poor old man. How kind 


it was of you to place that pillow under iiiy loins ! 
You will weep for me a little, will you uot ? But not 
too mucli, for I do not wish you to feel real sorrow. 
You nuist amuse yoursclves a great deal, my chil- 
drcn. I forgot to tell you that more profit was 
made on the buckles without tongues than on ail 
the rest ; the gross cost two francs to produce, and 
sold for sixty. It was really a good trade, so you 
must not feel surprised at the six hundred thousand 
francs, Monsieur Pontmercy. It is honest money. 
You can be rich without any fear. You must hâve 
a carriage, now and then a box at the opéra, hand- 
some ball-dresses, my Cosette, and give good dinners 
to your friends, and be very happy. I was writing 
just now to Cosette. She will find my letter. To 
her I leave the two candlesticks on the mantel-piece. 
Thcy are silver, but to me they are made of gold, of 
diamonds ; they change the candies placed in them 
into consecrated tapers. I know not whether the 
man who gave them to me is satisfied with me above, 
but I hâve donc what I could. My children, you 
will not forget that I am a poor man, you will hâve 
me buried in some corner with a stone to mark the 
spot. That is my wish. No name on the stone. If 
Cosette comes to sce it now and then, it will cause 
me pleasurc. And you, too. Monsieur Pontmercy. 
I must confess to you that I did not always like you, 
and I ask your forgiveness. Now, she and you are . 
only one for me. I am very gratcful to you, for I 
feel that you render Cosette happy. If you only 
kncw. Monsieur Pontmercy; her pretty pink checks 
were my j()y, and when I saw her at ail pale, I was 


misérable. There is in the chest of drawers a five- 
hundred-franc note. I hâve not touched it ; it is for 
the poor, Cosette. Do you see your little dress there 
on the bed ? Do you recognize it ? And y et it was 
only ten years ago ! How time passes ! We hâve 
been very happy, and it is ail over. Do not weep, 
my children ; I am not going very far, and I shall see 
you from there. You will only hâve to look wheu 
it is dark, and you will see me smile. Cosette, do 
you remember INIontfermeil ? You were in the wood 
and very frightened : do you remember when I took 
the bucket-handle ? It was the first time I touched 
your pretty little hand. It was so cold. Ah, you 
had red hands in those days. Miss, but now they are 
very white. And the large doll? Do you remember? 
You christened it Catherine, and were sorry that you 
did not take it witl> you to the couvent. How many 
times you hâve made me laugh, my sweet angel ! 
When it had rained, you used to set straws floating 
in the gutter, and watched them go. One day I 
gave you a Avicker battledore and a shuttlecock vvith 
yellow, blue, and green feathers. You hâve forgotten 
it. You were so merry when a little girl. You 
used to play. You would put cherries in your ears. 
Ail thèse are things of the past. The forests through 
which one has passed with one's child, the trees 
under which we hâve walked, the couvent in which we 
hid, the sports, the hearty laughter of childhood, are 
shadows. I imagined that ail this belonged to me, 
and that was my stupidity. Those Thénardiers were 
very wicked, but we raust forgive them. Cosette, 
the moment has arrived to tell you your mother's 


name. It was Fantiiie. Remember this name, — 
Fautine. Fall on your knces every time that yoii 
prouounce it. She sufFered terribly. She loved you 
dearly. She knew as much misery as . you hâve 
knowii happiness. Such are the distributions of 
God. He is above. He sees us ail, and he knows 
ail that he does, amid bis great stars. I am going 
away, my children. Love each other dearly and 
always. There is no other thing in the world but 
that : love one another. You will sometimes think 
of the poor old man who died hère. Ah, niy Cosette, 
it is not my fault that I did not see you every day, 
for it broke my heart. I went as far as the corner 
of the street, and must hâve produced a funny effcct 
on the people who saw me pass, for I was like a mad- 
man, and even went out without my hat. My children, 
I can no longer see very clcarly. I h ad several things 
to say to you, but no mattcr. Think of me a little. 
You are blessed beings. I know not what is the mat- 
ter with me, but I see light. Corne hither. I die 
happy. Let me lay my hands on your beloved heads." 

Cosette and Marins fell on their knees, heart- 
broken and choked with sobs, each under one of 
Jean Valjean's hands. Thèse august hands did not 
move again. He had fallen back, and the light from 
the two candies illumined him : his white face looked 
up to heaven, and he let Cosette and Marins cover 
his hands with kisses. 

He was dead. 

The night was starless and intensely dark ; doubt- 
less somc immense angel was standing in the gloom, 
with outstretched wings, waiting for the soûl. 



The RE is at the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, in the 
vicinity of the poor side, far from the élégant quarter 
of this city of sepulchres, far from those fantastic 
tombs which display in the présence of eteruity the 
hideous fashions of death, in a deserted corner near 
an old wall, under a yew up which biud-weed 
climbs, and amid couch-grass and moss, a tombstone. 
This stone is no more exempt than the others from 
the results of time, irom mildew, lichen, and the 
deposits of birds. Water turns it green and the 
atmosphère blackens it. It is not in the vicinity of 
any path, and people do not care to visit that part 
becausc the grass is tall and they get their feet wet. 
When there is a little sunshine the lizards disport 
on it ; there is ail around a rustling of wild oats, and 
in spring liunets sing on the trees. 

This tombstone is quite bare. In cutting it, only 
the necessities of the tomb were taken into considér- 
ation ; no further care was taken than to make the 
stone long enough and narrow enough to cover a 

No name can be read on it. 

INIany, many ycars ago, however. a hand wrote on 


it in pencil thèse Unes, whicli became almost illegible 
through rain and clust, and whicli are probably 
effaced at the présent day : — 

" Il dort. Quoique le sort fût pour lui bien étrange, 
Il vivait. Il mourut quand il n'eut pas son ange ; 
La chose simplement d'elle-même arriva, 
Comme la nuit se fait lorsque le jour s'en va." 


University Press : John Wilson & Son, Cambridge. 

D i ^ t/ 

PQ Hugo, Victor Marie 
2286 Les misérables