in English  home page in Italiano  pagina iniziale by logo

Yoga Roma Parioli Pony Express Raccomandate Roma

Ebook in formato Kindle (mobi) - Kindle File Ebook (mobi)

Formato per Iphone, Ipad e Ebook (epub) - Ipad, Iphone and Ebook reader format (epub)

Versione ebook di powered by

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Translated by Isabel F. Hapgood





I. M. Myriel
II. M. Myriel becomes M. Welcome
III. A Hard Bishopric for a Good Bishop
IV. Works corresponding to Words
V. Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long
VI. Who guarded his House for him
VII. Cravatte
VIII. Philosophy after Drinking
IX. The Brother as depicted by the Sister
X. The Bishop in the Presence of an Unknown Light
XI. A Restriction
XII. The Solitude of Monseigneur Welcome
XIII. What he believed
XIV. What he thought

I. The Evening of a Day of Walking
II. Prudence counselled to Wisdom
III. The Heroism of Passive Obedience
IV. Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier
V. Tranquillity
VI. Jean Valjean
VII. The Interior of Despair
VIII. Billows and Shadows
IX. New Troubles
X. The Man aroused
XI. What he does
XII. The Bishop works
XIII. Little Gervais

I. The Year 1817
II. A Double Quartette
III. Four and Four
IV. Tholomyes is so Merry that he sings a Spanish Ditty
V. At Bombardas
VI. A Chapter in which they adore Each Other
VII. The Wisdom of Tholomyes
VIII. The Death of a Horse
IX. A Merry End to Mirth

I. One Mother meets Another Mother

II. First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures
III. The Lark
I. The History of a Progress in Black Glass Trinkets
II. Madeleine
III. Sums deposited with Laffitte
IV. M. Madeleine in Mourning
V. Vague Flashes on the Horizon
VI. Father Fauchelevent
VII. Fauchelevent becomes a Gardener in Paris
VIII. Madame Victurnien expends Thirty Francs on Morality
IX. Madame Victurnien's Success
X. Result of the Success
XI. Christus nos Liberavit
XII. M. Bamatabois's Inactivity
XIII. The Solution of Some Questions connected with the
Municipal Police

I. The Beginning of Repose
II. How Jean may become Champ

I. Sister Simplice
II. The Perspicacity of Master Scaufflaire
III. A Tempest in a Skull
IV. Forms assumed by Suffering during Sleep
V. Hindrances
VI. Sister Simplice put to the Proof
VII. The Traveller on his Arrival takes Precautions
for Departure
VIII. An Entrance by Favor
IX. A Place where Convictions are in Process of Formation
X. The System of Denials
XI. Champmathieu more and more Astonished

I. In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair
II. Fantine Happy
III. Javert Satisfied
IV. Authority reasserts its Rights
V. A Suitable Tomb



I. What is met with on the Way from Nivelles
II. Hougomont
III. The Eighteenth of June1815
V. The Quid Obscurum of Battles
VI. Four o'clock in the Afternoon
VII. Napoleon in a Good Humor
VIII. The Emperor puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste
IX. The Unexpected

X. The Plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean
XI. A Bad Guide to Napoleon; a Good Guide to Bulow
XII. The Guard
XIII. The Catastrophe
XIV. The Last Square
XV. Cambronne
XVI. Quot Libras in Duce?
XVII. Is Waterloo to be considered Good?
XVIII. A Recrudescence of Divine Right
XIX. The Battle-Field at Night

I. Number 24601 becomes Number 9430
II. In which the reader will peruse Two Verses which are
of the Devil's Composition possibly
III. The Ankle-Chain must have undergone a Certain Preparatory
Manipulation to be thus broken with a Blow from a Hammer

I. The Water Question at Montfermeil
II. Two Complete Portraits
III. Men must have Wineand Horses must have Water
IV. Entrance on the Scene of a Doll
V. The Little One All Alone
VI. Which possibly proves Boulatruelle's Intelligence
VII. Cosette Side by Side with the Stranger in the Dark
VIII. The Unpleasantness of receiving into One's House a Poor
Man who may be a Rich Man
IX. Thenardier at his Manoeuvres
X. He who seeks to better himself may render his Situation Worse
XI. Number 9430 reappearsand Cosette wins it in the Lottery

I. Master Gorbeau
II. A Nest for Owl and a Warbler
III. Two Misfortunes make One Piece of Good Fortune
IV. The Remarks of the Principal Tenant
V. A Five-Franc Piece falls on the Ground and produces a Tumult

I. The Zigzags of Strategy
II. It is Lucky that the Pont d'Austerlitz bears
III. To Witthe Plan of Paris in 1727
IV. The Gropings of Flight
V. Which would be Impossible with Gas Lanterns
VI. The Beginning of an Enigma
VII. Continuation of the Enigma
VIII. The Enigma becomes Doubly Mysterious
IX. The Man with the Bell
X. Which explains how Javert got on the Scent

I. Number 62 Rue Petit-Picpus
II. The Obedience of Martin Verga
III. Austerities
IV. Gayeties
V. Distractions
VI. The Little Convent

VII. Some Silhouettes of this Darkness
VIII. Post Corda Lapides
IX. A Century under a Guimpe
X. Origin of the Perpetual Adoration
XI. End of the Petit-Picpus

I. The Convent as an Abstract Idea
II. The Convent as an Historical Fact
III. On What Conditions One can respect the Past
IV. The Convent from the Point of View of Principles
V. Prayer
VI. The Absolute Goodness of Prayer
VII. Precautions to be observed in Blame
VIII. FaithLaw

I. Which treats of the Manner of entering a Convent
II. Fauchelevent in the Presence of a Difficulty
III. Mother Innocente
IV. In which Jean Valjean has quite the Air of having read
Austin Castillejo
V. It is not Necessary to be Drunk in order to be Immortal
VI. Between Four Planks
VII. In which will be found the Origin of the Saying: Don't
lose the Card
VIII. A Successful Interrogatory
IX. Cloistered


I. Parvulus
II. Some of his Particular Characteristics
III. He is Agreeable
IV. He may be of Use
V. His Frontiers
VI. A Bit of History
VII. The Gamin should have his Place in the Classifications
of India
VIII. In which the Reader will find a Charming Saying of the
Last King
IX. The Old Soul of Gaul
X. Ecce Parisecce Homo
XI. To Scoffto Reign
XII. The Future Latent in the People
XIII. Little Gavroche

I. Ninety Years and Thirty-two Teeth
II. Like MasterLike House
III. Luc-Esprit
IV. A Centenarian Aspirant
V. Basque and Nicolette
VI. In which Magnon and her Two Children are seen
VII. Rule: Receive No One except in the Evening
VIII. Two do not make a Pair

I. An Ancient Salon
II. One of the Red Spectres of that Epoch
III. Requiescant
IV. End of the Brigand
V. The Utility of going to Massin order to become a
VI. The Consequences of having met a Warden
VII. Some Petticoat
VIII. Marble against Granite

I. A Group which barely missed becoming Historic
II. Blondeau's Funeral Oration by Bossuet
III. Marius' Astonishments
IV. The Back Room of the Cafe Musain
V. Enlargement of Horizon
VI. Res Angusta

I. Marius Indigent
II. Marius Poor
III. Marius Grown Up
IV. M. Mabeuf
V. Poverty a Good Neighbor for Misery
VI. The Substitute

I. The Sobriquet; Mode of Formation of Family Names
II. Lux Facta Est
III. Effect of the Spring
IV. Beginning of a Great Malady
V. Divers Claps of Thunder fall on Ma'am Bougon
VI. Taken Prisoner
VII. Adventures of the Letter U delivered over to Conjectures
VIII. The Veterans themselves can be Happy
IX. Eclipse

I. Mines and Miners
II. The Lowest Depths
III. BabetGueulemerClaquesousand Montparnasse
IV. Composition of the Troupe

I. Mariuswhile seeking a Girl in a Bonnet encounters a
Man in a Cap
II. Treasure Trove
III. Quadrifrons
IV. A Rose in Misery
V. A Providential Peep-Hole
VI. The Wild Man in his Lair
VII. Strategy and Tactics
VIII. The Ray of Light in the Hovel
IX. Jondrette comes near Weeping
X. Tariff of Licensed CabsTwo Francs an Hour
XI. Offers of Service from Misery to Wretchedness
XII. The Use made of M. Leblanc's Five-Franc Piece
XIII. Solus cum Soloin Loco Remotonon cogitabuntur

orare Pater Noster

XIV. In which a Police Agent bestows Two Fistfuls on a Lawyer
XV. Jondrette makes his Purchases
XVI. In which will be found the Words to an English Air
which was in Fashion in 1832
XVII. The Use made of Marius' Five-Franc Piece
XVIII. Marius' Two Chairs form a Vis-a-Vis
XIX. Occupying One's Self with Obscure Depths
XX. The Trap
XXI. One should always begin by arresting the Victims
XXII. The Little One who was crying in Volume Two


I. Well Cut
II. Badly Sewed
III. Louis Philippe
IV. Cracks beneath the Foundation
V. Facts whence History springs and which History ignores
VI. Enjolras and his Lieutenants

I. The Lark's Meadow
II. Embryonic Formation of Crimes in the Incubation of Prisons
III. Apparition to Father Mabeuf
IV. An Apparition to Marius

I. The House with a Secret
II. Jean Valjean as a National Guard
III. Foliis ac Frondibus
IV. Change of Gate
V. The Rose perceives that it is an Engine of War
VI. The Battle Begun
VII. To One Sadness oppose a Sadness and a Half
VIII. The Chain-Gang

I. A Wound withoutHealing within
II. Mother Plutarque finds no Difficulty in explaining a Phenomenon

I. Solitude and Barracks Combined
II. Cosette's Apprehensions
III. Enriched with Commentaries by Toussaint
IV. A Heart beneath a Stone
V. Cosette after the Letter
VI. Old People are made to go out opportunely

I. The Malicious Playfulness of the Wind
II. In which Little Gavroche extracts Profit from Napoleon the Great
III. The Vicissitudes of Flight

I. Origin
II. Roots
III. Slang which weeps and Slang which laughs
IV. The Two Duties: To Watch and to Hope

I. Full Light
II. The Bewilderment of Perfect Happiness
III. The Beginning of Shadow
IV. A Cab runs in English and barks in Slang
V. Things of the Night
VI. Marius becomes Practical once more to the Extent of
Giving Cosette his Address
VII. The Old Heart and the Young Heart in the Presence
of Each Other

I. Jean Valjean
II. Marius
III. M. Mabeuf

I. The Surface of the Question
II. The Root of the Matter
III. A Burial; an Occasion to be born again
IV. The Ebullitions of Former Days
V. Originality of Paris

I. Some Explanations with Regard to the Origin of Gavroche's
Poetry. The Influence of an Academician on this Poetry
II. Gavroche on the March
III. Just Indignation of a Hair-dresser
IV. The Child is amazed at the Old Man
V. The Old Man
VI. Recruits

I. History of Corinthe from its Foundation
II. Preliminary Gayeties
III. Night begins to descend upon Grantaire
IV. An Attempt to console the Widow Hucheloup
V. Preparations
VI. Waiting
VII. The Man recruited in the Rue des Billettes
VIII. Many Interrogation Points with Regard to a Certain
Le Cabucwhose Name may not have been Le Cabuc

I. From the Rue Plumet to the Quartier Saint-Denis
II. An Owl's View of Paris
III. The Extreme Edge

I. The Flag: Act First
II. The Flag: Act Second

III. Gavroche would have done better to accept Enjolras' Carbine
IV. The Barrel of Powder
V. End of the Verses of Jean Prouvaire
VI. The Agony of Death after the Agony of Life
VII. Gavroche as a Profound Calculator of Distances

I. A Drinker is a Babbler
II. The Street Urchin an Enemy of Light
III. While Cosette and Toussaint are Asleep
IV. Gavroche's Excess of Zeal


I. The Charybdis of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and the
Scylla of the Faubourg du Temple
II. What Is to Be Done in the Abyss if One Does Not Converse
III. Light and Shadow
IV. Minus FivePlus One
V. The Horizon Which One Beholds from the Summit of a Barricade
VI. Marius HaggardJavert Laconic
VII. The Situation Becomes Aggravated
VIII. The Artillery-men Compel People to Take Them Seriously
IX. Employment of the Old Talents of a Poacher and That
Infallible Marksmanship Which Influenced the
Condemnation of 1796
X. Dawn
XI. The Shot Which Misses Nothing and Kills No One
XII. Disorder a Partisan of Order
XIII. Passing Gleams
XIV. Wherein Will Appear the Name of Enjolras' Mistress
XV. Gavroche Outside
XVI. How from a Brother One Becomes a Father
XVII. Mortuus Pater Filium Moriturum Expectat
XVIII. The Vulture Becomes Prey
XIX. Jean Valjean Takes His Revenge
XX. The Dead Are in the Right and the Living Are Not in the Wrong
XXI. The Heroes
XXII. Foot to Foot
XXIII. Orestes Fasting and Pylades Drunk
XXIV. Prisoner

I. The Land Impoverished by the Sea
II. Ancient History of the Sewer
III. Bruneseau
V. Present Progress
VI. Future Progress

I. The Sewer and Its Surprises
II. Explanation
III. The "Spun" Man
IV. He Also Bears His Cross
V. In the Case of Sandas in That of WomanThere Is a
Fineness Which Is Treacherous

VI. The Fontis
VII. One Sometimes Runs Aground When One Fancies That
One Is Disembarking
VIII. The Torn Coat-Tail
IX. Marius Produces on Some One Who Is a Judge of the
Matterthe Effect of Being Dead
X. Return of the Son Who Was Prodigal of His Life
XI. Concussion in the Absolute
XII. The Grandfather


I. In Which the Tree with the Zinc Plaster Appears Again
II. MariusEmerging from Civil WarMakes Ready for
Domestic War
III. Marius Attacked
IV. Mademoiselle Gillenormand Ends by No Longer Thinking
It a Bad Thing That M. Fauchelevent Should Have
Entered With Something Under His Arm
V. Deposit Your Money in a Forest Rather than with a Notary
VI. The Two Old Men Do EverythingEach One After His
Own Fashionto Render Cosette Happy
VII. The Effects of Dreams Mingled with Happiness
VIII. Two Men Impossible to Find

I. The 16th of February1833
II. Jean Valjean Still Wears His Arm in a Sling
III. The Inseparable
IV. The Immortal Liver

I. The Seventh Circle and the Eighth Heaven
II. The Obscurities Which a Revelation Can Contain

I. The Lower Chamber
II. Another Step Backwards
III. They Recall the Garden of the Rue Plumet
IV. Attraction and Extinction

I. Pity for the Unhappybut Indulgence for the Happy
II. Last Flickerings of a Lamp Without Oil
III. A Pen Is Heavy to the Man Who Lifted the
Fauchelevent's Cart
IV. A Bottle of Ink Which Only Succeeded in Whitening
V. A Night Behind Which There Is Day
VI. The Grass Covers and the Rain Effaces
Les Miserables




So long as there shall existby virtue of law and customdecrees of
damnation pronounced by societyartificially creating hells amid
the civilization of earthand adding the element of human fate to
divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century-the
degradation of man through pauperismthe corruption of woman
through hungerthe crippling of children through lack of light-are
unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part
of the world;--in other wordsand with a still wider significance
so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earthbooks of the nature
of Les Miserables cannot fail to be of use.





In 1815M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D----
He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied
the see of D---- since 1806.

Although this detail has no connection whatever with the real
substance of what we are about to relateit will not be superfluous
if merely for the sake of exactness in all pointsto mention here
the various rumors and remarks which had been in circulation about him
from the very moment when he arrived in the diocese. True or false
that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in
their livesand above all in their destiniesas that which they do.

M. Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix;
hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar. It was said that
his fatherdestining him to be the heir of his own posthad married
him at a very early ageeighteen or twentyin accordance with a
custom which is rather widely prevalent in parliamentary families.
In spite of this marriagehoweverit was said that Charles Myriel
created a great deal of talk. He was well formedthough rather short
in statureelegantgracefulintelligent; the whole of the first
portion of his life had been devoted to the world and to gallantry.
The Revolution came; events succeeded each other with precipitation;
the parliamentary familiesdecimatedpursuedhunted down
were dispersed. M. Charles Myriel emigrated to Italy at the very
beginning of the Revolution. There his wife died of a malady of
the chestfrom which she had long suffered. He had no children.
What took place next in the fate of M. Myriel? The ruin of the French
society of the olden daysthe fall of his own familythe tragic
spectacles of '93which wereperhapseven more alarming to the
emigrants who viewed them from a distancewith the magnifying powers

of terror--did these cause the ideas of renunciation and solitude
to germinate in him? Was hein the midst of these distractions
these affections which absorbed his lifesuddenly smitten with one
of those mysterious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm
by striking to his hearta man whom public catastrophes would
not shakeby striking at his existence and his fortune? No one
could have told: all that was known wasthat when he returned
from Italy he was a priest.

In 1804M. Myriel was the Cure of B---- [Brignolles]. He was already
advanced in yearsand lived in a very retired manner.

About the epoch of the coronationsome petty affair connected
with his curacy--just whatis not precisely known--took him
to Paris. Among other powerful persons to whom he went to solicit
aid for his parishioners was M. le Cardinal Fesch. One day
when the Emperor had come to visit his unclethe worthy Cure
who was waiting in the anteroomfound himself present when His
Majesty passed. Napoleonon finding himself observed with a certain
curiosity by this old manturned round and said abruptly:-

Who is this good man who is staring at me?

Sire,said M. Myrielyou are looking at a good man, and I
at a great man. Each of us can profit by it.

That very eveningthe Emperor asked the Cardinal the name of the Cure
and some time afterwards M. Myriel was utterly astonished to learn
that he had been appointed Bishop of D----

What truth was thereafter allin the stories which were invented
as to the early portion of M. Myriel's life? No one knew.
Very few families had been acquainted with the Myriel family before
the Revolution.

M. Myriel had to undergo the fate of every newcomer in a little town
where there are many mouths which talkand very few heads which think.
He was obliged to undergo it although he was a bishopand because he
was a bishop. But after allthe rumors with which his name was
connected were rumors only--noisesayingswords; less than words-palabres
as the energetic language of the South expresses it.
However that may beafter nine years of episcopal power and of
residence in D----all the stories and subjects of conversation
which engross petty towns and petty people at the outset had fallen
into profound oblivion. No one would have dared to mention them;
no one would have dared to recall them.

M. Myriel had arrived at D---- accompanied by an elderly spinster
Mademoiselle Baptistinewho was his sisterand ten years his junior.
Their only domestic was a female servant of the same age
as Mademoiselle Baptistineand named Madame Magloirewho
after having been the servant of M. le Curenow assumed
the double title of maid to Mademoiselle and housekeeper to Monseigneur.

Mademoiselle Baptistine was a longpalethingentle creature;
she realized the ideal expressed by the word "respectable"; for it
seems that a woman must needs be a mother in order to be venerable.
She had never been pretty; her whole lifewhich had been nothing
but a succession of holy deedshad finally conferred upon her
a sort of pallor and transparency; and as she advanced in years
she had acquired what may be called the beauty of goodness.
What had been leanness in her youth had become transparency in

her maturity; and this diaphaneity allowed the angel to be seen.
She was a soul rather than a virgin. Her person seemed made
of a shadow; there was hardly sufficient body to provide for sex;
a little matter enclosing a light; large eyes forever drooping;-a
mere pretext for a soul's remaining on the earth.

Madame Magloire was a littlefatwhite old womancorpulent
and bustling; always out of breath--in the first place
because of her activityand in the nextbecause of her asthma.

On his arrivalM. Myriel was installed in the episcopal palace with
the honors required by the Imperial decreeswhich class a bishop
immediately after a major-general. The mayor and the president
paid the first call on himand hein turnpaid the first call
on the general and the prefect.

The installation overthe town waited to see its bishop at work.


The episcopal palace of D---- adjoins the hospital.

The episcopal palace was a huge and beautiful housebuilt of stone
at the beginning of the last century by M. Henri PugetDoctor of
Theology of the Faculty of ParisAbbe of Simorewho had been Bishop
of D---- in 1712. This palace was a genuine seignorial residence.
Everything about it had a grand air--the apartments of the Bishop
the drawing-roomsthe chambersthe principal courtyardwhich was
very largewith walks encircling it under arcades in the old
Florentine fashionand gardens planted with magnificent trees.
In the dining-rooma long and superb gallery which was situated
on the ground-floor and opened on the gardensM. Henri Puget had
entertained in stateon July 291714My Lords Charles Brulart
de Genlisarchbishop; Prince d'Embrun; Antoine de Mesgrigny
the capuchinBishop of Grasse; Philippe de VendomeGrand Prior
of FranceAbbe of Saint Honore de Lerins; Francois de Berton
de CrillonbishopBaron de Vence; Cesar de Sabran de Forcalquier
bishopSeignor of Glandeve; and Jean SoanenPriest of the Oratory
preacher in ordinary to the kingbishopSeignor of Senez.
The portraits of these seven reverend personages decorated this apartment;
and this memorable datethe 29th of July1714was there engraved
in letters of gold on a table of white marble.

The hospital was a low and narrow building of a single story
with a small garden.

Three days after his arrivalthe Bishop visited the hospital.
The visit endedhe had the director requested to be so good as to
come to his house.

Monsieur the director of the hospital,said he to himhow many
sick people have you at the present moment?

Twenty-six, Monseigneur.

That was the number which I counted,said the Bishop.

The beds,pursued the directorare very much crowded against
each other.

That is what I observed.

The halls are nothing but rooms, and it is with difficulty
that the air can be changed in them.

So it seems to me.

And then, when there is a ray of sun, the garden is very small
for the convalescents.

That was what I said to myself.

In case of epidemics,--we have had the typhus fever this year;
we had the sweating sickness two years ago, and a hundred patients
at times,--we know not what to do.

That is the thought which occurred to me.

What would you have, Monseigneur?said the director. "One must
resign one's self."

This conversation took place in the gallery dining-room on the

The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he turned abruptly
to the director of the hospital.

Monsieur,said hehow many beds do you think this hall alone
would hold?

Monseigneur's dining-room?exclaimed the stupefied director.

The Bishop cast a glance round the apartmentand seemed to be
taking measures and calculations with his eyes.

It would hold full twenty beds,said heas though speaking
to himself. Thenraising his voice:--

Hold, Monsieur the director of the hospital, I will tell you something.
There is evidently a mistake here. There are thirty-six of you,
in five or six small rooms. There are three of us here,
and we have room for sixty. There is some mistake, I tell you;
you have my house, and I have yours. Give me back my house;
you are at home here.

On the following day the thirty-six patients were installed
in the Bishop's palaceand the Bishop was settled in the hospital.

M. Myriel had no propertyhis family having been ruined by
the Revolution. His sister was in receipt of a yearly income
of five hundred francswhich sufficed for her personal wants at
the vicarage. M. Myriel received from the Statein his quality
of bishopa salary of fifteen thousand francs. On the very day
when he took up his abode in the hospitalM. Myriel settled on
the disposition of this sum once for allin the following manner.
We transcribe here a note made by his own hand:-NOTE

For the little seminary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1500 livres
Society of the mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 "
For the Lazarists of Montdidier . . . . . . . . . . 100 "

Seminary for foreign missions in Paris . . . . . . 200 "
Congregation of the Holy Spirit . . . . . . . . . . 150 "
Religious establishments of the Holy Land . . . . . 100 "
Charitable maternity societies . . . . . . . . . . 300 "
Extrafor that of Arles . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 "
Work for the amelioration of prisons . . . . . . . 400 "
Work for the relief and delivery of prisoners . . . 500 "
To liberate fathers of families incarcerated for debt 1000 "
Addition to the salary of the poor teachers of the

diocese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2000 "
Public granary of the Hautes-Alpes . . . . . . . . 100 "
Congregation of the ladies of D----of Manosqueand of

Sisteronfor the gratuitous instruction of poor

girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1500 "
For the poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6000 "
My personal expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1000 "

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15000 "

M. Myriel made no change in this arrangement during the entire
period that he occupied the see of D---- As has been seenhe called
it regulating his household expenses.
This arrangement was accepted with absolute submission by
Mademoiselle Baptistine. This holy woman regarded Monseigneur of D---as
at one and the same time her brother and her bishopher friend
according to the flesh and her superior according to the Church.
She simply loved and venerated him. When he spokeshe bowed;
when he actedshe yielded her adherence. Their only servant
Madame Magloiregrumbled a little. It will be observed that
Monsieur the Bishop had reserved for himself only one thousand
livreswhichadded to the pension of Mademoiselle Baptistine
made fifteen hundred francs a year. On these fifteen hundred
francs these two old women and the old man subsisted.

And when a village curate came to D----the Bishop still found means
to entertain himthanks to the severe economy of Madame Magloire
and to the intelligent administration of Mademoiselle Baptistine.

One dayafter he had been in D---- about three monthsthe Bishop said:-

And still I am quite cramped with it all!

I should think so!exclaimed Madame Magloire. "Monseigneur has
not even claimed the allowance which the department owes him
for the expense of his carriage in townand for his journeys
about the diocese. It was customary for bishops in former days."

Hold!cried the Bishopyou are quite right, Madame Magloire.

And he made his demand.

Some time afterwards the General Council took this demand under
considerationand voted him an annual sum of three thousand francs
under this heading: Allowance to M. the Bishop for expenses
of carriageexpenses of postingand expenses of pastoral visits.

This provoked a great outcry among the local burgesses;
and a senator of the Empirea former member of the Council
of the Five Hundred which favored the 18 Brumaireand who was
provided with a magnificent senatorial office in the vicinity
of the town of D----wrote to M. Bigot de Preameneu
the minister of public worshipa very angry and confidential

note on the subjectfrom which we extract these authentic lines:-

Expenses of carriage? What can be done with it in a town of less
than four thousand inhabitants? Expenses of journeys? What is the
use of these trips, in the first place? Next, how can the posting
be accomplished in these mountainous parts? There are no roads.
No one travels otherwise than on horseback. Even the bridge
between Durance and Chateau-Arnoux can barely support ox-teams.
These priests are all thus, greedy and avaricious. This man played
the good priest when he first came. Now he does like the rest;
he must have a carriage and a posting-chaise, he must have luxuries,
like the bishops of the olden days. Oh, all this priesthood!
Things will not go well, M. le Comte, until the Emperor has freed us
from these black-capped rascals. Down with the Pope! [Matters were
getting embroiled with Rome.] For my part, I am for Caesar alone.

On the other handthis affair afforded great delight to Madame Magloire.
Good,said she to Mademoiselle Baptistine; "Monseigneur began with
other peoplebut he has had to wind up with himselfafter all.
He has regulated all his charities. Now here are three thousand
francs for us! At last!"

That same evening the Bishop wrote out and handed to his sister
a memorandum conceived in the following terms:-


For furnishing meat soup to the patients in the hospital. 1500 livres
For the maternity charitable society of Aix . . . . . . . 250 "
For the maternity charitable society of Draguignan . . . 250 "
For foundlings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 "
For orphans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 "

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3000 "

Such was M. Myriel's budget.

As for the chance episcopal perquisitesthe fees for marriage bans
dispensationsprivate baptismssermonsbenedictionsof churches
or chapelsmarriagesetc.the Bishop levied them on the wealthy
with all the more asperitysince he bestowed them on the needy.

After a timeofferings of money flowed in. Those who had and
those who lacked knocked at M. Myriel's door--the latter in search
of the alms which the former came to deposit. In less than a year
the Bishop had become the treasurer of all benevolence and the cashier
of all those in distress. Considerable sums of money passed through
his handsbut nothing could induce him to make any change whatever
in his mode of lifeor add anything superfluous to his bare necessities.

Far from it. As there is always more wretchedness below than there
is brotherhood aboveall was given awayso to speakbefore it
was received. It was like water on dry soil; no matter how much
money he receivedhe never had any. Then he stripped himself.

The usage being that bishops shall announce their baptismal
names at the head of their charges and their pastoral letters
the poor people of the country-side had selectedwith a sort of
affectionate instinctamong the names and prenomens of their bishop
that which had a meaning for them; and they never called him

anything except Monseigneur Bienvenu [Welcome]. We will follow
their exampleand will also call him thus when we have occasion
to name him. Moreoverthis appellation pleased him.

I like that name,said he. "Bienvenu makes up for the Monseigneur."

We do not claim that the portrait herewith presented is probable;
we confine ourselves to stating that it resembles the original.



The Bishop did not omit his pastoral visits because he had converted
his carriage into alms. The diocese of D---- is a fatiguing one.
There are very few plains and a great many mountains; hardly any roads
as we have just seen; thirty-two curaciesforty-one vicarships
and two hundred and eighty-five auxiliary chapels. To visit all
these is quite a task.

The Bishop managed to do it. He went on foot when it was in
the neighborhoodin a tilted spring-cart when it was on the plain
and on a donkey in the mountains. The two old women accompanied him.
When the trip was too hard for themhe went alone.

One day he arrived at Senezwhich is an ancient episcopal city.
He was mounted on an ass. His pursewhich was very dry at that moment
did not permit him any other equipage. The mayor of the town came
to receive him at the gate of the townand watched him dismount
from his asswith scandalized eyes. Some of the citizens were
laughing around him. "Monsieur the Mayor said the Bishop,
and Messieurs CitizensI perceive that I shock you. You think
it very arrogant in a poor priest to ride an animal which was used
by Jesus Christ. I have done so from necessityI assure you
and not from vanity."

In the course of these trips he was kind and indulgentand talked
rather than preached. He never went far in search of his arguments
and his examples. He quoted to the inhabitants of one district
the example of a neighboring district. In the cantons where they
were harsh to the poorhe said: "Look at the people of Briancon!
They have conferred on the pooron widows and orphansthe right
to have their meadows mown three days in advance of every one else.
They rebuild their houses for them gratuitously when they are ruined.
Therefore it is a country which is blessed by God. For a whole century
there has not been a single murderer among them."

In villages which were greedy for profit and harvesthe said:
Look at the people of Embrun! If, at the harvest season, the father
of a family has his son away on service in the army, and his daughters
at service in the town, and if he is ill and incapacitated, the cure
recommends him to the prayers of the congregation; and on Sunday,
after the mass, all the inhabitants of the village--men, women,
and children--go to the poor man's field and do his harvesting
for him, and carry his straw and his grain to his granary.
To families divided by questions of money and inheritance he said:
Look at the mountaineers of Devolny, a country so wild that the
nightingale is not heard there once in fifty years. Well, when the
father of a family dies, the boys go off to seek their fortunes,
leaving the property to the girls, so that they may find husbands.
To the cantons which had a taste for lawsuitsand where the farmers

ruined themselves in stamped paperhe said: "Look at those good peasants
in the valley of Queyras! There are three thousand souls of them.
Mon Dieu! it is like a little republic. Neither judge nor bailiff
is known there. The mayor does everything. He allots the imposts
taxes each person conscientiouslyjudges quarrels for nothing
divides inheritances without chargepronounces sentences gratuitously;
and he is obeyedbecause he is a just man among simple men."
To villages where he found no schoolmasterhe quoted once more the
people of Queyras: "Do you know how they manage?" he said. "Since a
little country of a dozen or fifteen hearths cannot always support
a teacherthey have school-masters who are paid by the whole valley
who make the round of the villagesspending a week in this one
ten days in thatand instruct them. These teachers go to the fairs.
I have seen them there. They are to be recognized by the quill
pens which they wear in the cord of their hat. Those who teach
reading only have one pen; those who teach reading and reckoning
have two pens; those who teach readingreckoningand Latin have
three pens. But what a disgrace to be ignorant! Do like the people
of Queyras!"

Thus he discoursed gravely and paternally; in default of examples
he invented parablesgoing directly to the pointwith few phrases
and many imageswhich characteristic formed the real eloquence
of Jesus Christ. And being convinced himselfhe was persuasive.



His conversation was gay and affable. He put himself on a level
with the two old women who had passed their lives beside him.
When he laughedit was the laugh of a schoolboy. Madame Magloire
liked to call him Your Grace [Votre Grandeur]. One day he rose
from his arm-chairand went to his library in search of a book.
This book was on one of the upper shelves. As the bishop was rather
short of staturehe could not reach it. "Madame Magloire said he,
fetch me a chair. My greatness [grandeur] does not reach as far as
that shelf."

One of his distant relativesMadame la Comtesse de Lorarely
allowed an opportunity to escape of enumeratingin his presence
what she designated as "the expectations" of her three sons.
She had numerous relativeswho were very old and near to death
and of whom her sons were the natural heirs. The youngest of the
three was to receive from a grand-aunt a good hundred thousand
livres of income; the second was the heir by entail to the title
of the Dukehis uncle; the eldest was to succeed to the peerage
of his grandfather. The Bishop was accustomed to listen in silence
to these innocent and pardonable maternal boasts. On one occasion
howeverhe appeared to be more thoughtful than usualwhile Madame
de Lo was relating once again the details of all these inheritances
and all these "expectations." She interrupted herself impatiently:
Mon Dieu, cousin! What are you thinking about?I am thinking,
replied the Bishopof a singular remark, which is to be found,
I believe, in St. Augustine,--`Place your hopes in the man from whom
you do not inherit.'

At another timeon receiving a notification of the decease of
a gentleman of the country-sidewherein not only the dignities
of the dead manbut also the feudal and noble qualifications
of all his relativesspread over an entire page: "What a stout

back Death has!" he exclaimed. "What a strange burden of titles
is cheerfully imposed on himand how much wit must men have
in order thus to press the tomb into the service of vanity!"

He was giftedon occasionwith a gentle raillerywhich almost
always concealed a serious meaning. In the course of one Lent
a youthful vicar came to D----and preached in the cathedral.
He was tolerably eloquent. The subject of his sermon was charity.
He urged the rich to give to the poorin order to avoid hell
which he depicted in the most frightful manner of which he was capable
and to win paradisewhich he represented as charming and desirable.
Among the audience there was a wealthy retired merchantwho was
somewhat of a usurernamed M. Geborandwho had amassed two millions
in the manufacture of coarse clothsergesand woollen galloons.
Never in his whole life had M. Geborand bestowed alms on any poor wretch.
After the delivery of that sermonit was observed that he gave a sou
every Sunday to the poor old beggar-women at the door of the cathedral.
There were six of them to share it. One day the Bishop caught sight
of him in the act of bestowing this charityand said to his sister
with a smileThere is M. Geborand purchasing paradise for
a sou.

When it was a question of charityhe was not to be rebuffed even
by a refusaland on such occasions he gave utterance to remarks
which induced reflection. Once he was begging for the poor in a
drawing-room of the town; there was present the Marquis de Champtercier
a wealthy and avaricious old manwho contrived to beat one
and the same timean ultra-royalist and an ultra-Voltairian. This
variety of man has actually existed. When the Bishop came to him
he touched his armYou must give me something, M. le Marquis.
The Marquis turned round and answered drylyI have poor people
of my own, Monseigneur.Give them to me,replied the Bishop.

One day he preached the following sermon in the cathedral:--

My very dear brethren, my good friends, there are thirteen hundred
and twenty thousand peasants' dwellings in France which have but
three openings; eighteen hundred and seventeen thousand hovels which
have but two openings, the door and one window; and three hundred
and forty-six thousand cabins besides which have but one opening,
the door. And this arises from a thing which is called the tax
on doors and windows. Just put poor families, old women and little
children, in those buildings, and behold the fevers and maladies
which result! Alas! God gives air to men; the law sells it to them.
I do not blame the law, but I bless God. In the department
of the Isere, in the Var, in the two departments of the Alpes,
the Hautes, and the Basses, the peasants have not even wheelbarrows;
they transport their manure on the backs of men; they have no candles,
and they burn resinous sticks, and bits of rope dipped in pitch.
That is the state of affairs throughout the whole of the hilly
country of Dauphine. They make bread for six months at one time;
they bake it with dried cow-dung. In the winter they break this
bread up with an axe, and they soak it for twenty-four hours,
in order to render it eatable. My brethren, have pity! behold
the suffering on all sides of you!

Born a Provencalhe easily familiarized himself with the dialect of
the south. He saidEn be! moussu, ses sage?as in lower Languedoc;
Onte anaras passa?as in the Basses-Alpes; "Puerte un bouen moutu
embe un bouen fromage grase as in upper Dauphine. This pleased
the people extremely, and contributed not a little to win him
access to all spirits. He was perfectly at home in the thatched
cottage and in the mountains. He understood how to say the grandest

things in the most vulgar of idioms. As he spoke all tongues,
he entered into all hearts.

Moreover, he was the same towards people of the world and towards
the lower classes. He condemned nothing in haste and without
taking circumstances into account. He said, Examine the road
over which the fault has passed."

Beingas he described himself with a smilean ex-sinnerhe had none
of the asperities of austerityand he professedwith a good deal
of distinctnessand without the frown of the ferociously virtuous
a doctrine which may be summed up as follows:-

Man has upon him his flesh, which is at once his burden
and his temptation. He drags it with him and yields to it.
He must watch it, cheek it, repress it, and obey it only at the
last extremity. There may be some fault even in this obedience;
but the fault thus committed is venial; it is a fall, but a fall
on the knees which may terminate in prayer.

To be a saint is the exception; to be an upright man is the rule.
Errfallsin if you willbut be upright.

The least possible sin is the law of man. No sin at all is the
dream of the angel. All which is terrestrial is subject to sin.
Sin is a gravitation.

When he saw everyone exclaiming very loudlyand growing angry
very quicklyOh! oh!he saidwith a smile; "to all appearance
this is a great crime which all the world commits. These are
hypocrisies which have taken frightand are in haste to make
protest and to put themselves under shelter."

He was indulgent towards women and poor peopleon whom the burden
of human society rest. He saidThe faults of women, of children,
of the feeble, the indigent, and the ignorant, are the fault
of the husbands, the fathers, the masters, the strong, the rich,
and the wise.

He saidmoreoverTeach those who are ignorant as many things
as possible; society is culpable, in that it does not afford
instruction gratis; it is responsible for the night which it produces.
This soul is full of shadow; sin is therein committed. The guilty
one is not the person who has committed the sin, but the person
who has created the shadow.

It will be perceived that he had a peculiar manner of his own
of judging things: I suspect that he obtained it from the Gospel.

One day he heard a criminal casewhich was in preparation and on
the point of trialdiscussed in a drawing-room. A wretched man
being at the end of his resourceshad coined counterfeit money
out of love for a womanand for the child which he had had by her.
Counterfeiting was still punishable with death at that epoch.
The woman had been arrested in the act of passing the first false
piece made by the man. She was heldbut there were no proofs
except against her. She alone could accuse her loverand destroy
him by her confession. She denied; they insisted. She persisted in
her denial. Thereupon an idea occurred to the attorney for the crown.
He invented an infidelity on the part of the loverand succeeded
by means of fragments of letters cunningly presentedin persuading
the unfortunate woman that she had a rivaland that the man was
deceiving her. Thereuponexasperated by jealousyshe denounced
her loverconfessed allproved all.

The man was ruined. He was shortly to be tried at Aix with
his accomplice. They were relating the matterand each one was
expressing enthusiasm over the cleverness of the magistrate.
By bringing jealousy into playhe had caused the truth to burst
forth in wrathhe had educed the justice of revenge. The Bishop
listened to all this in silence. When they had finishedhe inquired--

Where are this man and woman to be tried?

At the Court of Assizes.

He went onAnd where will the advocate of the crown be tried?

A tragic event occurred at D---- A man was condemned to death
for murder. He was a wretched fellownot exactly educated
not exactly ignorantwho had been a mountebank at fairsand a writer
for the public. The town took a great interest in the trial.
On the eve of the day fixed for the execution of the condemned man
the chaplain of the prison fell ill. A priest was needed to attend
the criminal in his last moments. They sent for the cure.
It seems that he refused to comesayingThat is no affair
of mine. I have nothing to do with that unpleasant task, and with
that mountebank: I, too, am ill; and besides, it is not my place.
This reply was reported to the Bishopwho saidMonsieur le Cure
is right: it is not his place; it is mine.

He went instantly to the prisondescended to the cell of the
mountebank,called him by nametook him by the handand spoke to him.
He passed the entire day with himforgetful of food and sleep
praying to God for the soul of the condemned manand praying the
condemned man for his own. He told him the best truthswhich are
also the most simple. He was fatherbrotherfriend; he was bishop
only to bless. He taught him everythingencouraged and consoled him.
The man was on the point of dying in despair. Death was an abyss to him.
As he stood trembling on its mournful brinkhe recoiled with horror.
He was not sufficiently ignorant to be absolutely indifferent.
His condemnationwhich had been a profound shockhadin a manner
broken throughhere and therethat wall which separates us
from the mystery of thingsand which we call life. He gazed
incessantly beyond this world through these fatal breaches
and beheld only darkness. The Bishop made him see light.

On the following daywhen they came to fetch the unhappy wretch
the Bishop was still there. He followed himand exhibited himself
to the eyes of the crowd in his purple camail and with his episcopal
cross upon his neckside by side with the criminal bound with cords.

He mounted the tumbril with himhe mounted the scaffold with him.
The suffererwho had been so gloomy and cast down on the preceding day
was radiant. He felt that his soul was reconciledand he hoped
in God. The Bishop embraced himand at the moment when the knife
was about to fallhe said to him: "God raises from the dead him
whom man slays; he whom his brothers have rejected finds his Father
once more. Praybelieveenter into life: the Father is there."
When he descended from the scaffoldthere was something in his look
which made the people draw aside to let him pass. They did not know
which was most worthy of admirationhis pallor or his serenity.
On his return to the humble dwellingwhich he designated
with a smileas his palacehe said to his sisterI have just
officiated pontifically.

Since the most sublime things are often those which are the
least understoodthere were people in the town who said

when commenting on this conduct of the BishopIt is affectation.

Thishoweverwas a remark which was confined to the drawing-rooms.
The populacewhich perceives no jest in holy deedswas touched
and admired him.

As for the Bishopit was a shock to him to have beheld the guillotine
and it was a long time before he recovered from it.

In factwhen the scaffold is thereall erected and prepared
it has something about it which produces hallucination.
One may feel a certain indifference to the death penalty
one may refrain from pronouncing upon itfrom saying yes or no
so long as one has not seen a guillotine with one's own eyes:
but if one encounters one of themthe shock is violent;
one is forced to decideand to take part for or against.
Some admire itlike de Maistre; others execrate itlike Beccaria.
The guillotine is the concretion of the law; it is called vindicte;
it is not neutraland it does not permit you to remain neutral.
He who sees it shivers with the most mysterious of shivers.
All social problems erect their interrogation point around
this chopping-knife. The scaffold is a vision. The scaffold
is not a piece of carpentry; the scaffold is not a machine;
the scaffold is not an inert bit of mechanism constructed of wood
iron and cords.

It seems as though it were a beingpossessed of I know not what
sombre initiative; one would say that this piece of carpenter's
work sawthat this machine heardthat this mechanism understood
that this woodthis ironand these cords were possessed of will.
In the frightful meditation into which its presence casts the soul
the scaffold appears in terrible guiseand as though taking part in
what is going on. The scaffold is the accomplice of the executioner;
it devoursit eats fleshit drinks blood; the scaffold is a sort
of monster fabricated by the judge and the carpentera spectre
which seems to live with a horrible vitality composed of all the death
which it has inflicted.

Thereforethe impression was terrible and profound; on the day
following the executionand on many succeeding daysthe Bishop
appeared to be crushed. The almost violent serenity of the
funereal moment had disappeared; the phantom of social justice
tormented him. Hewho generally returned from all his deeds
with a radiant satisfactionseemed to be reproaching himself.
At times he talked to himselfand stammered lugubrious monologues
in a low voice. This is one which his sister overheard one evening
and preserved: "I did not think that it was so monstrous.
It is wrong to become absorbed in the divine law to such a degree
as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God alone.
By what right do men touch that unknown thing?"

In course of time these impressions weakened and probably vanished.
Neverthelessit was observed that the Bishop thenceforth avoided
passing the place of execution.

M. Myriel could be summoned at any hour to the bedside of the sick
and dying. He did not ignore the fact that therein lay his greatest
duty and his greatest labor. Widowed and orphaned families had
no need to summon him; he came of his own accord. He understood
how to sit down and hold his peace for long hours beside the man
who had lost the wife of his loveof the mother who had lost
her child. As he knew the moment for silence he knew also the moment
for speech. Ohadmirable consoler! He sought not to efface sorrow
by forgetfulnessbut to magnify and dignify it by hope. He said:-

Have a care of the manner in which you turn towards the dead.
Think not of that which perishes. Gaze steadily. You will perceive
the living light of your well-beloved dead in the depths of heaven.
He knew that faith is wholesome. He sought to counsel and calm
the despairing manby pointing out to him the resigned man
and to transform the grief which gazes upon a grave by showing him
the grief which fixes its gaze upon a star.



The private life of M. Myriel was filled with the same thoughts
as his public life. The voluntary poverty in which the Bishop
of D---- livedwould have been a solemn and charming sight
for any one who could have viewed it close at hand.

Like all old menand like the majority of thinkershe slept little.
This brief slumber was profound. In the morning he meditated for an hour
then he said his masseither at the cathedral or in his own house.
His mass saidhe broke his fast on rye bread dipped in the milk
of his own cows. Then he set to work.

A Bishop is a very busy man: he must every day receive the
secretary of the bishopricwho is generally a canonand nearly
every day his vicars-general. He has congregations to reprove
privileges to granta whole ecclesiastical library to examine-prayer-
booksdiocesan catechismsbooks of hoursetc.--charges
to writesermons to authorizecures and mayors to reconcile
a clerical correspondencean administrative correspondence;
on one side the Stateon the other the Holy See; and a thousand
matters of business.

What time was left to himafter these thousand details of business
and his offices and his breviaryhe bestowed first on the necessitous
the sickand the afflicted; the time which was left to him from
the afflictedthe sickand the necessitoushe devoted to work.
Sometimes he dug in his garden; againhe read or wrote. He had
but one word for both these kinds of toil; he called them gardening.
The mind is a garden,said he.

Towards mid-daywhen the weather was finehe went forth and took
a stroll in the country or in townoften entering lowly dwellings.
He was seen walking aloneburied in his own thoughtshis eyes
cast downsupporting himself on his long caneclad in his wadded
purple garment of silkwhich was very warmwearing purple stockings
inside his coarse shoesand surmounted by a flat hat which allowed
three golden tassels of large bullion to droop from its three points.

It was a perfect festival wherever he appeared. One would have said
that his presence had something warming and luminous about it.
The children and the old people came out to the doorsteps for the Bishop
as for the sun. He bestowed his blessingand they blessed him.
They pointed out his house to any one who was in need of anything.

Here and there he haltedaccosted the little boys and girls
and smiled upon the mothers. He visited the poor so long as he
had any money; when he no longer had anyhe visited the rich.

As he made his cassocks last a long whileand did not wish to
have it noticedhe never went out in the town without his wadded
purple cloak. This inconvenienced him somewhat in summer.

On his returnhe dined. The dinner resembled his breakfast.

At half-past eight in the evening he supped with his sister
Madame Magloire standing behind them and serving them at table.
Nothing could be more frugal than this repast. Ifhoweverthe Bishop
had one of his cures to supperMadame Magloire took advantage
of the opportunity to serve Monseigneur with some excellent fish
from the lakeor with some fine game from the mountains. Every cure
furnished the pretext for a good meal: the Bishop did not interfere.
With that exceptionhis ordinary diet consisted only of vegetables
boiled in waterand oil soup. Thus it was said in the town
when the Bishop does not indulge in the cheer of a curehe indulges
in the cheer of a trappist.

After supper he conversed for half an hour with Mademoiselle Baptistine
and Madame Magloire; then he retired to his own room and set to writing
sometimes on loose sheetsand again on the margin of some folio.
He was a man of letters and rather learned. He left behind him
five or six very curious manuscripts; among othersa dissertation
on this verse in GenesisIn the beginningthe spirit of God
floated upon the waters. With this verse he compares three texts:
the Arabic verse which saysThe winds of God blew; Flavius Josephus
who saysA wind from above was precipitated upon the earth;
and finallythe Chaldaic paraphrase of Onkeloswhich renders it
A wind coming from God blew upon the face of the waters.
In another dissertationhe examines the theological works of Hugo
Bishop of Ptolemaisgreat-grand-uncle to the writer of this book
and establishes the factthat to this bishop must be attributed
the divers little works published during the last centuryunder the
pseudonym of Barleycourt.

Sometimesin the midst of his readingno matter what the book
might be which he had in his handhe would suddenly fall into
a profound meditationwhence he only emerged to write a few
lines on the pages of the volume itself. These lines have often
no connection whatever with the book which contains them. We now
have under our eyes a note written by him on the margin of a quarto
entitled Correspondence of Lord Germain with Generals Clinton
Cornwallisand the Admirals on the American station. Versailles
Poincotbook-seller; and ParisPissotbooksellerQuai des Augustins.

Here is the note:-

Oh, you who are!

Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees call you
the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you liberty;
Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you Wisdom and Truth;
John calls you Light; the Books of Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls
you Providence; LeviticusSanctity; EsdrasJustice; the creation
calls you God; man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion
and that is the most beautiful of all your names."

Toward nine o'clock in the evening the two women retired and betook
themselves to their chambers on the first floorleaving him alone
until morning on the ground floor.

It is necessary that we shouldin this placegive an exact idea
of the dwelling of the Bishop of D---



The house in which he lived consistedas we have saidof a ground floor
and one story above; three rooms on the ground floorthree chambers
on the firstand an attic above. Behind the house was a garden
a quarter of an acre in extent. The two women occupied the first floor;
the Bishop was lodged below. The first roomopening on the street
served him as dining-roomthe second was his bedroomand the
third his oratory. There was no exit possible from this oratory
except by passing through the bedroomnor from the bedroom
without passing through the dining-room. At the end of the suite
in the oratorythere was a detached alcove with a bedfor use
in cases of hospitality. The Bishop offered this bed to country
curates whom business or the requirements of their parishes brought
to D----

The pharmacy of the hospitala small building which had been added
to the houseand abutted on the gardenhad been transformed into
a kitchen and cellar. In addition to thisthere was in the garden
a stablewhich had formerly been the kitchen of the hospital
and in which the Bishop kept two cows. No matter what the quantity
of milk they gavehe invariably sent half of it every morning
to the sick people in the hospital. "I am paying my tithes
he said.

His bedroom was tolerably large, and rather difficult to warm
in bad weather. As wood is extremely dear at D----, he hit upon
the idea of having a compartment of boards constructed in the
cow-shed. Here he passed his evenings during seasons of severe cold:
he called it his winter salon.

In this winter salon, as in the dining-room, there was no other furniture
than a square table in white wood, and four straw-seated chairs.
In addition to this the dining-room was ornamented with an
antique sideboard, painted pink, in water colors. Out of a similar
sideboard, properly draped with white napery and imitation lace,
the Bishop had constructed the altar which decorated his oratory.

His wealthy penitents and the sainted women of D---- had more than
once assessed themselves to raise the money for a new altar for
Monseigneur's oratory; on each occasion he had taken the money and
had given it to the poor. The most beautiful of altars he said,
is the soul of an unhappy creature consoled and thanking God."

In his oratory there were two straw prie-Dieuand there was
an arm-chairalso in strawin his bedroom. Whenby chance
he received seven or eight persons at one timethe prefect
or the generalor the staff of the regiment in garrisonor several
pupils from the little seminarythe chairs had to be fetched from
the winter salon in the stablethe prie-Dieu from the oratory
and the arm-chair from the bedroom: in this way as many as eleven
chairs could be collected for the visitors. A room was dismantled
for each new guest.

It sometimes happened that there were twelve in the party;
the Bishop then relieved the embarrassment of the situation by
standing in front of the chimney if it was winteror by strolling
in the garden if it was summer.

There was still another chair in the detached alcovebut the straw
was half gone from itand it had but three legsso that it was of
service only when propped against the wall. Mademoiselle Baptistine
had also in her own room a very large easy-chair of woodwhich had
formerly been gildedand which was covered with flowered pekin;
but they had been obliged to hoist this bergere up to the first story
through the windowas the staircase was too narrow; it could not
thereforebe reckoned among the possibilities in the way of furniture.

Mademoiselle Baptistine's ambition had been to be able to purchase
a set of drawing-room furniture in yellow Utrecht velvet
stamped with a rose patternand with mahogany in swan's neck style
with a sofa. But this would have cost five hundred francs at least
and in view of the fact that she had only been able to lay by forty-two
francs and ten sous for this purpose in the course of five years
she had ended by renouncing the idea. Howeverwho is there who has
attained his ideal?

Nothing is more easy to present to the imagination than the Bishop's
bedchamber. A glazed door opened on the garden; opposite this was
the bed--a hospital bed of ironwith a canopy of green serge; in the
shadow of the bedbehind a curtainwere the utensils of the toilet
which still betrayed the elegant habits of the man of the world:
there were two doorsone near the chimneyopening into the oratory;
the other near the bookcaseopening into the dining-room. The bookcase
was a large cupboard with glass doors filled with books; the chimney
was of wood painted to represent marbleand habitually without fire.
In the chimney stood a pair of firedogs of ironornamented above
with two garlanded vasesand flutings which had formerly been
silvered with silver leafwhich was a sort of episcopal luxury;
above the chimney-piece hung a crucifix of copperwith the silver
worn offfixed on a background of threadbare velvet in a wooden
frame from which the gilding had fallen; near the glass door
a large table with an inkstandloaded with a confusion of papers
and with huge volumes; before the table an arm-chair of straw;
in front of the bed a prie-Dieuborrowed from the oratory.

Two portraits in oval frames were fastened to the wall on each side
of the bed. Small gilt inscriptions on the plain surface of the cloth
at the side of these figures indicated that the portraits represented
one the Abbe of Chaliotbishop of Saint Claude; the otherthe Abbe
Tourteauvicar-general of Agdeabbe of Grand-Champorder of Citeaux
diocese of Chartres. When the Bishop succeeded to this apartment
after the hospital patientshe had found these portraits there
and had left them. They were priestsand probably donors--two reasons
for respecting them. All that he knew about these two persons was
that they had been appointed by the kingthe one to his bishopric
the other to his beneficeon the same daythe 27th of April
1785. Madame Magloire having taken the pictures down to dust
the Bishop had discovered these particulars written in whitish
ink on a little square of paperyellowed by timeand attached
to the back of the portrait of the Abbe of Grand-Champ with four wafers.

At his window he had an antique curtain of a coarse woollen stuff
which finally became so oldthatin order to avoid the expense
of a new oneMadame Magloire was forced to take a large seam
in the very middle of it. This seam took the form of a cross.
The Bishop often called attention to it: "How delightful that is!"
he said.

All the rooms in the housewithout exceptionthose on the ground
floor as well as those on the first floorwere white-washed
which is a fashion in barracks and hospitals.

Howeverin their latter yearsMadame Magloire discovered beneath
the paper which had been washed overpaintingsornamenting the
apartment of Mademoiselle Baptistineas we shall see further on.
Before becoming a hospitalthis house had been the ancient
parliament house of the Bourgeois. Hence this decoration.
The chambers were paved in red brickswhich were washed every week
with straw mats in front of all the beds. Altogetherthis dwelling
which was attended to by the two womenwas exquisitely clean from top
to bottom. This was the sole luxury which the Bishop permitted.
He saidThat takes nothing from the poor.

It must be confessedhoweverthat he still retained from his
former possessions six silver knives and forks and a soup-ladle
which Madame Magloire contemplated every day with delight
as they glistened splendidly upon the coarse linen cloth.
And since we are now painting the Bishop of D---- as he was in reality
we must add that he had said more than onceI find it difficult
to renounce eating from silver dishes.

To this silverware must be added two large candlesticks of
massive silverwhich he had inherited from a great-aunt. These
candlesticks held two wax candlesand usually figured on the Bishop's
chimney-piece. When he had any one to dinnerMadame Magloire
lighted the two candles and set the candlesticks on the table.

In the Bishop's own chamberat the head of his bedthere was
a small cupboardin which Madame Magloire locked up the six
silver knives and forks and the big spoon every night.
But it is necessary to addthat the key was never removed.

The gardenwhich had been rather spoiled by the ugly buildings
which we have mentionedwas composed of four alleys in cross-form
radiating from a tank. Another walk made the circuit of the garden
and skirted the white wall which enclosed it. These alleys left
behind them four square plots rimmed with box. In three of these
Madame Magloire cultivated vegetables; in the fourththe Bishop
had planted some flowers; here and there stood a few fruit-trees.
Madame Magloire had once remarkedwith a sort of gentle malice:
Monseigneur, you who turn everything to account, have, nevertheless, one
useless plot. It would be better to grow salads there than bouquets.
Madame Magloire,retorted the Bishopyou are mistaken.
The beautiful is as useful as the useful.He added after a pause
More so, perhaps.

This plotconsisting of three or four bedsoccupied the Bishop almost
as much as did his books. He liked to pass an hour or two there
trimminghoeingand making holes here and there in the earth
into which he dropped seeds. He was not as hostile to insects
as a gardener could have wished to see him. Moreoverhe made no
pretensions to botany; he ignored groups and consistency; he made not
the slightest effort to decide between Tournefort and the natural method;
he took part neither with the buds against the cotyledonsnor with
Jussieu against Linnaeus. He did not study plants; he loved flowers.
He respected learned men greatly; he respected the ignorant still more;
andwithout ever failing in these two respectshe watered his
flower-beds every summer evening with a tin watering-pot painted green.

The house had not a single door which could be locked. The door
of the dining-roomwhichas we have saidopened directly on the
cathedral squarehad formerly been ornamented with locks and bolts
like the door of a prison. The Bishop had had all this ironwork removed
and this door was never fastenedeither by night or by day
with anything except the latch. All that the first passerby had
to do at any hourwas to give it a push. At firstthe two women

had been very much tried by this doorwhich was never fastened
but Monsieur de D---- had said to themHave bolts put on your rooms,
if that will please you.They had ended by sharing his confidence
or by at least acting as though they shared it. Madame Magloire
alone had frights from time to time. As for the Bishophis thought
can be found explainedor at least indicatedin the three lines
which he wrote on the margin of a BibleThis is the shade
of difference: the door of the physician should never be shut,
the door of the priest should always be open.

On another bookentitled Philosophy of the Medical Science
he had written this other note: "Am not I a physician like them?
I also have my patientsand thentooI have some whom I call
my unfortunates."

Again he wrote: "Do not inquire the name of him who asks a shelter
of you. The very man who is embarrassed by his name is the one
who needs shelter."

It chanced that a worthy cureI know not whether it was the cure
of Couloubroux or the cure of Pompierrytook it into his head
to ask him one dayprobably at the instigation of Madame Magloire
whether Monsieur was sure that he was not committing an indiscretion
to a certain extentin leaving his door unfastened day and night
at the mercy of any one who should choose to enterand whether
in shorthe did not fear lest some misfortune might occur
in a house so little guarded. The Bishop touched his shoulder
with gentle gravityand said to himNisi Dominus custodierit domum,
in vanum vigilant qui custodiunt eam,Unless the Lord guard the house
in vain do they watch who guard it.

Then he spoke of something else.

He was fond of sayingThere is a bravery of the priest as well
as the bravery of a colonel of dragoons,--only,he added
ours must be tranquil.



It is here that a fact falls naturally into placewhich we must
not omitbecause it is one of the sort which show us best what sort
of a man the Bishop of D---- was.

After the destruction of the band of Gaspard Beswho had infested
the gorges of Ollioulesone of his lieutenantsCravattetook refuge
in the mountains. He concealed himself for some time with his bandits
the remnant of Gaspard Bes's troopin the county of Nice;
then he made his way to Piedmontand suddenly reappeared in France
in the vicinity of Barcelonette. He was first seen at Jauziers
then at Tuiles. He hid himself in the caverns of the Joug-de-l'Aigle
and thence he descended towards the hamlets and villages through
the ravines of Ubaye and Ubayette.

He even pushed as far as Embrunentered the cathedral one night
and despoiled the sacristy. His highway robberies laid waste the
country-side. The gendarmes were set on his trackbut in vain.
He always escaped; sometimes he resisted by main force. He was a
bold wretch. In the midst of all this terror the Bishop arrived.
He was making his circuit to Chastelar. The mayor came to meet him

and urged him to retrace his steps. Cravatte was in possession
of the mountains as far as Archeand beyond; there was danger even
with an escort; it merely exposed three or four unfortunate gendarmes
to no purpose.

Therefore,said the BishopI intend to go without escort.

You do not really mean that, Monseigneur!exclaimed the mayor.

I do mean it so thoroughly that I absolutely refuse any gendarmes,
and shall set out in an hour.

Set out?

Set out.



Monseigneur, you will not do that!

There exists yonder in the mountains,said the Bishopa tiny
community no bigger than thatwhich I have not seen for three years.
They are my good friendsthose gentle and honest shepherds. They own
one goat out of every thirty that they tend. They make very pretty
woollen cords of various colorsand they play the mountain airs
on little flutes with six holes. They need to be told of the good
God now and then. What would they say to a bishop who was afraid?
What would they say if I did not go?"

But the brigands, Monseigneur?

Hold,said the BishopI must think of that. You are right.
I may meet them. They, too, need to be told of the good God.

But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them! A flock of wolves!

Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock
of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd. Who knows
the ways of Providence?

They will rob you, Monseigneur.

I have nothing.

They will kill you.

An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mumbling his prayers?
Bah! To what purpose?

Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!

I should beg alms of them for my poor.

Do not go, Monseigneur. In the name of Heaven! You are risking
your life!

Monsieur le maire,said the Bishopis that really all?
I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls.

They had to allow him to do as he pleased. He set outaccompanied
only by a child who offered to serve as a guide. His obstinacy
was bruited about the country-sideand caused great consternation.

He would take neither his sister nor Madame Magloire. He traversed
the mountain on mule-backencountered no oneand arrived safe
and sound at the residence of his "good friends the shepherds.
He remained there for a fortnight, preaching, administering the sacrament,
teaching, exhorting. When the time of his departure approached,
he resolved to chant a Te Deum pontifically. He mentioned it to
the cure. But what was to be done? There were no episcopal ornaments.
They could only place at his disposal a wretched village sacristy, with
a few ancient chasubles of threadbare damask adorned with imitation lace.

Bah!" said the Bishop. "Let us announce our Te Deum from the pulpit
neverthelessMonsieur le Cure. Things will arrange themselves."

They instituted a search in the churches of the neighborhood.
All the magnificence of these humble parishes combined would not have
sufficed to clothe the chorister of a cathedral properly.

While they were thus embarrasseda large chest was brought and
deposited in the presbytery for the Bishopby two unknown horsemen
who departed on the instant. The chest was opened; it contained
a cope of cloth of golda mitre ornamented with diamonds
an archbishop's crossa magnificent crosier--all the pontifical
vestments which had been stolen a month previously from the treasury
of Notre Dame d'Embrun. In the chest was a paperon which
these words were writtenFrom Cravatte to Monseigneur Bienvenu.

Did not I say that things would come right of themselves?said
the Bishop. Then he addedwith a smileTo him who contents himself
with the surplice of a curate, God sends the cope of an archbishop.

Monseigneur,murmured the curethrowing back his head with a smile.
God--or the Devil.

The Bishop looked steadily at the cureand repeated
with authorityGod!

When he returned to Chastelarthe people came out to stare at him
as at a curiosityall along the road. At the priest's house in
Chastelar he rejoined Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire
who were waiting for himand he said to his sister: "Well! was
I in the right? The poor priest went to his poor mountaineers
with empty handsand he returns from them with his hands full.
I set out bearing only my faith in God; I have brought back the
treasure of a cathedral."

That eveningbefore he went to bedhe said again: "Let us
never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without
petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers;
vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves.
What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think
only of that which threatens our soul."

Thenturning to his sister: "Sisternever a precaution on the part
of the priestagainst his fellow-man. That which his fellow does
God permits. Let us confine ourselves to prayerwhen we think
that a danger is approaching us. Let us praynot for ourselves
but that our brother may not fall into sin on our account."

Howeversuch incidents were rare in his life. We relate those
of which we know; but generally he passed his life in doing the
same things at the same moment. One month of his year resembled
one hour of his day.

As to what became of "the treasure" of the cathedral of Embrun
we should be embarrassed by any inquiry in that direction.
It consisted of very handsome thingsvery tempting things
and things which were very well adapted to be stolen for the benefit
of the unfortunate. Stolen they had already been elsewhere.
Half of the adventure was completed; it only remained to impart
a new direction to the theftand to cause it to take a short trip
in the direction of the poor. Howeverwe make no assertions
on this point. Onlya rather obscure note was found among
the Bishop's paperswhich may bear some relation to this matter
and which is couched in these termsThe question is, to decide
whether this should be turned over to the cathedral or to the hospital.



The senator above mentioned was a clever manwho had made
his own wayheedless of those things which present obstacles
and which are called consciencesworn faithjusticeduty: he had
marched straight to his goalwithout once flinching in the line
of his advancement and his interest. He was an old attorney
softened by success; not a bad man by any meanswho rendered
all the small services in his power to his sonshis sons-in-law
his relationsand even to his friendshaving wisely seized upon
in lifegood sidesgood opportunitiesgood windfalls.
Everything else seemed to him very stupid. He was intelligent
and just sufficiently educated to think himself a disciple of Epicurus;
while he wasin realityonly a product of Pigault-Lebrun. He
laughed willingly and pleasantly over infinite and eternal things
and at the "Crotchets of that good old fellow the Bishop."
He even sometimes laughed at him with an amiable authority in the
presence of M. Myriel himselfwho listened to him.

On some semi-official occasion or otherI do not recollect what
Count*** [this senator] and M. Myriel were to dine with the prefect.
At dessertthe senatorwho was slightly exhilaratedthough still
perfectly dignifiedexclaimed:--

Egad, Bishop, let's have a discussion. It is hard for a senator and
a bishop to look at each other without winking. We are two augurs.
I am going to make a confession to you. I have a philosophy of my own.

And you are right,replied the Bishop. "As one makes one's philosophy
so one lies on it. You are on the bed of purplesenator."

The senator was encouragedand went on:--

Let us be good fellows.

Good devils even,said the Bishop.

I declare to you,continued the senatorthat the Marquis
d'Argens, Pyrrhon, Hobbes, and M. Naigeon are no rascals.
I have all the philosophers in my library gilded on the edges.

Like yourself, Count,interposed the Bishop.

The senator resumed:--

I hate Diderot; he is an ideologist, a declaimer, and a revolutionist,

a believer in God at bottom, and more bigoted than Voltaire.
Voltaire made sport of Needham, and he was wrong, for Needham's
eels prove that God is useless. A drop of vinegar in a spoonful
of flour paste supplies the fiat lux. Suppose the drop to be larger
and the spoonful bigger; you have the world. Man is the eel.
Then what is the good of the Eternal Father? The Jehovah hypothesis
tires me, Bishop. It is good for nothing but to produce shallow people,
whose reasoning is hollow. Down with that great All, which torments me!
Hurrah for Zero which leaves me in peace! Between you and me,
and in order to empty my sack, and make confession to my pastor,
as it behooves me to do, I will admit to you that I have good sense.
I am not enthusiastic over your Jesus, who preaches renunciation and
sacrifice to the last extremity. 'Tis the counsel of an avaricious
man to beggars. Renunciation; why? Sacrifice; to what end?
I do not see one wolf immolating himself for the happiness of
another wolf. Let us stick to nature, then. We are at the top;
let us have a superior philosophy. What is the advantage of
being at the top, if one sees no further than the end of other
people's noses? Let us live merrily. Life is all. That man has
another future elsewhere, on high, below, anywhere, I don't believe;
not one single word of it. Ah! sacrifice and renunciation are
recommended to me; I must take heed to everything I do; I must
cudgel my brains over good and evil, over the just and the unjust,
over the fas and the nefas. Why? Because I shall have to render
an account of my actions. When? After death. What a fine dream!
After my death it will be a very clever person who can catch me.
Have a handful of dust seized by a shadow-hand, if you can.
Let us tell the truth, we who are initiated, and who have raised
the veil of Isis: there is no such thing as either good or evil;
there is vegetation. Let us seek the real. Let us get to the bottom
of it. Let us go into it thoroughly. What the deuce! let us go
to the bottom of it! We must scent out the truth; dig in the
earth for it, and seize it. Then it gives you exquisite joys.
Then you grow strong, and you laugh. I am square on the bottom,
I am. Immortality, Bishop, is a chance, a waiting for dead
men's shoes. Ah! what a charming promise! trust to it, if you like!
What a fine lot Adam has! We are souls, and we shall be angels,
with blue wings on our shoulder-blades. Do come to my assistance:
is it not Tertullian who says that the blessed shall travel from star
to star? Very well. We shall be the grasshoppers of the stars.
And then, besides, we shall see God. Ta, ta, ta! What twaddle all
these paradises are! God is a nonsensical monster. I would not say
that in the Moniteur, egad! but I may whisper it among friends.
Inter pocula. To sacrifice the world to paradise is to let
slip the prey for the shadow. Be the dupe of the infinite!
I'm not such a fool. I am a nought. I call myself Monsieur le
Comte Nought, senator. Did I exist before my birth? No. Shall I exist
after death? No. What am I? A little dust collected in an organism.
What am I to do on this earth? The choice rests with me:
suffer or enjoy. Whither will suffering lead me? To nothingness;
but I shall have suffered. Whither will enjoyment lead me?
To nothingness; but I shall have enjoyed myself. My choice is made.
One must eat or be eaten. I shall eat. It is better to be the tooth
than the grass. Such is my wisdom. After which, go whither I
push thee, the grave-digger is there; the Pantheon for some of us:
all falls into the great hole. End. Finis. Total liquidation.
This is the vanishing-point. Death is death, believe me.
I laugh at the idea of there being any one who has anything to tell
me on that subject. Fables of nurses; bugaboo for children;
Jehovah for men. No; our to-morrow is the night. Beyond the tomb
there is nothing but equal nothingness. You have been Sardanapalus,
you have been Vincent de Paul--it makes no difference. That is
the truth. Then live your life, above all things. Make use of
your _I_ while you have it. In truth, Bishop, I tell you that I

have a philosophy of my own, and I have my philosophers. I don't
let myself be taken in with that nonsense. Of course, there must
be something for those who are down,--for the barefooted beggars,
knife-grinders, and miserable wretches. Legends, chimeras, the soul,
immortality, paradise, the stars, are provided for them to swallow.
They gobble it down. They spread it on their dry bread.
He who has nothing else has the good. God. That is the least
he can have. I oppose no objection to that; but I reserve
Monsieur Naigeon for myself. The good God is good for the

The Bishop clapped his hands.

That's talking!he exclaimed. "What an excellent and really
marvellous thing is this materialism! Not every one who wants it
can have it. Ah! when one does have itone is no longer a dupe
one does not stupidly allow one's self to be exiled like Cato
nor stoned like Stephennor burned alive like Jeanne d'Arc. Those
who have succeeded in procuring this admirable materialism have the joy
of feeling themselves irresponsibleand of thinking that they can devour
everything without uneasiness--placessinecuresdignitiespower
whether well or ill acquiredlucrative recantationsuseful treacheries
savory capitulations of conscience--and that they shall enter
the tomb with their digestion accomplished. How agreeable that is!
I do not say that with reference to yousenator. Neverthelessit is
impossible for me to refrain from congratulating you. You great
lords haveso you saya philosophy of your ownand for yourselves
which is exquisiterefinedaccessible to the rich alone
good for all saucesand which seasons the voluptuousness of
life admirably. This philosophy has been extracted from the depths
and unearthed by special seekers. But you are good-natured princes
and you do not think it a bad thing that belief in the good
God should constitute the philosophy of the peoplevery much
as the goose stuffed with chestnuts is the truffled turkey of the poor."



In order to furnish an idea of the private establishment of the Bishop
of D----and of the manner in which those two sainted women subordinated
their actionstheir thoughtstheir feminine instincts even
which are easily alarmedto the habits and purposes of the Bishop
without his even taking the trouble of speaking in order to explain them
we cannot do better than transcribe in this place a letter from
Mademoiselle Baptistine to Madame the Vicomtess de Boischevron
the friend of her childhood. This letter is in our possession.

D----Dec. 1618--.
MY GOOD MADAM: Not a day passes without our speaking of you.
It is our established custom; but there is another reason besides.
Just imaginewhile washing and dusting the ceilings and walls
Madam Magloire has made some discoveries; now our two chambers hung
with antique paper whitewashed overwould not discredit a chateau
in the style of yours. Madam Magloire has pulled off all the paper.
There were things beneath. My drawing-roomwhich contains no furniture
and which we use for spreading out the linen after washing
is fifteen feet in heighteighteen squarewith a ceiling which
was formerly painted and gildedand with beamsas in yours.
This was covered with a cloth while this was the hospital.

And the woodwork was of the era of our grandmothers. But my room
is the one you ought to see. Madam Magloire has discovered
under at least ten thicknesses of paper pasted on topsome paintings
which without being good are very tolerable. The subject is
Telemachus being knighted by Minerva in some gardensthe name
of which escapes me. In shortwhere the Roman ladies repaired
on one single night. What shall I say to you? I have Romans
and Roman ladies [here occurs an illegible word]and the whole train.
Madam Magloire has cleaned it all off; this summer she is going
to have some small injuries repairedand the whole revarnished
and my chamber will be a regular museum. She has also found in a
corner of the attic two wooden pier-tables of ancient fashion.
They asked us two crowns of six francs each to regild them
but it is much better to give the money to the poor; and they
are very ugly besidesand I should much prefer a round table
of mahogany.

I am always very happy. My brother is so good. He gives all he
has to the poor and sick. We are very much cramped. The country
is trying in the winterand we really must do something for those
who are in need. We are almost comfortably lighted and warmed.
You see that these are great treats.

My brother has ways of his own. When he talkshe says that a bishop
ought to be so. Just imagine! the door of our house is never fastened.
Whoever chooses to enter finds himself at once in my brother's room.
He fears nothingeven at night. That is his sort of bravery
he says.

He does not wish me or Madame Magloire feel any fear for him.
He exposes himself to all sorts of dangersand he does not like to
have us even seem to notice it. One must know how to understand him.

He goes out in the rainhe walks in the waterhe travels in winter.
He fears neither suspicious roads nor dangerous encounters
nor night.

Last year he went quite alone into a country of robbers. He would
not take us. He was absent for a fortnight. On his return nothing
had happened to him; he was thought to be deadbut was perfectly well
and saidThis is the way I have been robbed!And then he opened
a trunk full of jewelsall the jewels of the cathedral of Embrun
which the thieves had given him.

When he returned on that occasionI could not refrain from
scolding him a littletaking carehowevernot to speak except
when the carriage was making a noiseso that no one might hear me.

At first I used to say to myselfThere are no dangers which will
stop him; he is terrible.Now I have ended by getting used to it.
I make a sign to Madam Magloire that she is not to oppose him.
He risks himself as he sees fit. I carry off Madam Magloire
I enter my chamberI pray for him and fall asleep. I am at ease
because I know that if anything were to happen to himit would
be the end of me. I should go to the good God with my brother
and my bishop. It has cost Madam Magloire more trouble than it did
me to accustom herself to what she terms his imprudences. But now
the habit has been acquired. We pray togetherwe tremble together
and we fall asleep. If the devil were to enter this house
he would be allowed to do so. After allwhat is there for us
to fear in this house? There is always some one with us who is
stronger than we. The devil may pass through itbut the good God
dwells here.

This suffices me. My brother has no longer any need of saying
a word to me. I understand him without his speakingand we
abandon ourselves to the care of Providence. That is the way
one has to do with a man who possesses grandeur of soul.

I have interrogated my brother with regard to the information
which you desire on the subject of the Faux family. You are aware
that he knows everythingand that he has memoriesbecause he
is still a very good royalist. They really are a very ancient
Norman family of the generalship of Caen. Five hundred years ago
there was a Raoul de Fauxa Jean de Fauxand a Thomas de Faux
who were gentlemenand one of whom was a seigneur de Rochefort.
The last was Guy-Etienne-Alexandreand was commander of a regiment
and something in the light horse of Bretagne. His daughter
Marie-Louisemarried Adrien-Charles de Gramontson of the Duke
Louis de Gramontpeer of Francecolonel of the French guards
and lieutenant-general of the army. It is written FauxFauq
and Faoucq.

Good Madamerecommend us to the prayers of your sainted relative
Monsieur the Cardinal. As for your dear Sylvanieshe has done well
in not wasting the few moments which she passes with you in writing
to me. She is wellworks as you would wishand loves me.

That is all that I desire. The souvenir which she sent through you
reached me safelyand it makes me very happy. My health is not
so very badand yet I grow thinner every day. Farewell; my paper
is at an endand this forces me to leave you. A thousand good wishes.


P.S. Your grand nephew is charming. Do you know that he will soon
be five years old? Yesterday he saw some one riding by on horseback
who had on knee-capsand he saidWhat has he got on his knees?
He is a charming child! His little brother is dragging an old broom
about the roomlike a carriageand sayingHu!
As will be perceived from this letterthese two women understood
how to mould themselves to the Bishop's ways with that special feminine
genius which comprehends the man better than he comprehends himself.
The Bishop of D----in spite of the gentle and candid air which
never deserted himsometimes did things that were grandbold
and magnificentwithout seeming to have even a suspicion of the fact.
They trembledbut they let him alone. Sometimes Madame Magloire essayed
a remonstrance in advancebut never at the timenor afterwards.
They never interfered with him by so much as a word or sign
in any action once entered upon. At certain momentswithout his
having occasion to mention itwhen he was not even conscious
of it himself in all probabilityso perfect was his simplicity
they vaguely felt that he was acting as a bishop; then they were
nothing more than two shadows in the house. They served him passively;
and if obedience consisted in disappearingthey disappeared.
They understoodwith an admirable delicacy of instinctthat certain
cares may be put under constraint. Thuseven when believing
him to be in perilthey understoodI will not say his thought
but his natureto such a degree that they no longer watched over him.
They confided him to God.

MoreoverBaptistine saidas we have just readthat her brother's
end would prove her own. Madame Magloire did not say this
but she knew it.



At an epoch a little later than the date of the letter cited
in the preceding pageshe did a thing whichif the whole town
was to be believedwas even more hazardous than his trip across
the mountains infested with bandits.

In the country near D---- a man lived quite alone. This man
we will state at oncewas a former member of the Convention.
His name was G----

Member of the ConventionG---- was mentioned with a sort of horror
in the little world of D---- A member of the Convention--can you
imagine such a thing? That existed from the time when people
called each other thouand when they said "citizen." This man
was almost a monster. He had not voted for the death of the king
but almost. He was a quasi-regicide. He had been a terrible man.
How did it happen that such a man had not been brought before
a provost's courton the return of the legitimate princes?
They need not have cut off his headif you please; clemency must
be exercisedagreed; but a good banishment for life. An example
in shortetc. Besideshe was an atheistlike all the rest of
those people. Gossip of the geese about the vulture.

Was G---- a vulture after all? Yes; if he were to be judged by the
element of ferocity in this solitude of his. As he had not voted
for the death of the kinghe had not been included in the decrees
of exileand had been able to remain in France.

He dwelt at a distance of three-quarters of an hour from the city
far from any hamletfar from any roadin some hidden turn
of a very wild valleyno one knew exactly where. He had there
it was saida sort of fielda holea lair. There were no neighbors
not even passers-by. Since he had dwelt in that valleythe path
which led thither had disappeared under a growth of grass.
The locality was spoken of as though it had been the dwelling of
a hangman.

Neverthelessthe Bishop meditated on the subjectand from time
to time he gazed at the horizon at a point where a clump of trees
marked the valley of the former member of the Conventionand he said
There is a soul yonder which is lonely.

And he addeddeep in his own mindI owe him a visit.

Butlet us avow itthis ideawhich seemed natural at the first blush
appeared to him after a moment's reflectionas strangeimpossible
and almost repulsive. Forat bottomhe shared the general impression
and the old member of the Convention inspired himwithout his being
clearly conscious of the fact himselfwith that sentiment which
borders on hateand which is so well expressed by the word estrangement.

Stillshould the scab of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil?
No. But what a sheep!

The good Bishop was perplexed. Sometimes he set out in that direction;
then he returned.

Finallythe rumor one day spread through the town that a sort of
young shepherdwho served the member of the Convention in his hovel

had come in quest of a doctor; that the old wretch was dying
that paralysis was gaining on himand that he would not live over
night.--"Thank God!" some added.

The Bishop took his staffput on his cloakon account of his too
threadbare cassockas we have mentionedand because of the evening
breeze which was sure to rise soonand set out.

The sun was settingand had almost touched the horizon when the
Bishop arrived at the excommunicated spot. With a certain beating
of the hearthe recognized the fact that he was near the lair.
He strode over a ditchleaped a hedgemade his way through a fence
of dead boughsentered a neglected paddocktook a few steps
with a good deal of boldnessand suddenlyat the extremity of the
waste landand behind lofty brambleshe caught sight of the cavern.

It was a very low hutpoorsmalland cleanwith a vine nailed
against the outside.

Near the doorin an old wheel-chairthe arm-chair of the peasants
there was a white-haired mansmiling at the sun.

Near the seated man stood a young boythe shepherd lad.
He was offering the old man a jar of milk.

While the Bishop was watching himthe old man spoke: "Thank you
he said, I need nothing." And his smile quitted the sun to rest
upon the child.

The Bishop stepped forward. At the sound which he made in walking
the old man turned his headand his face expressed the sum total
of the surprise which a man can still feel after a long life.

This is the first time since I have been here,said hethat any
one has entered here. Who are you, sir?

The Bishop answered:-

My name is Bienvenu Myriel.

Bienvenu Myriel? I have heard that name. Are you the man whom
the people call Monseigneur Welcome?

I am.

The old man resumed with a half-smile

In that case, you are my bishop?

Something of that sort.

Enter, sir.

The member of the Convention extended his hand to the Bishop
but the Bishop did not take it. The Bishop confined himself
to the remark:-

I am pleased to see that I have been misinformed. You certainly
do not seem to me to be ill.

Monsieur,replied the old manI am going to recover.

He pausedand then said:-

I shall die three hours hence.

Then he continued:-

I am something of a doctor; I know in what fashion the last hour
draws on. Yesterday, only my feet were cold; to-day, the chill
has ascended to my knees; now I feel it mounting to my waist;
when it reaches the heart, I shall stop. The sun is beautiful,
is it not? I had myself wheeled out here to take a last look
at things. You can talk to me; it does not fatigue me. You have
done well to come and look at a man who is on the point of death.
It is well that there should be witnesses at that moment. One has
one's caprices; I should have liked to last until the dawn, but I
know that I shall hardly live three hours. It will be night then.
What does it matter, after all? Dying is a simple affair.
One has no need of the light for that. So be it. I shall die
by starlight.

The old man turned to the shepherd lad:--

Go to thy bed; thou wert awake all last night; thou art tired.

The child entered the hut.

The old man followed him with his eyesand addedas though
speaking to himself:--

I shall die while he sleeps. The two slumbers may be good neighbors.

The Bishop was not touched as it seems that he should have been.
He did not think he discerned God in this manner of dying; let us
say the wholefor these petty contradictions of great hearts must
be indicated like the rest: hewho on occasionwas so fond of
laughing at "His Grace was rather shocked at not being addressed
as Monseigneur, and he was almost tempted to retort citizen."
He was assailed by a fancy for peevish familiaritycommon enough
to doctors and priestsbut which was not habitual with him.
This manafter allthis member of the Conventionthis representative
of the peoplehad been one of the powerful ones of the earth;
for the first time in his lifeprobablythe Bishop felt in a mood to
be severe.

Meanwhilethe member of the Convention had been
surveying him with a modest cordialityin which one
could have distinguishedpossiblythat humility
which is so fitting when one is on the verge of returning to dust.

The Bishopon his sidealthough he generally restrained his curiosity
whichin his opinionbordered on a faultcould not refrain from
examining the member of the Convention with an attention which
as it did not have its course in sympathywould have served his
conscience as a matter of reproachin connection with any other man.
A member of the Convention produced on him somewhat the effect of being
outside the pale of the laweven of the law of charity. G----calm
his body almost uprighthis voice vibratingwas one of those
octogenarians who form the subject of astonishment to the physiologist.
The Revolution had many of these menproportioned to the epoch.
In this old man one was conscious of a man put to the proof.
Though so near to his endhe preserved all the gestures of health.
In his clear glancein his firm tonein the robust movement of
his shouldersthere was something calculated to disconcert death.
Azraelthe Mohammedan angel of the sepulchrewould have turned back
and thought that he had mistaken the door. G---- seemed to be dying
because he willed it so. There was freedom in his agony. His legs

alone were motionless. It was there that the shadows held him fast.
His feet were cold and deadbut his head survived with all the power
of lifeand seemed full of light. G----at this solemn moment
resembled the king in that tale of the Orient who was flesh above
and marble below.

There was a stone there. The Bishop sat down. The exordium
was abrupt.

I congratulate you,said hein the tone which one uses for
a reprimand. "You did not vote for the death of the kingafter all."

The old member of the Convention did not appear to notice the
bitter meaning underlying the words "after all." He replied.
The smile had quite disappeared from his face.

Do not congratulate me too much, sir. I did vote for the death
of the tyrant.

It was the tone of austerity answering the tone of severity.

What do you mean to say?resumed the Bishop.

I mean to say that man has a tyrant,--ignorance. I voted for the death
of that tyrant. That tyrant engendered royalty, which is authority
falsely understood, while science is authority rightly understood.
Man should be governed only by science.

And conscience,added the Bishop.

It is the same thing. Conscience is the quantity of innate science
which we have within us.

Monseigneur Bienvenu listened in some astonishment to this language
which was very new to him.

The member of the Convention resumed:--

So far as Louis XVI. was concerned, I said `no.' I did not think
that I had the right to kill a man; but I felt it my duty to
exterminate evil. I voted the end of the tyrant, that is to say,
the end of prostitution for woman, the end of slavery for man,
the end of night for the child. In voting for the Republic,
I voted for that. I voted for fraternity, concord, the dawn.
I have aided in the overthrow of prejudices and errors. The crumbling
away of prejudices and errors causes light. We have caused the
fall of the old world, and the old world, that vase of miseries,
has become, through its upsetting upon the human race, an urn
of joy.

Mixed joy,said the Bishop.

You may say troubled joy, and to-day, after that fatal return
of the past, which is called 1814, joy which has disappeared!
Alas! The work was incomplete, I admit: we demolished the ancient
regime in deeds; we were not able to suppress it entirely in ideas.
To destroy abuses is not sufficient; customs must be modified.
The mill is there no longer; the wind is still there.

You have demolished. It may be of use to demolish, but I distrust
a demolition complicated with wrath.

Right has its wrath, Bishop; and the wrath of right is an element
of progress. In any case, and in spite of whatever may be said,

the French Revolution is the most important step of the human race
since the advent of Christ. Incomplete, it may be, but sublime.
It set free all the unknown social quantities; it softened spirits,
it calmed, appeased, enlightened; it caused the waves of civilization
to flow over the earth. It was a good thing. The French Revolution is
the consecration of humanity.

The Bishop could not refrain from murmuring:--

Yes? '93!

The member of the Convention straightened himself up in his
chair with an almost lugubrious solemnityand exclaimed
so far as a dying man is capable of exclamation:--

Ah, there you go; '93! I was expecting that word. A cloud had
been forming for the space of fifteen hundred years; at the end
of fifteen hundred years it burst. You are putting the thunderbolt
on its trial.

The Bishop feltwithoutperhapsconfessing itthat something
within him had suffered extinction. Neverthelesshe put a good
face on the matter. He replied:--

The judge speaks in the name of justice; the priest speaks
in the name of pity, which is nothing but a more lofty justice.
A thunderbolt should commit no error.And he addedregarding the
member of the Convention steadily the whileLouis XVII.?

The conventionary stretched forth his hand and grasped the Bishop's arm.

Louis XVII.! let us see. For whom do you mourn? is it for
the innocent child? very good; in that case I mourn with you.
Is it for the royal child? I demand time for reflection.
To me, the brother of Cartouche, an innocent child who was hung
up by the armpits in the Place de Greve, until death ensued,
for the sole crime of having been the brother of Cartouche, is no
less painful than the grandson of Louis XV., an innocent child,
martyred in the tower of the Temple, for the sole crime of having
been grandson of Louis XV.

Monsieur,said the BishopI like not this conjunction of names.

Cartouche? Louis XV.? To which of the two do you object?

A momentary silence ensued. The Bishop almost regretted having come
and yet he felt vaguely and strangely shaken.

The conventionary resumed:--

Ah, Monsieur Priest, you love not the crudities of the true.
Christ loved them. He seized a rod and cleared out the Temple.
His scourge, full of lightnings, was a harsh speaker of truths.
When he cried, `Sinite parvulos,' he made no distinction between the
little children. It would not have embarrassed him to bring together
the Dauphin of Barabbas and the Dauphin of Herod. Innocence, Monsieur,
is its own crown. Innocence has no need to be a highness.
It is as august in rags as in fleurs de lys.

That is true,said the Bishop in a low voice.

I persist,continued the conventionary G---- "You have mentioned
Louis XVII. to me. Let us come to an understanding. Shall we
weep for all the innocentall martyrsall childrenthe lowly

as well as the exalted? I agree to that. But in that caseas I
have told youwe must go back further than '93and our tears must
begin before Louis XVII. I will weep with you over the children
of kingsprovided that you will weep with me over the children
of the people."

I weep for all,said the Bishop.

Equally!exclaimed conventionary G----; "and if the balance
must inclinelet it be on the side of the people. They have been
suffering longer."

Another silence ensued. The conventionary was the first to break it.
He raised himself on one elbowtook a bit of his cheek between
his thumb and his forefingeras one does mechanically when one
interrogates and judgesand appealed to the Bishop with a gaze full
of all the forces of the death agony. It was almost an explosion.

Yes, sir, the people have been suffering a long while. And hold!
that is not all, either; why have you just questioned me and talked
to me about Louis XVII.? I know you not. Ever since I have been
in these parts I have dwelt in this enclosure alone, never setting
foot outside, and seeing no one but that child who helps me.
Your name has reached me in a confused manner, it is true, and very
badly pronounced, I must admit; but that signifies nothing: clever men
have so many ways of imposing on that honest goodman, the people.
By the way, I did not hear the sound of your carriage; you have left
it yonder, behind the coppice at the fork of the roads, no doubt.
I do not know you, I tell you. You have told me that you are the Bishop;
but that affords me no information as to your moral personality.
In short, I repeat my question. Who are you? You are a bishop;
that is to say, a prince of the church, one of those gilded men
with heraldic bearings and revenues, who have vast prebends,--
the bishopric of D---- fifteen thousand francs settled income,
ten thousand in perquisites; total, twenty-five thousand francs,--
who have kitchens, who have liveries, who make good cheer,
who eat moor-hens on Friday, who strut about, a lackey before,
a lackey behind, in a gala coach, and who have palaces, and who roll
in their carriages in the name of Jesus Christ who went barefoot!
You are a prelate,--revenues, palace, horses, servants, good table,
all the sensualities of life; you have this like the rest,
and like the rest, you enjoy it; it is well; but this says
either too much or too little; this does not enlighten me upon
the intrinsic and essential value of the man who comes with the
probable intention of bringing wisdom to me. To whom do I speak?
Who are you?

The Bishop hung his head and repliedVermis sum--I am a worm.

A worm of the earth in a carriage?growled the conventionary.

It was the conventionary's turn to be arrogantand the Bishop's
to be humble.

The Bishop resumed mildly:--

So be it, sir. But explain to me how my carriage, which is a few
paces off behind the trees yonder, how my good table and the moor-hens
which I eat on Friday, how my twenty-five thousand francs income,
how my palace and my lackeys prove that clemency is not a duty,
and that '93 was not inexorable.

The conventionary passed his hand across his brow, as though
to sweep away a cloud.

Before replying to you he said, I beseech you to pardon me.
I have just committed a wrongsir. You are at my houseyou are
my guestI owe you courtesy. You discuss my ideasand it becomes
me to confine myself to combating your arguments. Your riches and
your pleasures are advantages which I hold over you in the debate;
but good taste dictates that I shall not make use of them. I promise
you to make no use of them in the future."

I thank you,said the Bishop.

G---- resumed.

Let us return to the explanation which you have asked of me.
Where were we? What were you saying to me? That '93 was inexorable?

Inexorable; yes,said the Bishop. "What think you of Marat
clapping his hands at the guillotine?"

What think you of Bossuet chanting the Te Deum over the dragonnades?

The retort was a harsh onebut it attained its mark with the
directness of a point of steel. The Bishop quivered under it;
no reply occurred to him; but he was offended by this mode of alluding
to Bossuet. The best of minds will have their fetichesand they
sometimes feel vaguely wounded by the want of respect of logic.

The conventionary began to pant; the asthma of the agony
which is mingled with the last breaths interrupted his voice;
stillthere was a perfect lucidity of soul in his eyes. He went on:--

Let me say a few words more in this and that direction;
I am willing. Apart from the Revolution, which, taken as a whole,
is an immense human affirmation, '93 is, alas! a rejoinder.
You think it inexorable, sir; but what of the whole monarchy, sir?
Carrier is a bandit; but what name do you give to Montrevel?
Fouquier-Tainville is a rascal; but what is your opinion as to
Lamoignon-Baville? Maillard is terrible; but Saulx-Tavannes,
if you please? Duchene senior is ferocious; but what epithet
will you allow me for the elder Letellier? Jourdan-Coupe-Tete is
a monster; but not so great a one as M. the Marquis de Louvois.
Sir, sir, I am sorry for Marie Antoinette, archduchess and queen;
but I am also sorry for that poor Huguenot woman, who, in 1685,
under Louis the Great, sir, while with a nursing infant, was bound,
naked to the waist, to a stake, and the child kept at a distance;
her breast swelled with milk and her heart with anguish;
the little one, hungry and pale, beheld that breast and cried
and agonized; the executioner said to the woman, a mother and a nurse,
`Abjure!' giving her her choice between the death of her infant
and the death of her conscience. What say you to that torture
of Tantalus as applied to a mother? Bear this well in mind sir:
the French Revolution had its reasons for existence; its wrath will
be absolved by the future; its result is the world made better.
From its most terrible blows there comes forth a caress for the
human race. I abridge, I stop, I have too much the advantage;
moreover, I am dying.

And ceasing to gaze at the Bishopthe conventionary concluded
his thoughts in these tranquil words:--

Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions.
When they are over, this fact is recognized,--that the human race
has been treated harshly, but that it has progressed.

The conventionary doubted not that he had successively conquered
all the inmost intrenchments of the Bishop. One remainedhowever
and from this intrenchmentthe last resource of Monseigneur
Bienvenu's resistancecame forth this replywherein appeared
nearly all the harshness of the beginning:-

Progress should believe in God. Good cannot have an impious servitor.
He who is an atheist is but a bad leader for the human race.

The former representative of the people made no reply. He was seized
with a fit of trembling. He looked towards heavenand in his glance
a tear gathered slowly. When the eyelid was fullthe tear trickled
down his livid cheekand he saidalmost in a stammerquite low
and to himselfwhile his eyes were plunged in the depths:-

O thou! O ideal! Thou alone existest!

The Bishop experienced an indescribable shock.

After a pausethe old man raised a finger heavenward and said:-

The infinite is. He is there. If the infinite had no person,
person would be without limit; it would not be infinite;
in other words, it would not exist. There is, then, an _I_.
That _I_ of the infinite is God.

The dying man had pronounced these last words in a loud voice
and with the shiver of ecstasyas though he beheld some one.
When he had spokenhis eyes closed. The effort had exhausted him.
It was evident that he had just lived through in a moment the
few hours which had been left to him. That which he had said
brought him nearer to him who is in death. The supreme moment
was approaching.

The Bishop understood this; time pressed; it was as a priest that
he had come: from extreme coldness he had passed by degrees to
extreme emotion; he gazed at those closed eyeshe took that wrinkled
aged and ice-cold hand in hisand bent over the dying man.

This hour is the hour of God. Do you not think that it would
be regrettable if we had met in vain?

The conventionary opened his eyes again. A gravity mingled
with gloom was imprinted on his countenance.

Bishop,said hewith a slowness which probably arose more
from his dignity of soul than from the failing of his strength
I have passed my life in meditation, study, and contemplation.
I was sixty years of age when my country called me and commanded
me to concern myself with its affairs. I obeyed. Abuses existed,
I combated them; tyrannies existed, I destroyed them; rights and
principles existed, I proclaimed and confessed them. Our territory
was invaded, I defended it; France was menaced, I offered my breast.
I was not rich; I am poor. I have been one of the masters of
the state; the vaults of the treasury were encumbered with specie
to such a degree that we were forced to shore up the walls,
which were on the point of bursting beneath the weight of gold
and silver; I dined in Dead Tree Street, at twenty-two sous.
I have succored the oppressed, I have comforted the suffering.
I tore the cloth from the altar, it is true; but it was to bind up
the wounds of my country. I have always upheld the march forward
of the human race, forward towards the light, and I have sometimes
resisted progress without pity. I have, when the occasion offered,
protected my own adversaries, men of your profession. And there

is at Peteghem, in Flanders, at the very spot where the Merovingian
kings had their summer palace, a convent of Urbanists, the Abbey
of Sainte Claire en Beaulieu, which I saved in 1793. I have done
my duty according to my powers, and all the good that I was able.
After which, I was hunted down, pursued, persecuted, blackened,
jeered at, scorned, cursed, proscribed. For many years past,
I with my white hair have been conscious that many people think they
have the right to despise me; to the poor ignorant masses I present
the visage of one damned. And I accept this isolation of hatred,
without hating any one myself. Now I am eighty-six years old;
I am on the point of death. What is it that you have come to ask
of me?

Your blessing,said the Bishop.

And he knelt down.

When the Bishop raised his head againthe face of the conventionary
had become august. He had just expired.

The Bishop returned homedeeply absorbed in thoughts which
cannot be known to us. He passed the whole night in prayer.
On the following morning some bold and curious persons attempted
to speak to him about member of the Convention G----; he contented
himself with pointing heavenward.

From that moment he redoubled his tenderness and brotherly feeling
towards all children and sufferers.

Any allusion to "that old wretch of a G----" caused him to fall
into a singular preoccupation. No one could say that the passage
of that soul before hisand the reflection of that grand conscience
upon hisdid not count for something in his approach to perfection.

This "pastoral visit" naturally furnished an occasion for a murmur
of comment in all the little local coteries.

Was the bedside of such a dying man as that the proper place
for a bishop? There was evidently no conversion to be expected.
All those revolutionists are backsliders. Then why go there?
What was there to be seen there? He must have been very curious indeed
to see a soul carried off by the devil.

One day a dowager of the impertinent variety who thinks
herself spiritualaddressed this sally to himMonseigneur,
people are inquiring when Your Greatness will receive the red
cap!--"Oh! oh! that's a coarse color replied the Bishop.
It is lucky that those who despise it in a cap revere it in a hat."



We should incur a great risk of deceiving ourselveswere we to conclude
from this that Monseigneur Welcome was "a philosophical bishop
or a patriotic cure." His meetingwhich may almost be designated
as his unionwith conventionary G----left behind it in his mind
a sort of astonishmentwhich rendered him still more gentle.
That is all.

Although Monseigneur Bienvenu was far from being a politician

this isperhapsthe place to indicate very briefly what his
attitude was in the events of that epochsupposing that Monseigneur
Bienvenu ever dreamed of having an attitude.

Let usthengo back a few years.

Some time after the elevation of M. Myriel to the episcopate
the Emperor had made him a baron of the Empirein company with many
other bishops. The arrest of the Pope took placeas every one knows
on the night of the 5th to the 6th of July1809; on this occasion

M. Myriel was summoned by Napoleon to the synod of the bishops
of France and Italy convened at Paris. This synod was held at
Notre-Dameand assembled for the first time on the 15th of June
1811under the presidency of Cardinal Fesch. M. Myriel was one
of the ninety-five bishops who attended it. But he was present
only at one sitting and at three or four private conferences.
Bishop of a mountain dioceseliving so very close to nature
in rusticity and deprivationit appeared that he imported among
these eminent personagesideas which altered the temperature
of the assembly. He very soon returned to D---- He was interrogated
as to this speedy returnand he replied: "I embarrassed them.
The outside air penetrated to them through me. I produced on them
the effect of an open door."
On another occasion he saidWhat would you have? Those gentlemen
are princes. I am only a poor peasant bishop.

The fact is that he displeased them. Among other strange things
it is said that he chanced to remark one eveningwhen he found
himself at the house of one of his most notable colleagues: "What
beautiful clocks! What beautiful carpets! What beautiful liveries!
They must be a great trouble. I would not have all those superfluities
crying incessantly in my ears: `There are people who are hungry!
There are people who are cold! There are poor people! There are
poor people!'"

Let us remarkby the waythat the hatred of luxury is not
an intelligent hatred. This hatred would involve the hatred of
the arts. Neverthelessin churchmenluxury is wrongexcept in
connection with representations and ceremonies. It seems to reveal
habits which have very little that is charitable about them.
An opulent priest is a contradiction. The priest must keep close
to the poor. Nowcan one come in contact incessantly night and day
with all this distressall these misfortunesand this poverty
without having about one's own person a little of that misery
like the dust of labor? Is it possible to imagine a man near a brazier
who is not warm? Can one imagine a workman who is working near
a furnaceand who has neither a singed hairnor blackened nails
nor a drop of sweatnor a speck of ashes on his face? The first
proof of charity in the priestin the bishop especiallyis poverty.

This isno doubtwhat the Bishop of D---- thought.

It must not be supposedhoweverthat he shared what we call the "ideas
of the century" on certain delicate points. He took very little part
in the theological quarrels of the momentand maintained silence
on questions in which Church and State were implicated; but if he
had been strongly pressedit seems that he would have been found
to be an ultramontane rather than a gallican. Since we are making
a portraitand since we do not wish to conceal anythingwe are
forced to add that he was glacial towards Napoleon in his decline.
Beginning with 1813he gave in his adherence to or applauded all
hostile manifestations. He refused to see himas he passed through
on his return from the island of Elbaand he abstained from ordering

public prayers for the Emperor in his diocese during the Hundred Days.

Besides his sisterMademoiselle Baptistinehe had two brothers
one a generalthe other a prefect. He wrote to both with tolerable
frequency. He was harsh for a time towards the formerbecause
holding a command in Provence at the epoch of the disembarkation
at Cannesthe general had put himself at the head of twelve hundred
men and had pursued the Emperor as though the latter had been a person
whom one is desirous of allowing to escape. His correspondence
with the other brotherthe ex-prefecta fineworthy man who
lived in retirement at ParisRue Cassetteremained more affectionate.

Thus Monseigneur Bienvenu also had his hour of party spirithis hour
of bitternesshis cloud. The shadow of the passions of the moment
traversed this grand and gentle spirit occupied with eternal things.
Certainlysuch a man would have done well not to entertain any
political opinions. Let there be no mistake as to our meaning:
we are not confounding what is called "political opinions" with the
grand aspiration for progresswith the sublime faithpatriotic
democratichumanewhich in our day should be the very foundation
of every generous intellect. Without going deeply into questions
which are only indirectly connected with the subject of this book
we will simply say this: It would have been well if Monseigneur
Bienvenu had not been a Royalistand if his glance had never been
for a single instantturned away from that serene contemplation
in which is distinctly discernibleabove the fictions and the hatreds
of this worldabove the stormy vicissitudes of human things
the beaming of those three pure radiancestruthjusticeand charity.

While admitting that it was not for a political office that God
created Monseigneur Welcomewe should have understood and admired
his protest in the name of right and libertyhis proud opposition
his just but perilous resistance to the all-powerful Napoleon.
But that which pleases us in people who are rising pleases us less
in the case of people who are falling. We only love the fray
so long as there is dangerand in any casethe combatants
of the first hour have alone the right to be the exterminators
of the last. He who has not been a stubborn accuser in prosperity
should hold his peace in the face of ruin. The denunciator
of success is the only legitimate executioner of the fall.
As for uswhen Providence intervenes and strikeswe let it work.
1812 commenced to disarm us. In 1813 the cowardly breach of silence
of that taciturn legislative bodyemboldened by catastrophe
possessed only traits which aroused indignation. And it was a crime
to applaudin 1814in the presence of those marshals who betrayed;
in the presence of that senate which passed from one dunghill
to anotherinsulting after having deified; in the presence of that
idolatry which was loosing its footing and spitting on its idol--
it was a duty to turn aside the head. In 1815when the supreme
disasters filled the airwhen France was seized with a shiver
at their sinister approachwhen Waterloo could be dimly discerned
opening before Napoleonthe mournful acclamation of the army
and the people to the condemned of destiny had nothing laughable
in itandafter making all allowance for the despota heart
like that of the Bishop of D----ought not perhaps to have failed
to recognize the august and touching features presented by the embrace
of a great nation and a great man on the brink of the abyss.

With this exceptionhe was in all things justtrueequitable
intelligenthumble and dignifiedbeneficent and kindly
which is only another sort of benevolence. He was a priest
a sageand a man. It must be admittedthat even in the political
views with which we have just reproached himand which we are
disposed to judge almost with severityhe was tolerant and easy

more soperhapsthan we who are speaking here. The porter of
the town-hall had been placed there by the Emperor. He was an old
non-commissioned officer of the old guarda member of the Legion
of Honor at Austerlitzas much of a Bonapartist as the eagle.
This poor fellow occasionally let slip inconsiderate remarks
which the law then stigmatized as seditious speeches. After the
imperial profile disappeared from the Legion of Honorhe never
dressed himself in his regimentalsas he saidso that he should
not be obliged to wear his cross. He had himself devoutly removed
the imperial effigy from the cross which Napoleon had given him;
this made a holeand he would not put anything in its place.
I will die,he saidrather than wear the three frogs upon
my heart!He liked to scoff aloud at Louis XVIII. "The gouty
old creature in English gaiters!" he said; "let him take himself
off to Prussia with that queue of his." He was happy to combine
in the same imprecation the two things which he most detested
Prussia and England. He did it so often that he lost his place.
There he wasturned out of the housewith his wife and children
and without bread. The Bishop sent for himreproved him gently
and appointed him beadle in the cathedral.

In the course of nine years Monseigneur Bienvenu hadby dint
of holy deeds and gentle mannersfilled the town of D----
with a sort of tender and filial reverence. Even his conduct
towards Napoleon had been accepted and tacitly pardonedas it were
by the peoplethe good and weakly flock who adored their emperor
but loved their bishop.



A bishop is almost always surrounded by a full squadron of
little abbesjust as a general is by a covey of young officers.
This is what that charming Saint Francois de Sales calls somewhere "les
pretres blancs-becs callow priests. Every career has its aspirants,
who form a train for those who have attained eminence in it.
There is no power which has not its dependents. There is no fortune
which has not its court. The seekers of the future eddy around
the splendid present. Every metropolis has its staff of officials.
Every bishop who possesses the least influence has about him
his patrol of cherubim from the seminary, which goes the round,
and maintains good order in the episcopal palace, and mounts guard
over monseigneur's smile. To please a bishop is equivalent to getting
one's foot in the stirrup for a sub-diaconate. It is necessary to walk
one's path discreetly; the apostleship does not disdain the canonship.

Just as there are bigwigs elsewhere, there are big mitres in the Church.
These are the bishops who stand well at Court, who are rich,
well endowed, skilful, accepted by the world, who know how to pray,
no doubt, but who know also how to beg, who feel little scruple
at making a whole diocese dance attendance in their person,
who are connecting links between the sacristy and diplomacy,
who are abbes rather than priests, prelates rather than bishops.
Happy those who approach them! Being persons of influence,
they create a shower about them, upon the assiduous and the favored,
and upon all the young men who understand the art of pleasing,
of large parishes, prebends, archidiaconates, chaplaincies,
and cathedral posts, while awaiting episcopal honors. As they
advance themselves, they cause their satellites to progress also;
it is a whole solar system on the march. Their radiance casts a gleam

of purple over their suite. Their prosperity is crumbled up behind
the scenes, into nice little promotions. The larger the diocese
of the patron, the fatter the curacy for the favorite. And then,
there is Rome. A bishop who understands how to become an archbishop,
an archbishop who knows how to become a cardinal, carries you
with him as conclavist; you enter a court of papal jurisdiction,
you receive the pallium, and behold! you are an auditor, then a
papal chamberlain, then monsignor, and from a Grace to an Eminence
is only a step, and between the Eminence and the Holiness there is
but the smoke of a ballot. Every skull-cap may dream of the tiara.
The priest is nowadays the only man who can become a king in a
regular manner; and what a king! the supreme king. Then what a
nursery of aspirations is a seminary! How many blushing choristers,
how many youthful abbes bear on their heads Perrette's pot of milk!
Who knows how easy it is for ambition to call itself vocation?
in good faith, perchance, and deceiving itself, devotee that
it is.

Monseigneur Bienvenu, poor, humble, retiring, was not accounted
among the big mitres. This was plain from the complete absence
of young priests about him. We have seen that he did not take"
in Paris. Not a single future dreamed of engrafting itself on
this solitary old man. Not a single sprouting ambition committed
the folly of putting forth its foliage in his shadow. His canons
and grand-vicars were good old menrather vulgar like himself
walled up like him in this diocesewithout exit to a cardinalship
and who resembled their bishopwith this differencethat they
were finished and he was completed. The impossibility of growing
great under Monseigneur Bienvenu was so well understoodthat no
sooner had the young men whom he ordained left the seminary than they
got themselves recommended to the archbishops of Aix or of Auch
and went off in a great hurry. Forin shortwe repeat it
men wish to be pushed. A saint who dwells in a paroxysm of abnegation
is a dangerous neighbor; he might communicate to youby contagion
an incurable povertyan anchylosis of the jointswhich are useful
in advancementand in shortmore renunciation than you desire;
and this infectious virtue is avoided. Hence the isolation of
Monseigneur Bienvenu. We live in the midst of a gloomy society.
Success; that is the lesson which falls drop by drop from the slope
of corruption.

Be it said in passingthat success is a very hideous thing. Its false
resemblance to merit deceives men. For the massessuccess has almost
the same profile as supremacy. Successthat Menaechmus of talent
has one dupe--history. Juvenal and Tacitus alone grumble at it.
In our daya philosophy which is almost official has entered into
its servicewears the livery of successand performs the service
of its antechamber. Succeed: theory. Prosperity argues capacity.
Win in the lotteryand behold! you are a clever man. He who
triumphs is venerated. Be born with a silver spoon in your mouth!
everything lies in that. Be luckyand you will have all the rest;
be happyand people will think you great. Outside of five or six
immense exceptionswhich compose the splendor of a century
contemporary admiration is nothing but short-sightedness. Gilding
is gold. It does no harm to be the first arrival by pure chance
so long as you do arrive. The common herd is an old Narcissus who
adores himselfand who applauds the vulgar herd. That enormous ability
by virtue of which one is MosesAeschylusDanteMichael Angelo
or Napoleonthe multitude awards on the spotand by acclamation
to whomsoever attains his objectin whatsoever it may consist.
Let a notary transfigure himself into a deputy: let a false
Corneille compose Tiridate; let a eunuch come to possess a harem;
let a military Prudhomme accidentally win the decisive battle of
an epoch; let an apothecary invent cardboard shoe-soles for the army

of the Sambre-and-Meuseand construct for himselfout of this
cardboardsold as leatherfour hundred thousand francs of income;
let a pork-packer espouse usuryand cause it to bring forth seven
or eight millionsof which he is the father and of which it is
the mother; let a preacher become a bishop by force of his nasal drawl;
let the steward of a fine family be so rich on retiring from service
that he is made minister of finances--and men call that Genius
just as they call the face of Mousqueton Beautyand the mien
of Claude Majesty. With the constellations of space they confound
the stars of the abyss which are made in the soft mire of the puddle
by the feet of ducks.



We are not obliged to sound the Bishop of D---- on the score
of orthodoxy. In the presence of such a soul we feel ourselves
in no mood but respect. The conscience of the just man should
be accepted on his word. Moreovercertain natures being given
we admit the possible development of all beauties of human virtue
in a belief that differs from our own.

What did he think of this dogmaor of that mystery? These secrets
of the inner tribunal of the conscience are known only to the tomb
where souls enter naked. The point on which we are certain is
that the difficulties of faith never resolved themselves into
hypocrisy in his case. No decay is possible to the diamond.
He believed to the extent of his powers. "Credo in Patrem
he often exclaimed. Moreover, he drew from good works that amount
of satisfaction which suffices to the conscience, and which whispers
to a man, Thou art with God!"

The point which we consider it our duty to note isthat outside
of and beyond his faithas it werethe Bishop possessed an excess
of love. In was in that quarterquia multum amavit--because he
loved much--that he was regarded as vulnerable by "serious men
grave persons" and "reasonable people"; favorite locutions of our
sad world where egotism takes its word of command from pedantry.
What was this excess of love? It was a serene benevolence
which overflowed menas we have already pointed outand which
on occasionextended even to things. He lived without disdain.
He was indulgent towards God's creation. Every maneven the best
has within him a thoughtless harshness which he reserves for animals.
The Bishop of D---- had none of that harshnesswhich is peculiar
to many priestsnevertheless. He did not go as far as the Brahmin
but he seemed to have weighed this saying of Ecclesiastes: "Who knoweth
whither the soul of the animal goeth?" Hideousness of aspect
deformity of instincttroubled him notand did not arouse
his indignation. He was touchedalmost softened by them.
It seemed as though he went thoughtfully away to seek beyond
the bounds of life which is apparentthe causethe explanation
or the excuse for them. He seemed at times to be asking God to
commute these penalties. He examined without wrathand with the
eye of a linguist who is deciphering a palimpsestthat portion
of chaos which still exists in nature. This revery sometimes
caused him to utter odd sayings. One morning he was in his garden
and thought himself alonebut his sister was walking behind him
unseen by him: suddenly he paused and gazed at something on the ground;
it was a largeblackhairyfrightful spider. His sister heard
him say:-

Poor beast! It is not its fault!

Why not mention these almost divinely childish sayings of kindness?
Puerile they may be; but these sublime puerilities were peculiar
to Saint Francis d'Assisi and of Marcus Aurelius. One day he
sprained his ankle in his effort to avoid stepping on an ant.
Thus lived this just man. Sometimes he fell asleep in his garden
and then there was nothing more venerable possible.

Monseigneur Bienvenu had formerly beenif the stories anent
his youthand even in regard to his manhoodwere to be believed
a passionateandpossiblya violent man. His universal suavity
was less an instinct of nature than the result of a grand conviction
which had filtered into his heart through the medium of life
and had trickled there slowlythought by thought; forin a character
as in a rockthere may exist apertures made by drops of water.
These hollows are uneffaceable; these formations are indestructible.

In 1815as we think we have already saidhe reached his seventy-fifth
birthdaybut he did not appear to be more than sixty. He was
not tall; he was rather plump; andin order to combat this tendency
he was fond of taking long strolls on foot; his step was firm
and his form was but slightly benta detail from which we do not
pretend to draw any conclusion. Gregory the age of eighty
held himself erect and smilingwhich did not prevent him from
being a bad bishop. Monseigneur Welcome had what the people term
a "fine head but so amiable was he that they forgot that it was fine.

When he conversed with that infantile gayety which was one of his charms,
and of which we have already spoken, people felt at their ease with him,
and joy seemed to radiate from his whole person. His fresh and
ruddy complexion, his very white teeth, all of which he had preserved,
and which were displayed by his smile, gave him that open and easy
air which cause the remark to be made of a man, He's a good fellow";
and of an old manHe is a fine man.Thatit will be recalled
was the effect which he produced upon Napoleon. On the first encounter
and to one who saw him for the first timehe was nothingin fact
but a fine man. But if one remained near him for a few hours
and beheld him in the least degree pensivethe fine man became
gradually transfiguredand took on some imposing quality
I know not what; his broad and serious browrendered august
by his white locksbecame august also by virtue of meditation;
majesty radiated from his goodnessthough his goodness ceased not
to be radiant; one experienced something of the emotion which one
would feel on beholding a smiling angel slowly unfold his wings
without ceasing to smile. Respectan unutterable respect
penetrated you by degrees and mounted to your heartand one felt
that one had before him one of those strongthoroughly tried
and indulgent souls where thought is so grand that it can no longer
be anything but gentle.

As we have seenprayerthe celebration of the offices of religion
alms-givingthe consolation of the afflictedthe cultivation
of a bit of landfraternityfrugalityhospitalityrenunciation
confidencestudyworkfilled every day of his life. Filled is
exactly the word; certainly the Bishop's day was quite full to the brim
of good words and good deeds. Neverthelessit was not complete
if cold or rainy weather prevented his passing an hour or two in his
garden before going to bedand after the two women had retired.
It seemed to be a sort of rite with himto prepare himself for
slumber by meditation in the presence of the grand spectacles of the
nocturnal heavens. Sometimesif the two old women were not asleep
they heard him pacing slowly along the walks at a very advanced

hour of the night. He was there alonecommuning with himself
peacefuladoringcomparing the serenity of his heart with the
serenity of the ethermoved amid the darkness by the visible
splendor of the constellations and the invisible splendor of God
opening his heart to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown.
At such momentswhile he offered his heart at the hour when
nocturnal flowers offer their perfumeilluminated like a lamp amid
the starry nightas he poured himself out in ecstasy in the midst
of the universal radiance of creationhe could not have told himself
probablywhat was passing in his spirit; he felt something take
its flight from himand something descend into him. Mysterious
exchange of the abysses of the soul with the abysses of the universe!

He thought of the grandeur and presence of God; of the future eternity
that strange mystery; of the eternity pasta mystery still
more strange; of all the infinitieswhich pierced their way into
all his sensesbeneath his eyes; andwithout seeking to comprehend
the incomprehensiblehe gazed upon it. He did not study God;
he was dazzled by him. He considered those magnificent conjunctions
of atomswhich communicate aspects to matterreveal forces by
verifying themcreate individualities in unityproportions in extent
the innumerable in the infiniteandthrough lightproduce beauty.
These conjunctions are formed and dissolved incessantly;
hence life and death.

He seated himself on a wooden benchwith his back against a
decrepit vine; he gazed at the starspast the puny and stunted
silhouettes of his fruit-trees. This quarter of an acre
so poorly plantedso encumbered with mean buildings and sheds
was dear to himand satisfied his wants.

What more was needed by this old manwho divided the leisure
of his lifewhere there was so little leisurebetween gardening
in the daytime and contemplation at night? Was not this narrow
enclosurewith the heavens for a ceilingsufficient to enable
him to adore God in his most divine worksin turn? Does not this
comprehend allin fact? and what is there left to desire beyond it?
A little garden in which to walkand immensity in which to dream.
At one's feet that which can be cultivated and plucked; over head
that which one can study and meditate upon: some flowers on earth
and all the stars in the sky.



One last word.

Since this sort of details mightparticularly at the present moment
and to use an expression now in fashiongive to the Bishop of D---a
certain "pantheistical" physiognomyand induce the belief
either to his credit or discreditthat he entertained one of
those personal philosophies which are peculiar to our century
which sometimes spring up in solitary spiritsand there take on a form
and grow until they usurp the place of religionwe insist upon it
that not one of those persons who knew Monseigneur Welcome would
have thought himself authorized to think anything of the sort.
That which enlightened this man was his heart. His wisdom was made
of the light which comes from there.

No systems; many works. Abstruse speculations contain vertigo; no

there is nothing to indicate that he risked his mind in apocalypses.
The apostle may be daringbut the bishop must be timid. He would
probably have felt a scruple at sounding too far in advance certain
problems which arein a mannerreserved for terrible great minds.
There is a sacred horror beneath the porches of the enigma;
those gloomy openings stand yawning therebut something
tells youyoua passer-by in lifethat you must not enter.
Woe to him who penetrates thither!

Geniuses in the impenetrable depths of abstraction and pure
speculationsituatedso to speakabove all dogmaspropose their
ideas to God. Their prayer audaciously offers discussion.
Their adoration interrogates. This is direct religionwhich is
full of anxiety and responsibility for him who attempts its steep cliffs.

Human meditation has no limits. At his own risk and perilit analyzes
and digs deep into its own bedazzlement. One might almost say
that by a sort of splendid reactionit with it dazzles nature;
the mysterious world which surrounds us renders back what it
has received; it is probable that the contemplators are contemplated.
However that may bethere are on earth men who--are they men?--
perceive distinctly at the verge of the horizons of revery the
heights of the absoluteand who have the terrible vision of the
infinite mountain. Monseigneur Welcome was one of these men;
Monseigneur Welcome was not a genius. He would have feared those
sublimities whence some very great men evenlike Swedenborg and Pascal
have slipped into insanity. Certainlythese powerful reveries
have their moral utilityand by these arduous paths one approaches
to ideal perfection. As for himhe took the path which shortens--
the Gospel's.

He did not attempt to impart to his chasuble the folds of Elijah's mantle;
he projected no ray of future upon the dark groundswell of events;
he did not see to condense in flame the light of things; he had
nothing of the prophet and nothing of the magician about him.
This humble soul lovedand that was all.

That he carried prayer to the pitch of a superhuman aspiration
is probable: but one can no more pray too much than one can
love too much; and if it is a heresy to pray beyond the texts
Saint Theresa and Saint Jerome would be heretics.

He inclined towards all that groans and all that expiates.
The universe appeared to him like an immense malady; everywhere he
felt fevereverywhere he heard the sound of sufferingand
without seeking to solve the enigmahe strove to dress the wound.
The terrible spectacle of created things developed tenderness in him;
he was occupied only in finding for himselfand in inspiring others
with the best way to compassionate and relieve. That which exists
was for this good and rare priest a permanent subject of sadness
which sought consolation.

There are men who toil at extracting gold; he toiled at the extraction
of pity. Universal misery was his mine. The sadness which reigned
everywhere was but an excuse for unfailing kindness. Love each other;
he declared this to be completedesired nothing furtherand that was
the whole of his doctrine. One daythat man who believed himself
to be a "philosopher the senator who has already been alluded to,
said to the Bishop: Just survey the spectacle of the world:
all war against all; the strongest has the most wit. Your love
each other is nonsense."--"Well replied Monseigneur Welcome,
without contesting the point, if it is nonsensethe soul should shut
itself up in itas the pearl in the oyster." Thus he shut himself up
he lived therehe was absolutely satisfied with itleaving on one side

the prodigious questions which attract and terrifythe fathomless
perspectives of abstractionthe precipices of metaphysics--all those
profundities which convergefor the apostle in Godfor the atheist
in nothingness; destinygood and evilthe way of being against being
the conscience of manthe thoughtful somnambulism of the animal
the transformation in deaththe recapitulation of existences
which the tomb containsthe incomprehensible grafting of successive
loves on the persistent _I_the essencethe substancethe Nile
and the Ensthe soulnaturelibertynecessity; perpendicular problems
sinister obscuritieswhere lean the gigantic archangels of the
human mind; formidable abysseswhich LucretiusManouSaint Paul
Dantecontemplate with eyes flashing lightningwhich seems
by its steady gaze on the infinite to cause stars to blaze forth there.

Monseigneur Bienvenu was simply a man who took note of the exterior
of mysterious questions without scrutinizing themand without
troubling his own mind with themand who cherished in his own
soul a grave respect for darkness.




Early in the month of October1815about an hour before sunset
a man who was travelling on foot entered the little town of D----
The few inhabitants who were at their windows or on their thresholds
at the moment stared at this traveller with a sort of uneasiness.
It was difficult to encounter a wayfarer of more wretched appearance.
He was a man of medium staturethickset and robustin the prime
of life. He might have been forty-six or forty-eight years old.
A cap with a drooping leather visor partly concealed his face
burned and tanned by sun and windand dripping with perspiration.
His shirt of coarse yellow linenfastened at the neck by a small
silver anchorpermitted a view of his hairy breast: he had a cravat
twisted into a string; trousers of blue drillingworn and threadbare
white on one knee and torn on the other; an old graytattered blouse
patched on one of the elbows with a bit of green cloth sewed on
with twine; a tightly packed soldier knapsackwell buckled and
perfectly newon his back; an enormousknotty stick in his hand;
iron-shod shoes on his stockingless feet; a shaved head and a long

The sweatthe heatthe journey on footthe dustadded I know
not what sordid quality to this dilapidated whole. His hair was
closely cutyet bristlingfor it had begun to grow a little
and did not seem to have been cut for some time.

No one knew him. He was evidently only a chance passer-by. Whence
came he? From the south; from the seashoreperhapsfor he made his
entrance into D---- by the same street whichseven months previously
had witnessed the passage of the Emperor Napoleon on his way
from Cannes to Paris. This man must have been walking all day.
He seemed very much fatigued. Some women of the ancient market town
which is situated below the city had seen him pause beneath the trees
of the boulevard Gassendiand drink at the fountain which stands
at the end of the promenade. He must have been very thirsty:
for the children who followed him saw him stop again for a drink
two hundred paces further onat the fountain in the market-place.

On arriving at the corner of the Rue Poicheverthe turned to the left
and directed his steps toward the town-hall. He enteredthen came
out a quarter of an hour later. A gendarme was seated near the door
on the stone bench which General Drouot had mounted on the 4th
of March to read to the frightened throng of the inhabitants of D---the
proclamation of the Gulf Juan. The man pulled off his cap
and humbly saluted the gendarme.

The gendarmewithout replying to his salutestared attentively
at himfollowed him for a while with his eyesand then entered
the town-hall.

There then existed at D---- a fine inn at the sign of the Cross
of Colbas. This inn had for a landlord a certain Jacquin Labarre
a man of consideration in the town on account of his relationship
to another Labarrewho kept the inn of the Three Dauphins in Grenoble
and had served in the Guides. At the time of the Emperor's landing
many rumors had circulated throughout the country with regard to this
inn of the Three Dauphins. It was said that General Bertrand
disguised as a carterhad made frequent trips thither in the month
of Januaryand that he had distributed crosses of honor to the
soldiers and handfuls of gold to the citizens. The truth is
that when the Emperor entered Grenoble he had refused to install
himself at the hotel of the prefecture; he had thanked the mayor
sayingI am going to the house of a brave man of my acquaintance;
and he had betaken himself to the Three Dauphins. This glory
of the Labarre of the Three Dauphins was reflected upon the Labarre
of the Cross of Colbasat a distance of five and twenty leagues.
It was said of him in the townThat is the cousin of the man
of Grenoble.

The man bent his steps towards this innwhich was the best in
the country-side. He entered the kitchenwhich opened on a level
with the street. All the stoves were lighted; a huge fire blazed
gayly in the fireplace. The hostwho was also the chief cook
was going from one stew-pan to anothervery busily superintending
an excellent dinner designed for the wagonerswhose loud talking
conversationand laughter were audible from an adjoining apartment.
Any one who has travelled knows that there is no one who indulges
in better cheer than wagoners. A fat marmotflanked by white
partridges and heather-cockswas turning on a long spit before
the fire; on the stovetwo huge carps from Lake Lauzet and a trout
from Lake Alloz were cooking.

The hosthearing the door open and seeing a newcomer enter
saidwithout raising his eyes from his stoves:-

What do you wish, sir?

Food and lodging,said the man.

Nothing easier,replied the host. At that moment he turned his head
took in the traveller's appearance with a single glanceand added
By paying for it.

The man drew a large leather purse from the pocket of his blouse
and answeredI have money.

In that case, we are at your service,said the host.

The man put his purse back in his pocketremoved his knapsack from
his backput it on the ground near the doorretained his stick
in his handand seated himself on a low stool close to the fire.

D---- is in the mountains. The evenings are cold there in October.

But as the host went back and forthhe scrutinized the traveller.

Will dinner be ready soon?said the man.

Immediately,replied the landlord.

While the newcomer was warming himself before the firewith his back
turnedthe worthy hostJacquin Labarredrew a pencil from his pocket
then tore off the corner of an old newspaper which was lying on a small
table near the window. On the white margin he wrote a line or two
folded it without sealingand then intrusted this scrap of paper
to a child who seemed to serve him in the capacity both of scullion
and lackey. The landlord whispered a word in the scullion's ear
and the child set off on a run in the direction of the town-hall.

The traveller saw nothing of all this.

Once more he inquiredWill dinner be ready soon?

Immediately,responded the host.

The child returned. He brought back the paper. The host unfolded
it eagerlylike a person who is expecting a reply. He seemed to
read it attentivelythen tossed his headand remained thoughtful
for a moment. Then he took a step in the direction of the traveller
who appeared to be immersed in reflections which were not very serene.

I cannot receive you, sir,said he.

The man half rose.

What! Are you afraid that I will not pay you? Do you want me
to pay you in advance? I have money, I tell you.

It is not that.

What then?

You have money--

Yes,said the man.

And I,said the hosthave no room.

The man resumed tranquillyPut me in the stable.

I cannot.


The horses take up all the space.

Very well!retorted the man; "a corner of the loft thena truss
of straw. We will see about that after dinner."

I cannot give you any dinner.

This declarationmade in a measured but firm tonestruck the
stranger as grave. He rose.

Ah! bah! But I am dying of hunger. I have been walking since sunrise.
I have travelled twelve leagues. I pay. I wish to eat.

I have nothing,said the landlord.

The man burst out laughingand turned towards the fireplace
and the stoves: "Nothing! and all that?"

All that is engaged.

By whom?

By messieurs the wagoners.

How many are there of them?


There is enough food there for twenty.

They have engaged the whole of it and paid for it in advance.

The man seated himself againand saidwithout raising his voice
I am at an inn; I am hungry, and I shall remain.

Then the host bent down to his earand said in a tone which made
him startGo away!

At that moment the traveller was bending forward and thrusting
some brands into the fire with the iron-shod tip of his staff;
he turned quickly roundand as he opened his mouth to reply
the host gazed steadily at him and addedstill in a low voice:
Stop! there's enough of that sort of talk. Do you want me to tell
you your name? Your name is Jean Valjean. Now do you want me to tell
you who you are? When I saw you come in I suspected something;
I sent to the town-hall, and this was the reply that was sent to me.
Can you read?

So sayinghe held out to the strangerfully unfoldedthe paper
which had just travelled from the inn to the town-halland from
the town-hall to the inn. The man cast a glance upon it.
The landlord resumed after a pause.

I am in the habit of being polite to every one. Go away!

The man dropped his headpicked up the knapsack which he had
deposited on the groundand took his departure.

He chose the principal street. He walked straight on at a venture
keeping close to the houses like a sad and humiliated man.
He did not turn round a single time. Had he done sohe would have
seen the host of the Cross of Colbas standing on his threshold
surrounded by all the guests of his innand all the passers-by in
the streettalking vivaciouslyand pointing him out with his finger;
andfrom the glances of terror and distrust cast by the group
he might have divined that his arrival would speedily become an event
for the whole town.

He saw nothing of all this. People who are crushed do not look
behind them. They know but too well the evil fate which follows them.

Thus he proceeded for some timewalking on without ceasing
traversing at random streets of which he knew nothingforgetful of
his fatigueas is often the case when a man is sad. All at once
he felt the pangs of hunger sharply. Night was drawing near.
He glanced about himto see whether he could not discover some shelter.

The fine hostelry was closed to him; he was seeking some very humble
public housesome hovelhowever lowly.

Just then a light flashed up at the end of the streets; a pine
branch suspended from a cross-beam of iron was outlined against
the white sky of the twilight. He proceeded thither.

It proved to bein facta public house. The public house
which is in the Rue de Chaffaut.

The wayfarer halted for a momentand peeped through the window into
the interior of the low-studded room of the public houseilluminated by
a small lamp on a table and by a large fire on the hearth. Some men
were engaged in drinking there. The landlord was warming himself.
An iron potsuspended from a cranebubbled over the flame.

The entrance to this public housewhich is also a sort of an inn
is by two doors. One opens on the streetthe other upon a small yard
filled with manure. The traveller dare not enter by the street door.
He slipped into the yardhalted againthen raised the latch timidly
and opened the door.

Who goes there?said the master.

Some one who wants supper and bed.

Good. We furnish supper and bed here.

He entered. All the men who were drinking turned round.
The lamp illuminated him on one sidethe firelight on the other.
They examined him for some time while he was taking off his knapsack.

The host said to himThere is the fire. The supper is cooking
in the pot. Come and warm yourself, comrade.

He approached and seated himself near the hearth. He stretched
out his feetwhich were exhausted with fatigueto the fire;
a fine odor was emitted by the pot. All that could be distinguished
of his facebeneath his capwhich was well pulled down
assumed a vague appearance of comfortmingled with that other
poignant aspect which habitual suffering bestows.

It wasmoreovera firmenergeticand melancholy profile.
This physiognomy was strangely composed; it began by seeming humble
and ended by seeming severe. The eye shone beneath its lashes
like a fire beneath brushwood.

One of the men seated at the tablehoweverwas a fishmonger who
before entering the public house of the Rue de Chaffaut
had been to stable his horse at Labarre's. It chanced that he
had that very morning encountered this unprepossessing stranger
on the road between Bras d'Asse and--I have forgotten the name.
I think it was Escoublon. Nowwhen he met himthe manwho then
seemed already extremely wearyhad requested him to take him
on his crupper; to which the fishmonger had made no reply except
by redoubling his gait. This fishmonger had been a member half
an hour previously of the group which surrounded Jacquin Labarre
and had himself related his disagreeable encounter of the morning
to the people at the Cross of Colbas. From where he sat he made
an imperceptible sign to the tavern-keeper. The tavern-keeper went
to him. They exchanged a few words in a low tone. The man had
again become absorbed in his reflections.

The tavern-keeper returned to the fireplacelaid his hand abruptly
on the shoulder of the manand said to him:-

You are going to get out of here.

The stranger turned round and replied gentlyAh! You know?--


I was sent away from the other inn.

And you are to be turned out of this one.

Where would you have me go?


The man took his stick and his knapsack and departed.

As he went outsome children who had followed him from the Cross
of Colbasand who seemed to be lying in wait for himthrew stones
at him. He retraced his steps in angerand threatened them
with his stick: the children dispersed like a flock of birds.

He passed before the prison. At the door hung an iron chain
attached to a bell. He rang.

The wicket opened.

Turnkey,said heremoving his cap politelywill you have
the kindness to admit me, and give me a lodging for the night?

A voice replied:-

The prison is not an inn. Get yourself arrested, and you will
be admitted.

The wicket closed again.

He entered a little street in which there were many gardens.
Some of them are enclosed only by hedgeswhich lends a cheerful
aspect to the street. In the midst of these gardens and hedges
he caught sight of a small house of a single storythe window
of which was lighted up. He peered through the pane as he had
done at the public house. Within was a large whitewashed room
with a bed draped in printed cotton stuffand a cradle in one corner
a few wooden chairsand a double-barrelled gun hanging on the wall.
A table was spread in the centre of the room. A copper lamp
illuminated the tablecloth of coarse white linenthe pewter
jug shining like silverand filled with wineand the brown
smoking soup-tureen. At this table sat a man of about forty
with a merry and open countenancewho was dandling a little child
on his knees. Close by a very young woman was nursing another child.
The father was laughingthe child was laughingthe mother
was smiling.

The stranger paused a moment in revery before this tender
and calming spectacle. What was taking place within him?
He alone could have told. It is probable that he thought that
this joyous house would be hospitableand thatin a place
where he beheld so much happinesshe would find perhaps a little pity.

He tapped on the pane with a very small and feeble knock.

They did not hear him.

He tapped again.

He heard the woman sayIt seems to me, husband, that some one
is knocking.

No,replied the husband.

He tapped a third time.

The husband rosetook the lampand went to the doorwhich he opened.

He was a man of lofty staturehalf peasanthalf artisan.
He wore a huge leather apronwhich reached to his left shoulder
and which a hammera red handkerchiefa powder-hornand all
sorts of objects which were upheld by the girdleas in a pocket
caused to bulge out. He carried his head thrown backwards;
his shirtwidely opened and turned backdisplayed his bull neck
white and bare. He had thick eyelashesenormous black whiskers
prominent eyesthe lower part of his face like a snout;
and besides all thisthat air of being on his own ground
which is indescribable.

Pardon me, sir,said the wayfarerCould you, in consideration
of payment, give me a plate of soup and a corner of that shed
yonder in the garden, in which to sleep? Tell me; can you?
For money?

Who are you?demanded the master of the house.

The man replied: "I have just come from Puy-Moisson. I have
walked all day long. I have travelled twelve leagues. Can you?--
if I pay?"

I would not refuse,said the peasantto lodge any respectable
man who would pay me. But why do you not go to the inn?

There is no room.

Bah! Impossible. This is neither a fair nor a market day.
Have you been to Labarre?



The traveller replied with embarrassment: "I do not know.
He did not receive me."

Have you been to What's-his-name's, in the Rue Chaffaut?

The stranger's embarrassment increased; he stammeredHe did
not receive me either.

The peasant's countenance assumed an expression of distrust;
he surveyed the newcomer from head to feetand suddenly exclaimed
with a sort of shudder:--

Are you the man?--

He cast a fresh glance upon the strangertook three steps backwards
placed the lamp on the tableand took his gun down from the wall.

Meanwhileat the wordsAre you the man? the woman had risen
had clasped her two children in her armsand had taken refuge
precipitately behind her husbandstaring in terror at the stranger
with her bosom uncoveredand with frightened eyesas she murmured
in a low toneTso-maraude.[1]

[1] Patois of the French Alps: chat de marauderascally marauder.
All this took place in less time than it requires to picture it
to one's self. After having scrutinized the man for several moments
as one scrutinizes a viperthe master of the house returned
to the door and said:--

Clear out!

For pity's sake, a glass of water,said the man.

A shot from my gun!said the peasant.

Then he closed the door violentlyand the man heard him shoot
two large bolts. A moment laterthe window-shutter was closed
and the sound of a bar of iron which was placed against it was
audible outside.

Night continued to fall. A cold wind from the Alps was blowing.
By the light of the expiring day the stranger perceived
in one of the gardens which bordered the streeta sort of hut
which seemed to him to be built of sods. He climbed over the wooden
fence resolutelyand found himself in the garden. He approached
the hut; its door consisted of a very low and narrow aperture
and it resembled those buildings which road-laborers construct for
themselves along the roads. He thought without doubtthat it was
in factthe dwelling of a road-laborer; he was suffering from cold
and hungerbut this wasat leasta shelter from the cold.
This sort of dwelling is not usually occupied at night. He threw
himself flat on his faceand crawled into the hut. It was warm there
and he found a tolerably good bed of straw. He layfor a moment
stretched out on this bedwithout the power to make a movement
so fatigued was he. Thenas the knapsack on his back was in
his wayand as it furnishedmoreovera pillow ready to his hand
he set about unbuckling one of the straps. At that moment
a ferocious growl became audible. He raised his eyes. The head
of an enormous dog was outlined in the darkness at the entrance of
the hut.

It was a dog's kennel.

He was himself vigorous and formidable; he armed himself with his staff
made a shield of his knapsackand made his way out of the kennel
in the best way he couldnot without enlarging the rents in his rags.

He left the garden in the same mannerbut backwardsbeing obliged
in order to keep the dog respectfulto have recourse to that
manoeuvre with his stick which masters in that sort of fencing
designate as la rose couverte.

When he hadnot without difficultyrepassed the fenceand found
himself once more in the streetalonewithout refugewithout shelter
without a roof over his headchased even from that bed of straw
and from that miserable kennelhe dropped rather than seated himself
on a stoneand it appears that a passer-by heard him exclaim
I am not even a dog!

He soon rose again and resumed his march. He went out of the town
hoping to find some tree or haystack in the fields which would afford
him shelter.

He walked thus for some timewith his head still drooping.
When he felt himself far from every human habitationhe raised
his eyes and gazed searchingly about him. He was in a field.
Before him was one of those low hills covered with close-cut stubble
whichafter the harvestresemble shaved heads.

The horizon was perfectly black. This was not alone the obscurity
of night; it was caused by very low-hanging clouds which seemed
to rest upon the hill itselfand which were mounting and filling
the whole sky. Meanwhileas the moon was about to riseand as
there was still floating in the zenith a remnant of the brightness
of twilightthese clouds formed at the summit of the sky a sort
of whitish archwhence a gleam of light fell upon the earth.

The earth was thus better lighted than the skywhich produces
a particularly sinister effectand the hillwhose contour was poor
and meanwas outlined vague and wan against the gloomy horizon.
The whole effect was hideouspettylugubriousand narrow.

There was nothing in the field or on the hill except a deformed tree
which writhed and shivered a few paces distant from the wayfarer.

This man was evidently very far from having those delicate habits
of intelligence and spirit which render one sensible to the mysterious
aspects of things; neverthelessthere was something in that sky
in that hillin that plainin that treewhich was so profoundly
desolatethat after a moment of immobility and revery he turned
back abruptly. There are instants when nature seems hostile.

He retraced his steps; the gates of D---- were closed. D----which had
sustained sieges during the wars of religionwas still surrounded
in 1815 by ancient walls flanked by square towers which have been
demolished since. He passed through a breach and entered the town again.

It might have been eight o'clock in the evening. As he was not
acquainted with the streetshe recommenced his walk at random.

In this way he came to the prefecturethen to the seminary.
As he passed through the Cathedral Squarehe shook his fist at
the church.

At the corner of this square there is a printing establishment.
It is there that the proclamations of the Emperor and of the Imperial
Guard to the armybrought from the Island of Elba and dictated
by Napoleon himselfwere printed for the first time.

Worn out with fatigueand no longer entertaining any hope
he lay down on a stone bench which stands at the doorway of this
printing office.

At that moment an old woman came out of the church. She saw the man
stretched out in the shadow. "What are you doing theremy friend?"
said she.

He answered harshly and angrily: "As you seemy good woman
I am sleeping." The good womanwho was well worthy the name
in factwas the Marquise de R----

On this bench?she went on.

I have had a mattress of wood for nineteen years,said the man;
to-day I have a mattress of stone.

You have been a soldier?

Yes, my good woman, a soldier.

Why do you not go to the inn?

Because I have no money.

Alas!said Madame de R----I have only four sous in my purse.

Give it to me all the same.

The man took the four sous. Madame de R---- continued: "You cannot
obtain lodgings in an inn for so small a sum. But have you tried?
It is impossible for you to pass the night thus. You are cold
and hungryno doubt. Some one might have given you a lodging out
of charity."

I have knocked at all doors.


I have been driven away everywhere.

The "good woman" touched the man's armand pointed out to him
on the other side of the street a smalllow housewhich stood
beside the Bishop's palace.

You have knocked at all doors?


Have you knocked at that one?


Knock there.



That eveningthe Bishop of D----after his promenade through the town
remained shut up rather late in his room. He was busy over a great
work on Dutieswhich was never completedunfortunately. He was
carefully compiling everything that the Fathers and the doctors
have said on this important subject. His book was divided into
two parts: firstlythe duties of all; secondlythe duties
of each individualaccording to the class to which he belongs.
The duties of all are the great duties. There are four of these.
Saint Matthew points them out: duties towards God (Matt. vi.);
duties towards one's self (Matt. v. 2930); duties towards one's
neighbor (Matt. vii. 12); duties towards animals (Matt. vi.
2025). As for the other duties the Bishop found them pointed out
and prescribed elsewhere: to sovereigns and subjectsin the Epistle
to the Romans; to magistratesto wivesto mothersto young men
by Saint Peter; to husbandsfatherschildren and servants

in the Epistle to the Ephesians; to the faithfulin the Epistle
to the Hebrews; to virginsin the Epistle to the Corinthians.
Out of these precepts he was laboriously constructing a harmonious whole
which he desired to present to souls.

At eight o'clock he was still at workwriting with a good deal
of inconvenience upon little squares of paperwith a big book open
on his kneeswhen Madame Magloire enteredaccording to her wont
to get the silver-ware from the cupboard near his bed. A moment later
the Bishopknowing that the table was setand that his sister
was probably waiting for himshut his bookrose from his table
and entered the dining-room.

The dining-room was an oblong apartmentwith a fireplace
which had a door opening on the street (as we have said)
and a window opening on the garden.

Madame Magloire wasin factjust putting the last touches
to the table.

As she performed this serviceshe was conversing
with Mademoiselle Baptistine.

A lamp stood on the table; the table was near the fireplace.
A wood fire was burning there.

One can easily picture to one's self these two womenboth of whom
were over sixty years of age. Madame Magloire smallplumpvivacious;
Mademoiselle Baptistine gentleslenderfrailsomewhat taller
than her brotherdressed in a gown of puce-colored silkof the
fashion of 1806which she had purchased at that date in Paris
and which had lasted ever since. To borrow vulgar phrases
which possess the merit of giving utterance in a single word to an idea
which a whole page would hardly suffice to expressMadame Magloire
had the air of a peasantand Mademoiselle Baptistine that of a lady.
Madame Magloire wore a white quilted capa gold Jeannette cross
on a velvet ribbon upon her neckthe only bit of feminine jewelry
that there was in the housea very white fichu puffing out from a gown
of coarse black woollen stuffwith largeshort sleevesan apron
of cotton cloth in red and green checksknotted round the waist
with a green ribbonwith a stomacher of the same attached by two pins
at the upper cornerscoarse shoes on her feetand yellow stockings
like the women of Marseilles. Mademoiselle Baptistine's gown
was cut on the patterns of 1806with a short waista narrow
sheath-like skirtpuffed sleeveswith flaps and buttons.
She concealed her gray hair under a frizzed wig known as the baby wig.
Madame Magloire had an intelligentvivaciousand kindly air;
the two corners of her mouth unequally raisedand her upper lip
which was larger than the lowerimparted to her a rather crabbed
and imperious look. So long as Monseigneur held his peace
she talked to him resolutely with a mixture of respect and freedom;
but as soon as Monseigneur began to speakas we have seen
she obeyed passively like her mistress. Mademoiselle Baptistine did
not even speak. She confined herself to obeying and pleasing him.
She had never been prettyeven when she was young; she had large
blueprominent eyesand a long arched nose; but her whole visage
her whole personbreathed forth an ineffable goodnessas we stated
in the beginning. She had always been predestined to gentleness;
but faithcharityhopethose three virtues which mildly warm the soul
had gradually elevated that gentleness to sanctity. Nature had made
her a lambreligion had made her an angel. Poor sainted virgin!
Sweet memory which has vanished!

Mademoiselle Baptistine has so often narrated what passed at

the episcopal residence that eveningthat there are many people
now living who still recall the most minute details.

At the moment when the Bishop enteredMadame Magloire was talking
with considerable vivacity. She was haranguing Mademoiselle Baptistine
on a subject which was familiar to her and to which the Bishop was
also accustomed. The question concerned the lock upon the entrance door.

It appears that while procuring some provisions for supper
Madame Magloire had heard things in divers places. People had spoken
of a prowler of evil appearance; a suspicious vagabond had arrived
who must be somewhere about the townand those who should take it
into their heads to return home late that night might be subjected
to unpleasant encounters. The police was very badly organized
moreoverbecause there was no love lost between the Prefect and
the Mayorwho sought to injure each other by making things happen.
It behooved wise people to play the part of their own police
and to guard themselves welland care must be taken to duly close
bar and barricade their housesand to fasten the doors well.

Madame Magloire emphasized these last words; but the Bishop had just
come from his roomwhere it was rather cold. He seated himself
in front of the fireand warmed himselfand then fell to thinking
of other things. He did not take up the remark dropped with design
by Madame Magloire. She repeated it. Then Mademoiselle Baptistine
desirous of satisfying Madame Magloire without displeasing her brother
ventured to say timidly:-

Did you hear what Madame Magloire is saying, brother?

I have heard something of it in a vague way,replied the Bishop.
Then half-turning in his chairplacing his hands on his knees
and raising towards the old servant woman his cordial face
which so easily grew joyousand which was illuminated from below
by the firelight--"Comewhat is the matter? What is the matter?
Are we in any great danger?"

Then Madame Magloire began the whole story afreshexaggerating it
a little without being aware of the fact. It appeared that
a Bohemiana bare-footed vagabonda sort of dangerous mendicant
was at that moment in the town. He had presented himself at Jacquin
Labarre's to obtain lodgingsbut the latter had not been willing
to take him in. He had been seen to arrive by the way of the
boulevard Gassendi and roam about the streets in the gloaming.
A gallows-bird with a terrible face.

Really!said the Bishop.

This willingness to interrogate encouraged Madame Magloire;
it seemed to her to indicate that the Bishop was on the point
of becoming alarmed; she pursued triumphantly:-

Yes, Monseigneur. That is how it is. There will be some sort
of catastrophe in this town to-night. Every one says so. And withal,
the police is so badly regulated(a useful repetition). "The idea
of living in a mountainous countryand not even having lights
in the streets at night! One goes out. Black as ovensindeed!
And I sayMonseigneurand Mademoiselle there says with me--"

I,interrupted his sistersay nothing. What my brother does
is well done.

Madame Magloire continued as though there had been no protest:-

We say that this house is not safe at all; that if Monseigneur
will permit, I will go and tell Paulin Musebois, the locksmith,
to come and replace the ancient locks on the doors; we have them,
and it is only the work of a moment; for I say that nothing is more
terrible than a door which can be opened from the outside with a latch
by the first passer-by; and I say that we need bolts, Monseigneur,
if only for this night; moreover, Monseigneur has the habit of always
saying `come in'; and besides, even in the middle of the night,
O mon Dieu! there is no need to ask permission.

At that moment there came a tolerably violent knock on the door.

Come in,said the Bishop.



The door opened.

It opened wide with a rapid movementas though some one had given
it an energetic and resolute push.

A man entered.

We already know the man. It was the wayfarer whom we have seen
wandering about in search of shelter.

He enteredadvanced a stepand haltedleaving the door open
behind him. He had his knapsack on his shouldershis cudgel
in his handa roughaudaciouswearyand violent expression in
his eyes. The fire on the hearth lighted him up. He was hideous.
It was a sinister apparition.

Madame Magloire had not even the strength to utter a cry.
She trembledand stood with her mouth wide open.

Mademoiselle Baptistine turned roundbeheld the man entering
and half started up in terror; thenturning her head by degrees
towards the fireplace againshe began to observe her brother
and her face became once more profoundly calm and serene.

The Bishop fixed a tranquil eye on the man.

As he opened his mouthdoubtless to ask the new-comer what he desired
the man rested both hands on his staffdirected his gaze at the old
man and the two womenand without waiting for the Bishop to speak
he saidin a loud voice:-

See here. My name is Jean Valjean. I am a convict from the galleys.
I have passed nineteen years in the galleys. I was liberated four
days ago, and am on my way to Pontarlier, which is my destination.
I have been walking for four days since I left Toulon. I have
travelled a dozen leagues to-day on foot. This evening, when I
arrived in these parts, I went to an inn, and they turned me out,
because of my yellow passport, which I had shown at the town-hall.
I had to do it. I went to an inn. They said to me, `Be off,'
at both places. No one would take me. I went to the prison;
the jailer would not admit me. I went into a dog's kennel;
the dog bit me and chased me off, as though he had been a man.
One would have said that he knew who I was. I went into the fields,

intending to sleep in the open air, beneath the stars. There were
no stars. I thought it was going to rain, and I re-entered
the town, to seek the recess of a doorway. Yonder, in the square,
I meant to sleep on a stone bench. A good woman pointed out your
house to me, and said to me, `Knock there!' I have knocked.
What is this place? Do you keep an inn? I have money--savings.
One hundred and nine francs fifteen sous, which I earned
in the galleys by my labor, in the course of nineteen years.
I will pay. What is that to me? I have money. I am very weary;
twelve leagues on foot; I am very hungry. Are you willing that I
should remain?

Madame Magloire,said the Bishopyou will set another place.

The man advanced three pacesand approached the lamp which was on
the table. "Stop he resumed, as though he had not quite understood;
that's not it. Did you hear? I am a galley-slave; a convict.
I come from the galleys." He drew from his pocket a large sheet
of yellow paperwhich he unfolded. "Here's my passport. Yellow
as you see. This serves to expel me from every place where I go.
Will you read it? I know how to read. I learned in the galleys.
There is a school there for those who choose to learn. Holdthis is
what they put on this passport: `Jean Valjeandischarged convict
native of'--that is nothing to you--`has been nineteen years
in the galleys: five years for house-breaking and burglary;
fourteen years for having attempted to escape on four occasions.
He is a very dangerous man.' There! Every one has cast me out.
Are you willing to receive me? Is this an inn? Will you give me
something to eat and a bed? Have you a stable?"

Madame Magloire,said the Bishopyou will put white sheets on
the bed in the alcove.We have already explained the character
of the two women's obedience.

Madame Magloire retired to execute these orders.

The Bishop turned to the man.

Sit down, sir, and warm yourself. We are going to sup
in a few moments, and your bed will be prepared while you are supping.

At this point the man suddenly comprehended. The expression
of his faceup to that time sombre and harshbore the imprint
of stupefactionof doubtof joyand became extraordinary.
He began stammering like a crazy man:--

Really? What! You will keep me? You do not drive me forth?
A convict! You call me sir! You do not address me as thou?
`Get out of here, you dog!' is what people always say to me. I felt sure
that you would expel me, so I told you at once who I am. Oh, what a
good woman that was who directed me hither! I am going to sup!
A bed with a mattress and sheets, like the rest of the world! a bed!
It is nineteen years since I have slept in a bed! You actually do
not want me to go! You are good people. Besides, I have money.
I will pay well. Pardon me, monsieur the inn-keeper, but what is
your name? I will pay anything you ask. You are a fine man.
You are an inn-keeper, are you not?

I am,replied the Bishopa priest who lives here.

A priest!said the man. "Ohwhat a fine priest! Then you are
not going to demand any money of me? You are the cureare you
not? the cure of this big church? Well! I am a fooltruly!
I had not perceived your skull-cap."

As he spokehe deposited his knapsack and his cudgel in a corner
replaced his passport in his pocketand seated himself.
Mademoiselle Baptistine gazed mildly at him. He continued:

You are humane, Monsieur le Cure; you have not scorned me.
A good priest is a very good thing. Then you do not require me
to pay?

No,said the Bishop; "keep your money. How much have you?
Did you not tell me one hundred and nine francs?"

And fifteen sous,added the man.

One hundred and nine francs fifteen sous. And how long did it
take you to earn that?

Nineteen years.

Nineteen years!

The Bishop sighed deeply.

The man continued: "I have still the whole of my money.
In four days I have spent only twenty-five souswhich I earned
by helping unload some wagons at Grasse. Since you are an abbe
I will tell you that we had a chaplain in the galleys. And one day
I saw a bishop there. Monseigneur is what they call him. He was
the Bishop of Majore at Marseilles. He is the cure who rules over
the other curesyou understand. Pardon meI say that very badly;
but it is such a far-off thing to me! You understand what we are!
He said mass in the middle of the galleyson an altar. He had a
pointed thingmade of goldon his head; it glittered in the bright
light of midday. We were all ranged in lines on the three sides
with cannons with lighted matches facing us. We could not see
very well. He spoke; but he was too far offand we did not hear.
That is what a bishop is like."

While he was speakingthe Bishop had gone and shut the door
which had remained wide open.

Madame Magloire returned. She brought a silver fork and spoon
which she placed on the table.

Madame Magloire,said the Bishopplace those things as near
the fire as possible.And turning to his guest: "The night wind
is harsh on the Alps. You must be coldsir."

Each time that he uttered the word sirin his voice which was so gently
grave and polishedthe man's face lighted up. Monsieur to a convict
is like a glass of water to one of the shipwrecked of the Medusa.
Ignominy thirsts for consideration.

This lamp gives a very bad light,said the Bishop.

Madame Magloire understood himand went to get the two silver
candlesticks from the chimney-piece in Monseigneur's bed-chamber
and placed themlightedon the table.

Monsieur le Cure,said the manyou are good; you do not despise me.
You receive me into your house. You light your candles for me.
Yet I have not concealed from you whence I come and that I am an
unfortunate man.

The Bishopwho was sitting close to himgently touched his hand.
You could not help telling me who you were. This is not my house;
it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him
who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief.
You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome.
And do not thank me; do not say that I receive you in my house.
No one is at home here, except the man who needs a refuge.
I say to you, who are passing by, that you are much more at home
here than I am myself. Everything here is yours. What need have I
to know your name? Besides, before you told me you had one which
I knew.

The man opened his eyes in astonishment.

Really? You knew what I was called?

Yes,replied the Bishopyou are called my brother.

Stop, Monsieur le Cure,exclaimed the man. "I was very hungry
when I entered here; but you are so goodthat I no longer know
what has happened to me."

The Bishop looked at himand said--

You have suffered much?

Oh, the red coat, the ball on the ankle, a plank to sleep on,
heat, cold, toil, the convicts, the thrashings, the double
chain for nothing, the cell for one word; even sick and in bed,
still the chain! Dogs, dogs are happier! Nineteen years! I am
forty-six. Now there is the yellow passport. That is what it is like.

Yes,resumed the Bishopyou have come from a very sad place.
Listen. There will be more joy in heaven over the tear-bathed face
of a repentant sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men.
If you emerge from that sad place with thoughts of hatred and of wrath
against mankind, you are deserving of pity; if you emerge with thoughts
of good-will and of peace, you are more worthy than any one of us.

In the meantimeMadame Magloire had served supper: soupmade with
wateroilbreadand salt; a little bacona bit of muttonfigsa
fresh cheeseand a large loaf of rye bread. She hadof her own accord
added to the Bishop's ordinary fare a bottle of his old Mauves wine.

The Bishop's face at once assumed that expression of gayety which is
peculiar to hospitable natures. "To table!" he cried vivaciously.
As was his custom when a stranger supped with himhe made the man
sit on his right. Mademoiselle Baptistineperfectly peaceable
and naturaltook her seat at his left.

The Bishop asked a blessing; then helped the soup himself
according to his custom. The man began to eat with avidity.

All at once the Bishop said: "It strikes me there is something
missing on this table."

Madame Magloire hadin factonly placed the three sets of forks
and spoons which were absolutely necessary. Nowit was the usage
of the housewhen the Bishop had any one to supperto lay out the
whole six sets of silver on the table-cloth--an innocent ostentation.
This graceful semblance of luxury was a kind of child's play
which was full of charm in that gentle and severe household
which raised poverty into dignity.

Madame Magloire understood the remarkwent out without saying a word
and a moment later the three sets of silver forks and spoons demanded
by the Bishop were glittering upon the clothsymmetrically arranged
before the three persons seated at the table.



Nowin order to convey an idea of what passed at that table
we cannot do better than to transcribe here a passage from one
of Mademoiselle Baptistine's letters to Madame Boischevron
wherein the conversation between the convict and the Bishop
is described with ingenious minuteness.

. . . This man paid no attention to any one. He ate with the
voracity of a starving man. However, after supper he said:

`Monsieur le Cure of the good Godall this is far too good for me;
but I must say that the carters who would not allow me to eat with
them keep a better table than you do.'

Between ourselves, the remark rather shocked me. My brother replied:--

`They are more fatigued than I.'

`No,' returned the man, `they have more money. You are poor;
I see that plainly. You cannot be even a curate. Are you really
a cure? Ah, if the good God were but just, you certainly ought
to be a cure!'

`The good God is more than just' said my brother.

A moment later he added:--

`Monsieur Jean Valjeanis it to Pontarlier that you are going?'

`With my road marked out for me.'

I think that is what the man said. Then he went on:--

`I must be on my way by daybreak to-morrow. Travelling is hard.
If the nights are cold, the days are hot.'

`You are going to a good country' said my brother. `During the
Revolution my family was ruined. I took refuge in Franche-Comte
at firstand there I lived for some time by the toil of my hands.
My will was good. I found plenty to occupy me. One has only to choose.
There are paper millstanneriesdistilleriesoil factories
watch factories on a large scalesteel millscopper works
twenty iron foundries at leastfour of whichsituated at Lods
at Chatillonat Audincourtand at Beureare tolerably large.'

I think I am not mistaken in saying that those are the names which
my brother mentioned. Then he interrupted himself and addressed me:--

`Have we not some relatives in those partsmy dear sister?'

I replied,--

`We did have some; among othersM. de Lucenetwho was captain
of the gates at Pontarlier under the old regime.'

`Yes,' resumed my brother; `but in '93, one had no longer
any relatives, one had only one's arms. I worked. They have,
in the country of Pontarlier, whither you are going, Monsieur Valjean,
a truly patriarchal and truly charming industry, my sister.
It is their cheese-dairies, which they call fruitieres.'

Then my brotherwhile urging the man to eatexplained to him
with great minutenesswhat these fruitieres of Pontarlier were;
that they were divided into two classes: the big barns which belong
to the richand where there are forty or fifty cows which produce
from seven to eight thousand cheeses each summerand the associated
fruitiereswhich belong to the poor; these are the peasants of
mid-mountainwho hold their cows in commonand share the proceeds.
`They engage the services of a cheese-makerwhom they call the grurin;
the grurin receives the milk of the associates three times a day
and marks the quantity on a double tally. It is towards the end
of April that the work of the cheese-dairies begins; it is towards
the middle of June that the cheese-makers drive their cows to
the mountains.'

The man recovered his animation as he ate. My brother made him
drink that good Mauves wine, which he does not drink himself,
because he says that wine is expensive. My brother imparted all these
details with that easy gayety of his with which you are acquainted,
interspersing his words with graceful attentions to me. He recurred
frequently to that comfortable trade of grurin, as though he wished
the man to understand, without advising him directly and harshly,
that this would afford him a refuge. One thing struck me.
This man was what I have told you. Well, neither during supper,
nor during the entire evening, did my brother utter a single word,
with the exception of a few words about Jesus when he entered,
which could remind the man of what he was, nor of what my brother was.
To all appearances, it was an occasion for preaching him a little sermon,
and of impressing the Bishop on the convict, so that a mark of the
passage might remain behind. This might have appeared to any one else
who had this, unfortunate man in his hands to afford a chance to nourish
his soul as well as his body, and to bestow upon him some reproach,
seasoned with moralizing and advice, or a little commiseration,
with an exhortation to conduct himself better in the future.
My brother did not even ask him from what country he came,
nor what was his history. For in his history there is a fault,
and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could remind him
of it. To such a point did he carry it, that at one time, when my
brother was speaking of the mountaineers of Pontarlier, who exercise
a gentle labor near heaven, and who, he added, are happy because
they are innocent, he stopped short, fearing lest in this remark
there might have escaped him something which might wound the man.
By dint of reflection, I think I have comprehended what was passing
in my brother's heart. He was thinking, no doubt, that this man,
whose name is Jean Valjean, had his misfortune only too vividly
present in his mind; that the best thing was to divert him from it,
and to make him believe, if only momentarily, that he was a person
like any other, by treating him just in his ordinary way. Is not
this indeed, to understand charity well? Is there not, dear Madame,
something truly evangelical in this delicacy which abstains from sermon,
from moralizing, from allusions? and is not the truest pity,
when a man has a sore point, not to touch it at all? It has seemed
to me that this might have been my brother's private thought.
In any case, what I can say is that, if he entertained all these ideas,
he gave no sign of them; from beginning to end, even to me he
was the same as he is every evening, and he supped with this Jean

Valjean with the same air and in the same manner in which he would
have supped with M. Gedeon le Provost, or with the curate of
the parish.

Towards the endwhen he had reached the figsthere came a knock
at the door. It was Mother Gerbaudwith her little one in her arms.
My brother kissed the child on the browand borrowed fifteen sous
which I had about me to give to Mother Gerbaud. The man was not paying
much heed to anything then. He was no longer talkingand he seemed
very much fatigued. After poor old Gerbaud had taken her departure
my brother said grace; then he turned to the man and said to him
`You must be in great need of your bed.' Madame Magloire cleared
the table very promptly. I understood that we must retire
in order to allow this traveller to go to sleepand we both went
up stairs. NeverthelessI sent Madame Magloire down a moment later
to carry to the man's bed a goat skin from the Black Forest
which was in my room. The nights are frigidand that keeps one warm.
It is a pity that this skin is old; all the hair is falling out.
My brother bought it while he was in Germanyat Tottlingennear the
sources of the Danubeas well as the little ivory-handled knife
which I use at table.

Madame Magloire returned immediately. We said our prayers in the
drawing-room, where we hang up the linen, and then we each retired
to our own chambers, without saying a word to each other.



After bidding his sister good nightMonseigneur Bienvenu took
one of the two silver candlesticks from the tablehanded the
other to his guestand said to him--

Monsieur, I will conduct you to your room.

The man followed him.

As might have been observed from what has been said above
the house was so arranged that in order to pass into the oratory
where the alcove was situatedor to get out of itit was necessary
to traverse the Bishop's bedroom.

At the moment when he was crossing this apartmentMadame Magloire was
putting away the silverware in the cupboard near the head of the bed.
This was her last care every evening before she went to bed.

The Bishop installed his guest in the alcove. A fresh white bed had
been prepared there. The man set the candle down on a small table.

Well,said the Bishopmay you pass a good night. To-morrow morning,
before you set out, you shall drink a cup of warm milk from our cows.

Thanks, Monsieur l'Abbe,said the man.

Hardly had he pronounced these words full of peacewhen all
of a suddenand without transitionhe made a strange movement
which would have frozen the two sainted women with horror
had they witnessed it. Even at this day it is difficult for us
to explain what inspired him at that moment. Did he intend to
convey a warning or to throw out a menace? Was he simply obeying

a sort of instinctive impulse which was obscure even to himself?
He turned abruptly to the old manfolded his armsand bending
upon his host a savage gazehe exclaimed in a hoarse voice:-

Ah! really! You lodge me in your house, close to yourself like this?

He broke offand added with a laugh in which there lurked
something monstrous:-

Have you really reflected well? How do you know that I have not
been an assassin?

The Bishop replied:-

That is the concern of the good God.

Then gravelyand moving his lips like one who is praying or talking
to himselfhe raised two fingers of his right hand and bestowed
his benediction on the manwho did not bowand without turning
his head or looking behind himhe returned to his bedroom.

When the alcove was in usea large serge curtain drawn from
wall to wall concealed the altar. The Bishop knelt before this
curtain as he passed and said a brief prayer. A moment later he
was in his gardenwalkingmeditatingconteplatinghis heart
and soul wholly absorbed in those grand and mysterious things
which God shows at night to the eyes which remain open.

As for the manhe was actually so fatigued that he did not even profit
by the nice white sheets. Snuffing out his candle with his nostrils
after the manner of convictshe droppedall dressed as he was
upon the bedwhere he immediately fell into a profound sleep.

Midnight struck as the Bishop returned from his garden to his apartment.

A few minutes later all were asleep in the little house.



Towards the middle of the night Jean Valjean woke.

Jean Valjean came from a poor peasant family of Brie. He had not learned
to read in his childhood. When he reached man's estatebe became
a tree-pruner at Faverolles. His mother was named Jeanne Mathieu;
his father was called Jean Valjean or Vlajeanprobably a sobriquet
and a contraction of viola Jeanhere's Jean.

Jean Valjean was of that thoughtful but not gloomy disposition
which constitutes the peculiarity of affectionate natures.
On the wholehoweverthere was something decidedly sluggish
and insignificant about Jean Valjean in appearanceat least.
He had lost his father and mother at a very early age. His mother
had died of a milk feverwhich had not been properly attended to.
His fathera tree-prunerlike himselfhad been killed by a fall
from a tree. All that remained to Jean Valjean was a sister older
than himself--a widow with seven childrenboys and girls.
This sister had brought up Jean Valjeanand so long as she had a
husband she lodged and fed her young brother.

The husband died. The eldest of the seven children was eight
years old. The youngestone.

Jean Valjean had just attained his twenty-fifth year. He took
the father's placeandin his turnsupported the sister who had
brought him up. This was done simply as a duty and even a little
churlishly on the part of Jean Valjean. Thus his youth had been spent
in rude and ill-paid toil. He had never known a "kind woman friend"
in his native parts. He had not had the time to fall in love.

He returned at night wearyand ate his broth without uttering a word.
His sistermother Jeanneoften took the best part of his repast
from his bowl while he was eating--a bit of meata slice of bacon
the heart of the cabbage--to give to one of her children.
As he went on eatingwith his head bent over the table and almost
into his souphis long hair falling about his bowl and concealing
his eyeshe had the air of perceiving nothing and allowing it.
There was at Faverollesnot far from the Valjean thatched cottage
on the other side of the lanea farmer's wife named Marie-Claude;
the Valjean childrenhabitually famishedsometimes went to borrow
from Marie-Claude a pint of milkin their mother's namewhich they
drank behind a hedge or in some alley cornersnatching the jug
from each other so hastily that the little girls spilled it on
their aprons and down their necks. If their mother had known of
this maraudingshe would have punished the delinquents severely.
Jean Valjean gruffly and grumblingly paid Marie-Claude for the
pint of milk behind their mother's backand the children were
not punished.

In pruning season he earned eighteen sous a day; then he hired out
as a hay-makeras laboreras neat-herd on a farmas a drudge.
He did whatever he could. His sister worked also but what could she
do with seven little children? It was a sad group enveloped in misery
which was being gradually annihilated. A very hard winter came.
Jean had no work. The family had no bread. No bread literally.
Seven children!

One Sunday eveningMaubert Isabeauthe baker on the Church
Square at Faverolleswas preparing to go to bedwhen he heard
a violent blow on the grated front of his shop. He arrived in time
to see an arm passed through a hole made by a blow from a fist
through the grating and the glass. The arm seized a loaf of bread
and carried it off. Isabeau ran out in haste; the robber fled at
the full speed of his legs. Isabeau ran after him and stopped him.
The thief had flung away the loafbut his arm was still bleeding.
It was Jean Valjean.

This took place in 1795. Jean Valjean was taken before the tribunals
of the time for theft and breaking and entering an inhabited
house at night. He had a gun which he used better than any one
else in the worldhe was a bit of a poacherand this injured
his case. There exists a legitimate prejudice against poachers.
The poacherlike the smugglersmacks too strongly of the brigand.
Neverthelesswe will remark cursorilythere is still an abyss
between these races of men and the hideous assassin of the towns.
The poacher lives in the forestthe smuggler lives in the mountains
or on the sea. The cities make ferocious men because they make
corrupt men. The mountainthe seathe forestmake savage men;
they develop the fierce sidebut often without destroying the
humane side.

Jean Valjean was pronounced guilty. The terms of the Code
were explicit. There occur formidable hours in our civilization;
there are moments when the penal laws decree a shipwreck.

What an ominous minute is that in which society draws back and
consummates the irreparable abandonment of a sentient being!
Jean Valjean was condemned to five years in the galleys.

On the 22d of April1796the victory of Montenottewon by the
general-in-chief of the army of Italywhom the message of the
Directory to the Five Hundredof the 2d of Florealyear IV.calls
Buona-Partewas announced in Paris; on that same day a great gang
of galley-slaves was put in chains at Bicetre. Jean Valjean formed
a part of that gang. An old turnkey of the prisonwho is now nearly
eighty years oldstill recalls perfectly that unfortunate wretch
who was chained to the end of the fourth linein the north angle
of the courtyard. He was seated on the ground like the others.
He did not seem to comprehend his positionexcept that it was horrible.
It is probable that healsowas disentangling from amid the vague
ideas of a poor manignorant of everythingsomething excessive.
While the bolt of his iron collar was being riveted behind his head
with heavy blows from the hammerhe wepthis tears stifled him
they impeded his speech; he only managed to say from time to time
I was a tree-pruner at Faverolles.Then still sobbinghe raised
his right hand and lowered it gradually seven timesas though
he were touching in succession seven heads of unequal heights
and from this gesture it was divined that the thing which he had done
whatever it washe had done for the sake of clothing and nourishing
seven little children.

He set out for Toulon. He arrived thereafter a journey of
twenty-seven dayson a cartwith a chain on his neck. At Toulon
he was clothed in the red cassock. All that had constituted
his lifeeven to his namewas effaced; he was no longer even
Jean Valjean; he was number 24601. What became of his sister?
What became of the seven children? Who troubled himself about that?
What becomes of the handful of leaves from the young tree which
is sawed off at the root?

It is always the same story. These poor living beings
these creatures of Godhenceforth without supportwithout guide
without refugewandered away at random--who even knows?--
each in his own direction perhapsand little by little buried
themselves in that cold mist which engulfs solitary destinies;
gloomy shadesinto which disappear in succession so many unlucky heads
in the sombre march of the human race. They quitted the country.
The clock-tower of what had been their village forgot them; the boundary
line of what had been their field forgot them; after a few years'
residence in the galleysJean Valjean himself forgot them.
In that heartwhere there had been a woundthere was a scar.
That is all. Only onceduring all the time which he spent at Toulon
did he hear his sister mentioned. This happenedI think
towards the end of the fourth year of his captivity. I know not
through what channels the news reached him. Some one who had known
them in their own country had seen his sister. She was in Paris.
She lived in a poor street Rear Saint-Sulpicein the Rue du Gindre.
She had with her only one childa little boythe youngest.
Where were the other six? Perhaps she did not know herself.
Every morning she went to a printing officeNo. 3 Rue du Sabot
where she was a folder and stitcher. She was obliged to be there
at six o'clock in the morning--long before daylight in winter.
In the same building with the printing office there was a school
and to this school she took her little boywho was seven years old.
But as she entered the printing office at sixand the school only
opened at seventhe child had to wait in the courtyardfor the school
to openfor an hour--one hour of a winter night in the open air!
They would not allow the child to come into the printing office
because he was in the waythey said. When the workmen passed in

the morningthey beheld this poor little being seated on the pavement
overcome with drowsinessand often fast asleep in the shadow
crouched down and doubled up over his basket. When it rained
an old womanthe portresstook pity on him; she took him into her den
where there was a palleta spinning-wheeland two wooden chairs
and the little one slumbered in a cornerpressing himself close
to the cat that he might suffer less from cold. At seven o'clock
the school openedand he entered. That is what was told to Jean

They talked to him about it for one day; it was a momenta flash
as though a window had suddenly been opened upon the destiny of
those things whom he had loved; then all closed again. He heard
nothing more forever. Nothing from them ever reached him again;
he never beheld them; he never met them again; and in the continuation
of this mournful history they will not be met with any more.

Towards the end of this fourth year Jean Valjean's turn to escape
arrived. His comrades assisted himas is the custom in that sad place.
He escaped. He wandered for two days in the fields at liberty
if being at liberty is to be huntedto turn the head every instant
to quake at the slightest noiseto be afraid of everything--of a
smoking roofof a passing manof a barking dogof a galloping horse
of a striking clockof the day because one can seeof the night
because one cannot seeof the highwayof the pathof a bush
of sleep. On the evening of the second day he was captured.
He had neither eaten nor slept for thirty-six hours. The maritime
tribunal condemned himfor this crimeto a prolongation of his
term for three yearswhich made eight years. In the sixth year
his turn to escape occurred again; he availed himself of it
but could not accomplish his flight fully. He was missing at
roll-call. The cannon were firedand at night the patrol found
him hidden under the keel of a vessel in process of construction;
he resisted the galley guards who seized him. Escape and rebellion.
This caseprovided for by a special codewas punished by an addition
of five yearstwo of them in the double chain. Thirteen years.
In the tenth year his turn came round again; he again profited by it;
he succeeded no better. Three years for this fresh attempt.
Sixteen years. FinallyI think it was during his thirteenth year
he made a last attemptand only succeeded in getting retaken at
the end of four hours of absence. Three years for those four hours.
Nineteen years. In October1815he was released; he had entered
there in 1796for having broken a pane of glass and taken a loaf
of bread.

Room for a brief parenthesis. This is the second time
during his studies on the penal question and damnation by law
that the author of this book has come across the theft of a loaf
of bread as the point of departure for the disaster of a destiny.
Claude Gaux had stolen a loaf; Jean Valjean had stolen a loaf.
English statistics prove the fact that four thefts out of five in
London have hunger for their immediate cause.

Jean Valjean had entered the galleys sobbing and shuddering;
he emerged impassive. He had entered in despair; he emerged gloomy.

What had taken place in that soul?



Let us try to say it.

It is necessary that society should look at these thingsbecause it
is itself which creates them.

He wasas we have saidan ignorant manbut he was not a fool.
The light of nature was ignited in him. Unhappinesswhich also
possesses a clearness of vision of its ownaugmented the small
amount of daylight which existed in this mind. Beneath the cudgel
beneath the chainin the cellin hardshipbeneath the burning sun
of the galleysupon the plank bed of the convicthe withdrew into
his own consciousness and meditated.

He constituted himself the tribunal.

He began by putting himself on trial.

He recognized the fact that he was not an innocent man unjustly punished.
He admitted that he had committed an extreme and blameworthy act;
that that loaf of bread would probably not have been refused to him
had he asked for it; thatin any caseit would have been better
to wait until he could get it through compassion or through work;
that it is not an unanswerable argument to sayCan one wait when one
is hungry?Thatin the first placeit is very rare for any one to die
of hungerliterally; and nextthatfortunately or unfortunately
man is so constituted that he can suffer long and muchboth morally
and physicallywithout dying; that it is therefore necessary to
have patience; that that would even have been better for those poor
little children; that it had been an act of madness for hima miserable
unfortunate wretchto take society at large violently by the collar
and to imagine that one can escape from misery through theft;
that that is in any case a poor door through which to escape from
misery through which infamy enters; in shortthat he was in the wrong.

Then he asked himself--

Whether he had been the only one in fault in his fatal history.
Whether it was not a serious thingthat hea laborerout of work
that hean industrious manshould have lacked bread. And whether
the fault once committed and confessedthe chastisement had not been
ferocious and disproportioned. Whether there had not been more abuse
on the part of the lawin respect to the penaltythan there had been
on the part of the culprit in respect to his fault. Whether there
had not been an excess of weights in one balance of the scale
in the one which contains expiation. Whether the over-weight
of the penalty was not equivalent to the annihilation of the crime
and did not result in reversing the situationof replacing the fault
of the delinquent by the fault of the repressionof converting
the guilty man into the victimand the debtor into the creditor
and of ranging the law definitely on the side of the man who had
violated it.

Whether this penaltycomplicated by successive aggravations for
attempts at escapehad not ended in becoming a sort of outrage
perpetrated by the stronger upon the feeblera crime of society
against the individuala crime which was being committed afresh
every daya crime which had lasted nineteen years.

He asked himself whether human society could have the right to force
its members to suffer equally in one case for its own unreasonable
lack of foresightand in the other case for its pitiless foresight;
and to seize a poor man forever between a defect and an excess
a default of work and an excess of punishment.

Whether it was not outrageous for society to treat thus precisely
those of its members who were the least well endowed in the division
of goods made by chanceand consequently the most deserving
of consideration.

These questions put and answeredhe judged society and condemned it.

He condemned it to his hatred.

He made it responsible for the fate which he was sufferingand he said
to himself that it might be that one day he should not hesitate to call
it to account. He declared to himself that there was no equilibrium
between the harm which he had caused and the harm which was being
done to him; he finally arrived at the conclusion that his punishment
was notin truthunjustbut that it most assuredly was iniquitous.

Anger may be both foolish and absurd; one can be irritated wrongfully;
one is exasperated only when there is some show of right on one's
side at bottom. Jean Valjean felt himself exasperated.

And besideshuman society had done him nothing but harm; he had never
seen anything of it save that angry face which it calls Justice
and which it shows to those whom it strikes. Men had only touched
him to bruise him. Every contact with them had been a blow.
Neversince his infancysince the days of his motherof his sister
had he ever encountered a friendly word and a kindly glance.
From suffering to sufferinghe had gradually arrived at the conviction
that life is a war; and that in this war he was the conquered.
He had no other weapon than his hate. He resolved to whet it
in the galleys and to bear it away with him when he departed.

There was at Toulon a school for the convictskept by the
Ignorantin friarswhere the most necessary branches were taught
to those of the unfortunate men who had a mind for them. He was of
the number who had a mind. He went to school at the age of forty
and learned to readto writeto cipher. He felt that to fortify
his intelligence was to fortify his hate. In certain cases
education and enlightenment can serve to eke out evil.

This is a sad thing to say; after having judged societywhich had
caused his unhappinesshe judged Providencewhich had made society
and he condemned it also.

Thus during nineteen years of torture and slaverythis soul
mounted and at the same time fell. Light entered it on one side
and darkness on the other.

Jean Valjean had notas we have seenan evil nature. He was still
good when he arrived at the galleys. He there condemned society
and felt that he was becoming wicked; he there condemned Providence
and was conscious that he was becoming impious.

It is difficult not to indulge in meditation at this point.

Does human nature thus change utterly and from top to bottom?
Can the man created good by God be rendered wicked by man?
Can the soul be completely made over by fateand become evil
fate being evil? Can the heart become misshapen and contract
incurable deformities and infirmities under the oppression of a
disproportionate unhappinessas the vertebral column beneath
too low a vault? Is there not in every human soulwas there
not in the soul of Jean Valjean in particulara first spark
a divine elementincorruptible in this worldimmortal in the other

which good can developfanigniteand make to glow with splendor
and which evil can never wholly extinguish?

Grave and obscure questionsto the last of which every physiologist
would probably have responded noand that without hesitation
had he beheld at Toulonduring the hours of reposewhich were
for Jean Valjean hours of reverythis gloomy galley-slaveseated
with folded arms upon the bar of some capstanwith the end of his
chain thrust into his pocket to prevent its draggingserioussilent
and thoughtfula pariah of the laws which regarded the man with wrath
condemned by civilizationand regarding heaven with severity.

Certainly--and we make no attempt to dissimulate the fact--
the observing physiologist would have beheld an irremediable misery;
he wouldperchancehave pitied this sick manof the law's making;
but he would not have even essayed any treatment; he would have
turned aside his gaze from the caverns of which he would have caught
a glimpse within this soulandlike Dante at the portals of hell
he would have effaced from this existence the word which the finger
of God hasneverthelessinscribed upon the brow of every man--hope.

Was this state of his soulwhich we have attempted to analyze
as perfectly clear to Jean Valjean as we have tried to render it
for those who read us? Did Jean Valjean distinctly perceive
after their formationand had he seen distinctly during the process
of their formationall the elements of which his moral misery
was composed? Had this rough and unlettered man gathered a perfectly
clear perception of the succession of ideas through which he had
by degreesmounted and descended to the lugubrious aspects which had
for so many yearsformed the inner horizon of his spirit?
Was he conscious of all that passed within himand of all that was
working there? That is something which we do not presume to state;
it is something which we do not even believe. There was too much
ignorance in Jean Valjeaneven after his misfortuneto prevent much
vagueness from still lingering there. At times he did not rightly know
himself what he felt. Jean Valjean was in the shadows; he suffered
in the shadows; he hated in the shadows; one might have said that he
hated in advance of himself. He dwelt habitually in this shadow
feeling his way like a blind man and a dreamer. Onlyat intervals
there suddenly came to himfrom without and from withinan access
of wratha surcharge of sufferinga livid and rapid flash which
illuminated his whole souland caused to appear abruptly all
around himin frontbehindamid the gleams of a frightful light
the hideous precipices and the sombre perspective of his destiny.

The flash passedthe night closed in again; and where was he?
He no longer knew. The peculiarity of pains of this nature
in which that which is pitiless--that is to saythat which
is brutalizing--predominatesis to transform a manlittle by
littleby a sort of stupid transfigurationinto a wild beast;
sometimes into a ferocious beast.

Jean Valjean's successive and obstinate attempts at escape would
alone suffice to prove this strange working of the law upon
the human soul. Jean Valjean would have renewed these attempts
utterly useless and foolish as they wereas often as the opportunity
had presented itselfwithout reflecting for an instant on the result
nor on the experiences which he had already gone through.
He escaped impetuouslylike the wolf who finds his cage open.
Instinct said to himFlee!Reason would have saidRemain!
But in the presence of so violent a temptationreason vanished;
nothing remained but instinct. The beast alone acted. When he
was recapturedthe fresh severities inflicted on him only served
to render him still more wild.

One detailwhich we must not omitis that he possessed a physical
strength which was not approached by a single one of the denizens of
the galleys. At workat paying out a cable or winding up a capstan
Jean Valjean was worth four men. He sometimes lifted and sustained
enormous weights on his back; and when the occasion demanded it
he replaced that implement which is called a jack-screwand was
formerly called orgueil [pride]whencewe may remark in passing
is derived the name of the Rue Montorgueilnear the Halles [Fishmarket]
in Paris. His comrades had nicknamed him Jean the Jack-screw. Once
when they were repairing the balcony of the town-hall at Toulon
one of those admirable caryatids of Pugetwhich support the balcony
became loosenedand was on the point of falling. Jean Valjean
who was presentsupported the caryatid with his shoulderand gave
the workmen time to arrive.

His suppleness even exceeded his strength. Certain convicts
who were forever dreaming of escapeended by making a veritable
science of force and skill combined. It is the science of muscles.
An entire system of mysterious statics is daily practised
by prisonersmen who are forever envious of the flies and birds.
To climb a vertical surfaceand to find points of support
where hardly a projection was visiblewas play to Jean Valjean.
An angle of the wall being givenwith the tension of his back
and legswith his elbows and his heels fitted into the unevenness
of the stonehe raised himself as if by magic to the third story.
He sometimes mounted thus even to the roof of the galley prison.

He spoke but little. He laughed not at all. An excessive emotion
was required to wring from himonce or twice a yearthat lugubrious
laugh of the convictwhich is like the echo of the laugh of a demon.
To all appearancehe seemed to be occupied in the constant
contemplation of something terrible.

He was absorbedin fact.

Athwart the unhealthy perceptions of an incomplete nature and
a crushed intelligencehe was confusedly conscious that some
monstrous thing was resting on him. In that obscure and wan
shadow within which he crawledeach time that he turned his
neck and essayed to raise his glancehe perceived with terror
mingled with ragea sort of frightful accumulation of things
collecting and mounting above himbeyond the range of his vision-laws
prejudicesmenand deeds--whose outlines escaped him
whose mass terrified himand which was nothing else than that
prodigious pyramid which we call civilization. He distinguished
here and there in that swarming and formless massnow near him
now afar off and on inaccessible table-landssome groupsome detail
vividly illuminated; here the galley-sergeant and his cudgel;
there the gendarme and his sword; yonder the mitred archbishop;
away at the toplike a sort of sunthe Emperorcrowned and dazzling.
It seemed to him that these distant splendorsfar from dissipating
his nightrendered it more funereal and more black. All this-laws
prejudicesdeedsmenthings--went and came above him
over his headin accordance with the complicated and mysterious movement
which God imparts to civilizationwalking over him and crushing him
with I know not what peacefulness in its cruelty and inexorability
in its indifference. Souls which have fallen to the bottom of all
possible misfortuneunhappy men lost in the lowest of those limbos at
which no one any longer looksthe reproved of the lawfeel the whole
weight of this human societyso formidable for him who is without
so frightful for him who is beneathresting upon their heads.

In this situation Jean Valjean meditated; and what could

be the nature of his meditation?

If the grain of millet beneath the millstone had thoughts
it woulddoubtlessthink that same thing which Jean Valjean thought.

All these thingsrealities full of spectresphantasmagories full
of realitieshad eventually created for him a sort of interior
state which is almost indescribable.

At timesamid his convict toilhe paused. He fell to thinking.
His reasonat one and the same time riper and more troubled
than of yorerose in revolt. Everything which had happened
to him seemed to him absurd; everything that surrounded him
seemed to him impossible. He said to himselfIt is a dream.
He gazed at the galley-sergeant standing a few paces from him;
the galley-sergeant seemed a phantom to him. All of a sudden the
phantom dealt him a blow with his cudgel.

Visible nature hardly existed for him. It would almost be
true to say that there existed for Jean Valjean neither sun
nor fine summer daysnor radiant skynor fresh April dawns.
I know not what vent-hole daylight habitually illumined his soul.

To sum upin conclusionthat which can be summed up and translated
into positive results in all that we have just pointed out
we will confine ourselves to the statement thatin the course
of nineteen yearsJean Valjeanthe inoffensive tree-pruner
of Faverollesthe formidable convict of Toulonhad become capable
thanks to the manner in which the galleys had moulded himof two
sorts of evil action: firstlyof evil action which was rapid
unpremeditateddashingentirely instinctivein the nature of
reprisals for the evil which he had undergone; secondlyof evil action
which was seriousgraveconsciously argued out and premeditated
with the false ideas which such a misfortune can furnish. His deliberate
deeds passed through three successive phaseswhich natures of a
certain stamp can alone traverse--reasoningwillperseverance.
He had for moving causes his habitual wrathbitterness of soul
a profound sense of indignities sufferedthe reaction even against
the goodthe innocentand the justif there are any such.
The point of departurelike the point of arrivalfor all his thoughts
was hatred of human law; that hatred whichif it be not arrested
in its development by some providential incidentbecomeswithin a
given timethe hatred of societythen the hatred of the human race
then the hatred of creationand which manifests itself by a vague
incessantand brutal desire to do harm to some living being
no matter whom. It will be perceived that it was not without
reason that Jean Valjean's passport described him as a very dangerous man.

From year to year this soul had dried away slowlybut with fatal
sureness. When the heart is drythe eye is dry. On his departure
from the galleys it had been nineteen years since he had shed a tear.



A man overboard!

What matters it? The vessel does not halt. The wind blows.
That sombre ship has a path which it is forced to pursue.
It passes on.

The man disappearsthen reappears; he plungeshe rises again to
the surface; he callshe stretches out his arms; he is not heard.
The vesseltrembling under the hurricaneis wholly absorbed in its
own workings; the passengers and sailors do not even see the drowning man;
his miserable head is but a speck amid the immensity of the waves.
He gives vent to desperate cries from out of the depths. What a spectre
is that retreating sail! He gazes and gazes at it frantically.
It retreatsit grows dimit diminishes in size. He was there
but just nowhe was one of the crewhe went and came along
the deck with the resthe had his part of breath and of sunlight
he was a living man. Nowwhat has taken place? He has slipped
he has fallen; all is at an end.

He is in the tremendous sea. Under foot he has nothing but what
flees and crumbles. The billowstorn and lashed by the wind
encompass him hideously; the tossings of the abyss bear him away;
all the tongues of water dash over his head; a populace of waves
spits upon him; confused openings half devour him; every time
that he sinkshe catches glimpses of precipices filled with night;
frightful and unknown vegetations seize himknot about his feet
draw him to them; he is conscious that he is becoming an abyss
that he forms part of the foam; the waves toss him from one to another;
he drinks in the bitterness; the cowardly ocean attacks him furiously
to drown him; the enormity plays with his agony. It seems as though all
that water were hate.

Neverthelesshe struggles.

He tries to defend himself; he tries to sustain himself; he makes
an effort; he swims. Hehis petty strength all exhausted instantly
combats the inexhaustible.

Wherethenis the ship? Yonder. Barely visible in the pale
shadows of the horizon.

The wind blows in gusts; all the foam overwhelms him.
He raises his eyes and beholds only the lividness of the clouds.
He witnessesamid his death-pangsthe immense madness of the sea.
He is tortured by this madness; he hears noises strange to man
which seem to come from beyond the limits of the earthand from one
knows not what frightful region beyond.

There are birds in the cloudsjust as there are angels above
human distresses; but what can they do for him? They sing and fly
and floatand hehe rattles in the death agony.

He feels himself buried in those two infinitiesthe ocean and the sky
at one and the same time: the one is a tomb; the other is a shroud.

Night descends; he has been swimming for hours; his strength
is exhausted; that shipthat distant thing in which there were men
has vanished; he is alone in the formidable twilight gulf;
he sinkshe stiffens himselfhe twists himself; he feels under
him the monstrous billows of the invisible; he shouts.

There are no more men. Where is God?

He shouts. Help! Help! He still shouts on.

Nothing on the horizon; nothing in heaven.

He implores the expansethe wavesthe seaweedthe reef;
they are deaf. He beseeches the tempest; the imperturbable tempest

obeys only the infinite.

Around him darknessfogsolitudethe stormy and nonsentient tumult
the undefined curling of those wild waters. In him horror and fatigue.
Beneath him the depths. Not a point of support. He thinks
of the gloomy adventures of the corpse in the limitless shadow.
The bottomless cold paralyzes him. His hands contract convulsively;
they closeand grasp nothingness. Windscloudswhirlwindsgusts
useless stars! What is to be done? The desperate man gives up;
he is wearyhe chooses the alternative of death; he resists not;
he lets himself go; he abandons his grip; and then he tosses forevermore
in the lugubrious dreary depths of engulfment.

Ohimplacable march of human societies! Ohlosses of men and of
souls on the way! Ocean into which falls all that the law lets slip!
Disastrous absence of help! Ohmoral death!

The sea is the inexorable social night into which the penal laws
fling their condemned. The sea is the immensity of wretchedness.

The soulgoing down stream in this gulfmay become a corpse.
Who shall resuscitate it?



When the hour came for him to take his departure from the galleys
when Jean Valjean heard in his ear the strange wordsThou art free!
the moment seemed improbable and unprecedented; a ray of vivid light
a ray of the true light of the livingsuddenly penetrated within him.
But it was not long before this ray paled. Jean Valjean had been
dazzled by the idea of liberty. He had believed in a new life.
He very speedily perceived what sort of liberty it is to which a yellow
passport is provided.

And this was encompassed with much bitterness. He had calculated
that his earningsduring his sojourn in the galleysought to amount
to a hundred and seventy-one francs. It is but just to add that he had
forgotten to include in his calculations the forced repose of Sundays
and festival days during nineteen yearswhich entailed a diminution
of about eighty francs. At all eventshis hoard had been reduced
by various local levies to the sum of one hundred and nine francs
fifteen souswhich had been counted out to him on his departure.
He had understood nothing of thisand had thought himself wronged.
Let us say the word--robbed.

On the day following his liberationhe sawat Grassein front
of an orange-flower distillerysome men engaged in unloading bales.
He offered his services. Business was pressing; they were accepted.
He set to work. He was intelligentrobustadroit; he did his best;
the master seemed pleased. While he was at worka gendarme passed
observed himand demanded his papers. It was necessary to show him
the yellow passport. That doneJean Valjean resumed his labor.
A little while before he had questioned one of the workmen
as to the amount which they earned each day at this occupation;
he had been told thirty sous. When evening arrivedas he was
forced to set out again on the following dayhe presented himself
to the owner of the distillery and requested to be paid. The owner
did not utter a wordbut handed him fifteen sous. He objected.
He was toldThat is enough for thee.He persisted. The master

looked him straight between the eyesand said to him "Beware of
the prison."

Thereagainhe considered that he had been robbed.

Societythe Stateby diminishing his hoardhad robbed him wholesale.
Now it was the individual who was robbing him at retail.

Liberation is not deliverance. One gets free from the galleys
but not from the sentence.

That is what happened to him at Grasse. We have seen in what manner
he was received at D---



As the Cathedral clock struck two in the morningJean Valjean awoke.

What woke him was that his bed was too good. It was nearly twenty
years since he had slept in a bedandalthough he had not undressed
the sensation was too novel not to disturb his slumbers.

He had slept more than four hours. His fatigue had passed away.
He was accustomed not to devote many hours to repose.

He opened his eyes and stared into the gloom which surrounded him;
then he closed them againwith the intention of going to sleep
once more.

When many varied sensations have agitated the daywhen various matters
preoccupy the mindone falls asleep oncebut not a second time.
Sleep comes more easily than it returns. This is what happened
to Jean Valjean. He could not get to sleep againand he fell
to thinking.

He was at one of those moments when the thoughts which one has in one's
mind are troubled. There was a sort of dark confusion in his brain.
His memories of the olden time and of the immediate present floated
there pell-mell and mingled confusedlylosing their proper forms
becoming disproportionately largethen suddenly disappearing
as in a muddy and perturbed pool. Many thoughts occurred to him;
but there was one which kept constantly presenting itself afresh
and which drove away all others. We will mention this thought at once:
he had observed the six sets of silver forks and spoons and the ladle
which Madame Magloire had placed on the table.

Those six sets of silver haunted him.--They were there.--A few
paces distant.--Just as he was traversing the adjoining room to reach
the one in which he then wasthe old servant-woman had been in the
act of placing them in a little cupboard near the head of the bed.--
He had taken careful note of this cupboard.--On the rightas you
entered from the dining-room.--They were solid.--And old silver.--
From the ladle one could get at least two hundred francs.--
Double what he had earned in nineteen years.--It is true that he
would have earned more if "the administration had not robbed him."

His mind wavered for a whole hour in fluctuations with which there
was certainly mingled some struggle. Three o'clock struck. He opened
his eyes againdrew himself up abruptly into a sitting posture

stretched out his arm and felt of his knapsackwhich he had thrown
down on a corner of the alcove; then he hung his legs over the edge
of the bedand placed his feet on the floorand thus found himself
almost without knowing itseated on his bed.

He remained for a time thoughtfully in this attitudewhich would
have been suggestive of something sinister for any one who had seen
him thus in the darkthe only person awake in that house where all
were sleeping. All of a sudden he stooped downremoved his shoes
and placed them softly on the mat beside the bed; then he resumed
his thoughtful attitudeand became motionless once more.

Throughout this hideous meditationthe thoughts which we have above
indicated moved incessantly through his brain; enteredwithdrew
re-enteredand in a manner oppressed him; and then he thoughtalso
without knowing whyand with the mechanical persistence of revery
of a convict named Brevetwhom he had known in the galleysand whose
trousers had been upheld by a single suspender of knitted cotton.
The checkered pattern of that suspender recurred incessantly to his mind.

He remained in this situationand would have so remained indefinitely
even until daybreakhad not the clock struck one--the half
or quarter hour. It seemed to him that that stroke said to him
Come on!

He rose to his feethesitated still another momentand listened;
all was quiet in the house; then he walked straight ahead
with short stepsto the windowof which he caught a glimpse.
The night was not very dark; there was a full moonacross which
coursed large clouds driven by the wind. This createdoutdoors
alternate shadow and gleams of lighteclipsesthen bright openings
of the clouds; and indoors a sort of twilight. This twilight
sufficient to enable a person to see his wayintermittent on
account of the cloudsresembled the sort of livid light which falls
through an air-hole in a cellarbefore which the passersby come
and go. On arriving at the windowJean Valjean examined it.
It had no grating; it opened in the garden and was fastened
according to the fashion of the countryonly by a small pin.
He opened it; but as a rush of cold and piercing air penetrated
the room abruptlyhe closed it again immediately. He scrutinized
the garden with that attentive gaze which studies rather than looks.
The garden was enclosed by a tolerably low white walleasy to climb.
Far awayat the extremityhe perceived tops of treesspaced at
regular intervalswhich indicated that the wall separated the garden
from an avenue or lane planted with trees.

Having taken this surveyhe executed a movement like that of a man
who has made up his mindstrode to his alcovegrasped his knapsack
opened itfumbled in itpulled out of it something which he placed
on the bedput his shoes into one of his pocketsshut the whole
thing up againthrew the knapsack on his shouldersput on his cap
drew the visor down over his eyesfelt for his cudgelwent and
placed it in the angle of the window; then returned to the bed
and resolutely seized the object which he had deposited there.
It resembled a short bar of ironpointed like a pike at one end.
It would have been difficult to distinguish in that darkness
for what employment that bit of iron could have been designed.
Perhaps it was a lever; possibly it was a club.

In the daytime it would have been possible to recognize it as nothing
more than a miner's candlestick. Convicts wereat that period
sometimes employed in quarrying stone from the lofty hills which
environ Toulonand it was not rare for them to have miners' tools at
their command. These miners' candlesticks are of massive iron

terminated at the lower extremity by a pointby means of which
they are stuck into the rock.

He took the candlestick in his right hand; holding his breath
and trying to deaden the sound of his treadhe directed his
steps to the door of the adjoining roomoccupied by the Bishop
as we already know.

On arriving at this doorhe found it ajar. The Bishop had not
closed it.



Jean Valjean listened. Not a sound.

He gave the door a push.

He pushed it gently with the tip of his fingerlightlywith the
furtive and uneasy gentleness of a cat which is desirous of entering.

The door yielded to this pressureand made an imperceptible
and silent movementwhich enlarged the opening a little.

He waited a moment; then gave the door a second and a bolder push.

It continued to yield in silence. The opening was now large enough
to allow him to pass. But near the door there stood a little table
which formed an embarrassing angle with itand barred the entrance.

Jean Valjean recognized the difficulty. It was necessaryat any cost
to enlarge the aperture still further.

He decided on his course of actionand gave the door a third push
more energetic than the two preceding. This time a badly oiled hinge
suddenly emitted amid the silence a hoarse and prolonged cry.

Jean Valjean shuddered. The noise of the hinge rang in his ears
with something of the piercing and formidable sound of the trump
of the Day of Judgment.

In the fantastic exaggerations of the first moment he almost imagined
that that hinge had just become animatedand had suddenly assumed
a terrible lifeand that it was barking like a dog to arouse every one
and warn and to wake those who were asleep. He haltedshuddering
bewilderedand fell back from the tips of his toes upon his heels.
He heard the arteries in his temples beating like two forge hammers
and it seemed to him that his breath issued from his breast with
the roar of the wind issuing from a cavern. It seemed impossible
to him that the horrible clamor of that irritated hinge should not
have disturbed the entire householdlike the shock of an earthquake;
the doorpushed by himhad taken the alarmand had shouted;
the old man would rise at once; the two old women would shriek out;
people would come to their assistance; in less than a quarter of an
hour the town would be in an uproarand the gendarmerie on hand.
For a moment he thought himself lost.

He remained where he waspetrified like the statue of salt
not daring to make a movement. Several minutes elapsed. The door
had fallen wide open. He ventured to peep into the next room.

Nothing had stirred there. He lent an ear. Nothing was moving
in the house. The noise made by the rusty hinge had not awakened
any one.

This first danger was past; but there still reigned a frightful
tumult within him. Neverthelesshe did not retreat. Even when he
had thought himself losthe had not drawn back. His only thought
now was to finish as soon as possible. He took a step and entered
the room.

This room was in a state of perfect calm. Here and there vague
and confused forms were distinguishablewhich in the daylight were
papers scattered on a tableopen foliosvolumes piled upon a stool
an arm-chair heaped with clothinga prie-Dieuand which at that hour
were only shadowy corners and whitish spots. Jean Valjean advanced
with precautiontaking care not to knock against the furniture.
He could hearat the extremity of the roomthe even and tranquil
breathing of the sleeping Bishop.

He suddenly came to a halt. He was near the bed. He had arrived
there sooner than he had thought for.

Nature sometimes mingles her effects and her spectacles with our
actions with sombre and intelligent appropriatenessas though she
desired to make us reflect. For the last half-hour a large cloud
had covered the heavens. At the moment when Jean Valjean paused
in front of the bedthis cloud partedas though on purpose
and a ray of lighttraversing the long windowsuddenly illuminated
the Bishop's pale face. He was sleeping peacefully. He lay in
his bed almost completely dressedon account of the cold of the
Basses-Alpsin a garment of brown woolwhich covered his arms to
the wrists. His head was thrown back on the pillowin the careless
attitude of repose; his handadorned with the pastoral ring
and whence had fallen so many good deeds and so many holy actions
was hanging over the edge of the bed. His whole face was illumined
with a vague expression of satisfactionof hopeand of felicity.
It was more than a smileand almost a radiance. He bore upon his
brow the indescribable reflection of a light which was invisible.
The soul of the just contemplates in sleep a mysterious heaven.

A reflection of that heaven rested on the Bishop.

It wasat the same timea luminous transparencyfor that heaven
was within him. That heaven was his conscience.

At the moment when the ray of moonlight superposed itselfso to speak
upon that inward radiancethe sleeping Bishop seemed as in a glory.
It remainedhowevergentle and veiled in an ineffable half-light. That
moon in the skythat slumbering naturethat garden without a quiver
that house which was so calmthe hourthe momentthe silence
added some solemn and unspeakable quality to the venerable repose
of this manand enveloped in a sort of serene and majestic aureole
that white hairthose closed eyesthat face in which all was hope
and all was confidencethat head of an old manand that slumber
of an infant.

There was something almost divine in this manwho was thus august
without being himself aware of it.

Jean Valjean was in the shadowand stood motionlesswith his iron
candlestick in his handfrightened by this luminous old man.
Never had he beheld anything like this. This confidence terrified him.
The moral world has no grander spectacle than this: a troubled and
uneasy consciencewhich has arrived on the brink of an evil action

contemplating the slumber of the just.

That slumber in that isolationand with a neighbor like himself
had about it something sublimeof which he was vaguely but
imperiously conscious.

No one could have told what was passing within himnot even himself.
In order to attempt to form an idea of itit is necessary to think
of the most violent of things in the presence of the most gentle.
Even on his visage it would have been impossible to distinguish
anything with certainty. It was a sort of haggard astonishment.
He gazed at itand that was all. But what was his thought?
It would have been impossible to divine it. What was evident was
that he was touched and astounded. But what was the nature of this

His eye never quitted the old man. The only thing which was clearly to be
inferred from his attitude and his physiognomy was a strange indecision.
One would have said that he was hesitating between the two abysses--
the one in which one loses one's self and that in which one saves
one's self. He seemed prepared to crush that skull or to kiss that hand.

At the expiration of a few minutes his left arm rose slowly towards
his browand he took off his cap; then his arm fell back with the
same deliberationand Jean Valjean fell to meditating once more
his cap in his left handhis club in his right handhis hair
bristling all over his savage head.

The Bishop continued to sleep in profound peace beneath that
terrifying gaze.

The gleam of the moon rendered confusedly visible the crucifix
over the chimney-piecewhich seemed to be extending its arms
to both of themwith a benediction for one and pardon for the other.

Suddenly Jean Valjean replaced his cap on his brow; then stepped
rapidly past the bedwithout glancing at the Bishopstraight to
the cupboardwhich he saw near the head; he raised his iron
candlestick as though to force the lock; the key was there;
he opened it; the first thing which presented itself to him was
the basket of silverware; he seized ittraversed the chamber with
long strideswithout taking any precautions and without troubling
himself about the noisegained the doorre-entered the oratory
opened the windowseized his cudgelbestrode the window-sill
of the ground-floorput the silver into his knapsackthrew away
the basketcrossed the gardenleaped over the wall like a tiger
and fled.



The next morning at sunrise Monseigneur Bienvenu was strolling
in his garden. Madame Magloire ran up to him in utter consternation.

Monseigneur, Monseigneur!she exclaimeddoes your Grace know
where the basket of silver is?

Yes,replied the Bishop.

Jesus the Lord be blessed!she resumed; "I did not know what had

become of it."

The Bishop had just picked up the basket in a flower-bed. He
presented it to Madame Magloire.

Here it is.

Well!said she. "Nothing in it! And the silver?"

Ah,returned the Bishopso it is the silver which troubles you?
I don't know where it is.

Great, good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night
has stolen it.

In a twinklingwith all the vivacity of an alert old woman
Madame Magloire had rushed to the oratoryentered the alcove
and returned to the Bishop. The Bishop had just bent down
and was sighing as he examined a plant of cochlearia des Guillons
which the basket had broken as it fell across the bed. He rose up
at Madame Magloire's cry.

Monseigneur, the man is gone! The silver has been stolen!

As she uttered this exclamationher eyes fell upon a corner of
the gardenwhere traces of the wall having been scaled were visible.
The coping of the wall had been torn away.

Stay! yonder is the way he went. He jumped over into
Cochefilet Lane. Ah, the abomination! He has stolen our silver!

The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he raised his grave eyes
and said gently to Madame Magloire:--

And, in the first place, was that silver ours?

Madame Magloire was speechless. Another silence ensued; then the
Bishop went on:--

Madame Magloire, I have for a long time detained that silver wrongfully.
It belonged to the poor. Who was that man? A poor man, evidently.

Alas! Jesus!returned Madame Magloire. "It is not for my sake
nor for Mademoiselle's. It makes no difference to us. But it is
for the sake of Monseigneur. What is Monseigneur to eat with now?"

The Bishop gazed at her with an air of amazement.

Ah, come! Are there no such things as pewter forks and spoons?

Madame Magloire shrugged her shoulders.

Pewter has an odor.

Iron forks and spoons, then.

Madame Magloire made an expressive grimace.

Iron has a taste.

Very well,said the Bishop; "wooden ones then."

A few moments later he was breakfasting at the very table at which Jean
Valjean had sat on the previous evening. As he ate his breakfast

Monseigneur Welcome remarked gayly to his sisterwho said nothing
and to Madame Magloirewho was grumbling under her breath
that one really does not need either fork or spooneven of wood
in order to dip a bit of bread in a cup of milk.

A pretty idea, truly,said Madame Magloire to herselfas she
went and cameto take in a man like that! and to lodge him close
to one's self! And how fortunate that he did nothing but steal!
Ah, mon Dieu! it makes one shudder to think of it!

As the brother and sister were about to rise from the table
there came a knock at the door.

Come in,said the Bishop.

The door opened. A singular and violent group made its appearance
on the threshold. Three men were holding a fourth man by the collar.
The three men were gendarmes; the other was Jean Valjean.

A brigadier of gendarmeswho seemed to be in command of the group
was standing near the door. He entered and advanced to the Bishop
making a military salute.

Monseigneur--said he.

At this wordJean Valjeanwho was dejected and seemed overwhelmed
raised his head with an air of stupefaction.

Monseigneur!he murmured. "So he is not the cure?"

Silence!said the gendarme. "He is Monseigneur the Bishop."

In the meantimeMonseigneur Bienvenu had advanced as quickly
as his great age permitted.

Ah! here you are!he exclaimedlooking at Jean Valjean.
I am glad to see you. Well, but how is this? I gave you
the candlesticks too, which are of silver like the rest,
and for which you can certainly get two hundred francs.
Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?

Jean Valjean opened his eyes wideand stared at the venerable Bishop
with an expression which no human tongue can render any account of.

Monseigneur,said the brigadier of gendarmesso what this man
said is true, then? We came across him. He was walking like a man
who is running away. We stopped him to look into the matter.
He had this silver--

And he told you,interposed the Bishop with a smilethat it
had been given to him by a kind old fellow of a priest with whom
he had passed the night? I see how the matter stands. And you
have brought him back here? It is a mistake.

In that case,replied the brigadierwe can let him go?

Certainly,replied the Bishop.

The gendarmes released Jean Valjeanwho recoiled.

Is it true that I am to be released?he saidin an almost
inarticulate voiceand as though he were talking in his sleep.

Yes, thou art released; dost thou not understand?said one

of the gendarmes.

My friend,resumed the Bishopbefore you go, here are
your candlesticks. Take them.

He stepped to the chimney-piecetook the two silver candlesticks
and brought them to Jean Valjean. The two women looked on without
uttering a wordwithout a gesturewithout a look which could
disconcert the Bishop.

Jean Valjean was trembling in every limb. He took the two
candlesticks mechanicallyand with a bewildered air.

Now,said the Bishopgo in peace. By the way, when you return,
my friend, it is not necessary to pass through the garden.
You can always enter and depart through the street door. It is never
fastened with anything but a latch, either by day or by night.

Thenturning to the gendarmes:-

You may retire, gentlemen.

The gendarmes retired.

Jean Valjean was like a man on the point of fainting.

The Bishop drew near to himand said in a low voice:-

Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this
money in becoming an honest man.

Jean Valjeanwho had no recollection of ever having promised anything
remained speechless. The Bishop had emphasized the words when he
uttered them. He resumed with solemnity:-

Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good.
It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black
thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.



Jean Valjean left the town as though he were fleeing from it.
He set out at a very hasty pace through the fieldstaking whatever
roads and paths presented themselves to himwithout perceiving
that he was incessantly retracing his steps. He wandered thus the
whole morningwithout having eaten anything and without feeling hungry.
He was the prey of a throng of novel sensations. He was conscious
of a sort of rage; he did not know against whom it was directed.
He could not have told whether he was touched or humiliated.
There came over him at moments a strange emotion which he resisted
and to which he opposed the hardness acquired during the last twenty
years of his life. This state of mind fatigued him. He perceived
with dismay that the sort of frightful calm which the injustice
of his misfortune had conferred upon him was giving way within him.
He asked himself what would replace this. At times he would have
actually preferred to be in prison with the gendarmesand that things
should not have happened in this way; it would have agitated him less.
Although the season was tolerably far advancedthere were still
a few late flowers in the hedge-rows here and therewhose odor

as he passed through them in his march recalled to him memories
of his childhood. These memories were almost intolerable to him
it was so long since they had recurred to him.

Unutterable thoughts assembled within him in this manner all day long.

As the sun declined to its settingcasting long shadows athwart the soil
from every pebbleJean Valjean sat down behind a bush upon a large
ruddy plainwhich was absolutely deserted. There was nothing on the
horizon except the Alps. Not even the spire of a distant village.
Jean Valjean might have been three leagues distant from D---A
path which intersected the plain passed a few paces from the bush.

In the middle of this meditationwhich would have contributed
not a little to render his rags terrifying to any one who might
have encountered hima joyous sound became audible.

He turned his head and saw a little Savoyardabout ten years
of agecoming up the path and singinghis hurdy-gurdy on his hip
and his marmot-box on his back

One of those gay and gentle childrenwho go from land to land
affording a view of their knees through the holes in their trousers.

Without stopping his songthe lad halted in his march from time
to timeand played at knuckle-bones with some coins which he
had in his hand--his whole fortuneprobably.

Among this money there was one forty-sou piece.

The child halted beside the bushwithout perceiving Jean Valjean
and tossed up his handful of souswhichup to that timehe had
caught with a good deal of adroitness on the back of his hand.

This time the forty-sou piece escaped himand went rolling towards
the brushwood until it reached Jean Valjean.

Jean Valjean set his foot upon it.

In the meantimethe child had looked after his coin and had caught
sight of him.

He showed no astonishmentbut walked straight up to the man.

The spot was absolutely solitary. As far as the eye could see
there was not a person on the plain or on the path. The only
sound was the tinyfeeble cries of a flock of birds of passage
which was traversing the heavens at an immense height. The child
was standing with his back to the sunwhich cast threads of gold
in his hair and empurpled with its blood-red gleam the savage face
of Jean Valjean.

Sir,said the little Savoyardwith that childish confidence
which is composed of ignorance and innocencemy money.

What is your name?said Jean Valjean.

Little Gervais, sir.

Go away,said Jean Valjean.

Sir,resumed the childgive me back my money.

Jean Valjean dropped his headand made no reply.

The child began againMy money, sir.

Jean Valjean's eyes remained fixed on the earth.

My piece of money!cried the childmy white piece! my silver!

It seemed as though Jean Valjean did not hear him. The child grasped
him by the collar of his blouse and shook him. At the same time
he made an effort to displace the big iron-shod shoe which rested
on his treasure.

I want my piece of money! my piece of forty sous!

The child wept. Jean Valjean raised his head. He still
remained seated. His eyes were troubled. He gazed at
the childin a sort of amazementthen he stretched out
his hand towards his cudgel and cried in a terrible voiceWho's there?

I, sir,replied the child. "Little Gervais! I! Give me back my
forty sousif you please! Take your foot awaysirif you please!"

Then irritatedthough he was so smalland becoming almost menacing:-

Come now, will you take your foot away? Take your foot away,
or we'll see!

Ah! It's still you!said Jean Valjeanand rising abruptly
to his feethis foot still resting on the silver piecehe added:-

Will you take yourself off!

The frightened child looked at himthen began to tremble from
head to footand after a few moments of stupor he set out
running at the top of his speedwithout daring to turn his neck
or to utter a cry.

Neverthelesslack of breath forced him to halt after a certain distance
and Jean Valjean heard him sobbingin the midst of his own revery.

At the end of a few moments the child had disappeared.

The sun had set.

The shadows were descending around Jean Valjean. He had eaten
nothing all day; it is probable that he was feverish.

He had remained standing and had not changed his attitude after the
child's flight. The breath heaved his chest at long and irregular
intervals. His gazefixed ten or twelve paces in front of him
seemed to be scrutinizing with profound attention the shape of an
ancient fragment of blue earthenware which had fallen in the grass.
All at once he shivered; he had just begun to feel the chill of evening.

He settled his cap more firmly on his browsought mechanically
to cross and button his blouseadvanced a step and stopped to pick
up his cudgel.

At that moment he caught sight of the forty-sou piecewhich his
foot had half ground into the earthand which was shining among
the pebbles. It was as though he had received a galvanic shock.
What is this?he muttered between his teeth. He recoiled
three pacesthen haltedwithout being able to detach his gaze
from the spot which his foot had trodden but an instant before

as though the thing which lay glittering there in the gloom had been
an open eye riveted upon him.

At the expiration of a few moments he darted convulsively towards
the silver coinseized itand straightened himself up again
and began to gaze afar off over the plainat the same time casting
his eyes towards all points of the horizonas he stood there erect
and shiveringlike a terrified wild animal which is seeking refuge.

He saw nothing. Night was fallingthe plain was cold and vague
great banks of violet haze were rising in the gleam of the twilight.

He saidAh!and set out rapidly in the direction in which
the child had disappeared. After about thirty paces he paused
looked about him and saw nothing.

Then he shouted with all his might:-

Little Gervais! Little Gervais!

He paused and waited.

There was no reply.

The landscape was gloomy and deserted. He was encompassed by space.
There was nothing around him but an obscurity in which his gaze
was lostand a silence which engulfed his voice.

An icy north wind was blowingand imparted to things around him
a sort of lugubrious life. The bushes shook their thin little
arms with incredible fury. One would have said that they were
threatening and pursuing some one.

He set out on his march againthen he began to run; and from time
to time he halted and shouted into that solitudewith a voice
which was the most formidable and the most disconsolate that it
was possible to hearLittle Gervais! Little Gervais!

Assuredlyif the child had heard himhe would have been alarmed
and would have taken good care not to show himself. But the child
was no doubt already far away.

He encountered a priest on horseback. He stepped up to him and said:-

Monsieur le Cure, have you seen a child pass?

No,said the priest.

One named Little Gervais?

I have seen no one.

He drew two five-franc pieces from his money-bag and handed them
to the priest.

Monsieur le Cure, this is for your poor people. Monsieur le Cure,
he was a little lad, about ten years old, with a marmot, I think,
and a hurdy-gurdy. One of those Savoyards, you know?

I have not seen him.

Little Gervais? There are no villages here? Can you tell me?

If he is like what you say, my friend, he is a little stranger.

Such persons pass through these parts. We know nothing of them.

Jean Valjean seized two more coins of five francs each with violence
and gave them to the priest.

For your poor,he said.

Then he addedwildly:--

Monsieur l'Abbe, have me arrested. I am a thief.

The priest put spurs to his horse and fled in hastemuch alarmed.

Jean Valjean set out on a runin the direction which he had
first taken.

In this way he traversed a tolerably long distancegazing
callingshoutingbut he met no one. Two or three times he ran
across the plain towards something which conveyed to him the effect
of a human being reclining or crouching down; it turned out to be
nothing but brushwood or rocks nearly on a level with the earth.
At lengthat a spot where three paths intersected each other
he stopped. The moon had risen. He sent his gaze into the distance
and shouted for the last timeLittle Gervais! Little Gervais!
Little Gervais!His shout died away in the mistwithout even
awakening an echo. He murmured yet once moreLittle Gervais!
but in a feeble and almost inarticulate voice. It was his last effort;
his legs gave way abruptly under himas though an invisible power
had suddenly overwhelmed him with the weight of his evil conscience;
he fell exhaustedon a large stonehis fists clenched in his hair
and his face on his kneesand he criedI am a wretch!

Then his heart burstand he began to cry. It was the first time
that he had wept in nineteen years.

When Jean Valjean left the Bishop's househe wasas we have seen
quite thrown out of everything that had been his thought hitherto.
He could not yield to the evidence of what was going on within him.
He hardened himself against the angelic action and the gentle words
of the old man. "You have promised me to become an honest man.
I buy your soul. I take it away from the spirit of perversity;
I give it to the good God."

This recurred to his mind unceasingly. To this celestial kindness
he opposed pridewhich is the fortress of evil within us.
He was indistinctly conscious that the pardon of this priest
was the greatest assault and the most formidable attack which
had moved him yet; that his obduracy was finally settled if he
resisted this clemency; that if he yieldedhe should be obliged
to renounce that hatred with which the actions of other men had
filled his soul through so many yearsand which pleased him;
that this time it was necessary to conquer or to be conquered;
and that a strugglea colossal and final strugglehad been begun
between his viciousness and the goodness of that man.

In the presence of these lightshe proceeded like a man who
is intoxicated. As he walked thus with haggard eyesdid he
have a distinct perception of what might result to him from his
adventure at D----? Did he understand all those mysterious murmurs
which warn or importune the spirit at certain moments of life?
Did a voice whisper in his ear that he had just passed the solemn
hour of his destiny; that there no longer remained a middle
course for him; that if he were not henceforth the best of men
he would be the worst; that it behooved him nowso to speak

to mount higher than the Bishopor fall lower than the convict;
that if he wished to become good be must become an angel; that if he
wished to remain evilhe must become a monster?

Hereagainsome questions must be putwhich we have already put
to ourselves elsewhere: did he catch some shadow of all this in
his thoughtin a confused way? Misfortune certainlyas we have said
does form the education of the intelligence; neverthelessit is
doubtful whether Jean Valjean was in a condition to disentangle
all that we have here indicated. If these ideas occurred to him
he but caught glimpses ofrather than saw themand they only
succeeded in throwing him into an unutterable and almost painful
state of emotion. On emerging from that black and deformed
thing which is called the galleysthe Bishop had hurt his soul
as too vivid a light would have hurt his eyes on emerging from
the dark. The future lifethe possible life which offered itself
to him henceforthall pure and radiantfilled him with tremors
and anxiety. He no longer knew where he really was. Like an owl
who should suddenly see the sun risethe convict had been dazzled
and blindedas it wereby virtue.

That which was certainthat which he did not doubtwas that he
was no longer the same manthat everything about him was changed
that it was no longer in his power to make it as though the Bishop
had not spoken to him and had not touched him.

In this state of mind he had encountered little Gervaisand had robbed
him of his forty sous. Why? He certainly could not have explained it;
was this the last effect and the supreme effortas it were
of the evil thoughts which he had brought away from the galleys--
a remnant of impulsea result of what is called in statics
acquired force? It was thatand it was alsoperhapseven less
than that. Let us say it simplyit was not he who stole;
it was not the man; it was the beastwhoby habit and instinct
had simply placed his foot upon that moneywhile the intelligence
was struggling amid so many novel and hitherto unheard-of thoughts
besetting it.

When intelligence re-awakened and beheld that action of the brute
Jean Valjean recoiled with anguish and uttered a cry of terror.

It was because--strange phenomenonand one which was possible only
in the situation in which he found himself--in stealing the money
from that childhe had done a thing of which he was no longer capable.

However that may bethis last evil action had a decisive effect
on him; it abruptly traversed that chaos which he bore in his mind
and dispersed itplaced on one side the thick obscurityand on
the other the lightand acted on his soulin the state in which it
then wasas certain chemical reagents act upon a troubled mixture
by precipitating one element and clarifying the other.

First of alleven before examining himself and reflecting
all bewilderedlike one who seeks to save himselfhe tried to
find the child in order to return his money to him; thenwhen he
recognized the fact that this was impossiblehe halted in despair.
At the moment when he exclaimed "I am a wretch!" he had just
perceived what he wasand he was already separated from himself
to such a degreethat he seemed to himself to be no longer
anything more than a phantomand as if he hadthere before him
in flesh and bloodthe hideous galley-convictJean Valjean
cudgel in handhis blouse on his hipshis knapsack filled with
stolen objects on his backwith his resolute and gloomy visage
with his thoughts filled with abominable projects.

Excess of unhappiness hadas we have remarkedmade him in some
sort a visionary. Thisthenwas in the nature of a vision.
He actually saw that Jean Valjeanthat sinister facebefore him.
He had almost reached the point of asking himself who that man was
and he was horrified by him.

His brain was going through one of those violent and yet perfectly
calm moments in which revery is so profound that it absorbs reality.
One no longer beholds the object which one has before oneand one sees
as though apart from one's selfthe figures which one has in one's
own mind.

Thus he contemplated himselfso to speakface to face
and at the same timeathwart this hallucinationhe perceived
in a mysterious depth a sort of light which he at first took
for a torch. On scrutinizing this light which appeared
to his conscience with more attentionhe recognized the
fact that it possessed a human form and that this torch was the Bishop.

His conscience weighed in turn these two men thus placed before it-the
Bishop and Jean Valjean. Nothing less than the first was
required to soften the second. By one of those singular effects
which are peculiar to this sort of ecstasiesin proportion as his
revery continuedas the Bishop grew great and resplendent in his eyes
so did Jean Valjean grow less and vanish. After a certain time he
was no longer anything more than a shade. All at once he disappeared.
The Bishop alone remained; he filled the whole soul of this wretched
man with a magnificent radiance.

Jean Valjean wept for a long time. He wept burning tearshe sobbed
with more weakness than a womanwith more fright than a child.

As he weptdaylight penetrated more and more clearly into his soul;
an extraordinary light; a light at once ravishing and terrible.
His past lifehis first faulthis long expiationhis external
brutishnesshis internal hardnesshis dismissal to liberty
rejoicing in manifold plans of vengeancewhat had happened to him
at the Bishop'sthe last thing that he had donethat theft of forty
sous from a childa crime all the more cowardlyand all the more
monstrous since it had come after the Bishop's pardon--all this
recurred to his mind and appeared clearly to himbut with a clearness
which he had never hitherto witnessed. He examined his lifeand it
seemed horrible to him; his souland it seemed frightful to him.
In the meantime a gentle light rested over this life and this soul.
It seemed to him that he beheld Satan by the light of Paradise.

How many hours did he weep thus? What did he do after he had wept?
Whither did he go! No one ever knew. The only thing which seems
to be authenticated is that that same night the carrier who served
Grenoble at that epochand who arrived at D---- about three o'clock
in the morningsawas he traversed the street in which the
Bishop's residence was situateda man in the attitude of prayer
kneeling on the pavement in the shadowin front of the door
of Monseigneur Welcome.




1817 is the year which Louis XVIII.with a certain royal assurance
which was not wanting in prideentitled the twenty-second of his reign.
It is the year in which M. Bruguiere de Sorsum was celebrated.
All the hairdressers' shopshoping for powder and the return of the
royal birdwere besmeared with azure and decked with fleurs-de-lys.
It was the candid time at which Count Lynch sat every Sunday as
church-warden in the church-warden's pew of Saint-Germain-des-Pres
in his costume of a peer of Francewith his red ribbon and his
long nose and the majesty of profile peculiar to a man who has
performed a brilliant action. The brilliant action performed
by M. Lynch was this: being mayor of Bordeauxon the 12th
of March1814he had surrendered the city a little too promptly
to M. the Duke d'Angouleme. Hence his peerage. In 1817 fashion
swallowed up little boys of from four to six years of age in vast
caps of morocco leather with ear-tabs resembling Esquimaux mitres.
The French army was dressed in whiteafter the mode of the Austrian;
the regiments were called legions; instead of numbers they bore the
names of departments; Napoleon was at St. Helena; and since England
refused him green clothhe was having his old coats turned.
In 1817 Pelligrini sang; Mademoiselle Bigottini danced; Potier reigned;
Odry did not yet exist. Madame Saqui had succeeded to Forioso.
There were still Prussians in France. M. Delalot was a personage.
Legitimacy had just asserted itself by cutting off the hand
then the headof Pleignierof Carbonneauand of Tolleron.
The Prince de Talleyrandgrand chamberlainand the Abbe Louis
appointed minister of financelaughed as they looked at each other
with the laugh of the two augurs; both of them had celebrated
on the 14th of July1790the mass of federation in the Champ de Mars;
Talleyrand had said it as bishopLouis had served it in the capacity
of deacon. In 1817in the side-alleys of this same Champ de Mars
two great cylinders of wood might have been seen lying in the rain
rotting amid the grasspainted bluewith traces of eagles and bees
from which the gilding was falling. These were the columns which two
years before had upheld the Emperor's platform in the Champ de Mai.
They were blackened here and there with the scorches of the bivouac
of Austrians encamped near Gros-Caillou. Two or three of these
columns had disappeared in these bivouac firesand had warmed
the large hands of the Imperial troops. The Field of May had this
remarkable point: that it had been held in the month of June
and in the Field of March (Mars). In this year1817two things
were popular: the Voltaire-Touquet and the snuff-box a la Charter.
The most recent Parisian sensation was the crime of Dautun
who had thrown his brother's head into the fountain of the

They had begun to feel anxious at the Naval Departmenton account
of the lack of news from that fatal frigateThe Medusawhich was
destined to cover Chaumareix with infamy and Gericault with glory.
Colonel Selves was going to Egypt to become Soliman-Pasha. The palace
of Thermesin the Rue de La Harpeserved as a shop for a cooper.
On the platform of the octagonal tower of the Hotel de Cluny
the little shed of boardswhich had served as an observatory to Messier
the naval astronomer under Louis XVI.was still to be seen.
The Duchesse de Duras read to three or four friends her unpublished
Ourikain her boudoir furnished by X. in sky-blue satin. The N's
were scratched off the Louvre. The bridge of Austerlitz had abdicated
and was entitled the bridge of the King's Garden [du Jardin du Roi]
a double enigmawhich disguised the bridge of Austerlitz and the
Jardin des Plantes at one stroke. Louis XVIII.much preoccupied
while annotating Horace with the corner of his finger-nailheroes
who have become emperorsand makers of wooden shoes who have
become dauphinshad two anxieties--Napoleon and Mathurin Bruneau.

The French Academy had given for its prize subjectThe Happiness
procured through Study. M. Bellart was officially eloquent.
In his shadow could be seen germinating that future advocate-general
of Broededicated to the sarcasms of Paul-Louis Courier.
There was a false Chateaubriandnamed Marchangyin the interim
until there should be a false Marchangynamed d'Arlincourt.
Claire d'Albe and Malek-Adel were masterpieces; Madame Cottin
was proclaimed the chief writer of the epoch. The Institute
had the academicianNapoleon Bonapartestricken from its list
of members. A royal ordinance erected Angouleme into a naval school;
for the Duc d'Angoulemebeing lord high admiralit was evident
that the city of Angouleme had all the qualities of a seaport;
otherwise the monarchical principle would have received a wound.
In the Council of Ministers the question was agitated whether
vignettes representing slack-rope performanceswhich adorned
Franconi's advertising postersand which attracted throngs of
street urchinsshould be tolerated. M. Paerthe author of Agnese
a good sort of fellowwith a square face and a wart on his cheek
directed the little private concerts of the Marquise de Sasenaye
in the Rue Ville l'Eveque. All the young girls were singing the
Hermit of Saint-Avellewith words by Edmond Geraud. The Yellow
Dwarf was transferred into Mirror. The Cafe Lemblin stood up for
the Emperoragainst the Cafe Valoiswhich upheld the Bourbons.
The Duc de Berrialready surveyed from the shadow by Louvel
had just been married to a princess of Sicily. Madame de Stael had
died a year previously. The body-guard hissed Mademoiselle Mars.
The grand newspapers were all very small. Their form was restricted
but their liberty was great. The Constitutionnel was constitutional.
La Minerve called Chateaubriand Chateaubriant. That t made the good
middle-class people laugh heartily at the expense of the great writer.
In journals which sold themselvesprostituted journalists
insulted the exiles of 1815. David had no longer any talent
Arnault had no longer any witCarnot was no longer honestSoult had
won no battles; it is true that Napoleon had no longer any genius.
No one is ignorant of the fact that letters sent to an exile by post
very rarely reached himas the police made it their religious
duty to intercept them. This is no new fact; Descartes complained
of it in his exile. Now Davidhavingin a Belgian publication
shown some displeasure at not receiving letters which had been
written to himit struck the royalist journals as amusing;
and they derided the prescribed man well on this occasion.
What separated two men more than an abyss was to saythe regicides
or to say the voters; to say the enemiesor to say the allies;
to say Napoleonor to say Buonaparte. All sensible people were
agreed that the era of revolution had been closed forever by King
Louis XVIII.surnamed "The Immortal Author of the Charter."
On the platform of the Pont-Neufthe word Redivivus was carved
on the pedestal that awaited the statue of Henry IV. M. Piet
in the Rue ThereseNo. 4was making the rough draft of his privy
assembly to consolidate the monarchy. The leaders of the Right
said at grave conjuncturesWe must write to Bacot.MM. Canuel
O'Mahoneyand De Chappedelaine were preparing the sketch
to some extent with Monsieur's approvalof what was to become
later on "The Conspiracy of the Bord de l'Eau"--of the waterside.
L'Epingle Noire was already plotting in his own quarter.
Delaverderie was conferring with Trogoff. M. Decazeswho was
liberal to a degreereigned. Chateaubriand stood every morning at
his window at No. 27 Rue Saint-Dominiqueclad in footed trousers
and slipperswith a madras kerchief knotted over his gray hair
with his eyes fixed on a mirrora complete set of dentist's instruments
spread out before himcleaning his teethwhich were charming
while he dictated The Monarchy according to the Charter to M. Pilorge
his secretary. Criticismassuming an authoritative tone
preferred Lafon to Talma. M. de Feletez signed himself A.;

M. Hoffmann signed himself Z. Charles Nodier wrote Therese Aubert.
Divorce was abolished. Lyceums called themselves colleges.
The collegiansdecorated on the collar with a golden fleur-de-lys
fought each other apropos of the King of Rome. The counter-police
of the chateau had denounced to her Royal Highness Madamethe portrait
everywhere exhibitedof M. the Duc d'Orleanswho made a better
appearance in his uniform of a colonel-general of hussars than
M. the Duc de Berriin his uniform of colonel-general of dragoons--
a serious inconvenience. The city of Paris was having the dome
of the Invalides regilded at its own expense. Serious men asked
themselves what M. de Trinquelague would do on such or such an occasion;
M. Clausel de Montals differed on divers points from M. Clausel
de Coussergues; M. de Salaberry was not satisfied. The comedian Picard
who belonged to the Academywhich the comedian Moliere had not been
able to dohad The Two Philiberts played at the Odeonupon whose
pediment the removal of the letters still allowed THEATRE OF THE
EMPRESS to be plainly read. People took part for or against Cugnet
de Montarlot. Fabvier was factious; Bavoux was revolutionary.
The LiberalPelicierpublished an edition of Voltairewith the
following title: Works of Voltaireof the French Academy.
That will attract purchasers,said the ingenious editor. The general
opinion was that M. Charles Loyson would be the genius of the century;
envy was beginning to gnaw at him--a sign of glory; and this verse was
composed on him:--
Even when Loyson steals, one feels that he has paws.

As Cardinal Fesch refused to resignM. de PinsArchbishop of Amasie
administered the diocese of Lyons. The quarrel over the valley
of Dappes was begun between Switzerland and France by a memoir
from Captainafterwards General Dufour. Saint-Simonignored
was erecting his sublime dream. There was a celebrated Fourier
at the Academy of Sciencewhom posterity has forgotten; and in
some garret an obscure Fourierwhom the future will recall.
Lord Byron was beginning to make his mark; a note to a poem
by Millevoye introduced him to France in these terms: a certain
Lord Baron. David d'Angers was trying to work in marble. The Abbe
Caron was speakingin terms of praiseto a private gathering of
seminarists in the blind alley of Feuillantinesof an unknown priest
named Felicite-Robertwhoat a latter datebecame Lamennais.
A thing which smoked and clattered on the Seine with the noise of
a swimming dog went and came beneath the windows of the Tuileries
from the Pont Royal to the Pont Louis XV.; it was a piece of mechanism
which was not good for much; a sort of playthingthe idle dream
of a dream-ridden inventor; an utopia--a steamboat. The Parisians
stared indifferently at this useless thing. M. de Vaublanc
the reformer of the Institute by a coup d'etatthe distinguished
author of numerous academiciansordinancesand batches of members
after having created themcould not succeed in becoming one himself.
The Faubourg Saint-Germain and the pavilion de Marsan wished to
have M. Delaveau for prefect of policeon account of his piety.
Dupuytren and Recamier entered into a quarrel in the amphitheatre
of the School of Medicineand threatened each other with their fists
on the subject of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Cuvierwith one
eye on Genesis and the other on naturetried to please bigoted
reaction by reconciling fossils with texts and by making mastodons
flatter Moses.

M. Francois de Neufchateauthe praiseworthy cultivator of the memory
of Parmentiermade a thousand efforts to have pomme de terre
[potato] pronounced parmentiereand succeeded therein not at all.
The Abbe Gregoireex-bishopex-conventionaryex-senatorhad passed

in the royalist polemicsto the state of "Infamous Gregoire."
The locution of which we have made use--passed to the state of--has been
condemned as a neologism by M. Royer Collard. Under the third arch
of the Pont de Jenathe new stone with whichthe two years previously
the mining aperture made by Blucher to blow up the bridge had been
stopped upwas still recognizable on account of its whiteness.
Justice summoned to its bar a man whoon seeing the Comte d'Artois
enter Notre Damehad said aloud: "Sapristi! I regret the time
when I saw Bonaparte and Talma enter the Bel Sauvagearm in arm."
A seditious utterance. Six months in prison. Traitors showed
themselves unbuttoned; men who had gone over to the enemy on the eve
of battle made no secret of their recompenseand strutted immodestly
in the light of dayin the cynicism of riches and dignities;
deserters from Ligny and Quatre-Brasin the brazenness of their
well-paid turpitudeexhibited their devotion to the monarchy in the
most barefaced manner.

This is what floats up confusedlypell-mellfor the year 1817
and is now forgotten. History neglects nearly all these particulars
and cannot do otherwise; the infinity would overwhelm it.
Neverthelessthese detailswhich are wrongly called trivial--
there are no trivial facts in humanitynor little leaves
in vegetation--are useful. It is of the physiognomy of the
years that the physiognomy of the centuries is composed.
In this year of 1817 four young Parisians arranged "a fine farce."



These Parisians cameone from Toulouseanother from Limoges
the third from Cahorsand the fourth from Montauban; but they
were students; and when one says studentone says Parisian:
to study in Paris is to be born in Paris.

These young men were insignificant; every one has seen such faces;
four specimens of humanity taken at random; neither good nor bad
neither wise nor ignorantneither geniuses nor fools; handsome
with that charming April which is called twenty years. They were
four Oscars; forat that epochArthurs did not yet exist.
Burn for him the perfumes of Araby! exclaimed romance.
Oscar advances. OscarI shall behold him! People had just
emerged from Ossian; elegance was Scandinavian and Caledonian;
the pure English style was only to prevail laterand the first
of the ArthursWellingtonhad but just won the battle of Waterloo.

These Oscars bore the namesone of Felix Tholomyesof Toulouse;
the secondListolierof Cahors; the nextFameuilof Limoges;
the lastBlachevelleof Montauban. Naturallyeach of them
had his mistress. Blachevelle loved Favouriteso named because
she had been in England; Listolier adored Dahliawho had taken
for her nickname the name of a flower; Fameuil idolized Zephine
an abridgment of Josephine; Tholomyes had Fantinecalled the Blonde
because of her beautifulsunny hair.

FavouriteDahliaZephineand Fantine were four ravishing young women
perfumed and radiantstill a little like working-womenand not yet
entirely divorced from their needles; somewhat disturbed by intrigues
but still retaining on their faces something of the serenity
of toiland in their souls that flower of honesty which survives
the first fall in woman. One of the four was called the young

because she was the youngest of themand one was called the old;
the old one was twenty-three. Not to conceal anythingthe three
first were more experiencedmore heedlessand more emancipated
into the tumult of life than Fantine the Blondewho was still
in her first illusions.

DahliaZephineand especially Favouritecould not have said as much.
There had already been more than one episode in their romance
though hardly begun; and the lover who had borne the name of Adolph
in the first chapter had turned out to be Alphonse in the second
and Gustave in the third. Poverty and coquetry are two fatal counsellors;
one scolds and the other flattersand the beautiful daughters
of the people have both of them whispering in their eareach on
its own side. These badly guarded souls listen. Hence the falls
which they accomplishand the stones which are thrown at them.
They are overwhelmed with splendor of all that is immaculate
and inaccessible. Alas! what if the Jungfrau were hungry?

Favourite having been in Englandwas admired by Dahlia and Zephine.
She had had an establishment of her own very early in life.
Her father was an old unmarried professor of mathematicsa brutal man
and a braggartwho went out to give lessons in spite of his age.
This professorwhen he was a young manhad one day seen a chambermaid's
gown catch on a fender; he had fallen in love in consequence of
this accident. The result had been Favourite. She met her father
from time to timeand he bowed to her. One morning an old woman
with the air of a devoteehad entered her apartmentsand had said
to herYou do not know me, Mamemoiselle?No.I am your mother.
Then the old woman opened the sideboardand ate and drank
had a mattress which she owned brought inand installed herself.
This cross and pious old mother never spoke to Favouriteremained hours
without uttering a wordbreakfasteddinedand supped for four
and went down to the porter's quarters for companywhere she spoke
ill of her daughter.

It was having rosy nails that were too pretty which had drawn
Dahlia to Listolierto others perhapsto idleness. How could
she make such nails work? She who wishes to remain virtuous must
not have pity on her hands. As for Zephineshe had conquered
Fameuil by her roguish and caressing little way of saying "Yessir."

The young men were comrades; the young girls were friends.
Such loves are always accompanied by such friendships.

Goodness and philosophy are two distinct things; the proof
of this is thatafter making all due allowances for these
little irregular householdsFavouriteZephineand Dahlia
were philosophical young womenwhile Fantine was a good girl.

Good! some one will exclaim; and Tholomyes? Solomon would reply
that love forms a part of wisdom. We will confine ourselves
to saying that the love of Fantine was a first lovea sole love
a faithful love.

She aloneof all the fourwas not called "thou" by a single
one of them.

Fantine was one of those beings who blossomso to speak
from the dregs of the people. Though she had emerged from the most
unfathomable depths of social shadowshe bore on her brow the sign
of the anonymous and the unknown. She was born at M. sur M. Of
what parents? Who can say? She had never known father or mother.
She was called Fantine. Why Fantine? She had never borne any
other name. At the epoch of her birth the Directory still existed.

She had no family name; she had no family; no baptismal name;
the Church no longer existed. She bore the name which pleased the first
random passer-bywho had encountered herwhen a very small child
running bare-legged in the street. She received the name as she
received the water from the clouds upon her brow when it rained.
She was called little Fantine. No one knew more than that. This human
creature had entered life in just this way. At the age of ten
Fantine quitted the town and went to service with some farmers in
the neighborhood. At fifteen she came to Paris "to seek her fortune."
Fantine was beautifuland remained pure as long as she could.
She was a lovely blondewith fine teeth. She had gold and pearls
for her dowry; but her gold was on her headand her pearls were in
her mouth.

She worked for her living; thenstill for the sake of her living-for
the heartalsohas its hunger--she loved.

She loved Tholomyes.

An amour for him; passion for her. The streets of the Latin quarter
filled with throngs of students and grisettessaw the beginning
of their dream. Fantine had long evaded Tholomyes in the mazes
of the hill of the Pantheonwhere so many adventurers twine
and untwinebut in such a way as constantly to encounter him again.
There is a way of avoiding which resembles seeking. In short
the eclogue took place.

BlachevelleListolierand Fameuil formed a sort of group
of which Tholomyes was the head. It was he who possessed the wit.

Tholomyes was the antique old student; he was rich; he had an income
of four thousand francs; four thousand francs! a splendid scandal
on Mount Sainte-Genevieve. Tholomyes was a fast man of thirty
and badly preserved. He was wrinkled and toothlessand he had
the beginning of a bald spotof which he himself said with sadness
the skull at thirtythe knee at forty. His digestion was mediocre
and he had been attacked by a watering in one eye. But in proportion
as his youth disappearedgayety was kindled; he replaced his teeth
with buffoonerieshis hair with mirthhis health with ironyhis weeping
eye laughed incessantly. He was dilapidated but still in flower.
His youthwhich was packing up for departure long before its time
beat a retreat in good orderbursting with laughterand no one saw
anything but fire. He had had a piece rejected at the Vaudeville.
He made a few verses now and then. In addition to this he doubted
everything to the last degreewhich is a vast force in the eyes
of the weak. Being thus ironical and baldhe was the leader.
Iron is an English word. Is it possible that irony is derived
from it?

One day Tholomyes took the three others asidewith the gesture
of an oracleand said to them:-

Fantine, Dahlia, Zephine, and Favourite have been teasing us
for nearly a year to give them a surprise. We have promised them
solemnly that we would. They are forever talking about it to us, to me
in particular, just as the old women in Naples cry to Saint Januarius,
`Faccia gialluta, fa o miracolo, Yellow face, perform thy miracle,'
so our beauties say to me incessantly, `Tholomyes, when will you bring
forth your surprise?' At the same time our parents keep writing to us.
Pressure on both sides. The moment has arrived, it seems to me;
let us discuss the question.

ThereuponTholomyes lowered his voice and articulated something
so mirthfulthat a vast and enthusiastic grin broke out upon the four

mouths simultaneouslyand Blachevelle exclaimedThat is an idea.

A smoky tap-room presented itself; they enteredand the remainder
of their confidential colloquy was lost in shadow.

The result of these shades was a dazzling pleasure party which took
place on the following Sundaythe four young men inviting the four
young girls.



It is hard nowadays to picture to one's self what a pleasure-trip of
students and grisettes to the country was likeforty-five years ago.
The suburbs of Paris are no longer the same; the physiognomy of what
may be called circumparisian life has changed completely in the
last half-century; where there was the cuckoothere is the railway car;
where there was a tender-boatthere is now the steamboat; people speak
of Fecamp nowadays as they spoke of Saint-Cloud in those days.
The Paris of 1862 is a city which has France for its outskirts.

The four couples conscientiously went through with all the country
follies possible at that time. The vacation was beginningand it
was a warmbrightsummer day. On the preceding dayFavourite
the only one who knew how to writehad written the following
to Tholomyes in the name of the four: "It is a good hour to emerge
from happiness." That is why they rose at five o'clock in the morning.
Then they went to Saint-Cloud by the coachlooked at the dry cascade
and exclaimedThis must be very beautiful when there is water!
They breakfasted at the Tete-Noirwhere Castaing had not yet been;
they treated themselves to a game of ring-throwing under the
quincunx of trees of the grand fountain; they ascended Diogenes'
lanternthey gambled for macaroons at the roulette establishment
of the Pont de Sevrespicked bouquets at Pateauxbought reed-pipes
at Neuillyate apple tarts everywhereand were perfectly happy.

The young girls rustled and chatted like warblers escaped from
their cage. It was a perfect delirium. From time to time they
bestowed little taps on the young men. Matutinal intoxication of life!
adorable years! the wings of the dragonfly quiver. Ohwhoever you
may bedo you not remember? Have you rambled through the brushwood
holding aside the brancheson account of the charming head
which is coming on behind you? Have you slidlaughingdown a
slope all wet with rainwith a beloved woman holding your hand
and cryingAh, my new boots! what a state they are in!

Let us say at once that that merry obstaclea showerwas lacking
in the case of this good-humored partyalthough Favourite had said
as they set outwith a magisterial and maternal toneThe slugs
are crawling in the paths,--a sign of rain, children.

All four were madly pretty. A good old classic poetthen famous
a good fellow who had an EleonoreM. le Chevalier de Labouisse
as he strolled that day beneath the chestnut-trees of Saint-Cloud
saw them pass about ten o'clock in the morningand exclaimed
There is one too many of them,as he thought of the Graces.
FavouriteBlachevelle's friendthe one aged three and twenty
the old oneran on in front under the great green boughs
jumped the ditchesstalked distractedly over bushesand presided
over this merry-making with the spirit of a young female faun.

Zephine and Dahliawhom chance had made beautiful in such a way
that they set each off when they were togetherand completed
each othernever left each othermore from an instinct of coquetry
than from friendshipand clinging to each otherthey assumed
English poses; the first keepsakes had just made their appearance
melancholy was dawning for womenas later onByronism dawned for men;
and the hair of the tender sex began to droop dolefully. Zephine and
Dahlia had their hair dressed in rolls. Listolier and Fameuil
who were engaged in discussing their professorsexplained to Fantine
the difference that existed between M. Delvincourt and M. Blondeau.

Blachevelle seemed to have been created expressly to carry Favourite's
single-borderedimitation India shawl of Ternaux's manufacture
on his arm on Sundays.

Tholomyes followeddominating the group. He was very gaybut one felt
the force of government in him; there was dictation in his joviality;
his principal ornament was a pair of trousers of elephant-leg pattern
of nankeenwith straps of braided copper wire; he carried a stout
rattan worth two hundred francs in his handandas he treated
himself to everythinga strange thing called a cigar in his mouth.
Nothing was sacred to him; he smoked.

That Tholomyes is astounding!said the otherswith veneration.
What trousers! What energy!

As for Fantineshe was a joy to behold. Her splendid teeth had
evidently received an office from God--laughter. She preferred
to carry her little hat of sewed strawwith its long white strings
in her hand rather than on her head. Her thick blond hair
which was inclined to waveand which easily uncoiledand which it
was necessary to fasten up incessantlyseemed made for the flight
of Galatea under the willows. Her rosy lips babbled enchantingly.
The corners of her mouth voluptuously turned upas in the antique masks
of Erigonehad an air of encouraging the audacious; but her long
shadowy lashes drooped discreetly over the jollity of the lower
part of the face as though to call a halt. There was something
indescribably harmonious and striking about her entire dress.
She wore a gown of mauve baregelittle reddish brown buskins
whose ribbons traced an X on her finewhiteopen-worked stockings
and that sort of muslin spencera Marseilles inventionwhose name
canezoua corruption of the words quinze aoutpronounced after the
fashion of the Canebieresignifies fine weatherheatand midday.
The three othersless timidas we have already saidwore low-necked
dresses without disguisewhich in summerbeneath flower-adorned
hatsare very graceful and enticing; but by the side of these
audacious outfitsblond Fantine's canezouwith its transparencies
its indiscretionand its reticenceconcealing and displaying
at one and the same timeseemed an alluring godsend of decency
and the famous Court of Lovepresided over by the Vicomtesse de Cette
with the sea-green eyeswouldperhapshave awarded the prize for
coquetry to this canezouin the contest for the prize of modesty.
The most ingenious isat timesthe wisest. This does happen.

Brilliant of facedelicate of profilewith eyes of a deep blue
heavy lidsfeet arched and smallwrists and ankles admirably formed
a white skin whichhere and there allowed the azure branching
of the veins to be seenjoya cheek that was young and fresh
the robust throat of the Juno of AEginaa strong and supple nape
of the neckshoulders modelled as though by Coustouwith a
voluptuous dimple in the middlevisible through the muslin; a gayety
cooled by dreaminess; sculptural and exquisite--such was Fantine;
and beneath these feminine adornments and these ribbons one could
divine a statueand in that statue a soul.

Fantine was beautifulwithout being too conscious of it.
Those rare dreamersmysterious priests of the beautiful who silently
confront everything with perfectionwould have caught a glimpse
in this little working-womanthrough the transparency of her
Parisian graceof the ancient sacred euphony. This daughter of
the shadows was thoroughbred. She was beautiful in the two ways--
style and rhythm. Style is the form of the ideal; rhythm is its movement.

We have said that Fantine was joy; she was also modesty.

To an observer who studied her attentivelythat which breathed from
her athwart all the intoxication of her agethe seasonand her
love affairwas an invincible expression of reserve and modesty.
She remained a little astonished. This chaste astonishment
is the shade of difference which separates Psyche from Venus.
Fantine had the longwhitefine fingers of the vestal virgin who
stirs the ashes of the sacred fire with a golden pin. Although she
would have refused nothing to Tholomyesas we shall have more than
ample opportunity to seeher face in repose was supremely virginal;
a sort of serious and almost austere dignity suddenly overwhelmed
her at certain timesand there was nothing more singular and
disturbing than to see gayety become so suddenly extinct there
and meditation succeed to cheerfulness without any transition state.
This sudden and sometimes severely accentuated gravity resembled the
disdain of a goddess. Her browher noseher chinpresented that
equilibrium of outline which is quite distinct from equilibrium
of proportionand from which harmony of countenance results;
in the very characteristic interval which separates the base of the nose
from the upper lipshe had that imperceptible and charming fold
a mysterious sign of chastitywhich makes Barberousse fall in love
with a Diana found in the treasures of Iconia.

Love is a fault; so be it. Fantine was innocence floating high
over fault.



That day was composed of dawnfrom one end to the other.
All nature seemed to be having a holidayand to be laughing.
The flower-beds of Saint-Cloud perfumed the air; the breath of the Seine
rustled the leaves vaguely; the branches gesticulated in the wind
bees pillaged the jasmines; a whole bohemia of butterflies swooped
down upon the yarrowthe cloverand the sterile oats; in the
august park of the King of France there was a pack of vagabonds
the birds.

The four merry couplesmingled with the sunthe fieldsthe flowers
the treeswere resplendent.

And in this community of Paradisetalkingsingingrunningdancing
chasing butterfliesplucking convolvuluswetting their pink
open-work stockings in the tall grassfreshwildwithout malice
all receivedto some extentthe kisses of allwith the exception
of Fantinewho was hedged about with that vague resistance of
hers composed of dreaminess and wildnessand who was in love.
You always have a queer look about you,said Favourite to her.

Such things are joys. These passages of happy couples are a

profound appeal to life and natureand make a caress and light
spring forth from everything. There was once a fairy who created
the fields and forests expressly for those in love--in that
eternal hedge-school of loverswhich is forever beginning anew
and which will last as long as there are hedges and scholars.
Hence the popularity of spring among thinkers. The patrician
and the knife-grinderthe duke and the peerthe limb of the law
the courtiers and townspeopleas they used to say in olden times
all are subjects of this fairy. They laugh and huntand there is
in the air the brilliance of an apotheosis--what a transfiguration
effected by love! Notaries' clerks are gods. And the little cries
the pursuits through the grassthe waists embraced on the fly
those jargons which are melodiesthose adorations which burst
forth in the manner of pronouncing a syllablethose cherries
torn from one mouth by another--all this blazes forth and takes
its place among the celestial glories. Beautiful women waste
themselves sweetly. They think that this will never come to an end.
Philosopherspoetspaintersobserve these ecstasies and know not
what to make of itso greatly are they dazzled by it. The departure
for Cythera! exclaims Watteau; Lancretthe painter of plebeians
contemplates his bourgeoiswho have flitted away into the azure sky;
Diderot stretches out his arms to all these love idylsand d'Urfe
mingles druids with them.

After breakfast the four couples went to what was then called the King's
Square to see a newly arrived plant from Indiawhose name escapes
our memory at this momentand whichat that epochwas attracting
all Paris to Saint-Cloud. It was an odd and charming shrub with a
long stemwhose numerous branchesbristling and leafless and as
fine as threadswere covered with a million tiny white rosettes;
this gave the shrub the air of a head of hair studded with flowers.
There was always an admiring crowd about it.

After viewing the shrubTholomyes exclaimedI offer you asses!
and having agreed upon a price with the owner of the assesthey
returned by way of Vanvres and Issy. At Issy an incident occurred.
The truly national parkat that time owned by Bourguin the contractor
happened to be wide open. They passed the gatesvisited the manikin
anchorite in his grottotried the mysterious little effects of
the famous cabinet of mirrorsthe wanton trap worthy of a satyr
become a millionaire or of Turcaret metamorphosed into a Priapus.
They had stoutly shaken the swing attached to the two chestnut-trees
celebrated by the Abbe de Bernis. As he swung these beauties
one after the otherproducing folds in the fluttering skirts
which Greuze would have found to his tasteamid peals of laughter
the Toulousan Tholomyeswho was somewhat of a Spaniard
Toulouse being the cousin of Tolosasangto a melancholy chant
the old ballad gallegaprobably inspired by some lovely maid dashing
in full flight upon a rope between two trees:-

Soy de Badajoz, Badajoz is my home
Amor me llamaAnd Love is my name;
Toda mi almaTo my eyes in flame
Es en mi ojosAll my soul doth come;
Porque ensenasFor instruction meet
A tuas piernas. I receive at thy feet"

Fantine alone refused to swing.

I don't like to have people put on airs like that,muttered Favourite
with a good deal of acrimony.

After leaving the asses there was a fresh delight; they crossed the

Seine in a boatand proceeding from Passy on foot they reached the
barrier of l'Etoile. They had been up since five o'clock that morning
as the reader will remember; but bah! there is no such thing
as fatigue on Sundaysaid Favourite; on Sunday fatigue does not work.

About three o'clock the four couplesfrightened at their happiness
were sliding down the Russian mountainsa singular edifice which
then occupied the heights of Beaujonand whose undulating line
was visible above the trees of the Champs Elysees.

From time to time Favourite exclaimed:-

And the surprise? I claim the surprise.

Patience,replied Tholomyes.



The Russian mountains having been exhaustedthey began to think about
dinner; and the radiant party of eightsomewhat weary at lastbecame
stranded in Bombarda's public housea branch establishment which had been
set up in the Champs-Elysees by that famous restaurant-keeperBombarda
whose sign could then be seen in the Rue de Rivolinear Delorme Alley.

A large but ugly roomwith an alcove and a bed at the end (they
had been obliged to put up with this accommodation in view of the
Sunday crowd); two windows whence they could survey beyond the elms
the quay and the river; a magnificent August sunlight lightly
touching the panes; two tables; upon one of them a triumphant
mountain of bouquetsmingled with the hats of men and women;
at the other the four couples seated round a merry confusion
of plattersdishesglassesand bottles; jugs of beer mingled
with flasks of wine; very little order on the tablesome disorder
beneath it;

They made beneath the table
A noise, a clatter of the feet that was abominable,

says Moliere.

This was the state which the shepherd idylbegun at five o'clock
in the morninghad reached at half-past four in the afternoon.
The sun was setting; their appetites were satisfied.

The Champs-Elyseesfilled with sunshine and with peoplewere nothing
but light and dustthe two things of which glory is composed.
The horses of Marlythose neighing marbleswere prancing in
a cloud of gold. Carriages were going and coming. A squadron
of magnificent body-guardswith their clarions at their head
were descending the Avenue de Neuilly; the white flagshowing faintly
rosy in the setting sunfloated over the dome of the Tuileries.
The Place de la Concordewhich had become the Place Louis XV.
once morewas choked with happy promenaders. Many wore the silver
fleur-de-lys suspended from the white-watered ribbonwhich had
not yet wholly disappeared from button-holes in the year 1817.
Here and there choruses of little girls threw to the winds
amid the passersbywho formed into circles and applaudedthe then
celebrated Bourbon airwhich was destined to strike the Hundred
Days with lightningand which had for its refrain:-

Rendez-nous notre pere de Gand,
Rendez-nous notre pere.

Give us back our father from Ghent,
Give us back our father.

Groups of dwellers in the suburbsin Sunday arraysometimes even
decorated with the fleur-de-lyslike the bourgeoisscattered over
the large square and the Marigny squarewere playing at rings
and revolving on the wooden horses; others were engaged in drinking;
some journeyman printers had on paper caps; their laughter was audible.
Every thing was radiant. It was a time of undisputed peace
and profound royalist security; it was the epoch when a special
and private report of Chief of Police Angeles to the King
on the subject of the suburbs of Paristerminated with these lines:-

Taking all things into consideration, Sire, there is nothing to be
feared from these people. They are as heedless and as indolent as cats.
The populace is restless in the provinces; it is not in Paris.
These are very pretty men, Sire. It would take all of two of them
to make one of your grenadiers. There is nothing to be feared on
the part of the populace of Paris the capital. It is remarkable
that the stature of this population should have diminished in the
last fifty years; and the populace of the suburbs is still more
puny than at the time of the Revolution. It is not dangerous.
In short, it is an amiable rabble.

Prefects of the police do not deem it possible that a cat can transform
itself into a lion; that does happenhoweverand in that lies
the miracle wrought by the populace of Paris. Moreoverthe cat so
despised by Count Angles possessed the esteem of the republics of old.
In their eyes it was liberty incarnate; and as though to serve
as pendant to the Minerva Aptera of the Piraeusthere stood on
the public square in Corinth the colossal bronze figure of a cat.
The ingenuous police of the Restoration beheld the populace of Paris
in too "rose-colored" a light; it is not so much of "an amiable rabble"
as it is thought. The Parisian is to the Frenchman what the Athenian
was to the Greek: no one sleeps more soundly than heno one is
more frankly frivolous and lazy than heno one can better assume
the air of forgetfulness; let him not be trusted nevertheless;
he is ready for any sort of cool deed; but when there is glory at
the end of ithe is worthy of admiration in every sort of fury.
Give him a pikehe will produce the 10th of August; give him a gun
you will have Austerlitz. He is Napoleon's stay and Danton's resource.
Is it a question of countryhe enlists; is it a question of liberty
he tears up the pavements. Beware! his hair filled with wrathis epic;
his blouse drapes itself like the folds of a chlamys. Take care! he
will make of the first Rue Grenetat which comes to hand Caudine Forks.
When the hour strikesthis man of the faubourgs will grow in stature;
this little man will ariseand his gaze will be terribleand his
breath will become a tempestand there will issue forth from that
slender chest enough wind to disarrange the folds of the Alps.
It isthanks to the suburban man of Paristhat the Revolution
mixed with armsconquers Europe. He sings; it is his delight.
Proportion his song to his natureand you will see! As long as he
has for refrain nothing but la Carmagnolehe only overthrows
Louis XVI.; make him sing the Marseillaiseand he will free
the world.

This note jotted down on the margin of Angles' reportwe will return
to our four couples. The dinneras we have saidwas drawing
to its close.



Chat at tablethe chat of love; it is as impossible to reproduce
one as the other; the chat of love is a cloud; the chat at table
is smoke.

Fameuil and Dahlia were humming. Tholomyes was drinking.
Zephine was laughingFantine smilingListolier blowing a wooden
trumpet which he had purchased at Saint-Cloud.

Favourite gazed tenderly at Blachevelle and said:--

Blachevelle, I adore you.

This called forth a question from Blachevelle:--

What would you do, Favourite, if I were to cease to love you?

I!cried Favourite. "Ah! Do not say that even in jest!
If you were to cease to love meI would spring after youI would
scratch youI should rend youI would throw you into the water
I would have you arrested."

Blachevelle smiled with the voluptuous self-conceit of a man
who is tickled in his self-love. Favourite resumed:--

Yes, I would scream to the police! Ah! I should not restrain myself,
not at all! Rabble!

Blachevelle threw himself back in his chairin an ecstasy
and closed both eyes proudly.

Dahliaas she atesaid in a low voice to Favouriteamid the uproar:--

So you really idolize him deeply, that Blachevelle of yours?

I? I detest him,replied Favourite in the same toneseizing her
fork again. "He is avaricious. I love the little fellow opposite
me in my house. He is very nicethat young man; do you know him?
One can see that he is an actor by profession. I love actors.
As soon as he comes inhis mother says to him: `Ah! mon Dieu! my
peace of mind is gone. There he goes with his shouting. Butmy dear
you are splitting my head!' So he goes up to rat-ridden garrets
to black holesas high as he can mountand there he sets to singing
declaiminghow do I know what? so that he can be heard down stairs!
He earns twenty sous a day at an attorney's by penning quibbles.
He is the son of a former precentor of Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas.
Ah! he is very nice. He idolizes me sothat one day when he saw
me making batter for some pancakeshe said to me: `Mamsellemake
your gloves into frittersand I will eat them.' It is only
artists who can say such things as that. Ah! he is very nice.
I am in a fair way to go out of my head over that little fellow.
Never mind; I tell Blachevelle that I adore him--how I lie! Hey! How I
do lie!"

Favourite pausedand then went on:--

I am sad, you see, Dahlia. It has done nothing but rain all summer;

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



In the meantimewhile some sangthe rest talked together
tumultuously all at once; it was no longer anything but noise.
Tholomyes intervened.

Let us not talk at random nor too fast,he exclaimed.
Let us reflect, if we wish to be brilliant. Too much improvisation
empties the mind in a stupid way. Running beer gathers no froth.
No haste, gentlemen. Let us mingle majesty with the feast. Let us
eat with meditation; let us make haste slowly. Let us not hurry.
Consider the springtime; if it makes haste, it is done for;
that is to say, it gets frozen. Excess of zeal ruins peach-trees
and apricot-trees. Excess of zeal kills the grace and the mirth
of good dinners. No zeal, gentlemen! Grimod de la Reyniere agrees
with Talleyrand.

A hollow sound of rebellion rumbled through the group.

Leave us in peace, Tholomyes,said Blachevelle.

Down with the tyrant!said Fameuil.

Bombarda, Bombance, and Bambochel!cried Listolier.

Sunday exists,resumed Fameuil.

We are sober,added Listolier.

Tholomyes,remarked Blachevellecontemplate my calmness [mon calme].

You are the Marquis of that,retorted Tholomyes.

This mediocre play upon words produced the effect of a stone in a pool.
The Marquis de Montcalm was at that time a celebrated royalist.
All the frogs held their peace.

Friends,cried Tholomyeswith the accent of a man who had
recovered his empireCome to yourselves. This pun which has
fallen from the skies must not be received with too much stupor.
Everything which falls in that way is not necessarily worthy of
enthusiasm and respect. The pun is the dung of the mind which soars.
The jest falls, no matter where; and the mind after producing a piece
of stupidity plunges into the azure depths. A whitish speck flattened
against the rock does not prevent the condor from soaring aloft.
Far be it from me to insult the pun! I honor it in proportion
to its merits; nothing more. All the most august, the most sublime,
the most charming of humanity, and perhaps outside of humanity,
have made puns. Jesus Christ made a pun on St. Peter, Moses on Isaac,
AEschylus on Polynices, Cleopatra on Octavius. And observe that
Cleopatra's pun preceded the battle of Actium, and that had it
not been for it, no one would have remembered the city of Toryne,
a Greek name which signifies a ladle. That once conceded, I return

to my exhortation. I repeat, brothers, I repeat, no zeal, no hubbub,
no excess; even in witticisms, gayety, jollities, or plays on words.
Listen to me. I have the prudence of Amphiaraus and the baldness
of Caesar. There must be a limit, even to rebuses. Est modus
in rebus.

There must be a limiteven to dinners. You are fond of
apple turnoversladies; do not indulge in them to excess.
Even in the matter of turnoversgood sense and art are requisite.
Gluttony chastises the gluttonGula punit Gulax. Indigestion is
charged by the good God with preaching morality to stomachs.
And remember this: each one of our passionseven lovehas a stomach
which must not be filled too full. In all things the word finis
must be written in good season; self-control must be exercised
when the matter becomes urgent; the bolt must be drawn on appetite;
one must set one's own fantasy to the violinand carry one's self
to the post. The sage is the man who knows howat a given moment
to effect his own arrest. Have some confidence in mefor I have
succeeded to some extent in my study of the lawaccording to the
verdict of my examinationsfor I know the difference between the
question put and the question pendingfor I have sustained a thesis
in Latin upon the manner in which torture was administered at Rome
at the epoch when Munatius Demens was quaestor of the Parricide;
because I am going to be a doctorapparently it does not follow
that it is absolutely necessary that I should be an imbecile.
I recommend you to moderation in your desires. It is true that my
name is Felix Tholomyes; I speak well. Happy is he whowhen the
hour strikestakes a heroic resolveand abdicates like Sylla
or Origenes."

Favourite listened with profound attention.

Felix,said shewhat a pretty word! I love that name.
It is Latin; it means prosper.

Tholomyes went on:--

Quirites, gentlemen, caballeros, my friends. Do you wish never to
feel the prick, to do without the nuptial bed, and to brave love?
Nothing more simple. Here is the receipt: lemonade, excessive exercise,
hard labor; work yourself to death, drag blocks, sleep not, hold vigil,
gorge yourself with nitrous beverages, and potions of nymphaeas;
drink emulsions of poppies and agnus castus; season this with
a strict diet, starve yourself, and add thereto cold baths,
girdles of herbs, the application of a plate of lead, lotions made
with the subacetate of lead, and fomentations of oxycrat.

I prefer a woman,said Listolier.

Woman,resumed Tholomyes; "distrust her. Woe to him who yields
himself to the unstable heart of woman! Woman is perfidious
and disingenuous. She detests the serpent from professional jealousy.
The serpent is the shop over the way."

Tholomyes!cried Blachevelleyou are drunk!

Pardieu,said Tholomyes.

Then be gay,resumed Blachevelle.

I agree to that,responded Tholomyes.

Andrefilling his glasshe rose.

Glory to wine! Nunc te, Bacche, canam! Pardon me ladies;
that is Spanish. And the proof of it, senoras, is this: like people,
like cask. The arrobe of Castile contains sixteen litres; the cantaro
of Alicante, twelve; the almude of the Canaries, twenty-five;
the cuartin of the Balearic Isles, twenty-six; the boot of
Tzar Peter, thirty. Long live that Tzar who was great, and long
live his boot, which was still greater! Ladies, take the advice
of a friend; make a mistake in your neighbor if you see fit.
The property of love is to err. A love affair is not made to crouch
down and brutalize itself like an English serving-maid who has
callouses on her knees from scrubbing. It is not made for that;
it errs gayly, our gentle love. It has been said, error is human;
I say, error is love. Ladies, I idolize you all. O Zephine,
O Josephine, face more than irregular, you would be charming were you
not all askew. You have the air of a pretty face upon which some one
has sat down by mistake. As for Favourite, O nymphs and muses! one day
when Blachevelle was crossing the gutter in the Rue Guerin-Boisseau,
he espied a beautiful girl with white stockings well drawn up,
which displayed her legs. This prologue pleased him, and Blachevelle
fell in love. The one he loved was Favourite. O Favourite,
thou hast Ionian lips. There was a Greek painter named Euphorion,
who was surnamed the painter of the lips. That Greek alone would
have been worthy to paint thy mouth. Listen! before thee, there was
never a creature worthy of the name. Thou wert made to receive the
apple like Venus, or to eat it like Eve; beauty begins with thee.
I have just referred to Eve; it is thou who hast created her.
Thou deservest the letters-patent of the beautiful woman. O Favourite,
I cease to address you as `thou,' because I pass from poetry to prose.
You were speaking of my name a little while ago. That touched me;
but let us, whoever we may be, distrust names. They may delude us.
I am called Felix, and I am not happy. Words are liars. Let us
not blindly accept the indications which they afford us. It would
be a mistake to write to Liege[2] for corks, and to Pau for gloves.
Miss Dahlia, were I in your place, I would call myself Rosa.
A flower should smell sweet, and woman should have wit. I say nothing
of Fantine; she is a dreamer, a musing, thoughtful, pensive person;
she is a phantom possessed of the form of a nymph and the modesty
of a nun, who has strayed into the life of a grisette, but who takes
refuge in illusions, and who sings and prays and gazes into the
azure without very well knowing what she sees or what she is doing,
and who, with her eyes fixed on heaven, wanders in a garden where
there are more birds than are in existence. O Fantine, know this:
I, Tholomyes, I am all illusion; but she does not even hear me,
that blond maid of Chimeras! as for the rest, everything about her
is freshness, suavity, youth, sweet morning light. O Fantine,
maid worthy of being called Marguerite or Pearl, you are a woman
from the beauteous Orient. Ladies, a second piece of advice:
do not marry; marriage is a graft; it takes well or ill;
avoid that risk. But bah! what am I saying? I am wasting my words.
Girls are incurable on the subject of marriage, and all that we
wise men can say will not prevent the waistcoat-makers and the
shoe-stitchers from dreaming of husbands studded with diamonds.
Well, so be it; but, my beauties, remember this, you eat too much sugar.
You have but one fault, O woman, and that is nibbling sugar.
O nibbling sex, your pretty little white teeth adore sugar.
Now, heed me well, sugar is a salt. All salts are withering.
Sugar is the most desiccating of all salts; it sucks the liquids
of the blood through the veins; hence the coagulation, and then the
solidification of the blood; hence tubercles in the lungs, hence death.
That is why diabetes borders on consumption. Then, do not crunch sugar,
and you will live. I turn to the men: gentlemen, make conquest,
rob each other of your well-beloved without remorse. Chassez across.
In love there are no friends. Everywhere where there is a pretty
woman hostility is open. No quarter, war to the death! a pretty

woman is a casus belli; a pretty woman is flagrant misdemeanor.
All the invasions of history have been determined by petticoats.
Woman is man's right. Romulus carried off the Sabines; William carried
off the Saxon women; Caesar carried off the Roman women. The man
who is not loved soars like a vulture over the mistresses of other men;
and for my own part, to all those unfortunate men who are widowers,
I throw the sublime proclamation of Bonaparte to the army of Italy:
Soldiersyou are in need of everything; the enemy has it."

[2] Liege: a cork-tree. Pau: a jest on peauskin.
Tholomyes paused.

Take breath, Tholomyes,said Blachevelle.

At the same moment Blachevellesupported by Listolier and Fameuil
struck up to a plaintive airone of those studio songs composed
of the first words which come to handrhymed richly and not at all
as destitute of sense as the gesture of the tree and the sound
of the windwhich have their birth in the vapor of pipesand are
dissipated and take their flight with them. This is the couplet
by which the group replied to Tholomyes' harangue:-

The father turkey-cocks so grave
Some money to an agent gave,
That master good Clermont-Tonnerre
Might be made pope on Saint Johns' day fair.
But this good Clermont could not be
Made pope, because no priest was he;
And then their agent, whose wrath burned,
With all their money back returned.

This was not calculated to calm Tholomyes' improvisation; he emptied
his glassfilledrefilled itand began again:-

Down with wisdom! Forget all that I have said. Let us be neither
prudes nor prudent men nor prudhommes. I propose a toast to mirth;
be merry. Let us complete our course of law by folly and eating!
Indigestion and the digest. Let Justinian be the male, and Feasting,
the female! Joy in the depths! Live, O creation! The world
is a great diamond. I am happy. The birds are astonishing.
What a festival everywhere! The nightingale is a gratuitous Elleviou.
Summer, I salute thee! O Luxembourg! O Georgics of the Rue Madame,
and of the Allee de l'Observatoire! O pensive infantry soldiers!
O all those charming nurses who, while they guard the children,
amuse themselves! The pampas of America would please me if I had not
the arcades of the Odeon. My soul flits away into the virgin forests
and to the savannas. All is beautiful. The flies buzz in the sun.
The sun has sneezed out the humming bird. Embrace me, Fantine!

He made a mistake and embraced Favourite.



The dinners are better at Edon's than at Bombarda's,exclaimed Zephine.

I prefer Bombarda to Edon,declared Blachevelle. "There is
more luxury. It is more Asiatic. Look at the room downstairs;
there are mirrors [glaces] on the walls."

I prefer them [glaces, ices] on my plate,said Favourite.

Blachevelle persisted:--

Look at the knives. The handles are of silver at Bombarda's
and of bone at Edon's. Now, silver is more valuable than bone.

Except for those who have a silver chin,observed Tholomyes.

He was looking at the dome of the Invalideswhich was visible
from Bombarda's windows.

A pause ensued.

Tholomyes,exclaimed FameuilListolier and I were having
a discussion just now.

A discussion is a good thing,replied Tholomyes; "a quarrel
is better."

We were disputing about philosophy.


Which do you prefer, Descartes or Spinoza?

Desaugiers,said Tholomyes.

This decree pronouncedhe took a drinkand went on:--

I consent to live. All is not at an end on earth since we can still
talk nonsense. For that I return thanks to the immortal gods.
We lie. One lies, but one laughs. One affirms, but one doubts.
The unexpected bursts forth from the syllogism. That is fine.
There are still human beings here below who know how to open
and close the surprise box of the paradox merrily. This, ladies,
which you are drinking with so tranquil an air is Madeira wine,
you must know, from the vineyard of Coural das Freiras, which is
three hundred and seventeen fathoms above the level of the sea.
Attention while you drink! three hundred and seventeen fathoms!
and Monsieur Bombarda, the magnificent eating-house keeper, gives you
those three hundred and seventeen fathoms for four francs and
fifty centimes.

Again Fameuil interrupted him:--

Tholomyes, your opinions fix the law. Who is your favorite author?



No; Choux.

And Tholomyes continued:--

Honor to Bombarda! He would equal Munophis of Elephanta if he
could but get me an Indian dancing-girl, and Thygelion of Chaeronea
if he could bring me a Greek courtesan; for, oh, ladies! there

were Bombardas in Greece and in Egypt. Apuleius tells us of them.
Alas! always the same, and nothing new; nothing more unpublished
by the creator in creation! Nil sub sole novum, says Solomon;
amor omnibus idem, says Virgil; and Carabine mounts with Carabin into
the bark at Saint-Cloud, as Aspasia embarked with Pericles upon the
fleet at Samos. One last word. Do you know what Aspasia was, ladies?
Although she lived at an epoch when women had, as yet, no soul,
she was a soul; a soul of a rosy and purple hue, more ardent hued
than fire, fresher than the dawn. Aspasia was a creature in whom
two extremes of womanhood met; she was the goddess prostitute;
Socrates plus Manon Lescaut. Aspasia was created in case a mistress
should be needed for Prometheus.

Tholomyesonce startedwould have found some difficulty in stopping
had not a horse fallen down upon the quay just at that moment.
The shock caused the cart and the orator to come to a dead halt.
It was a Beauceron mareold and thinand one fit for the knacker
which was dragging a very heavy cart. On arriving in front of Bombarda's
the worn-outexhausted beast had refused to proceed any further.
This incident attracted a crowd. Hardly had the cursing and indignant
carter had time to utter with proper energy the sacramental word
Matin (the jade)backed up with a pitiless cut of the whip
when the jade fellnever to rise again. On hearing the hubbub made
by the passersbyTholomyes' merry auditors turned their heads
and Tholomyes took advantage of the opportunity to bring his allocution
to a close with this melancholy strophe:--

Elle etait de ce monde ou coucous et carrosses[3]
Ont le meme destin;
Et, rosse, elle a vecu ce que vivant les rosses,
L'espace d'un matin!

[3] She belonged to that circle where cuckoos and carriages share
the same fate; and a jade herselfshe livedas jades live
for the space of a morning (or jade).
Poor horse!sighed Fantine.

And Dahlia exclaimed:--

There is Fantine on the point of crying over horses. How can
one be such a pitiful fool as that!

At that moment Favouritefolding her arms and throwing her head back
looked resolutely at Tholomyes and said:--

Come, now! the surprise?

Exactly. The moment has arrived,replied Tholomyes.
Gentlemen, the hour for giving these ladies a surprise has struck.
Wait for us a moment, ladies.

It begins with a kiss,said Blachevelle.

On the brow,added Tholomyes.

Each gravely bestowed a kiss on his mistress's brow; then all four
filed out through the doorwith their fingers on their lips.

Favourite clapped her hands on their departure.

It is beginning to be amusing already,said she.

Don't be too long,murmured Fantine; "we are waiting for you."



When the young girls were left alonethey leaned two by two on
the window-sillschattingcraning out their headsand talking
from one window to the other.

They saw the young men emerge from the Cafe Bombarda arm in arm.
The latter turned roundmade signs to themsmiledand disappeared
in that dusty Sunday throng which makes a weekly invasion into the

Don't be long!cried Fantine.

What are they going to bring us?said Zephine.

It will certainly be something pretty,said Dahlia.

For my part,said FavouriteI want it to be of gold.

Their attention was soon distracted by the movements on the shore
of the lakewhich they could see through the branches of the
large treesand which diverted them greatly.

It was the hour for the departure of the mail-coaches and diligences.
Nearly all the stage-coaches for the south and west passed through
the Champs-Elysees. The majority followed the quay and went through
the Passy Barrier. From moment to momentsome huge vehicle
painted yellow and blackheavily loadednoisily harnessed
rendered shapeless by trunkstarpaulinsand valisesfull of heads
which immediately disappearedrushed through the crowd with all
the sparks of a forgewith dust for smokeand an air of fury
grinding the pavementschanging all the paving-stones into steels.
This uproar delighted the young girls. Favourite exclaimed:-

What a row! One would say that it was a pile of chains flying away.

It chanced that one of these vehicleswhich they could only see
with difficulty through the thick elmshalted for a moment
then set out again at a gallop. This surprised Fantine.

That's odd!said she. "I thought the diligence never stopped."

Favourite shrugged her shoulders.

This Fantine is surprising. I am coming to take a look at her out
of curiosity. She is dazzled by the simplest things. Suppose a case:
I am a traveller; I say to the diligence, `I will go on in advance;
you shall pick me up on the quay as you pass.' The diligence passes,
sees me, halts, and takes me. That is done every day. You do not
know life, my dear.

In this manner a certain time elapsed. All at once Favourite made
a movementlike a person who is just waking up.

Well,said sheand the surprise?

Yes, by the way,joined in Dahliathe famous surprise?

They are a very long time about it!said Fantine.

As Fantine concluded this sighthe waiter who had served them
at dinner entered. He held in his hand something which resembled
a letter.

What is that?demanded Favourite.

The waiter replied:-

It is a paper that those gentlemen left for these ladies.

Why did you not bring it at once?

Because,said the waiterthe gentlemen ordered me not to deliver
it to the ladies for an hour.

Favourite snatched the paper from the waiter's hand. It was
in facta letter.

Stop!said she; "there is no address; but this is what is written
on it--"


She tore the letter open hastilyopened itand read [she knew
how to read]:--


You must know that we have parents. Parents--you do not know much
about such things. They are called fathers and mothers by the
civil codewhich is puerile and honest. Nowthese parents groan
these old folks implore usthese good men and these good women call us
prodigal sons; they desire our returnand offer to kill calves for us.
Being virtuouswe obey them. At the hour when you read this
five fiery horses will be bearing us to our papas and mammas. We are
pulling up our stakesas Bossuet says. We are going; we are gone.
We flee in the arms of Lafitte and on the wings of Caillard.
The Toulouse diligence tears us from the abyssand the abyss
is youO our little beauties! We return to societyto duty
to respectabilityat full trotat the rate of three leagues an hour.
It is necessary for the good of the country that we should be
like the rest of the worldprefectsfathers of familiesrural police
and councillors of state. Venerate us. We are sacrificing ourselves.
Mourn for us in hasteand replace us with speed. If this letter
lacerates youdo the same by it. Adieu.

For the space of nearly two years we have made you happy.
We bear you no grudge for that.


Postscriptum. The dinner is paid for.

The four young women looked at each other.

Favourite was the first to break the silence.

Well!she exclaimedit's a very pretty farce, all the same.

It is very droll,said Zephine.

That must have been Blachevelle's idea,resumed Favourite.
It makes me in love with him. No sooner is he gone than he is loved.
This is an adventure, indeed.

No,said Dahlia; "it was one of Tholomyes' ideas. That is evident.

In that case,retorted Favouritedeath to Blachevelle, and long
live Tholomyes!

Long live Tholomyes!exclaimed Dahlia and Zephine.

And they burst out laughing.

Fantine laughed with the rest.

An hour laterwhen she had returned to her roomshe wept.
It was her first love affairas we have said; she had given herself
to this Tholomyes as to a husbandand the poor girl had a child.




There wasat Montfermeilnear Parisduring the first quarter
of this centurya sort of cook-shop which no longer exists.
This cook-shop was kept by some people named Thenardier
husband and wife. It was situated in Boulanger Lane. Over the door
there was a board nailed flat against the wall. Upon this board
was painted something which resembled a man carrying another man on
his backthe latter wearing the big gilt epaulettes of a general
with large silver stars; red spots represented blood; the rest of
the picture consisted of smokeand probably represented a battle.
Below ran this inscription: AT THE SIGN OF SERGEANT OF WATERLOO
(Au Sargent de Waterloo).

Nothing is more common than a cart or a truck at the door of
a hostelry. Neverthelessthe vehicleorto speak more accurately
the fragment of a vehiclewhich encumbered the street in front
of the cook-shop of the Sergeant of Waterlooone evening in the
spring of 1818would certainly have attractedby its mass
the attention of any painter who had passed that way.

It was the fore-carriage of one of those trucks which are used
in wooded tracts of countryand which serve to transport thick
planks and the trunks of trees. This fore-carriage was composed
of a massive iron axle-tree with a pivotinto which was fitted
a heavy shaftand which was supported by two huge wheels.
The whole thing was compactoverwhelmingand misshapen.
It seemed like the gun-carriage of an enormous cannon. The ruts of

the road had bestowed on the wheelsthe felliesthe hubthe axle
and the shafta layer of muda hideous yellowish daubing hue
tolerably like that with which people are fond of ornamenting cathedrals.
The wood was disappearing under mudand the iron beneath rust.
Under the axle-tree hunglike draperya huge chainworthy of
some Goliath of a convict. This chain suggestednot the beams
which it was its office to transportbut the mastodons and mammoths
which it might have served to harness; it had the air of the galleys
but of cyclopean and superhuman galleysand it seemed to have been
detached from some monster. Homer would have bound Polyphemus with it
and ShakespeareCaliban.

Why was that fore-carriage of a truck in that place in the street?
In the first placeto encumber the street; nextin order
that it might finish the process of rusting. There is a throng
of institutions in the old social orderwhich one comes across
in this fashion as one walks about outdoorsand which have
no other reasons for existence than the above.

The centre of the chain swung very near the ground in the middle
and in the loopas in the rope of a swingthere were seated
and groupedon that particular eveningin exquisite interlacement
two little girls; one about two years and a half oldthe other
eighteen months; the younger in the arms of the other. A handkerchief
cleverly knotted about themprevented their falling out.
A mother had caught sight of that frightful chainand had said
Come! there's a plaything for my children.

The two childrenwho were dressed prettily and with some elegance
were radiant with pleasure; one would have said that they were two
roses amid old iron; their eyes were a triumph; their fresh cheeks
were full of laughter. One had chestnut hair; the otherbrown.
Their innocent faces were two delighted surprises; a blossoming
shrub which grew near wafted to the passers-by perfumes which seemed
to emanate from them; the child of eighteen months displayed her
pretty little bare stomach with the chaste indecency of childhood.
Above and around these two delicate headsall made of happiness
and steeped in lightthe gigantic fore-carriageblack with rust
almost terribleall entangled in curves and wild angles
rose in a vaultlike the entrance of a cavern. A few paces apart
crouching down upon the threshold of the hostelrythe mother
not a very prepossessing womanby the waythough touching at
that momentwas swinging the two children by means of a long cord
watching them carefullyfor fear of accidentswith that animal
and celestial expression which is peculiar to maternity. At every
backward and forward swing the hideous links emitted a strident sound
which resembled a cry of rage; the little girls were in ecstasies;
the setting sun mingled in this joyand nothing could be more charming
than this caprice of chance which had made of a chain of Titans the
swing of cherubim.

As she rocked her little onesthe mother hummed in a discordant
voice a romance then celebrated:--

It must be, said a warrior.

Her songand the contemplation of her daughtersprevented her
hearing and seeing what was going on in the street.

In the meantimesome one had approached heras she was beginning
the first couplet of the romanceand suddenly she heard a voice
saying very near her ear:-

You have two beautiful children there, Madame.

To the fair and tender Imogene--

replied the mothercontinuing her romance; then she turned her head.

A woman stood before hera few paces distant. This woman also
had a childwhich she carried in her arms.

She was carryingin additiona large carpet-bagwhich seemed
very heavy.

This woman's child was one of the most divine creatures that it
is possible to behold. lt was a girltwo or three years of age.
She could have entered into competition with the two other little ones
so far as the coquetry of her dress was concerned; she wore a cap of
fine linenribbons on her bodiceand Valenciennes lace on her cap.
The folds of her skirt were raised so as to permit a view of her
whitefirmand dimpled leg. She was admirably rosy and healthy.
The little beauty inspired a desire to take a bite from the apples
of her cheeks. Of her eyes nothing could be knownexcept that
they must be very largeand that they had magnificent lashes.
She was asleep.

She slept with that slumber of absolute confidence peculiar
to her age. The arms of mothers are made of tenderness; in them
children sleep profoundly.

As for the motherher appearance was sad and poverty-stricken.
She was dressed like a working-woman who is inclined to turn into
a peasant again. She was young. Was she handsome? Perhaps; but in
that attire it was not apparent. Her haira golden lock of which
had escapedseemed very thickbut was severely concealed beneath
an uglytightclosenun-like captied under the chin. A smile
displays beautiful teeth when one has them; but she did not smile.
Her eyes did not seem to have been dry for a very long time.
She was pale; she had a very weary and rather sickly appearance.
She gazed upon her daughter asleep in her arms with the air peculiar
to a mother who has nursed her own child. A large blue handkerchief
such as the Invalides usewas folded into a fichuand concealed her
figure clumsily. Her hands were sunburnt and all dotted with freckles
her forefinger was hardened and lacerated with the needle; she wore
a cloak of coarse brown woollen stuffa linen gownand coarse shoes.
It was Fantine.

It was Fantinebut difficult to recognize. Neverthelesson scrutinizing
her attentivelyit was evident that she still retained her beauty.
A melancholy foldwhich resembled the beginning of irony
wrinkled her right cheek. As for her toilettethat aerial toilette
of muslin and ribbonswhich seemed made of mirthof folly
and of musicfull of bellsand perfumed with lilacs had vanished
like that beautiful and dazzling hoar-frost which is mistaken
for diamonds in the sunlight; it melts and leaves the branch quite black.

Ten months had elapsed since the "pretty farce."

What had taken place during those ten months? It can be divined.

After abandonmentstraightened circumstances. Fantine had
immediately lost sight of FavouriteZephine and Dahlia; the bond
once broken on the side of the menit was loosed between the women;

they would have been greatly astonished had any one told them
a fortnight laterthat they had been friends; there no longer
existed any reason for such a thing. Fantine had remained alone.
The father of her child gone--alas! such ruptures are irrevocable-she
found herself absolutely isolatedminus the habit of work and plus
the taste for pleasure. Drawn away by her liaison with Tholomyes
to disdain the pretty trade which she knewshe had neglected to keep
her market open; it was now closed to her. She had no resource.
Fantine barely knew how to readand did not know how to write;
in her childhood she had only been taught to sign her name;
she had a public letter-writer indite an epistle to Tholomyes
then a secondthen a third. Tholomyes replied to none of them.
Fantine heard the gossips sayas they looked at her child:
Who takes those children seriously! One only shrugs one's shoulders
over such children!Then she thought of Tholomyeswho had shrugged
his shoulders over his childand who did not take that innocent
being seriously; and her heart grew gloomy toward that man.
But what was she to do? She no longer knew to whom to apply.
She had committed a faultbut the foundation of her nature
as will be rememberedwas modesty and virtue. She was vaguely
conscious that she was on the verge of falling into distress
and of gliding into a worse state. Courage was necessary;
she possessed itand held herself firm. The idea of returning to
her native town of M. sur M. occurred to her. Theresome one might
possibly know her and give her work; yesbut it would be necessary
to conceal her fault. In a confused way she perceived the necessity
of a separation which would be more painful than the first one.
Her heart contractedbut she took her resolution. Fantineas we
shall seehad the fierce bravery of life. She had already
valiantly renounced fineryhad dressed herself in linenand had
put all her silksall her ornamentsall her ribbonsand all
her laces on her daughterthe only vanity which was left to her
and a holy one it was. She sold all that she hadwhich produced
for her two hundred francs; her little debts paidshe had only
about eighty francs left. At the age of twenty-twoon a beautiful
spring morningshe quitted Parisbearing her child on her back.
Any one who had seen these two pass would have had pity on them.
This woman hadin all the worldnothing but her childand the
child hadin all the worldno one but this woman. Fantine had
nursed her childand this had tired her chestand she coughed
a little.

We shall have no further occasion to speak of M. Felix Tholomyes.
Let us confine ourselves to sayingthattwenty years later
under King Louis Philippehe was a great provincial lawyer
wealthy and influentiala wise electorand a very severe juryman;
he was still a man of pleasure.

Towards the middle of the dayafter havingfrom time to time
for the sake of resting herselftravelledfor three or four sous
a leaguein what was then known as the Petites Voitures des Environs
de Paristhe "little suburban coach service Fantine found herself
at Montfermeil, in the alley Boulanger.

As she passed the Thenardier hostelry, the two little girls,
blissful in the monster swing, had dazzled her in a manner, and she
had halted in front of that vision of joy.

Charms exist. These two little girls were a charm to this mother.

She gazed at them in much emotion. The presence of angels is
an announcement of Paradise. She thought that, above this inn,
she beheld the mysterious HERE of Providence. These two little
creatures were evidently happy. She gazed at them, she admired them,

in such emotion that at the moment when their mother was recovering
her breath between two couplets of her song, she could not refrain
from addressing to her the remark which we have just read:-

You have two pretty childrenMadame."

The most ferocious creatures are disarmed by caresses bestowed
on their young.

The mother raised her head and thanked herand bade the wayfarer
sit down on the bench at the doorshe herself being seated
on the threshold. The two women began to chat.

My name is Madame Thenardier,said the mother of the two little girls.
We keep this inn.

Thenher mind still running on her romanceshe resumed humming
between her teeth:-

It must be so; I am a knight,
And I am off to Palestine.

This Madame Thenardier was a sandy-complexioned womanthin and angular--
the type of the soldier's wife in all its unpleasantness;
and what was oddwith a languishing airwhich she owed to her
perusal of romances. She was a simperingbut masculine creature.
Old romances produce that effect when rubbed against the imagination
of cook-shop woman. She was still young; she was barely thirty.
If this crouching woman had stood uprighther lofty stature and her
frame of a perambulating colossus suitable for fairsmight have
frightened the traveller at the outsettroubled her confidence
and disturbed what caused what we have to relate to vanish.
A person who is seated instead of standing erect--destinies hang upon
such a thing as that.

The traveller told her storywith slight modifications.

That she was a working-woman; that her husband was dead;
that her work in Paris had failed herand that she was on her way
to seek it elsewherein her own native parts; that she had left
Paris that morning on foot; thatas she was carrying her child
and felt fatiguedshe had got into the Villemomble coach when she
met it; that from Villemomble she had come to Montfermeil on foot;
that the little one had walked a littlebut not muchbecause she
was so youngand that she had been obliged to take her up
and the jewel had fallen asleep.

At this word she bestowed on her daughter a passionate kiss
which woke her. The child opened her eyesgreat blue eyes like
her mother'sand looked at--what? Nothing; with that serious
and sometimes severe air of little childrenwhich is a mystery
of their luminous innocence in the presence of our twilight
of virtue. One would say that they feel themselves to be angels
and that they know us to be men. Then the child began to laugh;
and although the mother held fast to hershe slipped to the ground
with the unconquerable energy of a little being which wished to run.
All at once she caught sight of the two others in the swing
stopped shortand put out her tonguein sign of admiration.

Mother Thenardier released her daughtersmade them descend from
the swingand said:--

Now amuse yourselves, all three of you.

Children become acquainted quickly at that ageand at the expiration
of a minute the little Thenardiers were playing with the new-comer
at making holes in the groundwhich was an immense pleasure.

The new-comer was very gay; the goodness of the mother is written
in the gayety of the child; she had seized a scrap of wood
which served her for a shoveland energetically dug a cavity big
enough for a fly. The grave-digger's business becomes a subject
for laughter when performed by a child.

The two women pursued their chat.

What is your little one's name?


For Cosetteread Euphrasie. The child's name was Euphrasie.
But out of Euphrasie the mother had made Cosette by that sweet
and graceful instinct of mothers and of the populace which changes
Josepha into Pepitaand Francoise into Sillette. It is a sort
of derivative which disarranges and disconcerts the whole science
of etymologists. We have known a grandmother who succeeded in turning
Theodore into Gnon.

How old is she?

She is going on three.

That is the age of my eldest.

In the meantimethe three little girls were grouped in an attitude
of profound anxiety and blissfulness; an event had happened;
a big worm had emerged from the groundand they were afraid;
and they were in ecstasies over it.

Their radiant brows touched each other; one would have said
that there were three heads in one aureole.

How easily children get acquainted at once!exclaimed Mother Thenardier;
one would swear that they were three sisters!

This remark was probably the spark which the other mother had been
waiting for. She seized the Thenardier's handlooked at her fixedly
and said:-

Will you keep my child for me?

The Thenardier made one of those movements of surprise which signify
neither assent nor refusal.

Cosette's mother continued:-

You see, I cannot take my daughter to the country. My work
will not permit it. With a child one can find no situation.
People are ridiculous in the country. It was the good God who caused
me to pass your inn. When I caught sight of your little ones,
so pretty, so clean, and so happy, it overwhelmed me. I said:
`Here is a good mother. That is just the thing; that will make
three sisters.' And then, it will not be long before I return.
Will you keep my child for me?

I must see about it,replied the Thenardier.

I will give you six francs a month.

Here a man's voice called from the depths of the cook-shop:-

Not for less than seven francs. And six months paid in advance.

Six times seven makes forty-two,said the Thenardier.

I will give it,said the mother.

And fifteen francs in addition for preliminary expenses,
added the man's voice.

Total, fifty-seven francs,said Madame Thenardier. And she
hummed vaguelywith these figures:-

It must be, said a warrior.

I will pay it,said the mother. "I have eighty francs. I shall
have enough left to reach the countryby travelling on foot.
I shall earn money thereand as soon as I have a little I will return
for my darling."

The man's voice resumed:--

The little one has an outfit?

That is my husband,said the Thenardier.

Of course she has an outfit, the poor treasure.--I understood
perfectly that it was your husband.--And a beautiful outfit,
too! a senseless outfit, everything by the dozen, and silk gowns
like a lady. It is here, in my carpet-bag.

You must hand it over,struck in the man's voice again.

Of course I shall give it to you,said the mother. "It would
be very queer if I were to leave my daughter quite naked!"

The master's face appeared.

That's good,said he.

The bargain was concluded. The mother passed the night at the inn
gave up her money and left her childfastened her carpet-bag
once morenow reduced in volume by the removal of the outfit
and light henceforth and set out on the following morning
intending to return soon. People arrange such departures tranquilly;
but they are despairs!

A neighbor of the Thenardiers met this mother as she was setting out
and came back with the remark:--

I have just seen a woman crying in the street so that it was enough
to rend your heart.

When Cosette's mother had taken her departurethe man said
to the woman:--

That will serve to pay my note for one hundred and ten francs
which falls due to-morrow; I lacked fifty francs. Do you know

that I should have had a bailiff and a protest after me?
You played the mouse-trap nicely with your young ones.

Without suspecting it,said the woman.



The mouse which had been caught was a pitiful specimen; but the cat
rejoices even over a lean mouse.

Who were these Thenardiers?

Let us say a word or two of them now. We will complete the sketch
later on.

These beings belonged to that bastard class composed of coarse
people who have been successfuland of intelligent people who have
descended in the scalewhich is between the class called "middle"
and the class denominated as "inferior and which combines some
of the defects of the second with nearly all the vices of the first,
without possessing the generous impulse of the workingman nor
the honest order of the bourgeois.

They were of those dwarfed natures which, if a dull fire chances
to warm them up, easily become monstrous. There was in the woman a
substratum of the brute, and in the man the material for a blackguard.
Both were susceptible, in the highest degree, of the sort of hideous
progress which is accomplished in the direction of evil. There exist
crab-like souls which are continually retreating towards the darkness,
retrograding in life rather than advancing, employing experience
to augment their deformity, growing incessantly worse, and becoming
more and more impregnated with an ever-augmenting blackness.
This man and woman possessed such souls.

Thenardier, in particular, was troublesome for a physiognomist.
One can only look at some men to distrust them; for one feels that
they are dark in both directions. They are uneasy in the rear and
threatening in front. There is something of the unknown about them.
One can no more answer for what they have done than for what they
will do. The shadow which they bear in their glance denounces them.
From merely hearing them utter a word or seeing them make a gesture,
one obtains a glimpse of sombre secrets in their past and of sombre
mysteries in their future.

This Thenardier, if he himself was to be believed, had been a soldier--
a sergeant, he said. He had probably been through the campaign of 1815,
and had even conducted himself with tolerable valor, it would seem.
We shall see later on how much truth there was in this. The sign
of his hostelry was in allusion to one of his feats of arms.
He had painted it himself; for he knew how to do a little of everything,
and badly.

It was at the epoch when the ancient classical romance which, after having
been Clelie, was no longer anything but Lodoiska, still noble, but ever
more and more vulgar, having fallen from Mademoiselle de Scuderi
to Madame Bournon-Malarme, and from Madame de Lafayette to Madame
Barthelemy-Hadot, was setting the loving hearts of the portresses
of Paris aflame, and even ravaging the suburbs to some extent.
Madame Thenardier was just intelligent enough to read this sort of books.

She lived on them. In them she drowned what brains she possessed.
This had given her, when very young, and even a little later, a sort
of pensive attitude towards her husband, a scamp of a certain depth,
a ruffian lettered to the extent of the grammar, coarse and fine at
one and the same time, but, so far as sentimentalism was concerned,
given to the perusal of Pigault-Lebrun, and in what concerns the sex
as he said in his jargon--a downright, unmitigated lout. His wife was
twelve or fifteen years younger than he was. Later on, when her hair,
arranged in a romantically drooping fashion, began to grow gray,
when the Magaera began to be developed from the Pamela, the female
Thenardier was nothing but a coarse, vicious woman, who had dabbled
in stupid romances. Now, one cannot read nonsense with impunity.
The result was that her eldest daughter was named Eponine; as for
the younger, the poor little thing came near being called Gulnare;
I know not to what diversion, effected by a romance of Ducray-Dumenil,
she owed the fact that she merely bore the name of Azelma.

However, we will remark by the way, everything was not ridiculous
and superficial in that curious epoch to which we are alluding,
and which may be designated as the anarchy of baptismal names.
By the side of this romantic element which we have just indicated
there is the social symptom. It is not rare for the neatherd's
boy nowadays to bear the name of Arthur, Alfred, or Alphonse,
and for the vicomte--if there are still any vicomtes--to be called
Thomas, Pierre, or Jacques. This displacement, which places the
elegant" name on the plebeian and the rustic name on the aristocrat
is nothing else than an eddy of equality. The irresistible
penetration of the new inspiration is there as everywhere else.
Beneath this apparent discord there is a great and a profound thing--
the French Revolution.



It is not all in all sufficient to be wicked in order to prosper.
The cook-shop was in a bad way.

Thanks to the traveller's fifty-seven francsThenardier had been
able to avoid a protest and to honor his signature. On the following
month they were again in need of money. The woman took Cosette's
outfit to Parisand pawned it at the pawnbroker's for sixty francs.
As soon as that sum was spentthe Thenardiers grew accustomed
to look on the little girl merely as a child whom they were caring
for out of charity; and they treated her accordingly. As she had
no longer any clothesthey dressed her in the cast-off petticoats
and chemises of the Thenardier brats; that is to sayin rags.
They fed her on what all the rest had left--a little better than the dog
a little worse than the cat. Moreoverthe cat and the dog were her
habitual table-companions; Cosette ate with them under the table
from a wooden bowl similar to theirs.

The motherwho had established herselfas we shall see later on
at M. sur M.wroteormore correctlycaused to be written
a letter every monththat she might have news of her child.
The Thenardiers replied invariablyCosette is doing wonderfully well.

At the expiration of the first six months the mother sent seven
francs for the seventh monthand continued her remittances
with tolerable regularity from month to month. The year was not
completed when Thenardier said: "A fine favor she is doing us

in sooth! What does she expect us to do with her seven francs?"
and he wrote to demand twelve francs. The motherwhom they had
persuaded into the belief that her child was happyand was coming
on well,submittedand forwarded the twelve francs.

Certain natures cannot love on the one hand without hating on
the other. Mother Thenardier loved her two daughters passionately
which caused her to hate the stranger.

It is sad to think that the love of a mother can possess
villainous aspects. Little as was the space occupied by Cosette
it seemed to her as though it were taken from her ownand that
that little child diminished the air which her daughters breathed.
This womanlike many women of her sorthad a load of caresses
and a burden of blows and injuries to dispense each day.
If she had not had Cosetteit is certain that her daughters
idolized as they werewould have received the whole of it;
but the stranger did them the service to divert the blows to herself.
Her daughters received nothing but caresses. Cosette could not make
a motion which did not draw down upon her head a heavy shower of
violent blows and unmerited chastisement. The sweetfeeble being
who should not have understood anything of this world or of God
incessantly punishedscoldedill-usedbeatenand seeing beside
her two little creatures like herselfwho lived in a ray of dawn!

Madame Thenardier was vicious with Cosette. Eponine and Azelma
were vicious. Children at that age are only copies of their mother.
The size is smaller; that is all.

A year passed; then another.

People in the village said:--

Those Thenardiers are good people. They are not rich, and yet they
are bringing up a poor child who was abandoned on their hands!

They thought that Cosette's mother had forgotten her.

In the meanwhileThenardierhaving learnedit is impossible
to say by what obscure meansthat the child was probably a bastard
and that the mother could not acknowledge itexacted fifteen francs
a monthsaying that "the creature" was growing and "eating and
threatening to send her away. Let her not bother me he exclaimed,
or I'll fire her brat right into the middle of her secrets.
I must have an increase." The mother paid the fifteen francs.

From year to year the child grewand so did her wretchedness.

As long as Cosette was littleshe was the scape-goat of the
two other children; as soon as she began to develop a little
that is to saybefore she was even five years oldshe became
the servant of the household.

Five years old! the reader will say; that is not probable.
Alas! it is true. Social suffering begins at all ages.
Have we not recently seen the trial of a man named Dumollard
an orphan turned banditwhofrom the age of fiveas the official
documents statebeing alone in the worldworked for his living
and stole?

Cosette was made to run on errandsto sweep the roomsthe courtyard
the streetto wash the dishesto even carry burdens. The Thenardiers
considered themselves all the more authorized to behave in this manner
since the motherwho was still at M. sur M.had become irregular

in her payments. Some months she was in arrears.

If this mother had returned to Montfermeil at the end of these three
yearsshe would not have recognized her child. Cosetteso pretty
and rosy on her arrival in that housewas now thin and pale.
She had an indescribably uneasy look. "The sly creature
said the Thenardiers.

Injustice had made her peevish, and misery had made her ugly.
Nothing remained to her except her beautiful eyes, which inspired
pain, because, large as they were, it seemed as though one beheld
in them a still larger amount of sadness.

It was a heart-breaking thing to see this poor child, not yet
six years old, shivering in the winter in her old rags of linen,
full of holes, sweeping the street before daylight, with an enormous
broom in her tiny red hands, and a tear in her great eyes.

She was called the Lark in the neighborhood. The populace, who are
fond of these figures of speech, had taken a fancy to bestow this
name on this trembling, frightened, and shivering little creature,
no bigger than a bird, who was awake every morning before any one
else in the house or the village, and was always in the street
or the fields before daybreak.

Only the little lark never sang.




And in the meantime, what had become of that mother who according
to the people at Montfermeil, seemed to have abandoned her child?
Where was she? What was she doing?

After leaving her little Cosette with the Thenardiers, she had
continued her journey, and had reached M. sur M.

This, it will be remembered, was in 1818.

Fantine had quitted her province ten years before. M. sur M. had
changed its aspect. While Fantine had been slowly descending
from wretchedness to wretchedness, her native town had prospered.

About two years previously one of those industrial facts which are
the grand events of small districts had taken place.

This detail is important, and we regard it as useful to develop it
at length; we should almost say, to underline it.

From time immemorial, M. sur M. had had for its special industry
the imitation of English jet and the black glass trinkets of Germany.
This industry had always vegetated, on account of the high
price of the raw material, which reacted on the manufacture.
At the moment when Fantine returned to M. sur M., an unheard-of
transformation had taken place in the production of black goods."
Towards the close of 1815 a mana strangerhad established himself

in the townand had been inspired with the idea of substituting
in this manufacturegum-lac for resinandfor bracelets in particular
slides of sheet-iron simply laid togetherfor slides of soldered

This very small change had effected a revolution.

This very small change hadin factprodigiously reduced the cost
of the raw materialwhich had rendered it possible in the first place
to raise the price of manufacturea benefit to the country;
in the second placeto improve the workmanshipan advantage
to the consumer; in the third placeto sell at a lower price
while trebling the profitwhich was a benefit to the manufacturer.

Thus three results ensued from one idea.

In less than three years the inventor of this process had
become richwhich is goodand had made every one about him rich
which is better. He was a stranger in the Department. Of his origin
nothing was known; of the beginning of his careervery little.
It was rumored that he had come to town with very little money
a few hundred francs at the most.

It was from this slender capitalenlisted in the service of an
ingenious ideadeveloped by method and thoughtthat he had drawn
his own fortuneand the fortune of the whole countryside.

On his arrival at M. sur M. he had only the garmentsthe appearance
and the language of a workingman.

It appears that on the very day when he made his obscure entry into
the little town of M. sur M.just at nightfallon a December evening
knapsack on back and thorn club in handa large fire had broken
out in the town-hall. This man had rushed into the flames and saved
at the risk of his own lifetwo children who belonged to the
captain of the gendarmerie; this is why they had forgotten to ask
him for his passport. Afterwards they had learned his name.
He was called Father Madeleine.



He was a man about fifty years of agewho had a preoccupied air
and who was good. That was all that could be said about him.

Thanks to the rapid progress of the industry which he had so
admirably re-constructedM. sur M. had become a rather important
centre of trade. Spainwhich consumes a good deal of black jet
made enormous purchases there each year. M. sur M. almost rivalled
London and Berlin in this branch of commerce. Father Madeleine's
profits were suchthat at the end of the second year he was able
to erect a large factoryin which there were two vast workrooms
one for the menand the other for women. Any one who was hungry
could present himself thereand was sure of finding employment
and bread. Father Madeleine required of the men good will
of the women pure moralsand of allprobity. He had separated
the work-rooms in order to separate the sexesand so that the women
and girls might remain discreet. On this point he was inflexible.
It was the only thing in which he was in a manner intolerant.
He was all the more firmly set on this severitysince M. sur M.

being a garrison townopportunities for corruption abounded.
Howeverhis coming had been a boonand his presence was a godsend.
Before Father Madeleine's arrivaleverything had languished
in the country; now everything lived with a healthy life of toil.
A strong circulation warmed everything and penetrated everywhere.
Slack seasons and wretchedness were unknown. There was no pocket so
obscure that it had not a little money in it; no dwelling so lowly that
there was not some little joy within it.

Father Madeleine gave employment to every one. He exacted
but one thing: Be an honest man. Be an honest woman.

As we have saidin the midst of this activity of which he was the
cause and the pivotFather Madeleine made his fortune; but a singular
thing in a simple man of businessit did not seem as though that
were his chief care. He appeared to be thinking much of others
and little of himself. In 1820 he was known to have a sum of six
hundred and thirty thousand francs lodged in his name with Laffitte;
but before reserving these six hundred and thirty thousand francs
he had spent more than a million for the town and its poor.

The hospital was badly endowed; he founded six beds there. M. sur

M. is divided into the upper and the lower town. The lower town
in which he livedhad but one schoola miserable hovelwhich was
falling to ruin: he constructed twoone for girlsthe other for boys.
He allotted a salary from his own funds to the two instructors
a salary twice as large as their meagre official salaryand one
day he said to some one who expressed surpriseThe two prime
functionaries of the state are the nurse and the schoolmaster.
He created at his own expense an infant schoola thing then almost
unknown in Franceand a fund for aiding old and infirm workmen.
As his factory was a centrea new quarterin which there were a good
many indigent familiesrose rapidly around him; he established there
a free dispensary.
At firstwhen they watched his beginningsthe good souls said
He's a jolly fellow who means to get rich.When they saw him
enriching the country before he enriched himselfthe good souls said
He is an ambitious man.This seemed all the more probable
since the man was religiousand even practised his religion
to a certain degreea thing which was very favorably viewed
at that epoch. He went regularly to low mass every Sunday.
The local deputywho nosed out all rivalry everywheresoon began
to grow uneasy over this religion. This deputy had been a member
of the legislative body of the Empireand shared the religious
ideas of a father of the Oratoireknown under the name of Fouche
Duc d'Otrantewhose creature and friend he had been. He indulged
in gentle raillery at God with closed doors. But when he beheld
the wealthy manufacturer Madeleine going to low mass at seven o'clock
he perceived in him a possible candidateand resolved to outdo him;
he took a Jesuit confessorand went to high mass and to vespers.
Ambition was at that timein the direct acceptation of the word
a race to the steeple. The poor profited by this terror as well
as the good Godfor the honorable deputy also founded two beds in
the hospitalwhich made twelve.

Neverthelessin 1819 a rumor one morning circulated through the
town to the effect thaton the representations of the prefect
and in consideration of the services rendered by him to the country
Father Madeleine was to be appointed by the Kingmayor of M. sur

M. Those who had pronounced this new-comer to be "an ambitious fellow
seized with delight on this opportunity which all men desire,
to exclaim, There! what did we say!" All M. sur M. was in an uproar.
The rumor was well founded. Several days later the appointment appeared

in the Moniteur. On the following day Father Madeleine refused.

In this same year of 1819 the products of the new process invented
by Madeleine figured in the industrial exhibition; when the jury
made their reportthe King appointed the inventor a chevalier
of the Legion of Honor. A fresh excitement in the little town.
Wellso it was the cross that he wanted! Father Madeleine refused
the cross.

Decidedly this man was an enigma. The good souls got out of their
predicament by sayingAfter all, he is some sort of an adventurer.

We have seen that the country owed much to him; the poor owed
him everything; he was so useful and he was so gentle that people had been
obliged to honor and respect him. His workmenin particularadored him
and he endured this adoration with a sort of melancholy gravity.
When he was known to be richpeople in societybowed to him
and he received invitations in the town; he was calledin town
Monsieur Madeleine; his workmen and the children continued to call him
Father Madeleineand that was what was most adapted to make him smile.
In proportion as he mountedthroveinvitations rained down upon him.
Societyclaimed him for its own. The prim little drawing-rooms on

M. sur M.whichof coursehad at first been closed to the artisan
opened both leaves of their folding-doors to the millionnaire.
They made a thousand advances to him. He refused.
This time the good gossips had no trouble. "He is an ignorant man
of no education. No one knows where he came from. He would not
know how to behave in society. It has not been absolutely proved
that he knows how to read."

When they saw him making moneythey saidHe is a man of business.
When they saw him scattering his money aboutthey saidHe is
an ambitious man.When he was seen to decline honorsthey said
He is an adventurer.When they saw him repulse societythey said
He is a brute.

In 1820five years after his arrival in M. sur M.the services
which he had rendered to the district were so dazzlingthe opinion
of the whole country round about was so unanimousthat the King
again appointed him mayor of the town. He again declined;
but the prefect resisted his refusalall the notabilities of the
place came to implore himthe people in the street besought him;
the urging was so vigorous that he ended by accepting.
It was noticed that the thing which seemed chiefly to bring him
to a decision was the almost irritated apostrophe addressed to him
by an old woman of the peoplewho called to him from her threshold
in an angry way: "A good mayor is a useful thing. Is he drawing
back before the good which he can do?"

This was the third phase of his ascent. Father Madeleine had become
Monsieur Madeleine. Monsieur Madeleine became Monsieur le Maire.



On the other handhe remained as simple as on the first day.
He had gray haira serious eyethe sunburned complexion of a laborer
the thoughtful visage of a philosopher. He habitually wore a hat with
a wide brimand a long coat of coarse clothbuttoned to the chin.

He fulfilled his duties as mayor; butwith that exceptionhe lived
in solitude. He spoke to but few people. He avoided polite attentions;
he escaped quickly; he smiled to relieve himself of the necessity
of talking; he gavein order to get rid of the necessity for smiling
The women said of himWhat a good-natured bear!His pleasure
consisted in strolling in the fields.

He always took his meals alonewith an open book before him
which he read. He had a well-selected little library. He loved books;
books are cold but safe friends. In proportion as leisure came
to him with fortunehe seemed to take advantage of it to cultivate
his mind. It had been observed thatever since his arrival
at M. sur M.. his language had grown more polishedmore choice
and more gentle with every passing year. He liked to carry
a gun with him on his strollsbut he rarely made use of it.
When he did happen to do sohis shooting was something so infallible
as to inspire terror. He never killed an inoffensive animal.
He never shot at a little bird.

Although he was no longer youngit was thought that he was still
prodigiously strong. He offered his assistance to any one who was
in need of itlifted a horsereleased a wheel clogged in the mud
or stopped a runaway bull by the horns. He always had his pockets
full of money when he went out; but they were empty on his return.
When he passed through a villagethe ragged brats ran joyously
after himand surrounded him like a swarm of gnats.

It was thought that he mustin the pasthave lived a country life
since he knew all sorts of useful secretswhich he taught
to the peasants. He taught them how to destroy scurf on wheat
by sprinkling it and the granary and inundating the cracks in
the floor with a solution of common salt; and how to chase away
weevils by hanging up orviot in bloom everywhereon the walls
and the ceilingsamong the grass and in the houses.

He had "recipes" for exterminating from a fieldblighttares
foxtailand all parasitic growths which destroy the wheat.
He defended a rabbit warren against ratssimply by the odor
of a guinea-pig which he placed in it.

One day he saw some country people busily engaged in pulling up nettles;
he examined the plantswhich were uprooted and already dried
and said: "They are dead. Neverthelessit would be a good thing
to know how to make use of them. When the nettle is youngthe leaf
makes an excellent vegetable; when it is olderit has filaments and
fibres like hemp and flax. Nettle cloth is as good as linen cloth.
Chopped upnettles are good for poultry; poundedthey are good
for horned cattle. The seed of the nettlemixed with fodder
gives gloss to the hair of animals; the rootmixed with salt
produces a beautiful yellow coloring-matter. Moreoverit is an
excellent haywhich can be cut twice. And what is required for
the nettle? A little soilno careno culture. Only the seed falls
as it is ripeand it is difficult to collect it. That is all.
With the exercise of a little carethe nettle could be made useful;
it is neglected and it becomes hurtful. It is exterminated. How many
men resemble the nettle!" He addedafter a pause: "Remember this
my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men.
There are only bad cultivators."

The children loved him because he knew how to make charming little
trifles of straw and cocoanuts.

When he saw the door of a church hung in blackhe entered:
he sought out funerals as other men seek christenings. Widowhood and

the grief of others attracted himbecause of his great gentleness;
he mingled with the friends clad in mourningwith families
dressed in blackwith the priests groaning around a coffin.
He seemed to like to give to his thoughts for text these funereal
psalmodies filled with the vision of the other world. With his eyes
fixed on heavenhe listened with a sort of aspiration towards
all the mysteries of the infinitethose sad voices which sing
on the verge of the obscure abyss of death.

He performed a multitude of good actionsconcealing his agency in them
as a man conceals himself because of evil actions. He penetrated
houses privatelyat night; he ascended staircases furtively.
A poor wretch on returning to his attic would find that his door
had been openedsometimes even forcedduring his absence.
The poor man made a clamor over it: some malefactor had been there!
He enteredand the first thing he beheld was a piece of gold lying
forgotten on some piece of furniture. The "malefactor" who had been
there was Father Madeleine.

He was affable and sad. The people said: "There is a rich man who has
not a haughty air. There is a happy man who has not a contented air."

Some people maintained that he was a mysterious personand that no
one ever entered his chamberwhich was a regular anchorite's cell
furnished with winged hour-glasses and enlivened by cross-bones
and skulls of dead men! This was much talked ofso that one
of the elegant and malicious young women of M. sur M. came to him
one dayand asked: "Monsieur le Mairepray show us your chamber.
It is said to be a grotto." He smiledand introduced them instantly
into this "grotto." They were well punished for their curiosity.
The room was very simply furnished in mahoganywhich was rather ugly
like all furniture of that sortand hung with paper worth twelve sous.
They could see nothing remarkable about itexcept two candlesticks
of antique pattern which stood on the chimney-piece and appeared
to be silverfor they were hall-marked,an observation full
of the type of wit of petty towns.

Neverthelesspeople continued to say that no one ever got into
the roomand that it was a hermit's cavea mysterious retreat
a holea tomb.

It was also whispered about that he had "immense" sums deposited
with Laffittewith this peculiar featurethat they were always
at his immediate disposalso thatit was addedM. Madeleine could
make his appearance at Laffitte's any morningsign a receipt
and carry off his two or three millions in ten minutes. In reality
these two or three millionswere reducibleas we have said
to six hundred and thirty or forty thousand francs.


At the beginning of 1820 the newspapers announced the death
of M. MyrielBishop of D----surnamed "Monseigneur Bienvenu
who had died in the odor of sanctity at the age of eighty-two.

The Bishop of D---- --to supply here a detail which the papers omitted-had
been blind for many years before his death, and content to be blind,
as his sister was beside him.

Let us remark by the way, that to be blind and to be loved, is,
in fact, one of the most strangely exquisite forms of happiness
upon this earth, where nothing is complete. To have continually at
one's side a woman, a daughter, a sister, a charming being, who is
there because you need her and because she cannot do without you;
to know that we are indispensable to a person who is necessary to us;
to be able to incessantly measure one's affection by the amount
of her presence which she bestows on us, and to say to ourselves,
Since she consecrates the whole of her time to meit is because I
possess the whole of her heart"; to behold her thought in lieu
of her face; to be able to verify the fidelity of one being amid
the eclipse of the world; to regard the rustle of a gown as the sound
of wings; to hear her come and goretirespeakreturnsing
and to think that one is the centre of these stepsof this speech;
to manifest at each instant one's personal attraction; to feel
one's self all the more powerful because of one's infirmity;
to become in one's obscurityand through one's obscuritythe star
around which this angel gravitates--few felicities equal this.
The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one
is loved; loved for one's own sake--let us say ratherloved in
spite of one's self; this conviction the blind man possesses.
To be served in distress is to be caressed. Does he lack anything?
No. One does not lose the sight when one has love. And what love!
A love wholly constituted of virtue! There is no blindness where
there is certainty. Soul seeks soulgropinglyand finds it.
And this soulfound and testedis a woman. A hand sustains you;
it is hers: a mouth lightly touches your brow; it is her mouth:
you hear a breath very near you; it is hers. To have everything
of herfrom her worship to her pitynever to be leftto have
that sweet weakness aiding youto lean upon that immovable reed
to touch Providence with one's handsand to be able to take
it in one's arms--God made tangible--what bliss! The heart
that obscurecelestial flowerundergoes a mysterious blossoming.
One would not exchange that shadow for all brightness!
The angel soul is thereuninterruptedly there; if she departs
it is but to return again; she vanishes like a dreamand reappears
like reality. One feels warmth approachingand behold! she is there.
One overflows with serenitywith gayetywith ecstasy; one is a
radiance amid the night. And there are a thousand little cares.
Nothingswhich are enormous in that void. The most ineffable
accents of the feminine voice employed to lull youand supplying
the vanished universe to you. One is caressed with the soul.
One sees nothingbut one feels that one is adored. It is a paradise
of shadows.

It was from this paradise that Monseigneur Welcome had passed
to the other.

The announcement of his death was reprinted by the local journal
of M. sur M. On the following dayM. Madeleine appeared clad
wholly in blackand with crape on his hat.

This mourning was noticed in the townand commented on. It seemed
to throw a light on M. Madeleine's origin. It was concluded that some
relationship existed between him and the venerable Bishop. "He has
gone into mourning for the Bishop of D----" said the drawing-rooms;
this raised M. Madeleine's credit greatlyand procured for him
instantly and at one blowa certain consideration in the noble
world of M. sur M. The microscopic Faubourg Saint-Germain of the
place meditated raising the quarantine against M. Madeleine
the probable relative of a bishop. M. Madeleine perceived the
advancement which he had obtainedby the more numerous courtesies
of the old women and the more plentiful smiles of the young ones.
One eveninga ruler in that petty great worldwho was curious

by right of seniorityventured to ask himM. le Maire is doubtless
a cousin of the late Bishop of D----?

He saidNo, Madame.

But,resumed the dowageryou are wearing mourning for him.

He repliedIt is because I was a servant in his family in my youth.

Another thing which was remarkedwasthat every time that he
encountered in the town a young Savoyard who was roaming about the
country and seeking chimneys to sweepthe mayor had him summoned
inquired his nameand gave him money. The little Savoyards told
each other about it: a great many of them passed that way.



Little by littleand in the course of timeall this opposition
subsided. There had at first been exercised against M. Madeleine
in virtue of a sort of law which all those who rise must submit to
blackening and calumnies; then they grew to be nothing more
than ill-naturethen merely malicious remarksthen even this
entirely disappeared; respect became completeunanimouscordial
and towards 1821 the moment arrived when the word "Monsieur le Maire"
was pronounced at M. sur M. with almost the same accent as "Monseigneur
the Bishop" had been pronounced in D---- in 1815. People came from
a distance of ten leagues around to consult M. Madeleine. He put
an end to differenceshe prevented lawsuitshe reconciled enemies.
Every one took him for the judgeand with good reason.
It seemed as though he had for a soul the book of the natural law.
It was like an epidemic of venerationwhich in the course
of six or seven years gradually took possession of the whole district.

One single man in the townin the arrondissementabsolutely escaped
this contagionandwhatever Father Madeleine didremained his
opponent as though a sort of incorruptible and imperturbable
instinct kept him on the alert and uneasy. It seemsin fact
as though there existed in certain men a veritable bestial instinct
though pure and uprightlike all instinctswhich creates antipathies
and sympathieswhich fatally separates one nature from another nature
which does not hesitatewhich feels no disquietwhich does not hold
its peaceand which never belies itselfclear in its obscurity
infallibleimperiousintractablestubborn to all counsels of the
intelligence and to all the dissolvents of reasonand whichin whatever
manner destinies are arrangedsecretly warns the man-dog of the
presence of the man-catand the man-fox of the presence of the man-lion.

It frequently happened that when M. Madeleine was passing along
a streetcalmaffectionatesurrounded by the blessings of all
a man of lofty statureclad in an iron-gray frock-coatarmed
with a heavy caneand wearing a battered hatturned round abruptly
behind himand followed him with his eyes until he disappeared
with folded arms and a slow shake of the headand his upper lip
raised in company with his lower to his nosea sort of significant
grimace which might be translated by: "What is that manafter all?
I certainly have seen him somewhere. In any caseI am not
his dupe."

This persongrave with a gravity which was almost menacing

was one of those men whoeven when only seen by a rapid glimpse
arrest the spectator's attention.

His name was Javertand he belonged to the police.

At M. sur M. he exercised the unpleasant but useful functions of
an inspector. He had not seen Madeleine's beginnings. Javert owed
the post which he occupied to the protection of M. Chabouillet
the secretary of the Minister of StateComte Angelesthen prefect
of police at Paris. When Javert arrived at M. sur M. the fortune
of the great manufacturer was already madeand Father Madeleine
had become Monsieur Madeleine.

Certain police officers have a peculiar physiognomywhich is
complicated with an air of baseness mingled with an air of authority.
Javert possessed this physiognomy minus the baseness.

It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eyes
we should be able to see distinctly that strange thing that each one
individual of the human race corresponds to some one of the species
of the animal creation; and we could easily recognize this truth
hardly perceived by the thinkerthat from the oyster to the eagle
from the pig to the tigerall animals exist in manand that each
one of them is in a man. Sometimes even several of them at a time.

Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices
straying before our eyesthe visible phantoms of our souls.
God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect. Only since
animals are mere shadowsGod has not made them capable of education
in the full sense of the word; what is the use? On the contrary
our souls being realities and having a goal which is appropriate
to themGod has bestowed on them intelligence; that is to say
the possibility of education. Social educationwhen well done
can always draw from a soulof whatever sort it may bethe utility
which it contains.

Thisbe it saidis of course from the restricted point of view
of the terrestrial life which is apparentand without prejudging
the profound question of the anterior or ulterior personality of
the beings which are not man. The visible _I_ in nowise authorizes
the thinker to deny the latent _I_. Having made this reservation
let us pass on.

Nowif the reader will admitfor a momentwith usthat in every
man there is one of the animal species of creationit will be easy
for us to say what there was in Police Officer Javert.

The peasants of Asturias are convinced that in every litter of
wolves there is one dogwhich is killed by the mother because
otherwiseas he grew uphe would devour the other little ones.

Give to this dog-son of a wolf a human faceand the result will
be Javert.

Javert had been born in prisonof a fortune-tellerwhose husband
was in the galleys. As he grew uphe thought that he was outside
the pale of societyand he despaired of ever re-entering it.
He observed that society unpardoningly excludes two classes of men--
those who attack it and those who guard it; he had no choice except
between these two classes; at the same timehe was conscious of
an indescribable foundation of rigidityregularityand probity
complicated with an inexpressible hatred for the race of bohemians
whence he was sprung. He entered the police; he succeeded there.
At forty years of age he was an inspector.

During his youth he had been employed in the convict establishments
of the South.

Before proceeding furtherlet us come to an understanding
as to the wordshuman face,which we have just applied to Javert.

The human face of Javert consisted of a flat nosewith two deep
nostrilstowards which enormous whiskers ascended on his cheeks.
One felt ill at ease when he saw these two forests and these two
caverns for the first time. When Javert laughed--and his laugh
was rare and terrible--his thin lips parted and revealed to view
not only his teethbut his gumsand around his nose there formed
a flattened and savage foldas on the muzzle of a wild beast.
Javertseriouswas a watchdog; when he laughedhe was a tiger.
As for the resthe had very little skull and a great deal of jaw;
his hair concealed his forehead and fell over his eyebrows;
between his eyes there was a permanentcentral frownlike an imprint
of wrath; his gaze was obscure; his mouth pursed up and terrible;
his air that of ferocious command.

This man was composed of two very simple and two very good
sentimentscomparatively; but he rendered them almost badby dint
of exaggerating them--respect for authorityhatred of rebellion;
and in his eyesmurderrobberyall crimesare only forms
of rebellion. He enveloped in a blind and profound faith every
one who had a function in the statefrom the prime minister to
the rural policeman. He covered with scornaversionand disgust
every one who had once crossed the legal threshold of evil.
He was absoluteand admitted no exceptions. On the one hand
he saidThe functionary can make no mistake; the magistrate
is never the wrong.On the other handhe saidThese men are
irremediably lost. Nothing good can come from them.He fully
shared the opinion of those extreme minds which attribute to human
law I know not what power of makingorif the reader will have
it soof authenticatingdemonsand who place a Styx at the base
of society. He was stoicalseriousaustere; a melancholy dreamer
humble and haughtylike fanatics. His glance was like a gimlet
cold and piercing. His whole life hung on these two words:
watchfulness and supervision. He had introduced a straight line
into what is the most crooked thing in the world; he possessed
the conscience of his usefulnessthe religion of his functions
and he was a spy as other men are priests. Woe to the man who fell
into his hands! He would have arrested his own fatherif the latter
had escaped from the galleysand would have denounced his mother
if she had broken her ban. And he would have done it with that sort
of inward satisfaction which is conferred by virtue. Andwithal
a life of privationisolationabnegationchastitywith never
a diversion. It was implacable duty; the police understood
as the Spartans understood Spartaa pitiless lying in wait
a ferocious honestya marble informerBrutus in Vidocq.

Javert's whole person was expressive of the man who spies and
who withdraws himself from observation. The mystical school
of Joseph de Maistrewhich at that epoch seasoned with lofty
cosmogony those things which were called the ultra newspapers
would not have failed to declare that Javert was a symbol.
His brow was not visible; it disappeared beneath his hat:
his eyes were not visiblesince they were lost under his eyebrows:
his chin was not visiblefor it was plunged in his cravat:
his hands were not visible; they were drawn up in his sleeves:
and his cane was not visible; he carried it under his coat.
But when the occasion presented itselfthere was suddenly seen
to emerge from all this shadowas from an ambuscadea narrow and

angular foreheada baleful glancea threatening chinenormous hands
and a monstrous cudgel.

In his leisure momentswhich were far from frequenthe read
although he hated books; this caused him to be not wholly illiterate.
This could be recognized by some emphasis in his speech.

As we have saidhe had no vices. When he was pleased with himself
he permitted himself a pinch of snuff. Therein lay his connection
with humanity.

The reader will have no difficulty in understanding that Javert
was the terror of that whole class which the annual statistics
of the Ministry of Justice designates under the rubricVagrants.
The name of Javert routed them by its mere utterance; the face
of Javert petrified them at sight.

Such was this formidable man.

Javert was like an eye constantly fixed on M. Madeleine. An eye full
of suspicion and conjecture. M. Madeleine had finally perceived
the fact; but it seemed to be of no importance to him. He did not
even put a question to Javert; he neither sought nor avoided him;
he bore that embarrassing and almost oppressive gaze without
appearing to notice it. He treated Javert with ease and courtesy
as he did all the rest of the world.

It was divinedfrom some words which escaped Javertthat he had
secretly investigatedwith that curiosity which belongs to the race
and into which there enters as much instinct as willall the
anterior traces which Father Madeleine might have left elsewhere.
He seemed to knowand he sometimes said in covert words
that some one had gleaned certain information in a certain
district about a family which had disappeared. Once he chanced
to sayas he was talking to himselfI think I have him!
Then he remained pensive for three daysand uttered not a word.
It seemed that the thread which he thought he held had broken.

Moreoverand this furnishes the necessary corrective for the too
absolute sense which certain words might presentthere can be
nothing really infallible in a human creatureand the peculiarity
of instinct is that it can become confusedthrown off the track
and defeated. Otherwiseit would be superior to intelligence
and the beast would be found to be provided with a better light
than man.

Javert was evidently somewhat disconcerted by the perfect naturalness
and tranquillity of M. Madeleine.

One dayneverthelesshis strange manner appeared to produce
an impression on M. Madeleine. It was on the following occasion.



One morning M. Madeleine was passing through an unpaved alley of

M. sur M.; he heard a noiseand saw a group some distance away.
He approached. An old man named Father Fauchelevent had just fallen
beneath his carthis horse having tumbled down.

This Fauchelevent was one of the few enemies whom M. Madeleine had at
that time. When Madeleine arrived in the neighborhoodFauchelevent
an ex-notary and a peasant who was almost educatedhad a business
which was beginning to be in a bad way. Fauchelevent had seen this
simple workman grow richwhile hea lawyerwas being ruined.
This had filled him with jealousyand he had done all he could
on every occasionto injure Madeleine. Then bankruptcy had come;
and as the old man had nothing left but a cart and a horse
and neither family nor childrenhe had turned carter.

The horse had two broken legs and could not rise. The old man was
caught in the wheels. The fall had been so unlucky that the whole
weight of the vehicle rested on his breast. The cart was quite
heavily laden. Father Fauchelevent was rattling in the throat
in the most lamentable manner. They had triedbut in vain
to drag him out. An unmethodical effortaid awkwardly given
a wrong shakemight kill him. It was impossible to disengage him
otherwise than by lifting the vehicle off of him. Javertwho had
come up at the moment of the accidenthad sent for a jack-screw.

M. Madeleine arrived. People stood aside respectfully.
Help!cried old Fauchelevent. "Who will be good and save
the old man?"

M.Madeleine turned towards those present:-

Is there a jack-screw to be had?

One has been sent for,answered the peasant.

How long will it take to get it?

They have gone for the nearest, to Flachot's place, where there
is a farrier; but it makes no difference; it will take a good
quarter of an hour.

A quarter of an hour!exclaimed Madeleine.

It had rained on the preceding night; the soil was soaked.

The cart was sinking deeper into the earth every moment
and crushing the old carter's breast more and more.
It was evident that his ribs would be broken in five minutes more.

It is impossible to wait another quarter of an hour,said Madeleine
to the peasantswho were staring at him.

We must!

But it will be too late then! Don't you see that the cart is sinking?


Listen,resumed Madeleine; "there is still room enough under the
cart to allow a man to crawl beneath it and raise it with his back.
Only half a minuteand the poor man can be taken out. Is there
any one here who has stout loins and heart? There are five louis
d'or to be earned!"

Not a man in the group stirred.

Ten louis,said Madeleine.

The persons present dropped their eyes. One of them muttered:
A man would need to be devilish strong. And then he runs the risk
of getting crushed!

Come,began Madeleine againtwenty louis.

The same silence.

It is not the will which is lacking,said a voice.

M. Madeleine turned roundand recognized Javert. He had not
noticed him on his arrival.
Javert went on:-

It is strength. One would have to be a terrible man to do such
a thing as lift a cart like that on his back.

Thengazing fixedly at M. Madeleinehe went onemphasizing every
word that he uttered:-

Monsieur Madeleine, I have never known but one man capable of doing
what you ask.

Madeleine shuddered.

Javert addedwith an air of indifferencebut without removing
his eyes from Madeleine:-

He was a convict.

Ah!said Madeleine.

In the galleys at Toulon.

Madeleine turned pale.

Meanwhilethe cart continued to sink slowly. Father Fauchelevent
rattled in the throatand shrieked:-

I am strangling! My ribs are breaking! a screw! something! Ah!

Madeleine glanced about him.

Is there, then, no one who wishes to earn twenty louis and save
the life of this poor old man?

No one stirred. Javert resumed:-

I have never known but one man who could take the place of a screw,
and he was that convict.

Ah! It is crushing me!cried the old man.

Madeleine raised his headmet Javert's falcon eye still fixed
upon himlooked at the motionless peasantsand smiled sadly.
Thenwithout saying a wordhe fell on his kneesand before the
crowd had even had time to utter a cryhe was underneath the vehicle.

A terrible moment of expectation and silence ensued.

They beheld Madeleinealmost flat on his stomach beneath that
terrible weightmake two vain efforts to bring his knees and his
elbows together. They shouted to himFather Madeleine, come out!

Old Fauchelevent himself said to himMonsieur Madeleine, go away!
You see that I am fated to die! Leave me! You will get yourself
crushed also!Madeleine made no reply.

All the spectators were panting. The wheels had continued to sink
and it had become almost impossible for Madeleine to make his way
from under the vehicle.

Suddenly the enormous mass was seen to quiverthe cart rose slowly
the wheels half emerged from the ruts. They heard a stifled
voice cryingMake haste! Help!It was Madeleinewho had just
made a final effort.

They rushed forwards. The devotion of a single man had given
force and courage to all. The cart was raised by twenty arms.
Old Fauchelevent was saved.

Madeleine rose. He was palethough dripping with perspiration.
His clothes were torn and covered with mud. All wept. The old
man kissed his knees and called him the good God. As for him
he bore upon his countenance an indescribable expression of happy
and celestial sufferingand he fixed his tranquil eye on Javert
who was still staring at him.



Fauchelevent had dislocated his kneepan in his fall. Father Madeleine
had him conveyed to an infirmary which he had established for his
workmen in the factory building itselfand which was served by two
sisters of charity. On the following morning the old man found
a thousand-franc bank-note on his night-standwith these words
in Father Madeleine's writing: "I purchase your horse and cart."
The cart was brokenand the horse was dead. Fauchelevent recovered
but his knee remained stiff. M. Madeleineon the recommendation
of the sisters of charity and of his priestgot the good man a place
as gardener in a female convent in the Rue Saint-Antoine in Paris.

Some time afterwardsM. Madeleine was appointed mayor. The first
time that Javert beheld M. Madeleine clothed in the scarf which gave
him authority over the townhe felt the sort of shudder which a
watch-dog might experience on smelling a wolf in his master's clothes.
From that time forth he avoided him as much as he possibly could.
When the requirements of the service imperatively demanded it
and he could not do otherwise than meet the mayorhe addressed him
with profound respect.

This prosperity created at M. sur M. by Father Madeleine had
besides the visible signs which we have mentionedanother symptom
which was none the less significant for not being visible.
This never deceives. When the population sufferswhen work
is lackingwhen there is no commercethe tax-payer resists imposts
through penuryhe exhausts and oversteps his respiteand the
state expends a great deal of money in the charges for compelling
and collection. When work is abundantwhen the country is rich
and happythe taxes are paid easily and cost the state nothing.
It may be saidthat there is one infallible thermometer of the
public misery and riches--the cost of collecting the taxes.
In the course of seven years the expense of collecting the taxes
had diminished three-fourths in the arrondissement of M. sur M.

and this led to this arrondissement being frequently cited from all
the rest by M. de Villelethen Minister of Finance.

Such was the condition of the country when Fantine returned thither.
No one remembered her. Fortunatelythe door of M. Madeleine's
factory was like the face of a friend. She presented herself there
and was admitted to the women's workroom. The trade was entirely
new to Fantine; she could not be very skilful at itand she
therefore earned but little by her day's work; but it was sufficient;
the problem was solved; she was earning her living.



When Fantine saw that she was making her livingshe felt joyful
for a moment. To live honestly by her own laborwhat mercy
from heaven! The taste for work had really returned to her.
She bought a looking-glasstook pleasure in surveying in it her youth
her beautiful hairher fine teeth; she forgot many things; she thought
only of Cosette and of the possible futureand was almost happy.
She hired a little room and furnished on credit on the strength
of her future work--a lingering trace of her improvident ways.
As she was not able to say that she was married she took good care
as we have seennot to mention her little girl.

At firstas the reader has seenshe paid the Thenardiers promptly.
As she only knew how to sign her nameshe was obliged to write
through a public letter-writer.

She wrote oftenand this was noticed. It began to be said in
an undertonein the women's workroomthat Fantine "wrote letters"
and that "she had ways about her."

There is no one for spying on people's actions like those who are
not concerned in them. Why does that gentleman never come except
at nightfall? Why does Mr. So-and-So never hang his key on its
nail on Tuesday? Why does he always take the narrow streets?
Why does Madame always descend from her hackney-coach before
reaching her house? Why does she send out to purchase six sheets
of note paperwhen she has a "whole stationer's shop full of it?"
etc. There exist beings whofor the sake of obtaining the key
to these enigmaswhich aremoreoverof no consequence whatever
to themspend more moneywaste more timetake more trouble
than would be required for ten good actionsand that gratuitously
for their own pleasurewithout receiving any other payment
for their curiosity than curiosity. They will follow up such
and such a man or woman for whole days; they will do sentry duty
for hours at a time on the corners of the streetsunder alley-way
doors at nightin cold and rain; they will bribe errand-porters
they will make the drivers of hackney-coaches and lackeys tipsy
buy a waiting-maidsuborn a porter. Why? For no reason.
A pure passion for seeingknowingand penetrating into things.
A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known
these mysteries made publicthese enigmas illuminated by the
light of daybring on catastrophiesduelsfailuresthe ruin
of familiesand broken livesto the great joy of those who have
found out everything,without any interest in the matter
and by pure instinct. A sad thing.

Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking.

Their conversationthe chat of the drawing-roomgossip of
the anteroomis like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly;
they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles
are furnished by their neighbors.

So Fantine was watched.

In additionmany a one was jealous of her golden hair and of her
white teeth.

It was remarked that in the workroom she often turned aside
in the midst of the restto wipe away a tear. These were the
moments when she was thinking of her child; perhapsalsoof the
man whom she had loved.

Breaking the gloomy bonds of the past is a mournful task.

It was observed that she wrote twice a month at leastand that she
paid the carriage on the letter. They managed to obtain the address:
MonsieurMonsieur Thenardierinn-keeper at Montfermeil.
The public writera good old man who could not fill his stomach
with red wine without emptying his pocket of secretswas made to talk
in the wine-shop. In shortit was discovered that Fantine had a child.
She must be a pretty sort of a woman.An old gossip was found
who made the trip to Montfermeiltalked to the Thenardiersand said
on her return: "For my five and thirty francs I have freed my mind.
I have seen the child."

The gossip who did this thing was a gorgon named Madame Victurnien
the guardian and door-keeper of every one's virtue.
Madame Victurnien was fifty-sixand re-enforced the mask of ugliness
with the mask of age. A quavering voicea whimsical mind.
This old dame had once been young--astonishing fact! In her youth
in '93she had married a monk who had fled from his cloister
in a red capand passed from the Bernardines to the Jacobins.
She was dryroughpeevishsharpcaptiousalmost venomous;
all this in memory of her monkwhose widow she wasand who
had ruled over her masterfully and bent her to his will.
She was a nettle in which the rustle of the cassock was visible.
At the Restoration she had turned bigotand that with so much energy
that the priests had forgiven her her monk. She had a small property
which she bequeathed with much ostentation to a religious community.
She was in high favor at the episcopal palace of Arras. So this
Madame Victurnien went to Montfermeiland returned with the remark
I have seen the child.

All this took time. Fantine had been at the factory for more than
a yearwhenone morningthe superintendent of the workroom handed
her fifty francs from the mayortold her that she was no longer
employed in the shopand requested herin the mayor's name
to leave the neighborhood.

This was the very month when the Thenardiersafter having demanded
twelve francs instead of sixhad just exacted fifteen francs
instead of twelve.

Fantine was overwhelmed. She could not leave the neighborhood;
she was in debt for her rent and furniture. Fifty francs was not
sufficient to cancel this debt. She stammered a few supplicating words.
The superintendent ordered her to leave the shop on the instant.
BesidesFantine was only a moderately good workwoman.
Overcome with shameeven more than with despairshe quitted the shop
and returned to her room. So her fault was now known to every one.

She no longer felt strong enough to say a word. She was advised to see
the mayor; she did not dare. The mayor had given her fifty francs
because he was goodand had dismissed her because he was just.
She bowed before the decision.



So the monk's widow was good for something.

But M. Madeleine had heard nothing of all this. Life is full
of just such combinations of events. M. Madeleine was in the habit
of almost never entering the women's workroom.

At the head of this room he had placed an elderly spinster
whom the priest had provided for himand he had full confidence
in this superintendent--a truly respectable personfirmequitable
uprightfull of the charity which consists in givingbut not having
in the same degree that charity which consists in understanding and
in forgiving. M. Madeleine relied wholly on her. The best men are
often obliged to delegate their authority. It was with this full power
and the conviction that she was doing rightthat the superintendent
had instituted the suitjudgedcondemnedand executed Fantine.

As regards the fifty francsshe had given them from a fund
which M. Madeleine had intrusted to her for charitable purposes
and for giving assistance to the workwomenand of which she
rendered no account.

Fantine tried to obtain a situation as a servant in the neighborhood;
she went from house to house. No one would have her. She could
not leave town. The second-hand dealerto whom she was in debt
for her furniture--and what furniture!--said to herIf you leave,
I will have you arrested as a thief.The householderwhom she
owed for her rentsaid to herYou are young and pretty;
you can pay.She divided the fifty francs between the landlord
and the furniture-dealerreturned to the latter three-quarters
of his goodskept only necessariesand found herself without work
without a tradewith nothing but her bedand still about fifty
francs in debt.

She began to make coarse shirts for soldiers of the garrison
and earned twelve sous a day. Her daughter cost her ten. It was
at this point that she began to pay the Thenardiers irregularly.

Howeverthe old woman who lighted her candle for her when she
returned at nighttaught her the art of living in misery.
Back of living on littlethere is the living on nothing.
These are the two chambers; the first is darkthe second is black.

Fantine learned how to live without fire entirely in the winter;
how to give up a bird which eats a half a farthing's worth of
millet every two days; how to make a coverlet of one's petticoat
and a petticoat of one's coverlet; how to save one's candle
by taking one's meals by the light of the opposite window.
No one knows all that certain feeble creatureswho have grown old
in privation and honestycan get out of a sou. It ends by being
a talent. Fantine acquired this sublime talentand regained a
little courage.

At this epoch she said to a neighborBah! I say to myself, by only
sleeping five hours, and working all the rest of the time at my sewing,
I shall always manage to nearly earn my bread. And, then, when one
is sad, one eats less. Well, sufferings, uneasiness, a little
bread on one hand, trouble on the other,--all this will support me.

It would have been a great happiness to have her little girl with her
in this distress. She thought of having her come. But what then!
Make her share her own destitution! And thenshe was in debt
to the Thenardiers! How could she pay them? And the journey!
How pay for that?

The old woman who had given her lessons in what may be called
the life of indigencewas a sainted spinster named Marguerite
who was pious with a true pietypoor and charitable towards the poor
and even towards the richknowing how to write just sufficiently
to sign herself Margueriteand believing in Godwhich is science.

There are many such virtuous people in this lower world; some day
they will be in the world above. This life has a morrow.

At firstFantine had been so ashamed that she had not dared to go out.

When she was in the streetshe divined that people turned round
behind herand pointed at her; every one stared at her and no one
greeted her; the cold and bitter scorn of the passers-by penetrated
her very flesh and soul like a north wind.

It seems as though an unfortunate woman were utterly bare beneath
the sarcasm and the curiosity of all in small towns. In Paris
at leastno one knows youand this obscurity is a garment.
Oh! how she would have liked to betake herself to Paris! Impossible!

She was obliged to accustom herself to disreputeas she had accustomed
herself to indigence. Gradually she decided on her course.
At the expiration of two or three months she shook off her shame
and began to go about as though there were nothing the matter.
It is all the same to me,she said.

She went and camebearing her head well upwith a bitter smile
and was conscious that she was becoming brazen-faced.

Madame Victurnien sometimes saw her passingfrom her window
noticed the distress of "that creature" whothanks to her,
had been "put back in her proper place and congratulated herself.
The happiness of the evil-minded is black.

Excess of toil wore out Fantine, and the little dry cough which
troubled her increased. She sometimes said to her neighbor,
Marguerite, Just feel how hot my hands are!"

Neverthelesswhen she combed her beautiful hair in the morning
with an old broken comband it flowed about her like floss silk
she experienced a moment of happy coquetry.



She had been dismissed towards the end of the winter; the summer passed
but winter came again. Short daysless work. Winter: no warmth

no lightno noondaythe evening joining on to the morning
fogstwilight; the window is gray; it is impossible to see
clearly at it. The sky is but a vent-hole. The whole day is
a cavern. The sun has the air of a beggar. A frightful season!
Winter changes the water of heaven and the heart of man into a stone.
Her creditors harrassed her.

Fantine earned too little. Her debts had increased. The Thenardiers
who were not promptly paidwrote to her constantly letters whose
contents drove her to despairand whose carriage ruined her.
One day they wrote to her that her little Cosette was entirely
naked in that cold weatherthat she needed a woollen skirt
and that her mother must send at least ten francs for this.
She received the letterand crushed it in her hands all day long.
That evening she went into a barber's shop at the corner of the street
and pulled out her comb. Her admirable golden hair fell to
her knees.

What splendid hair!exclaimed the barber.

How much will you give me for it?said she.

Ten francs.

Cut it off.

She purchased a knitted petticoat and sent it to the Thenardiers.
This petticoat made the Thenardiers furious. It was the money that
they wanted. They gave the petticoat to Eponine. The poor Lark
continued to shiver.

Fantine thought: "My child is no longer cold. I have clothed
her with my hair." She put on little round caps which concealed
her shorn headand in which she was still pretty.

Dark thoughts held possession of Fantine's heart.

When she saw that she could no longer dress her hairshe began
to hate every one about her. She had long shared the universal
veneration for Father Madeleine; yetby dint of repeating to herself
that it was he who had discharged herthat he was the cause
of her unhappinessshe came to hate him alsoand most of all.
When she passed the factory in working hourswhen the workpeople
were at the doorshe affected to laugh and sing.

An old workwoman who once saw her laughing and singing in this
fashion saidThere's a girl who will come to a bad end.

She took a lover, the first who offered, a man whom she did not love,
out of bravado and with rage in her heart. He was a miserable scamp,
a sort of mendicant musician, a lazy beggar, who beat her, and who
abandoned her as she had taken him, in disgust.

She adored her child.

The lower she descended, the darker everything grew about her,
the more radiant shone that little angel at the bottom of her heart.
She said, When I get richI will have my Cosette with me;"
and she laughed. Her cough did not leave herand she had sweats on
her back.

One day she received from the Thenardiers a letter couched in the
following terms: "Cosette is ill with a malady which is going
the rounds of the neighborhood. A miliary feverthey call it.

Expensive drugs are required. This is ruining usand we can no
longer pay for them. If you do not send us forty francs before
the week is outthe little one will be dead."

She burst out laughingand said to her old neighbor: "Ah! they
are good! Forty francs! the idea! That makes two napoleons!
Where do they think I am to get them? These peasants are stupidtruly."

Nevertheless she went to a dormer window in the staircase and read
the letter once more. Then she descended the stairs and emerged
running and leaping and still laughing.

Some one met her and said to herWhat makes you so gay?

She replied: "A fine piece of stupidity that some country people
have written to me. They demand forty francs of me. So much for you
you peasants!"

As she crossed the squareshe saw a great many people collected
around a carriage of eccentric shapeupon the top of which stood
a man dressed in redwho was holding forth. He was a quack
dentist on his roundswho was offering to the public full sets
of teethopiatespowders and elixirs.

Fantine mingled in the groupand began to laugh with the rest
at the haranguewhich contained slang for the populace and jargon
for respectable people. The tooth-puller espied the lovely
laughing girland suddenly exclaimed: "You have beautiful teeth
you girl therewho are laughing; if you want to sell me your palettes
I will give you a gold napoleon apiece for them."

What are my palettes?asked Fantine.

The palettes,replied the dental professorare the front teeth,
the two upper ones.

How horrible!exclaimed Fantine.

Two napoleons!grumbled a toothless old woman who was present.
Here's a lucky girl!

Fantine fled and stopped her ears that she might not hear the hoarse
voice of the man shouting to her: "Reflectmy beauty! two napoleons;
they may prove of service. If your heart bids youcome this
evening to the inn of the Tillac d'Argent; you will find me there."

Fantine returned home. She was furiousand related the occurrence
to her good neighbor Marguerite: "Can you understand such a thing?
Is he not an abominable man? How can they allow such people to go about
the country! Pull out my two front teeth! WhyI should be horrible!
My hair will grow againbut my teeth! Ah! what a monster of a man!
I should prefer to throw myself head first on the pavement from the
fifth story! He told me that he should be at the Tillac d'Argent
this evening."

And what did he offer?asked Marguerite.

Two napoleons.

That makes forty francs.

Yes,said Fantine; "that makes forty francs."

She remained thoughtfuland began her work. At the expiration

of a quarter of an hour she left her sewing and went to read
the Thenardiers' letter once more on the staircase.

On her returnshe said to Margueritewho was at work beside her:-

What is a miliary fever? Do you know?

Yes,answered the old spinster; "it is a disease."

Does it require many drugs?

Oh! terrible drugs.

How does one get it?

It is a malady that one gets without knowing how.

Then it attacks children?

Children in particular.

Do people die of it?

They may,said Marguerite.

Fantine left the room and went to read her letter once more on
the staircase.

That evening she went outand was seen to turn her steps in the
direction of the Rue de Pariswhere the inns are situated.

The next morningwhen Marguerite entered Fantine's room
before daylight--for they always worked togetherand in this
manner used only one candle for the two--she found Fantine
seated on her bedpale and frozen. She had not lain down.
Her cap had fallen on her knees. Her candle had burned all night
and was almost entirely consumed. Marguerite halted on the threshold
petrified at this tremendous wastefulnessand exclaimed:-

Lord! the candle is all burned out! Something has happened.

Then she looked at Fantinewho turned toward her her head bereft
of its hair.

Fantine had grown ten years older since the preceding night.

Jesus!said Margueritewhat is the matter with you, Fantine?

Nothing,replied Fantine. "Quite the contrary. My child will
not die of that frightful maladyfor lack of succor. I am content."

So sayingshe pointed out to the spinster two napoleons which were
glittering on the table.

Ah! Jesus God!cried Marguerite. "Whyit is a fortune!
Where did you get those louis d'or?"

I got them,replied Fantine.

At the same time she smiled. The candle illuminated her countenance.
It was a bloody smile. A reddish saliva soiled the corners of her lips
and she had a black hole in her mouth.

The two teeth had been extracted.

She sent the forty francs to Montfermeil.

After all it was a ruse of the Thenardiers to obtain money.
Cosette was not ill.

Fantine threw her mirror out of the window. She had long since
quitted her cell on the second floor for an attic with only a latch
to fasten itnext the roof; one of those attics whose extremity forms
an angle with the floorand knocks you on the head every instant.
The poor occupant can reach the end of his chamber as he can
the end of his destinyonly by bending over more and more.

She had no longer a bed; a rag which she called her coverlet
a mattress on the floorand a seatless chair still remained.
A little rosebush which she hadhad dried upforgottenin one corner.
In the other corner was a butter-pot to hold waterwhich froze
in winterand in which the various levels of the water remained
long marked by these circles of ice. She had lost her shame;
she lost her coquetry. A final sign. She went outwith dirty caps.
Whether from lack of time or from indifferenceshe no longer mended
her linen. As the heels wore outshe dragged her stockings down
into her shoes. This was evident from the perpendicular wrinkles.
She patched her bodicewhich was old and worn outwith scraps
of calico which tore at the slightest movement. The people
to whom she was indebted made "scenes" and gave her no peace.
She found them in the streetshe found them again on her staircase.
She passed many a night weeping and thinking. Her eyes were
very brightand she felt a steady pain in her shoulder towards
the top of the left shoulder-blade. She coughed a great deal.
She deeply hated Father Madeleinebut made no complaint. She sewed
seventeen hours a day; but a contractor for the work of prisons
who made the prisoners work at a discountsuddenly made prices fall
which reduced the daily earnings of working-women to nine sous.
Seventeen hours of toiland nine sous a day! Her creditors were more
pitiless than ever. The second-hand dealerwho had taken back nearly
all his furnituresaid to her incessantlyWhen will you pay me,
you hussy?What did they want of hergood God! She felt that she
was being huntedand something of the wild beast developed in her.
About the same timeThenardier wrote to her that he had waited
with decidedly too much amiability and that he must have a hundred
francs at once; otherwise he would turn little Cosette out of doors
convalescent as she was from her heavy illnessinto the cold
and the streetsand that she might do what she liked with herself
and die if she chose. "A hundred francs thought Fantine.
But in what trade can one earn a hundred sous a day?"

Come!said shelet us sell what is left.

The unfortunate girl became a woman of the town.



What is this history of Fantine? It is society purchasing a slave.

From whom? From misery.

From hungercoldisolationdestitution. A dolorous bargain.
A soul for a morsel of bread. Misery offers; society accepts.

The sacred law of Jesus Christ governs our civilizationbut it
does notas yetpermeate it; it is said that slavery has disappeared
from European civilization. This is a mistake. It still exists;
but it weighs only upon the womanand it is called prostitution.

It weighs upon the womanthat is to sayupon graceweakness
beautymaternity. This is not one of the least of man's disgraces.

At the point in this melancholy drama which we have now reached
nothing is left to Fantine of that which she had formerly been.

She has become marble in becoming mire. Whoever touches her feels cold.
She passes; she endures you; she ignores you; she is the severe
and dishonored figure. Life and the social order have said their
last word for her. All has happened to her that will happen to her.
She has felt everythingborne everythingexperienced everything
suffered everythinglost everythingmourned everything.
She is resignedwith that resignation which resembles indifference
as death resembles sleep. She no longer avoids anything.
Let all the clouds fall upon herand all the ocean sweep over her!
What matters it to her? She is a sponge that is soaked.

At leastshe believes it to be so; but it is an error to imagine
that fate can be exhaustedand that one has reached the bottom
of anything whatever.

Alas! What are all these fatesdriven on pell-mell? Whither
are they going? Why are they thus?

He who knows that sees the whole of the shadow.

He is alone. His name is God.


There is in all small townsand there was at M. sur M. in particular
a class of young men who nibble away an income of fifteen hundred
francs with the same air with which their prototypes devour
two hundred thousand francs a year in Paris. These are beings
of the great neuter species: impotent menparasitescyphers
who have a little landa little follya little wit; who would
be rustics in a drawing-roomand who think themselves gentlemen
in the dram-shop; who sayMy fields, my peasants, my woods;
who hiss actresses at the theatre to prove that they are persons
of taste; quarrel with the officers of the garrison to prove that
they are men of war; huntsmokeyawndrinksmell of tobacco
play billiardsstare at travellers as they descend from the diligence
live at the cafedine at the innhave a dog which eats the bones
under the tableand a mistress who eats the dishes on the table;
who stick at a souexaggerate the fashionsadmire tragedy
despise womenwear out their old bootscopy London through Paris
and Paris through the medium of Pont-A-Moussongrow old as dullards
never workserve no useand do no great harm.

M. Felix Tholomyeshad he remained in his own province and never
beheld Pariswould have been one of these men.
If they were richerone would sayThey are dandies;if they

were poorerone would sayThey are idlers.They are simply
men without employment. Among these unemployed there are bores
the boreddreamersand some knaves.

At that period a dandy was composed of a tall collara big cravat
a watch with trinketsthree vests of different colorsworn one
on top of the other--the red and blue inside; of a short-waisted
olive coatwith a codfish taila double row of silver buttons
set close to each other and running up to the shoulder; and a pair
of trousers of a lighter shade of oliveornamented on the two
seams with an indefinitebut always unevennumber of lines
varying from one to eleven--a limit which was never exceeded.
Add to thishigh shoes with little irons on the heelsa tall
hat with a narrow brimhair worn in a tuftan enormous cane
and conversation set off by puns of Potier. Over allspurs and
a mustache. At that epoch mustaches indicated the bourgeois
and spurs the pedestrian.

The provincial dandy wore the longest of spurs and the fiercest
of mustaches.

It was the period of the conflict of the republics of South
America with the King of Spainof Bolivar against Morillo.
Narrow-brimmed hats were royalistand were called morillos;
liberals wore hats with wide brimswhich were called bolivars.

Eight or ten monthsthenafter that which is related in the
preceding pagestowards the first of January1823on a snowy evening
one of these dandiesone of these unemployeda "right thinker
for he wore a morillo, and was, moreover, warmly enveloped in one
of those large cloaks which completed the fashionable costume
in cold weather, was amusing himself by tormenting a creature
who was prowling about in a ball-dress, with neck uncovered and
flowers in her hair, in front of the officers' cafe. This dandy
was smoking, for he was decidedly fashionable.

Each time that the woman passed in front of him, he bestowed on her,
together with a puff from his cigar, some apostrophe which he
considered witty and mirthful, such as, How ugly you are!--
Will you get out of my sight?--You have no teeth!" etc.etc.
This gentleman was known as M. Bamatabois. The womana melancholy
decorated spectre which went and came through the snow
made him no replydid not even glance at himand nevertheless
continued her promenade in silenceand with a sombre regularity
which brought her every five minutes within reach of this sarcasm
like the condemned soldier who returns under the rods. The small
effect which he produced no doubt piqued the lounger; and taking
advantage of a moment when her back was turnedhe crept up behind
her with the gait of a wolfand stifling his laughbent down
picked up a handful of snow from the pavementand thrust it abruptly
into her backbetween her bare shoulders. The woman uttered a roar
whirled roundgave a leap like a pantherand hurled herself upon
the manburying her nails in his facewith the most frightful words
which could fall from the guard-room into the gutter. These insults
poured forth in a voice roughened by brandydidindeedproceed in
hideous wise from a mouth which lacked its two front teeth.
It was Fantine.

At the noise thus producedthe officers ran out in throngs from
the cafepassers-by collectedand a large and merry circle
hooting and applaudingwas formed around this whirlwind composed
of two beingswhom there was some difficulty in recognizing
as a man and a woman: the man strugglinghis hat on the ground;
the woman striking out with feet and fistsbareheadedhowling

minus hair and teethlivid with wrathhorrible.

Suddenly a man of lofty stature emerged vivaciously from the crowd
seized the woman by her satin bodicewhich was covered with mud
and said to herFollow me!

The woman raised her head; her furious voice suddenly died away.
Her eyes were glassy; she turned pale instead of lividand she
trembled with a quiver of terror. She had recognized Javert.

The dandy took advantage of the incident to make his escape.



Javert thrust aside the spectatorsbroke the circleand set out
with long strides towards the police stationwhich is situated at
the extremity of the squaredragging the wretched woman after him.
She yielded mechanically. Neither he nor she uttered a word.
The cloud of spectators followedjestingin a paroxysm of delight.
Supreme misery an occasion for obscenity.

On arriving at the police stationwhich was a low roomwarmed by
a stovewith a glazed and grated door opening on the streetand guarded
by a detachmentJavert opened the doorentered with Fantineand shut
the door behind himto the great disappointment of the curious
who raised themselves on tiptoeand craned their necks in front
of the thick glass of the station-housein their effort to see.
Curiosity is a sort of gluttony. To see is to devour.

On enteringFantine fell down in a cornermotionless and mute
crouching down like a terrified dog.

The sergeant of the guard brought a lighted candle to the table.
Javert seated himselfdrew a sheet of stamped paper from his pocket
and began to write.

This class of women is consigned by our laws entirely to the discretion
of the police. The latter do what they pleasepunish them
as seems good to themand confiscate at their will those two
sorry things which they entitle their industry and their liberty.
Javert was impassive; his grave face betrayed no emotion whatever.
Neverthelesshe was seriously and deeply preoccupied. It was
one of those moments when he was exercising without control
but subject to all the scruples of a severe consciencehis redoubtable
discretionary power. At that moment he was conscious that his
police agent's stool was a tribunal. He was entering judgment.
He judged and condemned. He summoned all the ideas which could
possibly exist in his mindaround the great thing which he was doing.
The more he examined the deed of this womanthe more shocked he felt.
It was evident that he had just witnessed the commission of a crime.
He had just beheldyonderin the streetsocietyin the person
of a freeholder and an electorinsulted and attacked by a creature
who was outside all pales. A prostitute had made an attempt on
the life of a citizen. He had seen thatheJavert. He wrote
in silence.

When he had finished he signed the paperfolded itand said
to the sergeant of the guardas he handed it to himTake three
men and conduct this creature to jail.

Thenturning to FantineYou are to have six months of it.
The unhappy woman shuddered.

Six months! six months of prison!she exclaimed. "Six months
in which to earn seven sous a day! But what will become of Cosette?
My daughter! my daughter! But I still owe the Thenardiers over a
hundred francs; do you know thatMonsieur Inspector?"

She dragged herself across the damp flooramong the muddy boots
of all those menwithout risingwith clasped handsand taking
great strides on her knees.

Monsieur Javert,said sheI beseech your mercy. I assure
you that I was not in the wrong. If you had seen the beginning,
you would have seen. I swear to you by the good God that I was
not to blame! That gentleman, the bourgeois, whom I do not know,
put snow in my back. Has any one the right to put snow down our backs
when we are walking along peaceably, and doing no harm to any one?
I am rather ill, as you see. And then, he had been saying impertinent
things to me for a long time: `You are ugly! you have no teeth!'
I know well that I have no longer those teeth. I did nothing;
I said to myself, `The gentleman is amusing himself.' I was
honest with him; I did not speak to him. It was at that moment
that he put the snow down my back. Monsieur Javert, good Monsieur
Inspector! is there not some person here who saw it and can tell
you that this is quite true? Perhaps I did wrong to get angry.
You know that one is not master of one's self at the first moment.
One gives way to vivacity; and then, when some one puts something
cold down your back just when you are not expecting it! I did wrong
to spoil that gentleman's hat. Why did he go away? I would ask
his pardon. Oh, my God! It makes no difference to me whether I ask
his pardon. Do me the favor to-day, for this once, Monsieur Javert.
Hold! you do not know that in prison one can earn only seven sous a day;
it is not the government's fault, but seven sous is one's earnings;
and just fancy, I must pay one hundred francs, or my little girl
will be sent to me. Oh, my God! I cannot have her with me.
What I do is so vile! Oh, my Cosette! Oh, my little angel of the Holy
Virgin! what will become of her, poor creature? I will tell you:
it is the Thenardiers, inn-keepers, peasants; and such people
are unreasonable. They want money. Don't put me in prison!
You see, there is a little girl who will be turned out into the street
to get along as best she may, in the very heart of the winter;
and you must have pity on such a being, my good Monsieur Javert.
If she were older, she might earn her living; but it cannot be done
at that age. I am not a bad woman at bottom. It is not cowardliness
and gluttony that have made me what I am. If I have drunk brandy,
it was out of misery. I do not love it; but it benumbs the senses.
When I was happy, it was only necessary to glance into my closets,
and it would have been evident that I was not a coquettish and
untidy woman. I had linen, a great deal of linen. Have pity on me,
Monsieur Javert!

She spoke thusrent in twainshaken with sobsblinded with tears
her neck barewringing her handsand coughing with a dry
short coughstammering softly with a voice of agony. Great sorrow
is a divine and terrible raywhich transfigures the unhappy.
At that moment Fantine had become beautiful once more. From time
to time she pausedand tenderly kissed the police agent's coat.
She would have softened a heart of granite; but a heart of wood cannot
be softened.

Come!said JavertI have heard you out. Have you entirely finished?
You will get six months. Now march! The Eternal Father in person

could do nothing more.

At these solemn wordsthe Eternal Father in person could
do nothing more,she understood that her fate was sealed.
She sank downmurmuringMercy!

Javert turned his back.

The soldiers seized her by the arms.

A few moments earlier a man had enteredbut no one had paid
any heed to him. He shut the doorleaned his back against it
and listened to Fantine's despairing supplications.

At the instant when the soldiers laid their hands upon the
unfortunate womanwho would not risehe emerged from the shadow
and said:-

One moment, if you please.

Javert raised his eyes and recognized M. Madeleine. He removed
his hatandsaluting him with a sort of aggrieved awkwardness:-

Excuse me, Mr. Mayor--

The words "Mr. Mayor" produced a curious effect upon Fantine.
She rose to her feet with one boundlike a spectre springing from
the earththrust aside the soldiers with both armswalked straight
up to M. Madeleine before any one could prevent herand gazing
intently at himwith a bewildered airshe cried:-

Ah! so it is you who are M. le Maire!

Then she burst into a laughand spit in his face.

M. Madeleine wiped his faceand said:-"
Inspector Javertset this woman at liberty."

Javert felt that he was on the verge of going mad. He experienced
at that momentblow upon blow and almost simultaneouslythe most
violent emotions which he had ever undergone in all his life.
To see a woman of the town spit in the mayor's face was a
thing so monstrous thatin his most daring flights of fancy
he would have regarded it as a sacrilege to believe it possible.
On the other handat the very bottom of his thoughthe made
a hideous comparison as to what this woman wasand as to what this
mayor might be; and then hewith horrorcaught a glimpse of I
know not what simple explanation of this prodigious attack.
But when he beheld that mayorthat magistratecalmly wipe his
face and saySet this woman at liberty,he underwent a sort
of intoxication of amazement; thought and word failed him equally;
the sum total of possible astonishment had been exceeded in his case.
He remained mute.

The words had produced no less strange an effect on Fantine.
She raised her bare armand clung to the damper of the stove
like a person who is reeling. Neverthelessshe glanced about her
and began to speak in a low voiceas though talking to herself:--

At liberty! I am to be allowed to go! I am not to go to prison
for six months! Who said that? It is not possible that any one
could have said that. I did not hear aright. It cannot have been
that monster of a mayor! Was it you, my good Monsieur Javert,

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

M. Madeleine listened to her with profound attention. While she
was speakinghe fumbled in his waistcoatdrew out his purse
and opened it. It was empty. He put it back in his pocket.
He said to FantineHow much did you say that you owed?
Fantinewho was looking at Javert onlyturned towards him:--

Was I speaking to you?

Thenaddressing the soldiers:--

Say, you fellows, did you see how I spit in his face?
Ah! you old wretch of a mayor, you came here to frighten me,
but I'm not afraid of you. I am afraid of Monsieur Javert.
I am afraid of my good Monsieur Javert!

So sayingshe turned to the inspector again:--

And yet, you see, Mr. Inspector, it is necessary to be just.
I understand that you are just, Mr. Inspector; in fact, it is
perfectly simple: a man amuses himself by putting snow down a
woman's back, and that makes the officers laugh; one must divert
themselves in some way; and we--well, we are here for them to amuse
themselves with, of course! And then, you, you come; you are
certainly obliged to preserve order, you lead off the woman who is
in the wrong; but on reflection, since you are a good man, you say
that I am to be set at liberty; it is for the sake of the little one,
for six months in prison would prevent my supporting my child.
`Only, don't do it again, you hussy!' Oh! I won't do it again,
Monsieur Javert! They may do whatever they please to me now;
I will not stir. But to-day, you see, I cried because it hurt me.
I was not expecting that snow from the gentleman at all; and then
as I told you, I am not well; I have a cough; I seem to have a
burning ball in my stomach, and the doctor tells me, `Take care
of yourself.' Here, feel, give me your hand; don't be afraid--
it is here.

She no longer wepther voice was caressing; she placed Javert's
coarse hand on her delicatewhite throat and looked smilingly
at him.

All at once she rapidly adjusted her disordered garmentsdropped the
folds of her skirtwhich had been pushed up as she dragged herself along
almost to the height of her kneeand stepped towards the door
saying to the soldiers in a low voiceand with a friendly nod:--

Children, Monsieur l'Inspecteur has said that I am to be released,
and I am going.

She laid her hand on the latch of the door. One step more and she
would be in the street.

Javert up to that moment had remained erectmotionlesswith his
eyes fixed on the groundcast athwart this scene like some
displaced statuewhich is waiting to be put away somewhere.

The sound of the latch roused him. He raised his head with an
expression of sovereign authorityan expression all the more
alarming in proportion as the authority rests on a low level
ferocious in the wild beastatrocious in the man of no estate.

Sergeant!he crieddon't you see that that jade is walking off!
Who bade you let her go?

I,said Madeleine.

Fantine trembled at the sound of Javert's voiceand let go of the
latch as a thief relinquishes the article which he has stolen.
At the sound of Madeleine's voice she turned aroundand from that moment
forth she uttered no wordnor dared so much as to breathe freely
but her glance strayed from Madeleine to Javertand from Javert
to Madeleine in turnaccording to which was speaking.

It was evident that Javert must have been exasperated beyond
measure before he would permit himself to apostrophize the sergeant
as he had doneafter the mayor's suggestion that Fantine should
be set at liberty. Had he reached the point of forgetting the
mayor's presence? Had he finally declared to himself that it was
impossible that any "authority" should have given such an order
and that the mayor must certainly have said one thing by mistake
for anotherwithout intending it? Orin view of the enormities
of which he had been a witness for the past two hoursdid he say
to himselfthat it was necessary to recur to supreme resolutions
that it was indispensable that the small should be made great
that the police spy should transform himself into a magistrate
that the policeman should become a dispenser of justiceand that
in this prodigious extremityorderlawmoralitygovernment
society in its entiretywas personified in himJavert?

However that may bewhen M. Madeleine uttered that word_I_as we
have just heardPolice Inspector Javert was seen to turn toward
the mayorpalecoldwith blue lipsand a look of despair
his whole body agitated by an imperceptible quiver and an unprecedented
occurrenceand say to himwith downcast eyes but a firm voice:--

Mr. Mayor, that cannot be.

Why not?said M. Madeleine.

This miserable woman has insulted a citizen.

Inspector Javert,replied the mayorin a calm and conciliating
tonelisten. You are an honest man, and I feel no hesitation
in explaining matters to you. Here is the true state of the case:
I was passing through the square just as you were leading this
woman away; there were still groups of people standing about,
and I made inquiries and learned everything; it was the townsman
who was in the wrong and who should have been arrested by properly
conducted police.

Javert retorted:-

This wretch has just insulted Monsieur le Maire.

That concerns me,said M. Madeleine. "My own insult belongs to me
I think. I can do what I please about it."

I beg Monsieur le Maire's pardon. The insult is not to him
but to the law.

Inspector Javert,replied M. Madeleinethe highest law
is conscience. I have heard this woman; I know what I am doing.

And I, Mr. Mayor, do not know what I see.

Then content yourself with obeying.

I am obeying my duty. My duty demands that this woman shall serve
six months in prison.

M. Madeleine replied gently:-"
Heed this well; she will not serve a single day."

At this decisive wordJavert ventured to fix a searching look
on the mayor and to saybut in a tone of voice that was still
profoundly respectful:--

I am sorry to oppose Monsieur le Maire; it is for the first time
in my life, but he will permit me to remark that I am within the
bounds of my authority. I confine myself, since Monsieur le Maire
desires it, to the question of the gentleman. I was present.
This woman flung herself on Monsieur Bamatabnois, who is an
elector and the proprietor of that handsome house with a balcony,
which forms the corner of the esplanade, three stories high and
entirely of cut stone. Such things as there are in the world!
In any case, Monsieur le Maire, this is a question of police
regulations in the streets, and concerns me, and I shall detain
this woman Fantine.

Then M. Madeleine folded his armsand said in a severe voice
which no one in the town had heard hitherto:--

The matter to which you refer is one connected with the
municipal police. According to the terms of articles nine,
eleven, fifteen, and sixty-six of the code of criminal examination,
I am the judge. I order that this woman shall be set at liberty.

Javert ventured to make a final effort.

But, Mr. Mayor--

I refer you to article eighty-one of the law of the 13th
of December, 1799, in regard to arbitrary detention.

Monsieur le Maire, permit me--

Not another word.


Leave the room,said M. Madeleine.

Javert received the blow erectfull in the facein his breast
like a Russian soldier. He bowed to the very earth before the mayor
and left the room.

Fantine stood aside from the door and stared at him in amazement
as he passed.

Neverthelessshe also was the prey to a strange confusion. She had
just seen herself a subject of dispute between two opposing powers.
She had seen two men who held in their hands her libertyher life
her soulher childin combat before her very eyes; one of these men
was drawing her towards darknessthe other was leading her back
towards the light. In this conflictviewed through the exaggerations
of terrorthese two men had appeared to her like two giants;
the one spoke like her demonthe other like her good angel.
The angel had conquered the demonandstrange to saythat which
made her shudder from head to foot was the fact that this angel
this liberatorwas the very man whom she abhorredthat mayor whom she
had so long regarded as the author of all her woesthat Madeleine!
And at the very moment when she had insulted him in so hideous
a fashionhe had saved her! Had shethenbeen mistaken?
Must she change her whole soul? She did not know; she trembled.
She listened in bewildermentshe looked on in affrightand at every
word uttered by M. Madeleine she felt the frightful shades of hatred
crumble and melt within herand something warm and ineffable
indescribablewhich was both joyconfidence and lovedawn in
her heart.

When Javert had taken his departureM. Madeleine turned to her
and said to her in a deliberate voicelike a serious man who does
not wish to weep and who finds some difficulty in speaking:--

I have heard you. I knew nothing about what you have mentioned.
I believe that it is true, and I feel that it is true. I was even
ignorant of the fact that you had left my shop. Why did you not apply
to me? But here; I will pay your debts, I will send for your child,
or you shall go to her. You shall live here, in Paris, or where
you please. I undertake the care of your child and yourself. You shall
not work any longer if you do not like. I will give all the money
you require. You shall be honest and happy once more. And listen!
I declare to you that if all is as you say,--and I do not doubt it,--
you have never ceased to be virtuous and holy in the sight of God.
Oh! poor woman.

This was more than Fantine could bear. To have Cosette! To leave this
life of infamy. To live freerichhappyrespectable with Cosette;
to see all these realities of paradise blossom of a sudden in the
midst of her misery. She stared stupidly at this man who was talking
to herand could only give vent to two or three sobsOh! Oh! Oh!

Her limbs gave way beneath hershe knelt in front of M. Madeleine
and before he could prevent her he felt her grasp his hand and press
her lips to it.

Then she fainted.




M. Madeleine had Fantine removed to that infirmary which he had
established in his own house. He confided her to the sisters
who put her to bed. A burning fever had come on. She passed a part
of the night in delirium and raving. At lengthhowevershe fell asleep.
On the morrowtowards middayFantine awoke. She heard some one
breathing close to her bed; she drew aside the curtain and saw

M. Madeleine standing there and looking at something over her head.
His gaze was full of pityanguishand supplication. She followed
its directionand saw that it was fixed on a crucifix which was
nailed to the wall.
ThenceforthM. Madeleine was transfigured in Fantine's eyes. He seemed
to her to be clothed in light. He was absorbed in a sort of prayer.
She gazed at him for a long time without daring to interrupt him.
At last she said timidly:--

What are you doing?

M. Madeleine had been there for an hour. He had been waiting
for Fantine to awake. He took her handfelt of her pulse
and replied:-"
How do you feel?"

Well, I have slept,she replied; "I think that I am better
It is nothing."

He answeredresponding to the first question which she had put
to him as though he had just heard it:-

I was praying to the martyr there on high.

And he added in his own mindFor the martyr here below.

M. Madeleine had passed the night and the
morning in making inquiries. He knew all now.
He knew Fantine's history in all its heart-rending details. He went on:-"
You have suffered muchpoor mother. Oh! do not complain; you now
have the dowry of the elect. It is thus that men are transformed
into angels. It is not their fault they do not know how to go to
work otherwise. You see this hell from which you have just emerged
is the first form of heaven. It was necessary to begin there."

He sighed deeply. But she smiled on him with that sublime smile
in which two teeth were lacking.

That same nightJavert wrote a letter. The next morning be posted
it himself at the office of M. sur M. It was addressed to Paris
and the superscription ran: To Monsieur ChabouilletSecretary of
Monsieur le Prefet of Police. As the affair in the station-house
had been bruited aboutthe post-mistress and some other persons

who saw the letter before it was sent offand who recognized
Javert's handwriting on the coverthought that he was sending
in his resignation.

M.Madeleine made haste to write to the Thenardiers. Fantine owed them
one hundred and twenty francs. He sent them three hundred francs
telling them to pay themselves from that sumand to fetch the child
instantly to M. sur M.where her sick mother required her presence.

This dazzled Thenardier. "The devil!" said the man to his wife;
don't let's allow the child to go. This lark is going to turn
into a milch cow. I see through it. Some ninny has taken a fancy
to the mother.

He replied with a very well drawn-up bill for five hundred and some
odd francs. In this memorandum two indisputable items figured up
over three hundred francs--one for the doctorthe other for the
apothecary who had attended and physicked Eponine and Azelma through two
long illnesses. Cosetteas we have already saidhad not been ill.
It was only a question of a trifling substitution of names.
At the foot of the memorandum Thenardier wroteReceived on account
three hundred francs.

M. Madeleine immediately sent three hundred francs moreand wrote
Make haste to bring Cosette.
Christi!said Thenardierlet's not give up the child.

In the meantimeFantine did not recover. She still remained
in the infirmary.

The sisters had at first only received and nursed "that woman"
with repugnance. Those who have seen the bas-reliefs of Rheims
will recall the inflation of the lower lip of the wise virgins
as they survey the foolish virgins. The ancient scorn of the
vestals for the ambubajae is one of the most profound instincts
of feminine dignity; the sisters felt it with the double force
contributed by religion. But in a few days Fantine disarmed them.
She said all kinds of humble and gentle thingsand the mother
in her provoked tenderness. One day the sisters heard her say
amid her fever: "I have been a sinner; but when I have my
child beside meit will be a sign that God has pardoned me.
While I was leading a bad lifeI should not have liked to have my
Cosette with me; I could not have borne her sadastonished eyes.
It was for her sake that I did eviland that is why God pardons me.
I shall feel the benediction of the good God when Cosette is here.
I shall gaze at her; it will do me good to see that innocent creature.
She knows nothing at all. She is an angelyou seemy sisters.
At that age the wings have not fallen off."

M. Madeleine went to see her twice a dayand each time she asked him:-"
Shall I see my Cosette soon?"

He answered:-

To-morrow, perhaps. She may arrive at any moment. I am expecting her.

And the mother's pale face grew radiant.

Oh!she saidhow happy I am going to be!

We have just said that she did not recover her health. On the contrary
her condition seemed to become more grave from week to week.

That handful of snow applied to her bare skin between her
shoulder-blades had brought about a sudden suppression of perspiration
as a consequence of which the malady which had been smouldering
within her for many years was violently developed at last.
At that time people were beginning to follow the fine Laennec's
fine suggestions in the study and treatment of chest maladies.
The doctor sounded Fantine's chest and shook his head.

M. Madeleine said to the doctor:-"

Has she not a child which she desires to see?said the doctor.


Well! Make haste and get it here!

M. Madeleine shuddered.
Fantine inquired:-

What did the doctor say?

M. Madeleine forced himself to smile.
He said that your child was to be brought speedily. That that
would restore your health.

Oh!she rejoinedhe is right! But what do those Thenardiers
mean by keeping my Cosette from me! Oh! she is coming. At last I
behold happiness close beside me!

In the meantime Thenardier did not "let go of the child and gave
a hundred insufficient reasons for it. Cosette was not quite well
enough to take a journey in the winter. And then, there still
remained some petty but pressing debts in the neighborhood,
and they were collecting the bills for them, etc., etc.

I shall send some one to fetch Cosette!" said Father Madeleine.
If necessary, I will go myself.

He wrote the following letter to Fantine's dictationand made
her sign it:-

will deliver Cosette to this person.
You will be paid for all the little things.
I have the honor to salute you with respect.


In the meantime a serious incident occurred. Carve as we will
the mysterious block of which our life is madethe black vein
of destiny constantly reappears in it.



One morning M. Madeleine was in his studyoccupied in arranging
in advance some pressing matters connected with the mayor's office
in case he should decide to take the trip to Montfermeilwhen he
was informed that Police Inspector Javert was desirous of speaking
with him. Madeleine could not refrain from a disagreeable impression
on hearing this name. Javert had avoided him more than ever since
the affair of the police-stationand M. Madeleine had not seen him.

Admit him,he said.

Javert entered.

M. Madeleine had retained his seat near the firepen in hand
his eyes fixed on the docket which he was turning over and annotating
and which contained the trials of the commission on highways for
the infraction of police regulations. He did not disturb himself
on Javert's account. He could not help thinking of poor Fantine
and it suited him to be glacial in his manner.
Javert bestowed a respectful salute on the mayorwhose back
was turned to him. The mayor did not look at himbut went
on annotating this docket.

Javert advanced two or three paces into the studyand halted
without breaking the silence.

If any physiognomist who had been familiar with Javert
and who had made a lengthy study of this savage in the service
of civilizationthis singular composite of the Romanthe Spartan
the monkand the corporalthis spy who was incapable of a lie
this unspotted police agent--if any physiognomist had known his
secret and long-cherished aversion for M. Madeleinehis conflict
with the mayor on the subject of Fantineand had examined Javert at
that momenthe would have said to himselfWhat has taken place?
It was evident to any one acquainted with that clearuprightsincere
honestaustereand ferocious consciencethat Javert had but just
gone through some great interior struggle. Javert had nothing
in his soul which he had not also in his countenance. Like violent
people in generalhe was subject to abrupt changes of opinion.
His physiognomy had never been more peculiar and startling.
On entering he bowed to M. Madeleine with a look in which there was
neither rancorangernor distrust; he halted a few paces in the
rear of the mayor's arm-chairand there he stoodperfectly erect
in an attitude almost of disciplinewith the coldingenuous roughness
of a man who has never been gentle and who has always been patient;
he waited without uttering a wordwithout making a movement
in genuine humility and tranquil resignationcalmserioushat in
handwith eyes cast downand an expression which was half-way between
that of a soldier in the presence of his officer and a criminal
in the presence of his judgeuntil it should please the mayor
to turn round. All the sentiments as well as all the memories
which one might have attributed to him had disappeared. That face
as impenetrable and simple as graniteno longer bore any trace
of anything but a melancholy depression. His whole person breathed
lowliness and firmness and an indescribable courageous despondency.

At last the mayor laid down his pen and turned half round.

Well! What is it? What is the matter, Javert?

Javert remained silent for an instant as though collecting
his ideasthen raised his voice with a sort of sad solemnity
which did nothoweverpreclude simplicity.

This is the matter, Mr. Mayor; a culpable act has been committed.
What act?

An inferior agent of the authorities has failed in respect,
and in the gravest manner, towards a magistrate. I have come
to bring the fact to your knowledge, as it is my duty to do.

Who is the agent?asked M. Madeleine.
I,said Javert.


And who is the magistrate who has reason to complain of the agent?
You, Mr. Mayor.

M. Madeleine sat erect in his arm-chair. Javert went onwith a
severe air and his eyes still cast down.
Mr. Mayor, I have come to request you to instigate the authorities
to dismiss me.

M. Madeleine opened his mouth in amazement. Javert interrupted him:-"
You will say that I might have handed in my resignationbut that
does not suffice. Handing in one's resignation is honorable.
I have failed in my duty; I ought to be punished; I must be turned out."

And after a pause he added:-

Mr. Mayor, you were severe with me the other day, and unjustly.
Be so to-day, with justice.

Come, now! Why?exclaimed M. Madeleine. "What nonsense is this?
What is the meaning of this? What culpable act have you been guilty
of towards me? What have you done to me? What are your wrongs
with regard to me? You accuse yourself; you wish to be superseded--"

Turned out,said Javert.

Turned out; so it be, then. That is well. I do not understand.
You shall understand, Mr. Mayor.

Javert sighed from the very bottom of his chestand resumed
still coldly and sadly:-

Mr. Mayor, six weeks ago, in consequence of the scene over that woman,
I was furious, and I informed against you.

Informed against me!

At the Prefecture of Police in Paris.

M. Madeleinewho was not in the habit of laughing much oftener
than Javert himselfburst out laughing now:-"
As a mayor who had encroached on the province of the police?"
As an ex-convict.

The mayor turned livid.

Javertwho had not raised his eyeswent on:-

I thought it was so. I had had an idea for a long time;
a resemblance; inquiries which you had caused to be made at Faverolles;
the strength of your loins; the adventure with old Fauchelevant;
your skill in marksmanship; your leg, which you drag a little;--
I hardly know what all,--absurdities! But, at all events, I took you
for a certain Jean Valjean.

A certain--What did you say the name was?

Jean Valjean. He was a convict whom I was in the habit of seeing
twenty years ago, when I was adjutant-guard of convicts at Toulon.
On leaving the galleys, this Jean Valjean, as it appears, robbed a bishop;
then he committed another theft, accompanied with violence, on a public
highway on the person of a little Savoyard. He disappeared eight
years ago, no one knows how, and he has been sought, I fancied.
In short, I did this thing! Wrath impelled me; I denounced you
at the Prefecture!

M. Madeleinewho had taken up the docket again several moments
before thisresumed with an air of perfect indifference:-"
And what reply did you receive?"

That I was mad.


Well, they were right.

It is lucky that you recognize the fact.

I am forced to do so, since the real Jean Valjean has been found.

The sheet of paper which M. Madeleine was holding dropped from
his hand; he raised his headgazed fixedly at Javertand said
with his indescribable accent:-


Javert continued:-

This is the way it is, Mr. Mayor. It seems that there was in
the neighborhood near Ailly-le-Haut-Clocher an old fellow who was
called Father Champmathieu. He was a very wretched creature.
No one paid any attention to him. No one knows what such people
subsist on. Lately, last autumn, Father Champmathieu was arrested
for the theft of some cider apples from--Well, no matter, a theft
had been committed, a wall scaled, branches of trees broken.
My Champmathieu was arrested. He still had the branch of apple-tree
in his hand. The scamp is locked up. Up to this point it was merely
an affair of a misdemeanor. But here is where Providence intervened.

The jail being in a bad conditionthe examining magistrate finds it
convenient to transfer Champmathieu to Arraswhere the departmental
prison is situated. In this prison at Arras there is an ex-convict
named Brevetwho is detained for I know not whatand who has
been appointed turnkey of the housebecause of good behavior.
Mr. Mayorno sooner had Champmathieu arrived than Brevet exclaims:
`Eh! WhyI know that man! He is a fagot![4] Take a good look at me

my good man! You are Jean Valjean!' `Jean Valjean! who's Jean Valjean?'
Champmathieu feigns astonishment. `Don't play the innocent dodge'
says Brevet. `You are Jean Valjean! You have been in the galleys
of Toulon; it was twenty years ago; we were there together.'
Champmathieu denies it. Parbleu! You understand. The case
is investigated. The thing was well ventilated for me. This is
what they discovered: This Champmathieu had beenthirty years ago
a pruner of trees in various localitiesnotably at Faverolles.
There all trace of him was lost. A long time afterwards he was seen
again in Auvergne; then in Pariswhere he is said to have been
a wheelwrightand to have had a daughterwho was a laundress;
but that has not been proved. Nowbefore going to the galleys for theft
what was Jean Valjean? A pruner of trees. Where? At Faverolles.
Another fact. This Valjean's Christian name was Jeanand his
mother's surname was Mathieu. What more natural to suppose than that
on emerging from the galleyshe should have taken his mother's
name for the purpose of concealing himselfand have called himself
Jean Mathieu? He goes to Auvergne. The local pronunciation turns Jean
into Chan--he is called Chan Mathieu. Our man offers no opposition
and behold him transformed into Champmathieu. You follow me
do you not? Inquiries were made at Faverolles. The family of Jean
Valjean is no longer there. It is not known where they have gone.
You know that among those classes a family often disappears.
Search was madeand nothing was found. When such people are not mud
they are dust. And thenas the beginning of the story dates thirty
years backthere is no longer any one at Faverolles who knew
Jean Valjean. Inquiries were made at Toulon. Besides Brevet
there are only two convicts in existence who have seen Jean Valjean;
they are Cochepaille and Chenildieuand are sentenced for life.
They are taken from the galleys and confronted with the
pretended Champmathieu. They do not hesitate; he is Jean Valjean
for them as well as for Brevet. The same age--he is fifty-four--
the same heightthe same airthe same man; in shortit is he.
It was precisely at this moment that I forwarded my denunciation
to the Prefecture in Paris. I was told that I had lost my reason
and that Jean Valjean is at Arrasin the power of the authorities.
You can imagine whether this surprised mewhen I thought that I
had that same Jean Valjean here. I write to the examining judge;
he sends for me; Champmathieu is conducted to me--"

[4] An ex-convict.
Well?interposed M. Madeleine.

Javert repliedhis face incorruptibleand as melancholy as ever:-

Mr. Mayor, the truth is the truth. I am sorry; but that man
is Jean Valjean. I recognized him also.

M. Madeleine resumed ina very low voice:-"
You are sure?"

Javert began to laughwith that mournful laugh which comes from
profound conviction.

O! Sure!

He stood there thoughtfully for a momentmechanically taking
pinches of powdered wood for blotting ink from the wooden bowl
which stood on the tableand he added:-

And even now that I have seen the real Jean Valjean, I do not see
how I could have thought otherwise. I beg your pardon, Mr. Mayor.

Javertas he addressed these grave and supplicating words to the man
who six weeks before had humiliated him in the presence of the whole
station-houseand bade him "leave the room--Javert, that haughty man,
was unconsciously full of simplicity and dignity,--M. Madeleine
made no other reply to his prayer than the abrupt question:-

And what does this man say?"

Ah! Indeed, Mr. Mayor, it's a bad business. If he is Jean Valjean,
he has his previous conviction against him. To climb a wall, to break
a branch, to purloin apples, is a mischievous trick in a child;
for a man it is a misdemeanor; for a convict it is a crime.
Robbing and housebreaking--it is all there. It is no longer a question
of correctional police; it is a matter for the Court of Assizes.
It is no longer a matter of a few days in prison; it is the galleys
for life. And then, there is the affair with the little Savoyard,
who will return, I hope. The deuce! there is plenty to dispute
in the matter, is there not? Yes, for any one but Jean Valjean.
But Jean Valjean is a sly dog. That is the way I recognized him.
Any other man would have felt that things were getting hot for him;
he would struggle, he would cry out--the kettle sings before the fire;
he would not be Jean Valjean, et cetera. But he has not the appearance
of understanding; he says, `I am Champmathieu, and I won't depart
from that!' He has an astonished air, he pretends to be stupid;
it is far better. Oh! the rogue is clever! But it makes no difference.
The proofs are there. He has been recognized by four persons;
the old scamp will be condemned. The case has been taken to the
Assizes at Arras. I shall go there to give my testimony. I have
been summoned.

M. Madeleine had turned to his desk againand taken up his docket
and was turning over the leaves tranquillyreading and writing
by turnslike a busy man. He turned to Javert:-"
That will doJavert. In truthall these details interest me
but little. We are wasting our timeand we have pressing business
on hand. Javertyou will betake yourself at once to the house
of the woman Buseaupiedwho sells herbs at the corner of the Rue
Saint-Saulve. You will tell her that she must enter her complaint
against carter Pierre Chesnelong. The man is a brutewho came near
crushing this woman and her child. He must be punished. You will
then go to M. CharcellayRue Montre-de-Champigny. He complained that
there is a gutter on the adjoining house which discharges rain-water
on his premisesand is undermining the foundations of his house.
After thatyou will verify the infractions of police regulations
which have been reported to me in the Rue Guibourgat Widow Doris's
and Rue du Garraud-Blancat Madame Renee le Bosse'sand you will
prepare documents. But I am giving you a great deal of work.
Are you not to be absent? Did you not tell me that you were going
to Arras on that matter in a week or ten days?"

Sooner than that, Mr. Mayor.

On what day, then?

Why, I thought that I had said to Monsieur le Maire that the case
was to be tried to-morrow, and that I am to set out by diligence to-night.

M. Madeleine made an imperceptible movement.
And how long will the case last?

One day, at the most. The judgment will be pronounced to-morrow evening
at latest. But I shall not wait for the sentence, which is certain;
I shall return here as soon as my deposition has been taken.

That is well,said M. Madeleine.

And he dismissed Javert with a wave of the hand.

Javert did not withdraw.

Excuse me, Mr. Mayor,said he.

What is it now?demanded M. Madeleine.

Mr. Mayor, there is still something of which I must remind you.

What is it?

That I must be dismissed.

M. Madeleine rose.
Javert, you are a man of honor, and I esteem you. You exaggerate
your fault. Moreover, this is an offence which concerns me.
Javert, you deserve promotion instead of degradation. I wish
you to retain your post.

Javert gazed at M. Madeleine with his candid eyesin whose depths
his not very enlightened but pure and rigid conscience seemed visible
and said in a tranquil voice:--

Mr. Mayor, I cannot grant you that.

I repeat,replied M. Madeleinethat the matter concerns me.

But Javertheeding his own thought onlycontinued:--

So far as exaggeration is concerned, I am not exaggerating. This is
the way I reason: I have suspected you unjustly. That is nothing.
It is our right to cherish suspicion, although suspicion directed
above ourselves is an abuse. But without proofs, in a fit of rage,
with the object of wreaking my vengeance, I have denounced you
as a convict, you, a respectable man, a mayor, a magistrate!
That is serious, very serious. I have insulted authority in your person,
I, an agent of the authorities! If one of my subordinates had done
what I have done, I should have declared him unworthy of the service,
and have expelled him. Well? Stop, Mr. Mayor; one word more.
I have often been severe in the course of my life towards others.
That is just. I have done well. Now, if I were not severe towards
myself, all the justice that I have done would become injustice.
Ought I to spare myself more than others? No! What! I should be good
for nothing but to chastise others, and not myself! Why, I should
be a blackguard! Those who say, `That blackguard of a Javert!'
would be in the right. Mr. Mayor, I do not desire that you should
treat me kindly; your kindness roused sufficient bad blood in me
when it was directed to others. I want none of it for myself.
The kindness which consists in upholding a woman of the town against
a citizen, the police agent against the mayor, the man who is down
against the man who is up in the world, is what I call false kindness.
That is the sort of kindness which disorganizes society. Good God!
it is very easy to be kind; the difficulty lies in being just.
Come! if you had been what I thought you, I should not have been kind
to you, not I! You would have seen! Mr. Mayor, I must treat myself

as I would treat any other man. When I have subdued malefactors,
when I have proceeded with vigor against rascals, I have often said
to myself, `If you flinch, if I ever catch you in fault, you may rest
at your ease!' I have flinched, I have caught myself in a fault.
So much the worse! Come, discharged, cashiered, expelled! That is well.
I have arms. I will till the soil; it makes no difference to me.
Mr. Mayor, the good of the service demands an example. I simply
require the discharge of Inspector Javert.

All this was uttered in a proudhumbledespairingyet convinced tone
which lent indescribable grandeur to this singularhonest man.

We shall see,said M. Madeleine.

And he offered him his hand.

Javert recoiledand said in a wild voice:--

Excuse me, Mr. Mayor, but this must not be. A mayor does not offer
his hand to a police spy.

He added between his teeth:--

A police spy, yes; from the moment when I have misused the police.
I am no more than a police spy.

Then he bowed profoundlyand directed his steps towards the door.

There he wheeled roundand with eyes still downcast:--

Mr. Mayor,he saidI shall continue to serve until I am superseded.

He withdrew. M. Madeleine remained thoughtfully listening to the firm
sure stepwhich died away on the pavement of the corridor.




The incidents the reader is about to peruse were not all known
at M. sur M. But the small portion of them which became known left
such a memory in that town that a serious gap would exist in this
book if we did not narrate them in their most minute details.
Among these details the reader will encounter two or three improbable
circumstanceswhich we preserve out of respect for the truth.

On the afternoon following the visit of JavertM. Madeleine went
to see Fantine according to his wont.

Before entering Fantine's roomhe had Sister Simplice summoned.

The two nuns who performed the services of nurse in the infirmary
Lazariste ladieslike all sisters of charitybore the names of
Sister Perpetue and Sister Simplice.

Sister Perpetue was an ordinary villagera sister of charity
in a coarse stylewho had entered the service of God as one enters

any other service. She was a nun as other women are cooks.
This type is not so very rare. The monastic orders gladly accept this
heavy peasant earthenwarewhich is easily fashioned into a Capuchin
or an Ursuline. These rustics are utilized for the rough work
of devotion. The transition from a drover to a Carmelite is not in
the least violent; the one turns into the other without much effort;
the fund of ignorance common to the village and the cloister is
a preparation ready at handand places the boor at once on the
same footing as the monk: a little more amplitude in the smock
and it becomes a frock. Sister Perpetue was a robust nun from
Marines near Pontoisewho chattered her patoisdronedgrumbled
sugared the potion according to the bigotry or the hypocrisy of
the invalidtreated her patients abruptlyroughlywas crabbed
with the dyingalmost flung God in their facesstoned their
death agony with prayers mumbled in a rage; was boldhonestand ruddy.

Sister Simplice was whitewith a waxen pallor. Beside Sister Perpetue
she was the taper beside the candle. Vincent de Paul has divinely
traced the features of the Sister of Charity in these admirable words
in which he mingles as much freedom as servitude: "They shall have for
their convent only the house of the sick; for cell only a hired room;
for chapel only their parish church; for cloister only the streets of
the town and the wards of the hospitals; for enclosure only obedience;
for gratings only the fear of God; for veil only modesty." This ideal
was realized in the living person of Sister Simplice: she had never
been youngand it seemed as though she would never grow old.
No one could have told Sister Simplice's age. She was a person-we
dare not say a woman--who was gentleausterewell-bredcold
and who had never lied. She was so gentle that she appeared fragile;
but she was more solid than granite. She touched the unhappy
with fingers that were charmingly pure and fine. There was
so to speaksilence in her speech; she said just what was necessary
and she possessed a tone of voice which would have equally edified
a confessional or enchanted a drawing-room. This delicacy accommodated
itself to the serge gownfinding in this harsh contact a continual
reminder of heaven and of God. Let us emphasize one detail.
Never to have liednever to have saidfor any interest whatever
even in indifferenceany single thing which was not the truth
the sacred truthwas Sister Simplice's distinctive trait;
it was the accent of her virtue. She was almost renowned in the
congregation for this imperturbable veracity. The Abbe Sicard
speaks of Sister Simplice in a letter to the deaf-mute Massieu.
However pure and sincere we may bewe all bear upon our candor
the crack of the littleinnocent lie. She did not. Little lie
innocent lie--does such a thing exist? To lie is the absolute
form of evil. To lie a little is not possible: he who lies
lies the whole lie. To lie is the very face of the demon. Satan has
two names; he is called Satan and Lying. That is what she thought;
and as she thoughtso she did. The result was the whiteness which
we have mentioned--a whiteness which covered even her lips and her
eyes with radiance. Her smile was whiteher glance was white.
There was not a single spider's webnot a grain of duston the glass
window of that conscience. On entering the order of Saint Vincent
de Paulshe had taken the name of Simplice by special choice.
Simplice of Sicilyas we knowis the saint who preferred to
allow both her breasts to be torn off rather than to say that she
had been born at Segesta when she had been born at Syracuse-a
lie which would have saved her. This patron saint suited
this soul.

Sister Simpliceon her entrance into the orderhad had two
faults which she had gradually corrected: she had a taste
for daintiesand she liked to receive letters. She never read
anything but a book of prayers printed in Latinin coarse type.

She did not understand Latinbut she understood the book.

This pious woman had conceived an affection for Fantine
probably feeling a latent virtue thereand she had devoted
herself almost exclusively to her care.

M. Madeleine took Sister Simplice apart and recommended Fantine
to her in a singular tonewhich the sister recalled later on.
On leaving the sisterhe approached Fantine.

Fantine awaited M. Madeleine's appearance every day as one awaits
a ray of warmth and joy. She said to the sistersI only live
when Monsieur le Maire is here.

She had a great deal of fever that day. As soon as she saw

M. Madeleine she asked him:-"
And Cosette?"

He replied with a smile:-


M. Madeleine was the same as usual with Fantine. Only he remained
an hour instead of half an hourto Fantine's great delight.
He urged every one repeatedly not to allow the invalid to want
for anything. It was noticed that there was a moment when his
countenance became very sombre. But this was explained when it became
known that the doctor had bent down to his ear and said to him
She is losing ground fast.
Then he returned to the town-halland the clerk observed him
attentively examining a road map of France which hung in his study.
He wrote a few figures on a bit of paper with a pencil.



From the town-hall he betook himself to the extremity of the town
to a Fleming named Master ScaufflaerFrench Scaufflairewho let
out "horses and cabriolets as desired."

In order to reach this Scaufflairethe shortest way was to take
the little-frequented street in which was situated the parsonage
of the parish in which M. Madeleine resided. The cure was
it was saida worthyrespectableand sensible man. At the moment
when M. Madeleine arrived in front of the parsonage there was but one
passer-by in the streetand this person noticed this: After the
mayor had passed the priest's house he haltedstood motionless
then turned aboutand retraced his steps to the door of the parsonage
which had an iron knocker. He laid his hand quickly on the knocker
and lifted it; then he paused again and stopped shortas though
in thoughtand after the lapse of a few secondsinstead of allowing
the knocker to fall abruptlyhe placed it gentlyand resumed
his way with a sort of haste which had not been apparent previously.

M. Madeleine found Master Scaufflaire at homeengaged in stitching
a harness over.

Master Scaufflaire,he inquiredhave you a good horse?

Mr. Mayor,said the Flemingall my horses are good. What do
you mean by a good horse?

I mean a horse which can travel twenty leagues in a day.

The deuce!said the Fleming. "Twenty leagues!"


Hitched to a cabriolet?


And how long can he rest at the end of his journey?

He must be able to set out again on the next day if necessary.

To traverse the same road?


The deuce! the deuce! And it is twenty leagues?

M. Madeleine drew from his pocket the paper on which he had
pencilled some figures. He showed it to the Fleming. The figures
were 568 1/2.
You see,he saidtotal, nineteen and a half; as well say
twenty leagues.

Mr. Mayor,returned the FlemingI have just what you want.
My little white horse--you may have seen him pass occasionally;
he is a small beast from Lower Boulonnais. He is full of fire.
They wanted to make a saddle-horse of him at first. Bah! He reared,
he kicked, he laid everybody flat on the ground. He was thought
to be vicious, and no one knew what to do with him. I bought him.
I harnessed him to a carriage. That is what he wanted, sir; he is
as gentle as a girl; he goes like the wind. Ah! indeed he must not
be mounted. It does not suit his ideas to be a saddle-horse. Every
one has his ambition. `Draw? Yes. Carry? No.' We must suppose that
is what he said to himself.

And he will accomplish the trip?

Your twenty leagues all at a full trot, and in less than eight hours.
But here are the conditions.

State them.

In the first place. you will give him half an hour's breathing
spell midway of the road; he will eat; and some one must be by while
he is eating to prevent the stable boy of the inn from stealing
his oats; for I have noticed that in inns the oats are more often
drunk by the stable men than eaten by the horses.

Some one will be by.

In the second place--is the cabriolet for Monsieur le Maire?


Does Monsieur le Maire know how to drive?


Well, Monsieur le Maire will travel alone and without baggage,
in order not to overload the horse?


But as Monsieur le Maire will have no one with him, he will be obliged
to take the trouble himself of seeing that the oats are not stolen.

That is understood.

I am to have thirty francs a day. The days of rest to be paid
for also--not a farthing less; and the beast's food to be at
Monsieur le Maire's expense.

M. Madeleine drew three napoleons from his purse and laid them
on the table.
Here is the pay for two days in advance.

Fourthly, for such a journey a cabriolet would be too heavy,
and would fatigue the horse. Monsieur le Maire must consent
to travel in a little tilbury that I own.

I consent to that.

It is light, but it has no cover.

That makes no difference to me.

Has Monsieur le Maire reflected that we are in the middle of winter?

M. Madeleine did not reply. The Fleming resumed:-"
That it is very cold?"

M. Madeleine preserved silence.
Master Scaufflaire continued:-

That it may rain?

M. Madeleine raised his head and said:-"
The tilbury and the horse will be in front of my door to-morrow
morning at half-past four o'clock."

Of course, Monsieur le Maire,replied Scaufflaire; then
scratching a speck in the wood of the table with his thumb-nail
he resumed with that careless air which the Flemings understand
so well how to mingle with their shrewdness:--

But this is what I am thinking of now: Monsieur le Maire has
not told me where he is going. Where is Monsieur le Maire going?

He had been thinking of nothing else
since the beginning of the conversation
but he did not know why he had not dared to put the question.

Are your horse's forelegs good?said M. Madeleine.

Yes, Monsieur le Maire. You must hold him in a little when going

down hill. Are there many descends between here and the place
whither you are going?

Do not forget to be at my door at precisely half-past four o'clock
to-morrow morning,replied M. Madeleine; and he took his departure.

The Fleming remained "utterly stupid as he himself said some
time afterwards.

The mayor had been gone two or three minutes when the door opened again;
it was the mayor once more.

He still wore the same impassive and preoccupied air.

Monsieur Scaufflaire said he, at what sum do you estimate
the value of the horse and tilbury which you are to let to me-the
one bearing the other?"

The one dragging the other, Monsieur le Maire,said the Fleming
with a broad smile.

So be it. Well?

Does Monsieur le Maire wish to purchase them or me?

No; but I wish to guarantee you in any case. You shall give me
back the sum at my return. At what value do you estimate your horse
and cabriolet?

Five hundred francs, Monsieur le Maire.

Here it is.

M. Madeleine laid a bank-bill on the tablethen left the room;
and this time he did not return.
Master Scaufflaire experienced a frightful regret that he had not
said a thousand francs. Besides the horse and tilbury together
were worth but a hundred crowns.

The Fleming called his wifeand related the affair to her.
Where the devil could Monsieur le Maire be going?They held
counsel together. "He is going to Paris said the wife. I don't
believe it said the husband.

M. Madeleine had forgotten the paper with the figures on it, and it
lay on the chimney-piece. The Fleming picked it up and studied it.
Fivesixeight and a half? That must designate the posting relays."
He turned to his wife:-"
I have found out."


It is five leagues from here to Hesdin, six from Hesdin to Saint-Pol,
eight and a half from Saint-Pol to Arras. He is going to Arras.

MeanwhileM. Madeleine had returned home. He had taken the longest way
to return from Master Scaufflaire'sas though the parsonage door had
been a temptation for himand he had wished to avoid it. He ascended
to his roomand there he shut himself upwhich was a very simple act
since he liked to go to bed early. Neverthelessthe portress of
the factorywho wasat the same timeM. Madeleine's only servant
noticed that the latter's light was extinguished at half-past eight

and she mentioned it to the cashier when he came homeadding:-

Is Monsieur le Maire ill? I thought he had a rather singular air.

This cashier occupied a room situated directly under M. Madeleine's
chamber. He paid no heed to the portress's wordsbut went
to bed and to sleep. Towards midnight he woke up with a start;
in his sleep he had heard a noise above his head. He listened;
it was a footstep pacing back and forthas though some one were
walking in the room above him. He listened more attentively
and recognized M. Madeleine's step. This struck him as strange;
usuallythere was no noise in M. Madeleine's chamber until he rose
in the morning. A moment later the cashier heard a noise which
resembled that of a cupboard being openedand then shut again;
then a piece of furniture was disarranged; then a pause ensued;
then the step began again. The cashier sat up in bedquite awake now
and staring; and through his window-panes he saw the reddish
gleam of a lighted window reflected on the opposite wall;
from the direction of the raysit could only come from the window
of M. Madeleine's chamber. The reflection waveredas though it
came rather from a fire which had been lighted than from a candle.
The shadow of the window-frame was not shownwhich indicated
that the window was wide open. The fact that this window was open
in such cold weather was surprising. The cashier fell asleep again.
An hour or two later he waked again. The same step was still
passing slowly and regularly back and forth overhead.

The reflection was still visible on the wallbut now it was pale
and peacefullike the reflection of a lamp or of a candle.
The window was still open.

This is what had taken place in M. Madeleine's room.



The reader hasno doubtalready divined that M. Madeleine
is no other than Jean Valjean.

We have already gazed into the depths of this conscience;
the moment has now come when we must take another look into it.
We do so not without emotion and trepidation. There is nothing
more terrible in existence than this sort of contemplation.
The eye of the spirit can nowhere find more dazzling brilliance
and more shadow than in man; it can fix itself on no other thing
which is more formidablemore complicatedmore mysterious
and more infinite. There is a spectacle more grand than the sea;
it is heaven: there is a spectacle more grand than heaven; it is the
inmost recesses of the soul.

To make the poem of the human consciencewere it only with reference
to a single manwere it only in connection with the basest of men
would be to blend all epics into one superior and definitive epic.
Conscience is the chaos of chimerasof lustsand of temptations;
the furnace of dreams; the lair of ideas of which we are ashamed;
it is the pandemonium of sophisms; it is the battlefield of the passions.
Penetrateat certain hourspast the livid face of a human being
who is engaged in reflectionand look behindgaze into that soul
gaze into that obscurity. Therebeneath that external silence
battles of giantslike those recorded in Homerare in progress;

skirmishes of dragons and hydras and swarms of phantomsas in Milton;
visionary circlesas in Dante. What a solemn thing is this
infinity which every man bears within himand which he measures
with despair against the caprices of his brain and the actions of
his life!

Alighieri one day met with a sinister-looking doorbefore which
he hesitated. Here is one before usupon whose threshold we hesitate.
Let us enternevertheless.

We have but little to add to what the reader already knows of what had
happened to Jean Valjean after the adventure with Little Gervais.
From that moment forth he wasas we have seena totally different man.
What the Bishop had wished to make of himthat he carried out.
It was more than a transformation; it was a transfiguration.

He succeeded in disappearingsold the Bishop's silverreserving only
the candlesticks as a souvenircrept from town to towntraversed France
came to M. sur M.conceived the idea which we have mentioned
accomplished what we have relatedsucceeded in rendering himself
safe from seizure and inaccessibleandthenceforthestablished at

M. sur M.happy in feeling his conscience saddened by the past and
the first half of his existence belied by the lasthe lived in peace
reassured and hopefulhaving henceforth only two thoughts--to conceal
his name and to sanctify his life; to escape men and to return to God.
These two thoughts were so closely intertwined in his mind that
they formed but a single one there; both were equally absorbing
and imperative and ruled his slightest actions. In general
they conspired to regulate the conduct of his life; they turned
him towards the gloom; they rendered him kindly and simple;
they counselled him to the same things. Sometimeshowever
they conflicted. In that caseas the reader will remember
the man whom all the country of M. sur M. called M. Madeleine did
not hesitate to sacrifice the first to the second--his security to
his virtue. Thusin spite of all his reserve and all his prudence
he had preserved the Bishop's candlesticksworn mourning for him
summoned and interrogated all the little Savoyards who passed
that waycollected information regarding the families at Faverolles
and saved old Fauchelevent's lifedespite the disquieting
insinuations of Javert. It seemedas we have already remarked
as though he thoughtfollowing the example of all those who have
been wiseholyand justthat his first duty was not towards himself.

At the same timeit must be confessednothing just like this
had yet presented itself.

Never had the two ideas which governed the unhappy man whose
sufferings we are narratingengaged in so serious a struggle.
He understood this confusedly but profoundly at the very first words
pronounced by Javertwhen the latter entered his study. At the
moment when that namewhich he had buried beneath so many layers
was so strangely articulatedhe was struck with stuporand as
though intoxicated with the sinister eccentricity of his destiny;
and through this stupor he felt that shudder which precedes
great shocks. He bent like an oak at the approach of a storm
like a soldier at the approach of an assault. He felt shadows
filled with thunders and lightnings descending upon his head.
As he listened to Javertthe first thought which occurred to him
was to goto run and denounce himselfto take that Champmathieu
out of prison and place himself there; this was as painful and as
poignant as an incision in the living flesh. Then it passed away
and he said to himselfWe will see! We will see!He repressed
this firstgenerous instinctand recoiled before heroism.

It would be beautifulno doubtafter the Bishop's holy words
after so many years of repentance and abnegationin the midst
of a penitence admirably begunif this man had not flinched for
an instanteven in the presence of so terrible a conjecturebut had
continued to walk with the same step towards this yawning precipice
at the bottom of which lay heaven; that would have been beautiful;
but it was not thus. We must render an account of the things which
went on in this souland we can only tell what there was there.
He was carried awayat firstby the instinct of self-preservation;
he rallied all his ideas in hastestifled his emotionstook into
consideration Javert's presencethat great dangerpostponed all
decision with the firmness of terrorshook off thought as to
what he had to doand resumed his calmness as a warrior picks up
his buckler.

He remained in this state during the rest of the daya whirlwind within
a profound tranquillity without. He took no "preservative measures
as they may be called. Everything was still confused, and jostling
together in his brain. His trouble was so great that he could not
perceive the form of a single idea distinctly, and he could have
told nothing about himself, except that he had received a great blow.

He repaired to Fantine's bed of suffering, as usual, and prolonged
his visit, through a kindly instinct, telling himself that he must
behave thus, and recommend her well to the sisters, in case he should
be obliged to be absent himself. He had a vague feeling that he
might be obliged to go to Arras; and without having the least in the
world made up his mind to this trip, he said to himself that being,
as he was, beyond the shadow of any suspicion, there could be nothing
out of the way in being a witness to what was to take place, and he
engaged the tilbury from Scaufflaire in order to be prepared in any event.

He dined with a good deal of appetite.

On returning to his room, he communed with himself.

He examined the situation, and found it unprecedented;
so unprecedented that in the midst of his revery he rose from
his chair, moved by some inexplicable impulse of anxiety,
and bolted his door. He feared lest something more should enter.
He was barricading himself against possibilities.

A moment later he extinguished his light; it embarrassed him.

lt seemed to him as though he might be seen.

By whom?

Alas! That on which he desired to close the door had already entered;
that which he desired to blind was staring him in the face,-his

His conscience; that is to say, God.

Nevertheless, he deluded himself at first; he had a feeling of security
and of solitude; the bolt once drawn, he thought himself impregnable;
the candle extinguished, he felt himself invisible. Then he
took possession of himself: he set his elbows on the table,
leaned his head on his hand, and began to meditate in the dark.

Where do I stand? Am not I dreaming? What have I heard? Is it
really true that I have seen that Javertand that he spoke to me
in that manner? Who can that Champmathieu be? So he resembles me!

Is it possible? When I reflect that yesterday I was so tranquil
and so far from suspecting anything! What was I doing yesterday at
this hour? What is there in this incident? What will the end be?
What is to be done?"

This was the torment in which he found himself. His brain
had lost its power of retaining ideas; they passed like waves
and he clutched his brow in both hands to arrest them.

Nothing but anguish extricated itself from this tumult which
overwhelmed his will and his reasonand from which he sought
to draw proof and resolution.

His head was burning. He went to the window and threw it wide open.
There were no stars in the sky. He returned and seated himself at
the table.

The first hour passed in this manner.

Graduallyhowevervague outlines began to take form and to fix
themselves in his meditationand he was able to catch a glimpse
with precision of the reality--not the whole situation
but some of the details. He began by recognizing the fact that
critical and extraordinary as was this situationhe was completely
master of it.

This only caused an increase of his stupor.

Independently of the severe and religious aim which he had assigned
to his actionsall that he had made up to that day had been
nothing but a hole in which to bury his name. That which he had
always feared most of all in his hours of self-communionduring
his sleepless nightswas to ever hear that name pronounced;
he had said to himselfthat that would be the end of all things
for him; that on the day when that name made its reappearance it
would cause his new life to vanish from about himand--who knows?--
perhaps even his new soul within himalso. He shuddered at the
very thought that this was possible. Assuredlyif any one had said
to him at such moments that the hour would come when that name
would ring in his earswhen the hideous wordsJean Valjean
would suddenly emerge from the darkness and rise in front of him
when that formidable lightcapable of dissipating the mystery
in which he had enveloped himselfwould suddenly blaze forth above
his headand that that name would not menace himthat that light
would but produce an obscurity more densethat this rent veil
would but increase the mysterythat this earthquake would solidify
his edificethat this prodigious incident would have no other result
so far as he was concernedif so it seemed good to himthan that
of rendering his existence at once clearer and more impenetrable
and thatout of his confrontation with the phantom of Jean Valjean
the good and worthy citizen Monsieur Madeleine would emerge more honored
more peacefuland more respected than ever--if any one had told
him thathe would have tossed his head and regarded the words
as those of a madman. Wellall this was precisely what had just
come to pass; all that accumulation of impossibilities was a fact
and God had permitted these wild fancies to become real things!

His revery continued to grow clearer. He came more and more
to an understanding of his position.

It seemed to him that he had but just waked up from some inexplicable
dreamand that he found himself slipping down a declivity in the
middle of the nighterectshiveringholding back all in vain
on the very brink of the abyss. He distinctly perceived in the

darkness a strangera man unknown to himwhom destiny had mistaken
for himand whom she was thrusting into the gulf in his stead;
in order that the gulf might close once moreit was necessary
that some onehimself or that other manshould fall into it:
he had only let things take their course.

The light became completeand he acknowledged this to himself:
That his place was empty in the galleys; that do what he would
it was still awaiting him; that the theft from little Gervais had led
him back to it; that this vacant place would await himand draw him
on until he filled it; that this was inevitable and fatal; and then
he said to himselfthat, at this moment, be had a substitute;
that it appeared that a certain Champmathieu had that ill luck,
and that, as regards himself, being present in the galleys in the
person of that Champmathieu, present in society under the name
of M. Madeleine, he had nothing more to fear, provided that he did
not prevent men from sealing over the head of that Champmathieu this
stone of infamy which, like the stone of the sepulchre, falls once,
never to rise again.

All this was so strange and so violentthat there suddenly took
place in him that indescribable movementwhich no man feels
more than two or three times in the course of his lifea sort of
convulsion of the conscience which stirs up all that there is doubtful
in the heartwhich is composed of ironyof joyand of despair
and which may be called an outburst of inward laughter.

He hastily relighted his candle.

Well, what then?he said to himself; "what am I afraid of?
What is there in all that for me to think about? I am safe;
all is over. I had but one partly open door through which my past
might invade my lifeand behold that door is walled up forever!
That Javertwho has been annoying me so long; that terrible
instinct which seemed to have divined mewhich had divined me--
good God! and which followed me everywhere; that frightful
hunting-dogalways making a point at meis thrown off the scent
engaged elsewhereabsolutely turned from the trail: henceforth he
is satisfied; he will leave me in peace; he has his Jean Valjean.
Who knows? it is even probable that he will wish to leave town!
And all this has been brought about without any aid from meand I
count for nothing in it! Ah! but where is the misfortune in this?
Upon my honorpeople would thinkto see methat some catastrophe
had happened to me! After allif it does bring harm to some one
that is not my fault in the least: it is Providence which has done
it all; it is because it wishes it so to beevidently. Have I
the right to disarrange what it has arranged? What do I ask now?
Why should I meddle? It does not concern me; what! I am not satisfied:
but what more do I want? The goal to which I have aspired for
so many yearsthe dream of my nightsthe object of my prayers
to Heaven--security--I have now attained; it is God who wills it;
I can do nothing against the will of Godand why does God will it?
In order that I may continue what I have begunthat I may do good
that I may one day be a grand and encouraging examplethat it
may be said at lastthat a little happiness has been attached
to the penance which I have undergoneand to that virtue to which I
have returned. ReallyI do not understand why I was afraid
a little while agoto enter the house of that good cureand to
ask his advice; this is evidently what he would have said to me:
It is settled; let things take their course; let the good God do as he

Thus did he address himself in the depths of his own conscience
bending over what may be called his own abyss; he rose from his chair

and began to pace the room: "Come said he, let us think no more
about it; my resolve is taken!" but he felt no joy.

Quite the reverse.

One can no more prevent thought from recurring to an idea than one can
the sea from returning to the shore: the sailor calls it the tide;
the guilty man calls it remorse; God upheaves the soul as he does
the ocean.

After the expiration of a few momentsdo what he would
he resumed the gloomy dialogue in which it was he who spoke and he
who listenedsaying that which he would have preferred to ignore
and listened to that which he would have preferred not to hear
yielding to that mysterious power which said to him: "Think!" as it
said to another condemned mantwo thousand years agoMarch on!

Before proceeding furtherand in order to make ourselves
fully understoodlet us insist upon one necessary observation.

It is certain that people do talk to themselves; there is no living
being who has not done it. It may even be said that the word is
never a more magnificent mystery than when it goes from thought
to conscience within a manand when it returns from conscience
to thought; it is in this sense only that the words so often
employed in this chapterhe saidhe exclaimedmust be understood;
one speaks to one's selftalks to one's selfexclaims to one's
self without breaking the external silence; there is a great tumult;
everything about us talks except the mouth. The realities of the
soul are none the less realities because they are not visible
and palpable.

So he asked himself where he stood. He interrogated himself upon that
settled resolve.He confessed to himself that all that he had just
arranged in his mind was monstrousthat "to let things take their course
to let the good God do as he liked was simply horrible; to allow
this error of fate and of men to be carried out, not to hinder it,
to lend himself to it through his silence, to do nothing, in short,
was to do everything! that this was hypocritical baseness in the last
degree! that it was a base, cowardly, sneaking, abject, hideous crime!

For the first time in eight years, the wretched man had just tasted
the bitter savor of an evil thought and of an evil action.

He spit it out with disgust.

He continued to question himself. He asked himself severely
what he had meant by this, My object is attained!" He declared
to himself that his life really had an object; but what object?
To conceal his name? To deceive the police? Was it for so petty
a thing that he had done all that he had done? Had he not another
and a grand objectwhich was the true one--to savenot his person
but his soul; to become honest and good once more; to be a just man?
Was it not that above allthat alonewhich he had always desired
which the Bishop had enjoined upon him--to shut the door on his past?
But he was not shutting it! great God! he was re-opening it by
committing an infamous action! He was becoming a thief once more
and the most odious of thieves! He was robbing another of
his existencehis lifehis peacehis place in the sunshine.
He was becoming an assassin. He was murderingmorally murdering
a wretched man. He was inflicting on him that frightful living death
that death beneath the open skywhich is called the galleys.
On the other handto surrender himself to save that man
struck down with so melancholy an errorto resume his own name

to become once moreout of dutythe convict Jean Valjeanthat was
in truthto achieve his resurrectionand to close forever that
hell whence he had just emerged; to fall back there in appearance
was to escape from it in reality. This must be done! He had done
nothing if he did not do all this; his whole life was useless;
all his penitence was wasted. There was no longer any need
of sayingWhat is the use?He felt that the Bishop was there
that the Bishop was present all the more because he was deadthat the
Bishop was gazing fixedly at himthat henceforth Mayor Madeleine
with all his virtueswould be abominable to himand that the
convict Jean Valjean would be pure and admirable in his sight;
that men beheld his maskbut that the Bishop saw his face;
that men saw his lifebut that the Bishop beheld his conscience.
So he must go to Arrasdeliver the false Jean Valjeanand denounce
the real one. Alas! that was the greatest of sacrificesthe most
poignant of victoriesthe last step to take; but it must be done.
Sad fate! he would enter into sanctity only in the eyes of God
when he returned to infamy in the eyes of men.

Well, said he, let us decide upon this; let us do our duty; let us
save this man." He uttered these words aloudwithout perceiving
that he was speaking aloud.

He took his booksverified themand put them in order.
He flung in the fire a bundle of bills which he had against
petty and embarrassed tradesmen. He wrote and sealed a letter
and on the envelope it might have been readhad there been
any one in his chamber at the momentTo Monsieur Laffitte
BankerRue d'ArtoisParis. He drew from his secretary a
pocket-book which contained several bank-notes and the passport
of which he had made use that same year when he went to the elections.

Any one who had seen him during the execution of these various acts
into which there entered such grave thoughtwould have had no
suspicion of what was going on within him. Only occasionally did
his lips move; at other times he raised his head and fixed his gaze
upon some point of the wallas though there existed at that point
something which he wished to elucidate or interrogate.

When he had finished the letter to M. Laffittehe put it into
his pockettogether with the pocket-bookand began his walk once more.

His revery had not swerved from its course. He continued to see his
duty clearlywritten in luminous letterswhich flamed before his
eyes and changed its place as he altered the direction of his glance:--

Go! Tell your name! Denounce yourself!

In the same way he beheldas though they had passed before him
in visible formsthe two ideas which hadup to that time
formed the double rule of his soul--the concealment of his name
the sanctification of his life. For the first time they appeared
to him as absolutely distinctand he perceived the distance
which separated them. He recognized the fact that one of these
ideas wasnecessarilygoodwhile the other might become bad;
that the first was self-devotionand that the other was personality;
that the one saidmy neighborand that the other saidmyself;
that one emanated from the lightand the other from darkness.

They were antagonistic. He saw them in conflict. In proportion
as he meditatedthey grew before the eyes of his spirit.
They had now attained colossal staturesand it seemed to him
that he beheld within himselfin that infinity of which we were
recently speakingin the midst of the darkness and the lights

a goddess and a giant contending.

He was filled with terror; but it seemed to him that the good
thought was getting the upper hand.

He felt that he was on the brink of the second decisive crisis of his
conscience and of his destiny; that the Bishop had marked the first
phase of his new lifeand that Champmathieu marked the second.
After the grand crisisthe grand test.

But the feverallayed for an instantgradually resumed possession
of him. A thousand thoughts traversed his mindbut they continued
to fortify him in his resolution.

One moment he said to himself that he wasperhapstaking the matter
too keenly; thatafter allthis Champmathieu was not interesting
and that he had actually been guilty of theft.

He answered himself: "If this man hasindeedstolen a few apples
that means a month in prison. It is a long way from that to the galleys.
And who knows? Did he steal? Has it been proved? The name of
Jean Valjean overwhelms himand seems to dispense with proofs.
Do not the attorneys for the Crown always proceed in this manner?
He is supposed to be a thief because he is known to be a convict."

In another instant the thought had occurred to him thatwhen he
denounced himselfthe heroism of his deed mightperhapsbe taken
into considerationand his honest life for the last seven years
and what he had done for the districtand that they would have mercy
on him.

But this supposition vanished very quicklyand he smiled bitterly as he
remembered that the theft of the forty sous from little Gervais put him
in the position of a man guilty of a second offence after conviction
that this affair would certainly come upandaccording to the precise
terms of the lawwould render him liable to penal servitude for life.

He turned aside from all illusionsdetached himself more and
more from earthand sought strength and consolation elsewhere.
He told himself that he must do his duty; that perhaps he should not
be more unhappy after doing his duty than after having avoided it;
that if he allowed things to take their own courseif he remained
at M. sur M.his considerationhis good namehis good works
the deference and veneration paid to himhis charityhis wealth
his popularityhis virtuewould be seasoned with a crime.
And what would be the taste of all these holy things when bound up
with this hideous thing? whileif he accomplished his sacrifice
a celestial idea would be mingled with the galleysthe post
the iron neckletthe green capunceasing toiland pitiless shame.

At length he told himself that it must be sothat his destiny was
thus allottedthat he had not authority to alter the arrangements made
on highthatin any casehe must make his choice: virtue without
and abomination withinor holiness within and infamy without.

The stirring up of these lugubrious ideas did not cause his courage
to failbut his brain grow weary. He began to think of other things
of indifferent mattersin spite of himself.

The veins in his temples throbbed violently; he still paced to and fro;
midnight sounded first from the parish churchthen from the town-hall;
he counted the twelve strokes of the two clocksand compared
the sounds of the two bells; he recalled in this connection the
fact thata few days previouslyhe had seen in an ironmonger's

shop an ancient clock for saleupon which was written the name
Antoine-Albin de Romainville.

He was cold; he lighted a small fire; it did not occur to him
to close the window.

In the meantime he had relapsed into his stupor; he was obliged
to make a tolerably vigorous effort to recall what had been the
subject of his thoughts before midnight had struck; he finally
succeeded in doing this.

Ah! yes,he said to himselfI had resolved to inform against myself.

And thenall of a suddenhe thought of Fantine.

Hold!said heand what about that poor woman?

Here a fresh crisis declared itself.

Fantineby appearing thus abruptly in his reveryproduced the effect
of an unexpected ray of light; it seemed to him as though everything
about him were undergoing a change of aspect: he exclaimed:-

Ah! but I have hitherto considered no one but myself; it is proper
for me to hold my tongue or to denounce myself, to conceal my person
or to save my soul, to be a despicable and respected magistrate,
or an infamous and venerable convict; it is I, it is always I
and nothing but I: but, good God! all this is egotism; these are
diverse forms of egotism, but it is egotism all the same.
What if I were to think a little about others? The highest
holiness is to think of others; come, let us examine the matter.
The _I_ excepted, the _I_ effaced, the _I_ forgotten, what would be
the result of all this? What if I denounce myself? I am arrested;
this Champmathieu is released; I am put back in the galleys; that is well-and
what then? What is going on here? Ah! here is a country,
a town, here are factories, an industry, workers, both men and women,
aged grandsires, children, poor people! All this I have created;
all these I provide with their living; everywhere where there is
a smoking chimney, it is I who have placed the brand on the hearth
and meat in the pot; I have created ease, circulation, credit;
before me there was nothing; I have elevated, vivified, informed
with life, fecundated, stimulated, enriched the whole country-side;
lacking me, the soul is lacking; I take myself off, everything dies:
and this woman, who has suffered so much, who possesses so many
merits in spite of her fall; the cause of all whose misery I have
unwittingly been! And that child whom I meant to go in search of,
whom I have promised to her mother; do I not also owe something
to this woman, in reparation for the evil which I have done her?
If I disappear, what happens? The mother dies; the child becomes
what it can; that is what will take place, if I denounce myself.
If I do not denounce myself? come, let us see how it will be if I do not
denounce myself.

After putting this question to himselfhe paused; he seemed to undergo
a momentary hesitation and trepidation; but it did not last long
and he answered himself calmly:-

Well, this man is going to the galleys; it is true, but what the
deuce! he has stolen! There is no use in my saying that he has
not been guilty of theft, for he has! I remain here; I go on:
in ten years I shall have made ten millions; I scatter them
over the country; I have nothing of my own; what is that to me?
It is not for myself that I am doing it; the prosperity of
all goes on augmenting; industries are aroused and animated;

factories and shops are multiplied; families, a hundred families,
a thousand families, are happy; the district becomes populated;
villages spring up where there were only farms before;
farms rise where there was nothing; wretchedness disappears,
and with wretchedness debauchery, prostitution, theft, murder;
all vices disappear, all crimes: and this poor mother rears her child;
and behold a whole country rich and honest! Ah! I was a fool!
I was absurd! what was that I was saying about denouncing myself?
I really must pay attention and not be precipitate about anything.
What! because it would have pleased me to play the grand and generous;
this is melodrama, after all; because I should have thought of no
one but myself, the idea! for the sake of saving from a punishment,
a trifle exaggerated, perhaps, but just at bottom, no one knows whom,
a thief, a good-for-nothing, evidently, a whole country-side must
perish! a poor woman must die in the hospital! a poor little
girl must die in the street! like dogs; ah, this is abominable!
And without the mother even having seen her child once more,
almost without the child's having known her mother; and all that for
the sake of an old wretch of an apple-thief who, most assuredly,
has deserved the galleys for something else, if not for that;
fine scruples, indeed, which save a guilty man and sacrifice the innocent,
which save an old vagabond who has only a few years to live at most,
and who will not be more unhappy in the galleys than in his hovel,
and which sacrifice a whole population, mothers, wives, children.
This poor little Cosette who has no one in the world but me,
and who is, no doubt, blue with cold at this moment in the den
of those Thenardiers; those peoples are rascals; and I was going to
neglect my duty towards all these poor creatures; and I was going off
to denounce myself; and I was about to commit that unspeakable folly!
Let us put it at the worst: suppose that there is a wrong action
on my part in this, and that my conscience will reproach me for it
some day, to accept, for the good of others, these reproaches
which weigh only on myself; this evil action which compromises
my soul alone; in that lies self-sacrifice; in that alone there
is virtue.

He rose and resumed his march; this timehe seemed to be content.

Diamonds are found only in the dark places of the earth;
truths are found only in the depths of thought. It seemed
to himthatafter having descended into these depths
after having long groped among the darkest of these shadows
he had at last found one of these diamondsone of these truthsand
that he now held it in his handand he was dazzled as he gazed upon it.

Yes,he thoughtthis is right; I am on the right road; I have
the solution; I must end by holding fast to something; my resolve
is taken; let things take their course; let us no longer vacillate;
let us no longer hang back; this is for the interest of all,
not for my own; I am Madeleine, and Madeleine I remain. Woe to the
man who is Jean Valjean! I am no longer he; I do not know that man;
I no longer know anything; it turns out that some one is Jean
Valjean at the present moment; let him look out for himself;
that does not concern me; it is a fatal name which was floating
abroad in the night; if it halts and descends on a head, so much
the worse for that head.

He looked into the little mirror which hung above his chimney-piece
and said:--

Hold! it has relieved me to come to a decision; I am quite another
man now.

He proceeded a few paces furtherthen he stopped short.

Come!he saidI must not flinch before any of the consequences
of the resolution which I have once adopted; there are still
threads which attach me to that Jean Valjean; they must be broken;
in this very room there are objects which would betray me,
dumb things which would bear witness against me; it is settled;
all these things must disappear.

He fumbled in his pocketdrew out his purseopened itand took
out a small key; he inserted the key in a lock whose aperture could
hardly be seenso hidden was it in the most sombre tones of the
design which covered the wall-paper; a secret receptacle opened
a sort of false cupboard constructed in the angle between the wall
and the chimney-piece; in this hiding-place there were some rags-a
blue linen blousean old pair of trousersan old knapsack
and a huge thorn cudgel shod with iron at both ends. Those who
had seen Jean Valjean at the epoch when he passed through D---in
October1815could easily have recognized all the pieces of this
miserable outfit.

He had preserved them as he had preserved the silver candlesticks
in order to remind himself continually of his starting-pointbut he
had concealed all that came from the galleysand he had allowed
the candlesticks which came from the Bishop to be seen.

He cast a furtive glance towards the dooras though he feared that
it would open in spite of the bolt which fastened it; thenwith a
quick and abrupt movementhe took the whole in his arms at once
without bestowing so much as a glance on the things which he
had so religiously and so perilously preserved for so many years
and flung them allragscudgelknapsackinto the fire.

He closed the false cupboard againand with redoubled precautions
henceforth unnecessarysince it was now emptyhe concealed the
door behind a heavy piece of furniturewhich he pushed in front
of it.

After the lapse of a few secondsthe room and the opposite wall
were lighted up with a fierceredtremulous glow. Everything was
on fire; the thorn cudgel snapped and threw out sparks to the middle
of the chamber.

As the knapsack was consumedtogether with the hideous rags which
it containedit revealed something which sparkled in the ashes.
By bending overone could have readily recognized a coin--no doubt
the forty-sou piece stolen from the little Savoyard.

He did not look at the firebut paced back and forth with the
same step.

All at once his eye fell on the two silver candlestickswhich shone
vaguely on the chimney-piecethrough the glow.

Hold!he thought; "the whole of Jean Valjean is still in them.
They must be destroyed also."

He seized the two candlesticks.

There was still fire enough to allow of their being put out of shape
and converted into a sort of unrecognizable bar of metal.

He bent over the hearth and warmed himself for a moment. He felt
a sense of real comfort. "How good warmth is!" said he.

He stirred the live coals with one of the candlesticks.

A minute moreand they were both in the fire.

At that moment it seemed to him that he heard a voice within
him shouting: "Jean Valjean! Jean Valjean!"

His hair rose upright: he became like a man who is listening
to some terrible thing.

Yes, that's it! finish!said the voice. "Complete what you
are about! Destroy these candlesticks! Annihilate this souvenir!
Forget the Bishop! Forget everything! Destroy this Champmathieudo!
That is right! Applaud yourself! So it is settledresolved
fixedagreed: here is an old man who does not know what is
wanted of himwho hasperhapsdone nothingan innocent man
whose whole misfortune lies in your nameupon whom your name weighs
like a crimewho is about to be taken for youwho will be condemned
who will finish his days in abjectness and horror. That is good!
Be an honest man yourself; remain Monsieur le Maire; remain honorable
and honored; enrich the town; nourish the indigent; rear the orphan;
live happyvirtuousand admired; andduring this timewhile you are
here in the midst of joy and lightthere will be a man who will wear
your red blousewho will bear your name in ignominyand who will drag
your chain in the galleys. Yesit is well arranged thus. Ahwretch!"

The perspiration streamed from his brow. He fixed a haggard
eye on the candlesticks. But that within him which had spoken
had not finished. The voice continued:-

Jean Valjean, there will be around you many voices, which will make
a great noise, which will talk very loud, and which will bless you,
and only one which no one will hear, and which will curse you
in the dark. Well! listen, infamous man! All those benedictions
will fall back before they reach heaven, and only the malediction
will ascend to God.

This voicefeeble at firstand which had proceeded from the most
obscure depths of his consciencehad gradually become startling
and formidableand he now heard it in his very ear. It seemed
to him that it had detached itself from himand that it was now
speaking outside of him. He thought that he heard the last words
so distinctlythat he glanced around the room in a sort of terror.

Is there any one here?he demanded aloudin utter bewilderment.

Then he resumedwith a laugh which resembled that of an idiot:-

How stupid I am! There can be no one!

There was some one; but the person who was there was of those whom
the human eye cannot see.

He placed the candlesticks on the chimney-piece.

Then he resumed his monotonous and lugubrious trampwhich troubled
the dreams of the sleeping man beneath himand awoke him with a start.

This tramping to and fro soothed and at the same time intoxicated him.
It sometimes seemson supreme occasionsas though people moved
about for the purpose of asking advice of everything that they may
encounter by change of place. After the lapse of a few minutes he
no longer knew his position.

He now recoiled in equal terror before both the resolutions at which he
had arrived in turn. The two ideas which counselled him appeared
to him equally fatal. What a fatality! What conjunction that that
Champmathieu should have been taken for him; to be overwhelmed
by precisely the means which Providence seemed to have employed
at firstto strengthen his position!

There was a moment when he reflected on the future. Denounce himself
great God! Deliver himself up! With immense despair he faced all
that he should be obliged to leaveall that he should be obliged
to take up once more. He should have to bid farewell to that existence
which was so goodso pureso radiantto the respect of all
to honorto liberty. He should never more stroll in the fields;
he should never more hear the birds sing in the month of May;
he should never more bestow alms on the little children;
he should never more experience the sweetness of having glances
of gratitude and love fixed upon him; he should quit that house
which he had builtthat little chamber! Everything seemed charming
to him at that moment. Never again should he read those books;
never more should he write on that little table of white wood;
his old portressthe only servant whom he keptwould never more
bring him his coffee in the morning. Great God! instead of that
the convict gangthe iron neckletthe red waistcoatthe chain
on his anklefatiguethe cellthe camp bed all those horrors
which he knew so well! At his ageafter having been what he was!
If he were only young again! but to be addressed in his old age as
thouby any one who pleased; to be searched by the convict-guard;
to receive the galley-sergeant's cudgellings; to wear iron-bound
shoes on his bare feet; to have to stretch out his leg night
and morning to the hammer of the roundsman who visits the gang;
to submit to the curiosity of strangerswho would be told: "That man
yonder is the famous Jean Valjeanwho was mayor of M. sur M.";
and at nightdripping with perspirationoverwhelmed with lassitude
their green caps drawn over their eyesto remounttwo by two
the ladder staircase of the galleys beneath the sergeant's whip.
Ohwhat misery! Can destinythenbe as malicious as an intelligent
beingand become as monstrous as the human heart?

And do what he wouldhe always fell back upon the heartrending
dilemma which lay at the foundation of his revery: "Should he
remain in paradise and become a demon? Should he return to hell
and become an angel?"

What was to be done? Great God! what was to be done?

The torment from which he had escaped with so much difficulty
was unchained afresh within him. His ideas began to grow confused
once more; they assumed a kind of stupefied and mechanical quality
which is peculiar to despair. The name of Romainville recurred
incessantly to his mindwith the two verses of a song which he had
heard in the past. He thought that Romainville was a little grove
near Pariswhere young lovers go to pluck lilacs in the month of April.

He wavered outwardly as well as inwardly. He walked like a little
child who is permitted to toddle alone.

At intervalsas he combated his lassitudehe made an effort
to recover the mastery of his mind. He tried to put to himself
for the last timeand definitelythe problem over which he had
in a mannerfallen prostrate with fatigue: Ought he to
denounce himself? Ought he to hold his peace? He could not manage
to see anything distinctly. The vague aspects of all the courses
of reasoning which had been sketched out by his meditations quivered
and vanishedone after the otherinto smoke. He only felt that

to whatever course of action he made up his mindsomething in him
must dieand that of necessityand without his being able to
escape the fact; that he was entering a sepulchre on the right hand
as much as on the left; that he was passing through a death agony--
the agony of his happinessor the agony of his virtue.

Alas! all his resolution had again taken possession of him.
He was no further advanced than at the beginning.

Thus did this unhappy soul struggle in its anguish.
Eighteen hundred years before this unfortunate manthe mysterious
Being in whom are summed up all the sanctities and all the
sufferings of humanity had also long thrust aside with his hand
while the olive-trees quivered in the wild wind of the infinite
the terrible cup which appeared to Him dripping with darkness
and overflowing with shadows in the depths all studded with stars.



Three o'clock in the morning had just struckand he had been
walking thus for five hoursalmost uninterruptedlywhen he
at length allowed himself to drop into his chair.

There he fell asleep and had a dream.

This dreamlike the majority of dreamsbore no relation to
the situationexcept by its painful and heart-rending character
but it made an impression on him. This nightmare struck him so
forcibly that he wrote it down later on. It is one of the papers
in his own handwriting which he has bequeathed to us. We think
that we have here reproduced the thing in strict accordance with the text.

Of whatever nature this dream may bethe history of this night
would be incomplete if we were to omit it: it is the gloomy
adventure of an ailing soul.

Here it is. On the envelope we find this line inscribedThe Dream
I had that Night.

I was in a plain; a vast, gloomy plain, where there was no grass.
It did not seem to me to be daylight nor yet night.

I was walking with my brotherthe brother of my childish years
the brother of whomI must sayI never thinkand whom I now
hardly remember.

We were conversing and we met some passers-by. We were talking
of a neighbor of ours in former days, who had always worked with her
window open from the time when she came to live on the street.
As we talked we felt cold because of that open window.

There were no trees in the plain. We saw a man passing close to us.
He was entirely nudeof the hue of ashesand mounted on a horse
which was earth color. The man had no hair; we could see his skull
and the veins on it. In his hand he held a switch which was as
supple as a vine-shoot and as heavy as iron. This horseman passed
and said nothing to us.

My brother said to me, `Let us take to the hollow road.'

There existed a hollow way wherein one saw neither a single shrub
nor a spear of moss. Everything was dirt-coloredeven the sky.
After proceeding a few pacesI received no reply when I spoke:
I perceived that my brother was no longer with me.

I entered a village which I espied. I reflected that it must
be Romainville. (Why Romainville?)[5]

[5] This parenthesis is due to Jean Valjean.
The first street that I entered was deserted. I entered
a second street. Behind the angle formed by the two streets
a man was standing erect against the wall. I said to this Man:--

`What country is this? Where am I?' The man made no reply.
I saw the door of a house open, and I entered.

The first chamber was deserted. I entered the second. Behind the
door of this chamber a man was standing erect against the wall.
I inquired of this man`Whose house is this? Where am I?'
The man replied not.

The house had a garden. I quitted the house and entered the garden.
The garden was deserted. Behind the first tree I found a man
standing upright. I said to this man, `What garden is this?
Where am I?' The man did not answer.

I strolled into the villageand perceived that it was a town.
All the streets were desertedall the doors were open. Not a single
living being was passing in the streetswalking through the chambers
or strolling in the gardens. But behind each angle of the walls
behind each doorbehind each treestood a silent man. Only one was
to be seen at a time. These men watched me pass.

I left the town and began to ramble about the fields.

After the lapse of some time I turned back and saw a great crowd coming
up behind me. I recognized all the men whom I had seen in that town.
They had strange heads. They did not seem to be in a hurryyet they
walked faster than I did. They made no noise as they walked.
In an instant this crowd had overtaken and surrounded me.
The faces of these men were earthen in hue.

Then the first one whom I had seen and questioned on entering
the town said to me:--

`Whither are you going! Do you not know that you have been dead
this long time?'

I opened my mouth to reply, and I perceived that there was no
one near me.

He woke. He was icy cold. A wind which was chill like the breeze
of dawn was rattling the leaves of the windowwhich had been left
open on their hinges. The fire was out. The candle was nearing
its end. It was still black night.

He rosehe went to the window. There were no stars in the sky
even yet.

From his window the yard of the house and the street were visible.

A sharpharsh noisewhich made him drop his eyesresounded from
the earth.

Below him he perceived two red starswhose rays lengthened
and shortened in a singular manner through the darkness.

As his thoughts were still half immersed in the mists of sleep
Hold!said hethere are no stars in the sky. They are on
earth now.

But this confusion vanished; a second sound similar to the first
roused him thoroughly; he looked and recognized the fact that these
two stars were the lanterns of a carriage. By the light which
they cast he was able to distinguish the form of this vehicle.
It was a tilbury harnessed to a small white horse. The noise which
he had heard was the trampling of the horse's hoofs on the pavement.

What vehicle is this?he said to himself. "Who is coming here
so early in the morning?"

At that moment there came a light tap on the door of his chamber.
He shuddered from head to footand cried in a terrible voice:--

Who is there?
Some one said:--

I, Monsieur le Maire.
He recognized the voice of the old woman who was his portress.

Well!he repliedwhat is it?
Monsieur le Maire, it is just five o'clock in the morning.

What is that to me?
The cabriolet is here, Monsieur le Maire.

What cabriolet?
The tilbury.

What tilbury?
Did not Monsieur le Maire order a tilbury?

No,said he.
The coachman says that he has come for Monsieur le Maire.

What coachman?
M. Scaufflaire's coachman.

M. Scaufflaire?

That name sent a shudder over himas though a flash of lightning
had passed in front of his face.

Ah! yes,he resumed; "M. Scaufflaire!"
If the old woman could have seen him at that momentshe would

have been frightened.

A tolerably long silence ensued. He examined the flame of the candle
with a stupid airand from around the wick he took some of the
burning waxwhich he rolled between his fingers. The old woman
waited for him. She even ventured to uplift her voice once more:-

What am I to say, Monsieur le Maire?

Say that it is well, and that I am coming down.



The posting service from Arras to M. sur M. was still operated
at this period by small mail-wagons of the time of the Empire.
These mail-wagons were two-wheeled cabrioletsupholstered inside
with fawn-colored leatherhung on springsand having but two seats
one for the postboythe other for the traveller. The wheels were
armed with those longoffensive axles which keep other vehicles
at a distanceand which may still be seen on the road in Germany.
The despatch boxan immense oblong cofferwas placed behind the
vehicle and formed a part of it. This coffer was painted black
and the cabriolet yellow.

These vehicleswhich have no counterparts nowadayshad something
distorted and hunchbacked about them; and when one saw them passing
in the distanceand climbing up some road to the horizonthey
resembled the insects which are calledI thinktermitesand which
though with but little corseletdrag a great train behind them.
But they travelled at a very rapid rate. The post-wagon which set out
from Arras at one o'clock every nightafter the mail from Paris had
passedarrived at M. sur M. a little before five o'clock in the morning.

That night the wagon which was descending to M. sur M. by the Hesdin road
collided at the corner of a streetjust as it was entering the town
with a little tilbury harnessed to a white horsewhich was going
in the opposite directionand in which there was but one person
a man enveloped in a mantle. The wheel of the tilbury received
quite a violent shock. The postman shouted to the man to stop
but the traveller paid no heed and pursued his road at full gallop.

That man is in a devilish hurry!said the postman.

The man thus hastening on was the one whom we have just seen
struggling in convulsions which are certainly deserving of pity.

Whither was he going? He could not have told. Why was he hastening?
He did not know. He was driving at randomstraight ahead. Whither?
To Arrasno doubt; but he might have been going elsewhere as well.
At times he was conscious of itand he shuddered. He plunged into
the night as into a gulf. Something urged him forward; something drew
him on. No one could have told what was taking place within him;
every one will understand it. What man is there who has not entered
at least once in his lifeinto that obscure cavern of the unknown?

Howeverhe had resolved on nothingdecided nothingformed no plan
done nothing. None of the actions of his conscience had been decisive.
He wasmore than everas he had been at the first moment.

Why was he going to Arras?

He repeated what he had already said to himself when he had hired
Scaufflaire's cabriolet: thatwhatever the result was to be
there was no reason why he should not see with his own eyes
and judge of matters for himself; that this was even prudent;
that he must know what took place; that no decision could be arrived
at without having observed and scrutinized; that one made mountains
out of everything from a distance; thatat any ratewhen he
should have seen that Champmathieusome wretchhis conscience
would probably be greatly relieved to allow him to go to the galleys
in his stead; that Javert would indeed be there; and that Brevet
that Chenildieuthat Cochepailleold convicts who had known him;
but they certainly would not recognize him;--bah! what an idea!
that Javert was a hundred leagues from suspecting the truth;
that all conjectures and all suppositions were fixed on Champmathieu
and that there is nothing so headstrong as suppositions and conjectures;
that accordingly there was no danger.

That it wasno doubta dark momentbut that he should emerge
from it; thatafter allhe held his destinyhowever bad it might be
in his own hand; that he was master of it. He clung to this thought.

At bottomto tell the whole truthhe would have preferred not
to go to Arras.

Neverthelesshe was going thither.

As he meditatedhe whipped up his horsewhich was proceeding at
that fineregularand even trot which accomplishes two leagues
and a half an hour.

In proportion as the cabriolet advancedhe felt something within
him draw back.

At daybreak he was in the open country; the town of M. sur M. lay
far behind him. He watched the horizon grow white; he stared at all
the chilly figures of a winter's dawn as they passed before his eyes
but without seeing them. The morning has its spectres as well as
the evening. He did not see them; but without his being aware of it
and by means of a sort of penetration which was almost physical
these black silhouettes of trees and of hills added some gloomy
and sinister quality to the violent state of his soul.

Each time that he passed one of those isolated dwellings which
sometimes border on the highwayhe said to himselfAnd yet
there are people there within who are sleeping!

The trot of the horsethe bells on the harnessthe wheels
on the roadproduced a gentlemonotonous noise. These things
are charming when one is joyousand lugubrious when one is sad.

It was broad daylight when he arrived at Hesdin. He halted in front
of the innto allow the horse a breathing spelland to have him
given some oats.

The horse belongedas Scaufflaire had saidto that small race
of the Boulonnaiswhich has too much headtoo much belly
and not enough neck and shouldersbut which has a broad chest
a large crupperthinfine legsand solid hoofs--a homely
but a robust and healthy race. The excellent beast had travelled
five leagues in two hoursand had not a drop of sweat on his loins.

He did not get out of the tilbury. The stableman who brought

the oats suddenly bent down and examined the left wheel.
Are you going far in this condition?said the man.

He repliedwith an air of not having roused himself from his revery:--

Have you come from a great distance?went on the man.
Five leagues.

Why do you say, `Ah?'

The man bent down once morewas silent for a momentwith his eyes
fixed on the wheel; then he rose erect and said:-

Because, though this wheel has travelled five leagues, it certainly
will not travel another quarter of a league.

He sprang out of the tilbury.

What is that you say, my friend?

I say that it is a miracle that you should have travelled five leagues
without you and your horse rolling into some ditch on the highway.
Just see here!

The wheel really had suffered serious damage. The shock administered
by the mail-wagon had split two spokes and strained the hub
so that the nut no longer held firm.

My friend,he said to the stablemanis there a wheelwright here?

Certainly, sir.
Do me the service to go and fetch him.

He is only a step from here. Hey! Master Bourgaillard!

Master Bourgaillardthe wheelwrightwas standing on his own threshold.
He cameexamined the wheel and made a grimace like a surgeon
when the latter thinks a limb is broken.

Can you repair this wheel immediately?

Yes, sir.
When can I set out again?


There is a long day's work on it. Are you in a hurry, sir?
In a very great hurry. I must set out again in an hour at the latest.

Impossible, sir.
I will pay whatever you ask.

Well, in two hours, then.

Impossible to-day. Two new spokes and a hub must be made.
Monsieur will not be able to start before to-morrow morning.

The matter cannot wait until to-morrow. What if you were to replace
this wheel instead of repairing it?

How so?

You are a wheelwright?
Certainly, sir.

Have you not a wheel that you can sell me? Then I could start
again at once.

A spare wheel?


I have no wheel on hand that would fit your cabriolet. Two wheels
make a pair. Two wheels cannot be put together hap-hazard.
In that case, sell me a pair of wheels.

Not all wheels fit all axles, sir.
Try, nevertheless.

It is useless, sir. I have nothing to sell but cart-wheels. We
are but a poor country here.

Have you a cabriolet that you can let me have?

The wheelwright had seen at the first glance that the tilbury
was a hired vehicle. He shrugged his shoulders.

You treat the cabriolets that people let you so well! If I had one,
I would not let it to you!

Well, sell it to me, then.

I have none.
What! not even a spring-cart? I am not hard to please, as you see.

We live in a poor country. There is, in truth,added the wheelwright
an old calash under the shed yonder, which belongs to a bourgeois
of the town, who gave it to me to take care of, and who only uses it
on the thirty-sixth of the month--never, that is to say. I might
let that to you, for what matters it to me? But the bourgeois must
not see it pass--and then, it is a calash; it would require two horses.

I will take two post-horses.
Where is Monsieur going?

To Arras.
And Monsieur wishes to reach there to-day?

Yes, of course.

By taking two post-horses?

Why not?

Does it make any difference whether Monsieur arrives at four
o'clock to-morrow morning?

Certainly not.

There is one thing to be said about that, you see, by taking post-horses--
Monsieur has his passport?


Well, by taking post-horses, Monsieur cannot reach Arras before
to-morrow. We are on a cross-road. The relays are badly served,
the horses are in the fields. The season for ploughing is
just beginning; heavy teams are required, and horses are seized
upon everywhere, from the post as well as elsewhere. Monsieur will
have to wait three or four hours at the least at every relay.
And, then, they drive at a walk. There are many hills to ascend.

Come then, I will go on horseback. Unharness the cabriolet.
Some one can surely sell me a saddle in the neighborhood.

Without doubt. But will this horse bear the saddle?

That is true; you remind me of that; he will not bear it.


But I can surely hire a horse in the village?

A horse to travel to Arras at one stretch?


That would require such a horse as does not exist in these parts.
You would have to buy it to begin with, because no one knows you.
But you will not find one for sale nor to let, for five hundred francs,
or for a thousand.

What am I to do?

The best thing is to let me repair the wheel like an honest man,
and set out on your journey to-morrow.

To-morrow will be too late.

The deuce!

Is there not a mail-wagon which runs to Arras? When will it pass?

To-night. Both the posts pass at night; the one going as well
as the one coming.

What! It will take you a day to mend this wheel?

A day, and a good long one.

If you set two men to work?

If I set ten men to work.

What if the spokes were to be tied together with ropes?

That could be done with the spokes, not with the hub; and the felly
is in a bad state, too.

Is there any one in this village who lets out teams?


Is there another wheelwright?

The stableman and the wheelwright replied in concertwith a toss
of the head


He felt an immense joy.

It was evident that Providence was intervening. That it was it
who had broken the wheel of the tilbury and who was stopping him
on the road. He had not yielded to this sort of first summons;
he had just made every possible effort to continue the journey;
he had loyally and scrupulously exhausted all means; he had been
deterred neither by the seasonnor fatiguenor by the expense;
he had nothing with which to reproach himself. If he went no further
that was no fault of his. It did not concern him further.
It was no longer his fault. It was not the act of his own conscience
but the act of Providence.

He breathed again. He breathed freely and to the full extent
of his lungs for the first time since Javert's visit. It seemed
to him that the hand of iron which had held his heart in its grasp
for the last twenty hours had just released him.

It seemed to him that God was for him nowand was manifesting Himself.

He said himself that he had done all he couldand that now he
had nothing to do but retrace his steps quietly.

If his conversation with the wheelwright had taken place in a chamber
of the innit would have had no witnessesno one would have heard him
things would have rested thereand it is probable that we should not
have had to relate any of the occurrences which the reader is about
to peruse; but this conversation had taken place in the street.
Any colloquy in the street inevitably attracts a crowd. There are
always people who ask nothing better than to become spectators.
While he was questioning the wheelwrightsome people who were
passing back and forth halted around them. After listening
for a few minutesa young ladto whom no one had paid any heed
detached himself from the group and ran off.

At the moment when the travellerafter the inward deliberation
which we have just describedresolved to retrace his steps
this child returned. He was accompanied by an old woman.

Monsieur,said the womanmy boy tells me that you wish to hire
a cabriolet.

These simple words uttered by an old woman led by a child made
the perspiration trickle down his limbs. He thought that he beheld
the hand which had relaxed its grasp reappear in the darkness
behind himready to seize him once more.

He answered:-

Yes, my good woman; I am in search of a cabriolet which I can hire.

And he hastened to add:-

But there is none in the place.

Certainly there is,said the old woman.

Where?interpolated the wheelwright.

At my house,replied the old woman.

He shuddered. The fatal hand had grasped him again.

The old woman really had in her shed a sort of basket spring-cart.
The wheelwright and the stable-manin despair at the prospect
of the traveller escaping their clutchesinterfered.

It was a frightful old trap; it rests flat on the axle; it is an
actual fact that the seats were suspended inside it by leather thongs;
the rain came into it; the wheels were rusted and eaten with moisture;
it would not go much further than the tilbury; a regular ramshackle
old stage-wagon; the gentleman would make a great mistake if he
trusted himself to it,etc.etc.

All this was true; but this trapthis ramshackle old vehicle
this thingwhatever it wasran on its two wheels and could go
to Arras.

He paid what was askedleft the tilbury with the wheelwright
to be repairedintending to reclaim it on his return
had the white horse put to the cartclimbed into itand resumed
the road which he had been travelling since morning.

At the moment when the cart moved offhe admitted that he had felt
a moment previouslya certain joy in the thought that he should not
go whither he was now proceeding. He examined this joy with a sort
of wrathand found it absurd. Why should he feel joy at turning back?
After allhe was taking this trip of his own free will.
No one was forcing him to it.

And assuredly nothing would happen except what he should choose.

As he left Hesdinhe heard a voice shouting to him: "Stop! Stop!"
He halted the cart with a vigorous movement which contained
a feverish and convulsive element resembling hope.

It was the old woman's little boy.

Monsieur,said the latterit was I who got the cart for you.


You have not given me anything.

He who gave to all so readily thought this demand exorbitant
and almost odious.

Ah! it's you, you scamp?said he; "you shall have nothing."

He whipped up his horse and set off at full speed.

He had lost a great deal of time at Hesdin. He wanted to make it good.
The little horse was courageousand pulled for two; but it was
the month of Februarythere had been rain; the roads were bad.
And thenit was no longer the tilbury. The cart was very heavy
and in additionthere were many ascents.

He took nearly four hours to go from Hesdin to Saint-Pol; four hours
for five leagues.

At Saint-Pol he had the horse unharnessed at the first inn he
came to and led to the stable; as he had promised Scaufflaire
he stood beside the manger while the horse was eating; he thought
of sad and confusing things.

The inn-keeper's wife came to the stable.

Does not Monsieur wish to breakfast?

Come, that is true; I even have a good appetite.

He followed the womanwho had a rosycheerful face; she led him
to the public room where there were tables covered with waxed cloth.

Make haste!said he; "I must start again; I am in a hurry."

A big Flemish servant-maid placed his knife and fork in all haste;
he looked at the girl with a sensation of comfort.

That is what ailed me,he thought; "I had not breakfasted."

His breakfast was served; he seized the breadtook a mouthful
and then slowly replaced it on the tableand did not touch it again.

A carter was eating at another table; he said to this man:-

Why is their bread so bitter here?

The carter was a German and did not understand him.

He returned to the stable and remained near the horse.

An hour later he had quitted Saint-Pol and was directing his course
towards Tinqueswhich is only five leagues from Arras.

What did he do during this journey? Of what was he thinking?
As in the morninghe watched the treesthe thatched roofs
the tilled fields pass byand the way in which the landscape
broken at every turn of the roadvanished; this is a sort of
contemplation which sometimes suffices to the souland almost
relieves it from thought. What is more melancholy and more profound
than to see a thousand objects for the first and the last time?
To travel is to be born and to die at every instant; perhapsin the
vaguest region of his mindbe did make comparisons between the
shifting horizon and our human existence: all the things of life
are perpetually fleeing before us; the dark and bright intervals
are intermingled; after a dazzling momentan eclipse; we look
we hastenwe stretch out our hands to grasp what is passing;
each event is a turn in the roadandall at oncewe are old;
we feel a shock; all is black; we distinguish an obscure door;
the gloomy horse of lifewhich has been drawing us haltsand we see a
veiled and unknown person unharnessing amid the shadows.

Twilight was falling when the children who were coming out of school

beheld this traveller enter Tinques; it is true that the days
were still short; he did not halt at Tinques; as he emerged from
the villagea laborerwho was mending the road with stones
raised his head and said to him:--

That horse is very much fatigued.

The poor beast wasin factgoing at a walk.

Are you going to Arras?added the road-mender.


If you go on at that rate you will not arrive very early.

He stopped his horseand asked the laborer:--

How far is it from here to Arras?

Nearly seven good leagues.

How is that? the posting guide only says five leagues and a quarter.

Ah!returned the road-menderso you don't know that the road
is under repair? You will find it barred a quarter of an hour
further on; there is no way to proceed further.


You will take the road on the left, leading to Carency; you will
cross the river; when you reach Camblin, you will turn to the right;
that is the road to Mont-Saint-Eloy which leads to Arras.

But it is night, and I shall lose my way.

You do not belong in these parts?


And, besides, it is all cross-roads; stop! sir,resumed the road-mender;
shall I give you a piece of advice? your horse is tired;
return to Tinques; there is a good inn there; sleep there;
you can reach Arras to-morrow.

I must be there this evening.

That is different; but go to the inn all the same, and get an
extra horse; the stable-boy will guide you through the cross-roads.

He followed the road-mender's adviceretraced his stepsand
half an hour laterhe passed the same spot againbut this time
at full speedwith a good horse to aid; a stable-boywho called
himself a postilionwas seated on the shaft of the cariole.

Stillhe felt that he had lost time.

Night had fully come.

They turned into the cross-road; the way became frightfully bad;
the cart lurched from one rut to the other; he said to the postilion:--

Keep at a trot, and you shall have a double fee.

In one of the joltsthe whiffle-tree broke.

There's the whiffle-tree broken, sir,said the postilion; "I don't
know how to harness my horse now; this road is very bad at night;
if you wish to return and sleep at Tinqueswe could be in Arras
early to-morrow morning."

He repliedHave you a bit of rope and a knife?

Yes, sir.

He cut a branch from a tree and made a whiffle-tree of it.

This caused another loss of twenty minutes; but they set out again
at a gallop.

The plain was gloomy; low-hangingblackcrisp fogs crept over the hills
and wrenched themselves away like smoke: there were whitish gleams
in the clouds; a strong breeze which blew in from the sea produced
a sound in all quarters of the horizonas of some one moving furniture;
everything that could be seen assumed attitudes of terror.
How many things shiver beneath these vast breaths of the night!

He was stiff with cold; he had eaten nothing since the night before;
he vaguely recalled his other nocturnal trip in the vast plain
in the neighborhood of D----eight years previouslyand it seemed
but yesterday.

The hour struck from a distant tower; he asked the boy:--

What time is it?

Seven o'clock, sir; we shall reach Arras at eight; we have
but three leagues still to go.

At that momenthe for the first time indulged in this reflection
thinking it odd the while that it had not occurred to him sooner:
that all this trouble which he was taking wasperhapsuseless;
that he did not know so much as the hour of the trial; that he should
at leasthave informed himself of that; that he was foolish to go
thus straight ahead without knowing whether he would be of any
service or not; then he sketched out some calculations in his mind:
thatordinarilythe sittings of the Court of Assizes began at
nine o'clock in the morning; that it could not be a long affair;
that the theft of the apples would be very brief; that there would
then remain only a question of identityfour or five depositions
and very little for the lawyers to say; that he should arrive after
all was over.

The postilion whipped up the horses; they had crossed the river
and left Mont-Saint-Eloy behind them.

The night grew more profound.



But at that moment Fantine was joyous.

She had passed a very bad night; her cough was frightful; her fever
had doubled in intensity; she had had dreams: in the morning

when the doctor paid his visitshe was delirious; he assumed
an alarmed lookand ordered that he should be informed as soon
as M. Madeleine arrived.

All the morning she was melancholysaid but littleand laid
plaits in her sheetsmurmuring the whilein a low voice
calculations which seemed to be calculations of distances.
Her eyes were hollow and staring. They seemed almost extinguished
at intervalsthen lighted up again and shone like stars.
It seems as thoughat the approach of a certain dark hour
the light of heaven fills those who are quitting the light of earth.

Each time that Sister Simplice asked her how she felt
she replied invariablyWell. I should like to see M. Madeleine.

Some months before thisat the moment when Fantine had just lost
her last modestyher last shameand her last joyshe was the shadow
of herself; now she was the spectre of herself. Physical suffering
had completed the work of moral suffering. This creature of five
and twenty had a wrinkled browflabby cheekspinched nostrils
teeth from which the gums had recededa leaden complexion
a bony neckprominent shoulder-bladesfrail limbsa clayey skin
and her golden hair was growing out sprinkled with gray.
Alas! how illness improvises old-age!

At mid-day the physician returnedgave some directions
inquired whether the mayor had made his appearance at the infirmary
and shook his head.

M. Madeleine usually came to see the invalid at three o'clock. As
exactness is kindnesshe was exact.
About half-past twoFantine began to be restless. In the course
of twenty minutesshe asked the nun more than ten timesWhat time
is it, sister?

Three o'clock struck. At the third strokeFantine sat up in bed;
she who couldin generalhardly turn overjoined her yellow
fleshless hands in a sort of convulsive claspand the nun heard her
utter one of those profound sighs which seem to throw off dejection.
Then Fantine turned and looked at the door.

No one entered; the door did not open.

She remained thus for a quarter of an hourher eyes riveted on
the doormotionless and apparently holding her breath. The sister
dared not speak to her. The clock struck a quarter past three.
Fantine fell back on her pillow.

She said nothingbut began to plait the sheets once more.

Half an hour passedthen an hourno one came; every time the
clock struckFantine started up and looked towards the door
then fell back again.

Her thought was clearly perceptiblebut she uttered no nameshe made
no complaintshe blamed no one. But she coughed in a melancholy way.
One would have said that something dark was descending upon her.
She was livid and her lips were blue. She smiled now and then.

Five o'clock struck. Then the sister heard her sayvery low and gently
He is wrong not to come to-day, since I am going away to-morrow.

Sister Simplice herself was surprised at M. Madeleine's delay.

In the meantimeFantine was staring at the tester of her bed.
She seemed to be endeavoring to recall something. All at once she
began to sing in a voice as feeble as a breath. The nun listened.
This is what Fantine was singing:-

Lovely things we will buy
As we stroll the faubourgs through.
Roses are pink, corn-flowers are blue,
I love my love, corn-flowers are blue.

Yestere'en the Virgin Mary came near my stovein a broidered
mantle cladand said to me`Herehide 'neath my veil the child
whom you one day begged from me. Haste to the citybuy linen
buy a needlebuy thread.'

Lovely things we will buy
As we stroll the faubourgs through.

Dear Holy Virginbeside my stove I have set a cradle
with ribbons decked. God may give me his loveliest star;
I prefer the child thou hast granted me. `Madamewhat shall
I do with this linen fine?'--`Make of it clothes for thy new-born babe.'

Roses are pink and corn-flowers are blue,
I love my love, and corn-flowers are blue.

`Wash this linen.'--`Where?'--`In the stream. Make of it
soiling notspoiling nota petticoat fair with its bodice fine
which I will embroider and fill with flowers.'--`Madamethe
child is no longer here; what is to be done?'--`Then make of it
a winding-sheet in which to bury me.'

Lovely things we will buy
As we stroll the faubourgs through,
Roses are pink, corn-flowers are blue,
I love my love, corn-flowers are blue.

This song was an old cradle romance with which she hadin former days
lulled her little Cosette to sleepand which had never recurred
to her mind in all the five years during which she had been parted
from her child. She sang it in so sad a voiceand to so sweet an air
that it was enough to make any oneeven a nunweep. The sister
accustomed as she was to austeritiesfelt a tear spring to her eyes.

The clock struck six. Fantine did not seem to hear it. She no
longer seemed to pay attention to anything about her.

Sister Simplice sent a serving-maid to inquire of the portress
of the factorywhether the mayor had returnedand if he would
not come to the infirmary soon. The girl returned in a few minutes.

Fantine was still motionless and seemed absorbed in her own thoughts.

The servant informed Sister Simplice in a very low tonethat the mayor
had set out that morning before six o'clockin a little tilbury harnessed

to a white horsecold as the weather was; that he had gone alone
without even a driver; that no one knew what road he had taken;
that people said he had been seen to turn into the road to Arras;
that others asserted that they had met him on the road to Paris.
That when he went away he had been very gentleas usualand that he
had merely told the portress not to expect him that night.

While the two women were whispering togetherwith their backs turned
to Fantine's bedthe sister interrogatingthe servant conjecturing
Fantinewith the feverish vivacity of certain organic maladies
which unite the free movements of health with the frightful
emaciation of deathhad raised herself to her knees in bed
with her shrivelled hands resting on the bolsterand her head
thrust through the opening of the curtainsand was listening.
All at once she cried:--

You are speaking of M. Madeleine! Why are you talking so low?
What is he doing? Why does he not come?

Her voice was so abrupt and hoarse that the two women thought they
heard the voice of a man; they wheeled round in affright.

Answer me!cried Fantine.

The servant stammered:--

The portress told me that he could not come to-day.

Be calm, my child,said the sister; "lie down again."

Fantinewithout changing her attitudecontinued in a loud voice
and with an accent that was both imperious and heart-rending:--

He cannot come? Why not? You know the reason. You are whispering
it to each other there. I want to know it.

The servant-maid hastened to say in the nun's earSay that he
is busy with the city council.

Sister Simplice blushed faintlyfor it was a lie that the maid
had proposed to her.

On the other handit seemed to her that the mere communication of the
truth to the invalid wouldwithout doubtdeal her a terrible blow
and that this was a serious matter in Fantine's present state.
Her flush did not last long; the sister raised her calmsad eyes
to Fantineand saidMonsieur le Maire has gone away.

Fantine raised herself and crouched on her heels in the bed:
her eyes sparkled; indescribable joy beamed from that melancholy face.

Gone!she cried; "he has gone to get Cosette."

Then she raised her arms to heavenand her white face became ineffable;
her lips moved; she was praying in a low voice.

When her prayer was finishedSister,she saidI am willing to lie
down again; I will do anything you wish; I was naughty just now;
I beg your pardon for having spoken so loud; it is very wrong
to talk loudly; I know that well, my good sister, but, you see,
I am very happy: the good God is good; M. Madeleine is good;
just think! he has gone to Montfermeil to get my little Cosette.

She lay down againwith the nun's assistancehelped the nun

to arrange her pillowand kissed the little silver cross which she
wore on her neckand which Sister Simplice had given her.

My child,said the sistertry to rest now, and do not talk
any more.

Fantine took the sister's hand in her moist handsand the latter
was pained to feel that perspiration.

He set out this morning for Paris; in fact, he need not even go
through Paris; Montfermeil is a little to the left as you come thence.
Do you remember how he said to me yesterday, when I spoke
to him of Cosette, Soon, soon? He wants to give me a surprise,
you know! he made me sign a letter so that she could be taken from
the Thenardiers; they cannot say anything, can they? they will give
back Cosette, for they have been paid; the authorities will not
allow them to keep the child since they have received their pay.
Do not make signs to me that I must not talk, sister! I am
extremely happy; I am doing well; I am not ill at all any more;
I am going to see Cosette again; I am even quite hungry; it is
nearly five years since I saw her last; you cannot imagine how much
attached one gets to children, and then, she will be so pretty;
you will see! If you only knew what pretty little rosy fingers
she had! In the first place, she will have very beautiful hands;
she had ridiculous hands when she was only a year old; like this!
she must be a big girl now; she is seven years old; she is quite
a young lady; I call her Cosette, but her name is really Euphrasie.
Stop! this morning I was looking at the dust on the chimney-piece,
and I had a sort of idea come across me, like that, that I should
see Cosette again soon. Mon Dieu! how wrong it is not to see one's
children for years! One ought to reflect that life is not eternal.
Oh, how good M. le Maire is to go! it is very cold! it is true;
he had on his cloak, at least? he will be here to-morrow, will he
not? to-morrow will be a festival day; to-morrow morning, sister,
you must remind me to put on my little cap that has lace on it.
What a place that Montfermeil is! I took that journey on foot once;
it was very long for me, but the diligences go very quickly! he
will be here to-morrow with Cosette: how far is it from here
to Montfermeil?

The sisterwho had no idea of distancesrepliedOh, I think
that be will be here to-morrow.

To-morrow! to-morrow!said FantineI shall see Cosette to-morrow!
you see, good sister of the good God, that I am no longer ill;
I am mad; I could dance if any one wished it.

A person who had seen her a quarter of an hour previously would
not have understood the change; she was all rosy now; she spoke
in a lively and natural voice; her whole face was one smile;
now and then she talkedshe laughed softly; the joy of a mother
is almost infantile.

Well,resumed the nunnow that you are happy, mind me,
and do not talk any more.

Fantine laid her head on her pillow and said in a low voice:
Yes, lie down again; be good, for you are going to have your child;
Sister Simplice is right; every one here is right.

And thenwithout stirringwithout even moving her headshe began
to stare all about her with wide-open eyes and a joyous air
and she said nothing more.

The sister drew the curtains together againhoping that she would
fall into a doze. Between seven and eight o'clock the doctor came;
not hearing any soundhe thought Fantine was asleepentered softly
and approached the bed on tiptoe; he opened the curtains a little
andby the light of the taperhe saw Fantine's big eyes gazing
at him.

She said to himShe will be allowed to sleep beside
me in a little bed, will she not, sir?

The doctor thought that she was delirious. She added:-

See! there is just room.

The doctor took Sister Simplice asideand she explained
matters to him; that M. Madeleine was absent for a day or two
and that in their doubt they had not thought it well to undeceive
the invalidwho believed that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil;
that it was possibleafter allthat her guess was correct:
the doctor approved.

He returned to Fantine's bedand she went on:-

You see, when she wakes up in the morning, I shall be able to say
good morning to her, poor kitten, and when I cannot sleep at night,
I can hear her asleep; her little gentle breathing will do me good.

Give me your hand,said the doctor.

She stretched out her armand exclaimed with a laugh:-

Ah, hold! in truth, you did not know it; I am cured; Cosette will
arrive to-morrow.

The doctor was surprised; she was better; the pressure on her chest
had decreased; her pulse had regained its strength; a sort of life
had suddenly supervened and reanimated this poorworn-out creature.

Doctor,she went ondid the sister tell you that M. le Maire
has gone to get that mite of a child?

The doctor recommended silenceand that all painful emotions should
be avoided; he prescribed an infusion of pure chinchonaandin case
the fever should increase again during the nighta calming potion.
As he took his departurehe said to the sister:-

She is doing better; if good luck willed that the mayor should
actually arrive to-morrow with the child, who knows? there are
crises so astounding; great joy has been known to arrest maladies;
I know well that this is an organic disease, and in an advanced state,
but all those things are such mysteries: we may be able to save her.



It was nearly eight o'clock in the evening when the cartwhich we
left on the roadentered the porte-cochere of the Hotel de la Poste
in Arras; the man whom we have been following up to this moment
alighted from itresponded with an abstracted air to the attentions

of the people of the innsent back the extra horseand with his
own hands led the little white horse to the stable; then he opened
the door of a billiard-room which was situated on the ground floor
sat down thereand leaned his elbows on a table; he had taken
fourteen hours for the journey which he had counted on making in six;
he did himself the justice to acknowledge that it was not his fault
but at bottomhe was not sorry.

The landlady of the hotel entered.

Does Monsieur wish a bed? Does Monsieur require supper?

He made a sign of the head in the negative.

The stableman says that Monsieur's horse is extremely fatigued.

Here he broke his silence.

Will not the horse be in a condition to set out again to-morrow morning?

Oh, Monsieur! he must rest for two days at least.

He inquired:--

Is not the posting-station located here?

Yes, sir.

The hostess conducted him to the office; he showed his passport
and inquired whether there was any way of returning that same night
to M. sur M. by the mail-wagon; the seat beside the post-boy chanced
to be vacant; he engaged it and paid for it. "Monsieur said
the clerk, do not fail to be here ready to start at precisely
one o'clock in the morning."

This donehe left the hotel and began to wander about the town.

He was not acquainted with Arras; the streets were darkand he
walked on at random; but he seemed bent upon not asking the way
of the passers-by. He crossed the little river Crinchonand found
himself in a labyrinth of narrow alleys where he lost his way.
A citizen was passing along with a lantern. After some hesitation
he decided to apply to this mannot without having first glanced
behind and in front of himas though he feared lest some one should
hear the question which he was about to put.

Monsieur,said hewhere is the court-house, if you please.

You do not belong in town, sir?replied the bourgeois
who was an oldish man; "wellfollow me. I happen to be
going in the direction of the court-housethat is to say
in the direction of the hotel of the prefecture; for the
court-house is undergoing repairs just at this momentand
the courts are holding their sittings provisionally in the prefecture."

Is it there that the Assizes are held?he asked.

Certainly, sir; you see, the prefecture of to-day was the bishop's
palace before the Revolution. M. de Conzie, who was bishop in '82,
built a grand hall there. It is in this grand hall that the court
is held.

On the waythe bourgeois said to him:--

If Monsieur desires to witness a case, it is rather late.
The sittings generally close at six o'clock.

When they arrived on the grand squarehoweverthe man pointed
out to him four long windows all lighted upin the front of a vast
and gloomy building.

Upon my word, sir, you are in luck; you have arrived in season.
Do you see those four windows? That is the Court of Assizes.
There is light there, so they are not through. The matter must have
been greatly protracted, and they are holding an evening session.
Do you take an interest in this affair? Is it a criminal case?
Are you a witness?

He replied:--

I have not come on any business; I only wish to speak to one
of the lawyers.

That is different,said the bourgeois. "Stopsir; here is the door
where the sentry stands. You have only to ascend the grand staircase."

He conformed to the bourgeois's directionsand a few minutes
later he was in a hall containing many peopleand where groups
intermingled with lawyers in their gownswere whispering together
here and there.

It is always a heart-breaking thing to see these congregations
of men robed in blackmurmuring together in low voices
on the threshold of the halls of justice. It is rare that charity
and pity are the outcome of these words. Condemnations pronounced
in advance are more likely to be the result. All these groups
seem to the passing and thoughtful observer so many sombre hives
where buzzing spirits construct in concert all sorts of dark edifices.

This spacious hallilluminated by a single lampwas the old hall
of the episcopal palaceand served as the large hall of the palace
of justice. A double-leaved doorwhich was closed at that moment
separated it from the large apartment where the court was sitting.

The obscurity was such that he did not fear to accost the first
lawyer whom he met.

What stage have they reached, sir?he asked.

It is finished,said the lawyer.


This word was repeated in such accents that the lawyer turned round.

Excuse me sir; perhaps you are a relative?

No; I know no one here. Has judgment been pronounced?

Of course. Nothing else was possible.

To penal servitude?

For life.

He continuedin a voice so weak that it was barely audible:--

Then his identity was established?

What identity?replied the lawyer. "There was no identity
to be established. The matter was very simple. The woman had
murdered her child; the infanticide was proved; the jury threw
out the question of premeditationand she was condemned for life."

So it was a woman?said he.

Why, certainly. The Limosin woman. Of what are you speaking?

Nothing. But since it is all over, how comes it that the hall
is still lighted?

For another case, which was begun about two hours ago.

What other case?"

Oh! this one is a clear case also. It is about a sort of blackguard;
a man arrested for a second offence; a convict who has been guilty
of theft. I don't know his name exactly. There's a bandit's
phiz for you! I'd send him to the galleys on the strength of his
face alone.

Is there any way of getting into the court-room, sir?said he.

I really think that there is not. There is a great crowd.
However, the hearing has been suspended. Some people have gone out,
and when the hearing is resumed, you might make an effort.

Where is the entrance?

Through yonder large door.

The lawyer left him. In the course of a few moments he had experienced
almost simultaneouslyalmost intermingled with each other
all possible emotions. The words of this indifferent spectator had
in turnpierced his heart like needles of ice and like blades of fire.
When he saw that nothing was settledhe breathed freely once more;
but he could not have told whether what he felt was pain or pleasure.

He drew near to many groups and listened to what they were saying.
The docket of the session was very heavy; the president had
appointed for the same day two short and simple cases. They had
begun with the infanticideand now they had reached the convict
the old offenderthe "return horse." This man had stolen apples
but that did not appear to be entirely proved; what had been
proved wasthat he had already been in the galleys at Toulon.
It was that which lent a bad aspect to his case. Howeverthe man's
examination and the depositions of the witnesses had been completed
but the lawyer's pleaand the speech of the public prosecutor were
still to come; it could not be finished before midnight. The man
would probably be condemned; the attorney-general was very clever
and never missed his culprits; he was a brilliant fellow who
wrote verses.

An usher stood at the door communicating with the hall of the Assizes.
He inquired of this usher:-

Will the door be opened soon, sir?

It will not be opened at all,replied the usher.

What! It will not be opened when the hearing is resumed?
Is not the hearing suspended?

The hearing has just been begun again,replied the usher
but the door will not be opened again.


Because the hall is full.

What! There is not room for one more?

Not another one. The door is closed. No one can enter now.

The usher added after a pause: "There areto tell the truth
two or three extra places behind Monsieur le Presidentbut Monsieur
le President only admits public functionaries to them."

So sayingthe usher turned his back.

He retired with bowed headtraversed the antechamberand slowly
descended the stairsas though hesitating at every step.
It is probable that he was holding counsel with himself.
The violent conflict which had been going on within him since the
preceding evening was not yet ended; and every moment he encountered
some new phase of it. On reaching the landing-placehe leaned
his back against the balusters and folded his arms. All at once he
opened his coatdrew out his pocket-booktook from it a pencil
tore out a leafand upon that leaf he wrote rapidlyby the light
of the street lanternthis line: M. MadeleineMayor of M. sur M.;
then he ascended the stairs once more with great strides
made his way through the crowdwalked straight up to the usher
handed him the paperand said in an authoritative manner:-

Take this to Monsieur le President.

The usher took the papercast a glance upon itand obeyed.



Although he did not suspect the factthe mayor of M. sur M. enjoyed
a sort of celebrity. For the space of seven years his reputation
for virtue had filled the whole of Bas Boulonnais; it had eventually
passed the confines of a small district and had been spread abroad
through two or three neighboring departments. Besides the service
which he had rendered to the chief town by resuscitating the black
jet industrythere was not one out of the hundred and forty communes
of the arrondissement of M. sur M. which was not indebted to him
for some benefit. He had even at need contrived to aid and multiply
the industries of other arrondissements. It was thus that he had
when occasion offeredsupported with his credit and his funds the
linen factory at Boulognethe flax-spinning industry at Frevent
and the hydraulic manufacture of cloth at Boubers-sur-Canche.
Everywhere the name of M. Madeleine was pronounced with veneration.
Arras and Douai envied the happy little town of M. sur M. its mayor.

The Councillor of the Royal Court of Douaiwho was presiding over
this session of the Assizes at Arraswas acquaintedin common
with the rest of the worldwith this name which was so profoundly
and universally honored. When the usherdiscreetly opening the door
which connected the council-chamber with the court-roombent over the

back of the President's arm-chair and handed him the paper on which was
inscribed the line which we have just perusedadding: "The gentleman
desires to be present at the trial the President, with a quick
and deferential movement, seized a pen and wrote a few words at
the bottom of the paper and returned it to the usher, saying, Admit him."

The unhappy man whose history we are relating had remained near
the door of the hallin the same place and the same attitude in
which the usher had left him. In the midst of his revery he heard
some one saying to himWill Monsieur do me the honor to follow me?
It was the same usher who had turned his back upon him but a
moment previouslyand who was now bowing to the earth before him.
At the same timethe usher handed him the paper. He unfolded it
and as he chanced to be near the lighthe could read it.

The President of the Court of Assizes presents his respects
to M. Madeleine.

He crushed the paper in his hand as though those words contained
for him a strange and bitter aftertaste.

He followed the usher.

A few minutes later he found himself alone in a sort of wainscoted
cabinet of severe aspectlighted by two wax candlesplaced upon a table
with a green cloth. The last words of the usher who had just quitted him
still rang in his ears: "Monsieuryou are now in the council-chamber;
you have only to turn the copper handle of yonder doorand you will
find yourself in the court-roombehind the President's chair."
These words were mingled in his thoughts with a vague memory
of narrow corridors and dark staircases which he had recently traversed.

The usher had left him alone. The supreme moment had arrived.
He sought to collect his facultiesbut could not. It is chiefly
at the moment when there is the greatest need for attaching them
to the painful realities of lifethat the threads of thought
snap within the brain. He was in the very place where the judges
deliberated and condemned. With stupid tranquillity he surveyed this
peaceful and terrible apartmentwhere so many lives had been broken
which was soon to ring with his nameand which his fate was at that
moment traversing. He stared at the wallthen he looked at himself
wondering that it should be that chamber and that it should be he.

He had eaten nothing for four and twenty hours; he was worn
out by the jolts of the cartbut he was not conscious of it.
It seemed to him that he felt nothing.

He approached a black frame which was suspended on the wall
and which containedunder glassan ancient autograph letter
of Jean Nicolas Pachemayor of Paris and ministerand dated
through an errorno doubtthe 9th of Juneof the year II.and
in which Pache forwarded to the commune the list of ministers and
deputies held in arrest by them. Any spectator who had chanced to see
him at that momentand who had watched himwould have imagined
doubtlessthat this letter struck him as very curiousfor he did
not take his eyes from itand he read it two or three times.
He read it without paying any attention to itand unconsciously.
He was thinking of Fantine and Cosette.

As he dreamedhe turned roundand his eyes fell upon the brass
knob of the door which separated him from the Court of Assizes.
He had almost forgotten that door. His glancecalm at first
paused thereremained fixed on that brass handlethen grew terrified
and little by little became impregnated with fear. Beads of

perspiration burst forth among his hair and trickled down upon
his temples.

At a certain moment he made that indescribable gesture of a sort
of authority mingled with rebellionwhich is intended to convey
and which does so well conveyPardieu! who compels me to this?
Then he wheeled briskly roundcaught sight of the door through which he
had entered in front of himwent to itopened itand passed out.
He was no longer in that chamber; he was outside in a corridora long
narrow corridorbroken by steps and gratingsmaking all sorts
of angleslighted here and there by lanterns similar to the night
taper of invalidsthe corridor through which he had approached.
He breathedhe listened; not a sound in frontnot a sound behind him
and he fled as though pursued.

When he had turned many angles in this corridorhe still listened.
The same silence reignedand there was the same darkness around him.
He was out of breath; he staggered; he leaned against the wall.
The stone was cold; the perspiration lay ice-cold on his brow;
he straightened himself up with a shiver.

Thenthere alone in the darknesstrembling with cold and with
something elsetooperchancehe meditated.

He had meditated all night long; he had meditated all the day:
he heard within him but one voicewhich saidAlas!

A quarter of an hour passed thus. At length he bowed his head
sighed with agonydropped his armsand retraced his steps.
He walked slowlyand as though crushed. It seemed as though some one
had overtaken him in his flight and was leading him back.

He re-entered the council-chamber. The first thing he caught
sight of was the knob of the door. This knobwhich was round
and of polished brassshone like a terrible star for him.
He gazed at it as a lamb might gaze into the eye of a tiger.

He could not take his eyes from it. From time to time he advanced
a step and approached the door.

Had he listenedhe would have heard the sound of the adjoining
hall like a sort of confused murmur; but he did not listenand he
did not hear.

Suddenlywithout himself knowing how it happenedhe found himself
near the door; he grasped the knob convulsively; the door opened.

He was in the court-room.



He advanced a paceclosed the door mechanically behind him
and remained standingcontemplating what he saw.

It was a vast and badly lighted apartmentnow full of uproar
now full of silencewhere all the apparatus of a criminal case
with its petty and mournful gravity in the midst of the throng
was in process of development.

At the one end of the hallthe one where he waswere judges
with abstracted airin threadbare robeswho were gnawing their
nails or closing their eyelids; at the other enda ragged crowd;
lawyers in all sorts of attitudes; soldiers with hard but honest
faces; ancientspotted woodworka dirty ceilingtables covered
with serge that was yellow rather than green; doors blackened
by handmarks; tap-room lamps which emitted more smoke than light
suspended from nails in the wainscot; on the tables candles
in brass candlesticks; darknessuglinesssadness; and from
all this there was disengaged an austere and august impression
for one there felt that grand human thing which is called the law
and that grand divine thing which is called justice.

No one in all that throng paid any attention to him; all glances
were directed towards a single pointa wooden bench placed against
a small doorin the stretch of wall on the President's left;
on this benchilluminated by several candlessat a man between
two gendarmes.

This man was the man.

He did not seek him; he saw him; his eyes went thither naturally
as though they had known beforehand where that figure was.

He thought he was looking at himselfgrown old; not absolutely the
same in faceof coursebut exactly similar in attitude and aspect
with his bristling hairwith that wild and uneasy eyewith that blouse
just as it was on the day when he entered D----full of hatred
concealing his soul in that hideous mass of frightful thoughts which
he had spent nineteen years in collecting on the floor of the prison.

He said to himself with a shudderGood God! shall I become
like that again?

This creature seemed to be at least sixty; there was something
indescribably coarsestupidand frightened about him.

At the sound made by the opening doorpeople had drawn aside to make
way for him; the President had turned his headandunderstanding that
the personage who had just entered was the mayor of M. sur M.he had
bowed to him; the attorney-generalwho had seen M. Madeleine at M. sur
M.whither the duties of his office had called him more than once
recognized him and saluted him also: he had hardly perceived it;
he was the victim of a sort of hallucination; he was watching.

Judgesclerksgendarmesa throng of cruelly curious headsall these he
had already beheld oncein days gone bytwenty-seven years before;
he had encountered those fatal things once more; there they were;
they moved; they existed; it was no longer an effort of his memory
a mirage of his thought; they were real gendarmes and real judges
a real crowdand real men of flesh and blood: it was all over;
he beheld the monstrous aspects of his past reappear and live once
more around himwith all that there is formidable in reality.

All this was yawning before him.

He was horrified by it; he shut his eyesand exclaimed in the
deepest recesses of his soulNever!

And by a tragic play of destiny which made all his ideas tremble
and rendered him nearly madit was another self of his that was
there! all called that man who was being tried Jean Valjean.

Under his very eyesunheard-of visionhe had a sort of representation

of the most horrible moment of his lifeenacted by his spectre.

Everything was there; the apparatus was the samethe hour of the night
the faces of the judgesof soldiersand of spectators; all were
the sameonly above the President's head there hung a crucifix
something which the courts had lacked at the time of his condemnation:
God had been absent when he had been judged.

There was a chair behind him; he dropped into itterrified at
the thought that he might be seen; when he was seated
he took advantage of a pile of cardboard boxeswhich stood
on the judge's deskto conceal his face from the whole room;
he could now see without being seen; he had fully regained
consciousness of the reality of things; gradually he recovered;
he attained that phase of composure where it is possible to listen.

M. Bamatabois was one of the jurors.
He looked for Javertbut did not see him; the seat of the
witnesses was hidden from him by the clerk's tableand then
as we have just saidthe hall was sparely lighted.

At the moment of this entrancethe defendant's lawyer had just
finished his plea.

The attention of all was excited to the highest pitch; the affair had
lasted for three hours: for three hours that crowd had been watching
a strange mana miserable specimen of humanityeither profoundly
stupid or profoundly subtlegradually bending beneath the weight
of a terrible likeness. This manas the reader already knows
was a vagabond who had been found in a field carrying a branch
laden with ripe applesbroken in the orchard of a neighbor
called the Pierron orchard. Who was this man? an examination
had been made; witnesses had been heardand they were unanimous;
light had abounded throughout the entire debate; the accusation said:
We have in our grasp not only a marauder, a stealer of fruit;
we have here, in our hands, a bandit, an old offender who has broken
his ban, an ex-convict, a miscreant of the most dangerous description,
a malefactor named Jean Valjean, whom justice has long been in
search of, and who, eight years ago, on emerging from the galleys
at Toulon, committed a highway robbery, accompanied by violence,
on the person of a child, a Savoyard named Little Gervais; a crime
provided for by article 383 of the Penal Code, the right to try
him for which we reserve hereafter, when his identity shall have
been judicially established. He has just committed a fresh theft;
it is a case of a second offence; condemn him for the fresh deed;
later on he will be judged for the old crime.In the face of
this accusationin the face of the unanimity of the witnesses
the accused appeared to be astonished more than anything else;
he made signs and gestures which were meant to convey No
or else he stared at the ceiling: he spoke with difficulty
replied with embarrassmentbut his whole personfrom head to foot
was a denial; he was an idiot in the presence of all these minds
ranged in order of battle around himand like a stranger
in the midst of this society which was seizing fast upon him;
neverthelessit was a question of the most menacing future for him;
the likeness increased every momentand the entire crowd surveyed
with more anxiety than he did himselfthat sentence freighted
with calamitywhich descended ever closer over his head; there was
even a glimpse of a possibility afforded; besides the galleys
a possible death penaltyin case his identity were established
and the affair of Little Gervais were to end thereafter in condemnation.
Who was this man? what was the nature of his apathy? was it
imbecility or craft? Did he understand too wellor did he not

understand at all? these were questions which divided the crowd
and seemed to divide the jury; there was something both terrible
and puzzling in this case: the drama was not only melancholy; it was
also obscure.

The counsel for the defence had spoken tolerably wellin that
provincial tongue which has long constituted the eloquence of the bar
and which was formerly employed by all advocatesat Paris as well as at
Romorantin or at Montbrisonand which to-dayhaving become classic
is no longer spoken except by the official orators of magistracy
to whom it is suited on account of its grave sonorousness and its
majestic stride; a tongue in which a husband is called a consort
and a woman a spouse; Paristhe centre of art and civilization;
the kingthe monarch; Monseigneur the Bishopa sainted pontiff;
the district-attorneythe eloquent interpreter of public prosecution;
the argumentsthe accents which we have just listened to; the age
of Louis XIV.the grand age; a theatrethe temple of Melpomene;
the reigning familythe august blood of our kings; a concert
a musical solemnity; the General Commandant of the province
the illustrious warriorwhoetc.; the pupils in the seminary
these tender levities; errors imputed to newspapersthe imposture
which distills its venom through the columns of those organs; etc.
The lawyer hadaccordinglybegun with an explanation as to the
theft of the apples--an awkward matter couched in fine style;
but Benigne Bossuet himself was obliged to allude to a chicken
in the midst of a funeral orationand he extricated himself from
the situation in stately fashion. The lawyer established the fact
that the theft of the apples had not been circumstantially proved.
His clientwhom hein his character of counselpersisted in
calling Champmathieuhad not been seen scaling that wall nor
breaking that branch by any one. He had been taken with that branch
(which the lawyer preferred to call a bough) in his possession;
but he said that he had found it broken off and lying on the ground
and had picked it up. Where was there any proof to the contrary?
No doubt that branch had been broken off and concealed after the
scaling of the wallthen thrown away by the alarmed marauder;
there was no doubt that there had been a thief in the case.
But what proof was there that that thief had been Champmathieu?
One thing only. His character as an ex-convict. The lawyer did not
deny that that character appeared to beunhappilywell attested;
the accused had resided at Faverolles; the accused had exercised
the calling of a tree-pruner there; the name of Champmathieu might
well have had its origin in Jean Mathieu; all that was true--
in shortfour witnesses recognize Champmathieupositively and
without hesitationas that convictJean Valjean; to these signs
to this testimonythe counsel could oppose nothing but the denial
of his clientthe denial of an interested party; but supposing that he
was the convict Jean Valjeandid that prove that he was the thief
of the apples? that was a presumption at the mostnot a proof.
The prisonerit was trueand his counselin good faith,
was obliged to admit ithad adopted "a bad system of defence."
He obstinately denied everythingthe theft and his character of convict.
An admission upon this last point would certainly have been better
and would have won for him the indulgence of his judges; the counsel
had advised him to do this; but the accused had obstinately refused
thinkingno doubtthat he would save everything by admitting nothing.
It was an error; but ought not the paucity of this intelligence
to be taken into consideration? This man was visibly stupid.
Long-continued wretchedness in the galleyslong misery outside
the galleyshad brutalized himetc. He defended himself badly;
was that a reason for condemning him? As for the affair with
Little Gervaisthe counsel need not discuss it; it did not enter
into the case. The lawyer wound up by beseeching the jury and
the courtif the identity of Jean Valjean appeared to them to

be evidentto apply to him the police penalties which are provided
for a criminal who has broken his banand not the frightful
chastisement which descends upon the convict guilty of a second

The district-attorney answered the counsel for the defence.
He was violent and floridas district-attorneys usually are.

He congratulated the counsel for the defence on his "loyalty and
skilfully took advantage of this loyalty. He reached the accused
through all the concessions made by his lawyer. The advocate had seemed
to admit that the prisoner was Jean Valjean. He took note of this.
So this man was Jean Valjean. This point had been conceded to the
accusation and could no longer be disputed. Here, by means of a clever
autonomasia which went back to the sources and causes of crime,
the district-attorney thundered against the immorality of the
romantic school, then dawning under the name of the Satanic school,
which had been bestowed upon it by the critics of the Quotidienne
and the Oriflamme; he attributed, not without some probability,
to the influence of this perverse literature the crime of Champmathieu,
or rather, to speak more correctly, of Jean Valjean. Having exhausted
these considerations, he passed on to Jean Valjean himself.
Who was this Jean Valjean? Description of Jean Valjean: a monster
spewed forth, etc. The model for this sort of description is
contained in the tale of Theramene, which is not useful to tragedy,
but which every day renders great services to judicial eloquence.
The audience and the jury shuddered." The description finished
the district-attorney resumed with an oratorical turn calculated
to raise the enthusiasm of the journal of the prefecture to
the highest pitch on the following day: And it is such a man
etc.etc.etc.vagabondbeggarwithout means of existence
etc.etc.inured by his past life to culpable deedsand but little
reformed by his sojourn in the galleysas was proved by the crime
committed against Little Gervaisetc.etc.; it is such a man
caught upon the highway in the very act of thefta few paces
from a wall that had been scaledstill holding in his hand
the object stolenwho denies the crimethe theftthe climbing
the wall; denies everything; denies even his own identity!
In addition to a hundred other proofsto which we will not recur
four witnesses recognize him--Javertthe upright inspector
of police; Javertand three of his former companions in infamy
the convicts BrevetChenildieuand Cochepaille. What does he
offer in opposition to this overwhelming unanimity? His denial.
What obduracy! You will do justicegentlemen of the juryetc.etc.
While the district-attorney was speakingthe accused listened to him
open-mouthedwith a sort of amazement in which some admiration
was assuredly blended. He was evidently surprised that a man could
talk like that. From time to timeat those "energetic" moments
of the prosecutor's speechwhen eloquence which cannot contain itself
overflows in a flood of withering epithets and envelops the accused
like a stormhe moved his head slowly from right to left and from
left to right in the sort of mute and melancholy protest with which
he had contented himself since the beginning of the argument.
Two or three times the spectators who were nearest to him heard him say
in a low voiceThat is what comes of not having asked M. Baloup.
The district-attorney directed the attention of the jury to this
stupid attitudeevidently deliberatewhich denoted not imbecility
but craftskilla habit of deceiving justiceand which set
forth in all its nakedness the "profound perversity" of this man.
He ended by making his reserves on the affair of Little Gervais and
demanding a severe sentence.

At that timeas the reader will rememberit was penal servitude
for life.

The counsel for the defence rosebegan by complimenting Monsieur
l'Avocat-General on his "admirable speech then replied as best
he could; but he weakened; the ground was evidently slipping away
from under his feet.



The moment for closing the debate had arrived. The President had
the accused stand up, and addressed to him the customary question,
Have you anything to add to your defence?"

The man did not appear to understandas he stood there
twisting in his hands a terrible cap which he had.

The President repeated the question.

This time the man heard it. He seemed to understand. He made
a motion like a man who is just waking upcast his eyes about him
stared at the audiencethe gendarmeshis counselthe jurythe court
laid his monstrous fist on the rim of woodwork in front of his bench
took another lookand all at oncefixing his glance upon the
district-attorneyhe began to speak. It was like an eruption.
It seemedfrom the manner in which the words escaped from his mouth--
incoherentimpetuouspell-melltumbling over each other--
as though they were all pressing forward to issue forth at once.
He said:--

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

when she went to bed at eight o'clock. There, I am telling the truth;
you have only to ask. Ah, yes! how stupid I am! Paris is a gulf.
Who knows Father Champmathieu there? But M. Baloup does, I tell you.
Go see at M. Baloup's; and after all, I don't know what is wanted of

The man ceased speakingand remained standing. He had said these
things in a loudrapidhoarse voicewith a sort of irritated and
savage ingenuousness. Once he paused to salute some one in the crowd.
The sort of affirmations which he seemed to fling out before him
at random came like hiccoughsand to each he added the gesture
of a wood-cutter who is splitting wood. When he had finished
the audience burst into a laugh. He stared at the publicand
perceiving that they were laughingand not understanding why
he began to laugh himself.

It was inauspicious.

The Presidentan attentive and benevolent manraised his voice.

He reminded "the gentlemen of the jury" that "the sieur Baloup
formerly a master-wheelwrightwith whom the accused stated that he
had servedhad been summoned in vain. He had become bankrupt
and was not to be found." Then turning to the accusedhe enjoined
him to listen to what he was about to sayand added: "You are in
a position where reflection is necessary. The gravest presumptions
rest upon youand may induce vital results. Prisonerin your
own interestsI summon you for the last time to explain yourself
clearly on two points. In the first placedid you or did you not
climb the wall of the Pierron orchardbreak the branchand steal
the apples; that is to saycommit the crime of breaking in and theft?
In the second placeare you the discharged convictJean Valjean-yes
or no?"

The prisoner shook his head with a capable airlike a man who has
thoroughly understoodand who knows what answer he is going to make.
He opened his mouthturned towards the Presidentand said:-

In the first place--

Then he stared at his capstared at the ceilingand held his peace.

Prisoner,said the district-attorneyin a severe voice;
pay attention. You are not answering anything that has been
asked of you. Your embarrassment condemns you. It is evident
that your name is not Champmathieu; that you are the convict,
Jean Valjean, concealed first under the name of Jean Mathieu,
which was the name of his mother; that you went to Auvergne;
that you were born at Faverolles, where you were a pruner of trees.
It is evident that you have been guilty of entering, and of the theft
of ripe apples from the Pierron orchard. The gentlemen of the jury
will form their own opinion.

The prisoner had finally resumed his seat; he arose abruptly
when the district-attorney had finishedand exclaimed:-

You are very wicked; that you are! This what I wanted to say;
I could not find words for it at first. I have stolen nothing.
I am a man who does not have something to eat every day.
I was coming from Ailly; I was walking through the country after
a shower, which had made the whole country yellow: even the ponds
were overflowed, and nothing sprang from the sand any more but
the little blades of grass at the wayside. I found a broken
branch with apples on the ground; I picked up the branch without

knowing that it would get me into trouble. I have been in prison,
and they have been dragging me about for the last three months;
more than that I cannot say; people talk against me, they tell me,
`Answer!' The gendarme, who is a good fellow, nudges my elbow,
and says to me in a low voice, `Come, answer!' I don't know how
to explain; I have no education; I am a poor man; that is where
they wrong me, because they do not see this. I have not stolen;
I picked up from the ground things that were lying there.
You say, Jean Valjean, Jean Mathieu! I don't know those persons;
they are villagers. I worked for M. Baloup, Boulevard de l'Hopital;
my name is Champmathieu. You are very clever to tell me where I
was born; I don't know myself: it's not everybody who has a house
in which to come into the world; that would be too convenient.
I think that my father and mother were people who strolled along
the highways; I know nothing different. When I was a child,
they called me young fellow; now they call me old fellow; those are
my baptismal names; take that as you like. I have been in Auvergne;
I have been at Faverolles. Pardi. Well! can't a man have been
in Auvergne, or at Faverolles, without having been in the galleys?
I tell you that I have not stolen, and that I am Father Champmathieu;
I have been with M. Baloup; I have had a settled residence.
You worry me with your nonsense, there! Why is everybody pursuing me so

The district-attorney had remained standing; he addressed the President:--

Monsieur le President, in view of the confused but exceedingly
clever denials of the prisoner, who would like to pass himself
off as an idiot, but who will not succeed in so doing,--
we shall attend to that,--we demand that it shall please you
and that it shall please the court to summon once more into
this place the convicts Brevet, Cochepaille, and Chenildieu,
and Police-Inspector Javert, and question them for the last
time as to the identity of the prisoner with the convict Jean Valjean.

I would remind the district-attorney,said the President
that Police-Inspector Javert, recalled by his duties to the capital
of a neighboring arrondissement, left the court-room and the town
as soon as he had made his deposition; we have accorded him permission,
with the consent of the district-attorney and of the counsel
for the prisoner.

That is true, Mr. President,responded the district-attorney.
In the absence of sieur Javert, I think it my duty to remind
the gentlemen of the jury of what he said here a few hours ago.
Javert is an estimable man, who does honor by his rigorous and strict
probity to inferior but important functions. These are the terms
of his deposition: `I do not even stand in need of circumstantial
proofs and moral presumptions to give the lie to the prisoner's denial.
I recognize him perfectly. The name of this man is not Champmathieu;
he is an ex-convict named Jean Valjean, and is very vicious and much
to be feared. It is only with extreme regret that he was released
at the expiration of his term. He underwent nineteen years of penal
servitude for theft. He made five or six attempts to escape.
Besides the theft from Little Gervais, and from the Pierron orchard,
I suspect him of a theft committed in the house of His Grace the late
Bishop of D---- I often saw him at the time when I was adjutant of
the galley-guard at the prison in Toulon. I repeat that I recognize
him perfectly.'

This extremely precise statement appeared to produce a vivid
impression on the public and on the jury. The district-attorney
concluded by insistingthat in default of Javertthe three
witnesses BrevetChenildieuand Cochepaille should be heard

once more and solemnly interrogated.

The President transmitted the order to an usheranda moment
laterthe door of the witnesses' room opened. The usher
accompanied by a gendarme ready to lend him armed assistance
introduced the convict Brevet. The audience was in suspense;
and all breasts heaved as though they had contained but one soul.

The ex-convict Brevet wore the black and gray waistcoat of
the central prisons. Brevet was a person sixty years of age
who had a sort of business man's faceand the air of a rascal.
The two sometimes go together. In prisonwhither fresh misdeeds
had led himhe had become something in the nature of a turnkey.
He was a man of whom his superiors saidHe tries to make himself
of use.The chaplains bore good testimony as to his religious habits.
It must not be forgotten that this passed under the Restoration.

Brevet,said the Presidentyou have undergone an ignominious
sentence, and you cannot take an oath.

Brevet dropped his eyes.

Nevertheless,continued the Presidenteven in the man whom
the law has degraded, there may remain, when the divine mercy
permits it, a sentiment of honor and of equity. It is to this
sentiment that I appeal at this decisive hour. If it still exists
in you,--and I hope it does,--reflect before replying to me:
consider on the one hand, this man, whom a word from you may ruin;
on the other hand, justice, which a word from you may enlighten.
The instant is solemn; there is still time to retract if you think
you have been mistaken. Rise, prisoner. Brevet, take a good look
at the accused, recall your souvenirs, and tell us on your soul
and conscience, if you persist in recognizing this man as your former
companion in the galleys, Jean Valjean?

Brevet looked at the prisonerthen turned towards the court.

Yes, Mr. President, I was the first to recognize him, and I stick to it;
that man is Jean Valjean, who entered at Toulon in 1796, and left
in 1815. I left a year later. He has the air of a brute now; but it
must be because age has brutalized him; he was sly at the galleys:
I recognize him positively.

Take your seat,said the President. "Prisonerremain standing."

Chenildieu was brought ina prisoner for lifeas was indicated
by his red cassock and his green cap. He was serving out his sentence
at the galleys of Toulonwhence he had been brought for this case.
He was a small man of about fiftybriskwrinkledfrailyellow
brazen-facedfeverishwho had a sort of sickly feebleness about all
his limbs and his whole personand an immense force in his glance.
His companions in the galleys had nicknamed him I-deny-God (Je-nie Dieu

The President addressed him in nearly the same words which he had
used to Brevet. At the moment when he reminded him of his infamy
which deprived him of the right to take an oathChenildieu raised
his head and looked the crowd in the face. The President invited
him to reflectionand asked him as he had asked Brevetif he
persisted in recognition of the prisoner.

Chenildieu burst out laughing.

Pardieu, as if I didn't recognize him! We were attached to the

same chain for five years. So you are sulking, old fellow?

Go take your seat,said the President.

The usher brought in Cochepaille. He was another convict for life
who had come from the galleysand was dressed in redlike Chenildieu
was a peasant from Lourdesand a half-bear of the Pyrenees.
He had guarded the flocks among the mountainsand from a shepherd
he had slipped into a brigand. Cochepaille was no less savage
and seemed even more stupid than the prisoner. He was one of
those wretched men whom nature has sketched out for wild beasts
and on whom society puts the finishing touches as convicts in
the galleys.

The President tried to touch him with some grave and pathetic words
and asked himas he had asked the other twoif he persisted
without hesitation or troublein recognizing the man who was standing
before him.

He is Jean Valjean,said Cochepaille. "He was even called
Jean-the-Screwbecause he was so strong."

Each of these affirmations from these three menevidently sincere
and in good faithhad raised in the audience a murmur of bad augury
for the prisoner--a murmur which increased and lasted longer
each time that a fresh declaration was added to the proceeding.

The prisoner had listened to themwith that astounded face which was
according to the accusationhis principal means of defence;
at the firstthe gendarmeshis neighborshad heard him mutter between
his teeth: "Ahwellhe's a nice one!" after the secondhe said
a little louderwith an air that was almost that of satisfaction
Good!at the thirdhe criedFamous!

The President addressed him:-

Have you heard, prisoner? What have you to say?

He replied:-

I say, `Famous!'

An uproar broke out among the audienceand was communicated
to the jury; it was evident that the man was lost.

Ushers,said the Presidentenforce silence! I am going to sum
up the arguments.

At that moment there was a movement just beside the President;
a voice was heard crying:-

Brevet! Chenildieu! Cochepaille! look here!

All who heard that voice were chilledso lamentable and terrible
was it; all eyes were turned to the point whence it had proceeded.
A manplaced among the privileged spectators who were seated behind
the courthad just risenhad pushed open the half-door which separated
the tribunal from the audienceand was standing in the middle
of the hall; the Presidentthe district-attorneyM. Bamatabois
twenty personsrecognized himand exclaimed in concert:-

M. Madeleine!



It was hein fact. The clerk's lamp illumined his countenance.
He held his hat in his hand; there was no disorder in his clothing;
his coat was carefully buttoned; he was very paleand he trembled
slightly; his hairwhich had still been gray on his arrival in Arras
was now entirely white: it had turned white during the hour he
had sat there.

All heads were raised: the sensation was indescribable;
there was a momentary hesitation in the audiencethe voice had
been so heart-rending; the man who stood there appeared so calm
that they did not understand at first. They asked themselves
whether he had indeed uttered that cry; they could not believe
that that tranquil man had been the one to give that terrible outcry.

This indecision only lasted a few seconds. Even before
the President and the district-attorney could utter a word
before the ushers and the gendarmes could make a gesture
the man whom all still calledat that momentM. Madeleine
had advanced towards the witnesses CochepailleBrevetand Chenildieu.

Do you not recognize me?said he.

All three remained speechlessand indicated by a sign of the head
that they did not know him. Cochepaillewho was intimidated
made a military salute. M. Madeleine turned towards the jury
and the courtand said in a gentle voice:--

Gentlemen of the jury, order the prisoner to be released!
Mr. President, have me arrested. He is not the man whom you are
in search of; it is I: I am Jean Valjean.

Not a mouth breathed; the first commotion of astonishment had been
followed by a silence like that of the grave; those within the hall
experienced that sort of religious terror which seizes the masses
when something grand has been done.

In the meantimethe face of the President was stamped with sympathy
and sadness; he had exchanged a rapid sign with the district-attorney
and a few low-toned words with the assistant judges; he addressed
the publicand asked in accents which all understood:--

Is there a physician present?

The district-attorney took the word:--

Gentlemen of the jury, the very strange and unexpected incident
which disturbs the audience inspires us, like yourselves,
only with a sentiment which it is unnecessary for us to express.
You all know, by reputation at least, the honorable M. Madeleine,
mayor of M. sur M.; if there is a physician in the audience,
we join the President in requesting him to attend to M. Madeleine,
and to conduct him to his home.

M.Madeleine did not allow the district-attorney to finish;
he interrupted him in accents full of suavity and authority.
These are the words which he uttered; here they are literally
as they were written downimmediately after the trial by one
of the witnesses to this sceneand as they now ring in the ears

of those who heard them nearly forty years ago:-

I thank you, Mr. District-Attorney, but I am not mad; you shall see;
you were on the point of committing a great error; release this man!
I am fulfilling a duty; I am that miserable criminal. I am the
only one here who sees the matter clearly, and I am telling you
the truth. God, who is on high, looks down on what I am doing at
this moment, and that suffices. You can take me, for here I am:
but I have done my best; I concealed myself under another name;
I have become rich; I have become a mayor; I have tried to re-enter
the ranks of the honest. It seems that that is not to be done.
In short, there are many things which I cannot tell. I will not narrate
the story of my life to you; you will hear it one of these days.
I robbed Monseigneur the Bishop, it is true; it is true that I
robbed Little Gervais; they were right in telling you that Jean
Valjean was a very vicious wretch. Perhaps it was not altogether
his fault. Listen, honorable judges! a man who has been so greatly
humbled as I have has neither any remonstrances to make to Providence,
nor any advice to give to society; but, you see, the infamy from
which I have tried to escape is an injurious thing; the galleys
make the convict what he is; reflect upon that, if you please.
Before going to the galleys, I was a poor peasant, with very
little intelligence, a sort of idiot; the galleys wrought a change
in me. I was stupid; I became vicious: I was a block of wood;
I became a firebrand. Later on, indulgence and kindness saved me,
as severity had ruined me. But, pardon me, you cannot understand
what I am saying. You will find at my house, among the ashes in
the fireplace, the forty-sou piece which I stole, seven years ago,
from little Gervais. I have nothing farther to add; take me.
Good God! the district-attorney shakes his head; you say, 'M. Madeleine
has gone mad!' you do not believe me! that is distressing. Do not,
at least, condemn this man! What! these men do not recognize me!
I wish Javert were here; he would recognize me.

Nothing can reproduce the sombre and kindly melancholy of tone
which accompanied these words.

He turned to the three convictsand said:-

Well, I recognize you; do you remember, Brevet?

He pausedhesitated for an instantand said:-

Do you remember the knitted suspenders with a checked pattern
which you wore in the galleys?

Brevet gave a start of surpriseand surveyed him from head to foot
with a frightened air. He continued:-

Chenildieu, you who conferred on yourself the name of
`Jenie-Dieu,' your whole right shoulder bears a deep burn,
because you one day laid your shoulder against the chafing-dish
full of coals, in order to efface the three letters T. F. P.,
which are still visible, nevertheless; answer, is this true?

It is true,said Chenildieu.

He addressed himself to Cochepaille:-

Cochepaille, you have, near the bend in your left arm, a date stamped
in blue letters with burnt powder; the date is that of the landing
of the Emperor at Cannes, March 1, 1815; pull up your sleeve!

Cochepaille pushed up his sleeve; all eyes were focused on him

and on his bare arm.

A gendarme held a light close to it; there was the date.

The unhappy man turned to the spectators and the judges with a smile
which still rends the hearts of all who saw it whenever they think
of it. It was a smile of triumph; it was also a smile of despair.

You see plainly,he saidthat I am Jean Valjean.

In that chamber there were no longer either judgesaccusers
nor gendarmes; there was nothing but staring eyes and sympathizing
hearts. No one recalled any longer the part that each might be
called upon to play; the district-attorney forgot he was there
for the purpose of prosecutingthe President that he was there
to presidethe counsel for the defence that he was there to defend.
It was a striking circumstance that no question was putthat no
authority intervened. The peculiarity of sublime spectacles is
that they capture all souls and turn witnesses into spectators.
No oneprobablycould have explained what he felt; no one
probablysaid to himself that he was witnessing the splendid
outburst of a grand light: all felt themselves inwardly dazzled.

It was evident that they had Jean Valjean before their eyes.
That was clear. The appearance of this man had sufficed to suffuse
with light that matter which had been so obscure but a moment previously
without any further explanation: the whole crowdas by a sort
of electric revelationunderstood instantly and at a single glance
the simple and magnificent history of a man who was delivering
himself up so that another man might not be condemned in his stead.
The detailsthe hesitationslittle possible oppositions
were swallowed up in that vast and luminous fact.

It was an impression which vanished speedilybut which was
irresistible at the moment.

I do not wish to disturb the court further,resumed Jean Valjean.
I shall withdraw, since you do not arrest me. I have many things to do.
The district-attorney knows who I am; he knows whither I am going;
he can have me arrested when he likes.

He directed his steps towards the door. Not a voice was raised
not an arm extended to hinder him. All stood aside. At that moment
there was about him that divine something which causes multitudes
to stand aside and make way for a man. He traversed the crowd slowly.
It was never known who opened the doorbut it is certain that he
found the door open when he reached it. On arriving there he turned
round and said:--

I am at your command, Mr. District-Attorney.

Then he addressed the audience:--

All of you, all who are present--consider me worthy of pity,
do you not? Good God! When I think of what I was on the point
of doing, I consider that I am to be envied. Nevertheless, I should
have preferred not to have had this occur.

He withdrewand the door closed behind him as it had opened
for those who do certain sovereign things are always sure of being
served by some one in the crowd.

Less than an hour after thisthe verdict of the jury freed
the said Champmathieu from all accusations; and Champmathieu

being at once releasedwent off in a state of stupefactionthinking
that all men were foolsand comprehending nothing of this vision.




The day had begun to dawn. Fantine had passed a sleepless and
feverish nightfilled with happy visions; at daybreak she fell asleep.
Sister Simplicewho had been watching with heravailed herself
of this slumber to go and prepare a new potion of chinchona.
The worthy sister had been in the laboratory of the infirmary but
a few momentsbending over her drugs and phialsand scrutinizing
things very closelyon account of the dimness which the half-light
of dawn spreads over all objects. Suddenly she raised her head
and uttered a faint shriek. M. Madeleine stood before her;
he had just entered silently.

Is it you, Mr. Mayor?she exclaimed.

He replied in a low voice:-

How is that poor woman?

Not so bad just now; but we have been very uneasy.

She explained to him what had passed: that Fantine had been
very ill the day beforeand that she was better nowbecause she
thought that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil to get her child.
The sister dared not question the mayor; but she perceived plainly
from his air that he had not come from there.

All that is good,said he; "you were right not to undeceive her."

Yes,responded the sister; "but nowMr. Mayorshe will see you
and will not see her child. What shall we say to her?"

He reflected for a moment.

God will inspire us,said he.

But we cannot tell a lie,murmured the sisterhalf aloud.

It was broad daylight in the room. The light fell full
on M. Madeleine's face. The sister chanced to raise her eyes to it.

Good God, sir!she exclaimed; "what has happened to you?
Your hair is perfectly white!"

White!said he.

Sister Simplice had no mirror. She rummaged in a drawerand pulled
out the little glass which the doctor of the infirmary used to see
whether a patient was dead and whether he no longer breathed.

M. Madeleine took the mirrorlooked at his hairand said:-"

He uttered the word indifferentlyand as though his mind were
on something else.

The sister felt chilled by something strange of which she caught
a glimpse in all this.

He inquired:-

Can I see her?

Is not Monsieur le Maire going to have her child brought back to her?
said the sisterhardly venturing to put the question.

Of course; but it will take two or three days at least.

If she were not to see Monsieur le Maire until that time,went on
the sistertimidlyshe would not know that Monsieur le Maire
had returned, and it would be easy to inspire her with patience;
and when the child arrived, she would naturally think Monsieur le
Maire had just come with the child. We should not have to enact
a lie.

M. Madeleine seemed to reflect for a few moments; then he said
with his calm gravity:-"
NosisterI must see her. I mayperhapsbe in haste."

The nun did not appear to notice this word "perhaps which communicated
an obscure and singular sense to the words of the mayor's speech.
She replied, lowering her eyes and her voice respectfully:-

In that caseshe is asleep; but Monsieur le Maire may enter."

He made some remarks about a door which shut badlyand the noise of
which might awaken the sick woman; then he entered Fantine's chamber
approached the bed and drew aside the curtains. She was asleep.
Her breath issued from her breast with that tragic sound which is
peculiar to those maladiesand which breaks the hearts of mothers
when they are watching through the night beside their sleeping
child who is condemned to death. But this painful respiration
hardly troubled a sort of ineffable serenity which overspread
her countenanceand which transfigured her in her sleep.
Her pallor had become whiteness; her cheeks were crimson; her long
golden lashesthe only beauty of her youth and her virginity
which remained to herpalpitatedthough they remained closed
and drooping. Her whole person was trembling with an indescribable
unfolding of wingsall ready to open wide and bear her away
which could be felt as they rustledthough they could not be seen.
To see her thusone would never have dreamed that she was an invalid
whose life was almost despaired of. She resembled rather something
on the point of soaring away than something on the point of dying.

The branch trembles when a hand approaches it to pluck a flower
and seems to both withdraw and to offer itself at one and the same time.
The human body has something of this tremor when the instant arrives
in which the mysterious fingers of Death are about to pluck the soul.

M. Madeleine remained for some time motionless beside that bed
gazing in turn upon the sick woman and the crucifixas he had done
two months beforeon the day when he had come for the first time to see
her in that asylum. They were both still there in the same attitude-she
sleepinghe praying; only nowafter the lapse of two months
her hair was gray and his was white.

The sister had not entered with him. He stood beside the bed
with his finger on his lipsas though there were some one in the
chamber whom he must enjoin to silence.

She opened her eyessaw himand said quietlywith a smile:--

And Cosette?



She made no movement of either surprise or of joy; she was joy itself.
That simple questionAnd Cosette?was put with so profound
a faithwith so much certaintywith such a complete absence
of disquiet and of doubtthat he found not a word of reply.
She continued:--

I knew that you were there. I was asleep, but I saw you.
I have seen you for a long, long time. I have been following you
with my eyes all night long. You were in a glory, and you had around
you all sorts of celestial forms.

He raised his glance to the crucifix.

But,she resumedtell me where Cosette is. Why did not you
place her on my bed against the moment of my waking?

He made some mechanical reply which he was never afterwards able
to recall.

Fortunatelythe doctor had been warnedand he now made his appearance.
He came to the aid of M. Madeleine.

Calm yourself, my child,said the doctor; "your child is here."

Fantine's eyes beamed and filled her whole face with light.
She clasped her hands with an expression which contained all that is
possible to prayer in the way of violence and tenderness.

Oh!she exclaimedbring her to me!

Touching illusion of a mother! Cosette wasfor herstill the
little child who is carried.

Not yet,said the doctornot just now. You still have some fever.
The sight of your child would agitate you and do you harm.
You must be cured first.

She interrupted him impetuously:--

But I am cured! Oh, I tell you that I am cured! What an ass
that doctor is! The idea! I want to see my child!

You see,said the doctorhow excited you become. So long as you
are in this state I shall oppose your having your child. It is not
enough to see her; it is necessary that you should live for her.
When you are reasonable, I will bring her to you myself.

The poor mother bowed her head.

I beg your pardon, doctor, I really beg your pardon. Formerly I
should never have spoken as I have just done; so many misfortunes
have happened to me, that I sometimes do not know what I am saying.
I understand you; you fear the emotion. I will wait as long
as you like, but I swear to you that it would not have harmed
me to see my daughter. I have been seeing her; I have not
taken my eyes from her since yesterday evening. Do you know?
If she were brought to me now, I should talk to her very gently.
That is all. Is it not quite natural that I should desire to see
my daughter, who has been brought to me expressly from Montfermeil?
I am not angry. I know well that I am about to be happy. All night
long I have seen white things, and persons who smiled at me.
When Monsieur le Docteur pleases, he shall bring me Cosette.
I have no longer any fever; I am well. I am perfectly conscious that
there is nothing the matter with me any more; but I am going to behave
as though I were ill, and not stir, to please these ladies here.
When it is seen that I am very calm, they will say, `She must have
her child.'

M. Madeleine was sitting on a chair beside the bed. She turned
towards him; she was making a visible effort to be calm and "very good
as she expressed it in the feebleness of illness which resembles
infancy, in order that, seeing her so peaceable, they might make
no difficulty about bringing Cosette to her. But while she
controlled herself she could not refrain from questioning M. Madeleine.
Did you have a pleasant tripMonsieur le Maire? Oh! how good
you were to go and get her for me! Only tell me how she is.
Did she stand the journey well? Alas! she will not recognize me.
She must have forgotten me by this timepoor darling! Children have
no memories. They are like birds. A child sees one thing to-day
and another thing to-morrowand thinks of nothing any longer.
And did she have white linen? Did those Thenardiers keep her clean?
How have they fed her? Oh! if you only knew how I have suffered
putting such questions as that to myself during all the time of
my wretchedness. Nowit is all past. I am happy. Ohhow I should
like to see her! Do you think her prettyMonsieur le Maire? Is not my
daughter beautiful? You must have been very cold in that diligence!
Could she not be brought for just one little instant? She might
be taken away directly afterwards. Tell me; you are the master;
it could be so if you chose!"

He took her hand. "Cosette is beautiful he said, Cosette is well.
You shall see her soon; but calm yourself; you are talking with
too much vivacityand you are throwing your arms out from under
the clothesand that makes you cough."

In factfits of coughing interrupted Fantine at nearly every word.

Fantine did not murmur; she feared that she had injured by her
too passionate lamentations the confidence which she was desirous
of inspiringand she began to talk of indifferent things.

Montfermeil is quite pretty, is it not? People go there on
pleasure parties in summer. Are the Thenardiers prosperous?
There are not many travellers in their parts. That inn of theirs
is a sort of a cook-shop.

M. Madeleine was still holding her handand gazing at her
with anxiety; it was evident that he had come to tell her things
before which his mind now hesitated. The doctorhaving finished
his visitretired. Sister Simplice remained alone with them.

But in the midst of this pause Fantine exclaimed:-

I hear her! mon Dieu, I hear her!

She stretched out her arm to enjoin silence about herheld her breath
and began to listen with rapture.

There was a child playing in the yard--the child of the portress
or of some work-woman. It was one of those accidents which are
always occurringand which seem to form a part of the mysterious
stage-setting of mournful scenes. The child--a little girl-was
going and comingrunning to warm herselflaughingsinging at
the top of her voice. Alas! in what are the plays of children
not intermingled. It was this little girl whom Fantine heard singing.

Oh!she resumedit is my Cosette! I recognize her voice.

The child retreated as it had come; the voice died away.
Fantine listened for a while longerthen her face clouded over
and M. Madeleine heard her sayin a low voice: "How wicked
that doctor is not to allow me to see my daughter! That man has
an evil countenancethat he has."

But the smiling background of her thoughts came to the front again.
She continued to talk to herselfwith her head resting on the pillow:
How happy we are going to be! We shall have a little garden the
very first thing; M. Madeleine has promised it to me. My daughter
will play in the garden. She must know her letters by this time.
I will make her spell. She will run over the grass after butterflies.
I will watch her. Then she will take her first communion. Ah! when
will she take her first communion?

She began to reckon on her fingers.

One, two, three, four--she is seven years old. In five years
she will have a white veil, and openwork stockings; she will look
like a little woman. O my good sister, you do not know how foolish
I become when I think of my daughter's first communion!

She began to laugh.

He had released Fantine's hand. He listened to her words as one
listens to the sighing of the breezewith his eyes on the ground
his mind absorbed in reflection which had no bottom. All at once she
ceased speakingand this caused him to raise his head mechanically.
Fantine had become terrible.

She no longer spokeshe no longer breathed; she had raised herself
to a sitting postureher thin shoulder emerged from her chemise;
her facewhich had been radiant but a moment beforewas ghastly
and she seemed to have fixed her eyesrendered large with terror
on something alarming at the other extremity of the room.

Good God!he exclaimed; "what ails youFantine?"

She made no reply; she did not remove her eyes from the object
which she seemed to see. She removed one hand from his arm
and with the other made him a sign to look behind him.

He turnedand beheld Javert.



This is what had taken place.

The half-hour after midnight had just struck when M. Madeleine quitted
the Hall of Assizes in Arras. He regained his inn just in time to set
out again by the mail-wagonin which he had engaged his place.
A little before six o'clock in the morning he had arrived at M. sur
M.and his first care had been to post a letter to M. Laffitte
then to enter the infirmary and see Fantine.

Howeverhe had hardly quitted the audience hall of the Court of Assizes
when the district-attorneyrecovering from his first shock
had taken the word to deplore the mad deed of the honorable
mayor of M. sur declare that his convictions had not been
in the least modified by that curious incidentwhich would be
explained thereafterand to demandin the meantimethe condemnation
of that Champmathieuwho was evidently the real Jean Valjean.
The district-attorney's persistence was visibly at variance
with the sentiments of every oneof the publicof the court
and of the jury. The counsel for the defence had some difficulty
in refuting this harangue and in establishing thatin consequence
of the revelations of M. Madeleinethat is to sayof the real
Jean Valjeanthe aspect of the matter had been thoroughly altered
and that the jury had before their eyes now only an innocent man.
Thence the lawyer had drawn some epiphonemasnot very fresh
unfortunatelyupon judicial errorsetc.etc.; the President
in his summing uphad joined the counsel for the defence
and in a few minutes the jury had thrown Champmathieu out of the case.

Neverthelessthe district-attorney was bent on having a Jean Valjean;
and as he had no longer Champmathieuhe took Madeleine.

Immediately after Champmathieu had been set at liberty
the district-attorney shut himself up with the President.
They conferred "as to the necessity of seizing the person of M. le
Maire of M. sur M." This phrasein which there was a great deal
of ofis the district-attorney'swritten with his own hand
on the minutes of his report to the attorney-general. His first emotion
having passed offthe President did not offer many objections.
Justice mustafter alltake its course. And thenwhen all was said
although the President was a kindly and a tolerably intelligent man
he wasat the same timea devoted and almost an ardent royalist
and he had been shocked to hear the Mayor of M. sur M. say the Emperor
and not Bonapartewhen alluding to the landing at Cannes.

The order for his arrest was accordingly despatched.
The district-attorney forwarded it to M. sur M. by a special messenger
at full speedand entrusted its execution to Police Inspector Javert.

The reader knows that Javert had returned to M. sur M. immediately
after having given his deposition.

Javert was just getting out of bed when the messenger handed him
the order of arrest and the command to produce the prisoner.

The messenger himself was a very clever member of the policewho
in two wordsinformed Javert of what had taken place at Arras.
The order of arrestsigned by the district-attorneywas couched
in these words: "Inspector Javert will apprehend the body of the
Sieur Madeleinemayor of M. sur M.whoin this day's session
of the courtwas recognized as the liberated convictJean Valjean."

Any one who did not know Javertand who had chanced to see him
at the moment when he penetrated the antechamber of the infirmary
could have divined nothing of what had taken placeand would
have thought his air the most ordinary in the world. He was cool
calmgravehis gray hair was perfectly smooth upon his temples
and he had just mounted the stairs with his habitual deliberation.
Any one who was thoroughly acquainted with himand who had examined
him attentively at the momentwould have shuddered. The buckle
of his leather stock was under his left ear instead of at the nape
of his neck. This betrayed unwonted agitation.

Javert was a complete characterwho never had a wrinkle in his
duty or in his uniform; methodical with malefactorsrigid with
the buttons of his coat.

That he should have set the buckle of his stock awry
it was indispensable that there should have taken place in him
one of those emotions which may be designated as internal earthquakes.

He had come in a simple wayhad made a requisition on the
neighboring post for a corporal and four soldiershad left
the soldiers in the courtyardhad had Fantine's room pointed
out to him by the portresswho was utterly unsuspicious
accustomed as she was to seeing armed men inquiring for the mayor.

On arriving at Fantine's chamberJavert turned the handle
pushed the door open with the gentleness of a sick-nurse
or a police spyand entered.

Properly speakinghe did not enter. He stood erect in the half-open
doorhis hat on his head and his left hand thrust into his coat
which was buttoned up to the chin. In the bend of his elbow
the leaden head of his enormous canewhich was hidden behind him
could be seen.

Thus he remained for nearly a minutewithout his presence
being perceived. All at once Fantine raised her eyessaw him
and made M. Madeleine turn round.

The instant that Madeleine's glance encountered Javert's glanceJavert
without stirringwithout moving from his postwithout approaching
himbecame terrible. No human sentiment can be as terrible as joy.

It was the visage of a demon who has just found his damned soul.

The satisfaction of at last getting hold of Jean Valjean caused all
that was in his soul to appear in his countenance. The depths having
been stirred upmounted to the surface. The humiliation of having
in some slight degreelost the scentand of having indulged
for a few momentsin an error with regard to Champmathieu
was effaced by pride at having so well and accurately divined in the
first placeand of having for so long cherished a just instinct.
Javert's content shone forth in his sovereign attitude. The deformity
of triumph overspread that narrow brow. All the demonstrations
of horror which a satisfied face can afford were there.

Javert was in heaven at that moment. Without putting the thing
clearly to himselfbut with a confused intuition of the necessity
of his presence and of his successheJavertpersonified justice
lightand truth in their celestial function of crushing out evil.
Behind him and around himat an infinite distancehe had authority
reasonthe case judgedthe legal consciencethe public prosecution
all the stars; he was protecting orderhe was causing the law

to yield up its thundershe was avenging societyhe was lending
a helping hand to the absolutehe was standing erect in the midst
of a glory. There existed in his victory a remnant of defiance
and of combat. Erecthaughtybrillianthe flaunted abroad
in open day the superhuman bestiality of a ferocious archangel.
The terrible shadow of the action which he was accomplishing caused
the vague flash of the social sword to be visible in his clenched fist;
happy and indignanthe held his heel upon crimevicerebellion
perditionhell; he was radianthe exterminatedhe smiled
and there was an incontestable grandeur in this monstrous Saint Michael.

Javertthough frightfulhad nothing ignoble about him.

Probitysinceritycandorconvictionthe sense of duty
are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed;
but whicheven when hideousremain grand: their majesty
the majesty peculiar to the human conscienceclings to them in the
midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice--error.
The honestpitiless joy of a fanatic in the full flood of his
atrocity preserves a certain lugubriously venerable radiance.
Without himself suspecting the factJavert in his formidable
happiness was to be pitiedas is every ignorant man who triumphs.
Nothing could be so poignant and so terrible as this face
wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.



Fantine had not seen Javert since the day on which the mayor had torn
her from the man. Her ailing brain comprehended nothingbut the
only thing which she did not doubt was that he had come to get her.
She could not endure that terrible face; she felt her life quitting her;
she hid her face in both handsand shrieked in her anguish:--

Monsieur Madeleine, save me!

Jean Valjean--we shall henceforth not speak of him otherwise--
had risen. He said to Fantine in the gentlest and calmest of voices:--

Be at ease; it is not for you that he is come.

Then he addressed Javertand said:--

I know what you want.

Javert replied:--

Be quick about it!

There lay in the inflection of voice which accompanied these words
something indescribably fierce and frenzied. Javert did not say
Be quick about it!he said "Bequiabouit."

No orthography can do justice to the accent with which it was uttered:
it was no longer a human word: it was a roar.

He did not proceed according to his customhe did not enter
into the matterhe exhibited no warrant of arrest. In his eyes
Jean Valjean was a sort of mysterious combatantwho was not to be
laid hands upona wrestler in the dark whom he had had in his

grasp for the last five yearswithout being able to throw him.
This arrest was not a beginningbut an end. He confined himself
to sayingBe quick about it!

As he spoke thushe did not advance a single step; he hurled at
Jean Valjean a glance which he threw out like a grappling-hook
and with which he was accustomed to draw wretches violently to him.

It was this glance which Fantine had felt penetrating to the very
marrow of her bones two months previously.

At Javert's exclamationFantine opened her eyes once more.
But the mayor was there; what had she to fear?

Javert advanced to the middle of the roomand cried:-

See here now! Art thou coming?

The unhappy woman glanced about her. No one was present excepting
the nun and the mayor. To whom could that abject use of "thou"
be addressed? To her only. She shuddered.

Then she beheld a most unprecedented thinga thing so unprecedented
that nothing equal to it had appeared to her even in the blackest
deliriums of fever.

She beheld Javertthe police spyseize the mayor by the collar;
she saw the mayor bow his head. It seemed to her that the world was
coming to an end.

Javert hadin factgrasped Jean Valjean by the collar.

Monsieur le Maire!shrieked Fantine.

Javert burst out laughing with that frightful laugh which displayed
all his gums.

There is no longer any Monsieur le Maire here!

Jean Valjean made no attempt to disengage the hand which grasped
the collar of his coat. He said:-


Javert interrupted him: "Call me Mr. Inspector."

Monsieur,said Jean ValjeanI should like to say a word to you
in private.

Aloud! Say it aloud!replied Javert; "people are in the habit
of talking aloud to me."

Jean Valjean went on in a lower tone:-

I have a request to make of you--

I tell you to speak loud.

But you alone should hear it--

What difference does that make to me? I shall not listen.

Jean Valjean turned towards him and said very rapidly
and in a very low voice:-

Grant me three days' grace! three days in which to go and fetch
the child of this unhappy woman. I will pay whatever is necessary.
You shall accompany me if you choose.

You are making sport of me!cried Javert. "Come nowI did
not think you such a fool! You ask me to give you three days in
which to run away! You say that it is for the purpose of fetching
that creature's child! Ah! Ah! That's good! That's really capital!"

Fantine was seized with a fit of trembling.

My child!she criedto go and fetch my child! She is not here,
then! Answer me, sister; where is Cosette? I want my child!
Monsieur Madeleine! Monsieur le Maire!

Javert stamped his foot.

And now there's the other one! Will you hold your tongue, you hussy?
It's a pretty sort of a place where convicts are magistrates,
and where women of the town are cared for like countesses! Ah! But we
are going to change all that; it is high time!

He stared intently at Fantineand addedonce more taking into
his grasp Jean Valjean's cravatshirt and collar:-

I tell you that there is no Monsieur Madeleine and that there is
no Monsieur le Maire. There is a thief, a brigand, a convict named
Jean Valjean! And I have him in my grasp! That's what there is!

Fantine raised herself in bed with a boundsupporting herself on
her stiffened arms and on both hands: she gazed at Jean Valjean
she gazed at Javertshe gazed at the nunshe opened her mouth
as though to speak; a rattle proceeded from the depths of her throat
her teeth chattered; she stretched out her arms in her agony
opening her hands convulsivelyand fumbling about her like a
drowning person; then suddenly fell back on her pillow.

Her head struck the head-board of the bed and fell forwards
on her breastwith gaping mouth and staringsightless eyes.

She was dead.

Jean Valjean laid his hand upon the detaining hand of Javert
and opened it as he would have opened the hand of a baby; then he
said to Javert:-

You have murdered that woman.

Let's have an end of this!shouted Javertin a fury; "I am not
here to listen to argument. Let us economize all that; the guard
is below; march on instantlyor you'll get the thumb-screws!"

In the corner of the room stood an old iron bedsteadwhich was in a
decidedly decrepit stateand which served the sisters as a camp-bed
when they were watching with the sick. Jean Valjean stepped up
to this bedin a twinkling wrenched off the head-piecewhich was
already in a dilapidated conditionan easy matter to muscles like his
grasped the principal rod like a bludgeonand glanced at Javert.
Javert retreated towards the door. Jean Valjeanarmed with his bar
of ironwalked slowly up to Fantine's couch. When he arrived there
he turned and said to Javertin a voice that was barely audible:-

I advise you not to disturb me at this moment.

One thing is certainand that isthat Javert trembled.

It did occur to him to summon the guardbut Jean Valjean might
avail himself of that moment to effect his escape; so he remained
grasped his cane by the small endand leaned against the door-post
without removing his eyes from Jean Valjean.

Jean Valjean rested his elbow on the knob at the head of the bed
and his brow on his handand began to contemplate the motionless
body of Fantinewhich lay extended there. He remained thus
muteabsorbedevidently with no further thought of anything
connected with this life. Upon his face and in his attitude there
was nothing but inexpressible pity. After a few moments of this
meditation he bent towards Fantineand spoke to her in a low voice.

What did he say to her? What could this manwho was reproved
say to that womanwho was dead? What words were those? No one
on earth heard them. Did the dead woman hear them? There are
some touching illusions which areperhapssublime realities.
The point as to which there exists no doubt isthat Sister Simplice
the sole witness of the incidentoften said that at the moment
that Jean Valjean whispered in Fantine's earshe distinctly beheld
an ineffable smile dawn on those pale lipsand in those dim eyes
filled with the amazement of the tomb.

Jean Valjean took Fantine's head in both his handsand arranged it
on the pillow as a mother might have done for her child; then he tied
the string of her chemiseand smoothed her hair back under her cap.
That donehe closed her eyes.

Fantine's face seemed strangely illuminated at that moment.

Deaththat signifies entrance into the great light.

Fantine's hand was hanging over the side of the bed. Jean Valjean
knelt down before that handlifted it gentlyand kissed it.

Then he roseand turned to Javert.

Now,said heI am at your disposal.



Javert deposited Jean Valjean in the city prison.

The arrest of M. Madeleine occasioned a sensationor rather
an extraordinary commotion in M. sur M. We are sorry that we cannot
conceal the factthat at the single wordHe was a convict,
nearly every one deserted him. In less than two hours all the good
that he had done had been forgottenand he was nothing but a "convict
from the galleys." It is just to add that the details of what had
taken place at Arras were not yet known. All day long conversations
like the following were to be heard in all quarters of the town:-

You don't know? He was a liberated convict!Who?The mayor.
Bah! M. Madeleine?Yes.Really?His name was not Madeleine
at all; he had a frightful name, Bejean, Bojean, Boujean.Ah!
Good God!He has been arrested.Arrested!In prison,

in the city prison, while waiting to be transferred.Until he
is transferred!He is to be transferred!Where is he to
be taken?He will be tried at the Assizes for a highway robbery
which he committed long ago.Well! I suspected as much.
That man was too good, too perfect, too affected. He refused
the cross; he bestowed sous on all the little scamps he came across.
I always thought there was some evil history back of all that.

The "drawing-rooms" particularly abounded in remarks of this nature.

One old ladya subscriber to the Drapeau Blancmade the
following remarkthe depth of which it is impossible to fathom:--

I am not sorry. It will be a lesson to the Bonapartists!

It was thus that the phantom which had been called M. Madeleine
vanished from M. sur M. Only three or four persons in all the town
remained faithful to his memory. The old portress who had served
him was among the number.

On the evening of that day the worthy old woman was sitting in her lodge
still in a thorough frightand absorbed in sad reflections.
The factory had been closed all daythe carriage gate was bolted
the street was deserted. There was no one in the house but the
two nunsSister Perpetue and Sister Simplicewho were watching
beside the body of Fantine.

Towards the hour when M. Madeleine was accustomed to return home
the good portress rose mechanicallytook from a drawer the key
of M. Madeleine's chamberand the flat candlestick which he used
every evening to go up to his quarters; then she hung the key on
the nail whence he was accustomed to take itand set the candlestick
on one sideas though she was expecting him. Then she sat down
again on her chairand became absorbed in thought once more.
The poorgood old woman bad done all this without being conscious
of it.

It was only at the expiration of two hours that she roused herself
from her reveryand exclaimedHold! My good God Jesus!
And I hung his key on the nail!

At that moment the small window in the lodge openeda hand
passed throughseized the key and the candlestickand lighted
the taper at the candle which was burning there.

The portress raised her eyesand stood there with gaping mouth
and a shriek which she confined to her throat.

She knew that handthat armthe sleeve of that coat.

It was M. Madeleine.

It was several seconds before she could speak; she had a seizure
as she said herselfwhen she related the adventure afterwards.

Good God, Monsieur le Maire,she cried at lastI thought you were--

She stopped; the conclusion of her sentence would have been lacking
in respect towards the beginning. Jean Valjean was still Monsieur
le Maire to her.

He finished her thought.

In prison,said he. "I was there; I broke a bar of one of

the windows; I let myself drop from the top of a roofand here I am.
I am going up to my room; go and find Sister Simplice for me.
She is with that poor womanno doubt."

The old woman obeyed in all haste.

He gave her no orders; he was quite sure that she would guard him
better than he should guard himself.

No one ever found out how he had managed to get into the courtyard
without opening the big gates. He hadand always carried about him
a pass-key which opened a little side-door; but he must have
been searchedand his latch-key must have been taken from him.
This point was never explained.

He ascended the staircase leading to his chamber. On arriving at the top
he left his candle on the top step of his stairsopened his door
with very little noisewent and closed his window and his shutters
by feelingthen returned for his candle and re-entered his room.

It was a useful precaution; it will be recollected that his window
could be seen from the street.

He cast a glance about himat his tableat his chairat his bed
which had not been disturbed for three days. No trace of the disorder
of the night before last remained. The portress had "done up"
his room; only she had picked out of the ashes and placed neatly
on the table the two iron ends of the cudgel and the forty-sou
piece which had been blackened by the fire.

He took a sheet of paperon which he wrote: "These are the
two tips of my iron-shod cudgel and the forty-sou piece stolen
from Little Gervaiswhich I mentioned at the Court of Assizes
and he arranged this piece of paper, the bits of iron, and the
coin in such a way that they were the first things to be seen
on entering the room. From a cupboard he pulled out one of his
old shirts, which he tore in pieces. In the strips of linen thus
prepared he wrapped the two silver candlesticks. He betrayed
neither haste nor agitation; and while he was wrapping up the
Bishop's candlesticks, he nibbled at a piece of black bread. It was
probably the prison-bread which he had carried with him in his flight.

This was proved by the crumbs which were found on the floor
of the room when the authorities made an examination later on.

There came two taps at the door.

Come in said he.

It was Sister Simplice.

She was pale; her eyes were red; the candle which she carried trembled
in her hand. The peculiar feature of the violences of destiny is,
that however polished or cool we may be, they wring human nature
from our very bowels, and force it to reappear on the surface.
The emotions of that day had turned the nun into a woman once more.
She had wept, and she was trembling.

Jean Valjean had just finished writing a few lines on a paper,
which he handed to the nun, saying, Sisteryou will give this
to Monsieur le Cure."

The paper was not folded. She cast a glance upon it.

You can read it,said he.

She read:-

I beg Monsieur le Cure to keep an eye on all that I leave behind me.
He will be so good as to pay out of it the expenses of my trial,
and of the funeral of the woman who died yesterday. The rest is for
the poor.

The sister tried to speakbut she only managed to stammer a few
inarticulate sounds. She succeeded in sayinghowever:-

Does not Monsieur le Maire desire to take a last look at that poor,
unhappy woman?

No,said he; "I am pursued; it would only end in their arresting
me in that roomand that would disturb her."

He had hardly finished when a loud noise became audible on the staircase.
They heard a tumult of ascending footstepsand the old portress
saying in her loudest and most piercing tones:-

My good sir, I swear to you by the good God, that not a soul
has entered this house all day, nor all the evening, and that I
have not even left the door.

A man responded:-

But there is a light in that room, nevertheless.

They recognized Javert's voice.

The chamber was so arranged that the door in opening masked the corner
of the wall on the right. Jean Valjean blew out the light and placed
himself in this angle. Sister Simplice fell on her knees near the table.

The door opened.

Javert entered.

The whispers of many men and the protestations of the portress
were audible in the corridor.

The nun did not raise her eyes. She was praying.

The candle was on the chimney-pieceand gave but very little light.

Javert caught sight of the nun and halted in amazement.

It will be remembered that the fundamental point in Javerthis element
the very air he breathedwas veneration for all authority.
This was impregnableand admitted of neither objection nor restriction.
In his eyesof coursethe ecclesiastical authority was the chief
of all; he was religioussuperficial and correct on this point
as on all others. In his eyesa priest was a mindwho never makes
a mistake; a nun was a creature who never sins; they were souls
walled in from this worldwith a single door which never opened
except to allow the truth to pass through.

On perceiving the sisterhis first movement was to retire.

But there was also another duty which bound him and impelled
him imperiously in the opposite direction. His second movement
was to remain and to venture on at least one question.

This was Sister Simplicewho had never told a lie in her life.
Javert knew itand held her in special veneration in consequence.

Sister,said heare you alone in this room?

A terrible moment ensuedduring which the poor portress felt
as though she should faint.

The sister raised her eyes and answered:-


Then,resumed Javertyou will excuse me if I persist; it is
my duty; you have not seen a certain person--a man--this evening?
He has escaped; we are in search of him--that Jean Valjean;
you have not seen him?

The sister replied:-


She lied. She had lied twice in successionone after the other
without hesitationpromptlyas a person does when sacrificing herself.

Pardon me,said Javertand he retired with a deep bow.

O sainted maid! you left this world many years ago; you have
rejoined your sistersthe virginsand your brothersthe angels
in the light; may this lie be counted to your credit in paradise!

The sister's affirmation was for Javert so decisive a thing that he
did not even observe the singularity of that candle which had but
just been extinguishedand which was still smoking on the table.

An hour latera manmarching amid trees and mistswas rapidly
departing from M. sur M. in the direction of Paris. That man
was Jean Valjean. It has been established by the testimony of
two or three carters who met himthat he was carrying a bundle;
that he was dressed in a blouse. Where had he obtained that blouse?
No one ever found out. But an aged workman had died in the infirmary
of the factory a few days beforeleaving behind him nothing
but his blouse. Perhaps that was the one.

One last word about Fantine.

We all have a mother--the earth. Fantine was given back to that mother.

The cure thought that he was doing rightand perhaps he really was
in reserving as much money as possible from what Jean Valjean
had left for the poor. Who was concernedafter all? A convict
and a woman of the town. That is why he had a very simple funeral
for Fantineand reduced it to that strictly necessary form known
as the pauper's grave.

So Fantine was buried in the free corner of the cemetery
which belongs to anybody and everybodyand where the poor
are lost. FortunatelyGod knows where to find the soul again.
Fantine was laid in the shadeamong the first bones that came
to hand; she was subjected to the promiscuousness of ashes.
She was thrown into the public grave. Her grave resembled her bed.

[The end of Volume I. "Fantine"]






Last year (1861)on a beautiful May morninga travellerthe person
who is telling this storywas coming from Nivellesand directing
his course towards La Hulpe. He was on foot. He was pursuing
a broad paved roadwhich undulated between two rows of trees
over the hills which succeed each otherraise the road and let it
fall againand produce something in the nature of enormous waves.

He had passed Lillois and Bois-Seigneur-Isaac. In the west he
perceived the slate-roofed tower of Braine-l'Alleudwhich has
the form of a reversed vase. He had just left behind a wood upon
an eminence; and at the angle of the cross-roadby the side
of a sort of mouldy gibbet bearing the inscription Ancient
Barrier No. 4a public housebearing on its front this sign:
At the Four Winds (Aux Quatre Vents). EchabeauPrivate Cafe.

A quarter of a league further onhe arrived at the bottom of a
little valleywhere there is water which passes beneath an arch
made through the embankment of the road. The clump of sparsely
planted but very green treeswhich fills the valley on one side of
the roadis dispersed over the meadows on the otherand disappears
gracefully and as in order in the direction of Braine-l'Alleud.

On the rightclose to the roadwas an innwith a four-wheeled cart
at the doora large bundle of hop-polesa plougha heap of dried
brushwood near a flourishing hedgelime smoking in a square hole
and a ladder suspended along an old penthouse with straw partitions.
A young girl was weeding in a fieldwhere a huge yellow poster
probably of some outside spectaclesuch as a parish festival
was fluttering in the wind. At one corner of the innbeside a pool
in which a flotilla of ducks was navigatinga badly paved path plunged
into the bushes. The wayfarer struck into this.

After traversing a hundred pacesskirting a wall of the
fifteenth centurysurmounted by a pointed gablewith bricks set
in contrasthe found himself before a large door of arched stone
with a rectilinear impostin the sombre style of Louis XIV.flanked
by two flat medallions. A severe facade rose above this door;
a wallperpendicular to the facadealmost touched the door
and flanked it with an abrupt right angle. In the meadow
before the door lay three harrowsthrough whichin disorder
grew all the flowers of May. The door was closed. The two decrepit
leaves which barred it were ornamented with an old rusty knocker.

The sun was charming; the branches had that soft shivering of May
which seems to proceed rather from the nests than from the wind.
A brave little birdprobably a loverwas carolling in a distracted
manner in a large tree.

The wayfarer bent over and examined a rather large circular excavation
resembling the hollow of a spherein the stone on the left
at the foot of the pier of the door.

At this moment the leaves of the door partedand a peasant
woman emerged.

She saw the wayfarerand perceived what he was looking at.

It was a French cannon-ball which made that,she said to him.
And she added:-

That which you see there, higher up in the door, near a nail,
is the hole of a big iron bullet as large as an egg. The bullet did
not pierce the wood.

What is the name of this place?inquired the wayfarer.

Hougomont,said the peasant woman.

The traveller straightened himself up. He walked on a few paces
and went off to look over the tops of the hedges. On the horizon
through the treeshe perceived a sort of little elevation
and on this elevation something which at that distance resembled
a lion.

He was on the battle-field of Waterloo.



Hougomont--this was a funereal spotthe beginning of the obstacle
the first resistancewhich that great wood-cutter of Europe
called Napoleonencountered at Waterloothe first knot under the
blows of his axe.

It was a chateau; it is no longer anything but a farm. For the antiquary
Hougomont is Hugomons. This manor was built by HugoSire of Somerel
the same who endowed the sixth chaplaincy of the Abbey of Villiers.

The traveller pushed open the doorelbowed an ancient calash
under the porchand entered the courtyard.

The first thing which struck him in this paddock was a door of the
sixteenth centurywhich here simulates an arcadeeverything else
having fallen prostrate around it. A monumental aspect often has its
birth in ruin. In a wall near the arcade opens another arched door
of the time of Henry IV.permitting a glimpse of the trees
of an orchard; beside this doora manure-holesome pickaxes
some shovelssome cartsan old wellwith its flagstone and its
iron reela chicken jumpingand a turkey spreading its tail
a chapel surmounted by a small bell-towera blossoming pear-tree
trained in espalier against the wall of the chapel--behold the court
the conquest of which was one of Napoleon's dreams. This corner
of earthcould he but have seized itwouldperhapshave given
him the world likewise. Chickens are scattering its dust abroad
with their beaks. A growl is audible; it is a huge dogwho shows
his teeth and replaces the English.

The English behaved admirably there. Cooke's four companies

of guards there held out for seven hours against the fury of an army.

Hougomont viewed on the mapas a geometrical plancomprising
buildings and enclosurespresents a sort of irregular rectangle
one angle of which is nicked out. It is this angle which contains
the southern doorguarded by this wallwhich commands it only
a gun's length away. Hougomont has two doors--the southern door
that of the chateau; and the northern doorbelonging to the farm.
Napoleon sent his brother Jerome against Hougomont; the divisions
of FoyGuilleminotand Bachelu hurled themselves against it;
nearly the entire corps of Reille was employed against itand miscarried;
Kellermann's balls were exhausted on this heroic section of wall.
Bauduin's brigade was not strong enough to force Hougomont on the north
and the brigade of Soye could not do more than effect the beginning
of a breach on the southbut without taking it.

The farm buildings border the courtyard on the south. A bit of the
north doorbroken by the Frenchhangs suspended to the wall.
It consists of four planks nailed to two cross-beamson which the
scars of the attack are visible.

The northern doorwhich was beaten in by the Frenchand which has
had a piece applied to it to replace the panel suspended on the wall
stands half-open at the bottom of the paddock; it is cut squarely
in the wallbuilt of stone belowof brick above which closes in the
courtyard on the north. It is a simple door for cartssuch as exist
in all farmswith the two large leaves made of rustic planks:
beyond lie the meadows. The dispute over this entrance was furious.
For a long timeall sorts of imprints of bloody hands were visible
on the door-posts. It was there that Bauduin was killed.

The storm of the combat still lingers in this courtyard; its horror
is visible there; the confusion of the fray was petrified there;
it lives and it dies there; it was only yesterday. The walls
are in the death agonythe stones fall; the breaches cry aloud;
the holes are wounds; the droopingquivering trees seem to be making
an effort to flee.

This courtyard was more built up in 1815 than it is to-day. Buildings
which have since been pulled down then formed redans and angles.

The English barricaded themselves there; the French made their way in
but could not stand their ground. Beside the chapelone wing of
the chateauthe only ruin now remaining of the manor of Hougomont
rises in a crumbling state--disembowelledone might say.
The chateau served for a dungeonthe chapel for a block-house.
There men exterminated each other. The Frenchfired on from
every point--from behind the wallsfrom the summits of the garrets
from the depths of the cellarsthrough all the casements
through all the air-holesthrough every crack in the stones--
fetched fagots and set fire to walls and men; the reply to the
grape-shot was a conflagration.

In the ruined wingthrough windows garnished with bars of iron
the dismantled chambers of the main building of brick are visible;
the English guards were in ambush in these rooms; the spiral
of the staircasecracked from the ground floor to the very roof
appears like the inside of a broken shell. The staircase has two stories;
the Englishbesieged on the staircaseand massed on its upper steps
had cut off the lower steps. These consisted of large slabs
of blue stonewhich form a heap among the nettles. Half a score
of steps still cling to the wall; on the first is cut the figure
of a trident. These inaccessible steps are solid in their niches.
All the rest resembles a jaw which has been denuded of its teeth.

There are two old trees there: one is dead; the other is wounded
at its baseand is clothed with verdure in April. Since 1815 it has
taken to growing through the staircase.

A massacre took place in the chapel. The interiorwhich has
recovered its calmis singular. The mass has not been said there
since the carnage. Neverthelessthe altar has been left there--
an altar of unpolished woodplaced against a background of
roughhewn stone. Four whitewashed wallsa door opposite the altar
two small arched windows; over the door a large wooden crucifix
below the crucifix a square air-hole stopped up with a bundle of hay;
on the groundin one corneran old window-frame with the glass
all broken to pieces--such is the chapel. Near the altar there is
nailed up a wooden statue of Saint Anneof the fifteenth century;
the head of the infant Jesus has been carried off by a large ball.
The Frenchwho were masters of the chapel for a momentand were
then dislodgedset fire to it. The flames filled this building;
it was a perfect furnace; the door was burnedthe floor was burned
the wooden Christ was not burned. The fire preyed upon his feet
of which only the blackened stumps are now to be seen; then it stopped--
a miracleaccording to the assertion of the people of the neighborhood.
The infant Jesusdecapitatedwas less fortunate than the Christ.

The walls are covered with inscriptions. Near the feet of Christ
this name is to be read: Henquinez. Then these others:
Conde de Rio Maior Marques y Marquesa de Almagro (Habana). There
are French names with exclamation points--a sign of wrath.
The wall was freshly whitewashed in 1849. The nations insulted
each other there.

It was at the door of this chapel that the corpse was picked up
which held an axe in its hand; this corpse was Sub-Lieutenant Legros.

On emerging from the chapela well is visible on the left.
There are two in this courtyard. One inquiresWhy is there no bucket
and pulley to this? It is because water is no longer drawn there.
Why is water not drawn there? Because it is full of skeletons.

The last person who drew water from the well was named
Guillaume van Kylsom. He was a peasant who lived at Hougomont
and was gardener there. On the 18th of June1815his family
fled and concealed themselves in the woods.

The forest surrounding the Abbey of Villiers sheltered these unfortunate
people who had been scattered abroadfor many days and nights.
There are at this day certain traces recognizablesuch as old
boles of burned treeswhich mark the site of these poor bivouacs
trembling in the depths of the thickets.

Guillaume van Kylsom remained at Hougomontto guard the chateau,
and concealed himself in the cellar. The English discovered
him there. They tore him from his hiding-placeand the combatants
forced this frightened man to serve themby administering blows
with the flats of their swords. They were thirsty; this Guillaume
brought them water. It was from this well that he drew it.
Many drank there their last draught. This well where drank so many
of the dead was destined to die itself.

After the engagementthey were in haste to bury the dead bodies.
Death has a fashion of harassing victoryand she causes the pest
to follow glory. The typhus is a concomitant of triumph.
This well was deepand it was turned into a sepulchre. Three hundred
dead bodies were cast into it. With too much haste perhaps.
Were they all dead? Legend says they were not. It seems that on

the night succeeding the intermentfeeble voices were heard calling
from the well.

This well is isolated in the middle of the courtyard. Three walls
part stonepart brickand simulating a smallsquare tower
and folded like the leaves of a screensurround it on all sides.
The fourth side is open. It is there that the water was drawn.
The wall at the bottom has a sort of shapeless loophole
possibly the hole made by a shell. This little tower had a platform
of which only the beams remain. The iron supports of the well on
the right form a cross. On leaning overthe eye is lost in a deep
cylinder of brick which is filled with a heaped-up mass of shadows.
The base of the walls all about the well is concealed in a growth
of nettles.

This well has not in front of it that large blue slab which forms
the table for all wells in Belgium. The slab has here been
replaced by a cross-beamagainst which lean five or six shapeless
fragments of knotty and petrified wood which resemble huge bones.
There is no longer either pailchainor pulley; but there is
still the stone basin which served the overflow. The rain-water
collects thereand from time to time a bird of the neighboring
forests comes thither to drinkand then flies away. One house
in this ruinthe farmhouseis still inhabited. The door of this
house opens on the courtyard. Upon this doorbeside a pretty Gothic
lock-platethere is an iron handle with trefoils placed slanting.
At the moment when the Hanoverian lieutenantWildagrasped this
handle in order to take refuge in the farma French sapper hewed
off his hand with an axe.

The family who occupy the house had for their grandfather Guillaume
van Kylsomthe old gardenerdead long since. A woman with gray
hair said to us: "I was there. I was three years old. My sister
who was olderwas terrified and wept. They carried us off to
the woods. I went there in my mother's arms. We glued our ears
to the earth to hear. I imitated the cannonand went boum! boum!"

A door opening from the courtyard on the left led into the orchard
so we were told. The orchard is terrible.

It is in three parts; one might almost sayin three acts.
The first part is a gardenthe second is an orchardthe third
is a wood. These three parts have a common enclosure: on the
side of the entrancethe buildings of the chateau and the farm;
on the lefta hedge; on the righta wall; and at the enda wall.
The wall on the right is of brickthe wall at the bottom is of stone.
One enters the garden first. It slopes downwardsis planted
with gooseberry busheschoked with a wild growth of vegetation
and terminated by a monumental terrace of cut stonewith balustrade
with a double curve.

It was a seignorial garden in the first French style which
preceded Le Notre; to-day it is ruins and briars. The pilasters
are surmounted by globes which resemble cannon-balls of stone.
Forty-three balusters can still be counted on their sockets; the rest
lie prostrate in the grass. Almost all bear scratches of bullets.
One broken baluster is placed on the pediment like a fractured leg.

It was in this gardenfurther down than the orchardthat six
light-infantry men of the 1sthaving made their way thither
and being unable to escapehunted down and caught like bears
in their densaccepted the combat with two Hanoverian companies
one of which was armed with carbines. The Hanoverians lined
this balustrade and fired from above. The infantry men

replying from belowsix against two hundredintrepid and with
no shelter save the currant-bushestook a quarter of an hour to die.

One mounts a few steps and passes from the garden into the orchard
properly speaking. Therewithin the limits of those few
square fathomsfifteen hundred men fell in less than an hour.
The wall seems ready to renew the combat. Thirty-eight loopholes
pierced by the English at irregular heightsare there still.
In front of the sixth are placed two English tombs of granite.
There are loopholes only in the south wallas the principal attack came
from that quarter. The wall is hidden on the outside by a tall hedge;
the French came upthinking that they had to deal only with a hedge
crossed itand found the wall both an obstacle and an ambuscade
with the English guards behind itthe thirty-eight loopholes firing
at once a shower of grape-shot and ballsand Soye's brigade was broken
against it. Thus Waterloo began.

Neverthelessthe orchard was taken. As they had no ladders
the French scaled it with their nails. They fought hand to hand
amid the trees. All this grass has been soaked in blood.
A battalion of Nassauseven hundred strongwas overwhelmed there.
The outside of the wallagainst which Kellermann's two batteries
were trainedis gnawed by grape-shot.

This orchard is sentientlike othersin the month of May.
It has its buttercups and its daisies; the grass is tall there;
the cart-horses browse there; cords of hairon which linen
is dryingtraverse the spaces between the trees and force the
passer-by to bend his head; one walks over this uncultivated land
and one's foot dives into mole-holes. In the middle of the grass
one observes an uprooted tree-bole which lies there all verdant.
Major Blackmann leaned against it to die. Beneath a great tree
in the neighborhood fell the German generalDuplatdescended from
a French family which fled on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
An aged and falling apple-tree leans far over to one side
its wound dressed with a bandage of straw and of clayey loam.
Nearly all the apple-trees are falling with age. There is not one
which has not had its bullet or its biscayan.[6] The skeletons of dead
trees abound in this orchard. Crows fly through their branches
and at the end of it is a wood full of violets.

[6] A bullet as large as an egg.
BauduinkilledFoy woundedconflagrationmassacrecarnage
a rivulet formed of English bloodFrench bloodGerman blood
mingled in furya well crammed with corpsesthe regiment of
Nassau and the regiment of Brunswick destroyedDuplat killed
Blackmann killedthe English Guards mutilatedtwenty French battalions
besides the forty from Reille's corpsdecimatedthree thousand
men in that hovel of Hougomont alone cut downslashed to pieces
shotburnedwith their throats cut--and all this so that a peasant
can say to-day to the traveller: Monsieurgive me three francs
and if you likeI will explain to you the affair of Waterloo!



Let us turn back--that is one of the story-teller's rights--

and put ourselves once more in the year 1815and even a little
earlier than the epoch when the action narrated in the first part
of this book took place.

If it had not rained in the night between the 17th and the 18th
of June1815the fate of Europe would have been different.
A few drops of watermore or lessdecided the downfall of Napoleon.
All that Providence required in order to make Waterloo the end
of Austerlitz was a little more rainand a cloud traversing the sky
out of season sufficed to make a world crumble.

The battle of Waterloo could not be begun until half-past eleven
o'clockand that gave Blucher time to come up. Why? Because the
ground was wet. The artillery had to wait until it became a little
firmer before they could manoeuvre.

Napoleon was an artillery officerand felt the effects of this.
The foundation of this wonderful captain was the man whoin the report
to the Directory on Aboukirsaid: Such a one of our balls killed
six men. All his plans of battle were arranged for projectiles.
The key to his victory was to make the artillery converge on one point.
He treated the strategy of the hostile general like a citadel
and made a breach in it. He overwhelmed the weak point with grape-shot;
he joined and dissolved battles with cannon. There was something
of the sharpshooter in his genius. To beat in squaresto pulverize
regimentsto break linesto crush and disperse masses--for him
everything lay in thisto strikestrikestrike incessantly--
and he intrusted this task to the cannon-ball. A redoubtable method
and one whichunited with geniusrendered this gloomy athlete
of the pugilism of war invincible for the space of fifteen years.

On the 18th of June1815he relied all the more on his artillery
because he had numbers on his side. Wellington had only one hundred
and fifty-nine mouths of fire; Napoleon had two hundred and forty.

Suppose the soil dryand the artillery capable of moving
the action would have begun at six o'clock in the morning.
The battle would have been won and ended at two o'clockthree
hours before the change of fortune in favor of the Prussians.
What amount of blame attaches to Napoleon for the loss of this battle?
Is the shipwreck due to the pilot?

Was it the evident physical decline of Napoleon that complicated
this epoch by an inward diminution of force? Had the twenty years
of war worn out the blade as it had worn the scabbardthe soul
as well as the body? Did the veteran make himself disastrously
felt in the leader? In a wordwas this geniusas many historians
of note have thoughtsuffering from an eclipse? Did he go into
a frenzy in order to disguise his weakened powers from himself?
Did he begin to waver under the delusion of a breath of adventure?
Had he become--a grave matter in a general--unconscious of peril?
Is there an agein this class of material great menwho may be
called the giants of actionwhen genius grows short-sighted? Old
age has no hold on the geniuses of the ideal; for the Dantes and
Michael Angelos to grow old is to grow in greatness; is it to grow
less for the Hannibals and the Bonapartes? Had Napoleon lost the
direct sense of victory? Had he reached the point where he could
no longer recognize the reefcould no longer divine the snare
no longer discern the crumbling brink of abysses? Had he lost
his power of scenting out catastrophes? He who had in former days
known all the roads to triumphand whofrom the summit of his
chariot of lightningpointed them out with a sovereign finger
had he now reached that state of sinister amazement when he could
lead his tumultuous legions harnessed to itto the precipice?

Was he seized at the age of forty-six with a supreme madness?
Was that titanic charioteer of destiny no longer anything more than
an immense dare-devil?

We do not think so.

His plan of battle wasby the confession of alla masterpiece.
To go straight to the centre of the Allies' lineto make a breach
in the enemyto cut them in twoto drive the British half back on Hal
and the Prussian half on Tongresto make two shattered fragments
of Wellington and Blucherto carry Mont-Saint-Jeanto seize Brussels
to hurl the German into the Rhineand the Englishman into the sea.
All this was contained in that battleaccording to Napoleon.
Afterwards people would see.

Of coursewe do not here pretend to furnish a history of the battle
of Waterloo; one of the scenes of the foundation of the story which
we are relating is connected with this battlebut this history
is not our subject; this historymoreoverhas been finished
and finished in a masterly mannerfrom one point of view by Napoleon
and from another point of view by a whole pleiad of historians.[7]

[7] Walter ScottLamartineVaulabelleCharrasQuinetThiers.
As for uswe leave the historians at loggerheads; we are but a
distant witnessa passer-by on the plaina seeker bending over
that soil all made of human fleshtaking appearances for realities
perchance; we have no right to opposein the name of science
a collection of facts which contain illusionsno doubt; we possess
neither military practice nor strategic ability which authorize
a system; in our opiniona chain of accidents dominated the two
leaders at Waterloo; and when it becomes a question of destiny
that mysterious culpritwe judge like that ingenious judge
the populace.



Those persons who wish to gain a clear idea of the battle of Waterloo
have only to placementallyon the grounda capital A. The left limb
of the A is the road to Nivellesthe right limb is the road to Genappe
the tie of the A is the hollow road to Ohain from Braine-l'Alleud. The
top of the A is Mont-Saint-Jeanwhere Wellington is; the lower left
tip is Hougomontwhere Reille is stationed with Jerome Bonaparte;
the right tip is the Belle-Alliancewhere Napoleon was. At the
centre of this chord is the precise point where the final word of the
battle was pronounced. It was there that the lion has been placed
the involuntary symbol of the supreme heroism of the Imperial Guard.

The triangle included in the top of the Abetween the two limbs
and the tieis the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. The dispute over
this plateau constituted the whole battle. The wings of the two
armies extended to the right and left of the two roads to Genappe
and Nivelles; d'Erlon facing PictonReille facing Hill.

Behind the tip of the Abehind the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean
is the forest of Soignes.

As for the plain itselflet the reader picture to himself a vast
undulating sweep of ground; each rise commands the next rise
and all the undulations mount towards Mont-Saint-Jeanand there
end in the forest.

Two hostile troops on a field of battle are two wrestlers. It is
a question of seizing the opponent round the waist. The one seeks
to trip up the other. They clutch at everything: a bush is a point
of support; an angle of the wall offers them a rest to the shoulder;
for the lack of a hovel under whose cover they can draw up
a regiment yields its ground; an unevenness in the grounda chance
turn in the landscapea cross-path encountered at the right moment
a grovea ravinecan stay the heel of that colossus which is
called an armyand prevent its retreat. He who quits the field
is beaten; hence the necessity devolving on the responsible leader
of examining the most insignificant clump of treesand of studying
deeply the slightest relief in the ground.

The two generals had attentively studied the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean
now called the plain of Waterloo. In the preceding yearWellington
with the sagacity of foresighthad examined it as the possible seat
of a great battle. Upon this spotand for this duelon the 18th
of JuneWellington had the good postNapoleon the bad post.
The English army was stationed abovethe French army below.

It is almost superfluous here to sketch the appearance of Napoleon
on horsebackglass in handupon the heights of Rossomme
at daybreakon June 181815. All the world has seen him before we
can show him. That calm profile under the little three-cornered
hat of the school of Briennethat green uniformthe white revers
concealing the star of the Legion of Honorhis great coat hiding
his epauletsthe corner of red ribbon peeping from beneath his vest
his leather trousersthe white horse with the saddle-cloth of purple
velvet bearing on the corners crowned N's and eaglesHessian boots
over silk stockingssilver spursthe sword of Marengo--that whole
figure of the last of the Caesars is present to all imaginations
saluted with acclamations by someseverely regarded by others.

That figure stood for a long time wholly in the light; this arose
from a certain legendary dimness evolved by the majority of heroes
and which always veils the truth for a longer or shorter time;
but to-day history and daylight have arrived.

That light called history is pitiless; it possesses this peculiar and
divine qualitythatpure light as it isand precisely because it is
wholly lightit often casts a shadow in places where people had hitherto
beheld rays; from the same man it constructs two different phantoms
and the one attacks the other and executes justice on itand the
shadows of the despot contend with the brilliancy of the leader.
Hence arises a truer measure in the definitive judgments of nations.
Babylon violated lessens AlexanderRome enchained lessens Caesar
Jerusalem murdered lessens Titustyranny follows the tyrant.
It is a misfortune for a man to leave behind him the night which
bears his form.



Every one is acquainted with the first phase of this battle;
a beginning which was troubleduncertainhesitatingmenacing to

both armiesbut still more so for the English than for the French.

It had rained all nightthe earth had been cut up by the downpour
the water had accumulated here and there in the hollows of the plain
as if in casks; at some points the gear of the artillery carriages
was buried up to the axlesthe circingles of the horses were dripping
with liquid mud. If the wheat and rye trampled down by this cohort
of transports on the march had not filled in the ruts and strewn a
litter beneath the wheelsall movementparticularly in the valleys
in the direction of Papelotte would have been impossible.

The affair began late. Napoleonas we have already explained
was in the habit of keeping all his artillery well in hand
like a pistolaiming it now at one pointnow at another
of the battle; and it had been his wish to wait until the horse
batteries could move and gallop freely. In order to do that it
was necessary that the sun should come out and dry the soil.
But the sun did not make its appearance. It was no longer
the rendezvous of Austerlitz. When the first cannon was fired
the English generalColvillelooked at his watchand noted
that it was thirty-five minutes past eleven.

The action was begun furiouslywith more furyperhapsthan the
Emperor would have wishedby the left wing of the French resting
on Hougomont. At the same time Napoleon attacked the centre by
hurling Quiot's brigade on La Haie-Sainteand Ney pushed forward
the right wing of the French against the left wing of the English
which rested on Papelotte.

The attack on Hougomont was something of a feint; the plan was
to draw Wellington thitherand to make him swerve to the left.
This plan would have succeeded if the four companies of the English
guards and the brave Belgians of Perponcher's division had not held the
position solidlyand Wellingtoninstead of massing his troops there
could confine himself to despatching thitheras reinforcements
only four more companies of guards and one battalion from Brunswick.

The attack of the right wing of the French on Papelotte was calculated
in factto overthrow the English leftto cut off the road
to Brusselsto bar the passage against possible Prussians
to force Mont-Saint-Jeanto turn Wellington back on Hougomont
thence on Braine-l'Alleudthence on Hal; nothing easier.
With the exception of a few incidents this attack succeeded
Papelotte was taken; La Haie-Sainte was carried.

A detail to be noted. There was in the English infantry
particularly in Kempt's brigadea great many raw recruits. These young
soldiers were valiant in the presence of our redoubtable infantry;
their inexperience extricated them intrepidly from the dilemma;
they performed particularly excellent service as skirmishers:
the soldier skirmisherleft somewhat to himselfbecomesso to speak
his own general. These recruits displayed some of the French
ingenuity and fury. This novice of an infantry had dash.
This displeased Wellington.

After the taking of La Haie-Sainte the battle wavered.

There is in this day an obscure intervalfrom mid-day to four o'clock;
the middle portion of this battle is almost indistinctand participates
in the sombreness of the hand-to-hand conflict. Twilight reigns
over it. We perceive vast fluctuations in that foga dizzy mirage
paraphernalia of war almost unknown to-daypendant colbacks
floating sabre-tachescross-beltscartridge-boxes for grenades
hussar dolmansred boots with a thousand wrinklesheavy shakos

garlanded with torsadesthe almost black infantry of Brunswick mingled
with the scarlet infantry of Englandthe English soldiers with great
white circular pads on the slopes of their shoulders for epaulets
the Hanoverian light-horse with their oblong casques of leather
with brass hands and red horse-tailsthe Scotch with their bare
knees and plaidsthe great white gaiters of our grenadiers;
picturesnot strategic lines--what Salvator Rosa requires
not what is suited to the needs of Gribeauval.

A certain amount of tempest is always mingled with a battle.
Quid obscurumquid divinum. Each historian tracesto some extent
the particular feature which pleases him amid this pellmell.
Whatever may be the combinations of the generalsthe shock of armed
masses has an incalculable ebb. During the action the plans of
the two leaders enter into each other and become mutually thrown
out of shape. Such a point of the field of battle devours more
combatants than such anotherjust as more or less spongy soils
soak up more or less quickly the water which is poured on them.
It becomes necessary to pour out more soldiers than one would like;
a series of expenditures which are the unforeseen. The line of battle
waves and undulates like a threadthe trails of blood gush illogically
the fronts of the armies waverthe regiments form capes and gulfs
as they enter and withdraw; all these reefs are continually moving
in front of each other. Where the infantry stood the artillery arrives
the cavalry rushes in where the artillery wasthe battalions are
like smoke. There was something there; seek it. It has disappeared;
the open spots change placethe sombre folds advance and retreat
a sort of wind from the sepulchre pushes forwardhurls back
distendsand disperses these tragic multitudes. What is a fray?
an oscillation? The immobility of a mathematical plan expresses
a minutenot a day. In order to depict a battlethere is required
one of those powerful painters who have chaos in their brushes.
Rembrandt is better than Vandermeulen; Vandermeulenexact at noon
lies at three o'clock. Geometry is deceptive; the hurricane alone
is trustworthy. That is what confers on Folard the right to
contradict Polybius. Let us addthat there is a certain instant
when the battle degenerates into a combatbecomes specialized
and disperses into innumerable detailed featswhichto borrow
the expression of Napoleon himselfbelong rather to the biography
of the regiments than to the history of the army.The historian has
in this casethe evident right to sum up the whole. He cannot
do more than seize the principal outlines of the struggleand it
is not given to any one narratorhowever conscientious he may be
to fixabsolutelythe form of that horrible cloud which is called
a battle.

Thiswhich is true of all great armed encountersis particularly
applicable to Waterloo.

Neverthelessat a certain moment in the afternoon the battle came
to a point.



Towards four o'clock the condition of the English army was serious.
The Prince of Orange was in command of the centreHill of the
right wingPicton of the left wing. The Prince of Orange
desperate and intrepidshouted to the Hollando-Belgians: "Nassau!
Brunswick! Never retreat!" Hillhaving been weakenedhad come up

to the support of Wellington; Picton was dead. At the very moment
when the English had captured from the French the flag of the 105th
of the linethe French had killed the English generalPictonwith a
bullet through the head. The battle hadfor Wellingtontwo bases
of actionHougomont and La Haie-Sainte; Hougomont still held out
but was on fire; La Haie-Sainte was taken. Of the German battalion
which defended itonly forty-two men survived; all the officers
except fivewere either dead or captured. Three thousand combatants
had been massacred in that barn. A sergeant of the English Guards
the foremost boxer in Englandreputed invulnerable by his companions
had been killed there by a little French drummer-boy. Baring had
been dislodgedAlten put to the sword. Many flags had been lost
one from Alten's divisionand one from the battalion of Lunenburg
carried by a prince of the house of Deux-Ponts. The Scotch Grays no
longer existed; Ponsonby's great dragoons had been hacked to pieces.
That valiant cavalry had bent beneath the lancers of Bro and
beneath the cuirassiers of Travers; out of twelve hundred horses
six hundred remained; out of three lieutenant-colonelstwo lay
on the earth--Hamilton woundedMater slain. Ponsonby had fallen
riddled by seven lance-thrusts. Gordon was dead. Marsh was dead.
Two divisionsthe fifth and the sixthhad been annihilated.

Hougomont injuredLa Haie-Sainte takenthere now existed but
one rallying-pointthe centre. That point still held firm.
Wellington reinforced it. He summoned thither Hillwho was
at Merle-Braine; he summoned Chassewho was at Braine-l'Alleud.

The centre of the English armyrather concavevery dense
and very compactwas strongly posted. It occupied the plateau
of Mont-Saint-Jeanhaving behind it the villageand in front of it
the slopewhich was tolerably steep then. It rested on that stout
stone dwelling which at that time belonged to the domain of Nivelles
and which marks the intersection of the roads--a pile of the
sixteenth centuryand so robust that the cannon-balls rebounded from
it without injuring it. All about the plateau the English had cut
the hedges here and theremade embrasures in the hawthorn-treesthrust
the throat of a cannon between two branchesembattled the shrubs.
There artillery was ambushed in the brushwood. This punic labor
incontestably authorized by warwhich permits trapswas so well done
that Haxowho had been despatched by the Emperor at nine o'clock
in the morning to reconnoitre the enemy's batterieshad discovered
nothing of itand had returned and reported to Napoleon that there
were no obstacles except the two barricades which barred the road
to Nivelles and to Genappe. It was at the season when the grain
is tall; on the edge of the plateau a battalion of Kempt's brigade
the 95tharmed with carabineswas concealed in the tall wheat.

Thus assured and buttressedthe centre of the Anglo-Dutch army was
well posted. The peril of this position lay in the forest of Soignes
then adjoining the field of battleand intersected by the ponds
of Groenendael and Boitsfort. An army could not retreat thither
without dissolving; the regiments would have broken up immediately there.
The artillery would have been lost among the morasses. The retreat
according to many a man versed in the art--though it is disputed
by others--would have been a disorganized flight.

To this centreWellington added one of Chasse's brigades taken
from the right wingand one of Wincke's brigades taken from the
left wingplus Clinton's division. To his Englishto the regiments
of Halkettto the brigades of Mitchellto the guards of Maitland
he gave as reinforcements and aidsthe infantry of Brunswick
Nassau's contingentKielmansegg's Hanoveriansand Ompteda's
Germans. This placed twenty-six battalions under his hand.
The right wingas Charras sayswas thrown back on the centre.

An enormous battery was masked by sacks of earth at the spot
where there now stands what is called the "Museum of Waterloo."
Besides thisWellington hadbehind a rise in the ground
Somerset's Dragoon Guardsfourteen hundred horse strong.
It was the remaining half of the justly celebrated English cavalry.
Ponsonby destroyedSomerset remained.

The batterywhichif completedwould have been almost a redoubt
was ranged behind a very low garden wallbacked up with a coating
of bags of sand and a large slope of earth. This work was not finished;
there had been no time to make a palisade for it.

Wellingtonuneasy but impassivewas on horsebackand there
remained the whole day in the same attitudea little in advance
of the old mill of Mont-Saint-Jeanwhich is still in existence
beneath an elmwhich an Englishmanan enthusiastic vandal
purchased later on for two hundred francscut downand carried off.
Wellington was coldly heroic. The bullets rained about him.
His aide-de-campGordonfell at his side. Lord Hillpointing to a
shell which had burstsaid to him: "My lordwhat are your orders
in case you are killed?" "To do like me replied Wellington.
To Clinton he said laconically, To hold this spot to the last man."
The day was evidently turning out ill. Wellington shouted to his
old companions of Talaveraof Vittoriaof Salamanca: "Boyscan
retreat be thought of? Think of old England!"

Towards four o'clockthe English line drew back. Suddenly nothing
was visible on the crest of the plateau except the artillery
and the sharpshooters; the rest had disappeared: the regiments
dislodged by the shells and the French bulletsretreated into the bottom
now intersected by the back road of the farm of Mont-Saint-Jean;
a retrograde movement took placethe English front hid itself
Wellington drew back. "The beginning of retreat!" cried Napoleon.



The Emperorthough ill and discommoded on horseback by a
local troublehad never been in a better humor than on that day.
His impenetrability had been smiling ever since the morning. On the
18th of Junethat profound soul masked by marble beamed blindly.
The man who had been gloomy at Austerlitz was gay at Waterloo.
The greatest favorites of destiny make mistakes. Our joys are
composed of shadow. The supreme smile is God's alone.

Ridet CaesarPompeius flebitsaid the legionaries of the
Fulminatrix Legion. Pompey was not destined to weep on that occasion
but it is certain that Caesar laughed. While exploring on horseback
at one o'clock on the preceding nightin storm and rainin company
with Bertrandthe communes in the neighborhood of Rossomme
satisfied at the sight of the long line of the English camp-fires
illuminating the whole horizon from Frischemont to Braine-l'Alleud
it had seemed to him that fateto whom he had assigned a day on the
field of Waterloowas exact to the appointment; he stopped his horse
and remained for some time motionlessgazing at the lightning
and listening to the thunder; and this fatalist was heard to cast
into the darkness this mysterious sayingWe are in accord.
Napoleon was mistaken. They were no longer in accord.

He took not a moment for sleep; every instant of that night was marked

by a joy for him. He traversed the line of the principal outposts
halting here and there to talk to the sentinels. At half-past two
near the wood of Hougomonthe heard the tread of a column on
the march; he thought at the moment that it was a retreat on the part
of Wellington. He said: "It is the rear-guard of the English
getting under way for the purpose of decamping. I will take
prisoners the six thousand English who have just arrived at Ostend."
He conversed expansively; he regained the animation which he had
shown at his landing on the first of Marchwhen he pointed out
to the Grand-Marshal the enthusiastic peasant of the Gulf Juan
and criedWell, Bertrand, here is a reinforcement already!
On the night of the 17th to the 18th of June he rallied Wellington.
That little Englishman needs a lesson,said Napoleon. The rain
redoubled in violence; the thunder rolled while the Emperor
was speaking.

At half-past three o'clock in the morninghe lost one illusion;
officers who had been despatched to reconnoitre announced to him
that the enemy was not making any movement. Nothing was stirring;
not a bivouac-fire had been extinguished; the English army was asleep.
The silence on earth was profound; the only noise was in the heavens.
At four o'clocka peasant was brought in to him by the scouts;
this peasant had served as guide to a brigade of English cavalry
probably Vivian's brigadewhich was on its way to take up a position
in the village of Ohainat the extreme left. At five o'clock
two Belgian deserters reported to him that they had just quitted
their regimentand that the English army was ready for battle.
So much the better!exclaimed Napoleon. "I prefer to overthrow them
rather than to drive them back."

In the morning he dismounted in the mud on the slope which forms
an angle with the Plancenoit roadhad a kitchen table and a peasant's
chair brought to him from the farm of Rossommeseated himself
with a truss of straw for a carpetand spread out on the table
the chart of the battle-fieldsaying to Soult as he did so
A pretty checker-board.

In consequence of the rains during the nightthe transports
of provisionsembedded in the soft roadshad not been able
to arrive by morning; the soldiers had had no sleep; they were
wet and fasting. This did not prevent Napoleon from exclaiming
cheerfully to NeyWe have ninety chances out of a hundred.
At eight o'clock the Emperor's breakfast was brought to him.
He invited many generals to it. During breakfastit was said
that Wellington had been to a ball two nights beforein Brussels
at the Duchess of Richmond's; and Soulta rough man of war
with a face of an archbishopsaidThe ball takes place to-day.
The Emperor jested with Neywho saidWellington will not be so
simple as to wait for Your Majesty.That was his wayhowever.
He was fond of jesting,says Fleury de Chaboulon. "A merry
humor was at the foundation of his character says Gourgaud.
He abounded in pleasantrieswhich were more peculiar than witty
says Benjamin Constant. These gayeties of a giant are worthy
of insistence. It was he who called his grenadiers his grumblers";
he pinched their ears; he pulled their mustaches. "The Emperor
did nothing but play pranks on us is the remark of one of them.
During the mysterious trip from the island of Elba to France,
on the 27th of February, on the open sea, the French brig of war,
Le Zephyr, having encountered the brig L'Inconstant, on which Napoleon
was concealed, and having asked the news of Napoleon from L'Inconstant,
the Emperor, who still wore in his hat the white and amaranthine
cockade sown with bees, which he had adopted at the isle of Elba,
laughingly seized the speaking-trumpet, and answered for himself,
The Emperor is well." A man who laughs like that is on familiar

terms with events. Napoleon indulged in many fits of this laughter
during the breakfast at Waterloo. After breakfast he meditated
for a quarter of an hour; then two generals seated themselves on
the truss of strawpen in hand and their paper on their knees
and the Emperor dictated to them the order of battle.

At nine o'clockat the instant when the French armyranged in
echelons and set in motion in five columnshad deployed-the
divisions in two linesthe artillery between the brigades
the music at their head; as they beat the marchwith rolls on the drums
and the blasts of trumpetsmightyvastjoyousa sea of casques
of sabresand of bayonets on the horizonthe Emperor was touched
and twice exclaimedMagnificent! Magnificent!

Between nine o'clock and half-past ten the whole armyincredible as it
may appearhad taken up its position and ranged itself in six lines
formingto repeat the Emperor's expressionthe figure of six V's.
A few moments after the formation of the battle-arrayin the midst
of that profound silencelike that which heralds the beginning
of a stormwhich precedes engagementsthe Emperor tapped Haxo on
the shoulderas he beheld the three batteries of twelve-pounders
detached by his orders from the corps of ErlonReilleand Lobau
and destined to begin the action by taking Mont-Saint-Jeanwhich was
situated at the intersection of the Nivelles and the Genappe roads
and said to himThere are four and twenty handsome maids, General.

Sure of the issuehe encouraged with a smileas they passed
before himthe company of sappers of the first corpswhich he
had appointed to barricade Mont-Saint-Jean as soon as the village
should be carried. All this serenity had been traversed by but
a single word of haughty pity; perceiving on his leftat a spot
where there now stands a large tombthose admirable Scotch Grays
with their superb horsesmassing themselveshe saidIt is a pity.

Then he mounted his horseadvanced beyond Rossommeand selected
for his post of observation a contracted elevation of turf to the right
of the road from Genappe to Brusselswhich was his second station
during the battle. The third stationthe one adopted at seven
o'clock in the eveningbetween La Belle-Alliance and La Haie-Sainte
is formidable; it is a rather elevated knollwhich still exists
and behind which the guard was massed on a slope of the plain.
Around this knoll the balls rebounded from the pavements of
the roadup to Napoleon himself. As at Briennehe had over
his head the shriek of the bullets and of the heavy artillery.
Mouldy cannon-ballsold sword-bladesand shapeless projectiles
eaten up with rustwere picked up at the spot where his horse'
feet stood. Scabra rubigine. A few years agoa shell of sixty pounds
still chargedand with its fuse broken off level with the bomb
was unearthed. It was at this last post that the Emperor said
to his guideLacostea hostile and terrified peasantwho was
attached to the saddle of a hussarand who turned round at every
discharge of canister and tried to hide behind Napoleon: "Foolit
is shameful! You'll get yourself killed with a ball in the back."
He who writes these lines has himself foundin the friable soil
of this knollon turning over the sandthe remains of the neck
of a bombdisintegratedby the oxidization of six and forty years
and old fragments of iron which parted like elder-twigs between
the fingers.

Every one is aware that the variously inclined undulations of the plains
where the engagement between Napoleon and Wellington took place
are no longer what they were on June 181815. By taking from this
mournful field the wherewithal to make a monument to itits real
relief has been taken awayand historydisconcertedno longer

finds her bearings there. It has been disfigured for the sake
of glorifying it. Wellingtonwhen he beheld Waterloo once more
two years laterexclaimedThey have altered my field of battle!
Where the great pyramid of earthsurmounted by the lion
rises to-daythere was a hillock which descended in an easy slope
towards the Nivelles roadbut which was almost an escarpment
on the side of the highway to Genappe. The elevation of this
escarpment can still be measured by the height of the two knolls
of the two great sepulchres which enclose the road from Genappe
to Brussels: onethe English tombis on the left; the other
the German tombis on the right. There is no French tomb. The whole
of that plain is a sepulchre for France. Thanks to the thousands
upon thousands of cartloads of earth employed in the hillock one
hundred and fifty feet in height and half a mile in circumference
the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean is now accessible by an easy slope.
On the day of battleparticularly on the side of La Haie-Sainte
it was abrupt and difficult of approach. The slope there is so
steep that the English cannon could not see the farmsituated in
the bottom of the valleywhich was the centre of the combat.
On the 18th of June1815the rains had still farther increased
this acclivitythe mud complicated the problem of the ascent
and the men not only slipped backbut stuck fast in the mire.
Along the crest of the plateau ran a sort of trench whose presence it
was impossible for the distant observer to divine.

What was this trench? Let us explain. Braine-l'Alleud is a
Belgian village; Ohain is another. These villagesboth of them
concealed in curves of the landscapeare connected by a road about
a league and a half in lengthwhich traverses the plain along its
undulating leveland often enters and buries itself in the hills
like a furrowwhich makes a ravine of this road in some places.
In 1815as at the present daythis road cut the crest of the plateau
of Mont-Saint-Jean between the two highways from Genappe and Nivelles;
onlyit is now on a level with the plain; it was then a hollow way.
Its two slopes have been appropriated for the monumental hillock.
This road wasand still isa trench throughout the greater portion
of its course; a hollow trenchsometimes a dozen feet in depth
and whose banksbeing too steepcrumbled away here and there
particularly in winterunder driving rains. Accidents happened here.
The road was so narrow at the Braine-l'Alleud entrance that a
passer-by was crushed by a cartas is proved by a stone cross
which stands near the cemeteryand which gives the name of the dead
Monsieur Bernard DebryeMerchant of Brusselsand the date of
the accidentFebruary1637.[8] It was so deep on the table-land
of Mont-Saint-Jean that a peasantMathieu Nicaisewas crushed there
in 1783by a slide from the slopeas is stated on another stone cross
the top of which has disappeared in the process of clearing the ground
but whose overturned pedestal is still visible on the grassy slope
to the left of the highway between La Haie-Sainte and the farm
of Mont-Saint-Jean.

[8] This is the inscription:-D.
O. M.

A BRUXELLE LE [Illegible]

On the day of battlethis hollow road whose existence was in no
way indicatedbordering the crest of Mont-Saint-Jeana trench

at the summit of the escarpmenta rut concealed in the soil
was invisible; that is to sayterrible.



Soon the morning of WaterlooNapoleon was content.

He was right; the plan of battle conceived by him wasas we have seen
really admirable.

The battle once begunits very various changes--the resistance
of Hougomont; the tenacity of La Haie-Sainte; the killing of Bauduin;
the disabling of Foy; the unexpected wall against which Soye's
brigade was shattered; Guilleminot's fatal heedlessness when he
had neither petard nor powder sacks; the miring of the batteries;
the fifteen unescorted pieces overwhelmed in a hollow way by Uxbridge;
the small effect of the bombs falling in the English linesand there
embedding themselves in the rain-soaked soiland only succeeding
in producing volcanoes of mudso that the canister was turned into
a splash; the uselessness of Pire's demonstration on Braine-l'Alleud;
all that cavalryfifteen squadronsalmost exterminated; the right
wing of the English badly alarmedthe left wing badly cut into;
Ney's strange mistake in massinginstead of echelonning the four
divisions of the first corps; men delivered over to grape-shot
arranged in ranks twenty-seven deep and with a frontage of two hundred;
the frightful holes made in these masses by the cannon-balls;
attacking columns disorganized; the side-battery suddenly unmasked on
their flank; BourgeoisDonzelotand Durutte compromised; Quiot repulsed;
Lieutenant Vieuxthat Hercules graduated at the Polytechnic School
wounded at the moment when he was beating in with an axe the door
of La Haie-Sainte under the downright fire of the English barricade
which barred the angle of the road from Genappe to Brussels;
Marcognet's division caught between the infantry and the cavalry
shot down at the very muzzle of the guns amid the grain by Best
and Packput to the sword by Ponsonby; his battery of seven
pieces spiked; the Prince of Saxe-Weimar holding and guarding
in spite of the Comte d'Erlonboth Frischemont and Smohain;
the flag of the 105th takenthe flag of the 45th captured; that black
Prussian hussar stopped by runners of the flying column of three
hundred light cavalry on the scout between Wavre and Plancenoit;
the alarming things that had been said by prisoners; Grouchy's delay;
fifteen hundred men killed in the orchard of Hougomont in less
than an hour; eighteen hundred men overthrown in a still shorter
time about La Haie-Sainte--all these stormy incidents passing
like the clouds of battle before Napoleonhad hardly troubled
his gaze and had not overshadowed that face of imperial certainty.
Napoleon was accustomed to gaze steadily at war; he never added
up the heart-rending detailscipher by cipher; ciphers mattered
little to himprovided that they furnished the totalvictory;
he was not alarmed if the beginnings did go astraysince he
thought himself the master and the possessor at the end; he knew
how to waitsupposing himself to be out of the questionand he
treated destiny as his equal: he seemed to say to fateThou wilt
not dare.

Composed half of light and half of shadowNapoleon thought himself
protected in good and tolerated in evil. He hador thought
that he hada connivanceone might almost say a complicity
of events in his favorwhich was equivalent to the invulnerability
of antiquity.

Neverthelesswhen one has BeresinaLeipzigand Fontainebleau
behind oneit seems as though one might distrust Waterloo.
A mysterious frown becomes perceptible in the depths of the heavens.

At the moment when Wellington retreatedNapoleon shuddered.
He suddenly beheld the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean cleared
and the van of the English army disappear. It was rallying
but hiding itself. The Emperor half rose in his stirrups.
The lightning of victory flashed from his eyes.

Wellingtondriven into a corner at the forest of Soignes
and destroyed--that was the definitive conquest of England by France;
it was CrecyPoitiersMalplaquetand Ramillies avenged.
The man of Marengo was wiping out Agincourt.

So the Emperormeditating on this terrible turn of fortune
swept his glass for the last time over all the points of the field
of battle. His guardstanding behind him with grounded arms
watched him from below with a sort of religion. He pondered;
he examined the slopesnoted the declivitiesscrutinized the
clumps of treesthe square of ryethe path; he seemed to be
counting each bush. He gazed with some intentness at the English
barricades of the two highways--two large abatis of treesthat on
the road to Genappe above La Haie-Saintearmed with two cannon
the only ones out of all the English artillery which commanded the
extremity of the field of battleand that on the road to Nivelles
where gleamed the Dutch bayonets of Chasse's brigade. Near this
barricade he observed the old chapel of Saint Nicholaspainted white
which stands at the angle of the cross-road near Braine-l'Alleud;
he bent down and spoke in a low voice to the guide Lacoste. The guide
made a negative sign with his headwhich was probably perfidious.

The Emperor straightened himself up and fell to thinking.

Wellington had drawn back.

All that remained to do was to complete this retreat by crushing him.

Napoleon turning round abruptlydespatched an express at full
speed to Paris to announce that the battle was won.

Napoleon was one of those geniuses from whom thunder darts.

He had just found his clap of thunder.

He gave orders to Milhaud's cuirassiers to carry the table-land
of Mont-Saint-Jean.



There were three thousand five hundred of them. They formed
a front a quarter of a league in extent. They were giant men
on colossal horses. There were six and twenty squadrons of them;
and they had behind them to support them Lefebvre-Desnouettes's
division--the one hundred and six picked gendarmesthe light
cavalry of the Guardeleven hundred and ninety-seven men
and the lancers of the guard of eight hundred and eighty lances.
They wore casques without horse-tailsand cuirasses of beaten iron

with horse-pistols in their holstersand long sabre-swords. That
morning the whole army had admired themwhenat nine o'clock
with braying of trumpets and all the music playing "Let us watch
o'er the Safety of the Empire they had come in a solid column,
with one of their batteries on their flank, another in their centre,
and deployed in two ranks between the roads to Genappe and Frischemont,
and taken up their position for battle in that powerful second line,
so cleverly arranged by Napoleon, which, having on its extreme
left Kellermann's cuirassiers and on its extreme right Milhaud's
cuirassiers, had, so to speak, two wings of iron.

Aide-de-camp Bernard carried them the Emperor's orders. Ney drew
his sword and placed himself at their head. The enormous squadrons
were set in motion.

Then a formidable spectacle was seen.

All their cavalry, with upraised swords, standards and trumpets
flung to the breeze, formed in columns by divisions, descended,
by a simultaneous movement and like one man, with the precision
of a brazen battering-ram which is effecting a breach, the hill
of La Belle Alliance, plunged into the terrible depths in which
so many men had already fallen, disappeared there in the smoke,
then emerging from that shadow, reappeared on the other side of
the valley, still compact and in close ranks, mounting at a full trot,
through a storm of grape-shot which burst upon them, the terrible
muddy slope of the table-land of Mont-Saint-Jean. They ascended,
grave, threatening, imperturbable; in the intervals between the
musketry and the artillery, their colossal trampling was audible.
Being two divisions, there were two columns of them; Wathier's division
held the right, Delort's division was on the left. It seemed as
though two immense adders of steel were to be seen crawling towards
the crest of the table-land. It traversed the battle like a prodigy.

Nothing like it had been seen since the taking of the great redoubt
of the Muskowa by the heavy cavalry; Murat was lacking here, but Ney
was again present. It seemed as though that mass had become a monster
and had but one soul. Each column undulated and swelled like the
ring of a polyp. They could be seen through a vast cloud of smoke
which was rent here and there. A confusion of helmets, of cries,
of sabres, a stormy heaving of the cruppers of horses amid the cannons
and the flourish of trumpets, a terrible and disciplined tumult;
over all, the cuirasses like the scales on the hydra.

These narrations seemed to belong to another age. Something parallel
to this vision appeared, no doubt, in the ancient Orphic epics,
which told of the centaurs, the old hippanthropes, those Titans
with human heads and equestrian chests who scaled Olympus at
a gallop, horrible, invulnerable, sublime--gods and beasts.

Odd numerical coincidence,--twenty-six battalions rode to meet
twenty-six battalions. Behind the crest of the plateau, in the
shadow of the masked battery, the English infantry, formed into
thirteen squares, two battalions to the square, in two lines,
with seven in the first line, six in the second, the stocks
of their guns to their shoulders, taking aim at that which was on
the point of appearing, waited, calm, mute, motionless. They did
not see the cuirassiers, and the cuirassiers did not see them.
They listened to the rise of this flood of men. They heard the
swelling noise of three thousand horse, the alternate and symmetrical
tramp of their hoofs at full trot, the jingling of the cuirasses,
the clang of the sabres and a sort of grand and savage breathing.
There ensued a most terrible silence; then, all at once, a long file
of uplifted arms, brandishing sabres, appeared above the crest,

and casques, trumpets, and standards, and three thousand heads with
gray mustaches, shouting, Vive l'Empereur!" All this cavalry debouched
on the plateauand it was like the appearance of an earthquake.

All at oncea tragic incident; on the English lefton our right
the head of the column of cuirassiers reared up with a frightful clamor.
On arriving at the culminating point of the crestungovernable
utterly given over to fury and their course of extermination of the
squares and cannonthe cuirassiers had just caught sight of a trench--
a trench between them and the English. It was the hollow road of Ohain.

It was a terrible moment. The ravine was thereunexpectedyawning
directly under the horses' feettwo fathoms deep between its
double slopes; the second file pushed the first into itand the third
pushed on the second; the horses reared and fell backwardlanded on
their haunchesslid downall four feet in the aircrushing and
overwhelming the riders; and there being no means of retreat--
the whole column being no longer anything more than a projectile--
the force which had been acquired to crush the English crushed
the French; the inexorable ravine could only yield when filled;
horses and riders rolled there pell-mellgrinding each other
forming but one mass of flesh in this gulf: when this trench
was full of living menthe rest marched over them and passed on.
Almost a third of Dubois's brigade fell into that abyss.

This began the loss of the battle.

A local traditionwhich evidently exaggerates matterssays that two
thousand horses and fifteen hundred men were buried in the hollow
road of Ohain. This figure probably comprises all the other corpses
which were flung into this ravine the day after the combat.

Let us note in passing that it was Dubois's sorely tried brigade which
an hour previouslymaking a charge to one sidehad captured
the flag of the Lunenburg battalion.

Napoleonbefore giving the order for this charge of Milhaud's
cuirassiershad scrutinized the groundbut had not been able to see
that hollow roadwhich did not even form a wrinkle on the surface of
the plateau. Warnedneverthelessand put on the alert by the little
white chapel which marks its angle of junction with the Nivelles highway
he had probably put a question as to the possibility of an obstacle
to the guide Lacoste. The guide had answered No. We might almost affirm
that Napoleon's catastrophe originated in that sign of a peasant's head.

Other fatalities were destined to arise.

Was it possible that Napoleon should have won that battle?
We answer No. Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blucher?
No. Because of God.

Bonaparte victor at Waterloo; that does not come within the law of
the nineteenth century. Another series of facts was in preparation
in which there was no longer any room for Napoleon. The ill will
of events had declared itself long before.

It was time that this vast man should fall.

The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the balance.
This individual alone counted for more than a universal group.
These plethoras of all human vitality concentrated in a single head;
the world mounting to the brain of one man--this would be mortal
to civilization were it to last. The moment had arrived for the
incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the

principles and the elementson which the regular gravitations
of the moralas of the materialworld dependhad complained.
Smoking bloodover-filled cemeteriesmothers in tears-these
are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from
too heavy a burdenthere are mysterious groanings of the shades
to which the abyss lends an ear.

Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite and his fall had been
decided on.

He embarrassed God.

Waterloo is not a battle; it is a change of front on the part
of the Universe.



The battery was unmasked at the same moment with the ravine.

Sixty cannons and the thirteen squares darted lightning point-blank
on the cuirassiers. The intrepid General Delort made the military
salute to the English battery.

The whole of the flying artillery of the English had re-entered
the squares at a gallop. The cuirassiers had not had even the
time for a halt. The disaster of the hollow road had decimated
but not discouraged them. They belonged to that class of men who
when diminished in numberincrease in courage.

Wathier's column alone had suffered in the disaster; Delort's column
which Ney had deflected to the leftas though he had a presentiment
of an ambushhad arrived whole.

The cuirassiers hurled themselves on the English squares.

At full speedwith bridles looseswords in their teeth pistols
in fist--such was the attack.

There are moments in battles in which the soul hardens the man
until the soldier is changed into a statueand when all this flesh
turns into granite. The English battalionsdesperately assaulted
did not stir.

Then it was terrible.

All the faces of the English squares were attacked at once.
A frenzied whirl enveloped them. That cold infantry remained impassive.
The first rank knelt and received the cuirassiers on their bayonets
the second ranks shot them down; behind the second rank the cannoneers
charged their gunsthe front of the square partedpermitted the passage
of an eruption of grape-shotand closed again. The cuirassiers
replied by crushing them. Their great horses rearedstrode across
the ranksleaped over the bayonets and fellgiganticin the midst
of these four living wells. The cannon-balls ploughed furrows
in these cuirassiers; the cuirassiers made breaches in the squares.
Files of men disappearedground to dust under the horses. The bayonets
plunged into the bellies of these centaurs; hence a hideousness of
wounds which has probably never been seen anywhere else. The squares
wasted by this mad cavalryclosed up their ranks without flinching.

Inexhaustible in the matter of grape-shotthey created explosions
in their assailants' midst. The form of this combat was monstrous.
These squares were no longer battalionsthey were craters;
those cuirassiers were no longer cavalrythey were a tempest.
Each square was a volcano attacked by a cloud; lava contended
with lightning.

The square on the extreme rightthe most exposed of all
being in the airwas almost annihilated at the very first shock.
lt was formed of the 75th regiment of Highlanders. The bagpipe-player
in the centre dropped his melancholy eyesfilled with the reflections
of the forests and the lakesin profound inattentionwhile men
were being exterminated around himand seated on a drumwith his
pibroch under his armplayed the Highland airs. These Scotchmen
died thinking of Ben Lothianas did the Greeks recalling Argos.
The sword of a cuirassierwhich hewed down the bagpipes and the arm
which bore itput an end to the song by killing the singer.

The cuirassiersrelatively few in numberand still further diminished
by the catastrophe of the ravinehad almost the whole English army
against thembut they multiplied themselves so that each man of them
was equal to ten. Neverthelesssome Hanoverian battalions yielded.
Wellington perceived itand thought of his cavalry. Had Napoleon
at that same moment thought of his infantryhe would have won
the battle. This forgetfulness was his great and fatal mistake.

All at oncethe cuirassierswho had been the assailants
found themselves assailed. The English cavalry was at their back.
Before them two squaresbehind them Somerset; Somerset meant
fourteen hundred dragoons of the guard. On the rightSomerset had
Dornberg with the German light-horseand on his leftTrip with
the Belgian carabineers; the cuirassiers attacked on the flank and
in frontbefore and in the rearby infantry and cavalryhad to
face all sides. What mattered it to them? They were a whirlwind.
Their valor was something indescribable.

In addition to thisthey had behind them the batterywhich was
still thundering. It was necessary that it should be soor they
could never have been wounded in the back. One of their cuirasses
pierced on the shoulder by a ball from a biscayan[9] is in the
collection of the Waterloo Museum.

[9] A heavy rifled gun.
For such Frenchmen nothing less than such Englishmen was needed.
It was no longer a hand-to-hand conflict; it was a shadowa fury
a dizzy transport of souls and couragea hurricane of lightning swords.
In an instant the fourteen hundred dragoon guards numbered only
eight hundred. Fullertheir lieutenant-colonelfell dead.
Ney rushed up with the lancers and Lefebvre-Desnouettes's light-horse.
The plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean was capturedrecapturedcaptured again.
The cuirassiers quitted the cavalry to return to the infantry;
orto put it more exactlythe whole of that formidable rout
collared each other without releasing the other. The squares still
held firm.

There were a dozen assaults. Ney had four horses killed under him.
Half the cuirassiers remained on the plateau. This conflict lasted
two hours.

The English army was profoundly shaken. There is no doubt that
had they not been enfeebled in their first shock by the disaster

of the hollow road the cuirassiers would have overwhelmed the centre
and decided the victory. This extraordinary cavalry petrified Clinton
who had seen Talavera and Badajoz. Wellingtonthree-quarters vanquished
admired heroically. He said in an undertoneSublime!

The cuirassiers annihilated seven squares out of thirteentook or
spiked sixty pieces of ordnanceand captured from the English
regiments six flagswhich three cuirassiers and three chasseurs of
the Guard bore to the Emperorin front of the farm of La Belle Alliance.

Wellington's situation had grown worse. This strange battle
was like a duel between two ragingwounded meneach of whom
still fighting and still resistingis expending all his blood.

Which of the two will be the first to fall?

The conflict on the plateau continued.

What had become of the cuirassiers? No one could have told.
One thing is certainthat on the day after the battlea cuirassier
and his horse were found dead among the woodwork of the scales
for vehicles at Mont-Saint-Jeanat the very point where the four
roads from NivellesGenappeLa Hulpeand Brussels meet and
intersect each other. This horseman had pierced the English lines.
One of the men who picked up the body still lives at Mont-Saint-Jean.
His name is Dehaze. He was eighteen years old at that time.

Wellington felt that he was yielding. The crisis was at hand.

The cuirassiers had not succeededsince the centre was not
broken through. As every one was in possession of the plateauno one
held itand in fact it remainedto a great extentwith the English.
Wellington held the village and the culminating plain; Ney had only the
crest and the slope. They seemed rooted in that fatal soil on both sides.

But the weakening of the English seemed irremediable.
The bleeding of that army was horrible. Kempton the left wing
demanded reinforcements. "There are none replied Wellington;
he must let himself be killed!" Almost at that same moment
a singular coincidence which paints the exhaustion of the two armies
Ney demanded infantry from Napoleonand Napoleon exclaimedInfantry!
Where does he expect me to get it? Does he think I can make it?

Neverthelessthe English army was in the worse case of the two.
The furious onsets of those great squadrons with cuirasses of iron
and breasts of steel had ground the infantry to nothing. A few
men clustered round a flag marked the post of a regiment; such and
such a battalion was commanded only by a captain or a lieutenant;
Alten's divisionalready so roughly handled at La Haie-Sainte
was almost destroyed; the intrepid Belgians of Van Kluze's brigade
strewed the rye-fields all along the Nivelles road; hardly anything
was left of those Dutch grenadierswhointermingled with Spaniards
in our ranks in 1811fought against Wellington; and whoin 1815
rallied to the English standardfought against Napoleon.
The loss in officers was considerable. Lord Uxbridgewho had
his leg buried on the following dayhad his knee shattered.
Ifon the French sidein that tussle of the cuirassiersDelort
l'HeritierColbertDnopTraversand Blancard were disabled
on the side of the English there was Alten woundedBarne wounded
Delancey killedVan Meeren killedOmpteda killedthe whole
of Wellington's staff decimatedand England had the worse of it
in that bloody scale. The second regiment of foot-guards had
lost five lieutenant-colonelsfour captainsand three ensigns;
the first battalion of the 30th infantry had lost 24 officers and

1200 soldiers; the 79th Highlanders had lost 24 officers wounded
18 officers killed450 soldiers killed. The Hanoverian hussars
of Cumberlanda whole regimentwith Colonel Hacke at its head
who was destined to be tried later on and cashieredhad turned
bridle in the presence of the frayand had fled to the forest
of Soignessowing defeat all the way to Brussels. The transports
ammunition-wagonsthe baggage-wagonsthe wagons filled with wounded
on perceiving that the French were gaining ground and approaching
the forestrushed headlong thither. The Dutchmowed down by the
French cavalrycriedAlarm!From Vert-Coucou to Groentendael
for a distance of nearly two leagues in the direction of Brussels
according to the testimony of eye-witnesses who are still alive
the roads were encumbered with fugitives. This panic was such
that it attacked the Prince de Conde at Mechlinand Louis XVIII.
at Ghent. With the exception of the feeble reserve echelonned
behind the ambulance established at the farm of Mont-Saint-Jean
and of Vivian's and Vandeleur's brigadeswhich flanked the left wing
Wellington had no cavalry left. A number of batteries lay unhorsed.
These facts are attested by Siborne; and Pringleexaggerating
the disastergoes so far as to say that the Anglo-Dutch army was
reduced to thirty-four thousand men. The Iron Duke remained calm
but his lips blanched. Vincentthe Austrian commissionerAlava
the Spanish commissionerwho were present at the battle in the
English staffthought the Duke lost. At five o'clock Wellington
drew out his watchand he was heard to murmur these sinister words
Blucher, or night!

It was at about that moment that a distant line of bayonets gleamed
on the heights in the direction of Frischemont.

Here comes the change of face in this giant drama.



The painful surprise of Napoleon is well known. Grouchy hoped for
Blucher arriving. Death instead of life.

Fate has these turns; the throne of the world was expected;
it was Saint Helena that was seen.

If the little shepherd who served as guide to BulowBlucher's lieutenant
had advised him to debouch from the forest above Frischemont
instead of below Plancenoitthe form of the nineteenth century might
perhapshave been different. Napoleon would have won the battle
of Waterloo. By any other route than that below Plancenoit
the Prussian army would have come out upon a ravine impassable
for artilleryand Bulow would not have arrived.

Now the Prussian generalMufflingdeclares that one hour's delay
and Blucher would not have found Wellington on his feet. "The battle
was lost."

It was time that Bulow should arriveas will be seen. He had
moreoverbeen very much delayed. He had bivouacked at Dion-le-Mont
and had set out at daybreak; but the roads were impassableand his
divisions stuck fast in the mire. The ruts were up to the hubs
of the cannons. Moreoverhe had been obliged to pass the Dyle on
the narrow bridge of Wavre; the street leading to the bridge had been
fired by the Frenchso the caissons and ammunition-wagons could

not pass between two rows of burning housesand had been obliged
to wait until the conflagration was extinguished. It was mid-day
before Bulow's vanguard had been able to reach Chapelle-Saint-Lambert.

Had the action been begun two hours earlierit would have been
over at four o'clockand Blucher would have fallen on the battle
won by Napoleon. Such are these immense risks proportioned
to an infinite which we cannot comprehend.

The Emperor had been the firstas early as mid-dayto descry
with his field-glasson the extreme horizonsomething which had
attracted his attention. He had saidI see yonder a cloud,
which seems to me to be troops.Then he asked the Duc de Dalmatie
Soult, what do you see in the direction of Chapelle-Saint-Lambert?
The marshallevelling his glassansweredFour or five
thousand men, Sire; evidently Grouchy.But it remained motionless
in the mist. All the glasses of the staff had studied "the cloud"
pointed out by the Emperor. Some said: "It is trees." The truth is
that the cloud did not move. The Emperor detached Domon's division
of light cavalry to reconnoitre in that quarter.

Bulow had not movedin fact. His vanguard was very feeble
and could accomplish nothing. He was obliged to wait for the body
of the army corpsand he had received orders to concentrate his
forces before entering into line; but at five o'clockperceiving
Wellington's perilBlucher ordered Bulow to attackand uttered
these remarkable words: "We must give air to the English army."

A little laterthe divisions of LosthinHillerHackeand Ryssel
deployed before Lobau's corpsthe cavalry of Prince William of
Prussia debouched from the forest of ParisPlancenoit was in flames
and the Prussian cannon-balls began to rain even upon the ranks
of the guard in reserve behind Napoleon.



Every one knows the rest--the irruption of a third army; the battle
broken to pieces; eighty-six months of fire thundering simultaneously;
Pirch the first coming up with Bulow; Zieten's cavalry led
by Blucher in personthe French driven back; Marcognet swept
from the plateau of Ohain; Durutte dislodged from Papelotte;
Donzelot and Quiot retreating; Lobau caught on the flank; a fresh
battle precipitating itself on our dismantled regiments at nightfall;
the whole English line resuming the offensive and thrust forward;
the gigantic breach made in the French army; the English grape-shot
and the Prussian grape-shot aiding each other; the extermination;
disaster in front; disaster on the flank; the Guard entering the line
in the midst of this terrible crumbling of all things.

Conscious that they were about to diethey shoutedVive l'Empereur!
History records nothing more touching than that agony bursting
forth in acclamations.

The sky had been overcast all day long. All of a suddenat that
very moment--it was eight o'clock in the evening--the clouds on
the horizon partedand allowed the grand and sinister glow of the
setting sun to pass throughathwart the elms on the Nivelles road.
They had seen it rise at Austerlitz.

Each battalion of the Guard was commanded by a general for this
final catastrophe. FriantMichelRoguetHarletMallet
Poret de Morvanwere there. When the tall caps of the grenadiers
of the Guardwith their large plaques bearing the eagle appeared
symmetricalin linetranquilin the midst of that combat
the enemy felt a respect for France; they thought they beheld twenty
victories entering the field of battlewith wings outspread
and those who were the conquerorsbelieving themselves to be vanquished
retreated; but Wellington shoutedUp, Guards, and aim straight!
The red regiment of English guardslying flat behind the hedges
sprang upa cloud of grape-shot riddled the tricolored flag
and whistled round our eagles; all hurled themselves forwards
and the final carnage began. In the darknessthe Imperial Guard
felt the army losing ground around itand in the vast shock of
the rout it heard the desperate flight which had taken the place
of the "Vive l'Empereur!" andwith flight behind itit continued
to advancemore crushedlosing more men at every step that it took.
There were none who hesitatedno timid men in its ranks.
The soldier in that troop was as much of a hero as the general.
Not a man was missing in that suicide.

Neybewilderedgreat with all the grandeur of accepted death
offered himself to all blows in that tempest. He had his fifth horse
killed under him there. Perspiringhis eyes aflamefoaming at
the mouthwith uniform unbuttonedone of his epaulets half cut
off by a sword-stroke from a horseguardhis plaque with the great
eagle dented by a bullet; bleedingbemiredmagnificenta broken
sword in his handhe saidCome and see how a Marshal of France
dies on the field of battle!But in vain; he did not die.
He was haggard and angry. At Drouet d'Erlon he hurled this question
Are you not going to get yourself killed?In the midst of all
that artillery engaged in crushing a handful of menhe shouted:
So there is nothing for me! Oh! I should like to have all these
English bullets enter my bowels!Unhappy manthou wert reserved
for French bullets!



The rout behind the Guard was melancholy.

The army yielded suddenly on all sides at once--HougomontLa
Haie-SaintePapelottePlancenoit. The cry "Treachery!" was
followed by a cry of "Save yourselves who can!" An army which is
disbanding is like a thaw. All yieldssplitscracksfloats
rollsfallsjostleshastensis precipitated. The disintegration
is unprecedented. Ney borrows a horseleaps upon itand without
hatcravator swordplaces himself across the Brussels road
stopping both English and French. He strives to detain the army
he recalls it to its dutyhe insults ithe clings to the rout.
He is overwhelmed. The soldiers fly from himshoutingLong live
Marshal Ney!Two of Durutte's regiments go and come in affright
as though tossed back and forth between the swords of the Uhlans
and the fusillade of the brigades of KemptBestPackand Rylandt;
the worst of hand-to-hand conflicts is the defeat; friends kill each
other in order to escape; squadrons and battalions break and disperse
against each otherlike the tremendous foam of battle. Lobau at
one extremityand Reille at the otherare drawn into the tide.
In vain does Napoleon erect walls from what is left to him of his Guard;
in vain does he expend in a last effort his last serviceable squadrons.
Quiot retreats before VivianKellermann before Vandeleur

Lobau before BulowMorand before PirchDomon and Subervic before
Prince William of Prussia; Guyotwho led the Emperor's squadrons
to the chargefalls beneath the feet of the English dragoons.
Napoleon gallops past the line of fugitivesharanguesurgesthreatens
entreats them. All the mouths which in the morning had shouted
Long live the Emperor!remain gaping; they hardly recognize him.
The Prussian cavalrynewly arriveddashes forwardsflieshews
slasheskillsexterminates. Horses lash outthe cannons flee;
the soldiers of the artillery-train unharness the caissons and use
the horses to make their escape; transports overturnedwith all
four wheels in the airclog the road and occasion massacres.
Men are crushedtrampled downothers walk over the dead and
the living. Arms are lost. A dizzy multitude fills the roads
the pathsthe bridgesthe plainsthe hillsthe valleys
the woodsencumbered by this invasion of forty thousand men.
Shouts despairknapsacks and guns flung among the ryepassages forced
at the point of the swordno more comradesno more officers
no more generalsan inexpressible terror. Zieten putting France to the
sword at its leisure. Lions converted into goats. Such was the flight.

At Genappean effort was made to wheel aboutto present a
battle frontto draw up in line. Lobau rallied three hundred men.
The entrance to the village was barricadedbut at the first volley
of Prussian canisterall took to flight againand Lobau was taken.
That volley of grape-shot can be seen to-day imprinted on the
ancient gable of a brick building on the right of the road at
a few minutes' distance before you enter Genappe. The Prussians
threw themselves into Genappefuriousno doubtthat they were
not more entirely the conquerors. The pursuit was stupendous.
Blucher ordered extermination. Roguet had set the lugubrious example
of threatening with death any French grenadier who should bring him
a Prussian prisoner. Blucher outdid Roguet. Duhesmethe general
of the Young Guardhemmed in at the doorway of an inn at Genappe
surrendered his sword to a huzzar of deathwho took the sword and
slew the prisoner. The victory was completed by the assassination
of the vanquished. Let us inflict punishmentsince we are history:
old Blucher disgraced himself. This ferocity put the finishing
touch to the disaster. The desperate route traversed Genappe
traversed Quatre-Brastraversed Gosseliestraversed Frasnes
traversed Charleroitraversed Thuinand only halted at the frontier.
Alas! and whothenwas fleeing in that manner? The Grand Army.

This vertigothis terrorthis downfall into ruin of the loftiest
bravery which ever astounded history--is that causeless?
No. The shadow of an enormous right is projected athwart Waterloo.
It is the day of destiny. The force which is mightier than man
produced that day. Hence the terrified wrinkle of those brows;
hence all those great souls surrendering their swords. Those who had
conquered Europe have fallen prone on the earthwith nothing left
to say nor to dofeeling the present shadow of a terrible presence.
Hoc erat in fatis. That day the perspective of the human race
underwent a change. Waterloo is the hinge of the nineteenth century.
The disappearance of the great man was necessary to the advent of the
great century. Some onea person to whom one replies nottook the
responsibility on himself. The panic of heroes can be explained.
In the battle of Waterloo there is something more than a cloud
there is something of the meteor. God has passed by.

At nightfallin a meadow near GenappeBernard and Bertrand
seized by the skirt of his coat and detained a manhaggard
pensivesinistergloomywhodragged to that point by the
current of the routhad just dismountedhad passed the bridle
of his horse over his armand with wild eye was returning
alone to Waterloo. It was Napoleonthe immense somnambulist

of this dream which had crumbledessaying once more to advance.



Several squares of the Guardmotionless amid this stream of
the defeatas rocks in running waterheld their own until night.
Night camedeath also; they awaited that double shadow
andinvincibleallowed themselves to be enveloped therein.
Each regimentisolated from the restand having no bond with
the armynow shattered in every partdied alone. They had taken
up position for this final actionsome on the heights of Rossomme
others on the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean. Thereabandonedvanquished
terriblethose gloomy squares endured their death-throes
in formidable fashion. UlmWagramJenaFriedlanddied with them.

At twilighttowards nine o'clock in the eveningone of them was left
at the foot of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean. In that fatal valley
at the foot of that declivity which the cuirassiers had ascended
now inundated by the masses of the Englishunder the converging
fires of the victorious hostile cavalryunder a frightful density
of projectilesthis square fought on. It was commanded by an obscure
officer named Cambronne. At each dischargethe square diminished
and replied. It replied to the grape-shot with a fusillade
continually contracting its four walls. The fugitives pausing
breathless for a moment in the distancelistened in the darkness
to that gloomy and ever-decreasing thunder.

When this legion had been reduced to a handfulwhen nothing was left
of their flag but a ragwhen their gunsthe bullets all gone
were no longer anything but clubswhen the heap of corpses was larger
than the group of survivorsthere reigned among the conquerors
around those men dying so sublimelya sort of sacred terror
and the English artillerytaking breathbecame silent. This furnished
a sort of respite. These combatants had around them something in
the nature of a swarm of spectressilhouettes of men on horseback
the black profiles of cannonthe white sky viewed through wheels
and gun-carriagesthe colossal death's-headwhich the heroes
saw constantly through the smokein the depths of the battle
advanced upon them and gazed at them. Through the shades of twilight
they could hear the pieces being loaded; the matches all lighted
like the eyes of tigers at nightformed a circle round their heads;
all the lintstocks of the English batteries approached the cannons
and thenwith emotionholding the supreme moment suspended above
these menan English generalColville according to someMaitland
according to othersshouted to themSurrender, brave Frenchmen!
Cambronne replied-----.

{EDITOR'S COMMENTARY: Another edition of this book has the word
Merde!in lieu of the ----- above.}



If any French reader object to having his susceptibilities offended
one would have to refrain from repeating in his presence what is

perhaps the finest reply that a Frenchman ever made. This would
enjoin us from consigning something sublime to History.

At our own risk and perillet us violate this injunction.

Nowthenamong those giants there was one Titan--Cambronne.

To make that reply and then perishwhat could be grander?
For being willing to die is the same as to die; and it was not this
man's fault if he survived after he was shot.

The winner of the battle of Waterloo was not Napoleonwho was put
to flight; nor Wellingtongiving way at four o'clockin despair
at five; nor Blucherwho took no part in the engagement.
The winner of Waterloo was Cambronne.

To thunder forth such a reply at the lightning-flash that kills
you is to conquer!

Thus to answer the Catastrophethus to speak to Fateto give
this pedestal to the future lionto hurl such a challenge to the
midnight rainstormto the treacherous wall of Hougomontto the
sunken road of Ohainto Grouchy's delayto Blucher's arrival
to be Irony itself in the tombto act so as to stand upright
though fallento drown in two syllables the European coalition
to offer kings privies which the Caesars once knewto make the lowest
of words the most lofty by entwining with it the glory of France
insolently to end Waterloo with Mardigrasto finish Leonidas
with Rabellaisto set the crown on this victory by a word impossible
to speakto lose the field and preserve historyto have the laugh
on your side after such a carnage--this is immense!

It was an insult such as a thunder-cloud might hurl! It reaches
the grandeur of AEschylus!

Cambronne's reply produces the effect of a violent break.
'Tis like the breaking of a heart under a weight of scorn.
'Tis the overflow of agony bursting forth. Who conquered?
Wellington? No! Had it not been for Blucherhe was lost.
Was it Blucher? No! If Wellington had not begunBlucher could
not have finished. This Cambronnethis man spending his last hour
this unknown soldierthis infinitesimal of warrealizes that here is
a falsehooda falsehood in a catastropheand so doubly agonizing;
and at the moment when his rage is bursting forth because of it
he is offered this mockery--life! How could he restrain himself?
Yonder are all the kings of Europethe general's flushed with victory
the Jupiter's darting thunderbolts; they have a hundred thousand
victorious soldiersand back of the hundred thousand a million;
their cannon stand with yawning mouthsthe match is lighted; they grind
down under their heels the Imperial guardsand the grand army;
they have just crushed Napoleonand only Cambronne remains--
only this earthworm is left to protest. He will protest. Then he seeks
for the appropriate word as one seeks for a sword. His mouth froths
and the froth is the word. In face of this mean and mighty victory
in face of this victory which counts none victoriousthis desperate
soldier stands erect. He grants its overwhelming immensitybut he
establishes its triviality; and he does more than spit upon it.
Borne down by numbersby superior forceby brute matter
he finds in his soul an expression: "Excrement!" We repeat it--
to use that wordto do thusto invent such an expressionis to be
the conqueror!

The spirit of mighty days at that portentous moment made its descent
on that unknown man. Cambronne invents the word for Waterloo as

Rouget invents the "Marseillaise under the visitation of a breath
from on high. An emanation from the divine whirlwind leaps forth
and comes sweeping over these men, and they shake, and one of them
sings the song supreme, and the other utters the frightful cry.

This challenge of titanic scorn Cambronne hurls not only at Europe
in the name of the Empire,--that would be a trifle: he hurls it at
the past in the name of the Revolution. It is heard, and Cambronne
is recognized as possessed by the ancient spirit of the Titans.
Danton seems to be speaking! Kleber seems to be bellowing!

At that word from Cambronne, the English voice responded, Fire!"
The batteries flamedthe hill trembledfrom all those brazen
mouths belched a last terrible gush of grape-shot; a vast volume
of smokevaguely white in the light of the rising moonrolled out
and when the smoke dispersedthere was no longer anything there.
That formidable remnant had been annihilated; the Guard was dead.
The four walls of the living redoubt lay proneand hardly was
there discerniblehere and thereeven a quiver in the bodies;
it was thus that the French legionsgreater than the Roman legions
expired on Mont-Saint-Jeanon the soil watered with rain and blood
amid the gloomy grainon the spot where nowadays Josephwho drives
the post-wagon from Nivellespasses whistlingand cheerfully
whipping up his horse at four o'clock in the morning.



The battle of Waterloo is an enigma. It is as obscure to those who
won it as to those who lost it. For Napoleon it was a panic;[10]
Blucher sees nothing in it but fire; Wellington understands
nothing in regard to it. Look at the reports. The bulletins
are confusedthe commentaries involved. Some stammerothers lisp.
Jomini divides the battle of Waterloo into four moments; Muffling cuts
it up into three changes; Charras alonethough we hold another
judgment than his on some pointsseized with his haughty glance
the characteristic outlines of that catastrophe of human genius
in conflict with divine chance. All the other historians suffer from
being somewhat dazzledand in this dazzled state they fumble about.
It was a day of lightning brilliancy; in facta crumbling of
the military monarchy whichto the vast stupefaction of kings
drew all the kingdoms after it--the fall of forcethe defeat of war.

[10] "A battle terminateda day finishedfalse measures repaired
greater successes assured for the morrow--all was lost by a moment
of panicterror."--NapoleonDictees de Sainte Helene.
In this eventstamped with superhuman necessitythe part played
by men amounts to nothing.

If we take Waterloo from Wellington and Blucherdo we thereby deprive
England and Germany of anything? No. Neither that illustrious
England nor that august Germany enter into the problem of Waterloo.
Thank Heavennations are greatindependently of the lugubrious
feats of the sword. Neither Englandnor Germanynor France
is contained in a scabbard. At this epoch when Waterloo is
only a clashing of swordsabove BlucherGermany has Schiller;
above WellingtonEngland has Byron. A vast dawn of ideas is the

peculiarity of our centuryand in that aurora England and Germany
have a magnificent radiance. They are majestic because they think.
The elevation of level which they contribute to civilization is intrinsic
with them; it proceeds from themselves and not from an accident.
The aggrandizement which they have brought to the nineteenth
century has not Waterloo as its source. It is only barbarous
peoples who undergo rapid growth after a victory. That is the
temporary vanity of torrents swelled by a storm. Civilized people
especially in our dayare neither elevated nor abased by the good
or bad fortune of a captain. Their specific gravity in the human
species results from something more than a combat. Their honor
thank God! their dignitytheir intelligencetheir geniusare not
numbers which those gamblersheroes and conquerorscan put in the
lottery of battles. Often a battle is lost and progress is conquered.
There is less glory and more liberty. The drum holds its peace;
reason takes the word. It is a game in which he who loses wins.
Let usthereforespeak of Waterloo coldly from both sides.
Let us render to chance that which is due to chanceand to God
that which is due to God. What is Waterloo? A victory? No. The
winning number in the lottery.

The quine[11] won by Europepaid by France.

[11] Five winning numbers in a lottery.
It was not worth while to place a lion there.

Waterloomoreoveris the strangest encounter in history.
Napoleon and Wellington. They are not enemies; they are opposites.
Never did Godwho is fond of antithesesmake a more striking
contrasta more extraordinary comparison. On one sideprecision
foresightgeometryprudencean assured retreatreserves spared
with an obstinate coolnessan imperturbable methodstrategy
which takes advantage of the groundtacticswhich preserve the
equilibrium of battalionscarnageexecuted according to rule
war regulatedwatch in handnothing voluntarily left to chance
the ancient classic courageabsolute regularity; on the other
intuitiondivinationmilitary odditysuperhuman instinct
a flaming glancean indescribable something which gazes like
an eagleand which strikes like the lightninga prodigious art
in disdainful impetuosityall the mysteries of a profound soul
associated with destiny; the streamthe plainthe forest
the hillsummonedand in a mannerforced to obeythe despot going
even so far as to tyrannize over the field of battle; faith in a
star mingled with strategic scienceelevating but perturbing it.
Wellington was the Bareme of war; Napoleon was its Michael Angelo;
and on this occasiongenius was vanquished by calculation.
On both sides some one was awaited. It was the exact calculator
who succeeded. Napoleon was waiting for Grouchy; he did not come.
Wellington expected Blucher; he came.

Wellington is classic war taking its revenge. Bonaparteat his
dawninghad encountered him in Italyand beaten him superbly.
The old owl had fled before the young vulture. The old tactics
had been not only struck as by lightningbut disgraced. Who was
that Corsican of six and twenty? What signified that splendid
ignoramuswhowith everything against himnothing in his favor
without provisionswithout ammunitionwithout cannonwithout shoes
almost without an armywith a mere handful of men against masses
hurled himself on Europe combinedand absurdly won victories
in the impossible? Whence had issued that fulminating convict
who almost without taking breathand with the same set of combatants

in handpulverizedone after the otherthe five armies of the emperor
of Germanyupsetting Beaulieu on AlvinziWurmser on Beaulieu
Melas on WurmserMack on Melas? Who was this novice in war
with the effrontery of a luminary? The academical military school
excommunicated himand as it lost its footing; hencethe implacable
rancor of the old Caesarism against the new; of the regular sword
against the flaming sword; and of the exchequer against genius.
On the 18th of June1815that rancor had the last word.
and beneath LodiMontebelloMontenotteMantuaArcola
it wrote: Waterloo. A triumph of the mediocres which is sweet
to the majority. Destiny consented to this irony. In his decline
Napoleon found Wurmserthe youngeragain in front of him.

In factto get Wurmserit sufficed to blanch the hair of Wellington.

Waterloo is a battle of the first orderwon by a captain of the second.

That which must be admired in the battle of Waterloois England;
the English firmnessthe English resolutionthe English blood;
the superb thing about England thereno offence to herwas herself.
It was not her captain; it was her army.

Wellingtonoddly ungratefuldeclares in a letter to Lord Bathurst
that his armythe army which fought on the 18th of June1815
was a "detestable army." What does that sombre intermingling
of bones buried beneath the furrows of Waterloo think of that?

England has been too modest in the matter of Wellington. To make
Wellington so great is to belittle England. Wellington is nothing
but a hero like many another. Those Scotch Graysthose Horse Guards
those regiments of Maitland and of Mitchellthat infantry of Pack
and Kemptthat cavalry of Ponsonby and Somersetthose Highlanders
playing the pibroch under the shower of grape-shotthose battalions
of Rylandtthose utterly raw recruitswho hardly knew how to
handle a musket holding their own against Essling's and Rivoli's
old troops--that is what was grand. Wellington was tenacious;
in that lay his meritand we are not seeking to lessen it:
but the least of his foot-soldiers and of his cavalry would have been
as solid as he. The iron soldier is worth as much as the Iron Duke.
As for usall our glorification goes to the English soldier
to the English armyto the English people. If trophy there be
it is to England that the trophy is due. The column of Waterloo would
be more justifinstead of the figure of a manit bore on high
the statue of a people.

But this great England will be angry at what we are saying here.
She still cherishesafter her own 1688 and our 1789
the feudal illusion. She believes in heredity and hierarchy.
This peoplesurpassed by none in power and gloryregards itself
as a nationand not as a people. And as a peopleit willingly
subordinates itself and takes a lord for its head. As a workman
it allows itself to be disdained; as a soldierit allows itself
to be flogged.

It will be rememberedthat at the battle of Inkermann a sergeant
who hadit appearssaved the armycould not be mentioned
by Lord Paglanas the English military hierarchy does not permit
any hero below the grade of an officer to be mentioned in the reports.

That which we admire above allin an encounter of the nature of Waterloo
is the marvellous cleverness of chance. A nocturnal rainthe wall
of Hougomontthe hollow road of OhainGrouchy deaf to the cannon
Napoleon's guide deceiving himBulow's guide enlightening him--
the whole of this cataclysm is wonderfully conducted.

On the wholelet us say it plainlyit was more of a massacre
than of a battle at Waterloo.

Of all pitched battlesWaterloo is the one which has the smallest
front for such a number of combatants. Napoleon three-quarters
of a league; Wellingtonhalf a league; seventy-two thousand
combatants on each side. From this denseness the carnage arose.

The following calculation has been madeand the following
proportion established: Loss of men: at AusterlitzFrench
fourteen per cent; Russiansthirty per cent; Austrians
forty-four per cent. At WagramFrenchthirteen per cent;
Austriansfourteen. At the MoskowaFrenchthirty-seven per cent;
Russiansforty-four. At BautzenFrenchthirteen per cent;
Russians and Prussiansfourteen. At WaterlooFrenchfifty-six
per cent; the Alliesthirty-one. Total for Waterlooforty-one per
cent; one hundred and forty-four thousand combatants; sixty thousand dead.

To-day the field of Waterloo has the calm which belongs to the earth
the impassive support of manand it resembles all plains.

At nightmoreovera sort of visionary mist arises from it;
and if a traveller strolls thereif he listensif he watchesif he
dreams like Virgil in the fatal plains of Philippithe hallucination
of the catastrophe takes possession of him. The frightful 18th
of June lives again; the false monumental hillock disappears
the lion vanishes in airthe battle-field resumes its reality
lines of infantry undulate over the plainfurious gallops traverse
the horizon; the frightened dreamer beholds the flash of sabres
the gleam of bayonetsthe flare of bombsthe tremendous interchange
of thunders; he hearsas it werethe death rattle in the depths
of a tombthe vague clamor of the battle phantom; those shadows
are grenadiersthose lights are cuirassiers; that skeleton Napoleon
that other skeleton is Wellington; all this no longer exists
and yet it clashes together and combats still; and the ravines
are empurpledand the trees quiverand there is fury even in the
clouds and in the shadows; all those terrible heightsHougomont
Mont-Saint-JeanFrischemontPapelottePlancenoitappear confusedly
crowned with whirlwinds of spectres engaged in exterminating each other.



There exists a very respectable liberal school which
does not hate Waterloo. We do not belong to it.
To usWaterloo is but the stupefied date of liberty.
That such an eagle should emerge from such an egg is certainly unexpected.

If one places one's self at the culminating point of view of the question
Waterloo is intentionally a counter-revolutionary victory. It is Europe
against France; it is PetersburgBerlinand Vienna against Paris;
it is the statu quo against the initiative; it is the 14th of July
1789attacked through the 20th of March1815; it is the monarchies
clearing the decks in opposition to the indomitable French rioting.
The final extinction of that vast people which had been in eruption
for twenty-six years--such was the dream. The solidarity of
the Brunswicksthe Nassausthe Romanoffsthe Hohenzollerns
the Hapsburgs with the Bourbons. Waterloo bears divine right on
its crupper. It is truethat the Empire having been despotic

the kingdom by the natural reaction of thingswas forced to be liberal
and that a constitutional order was the unwilling result of Waterloo
to the great regret of the conquerors. It is because revolution cannot
be really conqueredand that being providential and absolutely fatal
it is always cropping up afresh: before Waterlooin Bonaparte
overthrowing the old thrones; after Waterlooin Louis XVIII.
granting and conforming to the charter. Bonaparte places a postilion
on the throne of Naplesand a sergeant on the throne of Sweden
employing inequality to demonstrate equality; Louis XVIII.
at Saint-Ouen countersigns the declaration of the rights of man.
If you wish to gain an idea of what revolution iscall it Progress;
and if you wish to acquire an idea of the nature of progress
call it To-morrow. To-morrow fulfils its work irresistiblyand it is
already fulfilling it to-day. It always reaches its goal strangely.
It employs Wellington to make of Foywho was only a soldier
an orator. Foy falls at Hougomont and rises again in the tribune.
Thus does progress proceed. There is no such thing as a bad tool
for that workman. It does not become disconcertedbut adjusts
to its divine work the man who has bestridden the Alpsand the
good old tottering invalid of Father Elysee. It makes use of the
gouty man as well as of the conqueror; of the conqueror without
of the gouty man within. Waterlooby cutting short the demolition
of European thrones by the swordhad no other effect than to cause
the revolutionary work to be continued in another direction.
The slashers have finished; it was the turn of the thinkers.
The century that Waterloo was intended to arrest has pursued its march.
That sinister victory was vanquished by liberty.

In shortand incontestablythat which triumphed at Waterloo;
that which smiled in Wellington's rear; that which brought him all
the marshals' staffs of Europeincludingit is saidthe staff
of a marshal of France; that which joyously trundled the barrows full
of bones to erect the knoll of the lion; that which triumphantly
inscribed on that pedestal the date "June 181815"; that which
encouraged Blucheras he put the flying army to the sword; that which
from the heights of the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jeanhovered over
France as over its preywas the counter-revolution. It was the
counter-revolution which murmured that infamous word "dismemberment."
On arriving in Parisit beheld the crater close at hand; it felt
those ashes which scorched its feetand it changed its mind;
it returned to the stammer of a charter.

Let us behold in Waterloo only that which is in Waterloo.
Of intentional liberty there is none. The counter-revolution was
involuntarily liberalin the same manner asby a corresponding
phenomenonNapoleon was involuntarily revolutionary. On the 18th
of June1815the mounted Robespierre was hurled from his saddle.



End of the dictatorship. A whole European system crumbled away.

The Empire sank into a gloom which resembled that of the Roman
world as it expired. Again we behold the abyssas in the days
of the barbarians; only the barbarism of 1815which must be called
by its pet name of the counter-revolutionwas not long breathed
soon fell to pantingand halted short. The Empire was bewept-let
us acknowledge the fact--and bewept by heroic eyes.
If glory lies in the sword converted into a sceptrethe Empire

had been glory in person. It had diffused over the earth all the
light which tyranny can give a sombre light. We will say more;
an obscure light. Compared to the true daylightit is night.
This disappearance of night produces the effect of an eclipse.

Louis XVIII. re-entered Paris. The circling dances of the 8th
of July effaced the enthusiasms of the 20th of March. The Corsican
became the antithesis of the Bearnese. The flag on the dome of the
Tuileries was white. The exile reigned. Hartwell's pine table took
its place in front of the fleur-de-lys-strewn throne of Louis XIV.
Bouvines and Fontenoy were mentioned as though they had taken
place on the preceding dayAusterlitz having become antiquated.
The altar and the throne fraternized majestically. One of the
most undisputed forms of the health of society in the nineteenth
century was established over Franceand over the continent.
Europe adopted the white cockade. Trestaillon was celebrated.
The device non pluribus impar re-appeared on the stone rays
representing a sun upon the front of the barracks on the Quai d'Orsay.
Where there had been an Imperial Guardthere was now a red house.
The Arc du Carrouselall laden with badly borne victories
thrown out of its element among these noveltiesa little ashamed
it may beof Marengo and Arcolaextricated itself from its
predicament with the statue of the Duc d'Angouleme. The cemetery
of the Madeleinea terrible pauper's grave in 1793was covered
with jasper and marblesince the bones of Louis XVI. and Marie
Antoinette lay in that dust.

In the moat of Vincennes a sepulchral shaft sprang from the earth
recalling the fact that the Duc d'Enghien had perished in the
very month when Napoleon was crowned. Pope Pius VII.who had
performed the coronation very near this deathtranquilly bestowed
his blessing on the fall as he had bestowed it on the elevation.
At Schoenbrunn there was a little shadowaged fourwhom it was
seditious to call the King of Rome. And these things took place
and the kings resumed their thronesand the master of Europe
was put in a cageand the old regime became the new regime
and all the shadows and all the light of the earth changed place
becauseon the afternoon of a certain summer's daya shepherd
said to a Prussian in the forestGo this way, and not that!

This 1815 was a sort of lugubrious April. Ancient unhealthy
and poisonous realities were covered with new appearances.
A lie wedded 1789; the right divine was masked under a charter;
fictions became constitutional; prejudicessuperstitions and
mental reservationswith Article 14 in the heartwere varnished
over with liberalism. It was the serpent's change of skin.

Man had been rendered both greater and smaller by Napoleon.
Under this reign of splendid matterthe ideal had received the
strange name of ideology! It is a grave imprudence in a great man
to turn the future into derision. The populacehoweverthat food
for cannon which is so fond of the cannoneersought him with
its glance. Where is he? What is he doing? "Napoleon is dead
said a passer-by to a veteran of Marengo and Waterloo. He dead!"
cried the soldier; "you don't know him." Imagination distrusted
this maneven when overthrown. The depths of Europe were full
of darkness after Waterloo. Something enormous remained long empty
through Napoleon's disappearance.

The kings placed themselves in this void. Ancient Europe
profited by it to undertake reforms. There was a Holy Alliance;
Belle-AllianceBeautiful Alliancethe fatal field of Waterloo
had said in advance.

In presence and in face of that antique Europe reconstructed
the features of a new France were sketched out. The future
which the Emperor had ralliedmade its entry. On its brow it bore
the starLiberty. The glowing eyes of all young generations were
turned on it. Singular fact! people wereat one and the same time
in love with the futureLibertyand the pastNapoleon. Defeat had
rendered the vanquished greater. Bonaparte fallen seemed more
lofty than Napoleon erect. Those who had triumphed were alarmed.
England had him guarded by Hudson Loweand France had him watched
by Montchenu. His folded arms became a source of uneasiness
to thrones. Alexander called him "my sleeplessness." This terror
was the result of the quantity of revolution which was contained
in him. That is what explains and excuses Bonapartist liberalism.
This phantom caused the old world to tremble. The kings reigned
but ill at their easewith the rock of Saint Helena on the horizon.

While Napoleon was passing through the death struggle at Longwood
the sixty thousand men who had fallen on the field of Waterloo
were quietly rottingand something of their peace was shed abroad
over the world. The Congress of Vienna made the treaties in 1815
and Europe called this the Restoration.

This is what Waterloo was.

But what matters it to the Infinite? all that tempestall that cloud
that warthen that peace? All that darkness did not trouble
for a moment the light of that immense Eye before which a grub
skipping from one blade of grass to another equals the eagle
soaring from belfry to belfry on the towers of Notre Dame.



Let us return--it is a necessity in this book--to that fatal

On the 18th of June the moon was full. Its light favored
Blucher's ferocious pursuitbetrayed the traces of the fugitives
delivered up that disastrous mass to the eager Prussian cavalry
and aided the massacre. Such tragic favors of the night do occur
sometimes during catastrophes.

After the last cannon-shot had been firedthe plain of Mont-Saint-Jean
remained deserted.

The English occupied the encampment of the French; it is the
usual sign of victory to sleep in the bed of the vanquished.
They established their bivouac beyond Rossomme. The Prussians
let loose on the retreating routpushed forward. Wellington went
to the village of Waterloo to draw up his report to Lord Bathurst.

If ever the sic vos non vobis was applicableit certainly is
to that village of Waterloo. Waterloo took no partand lay half
a league from the scene of action. Mont-Saint-Jean was cannonaded
Hougomont was burnedLa Haie-Sainte was taken by assault
Papelotte was burnedPlancenoit was burnedLa Belle-Alliance beheld
the embrace of the two conquerors; these names are hardly known
and Waterloowhich worked not in the battlebears off all the honor.

We are not of the number of those who flatter war; when the occasion

presents itselfwe tell the truth about it. War has frightful
beauties which we have not concealed; it has alsowe acknowledge
some hideous features. One of the most surprising is the prompt
stripping of the bodies of the dead after the victory. The dawn
which follows a battle always rises on naked corpses.

Who does this? Who thus soils the triumph? What hideous
furtive hand is that which is slipped into the pocket of victory?
What pickpockets are they who ply their trade in the rear of glory?
Some philosophers--Voltaire among the number--affirm that it is
precisely those persons have made the glory. It is the same men
they say; there is no relief corps; those who are erect pillage
those who are prone on the earth. The hero of the day is the
vampire of the night. One has assuredly the rightafter all
to strip a corpse a bit when one is the author of that corpse.
For our own partwe do not think so; it seems to us impossible
that the same hand should pluck laurels and purloin the shoes from a
dead man.

One thing is certainwhich isthat generally after conquerors
follow thieves. But let us leave the soldierespecially the
contemporary soldierout of the question.

Every army has a rear-guardand it is that which must be blamed.
Bat-like creatureshalf brigands and lackeys; all the sorts
of vespertillos that that twilight called war engenders; wearers
of uniformswho take no part in the fighting; pretended invalids;
formidable limpers; interloping sutlerstrotting along in little carts
sometimes accompanied by their wivesand stealing things which they
sell again; beggars offering themselves as guides to officers;
soldiers' servants; marauders; armies on the march in days gone by-we
are not speaking of the present--dragged all this behind them
so that in the special language they are called "stragglers." No army
no nationwas responsible for those beings; they spoke Italian and
followed the Germansthen spoke French and followed the English.
It was by one of these wretchesa Spanish straggler who spoke French
that the Marquis of Fervacquesdeceived by his Picard jargon
and taking him for one of our own menwas traitorously slain
and robbed on the battle-field itselfin the course of the night
which followed the victory of Cerisoles. The rascal sprang
from this marauding. The detestable maximLive on the enemy!
produced this leprosywhich a strict discipline alone could heal.
There are reputations which are deceptive; one does not always know why
certain generalsgreat in other directionshave been so popular.
Turenne was adored by his soldiers because he tolerated pillage;
evil permitted constitutes part of goodness. Turenne was so good that
he allowed the Palatinate to be delivered over to fire and blood.
The marauders in the train of an army were more or less in number
according as the chief was more or less severe. Hoche and Marceau
had no stragglers; Wellington had fewand we do him the justice to
mention it.

Neverthelesson the night from the 18th to the 19th of June
the dead were robbed. Wellington was rigid; he gave orders that any
one caught in the act should be shot; but rapine is tenacious.
The marauders stole in one corner of the battlefield while others
were being shot in another.

The moon was sinister over this plain.

Towards midnighta man was prowling aboutor ratherclimbing in
the direction of the hollow road of Ohain. To all appearance he
was one of those whom we have just described--neither English
nor Frenchneither peasant nor soldierless a man than a ghoul

attracted by the scent of the dead bodies having theft for
his victoryand come to rifle Waterloo. He was clad in a blouse
that was something like a great coat; he was uneasy and audacious;
he walked forwards and gazed behind him. Who was this man?
The night probably knew more of him than the day. He had no sack
but evidently he had large pockets under his coat. From time to
time he haltedscrutinized the plain around him as though to see
whether he were observedbent over abruptlydisturbed something
silent and motionless on the groundthen rose and fled.
His sliding motionhis attitudeshis mysterious and rapid gestures
caused him to resemble those twilight larvae which haunt ruins
and which ancient Norman legends call the Alleurs.

Certain nocturnal wading birds produce these silhouettes among
the marshes.

A glance capable of piercing all that mist deeply would have
perceived at some distance a sort of little sutler's wagon
with a fluted wicker hoodharnessed to a famished nag which was
cropping the grass across its bit as it haltedhiddenas it were
behind the hovel which adjoins the highway to Nivelles
at the angle of the road from Mont-Saint-Jean to Braine l'Alleud;
and in the wagona sort of woman seated on coffers and packages.
Perhaps there was some connection between that wagon and that prowler.

The darkness was serene. Not a cloud in the zenith. What matters it
if the earth be red! the moon remains white; these are the indifferences
of the sky. In the fieldsbranches of trees broken by grape-shot
but not fallenupheld by their barkswayed gently in the breeze
of night. A breathalmost a respirationmoved the shrubbery.
Quivers which resembled the departure of souls ran through the grass.

In the distance the coming and going of patrols and the general
rounds of the English camp were audible.

Hougomont and La Haie-Sainte continued to burnformingone in
the westthe other in the easttwo great flames which were joined
by the cordon of bivouac fires of the Englishlike a necklace
of rubies with two carbuncles at the extremitiesas they extended
in an immense semicircle over the hills along the horizon.

We have described the catastrophe of the road of Ohain. The heart
is terrified at the thought of what that death must have been
to so many brave men.

If there is anything terribleif there exists a reality which
surpasses dreamsit is this: to liveto see the sun; to be in full
possession of virile force; to possess health and joy; to laugh valiantly;
to rush towards a glory which one sees dazzling in front of one;
to feel in one's breast lungs which breathea heart which beats
a will which reasons; to speakthinkhopelove; to have a mother
to have a wifeto have children; to have the light--and all at once
in the space of a shoutin less than a minuteto sink into an abyss;
to fallto rollto crushto be crushed; to see ears of wheat
flowersleavesbranches; not to be able to catch hold of anything;
to feel one's sword uselessmen beneath onehorses on top of one;
to struggle in vainsince one's bones have been broken by some
kick in the darkness; to feel a heel which makes one's eyes start
from their sockets; to bite horses' shoes in one's rage; to stifle
to yellto writhe; to be beneathand to say to one's self
But just a little while ago I was a living man!

Therewhere that lamentable disaster had uttered its death-rattle
all was silence now. The edges of the hollow road were encumbered

with horses and ridersinextricably heaped up. Terrible entanglement!
There was no longer any slopefor the corpses had levelled the road
with the plainand reached the brim like a well-filled bushel
of barley. A heap of dead bodies in the upper parta river of
blood in the lower part--such was that road on the evening of the
18th of June1815. The blood ran even to the Nivelles highway
and there overflowed in a large pool in front of the abatis
of trees which barred the wayat a spot which is still pointed out.

It will be remembered that it was at the opposite point
in the direction of the Genappe roadthat the destruction
of the cuirassiers had taken place. The thickness of the layer
of bodies was proportioned to the depth of the hollow road.
Towards the middleat the point where it became level
where Delort's division had passedthe layer of corpses was thinner.

The nocturnal prowler whom we have just shown to the reader
was going in that direction. He was searching that vast tomb.
He gazed about. He passed the dead in some sort of hideous review.
He walked with his feet in the blood.

All at once he paused.

A few paces in front of himin the hollow roadat the point
where the pile of dead came to an endan open handillumined by
the moonprojected from beneath that heap of men. That hand
had on its finger something sparklingwhich was a ring of gold.

The man bent overremained in a crouching attitude for a moment
and when he rose there was no longer a ring on the hand.

He did not precisely rise; he remained in a stooping and
frightened attitudewith his back turned to the heap of dead
scanning the horizon on his kneeswith the whole upper portion
of his body supported on his two forefingerswhich rested on
the earthand his head peering above the edge of the hollow road.
The jackal's four paws suit some actions.

Then coming to a decisionhe rose to his feet.

At that momenthe gave a terrible start. He felt some one clutch
him from behind.

He wheeled round; it was the open handwhich had closedand had
seized the skirt of his coat.

An honest man would have been terrified; this man burst into a laugh.

Come,said heit's only a dead body. I prefer a spook
to a gendarme.

But the hand weakened and released him. Effort is quickly exhausted
in the grave.

Well now,said the prowleris that dead fellow alive?
Let's see.

He bent down againfumbled among the heappushed aside everything
that was in his wayseized the handgrasped the armfreed the head
pulled out the bodyand a few moments later he was dragging
the lifelessor at least the unconsciousmanthrough the shadows
of hollow road. He was a cuirassieran officerand even an officer
of considerable rank; a large gold epaulette peeped from beneath
the cuirass; this officer no longer possessed a helmet. A furious

sword-cut had scarred his facewhere nothing was discernible but blood.

Howeverhe did not appear to have any broken limbsandby some
happy chanceif that word is permissible herethe dead had been vaulted
above him in such a manner as to preserve him from being crushed.
His eyes were still closed.

On his cuirass he wore the silver cross of the Legion of Honor.

The prowler tore off this crosswhich disappeared into one
of the gulfs which he had beneath his great coat.

Then he felt of the officer's fobdiscovered a watch there
and took possession of it. Next he searched his waistcoat
found a purse and pocketed it.

When he had arrived at this stage of succor which he was administering
to this dying manthe officer opened his eyes.

Thanks,he said feebly.

The abruptness of the movements of the man who was manipulating him
the freshness of the nightthe air which he could inhale freely
had roused him from his lethargy.

The prowler made no reply. He raised his head. A sound of footsteps
was audible in the plain; some patrol was probably approaching.

The officer murmuredfor the death agony was still in his voice:--

Who won the battle?

The English,answered the prowler.

The officer went on:--

Look in my pockets; you will find a watch and a purse. Take them.

It was already done.

The prowler executed the required feintand said:--

There is nothing there.

I have been robbed,said the officer; "I am sorry for that.
You should have had them."

The steps of the patrol became more and more distinct.

Some one is coming,said the prowlerwith the movement of a man
who is taking his departure.

The officer raised his arm feeblyand detained him.

You have saved my life. Who are you?

The prowler answered rapidlyand in a low voice:--

Like yourself, I belonged to the French army. I must leave you.
If they were to catch me, they would shoot me. I have saved your life.
Now get out of the scrape yourself.

What is your rank?


What is your name?


I shall not forget that name,said the officer; "and do you
remember mine. My name is Pontmercy."




Jean Valjean had been recaptured.

The reader will be grateful to us if we pass rapidly over
the sad details. We will confine ourselves to transcribing
two paragraphs published by the journals of that daya few
months after the surprising events which had taken place at M. sur M.

These articles are rather summary. It must be rememberedthat at
that epoch the Gazette des Tribunaux was not yet in existence.

We borrow the first from the Drapeau Blanc. It bears the date
of July 251823.

An arrondissement of the Pas de Calais has just been the
theatre of an event quite out of the ordinary course. A man
who was a stranger in the Departmentand who bore the name of

M. Madeleinehadthanks to the new methodsresuscitated some
years ago an ancient local industrythe manufacture of jet and of
black glass trinkets. He had made his fortune in the business
and that of the arrondissement as wellwe will admit. He had been
appointed mayorin recognition of his services. The police discovered
that M. Madeleine was no other than an ex-convict who had broken
his bancondemned in 1796 for theftand named Jean Valjean.
Jean Valjean has been recommitted to prison. It appears that previous
to his arrest he had succeeded in withdrawing from the hands of
M. Laffittea sum of over half a million which he had lodged there
and which he hadmoreoverand by perfectly legitimate means
acquired in his business. No one has been able to discover where Jean
Valjean has concealed this money since his return to prison at Toulon.
The second articlewhich enters a little more into detail
is an extract from the Journal de Parisof the same date.
A former convictwho had been liberatednamed Jean Valjean
has just appeared before the Court of Assizes of the Var
under circumstances calculated to attract attention. This wretch
had succeeded in escaping the vigilance of the policehe had changed
his nameand had succeeded in getting himself appointed mayor
of one of our small northern towns; in this town he had established
a considerable commerce. He has at last been unmasked and arrested
thanks to the indefatigable zeal of the public prosecutor.
He had for his concubine a woman of the townwho died of a shock
at the moment of his arrest. This scoundrelwho is endowed with

Herculean strengthfound means to escape; but three or four days
after his flight the police laid their hands on him once more
in Paris itselfat the very moment when he was entering one of
those little vehicles which run between the capital and the village
of Montfermeil (Seine-et-Oise). He is said to have profited
by this interval of three or four days of libertyto withdraw a
considerable sum deposited by him with one of our leading bankers.
This sum has been estimated at six or seven hundred thousand francs.
If the indictment is to be trustedhe has hidden it in some place
known to himself aloneand it has not been possible to lay hands
on it. However that may bethe said Jean Valjean has just been
brought before the Assizes of the Department of the Var as accused
of highway robbery accompanied with violenceabout eight years ago
on the person of one of those honest children whoas the patriarch
of Ferney has saidin immortal verse

. . . Arrive from Savoy every year,

And who, with gentle hands, do clear

Those long canals choked up with soot.

This bandit refused to defend himself. It was proved by the
skilful and eloquent representative of the public prosecutor
that the theft was committed in complicity with othersand that
Jean Valjean was a member of a band of robbers in the south.
Jean Valjean was pronounced guilty and was condemned to the death
penalty in consequence. This criminal refused to lodge an appeal.
The kingin his inexhaustible clemencyhas deigned to commute
his penalty to that of penal servitude for life. Jean Valjean was
immediately taken to the prison at Toulon.

The reader has not forgotten that Jean Valjean had religious
habits at M. sur M. Some papersamong others the Constitutional
presented this commutation as a triumph of the priestly party.

Jean Valjean changed his number in the galleys. He was called 9430.

Howeverand we will mention it at once in order that we may not be
obliged to recur to the subjectthe prosperity of M. sur M. vanished
with M. Madeleine; all that he had foreseen during his night
of fever and hesitation was realized; lacking himthere actually
was a soul lacking. After this fallthere took place at M. sur

M. that egotistical division of great existences which have fallen
that fatal dismemberment of flourishing things which is accomplished
every dayobscurelyin the human communityand which history has
noted only oncebecause it occurred after the death of Alexander.
Lieutenants are crowned kings; superintendents improvise manufacturers
out of themselves. Envious rivalries arose. M. Madeleine's vast
workshops were shut; his buildings fell to ruinhis workmen
were scattered. Some of them quitted the countryothers abandoned
the trade. Thencefortheverything was done on a small scale
instead of on a grand scale; for lucre instead of the general good.
There was no longer a centre; everywhere there was competition
and animosity. M. Madeleine had reigned over all and directed all.
No sooner had he fallenthan each pulled things to himself;
the spirit of combat succeeded to the spirit of organization
bitterness to cordialityhatred of one another to the benevolence
of the founder towards all; the threads which M. Madeleine had set
were tangled and brokenthe methods were adulteratedthe products
were debasedconfidence was killed; the market diminished
for lack of orders; salaries were reducedthe workshops stood still
bankruptcy arrived. And then there was nothing more for the poor.

All had vanished.

The state itself perceived that some one had been crushed somewhere.
Less than four years after the judgment of the Court of Assizes
establishing the identity of Jean Valjean and M. Madeleine
for the benefit of the galleysthe cost of collecting taxes had
doubled in the arrondissement of M. sur M.; and M. de Villele called
attention to the fact in the rostrumin the month of February1827.



Before proceeding furtherit will be to the purpose to narrate
in some detaila singular occurrence which took place at about the
same epochin Montfermeiland which is not lacking in coincidence
with certain conjectures of the indictment.

There exists in the region of Montfermeil a very ancient superstition
which is all the more curious and all the more preciousbecause a popular
superstition in the vicinity of Paris is like an aloe in Siberia.
We are among those who respect everything which is in the nature
of a rare plant. Herethenis the superstition of Montfermeil:
it is thought that the devilfrom time immemorialhas selected
the forest as a hiding-place for his treasures. Goodwives affirm
that it is no rarity to encounter at nightfallin secluded nooks
of the foresta black man with the air of a carter or a wood-chopper
wearing wooden shoesclad in trousers and a blouse of linen
and recognizable by the factthatinstead of a cap or hat
he has two immense horns on his head. This oughtin factto render
him recognizable. This man is habitually engaged in digging a hole.
There are three ways of profiting by such an encounter. The first is
to approach the man and speak to him. Then it is seen that the man
is simply a peasantthat he appears black because it is nightfall;
that he is not digging any hole whateverbut is cutting grass
for his cowsand that what had been taken for horns is nothing
but a dung-fork which he is carrying on his backand whose teeth
thanks to the perspective of eveningseemed to spring from his head.
The man returns home and dies within the week. The second way is
to watch himto wait until he has dug his holeuntil he has filled
it and has gone away; then to run with great speed to the trench
to open it once more and to seize the "treasure" which the black
man has necessarily placed there. In this case one dies within
the month. Finallythe last method is not to speak to the black man
not to look at himand to flee at the best speed of one's legs.
One then dies within the year.

As all three methods are attended with their special inconveniences
the secondwhich at all eventspresents some advantages
among others that of possessing a treasureif only for a month
is the one most generally adopted. So bold menwho are tempted
by every chancehave quite frequentlyas we are assuredopened the
holes excavated by the black manand tried to rob the devil.
The success of the operation appears to be but moderate. At least
if the tradition is to be believedand in particular the two
enigmatical lines in barbarous Latinwhich an evil Norman monk
a bit of a sorcerernamed Tryphon has left on this subject.
This Tryphon is buried at the Abbey of Saint-Georges de Bocherville
near Rouenand toads spawn on his grave.

Accordinglyenormous efforts are made. Such trenches are
ordinarily extremely deep; a man sweatsdigstoils all night--
for it must be done at night; he wets his shirtburns out his candle
breaks his mattockand when he arrives at the bottom of the hole
when he lays his hand on the "treasure what does he find?
What is the devil's treasure? A sou, sometimes a crown-piece,
a stone, a skeleton, a bleeding body, sometimes a spectre folded
in four like a sheet of paper in a portfolio, sometimes nothing.
This is what Tryphon's verses seem to announce to the indiscreet
and curious:--

Foditet in fossa thesauros condit opaca

It seems that in our day there is sometimes found a powder-horn
with bulletssometimes an old pack of cards greasy and worn
which has evidently served the devil. Tryphon does not record
these two findssince Tryphon lived in the twelfth century
and since the devil does not appear to have had the wit to invent
powder before Roger Bacon's timeand cards before the time of Charles VI.

Moreoverif one plays at cardsone is sure to lose all that
one possesses! and as for the powder in the hornit possesses
the property of making your gun burst in your face.

Nowa very short time after the epoch when it seemed to the prosecuting
attorney that the liberated convict Jean Valjean during his flight
of several days had been prowling around Montfermeilit was remarked
in that village that a certain old road-laborernamed Boulatruelle
had "peculiar ways" in the forest. People thereabouts thought
they knew that this Boulatruelle had been in the galleys.
He was subjected to certain police supervisionandas he could
find work nowherethe administration employed him at reduced
rates as a road-mender on the cross-road from Gagny to Lagny.

This Boulatruelle was a man who was viewed with disfavor by the
inhabitants of the district as too respectfultoo humbletoo prompt
in removing his cap to every oneand trembling and smiling in the
presence of the gendarmes--probably affiliated to robber bands
they said; suspected of lying in ambush at verge of copses at nightfall.
The only thing in his favor was that he was a drunkard.

This is what people thought they had noticed:--

Of lateBoulatruelle had taken to quitting his task of stone-breaking
and care of the road at a very early hourand to betaking himself
to the forest with his pickaxe. He was encountered towards
evening in the most deserted clearingsin the wildest thickets;
and he had the appearance of being in search of something
and sometimes he was digging holes. The goodwives who passed took
him at first for Beelzebub; then they recognized Boulatruelle
and were not in the least reassured thereby. These encounters seemed
to cause Boulatruelle a lively displeasure. It was evident that he
sought to hideand that there was some mystery in what he was doing.

It was said in the village: "It is clear that the devil has appeared.
Boulatruelle has seen himand is on the search. In soothhe is
cunning enough to pocket Lucifer's hoard."

The Voltairians addedWill Boulatruelle catch the devil,
or will the devil catch Boulatruelle?The old women made a great
many signs of the cross.

In the meantimeBoulatruelle's manoeuvres in the forest ceased;
and he resumed his regular occupation of roadmending; and people
gossiped of something else.

Some personshoweverwere still curioussurmising that in all
this there was probably no fabulous treasure of the legends
but some fine windfall of a more serious and palpable sort than
the devil's bank-billsand that the road-mender had half discovered
the secret. The most "puzzled" were the school-master and Thenardier
the proprietor of the tavernwho was everybody's friend
and had not disdained to ally himself with Boulatruelle.

He has been in the galleys,said Thenardier. "Eh! Good God!
no one knows who has been there or will be there."

One evening the schoolmaster affirmed that in former times the law
would have instituted an inquiry as to what Boulatruelle did in
the forestand that the latter would have been forced to speak
and that he would have been put to the torture in case of need
and that Boulatruelle would not have resisted the water test
for example. "Let us put him to the wine test said Thenardier.

They made an effort, and got the old road-mender to drinking.
Boulatruelle drank an enormous amount, but said very little.
He combined with admirable art, and in masterly proportions,
the thirst of a gormandizer with the discretion of a judge.
Nevertheless, by dint of returning to the charge and of comparing
and putting together the few obscure words which he did allow to
escape him, this is what Thenardier and the schoolmaster imagined
that they had made out:--

One morning, when Boulatruelle was on his way to his work, at daybreak,
he had been surprised to see, at a nook of the forest in the underbrush,
a shovel and a pickaxe, concealed, as one might say.

However, he might have supposed that they were probably the shovel
and pick of Father Six-Fours, the water-carrier, and would have
thought no more about it. But, on the evening of that day, he saw,
without being seen himself, as he was hidden by a large tree,
a person who did not belong in those partsand whom heBoulatruelle
knew well directing his steps towards the densest part of
the wood. Translation by Thenardier: A comrade of the galleys.
Boulatruelle obstinately refused to reveal his name. This person
carried a package--something square, like a large box or a small trunk.
Surprise on the part of Boulatruelle. However, it was only
after the expiration of seven or eight minutes that the idea of
following that person" had occurred to him. But it was too late;
the person was already in the thicketnight had descended
and Boulatruelle had not been able to catch up with him. Then he
had adopted the course of watching for him at the edge of the woods.
It was moonlight.Two or three hours laterBoulatruelle had seen
this person emerge from the brushwoodcarrying no longer the coffer
but a shovel and pick. Boulatruelle had allowed the person to pass
and had not dreamed of accosting himbecause he said to himself
that the other man was three times as strong as he wasand armed
with a pickaxeand that he would probably knock him over the head
on recognizing himand on perceiving that he was recognized.
Touching effusion of two old comrades on meeting again. But the
shovel and pick had served as a ray of light to Boulatruelle; he had
hastened to the thicket in the morningand had found neither shovel
nor pick. From this he had drawn the inference that this person
once in the foresthad dug a hole with his pickburied the coffer
and reclosed the hole with his shovel. Nowthe coffer was too small

to contain a body; therefore it contained money. Hence his researches.
Boulatruelle had exploredsoundedsearched the entire forest
and the thicketand had dug wherever the earth appeared to him
to have been recently turned up. In vain.

He had "ferreted out" nothing. No one in Montfermeil thought
any more about it. There were only a few brave gossipswho said
You may be certain that the mender on the Gagny road did not take
all that trouble for nothing; he was sure that the devil had come.



Towards the end of Octoberin that same year1823the inhabitants
of Toulon beheld the entry into their portafter heavy weather
and for the purpose of repairing some damagesof the ship Orion
which was employed later at Brest as a school-shipand which then
formed a part of the Mediterranean squadron.

This vesselbattered as it was--for the sea had handled it roughly-produced
a fine effect as it entered the roads. It flew some
colors which procured for it the regulation salute of eleven guns
which it returnedshot for shot; totaltwenty-two. It has been
calculated that what with salvosroyal and military politenesses
courteous exchanges of uproarsignals of etiquetteformalities of
roadsteads and citadelssunrises and sunsetssaluted every day
by all fortresses and all ships of waropenings and closings
of portsetc.the civilized worlddischarged all over the earth
in the course of four and twenty hoursone hundred and fifty
thousand useless shots. At six francs the shotthat comes to nine
hundred thousand francs a daythree hundred millions a year
which vanish in smoke. This is a mere detail. All this time the
poor were dying of hunger.

The year 1823 was what the Restoration called "the epoch of the
Spanish war."

This war contained many events in oneand a quantity of peculiarities.
A grand family affair for the house of Bourbon; the branch of France
succoring and protecting the branch of Madridthat is to say
performing an act devolving on the elder; an apparent return to our
national traditionscomplicated by servitude and by subjection to the
cabinets of the North; M. le Duc d'Angoulemesurnamed by the liberal
sheets the hero of Andujarcompressing in a triumphal attitude
that was somewhat contradicted by his peaceable airthe ancient
and very powerful terrorism of the Holy Office at variance with the
chimerical terrorism of the liberals; the sansculottes resuscitated
to the great terror of dowagersunder the name of descamisados;
monarchy opposing an obstacle to progress described as anarchy;
the theories of '89 roughly interrupted in the sap; a European halt
called to the French ideawhich was making the tour of the world;
beside the son of France as generalissimothe Prince de Carignan
afterwards Charles Albertenrolling himself in that crusade of kings
against people as a volunteerwith grenadier epaulets of red worsted;
the soldiers of the Empire setting out on a fresh campaignbut aged
saddenedafter eight years of reposeand under the white cockade;
the tricolored standard waved abroad by a heroic handful of Frenchmen
as the white standard had been thirty years earlier at Coblentz;
monks mingled with our troops; the spirit of liberty and of novelty

brought to its senses by bayonets; principles slaughtered by cannonades;
France undoing by her arms that which she had done by her mind;
in addition to thishostile leaders soldsoldiers hesitating
cities besieged by millions; no military perilsand yet possible
explosionsas in every mine which is surprised and invaded;
but little bloodshedlittle honor wonshame for someglory for no one.
Such was this warmade by the princes descended from Louis XIV.
and conducted by generals who had been under Napoleon. Its sad fate
was to recall neither the grand war nor grand politics.

Some feats of arms were serious; the taking of the Trocadero
among otherswas a fine military action; but after allwe repeat
the trumpets of this war give back a cracked soundthe whole
effect was suspicious; history approves of France for making a
difficulty about accepting this false triumph. It seemed evident
that certain Spanish officers charged with resistance yielded
too easily; the idea of corruption was connected with the victory;
it appears as though generals and not battles had been won
and the conquering soldier returned humiliated. A debasing war
in shortin which the Bank of France could be read in the folds
of the flag.

Soldiers of the war of 1808on whom Saragossa had fallen in
formidable ruinfrowned in 1823 at the easy surrender of citadels
and began to regret Palafox. It is the nature of France to prefer
to have Rostopchine rather than Ballesteros in front of her.

From a still more serious point of viewand one which it is also
proper to insist upon herethis warwhich wounded the military
spirit of Franceenraged the democratic spirit. It was an enterprise
of inthralment. In that campaignthe object of the French soldier
the son of democracywas the conquest of a yoke for others.
A hideous contradiction. France is made to arouse the soul of nations
not to stifle it. All the revolutions of Europe since 1792 are
the French Revolution: liberty darts rays from France. That is a
solar fact. Blind is he who will not see! It was Bonaparte who said it.

The war of 1823an outrage on the generous Spanish nation
was thenat the same timean outrage on the French Revolution.
It was France who committed this monstrous violence; by foul means
forwith the exception of wars of liberationeverything that armies
do is by foul means. The words passive obedience indicate this.
An army is a strange masterpiece of combination where force results
from an enormous sum of impotence. Thus is warmade by humanity
against humanitydespite humanityexplained.

As for the Bourbonsthe war of 1823 was fatal to them. They took it
for a success. They did not perceive the danger that lies in having
an idea slain to order. They went astrayin their innocence
to such a degree that they introduced the immense enfeeblement of a
crime into their establishment as an element of strength. The spirit
of the ambush entered into their politics. 1830 had its germ in 1823.
The Spanish campaign became in their counsels an argument for force
and for adventures by right Divine. Francehaving re-established
elrey netto in Spainmight well have re-established the absolute king
at home. They fell into the alarming error of taking the obedience
of the soldier for the consent of the nation. Such confidence
is the ruin of thrones. It is not permitted to fall asleep
either in the shadow of a machineel treenor in the shadow of an army.

Let us return to the ship Orion.

During the operations of the army commanded by the prince generalissimo
a squadron had been cruising in the Mediterranean. We have just

stated that the Orion belonged to this fleetand that accidents
of the sea had brought it into port at Toulon.

The presence of a vessel of war in a port has something about it
which attracts and engages a crowd. It is because it is great
and the crowd loves what is great.

A ship of the line is one of the most magnificent combinations
of the genius of man with the powers of nature.

A ship of the line is composedat the same timeof the heaviest
and the lightest of possible matterfor it deals at one and the same
time with three forms of substance--solidliquidand fluid--
and it must do battle with all three. It has eleven claws of
iron with which to seize the granite on the bottom of the sea
and more wings and more antennae than winged insectsto catch
the wind in the clouds. Its breath pours out through its hundred
and twenty cannons as through enormous trumpetsand replies
proudly to the thunder. The ocean seeks to lead it astray in the
alarming sameness of its billowsbut the vessel has its soul
its compasswhich counsels it and always shows it the north.
In the blackest nightsits lanterns supply the place of the stars.
Thusagainst the windit has its cordage and its canvas;
against the waterwood; against the rocksits ironbrassand lead;
against the shadowsits light; against immensitya needle.

If one wishes to form an idea of all those gigantic proportions which
taken as a wholeconstitute the ship of the lineone has only to
enter one of the six-story covered construction stocksin the ports
of Brest or Toulon. The vessels in process of construction are
under a bell-glass thereas it were. This colossal beam is a yard;
that great column of wood which stretches out on the earth as far
as the eye can reach is the main-mast. Taking it from its root
in the stocks to its tip in the cloudsit is sixty fathoms long
and its diameter at its base is three feet. The English main-mast rises
to a height of two hundred and seventeen feet above the water-line.
The navy of our fathers employed cablesours employs chains.
The simple pile of chains on a ship of a hundred guns is four feet high
twenty feet in breadthand eight feet in depth. And how much
wood is required to make this ship? Three thousand cubic metres.
It is a floating forest.

And moreoverlet this be borne in mindit is only a question
here of the military vessel of forty years agoof the simple
sailing-vessel; steamthen in its infancyhas since added
new miracles to that prodigy which is called a war vessel.
At the present timefor examplethe mixed vessel with a screw
is a surprising machinepropelled by three thousand square
metres of canvas and by an engine of two thousand five hundred horse-power.

Not to mention these new marvelsthe ancient vessel of Christopher
Columbus and of De Ruyter is one of the masterpieces of man.
It is as inexhaustible in force as is the Infinite in gales;
it stores up the wind in its sailsit is precise in the immense
vagueness of the billowsit floatsand it reigns.

There comes an hourneverthelesswhen the gale breaks that sixty-foot
yard like a strawwhen the wind bends that mast four hundred feet tall
when that anchorwhich weighs tens of thousandsis twisted in the
jaws of the waves like a fisherman's hook in the jaws of a pike
when those monstrous cannons utter plaintive and futile roars
which the hurricane bears forth into the void and into night
when all that power and all that majesty are engulfed in a power
and majesty which are superior.

Every time that immense force is displayed to culminate
in an immense feebleness it affords men food for thought
Hence in the ports curious people abound around these marvellous
machines of war and of navigationwithout being able to explain
perfectly to themselves why. Every dayaccordinglyfrom morning
until nightthe quayssluicesand the jetties of the port
of Toulon were covered with a multitude of idlers and loungers
as they say in Pariswhose business consisted in staring at the Orion.

The Orion was a ship that had been ailing for a long time;
in the course of its previous cruises thick layers of barnacles
had collected on its keel to such a degree as to deprive it of half
its speed; it had gone into the dry dock the year before this
in order to have the barnacles scraped offthen it had put to
sea again; but this cleaning had affected the bolts of the keel:
in the neighborhood of the Balearic Isles the sides had been
strained and had opened; andas the plating in those days was not
of sheet ironthe vessel had sprung a leak. A violent equinoctial
gale had come upwhich had first staved in a grating and a porthole
on the larboard sideand damaged the foretop-gallant-shrouds;
in consequence of these injuriesthe Orion had run back to Toulon.

It anchored near the Arsenal; it was fully equippedand repairs
were begun. The hull had received no damage on the starboard
but some of the planks had been unnailed here and there
according to customto permit of air entering the hold.

One morning the crowd which was gazing at it witnessed an accident.

The crew was busy bending the sails; the topmanwho had to
take the upper corner of the main-top-sail on the starboard
lost his balance; he was seen to waver; the multitude thronging
the Arsenal quay uttered a cry; the man's head overbalanced his body;
the man fell around the yardwith his hands outstretched towards
the abyss; on his way he seized the footropefirst with one hand
then with the otherand remained hanging from it: the sea lay
below him at a dizzy depth; the shock of his fall had imparted
to the foot-rope a violent swinging motion; the man swayed back
and forth at the end of that ropelike a stone in a sling.

It was incurring a frightful risk to go to his assistance; not one of
the sailorsall fishermen of the coastrecently levied for the service
dared to attempt it. In the meantimethe unfortunate topman was
losing his strength; his anguish could not be discerned on his face
but his exhaustion was visible in every limb; his arms were contracted
in horrible twitchings; every effort which he made to re-ascend served
but to augment the oscillations of the foot-rope; he did not shout
for fear of exhausting his strength. All were awaiting the minute
when he should release his hold on the ropeandfrom instant
to instantheads were turned aside that his fall might not be seen.
There are moments when a bit of ropea polethe branch of a tree
is life itselfand it is a terrible thing to see a living being
detach himself from it and fall like a ripe fruit.

All at once a man was seen climbing into the rigging with the agility
of a tiger-cat; this man was dressed in red; he was a convict;
he wore a green cap; he was a life convict. On arriving on a level
with the topa gust of wind carried away his capand allowed
a perfectly white head to be seen: he was not a young man.

A convict employed on board with a detachment from the galleys had
in factat the very first instanthastened to the officer of
the watchandin the midst of the consternation and the hesitation

of the crewwhile all the sailors were trembling and drawing back
he had asked the officer's permission to risk his life to save
the topman; at an affirmative sign from the officer he had
broken the chain riveted to his ankle with one blow of a hammer
then he had caught up a ropeand had dashed into the rigging:
no one noticedat the instantwith what ease that chain had
been broken; it was only later on that the incident was recalled.

In a twinkling he was on the yard; he paused for a few seconds
and appeared to be measuring it with his eye; these seconds
during which the breeze swayed the topman at the extremity
of a threadseemed centuries to those who were looking on.
At lastthe convict raised his eyes to heaven and advanced a step:
the crowd drew a long breath. He was seen to run out along the yard:
on arriving at the pointhe fastened the rope which he had brought
to itand allowed the other end to hang downthen he began
to descend the ropehand over handand then--and the anguish
was indescribable--instead of one man suspended over the gulf
there were two.

One would have said it was a spider coming to seize a fly
only here the spider brought lifenot death. Ten thousand glances
were fastened on this group; not a crynot a word; the same tremor
contracted every brow; all mouths held their breath as though they
feared to add the slightest puff to the wind which was swaying
the two unfortunate men.

In the meantimethe convict had succeeded in lowering himself
to a position near the sailor. It was high time; one minute more
and the exhausted and despairing man would have allowed himself
to fall into the abyss. The convict had moored him securely with
the cord to which he clung with one handwhile he was working
with the other. At lasthe was seen to climb back on the yard
and to drag the sailor up after him; he held him there a moment
to allow him to recover his strengththen he grasped him in his
arms and carried himwalking on the yard himself to the cap
and from there to the main-topwhere he left him in the hands
of his comrades.

At that moment the crowd broke into applause: old convict-sergeants
among them weptand women embraced each other on the quay
and all voices were heard to cry with a sort of tender rage
Pardon for that man!

Hein the meantimehad immediately begun to make his descent
to rejoin his detachment. In order to reach them the more speedily
he dropped into the riggingand ran along one of the lower yards;
all eyes were following him. At a certain moment fear assailed them;
whether it was that he was fatiguedor that his head turned
they thought they saw him hesitate and stagger. All at once the crowd
uttered a loud shout: the convict had fallen into the sea.

The fall was perilous. The frigate Algesiras was anchored alongside
the Orionand the poor convict had fallen between the two vessels:
it was to be feared that he would slip under one or the other of them.
Four men flung themselves hastily into a boat; the crowd cheered
them on; anxiety again took possession of all souls; the man had not
risen to the surface; he had disappeared in the sea without leaving
a rippleas though he had fallen into a cask of oil: they sounded
they dived. In vain. The search was continued until the evening:
they did not even find the body.

On the following day the Toulon newspaper printed these lines:-

Nov. 17, 1823. Yesterday, a convict belonging to the detachment on
board of the Orion, on his return from rendering assistance to a sailor,
fell into the sea and was drowned. The body has not yet been found; it is
supposed that it is entangled among the piles of the Arsenal point: this
man was committed under the number 9,430, and his name was Jean Valjean.




Montfermeil is situated between Livry and Chelleson the southern edge
of that lofty table-land which separates the Ourcq from the Marne.
At the present day it is a tolerably large townornamented all the year
through with plaster villasand on Sundays with beaming bourgeois.
In 1823 there were at Montfermeil neither so many white houses nor
so many well-satisfied citizens: it was only a village in the forest.
Some pleasure-houses of the last century were to be met with there
to be surewhich were recognizable by their grand airtheir balconies
in twisted ironand their long windowswhose tiny panes cast all
sorts of varying shades of green on the white of the closed shutters;
but Montfermeil was none the less a village. Retired cloth-merchants
and rusticating attorneys had not discovered it as yet; it was a
peaceful and charming placewhich was not on the road to anywhere:
there people livedand cheaplythat peasant rustic life which is
so bounteous and so easy; onlywater was rare thereon account
of the elevation of the plateau.

It was necessary to fetch it from a considerable distance;
the end of the village towards Gagny drew its water from the
magnificent ponds which exist in the woods there. The other end
which surrounds the church and which lies in the direction of Chelles
found drinking-water only at a little spring half-way down the slope
near the road to Chellesabout a quarter of an hour from Montfermeil.

Thus each household found it hard work to keep supplied with water.
The large housesthe aristocracyof which the Thenardier tavern
formed a partpaid half a farthing a bucketful to a man who made a
business of itand who earned about eight sous a day in his enterprise
of supplying Montfermeil with water; but this good man only worked
until seven o'clock in the evening in summerand five in winter;
and night once come and the shutters on the ground floor once closed
he who had no water to drink went to fetch it for himself or did
without it.

This constituted the terror of the poor creature whom the reader
has probably not forgotten--little Cosette. It will be remembered
that Cosette was useful to the Thenardiers in two ways:
they made the mother pay themand they made the child serve them.
So when the mother ceased to pay altogetherthe reason for which we
have read in preceding chaptersthe Thenardiers kept Cosette.
She took the place of a servant in their house. In this capacity she
it was who ran to fetch water when it was required. So the child
who was greatly terrified at the idea of going to the spring at night
took great care that water should never be lacking in the house.

Christmas of the year 1823 was particularly brilliant at Montfermeil.
The beginning of the winter had been mild; there had been neither snow

nor frost up to that time. Some mountebanks from Paris had obtained
permission of the mayor to erect their booths in the principal street
of the villageand a band of itinerant merchantsunder protection
of the same tolerancehad constructed their stalls on the Church Square
and even extended them into Boulanger Alleywhereas the reader
will perhaps rememberthe Thenardiers' hostelry was situated.
These people filled the inns and drinking-shopsand communicated
to that tranquil little district a noisy and joyous life. In order
to play the part of a faithful historianwe ought even to add that
among the curiosities displayed in the squarethere was a menagerie
in which frightful clownsclad in rags and coming no one knew whence
exhibited to the peasants of Montfermeil in 1823 one of those
horrible Brazilian vulturessuch as our Royal Museum did not
possess until 1845and which have a tricolored cockade for an eye.
I believe that naturalists call this bird Caracara Polyborus;
it belongs to the order of the Apicidesand to the family of
the vultures. Some good old Bonapartist soldierswho had retired
to the villagewent to see this creature with great devotion.
The mountebanks gave out that the tricolored cockade was a unique
phenomenon made by God expressly for their menagerie.

On Christmas eve itselfa number of mencartersand peddlers
were seated at tabledrinking and smoking around four or five
candles in the public room of Thenardier's hostelry. This room
resembled all drinking-shop rooms--tablespewter jugsbottles
drinkerssmokers; but little light and a great deal of noise.
The date of the year 1823 was indicatedneverthelessby two
objects which were then fashionable in the bourgeois class: to wit
a kaleidoscope and a lamp of ribbed tin. The female Thenardier was
attending to the supperwhich was roasting in front of a clear fire;
her husband was drinking with his customers and talking politics.

Besides political conversations which had for their principal subjects
the Spanish war and M. le Duc d'Angoulemestrictly local parentheses
like the followingwere audible amid the uproar:--

About Nanterre and Suresnes the vines have flourished greatly.
When ten pieces were reckoned on there have been twelve.
They have yielded a great deal of juice under the press.
But the grapes cannot be ripe?In those parts the grapes
should not be ripe; the wine turns oily as soon as spring comes.
Then it is very thin wine?There are wines poorer even than these.
The grapes must be gathered while green.Etc.

Or a miller would call out:--

Are we responsible for what is in the sacks? We find in them
a quantity of small seed which we cannot sift out, and which we
are obliged to send through the mill-stones; there are tares,
fennel, vetches, hempseed, fox-tail, and a host of other weeds,
not to mention pebbles, which abound in certain wheat, especially in
Breton wheat. I am not fond of grinding Breton wheat, any more than
long-sawyers like to saw beams with nails in them. You can judge
of the bad dust that makes in grinding. And then people complain
of the flour. They are in the wrong. The flour is no fault of ours.

In a space between two windows a mowerwho was seated at table
with a landed proprietor who was fixing on a price for some meadow
work to be performed in the springwas saying:--

It does no harm to have the grass wet. It cuts better.
Dew is a good thing, sir. It makes no difference with that grass.
Your grass is young and very hard to cut still. It's terribly tender.
It yields before the iron.Etc.

Cosette was in her usual placeseated on the cross-bar of the kitchen
table near the chimney. She was in rags; her bare feet were thrust
into wooden shoesand by the firelight she was engaged in knitting
woollen stockings destined for the young Thenardiers. A very young
kitten was playing about among the chairs. Laughter and chatter were
audible in the adjoining roomfrom two fresh children's voices:
it was Eponine and Azelma.

In the chimney-corner a cat-o'-nine-tails was hanging on a nail.

At intervals the cry of a very young childwhich was somewhere
in the houserang through the noise of the dram-shop. It was
a little boy who had been born to the Thenardiers during one
of the preceding winters--"she did not know why she said,
the result of the cold--and who was a little more than three
years old. The mother had nursed him, but she did not love him.
When the persistent clamor of the brat became too annoying,
Your son is squalling Thenardier would say; do go and see
what he wants." "Bah!" the mother would replyhe bothers me.
And the neglected child continued to shriek in the dark.



So far in this book the Thenardiers have been viewed only in profile;
the moment has arrived for making the circuit of this couple
and considering it under all its aspects.

Thenardier had just passed his fiftieth birthday; Madame Thenardier
was approaching her fortieswhich is equivalent to fifty in a woman;
so that there existed a balance of age between husband and wife.

Our readers have possibly preserved some recollection of this
Thenardier womanever since her first appearance--tallblond
redfatangularsquareenormousand agile; she belongedas we
have saidto the race of those colossal wild womenwho contort
themselves at fairs with paving-stones hanging from their hair.
She did everything about the house--made the bedsdid the washing
the cookingand everything else. Cosette was her only servant;
a mouse in the service of an elephant. Everything trembled at
the sound of her voice--window panesfurnitureand people.
Her big facedotted with red blotchespresented the appearance
of a skimmer. She had a beard. She was an ideal market-porter
dressed in woman's clothes. She swore splendidly; she boasted
of being able to crack a nut with one blow of her fist. Except for
the romances which she had readand which made the affected lady
peep through the ogress at timesin a very queer waythe idea would
never have occurred to any one to say of herThat is a woman.
This Thenardier female was like the product of a wench engrafted
on a fishwife. When one heard her speakone saidThat is
a gendarme; when one saw her drinkone saidThat is a carter;
when one saw her handle Cosetteone saidThat is the hangman.
One of her teeth projected when her face was in repose.

Thenardier was a smallthinpaleangularbonyfeeble manwho had
a sickly air and who was wonderfully healthy. His cunning began here;
he smiled habituallyby way of precautionand was almost polite
to everybodyeven to the beggar to whom he refused half a farthing.
He had the glance of a pole-cat and the bearing of a man of letters.

He greatly resembled the portraits of the Abbe Delille.
His coquetry consisted in drinking with the carters. No one had
ever succeeded in rendering him drunk. He smoked a big pipe.
He wore a blouseand under his blouse an old black coat. He made
pretensions to literature and to materialism. There were certain
names which he often pronounced to support whatever things he
might be saying--VoltaireRaynalParnyandsingularly enough
Saint Augustine. He declared that he had "a system." In addition
he was a great swindler. A filousophe [philosophe]a scientific thief.
The species does exist. It will be remembered that he pretended
to have served in the army; he was in the habit of relating
with exuberancehowbeing a sergeant in the 6th or the 9th light
something or otherat Waterloohe had aloneand in the presence
of a squadron of death-dealing hussarscovered with his body and saved
from deathin the midst of the grape-shota general, who had been
dangerously wounded.Thence arose for his wall the flaring sign
and for his inn the name which it bore in the neighborhoodof "the
cabaret of the Sergeant of Waterloo." He was a liberala classic
and a Bonapartist. He had subscribed for the Champ d'Asile. It was
said in the village that he had studied for the priesthood.

We believe that he had simply studied in Holland for an inn-keeper.
This rascal of composite order wasin all probability
some Fleming from Lillein Flandersa Frenchman in Paris
a Belgian at Brusselsbeing comfortably astride of both frontiers.
As for his prowess at Waterloothe reader is already acquainted
with that. It will be perceived that he exaggerated it a trifle.
Ebb and flowwanderingadventurewas the leven of his existence;
a tattered conscience entails a fragmentary lifeandapparently at
the stormy epoch of June 181815Thenardier belonged to that
variety of marauding sutlers of which we have spokenbeating about
the countryselling to somestealing from othersand travelling
like a family manwith wife and childrenin a rickety cart
in the rear of troops on the marchwith an instinct for always
attaching himself to the victorious army. This campaign ended
and havingas he saidsome quibus,he had come to Montfermeil
and set up an inn there.

This quibuscomposed of purses and watchesof gold rings and
silver crossesgathered in harvest-time in furrows sown with corpses
did not amount to a large totaland did not carry this sutler
turned eating-house-keeper very far.

Thenardier had that peculiar rectilinear something about his
gestures whichaccompanied by an oathrecalls the barracks
and by a sign of the crossthe seminary. He was a fine talker.
He allowed it to be thought that he was an educated man. Nevertheless
the schoolmaster had noticed that he pronounced improperly.[12]

[12] Literally "made cuirs"; i. e.pronounced a t or an s at
the end of words where the opposite letter should occuror used
either one of them where neither exists.
He composed the travellers' tariff card in a superior manner
but practised eyes sometimes spied out orthographical errors in it.
Thenardier was cunninggreedyslothfuland clever. He did not
disdain his servantswhich caused his wife to dispense with them.
This giantess was jealous. It seemed to her that that thin and yellow
little man must be an object coveted by all.

Thenardierwho wasabove allan astute and well-balanced man
was a scamp of a temperate sort. This is the worst species;

hypocrisy enters into it.

It is not that Thenardier was noton occasioncapable of wrath
to quite the same degree as his wife; but this was very rareand at
such timessince he was enraged with the human race in general
as he bore within him a deep furnace of hatred. And since he
was one of those people who are continually avenging their wrongs
who accuse everything that passes before them of everything
which has befallen themand who are always ready to cast upon
the first person who comes to handas a legitimate grievance
the sum total of the deceptionsthe bankruptciesand the
calamities of their lives--when all this leaven was stirred up
in him and boiled forth from his mouth and eyeshe was terrible.
Woe to the person who came under his wrath at such a time!

In addition to his other qualitiesThenardier was attentive
and penetratingsilent or talkativeaccording to circumstances
and always highly intelligent. He had something of the look
of sailorswho are accustomed to screw up their eyes to gaze
through marine glasses. Thenardier was a statesman.

Every new-comer who entered the tavern saidon catching sight
of Madame ThenardierThere is the master of the house.
A mistake. She was not even the mistress. The husband was
both master and mistress. She worked; he created. He directed
everything by a sort of invisible and constant magnetic action.
A word was sufficient for himsometimes a sign; the mastodon obeyed.
Thenardier was a sort of special and sovereign being in Madame
Thenardier's eyesthough she did not thoroughly realize it.
She was possessed of virtues after her own kind; if she had ever had
a disagreement as to any detail with "Monsieur Thenardier--which was
an inadmissible hypothesis, by the way,--she would not have blamed
her husband in public on any subject whatever. She would never have
committed before strangers" that mistake so often committed by women
and which is called in parliamentary languageexposing the crown.
Although their concord had only evil as its resultthere was
contemplation in Madame Thenardier's submission to her husband.
That mountain of noise and of flesh moved under the little finger
of that frail despot. Viewed on its dwarfed and grotesque side
this was that grand and universal thingthe adoration of mind
by matter; for certain ugly features have a cause in the very depths
of eternal beauty. There was an unknown quantity about Thenardier;
hence the absolute empire of the man over that woman. At certain
moments she beheld him like a lighted candle; at others she felt him
like a claw.

This woman was a formidable creature who loved no one except
her childrenand who did not fear any one except her husband.
She was a mother because she was mammiferous. But her maternity
stopped short with her daughtersandas we shall seedid not extend
to boys. The man had but one thought--how to enrich himself.

He did not succeed in this. A theatre worthy of this great talent
was lacking. Thenardier was ruining himself at Montfermeil
if ruin is possible to zero; in Switzerland or in the Pyrenees this
penniless scamp would have become a millionaire; but an inn-keeper
must browse where fate has hitched him.

It will be understood that the word inn-keeper is here employed
in a restricted senseand does not extend to an entire class.

In this same year1823Thenardier was burdened with about fifteen
hundred francs' worth of petty debtsand this rendered him anxious.

Whatever may have been the obstinate injustice of destiny in
this caseThenardier was one of those men who understand best
with the most profundity and in the most modern fashionthat thing
which is a virtue among barbarous peoples and an object of
merchandise among civilized peoples--hospitality. Besideshe was
an admirable poacherand quoted for his skill in shooting. He had
a certain cold and tranquil laughwhich was particularly dangerous.

His theories as a landlord sometimes burst forth in lightning flashes.
He had professional aphorismswhich he inserted into his wife's mind.
The duty of the inn-keeper,he said to her one dayviolently
and in a low voiceis to sell to the first comer, stews, repose,
light, fire, dirty sheets, a servant, lice, and a smile; to stop
passers-by, to empty small purses, and to honestly lighten heavy ones;
to shelter travelling families respectfully: to shave the man,
to pluck the woman, to pick the child clean; to quote the window open,
the window shut, the chimney-corner, the arm-chair, the chair,
the ottoman, the stool, the feather-bed, the mattress and the
truss of straw; to know how much the shadow uses up the mirror,
and to put a price on it; and, by five hundred thousand devils,
to make the traveller pay for everything, even for the flies
which his dog eats!

This man and this woman were ruse and rage wedded--a hideous
and terrible team.

While the husband pondered and combinedMadame Thenardier thought
not of absent creditorstook no heed of yesterday nor of to-morrow
and lived in a fit of angerall in a minute.

Such were these two beings. Cosette was between themsubjected to
their double pressurelike a creature who is at the same time being
ground up in a mill and pulled to pieces with pincers. The man
and the woman each had a different method: Cosette was overwhelmed
with blows--this was the woman's; she went barefooted in winter--
that was the man's doing.

Cosette ran up stairs and downwashedsweptrubbeddustedran
fluttered aboutpantedmoved heavy articlesand weak as she was
did the coarse work. There was no mercy for her; a fierce mistress
and venomous master. The Thenardier hostelry was like a spider's web
in which Cosette had been caughtand where she lay trembling.
The ideal of oppression was realized by this sinister household.
It was something like the fly serving the spiders.

The poor child passively held her peace.

What takes place within these souls when they have but just
quitted Godfind themselves thusat the very dawn of life
very small and in the midst of men all naked!



Four new travellers had arrived.

Cosette was meditating sadly; foralthough she was only eight years old
she had already suffered so much that she reflected with the lugubrious
air of an old woman. Her eye was black in consequence of a blow
from Madame Thenardier's fistwhich caused the latter to remark

from time to timeHow ugly she is with her fist-blow on her eye!

Cosette was thinking that it was darkvery darkthat the pitchers
and caraffes in the chambers of the travellers who had arrived must
have been filled and that there was no more water in the cistern.

She was somewhat reassured because no one in the Thenardier establishment
drank much water. Thirsty people were never lacking there;
but their thirst was of the sort which applies to the jug rather
than to the pitcher. Any one who had asked for a glass of water
among all those glasses of wine would have appeared a savage to
all these men. But there came a moment when the child trembled;
Madame Thenardier raised the cover of a stew-pan which was boiling
on the stovethen seized a glass and briskly approached the cistern.
She turned the faucet; the child had raised her head and was following
all the woman's movements. A thin stream of water trickled from
the faucetand half filled the glass. "Well said she, there is
no more water!" A momentary silence ensued. The child did not breathe.

Bah!resumed Madame Thenardierexamining the half-filled glass
this will be enough.

Cosette applied herself to her work once morebut for a quarter
of an hour she felt her heart leaping in her bosom like a big

She counted the minutes that passed in this mannerand wished it
were the next morning.

From time to time one of the drinkers looked into the street
and exclaimedIt's as black as an oven!orOne must needs
be a cat to go about the streets without a lantern at this hour!
And Cosette trembled.

All at once one of the pedlers who lodged in the hostelry entered
and said in a harsh voice:-

My horse has not been watered.

Yes, it has,said Madame Thenardier.

I tell you that it has not,retorted the pedler.

Cosette had emerged from under the table.

Oh, yes, sir!said shethe horse has had a drink; he drank
out of a bucket, a whole bucketful, and it was I who took the water
to him, and I spoke to him.

It was not true; Cosette lied.

There's a brat as big as my fist who tells lies as big as the house,
exclaimed the pedler. "I tell you that he has not been watered
you little jade! He has a way of blowing when he has had no water
which I know well."

Cosette persistedand added in a voice rendered hoarse with anguish
and which was hardly audible:-

And he drank heartily.

Come,said the pedlerin a ragethis won't do at all,
let my horse be watered, and let that be the end of it!

Cosette crept under the table again.

In truth, that is fair!said Madame Thenardierif the beast
has not been watered, it must be.

Then glancing about her:-

Well, now! Where's that other beast?

She bent down and discovered Cosette cowering at the other end
of the tablealmost under the drinkers' feet.

Are you coming?shrieked Madame Thenardier.

Cosette crawled out of the sort of hole in which she had hidden herself.
The Thenardier resumed:-

Mademoiselle Dog-lack-name, go and water that horse.

But, Madame,said Cosettefeeblythere is no water.

The Thenardier threw the street door wide open:-

Well, go and get some, then!

Cosette dropped her headand went for an empty bucket which stood
near the chimney-corner.

This bucket was bigger than she wasand the child could have set
down in it at her ease.

The Thenardier returned to her stoveand tasted what was
in the stewpanwith a wooden spoongrumbling the while:-

There's plenty in the spring. There never was such a malicious
creature as that. I think I should have done better to strain
my onions.

Then she rummaged in a drawer which contained souspepperand shallots.

See here, Mam'selle Toad,she addedon your way back, you will
get a big loaf from the baker. Here's a fifteen-sou piece.

Cosette had a little pocket on one side of her apron; she took
the coin without saying a wordand put it in that pocket.

Then she stood motionlessbucket in handthe open door before her.
She seemed to be waiting for some one to come to her rescue.

Get along with you!screamed the Thenardier.

Cosette went out. The door closed behind her.



The line of open-air booths starting at the churchextendedas the
reader will rememberas far as the hostelry of the Thenardiers.
These booths were all illuminatedbecause the citizens would
soon pass on their way to the midnight masswith candles burning

in paper funnelswhichas the schoolmasterthen seated at the
table at the Thenardiers' observedproduced "a magical effect."
In compensationnot a star was visible in the sky.

The last of these stallsestablished precisely opposite the Thenardiers'
doorwas a toy-shop all glittering with tinselglassand magnificent
objects of tin. In the first rowand far forwardsthe merchant had
placed on a background of white napkinsan immense dollnearly two
feet highwho was dressed in a robe of pink crepewith gold wheat-ears
on her headwhich had real hair and enamel eyes. All that day
this marvel had been displayed to the wonderment of all passers-by
under ten years of agewithout a mother being found in Montfermeil
sufficiently rich or sufficiently extravagant to give it to her child.
Eponine and Azelma had passed hours in contemplating itand Cosette
herself had ventured to cast a glance at iton the slyit is true.

At the moment when Cosette emergedbucket in handmelancholy and
overcome as she wasshe could not refrain from lifting her eyes
to that wonderful dolltowards the ladyas she called it.
The poor child paused in amazement. She had not yet beheld
that doll close to. The whole shop seemed a palace to her:
the doll was not a doll; it was a vision. It was joysplendor
richeshappinesswhich appeared in a sort of chimerical halo
to that unhappy little being so profoundly engulfed in gloomy and
chilly misery. With the sad and innocent sagacity of childhood
Cosette measured the abyss which separated her from that doll.
She said to herself that one must be a queenor at least a princess
to have a "thing" like that. She gazed at that beautiful pink dress
that beautiful smooth hairand she thoughtHow happy that doll
must be!She could not take her eyes from that fantastic stall.
The more she lookedthe more dazzled she grew. She thought she
was gazing at paradise. There were other dolls behind the large one
which seemed to her to be fairies and genii. The merchantwho was
pacing back and forth in front of his shopproduced on her somewhat
the effect of being the Eternal Father.

In this adoration she forgot everythingeven the errand with
which she was charged.

All at once the Thenardier's coarse voice recalled her to reality:
What, you silly jade! you have not gone? Wait! I'll give it
to you! I want to know what you are doing there! Get along,
you little monster!

The Thenardier had cast a glance into the streetand had caught
sight of Cosette in her ecstasy.

Cosette fleddragging her pailand taking the longest strides
of which she was capable.



As the Thenardier hostelry was in that part of the village which is
near the churchit was to the spring in the forest in the direction
of Chelles that Cosette was obliged to go for her water.

She did not glance at the display of a single other merchant. So long
as she was in Boulanger Lane and in the neighborhood of the church
the lighted stalls illuminated the road; but soon the last light from

the last stall vanished. The poor child found herself in the dark.
She plunged into it. Onlyas a certain emotion overcame her
she made as much motion as possible with the handle of the bucket
as she walked along. This made a noise which afforded her company.

The further she wentthe denser the darkness became. There was no
one in the streets. Howevershe did encounter a womanwho turned
around on seeing herand stood stillmuttering between her teeth:
Where can that child be going? Is it a werewolf child?Then the
woman recognized Cosette. "Well said she, it's the Lark!"

In this manner Cosette traversed the labyrinth of tortuous and
deserted streets which terminate in the village of Montfermeil
on the side of Chelles. So long as she had the houses or even
the walls only on both sides of her pathshe proceeded with
tolerable boldness. From time to time she caught the flicker of
a candle through the crack of a shutter--this was light and life;
there were people thereand it reassured her. But in proportion
as she advancedher pace slackened mechanicallyas it were.
When she had passed the corner of the last houseCosette paused.
It had been hard to advance further than the last stall;
it became impossible to proceed further than the last house.
She set her bucket on the groundthrust her hand into her hair
and began slowly to scratch her head--a gesture peculiar to children
when terrified and undecided what to do. It was no longer Montfermeil;
it was the open fields. Black and desert space was before her.
She gazed in despair at that darknesswhere there was no longer
any onewhere there were beastswhere there were spectrespossibly.
She took a good lookand heard the beasts walking on the grass
and she distinctly saw spectres moving in the trees. Then she seized
her bucket again; fear had lent her audacity. "Bah!" said she;
I will tell him that there was no more water!And she resolutely
re-entered Montfermeil.

Hardly had she gone a hundred paces when she paused and began to scratch
her head again. Now it was the Thenardier who appeared to her
with her hideoushyena mouthand wrath flashing in her eyes.
The child cast a melancholy glance before her and behind her.
What was she to do? What was to become of her? Where was she to go?
In front of her was the spectre of the Thenardier; behind her all
the phantoms of the night and of the forest. It was before the
Thenardier that she recoiled. She resumed her path to the spring
and began to run. She emerged from the villageshe entered the
forest at a runno longer looking at or listening to anything.
She only paused in her course when her breath failed her;
but she did not halt in her advance. She went straight before her
in desperation.

As she ran she felt like crying.

The nocturnal quivering of the forest surrounded her completely.

She no longer thoughtshe no longer saw. The immensity of night
was facing this tiny creature. On the one handall shadow;
on the otheran atom.

It was only seven or eight minutes' walk from the edge of the woods
to the spring. Cosette knew the waythrough having gone over it
many times in daylight. Strange to sayshe did not get lost.
A remnant of instinct guided her vaguely. But she did not turn
her eyes either to right or to leftfor fear of seeing things
in the branches and in the brushwood. In this manner she reached
the spring.

It was a narrownatural basinhollowed out by the water in a
clayey soilabout two feet deepsurrounded with moss and with
those tallcrimped grasses which are called Henry IV.'s frills
and paved with several large stones. A brook ran out of it
with a tranquil little noise.

Cosette did not take time to breathe. It was very darkbut she
was in the habit of coming to this spring. She felt with her left
hand in the dark for a young oak which leaned over the spring
and which usually served to support herfound one of its branches
clung to itbent downand plunged the bucket in the water.
She was in a state of such violent excitement that her strength
was trebled. While thus bent overshe did not notice that the pocket
of her apron had emptied itself into the spring. The fifteen-sou
piece fell into the water. Cosette neither saw nor heard it fall.
She drew out the bucket nearly fulland set it on the grass.

That doneshe perceived that she was worn out with fatigue.
She would have liked to set out again at oncebut the effort required
to fill the bucket had been such that she found it impossible to take
a step. She was forced to sit down. She dropped on the grass
and remained crouching there.

She shut her eyes; then she opened them againwithout knowing why
but because she could not do otherwise. The agitated water
in the bucket beside her was describing circles which resembled
tin serpents.

Overhead the sky was covered with vast black cloudswhich were
like masses of smoke. The tragic mask of shadow seemed to bend
vaguely over the child.

Jupiter was setting in the depths.

The child stared with bewildered eyes at this great starwith which
she was unfamiliarand which terrified her. The planet was
in factvery near the horizon and was traversing a dense layer
of mist which imparted to it a horrible ruddy hue. The mist
gloomily empurpledmagnified the star. One would have called it
a luminous wound.

A cold wind was blowing from the plain. The forest was dark
not a leaf was moving; there were none of the vaguefresh gleams
of summertide. Great boughs uplifted themselves in frightful wise.
Slender and misshapen bushes whistled in the clearings. The tall
grasses undulated like eels under the north wind. The nettles
seemed to twist long arms furnished with claws in search of prey.
Some bits of dry heathertossed by the breezeflew rapidly byand had
the air of fleeing in terror before something which was coming after.
On all sides there were lugubrious stretches.

The darkness was bewildering. Man requires light. Whoever buries
himself in the opposite of day feels his heart contract. When the eye
sees blackthe heart sees trouble. In an eclipse in the night
in the sooty opacitythere is anxiety even for the stoutest of hearts.
No one walks alone in the forest at night without trembling.
Shadows and trees--two formidable densities. A chimerical
reality appears in the indistinct depths. The inconceivable is
outlined a few paces distant from you with a spectral clearness.
One beholds floatingeither in space or in one's own brain
one knows not what vague and intangible thinglike the dreams
of sleeping flowers. There are fierce attitudes on the horizon.
One inhales the effluvia of the great black void. One is afraid to
glance behind himyet desirous of doing so. The cavities of night

things grown haggardtaciturn profiles which vanish when one advances
obscure dishevelmentsirritated tuftslivid poolsthe lugubrious
reflected in the funerealthe sepulchral immensity of silence
unknown but possible beingsbendings of mysterious branches
alarming torsos of treeslong handfuls of quivering plants--
against all this one has no protection. There is no hardihood which
does not shudder and which does not feel the vicinity of anguish.
One is conscious of something hideousas though one's soul were
becoming amalgamated with the darkness. This penetration of the
shadows is indescribably sinister in the case of a child.

Forests are apocalypsesand the beating of the wings of a tiny
soul produces a sound of agony beneath their monstrous vault.

Without understanding her sensationsCosette was conscious
that she was seized upon by that black enormity of nature;
it was no longer terror alone which was gaining possession of her;
it was something more terrible even than terror; she shivered.
There are no words to express the strangeness of that shiver which
chilled her to the very bottom of her heart; her eye grew wild;
she thought she felt that she should not be able to refrain from
returning there at the same hour on the morrow.

Thenby a sort of instinctshe began to count aloud
onetwothreefourand so on up to tenin order to escape
from that singular state which she did not understandbut which
terrified herandwhen she had finishedshe began again;
this restored her to a true perception of the things about her.
Her handswhich she had wet in drawing the waterfelt cold;
she rose; her terrora natural and unconquerable terror
had returned: she had but one thought now--to flee at full speed
through the forestacross the fields to the housesto the windows
to the lighted candles. Her glance fell upon the water which stood
before her; such was the fright which the Thenardier inspired
in herthat she dared not flee without that bucket of water:
she seized the handle with both hands; she could hardly lift the pail.

In this manner she advanced a dozen pacesbut the bucket was full;
it was heavy; she was forced to set it on the ground once more.
She took breath for an instantthen lifted the handle of the bucket
againand resumed her marchproceeding a little further this time
but again she was obliged to pause. After some seconds of repose
she set out again. She walked bent forwardwith drooping head
like an old woman; the weight of the bucket strained and stiffened
her thin arms. The iron handle completed the benumbing and freezing
of her wet and tiny hands; she was forced to halt from time to time
and each time that she did sothe cold water which splashed from
the pail fell on her bare legs. This took place in the depths
of a forestat nightin winterfar from all human sight;
she was a child of eight: no one but God saw that sad thing at
the moment.

And her motherno doubtalas!

For there are things that make the dead open their eyes in their graves.

She panted with a sort of painful rattle; sobs contracted her throat
but she dared not weepso afraid was she of the Thenardier
even at a distance: it was her custom to imagine the Thenardier
always present.

Howevershe could not make much headway in that mannerand she went
on very slowly. In spite of diminishing the length of her stops
and of walking as long as possible between themshe reflected

with anguish that it would take her more than an hour to return to
Montfermeil in this mannerand that the Thenardier would beat her.
This anguish was mingled with her terror at being alone in the woods
at night; she was worn out with fatigueand had not yet emerged from
the forest. On arriving near an old chestnut-tree with which she
was acquaintedmade a last haltlonger than the restin order
that she might get well rested; then she summoned up all her strength
picked up her bucket againand courageously resumed her march
but the poor little desperate creature could not refrain from crying
O my God! my God!

At that moment she suddenly became conscious that her bucket no longer
weighed anything at all: a handwhich seemed to her enormous
had just seized the handleand lifted it vigorously. She raised
her head. A large black formstraight and erectwas walking beside
her through the darkness; it was a man who had come up behind her
and whose approach she had not heard. This manwithout uttering
a wordhad seized the handle of the bucket which she was carrying.

There are instincts for all the encounters of life.

The child was not afraid.



On the afternoon of that same Christmas Day1823a man had walked
for rather a long time in the most deserted part of the Boulevard
de l'Hopital in Paris. This man had the air of a person who is
seeking lodgingsand he seemed to haltby preferenceat the most
modest houses on that dilapidated border of the faubourg Saint-Marceau.

We shall see further on that this man hadin facthired a chamber
in that isolated quarter.

This manin his attireas in all his personrealized the type
of what may be called the well-bred mendicant--extreme wretchedness
combined with extreme cleanliness. This is a very rare mixture which
inspires intelligent hearts with that double respect which one feels
for the man who is very poorand for the man who is very worthy.
He wore a very old and very well brushed round hat; a coarse coat
worn perfectly threadbareof an ochre yellowa color that was
not in the least eccentric at that epoch; a large waistcoat with
pockets of a venerable cut; black breechesworn gray at the knee
stockings of black worsted; and thick shoes with copper buckles.
He would have been pronounced a preceptor in some good family
returned from the emigration. He would have been taken for more than
sixty years of agefrom his perfectly white hairhis wrinkled brow
his livid lipsand his countenancewhere everything breathed
depression and weariness of life. Judging from his firm tread
from the singular vigor which stamped all his movements
he would have hardly been thought fifty. The wrinkles on his brow
were well placedand would have disposed in his favor any one
who observed him attentively. His lip contracted with a strange
fold which seemed severeand which was humble. There was in
the depth of his glance an indescribable melancholy serenity.
In his left hand he carried a little bundle tied up in a handkerchief;
in his right he leaned on a sort of a cudgelcut from some hedge.
This stick had been carefully trimmedand had an air that was not
too threatening; the most had been made of its knotsand it had

received a coral-like headmade from red wax: it was a cudgel
and it seemed to be a cane.

There are but few passers-by on that boulevardparticularly in
the winter. The man seemed to avoid them rather than to seek them
but this without any affectation.

At that epochKing Louis XVIII. went nearly every day to
Choisy-le-Roi: it was one of his favorite excursions. Towards two
o'clockalmost invariablythe royal carriage and cavalcade
was seen to pass at full speed along the Boulevard de l'Hopital.

This served in lieu of a watch or clock to the poor women of the quarter
who saidIt is two o'clock; there he is returning to the Tuileries.

And some rushed forwardand others drew up in linefor a passing king
always creates a tumult; besidesthe appearance and disappearance
of Louis XVIII. produced a certain effect in the streets of Paris.
It was rapid but majestic. This impotent king had a taste for a
fast gallop; as he was not able to walkhe wished to run: that cripple
would gladly have had himself drawn by the lightning. He passed
pacific and severein the midst of naked swords. His massive couch
all covered with gildingwith great branches of lilies painted on
the panelsthundered noisily along. There was hardly time to cast
a glance upon it. In the rear angle on the right there was visible
on tufted cushions of white satin a largefirmand ruddy face
a brow freshly powdered a l'oiseau royala proudhardcrafty eye
the smile of an educated mantwo great epaulets with bullion
fringe floating over a bourgeois coatthe Golden Fleecethe cross
of Saint Louisthe cross of the Legion of Honorthe silver
plaque of the Saint-Esprita huge bellyand a wide blue ribbon:
it was the king. Outside of Parishe held his hat decked with white
ostrich plumes on his knees enwrapped in high English gaiters;
when he re-entered the cityhe put on his hat and saluted rarely;
he stared coldly at the peopleand they returned it in kind.
When he appeared for the first time in the Saint-Marceau quarter
the whole success which he produced is contained in this remark of an
inhabitant of the faubourg to his comradeThat big fellow yonder is
the government.

This infallible passage of the king at the same hour wastherefore
the daily event of the Boulevard de l'Hopital.

The promenader in the yellow coat evidently did not belong in
the quarterand probably did not belong in Parisfor he was ignorant
as to this detail. Whenat two o'clockthe royal carriage
surrounded by a squadron of the body-guard all covered with
silver lacedebouched on the boulevardafter having made the turn
of the Salpetrierehe appeared surprised and almost alarmed.
There was no one but himself in this cross-lane. He drew
up hastily behind the corner of the wall of an enclosure
though this did not prevent M. le Duc de Havre from spying him out.

M. le Duc de Havreas captain of the guard on duty that day
was seated in the carriageopposite the king. He said to his
MajestyYonder is an evil-looking man.Members of the police
who were clearing the king's routetook equal note of him:
one of them received an order to follow him. But the man plunged
into the deserted little streets of the faubourgand as twilight
was beginning to fallthe agent lost trace of himas is stated
in a report addressed that same evening to M. le Comte d'Angles
Minister of StatePrefect of Police.
When the man in the yellow coat had thrown the agent off his track

he redoubled his pacenot without turning round many a time to assure
himself that he was not being followed. At a quarter-past four
that is to saywhen night was fully comehe passed in front of the
theatre of the Porte Saint-Martinwhere The Two Convicts was being
played that day. This posterilluminated by the theatre lanterns
struck him; foralthough he was walking rapidlyhe halted to read it.
An instant later he was in the blind alley of La Planchetteand he
entered the Plat d'Etain [the Pewter Platter]where the office
of the coach for Lagny was then situated. This coach set out at
half-past four. The horses were harnessedand the travellers
summoned by the coachmanwere hastily climbing the lofty iron ladder
of the vehicle.

The man inquired:--

Have you a place?

Only one--beside me on the box,said the coachman.

I will take it.

Climb up.

Neverthelessbefore setting outthe coachman cast a glance at
the traveller's shabby dressat the diminutive size of his bundle
and made him pay his fare.

Are you going as far as Lagny?demanded the coachman.

Yes,said the man.

The traveller paid to Lagny.

They started. When they had passed the barrierthe coachman
tried to enter into conversationbut the traveller only replied
in monosyllables. The coachman took to whistling and swearing
at his horses.

The coachman wrapped himself up in his cloak. It was cold.
The man did not appear to be thinking of that. Thus they passed
Gournay and Neuilly-sur-Marne.

Towards six o'clock in the evening they reached Chelles. The coachman
drew up in front of the carters' inn installed in the ancient
buildings of the Royal Abbeyto give his horses a breathing spell.

I get down here,said the man.

He took his bundle and his cudgel and jumped down from the vehicle.

An instant later he had disappeared.

He did not enter the inn.

When the coach set out for Lagny a few minutes laterit did not
encounter him in the principal street of Chelles.

The coachman turned to the inside travellers.

There,said heis a man who does not belong here, for I do not
know him. He had not the air of owning a sou, but he does not
consider money; he pays to Lagny, and he goes only as far as Chelles.
It is night; all the houses are shut; he does not enter the inn,
and he is not to be found. So he has dived through the earth.

The man had not plunged into the earthbut he had gone with great
strides through the darkdown the principal street of Chelles
then he had turned to the right before reaching the church
into the cross-road leading to Montfermeillike a person who was
acquainted with the country and had been there before.

He followed this road rapidly. At the spot where it is intersected
by the ancient tree-bordered road which runs from Gagny to Lagny
he heard people coming. He concealed himself precipitately in
a ditchand there waited until the passers-by were at a distance.
The precaution was nearly superfluoushowever; foras we have
already saidit was a very dark December night. Not more than two
or three stars were visible in the sky.

It is at this point that the ascent of the hill begins. The man did
not return to the road to Montfermeil; he struck across the fields
to the rightand entered the forest with long strides.

Once in the forest he slackened his paceand began a careful
examination of all the treesadvancingstep by stepas though
seeking and following a mysterious road known to himself alone.
There came a moment when he appeared to lose himselfand he paused
in indecision. At last he arrivedby dint of feeling his way inch
by inchat a clearing where there was a great heap of whitish stones.
He stepped up briskly to these stonesand examined them attentively
through the mists of nightas though he were passing them in review.
A large treecovered with those excrescences which are the warts
of vegetationstood a few paces distant from the pile of stones.
He went up to this tree and passed his hand over the bark of the trunk
as though seeking to recognize and count all the warts.

Opposite this treewhich was an ashthere was a chestnut-tree
suffering from a peeling of the barkto which a band of zinc
had been nailed by way of dressing. He raised himself on tiptoe
and touched this band of zinc.

Then he trod about for awhile on the ground comprised in the space
between the tree and the heap of stoneslike a person who is trying
to assure himself that the soil has not recently been disturbed.

That donehe took his bearingsand resumed his march through
the forest.

It was the man who had just met Cosette.

As he walked through the thicket in the direction of Montfermeil
he had espied that tiny shadow moving with a groandepositing a
burden on the groundthen taking it up and setting out again.
He drew nearand perceived that it was a very young child
laden with an enormous bucket of water. Then he approached the child
and silently grasped the handle of the bucket.



Cosetteas we have saidwas not frightened.

The man accosted her. He spoke in a voice that was grave and almost bass.

My child, what you are carrying is very heavy for you.
Cosette raised her head and replied:--

Yes, sir.
Give it to me,said the man; "I will carry it for you."

Cosette let go of the bucket-handle. The man walked along beside her.

It really is very heavy,he muttered between his teeth.
Then he added:-

How old are you, little one?
Eight, sir.

And have you come from far like this?
From the spring in the forest.

Are you going far?
A good quarter of an hour's walk from here.

The man said nothing for a moment; then he remarked abruptly:--
So you have no mother.

I don't know,answered the child.
Before the man had time to speak againshe added:--

I don't think so. Other people have mothers. I have none.
And after a silence she went on:--

I think that I never had any.

The man halted; he set the bucket on the groundbent down and
placed both hands on the child's shouldersmaking an effort
to look at her and to see her face in the dark.

Cosette's thin and sickly face was vaguely outlined by the livid
light in the sky.

What is your name?said the man.


The man seemed to have received an electric shock. He looked at
her once more; then he removed his hands from Cosette's shoulders
seized the bucketand set out again.

After a moment he inquired:-

Where do you live, little one?
At Montfermeil, if you know where that is.

That is where we are going?
Yes, sir.

He paused; then began again:--
Who sent you at such an hour to get water in the forest?
It was Madame Thenardier.
The man resumedin a voice which he strove to render indifferent

but in which there wasneverthelessa singular tremor:--
What does your Madame Thenardier do?
She is my mistress,said the child. "She keeps the inn."
The inn?said the man. "WellI am going to lodge there to-night.

Show me the way."
We are on the way there,said the child.
The man walked tolerably fast. Cosette followed him without difficulty.

She no longer felt any fatigue. From time to time she raised

her eyes towards the manwith a sort of tranquillity and an

indescribable confidence. She had never been taught to turn to

Providence and to pray; neverthelessshe felt within her something

which resembled hope and joyand which mounted towards heaven.

Several minutes elapsed. The man resumed:-

Is there no servant in Madame Thenardier's house?

No, sir.

Are you alone there?

Yes, sir.

Another pause ensued. Cosette lifted up her voice:-

That is to say, there are two little girls.

What little girls?

Ponine and Zelma.

This was the way the child simplified the romantic names so dear

to the female Thenardier.
Who are Ponine and Zelma?
They are Madame Thenardier's young ladies; her daughters, as you

would say.
And what do those girls do?
Oh!said the childthey have beautiful dolls; things with gold

in them, all full of affairs. They play; they amuse themselves.
All day long?
Yes, sir.
And you?
I? I work.

All day long?

The child raised her great eyesin which hung a tearwhich was
not visible because of the darknessand replied gently:--
Yes, sir.
After an interval of silence she went on:--
Sometimes, when I have finished my work and they let me,

I amuse myself, too.
How do you amuse yourself?
In the best way I can. They let me alone; but I have not

many playthings. Ponine and Zelma will not let me play with
their dolls. I have only a little lead sword, no longer than that.
The child held up her tiny finger.
And it will not cut?

Yes, sir,said the child; "it cuts salad and the heads of flies."
They reached the village. Cosette guided the stranger through
the streets. They passed the bakeshopbut Cosette did not think
of the bread which she had been ordered to fetch. The man had
ceased to ply her with questionsand now preserved a gloomy silence.

When they had left the church behind themthe manon perceiving
all the open-air boothsasked Cosette:--
So there is a fair going on here?
No, sir; it is Christmas.
As they approached the tavernCosette timidly touched his arm:--
What, my child?
We are quite near the house.
Will you let me take my bucket now?

If Madame sees that some one has carried it for me, she will beat me.
The man handed her the bucket. An instant later they were at
the tavern door.



Cosette could not refrain from casting a sidelong glance at the big doll

which was still displayed at the toy-merchant's; then she knocked.
The door opened. The Thenardier appeared with a candle in her hand.

Ah! so it's you, you little wretch! good mercy, but you've taken
your time! The hussy has been amusing herself!

Madame,said Cosettetrembling all overhere's a gentleman
who wants a lodging.

The Thenardier speedily replaced her gruff air by her amiable grimace
a change of aspect common to tavern-keepersand eagerly sought
the new-comer with her eyes.

This is the gentleman?said she.

Yes, Madame,replied the manraising his hand to his hat.

Wealthy travellers are not so polite. This gestureand an inspection
of the stranger's costume and baggagewhich the Thenardier passed
in review with one glancecaused the amiable grimace to vanish
and the gruff mien to reappear. She resumed dryly:-

Enter, my good man.

The "good man" entered. The Thenardier cast a second glance
at himpaid particular attention to his frock-coatwhich was
absolutely threadbareand to his hatwhich was a little battered
andtossing her headwrinkling her noseand screwing up her eyes
she consulted her husbandwho was still drinking with the carters.
The husband replied by that imperceptible movement of the forefinger
whichbacked up by an inflation of the lipssignifies in such cases:
A regular beggar. Thereuponthe Thenardier exclaimed:-

Ah! see here, my good man; I am very sorry, but I have no room left.

Put me where you like,said the man; "in the atticin the stable.
I will pay as though I occupied a room."

Forty sous.

Forty sous; agreed.

Very well, then!

Forty sous!said a carterin a low toneto the Thenardier woman;
why, the charge is only twenty sous!

It is forty in his case,retorted the Thenardierin the same tone.
I don't lodge poor folks for less.

That's true,added her husbandgently; "it ruins a house to have
such people in it."

In the meantimethe manlaying his bundle and his cudgel on
a benchhad seated himself at a tableon which Cosette made
haste to place a bottle of wine and a glass. The merchant who
had demanded the bucket of water took it to his horse himself.
Cosette resumed her place under the kitchen tableand her knitting.

The manwho had barely moistened his lips in the wine which he had
poured out for himselfobserved the child with peculiar attention.

Cosette was ugly. If she had been happyshe might have been pretty.

We have already given a sketch of that sombre little figure.
Cosette was thin and pale; she was nearly eight years oldbut she
seemed to be hardly six. Her large eyessunken in a sort of shadow
were almost put out with weeping. The corners of her mouth had that
curve of habitual anguish which is seen in condemned persons and
desperately sick people. Her hands wereas her mother had divined
ruined with chilblains.The fire which illuminated her at that
moment brought into relief all the angles of her bonesand rendered
her thinness frightfully apparent. As she was always shivering
she had acquired the habit of pressing her knees one against the other.
Her entire clothing was but a rag which would have inspired pity
in summerand which inspired horror in winter. All she had on was
hole-ridden linennot a scrap of woollen. Her skin was visible
here and there and everywhere black and blue spots could be descried
which marked the places where the Thenardier woman had touched her.
Her naked legs were thin and red. The hollows in her neck were
enough to make one weep. This child's whole personher mien
her attitudethe sound of her voicethe intervals which she
allowed to elapse between one word and the nexther glance
her silenceher slightest gestureexpressed and betrayed one
sole idea--fear.

Fear was diffused all over her; she was covered with itso to speak;
fear drew her elbows close to her hipswithdrew her heels under
her petticoatmade her occupy as little space as possible
allowed her only the breath that was absolutely necessaryand had
become what might be called the habit of her bodyadmitting of no
possible variation except an increase. In the depths of her eyes
there was an astonished nook where terror lurked.

Her fear was suchthat on her arrivalwet as she wasCosette did
not dare to approach the fire and dry herselfbut sat silently
down to her work again.

The expression in the glance of that child of eight years was habitually
so gloomyand at times so tragicthat it seemed at certain moments
as though she were on the verge of becoming an idiot or a demon.

As we have statedshe had never known what it is to pray; she had
never set foot in a church. "Have I the time?" said the Thenardier.

The man in the yellow coat never took his eyes from Cosette.

All at oncethe Thenardier exclaimed:-

By the way, where's that bread?

Cosetteaccording to her custom whenever the Thenardier uplifted
her voiceemerged with great haste from beneath the table.

She had completely forgotten the bread. She had recourse to the
expedient of children who live in a constant state of fear.
She lied.

Madame, the baker's shop was shut.

You should have knocked.

I did knock, Madame.


He did not open the door.

I'll find out to-morrow whether that is true,said the Thenardier;
and if you are telling me a lie, I'll lead you a pretty dance.
In the meantime, give me back my fifteen-sou piece.

Cosette plunged her hand into the pocket of her apronand turned green.
The fifteen-sou piece was not there.

Ah, come now,said Madame Thenardierdid you hear me?

Cosette turned her pocket inside out; there was nothing in it.
What could have become of that money? The unhappy little creature
could not find a word to say. She was petrified.

Have you lost that fifteen-sou piece?screamed the Thenardier
hoarselyor do you want to rob me of it?

At the same timeshe stretched out her arm towards
the cat-o'-nine-tails which hung on a nail in the chimney-corner.

This formidable gesture restored to Cosette sufficient strength
to shriek:--

Mercy, Madame, Madame! I will not do so any more!

The Thenardier took down the whip.

In the meantimethe man in the yellow coat had been fumbling in the
fob of his waistcoatwithout any one having noticed his movements.
Besidesthe other travellers were drinking or playing cards
and were not paying attention to anything.

Cosette contracted herself into a ballwith anguishwithin the
angle of the chimneyendeavoring to gather up and conceal
her poor half-nude limbs. The Thenardier raised her arm.

Pardon me, Madame,said the manbut just now I caught sight
of something which had fallen from this little one's apron pocket,
and rolled aside. Perhaps this is it.

At the same time he bent down and seemed to be searching
on the floor for a moment.

Exactly; here it is,he went onstraightening himself up.

And he held out a silver coin to the Thenardier.

Yes, that's it,said she.

It was not itfor it was a twenty-sou piece; but the Thenardier
found it to her advantage. She put the coin in her pocket
and confined herself to casting a fierce glance at the child
accompanied with the remarkDon't let this ever happen again!

Cosette returned to what the Thenardier called "her kennel
and her large eyes, which were riveted on the traveller,
began to take on an expression such as they had never worn before.
Thus far it was only an innocent amazement, but a sort of stupefied
confidence was mingled with it.

By the waywould you like some supper?" the Thenardier inquired
of the traveller.

He made no reply. He appeared to be absorbed in thought.

What sort of a man is that?she muttered between her teeth.
He's some frightfully poor wretch. He hasn't a sou to pay for
a supper. Will he even pay me for his lodging? It's very lucky,
all the same, that it did not occur to him to steal the money that
was on the floor.

In the meantimea door had openedand Eponine and Azelma entered.

They were two really pretty little girlsmore bourgeois than
peasant in looksand very charming; the one with shining chestnut
tressesthe other with long black braids hanging down her back
both vivaciousneatplumprosyand healthyand a delight
to the eye. They were warmly cladbut with so much maternal art
that the thickness of the stuffs did not detract from the coquetry
of arrangement. There was a hint of winterthough the springtime
was not wholly effaced. Light emanated from these two little beings.
Besides thisthey were on the throne. In their toilettes
in their gayetyin the noise which they madethere was sovereignty.
When they enteredthe Thenardier said to them in a grumbling
tone which was full of adorationAh! there you are, you children!

Then drawing themone after the other to her kneessmoothing
their hairtying their ribbons afreshand then releasing them
with that gentle manner of shaking off which is peculiar to mothers
she exclaimedWhat frights they are!

They went and seated themselves in the chimney-corner. They had
a dollwhich they turned over and over on their knees with all
sorts of joyous chatter. From time to time Cosette raised her eyes
from her knittingand watched their play with a melancholy air.

Eponine and Azelma did not look at Cosette. She was the same
as a dog to them. These three little girls did not yet reckon up
four and twenty years between thembut they already represented
the whole society of man; envy on the one sidedisdain on the other.

The doll of the Thenardier sisters was very much fadedvery old
and much broken; but it seemed none the less admirable to Cosette
who had never had a doll in her lifea real dollto make use
of the expression which all children will understand.

All at oncethe Thenardierwho had been going back and forth
in the roomperceived that Cosette's mind was distractedand that
instead of workingshe was paying attention to the little ones
at their play.

Ah! I've caught you at it!she cried. "So that's the way you work!
I'll make you work to the tune of the whip; that I will."

The stranger turned to the Thenardierwithout quitting his chair.

Bah, Madame,he saidwith an almost timid airlet her play!

Such a wish expressed by a traveller who had eaten a slice of
mutton and had drunk a couple of bottles of wine with his supper
and who had not the air of being frightfully poorwould have been
equivalent to an order. But that a man with such a hat should
permit himself such a desireand that a man with such a coat
should permit himself to have a willwas something which Madame
Thenardier did not intend to tolerate. She retorted with acrimony:-

She must work, since she eats. I don't feed her to do nothing.

What is she making?went on the strangerin a gentle voice

which contrasted strangely with his beggarly garments and his
porter's shoulders.

The Thenardier deigned to reply:--

Stockings, if you please. Stockings for my little girls,
who have none, so to speak, and who are absolutely barefoot just now.

The man looked at Cosette's poor little red feetand continued:-"
When will she have finished this pair of stockings?"

She has at least three or four good days' work on them still,
the lazy creature!

And how much will that pair of stockings be worth when she has
finished them?

The Thenardier cast a glance of disdain on him.

Thirty sous at least.
Will you sell them for five francs?went on the man.

Good heavens!exclaimed a carter who was listeningwith a loud laugh;
five francs! the deuce, I should think so! five balls!

Thenardier thought it time to strike in.

Yes, sir; if such is your fancy, you will be allowed to have that pair
of stockings for five francs. We can refuse nothing to travellers.

You must pay on the spot,said the Thenardierin her curt
and peremptory fashion.

I will buy that pair of stockings,replied the manand,he added
drawing a five-franc piece from his pocketand laying it on the table
I will pay for them.

Then he turned to Cosette.

Now I own your work; play, my child.

The carter was so much touched by the five-franc piecethat he
abandoned his glass and hastened up.

But it's true!he criedexamining it. "A real hind wheel!
and not counterfeit!"

Thenardier approached and silently put the coin in his pocket.

The Thenardier had no reply to make. She bit her lipsand her
face assumed an expression of hatred.
In the meantimeCosette was trembling. She ventured to ask:-

Is it true, Madame? May I play?
Play!said the Thenardierin a terrible voice.

Thanks, Madame,said Cosette.

And while her mouth thanked the Thenardierher whole little soul
thanked the traveller.

Thenardier had resumed his drinking; his wife whispered in his ear:-

Who can this yellow man be?

I have seen millionaires with coats like that,replied Thenardier
in a sovereign manner.

Cosette had dropped her knittingbut had not left her seat.
Cosette always moved as little as possible. She picked up some old
rags and her little lead sword from a box behind her.

Eponine and Azelma paid no attention to what was going on.
They had just executed a very important operation; they had just
got hold of the cat. They had thrown their doll on the ground
and Eponinewho was the elderwas swathing the little catin spite
of its mewing and its contortionsin a quantity of clothes and red
and blue scraps. While performing this serious and difficult work
she was saying to her sister in that sweet and adorable language
of childrenwhose gracelike the splendor of the butterfly's wing
vanishes when one essays to fix it fast.

You see, sister, this doll is more amusing than the other.
She twists, she cries, she is warm. See, sister, let us play with her.
She shall be my little girl. I will be a lady. I will come to
see you, and you shall look at her. Gradually, you will perceive
her whiskers, and that will surprise you. And then you will see
her ears, and then you will see her tail and it will amaze you.
And you will say to me, `Ah! Mon Dieu!' and I will say to you:
`Yes, Madame, it is my little girl. Little girls are made like that
just at present.'

Azelma listened admiringly to Eponine.

In the meantimethe drinkers had begun to sing an obscene song
and to laugh at it until the ceiling shook. Thenardier accompanied
and encouraged them.

As birds make nests out of everythingso children make a doll
out of anything which comes to hand. While Eponine and Azelma were
bundling up the catCosetteon her sidehad dressed up her sword.
That doneshe laid it in her armsand sang to it softlyto lull
it to sleep.

The doll is one of the most imperious needs andat the same time
one of the most charming instincts of feminine childhood.
To care forto clotheto deckto dressto undressto redress
to teachscold a littleto rockto dandleto lull to sleep
to imagine that something is some one--therein lies the whole
woman's future. While dreaming and chatteringmaking tiny outfits
and baby clotheswhile sewing little gownsand corsages and bodices
the child grows into a young girlthe young girl into a big girl
the big girl into a woman. The first child is the continuation of the
last doll.

A little girl without a doll is almost as unhappyand quite
as impossibleas a woman without children.

So Cosette had made herself a doll out of the sword.

Madame Thenardier approached the yellow man; "My husband is right
she thought; perhaps it is M. Laffitte; there are such queer
rich men!"

She came and set her elbows on the table.

Monsieur,said she. At this wordMonsieurthe man turned;
up to that timethe Thenardier had addressed him only as brave homme
or bonhomme.

You see, sir,she pursuedassuming a sweetish air that was
even more repulsive to behold than her fierce mienI am willing
that the child should play; I do not oppose it, but it is good
for once, because you are generous. You see, she has nothing;
she must needs work.

Then this child is not yours?demanded the man.

Oh! mon Dieu! no, sir! she is a little beggar whom we have taken
in through charity; a sort of imbecile child. She must have water
on the brain; she has a large head, as you see. We do what we
can for her, for we are not rich; we have written in vain to her
native place, and have received no reply these six months.
It must be that her mother is dead.

Ah!said the manand fell into his revery once more.

Her mother didn't amount to much,added the Thenardier;
she abandoned her child.

During the whole of this conversation Cosetteas though warned
by some instinct that she was under discussionhad not taken her
eyes from the Thenardier's face; she listened vaguely; she caught
a few words here and there.

Meanwhilethe drinkersall three-quarters intoxicatedwere repeating
their unclean refrain with redoubled gayety; it was a highly
spiced and wanton songin which the Virgin and the infant Jesus
were introduced. The Thenardier went off to take part in the shouts
of laughter. Cosettefrom her post under the tablegazed at the fire
which was reflected from her fixed eyes. She had begun to rock
the sort of baby which she had madeandas she rocked itshe sang
in a low voiceMy mother is dead! my mother is dead! my mother is dead!

On being urged afresh by the hostessthe yellow manthe millionaire,
consented at last to take supper.

What does Monsieur wish?

Bread and cheese,said the man.

Decidedly, he is a beggarthought Madame Thenardier.

The drunken men were still singing their songand the child under
the table was singing hers.

All at onceCosette paused; she had just turned round and caught
sight of the little Thenardiers' dollwhich they had abandoned for
the cat and had left on the floor a few paces from the kitchen table.

Then she dropped the swaddled swordwhich only half met her needs
and cast her eyes slowly round the room. Madame Thenardier
was whispering to her husband and counting over some money;
Ponine and Zelma were playing with the cat; the travellers were
eating or drinking or singing; not a glance was fixed on her.
She had not a moment to lose; she crept out from under the table on
her hands and kneesmade sure once more that no one was watching her;
then she slipped quickly up to the doll and seized it. An instant

later she was in her place againseated motionlessand only turned
so as to cast a shadow on the doll which she held in her arms.
The happiness of playing with a doll was so rare for her that it
contained all the violence of voluptuousness.

No one had seen herexcept the travellerwho was slowly devouring
his meagre supper.

This joy lasted about a quarter of an hour.

But with all the precautions that Cosette had taken she did not
perceive that one of the doll's legs stuck out and that the fire on
the hearth lighted it up very vividly. That pink and shining foot
projecting from the shadowsuddenly struck the eye of Azelma
who said to EponineLook! sister.

The two little girls paused in stupefaction; Cosette had dared
to take their doll!

Eponine roseandwithout releasing the catshe ran to her mother
and began to tug at her skirt.

Let me alone!said her mother; "what do you want?"

Mother,said the childlook there!

And she pointed to Cosette.

Cosetteabsorbed in the ecstasies of possessionno longer saw
or heard anything.

Madame Thenardier's countenance assumed that peculiar expression
which is composed of the terrible mingled with the trifles of life
and which has caused this style of woman to be named megaeras.

On this occasionwounded pride exasperated her wrath still further.
Cosette had overstepped all bounds; Cosette had laid violent hands
on the doll belonging to "these young ladies." A czarina who should
see a muzhik trying on her imperial son's blue ribbon would wear
no other face.

She shrieked in a voice rendered hoarse with indignation:-


Cosette started as though the earth had trembled beneath her;
she turned round.

Cosette!repeated the Thenardier.

Cosette took the doll and laid it gently on the floor with a
sort of venerationmingled with despair; thenwithout taking
her eyes from itshe clasped her handsandwhat is terrible
to relate of a child of that ageshe wrung them; then--not one
of the emotions of the dayneither the trip to the forest
nor the weight of the bucket of waternor the loss of the money
nor the sight of the whipnor even the sad words which she had
heard Madame Thenardier utter had been able to wring this from her-she
wept; she burst out sobbing.

Meanwhilethe traveller had risen to his feet.

What is the matter?he said to the Thenardier.

Don't you see?said the Thenardierpointing to the corpus delicti
which lay at Cosette's feet.

Well, what of it?resumed the man.

That beggar,replied the Thenardierhas permitted herself
to touch the children's doll!

All this noise for that!said the man; "wellwhat if she did
play with that doll?"

She touched it with her dirty hands!pursued the Thenardier
with her frightful hands!

Here Cosette redoubled her sobs.

Will you stop your noise?screamed the Thenardier.

The man went straight to the street dooropened itand stepped out.

As soon as he had gonethe Thenardier profited by his absence
to give Cosette a hearty kick under the tablewhich made the child
utter loud cries.

The door opened againthe man re-appeared; he carried in both
hands the fabulous doll which we have mentionedand which all
the village brats had been staring at ever since the morning
and he set it upright in front of Cosettesaying:-

Here; this is for you.

It must be supposed that in the course of the hour and more which he
had spent there he had taken confused notice through his revery of that
toy shoplighted up by fire-pots and candles so splendidly that it
was visible like an illumination through the window of the drinking-shop.

Cosette raised her eyes; she gazed at the man approaching her
with that doll as she might have gazed at the sun; she heard
the unprecedented wordsIt is for you; she stared at him;
she stared at the doll; then she slowly retreatedand hid herself
at the extreme endunder the table in a corner of the wall.

She no longer cried; she no longer wept; she had the appearance
of no longer daring to breathe.

The ThenardierEponineand Azelma were like statues also;
the very drinkers had paused; a solemn silence reigned through
the whole room.

Madame Thenardierpetrified and muterecommenced her conjectures:
Who is that old fellow? Is he a poor man? Is he a millionaire?
Perhaps he is both; that is to say, a thief.

The face of the male Thenardier presented that expressive fold
which accentuates the human countenance whenever the dominant
instinct appears there in all its bestial force. The tavern-keeper
stared alternately at the doll and at the traveller; he seemed to be
scenting out the manas he would have scented out a bag of money.
This did not last longer than the space of a flash of lightning.
He stepped up to his wife and said to her in a low voice:-

That machine costs at least thirty francs. No nonsense.
Down on your belly before that man!

Gross natures have this in common with naive naturesthat they
possess no transition state.

Well, Cosette,said the Thenardierin a voice that strove to be sweet
and which was composed of the bitter honey of malicious women
aren't you going to take your doll?

Cosette ventured to emerge from her hole.

The gentleman has given you a doll, my little Cosette,
said Thenardierwith a caressing air. "Take it; it is yours."

Cosette gazed at the marvellous doll in a sort of terror.
Her face was still flooded with tearsbut her eyes began to fill
like the sky at daybreakwith strange beams of joy. What she felt
at that moment was a little like what she would have felt if she
had been abruptly toldLittle one, you are the Queen of France.

It seemed to her that if she touched that dolllightning would
dart from it.

This was trueup to a certain pointfor she said to herself
that the Thenardier would scold and beat her.

Neverthelessthe attraction carried the day. She ended by drawing
near and murmuring timidly as she turned towards Madame Thenardier:--

May I, Madame?

No words can render that airat once despairingterrifiedand ecstatic.

Pardi!cried the Thenardierit is yours. The gentleman has
given it to you.

Truly, sir?said Cosette. "Is it true? Is the `lady' mine?"

The stranger's eyes seemed to be full of tears. He appeared
to have reached that point of emotion where a man does not speak
for fear lest he should weep. He nodded to Cosetteand placed
the "lady's" hand in her tiny hand.

Cosette hastily withdrew her handas though that of the "lady"
scorched herand began to stare at the floor. We are forced
to add that at that moment she stuck out her tongue immoderately.
All at once she wheeled round and seized the doll in a transport.

I shall call her Catherine,she said.

It was an odd moment when Cosette's rags met and clasped the ribbons
and fresh pink muslins of the doll.

Madame,she resumedmay I put her on a chair?

Yes, my child,replied the Thenardier.

It was now the turn of Eponine and Azelma to gaze at Cosette with envy.

Cosette placed Catherine on a chairthen seated herself on the floor
in front of herand remained motionlesswithout uttering a word
in an attitude of contemplation.

Play, Cosette,said the stranger.

Oh! I am playing,returned the child.

This strangerthis unknown individualwho had the air of a
visit which Providence was making on Cosettewas the person
whom the Thenardier hated worse than any one in the world at
that moment. Howeverit was necessary to control herself.
Habituated as she was to dissimulation through endeavoring to copy
her husband in all his actionsthese emotions were more than
she could endure. She made haste to send her daughters to bed
then she asked the man's permission to send Cosette off also;
for she has worked hard all day,she added with a maternal air.
Cosette went off to bedcarrying Catherine in her arms.

From time to time the Thenardier went to the other end of the
room where her husband wasto relieve her soulas she said.
She exchanged with her husband words which were all the more furious
because she dared not utter them aloud.

Old beast! What has he got in his belly, to come and upset us
in this manner! To want that little monster to play! to give away
forty-franc dolls to a jade that I would sell for forty sous,
so I would! A little more and he will be saying Your Majesty to her,
as though to the Duchess de Berry! Is there any sense in it?
Is he mad, then, that mysterious old fellow?

Why! it is perfectly simple,replied Thenardierif that amuses him!
It amuses you to have the little one work; it amuses him to have
her play. He's all right. A traveller can do what he pleases
when he pays for it. If the old fellow is a philanthropist,
what is that to you? If he is an imbecile, it does not concern you.
What are you worrying for, so long as he has money?

The language of a masterand the reasoning of an innkeeper
neither of which admitted of any reply.

The man had placed his elbows on the tableand resumed his
thoughtful attitude. All the other travellersboth pedlers
and cartershad withdrawn a littleand had ceased singing.
They were staring at him from a distancewith a sort of respectful awe.
This poorly dressed manwho drew "hind-wheels" from his pocket with
so much easeand who lavished gigantic dolls on dirty little brats
in wooden shoeswas certainly a magnificent fellowand one to be feared.

Many hours passed. The midnight mass was overthe chimes had ceased
the drinkers had taken their departurethe drinking-shop was closed
the public room was desertedthe fire extinctthe stranger still
remained in the same place and the same attitude. From time
to time he changed the elbow on which he leaned. That was all;
but he had not said a word since Cosette had left the room.

The Thenardiers aloneout of politeness and curiosityhad remained
in the room.

Is he going to pass the night in that fashion?grumbled the Thenardier.
When two o'clock in the morning struckshe declared herself vanquished
and said to her husbandI'm going to bed. Do as you like.
Her husband seated himself at a table in the cornerlighted a candle
and began to read the Courrier Francais.

A good hour passed thus. The worthy inn-keeper had perused the
Courrier Francais at least three timesfrom the date of the number
to the printer's name. The stranger did not stir.

Thenardier fidgetedcoughedspitblew his noseand creaked
his chair. Not a movement on the man's part. "Is he asleep?"

thought Thenardier. The man was not asleepbut nothing could
arouse him.

At last Thenardier took off his capstepped gently up to him
and ventured to say:--

Is not Monsieur going to his repose?

Not going to bed would have seemed to him excessive and familiar.
To repose smacked of luxury and respect. These words possess
the mysterious and admirable property of swelling the bill on
the following day. A chamber where one sleeps costs twenty sous;
a chamber in which one reposes costs twenty francs.

Well!said the strangeryou are right. Where is your stable?

Sir!exclaimed Thenardierwith a smileI will conduct you, sir.

He took the candle; the man picked up his bundle and cudgel
and Thenardier conducted him to a chamber on the first floor
which was of rare splendorall furnished in mahoganywith a
low bedsteadcurtained with red calico.

What is this?said the traveller.

It is really our bridal chamber,said the tavern-keeper. "My wife
and I occupy another. This is only entered three or four times
a year."

I should have liked the stable quite as well,said the manabruptly.

Thenardier pretended not to hear this unamiable remark.

He lighted two perfectly fresh wax candles which figured on
the chimney-piece. A very good fire was flickering on the hearth.

On the chimney-pieceunder a glass globestood a woman's head-dress
in silver wire and orange flowers.

And what is this?resumed the stranger.

That, sir,said Thenardieris my wife's wedding bonnet.

The traveller surveyed the object with a glance which seemed to say
There really was a time, then, when that monster was a maiden?

Thenardier liedhowever. When he had leased this paltry building
for the purpose of converting it into a tavernhe had found
this chamber decorated in just this mannerand had purchased
the furniture and obtained the orange flowers at second hand
with the idea that this would cast a graceful shadow on "his spouse
and would result in what the English call respectability for his house.

When the traveller turned round, the host had disappeared.
Thenardier had withdrawn discreetly, without venturing to wish him
a good night, as he did not wish to treat with disrespectful cordiality
a man whom he proposed to fleece royally the following morning.

The inn-keeper retired to his room. His wife was in bed, but she
was not asleep. When she heard her husband's step she turned
over and said to him:--

Do you knowI'm going to turn Cosette out of doors to-morrow."

Thenardier replied coldly:-

How you do go on!

They exchanged no further wordsand a few moments later their
candle was extinguished.

As for the travellerhe had deposited his cudgel and his bundle
in a corner. The landlord once gonehe threw himself into
an arm-chair and remained for some time buried in thought.
Then he removed his shoestook one of the two candles
blew out the otheropened the doorand quitted the room
gazing about him like a person who is in search of something.
He traversed a corridor and came upon a staircase. There he heard
a very faint and gentle sound like the breathing of a child.
He followed this soundand came to a sort of triangular recess built
under the staircaseor rather formed by the staircase itself.
This recess was nothing else than the space under the steps.
Therein the midst of all sorts of old papers and potsherds
among dust and spiders' webswas a bed--if one can call by the name
of bed a straw pallet so full of holes as to display the straw
and a coverlet so tattered as to show the pallet. No sheets.
This was placed on the floor.

In this bed Cosette was sleeping.

The man approached and gazed down upon her.

Cosette was in a profound sleep; she was fully dressed. In the
winter she did not undressin order that she might not be so cold.

Against her breast was pressed the dollwhose large eyeswide open
glittered in the dark. From time to time she gave vent to a deep
sigh as though she were on the point of wakingand she strained
the doll almost convulsively in her arms. Beside her bed there
was only one of her wooden shoes.

A door which stood open near Cosette's pallet permitted a view
of a rather largedark room. The stranger stepped into it.
At the further extremitythrough a glass doorhe saw two small
very white beds. They belonged to Eponine and Azelma.
Behind these bedsand half hiddenstood an uncurtained wicker cradle
in which the little boy who had cried all the evening lay asleep.

The stranger conjectured that this chamber connected with that of
the Thenardier pair. He was on the point of retreating when his
eye fell upon the fireplace--one of those vast tavern chimneys
where there is always so little fire when there is any fire at all
and which are so cold to look at. There was no fire in this one
there was not even ashes; but there was something which attracted
the stranger's gazenevertheless. It was two tiny children's shoes
coquettish in shape and unequal in size. The traveller recalled
the graceful and immemorial custom in accordance with which children
place their shoes in the chimney on Christmas evethere to await
in the darkness some sparkling gift from their good fairy.
Eponine and Azelma had taken care not to omit thisand each of them
had set one of her shoes on the hearth.

The traveller bent over them.

The fairythat is to saytheir motherhad already paid her visit
and in each he saw a brand-new and shining ten-sou piece.

The man straightened himself upand was on the point of withdrawing

when far inin the darkest corner of the hearthhe caught sight
of another object. He looked at itand recognized a wooden shoe
a frightful shoe of the coarsest descriptionhalf dilapidated
and all covered with ashes and dried mud. It was Cosette's sabot.
Cosettewith that touching trust of childhoodwhich can always
be deceived yet never discouragedhad placed her shoe on the
hearth-stone also.

Hope in a child who has never known anything but despair is a sweet
and touching thing.

There was nothing in this wooden shoe.

The stranger fumbled in his waistcoatbent over and placed a louis
d'or in Cosette's shoe.

Then he regained his own chamber with the stealthy tread of a wolf.



On the following morningtwo hours at least before day-breakThenardier
seated beside a candle in the public room of the tavernpen in hand
was making out the bill for the traveller with the yellow coat.

His wifestanding beside himand half bent over himwas following
him with her eyes. They exchanged not a word. On the one hand
there was profound meditationon the otherthe religious
admiration with which one watches the birth and development
of a marvel of the human mind. A noise was audible in the house;
it was the Lark sweeping the stairs.

After the lapse of a good quarter of an hourand some erasures
Thenardier produced the following masterpiece:-


Supper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 francs.
Chamber . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 "
Candle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 "
Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 "
Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 "

. . . . . . 23 francs.

Service was written servisse.

Twenty-three francs!cried the womanwith an enthusiasm which
was mingled with some hesitation.

Like all great artistsThenardier was dissatisfied.

Peuh!he exclaimed.

It was the accent of Castlereagh auditing France's bill at the
Congress of Vienna.

Monsieur Thenardier, you are right; he certainly owes that,
murmured the wifewho was thinking of the doll bestowed on Cosette

in the presence of her daughters. "It is justbut it is too much.
He will not pay it."

Thenardier laughed coldlyas usualand said:--

He will pay.

This laugh was the supreme assertion of certainty and authority.
That which was asserted in this manner must needs be so. His wife did
not insist.

She set about arranging the table; her husband paced the room.
A moment later he added:--

I owe full fifteen hundred francs!

He went and seated himself in the chimney-cornermeditating
with his feet among the warm ashes.

Ah! by the way,resumed his wifeyou don't forget that I'm
going to turn Cosette out of doors to-day? The monster! She breaks
my heart with that doll of hers! I'd rather marry Louis XVIII.
than keep her another day in the house!

Thenardier lighted his pipeand replied between two puffs:--

You will hand that bill to the man.

Then he went out.

Hardly had he left the room when the traveller entered.

Thenardier instantly reappeared behind him and remained motionless
in the half-open doorvisible only to his wife.

The yellow man carried his bundle and his cudgel in his hand.

Up so early?said Madame Thenardier; "is Monsieur leaving us already?"

As she spoke thusshe was twisting the bill about in her hands
with an embarrassed airand making creases in it with her nails.
Her hard face presented a shade which was not habitual with it--
timidity and scruples.

To present such a bill to a man who had so completely the air "of
a poor wretch" seemed difficult to her.

The traveller appeared to be preoccupied and absent-minded. He replied:--

Yes, Madame, I am going.

So Monsieur has no business in Montfermeil?

No, I was passing through. That is all. What do I owe you,
Madame,he added.

The Thenardier silently handed him the folded bill.

The man unfolded the paper and glanced at it; but his thoughts
were evidently elsewhere.

Madame,he resumedis business good here in Montfermeil?

So so, Monsieur,replied the Thenardierstupefied at not

witnessing another sort of explosion.

She continuedin a dreary and lamentable tone:-

Oh! Monsieur, times are so hard! and then, we have so few bourgeois
in the neighborhood! All the people are poor, you see. If we had not,
now and then, some rich and generous travellers like Monsieur,
we should not get along at all. We have so many expenses. Just see,
that child is costing us our very eyes.

What child?

Why, the little one, you know! Cosette--the Lark, as she
is called hereabouts!

Ah!said the man.

She went on:--

How stupid these peasants are with their nicknames! She has more
the air of a bat than of a lark. You see, sir, we do not ask charity,
and we cannot bestow it. We earn nothing and we have to pay out
a great deal. The license, the imposts, the door and window tax,
the hundredths! Monsieur is aware that the government demands
a terrible deal of money. And then, I have my daughters.
I have no need to bring up other people's children.

The man resumedin that voice which he strove to render indifferent
and in which there lingered a tremor:--

What if one were to rid you of her?

Who? Cosette?


The landlady's red and violent face brightened up hideously.

Ah! sir, my dear sir, take her, keep her, lead her off,
carry her away, sugar her, stuff her with truffles, drink her,
eat her, and the blessings of the good holy Virgin and of all
the saints of paradise be upon you!


Really! You will take her away?

I will take her away.


Immediately. Call the child.

Cosette!screamed the Thenardier.

In the meantime,pursued the manI will pay you what I owe you.
How much is it?

He cast a glance on the billand could not restrain a start
of surprise:--

Twenty-three francs!

He looked at the landladyand repeated:--

Twenty-three francs?

There was in the enunciation of these wordsthus repeated
an accent between an exclamation and an interrogation point.

The Thenardier had had time to prepare herself for the shock.
She repliedwith assurance:-

Good gracious, yes, sir, it is twenty-three francs.

The stranger laid five five-franc pieces on the table.

Go and get the child,said he.

At that moment Thenardier advanced to the middle of the room
and said:-

Monsieur owes twenty-six sous.

Twenty-six sous!exclaimed his wife.

Twenty sous for the chamber,resumed Thenardiercoldlyand six
sous for his supper. As for the child, I must discuss that matter
a little with the gentleman. Leave us, wife.

Madame Thenardier was dazzled as with the shock caused by unexpected
lightning flashes of talent. She was conscious that a great actor
was making his entrance on the stageuttered not a word in reply
and left the room.

As soon as they were aloneThenardier offered the traveller a chair.
The traveller seated himself; Thenardier remained standing
and his face assumed a singular expression of good-fellowship
and simplicity.

Sir,said hewhat I have to say to you is this, that I adore
that child.

The stranger gazed intently at him.

What child?

Thenardier continued:-

How strange it is, one grows attached. What money is that?
Take back your hundred-sou piece. I adore the child.

Whom do you mean?demanded the stranger.

Eh! our little Cosette! Are you not intending to take her away
from us? Well, I speak frankly; as true as you are an honest man,
I will not consent to it. I shall miss that child. I saw her first
when she was a tiny thing. It is true that she costs us money;
it is true that she has her faults; it is true that we are not rich;
it is true that I have paid out over four hundred francs for
drugs for just one of her illnesses! But one must do something
for the good God's sake. She has neither father nor mother.
I have brought her up. I have bread enough for her and for myself.
In truth, I think a great deal of that child. You understand,
one conceives an affection for a person; I am a good sort of
a beast, I am; I do not reason; I love that little girl; my wife
is quick-tempered, but she loves her also. You see, she is just
the same as our own child. I want to keep her to babble about

the house.

The stranger kept his eye intently fixed on Thenardier.
The latter continued:--

Excuse me, sir, but one does not give away one's child to a
passer-by, like that. I am right, am I not? Still, I don't say--
you are rich; you have the air of a very good man,--if it were
for her happiness. But one must find out that. You understand:
suppose that I were to let her go and to sacrifice myself,
I should like to know what becomes of her; I should not wish to
lose sight of her; I should like to know with whom she is living,
so that I could go to see her from time to time; so that she may know
that her good foster-father is alive, that he is watching over her.
In short, there are things which are not possible. I do not even
know your name. If you were to take her away, I should say:
`Well, and the Lark, what has become of her?' One must, at least,
see some petty scrap of paper, some trifle in the way of a passport,
you know!

The strangerstill surveying him with that gaze which penetrates
as the saying goesto the very depths of the consciencereplied in
a gravefirm voice:--

Monsieur Thenardier, one does not require a passport to travel five
leagues from Paris. If I take Cosette away, I shall take her away,
and that is the end of the matter. You will not know my name,
you will not know my residence, you will not know where she is;
and my intention is that she shall never set eyes on you again
so long as she lives. I break the thread which binds her foot,
and she departs. Does that suit you? Yes or no?

Since geniuseslike demonsrecognize the presence of a superior
God by certain signsThenardier comprehended that he had to deal
with a very strong person. It was like an intuition; he comprehended
it with his clear and sagacious promptitude. While drinking with
the carterssmokingand singing coarse songs on the preceding evening
he had devoted the whole of the time to observing the stranger
watching him like a catand studying him like a mathematician.
He had watched himboth on his own accountfor the pleasure of
the thingand through instinctand had spied upon him as though
he had been paid for so doing. Not a movementnot a gesture
on the part of the man in the yellow great-coat had escaped him.
Even before the stranger had so clearly manifested his interest
in CosetteThenardier had divined his purpose. He had caught
the old man's deep glances returning constantly to the child.
Who was this man? Why this interest? Why this hideous costume
when he had so much money in his purse? Questions which he put to
himself without being able to solve themand which irritated him.
He had pondered it all night long. He could not be Cosette's father.
Was he her grandfather? Then why not make himself known at once?
When one has a rightone asserts it. This man evidently had no
right over Cosette. What was itthen? Thenardier lost himself
in conjectures. He caught glimpses of everythingbut he saw nothing.
Be that as it mayon entering into conversation with the man
sure that there was some secret in the casethat the latter had
some interest in remaining in the shadowhe felt himself strong;
when he perceived from the stranger's clear and firm retort
that this mysterious personage was mysterious in so simple a way
he became conscious that he was weak. He had expected nothing
of the sort. His conjectures were put to the rout. He rallied
his ideas. He weighed everything in the space of a second.
Thenardier was one of those men who take in a situation at a glance.
He decided that the moment had arrived for proceeding straightforward

and quickly at that. He did as great leaders do at the decisive moment
which they know that they alone recognize; he abruptly unmasked his

Sir,said heI am in need of fifteen hundred francs.

The stranger took from his side pocket an old pocketbook of black leather
opened itdrew out three bank-billswhich he laid on the table.
Then he placed his large thumb on the notes and said to the inn-keeper:-

Go and fetch Cosette.

While this was taking placewhat had Cosette been doing?

On waking upCosette had run to get her shoe. In it she had
found the gold piece. It was not a Napoleon; it was one of those
perfectly new twenty-franc pieces of the Restorationon whose
effigy the little Prussian queue had replaced the laurel wreath.
Cosette was dazzled. Her destiny began to intoxicate her.
She did not know what a gold piece was; she had never seen one;
she hid it quickly in her pocketas though she had stolen it.
Stillshe felt that it really was hers; she guessed whence her gift
had comebut the joy which she experienced was full of fear.
She was happy; above all she was stupefied. Such magnificent
and beautiful things did not appear real. The doll frightened her
the gold piece frightened her. She trembled vaguely in the presence
of this magnificence. The stranger alone did not frighten her.
On the contraryhe reassured her. Ever since the preceding evening
amid all her amazementeven in her sleepshe had been thinking
in her little childish mind of that man who seemed to be so poor
and so sadand who was so rich and so kind. Everything had
changed for her since she had met that good man in the forest.
Cosetteless happy than the most insignificant swallow of heaven
had never known what it was to take refuge under a mother's shadow
and under a wing. For the last five yearsthat is to sayas far
back as her memory ranthe poor child had shivered and trembled.
She had always been exposed completely naked to the sharp wind
of adversity; now it seemed to her she was clothed. Formerly her
soul had seemed coldnow it was warm. Cosette was no longer
afraid of the Thenardier. She was no longer alone; there was some
one there.

She hastily set about her regular morning duties. That louis
which she had about herin the very apron pocket whence the fifteen-sou
piece had fallen on the night beforedistracted her thoughts.
She dared not touch itbut she spent five minutes in gazing at it
with her tongue hanging outif the truth must be told. As she
swept the staircaseshe pausedremained standing there motionless
forgetful of her broom and of the entire universeoccupied in gazing
at that star which was blazing at the bottom of her pocket.

It was during one of these periods of contemplation that the
Thenardier joined her. She had gone in search of Cosette at her
husband's orders. What was quite unprecedentedshe neither
struck her nor said an insulting word to her.

Cosette,she saidalmost gentlycome immediately.

An instant later Cosette entered the public room.

The stranger took up the bundle which he had brought and untied it.
This bundle contained a little woollen gownan aprona fustian bodice
a kerchiefa petticoatwoollen stockingsshoes--a complete outfit
for a girl of seven years. All was black.

My child,said the mantake these, and go and dress yourself quickly.

Daylight was appearing when those of the inhabitants of Montfermeil
who had begun to open their doors beheld a poorly clad old man
leading a little girl dressed in mourningand carrying a pink
doll in her armspass along the road to Paris. They were going
in the direction of Livry.

It was our man and Cosette.

No one knew the man; as Cosette was no longer in ragsmany did
not recognize her. Cosette was going away. With whom? She did
not know. Whither? She knew not. All that she understood was
that she was leaving the Thenardier tavern behind her. No one had
thought of bidding her farewellnor had she thought of taking
leave of any one. She was leaving that hated and hating house.

Poorgentle creaturewhose heart had been repressed up to that hour!

Cosette walked along gravelywith her large eyes wide open
and gazing at the sky. She had put her louis in the pocket of her
new apron. From time to timeshe bent down and glanced at it;
then she looked at the good man. She felt something as though she
were beside the good God.



Madame Thenardier had allowed her husband to have his own way
as was her wont. She had expected great results. When the man
and Cosette had taken their departureThenardier allowed a full
quarter of an hour to elapse; then he took her aside and showed
her the fifteen hundred francs.

Is that all?said she.

It was the first time since they had set up housekeeping that she
had dared to criticise one of the master's acts.

The blow told.

You are right, in sooth,said he; "I am a fool. Give me my hat."

He folded up the three bank-billsthrust them into his pocketand ran
out in all haste; but he made a mistake and turned to the right first.
Some neighborsof whom he made inquiriesput him on the track again;
the Lark and the man had been seen going in the direction of Livry.
He followed these hintswalking with great stridesand talking
to himself the while:-

That man is evidently a million dressed in yellow, and I am an animal.
First he gave twenty sous, then five francs, then fifty francs,
then fifteen hundred francs, all with equal readiness. He would
have given fifteen thousand francs. But I shall overtake him.

And thenthat bundle of clothes prepared beforehand for the child;
all that was singular; many mysteries lay concealed under it.
One does not let mysteries out of one's hand when one has once
grasped them. The secrets of the wealthy are sponges of gold;

one must know how to subject them to pressure. All these thoughts
whirled through his brain. "I am an animal said he.

When one leaves Montfermeil and reaches the turn which the road
takes that runs to Livry, it can be seen stretching out before
one to a great distance across the plateau. On arriving there,
he calculated that he ought to be able to see the old man and
the child. He looked as far as his vision reached, and saw nothing.
He made fresh inquiries, but he had wasted time. Some passers-by
informed him that the man and child of whom he was in search had
gone towards the forest in the direction of Gagny. He hastened
in that direction.

They were far in advance of him; but a child walks slowly, and he
walked fast; and then, he was well acquainted with the country.

All at once he paused and dealt himself a blow on his forehead
like a man who has forgotten some essential point and who is ready
to retrace his steps.

I ought to have taken my gun said he to himself.

Thenardier was one of those double natures which sometimes pass
through our midst without our being aware of the fact, and who
disappear without our finding them out, because destiny has only
exhibited one side of them. It is the fate of many men to live
thus half submerged. In a calm and even situation, Thenardier
possessed all that is required to make--we will not say to be-what
people have agreed to call an honest trader, a good bourgeois.
At the same time certain circumstances being given, certain shocks
arriving to bring his under-nature to the surface, he had all
the requisites for a blackguard. He was a shopkeeper in whom
there was some taint of the monster. Satan must have occasionally
crouched down in some corner of the hovel in which Thenardier dwelt,
and have fallen a-dreaming in the presence of this hideous masterpiece.

After a momentary hesitation:-

Bah!" he thought; "they will have time to make their escape."

And he pursued his roadwalking rapidly straight aheadand with
almost an air of certaintywith the sagacity of a fox scenting
a covey of partridges.

In truthwhen he had passed the ponds and had traversed in an oblique
direction the large clearing which lies on the right of the Avenue
de Bellevueand reached that turf alley which nearly makes the circuit
of the hilland covers the arch of the ancient aqueduct of the Abbey
of Chelleshe caught sightover the top of the brushwoodof the hat
on which he had already erected so many conjectures; it was that
man's hat. The brushwood was not high. Thenardier recognized the fact
that the man and Cosette were sitting there. The child could not be
seen on account of her small sizebut the head of her doll was visible.

Thenardier was not mistaken. The man was sitting there
and letting Cosette get somewhat rested. The inn-keeper walked
round the brushwood and presented himself abruptly to the eyes
of those whom he was in search of.

Pardon, excuse me, sir,he saidquite breathlessbut here
are your fifteen hundred francs.

So sayinghe handed the stranger the three bank-bills.

The man raised his eyes.

What is the meaning of this?

Thenardier replied respectfully:-

It means, sir, that I shall take back Cosette.

Cosette shudderedand pressed close to the old man.

He repliedgazing to the very bottom of Thenardier's eyes the while
and enunciating every syllable distinctly:--

You are go-ing to take back Co-sette?

Yes, sir, I am. I will tell you; I have considered the matter.
In fact, I have not the right to give her to you. I am an honest man,
you see; this child does not belong to me; she belongs to her mother.
It was her mother who confided her to me; I can only resign her
to her mother. You will say to me, `But her mother is dead.'
Good; in that case I can only give the child up to the person
who shall bring me a writing, signed by her mother, to the effect
that I am to hand the child over to the person therein mentioned;
that is clear.

The manwithout making any replyfumbled in his pocketand Thenardier
beheld the pocket-book of bank-bills make its appearance once more.

The tavern-keeper shivered with joy.

Good!thought he; "let us hold firm; he is going to bribe me!"

Before opening the pocket-bookthe traveller cast a glance about him:
the spot was absolutely deserted; there was not a soul either in the
woods or in the valley. The man opened his pocket-book once more
and drew from itnot the handful of bills which Thenardier expected
but a simple little paperwhich he unfolded and presented fully
open to the inn-keepersaying:--

You are right; read!

Thenardier took the paper and read:--

M. SUR M., March 25, 1823.

will deliver Cosette to this person.
You will be paid for all the little things.
I have the honor to salute you with respect


You know that signature?resumed the man.

It certainly was Fantine's signature; Thenardier recognized it.

There was no reply to make; he experienced two violent vexations
the vexation of renouncing the bribery which he had hoped for
and the vexation of being beaten; the man added:-

You may keep this paper as your receipt.

Thenardier retreated in tolerably good order.

This signature is fairly well imitated,he growled between his teeth;

however, let it go!

Then he essayed a desperate effort.

It is well, sir,he saidsince you are the person, but I must
be paid for all those little things. A great deal is owing to me.

The man rose to his feetfilliping the dust from his thread-bare sleeve:--

Monsieur Thenardier, in January last, the mother reckoned that she owed
you one hundred and twenty francs. In February, you sent her a bill
of five hundred francs; you received three hundred francs at the end
of February, and three hundred francs at the beginning of March.
Since then nine months have elapsed, at fifteen francs a month,
the price agreed upon, which makes one hundred and thirty-five francs.
You had received one hundred francs too much; that makes thirty-five
still owing you. I have just given you fifteen hundred francs.

Thenardier's sensations were those of the wolf at the moment when he
feels himself nipped and seized by the steel jaw of the trap.

Who is this devil of a man?he thought.

He did what the wolf does: he shook himself. Audacity had succeeded
with him once.

Monsieur-I-don't-know-your-name,he said resolutelyand this
time casting aside all respectful ceremonyI shall take back
Cosette if you do not give me a thousand crowns.

The stranger said tranquilly:--

Come, Cosette.

He took Cosette by his left handand with his right he picked up
his cudgelwhich was lying on the ground.

Thenardier noted the enormous size of the cudgel and the solitude
of the spot.

The man plunged into the forest with the childleaving the inn-keeper
motionless and speechless.

While they were walking awayThenardier scrutinized his huge shoulders
which were a little roundedand his great fists.

Thenbringing his eyes back to his own personthey fell upon his
feeble arms and his thin hands. "I really must have been exceedingly
stupid not to have thought to bring my gun he said to himself,
since I was going hunting!"

Howeverthe inn-keeper did not give up.

I want to know where he is going,said heand he set out to
follow them at a distance. Two things were left on his hands
an irony in the shape of the paper signed Fantineand a consolation
the fifteen hundred francs.

The man led Cosette off in the direction of Livry and Bondy.
He walked slowlywith drooping headin an attitude of reflection
and sadness. The winter had thinned out the forestso that Thenardier
did not lose them from sightalthough he kept at a good distance.
The man turned round from time to timeand looked to see if he
was being followed. All at once he caught sight of Thenardier.

He plunged suddenly into the brushwood with Cosettewhere they could
both hide themselves. "The deuce!" said Thenardierand he redoubled
his pace.

The thickness of the undergrowth forced him to draw nearer to them.
When the man had reached the densest part of the thicket
he wheeled round. It was in vain that Thenardier sought to conceal
himself in the branches; he could not prevent the man seeing him.
The man cast upon him an uneasy glancethen elevated his head
and continued his course. The inn-keeper set out again in pursuit.
Thus they continued for two or three hundred paces. All at once
the man turned round once more; he saw the inn-keeper. This time
he gazed at him with so sombre an air that Thenardier decided
that it was "useless" to proceed further. Thenardier retraced
his steps.



Jean Valjean was not dead.

When he fell into the seaor ratherwhen he threw himself into it
he was not ironedas we have seen. He swam under water until
he reached a vessel at anchorto which a boat was moored.
He found means of hiding himself in this boat until night.
At night he swam off againand reached the shore a little way from
Cape Brun. Thereas he did not lack moneyhe procured clothing.
A small country-house in the neighborhood of Balaguier was at that
time the dressing-room of escaped convicts--a lucrative specialty.
Then Jean Valjeanlike all the sorry fugitives who are seeking to
evade the vigilance of the law and social fatalitypursued an obscure
and undulating itinerary. He found his first refuge at Pradeaux
near Beausset. Then he directed his course towards Grand-Villard
near Brianconin the Hautes-Alpes. It was a fumbling and uneasy flight--
a mole's trackwhose branchings are untraceable. Later onsome trace
of his passage into Ainin the territory of Civrieuxwas discovered;
in the Pyreneesat Accons; at the spot called Grange-de-Doumec
near the market of Chavaillesand in the environs of Perigueux
at Bruniescanton of La Chapelle-Gonaguet. He reached Paris.
We have just seen him at Montfermeil.

His first care on arriving in Paris had been to buy mourning clothes
for a little girl of from seven to eight years of age; then to procure
a lodging. That donehe had betaken himself to Montfermeil.
It will be remembered that alreadyduring his preceding escape
he had made a mysterious trip thitheror somewhere in that neighborhood
of which the law had gathered an inkling.

Howeverhe was thought to be deadand this still further
increased the obscurity which had gathered about him. At Paris
one of the journals which chronicled the fact fell into his hands.
He felt reassured and almost at peaceas though he had really
been dead.

On the evening of the day when Jean Valjean rescued Cosette from
the claws of the Thenardiershe returned to Paris. He re-entered
it at nightfallwith the childby way of the Barrier Monceaux.
There he entered a cabrioletwhich took him to the esplanade
of the Observatoire. There he got outpaid the coachman
took Cosette by the handand together they directed their steps

through the darkness--through the deserted streets which adjoin
the Ourcine and the Glacieretowards the Boulevard de l'Hopital.

The day had been strange and filled with emotions for Cosette.
They had eaten some bread and cheese purchased in isolated taverns
behind hedges; they had changed carriages frequently; they had
travelled short distances on foot. She made no complaintbut she
was wearyand Jean Valjean perceived it by the way she dragged
more and more on his hand as she walked. He took her on his back.
Cosettewithout letting go of Catherinelaid her head on Jean
Valjean's shoulderand there fell asleep.




Forty years agoa rambler who had ventured into that unknown
country of the Salpetriereand who had mounted to the Barriere
d'Italie by way of the boulevardreached a point where it might
be said that Paris disappeared. It was no longer solitude
for there were passers-by; it was not the countryfor there were
houses and streets; it was not the cityfor the streets had ruts
like highwaysand the grass grew in them; it was not a village
the houses were too lofty. What was itthen? It was an inhabited
spot where there was no one; it was a desert place where there was
some one; it was a boulevard of the great citya street of Paris;
more wild at night than the forestmore gloomy by day than a cemetery.

It was the old quarter of the Marche-aux-Chevaux.

The ramblerif he risked himself outside the four decrepit walls
of this Marche-aux-Chevaux; if he consented even to pass beyond
the Rue du Petit-Banquierafter leaving on his right a garden
protected by high walls; then a field in which tan-bark mills rose
like gigantic beaver huts; then an enclosure encumbered with timber
with a heap of stumpssawdustand shavingson which stood
a large dogbarking; then a longlowutterly dilapidated wall
with a little black door in mourningladen with mosses
which were covered with flowers in the spring; thenin the most
deserted spota frightful and decrepit buildingon which ran
the inscription in large letters: POST NO BILLS--this daring
rambler would have reached little known latitudes at the corner
of the Rue des Vignes-Saint-Marcel. Therenear a factory
and between two garden wallsthere could be seenat that epoch
a mean buildingwhichat the first glanceseemed as small as a
thatched hoveland which wasin realityas large as a cathedral.
It presented its side and gable to the public road; hence its
apparent diminutiveness. Nearly the whole of the house was hidden.
Only the door and one window could be seen.

This hovel was only one story high.

The first detail that struck the observer wasthat the door could
never have been anything but the door of a hovelwhile the window
if it had been carved out of dressed stone instead of being in
rough masonrymight have been the lattice of a lordly mansion.

The door was nothing but a collection of worm-eaten planks roughly
bound together by cross-beams which resembled roughly hewn logs.
It opened directly on a steep staircase of lofty stepsmuddy
chalkyplaster-staineddusty stepsof the same width as itself
which could be seen from the streetrunning straight up like a
ladder and disappearing in the darkness between two walls. The top
of the shapeless bay into which this door shut was masked by a narrow
scantling in the centre of which a triangular hole had been sawed
which served both as wicket and air-hole when the door was closed.
On the inside of the door the figures 52 had been traced with a
couple of strokes of a brush dipped in inkand above the scantling
the same hand had daubed the number 50so that one hesitated.
Where was one? Above the door it saidNumber 50; the inside replied
no, Number 52.No one knows what dust-colored figures were
suspended like draperies from the triangular opening.

The window was largesufficiently elevatedgarnished with
Venetian blindsand with a frame in large square panes;
only these large panes were suffering from various wounds
which were both concealed and betrayed by an ingenious paper bandage.
And the blindsdislocated and unpastedthreatened passers-by
rather than screened the occupants. The horizontal slats were
missing here and there and had been naively replaced with boards
nailed on perpendicularly; so that what began as a blind ended
as a shutter. This door with an uncleanand this window with
an honest though dilapidated airthus beheld on the same house
produced the effect of two incomplete beggars walking side by side
with different miens beneath the same ragsthe one having
always been a mendicantand the other having once been a gentleman.

The staircase led to a very vast edifice which resembled a shed
which had been converted into a house. This edifice hadfor its
intestinal tubea long corridoron which opened to right and left
sorts of compartments of varied dimensions which were inhabitable
under stress of circumstancesand rather more like stalls than cells.
These chambers received their light from the vague waste grounds
in the neighborhood.

All this was darkdisagreeablewanmelancholysepulchral;
traversed according as the crevices lay in the roof or in the door
by cold rays or by icy winds. An interesting and picturesque
peculiarity of this sort of dwelling is the enormous size of the spiders.

To the left of the entrance dooron the boulevard sideat about
the height of a man from the grounda small window which had been
walled up formed a square niche full of stones which the children
had thrown there as they passed by.

A portion of this building has recently been demolished.
From what still remains of it one can form a judgment as to what it
was in former days. As a wholeit was not over a hundred years old.
A hundred years is youth in a church and age in a house.
It seems as though man's lodging partook of his ephemeral character
and God's house of his eternity.

The postmen called the house Number 50-52; but it was known
in the neighborhood as the Gorbeau house.

Let us explain whence this appellation was derived.

Collectors of petty detailswho become herbalists of anecdotes
and prick slippery dates into their memories with a pin
know that there was in Parisduring the last centuryabout 1770
two attorneys at the Chatelet namedone Corbeau (Raven)the other

Renard (Fox). The two names had been forestalled by La Fontaine.
The opportunity