Tag Archives: Death

Passing Peak Ammunition

We take a break from the barricade for a brief interlude at dawn: Cosette wakens, unaware of what’s happening in the rest of the city, and wonders why people are slamming doors so early in the morning. Like Marius, she knows she cannot live without him. Unlike Marius, she takes that to be proof that he’ll arrive soon.

“The reader may at a pinch be introduced into a marital bedchamber, but not into a young girl’s bedroom.” Hugo then goes on to hint at this, that and the other thing about her pajamas and morning routine for another page before saying that “Even to have hinted at them is too much.” Uh, sure…

Tactics

When a well-equipped army faces a street barricade, they’ll often just keep up steady fire, hoping to trick the insurgents into using up their ammunition and then launch an assault when they run out. Enjolras is too smart to fall for it.

The scale of the forces available really points up the silliness of musical-Javert’s fake intelligence report: when they can fill the street with soldiers, why would they choose to “concentrate their force” on one side?

Jean Valjean shows his marksmanship again when look-outs appear on the roofs. He shoots two helmets in a row, and they back off. He won’t answer when Bossuet asks why he aimed for the helmets instead of kill shots. Combeferre remarks, “He’s a man who does kindness with bullets.”

The commander of the guard at the Rue de la Chanvrerie is a hothead, and attacks too early. Not only do the rebels fight them off, but they get caught by their own cannon too. Enjolras is infuriated. “‘The idiots!’ he exclaimed. ‘They’re getting themselves killed and wasting our ammunition for no reason.’”

The rebellion actually gains a little momentum that morning in several places around the city, but the army crushes it swiftly before it can spread. “When we get the old women emptying chamber-pots on our heads we’re done for.”

Bossuet admires Enjolras’ ability to be brave without a mistress to rob him of his wits like the rest of them. Enjolras is basically asexual, his whole being focused on social change, but in a sense, he does have a mistress: Patria, he whispers: the homeland.

When the army brings up a second cannon, things start getting serious. They repel the attack just barely, but it takes most of their ammunition.

Death and Rise of an Urchin

Gavroche at the BarricadeCue Gavroche, who sneaks around under the smoke collecting bullets, singing rude songs about Voltaire and Rousseau, and thumbing his nose at death. I checked the original French against the concept album: Schönberg and Boublil set the actual words to music in the first version of what later became “Little People.” The scene in the book is even tenser than it is in the play (well, the original version, where you can actually see him, as opposed to the 25th anniversary version where they can’t turn the barricade around). “A Paris urchin touching the pavement is a giant drawing strength from his mother earth.”

Let me just say: Watching or reading Les Misérables is really different before and after you have kids.

Interlude: Gavroche’s anonymous brothers, roughly five and seven, are still alive, still on the streets, though they’ve somehow managed to get into the Luxembourg Gardens. I wasn’t expecting to see them again. A middle-class gentleman is there, with his son, who has decided not to finish his cake. The father advises him to throw it to the ducks — not to the two ragamuffins who clearly need it more than the ducks do. “We must always be kind to animals.” But apparently, not to one’s fellow man. The boy reluctantly tosses it, and they leave, but the older boy retrieves it, offering the larger part to his brother. The implication is that they’ll be okay…or at least as okay as any Paris urchin is.

Back at the barricade, Marius retrieves Gavroche’s body, seeing an echo of their fathers’ encounter at Waterloo — only Col. Pontmercy had still been alive. Gavroche is laid on the table with M. Mabeuf: the oldest and youngest of the defenders.

Siege

Hugo briefly discusses the sense of unreality that pervades both the experience and memory of street warfare.

At midday, Enjolras decides it’s time to reinforce the tavern with paving-stones, forming a fortress with the tavern as keep and the barricade as its outer wall. He also finally allows them to bring out the wine bottles that he confiscated at the beginning of the whole thing. The wounded are locked into the kitchen.

By this time Marius has recovered somewhat and is able to actually help run things again. A good thing too, since they’re down to twenty-six from the original fifty. And that presumably includes Valjean, who refuses to shoot anyone.

Enjolras “felt that since men such as these were about to die, their death must be a masterpiece.”

Removing Javert

Enjolras: “The last man to leave this place will blow out this spy’s brains.” Random rebel: “Here?” He suggests taking him over the lower barricade to the alleyway.

Valjean asks that he “may be allowed to blow that man’s brains out.” Javert looks up, nods slightly, and says, “That’s fair.” Everyone else rushes out to deal with an attack, and Javert calls after them, “It won’t be long!”

It’s interesting how calm Javert is in the book. In the musical, he’s seething with contempt and frustration. Here it’s only contempt.

Javert is the first person at the barricade to actually recognize Éponine, or the fact that she’s a woman, without prompting.

“A knife-thrust! You’re quite right. That suits you better.”

Valjean does indeed give Javert his address (and his current alias). Javert repeats it back to him to make sure he got it right.

“I find this embarrassing. I’d rather you killed me.” He doesn’t even notice switching from familiar tu to formal vous. That’s something that doesn’t really come through in translation, since English has long since dropped the formal/familiar you/thou split, so it has to be conveyed in footnotes, or in titles, or in narration. In this case, Hugo remarked on it himself to drive the point home.

You know, Javert doesn’t call Valjean by his prison number even once. “24601” is such a powerful hook for identity in the musical, and with Javert I think it serves as a replacement for tu, but it’s merely an incidental detail in the novel, mentioned only twice: once in Valjean’s backstory, and once in a chapter title when he’s recaptured.

Back in the stronghold, Marius has just put two and two together and recognized the inspector who gave him those two guns way back when. And as near as he can tell, Valjean has just executed him in cold blood. This will be important later.

Next: The last stand.

Pages covered: 1015-1041, the middle third of “War Within Four Walls.” Image by Flameng from an unidentified edition of Les Misérables, via the Pont-au-Change illustration gallery.

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Hey Barricade, Who’s in Charge Here?

Initial skirmishes on the barricade, the first deaths, Marius’ suicide mission, Gavroche pushing things a bit too far, and Valjean reaching another crisis point.

Back to the barricade. Night falls, and the defenders are gearing up for an attack. There’s a wonderfully creepy description of the glimpses they see of the soldiers at the far end of the darkened street, a “multitude of metallic gleams, needle-thin, scarcely perceptible and constantly in motion.”

The soldiers really do ask “Who’s there” and Enjolras really does respond, “The French Revolution!” Now I feel like an idiot for thinking it shouldn’t be in the movie. Of course, now that I’ve read up to this point, it’s clear that the ABC Society feels like they’re the heirs to the original revolution, keeping its spirit alive.

The First to Fall

80-year-old Pere Mabeuf has been sort of lost in his own little world since he arrived, talking silently to himself and not noticing events around him. But when the first hail of bullets hits the barricade, stunning the rebels and knocking down the flag, he stands up, walks over to Enjolras, picks up the flag, and climbs the barricade. “Long live the Revolution! Long live the Republic! Fraternity, Equality – and Death!”…with predictable results.

Enjolras does what he does best, which is to quickly spin it into motivation: He’s set an example for the rest of us, and we’ll fight with his bloodstained coat as our new flag. Basically what he does with Éponine’s death in the musical. I remember thinking that ability and focus was impressive the first few times I saw the show, but these days I want to shake him and shout, “Give them a moment, for pity’s sake!”

Marius to the Rescue. No, Really!

Marius shoots the guardsmanThe next attack almost takes the barricade. Bahorel is killed (the first of the students to die), Courfeyrac is shot, Gavroche faces a bayonet thrust…

And then Marius rushes in, guns blazing. The fact that he has two is important, because he doesn’t have to stop and reload. One shot saves Courfeyrac, the other Gavroche. Who the hell knew the “little nincompoop of a lawyer” could aim?

Irony: Gavroche was armed with the pistol Javert had been carrying, which hadn’t been loaded, while Marius was armed with the pistols Javert gave him four months earlier, which have been loaded since February. (But not as loaded as Grantaire.)

It’s only a few seconds, but it’s enough of a reprieve to rally the group, and they hold out long enough for Marius to grab a full powder-keg and threaten to blow the whole place sky-high — rebels, soldiers and all — if they don’t retreat. Since he actually wants to die, they take him seriously and run like hell.

Marius asks who’s in charge. Enjolras says you are now. It’s not exactly what he had in mind. I find myself thinking of the missing comma in The Prisoner: “Who is Number One? You are, Number Six.”

Jean Prouvaire dies next, captured in the melee. They’re just about to trade Javert for him, when they hear him shout, as the chapter title puts it, his last poem: “Long live France! Long live the future!” — then a gunshot. It’s reminiscent of how Javert doesn’t get executed later on.

One of the things that I always wondered about is why the army didn’t just go around and come at them from the other side. Hugo actually addresses this as “a peculiarity of this type of warfare” and the risk of getting trapped in narrow, winding streets. I guess it depends on where you build it. There’s something to be said for making your own battleground.

A Breath Away

Marius is trying to absorb what’s happened, when he hears his name and sees a shape crawling along the street toward him. It’s Éponine, who, as it turns out, had just saved his life by thrusting her hand in front of a gun that was aimed at him, deflecting the bullet. I can’t help but picture her dragging herself along the ground like the Terminator skeleton at the end of the first film.

“What are you doing?” “I’m dying.” Eh, give him a break. He’s not very observant.

Éponine confesses her role in sending him here, and the fact that she had a letter from Cosette (with their alternate address) that she couldn’t bear to deliver to him. She also identifies Gavroche as her brother. Her life has basically sucked, so she doesn’t mind dying…as long as she dies with him, and first. Her last words are an understated confession: “You know, Monsieur Marius, I think I was a little bit in love with you.”

I don’t think it’s raining at this point, but it has been off and on all day.

“Éponine was responsible for everything.” Everything? Wow! Busy girl. Seriously, though, she has been playing puppet master the last few days in her efforts to separate Marius and Cosette from each other: Keeping her father and Patron-Minette out of the picture, convincing Valjean to leave the Rue Plumet, holding onto Cosette’s letter so Marius can’t find them, telling Marius to go to the barricade…

Any hope Marius had of focusing on the rebellion is now gone, just minutes after being appointed leader. Ashamed by his failure to protect Thénardier’s daughter, he sets upon a scheme to save her brother and bid a proper farewell to Cosette at the same time by sending him as a messenger. Gavroche only agrees because he figures he’ll have time to get there and back before the fighting starts. So much for that idea.

Valjean Finally Catches On

“Man the individual is a deeper being than man in the mass.” In mass they’re dumb, panicky animals and you know it.

Ah, that makes sense: the “inseparable” box contains the child’s clothing that Valjean bought for Cosette way back when he rescued her from the Thénardiers.

At the point Gavroche reaches the remote house in the Rue de l’Homme Arme, Valjean has just spotted the blotting paper which Cosette had used when writing her note to Marius the day before. He goes into full papa bear mode…but he’s also deathly afraid of losing the one thing that’s made his life have meaning, as he hasn’t been able to love anyone other than Cosette.

“For the first time in their life together her wishes and those of Jean Valjean had shown themselves to be separate matters.” Not the first time they’d been separate, but the first time he’d noticed.

And since Valjean is sitting out on the curb, Gavroche is happy to just leave the note with him and leave. Especially since Valjean has already handed him a coin. (Still trying to make up for that autopilot theft, perhaps?) “He had heard of five-franc pieces, he knew them by reputation, and he was delighted to see one at close quarters.”

We cannot be said to read when in a state of violent emotion. Rather, we twist the paper in our hands, mutilating it as though it were an enemy, scoring it with the finger-nails of our anger or delight. Our eyes skip the beginning, hurrying on to the end. With a feverish acuteness we grasp the general sense, seize upon the main point and ignore the rest.

True. And yet it contradicts the statement made during Marius’ dilemma about reasoning calmly and detached even under great stress.

Valjean is relieved to realize that the boy threatening to take Cosette away from him will soon be dead. Yaaay!

Strangely, we step out of Jean Valjean’s head just before he decides to leave for the barricade. It might be that he wants to be there to make certain, or it might be like Spike deciding “I’d better help her out” after convincing himself he should let Buffy die in “Once More With Feeling.” After such a detailed account of his thought processes up to the moment of the decision, it’s odd to lose that perspective…and we don’t get it back until after the flight through the sewers. The thought process in “Bring Him Home” is entirely hidden from the reader. Update: I have some more thoughts on this after reading it a third time.

Gavroche, meanwhile, has an adventure on the way back to the barricade: breaking street lamps, stealing a cart (yes, he leaves a receipt), and singing at the top of his lungs until he almost gets shot by a patrol. The adventure of one small boy running amok has since entered the folklore of the neighborhood, remembered as a horrific nighttime attack.

And that brings us to the end of Part Four! I may be able to finish this by the end of the year after all! Next: future revolt and overnight at the barricade.

Pages covered: 953-984. Image by Jeanniot from an unidentified edition of Les Misérables, via the Pont-au-Change illustration gallery.

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(From) Drinking to Revolution

Grantaire holds court in a tavern, the barricade goes up, Javert is discovered (and is not alone!) and Marius has a very different experience making his way into the combat zone than his friends did.

CorintheEveryone’s marching off to build a barricade…and now it’s time to describe the neighborhood in detail, including the entire history of the tavern Corinth next to where they end up building it. Because Victor Hugo, that’s why.

It’s a different tavern than the students’ usual meeting place as revolutionaries, but it is one of their regular hangouts. The proprietor until recently, Pere Hucheloup, had been an excellent cook (who “may have been born to be a chemist”), though since his death, the place has gone downhill — especially the food. Courfeyrac had once written on the door: “Revel if you can and eat if you dare.” In short, it’s the 19th century Barth’s Burgers.

Grantaire’s One-Pub Pub Crawl

On the morning of the revolt, Laigle and Joly are hanging out at Corinth. “The two friends lived, ate, and slept together, sharing everything, even the girl Musichetta from time to time.” Oh, myyy….

Grantaire shows up, so of course they spend the day drinking. He spends all his time rambling about drink, and reality, and revolution, and somewhere along the line it seems like he’s actually thinking about what he’s saying. Then he comes up with the idea that revolutions are God’s patches for continuity glitches. Hey, it makes more sense than Superboy punching the walls of time.

None of them want to leave. Grantaire’s pissed that Enjolras didn’t show up himself to ask, and Joly doesn’t want to go out in the rain. “I swore to go through fire, but not water. I don’t want to make my cold worse.” So of course when the rest of the group shows up, they figure, hey, why not set up right here? *headdesk*

Enjolras: Go home, Grantaire, you’re drunk!
Graintaire: I will not be moved!

Enjolras goes on to accuse Grantaire of being “incapable of believing or thinking or willing or living or dying.” Grantaire merely replies “You’ll see,” then proceeds to sleep through the entire siege.

It actually is a good spot: Narrow, winding streets, the two-story tavern providing a staging area. They set up a huge barricade on the widest street, the Rue de la Chanvrerie, a lower one on the side street, the Rue Mondétour (literally “my detour”), and leave a tiny alleyway open for messengers.

Just as this barricade is only a small part of the rebellion, the students are only a small part of the defenders. They’re in charge, but there are about fifty men at this point, workmen of all sorts and ages, armed with whatever weapons they could scrounge up. They’re expecting to face thousands of soldiers — yes, Thermopylae is mentioned.

Infiltrated!

Javert doesn’t actually have a chance to do anything. Gavroche recognizes him as soon as he walks in the door. His ID lists him as “Javert, Inspector of Police, aged 52.” Does he even have a first name? Enjolras explains they’ll shoot him “two minutes before the barricade falls” because they can’t spare the ammunition. “You could use a knife,” Javert suggests. I don’t think this is the time for problem-solving, Inspector. Enjolras is offended by the suggestion.

Javert also isn’t the only infiltrator. Hugo cites the fact that crowds, however high-minded their purpose, tend to attract violent men (this bit made me think of the Occupy protests), and a man called Le Cabuc shows up, tries to start a fight and shoots one of the townspeople who lives on the street. At this point, Enjolras steps in, declares that “Murder is an even greater crime here than elsewhere,” and executes him on the spot. Yes, with a gun, mere moments after telling Javert he can’t waste the ammo — because he has to make the point to maintain discipline.

Interestingly enough, Le Cabuc turns out to have been an undercover police agent and probably Claquesous. This would explain why he always wears a mask and mysteriously escapes from custody. Knowledge of his identity must be above Javert’s pay grade. (I still like my vampire theory, though.)

Marius’ Death Wish

I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at Marius. But then so do his friends, so I suppose it’s okay. After Éponine’s message, he decides he might as well go to the barricade. He told Cosette he’d die without her, and dammit, he’s going to keep his word!

And hey, he’s still got Javert’s pistols from four months ago (not sure why he’s carrying them today), so he’s already armed. You’d think the police would keep track of them better.

To the Rue Saint Denis

Marius’ journey to the barricade is really interesting. He starts in areas with ordinary Parisian activity, then walks through restless crowds, then through army staging areas, and finally deserted streets. Streetlamps have been put out. People are hiding in their homes. No one is out and about. “Marius enters the Darkness” isn’t just metaphorical, but literal.

It’s downright creepy, and gives you a very different impression than the focus on the barricade allows. You get a little of the same sense later, in the flight through the sewers, but the anticipation here gives you a real appreciation of the state of the city.

It’s also a far cry from his friends’ cheerful off-to-war march earlier in the day.

An interesting point: They all know that the next day will settle the matter one way or another: Either the revolution will take hold and grow, or it’ll be quenched immediately.

Marius comes to the barricade by way of the alley, and a step before he would be spotted by sentries, he stops, sits down, and starts thinking about his father, honor, and the nature of war. It’s his turn to die for his country…only he’s going to be fighting against his own country. Oops. But then isn’t all war civil war, of brother against brother? And yet isn’t war needed to stir up the crowd when it lapses into compliance? And of course it’s even more important to overthrow tyrants in France. Because France.

Hugo states that humans have “the strange gift of being able to reason almost coldly in the most desperate extremity, so that in desolation and utmost despair, in the travail of our darkest meditation, we may still view our situation with detachment and weigh arguments.” Modern research suggests otherwise, that in periods of extreme or prolonged stress, we lose detachment and our reason is impaired. But if Hugo believes it, it certainly explains why so many of his characters get to monologuing.

Pages covered: 915-952. Images by Brion and Lynd Ward from unidentified editions of Les Misérables, via the Pont-au-Change illustration gallery.

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Meeting Marius

Les Misérables near the halfway point.I’m re-reading Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables after 20 years. Start with part 1, or read on.

After meeting Gavroche, we’re told that we will learn about Marius Pontmercy. As it happens, though, we’re instead introduced to Monsieur Gillenormand, an old upper-middle-class man of 90. He’s one of those people who are interesting because of their age, and “peculiar because whereas they were once like everyone else they are now like no one else.”

Still in perfect health, he has two emotional states: happy/mocking, and furious. He loves to tell story of how he escaped the Revolution with his head intact, but for once Hugo doesn’t relate the tale to the reader. He hates the Revolution, the Republic and the Empire, and he hates that his son-in-law fought for Napoleon.

Marius’ aunt is so prude that she’s haunted by the memory that a man once saw her garter.

An ex-servant of his claims he fathered her baby. He insists he didn’t, but also insists that he could have done the deed even at his advanced age, and takes the child in anyway…until she drops a second baby on his doorstep and he sends them both back. He still pays a stipend on the condition that she not do it again. (Added. When I read through this section I thought it sort of funny but not enough to comment on, but it turns out that La Magnon comes back.)

“Anyone walking through the little town of Vernon in those days, and crossing the beautiful stone bridge which, let us hope, will soon be replaced by some hideous construction of cables and girders…”

Georges Pontmercy’s distinguished military career includes one battle alongside Victor Hugo’s uncle. For someone who doesn’t like to speak of himself, he sure sneaks in a lot of references to “the present writer.”

Upon Marius’ mother’s death, Gillenormand demands custody from his father under threat of disinheriting the boy. He agrees, but every few months visits Paris to sneakily steal a glimpse of his son. Both Marius and Cosette are given up by a single parent for their own good.

M. Gillenormand is part of a salon of mostly returned aristocrats, described as being in their 25th year of adolescence. This is the only real experience of the outside world that young Marius gets.

Ultraism (n): To be so vehemently for something as to be in fact against it.

Nice. After years of intercepting his letters and telling Marius that his father is a no-good brigand, M. Gillenormand finally tells him to go see him…on his deathbed. Marius arrives too late. He’s unmoved, however, having believed himself abandoned rather than surrendered.

Not long afterward he has a chance meeting with one of his father’s friends, Pere Mabeuf, who remarked on his surreptitious visits, and Marius realizes (1) he’s been lied to, and (2) he’s been wholly unfair to his father. He starts researching, and changes his opinions not only of his father, but of Napoleon and politics in general. Because he was so sheltered and shown only the negative side, he ends up being the more strongly for his father, the Republic, the and the Empire. It’s the zeal of the convert. “What was right seems wrong, and what was wrong seems right.”

Nowadays you might call him radicalized.

Marius has been disappearing off somewhere. When G. approves of Marius’ cousin because he’d never “go gallivanting after some shameless hussy,” “Théodule grinned the grin of a pickpocket commended for honesty.”

They finally fall out when Gillenormand talks Théodule into spying on him, and finds out that Marius has been visiting his father’s grave and not just sneaking out to see some girl. Next, in Part 15, Marius gets to know some ABCs. Students, that is.

Pages covered: 512-554.

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Get Me To The Courthouse On Time

Les Miserables featuring a bookmarkAfter his night of inner debate, Valjean rushes out of town to reach the court trying his double. He still hasn’t decided what to do, but he needs to be there just in case.

At this point, Victor Hugo stops to describe the country postal system.

Just kidding. He only takes a couple of paragraphs before a postal cart racing down the road crashes into Valjean’s cart. At his next stop, someone notices the wheel’s busted and won’t last the rest of the journey, and he spends several pages talking with the local wheelwright about how soon it can be fixed, can he hire another conveyance, can he just ride, etc.

What a relief! I tried to go to the trial, but the wheel broke and I can’t get on the road till tomorrow! I can’t turn myself in, but it’s not my fault!

At this point someone overhears the conversation who can rent him a gig. Noooooo!

And now the road’s closed for repairs. Valjean making it to the trial is like Hurley getting to the airport to catch Flight 815.

Interlude: Fantine

It’s weird to read about Fantine dying of consumption while you and your small child are both coughing loudly due to a bad cold. Actually I don’t think the book specifically says which extended respiratory disease she has, but it’s at least a good bet. (On checking, I found that Wikipedia has an article on Tuberculosis in popular culture.)

Fantine actually does sing a lullaby she used to sing to Cosette in her final hours.

M. Madeleine visits Fantine every afternoon at 3:00. On learning that he’s left town, the nuns fear the shock will kill her. Instead, she’s deliriously happy — why else would he have left town except to fetch Cosette!

Another of those things that don’t quite come across in the musical: At this point it’s been five years since Fantine last saw Cosette. She was two at the time, and now she’s seven. Cosette barely remembers her mother at all, and Fantine only remembers her daughter as an infant.

Trial Edition

M. Madeleine, Mayor of Montreuil-sur-mer, has to pull rank to get into the packed courtroom, which is already in session.

Would you believe these facts about not-Valjean’s trial?

  • The hotshot prosecutor is a tough guy who always “gets his man” (in the translator’s words). Also, he writes poetry.
  • The “gentleman” who had Fantine arrested is on the jury.
  • There’s a bit of theater criticism (Racine’s Phaedra) in the closing arguments.
  • Valjean’s hair turns white in the courtroom while he’s watching the proceedings.

The original form of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” ended with “…or Death.” According to Wikipedia, the last bit was dropped due to association with the Terror.

No one believes M. Madeleine when he finally outs himself as Jean Valjean. The presiding judge asks if there’s a doctor present. He convinces them by rattling off details about the three fellow convicts who had identified the other man and are still in court as witnesses. Even so, everyone’s too shocked to make a move to arrest him (Javert has already left), so he walks out, saying essentially “You know where to find me.”

Hospital

The next chapter is seriously titled “In which mirror Monsieur Madeleine examines his hair.” Sometimes I think S. Morgenstern was a real author, and his name was Victor Hugo.

Valjean returns to Fantine’s bedside to find that her condition is markedly improved by her belief that she’ll see Cosette soon. He and the doctor spend several pages trying to explain why she can’t see Cosette right now without telling Fantine that he hasn’t brought her.

Then Javert walks in.

Victor Hugo couldn’t have Fantine say “Oh, merde!” back in 1862, but you know she was thinking it. [Edit: well, actually…]

You can tell Javert is seething with inner turmoil because the button on his collar is a little off.

The shock of Javert’s cruelty when he arrests Valjean is what finally kills Fantine. But hey, he was right about Valjean, so he’s perfectly happy in his I-think-I’m-an-avenging-angel-with-a-flaming-sword-of-righteousness way.

Javert actually puts Valjean in the town jail. He breaks out. The nun who never lies covers his escape, sacrificing her honesty for his freedom.

And that wraps up the first part of the book! Next up is Part Two: Cosette, which starts with the battle of Waterloo.

Pages covered this week: 225-275. You might also be interested in my review of the movie. Continue to Part 7: Waterloo.

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