When it attempts to do so, the government collapses, resulting in the July Revolution of The new government, however, faces as many problems as the old one. The new king, Louis-Philippe, tries to find a middle ground among the different political factions but succeeds only in alienating all sides. His miscalculations lead to another revolution in Led by Enjolras, student revolutionaries begin to organize a massive political insurrection in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, a district of Paris. Marius continues to obsess over Cosette.
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Little does he know that Eponine, out of her love for Marius, has tracked down Cosette. Eponine does not tell Marius that she saw Cosette in the garden of the house while observing the house on behalf of an imprisoned robber. Eponine tells Marius to follow her to the house. He fails to realize that Eponine is in love with him and tries to hand her a five-franc coin. She sadly lets the coin fall to the ground and tells Marius that she does not want his money.
Tucked away in their house on Rue Plumet in Saint-Germain, Cosette and Valjean once again live a happy life free of fear. He has known only one other man, a convict named Jean Valjean, who could accomplish it.
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The men abandon the women, treating their relationships as youthful amusements. Fantine is unaware that they are abusing her daughter and using her as forced labor for their inn, and continues to try to meet their growing, extortionate and fictitious demands.
She is later fired from her job at Jean Valjean's factory, because of the discovery of her daughter, who was born out of wedlock. Fantine is slowly dying from an unspecified disease. A dandy named Bamatabois harasses Fantine in the street, and she reacts by striking him. Javert arrests Fantine. She begs to be released so that she can provide for her daughter, but Javert sentences her to six months in prison. Valjean Mayor Madeleine intervenes and orders Javert to release her. Javert resists but Valjean prevails.
Valjean, feeling responsible because his factory turned her away, promises Fantine that he will bring Cosette to her. He takes her to a hospital. Javert comes to see Valjean again. Javert admits that after being forced to free Fantine, he reported him as Valjean to the French authorities. He tells Valjean he realizes he was wrong, because the authorities have identified someone else as the real Jean Valjean, have him in custody, and plan to try him the next day. Valjean is torn, but decides to reveal himself to save the innocent man, whose real name is Champmathieu.
He travels to attend the trial and there reveals his true identity. Fantine discovers that Cosette is not at the hospital and fretfully asks where she is.
Javert orders her to be quiet, and then reveals to her Valjean's real identity. Weakened by the severity of her illness, she falls back in shock and dies. Valjean goes to Fantine, speaks to her in an inaudible whisper, kisses her hand, and then leaves with Javert. Later, Fantine's body is unceremoniously thrown into a public grave. Valjean escapes, is recaptured, and is sentenced to death. The king commutes his sentence to penal servitude for life. While imprisoned in the Bagne of Toulon , Valjean, at great personal risk, rescues a sailor caught in the ship's rigging.
Spectators call for his release. Valjean fakes his own death by allowing himself to fall into the ocean. Authorities report him dead and his body lost. Valjean arrives at Montfermeil on Christmas Eve.
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He finds Cosette fetching water in the woods alone and walks with her to the inn. Valjean leaves and returns to make Cosette a present of an expensive new doll which, after some hesitation, she happily accepts. He informs Valjean that he cannot release Cosette without a note from the child's mother. Valjean and Cosette flee to Paris. Valjean rents new lodgings at Gorbeau House, where he and Cosette live happily.
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However, Javert discovers Valjean's lodgings there a few months later. Valjean takes Cosette and they try to escape from Javert. They soon find shelter in the Petit-Picpus convent with the help of Fauchelevent, the man whom Valjean once rescued from being crushed under a cart and who has become the convent's gardener. Valjean also becomes a gardener and Cosette becomes a student at the convent school. Lamarque was a victim of a major cholera epidemic that had ravaged the city, particularly its poor neighborhoods, arousing suspicion that the government had been poisoning wells.
One of the students, Marius Pontmercy , has become alienated from his family especially his grandfather M. Gillenormand because of his liberal views. At the Luxembourg Garden , Marius falls in love with the now grown and beautiful Cosette. To impress him, she tries to prove her literacy by reading aloud from a book and by writing "The Cops Are Here" on a sheet of paper. Marius pities her and gives her some money. The philanthropist and his daughter enter—actually Valjean and Cosette. Marius immediately recognizes Cosette.
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After seeing them, Valjean promises them he will return with rent money for them. Javert gives Marius two pistols and instructs him to fire one into the air if things get dangerous. Marius returns home and waits for Javert and the police to arrive. Valjean tries to escape through a window but is subdued and tied up. He also orders Valjean to write a letter to Cosette to return to the apartment, and they would keep her with them until he delivers the money. It is during this time that Valjean manages to free himself.
He, Mme. Valjean manages to escape the scene before Javert sees him.
She leads him to Valjean's and Cosette's house on Rue Plumet, and Marius watches the house for a few days. He and Cosette then finally meet and declare their love for one another. One night, during one of Marius's visits with Cosette, the six men attempt to raid Valjean's and Cosette's house. Hearing this, they reluctantly retire. Meanwhile, Cosette informs Marius that she and Valjean will be leaving for England in a week's time, which greatly troubles the pair.
The next day, Valjean is sitting in the Champ de Mars. Unexpectedly, a note lands in his lap, which says "Move Out. He goes back to his house, tells Cosette they will be staying at their other house on Rue de l'Homme Arme, and reconfirms to her that they will be moving to England. Marius tries to get permission from M. Gillenormand to marry Cosette.
His grandfather seems stern and angry, but has been longing for Marius's return. When tempers flare, he refuses his assent to the marriage, telling Marius to make Cosette his mistress instead. Insulted, Marius leaves. The following day, the students revolt and erect barricades in the narrow streets of Paris. Gavroche spots Javert and informs Enjolras that Javert is a spy. When Enjolras confronts him about this, he admits his identity and his orders to spy on the students. Enjolras and the other students tie him up to a pole in the Corinth restaurant.
Later that evening, Marius goes back to Valjean's and Cosette's house on Rue Plumet, but finds the house no longer occupied. He then hears a voice telling him that his friends are waiting for him at the barricade.
Distraught to find Cosette gone, he heeds the voice and goes. When Marius arrives at the barricade, the "revolution" has already started. When he stoops down to pick up a powder keg, a soldier comes up to shoot Marius. However, a man covers the muzzle of the soldier's gun with his hand. Top that, hipster ironists. His wandering, unfocused style sometimes turns tedious and paternalistic. Hugo famously wrote entire digressive sections of Les Miserables about The Battle of Waterloo, Parisian street slang argot , prostitution, the case against closed religious orders, the Paris sewers and whatever else struck his fancy.
It takes enormous ambition and bold confidence to do what Hugo did. Because of it, Victor Hugo became for 40 years the progressive conscience of what he famously named The United States of Europe. And this big old doorstop of a tome, in spite of or because of its desultory pace, continues to inspire even at its advanced age.
Les Miserables has been the source of several recent films and television mini-series, which is pretty funny, since the book itself constitutes a mega-series. This novel, so visually descriptive and endlessly, minutely observational, delivered a cinematic scope and feel even before cinema came into being. Spring in Paris is often accompanied by keen and sharp north winds, that do not exactly freeze, but do produce frostbite; these winds, which mar the most beautiful days, have precisely the effect of those cold drafts that sneak into a warm room through the cracks around a window or a poorly closed door.
It seemed as though the dreary door of winter were partly open and the wind coming that way. In the spring of , the time when the first great epidemic of this century broke out in Europe, these winds were sharper and more piercing than ever.