Les Miserables: Novel Summary: Section 5 - Book Five

Average Overall Rating: 5
Total Votes: 255

 

Section Five - Jean Valjean
Book Five - Grandson and Grandfather
One of the men captured in the raid on the Jondrette house was Siuer Boulatruelle who, since he was passed out drunk, was freed since the police could not determine whether he was a robber or a victim. He returned to the woods surrounding Montfermeil to repair the roads and drink wine. He remained convinced that there was buried treasure in the woods. One day very early in the morning, soon after the events related in the preceding book, he saw the back of a figure entering the woods. He believes he recognizes the figure and resolves to follow him. The path becomes difficult to follow and Boulatruelle climbs a tree for a better view. He sees the figure glide into a distant glade that Boulatruelle knows contains a great heap of stones and a wounded chestnut tree bandaged by a zinc plate. Boulatruelle is overjoyed to think he has discovered the treasure's hiding place but he has a great deal of trouble making his way through the thickets to reach the spot. Forty minutes later Boulatruelle arrives at the spot and is embittered to find a fresh hole in front of the tree with an abandoned pick lying nearby. The hole is empty. Boulatruelle shakes his fist at the sky and cries "Robber!"
Marius lies hovering between life and death for many weeks. His grandfather sits beside him though the ordeal and many nights Marius repeats the name "Cosette" in his delirium. Everyday a white haired man drops off a package of lint for Marius' dressings. Four months after the battle of the barricade the physician pronounces Marius out of danger. Fortunately, the state has forgotten about him and he does not face charges or arrest. As Marius' health improves his grandfather became more lighthearted and gay and even begins calling Marius "Monsieur The Baron" and was heard once to cry out in favor of the Republic. Since no one had noticed the man who brought Marius home and since Marius has no memory of leaving the barricade he is completely dumfounded as to how his salvation had been effected. He thought of nothing but Cosette and had a vague suspicion of his grandfather's improved mood and behavior. He believes that as soon as he broaches the subject of Cosette his grandfather will return to his old ways. He resolves to expose his wounds and injure himself if his grandfather refuses him Cosette.
One afternoon he decides to press his case and states that he wishes to marry. Much to his surprise his grandfather readily consents, admits that he has learned a great deal about the lovely girl and that she comes everyday in the form of an old man bearing the lint bandages she makes. Marius and his grandfather are reunited in love and Marius demands to see Cosette that very day.
Cosette arrives with Monsieur Fauchelevent who carries a slightly moldy looking package. The grandfather formally requests permission for Cosette to marry Marius and Monsieur Fauchelevent assents by slightly bowing his head. At that, Marius and Cosette fall into rapt conversation while gently holding hands. The grandfather is overjoyed and expresses his regret that when he dies they will not have any money because he only subsists on his pension. Monsieur Fauchelevent announces that Cosette has nearly six hundred thousand francs. Fauchelevent, who had remained silent and motionless, then opens the package and reveals it to be full of banknotes. All are astonished and happy.
The wedding is planned for the month of February only two months later. Those months pass in delirious joy and Jean Valjean seeks to appease Cosette's happiness by trying to show as much joy as Cosette herself. He clears up the problem of her birth by establishing that she was the daughter of the real Fauchelevent and that he is her uncle. The confused nuns at the convent back up this story and Cosette's disappointment that the man she thought of as her father was really her uncle is lessened by the excitement of the approaching wedding. She continues to call Jean Valjean "Father." Monsieur Gillenormand showers Cosette with rich gifts from his home including many fine ladies dresses that were the height of fashion during his younger days and have since come back into vogue. Marius' Aunt Gillenormand is impressed by the six hundred thousand francs and decides to leave her own considerable fortune to the pair.
Marius and Cosette decide that they will live in the Gillenormand house after they are married and the library will serve as Marius' law office. Cosette comes to visit with her father everyday. Marius is uncertain how to feel about Monsieur Fauchelevent whom he regards as a condition to his marrying Cosette. For his part, Monsieur Fauchelevent is austere and cold and resists any commentary on the subject of the barricade. Marius hires people to find Thenardier, whom he knows to be a scoundrel but also his father's savior at Waterloo. Thenardier's wife, however, has died in prison and his only remaining daughter, Azelma, has vanished with him. Marius question the driver of the coach that brought him home but only learns that he was carried out of a sewer opening by someone who was immediately arrested. He was brought to the house and that later the officer and his prisoner left the carriage. Marius can think of no man sufficiently devoted to him to have carried him through the sewer. He preserves the coat he had worn that night, which he notices to be oddly ripped, in hopes it might yield some clues. One night while discussing the mystery with Monsieur Fauchelevent, Marius grows passionate and exclaims that he would give all of Cosette's money to find that man. Jean Valjean remains silent.
Analysis
It is rewarding to see the reunion between Marius and his grandfather. Even though the old man has not changed his political views, his love for his grandson allows him to overcome that obstacle and help Marius in all of his endeavors. Even Valjean hides his sorrow of having lost Coseete's love to Marius and feigns happiness over the couple's forthcoming marriage and gives them a very sizeable present.

 Les Miserables Study Guide

Choose to Continue

Quotes: Search by Author

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z