Marius and Cosette

Not wishing to give evidence against Thenardier in court, Marius made immediate arrangements to leave his room. Early the following morning, he paid the concierge his final rent and went to live with his friend, Enjolras. Inspector Javert looked for Marius everywhere, but without success.

Two months later, Marius was deeply unhappy. He sent money every Monday to Thenardier, who was in prison, which meant that he had even less money for himself. But the main reason for his unhappiness was that he was forced to live his life with no hope of seeing ‘Ursula’.

One afternoon he was sitting in a field, looking down at a small river, when his dreams of ‘Ursula’ were suddenly broken by the sound of a familiar voice. He looked up and recognized Eponine, Thenardiers elder daughter. Still wearing the same rags, with the same bold look in her eyes and the same rough voice, she had somehow become more beautiful. She stared at Marius with a look of pleasure on her pale face, and for some moments seemed unable to speak.

‘So at last I’ve found you,’ she finally said. ‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere. You aren’t living in the same room any more?’

‘No,’ said Marius.

‘Well, I can understand that. It’s not nice, that sort of thing. But why are you wearing that dirty old hat? ‘When Marius gave no answer, she went on, ‘And you’ve got a hole in your shirt. I’ll mend it for you. A young man like you ought to be nicely dressed.’

Marius still said nothing, and after a moments pause she said, ‘You don’t seem very glad to see me, but I could make you look happy if I wanted to!’

‘How?’ said Marius. ‘What do you mean?’

‘You weren’t so unfriendly last time.’

‘I’m sorry, but what do you mean?’

She bit her lip and hesitated, as if trying to make up her mind about something. Finally, she said, ‘I’ve got the address.’

Marius’s heart seemed to miss a beat. ‘You mean

‘The address you wanted me to find out. The young lady, you know…’ Her voice sank into a sigh.

Marius jumped up and took her by the hand.

‘Let’s go at once!’ he cried, wild with excitement. Then he suddenly frowned and seized Eponine by the arm. ‘But you must promise me,’ he said, ‘that you’ll never tell your father the address.’

‘I promise,’ the girl replied, staring at Marius with amusement.

They had only gone a few steps when Eponine stopped and said, ‘You remember you promised me something?’

Marius felt in his pocket. All he had in the world was the five-franc piece he intended to give her father in prison. He pushed it into her hand, but she opened her fingers and let the coin fall to the ground. She looked at him with a mixture of disappointment and sadness in her eyes.

‘I don’t want your money,’ she said.


That evening, Cosette was alone in the house which Jean Valjean had bought about a year earlier. It was a small house in a back street, with a large, wild garden. Valjean had gone away on business for a couple of days, and Cosette was in the downstairs sitting room, playing the piano.

Suddenly, she thought she heard the sound of footsteps in the garden. She listened at the window for a minute, then ran up to her bedroom, opened the window and looked out. The moonlit garden and the street beyond it were completely empty. Cosette, not a nervous girl by nature, smiled to herself and thought no more about it.

The next evening, as she was walking in the garden, she was sure that she heard someone moving in the trees. Again, when she looked round, she saw nothing. When Jean Valjean returned from his business the following day, Cosette told him about the noises in the garden. He told her not to worry, but she noticed an anxious look in his eyes. He spent the next two nights walking around the garden, checking the gate, listening for noises, but nothing unusual happened.

Then one morning, a few days later, Cosette noticed a large stone lying on the garden bench. Nervously, she picked it up and discovered an envelope underneath it. Inside, there was a small notebook filled with love poems. Cosette sat down and began to read, enjoying the music of the language and the beauty of the handwriting. She had never read anything like this before, and it affected her deeply.

Her heart on fire, she took the notebook upstairs to her bedroom and read every word again. She remembered the handsome young man she had seen so often in the Luxembourg Gardens. As she read the notebook, she knew in her heart that he was the author of these beautiful, romantic words. Finally, she kissed the book, held it to her heart and waited for the evening, when she knew that something special was going to occur.

That evening, Jean Valjean went out. Cosette spent a long time in front of the mirror, making her hair look beautiful and deciding which dress to wear. Finally, she went out into the garden. She sat on the bench where she had found the notebook and, moments later, had the strange feeling that she was being watched. She looked round and jumped to her feet.


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