Les Misérables


Vol. 5 Books 2 to 9

Summary: Volume 5/ Book 2

The narrator turns to a brief digression on the character and history of the Paris sewer system, through which Valjean is now carrying the weak and unconscious body of Marius.

Summary: Volume 5/ Book 3

Valjean navigates his way through the labyrinthine darkness of the sewer system, hoping to find an exit on the Seine river. It is now June 6, and police patrols have been dispatched to investigate the sewer for fleeing rebels. Valjean manages to evade the lights from a patrol by pressing himself close against the wall and being very still. He continues his journey, thirsty and exhausted. Marius is still unconscious, and seems to be slipping ever closer to death. Valjean finds a note in Marius’s pocket that gives the address of M. Gillenormand and requests that his body be taken there.

When Valjean finally comes to an exit, he finds it locked. Thenardier, who does not recognize Valjean, holds a key to the exit. He agrees to unlock it if Valjean will give him half of whatever spoils are to be found on Marius. Thenardier assumes that Marius is dead and that Valjean is merely a criminal who has killed Marius for his money. Because Marius has no money, Valjean gives Thenardier everything he has in his own pockets. Valjean does not notice that Thenardier rips off a piece of Marius’s clothing to use as evidence, if needed, linking Valjean to Marius. Valjean emerges at last from the sewer. Javert, who had been pursuing Thenardier, is waiting on the other side.

Although Javert does not immediately recognize him, Valjean surrenders himself to the inspector. He requests that before being taken to jail he may be allowed to deliver Marius to his grandfather. Javert accompanies Valjean on this errand. After they have left Marius in the care of his aunt and grandfather, Valjean makes a last request of Javert: that he be allowed to return to his apartment and say good-bye to Cosette. Javert delivers Valjean to his home and agrees to wait in the taxi while Valjean ties up his...

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