Les Miserables: Novel Summary: Section 2 – Book 4

 Section 2 – Cosette
Book Four – The Old Gorbeau House
Jean Valjean carries Cosette to an old house on the outskirts of the city that is known locally as the Old Gorbeau House. Using a passkey he enters the house and ascends to a garret room that contains bare furnishings but a warm stove. He places the sleeping Cosette on a cot bed with her doll and kisses the childs hand. Thus begins a relationship of mutual love and understanding between the reformed convict and the unloved orphan girl. He feels as though Cosette were his own daughter and she regards him as nothing less than the only true parent she has ever known. The only other occupant of the house is an old woman who does the cleaning and shopping. Jean Valjean ventures out only at night and is often mistaken for a beggar, just as often he is seen giving alms to beggars in the street. The old woman that keeps the house is nosy and one day spies her lodger removing a thousand-franc bill from the lining of his old coat. Soon afterward Jean Valjean is giving alms to a beggar in the neighborhood when he looks into the mans face and for a moment thinks he sees Javert. He is startled by the vision but reassures himself that it is certainly not his old nemesis. Several days later, while giving Cosette her spelling lesson, a man comes up the stairs and listens at their door. The next day Jean Valjean learns from the landlady that a new lodger has taken a room in the house. Apprehensive that this man might be Javert, Valjean flees the house with Cosette at dusk.
Although it appears that all is going well for Valjean, he cannot stop feeling that Javert was again on his trail. In actuality he is right. Unwittingly, his generous acts of giving money to beggars on the street even though he was dressed like one himself and being seen with a small child at his side, have drawn attention to himself.