Les Miserables: Novel Summary: Section 2 – Book 5

 Section 2 – Cosette
Book Five – A Dark Chase Requires A Silent Hound
Jean Valjean with Cosette in tow flees among the labyrinth of streets. By the light of the full moon he can see if anyone is following them. He is not sure that the man was Javert, and he does not know where he is going, but he is resolved never to return to the Gorbeau house. Soon after passing a police station he notices that three men are following him and he increases his pace. Eventually four men are following them and Jean Valjean recognizes Javert at their head. He crosses the river at the bridge of Austerlitz and later observes the four pursuers crossing as well. Eventually he finds himself trapped in a street with a squad of soldiers approaching. He uses his skills and strength as a former convict to fashion a rope from a street lamp pulley and scales a wall pulling Cosette after him. As the troops enter the street behind them, Cosette and Jean Valjean drop into a walled garden. Some time passes as the two listen to the sounds of the troop fade. Suddenly they are both surprised to hear the sound of unearthly singing coming from one of the buildings facing the garden. More time passes and Jean Valjean explores the garden. He raises himself to a window and is terrified by the sight of a prostrate figure with a rope around its neck. He flees not knowing what sort of house he has dropped into. He returns to Cosette who has fallen asleep and then he hears the sound of a small tinkling bell approaching and sees a figure moving among the melon patch. Fearful of discovery he checks Cosette and finds that she has become ice cold. Resolved to save the child he walks directly up to the figure and offers a hundred francs in exchange for refuge. Much to Valjeans astonishment the figure addresses him as Father Madeleine. Jean Valjean learns that this man is none other than old Fauchelevant whom he saved from the cart and the place is none other than the convent of the Petit Picpus where the old man serves as a gardener. The bell is to warn the nuns to stay away. Jean Valjean quickly secures the Fauchelevents confidence and the old man is happy to help. They get Cosette and take her to the gardeners meager quarters where she is soon warm and sleeping soundly by a fire.
At this point the narrator interjects with the details of how Javert came to rediscover Jean Valjean. Javert had been called to Paris to recapture the escaped Valjean and later read of the convicts death but his suspicion had been rekindled when he heard of a child kidnapped from Montfermeil. He traveled there but Thenardier had changed his story in order to avoid suspicion and claimed it was the girls grandfather who had taken her. Javert then heard of the beggar who gave alms and lived with a girl from Montfermeil. He had adopted the guise of a beggar and soon learned that it was Jean Valjean. He had called for assistance in the pursuit but had not revealed the convicts identity so as not to raise alarm and to increase his own reputation if he succeeded and because he liked surprises. When he was sure of success he closed his net but Jean Valjean once again eluded him
Javerts search for Valjean has taken on a fanatical format and appears to fully occupy his days. His efforts to recapture Valjean become outlandish and he can no longer be viewed as an officer of the law but rather as one who has a personal vendetta towards Valjean. This is underscored when he does not even show the slightest concern about Cosette and that she may have been kidnapped.
The meeting with Fauchelevent seems to be too coincidental and out of place with the rest of realism that is found throughout the book, however, Hugo wants to emphasize the fact that good deeds do not go unrewarded and that Fauchelevent will now be able to repay Valjean and help him.