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Free Study Guide-Les Miserables by Victor Hugo-Free Book Notes Summary
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BOOK FIFTH: A Dark Chase needs a Silent Hound

Valjean and Cosette work their way through the streets of London, turning and dodging as often as possible as Valjean attempts to elude his pursuers. At one point, he comes upon an open square and spots Javert with three other men. His suspicions that they are chasing him are confirmed. He crosses a bridge at Austerlitz, but the men are closing in on him. Even the darkest parts of the city have sentries posted. At last he finds a wall and some rope. He scales the wall, pulls Cosette up and drops to the ground behind it just in time to avoid the police.

Valjean has arrived at the Petit Picpus. He finds shelter with Fauchelevant, the old man he had rescued from the cart years before when he had been known as Father Madeleine. Fauchelevant recognizes him and the two catch up on old times, at least to the extent that Valjean is willing to reveal.


The narrator digresses a bit to explain how Javert lost track of Valjean. After escaping from the boat, Valjean had been pronounced dead and Javert forgot about him for a time. However, the name resurfaced when the Thenardiers caused a temporary stir with the report that Cosette, the daughter of Fantine, had been kidnapped. Later Thenardier thinks better of calling that much attention to himself and denies that he ever made the charge. Instead, he claims that the child’s “grandfather” had come for her.

A few months later, Javert begins hearing things about a strange man and child who live in the Gorbeau House. Even when he sees Valjean, he isn’t at first convinced. When he finally makes sure of his unwilling challenger’s identity, he pulls in several other police with whom he discusses the case under the broad light of the moon. He loses Valjean because he thinks he has the whole area covered, and therefore takes plenty of time. It is as if he is making a game of poking into every open doorway and narrow alley, assuming that Valjean ultimately has no place to escape. Thus Valjean escapes into the garden of the convent.

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