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BOOK FIFTEENTH: The Rue De L’Homme Arme
Valjean moves with Cosette and Toussaint into the Rue De L’Homme Arme no. 7. One of the few belongings Cosette takes with her is her blotter, which she drops on a sideboard in front of a mirror. Valjean inadvertently sees the reflection of Cosette’s blotter-it contains the imprint of her letter to Marius.
In despair over the fact that Cosette is in love with some one, and that he is in eminent danger of losing her, Valjean goes outside and sits on a block near the house. He is there when Gavroche appears with the letter from Marius. Gavroche asks for the address and Valjean realizes that he must be attempting a delivery. Valjean claims to be expecting the letter and takes it from Gavroche who then tells him that the sender is in the barricade at the Rue De La Chanvrerie.
Valjean reads the letter, discovering that it is from Marius. It implies that by the time Cosette gets it, Marius will be dead. Valjean rejoices, believing that the competition for Cosette’s love will soon be eliminated. Then, without knowing why he does so, Valjean puts on his old guard uniform and heads for the barricade himself.
Valjean and Marius go to the barricade for the same reasons. Both feel that they have lost Cosette and have nothing left to live for. Valjean believes he has lost her love to another. He bitterly hates Marius for taking her love away from him, and yet as if driven by his own albatross, he goes to the barricade to watch over Marius although it is not clear that he knows exactly what he hopes to do.