Study Guide

Les Misérables Part 4, Book 2

By Victor Hugo

Part 4, Book 2

Éponine

  • After the incident in the Jondrettes' apartment, Marius packs up and leaves his apartment to live with his friend, which causes Inspector Javert some annoyance when he comes to follow-up.
  • Since falling in love with Cosette, Marius hasn't worked very much because he can't keep his mind on anything but sweet, sweet love.
  • Meanwhile, the Thénardiers are sent off to different prisons, although Éponine gets out because the cops couldn't prove her connection to the events at the Jondrette apartment.
  • Enter Marius' old book collector friend. One evening, he's trying to water his garden. But he's too old to lift his bucket. Then out of nowhere, this young woman appears and waters his garden for him. In return, she wants to know where Marius lives.
  • The girl is none other than Éponine, and she tracks down Marius who is not super happy to see her—until she tells him she's found out where his sweetheart lives. Woohoo!
  • The first thing he does is make Éponine promise never to tell her father where Cosette lives. At this, Éponine reminds Marius that he promised her anything she wanted in return for getting Cosette's address. But when he tries to give her money, she's all hurt and tells him it's not his money that she wants. (Hint: it's him.)
  • Now Hugo transports us to a house in Paris that Jean Valjean and Cosette have rented. We learn that after she left the convent with Jean Valjean, Cosette realized that she was gettin' pretty and started paying attention to how she looked on the street. Valjean tries to go out as little as possible, but now it seems that Cosette is constantly dragging him out of the house.
  • At this point, Hugo tells us how Cosette feels. She always thought Marius was handsome, but he never noticed her when she was all adolescent and awkward.
  • Later on, after Marius started noticing her, Cosette didn't know how to feel what with her strict convent education. Pretty soon, though, she realizes that Marius loves her and that—gasp!—she might love him back.
  • Eventually, Jean Valjean wises up. He is jealous of Marius because quite frankly, he doesn't want to share Cosette with any other man. And if that sounds kind of creepy, that's because it is.
  • Over time, Valjean becomes worried about Cosette. She looks very pale and unhealthy after she has gone a long time without seeing Marius.
  • One day, Valjean and Cosette go out to watch the sunset. While they're walking, they pass a train of prison convicts marching slowly by. Cosette is frightened by the men, and Valjean is terrified to be confronted by the sort of life he could have easily been doomed to.
  • Valjean returns home that day all discombobulated. Cosette asks him what will happen to the prisoners they saw, but he can't bring himself to answer her.