Study Guide

Les Misérables Part 4, Book 5

By Victor Hugo

Part 4, Book 5

Of Which the End Does Not Resemble the Beginning

  • Eventually, Cosette begins to forget about her heartache at not seeing Marius anymore. Instead, she pays more attention to a young military man who walks past the gate of her garden everyday. This man is none other than Marius' cousin, Théodule. But this interest quickly fades.
  • One night, while Jean Valjean is away getting more money for the household, Cosette thinks she hears a man walking around in the garden. When she looks out, it's empty.
  • The next evening, she goes out and inspects the garden. As she's looking down at the ground, she's terrified to see a second shadow come up alongside hers. When she turns around, though, there's nothing there.
  • When Jean Valjean gets back home, she tells him about what happened. He spends the next few nights patrolling the yard with a heavy stick.
  • Nothing happens for a while. But the moment things get back to normal, Cosette finds a stone in the garden one afternoon. The stone has been carefully placed on her garden bench, and it worries her. But she overcomes her fear and lifts the thing up, finding an unmarked envelope underneath it. Inside the envelope is the longest and most poetic expression of love she's ever read.
  • By the time she's done reading the message, Cosette knows what love is and she knows she feels it for Marius. She is certain that the message has come from him. From this point on, she cherishes the letter and keep it near her at all times.
  • Jean Valjean goes out that night, and Cosette dresses up in her finest clothes and goes into the garden, wondering if her lover might be out there.
  • Sure enough, Marius shows up. Face to face, he finally has the chance to proclaim his undying love for her. She tells him the same and they spend the evening telling each other how in love they are.
  • Oh yeah, and they also take this opportunity to tell one another their names. Seems important.