Study Guide

Les Misérables Part 5, Book 6

By Victor Hugo

Part 5, Book 6

The Sleepless Night

  • It's the wedding day, and everything is going smoothly. The only snag is that Jean Valjean can't sign the wedding registry because, gee whiz, he's hurt his hand. No worries, though; Monsieur Gillenormand can just as easily sign it.
  • When the wedding is over, they all leave the church and promptly get stuck in traffic. There's some sort of Mardi Gras celebration going on, with people all around wearing masks. One of the people wearing masks sees Valjean's carriage goes by and recognizes him, but can't recall from where. The guy sends one of his companions to follow Valjean's group. He won't do it himself because the cops are after him.
  • During the wedding party, Jean Valjean sits in a corner frowning. Cosette asks him if anything is wrong, but he says no. A few moments later, a servant walks up to Cosette and says Valjean has left, since his hurt hand was bothering him.
  • Cosette feels bad at first, but forgets about Valjean as soon as Marius starts talking to her. Monsieur Gillenormand makes a pretty speech about marriage and everyone feels really happy.
  • When the party is over, Marius and Cosette head off to bed and… well… Hugo is too coy to tell us anything after that.
  • Meanwhile, in another place not far away, Jean Valjean sits in his bedroom holding Cosette's baby clothes and cries. There's obviously something that's deeply bothering his conscience, and in the end, he seems to make a decision that's going to be really tough to swallow.