JEAN VALJEAN TAKES HIS REVENGE
When Jean Valjean was left alone with Javert, he untied the rope
which fastened the prisoner across the middle of the body,
and the knot of which was under the table. After this he made
him a sign to rise.
Javert obeyed with that indefinable smile in which the supremacy
of enchained authority is condensed.
Jean Valjean took Javert by the martingale, as one would take
a beast of burden by the breast-band, and, dragging the latter
after him, emerged from the wine-shop slowly, because Javert,
with his impeded limbs, could take only very short steps.
Jean Valjean had the pistol in his hand.
In this manner they crossed the inner trapezium of the barricade.
The insurgents, all intent on the attack, which was imminent,
had their backs turned to these two.
Marius alone, stationed on one side, at the extreme left of
the barricade, saw them pass. This group of victim and executioner
was illuminated by the sepulchral light which he bore in his own soul.
Jean Valjean with some difficulty, but without relaxing his hold
for a single instant, made Javert, pinioned as he was, scale the
little entrenchment in the Mondetour lane.
When they had crossed this barrier, they found themselves alone
in the lane. No one saw them. Among the heap they could
distinguish a livid face, streaming hair, a pierced hand and
the half nude breast of a woman. It was Eponine. The corner
of the houses hid them from the insurgents. The corpses carried
away from the barricade formed a terrible pile a few paces distant.
Javert gazed askance at this body, and, profoundly calm, said in
a low tone:
"It strikes me that I know that girl."
Then he turned to Jean Valjean.
Jean Valjean thrust the pistol under his arm and fixed on Javert
a look which it required no words to interpret: "Javert, it is I."
"Take your revenge."
Jean Valjean drew from his pocket a knife, and opened it.
"A clasp-knife!" exclaimed Javert, "you are right. That suits
Jean Valjean cut the martingale which Javert had about his neck,
then he cut the cords on his wrists, then, stooping down, he cut
the cord on his feet; and, straightening himself up, he said to him:
"You are free."
Javert was not easily astonished. Still, master of himself though
he was, he could not repress a start. He remained open-mouthed
Jean Valjean continued:
"I do not think that I shall escape from this place. But if,
by chance, I do, I live, under the name of Fauchelevent, in the Rue
de l'Homme Arme, No. 7."
Javert snarled like a tiger, which made him half open one corner
of his mouth, and he muttered between his teeth:
"Have a care."
"Go," said Jean Valjean.
Javert began again:
"Thou saidst Fauchelevent, Rue de l'Homme Arme?"
Javert repeated in a low voice:--"Number 7."
He buttoned up his coat once more, resumed the military stiffness
between his shoulders, made a half turn, folded his arms and,
supporting his chin on one of his hands, he set out in the direction
of the Halles. Jean Valjean followed him with his eyes:
A few minutes later, Javert turned round and shouted to Jean Valjean:
"You annoy me. Kill me, rather."
Javert himself did not notice that he no longer addressed Jean
Valjean as "thou."
"Be off with you," said Jean Valjean.
Javert retreated slowly. A moment later he turned the corner
of the Rue des Precheurs.
When Javert had disappeared, Jean Valjean fired his pistol in the air.
Then he returned to the barricade and said:
"It is done."
In the meanwhile, this is what had taken place.
Marius, more intent on the outside than on the interior, had not,
up to that time, taken a good look at the pinioned spy in the dark
background of the tap-room.
When he beheld him in broad daylight, striding over the
barricade in order to proceed to his death, he recognized him.
Something suddenly recurred to his mind. He recalled the inspector
of the Rue de Pontoise, and the two pistols which the latter had
handed to him and which he, Marius, had used in this very barricade,
and not only did he recall his face, but his name as well.
This recollection was misty and troubled, however, like all his ideas.
It was not an affirmation that he made, but a question which he
put to himself:
"Is not that the inspector of police who told me that his name
Perhaps there was still time to intervene in behalf of that man.
But, in the first place, he must know whether this was Javert.
Marius called to Enjolras, who had just stationed himself
at the other extremity of the barricade:
"What is the name of yonder man?"
"The police agent. Do you know his name?"
"Of course. He told us."
"What is it?"
Marius sprang to his feet.
At that moment, they heard the report of the pistol.
Jean Valjean re-appeared and cried: "It is done."
A gloomy chill traversed Marius' heart.