MADEMOISELLE GILLENORMAND ENDS BY NO LONGER THINKING IT A BAD THING
THAT M. FAUCHELEVENT SHOULD HAVE ENTERED WITH SOMETHING UNDER HIS
Cosette and Marius beheld each other once more.
What that interview was like we decline to say. There are things
which one must not attempt to depict; the sun is one of them.
The entire family, including Basque and Nicolette, were assembled
in Marius' chamber at the moment when Cosette entered it.
Precisely at that moment, the grandfather was on the point of blowing
his nose; he stopped short, holding his nose in his handkerchief,
and gazing over it at Cosette.
She appeared on the threshold; it seemed to him that she was
surrounded by a glory.
"Adorable!" he exclaimed.
Then he blew his nose noisily.
Cosette was intoxicated, delighted, frightened, in heaven.
She was as thoroughly alarmed as any one can be by happiness.
She stammered all pale, yet flushed, she wanted to fling herself
into Marius' arms, and dared not. Ashamed of loving in the presence
of all these people. People are pitiless towards happy lovers;
they remain when the latter most desire to be left alone. Lovers have
no need of any people whatever.
With Cosette, and behind her, there had entered a man with white hair
who was grave yet smiling, though with a vague and heartrending smile.
It was "Monsieur Fauchelevent"; it was Jean Valjean.
He was very well dressed, as the porter had said, entirely in black,
in perfectly new garments, and with a white cravat.
The porter was a thousand leagues from recognizing in this
correct bourgeois, in this probable notary, the fear-inspiring
bearer of the corpse, who had sprung up at his door on the night
of the 7th of June, tattered, muddy, hideous, haggard, his face
masked in blood and mire, supporting in his arms the fainting Marius;
still, his porter's scent was aroused. When M. Fauchelevent
arrived with Cosette, the porter had not been able to refrain
from communicating to his wife this aside: "I don't know
why it is, but I can't help fancying that I've seen that face before."
M. Fauchelevent in Marius' chamber, remained apart near the door.
He had under his arm, a package which bore considerable resemblance
to an octavo volume enveloped in paper. The enveloping paper was
of a greenish hue, and appeared to be mouldy.
"Does the gentleman always have books like that under his arm?"
Mademoiselle Gillenormand, who did not like books, demanded in a low
tone of Nicolette.
"Well," retorted M. Gillenormand, who had overheard her, in the
same tone, "he's a learned man. What then? Is that his fault?
Monsieur Boulard, one of my acquaintances, never walked out without
a book under his arm either, and he always had some old volume
hugged to his heart like that."
And, with a bow, he said aloud:
"Monsieur Tranchelevent . . ."
Father Gillenormand did not do it intentionally, but inattention
to proper names was an aristocratic habit of his.
"Monsieur Tranchelevent, I have the honor of asking you, on behalf
of my grandson, Baron Marius Pontmercy, for the hand of Mademoiselle."
Monsieur Tranchelevent bowed.
"That's settled," said the grandfather.
And, turning to Marius and Cosette, with both arms extended
in blessing, he cried:
"Permission to adore each other!"
They did not require him to repeat it twice. So much the worse!
the chirping began. They talked low. Marius, resting on his elbow
on his reclining chair, Cosette standing beside him. "Oh, heavens!"
murmured Cosette, "I see you once again! it is thou! it is you!
The idea of going and fighting like that! But why? It is horrible.
I have been dead for four months. Oh! how wicked it was of you
to go to that battle! What had I done to you? I pardon you,
but you will never do it again. A little while ago, when they
came to tell us to come to you, I still thought that I was about
to die, but it was from joy. I was so sad! I have not taken
the time to dress myself, I must frighten people with my looks!
What will your relatives say to see me in a crumpled collar?
Do speak! You let me do all the talking. We are still in the Rue
de l'Homme Arme. It seems that your shoulder was terrible.
They told me that you could put your fist in it. And then, it seems
that they cut your flesh with the scissors. That is frightful.
I have cried till I have no eyes left. It is queer that a person
can suffer like that. Your grandfather has a very kindly air.
Don't disturb yourself, don't rise on your elbow, you will
injure yourself. Oh! how happy I am! So our unhappiness is over!
I am quite foolish. I had things to say to you, and I no longer
know in the least what they were. Do you still love me? We live
in the Rue de l'Homme Arme. There is no garden. I made lint all
the time; stay, sir, look, it is your fault, I have a callous on my
"Angel!" said Marius.
Angel is the only word in the language which cannot be worn out.
No other word could resist the merciless use which lovers make
Then as there were spectators, they paused and said not a word more,
contenting themselves with softly touching each other's hands.
M. Gillenormand turned towards those who were in the room and cried:
"Talk loud, the rest of you. Make a noise, you people behind
the scenes. Come, a little uproar, the deuce! so that the children
can chatter at their ease."
And, approaching Marius and Cosette, he said to them in a very
"Call each other thou. Don't stand on ceremony."
Aunt Gillenormand looked on in amazement at this irruption
of light in her elderly household. There was nothing aggressive
about this amazement; it was not the least in the world like the
scandalized and envious glance of an owl at two turtle-doves, it
was the stupid eye of a poor innocent seven and fifty years of age;
it was a life which had been a failure gazing at that triumph, love.
"Mademoiselle Gillenormand senior," said her father to her,
"I told you that this is what would happen to you."
He remained silent for a moment, and then added:
"Look at the happiness of others."
Then he turned to Cosette.
"How pretty she is! how pretty she is! She's a Greuze.
So you are going to have that all to yourself, you scamp!
Ah! my rogue, you are getting off nicely with me, you are happy;
if I were not fifteen years too old, we would fight with swords
to see which of us should have her. Come now! I am in love
with you, mademoiselle. It's perfectly simple. It is your right.
You are in the right. Ah! what a sweet, charming little wedding
this will make! Our parish is Saint-Denis du Saint Sacrament,
but I will get a dispensation so that you can be married at
Saint-Paul. The church is better. It was built by the Jesuits.
It is more coquettish. It is opposite the fountain of Cardinal
de Birague. The masterpiece of Jesuit architecture is at Namur.
It is called Saint-Loup. You must go there after you are married.
It is worth the journey. Mademoiselle, I am quite of your mind,
I think girls ought to marry; that is what they are made for.
There is a certain Sainte-Catherine whom I should always like
to see uncoiffed. It's a fine thing to remain a spinster,
but it is chilly. The Bible says: Multiply. In order to save
the people, Jeanne d'Arc is needed; but in order to make people,
what is needed is Mother Goose. So, marry, my beauties. I really
do not see the use in remaining a spinster! I know that they
have their chapel apart in the church, and that they fall back
on the Society of the Virgin; but, sapristi, a handsome husband,
a fine fellow, and at the expiration of a year, a big, blond brat
who nurses lustily, and who has fine rolls of fat on his thighs,
and who musses up your breast in handfuls with his little rosy paws,
laughing the while like the dawn,--that's better than holding a candle
at vespers, and chanting Turris eburnea!"
 In allusion to the expression, coiffer Sainte-Catherine, "to
The grandfather executed a pirouette on his eighty-year-old heels,
and began to talk again like a spring that has broken loose once more:
"Ainsi, bornant les cours de tes revasseries,
Alcippe, il est donc vrai, dans peu tu te maries."
 "Thus, hemming in the course of thy musings, Alcippus, it is
true that thou wilt wed ere long."
"By the way!"
"What is it, father?"
"Have not you an intimate friend?"
"What has become of him?"
"He is dead."
"That is good."
He seated himself near them, made Cosette sit down, and took their
four hands in his aged and wrinkled hands:
"She is exquisite, this darling. She's a masterpiece, this Cosette!
She is a very little girl and a very great lady. She will only be
a Baroness, which is a come down for her; she was born a Marquise.
What eyelashes she has! Get it well fixed in your noddles,
my children, that you are in the true road. Love each other.
Be foolish about it. Love is the folly of men and the wit of God.
Adore each other. Only," he added, suddenly becoming gloomy,
"what a misfortune! It has just occurred to me! More than half
of what I possess is swallowed up in an annuity; so long as I live,
it will not matter, but after my death, a score of years hence, ah! my
poor children, you will not have a sou! Your beautiful white hands,
Madame la Baronne, will do the devil the honor of pulling him by the
 Tirer le diable par la queue, "to live from hand to mouth."
At this point they heard a grave and tranquil voice say:
"Mademoiselle Euphrasie Fauchelevent possesses six hundred
It was the voice of Jean Valjean.
So far he had not uttered a single word, no one seemed to be aware
that he was there, and he had remained standing erect and motionless,
behind all these happy people.
"What has Mademoiselle Euphrasie to do with the question?"
inquired the startled grandfather.
"I am she," replied Cosette.
"Six hundred thousand francs?" resumed M. Gillenormand.
"Minus fourteen or fifteen thousand francs, possibly," said Jean Valjean.
And he laid on the table the package which Mademoiselle Gillenormand
had mistaken for a book.
Jean Valjean himself opened the package; it was a bundle of bank-notes.
They were turned over and counted. There were five hundred notes
for a thousand francs each, and one hundred and sixty-eight
of five hundred. In all, five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs.
"This is a fine book," said M. Gillenormand.
"Five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs!" murmured the aunt.
"This arranges things well, does it not, Mademoiselle Gillenormand
senior?" said the grandfather. "That devil of a Marius has ferreted
out the nest of a millionaire grisette in his tree of dreams!
Just trust to the love affairs of young folks now, will you!
Students find studentesses with six hundred thousand francs.
Cherubino works better than Rothschild."
"Five hundred and eighty-four thousand francs!" repeated Mademoiselle
Gillenormand, in a low tone. "Five hundred and eighty-four!
one might as well say six hundred thousand!"
As for Marius and Cosette, they were gazing at each other while this
was going on; they hardly heeded this detail.