Section 1 - Fantine
Book Six - Javert
Madeleine has Fantine installed at the infirmary where her gentle nature soon wins over the nuns. Madeleine makes inquiries and learns all of Fantine's sorry history and he resolves to reunite her with her child. He sends money and a command to bring the girl but the Thenardiers, sensing they might be able to soak more money from Fantine's benefactor, offer only pitiful excuses and demands for more money. With Fantine's health deteriorating Madeleine resolves to retrieve Cosette himself if necessary and has a letter drawn up in which Fantine orders Monsieur Thenardier to deliver Cosette to the bearer of the letter. Before Madeleine can retrieve Cosette, however, Javert comes to see him and confesses that he has written Paris to denounce Madeleine as the convict Jean Valjean. His superiors in Paris, however, have informed him that another man, known as Father Champmathieu, has been arrested for stealing apples and was positively identified by three other convicts as being Jean Valjean. Javert has since seen the man himself and also believes that he is Jean Valjean. He tells Madeleine that he will travel to Arras the following day to testify at the trial which will certainly sentence the man to hard labor for life. Monsieur Madeleine pretends not to be affected by the news. Javert insists that because he denounced a superior he is no longer fit to serve as a police officer but Madeleine insists that he continue his duties.
Javert's actions are not calculated to destroy Madeleine. They are simply motivated by his admiration for the law and the judicial system. When he offers to resign his position, he honestly believes that he has failed the system because he thinks that Madeleine is an ex-criminal.