Section 4 - Saint-Denis and Idyll of the Rue Plumet
Book Nine - Where Are They Going?
On the afternoon of June 5th, 1832, Jean Valjean was sitting in a remote spot on the Champ de Mars pondering all the things that were making him anxious. He had seen Thenardier prowling about the neighborhood, Paris was in political turmoil, and the police were becoming more secretive and more active. He had recently discovered an address carved into the wall of the house. All these things had firmed his resolve to relocate to England if he could find some means of procuring a passport. In the midst of these thoughts a message fell into his lap that read simply "Remove." He turned and was just in time to see a small figure jump into the ditch and flee. He returned home full of thought.
Marius' departure leaves his grandfather in despair. He does not give any heed to his grandfather's remarks about his cousin but is absorbed by the thought that Cosette will leave. He walks the streets until 2am and then falls asleep at Courfeyrac's, fully dressed. When he awakes Courfeyrac, Enjolras and other members of the ABC society are there. They ask him if he is going to the funeral of General Lamarque, an event bearing political importance but meaning nothing to Marius. When he leaves the apartment later in the day he takes the two pistols given him by Javert without knowing exactly why. He spends the day rambling in the streets biding his time until 9pm when he can see Cosette.
Throughout the course of the day he hears strange sounds that seem to indicate fighting somewhere in the city. At 9pm he arrives as the garden but finds the house shut up and the occupants gone. In the midst of his despair he hears a voice that sounds like Eponine calling to him. The voice tells him that his friends are waiting for him at the barricade in the Rue de la Chanvrerie.
Meanwhile, Father Mabeuf, who in his innocence turned the purse into the police, has finally run out of money and things to sell. Despair takes hold of him. On the very day that Marius was waiting to meet Cosette, Father Mabeuf heard the sound of gunfire in the city and a passing gardener tells him that the fighting is concentrated near the arsenal. He takes his hat and goes out with a bewildered air.
The author is setting the stage for the climax. The political situation is worsening in France and an uprising appears to be imminent. Problems of insurmountable proportions are brewing for many of the main characters. Marius' attempt to reconnect with his grandfather has failed; his visit to Cosette is futile because she has left with Valjean; Valjean feels that he is being watched and fears for his life and Cosette's safety; Father Mabeuf has no more money because he has brought the wallet that he found in his garden to the police and sold all of his books; Cosette is miserable because she knows that she will not be able to see Marius and does not want to leave France; Eponine is unhappy because she cannot gain Marius' affections; Monsieur Gillenormand realizes that he has lost his grandson because of what he said to him about Cosette.