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Home -> Victor Hugo -> Les MisÚrables -> The Lark

Les MisÚrables - The Lark

1. M. Myriel

2. M. Myriel becomes M. Welcome

3. A Hard Bishopric for a Good Bishop

4. Works corresponding to Words

5. Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long

6. Who guarded his House for him

7. Cravatte

8. Philosophy after Drinking

9. The Brother as depicted by the Sister

10. The Bishop in the Presence of an Unknown Light

11. A Restriction

12. The Solitude of Monseigneur Welcome

13. What he believed

14. What he thought

15. The Evening of a Day of Walking

16. Prudence counselled to Wisdom

17. The Heroism of Passive Obedience

18. Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

19. Tranquillity

20. Jean Valjean

21. The Interior of Despair

22. Billows and Shadows

23. New Troubles

24. The Man aroused

25. What he does

26. The Bishop works

27. Little Gervais

28. The Year 1817

29. A Double Quartette

30. Four and Four

31. Tholomyes is so Merry that he sings a Spanish Ditty

32. At Bombardas

33. A Chapter in which they adore Each Other

34. The Wisdom of Tholomyes

35. The Death of a Horse

36. A Merry End to Mirth

37. One Mother meets Another Mother

38. First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

39. The Lark

40. The History of a Progress in Black Glass Trinkets

41. Madeleine

42. Sums deposited with Laffitte

43. M. Madeleine in Mourning

44. Vague Flashes on the Horizon

45. Father Fauchelevent

46. Fauchelevent becomes a Gardener in Paris

47. Madame Victurnien expends Thirty Francs on Morality

48. Madame Victurnien's Success

49. Result of the Success

50. Christus nos Liberavit

51. M. Bamatabois's Inactivity

52. The Solution of Some Questions connected with the Municipal Police

53. The Beginning of Repose

54. How Jean may become Champ

55. Sister Simplice

56. The Perspicacity of Master Scaufflaire

57. A Tempest in a Skull

58. Forms assumed by Suffering during Sleep

59. Hindrances

60. Sister Simplice put to the Proof

61. The Traveller on his Arrival takes Precautions for Departure

62. An Entrance by Favor

63. A Place where Convictions are in Process of Formation

64. The System of Denials

65. Champmathieu more and more Astonished

66. In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

67. Fantine Happy

68. Javert Satisfied

69. Authority reasserts its Rights

70. A Suitable Tomb

71. What is met with on the Way from Nivelles

72. Hougomont

73. The Eighteenth of June, 1815

74. A

75. The Quid Obscurum of Battles

76. Four o'clock in the Afternoon

77. Napoleon in a Good Humor

78. The Emperor puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste

79. The Unexpected

80. The Plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean

81. A Bad Guide to Napoleon; a Good Guide to Bulow

82. The Guard

83. The Catastrophe

84. The Last Square

85. Cambronne

86. Quot Libras in Duce?

87. Is Waterloo to be considered Good?

88. A Recrudescence of Divine Right

89. The Battle-Field at Night

90. Number 24,601 becomes Number 9,430

91. In which the reader will peruse Two Verses which are of the Devil's Composition possibly

92. The Ankle-Chain must have undergone a Certain Preparatory Manipulation to be thus broken with a Blow from a Hammer

93. The Water Question at Montfermeil

94. Two Complete Portraits

95. Men must have Wine, and Horses must have Water

96. Entrance on the Scene of a Doll

97. The Little One All Alone

98. Which possibly proves Boulatruelle's Intelligence

99. Cosette Side by Side with the Stranger in the Dark

100. The Unpleasantness of receiving into One's House a Poor Man who may be a Rich Man

101. Thenardier at his Manoeuvres

102. He who seeks to better himself may render his Situation Worse

103. Number 9,430 reappears, and Cosette wins it in the Lottery

104. Master Gorbeau

105. A Nest for Owl and a Warbler

106. Two Misfortunes Make One Piece of Good Fortune

107. The Remarks of the Principal Tenant

108. A Five-Franc Piece Falls on the Ground and Produces a Tumult

109. The Zigzags of Strategy

110. It Is Lucky That the Pont D'Austerlitz Bears Carriages

111. To Wit, the Plan of Paris in 1727

112. The Gropings of Flight

113. Which Would be Impossible With Gas Lanterns

114. The Beginning of an Enigma

115. Continuation of the Enigma

116. The Enigma Becomes Doubly Mysterious

117. The Man with the Bell

118. Which Explains How Javert Got on the Scent

119. Number 62 Rue Petit-Picpus

120. The Obedience of Martin Verga

121. Austerities

122. Gayeties

123. Distractions

124. The Little Convent

125. Some Silhouettes of this Darkness

126. Post Corda Lapides

127. A Century under a Guimpe

128. Origin of the Perpetual Adoration

129. End of the Petit-Picpus

130. The Convent as an Abstract Idea

131. The Convent as an Historical Fact

132. On What Conditions One can respect the Past

133. The Convent from the Point of View of Principles

134. Prayer

135. The Absolute Goodness of Prayer

136. Precautions to be observed in Blame

137. Faith, Law

138. Which treats of the Manner of entering a Convent

139. Fauchelevent in the Presence of a Difficulty

140. Mother Innocente

141. In which Jean Valjean has quite the Air of having read Austin Castillejo

142. It is not Necessary to be Drunk in order to be Immortal

143. Between Four Planks

144. In which will be found the Origin of the Saying: Don't lose the Card

145. A Successful Interrogatory

146. Cloistered

It is not all in all sufficient to be wicked in order to prosper.
The cook-shop was in a bad way.

Thanks to the traveller's fifty-seven francs, Thenardier had been
able to avoid a protest and to honor his signature. On the following
month they were again in need of money. The woman took Cosette's
outfit to Paris, and pawned it at the pawnbroker's for sixty francs.
As soon as that sum was spent, the Thenardiers grew accustomed
to look on the little girl merely as a child whom they were caring
for out of charity; and they treated her accordingly. As she had
no longer any clothes, they dressed her in the cast-off petticoats
and chemises of the Thenardier brats; that is to say, in rags.
They fed her on what all the rest had left--a little better than the dog,
a little worse than the cat. Moreover, the cat and the dog were her
habitual table-companions; Cosette ate with them under the table,
from a wooden bowl similar to theirs.

The mother, who had established herself, as we shall see later on,
at M. sur M., wrote, or, more correctly, caused to be written,
a letter every month, that she might have news of her child.
The Thenardiers replied invariably, "Cosette is doing wonderfully well."

At the expiration of the first six months the mother sent seven
francs for the seventh month, and continued her remittances
with tolerable regularity from month to month. The year was not
completed when Thenardier said: "A fine favor she is doing us,
in sooth! What does she expect us to do with her seven francs?"
and he wrote to demand twelve francs. The mother, whom they had
persuaded into the belief that her child was happy, "and was coming
on well," submitted, and forwarded the twelve francs.

Certain natures cannot love on the one hand without hating on
the other. Mother Thenardier loved her two daughters passionately,
which caused her to hate the stranger.

It is sad to think that the love of a mother can possess
villainous aspects. Little as was the space occupied by Cosette,
it seemed to her as though it were taken from her own, and that
that little child diminished the air which her daughters breathed.
This woman, like many women of her sort, had a load of caresses
and a burden of blows and injuries to dispense each day.
If she had not had Cosette, it is certain that her daughters,
idolized as they were, would have received the whole of it;
but the stranger did them the service to divert the blows to herself.
Her daughters received nothing but caresses. Cosette could not make
a motion which did not draw down upon her head a heavy shower of
violent blows and unmerited chastisement. The sweet, feeble being,
who should not have understood anything of this world or of God,
incessantly punished, scolded, ill-used, beaten, and seeing beside
her two little creatures like herself, who lived in a ray of dawn!

Madame Thenardier was vicious with Cosette. Eponine and Azelma
were vicious. Children at that age are only copies of their mother.
The size is smaller; that is all.

A year passed; then another.

People in the village said:--

"Those Thenardiers are good people. They are not rich, and yet they
are bringing up a poor child who was abandoned on their hands!"

They thought that Cosette's mother had forgotten her.

In the meanwhile, Thenardier, having learned, it is impossible
to say by what obscure means, that the child was probably a bastard,
and that the mother could not acknowledge it, exacted fifteen francs
a month, saying that "the creature" was growing and "eating," and
threatening to send her away. "Let her not bother me," he exclaimed,
"or I'll fire her brat right into the middle of her secrets.
I must have an increase." The mother paid the fifteen francs.

From year to year the child grew, and so did her wretchedness.

As long as Cosette was little, she was the scape-goat of the
two other children; as soon as she began to develop a little,
that is to say, before she was even five years old, she became
the servant of the household.

Five years old! the reader will say; that is not probable.
Alas! it is true. Social suffering begins at all ages.
Have we not recently seen the trial of a man named Dumollard,
an orphan turned bandit, who, from the age of five, as the official
documents state, being alone in the world, "worked for his living
and stole"?

Cosette was made to run on errands, to sweep the rooms, the courtyard,
the street, to wash the dishes, to even carry burdens. The Thenardiers
considered themselves all the more authorized to behave in this manner,
since the mother, who was still at M. sur M., had become irregular
in her payments. Some months she was in arrears.

If this mother had returned to Montfermeil at the end of these three
years, she would not have recognized her child. Cosette, so pretty
and rosy on her arrival in that house, was now thin and pale.
She had an indescribably uneasy look. "The sly creature,"
said the Thenardiers.

Injustice had made her peevish, and misery had made her ugly.
Nothing remained to her except her beautiful eyes, which inspired
pain, because, large as they were, it seemed as though one beheld
in them a still larger amount of sadness.

It was a heart-breaking thing to see this poor child, not yet
six years old, shivering in the winter in her old rags of linen,
full of holes, sweeping the street before daylight, with an enormous
broom in her tiny red hands, and a tear in her great eyes.

She was called the Lark in the neighborhood. The populace, who are
fond of these figures of speech, had taken a fancy to bestow this
name on this trembling, frightened, and shivering little creature,
no bigger than a bird, who was awake every morning before any one
else in the house or the village, and was always in the street
or the fields before daybreak.

Only the little lark never sang.

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