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x0064; perceived in movement an instant before,, in the distant darkness,, was Javert and his squad without a doubt.   Javert was probably already at the commencement of the street at whose end Jean Valjean stood. Javert,, to all appearances,, was acquainted with this little labyrinth,, and had taken his precautions by sending one of his men to guard the exit.   These surmises,, which so closely resembled proofs,, whirled suddenly,, like a handful of dust caught up by an unexpected gust of wind,, through Jean Valjean's mournful brain. He examined the Cul-de-Sac Genrot; there he was cut off. He examined the Rue Petit-Picpus; there stood a sentinel.   He saw that black form standing out in relief against the white pavement,, illuminated by the moon; to advance was to fall into this man's hands; to retreat was to fling himself into Javert's arms.   Jean Valjean felt himself caught,, as in a net,, which was slowly contracting; he gazed heavenward in despair. BOOK FIFTH.--FOR A BLACK HUNT,, A MUTE PACK CHAPTER IV   THE GROPINGS OF FLIGHT    In order to understand what follows,, it is requisite to form an exact idea of the Droit-Mur lane,, and,, in particular,, of the angle which one leaves on the left when one emerges from the Rue Polonceau into this lane.   Droit-Mur lane was almost entirely bordered on the right,, as far as the Rue Petit-Picpus,, by houses of mean aspect; on the left by a solitary building of severe outlines,, composed of numerous parts which grew gradually higher by a story or two as they approached the Rue Petit-Picpus side; so that this building,, which was very lofty on the Rue Petit-Picpus side,, was tolerably low on the side adjoining the Rue Polonceau.   There,, at the angle of which we have spoken,, it descended to such a degree that it consisted of merely a wall.   This wall did not abut directly on the Street; it formed a deeply retreating niche,, concealed by its two corners from two observers who might have been,, one in the Rue Polonceau,, the other in the Rue Droit-Mur.   Beginning with these angles of the niche,, the wall extended along the Rue Polonceau as far as a house which bore the number 49,, and along the Rue Droit-Mur,, where the fragment was much shorter,, as far as the gloomy building which we have mentioned and whose gable it intersected,, thus forming another retreating angle in the street. This gable was sombre of aspect; only one window was visible,, or,, to speak more correctly,, two shutters covered with a sheet of zinc and kept constantly closed.   The state of the places of which we are here giving a description is rigorously exact,, and will certainly awaken a very precise memory in the mind of old inhabitants of the quarter.   The niche was entirely filled by a thing which resembled a colossal and wretched door; it was a vast,, formless assemblage of perpendicular planks,, the upper ones being broader than the lower,, bound together by long transverse strips of iron. At one side there was a carriage gate of the ordinary dimensions,, and which had evidently not been cut more than fifty years previously.   A linden-tree showed its crest above the niche,, and the wall was covered with ivy on the side of the Rue Polonceau.   In the imminent peril in which Jean Valjean found himself,, this sombre building had about it a solitary and uninhabited look which tempted him.   He ran his eyes rapidly over it; he said to himself,, that if he could contrive to get inside it,, he might save himself. First he conceived an idea,, then a hope.   In the central portion of the front of this building,, on the Rue Droit-Mur side,, there were at all the windows of the different stories ancient cistern pipes of lead.   The various branches of the pipes which led from one central pipe to all these little basins sketched out a sort of tree on the front.   These ramifications of pipes with their hundred elbows imitated those old leafless vine-stocks which writhe over the fronts of old farm-houses.   This odd espalier,, with its branches of lead and iron,, was the first thing that struck Jean Valjean.   He seated Cosette with her back against a stone post,, with an injunction to be silent,, and ran to the spot where the conduit touched the pavement. Perhaps there was some way of climbing up by it and entering the house. But the pipe was dilapidated and past service,, and hardly hung to its fastenings.   Moreover,, all the windows of this silent dwelling were grated with heavy iron bars,, even the attic windows in the roof. And then,, the moon fell full upon that facade,, and the man who was watching at the corner of the street would have seen Jean Valjean in the act of climbing.   And finally,, what was to be done with Cosette? How was she to be drawn up to the top of a three-story house?   He gave up all idea of climbing by means of the drain-pipe,, and crawled along the wall to get back into the Rue Polonceau.   When he reached the slant of the wall where he had left Cosette,, he noticed that no one could see him there.   As we have just explained,, he was concealed from all eyes,, no matter from which direction they were approaching; besides this,, he was in the shadow. Finally,, there were two doors; perhaps they might be forced. The wall above which he saw the linden-tree and the ivy evidently abutted on a garden where he could,, at least,, hide himself,, although there were as yet no leaves on the trees,, and spend the remainder of the night.   Time was passing; he must act quickly.   He felt over the carriage door,, and immediately recognized the fact that it was impracticable outside and in.   He approached the other door with more hope; it was frightfully decrepit; its very immensity rendered it less solid; the planks were rotten; the iron bands--there were only three of them--were rusted.   It seemed as though it might be possible to pierce this worm-eaten barrier.   On examining it he found that the door was not a door; it had neither hinges,, cross-bars,, lock,, nor fissure in the middle; the iron bands traversed it from side to side without any break. Through the crevices in the planks he caught a view of unhewn slabs and blocks of �
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    #x0065;stick on one side,, as though she was expecting him.   Then she sat down again on her chair,, and became absorbed in thought once more. The poor,, good old woman bad done all this without being conscious of it.   It was only at the expiration of two hours that she roused herself from her revery,, and exclaimed,, "Hold!   My good God Jesus! And I hung his key on the nail!"   At that moment the small window in the lodge opened,, a hand passed through,, seized the key and the candlestick,, and lighted the taper at the candle which was burning there.   The portress raised her eyes,, and stood there with gaping mouth,, and a shriek which she confined to her throat.   She knew that hand,, that arm,, the sleeve of that coat.   It was M. Madeleine.   It was several seconds before she could speak; she had a seizure,, as she said herself,, when she related the adventure afterwards.   "Good God,, Monsieur le Maire,," she cried at last,, "I thought you were--"   She stopped; the conclusion of her sentence would have been lacking in respect towards the beginning.   Jean Valjean was still Monsieur le Maire to her.   He finished her thought.   "In prison,," said he.   "I was there; I broke a bar of one of the windows; I let myself drop from the top of a roof,, and here I am. I am going up to my room; go and find Sister Simplice for me. She is with that poor woman,, no doubt."   The old woman obeyed in all haste.   He gave her no orders; he was quite sure that she would guard him better than he should guard himself.   No one ever found out how he had managed to get into the courtyard without opening the big gates.   He had,, and always carried about him,, a pass-key which opened a little side-door; but he must have been searched,, and his latch-key must have been taken from him. This point was never explained.   He ascended the staircase leading to his chamber.   On arriving at the top,, he left his candle on the top step of his stairs,, opened his door with very little noise,, went and closed his window and his shutters by feeling,, then returned for his candle and re-entered his room.   It was a useful precaution; it will be recollected that his window could be seen from the street.   He cast a glance about him,, at his table,, at his chair,, at his bed which had not been disturbed for three days.   No trace of the disorder of the night before last remained.   The portress had "done up" his room; only she had picked out of the ashes and placed neatly on the table the two iron ends of the cudgel and the forty-sou piece which had been blackened by the fire.   He took a sheet of paper,, on which he wrote:   "These are the two tips of my iron-shod cudgel and the forty-sou piece stolen from Little Gervais,, which I mentioned at the Court of Assizes,," and he arranged this piece of paper,, the bits of iron,, and the coin in such a way that they were the first things to be seen on entering the room.   From a cupboard he pulled out one of his old shirts,, which he tore in pieces.   In the strips of linen thus prepared he wrapped the two silver candlesticks.   He betrayed neither haste nor agitation; and while he was wrapping up the Bishop's candlesticks,, he nibbled at a piece of black bread.   It was probably the prison-bread which he had carried with him in his flight.   This was proved by the crumbs which were found on the floor of the room when the authorities made an examination later on.   There came two taps at the door.   "Come in,," said he.   It was Sister Simplice.   She was pale; her eyes were red; the candle which she carried trembled in her hand.   The peculiar feature of the violences of destiny is,, that however polished or cool we may be,, they wring human nature from our very bowels,, and force it to reappear on the surface. The emotions of that day had turned the nun into a woman once more. She had wept,, and she was trembling.   Jean Valjean had just finished writing a few lines on a paper,, which he handed to the nun,, saying,, "Sister,, you will give this to Monsieur le Cure."   The paper was not folded.   She cast a glance upon it.   "You can read it,," said he.   She read:--   "I beg Monsieur le Cure to keep an eye on all that I leave behind me. He will be so good as to pay out of it the expenses of my trial,, and of the funeral of the woman who died yesterday.   The rest is for the poor."   The sister tried to speak,, but she only managed to stammer a few inarticulate sounds.   She succeeded in saying,, however:--   "Does not Monsieur le Maire desire to take a last look at that poor,, unhappy woman?"   "No,," said he; "I am pursued; it would only end in their arresting me in that room,, and that would disturb her."   He had hardly finished when a loud noise became audible on the staircase. They heard a tumult of ascending footsteps,, and the old portress saying in her loudest and most piercing tones:--   "My good sir,, I swear to you by the good God,, that not a soul has entered this house all day,, nor all the evening,, and that I have not even left the door."   A man responded:--   "But there is a light in that room,, nevertheless."   They recognized Javert's voice.   The chamber was so arranged that the door in opening masked the corner of the wall on the right.   Jean Valjean blew out the light and placed himself in this angle.   Sister Simplice fell on her knees near the table.   The door opened.   Javert entered.   The whispers of many men and the protestations of the portress were audible in the corridor.   The nun did not raise her eyes.   She was praying.   The candle was on the chimney-piece,, and gave but very little light.   Javert caught sight of the nun and halted in amazement.   It will be remembered that the fundamental point in Javert,, his element,, the very air he breathed,, was veneration for all authority. This was impregnable,, and admitted of neither objection nor restriction. In his eyes,, of course,, the ecclesiastical authority was the chief of all; he was religious,, superficial and correct on this point as on all others.   In his eyes,, a priest was a mind,, who never makes a mistake; a nun was a creature who never sins; they were souls walled in from 
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