Les Miserables HTML version
THE HEROISM OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE.
The door opened.
It opened wide with a rapid movement, as though some one had given it an energetic
and resolute push.
A man entered.
We already know the man. It was the wayfarer whom we have seen wandering about in
search of shelter.
He entered, advanced a step, and halted, leaving the door open behind him. He had his
knapsack on his shoulders, his cudgel in his hand, a rough, audacious, weary, and
violent expression in his eyes. The fire on the hearth lighted him up. He was hideous. It
was a sinister apparition.
Madame Magloire had not even the strength to utter a cry. She trembled, and stood with
her mouth wide open.
Mademoiselle Baptistine turned round, beheld the man entering, and half started up in
terror; then, turning her head by degrees towards the fireplace again, she began to
observe her brother, and her face became once more profoundly calm and serene.
The Bishop fixed a tranquil eye on the man.
As he opened his mouth, doubtless to ask the new-comer what he desired, the man
rested both hands on his staff, directed his gaze at the old man and the two women,
and without waiting for the Bishop to speak, he said, in a loud voice:--
"See here. My name is Jean Valjean. I am a convict from the galleys. I have passed
nineteen years in the galleys. I was liberated four days ago, and am on my way to
Pontarlier, which is my destination. I have been walking for four days since I left Toulon.
I have travelled a dozen leagues to-day on foot. This evening, when I arrived in these
parts, I went to an inn, and they turned me out, because of my yellow passport, which I
had shown at the town-hall. I had to do it. I went to an inn. They said to me, `Be off,' at
both places. No one would take me. I went to the prison; the jailer would not admit me. I
went into a dog's kennel; the dog bit me and chased me off, as though he had been a
man. One would have said that he knew who I was. I went into the fields, intending to
sleep in the open air, beneath the stars. There were no stars. I thought it was going to
rain, and I re-entered the town, to seek the recess of a doorway. Yonder, in the square,
I meant to sleep on a stone bench. A good woman pointed out your house to me, and