Les Miserables

Les Miserables

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Thenardier (Jondrette) Character Analysis

An inn-keeper at Montfermeil who takes Cosette in and then attempts to swindle Fantine by demanding larger and larger sums of money for Cosette’s care. Thenardier is greedy, selfish, uncaring, and generally evil. He changes little if at all over the course of the novel, as his only goal remains attaining a fortune by any means possible (except by hard work). Thenardier is more of a stock villain than Javert, who is a more complex antagonist.

Thenardier (Jondrette) Quotes in Les Miserables

The Les Miserables quotes below are all either spoken by Thenardier (Jondrette) or refer to Thenardier (Jondrette). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Redemption Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Canterbury Classics edition of Les Miserables published in 2015.
Volume 3, Book 8 Quotes

The Jondrette lair was, if the reader recalls what we have said of the Gorbeau building, admirably chosen to serve as the theatre of a violent and somber deed, and as the envelope for a crime. It was the most retired chamber in the most isolated house on the most deserted boulevard in Paris. If the system of ambush and traps had not already existed, they would have been invented here.

Related Characters: Thenardier (Jondrette), Madame Thenardier, Eponine
Page Number: 674
Explanation and Analysis:

Marius has been spying on the Jondrette "lair" from the peep-hole of his own room, and he has been growing increasingly concerned that someone is in great danger, as the family is obviously plotting some kind of crime. In this brief digression, we learn how ideal indeed this hovel would be for a crime. Instead of studying human beings, whether as abstract "characters" or as individuals, here the narrator turns his sociological lens on a particular site within Paris. In some ways, he seems to be suggesting that crime is inevitable in such a place. But in other ways he is, once again, seeking to trace certain behaviors back to their origin—here, the dismal, poverty-stricken surroundings in which these characters find themselves. Rather than it being a question of condemning or withholding judgment, it is a question of seeking to understand and explain the source of these people's anger and criminality.

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He had found him at last, and how? His father’s savior was a ruffian! That man, to whose service Marius was burning to devote himself, was a monster! The liberator of Colonel Pontmercy was on the point of committing a crime whose scope Marius did not, as yet, clearly comprehend, but which resembled an assassination! And against whom, great God! What a fatality! What a bitter mockery of fate!

Related Characters: Thenardier (Jondrette), Marius
Page Number: 683
Explanation and Analysis:

Having eavesdropped for some time at the peep-hole, Marius finally hears Jondrette's true name, Thenardier—the name of the person that his father begged him to thank one day, since he had (supposedly) saved Marius's father on the battlefield. Now Marius has to come to terms with the fact that he both knows this man to be a despicable criminal, and knows him to be his father's savior and hero. This series of exclamations register Marius's shock—it is, of course, a great coincidence—and his scrambling attempts to determine what to do.

To Marius, this new revelation is a "mockery" of how fate ought to be because, after having spent his life pursuing his father's savior to thank him, he finds himself with no good solution: either Marius betrays his father and calls for Javert to barge in and arrest Thenardier, or Marius risks the safety of Leblanc, an innocent man. Neither way seems particularly ethical or high-minded, and so he is caught having to make an impossible decision. Marius had always assumed that his love for his father would ensure that he he could fulfill his father's dying wish: now it seems that no such redeeming action is possible.

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Thenardier (Jondrette) Character Timeline in Les Miserables

The timeline below shows where the character Thenardier (Jondrette) appears in Les Miserables. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Book 4: To Confide is Sometimes to Deliver Into a Person’s Power
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Chapter 1 This section opens in Montfermeil, near Paris, at an inn kept by the Thenardier couple. Over the door is nailed a painting of a man carrying another on his... (full context)
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...two swinging girls and noticed how happy they seemed. The women begin to talk: Madame Thenardier, the other woman, is thin, angular, and masculine with a bit of a beard. Fantine... (full context)
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After a night spent at the inn, Fantine leaves in the morning, weeping. Thenardier (the husband) congratulates his wife, saying that he lacked money to pay his debts, so... (full context)
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Chapter Two The Thenardiers, says the narrator, belong to the class of coarse but successful people, as well as... (full context)
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Chapter The Thenardiers promptly use all Fantine’s money to pay off their debts, and then begin to consider... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 5: The Descent
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...wont to do. Finally, a certain Madame Victurnien travels to Montfermeil to talk to the Thenardiers, having seen the address on Fantine’s letters. She returns and tells everyone about Fantine’s illegitimate... (full context)
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...She begins to sew soldiers’ shirts, but barely makes anything, and begins to pay the Thenardiers irregularly. She learns to live on increasing privations, sleeping and eating little. Seeing her passing,... (full context)
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...hair cut off for 10 francs to buy a petticoat to send to Cosette. The Thenardiers, who wanted money, are furious and give it to Eponine, while Cosette continues to shiver.... (full context)
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Fantine works 17 hours a day for nearly nothing. She feels hunted, and finally, when Thenardier asks for 100 francs at once or else he’ll throw Cosette out, she becomes a... (full context)
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...mercy, saying that she is not to blame. She begins spewing frantic phrases about the Thenardiers and her need to make money, finally growing silent and sobbing. Javert simply says that... (full context)
Volume 1, Book 6: Javert
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...to the Prefect of Police in Paris. Madeleine sends the 120 francs owed to the Thenardiers; he tells them to send the child immediately to M.-sur-M. Thenardier is dazzled: he says... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 1: Waterloo
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...to the French army, but must now flee. The officer asked his name: it was Thenardier. The officer said his was Pontmercy. (full context)
Volume 2, Book 2: The Ship Orion
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Thenardier, who’s very curious, suggests they get Boulatruelle drunk. He says very little, but they do... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 3: Accomplishment of the Promise Made to the Dead Woman
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...household must fetch drinking water from a spring about 15 minutes away. Households like the Thenardiers pay a man to fetch it, but he only works until early evening. When he’s... (full context)
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It’s Christmas eve, and a number of people are drinking in the tavern of the Thenardier inn. As they talk merrily, Cosette is seated near the chimney, dressed in rags. Eponine... (full context)
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Chapter 2 Thenardier is around fifty, his wife a little less. Madame Thenardier has a big blotchy face... (full context)
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Thenardier is the kind of man who accuses everyone else of being responsible for all his... (full context)
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...Cosette protests, and lies that it has. She creeps back under the table, and Madame Thenardier yells at her to take the bucket—which is bigger than she is—and go fetch water.... (full context)
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...herself that one must be a princess to have such a toy. But then Madame Thenardier Thenardier screeches at her to hurry, and she flees. (full context)
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...for Christmas. As they reach the house, Cosette asks for her bucket back. If Madame Thenardier sees that someone has carried it for her, she will beat her. (full context)
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Chapter 8 Madame Thenardier opens the door and says Cosette has taken her time fetching the water, but as... (full context)
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...thin and red. She seems defined by fear. She’s never known how to pray, since Thenardier says he doesn’t have time for church. Madame Thenardier asks Cosette where the bread is:... (full context)
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...off to play with their dolls in a corner, as Cosette watches them sadly. Madame Thenardier sees that she’s distracted, and threatens the whip again, before the stranger asks Madame to... (full context)
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Thenardier and his wife whisper to each other about whether the man is in fact a... (full context)
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Madame Thenardier tells the stranger that Cosette is a little beggar whom they’ve taken in through charity.... (full context)
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Madame Thenardier Thenardier despises the man at this moment, but tries to be cordial as her husband... (full context)
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Chapter 9 The next morning, Thenardier makes up a bill for 23 francs, fabricating all kinds of charges. His wife exclaims... (full context)
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Thenardier asks his wife to leave the room, and, pulling up a chair, confides to the... (full context)
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...her shoe. She goes about her morning errands in a kind of haze, when Madame Thenardier approaches her and tells her, almost gently, to follow her. The traveler gives her a... (full context)
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Chapter 10 After their departure, Thenardier shows his wife the 1500 francs. She exclaims, “Is that all?” and he says she’s... (full context)
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The stranger counts up out loud all the bills that Thenardier had sent to Fantine over the years: he says 1500 francs is more than enough.... (full context)
Volume 2, Book 4: The Gorbeau Hovel
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...She does not remember her mother, and though she had tried to love, all the Thenardiers had repulsed her. Destiny fills in the gulf of age between Valjean and Cosette. (full context)
Volume 2, Book 5: For a Black Hunt, a Mute Pack
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...says she is afraid, but he tells her to be quiet: he says it’s Madame Thenardier. He fastens the rope to Cosette, climbs up the wall himself, and then hoists her... (full context)
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...then gone to Montfermeil, where multiple people told him different versions of the tale. But Thenardier, whom he questioned, realized it is never smart to stir up a prosecutor’s interest, so... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 1: Paris Studied in Its Atom
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...inhabitants is a family of father, mother, and two grown daughters. The father’s name is Jondrette, and he tells the housekeeper that if anyone should ever inquire for a Pole, Italian,... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 3: The Grandfather and the Grandson
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...he himself received at Waterloo. He also writes that a sergeant saved his life at Waterloo—Thenardier—and asks Marius to do any good he can to the man should he ever meet... (full context)
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...from his father. He spends less and less time at home, once attempting to see Thenardier in Montfermeil, though the inn is closed. (full context)
Volume 3, Book 5: The Excellence of Misfortune
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Marius never forgets two names: that of his father, and that of Thenardier. He had been distressed at hearing of the man’s ruin at Montfermeil, and has never... (full context)
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...aspirations. Towards the middle of 1831, the old porter tells Marius that his neighbors, the Jondrettes, are being turned out since they have not paid their rent of 20 francs. Marius... (full context)
Volume 3, Book 8: The Wicked Poor Man
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Chapter 2 The only remaining residents of the Gorbeau house are Marius and the Jondrettes, whose rent he’d once paid. One night Marius is walking along when two wild-looking young... (full context)
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...Marius by name, though he doesn’t know her, and gives him a letter in which Jondrette thanks him, as he’s just found out that it was Marius who paid his rent... (full context)
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...suddenly understands the letters from the night before: this one is in the same hand. Jondrette evidently takes advantage of the charity of benevolent people and sends his daughters off to... (full context)
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Chapter 8 After a pause, Jondrette cries that if the philanthropist isn’t coming he’ll have done all this for nothing. He... (full context)
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Chapter 9 The old man tells Jondrette that he’s brought a package with new clothes and blankets. In a low voice, Jondrette... (full context)
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...he bitterly watches the fiacre depart. As he returns, he sees from across the street Jondrette speaking with an ominous-looking man, a man of the street: Panchaud, alias Printanier, alias Bigrenaille,... (full context)
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Chapter 11 Marius returns to his room and sees the elder Jondrette girl there. She now seems hateful to him, since he had given her the five... (full context)
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Marius drops into his chair as the girl leaves, but suddenly he hears Jondrette’s voice exclaim that he is sure he recognizes the man. Perhaps Jondrette is speaking of... (full context)
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Chapter 12 The woman turns to Jondrette and asks if he’s sure. He says he is—the man hasn’t grown old. Jondrette tells... (full context)
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In a low voice, Jondrette says that his fortune is made: he’s had enough of misery. The man will come... (full context)
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...for the five francs he had given to the sister, he never would have heard Jondrette’s plan and thus been able to save “Ursule.” (full context)
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...Marius two small pistols. He tells him to hide in his chamber so that the Jondrettes think he’s gone out: he’ll keep watch, and when matters have reached a crisis, he... (full context)
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...they realize that he’s following a man with a gray cap—in fact, Marius is following Jondrette. He sees him emerge from a shop holding a huge chisel. Then he returns to... (full context)
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...of the hard pistols in his pocket make it seem like this isn’t a dream. Jondrette has just returned, and he tells his wife that the mouse-trap is set. He orders... (full context)
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...by the reflection from the burning charcoal stove in the fireplace. The chisel bought by Jondrette that day is heating in the charcoal, and by the door is a heap of... (full context)
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Jondrette tells his wife to fetch two chairs from the neighbor’s room. Marius has no time... (full context)
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Chapter 18 Six o’clock strikes, and Jondrette begins to pace. Then M. Leblanc arrives and lays the sixty francs on the table.... (full context)
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Chapter 2 0 Leblanc asks after the younger, wounded girl, and Jondrette says she’s very bad, but will return shortly from the hospital with her wounds dressed.... (full context)
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Jondrette sweetly asks Leblanc for 1,000 crowns for the picture. Leblanc springs up. In a plaintive... (full context)
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Chapter 20 The door has just opened, and three masked men enter. Jondrette asks if everything’s ready, and they say it is. Leblanc has turned pale, and is... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Thenardier is pacing in frenzied triumph, crowing that it was the old man who came to... (full context)
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Marius shudders at Thenardier’s avowal, and at the reproach against his father. Marius now has no more doubt on... (full context)
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Leblanc has followed all Thenardier’s movements. Suddenly he overturns the table and chair and leaps into the window. He’s half... (full context)
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The man remains impassive, and Marius admires his stoicism and refusal to despair. Thenardier says he doesn’t want to ruin the man: he’s asking only for 200,000 francs, which... (full context)
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Thenardier tells Leblanc that he assumes the Lark really is his daughter. The girl will follow... (full context)
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The Thenardier woman rushes into the room, shouting, “False address!” The old man has duped him, she... (full context)
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...arm, and Marius reels in horror, but the man looks serenely and without hatred at Thenardier. He tells the wretches not to fear him more than he fears them, and hurls... (full context)
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...enters the room and tells the men there are 15 policemen—they shouldn’t try to fight. Thenardier points his pistol at Javert, who says he’ll only misfire: he shoots, and does misfire.... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 2: Eponine
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...only holds memories of wickedness, and besides, he doesn’t want to have to testify against Thenardier. Each week he borrows five francs from Courfeyrac and gives them to the clerk’s office... (full context)
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...“her.” Then he hears a girl cry, “Here he is!” and recognizes Eponine, the elder Thenardier daughter, whose name he now knows. She is dressed in even shabbier rags than before,... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 3: The House in the Rue Plumet
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...to slip away and not be caught unprepared like he was the night at the Thenardiers’. (full context)
Volume 4, Book 4: Succor From Below May Turn Out to Be Succor From On High
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...the hungry and clothing to the cold. On the day following their visit to the Jondrette den, Valjean returns home with a large wound on his arm which looks like a... (full context)
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...15 minutes in the garden, she laughs and frolics. He thinks of even thanking the Thenardiers. (full context)
Volume 4, Book 6: Little Gavroche
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Chapter 1 Since 1823, the Thenardiers had had two other boys, but had gotten rid of them both when they were... (full context)
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That night, Thenardier, Brujon, and Gueulemer had planned an escape from prison. Brujon had come across a nail,... (full context)
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Towards one a.m., Thenardier had seen two shadows pass in front of his dormer-window. Thenardier, as a burglar, was... (full context)
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Finally, though, Thenardier had reached one final roof, three stories from the ground, but the rope he had... (full context)
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Thenardier dared not call, instead tossing the rope. Montparnasse saw him, but Thenardier said he was... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 8: Enchantments and Desolations
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...same: it doesn’t even occur to him to tell her about the night at the Thenardiers’ and her father’s strange flight. The lovers tell each other everything but what’s related to... (full context)
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...up to the garden entrance, but suddenly Eponine shows herself to the man—it’s her father, Thenardier. (full context)
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Thenardier asks what Eponine is doing there, and says she shouldn’t hinder them, but she asks... (full context)
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...others to go in and do the job: he’ll stay and take care of Eponine. Thenardier says nothing. But Brujon, who has the reputation of never turning back, seems thoughtful and... (full context)
Volume 4, Book 9: Whither Are They Going?
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...That same day, Valjean sits alone in the Champ-de-Mars, thinking about how often he’s seen Thenardier prowling the neighborhood recently. This, combined with recent political troubles in Paris, has made him... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 1: The War Between Four Walls
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...children are walking along the Luxembourg garden. These are the boys whom Gavroche had taken in—Thenardier’s, leased out to Magnon. On the morning of June 6th, the Luxembourg is sunny and... (full context)
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...Marius had realized the inspector was the very man whom he had approached about the Thenardier affair. He had asked Enjolras what the man’s name was, and he’d answered Javert. Marius... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 3: Mud But the Soul
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...him, “Half shares.” Valjean thinks he’s dreaming, but a man is in front of him: Thenardier. Valjean is so disfigured and bleeding that Thenardier doesn’t recognize him. Thenardier asks how he’ll... (full context)
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...around, and sees a tall man carrying a bludgeon—Javert. Javert had been in pursuit of Thenardier, who had disappeared. Thenardier had then allowed Valjean out of the sewer, knowing that Javert... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 5: Grandson and Grandfather
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Chapter 8 Marius makes all the attempts he can to find two men: Thenardier and the unknown man who had brought him back to Gillenormand. But Madame Thenardier had... (full context)
Volume 5, Book 9: Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn
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...from someone in the antechamber. The letter smells of tobacco and the handwriting recalls the Jondrette garret to Marius. Struck by the fateful coincidence, he breaks the seal and reads that... (full context)
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...about Valjean’s fortune. But Marius says he knows this as well. He calls the man “Thenardier.” He says the man is also known under a number of names, and once kept... (full context)
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Thenardier had slowly grasped a good deal of information, guessing who the man in the sewers... (full context)
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Thenardier glares at Marius as though a conquered man, but then smiles. He says that they’re... (full context)
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But Thenardier exclaims that Valjean is, in fact, an assassin and thief. Marius grows distraught once again,... (full context)
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Marius begins to shout that Thenardier is a liar and villain—he wanted to ruin Valjean but only glorified him. Marius flings... (full context)
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...her hand, and the doll that he gave her. He asks her to forgive the Thenardiers, who were wicked, and he tells her the name of her mother, Fantine, and asks... (full context)