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It is not very natural that I should wish to see my child when they have been to Montfermeil on purpose to bring her to me! I am not angry. I know that I am going to be very happy. All night, I saw figures in white, smiling at me.
As soon as the doctor pleases, he can bring Cosette. My fever is gone, for I am cured; I feel that there is scarcely anything the matter with me, but I will act as if I were ill and do not stir so as to please the ladies here.
When they see that I am calm, they will say: You must give her the child.’ ” M. Madeleine was sitting in a chair by the side of the bed.
She turned towards him, and made visible efforts to appear calm and “very good,” as she said, in that weakness of disease which resembles childhood, so that, seeing her so peaceful, there should be no objection to bringing her Cosette.
Nevertheless, although restraining herself, she should not help address a thousand questions to M. Madeleine. “Did you have a pleasant journey, Monsieur Mayor Oh! how good you have been to go for her!
Tell me only how she is! Did she bear the journey well? At she will not know me. In all this time, she has forgotten me, poor kitten! Children have no memory.
They are like birds. Today they see one thing, and tomorrow another, and remember nothing. Tell me only, were her clothes clean! Did those Thenardiers keep her death How did they feed her!
Oh, if you knew how I have suffered in asking myself all these things in the time of my wretchedness! Now, it is past. I am happy.
She was carrying in addition a large carpet-bag, which seemed heavy.
This woman’s child was one of the divinest beings that can be imagined : a little girl of two or three years.
She might have entered the lists with the other little ones for coquetry of attire; she wore a head-dress of fine linen; ribbons at her shoulders and Valenciennes lace on her cap.
The folds of her skirt were raised enough to show her plump fine white leg: she was charmingly rosy and healthful.
The pretty little creature gave one a desire to bite her cherry cheeks.
We can say nothing of her eyes except that they must have been very large, and were fringed with superb lashes. She was asleep.
She was sleeping in the absolutely confiding slumber peculiar to her age. Mothers’ arms are made of tenderness, and sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein.
As to the mother, she seemed poor and sad ; she had the appearance of a working woman who is seeking to return to the life of a peasant.
She was young, — and pretty ? It was possible, but in that garb beauty could not be displayed.
Her hair, one blonde mesh of which had fallen, seemed very thick, but it was severely fastened up beneath an ugly, close, narrow nun’s head-dress, tied under the chin.
Laughing shows fine teeth when one has them, but she did not laugh.
Her eyes seemed not to have been tearless for a long time. She was pale, and looked very weary, and somewhat sick.
She gazed upon her child, sleeping in her arms, with that peculiar look which only a mother possesses who nurses her own child.
Her form was climisily masked by a large blue handkerchief folded across her bosom.
Her hands were tanned and spotted with freckles, the forefinger hardened and pricked with the needle ; she wore a coarse brown delaine mantle, a calico dress, and large heavy shoes. Her name was Fantine.
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