Lately I have been thinking a lot about, the life I wanted to lead and how different is it compared to the life i am leading now. And as I was thinking about it, I was listening to Les Miserables and suddenly the lyrics of the song sang by the character Fantine floated to my mind.

In case if anyone wants to know, Fantine was the mother of Cosette and she had a dream of settling down with the man she loves, but somehow the man that she liked was a libertine and he stayed a summer with her only.. Leaving her pregnant with Cosette

Later when Cosette was born, she was placed under the care of the Thernadier Family while Fantine had to work in Paris. She was working in the factory of the M’sieur le Mayor ( Jean Valjean change his name to Monsieur Madeleine to hide his identity as a convict). Valjean started the factory using the money he received selling the silver candlesticks given by the bishop of Digne who purchased his soul for God.

Fantine refused the advance of Valjeans foreman, who was a very unjust person. There was a brawl between Fantine and the ladies of the factory. Valjean only witness the brawl stopped them from fighting, and left the foreman with the authority to handle the matter. The foreman decided to make use of his authority to sack Fantine on the grounds that Fantine was a immoral woman.

After that, Fantine started to sing that song.

Personally that reminded me of a friend who was in the similar situation, finally they sacked him saying that the company was “cutting cost” which to me is really a very dumb reason for a company that was making money.

This just prompted me to post the lyrics of this song, but I must say that my favourite song in Les Miserables is still “On my own” .. haha let us enjoy this song.

Title: I dream a dream
Artist : Elaine Paige, Susan Boyle, Lea Salonga, and many others
Musical : Les Miserables

[Fantine is left alone, unemployed and destitute]

[FANTINE]
There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

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Hmm, I remember I once posted that I want to talk about some of the characters in the musical of Les Miserables.. Today I would just like to share about the character Inspector Javert.

I believe in the beginning everyone would have just think that he is some meddlesome police officer and is a villain in the show… However, only later in the musical would we understand more about this character.

1, Javert is actually a Christian, just like many of us

2. He was born in gutters, son of a gallery slave and fortune teller

3. He is obsessed about justice. Which he thinks is the way of the Lord

4. He doesn’t think that it is possible for any man to change from his way.

However, as he gets on with life, he was chasing after a Valjean, someone who had broken his parole. When he first saw Valjean, he doesn’t believe that Valjean did his crime because of his sister child was dying. When Valjean had broken his parole, and repented from his sins, Javert spent most of his life going after Valjean.

He tried to capture Valjean many times

1. After Fantine’s death

2. When he was leading a squad of police officer to catch street gangs

Later on, when there was a group of revolutionary students building the barricade, Javert infiltrated the place hoping to do justice, as he felt these students are committing treason. This is when he was identified and captured. Valjean helped the revolutionaries in the first attack on the barricade.

This is then the leader of the revolutionaries gave Javert to him. Javert thought that Valjean wanted to kill him. But Valjean, let him go, which shocks him a lot. That leaves him to wonder, whether his view that the justice is still valid. Whether it is possible that someone can repent and turn back from his own ways. Finally, he felt that he is at the lost, then he finally gave up his life and committed suicide.

Sometimes there are Christians who always concentrated a lot on God’s justice. They tend to be judge mental to the people around us. They would always think that every one is sinful by nature, and only they themselves can be fit to be called God’s children.

But then Javerts story tells us how such views can be dangerous.

Meanwhile, lets enjoy the song, “Stars” which was sang by Javert. This tells us how Javert views his life.

Title: Stars

There, out in the darkness

A fugitive running

Fallen from God

Fallen from grace

God be my witness

I never shall yield

Till we come face to face

Till we come face to face

He knows his way in the dark

Mine is the way of the Lord

And those who follow the path of the righteous

Shall have their reward

And if they fall

As Lucifer fell

The flame

The sword!

Stars

In your multitudes

Scarce to be counted

Filling the darkness

With order and light

You are the sentinels

Silent and sure

Keeping watch in the night

Keeping watch in the night

You know your place in the sky

You hold your course and your aim

And each in your season

Returns and returns

And is always the same

And if you fall as Lucifer fell

You fall in flame!

And so it has been and so it is written

On the doorway to paradise

That those who falter and those who fall

Must pay the price!

Lord let me find him

That I may see him

Safe behind bars

I will never rest

Till then

This I swear

This I swear by the stars!

If everyone were to remember, I once spoken that I wanted to share about some characters of the story Les Miserables. However, the story was too long for my reading. However, I think i would rather just share the one scene that touch me the most.

I guess alot of my friends have guessed, it is the part where the Bishop of Digne came and helped Valjean, he used his christian love to buy Valjeans soul for God. Instead of insisting his revenge, he gave Valjean 2 silver candlestick, and encouraged him to be an honest man.

After seaching around youtube,  it is hard to find just the extract of the story, so i guess I am posting this long post which contains the full lyrics of the prologue as well as the lyrics of “What I have done?” I think the lyrics can tell you the story better then me narrating it 😉 So here goes

Start of Libertto (Prologue) From the musical Les Miserables 

[PRISONERS]
Look down, look down
Don’t look ’em in the eye
Look down, look down,
You’re here until you die

[CONVICT ONE]
The sun is strong
It’s hot as hell below

[PRISONER]
Look down, look down,
There’s twenty years to go

[CONVICT TWO]
I’ve done no wrong!
Sweet Jesus, hear my prayer!

[PRISONERS]
Look down look down,
Sweet Jesus doesn’t care

[CONVICT THREE]
I know she’ll wait,
I know that she’ll be true!

[PRISONERS]
Look down, look down,
They’ve all forgotten you

[CONVICT FOUR]
When I get free ya won’t see me
Here for dust!

[PRISONERS]
Look down, look down
Don’t look ’em in the eye

[CONVICT FIVE]
How long, oh Lord
Before you let me die?

[PRISONERS]
Look down, look down,
You’ll always be a slave
Look down, look down,
You’re standing in your grave

[JAVERT]
Now bring me prisoner 24601
Your time is up
And your parole’s begun
You know what that means.

[VALJEAN]
Yes, it means I’m free.

[JAVERT]
No!
It means you get
Your yellow ticket-of-leave
You are a thief

[VALJEAN]
I stole a loaf of bread.

[JAVERT]
You robbed a house.

[VALJEAN]
I broke a window pane.
My sister’s child was close to death
And we were starving.

[JAVERT]
You will starve again
Unless you learn the meaning of the law.

[VALJEAN]
I know the meaning of those 19 years
A slave of the law

[JAVERT]
Five years for what you did
The rest because you tried to run
Yes, 24601.

[VALJEAN]
My name is Jean Valjean

[JAVERT]
And I am Javert
Do not forget my name!
Do not forget me,
24601.

[PRISONERS]
Look down, look down
You’ll always be a slave
Look down, look down
You’re standing in your grave.

[VALJEAN]
Freedom is mine. The earth is still.
I feel the wind. I breathe again.
And the sky clears
The world is waking.
Drink from the pool. How clean the taste.
Never forget the years, the waste.
Nor forgive them
For what they’ve done.
They are the guilty – everyone.
The day begins…
And now lets see
What this new world
Will do for me!

[He finds work on a farm]

[FARMER]
You’ll have to go
I’ll pay you off for the day
Collect your bits and pieces there
And be on your way.

[VALJEAN]
You have given me half
What the other men get!
This handful of tin
Wouldn’t buy my sweat!

[LABORER]
You broke the law
It’s there for people to see
Why should you get the same
As honest men like me?

[VALJEAN]
Now every door is closed to me
Another jail. Another key. Another chain
For when I come to any town
They check my papers
And they find the mark of Cain
In their eyes I see their fear
`We do not want you here.’

[He comes to an inn]

[INKEEPER’S WIFE]
My rooms are full
And I’ve no supper to spare
I’d like to help a stranger
All we want is to be fair

[VALJEAN]
I will pay in advance
I can sleep in a barn
You see how dark it is
I’m not some kind of dog!

[INNKEEPER]
You leave my house
Or feel the weight of my rod
We’re law-abiding people here
Thanks be to God.

[They throw him out of the inn]

[VALJEAN]
And now I know how freedom feels
The jailer always at your heels
It is the law!
This piece of paper in my hand
That makes me cursed throughout the land
It is the law!
Like a cur
I walk the street,
The dirt beneath their feet.

[He sits down despairingly outside a house from which emerges the Bishop of Digne.]

[BISHOP]
Come in, Sir, for you are weary,
And the night is cold out there.
Though our lives are very humble
What we have, we have to share.
There is wine here to revive you.
There is bread to make you strong,
There’s a bed to rest till morning,
Rest from pain, and rest from wrong.

[VALJEAN]
He let me eat my fill
I had the lion’s share
The silver in my hand
Cost twice what I had earned
In all those nineteen years –
That lifetime of despair
And yet he trusted me.
The old fool trusted me –
He’d done his bit of good
I played the grateful serf
And thanked him like I should
But when the house was still,
I got up in the night.
Took the silver
Took my flight!

[Taking the silver cup, he runs off, but is brought back by two constables]
[CONSTABLE ONE]
Tell his reverence your story

[CONSTABLE TWO]
Let us see if he’s impressed

[CONSTABLE ONE]
You were lodging here last night

[CONSTABLE TWO]
You were the honest Bishop’s guest.

[CONSTABLE ONE]
And then, out of Christian goodness

[CONSTABLE TWO]
When he learned about your plight

[CONSTABLE ONE]
You maintain he made a present of this silver.

[BISHOP]
That is right.
But my friend you left so early
Surely something slipped your mind

[The bishop gives Valjean two silver candlesticks]

You forgot I gave these also
Would you leave the best behind?
So, Messieurs, you may release him
For this man has spoken true
I commend you for your duty
And God’s blessing go with you.

[Constables leave. The bishop addresses Valjean]

But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!

[VALJEAN]
What have I done?
Sweet Jesus, what have I done?
Become a thief in the night,
Become a dog on the run
And have I fallen so far,
And is the hour so late
That nothing remains but the cry of my hate,
The cries in the dark that nobody hears,
Here where I stand at the turning of the years?

If there’s another way to go
I missed it twenty long years ago
My life was a war that could never be won
They gave me a number and murdered Valjean
When they chained me and left me for dead
Just for stealing a mouthful of bread

Yet why did I allow that man
To touch my soul and teach me love?
He treated me like any other
He gave me his trust
He called me brother
My life he claims for God above
Can such things be?
For I had come to hate the world
This world that always hated me

Take an eye for an eye!
Turn your heart into stone!
This is all I have lived for!
This is all I have known!

One word from him and I’d be back
Beneath the lash, upon the rack
Instead he offers me my freedom
I feel my shame inside me like a knife
He told me that I have a soul,
How does he know?
What spirit comes to move my life?
Is there another way to go?

I am reaching, but I fall
And the night is closing in
And I stare into the void
To the whirlpool of my sin
I’ll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean
Jean Valjean is nothing now
Another story must begin!

[He tears up his yellow ticket-of-leave]

What that moves me in that story, is how it help us understand what is Christian love, and Christian forgiveness. On the famous sermon on the mount, Jesus told the believers to love your enemies (Matt 5 : 43-48), and also to go for the second mile. Going a mile is a law passed by the Roman Empire where Roman citizens can force non Roman people to carry their bags and baggage for a mile. And Jesus encouraged the people to go 2 miles, meaning, to fulfill the 1 mile required by the Roman Law, and to go the second mile because of Love. (Matt 5:38-42). Jesus has once also told Peter that you need to forgive seventy times seven. (Matt 17:21-22). Not 490 times, but rather completly, as 7 represent completness.

Over here, you can see the Bishop of Digne forgiving Valjean dispite him stealing the silver in the church. In fact, he goes the second mile by giving Valjean the silver candlestick. He uses his love to counter Valjeans hatred. And turned his life completely, from a man full of hate, to the hero you read as you continue in the story. This story remind every chrisitian to learn to forgive and forget. And you will never know if God will work through you to save a soul.