Young Cosette is probably the most well known image of Les Miserables. She is the girl with the French flag as a back ground. She has her own song which is Castle on a Cloud. She sings this at the Thenardier's tavern in Montfermeil.
Her mother, Fantine, had Cosette out of wedlock. And she was forced to hand Cosette to the Thenardier's, so that she could find a job and pay for Cosette's food and board. So, Cosette was left at the tavern in the wrath of the Thenards.
The Thenards took advantage of Cosette. Instead of using Fantine's money for Cosette they used the money for debts and their own two daughters. Cosette was left in rags, and turned into a slave. The child was forced to do everything. She got up early in the morning and cleaned until late in the evening. The town's people came up with a nick-name for her, the Lark.
She didn't know about her mother. She had gone always thinking she didn't have one. But, on occasion she heard about Fantine.
While Eponine and Azelma played in their lovely dresses, and played with dolls, Cosette played with a small lead sword. It was her doll. When ever she walked to the well to fetch water, Cosette would pass a shop with a large doll in the window. She would stop and stare at the doll often. It was something she would have done anything to have. Alas, no one would ever give her that doll.
On one Christmas night while she was comming back to the well a large had came down and lifted her burden from her. It was the hand of Jean Valjean. When they arrived at the tavern the Thenards where surprised to see this stranger with Cosette.
Cosette quickly got to work on some mittens for Azelma and Eponine. Cosette had already tried to play with their doll, but to no avail, she was scolded and forced to work. Valjean did not understand the harshness directed to Cosette, so he left the tavern.When he came back, he came back with the doll Cosette had always admired.
As you can see from this picture Cosette wasn't sure about this gift from Valjean. Should she trust him? No one was ever like this to Cosette in real life. It was only in her dreams that someone was this kind to her. But to get on the stranger's good side, Mme. Thenardier ordered Cosette to play with the doll.
Cosette, happy as a clam, named the doll "Catherine". And she played with her until she had to go to bed.
While she slept Valjean put a small coin into one of her shoes, since it was Christmas, and he knew the Thenard's would never get her anything.
In the morning Cosette was pleasently surprised, and she placed the coin in her apron. She was ready to work when she got downstairs. But Valjean gave her a new woolen dress to wear, and told her to go and change. He had made a deal with the Thenards, 1500 francs for Cosette.
With Cosette in her new clothes and Catherine, they set off to another place, a happier place.
When they finaly did settle down in a small town outside Paris, Valjean felt that it was not safe enough. Javert and the police were on his tail, and they had to go suddenly. Cosette left Catherine behind, which she wasn't at all happy about. But she didn't complain.
When they got into Paris the landed into a convent the Petit-Picpus. Valjean pretended to be the gardener's brother, and so him and Cosette could stay there. Cosette was now a pupil of the school.
Cosette was still a child when they had to leave the convent. I'm not sure why they left but I think Valjean wanted to leave, since it was safe outside the walls of the convent.
Cosette's mode of transport out of the convent was a basket. They wanted to excape the convent with out anyone noticing.
It is here young Cosette grows into an adult.