The story begins with the character named Myriel, the bishop of Digne with his brief biography.
Myriel returns his homeland as a priest, and later becomes the bishop as he encounters with Napoleon. As he moves to Digne, he discovers that the church provides him with the old palace. Simultaneously, many patients at the hospital next door lives in a unsafe environment.
In the same way, Myriel was insisting to replace the house with the hospital, and would give his own salary to the city’s poorest citizens, and for charity. Myriel’s compassion towards other leads to the love of his own parishioners, and would later becomes a clergyman. Myriel was known as the voice against the prejudice in French’s society, and for general education.
In addition, he is also well-known as “Bienvenu”, or “Welcome.” Later on in October 1815, there was a mysterious wanderer appears in Digne. He is desperately hungry, and was walking around all day. Furthermore, he is stopped at the major’s office, where the law asked him to show his yellow passport.
The town innkeepers refused to serve him, although he is hungry and exhausted. The townpeople is afraid of him as his bad reputations are widespread for his town imprisonment. The stranger later stops at the Myriel’s house, and Myriel invited him for dinner. He later known as Jean Valjean, whom he spent nineteen years in prison. He is tried for five years for stealing a loaf of bread in attempt to help his poor family, and seventeen years for escaping attempt. Jean was surprised when Myriel treated him kindly, as opposed to the rough treatment that he experienced before. In fact, he does not recognize that Myriel is a bishop.
Myriel invited to spent the night, and he agrees. Jean later filched the silverware and leave in the night. The police later in the early next day caught him. They take him back to Myriel’s house as the police discovered the silverware, hidden in Jean’s knapsack. Myriel claimed that he gave the silverware to Jean. Valjean was released by the police at the same time. He gave the candlestick to Jean, and told that he has made a vow to become an honest person. Valjean leave the town, and in the countryside, he met a boy named Petit Gervais.
He took a silver coin from him and was struck by his own wicked act. The boy ran away, cried, and Valjean was attempted in vain to return the coin back. He busted in tears, for the first time in his nineteen years of life. As he realized his terrible deeds, he promised himself to be an righteous citizen, and prayed near the bishop’s house that night.