The sound of his clock chiming twelve again woke Javert up. He felt disoriented, for a moment not quite sure where he was, the recent events a blur in his mind. He desperately tried to convince himself that what he had seen was just a dream. There were no ghosts! But then, why was it twelve o'clock again? He couldn´t possibly have slept 24 hours!
Before he could think about this any further, a source of light similar to the one he had seen the night before attracted his attention. Was he dreaming again!? Almost not daring to breathe, he watched how the light slowly changed into something that looked like a human being. This new ghost was a lot bigger than the previous one, it had the size of a grown man. Its features were hidden mostly by what looked like a long beard.
Javert somehow managed to find his voice again.
"Who are you?"
"I am exactly what you think I am. Don´t be afraid, just come with me."
Javert obeyed, intimidated by the ghost.
They went out into the streets of Paris - again it was bright day all of a sudden, but this time Javert was not really surprised. It was obviously another Christmas. He followed the ghost through the streets, passing by all the happy and excited-looking people. Like the night before, time seemed to have lost its relevance, and after what could have been minutes or hours they reached the slums. Javert knew them well, he had often been on duty there. In this dreary place Christmas seemed to be a million miles away. People here were living on the street, men, women, children, babies even, and they had given up any hope for a better life. Then Javert spotted an elderly man and a young girl next to him. They were distributing food and blankets to the poor, and the gifts were gratefully received. Something about the man rang a bell with Javert.
"Who is this man, spirit? I have the strange feeling that I´ve seen him somewhere before."
"You´ll find out soon."
They followed the old man and the young girl home for their celebration of Christmas. There was just the two of them. Even though they both seemed quite happy, there was a feeling of loneliness in the secluded way they were living. The man was certainly full of love for his daughter, but he was bothered by something. When he turned round Javert saw his face for the first time that evening, and he recognised Jean Valjean.
Instinctively he made a few steps towards him, but then he remembered that he was transparent for them and couldn't just go and grab Valjean, much as he wanted to.
The spirit made him leave the room, and they witnessed other Christmas celebrations of people Javert knew. Duvillard was one of them. He was having dinner with big family. There were people of all ages at the table, and everybody was chattering and laughing. A few small children were running round the table, trying to catch each other. Suddenly Javert heard his name mentioned by Duvillard.
"I really don´t understand Inspector Javert. He doesn´t seem to care about Christmas at all! I wanted to put up some Christmas decoration in the police station, and all he said is that I should finish my reports. And what is even more peculiar - he is probably still working there - can you believe it, at Christmas!"
There was incredulous murmuring all around the table.
Only his mother was a bit more sympathetic.
"The poor man probably hasn´t got anybody to celebrate Christmas with. Maybe you should have invited him to join us."
Duvillard pulled a face.
"You´re really too kind, maman. He is not as bad as that, but I´d rather not have him around in my free time. It's enough for me being serious and dutiful during the week."
Javert was annoyed at that disrespectful comment, but with unease had to admit that there was some truth about what he had heard. It had never occurred to him before that his distaste for all these festivities and his feeling alien to it all was not something natural, but his own choice, and for the first time it dawned on him that it might not have been a good one. When he thought about it he had turned out very much like his teacher Rocher, who he had loathed so much, and not at all like Gaspard, who once had been his idol.
When the spirit bade him to leave he almost didn´t notice, he was so deep in thought. Again, he found himself lying in his bed suddenly. In vain he tried to stay awake and fell into a deep sleep at once.