Les Misérables, Victor Hugo | V, Book IV.
"Javert passed slowly down the Rue de l'Homme Arme.
He walked with drooping head for the first time in his life, and likewise, for the first time in his life, with his hands behind his back.
Up to that day, Javert had borrowed from Napoleon's attitudes, only that which is expressive of resolution, with arms folded across the chest; that which is expressive of uncertainty--with the hands behind the back--had been unknown to him. Now, a change had taken place; his whole person, slow and sombre, was stamped with anxiety.
He plunged into the silent streets.
Nevertheless, he followed one given direction.
He took the shortest cut to the Seine, reached the Quai des Ormes, skirted the quay, passed the Greve, and halted at some distance from the post of the Place du Chatelet, at the angle of the Pont Notre-Dame. There, between the Notre-Dame and the Pont au Change on the one hand, and the Quai de la Megisserie and the Quai aux Fleurs on the other, the Seine forms a sort of square lake, traversed by a rapid.
This point of the Seine is dreaded by mariners. Nothing is more dangerous than this rapid, hemmed in, at that epoch, and irritated by the piles of the mill on the bridge, now demolished.
The two bridges, situated thus close together, augment the peril; the water hurries in formidable wise through the arches. It rolls in vast and terrible waves; it accumulates and piles up there; the flood attacks the piles of the bridges as though in an effort to pluck them up with great liquid ropes. Men who fall in there never re-appear; the best of swimmers are drowned there.
Javert leaned both elbows on the parapet, his chin resting in both hands, and, while his nails were mechanically twined in the abundance of his whiskers, he meditated.
A novelty, a revolution, a catastrophe had just taken place in the depths of his being; and he had something upon which to examine himself.
Javert was undergoing horrible suffering."
Illustration of a chapter from Les Misérables.