Charlie was humming to himself as he wandered about the glen. Jean was easily annoyed by the habit, so he tried not to sing his made-up ditties around her. But the words just popped into his head so simply that he had to let them out. “…Go home, go home, go home to bonnie Jean!” he sang under his breath.
It’s not pronounced Jeeean,” said an accented voice behind him.
Charlie whirled around, shocked and embarrassed to be caught singing in a meadow. “Well, pardon me, sir, but would ye care to enlighten me as to how it is pronounced then?”
"It’s more…Jhon. And it is my name. Jean Valjean. I am an ex-convict and I shall accept whatever consequences you may have prepared. I have amassed a great deal of wealth over the years and ask only that it be used to aid the poor.”
Charlie shook his head, utterly befuddled. “I’m sorry, but we dinna even have a sheriff here in Brigadoon! I’ve never heard of ye or yer crimes or yer money.”
Valjean frowned. “Why then were you incorrectly singing my name? Where do you think my home is? Do you want me to go back to rotting in prison? I am a man, no less than any man!”
“I dinna doubt it, my good sir. I heard nobody say that ye were.”
“So why do you want me to go home? I already saved Marius. I can only hope that Cosette will be happy with him. What more can you want of me? I was supposed to die!”
Charlie began to wonder. “So ye think ye’re dead, then, eh? Did ye hope to go someplace…blessed?”
Jean Valjean nodded slowly. “I could only hope that my soul would go where God willed it.”
“Well, ye’re in the most blessed town on the whole planet! Welcome, not-Jeeeean!”
And so the entire town of Brigadoon welcomed a French criminal/mayor/all-around good man to their blessed family. Tommy grew rather fond of the old man, as he felt they were both outsiders and shared several commonalities.
Jean Valjean was not the last Frenchman to appear in the town. One day, while he and Tommy were on a walk together, a young dark-haired man appeared. Valjean looked as if he’d seen a ghost. “He is dead,” the old man whispered in horror.
“Finally, civilization!” cried the man. “Some wine and say what’s going on!”
Tommy did his best to explain to the young man, who called himself Grantaire, while Valjean looked on, still in shock. “You died…I’m certain of it. On the barricade. How can you be here?”
"Oh, it’s the old man!” Grantaire laughed. “I don’t know how I came to be here, and I’d rather go if there isn’t any alcohol to be had.”
Of course, Grantaire had to be persuaded to stay, a feat Meg Brockie was instrumental in bringing about. Mr. Lundie was uncertain as to whether the Frenchmen’s leaving would destroy the miracle, and no one wanted to risk it, so they stayed.
Meg did her best to forget about the drunken American and settled for the drunken Frenchman. Grantaire was very similar to Jeff in most respects, and to Meg’s delight, rather more attractive. At first, he was open and merry, and they shared many a laugh in the moonlight. As time passed, however, he grew more brooding, and drank more.
One night, Meg coaxed him out to her favorite place and leaned in for a kiss. Grantaire pushed her away and pulled out a bottle. “Drink with me, Meg,” he murmured.
“An’ what has gotten into ye?” Meg demanded, a little insulted.
"Nothing, Meg,” he replied rather savagely, swigging the alcohol. “I just…I can’t understand why I’m here and no one else is. Days gone by…I don’t see why I’m not dead and why my friends aren’t here.”
“Tell me about them, yer friends. They sound awfully excitin’, with all this talk of barricades.”
“You know, I didn’t really care for the revolution. I just cared for the one who started it. He was probably the only person I’ll ever love.”
Meg looked down, disappointed. Yet another foreign alcoholic lost. “This…it wilna work, will it?”
Grantaire smiled wanly. “No, Meg, I don’t think it will. I’m sorry. You’re a very beautiful, sweet girl.”
“Ye’re not the first to have refused me,” she muttered.
“You should tell me about the others.”
Never had anyone wanted to hear her stories. Once Meg began, she couldn’t stop, and soon her entire history spilled out of her, even Jeff. Grantaire laughed when she described the similarities. He offered her the bottle and she took a few sips, and this time it was the Frenchman who leaned in for a kiss.
Meg began to hope that Grantaire would stay with her after all, but one day another new arrival came. He was gorgeous and blonde and Meg understood why people would follow him to death and beyond. Grantaire saw him enter the village and breathed, “Enjorlas,” and scampered up to greet him, all of his former swagger vanished. Meg watched him go and sighed, “On my own.”