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"The Runaway Cart"

Claude-Michel Schönberg


Herbert Kretzmer


Jean Valjean

Song Order

"Javert's Introduction"


"Lovely Ladies"

"The Runaway Cart" takes part in 1823, Montreuil-sur-Mer. It takes place after Fantine's Arrest. In this scene, A runaway cart has crashed and is trapping Fauchelevant. Jean Valjean attempts to lift the cart, but fails. He tries again and they manage to pull Fauchelevant clear. After this Javert takes Jean Valjean aside because he gets suspicious Valjean might be prisoner 24601. After their talk Javert leaves and Valjean is alone. It is sung by Onlookers, Valjean, Fauchelevent and Javert.

The lyrics were written by Herbert Kretzmer.

The song is known as "El arresto de Fantine" in the Spanish production (including Fantine's Arrest), "Der Karren" in the German production. It is currently unknown what it's called in the Dutch production. The song did not appear in the original French recording, but was a part of the stage show in slightly longer form.


Look out!
It's a runaway cart!
Look at that!
Look at that!
It's M'sieur Fauchelevant!
Don't approach!
Don't go near!
At the risk of your life!
He is caught by the wheel!
Oh, the pitiful man!
Stay away,
Turn away!
There is nothing to do!
There is nothing to do!

Is there anyone here
Who will rescue the man
Who will help me to shoulder
The weight of the cart?

Don't go near him M'sieur Mayor
The load is as heavy as hell
The old man’s a goner for sure
It'll kill you as well

M'sieur le Mayor, I have no words,
You come from God, You are a saint.

Can this be true?
I don't believe what I see!
A man at your age
To be as strong as you are!
A memory stirs...
You make me think of a man
From years ago
A man who broke his parole
He disappeared.
Forgive me, sir,
I would not dare...!

Say what you must
Don’t leave it there…

I have only known one other
Who can do what you have done
He's a convict from the chain gang
He's been ten years on the run
But he couldn't run forever
We have found his hideaway
And he's just been re-arrested
And he comes to court today.
Well, of course, he now denies it
You'd expect that of a 'con'
But he couldn't run forever –
No, not even Jean Valjean!

You say this man denies it all
And gives no sign of understanding or repentance?
You say this man is going to trial
And that he’s sure to be returned
To serve his sentence?
Come to that, can you be sure
That I am not your man?

I have known the thief for ages
Tracked him down through thick and thin.
And to make the matter certain
There’s a brand upon his skin
He will bend. He will break.
This time there is no mistake!

Differences between versionsEdit

  • In the original Barbican previews, Javert sang "that mark upon his skin" rather than "the brand".
  • The 2012 film divides this song into two separate scenes. To follow the novel more closely, the film has Javert report the Mayor as being Valjean to the higher authorities only to hear that they have found the "real Valjean." Thus, "and of course he now denies it" onward is included in a new song called Javert's Apology.


The Runaway Cart- Les Miserables 1985 Preview

The Runaway Cart- Les Miserables 1985 Preview

The original Barbican recording.

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary - The Runaway Cart

Les Miserables 10th Anniversary - The Runaway Cart

Les Misérables (10th Anniversary Concert)