Part 4, Chapter 7 Summary
Almost three thousand workers and their families gather silently at a clearing in the forest as Jeanlin, Lydie, and Bébert sit in a tree above the crowd and watch. In the front of the group are Lantier, Maheu, and Rasseneur and an argument has begun. Rasseneur wants to properly elect a committee, idealistically believing he can regain his authority in front of everyone. Lantier thinks they should be acting like uncivilized revolutionaries rather than civilized meeting-goers.
Lantier finally climbs a tree and calls out to his comrades and the hubbub subsides. Lantier tells the crowd they have to meet here because they have been forbidden to meet in public, as if they were criminals. Here they are free and nobody can...
(The entire section is 787 words.)