Notre-Dame de Paris


Also known as:


The Hunchback of Notre Dame



by Victor Hugo





A few years ago, while visiting or, rather, rummaging about

Notre-Dame, the author of this book found, in an obscure

nook of one of the towers, the following word, engraved by

hand upon the wall:--




These Greek capitals, black with age, and quite deeply

graven in the stone, with I know not what signs peculiar

to Gothic caligraphy imprinted upon their forms and upon

their attitudes, as though with the purpose of revealing that

it had been a hand of the Middle Ages which had inscribed

them there, and especially the fatal and melancholy meaning

contained in them, struck the author deeply.


He questioned himself; he sought to divine who could have

been that soul in torment which had not been willing to quit

this world without leaving this stigma of crime or unhappiness

upon the brow of the ancient church.


Afterwards, the wall was whitewashed or scraped down, I

know not which, and the inscription disappeared.  For it is

thus that people have been in the habit of proceeding with

the marvellous churches of the Middle Ages for the last two

hundred years.  Mutilations come to them from every quarter,

from within as well as from without.  The priest whitewashes

them, the archdeacon scrapes them down; then the

populace arrives and demolishes them.


Thus, with the exception of the fragile memory which the

author of this book here consecrates to it, there remains

to-day nothing whatever of the mysterious word engraved

within the gloomy tower of Notre-Dame,--nothing of the

destiny which it so sadly summed up.   The man who wrote

that word upon the wall disappeared from the midst of the

generations of man many centuries ago; the word, in its turn,

has been effaced from the wall of the church; the church

will, perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the



It is upon this word that this book is founded.


March, 1831.










I.    The Grand Hall

II.   Pierre Gringoire

III.  Monsieur the Cardinal

IV.   Master Jacques Coppenole

V.    Quasimodo

VI.   Esmeralda



I.    From Charybdis to Scylla

II.   The Place de Grève

III.  Kisses for Blows

IV.   The Inconveniences of Following a Pretty Woman through

        the Streets in the Evening

V.    Result of the Dangers

VI.   The Broken Jug

VII.  A Bridal Night



I.    Notre-Dame

II.   A Bird's-eye View of Paris



I.    Good Souls

II.   Claude Frollo

III.  Immanis Pecoris Custos, Immanior Ipse

IV.   The Dog and his Master

V.    More about Claude Frollo

VI.   Unpopularity



I.    Abbas Beati Martini

II.   This will Kill That



I.    An Impartial Glance at the Ancient Magistracy

II.   The Rat-hole

III.  History of a Leavened Cake of Maize

IV.   A Tear for a Drop of Water

V.    End of the Story of the Cake














Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen

days ago to-day, the Parisians awoke to the sound of all

the bells in the triple circuit of the city, the university, and

the town ringing a full peal.


The sixth of January, 1482, is not, however, a day of which

history has preserved the memory.  There was nothing notable

in the event which thus set the bells and the bourgeois

of Paris in a ferment from early morning.  It was neither an

assault by the Picards nor the Burgundians, nor a hunt led

along in procession, nor a revolt of scholars in the town of

Laas, nor an entry of "our much dread lord, monsieur the

king," nor even a pretty hanging of male and female thieves

by the courts of Paris.  Neither was it the arrival, so frequent

in the fifteenth century, of some plumed and bedizened embassy.

It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of

that nature, that of the Flemish ambassadors charged with

concluding the marriage between the dauphin and Marguerite

of Flanders, had made its entry into Paris, to the great annoyance

of M. le Cardinal de Bourbon, who, for the sake of pleasing the

king, had been obliged to assume an amiable mien

towards this whole rustic rabble of Flemish burgomasters, and

to regale them at his Hôtel de Bourbon, with a very "pretty

morality, allegorical satire, and farce," while a driving rain

drenched the magnificent tapestries at his door.


What put the "whole population of Paris in commotion," as

Jehan de Troyes expresses it, on the sixth of January, was

the double solemnity, united from time immemorial, of the

Epiphany and the Feast of Fools.


On that day, there was to be a bonfire on the Place de

Grève, a maypole at the Chapelle de Braque, and a mystery at

the Palais de Justice.  It had been cried, to the sound of the

trumpet, the preceding evening at all the cross roads, by the

provost's men, clad in handsome, short, sleeveless coats of

violet camelot, with large white crosses upon their breasts.


So the crowd of citizens, male and female, having closed

their houses and shops, thronged from every direction, at

early morn, towards some one of the three spots designated.


Each had made his choice; one, the bonfire; another, the

maypole; another, the mystery play.  It must be stated, in

honor of the good sense of the loungers of Paris, that the

greater part of this crowd directed their steps towards the

bonfire, which was quite in season, or towards the mystery

play, which was to be presented in the grand hall of the

Palais de Justice (the courts of law), which was well roofed

and walled; and that the curious left the poor, scantily flowered

maypole to shiver all alone beneath the sky of January,

in the cemetery of the Chapel of Braque.


The populace thronged the avenues of the law courts in

particular, because they knew that the Flemish ambassadors,

who had arrived two days previously, intended to be present

at the representation of the mystery, and at the election of

the Pope of the Fools, which was also to take place in the

grand hall.


It was no easy matter on that day, to force one's way into

that grand hall, although it was then reputed to be the largest

covered enclosure in the world (it is true that Sauval had not

yet measured the grand hall of the Château of Montargis).

The palace place, encumbered with people, offered to the

curious gazers at the windows the aspect of a sea; into which

five or six streets, like so many mouths of rivers, discharged

every moment fresh floods of heads.  The waves of this

crowd, augmented incessantly, dashed against the angles of

the houses which projected here and there, like so many

promontories, into the irregular basin of the place.  In the

centre of the lofty Gothic* façade of the palace, the grand

staircase, incessantly ascended and descended by a double

current, which, after parting on the intermediate landing-place,

flowed in broad waves along its lateral slopes,--the grand

staircase, I say, trickled incessantly into the place, like a

cascade into a lake.  The cries, the laughter, the trampling

of those thousands of feet, produced a great noise and a great

clamor.  From time to time, this noise and clamor redoubled;

the current which drove the crowd towards the grand staircase

flowed backwards, became troubled, formed whirlpools.

This was produced by the buffet of an archer, or the horse of

one of the provost's sergeants, which kicked to restore order;

an admirable tradition which the provostship has bequeathed

to the constablery, the constablery to the ~maréchaussée~, the

~maréchaussée~ to our ~gendarmeri~ of Paris.



*  The word Gothic, in the sense in which it is generally employed,

is wholly unsuitable, but wholly consecrated.  Hence we accept it

and we adopt it, like all the rest of the world, to characterize

the architecture of the second half of the Middle Ages, where the

ogive is the principle which succeeds the architecture of the first

period, of which the semi-circle is the father.



Thousands of good, calm, bourgeois faces thronged the windows,

the doors, the dormer windows, the roofs, gazing at the

palace, gazing at the populace, and asking nothing more; for

many Parisians content themselves with the spectacle of the

spectators, and a wall behind which something is going on

becomes at once, for us, a very curious thing indeed.


If it could be granted to us, the men of 1830, to mingle in

thought with those Parisians of the fifteenth century, and to

enter with them, jostled, elbowed, pulled about, into that

immense hall of the palace, which was so cramped on that

sixth of January, 1482, the spectacle would not be devoid of

either interest or charm, and we should have about us only

things that were so old that they would seem new.


With the reader's consent, we will endeavor to retrace in

thought, the impression which he would have experienced in

company with us on crossing the threshold of that grand hall,

in the midst of that tumultuous crowd in surcoats, short,

sleeveless jackets, and doublets.


And, first of all, there is a buzzing in the ears, a dazzlement

in the eyes.  Above our heads is a double ogive vault, panelled

with wood carving, painted azure, and sown with golden

fleurs-de-lis; beneath our feet a pavement of black and white

marble, alternating.  A few paces distant, an enormous pillar,

then another, then another; seven pillars in all, down the

length of the hall, sustaining the spring of the arches of the

double vault, in the centre of its width.  Around four of

the pillars, stalls of merchants, all sparkling with glass and

tinsel; around the last three, benches of oak, worn and polished

by the trunk hose of the litigants, and the robes of the

attorneys.  Around the hall, along the lofty wall, between the

doors, between the windows, between the pillars, the interminable

row of all the kings of France, from Pharamond down:

the lazy kings, with pendent arms and downcast eyes; the

valiant and combative kings, with heads and arms raised

boldly heavenward.  Then in the long, pointed windows,

glass of a thousand hues; at the wide entrances to the hall,

rich doors, finely sculptured; and all, the vaults, pillars,

walls, jambs, panelling, doors, statues, covered from top to

bottom with a splendid blue and gold illumination, which, a

trifle tarnished at the epoch when we behold it, had almost

entirely disappeared beneath dust and spiders in the year of

grace, 1549, when du Breul still admired it from tradition.


Let the reader picture to himself now, this immense, oblong

hall, illuminated by the pallid light of a January day, invaded

by a motley and noisy throng which drifts along the walls,

and eddies round the seven pillars, and he will have a confused

idea of the whole effect of the picture, whose curious

details we shall make an effort to indicate with more precision.


It is certain, that if Ravaillac had not assassinated Henri

IV., there would have been no documents in the trial of

Ravaillac deposited in the clerk's office of the Palais de Justice,

no accomplices interested in causing the said documents

to disappear; hence, no incendiaries obliged, for lack of better

means, to burn the clerk's office in order to burn the documents,

and to burn the Palais de Justice in order to burn the

clerk's office; consequently, in short, no conflagration in 1618.

The old Palais would be standing still, with its ancient grand

hall; I should be able to say to the reader, "Go and look at

it," and we should thus both escape the necessity,--I of

making, and he of reading, a description of it, such as it is.

Which demonstrates a new truth: that great events have

incalculable results.


It is true that it may be quite possible, in the first place,

that Ravaillac had no accomplices; and in the second, that if

he had any, they were in no way connected with the fire of

1618.  Two other very plausible explanations exist: First,

the great flaming star, a foot broad, and a cubit high, which

fell from heaven, as every one knows, upon the law courts,

after midnight on the seventh of March; second, Théophile's




    "Sure, 'twas but a sorry game

    When at Paris, Dame Justice,

    Through having eaten too much spice,

    Set the palace all aflame."



Whatever may be thought of this triple explanation, political,

physical, and poetical, of the burning of the law courts in

1618, the unfortunate fact of the fire is certain.  Very little

to-day remains, thanks to this catastrophe,--thanks, above

all, to the successive restorations which have completed what

it spared,--very little remains of that first dwelling of the

kings of France,--of that elder palace of the Louvre, already

so old in the time of Philip the Handsome, that they sought

there for the traces of the magnificent buildings erected by

King Robert and described by Helgaldus.  Nearly everything

has disappeared.  What has become of the chamber of the

chancellery, where Saint Louis consummated his marriage?

the garden where he administered justice, "clad in a coat of

camelot, a surcoat of linsey-woolsey, without sleeves, and a

sur-mantle of black sandal, as he lay upon the carpet with

Joinville?"  Where is the chamber of the Emperor Sigismond?

and that of Charles IV.? that of Jean the Landless?

Where is the staircase, from which Charles VI. promulgated

his edict of pardon? the slab where Marcel cut the throats of

Robert de Clermont and the Marshal of Champagne, in the

presence of the dauphin? the wicket where the bulls of

Pope Benedict were torn, and whence those who had brought

them departed decked out, in derision, in copes and mitres,

and making an apology through all Paris? and the grand

hall, with its gilding, its azure, its statues, its pointed arches,

its pillars, its immense vault, all fretted with carvings? and

the gilded chamber? and the stone lion, which stood at the

door, with lowered head and tail between his legs, like the

lions on the throne of Solomon, in the humiliated attitude

which befits force in the presence of justice? and the beautiful

doors? and the stained glass? and the chased ironwork,

which drove Biscornette to despair? and the delicate woodwork

of Hancy?  What has time, what have men done with

these marvels?  What have they given us in return for all

this Gallic history, for all this Gothic art?  The heavy flattened

arches of M. de Brosse, that awkward architect of the

Saint-Gervais portal.  So much for art; and, as for history,

we have the gossiping reminiscences of the great pillar, still

ringing with the tattle of the Patru.


It is not much.  Let us return to the veritable grand hall

of the veritable old palace.  The two extremities of this

gigantic parallelogram were occupied, the one by the famous

marble table, so long, so broad, and so thick that, as the

ancient land rolls--in a style that would have given Gargantua

an appetite--say, "such a slice of marble as was never

beheld in the world"; the other by the chapel where Louis XI.

had himself sculptured on his knees before the Virgin, and

whither he caused to be brought, without heeding the two

gaps thus made in the row of royal statues, the statues of

Charlemagne and of Saint Louis, two saints whom he supposed

to be great in favor in heaven, as kings of France.

This chapel, quite new, having been built only six years, was

entirely in that charming taste of delicate architecture, of

marvellous sculpture, of fine and deep chasing, which marks

with us the end of the Gothic era, and which is perpetuated

to about the middle of the sixteenth century in the fairylike

fancies of the Renaissance.  The little open-work rose window,

pierced above the portal, was, in particular, a masterpiece

of lightness and grace; one would have pronounced it a

star of lace.


In the middle of the hall, opposite the great door, a platform

of gold brocade, placed against the wall, a special

entrance to which had been effected through a window in

the corridor of the gold chamber, had been erected for the

Flemish emissaries and the other great personages invited to

the presentation of the mystery play.


It was upon the marble table that the mystery was to be

enacted, as usual.  It had been arranged for the purpose,

early in the morning; its rich slabs of marble, all scratched

by the heels of law clerks, supported a cage of carpenter's

work of considerable height, the upper surface of which,

within view of the whole hall, was to serve as the theatre,

and whose interior, masked by tapestries, was to take the

place of dressing-rooms for the personages of the piece.  A

ladder, naively placed on the outside, was to serve as means

of communication between the dressing-room and the stage,

and lend its rude rungs to entrances as well as to exits.

There was no personage, however unexpected, no sudden

change, no theatrical effect, which was not obliged to mount

that ladder.  Innocent and venerable infancy of art and



Four of the bailiff of the palace's sergeants, perfunctory

guardians of all the pleasures of the people, on days of festival

as well as on days of execution, stood at the four corners

of the marble table.


The piece was only to begin with the twelfth stroke of the

great palace clock sounding midday.  It was very late, no

doubt, for a theatrical representation, but they had been

obliged to fix the hour to suit the convenience of the ambassadors.


Now, this whole multitude had been waiting since morning.

A goodly number of curious, good people had been shivering

since daybreak before the grand staircase of the palace;

some even affirmed that they had passed the night across

the threshold of the great door, in order to make sure that

they should be the first to pass in.  The crowd grew more

dense every moment, and, like water, which rises above its

normal level, began to mount along the walls, to swell around

the pillars, to spread out on the entablatures, on the cornices,

on the window-sills, on all the salient points of the architecture,

on all the reliefs of the sculpture.  Hence, discomfort,

impatience, weariness, the liberty of a day of cynicism and

folly, the quarrels which break forth for all sorts of causes--a

pointed elbow, an iron-shod shoe, the fatigue of long waiting--had

already, long before the hour appointed for the

arrival of the ambassadors, imparted a harsh and bitter

accent to the clamor of these people who were shut in, fitted

into each other, pressed, trampled upon, stifled.  Nothing

was to be heard but imprecations on the Flemish, the provost

of the merchants, the Cardinal de Bourbon, the bailiff of the

courts, Madame Marguerite of Austria, the sergeants with

their rods, the cold, the heat, the bad weather, the Bishop

of Paris, the Pope of the Fools, the pillars, the statues, that

closed door, that open window; all to the vast amusement of

a band of scholars and lackeys scattered through the mass,

who mingled with all this discontent their teasing remarks,

and their malicious suggestions, and pricked the general bad

temper with a pin, so to speak.


Among the rest there was a group of those merry imps, who,

after smashing the glass in a window, had seated themselves

hardily on the entablature, and from that point despatched

their gaze and their railleries both within and without,

upon the throng in the hall, and the throng upon the Place.

It was easy to see, from their parodied gestures, their

ringing laughter, the bantering appeals which they exchanged

with their comrades, from one end of the hall to the other,

that these young clerks did not share the weariness and

fatigue of the rest of the spectators, and that they understood

very well the art of extracting, for their own private diversion

from that which they had under their eyes, a spectacle

which made them await the other with patience.


"Upon my soul, so it's you, 'Joannes Frollo de Molendino!'"

cried one of them, to a sort of little, light-haired

imp, with a well-favored and malign countenance, clinging to

the acanthus leaves of a capital; "you are well named John

of the Mill, for your two arms and your two legs have the air

of four wings fluttering on the breeze.  How long have you

been here?"


"By the mercy of the devil," retorted Joannes Frollo,

"these four hours and more; and I hope that they will be

reckoned to my credit in purgatory.  I heard the eight singers

of the King of Sicily intone the first verse of seven o'clock

mass in the Sainte-Chapelle."


"Fine singers!" replied the other, "with voices even more

pointed than their caps!  Before founding a mass for Monsieur

Saint John, the king should have inquired whether

Monsieur Saint John likes Latin droned out in a Provençal



"He did it for the sake of employing those accursed singers

of the King of Sicily!" cried an old woman sharply from

among the crowd beneath the window.  "I just put it to

you!  A thousand ~livres parisi~ for a mass! and out of the tax

on sea fish in the markets of Paris, to boot!"


"Peace, old crone," said a tall, grave person, stopping up

his nose on the side towards the fishwife; "a mass had to be

founded.  Would you wish the king to fall ill again?"


"Bravely spoken, Sire Gilles Lecornu, master furrier of

king's robes!" cried the little student, clinging to the



A shout of laughter from all the students greeted the

unlucky name of the poor furrier of the king's robes.


"Lecornu!  Gilles Lecornu!" said some.


"~Cornutus et hirsutus~, horned and hairy," another went on.


"He! of course," continued the small imp on the capital,

"What are they laughing at?  An honorable man is Gilles

Lecornu, brother of Master Jehan Lecornu, provost of the

king's house, son of Master Mahiet Lecornu, first porter of

the Bois de Vincennes,--all bourgeois of Paris, all married,

from father to son."


The gayety redoubled.  The big furrier, without uttering a

word in reply, tried to escape all the eyes riveted upon him

from all sides; but he perspired and panted in vain; like a

wedge entering the wood, his efforts served only to bury still

more deeply in the shoulders of his neighbors, his large,

apoplectic face, purple with spite and rage.


At length one of these, as fat, short, and venerable as

himself, came to his rescue.


"Abomination! scholars addressing a bourgeois in that

fashion in my day would have been flogged with a fagot,

which would have afterwards been used to burn them."


The whole band burst into laughter.


"Holà hé! who is scolding so?  Who is that screech owl of

evil fortune?"


"Hold, I know him" said one of them; "'tis Master

Andry Musnier."


"Because he is one of the four sworn booksellers of the

university!" said the other.


"Everything goes by fours in that shop," cried a third;

"the four nations, the four faculties, the four feasts, the four

procurators, the four electors, the four booksellers."


"Well," began Jean Frollo once more," we must play the

devil with them."*



*  ~Faire le diable a quatre~.



"Musnier, we'll burn your books."


"Musnier, we'll beat your lackeys."


"Musnier, we'll kiss your wife."


"That fine, big Mademoiselle Oudarde."


"Who is as fresh and as gay as though she were a widow."


"Devil take you!" growled Master Andry Musnier.


"Master Andry," pursued Jean Jehan, still clinging to his

capital, "hold your tongue, or I'll drop on your head!"


Master Andry raised his eyes, seemed to measure in an

instant the height of the pillar, the weight of the scamp,

mentally multiplied that weight by the square of the velocity

and remained silent.


Jehan, master of the field of battle, pursued triumphantly:


"That's what I'll do, even if I am the brother of an archdeacon!"


"Fine gentry are our people of the university, not to have

caused our privileges to be respected on such a day as this!

However, there is a maypole and a bonfire in the town; a

mystery, Pope of the Fools, and Flemish ambassadors in the

city; and, at the university, nothing!"


"Nevertheless, the Place Maubert is sufficiently large!"

interposed one of the clerks established on the window-sill.


"Down with the rector, the electors, and the procurators!"

cried Joannes.


"We must have a bonfire this evening in the Champ-Gaillard,"

went on the other, "made of Master Andry's books."


"And the desks of the scribes!" added his neighbor.


"And the beadles' wands!"


"And the spittoons of the deans!"


"And the cupboards of the procurators!"


"And the hutches of the electors!"


"And the stools of the rector!"


"Down with them!" put in little Jehan, as counterpoint;

"down with Master Andry, the beadles and the scribes; the

theologians, the doctors and the decretists; the procurators,

the electors and the rector!"


"The end of the world has come!,' muttered Master Andry,

stopping up his ears.


"By the way, there's the rector! see, he is passing through

the Place," cried one of those in the window.


Each rivalled his neighbor in his haste to turn towards the



"Is it really our venerable rector, Master Thibaut?" demanded

Jehan Frollo du Moulin, who, as he was clinging to

one of the inner pillars, could not see what was going on outside.


"Yes, yes," replied all the others, "it is really he, Master

Thibaut, the rector."


It was, in fact, the rector and all the dignitaries of the

university, who were marching in procession in front of the

embassy, and at that moment traversing the Place.  The students

crowded into the window, saluted them as they passed

with sarcasms and ironical applause.  The rector, who was

walking at the head of his company, had to support the first

broadside; it was severe.


"Good day, monsieur le recteur!  Holà hé! good day there!"


"How does he manage to be here, the old gambler?  Has

he abandoned his dice?"


"How he trots along on his mule! her ears are not so long

as his!"


"Holà hé! good day, monsieur le recteur Thibaut!  ~Tybalde

aleator~!  Old fool! old gambler!"


"God preserve you!  Did you throw double six often last



"Oh! what a decrepit face, livid and haggard and drawn

with the love of gambling and of dice!"


"Where are you bound for in that fashion, Thibaut, ~Tybalde

ad dados~, with your back turned to the university, and trotting

towards the town?"


"He is on his way, no doubt, to seek a lodging in the Rue

Thibautodé?"* cried Jehan du M. Moulin.



*  ~Thibaut au des~,--Thibaut of the dice.



The entire band repeated this quip in a voice of thunder,

clapping their hands furiously.


"You are going to seek a lodging in the Rue Thibautodé,

are you not, monsieur le recteur, gamester on the side of the



Then came the turns of the other dignitaries.


"Down with the beadles! down with the mace-bearers!"


"Tell me, Robin Pouissepain, who is that yonder?"


"He is Gilbert de Suilly, ~Gilbertus de Soliaco~, the chancellor

of the College of Autun."


"Hold on, here's my shoe; you are better placed than I,

fling it in his face."


"~Saturnalitias mittimus ecce nuces~."


"Down with the six theologians, with their white surplices!"


"Are those the theologians?  I thought they were the

white geese given by Sainte-Geneviève to the city, for the

fief of Roogny."


"Down with the doctors!"


"Down with the cardinal disputations, and quibblers!"


"My cap to you, Chancellor of Sainte-Geneviève!  You

have done me a wrong.  'Tis true; he gave my place in the

nation of Normandy to little Ascanio Falzapada, who comes

from the province of Bourges, since he is an Italian."


"That is an injustice," said all the scholars.  "Down with

the Chancellor of Sainte-Geneviève!"


"Ho hé!  Master Joachim de Ladehors!  Ho hé!  Louis

Dahuille!  Ho he Lambert Hoctement!"


"May the devil stifle the procurator of the German nation!"


"And the chaplains of the Sainte-Chapelle, with their gray

~amices; cum tunices grisis~!"


"~Seu de pellibus grisis fourratis~!"


"Holà hé!  Masters of Arts!  All the beautiful black copes!

all the fine red copes!"


"They make a fine tail for the rector."


"One would say that he was a Doge of Venice on his way

to his bridal with the sea."


"Say, Jehan! here are the canons of Sainte-Geneviève!"


"To the deuce with the whole set of canons!"


"Abbé Claude Choart!  Doctor Claude Choart!  Are you in

search of Marie la Giffarde?"


"She is in the Rue de Glatigny."


"She is making the bed of the king of the debauchees."

She is paying her four deniers* ~quatuor denarios~."



*  An old French coin, equal to the two hundred and

fortieth part of a pound.



"~Aut unum bombum~."


"Would you like to have her pay you in the face?"


"Comrades!  Master Simon Sanguin, the Elector of Picardy,

with his wife on the crupper!"


"~Post equitem seclet atra eura~--behind the horseman sits

black care."


"Courage, Master Simon!"


"Good day, Mister Elector!"


"Good night, Madame Electress!"


"How happy they are to see all that!" sighed Joannes de

Molendino, still perched in the foliage of his capital.


Meanwhile, the sworn bookseller of the university, Master

Andry Musnier, was inclining his ear to the furrier of the

king's robes, Master Gilles Lecornu.


"I tell you, sir, that the end of the world has come.  No

one has ever beheld such outbreaks among the students!  It is

the accursed inventions of this century that are ruining

everything,--artilleries, bombards, and, above all, printing,

that other German pest.  No more manuscripts, no more

books! printing will kill bookselling.  It is the end of the

world that is drawing nigh."


"I see that plainly, from the progress of velvet stuffs,"

said the fur-merchant.


At this moment, midday sounded.


"Ha!" exclaimed the entire crowd, in one voice.


The scholars held their peace.  Then a great hurly-burly

ensued; a vast movement of feet, hands, and heads; a general

outbreak of coughs and handkerchiefs; each one arranged

himself, assumed his post, raised himself up, and grouped

himself.  Then came a great silence; all necks remained

outstretched, all mouths remained open, all glances were

directed towards the marble table.  Nothing made its appearance

there.  The bailiff's four sergeants were still there, stiff,

motionless, as painted statues.  All eyes turned to the estrade

reserved for the Flemish envoys.  The door remained closed,

the platform empty.  This crowd had been waiting since daybreak

for three things: noonday, the embassy from Flanders, the

mystery play.  Noonday alone had arrived on time.


On this occasion, it was too much.


They waited one, two, three, five minutes, a quarter of an

hour; nothing came.  The dais remained empty, the theatre

dumb.  In the meantime, wrath had succeeded to impatience.

Irritated words circulated in a low tone, still, it is true.

"The mystery! the mystery!" they murmured, in hollow

voices.  Heads began to ferment.  A tempest, which was

only rumbling in the distance as yet, was floating on the

surface of this crowd.  It was Jehan du Moulin who struck

the first spark from it.


"The mystery, and to the devil with the Flemings!" he

exclaimed at the full force of his lungs, twining like a serpent

around his pillar.


The crowd clapped their hands.


"The mystery!" it repeated, "and may all the devils take



"We must have the mystery instantly," resumed the student;

"or else, my advice is that we should hang the bailiff

of the courts, by way of a morality and a comedy."


"Well said," cried the people, "and let us begin the hanging

with his sergeants."


A grand acclamation followed.  The four poor fellows

began to turn pale, and to exchange glances.  The crowd

hurled itself towards them, and they already beheld the

frail wooden railing, which separated them from it, giving

way and bending before the pressure of the throng.


It was a critical moment.


"To the sack, to the sack!" rose the cry on all sides.


At that moment, the tapestry of the dressing-room, which

we have described above, was raised, and afforded passage to a

personage, the mere sight of whom suddenly stopped the crowd,

and changed its wrath into curiosity as by enchantment.


"Silence! silence!"


The personage, but little reassured, and trembling in every

limb, advanced to the edge of the marble table with a vast

amount of bows, which, in proportion as he drew nearer, more

and more resembled genuflections.


In the meanwhile, tranquillity had gradually been restored.

A1l that remained was that slight murmur which always rises

above the silence of a crowd.


"Messieurs the bourgeois," said he, "and mesdemoiselles

the ~bourgeoises~, we shall have the honor of declaiming and

representing, before his eminence, monsieur the cardinal, a

very beautiful morality which has for its title, 'The Good

Judgment of Madame the Virgin Mary.'  I am to play Jupiter.

His eminence is, at this moment, escorting the very

honorable embassy of the Duke of Austria; which is detained,

at present, listening to the harangue of monsieur the

rector of the university, at the gate Baudets.  As soon as his

illustrious eminence, the cardinal, arrives, we will begin."


It is certain, that nothing less than the intervention of

Jupiter was required to save the four unfortunate sergeants

of the bailiff of the courts.  If we had the happiness of having

invented this very veracious tale, and of being, in consequence,

responsible for it before our Lady Criticism, it is not against

us that the classic precept, ~Nec deus intersit~, could be invoked.

Moreover, the costume of Seigneur Jupiter, was very handsome,

and contributed not a little towards calming the crowd, by

attracting all its attention.  Jupiter was clad in a coat of

mail, covered with black velvet, with gilt nails; and had it

not been for the rouge, and the huge red beard, each of which

covered one-half of his face,--had it not been for the roll of

gilded cardboard, spangled, and all bristling with strips of

tinsel, which he held in his hand, and in which the eyes

of the initiated easily recognized thunderbolts,--had not his

feet been flesh-colored, and banded with ribbons in Greek

fashion, he might have borne comparison, so far as the severity

of his mien was concerned, with a Breton archer from

the guard of Monsieur de Berry.











Nevertheless, as be harangued them, the satisfaction and

admiration unanimously excited by his costume were dissipated

by his words; and when he reached that untoward conclusion:

"As soon as his illustrious eminence, the cardinal,

arrives, we will begin," his voice was drowned in a thunder

of hooting.


"Begin instantly!  The mystery! the mystery immediately!"

shrieked the people.  And above all the voices, that

of Johannes de Molendino was audible, piercing the uproar

like the fife's derisive serenade: "Commence instantly!"

yelped the scholar.


"Down with Jupiter and the Cardinal de Bourbon!" vociferated

Robin Poussepain and the other clerks perched in the window.


"The morality this very instant!" repeated the crowd;

"this very instant! the sack and the rope for the comedians,

and the cardinal!"


Poor Jupiter, haggard, frightened, pale beneath his rouge,

dropped his thunderbolt, took his cap in his hand; then he

bowed and trembled and stammered: "His eminence--the

ambassadors--Madame Marguerite of Flanders--."  He did not

know what to say.  In truth, he was afraid of being hung.


Hung by the populace for waiting, hung by the cardinal for

not having waited, he saw between the two dilemmas only an

abyss; that is to say, a gallows.


Luckily, some one came to rescue him from his embarrassment,

and assume the responsibility.


An individual who was standing beyond the railing, in the

free space around the marble table, and whom no one had yet

caught sight of, since his long, thin body was completely sheltered

from every visual ray by the diameter of the pillar

against which he was leaning; this individual, we say, tall,

gaunt, pallid, blond, still young, although already wrinkled

about the brow and cheeks, with brilliant eyes and a smiling

mouth, clad in garments of black serge, worn and shining

with age, approached the marble table, and made a sign to the

poor sufferer.  But the other was so confused that he did not

see him.  The new comer advanced another step.


"Jupiter," said he, "my dear Jupiter!"


The other did not hear.


At last, the tall blond, driven out of patience, shrieked

almost in his face,--


"Michel Giborne!"


"Who calls me?" said Jupiter, as though awakened with a start.


"I," replied the person clad in black.


"Ah!" said Jupiter.


"Begin at once," went on the other.  "Satisfy the populace;

I undertake to appease the bailiff, who will appease monsieur

the cardinal."


Jupiter breathed once more.


"Messeigneurs the bourgeois," he cried, at the top of his

lungs to the crowd, which continued to hoot him, "we are

going to begin at once."


"~Evoe Jupiter!  Plaudite cives~!  All hail, Jupiter!  Applaud,

citizens!" shouted the scholars.


"Noel!  Noel! good, good," shouted the people.


The hand clapping was deafening, and Jupiter had already

withdrawn under his tapestry, while the hall still trembled

with acclamations.


In the meanwhile, the personage who had so magically

turned the tempest into dead calm, as our old and dear Corneille

puts it, had modestly retreated to the half-shadow of

his pillar, and would, no doubt, have remained invisible there,

motionless, and mute as before, had he not been plucked by

the sleeve by two young women, who, standing in the front

row of the spectators, had noticed his colloquy with Michel



"Master," said one of them, making him a sign to approach.

"Hold your tongue, my dear Liénarde," said her neighbor,

pretty, fresh, and very brave, in consequence of being dressed

up in her best attire.  "He is not a clerk, he is a layman;

you must not say master to him, but messire."


"Messire," said Liénarde.


The stranger approached the railing.


"What would you have of me, damsels?" he asked, with alacrity.


"Oh! nothing," replied Liénarde, in great confusion; "it

is my neighbor, Gisquette la Gencienne, who wishes to speak

with you."


"Not so," replied Gisquette, blushing; "it was Liénarde

who called you master; I only told her to say messire."


The two young girls dropped their eyes.  The man, who

asked nothing better than to enter into conversation, looked

at them with a smile.


"So you have nothing to say to me, damsels?"


"Oh! nothing at all," replied Gisquette.


"Nothing," said Liénarde.


The tall, light-haired young man retreated a step; but the

two curious maidens had no mind to let slip their prize.


"Messire," said Gisquette, with the impetuosity of an

open sluice, or of a woman who has made up her mind,

"do you know that soldier who is to play the part of Madame

the Virgin in the mystery?"


"You mean the part of Jupiter?" replied the stranger.


"Hé! yes," said Liénarde, "isn't she stupid?  So you know



"Michel Giborne?" replied the unknown; "yes, madam."


"He has a fine beard!" said Liénarde.


"Will what they are about to say here be fine?" inquired

Gisquette, timidly.


"Very fine, mademoiselle," replied the unknown, without

the slightest hesitation.


"What is it to be?" said Liénarde.


"'The Good Judgment of Madame the Virgin,'--a morality,

if you please, damsel."


"Ah! that makes a difference," responded Liénarde.


A brief silence ensued--broken by the stranger.


"It is a perfectly new morality, and one which has never

yet been played."


"Then it is not the same one," said Gisquette, "that was

given two years ago, on the day of the entrance of monsieur

the legate, and where three handsome maids played the



"Of sirens," said Liénarde.


"And all naked," added the young man.


Liénarde lowered her eyes modestly.  Gisquette glanced at

her and did the same.  He continued, with a smile,--


"It was a very pleasant thing to see.  To-day it is a morality

made expressly for Madame the Demoiselle of Flanders."


"Will they sing shepherd songs?" inquired Gisquette.


"Fie!" said the stranger, "in a morality? you must not

confound styles.  If it were a farce, well and good."


"That is a pity," resumed Gisquette.  "That day, at the

Ponceau Fountain, there were wild men and women, who

fought and assumed many aspects, as they sang little motets

and bergerettes."


"That which is suitable for a legate," returned the stranger,

with a good deal of dryness, "is not suitable for a princess."


"And beside them," resumed Liénarde, "played many brass

instruments, making great melodies."


"And for the refreshment of the passers-by," continued

Gisquette, "the fountain spouted through three mouths,

wine, milk, and hippocrass, of which every one drank who



"And a little below the Ponceau, at the Trinity," pursued

Liénarde, "there was a passion performed, and without

any speaking."


"How well I remember that!" exclaimed Gisquette; "God

on the cross, and the two thieves on the right and the left."

Here the young gossips, growing warm at the memory of

the entrance of monsieur the legate, both began to talk at



"And, further on, at the Painters' Gate, there were other

personages, very richly clad."


"And at the fountain of Saint-Innocent, that huntsman,

who was chasing a hind with great clamor of dogs and hunting-horns."


"And, at the Paris slaughter-houses, stages, representing

the fortress of Dieppe!"


"And when the legate passed, you remember, Gisquette?

they made the assault, and the English all had their

throats cut."


"And against the gate of the Châtelet, there were very fine



"And on the Port au Change, which was all draped above!"


"And when the legate passed, they let fly on the bridge

more than two hundred sorts of birds; wasn't it beautiful,



"It will be better to-day," finally resumed their interlocutor,

who seemed to listen to them with impatience.


"Do you promise us that this mystery will be fine?" said



"Without doubt," he replied; then he added, with a certain

emphasis,--"I am the author of it, damsels."


"Truly?" said the young girls, quite taken aback.


"Truly!" replied the poet, bridling a little; "that is, to

say, there are two of us; Jehan Marchand, who has sawed the

planks and erected the framework of the theatre and the

woodwork; and I, who have made the piece.  My name is

Pierre Gringoire."


The author of the "Cid" could not have said "Pierre Corneille"

with more pride.


Our readers have been able to observe, that a certain

amount of time must have already elapsed from the moment

when Jupiter had retired beneath the tapestry to the instant

when the author of the new morality had thus abruptly

revealed himself to the innocent admiration of Gisquette

and Liénarde.  Remarkable fact: that whole crowd, so

tumultuous but a few moments before, now waited amiably

on the word of the comedian; which proves the eternal truth,

still experienced every day in our theatres, that the best

means of making the public wait patiently is to assure them

that one is about to begin instantly.


However, scholar Johannes had not fallen asleep.


"Holà hé!" he shouted suddenly, in the midst of the peaceable

waiting which had followed the tumult.  "Jupiter, Madame the

Virgin, buffoons of the devil! are you jeering at us?

The piece! the piece! commence or we will commence again!"


This was all that was needed.


The music of high and low instruments immediately became

audible from the interior of the stage; the tapestry was

raised; four personages, in motley attire and painted faces,

emerged from it, climbed the steep ladder of the theatre, and,

arrived upon the upper platform, arranged themselves in a

line before the public, whom they saluted with profound reverences;

then the symphony ceased.


The mystery was about to begin.


The four personages, after having reaped a rich reward

of applause for their reverences, began, in the midst of

profound silence, a prologue, which we gladly spare the

reader.  Moreover, as happens in our own day, the public

was more occupied with the costumes that the actors wore

than with the roles that they were enacting; and, in truth,

they were right.  All four were dressed in parti-colored robes

of yellow and white, which were distinguished from each other

only by the nature of the stuff; the first was of gold and silver

brocade; the second, of silk; the third, of wool; the fourth,

of linen.  The first of these personages carried in his right

hand a sword; the second, two golden keys; the third, a pair

of scales; the fourth, a spade: and, in order to aid sluggish

minds which would not have seen clearly through the transparency

of these attributes, there was to be read, in large,

black letters, on the hem of the robe of brocade, MY NAME

IS NOBILITY; on the hem of the silken robe, MY NAME IS

CLERGY; on the hem of the woolen robe, MY NAME IS MERCHANDISE;

on the hem of the linen robe, MY NAME IS LABOR.

The sex of the two male characters was briefly indicated to

every judicious spectator, by their shorter robes, and by the

cap which they wore on their heads; while the two female

characters, less briefly clad, were covered with hoods.


Much ill-will would also have been required, not to

comprehend, through the medium of the poetry of the prologue, that

Labor was wedded to Merchandise, and Clergy to Nobility,

and that the two happy couples possessed in common a magnificent

golden dolphin, which they desired to adjudge to the

fairest only.  So they were roaming about the world seeking

and searching for this beauty, and, after having successively

rejected the Queen of Golconda, the Princess of Trebizonde,

the daughter of the Grand Khan of Tartary, etc., Labor and

Clergy, Nobility and Merchandise, had come to rest upon the

marble table of the Palais de Justice, and to utter, in the

presence of the honest audience, as many sentences and

maxims as could then be dispensed at the Faculty of Arts,

at examinations, sophisms, determinances, figures, and acts,

where the masters took their degrees.


All this was, in fact, very fine.


Nevertheless, in that throng, upon which the four allegories

vied with each other in pouring out floods of metaphors,

there was no ear more attentive, no heart that palpitated

more, not an eye was more haggard, no neck more outstretched,

than the eye, the ear, the neck, and the heart of

the author, of the poet, of that brave Pierre Gringoire, who

had not been able to resist, a moment before, the joy of telling

his name to two pretty girls.  He had retreated a few

paces from them, behind his pillar, and there he listened,

looked, enjoyed.  The amiable applause which had greeted the

beginning of his prologue was still echoing in his bosom,

and he was completely absorbed in that species of ecstatic

contemplation with which an author beholds his ideas fall,

one by one, from the mouth of the actor into the vast silence

of the audience.  Worthy Pierre Gringoire!


It pains us to say it, but this first ecstasy was speedily

disturbed.  Hardly had Gringoire raised this intoxicating cup of

joy and triumph to his lips, when a drop of bitterness was

mingled with it.


A tattered mendicant, who could not collect any coins, lost

as he was in the midst of the crowd, and who had not probably

found sufficient indemnity in the pockets of his neighbors,

had hit upon the idea of perching himself upon some conspicuous

point, in order to attract looks and alms.  He had,

accordingly, hoisted himself, during the first verses of the

prologue, with the aid of the pillars of the reserve gallery, to

the cornice which ran round the balustrade at its lower edge;

and there he had seated himself, soliciting the attention and

the pity of the multitude, with his rags and a hideous sore

which covered his right arm.  However, he uttered not a word.


The silence which he preserved allowed the prologue to

proceed without hindrance, and no perceptible disorder would

have ensued, if ill-luck had not willed that the scholar Joannes

should catch sight, from the heights of his pillar, of the

mendicant and his grimaces.  A wild fit of laughter took

possession of the young scamp, who, without caring that he

was interrupting the spectacle, and disturbing the universal

composure, shouted boldly,--


"Look! see that sickly creature asking alms!"


Any one who has thrown a stone into a frog pond, or fired a

shot into a covey of birds, can form an idea of the effect produced

by these incongruous words, in the midst of the general

attention.  It made Gringoire shudder as though it had been

an electric shock.  The prologue stopped short, and all heads

turned tumultuously towards the beggar, who, far from being

disconcerted by this, saw, in this incident, a good opportunity

for reaping his harvest, and who began to whine in

a doleful way, half closing his eyes the while,--"Charity,



"Well--upon my soul," resumed Joannes, "it's Clopin

Trouillefou!  Holà he, my friend, did your sore bother you

on the leg, that you have transferred it to your arm?"

So saying, with the dexterity of a monkey, he flung a bit of

silver into the gray felt hat which the beggar held in his

ailing arm.  The mendicant received both the alms and the sarcasm

without wincing, and continued, in lamentable tones,--


"Charity, please!"


This episode considerably distracted the attention of the

audience; and a goodly number of spectators, among them

Robin Poussepain, and all the clerks at their head, gayly

applauded this eccentric duet, which the scholar, with his

shrill voice, and the mendicant had just improvised in the

middle of the prologue.


Gringoire was highly displeased.  On recovering from his

first stupefaction, he bestirred himself to shout, to the four

personages on the stage, "Go on!  What the devil!--go on!"

--without even deigning to cast a glance of disdain upon the

two interrupters.


At that moment, he felt some one pluck at the hem of his

surtout; he turned round, and not without ill-humor, and

found considerable difficulty in smiling; but he was obliged

to do so, nevertheless.  It was the pretty arm of Gisquette la

Gencienne, which, passed through the railing, was soliciting

his attention in this manner.


"Monsieur," said the young girl, "are they going to continue?"


"Of course," replied Gringoire, a good deal shocked by the



"In that case, messire," she resumed, "would you have the

courtesy to explain to me--"


"What they are about to say?" interrupted Gringoire.

"Well, listen."


"No," said Gisquette, "but what they have said so far."


Gringoire started, like a man whose wound has been probed

to the quick.


"A plague on the stupid and dull-witted little girl!" he

muttered, between his teeth.


From that moment forth, Gisquette was nothing to him.


In the meantime, the actors had obeyed his injunction, and

the public, seeing that they were beginning to speak again,

began once more to listen, not without having lost many

beauties in the sort of soldered joint which was formed

between the two portions of the piece thus abruptly cut

short.  Gringoire commented on it bitterly to himself.

Nevertheless, tranquillity was gradually restored, the scholar held

his peace, the mendicant counted over some coins in his hat,

and the piece resumed the upper hand.


It was, in fact, a very fine work, and one which, as it seems

to us, might be put to use to-day, by the aid of a little

rearrangement.  The exposition, rather long and rather empty,

that is to say, according to the rules, was simple; and Gringoire,

in the candid sanctuary of his own conscience, admired

its clearness.  As the reader may surmise, the four allegorical

personages were somewhat weary with having traversed the

three sections of the world, without having found suitable

opportunity for getting rid of their golden dolphin.  Thereupon

a eulogy of the marvellous fish, with a thousand delicate

allusions to the young betrothed of Marguerite of Flanders,

then sadly cloistered in at Amboise, and without a suspicion

that Labor and Clergy, Nobility and Merchandise had just

made the circuit of the world in his behalf.  The said dauphin

was then young, was handsome, was stout, and, above

all (magnificent origin of all royal virtues), he was the son of

the Lion of France.  I declare that this bold metaphor is

admirable, and that the natural history of the theatre, on a

day of allegory and royal marriage songs, is not in the least

startled by a dolphin who is the son of a lion.  It is precisely

these rare and Pindaric mixtures which prove the poet's enthusiasm.  Nevertheless, in order to play the part of critic also,

the poet might have developed this beautiful idea in something

less than two hundred lines.  It is true that the mystery

was to last from noon until four o'clock, in accordance

with the orders of monsieur the provost, and that it was

necessary to say something.  Besides, the people listened



All at once, in the very middle of a quarrel between Mademoiselle

Merchandise and Madame Nobility, at the moment when Monsieur Labor

was giving utterance to this wonderful line,--


    In forest ne'er was seen a more triumphant beast;


the door of the reserved gallery which had hitherto remained

so inopportunely closed, opened still more inopportunely; and

the ringing voice of the usher announced abruptly, "His

eminence, Monseigneur the Cardinal de Bourbon."











Poor Gringoire! the din of all the great double petards of

the Saint-Jean, the discharge of twenty arquebuses on

supports, the detonation of that famous serpentine of the Tower

of Billy, which, during the siege of Paris, on Sunday, the

twenty-sixth of September, 1465, killed seven Burgundians at

one blow, the explosion of all the powder stored at the gate

of the Temple, would have rent his ears less rudely at that

solemn and dramatic moment, than these few words, which

fell from the lips of the usher, "His eminence, Monseigneur

the Cardinal de Bourbon."


It is not that Pierre Gringoire either feared or disdained

monsieur the cardinal.  He had neither the weakness nor the

audacity for that.  A true eclectic, as it would be expressed

nowadays, Gringoire was one of those firm and lofty, moderate

and calm spirits, which always know how to bear themselves

amid all circumstances (~stare in dimidio rerum~), and who

are full of reason and of liberal philosophy, while still setting

store by cardinals.  A rare, precious, and never interrupted

race of philosophers to whom wisdom, like another

Ariadne, seems to have given a clew of thread which they

have been walking along unwinding since the beginning of

the world, through the labyrinth of human affairs.  One finds

them in all ages, ever the same; that is to say, always according

to all times.  And, without reckoning our Pierre Gringoire,

who may represent them in the fifteenth century if we

succeed in bestowing upon him the distinction which he

deserves, it certainly was their spirit which animated Father

du Breul, when he wrote, in the sixteenth, these naively sublime

words, worthy of all centuries: "I am a Parisian by

nation, and a Parrhisian in language, for ~parrhisia~ in Greek

signifies liberty of speech; of which I have made use even

towards messeigneurs the cardinals, uncle and brother to

Monsieur the Prince de Conty, always with respect to their

greatness, and without offending any one of their suite, which

is much to say."


There was then neither hatred for the cardinal, nor disdain

for his presence, in the disagreeable impression produced

upon Pierre Gringoire.  Quite the contrary; our poet had

too much good sense and too threadbare a coat, not to

attach particular importance to having the numerous allusions

in his prologue, and, in particular, the glorification of the

dauphin, son of the Lion of France, fall upon the most eminent

ear.  But it is not interest which predominates in the noble

nature of poets.  I suppose that the entity of the poet may

be represented by the number ten; it is certain that a chemist

on analyzing and pharmacopolizing it, as Rabelais says, would

find it composed of one part interest to nine parts of



Now, at the moment when the door had opened to admit

the cardinal, the nine parts of self-esteem in Gringoire,

swollen and expanded by the breath of popular admiration,

were in a state of prodigious augmentation, beneath which

disappeared, as though stifled, that imperceptible molecule of

which we have just remarked upon in the constitution of

poets; a precious ingredient, by the way, a ballast of

reality and humanity, without which they would not touch

the earth.  Gringoire enjoyed seeing, feeling, fingering, so to

speak an entire assembly (of knaves, it is true, but what matters

that ?) stupefied, petrified, and as though asphyxiated in

the presence of the incommensurable tirades which welled up

every instant from all parts of his bridal song.  I affirm that

he shared the general beatitude, and that, quite the reverse of

La Fontaine, who, at the presentation of his comedy of the

"Florentine," asked, "Who is the ill-bred lout who made

that rhapsody?" Gringoire would gladly have inquired of his

neighbor, "Whose masterpiece is this?"


The reader can now judge of the effect produced upon him

by the abrupt and unseasonable arrival of the cardinal.


That which he had to fear was only too fully realized.

The entrance of his eminence upset the audience.  All heads

turned towards the gallery.  It was no longer possible to

hear one's self.  "The cardinal!  The cardinal!" repeated

all mouths.  The unhappy prologue stopped short for the

second time.


The cardinal halted for a moment on the threshold of

the estrade.  While he was sending a rather indifferent

glance around the audience, the tumult redoubled.  Each

person wished to get a better view of him.  Each man vied

with the other in thrusting his head over his neighbor's



He was, in fact, an exalted personage, the sight of whom was

well worth any other comedy.  Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon,

Archbishop and Comte of Lyon, Primate of the Gauls, was

allied both to Louis XI., through his brother, Pierre, Seigneur

de Beaujeu, who had married the king's eldest daughter, and

to Charles the Bold through his mother, Agnes of Burgundy.

Now, the dominating trait, the peculiar and distinctive trait

of the character of the Primate of the Gauls, was the spirit

of the courtier, and devotion to the powers that be.  The

reader can form an idea of the numberless embarrassments

which this double relationship had caused him, and of all

the temporal reefs among which his spiritual bark had been

forced to tack, in order not to suffer shipwreck on either

Louis or Charles, that Scylla and that Charybdis which had

devoured the Duc de Nemours and the Constable de Saint-Pol.

Thanks to Heaven's mercy, he had made the voyage

successfully, and had reached home without hindrance.  But

although he was in port, and precisely because he was in

port, he never recalled without disquiet the varied haps of

his political career, so long uneasy and laborious.  Thus, he

was in the habit of saying that the year 1476 had been

"white and black" for him--meaning thereby, that in the

course of that year he had lost his mother, the Duchesse de

la Bourbonnais, and his cousin, the Duke of Burgundy, and

that one grief had consoled him for the other.


Nevertheless, he was a fine man; he led a joyous cardinal's

life, liked to enliven himself with the royal vintage of Challuau,

did not hate Richarde la Garmoise and Thomasse la

Saillarde, bestowed alms on pretty girls rather than on old

women,--and for all these reasons was very agreeable to the

populace of Paris.  He never went about otherwise than surrounded

by a small court of bishops and abbés of high lineage,

gallant, jovial, and given to carousing on occasion; and more

than once the good and devout women of Saint Germain

d' Auxerre, when passing at night beneath the brightly illuminated

windows of Bourbon, had been scandalized to hear the

same voices which had intoned vespers for them during the

day carolling, to the clinking of glasses, the bacchic proverb of

Benedict XII., that pope who had added a third crown to the

Tiara--~Bibamus papaliter~.


It was this justly acquired popularity, no doubt, which preserved

him on his entrance from any bad reception at the

hands of the mob, which had been so displeased but a moment

before, and very little disposed to respect a cardinal on

the very day when it was to elect a pope.  But the Parisians

cherish little rancor; and then, having forced the beginning

of the play by their authority, the good bourgeois had got the

upper hand of the cardinal, and this triumph was sufficient

for them.  Moreover, the Cardinal de Bourbon was a handsome

man,--he wore a fine scarlet robe, which he carried off

very well,--that is to say, he had all the women on his side,

and, consequently, the best half of the audience.  Assuredly,

it would be injustice and bad taste to hoot a cardinal for having

come late to the spectacle, when he is a handsome man,

and when he wears his scarlet robe well.


He entered, then, bowed to those present with the hereditary

smile of the great for the people, and directed his course

slowly towards his scarlet velvet arm-chair, with the air of

thinking of something quite different.  His cortege--what

we should nowadays call his staff--of bishops and abbés

invaded the estrade in his train, not without causing redoubled

tumult and curiosity among the audience.  Each

man vied with his neighbor in pointing them out and naming

them, in seeing who should recognize at least one of them:

this one, the Bishop of Marseilles (Alaudet, if my memory

serves me right);--this one, the primicier of Saint-Denis;--this

one, Robert de Lespinasse, Abbé of Saint-Germain des

Prés, that libertine brother of a mistress of Louis XI.; all

with many errors and absurdities.  As for the scholars, they

swore.  This was their day, their feast of fools, their saturnalia,

the annual orgy of the corporation of Law clerks and of

the school.  There was no turpitude which was not sacred on

that day.  And then there were gay gossips in the crowd--Simone

Quatrelivres, Agnes la Gadine, and Rabine Piédebou.

Was it not the least that one could do to swear at one's ease

and revile the name of God a little, on so fine a day, in such

good company as dignitaries of the church and loose women?

So they did not abstain; and, in the midst of the uproar, there

was a frightful concert of blasphemies and enormities of all

the unbridled tongues, the tongues of clerks and students

restrained during the rest of the year, by the fear of the hot

iron of Saint Louis.  Poor Saint Louis! how they set him at

defiance in his own court of law!  Each one of them selected

from the new-comers on the platform, a black, gray, white,

or violet cassock as his target.  Joannes Frollo de Molendin,

in his quality of brother to an archdeacon, boldly

attacked the scarlet; he sang in deafening tones, with his

impudent eyes fastened on the cardinal, "~Cappa repleta



All these details which we here lay bare for the edification

of the reader, were so covered by the general uproar, that

they were lost in it before reaching the reserved platforms;

moreover, they would have moved the cardinal but little, so

much a part of the customs were the liberties of that day.

Moreover, he had another cause for solicitude, and his mien

as wholly preoccupied with it, which entered the estrade

the same time as himself; this was the embassy from



Not that he was a profound politician, nor was he borrowing

trouble about the possible consequences of the marriage of

his cousin Marguerite de Bourgoyne to his cousin Charles,

Dauphin de Vienne; nor as to how long the good understanding

which had been patched up between the Duke of Austria

and the King of France would last; nor how the King of

England would take this disdain of his daughter.  All that

troubled him but little; and he gave a warm reception every

evening to the wine of the royal vintage of Chaillot, without

a suspicion that several flasks of that same wine (somewhat

revised and corrected, it is true, by Doctor Coictier), cordially

offered to Edward IV.  by Louis XI., would, some fine morning,

rid Louis XI. of Edward IV.  "The much honored embassy

of Monsieur the Duke of Austria," brought the cardinal

none of these cares, but it troubled him in another direction.

It was, in fact, somewhat hard, and we have already hinted

at it on the second page of this book,--for him, Charles de

Bourbon, to be obliged to feast and receive cordially no one

knows what bourgeois;--for him, a cardinal, to receive

aldermen;--for him, a Frenchman, and a jolly companion, to

receive Flemish beer-drinkers,--and that in public!  This

was, certainly, one of the most irksome grimaces that he had

ever executed for the good pleasure of the king.


So he turned toward the door, and with the best grace in

the world (so well had he trained himself to it), when the

usher announced, in a sonorous voice, "Messieurs the Envoys

of Monsieur the Duke of Austria."  It is useless to add that

the whole hall did the same.


Then arrived, two by two, with a gravity which made a

contrast in the midst of the frisky ecclesiastical escort of

Charles de Bourbon, the eight and forty ambassadors of Maximilian

of Austria, having at their head the reverend Father

in God, Jehan, Abbot of Saint-Bertin, Chancellor of the

Golden Fleece, and Jacques de Goy, Sieur Dauby, Grand Bailiff

of Ghent.  A deep silence settled over the assembly, accompanied

by stifled laughter at the preposterous names and all

the bourgeois designations which each of these personages

transmitted with imperturbable gravity to the usher, who then

tossed names and titles pell-mell and mutilated to the crowd

below.  There were Master Loys Roelof, alderman of the city

of Louvain; Messire Clays d'Etuelde, alderman of Brussels;

Messire Paul de Baeust, Sieur de Voirmizelle, President of

Flanders; Master Jehan Coleghens, burgomaster of the city

of Antwerp; Master George de la Moere, first alderman of the

kuere of the city of Ghent; Master Gheldolf van der Hage,

first alderman of the ~parchous~ of the said town; and the

Sieur de Bierbecque, and Jehan Pinnock, and Jehan Dymaerzelle,

etc., etc., etc.; bailiffs, aldermen, burgomasters; burgomasters,

aldermen, bailiffs--all stiff, affectedly grave, formal,

dressed out in velvet and damask, hooded with caps of black

velvet, with great tufts of Cyprus gold thread; good Flemish

heads, after all, severe and worthy faces, of the family which

Rembrandt makes to stand out so strong and grave from the

black background of his "Night Patrol "; personages all of

whom bore, written on their brows, that Maximilian of Austria

had done well in "trusting implicitly," as the manifest

ran, "in their sense, valor, experience, loyalty, and good



There was one exception, however.  It was a subtle, intelligent,

crafty-looking face, a sort of combined monkey and diplomat

phiz, before whom the cardinal made three steps and a

profound bow, and whose name, nevertheless, was only,

"Guillaume Rym, counsellor and pensioner of the City of



Few persons were then aware who Guillaume Rym was.  A

rare genius who in a time of revolution would have made a

brilliant appearance on the surface of events, but who in the

fifteenth century was reduced to cavernous intrigues, and to

"living in mines," as the Duc de Saint-Simon expresses it.

Nevertheless, he was appreciated by the "miner" of Europe;

he plotted familiarly with Louis XI., and often lent a hand to

the king's secret jobs.  All which things were quite unknown

to that throng, who were amazed at the cardinal's politeness

to that frail figure of a Flemish bailiff.











While the pensioner of Ghent and his eminence were

exchanging very low bows and a few words in voices still

lower, a man of lofty stature, with a large face and broad

shoulders, presented himself, in order to enter abreast with

Guillaume Rym; one would have pronounced him a bull-dog

by the side of a fox.  His felt doublet and leather jerkin

made a spot on the velvet and silk which surrounded him.

Presuming that he was some groom who had stolen in, the

usher stopped him.


"Hold, my friend, you cannot pass!"


The man in the leather jerkin shouldered him aside.


"What does this knave want with me?" said he, in stentorian

tones, which rendered the entire hall attentive to this

strange colloquy.  "Don't you see that I am one of them?"


"Your name?" demanded the usher.


"Jacques Coppenole."


"Your titles?"


"Hosier at the sign of the 'Three Little Chains,' of Ghent."


The usher recoiled.  One might bring one's self to announce

aldermen and burgomasters, but a hosier was too much.  The

cardinal was on thorns.  All the people were staring and

listening.  For two days his eminence had been exerting his

utmost efforts to lick these Flemish bears into shape, and to

render them a little more presentable to the public, and this

freak was startling.  But Guillaume Rym, with his polished

smile, approached the usher.


"Announce Master Jacques Coppenole, clerk of the aldermen

of the city of Ghent," he whispered, very low.


"Usher," interposed the cardinal, aloud, "announce Master

Jacques Coppenole, clerk of the aldermen of the illustrious

city of Ghent."


This was a mistake.  Guillaume Rym alone might have

conjured away the difficulty, but Coppenole had heard the



"No, cross of God?" he exclaimed, in his voice of thunder,

"Jacques Coppenole, hosier.  Do you hear, usher?  Nothing

more, nothing less.  Cross of God! hosier; that's fine enough.

Monsieur the Archduke has more than once sought his ~gant~*

in my hose."



*  Got the first idea of a timing.



Laughter and applause burst forth.  A jest is always understood

in Paris, and, consequently, always applauded.


Let us add that Coppenole was of the people, and that the

auditors which surrounded him were also of the people.  Thus

the communication between him and them had been prompt,

electric, and, so to speak, on a level.  The haughty air of the

Flemish hosier, by humiliating the courtiers, had touched in

all these plebeian souls that latent sentiment of dignity still

vague and indistinct in the fifteenth century.


This hosier was an equal, who had just held his own before

monsieur the cardinal.  A very sweet reflection to poor fellows

habituated to respect and obedience towards the underlings

of the sergeants of the bailiff of Sainte-Geneviève, the

cardinal's train-bearer.


Coppenole proudly saluted his eminence, who returned the

salute of the all-powerful bourgeois feared by Louis XI.

Then, while Guillaume Rym, a "sage and malicious man," as

Philippe de Comines puts it, watched them both with a smile

of raillery and superiority, each sought his place, the cardinal

quite abashed and troubled, Coppenole tranquil and haughty,

and thinking, no doubt, that his title of hosier was as good as

any other, after all, and that Marie of Burgundy, mother to

that Marguerite whom Coppenole was to-day bestowing in

marriage, would have been less afraid of the cardinal than of

the hosier; for it is not a cardinal who would have stirred up

a revolt among the men of Ghent against the favorites of the

daughter of Charles the Bold; it is not a cardinal who could

have fortified the populace with a word against her tears and

prayers, when the Maid of Flanders came to supplicate her

people in their behalf, even at the very foot of the scaffold;

while the hosier had only to raise his leather elbow, in order

to cause to fall your two heads, most illustrious seigneurs,

Guy d'Hymbercourt and Chancellor Guillaume Hugonet.


Nevertheless, all was over for the poor cardinal, and he was

obliged to quaff to the dregs the bitter cup of being in such

bad company.


The reader has, probably, not forgotten the impudent beggar

who had been clinging fast to the fringes of the cardinal's

gallery ever since the beginning of the prologue.  The arrival

of the illustrious guests had by no means caused him to relax

his hold, and, while the prelates and ambassadors were packing

themselves into the stalls--like genuine Flemish herrings--he

settled himself at his ease, and boldly crossed his legs

on the architrave.  The insolence of this proceeding was

extraordinary, yet no one noticed it at first, the attention of

all being directed elsewhere.  He, on his side, perceived nothing

that was going on in the hall; he wagged his head with

the unconcern of a Neapolitan, repeating from time to time,

amid the clamor, as from a mechanical habit, "Charity,

please!"  And, assuredly, he was, out of all those present,

the only one who had not deigned to turn his head at the

altercation between Coppenole and the usher.  Now, chance

ordained that the master hosier of Ghent, with whom the

people were already in lively sympathy, and upon whom all

eyes were riveted--should come and seat himself in the front

row of the gallery, directly above the mendicant; and people

were not a little amazed to see the Flemish ambassador, on

concluding his inspection of the knave thus placed beneath

his eyes, bestow a friendly tap on that ragged shoulder.  The

beggar turned round; there was surprise, recognition, a lighting

up of the two countenances, and so forth; then, without

paying the slightest heed in the world to the spectators, the

hosier and the wretched being began to converse in a low

tone, holding each other's hands, in the meantime, while the

rags of Clopin Trouillefou, spread out upon the cloth of gold

of the dais, produced the effect of a caterpillar on an orange.


The novelty of this singular scene excited such a murmur

of mirth and gayety in the hall, that the cardinal was not

slow to perceive it; he half bent forward, and, as from the

point where he was placed he could catch only an imperfect

view of Trouillerfou's ignominious doublet, he very naturally

imagined that the mendicant was asking alms, and, disgusted

with his audacity, he exclaimed: "Bailiff of the Courts, toss

me that knave into the river!"


"Cross of God! monseigneur the cardinal," said Coppenole,

without quitting Clopin's hand, "he's a friend of mine."


"Good! good!" shouted the populace.  From that moment,

Master Coppenole enjoyed in Paris as in Ghent, "great favor

with the people; for men of that sort do enjoy it," says

Philippe de Comines, "when they are thus disorderly."

The cardinal bit his lips.  He bent towards his neighbor,

the Abbé of Saint Geneviéve, and said to him in a low

tone,--"Fine ambassadors monsieur the archduke sends here, to

announce to us Madame Marguerite!"


"Your eminence," replied the abbé, "wastes your politeness

on these Flemish swine.  ~Margaritas ante porcos~, pearls

before swine."


"Say rather," retorted the cardinal, with a smile, "~Porcos

ante Margaritam~, swine before the pearl."


The whole little court in cassocks went into ecstacies over

this play upon words.  The cardinal felt a little relieved; he

was quits with Coppenole, he also had had his jest applauded.


Now, will those of our readers who possess the power of

generalizing an image or an idea, as the expression runs in

the style of to-day, permit us to ask them if they have formed

a very clear conception of the spectacle presented at this

moment, upon which we have arrested their attention, by the

vast parallelogram of the grand hall of the palace.


In the middle of the hall, backed against the western wall,

a large and magnificent gallery draped with cloth of gold, into

which enter in procession, through a small, arched door, grave

personages, announced successively by the shrill voice of an

usher.  On the front benches were already a number of venerable

figures, muffled in ermine, velvet, and scarlet.  Around

the dais--which remains silent and dignified--below, opposite,

everywhere, a great crowd and a great murmur.  Thousands

of glances directed by the people on each face upon the

dais, a thousand whispers over each name.  Certainly, the

spectacle is curious, and well deserves the attention of the

spectators.  But yonder, quite at the end, what is that sort

of trestle work with four motley puppets upon it, and more

below?  Who is that man beside the trestle, with a black

doublet and a pale face?  Alas! my dear reader, it is Pierre

Gringoire and his prologue.


We have all forgotten him completely.


This is precisely what he feared.


From the moment of the cardinal's entrance, Gringoire had

never ceased to tremble for the safety of his prologue.  At

first he had enjoined the actors, who had stopped in suspense,

to continue, and to raise their voices; then, perceiving that

no one was listening, he had stopped them; and, during the

entire quarter of an hour that the interruption lasted, he had

not ceased to stamp, to flounce about, to appeal to Gisquette

and Liénarde, and to urge his neighbors to the continuance

of the prologue; all in vain.  No one quitted the cardinal,

the embassy, and the gallery--sole centre of this vast circle

of visual rays.  We must also believe, and we say it with

regret, that the prologue had begun slightly to weary the

audience at the moment when his eminence had arrived,

and created a diversion in so terrible a fashion.  After all,

on the gallery as well as on the marble table, the spectacle

was the same: the conflict of Labor and Clergy, of Nobility

and Merchandise.  And many people preferred to see them

alive, breathing, moving, elbowing each other in flesh and

blood, in this Flemish embassy, in this Episcopal court,

under the cardinal's robe, under Coppenole's jerkin, than

painted, decked out, talking in verse, and, so to speak, stuffed

beneath the yellow amid white tunics in which Gringoire had

so ridiculously clothed them.


Nevertheless, when our poet beheld quiet reestablished

to some extent, he devised a stratagem which might have

redeemed all.


"Monsieur," he said, turning towards one of his neighbors,

a fine, big man, with a patient face, "suppose we begin



"What?" said his neighbor.


"Hé! the Mystery," said Gringoire.


"As you like," returned his neighbor.


This semi-approbation sufficed for Gringoire, and, conducting

his own affairs, he began to shout, confounding himself

with the crowd as much as possible: "Begin the mystery

again! begin again!"


"The devil!" said Joannes de Molendino, "what are they

jabbering down yonder, at the end of the hall?" (for Gringoire

was making noise enough for four.)  "Say, comrades,

isn't that mystery finished?  They want to begin it all over

again.  That's not fair!"


"No, no!" shouted all the scholars.  "Down with the

mystery!  Down with it!"


But Gringoire had multiplied himself, and only shouted

the more vigorously: "Begin again! begin again!"


These clamors attracted the attention of the cardinal.


"Monsieur Bailiff of the Courts," said he to a tall, black

man, placed a few paces from him, "are those knaves in a

holy-water vessel, that they make such a hellish noise?"


The bailiff of the courts was a sort of amphibious magistrate,

a sort of bat of the judicial order, related to both the

rat and the bird, the judge and the soldier.


He approached his eminence, and not without a good deal

of fear of the latter's displeasure, he awkwardly explained to

him the seeming disrespect of the audience: that noonday

had arrived before his eminence, and that the comedians had

been forced to begin without waiting for his eminence.


The cardinal burst into a laugh.


"On my faith, the rector of the university ought to have

done the same.  What say you, Master Guillaume Rym?"


"Monseigneur," replied Guillaume Rym, "let us be content

with having escaped half of the comedy.  There is at least

that much gained."


"Can these rascals continue their farce?" asked the bailiff.


"Continue, continue," said the cardinal, "it's all the same

to me.  I'll read my breviary in the meantime."


The bailiff advanced to the edge of the estrade, and cried,

after having invoked silence by a wave of the hand,--


"Bourgeois, rustics, and citizens, in order to satisfy those

who wish the play to begin again, and those who wish it

to end, his eminence orders that it be continued."


Both parties were forced to resign themselves.  But the

public and the author long cherished a grudge against the



So the personages on the stage took up their parts, and

Gringoire hoped that the rest of his work, at least, would be

listened to.  This hope was speedily dispelled like his other

illusions; silence had indeed, been restored in the audience,

after a fashion; but Gringoire had not observed that at the

moment when the cardinal gave the order to continue, the

gallery was far from full, and that after the Flemish envoys

there had arrived new personages forming part of the cortege,

whose names and ranks, shouted out in the midst of his dialogue

by the intermittent cry of the usher, produced considerable

ravages in it.  Let the reader imagine the effect in the

midst of a theatrical piece, of the yelping of an usher, flinging

in between two rhymes, and often in the middle of a line,

parentheses like the following,--


"Master Jacques Charmolue, procurator to the king in the

Ecclesiastical Courts!"


"Jehan de Harlay, equerry guardian of the office of chevalier

of the night watch of the city of Paris!"


"Messire Galiot de Genoilhac, chevalier, seigneur de Brussac,

master of the king's artillery!"


"Master Dreux-Raguier, surveyor of the woods and forests

of the king our sovereign, in the land of France, Champagne

and Brie!"


"Messire Louis de Graville, chevalier, councillor, and

chamberlain of the king, admiral of France, keeper of the

Forest of Vincennes!"


"Master Denis le Mercier, guardian of the house of the

blind at Paris!" etc., etc., etc.


This was becoming unbearable.


This strange accompaniment, which rendered it difficult to

follow the piece, made Gringoire all the more indignant because

he could not conceal from himself the fact that the interest

was continually increasing, and that all his work required

was a chance of being heard.


It was, in fact, difficult to imagine a more ingenious and

more dramatic composition.  The four personages of the

prologue were bewailing themselves in their mortal embarrassment,

when Venus in person, (~vera incessa patuit dea~) presented

herself to them, clad in a fine robe bearing the heraldic

device of the ship of the city of Paris.  She had come herself

to claim the dolphin promised to the most beautiful.  Jupiter,

whose thunder could be heard rumbling in the dressing-room,

supported her claim, and Venus was on the point of carrying

it off,--that is to say, without allegory, of marrying monsieur

the dauphin, when a young child clad in white damask, and

holding in her hand a daisy (a transparent personification of

Mademoiselle Marguerite of Flanders) came to contest it with



Theatrical effect and change.


After a dispute, Venus, Marguerite, and the assistants

agreed to submit to the good judgment of time holy Virgin.

There was another good part, that of the king of Mesopotamia;

but through so many interruptions, it was difficult to

make out what end he served.  All these persons had ascended

by the ladder to the stage.


But all was over; none of these beauties had been felt nor

understood.  On the entrance of the cardinal, one would have

said that an invisible magic thread had suddenly drawn all

glances from the marble table to the gallery, from the southern

to the western extremity of the hall.  Nothing could disenchant

the audience; all eyes remained fixed there, and the

new-comers and their accursed names, and their faces, and their

costumes, afforded a continual diversion.  This was very

distressing.  With the exception of Gisquette and Liénarde, who

turned round from time to time when Gringoire plucked them

by the sleeve; with the exception of the big, patient neighbor,

no one listened, no one looked at the poor, deserted morality

full face.  Gringoire saw only profiles.


With what bitterness did he behold his whole erection of

glory and of poetry crumble away bit by bit!  And to think

that these people had been upon the point of instituting a

revolt against the bailiff through impatience to hear his work!

now that they had it they did not care for it.  This same

representation which had been begun amid so unanimous an

acclamation!  Eternal flood and ebb of popular favor!  To

think that they had been on the point of hanging the bailiff's

sergeant!  What would he not have given to be still at that

hour of honey!


But the usher's brutal monologue came to an end; every

one had arrived, and Gringoire breathed freely once more;

the actors continued bravely.  But Master Coppenole, the

hosier, must needs rise of a sudden, and Gringoire was forced

to listen to him deliver, amid universal attention, the

following abominable harangue.


"Messieurs the bourgeois and squires of Paris, I don't

know, cross of God! what we are doing here.  I certainly do

see yonder in the corner on that stage, some people who appear

to be fighting.  I don't know whether that is what you

call a "mystery," but it is not amusing; they quarrel with their

tongues and nothing more.  I have been waiting for the first

blow this quarter of an hour; nothing comes; they are cowards

who only scratch each other with insults.  You ought to

send for the fighters of London or Rotterdam; and, I can tell

you! you would have had blows of the fist that could be

heard in the Place; but these men excite our pity.  They

ought at least, to give us a moorish dance, or some other

mummer!  That is not what was told me; I was promised a feast

of fools, with the election of a pope.  We have our pope of

fools at Ghent also; we're not behindhand in that, cross of

God!  But this is the way we manage it; we collect a crowd

like this one here, then each person in turn passes his head

through a hole, and makes a grimace at the rest; time one who

makes the ugliest, is elected pope by general acclamation;

that's the way it is.  It is very diverting.  Would you like to

make your pope after the fashion of my country?  At all

events, it will be less wearisome than to listen to chatterers.

If they wish to come and make their grimaces through the

hole, they can join the game.  What say you, Messieurs les

bourgeois?  You have here enough grotesque specimens of

both sexes, to allow of laughing in Flemish fashion, and there

are enough of us ugly in countenance to hope for a fine grinning



Gringoire would have liked to retort; stupefaction, rage,

indignation, deprived him of words.  Moreover, the suggestion

of the popular hosier was received with such enthusiasm

by these bourgeois who were flattered at being called

"squires," that all resistance was useless.  There was nothing

to be done but to allow one's self to drift with the torrent.

Gringoire hid his face between his two hands, not being so

fortunate as to have a mantle with which to veil his head,

like Agamemnon of Timantis.










In the twinkling of an eye, all was ready to execute Coppenole's

idea.  Bourgeois, scholars and law clerks all set to

work.  The little chapel situated opposite the marble table

was selected for the scene of the grinning match.  A pane

broken in the pretty rose window above the door, left free a

circle of stone through which it was agreed that the competitors

should thrust their heads.  In order to reach it, it was

only necessary to mount upon a couple of hogsheads, which

had been produced from I know not where, and perched one

upon the other, after a fashion.  It was settled that each

candidate, man or woman (for it was possible to choose a female

pope), should, for the sake of leaving the impression of his

grimace fresh and complete, cover his face and remain concealed

in the chapel until the moment of his appearance.  In less than

an instant, the chapel was crowded with competitors, upon whom

the door was then closed.


Coppenole, from his post, ordered all, directed all, arranged

all.  During the uproar, the cardinal, no less abashed than

Gringoire, had retired with all his suite, under the pretext of

business and vespers, without the crowd which his arrival had

so deeply stirred being in the least moved by his departure.

Guillaume Rym was the only one who noticed his eminence's

discomfiture.  The attention of the populace, like the sun,

pursued its revolution; having set out from one end of the

hall, and halted for a space in the middle, it had now reached

the other end.  The marble table, the brocaded gallery had each

had their day; it was now the turn of the chapel of Louis XI.

Henceforth, the field was open to all folly.  There was no one

there now, but the Flemings and the rabble.


The grimaces began.  The first face which appeared at the

aperture, with eyelids turned up to the reds, a mouth open

like a maw, and a brow wrinkled like our hussar boots of the

Empire, evoked such an inextinguishable peal of laughter

that Homer would have taken all these louts for gods.

Nevertheless, the grand hall was anything but Olympus, and

Gringoire's poor Jupiter knew it better than any one else.  A

second and third grimace followed, then another and another;

and the laughter and transports of delight went on increasing.

There was in this spectacle, a peculiar power of intoxication

and fascination, of which it would be difficult to convey to the

reader of our day and our salons any idea.


Let the reader picture to himself a series of visages presenting

successively all geometrical forms, from the triangle

to the trapezium, from the cone to the polyhedron; all human

expressions, from wrath to lewdness; all ages, from the

wrinkles of the new-born babe to the wrinkles of the aged

and dying; all religious phantasmagories, from Faun to Beelzebub;

all animal profiles, from the maw to the beak, from

the jowl to the muzzle.  Let the reader imagine all these

grotesque figures of the Pont Neuf, those nightmares petrified

beneath the hand of Germain Pilon, assuming life and breath,

and coming in turn to stare you in the face with burning

eyes; all the masks of the Carnival of Venice passing in succession

before your glass,--in a word, a human kaleidoscope.


The orgy grew more and more Flemish.  Teniers could have

given but a very imperfect idea of it.  Let the reader picture

to himself in bacchanal form, Salvator Rosa's battle.  There

were no longer either scholars or ambassadors or bourgeois or

men or women; there was no longer any Clopin Trouillefou,

nor Gilles Lecornu, nor Marie Quatrelivres, nor Robin Poussepain.

All was universal license.  The grand hall was no

longer anything but a vast furnace of effrontry and joviality,

where every mouth was a cry, every individual a posture;

everything shouted and howled.  The strange visages which

came, in turn, to gnash their teeth in the rose window, were

like so many brands cast into the brazier; and from the whole

of this effervescing crowd, there escaped, as from a furnace,

a sharp, piercing, stinging noise, hissing like the wings of a



"Ho hé! curse it!"


"Just look at that face!"


"It's not good for anything."


"Guillemette Maugerepuis, just look at that bull's muzzle;

it only lacks the horns.  It can't be your husband."




"Belly of the pope! what sort of a grimace is that?"


"Hola hé! that's cheating.  One must show only one's face."


"That damned Perrette Callebotte! she's capable of that!"


"Good!  Good!"


"I'm stifling!"


"There's a fellow whose ears won't go through!" Etc., etc.


But we must do justice to our friend Jehan.  In the midst

of this witches' sabbath, he was still to be seen on the top of

his pillar, like the cabin-boy on the topmast.  He floundered

about with incredible fury.  His mouth was wide open, and

from it there escaped a cry which no one heard, not that it

was covered by the general clamor, great as that was but

because it attained, no doubt, the limit of perceptible sharp

sounds, the thousand vibrations of Sauveur, or the eight

thousand of Biot.


As for Gringoire, the first moment of depression having

passed, he had regained his composure.  He had hardened

himself against adversity.---"Continue!" he had said for the

third time, to his comedians, speaking machines; then as he

was marching with great strides in front of the marble table,

a fancy seized him to go and appear in his turn at the aperture

of the chapel, were it only for the pleasure of making a

grimace at that ungrateful populace.--"But no, that would

not be worthy of us; no, vengeance! let us combat until the

end," he repeated to himself; "the power of poetry over

people is great; I will bring them back.  We shall see which

will carry the day, grimaces or polite literature."


Alas! he had been left the sole spectator of his piece.

It was far worse than it had been a little while before.  He

no longer beheld anything but backs.


I am mistaken.  The big, patient man, whom he had already

consulted in a critical moment, had remained with his face

turned towards the stage.  As for Gisquette and Liénarde,

they had deserted him long ago.


Gringoire was touched to the heart by the fidelity of his

only spectator.  He approached him and addressed him, shaking

his arm slightly; for the good man was leaning on the

balustrade and dozing a little.


"Monsieur," said Gringoire, "I thank you!"


"Monsieur," replied the big man with a yawn, "for what?"


"I see what wearies you," resumed the poet; "'tis all this

noise which prevents your hearing comfortably.  But be at

ease! your name shall descend to posterity!  Your name,

if you please?"


"Renauld Chateau, guardian of the seals of the Châtelet of

Paris, at your service."


"Monsieur, you are the only representive of the muses

here," said Gringoire.


"You are too kind, sir," said the guardian of the seals at

the Châtelet.


"You are the only one," resumed Gringoire, "who has listened

to the piece decorously.  What do you think of it?"


"He! he!" replied the fat magistrate, half aroused, "it's

tolerably jolly, that's a fact."


Gringoire was forced to content himself with this eulogy;

for a thunder of applause, mingled with a prodigious acclamation,

cut their conversation short.  The Pope of the Fools had

been elected.


"Noel!  Noel!  Noel!"* shouted the people on all sides.

That was, in fact, a marvellous grimace which was beaming

at that moment through the aperture in the rose window.

After all the pentagonal, hexagonal, and whimsical faces, which

had succeeded each other at that hole without realizing the

ideal of the grotesque which their imaginations, excited by

the orgy, had constructed, nothing less was needed to win their

suffrages than the sublime grimace which had just dazzled the

assembly.  Master Coppenole himself applauded, and Clopin

Trouillefou, who had been among the competitors (and God

knows what intensity of ugliness his visage could attain),

confessed himself conquered: We will do the same.  We

shall not try to give the reader an idea of that tetrahedral

nose, that horseshoe mouth; that little left eye obstructed

with a red, bushy, bristling eyebrow, while the right eye disappeared

entirely beneath an enormous wart; of those teeth

in disarray, broken here and there, like the embattled parapet

of a fortress; of that callous lip, upon which one of these

teeth encroached, like the tusk of an elephant; of that forked

chin; and above all, of the expression spread over the whole;

of that mixture of malice, amazement, and sadness.  Let the

reader dream of this whole, if he can.



*  The ancient French hurrah.



The acclamation was unanimous; people rushed towards

the chapel.  They made the lucky Pope of the Fools come

forth in triumph.  But it was then that surprise and admiration

attained their highest pitch; the grimace was his face.


Or rather, his whole person was a grimace.  A huge head,

bristling with red hair; between his shoulders an enormous

hump, a counterpart perceptible in front; a system of thighs

and legs so strangely astray that they could touch each other

only at the knees, and, viewed from the front, resembled the

crescents of two scythes joined by the handles; large feet, monstrous

hands; and, with all this deformity, an indescribable

and redoubtable air of vigor, agility, and courage,--strange

exception to the eternal rule which wills that force as well as

beauty shall be the result of harmony.  Such was the pope

whom the fools had just chosen for themselves.


One would have pronounced him a giant who had been

broken and badly put together again.


When this species of cyclops appeared on the threshold of

the chapel, motionless, squat, and almost as broad as he was

tall; squared on the base, as a great man says; with his doublet

half red, half violet, sown with silver bells, and, above all,

in the perfection of his ugliness, the populace recognized him

on the instant, and shouted with one voice,--


"'Tis Quasimodo, the bellringer! 'tis Quasimodo, the hunchback

of Notre-Dame!  Quasimodo, the one-eyed!  Quasimodo, the

bandy-legged!  Noel!  Noel!"


It will be seen that the poor fellow had a choice of surnames.


"Let the women with child beware!" shouted the scholars.


"Or those who wish to be," resumed Joannes.


The women did, in fact, hide their faces.


"Oh! the horrible monkey!" said one of them.


"As wicked as he is ugly," retorted another.


"He's the devil," added a third.


"I have the misfortune to live near Notre-Dame; I hear

him prowling round the eaves by night."


"With the cats."


"He's always on our roofs."


"He throws spells down our chimneys."


"The other evening, he came and made a grimace at me

through my attic window.  I thought that it was a man.

Such a fright as I had!"


"I'm sure that he goes to the witches' sabbath.  Once he

left a broom on my leads."


"Oh! what a displeasing hunchback's face!"


"Oh! what an ill-favored soul!"




The men, on the contrary, were delighted and applauded.

Quasimodo, the object of the tumult, still stood on the

threshold of the chapel, sombre and grave, and allowed them

to admire him.


One scholar (Robin Poussepain, I think), came and laughed

in his face, and too close.  Quasimodo contented himself with

taking him by the girdle, and hurling him ten paces off amid

the crowd; all without uttering a word.


Master Coppenole, in amazement, approached him.


"Cross of God!  Holy Father! you possess the handsomest

ugliness that I have ever beheld in my life.  You would

deserve to be pope at Rome, as well as at Paris."


So saying, he placed his hand gayly on his shoulder.  Quasimodo

did not stir.  Coppenole went on,--


"You are a rogue with whom I have a fancy for carousing,

were it to cost me a new dozen of twelve livres of Tours.

How does it strike you?"


Quasimodo made no reply.


"Cross of God!" said the hosier, "are you deaf?"


He was, in truth, deaf.


Nevertheless, he began to grow impatient with Coppenole's

behavior, and suddenly turned towards him with so formidable

a gnashing of teeth, that the Flemish giant recoiled, like

a bull-dog before a cat.


Then there was created around that strange personage, a

circle of terror and respect, whose radius was at least fifteen

geometrical feet.  An old woman explained to Coppenole that

Quasimodo was deaf.


"Deaf!" said the hosier, with his great Flemish laugh.

"Cross of God!  He's a perfect pope!"


"He!  I recognize him," exclaimed Jehan, who had, at

last, descended from his capital, in order to see Quasimodo at

closer quarters, "he's the bellringer of my brother, the archdeacon.

Good-day, Quasimodo!"


"What a devil of a man!" said Robin Poussepain still all

bruised with his fall.  "He shows himself; he's a hunchback.

He walks; he's bandy-legged.  He looks at you; he's one-eyed.

You speak to him; he's deaf.  And what does this Polyphemus do

with his tongue?"


"He speaks when he chooses," said the old woman; "he became

deaf through ringing the bells.  He is not dumb."


"That he lacks," remarks Jehan.


"And he has one eye too many," added Robin Poussepain.


"Not at all," said Jehan wisely.  "A one-eyed man is far

less complete than a blind man.  He knows what he lacks."


In the meantime, all the beggars, all the lackeys, all the cutpurses,

joined with the scholars, had gone in procession to

seek, in the cupboard of the law clerks' company, the cardboard

tiara, and the derisive robe of the Pope of the Fools.  Quasimodo

allowed them to array him in them without wincing, and

with a sort of proud docility.  Then they made him seat

himself on a motley litter.  Twelve officers of the fraternity

of fools raised him on their shoulders; and a sort of bitter

and disdainful joy lighted up the morose face of the cyclops,

when he beheld beneath his deformed feet all those heads of

handsome, straight, well-made men.  Then the ragged and

howling procession set out on its march, according to custom,

around the inner galleries of the Courts, before making the

circuit of the streets and squares.











We are delighted to be able to inform the reader, that during

the whole of this scene, Gringoire and his piece had stood

firm.  His actors, spurred on by him, had not ceased to spout

his comedy, and he had not ceased to listen to it.  He had

made up his mind about the tumult, and was determined to

proceed to the end, not giving up the hope of a return of

attention on the part of the public.  This gleam of hope acquired

fresh life, when he saw Quasimodo, Coppenole, and the

deafening escort of the pope of the procession of fools quit

the hall amid great uproar.  The throng rushed eagerly after

them.  "Good," he said to himself, "there go all the mischief-

makers."  Unfortunately, all the mischief-makers constituted

the entire audience.  In the twinkling of an eye, the grand

hall was empty.


To tell the truth, a few spectators still remained, some scattered,

others in groups around the pillars, women, old men, or

children, who had had enough of the uproar and tumult.  Some

scholars were still perched astride of the window-sills, engaged

in gazing into the Place.


"Well," thought Gringoire, "here are still as many as are

required to hear the end of my mystery.  They are few in

number, but it is a choice audience, a lettered audience."


An instant later, a symphony which had been intended to

produce the greatest effect on the arrival of the Virgin, was

lacking.  Gringoire perceived that his music had been carried

off by the procession of the Pope of the Fools.  "Skip it," said

he, stoically.


He approached a group of bourgeois, who seemed to him to

be discussing his piece.  This is the fragment of conversation

which he caught,--


"You know, Master Cheneteau, the Hôtel de Navarre, which

belonged to Monsieur de Nemours?"


"Yes, opposite the Chapelle de Braque."


"Well, the treasury has just let it to Guillaume Alixandre,

historian, for six hivres, eight sols, parisian, a year."


"How rents are going up!"


"Come," said Gringoire to himself, with a sigh, "the others

are listening."


"Comrades," suddenly shouted one of the young scamps

from the window, "La Esmeralda!  La Esmeralda in the



This word produced a magical effect.  Every one who was

left in the hall flew to the windows, climbing the walls in

order to see, and repeating, "La Esmeralda!  La Esmeralda?"

At the same time, a great sound of applause was heard from



"What's the meaning of this, of the Esmeralda?" said

Gringoire, wringing his hands in despair.  "Ah, good heavens!

it seems to be the turn of the windows now."


He returned towards the marble table, and saw that the

representation had been interrupted.  It was precisely at

the instant when Jupiter should have appeared with his

thunder.  But Jupiter was standing motionless at the foot of

the stage.


"Michel Giborne!" cried the irritated poet, "what are you

doing there?  Is that your part?  Come up!"


"Alas!" said Jupiter, "a scholar has just seized the ladder."


Gringoire looked.  It was but too true.  All communication

between his plot and its solution was intercepted.


"The rascal," he murmured.  "And why did he take that ladder?"


"In order to go and see the Esmeralda," replied Jupiter

piteously.  "He said, 'Come, here's a ladder that's of no

use!' and he took it."


This was the last blow.  Gringoire received it with resignation.


"May the devil fly away with you!" he said to the comedian,

"and if I get my pay, you shall receive yours."


Then he beat a retreat, with drooping head, but the last

in the field, like a general who has fought well.


And as he descended the winding stairs of the courts: "A

fine rabble of asses and dolts these Parisians!" he muttered

between his teeth; "they come to hear a mystery and don't

listen to it at all!  They are engrossed by every one, by

Chopin Trouillefou, by the cardinal, by Coppenole, by Quasimodo,

by the devil! but by Madame the Virgin Mary, not at

all.  If I had known, I'd have given you Virgin Mary; you

ninnies!  And I! to come to see faces and behold only backs!

to be a poet, and to reap the success of an apothecary!  It is

true that Homerus begged through the Greek towns, and that

Naso died in exile among the Muscovites.  But may the devil

flay me if I understand what they mean with their Esmeralda!

What is that word, in the first place?--'tis Egyptian!"


















Night comes on early in January.  The streets were already

dark when Gringoire issued forth from the Courts.  This

gloom pleased him; he was in haste to reach some obscure

and deserted alley, in order there to meditate at his ease, and

in order that the philosopher might place the first dressing

upon the wound of the poet.  Philosophy, moreover, was his

sole refuge, for he did not know where he was to lodge for the

night.  After the brilliant failure of his first theatrical

venture, he dared not return to the lodging which he occupied in

the Rue Grenier-sur-l'Eau, opposite to the Port-au-Foin, having

depended upon receiving from monsieur the provost for

his epithalamium, the wherewithal to pay Master Guillaume

Doulx-Sire, farmer of the taxes on cloven-footed animals in

Paris, the rent which he owed him, that is to say, twelve sols

parisian; twelve times the value of all that he possessed in

the world, including his trunk-hose, his shirt, and his cap.

After reflecting a moment, temporarily sheltered beneath the

little wicket of the prison of the treasurer of the Sainte-

Chappelle, as to the shelter which he would select for the

night, having all the pavements of Paris to choose from, he

remembered to have noticed the week previously in the Rue

de la Savaterie, at the door of a councillor of the parliament,

a stepping stone for mounting a mule, and to have said to

himself that that stone would furnish, on occasion, a very

excellent pillow for a mendicant or a poet.  He thanked

Providence for having sent this happy idea to him; but, as he

was preparing to cross the Place, in order to reach the tortuous

labyrinth of the city, where meander all those old sister

streets, the Rues de la Barillerie, de la Vielle-Draperie, de la

Savaterie, de la Juiverie, etc., still extant to-day, with their

nine-story houses, he saw the procession of the Pope of the

Fools, which was also emerging from the court house, and

rushing across the courtyard, with great cries, a great flashing

of torches, and the music which belonged to him, Gringoire.

This sight revived the pain of his self-love; he fled.  In the

bitterness of his dramatic misadventure, everything which

reminded him of the festival of that day irritated his wound

and made it bleed.




He was on the point of turning to the Pont Saint-Michel;

children were running about here and there with fire lances

and rockets.


"Pest on firework candles!" said Gringoire; and he fell

back on the Pont au Change.  To the house at the head of the

bridge there had been affixed three small banners, representing

the king, the dauphin, and Marguerite of Flanders, and

six little pennons on which were portrayed the Duke of Austria,

the Cardinal de Bourbon, M. de Beaujeu, and Madame

Jeanne de France, and Monsieur the Bastard of Bourbon, and

I know not whom else; all being illuminated with torches.

The rabble were admiring.


"Happy painter, Jehan Fourbault!" said Gringoire with a

deep sigh; and he turned his back upon the bannerets and

pennons.  A street opened before him; he thought it so dark

and deserted that he hoped to there escape from all the rumors

as well as from all the gleams of the festival.  At the end of

a few moments his foot came in contact with an obstacle; he

stumbled and fell.  It was the May truss, which the clerks of

the clerks' law court had deposited that morning at the door

of a president of the parliament, in honor of the solemnity of

the day.  Gringoire bore this new disaster heroically; he

picked himself up, and reached the water's edge.  After leaving

behind him the civic Tournelle* and the criminal tower,

and skirted the great walls of the king's garden, on that

unpaved strand where the mud reached to his ankles, he

reached the western point of the city, and considered for some

time the islet of the Passeur-aux-Vaches, which has disappeared

beneath the bronze horse of the Pont Neuf.  The islet

appeared to him in the shadow like a black mass, beyond the

narrow strip of whitish water which separated him from it.

One could divine by the ray of a tiny light the sort of hut in

the form of a beehive where the ferryman of cows took refuge

at night.



*  A chamber of the ancient parliament of Paris.



"Happy ferryman!" thought Gringoire; "you do not

dream of glory, and you do not make marriage songs!  What

matters it to you, if kings and Duchesses of Burgundy marry?

You know no other daisies (~marguerites~) than those which

your April greensward gives your cows to browse upon; while

I, a poet, am hooted, and shiver, and owe twelve sous, and

the soles of my shoes are so transparent, that they might

serve as glasses for your lantern!  Thanks, ferryman, your

cabin rests my eyes, and makes me forget Paris!"


He was roused from his almost lyric ecstacy, by a big

double Saint-Jean cracker, which suddenly went off from the

happy cabin.  It was the cow ferryman, who was taking his

part in the rejoicings of the day, and letting off fireworks.


This cracker made Gringoire's skin bristle up all over.


"Accursed festival!" he exclaimed, "wilt thou pursue me

everywhere?  Oh! good God! even to the ferryman's!"


Then he looked at the Seine at his feet, and a horrible

temptation took possession of him:


"Oh!" said he, "I would gladly drown myself, were the

water not so cold!"


Then a desperate resolution occurred to him.  It was, since

he could not escape from the Pope of the Fools, from Jehan

Fourbault's bannerets, from May trusses, from squibs and

crackers, to go to the Place de Grève.


"At least," he said to himself, "I shall there have a firebrand

of joy wherewith to warm myself, and I can sup on

some crumbs of the three great armorial bearings of royal

sugar which have been erected on the public refreshment-stall

of the city.











There remains to-day but a very imperceptible vestige of

the Place de Grève, such as it existed then; it consists in the

charming little turret, which occupies the angle north of the

Place, and which, already enshrouded in the ignoble plaster

which fills with paste the delicate lines of its sculpture, would

soon have disappeared, perhaps submerged by that flood of

new houses which so rapidly devours all the ancient façades

of Paris.


The persons who, like ourselves, never cross the Place de

Grève without casting a glance of pity and sympathy on that

poor turret strangled between two hovels of the time of Louis

XV., can easily reconstruct in their minds the aggregate of

edifices to which it belonged, and find again entire in it

the ancient Gothic place of the fifteenth century.


It was then, as it is to-day, an irregular trapezoid, bordered

on one side by the quay, and on the other three by a series of

lofty, narrow, and gloomy houses.  By day, one could admire

the variety of its edifices, all sculptured in stone or wood, and

already presenting complete specimens of the different domestic

architectures of the Middle Ages, running back from

the fifteenth to the eleventh century, from the casement

which had begun to dethrone the arch, to the Roman semicircle,

which had been supplanted by the ogive, and which

still occupies, below it, the first story of that ancient house de

la Tour Roland, at the corner of the Place upon the Seine, on

the side of the street with the Tannerie.  At night, one could

distinguish nothing of all that mass of buildings, except the

black indentation of the roofs, unrolling their chain of acute

angles round the place; for one of the radical differences

between the cities of that time, and the cities of the present

day, lay in the façades which looked upon the places and

streets, and which were then gables.  For the last two centuries

the houses have been turned round.


In the centre of the eastern side of the Place, rose a heavy

and hybrid construction, formed of three buildings placed in

juxtaposition.  It was called by three names which explain

its history, its destination, and its architecture: "The House

of the Dauphin," because Charles V., when Dauphin, had

inhabited it; "The Marchandise," because it had served as

town hall; and "The Pillared House" (~domus ad piloria~), because

of a series of large pillars which sustained the three

stories.  The city found there all that is required for a city

like Paris; a chapel in which to pray to God; a ~plaidoyer~, or

pleading room, in which to hold hearings, and to repel, at

need, the King's people; and under the roof, an ~arsenac~ full

of artillery.  For the bourgeois of Paris were aware that it is

not sufficient to pray in every conjuncture, and to plead for the

franchises of the city, and they had always in reserve, in the

garret of the town hall, a few good rusty arquebuses.  The

Grève had then that sinister aspect which it preserves to-day

from the execrable ideas which it awakens, and from the

sombre town hall of Dominique Bocador, which has replaced

the Pillared House.  It must be admitted that a permanent

gibbet and a pillory, "a justice and a ladder," as they were

called in that day, erected side by side in the centre of the

pavement, contributed not a little to cause eyes to be turned

away from that fatal place, where so many beings full of life

and health have agonized; where, fifty years later, that fever

of Saint Vallier was destined to have its birth, that terror of

the scaffold, the most monstrous of all maladies because it

comes not from God, but from man.


It is a consoling idea (let us remark in passing), to think

that the death penalty, which three hundred years ago still

encumbered with its iron wheels, its stone gibbets, and all its

paraphernalia of torture, permanent and riveted to the pavement,

the Grève, the Halles, the Place Dauphine, the Cross

du Trahoir, the Marché aux Pourceaux, that hideous Montfauçon,

the barrier des Sergents, the Place aux Chats, the

Porte Saint-Denis, Champeaux, the Porte Baudets, the Porte

Saint Jacques, without reckoning the innumerable ladders of

the provosts, the bishop of the chapters, of the abbots, of the

priors, who had the decree of life and death,--without reckoning

the judicial drownings in the river Seine; it is consoling

to-day, after having lost successively all the pieces of its

armor, its luxury of torment, its penalty of imagination and

fancy, its torture for which it reconstructed every five years

a leather bed at the Grand Châtelet, that ancient suzerain of

feudal society almost expunged from our laws and our cities,

hunted from code to code, chased from place to place, has no

longer, in our immense Paris, any more than a dishonored

corner of the Grève,--than a miserable guillotine, furtive,

uneasy, shameful, which seems always afraid of being caught

in the act, so quickly does it disappear after having dealt its












When Pierre Gringoire arrived on the Place de Grève, he

was paralyzed.  He had directed his course across the Pont

aux Meuniers, in order to avoid the rabble on the Pont au

Change, and the pennons of Jehan Fourbault; but the wheels

of all the bishop's mills had splashed him as he passed, and

his doublet was drenched; it seemed to him besides, that the

failure of his piece had rendered him still more sensible to

cold than usual.  Hence he made haste to draw near the bonfire,

which was burning magnificently in the middle of the

Place.  But a considerable crowd formed a circle around it.


"Accursed Parisians!" he said to himself (for Gringoire,

like a true dramatic poet, was subject to monologues) "there

they are obstructing my fire!  Nevertheless, I am greatly in

need of a chimney corner; my shoes drink in the water, and

all those cursed mills wept upon me!  That devil of a Bishop

of Paris, with his mills!  I'd just like to know what use a

bishop can make of a mill!  Does he expect to become a

miller instead of a bishop?  If only my malediction is needed

for that, I bestow it upon him! and his cathedral, and his

mills!  Just see if those boobies will put themselves out!

Move aside!  I'd like to know what they are doing there!

They are warming themselves, much pleasure may it give

them!  They are watching a hundred fagots burn; a fine



On looking more closely, he perceived that the circle was

much larger than was required simply for the purpose of

getting warm at the king's fire, and that this concourse of

people had not been attracted solely by the beauty of the

hundred fagots which were burning.


In a vast space left free between the crowd and the fire, a

young girl was dancing.


Whether this young girl was a human being, a fairy, or an

angel, is what Gringoire, sceptical philosopher and ironical

poet that he was, could not decide at the first moment, so

fascinated was he by this dazzling vision.


She was not tall, though she seemed so, so boldly did her

slender form dart about.  She was swarthy of complexion,

but one divined that, by day, her skin must possess that

beautiful golden tone of the Andalusians and the Roman

women.  Her little foot, too, was Andalusian, for it was both

pinched and at ease in its graceful shoe.  She danced, she

turned, she whirled rapidly about on an old Persian rug,

spread negligently under her feet; and each time that her

radiant face passed before you, as she whirled, her great black

eyes darted a flash of lightning at you.


All around her, all glances were riveted, all mouths open;

and, in fact, when she danced thus, to the humming of the

Basque tambourine, which her two pure, rounded arms raised

above her head, slender, frail and vivacious as a wasp, with

her corsage of gold without a fold, her variegated gown puffing

out, her bare shoulders, her delicate limbs, which her

petticoat revealed at times, her black hair, her eyes of flame,

she was a supernatural creature.


"In truth," said Gringoire to himself, "she is a salamander,

she is a nymph, she is a goddess, she is a bacchante of the

Menelean Mount!"


At that moment, one of the salamander's braids of hair

became unfastened, and a piece of yellow copper which was

attached to it, rolled to the ground.


"Hé, no!" said he, "she is a gypsy!"


All illusions had disappeared.


She began her dance once more; she took from the ground

two swords, whose points she rested against her brow, and

which she made to turn in one direction, while she turned in

the other; it was a purely gypsy effect.  But, disenchanted

though Gringoire was, the whole effect of this picture was not

without its charm and its magic; the bonfire illuminated,

with a red flaring light, which trembled, all alive, over the

circle of faces in the crowd, on the brow of the young girl,

and at the background of the Place cast a pallid reflection,

on one side upon the ancient, black, and wrinkled façade of

the House of Pillars, on the other, upon the old stone



Among the thousands of visages which that light tinged

with scarlet, there was one which seemed, even more than all

the others, absorbed in contemplation of the dancer.  It was

the face of a man, austere, calm, and sombre.  This man,

whose costume was concealed by the crowd which surrounded

him, did not appear to be more than five and thirty years of

age; nevertheless, he was bald; he had merely a few tufts of

thin, gray hair on his temples; his broad, high forehead had

begun to be furrowed with wrinkles, but his deep-set eyes

sparkled with extraordinary youthfulness, an ardent life, a

profound passion.  He kept them fixed incessantly on the

gypsy, and, while the giddy young girl of sixteen danced and

whirled, for the pleasure of all, his revery seemed to become

more and more sombre.  From time to time, a smile and a

sigh met upon his lips, but the smile was more melancholy

than the sigh.


The young girl, stopped at length, breathless, and the people

applauded her lovingly.


"Djali!" said the gypsy.


Then Gringoire saw come up to her, a pretty little white

goat, alert, wide-awake, glossy, with gilded horns, gilded

hoofs, and gilded collar, which he had not hitherto perceived,

and which had remained lying curled up on one corner of the

carpet watching his mistress dance.


"Djali!" said the dancer, "it is your turn."


And, seating herself, she gracefully presented her tambourine

to the goat.


"Djali," she continued, "what month is this?"


The goat lifted its fore foot, and struck one blow upon

the tambourine.  It was the first month in the year, in



"Djali," pursued the young girl, turning her tambourine

round, "what day of the month is this?"


Djali raised his little gilt hoof, and struck six blows on the



"Djali," pursued the Egyptian, with still another movement

of the tambourine, "what hour of the day is it?"


Djali struck seven blows.  At that moment, the clock of

the Pillar House rang out seven.


The people were amazed.


"There's sorcery at the bottom of it," said a sinister voice

in the crowd.  It was that of the bald man, who never removed

his eyes from the gypsy.


She shuddered and turned round; but applause broke forth

and drowned the morose exclamation.


It even effaced it so completely from her mind, that she

continued to question her goat.


"Djali, what does Master Guichard Grand-Remy, captain of

the pistoliers of the town do, at the procession of Candlemas?"


Djali reared himself on his hind legs, and began to bleat,

marching along with so much dainty gravity, that the entire

circle of spectators burst into a laugh at this parody of the

interested devoutness of the captain of pistoliers.


"Djali," resumed the young girl, emboldened by her growing

success, "how preaches Master Jacques Charmolue, procurator

to the king in the ecclesiastical court?"


The goat seated himself on his hind quarters, and began

to bleat, waving his fore feet in so strange a manner, that,

with the exception of the bad French, and worse Latin,

Jacques Charmolue was there complete,--gesture, accent, and



And the crowd applauded louder than ever.


"Sacrilege! profanation!" resumed the voice of the bald man.


The gypsy turned round once more.


"Ah!" said she, "'tis that villanous man!" Then, thrusting

her under lip out beyond the upper, she made a little

pout, which appeared to be familiar to her, executed a pirouette

on her heel, and set about collecting in her tambourine the

gifts of the multitude.


Big blanks, little blanks, targes* and eagle liards showered

into it.



*  A blank: an old French coin; six blanks were worth two sous

and a half; targe, an ancient coin of Burgundy, a farthing.



All at once, she passed in front of Gringoire.  Gringoire

put his hand so recklessly into his pocket that she halted.

"The devil!" said the poet, finding at the bottom of his

pocket the reality, that is, to say, a void.  In the meantime,

the pretty girl stood there, gazing at him with her big eyes,

and holding out her tambourine to him and waiting.  Gringoire

broke into a violent perspiration.


If he had all Peru in his pocket, he would certainly have

given it to the dancer; but Gringoire had not Peru, and,

moreover, America had not yet been discovered.


Happily, an unexpected incident came to his rescue.


"Will you take yourself off, you Egyptian grasshopper?"

cried a sharp voice, which proceeded from the darkest corner

of the Place.


The young girl turned round in affright.  It was no longer

the voice of the bald man; it was the voice of a woman,

bigoted and malicious.


However, this cry, which alarmed the gypsy, delighted a

troop of children who were prowling about there.


"It is the recluse of the Tour-Roland," they exclaimed,

with wild laughter, "it is the sacked nun who is scolding!

Hasn't she supped?  Let's carry her the remains of the city



All rushed towards the Pillar House.


In the meanwhile, Gringoire had taken advantage of the

dancer's embarrassment, to disappear.  The children's shouts

had reminded him that he, also, had not supped, so he ran to

the public buffet.  But the little rascals had better legs than

he; when he arrived, they had stripped the table.  There

remained not so much as a miserable ~camichon~ at five sous

the pound.  Nothing remained upon the wall but slender

fleurs-de-lis, mingled with rose bushes, painted in 1434 by

Mathieu Biterne.  It was a meagre supper.


It is an unpleasant thing to go to bed without supper, it is

a still less pleasant thing not to sup and not to know where

one is to sleep.  That was Gringoire's condition.  No supper,

no shelter; he saw himself pressed on all sides by necessity,

and he found necessity very crabbed.  He had long ago discovered

the truth, that Jupiter created men during a fit of

misanthropy, and that during a wise man's whole life, his

destiny holds his philosophy in a state of siege.  As for

himself, he had never seen the blockade so complete; he heard

his stomach sounding a parley, and he considered it very much

out of place that evil destiny should capture his philosophy

by famine.


This melancholy revery was absorbing him more and more,

when a song, quaint but full of sweetness, suddenly tore him

from it.  It was the young gypsy who was singing.


Her voice was like her dancing, like her beauty.  It was

indefinable and charming; something pure and sonorous,

aerial, winged, so to speak.  There were continual outbursts,

melodies, unexpected cadences, then simple phrases strewn

with aerial and hissing notes; then floods of scales which

would have put a nightingale to rout, but in which harmony

was always present; then soft modulations of octaves which

rose and fell, like the bosom of the young singer.  Her beautiful

face followed, with singular mobility, all the caprices of

her song, from the wildest inspiration to the chastest dignity.

One would have pronounced her now a mad creature, now a



The words which she sang were in a tongue unknown to

Gringoire, and which seemed to him to be unknown to herself,

so little relation did the expression which she imparted to her

song bear to the sense of the words.  Thus, these four lines,

in her mouth, were madly gay,--



  ~Un cofre de gran riqueza

    Hallaron dentro un pilar,

  Dentro del, nuevas banderas

   Con figuras de espantar~.*



*  A coffer of great richness

    In a pillar's heart they found,

   Within it lay new banners,

    With figures to astound.



And an instant afterwards, at the accents which she imparted

to this stanza,--



  ~Alarabes de cavallo

   Sin poderse menear,

  Con espadas, y los cuellos,

   Ballestas de buen echar~,



Gringoire felt the tears start to his eyes.  Nevertheless, her

song breathed joy, most of all, and she seemed to sing like a

bird, from serenity and heedlessness.


The gypsy's song had disturbed Gringoire's revery as the

swan disturbs the water.  He listened in a sort of rapture,

and forgetfulness of everything.  It was the first moment in

the course of many hours when he did not feel that he suffered.


The moment was brief.


The same woman's voice, which had interrupted the gypsy's

dance, interrupted her song.


"Will you hold your tongue, you cricket of hell?" it cried,

still from the same obscure corner of the place.


The poor "cricket" stopped short.  Gringoire covered up his ears.


"Oh!" he exclaimed, "accursed saw with missing teeth, which

comes to break the lyre!"


Meanwhile, the other spectators murmured like himself;

"To the devil with the sacked nun!" said some of them.

And the old invisible kill-joy might have had occasion to

repent of her aggressions against the gypsy had their attention

not been diverted at this moment by the procession of

the Pope of the Fools, which, after having traversed many

streets and squares, debouched on the Place de Grève, with

all its torches and all its uproar.


This procession, which our readers have seen set out from

the Palais de Justice, had organized on the way, and had been

recruited by all the knaves, idle thieves, and unemployed vagabonds

in Paris; so that it presented a very respectable aspect

when it arrived at the Grève.


First came Egypt.  The Duke of Egypt headed it, on horseback,

with his counts on foot holding his bridle and stirrups

for him; behind them, the male and female Egyptians,

pell-mell, with their little children crying on their shoulders;

all--duke, counts, and populace--in rags and tatters.  Then

came the Kingdom of Argot; that is to say, all the thieves of

France, arranged according to the order of their dignity; the

minor people walking first.  Thus defiled by fours, with the

divers insignia of their grades, in that strange faculty, most of

them lame, some cripples, others one-armed, shop clerks, pilgrim,

~hubins~, bootblacks, thimble-riggers, street arabs, beggars,

the blear-eyed beggars, thieves, the weakly, vagabonds,

merchants, sham soldiers, goldsmiths, passed masters of

pickpockets, isolated thieves.  A catalogue that would weary

Homer.  In the centre of the conclave of the passed masters

of pickpockets, one had some difficulty in distinguishing the

King of Argot, the grand coësre, so called, crouching in a

little cart drawn by two big dogs.  After the kingdom of the

Argotiers, came the Empire of Galilee.  Guillaume Rousseau,

Emperor of the Empire of Galilee, marched majestically in

his robe of purple, spotted with wine, preceded by buffoons

wrestling and executing military dances; surrounded by his

macebearers, his pickpockets and clerks of the chamber of

accounts.  Last of all came the corporation of law clerks,

with its maypoles crowned with flowers, its black robes, its

music worthy of the orgy, and its large candles of yellow

wax.  In the centre of this crowd, the grand officers of the

Brotherhood of Fools bore on their shoulders a litter more

loaded down with candles than the reliquary of Sainte-Geneviève

in time of pest; and on this litter shone resplendent,

with crosier, cope, and mitre, the new Pope of the Fools, the

bellringer of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo the hunchback.


Each section of this grotesque procession had its own music.

The Egyptians made their drums and African tambourines

resound.  The slang men, not a very musical race, still clung

to the goat's horn trumpet and the Gothic rubebbe of the

twelfth century.  The Empire of Galilee was not much more

advanced; among its music one could hardly distinguish some

miserable rebec, from the infancy of the art, still imprisoned

in the ~re-la-mi~.  But it was around the Pope of the Fools that

all the musical riches of the epoch were displayed in a magnificent

discord.  It was nothing but soprano rebecs, counter-tenor

rebecs, and tenor rebecs, not to reckon the flutes and

brass instruments.  Alas! our readers will remember that this

was Gringoire's orchestra.


It is difficult to convey an idea of the degree of proud and

blissful expansion to which the sad and hideous visage of

Quasimodo had attained during the transit from the Palais de

Justice, to the Place de Grève.  It was the first enjoyment of

self-love that he had ever experienced.  Down to that day, he

had known only humiliation, disdain for his condition, disgust

for his person.  Hence, deaf though he was, he enjoyed, like

a veritable pope, the acclamations of that throng, which he

hated because he felt that he was hated by it.  What mattered

it that his people consisted of a pack of fools, cripples,

thieves, and beggars? it was still a people and he was its

sovereign.  And he accepted seriously all this ironical

applause, all this derisive respect, with which the crowd mingled,

it must be admitted, a good deal of very real fear.  For the

hunchback was robust; for the bandy-legged fellow was agile;

for the deaf man was malicious: three qualities which temper



We are far from believing, however, that the new Pope of

the Fools understood both the sentiments which he felt and

the sentiments which he inspired.  The spirit which was

lodged in this failure of a body had, necessarily, something

incomplete and deaf about it.  Thus, what he felt at the moment

was to him, absolutely vague, indistinct, and confused.

Only joy made itself felt, only pride dominated.  Around that

sombre and unhappy face, there hung a radiance.


It was, then, not without surprise and alarm, that at the

very moment when Quasimodo was passing the Pillar House,

in that semi-intoxicated state, a man was seen to dart from

the crowd, and to tear from his hands, with a gesture of anger,

his crosier of gilded wood, the emblem of his mock popeship.


This man, this rash individual, was the man with the bald

brow, who, a moment earlier, standing with the gypsy's

group had chilled the poor girl with his words of menace and

of hatred.  He was dressed in an eccleslastical costume.  At

the moment when he stood forth from the crowd, Gringoire,

who had not noticed him up to that time, recognized him:

"Hold!" he said, with an exclamation of astonishment.

"Eh! 'tis my master in Hermes, Dom Claude Frollo, the

archdeacon!  What the devil does he want of that old one-

eyed fellow?  He'll get himself devoured!"


A cry of terror arose, in fact.  The formidable Quasimodo

had hurled himself from the litter, and the women turned

aside their eyes in order not to see him tear the archdeacon



He made one bound as far as the priest, looked at him, and

fell upon his knees.


The priest tore off his tiara, broke his crozier, and rent his

tinsel cope.


Quasimodo remained on his knees, with head bent and hands

clasped.  Then there was established between them a strange

dialogue of signs and gestures, for neither of them spoke.

The priest, erect on his feet, irritated, threatening, imperious;

Quasimodo, prostrate, humble, suppliant.  And, nevertheless,

it is certain that Quasimodo could have crushed the priest

with his thumb.


At length the archdeacon, giving Quasimodo's powerful

shoulder a rough shake, made him a sign to rise and follow him.


Quasimodo rose.


Then the Brotherhood of Fools, their first stupor having

passed off, wished to defend their pope, so abruptly dethroned.

The Egyptians, the men of slang, and all the fraternity of

law clerks, gathered howling round the priest.


Quasimodo placed himself in front of the priest, set in play

the muscles of his athletic fists, and glared upon the assailants

with the snarl of an angry tiger.


The priest resumed his sombre gravity, made a sign to Quasimodo,

and retired in silence.


Quasimodo walked in front of him, scattering the crowd as

he passed.


When they had traversed the populace and the Place, the

cloud of curious and idle were minded to follow them.  Quasimodo

then constituted himself the rearguard, and followed

the archdeacon, walking backwards, squat, surly, monstrous,

bristling, gathering up his limbs, licking his boar's tusks,

growling like a wild beast, and imparting to the crowd immense

vibrations, with a look or a gesture.


Both were allowed to plunge into a dark and narrow street,

where no one dared to venture after them; so thoroughly did

the mere chimera of Quasimodo gnashing his teeth bar the



"Here's a marvellous thing," said Gringoire; "but where

the deuce shall I find some supper?"












Gringoire set out to follow the gypsy at all hazards.  He

had seen her, accompanied by her goat, take to the Rue de la

Coutellerie; he took the Rue de la Coutellerie.


"Why not?" he said to himself.


Gringoire, a practical philosopher of the streets of Paris,

had noticed that nothing is more propitious to revery than

following a pretty woman without knowing whither she is

going.  There was in this voluntary abdication of his freewill,

in this fancy submitting itself to another fancy, which

suspects it not, a mixture of fantastic independence and blind

obedience, something indescribable, intermediate between slavery

and liberty, which pleased Gringoire,--a spirit essentially

compound, undecided, and complex, holding the extremities of

all extremes, incessantly suspended between all human propensities,

and neutralizing one by the other.  He was fond of comparing

himself to Mahomet's coffin, attracted in two different

directions by two loadstones, and hesitating eternally

between the heights and the depths, between the vault and the

pavement, between fall and ascent, between zenith and nadir.


If Gringoire had lived in our day, what a fine middle course

he would hold between classicism and romanticism!


But he was not sufficiently primitive to live three hundred

years, and 'tis a pity.  His absence is a void which is but too

sensibly felt to-day.


Moreover, for the purpose of thus following passers-by (and

especially female passers-by) in the streets, which Gringoire

was fond of doing, there is no better disposition than ignorance

of where one is going to sleep.


So he walked along, very thoughtfully, behind the young

girl, who hastened her pace and made her goat trot as she

saw the bourgeois returning home and the taverns--the only

shops which had been open that day--closing.


"After all," he half thought to himself, "she must lodge

somewhere; gypsies have kindly hearts.  Who knows?--"


And in the points of suspense which he placed after this reticence

in his mind, there lay I know not what flattering ideas.


Meanwhile, from time to time, as he passed the last groups

of bourgeois closing their doors, he caught some scraps of

their conversation, which broke the thread of his pleasant



Now it was two old men accosting each other.


"Do you know that it is cold, Master Thibaut Fernicle?"

(Gringoire had been aware of this since the beginning of the



"Yes, indeed, Master Boniface Disome!  Are we going to

have a winter such as we had three years ago, in '80, when

wood cost eight sous the measure?"


"Bah! that's nothing, Master Thibaut, compared with the

winter of 1407, when it froze from St. Martin's Day until

Candlemas! and so cold that the pen of the registrar of the

parliament froze every three words, in the Grand Chamber!

which interrupted the registration of justice."


Further on there were two female neighbors at their windows,

holding candles, which the fog caused to sputter.


"Has your husband told you about the mishap, Mademoiselle

la Boudraque?"


"No.  What is it, Mademoiselle Turquant?"


"The horse of M. Gilles Godin, the notary at the Châtelet,

took fright at the Flemings and their procession, and overturned

Master Philippe Avrillot, lay monk of the Célestins."






"A bourgeois horse! 'tis rather too much!  If it had been

a cavalry horse, well and good!"


And the windows were closed.  But Gringoire had lost the

thread of his ideas, nevertheless.


Fortunately, he speedily found it again, and he knotted it

together without difficulty, thanks to the gypsy, thanks to

Djali, who still walked in front of him; two fine, delicate, and

charming creatures, whose tiny feet, beautiful forms, and

graceful manners he was engaged in admiring, almost confusing

them in his contemplation; believing them to be both

young girls, from their intelligence and good friendship; regarding

them both as goats,--so far as the lightness, agility, and

dexterity of their walk were concerned.


But the streets were becoming blacker and more deserted

every moment.  The curfew had sounded long ago, and it was

only at rare intervals now that they encountered a passer-by

in the street, or a light in the windows.  Gringoire had

become involved, in his pursuit of the gypsy, in that inextricable

labyrinth of alleys, squares, and closed courts which

surround the ancient sepulchre of the Saints-Innocents, and

which resembles a ball of thread tangled by a cat.  "Here

are streets which possess but little logic!" said Gringoire,

lost in the thousands of circuits which returned upon themselves

incessantly, but where the young girl pursued a road

which seemed familiar to her, without hesitation and with

a step which became ever more rapid.  As for him, he

would have been utterly ignorant of his situation had he not

espied, in passing, at the turn of a street, the octagonal mass

of the pillory of the fish markets, the open-work summit of

which threw its black, fretted outlines clearly upon a window

which was still lighted in the Rue Verdelet.


The young girl's attention had been attracted to him for the

last few moments; she had repeatedly turned her head towards

him with uneasiness; she had even once come to a standstill,

and taking advantage of a ray of light which escaped from a

half-open bakery to survey him intently, from head to foot, then,

having cast this glance, Gringoire had seen her make that little

pout which he had already noticed, after which she passed on.


This little pout had furnished Gringoire with food for

thought.  There was certainly both disdain and mockery in

that graceful grimace.  So he dropped his head, began to

count the paving-stones, and to follow the young girl at a little

greater distance, when, at the turn of a street, which had

caused him to lose sight of her, he heard her utter a piercing cry.


He hastened his steps.


The street was full of shadows.  Nevertheless, a twist of

tow soaked in oil, which burned in a cage at the feet of the

Holy Virgin at the street corner, permitted Gringoire to make

out the gypsy struggling in the arms of two men, who were

endeavoring to stifle her cries.  The poor little goat, in great

alarm, lowered his horns and bleated.


"Help! gentlemen of the watch!" shouted Gringoire, and

advanced bravely.  One of the men who held the young girl

turned towards him.  It was the formidable visage of Quasimodo.


Gringoire did not take to flight, but neither did he advance

another step.


Quasimodo came up to him, tossed him four paces away on

the pavement with a backward turn of the hand, and plunged

rapidly into the gloom, bearing the young girl folded across

one arm like a silken scarf.  His companion followed him, and

the poor goat ran after them all, bleating plaintively.


"Murder! murder!" shrieked the unhappy gypsy.


"Halt, rascals, and yield me that wench!" suddenly shouted

in a voice of thunder, a cavalier who appeared suddenly from

a neighboring square.


It was a captain of the king's archers, armed from head to

foot, with his sword in his hand.


He tore the gypsy from the arms of the dazed Quasimodo,

threw her across his saddle, and at the moment when the terrible

hunchback, recovering from his surprise, rushed upon

him to regain his prey, fifteen or sixteen archers, who followed

their captain closely, made their appearance, with their

two-edged swords in their fists.  It was a squad of the king's

police, which was making the rounds, by order of Messire

Robert d'Estouteville, guard of the provostship of Paris.


Quasimodo was surrounded, seized, garroted; he roared, he

foamed at the mouth, he bit; and had it been broad daylight,

there is no doubt that his face alone, rendered more hideous by

wrath, would have put the entire squad to flight.  But by night

he was deprived of his most formidable weapon, his ugliness.


His companion had disappeared during the struggle.


The gypsy gracefully raised herself upright upon the officer's

saddle, placed both hands upon the young man's shoulders,

and gazed fixedly at him for several seconds, as though

enchanted with his good looks and with the aid which he had

just rendered her.  Then breaking silence first, she said to

him, making her sweet voice still sweeter than usual,--


"What is your name, monsieur le gendarme?"


"Captain Phoebus de Châteaupers, at your service, my beauty!"

replied the officer, drawing himself up.


"Thanks," said she.


And while Captain Phoebus was turning up his moustache

in Burgundian fashion, she slipped from the horse, like an

arrow falling to earth, and fled.


A flash of lightning would have vanished less quickly.


"Nombrill of the Pope!" said the captain, causing Quasimodo's

straps to be drawn tighter, "I should have preferred to keep

the wench."


"What would you have, captain?" said one gendarme.  "The

warbler has fled, and the bat remains."










Gringoire, thoroughly stunned by his fall, remained on

the pavement in front of the Holy Virgin at the street corner.

Little by little, he regained his senses; at first, for several

minutes, he was floating in a sort of half-somnolent revery,

which was not without its charm, in which aeriel figures of

the gypsy and her goat were coupled with Quasimodo's heavy

fist.  This state lasted but a short time.  A decidedly vivid

sensation of cold in the part of his body which was in contact

with the pavement, suddenly aroused him and caused his spirit

to return to the surface.


"Whence comes this chill?" he said abruptly, to himself.

He then perceived that he was lying half in the middle of the



"That devil of a hunchbacked cyclops!" he muttered between

his teeth; and he tried to rise.  But he was too much

dazed and bruised; he was forced to remain where he was.

Moreover, his hand was tolerably free; he stopped up his nose

and resigned himself.


"The mud of Paris," he said to himself--for decidedly he

thought that he was sure that the gutter would prove his

refuge for the night; and what can one do in a refuge, except

dream?--"the mud of Paris is particularly stinking; it must

contain a great deal of volatile and nitric salts.  That,

moreover, is the opinion of Master Nicholas Flamel, and of the



The word "alchemists" suddenly suggested to his mind the

idea of Archdeacon Claude Frollo.  He recalled the violent

scene which he had just witnessed in part; that the gypsy was

struggling with two men, that Quasimodo had a companion;

and the morose and haughty face of the archdeacon passed

confusedly through his memory.  "That would be strange!"

he said to himself.  And on that fact and that basis he began

to construct a fantastic edifice of hypothesis, that card-castle

of philosophers; then, suddenly returning once more to

reality, "Come!  I'm freezing!" he ejaculated.


The place was, in fact, becoming less and less tenable.

Each molecule of the gutter bore away a molecule of heat

radiating from Gringoire's loins, and the equilibrium between

the temperature of his body and the temperature of the brook,

began to be established in rough fashion.


Quite a different annoyance suddenly assailed him.  A group

of children, those little bare-footed savages who have always

roamed the pavements of Paris under the eternal name of

~gamins~, and who, when we were also children ourselves, threw

stones at all of us in the afternoon, when we came out of

school, because our trousers were not torn--a swarm of these

young scamps rushed towards the square where Gringoire lay,

with shouts and laughter which seemed to pay but little heed

to the sleep of the neighbors.  They were dragging after them

some sort of hideous sack; and the noise of their wooden

shoes alone would have roused the dead.  Gringoire who was

not quite dead yet, half raised himself.


"Ohé, Hennequin Dandéche!  Ohè, Jehan Pincebourde!"

they shouted in deafening tones, "old Eustache Moubon, the

merchant at the corner, has just died.  We've got his straw

pallet, we're going to have a bonfire out of it.  It's the turn

of the Flemish to-day!"


And behold, they flung the pallet directly upon Gringoire,

beside whom they had arrived, without espying him.  At the

same time, one of them took a handful of straw and set off

to light it at the wick of the good Virgin.


"S'death!" growled Gringoire, "am I going to be too warm now?"


It was a critical moment.  He was caught between fire and

water; he made a superhuman effort, the effort of a counterfeiter

of money who is on the point of being boiled, and who

seeks to escape.  He rose to his feet, flung aside the straw

pallet upon the street urchins, and fled.


"Holy Virgin!" shrieked the children; "'tis the merchant's ghost!"


And they fled in their turn.


The straw mattress remained master of the field.  Belleforet,

Father Le Juge, and Corrozet affirm that it was picked

up on the morrow, with great pomp, by the clergy of the

quarter, and borne to the treasury of the church of Saint

Opportune, where the sacristan, even as late as 1789, earned a

tolerably handsome revenue out of the great miracle of the

Statue of the Virgin at the corner of the Rue Mauconseil,

which had, by its mere presence, on the memorable night between

the sixth and seventh of January, 1482, exorcised the

defunct Eustache Moubon, who, in order to play a trick on

the devil, had at his death maliciously concealed his soul in

his straw pallet.











After having run for some time at the top of his speed,

without knowing whither, knocking his head against many a

street corner, leaping many a gutter, traversing many an alley,

many a court, many a square, seeking flight and passage through

all the meanderings of the ancient passages of the Halles, exploring

in his panic terror what the fine Latin of the maps calls ~tota

via, cheminum et viaria~, our poet suddenly halted for lack

of breath in the first place, and in the second, because

he had been collared, after a fashion, by a dilemma which

had just occurred to his mind.  "It strikes me, Master Pierre

Gringoire," he said to himself, placing his finger to his brow,

"that you are running like a madman.  The little scamps are

no less afraid of you than you are of them.  It strikes me,

I say, that you heard the clatter of their wooden shoes

fleeing southward, while you were fleeing northward.  Now,

one of two things, either they have taken flight, and the

pallet, which they must have forgotten in their terror, is

precisely that hospitable bed in search of which you have been

running ever since morning, and which madame the Virgin

miraculously sends you, in order to recompense you for having

made a morality in her honor, accompanied by triumphs and

mummeries; or the children have not taken flight, and in

that case they have put the brand to the pallet, and that is

precisely the good fire which you need to cheer, dry, and warm

you.  In either case, good fire or good bed, that straw pallet

is a gift from heaven.  The blessed Virgin Marie who stands

at the corner of the Rue Mauconseil, could only have made

Eustache Moubon die for that express purpose; and it is folly

on your part to flee thus zigzag, like a Picard before a

Frenchman, leaving behind you what you seek before you;

and you are a fool!"


Then he retraced his steps, and feeling his way and searching,

with his nose to the wind and his ears on the alert, he

tried to find the blessed pallet again, but in vain.  There was

nothing to be found but intersections of houses, closed courts,

and crossings of streets, in the midst of which he hesitated

and doubted incessantly, being more perplexed and entangled

in this medley of streets than he would have been even in the

labyrinth of the Hôtel des Tournelles.  At length he lost

patience, and exclaimed solemnly: "Cursed be cross roads!

'tis the devil who has made them in the shape of his pitchfork!"


This exclamation afforded him a little solace, and a sort of

reddish reflection which he caught sight of at that moment, at

the extremity of a long and narrow lane, completed the elevation

of his moral tone.  "God be praised!" said he, "There

it is yonder!  There is my pallet burning."  And comparing

himself to the pilot who suffers shipwreck by night, "~Salve~,"

he added piously, "~salve, maris stella~!"


Did he address this fragment of litany to the Holy Virgin,

or to the pallet?  We are utterly unable to say.


He had taken but a few steps in the long street, which

sloped downwards, was unpaved, and more and more muddy

and steep, when he noticed a very singular thing.  It was

not deserted; here and there along its extent crawled certain

vague and formless masses, all directing their course towards

the light which flickered at the end of the street, like those

heavy insects which drag along by night, from blade to blade

of grass, towards the shepherd's fire.


Nothing renders one so adventurous as not being able to

feel the place where one's pocket is situated.  Gringoire

continued to advance, and had soon joined that one of the forms

which dragged along most indolently, behind the others.  On

drawing near, he perceived that it was nothing else than a

wretched legless cripple in a bowl, who was hopping along on

his two hands like a wounded field-spider which has but two

legs left.  At the moment when he passed close to this species

of spider with a human countenance, it raised towards

him a lamentable voice: "~La buona mancia, signor! la buona




*  Alms.



"Deuce take you," said Gringoire, "and me with you, if I

know what you mean!"


And he passed on.


He overtook another of these itinerant masses, and examined

it.  It was an impotent man, both halt and crippled,

and halt and crippled to such a degree that the complicated

system of crutches and wooden legs which sustained him, gave

him the air of a mason's scaffolding on the march.  Gringoire,

who liked noble and classical comparisons, compared him in

thought to the living tripod of Vulcan.


This living tripod saluted him as he passed, but stopping

his hat on a level with Gringoire's chin, like a shaving dish,

while he shouted in the latter's ears: "~Senor cabellero, para

comprar un pedaso de pan~!"*



*  Give me the means to buy a bit of bread, sir.



"It appears," said Gringoire, "that this one can also talk;

but 'tis a rude language, and he is more fortunate than I if

he understands it." Then, smiting his brow, in a sudden

transition of ideas: "By the way, what the deuce did they

mean this morning with their Esmeralda?"


He was minded to augment his pace, but for the third time

something barred his way.  This something or, rather, some

one was a blind man, a little blind fellow with a bearded,

Jewish face, who, rowing away in the space about him with a

stick, and towed by a large dog, droned through his nose with

a Hungarian accent: "~Facitote caritatem~!"


"Well, now," said Gringoire, "here's one at last who speaks

a Christian tongue.  I must have a very charitable aspect,

since they ask alms of me in the present lean condition of my

purse.  My friend," and he turned towards the blind man,

"I sold my last shirt last week; that is to say, since you

understand only the language of Cicero: ~Vendidi hebdomade

nuper transita meam ultimam chemisan~."


That said, he turned his back upon the blind man, and pursued

his way.  But the blind man began to increase his stride

at the same time; and, behold! the cripple and the legless

man, in his bowl, came up on their side in great haste, and

with great clamor of bowl and crutches, upon the pavement.

Then all three, jostling each other at poor Gringoire's heels,

began to sing their song to him,--


"~Caritatem~!" chanted the blind man.


"~La buona mancia~!" chanted the cripple in the bowl.


And the lame man took up the musical phrase by repeating:

"~Un pedaso de pan~!"


Gringoire stopped up his ears.  "Oh, tower of Babel!" he



He set out to run.  The blind man ran!  The lame man

ran!  The cripple in the bowl ran!


And then, in proportion as he plunged deeper into the

street, cripples in bowls, blind men and lame men, swarmed

about him, and men with one arm, and with one eye, and the

leprous with their sores, some emerging from little streets

adjacent, some from the air-holes of cellars, howling, bellowing,

yelping, all limping and halting, all flinging themselves

towards the light, and humped up in the mire, like snails after

a shower.


Gringoire, still followed by his three persecutors, and not

knowing very well what was to become of him, marched along

in terror among them, turning out for the lame, stepping over

the cripples in bowls, with his feet imbedded in that ant-hill

of lame men, like the English captain who got caught in the

quicksand of a swarm of crabs.


The idea occurred to him of making an effort to retrace his

steps.  But it was too late.  This whole legion had closed in

behind him, and his three beggars held him fast.  So he

proceeded, impelled both by this irresistible flood, by fear,

and by a vertigo which converted all this into a sort of

horrible dream.


At last he reached the end of the street.  It opened upon

an immense place, where a thousand scattered lights flickered

in the confused mists of night.  Gringoire flew thither,

hoping to escape, by the swiftness of his legs, from the three

infirm spectres who had clutched him.


"~Onde vas, hombre~?" (Where are you going, my man?)

cried the cripple, flinging away his crutches, and running after

him with the best legs that ever traced a geometrical step upon

the pavements of Paris.


In the meantime the legless man, erect upon his feet,

crowned Gringoire with his heavy iron bowl, and the blind

man glared in his face with flaming eyes!


"Where am I?" said the terrified poet.


"In the Court of Miracles," replied a fourth spectre, who

had accosted them.


"Upon my soul," resumed Gringoire, "I certainly do behold the

blind who see, and the lame who walk, but where is the Saviour?"


They replied by a burst of sinister laughter.


The poor poet cast his eyes about him.  It was, in truth,

that redoubtable Cour des Miracles, whither an honest man

had never penetrated at such an hour; the magic circle where

the officers of the Châtelet and the sergeants of the provostship,

who ventured thither, disappeared in morsels; a city of

thieves, a hideous wart on the face of Paris; a sewer, from

which escaped every morning, and whither returned every

night to crouch, that stream of vices, of mendicancy and

vagabondage which always overflows in the streets of capitals;

a monstrous hive, to which returned at nightfall, with

their booty, all the drones of the social order; a lying hospital

where the bohemian, the disfrocked monk, the ruined

scholar, the ne'er-do-wells of all nations, Spaniards, Italians,

Germans,--of all religions, Jews, Christians, Mahometans,

idolaters, covered with painted sores, beggars by day, were

transformed by night into brigands; an immense dressing-room,

in a word, where, at that epoch, the actors of that

eternal comedy, which theft, prostitution, and murder play

upon the pavements of Paris, dressed and undressed.


It was a vast place, irregular and badly paved, like all the

squares of Paris at that date.  Fires, around which swarmed

strange groups, blazed here and there.  Every one was going,

coming, and shouting.  Shrill laughter was to be heard, the

wailing of children, the voices of women.  The hands and

heads of this throng, black against the luminous background,

outlined against it a thousand eccentric gestures.  At times,

upon the ground, where trembled the light of the fires,

mingled with large, indefinite shadows, one could behold a dog

passing, which resembled a man, a man who resembled a dog.

The limits of races and species seemed effaced in this city, as

in a pandemonium.  Men, women, beasts, age, sex, health,

maladies, all seemed to be in common among these people;

all went together, they mingled, confounded, superposed;

each one there participated in all.


The poor and flickering flames of the fire permitted Gringoire

to distinguish, amid his trouble, all around the immense

place, a hideous frame of ancient houses, whose wormeaten,

shrivelled, stunted façades, each pierced with one or two

lighted attic windows, seemed to him, in the darkness, like

enormous heads of old women, ranged in a circle, monstrous

and crabbed, winking as they looked on at the Witches' Sabbath.


It was like a new world, unknown, unheard of, misshapen,

creeping, swarming, fantastic.


Gringoire, more and more terrified, clutched by the three

beggars as by three pairs of tongs, dazed by a throng of other

faces which frothed and yelped around him, unhappy Gringoire

endeavored to summon his presence of mind, in order

to recall whether it was a Saturday.  But his efforts were

vain; the thread of his memory and of his thought was

broken; and, doubting everything, wavering between what he

saw and what he felt, he put to himself this unanswerable



"If I exist, does this exist? if this exists, do I exist?"


At that moment, a distinct cry arose in the buzzing throng

which surrounded him, "Let's take him to the king! let's

take him to the king!"


"Holy Virgin!" murmured Gringoire, "the king here must be

a ram."


"To the king! to the king!" repeated all voices.


They dragged him off.  Each vied with the other in laying

his claws upon him.  But the three beggars did not loose their

hold and tore him from the rest, howling, "He belongs to us!"


The poet's already sickly doublet yielded its last sigh in

this struggle.


While traversing the horrible place, his vertigo vanished.

After taking a few steps, the sentiment of reality returned to

him.  He began to become accustomed to the atmosphere of

the place.  At the first moment there had arisen from his

poet's head, or, simply and prosaically, from his empty

stomach, a mist, a vapor, so to speak, which, spreading

between objects and himself, permitted him to catch a glimpse

of them only in the incoherent fog of nightmare,--in those

shadows of dreams which distort every outline, agglomerating

objects into unwieldy groups, dilating things into chimeras,

and men into phantoms.  Little by little, this hallucination

was succeeded by a less bewildered and exaggerating view.

Reality made its way to the light around him, struck his eyes,

struck his feet, and demolished, bit by bit, all that frightful

poetry with which he had, at first, believed himself to be

surrounded.  He was forced to perceive that he was not

walking in the Styx, but in mud, that he was elbowed not by

demons, but by thieves; that it was not his soul which was

in question, but his life (since he lacked that precious

conciliator, which places itself so effectually between the

bandit and the honest man--a purse).  In short, on examining the

orgy more closely, and with more coolness, he fell from the

witches' sabbath to the dram-shop.


The Cour des Miracles was, in fact, merely a dram-shop;

but a brigand's dram-shop, reddened quite as much with blood

as with wine.


The spectacle which presented itself to his eyes, when his

ragged escort finally deposited him at the end of his trip, was

not fitted to bear him back to poetry, even to the poetry of

hell.  It was more than ever the prosaic and brutal reality of

the tavern.  Were we not in the fifteenth century, we would

say that Gringoire had descended from Michael Angelo to



Around a great fire which burned on a large, circular flagstone,

the flames of which had heated red-hot the legs of a

tripod, which was empty for the moment, some wormeaten

tables were placed, here and there, haphazard, no lackey of a

geometrical turn having deigned to adjust their parallelism,

or to see to it that they did not make too unusual angles.

Upon these tables gleamed several dripping pots of wine and

beer, and round these pots were grouped many bacchic visages,

purple with the fire and the wine.  There was a man

with a huge belly and a jovial face, noisily kissing a woman

of the town, thickset and brawny.  There was a sort of sham

soldier, a "naquois," as the slang expression runs, who was

whistling as he undid the bandages from his fictitious wound,

and removing the numbness from his sound and vigorous

knee, which had been swathed since morning in a thousand

ligatures.  On the other hand, there was a wretched fellow,

preparing with celandine and beef's blood, his "leg of God,"

for the next day.  Two tables further on, a palmer, with his

pilgrim's costume complete, was practising the lament of the

Holy Queen, not forgetting the drone and the nasal drawl.

Further on, a young scamp was taking a lesson in epilepsy

from an old pretender, who was instructing him in the art of

foaming at the mouth, by chewing a morsel of soap.  Beside

him, a man with the dropsy was getting rid of his swelling,

and making four or five female thieves, who were disputing

at the same table, over a child who had been stolen that evening,

hold their noses.  All circumstances which, two centuries

later, "seemed so ridiculous to the court," as Sauval says,

"that they served as a pastime to the king, and as an introduction

to the royal ballet of Night, divided into four parts

and danced on the theatre of the Petit-Bourbon."  "Never,"

adds an eye witness of 1653, "have the sudden metamorphoses

of the Court of Miracles been more happily presented.

Benserade prepared us for it by some very gallant verses."


Loud laughter everywhere, and obscene songs.  Each one

held his own course, carping and swearing, without listening

to his neighbor.  Pots clinked, and quarrels sprang up at

the shock of the pots, and the broken pots made rents in

the rags.


A big dog, seated on his tail, gazed at the fire.  Some

children were mingled in this orgy.  The stolen child wept and

cried.  Another, a big boy four years of age, seated with

legs dangling, upon a bench that was too high for him, before

a table that reached to his chin, and uttering not a word.  A

third, gravely spreading out upon the table with his finger,

the melted tallow which dripped from a candle.  Last of all,

a little fellow crouching in the mud, almost lost in a cauldron,

which he was scraping with a tile, and from which he was

evoking a sound that would have made Stradivarius swoon.


Near the fire was a hogshead, and on the hogshead a beggar.

This was the king on his throne.


The three who had Gringoire in their clutches led him in

front of this hogshead, and the entire bacchanal rout fell

silent for a moment, with the exception of the cauldron

inhabited by the child.


Gringoire dared neither breathe nor raise his eyes.


"~Hombre, quita tu sombrero~!" said one of the three

knaves, in whose grasp he was, and, before he had

comprehended the meaning, the other had snatched his hat--a

wretched headgear, it is true, but still good on a sunny day or

when there was but little rain.  Gringoire sighed.


Meanwhile the king addressed him, from the summit of his



"Who is this rogue?"


Gringoire shuddered.  That voice, although accentuated by

menace, recalled to him another voice, which, that very morning,

had dealt the deathblow to his mystery, by drawling,

nasally, in the midst of the audience, "Charity, please!"

He raised his head.  It was indeed Clopin Trouillefou.


Clopin Trouillefou, arrayed in his royal insignia, wore

neither one rag more nor one rag less.  The sore upon his

arm had already disappeared.  He held in his hand one of

those whips made of thongs of white leather, which police

sergeants then used to repress the crowd, and which were

called ~boullayes~.  On his head he wore a sort of headgear,

bound round and closed at the top.  But it was difficult to

make out whether it was a child's cap or a king's crown, the

two things bore so strong a resemblance to each other.


Meanwhile Gringoire, without knowing why, had regained

some hope, on recognizing in the King of the Cour des Miracles

his accursed mendicant of the Grand Hall.


"Master," stammered he; "monseigneur--sire--how

ought I to address you?" he said at length, having reached

the culminating point of his crescendo, and knowing neither

how to mount higher, nor to descend again.


"Monseigneur, his majesty, or comrade, call me what you

please.  But make haste.  What have you to say in your

own defence?"


"In your own defence?" thought Gringoire, "that displeases

me."  He resumed, stuttering, "I am he, who this morning--"


"By the devil's claws!" interrupted Clopin, "your name,

knave, and nothing more.  Listen.  You are in the presence

of three powerful sovereigns: myself, Clopin Trouillefou,

King of Thunes, successor to the Grand Coësre, supreme

suzerain of the Realm of Argot; Mathias Hunyadi Spicali,

Duke of Egypt and of Bohemia, the old yellow fellow whom

you see yonder, with a dish clout round his head; Guillaume

Rousseau, Emperor of Galilee, that fat fellow who is not

listening to us but caressing a wench.  We are your judges.

You have entered the Kingdom of Argot, without being an

~argotier~; you have violated the privileges of our city.  You

must be punished unless you are a ~capon~, a ~franc-mitou~ or a

~rifodé~; that is to say, in the slang of honest folks,--a thief,

a beggar, or a vagabond.  Are you anything of that sort?

Justify yourself; announce your titles."


"Alas!" said Gringoire, "I have not that honor.  I am

the author--"


"That is sufficient," resumed Trouillefou, without permitting

him to finish.  "You are going to be hanged.  'Tis a

very simple matter, gentlemen and honest bourgeois! as you

treat our people in your abode, so we treat you in ours!  The

law which you apply to vagabonds, vagabonds apply to you.

'Tis your fault if it is harsh.  One really must behold the

grimace of an honest man above the hempen collar now and

then; that renders the thing honorable.  Come, friend, divide

your rags gayly among these damsels.  I am going to have

you hanged to amuse the vagabonds, and you are to give them

your purse to drink your health.  If you have any mummery

to go through with, there's a very good God the Father in that

mortar yonder, in stone, which we stole from Saint-Pierre aux

Boeufs.  You have four minutes in which to fling your soul at

his head."


The harangue was formidable.


"Well said, upon my soul!  Clopin Trouillefou preaches

like the Holy Father the Pope!" exclaimed the Emperor of

Galilee, smashing his pot in order to prop up his table.


"Messeigneurs, emperors, and kings," said Gringoire coolly

(for I know not how, firmness had returned to him, and he

spoke with resolution), "don't think of such a thing; my

name is Pierre Gringoire.  I am the poet whose morality was

presented this morning in the grand hall of the Courts."


"Ah! so it was you, master!" said Clopin.  "I was there,

~xête Dieu~!  Well! comrade, is that any reason, because

you bored us to death this morning, that you should not

be hung this evening?"


"I shall find difficulty in getting out of it," said Gringoire

to himself.  Nevertheless, he made one more effort: "I don't

see why poets are not classed with vagabonds," said he.

"Vagabond, Aesopus certainly was; Homerus was a beggar;

Mercurius was a thief--"


Clopin interrupted him: "I believe that you are trying to

blarney us with your jargon.  Zounds! let yourself be hung,

and don't kick up such a row over it!"


"Pardon me, monseigneur, the King of Thunes," replied

Gringoire, disputing the ground foot by foot.  "It is worth

trouble--One moment!--Listen to me--You are not going

to condemn me without having heard me"--


His unlucky voice was, in fact, drowned in the uproar which

rose around him.  The little boy scraped away at his cauldron

with more spirit than ever; and, to crown all, an old woman

had just placed on the tripod a frying-pan of grease, which

hissed away on the fire with a noise similar to the cry of a

troop of children in pursuit of a masker.


In the meantime, Clopin Trouillefou appeared to hold a

momentary conference with the Duke of Egypt, and the

Emperor of Galilee, who was completely drunk.  Then he

shouted shrilly: "Silence!" and, as the cauldron and the

frying-pan did not heed him, and continued their duet, he

jumped down from his hogshead, gave a kick to the boiler,

which rolled ten paces away bearing the child with it, a kick

to the frying-pan, which upset in the fire with all its grease,

and gravely remounted his throne, without troubling himself

about the stifled tears of the child, or the grumbling of the

old woman, whose supper was wasting away in a fine white flame.


Trouillefou made a sign, and the duke, the emperor, and

the passed masters of pickpockets, and the isolated robbers,

came and ranged themselves around him in a horseshoe, of

which Gringoire, still roughly held by the body, formed the

centre.  It was a semicircle of rags, tatters, tinsel, pitchforks,

axes, legs staggering with intoxication, huge, bare arms, faces

sordid, dull, and stupid.  In the midst of this Round Table of

beggary, Clopin Trouillefou,--as the doge of this senate, as

the king of this peerage, as the pope of this conclave,--

dominated; first by virtue of the height of his hogshead, and

next by virtue of an indescribable, haughty, fierce, and formidable

air, which caused his eyes to flash, and corrected in his

savage profile the bestial type of the race of vagabonds.  One

would have pronounced him a boar amid a herd of swine.


"Listen," said he to Gringoire, fondling his misshapen chin

with his horny hand; "I don't see why you should not be

hung.  It is true that it appears to be repugnant to you; and

it is very natural, for you bourgeois are not accustomed to it.

You form for yourselves a great idea of the thing.  After all,

we don't wish you any harm.  Here is a means of extricating

yourself from your predicament for the moment.  Will you

become one of us?"


The reader can judge of the effect which this proposition

produced upon Gringoire, who beheld life slipping away from

him, and who was beginning to lose his hold upon it.  He

clutched at it again with energy.


"Certainly I will, and right heartily," said he.


"Do you consent," resumed Clopin, "to enroll yourself among the

people of the knife?"


"Of the knife, precisely," responded Gringoire.


"You recognize yourself as a member of the free bourgeoisie?"*

added the King of Thunes.



*  A high-toned sharper.



"Of the free bourgeoisie."


"Subject of the Kingdom of Argot?"


"Of the Kingdom of Argot*."



*  Thieves.



"A vagabond?"


"A vagabond."


"In your soul?"


"In my soul."


"I must call your attention to the fact," continued the

king, "that you will be hung all the same."


"The devil!" said the poet.


"Only," continued Clopin imperturbably, "you will be hung

later on, with more ceremony, at the expense of the good city

of Paris, on a handsome stone gibbet, and by honest men.

That is a consolation."


"Just so," responded Gringoire.


"There are other advantages.  In your quality of a high-toned

sharper, you will not have to pay the taxes on mud, or

the poor, or lanterns, to which the bourgeois of Paris are



"So be it," said the poet.  "I agree.  I am a vagabond, a

thief, a sharper, a man of the knife, anything you please; and

I am all that already, monsieur, King of Thunes, for I am a

philosopher; ~et omnia in philosophia, omnes in philosopho

continentur~,--all things are contained in philosophy, all men in

the philosopher, as you know."


The King of Thunes scowled.


"What do you take me for, my friend?  What Hungarian

Jew patter are you jabbering at us?  I don't know Hebrew.

One isn't a Jew because one is a bandit.  I don't even steal

any longer.  I'm above that; I kill.  Cut-throat, yes;

cutpurse, no."


Gringoire tried to slip in some excuse between these curt

words, which wrath rendered more and more jerky.


"I ask your pardon, monseigneur.  It is not Hebrew; 'tis Latin."


"I tell you," resumed Clopin angrily, "that I'm not a Jew,

and that I'll have you hung, belly of the synagogue, like that

little shopkeeper of Judea, who is by your side, and whom I

entertain strong hopes of seeing nailed to a counter one of

these days, like the counterfeit coin that he is!"


So saying, he pointed his finger at the little, bearded Hungarian

Jew who had accosted Gringoire with his ~facitote caritatem~,

and who, understanding no other language beheld with

surprise the King of Thunes's ill-humor overflow upon him.


At length Monsieur Clopin calmed down.


"So you will be a vagabond, you knave?" he said to our poet.


"Of course," replied the poet.


"Willing is not all," said the surly Clopin; "good will

doesn't put one onion the more into the soup, and 'tis good

for nothing except to go to Paradise with; now, Paradise and

the thieves' band are two different things.  In order to be

received among the thieves,* you must prove that you are

good for something, and for that purpose, you must search the




* L'argot.



"I'll search anything you like," said Gringoire.


Clopin made a sign.  Several thieves detached themselves

from the circle, and returned a moment later.  They brought

two thick posts, terminated at their lower extremities in

spreading timber supports, which made them stand readily

upon the ground; to the upper extremity of the two posts

they fitted a cross-beam, and the whole constituted a very

pretty portable gibbet, which Gringoire had the satisfaction of

beholding rise before him, in a twinkling.  Nothing was lacking,

not even the rope, which swung gracefully over the cross-beam.


"What are they going to do?" Gringoire asked himself

with some uneasiness.  A sound of bells, which he heard at

that moment, put an end to his anxiety; it was a stuffed

manikin, which the vagabonds were suspending by the neck

from the rope, a sort of scarecrow dressed in red, and so

hung with mule-bells and larger bells, that one might have

tricked out thirty Castilian mules with them.  These thousand

tiny bells quivered for some time with the vibration of the

rope, then gradually died away, and finally became silent

when the manikin had been brought into a state of immobility

by that law of the pendulum which has dethroned the water

clock and the hour-glass.

Then Clopin, pointing out to Gringoire a rickety old stool

placed beneath the manikin,--

"Climb up there."


"Death of the devil!" objected Gringoire; "I shall break

my neck.  Your stool limps like one of Martial's distiches;

it has one hexameter leg and one pentameter leg."


"Climb!" repeated Clopin.


Gringoire mounted the stool, and succeeded, not without

some oscillations of head and arms, in regaining his centre of



"Now," went on the King of Thunes, "twist your right

foot round your left leg, and rise on the tip of your left foot."


"Monseigneur," said Gringoire, "so you absolutely insist

on my breaking some one of my limbs?"


Clopin tossed his head.


"Hark ye, my friend, you talk too much.  Here's the gist

of the matter in two words: you are to rise on tiptoe, as I

tell you; in that way you will be able to reach the pocket of

the manikin, you will rummage it, you will pull out the purse

that is there,--and if you do all this without our hearing

the sound of a bell, all is well: you shall be a vagabond.

All we shall then have to do, will be to thrash you soundly

for the space of a week."


"~Ventre-Dieu~!  I will be careful," said Gringoire.  "And

suppose I do make the bells sound?"


"Then you will be hanged.  Do you understand?"


"I don't understand at all," replied Gringoire.


"Listen, once more.  You are to search the manikin, and

take away its purse; if a single bell stirs during the operation,

you will be hung.  Do you understand that?"


"Good," said Gringoire; "I understand that.  And then?"


"If you succeed in removing the purse without our hearing

the bells, you are a vagabond, and you will be thrashed for

eight consecutive days.  You understand now, no doubt?"


"No, monseigneur; I no longer understand.  Where is the

advantage to me? hanged in one case, cudgelled in the other?"


"And a vagabond," resumed Clopin, "and a vagabond; is

that nothing?  It is for your interest that we should beat

you, in order to harden you to blows."


"Many thanks," replied the poet.


"Come, make haste," said the king, stamping upon his

cask, which resounded like a huge drum!  Search the manikin,

and let there be an end to this!  I warn you for the last

time, that if I hear a single bell, you will take the place of

the manikin."


The band of thieves applauded Clopin's words, and arranged

themselves in a circle round the gibbet, with a laugh so pitiless

that Gringoire perceived that he amused them too much

not to have everything to fear from them.  No hope was

left for him, accordingly, unless it were the slight chance

of succeeding in the formidable operation which was imposed

upon him; he decided to risk it, but it was not without first

having addressed a fervent prayer to the manikin he was

about to plunder, and who would have been easier to move

to pity than the vagabonds.  These myriad bells, with their

little copper tongues, seemed to him like the mouths of so

many asps, open and ready to sting and to hiss.


"Oh!" he said, in a very low voice, "is it possible that my

life depends on the slightest vibration of the least of these

bells?  Oh!" he added, with clasped hands, "bells, do not

ring, hand-bells do not clang, mule-bells do not quiver!"


He made one more attempt upon Trouillefou.


"And if there should come a gust of wind?"


"You will be hanged," replied the other, without hesitation.


Perceiving that no respite, nor reprieve, nor subterfuge was

possible, he bravely decided upon his course of action; he

wound his right foot round his left leg, raised himself on his

left foot, and stretched out his arm: but at the moment

when his hand touched the manikin, his body, which was now

supported upon one leg only, wavered on the stool which had

but three; he made an involuntary effort to support himself

by the manikin, lost his balance, and fell heavily to the

ground, deafened by the fatal vibration of the thousand bells

of the manikin, which, yielding to the impulse imparted by

his hand, described first a rotary motion, and then swayed

majestically between the two posts.


"Malediction!" he cried as he fell, and remained as though

dead, with his face to the earth.


Meanwhile, he heard the dreadful peal above his head, the

diabolical laughter of the vagabonds, and the voice of

Trouillefou saying,--


"Pick me up that knave, and hang him without ceremony."

He rose.  They had already detached the manikin to make

room for him.


The thieves made him mount the stool, Clopin came to him,

passed the rope about his neck, and, tapping him on the



"Adieu, my friend.  You can't escape now, even if you

digested with the pope's guts."


The word "Mercy!" died away upon Gringoire's lips.  He

cast his eyes about him; but there was no hope: all were



"Bellevigne de l'Etoile," said the King of Thunes to an

enormous vagabond, who stepped out from the ranks, "climb

upon the cross beam."


Bellevigne de l'Etoile nimbly mounted the transverse beam,

and in another minute, Gringoire, on raising his eyes, beheld

him, with terror, seated upon the beam above his head.


"Now," resumed Clopin Trouillefou, "as soon as I clap my

hands, you, Andry the Red, will fling the stool to the ground

with a blow of your knee; you, François Chante-Prune, will

cling to the feet of the rascal; and you, Bellevigne, will fling

yourself on his shoulders; and all three at once, do you



Gringoire shuddered.


"Are you ready?" said Clopin Trouillefou to the three

thieves, who held themselves in readiness to fall upon

Gringoire.  A moment of horrible suspense ensued for the poor

victim, during which Clopin tranquilly thrust into the fire

with the tip of his foot, some bits of vine shoots which the

flame had not caught.  "Are you ready?" he repeated, and

opened his hands to clap.  One second more and all would

have been over.


But he paused, as though struck by a sudden thought.


"One moment!" said he; "I forgot!  It is our custom not

to hang a man without inquiring whether there is any woman

who wants him.  Comrade, this is your last resource.  You

must wed either a female vagabond or the noose."


This law of the vagabonds, singular as it may strike the

reader, remains to-day written out at length, in ancient English

legislation.  (See _Burington's Observations_.)


Gringoire breathed again.  This was the second time that

he had returned to life within an hour.  So he did not dare

to trust to it too implicitly.


"Holà!" cried Clopin, mounted once more upon his cask,

"holà! women, females, is there among you, from the sorceress

to her cat, a wench who wants this rascal?  Holà, Colette

la Charonne!  Elisabeth Trouvain!  Simone Jodouyne!

Marie Piédebou!  Thonne la Longue!  Bérarde Fanouel!  Michelle

Genaille!  Claude Ronge-oreille!  Mathurine Girorou!--Holà!

Isabeau-la-Thierrye!  Come and see!  A man for nothing!

Who wants him?"


Gringoire, no doubt, was not very appetizing in this miserable

condition.  The female vagabonds did not seem to be

much affected by the proposition.  The unhappy wretch

heard them answer: "No! no! hang him; there'll be the more

fun for us all!"


Nevertheless, three emerged from the throng and came to

smell of him.  The first was a big wench, with a square face.

She examined the philosopher's deplorable doublet attentively.

His garment was worn, and more full of holes than a stove for

roasting chestnuts.  The girl made a wry face.  "Old rag!" she

muttered, and addressing Gringoire, "Let's see your cloak!"

"I have lost it," replied Gringoire.  "Your hat?"  "They took

it away from me."  "Your shoes?"  "They have hardly any

soles left."  "Your purse?"  "Alas!" stammered Gringoire, "I

have not even a sou."  "Let them hang you, then, and say 'Thank

you!'" retorted the vagabond wench, turning her back on him.


The second,--old, black, wrinkled, hideous, with an ugliness

conspicuous even in the Cour des Miracles, trotted round Gringoire.

He almost trembled lest she should want him.  But she

mumbled between her teeth, "He's too thin," and went off.


The third was a young girl, quite fresh, and not too ugly.

"Save me!" said the poor fellow to her, in a low tone.  She

gazed at him for a moment with an air of pity, then dropped

her eyes, made a plait in her petticoat, and remained in indecision.

He followed all these movements with his eyes; it

was the last gleam of hope.  "No," said the young girl, at

length, "no!  Guillaume Longuejoue would beat me."  She

retreated into the crowd.


"You are unlucky, comrade," said Clopin.


Then rising to his feet, upon his hogshead.  "No one wants

him," he exclaimed, imitating the accent of an auctioneer, to

the great delight of all; "no one wants him? once, twice,

three times!" and, turning towards the gibbet with a sign of

his hand, "Gone!"


Bellevigne de l'Etoile, Andry the Red, François Chante-Prune,

stepped up to Gringoire.


At that moment a cry arose among the thieves: "La Esmeralda!

La Esmeralda!"


Gringoire shuddered, and turned towards the side whence the

clamor proceeded.


The crowd opened, and gave passage to a pure and dazzling



It was the gypsy.


"La Esmeralda!" said Gringoire, stupefied in the midst of

his emotions, by the abrupt manner in which that magic word

knotted together all his reminiscences of the day.


This rare creature seemed, even in the Cour des Miracles,

to exercise her sway of charm and beauty.  The vagabonds,

male and female, ranged themselves gently along her path, and

their brutal faces beamed beneath her glance.


She approached the victim with her light step.  Her pretty

Djali followed her.  Gringoire was more dead than alive.  She

examined him for a moment in silence.


"You are going to hang this man?" she said gravely, to Clopin.


"Yes, sister," replied the King of Thunes, "unless you will

take him for your husband."


She made her pretty little pout with her under lip.  "I'll take

him," said she.


Gringoire firmly believed that he had been in a dream ever

since morning, and that this was the continuation of it.


The change was, in fact, violent, though a gratifying one.

They undid the noose, and made the poet step down from the

stool.  His emotion was so lively that he was obliged to sit down.


The Duke of Egypt brought an earthenware crock, without

uttering a word.  The gypsy offered it to Gringoire: "Fling

it on the ground," said she.


The crock broke into four pieces.


"Brother," then said the Duke of Egypt, laying his hands

upon their foreheads, "she is your wife; sister, he is your

husband for four years.  Go."











A few moments later our poet found himself in a tiny

arched chamber, very cosy, very warm, seated at a table

which appeared to ask nothing better than to make some loans

from a larder hanging near by, having a good bed in prospect,

and alone with a pretty girl.  The adventure smacked of

enchantment.  He began seriously to take himself for a personage

in a fairy tale; he cast his eyes about him from time

to time to time, as though to see if the chariot of fire, harnessed

to two-winged chimeras, which alone could have so

rapidly transported him from Tartarus to Paradise, were still

there.  At times, also, he fixed his eyes obstinately upon the

holes in his doublet, in order to cling to reality, and not lose

the ground from under his feet completely.  His reason,

tossed about in imaginary space, now hung only by this



The young girl did not appear to pay any attention to him;

she went and came, displaced a stool, talked to her goat, and

indulged in a pout now and then.  At last she came and

seated herself near the table, and Gringoire was able to

scrutinize her at his ease.


You have been a child, reader, and you would, perhaps, be

very happy to be one still.  It is quite certain that you have

not, more than once (and for my part, I have passed whole

days, the best employed of my life, at it) followed from

thicket to thicket, by the side of running water, on a sunny

day, a beautiful green or blue dragon-fly, breaking its flight

in abrupt angles, and kissing the tips of all the branches.

You recollect with what amorous curiosity your thought and

your gaze were riveted upon this little whirlwind, hissing

and humming with wings of purple and azure, in the midst

of which floated an imperceptible body, veiled by the very

rapidity of its movement.  The aerial being which was dimly

outlined amid this quivering of wings, appeared to you chimerical,

imaginary, impossible to touch, impossible to see.

But when, at length, the dragon-fly alighted on the tip of a

reed, and, holding your breath the while, you were able to examine

the long, gauze wings, the long enamel robe, the two

globes of crystal, what astonishment you felt, and what fear

lest you should again behold the form disappear into a shade,

and the creature into a chimera!  Recall these impressions,

and you will readily appreciate what Gringoire felt on

contemplating, beneath her visible and palpable form, that

Esmeralda of whom, up to that time, he had only caught a

glimpse, amidst a whirlwind of dance, song, and tumult.


Sinking deeper and deeper into his revery: "So this,"

he said to himself, following her vaguely with his eyes, "is

la Esmeralda! a celestial creature! a street dancer! so much,

and so little!  'Twas she who dealt the death-blow to my

mystery this morning, 'tis she who saves my life this

evening!  My evil genius!  My good angel!  A pretty woman,

on my word! and who must needs love me madly to have

taken me in that fashion.  By the way," said he, rising

suddenly, with that sentiment of the true which formed the

foundation of his character and his philosophy, "I don't

know very well how it happens, but I am her husband!"


With this idea in his head and in his eyes, he stepped up

to the young girl in a manner so military and so gallant

that she drew back.


"What do you want of me?" said she.


"Can you ask me, adorable Esmeralda?" replied Gringoire,

with so passionate an accent that he was himself astonished

at it on hearing himself speak.


The gypsy opened her great eyes.  "I don't know what

you mean."


"What!" resumed Gringoire, growing warmer and warmer,

and supposing that, after all, he had to deal merely with a

virtue of the Cour des Miracles; "am I not thine, sweet friend,

art thou not mine?"


And, quite ingenuously, he clasped her waist.


The gypsy's corsage slipped through his hands like the skin

of an eel.  She bounded from one end of the tiny room to the

other, stooped down, and raised herself again, with a little

poniard in her hand, before Gringoire had even had time to

see whence the poniard came; proud and angry, with swelling

lips and inflated nostrils, her cheeks as red as an api

apple,* and her eyes darting lightnings.  At the same time,

the white goat placed itself in front of her, and presented to

Gringoire a hostile front, bristling with two pretty horns,

gilded and very sharp.  All this took place in the twinkling

of an eye.



*  A small dessert apple, bright red on one side and greenish-

white on the other.



The dragon-fly had turned into a wasp, and asked nothing

better than to sting.


Our philosopher was speechless, and turned his astonished

eyes from the goat to the young girl.  "Holy Virgin!" he

said at last, when surprise permitted him to speak, "here are

two hearty dames!"


The gypsy broke the silence on her side.


"You must be a very bold knave!"


"Pardon, mademoiselle," said Gringoire, with a smile.  "But

why did you take me for your husband?"


"Should I have allowed you to be hanged?"


"So," said the poet, somewhat disappointed in his amorous