-book eleventh.chapter i - part 1. the little shoe. la esmeralda was sleeping at the momentwhen the outcasts assailed the church. soon the ever-increasing uproar around theedifice, and the uneasy bleating of her goat which had been awakened, had rousedher from her slumbers. she had sat up, she had listened, she hadlooked; then, terrified by the light and noise, she had rushed from her cell to see. the aspect of the place, the vision whichwas moving in it, the disorder of that nocturnal assault, that hideous crowd,leaping like a cloud of frogs, half seen in
the gloom, the croaking of that hoarse multitude, those few red torches runningand crossing each other in the darkness like the meteors which streak the mistysurfaces of marshes, this whole scene produced upon her the effect of a mysterious battle between the phantoms ofthe witches' sabbath and the stone monsters of the church. imbued from her very infancy with thesuperstitions of the bohemian tribe, her first thought was that she had caught thestrange beings peculiar to the night, in their deeds of witchcraft.
then she ran in terror to cower in hercell, asking of her pallet some less terrible nightmare. but little by little the first vapors ofterror had been dissipated; from the constantly increasing noise, and from manyother signs of reality, she felt herself besieged not by spectres, but by humanbeings. then her fear, though it did not increase,changed its character. she had dreamed of the possibility of apopular mutiny to tear her from her asylum. the idea of once more recovering life,hope, phoebus, who was ever present in her future, the extreme helplessness of hercondition, flight cut off, no support, her
abandonment, her isolation,--these thoughtsand a thousand others overwhelmed her. she fell upon her knees, with her head onher bed, her hands clasped over her head, full of anxiety and tremors, and, althougha gypsy, an idolater, and a pagan, she began to entreat with sobs, mercy from the good christian god, and to pray to ourlady, her hostess. for even if one believes in nothing, thereare moments in life when one is always of the religion of the temple which is nearestat hand. she remained thus prostrate for a very longtime, trembling in truth, more than praying, chilled by the ever-closer breathof that furious multitude, understanding
nothing of this outburst, ignorant of what was being plotted, what was being done,what they wanted, but foreseeing a terrible issue.in the midst of this anguish, she heard some one walking near her. she turned round.two men, one of whom carried a lantern, had just entered her cell.she uttered a feeble cry. "fear nothing," said a voice which was notunknown to her, "it is i." "who are you?" she asked."pierre gringoire." this name reassured her.
she raised her eyes once more, andrecognized the poet in very fact. but there stood beside him a black figureveiled from head to foot, which struck her by its silence. "oh!" continued gringoire in a tone ofreproach, "djali recognized me before you!" the little goat had not, in fact, waitedfor gringoire to announce his name. no sooner had he entered than it rubbeditself gently against his knees, covering the poet with caresses and with whitehairs, for it was shedding its hair. gringoire returned the caresses. "who is this with you?" said the gypsy, ina low voice.
"be at ease," replied gringoire."'tis one of my friends." then the philosopher setting his lantern onthe ground, crouched upon the stones, and exclaimed enthusiastically, as he presseddjali in his arms,-- "oh! 'tis a graceful beast, moreconsiderable no doubt, for it's neatness than for its size, but ingenious, subtle,and lettered as a grammarian! let us see, my djali, hast thou forgottenany of thy pretty tricks? how does master jacques charmolue?..."the man in black did not allow him to finish. he approached gringoire and shook himroughly by the shoulder.
gringoire rose."'tis true," said he: "i forgot that we are in haste. but that is no reason master, for gettingfurious with people in this manner. my dear and lovely child, your life is indanger, and djali's also. they want to hang you again. we are your friends, and we have come tosave you. follow us.""is it true?" she exclaimed in dismay. "yes, perfectly true. come quickly!""i am willing," she stammered.
"but why does not your friend speak?" "ah!" said gringoire, "'tis because hisfather and mother were fantastic people who made him of a taciturn temperament."she was obliged to content herself with this explanation. gringoire took her by the hand; hiscompanion picked up the lantern and walked on in front.fear stunned the young girl. she allowed herself to be led away. the goat followed them, frisking, so joyousat seeing gringoire again that it made him stumble every moment by thrusting its hornsbetween his legs.
"such is life," said the philosopher, everytime that he came near falling down; "'tis often our best friends who cause us to beoverthrown." they rapidly descended the staircase of thetowers, crossed the church, full of shadows and solitude, and all reverberating withuproar, which formed a frightful contrast, and emerged into the courtyard of thecloister by the red door. the cloister was deserted; the canons hadfled to the bishop's palace in order to pray together; the courtyard was empty, afew frightened lackeys were crouching in dark corners. they directed their steps towards the doorwhich opened from this court upon the
terrain.the man in black opened it with a key which he had about him. our readers are aware that the terrain wasa tongue of land enclosed by walls on the side of the city and belonging to thechapter of notre-dame, which terminated the island on the east, behind the church. they found this enclosure perfectlydeserted. there was here less tumult in the air.the roar of the outcasts' assault reached them more confusedly and less clamorously. the fresh breeze which follows the currentof a stream, rustled the leaves of the only
tree planted on the point of the terrain,with a noise that was already perceptible. but they were still very close to danger. the nearest edifices to them were thebishop's palace and the church. it was plainly evident that there was greatinternal commotion in the bishop's palace. its shadowy mass was all furrowed withlights which flitted from window to window; as, when one has just burned paper, thereremains a sombre edifice of ashes in which bright sparks run a thousand eccentriccourses. beside them, the enormous towers of notre-dame, thus viewed from behind, with the long nave above which they rise cut out inblack against the red and vast light which
filled the parvis, resembled two giganticandirons of some cyclopean fire-grate. what was to be seen of paris on all sideswavered before the eye in a gloom mingled with light. rembrandt has such backgrounds to hispictures. the man with the lantern walked straight tothe point of the terrain. there, at the very brink of the water,stood the wormeaten remains of a fence of posts latticed with laths, whereon a lowvine spread out a few thin branches like the fingers of an outspread hand. behind, in the shadow cast by this trellis,a little boat lay concealed.
the man made a sign to gringoire and hiscompanion to enter. the goat followed them. the man was the last to step in. then he cut the boat's moorings, pushed itfrom the shore with a long boat-hook, and, seizing two oars, seated himself in thebow, rowing with all his might towards midstream. the seine is very rapid at this point, andhe had a good deal of trouble in leaving the point of the island.gringoire's first care on entering the boat was to place the goat on his knees.
he took a position in the stern; and theyoung girl, whom the stranger inspired with an indefinable uneasiness, seated herselfclose to the poet. when our philosopher felt the boat sway, heclapped his hands and kissed djali between the horns."oh!" said he, "now we are safe, all four of us." he added with the air of a profoundthinker, "one is indebted sometimes to fortune, sometimes to ruse, for the happyissue of great enterprises." the boat made its way slowly towards theright shore. the young girl watched the unknown man withsecret terror.
he had carefully turned off the light ofhis dark lantern. a glimpse could be caught of him in theobscurity, in the bow of the boat, like a spectre. his cowl, which was still lowered, formed asort of mask; and every time that he spread his arms, upon which hung large blacksleeves, as he rowed, one would have said they were two huge bat's wings. moreover, he had not yet uttered a word orbreathed a syllable. no other noise was heard in the boat thanthe splashing of the oars, mingled with the rippling of the water along her sides.
"on my soul!" exclaimed gringoire suddenly,"we are as cheerful and joyous as young owls!we preserve the silence of pythagoreans or fishes! pasque-dieu! my friends, i should greatlylike to have some one speak to me. the human voice is music to the human ear.'tis not i who say that, but didymus of alexandria, and they are illustrious words. assuredly, didymus of alexandria is nomediocre philosopher.--one word, my lovely child! say but one word to me, i entreatyou. by the way, you had a droll and peculiarlittle pout; do you still make it?
do you know, my dear, that parliament hathfull jurisdiction over all places of asylum, and that you were running a greatrisk in your little chamber at notre-dame? alas! the little bird trochylus maketh itsnest in the jaws of the crocodile.--master, here is the moon re-appearing.if only they do not perceive us. we are doing a laudable thing in savingmademoiselle, and yet we should be hung by order of the king if we were caught.alas! human actions are taken by two handles. that is branded with disgrace in one whichis crowned in another. he admires cicero who blames catiline.is it not so, master?
what say you to this philosophy? i possess philosophy by instinct, bynature, ut apes geometriam.--come! no one answers me.what unpleasant moods you two are in! i must do all the talking alone. that is what we call a monologue intragedy.--pasque-dieu! i must inform you that i have just seen theking, louis xi., and that i have caught this oath from him,--pasque-dieu! they are still making a hearty howl in thecity.--'tis a villanous, malicious old king.he is all swathed in furs.
he still owes me the money for myepithalamium, and he came within a nick of hanging me this evening, which would havebeen very inconvenient to me.--he is niggardly towards men of merit. he ought to read the four books of salvienof cologne, adversits avaritiam. in truth! 'tis a paltry king in his ways with men ofletters, and one who commits very barbarous cruelties.he is a sponge, to soak money raised from the people. his saving is like the spleen whichswelleth with the leanness of all the other
members. hence complaints against the hardness ofthe times become murmurs against the prince. under this gentle and pious sire, thegallows crack with the hung, the blocks rot with blood, the prisons burst like overfull bellies. this king hath one hand which grasps, andone which hangs. he is the procurator of dame tax andmonsieur gibbet. the great are despoiled of their dignities,and the little incessantly overwhelmed with fresh oppressions.he is an exorbitant prince.
i love not this monarch. and you, master?"the man in black let the garrulous poet chatter on. he continued to struggle against theviolent and narrow current, which separates the prow of the city and the stem of theisland of notre-dame, which we call to-day the isle st. louis. "by the way, master!" continued gringoiresuddenly. "at the moment when we arrived on theparvis, through the enraged outcasts, did your reverence observe that poor littledevil whose skull your deaf man was just
cracking on the railing of the gallery ofthe kings? i am near sighted and i could not recognizehim. do you know who he could be?" the stranger answered not a word.but he suddenly ceased rowing, his arms fell as though broken, his head sank on hisbreast, and la esmeralda heard him sigh convulsively. she shuddered.she had heard such sighs before. the boat, abandoned to itself, floated forseveral minutes with the stream. but the man in black finally recoveredhimself, seized the oars once more and
began to row against the current. he doubled the point of the isle of notredame, and made for the landing-place of the port an foin. "ah!" said gringoire, "yonder is thebarbeau mansion.--stay, master, look: that group of black roofs which make suchsingular angles yonder, above that heap of black, fibrous grimy, dirty clouds, where the moon is completely crushed and spreadout like the yolk of an egg whose shell is broken.--'tis a fine mansion.there is a chapel crowned with a small vault full of very well carved enrichments.
above, you can see the bell tower, verydelicately pierced. there is also a pleasant garden, whichconsists of a pond, an aviary, an echo, a mall, a labyrinth, a house for wild beasts,and a quantity of leafy alleys very agreeable to venus. there is also a rascal of a tree which iscalled 'the lewd,' because it favored the pleasures of a famous princess and aconstable of france, who was a gallant and a wit.--alas! we poor philosophers are to a constable as a plot of cabbages or a radishbed to the garden of the louvre. what matters it, after all? human life, forthe great as well as for us, is a mixture
of good and evil. pain is always by the side of joy, thespondee by the dactyl.--master, i must relate to you the history of the barbeaumansion. it ends in tragic fashion. it was in 1319, in the reign of philippev., the longest reign of the kings of france. the moral of the story is that thetemptations of the flesh are pernicious and malignant. let us not rest our glance too long on ourneighbor's wife, however gratified our
senses may be by her beauty.fornication is a very libertine thought. adultery is a prying into the pleasures ofothers--ohe! the noise yonder is redoubling!"the tumult around notre-dame was, in fact, increasing. they listened.cries of victory were heard with tolerable distinctness. all at once, a hundred torches, the lightof which glittered upon the helmets of men at arms, spread over the church at allheights, on the towers, on the galleries, on the flying buttresses.
these torches seemed to be in search ofsomething; and soon distant clamors reached the fugitives distinctly:--"the gypsy! thesorceress! death to the gypsy!" the unhappy girl dropped her head upon herhands, and the unknown began to row furiously towards the shore.meanwhile our philosopher reflected. he clasped the goat in his arms, and gentlydrew away from the gypsy, who pressed closer and closer to him, as though to theonly asylum which remained to her. it is certain that gringoire was enduringcruel perplexity. he was thinking that the goat also,"according to existing law," would be hung if recaptured; which would be a great pity,poor djali! that he had thus two condemned
creatures attached to him; that his companion asked no better than to takecharge of the gypsy. a violent combat began between histhoughts, in which, like the jupiter of the iliad, he weighed in turn the gypsy and thegoat; and he looked at them alternately with eyes moist with tears, saying betweenhis teeth: "but i cannot save you both!"a shock informed them that the boat had reached the land at last. the uproar still filled the city.the unknown rose, approached the gypsy, and endeavored to take her arm to assist her toalight.
she repulsed him and clung to the sleeve ofgringoire, who, in his turn, absorbed in the goat, almost repulsed her.then she sprang alone from the boat. she was so troubled that she did not knowwhat she did or whither she was going. thus she remained for a moment, stunned,watching the water flow past; when she gradually returned to her senses, she foundherself alone on the wharf with the unknown. it appears that gringoire had takenadvantage of the moment of debarcation to slip away with the goat into the block ofhouses of the rue grenier-sur-l'eau. the poor gypsy shivered when she beheldherself alone with this man.
she tried to speak, to cry out, to callgringoire; her tongue was dumb in her mouth, and no sound left her lips. all at once she felt the stranger's hand onhers. it was a strong, cold hand.her teeth chattered, she turned paler than the ray of moonlight which illuminated her. the man spoke not a word.he began to ascend towards the place de greve, holding her by the hand.at that moment, she had a vague feeling that destiny is an irresistible force. she had no more resistance left in her, sheallowed herself to be dragged along,
running while he walked.at this spot the quay ascended. but it seemed to her as though she weredescending a slope. she gazed about her on all sides.not a single passer-by. the quay was absolutely deserted. she heard no sound, she felt no peoplemoving save in the tumultuous and glowing city, from which she was separated only byan arm of the seine, and whence her name reached her, mingled with cries of "death!" the rest of paris was spread around her ingreat blocks of shadows. meanwhile, the stranger continued to dragher along with the same silence and the
same rapidity. she had no recollection of any of theplaces where she was walking. as she passed before a lighted window, shemade an effort, drew up suddenly, and cried out, "help!" the bourgeois who was standing at thewindow opened it, appeared there in his shirt with his lamp, stared at the quaywith a stupid air, uttered some words which she did not understand, and closed hisshutter again. it was her last gleam of hope extinguished. the man in black did not utter a syllable;he held her firmly, and set out again at a
quicker pace.she no longer resisted, but followed him, completely broken. from time to time she called together alittle strength, and said, in a voice broken by the unevenness of the pavementand the breathlessness of their flight, "who are you? who are you?"he made no reply. they arrived thus, still keeping along thequay, at a tolerably spacious square. it was the greve. in the middle, a sort of black, erect crosswas visible; it was the gallows.
she recognized all this, and saw where shewas. the man halted, turned towards her andraised his cowl. "oh!" she stammered, almost petrified, "iknew well that it was he again!" it was the priest. he looked like the ghost of himself; thatis an effect of the moonlight, it seems as though one beheld only the spectres ofthings in that light. "listen!" he said to her; and she shudderedat the sound of that fatal voice which she had not heard for a long time. he continued speaking with those brief andpanting jerks, which betoken deep internal
convulsions."listen! we are here. i am going to speak to you. this is the greve.this is an extreme point. destiny gives us to one another.i am going to decide as to your life; you will decide as to my soul. here is a place, here is a night beyondwhich one sees nothing. then listen to me.i am going to tell you...in the first place, speak not to me of your phoebus. (as he spoke thus he paced to and fro, likea man who cannot remain in one place, and
dragged her after him.)do not speak to me of him. do you see? if you utter that name, i know not what ishall do, but it will be terrible." then, like a body which recovers its centreof gravity, he became motionless once more, but his words betrayed no less agitation. his voice grew lower and lower."do not turn your head aside thus. listen to me.it is a serious matter. in the first place, here is what hashappened.--all this will not be laughed at. i swear it to you.--what was i saying?remind me!
oh!--there is a decree of parliament whichgives you back to the scaffold. i have just rescued you from their hands.but they are pursuing you. look!" he extended his arm toward the city.the search seemed, in fact, to be still in progress there. the uproar drew nearer; the tower of thelieutenant's house, situated opposite the greve, was full of clamors and light, andsoldiers could be seen running on the opposite quay with torches and these cries,"the gypsy! where is the gypsy!death!
death!" "you see that they are in pursuit of you,and that i am not lying to you. i love you.--do not open your mouth;refrain from speaking to me rather, if it be only to tell me that you hate me. i have made up my mind not to hear thatagain.--i have just saved you.--let me finish first.i can save you wholly. i have prepared everything. it is yours at will.if you wish, i can do it." he broke off violently."no, that is not what i should say!"
as he went with hurried step and made herhurry also, for he did not release her, he walked straight to the gallows, and pointedto it with his finger,-- "choose between us two," he said, coldly. she tore herself from his hands and fell atthe foot of the gibbet, embracing that funereal support, then she half turned herbeautiful head, and looked at the priest over her shoulder. one would have said that she was a holyvirgin at the foot of the cross. the priest remained motionless, his fingerstill raised toward the gibbet, preserving his attitude like a statue.
at length the gypsy said to him,--"it causes me less horror than you do." then he allowed his arm to sink slowly, andgazed at the pavement in profound dejection. "if these stones could speak," he murmured,"yes, they would say that a very unhappy man stands here."he went on. the young girl, kneeling before thegallows, enveloped in her long flowing hair, let him speak on withoutinterruption. he now had a gentle and plaintive accentwhich contrasted sadly with the haughty harshness of his features."i love you.
oh! how true that is! so nothing comes of that fire which burnsmy heart! alas! young girl, night and day--yes, nightand day i tell you,--it is torture. oh! i suffer too much, my poor child. 'tis a thing deserving of compassion, iassure you. you see that i speak gently to you. i really wish that you should no longercherish this horror of me.--after all, if a man loves a woman, 'tis not his fault!--oh,my god!--what! so you will never pardon me?
you will always hate me?all is over then. it is that which renders me evil, do yousee? and horrible to myself.--you will not even look at me! you are thinking of something else,perchance, while i stand here and talk to you, shuddering on the brink of eternityfor both of us! above all things, do not speak to me of theofficer!--i would cast myself at your knees, i would kiss not your feet, but theearth which is under your feet; i would sob like a child, i would tear from my breast not words, but my very heart and vitals, totell you that i love you;--all would be
useless, all!--and yet you have nothing inyour heart but what is tender and merciful. you are radiant with the most beautifulmildness; you are wholly sweet, good, pitiful, and charming.alas! you cherish no ill will for any one but mealone! oh! what a fatality!"he hid his face in his hands. the young girl heard him weeping. it was for the first time.thus erect and shaken by sobs, he was more miserable and more suppliant than when onhis knees. he wept thus for a considerable time.
"come!" he said, these first tears passed,"i have no more words. i had, however, thought well as to what youwould say. now i tremble and shiver and break down atthe decisive moment, i feel conscious of something supreme enveloping us, and istammer. oh! i shall fall upon the pavement if youdo not take pity on me, pity on yourself. do not condemn us both.if you only knew how much i love you! what a heart is mine! oh! what desertion of all virtue!what desperate abandonment of myself! a doctor, i mock at science; a gentleman,i tarnish my own name; a priest, i make of
the missal a pillow of sensuality, i spitin the face of my god! all this for thee, enchantress! to be more worthy of thy hell! and you will not have the apostate!oh! let me tell you all! more still, something more horrible, oh!yet more horrible!...." as he uttered these last words, his airbecame utterly distracted. he was silent for a moment, and resumed, asthough speaking to himself, and in a strong voice,-- "cain, what hast thou done with thybrother?" there was another silence, and he went on--"what have i done with him, lord?
i received him, i reared him, i nourishedhim, i loved him, i idolized him, and i have slain him! yes, lord, they have just dashed his headbefore my eyes on the stone of thine house, and it is because of me, because of thiswoman, because of her." his eye was wild. his voice grew ever weaker; he repeatedmany times, yet, mechanically, at tolerably long intervals, like a bell prolonging itslast vibration: "because of her.--because of her." then his tongue no longer articulated anyperceptible sound; but his lips still
moved. all at once he sank together, likesomething crumbling, and lay motionless on the earth, with his head on his knees. a touch from the young girl, as she drewher foot from under him, brought him to himself. he passed his hand slowly over his hollowcheeks, and gazed for several moments at his fingers, which were wet, "what!" hemurmured, "i have wept!" and turning suddenly to the gypsy withunspeakable anguish,-- "alas! you have looked coldly on at mytears!
child, do you know that those tears are oflava? is it indeed true?nothing touches when it comes from the man whom one does not love. if you were to see me die, you would laugh.oh! i do not wish to see you die! one word!a single word of pardon! say not that you love me, say only that youwill do it; that will suffice; i will save you.if not--oh! the hour is passing. i entreat you by all that is sacred, do notwait until i shall have turned to stone again, like that gibbet which also claimsyou!
reflect that i hold the destinies of bothof us in my hand, that i am mad,--it is terrible,--that i may let all go todestruction, and that there is beneath us a bottomless abyss, unhappy girl, whither myfall will follow yours to all eternity! one word of kindness!say one word! only one word!" she opened her mouth to answer him. he flung himself on his knees to receivewith adoration the word, possibly a tender one, which was on the point of issuing fromher lips. she said to him, "you are an assassin!" the priest clasped her in his arms withfury, and began to laugh with an abominable
laugh."well, yes, an assassin!" he said, "and i will have you. you will not have me for your slave, youshall have me for your master. i will have you!i have a den, whither i will drag you. you will follow me, you will be obliged tofollow me, or i will deliver you up! you must die, my beauty, or be mine! belongto the priest! belong to the apostate! belong to the assassin! this very night, doyou hear? come! joy; kiss me, mad girl! the tomb or my bed!"his eyes sparkled with impurity and rage.
his lewd lips reddened the young girl'sneck. she struggled in his arms. he covered her with furious kisses."do not bite me, monster!" she cried. "oh! the foul, odious monk! leave me!i will tear out thy ugly gray hair and fling it in thy face by the handful!" he reddened, turned pale, then released herand gazed at her with a gloomy air. she thought herself victorious, andcontinued,-- "i tell you that i belong to my phoebus,that 'tis phoebus whom i love, that 'tis phoebus who is handsome! you are old,priest! you are ugly!
begone!" he gave vent to a horrible cry, like thewretch to whom a hot iron is applied. "die, then!" he said, gnashing his teeth.she saw his terrible look and tried to fly. he caught her once more, he shook her, heflung her on the ground, and walked with rapid strides towards the corner of thetour-roland, dragging her after him along the pavement by her beautiful hands. on arriving there, he turned to her,--"for the last time, will you be mine?" she replied with emphasis,--"no!" then he cried in a loud voice,--
"gudule!gudule! here is the gypsy! take your vengeance!"the young girl felt herself seized suddenly by the elbow. she looked.a fleshless arm was stretched from an opening in the wall, and held her like ahand of iron. "hold her well," said the priest; "'tis thegypsy escaped. release her not.i will go in search of the sergeants. you shall see her hanged."