The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME VICTOR HUGO PREFACE. 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:-- ~ANArKH~. 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 earth. It is upon this word that this book is founded. March 1831. TABLE OF CONTENTS. VOLUME I. BOOK FIRST. I. The Grand Hall II. Pierre Gringoire III. Monsieur the Cardinal IV. Master Jacques Coppenole V. Quasimodo VI. Esmeralda BOOK SECOND. I. From Charybdis to Scylla II. The Place de Gr?ve 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 BOOK THIRD. I. Notre-Dame II. A Bird's-eye View of Paris BOOR FOURTH. 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 BOOK FIFTH. I. Abbas Beati Martini II. This will Kill That BOOK SIXTH. 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 BOOK FIRST. CHAPTER 1. THE GRAND HALL. 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 H?tel 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 Gr?ve 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 Ch?teau of Montargis). ...