knot of palaces and mansions that had sprung up at the
foot of the Louvre. The old Louvre of Philip Augustus
that immense building, whose great tower rallied around
it twenty-three other towers, without reckoning turrets,
appeared at a distance to be enchased in the Gothic sum-
mits of the hotel of Alencon and of the Petit Bourbon.
That hydra of towers, the giant guardian of Paris, with its
twenty-four heads ever erect, with its monstrous ridges,
cased in lead or scaled with slate, and glistening all over
with the reflection of metals, terminated in a striking man-
ner the configuration of the Ville to the west.
Thus, an immense island as the Romans termed it, of
common houses, flanked on the right and left by clusters
of palaces, crowned, the one by the Louvre, the other by
the Tournelles, begirt on the north by a long belt of abbeys
and cultivated enclosures, the whole blended and amalgamated
to the eye ; above these thousands of buildings, whose tiled
and slated roofs formed so many strange chains, the tattooed,
figured, carved steeples and spires of the forty-four churches
of the right bank ; myriads of streets running in all direc-
tions, bounded on the one hand by a high wall with square
towers (the wall of the University had circular towers) ;
on the other by the Seine intersected by bridges and stud-
ded with craft such was the Ville in the fifteenth century.
Beyond the walls, there were suburbs crowding about
the gates, but the houses composing them were less numerous
and more scattered than in those belonging to the Uni-
versity. In the rear of the Bastille there were a score of
huts grouped about the Cross of Faubin, with its curious
sculptures, and the abbey of St. Antoine des Champs, with
its flying buttresses ; then Popincourt, lost in the corn-
fields ; then la Courtille, a jovial hamlet of pot-houses ;
the bourg St. Laurent, with its church, whose steeple
seemed at a distance to belong to the gate of St. Martin,
with its pointed towers ; the faubourg St. Denis, with the
vast enclosure of St. Ladre; beyond the gate of Mont,
martre, la Grange Bateliere, belted with white walls ,
behind it, with its chalky declivities, Montmartre, which
had then almost as many churches as windmills, but has
124 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
retained the mills only ; for the material bread is now-a-
days in more request than the spiritual. Lastly, beyond
the Louvre were seen the faubourg St. Hon ore, already
a very considerable place, stretching away into the fields,
la Petite Bretagne embosomed in wood, and the Marche
aux Pourceaux, in the centre of which stood the horrible
cauldron for boiling the coiners of counterfeit money. Be-
tween la Courtille and St. Laurent your eye has already
remarked, on the summit of a height squatted upon desert
plains, a kind of building resembling at a distance a colon-
nade in ruins. This was neither a Parthenon, nor a Temple
of the Olympian Jupiter it was Montfaucon.
Now, if the enumeration of so many edifices, concise as
we have purposely made it, has not effaced in the mind of
the reader the general image of old Paris as fast as we con-
structed it, we will compress our description into a few
words. In the centre, the island of the City resembling
in figure an enormous tortoise; its bridges scaly with slates
protruding like feet from beneath the gray shell of roofs. On
the left the dense, compact, bristling, trapezium of the
University; on the right the vast semicircle of the Ville, in
which gardens and buildings were much more intermingled.
The three divisions, City, University, and Ville, marbled
by streets without number: the Seine, the f< nourishing
Seine," as Father Du Breul calls it, studded with boats
and islands and intersected by bridges, running across the
whole. All around an immense plain chequered by hand-
some villages and cultivated lands bearing all sorts of crops ;
on the left Issy, Vanvres, Vaugirard, Montrouge, Gentilly,
with its round tower and its square tower ; on the right
twenty others, from Conflans to Ville l'Eveque. At the
horizon, a border of hills arranged in a circle, like the rim
of the basin. Lastly, in the distance, to the east, Vincennes
and its seven quadrangular towers ; to the south, Bicetre
and its pointed turrets ; to the north St. Denis and its
spire ; to the west St. Cloud and its keep. Such was the
Paris seen from the top of the towers of Notre- Dame by
the ravens living in the year 1482.
The Paris of that time was not merely a handsome city ;
it was an homogeneous city, an architectural and historical
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 125
production of the middle ages, a chronicle of stone. It
was a city formed of two strata only, the bastard Roman
and the Gothic, for the pure Roman had long before
disappeared, excepting at the Baths of Julian, where it
still peered above the thick crust of the middle ages. As
for the Celtic stratum, no specimens of that were now to
be found even in digging wells.
Fifty years later, when the regeneration came to blend
with this unity so severe and yet so diversified the dazzling
luxury of its fantasies and its systems, its extravagancies
of Roman arches, Greek columns and Gothic ellipses, its
sculpture so delicate and so ideal, its particular style of
arabesques and acanthi, its architectural paganism contem-
poraneous with Luther, Paris was perhaps still more beau-
tiful, though less harmonious to the eye and the mind.
But this splendid moment was of short duration ; the
regeneration was not impartial; it was not content with
building up, it wanted to throw down : it is true enough
that it needed room. Thus Gothic Paris was complete but
for a minute. Scarcely was St. Jacques de la Boucherie
finished when the demolition of the old Louvre was begun.
Since that time the great city has .been daily increasing
in deformity. The Gothic Paris, which swept away the
bastard Roman, has been in its turn swept away ; but can
any one tell what Paris has succeeded it?
There is the Paris of Catherine de Medici at the Tui-
leries, the Paris of Henry II. at the Hotel de Ville ; two
edifices still in a grand style ; the Paris of Henry IV. at
the Place Roy ale fronts of brick with stone quoins, and
slated roofs tricoloured houses ; the Paris of Louis XIII.
at Val de Grace a squat, clumsy style, something paunch-
bellied in the column and hunch. backed in the dome ; the
Paris of Louis XIV. at the Invalides, grand, rich, gilded,
and cold ; the Paris of Louis XV. at St. Sulpice volutes,
knots of ribands, clouds, vermicellies, chicories, and the
Lord knows what, all in stone : the Paris of Louis XVI.
at the Pantheon a wretched copy of St. Peter's at Rome;
the Paris of the Republic, at the School of Medicine a
poor Greek and Roman style, resembling the Coliseum or
the Parthenon as the constitution of the year 3 does the
126 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
laws of Minos it is called in architecture, the Messidor
style ; the Paris of Napoleon, at the Place Vendome this
is sublime a column of bronze made of cannon; the
Paris of the Restoration, at the Exchange a very white
colonnade supporting a very smooth frieze ; the whole is
square and cost twenty millions.
With each of these characteristic structures a certain
number of houses scattered over the different quarters range
themselves by a similarity of style, fashion, and attitude :
these are easily distinguished by the eye of the connoisseur.
Possessing this tact, you discover the spirit of an age and
the physiognomy of a king even in the knocker of a door.
The Paris of the present day has no general physiognomy.
It is a collection of specimens of various ages, the finest of
which have disappeared. The capital increases only in
houses, and what houses ! At the rate that Paris is now
going on, it will be renewed every fifty years. Thus the
historical signification of its architecture is daily becoming
obliterated. The monuments of past times are becoming
more and more rare, and you fancy you see them engulphed
one after another in the deluge of houses. Our fathers
had a Paris of stone ; our children will have a Paris of
As for the modern structures of new Paris we would
rather abstain from any mention of them. Not but that
we admire them quite as much as is fitting. M. Soufflot's
St. Genevieve is certainly the most beautiful Savoy cake
that ever was made in stone. The Palace of the Legion
of Honour is also a most remarkable piece of pastry. The
dome of the Halle au Ble is an English jockey-cap on a
large scale. The towers of St. Sulpice are two big clarinets,
and that is a shape as well as any other : the telegraph,
writhing and grinning, forms a charming accession upon
their roof. St. Roch has a porch comparable for magni*
ficence to that of St. Thomas Aquinas alone. It has also
a Calvary in alto-relievo in a cellar, and a sun of gilt wood.
These are absolutely wonderful things. The lantern in
the labyrinth of the Jardin des Plantes is also a most in-
genious work. As for the Exchange, which is Greek in
its colonnade, Roman in the circular arches of its doors
THE HUNCHBACK OP NOTRE-DAME. 127
and windows, and belongs to the regenerated style in its
great elliptic vault it is indubitably a most pure and
classic structure ; in proof of which it is crowned by an
attic, such as was never seen at Athens a beautiful straight
line, gracefully broken here and there by stove-pipes. Add
to this that if it is a rule that the architecture of an edifice
should be adapted to its destination in such a manner that
this destination may be obvious on a mere inspection of
the building, we cannot too highly admire a structure which
is equally suitable for a king's palace, a house of commons,
a town-hall, a college, a riding-house, an academy, a
warehouse, a court of justice, a museum, a barrack, a
sepulchre, a temple, a theatre. And after all it is an Ex-
change. A building ought moreover to be adapted to the
climate. This is evidently designed expressly for our cold
and rainy atmosphere. It has a roof nearly flat as in the
East, so that in winter, after snow, it is necessary to
sweep the roof, and it is most certain that a roof is in-
tended to be swept. As for that destination to which we
just adverted, it fulfils it marvellously well : in France it
is an Exchange, in Greece it would have been a temple.
These are no doubt most splendid structures. Add to
them a great many handsome streets, amusing and diver-
sified as the Rue de Rivoli, and I despair not that Paris,
viewed from a balloon, may some day present to the eye
that richness of lines, that luxury of details, that diversity
of aspects, a certain combination of the grand with the
simple, of the beautiful with the unexpected, which cha-
racterises a draught-board.
Admirable, however, as the Paris of the present day
appears to you, build up and put together again in ima-
gination the Paris of the fifteenth century; look at the
light through that surprising host of steeples, towers, and
belfries ; pour forth amidst the immense city, break against
the points of its islands, compress within the arches of the
bridges, the current of the Seine, with its large patches of
green and yellow, more changeable than a serpent's skin ;
define clearly the Gothic profile of this old Paris upon an
horizon of azure, make its contour float in a wintry fog
which clings to its innumerable chimneys ; drown it in
128 THE HUNCHBACK OP NOTRE-DAME.
deep night, and observe the extraordinary play of darkness
and light in this sombre labyrinth of buildings ; throw
into it a ray of moonlight, which shall show its faint outline
and cause the huge heads of the towers to stand forth from
amid the mist ; or revert to that dark picture, touch up
with shade the thousand acute angles of the spires and
gables, and make them stand out, more jagged than a
shark's jaw, upon the copper- coloured sky of evening. Now
compare the two.
And if you would receive from the ancient city an im-
pression which the modern cannot produce, ascend on the
morning of some high festival, at sun-rise on Easter or
Whitsunday, to some elevated point from which you may
overlook the whole capital, and listen to the awaking of
the bells. Behold at a signal proceeding from heaven, for
'tis the Sun himself that gives it, those thousand churches
trembling all at once. At first solitary tinkles pass from
church to church, as when musicians give notice that they
are going to begin. Then see, for at certain times the ear
too seems to be endued with sight see how, all of a
sudden, at the same moment, there rises from each steeple
as it were a column of sound, a cloud of harmony. At
first the vibration of each bell rises straight, pure, and in
a manner separate from that of the others, into the splendid
morning sky ; then swelling by degrees, they blend, melt,
amalgamate into a magnificent concert. It is now but one
mass of sonorous vibrations, issuing incessantly from the
innumerable steeples, which floats, undulates, bounds,
whirls over the city, and expands far beyond the horizon
the deafening circle of its oscillations. That sea of har-
mony, however, is not a chaos. Vast and deep as it is,
it has not lost its transparency : you see in it each group
of notes that has flown from the belfries, winding along
apart; you may follow the dialogue, by turns low and
shrill ; you may see the octaves skipping from steeple
to steeple ; you watch them springing light, winged,
sonorous, from the silver bell, dropping dull, faint, and
feeble, from the wooden ; you admire the rich gamut in-
cessantly running up and down the seven bells of St.
Eustache ; you see clear and rapid notes dart about in all
THE I1LNCIIBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 12Q
directions, make three or four luminous zigzags, and vanish
like lightning. Down yonder, the abbey of St. Martin
sends forth its harsh, sharp tones ; here the Bastille raises
its sinister and husky voice ; at the other extremity, it is
the great tower of the Louvre, with its counter-tenor. The
royal chimes of the palace throw out incessantly on all
sides resplendent trills, upon which falls, at measured
intervals, the heavy toll from the belfry of Notre- Dame,
which makes them sparkle like the anvil under the hammer.
From time to time you see tones of all shapes, proceeding
from the triple peal of St. Germain des Pres passing be-
fore you. Then again, at intervals, this mass of sublime
sounds opens and makes way for the strette of the Ave
Maria, which glistens like an aigrette of stars. Beneath,
in the deepest part of the concert, you distinguish con-
fusedly the singing within the churches, which transpires
through the vibrating pores of their vaults. Verily this is
an opera which is well worth listening to. In an ordinary
way, the noise issuing from Paris in the day-time is the
talking of the city ; at night it is the breathing of the city ;
in this case it is the singing of the city. Lend your ear
then to this tutti of steeples ; diffuse over the whole the
buzz of half a million of human beings, the eternal mur-
mur of the river, the infinite piping of the wind, the grave
and distant quartet of the four forests placed like immense
organs on the four hills of the horizon ; soften down, as
with a demi-tint, all that is too shrill and too harsh in
the central mass of sound and say if you know any
thing in the world more rich, more gladdening, more
dazzling, than that tumult of bells; than that furnace
of music ; than those ten thousand brazen tones breathed
all at once from flutes of stone three hundred feet high ;
than that city which is but one orchestra ; than that
symphony rushing and roaring like a tempest.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
130 THE HUNCHBACK OK NOTRE-DAME.
VOLUME THE SECOND.
Sixteen years before the period of the events recorded in
this history, one fine morning it happened to be Quasi-
modo Sunday a living creature was laid after mass in
the church of Notre- Dame in the wooden bed walled into
the porch on the left hand, opposite to that great image of
St. Christopher which faced the kneeling figure sculptured
in stone of Antoine des Essarts, knight, till 1413, when
both saint and sinner were thrown down. On this wooden
bed it was customary to expose foundlings to the public
charity. Any one took them who felt so disposed. Be-
fore the wooden bed was a copper basin to receive the alms
of the charitable.
The living creature which lay upon this hard couch on
the morning of Quasimodo Sunday, in the year of our
Lord 1467, appeared to excite a high degree of curiosity
in the considerable concourse of persons who had collected
around it. They consisted chiefly of the fair sex, being
almost all of them old women.
In the front row, nearest to the bed, were four whom
from their grey cassock you would judge to belong to some
religious sisterhood. I see no reason why history should
not transmit to posterity the names of these four discreet
and venerable matrons. They were Agnes la Herme,
Jehanne de la Tarme, Henriette la Gaultiere, and Gau-
chere la Violette, all four widows, and sisters of the chapel
of Etienne Haudrv, who had left their house with the
THE HUNCHBACK OF N0TRE-DA3IE. 131
permission of their superior, and agreeably to the statutes of
Pierre d'Ailly, for the purpose of attending divine service.
If, however, these good creatures were observing the
statutes of Pierre d'Ailly, they were certainly violating at
the moment those of Michel de Brache and the Cardinal of
Pisa, which most inhumanly imposed upon them the law
w What is that, sister ? " said Agnes to Gauchere, look-
ing intently at the little creature, yelping and writhing on
the wooden couch, and terrified at the number of strange
" What will the world come to," said Jehanne, " if
that is the way they make children now-a-days ? "
u I don't pretend to know much about children," re-
joined Agnes, " but it must be a sin to look at that thing."
" 'T is not a child, Agnes 't is a mis-shapen ape," ob-
" 'T is a miracle !" ejaculated La Gaultiere.
" Then," remarked Agnes, " this is the third since Lae-
tare Sunday, for it is not a week since we had the miracle
of the scoffer of the pilgrims punished by our Lady of
Aubervilliers, and that was the second miracle of the
<e This foundling, as they call it, is a real monster of
abomination," resumed Jehanne.
" He bellows loud enough to deafen a chanter," con-
" And to pretend that Monsieur de Reims could send
this fright to Monsieur de Paris ! " added La Gaultiere,
clasping her hands.
" I cannot help thinking," said Agnes la Herme, " that
it is some brute, something between a Jew and a beast
something in short that is not Christian, and ought to be
drowned or burned."
" I do hope," resumed La Gaultiere, " that nobody will
apply for it."
Good God !" exclaimed Agnes, " how I pity the poor
nurses at the foundling hospital in the lane yonder going
down to the river, close by the archbishop's, if this little
1.32 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
monster should be carried to them to be suckled ! Why,
I declare, I would rather suckle a vampire ! "
" Poor la Herme! what a simpleton she is!" rejoined
Jehanne. " Don't you see, sister, that this little monster
is at least four years old, and that he would like a lump of
meat a deal better than your breast ? "
In fact, " this little monster" we should be puzzled
ourselves to call it any thing else was not a new-born
infant. It was a little, shapeless, moving mass, tied up in
a hempen bag, marked with the initials of Guillaume
Chartier, the then Bishop of Paris, and leaving the head
alone exposed. And that head was so deformed as to be
absolutely hideous : nothing was to be seen upon it but a
forest of red hair, one eye, a mouth, and teeth. The eye
wept, the mouth cried, and the teeth seemed sadly in want
of something to bite. The whole was struggling in the
sack, to the no small wonderment of the crowd incessantly
coming and going and increasing around it.
Dame Aloise de Gondelaurier, a noble and wealthy lady,
who held by the hand a sweet little girl about six years
old, and had a long veil hanging from the gold peak of her
bonnet, stopped before the bed, and for a moment sur-
veyed the unfortunate creature, while her charming little
daughter Fleur-de-lys, dressed entirely in silk and velvet,
pointing with her delicate finger to each letter of the per-
manent inscription attached to the wooden bed, spelt the
words Enfans Trouves [Foundlings].
" I really thought," said the lady, turning away with
disgust, w that children only were exposed here."
As she turned her back, she threw into the basin a silver
florin, which rang among the liards, and made the poor
sisters of the chapel of Etienne Haudry lift their eyes in
A moment afterwards, the grave and learned Robert
Mistricolle, the king's prothonotary, passed with an enor-
mous missal under one arm, and his wife, Damoiselle Guille-
mette la Mairesse, under the other, thus having at his side
two regulators, the one spiritual, the other temporal.
tc A foundling!" he exclaimed, after intently examining
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 133
the object " found apparently on the bank of the Phle-
" He seems to have but one eye," observed Damoiselle
Guillemette ; " and there is a great wart over the other."
" 'Tis no wart/' replied Master Robert Mistricolle,
u but an egg, which contains another demon exactly like
this, with another little egg, containing a third devil, and
' ' La ! how know you that ? " asked Guillemette.
" I know it pertinently," replied the prothonotary.
" Mr. Prothonotary," enquired Gauchere, " what pro-
phesy you from this kind of foundling ? "
" The greatest calamities," replied Mistricolle.
' ' Gracious Heaven ! " exclaimed an old woman who
stood by, " no wonder we had such a pestilence last year,
and that the English, it is said, are going to land in force
" Perhaps that may not prevent the queen from coming
to Paris in September," rejoined another : " trade is very
" I am of opinion," cried Jehanne de la Tarme, " that
it would be better for the people of Paris, if that little sor-
cerer were lying upon a faggot than upon a plank."
" Ay a bonny blazing one !" added the old dame.
" That might be more prudent," observed Mistricolle.
For some moments, a young priest had been listening to
the comments of the women and the prothonotary. He was
a man of an austere countenance, with an ample brow and
piercing eye. Pushing aside the crowd without speaking,
he examined " the little sorcerer," and extended his hand
over him. It was high time, for all the pious by-standers
were agog for the " bonny blazing faggot."
" I adopt this child," said the priest.
He wrapped him in his cassock and carried him away.
The by-standers looked after him with horror, till he had
passed the Porte-Rouge which then led from the church to
the cloisters, and was out of sight.
When they had recovered from their first astonishment,
Jehanne de la Tarme, stooping till her lips were near the
134. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
ear of La Gaultiere, " Sister/' whispered she, " did I not
tell you that yon young clerk, Monsieur Claude Frollo, is a
sorcerer ? "
Claude Frollo was, in fact, no ordinary personage. He
belonged to one of those families who, in the impertinent
language of the last century, were called indiscriminately
haute bourgeoisie or petite noblesse. This family had in-
herited from the Paclets the fief of Tirechappe, which was
held under the Bishop of Paris, and the twenty-one houses of
which had been in the thirteenth century the subject of so
many pleadings before the official. Claude Frollo, as pos-
sessor of this fief, was one of the one hundred and forty-one
seigneurs, who claimed manorial rights in Paris and its
suburbs ; and as such his name was long to be seen re-
gistered between the Hotel de Tancarville, belonging to
Master Francois de Rez, and the College de Tours, in
the cartulary preserved in the church of St. Martin-des-
Claude Frollo had from his childhood been destined by
his parents for the church. He was taught to read Latin,
to cast down his eyes, and to speak low. While quite a
boy, his father had placed him in the College of Torchi in
the University ; and there he had grown up on the missal
and the lexicon.
For the rest, he was a dull, grave, serious boy, who stu-