neck, and a wand in his hand. " Usher, bring in the se-
All eyes turned towards a small door which opened, and,
to the extreme agitation of Gringoire, in walked a pretty
goat with gilt horns and hoofs.
The elegant creature stop-
ped for a moment on the threshold, stretching out her neck,
as if, perched on the point of some rock, she was overlook-
ing a vast plain beneath her. All at once she descried the
Bohemian, and, springing over the table and the head of a
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
clerk of the court, in two leaps she was at her knees ; she
then nestled gracefully on the feet of her mistress, soliciting
a word or a caress : but the prisoner remained motionless,
and poor Djali herself could not obtain even a look.
" Nay, by my fay ! 'tis the same nasty beast/' cried old
Falourdel. " I could swear positively to them both."
" If it so pleaseth you, my lord and gentlemen/' began
Charmolue, " we will proceed to the examination of the
The second prisoner was the goat, sure enough. Nothing
was more common in those days than to indict animals lor
sorcery. In the accounts of the provosty for 1466, we
find, among others, the curious details of the costs of the
trial of Gillet-Soulart and his sow, " executed for their
crimes at Corbeil." Every item is there : the charge for
the place of confinement made for the sow, the five hundred
bundles of wood carried to the port of Morsant, the three
quarts of wine and the bread, the last meal of the sufferer,
fraternally shared by the executioner, even to the eleven
days' keep and subsistence of the sow at eight deniers Pa-
risis each. Sometimes, indeed, our pious ancestors went still
farther than animals. The capitularies of Charlemagne
and Louis le Debonnaire decree the infliction of severe pu-
nishments upon those luminous phantoms which have the
audacity to appear in the air.
The proctor of the ecclesiastical court then pronounced
this solemn denunciation: " If the demon which pos-
sesses this goat, and which has withstood all the exorcisms
that have been tried, persists in his wicked courses, and
shocks the court with them, we forewarn him that we shall
be forced to demand that he be sentenced to the gallows or
Cold perspiration covered the face of Gringoire. Char-
molue took from a table the tambourine of the Egyptian,
held it in a particular way to the goat, and asked, " What
hour is it ?
The goat eyed him with intelligent look, raised her gilt
foot and struck seven strokes. It was actually seven o'clock.
A shudder of terror thrilled the crowd. Gringoire could
no longer contain himself.
268 THE HUNCHBACK OF ZfOTBS-DAME.
" The creature will be her own destruction ! " he ex-
claimed aloud. " See you not that she knows not what she
does ? "
" Silence among the lieges in the court ! " cried the usher,
Jacques Charmolue, by shifting the tambourine in various
ways, made the goat exhibit several other tricks respecting
the day of the month, the month of the year, and so forth,
which the reader has already witnessed : and, from an op-
tical delusion peculiar to judicial proceedings, the very same
spectators, who had perhaps many a time applauded the in-
nocent pranks of Djali in the streets, were horror-stricken
at them within the walls of the Palace of Justice. The
goat was decidedly the devil.
But when the king's proctor had emptied out upon the
table a little leathern bag filled with detached letters which
Djali had about her neck, and the goat was seen sorting
out with her foot the separate letters of the fatal name
Phozbus ; the spells to which the captain had fallen a vic-
tim appeared to be irresistibly demonstrated, in the opinion
of all ; and the Bohemian, that exquisite dancer, who had
so often enchanted the gazers with her graceful perform-
ances, was an odious witch.
The poor girl, meanwhile, exhibited not the least sign of
life : neither the fond evolutions of her Djali, nor the threats
of the judges, nor the muttered imprecations of the audi-
ence, were noticed by her. In order to rouse her, a ser-
geant went to her, and shook her most unmercifully, while
the president, raising his voice in a solemn tone, thus spoke :
" Girl, you are of Bohemian race, addicted to unrigh-
teous deeds. In company with the bewitched goat, your ac-
complice, implicated in this indictment, you did, on the
night of the 29th of March last, in concert with the powers
of darkness, and by the aid of charms and unlawful prac-
tices, stab and slay Phcebus de Chateaupers, captain of the
archers of the king's ordnance. Do you persist in denying
" O horror of horrors ! " exclaimed the prisoner, cover-
ing her face with her hands. " O my Phoebus ! This is
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTBE-DAME. 26'9
" Do you persist in denying it ? " asked the president,
" Do I deny it ! " said she in a fearful tone, and with
flashing eye, as she rose from her seat.
u Then/' proceeded the president, calmly, " how do you
explain the facts laid to your charge ? "
In broken accents, she replied : " I have already told you.
I know not. It was a priest a priest, a stranger to me
an infernal priest who haunts me !"
"There it is!" resumed the judge <e the goblin-
" O sirs, have pity upon me ! I am but a poor girl. . . ."
" Of Egypt," continued the judge.
Master Jacques Charmolue, in his gentlest, softest tone,
then said, ec In consequence of the painful obstinacy of
the prisoner, I demand the application of the torture."
" Granted," said the president.
The unhappy girl shook all over. She rose, however,
at the order of the halberdiers, and, preceded by Charmolue
and the officers of the officiality, walked with tolerably firm
step, between two files of partisans, towards a low door,
which suddenly opened, and closed after her. To Grin-
goire it seemed as though she had been swallowed up by the
gaping jaws of some monster. As soon as she had disap-
peared, a plaintive bleating was heard. It was the poor
goat bewailing the loss of her mistress.
The proceedings were suspended. A counsellor observed
that the judges must be fatigued, and that they would be
detained a long time if they waited for the conclusion of
the torture ; to which the president replied, that a magis-
trate ought to have learned to sacrifice personal convenience
to his duty.
" The provoking hussy ! " said an old judge, " to bring
the torture upon herself just now, when we ought to be at
supper ! "
270 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME
SEQUEL TO THE CROWN TRANSFORMED INTO A DRY LEAF.
Having ascended and descended some steps in passages
so dark that they were lighted in broad day by lamps^ La
Esmeralda, still surrounded by her dismal escort, was thrust
by the sergeants of the Palace into a room of sinister aspect.
This room, of circular shape, occupied the ground-floor of
one of the towers that at the present day still perforate
the stratum of modern edifices with which new Paris has
covered the old city. There were no windows in this dun-
geon, neither was there any other aperture than the low en-
trance closed by a strong iron door. At the same time
there was no want of light : in the massive substance of
the wall there was a furnace, in which burned a large fire,
that threw a red glare over the den, and quite eclipsed the
light of a miserable candle placed in a corner. The iron
portcullis, which served as a door to the furnace, was drawn
up at that moment, so that at its flaming mouth there
were to be seen only the lower extremities of its bars, re-
sembling a row of black, sharp, parted teeth ; which made
the furnace look like the mouth of one of those dragons of
the legends vomiting fire and smoke. By the light which
it diffused, the prisoner perceived around the room a variety
of instruments, the uses of which were unknown to her.
In the middle was a leathern mattress laid almost flat upon
the floor, on which hung a thong with a buckle, fastened
to a copper ring, which a grotesque monster sculptured in
the keystone of the vaulted ceiling held between his teeth.
Tongs, pincers, broad ploughshares, lay pell-mell, heating
in the fire in the interior of the furnace. Its blood-red
flare presented to the eye in the whole circumference of the
chamber nought but an assemblage of fearful objects. This
Tartarus was merely called the chamber of the question.
On the bed was carelessly seated Pierrat Torterue, the
" sworn tormentor." His assistants, two square-faced
THE HUNCHBACK OP NOTRE-DAME. 271
gnomes, with leathern aprons and linen breeches, were
stirring the coals under the iron implements.
The poor girl had need to muster her courage : on en-
tering this den she was struck with horror. The sergeants
of the bailiff of the Palace ranged themselves on one side,
and the priests of the officiality on the other. In one
corner was a table, at which sat a clerk with pen, ink, and
Master Jacques Charmolue approached the Egyptian with
one of his kindest smiles. " My dear girl," said he, u do
you persist in your denial ? "
<( Yes," she replied in a voice scarcely audible.
" In that case," rejoined Charmolue, u it will be very
painful to us to question you more urgently than we would.
Take the trouble to sit down on this bed. Master Pierrat,
give place to this young woman, and shut the door."
Pierrat rose growling. " If I shut the door," muttered
he, u my fire will go out,"
* Well then, my good fellow," replied Charmolue, " leave
Meanwhile La Esmeralda remained standing. That
leathern bed, on which so many wretched creatures had
writhed in agony, frightened her. Horror thrilled the
very marrow of her bones : there she stood bewildered,
stupified. At a sign from Charmolue, the two assistants
laid hold of her, and placed her in a sitting posture on the
bed. Those men did not hurt her, but when they grasped
her, when the leather touched her, she felt all her blood
flow back to her heart. She looked wildly around the
room. She fancied that she saw those ugly implements of
torture which were, among the instruments of all kinds
that she had hitherto seen, what bats, millepedes, and
spiders are among birds and reptiles quitting their places
and advancing from every part of the room towards her,
to crawl over her, and to bite, pinch, and sting her.
" Where is the doctor ? " asked Charmolue.
w Here," answered a man in a black gown, whom she
had not yet noticed.
" Demoiselle," resumed the smooth tongue of the
272 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE D.4ME.
proctor of the ecclesiastical court, " for the third time,
do you persist in denying the charges preferred against
This time her voice failed : she was able only to nod an
** You persist " cried Charmolue. " I am very sorry
for it, but I am obliged to perform the duty of my
u Mr. Proctor," said Pierrat, abruptly, " what shall we
begin with ? "
Charmolue paused for a moment, with the ambiguous
grimace of a poet at a loss for a rhyme. " With the
buskin," he at length replied.
The unfortunate girl felt herself so totally abandoned by
God and man, that her head sank upon her bosom, like
something inert and destitute of animation. The tormentor
and the physician approached her together : at the same
time the two assistants began to rummage in their hideous
arsenal. At the clanking of the horrible irons, the un-
happy girl shivered like a dead frog subjected to the action
of galvanism. " Oh my Phcebus ! " murmured she, in so
low a tone as to be inaudible. She then relapsed into her
former insensibility and deathlike silence. This sight
would have rent any other heart than the hearts of judges.
The wretched being to whom all this tremendous apparatus
of saws, wheels, and pulleys was about to be applied ; the
being about to be consigned to the iron gripe of execution-
ers and pincers, was that gentle, tender, frail creature
poor grain of millet, given up by human justice to be
ground in the horrible mill of the torture !
Meanwhile the horny hands of Pierrat's men had bru-
tally stripped that beautiful leg, and that small elegant foot,
which had so often delighted the bystanders with their
gracefulness and agility in the streets of Paris. u 'T is a
pity !" muttered the tormentor, surveying those graceful
and delicate forms. Had the archdeacon been present, he
would assuredly have bethought him at that moment of his
symbol of the spider and the fly. Presently the poor girl
saw through the cloud that spread itself before her eyes
the buskin approaching ; presently her foot was hidden
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 273
from sight in the iron-bound apparatus. Terror then re-
stored her strength. " Take it off!" cried she wildly, at
the same time starting up. <c For mercy's sake ! " She
sprang from the bed with the intention of throwing her-
self at the feet of the king's proctor ; but, her leg being
confined in the heavy block of oak sheathed with iron, she
sank down powerless as a bee having its wings loaded with
lead. On a sign from Charmolue, she was replaced on the
bed, and two coarse hands fastened round her slender waist
the thong that hung from the ceiling.
" For the last time/' said Charmolue, with his im-
perturbable benignity, te do you confess the crimes laid to
" I am innocent."
c( Then how do you explain the circumstances alleged
against you ? ''
' Alas, sir, I know not."
" You deny then ? "
" Every thing ! "
" Begin," said Charmolue to Pierrat.
Pierrat turned a screw ; the buskin became more and
more contracted, and the wretched sufferer gave one of
those horrible shrieks which baffle the orthography of every
e< Hold ! " said Charmolue to Pierrat. " Do you con-
fess ? " he then asked the Egyptian.
" Every thing ! " cried the miserable girl. " I confess
mercy ! mercy ! "
In defying the torture she had not calculated her
strength. Poor thing ! her life had till then been so
bright, so cheery, so joyous ! the first pang overcame
" Humanity obliges me to inform you/' observed the
king's proctor, * that, though you confess, you have nothing
but death to expect."
" I wish for it," said she. And she sank back upon the
leathern bed, suspended, as if lifeless, by the thong buckled
round her waist.
" So, my pretty ! hold up a little ! " said Master Pier-
274 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
rat, raising her. i( You look like the golden sheep about
the neck of Monsieur of Burgundy."
Jacques Charmolue again raised his voice. " Clerk,
write. Bohemian girl, you confess your participation in
the feasts, sabbaths, and practices of hell, with daemons,
sorcerers, and witches ? Answer."
" Yes," said she in so low a tone as to be scarcely heard.
<( You confess that you have seen the ram, which Beelze-
bub displays in the clouds to summon his children to their
sabbath, and which is seen only by sorcerers ? ff
"You confess that you have had commerce with the
devil in the shape of the goat implicated in^ these pro-
ceedings ? "
" Lastly, you declare and confess that, instigated by, and
with the assistance of the devil and the goblin-monk, you
did, on the night of the 29th of March last, kill and slay a
captain, named Phcebus de Chateaupers ? "
She fixed her glazed eyes upon the magistrate, and re-
plied, as if mechanically, without shock or convulsion,
(C Yes." It was evident that her spirit was utterly broken.
" Write, clerk,"' said Charmolue. Then turning to Pier-
rat's men : u Loose the prisoner/' he proceeded, ' ( and let
her be taken back into court." When the buskin was
removed, the proctor examined her foot, still numbed with
the pain. " Come, come," said he, (( 'tis not much the worse.
You cried out in time. You would soon be able to dance
as well as ever, my beauty ! " Then addressing the priests
of the officiality, f( Justice is enlightened at last," said he.
" 'Tis a consolation, gentlemen ! and the damsel will bear
witness that we have shown her all possible lenity."
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 275
CONCLUSION OF THE CROWN TRANSFORMED INTO A DRY LEAF.
When she again entered the court, pale and halting, she
was greeted with a general buzz of pleasure. On the part
of the auditory, it arose from that feeling of gratified im-
patience which is experienced at the theatre, at the con-
clusion of the last interlude of a play, when the curtain
rises, and the fifth act begins ; and on the part of the
judges, from the prospect of being soon dismissed to their
suppers. The poor little goat, too, bleated for joy. She
would have run to her mistress, but she had been tied to a
It was now dark night. The candles, having received
no accession to their number, gave so faint a light that the
walls of the court were not discernible. The darkness
enveloped objects in a sort of haze. A few unfeeling faces
of judges alone were with difficulty distinguishable. Op-
posite to them, at the other extremity of the long hall, they
could perceive an undefined patch of white moving along
the dark floor. It was the prisoner.
She advanced with faltering steps to her place. When
Charmolue had magisterially resumed possession of his, he
sat down ; presently rising again, he said, without too
strongly betraying the vanity of success : " The accused has
confessed the crime/'
" Bohemian girl," began the president, " you have con-
fessed then all your misdeeds of magic, of prostitution, and
of murder committed on the body of Phcebus de Chateau-
pers ? "
Her heart was wrung, and she was heard to sob in the
dark. " Whatever you please, " answered she faintly,
" only put me to death soon ! "
iC Mr. Proctor,'* said the president, " the court is ready to
hear your requisitions."
$76 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
Master Charmolue produced a tremendous roll of paper,
from which he began to read with abundant gesticulation,
and the exaggerated emphasis of the bar, a Latin oration,
in which all the evidence was built upon Ciceronian peri-
phrases, flanked by quotations from Plautus, his favourite
comic writer. We are sorry that we cannot treat the
reader to this delectable composition. The orator delivered
it with wonderful action. Before he had finished the
exordium, big drops of perspiration trickled from his brow,
and his eyes appeared to be starting from his head. All at
once, he stopped short in the middle of a sentence. His
look, which was wont to be so bland, nay even so stupid,
became terrific. " Gentlemen," cried he now deigning
to speak in French, for it was not in his manuscript
" to such a degree is Satan mixed up in this business, that
yonder he is personally present at our proceedings, and
making a mock of their majesty !" As he thus spoke, he
pointed with his finger at the little goat, which, observing
the gesticulations of Charmolue, had seated herself upon her
haunches, and was imitating as well as she could, with her
fore-paws and her bearded head, the pathetic pantomime
of the king's proctor in the ecclesiastical court. The
reader will recollect that this was one of her most diverting
tricks. This incident, the last proof, produced a powerful
effect. To put an end to this scandal, the goat's legs were
bound, and the king's proctor resumed the thread of his
eloquent harangue. It was very long, but the winding-up
was admirable. He concluded with requiring that the
prisoner should be condemned, in the first place to pay a
certain pecuniary indemnity ; in the second, to do pen-
ance before the grand porch of Notre-Dame ; and thirdly,
to be taken with her goat to the Place de Greve, and there
He put on his cap and sat down.
A man in a black gown, near the prisoner, then rose : it
was her advocate. The judges, feeling in want of their
supper, began to murmur.
u Be brief," said the president.
u My lord/ replied the advocate, <e since the prisoner
has confessed the crime, I have but a few words to offer
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 277
In the Salic law there is this clause : ' If a witch have
eaten a man, and she be convicted of it, she shall pay
a fine of eight thousand deniers, which make two hundred
sous in gold/ May it please the court then to sentence
my client to pay this fine."
w That clause is become obsolete," said the advocate
extraordinary to the king.
" Nego ! " replied the advocate of the prisoner.
" To the vote ! " said a counsellor : t( the crime is
proved, and it is late."
The question was put to the vote without leaving the
court. The judges decided off-hand : they were pressed
for time. Their capped heads were seen uncovered one
after another in the dusk, as the question was put to them
successively in a low tone by the judge. The poor pri-
soner appeared to be looking at them ; but her dim eye no
longer saw the objects before it.
The clerk of the court began writing, and then handed
a long parchment to the president. The unhappy girl
heard a bustle among the people, pikes clashing together,
and a chilling voice pronounce these words :
" Bohemian girl, on such day as it shall please our
lord the king, at the hour of noon, you shall be drawn in
a tumbrel, stripped to your shift, barefoot, with a rope
about your neck, to the great porch of the church of
Notre-Dame, and shall there do penance, holding in your
hand a wax taper of two pounds' weight ; and thence you
shall be taken to the Place de Greve, and there hanged by
the neck on the gallows of the City ; and this your goat
likewise ; and you shall pay to the official three gold lions
in reparation of the crimes by you committed and by you
confessed, of sorcery, magic, incontinence, and murder
done upon the body of Sieur Phcebus de Chateaupers. God
receive your soul ! "
" Oh ! 'tis a dream ! " murmured the prisoner, and she
felt rough hands bearing her away.
278 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
LASCIATE OGNI SPERANZA.
In the middle ages, when a building was complete, there
was almost as much of it under ground as above. A palace,
a fortress, a church, had always a double basement, unless it
stood upon piles like Notre-Dame. Under a cathedral there
was a kind of subterraneous church, low, dark, mysterious,
blind, and mute, beneath the upper nave, which was
resplendent with light and rang with the pealing of organs
and bells, night and day : sometimes it was a catacomb.
In palaces, in bastilles, it was a prison, sometimes a sepul-
chre, and sometimes both together. These mighty edifices,
the mode of whose formation and vegetation we have else-
where described, had not merely foundations, but, as it were,
roots, which shot out into the soil in chambers, in galleries,
in staircases, like the building above them. Thus churches,
palaces, bastilles, were buried up to the middle in the
ground. The vaults of a building were another building,
to which you descended instead of ascending, and which
clapped its subterraneous stories beneath the exterior stories
of the edifice, like those woods and mountains which ap-
pear reversed in the mirror of a lake beneath the woods
and mountains rising from its banks.
At the Bastille St. Antoine, at the Palace of Justice, at
the Louvre, these subterraneous edifices were prisons. The
stories of these prisons became more and more contracted
and gloomy, the lower you descended. They were so
many zones pervaded by different shades of horror.
Dante could not find any thing more suitable for his hell.
These funnels of dungeons usually terminated in a deep
hole gradually widening from the bottom upward, in which
Dante has placed his Satan, but where society confined
culprits under sentence of death. When once a miserable
wretch was thus buried, farewell to light, to air, to life, to
every hope : there was no leaving the place but for the
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 279
gallows or the stake. Sometimes the prisoner was left to
moulder there : human justice called this forgetting. The
condemned felt himself cut off from his kind by a superin-
cumbent mountain of stones and a host of gaolers ; and
the entire prison, the massive bastille, was but one enor-
mous complicated lock, which shut him out from the living
Into a dungeon of this kind the oubliettes dug by Saint
Louis, the in pace of the Tournelle La Esmeralda was
thrust after her condemnation, no doubt for fear of escape,
with the colossal Palace of Justice over her head. Poor
girl ! she could not have stirred the smallest of the stones
of which it was built. There needed not such a profusion