expressly for the Princess of Flanders."
" Will there be any love-songs in it ? " asked Gisquette.
18 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
" O fie ! in a morality !" said the unknown ; u they
would be inconsistent with the character of the piece.
it were a mummery, well and good."
" What a pity !" exclaimed Gisquette. " On that day
there were at the conduit of Ponceau wild men and women
who fought together, and put themselves into a great many
attitudes, singing little songs all the while."
<c What is fit for a legate/' drily replied the unknown,
" may not be fit for a princess."
" And near them," resumed Lienarde, " was a band of
musicians playing delightful tunes."
" And, for the refreshment of passengers," continued
Gisquette, " the conduit threw out wine, milk, and hy-
pocras, at three mouths, for every one to drink that listed."
" And a little below the Ponceau," proceeded Lienarde,
l: at the Trinity, the Passion was represented by persons,
" If I recollect right," cried Gisquette, " it was Christ
on the cross, and the two thieves on the right and left."
Here the young gossips, warming at the recollection of
the entry of Monsieur the legate, began to speak both to-
" And further on, at the Porte aux Peintres, there were
other characters magnificently dressed."
" And at the conduit of St. Innocent, a hunter pur-
suing a doe with a great noise of dogs and horns."
" And then, at the shambles, those scaffolds representing
Dieppe ! "
ft And when the legate passed, you know, Gisquette,
how our people attacked it, and all the English had their
" And then the superb personages at the Pont au Change,
which was covered all over with an awning."
" And as the legate passed, more than two hundred
dozen of all sorts of birds were let loose upon the bridge.
What a fine sight that was, Lienarde ! "
" This will be a finer to-day," remarked the interlocutor,
who seemed to listen to them with impatience.
" You promise us, then, that this mystery will be a very
fine one?" said Gisquette.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 19
" Certainly/' replied he, adding, with a degree of em-
phasis, " I made it myself."
" Indeed ! " exclaimed the young females in amazement.
" Indeed ! " responded the poet, bridling up a little ;
" that is to say, there are two of us ; Jehan Marchand,
who sawed the planks and put together the wood-work of
the theatre, and I who wrote the piece. My name is Pierre
The author of the Cid could not have said with greater
pride, Pierre Corneille.
Our readers may probably have perceived that some time
must have elapsed, between the moment when Jupiter dis-
appeared behind the tapestry and that in which the author
of the new morality revealed himself so abruptly to the
simple admiration of Gisquette and Lienarde. It was an
extraordinary circumstance that the crowd, a few minutes
before so tumultuous, now waited most meekly on the faith
of the comedian ; which proves that everlasting truth, con-
firmed by daily experience in our theatres, that the best
way to make the public wait with patience is to affirm that
you are just going to begin.
At any rate, the young scholar Joannes did not fall asleep
at his post.
" Soho, there !" he shouted all at once, amidst the quiet
expectation which had succeeded the disturbance. " Jupiter,
Madame the Virgin, puppets of the devil, are ye making
your game of us ? The mystery ! The mystery ! Begin at
once, or look to yourselves."
This was quite enough to produce the desired effect. A
band of instruments, high and low, in the interior of the
theatre, commenced playing ; the tapestry was raised, and
forth came four persons bepainted and bedecked with various
colours, who climbed the rude stage-ladder, and, on reach-
ing the upper platform, drew up in a row before the au-
dience, to whom they paid the usual tribute of low obeisance.
The symphony ceased, and the mystery commenced.
The performers, having been liberally repaid for their
obeisances with applause, began, amidst solemn silence on
the part of the audience, a prologue, which we gladly spare
the reader. On this occasion, as it often happens at the
20 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
present day, the. public bestowed much more attention on
the dresses of the performers than on the speeches which
they had to deliver ; and, to confess the truth, the public
were in the right. All four were habited in robes half white
and half yellow, which differed in nothing but the nature
of the stuff; the first being of gold and silver brocade,
the second of silk, the third of woollen, and the fourth of
linen. The first of these personages carried a sword in
the right hand, the second two gold keys, the third a pair
of scales, and the fourth a spade ; and, to assist those dull
perceptions which might not have seen clearly through
the transparency of these attributes, there was embroidered
in large black letters at the bottom of the robe of brocade,
" My name is Nobility;" at the bottom of the silken
robe, "My name js Clergy;" at the bottom of the
woollen robe, " My name is Trade;" and at the bottom
of the linen robe, iC My name is Labour." The sex of
the two male characters, Clergy and Labour, was sufficiently
indicated to every intelligent spectator by the shortness of
their robes and the fashion of their caps, whilst the two fe-
males had longer garments and hoods upon their heads.
Any person, too, must have been exceedingly perverse
or impenetrably obtuse, not to collect from the prologue
that Labour was wedded to Trade, and Clergy to Nobility;
and that the two happy couples were the joint possessors
of a magnificent golden dolphin, which they intended to
adjudge to the most beautiful of women. Accordingly,
they were travelling through the world in quest of this
beauty ; and, after successively rejecting the Queen of Gol-
conda, the Princess of Trebisond, the daughter of the great
Khan of Tartary, and many others, Labour and Clergy,
Nobility and Trade, had come to rest themselves upon the
marble table of the Palace of Justice ; at the same time
bestowing on the honest auditory as many maxims and
apophthegms, as could in those days have been picked up
at the Faculty of Arts, at the examinations, disputations,
and acts, at which masters take their caps and their degrees.
All this was really exceedingly fine ; but yet, among the
whole concourse upon whom the four allegorical personages
were pouring, as if in emulation of each other, torrents o!
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 21
metaphors, there was not a more attentive ear, a more
vehemently throbbing heart, a wilder-looking eye, a more
outstretched neck, than the eye, the ear, the neck, and the
heart of the author, of the poet, of the worthy Pierre Grin-
goire, who a few moments before could not deny himself
the pleasure of telling his name to two handsome girls, |***
had retired a few paces from them, behind his pillar ; and
there he listened, he watched, he relished. The hearty
applause which had greeted the opening of his prologue
still rang in his ears ; and he was completely absorbed in
that kind of ecstatic contemplation with which an author
sees his ideas drop one by one from the lips of the actor,
amid the silence of a vast assembly.
With pain we record it, this first ecstasy was soon dis-
turbed. Scarcely had Gringoire raised to his lips the in-
toxicating cup of joy and triumph, when it was dashed with
A ragged mendicant, who could make nothing by his
vocation, lost as he was among the crowd, and who had,
probably, not found a sufficient indemnity in the pockets of
his neighbours, conceived the idea of perching himself upon
some conspicuous point, for the purpose of attracting notice
and alms. During the delivery of the prologue, he had
accordingly scrambled, by the aid of the pillars of the re-
served platform, up to the cornice which ran round it below
the balustrade, and there he seated himself silently, soli-
citing the notice and the pity of the multitude by his rags
and a hideous sore which covered his right arm.
The prologue was proceeding without molestation, when,
as ill luck would have it, Joannes Frollo, from the top of
his pillar, espied the mendicant and his grimaces. An
outrageous fit of laughter seized the young wag, who, caring
little about interrupting the performance and disturbing
the profound attention of the audience, merrily cried,
u Only look at that rapscallion begging yonder ! "
Reader, if you have ever thrown a stone into a pond
swarming with frogs, or fired a gun at a covey of birds,
you may form some conception of the effect produced by
this incongruous exclamation, amidst the general silence
and attention. Gringoire started as at an electric shock ;
22 THE HUNCHBACK OP NOTRE-DAME.
the prologue stopped short, and every head turned tumult-
uously towards the mendicant, who, so far from being
disconcerted, regarded this incident as a favourable oppor-
tunity for making a harvest, and began to drawl out, in a
doleful tone, and with half closed eyes, Ci Charity, if you
please ! "
u Why, upon my soul," resumed Joannes, " 't is Clopin
Trouillefou. ! Hoho ! my fine fellow, you found the wound
on your leg in the way, and so you've clapped it on your
arm, have you ? "
As he thus spoke, he threw, with the dexterity of a
monkey, a piece of small coin into the greasy hat which
the beggar held with his ailing arm. The latter pocketed,
without wincing, both the money and the sarcasm, and
continued, in a lamentable tone, " Charity, if you please !"
This episode considerably distracted the attention of the
audience; and a number of the spectators, with Robin
Poussepain and all the clerks at their head, loudly applauded
this extempore duet, performed, in the middle of the pro-
logue, by the scholar with his squeaking voice and the
mendicant with his monotonous descant.
Gringoire was sorely displeased. On recovering from his
first stupefaction, he bawled out lustily to the four actors
on the stage, " Why the devil do ye stop ? Go on ! go
on !" without even condescending to cast a look of disdain
at the two interrupters.
At this moment he felt a twitch at the skirt of his sur-
tout; he turned round in an ill humour, and had some
difficulty to raise a smile, which, however, he could not
suppress. It was the plump, handsome arm of Gisquette la
Gencienne, thrust through the balustrade, which thus so-
licited his attention.
" Sir," said the damsel, " will they go on with the
mystery ? "
e< Most certainly," replied Gringoire, not a little shocked
at the question.
" In that case, Messire," she resumed, " will you have
the courtesy to explain to me "
" What they are going to say?" asked Gringoire, inter-
rupting her. " Well, listen."
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 23
<( No," rejoined Gisquette, u but what they have been
saying so far."
Gringoire started like a person with a wound which you
have touched in the quick.
" A plague on the stupid wench !" muttered he between
Gisquette had completely ruined herself in his good
The actors had, meanwhile, obeyed his injunction ; and
the public, seeing that they had resumed the performance,
began again to listen, but not without losing a great many
beauties, from the abrupt division of the piece into two
parts, and the species of soldering which they had to un-
dergo. Such, at least, was the painful reflection mentally
made by Gringoire. Tranquillity, however, was gradually
restored ; the scholar held his tongue, the beggar counted
the money in his hat, and the piece proceeded swimmingly.
It was, in truth, a masterly work ; and we verily believe
that managers might avail themselves of it at the present
day, with some modifications. The plot was simple ; and
Gringoire, in the candid sanctuary of his own bosom, ad-
mired its clearness. As the reader may easily conceive, the
four allegorical characters were somewhat fatigued with
their tour through the three parts of the world, without
finding an opportunity of disposing, agreeably to their in-
tentions, of their golden dolphin. Thereupon followed a
panegyric on the marvellous fish, with a thousand delicate
allusions to the young bridegroom of Margaret of Flanders,
at that moment sadly shut up at Amboise, and never
dreaming that Labour and Clergy, Nobility and Trade, had
been making a tour of the world on his account. The said
dolphin, then, was young, handsome, bold, and, above all,
magnificent origin of every royal virtue ! the son of
the lion of France. I declare that this bold metaphor is
truly admirable ; and that the natural history of the theatre
is not at all startled, on an occasion of this kind, at a
dolphin, the offspring of a lion. It is precisely these out-
of-the-way and Pindaric medleys that are evidences of en-
thusiasm. Critical justice, nevertheless, requires the admis-
sion that the poet ought to have developed this original
24 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
idea in somewhat less than the compass of two hundred
verses. It is true that the mystery was to last from the
hour of twelve till that of four, according to the ordinance
of monsieur the provost, and that it was absolutely ne-
cessary to say something or other. Besides, the audience
listened very patiently.
All at once, in the midst of a quarrel between Mademoi-
selle Trade and Madame Nobility, at the moment when
Master Labour was delivering this emphatic line
More stately beast was ne'er in forest seen,
the door of the reserved platform, which had hitherto re-
mained so unseasonably closed, was still more unseasonably
thrown open, and the sonorous voice of the usher abruptly
announced, " His Eminence Monseigneur the Cardinal of
MONSEIGNEUR THE CARDINAL.
Poor Gringoire ! the noise of all the big double petards
at St. John's, the discharge of a hundred matchlocks, the de-
tonation of that famous serpentine of the Tower of Billy,
which, at the siege of Paris, on the 29th of September, 1465,
killed seven Burgundians by one shot, nay, the explosion
of all the gunpowder in the magazine at the gate of the
Temple, would not have so shocked his ear at that solemn
and dramatic moment as these few words from the lips of
an usher " His Eminence Monseigneur the Cardinal of
Not that Pierre Gringoire either feared or disdained
Monsieur the Cardinal ; he had neither that weakness nor
that arrogance. A genuine eclectic, as we should say now-
a-days, Gringoire possessed one of those firm and elevated,
calm and moderate minds, which always know how to steer
a middle course, and are full of reason and liberal philo-
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 25
sophy, at the same time that they make much of cardinals
an admirable race, widely separated from that of the
philosophers; to whom Wisdom, like another Ariadne, seems
to have given a ball of thread which they keep winding up
from the commencement of the world, through the laby-
rinth of human affairs. We find them always and every
where the same, that is to say, ever accommodating them-
selves to the times. And, without reckoning our Pierre
Gringoire, who might be their representative in the fifteenth
century, if we were to bestow on him that illustration which
he deserves, it was certainly their spirit which animated
Father Du Breul, when he wrote, in the sixteenth, these
simply sublime words, worthy of all ages : " I am a
Parisian by nation, and a Parrhisian by speech ; for Par-
rhisia, in Greek, signifies liberty of speech, the which I
have used even unto Messeigneurs the cardinals, uncle and
brother of Monseigneur the Prince of Conty : at the same
time with respect for their high dignity, and without giving
offence to any one of their retinue, which, methinks, is
saying a great deal."
There was, then, neither hatred of the Cardinal nor dis-
dain of his presence in the disagreeable impression which
it made on Pierre Gringoire. On the contrary, our poet
had too much good sense, and too threadbare a frock, not
to. feel particularly anxious that many an allusion in his
prologue, and particularly the eulogy on the dolphin, the
son of the lion of France, should find its way to the ear of
most eminent personage. But it is not interest that pre-
dominates in the noble nature of poets. Supposing the
entity of the poet to be represented by the number 10 ;
it is certain that a chemist, on analysing it, would find it
to be composed of one part interest and nine parts vanity.
Now, at the moment when the door opened for the Car-
linal, the nine parts of Gringoire's vanity, swollen and in-
iated by the breath of popular admiration, were in a state
)f such prodigious enlargement as completely to smother
hat imperceptible particle of interest which we just now
liscovered in the constitution of poets ; a most valuable
ngredient, nevertheless, the ballast of reality and of hu-
manity, without which they would never descend to this
26 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
lower world. Gringoire was delighted to see, to feel, in
some measure, a whole assembly, of varlets, it is true but
what does that signify ? stupified, petrified, and stricken
as it were insensible, by the immeasurable speeches which
succeeded each other in every part of his epithalamium.
I affirm that he participated in the general happiness, and
that, unlike La Fontaine, who, on the first representation
of his comedy of " The Florentine," enquired, H What
paltry scribbler wrote this rhapsody ? " Gringoire would
gladly have asked his neighbour, " Who is the author of
this master-piece ? " Now imagine what must have been
the effect produced upon him by the abrupt and unseason-
able arrival of the Cardinal.
What he had reason to apprehend was but too soon
realised. The entry of his Eminence upset the auditory.
All heads turned mechanically towards the platform. Not
another word was to be heard. " The Cardinal ! the Car-
dinal!" was upon every tongue. The unlucky prologue
was cut short a second time.
The Cardinal paused for a moment on the threshold of
the platform, with supercilious looks surveying the auditory.
Meanwhile the tumult increased ; each striving to raise
his head above his neighbour's to obtain a better view of
He was, in fact, a very distinguished personage, the
sight of whom was well worth any other comedy. Charles,
Cardinal of Bourbon, Archbishop and Count of Lyons, pri-
mate of the Gauls, was at once allied to Louis XI. through
his brother Pierre, Lord of Beaujeu, who was married to
the King's eldest daughter, and to Charles the Bold by his
mother, Agnes of Burgundy. Now the predominant, the
distinctive, trait in the character of the primate of the
Gauls was a courtier-spirit and devotedness to power. The
reader may form some conception of the numberless em-
barrassments in which he had been involved by this two-
fold relationship, and of the temporal rocks among which
his spiritual bark had been obliged to luff, that it might
not be wrecked either against Louis or against Charles, .
that Charybdis and Scylla which had engulfed the Duke
of Nemours and the Constable of St. Pol. Thanks to
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 27
Heaven, he had contrived pretty well to escape the dangers
of the voyage, and had arrived at Rome without obstruction.
But, though he was in port, and precisely because he was
in port, he could never call to mind without agitation the
various chances of his political life, so long harassed by
labours and alarms. Accordingly, he was accustomed to
say that the year ] 476 had been to him both black and
white ; thereby meaning that he had lost in that year his
mother the Duchess of Bourbonnais, and his cousin the
Duke of Burgundy, and that one mourning had consoled
him for the other.
In other respects he was a good sort of man ; he led a
jovial life as cardinal, loved to make merry with the growth
of the royal vineyard of Chaillot, did not hate the game-
some Richarde la Garmoise and Thomasse la Saillarde,
bestowed alms on young damsels rather than on wrinkled
hags, and for all these reasons was a great favourite with
the populace of Paris. Wherever he went he was sur-
rounded by a little court of bishops and abbots of high
families, wenchers and boon companions, who had no ob-
jection to join in a carouse ; and more than once the pious
souls of St. Germain d'Auxerre, as they passed in the even-
ing under the illumined windows of the Cardinal's re-
sidence, had been scandalised on hearing the same voices
which had chanted vespers to them a few hours before
lustily singing, to the clatter of glasses, the bacchanalian
song of Benedict XII., that pope who added a third crown
to the tiara Bibamus papaliter.
It was no doubt this popularity, to which he was so
justly entitled, that preserved him at his entrance from any
unfavourable demonstrations on the part of the crowd,
which a moment before had been so dissatisfied, and by no
means disposed to pay respect to a cardinal on the very
day that they were going to elect a pope. But the Pari-
sians are not apt to bear malice ; and besides, by insisting
on the commencement of the performance, the honest citi-
zens had gained a victory over the Cardinal, and this
triumph was enough for them. Moreover, Monsieur the
Cardinal of Bourbon was a comely man ; he had a superb
scarlet robe, which he wore very gracefully ; of course he
28 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME.
hatl in his favour all the women, that is to say, the better
half of the audience. It would be decidedly unjust and in
bad taste to hoot a cardinal for coming to the play a little
after the time prescribed, when he is a handsome man and
wears his scarlet robe in a graceful manner.
He entered, therefore, bowed to the audience with
that hereditary smile which the great have for the people,
and proceeded slowly towards his arm-chair covered with
scarlet velvet, apparently thinking of something very dif-
ferent from the scene before him. His train, which we
should now-a-days call his staff, of abbots and bishops,
followed him as he advanced to the front of the platform,
to the no small increase of the tumult and curiosity of the
spectators. Each was eager to point them out, to tell their
names, to recognise at least one of them Monsieur the
Bishop of Marseilles, Alaudet, if I recollect rightly ; or the
Dean of St. Denis ; or the Abbot of St. Germain des
Pre's, that libertine brother of one of the mistresses of
Louis XI. ; but, as it may be supposed, with abundance of
blunders and mistakes. As for the scholars, they swore
lustily. It was their day, their feast of fools, their satur-
nalia, the annual orgies of the Bazoche* and of the schools.
There was no turpitude but was authorised on that day.
Was it not then the least they could do to swear at their
ease, and to curse a little in the name of God, on so fine a
clay, in the good company of churchmen and lewd women ?
Accordingly they made good use of the license, and amidst
the general uproar, horrible was the clamour of the blas-
phemies and enormities proceeding from the tongues thus
let loose the tongues of clerks and scholars, restrained
during the rest of the year by the fear of the red-hot iron
of St. Louis. Poor St. Louis ! how they set him at nought
in his own Palace of Justice ! Each of them had fixed
upon a black, grey, white, or purple cassock for his butt
among the new occupants of the platform. As for Joannes
Frollo de Molendino, he, as brother of an archdeacon,
boldly attacked the scarlet ; and, fixing his audacious eyes
on the Cardinal, he sang at the top of his voice, Cappa re-
* The company of clerks of the parliament of Paris.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME. 2Q
All these circumstances, which we here reveal for the
edification of the reader, were so smothered by the general
tumult as to pass unnoticed by the reverend party on the
platform: had it, indeed, been otherwise, the Cardinal
would not have heeded them, so deeply were the liberties
of that day engrafted on the manners of the age. He was,
moreover, wholly pre-occupied and his countenance
showed it by another solicitude, which closely pursued
him, and, indeed, entered the platform almost at the same
time with him, namely, the Flanders embassy.
Not that he was a profound politician, and was calcu-
lating the possible consequences of the marriage of his
cousin Margaret of Burgundy with his cousin Charles,
Dauphin of Vienne ; or how long the good understand-
ing patched up between the Duke of Austria and the
King of France was likely to last; or how the King