Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview

IV
THE DISADVANTAGES OF FOLLOWING A PRETTY WOMAN THROUGH THE STREETS AT NIGHT

GRINGOIRE, trusting entirely to luck, had begun following the gypsy girl. He had seen her and her goat take the rue de la Coutellerie; he had taken the rue de la Coutellerie.

'Why not?' he had said to himself.

Gringoire, as a practical philosopher of the Paris streets, had noticed that nothing is more conducive to reverie than following a pretty woman without knowing where she is going. In this voluntary abdication of one's own free will, in this fancy submitting to another's quite unsuspecting fancy, there is a mixture of capricious independence and blind obedience, an indefinable middle term between slavery and freedom, which was to Gringoire's liking, with his essentially mixed, indecisive and complex mind, holding tenuously to every extreme, suspended between every human propensity, cancelling out one by another. He liked to compare himself to Mahomet's tomb, attracted in opposite directions by two lodestones, eternally hesitating between high and low, ceiling and floor, falling and rising, zenith and nadir.

If Gringoire were living in our day, what a fine balance he would have struck between Classic and Romantic!

But he was not primitive enough to live for three hundred years, more's the pity! His absence leaves a vacuum which is felt only too keenly today.

However, for following passers-by (especially female ones) through the streets, something Gringoire enjoyed doing, there is no better frame of mind.

He was therefore in reflective mood as he walked behind the girl, who quickened her pace and made her pretty goat fairly trot along as she saw the townsfolk going home and the taverns closing, for no other shops had been open that day. 'After all,' ran his thoughts, more or less, 'she must live somewhere; gypsy women are kind-hearted--who knows?'

-81-

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Notre-Dame de Paris
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Notre-Dame De Paris i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on the Text xxvi
  • Select Bibliography xxvii
  • A Chronology of Victor Hugo xxviii
  • Table of Contents 3
  • Note to the First Edition 7
  • Book One 13
  • I The Great Hall 13
  • II Pierre Gringoire 28
  • III Monsieur Le Cardinal 38
  • IV Maître Jacques Coppenole 45
  • V Quasimodo 54
  • VI La Esmeralda 61
  • Book Two 65
  • II The Place de Grève 68
  • III Besos Para Golpes⋆ 71
  • IV The Disadvantages of Following a Pretty Woman Through the Streets at Night 81
  • V The Disadvantages (Continued) 86
  • VI The Broken Pitcher 89
  • VII A Wedding Night 108
  • Book Three 119
  • I Notre-Dame 119
  • II A Bird's-Eye View of Paris 128
  • Book Four 153
  • I Kind Souls 153
  • II Claude Frollo 157
  • III Immanis Pecoris Custos Immanior Ipse⋆ [Of a Monstrous Flock a Still More Monstrous Keeper] 163
  • IV The Dog and His Master 171
  • V Claude Frollo (Continued) 173
  • VI Popularity 180
  • Book Five 181
  • I Abbas Beati Martini [The Abbot of Saint-Martin] 181
  • II This Will Kill That 192
  • Book Six 207
  • I An Impartial Look at the Old Magistracy 207
  • II The Rat-Hole 218
  • III The Story of a Maize Cake 223
  • IV A Tear for a Drop of Water 244
  • V The Story of the Cake (Concluded) 254
  • Book Seven 255
  • I Of the Danger of Confiding Your Secret to a Goat 255
  • II A Priest and a Philosopher are Two Different Things 270
  • III The Bells 279
  • IV 'AnÁГkh 282
  • V The Two Men in Black 296
  • VI The Effect That Can Be Produced by Seven Oaths Uttered in the Open Air 302
  • VII The Bogeyman-Monk 307
  • VIII Of the Usefulness of Windows Looking Out on to the River 315
  • Book Eight 323
  • I The Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf 323
  • II The Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf (continued) 333
  • III End of the Gold Écu Turned into a Dry Leaf 338
  • IV Lasciate Ogni Speranza [Ball Hope Abandon . . .] 342
  • V The Mother 356
  • VI Three Men's Hearts Differently Made 361
  • Book Nine 379
  • I Fever 379
  • II Hunchbacked, One-Eyed, Lame 391
  • III Deaf 395
  • IV Earthenware and Crystal 398
  • V The Key to the Red Door 409
  • VI The Key to the Red Door (continued) 412
  • Book Ten, I Gringoire Has Several Good Ideas in Succession in the Rue des Bernardins 417
  • II Become a Truand! 428
  • III Three Cheers for Pleasure! 431
  • IV An Awkward Friend 440
  • V The Private Retreat Where Monsieur Louis of France Says His Hours 460
  • VI Little Blade on the Prowl 491
  • VII Châteapers to the Rescue! 492
  • Book Eleven 495
  • I The Little Shoe 495
  • II La Creatura Bella Bianco Vestita (Dante) 528
  • III Phoebus' Marriage 537
  • IV Quasimodo's Marriage 538
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