Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview
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V
THE DISADVANTAGES
(CONTINUED)

GRINGOIRE, stunned by his fall, still lay on the ground in front of the good Virgin at the street corner. He gradually came to his senses; at first he floated for a short time in a kind of half-somnolent daydream, not wholly unpleasant, in which the airy figures of the gypsy girl and the goat blended with the solid weight of Quasimodo's fist. This state did not last long. A very lively impression of cold in that part of his body which was in contact with the ground all at once woke him up and brought his mind back up to the surface. 'What's making me so chilly?' he suddenly asked himself. He noticed then that he was lying pretty well in the middle of the gutter.

'Devil take that one-eyed hunchback!' he muttered between his teeth and tried to get up. But he was too dizzy and too bruised. He had to stay where he was. His hand, however, moved quite freely; he held his nose and resigned himself.

'Paris mud,' he thought (for he was now pretty sure that the gutter was definitely going to be his room for the night, 'and what is there to do in a room but dream?') 'Paris mud has a particularly nasty stench. It must contain a lot of nitre and sal volatile. At any rate, that is the opinion of Maître Nicolas and the hermetics. . . .'

The word 'hermetics' suddenly brought to his mind the image of Archdeacon Claude Frollo. He recalled the violent scene of which he had caught just a glimpse, the gypsy girl struggling with two men, the fact that Quasimodo had had a companion, and the grim, haughty face of the archdeacon passed vaguely through his memory.

'That would be strange!' he thought. And he began with that datum and on that basis to construct a fantastic assembly of hypotheses, the philosophers' house of cards, then

-86-

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