Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview
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BOOK EIGHT

I
THE GOLD ÉCU TURNED INTO A DRY LEAF

GRINGOIRE and everyone in the Court of Miracles were desperately worried. For a good month now no one had known what had happened to la Esmeralda, much to the distress of the Duke of Egypt and his friends the truands, or to the goat, which intensified Gringoire's grief. One evening the gypsy girl had disappeared, and had given no signs of life since then. All attempts to find her had been in vain. Some teasing sabouleux told Gringoire that they had come across her that evening in the vicinity of the Pont Saint-Michel, going off with an officer; but this bohemianstyle husband was a sceptical philosopher, and besides he knew better than anyone how absolutely his wife had preserved her virginity. He had been able to judge how impregnable was the modesty resulting from the combined virtues of the amulet and the gypsy, and he had worked out mathematically to the power of two the resistance of that chastity. So he was not concerned on that score.

Thus he could find no explanation for her disappearance. It grieved him deeply. It would have caused him to lose weight, had that been possible. It drove everything else from his mind, even his literary interests, even his great work 'De figuris regularibus et irregularibus' ['On Regular and Irregular Figures'], which he intended to have printed as soon as he was next in funds. (For he had been going on about printing ever since he had seen Hugh of Saint- Victor's Didascalon printed in the celebrated characters of Wendelin of Speyer.)

One day, as he was walking gloomily past the Tour Criminelle, he noticed quite a crowd at one of the doors of the Palais de Justice.

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