WE are delighted to be able to inform our readers that during the whole of this scene Gringoire and his play had stood fast. His actors, with him spurring them on, had not left off declaiming his comedy, and he had not left off listening. He had come to terms with the din, and was determined to go on to the end, not abandoning the hope of regaining the people's attention. This glimmer of hope revived when he saw Quasimodo, Coppenole, and the deafening procession escorting the Pope of Fools noisily leave the hall. The crowd rushed eagerly after them. 'Good,' he thought, 'there go all the trouble-makers.' Unfortunately all the trouble-makers were all the public. In a twinkling the Great Hall was empty.
Some spectators did in fact still remain, some scattered about, others grouped round the pillars, women, old folk, and children, who had had their fill of uproar and commotion. A few students had stayed astride the window ledges and were looking out on to the Place.
'Well,' thought Gringoire, 'there are still enough left to hear the end of my mystery. There are only a few, but it is a superior kind of audience, an educated audience.'
After a moment a symphony, intended to produce a striking effect as the Holy Virgin arrived, failed to materialize. Gringoire realized that his band had been taken off by the procession of the Pope of Fools. 'Carry on,' he said stoically.
He approached a group of citizens who, he thought, were discussing his play. He caught the following scrap of conversation:
'You know, Maître Cheneteau, the Hôtel de Navarre, which used to belong to Monsieur de Nemours?'
'Yes, opposite the chapel of Braque.'
'Well, the tax people have just let it to Guillaume Alixandre, the decorator, for 6 livres 8 sous a year.'