THE archdeacon and the bell-ringer, as we have already said, were not greatly liked by the people, high or low, who lived near the cathedral. When Claude and Quasimodo went out together, which frequently occurred, and were seen in each other's company, the servant behind his master, passing through the cool, narrow, dark streets adjoining Notre-Dame, more than one spiteful remark, more than one ironic snatch of song, more than one rude gibe pestered them as they went by, unless, as rarely happened, Claude Frollo walked with head erect, showing his severe and almost august forehead to silence the mockers.
In their quarter both were like 'the poets' of whom Régnier speaks:
All kinds of people follow behind poets As behind owls do songbirds in full cry.⋆
Now it was a stealthy brat risking skin and bones for the ineffable delight of sticking a pin into Quasimodo's hump. Now a pretty, buxom girl, bolder than she should have been, brushing against the priest's black robe and singing the sardonic refrain: 'Away, away, the devil's been caught.' Sometimes a group of squalid old women, spread out squatting over the steps of some shady porch, loudly grumbling as the archdeacon and bell-ringer went by, and mumbling their malice with some such encouraging welcome as: 'Hm! there goes one whose soul is just like the other's body!' Or it might be a band of students and soldiers playing hopscotch rising in a body and greeting them classically with some Latin jeer: 'Eia! eia! Claudius cum claudo! [Come on! Claude with his limping companion!]⋆
But most often the insults went unnoticed by priest and bell-ringer. Quasimodo was too deaf and Claude too rapt in thought to take in all these gracious comments.