THREE MEN'S HEARTS DIFFERENTLY MADE
PHOEBUS, however, was not dead. Men of that kind have nine lives. When Maître Philippe Lheulier, advocate extraordinary to the King, had told poor Esmeralda: 'He is dying', he was in error or jesting. When the archdeacon had repeated to the condemned girl: 'He's dead', the truth is that he did not know, but believed it to be so, was relying on the fact, did not doubt it, very much hoped it was so. It would have been much too hard for him to give the woman he loved good news of his rival. In his place any man would have done the same.
It was not that Phoebus' wound had been anything but serious, but it had been less serious than the archdeacon was pleased to think. The master-surgeon, to whose house the soldiers of the watch had carried him in the first instance, had feared for his life for a week, and had even told him so in Latin. Youth, however, had gained the upper hand; and, as often happens, notwithstanding prognoses and diagnoses, nature had amused herself by saving the patient to spite the doctor. It was while he was still lying on a sickbed at the surgeon's house that he had undergone the first interrogation of Philippe Lheulier and the official's inquisition, which he had found very tiresome. So, one fine morning, feeling better, he had left his golden spurs as payment for the pharmacopolist, and made himself scarce. This, however, caused no problems for the preparation of the case. Justice at that time was very little concerned with precision and propriety in criminal trials. Provided the accused was hanged, that was all that was required. Now, the judges had enough evidence against la Esmeralda. They had believed Phoebus to be dead, and there was no more to be said.
Phoebus, for his part, had not fled very far. He had simply gone back to rejoin his company, in garrison at Queue-en- Brie,⋆ in the Île-de-France, a few stages from Paris.