EARTHENWARE AND CRYSTAL
DAY after day went by.
Calm gradually returned to la Esmeralda's soul. Excessive pain, like excessive joy, is something violent that does not last. The human heart cannot long remain at an extreme. The gypsy girl had suffered so much that all that now remained was astonishment.
With the sense of security, hope had returned to her. She was outside society, outside life, but she vaguely felt that it might not be impossible to come inside again. She was like a dead person holding in reserve a key to her tomb.
She felt the terrible images which had obsessed her for so long gradually becoming more remote. All the hideous phantoms, Pierrat Torterue, Jacques Charmolue, faded from her mind, all of them, even the priest.
And then Phoebus was alive, she was sure of it. She had seen him. Phoebus' life, that meant everything. After the series of fatal shocks which had brought her soul to total collapse, the one thing, the one feeling which she found still standing in her soul was her love for the captain. The fact is that love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, strikes deep roots throughout our being, and continues to put out leaves on a heart in ruins.
And what defies explanation is that the blinder the passion, the more tenacious it is. It is never more solid than when it lacks all reason.
No doubt la Esmeralda could not think of the captain without bitterness. No doubt it was awful that he too had been mistaken, that he should have believed that impossible thing, that he should have believed a dagger thrust to have come from someone who would have given her life a thousand times over for him. Still, one must not hold too much against him: had she not confessed 'her crime'? Had she not given in, weak woman that she was, to torture? It was