"Water!" repeated the gasping Quasimodo, for the third


At this moment he saw the crowd separate. A young girl, oddly dressed, stepped from their midst. She was accompanied by a little white goat with gilded horns, and held a tambourine in her hand.

Quasimodo's eye gleamed. It was the gypsy girl whom he had tried to carry off the night before, a freak for which he dimly felt that he was even now being punished; which was not in the least true, since he was only punished for the misfortune of being deaf, and having been tried by a deaf judge. He did not doubt that she too came to be avenged, and to take her turn at him with the rest.

He watched her nimbly climb the ladder. Rage and spite choked him. He longed to destroy the pillory; and had the lightning of his eye had power to blast, the gypsy girl would have been reduced to ashes long before she reached the platform.

Without a word she approached the sufferer, who vainly writhed and twisted to avoid her, and loosening a gourd from her girdle, she raised it gently to the parched lips of the miserable wretch.

Then from that eye, hitherto so dry and burning, a great tear trickled, and rolled slowly down the misshapen face, so long convulsed with despair. It was perhaps the first that the unfortunate man had ever shed.

But he forgot to drink. The gypsy girl made her customary little grimace of impatience, and smilingly pressed the neck of the gourd to Quasimodo's jagged mouth.

He drank long draughts; his thirst was ardent.

When he had done, the poor wretch put out his black lips, doubtless to kiss the fair hand which had helped him. But the girl, perhaps not quite free from distrust, and mindful of the violent attempt of the previous night, withdrew her hand with the terrified gesture of a child who fears being bitten by a wild animal.

Then the poor deaf man fixed upon her a look of reproach and unutterable sorrow.

It would anywhere have been a touching sight, to see this lovely girl, fresh, pure, charming, and yet so weak, thus devoutly hastening to the help of so much misery, deformity, and malice. Upon a pillory, the sight was sublime.




[TYLL EULENSPIEGEL (owl-mirror), was a German invention on whom was fathered a collection of old stories, mainly practical jokes to the end of bilking, thieving, and idling, seemingly first published in 1483, but largely added to in later editions and translations, and made a vehicle for rough satire and ribaldry on church and reformers alike.]


SOON there came bitter complaints, almost every day repeated, by the neighbors, to Master Howleglass's father, assuring him what a malicious rogue his son was; for he was wicked from the time he could walk, and even showed his malice in the cradle. He would hide his head under the bedclothes, turn up his legs where his head should be, and make the most odd leaps and antics ever witnessed in a child; but when he had reached ten years old, his tricks grew so numerous and intolerable, and the complaints of the neighbors so loud, that his father took him roundly to task, saying, "How comes it that everybody calls you such a malicious little wretch?" Howleglass, in his defense, declared that he did nobody any harm. "But if you wish to be convinced, father, and believe your own eyes, let me ride behind you on your old Dobbin, and I dare say they will still continue to find fault." So his father mounted him behind him on the horse, and as they jogged along, Howleglass, seeing some neighbors approach, pulled up his little coat behind, as a salutation to them as they passed. "There's a malicious little knave for you! they cried aloud, as they went by, upon which the urchin said to his father, "You see I did them no harm, and yet they will call me nicknames."

His father next placed him before him, as they rode along, when Howleglass began to pull the most ugly faces ever seen, mocking and lolling his tongue at everybody as they went by, all of which his father could not see. "Look at that wicked little wretch!" was the cry; and upon this his father, quite losing patience, said, "Aye, thou wert born in an unlucky hour; for though thou hold thy tongue, all revile thee, and though thou sit as quiet as a lamb, the children run out of thy way.' Soon after, his father, quite vexed at such injustice, changed

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

his abode, going to a village near Magdeburg, to which his wife belonged, and no long time after this he died. Howleglass's mother continued to live with her son, eating and drinking what they could get, for his mother shortly grew very poor, and Howleglass would learn no trade; only at the age of sixteen he had learnt to dance upon a rope, along with some other mountebank tricks.


It happened one day, as Howleglass was amusing himself with dancing upon his tight rope, which he had made fast across a pool of water the better to show his dexterity, that a number of idle urchins had gathered round to see. One of them bethought him of a trick, and taking out his knife, he cut the cord at one end, and Howleglass went souse into the water, to the great merriment of the rest, who left him to get out as he best could. This made him both very dirty and very angry; but he held his peace, declaring that it was a good joke, and that he would come again the next morning and show them something new. This he did, for the next morning, after having exhibited some time upon his rope, he said to the boys, "Now you shall see a wonderful thing, if you will only each of you hand me here his right shoe." Some of the parents of the children who were there, believing he said true, and curious to learn what it could be, gave them to him; when, after keeping them for some time, and the young urchins becoming clamorous, he threw them back all in a heap, telling each to take his own. A general struggle then took place, one falling over another, fighting, biting, and kicking; one laughed, another cried, one tore his hair, another pulled his companion's, all exclaiming, "This is mine," and "That is mine," until the parents themselves mixed in the affray, and some good pitched battles were fought. It was now Howleglass's turn to laugh, and mocking them to his heart's content, he bade them try on their shoes, and being a capital swimmer, he eluded all pursuit and escaped. Still, he did not venture to show his face among them again for some weeks, remaining in a very quiet domestic way at home with his mother, who rejoiced to see such a change, and thought he was on the point of reforming, little knowing the malicious trick that he had played.


Dame Ulbeke, Howleglass's mother, more and more delighted to observe her son's retired and peaceable demeanor, forthwith thought to take advantage of it, and besought him to abandon his former perverse ways, which brought her no money, as might have been the case by learning some honest trade. Howleglass then said, "My dear mother, what is bred in the bone will not come out of the flesh, and what is that which a man should dispose himself to, that would abide by him all his life? what a man thinks he will stick by." "That, indeed," answered his mother, quite despairing, "seems to be the case there has been no bread in the house these four days past, and if this is to continue only half one's life, I know one had better be dead.” "No, no," said Howleglass, "that bears no resemblance to my words, for a poor man when he has nothing to eat will fast the fast of St. Nicholas, and when he has enough to eat he enjoys a feast on St. Martin's evening; and thus it is with you, mother."


But when he saw his mother really without any bread, Howleglass began to think it was time to think of providing her with some. For this purpose, he walked into the village of Sastard, where he entered a baker's shop, and inquired whether he had any objection to let his master have eighteen twopenny rolls of bread, half white and the other half brown. He then mentioned a gentleman's name in the town, with whom he said he had just come to a certain hotel, adding that his master would of course pay him on delivery, with which the baker was well pleased.

Now, Howleglass's breadbasket, a bag, had a hole in it, through which he contrived, as he was going along, to slip one of the loaves into the mud. Then throwing down the basket, he said to the baker's boy, "I dare not for the life of me carry this loaf home to my master; run back and change it, I will wait for you here." So away ran the baker's boy, and away ran Master Howleglass exactly the other road. When the boy returned, his customer was no longer to be seen; and after looking for him a while, he went back to his master. Then his master, without even waiting to thrash him, ran to the inn men

tioned by Howleglass, but no one knew who or where our hero was. Upon this the baker found he had been well choused, and that this was all he was ever likely to be paid for his bread.

In this way Howleglass provided his mother with plenty of bread, saying, "Dear mother, eat when you have it, and remember always to fast when you are without."


After Howleglass had brought himself clean off, he journeyed towards the land of Buddenslede; and at the village of Brusedent he entered into the service of a priest who knew nothing of him. His new master informed him that he would have a fine time of it, that he should eat and drink as well as himself or the servant maid, and that all he would have to do would be easy work, indeed only half-work. Then Howleglass, pleased to hear this, said that he would do it well. Now, he soon observed that the priest's servant maid had only one eye; she was then preparing a couple of fowls for dinner, and she bade Howleglass turn the spit.

She went about her work; and when the fowls were roasted he sat down to eat one of them, for he was very hungry, and the priest had told him he was to eat of the best as well as he did; and he did not stop for sauce. When the girl came back to take dinner up, she said to Howleglass : "Where is the other fowl? I left two roasting upon the spit."

"My good girl," replied Howleglass, "open your other eye, and you will then see them both," at which the servant went into a great rage. She ran forthwith to complain to the priest. "Your new servant, sir, is mocking me: he says I have only one eye. I see but one fowl, though I put two to roast." Howleglass, who had followed her, now said, "That is true; but I told her that if she would open both eyes, she would see them both." The priest replied, "That is out of the question, for she has only one." "There," cried Howleglass, "you have said it, but not I." "At all events," rejoined the priest, "there is a fowl missing." "Yes," replied Howleglass, "but I only ate one. You said I was to live as well as my master and his maid, and I was afraid lest you should say the thing which is not, if both had gone up to table, and you had chanced to eat both. I was afraid you might perjure your own soul; therefore I ate." The priest laughed and was satisfied, saying, "My good fellow,

« VorigeDoorgaan »