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Lighting a flame in every smitten part,
Emptied his basket first, and then began
To scourge the helmet of the tortured man. No aid Rinaldo found against the god,
But fell to earth as helpless children can: The youth who saw him fallen, by the feet Seized him, and dragged him through the meadow sweet.
And those three dames had each a garland rare
Of roses; one was red and one was white; These from their snowy brows and foreheads fair
They tore in haste, to beat the writhing knight; In vain he cried and raised his hands in prayer;
For still they struck till they were tired quite, And round about him on the sward they went, Nor ceased from striking till the morn was spent. Nor massy cuirass nor stout plate of steel
Could yield defense against those bitter blows: His flesh was swollen with many a livid weal
Beneath his arms, and with such fiery woes Inflamed as spirits damned in hell may feel;
Yet theirs, upon my troth, are fainter throes : Wherefore that Baron, sore, and scant of breath, For pain and fear was well-nigh brought to death. Nor whether they were gods or men he knew;
Nor prayer, nor courage, nor defense availed : Till suddenly upon their shoulders grew
And budded wings with gleaming gold engrailed,
And with a living eye each plume was tailed,
And one by one soared upward to the sky,
Full bitterly the Baron 'gan to cry,
That still it seemed that he must surely die;
THE BELL RINGER OF NOTRE DAME.
BY VICTOR HUGO.
(VICTOR MARIE Hugo, French novelist, poet, dramatist, and miscellaneous writer, was born at Besançon, February 26, 1802. He followed his father, one of Napoleon's generals, from place to place in Europe, studying privately or in local schools. From the age of eleven he poured out streams of literary product, won several prizes before he was eighteen, and was called by Châteaubriand “The Sublime Child." He was elected to the Academy in 1845. He entered political life in 1848; became an opponent of Louis Napoleon ; was proscribed by him after the coup d'état of 1851, and remained in exile till Napoleon's fall in 1870, when he returned and was made senator. He died May 22, 1885. Of his enormously prolific genius the best-known products are the novels “Notre Dame de Paris," "Les Misérables," "The Toilers of the Sea," "
“Ninety-three,' and “L'Homme Qui Rit” (The Grinning Man); the plays “Hernani,” “Ruy Blas," and "Les Burgraves"; "The History of a Crime," an account of the coup d'état; “The Last Day of a Condemned One"; the poems “ Legend of the Ages," “ Contemplations," "The Chastisements," "The Pope," and "The Art of Being a Grandfather," besides several miscellaneous volumes of verse.]
IMMANIS PECORIS Custos, IMMANIOR IPSE.
Now, in 1482, Quasimodo had grown up. He had been made, some years previous, bell ringer of Notre Dame, thanks to his adopted father, Claude Frollo, who had become archdeacon of Josas, thanks to his liege lord Sir Louis de Beaumont, who had become Bishop of Paris in 1472, on the death of Guillaume Chartier, thanks to his patron Olivier le Daim, barber to Louis XI., king by the grace of God.
Quasimodo, therefore, was ringer of Notre Dame.
In time, a peculiar bond of intimacy grew up between the ringer and the church. Cut off forever from the world by the double fatality of his unknown birth and his deformity, confined from infancy in this doubly insuperable circle, the poor wretch became used to seeing nothing of the world outside the religious walls which had received him into their shadow. Notre Dame had been to him by turns, as he grew and developed, egg, nest, home, country, universe.
And it is certain that there was a sort of mysterious and preëxisting harmony between this creature and the structure. When, still a child, he dragged himself tortuously and jerkingly along beneath its gloomy arches, he seemed, with his human face and animal-like limbs, to be some reptile native to that damp dark pavement upon which the Roman capitals cast so many grotesque shadows.
Later on, the first time that he mechanically grasped the bell rope in the tower, and clung to it, and set the bell ringing, he seemed to Claude, his adopted father, like a child whose tongue is loosed, and who begins to talk.
It was thus, little by little, growing ever after the pattern of the cathedral, living there, sleeping there, seldom leaving its precincts, forever subject to its mysterious influence, he came to look like it, to be imbedded in it, to form, as it were, an integral part of it. His sharp angles (if we may be pardoned the simile) fitted into the reëntering angles of the building, and he seemed not only to inhabit it, but to be its natural tenant. He might almost be said to have assumed its form, as the snail assumes the form of its shell. It was his dwelling, his hole, his wrapper. There was so deep an instinct of sympathy between him and the old church, there were so many magnetic affinities between them, that he in some sort clung to it, as the tortoise to its shell. The rugged cathedral was his shell.
It is useless to warn the reader not to take literally the figures of speech which we are forced to use here to express this singular, symmetrical, direct, almost consubstantial union of a man and an edifice. It is also useless to speak of the degree of familiarity with the whole cathedral which he had acquired during so long and intimate a cohabitation. This dwelling was his own. It contained no deeps which Quasimodo had not penetrated, no heights which he had not scaled. He often climbed the façade several stories high by the mere aid of projecting bits of sculpture. The towers upon the outer face of which he was frequently seen crawling like a lizard gliding over a perpendicular wall (those twin giants, so lofty, so threatening, so terrible) had no vertigoes, no terrors, no giddiness for him ; they were so docile to his hand, so easily climbed, that he might be said to have tamed them. By dint of jumping, clambering, sporting amid the abysses of the huge cathedral, he had become, as it were, a monkey and a goat, like the Calabrian child who swims before he walks, and plays with the sea while but an infant.
Moreover, not only his body but also his spirit seemed to be molded by the cathedral. What was the state of that soul ? What bent had it assumed, what form had it taken under its knotty covering in this wild life? It would be hard to tell. Quasimodo was born blind of one eye, humpbacked, lame. It was only by great patience and great painstaking that Claude Frollo had succeeded in teaching him to speak. But a fatality followed the poor foundling. Bell ringer of Notre Dame at the age of fourteen, a new infirmity soon put the finishing touch to his misfortunes ; the bells had broken the drum of his ears : he became deaf. The only avenue which Nature had left him open to the world was suddenly closed forever.
In closing, it shut off the only ray of joy and light which still reached Quasimodo's soul. That soul relapsed into utter darkness. The miserable lad's melancholy became as complete and as hopeless as his deformity. Add to this that his deafness made him in some sort dumb; for, that he might not be an object of laughter to others, from the moment that he realized his deafness he firmly resolved to observe a silence which he scarcely ever broke save when alone. Of his own free will he bound that tongue which Claude Frollo had worked so hard to set free. Hence it resulted that, when necessity constrained him to speak, his tongue was stiff and awkward, like a door whose hinges have rusted.
If now we strive to penetrate to Quasimodo's soul through this hard thick bark; could we sound the depths of that misshapen organism ; could we hold a torch behind those non-transparent organs, explore the dark interior of that opaque being, illumine its obscure corners, its absurd blind alleys, and cast a strong light suddenly upon the Psyche imprisoned at the bottom of this well, we should doubtless find the poor thing in some constrained attitude, stunted and rickety, like those prisoners under the leads of Venice, who grew old bent double in a stone coffer too short and too low for them either to lie down or to stand up.
The spirit certainly wastes away in a misshapen body. Quasimodo barely felt within him the blind stirring of a soul made in his own image. His impressions of objects underwent a considerable refraction before they reached his mind. His brain was a peculiar medium ; the ideas which traversed it came forth greatly distorted. The reflection resulting from that refraction was necessarily divergent, and deviated from the right path.
Hence endless optical illusions, endless aberrations of opinion, endless digressions into which his thoughts, sometimes foolish, and sometimes idiotic, would wander.
The first effect of this unfortunate condition of things was
to disturb his views of all outward objects. He had scarcely any direct perception of them. The external world seemed much farther away from him than it does from us.
The second effect of his misfortune was to make him mischievous.
He was mischievous because he was an untrained savage; he was a savage because he was ugly. There was a logic in his nature as in ours.
His strength, wonderfully developed as it was, was the cause of still greater mischief. 6.
Hobbes. But we must do him the justice to say that this mischievous spirit was not innate. From his first intercourse with men he had felt, had seen himself despised, scorned, repulsed. To him, human speech meant nothing but mockery or curses. As he grew up, he encountered nothing but hate. He caught the infection. He acquired the universal malevolence. He adopted the weapon with which he had been wounded.
After all, he never turned his face to the world of men save with regret; his cathedral was enough for him. It was peopled with marble figures, kings, saints, and bishops, who at least did not laugh at him, and never looked upon him otherwise than with peace and good will. The other statues, those of monsters and demons, did not hate Quasimodo; he looked too much like them for that. They rather mocked at other men.
The saints were his friends, and blessed him. The monsters were his friends, and protected him. Thus he had long conversations with them. He would sometimes pass whole hours squatting before one of these statues, in solitary chat with it. If any one came by, he would fly like a lover surprised in his serenade.
And the cathedral was not only company for him, it was the universe; nay, more, it was Nature itself.
He never dreamed that there were other hedgerows than the stainedglass windows in perpetual bloom ; other shade than that of the stone foliage, always budding, loaded with birds in the thickets of Saxon capitals ; other mountains than the colossal towers of the church ; or other ocean than Paris roaring at their feet.
But that which he loved more than all else in to motherly building, that which awakened his soul and bade it spread its poor stunted wings folded in such misery where it dwelt in darkness, that which sometimes actually made him happy, was