planted itself in front of her, ready to do battle with the offender, as it lowered its gilded but extremely sharp horns at him. In a twinkling the dragon-fly had turned wasp with every disposition to sting.
Our philosopher stood abashed, glancing foolishly from the goat to its mistress.
Blessed Virgin! he exclaimed as soon as his astonishment would permit him, what a pair of spitfires!
The gipsy now broke silence.
You are an impudent fellow, she said.
Pardon me, mademoiselle, retorted Gringoire with a smile, then why did you take me for your husband?
Was I to let you be hanged?
So that, returned the poet, somewhat disabused of his amorous expectations, was all you thought of in saving me from the gallows?
And what more should I have thought of, do you suppose?
Gringoire bit his lip. It seems, said he, that I am not quite so triumphant in Cupido as I imagined. But in that case, why have broken the poor pitcher?
All this time Esmeraldas dagger and the goats horns continued on the defensive.
Mademoiselle Esmeralda, said the poet, let us come to terms. As I am not the recorder at the Châtelet I shall not make difficulties about your carrying a dagger thus in Paris, in the teeth of the ordinances and prohibitions of Monsieur the Provost, though you must be aware that Noel Lescrivain was condemned only last week to pay ten sols parisis for carrying a cutlass. However, that is no affair of mine, and I will come to the point. I swear to you by my hope of salvation that I will not approach you without your consent and permission; but, I implore you, give me some supper.
Truth to tell, Gringoire, like M. Depréaux, was but little inclined to sensuality. He had none of those swashbuckler and conquering ways that take girls by storm. In love, as in all other matters, he willingly resigned himself to temporizing and a middle course, and a good supper in charming tête-á-tête, especially when he was hungry, appeared to him an admirable interlude between the prologue and the dénouement of an amatory adventure.
The gipsy made no reply. She pouted her lips disdainfully, tossed her little head like a bird, then burst into a peal of laughter, and the dainty little weapon vanished as it had appeared, without Gringoire being able to observe where the wasp concealed its sting.
A minute afterward there appeared upon the table a loaf of bread, a slice of bacon, some wrinkled apples, and a mug of beer. Gringoire fell to ravenously. To hear the furious clatter of his fork on the earthenware platter you would have concluded that all his love had turned to hunger.
Seated opposite to him, the girl let him proceed in silence, being visibly preoccupied with some other thought, at which she smiled from time to time, while her gentle hand absently caressed the intelligent head of the goat pressed gently against her knee. A candle of yellow wax lit up this scene of voracity and musing. Presently, the first gnawings of his stomach being satisfied, Gringoire had a pang of remorse at seeing that nothing remained of the feast but one apple. You are not eating, Mademoiselle Esmeralda?
She replied with a shake of the head, and fixed her pensive gaze on the arched roof of the chamber.
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