complete his desolation: the bells had broken the drum of his ears and he became stone-deaf. The only door Nature had left for him wide open to the world was suddenly closed forever.

And in closing it cut off the sole ray of joy and sunshine which still penetrated to the soul of Quasimodo, and plunged that soul into deepest night. The melancholy of the unhappy creature became chronic and complete like his physical deformity. Besides, his deafness rendered him in some sort dumb; for, to escape being laughed at, from the moment he found he could not hear, he firmly imposed upon himself a silence which he rarely broke except when he was alone. Of his own free-will, he tied that tongue which Claude Frollo had been at such pains to loosen. And hence it was that when necessity constrained him to speak, his tongue moved stiffly and awkwardly like a door on rusty hinges.

Were we to endeavour to pierce through that thick, hard rind and penetrate to Quasimodo’s soul; could we sound the depths of that misshapen organization; were it given to us to flash a torch into that rayless gloom, to explore the dark-some interior of that opaque structure, illumine its dim windings, its fantastic culs-de-sac, and suddenly throw a bright light on the Psyche chained in the innermost recesses of that cavern, we should doubtless find the hapless creature withered, stunted like those prisoners who grew old in the dungeons of Venice, bent double within the narrow limits of a stone chest too low and too short to permit of their stretching themselves.

It is certain that the spirit wastes in a misshapen body. Quasimodo scarcely felt within him the feeble stirrings of a soul made after his own image. His impression of objects suffered a considerable refraction before they reached his inner consciousness. His mind was a peculiar medium; the ideas that passed through it issued forth distorted. The reflection born of that refraction was necessarily divergent and crooked.

Hence his thousand optical illusions, hence the thousand aberrations of his judgment, the thousand vagaries of his thoughts, sometimes mad, sometimes idiotic.

The first effect of this fatal organization was to blur his view of things. He scarcely ever received a direct impression of them; the external world seemed to him much farther off than it does from us.

The second effect of his misfortune was to render him malevolent. He was malevolent really because he was uncivilized, and he was uncivilized because he was ill-favoured. There was method in his nature as well as in ours.

Also his physical strength, which was extraordinarily developed, was another cause of his malevolence—“Malus puer robustus,”2

says Hobbes.

However, to do him justice, this malevolence was probably not inborn in him. From his very first experience among men, he had felt, and later he had seen, himself reviled, scorned, spat upon. For him human speech had ever been either a jibe or a curse. As he grew up, he had met nothing but disgust and ill- will on every side. What wonder that he should have caught the disease, have contracted the prevailing malice. He armed himself with the weapons that had wounded him.

But, after all, he turned his face unwillingly towards mankind. His Cathedral was sufficient for him. Was it not peopled with kings, saints, and bishops of marble who never mocked at him, but ever gazed at him with calm and benevolent eyes? And the other stone figures—the demons and monsters—they showed no hatred of Quasimodo—he looked too much akin to them for that. Rather they scoffed at other men. The saints were his friends and blessed him, the monsters were his friends and protected him. So he would commune long and earnestly with them, passing whole hours crouched in front of a statue, holding solitary converse with it. If any one happened upon him, he would fly like a lover surprised in a serenade.

And the Cathedral not only represented society; it was his world, it was all Nature to him. He dreamed of no other gardens but the stained windows ever in flower, no shade but that cast by the stone foliage

  By PanEris using Melati.

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