Showing that A Priest and A Philosopher are not the same

The priest whom the young girls had remarked leaning over the top of the north tower of the Cathedral and gazing so intently at the gipsy’s dancing, was no other than the Archdeacon Claude Frollo.

Our readers have not forgotten the mysterious cell which the archdeacon had appropriated to himself in this tower. (By the way, I do not know but what it is the same, the interior of which may be seen to this day through a small square window, opening to the east at about a man’s height from the floor upon the platform from which the towers spring—a mere den now, naked, empty, and falling to decay, the ill- plastered walls of which are decorated here and there, at the present moment, by some hideous yellow engravings of cathedral fronts. I presume that this hole is jointly inhabited by bats and spiders, so that a double war of extermination is being carried on there against the flies.)

Every day, an hour before sunset, the archdeacon mounted the stair of the tower and shut himself up in this cell, where he sometimes spent whole nights. On this day, just as he reached the low door of his retreat and was preparing to insert in the lock the small and intricate key he always carried about with him in the pouch hanging at his side, the jingle of a tambourine and of castanets suddenly smote on his ear, rising up from the Place du Parvis. The cell, as we have said, had but one window looking over the transept roof. Claude Frollo hastily withdrew the key, and in another moment was on the summit of the tower, in that gloomy and intent attitude in which he had been observed by the group of girls.

There he stood, grave, motionless, absorbed in one object, one thought. All Paris was spread out at his feet, with her thousand turrets, her undulating horizon, her river winding under the bridges, her stream of people flowing to and fro in the streets; with the cloud of smoke rising from her many chimneys; with her chain of crested roofs pressing in ever tightening coils round about Notre-Dame. But in all that great city the Archdeacon beheld but one spot—the Place du Parvis; and in that crowd but one figure—that of the gipsy girl.

It would have been difficult to analyze the nature of that gaze, or to say whence sprang the flame that blazed in it. His eyes were fixed and yet full of anguish and unrest; and from the profound immobility of his whole body, only faintly agitated now and then by an involuntary tremor, like a tree shaken by the wind; from his rigid arms, more stony than the balustrade on which they leaned, and the petrified smile that distorted his countenance, you would have said that nothing of Claude Frollo was alive save his eyes.

The gipsy girl was dancing and twirling her tambourine on the tip of her finger, throwing it aloft in the air while she danced the Provençal saraband; agile, airy, joyous, wholly unconscious of the sinister gaze falling directly on her head.

The crowd swarmed round her; from time to time, a man tricked out in a long red and yellow coat, went round to keep the circle clear, and then returned to a seat a few paces from the dancer, and took the head of the goat upon his knee. This man appeared to be the companion of the gipsy girl. Claude Frollo, from his elevated position, could not distinguish his features.

No sooner had the Archdeacon caught sight of this individual, than his attention seemed divided between him and the dancer, and his face became more and more overcast. Suddenly he drew himself up, and a tremor ran through his whole frame. “Who can that man be?” he muttered between his teeth; “I have always seen her alone hitherto.”

He then vanished under the winding roof of the spiral staircase, and proceeded to descend. As he passed the half-open door of the belfry, he saw something which made him pause. It was Quasimodo, leaning out of an opening in one of the great projecting slate eaves and likewise looking down into the Place, but so profoundly absorbed in contemplation that he was unaware of the passing of his adopted father. His savage eye had a singular expression—a mingled look of fondness and delight.

“How strange!” murmured Claude. “Can he too be looking at the Egyptian?” He continued his descent, and in a few moments the troubled Archdeacon entered the Place by the door at the bottom of the tower.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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