Phœbus was living, and that Phœbus loved her no more; and these last two thoughts— the one so sweet, the other so bitter— presenting themselves simultaneously to the poor creature, she turned to Quasimodo, who still stood before her, filling her with terror, and said:

“Why did you save me?”

He looked at her anxiously, striving to divine her words. She repeated her question, at which he gave her another look of profound sadness, and, to her amazement, hastened away.

In a few minutes he returned, carrying a bundle which he threw at her feet. It was some wearing apparel deposited for her by some charitable women. At this she cast down her eyes over her person, saw that she was nearly naked, and blushed. Life was coming back to her.

Quasimodo seemed to feel something of this modest shame. He veiled his eye with his broad hand and left her once more, but this time with reluctant steps.

She hastened to clothe herself in the white robe and the white veil supplied to her. It was the habit of a novice of the Hôtel-Dieu.

She had scarcely finished when she saw Quasimodo returning, carrying a basket under one arm and a mattress under the other. The basket contained a bottle and bread and a few other provisions. He set the basket on the ground and said, “Eat.” He spread the mattress on the stone floor — “Sleep,” he said.

It was his own food, his own bed, that the poor bell-ringer had been to fetch.

The gipsy raised her eyes to him to thank him, but she could not bring herself to utter a word. The poor devil was in truth too frightful. She dropped her head with a shudder.

“I frighten you,” said he. “I am very ugly I know. Do not look upon me. Listen to what I have to say. In the daytime you must remain here, but at night you may go where you will about the church. But go not one step outside the church by day or night. You would be lost. They would kill you, and I should die.”

Touched by his words, she raised her head to answer him. He had disappeared. She found herself alone, musing upon the strange words of this almost monster and struck by the tone of his voice — so harsh, and yet so gentle.

She presently examined her cell. It was a chamber some six feet square, with a small window and a door following the slight incline of the roofing of flat stones outside. Several gargoyles with animal heads seemed bending down and stretching their necks to look in at her window. Beyond the roof she caught a glimpse of a thousand chimney–tops from which rose the smoke of the many hearths of Paris — a sad sight to the poor gipsy — a foundling, under sentence of death, an unhappy outcast without country, or kindred, or home!

At the moment when the thought of her friendless plight assailed her more poignantly than ever before, she was startled — everything frightened her now — by a shaggy, bearded head rubbing against her knees. It was the poor little goat, the nimble Djali, which had made its escape and followed her at the moment when Quasimodo scattered Charmolue’s men, and had been lavishing its caresses in vain at her feet for nearly an hour without obtaining a single glance from her. Its mistress covered it with kisses.

“Oh, Djali!”she exclaimed, “how could I have forgotten thee thus? And dost thou still love me? Oh, thou — thou art not ungrateful!”

And then, as if some invisible hand had lifted the weight which had lain so long upon her heart and kept back her tears, she began to weep, and as the tears flowed all that was harshest and most bitter in her grief and pain was washed away.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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