When her dreams of Phœbus left her the leisure, the gipsy sometimes let her thoughts stray to Quasimodo — the only link, the only means of communication with mankind, with life, that remained to her. Hapless creature! she was more cut off from the world than Quasimodo himself. She knew not what to think of the singular friend whom chance had given her. She often reproached herself that hers was not the gratitude that could veil her eyes, but it was useless — she could not accustom herself to the poor bell–ringer. He was too repulsive.

She had left the whistle he gave her lying on the ground; which, however, did not prevent Quasimodo from appearing from time to time during the first days. She did her very utmost not to turn away in disgust when he brought her the basket of provisions and the pitcher of water, but he instantly perceived the slightest motion of the kind, and hastened sorrowfully away.

Once he happened to come at the moment she was caressing Djali. He stood a few minutes pensively contemplating the charming group, and at last said, shaking his heavy, misshapen head:

“My misfortune is that I am still too much like a man. Would I were a beast outright like that goat!”

She raised her eyes to him in astonishment.

He answered her look. “Oh, I know very well why.”And he went away.

Another time he presented himself at the door of the cell (into which he never entered) while Esmeralda was singing an old Spanish ballad, the words of which she did not understand, but which had lingered in her ear because the gipsy women had sung her to sleep with it when a child. At the sight of the hideous face appearing suddenly, the girl broke off with an involuntary gesture of fright. The unhappy bell–ringer fell upon his knees on the threshold, and with a suppliant look clasped his great shapeless hands. “Oh!”he said in piteous accents, “I conjure you to continue — do not drive me away!”Unwilling to pain him, she tremblingly resumed her song, and by degrees her fright wore off, till she abandoned herself wholly to the slow and plaintive measure of the air. He, the while, had remained upon his knees, his hands clasped as if in prayer — attentive, scarcely breathing — his gaze fixed on the gipsy’s radiant eyes. He seemed to hear the music of her voice in those twin stars.

Another time again, he approached her with an awkward and timid air. “Listen,”said he with an effort, “I have something to say to you.”She signed to him that she was listening. He sighed deeply, opened his lips, seemed for a moment to be on the point of speaking, then looked her in the face, shook his head, and slowly withdrew, his forehead bowed in his hand, leaving the Egyptian wondering and amazed.

Among the grotesques sculptured on the wall, there was one for which he had a particular affection, and with which he often seemed to exchange fraternal looks. Once the gipsy heard him say to it: “Oh! why am I not fashioned of stone like thee?”

At length, one morning Esmeralda had advanced to the edge of the roof and was looking down into the Place over the sharp roof–ridge of Saint–Jean le Rond. Quasimodo stood behind her, as was his habit, that he might spare her as much as possible the pain of seeing him. Suddenly the gipsy started; a tear and a flash of joy shone together in her eyes; she fell on her knees, and stretching out her arms in anguish towards the Place:

“Phœbus!”she cried, “come! come to me! one word, one single word, for the love of heaven! Phœbus! Phœbus!”

Her voice, her face, her gesture, her whole attitude had the heart–rending aspect of a shipwrecked mariner making signals of distress to some gay vessel passing on the distant horizon in a gleam of sunshine.

Leaning over in his turn, Quasimodo perceived the object of this tender and agonizing prayer — a young man, a soldier, a handsome cavalier glittering in arms and gay attire, who was caracoling through the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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