CHAPTER 3. KISSES FOR BLOWS.
When Pierre Gringoire arrived on the Place de Grève, he
was paralyzed. He had directed his course across the Pont
aux Meuniers, in order to avoid the rabble on the Pont au
Change, and the pennons of Jehan Fourbault; but the wheels
of all the bishop's mills had splashed him as he passed, and
his doublet was drenched; it seemed to him besides, that the
failure of his piece had rendered him still more sensible to
cold than usual. Hence he made haste to draw near the bonfire,
which was burning magnificently in the middle of the
Place. But a considerable crowd formed a circle around it.
"Accursed Parisians!" he said to himself (for Gringoire,
like a true dramatic poet, was subject to monologues) "there
they are obstructing my fire! Nevertheless, I am greatly in
need of a chimney corner; my shoes drink in the water, and
all those cursed mills wept upon me! That devil of a Bishop
of Paris, with his mills! I'd just like to know what use a
bishop can make of a mill! Does he expect to become a
miller instead of a bishop? If only my malediction is needed
for that, I bestow it upon him! and his cathedral, and his
mills! Just see if those boobies will put themselves out!
Move aside! I'd like to know what they are doing there!
They are warming themselves, much pleasure may it give
them! They are watching a hundred fagots burn; a fine
On looking more closely, he perceived that the circle was
much larger than was required simply for the purpose of
getting warm at the king's fire, and that this concourse of
people had not been attracted solely by the beauty of the
hundred fagots which were burning.
In a vast space left free between the crowd and the fire, a
young girl was dancing.
Whether this young girl was a human being, a fairy, or an
angel, is what Gringoire, sceptical philosopher and ironical
poet that he was, could not decide at the first moment, so
fascinated was he by this dazzling vision.