CHAPTER 4. THE DOG AND HIS MASTER.
Nevertheless, there was one human creature whom Quasimodo
excepted from his malice and from his hatred for others,
and whom he loved even more, perhaps, than his cathedral:
this was Claude Frollo.
The matter was simple; Claude Frollo had taken him in,
had adopted him, had nourished him, had reared him. When
a little lad, it was between Claude Frollo's legs that he was
accustomed to seek refuge, when the dogs and the children
barked after him. Claude Frollo had taught him to talk, to
read, to write. Claude Frollo had finally made him the
bellringer. Now, to give the big bell in marriage to Quasimodo
was to give Juliet to Romeo.
Hence Quasimodo's gratitude was profound, passionate,
boundless; and although the visage of his adopted father
was often clouded or severe, although his speech was habitually
curt, harsh, imperious, that gratitude never wavered
for a single moment. The archdeacon had in Quasimodo
the most submissive slave, the most docile lackey, the most
vigilant of dogs. When the poor bellringer became deaf,
there had been established between him and Claude Frollo, a
language of signs, mysterious and understood by themselves
alone. In this manner the archdeacon was the sole human
being with whom Quasimodo had preserved communication.
He was in sympathy with but two things in this world: Notre-
Dame and Claude Frollo.
There is nothing which can be compared with the empire of
the archdeacon over the bellringer; with the attachment of
the bellringer for the archdeacon. A sign from Claude and
the idea of giving him pleasure would have sufficed to make
Quasimodo hurl himself headlong from the summit of Notre-
Dame. It was a remarkable thing--all that physical strength
which had reached in Quasimodo such an extraordinary
development, and which was placed by him blindly at the disposition
of another. There was in it, no doubt, filial devotion,
domestic attachment; there was also the fascination of one
spirit by another spirit. It was a poor, awkward, and clumsy
organization, which stood with lowered head and supplicating
eyes before a lofty and profound, a powerful and superior
intellect. Lastly, and above all, it was gratitude. Gratitude
so pushed to its extremest limit, that we do not know to what
to compare it. This virtue is not one of those of which the
finest examples are to be met with among men. We will say
then, that Quasimodo loved the archdeacon as never a dog,
never a horse, never an elephant loved his master.