CHAPTER 6. UNPOPULARITY.
The archdeacon and the bellringer, as we have already
said, were but little loved by the populace great and small, in
the vicinity of the cathedral. When Claude and Quasimodo
went out together, which frequently happened, and when
they were seen traversing in company, the valet behind the
master, the cold, narrow, and gloomy streets of the block of
Notre-Dame, more than one evil word, more than one ironical
quaver, more than one insulting jest greeted them on their
way, unless Claude Frollo, which was rarely the case, walked
with head upright and raised, showing his severe and almost
august brow to the dumbfounded jeerers.
Both were in their quarter like "the poets" of whom
"All sorts of persons run after poets,
As warblers fly shrieking after owls."
Sometimes a mischievous child risked his skin and bones for
the ineffable pleasure of driving a pin into Quasimodo's hump.
Again, a young girl, more bold and saucy than was fitting,
brushed the priest's black robe, singing in his face the sardonic
ditty, "niche, niche, the devil is caught." Sometimes a group
of squalid old crones, squatting in a file under the shadow of
the steps to a porch, scolded noisily as the archdeacon and the
bellringer passed, and tossed them this encouraging welcome,
with a curse: "Hum! there's a fellow whose soul is made like
the other one's body!" Or a band of schoolboys and street
urchins, playing hop-scotch, rose in a body and saluted him
classically, with some cry in Latin: "Eia! eia! Claudius
But the insult generally passed unnoticed both by the priest
and the bellringer. Quasimodo was too deaf to hear all these
gracious things, and Claude was too dreamy.