CHAPTER 2. A PRIEST AND A PHILOSOPHER ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
The priest whom the young girls had observed at the top of
the North tower, leaning over the Place and so attentive to the
dance of the gypsy, was, in fact, Archdeacon Claude Frollo.
Our readers have not forgotten the mysterious cell which
the archdeacon had reserved for himself in that tower. (I do
not know, by the way be it said, whether it be not the same,
the interior of which can be seen to-day through a little square
window, opening to the east at the height of a man above the
platform from which the towers spring; a bare and dilapidated
den, whose badly plastered walls are ornamented here
and there, at the present day, with some wretched yellow
engravings representing the fašades of cathedrals. I presume
that this hole is jointly inhabited by bats and spiders, and
that, consequently, it wages a double war of extermination
on the flies).
Every day, an hour before sunset, the archdeacon ascended
the staircase to the tower, and shut himself up in this cell,
where he sometimes passed whole nights. That day, at the
moment when, standing before the low door of his retreat, he
was fitting into the lock the complicated little key which he
always carried about him in the purse suspended to his side,
a sound of tambourine and castanets had reached his ear.
These sounds came from the Place du Parvis. The cell, as we
have already said, had only one window opening upon the rear
of the church. Claude Frollo had hastily withdrawn the key,
and an instant later, he was on the top of the tower, in the
gloomy and pensive attitude in which the maidens had seen
There he stood, grave, motionless, absorbed in one look and
one thought. All Paris lay at his feet, with the thousand spires
of its edifices and its circular horizon of gentle hills--with
its river winding under its bridges, and its people moving to
and fro through its streets,--with the clouds of its smoke,--with
the mountainous chain of its roofs which presses Notre-Dame in
its doubled folds; but out .of all the city, the archdeacon
gazed at one corner only of the pavement, the Place du
Parvis; in all that throng at but one figure,--the gypsy.