Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

BOOK SEVENTH.
CHAPTER 6. THE EFFECT WHICH SEVEN OATHS IN THE OPEN AIR CAN PRODUCE.

"Te Deum Laudamus!" exclaimed Master Jehan, creeping out from his hole, "the screech-owls have departed. Och! och! Hax! pax! max! fleas! mad dogs! the devil! I have had enough of their conversation! My head is humming like a bell tower. And mouldy cheese to boot! Come on! Let us descend, take the big brother's purse and convert all these coins into bottles!"

He cast a glance of tenderness and admiration into the interior of the precious pouch, readjusted his toilet, rubbed up his boots, dusted his poor half sleeves, all gray with ashes, whistled an air, indulged in a sportive pirouette, looked about to see whether there were not something more in the cell to take, gathered up here and there on the furnace some amulet in glass which might serve to bestow, in the guise of a trinket, on Isabeau la Thierrye, finally pushed open the door which his brother had left unfastened, as a last indulgence, and which he, in his turn, left open as a last piece of malice, and descended the circular staircase, skipping like a bird.

In the midst of the gloom of the spiral staircase, he elbowed something which drew aside with a growl; he took it for granted that it was Quasimodo, and it struck him as so droll that he descended the remainder of the staircase holding his sides with laughter. On emerging upon the Place, he laughed yet more heartily.

He stamped his foot when he found himself on the ground once again. "Oh!" said he, "good and honorable pavement of Paris, cursed staircase, fit to put the angels of Jacob's ladder out of breath! What was I thinking of to thrust myself into that stone gimlet which pierces the sky; all for the sake of eating bearded cheese, and looking at the bell- towers of Paris through a hole in the wall!"

He advanced a few paces, and caught sight of the two screech owls, that is to say, Dom Claude and Master Jacques Charmolue, absorbed in contemplation before a carving on the fašade. He approached them on tiptoe, and heard the archdeacon say in a low tone to Charmolue: "'Twas Guillaume de Paris who caused a Job to be carved upon this stone of the hue of lapis-lazuli, gilded on the edges. Job represents the philosopher's stone, which must also be tried and martyrized in order to become perfect, as saith Raymond Lulle: Sub conservatione formoe speciftoe salva anima."

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