CHAPTER 8. THE UTILITY OF WINDOWS WHICH OPEN ON THE RIVER.
Claude Frollo (for we presume that the reader, more intelligent
than Phoebus, has seen in this whole adventure no other
surly monk than the archdeacon), Claude Frollo groped about
for several moments in the dark lair into which the captain
had bolted him. It was one of those nooks which architects
sometimes reserve at the point of junction between the roof
and the supporting wall. A vertical section of this kennel, as
Phoebus had so justly styled it, would have made a triangle.
Moreover, there was neither window nor air-hole, and the slope
of the roof prevented one from standing upright. Accordingly,
Claude crouched down in the dust, and the plaster
which cracked beneath him; his head was on fire; rummaging
around him with his hands, be found on the floor a bit of
broken glass, which he pressed to his brow, and whose cool-
ness afforded him some relief.
What was taking place at that moment in the gloomy soul
of the archdeacon? God and himself could alone know.
In what order was he arranging in his mind la Esmeralda,
Phoebus, Jacques Charmolue, his young brother so beloved, yet
abandoned by him in the mire, his archdeacon's cassock, his
reputation perhaps dragged to la Falourdel's, all these adventures,
all these images? I cannot say. But it is certain that
these ideas formed in his mind a horrible group.
He had been waiting a quarter of an hour; it seemed to
him that he had grown a century older. All at once be heard
the creaking of the boards of the stairway; some one was
ascending. The trapdoor opened once more; a light reappeared.
There was a tolerably large crack in the worm-eaten
door of his den; he put his face to it. In this manner
he could see all that went on in the adjoining room. The
cat-faced old crone was the first to emerge from the trap-door,
lamp in hand; then Phoebus, twirling his moustache, then a
third person, that beautiful and graceful figure, la Esmeralda.
The priest beheld her rise from below like a dazzling
apparition. Claude trembled, a cloud spread over his eyes,
his pulses beat violently, everything rustled and whirled
around him; he no longer saw nor heard anything.
When he recovered himself, Phoebus and Esmeralda were
alone seated on the wooden coffer beside the lamp which
made these two youthful figures and a miserable pallet at
the end of the attic stand out plainly before the