CHAPTER 1. GRINGOIRE HAS MANY GOOD IDEAS IN SUCCESSION.--RUE DES BERNARDINS.
As soon as Pierre Gringoire had seen how this whole affair
was turning, and that there would decidedly be the rope,
hanging, and other disagreeable things for the principal
personages in this comedy, he had not cared to identify
himself with the matter further. The outcasts with whom he had
remained, reflecting that, after all, it was the best company
in Paris,--the outcasts had continued to interest themselves in
behalf of the gypsy. He had thought it very simple on the
part of people who had, like herself, nothing else in prospect
but Charmolue and Torterue, and who, unlike himself, did not
gallop through the regions of imagination between the wings
of Pegasus. From their remarks, he had learned that his wife
of the broken crock had taken refuge in Notre-Dame, and he
was very glad of it. But he felt no temptation to go and see
her there. He meditated occasionally on the little goat, and
that was all. Moreover, he was busy executing feats of strength
during the day for his living, and at night he was engaged
in composing a memorial against the Bishop of Paris, for he
remembered having been drenched by the wheels of his mills,
and he cherished a grudge against him for it. He also
occupied himself with annotating the fine work of Baudry-le-
Rouge, Bishop of Noyon and Tournay, De Cupa Petrarum,
which had given him a violent passion for architecture, an
inclination which had replaced in his heart his passion for
hermeticism, of which it was, moreover, only a natural corollary,
since there is an intimate relation between hermeticism
and masonry. Gringoire had passed from the love of an idea
to the love of the form of that idea.
One day he had halted near Saint Germain-l'Auxerrois, at
the corner of a mansion called "For-l'Evêque " (the Bishop's
Tribunal), which stood opposite another called "For-le-Roi"
(the King's Tribunal). At this For-l'Evêque, there was a
charming chapel of the fourteenth century, whose apse was on
the street. Gringoire was devoutly examining its exterior
sculptures. He was in one of those moments of egotistical,
exclusive, supreme, enjoyment when the artist beholds nothing
in the world but art, and the world in art. All at once he
feels a hand laid gravely on his shoulder. He turns round.
It was his old friend, his former master, monsieur the archdeacon.