CHAPTER 6. ESMERALDA.
We are delighted to be able to inform the reader, that during
the whole of this scene, Gringoire and his piece had stood
firm. His actors, spurred on by him, had not ceased to spout
his comedy, and he had not ceased to listen to it. He had
made up his mind about the tumult, and was determined to
proceed to the end, not giving up the hope of a return of
attention on the part of the public. This gleam of hope acquired
fresh life, when he saw Quasimodo, Coppenole, and the
deafening escort of the pope of the procession of fools quit
the hall amid great uproar. The throng rushed eagerly after
them. "Good," he said to himself, "there go all the mischief-
makers." Unfortunately, all the mischief-makers constituted
the entire audience. In the twinkling of an eye, the grand
hall was empty.
To tell the truth, a few spectators still remained, some scattered,
others in groups around the pillars, women, old men, or
children, who had had enough of the uproar and tumult. Some
scholars were still perched astride of the window-sills, engaged
in gazing into the Place.
"Well," thought Gringoire, "here are still as many as are
required to hear the end of my mystery. They are few in
number, but it is a choice audience, a lettered audience."
An instant later, a symphony which had been intended to
produce the greatest effect on the arrival of the Virgin, was
lacking. Gringoire perceived that his music had been carried
off by the procession of the Pope of the Fools. "Skip it," said
He approached a group of bourgeois, who seemed to him to
be discussing his piece. This is the fragment of conversation
which he caught,--
"You know, Master Cheneteau, the Hôtel de Navarre, which
belonged to Monsieur de Nemours?"
"Yes, opposite the Chapelle de Braque."
"Well, the treasury has just let it to Guillaume Alixandre,
historian, for six hivres, eight sols, parisian, a year."
"How rents are going up!"