CHAPTER 3. KISSES FOR BLOWS.
She was not tall, though she seemed so, so boldly did her
slender form dart about. She was swarthy of complexion,
but one divined that, by day, her skin must possess that
beautiful golden tone of the Andalusians and the Roman
women. Her little foot, too, was Andalusian, for it was both
pinched and at ease in its graceful shoe. She danced, she
turned, she whirled rapidly about on an old Persian rug,
spread negligently under her feet; and each time that her
radiant face passed before you, as she whirled, her great black
eyes darted a flash of lightning at you.
All around her, all glances were riveted, all mouths open;
and, in fact, when she danced thus, to the humming of the
Basque tambourine, which her two pure, rounded arms raised
above her head, slender, frail and vivacious as a wasp, with
her corsage of gold without a fold, her variegated gown puffing
out, her bare shoulders, her delicate limbs, which her
petticoat revealed at times, her black hair, her eyes of flame,
she was a supernatural creature.
"In truth," said Gringoire to himself, "she is a salamander,
she is a nymph, she is a goddess, she is a bacchante of the
At that moment, one of the salamander's braids of hair
became unfastened, and a piece of yellow copper which was
attached to it, rolled to the ground.
"Hé, no!" said he, "she is a gypsy!"
All illusions had disappeared.
She began her dance once more; she took from the ground
two swords, whose points she rested against her brow, and
which she made to turn in one direction, while she turned in
the other; it was a purely gypsy effect. But, disenchanted
though Gringoire was, the whole effect of this picture was not
without its charm and its magic; the bonfire illuminated,
with a red flaring light, which trembled, all alive, over the
circle of faces in the crowd, on the brow of the young girl,
and at the background of the Place cast a pallid reflection,
on one side upon the ancient, black, and wrinkled façade of
the House of Pillars, on the other, upon the old stone