Fiction > Harvard Classics > Victor Hugo > Notre Dame de Paris > Book VII > Chapter I
Victor Marie Hugo (1802–1885).  Notre Dame de Paris.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
Book VII
I. Showing the Danger of Confiding One’s Secret to a Goat
SEVERAL weeks had elapsed.   1
  It was the beginning of March, and though Du Bartas, 1 that classic ancestor of the periphrase, had not yet styled the sun “the Grand Duke of the Candles,” his rays were none the less bright and cheerful. It was one of those beautiful mild days of early spring that draw all Paris out into the squares and promenades as if it were a Sunday. On these days of clear air, of warmth, and of serenity there is one hour in particular at which the great door of Notre Dame is seen at its best. That is at the moment when the sun, already declining in the west, stands almost directly opposite the front of the Cathedral; when his rays, becoming more and more horizontal, slowly retreat from the flag-stones of the Place and creep up the sheer face of the building, making its innumerable embossments stand forth from the shadow, while the great central rose-window flames like a Cyclops’s eye lit up by the glow of a forge.   2
  It was at this hour.   3
  Opposite to the lofty Cathedral, now reddened by the setting sun, on the stone balcony over the porch of a handsome Gothic house at the corner formed by the Place and the Rue du Parvis, a group of fair damsels were laughing and talking with a great display of pretty airs and graces. By the length of the veils which fell from the tip of their pearl-encircled pointed coif down to their heels; by the delicacy of the embroidered chemisette which covered the shoulders but permitted a glimpse—according to the engaging fashion of the day—of the swell of the fair young bosom; by the richness of their under-petticoats, more costly than the overdress (exquisite refinement); by the gauze, the silk, the velvet stuffs, and, above all, by the whiteness of their hands, which proclaimed them idle and unemployed, it was easy to divine that they came of noble and wealthy families. They were in effect, the Damoiselle Fleur-de-Lys de Gondelaurier and her companions, Diane de Christeuil, Amelotte de Montmichel, Colombe de Gaillefontaine, and the little De Champchevrier—all daughters of good family, gathered together at this moment in the house of the widowed Mme. Aloïse de Gondelaurier, on account of Monseigneur the Lord of Beaujeu and Madame Anne, his wife, who were coming to Paris in April in order to choose the maids-in-waiting for the Dauphiness Margaret when they went to Picardy to receive her from the hands of the Flemings. So all the little landed proprietors for thirty leagues round were eager to procure this honour for their daughters, and many of them had already brought or sent them to Paris. The above-mentioned maidens had been confided by their parents to the discreet and unimpeachable care of Mme. Aloïse de Gondelaurier, the widow of a captain of the King’s archers, and now living in elegant retirement with her only daughter in her mansion in the Place du Parvis, Notre Dame, at Paris.   4
  The balcony on which the girls were seated opened out of a room richly hung with tawny-coloured Flanders leather stamped with gold foliage. The beams that ran in parallel lines across the ceiling charmed the eye by their thousand fantastic carvings, painted and gilt. Gorgeous enamels gleamed here and there from the doors of inlaid cabinets; a wild boar’s head in faience crowned a magnificent side-board, the two steps of which proclaimed the mistress of the house to be the wife or widow of a knight banneret. At the further end of the room, in a rich red velvet chair, beside a lofty chimney-piece, blazoned from top to bottom with coats of arms, sat Mme. de Gondelaurier, whose five-and-fifty years were no less distinctly written on her dress than on her face.   5
  Beside her stood a young man whose native air of breeding was somewhat heavily tinged with vanity and bravado—one of those handsome fellows whom all women are agreed in adoring, let wiseacres and physiognomists shake their heads as they will. This young cavalier wore the brilliant uniform of a captain of the King’s archers, which too closely resembles the costume of Jupiter, which the reader has had an opportunity of admiring at the beginning of this history, for us to inflict on him a second description.   6
  The damoiselles were seated, some just inside the room, some on the balcony, on cushions of Utrecht velvet with gold corners, or on elaborately carved oak stools. Each of them held on her knees part of a great piece of needlework on which they were all engaged, while a long end of it lay spread over the matting which covered the floor.   7
  They were talking among themselves with those whispers and stifled bursts of laughter which are the sure signs of a young man’s presence among a party of girls. The young man himself who set all these feminine wiles in motion, appeared but little impressed thereby, and while the pretty creatures vied with one another in their endeavours to attract his attention, he was chiefly occupied in polishing the buckle of his sword-belt with his doeskin glove.   8
  From time to time the old lady addressed him in a low voice, and he answered as well as might be with a sort of awkward and constrained politeness. From the smiles and significant gestures of Madame Aloïse, and the meaning glances she threw at her daughter, Fleur-de-Lys, as she talked to the captain, it was evident that the conversation turned on some betrothal already accomplished or a marriage in the near future between the young man and the daughter of the house. Also, from the cold and embarrassed air of the officer, it was plainly to be seen that, as far as he was concerned, there was no longer any question of love. His whole demeanour expressed a degree of constraint and ennui such as a modern subaltern would translate in the admirable language of to-day by, “What a beastly bore!”   9
  The good lady, infatuated like many another mother with her daughter, never noticed the officer’s lack of enthusiasm; but gave herself infinite pains to call his attention in a whisper to the matchless grace with which Fleur-de-Lys used her needle or unwound her silk thread.  10
  “Look, little cousin,” said she, pulling him by the sleeve and speaking into his ear, “look at her now—now, as she bends.”  11
  “Quite so,” replied the young man; and he fell back into his former icy and abstracted silence.  12
  The next moment he had to lean down again to Madame Aloïse. “Have you ever,” said she, “seen a blither and more engaging creature than your intended? She is all lily-white and golden. Those hands, how perfect and accomplished! and that neck has it not all the ravishing curves of a swan’s? How I envy you at times! and how fortunate you are in being a man, naughty rake that you are! Is not my Fleur-de-Lys beautiful to adoration, and you head over ears in love with her?”  13
  “Assuredly,” he replied, thinking of something else.  14
  “Speak to her, then,” said Madame Aloïse, pushing him by the shoulder. “Go and say something to her; you have grown strangely timid.”  15
  We can assure our readers that timidity was no virtue or fault of the captain. He made an effort, however, to do as he was bid.  16
  “Fair cousin,” said he, approaching Fleur-de-Lys, “what is the subject of this piece of tapestry you are working at?”  17
  “Fair cousin,” answered Fleur-de-Lys somewhat pettishly, “I have already informed you three times. It is the grotto of Neptune.”  18
  It was evident that Fleur-de-Lys saw more plainly than her mother through the cold and absent manner of the captain. He felt the necessity of pursuing the conversation further.  19
  “And who is to benefit by all this fine Neptunery?” he asked.  20
  “It is for the Abbey of Saint-Antoine-des-Champs,” answered Fleur-de-Lys, without raising her eyes.  21
  The captain picked up a corner of the tapestry. “And pray, fair cousin, who may be this big, puffy-cheeked gendarme blowing a trumpet?”  22
  “That is Triton,” she replied.  23
  There was still a touch of resentment in the tone of these brief answers, and the young man understood perfectly that it behooved him to whisper in her ear some pretty nothing, some stereotyped gallantry—no matter what. He bent over her accordingly, but his imagination could furnish nothing more tender or personal than: “Why does your mother always wear a gown emblazoned with her heraldic device, as our grandmothers did in the time of Charles VII? Prithee, fair cousin, tell her that is no longer the fashion of the day, and that these hinges and laurel-trees embroidered on her gown make her appear like a walking mantel-piece. Nobody sits on their banner like that nowadays, I do assure you!”  24
  Fleur-de-Lys raised her fine eyes to him reproachfully. “And is that all you have to assure me of?” she asked in low tones.  25
  Meanwhile the good Dame Aloïse, overjoyed to see them thus leaning together and whispering, exclaimed as she trifled with the clasps of her book of hours: “Touching scene of love!”  26
  The captain, more and more embarrassed, returned helplessly to the subject of the tapestry. “I’ faith, a charming piece of work!” he exclaimed.  27
  At this juncture Colombe de Gaillefontaine, another pink-and-white, golden-haired beauty, dressed in a pale blue damask, ventured a shy remark to Fleur-de-Lys, hoping however that the handsome soldier would answer her.  28
  “Dear Gondelaurier, have you seen the tapestries at the Hôtel de la Roche-Guyon?”  29
  “Is not that where there is a garden belonging to the Linenkeeper of the Louvre?” asked Diane de Christeuil with a laugh; for having beautiful teeth she laughed on all occasions.  30
  “And where there is a great ancient tower, part of the old wall of Paris?” added Amelotte de Montmichel, a charming, curly-haired, bright-complexioned brunette, who had a trick of sighing, just as Diane laughed, without any valid reason.  31
  “My dear Colombe,” said Dame Aloïse, “do you mean the Hôtel which belonged to M. de Bacqueville in the reign of King Charles VI? There are, in effect, some superb high-warp tapestries there.”  32
  “Charles VI—King Charles VI!” muttered the young officer, twirling his mustache. “Heavens! how far back does the old lady’s memory reach?”  33
  “Superb tapestries!” repeated Mme. de Gondelaurier. “So much so, indeed, that they are accounted absolutely unique.”  34
  At this moment Berangère de Champchevrier, a slip of a little girl of seven, who had been looking down into the Place through the carved trefoils of the balcony, cried out: “Oh, godmother Fleur-de-Lys, do look at this pretty girl dancing and playing the tambourine in the street in the middle of that ring of people!”  35
  The penetrating rattle of a tambourine rose up to them from the square.  36
  “Some gipsy of Bohemia,” said Fleur-de-Lys, turning her head carelessly towards the square.  37
  “Let us look—let us look!” cried her companions, eagerly running to the balustrade, while she followed more slowly, musing on the coldness of her betrothed. The latter, thankful for this incident, which cut short an embarrassing conversation, returned to the other end of the apartment with the well-contented air of a soldier relieved from duty.  38
  Yet it was an easy and pleasant service, that of being on duty at the side of the fair Fleur-de-Lys, and time was when he had thought it so. But the captain had gradually wearied of it, and the thought of his approaching marriage grew more distasteful to him every day. Moreover, he was of inconstant disposition, and, we are bound to confess, of somewhat vulgar proclivities. Although of very noble birth, he had with his uniform adopted many of the low habits of the common soldier. The tavern and all that belongs to it delighted him; and he was never at his ease but amid gross language, military gallantries, facile beauties, and easy conquests. Nevertheless, he had received from his family a certain amount of education and polish, but he had too early been allowed to run loose, had been thrust too young into garrison life, and the varnish of polite manner had not been sufficiently thick to withstand the constant friction of the soldier’s harness. Though still visiting her occasionally, from some last remnant of kindly feeling, he felt himself increasingly constrained in the presence of Fleur-de-Lys; partly because by dint of dividing his love so freely on all sides, he had very little left for her; partly because in the presence of these stiff, decorous, and well-bred beauties, he went in constant fear lest his tongue, accustomed to the great oaths of the guard-room, should suddenly get the better of him and rap out some word that would appal them.  39
  And yet with all this he combined great pretensions to elegance, to sumptuous dress, and noble bearing. Let the reader reconcile these qualities for himself. I am merely the historian.  40
  He had been standing for some moments, in silence, leaning against the chimney-piece, thinking of something or perhaps of nothing at all, when Fleur-de-Lys suddenly turning round addressed him. After all, it went very much against the poor girl’s heart to keep up any show of coldness towards him.  41
  “Cousin, did you not tell us of a little gipsy girl you had rescued out of the hands of a band of robbers about two months ago, when you were going the counter-watch at night?”  42
  “I believe I did, fair cousin,” answered the captain.  43
  “Well,” she resumed, “perhaps this is the very girl dancing now in the Parvis. Come and see if you recognise her, Cousin Phœbus.”  44
  A secret desire for reconciliation sounded through this gentle invitation to her side, and in the care she took to call him by his name. Captain Phœbus de Châteaupers (for it is he whom the reader has had before him since the beginning of this chapter) accordingly slowly approached the balcony.  45
  “Look,” said Fleur-de-Lys, tenderly laying her hand on his arm, “look at the girl dancing there in the ring. Is that your gipsy?”  46
  Phœbus looked. “Yes,” said he, “I know her by her goat.”  47
  “Oh, what a pretty little goat!” cried Amelotte, clapping her hands delightedly.  48
  “Are its horns real gold?” asked Berangère.  49
  Without rising from her seat, Dame Aloïse inquired: “Is that one of the band of Bohemians who arrived last year by the Porte Gibard?”  50
  “Lady mother,” said Fleur-de-Lys gently, “that gate is now called Porte d’Enfer.”  51
  Mlle. de Gondelaurier was well aware how much the captain was shocked by her mother’s antiquated modes of expression. Indeed, he muttered with a disdainful laugh: “Porte Gibard! Porte Gibard! That is to give passage to King Charles VI, no doubt!”  52
  “Godmother!” exclaimed Berangère, whose quick and restless eyes were suddenly attracted to the top of the towers of Notre Dame. “Who is that man in black up there?”  53
  All the girls looked up. A man was leaning with his elbows on the topmost parapet of the northern tower which looked towards the Grève. It was a priest—as could be seen by his dress—and they could clearly distinguish his face, which was resting on his two hands. He stood as motionless as a statue, and in his gaze, fixed steadily on the Place beneath him, there was something of the immobility of the kite looking down upon the sparrow’s nest it has just discovered.  54
  “It is Monsieur the Archdeacon of Josas,” said Fleur-de-Lys.  55
  “You must have good sight to recognise him at this distance,” observed La Gaillefontaine.  56
  “How he glares at the little dancer!” said Diane de Christeuil.  57
  “Then let the Egyptian beware,” said Fleur-de-Lys, “for he loves not Egypt.”  58
  “’Tis a pity he should look at her like that,” added Amelotte de Montmichel, “for she dances most bewitchingly.”  59
  “Cousin Phœ,” said Fleur-de-Lys impulsively, “since you know this gipsy girl, will you not beckon to her to come up here—it will divert us.”  60
  “Oh, yes!” cried the other girls, clapping their hands gleefully.  61
  “What a madcap idea!” replied Phœbus. “Doubtless she has forgotten me, and I do not even know her name. However, as you wish it, mesdamoiselles, I will see what I can do.” And leaning over the balcony he called out, “Little one!”  62
  The dancing girl was not playing her tambourine at that moment. She turned her head towards the spot from which the voice came, her brilliant eyes caught sight of Phœbus, and she suddenly stood still.  63
  “Little one,” repeated the captain, and he motioned to her to come up.  64
  The girl looked at him again, and then blushed as if a flame had risen to her cheeks, and taking her tambourine under her arm, she made her way through the gaping crowd towards the door of the house whence Phœbus called her, her step slow and uncertain, and with the troubled glance of a bird yielding to the fascination of a serpent.  65
  A moment later the tapestry was raised, and the gipsy appeared on the threshold of the room, flushed, shy, panting, her great eyes lowered, not daring to advance a step farther.  66
  Berangère clapped her hands.  67
  But the dancing girl stood motionless in the doorway. Her sudden appearance produced a curious effect on the group. There is no doubt that a vague and indistinct desire to please the handsome officer animated the whole party, and that the brilliant uniform was the target at which they aimed all their coquettish darts; also, from the time of his being present there had arisen among them a certain covert rivalry, scarcely acknowledged to themselves, but which was none the less constantly revealed in their gestures and in their remarks. Nevertheless, as they all possessed much the same degree of beauty, they fought with the same weapons, and each might reasonably hope for victory. The arrival of the gipsy roughly destroyed this equilibrium. Her beauty was of so rare a quality that the moment she entered the room she seemed to illuminate it with a sort of light peculiar to herself. In this restricted space, in this rich frame of sombre hangings and dark panelling, she was incomparably more beautiful and radiant than in the open square. It was like bringing a torch out of the daylight into the shade. The noble maidens were dazzled by her in spite of themselves. Each one felt that her beauty had in some degree suffered. Consequently they instantly and with one accord changed their line of battle (if we may be allowed the term) without a single word having passed between them. For the instincts of women understand and respond to one another far quicker than the intelligence of men. A common foe stood in their midst; they all felt it, and combined for defence. One drop of wine is sufficient to tinge a whole glass of water; to diffuse a certain amount of ill temper throughout a gathering of pretty women, it is only necessary for one still prettier to arrive upon the scene, especially if there is but one man of the company.  68
  Thus the gipsy girl’s reception was glacial in its coldness. They looked her up and down, then turned to each other, and all was said; they were confederates. Meanwhile the girl, waiting in vain for them to address her, was so covered with confusion that she dared not raise her eyes.  69
  The captain was the first to break the silence. “I’ faith,” he said, with his air of fatuous assurance, “a bewitching creature! What say you, fair cousin?”  70
  This remark, which a more tactful admirer would at least have made in an undertone, was not calculated to allay the feminine jealousy so sharply on the alert in the presence of the gipsy girl.  71
  Fleur-de-Lys answered her fiancé in an affected tone of contemptuous indifference, “Ah, not amiss.”  72
  The others put their heads together and whispered.  73
  At last Madame Aloïse, not the least jealous of the party because she was so for her daughter, accosted the dancer:  74
  “Come hither, little one.”  75
  “Come hither, little one,” repeated, with comical dignity, Berangère, who would have reached about to her elbow.  76
  The Egyptian advanced towards the noble lady.  77
  “Pretty one,” said Phœbus, impressively advancing on his side a step or two towards her, “I know not if I enjoy the supreme felicity of being remembered by you; but—”  78
  She interrupted him, with a smile and a glance of infinite sweetness—“Oh, yes,” she said.  79
  “She has a good memory,” observed Fleur-de-Lys.  80
  “Well,” resumed Phœbus, “but you fled in a great hurry that evening. Were you frightened of me?”  81
  “Oh, no,” answered the gipsy. And in the tone of this “Oh, no,” following on the “Oh, yes,” there was an indefinable something which stabbed poor Fleur-de-Lys to the heart.  82
  “You left in your stead, ma belle,” continued the soldier, whose tongue was loosened now that he spoke to a girl of the streets, “a wry-faced, one-eyed hunchback varlet—the Bishop’s bell-ringer, by what I can hear. They tell me he is an archdeacon’s bastard and a devil by birth. He has a droll name too—Ember Week—Palm Sunday—Shrove Tuesday—something of that kind—some bell-ringing festival name, at any rate. And so he had the assurance to carry you off, as if you were made for church beadles! It was like his impudence. And what the devil did he want with you, this screech-owl, eh?”  83
  “I do not know,” she answered.  84
  “Conceive of such insolence! A bell-ringer to carry off a girl, like a vicomte—a clown poaching on a gentleman’s preserves! Unheard-of presumption! For the rest, he paid dearly for it. Master Pierrat Torterue is the roughest groom that ever curried a rascal; and I can tell you, for your satisfaction, that your bell-ringer’s hide got a thorough dressing at his hands.”  85
  “Poor man!” murmured the gipsy, recalling at these words the scene of the pillory.  86
  The captain burst out laughing. “Corne de bœuf! your pity is as well-placed as a feather in a sow’s tail! May I have a paunch like a pope, if—” He drew up short. “Crave your pardon, mesdames! I believe I was on the point of forgetting myself.”  87
  “Fie, sir!” said La Gaillefontaine.  88
  “He speaks to this creature in her own language,” said Fleur-de-Lys under her breath, her vexation increasing with every moment. Nor was this vexation diminished by seeing the captain delighted with the gipsy girl, but still more with himself, turn on his heel and repeat with blatant and soldier-like gallantry: “A lovely creature on my soul!”  89
  “Very barbarously dressed!” observed Diane de Christeuil, showing her white teeth.  90
  This remark was a flash of light to the others. It showed them where to direct their attack on the gipsy. There being no vulnerable spot in her beauty, they threw themselves upon her dress.  91
  “That is very true,” said La Montmichel. “Pray, how comest thou to be running thus barenecked about the streets, without either gorget or kerchief?”  92
  “And a petticoat so short as to fill one with alarm,” added La Gaillefontaine.  93
  “My girl,” continued Fleur-de-Lys spitefully, “thou wilt certainly be fined for that gold belt.”  94
  “My poor girl,” said Diane, with a cruel smile, “if thou hadst the decency to wear sleeves on thy arms, they would not be so burned by the sun.”  95
  It was a sight worthy of a more intelligent spectator than Phœbus, to watch how these high-born maidens darted their envenomed tongues, and coiled and glided and wound serpent-like about the hapless dancing girl. Smiling and cruel, they pitilessly searched and appraised all her poor artless finery of spangles and tinsel. Then followed the heartless laugh, the cutting irony, humiliation without end. Sarcasm, supercilious praise, and spiteful glances descended on the gipsy girl from every side. One might have judged them to be those high-born Roman ladies who amused themselves by thrusting golden pins into the bosom of a beautiful slave, or graceful greyhounds circling with distended nostrils and flaming eyes round some poor hind of the forest, and only prevented by their master’s eye from devouring it piecemeal. And what was she after all to these high-born damsels but a miserable dancing girl of the streets? They seemed to ignore the fact of her presence altogether, and spoke of her to her face as of something degraded and unclean, though diverting enough to make jest of.  96
  The Egyptian was not insensible to these petty stings. From time to time a blush of shame burned in her cheek, a flash of anger in her eyes; a disdainful retort seemed to tremble on her lips, and she made the little contemptuous pout with which the reader is familiar. But she remained silent, motionless, her eyes fixed on Phœbus with a look of resignation infinitely sweet and sad. In this gaze there mingled, too, both joy and tenderness; she seemed to restrain herself for fear of being driven away.  97
  As for Phœbus, he laughed and took the gipsy’s part with a mixture of impertinence and pity.  98
  “Let them talk, child!” he said, jingling his gold spurs. “Doubtless your costume is somewhat strange and extravagant; but when a girl is so charming as you, what does it matter?”  99
  “Mon Dieu!” cried La Gaillefontaine, drawing up her swanlike neck, with a bitter smile. “It is evident that Messieurs the King’s archers take fire easily at the bright gipsy eyes.” 100
  “Why not?” said Phœbus. 101
  At this rejoinder, uttered carelessly by the captain, as one throws a stone at random without troubling to see where it falls, Colombe began to laugh and Amelotte and Diane and Fleur-de-Lys, though a tear rose at the same time to the eye of the latter. 102
  The gipsy girl, who had dropped her eyes as Colombe and La Gaillefontaine spoke, raised them now all radiant with joy and pride and fixed them again on Phœbus. At that moment she was dazzlingly beautiful. 103
  The elder lady, while she observed the scene, felt vaguely incensed without knowing exactly why. 104
  “Holy Virgin!” she suddenly exclaimed, “what is this rubbing against my legs? Ah, the horrid beast!” 105
  It was the goat, just arrived in search of its mistress, and which, in hurrying towards her, had got its horns entangled in the voluminous folds of the noble lady’s gown, which always billowed round her wherever she sat. 106
  This caused a diversion, and the gipsy silently freed the little creature. 107
  “Ah, it is the little goat with the golden hoofs!” cried Berangère, jumping with joy. 108
  The gipsy girl crouched on her knees and pressed her cheek fondly against the goat’s sleek head, as if begging its forgiveness for having left it behind. 109
  At this Diane bent over and whispered in Colombe’s ear: 110
  “Ah, how did I not think of it before? This is the gipsy girl with the goat. They say she is a witch, and that her goat performs some truly miraculous tricks.” 111
  “Very well,” said Colombe; “then let the goat amuse us in its turn, and show us a miracle.” 112
  Diane and Colombe accordingly addressed the gipsy eagerly. 113
  “Girl, make thy goat perform a miracle for us.” 114
  “I do not know what you mean,” answered the gipsy. 115
  “A miracle—a conjuring trick—a feat of witchcraft, in fact.” 116
  “I do not understand,” she repeated, and fell to caressing the pretty creature again, murmuring fondly. “Djali! Djali!” 117
  At that moment Fleur-de-Lys remarked a little embroidered leather bag hanging round the goat’s neck. “What is that?” she asked of the gipsy. 118
  The gipsy raised her large eyes to her and answered gravely, “That is my secret.” 119
  Meanwhile the lady of the house had risen. “Come, gipsy girl,” she exclaimed angrily; “if thou and thy goat will not dance for us, what do you here?” 120
  Without a word the gipsy rose and turned towards the door. But the nearer she approached it, the more reluctant became her step. An irresistible magnet seemed to hold her back. Suddenly she turned her brimming eyes on Phœbus, and stood still. 121
  “Vrai Dieu!” cried the captain, “you shall not leave us thus. Come back and dance for us. By-the-bye, sweetheart, how are you called?” 122
  “Esmeralda,” answered the dancing girl, without taking her eyes off him. 123
  At this strange name the girls burst into a chorus of laughter. 124
  “Truly a formidable name for a demoiselle!” sneered Diane. 125
  “You see now,” said Amelotte, “that she is a sorceress.” 126
  “Child,” exclaimed Dame Aloïse solemnly, “your parents never drew that name for you out of the baptismal font!” 127
  For some minutes past Berangère, to whom nobody was paying any attention, had managed to entice the goat into a corner with a piece of marchpane, and immediately they had become the best of friends. The inquisitive child had then detached the little bag from the goat’s neck, opened it, and emptied its contents on to the floor. It was an alphabet, each letter being written separately on a small tablet of wood. No sooner were these toys displayed on the matting than, to the child’s delighted surprise, the goat (of whose miracles this was no doubt one) proceeded to separate certain letters with her golden fore-foot, and by dint of pushing them gently about arranged them in a certain order. In a minute they formed a word, which the goat seemed practised in composing, to judge by the ease with which she accomplished the task. Berangère clasped her hands in admiration. 128
  “Godmother Fleur-de-Lys,” she cried, “come and see what the goat has done!” 129
  Fleur-de-Lys ran to look, and recoiled at the sight. The letters disposed upon the floor formed the word,
  “The goat put that word together?” she asked excitedly. 131
  “Yes, godmother,” answered Berangère. It was impossible to doubt it; the child could not spell. 132
  “So this is the secret,” thought Fleur-de-Lys. 133
  By this time the rest of the party had come forward to look—the mother, the girls, the gipsy, the young soldier. 134
  The Bohemian saw the blunder the goat had involved her in. She turned red and white, and then began to tremble like a guilty creature before the captain, who gazed at her with a smile of satisfaction and astonishment. 135
  “Phœbus!” whispered the girls in amazement; “that is the name of the captain!” 136
  “You have a wonderful memory!” said Fleur-de-Lys to the stupefied gipsy girl. Then, bursting into tears: “Oh,” she sobbed, “she is a sorceress!” While a still more bitter voice whispered in her inmost heart, “She is a rival!” And she swooned in her mother’s arms. 137
  “My child! my child!” cried the terrified mother. “Begone, diabolical gipsy!” 138
  In a trice Esmeralda gathered up the unlucky letters, made a sign to Djali, and quitted the room by one door, as they carried Fleur-de-Lys out by another. 139
  Captain Phœbus, left alone, hesitated a moment between the two doors—then followed the gipsy girl. 140

Note 1.  A popular French poet of the sixteenth century, whose poem on The Divine Week and Works was translated by Joshua Sylvester in the reign of James I. [back]



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