Victor Marie Hugo (18021885). Notre Dame de Paris.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
WE are charmed to be able to inform our readers that during this whole scene Grainier and his piece held their own. Spurred on by him, the actors had not ceased to declaim, nor he to listen. He had contributed his share to the clamor and was determined to stand fast to the end; nor did he despair of finally regaining the attention of the public. This spark of hope revived when he beheld Quasimodo, Coppenole, and the yelling cortège of the Pope of Fools troop out of the Hall with deafening up-roar, the crowd eagerly at their heels.
To be exact, a sprinkling of spectators still remained, scattered about singly or grouped round the pillarswomen, old men, and children who had had enough of the noise and the tumult. A few scholars sat astride the windows looking down into the Place.
A moment afterward it was discovered that a band of music, which should have been immensely effective at the entry of the Blessed Virgin, was missing. Grainier found that his musicians had been pressed into the service of the Pope of Fools. Go on without it, he said stoically.
He turned towards the marble table and discovered that the play had suffered an interruption. It was the moment at which Jupiter was to appear on the scene with his thunder. But Jupiter was standing stock-still below the stage.
May the devil fly away with you! said he to the actors, and if I am paid you shall be. Whereupon he beat a retreat, hanging his head, but the last in the field, like a general who has made a good fight.
A precious set of boobies and asses, these Parisians! he growled between his teeth, as he descended the tortuous stairs of the Palais. They come to hear a Mystery, and dont listen to a word. Theyve been taken up with all the worldwith Clopin Trouillefou, with the Cardinal, with Coppenole, with Quasimodo, with the devil; but with Madame the Virgin Mary not a bit. Dolts! if I had only known! Id have given you some Virgin Marys with a vengeance. To think that I should have come here to see faces and found nothing but backs! I, a poet, to have the success of an apothecary! True, Homerus had to beg his bread through the Greek villages, and Ovidius Naso died in exile among the Muscovites. But the devil flay me if I know what they mean with their Esmeralda. To begin with, where can the word come from?ah, its Egyptian.