Study Guide

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Book VII

By Victor Hugo

Book VII

Chapter 1: The Danger of Trusting a Goat with a Secret

  • A few weeks later, in March, some rich ladies are embroidering in a house on the Place du Parvis (which is right in front of Notre-Dame). The hostess is Fleur-de-Lis de Gondelaurier, whose mother is trying to hook her up with none other than Captain Phœbus.
  • Phœbus is present at the gathering, and even though all the ladies are vying for his attention because he's the hottest thing since sliced bread, he is bored to tears. Dame Aloïse (Fleur-de-Lis's mother) keeps nudging Phœbus towards her daughter and pointing out how pretty she is, but it's not working.
  • Phœbus finally tries to make small talk with Fleur-de-Lis but really can't find anything worth saying. He just mentions how outdated Dame Aloïse's clothes are.
  • Fleur-de-Lis is pretty annoyed with Phœbus's inability to engage in conversation. Dame Aloïse, for her part, thinks that the two are madly in love.
  • The ladies hear the sound of a tambourine outside and rush to look. Phœbus is relieved, because he isn't comfortable around high society; he prefers taverns and brothels and cursing.
  • Fleur-de-Lis asks Phœbus if the gypsy dancing in the square below is the same gypsy he mentioned rescuing two months before. Lo and behold, it is.
  • One of the other ladies sees a man in black staring intently at the gypsy across the square, and Fleur-de-Lis notes that it is the Archdeacon of Josas... a.k.a. Claude Frollo.
  • The ladies want Esmeralda to come upstairs to perform for them, so they tell Phœbus to summon her.
  • When Esmeralda arrives, all of the ladies are suddenly fiercely jealous of her, because she is so much more beautiful than all of them. They get all cold and passive-aggressive. Phœbus is totally oblivious to Fleur-de-Lis's jealousy. He has an easy time talking to Esmeralda because she isn't all proper and stuffy like the others.
  • The ladies proceed to make all sorts of barbed comments about Esmeralda's clothes. The jabs are interrupted by the discovery of Esmeralda's goat, Djali, whom the ladies want to perform tricks.
  • Djali has a leather bag tied around her neck, and when the ladies ask about it Esmeralda says that it is her secret.
  • While the ladies have another go at Esmeralda (this time at her strange name), one of the young ladies lures Djali into a corner and opens the bag around the goat's neck. It's filled with letters of the alphabet on pieces of wood, like a medieval game of Scrabble. Djali then proceeds to use the letters to spell out "Phœbus."
  • This discovery produces quite the commotion, and Esmeralda splits. Phœbus is torn for a split second and then decides to follow her.

Chapter 2: A Priest and a Philosopher Are Two Different People

  • Remember how the ladies saw the Archdeacon staring at Esmeralda as she danced in the square? Well, he definitely was. He even noticed that she was accompanied by a man in a yellow and red coat.
  • So Frollo rushes downstairs to investigate, and on his way sees Quasimodo also watching Esmeralda dance. Kind of odd, but whatever.
  • By the time Frollo gets downstairs Esmeralda is gone, but Frollo recognizes the man in the coat as none other than Pierre Gringoire, who is trying (badly) to earn a living as a street performer.
  • Frollo asks Gringoire how it is that he is in the company of Esmeralda. When Gringoire answers that they are married, Frollo seems to completely lose it. But then Gringoire explains how he and Esmeralda aren't really husband and wife.
  • Frollo is obsessed with whether or not Gringoire has had sex with Esmeralda and keeps weirdly asking about it.
  • But Gringoire doesn't seem to find any of it weird and tells Frollo all about Esmeralda. He even mentions Djali's trick of spelling the word "Phœbus," which interests the Archdeacon.
  • Frollo makes Gringoire again swear that he has never touched Esmeralda, and Gringoire swears, though not before he mentions that he once peeked at Esmeralda in her nightgown. This comment sets Frollo off, and he storms back to the cathedral.

Chapter 3: The Bells

  • Usually, ringing the bells is the best part of Quasimodo's day. But something is different for him now. He starts to ring the bells and seems to forget his troubles, but then he catches sight of a girl dancing in the square below accompanied by a goat. He abruptly forgets all about his precious bells.

Chapter 4: ANÁΓKH

  • Jehan Frollo du Moulin wakes up one day and realizes that he is broke. This merits a trip to his brother the Archdeacon.
  • Jehan climbs up to his brother's room in Notre-Dame, and the narrator compares the scene to Rembrandt's sketch of Dr. Faustus.
  • Frollo doesn't hear Jehan come in and speaks to himself about how the light of the sun might be what gold is made of. But then he thinks of Esmeralda and laments that she is all he can think about. He gets up and engraves the Greek word "ANÁΓKH" on his wall.
  • Jehan thinks that this would be a good time to knock. Frollo invites him in, thinking that it is someone named Master Jacques.
  • Frollo is not too happy to see his younger brother. Jehan beats around the bush about needing money, while Frollo gives him a lecture about Jehan's bad behavior and his atrocious studying habits.
  • Jehan points to the "ANÁΓKH" on Frollo's wall. He remarks that he has been studying his Greek and understands that the word means "fate." When Frollo turns pale, Jehan finds it a good time to ask for money.
  • When Frollo asks what he needs it for, Jehan answers that it's for an act of charity. Unfortunately, Jehan's a really bad liar, and Frollo sees right through him.
  • Just then, there is the sound of footsteps approaching, and Frollo has Jehan hide under the furnace. Jehan seizes the opportunity to demand a florin (a gold coin) in return for being quiet, and Frollo angrily throws one at him as the door opens.

Chapter 5: The Two Men in Black

  • The man who enters is dressed in a black gown and calls Frollo "master." He turns out to be Jacques Charmolue, the King's Proctor.
  • Frollo and Charmolue talk about alchemy and about a man named Marc Cenaine, who is accused of sorcery and is currently being tortured.
  • Charmolue is about to go when he mentions Frollo's request that he apprehend a certain sorceress with a goat. At this, Frollo tells him to wait and tries to divert the conversation.
  • There is a spider web stretched across Frollo's window, and at that moment a fly flies into it and is eaten by the spider. Charmolue is about to rescue it when Frollo cries out to let fate run its course.
  • Then Frollo goes on this rampage about how she is the fly and he is the spider... but he is also the fly caught in the web.
  • Charmolue, who finds this a bit strange (but is probably too polite to say anything) asks when Frollo is going to come help him make gold. This brings Frollo back to reality.
  • There is a sound of chewing coming from under Frollo's furnace (Jehan has found a bit of moldy cheese), and when Charmolue asks what it is, Frollo responds that it's his cat.
  • Charmolue and Frollo leave.

Chapter 6: Consequences of Seven Oaths Sworn in the Open Street

  • Jehan, now free, leaves Frollo's cell, and thinks that he passes Quasimodo grumbling in the stairwell. On his way out, he passes Frollo and Charmolue discussing the sculptures at the entrance of Notre-Dame, looking for hidden alchemical symbolism.
  • Who should Jehan encounter next but his good friend Captain Phœbus, who has just left the house of Fleur-de-Lis and is cursing up a storm because he couldn't curse in front of the ladies. Jehan and Phœbus decide to go get drunk together now that Jehan has money.
  • Meanwhile, the Archdeacon has witnessed Jehan and Phœbus, and is following them. When the two men hear the sound of a tambourine, Phœbus tells Jehan to hurry, because he doesn't want the gypsy girl to see him.
  • When Jehan asks why, Phœbus whispers something in Jehan's ear. It looks like Phœbus has set up a hot date with Esmeralda that very night—and the Archdeacon hears him.

Chapter 7: The Goblin-Monk

  • Jehan and Phœbus make their way to a sleazy tavern called Eve's Apple, and they gallivant there for a few hours until nightfall. Meanwhile, a man in a cloak has been incessantly pacing back and forth in front of the tavern.
  • Two people leave the tavern. One of them is tanked. It's Jehan, and Phœbus is trying to get him to give him some money for a room. It's to no avail, and eventually Jehan just passes out on the street.
  • Phœbus goes to his rendezvous with Esmeralda, stopping along the way to pee on a statue in front of his old school. He still doesn't have any money.
  • Just then, the man in the cloak accosts him. Phœbus takes him to be the goblin-monk that he has heard stories about and draws his sword.
  • The cloaked figure asks Phœbus about his meeting with Esmeralda, and then when Phœbus affirms everything, the figure accuses him of lying. Phœbus becomes indignant at this and tells the man to draw his sword.
  • The figure reminds Phœbus that he has a rendezvous to make and gives him some money for a room. That defuses the situation. But there's a catch: the cloaked figure wants permission to hide in the corridor to see if Phœbus is really going to meet the girl he says he is meeting.
  • Somehow, Phœbus doesn't find this suspicious at all, and the two go to a dirty old house on the Pont St.-Michel. It's run by an old woman, who takes the coin that Phœbus gives her and puts it in a drawer. When her back is turned, a young boy sitting by the fire takes it and replaces it with a dry leaf.
  • The old woman leads the two men upstairs, and Phœbus puts the cloaked figure in a closet in the room he has rented. Then he goes back downstairs.

Chapter 8: The Usefulness of Windows Looking Toward the River

  • So the cloaked figure, who is obviously Claude Frollo, is now in a closet waiting to play Peeping Tom to Phœbus and Esmeralda. He almost faints when he sees it is in fact Esmeralda who enters the room behind Phœbus.
  • Esmeralda talks about how her amulet is going to lose its power, but she declares her love for Phœbus, anyway. Phœbus has no idea what she's talking about but goes along with it.
  • Esmeralda then asks to look at Phœbus's, ahem, sword, and she asks Phœbus if he loves her. Phœbus says all the right things, because he has said them many a time before. Esmeralda totally falls for it, hook, line, and sinker.
  • Phœbus, on his part, can't even get Esmeralda's name right, and keeps calling her Similar. Seriously, dude. Similar?
  • Phœbus talks to Esmeralda about all the great things they'll get to do, all the while eyeing her belt and trying to find ways to undress her. Then Esmeralda asks him to teach her his religion so that they can be married.
  • Whoa there, Nelly. Phœbus has no intention of marrying Esmeralda and tells her that marriage is a silly notion. Then he snatches away her shawl, while Frollo watches and burns with jealousy in the closet.
  • This brings the seduction to a grinding halt. Esmeralda gets up and covers herself, but Phœbus accuses her of not loving him.
  • At this, Esmeralda throws herself at Phœbus and says that she doesn't care about finding her parents or about marriage, as long as Phœbus loves her. Things are getting hot and heavy when Esmeralda sees, behind Phœbus, the face of the priest with a dagger.
  • Frollo stabs Phœbus, and Esmeralda faints—but as she loses consciousness, she feels a kiss burn her lips.
  • When she wakes up, the room is filled with soldiers, and she is being accused of stabbing the captain. Uh oh.