Study Guide

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame Book X

By Victor Hugo

Book X

Chapter 1: Gringoire Has Several Excellent Ideas One After Another in the Rue des Bernardins

  • Gringoire isn't too worried about the whole Esmeralda ordeal. He's glad that she isn't dead, but he would rather not get involved. Occasionally he thinks of Djali.
  • One day, Gringoire's accosted by Frollo, whom he hasn't seen in a while. Frollo asks him a ton of questions about whether Gringoire is happy in his current state. Gringoire responds that things are peachy.
  • Gringoire notices Frollo eyeing an officer, and Frollo notes that his name is Phœbus. He asks Gringoire if he ever envies soldiers for being handsome.
  • Gringoire doesn't see what he is getting at, but then Frollo comes out with it and asks Gringoire about Esmeralda. Gringoire isn't even sure whether Esmeralda is dead or not.
  • Frollo tells Gringoire that in three days, Esmeralda will be seized and hanged, because the Parliament issued a decree. He asks Gringoire why he doesn't do something for her, considering that she saved his life.
  • Gringoire is not so keen on this idea, because it would mean risking his own neck. But Frollo presses the issue.
  • Frollo and Gringoire brainstorm a few really bad ideas, including sneaking Gringoire in, having him swap clothes with Esmeralda, and sneaking her out. Gringoire doesn't like any plans that involve him being hanged.
  • Then Gringoire comes up with the bright idea of rallying the Tramps to rescue Esmeralda, because she is a favorite of theirs. He whispers the details to Frollo.
  • Gringoire asks Frollo if Djali is with Esmeralda. He's really concerned about that goat.
  • The plan is set for tomorrow.

Chapter 2: Become a Tramp

  • Frollo comes back to find Jehan waiting for him to ask for money. When Frollo refuses, Jehan declares that he will become a Tramp.
  • Frollo doesn't care, and Jehan leaves resolutely. As he is passing under Frollo's window, Frollo throws a purse at him.

Chapter 3: L'Allegro

  • Now we're back in the Cour des Miracles. It's more crowded than usual tonight. There also seem to be more weapons than usual.
  • The Duke of Egypt is there, along with Clopin Trouillefou, who is sitting in front of a large pile of weapons. A third person is armed to the teeth, drinking jovially, and he has a voluptuous girl next to him. Everyone is drunk, fighting, kissing, and gambling.
  • In the corner is seated Pierre Gringoire, watching it all.
  • The man in armor is none other than Jehan, and he goes into a drunken speech about saving Esmeralda and being a Tramp.
  • After he finishes distributing arms, Clopin mentions to the Duke of Egypt that the King is in Paris at the moment. All the more reason to attack the church, the Duke replies.
  • Clopin cries out that it is midnight, and the crowd files out of the tavern in silence and darkness.

Chapter 4: A Clumsy Friend

  • Quasimodo can't get to sleep. He's worried about Frollo, to whom he just can't say no.
  • But something else is afoot. Even though it's pitch black, Quasimodo senses movement in the streets.
  • Suddenly a crowd rushes into the Place du Parvis. Quasimodo assumes that they are there to harm Esmeralda.
  • Clopin, meanwhile, has arranged his army in a triangle formation and is marching on the cathedral.
  • The narrator informs us that mobs like this were not uncommon in the Middle Ages, because there were no police. Instead, the city was made up of fiefdoms that each did their own thing. It was Louis XI who imposed some ordinances requiring citizens to light candles in their windows, to block off the streets at night, and to not carry daggers. These measures worked for a while, but then people stopped enforcing them, and there was just general confusion about who was in charge.
  • Anyway, back to the action. Clopin announces that the mob is there to rescue Esmeralda. Unfortunately, Quasimodo can't hear any of it.
  • The crowd tries to break down the doors of Notre-Dame with sledgehammers and crowbars. All of a sudden, a huge beam falls onto the crowd.
  • There's confusion for a moment because it seems as if the church is actually defending itself.
  • But then the crowd just gets more determined. Their crowbars aren't working against the door, but as luck would have it, the fallen beam becomes a battering ram.
  • Suddenly, stones start raining down on the crowd, and people start dying left and right.
  • Up above, it's Quasimodo, of course, who is doing all of this. Some masons left their tools and materials lying around, and this stuff becomes Quasimodo's arsenal.
  • Knowing that the doors of the cathedral won't hold out much longer, Quasimodo gets the idea to melt down lead and let it flow into the two gutters that empty over the door. Quick thinking, Quaz.
  • As Quasimodo is preparing this, the Tramps down below are thinking of all the plunder waiting for them inside the church. They've pretty much forgotten all about rescuing Esmeralda.
  • That's when the molten lead starts to flow. Imagine a lot of screaming and writhing in agony, because that's exactly what's happening.
  • In the glow of the fire, the cathedral looks like it's alive. This is just too much for the Tramps. Retreat.
  • The Tramps regroup in front of the Gondelaurier mansion and try to form a plan. Gringoire has apparently snuck off in all the tumult.
  • Who should appear but Jehan, whom everyone thought was dead—and he's got a ladder. He proposes to climb up to the gallery and go into the church through a door he knows is never locked. He also insists that he be the first one to go up.
  • Everyone thinks it's a good plan. Jehan climbs up the ladder, followed by a line of others. When he gets onto the balcony, he comes face to face with Quasimodo.
  • Quasimodo pushes the ladder backward, and it falls with all the people on it. More death.
  • While Quasimodo does this, Jehan runs to the door, which Quasimodo has locked. He tries to hide behind a statue, but Quasimodo finds him.
  • Jehan cocks a crossbow and shoots Quasimodo in the left arm. Quasimodo pulls out the arrow like it's nothing.
  • Quasimodo then strips Jehan of all of his armor. Finding himself powerless, Jehan starts to sing, but before he can finish, Quasimodo grabs his leg and dashes him against a wall. Jehan's body falls a third of the way down before it's caught on a projecting part of the building.
  • Now the Tramps are angry, and they close in on the cathedral. In the distance is the sound of alarm bells.
  • Quasimodo wrings his hands in despair and waits for a miracle.

Chapter 5: The Retreat Where Monsieur Louis of France Says His Prayers

  • Now we jump to the Bastille, the famously now-defunct big fortress in Paris.
  • Specifically, we jump to the not-so-furnished room of Louis XI.
  • For a king, Louis doesn't seem to live it up much: he only has one chair in his room, but it's a really, really nice chair that only he gets to sit in.
  • There is a finely dressed man with a long paper in his hand standing behind the armchair, in which sits the King. The King looks a little worse for wear, and his clothes are kind of threadbare and greasy.
  • Guillaume Rym and Jacques Coppenole, two Flemish ambassadors who were both at Gringoire's play, are also present. There is also a military man standing by the door.
  • While Rym and Coppenole complain about the lack of seating, the King complains about how much his household is spending on its staff. After a tirade, he tells the man with the paper, Master Olivier, to continue reading.
  • Master Olivier is basically listing a long bill for everyone the King has hired to do something or another.
  • Then Master Olivier mentions something about a cage, and the King remarks that this was the whole reason he came to the Bastille. He wants to go see it.
  • The party leaves the room and goes to another room containing a massive cube made of timber and iron. It has a few windows with thick iron bars so that you can't see inside, and the door is a big stone slab that is used only as an entrance.
  • While the King inspects this cage, Master Olivier reads to him the huge amount that it cost.
  • From inside the cage, a voice begs for mercy. Everyone seems to notice except the King.
  • The voice says that he has been in that cage for fourteen years, and that he is innocent.
  • Just as the King is about to leave, he turns to the Governor of the Bastille and asks if there was someone in the cage.
  • Astonished, the Governor answers that the Bishop of Verdun is in there. The King remarks that the bishop, Guillaume de Harancourt, is a friend of Cardinal Balue, and that he's not such a bad fellow for a bishop.
  • Back in the awkwardly furnished room, the King has some mail waiting for him on his desk. He opens the letters and dictates responses to Master Olivier, who has to kneel awkwardly to write them.
  • Right when he finishes a letter dealing with complaints against his garrisons in Picardy, a messenger bursts into the room and cries that the people of Paris have risen in revolt.
  • The messenger turns out to be Jacques Coictier, the King's physician. The King tells him to keep his voice down as he relates the deets.
  • After hearing the deets, the King laughs and tells Coictier to speak up. After all, who cares about a little old riot?
  • Coictier says that the rioters are after their liege lord, the Bailiff of the Palace of Justice. This overjoys the King, who doesn't seem to like the Bailiff very much. He says that he will send the Bailiff help… tomorrow morning. He practically salivates over thought of all the Bailiff's property.
  • Suddenly, the King bursts into this tirade about how many liege lords and masters there are. In his opinion, there should be one king making the decisions around here.
  • Coictier remembers that they apprehended two stragglers from the mob. The first one they bring in is a Tramp, and he doesn't know what the uprising was actually all about. He's ordered away by Tristan the Hermit, the King's hangman.
  • The second prisoner is Pierre Gringoire. When they threaten to hang him, he goes into a very long-winded speech about greatness and mercy. He talks so much that the King just wants to get rid of him and lets him go.
  • Coictier now inspects the King, who is suffering from some illness. As he inspects the King, Coictier talks about the new roof and paintings he needs for his house. He doesn't diagnose the King until he gets the money for it.
  • Since Coictier is asking for things, Master Olivier finds now a good time to ask for a favor, too: there's an opening for the Justice of the Exchequer that he's been eyeing. But the King is having none of it and shuts him down with a telling-off about pride.
  • Master Oliver complains under his breath that the physician gets everything. Oh, and we find out that Master Oliver is in fact Olivier le Daim, the King's barber. He leaves to go get shaving things.
  • The King looks outside, where there is the glow of a fire. He hopes that it's the Bailiff's house.
  • Coppenole remarks that many times the rabble has defeated an army, and that if the King is able to put down the insurrection, it's because the hour of the people has not yet come. The King pats his good old Bastille and says that it will not fall any time soon (true: it won't fall until 1789).
  • Just then, Oliver le Daim reenters with the news that the people of Paris aren't attacking the Bailiff; they're attacking the King himself (because Notre-Dame is technically his). He tells the King that the mob is trying to remove a witch who has taken sanctuary there.
  • Well, the news that his cathedral is being attacked gets the King all riled up. He tells Tristan to get everybody together to put down the mob. "Oh," he adds, "you should also just go ahead and hang that witch"... even though the reason the mob is mobbing is because they want to hang the witch.
  • Just to be safe, the King prays to the Virgin Mary, asking her to forgive him for violating the sanctuary law, just this once, for a really, really good reason.

Chapter 6: Petite Flambe en Baguenaud

  • Gringoire leaves the Bastille and encounters a dude in a black cloak waiting for him.
  • The dude asks Gringoire if he has the Tramps' password. Gringoire has it: petite flambé en baguenaud.
  • Gringoire and the dude head to Notre-Dame, where, the cloaked man says, he has a key to the towers and a boat moored behind the church.

Chapter 7: Châteaupers to the Rescue!

  • Cut to Quasimodo, who was in the middle of a sticky situation when we last saw him.
  • Just then, there is the sound of horses tramping and someone saying: "Châteaupers to the rescue!"
  • It's Phœbus with his cavalry.
  • The soldiers attack the mob. Clopin Trouillefou, who has been mowing down horses with a scythe, is shot by muskets. The Tramps flee.
  • Quasimodo, overjoyed at this salvation, rushes to Esmeralda's cell… only to find it empty.