The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book II Chapter 3

When Gringoire arrives at the bonfire he is soaking wet from mill water that splashed on him during his journey. He delivers a silent diatribe against the Parisian mob that wont let him get closer to the fire but as he nears its center he realizes that the crowd is intently watching a slender gypsy girl of about sixteen dancing on a Persian carpet. The gypsys graceful movements and flashing dark eyes enchant the crowd. One man seems particularly attentive. He is about 35 years of age but already mostly bald and gray and with a somber countenance. He watches he gypsy girl with intense concentration. His deep sunken eyes belie an unusual depth of passion but as the girl dances he seems to grow increasingly gloomy and sighs audibly. The girl finishes her dance and calls out for her goat Djali, a small white she goat adorned with gilt decorations. Prompted by the girls questions the goat stamps out the date and time to the wonder and enjoyment of all in the crowd except the bald man who determines that it is witchcraft. The girl ignores the man and has the goat imitate some familiar personages including the kings attorney. The bald man cries out “Sacrilege! Profanation!” The girl recognizes him as “that odious man!” She uses her tambourine to collect contributions from the crowd but when she stops before Gringoire he finds nothing in his pockets. The embarrassing moment is averted, however, when a harsh shrill voice calls out “Wilt thou be gone, thou Egyptian locust?” It is not the mans voice but a womans and it causes noticeable fright to the girl. A group of children, delighted by the outburst, identify the woman as the recluse of the Tour-Rolland, the Sachette. Gringoire uses the disturbance to slip away and considers the misery or man to always be in want of food and lodging. His reverie is interrupted by the enchanting sound of the gypsy girl singing a Spanish song. The beautiful air is cut short, however, by the Sachettes cursing and the entrance of the procession of the Fools Pope. The procession has been augmented by large numbers vagabonds and beggars and the author muses upon the politics that create such a class. He differentiates the class of vagrants between those who are made such by society and those like the gypsies who have a separate history from the cultures they inhabit. He observes that these people are without letters, religion or superstition and that they have learned to use the superstitions of others to practice tricks and sleights of hand that to the credulous seem magical. The author also discourses upon the word argot, which was used to refer to the vagabond class and truand, which denoted the entire vagabond nation.
The tribes of Egypt (i.e. gypsies) with the Duke of Egypt are at the front of the Fools Popes procession and behind them the kingdom of Argot (i.e. the rest of the vagabond community) ordered in bands according to their status. At their center is the king of Argot sitting in a wagon drawn by two large dogs. Next comes the empire of Galilee and then the members of the basoche who carry a brancard, or chair carried upon poles, in which sits Quasimodo adorned with crosier, cope and miter as the Fools Pope. Surrounded by admirers Quasimodo had thoroughly enjoyed the procession and it was the first time in his life he had indulged in self-love. Quasimodos life was dominated by hatred that people felt for him and he had developed a return resentment for the populace. On this night, however, he took literally the ironical adoration of the crowd and though he was deaf he radiated joy and satisfaction. As the train entered the square the bald-headed man snatched the mock crosier, symbol of the Popes power, and Gringoire is surprised to recognize the man as his instructor Dom Claude Frollo, the archdeacon of Notre Dame. Quasimodo jumps from his throne and the crowd fears he will tear the archdeacon to pieces but the hunchback meekly bows in obedience. The priest tears apart the other false insignia of the Fools Pope and through a series of signs he expresses his displeasure. He motions for Quasimodo to follow and the vagabonds rush to defend their Pope but Quasimodo turns to defend the priest. Quasimodo and the priest escape down a dark alley and Gringoire returns his thoughts to finding supper.