The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book V Chapter 1

One evening in 1481 Claude Frollo, while at work in his laboratory, received a visit. His friend Jacques Coictier, the kings physician, came calling with another person who, owing to his long cloak and hood, Claude Frollo could not identify. After exchanging pleasantries and subtle barbs Coictier introduced his friend, a man of about sixty years of age, obviously in poor health, who identified himself as Father Tourangeau. Although Frollo does not recognize the man he gleans that he is of some influence. Tourangeau explains that he suffers from a malady and, hearing of Frollos reputation as a healer, he has come to procure medical advice. Frollo points to an inscription on the wall: “Medicine is the daughter of dreams” (Jamblique) Both Tourangeau and Coictier are shocked to learn that Claude Frollo has no faith in medicine and does not believe in astrology. Frollo tells them that he has concentrated his studies on alchemy. He and Coictier engage in a hostile debate about the merits of the various sciences and Frollo vigorously defends alchemy, specifically the object of producing gold from base metals, as the one truly worthwhile pursuit of the learned. Coictier considers the priest a madman but Tourangeau is interested, though Frollo admits that he has not succeeded in producing gold and that he still has much to learn. Tourangeau asks permission to come study with him and Frollo assents. Frollo describes the inscriptions on buildings and statues that will as their texts. He points out the window to the spires of Notre Dame and declares that the church itself is a valuable source of information. He then becomes melancholy and declares that the book on his table, a product of the famous printing press at Nuremborg will eventually kill the great edifices he has described. The two visitors, somewhat baffled, take their leave. Before he exits, however, Trouangeau professes his admiration for Frollos intellect and identifies himself as the Abb? of Saint-Martin de Tours, a powerful man with direct ties to the king. From that time forth Archdeacon Frollo was called to conference with King Louis XI when the latter was in Paris.