The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book VII Chapter 8

The priest finds himself in a small area formed by the angle of the roof of the house. He feels plaster and broken glass under his feet and realizes that his head is burning with fever. After a quarter of an hour the old woman returns to the adjacent bedroom and Frollo presses his head to a crack in the door to observe what transpires. The woman leaves Phoebus and Esmeralda alone in the room and they seat themselves on a worn couch near a broken window. Esmeralda seems distracted and nervous, the captain appears calm and elegantly dressed and the goat curls upon her mistress foot to sleep. Esmeralda confesses that she loves the captain and Phoebus, emboldened by her words, throws his arms around her waist. Frollo, perceiving the soldiers bad intentions, clutches a dagger in his hands. Esmeralda disengages herself and praises the soldier. Phoebus continues to press his affections while the girl asks to see his sword and has the soldier parade before her in his fine clothes. She demands to know if Phoebus loves her and in worn language Phoebus declares his affections even as he persists in mispronouncing the girls name. While he talks grandly of all the wonderful things he will do for the girl, Phoebus succeeds in loosening her outer garments. He is amused when she speaks of marriage and finally he is able to remove her gorgerette and expose the poor girls shoulders and neck. The priest, who has never before seen such an amount of exposed flesh experiences a torrent of violent emotions. Esmeralda covers her bosom in modesty and Phoebus asks about her amulet. The nervous girl explains that it will help her find her mother if she remains virtuous and then laments her present situation. When Phoebus proclaims that she must not love him. She immediately recants and proclaims that she will give up all, her mind and body, to the captain if only he will love her and she throws her arms about him. Looking over his shoulder, however, she is terrified to see the twisted visage of the priest, dagger in hand leering at her from the knave. Petrified by fear she witnesses the priest jump upon the captain and sees the evil figure stab him and then she faints. As she slips into unconsciousness she feels a hot and fiery kiss pressed to her lips. When she awakes there are soldiers in the room. She sees that the window opening on the river is wide open and the soldiers find a cloak which they believe to belong to the captain whose bleeding form is being carried from the chamber. The soldiers believe that Esmeralda is a witch who has stabbed the captain.