CHAPTER 3. IMMANIS PECORIS CUSTOS, IMMANIOR IPSE.
Now, in 1482, Quasimodo had grown up. He had become a
few years previously the bellringer of Notre-Dame, thanks to
his father by adoption, Claude Frollo,--who had become archdeacon
of Josas, thanks to his suzerain, Messire Louis de Beaumont,--who
had become Bishop of Paris, at the death of Guillaume Chartier in
1472, thanks to his patron, Olivier Le Daim, barber to Louis XI.,
king by the grace of God.
So Quasimodo was the ringer of the chimes of Notre-Dame.
In the course of time there had been formed a certain
peculiarly intimate bond which united the ringer to the church.
Separated forever from the world, by the double fatality of
his unknown birth and his natural deformity, imprisoned from
his infancy in that impassable double circle, the poor wretch
had grown used to seeing nothing in this world beyond the
religious walls which had received him under their shadow.
Notre-Dame had been to him successively, as he grew up and
developed, the egg, the nest, the house, the country, the
There was certainly a sort of mysterious and pre-existing
harmony between this creature and this church. When, still
a little fellow, he had dragged himself tortuously and by jerks
beneath the shadows of its vaults, he seemed, with his human
face and his bestial limbs, the natural reptile of that humid
and sombre pavement, upon which the shadow of the Romanesque
capitals cast so many strange forms.
Later on, the first time that he caught hold, mechanically,
of the ropes to the towers, and hung suspended from them,
and set the bell to clanging, it produced upon his adopted
father, Claude, the effect of a child whose tongue is unloosed
and who begins to speak.
It is thus that, little by little, developing always in
sympathy with the cathedral, living there, sleeping there, hardly
ever leaving it, subject every hour to the mysterious impress,
he came to resemble it, he incrusted himself in it, so to speak,
and became an integral part of it. His salient angles fitted
into the retreating angles of the cathedral (if we may be
allowed this figure of speech), and he seemed not only its
inhabitant but more than that, its natural tenant. One might
almost say that he had assumed its form, as the snail takes on
the form of its shell. It was his dwelling, his hole, his envelope.
There existed between him and the old church so profound an
instinctive sympathy, so many magnetic affinities, so many
material affinities, that he adhered to it somewhat as a
tortoise adheres to its shell. The rough and wrinkled cathedral
was his shell.