CHAPTER 6. THREE HUMAN HEARTS DIFFERENTLY CONSTRUCTED.
Phoebus was not dead, however. Men of that stamp die
hard. When Master Philippe Lheulier, advocate extraordinary
of the king, had said to poor Esmeralda; "He is dying,"
it was an error or a jest. When the archdeacon had repeated
to the condemned girl; "He is dead," the fact is that he
knew nothing about it, but that he believed it, that he
counted on it, that he did not doubt it, that he devoutly
hoped it. It would have been too hard for him to give
favorable news of his rival to the woman whom he loved.
Any man would have done the same in his place.
It was not that Phoebus's wound had not been serious, but
it had not been as much so as the archdeacon believed. The
physician, to whom the soldiers of the watch had carried him
at the first moment, had feared for his life during the space
of a week, and had even told him so in Latin. But youth
had gained the upper hand; and, as frequently happens, in
spite of prognostications and diagnoses, nature had amused
herself by saving the sick man under the physician's very
nose. It was while he was still lying on the leech's pallet
that he had submitted to the interrogations of Philippe
Lheulier and the official inquisitors, which had annoyed him
greatly. Hence, one fine morning, feeling himself better,
he had left his golden spurs with the leech as payment, and
had slipped away. This had not, however, interfered with
the progress of the affair. Justice, at that epoch, troubled
itself very little about the clearness and definiteness of a
criminal suit. Provided that the accused was hung, that was
all that was necessary. Now the judge had plenty of proofs
against la Esmeralda. They had supposed Phoebus to be
dead, and that was the end of the matter.
Phoebus, on his side, had not fled far. He had simply
rejoined his company in garrison at Queue-en-Brie, in the
Isle-de-France, a few stages from Paris.