CHAPTER 7. CHATEAUPERS TO THE RESCUE.
One was noticed who had a large, glittering scythe, and
who, for a long time, mowed the legs of the horses. He was
frightful. He was singing a ditty, with a nasal intonation,
he swung and drew back his scythe incessantly. At every blow
he traced around him a great circle of severed limbs. He
advanced thus into the very thickest of the cavalry, with the
tranquil slowness, the lolling of the head and the regular
breathing of a harvester attacking a field of wheat. It was
Chopin Trouillefou. A shot from an arquebus laid him low.
In the meantime, windows had been opened again. The
neighbors hearing the war cries of the king's troops, had
mingled in the affray, and bullets rained upon the outcasts
from every story. The Parvis was filled with a thick smoke,
which the musketry streaked with flame. Through it one could
confusedly distinguish the front of Notre-Dame, and the decrepit
Hôtel-Dieu with some wan invalids gazing down from the
heights of its roof all checkered with dormer windows.
At length the vagabonds gave way. Weariness, the lack of
good weapons, the fright of this surprise, the musketry from
the windows, the valiant attack of the king's troops, all
overwhelmed them. They forced the line of assailants, and fled
in every direction, leaving the Parvis encumbered with dead.
When Quasimodo, who had not ceased to fight for a moment,
beheld this rout, he fell on his knees and raised his
hands to heaven; then, intoxicated with joy, he ran, he
ascended with the swiftness of a bird to that cell, the
approaches to which he had so intrepidly defended. He had
but one thought now; it was to kneel before her whom he
had just saved for the second time.
When he entered the cell, he found it empty.