The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book VIII Chapter 6

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Phoebus was not killed by the dagger wound but spent a week recovering at a surgeon's home and then, after being questioned by the King's officers, decided it would be best to avoid the embarrassing trial. He traveled to join his garrison in the country village of Queue-en-Brie and spent nearly two months there before he grew bored and, thinking of his fiance, Fleur-de-Lys, returned to Paris. He was not alarmed by the large crowd gathering in front of Notre Dame and surmised that some celebration must be about to occur. He found Fleur-de-Lys looking very beautiful and she found her long absent captain to be very attractive and the two lovers immediately made peace. Phoebus tells Fleur-de-Lys that he has been with his garrison and that he was wounded defending his honor. Her estimation of him rises. In an effort to change the subject he asks about the crowd gathering in the square and learns that a witch is to do penance before being hanged. Phoebus amorously pursues Fleur-de-Lys onto the balcony where they are shocked to behold the square full of lower class people come to witness the penance. Phoebus turns pale when he recognizes the condemned girl as Esmeralda. Fleur-de-Lys suspects him of harboring feelings for the gypsy and demands they stay and watch the penance. When the tumbrel carrying Esmeralda and Djali reach the church its massive doors swung open and a monotonous chant, the mass for the dead, pours out of the dark nave. Esmeralda is led to the base of the church steps and a heavy, burning wax taper is placed in her hand. Esmeralda notices that Frollo is among the priests who issue from the church and he approaches her, ostensibly to offer last rights but he whispers that he can still save her life if she will give herself to him. She asks again what has become of Phoebus and he assures her that he is dead and at that very moment sees the captain standing on the opposite balcony. The sight shocks him but he resolves that Esmeralda must die regardless and pronounces the words that signal to the crowd that the condemned is ready to die. As Esmeralda is led back to the tumbrel she looks at the crowd and sees Phoebus on the balcony. Her heart melts and she cries out for him but sees that the woman with him looks angry and the captain embarrassed and the two retire indoors. The realization of what has transpired collapses her spirit and she falls to the ground. The sub-executioners lift her up but before they can transfer her limp body to the tumbrel Quasimodo, who has watched the proceedings unnoticed, descends from the church, bowls over the assistants, grabs Esmeralda and ascends the church, all the while crying out "Sanctuary!" The crowd is overjoyed by the hunchback's actions and the king's advocate and the guards are confounded since Notre Dame is a recognized place of sanctuary and therefore inviolable.

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