The Hunchback of Notre Dame HTML version

Book VI
1. An Impartial Glance At The Ancient Magistracy
A very happy personage in the year of grace 1482, was the noble gentleman
Robert d'Estouteville, chevalier, Sieur de Beyne, Baron d'Ivry and Saint Andry en
la Marche, counsellor and chamberlain to the king, and guard of the provostship
of Paris. It was already nearly seventeen years since he had received from the
king, on November 7, 1465, the comet year,* that fine charge of the provostship
of Paris, which was reputed rather a seigneury than an office. Dignitas, says
Joannes Loemnoeus, quoe cum non exigua potestate politiam concernente,
atque proerogativis multis et juribus conjuncta est. A marvellous thing in '82 was
a gentleman bearing the king's commission, and whose letters of institution ran
back to the epoch of the marriage of the natural daughter of Louis XI. with
Monsieur the Bastard of Bourbon.
* This comet against which Pope Calixtus, uncle of Borgia, ordered public
prayers, is the same which reappeared in 1835.
The same day on which Robert d'Estouteville took the place of Jacques de
Villiers in the provostship of Paris, Master Jehan Dauvet replaced Messire Helye
de Thorrettes in the first presidency of the Court of Parliament, Jehan Jouvenel
des Ursins supplanted Pierre de Morvilliers in the office of chancellor of France,
Regnault des Dormans ousted Pierre Puy from the charge of master of requests
in ordinary of the king's household. Now, upon how many heads had the
presidency, the chancellorship, the mastership passed since Robert
d'Estouteville had held the provostship of Paris. It had been "granted to him for
safekeeping," as the letters patent said; and certainly he kept it well. He had
clung to it, he had incorporated himself with it, he had so identified himself with it
that he had escaped that fury for change which possessed Louis XI., a
tormenting and industrious king, whose policy it was to maintain the elasticity of
his power by frequent appointments and revocations. More than this; the brave
chevalier had obtained the reversion of the office for his son, and for two years
already, the name of the noble man Jacques d'Estouteville, equerry, had figured
beside his at the head of the register of the salary list of the provostship of Paris.
A rare and notable favor indeed! It is true that Robert d'Estouteville was a good
soldier, that he had loyally raised his pennon against "the league of public good,"
and that he had presented to the queen a very marvellous stag in confectionery
on the day of her entrance to Paris in 14... Moreover, he possessed the good
friendship of Messire Tristan l'Hermite, provost of the marshals of the king's
household. Hence a very sweet and pleasant existence was that of Messire
Robert. In the first place, very good wages, to which were attached, and from
which hung, like extra bunches of grapes on his vine, the revenues of the civil
and criminal registries of the provostship, plus the civil and criminal revenues of
the tribunals of Embas of the Châtelet, without reckoning some little toll from the
bridges of Mantes and of Corbeil, and the profits on the craft of Shagreen-makers
of Paris, on the corders of firewood and the measurers of salt. Add to this the