A monologue from the novel by Victor Hugo

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Victor Hugo's Works. Trans. Isabel F. Hapgood. New York: Kelmscott Society, 1896.
  • ESMERELDA: I do not love thee, my Phoebus? What art thou saying, wicked man, to break my heart? Oh, take me! take all! do what you will with me, I am thine. What matters to me the amulet! What matters to me my mother! 'Tis thou who art my mother since I love thee! Phoebus, my beloved Phoebus, dost thou see me? 'Tis I. Look at me; 'tis the little one whom thou wilt surely not repulse, who comes, who comes herself to seek thee. My soul, my life, my body, my person, all is one thing--which is thine, my captain. Well, no! We will not marry, since that displeases thee; and then, what am I? a miserable girl of the gutters; whilst thou, my Phoebus, art a gentleman. A fine thing, truly! A dancer wed an officer! I was mad. No, Phoebus, no; I will be thy mistress, thy amusement, thy pleasure, when thou wilt; a girl who shall belong to thee. I was only made for that, soiled, despised, dishonored, but what matters it?--beloved. I shall be the proudest and the most joyous of women. And when I grow old or ugly, Phoebus, when I am no longer good to love you, you will suffer me to serve you still. Others will embroider scarfs for you; 'tis I, the servant, who will care for them. You will let me polish your spurs, brush your doublet, dust your riding-boots. You will have that pity, will you not, Phoebus? Meanwhile, take me! here, Phoebus, all this belongs to thee, only love me! We gypsies need only air and love.