Not that Pierre Gringoire either feared the cardinal or despised him. He had neither that weakness nor that arrogance. A true eclectic, as he would nowadays be called, Gringoire had one of those steady and elevated minds, calm and temperate, which can reserve their composure under all circumstances, stare in dimidio rerum [“Stay within the mean”]. It was one of those minds which are full of reason and liberal philosophy, but at the same time, that are respectful to cardinals. An admirable and uninterrupted race of philosophers, to whom Wisdom, like another Ariadne, seems to have given a ball of thread which they have gone on unwinding from the beginning of the world through the whole labyrinth of human affairs. Hey are to be found in all times, and ever the same — that is to say, ever adapting themselves to the age. And not to mention our Pierre Gringoire, who would be heir representative in the fifteenth century, if we could succeed in obtaining him the distinction which he deserves. It was certainly that spirit which inspired Father du Breul in the sixteenth, when writing these words of sublime simplicity, worthy of any age: “I am a Parisian by my birthplace, and a Parrhisian by my speech, for parrhisia in Greek means freedom of speech, which freedom I have used even to messeigneurs the cardinals, uncle and brother to Monseigneur the Prince of Conti, albeit with respect for their greatness, and without offending anyone in their train, and that is saying much.
—Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
I am the man who comes and goes between the bar and the telephone booth. Or rather: that man is called “I” and you know nothing else about him, just as this station is called only “station” and thre exists nothing beyond it except the unanswered signal of a telephone ringing in a dark room of a distant city.
—Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveller