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March is the most beautiful time of year in Paris, and during the month, all the young men and women are paired together. Demoiselle Fleur de Lys, from a noble family, has been promised to the handsome Captain Phoebus, but he is indifferent to her. As the two of them talk, they see La Esmeralda playing her tambourine on the street. Claude Frollo is also watching the young gypsy. He is so mesmerized by her that he is motionless.
Fleur de Lys asks Phoebus to invite the gypsy girl to join their party. When he extends the invitation, La Esmeralda blushes deeply, but accepts the offer. Unaware of her own beauty, the gypsy does not realize that the young men are fascinated with her appearance. When they eagerly seek her out, the other young women grow jealous and ridicule her. When Phoebus talks to La Esmeralda, Fleur de Lys becomes very irritated.
One of the ladies asks La Esmeralda to make her goat perform a trick. Someone else loosens a little bag from the neck of the animal and pours out several pieces of paper. The goat arranges the papers, which spell out "Phoebus." When Fleur de Lys sees the name on the paper, she bursts into sobs. As a result, the other ladies at the gathering drive La Esmeralda away. Captain Phoebus follows her.
In this chapter, Hugo focuses on springtime and the matchmaking that goes on in Paris. He pays particular attention to the interaction of Phoebus and Fleur de Lys, who have been paired together. It is clear that Phoebus has no interest in Fleur, and their conversation is dry and monotonous. While she talks, he watches La Esmeralda, who is playing her tambourine in the street.
In an effort to liven things up, Fleur suggests that Phoebus invite the gypsy to the party. When he extends the invitation to La Esmeralda, she blushes, not believing that the man of her dreams is before her. Upon accepting the invitation and entering the gathering, the beautiful La Esmeralda attracts the attention of all the young men. The young women become so jealous that they cruelly ridicule La Esmeralda. Phoebus, however, stands up for the gypsy, strengthening her feelings for him. When the women finally drive her away, Phoebus follows her, fascinated by her beauty and charm. He is not the only one who seems to have an obsession for La Esmeralda. Claude Frollo is totally mesmerized by her. This dangerous revelation promises to add suspense to the novel.