Night has fallen when Gringoire, depressed by his play's failure, leaves the Palais. He had counted on the money from the play to pay for his lodging but no money was forthcoming. Since he was too far in debt to his landlady to return to his previous abode, he decided to make his way to a stone on the Rue de la Savaterie that he had seen a week before and thought a good perch for a beggar or a poet. Before he begins his journey, however, he sees the parade of the fool's pope and he shies away as though from a painful memory. Gringoire makes his way through the labyrinth of ancient Parisian streets, filled with children setting off firecrackers for the holiday, and eventually arrives at the city's western most point where he gazes at the peaceful sight of the ferryman's cottage on the small island of the Passeur-aux-Vaches. His dreaming is interrupted when the ferryman sets off his own fireworks. He considers drowning himself in the Seine but decides that the water is too cold. Since he cannot escape the holiday he resolves to plunge into the heart of it and go to the bonfire at the Place de Greve where he might at least warm his fingers and eat some of the sugarplums traditionally set out for the crowd.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: Novel Summary: Book II Chapter 1