To dwell in a city which, much as you grumble at it, is after all very fairly a modern city; with crowds and shops and theatres and cafes and balls and receptions and dinner-parties, and all the modern confusion of social pleasures and pains; to have at your door the good and evil of it all; and yet to be able in half an hour to gallop away and leave it a hundred miles, a hundred years, behind, and to look at the tufted broom glowing on a lonely tower-top in the still blue air, and the pale pink asphodels trembling none the less for the stillness, and the shaggy-legged shepherds leaning on their sticks in motionless brotherhood with the heaps of ruin, and the scrambling goats and staggering little kids treading out wild desert smells from the top of hollow-sounding mounds; and then to come back through one of the great gates and a couple of hours later find yourself in the "world," dressed, introduced, entertained, inquiring, talking about "Middlemarch" to a young English lady or listening to Neapolitan songs from a gentleman in a very low-cut shirt all this is to lead in a manner a double life and to gather from the hurrying hours more impressions than a mind of modest capacity quite knows how to dispose of.
For a few yards there lay across the broken ground a single crooked lance of light from a half-closed shutter; and beneath that, nothing. To the north again, nothing; to the west a glimmer, pale as a moth's wing, from the house-roofs of Nazareth; to the east, nothing. He might be on a tower-top in space, except for that line of light and that grey glimmer that evaded the eye.
On hands and knees we had to go for safety, and all the while I was dreading they would start the bells a-going and, maybe, shake William, who wasn't as used to it as I was, off the beams, and him perhaps be smashed to pieces by the bells as they swung. I don't know how long it took us to get across the belfry to the corner where the ladder is that leads up to the tower-top.
Then she hurried up to the tower-top, when the afternoon was wearing into evening; and abode there a long while looking over the waters, till it began to dusk, and then came down miserably and went to her women.
A little hamlet, whose roofs were blent with trees, straggled up the side of one of these hills; the church of the district stood nearer Thornfield: its old tower-top looked over a knoll between the house and gates.
The next day was like unto this; nought betid, and she wore the hours whiles going up to the tower-top and looking over the lake, whiles broidering amidst her maids, whiles learning her clerk's work with Sir Leonard, but ever eating her heart out with her longing.
From time to time the sweet bells of Florence rang out, and I was loath to come down into the lower world, knowing that I shall never again look heavenward from an old tower-top in such a soft calm evening as this. Yet I am not loath to go away; impatient rather; for, taking no root, I soon weary of any soil in which I may be temporarily deposited.
The flat space on the tower-top gained, we found two workmen engaged in tying our baggage to a little platform about four feet square, which was suspended by ropes to a couple of little wheels. These wheels travelled on a thick cable, the spider web before referred to.
And the Duke is at Coudun, a league off to the right of Claroix, and I have clomb the tower-top, and thence seen the English at Venette, on the left hand of the causeway. All is undone." "Nay, father, be of better cheer. Our fort at the bridge end is stronger than Les Tourelles were at Orleans. The English shot can scarce cross the river.
But more artistic novelists, like Victor Hugo for example, never fail to take advantage of the terminal position. The gypsy-girl, Esmeralda, has been hanged in the Place de Grève. The hunchback, Quasimodo, has flung the archdeacon, Claude Frollo, from the tower-top of Notre Dame. This paragraph then brings the chapter to an end: