Three years after the prologue of the film.
Frollo pulled his hands away from his face and glanced at the top chamber of the hourglass. He wondered if he could get away with not speaking until the last grain had fallen through. Making a game of it was the only way he could survive these confrontations.
Lady Agnes knew all her son's methods of evasion. She snatched up the hourglass and turned it upside-down, restarting his time.
"Don't be a child, Claude," she said. "I'm not asking you to marry the girl. Just let her come and see the gardens. We must be good neighbors, you know. You haven't even been properly introduced."
Frollo ran his fingers through his prematurely gray hair, pressing his skull so hard that he tugged the skin. "I've met her at least five times."
"What are you talking about? I haven't even told you her name."
"The only respectable family that you've never formally introduced me to is the Bertauts. It's that insufferable Margaret girl."
Lady Agnes raised her eyes to heaven. "The great legal mind. Very well, what could you possibly have against the girl?"
Frollo thought of the last Feast of St. Valentine. Margaret, with her bugged eyes and freckles, had sidled up to him after church and confessed her participation in some heathen ritual. Something about putting an apple under her pillow and eating it outside the next morning. If she didn't get sick, he would be her true love. She was so proud of her fortitude that day. She nearly died of fever two weeks later.
"Couldn't you find a girl who wouldn't be an embarrassment to any man unfortunate enough to be her husband?"
"That's quite unfair. I'll have you know, I consider more than fortune and status when I keep my eyes peeled for a suitable match. Margaret's a saint; there isn't another girl in all France who would put up with your moods."
Frollo smiled out of one side of his mouth. That much was true. The girl was a perfect doormat. "You know it's not just the girl. I object on principle."
"I won't hear another word about the Church, you understand? The Church is for half-wit younger brothers, for young men with no inheritance. Father Danois would tell you the same. I don't think it's a Christian thing at all for a son to treat his own mother in such a way, entering some pokey monastery and leaving all the family property to distant relatives." The evening sun through the leaded windows gave Lady Agnes a halo. "Especially after she's survived your own father. It's not as though I'll have any more sons to take your place."
Frollo sneered. "It's times like these I realize how much you wanted a girl. You could have ordered her to marry anyone you wanted. Then you could find a suitable manager for your estates."
Lady Agnes closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Claude, I ask so little of you. . . ."
"I never said I wouldn't see the girl." Frollo concealed his desperation behind the impassive stare he'd been cultivating for so many years now.
"Oh, Claude." Lady Agnes embraced her son, then pulled away and held him by the shoulder. He met her gaze by focusing on her long, thin nose and avoiding her eyes. "Remember, Claude. I wouldn't introduce you to a young lady if I didn't think she was worthy of you and this house. I also know where your gifts and strengths lie. You have a great passion for holiness, but the Church isn't the only way to seek that calling. There's a wicked world that needs men to uphold the law of the Church. And you've already secured such a high position in the world. 'To whom much is given-'"
"Don't quote Scripture at me!" Frollo snapped.
"Very well. But think about what I've told you." Lady Agnes was wise enough to know when she could advance the troops no farther. She left, and Frollo could feel the room expand. He opened a window and let the breeze blow away all traces of his mother's rosewater scent. Then he caught the scent of the roses blooming outside the window. The house was encased in roses now. They crowded the paths, climbed the walls, and drove their roots into the masonry, causing it to weaken and crumble. Frollo tore off one of the blooms and crushed it in his fist.
Somewhere in the forest beyond the garden wall, a wild falcon screeched. Frollo concentrated on the sound. It came again, and was joined by a second cry. He thought of his own birds, and how many weeks it had been since he had taken them out on a hunt. Lady Agnes had passed on to him her mania for falconry, and he was surprised that, in all the time he had been home, she had not yet suggested they go out together, as they used to do so often, before he had taken his judgeship in the city. Perhaps this visit from Margaret would be their excuse.
The wild birds screamed again. As if their cries were intelligible to him, Frollo suddenly smiled and placed his fingertips together. If Lady Agnes didn't suggest a hunt, he certainly would, for it had just occurred to him that there might be ways to make even a visit from Mademoiselle Margaret tolerable.
Author's Note: Classic Disney films are marked by their music. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find Broadway-style songs for an original story, unless you lift them from a musical, in which case you're stuck with a song that's tied to another story. Instead of trying to create a coherent soundtrack, I thought it would be fun to share a mish-mash of pieces I associate with different chapters. This works better than you might think-the Disney soundtracks, like most movie music, borrow heavily from famous works ("Hellfire" is probably inspired by "O Fortuna" and the medieval "Dies Irae" melody, which appears in Hunchback after Frollo kills Quasimodo's mother). Many of the tunes here would work as part of a film score. Others are just fun, and serve as "inspiration" pieces rather than proper film music.
I'll try to include a selection every time I publish, but that's not always possible, so keep checking chapters that don't have a song listed. Eventually every chapter will include at least one recommendation. Let me know in the reviews what you think of the selections, and feel free to recommend your own.
Musical Selection for Chapter 1: "If I Were a Weapon" by Suzanne Vega. A clever song about domestic arguments and the tactics people use to make a point.