"the villainous back that no hunch could have more disfigured"

The governess may be thinking of Quasimodo, the title figure of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831). This tragic novel tells of Quasimodo's unrequited love for the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda and his thwarted attempts to save her after she becomes embroiled in a murder plot. After witnessing her execution (and murdering his adoptive father for laughing at the spectacle), he goes to lie with her corpse. Finally achieving the fulfilment of his love in death, he expires beside her. Though he is ultimately a sympathetic figure, the other characters in the novel are repulsed by his physical deformity and regard him as a monster. 


Public DomainQuasimodo - Credit: Antoine Wiertz