Indeed, it was not a newborn baby. It was a twitching mass of humanity in a canvas bag. The head peeping out was very disfigured! There was a forest of red hair, one eye, a mouth, and a few teeth. The eye was weeping, the mouth was crying, and the teeth seemed to want only to bite. A young priest had been listening to the women talking. He pushed by the women, looked at the child, and stretched out his hand. “I’ll adopt this child,” he said. He picked up the screaming bundle and carried it away. The young priest was none other than Claude Frollo. He named the child after the day—Quasimodo

I don't know it means: the child in a bundle who is screaming or the strange child in the bundle.

  • 1
    What is this from? It's not a quote from the actual novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".
    – Andrew
    Jan 9, 2019 at 21:44
  • it is from the simplified book of The Hunchback of Notre Dame Jan 13, 2019 at 20:55
  • Ah, OK. Keep in mind that whatever English version you read is ultimately a translation from the French. You're likely to see some odd idiomatic expressions that sound natural in French but not necessarily in English. "Screaming bundle", however, sounds fine in English, as it's a picturesque expression that really needs no explanation -- it's a bundle (of something) that is making a loud noise. You could just as easily say something like an aromatic bundle (of freshly-cut herbs), or a hissing bundle (of a cat that doesn't want to be picked up).
    – Andrew
    Jan 13, 2019 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


According to MacMillan's on-line dictionary, a bundle is "something that is wrapped in something soft such as a blanket so that you cannot see its real shape"

So the author is just referring to the canvas bag with the disfigured baby in it as a "bundle". Since the baby was crying, noise was coming from the bag, and he calls the canvas bag (with baby) "the screaming bundle".

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