Illustration Sister Gudule and Esmeralda by Luc Oliver Merson picture image

Illustration Sister Gudule and Esmeralda by Luc Oliver Merson

Sister Gudule has an impressive array of names and nicknames.

Let’s start with Sister Gudule. The Sister indicates she is a nun. Gudule is an ceratin type of nun called anchoress. Very simply, an Anchoress is one who retires from the world and prays. These nuns are also called Sachette. I think the name comes from the rags they wear. The name Gudule is French name that seems to be derived from the name Gudula which is derived from Gothic for either guths meaning God or from gôds meaning good. This reflects Gudule’s devotion to praying to god to answer she only prayer which is to have her daughter returned to her

Her name however is Paquette Guybertaut. It’s a little unclear what Paquette means as a first name, one source said Ruddy-cheeked and another indicated it’s pet-form of Pacquet which is “a bundle of kindling” Given her character in her youth and her father was a minstrel, Ruddy-cheeked makes more sense. Her true last name is Guybertaut. Guybertaut on its own does not to seem to be a real surname. Guybertaut can be broken down to Guy and Bertaut. Guy as a last name indicates coming from district of Guise in France. Bertaut is a real surname but I can’t find any hint as its meaning. It doesn’t really matter as Gudule does not remember this name, she only remembers the nickname she was given when she was eighteen.

She was more commonly referred to as Paquette la Chantefleurie. Chantefleurie means “The Flower Song”. It symbolizes her winsome youthful nature which is a kin to Esmeralda’s personality.

Her names reflect her capricious youth and her harsh adulthood as a recluse yearning for lost child.

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