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A few years ago, while visiting or, rather, rummaging about Notre-Dame, the author of
this book found, in an obscure nook of one of the towers, the following word, engraved
by hand upon the wall:--
These Greek capitals, black with age, and quite deeply graven in the stone, with I
know not what signs peculiar to Gothic caligraphy imprinted upon their forms and
upon their attitudes, as though with the
purpose of revealing that it had been a hand of the Middle Ages which had inscribed
them there, and especially the fatal and melancholy meaning contained in them,
struck the author deeply.
He questioned himself; he sought to divine who could have been that soul in torment
which had not been willing to quit this world without leaving this stigma of crime
or unhappiness upon the brow of the ancient church.
Afterwards, the wall was whitewashed or scraped down, I know not which, and the
inscription disappeared.
For it is thus that people have been in the habit of proceeding with the marvellous
churches of the Middle Ages for the last two hundred years.
Mutilations come to them from every quarter, from within as well as from
The priest whitewashes them, the archdeacon scrapes them down; then the populace
arrives and demolishes them.
Thus, with the exception of the fragile memory which the author of this book here
consecrates to it, there remains to-day nothing whatever of the mysterious word
engraved within the gloomy tower of Notre-
Dame,--nothing of the destiny which it so sadly summed up.
The man who wrote that word upon the wall disappeared from the midst of the
generations of man many centuries ago; the word, in its turn, has been effaced from
the wall of the church; the church will,
perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the earth.
It is upon this word that this book is founded.
March, 1831.
Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months, and nineteen days ago to-day, the
Parisians awoke to the sound of all the bells in the triple circuit of the city,
the university, and the town ringing a full peal.
The sixth of January, 1482, is not, however, a day of which history has
preserved the memory.
There was nothing notable in the event which thus set the bells and the bourgeois
of Paris in a ferment from early morning.
It was neither an assault by the Picards nor the Burgundians, nor a hunt led along
in procession, nor a revolt of scholars in the town of Laas, nor an entry of "our much
dread lord, monsieur the king," nor even a
pretty hanging of male and female thieves by the courts of Paris.
Neither was it the arrival, so frequent in the fifteenth century, of some plumed and
bedizened embassy.
It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of that nature, that of the
Flemish ambassadors charged with concluding the marriage between the dauphin and
Marguerite of Flanders, had made its entry
into Paris, to the great annoyance of M. le Cardinal de Bourbon, who, for the sake of
pleasing the king, had been obliged to assume an amiable mien towards this whole
rustic rabble of Flemish burgomasters, and
to regale them at his Hotel de Bourbon, with a very "pretty morality, allegorical
satire, and farce," while a driving rain drenched the magnificent tapestries at his
What put the "whole population of Paris in commotion," as Jehan de Troyes expresses
it, on the sixth of January, was the double solemnity, united from time immemorial, of
the Epiphany and the Feast of Fools.
On that day, there was to be a bonfire on the Place de Greve, a maypole at the
Chapelle de Braque, and a mystery at the Palais de Justice.
It had been cried, to the sound of the trumpet, the preceding evening at all the
cross roads, by the provost's men, clad in handsome, short, sleeveless coats of violet
camelot, with large white crosses upon their breasts.
So the crowd of citizens, male and female, having closed their houses and shops,
thronged from every direction, at early morn, towards some one of the three spots
Each had made his choice; one, the bonfire; another, the maypole; another, the mystery
It must be stated, in honor of the good sense of the loungers of Paris, that the
greater part of this crowd directed their steps towards the bonfire, which was quite
in season, or towards the mystery play,
which was to be presented in the grand hall of the Palais de Justice (the courts of
law), which was well roofed and walled; and that the curious left the poor, scantily
flowered maypole to shiver all alone
beneath the sky of January, in the cemetery of the Chapel of Braque.
The populace thronged the avenues of the law courts in particular, because they knew
that the Flemish ambassadors, who had arrived two days previously, intended to be
present at the representation of the
mystery, and at the election of the Pope of the Fools, which was also to take place in
the grand hall.
It was no easy matter on that day, to force one's way into that grand hall, although it
was then reputed to be the largest covered enclosure in the world (it is true that
Sauval had not yet measured the grand hall of the Chateau of Montargis).
The palace place, encumbered with people, offered to the curious gazers at the
windows the aspect of a sea; into which five or six streets, like so many mouths of
rivers, discharged every moment fresh floods of heads.
The waves of this crowd, augmented incessantly, dashed against the angles of
the houses which projected here and there, like so many promontories, into the
irregular basin of the place.
In the centre of the lofty Gothic facade of the palace, the grand staircase,
incessantly ascended and descended by a double current, which, after parting on the
intermediate landing-place, flowed in broad
waves along its lateral slopes,--the grand staircase, I say, trickled incessantly into
the place, like a cascade into a lake.
The cries, the laughter, the trampling of those thousands of feet, produced a great
noise and a great clamor.
From time to time, this noise and clamor redoubled; the current which drove the
crowd towards the grand staircase flowed backwards, became troubled, formed
This was produced by the buffet of an archer, or the horse of one of the
provost's sergeants, which kicked to restore order; an admirable tradition which
the provostship has bequeathed to the
constablery, the constablery to the marechaussee, the marechaussee to our
gendarmeri of Paris.
Thousands of good, calm, bourgeois faces thronged the windows, the doors, the dormer
windows, the roofs, gazing at the palace, gazing at the populace, and asking nothing
more; for many Parisians content themselves
with the spectacle of the spectators, and a wall behind which something is going on
becomes at once, for us, a very curious thing indeed.
If it could be granted to us, the men of 1830, to mingle in thought with those
Parisians of the fifteenth century, and to enter with them, jostled, elbowed, pulled
about, into that immense hall of the
palace, which was so cramped on that sixth of January, 1482, the spectacle would not
be devoid of either interest or charm, and we should have about us only things that
were so old that they would seem new.
With the reader's consent, we will endeavor to retrace in thought, the impression which
he would have experienced in company with us on crossing the threshold of that grand
hall, in the midst of that tumultuous crowd
in surcoats, short, sleeveless jackets, and doublets.
And, first of all, there is a buzzing in the ears, a dazzlement in the eyes.
Above our heads is a double ogive vault, panelled with wood carving, painted azure,
and sown with golden fleurs-de-lis; beneath our feet a pavement of black and white
marble, alternating.
A few paces distant, an enormous pillar, then another, then another; seven pillars
in all, down the length of the hall, sustaining the spring of the arches of the
double vault, in the centre of its width.
Around four of the pillars, stalls of merchants, all sparkling with glass and
tinsel; around the last three, benches of oak, worn and polished by the trunk hose of
the litigants, and the robes of the attorneys.
Around the hall, along the lofty wall, between the doors, between the windows,
between the pillars, the interminable row of all the kings of France, from Pharamond
down: the lazy kings, with pendent arms and
downcast eyes; the valiant and combative kings, with heads and arms raised boldly
Then in the long, pointed windows, glass of a thousand hues; at the wide entrances to
the hall, rich doors, finely sculptured; and all, the vaults, pillars, walls, jambs,
panelling, doors, statues, covered from top
to bottom with a splendid blue and gold illumination, which, a trifle tarnished at
the epoch when we behold it, had almost entirely disappeared beneath dust and
spiders in the year of grace, 1549, when du Breul still admired it from tradition.
Let the reader picture to himself now, this immense, oblong hall, illuminated by the
pallid light of a January day, invaded by a motley and noisy throng which drifts along
the walls, and eddies round the seven
pillars, and he will have a confused idea of the whole effect of the picture, whose
curious details we shall make an effort to indicate with more precision.
It is certain, that if Ravaillac had not assassinated Henri IV., there would have
been no documents in the trial of Ravaillac deposited in the clerk's office of the
Palais de Justice, no accomplices
interested in causing the said documents to disappear; hence, no incendiaries obliged,
for lack of better means, to burn the clerk's office in order to burn the
documents, and to burn the Palais de
Justice in order to burn the clerk's office; consequently, in short, no
conflagration in 1618.
The old Palais would be standing still, with its ancient grand hall; I should be
able to say to the reader, "Go and look at it," and we should thus both escape the
necessity,--I of making, and he of reading, a description of it, such as it is.
Which demonstrates a new truth: that great events have incalculable results.
It is true that it may be quite possible, in the first place, that Ravaillac had no
accomplices; and in the second, that if he had any, they were in no way connected with
the fire of 1618.
Two other very plausible explanations exist: First, the great flaming star, a
foot broad, and a cubit high, which fell from heaven, as every one knows, upon the
law courts, after midnight on the seventh of March; second, Theophile's quatrain,--
"Sure, 'twas but a sorry game When at Paris, Dame Justice,
Through having eaten too much spice, Set the palace all aflame."
Whatever may be thought of this triple explanation, political, physical, and
poetical, of the burning of the law courts in 1618, the unfortunate fact of the fire
is certain.
Very little to-day remains, thanks to this catastrophe,--thanks, above all, to the
successive restorations which have completed what it spared,--very little
remains of that first dwelling of the kings
of France,--of that elder palace of the Louvre, already so old in the time of
Philip the Handsome, that they sought there for the traces of the magnificent buildings
erected by King Robert and described by Helgaldus.
Nearly everything has disappeared.
What has become of the chamber of the chancellery, where Saint Louis consummated
his marriage? the garden where he administered justice, "clad in a coat of
camelot, a surcoat of linsey-woolsey,
without sleeves, and a sur-mantle of black sandal, as he lay upon the carpet with
Where is the chamber of the Emperor Sigismond? and that of Charles IV.? that of
Jean the Landless?
Where is the staircase, from which Charles VI. promulgated his edict of pardon? the
slab where Marcel cut the throats of Robert de Clermont and the Marshal of Champagne,
in the presence of the dauphin? the wicket
where the bulls of Pope Benedict were torn, and whence those who had brought them
departed decked out, in derision, in copes and mitres, and making an apology through
all Paris? and the grand hall, with its
gilding, its azure, its statues, its pointed arches, its pillars, its immense
vault, all fretted with carvings? and the gilded chamber? and the stone lion, which
stood at the door, with lowered head and
tail between his legs, like the lions on the throne of Solomon, in the humiliated
attitude which befits force in the presence of justice? and the beautiful doors? and
the stained glass? and the chased ironwork,
which drove Biscornette to despair? and the delicate woodwork of Hancy?
What has time, what have men done with these marvels?
What have they given us in return for all this Gallic history, for all this Gothic
The heavy flattened arches of M. de Brosse, that awkward architect of the Saint-Gervais
So much for art; and, as for history, we have the gossiping reminiscences of the
great pillar, still ringing with the tattle of the Patru.
It is not much.
Let us return to the veritable grand hall of the veritable old palace.
The two extremities of this gigantic parallelogram were occupied, the one by the
famous marble table, so long, so broad, and so thick that, as the ancient land rolls--
in a style that would have given Gargantua
an appetite--say, "such a slice of marble as was never beheld in the world"; the
other by the chapel where Louis XI. had himself sculptured on his knees before the
Virgin, and whither he caused to be
brought, without heeding the two gaps thus made in the row of royal statues, the
statues of Charlemagne and of Saint Louis, two saints whom he supposed to be great in
favor in heaven, as kings of France.
This chapel, quite new, having been built only six years, was entirely in that
charming taste of delicate architecture, of marvellous sculpture, of fine and deep
chasing, which marks with us the end of the
Gothic era, and which is perpetuated to about the middle of the sixteenth century
in the fairylike fancies of the Renaissance.
The little open-work rose window, pierced above the portal, was, in particular, a
masterpiece of lightness and grace; one would have pronounced it a star of lace.
In the middle of the hall, opposite the great door, a platform of gold brocade,
placed against the wall, a special entrance to which had been effected through a window
in the corridor of the gold chamber, had
been erected for the Flemish emissaries and the other great personages invited to the
presentation of the mystery play. It was upon the marble table that the
mystery was to be enacted, as usual.
It had been arranged for the purpose, early in the morning; its rich slabs of marble,
all scratched by the heels of law clerks, supported a cage of carpenter's work of
considerable height, the upper surface of
which, within view of the whole hall, was to serve as the theatre, and whose
interior, masked by tapestries, was to take the place of dressing-rooms for the
personages of the piece.
A ladder, naively placed on the outside, was to serve as means of communication
between the dressing-room and the stage, and lend its rude rungs to entrances as
well as to exits.
There was no personage, however unexpected, no sudden change, no theatrical effect,
which was not obliged to mount that ladder. Innocent and venerable infancy of art and
Four of the bailiff of the palace's sergeants, perfunctory guardians of all the
pleasures of the people, on days of festival as well as on days of execution,
stood at the four corners of the marble table.
The piece was only to begin with the twelfth stroke of the great palace clock
sounding midday.
It was very late, no doubt, for a theatrical representation, but they had
been obliged to fix the hour to suit the convenience of the ambassadors.
Now, this whole multitude had been waiting since morning.
A goodly number of curious, good people had been shivering since daybreak before the
grand staircase of the palace; some even affirmed that they had passed the night
across the threshold of the great door, in
order to make sure that they should be the first to pass in.
The crowd grew more dense every moment, and, like water, which rises above its
normal level, began to mount along the walls, to swell around the pillars, to
spread out on the entablatures, on the
cornices, on the window-sills, on all the salient points of the architecture, on all
the reliefs of the sculpture.
Hence, discomfort, impatience, weariness, the liberty of a day of cynicism and folly,
the quarrels which break forth for all sorts of causes--a pointed elbow, an iron-
shod shoe, the fatigue of long waiting--had
already, long before the hour appointed for the arrival of the ambassadors, imparted a
harsh and bitter accent to the clamor of these people who were shut in, fitted into
each other, pressed, trampled upon, stifled.
Nothing was to be heard but imprecations on the Flemish, the provost of the merchants,
the Cardinal de Bourbon, the bailiff of the courts, Madame Marguerite of Austria, the
sergeants with their rods, the cold, the
heat, the bad weather, the Bishop of Paris, the Pope of the Fools, the pillars, the
statues, that closed door, that open window; all to the vast amusement of a band
of scholars and lackeys scattered through
the mass, who mingled with all this discontent their teasing remarks, and their
malicious suggestions, and pricked the general bad temper with a pin, so to speak.
Among the rest there was a group of those merry imps, who, after smashing the glass
in a window, had seated themselves hardily on the entablature, and from that point
despatched their gaze and their railleries
both within and without, upon the throng in the hall, and the throng upon the Place.
It was easy to see, from their parodied gestures, their ringing laughter, the
bantering appeals which they exchanged with their comrades, from one end of the hall to
the other, that these young clerks did not
share the weariness and fatigue of the rest of the spectators, and that they understood
very well the art of extracting, for their own private diversion from that which they
had under their eyes, a spectacle which made them await the other with patience.
"Upon my soul, so it's you, 'Joannes Frollo de Molendino!'" cried one of them, to a
sort of little, light-haired imp, with a well-favored and malign countenance,
clinging to the acanthus leaves of a
capital; "you are well named John of the Mill, for your two arms and your two legs
have the air of four wings fluttering on the breeze.
How long have you been here?"
"By the mercy of the devil," retorted Joannes Frollo, "these four hours and more;
and I hope that they will be reckoned to my credit in purgatory.
I heard the eight singers of the King of Sicily intone the first verse of seven
o'clock mass in the Sainte-Chapelle." "Fine singers!" replied the other, "with
voices even more pointed than their caps!
Before founding a mass for Monsieur Saint John, the king should have inquired whether
Monsieur Saint John likes Latin droned out in a Provencal accent."
"He did it for the sake of employing those accursed singers of the King of Sicily!"
cried an old woman sharply from among the crowd beneath the window.
"I just put it to you!
A thousand livres parisi for a mass! and out of the tax on sea fish in the markets
of Paris, to boot!"
"Peace, old crone," said a tall, grave person, stopping up his nose on the side
towards the fishwife; "a mass had to be founded.
Would you wish the king to fall ill again?"
"Bravely spoken, Sire Gilles Lecornu, master furrier of king's robes!" cried the
little student, clinging to the capital.
A shout of laughter from all the students greeted the unlucky name of the poor
furrier of the king's robes. "Lecornu!
Gilles Lecornu!" said some.
"Cornutus et hirsutus, horned and hairy," another went on.
"He! of course," continued the small imp on the capital, "What are they laughing at?
An honorable man is Gilles Lecornu, brother of Master Jehan Lecornu, provost of the
king's house, son of Master Mahiet Lecornu, first porter of the Bois de Vincennes,--all
bourgeois of Paris, all married, from father to son."
The gayety redoubled.
The big furrier, without uttering a word in reply, tried to escape all the eyes riveted
upon him from all sides; but he perspired and panted in vain; like a wedge entering
the wood, his efforts served only to bury
still more deeply in the shoulders of his neighbors, his large, apoplectic face,
purple with spite and rage. At length one of these, as fat, short, and
venerable as himself, came to his rescue.
"Abomination! scholars addressing a bourgeois in that fashion in my day would
have been flogged with a fagot, which would have afterwards been used to burn them."
The whole band burst into laughter.
"Hola he! who is scolding so? Who is that screech owl of evil fortune?"
"Hold, I know him" said one of them; "'tis Master Andry Musnier."
"Because he is one of the four sworn booksellers of the university!" said the
"Everything goes by fours in that shop," cried a third; "the four nations, the four
faculties, the four feasts, the four procurators, the four electors, the four
"Well," began Jean Frollo once more, "we must play the devil with them."
"Musnier, we'll burn your books." "Musnier, we'll beat your lackeys."
"Musnier, we'll kiss your wife."
"That fine, big Mademoiselle Oudarde." "Who is as fresh and as gay as though she
were a widow." "Devil take you!" growled Master Andry
"Master Andry," pursued Jean Jehan, still clinging to his capital, "hold your tongue,
or I'll drop on your head!"
Master Andry raised his eyes, seemed to measure in an instant the height of the
pillar, the weight of the scamp, mentally multiplied that weight by the square of the
velocity and remained silent.
Jehan, master of the field of battle, pursued triumphantly:
"That's what I'll do, even if I am the brother of an archdeacon!"
"Fine gentry are our people of the university, not to have caused our
privileges to be respected on such a day as this!
However, there is a maypole and a bonfire in the town; a mystery, Pope of the Fools,
and Flemish ambassadors in the city; and, at the university, nothing!"
"Nevertheless, the Place Maubert is sufficiently large!" interposed one of the
clerks established on the window-sill. "Down with the rector, the electors, and
the procurators!" cried Joannes.
"We must have a bonfire this evening in the Champ-Gaillard," went on the other, "made
of Master Andry's books." "And the desks of the scribes!" added his
"And the beadles' wands!" "And the spittoons of the deans!"
"And the cupboards of the procurators!" "And the hutches of the electors!"
"And the stools of the rector!"
"Down with them!" put in little Jehan, as counterpoint; "down with Master Andry, the
beadles and the scribes; the theologians, the doctors and the decretists; the
procurators, the electors and the rector!"
"The end of the world has come!,' muttered Master Andry, stopping up his ears.
"By the way, there's the rector! see, he is passing through the Place," cried one of
those in the window.
Each rivalled his neighbor in his haste to turn towards the Place.
"Is it really our venerable rector, Master Thibaut?" demanded Jehan Frollo du Moulin,
who, as he was clinging to one of the inner pillars, could not see what was going on
"Yes, yes," replied all the others, "it is really he, Master Thibaut, the rector."
It was, in fact, the rector and all the dignitaries of the university, who were
marching in procession in front of the embassy, and at that moment traversing the
The students crowded into the window, saluted them as they passed with sarcasms
and ironical applause.
The rector, who was walking at the head of his company, had to support the first
broadside; it was severe. "Good day, monsieur le recteur!
Hola he! good day there!"
"How does he manage to be here, the old gambler?
Has he abandoned his dice?" "How he trots along on his mule! her ears
are not so long as his!"
"Hola he! good day, monsieur le recteur Thibaut!
Tybalde aleator! Old fool! old gambler!"
"God preserve you!
Did you throw double six often last night?" "Oh! what a decrepit face, livid and
haggard and drawn with the love of gambling and of dice!"
"Where are you bound for in that fashion, Thibaut, Tybalde ad dados, with your back
turned to the university, and trotting towards the town?"
"He is on his way, no doubt, to seek a lodging in the Rue Thibautode?" cried Jehan
du M. Moulin.
The entire band repeated this quip in a voice of thunder, clapping their hands
"You are going to seek a lodging in the Rue Thibautode, are you not, monsieur le
recteur, gamester on the side of the devil?"
Then came the turns of the other dignitaries.
"Down with the beadles! down with the mace- bearers!"
"Tell me, Robin Pouissepain, who is that yonder?"
"He is Gilbert de Suilly, Gilbertus de Soliaco, the chancellor of the College of
"Hold on, here's my shoe; you are better placed than I, fling it in his face."
"Saturnalitias mittimus ecce nuces." "Down with the six theologians, with their
white surplices!"
"Are those the theologians? I thought they were the white geese given
by Sainte-Genevieve to the city, for the fief of Roogny."
"Down with the doctors!"
"Down with the cardinal disputations, and quibblers!"
"My cap to you, Chancellor of Sainte- Genevieve!
You have done me a wrong.
'Tis true; he gave my place in the nation of Normandy to little Ascanio Falzapada,
who comes from the province of Bourges, since he is an Italian."
"That is an injustice," said all the scholars.
"Down with the Chancellor of Sainte- Genevieve!"
"Ho he!
Master Joachim de Ladehors! Ho he!
Louis Dahuille! Ho he Lambert Hoctement!"
"May the devil stifle the procurator of the German nation!"
"And the chaplains of the Sainte-Chapelle, with their gray amices; cum tunices
"Seu de pellibus grisis fourratis!" "Hola he!
Masters of Arts! All the beautiful black copes! all the fine
red copes!"
"They make a fine tail for the rector." "One would say that he was a Doge of Venice
on his way to his bridal with the sea." "Say, Jehan! here are the canons of Sainte-
"To the deuce with the whole set of canons!"
"Abbe Claude Choart! Doctor Claude Choart!
Are you in search of Marie la Giffarde?"
"She is in the Rue de Glatigny." "She is making the bed of the king of the
debauchees. She is paying her four deniers quatuor
"Aut unum bombum." "Would you like to have her pay you in the
face?" "Comrades!
Master Simon Sanguin, the Elector of Picardy, with his wife on the crupper!"
"Post equitem seclet atra eura--behind the horseman sits black care."
"Courage, Master Simon!"
"Good day, Mister Elector!" "Good night, Madame Electress!"
"How happy they are to see all that!" sighed Joannes de Molendino, still perched
in the foliage of his capital.
Meanwhile, the sworn bookseller of the university, Master Andry Musnier, was
inclining his ear to the furrier of the king's robes, Master Gilles Lecornu.
"I tell you, sir, that the end of the world has come.
No one has ever beheld such outbreaks among the students!
It is the accursed inventions of this century that are ruining everything,--
artilleries, bombards, and, above all, printing, that other German pest.
No more manuscripts, no more books! printing will kill bookselling.
It is the end of the world that is drawing nigh."
"I see that plainly, from the progress of velvet stuffs," said the fur-merchant.
At this moment, midday sounded. "Ha!" exclaimed the entire crowd, in one
The scholars held their peace.
Then a great hurly-burly ensued; a vast movement of feet, hands, and heads; a
general outbreak of coughs and handkerchiefs; each one arranged himself,
assumed his post, raised himself up, and grouped himself.
Then came a great silence; all necks remained outstretched, all mouths remained
open, all glances were directed towards the marble table.
Nothing made its appearance there.
The bailiff's four sergeants were still there, stiff, motionless, as painted
statues. All eyes turned to the estrade reserved for
the Flemish envoys.
The door remained closed, the platform empty.
This crowd had been waiting since daybreak for three things: noonday, the embassy from
Flanders, the mystery play.
Noonday alone had arrived on time. On this occasion, it was too much.
They waited one, two, three, five minutes, a quarter of an hour; nothing came.
The dais remained empty, the theatre dumb.
In the meantime, wrath had succeeded to impatience.
Irritated words circulated in a low tone, still, it is true.
"The mystery! the mystery!" they murmured, in hollow voices.
Heads began to ferment.
A tempest, which was only rumbling in the distance as yet, was floating on the
surface of this crowd. It was Jehan du Moulin who struck the first
spark from it.
"The mystery, and to the devil with the Flemings!" he exclaimed at the full force
of his lungs, twining like a serpent around his pillar.
The crowd clapped their hands.
"The mystery!" it repeated, "and may all the devils take Flanders!"
"We must have the mystery instantly," resumed the student; "or else, my advice is
that we should hang the bailiff of the courts, by way of a morality and a comedy."
"Well said," cried the people, "and let us begin the hanging with his sergeants."
A grand acclamation followed. The four poor fellows began to turn pale,
and to exchange glances.
The crowd hurled itself towards them, and they already beheld the frail wooden
railing, which separated them from it, giving way and bending before the pressure
of the throng.
It was a critical moment. "To the sack, to the sack!" rose the cry on
all sides.
At that moment, the tapestry of the dressing-room, which we have described
above, was raised, and afforded passage to a personage, the mere sight of whom
suddenly stopped the crowd, and changed its wrath into curiosity as by enchantment.
"Silence! silence!"
The personage, but little reassured, and trembling in every limb, advanced to the
edge of the marble table with a vast amount of bows, which, in proportion as he drew
nearer, more and more resembled genuflections.
In the meanwhile, tranquillity had gradually been restored.
All that remained was that slight murmur which always rises above the silence of a
"Messieurs the bourgeois," said he, "and mesdemoiselles the bourgeoises, we shall
have the honor of declaiming and representing, before his eminence, monsieur
the cardinal, a very beautiful morality
which has for its title, 'The Good Judgment of Madame the Virgin Mary.'
I am to play Jupiter.
His eminence is, at this moment, escorting the very honorable embassy of the Duke of
Austria; which is detained, at present, listening to the harangue of monsieur the
rector of the university, at the gate Baudets.
As soon as his illustrious eminence, the cardinal, arrives, we will begin."
It is certain, that nothing less than the intervention of Jupiter was required to
save the four unfortunate sergeants of the bailiff of the courts.
If we had the happiness of having invented this very veracious tale, and of being, in
consequence, responsible for it before our Lady Criticism, it is not against us that
the classic precept, Nec deus intersit, could be invoked.
Moreover, the costume of Seigneur Jupiter, was very handsome, and contributed not a
little towards calming the crowd, by attracting all its attention.
Jupiter was clad in a coat of mail, covered with black velvet, with gilt nails; and had
it not been for the rouge, and the huge red beard, each of which covered one-half of
his face,--had it not been for the roll of
gilded cardboard, spangled, and all bristling with strips of tinsel, which he
held in his hand, and in which the eyes of the initiated easily recognized
thunderbolts,--had not his feet been flesh-
colored, and banded with ribbons in Greek fashion, he might have borne comparison, so
far as the severity of his mien was concerned, with a Breton archer from the
guard of Monsieur de Berry.


ノートルダムの鐘(原作:ヴィクトル・ユーゴー) (The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - Book 01 - Chapter 1)

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Furong Lai 2012 年 11 月 30 日 に公開
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