Chicot the Jester
HOW CHICOT, FORCED TO REMAIN IN THE ABBEY, SAW AND HEARD THINGS
VERY DANGEROUS TO SEE AND HEAR.
Chicot hastened to get down from his chair, and to mix among the monks so as to
discover, if possible, what signs they used. By peeping over their shoulders, he found
out that it was a farthing, with a star cut in the middle. Our Gascon had plenty of
farthings in his pocket, but unluckily none with a star in it. Of course, if when on coming
to the door he was unable to produce the necessary signs, he would be suspected and
examined. He gained the shade of a pillar, which stood at the corner of a confessional,
and stood there wondering what he should do. An assistant cried, "Is everyone out, the
doors are about to be shut."
No one answered; Chicot peeped out and saw the chapel empty, with the exception of
the three monks, who still kept their seats in front of the choir.
"Provided they do not shut the windows, it is all I ask," thought Chicot.
"Let us examine," said the young lad to the porter. Then the porter lifted a taper, and,
followed by the young lad, began to make the tour of the church. There was not a
moment to lose. Chicot softly opened the door of the confessional, slipped in, and shut
the door after him. They passed close by him, and he could see them through the
spaces of the sculpture.
[Illustration: CHICOT THE JESTER.]
"Diable!" thought he, "he cannot stay here all night, and once they are gone, I will pile
chairs upon benches, Pelion on Ossa, and get out of the window. Ah! yes, but when I
have done that, I shall be, not in the street, but in the court. I believe it will be better to
pass the night in the confessional; Gorenflot's robe is warm."
"Extinguish the lamps," now cried the lad; and the porter with an immense extinguisher
put out the lamps, and left the church dark, except for the rays of the moon which shone
through the windows. The clock struck twelve.
"Ventre de biche!" said Chicot, "Henri, if he were here, would be nicely frightened; but,
luckily, I am less timid. Come, Chicot, my friend, good night and sleep well."
Then Chicot pushed the inside bolt, made himself as comfortable as he could, and shut
his eyes. He was just falling asleep, when he was startled by a loud stroke on a copper
bell, and at the same time the lamp in the choir was relighted, and showed the three
monks still there.