Chicot the Jester
HOW BUSSY WENT TO SEEK FOR THE REALITY OF HIS DREAM.
When Bussy returned home again, he was still thinking of his dream.
"Morbleu!" said he, "it is impossible that a dream should have left such a vivid
impression on my mind. I see it all so clearly;--the bed, the lady, the doctor. I must seek
for it--surely I can find it again." Then Bussy, after having the bandage of his wound
resettled by a valet, put on high boots, took his sword, wrapped himself in his cloak, and
set off for the same place where he had been nearly murdered the night before, and
nearly at the same hour.
He went in a litter to the Rue Roi-de-Sicile, then got out, and told his servants to wait for
him. It was about nine in the evening, the curfew had sounded, and Paris was deserted.
Bussy arrived at the Bastile, then he sought for the place where his horse had fallen,
and thought he had found it; he next endeavored to repeat his movements of the night
before, retreated to the wall, and examined every door to find the corner against which
he had leaned, but all the doors seemed alike.
"Pardieu!" said he, "if I were to knock at each of these doors question all the lodgers,
spend a thousand crowns to make valets and old women speak, I might learn what I
want to know. There are fifty houses; it would take me at least five nights."
As he spoke, he perceived a small and trembling light approaching.
This light advanced slowly, and irregularly, stopping occasionally, moving on again, and
going first to the right, then to the left, then, for a minute, coming straight on, and again
diverging. Bussy leaned against a door, and waited. The light continued to advance,
and soon he could see a black figure, which, as it advanced, took the form of a man,
holding a lantern in his left hand. He appeared to Bussy to belong to the honorable
fraternity of drunkards, for nothing else seemed to explain the eccentric movements of
the lantern. At last he slipped over a piece of ice, and fell. Bussy was about to come
forward and offer his assistance, but the man and the lantern were quickly up again,
and advanced directly towards him, when he saw, to his great surprise, that the man
had a bandage over his eyes. "Well!" thought he, "it is a strange thing to play at blind
man's buff with a lantern in your hand. Am I beginning to dream again? And, good
heavens! he is talking to himself. If he be not drunk or mad, he is a mathematician."
This last surmise was suggested by the words that Bussy heard.
"488, 489, 490," murmured the man, "it must be near here." And then he raised his
bandage, and finding himself in front of a house, examined it attentively.