Chicot the Jester HTML version

Chapter 19
Chicot, from the cloak and other things under the monk's robe, looked much larger
across the shoulders than usual. His beard was of the same color as Gorenflot's, and he
had so often amused himself with mimicking the monk's voice and manner of speaking
that he could do it perfectly. Now, everyone knows that the beard and the voice are the
only things which are recognizable from under the depths of a monk's hood. Chicot
exhibited his coin, and was admitted without difficulty, and then followed two other
monks to the chapel of the convent. In this chapel, built in the eleventh century, the
choir was raised nine or ten feet above the rest of the building, and you mounted into it
by two lateral staircases, while an iron door between them led from the nave to the
crypt, into which you had to descend again. In this choir there was a portrait of St.
Geneviève, and on each side of the altar were statues of Clovis and Clotilda.
Three lamps only lighted the chapel, and the imperfect light gave a greater solemnity to
the scene. Chicot was glad to find that he was not the last, for three monks entered after
in gray robes, and placed themselves in front of the altar. Soon after, a little monk,
doubtless a lad belonging to the choir, came and spoke to one of these monks, who
then said, aloud,--
"We are now one hundred and thirty-six."
Then a great noise of bolts and bars announced that the door was being closed. The
three monks were seated in armchairs, like judges. The one who had spoken before
now rose and said--
"Brother Monsoreau, what news do you bring to the Union from the province of Anjou?"
Two things made Chicot start, the first was the voice of the speaker, the second the
name of Monsoreau, known to the court only the last few days. A tall monk crossed the
assembly, and placed himself in a large chair, behind the shadow of which Chicot had
kept himself.
"My brothers," said a voice which Chicot recognized at once as that of the chief
huntsman, "the news from Anjou is not satisfactory; not that we fail there in sympathy,
but in representatives. The progress of the Union there had been confided to the Baron
de Méridor, but he in despair at the recent death of his daughter, has, in his grief,
neglected the affairs of the league, and we cannot at present count on him. As for
myself, I bring three new adherents to the association. The council must judge whether
these three, for whom I answer, as for myself, ought to be admitted into the Union."