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CHAPTER 16. ORGAN
January 20, 2013. 3:30 p.m. Paris time. Agen, France.
Morse negotiated the Audi through the streets of the French city of Agen until he
arrived at the old center of the town. Standing in a grove of trees was the twelfth century
Agen Cathedral, known as the Cathedrale Saint-Caprais. Built in the form of a Latin
cross, its white and gray stone walls surrounded a huge bell tower.
Morse parked the car and walked with his children into the inside of the Church.
Zach and Zoey gaped upward, amazed at how tall the walls were inside. The interior of
the Church was a wild crazy quilt of images and colors. Pictures of saints were painted
on the walls in sky blue, orange, and avocado green. The vaulted ceilings were colored
in alternating patches of midnight blue and gold. A religious figure or busy pattern
adorned every inch of wall space. Ten golden, ornamental disks ringed with white
candles dangled from overhead on gold chains, five on each side of the long rows of
pews. To Morse, the church decor looked like a mess, like someone had taken out the
wallpaper pattern book and, waffling on which pattern to choose, decided instead to
choose them all.
Morse and the children proceeded down the main aisle between the pews, facing the
altar ahead. When they got to the center of the rectangular cross in the cathedral, they
turned north and went to the end of the giant hall. There, against the back wall, some
fifty feet in the air, were the towering metal pipes of the Cathedral‘s pipe organ. Morse
took out his camera and took some pictures. There was an oak-colored wooden spire in
the middle, with a tripod of ornate, wooden crosses at the top. Two slightly smaller
identical spires sat as bookends on the right and left. In the middle of each spire were a
group of metal pipes.
―Quite amazing, isn‘t it?‖ said a voice behind them.
Morse and the children turned around to see a short, incredibly obese priest, with a
bald head, unshaven chin, and thick black glasses. Zoey had her fair share of killer priests
for one day, and was not about to trust this one. She grabbed her father‘s arm tightly and
eyed the priest suspiciously.
―Yes,‖ said Morse. ―We were just admiring it.‖
―This organ was a gift from the Empress Eugenie, Napoleon‘s wife, in 1858.‖
―Oh, really? 1858, you say? Hmm, I was wondering, is this the only organ in the
cathedral? I had been told that there might be an organ dating from earlier times.‖
―Oh, you must mean the chancel organ. That is much smaller. It is on the other side
of the church. Follow me.‖
Morse and his children followed the fat priest, who waddled to and fro like a penguin
who had eaten too many squid. He continued to mop his brow with his handkerchief as
he escorted them to the opposite side of the church, to an organ about twenty feet tall.
The sides and top of the organ were mahogany, and it was shaped in the form of a very
skinny house, generally tall and rectangular, with a pointed top. Some twenty large silver
pipes, with their points pointed downward, were fastened to the middle of the organ. On
either side of the organ was a red pillar, again with the wild decorations of a lunatic wall-
paperer. There was a walking space on either side of the organ, and it appeared that one