CHAPTER 1. ABBAS BEATI MARTINI.
Dom Claude's fame had spread far and wide. It procured
for him, at about the epoch when he refused to see Madame de
Beaujeu, a visit which he long remembered.
It was in the evening. He had just retired, after the office,
to his canon's cell in the cloister of Notre-Dame. This cell,
with the exception, possibly, of some glass phials, relegated
to a corner, and filled with a decidedly equivocal powder,
which strongly resembled the alchemist's "powder of projection,"
presented nothing strange or mysterious. There were,
indeed, here and there, some inscriptions on the walls, but they
were pure sentences of learning and piety, extracted from
good authors. The archdeacon had just seated himself, by the
light of a three-jetted copper lamp, before a vast coffer
crammed with manuscripts. He had rested his elbow upon the
open volume of Honorius d'Autun, De predestinatione et libero
arbitrio, and he was turning over, in deep meditation, the
leaves of a printed folio which he had just brought, the
sole product of the press which his cell contained. In the
midst of his revery there came a knock at his door. "Who's
there?" cried the learned man, in the gracious tone of a
famished dog, disturbed over his bone.
A voice without replied, "Your friend, Jacques Coictier."
He went to open the door.
It was, in fact, the king's physician; a person about fifty
years of age, whose harsh physiognomy was modified only by a
crafty eye. Another man accompanied him. Both wore long
slate-colored robes, furred with minever, girded and closed,
with caps of the same stuff and hue. Their hands were
concealed by their sleeves, their feet by their robes, their eyes
by their caps.
"God help me, messieurs!" said the archdeacon, showing
them in; "I was not expecting distinguished visitors at such
an hour." And while speaking in this courteous fashion he
cast an uneasy and scrutinizing glance from the physician to
"'Tis never too late to come and pay a visit to so considerable
a learned man as Dom Claude Frollo de Tirechappe," replied
Doctor Coictier, whose Franche-Comté accent made all his
phrases drag along with the majesty of a train-robe.