CHAPTER 2. PIERRE GRINGOIRE.
Nevertheless, as be harangued them, the satisfaction and
admiration unanimously excited by his costume were dissipated
by his words; and when he reached that untoward conclusion:
"As soon as his illustrious eminence, the cardinal,
arrives, we will begin," his voice was drowned in a thunder
"Begin instantly! The mystery! the mystery immediately!"
shrieked the people. And above all the voices, that
of Johannes de Molendino was audible, piercing the uproar
like the fife's derisive serenade: "Commence instantly!"
yelped the scholar.
"Down with Jupiter and the Cardinal de Bourbon!" vociferated
Robin Poussepain and the other clerks perched in the window.
"The morality this very instant!" repeated the crowd;
"this very instant! the sack and the rope for the comedians,
and the cardinal!"
Poor Jupiter, haggard, frightened, pale beneath his rouge,
dropped his thunderbolt, took his cap in his hand; then he
bowed and trembled and stammered: "His eminence--the
ambassadors--Madame Marguerite of Flanders--." He did not
know what to say. In truth, he was afraid of being hung.
Hung by the populace for waiting, hung by the cardinal for
not having waited, he saw between the two dilemmas only an
abyss; that is to say, a gallows.
Luckily, some one came to rescue him from his embarrassment,
and assume the responsibility.
An individual who was standing beyond the railing, in the
free space around the marble table, and whom no one had yet
caught sight of, since his long, thin body was completely sheltered
from every visual ray by the diameter of the pillar
against which he was leaning; this individual, we say, tall,
gaunt, pallid, blond, still young, although already wrinkled
about the brow and cheeks, with brilliant eyes and a smiling
mouth, clad in garments of black serge, worn and shining
with age, approached the marble table, and made a sign to the
poor sufferer. But the other was so confused that he did not
see him. The new comer advanced another step.
"Jupiter," said he, "my dear Jupiter!"
The other did not hear.