CHAPTER 5. THE TWO MEN CLOTHED IN BLACK.
The personage who entered wore a black gown and a gloomy
mien. The first point which struck the eye of our Jehan
(who, as the reader will readily surmise, had ensconced
himself in his nook in such a manner as to enable him to
see and hear everything at his good pleasure) was the perfect
sadness of the garments and the visage of this new-corner.
There was, nevertheless, some sweetness diffused over that
face, but it was the sweetness of a cat or a judge, an affected,
treacherous sweetness. He was very gray and wrinkled, and
not far from his sixtieth year, his eyes blinked, his eyebrows
were white, his lip pendulous, and his hands large. When Jehan
saw that it was only this, that is to say, no doubt a physician
or a magistrate, and that this man had a nose very far from
his mouth, a sign of stupidity, he nestled down in his hole,
in despair at being obliged to pass an indefinite time in such
an uncomfortable attitude, and in such bad company.
The archdeacon, in the meantime, had not even risen to
receive this personage. He had made the latter a sign to seat
himself on a stool near the door, and, after several moments
of a silence which appeared to be a continuation of a preceding
meditation, he said to him in a rather patronizing way,
"Good day, Master Jacques."
"Greeting, master," replied the man in black.
There was in the two ways in which "Master Jacques"
was pronounced on the one hand, and the "master" by
preeminence on the other, the difference between monseigneur
and monsieur, between domine and domne. It was evidently
the meeting of a teacher and a disciple.
"Well!" resumed the archdeacon, after a fresh silence
which Master Jacques took good care not to disturb, "how
are you succeeding?"
"Alas! master," said the other, with a sad smile, "I am
still seeking the stone. Plenty of ashes. But not a spark
Dom Claude made a gesture of impatience. "I am not talking
to you of that, Master Jacques Charmolue, but of the trial
of your magician. Is it not Marc Cenaine that you call
him? the butler of the Court of Accounts? Does he confess
his witchcraft? Have you been successful with the torture?"