CHAPTER 6. THE EFFECT WHICH SEVEN OATHS IN THE OPEN AIR CAN PRODUCE.
"Te Deum Laudamus!" exclaimed Master Jehan, creeping
out from his hole, "the screech-owls have departed. Och!
och! Hax! pax! max! fleas! mad dogs! the devil! I have
had enough of their conversation! My head is humming like
a bell tower. And mouldy cheese to boot! Come on! Let us
descend, take the big brother's purse and convert all these
coins into bottles!"
He cast a glance of tenderness and admiration into the
interior of the precious pouch, readjusted his toilet, rubbed
up his boots, dusted his poor half sleeves, all gray with ashes,
whistled an air, indulged in a sportive pirouette, looked about
to see whether there were not something more in the cell to
take, gathered up here and there on the furnace some amulet
in glass which might serve to bestow, in the guise of a trinket,
on Isabeau la Thierrye, finally pushed open the door which his
brother had left unfastened, as a last indulgence, and which
he, in his turn, left open as a last piece of malice, and
descended the circular staircase, skipping like a bird.
In the midst of the gloom of the spiral staircase, he elbowed
something which drew aside with a growl; he took it for
granted that it was Quasimodo, and it struck him as so droll
that he descended the remainder of the staircase holding his
sides with laughter. On emerging upon the Place, he laughed
yet more heartily.
He stamped his foot when he found himself on the ground
once again. "Oh!" said he, "good and honorable pavement
of Paris, cursed staircase, fit to put the angels of Jacob's
ladder out of breath! What was I thinking of to thrust
myself into that stone gimlet which pierces the sky; all for
the sake of eating bearded cheese, and looking at the bell-
towers of Paris through a hole in the wall!"
He advanced a few paces, and caught sight of the two
screech owls, that is to say, Dom Claude and Master Jacques
Charmolue, absorbed in contemplation before a carving on the
fašade. He approached them on tiptoe, and heard the
archdeacon say in a low tone to Charmolue: "'Twas Guillaume
de Paris who caused a Job to be carved upon this stone of the
hue of lapis-lazuli, gilded on the edges. Job represents the
philosopher's stone, which must also be tried and martyrized
in order to become perfect, as saith Raymond Lulle: Sub
conservatione formoe speciftoe salva anima."