There was a deafening clapping of hands, and the Hall still rocked with plaudits after Jupiter had retired behind his curtain.

Meanwhile the unknown personage who had so magically transformed the storm into a calm, had modestly re-entered the penumbra of his pillar, where doubtless he would have remained, unseen, unheard, and motionless as before, had he not been lured out of it by two young women who, seated in the first row of spectators, had witnessed his colloquy with Michel Giborne—Jupiter.

“Maitre,” said one of them, beckoning to him to come nearer.

“Hush, my dear Liènarde,” said her companion, a pretty, rosy-cheeked girl, courageous in the consciousness of her holiday finery, “he doesn’t belong to the University—he’s a layman. You mustn’t say ’Maître’ to him, you must say ’Messire.’ ”

“Messire,” resumed Liènarde.

The stranger approached the balustrade.

“What can I do for you, mesdemoiselles?” he asked eagerly.

“Oh, nothing!” said Liènarde, all confused; “it is my neighbour, Gisquette la Gencienne, who wants to speak to you.”

“Not at all,” said Gisquette, blushing, “it was Liènarde who called you ’Maitre,’ and I told her she ought to say ’Messire.’ ”

The two girls cast down their eyes. The stranger, nothing loath to start a conversation with them, looked at them smilingly.

“So you have nothing to say to me, ladies?”

“Oh, nothing at all,” Gisquette declared.

“No, nothing,” added Liènarde.

The tall young man made as if to retire, but the two inquiring damsels were not inclined to let him go so soon.

“Messire,” began Gisquette with the impetuous haste of a woman taking a resolve, “it appears you are acquainted with the soldier who is going to play the part of Madame the Virgin in the Mystery.”

“You mean the part of Jupiter,” returned the unknown.

“Yes, of course!” said Liènarde. “Isn’t she stupid? So you know Jupiter?”

“Michel Giborne? Yes, madame.”

“He has a splendid beard,” said Liènarde.

“Will it be very fine what they are going to say?” asked Gisquette shyly.

“Extremely fine, mademoiselle,” responded the unknown without the slightest hesitation.

“What is it to be?” asked Liènarde.

“ ’The Good Judgment of Madame the Virgin,’ a Morality, an it please you, mademoiselle.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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