the favourites of the daughter of Charles the Bold, and no cardinal could have hardened the crowd with a word against her tears and entreaties when the Lady of Flanders came to supplicate her people for them, even at the foot of their scaffold; whereas the hosier had but to lift his leather-clad arm, and off went your heads my fine gentlemen, Seigneur Guy d’Hymbercourt and Chancellor Guillaume Hugonet!

Yet this was not all that was in store for the poor Cardinal; he was to drink to the dregs the cup of humiliation—the penalty of being in such low company.

The reader may perhaps remember the impudent mendicant who, at the beginning of the Prologue, had established himself upon the projection just below the Cardinal’s platform. The arrival of the illustrious guests had in nowise made him quit his position, and while prelates and ambassadors were packed on the narrow platform like Dutch herrings in a barrel, the beggar sat quite at his ease with his legs crossed comfortably on the architrave. It was a unique piece of insolence, but nobody had noticed it as yet, the attention of the public being directed elsewhere. For his part, he took no notice of what was going on, but kept wagging his head from side to side with the unconcern of a Neapolitan lazzarone, and mechanically repeating his droning appeal, “Charity, I pray you!” Certain it was, he was the only person in the whole vast audience who never even deigned to turn his head at the altercation between Coppenole and the usher. Now, it so chanced that the master hosier of Ghent, with whom the people were already so much in sympathy and on whom all eyes were fixed, came and seated himself in the first row on the platform, just above the beggar. What was the amazement of the company to see the Flemish ambassador, after examining the strange figure beneath him, lean over and clap the ragged shoulder amicably. The beggar turned—surprise, recognition, and pleasure beamed from the two faces—then, absolutely regardless of their surroundings, the hosier and the sham leper fell to conversing in low tones and hand clasped in hand, Clopin Trouillefou’s ragged arm against the cloth of gold draperies of the balustrade, looking like a caterpillar on an orange.

The novelty of this extraordinary scene excited such a stir of merriment in the Hall that the Cardinal’s attention was attracted. He bent forward, but being unable from where he sat to do more than catch a very imperfect glimpse of Trouillefou’s unsightly coat, he naturally imagined that it was merely a beggar asking alms, and, incensed at his presumption—

“Monsieur the Provost of the Palais, fling me this rascal into the river!” he cried.

“Croix-Dieu! Monseigneur the Cardinal,” said Coppenole without leaving hold of Trouillefou’s hand, “it’s a friend of mine.”

“Noël! Noël!” shouted the crowd; and from that moment Master Coppenole enjoyed in Paris as in Ghent “great favour with the people, as men of his stamp always do,” says Philippe de Comines, “when they are thus indifferent to authority.”

The Cardinal bit his lip, then he leaned over to his neighbour, the Abbot of Sainte-Geneviéve:

“Droll ambassadors these, whom Monsieur the Archduke sends to announce Madame Marguerite to us,” he said in a half whisper.

“Your Eminence wastes his courtesy on these Flemish hogs,” returned the Abbot. “Margaritas ante porcos.”

“Say rather,” retorted the Cardinal with a smile, “Porcos ante Margaritam.”

This little jeu de mots sent the whole cassocked court into ecstasies. The Cardinal’s spirits rose somewhat; he was quits now with Coppenole—he, too, had had a pun applauded.

And now, with such of our readers as have the power to generalize an image and an idea, as it is the fashion to say nowadays, permit us to ask if they are able to form a clear picture of the scene presented by the vast parallelogram of the great Hall at the moment to which we draw their attention. In the middle

  By PanEris using Melati.

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