escorted the Comte de Saint-Pol to the Place de Grève, who stormed and wept, to the huge delight of Monsieur the Provost, who bore no love to Monsieur the Constable.

Here, assuredly, was more than sufficient to make a man’s life happy and illustrious and to merit some day a noteworthy page in that interesting chronicle of the Provosts of Paris, from which we learn that Oudard de Villeneuve owned a house in the Rue des Boucherie, that Guillaume de Hangast bought the great and the little Savoie mansion, that Guillaume Thiboust gave his houses in the Rue Clopin to the Sisters of Sainte-Geneviève, that Hugues Aubriot lived in the Hôtel du Porc-epic, and other facts of a domestic character.

Nevertheless, in spite of all these reasons for taking life easily and pleasantly, Messire Robert d’Estouteville had risen on the morning of January 7, 1482; feeling as sulky and dangerous in temper as a bear with a sore head; why, he would have been at a loss to say. Was it because the sky was gloomy? because the buckle of his old sword-belt—another relic of Montlhèry—was clasped too tight, and girded up his fair, round, provostorial port in all too military a fashion? or because he had just seen a band of tattered varlets, who had jeered at him as they passed below his windows walking four abreast, in doublets without shirts, in hats without brims, and wallet and bottle hanging at their sides? Or was it the vague premonition of the loss of those three hundred and seventy livres, sixteen sols, eight deniers, of which in the following year the future King Charles VIII was going to dock the revenues of the Provostry? The reader may take his choice, but for our part we are inclined to the opinion that he was in a bad temper because—he was in a bad temper.

Besides, it was the day after a holiday, a day distasteful to everybody, especially to the magistrate whose business it was to sweep up all the dirt—literally and figuratively—which a Paris holiday inevitably brings with it. Then, too, he was to sit that day at the Grand Châtelet; and we have noticed that the judges generally manage that their day of sitting shall also be their day of ill-humour, in that they may have some one on whom conveniently to vent their spleen in the name of the King, justice, and the law.

The sitting, however, had begun without him. His deputies in civil, criminal, and private causes were acting for him as usual; and by eight o’clock in the morning, some scores of townsfolk, men and women, crowded up between the wall and a strong barrier of oak in a dark corner of the court of the Châtelet, were blissfully assisting at the varied and exhilarating spectacle of the law, civil and criminal, as administered by Maître Florian Barbedienne, examining judge at the Châtelet, and deputy for Monsieur the Provost, an office he performed in a manner somewhat mixed and altogether haphazard.

The hall was small, low, and vaulted, furnished at the far end with a table figured over with fleur de lis, a great, carved oak chair for the Provost, and therefore empty, and a stool at the left side for Maître Florian. Lower down sat the clerk, scribbling fast. Opposite to them were the people; while before the door and before the table were stationed a number of sergeants of the Provostry, in violet woollen jerkins, with white crosses on their breasts. Two sergeants of the Common Hall in their “All-Saints” jackets—half red, half blue—stood sentinel at a low, closed door which was visible in the background behind the table. A solitary Gothic window, deeply embedded in the wall, shed the pale light of a January morning on two grotesque figures—the whimsical stone devil, carved on the keystone of the vaulted ceiling, and the judge sitting at the back of the Hall bending over the fleur de lis of the table.

Picture to yourself that figure at the table, leaning on his elbows between two bundles of documents, his foot wrapped in the tail of his plain brown gown, the face in its frame of white lambskin, of which the eye-brows seem to be a piece —red, scowling, blinking, carrying with dignity the load of fat that met under his chin—and you have Maître Florian Barbedienne, examining judge at the Châtelet.

Now, Maître Florian was deaf—rather a drawback for an examining judge—but none the less did he mete out judgment without appeal and with great propriety. Surely it is sufficient that a judge should appear to listen, and the venerable auditor the better filled this condition—the sole essential to the good administration of justice—in that his attention could not be distracted by any sound.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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