The Pass-Word

On quitting the Bastille, Gringoire fled down the Rue Saint-Antoine with the speed of a runaway horse. Arrived at the Baudoyer Gate, he made straight for the stone cross in the middle of the square as if he discerned in the dark the figure of a man, clothed and hooded in black, sitting upon its steps.

“Is that you, master?” said Gringoire.

The figure rose. “Death and hell! you drive me mad, Gringoire. The watch on the tower of Saint-Gervais has just called the half after one.”

“It is no fault of mine,” returned Gringoire, “but of the watch and the King. I’ve had a narrow escape. I always miss being hanged within an ace. It is my predestination.”

“You miss everything,” retorted the other. “But come quickly now. Hast thou the pass-word?”

“Only think, master, I have seen the King. I’ve just left him. He wears worsted breeches. It was an adventure, I can tell you!”

“Oh, clappering mill-wheel of words! what’s thy adventure to me? Hast thou the truands’ pass-word?”

“I have it. Make yourself easy. ‘Dagger in pouch.” ’

“Good! Without it we could not get through to the church; the truands block the streets. Luckily, they seem to have met with some opposition. We may yet arrive in time.”

“Yes, master; but how are we to gain entrance into Notre-Dame?”

“I have the key of the tower.”

“And how shall we get out again?”

“There is a small door at the back of the cloister opening on to the Terrain and the waterside. I have got the key, and I moored a boat there this morning.”

“I had a near shave of being hanged,” repeated Gringoire.

“Quick, then, let us be going!” said the other; and both started off at full speed towards the city.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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