Notre-Dame de Paris

By Victor Hugo ; Alban Krailsheimer | Go to book overview

II
BECOME A TRUAND!

ON his return to the cloister the archdeacon found waiting at the door of his cell his brother Jehan du Moulin, who had been whiling away his boredom while he waited by making a charcoal sketch on the wall of his older brother's profile enhanced by an outsize nose.

Dom Claude hardly looked at his brother. He had other things on his mind. The cheerful scamp's face, whose sunny beams had so often brought serenity back to the priest's sombre countenance, was now quite powerless to dispel the mist which lay denser every day over that corrupt, mephitic, stagnant soul.

'Brother,' Jehan said timidly, 'I've come to see you.'

The archdeacon did not even look up at him. 'So?'

'Brother,' the hypocrite went on, 'you are so kind to me, and give me such good advice, that I always come back to you.'

'And?'

'Alas! brother, you were so right when you told me: "Jehan, Jehan, cessat doctorum doctrina, discipulorum disciplina [the teaching of the teachers, the discipline of the disciples has slackened off]. Jehan, be good, Jehan, be studious, Jehan don't spend the night out of college without lawful occasion and the master's leave. Don't beat the Picards, Noli, Joannes, verberare picardos. Don't rot away like an illiterate donkey on the straw of the lecture-room floor. Jehan, accept your punishment at your master's discretion. Jehan, go to chapel every evening and sing an anthem with verse and prayer to Our Lady the glorious Virgin Mary." Alas! what most excellent advice that was!'

'Well?'

'You see before you, brother, a guilty man, a criminal, a wretch, a libertine, a heinous person! Brother, Jehan has treated your gracious counsels like straw and dung to be

-428-

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