MAÎTRE JACQUES COPPENOLE
WHILE the pensionary of Ghent and His Eminence were exchanging low bows and a few words in an even lower voice, a tall man with a broad face and powerful shoulders came up so that he entered abreast with Guillaume Rym, looking like a mastiff beside a fox. His felt bycocket and leather jerkin stood out conspicuously amid the silk and velvet around him. Assuming that he was some groom who had lost his way, the usher stopped him.
'Hey, my friend! You can't go through there.'
The man in the leather jerkin shouldered him aside. 'What does this fellow think he's doing?' he roared in a voice which drew the attention of the entire hall to this strange altercation. 'Can't you see that I am one of them?'
'Your name?' asked the usher.
'Hosier, at the sign of the Three Little Chains at Ghent.'
The usher recoiled. Announcing échevins and burgomasters was one thing, but a hosier . . . that was hard. The cardinal was in torment. All the people were looking and listening. For two days now His Eminence had been striving to lick these Flemish bears into rather better shape for public appearances, and this piece of bad manners went too far. Meanwhile Guillaume Rym, with his crafty smile, went up to the usher:
'Announce Maitre Jacques Coppenole, clerk to the échevins of the town of Ghent,' he said in a very low whisper.
'Usher,' the cardinal said aloud,' announce Maître Jacques Coppenole, clerk to the échevins of the illustrious town of Ghent.'
That was a mistake. Guillaume Rym left to himself could have evaded the difficulty, but Coppenole had heard the cardinal. 'No, by the Holy Rood!' he thundered. ' Jacques