OF THE DANGER OF CONFIDING YOUR
SECRET TO A GOAT
SEVERAL weeks had passed.
It was early March. The sun, which du Bartas,⋆ that classic ancestor of the periphrasis, had not yet named 'the grand duke of candles', was no less radiant and joyful for that. It was one of those spring days so sweet and lovely that all Paris fills the squares and promenades to celebrate as if it were a Sunday. On such bright, warm, tranquil days there is a certain hour especially for admiring the portal of Notre-Dame. That is the moment when the sun, already declining in the west, faces the cathedral almost directly. Its rays, becoming ever more horizontal, slowly withdraw from the pavement of the Place and travel up the perpendicular façade, making the countless carvings stand out roundly from their shadows, while the great central rosewindow blazes like a Cyclops' eye afire with reflections from the forge.
It was that time now.
Opposite the tall cathedral stained red by the setting sun, on the stone balcony built over the porch of a handsome Gothic mansion, standing on the corner of the Place and the rue du Parvis, some lovely young girls were laughing and chatting in the most delightful and light-hearted manner. From the length of the veil which fell from the top of their pointed head-dress, all wound about with pearls, down to their heels, from the delicacy of the embroidered chemisette covering their shoulders and revealing, in the attractive fashion of the times, the cleavage of their beautiful maidenly bosoms, from the opulence of their underskirts, even more costly than their topcoats (a wonderful refinement!), from the gauze, the silk, and the velvet lavished on