LITTLE BLADE ON THE PROWL
LEAVING the Bastille, Gringoire went down the rue Saint- Antoine with the speed of a runaway horse. When he came to the Porte Baudoyer he made straight for the stone cross standing in the middle of the square, as if he had been able to distinguish in the darkness the figure of a man dressed and hooded in black sitting on the steps of the cross. 'Is that you, master?' said Gringoire.
The man in black stood up. 'Death and passion! You make me boil, Gringoire. The man on the tower at Saint- Gervais⋆ has just called out half-past one in the morning.'
'Oh!' retorted Gringoire, 'it's not my fault, but that of the watch and the King. I have just had a very narrow escape! I always just miss being hanged. That is my predestination.'
'You just miss everything,' the other said. 'But let's go quickly. Do you have the password?'
'Just imagine, master, I've seen the King. I've just come from there. He wears fustian breeches. It was quite an adventure.'
'Oh! you and your word-spinning! What do I care about your adventure? Do you have the truands' password?'
'Yes, I have. Don't worry. Little blade on the prowl.'
'Good. Otherwise we'd never be able to get through to the church. The truands are blocking the streets. Fortunately they seem to have met with some resistance. We may still get there in time.'
'Yes, master. But how will we get into Notre-Dame?'
'I have the key to the towers.'
'And how will we get out?'
'Behind the cloister there's a little door giving on to the Terrain, and from there on to the water. I've taken the key to it, and moored a boat there this morning.'
'I came jolly near being hanged!' Gringoire went on.
'Quick! come on!' said the other.
They both went off striding down towards the Cité.