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ars at St. Victor's that acknowledged Maitre Louis as its leader and the exponent of its principles.
The University, he discovered, was just then split up into a great number of these little factions. There were few of the colleges that had not taken up their stand on the one side or the other of the burning controversy; and the students outside the colleges, though more than likely they hardly realized the issue at stake, were as venomous and bitter as partisans could well be. For the most part, and with few exceptions, they were on the secular side; and as there were practically no influences to restrain them, they did not stop short at words or arguments, but used their fists and weapons as well.
Arnoul was coming back one day, along the Rue St. Jacques, from the Petit Pont with Maitre Louis and another of his friends, when they heard a great commotion going on behind St. Julien's Church. Gripping their sticks they rushed round the corner. It was a pair of begging friars-or rather, had been, for one had taken to his heels and was making off as fast as his legs could carry him through the crooked streets. A crowd of men and boys stood round the remaining friar, some of them drunk, some sober, but all abusive and threatening. The poor man was shaking and had changed his cry for alms into a prayer for mercy. “Good gentlemen all," he quavered, “have pity on a poor friar! I have done naught to anger you. I am but a poor brother of the Preachers crying for alms. Ow!” he cried, as the first cudgel caught him on the arm from which his alms-basket hung. “Ow! For the love of God! Holy Virgin, protect me! Ow! Good masters, spare me! Ow!”
He danced about, trying to avoid the cudgels aimed at him, for the crowd had quite lost its reason by now. They looked upon the unfortunate friar as the embodiment of the Dominican order, and remembered in a muddled way what they were pleased to consider their wrongs, their grievances against it.
There was no responsible member of the University within sight, and a sheer lust of torment had seized upon the schol
Those who had been drinking lurched about, striking at the friar, but as often as not contriving to fetch a ringing blow on the head of one of their companions. It threatened to become a general mêlée. A woman there were several slatternly women standing on the fringe of the crowd, out of harm's
way-shrieked out vile abuse and urged the students on. At length—for the scrimmage had taken an ugly look and knives were drawn-one of the least drunken of the lot rushed forward and seized the friar's basket. He was a big, burly fellow from Scandinavia. Arnoul had had him pointed out to him as one of the strongest men in the English nation. Reckless of the blows, that would have cracked a less thick skull, he forced the shaven head, with a crash of breaking twigs, through the bottom of the wicker basket. The broken meats and bits of bread fell in a shower round the unhappy man.
His face was besmeared and bleeding, for the rough ends of the dry willow twigs had cut and scratched his head. His habit was stained with grease and filth. A general guffaw burst from the students and women, the voices of the latter rising shrill and discordant in the narrow street. The friar was frightened half out of his wits. He stood there rolling his eyes, invoking the saints, crying for mercy, trying vainly to get at his face to wipe the blood from it, like one distraught. One drunken German was still rushing about brandishing a stout club; but he slipped on a greasy mass that had fallen from the friar's basket and tumbled, cursing thickly in his own language, to the ground. The crowd laughed the more. It was beginning to regain its easy-going good-humor. The friar moved his head from side to side as far as his unusual collar would permit, still rolling his eyes and muttering appeals to the “good gentlemen all,” until he flopped down upon the cobbles and sat in the midst of the debris of his morning's begging, staring helplessly at his tormentors.
How it would have ended I know not, had not a whispered warning—"The Guard !”-split up the crowd and sent them flying right and left through the tortuous streets and intersecting lanes. Maitre Louis and Arnoul made away with the rest and left the two in the middle of the road, the shaven head of the one pitifully and ludicrously bobbing up and down in its collar of broken twigs, the other lying prone beside him.
Such sights, and worse, were far from infrequent; and Arnoul soon became accustomed to them. But he worked on steadily at his studies, none the less, thinking of his Devon home and his brother, of the great things he was to do. He had his reliquary always about his neck—the golden reliquary with the splinter of the Holy Cross that the Lady Sibilla had given him;
and from time to time-not very often it is true, since the voyage was a long one—he had news of Buckfast and Woodleigh, and sometimes even of Moreleigh, by monks or pilgrims jour. neying through Paris.
The news, scarce as it was, was good and always welcome; and when Abbot Benet had passed through on his way to Citeaux again in the following year, he had listened to a long and detailed account of all that was happening at home. Helion was dead and had left much property to the Abbey. Roger and Budd were well and happy; but they both missed him sorelyor said they did. Isobel was more tyrannical than ever; and Sir Guy was, as usual, working hard at Woodleigh and helping the Moreleigh priest, who had become a chronic invalid, incessantly.
“Your brother will kill himself with work," said the Abbot with evident approval. “He is a most zealous priest and a true
“And how is Vipont?" asked Arnoul tentatively. “Guy must have a great deal to do with him now, if Sir John is so unwell!"
Abbot Benet frowned. “Vipont is as well as usual and as quarrelsome as ever. He is making trouble over his fief at Holne now. His land joins ours.
But what interest have you in Sir Sigar ?" The Abbot looked his question as well as spoke it.
“None”; replied the boy, blushing in spite of himself. “That is to say, practically none. But I thought Guy-"
་ “And how are you doing yourself ?” asked the monk, interrupting him. “I shall have to give Sir Guy an account of you when I return. I can see that you are well.
But your studies—? Your work ?"
The interview veered to the lad's doings in Paris; the Abbot listening without any comment to all that he had to tell him.
But on the whole Arnoul was drifting. The Abbot carried back a glowing account of him to Buckfast and Woodleigh. The canons at St. Victor's had endorsed his statements as to work and studies. He himself would have been surprised had he been able to realize how far he had changed. But it was true, nevertheless. Maitre Louis had not proved the best of mentors and Arnoul looked up to him and admired him so that he would not hear a word against him from any one. Maitre
Giles had tried to speak to him once; but he had been silenced by Arnoul's prompt anger. Nor could he even countenance any of his own misgivings that made themselves felt as Louis showed more and more of that extraordinary and complex character that lay hidden under his affectation of dialectic and in. difference.
On one occasion they had gone to a tavern together. It was at the time of the evening walk, when public lectures were
When they reached the great street of St. Jacques, Maitre Louis spoke confidentially. “A little wine for the stomach's sake! It is the counsel of St. Paul. After decretals it helps the digestion. And I know a famous wine seller close at hand where we can have the choicest."
His companion did not demur; and, turning a corner, they entered the cabaret.
It was very dark and somewhat thick with the stale fumes of wine; but it was certainly a cut above the filthy tavern in the Rue St. Jacques. Louis was evidently a well-known patron of the host, and at once began to speak with him and with the other frequenters of the place.
“ Your best !” he commanded. “Your best, Messire Julien ! Bring it out! I have brought you a new companion, a brave fellow and an Englishman, who desires the freedom of your hospitality. What! Jacques le Boiteux !-at this time of day! Why, even I would not be here now, if it were not in the execution of a plain duty !”
“Duty," laughed Maitre Jacques le Boiteux thickly. "'Tis a duty that is welcome none the less, my excellent doctor. Aales, my girl, look at Maitre Louis! He comes hither at the call of duty !” And Maitre Jacques joined with Aales in a laugh at the bare idea.
“Duty,” he continued, grinning all over his pimply face. “Duty! Of course it is a duty! 'Tis a duty that brings me here too! 'Tis a duty that brings Aales ! We have all come because of duty !” He embraced the eight or ten scholars, serving men, and women in a grandiose sweep of his hand.
"I shall prove to you, my good Maitre Louis, by the Organon of Aristotle and Porphyry his Isagoge that it is a duty ! You will admit that the Manicheans are the most damnable heretics, to begin with ?"
“I admit nothing, Maitre Jacques. You will prove in ?
many arguments as you please, and just as many points as you please. But I am here to drink mine host's good wine and not to chop logic with a lawyer. Logic for the schools, say I; not for the wine house!”
“ Ha! Jeannette, my beauty, here is a new suitor for your fair hand! Come hither, girl, and make the acquaintance of Maitre Arnoul the Englishman! If you are off with me, there is no reason why you should not love my friends. Now, don't you be jealous, my Thomassine; don't sulk over there in a corner! Here am I getting Blanches Mains out of the way, that I may talk to you by yourself !” And he laughed brutally.
Arnoul shrank from the rough tone of familiarity and the laugh. This was a side of the Gascon's character that he certainly had not seen before, for Louis had dropped for the moment his habitual mask of gravity and learning and uncovered what lay beneath it. He was learning much of Paris and the scholars under the Gascon's tutelage. He did not like the laugh and he did not like the words; but, ashamed of himself for his dislike of both, he turned to the really beautiful girl who made her way over towards him.
“So you are Arnoul the Englishman,” she said, her lips parting in a smile over two rows of pearly teeth. "I have heard that pig Louis speak of you so often. And he has not lied,” she continued, frankly scrutinizing his face and form. “He said you were an Apollo, or a Paris. I don't know them; but they must be fine fellows if they are anything like you.”
Messire Julien's wine was good; and the company, when he had got over his initial dislike of Maitre Jacques le Boiteux, and forgotten the manner of his introduction, Arnoul found charming enough. It was the first, but by no means the last visit he paid to Julien's tavern.
So he continued studying the crabbed pages at St. Victor's, and reading, without altogether understanding it, the living book of human nature that lay opened before his eyes. He began to think it a fine thing to boast and swagger about as others did; and spent far more than he could afford on clothes and ornament, frequently making his way to the town on the other bank of the Seine, to visit the shops and make purchases. Old Ben Israel noted him down with a shrewd leer as a future client, and bowed until his four fringes touched the earth whenever he met him.