A noble looking man of fifty years, stood waiting to meet them as they made their way out. Of olive complexion, small cherry mouth and features, yet fine head and person, and smiling benignly, he advanced a step before Chrysler noticed him.
“Salut, M’sieu L’Honorable,” bowed Haviland.
“Good-day, Chamilly,” he replied quickly, without ceasing to smile directly towards the other man and holding out his hand.
Chrysler looked closer at his features.
“Ah, Mr. Genest!” he exclaimed, with pleasure, recognizing the Hon. Aristide Genest, a personage potent in his time in Dominion Councils.
“I hope now to know the gentleman as completely as I have admired him,” Genest complimented in the French way, twinkling his eyes merrily. “Many a time I have listened to your advices in the Parliament. I say to you ‘Welcome.’”
Chamilly started off to talk with his innumerable constituents in the crowd.
“Let us cross over here, sir, and hear what they have to say about the sermon,” proposed Genest.
They crossed to a stone building on the other side of the road, and passed through a group of countrymen into a hall of some length, where sat sunk in a rustic rocking-chair, a singular individual, whose observations seemed to be amusing the crowd.
In appearance, he reminded one of no less remarkable a person than the Devil, for he bore the traditional nose and mouth of that gentleman, and his body was lean as Casca’s; but he seemed at worst a Mephistopheles from the extravagance of the delivery of his sarcasms.
The subject of discussion was the sermon.
“Bapteme, it is terrible!” exclaimed the cadaverous humorist. “Ever this indigenous Pius IX—fulminating, fulminating, fulminating!—Too much inferno. The cure does half his burning for Beelzebub! We are served in a constant auto-da-fe.”
“Heh, heh, heh,” creaked an old skin-and-bones, with one tooth visible, which shook as the laugh emerged. Stolid men smoking, deigned to smile.
People seemed prepared to laugh at anything he said.
“What is it that an auto-da-fe is?” a young man demanded from a corner.
“You don’t know auto-da-fes?—A dish, my child.—An auto-da-fe is Liberal broiled.”
The character of the room, at which Chrysler now had time to glance, explained itself by a large painting of that lion-and-unicorn-supporting -the-British-arms, which embellishes Courts of Justice.
“This room is the Circuit Court,” Genest remarked—“Zotique there, calls it the Circuitous Court—A very poor pun is received with hospitality here.”
“I should like to know that man,” said Chrysler.
“Nothing easier. Zotique, come here, my cousin.”
He caught sight of them, and rising, without altogether dropping his broadly humorous expression, extended an invitation to take his rocking-chair, which Chrysler accepted.