Having thus spoken, the monk of Conils got up and led his guest into a huge shed where hundreds of orphans clothed in blue were packing bottles, nailing up cases, and gumming tickets. The ear was deafened by the noise of hammers mingled with the dull rumbling of bales being placed upon the rails.
“It is from here that consignments are forwarded,” said Cornemuse. “I have obtained from the government a railway through the Wood and a station at my door. Every three days I fill a truck with my own products. You see that the Republic has not killed all beliefs.”
Agaric made a last effort to engage the wise distiller in his enterprise. He pointed him to a prompt, certain, dazzling success.
“Don’t you wish to share in it?” he added. “Don’t you wish to bring back your king from exile?”
“Exile is pleasant to men of good will,” answered the monk of Conils. “If you are guided by me, my dear Brother Agaric, you will give up your project for the present. For my own part I have no illusions. Whether or not I belong to your party, if you lose, I shall have to pay like you.”
Father Agaric took leave of his friend and went back satisfied to his school. “Cornemuse,” thought he, “not being able to prevent the plot, would like to make it succeed and he will give money.” Agaric was not deceived. Such, indeed, was the solidarity among priests and monks that the acts of a single one bound them all. That was at once both their strength and their weakness.
II. PRINCE CRUCHO
Agaric resolved to proceed without delay to Prince Crucho, who honoured him with his familiarity. In the dusk of the evening he went out of his school by the side door, disguised as a cattle merchant and took passage on board the St. Mael.
The next day he landed in Porpoisea, for it was at Chitterlings Castle on this hospitable soil that Crucho ate the bitter bread of exile.
Agaric met the Prince on the road driving in a motor-car with two young ladies at the rate of a hundred miles an hour. When the monk saw him he shook his red umbrella and the prince stopped his car.