“Gentlemen, pray remove this woman,” cried Morok; “the sight of her causes my friend too painful emotions.”
“Come, my dear child, be reasonable,” said several of the guests, who, deeply moved by this scene, were endeavoring to withdraw Cephyse from it; “leave him, and come with us; he is not in any danger.”
“Gentlemen! oh, gentlemen!” cried the unfortunate creature, bursting into tears, and raising her hands in supplication; “listen to me—I will do all that you wish me—I will go—but, in heaven’s name, send for help, and do not let him die thus. Look, what pain he suffers! what horrible convulsions!”
“She is right,” said one of the guests, hastening towards the door; “we must send for a doctor.”
“There is no doctor to be found,” said another; “they are all too busy.”
“We will do better than that,” cried a third; “the Hospital is just opposite, and we can carry the poor fellow thither. They will give him instant help. A leaf of the table will make a litter, and the table cloth a covering.”
“Yes, yes, that is it,” said several voices; “let us carry him over at once.”
Jacques, burnt up with brandy, and overcome by his interview with Cephyse, had again fallen into violent convulsions. It was the dying paroxysm of the unfortunate man. They were obliged to tie him with the ends of the cloth, so as to secure him to the leaf which was to serve for a litter, which two of the guests hastened to carry away. They yielded to the supplication of Cephyse, who asked, as a last favor, to accompany Jacques to the Hospital. When the mournful procession quitted the great room of the eating-house, there was a general flight among the guests. Men and women made haste to wrap themselves in their cloaks, in order to conceal their costumes. The coaches, which had been ordered in tolerable number for the return of the masquerade, had luckily arrived. The defiance had been fully carried out, the audacious bravado accomplished, and they could now retire with the honors of war. Whilst a part of the guests were still in the room, an uproar, at first distant, but which soon drew nearer, broke out with incredible fury in the square of Notre Dame.
Jacques had been carried to the outer door of the tavern. Morok and Ninny Moulin, striving to open a passage through the crowd in the direction of the Hospital, preceded the litter. A violent reflux of the multitude soon forced them to stop, whilst a new storm of savage outcries burst from the other extremity of the square, near the angle of the church.