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c h a p t e r n i n e t e e n Which Will Not Be Long Having departed so late in the day from the Mont-Dieu monastery, our philosophers could get no farther than the village of Stone, where thanks to the Capuchins’ silverware they procured the best this poor village could offer. They supped frugally, they drank bad wine, and they had to make room for each other in a hayloft overnight. I am unable to discover exactly what happened that night, but everyone was out of temper. Mordanes most of all: he kept hideously cursing miracles in general, as he had hoped to line his pockets a lot better before leaving the hostel. The troupe’s free-thinkers claimed this particular miracle of Saint Bruno had been simple sleight-of-hand. The women were yawning with boredom at hearing these cliché arguments pro and con miracles during dinner. Tifarès recited the litanies of Saint Bruno, his squinty eyes wide open for once. Voragine desired the company’s charms, while Félicité smiled as she recalled how she had tricked Mordanes. At last, everyone fell asleep. Bright and early the next morning, they awoke and breakfasted at Beaumont-le Vicomte, a place-name whose “m” of the first word has been switched by the god of concord with the “c” of the third word, as we readers are informed in an excellent book on the divagations of the human mind.1 After breakfast, they traveled next to Stenay, a little town called Satanilcum by the ancient monks because the inhabitants all worshiped Jupiter and detested monks—for those were the days before Jupiter had quite given way to the Heavenly Father.2 ...


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