Still the same silence

September 20 [Tue], 2016, 17:46
The spectators had begun, meanwhile, to whisper together, and to exchange glances.

"That will do," went on the imperturbable auditor, when he supposed that the accused had finished his third reply."You are accused before us, ~primo~, of nocturnal disturbance; ~secundo~, of a dishonorable act of violence upon the person of a foolish woman, ~in proejudicium meretricis; tertio~, of rebellion and disloyalty towards the archers of the police of our lord, the king.Explain yourself upon all these points.---Clerk, have you written down what the prisoner has said thus far?"

At this unlucky question, a burst of laughter rose from the clerk's table caught by the audience, so violent, so wild, so contagious, so universal, that the two deaf men were forced to perceive it.Quasimodo turned round, shrugging his hump with disdain, while Master Florian, equally astonished, and supposing that the laughter of the spectators had been provoked by some irreverent reply from the accused, rendered visible to him by that shrug of the shoulders, apostrophized him indignantly,--

"You have uttered a reply, knave, which deserves the halter. Do you know to whom you are speaking?"

This sally was not fitted to arrest the explosion of general merriment.It struck all as so whimsical, and so ridiculous, that the wild laughter even attacked the sergeants of the parloi- aux-Bourgeois, a sort of pikemen, whose stupidity was part of their uniform.Quasimodo alone preserved his seriousness, for the good reason that he understood nothing of what was going on around him.The judge, more and more irritated, thought it his duty to continue in the same tone, hoping thereby to strike the accused with a terror which should react upon the audience, and bring it back to respect.
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