Now, this whole mult...

Now, this whole multitude had been waiting since morning.
A goodly number of curious, good people had been shivering
since daybreak before the grand staircase of the palace;
some even affirmed that they had passed the night across
the threshold of the great door, in order to make sure that
they should be the first to pass in. The crowd grew more
dense every moment, and, like water, which rises above its
normal level, began to mount along the walls, to swell around
the pillars, to spread out on the entablatures, on the cornices,
on the window-sills, on all the salient points of the architecture,
on all the reliefs of the sculpture. Hence, discomfort,
impatience, weariness, the liberty of a day of cynicism and
folly, the quarrels which break forth for all sorts of causes--a
pointed elbow, an iron-shod shoe, the fatigue of long waiting--had
already, long before the hour appointed for the
arrival of the ambassadors, imparted a harsh and bitter
accent to the clamor of these people who were shut in, fitted
into each other, pressed, trampled upon, stifled. Nothing
was to be heard but imprecations on the Flemish, the provost
of the merchants, the Cardinal de Bourbon, the bailiff of the
courts, Madame Marguerite of Austria, the sergeants with
their rods, the cold, the heat, the bad weather, the Bishop
of Paris, the Pope of the Fools, the pillars, the statues, that
closed door, that open window; all to the vast amusement of
a band of scholars and lackeys scattered through the mass,
who mingled with all this discontent their teasing remarks,
and their malicious suggestions, and pricked the general bad
temper with a pin, so to speak.


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