"This," said the barber, "is 'Don Olivante de Laura.'"
"This that follows is 'Florismarte of Hircania,'" said the barber.
Taking down another book, the barber said, "This is 'The Mirror of Chivalry.'"
"Well, I have him in Italian," said the barber, "but I do not understand him."
To all this the barber gave his assent, and looked upon it as right and proper, being persuaded that the curate was so staunch to the Faith and loyal to the Truth that he would not for the world say anything opposed to them.
"He had long been in the habit of visiting the barber
's shop, where our venerable chair, philosophically forgetful of its former dignities, had now spent nearly eighteen not uncomfortable years.
"I must confess," he exclaimed, "that I am much more interested in the stories of the barber and his brothers, and of the lame man, than in that of my own jester.
"Never mind my stories for the present," replied the barber, "but will your Highness graciously be pleased to explain why this Jew, this Christian, and this Mussulman, as well as this dead body, are all here?"
"What business is that of yours?" asked the Sultan with a smile; but seeing that the barber had some reasons for his question, he commanded that the tale of the hunch-back should be told him.
The Sultan and all those who saw this operation did not know which to admire most, the constitution of the hunchback who had apparently been dead for a whole night and most of one day, or the skill of the barber, whom everyone now began to look upon as a great man.
The truth is, as I believe I have since found out, that they have no barber shops worthy of the name in Paris--and no barbers, either, for that matter.
We shunned these signs for a time, but finally we concluded that the wig- makers must of necessity be the barbers as well, since we could find no single legitimate representative of the fraternity.