"Let's go somewhere where we can get some supper. We'll go to the Abbaye Theleme, and you shall have the pleasure of entertaining me." Mr. Gaynsforth handed back the pocketbook and led the way out of the place without a word. It was only a few steps up the hill, and they found themselves then in a supper place of a very different class. Here Mr.
"It is one o'clock within a few minutes," he remarked. "Herr Freudenberg is either at the Abbaye Theleme or the Rat Mort." Julien scarcely hesitated. "When you first came in," he admitted, "I felt like throwing you out. How you got here I don't know. I suppose it is no use complaining to the hotel people. But there is no man on the face of this earth in whom I am more interested than Falkenberg.
It is true that Rabelais proposed to admit to his Abbey of Thélème only such men and women as were virtuously inclined. We do not know how many persons would have been able and willing to go into residence there. At any rate, two hundred years went by in New England after the fall of Morton before any notable spirit dared to cherish once more the old Renaissance ideal.
These were not his impressions of the man whom they were seeking! They drew up presently at the doors of the Abbaye Theleme. There were crowds of people trying to gain admission. Estermen elbowed his way through. "Herr Freudenberg?" he asked of the man who stood at the door. The man's forbidding face changed like magic. "Herr Freudenberg left but ten minutes ago for the Rat Mort.
The motion pleased Gargantua very well, who thereupon offered him all the country of Theleme by the river of Loire till within two leagues of the great forest of Port-Huaulx. The monk then requested Gargantua to institute his religious order contrary to all others. First, then, said Gargantua, you must not build a wall about your convent, for all other abbeys are strongly walled and mured about.
They had been driving one way and he walking another a happy encounter with this obvious result. They might have come straight out of happy Theleme, whose motto is: "Do what thou wilt." The driver had taken his two sleek horses out; they grazed unchallenged; and he sat on a stone clapping time with his hands while the fiddler played.
With a generous hatred of stupidity, he flies full tilt at the pedantic education of the monasteries, and asserts the highest ideals of science and humanity. With an equal loathing of asceticism, he satirizes the monks themselves, and sketches out, in his description of the Abbey of Theleme, a glowing vision of the Utopian convent.
Look attentively upon and take inspection of what I shall show unto thee. Behold there Asia. Here are Tigris and Euphrates. Lo there Afric. Here is the mountain of the Moon, yonder thou mayst perceive the fenny march of Nilus. On this side lieth Europe. Dost thou not see the Abbey of Theleme? This little tuft, which is altogether white, is the Hyperborean Hills.
He smiled the smile of the fatuous elect. "I imagine it went all right," he languidly replied. "I heard it at rehearsal yesterday I suppose Thelème took the tempi too slow!" She sighed and asked: "What are you reading a night like this?" His expression became animated. "A volume of Celtic poetry I've found a stunning idea for music. What a tone-poem it will make! Here it is.
Their imagination was always steeped in the essence of Antiquity, though, at heart, it is more nearly connected with medieval ideals than they themselves were aware. In the circle of the Medici it is the idyll of Careggi, in Rabelais it embodies itself in the fancy of the abbey of Thélème; it finds voice in More's Utopia and in the work of Montaigne.