Chapter 29a


Carcassonne , November 17, 10 AM


The next morning, the boat stopped at Carcassonne.  From the Canal du Midi it was a pleasant walk to the castle.  Their eyes were everywhere as they moved up the hill.  There could be no way they were not walking into a trap.  But the town was innocence itself.  They crossed the drawbridge and strolled through the little medieval village now both a tourist destination and a Mecca for the local intelligencia.  Jon had discovered that it was possible to stay in a hotel in a building that had once been the headquarters of the Inquisition.  They made their way there over cobbled narrow streets between small shops and checked in.


It seemed the height of folly to rent a car, so they took the precaution of arranging it through the concierge.  Then they went out to explore the town.  If a trap was waiting they were walking into it, but they also expected friendly help and needed to be seen at any risk.


They visited the cathedral, which was a stone’s throw from the hotel.  Vast and splendid, it boasted the oldest reed organ in the world.  While they were there someone was practicing “Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring.”  The deep voice of the ancient instrument seemed not to have been dulled by the passing of centuries.  They wished they could have been there for a concert.  Then they went out to inspect the battlements. 


The fortress is situated on a high rock with ample wells struck deep in case of siege.  The general layout is of a castle within a curtain wall strengthened by great towers.  The castle shares structure with the curtain wall.  But outside, surrounding the town, is a second curtain wall with a passage between the walls.  From the outside it appears that the lower outer wall is also strengthened by towers.  But from the inside it was apparent that these outer structures were not complete towers.  They lacked any wall between themselves and the inner wall.


Any besieger who managed to gain the outer wall could not use the towers as a shelter while shooting arrows at the defenders.  Instead the attacking force would be completely exposed to archery from loopholes and from the higher inner wall.  It was a very strong fortress indeed.


The structure of walls and half towers gave the appearance of a pleated garment, like the skirts of the goddess Dianna, like the gracefully sculpted columns of a Gothic cathedral. 


The fort was first Roman.  Then it was occupied and rebuilt by the Goths.  As they walked the mile between the walls Hapgood pointed out occasional stones that were far larger than the others.  These were stones that the Goths had used, that had been incorporated into a later rebuilding.


Jon was thinking that he could see the face again in the texture of the old stones.  He wished his eyes would stop playing tricks on him. 


At one time the Goths seemed to have conquered all of Europe, but they had been no match for the Moors coming up through Spain.  When the Franks defeated the Moors, they expanded into a vacuum created by the loss of Goth energy.  But the size of the stones proved that the Goths in their prime had been very energetic people indeed. 


The roofs of the towers varied.  Some were red tile and some blue slate.  Over the centuries while the fort had been maintained for its historic value instead of its military value, opinions had changed more than once about which was the right kind of roof.  Current opinion favored red tile, so as roofs needed replacing, that was the kind being put in.  The resulting mixture had a rather more authentic feel than had they all been alike.  An active fort would have been repaired at many different times and probably would have had different kinds of roofing. 


Once they had verified that the city was not going to blow away in the next high wind, they found a café and settled in for a bit of lunch.  As they finished ordering, a group of men dressed in black driving leathers came into the café and filled it.  On of them asked in strained English whether he could sit at their table.  The better part of caution seemed to be courtesy, so they made room.


It was a German motorcycle club.  They were young to middle aged men, who had come all the way from Bremen on their big touring bikes.  The man’s name was Konrad Lemwerd.  He drank his beer with gusto and urged the rest of them to show no mercy to the wine.


As they sat, Jon began to look at the faces around him.  There are many things that determine how a face looks.  The most rapid change comes as the face reflects the passions and fears of the moment.  The face can blush or blanch.  There is the flash of a smile or the slower spasm of a frown.  Oddly the strongest look of a face can be when it is in complete repose.


And the face is involved in drinking or chewing, contorting itself as it goes  about the business of getting food to where it will do the most good and not into the airway, where it could do the most harm. 


Slower than the emotion of the moment is the change that comes to the face because of habitual use.  Its color can reflect time in the sun abd wind or time cloistered in a study.  Wrinkles and muscle tone proclaim the uses of the middle past. 


Slower still are the changes brought about by the passage of time.  That was one reason Hapgood and Ivan looked so different.  Had they reversed ages Jon could not think how they would look, but they would certainly have looked different.


And least changing of all was the underlying genetic information that had been used to make the body when it was still embryonic.  That might change a single DNA bit in a cell here or a cell there, but basically it was the same for life.


But as he looked, somewhat lit on the wine as he was, Jon began to think he saw something else.  There was a difference intermediate between age and genes.  The bones of Ivan’s rugged face were not made of tissue much different from the more delicate ones of Tracy.  Of course Tracy was by no means a feeble woman.  The thing that made the difference was when the genes to make bones were turned on and off. 


As he sat and looked, Jon realized that the most complex part of the face was that between the eyes and mouth – the nose and mala.  It was here more than elsewhere that the fleeing feelings made their imprint.  Here, too, the development of the embryo had left its mark as clearly as the Gothic stones of the fortification betrayed different ages of construction.


Where the edge of the nose curved upward from the upper lip, it was obvious that the tissue had been fused, welded as it were.  And the philtrum, the vertical, groove of the upper lip, also had to be two welded lines.  The line from the side of the nose to the corner of the mouth seemed again to be a place where tissue had started as separate growing lobules and had later joined.


It had all been under such exquisite control, this laying down of the structure of the face.  The genes, like lathes or drill presses, had been called into action and then shut down with precise timing.  The result was that a child would resemble the parents in the most subtle ways.


Here in mid face, then, was an expression of the most specific and most accurate signals from that which was inherited, not just genes but controls.  At the same time it was the most explicit part of the body.  It was out front for all to see; it was an unambiguous identifier of just whom one was looking at.  And it was the home of the involuntary reflection of the inner life.


A lip could curve upward in a smile of happiness or the lips could pout with the ache of desire, or the appearance could simply be built in.  The most transient and least transient causes could produce much the same appearance.  At last Jon decided that he was staring rudely and turned his attention to the conversation.  He had not missed much except Konrad’s windy recounting of his trip. 


A boy came up with some newspapers.  Looking hopeful, he said, “Crossword.  English.”


Tracy bought a paper and began idly looking at the crossword puzzle.  (Note to web browsers. The crossword itself will not load. I'll try it again tomorrow. LH)



1 Carries it all

2 French painter

3 Pastors

4 Point at

5 Cave

6 Neglect

7 Lord of the Flies

8 Box for a body

9 Complete

10 Twilight of the Gods


1 Unqualifiedly

2 Moving by means of force

3 Pontifex

4 Kind of car

5 Igniting if exposed to air

6 Flowers

7 River in France

8 Power generators

9 Art in oil

10 The worship of snakes

11 Being ancient Egyptian

12 Lift

13 Catapult

14 Irritating

15 Ravine

16 Realm

17 Lake in France

18 Cargo

19 Joan

20 Destroyer of worlds

21 Larger than a viola

22 Shelter

23 Bold one

24 Candle

25 Charitable

26 Professional fool

27 Until the day

28 Cathedra

29 Bastinado

30 Contract

31 Drum

32 Telling a tale




1 Contest between two

2 In decline

3 Without guidance

4 Induction

5 Tapering

6 Heathenist

7 Likes a threesome

8 Nihilistic

9 Voices

10 Shine

11 Clothing

12 Bubbling

13 Deceived by Satan

14 And every

15 Commune

16 Scoundrel

17 Pleasant task

18 Monarch

19 Mud dropped by water



1 Facilitate

2 Joyous

3 Greek horse race

4 Helps with an enigma

5 Vision

6 Howling beast

7 Stripped

8 To be sown

9 For O for O the hobbyhorse

10 Tabinid

11 A kind of thrush 

12 Columba’s island 

13 Roman philosopher

14 Business at Troyes

15 Poncho 

16 Fisher 

17 Footmen 

18 Dormouse

19 Shades

20 Registers pace

21 Seruts

22 Highest dudgeon

23 Frank

24 Philosophy of Edward Herbert

25 Fleet

26 Cannon swab


“The first word across might be ‘car,’” she said.  “Then the diagonal word is   What was the name of that theologian that started with an ‘a’?”


Arius,” said Hapgood.


“No, the other one. The Trinity one”




“All right.  That works.  What is ‘Lord of the Flies’?


“Try Baal,” said Hapgood.  “There is a lake Baal near here.”


She wrote it in.


Jon looked past her elbow.  “That could be ‘van’ also,” he said. 


Tracy wrote it down and then suddenly turned the newspaper over.


About that time, another young women came over and sat down.  She said, “Mind if I sit?  My name is Rosalyn.”  Her tone made it sound as if she thought that should be enough to explain everything.


“Ah, little Rose, then,” said Konrad.


“How so?” asked Jon.


Roslein means little rose.  It’s dialect.  The peasants speak it.  In proper German you would say Roschen.  But in archaic German it’s roslein.  Nobody speaks dialect any longer.  I mean unless they are among family or good friends.  Then it’s rude to use High German.”


“So then ‘Madeline’ means a little mad,” said Jon.  All laughed politely. 


“What are you doing here in Carcassonne?” asked Rosalyn. 


“Wander-driving,” said Konrad.  Wanderfahren.  Each morning we start our motorcycles and then at the last second decide where we are going that day.  We came from Bremen by way of the Alps.”


“And the rest of you,” pressed Rosalyn.  “Are you all friends?” 


Jon said, “We have an interest in history.  We are following the Gothic and Romanesque traditions.  Also there are the Cathars.  Why do you ask?”


“There’s got to be more to it than that,” said Rosalyn.  “Come on.  Tell me.  What’s it all about?”


“Ah my little treasure,” said Konrad beerily, “You are much too nosy.  They are tourists like you.  They did not come to face the Inquisition.” 


“No.  I really want to know.”


“Now you are much too intelligent looking to be so pretty.  I mean you are much too pretty to be so inquisitive.”


Another member of the club came over.  “Behaving yourself, Konrad?”


“No harm.  I’m just talking to the little girl here.”


“I think it’s time to go, Konrad.”


“But she would be desolate if I left her now.”


The newcomer turned to the group.  “He gets more sociable than he means to be sometimes.  I see you are through with lunch.  Perhaps it would be better…”


They took the hint and rose to signal the waiter.  Rosalyn seemed more put out with the interruption than she had been at the behavior of Konrad. 


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