Thank the Muses! I have made my way back to the University. When I had to leave, I despaired of ever returning. But the Fates were kind. After three years of working for the printer, H. Gran, my finances are repaired to the point that I can return for the Doctorate, though the sharp pinch of extremity follows me wherever I go
What a spectacle is the first day, as the faculty, drawing themselves to full height to better impress the new students, glide by in the robes of their rank, the Masters and Doctors distinguished by the trim on their square birettas, the Rectors by their scarlet gowns. At throat and wrist peek snow-white ruffles of collar and cuff. Scallops of fur trim hoods and cloaks. Black on black brocade encases chests and pleated sleeves drape off shoulders.
Among the lay students, one can know who is nobility, who of a burgher family, who an artisan by their hats, coats or cloaks, even their shoes. Among these, red is favored or a deep forest green or gold the color of ripe wheat. Hats are round or square, floppy or stiff, brimmed or not. Students belonging to religious orders are identified by their habits, the brown Carmelites, the white Cistercians, the black and white Dominicans, the gray Franciscans, and the black Benedictines, who look like crows.
I spy a young crow pressed against the wall, receiving looks of disdain from the lay students, perhaps because of his habit, perhaps because of his obvious naiveté as he clutches his Aristotle.
“Hail, young brother! Are you lost? You look as bewildered as a pick-purse caught in the act.”
“I’m not sure,” he glances at my biretta, “Master. . .?”
“Master Capito. I was told I must swear the oath of allegiance to the Rector.”
“That occurs just down the hall. I’ll show you. What is your name?”
“I am Brother Michael. Sattler.” He is a small young man, and when I put my arm about his shoulders, the gathered sleeve of my robe drapes his back like a cape. His head is shaved in the manner of monks, with a honey-colored ring surrounding the tonsure. His eyes, blue as forget-me-nots, sponge up the grand scene sprawling about us.
“This is my first day,” he whispers.
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