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    #1

    Blasphemous sign

    Hello,

    I am not sure if I understand the bold text.

    Once, it was seen by moonlight in the abbey garden, as it glided toward the forest between rows of peas and turnips. Then, coming in darkness, it struck within the walls. Without waking the others, on whom it must have cast a Lethean spell, it took Brother Gerome, slumbering on his pallet at the end of the row, in the dormitory. And the fell deed was not discovered till daybreak, when the monk who slept nearest to Gerome awakened and saw his body, which lay face downward with the back of the robe and the flesh beneath in bloody tatters.
    A week later, it came and dealt likewise with Brother Augustin. And in spite of exorcisms and the sprinkling of holy water at all doors and windows, it was seen afterward gliding along the monastery halls; and it left an unspeakably blasphemous sign of its presence in the chapel. Many believed that it menaced the abbot himself; for Brother Constantin the cellarer, returning late from a visit to Vyones, saw it by starlight as it climbed the outer wall toward that window of Theophile's cell which faced the great forest. And seeing Constantin, the thing dropped to the ground like a huge ape and vanished among the trees.
    Great was the scandal of these happenings, and the consternation of the monks. Sorely, it was said, the matter preyed on the abbot, who kept his cell in unremitting prayer and vigil. Pale and meager as a dying saint he grew, mortifying the flesh till he tottered with weakness; and a feverish illness devoured him visibly.

    Clark Ashton Smith, The Beast of Averoigne, 1932.

    Does it mean the monster defecated in the chapel?

    Thanks a lot.
    Not a Teacher

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Blasphemous sign

    Probably.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Blasphemous sign

    It's possible that the author is being deliberately vague as to the nature of the blasphemous sign, in order to leave it up to the reader's imagination. That way, each reader comes up with their own worst idea, since the concept of blasphemy can vary widely by individual.

    Also, he can't state it precisely, because he's just said it's unspeakable.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #4

    Re: Blasphemous sign

    It could also have turned the cross upside down or scrawled something like 666 on the altar.

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