Part 30 out of 31
hatred and envy those two beings, both so fair and young, so loving and
happy. Suddenly she started, as if she had just remembered something of
great importance, and for some seconds she remained absorbed in thought.
Adrienne and Djalma availed themselves of this interval to gaze fondly on
each other, with a sort of ardent idolatry, which filled their eyes with
sweet tears. Then, at a movement of the Princess de Saint-Dizier, who
seemed to rouse herself from her momentary trance, Mdlle. de Cardoville
said to the young prince, with a smile: "My dear cousin, I have to repair
an omission (voluntary, I confess, and for good reasons), in never having
before mentioned to you one of my relations, whom I have now the honor to
present to you. The Princess de Saint-Dizier!"
Djalma bowed; but Mdlle. de Cardoville resumed, just as her aunt was
about to make some reply: "Her Highness of Saint-Dizier came very kindly
to inform me of an event which is a most fortunate one for me, and of
which I will speak to you hereafter, cousin--unless this amiable lady
should wish to deprive me of the pleasure of making such a
The unexpected arrival of the prince, and the recollections which had
suddenly occurred to the princess, had no doubt greatly modified her
first plans: for, instead of continuing the conversation with regard to
Adrienne's threatened loss of fortune, the princess answered, with a
bland smile, that covered an odious meaning: "I should be sorry, prince,
to deprive my dear and amiable niece of the pleasure of announcing to you
the happy news to which she alludes, and which, as a near relative, I
lost no time in communicating to her. I have here some notes on this
subject, added the princess, delivering a paper to Adrienne, "which I
hope will prove, to her entire satisfaction, the reality of what I have
announced to her."
"A thousand thanks, my dear aunt," said Adrienne, receiving the paper
with perfect indifference; "these precautions and proofs are quite
superfluous. You know that I always believe you on your word, when it
concerns your good feeling towards myself."
Notwithstanding his ignorance of the refined perfidy and cruel politeness
of civilized life, Djalma, endowed with a tact and fineness of perception
common to most natures of extreme susceptibility, felt some degree of
mental discomfort as he listened to this exchange of false compliments.
He could not guess their full meaning, but they sounded hollow to his
ear; and moreover, whether from instinct or presentiment, he had
conceived a vague dislike for the Princess de Saint-Dizier. That pious
lady, full of the great affair in hand, was a prey to the most violent
agitation, which betrayed itself in the growing color of her cheeks, her
bitter smile, and the malicious brightness of her glance. As he gazed on
this woman, Djalma was unable to conquer his rising antipathy, and he
remained silent and attentive, whilst his handsome countenance lost
something of its former serenity. Mother Bunch also felt the influence
of a painful impression. She glanced in terror at the princess, and then
imploringly at Adrienne, as though she entreated the latter to but an end
to an interview of which the young sempstress foresaw the fatal
consequences. But, unfortunately, the Princess de Saint-Dizier was too
much interested in prolonging this conversation; and Mdlle. de
Cardoville, gathering new courage and confidence from the presence of the
man she adored, took delight in vexing the princess with the exhibition
of their happy love.
After a short silence, the Princess de Saint-Dizier observed, in a soft
and insinuating tone: "Really, prince, you cannot think how pleased I was
to learn by public report (for people talk of nothing else, and with good
reason) of your chivalrous attachment to my dear niece; for, without
knowing it, you will extricate me from a difficult position."
Djalma made no answer, but he looked at Mdlle. de Cardoville with a
surprised and almost sorrowful air, as if to ask what her aunt meant to
The latter, not perceiving this mute interrogation, resumed as follows:
"I will express myself more clearly, prince. You can understand that,
being the nearest relative of this dear, obstinate girl, I am more or
less responsible for her conduct in the eyes of the world; and you,
prince, seem just to have arrived on purpose, from the end of the earth,
to take charge of a destiny which had caused me considerable
apprehension. It is charming, it is excellent; and I know not which most
to admire, your courage or your good fortune." The princess threw a
glance of diabolical malice at Adrienne, and awaited her answer with an
air of defiance.
"Listen to our good aunt, my dear cousin," said the young lady, smiling
calmly. "Since our affectionate kinswoman sees you and me united and
happy, her heart is swelling with such a flood of joy, that it must run
over, and the effects will he delightful. Only have a little patience,
and you will behold them in their full beauty. I do not know," added
Adrienne, in the most natural tone, "why, in thinking of these
outpourings of our dear aunt's affection, I should remember what you told
me, cousin, of a certain viper in your country which sometimes, in a
powerless bite, breaks its fangs, and, absorbing its own venom, becomes
the victim of the poison it distills. Come, my dear aunt, you that had
so good and noble a heart, I am sure you must feel interested in the fate
of those poor vipers."
The princess darted an implacable look at her niece, and replied, in an
agitated voice, "I do not see the object of this selection of natural
history. Do you, prince?"
Djalma made no answer; leaning with his arm on the mantelpiece, he threw
dark and piercing glances upon the princess. His involuntary hatred of
this woman filled his heart.
"Ah, my dear aunt!" resumed Adrienne, in a tone of self-reproach; "have I
presumed too much on the goodness of your heart? Have you not even
sympathy for vipers? For whom, then, have you any? After all, I can
very well understand it," added Adrienne, as if to herself; "vipers are
so thin. But, to lay aside these follies," she continued, gayly, as she
saw the ill-repressed rage of the pious woman, "tell us at once, my dear
aunt, all the tender things which the sight of our happiness inspires."
"I hope to do so, my amiable niece. First, I must congratulate this dear
prince, on having come so far to take charge, in all confidence, and with
his eyes shut, of you, my poor child, whom we were obliged to confine as
mad, in order to give a decent color to your excesses. You remember the
handsome lad, that we found in your apartment. You cannot be so
faithless, as already to have forgotten his name? He was a fine, youth,
and a poet--one Agricola Baudoin--and was discovered in a secret place,
attached to your bed-chamber. All Paris was amused with the scandal--for
you are not about to marry an unknown person, dear prince; her name has
been in every mouth."
At these unexpected and dreadful words, Adrienne, Djalma, and Mother
Bunch, though under the influence of different kinds of resentment,
remained for a moment mute with surprise; and the princess, judging it no
longer necessary to repress her infernal joy and triumphant hatred,
exclaimed, as she rose from her seat, with flushed cheek, and flashing
eyes, "Yes, I defy you to contradict me. Were we not forced to confine
you, on the plea of madness? And did we not find a workman (your lover)
concealed in your bedroom?"
On this horrible accusation, Djalma's golden complexion, transparent as
amber, became suddenly the color of lead; his eyes, fixed and staring
showed the white round the pupil--his upper lip, red as blood, was curled
in a kind of wild convulsion, which exposed to view the firmly-set teeth
--and his whole countenance became so frightfully threatening and
ferocious, that Mother Bunch shuddered with terror. Carried away by the
ardor of his blood, the young Oriental felt a sort of dizzy,
unreflecting, involuntary rage--a fiery commotion, like that which makes
the blood leap to the brave man's eyes and brain, when he feels a blow
upon his face. If, during that moment, rapid as the passage of the
lightning through the cloud, action could have taken the place of
thought, the princess and Adrienne, Mother Bunch and himself, would all
have been annihilated by an explosion as sudden and fatal as that of the
bursting of a mine. He would have killed the princess, because she
accused Adrienne of infamous deception he would have killed Adrienne,
because she could even be suspected of such infamy--and Mother Bunch, for
being a witness of the accusation--and himself, in order not to survive
such horrid treachery. But, oh wonder! his furious and bloodshot gaze
met the calm look of Adrienne--a look so full of dignity and serene
confidence--and the expression of ferocious rage passed away like a flash
Much more: to the great surprise of the princess and the young workgirl,
as the glances which Djalma cast upon Adrienne went (as it were) deeper
into that pure soul, not only did the Indian grow calm, but, by a kind of
transfiguration, his countenance seemed to borrow her serene expression,
and reflect, as in a mirror, the noble serenity impressed on the young
lady's features. Let us explain physically this moral revolution, as
consoling to the terrified workgirl, as provoking to the princess.
Hardly had the princess distilled the atrocious calumny from her venomous
lips, than Djalma, then standing before the fireplace, had, in the first
paroxysm of his fury, advanced a step towards her; but, wishing as it
were to moderate his rage, he held by the marble chimney-piece, which he
grasped with iron strength. A convulsive trembling shook his whole body,
and his features, altered and contracted, became almost frightful.
Adrienne, on her part, when she heard the accusation, yielding to a first
impulse of just indignation, even as Djalma had yielded to one of blind
fury, rose abruptly, with offended pride flashing from her eyes; but,
almost immediately appeased by the consciousness of her own purity, her
charming face resumed its expression of adorable serenity. It was then
that her eyes met Djalma's. For a second, the young lady was even more
afflicted than terrified at the threatening and formidable expression of
the young Indian's countenance. "Can stupid indignity exasperate him to
this degree?" said Adrienne to herself. "Does he suspect me; then?"
But to this reflection, as rapid as it was painful, succeeded the most
lively joy, when the eyes of Adrienne rested for a short time on those of
the Indian, and she saw his agitated countenance grow calm as if by
magic, and become radiant and beautiful as before. Thus was the
abominable plot of the princess de Saint-Dizier utterly confounded by the
sincere and confiding expression of Adrienne's face. That was not all.
At the moment, when, as a spectator of this mute and expressive scene
(which proved so well the wondrous sympathy of those two beings, who,
without speaking a word, had understood and satisfied each other), the
princess was choking with rage and vexation--Adrienne, with a charming
smile and gesture, extended her fair hand to Djalma, who, kneeling,
imprinted on it a kiss of fire, which sent a light blush to the forehead
of the young lady.
Then the Hindoo, placing himself on the ermine carpet at the feet of
Mdlle. de Cardoville, in an attitude full of grace: and respect, rested
his chin on the palm of one of his hands, and gazed on her silently, in a
sort of mute adoration--while Adrienne, bending over him with a happy
smile "looked at the babies in his eyes," as the song says, with as much
amorous complacency, as if the hateful princess had not been present.
But soon, as if something were wanting to complete her happiness,
Adrienne beckoned to Mother Bunch, and made her sit down by her side.
Then, with her hand clasped in that of this excellent friend, Mdlle. de
Cardoville smiled on Djalma, stretched adoringly at her feet, and cast on
the dismayed princess a look of such calm and firm serenity, so nobly
expressive of the invincible quiet of her happiness, and her lofty
disdain of all calumnious attacks, that the Princess de Saint-Dizier,
confused and stupefied, murmured some hardly intelligible words, in a
voice trembling with passion, and, completely losing her presence of
mind, rushed towards the door. But, at this moment, the hunchback, who
feared some ambush, some perfidious plot in the background, resolved,
after exchanging a glance with Adrienne, to accompany the princess to her
The angry disappointment of the Princess de Saint-Dizier, when she saw
herself thus followed and watched, appeared so comical to Mdlle. de
Cardoville that she could not help laughing aloud; and it was to the
sound of contemptuous hilarity that the hypocritical princess, with rage
and despair in her heart, quitted the house to which she had hoped to
bring trouble end misery. Adrienne and Djalma were left alone. Before
relating the scene which took place between them, a few retrospective
words are indispensable. It will easily be imagined, that since Mdlle.
de Cardoville and the Oriental had been brought into such close contact,
after so many disappointments, their days had passed away like a dream of
happiness. Adrienne had especially taken pains to bring to light, one by
one, all the generous qualities of Djalma, of which she had read so much
in her books of travels. The young lady had imposed on herself this
tender and patient study of Djalma's character, not only to justify to
her own mind the intensity of her love, but because this period of trial,
to which she had assigned a term, enabled her to temper and divert the
violence of Djalma's passion--a task the more meritorious, as she herself
was of the same ardent temperament. For, in those two lovers, the finest
qualities of sense and soul seemed exactly to balance each other, and
heaven had bestowed on them the rarest beauty of form, and the most
adorable excellence of heart, as if to legitimatize the irresistible
attraction which drew and bound them together. What, then, was to be the
term of this painful trial, which Adrienne had imposed on Djalma and on
herself? This is what Mdlle. de Cardoville intended to tell the prince,
in the interview she had with him, after the abrupt departure of the
Princess de Saint-Dizier.
Adrienne de Cardoville and Djalma had remained alone. Such was the noble
confidence which had succeeded in the Hindoo's mind to his first movement
of unreflecting fury, caused by the infamous calumny, that, once alone
with Adrienne, he did not even allude to that shameful accusation.
On her side (touching and admirable sympathy of those two hearts!), the
young lady was too proud, conscious of the purity of her love, to descend
to any justification of herself.
She would have considered it an insult both to herself and him.
Therefore, the lovers began their interview, as if the princess had never
made any such remark. The same contempt was extended to the papers,
which the princess had brought with her to prove the imminent ruin to
which Adrienne was exposed. The young lady had laid them down, without
reading them, on a stand within her reach. She made a graceful sign to
Djalma to seat himself by her side, and accordingly he quitted, not
without regret, the place he had occupied at her feet.
"My love," said Adrienne, in a grave and tender voice, "you have often
impatiently asked me, when would come the term of the trial we have laid
upon ourselves. That moment is at hand."
Djalma started, and could not restrain a cry of surprise and joy; but
this almost trembling exclamation was so soft and sweet, that it seemed
rather the expression of ineffable gratitude, than of exulting passion.
Adrienne continued: "Separated--surrounded by treachery and fraud--
mutually deceived as to each other's sentiments--we yet loved on, and in
that followed an irresistible attraction, stronger than every opposing
influence. But since then, in these days of happy retirement from the
world, we have learned to value and esteem each other more. Left to
ourselves in perfect freedom, we have had the courage to resist every
temptation, that hereafter we might be happy without remorse. During
these days, in which our hearts had been laid open to each other, we have
read them thoroughly. Yes, Djalma! I believe in you, and you in me--I
find in you all that you find in me--every possible human security for
our future happiness. But this love must yet be consecrated; and in the
eyes of the world, in which we are called upon to live, marriage is the
only consecration, and marriage enchains one's whole life."
Djalma looked at the young lady with surprise.
"Yes, one's whole life! and yet who can answer for the sentiments of a
whole life?" resumed Adrienne. "A God, that could see into the future,
could alone bind irrevocably certain hearts for their own happiness; but,
alas! to human eyes the future is impenetrable. Therefore, to accept
indissoluble ties, for any longer than one can answer for a present
sentiment, is to commit an act of selfish and impious folly."
Djalma made no reply, but, with an almost respectful gesture, he urged
the speaker to continue.
"And then," proceeded she, with a mixture of tenderness and pride, "from
respect for your dignity and mine, I would never promise to keep a law
made by man against woman, with contemptuous and brutal egotism--a law,
which denies to woman soul, mind, and heart--a law, which none can
accept, without being either a slave or perjured--a law, which takes from
the girl her name, reduces the wife to a state of degrading inferiority,
denies to the mother all rights over her own children, and enslaves one
human creature to the will of another, who is in all respects her equal
in the sight of God!--You know, my love," added the young lady, with
passionate enthusiasm, "how much I honor you, whose father was called the
Father of the Generous. I do not then fear, noble and valiant heart, to
see you use against me these tyrannical powers; but, throughout my life,
I never uttered a falsehood, and our love is too sacred and celestial to
be purchased by a double perjury. No, never will I swear to observe a
law, that my dignity, and my reason refuse to sanction. If, to-morrow,
the freedom of divorce were established, and the rights of women
recognized, I should be willing to observe usages, which would then be in
accordance with my conscience, and with what is just, possible, and
humane." Then, after a pause, Adrienne continued, with such deep and
sweet emotion, that a tear of tenderness veiled her beauteous eyes: "Oh!
if you knew, my love, what your love is to me: if you knew how dear and
sacred I hold your happiness--you would excuse, you would understand,
these generous superstitions of a loving and honest heart, which could
only see a fatal omen in forms degraded by falsehood and perjury. What I
wish, is, to attach you by love, to bind you in chains of happiness--and
to leave you free, that I may owe your constancy only to your affection."
Djalma had listened to the young girl with passionate attention. Proud
and generous himself, he admired this proud and generous character.
After a moment's meditative silence, he answered, in his sweet, sonorous
voice, in an almost solemn tone: "Like you, I hold in detestation,
falsehood and perjury. Like you, I think that man degrades himself, by
accepting the right of being a cowardly tyrant, even though resolved
never to use the power. Like you, I could not bear the thought, that I
owed all I most valued, not to your love alone, but to the eternal
constraint of an indissoluble bond. Like you, I believe there is no
dignity but in freedom. But you have said, that, for this great and holy
love, you demand a religious consecration; and if you reject vows, that
you cannot make without folly and perjury, are there then others, which
your reason and your heart approve?--Who will pronounce the required
blessing? To whom must these vows be spoken?"
"In a few days, my love, I believe I shall be able to tell you all.
Every evening, after your departure, I have no other thought. I wish to
find the means of uniting yourself and me--in the eyes of God, not of the
law--without offending the habits and prejudices of a world, in which it
may suit us hereafter to live. Yes, my friend! when you know whose are
the noble hands, that are to join ours together, who is to bless and
glorify God in our union--a sacred union, that will leave us worthy and
free--you will say, I am sure, that never purer hands could have been
laid upon us. Forgive me, friend! all this is in earnest--yes, earnest
as our love, earnest as our happiness. If my words seem to you strange,
my thoughts unreasonable, tell it me, love! We will seek and find some
better means, to reconcile that we owe to heaven, with what we owe to the
world and to ourselves. It is said, that lovers are beside themselves,"
added the young lady, with a smile, "but I think that no creatures are
"When I hear you speak thus of our happiness," said Djalma, deeply moved,
"with so much calm and earnest tenderness, I think I see a mother
occupied with the future prospects of her darling child--trying to
surround him with all that can make him strong, valiant, and generous--
trying to remove far from him all that is ignoble and unworthy. You ask
me to tell you if your thoughts seem strange to me, Adrienne. You
forget, that what makes my faith in our love, is my feeling exactly as
you do. What offends you, offends me also; what disgusts you, disgusts
me. Just now, when you cited to me the laws of this country, which
respect in a woman not even a mother's right--I thought with pride of our
barbarous countries, where woman, though a slave, is made free when she
becomes a mother. No, no; such laws are not made either for you or me.
Is it not to prove your sacred respect for our love, to wish to raise it
above the shameful servitude that would degrade it? You see, Adrienne, I
have often heard said by the priests of my country, that there were
beings inferior to the gods, but superior to every other creature. I did
not believe those priests; but now I do." These last words were uttered,
not in the tone of flattery, but with an accent of sincere conviction,
and with that sort of passionate veneration and almost timid fervor,
which mark the believer talking of his faith; but what is impossible to
describe, is the ineffable harmony of these almost religious words, with
the mild, deep tone of the young Oriental's voice--as well as the ardent
expression of amorous melancholy, which gave an irresistible charm to his
Adrienne had listened to Djalma with an indescribable mixture of joy,
gratitude, and pride. Laying her hand on her bosom, as if to keep down
its violent pulsations, she resumed, as she looked at the prince with
delight: "Behold him, ever the same!--just, good, great!--Oh, my heart!
my heart! how proudly it beats. Blessed be God, who created me for this
adored lover! He must mean to astonish the world, by the prodigies of
tenderness and charity, that such a love may produce. They do not yet
know the sovereign might of free, happy, ardent love. Yes, Djalma! on
the day when our hands are joined together, what hymns of gratitude will
ascend to heaven!--Ah! they do not know the immense, the insatiable
longing for joy aria delight, which possesses two hearts like ours; they
do not know what rays of happiness stream from the celestial halo of such
a flame!--Oh, yes! I feel it. Many tears will be dried, many cold hearts
warmed, at the divine fire of our love. And it will be by the
benedictions of those we serve, that they will learn the intoxication of
To the dazzled eyes of Djalma, Adrienne appeared more and more an ideal
being--partaking of the Divinity by her goodness, of the animal nature by
passion--for, yielding to the intensity of excitement, Adrienne fixed
upon Djalma looks that sparkled with love.
'Then, almost beside himself, the Asiatic fell prostrate at the feet of
the maiden, and exclaimed, in a supplicating voice: "Mercy! my courage
fails me. Have pity on me! do not talk thus. Oh, that day! what years
of my life would I not give to hasten it!"
"Silence! no blasphemy. Do not your years belong to me?"
"Adrienne! you love me!"
The young lady did not answer; but her half-veiled, burning glance, dealt
the last blow to reason. Seizing her hands in his own, he exclaimed,
with a tremulous voice: "That day, in which we shall mount to heaven, in
which we shall be gods in happiness--why postpone it any longer?"
"Because our love must be consecrated by the benediction of heaven."
"Are we not free?"
"Yes, yes, my love; we are free. Let us be worthy of our liberty!"
"I ask you also to have mercy--to have mercy on the sacredness of our
love. Do not profane it in its very flower. Believe my heart! believe
my presentiments! to profane it would be to kill. Courage, my adored
lover! a few days longer--and then happiness--without regret, and without
"And, until then, hell! tortures without a name! You do not, cannot know
what I suffer when I leave your presence. Your image follows me, your
breath burns me up; I cannot sleep, but call on you every night with
sighs and tears--just as I called on, you, when I thought you did not
love me--and yet I know you love me, I know you are mine. But to see you
every day more beautiful, more adored--and every day to quit you more
impassioned--oh! you cannot tell--"
Djalma was unable to proceed. What he said of his devouring tortures,
Adrienne had felt, perhaps even more intensely. Electrified by the
passionate words of Djalma, so beautiful in his excitement, her courage
failed, and she perceived that an irresistible languor was creeping over
her. By a last chaste effort of the will, she rose abruptly, and
hastening to the door, which communicated with Mother Bunch's chamber,
she exclaimed: "My, sister! help me!"
In another moment, Mdlle. de Cardoville, her face bathed in tears,
clasped the young sempstress in her arms; while Djalma knelt respectfully
on the threshold he did not dare to pass.
A few days after the interview of Djalma and Adrienne, just described,
Rodin was alone in his bed-chamber, in the house in the Rue de Vaugirard,
walking up and down the room where he had so valiantly undergone the
moxas of Dr. Baleinier. With his hands thrust into the hind-pockets of
his greatcoat, and his head bowed upon his breast, the Jesuit seemed to
be reflecting profoundly, and his varying walk, now slow, now quick,
betrayed the agitation of his mind.
"On the side of Rome," said Rodin to himself, "I am tranquil. All is
going well. The abdication is as good as settled, and if I can pay them
the price agreed, the Prince Cardinal can secure me a majority of nine
voices in the conclave. Our General is with me; the doubts of Cardinal
Malipieri are at an end, or have found no echo. Yet I am not quite easy,
with regard to the reported correspondence between Father d'Aigrigny and
Malipieri. I have not been able to intercept any of it. No matter; that
soldier's business is settled. A little patience and he will be wiped
Here the pale lips were contracted by one of those frightful smiles,
which gave to Rodin's countenance so diabolical an expression.
After a pause, he resumed: "The funeral of the freethinker, the
philanthropist, the workman's friend, took place yesterday at St. Herem.
Francis Hardy went off in a fit of ecstatic delirium. I had his
donation, it is true; but this is more certain. Everything may be
disputed in this world; the dead dispute nothing."
Rodin remained in thought for some moments; then he added, in a grave
tone: "There remain this red-haired wench and her mulatto. This is the
twenty-seventh of May; the first of June approaches, and these turtle-
doves still seem invulnerable. The princess thought she had hit upon a
good plan, and I should have thought so too. It was a good idea to
mention the discovery of Agricola Baudoin in the madcap's room, for it
made the Indian tiger roar with savage jealousy. Yes: but then the dove
began to coo, and hold out her pretty beak, and the foolish tiger
sheathed his claws, and rolled on the ground before her. It's a pity,
for there was some sense in the scheme."
The walk of Rodin became more and more agitated. "Nothing is more
extraordinary," continued he, "than the generative succession of ideas.
In comparing this red-haired jade to a dove (colombe), I could not help
thinking of that infamous old woman, Sainte-Colombe, whom that big rascal
Jacques Dumoulin pays his court to, and whom the Abbe Corbinet will
finish, I hope, by turning to good account. I have often remarked, that,
as a poet may find an excellent rhyme by mere chance, so the germ of the
best ideas is sometimes found in a word, or in some absurd resemblance
like the present. That abominable hag, Sainte-Colombo, and the pretty
Adrienne de Cardoville, go as well together, as a ring would suit a cat,
or a necklace a fish. Well, there is nothing in it."
Hardly had Rodin pronounced these words, than he started suddenly, and
his face shone with a fatal joy. Then it assumed an expression of
meditative astonishment, as happens when chance reveals some unexpected
discovery to the surprised and charmed inquirer after knowledge.
Soon, with raised head and sparkling eye, his hollow cheeks swelling with
joy and pride, Rodin folded his arms in triumph on his breast, and
exclaimed: "Oh! how admirable and marvellous are these mysterious
evolutions of the mind; how incomprehensible is the chain of human
thought, which, starting from an absurd jingle of words, arrives at a
splendid or luminous idea! Is it weakness? or is it strength? Strange--
very strange! I compare the red-haired girl to a dove--a colombe. That
makes me think of the hag, who traded in the bodies and souls of so many
creatures. Vulgar proverbs occur to me, about a ring and a cat, a fish
and a necklace--and suddenly, at the word NECKLACE, a new light dawns
upon me. Yes: that one word NECKLACE shall be to me a golden key, to
open the portals of my brain, so long foolishly closed."
And, after again walking hastily up and down, Rodin continued: "Yes, it
is worth attempting. The more I reflect upon it, the more feasible it
appears. Only how to get at that wretch, Saint-Colombe? Well, there is
Jacques Dumoulin, and the other--where to find her? That is the
stumbling-block. I must not shout before I am out of the wood."
Rodin began again to walk, biting his nails with an air of deep thought.
For some moments, such was the tension of his mind, large drops of sweat
stood on his yellow brow. He walked up and down, stopped, stamped with
his foot, now raised his eyes as if in search of an inspiration, and now
scratched his head violently with his left hand, whilst he continued to
gnaw the nails of the right. Finally, from time to time, he uttered
exclamations of rage, despondency, or hope, as by turns they took
possession of his mind. If the cause of this monster's agitation had not
been horrible, it would have been a curious and interesting spectacle to
watch the labors of that powerful brain--to follow, as it were, on that
shifting countenance, the progress and development of the project, on
which he was now concentrating all the resources of his strong intellect.
At length, the work appeared to be near completion, for Rodin resumed:
"Yes, yes! it is bold, hazardous--but then it is prompt, and the
consequences may be incalculable. Who can foresee the effects of the
explosion of a mine?"
Then, yielding to a movement of enthusiasm, which was hardly natural to
him, the Jesuit exclaimed, with rapture: "Oh, the passions! the passions!
what a magical instrument do they form, if you do but touch the keys with
a light, skillful, and vigorous hand! How beautiful too is the power of
thought! Talk of the acorn that becomes an oak, the seed that grows up
to the corn--the seed takes months, the acorn centuries, to unfold its
splendors--but here is a little word in eight letters, necklace and this
word, falling into my brain but a few minutes ago, has grown and grown
till it has become larger than any oak. Yes, that word is the germ of an
idea, that, like the oak, lifts itself up towards heaven, for the greater
glory of the Lord--such as they call Him, and such as I would assert Him
to be, should I attain--and I shall attain--for these miserable
Renneponts will pass away like a shadow. And what matters it, after all,
to the moral order I am reserved to guide, whether these people live or
die? What do such lives weigh in the balance of the great destinies of
the world? while this inheritance which I shall boldly fling into the
scale, will lift me to a sphere, from which one commands many kings, many
nations--let them say and make what noise they will. The idiots--the
stupid idiots! or rather, the kind, blessed, adorable idiots! They think
they have crushed us, when they say to us men of the church: 'You take
the spiritual, but we will keep the temporal!'--Oh, their conscience or
their modesty inspires them well, when it bids them not meddle with
spiritual things! They abandon the spiritual! they despise it, they will
have nothing to do with it--oh, the venerable asses! they do not see,
that, even as they go straight to the mill, it is by the spiritual that
we go straight to the temporal. As if the mind did not govern the body!
They leave us the spiritual--that is, command of the conscience, soul,
heart, and judgment--the spiritual--that is, the distribution of heaven's
rewards, and punishments, and pardons--without check, without control, in
the secrecy of the confessional--and that dolt, the temporal, has nothing
but brute matter for his portion, and yet rubs his paunch for joy. Only,
from time to time, he perceives, too late, that, if he has the body, we
have the soul, and that the soul governs the body, and so the body ends
by coming with us also--to the great surprise of Master Temporal, who
stands staring with his hands on his paunch, and says: 'Dear me! is it
Then, with a laugh of savage contempt, Rodin began to walk with great
strides, and thus continued: "Oh! let me reach it--let me but reach the
place of SIXTUS V.--and the world shall see (one day, when it awakes)
what it is to have the spiritual power in hands like mine--in the hands
of a priest, who, for fifty years, has lived hardly, frugally, chastely,
and who, were he pope, would continue to live hardly, frugally,
Rodin became terrible, as he spoke thus. All the sanguinary,
sacrilegious, execrable ambition of the worst popes seemed written in
fiery characters on the brow of this son of Ignatius. A morbid desire of
rule seemed to stir up the Jesuit's impure blood; he was bathed in a
burning sweat, and a kind of nauseous vapor spread itself round about
him. Suddenly, the noise of a travelling-carriage, which entered the
courtyard of the house, attracted his attention. Regretting his
momentary excitement, he drew from his pocket his dirty white and red
cotton handkerchief, and dipping it in a glass of water, he applied it to
his cheeks and temples, while he approached the window, to look through
the half-open blinds at the traveller who had just arrived. The
projection of a portico, over the door at which the carriage had stopped,
intercepted Rodin's view.
"No matter," said he, recovering his coolness: "I shall know presently
who is there. I must write at once to Jacques Dumoulin, to come hither
immediately. He served me well, with regard to that little slut in the
Rue Clovis, who made my hair stand on end with her infernal Beranger.
This time, Dumoulin may serve me again. I have him in my clutches, and
he will obey me."
Rodin sat down to his desk and wrote. A few seconds later, some one
knocked at the door, which was double-locked, quite contrary to the
rules of the order. But, sure of his own influence and importance,
Rodin, who had obtained from the general permission to be rid for a time
of the inconvenient company of a socius, often took upon himself to break
through a number of the rules. A servant entered and delivered a letter
to Rodin. Before opening it the latter said to the man: "What carriage
is that which just arrived?"
"It comes from Rome, father," answered the servant, bowing.
"From Rome!" said Rodin, hastily; and in spite of himself, a vague
uneasiness was expressed in his countenance. But, still holding the
letter in his hands, he added: "Who comes in the carriage."
"A reverend father of our blessed Company."
Notwithstanding his ardent curiosity, for he knew that a reverend father,
travelling post, is always charged with some important mission, Rodin
asked no more questions on the subject, but said, as he pointed to the
paper in his hand: "Whence comes this letter?"
"From our house at St. Herem, father."
Rodin looked more attentively at the writing, and recognized the hand of
Father d'Aigrigny, who had been commissioned to attend M. Hardy in his
last moments. The letter ran as follows:
"I send a despatch to inform your reverence of a fact which is, perhaps,
more singular than important. After the funeral of M. Francis Hardy,
the coffin, which contained his remains, had been provisionally deposited
in a vault beneath our chapel, until it could be removed to the cemetery
of the neighboring town. This morning, when our people went down into
the vault, to make the necessary preparations for the removal of the
body--the coffin had disappeared.
"That is strange indeed," said Rodin with a start. Then, he continued to
"All search has hitherto been vain, to discover the authors of the
sacrilegious deed. The chapel being, as you know, at a distance from the
house, they were able to effect an entry without disturbing us. We
have found traces of a four-wheeled carriage on the damp ground in the
neighborhood; but, at some little distance from the chapel, these marks
are lost in the sand, and it has been impossible to follow them any
"Who can have carried away this body?" said Rodin, with a thoughtful air.
"Who could have any interest in doing so?"
He continued to read:
"Luckily, the certificate of death is quite correct. I sent for a doctor
from Etampes, to prove the disease, and no question can be raised on that
point. The donation is therefore good and valid in every respect, but I
think it best to inform your reverence of what has happened, that you may
take measures accordingly, etc., etc."
After a moment's reflection, Rodin said to himself: "D'Aigrigny is right
in his remark; it is more singular than important. Still, it makes one
think. We must have an eye to this affair."
Turning towards the servant, who had brought him the letter, Rodin gave
him the note he had just written to Ninny Moulin, and said to him: "Let
this letter be taken instantly to its address, and let the bearer wait
for an answer."
At the moment the servant left the room, a reverend father entered, and
said to Rodin, "Father Caboccini of Rome has just arrived, with a mission
from our general to your reverence."
At these words, Rodin's blood ran cold, but he maintained his immovable
calmness, and said simply: "Where is Father Caboccini?"
"In the next room, father."
"Beg him to walk in, and leave us," said the other.
A second after, Father Caboccini of Rome entered the room and was left
alone with Rodin.
TO A SOCIUS, A SOCIUS AND A HALF.
The Reverend Father Caboccini, the Roman Jesuit who now came to visit
Rodin, was a short man of about thirty years of age, plump, in good
condition, and with an abdomen that swelled out his black cassock. The
good little father was blind with one eye, but his remaining organ of
vision sparkled with vivacity. His rosy countenance was gay, smiling,
joyous, splendidly crowned with thick chestnut hair, which curled like a
wax doll's. His address was cordial to familiarity, and his expansive
and petulant manners harmonized well with his general appearance. In a
second, Rodin had taken his measure of the Italian emissary; and as he
knew the practice of his Company, and the ways of Rome, he felt by no
means comfortable at sight of this jolly little father, with such affable
manners. He would have less feared some tall, bony priest, with austere
and sepulchral countenance, for he knew that the Company loves to deceive
by the outward appearance of its agents; and if Rodin guessed rightly,
the cordial address of this personage would rather tend to show that he
was charged with some fatal mission.
Suspicious, attentive, with eye and mind on the watch, like an old wolf,
expecting an attack, Rodin advanced as usual, slowly and tortuously
towards the little man, so as to have time to examine him thoroughly, and
penetrate beneath his jovial outside. But the Roman left him no space
for that purpose. In his impetuous affection he threw himself right on
the neck of Rodin, pressed him in his arms with an effusion of
tenderness, and kissed him over and over again upon both cheeks, so
loudly and plentifully that the echo resounded through the apartment. In
his life Rodin had never been so treated. More and more uneasy at the
treachery which must needs lurk under such warm embraces, and irritated
by his own evil presentiments, the French Jesuit did, all he could to
extricate himself from the Roman's exaggerated tokens of tenderness. But
the latter kept his hold; his arms, though short, were vigorous, and
Rodin was kissed over and over again, till the little one-eyed man was
quite out of breath. It is hardly necessary to state that these embraces
were accompanied by the most friendly, affectionate, and fraternal
exclamations--all in tolerably good French, but with a strong Italian
accent, which we muss beg the reader to supply for himself, after we have
given a single specimen. It will perhaps be remembered that, fully aware
of the danger he might possibly incur by his ambitious machinations, and
knowing from history that the use of poison had often been considered at
Rome as a state necessity, Rodin, on being suddenly attacked with the
cholera, had exclaimed, with a furious glance at Cardinal Malipieri, "I
The same apprehensions occurred involuntarily to the Jesuit's mind as he
tried, by useless efforts, to escape from the embraces of the Italian
emissary; and he could not help muttering to himself, "This one-eyed
fellow is a great deal too fond. I hope there is no poison under his
Judas-kisses." At last, little Father Caboccini, being quite out of
breath, was obliged to relinquish his hold on Rodin's neck, who,
readjusting his dirty collar, and his old cravat and waistcoat, somewhat
in disorder in consequence of this hurricane of caresses, said in a gruff
tone, "Your humble servant, father, but you need not kiss quite so hard."
Without making any answer to this reproach, the little father riveted his
one eye upon Rodin with an expression of enthusiasm, and exclaimed,
whilst he accompanied his words with petulant gestures, "At lazt I zee te
zuperb light of our zacred Company, and can zalute him from my heart--
vonse more, vonse more."
As the little father had already recovered his breath, and was about to
rush once again into Rodin's arms, the latter stepped back hastily, and
held out his arm to keep him off, saying, in allusion to the illogical
metaphor employed by Father Caboccini, "First of all, father, one does
not embrace a light--and then I am not a light--I am a humble and obscure
laborer in the Lord's vineyard."
The Roman replied with enthusiasm (we shall henceforth translate his
gibberish), "You are right, father, we cannot embrace a light, but we can
prostrate ourselves before it, and admire its dazzling brightness."
So saying, Caboccini was about to suit the action to the word, and to
prostrate himself before Rodin, had not the latter prevented this mode of
adulation by seizing the Roman by the arm and exclaiming, "This is mere
idolatry, father. Pass over my qualities, and tell me what is the object
of your journey."
"The object, my dear father, fills me with joy and happiness. I have
endeavored to show you my affection by my caresses, for my heart is
overflowing. I have hardly been able to restrain myself during my
journey hither, for my heart rushed to meet you. The object transports,
delights, enchants me--"
"But what enchants you?" cried Rodin, exasperated by these Italian
exaggerations. "What is the object?"
"This rescript of our very reverend and excellent General will inform
you, my clear father."
Caboccini drew from his pocket-book a folded paper, with three seals,
which he kissed respectfully, and delivered to Rodin, who himself kissed
it in his turn, and opened it with visible anxiety. While he read it the
countenance of the Jesuit remained impassible, but the pulsation of the
arteries on his temples announced his internal agitation. Yet he put the
letter coolly into his pocket, and looking at the Roman, said to him, "Be
it as our excellent General has commanded!"
"Then, father," cried Caboccini, with a new effusion of tenderness and
admiration, "I shall be the shadow of your light, and, in fact, your
second self. I shall have the happiness of being always with you, day
and night, and of acting as your socius, since, after having allowed you
to be without one for some time, according to your wish, and for the
interest of our blessed Company, our excellent General now thinks fit to
send me from Rome, to fill that post about your person--an unexpected, an
immense favor, which fills me with gratitude to our General, and with
love to you, my dear, my excellent father!"
"It is well played," thought Rodin; "but I am not so soft, and 'tis only
among the blind that your Cyclops are kings!"
The evening of the day in which this scene took place between the Jesuit
and his new socius, Ninny Moulin, after receiving in presence of
Caboccini the instructions of Rodin, went straight to Madame de la
This woman had made her fortune, at the time of the allies taking Paris,
by keeping one of those "pretty milliner's shops," whose "pink bonnets"
have run into a proverb not extinct in these days when bonnets are not
known. Ninny Moulin had no better well to draw inspiration from when, as
now, he had to find out, as per Rodin's order, a girl of an age and
appearance which, singularly enough, were closely resembling those of
Mdlle. de Cardoville.
No doubt of Ninny Moulin's success in this mission, for the next morning
Rodin, whose countenance wore a triumphant expression, put with his own
hand a letter into the post.
This letter was addressed:
"To M. Agricola Baudoin,
"No. 2, Rue Brise-Miche,
It will, perhaps, be remembered that Djalma, when he heard for the first
time that he was beloved by Adrienne, had, in the fulness of his joy,
spoken thus to Faringhea, whose treachery he had just discovered, "You
leagued with my enemies, and I had done you no harm. You are wicked,
because you are no doubt unhappy. I will strive to make you happy, so
that you may be good. Would you have gold?--you shall have it. Would
you have a friend?--though you are a slave, a king's son offers you his
Faringhea had refused the gold, and appeared to accept the friendship of
the son of Kadja-sing. Endowed with remarkable intelligence, and
extraordinary power of dissimulation the half-breed had easily persuaded
the prince of the sincerity of his repentance, and obtained credit for
his gratitude and attachment from so confiding and generous a character.
Besides, what motives could Djalma have to suspect the slave, now become
his friend? Certain of the love of Mdlle. de Cardoville, with whom he
passed a portion of every day, her salutary influence would have guarded
him against any dangerous counsels or calumnies of the half-caste, a
faithful and secret instrument of Rodin, and attached by him to the
Company. But Faringhea, whose tact was amazing, did not act so lightly;
he never spoke to the prince of Mdlle. de Cardoville, and waited
unobtrusively for the confidential communications into which Djalma was
sometimes hurried by his excessive joy. A few days after the interview
last described between Adrienne and Djalma, and on the morrow of the day
when Rodin, certain of the success of Ninny Moulin's mission to Sainte-
Colombe, had himself put a letter in the post to the address of Agricola
Baudoin, the half-caste, who for some time had appeared oppressed with a
violent grief, seemed to get so much worse, that the prince, struck with
the desponding air of the man, asked him kindly and repeatedly the cause
of his sorrow. But Faringhea, while he gratefully thanked the prince for
the interest he took in him, maintained the most absolute silence and
reserve on the subject of his grief.
These preliminaries will enable the reader to understand the following
scene, which took place about noon in the house in the Rue de Clichy
occupied by the Hindoo. Contrary to his habit, Djalma had not passed
that morning with Adrienne. He had been informed the evening before, by
the young lady, that she must ask of him the sacrifice of this whole day,
to take the necessary measures to make their marriage sacred and
acceptable in the eyes of the world, and yet free from the restrictions
which she and Djalma disapproved. As for the means to be employed by
Mdlle. de Cardoville to attain this end, and the name of the pure and
honorable person who was to consecrate their union, these were secrets
which, not belonging exclusively to the young lady, could not yet be
communicated to Djalma. To the Indian, so long accustomed to devote
every instant to Adrienne, this day seemed interminable. By turns a prey
to the most burning agitation, and to a kind of stupor, in which he
plunged himself to escape from the thoughts that caused his tortures,
Djalma lay stretched upon a divan, with his face buried in his hands, as
if to shut out the view of a too enchanting vision. Suddenly, without
knocking at the door, as usual, Faringhea entered the prince's apartment.
At the noise the half-caste made in entering Djalma started, raised his
head, and looked round him with surprise; but, on seeing the pale
agitated countenance of the slave, he rose hastily, and advancing towards
him, exclaimed, "What is the matter, Faringhea!"
After a moment's silence, and as if struggling with a painful feeling of
hesitation, Faringhea threw himself at the feet of Djalma, and murmured
in a weak, despairing, almost supplicating voice: "I am very miserable.
Pity me, my good lord!"
The tone was so touching, the grief under which the half-breed suffered
seemed to give to his features, generally fixed and hard as bronze, such
a heart-rending expression, that Djalma was deeply affected, and, bending
to raise him from the ground, said to him, in a kindly voice: "Speak to
me! Confidence appeases the torments of the heart. Trust me, friend--
for my angel herself said to me, that happy love cannot bear to see tears
"But unhappy love, miserable love, betrayed love--weeps tears of blood,"
replied Faringhea, with painful dejection.
"Of what love dost thou speak?" asked Djalma, in surprise.
"I speak of my love," answered the half-caste, with a gloomy air.
"Of your love?" said Djalma, more and more astonished; not that the half-
caste, still young, and with a countenance of sombre beauty, appeared to
him incapable of inspiring or feeling the tender passion, but that, until
now, he had never imagined him capable of conceiving so deep a sorrow.
"My lord," resumed the half-caste, "you told me, that misfortune had made
me wicked, and that happiness would make me good. In those words, I saw
a presentiment, and a noble love entered my heart, at the moment when
hatred and treachery departed from it. I, the half-savage, found a
woman, beautiful and young, to respond to my passion. At least I thought
so. But I had betrayed you, my lord, and there is no happiness for a
traitor, even though he repent. In my turn, I have been shamefully
Then, seeing the surprise of the prince, the half-caste added, as if
overwhelmed with confusion: "Do not mock me, my lord! The most frightful
tortures would not have wrung this confession from me; but you, the son
of a king, deigned to call the poor slave your friend!"
"And your friend thanks you for the confidence," answered Djalma. "Far
from mocking, he will console you. Mock you! do you think it possible?"
"Betrayed love merits contempt and insult," said Faringhea, bitterly.
"Even cowards may point at one with scorn--for, in this country, the
sight of the man deceived in what is dearest to his soul, the very life-
blood of his life, only makes people shrug their shoulders and laugh."
"But are you certain of this treachery?" said Djalma, mildly. Then he
added, with visible hesitation, that proved the goodness of his heart:
"Listen to me, and forgive me for speaking of the past! It will only be
another proof, that I cherish no evil memories, and that I fully believe
in your repentance and affection. Remember, that I also once thought,
that she, who is the angel of my life, did not love me--and yet it was
false. Who tells you, that you are not, like me, deceived by false
"Alas, my lord! could I only believe so! But I dare not hope it. My
brain wanders uncertain, I cannot come to any resolution, and therefore I
have recourse to you."
"But what causes your suspicions?"
"Her coldness, which sometimes succeeds to apparent tenderness. The
refusals she gives me in the name of duty. Yes," added the half-caste,
after a moment's silence. "she reasons about her love--a proof, that she
has never loved me, or that she loves me no more."
"On the contrary, she perhaps loves you all the more, that she takes into
consideration the interest and the dignity of her love."
"That is what they all say," replied the half-caste, with bitter irony,
as he fixed a penetrating look on Djalma; "thus speak all those who love
weakly, coldly; but those who love valiantly, never show these insulting
suspicions. For them, a word from the man they adore is a command; they
do not haggle and bargain, for the cruel pleasure of exciting the passion
of their lover to madness, and so ruling him more surely. No, what their
lover asks of them, were it to cost life and honor, they would grant it
without hesitation--because, with them, the will of the man they love is
above every other consideration, divine and human. But those crafty
women, whose pride it is to tame and conquer man--who take delight in
irritating his passion, and sometimes appear on the point of yielding to
it--are demons, who rejoice in the tears and torments of the wretch, that
loves them with the miserable weakness of a child. While we expire with
love at their feet, the perfidious creatures are calculating the effects
of their refusals, and seeing how far they can go, without quite driving
their victim to despair. Oh! how cold and cowardly are they, compared to
the valiant, true-hearted women, who say to the men of their choice: 'Let
me be thine to-day-and to-morrow, come shame, despair, and death--it
matters little! Be happy! my life is not worth one tear of thine!"
Djalma's brow had darkened, as he listened. Having kept inviolable the
secret of the various incidents of his passion for Mdlle. de Cardoville,
he could not but see in these words a quite involuntary allusion to the
delays and refusals of Adrienne. And yet Djalma suffered a moment in his
pride, at the thought of considerations and duties, that a woman holds
dearer than her love. But this bitter and painful thought was soon
effaced from the oriental's mind, thanks to the beneficent influence of
the remembrance of Adrienne. His brow again cleared, and he answered the
half-caste, who was watching him attentively with a sidelong glance: "You
are deluded by grief. If you have no other reason to doubt her you love,
than these refusals and vague suspicions, be satisfied! You are perhaps
loved better than you can imagine."
"Alas! would it were so, my lord!" replied the half-caste, dejectedly, as
if he had been deeply touched by the words of Djalma. "Yet I say to
myself: There is for this woman something stronger than her love--
delicacy, dignity, honor, what you will--but she does not love me enough
to sacrifice for me this something!"
"Friend, you are deceived," answered Djalma, mildly, though the words
affected him with a painful impression. "The greater the love of a
woman, the more it should be chaste and noble. It is love itself that
awakens this delicacy and these scruples. He rules, instead of being
"That is true," replied the half-caste, with bitter irony, "Love so rules
me, that this woman bids me love in her own fashion, and I have only to
Pausing suddenly, Faringhea hid his face in his hands, and heaved a deep-
drawn sigh. His features expressed a mixture of hate, rage, and despair,
at once so terrible and so painful, that Djalma, more and more affected,
exclaimed, as he seized the other's hand: "Calm this fury, and listen to
the voice of friendship! It will disperse this evil influence. Speak to
"No, no! it is too dreadful!"
"Speak, I bid thee."
"No! leave the wretch to his despair!"
"Do you think me capable of that?" said Djalma, with a mixture of
mildness and dignity, which seemed to make an impression on the half-
"Alas!" replied he, hesitating; "do you wish to hear more, my lord?"
"I wish to hear all."
"Well, then! I have not told you all--for, at the moment of making this
confession, shame and the fear of ridicule kept me back. You asked me
what reason I had to believe myself betrayed. I spoke to you of vague
suspicions, refusals, coldness. That is not all--this evening--"
"This evening--she made an appointment--with a man that she prefers to
"Who told you so?"
"A stranger who pitied my blindness."
"And suppose the man deceived you--or deceives himself?"
"He has offered me proofs of what he advances."
"He will enable me this evening to witness the interview. 'It may be,'
said he, 'that this appointment may have no guilt in it, notwithstanding
appearances to the contrary. Judge for yourself, have courage, and your
cruel indecision will be at an end.'"
"And what did you answer?"
"Nothing, my lord. My head wandered as it does now and I came to you for
Then, making a gesture of despair, he proceeded with a savage laugh:
"Advice? It is from the blade of my kand-jiar that I should ask counsel!
It would answer: 'Blood! blood!'"
Faringhea grasped convulsively the long dagger attached to his girdle.
There is a sort of contagion in certain forms of passion. At sight of
Faringhea's countenance, agitated by jealous fury, Djalma shuddered--for
he remembered the fit of insane rage, with which he had been possessed,
when the Princess de Saint-Dizier had defied Adrienne to contradict her,
as to the discovery of Agricola Baudoin in her bed-chamber. But then,
reassured by the lady's proud and noble bearing, Djalma had soon learned
to despise the horrible calumny, which Adrienne had not even thought
worthy of an answer. Still, two or three times, as the lightning will
flash suddenly across the clearest sky, the remembrance of that shameful
accusation had crossed the prince's mind, like a streak of fire, but had
almost instantly vanished, in the serenity and happiness of his ineffable
confidence in Adrienne's heart. These memories, however, whilst they
saddened the mind of Djalma, only made him more compassionate with regard
to Faringhea, than he might have been without this strange coincidence
between the position of the half-caste and his own. Knowing, by his own
experience, to what madness a blind fury may be carried, and wishing to
tame the half-caste by affectionate kindness, Djalma said to him in a
grave and mild tone: "I offered you my friendship. I will now act
towards you a friend."
But Faringhea, seemingly a prey to a dull and mute frenzy, stood with
fixed and haggard eyes, as though he did not hear Djalma.
The latter laid his hand on his shoulder, and resumed: "Faringhea, listen
"My lord," said the half-caste, starting abruptly, as from a dream,
"In the anguish occasioned by these cruel suspicions, it is not of your
kandjiar that you must take counsel--but of your friend."
"To this interview, which will prove the innocence or the treachery of
your beloved, you will do well to go."
"Oh, yes!" said the half-caste, in a hollow voice, and with a bitter
smile: "I shall be there."
"But you must not go alone."
"What do you mean, my lord?" cried the half-caste. "Who will accompany
"You, my lord?"
"Yes--perhaps, to save you from a crime--for I know how blind and unjust
is the earliest outburst of rage."
"But that transport gives us revenge!" cried the half-caste, with a cruel
"Faringhea, this day is all my own. I shall not leave you," said the
prince, resolutely. "Either you shall not go to this interview, or I
will accompany you."
The half-caste appeared conquered by this generous perseverance. He fell
at the feet of Djalma, pressed the prince's hand respectfully to his
forehead and to his lips, and said: "My lord, be generous to the end!
"For what should I forgive you?"
"Before I spoke to you, I had the audacity to think of asking for what
you have just freely offered. Not knowing to what extent my fury might
carry me, I had thought of asking you this favor, which you would not
perhaps grant to an equal, but I did not dare to do it. I shrunk even
from the avowal of the treachery I have cause to fear, and I came only to
tell you of my misery--because to you alone in all the world I could tell
It is impossible to describe the almost candid simplicity, with which the
half-breed pronounced these words, and the soft tones, mingled with
tears, which had succeeded his savage fury. Deeply affected, Djalma
raised him from the ground, and said: "You were entitled to ask of me a
mark of friendship. I am happy in having forestalled you. Courage! be
of good cheer! I will accompany you to this interview, and if my hopes
do not deceive me, you will find you have been deluded by false
When the night was come, the half-breed and Djalma, wrapped in their
cloaks, got into a hackney-coach. Faringhea ordered the coachman to
drive to the house inhabited by Sainte-Colombe.
AN EVENING AT SAINTE-COLOMBE'S.
Leaving Djalma and Faringhea in the coach, on their way, a few words are
indispensable before continuing this scene. Ninny Moulin, ignorant of
the real object of the step he took at the instigation of Rodin, had, on
the evening before, according to orders received from the latter, offered
a considerable sum to Sainte-Colombe, to obtain from that creature
(still singularly rapacious) the use of her apartments for whole day.
Sainte-Colombe, having accepted this proposition, too advantageous to be
refused, had set out that morning with her servants, to whom she wished,
she said, in return for their good services, to give a day's pleasure in
the country. Master of the house, Rodin, in a black wig, blue
spectacles, and a cloak, and with his mouth and chin buried in a worsted
comforter--in a word, perfectly disguised--had gone that morning to take
a look at the apartments, and to give his instructions to the half-caste.
The latter, in two hours from the departure of the Jesuit, had, thanks to
his address and intelligence, completed the most important preparation
and returned in haste to Djalma, to play with detestable hypocrisy the
scene at which we have just been present.
During the ride from the Rue de Clichy to the Rue de Richelieu, Faringhea
appeared plunged in a mournful reverie. Suddenly, he said to Djalma to a
quick tone: "My lord, if I am betrayed, I must have vengeance."
"Contempt is a terrible revenge," answered Djalma.
"No, no," replied the half-caste, with an accent of repressed rage. "It
is not enough. The nearer the moment approaches, the more I feel I must
"Listen to me--"
"My lord, have pity on me! I was a coward to draw back from my revenge.
Let me leave you, my lord! I will go alone to this interview."
So saying, Faringhea made a movement, as if he would spring from the
Djalma held him by the arm, and said: "Remain! I wilt not leave you. If
you are betrayed, you shall not shed blood. Contempt will avenge and
friendship will console you."
"No, no, my lord; I am resolved. When I have killed--then I will kill
myself," cried the half-caste, with savage excitement. "This kandjiar
for the false ones!" added he, laying his hand on his dagger. "The
poison in the hilt for me."
"If I resist you, my lord, forgive me! My destiny must be accomplished."
Time pressed, and Djalma, despairing to calm the other's ferocious rage,
resolved to have recourse to a stratagem.
After some minutes' silence, he said to Faringhea: "I will not leave you.
I will do all I can to save you from a crime. If I do not succeed, the
blood you shed be on your own head. This hand shall never again be
locked in yours."
These words appeared to make a deep impression on Faringhea. He breathed
a long sigh, and, bowing his head upon his breast, remained silent and
full of thought. Djalma prepared, by the faint light of the lamps,
reflected in the interior of the coach, to throw himself suddenly on the
half-caste, and disarm him. But the latter, who saw at a glance the
intention of the prince, drew his kandjiar abruptly from his girdle, and
holding it still in its sheath, said to the prince in a half-solemn,
half-savage tone: "This dagger, in a strong hand, is terrible; and in
this phial is one of the most subtle poisons of our country."
He touched a spring, and the knob at the top of the hilt rose like a lid,
discovering the mouth of a small crystal phial concealed in this
"Two or three drops of this poison upon the lips," resumed the half-
caste, "and death comes slowly and peacefully, in a few hours, and
without pain. Only, for the first symptom, the nails turn blue. But he
who emptied this phial at a draught would fall dead, as if struck by
"Yes," replied Djalma; "I know that our country produces such mysterious
poisons. But why lay such stress on the murderous properties of this
"To show you, my lord, that this kandjiar would ensure the success and
impunity of my vengeance. With the blade I could destroy, and by the
poison escape from human justice. Well, my lord! this kandjiar--take it-
-I give it up to you--I renounce my vengeance--rather than render myself
unworthy to clasp again your hand!"
He presented the dagger to the prince, who, as pleased as surprised at
this unexpected determination, hastily secured the terrible weapon
beneath his own girdle; whilst the half-breed continued, in a voice of
emotion: "Deep this kandjiar, my lord--and when you have seen and heard
all that we go to hear and see--you shall either give me the dagger to
strike a wretch--or the poison, to die without striking. You shall
command; I will obey."
Djalma was about to reply, when the coach stopped at the house inhabited
by Sainte-Colombe. The prince and the half-caste, well enveloped in
their mantles, entered a dark porch, and the door was closed after them.
Faringhea exchanged a few words with the porter, and the latter gave him
a key. The two Orientals soon arrived at Sainte-Colombe's apartments,
which had two doors opening upon the landing-place, besides a private
entrance from the courtyard. As he put the key into the lock, Faringhea
said to Djalma, in an agitated voice: "Pity my weakness, my lord--but, at
this terrible moment, I tremble and hesitate. It were perhaps better to
doubt--or to forget!"
Then, as the prince was about to answer, the half-caste exclaimed: "No!
we must have no cowardice!" and, opening the door precipitately, he
entered, followed by Djalma.
When the door was again closed, the prince and the half-caste found
themselves in a dark and narrow passage. "Your hand, my lord--let me
guide you--walk lightly," said Faringhea, in a low whisper.
He extended his hand to the prince, who took hold of it, and they both
advanced silently through the darkness. After leading Djalma some
distance, and opening and closing several doors, the half-caste stopped
abruptly, and abandoning the hand which he had hitherto held, said to the
prince: "My lord, the decisive moment approaches; let us wait here for a
A profound silence followed these words of the half-caste. The darkness
was so complete, that Djalma could distinguish nothing. In about a
minute, he heard Faringhea moving away from him; and then a door was
suddenly opened, and as abruptly closed and locked. This circumstance
made Djalma somewhat uneasy. By a mechanical movement, he laid his hand
upon his dagger, and advanced cautiously towards the side, where he
supposed the door to be.
Suddenly, the half-caste's voice struck upon his ear, though it was
impossible to guess whence it came. "My lord," it said, "you told me,
you were my friend. I act as a friend. If I have employed stratagem to
bring you hither, it is because the blindness of your fatal passion would
otherwise have prevented your accompanying me. The Princess de Saint-
Dizier named to you Agricola Baudoin, the lover of Adrienne de
The voice ceased. It appeared to have issued from one corner of the
room. Djalma, still in darkness, perceived too late into what a snare he
had fallen, and trembled with rage--almost with alarm.
"Faringhea!" he exclaimed; "where am I? where are you? Open the door on
your life! I would leave this place instantly."
Extending his arms, the prince advanced hastily several steps, but he
only touched a tapestried wall; he followed it, hoping to find the door,
and he at length found it; but it was locked, and resisted all his
efforts. He continued his researches, and came to a fireplace with no
fire in it, and to a second door, equally fast. In a few moments, he had
thus made the circle of the room, and found himself again at the
fireplace. The anxiety of the prince increased more and more. He called
Faringhea, in a voice trembling with passion. There was no answer.
Profound silence reigned without, and complete darkness within. Ere
long, a perfumed vapor, of indescribable sweetness, but very subtle and
penetrating, spread itself insensibly through the little room in which
Djalma was. It might be, that the orifice of a tube, passing through one
of the doors of the room, introduced this balmy current. At the height
of angry and terrible thoughts, Djalma paid no attention to this odor--
but soon the arteries of his temples began to beat violently, a burning
heat seemed to circulate rapidly through his veins, he felt a sensation
of pleasure, his resentment died gradually away, and a mild, ineffable
torpor crept over him, without his being fully conscious of the mental
transformation that was taking place. Yet, by a last effort of the
wavering will, Djalma advanced once more to try and open one of the
doors; he found it indeed, but at this place the vapor was so strong,
that its action redoubled, and, unable to move a step further, Djalma was
obliged to support himself by leaning against the wall.
Then a strange thing happened. A faint light spread itself gradually
through an adjoining apartment, and Djalma now perceived, for the first
time, the existence of a little round window, in the wall of the room in
which he was. On the side of the prince, this opening was protected by a
slight but strong railing, which hardly intercepted the view. On the
other side a thick piece of plate-glass was fixed at the distance of two
or three inches from the railing in question. The room, which Djalma saw
through this window, and through which the faint light was now gradually
spreading, was richly furnished. Between two windows, hung with crimson
silk curtains, stood a kind of wardrobe, with a looking-glass front;
opposite the fireplace in which glowed the burning coals, was a long,
wide divan, furnished with cushions.
In another second a woman entered this apartment. Her face and figure
were invisible, being wrapped in a long, hooded mantle, of peculiar form,
and a dark color. The sight of this mantle made Djalma start. To the
pleasure he at first felt succeeded a feverish anxiety, like the growing
fumes of intoxication. There was that strange buzzing in his ears which
we experience when we plunge into deep waters. It was in a kind of
delirium that Djalma looked on at what was passing in the next room. The
woman who had just appeared entered with caution, almost with fear.
Drawing aside one of the window curtains, she glanced through the closed
blinds into the street. Then she returned slowly to the fireplace, where
she stood for a moment pensive, still carefully enveloped in her mantle.
Completely yielding to the influence of the vapor, which deprived him of
his presence of mind--forgetting Faringhea, and all the circumstances
that had accompanied his arrival at this house--Djalma concentrated all
the powers of his attention on the spectacle before him, at which he
seemed to be present as in a dream.
Suddenly Djalma saw the woman leave the fireplace and advance towards the
looking-glass. Turning her face toward it, she allowed the mantle to
glide down to her feet. Djalma was thunderstruck. He saw the face of
Adrienne de Cardoville. Yes, Adrienne, as he had seen her the night
before, attired as during her interview with the Princess de Saint-
Dizier--the light green dress, the rose-colored ribbons, the white head
ornaments. A network of white beads concealed her back hair, and
harmonized admirably with the shining gold of her ringlets. Finally, as
far as the Hindoo could judge through the railing and the thick glass,
and in the faint light, it was the figure of Adrienne, with her marble
shoulders and swan-like neck, so proud and so graceful. In a word, he
could not, he did not doubt that it was Adrienne de Cardoville. Djalma
was bathed in a burning dew, his dizzy excitement increased, and, with
bloodshot eye and heaving bosom, he remained motionless, gazing almost
without the power of thought. The young lady, with her back still turned
towards Djalma, arranged her hair with graceful art, took off the network
which formed her head-dress, placed it on the chimney-piece, and began to
unfasten her gown; then, withdrawing from the looking-glass, she
disappeared for an instant from Djalma's view.
"She is expecting Agricola Baudoin, her lover," said a voice, which
seemed to proceed from the wall of the dark room in which Djalma was.
Notwithstanding his bewilderment, these terrible words, "She is expecting
Agricola Baudoin, her lover," passed like a stream of fire through the
brain and heart of the prince. A cloud of blood came over his eyes, he
uttered a hollow moan, which the thickness of the glass prevented from
being heard in the next room, and broke his nails in attempting to tear
down the iron railing before the window.
Having reached this paroxysm of delirious rage, Djalma saw the uncertain
light grow still fainter, as if it had been discreetly obscured, and,
through the vapory shadow that hung before him, he perceived the young
lady returning, clad in a long white dressing-gown, and with her golden
curls floating over her naked arms and shoulders. She advanced
cautiously in the direction of a door which was hid from Djalma's view.
At this moment, one of the doors of the apartment in which the prince was
concealed was gently opened by an invisible hand. Djalma noticed it by
the click of the lock, and by the current of fresh air which streamed
upon his face, for he could see nothing. This door, left open for
Djalma, like that in the next room, to which the young lady had drawn
near, led to a sort of ante-chamber communicating with the stairs, which
some one now rapidly ascended, and, stopping short, knocked twice at the
"Here comes Agricola Baudoin. Look and listen!" said the same voice that
the prince had already heard.
Mad, intoxicated, but with the fixed idea and reckless determination of a
madman or a drunkard, Djalma drew the dagger which Faringhea had left in
his possession, and stood in motionless expectation. Hardly were the two
knocks heard before the young lady quitted the apartment, from which
streamed a faint ray of light, ran to the door of the staircase, so that
some faint glimmer reached the place where Djalma stood watching, his
dagger in his hand. He saw the young lady pass across the ante-chamber,
and approach the door of the staircase, where she said in a whisper: "Who
"It is I--Agricola Baudoin," answered, from, without, a manly voice.
What followed was rapid as lightning, and must be conceived rather than
described. Hardly had the young lady drawn the bolt of the door, hardly
had Agricola Baudoin stepped across the threshold, than Djalma, with the
bound of a tiger, stabbed as it were at once, so rapid were the strokes,
both the young lady, who fell dead on the floor, and Agricola, who sank,
dangerously wounded, by the side of the unfortunate victim. This scene
of murder, rapid as thought, took place in the midst of a half obscurity.
Suddenly the faint light from the chamber was completely extinguished,
and a second after, Djalma felt his arm seized in the darkness by an iron
grasp, and the voice of Faringhea whispered: "You are avenged. Come; we
can secure our retreat." Inert, stupefied at what he had done, Djalma
offered no resistance, and let himself be dragged by the half-caste into
the inner apartment, from which there was another way out.
When Rodin had exclaimed, in his admiration of the generative power of
thought, that the word NECKLACE had been the germ of the infernal project
he then contemplated, it was, that chance had brought to his mind the
remembrance of the too famous affair of the diamond necklace, in which a
woman, thanks to her vague resemblance to Queen Marie Antoinette, being
dressed like that princess, and favored by the uncertainty of a twilight,
had played so skillfully the part of her unfortunate sovereign, as to
make the Cardinal Prince de Rohan, though familiar with the court, the
complete dupe of the illusion. Having once determined on his execrable
design, Rodin had sent Jacques Dumoulin to Sainte-Colombe, without
telling him the real object of his mission, to ask this experienced woman
to procure a fine young girl, tall, and with red hair. Once found, a
costume exactly resembling that worn by Adrienne, and of which the
Princess de Saint-Dizier gave the description to Rodin (though herself
ignorant of this new plot), was to complete the deception. The rest is
known, or may be guessed. The unfortunate girl, who acted as Adrienne's
double, believed she was only aiding in a jest. As for Agricola, he had
received a letter, in which he was invited to a meeting that might be of
the greatest importance to Mdlle. de Cardoville.
 See the strange effect of hasheesh. To the effect of this is
attributed the kind of hallucination which seized on those unhappy
persons, whom the Prince of the Assassins (the Old Man of the Mountain)
used as the instruments of his vengeance.
THE NUPTIAL BED.
The mild light of a circular lamp of oriental alabaster, suspended from
the ceiling by three silver chains, spreads a faint lustre through the
bed-chamber of Adrienne de Cardoville.
The large ivory bedstead, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, is not at present
occupied, and almost disappears beneath snowy curtains of lace and
muslin, transparent and vapory as clouds. On the white marble
mantlepiece, from beneath which the fire throws ruddy beams on the ermine
carpet, is the usual basket filled with a bush of red camellias, in the
midst of their shining green leaves. A pleasant aromatic odor, rising
from a warm and perfumed bath in the next room, penetrates every corner
of the bed-chamber. All without is calm and silent. It is hardly eleven
o'clock. The ivory door, opposite to that which leads to the bath-room,
opens slowly. Djalma appears. Two hours have elapsed since he committed
a double murder, and believed that he had killed Adrienne in a fit of
The servants of Mdlle. de Cardoville, accustomed to Djalma's daily
visits, no longer announced his arrival, and admitted him without
difficulty, having received no orders to the contrary from their
mistress. He had never before entered the bed-chamber, but, knowing that
the apartment the lady occupied was on the first floor of the house, he
had easily found it. As he entered that virgin sanctuary, his
countenance was pretty calm, so well did he control his feelings, only a
slight paleness tarnished the brilliant amber of his complexion. He wore
that day a robe of purple cashmere, striped with silver--a color which
did not show the stains of blood upon it. Djalma closed the door after
him, and tore off his white turban, for it seemed to him as if a band of
hot iron encircled his brow. His dark hair streamed around his handsome
face. He crossed his arms upon his bosom, and looked slowly about him.
When his eyes rested on Adrienne's bed, he started suddenly, and his
cheek grew purple. Then he drew his hand across his brow, hung down his
head, and remained standing for some moments in a dream, motionless as a
After a mournful silence of a few seconds' duration, Djalma fell upon his
knees, and raised his eyes to heaven. The Asiatic's countenance was
bathed in tears, and no longer expressed any violent passion. On his
features was no longer the stamp of hate, or despair, or the ferocious
joy of vengeance gratified. It was rather the expression of grief at
once simple and immense. For several minutes he was almost choked with
sobs, and tears ran freely down his cheeks.
"Dead! dead!" he murmured, in a half-stifled voice. "She, who this
morning slept so peacefully in this chamber! And I have killed her. Now
that she is dead, what is her treachery to me? I should not have killed
her for that. She had betrayed me; she loved the man whom I slew--she
loved him! Alas! I could not hope to gain the preference," added he,
with a touching mixture of resignation and remorse; "I, poor, untaught
youth--how could I merit her love? It was my fault that she did not love
me; but, always generous, she concealed from me her indifference, that
she might not make me too unhappy--and for that I killed her. What was
her crime? Did she not meet me freely? Did she not open to me her
dwelling? Did she not allow me to pass whole days with her? No doubt
she tried to love me, and could not. I loved her with all the faculties
of my soul, but my love was not such as she required. For that, I should
not have killed her. But a fatal delusion seized me and, after it was
done, I woke as from a dream. Alas! it was not a dream: I have killed
her. And yet--until this evening--what happiness I owed to her--what
hope--what joy! She made my heart better, nobler, more generous. All
came from her," added the Indian, with a new burst of grief. "That
remained with me--no one could take from me that treasure of the past--
that ought to have consoled me. But why think of it? I struck them
both--her and the man--without a struggle. It was a cowardly murder--the
ferocity of the tiger that tears its innocent prey!"
Djalma buried his face in his hands. Then, drying his tears, he resumed,
"I know, clearly, that I mean to die also. But my death will not restore
her to life!"
He rose from the ground, and drew from his girdle Faringhea's bloody
dagger; then, taking the little phial from the hilt, he threw the blood-
stained blade upon the ermine carpet, the immaculate whiteness of which
was thus slightly stained with red.
"Yes," resumed Djalma, holding the phial with a convulsive grasp, "I know
well that I am about to die. It is right. Blood for blood; my life for
hers. How happens it that my steel did not turn aside? How could I kill
her?--but it is done--and my heart is full of remorse, and sorrow, an
inexpressible tenderness--and I have come here--to die!
"Here, in this chamber," he continued, "the heaven of my burning
visions!" And then he added, with a heartrending accent, as he again
buried his face in his hands, "Dead! dead!"
"Well! I too shall soon be dead," he resumed, in a firmer voice. "But,
no! I will die slowly, gradually. A few drops of the poison will
suffice; and, when I am quite certain of dying, my remorse will perhaps
be less terrible. Yesterday, she pressed my hand when we parted. Who
could have foretold me this?" The Indian raised the phial resolutely to
his lips. He drank a few drops of the liquor it contained, and replaced
it on a little ivory table close to Adrienne's bed.
"This liquor is sharp and hot," said he. "Now I am certain to die. Oh!
that I may still have time to feast on the sight and perfume of this
chamber--to lay my dying head on the couch where she has reposed."
Djalma fell on his knees beside the bed, and leaned against it his
burning brow. At this moment, the ivory door, which communicated with
the bath-room, rolled gently on its hinges, and Adrienne entered. The
young lady had just sent away her woman, who had assisted to undress her.
She wore a long muslin wrapper of lustrous whiteness. Her golden hair,
neatly arranged in little plaits, formed two bands, which gave to her
sweet face an extremely juvenile air. Her snowy complexion was slightly
tinged with rose-color, from the warmth of the perfumed bath, which she
used for a few seconds every evening. When she opened the ivory door,
and placed her little naked foot, in its white satin slipper, upon the
ermine carpet, Adrienne was dazzlingly beautiful. Happiness sparkled in
her eyes, and adorned her brow. All the difficulties relative to her
union with Djalma had now been removed. In two days she would be his.
The sight of the nuptial chamber oppressed her with a vague and ineffable
languor. The ivory door had been opened so gently, the lady's first
steps were so soft upon the fur carpet, that Djalma, still leaning
against the bed, had heard nothing. But suddenly a cry of surprise and
alarm struck upon his ear. He turned round abruptly. Adrienne stood
With an impulse of modesty, Adrienne closed her nightdress over her
bosom, and hastily drew back, still more afflicted than angry at what she
considered a guilty attempt on the part of Djalma. Cruelly hurt and
offended, she was about to reproach him with his conduct, when she
perceived the dagger, which he had thrown down upon the ermine carpet.
At sight of this weapon, and the expression of fear and stupor which
petrified the features of Djalma, who remained kneeling, motionless, with
his body thrown back, hands stretched out, his eyes fixed and wildly
staring Adrienne, no longer dreading an amorous surprise, was seized with
an indescribable terror, and, instead of flying from the prince, advanced
several steps towards him, and said, in an agitated voice, whilst she
pointed to the kandjiar, "My friend, why are you here? what ails you?
why this dagger?"
Djalma made no answer. At first, the presence of Adrienne seemed to him
a vision, which he attributed to the excitement of his brain, already (it
might be) under the influence of the poison. But when the soft voice
sounded in his ears--when his heart bounded with the species of electric
shock, which he always felt when he met the gaze of that woman so
ardently beloved--when he had contemplated for an instant that adorable
face, so fresh and fair, in spite of its expression of deep uneasiness--
Djalma understood that he was not the sport of a dream, but that Mdlle.
de Cardoville was really before his eyes.
Then, as he began fully to grasp the thought that Adrienne was not dead,
though he could not at all explain the prodigy of her resurrection, the
Hindoo's countenance was transfigured, the pale gold of his complexion
became warm and red, his eyes (tarnished by tears of remorse) shone with
new radiance, and his features, so lately contracted with terror and
despair, expressed all the phases of the most ecstatic joy. Advancing,
still on his knees, towards Adrienne, he lifted up to her his trembling
hands, and, too deeply affected to pronounce a word, he gazed on her with
so much amazement, love, adoration, gratitude, that the young lady,
fascinated by those inexplicable looks, remained mute also, motionless
also, and felt, by the precipitate beating of her heart, and by the
shudder which ran through her frame, that there was here some dreadful
mystery to be unfolded.
At last, Djalma, clasping his hands together, exclaimed with an accent
impossible to describe, "Thou art not dead!"
"Dead!" repeated the young lady, in amazement.
"It was not thou, really not thou, whom I killed? God is kind and just!"
And as he pronounced these words with intense joy, the unfortunate youth
forgot the victim whom he had sacrificed in error.
More and more alarmed, and again glancing at the dagger en which she now
perceived marks of blood--a terrible evidence, in confirmation of the
words of Djalma--Mdlle. de Cardoville exclaimed, "You have killed some
one, Djalma! Oh! what does he say? It is dreadful!"
"You are alive--I see you--you are here," said Djalma, in a voice
trembling with rapture. "You are here--beautiful! pure! for it was not
you! Oh, no! had it been you, the steel would have turned back upon
"You have killed some one?" cried the young lady, beside her with this
unforeseen revelation, and clasping her hands in horror. "Why? whom did
"I do not know. A woman that was like you--a man that I thought your
lover--it was an illusion, a frightful dream--you are alive--you are
And the oriental wept for joy.
"A dream? but no, it is not a dream. There is blood upon that dagger!"
cried the young lady, as she pointed wildly to the kandjiar. "I tell you
there is blood upon it!"
"Yes. I threw it down just now, when I took the poison from it, thinking
that I had killed you."
"The poison!" exclaimed Adrienne, and her teeth chattered convulsively.
"I thought I had killed you, and I came here to die."
"To die? Oh! wherefore? who is to die?" cried the young lady, almost in
"I," replied Djalma, with inexpressible tenderness, "I thought I had
killed you--and I took poison."
"You!" exclaimed Adrienne, becoming pale as death. "You!"
"Oh! it is not true!" said the young lady, shaking her head.
"Look!" said the Asiatic. Mechanically, he turned towards the bed--
towards the little ivory table, on which sparkled the crystal phial.
With a sudden movement, swifter than thought, swifter, it may be, than
the will, Adrienne rushed to the table, seized the phial, and applied it
eagerly to her lips.
Djalma had hitherto remained on his knees; but he now uttered a terrible
cry, made one spring to the drinker's side, and dragged away the phial,
which seemed almost glued to her mouth.
"No matter! I have swallowed as much as you," said Adrienne, with an air
of gloomy triumph.
For an instant, there followed an awful silence. Adrienne and Djalma
gazed upon each other, mute, motionless, horror-struck. The young lady
was the first to break this mournful silence, and said in a tone which
she tried to make calm and steady, "Well! what is there extraordinary in
this? You have killed, and death most expiate your crime. It is just.
I will not survive you. That also is natural enough. Why look at me
thus? This poison has a sharp taste--does it act quickly! Tell me, my
The prince did not answer. Shuddering through all his frame, he looked
down upon his hands. Faringhea had told the truth; a slight violet tint
appeared already beneath the nails. Death was approaching, slowly,
almost insensibly, but not the less certain. Overwhelmed with despair at
the thought that Adrienne, too, was about to die, Djalma felt his courage
fail him. He uttered a long groan, and hid his face in his hands. His
knees shook under him, and he felt down upon the bed, near which he was
"Already?" cried the young lady in horror, as she threw herself on her
knees at Djalma's feet. "Death already? Do you hide your face from me?"
In her fright, she pulled his hands from before his face. That face was
bathed in tears.
"No, not yet," murmured he, through his sobs. "The poison is slow."
"Really!" cried Adrienne, with ineffable joy. Then, kissing the hands of
Djalma, she added tenderly, "If the poison is slow, why do you weep?"
"For you! for you!" said the Indian, in a heart-rending tone.
"Think not of me," replied Adrienne, resolutely. "You have killed, and
we must expiate the crime. I know not what has taken place; but I swear
by our love that you did not do evil for evil's sake. There is some
horrible mystery in all this."
"On a pretence which I felt bound to believe," replied Djalma, speaking
quickly, and panting for breath, "Faringhea led me to a certain house.
Once there, he told me that you had betrayed me. I did not believe him,
but I know not what strange dizziness seized upon me--and then, through a
half-obscurity, I saw you--"
"No--not you--but a woman resembling you, dressed like you, so that I
believed the illusion--and then there came a man--and you flew to meet
him--and I--mad with rage--stabbed her, stabbed him, saw them fall--and
so came here to die. And now I find you only to cause your death. Oh,
misery! misery! that you should die through me!"
And Djalma, this man of formidable energy, began again to weep with the
weakness of a child. At sight of this deep, touching, passionate
despair, Adrienne, with that admirable courage which women alone possess
in love, thought only of consoling Djalma. By an effort of superhuman
passion, as the prince revealed to her this infernal plot, the lady's
countenance became so splendid with an expression of love and happiness,
that the East Indian looked at her in amazement, fearing for an instant
that he must have lost his reason.
"No more tears, my adored!" cried the young lady, exultingly. "No more
tears--but only smiles of joy and love! Our cruel enemies shall not
"What do you say?"
"They wished to make us miserable. We pity them. Our felicity shall be
the envy of the world!"
"Oh! I have all my senses about me. Listen to me, my adored! I now
understand it all. Falling into a snare, which these wretches spread for
you, you have committed murder. Now, in this country, murder leads to
infamy, or the scaffold--and to-morrow--to-night, perhaps--you would be
thrown into prison. But our enemies have said: 'A man like Prince Djalma
does not wait for infamy--he kills himself. A woman like Adrienne de
Cardoville does not survive the disgrace or death of her lover--she
prefers to die.'"
"Therefore a frightful death awaits them both," said the black-robed men;
"and that immense inheritance, which we covet--'"
"And for you--so young, so beautiful so innocent--death is frightful, and
these monsters triumph!" cried Djalma. "They have spoken the truth!"
"They have lied!" answered Adrienne. "Our death shall be celestial.
This poison is slow--and I adore you, my Djalma!"
She spoke those words in a low voice, trembling with passionate love,
and, leaning upon Djalma's knees, approached so near, that he felt her
warm breath upon his cheek. As he felt that breath, and saw the humid
flame that darted from the large, swimming eyes of Adrienne, whose half-
opened lips were becoming of a still deeper and brighter hue, the Indian
started--his young blood boiled in his veins--he forgot everything--his
despair, and the approach of death, which as yet (as with Adrienne), only
showed itself in a kind of feverish ardor. His face, like the young
girl's, became once more splendidly beautiful.
"Oh, my lover! my husband! how beautiful you are!" said Adrienne, with
idolatry. "Those eyes--that brow--those lips--how I love them!--How many
times has the remembrance of your grace and beauty, coupled with your
love, unsettled my reason, and shaken my resolves--even to this moment,
when I am wholly yours!--Yes, heaven wills that we should be united.
Only this morning, I gave to the apostolic man, that was to bless our
union, in thy name and mine, a royal gift--a gift, that will bring joy
and peace to the heart of many an unfortunate creature. Then what have
we to regret, my beloved? Our immortal souls will pass away in a kiss,
and ascend, full of love, to that God who is all love!"
The light, transparent curtains fell like a cloud over that nuptial and
funereal couch. Yes, funereal; for, two hours after, Adrienne and Djalma
breathed their last sigh in a voluptuous agony.
A DUEL TO THE DEATH.
Adrienne and Djalma died on the 30th of May. The following scene took
place on the 31st, the eve of the day appointed for the last convocation
of the heirs of Marius de Rennepont. The reader will no doubt remember
the room occupied by M. Hardy, in the "house of retreat," in the Rue de
Vaugirard--a gloomy and retired apartment, opening on a dreary little
garden, planted with yew-trees, and surrounded by high walls. To reach
this chamber, it was necessary to cross two vast rooms, the doors of
which, once shut, intercepted all noise and communication from without.
Bearing this in mind, we may go on with our narrative. For the last
three or four days, Father d'Aigrigny occupied this apartment. He had
not chosen it, but had been induced to accept it, under most plausible
pretexts, given him at the instigation of Rodin. It was about noon.
Seated in an arm-chair, by the window opening on the little garden,
Father d'Aigrigny held in his hand a newspaper, in which he read as
follows, under the head of "Paris:"
"Eleven p.m.--A most horrible and tragical event has just excited the
greatest consternation in the quarter of the Rue de Richelieu. A double
murder has been committed, on the person of a young man and woman. The
girl was killed on the spot, by the stroke of a dagger; hopes are
entertained of saving the life of the young man. The crime is attributed
to jealousy. The officers of justice are investigating the matter. We
shall give full particulars tomorrow."
When he had read these lines, Father d'Aigrigny threw down the paper and
remained in deep thought.
"It is incredible," said he, with bitter envy, in allusion to Rodin. "He
has attained his end. Hardly one of his anticipations has been defeated.
This family is annihilated, by the mere play of the passions, good and
evil that he has known how to set in motion. He said it would be so.
Oh! I must confess," added Father d'Aigrigny, with a jealous and hateful
smile, "that Rodin is a man of rare dissimulation, patience, energy,
obstinacy and intelligence. Who would have told a few months ago, when
he wrote under my orders, a discreet and humble socius, that he had
already conceived the most audacious ambition, and dared to lift his eyes
to the Holy See itself? that, thanks to intrigues and corruption, pursued
with wondrous ability, these views were not so unreasonable? Nay, that
this infernal ambition would soon be realized, were it not that the
secret proceedings of this dangerous man have long been as secretly
watched?--Ah!" sneered Father d'Aigrigny, with a smile of irony and
triumph, "you wish to be a second Sixtus V., do you? And, not content
with this audacious pretension, you mean, if successful, to absorb our
Company in the Papacy, even as the Sultan has absorbed the Janissaries.
Ah! You would make us your stepping-stone to power! And you have thought
to humiliate and crush me with your insolent disdain! But patience,
patience: the day of retribution approaches. I alone am the depository
of our General's will. Father Caboccini himself does not know that. The
fate of Rodin is in my hands. Oh! it will not be what he expects. In
this Rennepont affair (which, I must needs confess, he has managed
admirably), he thinks to outwit us all, and to work only for himself.
Father d'Aigrigny was suddenly disturbed in these agreeable reflections.
He heard the door of the next room open, and, as he turned round to see
who was coming, the door of the apartment in which he was turned upon its
hinges. Father d'Aigrigny started with surprise, and became almost
purple. Marshal Simon stood before him. And, behind the marshal, in the
shadow of the door, Father d'Aigrigny perceived the cadaverous face of
Rodin. The latter cast on him one glance of diabolical delight, and
instantly disappeared. The door was again closed, and Father d'Aigrigny
and Marshal Simon were left alone together. The father of Rose and
Blanche was hardly recognizable. His gray hair had become completely
white. His pale, thin face had not been shaved for some days. His
hollow eyes were bloodshot and restless, and had in them something wild
and haggard. He was wrapped in a large cloak, and his black cravat was
tied loosely about his neck. In withdrawing from the apartment, Rodin
had (as if by inadvertence) double-locked the door on the outside. When
he was alone with the Jesuit, the marshal threw back his cloak from his
shoulders, and Father d'Aigrigny could see two naked swords, stuck
through a silk handkerchief which served him as a belt.
Father d'Aigrigny understood it all. He remembered how, a few days
before, Rodin had obstinately pressed him to say what he would do if the
marshal were to strike him in the face. There could be no doubt that he,
who thought to have held the fate of Rodin in his hands, had been brought
by the latter into a fearful peril; for he knew that, the two outer rooms
being closed, there was no possibility of making himself heard, and that
the high walls of the garden only bordered upon some vacant lots. The
first thought which occurred to him, one by no means destitute of
probability, was that Rodin, either by his agents at Rome, or by his own
incredible penetration, had learned that his fate depended on Father
d'Aigrigny, and hoped therefore to get rid of him, by delivering him over
to the inexorable vengeance of the father of Rose and Blanche. Without
speaking a word, the marshal unbound the handkerchief from his waist,
laid the two swords upon the table, and, folding his arms upon his
breast, advanced slowly towards Father d'Aigrigny. Thus these two men,
who through life had pursued each other with implacable hatred, at length
met face to face--they, who had fought in hostile armies, and measured
swords in single combat, and one of whom now came to seek vengeance for
the death of his children. As the marshal approached, Father d'Aigrigny
rose from his seat. He wore that day a black cassock, which rendered
still more visible the pale hue, which had now succeeded to the sudden
flush on his cheek. For a few seconds, the two men stood face to face
without speaking. The marshal was terrific in his paternal despair. His
calmness, inexorable as fate, was more impressive than the most furious
burst of anger.
"My children are dead," said he at last, in a slow and hollow tone. "I
come to kill you."
"Sir," cried Father d'Aigrigny, "listen to me. Do not believe--"
"I must kill you," resumed the marshal, interrupting the Jesuit; "your
hate followed my wife into exile, where she perished. You and your
accomplices sent my children to certain death. For twenty years you have
been my evil genius. I must have your life, and I will have it."
"My life belongs, first, to God," answered Father d'Aigrigny, piously,
"and then to who likes to take it."
"We will fight to the death in this room," said the marshal; "and, as I
have to avenge my wife and children, I am tranquil as to the result."
"Sir," answered Father d'Aigrigny, coldly, "you forget that my profession
forbids me to fight. Once I accepted your challenge--but my position is
changed since then."
"Ah!" said the marshal, with a bitter smile; "you refuse to fight because
you are a priest?"
"Yes, sir--because I am a priest."
"So that, because he is a priest, a wretch like you may commit any crime,
any baseness, under shelter of his black gown?"
"I do not understand a word of your accusations. In any case, the law is
open," said Father d'Aigrigny, biting his pale lips, for he felt deeply
the insult offered by the marshal; "if you have anything to complain of,
appeal to that law, before which all are equal."
Marshal Simon shrugged his shoulders in angry disdain. "Your crimes
escape the law--and, could it even reach you, that would not satisfy my
vengeance, after all the evil you have done me, after all you have taken
from me," said the marshal; and, at the memory of his children, his voice
slightly trembled; but he soon proceeded, with terrible calmness: "You
must feel that I now only live for vengeance. And I must have such
revenge as is worth the seeking--I must have your coward's heart
palpitating on the point of my sword. Our last duel was play; this will
be earnest--oh! you shall see."
The marshal walked up to the table, where he had laid the two swords.
Father d'Aigrigny needed all his resolution to restrain himself. The
implacable hate which he had always felt for Marshal Simon, added to
these insults, filled him with savage ardor. Yet he answered, in a tone
that was still calm: "For the last time, sir, I repeat to you, that my
profession forbids me to fight."
"Then you refuse?" said the marshal, turning abruptly towards him.
"Positively. Nothing on earth should force me to it."
"No, sir; nothing."
"We shall see," said the marshal, as his hand fell with its full force on
the cheek of Father d'Aigrigny.
The Jesuit uttered a cry of fury; all his blood rushed to his face, so
roughly handled; the courage of the man (for he was brave), his ancient
military ardor, carried him away; his eyes sparkled, and, with teeth
firmly set, and clenched fists, he advanced towards the marshal,
exclaiming: "The swords! the swords!"
But suddenly, remembering the appearance of Rodin, and the interest which
the latter had in bringing about this encounter, he determined to avoid
the diabolical snare laid by his former socius, and so gathered
sufficient resolution to restrain his terrible resentment.
To his passing fury succeeded a calm, full of contrition; and, wishing to
play his part out to the end, he knelt down, and bowing his head and
beating his bosom, repeated: "Forgive me, Lord, for yielding to a
movement of rage! and, above all, forgive him who has injured me!"
In spite of his apparent resignation, the Jesuit's voice was neatly
agitated. He seemed to feel a hot iron upon his cheek, for never before
in his life, whether as a soldier or a priest, had he suffered such an
insult. He had thrown himself upon his knees, partly from religious
mummery, and partly to avoid the gaze of the marshal, fearing that, were