Part 1 out of 3
This etext was produced by David Widger
THE WANDERING JEW
By Eugene Sue
PART THIRD.--THE REDEMPTION.
I. The Wandering Jew's Chastisement
II. The Descendants of the Wandering Jew
III. The Attack
IV. The Wolves and the Devourers
V. The Return
VI. The Go-Between
VII. Another Secret
VIII. The Confession
X. The Execution
XI. The Champs-Elysees
XII. Behind the Scenes
XIII. Up with the Curtain
PART THIRD.--THE REDEMPTION.
THE WANDERING JEW'S CHASTISEMENT.
'Tis night--the moon is brightly shining, the brilliant stars are
sparkling in a sky of melancholy calmness, the shrill whistlings of a
northerly wind--cold, bleak, and evil-bearing--are increasing: winding
about, and bursting into violent blasts, with their harsh and hissing
gusts, they are sweeping the heights of Montmartre. A man is standing on
the very summit of the hill; his lengthened shadow, thrown out by the
moon's pale beams, darkens the rocky ground in the distance. The
traveller is surveying the huge city lying at his feet--the City of
Paris--from whose profundities are cast up its towers, cupolas, domes,
and steeples, in the bluish moisture of the horizon; while from the very
centre of this sea of stones is rising a luminous vapor, reddening the
starry azure of the sky above. It is the distant light of a myriad lamps
which at night, the season for pleasure, is illuminating the noisy
"No!" said the traveller, "it will not be. The Lord surely will not
suffer it. Twice is quite enough. Five centuries ago, the avenging hand
of the Almighty drove me hither from the depths of Asia. A solitary
wanderer, I left in my track more mourning, despair, disaster, and death,
than the innumerable armies of a hundred devastating conquerors could
have produced. I then entered this city, and it was decimated. Two
centuries ago that inexorable hand which led me through the world again
conducted me here; and on that occasion, as on the previous one, that
scourge, which at intervals the Almighty binds to my footsteps, ravaged
this city, attacking first my brethren, already wearied by wretchedness
and toil. My brethren! through me--the laborer of Jerusalem, cursed by
the Lord, who in my person cursed the race of laborers--a race always
suffering, always disinherited, always slaves, who like me, go on, on,
on, without rest or intermission, without recompense, or hope; until at
length, women, men, children, and old men, die under their iron yoke of
self-murder, that others in their turn then take up, borne from age to
age on their willing but aching shoulders. And here again, for the third
time, in the course of five centuries, I have arrived at the summit of
one of the hills which overlooks the city; and perhaps I bring again with
me terror, desolation, and death. And this unhappy city, intoxicated in
a whirl of joys, and nocturnal revelries, knows nothing about it--oh! it
knows not that I am at its very gate. But no! no! my presence will not
be a source of fresh calamity to it. The Lord, in His unsearchable
wisdom, has brought me hither across France, making me avoid on my route
all but the humblest villages, so that no increase of the funeral knell
has, marked my journey. And then, moreover, the spectre has left me--
that spectre, livid and green, with its deep bloodshot eyes. When I
touched the soil of France, its moist and icy hand abandoned mine--it
disappeared. And yet I feel the atmosphere of death surrounding me
still. There is no cessation; the biting gusts of this sinister wind,
which envelop me in their breath, seem by their envenomed breath to
propagate the scourge. Doubtless the anger of the Lord is appeased.
Maybe, my presence here is meant only as a threat, intending to bring
those to their senses whom it ought to intimidate. It must be so; for
were it otherwise, it would, on the contrary, strike a loud-sounding blow
of greater terror, casting at once dread and death into the very heart of
the country, into the bosom of this immense city. Oh, no! no! the Lord
will have mercy; He will not condemn me to this new affliction. Alas! in
this city my brethren are more numerous and more wretched than in any
other. And must I bring death to them? No! the Lord will have mercy;
for, alas! the seven descendants of my sister are at last all united in
this city. And must I bring death to them? Death! instead of that
immediate assistance they stand so much in need of? For that woman who,
like myself, wanders from one end of the world into the other, has gone
now on her everlasting journey, after having confounded their enemies'
plots. In vain did she foretell that great evils still threatened those
who are akin to me through my sister's blood. The unseen hand by which I
am led, drives that woman away from me, even as though it were a
whirlwind that swept her on. In vain she entreated and implored at the
moment she was leaving those who are so dear to me.--At least, 0 Lord,
permit me to stay until I shall have finished my task! Onward! A few
days, for mercy's sake, only a few days! Onward! I leave these whom I
am protecting on the very brink of an abyss! Onward! Onward!! And the
wandering star is launched afresh on its perpetual course. But her voice
traversed through space, calling me to the assistance of my own! When
her voice reached me I felt that the offspring of my sister were still
exposed to fearful dangers: those dangers are still increasing. Oh, say,
say, Lord! shall the descendants of my sister escape those woes which for
so many centuries have oppressed my race? Wilt Thou pardon me in them?
Wilt Thou punish me in them? Oh! lead them, that they may obey the last
wishes of their ancestor. Guide them, that they may join their
charitable hearts, their powerful strength, their best wisdom, and their
immense wealth, and work together for the future happiness of mankind,
thereby, perhaps, enabled to ransom me from my eternal penalties. Let
those divine words of the Son of Man, "Love ye one another!" be their
only aim; and by the assistance of their all-powerful words, let them
contend against and vanquish those false priests who have trampled on the
precepts of love, of peace, and hope commanded by the Saviour, setting up
in their stead the precepts of hatred, violence, and despair. Those
false shepherds, supported ay the powerful and wealthy of the world, who
in all times have been their accomplices, instead of asking here below a
little happiness for my brethren, who have been suffering and groaning
for centuries, dare to utter, in Thy name, O Lord! that the poor must
always be doomed to the tortures of this world, and that it is criminal
in Thine eyes that they should either wish for or hope a mitigation of
their sufferings on earth, because the happiness of the few and the
wretchedness of nearly all mankind is Thine almighty will. Blasphemies!
is it not the contrary of these homicidal words that is more worthy of
the name of Divine will? Hear, me, O Lord! for mercy's sake. Snatch
from their enemies the descendants of my sister, from the artisan up to
the king's son. Do not permit them to crush the germ of a mighty and
fruitful association, which, perhaps, under Thy protection, may take its
place among the records of the happiness of mankind. Suffer me, O Lord!
to unite those whom they are endeavoring to divide--to defend those whom
they are attacking. Suffer me to bring hope to those from whom hope has
fled, to give courage to those who are weak, to uphold those whom evil
threatens, and to sustain those who would persevere in well-doing. And
then, perhaps, their struggles, their devotedness, their virtues, this
miseries might expiate my sin. Yes, mine--misfortune, misfortune alone,
made me unjust and wicked. O Lord! since Thine almighty hand hath
brought me hither, for some end unknown to me, disarm Thyself, I implore
Thee, of Thine anger, and let not me be the instrument of Thy vengeance!
There is enough of mourning in the earth these two years past--Thy
creatures have fallen by millions in my footsteps. The world is
decimated. A veil of mourning extends from one end of the globe to the
other. I have traveled from Asia even to the Frozen Pole, and death has
followed in my wake. Dost Thou not hear, O Lord! the universal wailings
that mount up to Thee? Have mercy upon all, and upon me. One day, grant
me but a single day, that I may collect the descendants of my sister
together, and save them!" And uttering these words, the wanderer fell
upon his knees, and raised his hands to heaven in a suppliant attitude.
Suddenly, the wind howled with redoubled violence; its sharp whistlings
changed to a tempest. The Wanderer trembled, and exclaimed in a voice of
terror, "O Lord! the blast of death is howling in its rage. It appears
as though a whirlwind were lifting me up. Lord, wilt Thou not, then,
hear my prayer? The spectre! O! do I behold the spectre? Yes, there it
is; its cadaverous countenance is agitated by convulsive throes, its red
eyes are rolling in their orbits. Begone! begone! Oh! its hand--its icy
hand has seized on mine! Mercy, Lord, have mercy! 'Onward!' Oh, Lord!
this scourge, this terrible avenging scourge! Must I, then, again carry
it into this city, must my poor wretched brethren be the first to fall
under it--though already so miserable? Mercy, mercy! 'Onward!' And the
descendants of my sister--oh, pray, have mercy, mercy! 'Onward!' O
Lord, have pity on me! I can no longer keep my footing on the ground,
the spectre is dragging me over the brow of the hill; my course is as
rapid as the death-bearing wind that whistles in my track; I already
approach the walls of the city. Oh, mercy, Lord, mercy on the
descendants of my sister--spare them! do not compel me to be their
executioner, and let them triumph over their enemies. Onward, onward!
The ground is fleeing from under me; I am already at the city gate; oh,
yet, Lord, yet there is time; oh, have mercy on this slumbering city,
that it may not even now awaken with the lamentations of terror, of
despair and death! O Lord, I touch the threshold of the gate; verily
Thou willest it so then. 'Tis done--Paris! the scourge is in thy bosom!
oh, cursed, cursed evermore am I. Onward! on! on!"
 In 1346, the celebrated Black Death ravaged the earth, presenting
the same symptoms as the cholera, and the same inexplicable phenomena as
to its progress and the results in its route. In 1660 a similar epidemic
decimated the world. It is well known that when the cholera first broke
out in Paris, it had taken a wide and unaccountable leap; and, also
memorable, a north-east wind prevailed during its utmost fierceness.
THE DESCENDANTS OF THE WANDERING JEW.
That lonely wayfarer whom we have heard so plaintively urging to be
relieved of his gigantic burden of misery, spoke of "his sister's
descendants" being of all ranks, from the working man to the king's son.
They were seven in number, who had, in the year 1832, been led to Paris,
directly or indirectly, by a bronze medal which distinguished them from
others, bearing these words:--
L. C. D. J.
Pray for me!
February the 13th, 1682.
Rue St. Francois, No. 3,
In a century and a half
you will be.
February the 13th, 1832.
PRAY FOR ME!
The son of the King of Mundi had lost his father and his domains in India
by the irresistible march of the English, and was but in title Prince
Djalma. Spite of attempts to make his departure from the East delayed
until after the period when he could have obeyed his medal's command, he
had reached France by the second month of 1832. Nevertheless, the
results of shipwreck had detained him from Paris till after that date. A
second possessor of this token had remained unaware of its existence,
only discovered by accident. But an enemy who sought to thwart the union
of these seven members, had shut her up in a mad-house, from which she
was released only after that day. Not alone was she in imprisonment. An
old Bonapartist, General Simon, Marshal of France, and Duke de Ligny, had
left a wife in Russian exile, while he (unable to follow Napoleon to St.
Helena) continued to fight the English in India by means of Prince
Djalma's Sepoys, whom he drilled. On the latter's defeat, he had meant
to accompany his young friend to Europe, induced the more by finding that
the latter's mother, a Frenchwoman, had left him such another bronze
medal as he knew his wife to have had.
Unhappily, his wife had perished in Siberia, without his knowing it, any
more than he did, that she had left twin daughters, Rose and Blanche.
Fortunately for them, one who had served their father in the Grenadiers
of the Guard. Francis Baudoin, nicknamed Dagobert, undertook to fulfil
the dying mother's wishes, inspired by the medal. Saving a check at
Leipsic, where one Morok the lion-tamer's panther had escaped from its
cage and killed Dagobert's horse, and a subsequent imprisonment (which
the Wandering Jew's succoring hand had terminated) the soldier and his
orphan charges had reached Paris in safety and in time. But there, a
renewal of the foe's attempt had gained its end. By skillful devices,
Dagobert and his son Agricola were drawn out of the way while Rose and
Blanche Simon were decoyed into a nunnery, under the eyes of Dagobert's
wife. But she had been bound against interfering by the influence of the
Jesuit confessional. The fourth was M. Hardy, a manufacturer, and the
fifth, Jacques Rennepont, a drunken scamp of a workman, who were more
easily fended off, the latter in a sponging house, the former by a
friend's lure. Adrienne de Cardoville, daughter of the Count of
Rennepont, who had also been Duke of Cardoville, was the lady who had
been unwarrantably placed in the lunatic asylum. The fifth, unaware of
the medal, was Gabriel, a youth, who had been brought up, though a
foundling, in Dagobert's family, as a brother to Agricola. He had
entered holy orders, and more, was a Jesuit, in name though not in heart.
Unlike the others, his return from abroad had been smoothed. He had
signed away all his future prospects, for the benefit of the order of
Loyola, and, moreover, executed a more complete deed of transfer on the
day, the 13th of February, 1832, when he, alone of the heirs, stood in
the room of the house, No. 3, Rue St. Francois, claiming what was a vast
surprise for the Jesuits, who, a hundred and fifty years before, had
discovered that Count Marius de Rennepont had secreted a considerable
amount of his wealth, all of which had been confiscated to them, in those
painful days of dragoonings, and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
They had bargained for some thirty or forty millions of francs to be
theirs, by educating Gabriel into resigning his inheritance to them, but
it was two hundred and twelve millions which the Jesuit representatives
(Father d'Aigrigny and his secretary, Rodin) were amazed to hear their
nursling placed in possession of. They had the treasure in their hands,
in fact, when a woman of strangely sad beauty had mysteriously entered
the room where the will had been read, and laid a paper before the
notary. It was a codicil, duly drawn up and signed, deferring the
carrying out of the testament until the first day of June the same year.
The Jesuits fled from the house, in rage and intense disappointment.
Father d'Aigrigny was so stupor-stricken at the defeat, that he bade his
secretary at once write off to Rome that the Rennepont inheritance had
escaped them, and hopes to seize it again were utterly at an end. Upon
this, Rodin had revolted, and shown that he had authority to command
where he had, so far, most humbly obeyed. Many such spies hang about
their superior's heels, with full powers to become the governor in turn,
at a moment's notice. Thenceforward, he, Rodin, had taken the business
into his own hands. He had let Rose and Blanche Simon out of the convent
into their father's arms. He had gone in person to release Adrienne de
Cardoville from the asylum. More, having led her to sigh for Prince
Djalma, he prompted the latter to burn for her.
He let not M. Hardy escape. A friend whom the latter treated as a
brother, had been shown up to him as a mere spy of the Jesuits; the woman
whom he adored, a wedded woman, alas! who had loved him in spite of her
vows, had been betrayed. Her mother had compelled her to hide her shame
in America, and, as she had often said--"Much as you are endeared to me,
I cannot waver between you and my mother!" so she had obeyed, without one
farewell word to him. Confess, Rodin was a more dextrous man than his
late master! In the pages that ensue farther proofs of his superiority
in baseness and satanic heartlessness will not be wanting.
On M. Hardy's learning from the confidential go-between of the lovers,
that his mistress had been taken away by her mother, he turned from Rodin
and dashed away in a post carriage. At the same moment, as loud as the
rattle of the wheels, there arose the shouts of a band of workmen and
rioters, hired by the Jesuit's emissaries, coming to attack Hardy's
operatives. An old grudge long existing between them and a rival
manufacturer's--Baron Tripeaud--laborers, fanned the flames. When M.
Hardy had left the factory, Rodin, who was not prepared for this sudden
departure, returned slowly to his hackney-coach; but he stopped suddenly,
and started with pleasure and surprise, when he saw, at some distance,
Marshall Simon and his father advancing towards one of the wings of the
Common Dwelling-house; for an accidental circumstance had so far delayed
the interview of the father and son.
"Very well!" said Rodin. "Better and better! Now, only let my man have
found out and persuaded little Rose-Pompon!"
And Rodin hastened towards his hackney-coach. At this moment, the wind,
which continued to rise, brought to the ear of the Jesuit the war song of
the approaching Wolves.
The workman was in the garden. The marshal said to him, in a voice of
such deep emotion that the old man started; "Father, I am very unhappy."
A painful expression, until then concealed, suddenly darkened the
countenance of the marshal.
"You unhappy?" cried father Simon, anxiously, as he pressed nearer to the
"For some days, my daughters have appeared constrained in manner, and
lost in thought. During the first moments of our re-union, they were mad
with joy and happiness. Suddenly, all has changed; they are becoming
more and more sad. Yesterday, I detected tears in their eyes; then
deeply moved, I clasped them in my arms, and implored them to tell me the
cause of their sorrow. Without answering, they threw themselves on my
neck, and covered my face with their tears."
"It is strange. To what do you attribute this alteration?"
"Sometimes, I think I have not sufficiently concealed from them the grief
occasioned me by the loss of their mother, and they are perhaps miserable
that they do not suffice for my happiness. And yet (inexplicable as it
is) they seem not only to understand, but to share my sorrow. Yesterday,
Blanche said to me: 'How much happier still should we be, if our mother
were with us!--'"
"Sharing your sorrow, they cannot reproach you with it. There must be
some other cause for their grief."
"Yes," said the marshal, looking fixedly at his father; "yes--but to
penetrate this secret--it would be necessary not to leave them."
"What do you mean?"
"First learn, father, what are the duties which would keep me here; then
you shall know those which may take me away from you, from my daughters,
and from my other child."
"What other child?"
"The son of my old friend, the Indian Prince."
"Djalma? Is there anything the matter with him?"
"Father, he frightens me. I told you, father, of his mad and unhappy
passion for Mdlle. de Cardoville."
"Does that frighten you, my son?" said the old man, looking at the
marshal with surprise. "Djalma is only eighteen, and, at that age, one
love drives away another."
"You have no idea of the ravages which the passion has already made in
the ardent, indomitable boy; sometimes, fits of savage ferocity follow
the most painful dejection. Yesterday, I came suddenly upon him; his
eyes were bloodshot, his features contracted with rage; yielding to an
impulse of mad furry, he was piercing with his poinard a cushion of red
cloth, whilst he exclaimed, panting for breath, 'Ha blood!--I will have
blood!' 'Unhappy boy!' I said to him, 'what means this insane passion?'
'I'm killing the man!' replied he, in a hollow and savage voice: it is
thus he designates his supposed rival."
"There is indeed something terrible," said the old man, "in such a
passion, in such a heart."
"At other times," resumed the marshal, "it is against Mdlle. de
Cardoville that his rage bursts forth; and at others, against himself. I
have been obliged to remove his weapons, for a man who came with him from
Java, and who appears much attached to him, has informed me that he
suspected him of entertaining some thoughts of suicide."
"Well, father," said Marshal Simon, with profound bitterness; "it is at
the moment when my daughters and my adopted son require all my
solicitude, that I am perhaps on the eve of quitting them."
"Of quitting them?"
"Yes, to fulfil a still more sacred duty than that imposed by friendship
or family," said the marshal, in so grave and solemn a tone, that his
father exclaimed, with deep emotion: "What can this duty be?"
"Father," said the marshal, after remaining a moment in thoughtful
silence, "who made me what I am? Who gave me the ducal title, and the
"For you, the stern republican, I know that he lost all his value, when
from the first citizen of a Republic he became an emperor.
"I cursed his weakness," said Father Simon, sadly; "the demi-god sank
into a man."
"But for me, father--for me, the soldier, who have always fought beside
him, or under his eye--for me, whom he raised from the lowest rank in the
army to the highest--for me, whom he loaded with benefits and marks of
affection--for me, he was more than a hero, he was a friend--and there
was as much gratitude as admiration in my idolatry for him. When he was
exiled, I would fain have shared his exile; they refused me that favor;
then I conspired, then I drew my sword against those who had robbed his
son of the crown which France had given him."
"And, in your position, you did well, Pierre; without sharing your
admiration, I understood your gratitude. The projects of exile, the
conspiracies--I approved them all--you know it."
"Well, then, that disinherited child, in whose name I conspired seventeen
years ago, is now of an age to wield his father's sword."
"Napoleon II!" exclaimed the old man, looking at his son with surprise
and extreme anxiety; "the king of Rome!"
"King? no; he is no longer king. Napoleon? no; he is no longer Napoleon.
They have given him some Austrian name, because the other frightened
them. Everything frightens them. Do you know what they are doing with
the son of the Emperor?" resumed the marshal, with painful excitement.
"They are torturing him--killing him by inches!"
"Who told you this?"
"Somebody who knows, whose words are but too true. Yes; the son of the
Emperor struggles with all his strength against a premature death. With
his eyes turned towards France, he waits--he waits--and no one comes--no
one--out of all the men that his father made as great as they once were
little, not one thinks of that crowned child, whom they are stifling,
till he dies."
"But you think of him?"
"Yes; but I had first to learn--oh! there is no doubt of it, for I have
not derived all my information from the same source--I had first to
learn the cruel fate of this youth, to whom I also swore allegiance; for
one day, as I have told you, the Emperor, proud and loving father as he
was, showed him to me in his cradle, and said: 'My old friend, you will
be to the son what you have been to the father; who loves us, loves our
"Yes, I know it. Many times you have repeated those words to me, and,
like yourself, I have been moved by them."
"Well, father! suppose, informed of the sufferings of the son of the
Emperor, I had seen--with the positive certainty that I was not deceived-
-a letter from a person of high rank in the court of Vienna, offering to
a man that was still faithful to the Emperor's memory, the means of
communicating with the king of Rome, and perhaps of saving him from his
"What next?" said the workman, looking fixedly at his son. "Suppose
Napoleon II. once at liberty--"
"What next?" exclaimed the marshal. Then he added, in a suppressed
voice: "Do you think, father, that France is insensible to the
humiliations she endures? Do you think that the memory of the Emperor is
extinct? No, no; it is, above all, in the days of our country's
degredation, that she whispers that sacred name. How would it be, then,
were that name to rise glorious on the frontier, reviving in his son? Do
you not think that the heart of all France would beat for him?"
"This implies a conspiracy--against the present government--with Napoleon
II. for a watchword," said the workman. "This is very serious."
"I told you, father, that I was very unhappy; judge if it be not so,"
cried the marshal. "Not only I ask myself, if I ought to abandon my
children and you, to run the risk of so daring an enterprise, but I ask
myself if I am not bound to the present government, which, in
acknowledging my rank and title, if it bestowed no favor, at least did me
an act of justice. How shall I decide?--abandon all that I love, or
remain insensible to the tortures of Emperor--of that Emperor to the son
of the whom I owe everything--to whom I have sworn fidelity, both to
himself and child? Shall I lose this only opportunity, perhaps, of
saving him, or shall I conspire in his favor? Tell me, if I exaggerate
what I owe to the memory of the Emperor? Decide for me, father! During
a whole sleepless night, I strove to discover, in the midst of this
chaos, the line prescribed by honor; but I only wandered from indecision
to indecision. You alone, father--you alone, I repeat, can direct me."
After remaining for some moments in deep thought, the old man was about
to answer, when some person, running across the little garden, opened the
door hastily, and entered the room in which were the marshal and his
father. It was Olivier, the young workman, who had been able to effect
his escape from the village in which the Wolves had assembled.
"M. Simon! M. Simon!" cried he, pale, and panting for breath. "They are
here--close at hand. They have come to attack the factory."
"Who?" cried the old man, rising hastily.
"The Wolves, quarrymen, and stone-cutters, joined on the road by a crowd
of people from the neighborhood, and vagabonds from town. Do you not
hear them? They are shouting, 'Death to the Devourers!'"
The clamor was indeed approaching, and grew more and more distinct.
"It is the same noise that I heard just now," said the marshal, rising in
"There are more than two hundred of them, M. Simon," said Olivier; "they
are armed with clubs and stones, and unfortunately the greater part of
our workmen are in Paris. We are not above forty here in all; the women
and children are already flying to their chambers, screaming for terror.
Do you not hear them?"
The ceiling shook beneath the tread of many hasty feet.
"Will this attack be a serious one?" said the marshal to his father, who
appeared more and more dejected.
"Very serious," said the old man; "there is nothing more fierce than
these combats between different unions; and everything has been done
lately to excite the people of the neighborhood against the factory."
"If you are so inferior in number," said the marshal, "you must begin by
barricading all the doors--and then--"
He was unable to conclude. A burst of ferocious cries shook the windows
of the room, and seemed so near and loud, that the marshal, his father,
and the young workman, rushed out into the little garden, which was
bounded on one side by a wall that separated it from the fields.
Suddenly whilst the shouts redoubled in violence, a shower of large
stones, intended to break the windows of the house, smashed some of the
panes on the first story, struck against the wall, and fell into the
garden, all around the marshal and his father. By a fatal chance, one of
these large stones struck the old man on the head. He staggered, bent
forward, and fell bleeding into the arms of Marshal Simon, just as arose
from without, with increased fury, the savage cries of, "Death to the
THE WOLVES AND THE DEVOURERS.
It was a frightful thing to view the approach of the lawless crowd, whose
first act of hostility had been so fatal to Marshal Simon's father. One
wing of the Common Dwelling-house, which joined the garden-wall on that
side, was next to the fields. It was there that the Wolves began their
attack. The precipitation of their march, the halt they had made at two
public-houses on the road, their ardent impatience for the approaching
struggle, had inflamed these men to a high pitch of savage excitement.
Having discharged their first shower of stones, most of the assailants
stooped down to look for more ammunition. Some of them, to do so with
greater ease, held their bludgeons between their teeth; others had placed
them against the wall; here and there, groups had formed tumultuously
round the principal leaders of the band; the most neatly dressed of these
men wore frocks, with caps, whilst others were almost in rags, for, as we
have already said, many of the hangers-on at the barriers, and people
without any profession, had joined the troop of the Wolves, whether
welcome or not. Some hideous women, with tattered garments, who always
seem to follow in the track of such people, accompanied them on this
occasion, and, by their cries and fury, inflamed still more the general
excitement. One of them, tall, robust, with purple complexion, blood-
shot eyes, and toothless jaws, had a handkerchief over her head, from
beneath which escaped her yellow, frowsy hair. Over her ragged gown, she
wore an old plaid shawl, crossed over her bosom, and tied behind her
back. This hag seemed possessed with a demon. She had tucked up her
half-torn sleeves; in one hand she brandished a stick, in the other she
grasped a huge stone; her companions called her Ciboule (scullion).
This horrible hag exclaimed, in a hoarse voice: "I'll bite the women of
the factory; I'll make them bleed."
The ferocious words were received with applause by her companions, and
with savage cries of "Ciboule forever!" which excited her to frenzy.
Amongst the other leaders, was a small, dry pale man, with the face of a
ferret, and a black beard all round the chin; he wore a scarlet Greek
cap, and beneath his long blouse, perfectly new, appeared a pair of neat
cloth trousers, strapped over thin boots. This man was evidently of a
different condition of life from that of the other persons in the troop;
it was he, in particular, who ascribed the most irritating and insulting
language to the workmen of the factory, with regard to the inhabitants of
the neighborhood. He howled a great deal, but he carried neither stick
nor stone. A full-faced, fresh-colored man, with a formidable bass
voice, like a chorister's, asked him: "Will you not have a shot at those
impious dogs, who might bring down the Cholera on the country, as the
curate told us?"
"I will have a better shot than you," said the little man, with a
singular, sinister smile.
"And with what, I'd like to see?"
"Probably, with this," said the little man, stooping to pick up a large
stone; but, as he bent, a well-filled though light bag, which he appeared
to carry under his blouse, fell to the ground.
"Look, you are losing both bag and baggage," said the other; "it does not
seem very heavy."
"They are samples of wool," answered the man with the ferret's face, as
he hastily picked up the bag, and replaced it under his blouse; then he
added: "Attention! the big blaster is going to speak."
And, in fact, he who exercised the most complete ascendency over this
irritated crowd was the terrible quarryman. His gigantic form towered so
much above the multitude, that his great head, bound in its ragged
handkerchief, and his Herculean shoulders, covered with a fallow goat-
skin, were always visible above the level of that dark and swarming
crowd, only relieved here and there by a few women's caps, like so many
white points. Seeing to what a degree of exasperation the minds of the
crowd had reached, the small number of honest, but misguided workmen, who
had allowed themselves to be drawn into this dangerous enterprise, under
the pretext of a quarrel between rival unions, now fearing for the
consequences of the struggle, tried, but too late, to abandon the main
body. Pressed close, and as it were, girt in with the more hostile
groups, dreading to pass for cowards, or to expose themselves to the bad
treatment of the majority, they were forced to wait for a more favorable
moment to effect their escape. To the savage cheers, which had
accompanied the first discharge of stones, succeeded a deep silence
commanded by the stentorian voice of the quarryman.
"The Wolves have howled," he exclaimed; "let us wait and see how the
Devourers will answer, and when they will begin the fight."
"We must draw them out of their factory, and fight them on neutral
ground," said the little man with the ferret's face, who appeared to be
the thieves' advocate; "otherwise there would be trespass."
"What do we care about trespass?" cried the horrible hag, Ciboule; "in or
out, I will tear the chits of the factory."
"Yes, yes," cried other hideous creatures, as ragged as Ciboule herself;
"we must not leave all to the men."
"We must have our fun, too!"
"The women of the factory say that all the women of the neighborhood are
drunken drabs," cried the little man with the ferret's face.
"Good! we'll pay them for it."
"The women shall have their share."
"That's our business."
"They like to sing in their Common House," cried Ciboule; "we will make
them sing the wrong side of their mouths, in the key of 'Oh, dear me!'"
This pleasantry was received with shouts, hootings, and furious stamping
of feet, to which the stentorian voice of the quarryman put a term by
"Silence! silence!" repeated the crowd. "Hear the blaster!"
"If the Devourers are cowards enough not to dare to show themselves,
after a second volley of stones, there is a door down there which we can
break open, and we will soon hunt them from their holes."
"It would be better to draw them out, so that none might remain in the
factory," said the little old man with the ferret's face, who appeared to
have some secret motive.
"A man fights where he can," cried the quarryman, in a voice of thunder;
"all, right, if we can but once catch hold. We could fight on a sloping
roof, or on the top of a wall--couldn't we, my Wolves?"
"Yes, yes!" cried the crowd, still more excited by those savage words;
"if they don't come out, we will break in."
"We will see their fine palace!"
"The pagans haven't even a chapel," said the bass voice. "The curate has
damned them all!"
"Why should they have a palace, and we nothing but dog-kennels?"
"Hardy's workmen say that kennels are good enough for such as you." said
the little man with the ferret's face.
"Yes, yes! they said so."
"We'll break all their traps."
"We'll pull down their bazaar."
"We'll throw the house out of the windows."
"When we have made the mealy-mouthed chits sing," cried Ciboule, "we will
make them dance to the clatter of stones on their heads."
"Come, my Wolves! attention!" cried the quarryman, still in the same
stentorian voice; "one more volley, and if the Devourers do not come out,
down with the door!"
This proposition was received with cheers of savage ardor, and the
quarryman, whose voice rose above the tumult, cried with all the strength
of his herculean lungs: "Attention, my Wolves. Make ready! all together.
Now, are you ready?"
"Yes, yes--all ready!"
"Then, present!--fire!" And, for the second time, a shower of enormous
stones poured upon that side of the Common Dwelling-house which was
turned towards the fields. A part of these projectiles broke such of the
windows as had been spared by the first volley. To the sharp smashing
and cracking of glass were joined the ferocious cries uttered in chorus
by this formidable mob, drunk with its own excesses: "Death to the
Soon these outcries became perfectly frantic, when, through the broken
windows, the assailants perceived women running in terror, some with
children in their arms, and others raising their hands to heaven, calling
aloud for help; whilst a few, bolder than the rest, leaned out of the
windows, and tried to fasten the outside blinds.
"There come the ants out of their holes!" cried Ciboule, stooping to pick
up a stone. "We must have a fling at them for luck!" The stone, hurled
by the steady, masculine hand of the virago, went straight to its mark,
and struck an unfortunate woman who was trying to close one of the
"Hit in the white!" cried the hideous creature.
"Well done, Ciboule!--you've rapped her coker-nut!" cried a voice.
"Come out, you Devourers, if you dare!"
"They have said a hundred times, that the neighbors were too cowardly
even to come and look at their house," squealed the little man with the
"And now they show the white feather!"
"If they will not come out," cried the quarryman, in voice of thunder,
"let us smoke them out!"
"Let's break open the door!"
"We are sure to find them!"
"Come on! come on!"
The crowd, with the quarryman at their head, and Ciboule not far from
him, brandishing a stick, advanced tumultously towards one of the great
doors. The ground shook beneath the rapid tread of the mob, which had
now ceased shouting; but the confused, and, as it were, subterraneous
noise, sounded even more ominous than those savage outcries. The Wolves
soon arrived opposite the massive oaken door. At the moment the blaster
raised a sledgehammer, the door opened suddenly. Some of the most
determined of the assailants were about to rush in at this entrance; but
the quarryman stepped back, extending his arm as if to moderate their
ardor and impose silence. Then his followers gathered round him.
The half-open door discovered a party of workmen, unfortunately by no
means numerous, but with countenances full of resolution. They had armed
themselves hastily with forks, iron bars, and clubs. Agricola, who was
their leader, held in his hand a heavy sledge-hammer. The young workman
was very pale; but the fire of his eye, his menacing look, and the
intrepid assurance of his bearing, showed that his father's blood boiled
in his veins, and that in such a struggle he might become fear-inspiring.
Yet he succeeded in restraining himself, and challenged the quarryman, in
a firm voice: "What do you want?"
"A fight!" thundered the blaster.
"Yes, yes! a fight!" repeated the crowd.
"Silence, my Wolves!" cried the quarryman, as he turned round, and
stretched forth his large hand towards the multitude. Then addressing
Agricola, he said: "The Wolves have come to ask for a fight."
"With the Devourers."
"There are no Devourers here," replied Agricola; "we are only peaceable
workmen. So begone."
"Well! here are the Wolves, that will eat your quiet workmen."
"The Wolves will eat no one here," said Agricola, looking full at the
quarryman, who approached him with a threatening air; "they can only
frighten little children."
"Oh! you think so," said the quarryman, with a savage sneer. Then
raising his weapon, he shook it in Agricola's face, exclaiming: "Is that
any laughing matter?
"Is that?" answered Agricola, with a rapid movement, parrying the stone-
sledge with his own hammer.
"Iron against iron--hammer against hammer--that suits me," said the
"It does not matter what suits you," answered Agricola, hardly able to
restrain himself. "You have broken our windows, frightened our women,
and wounded--perhaps killed--the oldest workman in the factory, who at
this moment lies bleeding in the arms of his son." Here Agricola's voice
trembled in spite of himself. "It is, I think, enough,"
"No; the Wolves are hungry for more," answered the blaster; "you must
come out (cowards that you are!), and fight us on the plain."
"Yes! yes! battle!--let them come out!" cried the crowd, howling,
hissing, waving their sticks and pushing further into the small space
which separated them from the door.
"We will have no battle," answered Agricola: "we will not leave our home;
but if you have the misfortune to pass this," said Agricola, throwing his
cap upon the threshold, and setting his foot on it with an intrepid air,
"if you pass this, you attack us in our own house, and you will be
answerable for all that may happen."
"There or elsewhere we will have the fight! the Wolves must eat the
Devourers. Now for the attack!" cried the fierce quarryman, raising his
hammer to strike Agricola.
But the latter, throwing himself on one side by a sudden leap, avoided
the blow, and struck with his hammer full at the chest of the quarryman,
who staggered for a moment, but instantly recovering his legs, rushed
furiously on Agricola, crying: "Follow me, Wolves!"
As soon as the combat had begun between Agricola and the blaster, the
general fight became terrible, ardent, implacable. A flood of
assailants, following the quarryman's steps, rushed into the house with
irresistible fury; others, unable to force their way through this
dreadful crowd, where the more impetuous squeezed, stifled, and crushed
these who were less so, went round in another direction, broke through
some lattice work, and thus placed the people of the factory, as it were,
between two fires. Some resisted courageously; others, seeing Ciboule,
followed by some of her horrible companions, and by several of the most
ill-looking ruffians, hastily enter that part of the Common-Dwelling-
house in which the women had taken refuge, hurried in pursuit of this
band; but some of the hag's companions, having faced about, and
vigorously defended the entrance of the staircase against the workmen,
Ciboule, with three or four like herself, and about the same number of no
less ignoble men, rushed through the rooms, with the intention of robbing
or destroying all that came in their way. A door, which at first
resisted their efforts, was soon broken through; Ciboule rushed into the
apartment with a stick in her hand, her hair dishevelled, furious, and,
as it were, maddened with the noise and tumult. A beautiful young girl
(it was Angela), who appeared anxious to defend the entrance to a second
chamber, threw herself on her knees, pale and supplicating, and raising
her clasped hands, exclaimed: "Do not hurt my mother!"
"I'll serve you out first, and your mother afterwards," replied the
horrible woman, throwing herself on the poor girl, and endeavoring to
tear her face with her nails, whilst the rest of the ruffianly band broke
the glass and the clock with their sticks, and possessed themselves of
some articles of wearing apparel.
Angela, struggling with Ciboule, uttered loud cries of distress, and
still attempted to guard the room in which her mother had taken refuge;
whilst the latter, leaning from the window, called Agricola to their
assistance. The smith was now engaged with the huge blaster. In a close
struggle, their hammers had become useless, and with bloodshot eyes and
clinched teeth, chest to chest, and limbs twined together like two
serpents, they made the most violent efforts to overthrow each other.
Agricola, bent forward, held under his right arm the left leg of the
quarryman, which he had seized in parrying a violent kick; but such was
the Herculean strength of the leader of the Wolves, that he remained firm
as a tower, though resting only on one leg. With the hand that was still
free (for the other was gripped by Agricola as in a vise), he endeavored
with violent blows to break the jaws of the smith, who, leaning his head
forward, pressed his forehead hard against the breast of his adversary.
"The Wolf will break the Devourer's teeth, and he shall devour no more,"
said the quarryman.
"You are no true Wolf," answered the smith, redoubling his efforts; "the
true Wolves are honest fellows, and do not come ten against one."
"True or false, I will break your teeth."
"And I your paw," said the smith, giving so violent a wrench to the leg
of the quarryman, that the latter uttered a cry of acute pain, and, with
the rage of a wild beast, butting suddenly forward with his head,
succeeded in biting Agricola in the side of the neck.
The pang of this bite forced Agricola to make a movement, which enabled
the quarryman to disengage his leg. Then, with a superhuman effort, he
threw himself with his whole weight on Agricola, and brought him to the
ground, falling himself upon him.
At this juncture, Angela's mother, leaning from one of the windows of the
Common Dwelling-house, exclaimed in a heart-rending voice: "Help,
Agricola!--they are killing my child!"
"Let me go--and on, my honor--I will fight you tomorrow, or when you
will," said Agricola, panting for breath.
"No warmed-up food for me; I eat all hot," answered the quarryman,
seizing the smith by the throat, whilst he tried to place one of his
knees upon his chest.
"Help!--they are killing my child!" cried Angela's mother, in a voice of
"Mercy! I ask mercy! Let me go!"' said Agricola, making the most
violent efforts to escape.
"I am too hungry," answered the quarryman.
Exasperated by the terror which Angela's danger occasioned him, Agricola
redoubled his efforts, when the quarryman suddenly felt his thigh seized
by the sharp teeth of a dog, and at the same instant received from a
vigorous hand three or four heavy blows with a stick upon his head. He
relaxed his grasp, and fell stunned upon his hand and knee, whilst he
mechanically raised his other arm to parry the blows, which ceased as
soon as Agricola was delivered.
"Father, you have saved me!" cried the smith, springing up. "If only I
am in time to rescue Angela!"
"Run!--never mind me!" answered Dagobert; and Agricola rushed into the
Dogabert, accompanied by Spoil-sport, had come, as we have already said,
to bring Marshal Simon's daughters to their grandfather. Arriving in the
midst of the tumult, the soldier had collected a few workmen to defend
the entrance of the chamber, to which the marshal's father had been
carried in a dying state. It was from this post that the soldier had
seen Agricola's danger. Soon after, the rush of the conflict separated
Dagobert from the quarryman, who remained for some moments insensible.
Arrived in two bounds at the Common Dwelling-house, Agricola succeeded in
forcing his way through the men who defended the staircase, and rushed
into the corridor that led to Angela's chamber. At the moment he reached
it, the unfortunate girl was mechanically guarding her face with both
hands against Ciboule, who, furious as the hyena over its prey, was
trying to scratch and disfigure her.
To spring upon the horrible hag, seize her by her yellow hair with
irresistible hand, drag her backwards, and then with one cuff, stretch
her full length upon the ground, was for Agricola an achievement as rapid
as thought. Furious with rage, Ciboule rose again almost instantly; but
at this moment, several workmen, who had followed close upon Agricola,
were able to attack with advantage, and whilst the smith lifted the
fainting form of Angela, and carried her into the next room, Ciboule and
her band were driven from that part of the house.
After the first fire of the assault, the small number of real Wolves,
who, as Agricola said, were in the main honest fellows, but had the
weakness to let themselves be drawn into this enterprise, under the
pretext of a quarrel between rival unions, seeing the excesses committed
by the rabble who accompanied them, turned suddenly round, and ranged
themselves on the side of the Devourers.
"There are no longer here either Wolves or Devourers," said one of the
most determined Wolves to Olivier, with whom he had been fighting roughly
and fairly; "there are none here but honest workmen, who must unite to
drive out a set of scoundrels, that have come only to break and pillage."
"Yes," added another; "it was against our will that they began by
breaking your windows."
"The big blaster did it all," said another; "the true Wolves wash their
hands of him. We shall soon settle his account."
"We may fight every day--but we ought to esteem each other."
This defection of a portion of the assailants (unfortunately but a small
portion) gave new spirit to the workmen of the factory, and all together,
Wolves and Devourers, though very inferior in number, opposed themselves
to the band of vagabonds, who were proceeding to new excesses. Some of
these wretches, still further excited by the little man with the ferret's
face, a secret emissary of Baron Tripeaud, now rushed in a mass towards
the workshops of M. Hardy. Then began a lamentable devastation. These
people, seized with the mania of destruction, broke without remorse
machines of the greatest value, and most delicate construction; half-
manufactured articles were pitilessly destroyed; a savage emulation
seemed to inspire these barbarians, and those workshops, so lately the
model of order and well-regulated economy, were soon nothing but a wreck;
the courts were strewed with fragments of all kinds of wares, which were
thrown from the windows with ferocious outcries, or savage bursts of
laughter. Then, still thanks to the incitements of the little man with
the ferret's face, the books of M. Hardy, archives of commercial
industry, so indispensable to the trader, were scattered to the wind,
torn, trampled under foot, in a sort of infernal dance, composed of all
that was most impure in this assembly of low, filthy, and ragged men and
women, who held each other by the hand, and whirled round and round with
horrible clamor. Strange and painful contrasts! At the height of the
stunning noise of these horrid deeds of tumult and devastation, a scene
of imposing and mournful calm was taking place in the chamber of Marshal
Simon's father, the door of which was guarded by a few devoted men. The
old workman was stretched on his bed, with a bandage across his blood-
stained white hair. His countenance was livid, his breathing oppressed,
his look fixed and glazed.
Marshal Simon, standing at the head of the bed, bending over his father,
watched in despairing anguish the least sign of consciousness on the part
of the dying man, near whom was a physician, with his finger on the
failing pulse. Rose and Blanche, brought hither by Dagobert, were
kneeling beside the bed, their hands clasped, and their eyes bathed in
tears; a little further, half hidden in the shadows of the room, for the
hours had passed quickly, and the night was at hand, stood Dagobert
himself, with his arms crossed upon his breast, and his features
painfully contracted. A profound and solemn silence reigned in this
chamber, only interrupted by the broken sobs of Rose and Blanche, or by
Father Simon's hard breathing. The eyes of the marshal were dry, gloomy,
and full of fire. He only withdrew them from his father's face, to
interrogate the physician by a look. There are strange coincidences in
life. That physician was Dr. Baleinier. The asylum of the doctor being
close to the barrier that was nearest to the factory, and his fame being
widely spread in the neighborhood, they had run to fetch him on the first
call for medical assistance.
Suddenly, Dr. Baleinier made a movement; the marshal, who had not taken
his eyes off him, exclaimed: "Is there any hope?"
"At least, my lord duke, the pulse revives a little."
"He is saved!" said the marshal.
"Do not cherish false hopes, my lord duke," answered the doctor, gravely:
"the pulse revives, owing to the powerful applications to the feet, but I
know not what will be the issue of the crisis."
"Father! father! do you hear me?" cried the marshal, seeing the old man
slightly move his head, and feebly raise his eyelids. He soon opened his
eyes, and this time their intelligence had returned.
"Father! you live--you know me!" cried the marshal, giddy with joy and
"Pierre! are you there?" said the old man, in a weak voice. "Your hand--
give--it--" and he made a feeble movement.
"Here, father!" cried the marshal, as he pressed the hands of the old man
in his own.
Then, yielding to an impulse of delight, he bent over his father, covered
his hands, face, and hair with kisses, and repeated: "He lives! kind
heaven, he lives! he is saved!"
At this instant, the noise of the struggle which had recommenced between
the rabble, the Wolves, and the Devourers, reached the ears of the dying
"That noise! that noise!" said he: "they are fighting."
"It is growing less, I think," said the marshal, in order not to agitate
"Pierre," said the old man, in a weak and broken voice, "I have not long
"Let me speak, child; if I can but tell you all."
"Sir," said Baleinier piously to the old workman, "heaven may perhaps
work a miracle in your favor; show yourself grateful, and allow a priest--"
"A priest! Thank you, sir--I have my son," said the old man; "in his
arms, I will render up my soul--which has always been true and honest."
"You die?" exclaimed the marshal; "no! no!"
"Pierre," said the old man, in a voice which, firm at first, gradually
grew fainter, "just now--you ask my advice in a very serious matter. I
think, that the wish to tell you of your duty--has recalled me--for a
moment--to life--for I should die miserable--if I thought you in a road
unworthy of yourself and me. Listen to me, my son--my noble son--at this
last hour, a father cannot deceive himself. You have a great duty to
perform---under pain--of not acting like a man of honor--under pain of
neglecting my last will. You ought, without hesitation--"
Here the voice failed the old man. When he had pronounced the last
sentence, he became quite unintelligible. The only words that Marshal
Simon could distinguish, were these: "Napoleon II.--oath--dishonor--my
Then the old workman again moved his lips mechanically--and all was
over. At the moment he expired, the night was quite come, and terrible
shouts were heard from without, of "Fire! Fire!" The conflagration had
broken out in one of the workshops, filled with inflammable stuff, into
which had glided the little man with the ferret's face. At the same
time, the roll of drums was heard in the distance, announcing the arrival
of a detachment of troops from town.
During an hour, in spite of every effort, the fire had been spreading
through the factory. The night is clear, cold, starlight; the wind blows
keenly from the north, with a moaning sound. A man, walking across the
fields, where the rising ground conceals the fire from him, advances with
slow and unsteady steps. It is M. Hardy. He had chosen to return home
on foot, across the country, hoping that a walk would calm the fever in
his blood--an icy fever, more like the chill of death. He had not been
deceived. His adored mistress--the noble woman, with whom he might have
found refuge from the consequences of the fearful deception which had
just been revealed to him--had quitted France. He could have no doubt of
it. Margaret was gone to America. Her mother had exacted from her, in
expiation of her fault, that she should not even write to him one word of
farewell--to him, for whom she had sacrificed her duty as a wife.
Margaret had obeyed.
Besides, she had often said to him: "Between my mother and you, I should
She had not hesitated. There was therefore no hope, not the slightest;
even if an ocean had not separated him from Margaret, he knew enough of
her blind submission to her mother, to be certain that all relations
between them were broken off forever. It is well. He will no longer
reckon upon this heart--his last refuge. The two roots of his life have
been torn up and broken, with the same blow, the same day, almost at the
same moment. What then remains for thee, poor sensitive plant, as thy
tender mother used to call thee? What remains to console thee for the
loss of this last love--this last friendship, so infamously crushed? Oh!
there remains for thee that one corner of the earth, created after the
image of thy mind that little colony, so peaceful and flourishing, where,
thanks to thee, labor brings with it joy and recompense. These worthy
artisans, whom thou hast made happy, good, and grateful, will not fail
thee. That also is a great and holy affection; let it be thy shelter in
the midst of this frightful wreck of all thy most sacred convictions!
The calm of that cheerful and pleasant retreat, the sight of the
unequalled happiness of thy dependents, will soothe thy poor, suffering
soul, which now seems to live only for suffering. Come! you will soon
reach the top of the hill, from which you can see afar, in the plain
below, that paradise of workmen, of which you are the presiding divinity.
M. Hardy had reached the summit of the hill. At that moment the
conflagration, repressed for a short time, burst forth with redoubled
fury from the Common Dwelling-house, which it had now reached. A bright
streak, at first white, then red, then copper-colored, illuminated the
distant horizon. M. Hardy looked at it with a sort of incredulous,
almost idiotic stupor. Suddenly, an immense column of flame shot up in
the thick of a cloud of smoke, accompanied by a shower of sparks, and
streamed towards the sky, casting a bright reflection over all the
country, even to M. Hardy's feet. The violence of the north wind,
driving the flames in waves before it, soon brought to the ears of M.
Hardy the hurried clanging of the alarm-bell of the burning factory.
 We wish it to be understood, that the necessities of our story alone
have made the Wolves the assailants. While endeavoring to paint the
evils arising the abuse of the spirit of association, we do not wish to
ascribe a character of savage hostility to one sect rather than to the
other to the Wolves more than to the Devourers. The Wolves, a club of
united stone-cutters, are generally industrious, intelligent workmen,
whose situation is the more worthy of interest, as not only their labors,
conducted with mathematical precision, are of the rudest and most
wearisome kind, but they are likewise out of work during three or four
months of the year, their profession being, unfortunately, one of those
which winter condemns to a forced cessation. A number of Wolves, in
order to perfect themselves in their trade, attend every evening a course
of linear geometry, applied to the cutting of stone, analogous to that
given by M. Agricole Perdignier, for the benefit of carpenters. Several
working stone-cutters sent an architectural model in plaster to the last
A few days have elapsed since the conflagration of M. Hardy's factory.
The following scene takes place in the Rue Clovis, in the house where
Rodin had lodged, and which was still inhabited by Rose-Pompon, who,
without the least scruple, availed herself of the household arrangements
of her friend Philemon. It was about noon, and Rose-Pompon, alone in the
chamber of the student, who was still absent, was breakfasting very gayly
by the fireside; but how singular a breakfast! what a queer fire! how
strange an apartment!
Imagine a large room, lighted by two windows without curtains--for as
they looked on empty space, the lodger had fear of being overlooked. One
side of this apartment served as a wardrobe, for there was suspended
Rose-Pompon's flashy costume of debardeur, not far from the boat-man's
jacket of Philemon, with his large trousers of coarse, gray stuff,
covered with pitch (shiver my timbers!), just as if this intrepid mariner
had bunked in the forecastle of a frigate, during a voyage round the
globe. A gown of Rose Pompon's hung gracefully over a pair of
pantaloons, the legs of which seemed to come from beneath the petticoat.
On the lowest of several book-shelves, very dusty and neglected, by the
side of three old boots (wherefore three boots?) and a number of empty
bottles, stood a skull, a scientific and friendly souvenir, left to
Philemon by one of his comrades, a medical student. With a species of
pleasantry, very much to the taste of the student-world, a clay pipe with
a very black bowl was placed between the magnificently white teeth of
this skull; moreover, its shining top was half hidden beneath an old hat,
set knowingly on one side, and adorned with faded flowers and ribbons.
When Philemon was drunk, he used to contemplate this bony emblem of
mortality, and break out into the most poetical monologues, with regard
to this philosophical contrast between death and the mad pleasures of
life. Two or three plaster casts, with their noses and chins more or
less injured, were fastened to the wall, and bore witness to the
temporary curiosity which Philemon had felt with regard to phrenological
science, from the patient and serious study of which he had drawn the
following logical conclusion:--That, having to an alarming extent the
bump of getting into debt, he ought to resign himself to the fatality of
this organization, and accept the inconvenience of creditors as a vital
necessity. On the chimney-piece, stood uninjured, in all its majesty,
the magnificent rowing-club drinking-glass, a china teapot without a
spout, and an inkstand of black wood, the glass mouth of which was
covered by a coat of greenish and mossy mould. From time to time, the
silence of this retreat was interrupted by the cooing of pigeons, which
Rose-Pompon had established with cordial hospitality in the little study.
Chilly as a quail, Rose-Pompon crept close to the fire, and at the same
time seemed to enjoy the warmth of a bright ray of sunshine, which
enveloped her in its golden light. This droll little creature was
dressed in the oddest costume, which, however, displayed to advantage the
freshness of her piquant and pretty countenance, crowned with its fine,
fair hair, always neatly combed and arranged the first thing in the
morning. By way of dressing-gown, Rose-Pompon had ingeniously drawn over
her linen, the ample scarlet flannel shirt which belonged to Philemon's
official garb in the rowing-club; the collar, open and turned down,
displayed the whiteness of the young girl's under garment, as also of her
neck and shoulders, on whose firm and polished surface the scarlet shirt
seemed to cast a rosy light. The grisette's fresh and dimpled arms half
protruded from the large, turned-up sleeves; and her charming legs were
also half visible, crossed one over the other, and clothed in neat white
stockings, and boots. A black silk cravat formed the girdle which
fastened the shirt round the wasp-like waist of Rose-Pompon, just above
those hips, worthy of the enthusiasm of a modern Phidias, and which gave
to this style of dress a grace very original.
We have said, that the breakfast of Rose-Pompon was singular. You shall
judge. On a little table placed before her, was a wash-hand-basin, into
which she had recently plunged her fresh face, bathing it in pure water.
From the bottom of this basin, now transformed into a salad-bowl, Rose-
Pompon took with the tips of her fingers large green leaves, dripping
with vinegar, and crunched them between her tiny white teeth, whose
enamel was too hard to allow them to be set on edge. Her drink was a
glass of water and syrup of gooseberries, which she stirred with a wooden
mustard-spoon. Finally, as an extra dish, she had a dozen olives in one
of those blue glass trinket-dishes sold for twenty-five sous. Her
dessert was composed of nuts, which she prepared to roast on a red-hot
shovel. That Rose-Pompon, with such an unaccountable savage choice of
food, should retain a freshness of complexion worthy of her name, is one
of those miracles, which reveal the mighty power of youth and health.
When she had eaten her salad, Rose-Pompon was about to begin upon her
olives, when a low knock was heard at the door, which was modestly bolted
on the inside.
"Who is there?" said Rose-Pompon.
"A friend--the oldest of the old," replied a sonorous, jovial voice.
"Why do you lock yourself in?"
"What! is it you, Ninny Moulin?"
"Yes, my beloved pupil. Open quickly. Time presses."
"Open to you? Oh, I dare say!--that would be pretty, the figure I am!"
"I believe you! what does it matter what figure you are? It would be
very pretty, thou rosiest of all the roses with which Cupid ever adorned
"Go and preach fasting and morality in your journal, fat apostle!" said
Rose--Pompon, as she restored the scarlet shirt to its place, with
Philemon's other garments.
"I say! are we to talk much longer through the door, for the greater
edification of our neighbors?" cried Ninny Moulin. "I have something of
importance to tell you--something that will astonish you--"
"Give me time to put on my gown, great plague that you are!"
"If it is because of my modesty, do not think of it. I am not over nice.
I should like you very well as you are!"
"Only to think that such a monster is the favorite of all the
churchgoers!" said Rose-Pompon, opening the door as she finished
fastening her dress.
"So! you have at last returned to the dovecot, you stray girl!" said
Ninny Moulin, folding his arms, and looking at Rose-Pompon with comic
seriousness. "And where may you have been, I pray? For three days the
naughty little bird has left its nest."
"True; I only returned home last night. You must have called during my
"I came, every day, and even twice a day, young lady, for I have very
serious matters to communicate."
"Very serious matters? Then we shall have a good laugh at them."
"Not at all--they are really serious," said Ninny Moulin, seating
himself. "But, first of all, what did you do during the three days that
you left your conjugal and Philemonic home? I must know all about it,
before I tell you more."
"Will you have some olives?" said Rose-Pompon, as she nibbled one of them
"Is that your answer?--I understand!--Unfortunate Philemon!"
"There is no unfortunate Philemon in the case, slanderer. Clara had a
death in her house, and, for the first few days after the funeral she was
afraid to sleep alone."
"I thought Clara sufficiently provided against such fears."
"There you are deceived, you great viper! I was obliged to go and keep
the poor girl company."
At this assertion, the religious pamphleteer hummed a tune, with an
incredulous and mocking air.
"You think I have played Philemon tricks?" cried Rose-Pompon, cracking a
nut with the indignation of injured innocence.
"I do not say tricks; but one little rose-colored trick."
"I tell you, that it was not for my pleasure I went out. On the
contrary--for, during my absence, poor Cephyse disappeared."
Yes, Mother Arsene told me that the Bacchanal-Queen was gone on a
journey. But when I talk of Philemon, you talk of Cephyse; we don't
"May I be eaten by the black panther that they are showing at the Porte-
Saint-Martin if I do not tell you the truth. And, talking of that, you
must get tickets to take me to see those animals, my little Ninny Moulin!
They tell me there never were such darling wild beasts."
"Now really, are you mad?"
"That I should guide your youth, like a venerable patriarch, through the
dangers of the Storm-blown Tulip, all well and good--I ran no risk of
meeting my pastors and masters; but were I to take you to a Lent-
Spectacle (since there are only beasts to be seen), I might just run
against my sacristans--and how pretty I should look with you on my arm!"
"You can put on a false nose, and straps to your trousers, my big Ninny;
they will never know you."
"We must not think of false noses, but of what I have to tell you, since
you assure me that you have no intrigue in hand."
"I swear it!" said Rose-Pompon, solemnly, extending her left hand
horizontally, whilst with her right she put a nut into her mouth. Then
she added, with surprise, as she looked at the outside coat of Ninny
Moulin, "Goodness gracious! what full pockets you have got! What is
there in them?"
"Something that concerns you, Rose-Pompon," said Dumoulin, gravely.
"Rose-Pompon!" said Ninny Moulin, suddenly, with a majestic air; "will
you have a carriage? Will you inhabit a charming apartment, instead of
living in this dreadful hole? Will you be dressed like a duchess?"
"Now for some more nonsense! Come, will you eat the olives? If not, I
shall eat them all up. There is only one left."
Without answering this gastronomic offer, Ninny Moulin felt in one of his
pockets, and drew from it a case containing a very pretty bracelet, which
he held up sparkling before the eyes of the young girl.
"Oh! what a sumptuous bracelet!" cried she, clapping her hands. "A
green-eyed serpent biting his tail--the emblem of my love for Philemon."
"Do not talk of Philemon; it annoys me," said Ninny Moulin, as he clasped
the bracelet round the wrist of Rose-Pompon, who allowed him to do it,
laughing all the while like mad, and saying to him, "So you've been
employed to make a purchase, big apostle, and wish to see the effect of
it. Well! it is charming!"
"Rose-Pompon," resumed Ninny Moulin, "would you like to have a servant, a
box at the Opera, and a thousand francs a month for your pin-money?"
"Always the same nonsense. Get along!" said the young girl, as she held
up the bracelet to the light, still continuing to eat her nuts. "Why
always the same farce, and no change of bills?"
Ninny Moulin again plunged his hand into his pocket, and this time drew
forth an elegant chain, which he hung round Rose-Pompon's neck.
"Oh! what a beautiful chain!" cried the young girl, as she looked by
turns at the sparkling ornament and the religious writer. "If you chose
that also, you have a very good taste. But am I not a good natured girl
to be your dummy, just to show off your jewels?"
"Rose-Pompon," returned Ninny Moulin, with a still more majestic air,
"these trifles are nothing to what you may obtain, if you will but follow
the advice of your old friend."
Rose began to look at Dumoulin with surprise, and said to him, "What does
all this mean, Ninny Moulin? Explain yourself; what advice have you to
Dumoulin did not answer, but replunging his hand into his inexhaustible
pocket, he fished up a parcel, which he carefully unfolded, and in which
was a magnificent mantilla of black lace. Rose-Pompon started up, full
of new admiration, and Dumoulin threw the rich mantilla over the young
"It is superb! I have never seen anything like it! What patterns! what
work!" said Rose-Pompon, as she examined all with simple and perfectly
disinterested curiosity. Then she added, "Your pocket is like a shop;
where did you get all these pretty things?" Then, bursting into a fit of
laughter, which brought the blood to her cheeks, she exclaimed, "Oh, I
have it! These are the wedding-presents for Madame de la Sainte-Colombe.
I congratulate you; they are very choice."
"And where do you suppose I should find money to buy these wonders?"
said Ninny Moulin. "I repeat to you, all this is yours if you will but
listen to me!"
"How is this?" said Rose-Pompon, with the utmost amazement; "is what you
tell me in downright earnest?"
"In downright earnest."
"This offer to make me a great lady?"
"The jewels might convince you of the reality of my offers."
"And you propose all this to me for some one else, my poor Ninny Moulin?"
"One moment, said the religious writer, with a comical air of modesty,
"you must know me well enough, my beloved pupil, to feel certain that I
should be incapable of inducing you to commit an improper action. I
respect myself too much for that--leaving out the consideration that it
would be unfair to Philemon, who confided to me the guardianship of your
"Then, Ninny Moulin," said Rose-Pompon, more and more astonished, "on my
word of honor, I can make nothing of it.
"Yet, 'tis all very simple, and I--"
'Oh! I've found it," cried Rose-Pompon, interrupting Ninny Moulin; "it
is some gentleman who offers me his hand, his heart, and all the rest of
it. Could you not tell me that directly?"
"A marriage? oh, laws, yes!" said Dumoulin, shrugging his shoulders.
"What! is it not a marriage?" said Rose-Pompon, again much surprised.
"And the offers you make me are honest ones, my big apostle?"
"They could not be more so." Here Dumoulin spoke the truth.
"I shall not have to be unfaithful to Philemon?"
"Or faithful to any one else?"
Rose-Pompon looked confounded. Then she rattled on: "Come, do not let
us have any joking! I am not foolish enough to imagine that I am to live
just like a duchess, just for nothing. What, therefore, must I give in
"Nothing at all."
"Not even that," said Ninny Moulin, biting his nail-tip.
"But what am I to do, then?"
"Dress yourself as handsomely as possible, take your ease, amuse
yourself, ride about in a carriage. You see, it is not very fatiguing--
and you will, moreover, help to do a good action."
"What! by living like a duchess?"
"Yes! so make up your mind. Do not ask me for any more details, for I
cannot give them to you. For the rest, you will not be detained against
your will. Just try the life I propose to you. If it suits you, go on
with it; if not, return to your Philemonic household."
"Only try it. What can you risk?"
"Nothing; but I can hardly believe that all you say is true. And then,"
added she, with hesitation, "I do not know if I ought--"
Ninny Moulin went to the window, opened it, and said to Rose-Pompon, who
ran up to it, "Look there! before the door of the house."
"What a pretty carriage! How comfortable a body'd be inside of it!"
"That carriage is yours. It is waiting for you."
"Waiting for me!" exclaimed Rose-Pompon; "am I to decide as short as
"Or not at all."
"On the instant."
"But where will they take me?"
"How should I know?"
"You do not know where they will take me?"
"Not I,"--and Dumoulin still spoke the truth--"the coachman has his
"Do you know all this is very funny, Ninny Moulin?"
"I believe you. If it were not funny, where would be the pleasure?"
"You are right."
"Then you accept the offer? That is well. I am delighted both for you
"Yes; because, in accepting, you render me a great service."
"You? How so?"
"It matters little, as long as I feel obliged to you."
"Come, then; let us set out!"
"Bah! after all, they cannot eat me," said Rose-Pompon, resolutely.
With a skip and a jump, she went to fetch a rose-colored cap, and, going
up to a broken looking-glass, placed the cap very much cocked on one side
on her bands of light hair. This left uncovered her snowy neck, with the
silky roots of the hair behind, and gave to her pretty face a very
mischievous, not to say licentious expression.
"My cloak!" said she to Ninny Moulin, who seemed to be relieved from a
considerable amount of uneasiness, since she had accepted his offer.
"Fie! a cloak will not do," answered her companion, feeling once more in
his pocket and drawing out a fine Cashmere shawl, which he threw over
"A Cashmere!" cried the young girl, trembling with pleasure and joyous
surprise. Then she added, with an air of heroism: "It is settled! I
will run the gauntlet." And with a light step she descended the stairs,
followed by Ninny Moulin.
The worthy greengrocer was at her post. "Good-morning, mademoiselle; you
are early to-day," said she to the young girl.
"Yes, Mother Arsene; there is my key."
"Thank you, mademoiselle."
"Oh! now I think of it," said Rose Pompon, suddenly, in a whisper, as she
turned towards Ninny Moulin, and withdrew further from the portress,
"what is to became of Philemon?"
"If he should arrive--"
"Oh! the devil!" said Ninny Moulin, scratching his ear.
"Yes; if Philemon should arrive, what will they say to him? for I may be
a long time absent."
"Three or four months, I suppose."
"I should think not."
"Oh! very good!" said Rose-Pompon. Then, turning towards the
greengrocer, she said to her, after a moment's reflection: "Mother
Arsene, if Philemon should come home, you will tell him I have gone out--
"And that he must not forget to feed my pigeons, which are in his study."
"Good-bye, Mother Arsene."
"Good-bye, mademoiselle." And Rose-Pompon entered the carriage in
triumph, along with Ninny Moulin.
"The devil take me if I know what is to come of all this," said Jacques
Dumoulin to himself, as the carriage drove rapidly down the Rue Clovis.
"I have repaired my error--and now I laugh at the rest."
The following scene took place a few days after the abduction of Rose-
Pompon by Ninny Moulin. Mdlle. de Cardoville was seated in a dreamy
mood, in her cabinet, which was hung with green silk, and furnished with
an ebony library, ornamented with large bronze caryatides. By some
significant signs, one could perceive that Mdlle. de Cardoville had
sought in the fine airs some relief from sad and serious thoughts. Near
an open piano, was a harp, placed before a music-stand. A little
further, on a table covered with boxes of oil and water-color, were
several brilliant sketches. Most of them represented Asiatic scenes,
lighted by the fires of an oriental sun. Faithful to her fancy of
dressing herself at home in a picturesque style, Mademoiselle de
Cardoville resembled that day one of those proud portraits of Velasquez,
with stern and noble aspect. Her gown was of black moire, with wide-
swelling petticoat, long waist, and sleeve slashed with rose-colored
satin, fastened together with jet bugles. A very stiff, Spanish ruff
reached almost to her chin, and was secured round her neck by a broad
rose-colored ribbon. This frill, slightly heaving, sloped down as far as
the graceful swell of the rose-colored stomacher, laced with strings of
jet beads, and terminating in a point at the waist. It is impossible to
express how well this black garment, with its ample and shining folds,
relieved with rose-color and brilliant jet, skin, harmonized with the
shining whiteness of Adrienne's and the golden flood of her beautiful
hair, whose long, silky ringlets descended to her bosom.
The young lady was in a half-recumbent posture, with her elbow resting on
a couch covered with green silk. The back of this piece of furniture,
which was pretty high towards the fireplace, sloped down insensibly
towards the foot. A sort of light, semicircular trellis-work, in gilded
bronze, raised about five feet from the ground, covered with flowering
plants (the admirable passiflores quadrangulatoe, planted in a deep ebony
box, from the centre of which rose the trellis-work), surrounded this
couch with a sort of screen of foliage enamelled with large flowers,
green without, purple within, and as brilliant as those flowers of
porcelain, which we receive from Saxony. A sweet, faint perfume, like a
faint mixture of jasmine with violet, rose from the cup of these
admirable passiflores. Strange enough, a large quantity of new books
(Adrienne having bought them since the last two or three days) and quite
fresh-cut, were scattered around her on the couch, and on a little table;
whilst other larger volumes, amongst which were several atlases full of
engravings, were piled on the sumptuous fur, which formed the carpet
beneath the divan. Stranger still, these books, though of different
forms, and by different authors, alt treated of the same subject. The
posture of Adrienne revealed a sort of melancholy dejection. Her cheeks
were pale; a light blue circle surrounded her large, black eyes, now
half-closed, and gave to them an expression of profound grief. Many
causes contributed to this sorrow--amongst others, the disappearance of
Mother Bunch. Without absolutely believing the perfidious insinuations
of Rodin, who gave her to understand that, in the fear of being unmasked
by him, the hunchback had not dared to remain in the house, Adrienne felt
a cruel sinking of the heart, when she thought how this young girl, in
whom she had had so much confidence, had fled from her almost sisterly
hospitality, without even uttering a word of gratitude; for care had been
taken not to show her the few lines written by the poor needlewoman to
her benefactress, just before her departure.
She had only been told of the note of five hundred francs found on her
desk; and this last inexplicable circumstance had contributed to awaken
cruel suspicions in the breast of Mdlle. de Cardoville. She already felt
the fatal effects of that mistrust of everything and everybody, which
Rodin had recommended to her; and this sentiment of suspicion and reserve
had the more tendency to become powerful, that, for the first time in her
life, Mdlle. de Cardoville, until then a stranger to all deception, had a
secret to conceal--a secret, which was equally her happiness, her shame,
and her torment. Half-recumbent on her divan, pensive and depressed,
Adrienne pursued, with a mind often absent, one of her newly purchased
books. Suddenly, she uttered an exclamation of surprise; the hand which
held the book trembled like a leaf, and from that moment she appeared to
read with passionate attention and devouring curiosity. Soon, her eyes
sparkled with enthusiasm, her smile assumed ineffable sweetness, and she
seemed at once proud, happy, delighted--but, as she turned over the last
page, her countenance expressed disappointment and chagrin. Then she
recommenced this reading, which had occasioned her such sweet emotion,
and this time she read with the most deliberate slowness, going over each
page twice, and spelling, as it were, every line, every word. From time
to time, she paused, and in a pensive mood, with her forehead leaning on
her fair hand, she seemed to reflect, in a deep reverie, on the passages
she had read with such tender and religious love. Arriving at a passage
which so affected her, that a tear started in her eye, she suddenly
turned the volume, to see on the cover the name of the author. For a few
seconds, she contemplated this name with a singular expression of
gratitude, and could not forbear raising to her rosy lips the page on
which it was printed. After reading many times over the lines with which
she had been so much struck, forgetting, no doubt, the letter in the
spirit, she began to reflect so deeply, that the book glided from her
hand, and fell upon the carpet. During the course of this reverie, the
eyes of the young girl rested, at first mechanically, upon an admirable
bas-relief, placed on an ebony stand, near one of the windows. This
magnificent bronze, recently cast after a plaster copy from the antique,
represented the triumph of the Indian Bacchus. Never, perhaps, had
Grecian art attained such rare perfection. The youthful conqueror, half-
clad in a lion's skin, which displayed his juvenile grace and charming
purity of form shone with divine beauty. Standing up in a car, drawn by
two tigers, with an air at once gentle and proud, he leaned with one hand
upon a thyrsus, and with the other guided his savage steeds in tranquil
majesty. By this rare mixture of grace, vigor, and serenity, it was easy
to recognize the hero who had waged such desperate combats with men and
with monsters of the forest. Thanks to the brownish tone of the figure,
the light, falling from one side of the sculpture, admirably displayed
the form of the youthful god, which, carved in relievo, and thus
illumined, shone like a magnificent statue of pale gold upon the dark
fretted background of the bronze.
When Adrienne's look first rested on this rare assemblage of divine
perfections, her countenance was calm and thoughtful. But this
contemplation, at first mechanical, became gradually more and more
attentive and conscious, and the young lady, rising suddenly from her
seat, slowly approached the bas-relief, as if yielding to the invincible
attraction of an extraordinary resemblance. Then a slight blush appeared
on the cheeks of Mdlle. de Cardoville, stole across her face, and spread
rapidly to her neck and forehead. She approached still closer, threw
round a hasty glance, as if half-ashamed, or as if she had feared to be
surprised in a blamable action, and twice stretched forth her hand,
trembling with emotion, to touch with the tips of her charming fingers
the bronze forehead of the Indian Bacchus. And twice she stopped short,
with a kind of modest hesitation. At last, the temptation became too
strong for her. She yielded to it; and her alabaster finger, after
delicately caressing the features of pale gold, was pressed more boldly
for an instant on the pure and noble brow of the youthful god. At this
pressure, though so slight, Adrienne seemed to feel a sort of electric
shock; she trembled in every limb, her eyes languished, and, after
swimming for an instant in their humid and brilliant crystal, were
raised, half-closed, to heaven. Then her head was thrown a little way
back, her knees bent insensibly, her rosy lips were half opened, as if to
give a passage to her heated breath, for her bosom heaved violently, as
thought youth and life had accelerated the pulsations of her heart, and
made her blood boil in her veins. Finally, the burning cheeks of
Adrienne betrayed a species of ecstasy, timid and passionate, chaste and
sensual, the expression of which was ineffably touching.
An affecting spectacle indeed is that of a young maiden, whose modest
brow flushes with the first fires of a secret passion. Does not the
Creator of all things animate the body as well as the soul, with a spark
of divine energy? Should He not be religiously glorified in the
intellect as in the senses, with which He has so paternally endowed His
creatures? They are impious blasphemers who seek to stifle the celestial
senses, instead of guiding and harmonizing them in their divine flight.
Suddenly, Mdlle. de Cardoville started, raised her head, opened her eyes
as if awakening from a dream, withdrew abruptly from the sculptures, and
walked several times up and down the room in an agitated manner, pressing
her burning hands to her forehead. Then, falling, as it were, exhausted
on her seat, her tears flowed in abundance. The most bitter grief was
visible in her features, which revealed the fatal struggle that was
passing within her. By degrees, her tears ceased. To this crisis of
painful dejection succeeded a species of violent scorn and indignation
against herself, which were expressed by these words that escaped her:
"For the first time in my life, I feel weak and cowardly. Oh yes!
The sound of a door opening and closing, roused Mdlle. de Cardoville from
her bitter reflections. Georgette entered the room, and said to her
mistress: "Madame, can you receive the Count de Montbron?"
Adrienne, too well-bred to exhibit before her women the sort of
impatience occasioned by this unseasonable visit, said to Georgette: "You
told M. de Montbron that I was at home?"
"Then beg him to walk in." Though Mdlle. de Cardoville felt at that
moment much vexed at the arrival of Montbron, let us hasten to say, that
she entertained for him an almost filial affection, and a profound
esteem, though, by a not unfrequent contrast, she almost always differed
from him in opinion. Hence arose, when Mdlle. de Cardoville had nothing
to disturb her mind, the most gay and animated discussions, in which M.
de Montbron, notwithstanding his mocking and sceptical humor, his long
experience, his rare knowledge of men and things, his fashionable
training, in a word, had not always the advantage, and even acknowledged
his defeat gayly enough. Thus, to give an idea of the differences of the
count and Adrienne, before, as he would say laughingly, he had made
himself her accomplice, he had always opposed (from other motives than
those alleged by Madame de Saint-Dizier) Adrienne's wish to live alone
and in her own way; whilst Rodin, on the contrary, by investing the young
girl's resolve on this subject with an ideal grandeur of intention, had
acquired a species of influence over her. M. de Montbron, now upwards of
sixty years of age, had been a most prominent character during the
Directory, Consulate, and the Empire. His prodigal style of living, his
wit, his gayety, his duels, his amours, and his losses at play, had given
him a leading influence in the best society of his day; while his
character, his kind-heartedness, and liberality, secured him the lasting
friendship of nearly all his female friends. At the time we now present
him to the reader, he was still a great gambler; and, moreover, a very
lucky gambler. He had, as we have stated, a very lordly style; his
manners were decided, but polished and lively; his habits were such as
belong to the higher classes of society, though he could be excessively
sharp towards people whom he did not like. He was tall and thin, and his
slim figure gave him an almost youthful appearance; his forehead was
high, and a little bald; his hair was gray and short, his countenance
long, his nose aquiline, his eyes blue and piercing, and his teeth white,
and still very good.
"The Count de Montbron," said Georgette, opening the door. The count
entered, and hastened to kiss Adrienne's hand, with a sort of paternal
"Come!" said M. de Montbron to himself; "let us try to discover the truth
I am in search of, that we may escape a great misfortune."
Mdlle. de Cardoville, not wishing to betray the cause of the violent
feelings which agitated her, received M. de Montbron with a feigned and
forced gayety. On the other hand, notwithstanding his tact and knowledge
of the world, the count was much embarrassed how to enter upon the
subject on which he wished to confer with Adrienne, and he resolved to
feel his way, before seriously commencing the conversation. After
looking at the young lady for some seconds, M. de Montbron shook his
head, and said, with a sigh of regret: "My dear child, I am not pleased."
"Some affair of the heart, or of hearts, my dear count?" returned
"Of the heart," said M. de Montbron.
"What! you, so great a player, think more of a woman's whim than a throw
of the dice?"
"I have a heavy heart, and you are the cause of it, my dear child."
"M. de Montbron, you will make me very proud," said Adrienne, with a
"You would be wrong, for I tell you plainly, my trouble is caused by your
neglect of your beauty. Yes, your countenance is pale, dejected,
sorrowful; you have been low-spirited for the last few days; you have
something on your mind, I am sure of it."
"My dear M. de Montbron, you have so much penetration, that you may be
allowed to fall for once, as now. I am not sad, I have nothing on my
mind, and--I am about to utter a very silly piece of impertinence--I have
never thought myself so pretty."
"On the contrary, nothing could be more modest than such an assertion.
Who told you that falsehood? a woman?"
"No; it was my heart, and it spoke the truth," answered Adrienne, with a
slight degree of emotion. "Understand it, if you can," she added.
"Do you mean that you are proud of the alteration in your features,
because you are proud of the sufferings of your heart?" said M. de
Montbron, looking at Adrienne with attention. "Be it so; I am then
right. You have some sorrow. I persist in it," added the count,
speaking with a tone of real feeling, "because it is painful to me."
"Be satisfied; I am as happy as possible--for every instant I take
delight in repeating, how, at my age, I am free--absolutely free!"
"Yes; free to torment yourself, free to be miserable."
"Come, come, my dear count!" said Adrienne, "you are recommencing our old
quarrel. I still find in you the ally of my aunt and the Abbe
"Yes; as the republicans are the allies of the legitimists--to destroy
each other in their turn. Talking of your abominable aunt, they say that
she holds a sort of council at her house these last few days, a regular
mitred conspiracy. She is certainly in a good way."
"Why not? Formerly, she would have wished to be Goddess of Reason, now,
we shall perhaps see her canonized. She has already performed the first
part of the life of Mary Magdalen."
"You can never speak worse of her than she deserves, my dear child.
Still, though for quite opposite reasons, I agreed with her on the
subject of your wish to reside alone."
"I know it."
"Yes; and because I wished to see you a thousand times freer than you
really are, I advised you--"
"No doubt; you would have had your dear liberty, with its consequences,
only, instead of Mdlle. de Cardoville, we should have called you Madame
Somebody, having found an excellent husband to be responsible for your
"And who would have been responsible for this ridiculous husband? And
who would bear a mocked and degraded name? I, perhaps?" said Adrienne,
with animation. "No, no, my dear count, good or ill, I will answer for
my own actions; to my name shall attach the reputation, which I alone
have formed. I am as incapable of basely dishonoring a name which is not
mine, as of continually bearing it myself, if it were not held in,
esteem. And, as one can only answer for one's own actions, I prefer to
keep my name."
"You are the only person in the world that has such ideas."
"Why?" said Adrienne, laughing. "Because it appears to me horrible, to
see a poor girl lost and buried in some ugly and selfish man, and become,
as they say seriously, the better half of the monster--yes! a fresh and
blooming rose to become part of a frightful thistle!--Come, my dear
count; confess there is something odious in this conjugal
metempsychosis," added Adrienne, with a burst of laughter.
The forced and somewhat feverish gayety of Adrienne contrasted painfully
with her pale and suffering countenance; it was so easy to see that she
strove to stifle with laughter some deep sorrow, that M. de Montbron was
much affected by it; but, dissembling his emotion, he appeared to reflect
a moment, and took up mechanically one of the new, fresh-cut books, by
which Adrienne was surrounded. After casting a careless glance at this
volume, he continued, still dissembling his feelings: "Come, my dear
madcap: this is another folly. Suppose I were twenty years old, and that
you did me the honor to marry me--you would be called Lady de Montbron, I
"How perhaps? Would you not bear my name, if you married me?"
"My dear count," said Adrienne, with a smile, "do not let us pursue this
hypothesis, which can only leave us--regrets."
Suddenly, M. de Montbron started, and looked at Mdlle, de Cardoville with
an expression of surprise. For some moments, whilst talking to Adrienne,
he had mechanically--taken up two or three of the volumes scattered over
the couch, and had glanced at their titles in the same careless manner.
The first was the "Modern History of India." The second, "Travels in
India." The third, "Letters on India." Much surprised, M. de Montbron
had continued his investigation, and found that the fourth volume
continued this Indian nomenclature, being "Rambles in India." The fifth
was, "Recollections of Hindostan." The sixth, "Notes of a Traveller in
the East Indies."
Hence the astonishment, which, for many serious reasons, M. de Montbron
had no longer been able to conceal, and which his looks betrayed to
Adrienne. The latter, having completely forgotten the presence of the
accusing volumes by which she was surrounded, yielded to a movement of
involuntary confusion, and blushed slightly; but, her firm and resolute
character again coming to her aid, she looked full at M. de Montbron, and
said to him: "Well, my dear count! what surprises you?"
Instead of answering, M. de Montbron appeared still more absorbed in
thought, and contemplating the young girl, he could not forbear saying to
himself: "No, no--it is impossible--and yet--"
"It would, perhaps, be indiscreet in me to listen to your soliloquy, my
dear count," said Adrienne.
"Excuse me, my dear child; but what I see surprises me so much--"
"And pray what do you see?"
"The traces of so great and novel an interest in all that relates to
India," said M. de Montbron, laying a slight stress on his words, and
fixing a piercing look upon the young girl.
"Well!" said Adrienne, stoutly.
"Well! I seek the cause of this sudden passion--"
"Geographical?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville, interrupting M. de Montbron:
"you may find this taste somewhat serious for my age my dear count--but
one must find occupation for leisure hours--and then, having a cousin,
who is both an Indian and a prince, I should like to know something of
the fortunate country from which I derive this savage relationship."