Part 2 out of 3
These last words were pronounced with a bitterness that was not lost on
M. de Montbron: watching Adrienne attentively, he observed: "Meseems, you
speak of the prince with some harshness."
"No; I speak of him with indifference."
"Yet he deserves a very different feeling."
"On the part of some other person, perhaps," replied Adrienne, dryly.
"He is so unhappy!" said M, de Montbron, in a tone of sincere pity.
"When I saw him the other day, he made my heart ache."
"What have I to do with it?" exclaimed Adrienne, with an accent of
painful and almost angry impatience.
"I should have thought that his cruel torments at least deserved your
pity," answered the count gravely.
"Pity--from me!" cried Adrienne, with an air of offended pride. Then
restraining herself, she added coldly: "You are jesting, M. de Montbron.
It is not in sober seriousness that you ask me to take interest in the
amorous torments of your prince."
There was so much cold disdain in these last words of Adrienne, her pale
and agitated countenance betrayed such haughty bitterness, that M. de
Montbron said, sorrowfully: "It is then true; I have not been deceived.
I, who thought, from our old and constant friendship, that I had some
claim to your confidence have known nothing of it--while you told all to
another. It is painful, very painful to me."
"I do not understand you, M. de Montbron."
"Well then, since I must speak plainly," cried the count, "there is, I
see, no hope for this unhappy boy--you love another."
As Adrienne started--"Oh! you cannot deny it," resumed the count; "your
paleness and melancholy for the last few days, your implacable
indifference to the prince--all prove to me that you are in love."
Hurt by the manner in which the count spoke of the sentiment he
attributed to her, Mdlle. de Cardoville answered with dignified
stateliness: "You must know, M. de Montbron, that a secret discovered is
not a confidence. Your language surprises me.
"Oh, my dear friend, if I use the poor privilege of experience--if I
guess that you are in love--if I tell you so, and even go so far as to
reproach you with it--it is because the life or death of this poor prince
is concerned; and I feel for him as if he were my son, for it is
impossible to know him without taking the warmest interest in him."
"It would be singular," returned Adrienne, with redoubled coldness, and
still more bitter irony, "if my love--admitting I were in love--could
have any such strange influence on Prince Djalma. What can it matter to
him?" added she, with almost agonizing disdain.
"What can it matter to him? Now really, my dear friend, permit me to
tell you, that it is you who are jesting cruelly. What! this unfortunate
youth loves you with all the blind ardor of a first love--twice has
attempted to terminate by suicide the horrible tortures of his passion--
and you think it strange that your love for another should be with him a
question of life or death!"
"He loves me then?" cried the young girl, with an accent impossible to
"He loves you to madness, I tell you; I have seen it."
Adrienne seemed overcome with amazement. From pale, she became crimson;
as the redness disappeared, her lips grew white, and trembled. Her
emotion was so strong, that she remained for some moments unable to
speak, and pressed her hand to her heart, as if to moderate its
M. de Montbron, almost frightened at the sudden change in Adrienne's
countenance, hastily approached her, exclaiming: "Good heaven, my poor
child! what is the matter?"
Instead of answering, Adrienne waved her hand to him, in sign that he
should not be alarmed; and, in fact, the count was speedily
tranquillized, for the beautiful face, which had so lately been
contracted with pain, irony, and scorn, seemed now expressive of the
sweetest and most ineffable emotions; Adrienne appeared to luxuriate in
delight, and to fear losing the least particle of it; then, as reflection
told her, that she was, perhaps, the dupe of illusion or falsehood, she
exclaimed suddenly, with anguish, addressing herself to M. de Montbron:
"But is what you tell me true?"
"What I tell you!"
"Yes--that Prince Djalma--"
"Loves you to madness?--Alas! it is only too true."
"No, no," cried Adrienne, with a charming expression of simplicity; "that
could never be too true."
"What do you say?" cried the count.
"But that woman?" asked Adrienne, as if the word scorched her lips.
"She who has been the cause of all these painful struggles."
"That woman--why, who should it be but you?"
"What, I? Oh! tell me, was it I?"
"On my word of honor. I trust my experience. I have never seen so
ardent and sincere a passion."
"Oh! is it really so? Has he never had any other love?"
"Yet I was told so."
"Had fallen violently in love, two days after I saw him."
"M. Rodin told you that!" cried M. de Montbron, as if struck with a
sudden idea. "Why, it is he who told Djalma that you were in love with
some one else."
"And this it was which occasioned the poor youth's dreadful despair."
"It was this which occasioned my despair."
"You love him, then, just as he loves you!" exclaimed M. de Montbron,
transported with joy.
"Love him!" said Mdlle. de Cardoville. A discreet knock at the door
"One of your servants, no doubt. Be calm," said the count.
"Come in," said Adrienne, in an agitated voice.
"What is it?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville. Florine entered the room.
"M. Rodin has just been here. Fearing to disturb mademoiselle, he would
not come in; but he will return in half an hour. Will mademoiselle
"Yes, yes," said the count to Florine; "even if I am still here, show him
in by all means. Is not that your opinion?" asked M. de Montbron of
"Quite so," answered the young girl; and a flash of indignation darted
from her eyes, as she thought of Rodin's perfidy.
"Oho! the old knave!" said M. de Montbron, "I always had my doubts of
that crooked neck!" Florine withdrew, leaving the count with her
Mdlle. de Cardoville was transfigured. For the first time her beauty
shone forth in all its lustre. Until now overshadowed by indifference,
or darkened by grief, she appeared suddenly illumined by a brilliant ray
of sunshine. The slight irritation caused by Rodin's perfidy passed like
an imperceptible shade from her brow. What cared she now for falsehood
and perfidy? Had they not failed? And, for the future, what human power
could interpose between her and Djalma, so sure of each other? Who would
dare to cross the path of those two things, resolute and strong with the
irresistible power of youth, love, and liberty? Who would dare to follow
them into that blazing sphere, whither they went, so beautiful and happy,
to blend together in their inextinguishable love, protected by the proof-
armor of their own happiness? Hardly had Florine left the room, when
Adrienne approached M. de Montbron with a rapid step. She seemed to have
become taller; and to watch her advancing, light, radiant, and
triumphant, one might have fancied her a goddess walking upon clouds.
"When shall I see him?" was her first word to M. de Montbron.
"Well--say to-morrow; he must be prepared for so much happiness; in so
ardent a nature, such sudden, unexpected joy might be terrible."
Adrienne remained pensive for a moment, and then said rapidly: "To-
morrow--yes--not before to-morrow. I have a superstition of the heart."
"What is it?"
"You shall know. HE LOVES ME--that word says all, contains all,
comprehends all, is all--and yet I have a thousand questions to ask with
regard to him--but I will ask none before to-morrow, because, by a
mysterious fatality, to-morrow is with me a sacred anniversary. It will
be an age till then; but happily, I can wait. Look here!"
Beckoning M. de Montbron, she led him to the Indian Bacchus. "How much
it is like him!" said she to the count.
"Indeed," exclaimed the latter, "it is strange!"
"Strange?" returned Adrienne, with a smile of gentle pride; "strange,
that a hero, a demi-god, an ideal of beauty, should resemble Djalma?"
"How you love him!" said M. de Montbron, deeply touched, and almost
dazzled by the felicity which beamed from the countenance of Adrienne.
"I must have suffered a good deal, do you not think so?" said she, after
a moment's silence.
"If I had not made up my mind to come here to-day, almost in despair,
what would have happened?"
"I cannot tell; I should perhaps have died, for I am wounded mortally
here"--she pressed her hand to her heart. "But what might have been
death to me, will now be life."
"It was horrible," said the count, shuddering. "Such a passion, buried
in your own breast, proud as you are--"
"Yes, proud--but not self-conceited. When I learned his love for
another, and that the impression which I fancied I had made on him at our
first interview had been immediately effaced, I renounced all hope,
without being able to renounce my love. Instead of shunning his image, I
surrounded myself with all that could remind me of him. In default of
happiness, there is a bitter pleasure in suffering through what we love."
"I can now understand your Indian library."
Instead of answering the count, Adrienne took from the stand one of the
freshly-cut volumes, and, bringing it to M. de Montbron, said to him,
with a smile and a celestial expression of joy and happiness: "I was
wrong--I am vain. Just read this--aloud, if you please. I tell you that
I can wait for to-morrow." Presenting the book to the count, she pointed
out one passage with the tip of her charming finger. Then she sank down
upon the couch, and, in an attitude of deep attention, with her body bent
forward, her hands crossed upon the cushion, her chin resting upon her
hands, her large eyes fixed with a sort of adoration on the Indian
Bacchus, that was just opposite to her, she appeared by this impassioned
contemplation to prepare herself to listen to M. de Montbron.
The latter, much astonished, began to read, after again looking at
Adrienne, who said to him, in her most coaxing voice, "Very slowly, I beg
M. de Montbron then read the following passage from the journal of a
traveller in India: "'When I was at Bombay, in 1829, I constantly heard
amongst the English there, of a young hero, the son of--'"
The count having paused a second, by reason of the barbarous spelling of
the name of Djalma's father, Adrienne immediately said to him, in her
soft voice: "The son of Kadja-sing."
"What a memory!" said the count, with a smile. And he resumed: "'A young
hero, the son of Kadja-sing, king of Mundi. On his return from a distant
and sanguinary expedition amongst the mountains against this Indian king,
Colonel Drake was filled with enthusiasm for this son of Kadja-sing,
known as Djalma. Hardly beyond the age of childhood, this young prince
has in the course of this implacable war given proofs of such chivalrous
intrepidity, and of so noble a character, that his father has been
surnamed the Father of the Generous.'"
"That is a touching custom," said the count. "To recompense the father,
as it were, by giving him a surname in honor of his son, is a great idea.
But how strange you should have met with this book!" added the count, in
surprise. "I can understand; there is matter here to inflame the coolest
"Oh! you will see, you will see," said Adrienne.
The count continued to read: "'Colonel Drake, one of the bravest and best
officers of the English army, said yesterday, in my presence, that having
been dangerously wounded, and taken prisoner by Prince Djalma, after an
energetic resistance, he had been conveyed to the camp established in the
Here there was the same hesitation on the part of the count, on seeing a
still more barbarous name than the first; so, not wishing to try the
adventure, he paused, and said to Adrienne, "Now really, I give this up."
"And yet it is so easy!" replied Adrienne; and she pronounced with
inexpressible softness, a name in itself soft, "The village of
"You appear to have an infallible process for remembering geographical
names," said the count, continuing: "'Once arrived at the camp, Colonel
Drake received the kindest hospitality, and Prince Djalma treated him
with the respect of a son. It was there that the colonel became
acquainted with some facts, which carried to the highest pitch his
enthusiasm for prince Djalma. I heard him relate the two following.
"'In one of the battles, the prince was accompanied by a young Indian of
about twelve years of age, whom he loved tenderly, and who served him as
a page, following him on horseback to carry his spare weapons. This
child was idolized by its mother; just as they set out on the expedition,
she had entrusted her son to Prince Djalma's care, saying, with a
stoicism worthy of antiquity, "Let him be your brother." "He shall be my
brother," had replied the prince. In the height of a disastrous defeat,
the child is severely wounded, and his horse killed; the prince, at peril
of his life, notwithstanding the perception of a forced retreat,
disengages him, and places him on the croup of his own horse; they are
pursued; a musket-ball strikes their steed, who is just able to reach a
jungle, in the midst of which, after some vain efforts, he falls
exhausted. The child is unable to walk, but the prince carries him in
his arms, and hides with him in the thickest part of the jungle. The
English arrive, and begin their search; but the two victims escape.
After a night and a day of marches, counter-marches, stratagems,
fatigues, unheard-of perils, the prince, still, carrying the child, one
of whose legs is broken, arrives at his father's camp, and says, with the
utmost simplicity, "I had promised his mother that I would act a
brother's part by him--and I have done so."'
"That is admirable!" cried the count.
"Go on--pray go on!" said Adrienne, drying a tear, without removing her
eyes from the bas-relief, which she continued to contemplate with growing
The count continued: "'Another time, Prince Djalma, followed by two black
slaves, went, before sunrise, to a very wild spot, to seize a couple of
tiger cubs only a few days old. The den had been previously discovered.
The two old tigers were still abroad. One of the blacks entered the den
by a narrow aperture; the other, aided by Djalma, cut down a tolerably
large tree, to prepare a trap for one of the old tigers. On the side of
the aperture, the cavern was exceedingly steep. The prince mounted to
the top of it with agility, to set his trap, with the aid of the other
black. Suddenly, a dreadful roar was heard; and, in a few bounds, the
tigress, returning from the chase, reached the opening of the den. The
black who was laying the trap with the prince had his skull fractured by
her bite; the tree, falling across the entrance, prevented the female
from penetrating the cavern, and at the same time stopped the exit of the
black who had seized the cubs.
"'About twenty feet higher, upon a ledge of rock, the prince lay flat on
the ground, looking down upon this frightful spectacle. The tigress,
rendered furious by the cries of her little ones, gnawed the hands of the
black, who, from the interior of the den, strove to support the trunk of
the tree, his only rampart, whilst he uttered the most lamentable
"It is horrible!" said the count.
"Oh! go on! pray go on!" exclaimed Adrienne, with excitement; "you will
see what can be achieved by the heroism of goodness."
The count pursued: "'Suddenly the prince seized his dagger between his
teeth, fastened his sash to a block of stone, took his axe in one hand,
and with the other slid down this substitute for a rope; falling a few
steps from the wild beast, he sprang upon her, and, swift as lightning,
dealt her two mortal strokes, just as the black, losing his strength, was
about to drop the trunk of the tree, sure to have been torn to pieces.'"
"And you are astonished at his resemblance with the demi-god, to whom
fable itself ascribes no more generous devotion!" cried the young lady,
with still increasing excitement.
"I am astonished no longer, I only admire," said the count, in a voice of
emotion; "and, at these two noble instances of heroism, my heart beats
with enthusiasm, as if I were still twenty."
"And the, noble heart of this traveller beat like yours at the recital,"
said Adrienne; "you will see."
"'What renders so admirable the intrepidity of the prince, is, that,
according to the principle of Indian castes, the life of a slave is of no
importance; thus a king's son, risking his life for the safety of a poor
creature, so generally despised, obeyed an heroic and truly Christian
instinct of charity, until then unheard of in this country."
"'Two such actions," said Colonel Drake, with good reason, "are
sufficient to paint the man;" it is with a feeling of profound respect
and admiration, therefore, that I, an obscure traveller, have written the
name of Prince Djalma in my book; and at the same time, I have
experienced a kind of sorrow, when I have asked myself what would be the
future fate of this prince, buried in the depths of a savage country,
always devastated by war. However humble may be the homage that I pay to
this character, worthy of the heroic age, his name will at least be
repeated with generous enthusiasm by all those who have hearts that beat
in sympathy with what is great and noble.'"
"And just now, when I read those simple and touching lines," resumed
Adrienne, I could not forbear pressing my lips to the name of the
"Yes; he is such as I thought him," cried the count, with still more
emotion, as he returned the book to Adrienne, who rose, with a grave and
touching air, and said to him: "It was thus I wished you to know him,
that you might understand my adoration; for this courage, this heroic
goodness, I had guessed beforehand, when I was an involuntary listener to
his conversation. From that moment, I knew him to be generous as
intrepid, tender and sensitive as energetic and resolute; and when I saw
him so marvellously beautiful--so different, in the noble character of
his countenance, and even in the style of his garments, from all I had
hitherto met with--when I saw the impression that I made upon him, and
which I perhaps felt still more violently--I knew that my whole life was
bound up with his love."
"And now, what are your plans?"
"Divine, radiant as my heart. When he learns his happiness, I wish that
Djalma should feel dazzled as I do, so as to prevent my gazing on my sun;
for I repeat, that until tomorrow will be a century to me. Yes, it is
strange! I should have thought that after such a discovery, I should
feel the want of being left alone, plunged in an ocean of delicious
dreams. But no! from this time till to-morrow--I dread solitude--I feel
a kind of feverish impatience--uneasy--ardent--Oh! where is the
beneficent fairy, that, touching me with her wand, will lull me into
slumber till to-morrow!"
"I will be that beneficent fairy," said the count, smiling.
"And how so?"
"The power of my wand is this: I will relieve you from a portion of your
thoughts by making them materially visible."
"Pray explain yourself."
"And my plan will have another advantage for you. Listen to me; you are
so happy now that you can hear anything. Your odious aunt, and her
equally odious friends, are spreading the report that your residence with
"Was rendered necessary by the derangement of my mind," said Adrienne,
with a smile; "I expected that."
"It is stupid enough; but, as your resolution to live alone makes many
envious of you, and many hostile, you must feel that there will be no
want of persons ready to believe the most absurd calumny possible."
"I hope as much. To pass for mad in the eyes of fools is very
"Yes; but to prove to fools that they are fools, and that in the face of
all Paris, is much more amusing. Now, people begin to talk of your
absence; you have given up your daily rides; for some time my niece has
appeared alone in our box at the Opera; you wish to kill the time till
to-morrow--well! here is an excellent opportunity. It is two o'clock; at
halfpast three, my niece will come in the carriage; the weather is
splendid; there is sure to be a crowd in the Bois de Boulogne. You can
take a delightful ride, and be seen by everybody. Then, as the air and
movement will have calmed your fever of happiness, I will commence my
magic this evening, and take you to India."
"Into the midst of one of those wild forests, in which roar the lion, the
panther, and the tiger. We will have this heroic combat, which so moved
you just now, under our own eyes, in all its terrible reality."
"Really, my dear count, you must be joking."
"Not at all; I promise to show you real wild beasts, formidable tenants
of the country of our demigod--growling tigers--roaring lions--do you not
think that will be better than books?"
"Come! I must give you the secret of my supernatural power. On returning
from your ride, you shall dine with my niece, and we will go together to
a very curious spectacle now exhibiting at the Porte-Saint-Martin
Theatre. A most extraordinary lion-tamer there shows you a number of
wild beasts, in a state of nature, in the midst of a forest (here only
commences the illusion), and has fierce combats with them all--tigers,
lions, and panthers. All Paris is crowding to these representations, and
all Paris will see you there, more charming than ever."
"I accept your offer," said Adrienne, with childish delight. "Yes, you
are right. I feel a strange pleasure in beholding these ferocious
monsters, who will remind me of those that my demi-god so heroically
overcame. I accept also, because, for the first time in my life, I am
anxious to be admired--even by everybody. I accept finally because--"
Here Mdlle. de Cardoville was interrupted by a low knock at the door, and
by the entrance of Florine, who announced M. Rodin.
Rodin entered. A rapid glance at Mdlle. de Cardoville and M. de Montbron
told him at once that he was in a dilemma. In fact, nothing could be
less encouraging than the faces of Adrienne and the count. The latter,
when he disliked people, exhibited his antipathy, as we have already
said, by an impertinently aggressive manner, which had before now
occasioned a good number of duels. At sight of Rodin, his countenance at
once assumed a harsh and insolent expression; resting his elbow on the
chimney-piece, and conversing with Adrienne, he looked disdainfully over
his shoulder, without taking the least notice of the Jesuit's low bow.
On the other hand, at sight of this man, Mdlle. de Cardoville almost felt
surprise, that she should experience no movement of anger or hatred. The
brilliant flame which burned in her heart, purified it from every
vindictive sentiment. She smiled, on the contrary; for, glancing with
gentle pride at the Indian Bacchus, and then at herself, she asked
herself what two beings, so young, and fair, and free, and loving, could
have to fear from this old, sordid man, with his ignoble and base
countenance, now advancing towards her with the writhing of a reptile.
In a word, far from feeling anger or aversion with regard to Rodin, the
young lady seemed full of the spirit of mocking gayety, and her large
eyes, already lighted up with happiness, now sparkled with irony and
mischief. Rodin felt himself ill at ease. People of his stamp greatly
prefer violent to mocking enemies. They can encounter bursts of rage--
sometimes by falling on their knees, weeping, groaning, and beating their
breasts--sometimes by turning on their adversary, armed and implacable.
But they are easily disconcerted by biting raillery; and thus it was with
Rodin. He saw that between Adrienne de Cardoville and M. de Montbron, he
was about to be placed in what is vulgarly termed a "regular fix."
The count opened the fire; still glancing over his shoulder, he said to
Rodin: 'Ah! you are here, my benevolent gentleman!"
"Pray, sir, draw a little nearer," said Adrienne, with a mocking smile.
"Best of friends and model of philosophers--as well as declared enemy of
all fraud and falsehood--I have to pay you a thousand compliments."
"I accent anything from you, my dear young lady, even though undeserved,"
said the Jesuit, trying to smile, and thus exposing his vile yellow
teeth; "but may I be informed how I have earned these compliments?"
"Your penetration, sir, which is rare--" replied Adrienne.
"And your veracity, sir," said the count, "which is perhaps no less rare--"
"In what have I exhibited my penetration, my dear young lady?" said
Rodin, coldly. "In what my veracity?" added he, turning towards M. de
"In what, sir?" said Adrienne. "Why, you have guessed a secret
surrounded by difficulties and mystery. In a word, you have known how to
read the depths of a woman's heart."
"I, my dear young lady?"
"You, sir! rejoice at it, for your penetration has had the most fortunate
"And your veracity has worked wonders," added the count.
"It is pleasant to do good, even without knowing it," said Rodin, still
acting on the defensive, and throwing side glances by turns on the count
and Adrienne; "but will you inform me what it is that deserves this
"Gratitude obliges me to inform you of it," said Adrienne, maliciously;
"you have discovered, and told Prince Djalma, that I was passionately in
love. Well! I admire your penetration; it was true."
"You have also discovered, and told this lady, that Prince Djalma was
passionately in love," resumed the count. "Well! I admire your
penetration, my dear sir; it was true."
Rodin looked confused, and at a loss for a reply.
"The person that I loved so passionately," said Adrienne, "was the
"The person that the prince loved so passionately," resumed the count,
"was this lady."
These revelations, so sudden and alarming, almost stunned Rodin; he
remained mute and terrified, thinking of the future.
"Do you understand now, sir, the extent of our gratitude towards you?"
resumed Adrienne, in a still more mocking tone. "Thanks to your
sagacity, thanks to the touching interest you take in us, the prince and
I are indebted to you for the knowledge of our mutual sentiments."
The Jesuit had now gradually recovered his presence of mind, and his
apparent calmness greatly irritated M. de Montbron, who, but for
Adrienne's presence, would have assumed another tone than jests.
"There is some mistake," said Rodin, "in what you have done me the honor
to tell me, my dear young lady. I have never in my life spoken of the
sentiments, however worthy and respectable, that you may entertain for
"That is true," replied Adrienne; "with scrupulous and exquisite
discretion, whenever you spoke to me of the deep love felt by Prince
Djalma, you carried your reserve and delicacy so far as to inform me that
it was not I whom he loved."
"And the same scruple induced you to tell the prince that Mdlle. de
Cardoville loved some one passionately--but that he was not the person,"
added the count.
"Sir," answered Rodin, dryly, "I need hardly tell you that I have no
desire to mix myself up with amorous intrigues."
"Come! this is either pride or modesty," said the count, insolently.
"For your own interest, pray do not advance such things; for, if we took
you at your word, and it became known, it might injure some of the nice
little trades that you carry on."
"There is one at least," said Rodin, drawing himself up as proudly as
M. de Montbron, "whose rude apprenticeship I shall owe to you. It is the
wearisome one of listening to your discourse."
"I tell you what, my good sir!" replied the count, disdainfully: "you
force me to remind you that there are more ways than one of chastising
"My dear count!" said Adrienne to M. de Montbron, with an air of
With perfect coolness, Rodin replied: "I do not exactly see, sir, first,
what courage is shown by threatening a poor old man like myself, and,
"M. Rodin," said the count, interrupting the Jesuit, "first, a poor old
man like you, who does evil under the shelter of the age he dishonors,
is both cowardly and wicked, and deserves a double chastisement;
secondly, with regard to this question of age, I am not aware that
gamekeepers and policemen bow down respectfully to the gray coats of old
wolves, and the gray hairs of old thieves. What do you think, my good
Still impassible, Rodin raised his flabby eyelids, fixed for hardly a
second his little reptile eye upon the count, and darted at him one of
his rapid, cold, and piercing glances--and then the livid eyelid again
covered the dull eye of that corpse-like face.
"Not having the disadvantage of being an old wolf, and still less an old
thief," said Rodin, quietly, "you will permit me, sir, to take no account
of the pursuit of hunters and police. As for the reproaches made me, I
have a very simple method of answering--I do not say of justifying
myself--I never justify myself--"
"You don't say!" said the count.
"Never," resumed Rodin coolly; "my acts are sufficient for that. I will
then simply answer that seeing the deep, violent, almost fearful
impression made by this lady on the prince--"
"Let this assurance which you give me of the prince's love," said
Adrienne interrupting Rodin with an enchanting smile, "absolve you of all
the evil you wished to do me. The sight of our happiness be your only
"It may be that I need neither absolution nor punishment, for, as I have
already had the honor to observe to the count, my dear young lady, the
future will justify my acts. Yes; it was my duty to tell the prince that
you loved another than himself, and to tell you that he loved another
than yourself--all in your mutual interest. That my attachment for you
may have misled me, is possible--I am not infallible; but, after my past
conduct towards you, my dear young lady, I have, perhaps, some right to
be astonished at seeing myself thus treated. This is not a complaint.
If I never justify myself, I never complain either."
"Now really, there is something heroic in all this, my good sir," said
the count. "You do not condescend to complain or justify yourself, with
regard to the evil you have done."
"The evil I have done?" said Rodin, looking fixedly at the count. "Are
we playing at enigmas?"
"What, sir!" cried the count, with indignation: "is it nothing, by your
falsehoods, to have plunged the prince into so frightful a state of
despair, that he has twice attempted his life? Is it nothing, by similar
falsehoods, to have induced this lady to believe so cruel and complete an
error, that but for the resolution I have to-day taken, it might have led
to the most fatal consequences?"
"And will you do me the honor to tell me, sir, what interest I could have
in all this despair and error, admitting even that I had wished to
"Some great interest no doubt," said the count, bluntly; "the more
dangerous that it is concealed. You are one of those, I see, to whom the
woes of others are pleasure and profit."
"That is really too much, sir," said Rodin, bowing; "I should be quite
contented with the profit."
"Your impudent coolness will not deceive me; this is a serious matter,"
said the count. "It is impossible that so perfidious a piece of roguery
can be an isolated act. Who knows but this may still be one of the
fruits of Madame de Saint-Dizier's hatred for Mdlle. de Cardoville?"
Adrienne had listened to the preceding discussion with deep attention.
Suddenly she started, as if struck by a sudden revelation.
After a moment's silence, she said to Rodin, without anger, without
bitterness, but with an expression of gentle and serene calmness: "We are
told, sir, that happy love works miracles. I should be tempted to
believe it; for, after some minutes' reflection, and when I recall
certain circumstances, your conduct appears to me in quite a new light."
"And what may this new perspective be, my dear young lady?"
"That you may see it from my point of view, sir, allow me to remind you
of a few facts. That sewing-girl was generously devoted to me; she had
given me unquestionable proofs of her attachment. Her mind was equal to
her noble heart; but she had an invincible dislike to you. All on a
sudden she disappears mysteriously from my house, and you do your best to
cast upon her odious suspicions. M. de Montbron has a paternal affection
for me; but, as I must confess, little sympathy for you; and you have
always tried to produce a coldness between us. Finally, Prince Djalma
has a deep affection for me, and you employ the most perfidious treachery
to kill that sentiment within him. For what end do you act thus? I do
not know; but certainly with some hostile design."
"It appears to me, madame," said Rodin, severely, "that you have
forgotten services performed."
"I do not deny, sir, that you took me from the house of Dr. Baleinier;
but, a few days sooner or later, I must infallibly have been released by
M. de Montbron."
"You are right, my dear child," said the count; "it may be that your
enemies wished to claim the merit of what must necessarily have happened
through the exertions of your friends."
"You are drowning, and I save you--it is all a mistake to feel grateful,"
said Rodin, bitterly; "some one else would no doubt have saved you a
"The comparison is wanting in exactness," said Adrienne, with a smile; "a
lunatic asylum is not a river, and though, from what I see, I think you
quite capable of diving, you have had no occasion to swim on this
occasion. You merely opened a door for me, which would have opened of
itself a little later."
"Very good, my dear child!" said the count, laughing heartily at
"I know, sir, that your care did not extend to me only. The daughters of
Marshal Simon were brought back by you; but we may imagine that the claim
of the Duke de Ligny to the possession of his daughters would not have
been in vain. You returned to an old soldier his imperial cross, which
he held to be a sacred relic; it is a very touching incident. Finally,
you unmasked the Abbe d'Aigrigny and Dr. Baleinier: but I had already
made up my mind to unmask then. However, all this proves that you are a
very clever man--"
"Oh, madame!" said Rodin, humbly.
"Full of resources and invention--"
"It is not my fault if, in our long interview at Dr. Baleinier's, you
betrayed that superiority of mind which struck me so forcibly, and which
seems to embarrass you so much at present. What would you have, sir?--
great minds like yours find it difficult to maintain their incognito.
Yet, as by different ways--oh! very different," added the young lady,
maliciously, "we are tending to the same end (still keeping in view our
conversation at Dr. Baleinier's), I wish, for the sake of our future
communion, as you call it, to give you a piece of advice, and speak
frankly to you."
Rodin had listened to Mdlle. de Cardoville with apparent impassibility,
holding his hat under his arm, and twirling his thumbs, whilst his hands
were crossed upon his waistcoat. The only external mark of the intense
agitation into which he was thrown by the calm words of Adrienne, was
that the livid eyelids of the Jesuit, which had been hypocritically
closed, became gradually red, as the blood flowed into them.
Nevertheless, he answered Mdlle. de Cardoville in a firm voice, and with
a low bow: "Good advice and frankness are always excellent things."
"You see, sir," resumed Adrienne, with some excitement, "happy love
bestows such penetration, such energy, such courage, as enables one to
laugh at perils, to detect stratagems, and to defy hatred. Believe me,
the divine light which surrounds two loving hearts will be sufficient to
disperse all darkness, and reveal every snare. You see, in India--excuse
my weakness, but I like to talk of India," added the young girl, with a
smile of indescribable grace and meaning--"in India, when travellers
sleep at night, they kindle great fires round their ajoupa (excuse this
touch of local coloring), and far as extends the luminous circle, it puts
to flight by its mere brilliancy, all the impure and venomous reptiles
that shun the day and live only in darkness."
"The meaning of this comparison has quite escaped me," said Rodin,
continuing to twirl his thumbs, and half raising his eyelids, which were
getting redder and redder.
"I will speak more plainly," said Adrienne, with a smile. "Suppose, sir,
that the last is a service which you have rendered me and the prince--for
you only proceed by way of services--that, I acknowledge, is novel and
"Bravo, my dear child!" said the count, joyfully. "The execution will be
"Oh! this is meant for an execution?" said Rodin, still impassible.
"No, sir," answered Adrienne, with a smile; "it is a simple conversation
between a poor young girl and an old philosopher, the friend of humanity.
Suppose, then, that these frequent services that you have rendered to me
and mine have suddenly opened my eyes; or, rather," added the young girl,
in a serious tone, "suppose that heaven, who gives to the mother the
instinct to defend her child, has given me, along with happiness, the
instinct to preserve my happiness, and that a vague presentiment, by
throwing light on a thousand circumstances until now obscure, has
suddenly revealed to me that, instead of being the friend, you are
perhaps, the most dangerous enemy of myself and family."
"So we pass from the execution to suppositions," said Rodin, still
"And from suppositions, sir, if you must have it, to certainty," resumed
Adrienne, with dignified firmness; "yes, now I believe that I was for
awhile your dupe, and I tell you, without hate, without anger, but with
regret--that it is painful to see a man of your sense and intelligence
stoop to such machinations, and, after having recourse to so many
diabolical manoeuvres, finish at last by being ridiculous; for, believe
me, there is nothing more ridiculous for a man like you, than to be
vanquished by a young girl, who has no weapon, no defence, no instructor,
but her love. In a word, sir, I look upon you from to-day as an
implacable and dangerous enemy; for I half perceive your aim, without
guessing by what means you will seek to accomplish it, No doubt your
future means will be worthy of the past. Well! in spite of all this, I
do not fear you. From tomorrow, my family will be informed of
everything, and an active, intelligent, resolute union will keep us all
upon our guard, for it doubtless concerns this enormous inheritance, of
which they wish to deprive us. Now, what connection can there be between
the wrongs I reproach you with and the pecuniary end proposed? I do not
at all know--but you have told me yourself that our enemies are so
dangerously skillful, and their craft so far-reaching, that we must
expect all, be prepared for all. I will remember the lesson. I have
promised you frankness, sir, and now I suppose you have it."
"It would be an imprudent frankness if I were your enemy," said Rodin,
still impassible; "but you also promised me some advice, my dear young
"My advice will be short; do not attempt to continue the struggle,
because, you see, there is something stronger than you and yours--it is a
woman's resolve, defending her happiness."
Adrienne pronounced these last words with so sovereign a confidence; her
beautiful countenance shone, as is it were, with such intrepid joy, that
Rodin, notwithstanding his phlegmatic audacity, was for a moment
frightened. Yet he did not appear in the least disconcerted; and, after
a moment's silence, he resumed, with an air of almost contemptuous
compassion: "My dear young lady, we may perhaps never meet again; it is
probable. Only remember one thing, which I now repeat to you: I never
justify myself. The future will provide for that. Notwithstanding
which, my dear young lady, I am your humble servant;" and he made her a
"Count, I beg to salute you most respectfully," he added, bowing still
more humbly to M. de Montbron; and he went out.
Hardly had Rodin left the room than Adrienne ran to her desk, and writing
a few hasty lines, sealed the note, and said to M. de Montbron: "I shall
not see the prince before to-morrow--as much from superstition of the
heart as because it is necessary for my plans that this interview should
be attended with some little solemnity. You shall know all; but I write
to him on the instant, for, with an enemy like M. Rodin, one must be
prepared for all."
"You are right, my dear child; quick! the letter." Adrienne gave it to
"I tell him enough," said she, "to calm his grief; and not enough to
deprive me of the delicious happiness of the surprise I reserve for to-
"All this has as much sense as heart in it: I will hasten to the prince's
abode, to deliver your letter. I shall not see him, for I could not
answer for myself. But come! our proposed drive, our evening's
amusement, are still to hold good."
"Certainly. I have more need than ever to divert my thoughts till to-
morrow. I feel, too, that the fresh air will do me good, for this
interview with M. Rodin has warmed me a little."
"The old wretch! but we will talk further of him. I will hasten to the
prince's and return with Madame de Morinval, to fetch you to the Champs-
The Count de Montbron withdrew precipitately, as joyful at his departure
as he had been sad on his arrival.
It was about two hours after the interview of Rodin with Mdlle. de
Cardoville. Numerous loungers, attracted to the Champs-Elysees by the
serenity of a fine spring day (it was towards the end of the month of
March) stopped to admire a very handsome equipage. A bright-blue open
carriage, with white-and-blue wheels, drawn by four superb horses, of
cream color, with black manes, and harness glittering with silver
ornaments, mounted by two boy postilions of equal size, with black velvet
caps, light-blue cassimere jackets with white collars, buckskin breeches,
and top-boots; two tall, powdered footmen, also in light-blue livery,
with white collars and facings, being seated in the rumble behind.
No equipage could have been turned out in better style. The horses, full
of blood, spirit, and vigor, were skillfully managed by the postilions,
and stepped with singular regularity, gracefully keeping time in their
movements, champing their bits covered with foam, and ever and anon
shaking their cockades of blue and white silk, with long floating ends,
and a bright rose blooming in the midst.
A man on horseback, dressed with elegant simplicity, keeping at the other
side of the avenue, contemplated with proud satisfaction this equipage
which he had, as it were, created. It was M. de Bonneville--Adrienne's
equerry, as M. de Montbron called him--for the carriage belonged to that
young lady. A change had taken place in the plan for this magic day's
amusement. M. de Montbron had not been able to deliver Mdlle. de
Cardoville's note to Prince Djalma. Faringhea had told him that the
prince had gone that morning into the country with Marshal Simon, and
would not be back before evening. The letter should be given him on his
arrival. Completely satisfied as to Djalma, knowing that he could find
these few lines, which, without informing him of the happiness that
awaited him, would at least give him some idea of it, Adrienne had
followed the advice of M. de Montbron, and gone to the drive in her own
carriage, to show all the world that she had quite made up her mind, in
spite of the perfidious reports circulated by the Princess de Saint-
Dizier, to keep to her resolution of living by herself in her own way.
Adrienne wore a small white bonnet, with a fall of blonde, which well
became her rosy face and golden hair; her high dress of garnet-colored
velvet was almost hidden beneath a large green cashmere shawl. The young
Marchioness de Morinval, who was also very pretty and elegant, was seated
at her right. M. de Montbron occupied the front seat of the carriage.
Those who know the Parisian world, or rather, that imperceptible fraction
of the world of Paris which goes every fine, sunny day to the Champs-
Elysees, to see and be seen, will understand that the presence of Mdlle.
de Cardoville on that brilliant promenade was an extraordinary and
The world (as it is called) could hardly believe its eyes, on seeing this
lady of eighteen, possessed of princely wealth, and belonging to the
highest nobility, thus prove to every one, by this appearance in public,
that she was living completely free and independent, contrary to all
custom and received notions of propriety. This kind of emancipation
appeared something monstrous, and people were almost astonished that the
graceful and dignified bearing of the young lady should belie so
completely the calumnies circulated by Madame de Saint-Dizier and her
friends, with regard to the pretended madness of her niece. Many beaux,
profiting by their acquaintance with the Marchioness de Morinval or M. de
Montbron, came by turns to pay their respects, and rode for a few minutes
by the side of the carriage, so as to have an opportunity of seeing,
admiring, and perhaps hearing, Mdlle. de Cardoville; she surpassed their
expectations, by talking with her usual grace and spirit. Then surprise
and enthusiasm knew no bounds. What had at first been blamed as an
almost insane caprice, was now voted a charming originality, and it only
depended on Mdlle. de Cardoville herself, to be declared from that day
the queen of elegance and fashion. The young lady understood very well
the impression she had made; she felt proud and happy, for she thought of
Djalma; when she compared him to all these men of fashion, her happiness
was the more increased. And, verily, these young men, most of whom had
never quitted Paris, or had ventured at most as far as Naples or Baden,
looked insignificant enough by the side of Djalma, who, at his age, had
so many times commanded and combated in bloody wars, and whose reputation
far courage and generosity, mentioned by travellers with admiration, had
already reached from India to Paris. And then, how could these charming
exquisites, with their small hats, their scanty frock-coats, and their
huge cravats, compare with the Indian prince, whose graceful and manly
beauty was still heightened by the splendor of a costume, at once so rich
and so picturesque?
On this happy day, all was joy and love for Adrienne. The sun, setting
in a splendidly serene sky, flooded the promenade with its golden light.
The air was warm. Carriages and horsemen passed and repassed in rapid
succession; a light breeze played with the scarfs of the women, and the
plumes in their bonnets; all around was noise, movement, sunshine.
Adrienne, leaning back in her carriage, amused herself with watching this
busy scene, sparkling with Parisian luxury; but, in the vortex of this
brilliant chaos, she saw in thought the mild, melancholy countenance of
Djalma--when suddenly something fell into her lap, and she started. It
was a bunch of half-faded violets. At the same instant she heard a
child's voice following the carriage, and saying: "For the love of
heaven, my good lady, one little sou!" Adrienne turned her head, and saw
a poor little girl, pale and wan, with mild, sorrowful features, scarcely
covered with rags, holding out her hand, and raising her eyes in
supplication. Though the striking contrast of extreme misery, side by
side with extreme luxury, is so common, that it no longer excites
attention, Adrienne was deeply affected by it. She thought of Mother
Bunch, now, perhaps, the victim of frightful destitution.
"Ah! at least," thought the young lady, "let not this day be one of
happiness for me alone!"
She leaned from the carriage-window, and said to the poor child: "Have
you a mother, my dear?"
"No, my lady, I have neither father nor mother."
"Who takes care of you?"
"No one, my lady. They give me nosegays to sell, and I must bring home
money--or they beat me."
"Poor little thing!"
"A sou, my good lady--a sou, for the love of heaven!" said the child,
continuing to follow the carriage, which was then moving slowly.
"My dear count," said Adrienne, smiling, and addressing M. de Montbron,
"you are, unfortunately, no novice at an elopement. Please to stretch
forth your arms, take up that child with both hands, and lift her into
the carriage. We can hide her between Lady de Morinval and myself; and
we can drive away before any one perceives this audacious abduction."
"What!" said the count, in surprise. "You wish--"
"Yes; I beg you to do it."
"What a folly!"
"Yesterday, you might, perhaps, have treated this caprice as a folly; but
to-day," said Adrienne, laying great stress upon the word, and glancing
at M. de Montbron with a significant air, "to-day, you should understand
that it is almost a duty."
"Yes, I understand you, good and noble heart!" said the count, with
emotion; while Lady de Morinval, who knew nothing of Mdlle. de
Cardoville's love for Djalma, looked with as much surprise as curiosity
at the count and the young lady.
M. de Montbron, leaning from the carriage, stretched out his arms towards
the child, and said to her: "Give me your hands, little girl."
Though much astonished, the child obeyed mechanically, and held out both
her little arms; then the count took her by the wrists, and lifted her
lightly from the ground, which he did the more easily, as the carnage was
very low, and its progress by no means rapid. More stupefied than
frightened, the child said not a word. Adrienne and Lady de Morinval
made room for her to crouch down between them, and the little girl was
soon hidden beneath the shawls of the two young women. All this was
executed so quickly, that it was hardly perceived by a few persons
passing in the side-avenues.
"Now, my dear count," said Adrienne, radiant with pleasure, "let us make
off at once with our prey."
M. de Montbron half rose, and called to the postilions. "Home!" and the
four horses started at once into a rapid and regular trot.
"This day of happiness now seems consecrated, and my luxury is excused,"
thought Adrienne; "till I can again meet with that poor Mother Bunch, and
from this day I will make every exertion to find her out, her place will
at least not be quite empty."
There are often strange coincidences in life. At the moment when this
thought of the hunchback crossed the mind of Adrienne, a crowd had
collected in one of the side-avenues, and other persons soon ran to join
"Look, uncle!" said Lady de Morinval; "how many people are assembled
yonder. What can it be? Shall we stop, and send to inquire?"
"I am sorry, my dear, but your curiosity cannot be satisfied," said the
count, drawing out his watch; "it will soon be six o'clock, and the
exhibition of the wild beasts begin at eight. We shall only just have
time to go home and dine. Is not that your opinion, my dear child?" said
he to Adrienne.
"And yours, Julia?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville to the marchioness.
"Oh, certainly!" answered her friend.
"I am the less inclined to delay," resumed the count, "as when I have
taken you to the Porte-Saint-Martin, I shall be obliged to go for half-
an-hour to my club, to ballot for Lord Campbell, whom I propose."
"Then, Adrienne and I will be left alone at the play, uncle?"
"Your husband will go with you, I suppose."
"True, dear uncle; but do not quite leave us, because of that."
"Be sure I shall not: for I am curious as you are to see these terrible
animals, and the famous Morok, the incomparable lion-tamer."
A few minutes after, Mdlle. de Cardoville's carriage had left the Champs-
Elysees, carrying with it the little girl, and directing its course
towards the Rue d'Anjou. As the brilliant equipage disappeared from the
scene, the crowd, of which we before have spoken, greatly increased about
one of the large trees in the Champs-Elysees, and expressions of pity
were heard here and there amongst the groups. A lounger approached a
young man on the skirts of the crowd, and said to him: "What is the
"I hear it is a poor young girl, a hunchback, that has fallen from
"A hunchback! is that all? There will always be enough hunchbacks," said
the lounger, brutally, with a coarse laugh.
"Hunchback or not, if she dies of hunger," answered the young man,
scarcely able to restrain his indignation, "it will be no less sad--and
there is really nothing to laugh at, sir."
"Die of hunger! pooh!" said the lounger, shrugging his shoulders. "It is
only lazy scoundrels, that will not work, who die of hunger. And it
serves them right."
"I wager, sir, there is one death you will never die of," cried the young
man, incensed at the cruel insolence of the lounger.
"What do you mean?" answered the other, haughtily.
"I mean, sir, that your heart is not likely to kill you."
"Sir!" cried the lounger in an angry tone.
"Well! what, sir?" replied the young man, looking full in his face.
"Nothing," said the lounger, turning abruptly on his heel, and grumbling
as he sauntered towards an orange-colored cabriolet, on which was
emblazoned an enormous coat-of-arms, surmounted by a baron's crest. A
servant in green livery, ridiculously laced with gold, was standing
beside the horse, and did not perceive his master.
"Are you catching flies, fool?" said the latter, pushing him with his
cane. The servant turned round in confusion. "Sir," said he.
"Will you never learn to call me Monsieur le Baron, rascal?" cried his
master, in a rage--"Open the door directly!"
The lounger was Baron Tripeaud, the manufacturing baron the stock-jobber.
The poor hunchback was Mother Bunch, who had, indeed fallen with hunger
and fatigue, whilst on her way to Mdlle. de Cardoville's. The
unfortunate creature had found courage to brave the shame of the ridicule
she so much feared, by returning to that house from which she was a
voluntary exile; but this time, it was not for herself, but for her
sister Cephyse--the Bacchanal Queen, who had returned to Paris the
previous day, and whom Mother Bunch now sought, through the means of
Adrienne, to rescue from a most dreadful fate.
Two hours after these different scenes, an enormous crowd pressed round
the doors of the Porte-Saint-Martin, to witness the exercises of Morok,
who was about to perform a mock combat with the famous black panther of
Java, named Death. Adrienne, accompanied by Lord and Lady de Morinval,
now stepped from a carriage at the entrance of the theatre. They were to
be joined in the course of the evening by M. de Montbron, whom they had
dropped, in passing, at his club.
BEHIND THE SCENES.
The large theatre of the Porte-Saint-Martin was crowded by an impatient
multitude. All Paris had hurried with eager and burning curiosity to
Morok's exhibition. It is quite unnecessary to say that the lion-tamer
had completely abandoned his small taste in religious baubles, which he
had so successfully carried on at the White Falcon Inn at Leipsic. There
were, moreover, numerous tokens by which the surprising effects of
Morok's sudden conversion had been blazoned in the most extraordinary
pictures: the antiquated baubles in which he had formerly dealt would
have found no sale in Paris. Morok had nearly finished dressing himself,
in one of the actor's rooms, which had been lent to him. Over a coat of
mail, with cuishes and brassarts, he wore an ample pair of red trousers,
fastened round his ankles by broad rings of gilt brass. His long caftan
of black cloth, embroidered with scarlet and gold, was bound round his
waist and wrist by other large rings of gilt metal. This sombre costume
imparted to him an aspect still more ferocious. His thick and red-haired
beard fell in large quantities down to his chest, and a long piece of
white muslin was folded round his red head. A devout missionary in
Germany and an actor in Paris, Morok knew as well as his employers, the
Jesuits, how to accommodate himself to circumstances.
Seated in one corner of the room, and contemplating with a sort of stupid
admiration, was Jacques Rennepont, better known as "Sleepinbuff" (from
the likelihood that he would end his days in rags, or his present
antipathy to great care in dress). Since the day Hardy's factory had
been destroyed by fire, Jacques had not quitted Morok, passing the nights
in excesses, which had no baneful effects on the iron constitution of the
lion-tamer. On the other's features, on the contrary, a great alteration
was perceptible; his hollow cheeks, marble pallor, his eyes, by turns
dull and heavy, or gleaming with lurid fire, betrayed the ravages of
debauchery, his parched lips were almost constantly curled by a bitter
and sardonic smile. His spirit, once gay and sanguine, still struggled
against the besotting influence of habitual intoxication. Unfitted for
labor, no longer able to forego gross pleasures, Jacques sought to drown
in wine a few virtuous impulses which he still possessed, and had sunk so
low as to accept without shame the large dole of sensual gratification
proffered him by Morok, who paid all the expenses of their orgies, but
never gave him money, in order that he might be completely dependent on
him. After gazing at Morok for some time in amazement, Jacques said to
him, in a familiar tone: "Well, yours is a famous trade; you may boast
that, at this moment, there are not two men like you in the whole world
That's flattering. It's a pity you don't stick to this fine trade."
"What do you mean?"
"Why, how is the conspiracy going on, in whose honor you make me keep it
up all day and all night?"
"It is working, but the time is not yet come; that is why I wish to have
you always at hand, till the great day. Do you complain?"
"Hang it, no!" said Jacques. "What could I do? Burnt up with brandy as
I am, if I wanted to work, I've no longer the strength to do so. I have
not, like you, a head of marble, and a body of iron; but as for fuddling
myself with gunpowder, instead of anything else, that'll do for me; I'm
only fit for that work now--and then, it will drive away thought."
"Oh what kind?"
"You know that when I do think, I think only of one thing," said Jacques,
"The Bacchanal queen?--still?" said Morok, in a disdainful tone.
"Still! rather: when I shall think of her no longer, I shall be dead--or
"You were never better or more intelligent, you fool!" replied Morok,
fastening his turban. The conversation was here interrupted. Morok's
aider entered hastily.
The gigantic form of this Hercules had increased in width. He was
habited like Alcides; his enormous limbs, furrowed with veins as thick as
whipcord, were covered with a close-fitting flesh-colored garment, to
which a pair of red drawers formed a strong contrast.
"Why do you rush in like a storm, Goliath?" said Morok.
"There's a pretty storm in the house; they are beginning to get
impatient, and are calling out like madmen. But if that were all!"
"Well, what else?"
"Death will not be able to play this evening."
Morok turned quickly around. He seemed uneasy. "Why so?" he exclaimed.
"I have just seen her! she's crouching at the bottom of her cage; her
ears lie so close to her head, she looks as if they had been cut off.
You know what that means."
"Is that all?" said Morok, turning to the glass to complete his head-
"It's quite enough; she's in one of her tearing fits. Since that night
in Germany, when she ripped up that old hack of a white horse, I've not
seen her look so savage! her eyes shine like burning candles."
"Then she must have her fine collar on," said Morok, quietly.
"Her fine collar?"
"Yes; her spring-collar."
"And I must be lady's-maid," said the giant. "A nice toilet to attend
"Hold your tongue!"
"That's not all--" continued Goliath, hesitating.
"I might as well tell you at once."
"Will you speak?"
"Well! he is here."
"Who, you stupid brute?"
Morok started; his arms fell powerless by his side. Jacques was struck
with the lion-tamer's paleness and troubled countenance.
"The Englishman!--you have seen him?" cried Morok, addressing Goliath.
"You are quite sure?"
"Quite sure. I was looking through the peep-hole in the curtain; I saw
him in one of the stage-boxes--he wishes to see things close; he's easy
to recognize, with his pointed forehead, big nose, and goggle eyes."
Morok shuddered again; usually fierce and unmoved, he appeared to be more
and more agitated, and so alarmed, that Jacques said to him: "Who is this
"He has followed me from Strasburg, where he fell in with me," said
Morok, with visible dejection. "He travelled with his own horses, by
short stages, as I did; stopping where I stopped, so as never to miss one
of my exhibitions. But two days before I arrived at Paris, he left me--I
thought I was rid of him," said Morok, with a sigh.
"Rid of him!--how you talk!" replied Jacques, surprised; "such a good
customer, such an admirer!"
"Aye!" said Morok, becoming more and more agitated; "this wretch has
wagered an enormous sum, that I will be devoured in his presence, during
one of my performances: he hopes to win his wager--that is why he
follows me about."
Sleepinbuff found the John Bull's idea so amusingly eccentric, that, for
the first time since a very long period, he burst into a peal of hearty
laughter. Morok, pale with rage, rushed towards him with so menacing an
air, that Goliath was obliged to interpose.
"Come, come," said Jacques, "don't be angry; if it is serious, I will not
laugh any more."
Morok was appeased, and said to Sleepinbuff in a hoarse voice: "Do you
think me a coward?"
"No, by heaven!"
"Well! And yet this Englishman, with his grotesque face, frightens me
more than any tiger or my panther!"
"You say so, and I believe it," replied Jacques; "but I cannot understand
why the presence of this man should alarm you."
"But consider, you dull knave!" cried Morok, "that, obliged to watch
incessantly the least movement of the ferocious beast, whom I keep in
subjection by my action and my looks, there is something terrible in
knowing that two eyes are there--always there--fixed--waiting till the
least absence of mind shall expose me to be torn in pieces by the
"Now, I understand," said Jacques, shuddering in his turn. "It is
"Yes; for once there, though I may not see this cursed Englishman, I
fancy I have his two round eyes, fixed and wide open, always before me.
My tiger Cain once nearly mutilated my arm, when my attention was drawn
away by this Englishman, whom the devil take! Blood and thunder!" cried
Morok: "this man will be fatal to me." And Morok paced the room in great
"Besides, Death lays her ears close to her skull," said Goliath,
brutally. "If you persist--mind, I tell you--the Englishman will win his
wager this evening."
"Go away, you brute!--don't vex my head with your confounded
predictions," cried Morok: "go and prepare Death's collar."
"Well, every one to his taste; you wish the panther to taste you," said
the giant, stalking heavily away, after this joke.
"But if you feel these fears," said Jacques, "why do you not say that the
panther is ill?"
Morok shrugged his shoulders, and replied with a sort of feverish
ferocity, "Have you ever heard of the fierce pleasure of the gamester,
who stakes his honor, his life, upon a card? Well! I too--in these
daily exhibitions where my life is at stake--find a wild, fierce pleasure
in braving death, before a crowded assembly, shuddering and terrified at
my audacity. Yes, even in the fear with which this Englishman inspires
me, I find, in spite of myself, a terrible excitement, which I abhor, and
which yet subjugates me."
At this moment, the stage-manager entered the room, and interrupted the
beast-tamer. "May we give the signal, M. Morok?" said the stage-manager.
"The overture will not last above ten minutes."
"I am ready," said Morok.
"The police-inspector has just now given orders, that the double chain of
the panther, and the iron ring riveted to the floor of the stage, at the
end of the cavern in the foreground, shall be again examined; and
everything has been reported quite secure."
"Yes--secure--except for me," murmured the beast-tamer.
"So, M. Morok, the signal may be given?"
"The signal may--be given," replied Morok. And the manager went out.
UP WITH THE CURTAIN.
The usual bell sounded with solemnity behind the scenes the overture
began, and, to say the truth, but little attention was paid to it. The
interior of the theatre offered a very animated view. With the exception
of two stage-boxes even with the dress circle, one to the left, the other
to the right of the audience, every seat was occupied. A great number of
very fashionable ladies, attracted, as is always the case, by the strange
wildness of the spectacle, filled the boxes. The stalls were crowded by
most of the young men who; in the morning, had walked their horses on the
Champs-Elysees. The observations which passed from one stall to another,
will give some idea of their conversation.
"Do you know, my dear boy, there would not be so crowded or fashionable
an audience to witness Racine's Athalia?"
"Undoubtedly. What is the beggarly howling of an actor, compared to the
roaring of the lion?"
"I cannot understand how the authorities permit this Morok to fasten his
panther with a chain to an iron ring in the corner of the stage. If the
chain were to break?"
"Talking of broken chains--there's little Mme. de Blinville, who is no
tigress. Do you see her in the second tier, opposite?"
"It becomes her very well to have broken, as you say, the marriage chain;
she looks very well this season."
"Oh! there is the beautiful Duchess de Saint-Prix; all the world is here
to-night--I don't speak of ourselves."
"It is a regular opera night--what a festive scene!"
"Well, after all, people do well to amuse themselves, perhaps it will not
be for long."
"Suppose the cholera were to come to Paris?"
"Do you believe in the cholera?"
"To be sure I do! He's coming from the North, with his walking-stick
under his arm."
"The devil take him on the road! don't let us see his green visage here."
"They say he's at London."
"A pleasant journey to him."
"Come, let us talk of something else; it may be a weakness, if you
please, but I call this a dull subject."
"I believe you."
"Oh! gentlemen--I am not mistaken--no--it is she!"
"Mdlle. de Cardoville! She is coming into the stage-box with Morinval
and his wife. It is a complete resuscitation: this morning on the
Champs-Elysees; in the evening here."
"Faith, you are right! It is Mdlle. de Cardoville."
"Good heaven! how lovely she is!"
"Lend me your eyeglass."
"Well, what do you think of her?"
"And in addition to her beauty, an inexhaustible flow of wit, three
hundred thousand francs a year, high birth, eighteen years of age, and--
free as air."
"Yes, that is to say, that, provided it pleased her, I might be to-
morrow--or even to-day--the happiest of men."
"It is enough to turn one's brain."
"I am told that her mansion, Rue d'Anjou, is like an enchanted palace; a
great deal is said about a bath-room and bedroom, worthy of the Arabian
"And free as air--I come back to that."
"Ah! if I were in her place!"
"My levity would be quite shocking."
"Oh! gentlemen, what a happy man will he be who is loved first!"
"You think, then, that she will have many lovers?"
"Being as free as air--"
"All the boxes are full, except the stage-box opposite to that in which
Mdlle. de Cardoville is seated. Happy the occupiers of that box!"
"Did you see the English ambassador's lady in the dress circle?"
"And the Princess d'Alvimar--what an enormous bouquet!"
"I should like to know the name--of that nosegay."
"How flattering for the lions and tigers, to attract so fashionable an
"Do you notice, gentlemen, how all the women are eye-glassing Mdlle. de
"She makes a sensation."
"She is right to show herself; they gave her out as mad."
"Oh! gentlemen, what a capital phiz!"
"There--in the omnibus-box beneath Mdlle. de Cardoville's."
"It's a Nuremburg nutcracker."
"Did you ever see such round, staring eyes?"
"And the nose!"
"And the forehead!"
"It's a caricature."
"Order, order! the curtain rises."
And, in fact, the curtain rose. Some explanation is necessary for the
clear understanding of what follows. In the lower stage-box, to the left
of the audience, were several persons, who had been referred to by the
young men in the stalls. The omnibus-box was occupied by the Englishman,
the eccentric and portentous bettor, whose presence inspired Morok with
so much dread.
It would require Hoffman's rare and fantastic genius to describe worthily
that countenance, at once grotesque and frightful, as it stood out from
the dark background of the box. This Englishman was about fifty years
old; his forehead was quite bald, and of a conical shape; beneath this
forehead, surmounted by eyebrows like parenthesis marks, glittered large,
green eyes, remarkably round and staring, and set very close to a hooked
nose, extremely sharp and prominent; a chin like that on the old-
fashioned nutcrackers was half-hidden in a broad and ample white cravat,
as stiffly-starched as the round-cornered shirt-collar, which nearly
touched his ears. The face was exceedingly thin and bony, and yet the
complexion was high-colored, approaching to purple, which made the bright
green of the pupils, and the white of the other part of the eyes, still
more conspicuous. The mouth, which was very wide, sometimes whistled
inaudibly the tune of a Scotch jig (always the same tune), sometimes was
slightly curled with a sardonic smite. The Englishman was dressed with
extreme care; his blue coat, with brass buttons, displayed his spotless
waistcoat, snowy, white as his ample cravat; his shirt was fastened with
two magnificent ruby studs, and his patrician hands were carefully kid-
To any one who knew the eccentric and cruel desire which attracted this
man to every representation, his grotesque face became almost terrific,
instead of exciting ridicule; and it was easy to understand the dread
experience by Morok at sight of those great, staring round eyes, which
appeared to watch for the death of the lion-tamer (what a horrible
death!) with unshaken confidence. Above the dark box of the Englishman,
affording a graceful contrast, were seated the Morinvals and Mdlle. de
Cardoville. The latter was placed nearest the stage. Her head was
uncovered, and she wore a dress of sky-blue China crepe, ornamented at
the bosom with a brooch of the finest Oriental pearls--nothing more; yet
Adrienne, thus attired, was charming. She held in her hand an enormous
bouquet, composed of the rarest flowers of India: the stephanotis and the
gardenia mingled the dead white of their blossoms with the purple
hibiscus and Java amaryllis.
Madame de Morinval, seated on the opposite side of the box, was dressed
with equal taste and simplicity; Morinval, a fair and very handsome young
man, of elegant appearance, was behind the two ladies. M. de Montbron
was expected to arrive every moment. The reader will please to recollect
that the stage-box to the right of the audience, opposite Adrienne's, had
remained till then quite empty. The stage represented one of the
gigantic forests of India. In the background, tall exotic trees rose in
spiral or spreading forms, among rugged masses of perpendicular rocks,
with here and there glimpses of a tropical sky. The side-scenes formed
tufts of trees, interspersed with rocks; and at the side which was
immediately beneath Adrienne's box appeared the irregular opening of a
deep and gloomy cavern, round which were heaped huge blocks of granite,
as if thrown together by some convulsion of nature. This scenery, full
of a wild and savage grandeur, was wonderfully "built up," so as to make
the illusion as complete as possible; the footlights were lowered, and
being covered with a purple shade, threw over this landscape a subdued
reddish light, which increased the gloomy and startling effect of the
whole. Adrienne, leaning forward from the box, with cheeks slightly
flushed, sparkling eyes, and throbbing heart, sought to trace in this
scene the solitary forest described by the traveller who had eulogized
Djalma's generosity and courage, when he threw himself upon a ferocious
tigress to save the life of a poor black slave. Chance coincided
wonderfully indeed with her recollections. Absorbed in the contemplation
of the scenery and the thoughts it awakened in her heart, she paid no
attention to what was passing in the house. And yet something calculated
to excite curiosity was taking place in the opposite stage-box.
The door of this box opened. A man about forty years of age, of a yellow
complexion, entered; he was clothed after the East Indian fashion, in a
long robe of orange silk, bound round the waist with a green sash, and he
wore a small white turban. He placed two chairs at the front of the box;
and, having glanced round the house for a moment, he started, his black
eyes sparkled, and he went out quickly. That man was Faringhea. His
apparition caused surprise and curiosity in the theatre; the majority of
the spectators not having, like Adrienne, a thousand reasons for being
absorbed in the contemplation of a picturesque set scene. The public
attention was still more excited when they saw the box which Faringhea
had just left, entered by a youth of rare beauty, also dressed Oriental
fashion, in a long robe of white Cashmere with flowing sleeves, with a
scarlet turban striped with gold on his head, and a sash to correspond,
in which was stuck a long dagger, glittering with precious stones. This
young man was Prince Djalma. For an instant he remained standing at the
door, and cast a look of indifference upon the immense theatre, crowded
with people; then, stepping forward with a majestic and tranquil air, the
prince seated himself negligently on one of the chairs, and, turning his
head in a few moments towards the entrance, appeared surprised at not
seeing some person whom he doubtless expected. This person appeared at
length; the boxkeeper had been assisting her to take off her cloak. She
was a charming, fair-haired girl, attired with more show than taste, in a
dress of white silk, with broad cherry-colored stripes, made ultra-
fashionably low, and with short sleeves; a large bow of cherry-colored
ribbon was placed on each side of her light hair, and set off the
prettiest, sprightliest, most wilful little face in the world.
It was Rose-Pompon. Her pretty arms were partly covered by long white
gloves, and ridiculously loaded with bracelets: in her hand she carried
an enormous bouquet of roses.
Far from imitating the calm demeanor of Djalma, Rose-Pompon skipped into
the box, moved the chairs about noisily, and fidgeted on her seat for
some time, to display her fine dress; then, without being in the least
intimidated by the presence of the brilliant assembly, she, with a little
coquettish air, held her bouquet towards Djalma, that he might smell it,
and appeared finally to establish herself on her seat. Faringhea came
in, shut the door of the box, and seated himself behind the prince.
Adrienne, still completely absorbed in the contemplation of the Indian
forest, and in her own sweet thoughts, had not observed the newcomers.
As she was turning her head completely towards the stage, and Djalma
could not, for the moment, see even her profile, he, on his side, had not
recognized Mdlle. de Cardoville.
The pantomime opening, by which was introduced the combat of Morok with
the black panther, was so unmeaning, that the majority of the audience
paid no attention to it, reserving all their interest for the scene in
which the lion-tamer was to make his appearance.
This indifference of the public explains the curiosity excited in the
theatre by the arrival of Faringhea and Djalma--a curiosity which
expressed itself (as at this day, when uncommon foreigners appear in
public) by a slight murmur and general movement amongst the crowd. The
sprightly, pretty face of Rose-Pompon, always charming, in spite of her
singularly staring dress, in style so ridiculous for such a theatre, and
her light and familiar manner towards the handsome Indian who accompanied
her, increased and animated the general surprise; for, at this moment,
Rose-Pompon, yielding without reserve to a movement of teasing coquetry,
had held up, as we have already stated, her large bunch of roses to
Djalma. But the prince, at sight of the landscape which reminded him of
his country, instead of appearing sensible to this pretty, provocation,
remained for some minutes as in a dream, with his eyes fixed upon the
stage. Then Rose-Pompon began to beat time on the front of the box with
her bouquet, whilst the somewhat too visible movement of her pretty
shoulders showed that this devoted dancer was thinking of fast-life
dances, as the orchestra struck up a more lively strain.
Placed directly opposite the box in which Faringhea, Djalma, and Rose-
Pompon had just taken their seats, Lady Morinval soon perceived the
arrival of these two personages, and particularly the eccentric
coquetries of Rose-Pompon. Immediately, the young marchioness, leaning
over towards Mdlle. de Cardoville, who was still absorbed in memories
ineffable, said to her, laughing: "My dear, the most amusing part of the
performance is not upon the stage. Look just opposite."
"Just opposite?" repeated Adrienne, mechanically: and, turning towards
Lady Morinval with an air of surprise, she glanced in the direction
She looked--what did she see?--Djalma seated by the side of a young
woman, who was familiarly offering to his sense of smell the perfume of
her bouquet. Amazed, struck almost literally to the heart, as by an
electric shock, swift, sharp, and painful, Adrienne became deadly pale.
From instinct, she shut her eyes for a second, in order not to see--as
men try to ward off the dagger, which, having once dealt the blow,
threatens to strike again. Then suddenly, to this feeling of grief
succeeded a reflection, terrible both to her love and to her wounded
"Djalma is present with this woman, though he must have received my
letter," she said to herself,--"wherein he was informed of the happiness
that awaited him."
At the idea of so cruel an insult, a blush of shame and indignation
displaced Adrienne's paleness, who overwhelmed by this sad reality, said
to herself: "Rodin did not deceive me."
We abandon all idea of picturing the lightning-like rapidity of certain
emotions which in a moment may torture--may kill you in the space of a
minute. Thus Adrienne was precipitated from the most radiant happiness
to the lowest depths of an abyss of the most heart-rending grief, in less
than a second; for a second had hardly elapsed before she replied to Lady
Morinval: "What is there, then, so curious, opposite to us, my dear
This evasive question gave Adrienne time to recover her self-possession.
Fortunately, thanks to the thick folds of hair which almost entirely
concealed her cheeks, the rapid and sudden changes from pallor to blush
escaped the notice of Lady Morinval, who gayly replied: "What, my dear,
do you not perceive those East Indians, who have just entered the box
immediately opposite to ours? There, just before us!"
"Yes, I see them; but what then?" replied Adrienne, in a firm tone.
"And don't you observe anything remarkable?" said the marchioness.
"Don't be too hard, ladies," laughingly interposed the marquis; "we ought
to allow the poor foreigners some little indulgence. They are ignorant
of our manners and customs; were it not for that, they would never appear
in the face of all Paris in such dubious company."
"Indeed," said Adrienne, with a bitter smile, "their simplicity is
touching; we must pity them."
"And, unfortunately, the girl is charming, spite of her low dress and
bare arms," said the marchioness; "she cannot be more than sixteen or
seventeen at most. Look at her, my dear Adrienne; what a pity!"
"It is one of your charitable days, my dear Julia," answered Adrienne;
"we are to pity the Indians, to pity this creature, and--pray, whom else
are we to pity?"
"We will not pity that handsome Indian, in his red-and-gold turban," said
the marquis, laughing, "for, if this goes on, the girl with the cherry-
colored ribbons will be giving him a kiss. See how she leans towards her
"They are very amusing," said the marchioness, sharing the hilarity of
her husband, and looking at Rose-Pompom through her glass; then she
resumed, in about a minute, addressing herself to Adrienne: "I am quite
certain of one thing. Notwithstanding her giddy airs, that girl is very
fond of her Indian. I just saw a look that expresses a great deal."
"Why so much penetration, my dear Julia?" said Adrienne, mildly; "what
interest have we to read the heart of that girl?"
"Why, if she loves her sultan, she is quite in the right," said the
marquis, looking through his opera-glass in turn; "for, in my whole life,
I never saw a more handsome fellow than that Indian. I can only catch
his side-face, but the profile is pure and fine as an antique cameo. Do
you not think so?" added the marquis, leaning towards Adrienne. "Of
course, it is only as a matter of art, that I permit myself to ask you
"As a work of art," answered Adrienne, "it is certainly very fine."
"But see!" said the marchioness; "how impertinent the little creature
is!--She is actually staring at us."
"Well!" said the marquis; "and she is actually laying her hand quite
unceremoniously on her sultan's shoulder, to make him share, no doubt, in
her admiration of you ladies."
In fact, Djalma, until now occupied with the contemplation of the scene
which reminded him of his country, had remained insensible to the
enticements of Rose-Pompon, and had not yet perceived Adrienne.
"Well, now!" said Rose-Pompon, bustling herself about in front of the
box, and continuing to stare at Mdlle. de Cardoville, for it was she, and
not the marchioness, who now drew her attention; "that is something quite
out of the common way--a pretty woman, with red hair; but such sweet red,
it must be owned. Look, Prince Charming!"
And so saying, she tapped Djalma lightly on the shoulder; he started at
these words, turned round, and for the first time perceived Mdlle. de
Though he had been almost prepared for this meeting, the prince was so
violently affected by it, that he was about involuntarily to rise, in a
state of the utmost confusion; but he felt the iron hand of Faringhea
laid heavily on his shoulder, and heard him whisper in Hindostanee:
"Courage! and by to-morrow she will be at your feet."
As Djalma still struggled to rise, the half-caste added to restrain him:
"Just now, she grew pale and red with jealousy. No weakness, or all is
"So! there you are again, talking your dreadful gibberish," said Rose-
Pompon, turning round towards Faringhea. "First of all, it is not
polite; and then the language is so odd, that one might suppose you were
"I spoke of you to my master," said the half-caste; "he is preparing a
surprise for you."
"A surprise? oh! that is different. Only make haste--do you hear, Prince
Charming!" added she, looking tenderly at Djalma.
"My heart is breaking," said Djalma, in a hollow voice to Faringhea,
still using the language of India.
"But to-morrow it will bound with joy and love," answered the half-caste.
"It is only by disdain that you can conquer a proud woman. To-morrow, I
tell you, she will be trembling, confused, supplicating, at your feet!"
"To-morrow, she will hate me like death!" replied the prince, mournfully.
"Yes, were she now to see you weak and cowardly. It is now too late to
draw back; look full at her, take the nosegay from this girl, and raise
it to your lips. Instantly, you will see yonder woman, proud as she is,
grow pale and red, as just now. Then will you believe me?"
Reduced by despair to make almost any attempt, and fascinated, in spite
of himself, by the diabolical hints of Faringhea, Djalma looked for a
second full at Mdlle. de Cardoville; then, with a trembling hand he took
the bouquet from Rose-Pompon, and, again looking at Adrienne, pressed it
to his lips.
Upon this insolent bravado, Mdlle. de Cardoville could not restrain so
sudden and visible a pang, that the prince was struck by it.
"She is yours," said the half-caste, to him. "Did you see, my lord, how
she trembled with jealousy?--Only have courage! and she is yours. She
will soon prefer you to that handsome young man behind her--for it is he
whom she has hitherto fancied herself in love with."
As if the half-caste had guessed the movement of rage and hatred, which
this revelation would excite in the heart of the prince, he hastily
added: "Calmness and disdain! Is it not his turn now to hate you?"
The prince restrained himself, and drew his hand across his forehead
which glowed with anger.
"There now! what are you telling him, that vexes him so?" said Rose-
Pompon to Faringhea, with pouting lip. Then, addressing Djalma, she
continued: "Come, Prince Charming, as they say in the fairy-tale, give me
back my flowers."
As she took it again, she added: "You have kissed it, and I could almost
eat it." Then, with a sigh, and a passionate glance at Djalma, she said
softly to herself: "That monster Ninny Moulin did not deceive me. All
this is quite proper; I have not even that to reproach myself with." And
with her little white teeth, she bit at a rosy nail of her right hand,
from which she had just drawn the glove.
It is hardly necessary to say, that Adrienne's letter had not been
delivered to the prince, and that he had not gone to pass the day in the
country with Marshal Simon. During the three days in which Montbron had
not seen Djalma, Faringhea had persuaded him, that, by affecting another
passion, he would bring Mdlle. de Cardoville to terms. With regard to
Djalma's presence at the theatre, Rodin had learned from her maid,
Florine, that her mistress was to go in the evening to the Porte-Saint-
Martin. Before Djalma had recognized her, Adrienne, who felt her
strength failing her, was on the point of quitting the theatre; the man,
whom she had hitherto placed so high, whom she had regarded as a hero and
a demi-god and whom she had imagined plunged in such dreadful despair,
that, led by the most tender pity, she had written to him with simple
frankness, that a sweet hope might calm his grief--replied to a generous
mark of sincerity and love, by making himself a ridiculous spectacle with
a creature unworthy of him. What incurable wounds for Adrienne's pride!
It mattered little, whether Djalma knew or not, that she would be a
spectator of the indignity. But when she saw herself recognized by the
prince, when he carried the insult so far as to look full at her, and, at
the same time, raise to his lips the creature's bouquet who accompanied
him, Adrienne was seized with noble indignation, and felt sufficient
courage to remain: instead of closing her eyes to evidence, she found a
sort of barbarous pleasure in assisting at the agony and death of her
pure and divine love. With head erect, proud and flashing eye, flushed
cheek, and curling lip, she looked in her turn at the prince with
disdainful steadiness. It was with a sardonic smile that she said to the
marchioness, who, like many others of the spectators was occupied with
what was passing in the stage-box: "This revolting exhibition of savage
manners is at least in accordance with the rest of the performance."
"Certainly," said the marchioness; "and my dear uncle will have lost,
perhaps, the most amusing part."
"Montbron?" said Adrienne, hastily, with hardly repressed bitterness;
"yes, he will regret not having seen all. I am impatient for his
arrival. Is it not to him that I am indebted for his charming evening?"
Perhaps Madame de Morinval would have remarked the expression of bitter
irony, that Adrienne could not altogether dissemble, if suddenly a hoarse
and prolonged roar had net attracted her attention, as well as that of
the rest of the audience, who had hitherto been quite indifferent to the
scenes intended for an introduction to the appearance of Morok. Every
eye was now turned instinctively towards the cavern situated to the left
of the stage, just below Mdlle. de Cardoville's box; a thrill of
curiosity ran through the house. A second roar, deeper and more
sonorous, and apparently expressive of more irritation than the first,
now rose from the cave, the mouth of which was half-hidden by artificial
brambles, made so as to be easily put on one side. At this sound, the
Englishman stood up in his little box, leaned half over the front, and
began to rub his hands with great energy; then, remaining perfectly
motionless, he fixed his large, green, glittering eyes on the mouth of
At these ferocious howlings, Djalma also had started, notwithstanding the
frenzy of love, hate, and jealousy, to which he was a prey. The sight of
this forest, and the roarings of the panther, filled him with deep
emotion, for they recalled the remembrance of his country, and of those
great hunts which, like war, have their own terrible excitement. Had he
suddenly heard the horns and gongs of his father's army sounding to the
charge, he could not have been transported with more savage ardor. And
now deep growls, like distant thunder, almost drowned the roar of the
panther. The lion and tiger, Judas and Cain answered her from their dens
at the back of the stage. On this frightful concert, with which his ears
had been familiar in the midst of the solitudes of India, when he lay
encamped, for the purposes of the chase or of war, Djalma's blood boiled
in his veins. His eyes sparkled with a wild ardor. Leaning a little
forward, with both hands pressed on the front of the box, his whole body
trembled with a convulsive shudder. The audience, the theatre, Adrienne
herself no longer existed for him; he was in a forest of his own lands,
tracking the tiger.
Then there mingled with his beauty so intrepid and ferocious an
expression, that Rose-Pompon looked at him with a sort of terror and
passionate admiration. For the first time in her life, perhaps, her
pretty blue eyes, generally so gay and mischievous; expressed a serious
emotion. She could not explain what she felt; but her heart seemed
frightened, and beat violently, as though some calamity were at hand.
Yielding to a movement of involuntary fear, she seized Djalma by the arm,
and said to him: "Do not stare so into that cavern; you frighten me."
Djalma did not hear what she said.
"Here he is! here he is!" murmured the crowd, almost with one voice, as
Morok appeared at the back of the stage.
Dressed as we have described, Morok now carried in addition a bow and a
long quiver full of arrows. He slowly descended the line of painted
rocks, which came sloping down towards the centre of the stage. From
time to time, he stopped as if to listen, and appeared to advance with
caution. Looking from one side to the other, his eyes involuntarily
encountered the large, green eyes of the Englishman, whose box was close
to the cavern. Instantly the lion-tamer's countenance was contracted in
so frightful a manner, that Lady Morinval, who was examining him closely
with the aid of an excellent glass, said hastily to Adrienne: "My dear,
the man is afraid. Some misfortune will happen."
"How can accidents happen," said Adrienne, with a sardonic smile, "in the
midst of this brilliant crowd, so well dressed and full of animation!
Misfortunes here, this evening! why, dear Julia, you do not think it. It
is in darkness and solitude that misfortunes come--never in the midst of
a joyous crowd, and in all this blaze of light."
"Good gracious, Adrienne! take care!" cried the marchioness, unable to
repress an exclamation of alarm, and seizing her arm, as if to draw her
closer; "do you not see it?" And with a trembling hand, she pointed to
the cavern's mouth. Adrienne hastily bent forward, and looked in that
direction. "Take care, do not lean so forward!" exclaimed Lady Morinval.
"Your terrors are nonsensical, my dear," said the marquis to his wife.
"The panther is securely chained; and even were it to break its chains
(which is impossible), we are here beyond its reach."
A long murmur of trembling curiosity here ran through the house, and
every eye was intently fixed on the cavern. From amongst the artificial
brambles, which she abruptly pushed aside with her broad chest, the black
panther suddenly appeared. Twice she stretched forth her flat head,
illumined by yellow, flaming eyes; then, half-opening her blood-red jaws,
she uttered another roar, and exhibited two rows of formidable fangs. A
double iron chain, and a collar also of iron, painted black, blended with
the ebon shades of her hide, and with the darkness of the cavern. The
illusion was complete, and the terrible animal seemed to be at liberty in
"Ladies," said the marquis, suddenly, "look at those Indians. Their
emotion makes them superb!"
In fact, the sight of the panther had raised the wild ardor of Djalma to
its utmost pitch. His eyes sparkled in their pearly orbits like two
black diamonds; his upper lip was curled convulsively with an expression
of animal ferocity, as if he were in a violent paroxysm of rage.
Faringhea, now leaning on the front of the box, was also greatly excited,
by reason of a strange coincidence. "That black panther of so rare a
breed," thought he, "which I see here at Paris, upon the stage, must be
the very one that the Malay"--the Thug who had tatooed Djalma at Java
during his sleep--"took quite young from his den, and sold to a European
captain. Bowanee's power is everywhere!" added the Thug, in his
"Do you not think," resumed the marquis, addressing Adrienne, "that those
Indians are really splendid in their present attitude?"
"Perhaps they may have seen such a hunt in their own country," said
Adrienne, as if she would recall and brave the most cruel remembrances.
"Adrienne," said the marchioness, suddenly, in an agitated voice, "the
lion-tamer has now come nearer--is not his countenance fearful to look
at?--I tell you he is afraid."