The Wandering Jew, Vol 5 by Eugene Sue

This etext was produced by David Widger THE WANDERING JEW By Eugene Sue BOOK V. XIV. The Eve of a Great Day XV. The Thug XVI. The Two Brothers of the Good Work XVII. The House in the Rue Saint-Francois XVIII. Debit and Credit XIX. The Heir XX. The Rupture XXI. The Change XXII. The
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This etext was produced by David Widger


By Eugene Sue


XIV. The Eve of a Great Day
XV. The Thug
XVI. The Two Brothers of the Good Work XVII. The House in the Rue Saint-Francois XVIII. Debit and Credit
XIX. The Heir
XX. The Rupture
XXI. The Change
XXII. The Red Room
XXIII. The Testament
XXIV. The Last Stroke of Noon
XXV. The Deed of Gift



About two hours before the event last related took place at St. Mary’s Convent, Rodin and Abbe d’Aigrigny met in the room where we have already seen them, in the Rue du Milieu-des-Ursins. Since the Revolution of July, Father d’Aigrigny had thought proper to remove for the moment to this temporary habitation all the secret archives and correspondence of his Order–a prudent measure, since he had every reason to fear that the reverend fathers would be expelled by the state from that magnificent establishment, with which the restoration had so liberally endowed their society.[11]

Rodin, dressed in his usual sordid style, mean and dirty as ever, was writing modestly at his desk, faithful to his humble part of secretary, which concealed, as we have already seen a far more important office– that of Socius–a function which, according to the constitutions of the Order, consists in never quitting his superior, watching his least actions, spying into his very thoughts, and reporting all to Rome.

In spite of his usual impassibility, Rodin appeared visibly uneasy and absent in mind; he answered even more briefly than usual to the commands and questions of Father d’Aigrigny, who had but just entered the room.

“Has anything new occurred during my absence?” asked he. “Are the reports still favorable?”

“Very favorable.”

“Read them to me.”

“Before giving this account to your reverence,” said Rodin, “I must inform you that Morok has been two days in Paris.”

“Morok?” said Abbe d’Aigrigny, with surprise. “I thought, on leaving Germany and Switzerland, he had received from Friburg the order to proceed southward. At Nismes, or Avignon, he would at this moment be useful as an agent; for the Protestants begin to move, and we fear a reaction against the Catholics.”

“I do not know,” said Rodin, “if Morok may not have had private reasons for changing his route. His ostensible reasons are, that he comes here to give performances.”

“How so?”

“A dramatic agent, passing through Lyons, engaged him and his menagerie for the Port Saint-Martin Theatre at a very high price. He says that he did not like to refuse such an offer.”

“Well,” said Father d’Aigrigny, shrugging his shoulders, “but by distributing his little books, and selling prints and chaplets, as well as by the influence he would certainly exercise over the pious and ignorant people of the South or of Brittany, he might render services, such as he can never perform in Paris.”

“He is now below, with a kind of giant, who travels about with him. In his capacity of your reverence’s old servant, Morok hoped to have the honor of kissing your hand this evening.”

“Impossible–impossible–you know how much I am occupied. Have you sent to the Rue Saint-Francois?”

“Yes, I have. The old Jew guardian has had notice from the notary. To- morrow, at six in the morning, the masons will unwall the door, and, for the first time since one hundred and fifty years, the house will be opened.”

Father d’Aigrigny remained in thought for a moment, and then said to Rodin: “On the eve of such a decisive day, we must neglect nothing, and call every circumstance to memory. Read me the copy of the note, inserted in the archives of the society, a century and a half ago, on the subject of Rennepont.”

The secretary took the note from the case, and read as follows:

“‘This 19th day of February, 1682, the Reverend Father-Provincial Alexander Bourdon sent the following advice, with these words in the margin: Of extreme importance for the future.

“‘We have just discovered, by the confession of a dying person to one of our fathers, a very close secret.

“‘Marius de Rennepont, one of the most active and redoubtable partisans of the Reformed Religion, and one of the most determined enemies of our Holy Society, had apparently re-entered the pale of our Mother Church, but with the sole design of saving his worldly goods, threatened with confiscation because of his irreligious and damnable errors. Evidence having been furnished by different persons of our company to prove that the conversion of Rennepont was not sincere, and in reality covered a sacrilegious lure, the possessions of the said gentleman, now considered a relapsed heretic, were confiscated by our gracious sovereign, his Majesty King Louis XIV, and the said Rennepont was condemned to the galleys for life.[12] He escaped his doom by a voluntary death; in consequence of which abominable crime, his body was dragged upon a hurdle, and flung to the dogs on the highway.

“‘From these preliminaries, we come to the great secret, which is of such importance to the future interests of our Society.

“‘His Majesty Louis XIV., in his paternal and Catholic goodness towards the Church in general, and our Order in particular, had granted to us the profit of this confiscation, in acknowledgment of our services in discovering the infamous and sacrilegious relapse of the said Rennepont.

“‘But we have just learned, for certain, that a house situated in Paris, No. 3, Rue Saint-Francois, and a sum of fifty thousand gold crowns, have escaped this confiscation, and have consequently been stolen from our Society.

“‘The house was conveyed, before the confiscation, by means of a feigned purchase, to a friend of Rennepont’s a good Catholic, unfortunately, as against him we cannot take any severe measures. Thanks to the culpable, but secure connivance of his friend, the house has been walled up, and is only to be opened in a century and a half, according to the last will of Rennepont. As for the fifty thousand gold crowns, they have been placed in hands which, unfortunately, are hitherto unknown to us, in order to be invested and put out to use for one hundred and fifty years, at the expiration of which time they are to be divided between the then existing descendants of the said Rennepont; and it is calculated that this sum, increased by so many accumulations, will by then have become enormous, and will amount to at least forty or fifty millions of livres tournois. From motives which are not known, but which are duly stated in a testamentary document, the said Rennepont has concealed from his family, whom the edicts against the Protestants have driven out of France, the investment of these fifty thousand crowns; and has only desired his relations to preserve in their line from generation to generation, the charge to the last survivors, to meet in Paris, Rue Saint-Francois, a hundred and fifty years hence, on February the 13th, 1832. And that this charge might not be forgotten, he employed a person, whose description is known, but not his real occupation, to cause to be manufactured sundry bronze medals, on which the request and date are engraved, and to deliver one to each member of the family–a measure the more necessary, as, from some other motive equally unknown, but probably explained in the testament, the heirs are to present themselves on the day in question, before noon, in person, and not by any attorney, or representative, or to forfeit all claim to the inheritance. The stranger who undertook to distribute the medals to the different members of the family of Rennepont is a man of thirty to thirty-six years of age, of tall stature, and with a proud and sad expression of countenance. He has black eyebrows, very thick, and singularly joined together. He is known as JOSEPH, and is much suspected of being an active and dangerous emissary of the wretched republicans and heretics of the Seven United Provinces. It results from these premises, that this sum, surreptitiously confided by a relapsed heretic to unknown hands, has escaped the confiscation decreed in our favor by our well-beloved king. A serious fraud and injury has therefore been committed, and we are bound to take every means to recover this our right, if not immediately, at least in some future time. Our Society being (for the greater glory of God and our Holy Father) imperishable, it will be easy, thanks to the connections we keep up with all parts of the world, by means of missions and other establishments, to follow the line of this family of Rennepont from generation to generation, without ever losing sight of it–so that a hundred and fifty years hence, at the moment of the division of this immense accumulation of property, our Company may claim the inheritance of which it has been so treacherously deprived, and recover it by any means in its power, fas aut nefas, even by craft or violence–our Company not being bound to act tenderly with the future detainers of our goods, of which we have been maliciously deprived by an infamous and sacrilegious heretic–and because it is right to defend, preserve, and recover one’s own property by every means which the Lord may place within one’s reach. Until, therefore, the complete restitution of this wealth, the family of Rennepont must be considered as reprobate and damnable, as the cursed seed of a Cain, and always to be watched with the utmost caution. And it is to be recommended, that, every year from this present date, a sort of inquisition should he held as to the situation of the successive members of this family.'”

Rodin paused, and said to Father d’Aigrigny: “Here follows the account, year by year, of the history of this family, from the year 1682, to our own day. It will be useless to read this to your reverence.”

“Quite useless,” said Abbe d’Aigrigny. “The note contains all the important facts.” Then, after a moment’s silence, he exclaimed, with an expression of triumphant pride: “How great is the power of the Association, when founded upon tradition and perpetuity! Thanks to this note, inserted in our archives a century and a half ago, this family has been watched from generation to generation–our Order has always had its eyes upon them, following them to all points of the globe, to which exile had distributed them–and at last, to-morrow, we shall obtain possession of this property, at first inconsiderable, but which a hundred and fifty years have raised to a royal fortune. Yes, we shall succeed, for we have foreseen every eventuality. One thing only troubles me.”

“What is that?” asked Rodin.

“The information that we have in vain tried to obtain from the guardian of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois. Has the attempt been once more made, as I directed?”

“It has been made.”


“This time, as always before, the old Jew has remained impenetrable. Besides he is almost in his second childhood, and his wife not much better.”

“When I think,” resumed Father d’Aigrigny, “that for a century and a half, this house in the Rue Saint-Francois has remained walled up, and that the care of it has been transmitted from generation to generation in this family of the Samuels–I cannot suppose that they have all been ignorant as to who were and are the successive holders of these funds, now become immense by accumulation.”

“You have seen,” said Rodin, “by the notes upon this affair, that the Order has always carefully followed it up ever since 1682. At different periods attempts have been made to obtain information upon subjects not fully explained in the note of Father Bourdon. But this race of Jew guardians has ever remained dumb, and we must therefore conclude that they know nothing about it.”

“That has always struck me as impossible; for the ancestor of these Samuels was present at the closing of the house, a hundred and fifty years ago. He was according to the file, a servant or confidential clerk of De Rennepont. It is impossible that he should not have known many things, the tradition of which must have been preserved in the family.”

“If I were allowed to hazard a brief observation,” began Rodin, humbly.


“A few years ago we obtained certain information through the confessional, that the funds were in existence, and that they had risen to an enormous amount.”

“Doubtless; and it was that which called the attention of the Reverend Father-General so strongly to this affair.”

“We know, then, what probably the descendants of the family do not–the immense value of this inheritance?”

“Yes,” answered Father d’Aigrigny, “the person who certified this fact in confession is worthy of all belief. Only lately, the same declaration was renewed; but all the efforts of the confessor could not obtain the name of the trustee, or anything beyond the assertion, that the money could not be in more honest hands.”

“It seems to me, then,” resumed Rodin, “that we are certain of what is most important.”

“And who knows if the holder of this enormous sum will appear to-morrow, in spite of the honesty ascribed to him? The nearer the moment the more my anxiety increases. Ah!” continued Father d’Aigrigny, after a moment’s silence, “the interests concerned are so immense that the consequences of success are quite incalculable. However, all that it was possible to do, has been at least tried.”

To these words, which Father d’Aigrigny addressed to Rodin, as if asking for his assent, the socius returned no answer.

The abbe looked at him with surprise, and said: “Are you not of my opinion–could more have been attempted? Have we not gone to the extreme limit of the possible?”

Rodin bowed respectfully, but remained mute.

“If you think we have omitted some precaution,” cried Father d’Aigrigny, with a sort of uneasy impatience, “speak out! We have still time. Once more, do you think it is possible to do more than I have done? All the other descendants being removed, when Gabriel appears to-morrow in the Rue Saint-Francois, will he not be the only representative of this family, and consequently the rightful possessor of this immense fortune? Now, according to his act of renunciation, and the provisions of our statutes, it is not to him, but to the Order, that these possessions must fall. Could I have acted better, or in any other manner? Speak frankly!”

“I cannot permit myself to offer an opinion on this subject,” replied Rodin, humbly, and again bowing; “the success of the measures taken must answer your reverence.”

Father d’Aigrigny shrugged his shoulders, and reproached himself for having asked advice of this writing-machine, that served him for a secretary, and to whom he only ascribed three qualities–memory, discretion, and exactness.

[11] This was an idle fear, for we read in the Constitutionnel, Feb. 1st 1832, as follows: “When in 1822, M. de Corbiere abruptly abolished that splendid Normal School, which, during its few years’ existence, had called forth or developed such a variety of talent, it was decided, as some compensation, that a house in the Rue des Postes should be purchased, where the congregation of the Holy Ghost should be located and endowed. The Minister of Marine supplied the funds for this purpose, and its management was placed at the disposal of the Society, which then reigned over France. From that period it has held quiet possession of the place, which at once became a sort of house of entertainment, where Jesuitism sheltered, and provided for, the numerous novitiates that flocked from all parts of the country, to receive instructions from Father Ronsin. Matters were in this state when the Revolution of July broke out, which threatened to deprive the Society of this establishment. But it will hardly be believed; this was not done. It is true that they suppressed their practice, but they left them in possession of the house in the Rue des Postes; and to this very day, the 31st of January, 1832, the members of the Sacred Heart are housed at the expense of government, during the whole of which time the Normal School has been without a shelter–and on its reorganization, thrust into a dirty hole, in a narrow corner of the College of Louis the Great.”

The above appeared in the Constitutionnel, respecting the house in the Rue des Posses. We are certainly ignorant as to the nature of the transactions, since that period, that have taken place between the reverend fathers and the government; but we read further, in a recently published article that appeared in a journal, in reference to the Society of Jesus, that the house in the Rue des Postes, still forms a part of their landed property. We will here give some portions of the article in question.

“The following is a list of the property belonging to this branch of Jesuits:
House in the Rue de Postes, worth about . . . . 500,000 One in the Rue de Sevres, estimated at . . . . 300,000 Farm, two leagues from Paris . . . . . . . 150,000 House and church at Bourges . . . . . . . 100,000 Notre Dame de Liesse, donation in 1843 . . . . 60,000 Saint Acheul, House for Novitiates . . . . . 400,000 Nantes, a house . . . . . . . . . . . 100,000 Quimper, ditto . . . . . . . . . . . 40,000 Laval, house and church . . . . . . . . 150,000 Rennes, a house . . . . . . . . . . 20,000 Vannes, ditto . . . . . . . . . . . 20,000 Metz, ditto . . . . . . . . . . . . 40,000 Strasbourg . . . . . . . . . . . . 60,000 Rouen, ditto . . . . . . . . . . . 15,000

By this it appears that these various items amount to little less than two millions. Teaching, moreover, is another important source of revenue to the Jesuits. The college at Broyclette alone brings in 200,000 francs. The two provinces in France (for the general of the Jesuits at Rome has divided France into two provinces, Lyons and Paris) possess, besides a large sum in ready money, Austrian bonds of more than 260,000 francs. Their Propagation of Faith furnishes annually some 50,000 francs; and the harvest which the priests collect by their sermons amounts to 150,000 francs. The alms given for charity may be estimated at the same figure, producing together a revenue of 540,000 francs. Now, to this revenue may be added the produce of the sale of the Society’s works, and the profit obtained by hawking pictures. Each plate costs, design and engraving included, about 600 francs, off which are struck about 10,000 copies, at 40 francs per thousand, and there is a further expense of 250 francs to their publisher; and they obtain a net profit of 210 francs on every thousand. This, indeed, is working to advantage. And it can easily be imagined with what rapidity all these are sold. The fathers themselves are the travellers for the Society, and it would be difficult to find more zealous or persevering ones. They are always well received, and do not know what it is to meet with a refusal. They always take care that the publisher should he one of their own body. The first person whom they selected for this occupation was one of their members, possessing some money; but they were obliged, notwithstanding, to make certain advances to enable him to defray the expenses of its first establishment. But, when they became fully convinced of the success of their undertaking, they suddenly called in these advances, which the publisher was not in a condition to pay. They were perfectly aware of this, and superseded him by a wealthy successor, with whom they could make a better bargain; and thus, without remorse, they ruined the man, by thrusting him from an appointment of which they had morally guaranteed the continuance.”

[12] Louis XIV., the great King, punished with the Baileys those Protestants who, once converted, often by force, afterwards returned to their first belief. As for those Protestants who remained in France, notwithstanding the rigor of the edicts against them, they were deprived of burial, dragged upon a hurdle, and given to the dogs.–E. S.



After a moment’s silence, Father d’Aigrigny resumed “Read me to-day’s report on the situation of each of the persons designated.”

“Here is that of this evening; it has just come.”

“Let us hear.”

Rodin read as follows: “Jacques Rennepont, alias Sleepinbuff, was seen in the interior of the debtors’ prison at eight o’clock this evening.”

“He will not disturb us to-morrow. One; go on.”

“The lady superior of St. Mary’s Convent, warned by the Princess de Saint-Dizier, has thought fit to confine still more strictly the Demoiselles Rose and Blanche Simon. This evening, at nine o’clock, they have been carefully locked in their cells, and armed men will make their round in the convent garden during the night.”

“Thanks to these precautions, there is nothing to fear from that side,” said Father d’Aigrigny. “Go on.”

“Dr. Baleinier, also warned by the Princess de Saint-Dizier, continues to have Mdlle. de Cardoville very closely watched. At a quarter to nine the door of the building in which she is lodged was locked and bolted.”

“That is still another cause the less for uneasiness.”

“As for M. Hardy,” resumed Rodin “I have received this morning, from Toulouse, a letter from his intimate friend, M. de Bressac, who has been of such service to us in keeping the manufacturer away for some days longer. This letter contains a note, addressed by M. Hardy to a confidential person, which M. de Bressac has thought fit to intercept, and send to us as another proof of the success of the steps he has taken, and for which he hopes we shall give him credit–as to serve us, he adds, he betrays his friend in the most shameful manner, and acts a part in an odious comedy. M. de Bressac trusts that, in return for these good offices, we will deliver up to him those papers, which place him in our absolute dependence, as they might ruin for ever a woman he loves with an adulterous passion. He says that we ought to have pity on the horrible alternative in which he is placed–either to dishonor and ruin the woman he adores, or infamously to betray the confidence of his bosom friend.”

“These adulterous lamentations are not deserving of pity,” answered Father d’Aigrigny, with contempt. “We will see about that; M. de Bressac may still be useful to us. But let us hear this letter of M. Hardy, that impious and republican manufacturer, worthy descendant of an accursed race, whom it is of the first importance to keep away.”

“Here is M. Hardy’s letter,” resumed Rodin. “To-morrow, we will send it to the person to whom it is addressed.” Rodin read as follows:

“TOULOUSE, February the 10th.

“At length I find a moment to write to you, and to explain the cause of the sudden departure which, without alarming, must at least have astonished you. I write also to ask you a service; the facts may be stated in a few words. I have often spoken to you of Felix de Bressac, one of my boyhood mates, though not nearly so old as myself. We have always loved each other tenderly, and have shown too many proofs of mutual affection not to count upon one another. He is a brother to me. You know all I mean by that expression. Well–a few days ago, he wrote to me from Toulouse, where he was to spend some time: ‘If you love me, come; I have the greatest need of you. At once! Your consolations may perhaps give me the courage to live. If you arrive too late–why, forgive me–and think sometimes of him who will be yours to the last.’ Judge of my grief and fear on receipt of the above. I seat instantly for post-horses. My old foreman, whom I esteem and revere (the father of General Simon), hearing that I was going to the south, begged me to take him with me, and to leave him for some days in the department of the Creuse, to examine some ironworks recently founded there. I consented willingly to this proposition, as I should thus at least have some one to whom I could pour out the grief and anxiety which had been caused by this letter from Bressac. I arrive at Toulouse; they tell me that he left the evening before, taking arms with him, a prey to the most violent despair. It was impossible at first to tell whither he had gone; after two days, some indications, collected with great trouble, put me upon his track. At last, after a thousand adventures, I found him in a miserable village. Never–no, never, have I seen despair like this. No violence, but a dreadful dejection, a savage silence. At first, he almost repulsed me; then, this horrible agony having reached its height, he softened by degrees, and, in about a quarter of an hour, threw himself into my arms, bathed in tears. Beside him were his loaded pistols: one day later, and all would have been over. I cannot tell you the reason of his despair; I am not at liberty to do so; but it did not greatly astonish me. Now there is a complete cure to effect. We must calm, and soothe, and heal this poor soul, which has been cruelly wounded. The hand of friendship is alone equal to this delicate task, and I have good hope of success. I have therefore persuaded him to travel for some time; movement and change of scene will be favorable to him. I shall take him first to Nice; we set out tomorrow. If he wishes to prolong this excursion. I shall do so too, for my affairs do not imperiously demand my presence in Paris before the end of March. As for the service I have to ask of you, it is conditional. These are the facts. According to some family papers that belonged to my mother, it seems I have a certain interest to present myself at No. 3, Rue Saint-Francois, in Paris, on the 13th of February. I had inquired about it, and could learn nothing, except that this house of very antique appearance, has been shut up for the last hundred and fifty years, through a whim of one of my maternal ancestors, and that it is to be opened on the 13th of this month, in presence of the co-heirs who, if I have any, are quite unknown to me. Not being able to attend myself, I have written to my foreman, the father of General Simon, in whom I have the greatest confidence, and whom I had left behind in the department of the Creuse, to set out for Paris, and to be present at the opening of this house, not as an agent (which would be useless), but as a spectator, and inform me at Nice what has been the result of this romantic notion of my ancestor’s. As it is possible that my foreman may arrive too late to accomplish this mission, I should be much obliged if you would inquire at my house at Plessy, if he has yet come, and, in case of his still being absent, if you would take his place at the opening of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois. I believe that I have made a very small sacrifice for my friend Bressac, in not being in Paris on that day. But had the sacrifice been immense, I should have made it with pleasure, for my care and friendship are at present most necessary to the man whom I look upon as a brother. I count upon your compliance with my request, and, begging you to be kind enough to write me, ‘to be called for,’ at Nice, the result of your visit of inquiry, I remain, etc., etc.


“Though his presence cannot be of any great importance, it would be preferable that Marshal Simon’s father should not attend at the opening of this house to-morrow,” said Father d’Aigrigny. “But no matter. M. Hardy himself is out of the way. There only remains the young Indian.”

“As for him,” continued the abbe, with a thoughtful air, “we acted wisely in letting M. Norval set out with the presents of Mdlle. de Cardoville. The doctor who accompanies M. Norval, and who was chosen by M. Baleinier, will inspire no suspicion?”

“None,” answered Rod in. “His letter of yesterday is completely satisfactory.”

“There is nothing, then, to fear from the Indian prince,” said D’Aigrigny. “All goes well.”

“As for Gabriel,” resumed Rodin, “he has again written this morning, to obtain from your reverence the interview that he has vainly solicited for the last three days. He is affected by the rigor exercised towards him, in forbidding him to leave the house for these five days past.”

“To-morrow, when we take him to the Rue Saint-Francois, I will hear what he has to say. It will be time enough. Thus, at this hour,” said Father d’Aigrigny, with an air of triumphant satisfaction, “all the descendants of this family, whose presence might ruin our projects, are so placed that it is absolutely impossible for them to be at the Rue Saint-Francois to-morrow before noon, while Gabriel will he sure to be there. At last our end is gained.”

Two cautious knocks at the door interrupted Father d’Aigrigny. “Come in,” said he.

An old servant in black presented himself, and said: “There is a man downstairs who wishes to speak instantly to M. Rodin on very urgent business.”

“His name?” asked Father d’Aigrigny.

“He would not tell his name; but he says that he comes from M. Van Dael, a merchant in Java.”

Father d’Aigrigny and Rodin exchanged a glance of surprise, almost of alarm.

“See what this man is,” said D’Aigrigny to Rodin, unable to conceal his uneasiness, “and then come and give me an account of it.” Then, addressing the servant, he added: “Show him in”–and exchanging another expressive sign with Rodin, Father d’Aigrigny disappeared by a side-door.

A minute after, Faringhea, the ex-chief of the Stranglers, appeared before Rodin, who instantly remembered having seen him at Cardoville Castle.

The socius started, but he did not wish to appear to recollect his visitor. Still bending over his desk, he seemed not to seen Faringhea, but wrote hastily some words on a sheet of paper that lay before him.

“Sir,” said the servant, astonished at the silence of Rodin, “here is the person.”

Rodin folded the note that he had so precipitately written, and said to the servant: “Let this be taken to its address. Wait for an answer.”

The servant bowed, and went out. Then Rodin, without rising, fixed his little reptile-eyes on Faringhea, and said to him courteously: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”



Faringhea, as we have before stated, though born in India, had travelled a good deal, and frequented the European factories in different parts of Asia. Speaking well both English and French, and full of intelligence and sagacity, he was perfectly civilized.

Instead of answering Rodin’s question, he turned upon him a fixed and searching look. The socius, provoked by this silence, and forseeing vaguely that Faringhea’s arrival had some connection–direct or indirect- -with Djalma, repeated, though still with the greatest coolness: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”

“Do you not recognize me,” said Faringhea, advancing two steps nearer to Rodin’s chair.

“I do not think I have ever had the honor of seeing you,” answered the other, coldly.

“But I recognize you,” said Faringhea; “I saw you at Cardoville Castle the day that a ship and a steamer were wrecked together.”

“At Cardoville Castle? It is very possible, sir. I was there when a shipwreck took place.”

“And that day I called you by your name, and you asked me what I wanted. I replied: ‘Nothing now, brother–hereafter, much.’ The time has arrived. I have come to ask for much.”

“My dear sir,” said Rodin, still impassible, “before we continue this conversation, which appears hitherto tolerably obscure, I must repeat my wish to be informed to whom I have the advantage of speaking. You have introduced yourself here under pretext of a commission from Mynheer Joshua Van Dael, a respectable merchant of Batavia, and–“

“You know the writing of M. Van Dael?” said Faringhea, interrupting Rodin.

“I know it perfectly.”

“Look!” The half-caste drew from his pocket (he was shabbily dressed in European clothes) a long dispatch, which he had taken from one Mahal the Smuggler, after strangling him on the beach near Batavia. These papers he placed before Rodin’s eyes, but without quitting his hold of them.

“It is, indeed, M. Van Dael’s writing,” said Rodin, and he stretched out his hard towards the letter, which Faringhea quickly and prudently returned to his pocket.

“Allow me to observe, my dear sir, that you have a singular manner of executing a commission,” said Rodin. “This letter, being to my address, and having been entrusted to you by M. Van Dael, you ought–“

“This letter was not entrusted to me by M. Van Dael,” said Faringhea, interrupting Rodin.

“How, then, is it in your possession?”

“A Javanese smuggler betrayed me. Van Dael had secured a passage to Alexandria for this man, and had given him this letter to carry with him for the European mail. I strangled the smuggler, took the letter, made the passage–and here I am.”

The Thug had pronounced these words with an air of savage boasting; his wild, intrepid glance did not quail before the piercing look of Rodin, who, at this strange confession, had hastily raised his head to observe the speaker.

Faringhea thought to astonish or intimidate Rodin by these ferocious words; but, to his great surprise, the socius, impassible as a corpse, said to him, quite simply: “Oh! they strangle people in Java?”

“Yes, there and elsewhere,” answered Faringhea, with a bitter smile.

“I would prefer to disbelieve you; but I am surprised at your sincerity M.–, what is your name?”


“Well, then, M. Faringhea, what do you wish to come to? You have obtained by an abominable crime, a letter addressed to me, and now you hesitate to deliver it.”

“Because I have read it, and it may be useful to me.”

“Oh! you have read it?” said Rodin, disconcerted for a moment. Then he resumed: “It is true, that judging by your mode of possessing yourself of other people’s correspondence, we cannot expect any great amount of honesty on your part. And pray what have you found so useful to you in this letter?”

“I have found, brother, that you are, like myself, a son of the Good Work.”

“Of what good work do you speak” asked Rodin not a little surprised.

Faringhea replied with an expression of bitter irony. “Joshua says to you in his letter–‘Obedience and courage, secrecy and patience, craft and audacity, union between us, who have the world for our country, the brethren for our family, Rome for our queen.'”

“It is possible that M. Van Dael has written thus to me Pray, sir, what do you conclude from it?”

“We, too, have the world for our country, brother, our accomplices for our family, and for our queen Bowanee.”

“I do not know that saint,” said Rodin, humbly.

“It is our Rome,” answered the Strangler. “Van Dael speaks to you of those of your Order, who, scattered over all the earth, labor for the glory of Rome, your queen. Those of our band labor also in divers countries, for the glory of Bowanee.”

“And who are these sons of Bowanee, M. Faringhea?”

“Men of resolution, audacious, patient, crafty, obstinate, who, to make the Good Work succeed, would sacrifice country and parents, and sister and brother, and who regard as enemies all not of their band!”

“There seems to be much that is good in the persevering and exclusively religious spirit of such an order,” said Rodin, with a modest and sanctified air; “only, one must know your ends and objects.”

“The same as your own, brother–we make corpses.”[13]

“Corpses!” cried Rodin.

“In this letter,” resumed Faringhea, “Van Dael tells you that the greatest glory of your Order is to make ‘a corpse of man.’ Our work also is to make corpses of men. Man’s death is sweet to Bowanee.”

“But sir,” cried Rodin, “M. Van Dael speaks of the soul, of the will, of the mind, which are to be brought down by discipline.”

“It is true–you kill the soul, and we the body. Give me your hand, brother, for you also are hunters of men.”

“But once more, sir,–understand, that we only meddle with the will, the mind,” said Rodin.

“And what are bodies deprived of soul, will, thought, but mere corpses? Come–come, brother; the dead we make by the cord are not more icy and inanimate than those you make by your discipline. Take my hand, brother; Rome and Bowanee are sisters.”

Notwithstanding his apparent calmness, Rodin could not behold, without some secret alarm, a wretch like Faringhea in possession of a long letter from Van Dael, wherein mention must necessarily have been made of Djalma. Rodin believed, indeed, that he had rendered it impossible for the young Indian to be at Paris on the morrow, but not knowing what connection might have been formed, since the shipwreck, between the prince and the half-caste, he looked upon Faringhea as a man who might probably be very dangerous. But the more uneasy the socius felt in himself, the more he affected to appear calm and disdainful. He replied, therefore: “This comparison between Rome and Bowanee is no doubt very amusing; but what, sir, do you deduce from it?”

“I wish to show you, brother, what I am, and of what I am capable, to convince you that it is better to have me for a friend than an enemy.”

“In other terms, sir,” said Rodin, with contemptuous irony, “you belong to a murderous sect in India, and, you wish, by a transparent allegory, to lead me to reflect on the fate of the man from whom you have stolen the letter addressed to me. In my turn, I will take the freedom just to observe to you, in all humility, M. Faringhea, that here it is not permitted to strangle anybody, and that if you were to think fit to make any corpses for the love of Bowanee, your goddess, we should make you a head shorter, for the love of another divinity commonly called justice.”

“And what would they do to me, if I tried to poison any one?”

“I will again humbly observe to you, M. Faringhea, that I have no time to give you a course of criminal jurisprudence; but, believe me, you had better resist the temptation to strangle or poison any one. One word more: will you deliver up to me the letters of M. Van Dael, or not?”

“The letters relative to Prince Djalma?” said the half-caste, looking fixedly at Rodin, who, notwithstanding a sharp and sudden twinge, remained impenetrable, and answered with the utmost simplicity: “Not knowing what the letters which you, sir, are pleased to keep from me, may contain, it is impossible for me to answer your question. I beg, and if necessary, I demand, that you will hand me those letters–or that you will retire.”

“In a few minutes, brother, you will entreat me to remain.”

“I doubt it.”

“A few words will operate–this miracle. If just now I spoke to you about poisoning, brother, it was because you sent a doctor to Cardoville Castle, to poison (at least for a time) Prince Djalma.”

In spite of himself, Rodin started almost imperceptibly, as he replied: “I do not understand you.”

“It is true, that I am a poor foreigner, and doubtless speak with an accent; I will try and explain myself better. I know, by Van Dael’s letters, the interest you have that Prince Djalma should not be here to- morrow, and all that you have done with this view. Do you understand me now?”

“I have no answer for you.”

Two cautious taps at the door here interrupted the conversation. “Come in,” said Rodin.

“The letter has been taken to its address, sir,” said the old servant, bowing, “and here is the answer.”

Rodin took the paper, and, before he opened it, said courteously to Faringhea: “With your permission, sir?”

“Make no ceremonies,” said the half-caste.

“You are very kind,” replied Rodin, as, having read the letter he received, he wrote hastily some words at the bottom, saying: “Send this back to the same address.”

The servant bowed respectfully, and withdrew.

“Now can I continue”‘ asked the half-caste, of Rodin.


“I will continue, then,” resumed Faringhea:

“The day before yesterday, just as the prince, all wounded as he was, was about, by my advice, to take his departure for Paris, a fine carriage arrived, with superb presents for Djalma, from an unknown friend. In this carriage were two men–one sent by the unknown friend–the other a doctor, sent by you to attend upon Djalma, and accompany him to Paris. It was a charitable act, brother–was it not so?”

“Go on with your story, sir.”

“Djalma set out yesterday. By declaring that the prince’s wound would grow seriously worse, if he did not lie down in the carriage during all the journey, the doctor got rid of the envoy of the unknown friend, who went away by himself. The doctor wished to get rid of me too; but Djalma so strongly insisted upon it, that I accompanied the prince and doctor. Yesterday evening, we had come about half the distance. The doctor proposed we should pass the night at an inn. ‘We have plenty of time,’ said he, ‘to reach Paris by to-morrow evening’–the prince having told him, that he must absolutely be in Paris by the evening of the 12th. The doctor had been very pressing to set out alone with the prince. I knew by Van Dael’s letter, that it was of great importance to you for Djalma not to be here on the 13th; I had my suspicions, and I asked the doctor if he knew you; he answered with an embarrassed air, and then my suspicion became certainty. When we reached the inn, whilst the doctor was occupied with Djalma, I went up to the room of the former, and examined a box full of phials that he had brought with him. One of them contained opium–and then I guessed–“

“What did you guess, sir?”

“You shall know. The doctor said to Djalma, before he left him: ‘Your wound is doing well, but the fatigue of the journey might bring on inflammation; it will be good for you, in the course of to-morrow, to take a soothing potion, that I will make ready this evening, to have with us in the carriage.’ The doctor’s plan was a simple one,” added Faringhea; “to-day the prince was to take the potion at four or five o’clock in the afternoon–and fall into a deep sleep–the doctor to grow uneasy, and stop the carriage–to declare that it would be dangerous to continue the journey–to pass the night at an inn, and keep close watch over the prince, whose stupor was only, to cease when it suited your purposes. That was your design–it was cleverly planned–I chose to make use of it myself, and I have succeeded.”

“All that you are talking about, my dear sir,” said Rodin, biting his nails, “is pure Hebrew to me.”

“No doubt, because of my accent. But tell me, have you heard speak of array–mow?”


“Your loss! It is an admirable production of the Island of Java, so fertile in poisons.”

“What is that to me?” said Rodin, in a sharp voice, but hardly able to dissemble his growing anxiety.

“It concerns you nearly. We sons of Bowanee have a horror of shedding blood,” resumed Faringhea; “to pass the cord round the neck of our victims, we wait till they are asleep. When their sleep is not deep enough, we know how to make it deeper. We are skillful at our work; the serpent is not more cunning, or the lion more valiant, Djalma himself bears our mark. The array-mow is an impalpable powder, and, by letting the sleeper inhale a few grains of it, or by mixing it with the tobacco to be smoked by a waking man, we can throw our victim into a stupor, from which nothing will rouse him. If we fear to administer too strong a dose at once, we let the sleeper inhale a little at different times, and we can thus prolong the trance at pleasure, and without any danger, as long as a man does not require meat and drink–say, thirty or forty hours. You see, that opium is mere trash compared to this divine narcotic. I had brought some of this with me from Java–as a mere curiosity, you know–without forgetting the counter poison.”

“Oh! there is a counter-poison, then?” said Rodin, mechanically.

“Just as there are people quite contrary to what we are, brother of the good work. The Javanese call the juice of this root tooboe; it dissipates the stupor caused by the array-mow, as the sun disperses the clouds. Now, yesterday evening, being certain of the projects of your emissary against Djalma, I waited till the doctor was in bed and asleep. I crept into his room, and made him inhale such a dose of array-mow–that he is probably sleeping still.”

“Miscreant!” cried Rodin, more and more alarmed by this narrative, for Faringhea had dealt a terrible blow at the machinations of the socius and his friends. “You risk poisoning the doctor.”

“Yes, brother; just as he ran the risk of poisoning Djalma. This morning we set out, leaving your doctor at the inn, plunged in a deep sleep. I was alone in the carriage with Djalma. He smoked like a true Indian; some grains of array-mow, mixed with the tobacco in his long pipe, first made him drowsy; a second dose, that he inhaled, sent him to sleep; and so I left him at the inn where we stopped. Now, brother, it depends upon me, to leave Djalma in his trance, which will last till to-morrow evening or to rouse him from it on the instant. Exactly as you comply with my demands or not, Djalma will or will not be in the Rue Saint-Francois to- morrow.”

So saying, Faringhea drew from his pocket the medal belonging to Djalma, and observed, as he showed it to Rodin: “You see that I tell you the truth. During Djalma’s sleep, took from him this medal, the only indication he has of the place where he ought to be to-morrow. I finish, then as I began: Brother, I have come to ask you for a great deal.”

For some minutes, Rodin had been biting his nails to the quick, as was his custom when seized with a fit of dumb and concentrated rage. Just then, the bell of the porter’s lodge rang three times in a particular manner. Rodin did not appear to notice it, and yet a sudden light sparkled in his small reptile eyes; while Faringhea, with his arms folded, looked at him with an expression of triumph and disdainful superiority. The socius bent down his head, remained silent for some seconds, took mechanically a pen from his desk, and began to gnaw the feather, as if in deep reflection upon what Faringhea had just said. Then, throwing down the pen upon the desk, he turned suddenly towards the half-caste, and addressed him with an air of profound contempt “Now, really, M. Faringhea–do you think to make game of us with your cock-and- bull stories?”

Amazed, in spite of his audacity, the half-caste recoiled a step.

“What, sir!” resumed Rodin. “You come here into a respectable house, to boast that you have stolen letters, strangled this man, drugged that other?–Why, sir, it is downright madness. I wished to hear you to the end, to see to what extent you would carry your audacity–for none but a monstrous rascal would venture to plume himself on such infamous crimes. But I prefer believing, that they exist only in your imagination.”

As he barked out these words, with a degree of animation not usual in him, Rodin rose from his seat, and approached the chimney, while Faringhea, who had not yet recovered from his surprise, looked at him in silence. In a few seconds, however, the half-caste returned, with a gloomy and savage mien: “Take care, brother; do not force me to prove to you that I have told the truth.”

“Come, come, sir; you must be fresh from the Antipodes, to believe us Frenchmen such easy dupes. You have, you say, the prudence of a serpent, and the courage of a lion. I do not know if you are a courageous lion, but you are certainly not a prudent serpent. What! you have about you a letter from M. Van Dael, by which I might be compromised–supposing all this not to be a fable–you have left Prince Djalma in a stupor, which would serve my projects, and from which you alone can rouse him–you are able, you say, to strike a terrible blow at my interests–and yet you do not consider (bold lion! crafty serpent as you are!) that I only want to gain twenty-four hours upon you. Now, you come from the end of India to Paris, an unknown stranger–you believe me to be as great a scoundrel as yourself,–since you call me brother–and do not once consider, that you are here in my power–that this street and house are solitary, and that I could have three or four persons to bind you in a second, savage Strangler though you are!–and that just by pulling this bell-rope,” said Rodin, as he took it in his hand. “Do not be alarmed,” added he, with a diabolical smile, as he saw Faringhea make an abrupt movement of surprise and fright; “would I give you notice, if I meant to act in this manner?– But just answer me. Once bound and put in confinement for twenty-four hours, how could you injure me? Would it not be easy for me to possess myself of Van Dael’s letter, and Djalma’s medal? and the latter, plunged in a stupor till to-morrow evening, need not trouble me at all. You see, therefore, that your threats are vain because they rest upon falsehood– because it is not true, that Prince Djalma is here and in your power. Begone, sir–leave the house; and when next you wish to make dupes, show more judgment in the selection.”

Faringhea seemed struck with astonishment. All that he had just heard seemed very probable. Rodin might seize upon him, the letter, and the medal, and, by keeping him prisoner, prevent Djalma from being awakened. And yet Rodin ordered him to leave the house, at the moment when Faringhea had imagined himself so formidable. As he thought for the motives of this inexplicable conduct, it struck him that Rodin, notwithstanding the proofs he had brought him, did not yet believe that Djalma was in his power. On that theory, the contempt of Van Dael’s correspondent admitted of a natural explanation. But Rodin was playing a bold and skillful game; and, while he appeared to mutter to himself, as in anger, he was observing, with intense anxiety, the Strangler’s countenance.

The latter, almost certain that he had divined the secret motive of Rodin, replied: “I am going–but one word more. You think I deceive you?”

“I am certain of it. You have told me nothing but a tissue of fables, and I have lost much time in listening to them. Spare me the rest; it is late–and I should like to be alone.”

“One minute more: you are a man, I see, from whom nothing should be hid,” said Faringhea, “from Djalma, I could now only expect alms and disdain– for, with a character like this, to say to him, ‘Pay me, because I might have betrayed you and did not,’ would be to provoke his anger and contempt. I could have killed him twenty times over, but his day is not yet come,” said the Thug, with a gloomy air; “and to wait for that and other fatal days, I must have gold, much gold. You alone can pay me for the betrayal of Djalma, for you alone profit by it. You refuse to hear me, because you think I am deceiving you. But I took the direction of the inn where we stopped–and here it is. Send some one to ascertain the truth of what I tell you, and then you will believe me. But the price of my services will be high; for I told you that I wanted much.”

So saying, Faringhea offered a printed card to Rodin: the socius, who, out of the corner of his eye, followed all the half-caste’s movements, appeared to be absorbed in thought, and taking no heed of anything.

“Here is the address,’ repeated Faringhea, as he held out the card to Rodin; “assure yourself that I do not lie.”

“Eh? what is it?” said the other, casting a rapid but stolen glance at the address, which he read greedily, without touching the card.

“Take this address,” repeated the half-caste, “and you may then assure yourself–“

“Really, sir,” cried Rodin, pushing back the card with his hand, “your impudence confounds me. I repeat that I wish to have nothing in common with you. For the last time, I tell you to leave the house. I know nothing about your Prince Djalma. You say you can injure me–do so–make no ceremonies–but, in heaven’s name, leave me to myself.”

So saying, Rodin rang the bell violently. Faringhea made a movement as if to stand upon the defensive; but only the old servant, with his quiet and placid mien, appeared at the door.

“Lapierre, light the gentleman out,” said Rodin, pointing to Faringhea.

Terrified at Rodin’s calmness, the half-caste hesitated to leave the room.

“Why do you wait, sir?” said Rodin, remarking his hesitation. “I wish to be alone.”

“So, sir,” said Faringhea, as he withdrew, slowly, “you refuse my offers? Take care! to-morrow it will be too late.”

“I have the honor to be your most humble servant, sir,” said Rodin, bowing courteously. The Strangler went out, and the door closed upon him.

Immediately, Father d’Aigrigny entered from the next room. His countenance was pale and agitated.

“What have you done?” exclaimed he addressing Rodin.

“I have heard all. I am unfortunately too sure that this wretch spoke the truth. The Indian is in his power, and he goes to rejoin him.”

“I think not,” said Rodin, humbly, as bowing, he reassumed his dull and submissive countenance.

“What will prevent this man from rejoining the prince?”

“Allow me. As soon as the rascal was shown in, I knew him; and so, before speaking a word to him, I wrote a few lines to Morok, who was waiting below with Goliath till your reverence should be at leisure. Afterwards, in the course of the conversation, when they brought me Morok’s answer, I added some fresh instructions, seeing the turn that affairs were taking.”

“And what was the use of all this, since you have let the man leave the house?”

“Your reverence will perhaps deign to observe that he did not leave it; till he had given me the direction of the hotel where the Indian now is, thanks to my innocent stratagem of appearing to despise him. But, if it had failed, Faringhea would still have fallen into the hands of Goliath and Morok, who are waiting for him in the street, a few steps from the door. Only we should have been rather embarrassed, as we should not have known where to find Prince Djalma.”

“More violence!” said Father d’Aigrigny, with repugnance.

“It is to be regretted, very much regretted,” replied Rodin; “but it was necessary to follow out the system already adopted.”

“Is that meant for a reproach?” said Father d’Aigrigny, who began to think that Rodin was something more than a mere writing-machine.

“I could not permit myself to blame your reverence,” said Rodin, cringing almost to the ground. “But all that will be required is to confine this man for twenty-four hours.”

“And afterwards–his complaints?”

“Such a scoundrel as he is will not dare to complain. Besides, he left this house in freedom. Morok and Goliath will bandage his eyes when they seize him. The house has another entrance in the Rue Vieille-des-Ursins. At this hour, and in such a storm, no one will be passing through this deserted quarter of the town. The knave will be confused by the change of place; they will put him into a cellar, of the new building, and to- morrow night, about the same hour, they will restore him to liberty with the like precautions. As for the East Indian, we now know where to find him; we must send to him a confidential person, and, if he recovers from his trance, there would be, in my humble opinion,” said Rodin, modestly, “a very simple and quiet manner of keeping him away from the Rue Saint- Francois all day to-morrow.”

The same servant with the mild countenance, who had introduced and shown out Faringhea, here entered the room, after knocking discreetly at the door. He held in his hand a sort of game-bag, which he gave to Rodin, saying: “Here is what M. Morok has just brought; he came in by the Rue Vieille.”

The servant withdrew, and Rodin, opening the bag, said to Father d’Aigrigny, as he showed him the contents: “The medal, and Van Dael’s letter. Morok has been quick at his work.”

“One more danger avoided,” said the marquis; “it is a pity to be forced to such measures.”

“We must only blame the rascal who has obliged us to have recourse to them. I will send instantly to the hotel where the Indian lodges.”

“And, at seven in the morning, you will conduct Gabriel to the Rue Saint- Francois. It is there that I must have with him the interview which he has so earnestly demanded these three days.”

“I informed him of it this evening, and he awaits your orders.”

“At last, then,” said Father d’Aigrigny, “after so many struggles, and fears, and crosses, only a few hours separate us from the moment which we have so long desired.”

We now conduct the reader to the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.

[13] The doctrine of passive and absolute obedience, the principal tool in the hands of the Jesuits, as summed up in these terrible words of the dying Loyola–that every member of the order should be in the hands of his superiors as a dead body–‘perinde ad cadaver’.



On entering the Rue Saint-Gervais, by the Rue Dore (in the Marais), you would have found yourself, at the epoch of this narrative, directly opposite to an enormously high wall, the stones of which were black and worm-eaten with age. This wall, which extended nearly the whole length of that solitary street, served to support a terrace shaded by trees of some hundred years old, which thus grew about forty feet above the causeway. Through their thick branches appeared the stone front, peaked roof and tall brick chimneys of an antique house, the entrance of which was situated in the Rue Saint-Francois, not far from the Rue Saint- Gervais corner. Nothing could be more gloomy than the exterior of this abode. On the entrance-side also was a very high wall, pierced with two or three loop-holes, strongly grated. A carriage gateway in massive oak, barred with iron, and studded with large nail-heads, whose primitive color disappeared beneath a thick layer of mud, dust, and rust, fitted close into the arch of a deep recess, forming the swell of a bay window above. In one of these massive gates was a smaller door, which served for ingress and egress to Samuel the Jew, the guardian of this dreary abode. On passing the threshold, you came to a passage, formed in the building which faced in the street. In this building was the lodging of Samuel, with its windows opening upon the rather spacious inner court- yard, through the railing of which you perceived the garden. In the middle of this garden stood a two-storied stone house, so strangely built, that you had to mount a flight of steps, or rather a double-flight of at least twenty steps, to reach the door, which had been walled up a hundred and fifty years before. The window-blinds of this habitation had been replaced by large thick plates of lead, hermetically soldered and kept in by frames of iron clamped in the stone. Moreover, completely to intercept air and light, and thus to guard against decay within and without, the roof had been covered with thick sheets of lead, as well as the vents of the tall chimneys, which had previously been bricked up. The same precautions had been taken with respect to a small square belvedere, situated on the top of the house; this glass cage was covered with a sort of dome, soldered to the roof. Only, in consequence of some singular fancy, in every one of the leaden plates, which concealed the four sides of the belvedere, corresponding to the cardinal points, seven little round holes had been bored in the form of a cross, and were easily distinguishable from the outside. Everywhere else the plates of lead were completely unpierced. Thanks to these precautions, and to the substantial structure of the building, nothing but a few outward repairs had been necessary; and the apartments, entirely removed from the influence of the external air, no doubt remained, during a century and a half, exactly in the same state as at the time of their being shut up. The aspect of walls in crevices, of broken, worm-eaten shutters, of a roof half fallen in, and windows covered with wall-flowers, would perhaps have been less sad than the appearance of this stone house, plated with iron and lead, and preserved like a mausoleum. The garden, completely deserted, and only regularly visited once a week by Samuel, presented to the view, particularly in summer, an incredible confusion of parasites and brambles. The trees, left to themselves, had shot forth and mingled their branches in all directions; some straggling vines, reproduced from offshoots, had crept along the ground to the foot of the trees, and, climbing up their trunks, had twined themselves about them, and encircled their highest branches with their inextricable net. You could only pass through this virgin forest by following the path made by the guardian, to go from the grating to the house, the approaches to which were a little sloped to let the water run off, and carefully paved to the width of about ten feet. Another narrow path which extended all around the enclosure, was every night perambulated by two or three Pyrenees dogs–a faithful race, which had been perpetuated in the house during a century and a half. Such was the habitation destined for the meeting of the descendants of the family of Rennepont. The night which separated the 12th from the 13th day of February was near its close. A calm had succeeded the storm, and the rain had ceased; the sky was clear and full of stars; the moon, on its decline, shone with a mild lustre, and threw a melancholy light over that deserted, silent house, whose threshold for so many years no human footstep had crossed.

A bright gleam of light, issuing from one of the windows of the guardian’s dwelling, announced that Samuel was awake. Figure to yourself a tolerably large room, lined from top to bottom with old walnut wainscoting browned to an almost black, with age. Two half-extinguished brands are smoking amid the cinders on the hearth. On the stone mantelpiece, painted to resemble gray granite, stands an old iron candlestick, furnished with a meagre candle, capped by an extinguisher. Near it one sees a pair of double-barrelled pistols, and a sharp cutlass, with a hilt of carved bronze, belonging to the seventeenth century. Moreover, a heavy rifle rests against one of the chimney jambs. Four stools, an old oak press, and a square table with twisted legs, formed the sole furniture of this apartment. Against the wall were systematically suspended a number of keys of different sizes, the shape of which bore evidence to their antiquity, whilst to their rings were affixed divers labels. The back of the old press, which moved by a secret spring, had been pushed aside, and discovered, built in the wall, a large and deep iron chest, the lid of which, being open, displayed the wondrous mechanism of one of those Florentine locks of the sixteenth century, which, better than any modern invention, set all picklocks at defiance; and, moreover, according to the notions of that age, are supplied with a thick lining of asbestos cloth, suspended by gold wire at a distance from the sides of the chest, for the purpose of rendering incombustible the articles contained in it. A large cedar-wood box had been taken from the chest, and placed upon a stool; it contained numerous papers, carefully arranged and docketed. By the light of a brass lamp, the old keeper Samuel, was writing in a small register, whilst Bathsheba, his wife, was dictating to him from an account. Samuel was about eighty- two years old, and, notwithstanding his advanced age, a mass of gray curling hair covered his head. He was short, thin, nervous, and the involuntary petulance of his movements proved that years had not weakened his energy and activity; though, out of doors, where, however, he made his appearance very seldom, he affected a sort of second childhood, as had been remarked by Rodin to Father d’Aigrigny. An old dressing-gown, of maroon-colored camlet, with large sleeves, completely enveloped the old man, and reached to his feet.

Samuel’s features were cast in the pure, Eastern mould of his race. His complexion was of a dead yellow, his nose aquiline, his chin shaded by a little tuft of white beard, while projecting cheek-bones threw a harsh shadow upon the hollow and wrinkled cheeks. His countenance was full of intelligence, fine sharpness, and sagacity. On his broad, high forehead one might read frankness, honesty, and firmness; his eyes, black and brilliant as an Arab’s, were at once mild and piercing.

His wife, Bathsheba, some fifteen years younger than himself, was of tall stature, and dressed entirely in black. A low cap, of starched lawn, which reminded one of the grave head-dresses of Dutch matrons, encircled a pale and austere countenance, formerly of a rare and haughty beauty, and impressed with the Scriptural character. Some lines in the forehead, caused by the almost continual knitting of her gray brows, showed that this woman had often suffered from the pressure of intense grief.

At this very moment her countenance betrayed inexpressible sorrow. Her look was fixed, her head resting on her bosom. She had let her right hand, which held a small account-book, fall upon her lap, while the other hand grasped convulsively a long tress of jet-black hair, which she bore about her neck. It was fastened by a golden clasp, about an inch square, in which, under a plate of crystal, that shut in one side of it like a relic-case, could be seen a piece of linen, folded square, and almost entirely covered with dark red spots that resembled blood a long time dried.

After a short silence, during which Samuel was occupied with his register, he read aloud what he had just been writing: “Per contra, 5,000 Austrian Metallics of 1,000 florins, under date of October 19th, 1826.”

After which enumeration, Samuel raised his head, and said to his wife: “Well, is it right, Bathsheba? Have you compared it with the account- book?”

Bathsheba did not answer. Samuel looked at her, and, seeing that she was absorbed in grief, said to her, with an expression of tender anxiety: “What is the matter? Good heaven! what is the matter with you?”

“The 19th of October, 1826,” said she, slowly, with her eyes still fixed, and pressing yet more closely the lock of black hair which she wore about her neck; “It was a fatal day–for, Samuel, it was the date of the last letter which we received from–“

Bathsheba was unable to proceed. She uttered a long sigh, and concealed her face in her hands.

“Oh! I understand you,” observed the old man, in a tremulous voice; “a father may be taken up by the thought of other cares; but the heart of a mother is ever wakeful.” Throwing his pen down upon the table, Samuel leaned his forehead upon his hands in sorrow.

Bathsheba resumed, as if she found a melancholy pleasure in these cruel remembrances: “Yes; that was the last day on which our son, Abel, wrote to us from Germany, to announce to us that he had invested the funds according to your desire and was going thence into Poland, to effect another operation.”

“And in Poland he met the death of a martyr,” added Samuel. “With no motive and no proof, they accused him falsely of coming to organize smuggling, and the Russian governor, treating him as they treat our brothers in that land of cruel tyranny, condemned him to the dreadful punishment of the knout, without even hearing him in his defence. Why should they hear a Jew? What is a Jew? A creature below a serf, whom they reproach for all the vices that a degrading slavery has engendered. A Jew beaten to death? Who would trouble themselves about it?”

“And poor Abel, so good, so faithful, died beneath their stripes, partly from shame, partly from the wounds, said Bathsheba, shuddering. “One of our Polish brethren obtained with great difficulty permission to bury him. He cut off this lode of beautiful black hair–which, with this scrap of linen, bathed in the blood of our dear son, is all that now remains to us of him.” Bathsheba covered the hair and clasp with convulsive kisses.

“Alas!” said Samuel, drying his tears, which had burst forth at these sad recollections, “the Lord did not at last remove our child, until the task which our family has accomplished faithfully for a century and a half was nearly at an end. Of what use will our race be henceforth upon earth?” added Samuel, most bitterly. “Our duty is performed. This casket contains a royal fortune–and yonder house, walled up for a hundred and fifty years, will be opened to-morrow to the descendants of my ancestor’s benefactor.” So saying, Samuel turned his face sorrowfully towards the house, which he could see through the window. The dawn was just about to appear. The moon had set; belvedere, roof, and chimneys formed a black mass upon the dark blue of the starry firmament.

Suddenly, Samuel grew pale, and, rising abruptly, said to his wife in a tremulous tone, whilst he still pointed to the house: “Bathsheba! the seven points of light–just as it was thirty years ago. Look! look:”

Indeed, the seven round holes, bored in the form of a cross in the leaden plates which covered the window of the belvedere, sparkled like so many luminous points, as if some one in the house ascended with a light to the roof.



For some seconds, Samuel and Bathsheba remained motionless, with their eyes fixed in fear and uneasiness on the seven luminous points, which shone through the darkness of the night from the summit of the belvedere; while, on the horizon, behind the house, a pale, rosy hue announced the dawn of day.

Samuel was the first to break silence, and he said to his wife, as he drew his hand across his brow: “The grief caused by the remembrance of our poor child has prevented us from reflecting that, after all, there should be nothing to alarm us in what we see.”

“How so, Samuel?”

“My father always told me that he, and my grandfather before him, had seen such lights at long intervals.”

“Yes, Samuel–but without being able, any more than ourselves, to explain the cause.”

“Like my father and grandfather, we can only suppose that some secret passage gives admittance to persons who, like us, have some mysterious duty to fulfil in this dwelling. Besides, my father warned me not to be uneasy at these appearances, foretold by him, and now visible for the second time in thirty years.”

“No matter for that, Samuel, it does strike one as if it was something supernatural.”

“The days of miracles are over.” said the Jew, shaking his head sorrowfully: “many of the old houses in this quarter have subterraneous communications with distant places–some extending even to the Seine and the Catacombs. Doubtless, this house is so situated, and the persons who make these rare visits enter by some such means.”

“But that the belvedere should be thus lighted up?”

“According to the plan of the building, you know that the belvedere forms a kind of skylight to the apartment called the Great Hall of Mourning, situated on the upper story. As it is completely dark, in consequence of the closing of all the windows, they must use a light to visit this Hall of Mourning–a room which is said to contain some very strange and gloomy things,” added the Jew, with a shudder.

Bathsheba, as well as her husband, gazed attentively on the seven luminous points, which diminished in brightness as the daylight gradually increased.

“As you say, Samuel, the mystery may be thus explained,” resumed the Hebrew’s wife. “Besides, the day is so important a one for the family of Rennepont, that this apparition: ought not to astonish us under the circumstances.”

“Only to think,” remarked Samuel, “that these lights have appeared at several different times throughout a century and a half! There must, therefore, be another family that, like ours, has devoted itself, from generation to generation, to accomplish a pious duty.”

“But what is this duty? It will perhaps be explained today.”

“Come, come, Bathsheba,” suddenly exclaimed Samuel, as if roused from his reverie, and reproaching himself with idleness; this is the day, and, before eight o’clock, our cash account must be in order, and these titles to immense property arranged, so that they may be delivered to the rightful owners”–and he pointed to the cedar-wood box.

“You are right, Samuel; this day does not belong to us. It is a solemn day–one that would have been sweet, oh! very sweet to you and me–if now any days could be sweet to us,” said Bathsheba bitterly, for she was thinking of her son.

“Bathsheba,” said Samuel, mournfully, as he laid his hand on his wife’s; “we shall at least have the stern satisfaction of having done our duty. And has not the Lord been very favorable to us, though He has thus severely tried us by the death of our son? Is it not thanks to His providence that three generations of my family have been able to commence, continue, and finish this great work?”

“Yes, Samuel,” said the Jewess, affectionately, “and for you at least this satisfaction will be combined with calm and quietness, for on the stroke of noon you will be delivered from a very terrible responsibility.”

So saying, Bathsheba pointed to the box.

“It is true,” replied the old man; “I had rather these immense riches were in the hands of those to whom they belong, than in mine; but, to- day, I shall cease to be their trustee. Once more then, I will check the account for the last time, and compare the register with the cash-book that you hold in your hand.”

Bathsheba bowed her head affirmatively, and Samuel, taking up his pen, occupied himself once more with his calculations. His wife, in spite of herself, again yielded to the sad thoughts which that fatal date had awakened, by reminding her of the death of her son.

Let us now trace rapidly the history, in appearance so romantic and marvellous, in reality so simple, of the fifty thousand crowns, which, thanks to the law of accumulation, and to a prudent, intelligent and faithful investment, had naturally, and necessarily, been transformed, in the space of a century and a half, into a sum far more important than the forty millions estimated by Father d’Aigrigny–who, partially informed on this subject, and reckoning the disastrous accidents, losses, and bankruptcies which might have occurred during so long a period, believed that forty millions might well b e considered enormous.

The history of this fortune being closely connected with that of the Samuel family, by whom it had been managed for three generations, we shall give it again in a few words.

About the period 1670, some years before his death, Marius de Rennepont, then travelling in Portugal, had been enabled, by means of powerful interest, to save the life of an unfortunate Jew, condemned to be burnt alive by the Inquisition, because of his religion. This Jew was Isaac Samuel, grandfather of the present guardian of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.

Generous men often attach themselves to those they have served, as much, at least, as the obliged parties are attached to their benefactors. Having ascertained that Isaac, who at that time carried on a petty broker’s business at Lisbon, was industrious, honest, active, laborious, and intelligent, M. de Rennepont, who then possessed large property in France, proposed to the Jew to accompany him, and undertake the management of his affairs. The same hatred and suspicion with which the Israelites have always been followed, was then at its height. Isaac was therefore doubly grateful for this mark of confidence on the part of M. de Rennepont. He accepted the offer, and promised from that day to devote his existence to the service of him who had first saved his life, and then trusted implicitly to his good faith and uprightness, although he was a Jew, and belonged to a race generally suspected and despised. M. de Rennepont, a man of great soul, endowed with a good spirit, was not deceived in his choice. Until he was deprived of his fortune, it prospered wonderfully in the hands of Isaac Samuel, who, gifted with an admirable aptitude for business, applied himself exclusively to advance the interests of his benefactor.

Then came the persecution and ruin of M. de Rennepont, whose property was confiscated and given up to the reverend fathers of the Company of Jesus only a few days before his death. Concealed in the retreat he had chosen, therein to put a violent end to his life, he sent secretly for Isaac Samuel, and delivered to him fifty thousand crowns in gold, the last remains of his fortune. This faithful servant was to invest the money to the best advantage, and, if he should have a son, transmit to him the same obligation; or, should he have no child, he was to seek out some relation worthy of continuing this trust, to which would moreover be annexed a fair reward. It was thus to be transmitted and perpetuated from relative to relative, until the expiration of a century and a half. M. de Rennepont also begged Isaac to take charge, during his life, of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois, where he would be lodged gratis, and to leave this function likewise to his descendants, if it were possible.

If even Isaac Samuel had not had children, the powerful bond of union which exists between certain Jewish families, would have rendered practicable the last will of De Rennepont. The relations of Isaac would have become partner; in his gratitude to his benefactor, and they, and their succeeding generations, would have religiously accomplished the task imposed upon one of their race. But, several years after the death of De Rennepont, Isaac had a son.

This son, Levy Samuel, born in 1689, not having had any children by his first wife, married again at nearly sixty years of age, and, in 1750, he also had a son–David Samuel, the guardian of the house in the Rue Saint- Francois, who, in 1832 (the date of this narrative), was eighty-two years old, and seemed likely to live as long as his father, who had died at the age of ninety-three. Finally, Abel Samuel, the son whom Bathsheba so bitterly regretted, born in 1790, had perished under the Russian knout, at the age of thirty-six.

Having established this humble genealogy, we easily understand how this successive longevity of three members of the Samuel family, all of whom had been guardians of the walled house, by uniting, as it were, the nineteenth with the seventeenth century, simplified and facilitated the execution of M. de Rennepont’s will; the latter having declared his desire to the grandfather of the Samuels, that the capital should only be augmented by interest at five per cent.–so that the fortune might come to his descendants free from all taint of usurious speculation.

The fellow men of the Samuel family, the first inventors of the bill of exchange, which served them in the Middle Ages to transport mysteriously considerable amounts from one end of the world to the other, to conceal their fortune, and to shield it from the rapacity of their enemies–the Jews, we say, having almost the monopoly of the trade in money and exchanges, until the end of the eighteenth century, aided the secret transactions and financial operations of this family, which, up to about 1820, placed their different securities, which had become progressively immense, in the hands of the principal Israelitish bankers and merchants of Europe. This sure and secret manner of acting had enabled the present guardian of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois, to effect enormous investments, unknown to all; and it was more especially during the period of his management, that the capital sum had acquired, by the mere fact of compound interest, an almost incalculable development. Compared with him, his father and grandfather had only small amounts to manage. Though it had only been necessary to find successively sure and immediate investments, so that the money might not remain as it were one day without bearing interest, it had acquired financial capacity to attain this result, when so many millions were in question. The last of the Samuels, brought up in the school of his father, had exhibited this capacity in a very high degree, as will be seen immediately by the results. Nothing could be more touching, noble, and respectable, than the conduct of the members of this Jewish family, who, partners in the engagement of gratitude taken by their ancestor, devote themselves for long years, with as much disinterestedness as intelligence and honesty, to the slow acquisition of a kingly fortune, of which they expect no part themselves, but which, thanks to them, would come pure, as immense, to the hands of the descendants of their benefactor! Nor could anything be more honorable to him who made, and him who received this deposit, than the simple promise by word of mouth, unaccompanied by any security save mutual confidence and reciprocal esteem, when the result was only to be produced at the end of a century and a half!

After once more reading his inventory with attention, Samuel said to his wife: “I am certain of the correctness of my additions. Now please to compare with the account-book in your hand the summary of the investments that I have just entered in the register. I will assure myself, at the same time, that the bonds and vouchers are properly arranged in this casket, that, on the opening of the will, they may be delivered in order to the notary.”

“Begin, my dear, and I will check you,” said Bathsheba.

Samuel read as follows, examining as he went on, the contents of his casket:

Statement of the account of the heirs of M. DE RENNEPONT, delivered by DAVID SAMUELS.


2,000,000 francs per annum,
in the French 5 P. C.,
bought from 1825 to 1832,
at an average price of 99f.
50c. . . . . . . . . . . . 39,800,000 900,000 francs, ditto, in
the French 3 P. C.,
bought during the
same years, at an average
of 74f 25c . . . . . . . . 22,275,000 5;000 shares in the Bank
of France, bought at 1,900 9,500,000 3,000 shares in the Four
Canals, in a certificate
from the Company,
bought at 1,115f . . . . . 3,345,000 125,000 ducats of
Neapolitans, at an average
of 82. 2,050,000 ducats,
at 4f. 400 . . . . . . . 9,020,000 5,000 Austrian Metallics,
of 1,000 florins, at 93
–say 4,650,000 florins,
at 2f. 50c . . . . . . . . 11,625,000 75,000 pounds sterling
per annum, English
Consolidated 3 P. C.,
at 88 3/4–say 2,218,750,
at 25f . . . . . . . . . 55,468,750 1,200,000 florins, Dutch
2 1/2 P. C., at 60-28,
860,000 florins, at 2f.
100. . . . . . . . . . . 60,606,000 Cash in banknotes, gold
and silver . . . . . . . . 535,250 _____________
Francs 212,175,000

Paris, 12th February, 1832.


150,000 francs
received from M.
de Rennepont,
in 1682, by Isaac
Samuel my grandfather;
and invested by him,
my father, and myself,
in different securities,
at Five per Cent.
Interest, with a
settlement of account
and Investment of
interest every six
months, producing,
as by annexed vouchers, 225,950,000

Less losses sustained
by failures, expenses of
commission and
brokerage, and
salary of three
generations of
trustees, as per
statement annexed 13,775,000

Francs 212,175,000

“It is quite right,” said Samuel, after examining the papers, contained in the cedar-wood box. “There remains in hand, at the absolute disposal of the heirs of the Rennepont family, the Sum Of TWO HUNDRED AND TWELVE MILLIONS, ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND FRANCS.” And the old man looked at his wife with an expression of legitimate pride. “It is hardly credible!” cried Bathsheba, struck with surprise. “I knew that you had immense property in your hands; but I could never have believed, that one hundred and fifty thousand francs, left a century and a half ago, should be the only source of this immense fortune.”

“It is even so, Bathsheba,” answered the old man, proudly. ‘Doubtless, my grandfather, my father, and myself, have all been exact and faithful in the management of these funds; doubtless, we have required some sagacity in the choice of investments, in times of revolution and commercial panics; but all this was easy to us, thanks to our relations with our brethren in all countries–and never have I, or any of mine, made an usurious investment, or even taken the full advantage of the legal rate of interest. Such were the positive demands of M. de Rennepont, given to my grandfather; nor is there in the world a fortune that has been obtained by purer means. Had it not been for this disinterestedness, we might have much augmented this two hundred and twelve millions, only by taking advantage of a few favorable circumstances.”

“Dear me! is it possible?”

“Nothing is more simple, Bathsheba. Every one knows, that in fourteen years a capital will be doubled, by the mere accumulation of interest and compound interest at five per cent. Now reflect, that in a century and a half there are ten times fourteen years, and that these one hundred and fifty thousands francs have thus been doubled and redoubled, over and over again. All that astonishes you will then appear plain enough. In 1682, M. de Rennepont entrusted my grandfather with a hundred and fifty thousand francs; this sum, invested as I have told you, would have produced in 1696, fourteen years after, three hundred thousand francs. These last, doubled in 1710, would produce six hundred thousand. On the death of my grandfather in 1719, the amount was already near a million; in 1724, it would be twelve hundred thousand francs; in 1738, two millions four hundred thousand; in 1752, about two years after my birth, four millions eight hundred thousand; in 1766, nine millions six hundred thousand; in 1780, nineteen millions two hundred thousand; in 1794, twelve years after the death of my father, thirty-eight millions four hundred thousand; in 1808, seventy-six millions eight hundred thousand; in 1822, one hundred and fifty-three millions six hundred thousand; and, at this time, taking the compound interest for ten years, it should be at least two hundred and twenty-five millions. But losses and inevitable charges, of which the account has been strictly kept, have reduced the sum to two hundred and twelve millions one hundred and seventy-five thousand francs, the securities for which are in this box.”

“I now understand you, my dear,” answered Bathsheba, thoughtfully; “but how wonderful is this power of accumulation! and what admirable provision may be made for the future, with the smallest present resources!”

“Such, no doubt, was the idea of M. de Rennepont; for my father has often told me, and he derived it from his father, that M. de Rennepont was one of the soundest intellects of his time,” said Samuel, as he closed the cedar-box.

“God grant his descendants may be worthy of this kingly fortune, and make a noble use of it!” said Bathsheba, rising.

It was now broad day, and the clock had just struck seven.

“The masons will soon be here,” said Samuel, as he replaced the cedar-box in the iron safe, concealed behind the antique press. “Like you, Bathsheba, I am curious and anxious to know, what descendants of M. de Rennepont will now present themselves.”

Two or three loud knocks on the outer gate resounded through the house. The barking of the watch-dogs responded to this summons.

Samuel said to his wife: “It is no doubt the masons, whom the notary has sent with his clerk. Tie all the keys and their labels together; I will come back and fetch them.”

So saying, Samuel went down to the door with much nimbleness, considering his age, prudently opened a small wicket, and saw three workmen, in the garb of masons, accompanied by a young man dressed in black.

“What may you want, gentlemen?” said the Jew, before opening the door, as he wished first to make sure of the identity of the personages.

“I am sent by M. Dumesnil, the notary,” answered the clerk, “to be present at the unwalling of a door. Here is a letter from my master, addressed to M. Samuel, guardian of the house.”

“I am he, sir,” said the Jew; “please to put the letter through the slide, and I will take it.”

The clerk did as Samuel desired, but shrugged his shoulders at what he considered the ridiculous precautions of a suspicious old man. The housekeeper opened the box, took the letter, went to the end of the vaulted passage in order to read it, and carefully compared the signature with that of another letter which he drew from the pocket of his long coat; then, after all these precautions, he chained up his dogs, and returned to open the gate to the clerk and masons.

“What the devil, my good man!” said the clerk, as he entered; “there would not be more formalities in opening the gates of a fortress!”

The Jew bowed, but without answering.

“Are you deaf, my good fellow?” cried the clerk, close to his ears.

“No, sir,” said Samuel, with a quiet smile, as he advanced several steps beyond the passage. Then pointing to the old house, he added: “That, sir, is the door which you will have to open; you will also have to remove the lead and iron from the second window to the right.”

“Why not open all the windows?” asked the clerk.

“Because, sir, as guardian of this house, I have received particular orders on the subject.”

“Who gave you these orders?”

“My father, sir, who received them from his father, who transmitted them from the master of this house. When I cease to have the care of it, the new proprietor will do as he pleases.”

“Oh! very well,” said the clerk, not a little surprised. Then, addressing himself to the masons, he added: “This is your business, my fine fellows; you are to unwall the door, and remove the iron frame-work of the second window to the right.”

Whilst the masons set to work, under the inspection of the notary’s clerk, a coach stopped before the outer gate, and Rodin, accompanied by Gabriel, entered the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.



Samuel opened the door to Gabriel and Rodin.

The latter said to the Jew, “You, sir, are the keeper of this house?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Samuel.

“This is Abbe Gabriel de Rennepont,” said Rodin, as he introduced his companion, “one of the descendants of the family of the Renneponts.”

“Happy to hear it, sir,” said the Jew, almost involuntarily, struck with the angelic countenance of Gabriel–for nobleness and serenity of soul were visible in the glance of the young priest, and were written upon his pure, white brow, already crowned with the halo of martyrdom. Samuel looked at Gabriel with curiosity and benevolent interest; but feeling that this silent contemplation must cause some embarrassment to his guest, he said to him, “M. Abbe, the notary will not be here before ten o’clock.”

Gabriel looked at him in turn, with an air of surprise, and answered, “What notary, sir?”

“Father d’Aigrigny will explain all this to you,” said Rodin, hastily. Then addressing Samuel, he added, “We are a little before the time. Will you allow us to wait for the arrival of the notary?”

“Certainly,” said Samuel, “if you please to walk into my house.”

“I thank you, sir,” answered Rodin, “and accept your offer.”

“Follow me, then, gentlemen,” said the old man.

A few moments after, the young priest and the socius, preceded by Samuel, entered one of the rooms occupied by the latter, on the ground-floor of the building, looking out upon the court-yard.

“The Abbe d’Aigrigny, who has been the guardian of M. Gabriel, will soon be coming to ask for us,” added Rodin; “will you have the kindness, sir to show him into this room?”

“I will not fail to do so, sir,” said Samuel, as he went out.

The socius and Gabriel were left alone. To the adorable gentleness which usually gave to the fine features of the missionary so touching a charm, there had succeeded in this moment a remarkable expression of sadness, resolution, and severity. Rodin not having seen Gabriel for some days, was greatly struck by the change he remarked in him. He had watched him silently all the way from the Rue des Postes to the Rue Saint-Francois. The young priest wore, as usual, a long black cassock, which made still more visible the transparent paleness of his countenance. When the Jew had left the room, Gabriel said to Rodin, in a firm voice, “Will you at length inform me, sir, why, for some days past, I have been prevented from speaking to his reverence Father d’Aigrigny? Why has he chosen this house to grant me an interview?”

“It is impossible for me to answer these questions,” replied Rodin, coldly. “His reverence will soon arrive, and will listen to you. All I can tell you is, that the reverend father lays as much stress upon this meeting as you do. If he has chosen this house for the interview, it is because you have an interest to be here. You know it well–though you affected astonishment on hearing the guardian speak of a notary.”

So saying, Rodin fixed a scrutinizing, anxious look upon Gabriel, whose countenance expressed only surprise.

“I do not understand you,” said he, in reply to Rodin. “What have I to do with this house?”

“It is impossible that you should not know it,” answered Rodin, still looking at him with attention.

“I have told you, sir, that I do not know it,” replied the other, almost offended by the pertinacity of the socius.

“What, then, did your adopted mother come to tell you yesterday? Why did you presume to receive her without permission from Father d’Aigrigny, as I have heard this morning? Did she not speak with you of certain family papers, found upon you when she took you in?”

“No, sir,” said Gabriel; “those papers were delivered at the time to my adopted mother’s confessor, and they afterwards passed into Father d’Aigrigny’s hands. This is the first I hear for a long time of these papers.”

“So you affirm that Frances Baudoin did not come to speak to you on this subject?” resumed Rodin, obstinately, laying great emphasis on his words.

“This is the second time, sir, that you seem to doubt my affirmation,” said the young priest, mildly, while he repressed a movement of impatience, “I assure you that I speak the truth.”

“He knows nothing,” thought Rodin; for he was too well convinced of Gabriel’s sincerity to retain the least doubt after so positive a declaration. “I believe you,” went on he. “The idea only occurred to me in reflecting what could be the reason of sufficient weight to induce you to transgress Father d’Aigrigny’s orders with regard to the absolute retirement he had commanded, which was to exclude all communication with those without. Much more, contrary to all the rules of our house, you ventured to shut the door of your room, whereas it ought to remain half- open, that the mutual inspection enjoined us might be the more easily practiced. I could only explain these sins against discipline, by the necessity of some very important conversation with your adopted mother.”

“It was to a priest, and not to her adopted son, that Madame Baudoin wished to speak,” replied Gabriel, in a tone of deep seriousness. “I closed my door because I was to hear a confession.”

“And what had Frances Baudoin of such importance to confess?”

“You will know that by-and-bye, when I speak to his reverence–if it be his pleasure that you should hear me.”

These words were so firmly spoken, that a long silence ensued. Let us remind the reader that Gabriel had hitherto been kept by his superiors in the most complete ignorance of the importance of the family interests which required his presence in the Rue Saint-Francois. The day before, Frances Baudoin, absorbed in her own grief, had forgotten to tell him that the two orphans also should be present at this meeting, and had she even thought of it, Dagobert would have prevented her mentioning this circumstance to the young priest.

Gabriel was therefore quite ignorant of the family ties which united him with the daughters of Marshal Simon, with Mdlle. de Cardoville, with M. Hardy, Prince Djalma, and Sleepinbuff. In a word, if it had then been revealed to him that he was the heir of Marius de Rennepont, he would have believed himself the only descendant of the family. During the moment’s silence which succeeded his conversation with Rodin, Gabriel observed through the windows the mason’s at their work of unwalling the door. Having finished this first operation, they set about removing the bars of iron by which a plate of lead was fixed over the same entrance.

At this juncture, Father d’Aigrigny, conducted by Samuel, entered the room. Before Gabriel could turn around, Rodin had time to whisper to the reverend father, “He knows nothing–and we have no longer anything to fear from the Indian.”

Notwithstanding his affected calmness, Father d’Aigrigny’s countenance was pale and contracted, like that of a player who is about to stake all on a last, decisive game. Hitherto, all had favored the designs of the Society; but he could not think without alarm of the four hours which still remained before they should reach the fatal moment. Gabriel having turned towards him, Father d’Aigrigny offered him his hand with a smile, and said to him in an affectionate and cordial tone, “My dear son, it has pained me a good deal to have been obliged to refuse you till now the interview that you so much desired. It has been no less distressing to me to impose on you a confinement of some days. Though I cannot give any explanation of what I may think fit to order, I will just observe to you that I have acted only for your interest.”

“I am bound to believe your reverence,” answered Gabriel, bowing his head.

In spite of himself, the young priest felt a vague sense of fear, for until his departure for his American mission, Father d’Aigrigny, at whose feet he had pronounced the formidable vows which bound him irrevocably to the Society of Jesus, had exercised over him that frightful species of influence which, acting only by despotism, suppression, and intimidation, breaks down all the living forces of the soul, and leaves it inert, trembling, and terrified. Impressions of early youth are indelible, and this was the first time, since his return from America, that Gabriel found himself in presence of Father d’Aigrigny; and although he did not shrink from the resolution he had taken, he regretted not to have been able, as he had hoped, to gather new strength and courage from an interview with Agricola and Dagobert. Father d’Aigrigny knew mankind too well not to have remarked the emotion of the young priest, and to have endeavored to explain its cause. This emotion appeared to him a favorable omen; he redoubled, therefore, his seductive arts, his air of tenderness and amenity, reserving to himself, if necessary, the choice of assuming another mask. He sat down, while Gabriel and Rodin remained standing in a respectful position, and said to the former: “You desire, my dear son, to have an important interview with me?”

“Yes, father,” said Gabriel, involuntarily casting down his eyes before the large, glittering gray pupil of his superior.

“And I also have matters of great importance to communicate to you. Listen to me first; you can speak afterwards.”

“I listen, father.”

“It is about twelve years ago, my dear son,” said Father d’Aigrigny, affectionately, “that the confessor of your adopted mother, addressing himself to me through M. Rodin, called my attention to yourself, by reporting the astonishing progress you had made at the school of the Brothers. I soon found, indeed, that your excellent conduct, your gentle, modest character, and your precocious intelligence, were worthy of the most tender interest. From that moment I kept my eyes upon you, and at the end of some time, seeing that you did not fall off, it appeared to me that there was something more in you than the stuff that makes a workman. We agreed with your adopted mother, and through my intervention, you were admitted gratuitously to one of the schools of our Company. Thus one burden the less weighed upon the excellent woman who had taken charge of you, and you received from our paternal care all the benefits of a religious education. Is not this true, my dear son?”

“It is true, father,” answered Gabriel, casting down his eyes.

“As you grew up, excellent and rare virtues displayed themselves in your character. Your obedience and mildness were above all exemplary. You made rapid progress in your studies. I knew not then to what career you wished to devote yourself, but I felt certain that, in every station of life, you would remain a faithful son of the Church. I was not deceived in my hopes, or rather, my dear son, you surpassed them all. Learning, by a friendly communication, that your adopted mother ardently desired to