List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v1, by Eugene Sue
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you will find in them a name which you ought always to remember; that's
why I chose this passage."

"Oh, what happiness!  To read the pages written by our father, is almost
to hear him speak," said Rose.

"It is as if he were close beside us," added Blanche.

And the girls stretched out their hands with eagerness, to catch hold of
the leaves that Dagobert had taken from his pocket.  Then, by a
simultaneous movement, full of touching grace, they pressed the writing
of their father in silence to their lips.

"You will see also, my children, at the end of this letter, why I was
surprised that your guardian angel, as you say, should be called Gabriel.
Read, read," added the soldier, observing the puzzled air of the orphans.
"Only I ought to tell you that, when he wrote this, the general had not
yet fallen in with the traveller who brought the papers."

Rose, sitting up in her bed, took the leaves, and began to read in a soft
and trembling voice, Blanche, with her head resting on her sister's
shoulder, followed attentively every word.  One could even see, by the
slight motion of her lips, that she too was reading, but only to herself.



Bivouac on the Mountains of Avers February the 20th, 1830.

"Each time I add some pages to this journal, written now in the heart of
India, where the fortune of my wandering and proscribed existence has
thrown me--a journal which, alas! my beloved Eva, you may never read--I
experience a sweet, yet painful emotion; for, although to converse thus
with you is a consolation, it brings back the bitter thought that I am
unable to see or speak to you.

"Still, if these pages should ever meet your eyes, your generous heart
will throb at the name of the intrepid being, to whom I am this day
indebted for my life, and to whom I may thus perhaps owe the happiness of
seeing you again--you and my child--for of course our child lives.  Yes,
it must be--for else, poor wife, what an existence would be yours amid
the horrors of exile!  Dear soul! he must now be fourteen.  Whom does he
resemble?  Is he like you?  Has he your large and beautiful blue eyes?--
Madman that I am! how many times, in this long day-book, have I already
asked the same idle question, to which you can return no answer!--How
many times shall I continue to ask it?--But you will teach our child to
speak and love the somewhat savage name of Djalma."

"Djalma!" said Rose, as with moist eyes she left off reading.

"Djalma!" repeated Blanche, who shared the emotion of her sister.  "Oh,
we shall never forget that name."

"And you will do well, my children; for it seems to be the name of a
famous soldier, though a very young one.  But go on, my little Rose!"

"I have told you in the preceding pages, my dear Eva, of the two glorious
days we had this month.  The troops of my old friend, the prince, which
daily make fresh advances in European discipline, have performed wonders.
We have beaten the English, and obliged them to abandon a portion of this
unhappy country, which they had invaded in contempt of all the rights of
justice, and which they continue to ravage without mercy, for, in these
parts, warfare is another name for treachery, pillage, and massacre.
This morning, after a toilsome march through a rocky and mountainous
district, we received information from our scouts, that the enemy had
been reinforced, and was preparing to act on the offensive; and, as we
were separated from them by a distance of a few leagues only, an
engagement became inevitable.  My old friend the prince, the father of my
deliverer, was impatient to march to the attack.  The action began about
three o'clock; it was very bloody and furious.  Seeing that our men
wavered for a moment, for they were inferior in number, and the English
reinforcements consisted of fresh troops, I charged at the head of our
weak reserve of cavalry.  The old prince was in the centre, fighting, as
he always fights, intrepidly; his son, Djalma, scarcely eighteen, as
brave as his father, did not leave my side.  In the hottest part of the
engagement, my horse was killed under me, and rolling over into a ravine,
along the edge of which I was riding, I found myself so awkwardly
entangled beneath him, that for an instant I thought my thigh was

"Poor father!" said Blanche.

"This time, happily, nothing more dangerous ensued thanks to Djalma!  You
see, Dagobert," added Rose, "that I remember the name."  And she
continued to read,

"The English thought--and a very flattering opinion it was--that, if they
could kill me, they would make short work of the prince's army.  So a
Sepoy officer, with five or six irregulars--cowardly, ferocious
plunderers--seeing me roll down the ravine, threw themselves into it to
despatch me.  Surrounded by fire and smoke, and carried away by their
ardor, our mountaineers had not seen me fall; but Djalma never left me.
He leaped into the ravine to my assistance, and his cool intrepidity
saved my life.  He had held the fire of his double-barrelled carbine;
with one load, he killed the officer on the spot; with the other he broke
the arm of an irregular, who had already pierced my left hand with his
bayonet.  But do not be alarmed, dear Eva; it is nothing--only a

"Wounded--again wounded--alas!" cried Blanche, clasping her hands
together, and interrupting her sister.

"Take courage!" said Dagobert: "I dare say it was only a scratch, as the
general calls it.  Formerly, he used to call wounds, which did not
disable a man from fighting, blank wounds.  There was no one like him for
such sayings."

"Djalma, seeing me wounded," resumed Rose, wiping her eyes, "made use of
his heavy carbine as a club, and drove back the soldiers.  At that
instant, I perceived a new assailant, who, sheltered behind a clump of
bamboos which commanded the ravine, slowly lowered his long gun, placed
the barrel between two branches, and took deliberate aim at Djalma.
Before my shouts could apprise him of his danger, the brave youth had
received a ball in his breast.  Feeling himself hit, he fell bark
involuntarily two paces, and dropped upon one knee: but he still remained
firm, endeavoring to cover me with his body.  You may conceive my rage
and despair, whilst all my efforts to disengage myself were paralyzed by
the excruciating pain in my thigh.  Powerless and disarmed, I witnessed
for some moments this unequal struggle.

"Djalma was losing blood rapidly; his strength of arm began to fail him;
already one of the irregulars, inciting his comrades with his voice, drew
from his belt a huge, heavy kind of bill-hook, when a dozen of our
mountaineers made their appearance, borne towards the spot by the
irresistible current of the battle.  Djalma was rescued in his turn, I
was released, and, in a quarter of an hour, I was able to mount a horse.
The fortune of the day is ours, though with severe loss; but the fires of
the English camp are still visible, and to-morrow the conflict will be
decisive.  Thus, my beloved Eva, I owe my life to this youth.  Happily,
his wound occasions us no uneasiness; the ball only glanced along the
ribs in a slanting direction."

"The brave boy might have said: "'A blank wound,' like the general,"
observed Dagobert.

"Now, my dear Eva," continued Rose, "you must become acquainted, by means
of this narrative at least, with the intrepid Djalma.  He is but just
eighteen.  With one word, I will paint for you his noble and valiant
nature; it is a custom of this country to give surnames, and, when only
fifteen, he was called 'The Generous'--by which was, of course, meant
generous in heart and mind.  By another custom, no less touching than
whimsical, this name was reverted to his parent, who is called 'The
Father of the Generous,' and who might, with equal propriety, be called
'The Just,' for this old Indian is a rare example of chivalrous honor and
proud independence.  He might, like so many other poor princes of this
country, have humbled himself before the execrable despotism of the
English, bargained for the relinquishment of sovereign power, and
submitted to brute force--but it was not in his nature.  'My whole
rights, or a grave in my native mountains!'--such is his motto.  And this
is no empty boast; it springs from the conviction of what is right and
just.  'But you will be crushed in the struggle,' I have said to him--'My
friend,' he answered, 'what if, to force you to a disgraceful act, you
were told to yield or die?'--From that day I understood him, and have
devoted myself, mind and body, to the ever sacred cause of the weak
against the strong.  You see, my Eva, that Djalma shows himself worthy of
such a father.  This young Indian is so proud, so heroic in his bravery,
that, like a young Greek of Leonidas' age, he fights with his breast
bare; while other warriors of his country (who, indeed, usually have
arms, breast, and shoulders uncovered) wear, in time of battle, a thick,
impenetrable vest.  The rash daring of this youth reminds me of Murat,
King of Naples, who, I have so often told you, I have seen a hundred
times leading the most desperate charges with nothing but a riding-whip
in his hand."

"That's another of those kings I was telling you of, whom the Emperor set
up for his amusement," said Dagobert.  "I once saw a Prussian officer
prisoner, whose face had been cut across by that mad-cap King of Naples'
riding-whip; the mark was there, a black and blue stripe.  The Prussian
swore he was dishonored, and that a sabre-cut would have been preferable.
I should rather think so!  That devil of a king; he only had one idea:
'Forward, on to the cannon!'  As soon as they began to cannonade, one
would have thought the guns were calling him with all their might, for he
was soon up to them with his 'Here I am!'  If I speak to you about him,
my children, it's because he was fond of repeating,--'No one can break
through a square of infantry, if General Simon or I can't do it.'"

Rose continued:

"I have observed with pain, that, notwithstanding his youth, Djalma is
often subject to fits of deep melancholy.  At times, I have seen him
exchange with his father looks of singular import.  In spite of our
mutual attachment, I believe that both conceal from me some sad family
secret, in so far as I can judge from expressions which have dropped from
them by chance.

"It relates to some strange event which their vivid imaginations have
invested with a supernatural character.

"And yet, my love, you and I have no longer the right to smile at the
credulity of others.  I, since the French campaign, when I met with that
extraordinary adventure, which, to this day, I am quite unable to

"This refers to the man who threw himself before the mouth of the
cannon," said Dagobert.

"And you," continued the maiden, still reading, "you, my dear Eva, since
the visits of that young and beautiful woman, whom, as your mother
asserted, she had seen at her mother's house forty years before."

The orphans, in amazement, looked at the soldier.

"Your mother never spoke to me of that, nor the general either, my
children; this is as strange to me as it is to you."

With increasing excitement and curiosity, Rose continued:

"After all, my dear Eva, things which appear very extraordinary, may
often be explained by a chance resemblance or a freak of nature.  Marvels
being always the result of optical illusion or heated fancy, a time must
come, when that which appeared to be superhuman or supernatural, will
prove to be the most simple and natural event in the world.  I doubt not,
therefore, that the things, which we denominate our prodigies, will one
day receive this commonplace solution."

"You see, my children--things appear marvelous, which at bottom are quite
simple--though for a long time we understand nothing about them."

"As our father relates this, we must believe it, and not be astonished--
eh, sister?"

"Yes, truly--since it will all be explained one day."

"For example," said Dagobert, after a moment's reflection, "you two are
so much alike, that any one, who was not in the habit of seeing you
daily, might easily take one for the other.  Well! if they did not know
that you are, so to speak,'doubles,' they might think an imp was at work
instead of such good little angels as you are."

"You are right, Dagobert; in this way many things may be explained, even
as our father says."  And Rose continued to read:

"Not without pride, my gentle Eva, have I learned that Djalma has French
blood in his veins.  His father married, some years ago, a young girl,
whose family, of French origin, had long been settled at Batavia in the
island of Java.  This similarity of circumstances between my old friend
and myself--for your family also, my Eva, is of French origin, and long
settled in a foreign land--has only served to augment my sympathy for
him. Unfortunately, he has long had to mourn the loss of the wife whom he

"See, my beloved Eva! my hand trembles as I write these words.  I am
weak--I am foolish--but, alas! my heart sinks within me.  If such a
misfortune were to happen to me--Oh, my God!--what would become of our
child without thee--without his father--in that barbarous country?  But
no! the very fear is madness; and yet what a horrible torture is
uncertainty!  Where may you now be?  What are you doing?  What has become
of you?  Pardon these black thoughts, which are sometimes too much for
me.  They are the cause of my worst moments--for, when free from them, I
can at least say to myself: I am proscribed, I am every way unfortunate--
but, at the other end of the world, two hearts still beat for me with
affection--yours, my Eva, and our child's!"

Rose could hardly finish this passage; for some seconds her voice was
broken by sobs.  There was indeed a fatal coincidence between the fears
of General Simon and the sad reality; and what could be more touching
than these outpourings of the heart, written by the light of a watch-
fire, on the eve of battle, by a soldier who thus sought to soothe the
pangs of a separation, which he felt bitterly, but knew not would be

"Poor general! he is unaware of our misfortune," said Dagobert, after a
moment's silence; "but neither has he heard that he has two children,
instead of one.  That will be at least some consolation.  But come,
Blanche; do go on reading: I fear that this dwelling on grief fatigues
your sister, and she is too much affected by it.  Besides, after all, it
is only just, that you should take your share of its pleasure and its

Blanche took the letter, and Rose, having dried her eyes, laid in her
turn her sweet head on the shoulder of her sister, who thus continued:

"I am calmer now, my dear Eva; I left off writing for a moment, and
strove to banish those black presentiments.  Let us resume our
conversation!  After discoursing so long about India, I will talk to you
a little of Europe.  Yesterday evening, one of our people (a trusty
fellow) rejoined our outposts.  He brought me a letter, which had arrived
from France at Calcutta; at length, I have news of my father, and am no

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