List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v1, by Eugene Sue
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calculated to gain the magistrate's good opinion.  "I will tell you all
about it, Mr. Burgomaster," said he. "Nothing can be clearer.  Such a
thing might happen to any one.  I do not look like a beggar and a
vagabond, do I?  And yet--you will understand, that an honest man who
travels with two young girls--"

"No more words!  Your papers!"

At this juncture two powerful auxiliaries arrived to the soldier's aid.
The orphans, growing more and more uneasy, and hearing Dagobert still
talking upon the landing-place, had risen and dressed themselves; so that
just at the instant, when the magistrate said in a rough voice--"No more
words!  Your papers!"--Rose and Blanche holding each other by the hand,
came forth from the chamber.

At sight of those charming faces, which their poor mourning vestments
only rendered more interesting, the burgomaster rose from his seat,
struck with surprise and admiration.  By a spontaneous movement, each
sister took a hand of Dagobert, and pressed close to him, whilst they
regarded the magistrate with looks of mingled anxiety and candor.

It was so touching a picture, this of the old soldier presenting as it
were to his judge the graceful children, with countenances full of
innocence and beauty, that the burgomaster, by a sudden reaction, found
himself once more disposed to sentiments of pity.  Dagobert perceived it;
and, still holding the orphans by the hand, he advanced towards him, and
said in a feeling voice: "Look at these poor children, Mr. Burgomaster!
Could I show you a better passport?"  And, overcome by so many painful
sensations--restrained, yet following each other in quick succession--
Dagobert felt, in spite of himself, that the tears were starting to his

Though naturally rough, and rendered still more testy by the interruption
of his sleep, the burgomaster was not quite deficient in sense of
feeling.  He perceived at once, that a man thus accompanied, ought not to
inspire any great distrust.  "Poor dear children!" said he, as he
examined them with growing interest; "orphans so young, and they come
from far--"

"From the heart of Siberia, Mr. Burgomaster, where their mother was an
exile before their birth.  It is now more than five months that we have
been travelling on by short stages--hard enough, you will say, for
children of their age.  It is for them that I ask your favor and support
for them against whom everything seems to combine to-day for, only just
now, when I went to look for my papers, I could not find in my knapsack
the portfolio in which they were, along with my purse and cross--for you
must know, Mr. Burgomaster--pardon me, if I say it--'tis not from vain
glory--but I was decorated by the hand of the Emperor; and a man whom he
decorated with his own hand, you see, could not be so bad a fellow,
though he may have had the misfortune to lose his papers--and his purse.
That's what has happened to me, and made me so pressing about the

"How and where did you suffer this loss?"

"I do not know, Mr. Burgomaster; I am sure that the evening before last,
at bed-time, I took a little money out of the purse, and saw the
portfolio in its place; yesterday I had small change sufficient, and did
not undo the knapsack."

"And where then has the knapsack been kept?"

"In the room occupied by the children: but this night--"

Dagobert was here interrupted by the tread of some one mounting the
stairs: it was the Prophet.  Concealed in the shadow of the staircase, he
had listened to this conversation, and he dreaded lest the weakness of
the burgomaster should mar the complete success of his projects.



Morok, who wore his left arm in a sling, having slowly ascended the
staircase, saluted the burgomaster respectfully.  At sight of the
repulsive countenance of the lion-tamer, Rose and Blanche, affrighted,
drew back a step nearer to the soldier.  The brow of the latter grew
dark, for he felt his blood boil against Morok, the cause of all his
difficulties--though he was yet ignorant that Goliath, at the instigation
of the Prophet, had stolen his portfolio and papers.

"What did you want, Morok?" said the burgomaster, with an air half
friendly and half displeased.  "I told the landlord that I did not wish
to be interrupted."

"I have come to render you a service, Mr. Burgomaster."

"A service?"

"Yes, a great service; or I should not have ventured to disturb you.  My
conscience reproaches me."

"Your conscience."

"Yes, Mr. Burgomaster, it reproaches me for not having told you all that
I had to tell about this man; a false pity led me astray."

"Yell, but what have you to tell?"

Morok approached the judge, and spoke to him for sometime in a low voice.

At first apparently much astonished, the burgomaster became by degrees
deeply attentive and anxious; every now and then be allowed some
exclamation of surprise or doubt to escape him, whilst he glanced
covertly at the group formed by Dagobert and the two young girls.  By the
expression of his countenance, which grew every moment more unquiet,
severe, and searching, it was easy to perceive that the interest which
the magistrate had felt for the orphans and for the soldier, was
gradually changed, by the secret communications of the Prophet, into a
sentiment of distrust and hostility.

Dagobert saw this sudden revolution, and his fears, which had been
appeased for an instant, returned with redoubled force; Rose and Blanche,
confused, and not understanding the object of this mute scene, looked at
the soldier with increased perplexity.

"The devil!" said the burgomaster, rising abruptly; "all of this never
occurred to me.  What could I have been thinking of?--But you see, Morok,
when one is roused up in the middle of the night, one has not always
presence of mind.  You said well: it is a great service you came to render

"I assert nothing positively, but--"

"No matter; 'tis a thousand to one that you are right."

"It is only a suspicion founded upon divers circumstances; but even a

"May give you scent of the truth.  And here was I, going like a gull into
the snare!--Once more, what could I have been thinking of?"

"It is so difficult to be on guard against certain appearances."

"You need not tell me so, my dear Morok, you need not tell me so."

During this mysterious conversation, Dagobert was on thorns; he saw
vaguely that a violent storm was about to burst.  He thought only of how
he should still keep his anger within bounds.

Morok again approached the judge, and glancing at the orphans,
recommenced speaking in a low voice.  "Oh" cried the burgomaster, with,
indignation, "you go too far now."

"I affirm nothing," said Morok, hastily; "it is a mere supposition
founded on--" and he again brought his lips close to the ear of the

"After all, why not?" resumed the magistrate, lifting up his hands; "such
people are capable of anything.  He says that he brings them from the
heart of Siberia: why may not all this prove to be a tissue of impudent
falsehoods?--But I am not to be made a dupe twice," cried the
burgomaster, in an angry tone, for, like all persons of a weak and
shifting character, he was without pity for those whom he thought capable
of having beguiled his compassion.

"Do not be in a hurry to decide--don't give to my words more weight than
they deserve," resumed Morok with a hypocritical affectation of humility.
"I am unhappily placed in so false a position with regard to this man,"--
pointing to Dagober--"that I might be thought to have acted from private
resentment for the injury he has done me; perhaps I may so act without
knowing it, while I fancy that I am only influenced by love of justice,
horror of falsehood, and respect for our holy religion.  Well--who lives
long enough will know--and may heaven forgive me if I am deceived!--In
any case, the law will pronounce upon it; and if they should prove
innocent, they will be released in a month or two."

"And, for that reason, I need not hesitate.  It is a mere measure of
precaution; they will not die of it.  Besides, the more I think of it,
the more it seems probable.  Yes this man is doubtless a French spy or
agitator, especially when I compare these suspicions with the late
demonstration of the students at Frankfort."

"And, upon that theory, nothing is better fitted to excite and stir up
those hot-headed youths than--" He glanced significantly at the two
sisters; then, after a pause, he added with a sigh, "Satan does not care
by what means he works out his ends!"

"Certainly, it would be odious, but well-devised."

"And then, Mr Burgomaster, look at him attentively: you will see that
this man has a dangerous face.  You will see--"

In continuing thus to speak in a low tone, Morok had evidently pointed to
Dagobert.  The latter, notwithstanding his self-command, felt that the
restraint he had imposed upon himself, since his arrival at this unlucky
inn, and above all wince the commencement of the conversation between
Morok and the burgomaster, was becoming no longer bearable; besides, he
saw clearly that all his efforts to conciliate the favor of the judge
were rendered completely null by the fatal influence of the brute-tamer;
so, losing patience, he advanced towards him with his arms folded on his
breast, and said to him in a subdued voice: "Was it of me that you were
whispering to Mr. Burgomaster?"

"Yes," said Morok, looking fixedly at him.

"Why did you not speak out loud?"  Having said this, the almost
convulsive movement of his thick moustache, as he stood looping Morok
full in the face, gave evidence of a severe internal conflict.  Seeing
that his adversary preserved a contemptuous silence, he repeated in a
sterner voice: "I ask you, why you did not speak out loud to Mr.
Burgomaster, when you were talking of me?"

"Because there are some things so shameful, that one would blush to utter
them aloud," answered Morok insolently.

Till then Dagobert had kept his arms folded; he now extended them
violently, clenching his fists.  This sudden movement was so expressive
that the two sisters uttered a cry of terror, and drew closer to him.

"Hark ye, Mr. Burgomaster!" said the soldier, grinding his teeth with
rage: "bid that man go down, or I will not answer for myself!"

"What!" said the burgomaster, haughtily; "do you dare to give orders to

"I tell you to make that man go down," resumed Dagobert, quite beside
himself, "or there will be mischief!"

"Dagobert!--good heaven!--be calm," cried the children, grasping his

"It becomes you, certainly--miserable vagabond that you are--not to say
worse," returned the burgomaster, in a rage: "it becomes you to give
orders to me!--Oh! you think to impose upon me, by telling me you have
lost your papers!--It will not serve your turn, for which you carry about
with you these two girls, who, in spite of their innocent looks, are
perhaps after all--"

"Wretch!" cried Dagobert, with so terrible a voice and gesture that the
official did not dare to finish.  Taking the children by the arm before
they could speak a word, the soldier pushed them back into the chamber;
then, locking the door, and putting the key into his pocket, he returned
precipitately towards the burgomaster, who, frightened at the menacing
air and attitude of the veteran, retreated a couple of steps, and held by
one hand to the rail of the staircase.

"Listen to me!" said the soldier, seizing the judge by the arm.  "Just
now, that scoundrel insulted me--I bore with it--for it only concerned
myself.  I have heard patiently all your idle talk, because you seemed
for a moment to interest yourself in those poor children.  But since you
have neither soul, nor pity, nor justice--I tell you that, burgomaster
though you are--I will spurn you as I would spurn that dog," pointing
again to the Prophet, "if you have the misfortune to mention those two
young girls, in any other way than you would speak of your own child!--
Now, do you mark me?"

"What!--you dare to say," cried the burgomaster, stammering with rage,
"that if I happen to mention two adventuresses--"

"Hats off!--when you speak of the daughters of the Duke of Ligny," cried
the soldier, snatching the cap of the burgomaster and flinging it on the
ground.  On this act of aggression, Morok could not restrain his joy.
Exasperated and losing all hope, Dagobert had at length yielded to the
violence of his anger, after struggling so painfully against it for some

When the burgomaster saw his cap at his feet, he looked at the brute-
tamer with an air of stupefaction, as if he hesitated to believe so great
an enormity.  Dagobert, regretting, his violence, and feeling that no
means of conciliation note remained, threw a rapid glance around him,
and, retreating several paces, gained the topmost steps of the staircase.
The burgomaster stood near the bench, in a corner of the landing-place,
whilst Morok, with his arm in the sling, to give the more serious
appearance to his wound, was close beside him.  "So!" cried the
magistrate, deceived by the backward movement of Dagobert, "you think to
escape, after daring to lift hand against me!--Old villain!"

"Forgive me, Mr. Burgomaster!  It was a burst of rashness that I was not
able to control.  I am sorry for it," said Dagobert in a repentant voice,
and hanging his head humbly.

"No pity for thee, rascal!  You would begin again to smooth me over with
your coaxing ways, but I have penetrated your secret designs.  You are
not what you appear to be, and there is perhaps an affair of state at the
bottom of all this," added the magistrate, in a very diplomatic tone.
"All means are alike to those who wish to set Europe in flames."

"I am only a poor devil, Mr. Burgomaster; you, that have a good heart,
will show me some mercy."

"What! when you have pulled off my cap?"

"And you," added the soldier, turning towards Morok, "you, that have been
the cause of all this--have same pity upon me--do not bear malice!--You,
a holy man, speak a word in my favor to Mr. Burgomaster."

"I have spoken to him what I was bound to speak," answered the Prophet

"Oho! you can look foolish enough now, you old vagabond!  Did you think
to impose on me with lamentations?" resumed the burgomaster, advancing
towards Dagobert.  "Thanks be, I am no longer your dupe!--You shall see
that we have good dungeons at Leipsic for French agitators and female
vagrants, for your damsels are no better than you are.  Come," added he,
puffing out his cheeks with an important air, "go down before me--and as
for you, Morok--"

The burgomaster was unable to finish.  For some minutes Dagobert had only
sought to gain time, and had cast many a side-glance at a half-open door
on the landing-place, just opposite to the chamber occupied by the
orphans: finding the moment favorable, he now rushed quick as lightning
on the burgomaster, seized him by the throat, and dashed him with such
violence against the door in question, that the magistrate, stupefied by
this sudden attack, and unable to speak a word or utter a cry, rolled

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