List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v1, by Eugene Sue
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

material.  The medal bore on its faces the following inscriptions:

                             L.  C.  D.  J.
                              Pray for me!
                       February the, 13th, 1682.

                               At Paris.
                       Rue Saint Francois, No. 3,
                        In a century and a half
                              you will be.
                        February the 13th, 1832.
                              PRAY FOR ME!

"What does it mean, Dagobert?" resumed Blanche, as she examined the
mournful inscriptions.  "Mother was not able to tell us."

"We will discuss all that this evening; at the place where we sleep,"
answered Dagobert.  "It grows late, let us be moving.  Put up the medal
carefully, and away!--We have yet nearly an hour's march to arrive at
quarters.  Come, my poor pets, once more look at the mound where your
brave father fell--and then--to horse! to horse!"

The orphans gave a last pious glance at the spot which had recalled to
their guide such painful recollections, and, with his aid, remounted

This venerable animal had not for one moment dreamed of moving; but, with
the consummate forethought of a veteran, he had made the best use of his
time, by taking from that foreign soil a large contribution of green and
tender grass, before the somewhat envious eyes of Spoil-sport, who had
comfortably established himself in the meadow, with his snout protruding
between his fore-paws.  On the signal of departure, the dog resumed his
post behind his master, and Dagobert, trying the ground with the end of
his long staff, led the horse carefully along by the bridle, for the
meadow was growing more and more marshy; indeed, after advancing a few
steps, he was obliged to turn off to the left, in order to regain the

On reaching Mockern, Dagobert asked for the least expensive inn, and was
told there was only one in the village--the White Falcon.

"Let us go then to the White Falcon," observed the soldier.



Already had Morok several times opened with impatience the window-
shutters of the loft, to look out upon the inn-yard, watching for the
arrival of the orphans and the soldier.  Not seeing them, he began once
more to walk slowly up and down, with his head bent forward, and his arms
folded on his bosom, meditating on the best means to carry out the plan
he had conceived.  The ideas which possessed his mind, were, doubtless,
of a painful character, for his countenance grew even more gloomy than

Notwithstanding his ferocious appearance, he was by no means deficient in
intelligence.  The courage displayed in his taming exercises (which he
gravely attributed to his recent conversion), a solemn and mystical style
of speech, and a hypocritical affectation of austerity, had given him a
species of influence over the people he visited in his travels.  Long
before his conversion, as may well be supposed, Morok had been familiar
with the habits of wild beasts.  In fact born in the north of Siberia, he
had been, from his boyhood, one of the boldest hunters of bears and
reindeer; later, in 1810, he had abandoned this profession, to serve as
guide to a Russian engineer, who was charged with an exploring expedition
to the Polar regions.  He afterwards followed him to St. Petersburg, and
there, after some vicissitudes of fortune, Morok became one of the
imperial couriers--these iron automata, that the least caprice of the
despot hurls in a frail sledge through the immensity of the empire, from
Persia to the Frozen Sea.  For these men, who travel night and day, with
the rapidity of lightning there are neither seasons nor obstacles,
fatigues nor danger; living projectiles, they must either be broken to
pieces, or reach the intended mark.  One may conceive the boldness, the
vigor, and the resignation, of men accustomed to such a life.

It is useless to relate here, by what series of singular circumstances
Morok was induced to exchange his rough pursuit for another profession,
and at last to enter, as catechumen, a religious house at Friburg; after
which, being duly and properly converted, he began his nomadic
excursions, with his menagerie of unknown origin.

Morok continued to walk up and down the loft.  Night had come.  The three
persons whose arrival he so impatiently expected had not yet made their
appearance.  His walk became more and more nervous and irregular.

On a sudden he stopped abruptly; leaned his head towards the window; and
listened.  His ear was quick as a savage's.

"They are here!" he exclaimed and his fox like eye shone with diabolic
joy.  He had caught the sound of footsteps--a man's and a horse's.
Hastening to the window-shutter of the loft, he opened it cautiously, and
saw the two young girls on horseback, and the old soldier who served them
as a guide, enter the inn-yard together.

The night had set in, dark and cloudy; a high wind made the lights
flicker in the lanterns which were used to receive the new guests.  But
the description given to Morok had been so exact, that it was impossible
to mistake them.  Sure of his prey, he closed the window.  Having
remained in meditation for another quarter of an hour--for the purpose,
no doubt, of thoroughly digesting his projects--he leaned over the
aperture, from which projected the ladder, and called, "Goliath!"

"Master!" replied a hoarse voice.

"Come up to me."

"Here I am--just come from the slaughter-house with the meat."

The steps of the ladder creaked as an enormous head appeared on a level
with the floor.  The new-comer, who was more than six feet high, and
gifted with herculean proportions, had been well-named Goliath.  He was
hideous.  His squinting eyes were deep set beneath a low and projecting
forehead; his reddish hair and beard, thick and coarse as horse-hair,
gave his features a stamp of bestial ferocity; between his broad jaws,
armed with teeth which resembled fangs, he held by one corner a piece of
raw beef weighing ten or twelve pounds, finding it, no doubt, easier to
carry in that fashion, whilst he used his hands to ascend the ladder,
which bent beneath his weight.

At length the whole of this tall and huge body issued from the aperture.
Judging by his bull-neck, the astonishing breadth of his chest and
shoulders, and the vast bulk of his arms and legs, this giant need not
have feared to wrestle single-handed with a bear.  He wore an old pair
of blue trousers with red stripes, faced with tanned sheep's-skin, and a
vest, or rather cuirass, of thick leather, which was here and there
slashed by the sharp claws of the animals.

When he was fairly on the floor, Goliath unclasped his fangs, opened his
mouth, and let fall the great piece of beef, licking his blood-stained
lips with greediness.  Like many other mountebanks, this species of
monster had began by eating raw meat at the fairs for the amusement of
the public.  Thence having gradually acquired a taste for this barbarous
food, and uniting pleasure with profit, he engaged himself to perform the
prelude to the exercises of Morok, by devouring, in the presence of the
crowd, several pounds of raw flesh.

"My share and Death's are below stairs, and here are those of Cain and
Judas," said Goliath, pointing to the chunk of beef.  "Where is the
cleaver, that I may cut it in two?--No preference here--beast or man--
every gullet must have it's own."

Then, rolling up one of the sleeves of his vest, he exhibited a fore-arm
hairy as skin of a wolf, and knotted with veins as large as one's thumb.

"I say, master, where's the cleaver?"--He again began, as he cast round
his eyes in search of that instrument.  But instead of replying to this
inquiry, the Prophet put many questions to his disciple.

"Were you below when just now some new travellers arrived at the inn?"

"Yes, master; I was coming from the slaughter-house."

"Who are these travellers?"

"Two young lasses mounted on a white horse, and an old fellow with a big
moustache.  But the cleaver?--my beasts are hungry and so am I--the

"Do you know where they have lodged these travellers?"

"The host took them to the far end of the court-yard."

"The building, which overlooks the fields?"

"Yes, master--but the cleaver--"

A burst of frightful roaring shook the loft, and interrupted Goliath.

"Hark to them!" he exclaimed; "hunger has driven the beasts wild.  If I
could roar, I should do as they do.  I have never seen Judas and Cain as
they are to-night; they leap in their cages as if they'd knock all to
pieces.  As for Death, her eyes shine more than usual like candles--poor

"So these girls are lodged in the building at the end of the court-yard,"
resumed Morok, without attending to the observations of Goliath.

"Yes, yes--but in the devil's name, where is the cleaver?  Since Karl
went away I have to do all the work, and that makes our meals very late."

"Did the old man remain with the young girls?" asked Morok.

Goliath, amazed that, notwithstanding his importunities, his master
should still appear to neglect the animals' supper, regarded the Prophet
with an increase of stupid astonishment.

"Answer, you brute!"

"If I am a brute, I have a brute's strength," said Goliath, in a surly
tone, "and brute against brute, I have not always come the worst off."

"I ask if the old man remained with the girls," repeated Morok.

"Well, then--no!"  returned the giant.  "The old man, after leading his
horse to the stable, asked for a tub and some water, took his stand under
the porch--and there--by the light of a lantern--he is washing out
clothes.  A man with a gray moustache!--paddling in soap-suds like a
washerwoman--it's as if I were to feed canaries!" added Goliath,
shrugging his shoulders with disdain.  "But now I've answered you,
master, let me attend to the beasts' supper,"--and, looking round for
something, he added, "where is the cleaver?"

After a moment of thoughtful silence, the Prophet said to Goliath, "You
will give no food to the beasts this evening."

At first the giant could not understand these words, the idea was so
incomprehensible to him.

"What is your pleasure, master?" said he.

"I forbid you to give any food to the beasts this evening."

Goliath did not answer, but he opened wide his squinting eyes, folded his
hands, and drew back a couple of steps.

"Well, dost hear me?" said Morok, with impatience.  "Is it plain enough?"

"Not feed? when our meat is there, and supper is already three hours
after time!" cried Goliath, with ever-increasing amazement.

"Obey, and hold your tongue."

"You must wish something bad to happen this evening.  Hunger makes the
beasts furious--and me also."

"So much the better!"

"It'll drive 'em mad."

"So much the better!"

"How, so much the better?--But--"

"It is enough!"

"But, devil take me, I am as hungry as the beasts!"

"Eat then--who prevents it?  Your supper is ready, as you devour it raw."

"I never eat without my beasts, nor they without me."

"I tell you again, that, if you dare give any food to the beasts--I will
turn you away."

Goliath uttered a low growl as hoarse as a bear's, and looked at the
Prophet with a mixture of anger and stupefaction.

Morok, having given his orders, walked up and down the loft, appearing to
reflect.  Then, addressing himself to Goliath, who was still plunged in
deep perplexity, he said to him.

"Do you remember the burgomaster's, where I went to get my passport
signed?--To-day his wife bought some books and a chaplet."

"Yes," answered the giant shortly.

"Go and ask his servant if I may be sure to find the burgomaster early
to-morrow morning."

"What for?"

"I may, perhaps, have something important to communicate; at all events,
say that I beg him not to leave home without seeing me."

"Good! but may I feed the beasts before I go to the burgomaster's?--only
the panther, who is most hungry?  Come, master; only poor Death? just a
little morsel to satisfy her; Cain and I and Judas can wait."

"It is the panther, above all, that I forbid you to feed.  Yes, her,
above all the rest."

"By the horns of the devil!" cried Goliath, "what is the matter with you
to-day?  I can make nothing of it.  It is a pity that Karl's not here;
he, being cunning, would help me to understand why you prevent the beasts
from eating when they are hungry."

"You have no need to understand it."

"Will not Karl soon come back?"

"He has already come back."

"Where is he, then?"

"Off again."

"What can be going on here?  There is something in the wind.  Karl goes,
and returns, and goes again, and--"

"We are not talking of Karl, but of you; though hungry as a wolf you are
cunning as a fox, and, when it suits you, as cunning as Karl."  And,
changing on the sudden his tone and manner, Morok slapped the giant
cordially on the shoulder.

"What! am I cunning?"

"The proof is, that there are ten florins to earn to-night--and you will
be keen enough to earn them, I am sure."

"Why, on those terms, yes--I am awake," said the giant, smiling with a
stupid, self-satisfied air.  "What must I do for ten florins?"

"You shall see."

"Is it hard work?"

"You shall see.  Begin by going to the burgomaster's--but first light the
fire in that stove."  He pointed to it with his finger.

"Yes, master," said Goliath, somewhat consoled for the delay of his
supper by the hope of gaining ten florins.

"Put that iron bar in the stove," added the Prophet, "to make it

"Yes, master."

"You will leave it there; go to the burgomaster's, and return here to
wait for me."

"Yes, master.

"You will keep the fire up in the stove."

"Yes, master."

Morok took a step away, but recollecting himself, he resumed: "You say
the old man is busy washing under the porch?"

"Yes, master."

"Forget nothing: the iron bar in the fire--the burgomaster--and return
here to wait my orders."  So saying, Morok descended by the trap-door and



Goliath had not been mistaken, for Dagobert was washing with that
imperturbable gravity with which he did everything else.

When we remember the habits of a soldier a-field, we need not be
astonished at this apparent eccentricity.  Dagobert only thought of
sparing the scanty purse of the orphans, and of saving them all care and
trouble; so every evening when they came to a halt he devoted himself to
all sorts of feminine occupations.  But he was not now serving his
apprenticeship in these matters; many times, during his campaigns, he had
industriously repaired the damage and disorder which a day of battle
always brings to the garments of the soldier; for it is not enough to
receive a sabre-cut--the soldier has also to mend his uniform; for the
stroke which grazes the skin makes likewise a corresponding fissure in
the cloth.

Therefore, in the evening or on the morrow of a hard-fought engagement,

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: