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

"In our dream, Blanche and I were seated together, when we saw enter a
beautiful angel, with a long white robe, fair locks, blue eyes, and so
handsome and benign a countenance, that we elapsed our hands as if to
pray to him.  Then he told us, in a soft voice, that he was called
Gabriel; that our mother had sent him to be our guardian angel, and that
he would never abandon us."

"And, then," added Blanche, "he took us each by the hand, and, bending
his fair face over us, looked at us for a long time in silence, with so
much goodness--with so much goodness, that we could not withdraw our eyes
from his."

"Yes," resumed Rose, "and his look seemed, by turns, to attract us, or to
go to our hearts.  At length, to our great sorrow, Gabriel quitted us,
having told us that we should see him again the following night."

"And did he make his appearance?"

"Certainly.  Judge with what impatience we waited the moment of sleep, to
see if our friend would return, and visit us in our slumbers."

"Humph!" said Dagobert, scratching his forehead; "this reminds me, young
ladies, that you kept on rubbing your eyes last evening, and pretending
to be half asleep.  I wager, it was all to send me away the sooner, and
to get to your dream as fast as possible."

"Yes, Dagobert."

"The reason being, you could not say to me, as you would to Spoil-sport:
Lie down, Dagobert!  Well--so your friend Gabriel came back?"

"Yes, and this time he talked to us a great deal, and gave us, in the
name of our mother, such touching, such noble counsels, that the next
day, Rose and I spent our whole time in recalling every word of our
guardian angel--and his face, and his look--"

"This reminds me again, young ladies, that you were whispering all along
the road this morning; and that when I spoke of white, you answered

"Yes, Dagobert, we were thinking of Gabriel."

"And, ever since, we love him as well as he loves us."

"But he is only one between both of you!"

"Was not our mother one between us?"

"And you, Dagobert--are you not also one for us both?"

"True, true!  And yet, do you know, I shall finish by being jealous of
that Gabriel?"

"You are our friend by day--he is our friend by night."

"Let's understand it clearly.  If you talk of him all day, and dream of
him all night, what will there remain for me?"

"There will remain for you your two orphans, whom you love so much," said

"And who have only you left upon earth," added Blanche, in a caressing

"Humph! humph! that's right, coax the old man over, Nay, believe me, my
children," added the soldier, tenderly, "I am quite satisfied with my
lot.  I can afford to let you have your Gabriel.  I felt sure that Spoil-
sport and myself could take our rest in quiet.  After all, there is
nothing so astonishing in what you tell me; your first dream struck your
fancy, and you talked so much about it that you had a second; nor should
I be surprised if you were to see this fine fellow a third time."

"Oh, Dagobert! do not make a jest of it!  They are only dreams, but we
think our mother sends them to us.  Did she not tell us that orphan
children were watched over by guardian angels?  Well, Gabriel is our
guardian angel; he will protect us, and he will protect you also."

"Very kind of him to think of me; but you see, my dear children, for the
matter of defence, I prefer the dog; he is less fair than your angel, but
he has better teeth, and that is more to be depended on."

"How provoking you are, Dagobert--always jesting!"

"It is true; you can laugh at everything."

"Yes, I am astonishingly gay; I laugh with my teeth shut, in the style of
old Jovial.  Come, children, don't scold me: I know I am wrong.  The
remembrance of your dear mother is mixed with this dream, and you do well
to speak of it seriously.  Besides," added he, with a grave air, "dreams
will sometimes come true.  In Spain, two of the Empress's dragoons,
comrades of mine, dreamt, the night before their death, that they would
be poisoned by the monks--and so it happened.  If you continue to dream
of this fair angel Gabriel, it is--it is--why, it is, because you are
amused by it; and, as you have none too many pleasures in the daytime,
you may as well get an agreeable sleep at night.  But, now, my children,
I have also much to tell you; it will concern your mother; promise me not
to be sad."

"Be satisfied! when we think of her we are not sad, though serious."

"That is well.  For fear of grieving you, I have always delayed the
moment of telling what your poor mother would have confided to you as
soon as you were no longer children.  But she died before she had time to
do so, and that which I have to tell broke her heart--as it nearly did
mine.  I put off this communication as long as I could, taking for
pretext that I would say nothing till we came to the field of battle
where your father was made prisoner.  That gave me time; but the moment
is now come; I can shuffle it off no longer."

"We listen, Dagobert," responded the two maidens, with an attentive and
melancholy air.

After a moment's silence, during which he appeared to reflect, the
veteran thus addressed the young girls:

"Your father, General Simon, was the son of a workman, who remained a
workman; for, notwithstanding all that the general could say or do, the
old man was obstinate in not quitting his trade.  He had a heart of gold
and a head of iron, just like his son.  You may suppose, my children,
that when your father, who had enlisted as a private soldier, became a
general and a count of the empire, it was not without toil or without

"A count of the Empire! what is that, Dagobert?"

"Flummery--a title, which the Emperor gave over and above the promotion,
just for the sake of saying to the people, whom he loved because he was
one of them: Here, children!  You wish to play at nobility!  You shall be
nobles.  You wish to play at royalty!  You shall be kings.  Take what you
like--nothing is too good for you--enjoy yourselves!"

"Kings!" said the two girls, joining their hands in admiration.

"Kings of the first water.  Oh, he was no niggard of his crowns, our
Emperor!  I had a bed-fellow of mine, a brave soldier, who was afterwards
promoted to be king.  This flattered us; for, if it was not one, it was
the other.  And so, at this game, your father became count; but, count or
not, he was one of the best and bravest generals of the army."

"He was handsome, was he not, Dagobert?--mother always said so."

"Oh, yes! indeed he was--but quite another thing from your fair guardian
angel.  Picture to yourself a fine, dark man, who looked splendid in his
full uniform, and could put fire into the soldiers' hearts.  With him to
lead, we would have charged up into Heaven itself--that is, if Heaven
had, permitted it," added Dagobert, not wishing to wound in any way the
religious beliefs of the orphans.

"And father was as good as he was brave, Dagobert."

"Good, my children?  Yes, I should say so!--He could bend a horse-shoe in
his hand as you would bend a card, and the day he was taken prisoner he
had cut down the Prussian artillerymen on their very cannon.  With
strength and courage like that, how could he be otherwise than good?
It is then about nineteen years ago, not far from this place--on the spot
I showed you before we arrived at the village--that the general,
dangerously wounded, fell from his horse.  I was following him at the
time, and ran to his assistance.  Five minutes after we were made
prisoners--and by whom think you?--by a Frenchman."

"A Frenchman?"

"Yes, an emigrant marquis, a colonel in the service of Russia," answered
Dagobert, with bitterness.  "And so, when this marquis advanced towards
us, and said to the general: 'Surrender, sir, to a countryman!'--'A
Frenchman, who fights against France,' replied the general, 'is no longer
my countryman; he is a traitor, and I'd never surrender to a traitor!'
And, wounded though he was, he dragged himself up to a Russian grenadier,
and delivered him his sabre, saying: 'I surrender to you my brave
fellow!'  The marquis became pale with rage at it."

The orphans looked at each other with pride, and a rich crimson mantled
their cheeks, as they exclaimed: "Oh, our brave father!"

"Ah, those children," said Dagobert, as he proudly twirled his moustache.
"One sees they have soldier's blood in their veins!  Well," he continued,
"we were now prisoners.  The general's last horse had been killed under
him; and, to perform the journey, he mounted Jovial, who had not been
wounded that day.  We arrived at Warsaw, and there it was that the
general first saw your mother.  She was called the Pearl of Warsaw; that
is saying everything.  Now he, who admired all that is good and
beautiful, fell in love with her almost immediately; and she loved him in
return; but her parents had promised her to another--and that other was
the same--"

Dagobert was unable to proceed.  Rose uttered a piercing cry, and pointed
in terror to the window.



Upon the cry of the young girl, Dagobert rose abruptly.

"What is the matter, Rose?"

"There--there!" she said, pointing to the window.  "I thought I saw a
hand move the pelisse."

She had not concluded these words before Dagobert rushed to the window
and opened it, tearing down the mantle, which had been suspended from the

It was still dark night, and the wind was blowing hard.  The soldier
listened, but could hear nothing.

Returning to fetch the lamp from the table, he shaded the flame with his
hand, and strove to throw the light outside.  Still he saw nothing.
Persuaded that a gust of wind had disturbed and shaken the pelisse: and
that Rose had been deceived by her own fears he again shut the window.

"Be satisfied, children!  The wind is very high; it is that which lifted
the corner of the pelisse."

"Yet methought I saw plainly the fingers which had hold of it," said
Rose, still trembling.

"I was looking at Dagobert," said Blanche, "and I saw nothing."

"There was nothing to see, my children; the thing is clear enough.  The
window is at least eight feet above the ground; none but a giant could
reach it without a ladder.  Now, had any one used a ladder, there would
not have been time to remove it; for, as soon as Rose cried out, I ran to
the window, and, when I held out the light, I could see nothing."

"I must have been deceived," said Rose.

"You may be sure, sister, it was only the wind," added Blanche.

"Then I beg pardon for having disturbed you, my good Dagobert."

"Never mind!" replied the soldier musingly, "I am only sorry that Spoil-
sport is not come back.  He would have watched the window, and that would
have quite tranquillized you. But he no doubt scented the stable of his
comrade, Jovial, and will have called in to bid him good-night on the
road.  I have half a mind to go and fetch him."

"Oh, no, Dagobert! do not leave us alone," cried the maidens; "we are too
much afraid."

"Well, the dog is not likely to remain away much longer, and I am sure we
shall soon hear him scratching at the door, so we will continue our
story," said Dagobert, as he again seated himself near the head of the
bed, but this time with his face towards the window.

"Now the general was prisoner at Warsaw," continued he, "and in love with
your mother, whom they wished to marry to another.  In 1814, we learned
the finish of the war, the banishment of the Emperor to the Isle of Elba,
and the return of the Bourbons.  In concert with the Prussians and
Russians, who had brought them back, they had exiled the Emperor.
Learning all this, your mother said to the general: 'The war is finished;
you are free, but your Emperor is in trouble.  You owe everything to him;
go and join him in his misfortunes.  I know not when we shall meet again,
but I shall never marry any one but you, I am yours till death!'--Before
he set out the general called me to him, and said: 'Dagobert, remain
here; Mademoiselle Eva may have need of you to fly from her family, if
they should press too hard upon her; our correspondence will have to pass
through your hands; at Paris, I shall see your wife and son; I will
comfort them, and tell them you are my friend.'"

"Always the same," said Rose, with emotion, as she looked affectionately
at Dagobert.

"As faithful to the father and mother as to their children," added

"To love one was to love them all," replied the soldier.  "Well, the
general joined the Emperor at Elba; I remained at Warsaw, concealed in
the neighborhood of your mother's house; I received the letters, and
conveyed them to her clandestinely.  In one of those letters--I feel
proud to tell you of it my children--the general informed me that the
Emperor himself had remembered me."

"What, did he know you?"

"A little, I flatter myself--'Oh! Dagobert!' said he to your father, who
was talking to him about me; 'a horse-grenadier of my old guard--a
soldier of Egypt and Italy, battered with wounds--an old dare-devil, whom
I decorated with my own hand at Wagram--I have not forgotten him!'--I
vow, children, when your mother read that to me, I cried like a fool."

"The Emperor--what a fine golden face he has on the silver cross with the
red ribbon that you would sometimes show us when we behaved well."

"That cross--given by him--is my relic.  It is there in my knapsack, with
whatever we have of value--our little purse and papers.  But, to return
to your mother; it was a great consolation to her, when I took her
letters from the general, or talked with her about him--for she suffered
much--oh, so much!  In vain her parents tormented and persecuted her; she
always answered: 'I will never marry any one but General Simon.'  A
spirited woman, I can tell you--resigned, but wonderfully courageous.
One day she received a letter from the general; he had left the Isle of
Elba with the Emperor; the war had again broken out, a short campaign,
but as fierce as ever, and heightened by soldiers' devotion.  In that
campaign of France; my children, especially at Montmirail, your father
fought like a lion, and his division followed his example it was no
longer valor--it was frenzy.  He told me that, in Champagne, the peasants
killed so many of those Prussians, that their fields were manured with
them for years.  Men, women, children, all rushed upon them.  Pitchforks,
stones, mattocks, all served for the slaughter.  It was a true wolf-

The veins swelled on the soldier's forehead, and his cheeks flushed as he
spoke, for this popular heroism recalled to his memory the sublime
enthusiasm of the wars of the republic--those armed risings of a whole
people, from which dated the first steps of his military career, as the
triumphs of the Empire were the last days of his service.

The orphans, too, daughters of a soldier and a brave woman, did not
shrink from the rough energy of these words, but felt their cheeks glow,
and their hearts beat tumultuously.

"How happy we are to be the children of so brave a father!" cried

"It is a happiness and an honor too, my children--for the evening of the

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: