List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v10, by Eugene Sue
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Whether he thought it more prudent to bring up the rear, or, from
respectful deference for a biped, the worthy dog had been the last to
leave the room, and, being a famous carrier, as soon as he saw the letter
dropped by Loony, he took it delicately between his teeth, and followed
close on the heels of the servant, without the latter perceiving this new
proof of the intelligence and sagacity of Spoil-sport.



We will explain presently what became of the letter, which Spoil-sport
held between his teeth, and why he left his master, when the latter ran
to meet Agricola.  Dagobert had not seen his son for some days.
Embracing him cordially, he led him into one of the rooms on the ground-
floor, which he usually occupied.  "And how is your wife?" said the
soldier to his son.

"She is well, father, thank you."

Perceiving a great change in Agricola's countenance, Dagobert resumed:
"You look sad.  Has anything gone wrong since I saw you last?"

"All is over, father.  We have lost him," said the smith, in a tone of

"Lost whom?"

"M. Hardy."

"M. Hardy!--why, three days ago, you told me you were going to see him."

"Yes, father, I have seen him--and my dear brother Gabriel saw him and
spoke to him--how he speaks! with a voice that comes from the heart!--and
he had so revived and encouraged him, that M. Hardy consented to return
amongst us.  Then I, wild with joy, ran to tell the good news to some of
my mates, who were waiting to hear the result of nay interview with M.
Hardy.  I brought them all with me to thank and bless him.  We were
within a hundred yards of the house belonging to the black-gowns--"

"Ali, the black-gowns!" said Dagobert, with a gloomy air.  "Then some
mischief will happen.  I know them."

"You are not mistaken, father," answered Agricola, with a sigh.  "I was
running on with my comrades, when I saw a carriage coming towards us.
Some presentiment told me that they were taking away M. Hardy."

"By force!" said Dagobert, hastily.

"No," answered Agricola, bitterly; "no--the priests are too cunning for
that.  They know how to make you an accomplice in the evil they do you.
Shall I not always remember how they managed with my good mother?"

"Yes, the worthy woman! there was a poor fly caught in the spider's web.
But this carriage, of which you speak?"

"On seeing it start from the house of the black-gowns," replied Agricola,
"my heart sank within me; and, by an impulse stronger than myself, I
rushed to the horses' heads, calling on my comrades to help me.  But the
postilion knocked me down and stunned me with a blow from his whip.  When
I recovered my senses, the carriage was already far away."

"You were not hurt?" cried Dagobert, anxiously, as he examined his son
from top to toe.

"No, father; a mere scratch."

"What did you next, my boy?"

"I hastened to our good angel, Mdlle. de Cardoville, and told her all.
'You must follow M. Hardy on the instant,' said she to me.  'Take my
carriage and post-horses.  Dupont will accompany you; follow M. Hardy
from stage to stage; should you succeed in overtaking him your presence
and your prayers may perhaps conquer the fatal influence that these
priests have acquired over him.'"

"It was the best advice she could give you.  That excellent young lady is
always right."

"An hour after, we were upon our way, for we learned by the returned
postilions, that M. Hardy had taken the Orleans road.  We followed him as
far as Etampes.  There we heard that he had taken a cross-road, to reach
a solitary house in a valley about four leagues from the highway.  They
told us that this house called the Val-de-St. Herem, belonged to certain
priests, and that, as the night was so dark, and the road so bad, we had
better sleep at the inn, and start early in the morning.  We followed
this advice, and set out at dawn.  In a quarter of an hour, we quitted
the high-road for a mountainous and desert track.  We saw nothing but
brown rocks, and a few birch trees.  As we advanced, the scene became
wilder and wilder.  We might have fancied ourselves a hundred leagues
from Paris.  At last we stopped in front of a large, old, black-looking
house with only a few small windows in it, and built at the foot of a
high, rocky mountain.  In my whole life I have never seen anything so
deserted and sad.  We got out of the carriage, and I rang the bell.  A
man opened the door.  'Did not the Abbe d'Aigrigny arrive here last night
with a gentleman?' said I to this man, with a confidential air.  'Inform
the gentleman directly, that I come on business of importance, and that I
must see him forthwith.'--The man, believing me an accomplice, showed us
in immediately; a moment after, the Abbe d'Aigrigny opened the door, saw
me, and drew back; yet, in five minutes more, I was in presence of M.

"Well!" said Dagobert, with interest.

Agricola shook his head sorrowfully, and replied: "I knew by the very
countenance of M. Hardy, that all was over.  Addressing me in a mild but
firm voice, he said to me: 'I understand, I can even excuse, the motives
that bring you hither.  But I am quite determined to live henceforth in
solitude and prayer.  I take this resolution freely and voluntarily,
because I would fain provide for the salvation of my soul.  Tell your
fellows that my arrangements will be such as to leave them a good
remembrance of me.'--And as I was about to speak, M. Hardy interrupted
me, saying: 'It is useless, my friend.  My determination is unalterable.
Do not write to me, for your letters would remain unanswered.  Prayer
will henceforth be my only occupation.  Excuse me for leaving you, but I
am fatigued from my journey!'--He spoke the truth for he was as pale as a
spectre, with a kind of wildness about the eyes, and so changed since the
day before, as to be hardly the same man.  His hand, when he offered it
on parting from me, was dry and burning.  The Abbe d'Aigrigny soon came
in.  'Father,' said M. Hardy to him, 'have the goodness to see M. Baudoin
to the door.'--So saying, he waved his hand to me in token of farewell,
and retired to the next chamber.  All was over; he is lost to us

"Yes," said Dagobert, "those black-gowns have enchanted him, like so many

"In despair," resumed Agricola, "I returned hither with M. Dupont.  This,
then, is what the priests have made of M. Hardy--of that generous man,
who supported nearly three hundred industrious workmen in order and
happiness, increasing their knowledge, improving their hearts, and
earning the benediction of that little people, of which he was the
providence.  Instead of all this, M. Hardy is now forever reduced to a
gloomy and unavailing life of contemplation."

"Oh, the black-gowns!" said Dagobert, shuddering, and unable to conceal a
vague sense of fear.  "The longer I live, the more I am afraid of them.
You have seen what those people did to your poor mother; you see what
they have just done to M. Hardy; you know their plots against my two poor
orphans, and against that generous young lady.  Oh, these people are very
powerful! I would rather face a battalion of Russian grenadiers, than a
dozen of these cassocks.  But don't let's talk of it.  I have causes
enough beside for grief and fear."

Then seeing the astonished look of Agricola, the soldier, unable to
restrain his emotion, threw himself into the arms of his son, exclaiming
with a choking voice: "I can hold out no longer.  My heart is too full.
I must speak; and whom shall I trust if not you?"

"Father, you frighten me!" said Agricola, "What is the matter?"

"Why, you see, had it not been for you and the two poor girls, I should
have blown out my brains twenty times over rather than see what I see--
and dread what I do."

"What do you dread, father?"

"Since the last few days, I do not know what has come over the marshal--
but he frightens me."

"Yet in his last interviews with Mdlle. de Cardoville--"

"Yes, he was a little better.  By her kind words, this generous young
lady poured balm into his wounds; the presence of the young Indian
cheered him; he appeared to shake off his cares, and his poor little
girls felt the benefit of the change.  But for some days, I know not what
demon has been loosed against his family.  It is enough to turn one's
head.  First of all, I am sure that the anonymous letters have begun

"What letters, father?"

"The anonymous letters."

"But what are they about?"

"You know how the marshal hated that renegade, the Abbe d'Aigrigny.  When
he found that the traitor was here, and that he had persecuted the two
orphans, even as he persecuted their mother to the death--but that now he
had become a priest--I thought the marshal would have gone mad with
indignation and fury.  He wishes to go in search of the renegade.  With
one word I calmed him.  'He is a priest,' I said; 'you may do what you
will, insult or strike him--he will not fight.  He began by serving
against his country, he ends by becoming a bad priest.  It is all in
character.  He is not worth spitting upon.'--'But surely I may punish the
wrong done to my children, and avenge the death of my wife,' cried the
marshal, much exasperated.--'They say, as you well know, that there are
courts of law to avenge your wrongs,' answered I; 'Mdlle. de Cardoville
has lodged a charge against the renegade, for having attempted to confine
your daughters in a convent.  We must champ the bit and wait."'

"Yes," said Agricola, mournfully, "and unfortunately there lacks proof to
bring it home to the Abbe d'Aigrigny.  The other day, when I was examined
by Mdlle. de Cardoville's lawyer, with regard to our attempt on the
convent, he told me that we should meet with obstacles at every step, for
want of legal evidence, and that the priests had taken their precautions
with so much skill that the indictment would be quashed."

"That is just what the marshal thinks, my boy, and this increases his
irritation at such injustice."

"He should despise the wretches."

"But the anonymous letters!"

"Well, what of them, father?"

"You shall know all.  A brave and honorable man like the marshal, when
his first movement of indignation was over, felt that to insult the
renegade disguised in the garb of a priest, would be like insulting an
old man or a woman.  He determined therefore to despise him, and to
forget him as soon as possible.  But then, almost every day, there came
by the post anonymous letters, in which all sorts of devices were
employed, to revive and excite the anger of the marshal against the
renegade by reminding him of all the evil contrived by the Abbe
d'Aigrigny against him and his family.  The marshal was reproached with
cowardice for not taking vengeance on this priest, the persecutor of his
wife and children, the insolent mocker at his misfortunes."

"And from whom do you suspect these letters to come, father?"

"I cannot tell--it is that which turns one's brain.  They must come from
the enemies of the marshal, and he has no enemies but the black-gowns."

"But, father, since these letters are to excite his anger against the
Abbe d'Aigrigny, they can hardly have been written by priests."

"That is what I have said to myself."

"But what, then, can be their object?"

"Their object?  oh, it is too plain!" cried Dagobert.  "The marshal is
hasty, ardent; he has a thousand reasons to desire vengeance on the
renegade.  But he cannot do himself justice, and the other sort of
justice fails him.  Then what does he do?  He endeavors to forget, he
forgets.  But every day there comes to him an insolent letter, to provoke
and exasperate his legitimate hatred, by mockeries and insults.  Devil
take me! my head is not the weakest--but, at such a game, I should go

"Father, such a plot would be horrible, and only worthy of hell!"

"And that is not all."

"What more?"

"The marshal has received other letters; those he has not shown me--but,
after he had read the first, he remained like a man struck motionless,
and murmured to himself: 'They do not even respect that--oh! it is too
much--too much!'--And, hiding his face in his hands he wept."

"The marshal wept!" cried the blacksmith, hardly able to believe what he

"Yes," answered Dagobert, "he wept like a child."

"And what could these letters contain, father?"

"I did not venture to ask him, he appeared so miserable and dejected."

"But thus harassed and tormented incessantly, the marshal must lead a
wretched life."

"And his poor little girls too! he sees them grow sadder and sadder,
without being able to guess the cause.  And the death of his father,
killed almost in his arms!  Perhaps, you will think all this enough; but,
no! I am sure there is something still more painful behind.  Lately, you
would hardly know the marshal.  He is irritable about nothing, and falls
into such fits of passion, that--"  After a moment's hesitation, the
soldier resumed: "I way tell this to you, my poor boy.  I have just been
upstairs, to take the caps from his pistols."

"What, father!" cried Agricola; "you fear--"

"In the state of exasperation in which I saw him yesterday, there is
everything to fear."

" What then happened?"

"Since some time, he has often long secret interviews with a gentleman,
who looks like an old soldier and a worthy man.  I have remarked that the
gloom and agitation of the marshal are always redoubled after one of
these visits.  Two or three times, I have spoken to him about it; but I
saw by his look, that I displeased him, and therefore I desisted.

"Well! yesterday, this gentleman came in the evening.  He remained here
until eleven o'clock, and his wife came to fetch him, and waited for him
in a coach.  After his departure, I went up to see if the marshal wanted
anything.  He was very pale, but calm; he thanked me, and I came down
again.  You know that my room is just under his.  I could hear the
marshal walking about as if much agitated, and soon after he seemed to be
knocking down the furniture.  In alarm, I once more went upstairs.  He
asked me, with an irritated air, what I wanted, and ordered me to leave
the room.  Seeing him in that way, I remained; he grew more angry, still
I remained; perceiving a chair and table thrown down, I pointed to them
with so sad an air that he understood me.  You know that he has the best
heart in the world, so, taking me by the hand, he said to me: 'Forgive me
for causing you this uneasiness, my good Dagobert; but just now, I lost
my senses, and gave way to a burst of absurd fury; I think I should have
thrown myself out of the window, had it been open.  I only hope, that my
poor dear girls have not heard me,' added he, as he went on tip-toe to
open the door which communicates with his daughters' bedroom.  When he
had listened anxiously for a moment, he returned to me, and said:
"Luckily, they are asleep.'--Then I asked him what was the cause of his
agitation, and if, in spite of my precautions, he had received any more
anonymous letters.  'No,' replied he, with a gloomy air; 'but leave me,
my friend.  I am now better.  It has done me good to see you.  Good--

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