List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v10, by Eugene Sue
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

adoration, trembled violently.  With head bent down, he remained standing
at a little distance from Adrienne.  This embarrassment, ridiculous in
any other person, appeared touching in this prince of twenty years of
age, endowed with an almost fabulous intrepidity, and of so heroic and
generous a character, that no traveller could speak of the son of Kadja-
sing without a tribute of admiration and respect.  Sweet emotion! chaste
reserve! doubly interesting if we consider that the burning passions of
this youth were all the more inflammable, because they had hitherto been
held in check.

No less embarrassed than her cousin, Adrienne de Cardoville remained
seated.  Like Djalma, she cast down her eyes; but the burning blush on
her cheeks, the quick heaving of her virgin bosom, revealed an emotion
that she did not even attempt to hide.  Notwithstanding the powers of her
mind, by turns gay, graceful, and witty--notwithstanding the decision of
her proud and independent character, and her complete acquaintance with
the manners of the world--Adrienne shared Djalma's simple and enchanting
awkwardness, and partook of that kind of temporary weakness, beneath
which these two pure, ardent, and loving beings appeared sinking--as if
unable to support the boiling agitation of the senses, combined with the
intoxicating excitement of the heart.  And yet their eyes had not met.
Each seemed to fear the first electric shock of the other's glance--that
invincible attraction of two impassioned beings--that sacred fire, which
suddenly kindles the blood, and lifts two mortals from earth to heaven;
for it is to approach the Divinity to give one's self up with religious
fervor to the most noble and irresistible sentiment that He has implanted
within us--the only sentiment that, in His adorable wisdom, the Dispenser
of all good has vouchsafed to sanctify, by endowing it with a spark of
His own creative energy.

Djalma was the first to raise his eyes.  They were moist and sparkling.
The excitement of passionate love, the burning ardor of his age, so long
repressed, the intense admiration in which he held ideal beauty, were all
expressed in his look, mingled with respectful timidity, and gave to the
countenance of this youth an undefinable, irresistible character.  Yes,
irresistible!--for, when Adrienne encountered his glance, she trembled in
every limb, and felt herself attracted by a magnetic power.  Already, her
eyes were heavy with a kind of intoxicating languor, when, by a great
effort of will and dignity, she succeeded in overcoming this delicious
confusion, rose from her chair, and said to Djalma in a trembling voice:
"Prince, I am happy to receive you here."  Then, pointing to one of the
portraits suspended above her, she added, as if introducing him to a
living person: "Prince--my mother!"

With an instinct of rare delicacy, Adrienne had thus summoned her mother
to be present at her interview with Djalma.  It seemed a security for
herself and the prince, against the seductions of a first interview--
which was likely to be all the more perilous, that they both knew
themselves madly loved that they both were free, and had only to answer
to Providence for the treasures of happiness and enjoyment with which He
had so magnificently endowed them.  The prince understood Adrienne's
thoughts; so that, when the young lady pointed to the portrait, Djalma,
by a spontaneous movement full of grace and simplicity, knelt down before
the picture, and said to it in a gentle, but manly voice: "I will love
and revere you as my mother.  And, in thought, my mother too shall be
present, and stand like you, beside your child!"

No better answer could have been given to the feeling which induced
Mdlle. de Cardoville to place herself, as it were, under the protection
of her mother.  From that moment, confident in Djalma, confident in
herself, the young lady felt more at her ease, and the delicious sense of
happiness replaced those exciting emotions, which had at first so
violently agitated her.

Then, seating herself once more, she said to Djalma, as she pointed to
the opposite chair: "Pray take a seat, my dear cousin; and allow me to
call you so, for there is too much ceremony in the word prince; and do
you call me cousin also, for I find other names too grave.  Having
settled this point, we can talk together like old friends."

"Yes cousin," answered Djalma, blushing.

"And, as frankness is proper between friends," resumed Adrienne, "I have
first to make you a reproach," she added, with a half-smile.

The prince had remained standing, with his arm resting on the chimney-
piece, in an attitude full of grace and respect.

"Yes, cousin," continued Adrienne, "a reproach, that you will perhaps
forgive me for making.  I had expected you a little sooner."

"Perhaps, cousin, you may blame me for having come so soon."

"What do you mean?"

"At the moment when I left home, a man, whom I did not know, approached
my carriage, and said to me, with such an air of sincerity that I
believed him: 'You are able to save the life of a person who has been a
second father to you.  Marshal Simon is in great danger, and, to rescue
him, you must follow me on the instant--'"

"It was a snare," cried Adrienne, hastily.  "Marshal Simon was here,
scarcely an hour ago."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Djalma, joyfully, and as if he had been relieved from
a great weight.  "Then there will be nothing to sadden this happy day!"

"But, cousin," resumed Adrienne, "how came you not to suspect this

"Some words, which afterwards escaped from him, inspired me with doubts,"
answered Djalma: "but at first I followed him, fearing the marshal might
be in danger--for I know that he also has enemies."

"Now that I reflect on it, you were quite right, cousin, for some new
plot against the marshal was probable enough; and the least doubt was
enough to induce you to go to him."

"I did so--even though you were waiting for me."

"It was a generous sacrifice; and my esteem for you is increased by it,
if it could be increased," said Adrienne, with emotion.  "But what became
of this man?"

"At my desire, he got into the carriage with me.  Anxious about the
marshal, and in despair at seeing the time wasted, that I was to have
passed with you, cousin, I pressed him with all sorts of questions.
Several times, he replied to me with embarrassment, and then the idea
struck me that the whole might be a snare.  Remembering all that they had
already attempted, to ruin me in your opinion, I immediately changed my
course.  The vexation of the man who accompanied me then because so
visible, that I ought to have had no doubt upon the subject.  Still, when
I thought of Marshal Simon, I felt a kind of vague remorse, which you,
cousin, have now happily set at rest."

"Those people are implacable!" said Adrienne; "but our happiness will be
stronger than their hate."

After a moment's silence, she resumed, with her habitual frankness: "My
dear cousin, it is impossible for me to conceal what I have at heart.
Let us talk for a few seconds of the past, which was made so painful to
us, and then we will forget it forever, like an evil dream."

"I will answer you sincerely, at the risk of injuring myself," said the

"How could you make up your mind to exhibit yourself in public with--?"

"With that young girl?" interrupted Djalma.

"Yes, cousin," replied Mdlle. de Cardoville, and she waited for Djalma's
answer with anxious curiosity.

"A stranger to the customs of this country," said Djalma, without any
embarrassment, for he spoke the truth, "with a mind weakened with
despair, and misled by the fatal counsels of a man devoted to my enemies,
I believed, even as I was told, that, by displaying before you the
semblance of another love, I should excite your jealousy, and thus--"

"Enough, cousin; I understand it all," said Adrienne hastily,
interrupting Djalma in her turn, that she might spare him a painful
confession.  "I too must have been blinded by despair, not to have seen
through this wicked plot, especially after your rash and intrepid action.
To risk death for the sake of my bouquet!" added Adrienne, shuddering at
the mere remembrance.  "But one last question," she resumed, "though I am
already sure of your answer.  Did you receive a letter that I wrote to
you, on the morning of the day in which I saw you at the theatre?"

Djalma made no reply.  A dark cloud passed over his fine countenance,
and, for a second, his features assumed so menacing an expression, that
Adrienne was terrified at the effect produced by her words.  But this
violent agitation soon passed away, and Djalma's brow became once more
calm and serene.

"I have been more merciful that I thought," said the prince to Adrienne,
who looked at him with astonishment.  "I wished to come hither worthy of
you, my cousin.  I pardoned the man who, to serve my enemies, had given
me all those fatal counsels.  The same person, I am sure, must have
intercepted your letter.  Just now, at the memory of the evils he thus
caused me, I, for a moment, regretted my clemency.  But then, again, I
thought of your letter of yesterday--and my anger is all gone."

"Then the sad time of fear and suspicion is over--suspicion, that made me
doubt of your sentiments, and you of mine.  Oh, yes! far removed from us
be that fatal past!" cried Adrienne de Cardoville, with deep joy..

Then, as if she had relieved her heart from the last thought of sadness,
she continued: "The future is all your own--the radiant future, without
cloud or obstacle, pure in the immensity of its horizon, and extending
beyond the reach of sight!"

It is impossible to describe the tone of enthusiastic hope which
accompanied these words.  But suddenly Adrienne's features assumed an
expression of touching melancholy, and she added, in a voice of profound
emotion: "And yet--at this hour--so many unfortunate creatures suffer

This simple touch of pity for the misfortunes of others, at the moment
when the noble maiden herself attained to the highest point of happiness,
had such an effect on Djalma, that involuntarily he fell on his knees
before Adrienne, clasped his hands together, and turned towards her his
fine countenance, with an almost daring expression.  Then, hiding his
face in his hands, he bowed his head without speaking a single word.
There was a moment of deep silence.  Adrienne was the first to break it,
as she saw a tear steal through the slender fingers of the prince.

"My friend! what is the matter?" she exclaimed, as with a movement rapid
as thought, she stooped forward, and taking hold of Djalma's hands, drew
them from before his face.  That face was bathed in tears.

"You weep!" cried Mdlle. de Cardoville, so much agitated that she kept
the hands of Djalma in her own; and, unable to dry his tears, the young
Hindoo allowed them to flow like so many drops of crystal over the pale
gold of his cheeks.

"There is not in this wide world a happiness like to mine!" said the
prince, in his soft, melodious voice, and with a kind of exhaustion:
"therefore do I feel great sadness, and so it should be.  You give me
heaven--and were I to give you the whole earth, it would be but a poor
return.  Alas! what can man do for a divinity, but humbly bless and
adore?  He can never hope to return the gifts bestowed: and this makes
him suffer--not in his pride--but in his heart!"

Djalma did not exaggerate.  He said what he really felt: and the rather
hyperbolical form, familiar to Oriental nations, could alone express his
thought.  The tone of his regret was so sincere, his humility so gentle
and full of simplicity, that Adrienne, also moved to tears, answered him
with an effusion of serious tenderness, "My friend, we are both at the
supreme point of happiness.  Our future felicity appears to have no
limits, and yet, though derived from different sources, sad reflections
have come to both of us.  It is, you see, that there are some sorts of
happiness, which make you dizzy with their own immensity.  For a moment,
the heart, the mind, the soul, are incapable of containing so much bliss;
it overflows and drowns us.  Thus the flowers sometimes hang their heads,
oppressed by the too ardent rays of the sun, which is yet their love and
life.  Oh, my friend! this sadness may be great, but it also sweet!"

As she uttered these words, the voice of Adrienne grew fainter and
fainter, and her head bowed lower, as if she were indeed sinking beneath
the weight of her happiness.  Djalma had remained kneeling before her,
his hands in hers--so that as she thus bent forward, her ivory forehead
and golden hair touched the amber-colored brow and ebon curls of Djalma.
And the sweet, silent tears of the two young lovers flowed together, and
mingled as they fell on their clasped hands.

Whilst this scene was passing in Cardoville House, Agricola had gone to
the Rue de Vaugirard, to deliver a letter from Adrienne to M. Hardy.



As we have already said, M. Hardy occupied a pavilion in the "Retreat"
annexed to the house in the Rue de Vaugirard, inhabited by a goodly
number of the reverend fathers of the Company of Jesus.  Nothing could be
calmer and more silent than this dwelling.  Every one spoke in whispers,
and the servants themselves had something oily in their words, something
sanctified in their very walk.

Like all that is subject to the chilling and destructive influences of
these men, this mournfully quiet house was entirely wanting in life and
animation.  The boarders passed an existence of wearisome and icy
monotony, only broken by the use of certain devotional exercises; and
thus, in accordance with the selfish calculation of the reverend fathers,
the mind, deprived of all nourishment and all external support, soon
began to droop and pine away in solitude.  The heart seemed to beat more
slowly, the soul was benumbed, the character weakened; at last, all
freewill, all power of discrimination, was extinguished, and the
boarders, submitting to the same process of self-annihilation as the
novices of the Company, became, like them, mere "corpses" in the hands of
the brotherhood.

The object of these manoeuvres was clear and simple.  They secured the
means of obtaining all kinds of donations, the constant aim of the
skillful policy and merciless cupidity of these priests.  By the aid of
enormous sums, of which they thus become the possessors or the trustees,
they follow out and obtain the success of their projects, even though
murder, incendiarism, revolt, and all the horrors of civil war, excited
by and through them, should drench in blood the lands over which they
seek to extend their dark dominion.

Such, then, was the asylum of peace and innocence in which Francois Hardy
had taken refuge.  He occupied the ground-floor of a summer-house, which
opened upon a portion of the garden.  His apartments had been judiciously
chosen, for we know with what profound and diabolical craft the reverend
fathers avail themselves of material influences, to make a deep
impression upon the minds they are moulding to their purpose.  Imagine a

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: