List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v11, by Eugene Sue
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Princess de Saint-Dizier, as she entered her niece's apartment.

Without advancing to meet her aunt, Adrienne rose politely from the sofa
on which she was seated, made a half-curtsey, full of grace and dignity,
and immediately resumed her former posture.  Then, pointing to an arm-
chair near the fireplace, at one corner of which sat Mother Bunch, and
she herself at the other, she said: "Pray sit down, your highness."  The
princess turned very red, remained standing, and cast a disdainful glance
of insolent surprise at the sempstress, who, in compliance with
Adrienne's wish, only bowed slightly at the entrance of the Princess de
Saint-Dizier, wihout offering to give up her place.  In acting thus, the
young sempstress followed the dictates of her conscience, which told her
that the real superiority did not belong to this base, hypocritical, and
wicked princess, but rather to such a person as herself, the admirable
and devoted friend.

"Let me beg your highness to sit down," resumed Adrienne, in a mild tone,
as she pointed to the vacant chair.

"The interview I have demanded, niece," said the princess "must be a
private one."

"I have no secrets, madame, from my best friend; you may speak in the
presence of this young lady."

"I have long known," replied Madame de Saint-Dizier, with bitter irony,
"that in all things you care little for secrecy, and that you are easy in
the choice of what you call your friends.  But you will permit me to act
differently from you.  If you have no secrets, madame, I have--and I do
not choose to confide them to the first comer."

So saying, the pious lady glanced contemptuously at the sempstress.  The
latter, hurt at the insolent tone of the princess, answered mildly and

"I do not see what can be the great difference between the first and the
last comer to Mdlle. de Cardoville's."

"What! can it speak!" cried the princess, insolently.

"It can at least answer, madame," replied Mother Bunch, in her calm

"I wish to see you alone, niece--is that clear?" said the princess,
impatiently, to her niece.

"I beg your pardon, but I do not quite understand your highness," said
Adrienne, with an air of surprise.  "This young lady, who honors me with
her friendship, is willing to be present at this interview, which you
have asked for--I say she has consented to be present, for it needs, I
confess, the kindest condescension in her to resign herself, from
affection for me, to hear all the graceful, obliging, and charming things
which you have no doubt come hither to communicate."

"Madame--" began the princess, angrily.

"Permit me to interrupt your highness," returned Adrienne, in a tone of
perfect amenity, as if she were addressing the most flattering
compliments to her visitor.  "To put you quite at your ease with the lady
here, I will begin by informing you that she is quite aware of all the
holy perfidies, pious wrongs, and devout infamies, of which you nearly
made me the victim.  She knows that you are a mother of the Church, such
as one sees but few of in these days.  May I hope, therefore, that your
highness will dispense with this delicate and interesting reserve?"

"Really," said the princess, with a sort of incensed amazement, "I
scarcely know if I wake or sleep."

"Dear me!" said Adrienne, in apparent alarm; "this doubt as to the state
of your faculties is very shocking, madame.  I see that the blood flies
to your head, for your face sufficiently shows it; you seem oppressed,
confined, uncomfortable--perhaps (we women may say so between ourselves),
perhaps you are laced a little too tightly, madame?"

These words, pronounced by Adrienne with an air of warm interest and
perfect simplicity, almost choked the princess with rage.  She became
crimson, seated herself abruptly, and exclaimed: "Be it so, madame!  I
prefer this reception to any other.  It puts me at my ease, as you say."

"Does it indeed, madame?" said Adrienne, with a smile.  "You may now at
least speak frankly all that you feel, which must for you have the charm
of novelty!  Confess that you are obliged to me for enabling you, even
for a moment, to lay aside that mask of piety, amiability, and goodness,
which must be so troublesome to you."

As she listened to the sarcasms of Adrienne (an innocent and excusable
revenge, if we consider all the wrongs she had suffered), Mother Bunch
felt her heart sink within her; for she dreaded the malignity of the
princess, who replied, with the utmost calmness: "A thousand thanks,
madame, for your excellent intentions and sentiments.  I appreciate them
as I ought, and I hope in a short time to prove it to you."

"Well, madame," said Adrienne, playfully, "let us have it all at once.  I
am full of impatient curiosity."

"And yet," said the princess, feigning in her turn a bitter and ironical
delight, "you are far from having the least notion of what I am about to
announce to you."

"Indeed! I fear that your highness's candor and modesty deceive you,"
replied Adrienne, with the same mocking affability; "for there are very
few things on your part that can surprise me, madame.  You must be aware
that from your highness, I am prepared for anything."

"Perhaps, madame," said the princess, laying great stress on her words,
"if, for instance, I were to tell you that within twenty-four hours--
suppose between this and to-morrow-thou will be reduced to poverty--"

This was so unexpected, that Mdlle. de Cardoville started in spite of
herself, and Mother Bunch shuddered.

"Ah, madame!" said the princess, with triumphant joy and cruel mildness,
as she watched the growing surprise of her niece, "confess that I have
astonished you a little.  You were right in giving to our interview the
turn it has taken.  I should have needed all sorts of circumlocution to
say to you, 'Niece, to-morrow you will be as poor as you are rich to-
day.'  But now I can tell you the fact quite plainly and simply."

Recovering from her first amazement, Adrienne replied, with a calm smile,
which checked the joy of the princess: "Well, I confess frankly, madame,
that you have surprised me; I expected from you one of those black pieces
of malignity, one of those well-laid plots, in which you are known to
excel, and I did not think you would make all this fuss about such a

"To be ruined--completely ruined," cried the princess.  "and that by to-
morrow--you that have been so prodigal, will see your house, furniture,
horses, jewels, even the ridiculous dresses of which you are so vain, all
taken from you--do you call that a trifle?  You, that spend with
indifference thousands of louis, will be reduced to a pension inferior to
the wages you gave your foot-boy--do you call that a trifle?"

To her aunt's cruel disappointment, Adrienne, who appeared quite to have
recovered her serenity was about to answer accordingly, when the door
suddenly opened, and, without being announced, Prince Djalma entered the
room.  A proud and tender expression of delight beamed from the radiant
brow of Adrienne at sight of the prince, and it is impossible to describe
the look of triumphant happiness and high disdain that she cast upon the
Princess de Saint-Dizier.  Djalma himself had never looked more handsome,
and never had more intense happiness been impressed on a human
countenance.  The Hindoo wore a long robe of white Cashmere, adorned with
innumerable stripes of gold and purple; his turban was of the same color
and material; a magnificent figured shawl was twisted about his waist.
On seeing the Indian, whom she had not hoped to meet at Mdlle. de
Cardoville's, the Princess de Saint-Dizier could not at first conceal her
extreme surprise.  It was between these four, then, that the following
scene took place.



Djalma, having never before met the Princess de Saint-Dizier at
Adrienne's, at first appeared rather astonished at her presence.  The
princess, keeping silence for a moment, contemplated with implacable
hatred and envy those two beings, both so fair and young, so loving and
happy.  Suddenly she started, as if she had just remembered something of
great importance, and for some seconds she remained absorbed in thought.

Adrienne and Djalma availed themselves of this interval to gaze fondly on
each other, with a sort of ardent idolatry, which filled their eyes with
sweet tears.  Then, at a movement of the Princess de Saint-Dizier, who
seemed to rouse herself from her momentary trance, Mdlle. de Cardoville
said to the young prince, with a smile: "My dear cousin, I have to repair
an omission (voluntary, I confess, and for good reasons), in never having
before mentioned to you one of my relations, whom I have now the honor to
present to you.  The Princess de Saint-Dizier!"

Djalma bowed; but Mdlle. de Cardoville resumed, just as her aunt was
about to make some reply: "Her Highness of Saint-Dizier came very kindly
to inform me of an event which is a most fortunate one for me, and of
which I will speak to you hereafter, cousin--unless this amiable lady
should wish to deprive me of the pleasure of making such a

The unexpected arrival of the prince, and the recollections which had
suddenly occurred to the princess, had no doubt greatly modified her
first plans: for, instead of continuing the conversation with regard to
Adrienne's threatened loss of fortune, the princess answered, with a
bland smile, that covered an odious meaning: "I should be sorry, prince,
to deprive my dear and amiable niece of the pleasure of announcing to you
the happy news to which she alludes, and which, as a near relative, I
lost no time in communicating to her.  I have here some notes on this
subject, added the princess, delivering a paper to Adrienne, "which I
hope will prove, to her entire satisfaction, the reality of what I have
announced to her."

"A thousand thanks, my dear aunt," said Adrienne, receiving the paper
with perfect indifference; "these precautions and proofs are quite
superfluous.  You know that I always believe you on your word, when it
concerns your good feeling towards myself."

Notwithstanding his ignorance of the refined perfidy and cruel politeness
of civilized life, Djalma, endowed with a tact and fineness of perception
common to most natures of extreme susceptibility, felt some degree of
mental discomfort as he listened to this exchange of false compliments.
He could not guess their full meaning, but they sounded hollow to his
ear; and moreover, whether from instinct or presentiment, he had
conceived a vague dislike for the Princess de Saint-Dizier.  That pious
lady, full of the great affair in hand, was a prey to the most violent
agitation, which betrayed itself in the growing color of her cheeks, her
bitter smile, and the malicious brightness of her glance.  As he gazed on
this woman, Djalma was unable to conquer his rising antipathy, and he
remained silent and attentive, whilst his handsome countenance lost
something of its former serenity.  Mother Bunch also felt the influence
of a painful impression.  She glanced in terror at the princess, and then
imploringly at Adrienne, as though she entreated the latter to but an end
to an interview of which the young sempstress foresaw the fatal
consequences.  But, unfortunately, the Princess de Saint-Dizier was too
much interested in prolonging this conversation; and Mdlle. de
Cardoville, gathering new courage and confidence from the presence of the
man she adored, took delight in vexing the princess with the exhibition
of their happy love.

After a short silence, the Princess de Saint-Dizier observed, in a soft
and insinuating tone: "Really, prince, you cannot think how pleased I was
to learn by public report (for people talk of nothing else, and with good
reason) of your chivalrous attachment to my dear niece; for, without
knowing it, you will extricate me from a difficult position."

Djalma made no answer, but he looked at Mdlle. de Cardoville with a
surprised and almost sorrowful air, as if to ask what her aunt meant to

The latter, not perceiving this mute interrogation, resumed as follows:
"I will express myself more clearly, prince.  You can understand that,
being the nearest relative of this dear, obstinate girl, I am more or
less responsible for her conduct in the eyes of the world; and you,
prince, seem just to have arrived on purpose, from the end of the earth,
to take charge of a destiny which had caused me considerable
apprehension.  It is charming, it is excellent; and I know not which most
to admire, your courage or your good fortune."  The princess threw a
glance of diabolical malice at Adrienne, and awaited her answer with an
air of defiance.

"Listen to our good aunt, my dear cousin," said the young lady, smiling
calmly.  "Since our affectionate kinswoman sees you and me united and
happy, her heart is swelling with such a flood of joy, that it must run
over, and the effects will he delightful.  Only have a little patience,
and you will behold them in their full beauty.  I do not know," added
Adrienne, in the most natural tone, "why, in thinking of these
outpourings of our dear aunt's affection, I should remember what you told
me, cousin, of a certain viper in your country which sometimes, in a
powerless bite, breaks its fangs, and, absorbing its own venom, becomes
the victim of the poison it distills.  Come, my dear aunt, you that had
so good and noble a heart, I am sure you must feel interested in the fate
of those poor vipers."

The princess darted an implacable look at her niece, and replied, in an
agitated voice, "I do not see the object of this selection of natural
history.  Do you, prince?"

Djalma made no answer; leaning with his arm on the mantelpiece, he threw
dark and piercing glances upon the princess.  His involuntary hatred of
this woman filled his heart.

"Ah, my dear aunt!" resumed Adrienne, in a tone of self-reproach; "have I
presumed too much on the goodness of your heart?  Have you not even
sympathy for vipers?  For whom, then, have you any?  After all, I can
very well understand it," added Adrienne, as if to herself; "vipers are
so thin.  But, to lay aside these follies," she continued, gayly, as she
saw the ill-repressed rage of the pious woman, "tell us at once, my dear
aunt, all the tender things which the sight of our happiness inspires."

"I hope to do so, my amiable niece.  First, I must congratulate this dear
prince, on having come so far to take charge, in all confidence, and with
his eyes shut, of you, my poor child, whom we were obliged to confine as
mad, in order to give a decent color to your excesses.  You remember the
handsome lad, that we found in your apartment.  You cannot be so
faithless, as already to have forgotten his name?  He was a fine, youth,
and a poet--one Agricola Baudoin--and was discovered in a secret place,
attached to your bed-chamber.  All Paris was amused with the scandal--for
you are not about to marry an unknown person, dear prince; her name has
been in every mouth."

At these unexpected and dreadful words, Adrienne, Djalma, and Mother
Bunch, though under the influence of different kinds of resentment,

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