List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v11, by Eugene Sue
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remained for a moment mute with surprise; and the princess, judging it no
longer necessary to repress her infernal joy and triumphant hatred,
exclaimed, as she rose from her seat, with flushed cheek, and flashing
eyes, "Yes, I defy you to contradict me.  Were we not forced to confine
you, on the plea of madness?  And did we not find a workman (your lover)
concealed in your bedroom?"

On this horrible accusation, Djalma's golden complexion, transparent as
amber, became suddenly the color of lead; his eyes, fixed and staring
showed the white round the pupil--his upper lip, red as blood, was curled
in a kind of wild convulsion, which exposed to view the firmly-set teeth
--and his whole countenance became so frightfully threatening and
ferocious, that Mother Bunch shuddered with terror.  Carried away by the
ardor of his blood, the young Oriental felt a sort of dizzy,
unreflecting, involuntary rage--a fiery commotion, like that which makes
the blood leap to the brave man's eyes and brain, when he feels a blow
upon his face.  If, during that moment, rapid as the passage of the
lightning through the cloud, action could have taken the place of
thought, the princess and Adrienne, Mother Bunch and himself, would all
have been annihilated by an explosion as sudden and fatal as that of the
bursting of a mine.  He would have killed the princess, because she
accused Adrienne of infamous deception he would have killed Adrienne,
because she could even be suspected of such infamy--and Mother Bunch, for
being a witness of the accusation--and himself, in order not to survive
such horrid treachery.  But, oh wonder! his furious and bloodshot gaze
met the calm look of Adrienne--a look so full of dignity and serene
confidence--and the expression of ferocious rage passed away like a flash
of lightning.

Much more: to the great surprise of the princess and the young workgirl,
as the glances which Djalma cast upon Adrienne went (as it were) deeper
into that pure soul, not only did the Indian grow calm, but, by a kind of
transfiguration, his countenance seemed to borrow her serene expression,
and reflect, as in a mirror, the noble serenity impressed on the young
lady's features.  Let us explain physically this moral revolution, as
consoling to the terrified workgirl, as provoking to the princess.
Hardly had the princess distilled the atrocious calumny from her venomous
lips, than Djalma, then standing before the fireplace, had, in the first
paroxysm of his fury, advanced a step towards her; but, wishing as it
were to moderate his rage, he held by the marble chimney-piece, which he
grasped with iron strength.  A convulsive trembling shook his whole body,
and his features, altered and contracted, became almost frightful.
Adrienne, on her part, when she heard the accusation, yielding to a first
impulse of just indignation, even as Djalma had yielded to one of blind
fury, rose abruptly, with offended pride flashing from her eyes; but,
almost immediately appeased by the consciousness of her own purity, her
charming face resumed its expression of adorable serenity.  It was then
that her eyes met Djalma's.  For a second, the young lady was even more
afflicted than terrified at the threatening and formidable expression of
the young Indian's countenance.  "Can stupid indignity exasperate him to
this degree?" said Adrienne to herself.  "Does he suspect me; then?"

But to this reflection, as rapid as it was painful, succeeded the most
lively joy, when the eyes of Adrienne rested for a short time on those of
the Indian, and she saw his agitated countenance grow calm as if by
magic, and become radiant and beautiful as before.  Thus was the
abominable plot of the princess de Saint-Dizier utterly confounded by the
sincere and confiding expression of Adrienne's face.  That was not all.
At the moment, when, as a spectator of this mute and expressive scene
(which proved so well the wondrous sympathy of those two beings, who,
without speaking a word, had understood and satisfied each other), the
princess was choking with rage and vexation--Adrienne, with a charming
smile and gesture, extended her fair hand to Djalma, who, kneeling,
imprinted on it a kiss of fire, which sent a light blush to the forehead
of the young lady.

Then the Hindoo, placing himself on the ermine carpet at the feet of
Mdlle. de Cardoville, in an attitude full of grace: and respect, rested
his chin on the palm of one of his hands, and gazed on her silently, in a
sort of mute adoration--while Adrienne, bending over him with a happy
smile "looked at the babies in his eyes," as the song says, with as much
amorous complacency, as if the hateful princess had not been present.
But soon, as if something were wanting to complete her happiness,
Adrienne beckoned to Mother Bunch, and made her sit down by her side.
Then, with her hand clasped in that of this excellent friend, Mdlle. de
Cardoville smiled on Djalma, stretched adoringly at her feet, and cast on
the dismayed princess a look of such calm and firm serenity, so nobly
expressive of the invincible quiet of her happiness, and her lofty
disdain of all calumnious attacks, that the Princess de Saint-Dizier,
confused and stupefied, murmured some hardly intelligible words, in a
voice trembling with passion, and, completely losing her presence of
mind, rushed towards the door.  But, at this moment, the hunchback, who
feared some ambush, some perfidious plot in the background, resolved,
after exchanging a glance with Adrienne, to accompany the princess to her

The angry disappointment of the Princess de Saint-Dizier, when she saw
herself thus followed and watched, appeared so comical to Mdlle. de
Cardoville that she could not help laughing aloud; and it was to the
sound of contemptuous hilarity that the hypocritical princess, with rage
and despair in her heart, quitted the house to which she had hoped to
bring trouble end misery.  Adrienne and Djalma were left alone.  Before
relating the scene which took place between them, a few retrospective
words are indispensable.  It will easily be imagined, that since Mdlle.
de Cardoville and the Oriental had been brought into such close contact,
after so many disappointments, their days had passed away like a dream of
happiness.  Adrienne had especially taken pains to bring to light, one by
one, all the generous qualities of Djalma, of which she had read so much
in her books of travels.  The young lady had imposed on herself this
tender and patient study of Djalma's character, not only to justify to
her own mind the intensity of her love, but because this period of trial,
to which she had assigned a term, enabled her to temper and divert the
violence of Djalma's passion--a task the more meritorious, as she herself
was of the same ardent temperament.  For, in those two lovers, the finest
qualities of sense and soul seemed exactly to balance each other, and
heaven had bestowed on them the rarest beauty of form, and the most
adorable excellence of heart, as if to legitimatize the irresistible
attraction which drew and bound them together.  What, then, was to be the
term of this painful trial, which Adrienne had imposed on Djalma and on
herself?  This is what Mdlle. de Cardoville intended to tell the prince,
in the interview she had with him, after the abrupt departure of the
Princess de Saint-Dizier.



Adrienne de Cardoville and Djalma had remained alone.  Such was the noble
confidence which had succeeded in the Hindoo's mind to his first movement
of unreflecting fury, caused by the infamous calumny, that, once alone
with Adrienne, he did not even allude to that shameful accusation.

On her side (touching and admirable sympathy of those two hearts!), the
young lady was too proud, conscious of the purity of her love, to descend
to any justification of herself.

She would have considered it an insult both to herself and him.
Therefore, the lovers began their interview, as if the princess had never
made any such remark.  The same contempt was extended to the papers,
which the princess had brought with her to prove the imminent ruin to
which Adrienne was exposed.  The young lady had laid them down, without
reading them, on a stand within her reach.  She made a graceful sign to
Djalma to seat himself by her side, and accordingly he quitted, not
without regret, the place he had occupied at her feet.

"My love," said Adrienne, in a grave and tender voice, "you have often
impatiently asked me, when would come the term of the trial we have laid
upon ourselves.  That moment is at hand."

Djalma started, and could not restrain a cry of surprise and joy; but
this almost trembling exclamation was so soft and sweet, that it seemed
rather the expression of ineffable gratitude, than of exulting passion.

Adrienne continued: "Separated--surrounded by treachery and fraud--
mutually deceived as to each other's sentiments--we yet loved on, and in
that followed an irresistible attraction, stronger than every opposing
influence.  But since then, in these days of happy retirement from the
world, we have learned to value and esteem each other more.  Left to
ourselves in perfect freedom, we have had the courage to resist every
temptation, that hereafter we might be happy without remorse.  During
these days, in which our hearts had been laid open to each other, we have
read them thoroughly.  Yes, Djalma! I believe in you, and you in me--I
find in you all that you find in me--every possible human security for
our future happiness.  But this love must yet be consecrated; and in the
eyes of the world, in which we are called upon to live, marriage is the
only consecration, and marriage enchains one's whole life."

Djalma looked at the young lady with surprise.

"Yes, one's whole life! and yet who can answer for the sentiments of a
whole life?" resumed Adrienne.  "A God, that could see into the future,
could alone bind irrevocably certain hearts for their own happiness; but,
alas! to human eyes the future is impenetrable.  Therefore, to accept
indissoluble ties, for any longer than one can answer for a present
sentiment, is to commit an act of selfish and impious folly."

Djalma made no reply, but, with an almost respectful gesture, he urged
the speaker to continue.

"And then," proceeded she, with a mixture of tenderness and pride, "from
respect for your dignity and mine, I would never promise to keep a law
made by man against woman, with contemptuous and brutal egotism--a law,
which denies to woman soul, mind, and heart--a law, which none can
accept, without being either a slave or perjured--a law, which takes from
the girl her name, reduces the wife to a state of degrading inferiority,
denies to the mother all rights over her own children, and enslaves one
human creature to the will of another, who is in all respects her equal
in the sight of God!--You know, my love," added the young lady, with
passionate enthusiasm, "how much I honor you, whose father was called the
Father of the Generous.  I do not then fear, noble and valiant heart, to
see you use against me these tyrannical powers; but, throughout my life,
I never uttered a falsehood, and our love is too sacred and celestial to
be purchased by a double perjury.  No, never will I swear to observe a
law, that my dignity, and my reason refuse to sanction.  If, to-morrow,
the freedom of divorce were established, and the rights of women
recognized, I should be willing to observe usages, which would then be in
accordance with my conscience, and with what is just, possible, and
humane."  Then, after a pause, Adrienne continued, with such deep and
sweet emotion, that a tear of tenderness veiled her beauteous eyes: "Oh!
if you knew, my love, what your love is to me: if you knew how dear and
sacred I hold your happiness--you would excuse, you would understand,
these generous superstitions of a loving and honest heart, which could
only see a fatal omen in forms degraded by falsehood and perjury.  What I
wish, is, to attach you by love, to bind you in chains of happiness--and
to leave you free, that I may owe your constancy only to your affection."

Djalma had listened to the young girl with passionate attention.  Proud
and generous himself, he admired this proud and generous character.
After a moment's meditative silence, he answered, in his sweet, sonorous
voice, in an almost solemn tone: "Like you, I hold in detestation,
falsehood and perjury.  Like you, I think that man degrades himself, by
accepting the right of being a cowardly tyrant, even though resolved
never to use the power.  Like you, I could not bear the thought, that I
owed all I most valued, not to your love alone, but to the eternal
constraint of an indissoluble bond.  Like you, I believe there is no
dignity but in freedom.  But you have said, that, for this great and holy
love, you demand a religious consecration; and if you reject vows, that
you cannot make without folly and perjury, are there then others, which
your reason and your heart approve?--Who will pronounce the required
blessing?  To whom must these vows be spoken?"

"In a few days, my love, I believe I shall be able to tell you all.
Every evening, after your departure, I have no other thought.  I wish to
find the means of uniting yourself and me--in the eyes of God, not of the
law--without offending the habits and prejudices of a world, in which it
may suit us hereafter to live.  Yes, my friend! when you know whose are
the noble hands, that are to join ours together, who is to bless and
glorify God in our union--a sacred union, that will leave us worthy and
free--you will say, I am sure, that never purer hands could have been
laid upon us.  Forgive me, friend! all this is in earnest--yes, earnest
as our love, earnest as our happiness.  If my words seem to you strange,
my thoughts unreasonable, tell it me, love!  We will seek and find some
better means, to reconcile that we owe to heaven, with what we owe to the
world and to ourselves.  It is said, that lovers are beside themselves,"
added the young lady, with a smile, "but I think that no creatures are
more reasonable."

"When I hear you speak thus of our happiness," said Djalma, deeply moved,
"with so much calm and earnest tenderness, I think I see a mother
occupied with the future prospects of her darling child--trying to
surround him with all that can make him strong, valiant, and generous--
trying to remove far from him all that is ignoble and unworthy.  You ask
me to tell you if your thoughts seem strange to me, Adrienne.  You
forget, that what makes my faith in our love, is my feeling exactly as
you do.  What offends you, offends me also; what disgusts you, disgusts
me.  Just now, when you cited to me the laws of this country, which
respect in a woman not even a mother's right--I thought with pride of our
barbarous countries, where woman, though a slave, is made free when she
becomes a mother.  No, no; such laws are not made either for you or me.
Is it not to prove your sacred respect for our love, to wish to raise it
above the shameful servitude that would degrade it?  You see, Adrienne, I

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