List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v2, by Eugene Sue
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

"But now we are alone."

"If we were to pray to him to speak to us?"

The orphans looked doubtingly at each other, with charming simplicity; a
bright glow suffused their cheeks, and their young bosoms heaved gently
beneath their black dresses.

"You are right.  Let us kneel down to him."

"Oh, sister! our hearts beat so!" said Blanche, believing rightly, that
Rose felt exactly as she did.  "And yet it seems to do us good.  It is as
if some happiness were going to befall us."

The sisters, having approached the arm-chair on tip-toe, knelt down with
clasped hands, one to the right the other to the left of the young
priest.  It was a charming picture.  Turning their lovely faces towards
him, they said in a low whisper, with a soft, sweet voice, well suited to
their youthful appearance: "Gabriel! speak to us of our mother!"

On this appeal, the missionary gave a slight start, half-opened his eyes,
and, still in a state of semi-consciousness, between sleep and waking,
beheld those two beauteous faces turned towards him, and heard two gentle
voices repeat his name.

"Who calls me?" said he, rousing himself, and raising his head.

"It is Blanche and Rose."

It was now Gabriel's turn to blush, for he recognized the young girls he
had saved.  "Rise, my sisters!" said he to them; "you should kneel only
unto God."

The orphans obeyed, and were soon beside him, holding each other by the
hand.  "You know my name, it seems," said the missionary with a smile.

"Oh, we have not forgotten it!"

"Who told it you?"



"Yes--when you came from our mother."

"I, my sisters?" said the missionary, unable to comprehend the words of
the orphans.  "You are mistaken.  I saw you to-day for the first time."

"But in our dreams?"

"Yes--do you not remember?--in our dreams."

"In Germany--three months ago, for the first time.  Look at us well."

Gabriel could not help smiling at the simplicity of Rose and Blanche, who
expected him to remember a dream of theirs; growing more and more
perplexed, he repeated:  "In your dreams?"

"Certainly; when you gave us such good advice."

"And when we were so sorrowful in prison, your words, which we
remembered, consoled us, and gave us courage."

"Was it not you, who delivered us from the prison at Leipsic, in that
dark night, when we were not able to see you?"


"What other but you would thus have come to our help, and to that of our
old friend?"

"We told him, that you would love him, because he loved us, although he
would not believe in angels."

"And this morning, during the tempest, we had hardly any fear."

"Because we expected you."

"This morning--yes, my sisters--it pleased heaven to send me to your
assistance.  I was coming from America, but I have never been in Leipsic.
I could not, therefore, have let you out of prison.  Tell me, my
sisters," added he, with a benevolent smile, "for whom do you take me?"

"For a good angel whom we have seen already in dreams, sent by our mother
from heaven to protect us."

"My dear sisters, I am only a poor priest.  It is by mere chance, no
doubt, that I bear some resemblance to the angel you have seen in your
dreams, and whom you could not see in any other manner--for angels are
not visible to mortal eye.

"Angels are not visible?" said the orphans, looking sorrowfully at each

"No matter, my dear sisters," said Gabriel, taking them affectionately by
the hand; "dreams, like everything else, come from above.  Since the
remembrance of your mother was mixed up with this dream, it is twice

At this moment a door opened, and Dagobert made his appearance.  Up to
this time, the orphans, in their innocent ambition to be protected by an
archangel, had quite forgotten the circumstance that Dagobert's wife had
adopted a forsaken child, who was called Gabriel, and who was now a
priest and missionary.

The soldier, though obstinate in maintaining that his hurt was only a
blank wound (to use a term of General Simon's), had allowed it to be
carefully dressed by the surgeon of the village, and now wore a black
bandage, which concealed one half of his forehead, and added to the
natural grimness of his features.  On entering the room, he was not a
little surprised to see a stranger holding the hands of Rose and Blanche
familiarly in his own.  This surprise was natural, for Dagobert did not
know that the missionary had saved the lives of the orphans, and had
attempted to save his also.

In the midst of the storm, tossed about by the waves, and vainly striving
to cling to the rocks, the soldier had only seen Gabriel very
imperfectly, at the moment when, having snatched the sisters from certain
death, the young priest had fruitlessly endeavored to come to his aid.
And when, after the shipwreck, Dagobert had found the orphans in safety
beneath the roof of the Manor House, he fell, as we have already stated,
into a swoon, caused by fatigue, emotion, and the effects of his wound--
so that he had again no opportunity of observing the features of the

The veteran began to frown from beneath his black bandage and thick, gray
brows, at beholding a stranger so familiar with Rose and Blanche; but the
sisters ran to throw themselves into his arms, and to cover him with
filial caresses.  His anger was soon dissipated by these marks of
affection, though he continued, from time to time, to cast a suspicious
glance at the missionary, who had risen from his seat, but whose
countenance he could not well distinguish.

"How is your wound?" asked Rose, anxiously.  "They told us it was not

"Does it still pain?" added Blanche.

"No, children; the surgeon of the village would bandage me up in this
manner.  If my head was carbonadoes with sabre cuts, I could not have
more wrappings.  They will take me for an old milksop; it is only a blank
wound, and I have a good mind to--"  And therewith the soldier raised one
of his hands to the bandage.

"Will you leave that alone?" cried Rose catching his arm.  "How can you
be so unreasonable--at your age?"

"Well, well! don't scold!  I will do what you wish, and keep it on."
Then, drawing the sisters to one end of the room, he said to them in a
low voice, whilst he looked at the young priest from the corner of his
eye: "Who is that gentleman who was holding your hands when I came in?
He has very much the look of a curate.  You see, my children, you must be
on your guard; because--"

"He?" cried both sisters at once, turning towards Gabriel.  "Without him,
we should not now be here to kiss you."

"What's that?" cried the soldier, suddenly drawing up his tall figure,
and gazing full at the missionary.

"It is our guardian angel," resumed Blanche.

"Without him," said Rose, "we must have perished this morning in the

"Ah! it is he, who--" Dagobert could say no more.  With swelling heart,
and tears in his eyes, he ran to the missionary, offered him both his
hands, and exclaimed in a tone of gratitude impossible to describe: "Sir,
I owe you the lives of these two children.  I feel what a debt that
service lays upon me.  I will not say more--because it includes

Then, as if struck with a sudden recollection, he cried: "Stop! when I
was trying to cling to a rock, so as not to be carried away by the waves,
was it not you that held out your hand to me?  Yes--that light hair--that
youthful countenance--yes--it was certainly you--now I am sure of it!"

"Unhappily, sir, my strength failed me, and I had the anguish to see you
fall back into the sea."

"I can say nothing more in the way of thanks than what I have already
said," answered Dagobert, with touching simplicity: "in preserving these
children you have done more for me than if you had saved my own life.
But what heart and courage!" added the soldier, with admiration; "and so
young, with such a girlish look!"

"And so," cried Blanche, joyfully, "our Gabriel came to your aid also?"

"Gabriel!" said Dagobert interrupting Blanche, and addressing himself to
the priest.  "Is your name Gabriel?"

"Yes, sir."

"Gabriel!" repeated the soldier, more and more surprised.  "And a
priest!" added he.

"A priest of the foreign missions."

"Who--who brought you up?" asked the soldier, with increasing

"An excellent and generous woman, whom I revere as the best of mothers:
for she had pity on me, a deserted infant, and treated me ever as her

"Frances Baudoin--was it not?" said the soldier, with deep emotion.

"It was, sir," answered Gabriel, astonished in his turn.  "But how do you
know this?"

"The wife of a soldier, eh?" continued Dagobert.

"Yes, of a brave soldier--who, from the most admirable devotion, is even
now passing his life in exile--far from his wife--far from his son, my
dear brother--for I am proud to call him by that name--"

"My Agricola!--my wife!--when did you leave them?"

"What! is it possible!  You the father of Agricola?--Oh!  I knew not,
until now," cried Gabriel, clasping his hands together, "I knew not all
the gratitude that I owed to heaven!"

"And my wife! my child!" resumed Dagobert, in a trembling voice; "how are
they? have you news of them?"

"The accounts I received, three months ago, were excellent."

"No; it is too much," cried Dagobert; "it is too much!"  The veteran was
unable to proceed; his feelings stifled his words, and fell back
exhausted in a chair.

And now Rose and Blanche recalled to mind that portion of their father's
letter which related to the child named Gabriel, whom the wife of
Dagobert had adopted; then they also yielded to transports of innocent

"Our Gabriel is the same as yours--what happiness!" cried Rose.

"Yes, my children! he belongs to you as well as to me.  We have all our
part in him."  Then, addressing Gabriel, the soldier added with
affectionate warmth: "Your hand, my brave boy! give me your hand!"

"Oh, sir! you are too good to me."

"Yes--that's it--thank me!--after all thou has done for us!"

"Does my adopted mother know of your return?" asked Gabriel, anxious to
escape from the praises of the soldier.

"I wrote to her five months since, but said that I should come alone;
there was a reason for it, which I will explain by and by.  Does she
still live in the Rue Brise-Miche?  It was there Agricola was born."

"She still lives there."

"In that case, she must have received my letter.  I wished to write to
her from the prison at Leipsic, but it was impossible."

"From prison!  Have you just come out of prison?"

"Yes; I come straight from Germany, by the Elbe and Hamburg, and I should
be still at Leipsic, but for an event which the Devil must have had a
hand in--a good sort of devil, though."

"What do you mean?  Pray explain to me."

"That would be difficult, for I cannot explain it to myself.  These
little ladies," he added, pointing with a smile to Rose and Blanche,
"pretended to know more about it than I did, and were continually
repeating: "It was the angel that came to our assistance, Dagobert--the
good angel we told thee of--though you said you would rather have Spoil-
sport to defend us--"

"Gabriel, I am waiting for you," said a stern voice, which made the
missionary start.  They all turned round instantly, whilst the dog
uttered a deep growl.

It was Rodin.  He stood in the doorway leading to the corridor.  His
features were calm and impassive, but he darted a rapid, piercing glance
at the soldier and sisters.

"Who is that man?" said Dagobert, very little prepossessed in favor of
Rodin, whose countenance he found singularly repulsive.  "What the
mischief does he want?"

"I must go with him," answered Gabriel, in a tone of sorrowful
constraint.  Then, turning to Rodin, he added: "A thousand pardons!  I
shall be ready in a moment."

"What!" cried Dagobert, stupefied with amazement, "going the very instant
we have just met?  No, by my faith!  you shall not go.  I have too much
to tell you, and to ask in return.  We will make the journey together.
It will be a real treat for me."

"It is impossible.  He is my superior, and I must obey him."

"Your superior?--why, he's in citizen's dress."

"He is not obliged to wear the ecclesiastical garb."

"Rubbish! since he is not in uniform, and there is no provost-marshal in
your troop, send him to the--"

"Believe me, I would not hesitate a minute, if it were possible to

"I was right in disliking the phi of that man," muttered Dagobert between
his teeth.  Then he added, with an air of impatience and vexation: "Shall
I tell him that he will much oblige us by marching off by himself?"

"I beg you not to do so," said Gabriel; "it would be useless; I know my
duty, and have no will but my superior's.  As soon as you arrive in
Paris, I will come and see you, as also my adopted mother, and my dear
brother, Agricola."

"Well--if it must be.  I have been a soldier, and know what subordination
is," said Dagobert, much annoyed.  "One must put a good face on bad
fortune.  So, the day after to-morrow, in the Rue Brise-Miche, my boy;
for they tell me I can be in Paris by to-morrow evening, and we set out
almost immediately.  But I say--there seems to be a strict discipline
with you fellows!"

"Yes, it is strict and severe," answered Gabriel, with a shudder, and a
stifled sigh.

"Come, shake hands--and let's say farewell for the present.  After all,
twenty-four hours will soon pass away."

"Adieu! adieu!" replied the missionary, much moved, whilst he returned
the friendly pressure of the veteran's hand.

"Adieu, Gabriel!" added the orphans, sighing also, and with tears in
their eyes.

"Adieu, my sisters!" said Gabriel--and he left the room with Rodin, who
had not lost a word or an incident of this scene.

Two hours after, Dagobert and the orphans had quitted the Castle for
Paris, not knowing that Djalma was left at Cardoville, being still too
much injured to proceed on his journey.  The half-caste, Faringhea,
remained with the young prince, not wishing, he said, to desert a fellow-

We now conduct the reader to the Rue Brise-Miche, the residence of
Dagobert's wife.



The following scenes occur in Paris, on the morrow of the day when the
shipwrecked travellers were received in Cardoville House.

Nothing can be more gloomy than the aspect of the Rue Brise-Miche, one
end of which leads into the Rue Saint-Merry, and the other into the
little square of the Cloister, near the church.  At this end, the street,
or rather alley--for it is not more than eight feet wide--is shut in
between immense black, muddy dilapidated walls, the excessive height of
which excludes both air and light; hardly, during the longest days of the
year, is the sun able to throw into it a few straggling beams; whilst,
during the cold damps of winter, a chilling fog, which seems to penetrate
everything, hangs constantly above the miry pavement of this species of
oblong well.

It was about eight o'clock in the evening; by the faint, reddish light of
the street lamp, hardly visible through the haze, two men, stopping at

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: