List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v2, by Eugene Sue
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supper waiting that you get ready for me, for fear it should be spoilt,

So saying, the blacksmith tried to kiss his mother again.

"Have done, you naughty boy; you'll make me upset the pan."

"That would be a pity, mother; for it smells delightfully.  Let's see
what it is."

"Wait half a moment."

"I'll swear, now, you have some of the fried potatoes and bacon I'm so
fond of."

"Being Saturday, of course!" said Frances, in a tone of mild reproach.

"True," rejoined Agricola, exchanging a smile of innocent cunning with
Mother Bunch; "but, talking of Saturday, mother, here are my wages."

"Thank ye, child; put the money in the cupboard."

"Yes, mother!"

"Oh, dear!" cried the young sempstress, just as Agricola was about to put
away the money, "what a handsome flower you have in your hand, Agricola.
I never saw a finer.  In winter, too!  Do look at it, Mrs. Baudoin."

"See there, mother," said Agricola, taking the flower to her; "look at
it, admire it, and especially smell it.  You can't have a sweeter
perfume; a blending of vanilla and orange blossom."

"Indeed, it does smell nice, child.  Goodness! how handsome!"  said
Frances, admiringly; "where did you find it?"

"Find it, my good mother!" repeated Agricola, smilingly: "do you think
folks pick up such things between the Barriere du Maine and the Rue

"How did you get it then?" inquired the sewing girl, sharing in Frances's

"Oh! you would like to know?  Well, I'll satisfy you, and explain why I
came home so late; for something else detained me.  It has been an
evening of adventures, I promise you.  I was hurrying home, when I heard
a low, gentle barking at the corner of the Rue de Babylone; it was just
about dusk, and I could see a very pretty little dog, scarce bigger than
my fist, black and tan, with long, silky hair, and ears that covered its

"Lost, poor thing, I warrant," said Frances.

"You've hit it.  I took up the poor thing, and it began to lick my hands.
Round its neck was a red satin ribbon, tied in a large bow; but as that
did not bear the master's name, I looked beneath it, and saw a small
collar, made of a gold plate and small gold chains.  So I took a Lucifer
match from my 'bacco-box, and striking a light, I read, 'FRISKY belongs
to Hon. Miss Adrienne de Cardoville, No. 7, Rue de Babylone.'"

"Why, you were just in the street," said Mother Bunch.

"Just so.  Taking the little animal under my arm, I looked about me till
I came to a long garden wall, which seemed to have no end, and found a
small door of a summer-house, belonging no doubt to the large mansion at
the other end of the park; for this garden looked just like a park.  So,
looking up I saw 'No. 7,' newly painted over a little door with a grated
slide.  I rang; and in a few minutes, spent, no doubt, in observing me
through the bars (for I am sure I saw a pair of eyes peeping through),
the gate opened.  And now, you'll not believe a word I have to say."

"Why not, my child?"

"Because it seems like a fairy tale."

"A fairy tale?" said Mother Bunch, as if she was really her namesake of
elfish history.

"For, all the world it does.  I am quite astounded, even now, at my
adventure; it is like the remembrance of a dream."

"Well, let us have it," said the worthy mother, so deeply interested that
she did not perceive her son's supper was beginning to burn.

"First," said the blacksmith, smiling at the curiosity he had excited, "a
young lady opened the door to me, but so lovely, so beautifully and
gracefully dressed, that you would have taken her for a beautiful
portrait of past times.  Before I could say a word, she exclaimed, 'Ah!
dear me, sir, you have brought back Frisky; how happy Miss Adrienne will
be!  Come, pray come in instantly; she would so regret not having an
opportunity to thank you in person!'  And without giving me time to
reply, she beckoned me to follow her.  Oh, dear mother, it is quite out
of my power to tell you, the magnificence I saw, as I passed through a
small saloon, partially lighted, and full of perfume!  It would be
impossible.  The young woman walked too quickly.  A door opened,--Oh,
such a sight!  I was so dazzled I can remember nothing but a great glare
of gold and light, crystal and flowers; and, amidst all this brilliancy,
a young lady of extreme beauty--ideal beauty; but she had red hair, or
rather hair shining like gold!  Oh! it was charming to look at!  I never
saw such hair before.  She had black eyes, ruddy lips, and her skin
seemed white as snow.  This is all I can recollect: for, as I said
before, I was so dazzled, I seemed to be looking through a veil.
'Madame,' said the young woman, whom I never should have taken for a
lady's-maid, she was dressed so elegantly, 'here is Frisky.  This
gentleman found him, and brought him back.' 'Oh, sir,' said the young
lady with the golden hair, in a sweet silvery voice, 'what thanks I owe
you!  I am foolishly attached to Frisky.' Then, no doubt, concluding from
my dress that she ought to thank me in some other way than by words, she
took up a silk purse, and said to me, though I must confess with some
hesitation--'No doubt, sir, it gave you some trouble to bring my pet
back.  You have, perhaps, lost some valuable time--allow me--'  She held
forth her purse."

"Oh, Agricola," said Mother Bunch, sadly; "how people may be deceived!"

"Hear the end, and you will perhaps forgive the young lady.  Seeing by my
looks that the offer of the purse hurt me, she took a magnificent
porcelain vase that contained this flower, and, addressing me in a tone
full of grace and kindness, that left me room to guess that she was vexed
at having wounded me, she said--'At least, sir, you will accept this

"You are right, Agricola," said the girl, smiling sadly; "an involuntary
error could not be repaired in a nicer way.

"Worthy young lady," said Frances, wiping her eyes; "how well she
understood my Agricola!"

"Did she not, mother?  But just as I was taking the flower, without
daring to raise my eyes (for, notwithstanding the young lady's kind
manner, there was something very imposing about her) another handsome
girl, tall and dark, and dressed to the top of fashion, came in and said
to the red-haired young lady, 'He is here, Madame.'  She immediately rose
and said to me, 'A thousand pardons, sir.  I shall never forget that I am
indebted to you for a moment of much pleasure.  Pray remember, on all
occasions, my address and name--Adrienne de Cardoville.' Thereupon she
disappeared.  I could not find a word to say in reply.  The same young
woman showed me to the door, and curtseyed to me very politely.  And
there I stood in the Rue de Babylone, as dazzled and astonished as if I
had come out of an enchanted palace."

"Indeed, my child, it is like a fairy tale.  Is it not, my poor girl?"

"Yes, ma'am," said Mother Bunch, in an absent manner that Agricola did
not observe.

"What affected me most," rejoined Agricola, "was, that the young lady, on
seeing her little dog, did not forget me for it, as many would have done
in her place, and took no notice of it before me.  That shows delicacy
and feeling, does it not?  Indeed, I believe this young lady to be so
kind and generous, that I should not hesitate to have recourse to her in
any important case."

"Yes, you are right," replied the sempstress, more and more absent.

The poor girl suffered extremely.  She felt no jealousy, no hatred,
towards this young stranger, who, from her beauty, wealth, and delicacy,
seemed to belong to a sphere too splendid and elevated to be even within
the reach of a work, girl's vision; but, making an involuntary comparison
of this fortunate condition with her own, the poor thing had never felt
more cruelly her deformity and poverty.  Yet such were the humility and
gentle resignation of this noble creature, that the only thing which made
her feel ill-disposed towards Adrienne de Cardoville was the offer of the
purse to Agricola; but then the charming way in which the young lady had
atoned for her error, affected the sempstress deeply.  Yet her heart was
ready to break.  She could not restrain her tears as she contemplated the
magnificent flower--so rich in color and perfume, which, given by a
charming hand, was doubtless very precious to Agricola.

"Now, mother," resumed the young man smilingly, and unaware of the
painful emotion of the other bystander, "you have had the cream of my
adventures first.  I have told you one of the causes of my delay; and now
for the other.  Just now, as I was coming in, I met the dyer at the foot
of the stairs, his arms a beautiful pea-green.  Stopping me he said, with
an air full of importance, that he thought he had seen a chap sneaking
about the house like a spy, 'Well, what is that to you, Daddy Loriot?'
said I: 'are you afraid he will nose out the way to make the beautiful
green, with which you are dyed up to the very elbows?'"

"But who could that man be, Agricola?" said Frances.

"On my word, mother, I don't know and scarcely care; I tried to persuade
Daddy Loriot, who chatters like a magpie, to return to his cellar, since
it could signify as little to him as to me, whether a spy watched him or
not."  So saying, Agricola went and placed the little leathern sack,
containing his wages, on a shelf, in the cupboard.

As Frances put down the saucepan on the end of the table, Mother Bunch,
recovering from her reverie, filled a basin with water, and, taking it to
the blacksmith, said to him in a gentle tone--

"Agricola--for your hands."

"Thank you, little sister.  How kind you are!"  Then with a most
unaffected gesture and tone, he added, "There is my fine flower for your

"Do you give it me?" cried the sempstress, with emotion, while a vivid
blush colored her pale and interesting face.  "Do you give me this
handsome flower, which a lovely rich young lady so kindly and graciously
gave you?"  And the poor thing repeated, with growing astonishment, "Do
you give it to me?"

"What the deuce should I do with it?  Wear it on my heart, have it set as
a pin?" said Agricola, smiling.  "It is true I was very much impressed by
the charming way in which the young lady thanked me.  I am delighted to
think I found her little dog, and very happy to be able to give you this
flower, since it pleases you.  You see the day has been a happy one."

While Mother Bunch, trembling with pleasure, emotion, and surprise, took
the flower, the young blacksmith washed his hands, so black with smoke
and steel filings that the water became dark in an instant.  Agricola,
pointing out this change to the sempstress, said to her in a whisper,

"Here's cheap ink for us paper-stainers!  I finished some verses
yesterday, which I am rather satisfied with.  I will read them to you."

With this, Agricola wiped his hands naturally on the front of his blouse,
while Mother Bunch replaced the basin on the chest of drawers, and laid
the flower against the side of it.

"Can't you ask for a towel," said Frances, shrugging her shoulders,
"instead of wiping your hands on your blouse?"

"After being scorched all day long at the forge, it will be all the
better for a little cooling to-night, won't it?  Am I disobedient,
mother?  Scold me, then, if you dare!  Come, let us see you."

Frances made no reply; but, placing her hands on either side of her son's
head, so beautiful in its candor, resolution and intelligence, she
surveyed him for a moment with maternal pride, and kissed him repeatedly
on the forehead.

"Come," said she, "sit down: you stand all day at your forge, and it is

"So,--your arm-chair again!"  said Agricola.--"Our usual quarrel every
evening--take it away, I shall be quite as much at ease on another."

"No, no!  You ought at least to rest after your hard toil."

"What tyranny!" said Agricola gayly, sitting down.  "Well, I preach like
a good apostle; but I am quite at ease in your arm-chair, after all.
Since I sat down on the throne in the Tuileries, I have never had a
better seat."

Frances Baudoin, standing on one side of the table, cut a slice of bread
for her son, while Mother Bunch, on the other, filled his silver mug.
There was something affecting in the attentive eagerness of the two
excellent creatures, for him whom they loved so tenderly.

"Won't you sup with me?" said Agricola to the girl.

"Thank you, Agricola," replied the sempstress, looking down, "I have only
just dined."

"Oh, I only ask you for form's sake--you have your whims--we can never
prevail on you to eat with us--just like mother; she prefers dining all
alone; and in that way she deprives herself without my knowing it."

"Goodness, child!  It is better for my health to dine early.  Well, do
you find it nice?"

"Nice!--call it excellent!  Stockfish and parsnips.  Oh, I am very fond
of stockfish; I should have been born a Newfoundland fisherman."

This worthy lad, on the contrary, was but poorly refreshed, after a hard
day's toil, with this paltry stew,--a little burnt as it had been, too,
during his story; but he knew he pleased his mother by observing the fast
without complaining.  He affected to enjoy his meal; and the good woman
accordingly observed with satisfaction:

"Oh, I see you like it, my dear boy; Friday and Saturday next we'll have
some more."

"Thank you, mother,--only not two days together.  One gets tired of
luxuries, you know!  And now, let us talk of what we shall do to-morrow--
Sunday.  We must be very merry, for the last few days you seem very sad,
dear mother, and I can't make it out--I fancy you are not satisfied with

"Oh, my dear child!--you--the pattern of--"

"Well, well!  Prove to me that you are happy, then, by taking a little
amusement.  Perhaps you will do us the honor of accompanying us, as you
did last time," added Agricola, bowing to Mother Bunch.

The latter blushed and looked down; her face assumed an expression of
bitter grief, and she made no reply.

"I have the prayers to attend all day, you know, my dear child," said
Frances to her son.

"Well, in the evening, then?  I don't propose the theatre; but they say
there is a conjurer to be seen whose tricks are very amusing.

"I am obliged to you, my son; but that is a kind of theatre."

"Dear mother, this is unreasonable!"

"My dear child, do I ever hinder others from doing what they like?"

"True, dear mother; forgive me.  Well, then, if it should be fine, we
will simply take a walk with Mother Bunch on the Boulevards.  It is
nearly three months since she went out with us; and she never goes out
without us."

"No, no; go alone, my child.  Enjoy your Sunday, 'tis little enough."

"You know very well, Agricola," said the sempstress, blushing up to the
eyes, "that I ought not to go out with you and your mother again."

"Why not, madame?  May I ask, without impropriety, the cause of this
refusal?" said Agricola gayly.

The poor girl smiled sadly, and replied, "Because I will not expose you
to a quarrel on my account, Agricola."

"Forgive me," said Agricola, in a tone of sincere grief, and he struck

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