List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v3, by Eugene Sue
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that Adrienne could not believe it; for there are combinations of such
nefarious character, that pure and upright minds are unable to comprehend
them as possible.  If a lofty spirit looks down into the abyss of evil,
beyond a certain depth it is seized with giddiness, and no longer able to
distinguish one object from the other.

And then the most perverse of men have a day, an hour, a moment, in which
the good instincts, planted in the heart of every creature, appear in
spite of themselves.  Adrienne was too interesting, was in too cruel a
position, for the doctor mot to feel some pity for her in his heart; the
tone of sympathy, which for some time past he had been obliged to assume
towards her, and the sweet confidence of the young girl in return, had
become for this man habitual and necessary ratifications.  But sympathy
and habit were now to yield to implacable necessity.

Thus the Marquis d'Aigrigny had idolized his mother;  dying, she called
him to her--and he turned away from the last prayer of a parent in the
agony of death.  After such an example, how could M. Baleinier hesitate
to sacrifice Adrienne?  The members of the Order, of which he formed a
part, were bound to him--but he was perhaps still more strongly bound to
them, for a long partnership in evil creates terrible and indissoluble

The moment M. Baleinier finished his fervid address to Mdlle. de
Cardoville, the slide of the wicket in the door was softly pushed back,
and a pair of eyes peered attentively into the chamber, unperceived by
the doctor.

Adrienne could not withdraw her gaze from the physician's, which seemed
to fascinate her.  Mute, overpowered, seized with a vague terror, unable
to penetrate the dark depths of this man's soul, moved in spite of
herself by the accent of sorrow, half feigned and half real--the young
lady had a momentary feeling of doubt.  For the first time, it came into
her mind, that M. Baleinier might perhaps be committing a frightful
error--committing it in good faith.

Besides, the anguish of the past night, the dangers of her position, her
feverish agitation, all concurred to fill her mind with trouble and
indecision.  She looked at the physician with ever increasing surprise,
and making a violent effort not to yield to a weakness, of which she
partly foresaw the dreadful consequences, she exclaimed: "No, no, sir; I
will not, I cannot believe it.  You have too much skill, too much
experience, to commit such an error."

"An error!" said M. Baleinier, in a grave and sorrowful tone.  "Let me
speak to you in the name of that skill and experience, which you are
pleased to ascribe to me.  Hear me but for a moment, my dear child; and
then I will appeal to yourself."

"To me!" replied the young girl, in a kind of stupor; "you wish to
persuade me, that--"  Then, interrupting herself, she added, with a
convulsive laugh: "This only is wanting to your triumph--to bring me to
confess that I am mad--that my proper place is here--that I owe you--"

"Gratitude.  Yes, you do owe it me, even as I told you at the
commencement of this conversation.  Listen to me then; my words may be
cruel, but there are wounds which can only be cured with steel and fire.
I conjure you, my dear child--reflect--throw back one impartial glance at
your past life--weigh your own thoughts--and you will be afraid of
yourself.  Remember those moments of strange excitement, during which, as
you have told me, you seemed to soar above the earth--and, above all,
while it is yet time--while you preserve enough clearness of mind to
compare and judge--compare, I entreat, your manner of living with that of
other ladies of your age?  Is there a single one who acts as you act? who
thinks as you think? unless, indeed, you imagine yourself so superior to
other women, that, in virtue of that supremacy, you can justify a life
and habits that have no parallel in the world."

"I have never had such stupid pride, you know it well," said Adrienne,
looking at the doctor with growing terror.

"Then, my dear child, to what are we to attribute your strange and
inexplicable mode of life?  Can you even persuade yourself that it is
founded on reason?  Oh, my child! take care?--As yet, you only indulge in
charming originalities of conduct, poetical eccentricities, sweet and
vague reveries--but the tendency is fatal, the downward course
irresistible.  Take care, take care!--the healthful, graceful, spiritual
portion of your intelligence has yet the upper hand, and imprints its
stamp upon all your extravagances; but you do not know, believe me, with
what frightful force the insane portion of the mind, at a given moment,
develops itself and strangles up the rest.  Then we have no longer
graceful eccentricities, like yours, but ridiculous, sordid, hideous

"Oh! you frighten me," said the unfortunate girl, as she passed her
trembling hands across her burning brow.

"Then," continued M. Baleinier, in an agitated voice, "then the last rays
of intelligence are extinguished; then madness--for we must pronounce the
dreaded word--gets the upper hand, and displays itself in furious and
savage transports."

"Like the woman upstairs," murmured Adrienne, as, with fixed and eager
look, she raised her finger towards the ceiling.

"Sometimes," continued the doctor, alarmed himself at the terrible
consequences of his own words, but yielding to the inexorable fatality of
his situation, "sometimes madness takes a stupid and brutal form; the
unfortunate creature, who is attacked by it, preserves nothing human but
the shape--has only the instincts of the lower animals--eats with
voracity, and moves ever backwards and forwards in the cell, in which
such a being is obliged to be confined.  That is all its life--all."

"Like the woman yonder." cried Adrienne, with a still wilder look, as she
slowly raised her arm towards the window that was visible on the other
side of the building.

"Why--yes," said M. Baleinier.  "Like you, unhappy child, those women
were young, fair, and sensible, but like you, alas! they had in them the
fatal germ of insanity, which, not having been destroyed in time, grew,
and grew, larger and ever larger, until it overspread and destroyed their

"Oh, mercy!" cried Mdlle. de Cardoville, whose head was getting confused
with terror; "mercy! do not tell me such things!--I am afraid.  Take me
from this place--oh! take me from this place!"  she added, with a
heartrending accent; "for, if I remain here, I shall end by going mad!
No," added she, struggling with the terrible agony which assailed her,
"no, do not hope it!  I shall not become mad.  I have all my reason.  I
am not blind enough to believe what you tell me.  Doubtless, I live
differently from others; think differently from others; am shocked by
things that do not offend others; but what does all this prove?  Only
that I am different from others.  Have I a bad heart?  Am I envious or
selfish?  My ideas are singular, I knew--yes, I confess it--but then, M.
Baleinier, is not their tendency good, generous, noble!--Oh!" cried
Adrienne's supplicating voice, while her tears flowed abundantly, "I have
never in my life done one malicious action; my worst errors have arisen
from excess of generosity.  Is it madness to wish to see everybody about
one too happy?  And again, if you are mad, you must feel it yourself--and
I do not feel it--and yet--I scarcely know--you tell me such terrible
things of those two women!  You ought to know these things better than I.
But then," added Mdlle, de Cardoville, with an accent of the deepest
despair, "something ought to have been done.  Why, if you felt an
interest for me, did you wait so long?  Why did you not take pity on me
sooner?  But the most frightful fact is, that I do not know whether I
ought to believe you--for all this may be a snare--but no, no! you weep--
it is true, then!--you weep!"  She looked anxiously at M. Baleinier, who,
notwithstanding his cynical philosophy, could not restrain his tears at
the sight of these nameless tortures.

"You weep over me," she continued; "so it is true!  But (good heaven!)
must there not be something done?  I will do all that you wish--all--so
that I may not be like those women.  But if it should be too late? no, it
is not too late--say it is not too late, my good M. Baleinier!  Oh, now I
ask your pardon for what I said when you came in--but then I did not
know, you see--I did not know!"

To these few broken words, interrupted by sobs, and rushing forth in a
sort of feverish excitement, succeeded a silence of some minutes, during
which the deeply affected physician dried his tears.  His resolution had
almost failed him.  Adrienne hid her face in her hands.  Suddenly she
again lifted her head; her countenance was calmer than before, though
agitated by a nervous trembling.

"M. Baleinier," she resumed, with touching dignity, "I hardly know what I
said to you just now.  Terror, I think, made me wander; I have again
collected myself.  Hear me!  I know that I am in your power; I know that
nothing can deliver me from it.  Are you an implacable enemy? or are you
a friend?  I am not able to determine.  Do you really apprehend, as you
assure me, that what is now eccentricity will hereafter become madness--
or are you rather the accomplice in some infernal machination?  You alone
can answer.  In spite of my boasted courage, I confess myself conquered.
Whatever is required of me--you understand, whatever it may be, I will
subscribe to, I give you my word and you know that I hold it sacred--you
have therefore no longer any interest to keep me here.  If, on the
contrary, you really think my reason in danger--and I own that you have
awakened in my mind vague, but frightful doubts--tell it me, and I will
believe you.  I am alone, at your mercy, without friends, without
counsel.  I trust myself blindly to you.  I know not whether I address
myself to a deliverer or a destroyer--but I say to you--here is my
happiness--here is my life--take it--I have no strength to dispute it
with you!"

These touching words, full of mournful resignation and almost hopeless
reliance, gave the finishing stroke to the indecision of M. Baleinier.
Already deeply moved by this scene, and without reflecting on the
consequences of what he was about to do, he determined at all events to
dissipate the terrible and unjust fears with which he had inspired
Adrienne.  Sentiments of remorse and pity, which now animated the
physician, were visible in his countenance.

Alas! they were too visible.  The moment he approached to take the hand
of Mdlle. de Cardoville, a low but sharp voice exclaimed from behind the
wicket: "M. Baleinier!"

"Rodin!" muttered the startled doctor to himself; "he's been spying on

"Who calls you?" asked the lady of the physician.

"A person that I promised to meet here this morning." replied he, with
the utmost depression, "to go with him to St. Mary's Convent, which is
close at hand."

"And what answer have you to give me?" said Adrienne with mortal anguish.

After a moment's solemn silence, during which he turned his face towards
the wicket, the doctor replied, in a voice of deep emotion: "I am--what I
have always been--a friend incapable of deceiving you."

Adrienne became deadly pale.  Then, extending her hand to M. Baleinier,
she said to him in a voice that she endeavored to render calm: "Thank
you--I will have courage--but will it be very long?"

"Perhaps a month.  Solitude, reflection, a proper regimen, my attentive
care, may do much.  You will be allowed everything that is compatible
with your situation.  Every attention will be paid you.  If this room
displeases you, I will see you have another."

"No--this or another--it is of little consequence," answered Adrienne,
with an air of the deepest dejection.

"Come, come! be of good courage.  There is no reason to despair."

"Perhaps you flatter me," said Adrienne with the shadow of a smile.
"Return soon," she added, "my dear M. Baleinier! my only hope rests in
you now."

Her head fell upon her bosom, her hands upon her knees and she remained
sitting on the edge of the bed, pale, motionless, overwhelmed with woe.

"Mad!" she said when M. Baleinier had disappeared.  "Perhaps mad!"

We have enlarged upon this episode much less romantic than it may appear.
Many times have motives of interest or vengeance or perfidious
machination led to the abuse of the imprudent facility with which inmates
are received in certain private lunatic asylums from the hands of their
families or friends.

We shall subsequently explain our views, as to the establishment of a
system of inspection, by the crown or the civil magistrates, for the
periodical survey of these institutions, and others of no less
importance, at present placed beyond the reach of all superintendence.
These latter are the nunneries of which we will presently have an



Whilst the preceding events took place in Dr. Baleinier's asylum, other
scenes were passing about the same hour, at Frances Baudoin's, in the Rue

Seven o'clock in the morning had just struck at St. Mary church; the day
was dark and gloomy, and the sleet rattled against the windows of the
joyless chamber of Dagobert's wife.

As yet ignorant of her son's arrest, Frances had waited for him the whole
of the preceding evening, and a good part of the night, with the most
anxious uneasiness; yielding at length to fatigue and sleep, about three
o'clock in the morning, she had thrown herself on a mattress beside the
bed of Rose and Blanche.  But she rose with the first dawn of day, to
ascend to Agricola's garret, in the very faint hope that he might have
returned home some hours before.

Rose and Blanche had just risen, and dressed themselves.  They were alone
in the sad, chilly apartment.  Spoil-sport, whom Dagobert had left in
Paris, was stretched at full length near the cold stove; with his long
muzzle resting on his forepaws, he kept his eye fixed on the sisters.

Having slept but little during the night, they had perceived the
agitation and anguish of Dagobert's wife.  They had seen her walk up and
down, now talking to herself, now listening to the least noise that came
up the staircase, and now kneeling before the crucifix placed at one
extremity of the room.  The orphans were not aware, that, whilst she
brayed with fervor on behalf of her son, this excellent woman was praying
for them also.  For the state of their souls filled her with anxiety and

The day before, when Dagobert had set out for Chartres, Frances, having
assisted Rose and Blanche to rise, had invited them to say their morning
prayer: they answered with the utmost simplicity, that they did not know
any, and that they never more than addressed their mother, who was in
heaven.  When Frances, struck with painful surprise, spoke to them of
catechism, confirmation, communion, the sisters opened widely their large
eyes with astonishment, understanding nothing of such talk.

According to her simple faith, terrified at the ignorance of the young
girls in matters of religion, Dagobert's wife believed their souls to be

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