List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v3, by Eugene Sue
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having to do with another than you."

"My dear," said Frances, in a mild, firm voice, "you cannot think to
impose by violence on a venerable man, who for twenty years has had the
care of my soul.  His age alone should be respected."

"No age shall prevent me!"

"Heavens! where are you going?  You alarm me!"

"I am going to your church.  They must know you there--I will ask for
your confessor--and we shall see!"

"I entreat you, my dear," cried Frances, throwing herself in a fright
before Dagobert, who was hastening towards the door; "only think, to what
you will expose yourself!  Heavens! insult a priest?  Why, it is one of
the reserved cases!"

These last words, which appeared most alarming to the simplicity of
Dagobert's wife, did not make any impression upon the soldier.  He
disengaged himself from her grasp, and was going to rush out bareheaded,
so high was his exasperation, when the door opened, and the commissary of
police entered, followed by Mother Bunch and a policeman, carrying the
bundle which he had taken from the young girl.

"The commissary!" cried Dagobert, who recognized him by his official
scarf.  "Ah! so much the better--he could not have come at a fitter



"Mistress Frances Baudoin?" asked the magistrate.

"Yes, sir--it is I," said Frances.  Then, perceiving the pale and
trembling sewing-girl, who did not dare to come forward, she stretched
out her arms to her.  "Oh, my poor child!" she exclaimed, bursting into
tears; "forgive--forgive us--since it is for our sake you have suffered
this humiliation!"

When Dagobert's wife had tenderly embraced the young sempstress, the
latter, turning towards the commissary, said to him with an expression of
sad and touching dignity: 'You see, sir, that I am not a thief."

"Madame," said the magistrate, addressing Frances, "am I to understand
that the silver mug, the shawl, the sheets contained in this bundle--"

"Belong to me, sir.  It was to render me a service that this dear girl,
who is the best and most honest creature in the world, undertook to carry
these articles to the pawnbroker's."

"Sir," said the magistrate sternly to the policeman, "you have committed
a deplorable error.  I shall take care to report you, and see that you
are punished.  You may go, sir."  Then, addressing Mother Bunch, with an
air of real regret, he added: "I can only express my sorrow for what has
happened.  Believe me, I deeply feel for the cruel position in which you
have been placed."

"I believe it, sir," said Mother Bunch, "and I thank you."  Overcome by
so many emotions, she sank upon a chair.

The magistrate was about to retire, when Dagobert, who had been seriously
reflecting for some minutes, said to him in a firm voice: "Please to hear
me, Sir; I have a deposition to make."

"Speak, Sir."

"What I am about to say is very important; it is to you, in your quality
of a magistrate, that I make this declaration."

"And as a magistrate I will hear you, sir."

"I arrived here two days ago, bringing with me from Russia two girls who
had been entrusted to me by their mother--the wife of Marshal Simon."

"Of Marshal Simon, Duke de Ligny?" said the commissary, very much

"Yes, Sir.  Well, I left them here, being obliged to get out on pressing
business.  This morning, during my absence, they disappeared--and I am
certain I know the man who has been the cause of it."

"Now, my dear," said Frances, much alarmed.

"Sir," said the magistrate, "your declaration is a very serious one.
Disappearance of persons--sequestration, perhaps.  But are you quite

"These young ladies were here an hour ago; I repeat, sir, that during my
absence, they have been taken away."

"I do not doubt the sincerity of your declaration, sir; but still it is
difficult to explain so strange an abduction.  Who tells you that these
young girls will not return?  Besides, whom do you suspect?  One word,
before you make your accusation.  Remember, it is the magistrate who
hears you.  On leaving this place, the law will take its course in this

"That is what I wish, Sir; I am responsible for those young ladies to
their father.  He may arrive at any moment, and I must be prepared to
justify myself."

"I understand all these reasons, sir; but still have a care you are not
deceived by unfounded suspicions.  Your denunciation once made, I may
have to act provisionally against the person accused.  Now, if you should
be under a mistake, the consequences would be very serious for you; and,
without going further," said the magistrate, pointing to Mother Bunch,
with emotion, "you see what are the results of a false accusation."

"You hear, my dear," cried Frances, terrified at the resolution of
Dagobert to accuse Abbe Dubois; "do not say a word more, I entreat you."

But the more the soldier reflected, the more he felt convinced that
nothing but the influence of her confessor could have induced Frances to
act as she had done; so he resumed, with assurance: "I accuse my wife's
confessor of being the principal or the accomplice in the abduction of
Marshal Simon's daughters."

Frances uttered a deep groan, and hid her face in her hands; while Mother
Bunch, who had drawn nigh, endeavored to console her.  The magistrate had
listened to Dagobert with extreme astonishment, and he now said to him
with some severity: "Pray, sir, do not accuse unjustly a man whose
position is in the highest degree respectable--a priest, sir?--yes, a
priest?  I warned you beforehand to reflect upon what you advanced.  All
this becomes very serious, and, at your age, any levity in such matters
would be unpardonable."

"Bless me, sir!" said Dagobert, with impatience; "at my age, one has
common sense.  These are the facts.  My wife is one of the best and most
honorable of human creatures--ask any one in the neighborhood, and they
will tell you so--but she is a devotee; and, for twenty years, she has
always seen with her confessor's eyes.  She adores her son, she loves me
also; but she puts the confessor before us both."

"Sir," said the commissary, "these family details--"

"Are indispensable, as you shall see.  I go out an hour ago, to look after
this poor girl here.  When I come back, the young ladies have
disappeared.  I ask my wife to whom she has entrusted them, and where
they are; she falls at my feet weeping, and says:  'Do what you will with
me, but do not ask me what has become of the children.  I cannot answer

"Is thus true, madame?" cried the commissary, looking at Frances with

"Anger, threats, entreaties, had no effect," resumed Dagobert; "to
everything she answered as mildly as a saint:  'I can tell you nothing!'
Now, sir, I maintain that my wife has no interest to take away these
children; she is under the absolute dominion of her confessor; she has
acted by his orders and for his purposes; he is the guilty party."

Whilst Dagobert spoke, the commissary looked more and more attentively at
Frances, who, supported by the hunchback, continued to weep bitterly.
After a moment's reflection, the magistrate advanced towards Dagobert's
wife, and said to her: "Madame, you have heard what your husband has just

"Yes, sir."

"What have you to say in your justification?"

"But, sir," cried Dagobert, "it is not my wife that I accuse--I do not
mean that; it is her confessor."

"Sir, you have applied to a magistrate; and the magistrate must act as he
thinks best for the discovery of the truth.  Once more, madame," he
resumed, addressing Frances, "what have you to say in your

"Alas! nothing, sir."

"Is it true that your husband left these young girls in your charge when
he went out?"

"Yes, sir."

"Is it true that, on his return, they were no longer to be found?"

"Yes, sir."

"Is it true that, when he asked you where they were, you told him that
you could give him no information on the subject?"

The commissary appeared to wait for Frances' reply with kind of anxious

"Yes, sir," said she, with the utmost simplicity, "that was the answer I
made my husband."

"What, madame!" said the magistrate, with an air of painful astonishment;
"that was your only answer to all the prayers and commands of your
husband?  What! you refused to give him the least information?  It is
neither probable nor possible."

"It is the truth, sir."

"Well, but, after all, madame, what have you done with the young ladies
that were entrusted to your care?"

"I can tell you nothing about it, sir.  If I would not answer my poor
husband, I certainly will not answer any one else."

"Well, sir," resumed Dagobert, "was I wrong?  An honest, excellent woman
like that, who was always full of good sense and affection, to talk in
this way--is it natural?  I repeat to you, sir that it is the work of her
confessor; act against him promptly and decidedly, we shall soon know
all, and my poor children will be restored to me."

"Madame," continued the commissary, without being able to repress a
certain degree of emotion, "I am about to speak to you very severely.
My duty obliges me to do so.  This affair becomes so serious and
complicated, that I must instantly commence judicial proceedings on the
subject.  Yon acknowledge that these young ladies have been left in your
charge, and that you cannot produce them.  Now, listen to me: if you
refuse to give any explanation in the matter, it is you alone that will
be accused of their disappearance.  I shall be obliged, though with great
regret, to take you into custody."

"Me!" cried Frances, with the utmost alarm.

"Her!" exclaimed Dagobert; "never! It is her confessor that I accuse, not
my poor wife.  Take her into custody, indeed!"  He ran towards her, as if
he would protect her.

"It is too late, sir," said the commissary.  "You have made your charge
for the abduction of these two young ladies.  According to your wife's
own declaration, she alone is compromised up to this point.  I must take
her before the Public Prosecutor, who will decide what course to pursue."

"And I say, sir," cried Dagobert, in a menacing tone, "that my wife shall
not stir from this room."

"Sir," said the commissary coolly, "I can appreciate your feelings; but,
in the interest of justice, I would beg you not to oppose a necessary
measure--a measure which, moreover, in ten minutes it would be quite
impossible for you to prevent."

These words, spoken with calmness, recalled the soldier to himself.
"But, sir," said he, "I do not accuse my wife."'

"Never mind, my dear--do not think of me!"  said Frances, with the
angelic resignation of a martyr.  "The Lord is still pleased to try me
sorely; but I am His unworthy servant, and must gratefully resign myself
to His will.  Let them arrest me, if they choose; I will say no more in
prison than I have said already on the subject of those poor children."

"But, sir," cried Dagobert, "you see that my wife is out of her head. You
cannot arrest her."

"There is no charge, proof, or indication against the other person whom
you accuse, and whose character should be his protection.  If I take your
wife, she may perhaps be restored to you after a preliminary examination.
I regret," added the commissary, in a tone of pity, "to have to execute
such a mission, at the very moment when your son's arrest--"

"What!" cried Dagobert, looking with speechless astonishment at his wife
and Mother Bunch; "what does he say? my son?"

"You were not then aware of it?  Oh, sir, a thousand pardons!" said the
magistrate, with painful emotion.  "It is distressing to make you such a

"My son!" repeated Dagobert, pressing his two hands to his forehead.
"My son! arrested!"

"For a political offence of no great moment," said the commissary.

"Oh! this is too much.  All comes on me at once!" cried the soldier,
falling overpowered into a chair, and hiding his face with his hands.

After a touching farewell, during which, in spite of her terror, Frances
remained faithful to the vow she had made to the Abbe Dubois--Dagobert,
who had refused to give evidence against his wife, was left leaning upon
a table, exhausted by contending emotions, and could not help explaining:
"Yesterday, I had with me my wife, my son, my two poor orphans--and now--
I am alone--alone!"

The moment he pronounced these words, in a despairing tone, a mild sad
voice was heard close behind him, saying timidly: "M. Dagobert, I am
here; if you will allow me, I will remain and wait upon you."

It was Mother Bunch!

Trusting that the reader's sympathy is with the old soldier thus left
desolate, with Agricola in his prison, Adrienne in hers, the madhouse,
and Rose and Blanche Simon in theirs, the nunnery; we hasten to assure
him (or her, as the case may be), that not only will their future steps
be traced, but the dark machinations of the Jesuits, and the thrilling
scenes in which new characters will perform their varied parts, pervaded
by the watching spirit of the Wandering Jew, will be revealed in Part
Second of this work, entitled: THE CHASTISEMENT.

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