List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v4, by Eugene Sue
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Moulin!" cried little Rose-Pompon, with a determined air.

"The Bacchanal Queen! or the court will rise in arms, and carry her off
by force!" said another voice.

"Yes, yes--let us carry her off!" repeated a formidable chorus.

"Jacques, enter alone!" said the Bacchanal Queen, notwithstanding these
pressing summonses; then, addressing her court in a majestic tone, she
added: "In ten minutes, I shall be at your service--and then for a--of a

"Long live the Bacchanal Queen," cried Dumoulin, shaking his rattle as he
retired, followed by the deputation, whilst Sleepinbuff entered the room

"Jacques," said Cephyse, "this is my good sister."

"Enchanted to see you," said Jacques, cordially; "the more so as you will
give me some news of my friend Agricola.  Since I began to play the rich
man, we have not seen each other, but I like him as much as ever, and
think him a good and worthy fellow.  You live in the same house.  How is

"Alas, sir! he and his family have had many misfortunes.  He is in

"In prison!" cried Cephyse.

"Agricola in prison! what for?" said Sleepinbuff.

"For a trifling political offence.  We had hoped to get him out on bail."

"Certainly; for five hundred francs it could be done," said Sleepinbuff.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able; the person upon whom we relied--"

The Bacchanal Queen interrupted the speaker by saying to her lover: "Do
you hear, Jacques?  Agricola in prison, for want of five hundred francs!"

"To be sure! I hear and understand all about it.  No need of your
winking.  Poor fellow! he was the support of his mother."

"Alas! yes, sir--and it is the more distressing, as his father has but
just returned from Russia, and his mother--"

"Here," said Sleepinbuff, interrupting, and giving Mother Bunch a purse;
"take this--all the expenses here have been paid beforehand--this is what
remains of my last bag.  You will find here some twenty-five or thirty
Napoleons, and I cannot make a better use of them than to serve a comrade
in distress.  Give them to Agricola's father; he will take the necessary
steps, and to-morrow Agricola will be at his forge, where I had much
rather he should be than myself."

"Jacques, give me a kiss!" said the Bacchanal Queen.

"Now, and afterwards, and again and again!" said Jacques, joyously
embracing the queen.

Mother Bunch hesitated for a moment; but reflecting that, after all, this
sum of money, which was about to be spent in follies, would restore life
and happiness to the family of Agricola, and that hereafter these very
five hundred francs, when returned to Jacques, might be of the greatest
use to him, she resolved to accept this offer.  She took the purse, and
with tearful eyes, said to him: "I will not refuse your kindness M.
Jacques; you are so good and generous, Agricola's father will thus at
least have one consolation, in the midst of heavy sorrows.  Thanks! many

"There is no need to thank me; money was made for others as well as

Here, without, the noise recommenced more furiously than ever, and Ninny
Moulin's rattle sent forth the most doleful sounds.

"Cephyse," said Sleepinbuff, "they will break everything to pieces, if
you do not return to them, and I have nothing left to pay for the damage.
Excuse us," added he, laughing, "but you see that royalty has its

Cephyse deeply moved, extended her arms to Mother Bunch, who threw
herself into them, shedding sweet tears.

"And now," said she, to her sister, "when shall I see you again?"

"Soon--though nothing grieves me more than to see you in want, out of
which I am not allowed to help you."

"You will come, then, to see me?  It is a promise?"

"I promise you in her name," said Jacques; "we will pay a visit to you
and your neighbor Agricola."

"Return to the company, Cephyse, and amuse yourself with a light heart,
for M. Jacques has made a whole family happy."

So saying, and after Sleepinbuff had ascertained that she could go down
without being seen by his noisy and joyous companions, Mother Bunch
quietly withdrew, eager to carry one piece of good news at least to
Dagobert; but intending, first of all, to go to the Rue de Babylone, to
the garden-house formerly occupied by Adrienne de Cardoville.  We shall
explain hereafter the cause of this determination.

As the girl quitted the eating-house, three men plainly and comfortably
dressed, were watching before it, and talking in a low voice.  Soon
after, they were joined by a fourth person, who rapidly descended the
stairs of the tavern.

"Well?" said the three first, with anxiety.

"He is there."

"Are you sure of it?"

"Are there two Sleepers-in-buff on earth?" replied the other.  "I have
just seen him; he is togged out like one of the swell mob.  They will be
at table for three hours at least."

"Then wait for me, you others.  Keep as quiet as possible.  I will go and
fetch the captain, and the game is bagged."  So saying, one of the three
men walked off quickly, and disappeared in a street leading from the

At this same instant the Bacchanal Queen entered the banqueting-room,
accompanied by Jacques, and was received with the most frenzied
acclamations from all sides.

"Now then," cried Cephyse, with a sort of feverish excitement, as if she
wished to stun herself; "now then, friends--noise and tumult, hurricane
and tempest, thunder and earthquake--as much as you please!"  Then,
holding out her glass to Ninny Moulin, she added: "Pour out! pour out!"

"Long live the Queen!" cried they all, with one voice.



The Bacchanal Queen, having Sleepinbuff and Rose-Pompon opposite her, and
Ninny Moulin on her right hand, presided at the repast, called a
reveille-matin (wake-morning), generously offered by Jacques to his
companions in pleasure.

Both young men and girls seemed to have forgotten the fatigues of a ball,
begun at eleven o'clock in the evening, and finished at six in the
morning; and all these couples, joyous as they were amorous and
indefatigable, laughed, ate, and drank, with youthful and Pantagruelian
ardor, so that, during the first part of the feast, there was less
chatter than clatter of plates and glasses.

The Bacchanal Queen's countenance was less gay, but much more animated
than usual; her flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes announced a feverish
excitement; she wished to drown reflection, cost what it might.  Her
conversation with her sister often recurred to her, and she tried to
escape from such sad remembrances.

Jacques regarded Cephyse from time to time with passionate adoration;
for, thanks to the singular conformity of character, mind, and taste
between him and the Bacchanal Queen, their attachment had deeper and
stronger roots than generally belong to ephemeral connections founded
upon pleasure.  Cephyse and Jacques were themselves not aware of all the
power of a passion which till now had been surrounded only by joys and
festivities, and not yet been tried by any untoward event.

Little Rose-Pompon, left a widow a few days before by a student, who, in
order to end the carnival in style, had gone into the country to raise
supplies from his family, under one of those fabulous pretences which
tradition carefully preserves in colleges of law and medicine--Rose-
Pompon, we repeat, an example of rare fidelity, determined not to
compromise herself, had taken for a chaperon the inoffensive Ninny

This latter, having doffed his helmet, exhibited a bald head, encircled
by a border of black, curling hair, pretty long at the back of the head.
By a remarkable Bacchic phenomenon, in proportion as intoxication gained
upon him, a sort of zone, as purple as his jovial face, crept by degrees
over his brow, till it obscured even the shining whiteness of his crown.
Rose-Pompon, who knew the meaning of this symptom, pointed it out to the
company, and exclaimed with a loud burst of laughter: "Take care, Ninny
Moulin! the tide of the wine is coming in."

"When it rises above his head he will be drowned," added the Bacchanal

"Oh, Queen! don't disturb me; I am meditating, answered Dumoulin, who was
getting tipsy.  He held in his hand, in the fashion of an antique goblet,
a punch-bowl filled with wine, for he despised the ordinary glasses,
because of their small size.

"Meditating," echoed Rose-Pompon, "Ninny Moulin is meditating.  Be

"He is meditating; he must be ill then!"

"What is he meditating? an illegal dance?"

"A forbidden Anacreontic attitude?"

"Yes, I am meditating," returned Dumoulin, gravely; "I am meditating upon
wine, generally and in particular--wine, of which the immortal Bossuet"--
Dumoulin had the very bad habit of quoting Bossuet when he was drunk--"of
which the immortal Bossuet says (and he was a judge of good liquor): 'In
wine is courage, strength joy, and spiritual fervor'--when one has any
brains," added Ninny Moulin, by way of parenthesis.

"Oh, my! how I adore your Bossuet!" said Rose-Pompon.

"As for my particular meditation, it concerns the question, whether the
wine at the marriage of Cana was red or white.  Sometimes I incline to
one side, sometimes to the other--and sometimes to both at once."

"That is going to the bottom of the question," said Sleepinbuff.

"And, above all, to the bottom of the bottles," added the Bacchanal

"As your majesty is pleased to observe; and already, by dint of
reflection and research, I have made a great discovery--namely, that, if
the wine at the marriage of Cana was red--"

"It couldn't 'a' been white," said Rose-Pompon, judiciously.

"And if I had arrived at the conviction that it was neither white nor
red?" asked Dumoulin, with a magisterial air.

"That could only be when you had drunk till all was blue," observed

"The partner of the Queen says well.  One may be too athirst for science;
but never mind!  From all my studies on this question, to which I have
devoted my life--I shall await the end of my respectable career with the
sense of having emptied tuns with a historical--theological--and
archeological tone!"

It is impossible to describe the jovial grimace and tone with which
Dumoulin pronounced and accentuated these last words, which provoked a
general laugh.

"Archieolopically?" said Rose-Pompon.  "What sawnee is that?  Has he a
tail? does he live in the water?"

"Never mind," observed the Bacchanal Queen; "these are words of wise men
and conjurers; they are like horsehair bustles--they serve for filling
out--that's all.  I like better to drink; so fill the glasses, Ninny
Moulin; some champagne, Rose-Pompon; here's to the health of your
Philemon and his speedy return!"

"And to the success of his plant upon his stupid and stingy family!"
added Rose-Pompon.

The toast was received with unanimous applause.

"With the permission of her majesty and her court," said Dumoulin, "I
propose a toast to the success of a project which greatly interests me,
and has some resemblance to Philemon's jockeying.  I fancy that the toast
will bring me luck."

"Let's have it, by all means!"

"Well, then--success to my marriage!" said Dumoulin, rising.

These words provoked an explosion of shouts, applause, and laughter.
Ninny Moulin shouted, applauded, laughed even louder than the rest,
opening wide his enormous mouth, and adding to the stunning noise the
harsh springing of his rattle, which he had taken up from under his

When the storm had somewhat subsided, the Bacchanal Queen rose and said:
"I drink to the health of the future Madame Ninny Moulin."

"Oh, Queen! your courtesy touches me so sensibly that I must allow you to
read in the depths of my heart the name of my future spouse," exclaimed
Dumoulin.  "She is called Madame Honoree-Modeste-Messaline-Angele de la
Sainte-Colombe, widow."

"Bravo! bravo!"

"She is sixty years old, and has more thousands of francs-a-year than she
has hair in her gray moustache or wrinkles on her face; she is so
superbly fat that one of her gowns would serve as a tent for this
honorable company.  I hope to present my future spouse to you on Shrove-
Tuesday, in the costume of a shepherdess that has just devoured her
flock.  Some of them wish to convert her--but I have undertaken to divert
her, which she will like better.  You must help me to plunge her headlong
into all sorts of skylarking jollity."

"We will plunge her into anything you please."

"She shall dance like sixty!" said Rose-Pompon, humming a popular tune.

"She will overawe the police."

"We can say to them: 'Respect this lady; your mother will perhaps be as
old some day!'"

Suddenly, the Bacchanal Queen rose; her countenance wore a singular
expression of bitter and sardonic delight.  In one hand she held a glass
full to the brim.  "I hear the Cholera is approaching in his seven-league
boots," she cried.  "I drink luck to the Cholera!"  And she emptied the

Notwithstanding the general gayety, these words made a gloomy impression;
a sort of electric shudder ran through the assemblage, and nearly every
countenance became suddenly serious.

"Oh, Cephyse!" said Jacques, in a tone of reproach.

"Luck to the Cholera," repeated the Queen, fearlessly.  "Let him spare
those who wish to live, and kill together those who dread to part!"

Jacques and Cephyse exchanged a rapid glance, unnoticed by their joyous
companions, and for some time the Bacchanal Queen remained silent and

"If you put it that way, it is different," cried Rose-Pompon, boldly.
"To the Cholera! may none but good fellows be left on earth!"

In spite of this variation, the impression was still painfully
impressive.  Dumoulin, wishing to cut short this gloomy subject,
exclaimed: "Devil take the dead, and long live the living!  And, talking
of chaps who both live and live well, I ask you to drink a health most
dear to our joyous queen, the health of our Amphitryon.  Unfortunately, I
do not know his respectable name, having only had the advantage of making
his acquaintance this night; he will excuse me, then, if I confine myself
to proposing the health of Sleepinbuff--a name by no means offensive to
my modesty, as Adam never slept in any other manner.  I drink to

"Thanks, old son!" said Jacques, gayly; "were I to forget your name, I
should call you 'Have-a-sip?' and I am sure that you would answer: 'I

"I will directly!" said Dumoulin, making the military salute with one
hand, and holding out the bowl with the other.

"As we have drunk together," resumed Sleepinbuff, cordially, "we ought to
know each other thoroughly.  I am Jacques Rennepont?"

"Rennepont!" cried Dumoulin, who appeared struck by the name, in spite of
his half-drunkenness; "you are Rennepont?"

"Rennepont in the fullest sense of the word.  Does that astonish you?"

"There is a very ancient family of that name--the Counts of Rennepont."

"The deuce there is!" said the other, laughing.

"The Counts of Rennepont are also Dukes of Cardoville," added Dumoulin.

"Now, come, old fellow! do I look as if I belonged to such a family?--I,

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