List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v5, by Eugene Sue
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France, proposed to the Jew to accompany him, and undertake the
management of his affairs.  The same hatred and suspicion with which the
Israelites have always been followed, was then at its height.  Isaac was
therefore doubly grateful for this mark of confidence on the part of M.
de Rennepont.  He accepted the offer, and promised from that day to
devote his existence to the service of him who had first saved his life,
and then trusted implicitly to his good faith and uprightness, although
he was a Jew, and belonged to a race generally suspected and despised.
M. de Rennepont, a man of great soul, endowed with a good spirit, was not
deceived in his choice.  Until he was deprived of his fortune, it
prospered wonderfully in the hands of Isaac Samuel, who, gifted with an
admirable aptitude for business, applied himself exclusively to advance
the interests of his benefactor.

Then came the persecution and ruin of M. de Rennepont, whose property was
confiscated and given up to the reverend fathers of the Company of Jesus
only a few days before his death.  Concealed in the retreat he had
chosen, therein to put a violent end to his life, he sent secretly for
Isaac Samuel, and delivered to him fifty thousand crowns in gold, the
last remains of his fortune.  This faithful servant was to invest the
money to the best advantage, and, if he should have a son, transmit to
him the same obligation; or, should he have no child, he was to seek out
some relation worthy of continuing this trust, to which would moreover be
annexed a fair reward.  It was thus to be transmitted and perpetuated
from relative to relative, until the expiration of a century and a half.
M. de Rennepont also begged Isaac to take charge, during his life, of the
house in the Rue Saint-Francois, where he would be lodged gratis, and to
leave this function likewise to his descendants, if it were possible.

If even Isaac Samuel had not had children, the powerful bond of union
which exists between certain Jewish families, would have rendered
practicable the last will of De Rennepont.  The relations of Isaac would
have become partner; in his gratitude to his benefactor, and they, and
their succeeding generations, would have religiously accomplished the
task imposed upon one of their race.  But, several years after the death
of De Rennepont, Isaac had a son.

This son, Levy Samuel, born in 1689, not having had any children by his
first wife, married again at nearly sixty years of age, and, in 1750, he
also had a son--David Samuel, the guardian of the house in the Rue Saint-
Francois, who, in 1832 (the date of this narrative), was eighty-two years
old, and seemed likely to live as long as his father, who had died at the
age of ninety-three.  Finally, Abel Samuel, the son whom Bathsheba so
bitterly regretted, born in 1790, had perished under the Russian knout,
at the age of thirty-six.

Having established this humble genealogy, we easily understand how this
successive longevity of three members of the Samuel family, all of whom
had been guardians of the walled house, by uniting, as it were, the
nineteenth with the seventeenth century, simplified and facilitated the
execution of M. de Rennepont's will; the latter having declared his
desire to the grandfather of the Samuels, that the capital should only be
augmented by interest at five per cent.--so that the fortune might come
to his descendants free from all taint of usurious speculation.

The fellow men of the Samuel family, the first inventors of the bill of
exchange, which served them in the Middle Ages to transport mysteriously
considerable amounts from one end of the world to the other, to conceal
their fortune, and to shield it from the rapacity of their enemies--the
Jews, we say, having almost the monopoly of the trade in money and
exchanges, until the end of the eighteenth century, aided the secret
transactions and financial operations of this family, which, up to about
1820, placed their different securities, which had become progressively
immense, in the hands of the principal Israelitish bankers and merchants
of Europe.  This sure and secret manner of acting had enabled the present
guardian of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois, to effect enormous
investments, unknown to all; and it was more especially during the period
of his management, that the capital sum had acquired, by the mere fact of
compound interest, an almost incalculable development.  Compared with
him, his father and grandfather had only small amounts to manage.  Though
it had only been necessary to find successively sure and immediate
investments, so that the money might not remain as it were one day
without bearing interest, it had acquired financial capacity to attain
this result, when so many millions were in question.  The last of the
Samuels, brought up in the school of his father, had exhibited this
capacity in a very high degree, as will be seen immediately by the
results.  Nothing could be more touching, noble, and respectable, than
the conduct of the members of this Jewish family, who, partners in the
engagement of gratitude taken by their ancestor, devote themselves for
long years, with as much disinterestedness as intelligence and honesty,
to the slow acquisition of a kingly fortune, of which they expect no part
themselves, but which, thanks to them, would come pure, as immense, to
the hands of the descendants of their benefactor!  Nor could anything be
more honorable to him who made, and him who received this deposit, than
the simple promise by word of mouth, unaccompanied by any security save
mutual confidence and reciprocal esteem, when the result was only to be
produced at the end of a century and a half!

After once more reading his inventory with attention, Samuel said to his
wife: "I am certain of the correctness of my additions.  Now please to
compare with the account-book in your hand the summary of the investments
that I have just entered in the register.  I will assure myself, at the
same time, that the bonds and vouchers are properly arranged in this
casket, that, on the opening of the will, they may be delivered in order
to the notary."

"Begin, my dear, and I will check you," said Bathsheba.

Samuel read as follows, examining as he went on, the contents of his

Statement of the account of the heirs of M. DE RENNEPONT, delivered by


2,000,000 francs per annum,
 in the French 5 P. C.,
 bought from 1825 to 1832,
 at an average price of 99f.
 50c. . . . . . . . . . . . 39,800,000
900,000 francs, ditto, in
 the French 3 P. C.,
 bought during the
 same years, at an average
 of 74f 25c . . . . . . . . 22,275,000
5;000 shares in the Bank
 of France, bought at 1,900  9,500,000
3,000 shares in the Four
 Canals, in a certificate
 from the Company,
 bought at 1,115f . . . . .  3,345,000
125,000 ducats of
 Neapolitans, at an average
 of 82.  2,050,000 ducats,
 at 4f.  400 . . . . . . .   9,020,000
5,000 Austrian Metallics,
 of 1,000 florins, at 93
 --say 4,650,000 florins,
 at 2f. 50c . . . . . . . . 11,625,000
75,000 pounds sterling
 per annum, English
 Consolidated 3 P. C.,
 at 88 3/4--say 2,218,750,
 at 25f   . . . . . . . . . 55,468,750
1,200,000 florins, Dutch
2 1/2 P. C., at 60-28,
860,000 florins, at 2f.
100.  .  . . . . . . . . .  60,606,000
Cash in banknotes, gold
and silver . . . . . . . .     535,250
                  Francs   212,175,000

Paris, 12th February, 1832.


150,000 francs
 received from M.
 de Rennepont,
 in 1682, by Isaac
 Samuel my grandfather;
 and invested by him,
 my father, and myself,
 in different securities,
 at Five per Cent.
 Interest, with a
 settlement of account
 and Investment of
 interest every six
 months, producing,
 as by annexed vouchers, 225,950,000

Less losses sustained
 by failures, expenses of
 commission and
 brokerage, and
 salary of three
 generations of
 trustees, as per
 statement annexed        13,775,000

Francs 212,175,000

"It is quite right," said Samuel, after examining the papers, contained
in the cedar-wood box.  "There remains in hand, at the absolute disposal
of the heirs of the Rennepont family, the Sum Of TWO HUNDRED AND TWELVE
looked at his wife with an expression of legitimate pride.  "It is hardly
credible!" cried Bathsheba, struck with surprise.  "I knew that you had
immense property in your hands; but I could never have believed, that one
hundred and fifty thousand francs, left a century and a half ago, should
be the only source of this immense fortune."

"It is even so, Bathsheba," answered the old man, proudly.  'Doubtless,
my grandfather, my father, and myself, have all been exact and faithful
in the management of these funds; doubtless, we have required some
sagacity in the choice of investments, in times of revolution and
commercial panics; but all this was easy to us, thanks to our relations
with our brethren in all countries--and never have I, or any of mine,
made an usurious investment, or even taken the full advantage of the
legal rate of interest.  Such were the positive demands of M. de
Rennepont, given to my grandfather; nor is there in the world a fortune
that has been obtained by purer means.  Had it not been for this
disinterestedness, we might have much augmented this two hundred and
twelve millions, only by taking advantage of a few favorable

"Dear me! is it possible?"

"Nothing is more simple, Bathsheba.  Every one knows, that in fourteen
years a capital will be doubled, by the mere accumulation of interest and
compound interest at five per cent.  Now reflect, that in a century and a
half there are ten times fourteen years, and that these one hundred and
fifty thousands francs have thus been doubled and redoubled, over and
over again.  All that astonishes you will then appear plain enough.  In
1682, M. de Rennepont entrusted my grandfather with a hundred and fifty
thousand francs; this sum, invested as I have told you, would have
produced in 1696, fourteen years after, three hundred thousand francs.
These last, doubled in 1710, would produce six hundred thousand.  On the
death of my grandfather in 1719, the amount was already near a million;
in 1724, it would be twelve hundred thousand francs; in 1738, two
millions four hundred thousand; in 1752, about two years after my birth,
four millions eight hundred thousand; in 1766, nine millions six hundred
thousand; in 1780, nineteen millions two hundred thousand; in 1794,
twelve years after the death of my father, thirty-eight millions four
hundred thousand; in 1808, seventy-six millions eight hundred thousand;
in 1822, one hundred and fifty-three millions six hundred thousand; and,
at this time, taking the compound interest for ten years, it should be at
least two hundred and twenty-five millions.  But losses and inevitable
charges, of which the account has been strictly kept, have reduced the
sum to two hundred and twelve millions one hundred and seventy-five
thousand francs, the securities for which are in this box."

"I now understand you, my dear," answered Bathsheba, thoughtfully; "but
how wonderful is this power of accumulation! and what admirable provision
may be made for the future, with the smallest present resources!"

"Such, no doubt, was the idea of M. de Rennepont; for my father has often
told me, and he derived it from his father, that M. de Rennepont was one
of the soundest intellects of his time," said Samuel, as he closed the

"God grant his descendants may be worthy of this kingly fortune, and make
a noble use of it!" said Bathsheba, rising.

It was now broad day, and the clock had just struck seven.

"The masons will soon be here," said Samuel, as he replaced the cedar-box
in the iron safe, concealed behind the antique press.  "Like you,
Bathsheba, I am curious and anxious to know, what descendants of M. de
Rennepont will now present themselves."

Two or three loud knocks on the outer gate resounded through the house.
The barking of the watch-dogs responded to this summons.

Samuel said to his wife: "It is no doubt the masons, whom the notary has
sent with his clerk.  Tie all the keys and their labels together; I will
come back and fetch them."

So saying, Samuel went down to the door with much nimbleness, considering
his age, prudently opened a small wicket, and saw three workmen, in the
garb of masons, accompanied by a young man dressed in black.

"What may you want, gentlemen?" said the Jew, before opening the door, as
he wished first to make sure of the identity of the personages.

"I am sent by M. Dumesnil, the notary," answered the clerk, "to be
present at the unwalling of a door.  Here is a letter from my master,
addressed to M. Samuel, guardian of the house."

"I am he, sir," said the Jew; "please to put the letter through the
slide, and I will take it."

The clerk did as Samuel desired, but shrugged his shoulders at what he
considered the ridiculous precautions of a suspicious old man.  The
housekeeper opened the box, took the letter, went to the end of the
vaulted passage in order to read it, and carefully compared the signature
with that of another letter which he drew from the pocket of his long
coat; then, after all these precautions, he chained up his dogs, and
returned to open the gate to the clerk and masons.

"What the devil, my good man!" said the clerk, as he entered; "there
would not be more formalities in opening the gates of a fortress!"

The Jew bowed, but without answering.

"Are you deaf, my good fellow?" cried the clerk, close to his ears.

"No, sir," said Samuel, with a quiet smile, as he advanced several steps
beyond the passage.  Then pointing to the old house, he added: "That,
sir, is the door which you will have to open; you will also have to
remove the lead and iron from the second window to the right."

"Why not open all the windows?" asked the clerk.

"Because, sir, as guardian of this house, I have received particular
orders on the subject."

"Who gave you these orders?"

"My father, sir, who received them from his father, who transmitted them
from the master of this house.  When I cease to have the care of it, the
new proprietor will do as he pleases."

"Oh! very well," said the clerk, not a little surprised.  Then,
addressing himself to the masons, he added: "This is your business, my
fine fellows; you are to unwall the door, and remove the iron frame-work
of the second window to the right."

Whilst the masons set to work, under the inspection of the notary's
clerk, a coach stopped before the outer gate, and Rodin, accompanied by
Gabriel, entered the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.



Samuel opened the door to Gabriel and Rodin.

The latter said to the Jew, "You, sir, are the keeper of this house?"

"Yes, sir," replied Samuel.

"This is Abbe Gabriel de Rennepont," said Rodin, as he introduced his
companion, "one of the descendants of the family of the Renneponts."

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