with you. Is it so? You think that my sudden appearance might be prejudicial to them? I will wait--but madame, you, that I am certain are good as fair--pity my impatience--will make haste to prepare them to receive me--" More and more agitated, Dagobert avoided the marshal's gaze, and trembled like a leaf. Adrienne cast down her eyes without answering. Her heart sunk within her, at thought of dealing the terrible blow to Marshal Simon. The latter, astonished at this silence, looking at Adrienne, then at the soldier, became first uneasy, and at last alarmed. "Dagobert!" he exclaimed, "something is concealed from me!" "General!" stammered the soldier, "I assure you--I--I--." "Madame!" cried Pierre Simon, "I conjure you, in pity, speak to me frankly!--my anxiety is horrible. My first fears return upon me. What is it? Are my wife and daughters ill? Are they in danger? Oh! speak! speak!" "Your daughters, marshal," said Adrienne "have been rather unwell, since their long journey--but they are in no danger." "Oh, heaven! it is my wife!" "Have courage, sir!" said Mdlle. de Cardoville, sadly. "Alas! you must seek consolation in the affection of the two angels that remain to you." "General!" said Dagobert, in a firm grave tone, "I returned from Siberia- -alone with your two daughters." "And their mother! their mother!" cried Simon, in a voice of despair. "I set out with the two orphans the day after her death," said the soldier. "Dead?" exclaimed Pierre Simon, overwhelmed by the stroke; "dead?" A mournful silence was the only answer. The marshal staggered beneath this unexpected shock, leaned on the back of a chair for support, and then, sinking into the seat, concealed his face with his hands. For same minutes nothing was heard but stifled sobs, for not only had Pierre Simon idolized his wife, but by one of those singular compromises, that a man long cruelly tried sometimes makes with destiny, Pierre Simon, with the fatalism of loving souls, thought he had a right to reckon upon happiness after so many years of suffering, and had not for a moment doubted that he should find his wife and child--a double consolation reserved to him after going through so much. Very different from certain people, whom the habit of misfortune renders less exacting, Simon had reckoned upon happiness as complete as had been his misery. His wife and child were the sole, indispensable conditions of this felicity, and, had the mother survived her daughters, she would have no more replaced them in his eyes than they did her. Weakness or avarice of the heart, so it was; we insist upon this singularity, because the consequences of these incessant and painful regrets exercised a great influence on the future life of Marshal Simon. Adrienne and Dagobert had respected the overwhelming grief of this unfortunate man. When he had given a free course to his tears, he raised his manly countenance, now of marble paleness, drew his hand across his blood-shot eyes, rose, and said to Adrienne, "Pardon me, madame; I could not conquer my first emotion. Permit me to retire. I have cruel details to ask of the worthy friend who only quitted my wife at the last moment. Have the kindness to let me see my children--my poor orphans!--" And the marshal's voice again broke. "Marshal," said Mdlle. de Cardoville, "just now we were expecting your dear children: unfortunately, we have been deceived in our hopes." Pierre Simon first looked at Adrienne without answering, as if he had not heard or understood.--" But console yourself," resumed the young girl; "we have yet no reason to despair." "To despair?" repeated the marshaling by turns at Mdlle. de Cardoville despair?--of what, in heaven's name?" "Of seeing your children, marshal," said Adrienne; "the presence of their father will facilitate the search." "The search!" cried Pierre Simon. "Then, my daughters are not here?" "No, sir," said Adrienne, at length; "they have been taken from the affectionate care of the excellent man who brought them from Russia, to be removed to a convent." "Wretch!" cried Pierre Simon, advancing towards Dagobert, with a menacing and terrible aspect; "you shall answer to me for all!" "Oh, sir, do not blame him!" cried Mdlle. de Cardoville. "General," said Dagobert, in a tone of mournful resignation, "I merit your anger. It is my fault. Forced to absent myself from Paris, I entrusted the children to my wife; her confessor turned her head, and persuaded her that your daughters would be better in a convent than at our house. She believed him, and let them be conveyed there. Now they say at the convent, that they do not know where they are. This is the truth: do what you will with me; I have only to silently endure." "This is infamous!" cried Pierre Simon, pointing to Dagobert, with a gesture of despairing indignation. "In whom can a man confide, if he has deceived me? Oh, my God!" "Stay, marshal! do not blame him," repeated Mdlle. de Cardoville; "do not think so! He has risked life and honor to rescue your children from the convent. He is not the only one who has failed in this attempt. Just now, a magistrate--despite his character and authority--was not more successful. His firmness towards the superior, his minute search of the convent, were all in vain. Up to this time it has been impossible to find these unfortunate children." "But where's this convent!" cried Marshal Simon, raising his head, his face all pale and agitated with grief and rage. "Where is it? Do these vermin know what a father is, deprived of his children?" At the moment when Marshal Simon, turning towards Dagobert, pronounced these words, Rodin, holding Rose and Blanche by the hand, appeared at the open door of the chamber. On hearing the marshal's exclamation, he started with surprise, and a flash of diabolical joy lit up his grim countenance--for he had not expected to meet Pierre Simon so opportunely. Mdlle. de Cardoville was the first to perceive the presence of Rodin. She exclaimed, as she hastened towards him: "Oh! I was not deceived. He is still our providence." "My poor children!" said Rodin, in a low voice, to the young girls, as he pointed to Pierre Simon, "this is your father!" "Sir!" cried Adrienne, following close upon Rose and Blanche. "Your children are here!" As Simon turned round abruptly, his two daughters threw themselves into his arms. Here was a long silence, broken only by sobs, and kisses, and exclamations of joy. "Come forward, at least, and enjoy the good you have done!" said Mdlle. de Cardoville, drying her eyes, and turning towards Rodin, who, leaning against the door, seemed to contemplate this scene with deep emotion. Dagobert, at sight of Rodin bringing back the children, was at first struck with stupor, and unable to move a step; but hearing the words of Adrienne, and yielding to a burst of almost insane gratitude, he threw himself on his knees before the Jesuit, joined his hands together, and exclaimed in a broken voice: "You have saved me, by bringing back these children." "Oh, bless you, sir!" said Mother Bunch, yielding to the general current. "My good friends, this is too much," said Rodin, as if his emotions were beyond his strength; "this is really too much for me. Excuse me to the marshal, and tell him that I am repaid by the sight of his happiness." "Pray, sir," said Adrienne, "let the marshal at least have the opportunity to see and know you." "Oh, remain! you that have saved us all!" cried Dagobert, trying to stop Rodin. "Providence, you know, my dear young lady, does not trouble itself about the good that is done, but the good that remains to do," said Rodin, with an accent of playful kindness. "Must I not think of Prince Djalma? My task is not finished, and moments are precious. Come," he added, disengaging himself gently from Dagobert's hold, "come the day has been as good a one as I had hoped.. The Abbe d'Aigrigny is unmasked; you are free, my dear young lady; you have recovered your cross, my brave soldier; Mother Bunch is sure of a protectress; the marshal has found his children. I have my share in all these joys, it is a full share--my heart is satisfied. Adieu, my friends, till we meet again." So saying, Rodin waved his hand affectionately to Adrienne, Dagobert, and the hunchback, and withdrew, waving his hand with a look of delight on Marshal Simon, who, seated between his daughters, held them in his arms, and covered them with tears and kisses, remaining quite indifferent to all that was passing around him. An hour after this scene, Mdlle. de Cardoville and the sempstress, Marshal Simon, his two daughters and Dagobert quitted Dr. Beleinier's asylum. In terminating this episode, a few words by way of moral, with regard to lunatic asylums and convents may not be out of place. We have said, and we repeat, that the laws which apply to the superintendence of lunatic asylums appear to us insufficient. Facts that have recently transpired before the courts, and other facts that have been privately communicated to us, evidently prove this insufficiency. Doubtless, magistrates have full power to visit lunatic asylums. They are even required to make such visits. But we know, from the best authority, that the numerous and pressing occupations of magistrates, whose number is often out of proportion with the labor imposed upon them, render these inspections so rare, that they are, so to speak, illusory. It appears, therefore, to us advisable to institute a system of inspections, at least twice a month, especially designed for lunatic asylums, and entrusted to a physician and a magistrate, so that every complaint may be submitted to a double examination. Doubtless, the law is sufficient when its ministers are fully informed; but how many formalities, how many difficulties must be gone through, before they can be so, particularly when the unfortunate creature who needs their assistance, already suspected, isolated, and imprisoned, has no friend to come forward in defence, and demand, in his or her name, the protection of the authorities! Is it not imperative, therefore, on the civil power, to meet these necessities by a periodical and well-organized system of inspection? What we here say of lunatic asylums will apply with still greater force to convents for women, seminaries, and houses inhabited by religious bodies. Recent and notorious facts, with which all France has rung, have, unfortunately, proved that violence, forcible detention, barbarous usage, abduction of minors, and illegal imprisonment, accompanied by torture, are occurrences which, if not frequent, are at least possible in religious houses. It required singular accidents, audacious and cynical brutalities; to bring these detestable actions to public knowledge. How many other victims have been, and, perhaps still are, entombed in those large silent mansions, where no profane look may penetrate, and which, through the privileges of the clergy, escape the superintendence of the civil power. Is it not deplorable that these dwellings should not also be subject to periodical inspection, by visitors consisting, if it be desired, of a priest, a magistrate, and some delegate of the municipal authorities? If nothing takes place, but what is legal, human, and charitable, in these establishments, which have all the character, and incur all the responsibility, of public institutions, why this resistance, this furious indignation of the church party, when any mention is made of touching what they call their privileges? There is something higher than the constitutions devised at Rome. We mean the Law of France--the common law--which grants to all protection, but which, in return, exacts from all respect and obedience.
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