List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v6, by Eugene Sue
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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

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!

"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

"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

"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

"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

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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