List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v7, by Eugene Sue
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regret and shame, trembling, dismayed, his eyes streaming with tears, and
all his features marked with an expression of the most touching despair,
he fell at Adrienne's feet, and lifting his clasped hands towards her,
said in a soft, supplicating, timid voice: "Oh, remain! remain! do not
leave me.  I have waited for you so long!"  To this prayer, uttered with
the timid simplicity of a child, and a resignation which contrasted
strangely with the savage violence that had so frightened Adrienne, she
replied, as she made a sign to Florine to prepare for their departure:
"Prince, it is impossible for me to remain longer here."

"But you will return?" said Djalma, striving to restrain his tears.  "I
shall see you again?"

"Oh, no! never--never!" said Mdlle. de Cardoville, in a failing voice.
Then, profiting by the stupor into which her answer had thrown Djalma,
Adrienne disappeared rapidly behind the plants in the greenhouse.

Florine was hastening to rejoin her mistress, when, just at the moment
she passed before Rodin, he said to her in a low, quick voice: "To-morrow
we must finish with the hunchback."  Florine trembled in every limb, and,
without answering Rodin, disappeared, like her mistress, behind the
plants.  Broken, overpowered, Djalma remained upon his knees, with his
head resting on his breast.  His countenance expressed neither rage nor
excitement, but a painful stupor; he wept silently.  Seeing Rodin
approach him, he rose, but with so tremulous a step, that he could hardly
reach the divan, on which he sank down, hiding his face in his hands.

Then Rodin, advancing, said to him in a mild and insinuating tone: "Alas!
I feared what has happened.  I did not wish you to see your benefactress;
and if I told you she was old, do you know why, dear prince?"

Djalma, without answering, let his hands fall upon his knees, and turned
towards Rodin a countenance still bathed in tears.

"I knew that Mdlle. de Cardoville was charming, and at your age it is so
easy to fall in love," continued Rodin; "I wished to spare you that
misfortune, my dear prince, for your beautiful protectress passionately
loves a handsome young man of this town."

Upon these words, Djalma suddenly pressed both hands to his heart, as if
he felt a piercing stab, uttered a cry of savage grief, threw back his
head, and fell fainting upon the divan.

Rodin looked at him coldly for some seconds, and then said as he went
away, brushing his old hat with his elbow,

"Come! it works--it works!"



It is night.  It has just struck nine.  It is the evening of that day on
which Mdlle. de Cardoville first found herself in the presence of Djalma.
Florine, pale, agitated, trembling, with a candle in her hand, had just
entered a bedroom, plainly but comfortably furnished.  This room was one
of the apartments occupied by Mother Bunch, in Adrienne's house.  They
were situated on the ground-floor, and had two entrances.  One opened on
the garden, and the other on the court-yard.  From this side came the
persons who applied to the workgirl for succor; an ante-chamber in which
they waited, a parlor in which they were received, constituted Mother
Bunch's apartments, along with the bedroom, which Florine had just
entered, looking about her with an anxious and alarmed air, scarcely
touching the carpet with the tips of her satin shoes, holding her breath,
and listening at the least noise.

Placing the candle upon the chimney-piece, she took a rapid survey of the
chamber, and approached the mahogany desk, surmounted by a well-filled
bookcase.  The key had been left in the drawers of this piece of
furniture, and they were all three examined by Florine.  They contained
different petitions from persons in distress, and various, notes in the
girl's handwriting.  This was not what Florine wanted.  Three cardboard
boxes were placed in pigeon-holes beneath the bookcase.  These also were
vainly explored, and Florine, with a gesture of vexation, looked and
listened anxiously; then, seeing a chest of drawers, she made therein a
fresh and useless search.  Near the foot of the bed was a little door,
leading to a dressing-room.  Florine entered it, and looked--at first
without success--into a large wardrobe, in which were suspended several
black dresses, recently made for Mother Bunch, by order of Mdlle. de
Cardoville.  Perceiving, at the bottom of this wardrobe, half hidden
beneath a cloak, a very shabby little trunk, Florine opened it hastily,
and found there, carefully folded up, the poor old garments in which the
work-girl had been clad when she first entered this opulent mansion.

Florine started--an involuntary emotion contracted her features; but
considering that she had not liberty to indulge her feelings, but only to
obey Rodin's implacable orders, she hastily closed both trunk and
wardrobe, and leaving the dressing-room, returned into the bed-chamber.
After having again examined the writing-stand, a sudden idea occurred to
her.  Not content with once more searching the cardboard boxes, she drew
out one of them from the pigeon-hole, hoping to find what she sought
behind the box: her first attempt failed, but the second was more
successful.  She found behind the middle box a copy-book of considerable
thickness.  She started in surprise, for she had expected something else;
yet she took the manuscript, opened it, and rapidly turned over the
leaves.  After having perused several pages, she manifested her
satisfaction, and seemed as if about to put the book in her pocket; but
after a moment's reflection, she replaced it where she had found it,
arranged everything in order, took her candle, and quitted the apartment
without being discovered--of which, indeed, she had felt pretty sure,
knowing that Mother Bunch would be occupied with Mdlle. de Cardoville for
some hours.

The day after Florine's researches, Mother Bunch, alone in her bed-
chamber, was seated in an arm-chair, close to a good fire.  A thick
carpet covered the floor; through the window-curtains could be seen the
lawn of a large garden; the deep silence was only interrupted by the
regular ticking of a clock, and the crackling of the wood.  Her hands
resting on the arms of the chair, she gave way to a feeling of happiness,
such as she had never so completely enjoyed since she took up her
residence at the hotel.  For her, accustomed so long to cruel privations,
there was a kind of inexpressible charm in the calm silence of this
retreat--in the cheerful aspect of the garden, and above all, in the
consciousness that she was indebted for this comfortable position, to the
resignation and energy she had displayed, in the thick of the many severe
trials which now ended so happily.  An old woman, with a mild and
friendly countenance, who had been, by express desire of Adrienne,
attached to the hunchback's service, entered the room and said to her:
"Mademoiselle, a young man wishes to speak to you on pressing business.
He gives his name as Agricola Baudoin."

At this name, Mother Bunch uttered an exclamation of surprise and joy,
blushed slightly, rose and ran to the door which led to the parlor in
which was Agricola.

"Good-morning, dear sister," said the smith, cordially embracing the
young girl, whose cheeks burned crimson beneath those fraternal kisses.

"Ah, me!" cried the sempstress on a sudden, as she looked anxiously at
Agricola; "what is that black band on your forehead? You have been

"A mere nothing," said the smith, "really nothing. Do not think of it.  I
will tell you all about that presently.  But first, I have things of
importance to communicate."

"Come into my room, then; we shall be alone," Mother Bunch, as she went
before Agricola.

Notwithstanding the expression of uneasiness which was visible on the
countenance of Agricola, he could not forbear smiling with pleasure as he
entered the room and looked around him.

"Excellent, my poor sister! this is how I would always have you lodged.
I recognize here the hand of Mdlle. de Cardoville.  What a heart! what a
noble mind!--Dost know, she wrote to me the day before yesterday, to
thank me for what I had done for her, and sent me a gold pin (very
plain), which she said I need not hesitate to accept, as it had no other
value but that of having been worn by her mother!  You can't tell how
much I was affected by the delicacy of this gift!"

"Nothing must astonish you from a heart like hers," answered the
hunchback.  "But the wound--the wound?"

"Presently, my good sister; I have so many things to tell you.  Let us
begin by what is most pressing, for I want you to give me some good
advice in a very serious case.  You know how much confidence I have in
your excellent heart and judgment.  And then, I have to ask of you a
service--oh! a great service," added the smith, in an earnest, and almost
solemn tone, which astonished his hearer.  "Let us begin with what is not
personal to myself."

"Speak quickly."

"Since my mother went with Gabriel to the little country curacy he has
obtained, and since my father lodges with Marshal Simon and the young
ladies, I have resided, you know, with my mates, at M. Hardy's factory,
in the common dwelling-house.  Now, this morning but first, I must tell
you that M. Hardy, who has lately returned from a journey, is again
absent for a few days on business.  This morning, then, at the hour of
breakfast, I remained at work a little after the last stroke of the bell;
I was leaving the workshop to go to our eating-room, when I saw entering
the courtyard, a lady who had just got out of a hackney-coach.  I
remarked that she was fair, though her veil was half down; she had a mild
and pretty countenance, and her dress was that of a fashionable lady.
Struck with her paleness, and her anxious, frightened air, I asked her if
she wanted anything.  'Sir,' said she to me, in a trembling voice, and as
if with a great effort, 'do you belong to this factory?'--'Yes, madame.'-
-'M. Hardy is then in clanger?' she exclaimed.--'M. Hardy, madame?  He
has not yet returned home.'--'What!' she went on, 'M. Hardy did not come
hither yesterday evening?  Was he not dangerously wounded by some of the
machinery?'  As she said these words, the poor young lady's lips
trembled, and I saw large tears standing in her eyes.  'Thank God,
madame! all this is entirely false,' said I, 'for M. Hardy has not
returned, and indeed is only expected by to-morrow or the day after.'--
'You are quite sure that he has not returned! quite sure that he is not
hurt?' resumed the pretty young lady, drying her eyes.--'Quite sure,
madame; if M. Hardy were in danger, I should not be so quiet in talking
to you about him.'--'Oh! thank God! thank God!' cried the young lady.
Then she expressed to me her gratitude, with so happy, so feeling an air,
that I was quite touched by it.  But suddenly, as if then only she felt
ashamed of the step she had taken, she let down her veil, left me
precipitately, went out of the court-yard, and got once more into the
hackney-coach that had brought her.  I said to myself: 'This is a lady
who takes great interest in M. Hardy, and has been alarmed by a false

"She loves him, doubtless," said Mother Bunch, much moved, "and, in her
anxiety, she perhaps committed an act of imprudence, in coming to inquire
after him."

"It is only too true.  I saw her get into the coach with interests, for
her emotion had infected me.  The coach started--and what did I see a few
seconds after?  A cab, which the young lady could not have perceived, for
it had been hidden by an angle of the wall; and, as it turned round the
corner, I distinguished perfectly a man seated by the driver's side, and
making signs to him to take the same road as the hackney-coach."

"The poor young lady was followed," said Mother Bunch, anxiously.

"No doubt of it; so I instantly hastened after the coach, reached it, and
through the blinds that were let down, I said to the young lady, whilst I
kept running by the side of the coach door: 'Take care, madame; you are
followed by a cab.

"Well, Agricola! and what did she answer?"

"I heard her exclaim, 'Great Heaven!' with an accent of despair.  The
coach continued its course.  The cab soon came up with me; I saw, by the
side of the driver, a great, fat, ruddy man, who, having watched me
running after the coach, no doubt suspected something, for he looked at
me somewhat uneasily."

"And when does M. Hardy return?" asked the hunchback.

"To-morrow, or the day after.  Now, my good sister, advise me.  It is
evident that this young lady loves M. Hardy.  She is probably married,
for she looked so embarrassed when she spoke to me, and she uttered a cry
of terror on learning that she was followed.  What shall I do?  I wished
to ask advice of Father Simon, but he is so very strict in such matters--
and then a love affair, at his age!--while you are so delicate and
sensible, my good sister, that you will understand it all."

The girl started, and smiled bitterly; Agricola did not perceive it, and
thus continued: "So I said to myself, 'There is only Mother Bunch, who
can give me good advice.' Suppose M. Hardy returns to-morrow, shall I
tell him what has passed or not?"

"Wait a moment," cried the other, suddenly interrupting Agricola, and
appearing to recollect something; "when I went to St.  Mary's Convent, to
ask for work of the superior, she proposed that I should be employed by
the day, in a house in which I was to watch or, in other words, to act as
a spy--"

"What a wretch!"

"And do you know," said the girl, "with whom I was to begin this odious
trade?  Why, with a Madame de-Fremont, or de Bremont, I do not remember
which, a very religious woman, whose daughter, a young married lady,
received visits a great deal too frequent (according to the superior)
from a certain manufacturer."

"What do you say?" cried Agricola.  "This manufacturer must be--"

"M. Hardy.  I had too many reasons to remember that name, when it was
pronounced by the superior.  Since that day, so many other events have
taken place, that I had almost forgotten the circumstance.  But it is
probable that this young lady is the one of whom I heard speak at the

"And what interest had the superior of the convent to set a spy upon
her?" asked the smith.

"I do not know; but it is clear that the same interest still exists,
since the young lady was followed, and perhaps, at this hour, is
discovered and dishonored.  Oh! it is dreadful!"  Then, seeing Agricola
start suddenly, Mother Bunch added:  "What, then, is the matter?"

"Yes--why not?" said the smith, speaking to himself; "why may not all
this be the work of the same hand?  The superior of a convent may have a
private understanding with an abbe--but, then, for what end?"

"Explain yourself, Agricola," said the girl.  "And then,--where did you
get your wound?  Tell me that, I conjure you."

"It is of my wound that I am just going to speak; for in truth, the more
I think of it, the more this adventure of the young lady seems to connect
itself with other facts."

"How so?"

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