List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v8, by Eugene Sue
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instinct to preserve my happiness, and that a vague presentiment, by
throwing light on a thousand circumstances until now obscure, has
suddenly revealed to me that, instead of being the friend, you are
perhaps, the most dangerous enemy of myself and family."

"So we pass from the execution to suppositions," said Rodin, still

"And from suppositions, sir, if you must have it, to certainty," resumed
Adrienne, with dignified firmness; "yes, now I believe that I was for
awhile your dupe, and I tell you, without hate, without anger, but with
regret--that it is painful to see a man of your sense and intelligence
stoop to such machinations, and, after having recourse to so many
diabolical manoeuvres, finish at last by being ridiculous; for, believe
me, there is nothing more ridiculous for a man like you, than to be
vanquished by a young girl, who has no weapon, no defence, no instructor,
but her love.  In a word, sir, I look upon you from to-day as an
implacable and dangerous enemy; for I half perceive your aim, without
guessing by what means you will seek to accomplish it, No doubt your
future means will be worthy of the past.  Well! in spite of all this, I
do not fear you.  From tomorrow, my family will be informed of
everything, and an active, intelligent, resolute union will keep us all
upon our guard, for it doubtless concerns this enormous inheritance, of
which they wish to deprive us.  Now, what connection can there be between
the wrongs I reproach you with and the pecuniary end proposed?  I do not
at all know--but you have told me yourself that our enemies are so
dangerously skillful, and their craft so far-reaching, that we must
expect all, be prepared for all.  I will remember the lesson.  I have
promised you frankness, sir, and now I suppose you have it."

"It would be an imprudent frankness if I were your enemy," said Rodin,
still impassible; "but you also promised me some advice, my dear young

"My advice will be short; do not attempt to continue the struggle,
because, you see, there is something stronger than you and yours--it is a
woman's resolve, defending her happiness."

Adrienne pronounced these last words with so sovereign a confidence; her
beautiful countenance shone, as is it were, with such intrepid joy, that
Rodin, notwithstanding his phlegmatic audacity, was for a moment
frightened.  Yet he did not appear in the least disconcerted; and, after
a moment's silence, he resumed, with an air of almost contemptuous
compassion: "My dear young lady, we may perhaps never meet again; it is
probable.  Only remember one thing, which I now repeat to you: I never
justify myself.  The future will provide for that.  Notwithstanding
which, my dear young lady, I am your humble servant;" and he made her a
low bow.

"Count, I beg to salute you most respectfully," he added, bowing still
more humbly to M. de Montbron; and he went out.

Hardly had Rodin left the room than Adrienne ran to her desk, and writing
a few hasty lines, sealed the note, and said to M. de Montbron: "I shall
not see the prince before to-morrow--as much from superstition of the
heart as because it is necessary for my plans that this interview should
be attended with some little solemnity.  You shall know all; but I write
to him on the instant, for, with an enemy like M. Rodin, one must be
prepared for all."

"You are right, my dear child; quick! the letter."  Adrienne gave it to

"I tell him enough," said she, "to calm his grief; and not enough to
deprive me of the delicious happiness of the surprise I reserve for to-

"All this has as much sense as heart in it: I will hasten to the prince's
abode, to deliver your letter.  I shall not see him, for I could not
answer for myself.  But come! our proposed drive, our evening's
amusement, are still to hold good."

"Certainly.  I have more need than ever to divert my thoughts till to-
morrow.  I feel, too, that the fresh air will do me good, for this
interview with M. Rodin has warmed me a little."

"The old wretch! but we will talk further of him.  I will hasten to the
prince's and return with Madame de Morinval, to fetch you to the Champs-

The Count de Montbron withdrew precipitately, as joyful at his departure
as he had been sad on his arrival.



It was about two hours after the interview of Rodin with Mdlle. de
Cardoville.  Numerous loungers, attracted to the Champs-Elysees by the
serenity of a fine spring day (it was towards the end of the month of
March) stopped to admire a very handsome equipage.  A bright-blue open
carriage, with white-and-blue wheels, drawn by four superb horses, of
cream color, with black manes, and harness glittering with silver
ornaments, mounted by two boy postilions of equal size, with black velvet
caps, light-blue cassimere jackets with white collars, buckskin breeches,
and top-boots; two tall, powdered footmen, also in light-blue livery,
with white collars and facings, being seated in the rumble behind.

No equipage could have been turned out in better style.  The horses, full
of blood, spirit, and vigor, were skillfully managed by the postilions,
and stepped with singular regularity, gracefully keeping time in their
movements, champing their bits covered with foam, and ever and anon
shaking their cockades of blue and white silk, with long floating ends,
and a bright rose blooming in the midst.

A man on horseback, dressed with elegant simplicity, keeping at the other
side of the avenue, contemplated with proud satisfaction this equipage
which he had, as it were, created.  It was M. de Bonneville--Adrienne's
equerry, as M. de Montbron called him--for the carriage belonged to that
young lady.  A change had taken place in the plan for this magic day's
amusement.  M. de Montbron had not been able to deliver Mdlle. de
Cardoville's note to Prince Djalma.  Faringhea had told him that the
prince had gone that morning into the country with Marshal Simon, and
would not be back before evening.  The letter should be given him on his
arrival.  Completely satisfied as to Djalma, knowing that he could find
these few lines, which, without informing him of the happiness that
awaited him, would at least give him some idea of it, Adrienne had
followed the advice of M. de Montbron, and gone to the drive in her own
carriage, to show all the world that she had quite made up her mind, in
spite of the perfidious reports circulated by the Princess de Saint-
Dizier, to keep to her resolution of living by herself in her own way.
Adrienne wore a small white bonnet, with a fall of blonde, which well
became her rosy face and golden hair; her high dress of garnet-colored
velvet was almost hidden beneath a large green cashmere shawl.  The young
Marchioness de Morinval, who was also very pretty and elegant, was seated
at her right.  M. de Montbron occupied the front seat of the carriage.

Those who know the Parisian world, or rather, that imperceptible fraction
of the world of Paris which goes every fine, sunny day to the Champs-
Elysees, to see and be seen, will understand that the presence of Mdlle.
de Cardoville on that brilliant promenade was an extraordinary and
interesting event.

The world (as it is called) could hardly believe its eyes, on seeing this
lady of eighteen, possessed of princely wealth, and belonging to the
highest nobility, thus prove to every one, by this appearance in public,
that she was living completely free and independent, contrary to all
custom and received notions of propriety.  This kind of emancipation
appeared something monstrous, and people were almost astonished that the
graceful and dignified bearing of the young lady should belie so
completely the calumnies circulated by Madame de Saint-Dizier and her
friends, with regard to the pretended madness of her niece.  Many beaux,
profiting by their acquaintance with the Marchioness de Morinval or M. de
Montbron, came by turns to pay their respects, and rode for a few minutes
by the side of the carriage, so as to have an opportunity of seeing,
admiring, and perhaps hearing, Mdlle. de Cardoville; she surpassed their
expectations, by talking with her usual grace and spirit.  Then surprise
and enthusiasm knew no bounds.  What had at first been blamed as an
almost insane caprice, was now voted a charming originality, and it only
depended on Mdlle. de Cardoville herself, to be declared from that day
the queen of elegance and fashion.  The young lady understood very well
the impression she had made; she felt proud and happy, for she thought of
Djalma; when she compared him to all these men of fashion, her happiness
was the more increased.  And, verily, these young men, most of whom had
never quitted Paris, or had ventured at most as far as Naples or Baden,
looked insignificant enough by the side of Djalma, who, at his age, had
so many times commanded and combated in bloody wars, and whose reputation
far courage and generosity, mentioned by travellers with admiration, had
already reached from India to Paris.  And then, how could these charming
exquisites, with their small hats, their scanty frock-coats, and their
huge cravats, compare with the Indian prince, whose graceful and manly
beauty was still heightened by the splendor of a costume, at once so rich
and so picturesque?

On this happy day, all was joy and love for Adrienne.  The sun, setting
in a splendidly serene sky, flooded the promenade with its golden light.
The air was warm.  Carriages and horsemen passed and repassed in rapid
succession; a light breeze played with the scarfs of the women, and the
plumes in their bonnets; all around was noise, movement, sunshine.
Adrienne, leaning back in her carriage, amused herself with watching this
busy scene, sparkling with Parisian luxury; but, in the vortex of this
brilliant chaos, she saw in thought the mild, melancholy countenance of
Djalma--when suddenly something fell into her lap, and she started.  It
was a bunch of half-faded violets.  At the same instant she heard a
child's voice following the carriage, and saying: "For the love of
heaven, my good lady, one little sou!"  Adrienne turned her head, and saw
a poor little girl, pale and wan, with mild, sorrowful features, scarcely
covered with rags, holding out her hand, and raising her eyes in
supplication.  Though the striking contrast of extreme misery, side by
side with extreme luxury, is so common, that it no longer excites
attention, Adrienne was deeply affected by it.  She thought of Mother
Bunch, now, perhaps, the victim of frightful destitution.

"Ah! at least," thought the young lady, "let not this day be one of
happiness for me alone!"

She leaned from the carriage-window, and said to the poor child: "Have
you a mother, my dear?"

"No, my lady, I have neither father nor mother."

"Who takes care of you?"

"No one, my lady.  They give me nosegays to sell, and I must bring home
money--or they beat me."

"Poor little thing!"

"A sou, my good lady--a sou, for the love of heaven!" said the child,
continuing to follow the carriage, which was then moving slowly.

"My dear count," said Adrienne, smiling, and addressing M. de Montbron,
"you are, unfortunately, no novice at an elopement.  Please to stretch
forth your arms, take up that child with both hands, and lift her into
the carriage.  We can hide her between Lady de Morinval and myself; and
we can drive away before any one perceives this audacious abduction."

"What!" said the count, in surprise.  "You wish--"

"Yes; I beg you to do it."

"What a folly!"

"Yesterday, you might, perhaps, have treated this caprice as a folly; but
to-day," said Adrienne, laying great stress upon the word, and glancing
at M. de Montbron with a significant air, "to-day, you should understand
that it is almost a duty."

"Yes, I understand you, good and noble heart!" said the count, with
emotion; while Lady de Morinval, who knew nothing of Mdlle. de
Cardoville's love for Djalma, looked with as much surprise as curiosity
at the count and the young lady.

M. de Montbron, leaning from the carriage, stretched out his arms towards
the child, and said to her: "Give me your hands, little girl."

Though much astonished, the child obeyed mechanically, and held out both
her little arms; then the count took her by the wrists, and lifted her
lightly from the ground, which he did the more easily, as the carnage was
very low, and its progress by no means rapid.  More stupefied than
frightened, the child said not a word.  Adrienne and Lady de Morinval
made room for her to crouch down between them, and the little girl was
soon hidden beneath the shawls of the two young women.  All this was
executed so quickly, that it was hardly perceived by a few persons
passing in the side-avenues.

"Now, my dear count," said Adrienne, radiant with pleasure, "let us make
off at once with our prey."

M. de Montbron half rose, and called to the postilions.  "Home!" and the
four horses started at once into a rapid and regular trot.

"This day of happiness now seems consecrated, and my luxury is excused,"
thought Adrienne; "till I can again meet with that poor Mother Bunch, and
from this day I will make every exertion to find her out, her place will
at least not be quite empty."

There are often strange coincidences in life.  At the moment when this
thought of the hunchback crossed the mind of Adrienne, a crowd had
collected in one of the side-avenues, and other persons soon ran to join
the group.

"Look, uncle!" said Lady de Morinval; "how many people are assembled
yonder.  What can it be?  Shall we stop, and send to inquire?"

"I am sorry, my dear, but your curiosity cannot be satisfied," said the
count, drawing out his watch; "it will soon be six o'clock, and the
exhibition of the wild beasts begin at eight.  We shall only just have
time to go home and dine.  Is not that your opinion, my dear child?" said
he to Adrienne.

"And yours, Julia?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville to the marchioness.

"Oh, certainly!" answered her friend.

"I am the less inclined to delay," resumed the count, "as when I have
taken you to the Porte-Saint-Martin, I shall be obliged to go for half-
an-hour to my club, to ballot for Lord Campbell, whom I propose."

"Then, Adrienne and I will be left alone at the play, uncle?"

"Your husband will go with you, I suppose."

"True, dear uncle; but do not quite leave us, because of that."

"Be sure I shall not: for I am curious as you are to see these terrible
animals, and the famous Morok, the incomparable lion-tamer."

A few minutes after, Mdlle. de Cardoville's carriage had left the Champs-
Elysees, carrying with it the little girl, and directing its course
towards the Rue d'Anjou.  As the brilliant equipage disappeared from the
scene, the crowd, of which we before have spoken, greatly increased about
one of the large trees in the Champs-Elysees, and expressions of pity
were heard here and there amongst the groups.  A lounger approached a
young man on the skirts of the crowd, and said to him: "What is the
matter, sir?"

"I hear it is a poor young girl, a hunchback, that has fallen from

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