List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v8, by Eugene Sue
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

nursling placed in possession of.  They had the treasure in their hands,
in fact, when a woman of strangely sad beauty had mysteriously entered
the room where the will had been read, and laid a paper before the
notary.  It was a codicil, duly drawn up and signed, deferring the
carrying out of the testament until the first day of June the same year.
The Jesuits fled from the house, in rage and intense disappointment.
Father d'Aigrigny was so stupor-stricken at the defeat, that he bade his
secretary at once write off to Rome that the Rennepont inheritance had
escaped them, and hopes to seize it again were utterly at an end.  Upon
this, Rodin had revolted, and shown that he had authority to command
where he had, so far, most humbly obeyed.  Many such spies hang about
their superior's heels, with full powers to become the governor in turn,
at a moment's notice.  Thenceforward, he, Rodin, had taken the business
into his own hands.  He had let Rose and Blanche Simon out of the convent
into their father's arms.  He had gone in person to release Adrienne de
Cardoville from the asylum.  More, having led her to sigh for Prince
Djalma, he prompted the latter to burn for her.

He let not M. Hardy escape.  A friend whom the latter treated as a
brother, had been shown up to him as a mere spy of the Jesuits; the woman
whom he adored, a wedded woman, alas! who had loved him in spite of her
vows, had been betrayed.  Her mother had compelled her to hide her shame
in America, and, as she had often said--"Much as you are endeared to me,
I cannot waver between you and my mother!" so she had obeyed, without one
farewell word to him.  Confess, Rodin was a more dextrous man than his
late master!  In the pages that ensue farther proofs of his superiority
in baseness and satanic heartlessness will not be wanting.



On M. Hardy's learning from the confidential go-between of the lovers,
that his mistress had been taken away by her mother, he turned from Rodin
and dashed away in a post carriage.  At the same moment, as loud as the
rattle of the wheels, there arose the shouts of a band of workmen and
rioters, hired by the Jesuit's emissaries, coming to attack Hardy's
operatives.  An old grudge long existing between them and a rival
manufacturer's--Baron Tripeaud--laborers, fanned the flames.  When M.
Hardy had left the factory, Rodin, who was not prepared for this sudden
departure, returned slowly to his hackney-coach; but he stopped suddenly,
and started with pleasure and surprise, when he saw, at some distance,
Marshall Simon and his father advancing towards one of the wings of the
Common Dwelling-house; for an accidental circumstance had so far delayed
the interview of the father and son.

"Very well!" said Rodin.  "Better and better!  Now, only let my man have
found out and persuaded little Rose-Pompon!"

And Rodin hastened towards his hackney-coach.  At this moment, the wind,
which continued to rise, brought to the ear of the Jesuit the war song of
the approaching Wolves.

The workman was in the garden.  The marshal said to him, in a voice of
such deep emotion that the old man started; "Father, I am very unhappy."

A painful expression, until then concealed, suddenly darkened the
countenance of the marshal.

"You unhappy?" cried father Simon, anxiously, as he pressed nearer to the

"For some days, my daughters have appeared constrained in manner, and
lost in thought.  During the first moments of our re-union, they were mad
with joy and happiness.  Suddenly, all has changed; they are becoming
more and more sad.  Yesterday, I detected tears in their eyes; then
deeply moved, I clasped them in my arms, and implored them to tell me the
cause of their sorrow.  Without answering, they threw themselves on my
neck, and covered my face with their tears."

"It is strange.  To what do you attribute this alteration?"

"Sometimes, I think I have not sufficiently concealed from them the grief
occasioned me by the loss of their mother, and they are perhaps miserable
that they do not suffice for my happiness.  And yet (inexplicable as it
is) they seem not only to understand, but to share my sorrow.  Yesterday,
Blanche said to me: 'How much happier still should we be, if our mother
were with us!--'"

"Sharing your sorrow, they cannot reproach you with it.  There must be
some other cause for their grief."

"Yes," said the marshal, looking fixedly at his father; "yes--but to
penetrate this secret--it would be necessary not to leave them."

"What do you mean?"

"First learn, father, what are the duties which would keep me here; then
you shall know those which may take me away from you, from my daughters,
and from my other child."

"What other child?"

"The son of my old friend, the Indian Prince."

"Djalma?  Is there anything the matter with him?"

"Father, he frightens me.  I told you, father, of his mad and unhappy
passion for Mdlle. de Cardoville."

"Does that frighten you, my son?" said the old man, looking at the
marshal with surprise.  "Djalma is only eighteen, and, at that age, one
love drives away another."

"You have no idea of the ravages which the passion has already made in
the ardent, indomitable boy; sometimes, fits of savage ferocity follow
the most painful dejection.  Yesterday, I came suddenly upon him; his
eyes were bloodshot, his features contracted with rage; yielding to an
impulse of mad furry, he was piercing with his poinard a cushion of red
cloth, whilst he exclaimed, panting for breath, 'Ha blood!--I will have
blood!' 'Unhappy boy!' I said to him, 'what means this insane passion?'
'I'm killing the man!' replied he, in a hollow and savage voice: it is
thus he designates his supposed rival."

"There is indeed something terrible," said the old man, "in such a
passion, in such a heart."

"At other times," resumed the marshal, "it is against Mdlle. de
Cardoville that his rage bursts forth; and at others, against himself.  I
have been obliged to remove his weapons, for a man who came with him from
Java, and who appears much attached to him, has informed me that he
suspected him of entertaining some thoughts of suicide."

"Unfortunate boy!"

"Well, father," said Marshal Simon, with profound bitterness; "it is at
the moment when my daughters and my adopted son require all my
solicitude, that I am perhaps on the eve of quitting them."

"Of quitting them?"

"Yes, to fulfil a still more sacred duty than that imposed by friendship
or family," said the marshal, in so grave and solemn a tone, that his
father exclaimed, with deep emotion:  "What can this duty be?"

"Father," said the marshal, after remaining a moment in thoughtful
silence, "who made me what I am?  Who gave me the ducal title, and the
marshal's baton?"


"For you, the stern republican, I know that he lost all his value, when
from the first citizen of a Republic he became an emperor.

"I cursed his weakness," said Father Simon, sadly; "the demi-god sank
into a man."

"But for me, father--for me, the soldier, who have always fought beside
him, or under his eye--for me, whom he raised from the lowest rank in the
army to the highest--for me, whom he loaded with benefits and marks of
affection--for me, he was more than a hero, he was a friend--and there
was as much gratitude as admiration in my idolatry for him.  When he was
exiled, I would fain have shared his exile; they refused me that favor;
then I conspired, then I drew my sword against those who had robbed his
son of the crown which France had given him."

"And, in your position, you did well, Pierre; without sharing your
admiration, I understood your gratitude.  The projects of exile, the
conspiracies--I approved them all--you know it."

"Well, then, that disinherited child, in whose name I conspired seventeen
years ago, is now of an age to wield his father's sword."

"Napoleon II!" exclaimed the old man, looking at his son with surprise
and extreme anxiety; "the king of Rome!"

"King? no; he is no longer king.  Napoleon? no; he is no longer Napoleon.
They have given him some Austrian name, because the other frightened
them.  Everything frightens them.  Do you know what they are doing with
the son of the Emperor?" resumed the marshal, with painful excitement.
"They are torturing him--killing him by inches!"

"Who told you this?"

"Somebody who knows, whose words are but too true.  Yes; the son of the
Emperor struggles with all his strength against a premature death.  With
his eyes turned towards France, he waits--he waits--and no one comes--no
one--out of all the men that his father made as great as they once were
little, not one thinks of that crowned child, whom they are stifling,
till he dies."

"But you think of him?"

"Yes; but I had first to learn--oh! there is no doubt of it, for I have
not derived all my information from the same source--I had first to
learn the cruel fate of this youth, to whom I also swore allegiance; for
one day, as I have told you, the Emperor, proud and loving father as he
was, showed him to me in his cradle, and said: 'My old friend, you will
be to the son what you have been to the father; who loves us, loves our

"Yes, I know it.  Many times you have repeated those words to me, and,
like yourself, I have been moved by them."

"Well, father! suppose, informed of the sufferings of the son of the
Emperor, I had seen--with the positive certainty that I was not deceived-
-a letter from a person of high rank in the court of Vienna, offering to
a man that was still faithful to the Emperor's memory, the means of
communicating with the king of Rome, and perhaps of saving him from his

"What next?" said the workman, looking fixedly at his son.  "Suppose
Napoleon II. once at liberty--"

"What next?" exclaimed the marshal.  Then he added, in a suppressed
voice: "Do you think, father, that France is insensible to the
humiliations she endures?  Do you think that the memory of the Emperor is
extinct?  No, no; it is, above all, in the days of our country's
degredation, that she whispers that sacred name.  How would it be, then,
were that name to rise glorious on the frontier, reviving in his son?  Do
you not think that the heart of all France would beat for him?"

"This implies a conspiracy--against the present government--with Napoleon
II. for a watchword," said the workman.  "This is very serious."

"I told you, father, that I was very unhappy; judge if it be not so,"
cried the marshal.  "Not only I ask myself, if I ought to abandon my
children and you, to run the risk of so daring an enterprise, but I ask
myself if I am not bound to the present government, which, in
acknowledging my rank and title, if it bestowed no favor, at least did me
an act of justice.  How shall I decide?--abandon all that I love, or
remain insensible to the tortures of Emperor--of that Emperor to the son
of the whom I owe everything--to whom I have sworn fidelity, both to
himself and child?  Shall I lose this only opportunity, perhaps, of
saving him, or shall I conspire in his favor?  Tell me, if I exaggerate
what I owe to the memory of the Emperor?  Decide for me, father!  During
a whole sleepless night, I strove to discover, in the midst of this
chaos, the line prescribed by honor; but I only wandered from indecision
to indecision.  You alone, father--you alone, I repeat, can direct me."

After remaining for some moments in deep thought, the old man was about
to answer, when some person, running across the little garden, opened the
door hastily, and entered the room in which were the marshal and his
father.  It was Olivier, the young workman, who had been able to effect
his escape from the village in which the Wolves had assembled.

"M. Simon! M. Simon!" cried he, pale, and panting for breath.  "They are
here--close at hand.  They have come to attack the factory."

"Who?" cried the old man, rising hastily.

"The Wolves, quarrymen, and stone-cutters, joined on the road by a crowd
of people from the neighborhood, and vagabonds from town.  Do you not
hear them?  They are shouting, 'Death to the Devourers!'"

The clamor was indeed approaching, and grew more and more distinct.

"It is the same noise that I heard just now," said the marshal, rising in
his turn.

"There are more than two hundred of them, M. Simon," said Olivier; "they
are armed with clubs and stones, and unfortunately the greater part of
our workmen are in Paris.  We are not above forty here in all; the women
and children are already flying to their chambers, screaming for terror.
Do you not hear them?"

The ceiling shook beneath the tread of many hasty feet.

"Will this attack be a serious one?" said the marshal to his father, who
appeared more and more dejected.

"Very serious," said the old man; "there is nothing more fierce than
these combats between different unions; and everything has been done
lately to excite the people of the neighborhood against the factory."

"If you are so inferior in number," said the marshal, "you must begin by
barricading all the doors--and then--"

He was unable to conclude.  A burst of ferocious cries shook the windows
of the room, and seemed so near and loud, that the marshal, his father,
and the young workman, rushed out into the little garden, which was
bounded on one side by a wall that separated it from the fields.
Suddenly whilst the shouts redoubled in violence, a shower of large
stones, intended to break the windows of the house, smashed some of the
panes on the first story, struck against the wall, and fell into the
garden, all around the marshal and his father.  By a fatal chance, one of
these large stones struck the old man on the head.  He staggered, bent
forward, and fell bleeding into the arms of Marshal Simon, just as arose
from without, with increased fury, the savage cries of, "Death to the



It was a frightful thing to view the approach of the lawless crowd, whose
first act of hostility had been so fatal to Marshal Simon's father.  One
wing of the Common Dwelling-house, which joined the garden-wall on that
side, was next to the fields.  It was there that the Wolves began their
attack.  The precipitation of their march, the halt they had made at two
public-houses on the road, their ardent impatience for the approaching
struggle, had inflamed these men to a high pitch of savage excitement.
Having discharged their first shower of stones, most of the assailants
stooped down to look for more ammunition.  Some of them, to do so with
greater ease, held their bludgeons between their teeth; others had placed
them against the wall; here and there, groups had formed tumultuously
round the principal leaders of the band; the most neatly dressed of these
men wore frocks, with caps, whilst others were almost in rags, for, as we
have already said, many of the hangers-on at the barriers, and people
without any profession, had joined the troop of the Wolves, whether
welcome or not.  Some hideous women, with tattered garments, who always
seem to follow in the track of such people, accompanied them on this

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: