List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v8, by Eugene Sue
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"Come!" said M. de Montbron to himself; "let us try to discover the truth
I am in search of, that we may escape a great misfortune."



Mdlle. de Cardoville, not wishing to betray the cause of the violent
feelings which agitated her, received M. de Montbron with a feigned and
forced gayety.  On the other hand, notwithstanding his tact and knowledge
of the world, the count was much embarrassed how to enter upon the
subject on which he wished to confer with Adrienne, and he resolved to
feel his way, before seriously commencing the conversation.  After
looking at the young lady for some seconds, M. de Montbron shook his
head, and said, with a sigh of regret: "My dear child, I am not pleased."

"Some affair of the heart, or of hearts, my dear count?" returned
Adrienne, smiling.

"Of the heart," said M. de Montbron.

"What! you, so great a player, think more of a woman's whim than a throw
of the dice?"

"I have a heavy heart, and you are the cause of it, my dear child."

"M. de Montbron, you will make me very proud," said Adrienne, with a

"You would be wrong, for I tell you plainly, my trouble is caused by your
neglect of your beauty.  Yes, your countenance is pale, dejected,
sorrowful; you have been low-spirited for the last few days; you have
something on your mind, I am sure of it."

"My dear M. de Montbron, you have so much penetration, that you may be
allowed to fall for once, as now.  I am not sad, I have nothing on my
mind, and--I am about to utter a very silly piece of impertinence--I have
never thought myself so pretty."

"On the contrary, nothing could be more modest than such an assertion.
Who told you that falsehood? a woman?"

"No; it was my heart, and it spoke the truth," answered Adrienne, with a
slight degree of emotion.  "Understand it, if you can," she added.

"Do you mean that you are proud of the alteration in your features,
because you are proud of the sufferings of your heart?" said M. de
Montbron, looking at Adrienne with attention.  "Be it so; I am then
right.  You have some sorrow.  I persist in it," added the count,
speaking with a tone of real feeling, "because it is painful to me."

"Be satisfied; I am as happy as possible--for every instant I take
delight in repeating, how, at my age, I am free--absolutely free!"

"Yes; free to torment yourself, free to be miserable."

"Come, come, my dear count!" said Adrienne, "you are recommencing our old
quarrel.  I still find in you the ally of my aunt and the Abbe

"Yes; as the republicans are the allies of the legitimists--to destroy
each other in their turn.  Talking of your abominable aunt, they say that
she holds a sort of council at her house these last few days, a regular
mitred conspiracy.  She is certainly in a good way."

"Why not?  Formerly, she would have wished to be Goddess of Reason, now,
we shall perhaps see her canonized.  She has already performed the first
part of the life of Mary Magdalen."

"You can never speak worse of her than she deserves, my dear child.
Still, though for quite opposite reasons, I agreed with her on the
subject of your wish to reside alone."

"I know it."

"Yes; and because I wished to see you a thousand times freer than you
really are, I advised you--"

"To marry."

"No doubt; you would have had your dear liberty, with its consequences,
only, instead of Mdlle. de Cardoville, we should have called you Madame
Somebody, having found an excellent husband to be responsible for your

"And who would have been responsible for this ridiculous husband?  And
who would bear a mocked and degraded name?  I, perhaps?" said Adrienne,
with animation.  "No, no, my dear count, good or ill, I will answer for
my own actions; to my name shall attach the reputation, which I alone
have formed.  I am as incapable of basely dishonoring a name which is not
mine, as of continually bearing it myself, if it were not held in,
esteem.  And, as one can only answer for one's own actions, I prefer to
keep my name."

"You are the only person in the world that has such ideas."

"Why?" said Adrienne, laughing.  "Because it appears to me horrible, to
see a poor girl lost and buried in some ugly and selfish man, and become,
as they say seriously, the better half of the monster--yes! a fresh and
blooming rose to become part of a frightful thistle!--Come, my dear
count; confess there is something odious in this conjugal
metempsychosis," added Adrienne, with a burst of laughter.

The forced and somewhat feverish gayety of Adrienne contrasted painfully
with her pale and suffering countenance; it was so easy to see that she
strove to stifle with laughter some deep sorrow, that M. de Montbron was
much affected by it; but, dissembling his emotion, he appeared to reflect
a moment, and took up mechanically one of the new, fresh-cut books, by
which Adrienne was surrounded.  After casting a careless glance at this
volume, he continued, still dissembling his feelings: "Come, my dear
madcap: this is another folly.  Suppose I were twenty years old, and that
you did me the honor to marry me--you would be called Lady de Montbron, I


"How perhaps?  Would you not bear my name, if you married me?"

"My dear count," said Adrienne, with a smile, "do not let us pursue this
hypothesis, which can only leave us--regrets."

Suddenly, M. de Montbron started, and looked at Mdlle, de Cardoville with
an expression of surprise.  For some moments, whilst talking to Adrienne,
he had mechanically--taken up two or three of the volumes scattered over
the couch, and had glanced at their titles in the same careless manner.
The first was the "Modern History of India."  The second, "Travels in
India."  The third, "Letters on India."  Much surprised, M. de Montbron
had continued his investigation, and found that the fourth volume
continued this Indian nomenclature, being "Rambles in India."  The fifth
was, "Recollections of Hindostan."  The sixth, "Notes of a Traveller in
the East Indies."

Hence the astonishment, which, for many serious reasons, M. de Montbron
had no longer been able to conceal, and which his looks betrayed to
Adrienne.  The latter, having completely forgotten the presence of the
accusing volumes by which she was surrounded, yielded to a movement of
involuntary confusion, and blushed slightly; but, her firm and resolute
character again coming to her aid, she looked full at M. de Montbron, and
said to him: "Well, my dear count! what surprises you?"

Instead of answering, M. de Montbron appeared still more absorbed in
thought, and contemplating the young girl, he could not forbear saying to
himself: "No, no--it is impossible--and yet--"

"It would, perhaps, be indiscreet in me to listen to your soliloquy, my
dear count," said Adrienne.

"Excuse me, my dear child; but what I see surprises me so much--"

"And pray what do you see?"

"The traces of so great and novel an interest in all that relates to
India," said M. de Montbron, laying a slight stress on his words, and
fixing a piercing look upon the young girl.

"Well!" said Adrienne, stoutly.

"Well!  I seek the cause of this sudden passion--"

"Geographical?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville, interrupting M. de Montbron:
"you may find this taste somewhat serious for my age my dear count--but
one must find occupation for leisure hours--and then, having a cousin,
who is both an Indian and a prince, I should like to know something of
the fortunate country from which I derive this savage relationship."

These last words were pronounced with a bitterness that was not lost on
M. de Montbron: watching Adrienne attentively, he observed: "Meseems, you
speak of the prince with some harshness."

"No; I speak of him with indifference."

"Yet he deserves a very different feeling."

"On the part of some other person, perhaps," replied Adrienne, dryly.

"He is so unhappy!" said M, de Montbron, in a tone of sincere pity.
"When I saw him the other day, he made my heart ache."

"What have I to do with it?" exclaimed Adrienne, with an accent of
painful and almost angry impatience.

"I should have thought that his cruel torments at least deserved your
pity," answered the count gravely.

"Pity--from me!" cried Adrienne, with an air of offended pride.  Then
restraining herself, she added coldly: "You are jesting, M. de Montbron.
It is not in sober seriousness that you ask me to take interest in the
amorous torments of your prince."

There was so much cold disdain in these last words of Adrienne, her pale
and agitated countenance betrayed such haughty bitterness, that M. de
Montbron said, sorrowfully:  "It is then true; I have not been deceived.
I, who thought, from our old and constant friendship, that I had some
claim to your confidence have known nothing of it--while you told all to
another.  It is painful, very painful to me."

"I do not understand you, M. de Montbron."

"Well then, since I must speak plainly," cried the count, "there is, I
see, no hope for this unhappy boy--you love another."

As Adrienne started--"Oh! you cannot deny it," resumed the count; "your
paleness and melancholy for the last few days, your implacable
indifference to the prince--all prove to me that you are in love."

Hurt by the manner in which the count spoke of the sentiment he
attributed to her, Mdlle. de Cardoville answered with dignified
stateliness: "You must know, M. de Montbron, that a secret discovered is
not a confidence.  Your language surprises me.

"Oh, my dear friend, if I use the poor privilege of experience--if I
guess that you are in love--if I tell you so, and even go so far as to
reproach you with it--it is because the life or death of this poor prince
is concerned; and I feel for him as if he were my son, for it is
impossible to know him without taking the warmest interest in him."

"It would be singular," returned Adrienne, with redoubled coldness, and
still more bitter irony, "if my love--admitting I were in love--could
have any such strange influence on Prince Djalma.  What can it matter to
him?" added she, with almost agonizing disdain.

"What can it matter to him?  Now really, my dear friend, permit me to
tell you, that it is you who are jesting cruelly.  What! this unfortunate
youth loves you with all the blind ardor of a first love--twice has
attempted to terminate by suicide the horrible tortures of his passion--
and you think it strange that your love for another should be with him a
question of life or death!"

"He loves me then?" cried the young girl, with an accent impossible to

"He loves you to madness, I tell you; I have seen it."

Adrienne seemed overcome with amazement.  From pale, she became crimson;
as the redness disappeared, her lips grew white, and trembled.  Her
emotion was so strong, that she remained for some moments unable to
speak, and pressed her hand to her heart, as if to moderate its

M. de Montbron, almost frightened at the sudden change in Adrienne's
countenance, hastily approached her, exclaiming: "Good heaven, my poor
child! what is the matter?"

Instead of answering, Adrienne waved her hand to him, in sign that he
should not be alarmed; and, in fact, the count was speedily
tranquillized, for the beautiful face, which had so lately been
contracted with pain, irony, and scorn, seemed now expressive of the
sweetest and most ineffable emotions; Adrienne appeared to luxuriate in
delight, and to fear losing the least particle of it; then, as reflection
told her, that she was, perhaps, the dupe of illusion or falsehood, she
exclaimed suddenly, with anguish, addressing herself to M. de Montbron:
"But is what you tell me true?"

"What I tell you!"

"Yes--that Prince Djalma--"

"Loves you to madness?--Alas! it is only too true."

"No, no," cried Adrienne, with a charming expression of simplicity; "that
could never be too true."

"What do you say?" cried the count.

"But that woman?" asked Adrienne, as if the word scorched her lips.

"What woman?"

"She who has been the cause of all these painful struggles."

"That woman--why, who should it be but you?"

"What, I?  Oh! tell me, was it I?"

"On my word of honor.  I trust my experience.  I have never seen so
ardent and sincere a passion."

"Oh! is it really so?  Has he never had any other love?"


"Yet I was told so."

"By whom?"

"M. Rodin."

"That Djalma--"

"Had fallen violently in love, two days after I saw him."

"M. Rodin told you that!" cried M. de Montbron, as if struck with a
sudden idea.  "Why, it is he who told Djalma that you were in love with
some one else."


"And this it was which occasioned the poor youth's dreadful despair."

"It was this which occasioned my despair."

"You love him, then, just as he loves you!" exclaimed M. de Montbron,
transported with joy.

"Love him!" said Mdlle. de Cardoville.  A discreet knock at the door
interrupted Adrienne.

"One of your servants, no doubt.  Be calm," said the count.

"Come in," said Adrienne, in an agitated voice.

"What is it?" said Mdlle. de Cardoville.  Florine entered the room.

"M. Rodin has just been here.  Fearing to disturb mademoiselle, he would
not come in; but he will return in half an hour.  Will mademoiselle
receive him?"

"Yes, yes," said the count to Florine; "even if I am still here, show him
in by all means.  Is not that your opinion?" asked M. de Montbron of

"Quite so," answered the young girl; and a flash of indignation darted
from her eyes, as she thought of Rodin's perfidy.

"Oho! the old knave!" said M. de Montbron, "I always had my doubts of
that crooked neck!"  Florine withdrew, leaving the count with her



Mdlle. de Cardoville was transfigured.  For the first time her beauty
shone forth in all its lustre.  Until now overshadowed by indifference,
or darkened by grief, she appeared suddenly illumined by a brilliant ray
of sunshine.  The slight irritation caused by Rodin's perfidy passed like
an imperceptible shade from her brow.  What cared she now for falsehood
and perfidy?  Had they not failed?  And, for the future, what human power
could interpose between her and Djalma, so sure of each other?  Who would
dare to cross the path of those two things, resolute and strong with the
irresistible power of youth, love, and liberty?  Who would dare to follow
them into that blazing sphere, whither they went, so beautiful and happy,
to blend together in their inextinguishable love, protected by the proof-
armor of their own happiness?  Hardly had Florine left the room, when
Adrienne approached M. de Montbron with a rapid step.  She seemed to have
become taller; and to watch her advancing, light, radiant, and
triumphant, one might have fancied her a goddess walking upon clouds.

"When shall I see him?" was her first word to M. de Montbron.

"Well--say to-morrow; he must be prepared for so much happiness; in so
ardent a nature, such sudden, unexpected joy might be terrible."

Adrienne remained pensive for a moment, and then said rapidly: "To-

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