List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v9, by Eugene Sue
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"Blood and thunder!" cried he; "are you fetching breath to sing vespers?
If they had wine in the font, well and good!"

These words were received with a burst of savage laughter.  "All this
time the villain will escape!" said one.

"And we shall be done," added Ciboule.

"One would think we had cowards here, who are afraid of the sacristans!"
cried the quarryman.

"Never!" replied the others in chorus; "we fear nobody."


"Yes, yes--forward!" was repeated on all sides.  And the animation, which
had been calmed down for a moment, was redoubled in the midst of renewed
tumult.  Some moments after, the eyes of the assailants, becoming
accustomed to the twilight, were able to distinguish in the midst of the
faint halo shed around by a silver lamp, the imposing countenance of
Gabriel, as he stood before the iron railing of the choir.

"The poisoner is here, hid in some corner," cried the quarryman.  "We
must force this parson to give us back the villain."

"He shall answer for him!"

"He took him into the church."

"He shall pay for both, if we do not find the other!"

As the first impression of involuntary respect was effaced from the minds
of the crowd, their voices rose the louder, and their faces became the
more savage and threatening, because they all felt ashamed of their
momentary hesitation and weakness.

"Yes, yes!" cried many voices, trembling with rage, "we must have the
life of one or the other!"

"Or of both!"

"So much the worse for this priest, if he wants to prevent us from
serving out our poisoner!"

"Death to him! death to him!"

With this burst of ferocious yells, which were fearfully re-echoed from
the groined arches of the cathedral, the mob, maddened by rage, rushed
towards the choir, at the door of which Gabriel was standing.  The young
missionary, who, when placed on the cross by the savages of the Rocky
Mountains, yet entreated heaven to spare his executioners, had too much
courage in his heart, too much charity in his soul, not to risk his life
a thousand times over to save Father d'Aigrigny's--the very man who had
betrayed hire by such cowardly and cruel hypocrisy.



The quarryman, followed by his gang, ran towards Gabriel, who had
advanced a few paces from the choir-railing, and exclaimed, his eyes
sparkling with rage: "Where is the poisoner?  We will have him!"

"Who has told you, my brethren, that he is a poisoner?" replied Gabriel,
with his deep, sonorous voice.  "A poisoner! Where are the proofs--
witnesses or victims?"

"Enough of that stuff! we are not here for confession," brutally answered
the quarryman, advancing towards him in a threatening manner.  "Give up
the man to us; he shall be forthcoming, unless you choose to stand in his

"Yes, yes!" exclaimed several voices; "they are `in' with one another!
One or the other we will have!"

"Very well, then; since it is so," said Gabriel, raising his head, and
advancing with calmness, resignation; and fearlessness; "he or me," added
he;--"it seems to make no difference to you--you are determined to have
blood--take mine, and I will pardon you, my friends; for a fatal delusion
has unsettled your reason."

These words of Gabriel, his courage, the nobleness of his attitude, the
beauty of his countenance, had made an impression on some of the
assailants, when suddenly a voice exclaimed: "Look! there is the
poisoner, behind the railing!"

"Where--where?" cried they.

"There--don't you see?--stretched on the floor."

On hearing this, the mob, which had hitherto formed a compact mass, in
the sort of passage separating the two sides of the nave, between the
rows of chairs, dispersed in every direction, to reach the railing of the
choir, the last and only barrier that now sheltered Father d'Aigrigny.
During this manoeuvre the quarryman, Ciboule, and others, advanced
towards Gabriel, exclaiming, with ferocious joy: "This time we have him.
Death to the poisoner!"

To save Father d'Aigrigny, Gabriel would have allowed himself to be
massacred at the entrance of the choir; but, a little further on, the
railing, not above four feet in height, would in another instant be
scaled or broken through.  The Missionary lost all hope of saving the
Jesuit from a frightful death.  Yet he exclaimed: "Stop, poor deluded
people!"--and, extending his arms, he threw himself in front of the

His words, gesture, and countenance, were expressive of an authority at
once so affectionate and so fraternal, that there was a momentary
hesitation amongst the mob.  But to this hesitation soon succeeded the
most furious cries of "Death; death!"

"You cry for his death?" cried Gabriel, growing still paler.

"Yes! yes!"

"Well, let him die," cried the missionary, inspired with a sudden
thought; "let him die on the instant!"

These words of the young priest struck the crowd with amazement.  For a
few moments, they all stood mute, motionless, and as it were, paralyzed,
looking at Gabriel in stupid astonishment.

"This man is guilty, you say," resumed the young missionary, in a voice
trembling with emotion.  "You have condemned him without proof, without
witnesses--no matter, he must die.  You reproach him with being a
poisoner; where are his victims?  You cannot tell--but no matter; he is
condemned.  You refuse to hear his defense, the sacred right of every
accused person--no matter; the sentence is pronounced.  You are at once
his accusers, judges, and executioners.  Be it so!--You have never seen
till now this unfortunate man, he has done you no harm, he has perhaps
not done harm to any one--yet you take upon yourselves the terrible
responsibility of his death--understand me well--of his death.  Be it so
then! your conscience will absolve you--I will believe it.  He must die;
the sacredness of God's house will not save him--"

"No, no!" cried many furious voices.

"No," resumed Gabriel, with increasing warmth; "no you have determined to
shed his blood, and you will shed it, even in the Lord's temple.  It is,
you say, your right.  You are doing an act of terrible justice.  But why
then, so many vigorous arms to make an end of one dying man?  Why these
outcries? this fury? this violence?  Is it thus that the people, the
strong and equitable people, are wont to execute their judgments?  No,
no; when sure of their right, they strike their enemies, it is with the
calmness of the judge, who, in freedom of soul and conscience, passes
sentence.  No, the strong and equitable people do not deal their blows
like men blind or mad, uttering cries of rage, as if to drown the sense
of some cowardly and horrible murder.  No, it is not thus that they
exercise the formidable right, to which you now lay claim--for you will
have it--"

"Yes, we will have it!" shouted the quarryman, Ciboule, and others of the
more pitiless portion of the mob; whilst a great number remained silent,
struck with the words of Gabriel, who had just painted to them, in such
lively colors, the frightful act they were about to commit.

"Yes," resumed the quarryman, "it is our right; we have determined to
kill the poisoner!"

So saying, and with bloodshot eyes, and flushed cheek, the wretch
advanced at the head of a resolute group, making a gesture as though he
would have pushed aside Gabriel, who was still standing in front of the
railing.  But instead of resisting the bandit, the missionary advanced a
couple of steps to meet him, took him by the arm, and said in a firm
voice: "Come!"

And dragging, as it were, with him the stupefied quarryman, whose
companions did not venture to follow at the moment, struck dumb as they
were by this new incident, Gabriel rapidly traversed the space which
separated him from the choir, opened the iron gate, and, still holding
the quarryman by the arm, led him up to the prostrate form of Father
d'Aigrigny, and said to him: "There is the victim.  He is condemned.

"I" cried the quarryman, hesitating; "I--all alone!"

"Oh!" replied Gabriel, with bitterness, "there is no danger.  You can
easily finish him.  Look! he is broken down with suffering; he has hardly
a breath of life left; he will make no resistance.  Do not be afraid!"

The quarryman remained motionless, whilst the crowd, strangely impressed
with this incident, approached a little nearer the railing, without
daring to come within the gate.

"Strike then!" resumed Gabriel, addressing the quarryman, whilst he
pointed to the crowd with a solemn gesture; "there are the judges; you
are the executioner."

"No!" cried the quarryman, drawing back, and turning away his eyes; "I'm
not the executioner--not I!"

The crowd remained silent.  For a few moments, not a word, not a cry,
disturbed the stillness of the solemn cathedral.  In a desperate case,
Gabriel had acted with a profound knowledge of the human heart.  When the
multitude, inflamed with blind rage, rushes with ferocious clamor upon a
single victim, and each man strikes his blow, this dreadful species of
combined murder appears less horrible to each, because they all share in
the common crime; and then the shouts, the sight of blood, the desperate
defence of the man they massacre, finish by producing a sort of ferocious
intoxication; but, amongst all those furious madmen, who take part in the
homicide, select one, and place him face to face with the victim, no
longer capable of resistance, and say to him, "Strike!"--he will hardly
ever dare to do so.

It was thus with the quarryman; the wretch trembled at the idea of
committing a murder in cold blood, "all alone."  The preceding scene had
passed very rapidly; amongst the companions of the quarryman, nearest to
the railing, some did not understand an impression, which they would
themselves have felt as strongly as this bold man, if it had been said to
them: "Do the office of executioner!"  These, therefore, began to murmur
aloud at his weakness.  "He dares not finish the poisoner," said one.

"The coward!"

"He is afraid."

"He draws back."  Hearing these words, the quarryman ran to the gate,
threw it wide open, and, pointing to Father d'Aigrigny, exclaimed: "If
there is one here braver than I am, let him go and finish the job--let
him be, the executioner--come!"

On this proposal the murmurs ceased.  A deep silence reigned once more in
the cathedral.  All those countenances, but now so furious, became sad,
confused, almost frightened.

The deluded mob began to appreciate the ferocious cowardice of the action
it had been about to commit.  Not one durst go alone to strike the half-
expiring man.  Suddenly, Father d'Aigrigny uttered a dying rattle, his
head and one of his arms stirred with a convulsive movement, and then
fell back upon the stones as if he had just expired.

Gabriel uttered a cry of anguish, and threw himself on his knees close to
Father d'Aigrigny, exclaiming: "Great Heaven! he is dead!"

There is a singular variableness in the mind of a crowd, susceptible
alike to good or evil impressions.  At the heart-piercing cry of Gabriel,
all these people, who, a moment before, had demanded, with loud uproar,
the massacre of this man, felt touched with a sudden pity.  The words:
"He is dead!" circulated in low whispers through the crowd accompanied by
a slight shudder, whilst Gabriel raised with one hand the victim's heavy
head, and with the other sought to feel if the pulse still beat beneath
the ice-cold skin.

"Mr. Curate," said the quarryman, bending towards Gabriel, "is there
really no hope?"

The answer was waited for with anxiety, in the midst of deep silence.
The people hardly ventured to exchange a few words in whispers.

"Blessed be God!" exclaimed Gabriel, suddenly.  "His heart beats."

"His heart beats," repeated the quarryman, turning his head towards the
crowd, to inform them of the good news.

"Oh! his heart beats!" repeated the others, in whispers.

"There is hope.  We may yet save him," added Gabriel with an expression
of indescribable happiness.

"We may yet save him," repeated the quarryman, mechanically.

"We may yet save him," muttered the crowd.

"Quick, quick," resumed Gabriel, addressing the quarryman; "help me,
brother.  Let us carry him to a neighboring house, where he can have
immediate aid."

The quarryman obeyed with readiness.  Whilst the missionary lifted Father
d'Aigrigny by holding him under the arms, the quarryman took the legs of
the almost inanimate body.  Together, they carried him outside of the
choir.  At sight of the formidable quarryman, aiding the young priest to
render assistance to the man whom he had just before pursued with menaces
of death, the multitude felt a sudden thrill of compassion.  Yielding to
the powerful influence of the words and example of Gabriel, they felt
themselves deeply moved, and each became anxious to offer services.

"Mr. Curate, he would perhaps be better on a chair, that one could carry
upright," said Ciboule.

"Shall I go and fetch a stretcher from the hospital?" asked another.

"Mr. Curate, let me take your place; the body is too heavy for you."

"Don't trouble yourself," said a powerful man, approaching the missionary
respectfully; "I can carry him alone."

"Shall I run and fetch a coach, Mr. Curate?" said a young vagabond,
taking off his red cap.

"Right," said the quarryman; "run away, my buck!"

"But first, ask Mr. Curate if you are to go for a coach," said Ciboule,
stopping the impatient messenger.

"True," added one of the bystanders; "we are here in a church, and Mr.
Curate has the command.  He is at home."

"Yes, yes; go at once, my child," said Gabriel to the obliging young

Whilst the latter was making his way through the crowd, a voice said:
"I've a little wicker-bottle of brandy; will that be of any use?"

"No doubt," answered Gabriel, hastily; "pray give it here.  We can rub
his temples with the spirit, and make him inhale a little."

"Pass the bottle," cried Ciboule; "but don't put your noses in it!" And,
passed with caution from hand to hand, the flask reached Gabriel in

Whilst waiting for the coming of the coach, Father d'Aigrigny had been
seated on a chair.  Whilst several good-natured people carefully
supported the abbe, the missionary made him inhale a little brandy.  In a
few minutes, the spirit had a powerful influence on the Jesuit; he made
some slight movements, and his oppressed bosom heaved with a deep sigh.

"He is saved--he will live," cried Gabriel, in a triumphant voice; "he
will live, my brothers!"

"Oh! glad to hear it!" exclaimed many voices.

"Oh, yes! be glad, my brothers!" repeated Gabriel; "for, instead of being
weighed down with the remorse of crime, you will have a just and
charitable action to remember.  Let us thank God, that he has changed
your blind fury into a sentiment of compassion! Let us pray to Him, that
neither you, nor those you love, may ever be exposed to such frightful
danger as this unfortunate man has just escaped.  Oh, my brothers!" added
Gabriel, as he pointed to the image of Christ with touching emotion,
which communicated itself the more easily to others from the expression

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