"`All the members of this family possess, or should possess, a bronze medal bearing the following inscriptions: Victim of L. C. D. J. Pray for me! Paris February the 13th, 1682. At Paris, Rue Saint Francois, No. 3, In a century and a half you will be. February the 13th, 1832. Pray For Me! "`These words and dates show that all of them have a great interest to be at Paris on the 13th of February, 1832; and that, not by proxy, but in person, whether they are minors, married or single. "`But other persons have an immense interest that none of the descendants of this family be at Paris on the 13th February, except Gabriel Rennepont, priest of the foreign missions. "`At all hazards, therefore, Gabriel must be the only person present at the appointment made with the descendants of this family, a century and a half ago. "`To prevent the other six persons from reaching Paris on the said day, or to render their presence of no effect, much has been already done; but much remains to be done to ensure the success of this affair, which is considered as the most vital and most important of the age, on account of its probable results.'" "'Tis but too true," observed Rodin's master, interrupting him, and shaking his head pensively. "And, moreover, that the consequences of success are incalculable, and there is no forseeing what may follow failure. In a word, it almost involves a question of existence or non- existence during several years. To succeed, therefore, `all possible means must be employed. Nothing must be shunned,' except, however, that appearances must be skillfully maintained." "I have written it," said Rodin, having added the words his master had just dictated, who then said, "Continue." Rodin read on: "`To forward or secure the affair in question, it is necessary to give some private and secret particulars respecting the seven persons who represent this family. "`The truth of these particulars may be relied on. In case of need they might be completed in the most minute degree for contradictory information having been given, very lengthened evidence has been obtained. The order in which the names of the persons stand will be observed, and events that have happened up to the present time will only be mentioned. "`NOTE, No. I. "`Rose and Blanche Simon, twin sisters, about fifteen years of age; very pretty, so much alike, one might be taken for the other; mild and timid disposition, but capable of enthusiasm. Brought up in Siberia by their mother, a woman of strong mind and deistical sentiments, they are wholly ignorant of our holy religion. "`General Simon, separated from his wife before they were born, is not aware, even now, that he has two daughters. "`It was hoped that their presence in Paris, on the 13th of February, would be prevented, by sending their mother to a place of exile, much more distant than the one first allotted her; but their mother dying, the Governor of Siberia, who is wholly ours, supposing, by a deplorable mistake, that the measure only affected the wife of General Simon personally, unfortunately allowed the girls to return to France, under the guidance of an old soldier. "`This man is enterprising, faithful, and determined. He is noted down as dangerous. "`The Simon girls are inoffensive. It is hoped, on fair grounds, that they are now detained in the neighborhood of Leipsic.'" Rodin's master interrupted him, saying: "Now, read the letter just received from Leipsic; it may complete the information." Rodin read it, and exclaimed: "Excellent news! The maidens and their guide had succeeded in escaping during the night from the White Falcon Tavern, but all three were overtaken and seized about a league from Mockern. They have been transferred to Leipsic, where they are imprisoned as vagabonds; their guide, the soldier, is accused and condemned of resisting the authorities, and using violence to a magistrate." "It is almost certain, then, considering the tedious mode of proceeding in Germany (otherwise we would see to it), that the girls will not be able to be here on the 13th February," added Rodin's master. "Append this to the note on the back." The secretary obeyed, and endorsed "An abstract of Morok's letter." "It is written," he then added. "Go on," resumed his master. Rodin continued reading. "`NOTE, No. II. "`Francois Hardy, manufacturer at Plessis, near Paris, forty years old; a steady, rich, intelligent, active, honest, well-informed man, idolized by his workmen--thanks to numberless innovations to promote their welfare. Never attending to the duties of our holy religion. Noted down as a very dangerous man: but the hatred and envy he excites among other manufacturers, especially in M. le Baron Tripeaud, his competitor, may easily be turned against him. If other means of action on his account, and against him, are necessary, the evidence may be consulted; it is very voluminous. This man has been marked and watched for a long time. "`He has been so effectually misguided with respect to the medal, that he is completely deceived as to the interests it represents. He is, however, constantly watched, surrounded, and governed, without suspecting it; one of his dearest friends deceives him, and through his means we know his secret thoughts. "`NOTE, No. III. "`Prince Djalma; eighteen; energetic and generous, haughty, independent and wild; favorite of General Simon, who commanded the troops of his father, Kadja-sing, in the struggle maintained by the latter against the English in India. Djalma is mentioned only by way of reminder, for his mother died young, while her parents were living. They resided at Batavia. On the death of the latter, neither Djalma nor the king, his father, claimed their little property. It is, therefore, certain that they are ignorant of the grave interests connected with the possession of the medal in question, which formed part of the property of Djalma's mother." Rodin's master interrupted him. "Now read the letter from Batavia, and complete the information respecting Djalma." Rodin read, and then observed: "Good news again. Joshua Van Dael, merchant at Batavia (he was educated in our Pondicherry establishment), learns from his correspondent at Calcutta that the old Indian king was killed in the last battle with the English. His son, Djalma, deprived of the paternal throne, is provisionally detained as a prisoner of state in an Indian fortress." "We are at the end of October," said Rodin's master. "If Prince Djalma were to leave India now, he could scarcely reach Paris by the month of February." "Van Dael," continued Rodin, "regrets that he has not been able to prove his zeal in this case. Supposing Prince Djalma set at liberty, or having effected his escape, it is certain he would come to Batavia to claim his inheritance from his mother, since he has nothing else left him in the world. In that case, you may rely on Van Dael's devotedness. In return, he solicits very precise information, by the next post, respecting the fortune of M. le Baron Tripeaud, banker and manufacturer, with whom he has business transactions." "Answer that point evasively. Van Dael as yet has only shown zeal; complete the information respecting Djalma from these new tidings." Rodin wrote. But in a few minutes his master said to him with a singular expression: "Does not Van Dael mention General Simon in connection with Djalma's imprisonment and his father's death?" "He does not allude to him," said the secretary, continuing his task. Rodin's master was silent, and paced the room. In a few moments Rodin said to him: "I have done it." "Go on, then." "`NOTE, No. IV. "'Jacques Rennepont, surnamed "Sleepinbuff," i.e. Lie naked, workman in Baron Tripeaud's factory. This artisan is drunken, idle, noisy, and prodigal; he is not without sense, but idleness and debauch have ruined him. A clever agent, on whom we rely, has become acquainted with his mistress, Cephyse Soliveau, nicknamed the Bacchanal Queen. Through her means, the agent has formed such ties with him that he may even now be considered beyond the reach of the interests that ought to insure his presence in Paris on the 13th of February. "`NOTE, No. V. "`Gabriel Rennepont, priest of foreign missions, distant relation of the above, but he is alike ignorant of the existence of his relative and the relationship. An orphan foundling, he was adopted by Frances Baudoin, the wife of a soldier going by the name Dagobert. "`Should this soldier, contrary to expectation, reach Paris, his wife would be a powerful means of influencing him. She is an excellent creature, ignorant and credulous, of exemplary piety, over whom we have long had unlimited control. She prevailed on Gabriel to take orders, notwithstanding his repugnance. "'Gabriel is five-and-twenty; disposition as angelic as his countenance; rare and solid virtues; unfortunately he was brought up with his adopted brother, Agricola, Dagobert's son. This Agricola is a poet and workman-- but an excellent workman; he is employed by M. Hardy; has imbibed the most detestable doctrines; fond of his mother; honest, laborious, but without religious feeling. Marked as very dangerous. This causes his intimacy with Gabriel to be feared. "`The latter, notwithstanding his excellent qualities, sometimes causes uneasiness. We have even delayed confiding in him fully. A false step might make him, too, one of the most dangerous. Much precaution must be used then, especially till the 13th of February; since, we repeat it, on him, on his presence in Paris at that time, depend immense hopes and equally important interests. "`Among other precautions, we have consented to his taking part in the American mission, for he unites with angelic sweetness of character a calm intrepidity and adventurous spirit which could only be satisfied by allowing him to engage in the perilous existence of the missionaries. Luckily, his superiors at Charlestown have received the strictest orders not to endanger, on any account, so precious a life. They are to send him to Paris, at least a month or two before February 13th."' Rodin's master again interrupted him, and said: "Read the letter from Charlestown, and see what it tells you in order to complete the information upon this point also." When he had read the letter, Rodin went on: "Gabriel is expected every day from the Rocky Mountains, whither he had absolutely insisted on going alone upon a mission." "What imprudence!" "He has no doubt escaped all danger, as he himself announces his speedy return to Charlestown. As soon as he arrives, which cannot (they write) be later than the middle of this month, he will be shipped off for France." "Add this to the note which concerns him," said Rodin's master. "It is written," replied the secretary, a few moments later. "Proceed, then," said his master. Rodin continued "`NOTE, No. VI. "`ADRIENNE RENNEPONT DE CARDOVILLE. "`Distantly related (without knowing it) to Jacques Rennepont, alias Sleepinbuff, and Gabriel Rennepont, missionary priest. She will soon be twenty-one years of age, the most attractive person in the world-- extraordinary beauty, though red-haired--a mind remarkable for its originality--immense fortune--all the animal instincts. The incredible independence of her character makes one tremble for the future fate of this young person. Happily, her appointed guardian, Baron Tripeaud (a baron of 1829 creation, formerly agent to the late Count of Rennepont, Duke of Cardoville), is quite in the interest, and almost in the dependence, of the young lady's aunt. We count, with reason, upon this worthy and respectable relative, and on the Baron Tripeaud, to oppose and repress the singular, unheard-of designs which this young person, as resolute as independent, does not fear to avow--and which, unfortunately, cannot be turned to account in the interest of the affair in question-- for--" Rodin was here interrupted by two discreet taps at the door. The secretary rose, went to see who knocked, remained a moment without, and then returned with two letters in his hand, saying: "The princess has profited by the departure of a courier to--" "Give me the letter!" cried his master, without leaving him time to finish. "At length," he added, "I shall have news of my mother--" He had scarcely read the first few lines of the letter, when he grew deadly pale, and his features took an expression of painful astonishment and poignant grief. "My mother!" he cried, "oh, heavens! my mother!" "What misfortune has happened!" asked Rodin, with a look of alarm, as he rose at the exclamation of his master. "The symptoms of improvement were fallacious," replied the other, dejectedly; "she has now relapsed into a nearly hopeless state. And yet the doctor thinks my presence might save her, for she calls for me without ceasing. She wishes to see me for the last time, that she may die in peace. Oh, that wish is sacred! Not to grant it would be matricide. If I can but arrive in time! Travelling day and night, it will take nearly two days." "Alas! what a misfortune!" said Rodin, wringing his hands, and raising his eyes to heaven. His master rang the bell violently, and said to the old servant that opened tile door: "Just put what is indispensable into the portmanteau of my travelling-carriage. Let the porter take a cab, and go for post- horses instantly. Within an hour, I must be on the road. Mother! mother!" cried he, as the servant departed in haste. "Not to see her again--oh, it would be frightful!" And sinking upon a chair, overwhelmed with sorrow, he covered his face with his hands. This great grief was sincere--he loved tenderly his mother that divine sentiment had accompanied him, unalterable and pure, through all the phases of a too often guilty life. After a few minutes, Rodin ventured to say to his master, as he showed him the second letter: "This, also, has just been brought from M. Duplessis. It is very important--very pressing--" "See what it is, and answer it. I have no head for business." "The letter is confidential," said Rodin, presenting it to his master. "I dare not open it, as you may see by the mark on the cover." At sight of this mark, the countenance of Rodin's master assumed an indefinable expression of respect and fear. With a trembling hand he broke the seal. The note contained only the following words: "Leave all business, and without losing a minute, set out and come. M. Duplessis will replace you. He has orders." "Great God!" cried this man in despair. "Set out before I have seen my mother! It is frightful, impossible--it would perhaps kill her--yes, it would be matricide!" Whilst he uttered these words, his eyes rested on the huge globe, marked with red crosses. A sudden revolution seemed to take place within him; he appeared to repent of the violence of his regrets; his face, though still sad, became once more calm and grave. He handed the fatal letter to his secretary, and said to him, whilst he stifled a sigh: "To be classed under its proper number." Rodin took the letter, wrote a number upon it, and placed it in a particular box. After a moment's silence, his master resumed: "You will take orders from M. Duplessis, and work with him. You will deliver to him the note on the affair of the medals; he knows to whom to address it. You will write to Batavia, Leipsic, and Charlestown, in the sense agreed. Prevent, at any price, the daughters of General Simon from quitting Leipsic; hasten the arrival of Gabriel in Paris; and should Prince Djalma come to Batavia, tell M. Joshua Van Dael, that we count on his zeal and obedience to keep him there." And this man, who, while his dying mother called to him in vain, could thus preserve his presence of mind, entered his own apartments; whilst Rodin busied himself with the answers he had been ordered to write, and transcribed them in cipher. In about three quarters of an hour, the bells of the post-horses were heard jingling without. The old servant again entered, after discreetly knocking at the door, and said: "The carriage is ready." Rodin nodded, and the servant withdrew. The secretary, in his turn, went to knock at the door of the inner room. His master appeared, still grave and cold, but fearfully pale, and holding a letter in his hand. "This for my mother," said he to Rodin; "you will send a courier on the instant." "On the instant," replied the secretary. "Let the three letters for Leipsic, Batavia and Charlestown, leave to-day by the ordinary channel. They are of the last importance. You know it." Those were his last words. Executing merciless orders with a merciless obedience, he departed without even attempting to see his mother. His secretary accompanied him respectfully to his carriage. "What road, sir?" asked the postilion, turning round on his saddle. "The road to ITALY!" answered Rodin's master, with so deep a sigh that it almost resembled a sob. As the horses started at full gallop, Rodin made a low bow; then he returned to the large, cold, bare apartment. The attitude, countenance, and gait of this personage seemed to have undergone a sudden change. He appeared to have increased in dimensions. He was no longer an automaton, moved by the mechanism of humble obedience. His features, till now impassible, his glance, hitherto subdued, became suddenly animated with an expression of diabolical craft; a sardonic smile curled his thin, pale lips, and a look of grim satisfaction relaxed his cadaverous face. In turn, he stopped before the huge globe. In turn, he contemplated it in silence, even as his master had done. Then, bending over it, and embracing it, as it were, in his arms, he gloated with his reptile-eye on it for some moments, drew his coarse finger along its polished surface, and tapped his flat, dirty nail on three of the places dotted with red crosses. And, whilst he thus pointed to three towns, in very different parts of the world, he named them aloud, with a sneer. "Leipsic-- Charlestown--Batavia." "In each of these three places," he added, "distant as they are from one another, there exist persons who little think that here, in this obscure street, from the recesses of this chamber, wakeful eyes are upon them-- that all their movements are followed, all their actions known--and that hence will issue new instructions, which deeply concern them, and which will be inexorably executed; for an interest is at stake, which may have a powerful influence on Europe--on the world. Luckily, we have friends at Leipsic, Charlestown, and Batavia." This funny, old, sordid, ill-dressed man, with his livid and death-like countenance, thus crawling over the sphere before him, appeared still more awful than his master, when the latter, erect and haughty, had imperiously laid his hand upon that globe, which he seemed desirous of subjecting by the strength of his pride and courage. The one resembled the eagle, that hovers above his prey--the other the reptile, that envelops its victim in its inextricable folds. After some minutes, Rodin approached his desk, rubbing his hands briskly together, and wrote the following epistle in a cipher unknown even to his master: "Paris, 3/4 past 9 A.M. "He is gone--but he hesitated! '"When he received the order, his dying mother had just summoned him to her. He might, they told him, save her by his presence; and he exclaimed: `Not to go to my mother would be matricide!' "Still, he is gone--but he hesitated. I keep my eye upon him continually. These lines will reach Rome at the same time as himself. "P.S.--Tell the Cardinal-Prince that he may rely on me, but I hope for his active aid in return." When he had folded and sealed this letter, Rodin put it into his pocket. The clock struck ten, M. Rodin's hour for breakfast. He arranged and locked up his papers in a drawer, of which he carried away the key, brushed his old greasy hat with his sleeve, took a patched umbrella in his hand, and went out. Whilst these two men, in the depths of their obscure retreat, were thus framing a plot, which was to involve the seven descendants of a race formerly proscribed--a strange mysterious defender was planning how to protect this family, which was also his own.  Having cited the excellent, courageous letters of M. Libri, and the curious work edited by M. Paulin, it is our duty likewise to mention many bold and conscientious writings on the subject of the "Society of Jesus," recently published by the elder Dupin, Michelet, Quinet, Genin, and the Count de Saint Priest--works of high and impartial intellects, in which the fatal theories of the order are admirably exposed and condemned. We esteem ourselves happy, if we can bring one stone towards the erection of the strong, and, we hope, durable embankment which these generous hearts and noble minds are raising against the encroachments of an impure and always menacing flood. -E. S.
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