List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V10, by Eugene Sue
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by the machinations of Rodin.  Thanks to the secret intrigues of the
reverend father at the Courts of Rome and Vienna, one of his emissaries,
in a condition to inspire full confidence, and provided with undeniable
evidence to support his words, went to Marshal Simon, and said to him:
"The son of the emperor is dying, the victim of the fears with which the
name of Napoleon still inspires Europe.

"From this slow expiring, you, Marshal Simon, one of the emperor's most
faithful friends, are able to rescue this unfortunate prince.

"The correspondence in my hand proves that it would be easy to open
relations, of the surest and most secret nature, with one of the most
influential persons about the King of Rome, and this person would be
disposed to favor the prince's escape.

"It is possible, by a bold, unexpected stroke, to deliver Napoleon II.
from the custody of Austria, which would leave him to perish by inches in
an atmosphere that is fatal to him.

"The enterprise may be a rash one, but it has chances of success that you
Marshal Simon, more than any other, could change into certainties; for
your devotion to the emperor is well known, and we remember with what
adventurous audacity you conspired, in 1815, in favor of Napoleon II."

The state of languor and decline of the King of Rome was then in France a
matter of public notoriety.  People even went so far as to affirm that
the son of the hero was carefully trained by priests, who kept him in
complete ignorance of the glory of his paternal name; and that, by the
most execrable machinations, they strove day by day to extinguish every
noble and generous instinct that displayed itself in the unfortunate
youth.  The coldest hearts were touched and softened at the story of so
sad and fatal a destiny.  When we remember the heroic character and
chivalrous loyalty of Marshal Simon, and his passionate devotion to the
emperor, we can understand how the father of Rose and Blanche was more
interested than any one else in the fate of the young prince, and how, if
occasion offered, he would feel himself obliged not to confine his
efforts to mere regrets.  With regard to the reality of the
correspondence produced by Rodin's emissary, it had been submitted by the
marshal to a searching test, by means of his intimacy with one of his old
companions in arms, who had been for a long period on a mission to
Vienna, in the time of the empire.  The result of this investigation,
conducted with as much prudence as address, so that nothing should
transpire, showed that the marshal might give his serious attention to
the advances made him.

Hence, this proposition threw the father of Rose and Blanche into a cruel
perplexity; for, to attempt so bold and dangerous an enterprise, he must
once more abandon his children; whilst, on the contrary, if, alarmed at
this separation, he renounced the endeavor to save the King of Rome,
whose lingering death was perfectly true and well authenticated, the
marshal would consider himself as false to the vow he had sworn to the
emperor.  To end these painful hesitations, full of confidence in the
inflexible uprightness of his father's character, the marshal had gone to
ask his advice; unfortunately the old republican workman, mortally
wounded during the attack on M. Hardy's factory, but still pondering over
the serious communication of his son, died with these words upon his
Lips: "My son, you have a great duty to perform, under pain of not acting
like a man of honor, and of disobeying my last will.  You must, without

But, by a deplorable fatality, the last words, which would have completed
the sense of the old workman's thought, were spoken in so feeble a voice
as to be quite unintelligible.  He died, leaving Marshal Simon in a worse
state of anxiety, as one of the two courses open to him had now been
formally condemned by his father, in whose judgment he had the most
implicit and merited confidence.  In a word, his mind was now tortured by
the doubt whether his father had intended, in the name of honor and duty,
to advise him not to abandon his children, to engage in so hazardous an
enterprise, or whether, on the contrary, he had wished him to leave them
for a time, to perform the vow made to the emperor, and endeavor at least
to rescue Napoleon II. from a captivity that might soon be mortal.

This perplexity, rendered more cruel by certain circumstances, to be
related hereafter, the tragical death of his father, who had expired in
his arms; the incessant and painful remembrance of his wife, who had
perished in a land of exile; and finally, the grief he felt at perceiving
the overgrowing sadness of Rose and Blanche, occasioned severe shocks to
Marshal Simon.  Let us add that, in spite of his natural intrepidity, so
nobly proved by twenty years of war, the ravages of the cholera, the same
terrible malady to which his wife had fallen a victim in Siberia, filled
the marshal with involuntary dread.  Yes, this man of iron nerves, who
had coolly braved death in so many battles, felt the habitual firmness of
his character give way at sight of the scenes of desolation and mourning
which Paris offered at every step.  Yet, when Mdlle. de Cardoville
gathered round her the members of her family, to warn them against the
plot of their enemies, the affectionate tenderness of Adrienne for Rose
and Blanche appeared to exercise so happy an influence on their
mysterious sorrow, that the marshal, forgetting for a moment his fatal
regrets, thought only of enjoying this blessed change, which, alas! was
but of short duration.  Having now recalled these facts to the mind of
the reader, we shall continue our story.



We have stated that Marshal Simon occupied a small house in the Rue des
Trois-Freres.  Two o'clock in the afternoon had just struck in the
marshal's sleeping-chamber, a room furnished with military simplicity.
In the recess, in which stood the bed, hung a trophy composed of the arms
used by the marshal during his campaigns.  On the secretary opposite was
a small bronze bust of the emperor, the only ornament of the apartment.
Out of doors the temperature was far from warm, and the marshal had
become susceptible to cold during his long residence in India.  A good
fire therefore blazed upon the hearth.  A door, concealed by the
hangings, and leading to a back staircase, opened slowly, and a man
entered the chamber.  He carried a basket of wood, and advanced leisurely
to the fireplace, before which he knelt clown, and began to arrange the
logs symmetrically in a box that stood besides the hearth.  After some
minutes occupied in this manner, still kneeling, he gradually approached
another door, at a little distance from the chimney, and appeared to
listen with deep attention, as if he wished to hear what was passing in
the next room.

This man, employed as an inferior servant in the house, had the most
ridiculously stupid look that can be imagined.  His functions consisted
in carrying wood, running errands, etc.  In other respects he was a kind
of laughing-stock to the other servants.  In a moment of good humor,
Dagobert, who filled the post of major-domo, had given this idiot the
name of "Loony" (lunatic), which he had retained ever since, and which he
deserved in every respect, as well for his awkwardness and folly as for
his unmeaning face, with its grotesquely flat nose, sloping chin, and
wide, staring eyes.  Add to this description a jacket of red stuff, and a
triangular white apron, and we must acknowledge that the simpleton was
quite worthy of his name.

Yet, at the moment when Loony listened so attentively at the door of the
adjoining room, a ray of quick intelligence animated for an instant his
dull and stupid countenance.

When he had thus listened for a short time, Loony returned to the
fireplace, still crawling on his knees; then rising, he again took his
basket half full of wood, and once more approaching the door at which he
had listened knocked discreetly.  No one answered.  He knocked a second
time, and more loudly.  Still there was the same silence.

Then he said, in a harsh, squeaking, laughable voice: "Ladies, do you
want any wood, if you please, for your fire?"

Receiving no answer, Loony placed his basket on the ground, opened the
door gently, and entered the next room, after casting a rapid glance
around.  He came out again in a few seconds, looking from side to side
with an anxious air, like a man who had just accomplished some important
and mysterious task.

Taking up his basket, he was about to leave Marshal Simon's room, when
the door of the private staircase was opened slowly and with precaution,
and Dagobert appeared.

The soldier, evidently surprised at the servant's presence, knitted his
brows, and exclaimed abruptly, "What are you doing here?"

At this sudden interrogation, accompanied by a growl expressive of the
ill-humor of Spoil-sport, who followed close on his master's heels, Loony
uttered a cry of real or pretended terror.  To give, perhaps, an
appearance of greater reality to his dread, the supposed simpleton let
his basket fall on the ground, as if astonishment and fear had loosened
his hold of it.

"What are you doing, numbskull?" resumed Dagobert, whose countenance was
impressed with deep sadness, and who seemed little disposed to laugh at
the fellow's stupidity.

"Oh, M. Dagobert! how you frighten me! Dear me! what a pity I had not an
armful of plates, to prove it was not my fault if I broke them all."

"I ask what you are doing," resumed the soldier.

"You see, M. Dagobert," replied Loony, pointing to his basket, "that I
came with some wood to master's room, so that he might burn it, if it was
cold--which it is."

"Very well.  Pick up your wood, and begone!"

"Oh, M. Dagobert! my legs tremble under me.  How you did scare me, to be

"Will you begone, brute?" resumed the veteran; and seizing Loony by the
arm, he pushed him towards the door, while Spoil-sport, with recumbent
ears, and hair standing up like the quills of a porcupine, seemed
inclined to accelerate his retreat.

"I am going, M. Dagobert, I am going," replied the simpleton, as he
hastily gathered up his basket; "only please to tell the dog--"

"Go to the devil, you stupid chatterbox!" cried Dagobert, as he pushed
Loony through the doorway.

Then the soldier bolted the door which led to the private staircase, and
going to that which communicated with the apartments of the two sisters,
he double-locked it.  Having done this, he hastened to the alcove in
which stood the bed and taking down a pair of loaded pistols, he
carefully removed the percussion caps, and, unable to repress a deep
sigh, restored the weapons to the place in which he had found them.
Then, as if on second thoughts, he took down an Indian dagger with a very
sharp blade, and drawing it from its silver-gilt sheath, proceeded to
break the point of this murderous instrument, by twisting it beneath one
of the iron castors of the bed.

Dagobert then proceeded to unfasten the two doors, and, returning slowly
to the marble chimney-piece, he leaned against it with a gloomy and
pensive air.  Crouching before the fire, Spoil-sport followed with an
attentive eye the least movement of his master.  The good dog displayed a
rare and intelligent sagacity.  The soldier, having drawn out his
handkerchief, let fall, without perceiving it, a paper containing a roll
of tobacco.  Spoil-sport, who had all the qualities of a retriever of the
Rutland race, took the paper between his teeth, and, rising upon his
hind-legs, presented it respectfully to Dagobert.  But the latter
received it mechanically, and appeared indifferent to the dexterity of
his dog.  The grenadier's countenance revealed as much sorrow as anxiety.
After remaining for some minutes near the fire, with fixed and meditative
look, he began to walk about the room in great agitation, one of his
hands thrust into the bosom of his long blue frock-coat, which was
buttoned up to the chin, and the other into one of his hind-pockets.

From time to time he stopped abruptly, and seemed to make reply to his
own thoughts, or uttered an exclamation of doubt and uneasiness; then,
turning towards the trophy of arms, he shook his head mournfully, and
murmured, "No matter--this fear may be idle; but he has acted so
extraordinarily these two days, that it is at all events more prudent--"

He continued his walk, and said, after a new and prolonged silence: "Yes
he must tell me.  It makes me too uneasy.  And then the poor children--it
is enough to break one's heart."

And Dagobert hastily drew his moustache between his thumb and forefinger,
a nervous movement, which with him was an evident symptom of extreme
agitation.  Some minutes after, the soldier resumed, still answering his
inward thoughts: "What can it be?  It is hardly possible to be the
letters, they are too infamous; he despises them.  And yet   But no, no--
he is above that!"

And Dagobert again began to walk with hasty steps.  Suddenly, Spoil-sport
pricked up his ears, turned his head in the direction of the staircase
door, and growled hoarsely.  A few seconds after, some one knocked at the

"Who is there?" said Dagobert.  There was no answer, but the person
knocked again.  Losing patience, the soldier went hastily to open it, and
saw the servant's stupid face.

"Why don't you answer, when I ask who knocks!" said the soldier, angrily.

"M. Dagobert, you sent me away just now, and I was afraid of making you
cross, if I said I had come again."

"What do you want?  Speak then--come in, stupid!" cried the exasperated.
Dagobert, as he pulled him into the room.

"M. Dagobert, don't be angry--I'll tell you all about it--it is a young


"He wants to speak to you directly, Mr. Dagobert."

"His name?"

"His name, M. Dagobert?" replied Loony, rolling about and laughing with
an idiotic air.

"Yes, his name.  Speak, idiot!"

"Oh, M. Dagobert! it's all in joke that you ask me his name!"

"You are determined, fool that you are, to drive me out of my senses!"
cried the soldier, seizing Loony by the collar.  "The name of this young

"Don't be angry, M. Dagobert.  I didn't tell you the name because you
know it."

"Beast!" said Dagobert, shaking his fist at him.

"Yes, you do know it, M. Dagobert, for the young man is your own son.  He
is downstairs, and wants to speak to you directly--yes, directly."

The stupidity was so well assumed, that Dagobert was the dupe of it.
Moved to compassion rather than anger by such imbecility, he looked
fixedly at the servant, shrugged his shoulders, and said, as he advanced
towards the staircase, "Follow me!"

Loony obeyed; but, before closing the door, he drew a letter secretly
from his pocket, and dropped it behind him without turning his head,
saying all the while to Dagobert, for the purpose of occupying his
attention: "Your son is in the court, M. Dagobert.  He would not come up
--that's why he is still downstairs!"

Thus talking, he closed the door, believing he had left the letter on the
floor of Marshal Simon's room.  But he had reckoned without Spoil-sport.

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