List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V10, by Eugene Sue
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silence, "are not the worst griefs those which we dare not avow to any
one, for fear of raillery and contempt?  How can we venture to ask
interest or pity, for sufferings that we hardly dare avow to ourselves,
because they make us blush?"

The sewing-girl could hardly believe what she heard.  Had her
benefactress felt, like her, the effects of an unfortunate passion, she
could not have held any other language.  But the sempstress could not
admit such a supposition; so, attributing to some other cause the sorrows
of Adrienne, she answered mournfully, whilst she thought of her own fatal
love for Agricola, "Oh! yes, lady.  A secret grief, of which we are
ashamed, must be frightful--very frightful!"

"But then what happiness to meet, not only a heart noble enough to
inspire complete confidence, but one which has itself been tried by a
thousand sorrows, and is capable of affording you pity, support and
counsel!--Tell me, my dear child," added Mdlle. de Cardoville, as she
looked attentively at Mother Bunch, "if you were weighed down by one of
those sorrows, at which one blushes, would you not be happy, very happy,
to find a kindred soul, to whom you might entrust your griefs, and half
relieve them by entire and merited confidence?"

For the first time in her life, Mother Bunch regarded Mdlle. de
Cardoville with a feeling of suspicion and sadness.

The last words of the young lady seemed to her full of meaning
"Doubtless, she knows my secret," said Mother Bunch to herself;
"doubtless, my journal has fallen into her hands.--She knows my love for
Agricola, or at least suspects it.  What she has been saying to me is
intended to provoke my confidence, and to assure herself if she has been
rightly informed."

These thoughts excited in the workgirl's mind no bitter or ungrateful
feeling towards her benefactress; but the heart of the unfortunate girl
was so delicately susceptible on the subject of her fatal passion, that,
in spite of her deep and tender affection for Mdlle. de Cardoville, she
suffered cruelly at the thought of Adrienne's being mistress of her



The fancy, at first so painful, that Mdlle. de Cardoville was informed of
her love for Agricola was soon exchanged in the hunchbacks heart, thanks
to the generous instincts of that rare and excellent creature, for a
touching regret, which showed all her attachment and veneration for

"Perhaps," said Mother Bunch to herself, "conquered by the influence of
the adorable kindness of my protectress, I might have made to her a
confession which I could make to none other, and revealed a secret which
I thought to carry with me to my grave.  It would, at least, have been a
mark of gratitude to Mdlle. de Cardoville; but, unfortunately, I am now
deprived of the sad comfort of confiding my only secret to my
benefactress.  And then--however generous may be her pity for me, however
intelligent her affection, she cannot--she, that is so fair and so much
admired--she cannot understand how frightful is the position of a
creature like myself, hiding in the depth of a wounded heart, a love at
once hopeless and ridiculous.  No, no--in spite of the delicacy of her
attachment, my benefactress must unconsciously hurt my feelings, even
whilst she pities me--for only sympathetic sorrows can console each
other.  Alas! why did she not leave me to die?"

These reflections presented themselves to the thinker's mind as rapidly
as thought could travel.  Adrienne observed her attentively; she remarked
that the sewing-girl's countenance, which had lately brightened up, was
again clouded, and expressed a feeling of painful humiliation.  Terrified
at this relapse into gloomy dejection, the consequences of which might be
serious, for Mother Bunch was still very weak, and, as it were, hovering
on the brink of the grave, Mdlle. de Cardoville resumed hastily: "My
friend, do not you think with me, that the most cruel and humiliating
grief admits of consolation, when it can be entrusted to a faithful and
devoted heart?"

"Yes, lady," said the young sempstress, bitterly; "but the heart which
suffers in silence, should be the only judge of the moment for making so
painful a confession.  Until then, it would perhaps be more humane to
respect its fatal secret, even if one had by chance discovered it."

"You are right, my child," said Adrienne, sorrowfully, "if I choose this
solemn moment to entrust you with a very painful secret, it is that, when
you have heard me, I am sure you will set more value on your life, as
knowing how much I need your tenderness, consolation, and pity."

At these words, the other half raised herself on the mattress, and looked
at Mdlle. de Cardoville in amazement.  She could scarcely believe what
she heard; far from designing to intrude upon her confidence, it was her
protectress who was to make the painful confession, and who came to
implore pity and consolation from her!

"What!" stammered she; "you, lady!"

"I come to tell you that I suffer, and am ashamed of my sufferings.
Yes," added the young lady, with a touching expression, "yes--of all
confessions, I am about to make the most painful--I love--and I blush for
my love."

"Like myself!" cried Mother Bunch, involuntarily, clasping her hands

"I love," resumed Adrienne, with a long-pent-up grief; "I love, and am
not beloved--and my love is miserable, is impossible--it consumes me--it
kills me--and I dare not confide to any one the fatal secret!"

"Like me," repeated the other, with a fixed look.  "She--a queen in
beauty, rank, wealth, intelligence--suffers like me.  Like me, poor
unfortunate creature! she loves, and is not loved again."

"Well, yes! like you, I love and am not loved again," cried Mdlle. de
Cardoville; "was I wrong in saying, that to you alone I could confide my
secret--because, having suffered the same pangs, you alone can pity

"Then, lady," said Mother Bunch, casting down her eyes, and recovering
from her first amazement, "you knew--"

"I knew all, my poor child--but never should I have mentioned your
secret, had I not had one to entrust you with, of a still more painful
nature.  Yours is cruel, but mine is humiliating.  Oh, my sister!" added
Mdlle. de Cardoville, in a tone impossible to describe, "misfortune, you,
see, blends and confounds together what are called distinctions of rank
and fortune--and often those whom the world envies are reduced by
suffering far below the poorest and most humble, and have to seek from
the latter pity and consolation."

Then, drying her tears, which nosy flowed abundantly, Mdlle. de
Cardoville resumed, in a voice of emotion: "Come, sister! courage,
courage! let us love and sustain each other.  Let this sad and mysterious
bond unite us forever."

"Oh, lady! forgive me.  But now that you know the secret of my life,"
said the workgirl, casting down her eyes, and unable to vanquish her
confusion, "it seems to me, that I can never look at you without

"And why? because you love Agricola?" said Adrienne.  "Then I must die of
shame before you, since, less courageous than you, I had not the strength
to suffer and be resigned, and so conceal my love in the depths of my
heart.  He that I love, with a love henceforth deprived of hope, knew of
that love and despised it--preferring to me a woman, the very choice of
whom was a new and grievous insult, if I am not much deceived by
appearances.  I sometimes hope that I am deceived on this point.  Now
tell me--is it for you to blush?"

"Alas, lady! who could tell you all this?"

"Which you only entrusted to your journal?  Well, then--it was the dying
Florine who confessed her misdeeds.  She had been base enough to steal
your papers, forced to this odious act, by the people who had dominion
over her.  But she had read your journal--and as every good feeling was
not dead within her, your admirable resignation, your melancholy and
pious love, had left such an impression on her mind, that she was able to
repeat whole passages to me on her death bed, and thus to explain the
cause of your sudden disappearance--for she had no doubt that the fear of
seeing your love for Agricola divulged had been the cause of your

"Alas! it is but too true, lady."

"Oh, yes!" answered Adrienne, bitterly; "those who employed the wretched
girl to act as she did, well knew the effect of the blow.  It was not
their first attempt.  They reduced you to despair, they would have killed
you, because you were devoted to me, and because you had guessed their
intentions.  Oh! these black-gowns are implacable, and their power is
great!" said Adrienne, shuddering.

"It is fearful, lady."

"But do not be alarmed, dear child; you see, that the arms of the wicked
have turned against themselves; for the moment I knew the cause of your
flight, you became dearer to me than ever.  From that time I made every
exertion to find out where you were; after long efforts, it was only this
morning that the person I had employed succeeded in discovering that you
inhabited this house.  Agricola was with me when I heard it, and
instantly asked to accompany me."

"Agricola!" said Mother Bunch, clasping her hands; "he came--"

"Yes, my child--be calm.  Whilst I attended to you, he was busy with your
poor sister.  You will soon see him."

"Alas, lady!" resumed the hunchback, in alarm.  "He doubtless knows--"

"Your love! No, no; be satisfied.  Only think of the happiness of again
seeing your good and worthy brother."

"Ah, lady! may he never know what caused me so much shame, that I was
like to die of it.  Thank God, he is not aware of it!"

"Then let us have no more sad thoughts, my child.  Only remember, that
this worthy brother came here in time to save us from everlasting
regrets--and you from a great fault.  Oh! I do not speak of the
prejudices of the world, with regard to the right of every creature to
return to heaven a life that has become too burdensome!--I only say that
you ought not to have died, because those who love you, and whom you
love, were still in need of your assistance."

"I thought you happy; Agricola was married to the girl of his choice, who
will, I am sure, make him happy.  To whom could I be useful?"

"First, to myself, as you see--and then, who tells you that Agricola will
never have need of you?  Who tells you, that his happiness, or that of
his family, will last forever, and will not be tried by cruel shocks?
And even if those you love had been destined to be always happy, could
their happiness be complete without you?  And would not your death, with
which they would perhaps have reproached themselves, have left behind it
endless regrets?"

"It is true, lady," answered the other, "I was wrong--the dizziness of
despair had seized me--frightful misery weighed upon us--we had not been
able to find work for some days--we lived on the charity of a poor woman,
and her the cholera carried off.  To-morrow or next day, we must have
died of hunger."

"Die of hunger!--and you knew where I lived!"

"I had written to you, lady, and receiving no answer, I thought you
offended at my abrupt departure."

"Poor, dear child! you must have been, as you say, seized with dizziness
in that terrible moment; so that I have not the courage to reproach you
for doubting me a single instant.  How can I blame you?  Did I not myself
think of terminating my life?"

"You, lady!" cried the hunchback.

"Yes, I thought of it--when they came to tell me, that Florine, dying,
wished to speak to me.  I heard what she had to say; her revelations
changed my projects.  This dark and mournful life which had become
insupportable to me, was suddenly lighted up.  The sense of duty woke
within me.  You were no doubt a prey to horrible misery; it was my duty
to seek and save you.  Florine's confessions unveiled to me the new plots
of the enemies of my scattered family, dispersed by sorrows and cruel
losses; it was my duty to warn them of their danger, and to unite them
against the common enemy.  I had been the victim of odious manoeuvres: it
was my duty to punish their authors, for fear that, encouraged by
impunity, these black-gowns should make other victims.  Then the sense of
duty gave me strength, and I was able to rouse myself from my lethargy.
With the help of Abbe Gabriel, a sublime, oh! a sublime priest--the ideal
of a true Christian--the worthy brother of Agricola--I courageously
entered on the struggle.  What shall I say to you, my child?  The
performance of these duties, the hope of finding you again, have been
some relief to me in my trouble.  If I was not consoled, I was at least
occupied.  Your tender friendship, the example of your resignation, will
do the rest--I think so--I am sure so--and I shall forget this fatal

At the moment Adrienne pronounced these words, rapid footsteps were heard
upon the stairs, and a young, clear voice exclaimed: "Oh! dear me, poor
Mother Bunch! How lucky I have come just now! If only I could be of some
use to her!"

Almost immediately, Rose-Pompon entered the garret with precipitation.
Agricola soon followed the grisette, and pointing to the open window,
tried to make Adrienne understand by signs, that she was not to mention
to the girl the deplorable end of the Bacchanal Queen.  This pantomime
was lost on Mdlle. de Cardoville.  Adrienne's heart swelled with grief,
indignation, pride, as she recognized the girl she had seen at the Porte-
Saint-Martin in company with Djalma, and who alone was the cause of the
dreadful sufferings she endured since that fatal evening.  And, strange
irony of fate! it was at the very moment when Adrienne had just made the
humiliating and cruel confession of her despised love, that the woman, to
whom she believed herself sacrificed, appeared before her.

If the surprise of Mdlle. de Cardoville was great, Rose-Pompon's was not
less so.  Not only did she recognize in Adrienne the fair young lady with
the golden locks, who had sat opposite to her at the theatre, on the
night of the adventure of the black panther, but she had serious reasons
for desiring most ardently this unexpected interview.  It is impossible
to paint the look of malignant joy and triumph, that she affected to cast
upon Adrienne.  The first impulse of Mdlle. de Cardoville was to quit the
room.  But she could not bear to leave Mother Bunch at this moment, or to
give, in the presence of Agricola, her reasons for such an abrupt
departure, and moreover, an inexplicable and fatal curiosity held her
back, in spite of her offended pride.  She remained, therefore, and was
about to examine closely, to hear and to judge, this rival, who had
nearly occasioned her death, to whom, in her jealous agony, she had
ascribed so many different aspects, in order to explain Djalma's love for
such a creature.



Rose-Pompon, whose presence caused such deep emotion in Mdlle. de
Cardoville, was dressed in the most showy and extravagant bad taste.  Her
very small, narrow, rose-colored satin bonnet, placed so forward over her
face as almost to touch the tip of her little nose, left uncovered behind

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