List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V10, by Eugene Sue
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

torch, I saw an old man beside me.  He wept.  I had seen him before.  He
is a Jew--the keeper of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois--you know
what I mean."  Here the man in the cloak started.

"Yes, I know; but what is the matter? why do you stop short?"

"Because in that house there has been for a hundred and fifty years the
portrait of a man whom I once met in the centre of India, on the banks of
the Ganges." And the man in the cloak again paused and shuddered.

"A singular resemblance, no doubt."

"Yes, my lord, a singular resemblance--nothing more."

"But the Jew--the old Jew?"

"I am coming to that, my lord.  Still weeping, he said to a gravedigger,
`Well! and the coffin?'  `You were right,' answered the man; `I found it
in the second row of the other grave.  It had the figure of a cross on
it, formed by seven black nails.  But how could you know the place and
the mark?'  'Alas! it is no matter,' replied the old Jew, with bitter
melancholy.  `You see that I was but too well informed on the subject.
But where is the coffin?'  `Behind the great tomb of black marble; I have
hidden it there.  So make haste; for, in the confusion, nothing will be
noticed.  You have paid me well, and I wish you to succeed in what you

"And what did the old Jew do with the coffin marked with the seven black

"Two men accompanied him, my lord, bearing a covered litter, with
curtains drawn round it.  He lighted a lantern, and, followed by these
two men, went towards the place pointed out by the gravedigger.  A
stoppage, occasioned by the dead-carts, made me lose sight of the old
Jew, whom I was following amongst the tombs.  Afterwards I was unable to
find him."

"It is indeed a strange affair.  What could this old Jew want with the

"It is said, my lord, that they use dead bodies in preparing their magic

"Those unbelievers are capable of anything--even of holding communication
with the Enemy of mankind.  However, we will look after this: the
discovery may be of importance."

At this instant a clock struck twelve in the distance.

"Midnight! already?"

"Yes, my lord."

"I must be gone.  Good-bye--but for the last time swear to me that,
should matters so turn out, as soon as you receive the other half of the
ivory crucifix I have just given you, you will keep your promise."

"I have sworn it by Bowanee, my lord."

"Don't forget that, to make all sure, the person who will deliver to you
the other half of the crucifix is to say--come, what is he to say?"

"He is to say, my lord: `There is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the

"Very well.  Adieu! secrecy and fidelity!"

"Secrecy and fidelity, my lord," answered the man in the cloak.

Some seconds after the hackney-coach started, carrying with it Cardinal
Malipieri, one of the speakers in the above dialogue.  The other, whom
the reader has no doubt recognized as Faringhea, returned to the little
garden-door of the house occupied by Djalma.  At the moment he was
putting the key into the lock, the door opened, to his great
astonishment, and a man came forth.  Faringhea rushed upon the unknown,
seized him violently by the collar, and exclaimed: "Who are you? whence
came you?"

The stranger evidently found the tone of this question anything but
satisfactory; for, instead of answering, he struggled to disengage
himself from Faringhea's hold, and cried out, in a loud voice: "Help!

Instantly the carriage, which had been standing a few yards off, dashed
up at full speed, and Peter, the tall footman, seizing the half-breed by
the shoulders, flung him back several paces, and thus made a seasonable
diversion in favor of the unknown.

"Now, sir," said the latter to Faringhea, shaking himself, and still
protected by the gigantic footman, "I am in a state to answer your
questions, though you certainly have a very rough way of receiving an old
acquaintance.  I am Dupont, ex-bailiff of the estate of Cardoville, and
it was I who helped to fish you out of the water, when the ship was
wrecked in which you had embarked."

By the light of the carriage-lamps, indeed, the half-caste recognized the
good, honest face of Dupont, formerly bailiff, and now house-steward, to
Mdlle. de Cardoville.  It must not be forgotten that Dupont had been the
first to write to Mdlle. de Cardoville, to ask her to interest herself
for Djalma, who was then detained at Cardoville Castle by the injuries he
had received during the shipwreck.

"But, sir, what is your business here?  Why do you introduce yourself
clandestinely into this house?" said Faringhea, in an abrupt and
suspicious tone.

"I will--just observe to you that there is nothing clandestine in the
matter.  I came here in a carriage, with servants in the livery of my
excellent mistress, Mdlle. de Cardoville, charged by her, without any
disguise or mystery, to deliver a letter to Prince Djalma, her cousin,"
replied Dupont, with dignity.

On these words, Faringhea trembled with mute rage, as he answered: "And
why, sir, come at this late hour, and introduce yourself by this little

"I came at this hour, my dear sir, because such was Mdlle. de
Cardoville's command, and I entered by this little gate because there is
every reason to believe that if I had gone around to the other I should
not have been permitted to see the prince."

"You are mistaken, sir," replied the half-caste.

"It is possible: but as we knew that the prince usually passed a good
portion of the night in the little saloon, which communicates with the
greenhouse, and as Mdlle. de Cardoville had kept a duplicate key of this
door, I was pretty certain, by taking this course, to be able to deliver
into the prince's own hands the letter from Mdlle. de Cardoville, his
cousin, which I have now had the honor of doing, my dear sir; and I have
been deeply touched by the kindness with which the prince deigned to
receive me and to remember our last interview."

"And who kept you so well informed, sir, of the prince's habits?" said
Faringhea, unable to control his vexation.

"If I have been well informed as to his habits, my dear sir, I have had
no such correct knowledge of yours," answered Dupont, with a mocking air;
"for I assure you that I had no more notion of seeing you than you had of
seeing me."

So saying, M. Dupont bowed with something like mock politeness to the
half-caste, and got into the carriage, which drove off rapidly, leaving
Faringhea in a state of the utmost surprise and anger.



The morning after--Dupont's mission to Prince Djalma, the latter was
walking with hasty and impatient step up and down the little saloon,
which communicated, as we already know, with the greenhouse from which
Adrienne had entered when she first appeared to him.  In remembrance of
that day, he had chosen to dress himself as on the occasion in question;
he wore the same tunic of white cashmere, with a cherry-colored turban,
to match with his girdle; his gaiters, of scarlet velvet, embroidered
with silver, displayed the fine form of his leg, and terminated in small
white morocco slippers, with red heels.  Happiness has so instantaneous,
and, as it were, material an influence upon young, lively, and ardent
natures, that Djalma, dejected and despairing only the day before, was no
longer like the same person.  The pale, transparent gold of his
complexion was no longer tarnished by a livid hue.  His large eyes, of
late obscured like black diamonds by a humid vapor, now shone with mild
radiance in the centre of their pearly setting; his lips, long pale, had
recovered their natural color, which was rich and soft as the fine purple
flowers of his country.

Ever and anon, pausing in his hasty walk, he stopped suddenly, and drew
from his bosom a little piece of paper, carefully folded, which he
pressed to his lips with enthusiastic ardor.  Then, unable to restrain
the expression of his full happiness, he uttered a full and sonorous cry
of joy, and with a bound he was in front of the plate-glass which
separated the saloon from the conservatory, in which he had first seen
Mdlle. de Cardoville.  By a singular power of remembrance, or marvellous
hallucination of a mind possessed by a fixed idea, Djalma had often seen,
or fancied he saw, the adored semblance of Adrienne appear to him through
this sheet of crystal.  The illusion had been so complete, that, with his
eyes ardently fixed on the vision he invoked, he had been able, with the
aid of a pencil dipped in carmine, to trace with astonishing exactness,
the profile of the ideal countenance which the delirium of his
imagination had presented to his view.[42]  It was before these delicate
lines of bright carmine that Djalma now stood in deep contemplation,
after perusing and reperusing, and raising twenty times to his lips, the
letter he had received the night before from the hands of Dupont.  Djalma
was not alone.  Faringhea watched all the movements of the prince, with a
subtle, attentive, and gloomy aspect.  Standing respectfully in a corner
of the saloon, the half-caste appeared to be occupied in unfolding and
spreading out Djalma's sash, light, silky Indian web, the brown ground of
which was almost entirely concealed by the exquisite gold and silver
embroidery with which it was overlaid.

The countenance of the half-caste wore a dark and gloomy expression.  He
could not deceive himself.  The letter from Mdlle. de Cardoville,
delivered by Dupont to Djalma, must have been the cause of the delight he
now experienced, for, without doubt, he knew himself beloved.  In that
event, his obstinate silence towards Faringhea, ever since the latter had
entered the saloon, greatly alarmed the half-caste, who could not tell
what interpretation to put upon it.  The night before, after parting with
Dupont, he had hastened, in a state of anxiety easily understood, to look
for the prince, in the hope of ascertaining the effect produced by Mdlle.
de Cardoville's letter.  But he found the parlor door closed, and when he
knocked, he received no answer from within.  Then, though the night was
far advanced, he had dispatched a note to Rodin, in which he informed him
of Dupont's visit and its probable intention.  Djalma had indeed passed
the night in a tumult of happiness and hope, and a fever of impatience
quite impossible to describe.  Repairing to his bed-chamber only towards
the morning, he had taken a few moments of repose, and had then dressed
himself without assistance.

Many times, but in vain, the half-caste had discreetly knocked at the
door of Djalma's apartment.  It was only in the early part of the
afternoon that the prince had rung the bell to order his carriage to be
ready by half-past two.  Faringhea having presented himself, the prince
had given him the order without looking at him, as he might have done to
any other of his servants.  Was this suspicion, aversion, or mere absence
of mind on the part of Djalma?  Such were the questions which the half-
caste put to himself with growing anguish; for the designs of which he
was the most active and immediate instrument might all be ruined by the
least suspicion in the prince.

"Oh! the hours--the hours--how slow they are!" cried the young Indian,
suddenly, in a low and trembling voice.

"The day before yesterday, my lord, you said the hours were very long,"
observed Faringhea, as he drew near Djalma in order to attract his
attention.  Seeing that he did not succeed in this he advanced a few
steps nearer, and resumed: "Your joy seems very great, my lord; tell the
cause of it to your poor and faithful servant, that he also may rejoice
with you."

If he heard the words, Djalma did not pay any attention to them.  He made
no answer, and his large black eyes gazed upon vacancy.  He seemed to
smile admiringly upon some enchanting vision, and he folded his two hands
upon his bosom, in the attitude which his countrymen assume at the hour
of prayer.  After some instants of contemplation, he said: "What o'clock
is it?"--but he asked this question of himself, rather than of any third

"It will soon be two o'clock, my lord," said Faringhea.

Having heard this answer, Djalma seated himself, and hid his face in his
hands, as if completely absorbed in some ineffable meditation.  Urged on
by his growing anxiety, and wishing at any cost to attract the attention
of Djalma, Faringhea approached still nearer to him, and, almost certain
of the effect of the words he was about to utter, said to him in a slow
and emphatic voice: "My lord, I am sure that you owe the happiness which
now transports you to Mdlle. de Cardoville."

Hardly had this name been pronounced, than Djalma started from his chair,
looked the half-breed full in the face, and exclaimed, as if only just
aware of his presence, "Faringhea! you here!--what is the matter?"

"Your faithful servant shares in your joy, my lord."

"What joy?"

"That which the letter of Mdlle. de Cardoville has occasioned, my lord."

Djalma returned no answer, but his eye shone with so much serene
happiness, that the half-caste recovered from his apprehensions.  No
cloud of doubt or suspicion obscured the radiant features of the prince.
After a few moments of silence, Djalma fixed upon the half-caste a look
half-veiled with a tear of joy, and said to him, with the expression of
one whose heart overflows with love and happiness: "Oh! such delight is
good--great--like heaven!--for it is heaven which--"

"You deserve this happiness, my lord, after so many sufferings."

"What sufferings?--Oh! yes.  I formerly suffered at Java; but that was
years ago."

"My lord, this great good fortune does not astonish me.  What have I
always told you?  Do not despair; feign a violent passion for some other
woman, and then this proud young lady--"

At these words Djalma looked at the half-caste with so piercing a glance,
that the latter stopped short; but the prince said to him with
affectionate goodness, "Go on! I listen."

Then, leaning his chin upon his hand, and his elbow on his knee, he gazed
so intently on Faringhea, and yet with such unutterable mildness, that
even that iron soul was touched for a moment with a slight feeling of

"I was saying, my lord," he resumed, "that by following the counsels of
your faithful slave, who persuaded you to feign a passionate love for
another woman, you have brought the proud Mdlle. de Cardoville to come to
you.  Did I not tell you it would be so?"

"Yes, you did tell me so," answered Djalma, still maintaining the same
position, and examining the half-caste with the same fixed and mild

The surprise of Faringhea increased; generally, the prince, without
treating him with the least harshness, preserved the somewhat distant and
imperious manners of their common country, and he had never before spoken
to him with such extreme mildness.  Knowing all the evil he had done the
prince, and suspicious as the wicked must ever be, the half-caste thought
for a moment, that his master's apparent kindness might conceal a snare.
He continued, therefore, with less assurance, "Believe me, my lord, this

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: