List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V11, by Eugene Sue
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once simple and immense.  For several minutes he was almost choked with
sobs, and tears ran freely down his cheeks.

"Dead! dead!" he murmured, in a half-stifled voice.  "She, who this
morning slept so peacefully in this chamber!  And I have killed her.  Now
that she is dead, what is her treachery to me?  I should not have killed
her for that.  She had betrayed me; she loved the man whom I slew--she
loved him!  Alas! I could not hope to gain the preference," added he,
with a touching mixture of resignation and remorse; "I, poor, untaught
youth--how could I merit her love?  It was my fault that she did not love
me; but, always generous, she concealed from me her indifference, that
she might not make me too unhappy--and for that I killed her.  What was
her crime?  Did she not meet me freely?  Did she not open to me her
dwelling?  Did she not allow me to pass whole days with her?  No doubt
she tried to love me, and could not.  I loved her with all the faculties
of my soul, but my love was not such as she required.  For that, I should
not have killed her.  But a fatal delusion seized me and, after it was
done, I woke as from a dream.  Alas! it was not a dream: I have killed
her.  And yet--until this evening--what happiness I owed to her--what
hope--what joy! She made my heart better, nobler, more generous.  All
came from her," added the Indian, with a new burst of grief.  "That
remained with me--no one could take from me that treasure of the past--
that ought to have consoled me.  But why think of it?  I struck them
both--her and the man--without a struggle.  It was a cowardly murder--the
ferocity of the tiger that tears its innocent prey!"

Djalma buried his face in his hands.  Then, drying his tears, he resumed,
"I know, clearly, that I mean to die also.  But my death will not restore
her to life!"

He rose from the ground, and drew from his girdle Faringhea's bloody
dagger; then, taking the little phial from the hilt, he threw the blood-
stained blade upon the ermine carpet, the immaculate whiteness of which
was thus slightly stained with red.

"Yes," resumed Djalma, holding the phial with a convulsive grasp, "I know
well that I am about to die.  It is right.  Blood for blood; my life for
hers.  How happens it that my steel did not turn aside?  How could I kill
her?--but it is done--and my heart is full of remorse, and sorrow, an
inexpressible tenderness--and I have come here--to die!

"Here, in this chamber," he continued, "the heaven of my burning
visions!"  And then he added, with a heartrending accent, as he again
buried his face in his hands, "Dead! dead!"

"Well! I too shall soon be dead," he resumed, in a firmer voice.  "But,
no! I will die slowly, gradually.  A few drops of the poison will
suffice; and, when I am quite certain of dying, my remorse will perhaps
be less terrible.  Yesterday, she pressed my hand when we parted.  Who
could have foretold me this?"  The Indian raised the phial resolutely to
his lips.  He drank a few drops of the liquor it contained, and replaced
it on a little ivory table close to Adrienne's bed.

"This liquor is sharp and hot," said he.  "Now I am certain to die.  Oh!
that I may still have time to feast on the sight and perfume of this
chamber--to lay my dying head on the couch where she has reposed."

Djalma fell on his knees beside the bed, and leaned against it his
burning brow.  At this moment, the ivory door, which communicated with
the bath-room, rolled gently on its hinges, and Adrienne entered.  The
young lady had just sent away her woman, who had assisted to undress her.
She wore a long muslin wrapper of lustrous whiteness.  Her golden hair,
neatly arranged in little plaits, formed two bands, which gave to her
sweet face an extremely juvenile air.  Her snowy complexion was slightly
tinged with rose-color, from the warmth of the perfumed bath, which she
used for a few seconds every evening.  When she opened the ivory door,
and placed her little naked foot, in its white satin slipper, upon the
ermine carpet, Adrienne was dazzlingly beautiful.  Happiness sparkled in
her eyes, and adorned her brow.  All the difficulties relative to her
union with Djalma had now been removed.  In two days she would be his.
The sight of the nuptial chamber oppressed her with a vague and ineffable
languor.  The ivory door had been opened so gently, the lady's first
steps were so soft upon the fur carpet, that Djalma, still leaning
against the bed, had heard nothing.  But suddenly a cry of surprise and
alarm struck upon his ear.  He turned round abruptly. Adrienne stood
before him.

With an impulse of modesty, Adrienne closed her nightdress over her
bosom, and hastily drew back, still more afflicted than angry at what she
considered a guilty attempt on the part of Djalma.  Cruelly hurt and
offended, she was about to reproach him with his conduct, when she
perceived the dagger, which he had thrown down upon the ermine carpet.
At sight of this weapon, and the expression of fear and stupor which
petrified the features of Djalma, who remained kneeling, motionless, with
his body thrown back, hands stretched out, his eyes fixed and wildly
staring Adrienne, no longer dreading an amorous surprise, was seized with
an indescribable terror, and, instead of flying from the prince, advanced
several steps towards him, and said, in an agitated voice, whilst she
pointed to the kandjiar, "My friend, why are you here? what ails you?
why this dagger?"

Djalma made no answer.  At first, the presence of Adrienne seemed to him
a vision, which he attributed to the excitement of his brain, already (it
might be) under the influence of the poison.  But when the soft voice
sounded in his ears--when his heart bounded with the species of electric
shock, which he always felt when he met the gaze of that woman so
ardently beloved--when he had contemplated for an instant that adorable
face, so fresh and fair, in spite of its expression of deep uneasiness--
Djalma understood that he was not the sport of a dream, but that Mdlle.
de Cardoville was really before his eyes.

Then, as he began fully to grasp the thought that Adrienne was not dead,
though he could not at all explain the prodigy of her resurrection, the
Hindoo's countenance was transfigured, the pale gold of his complexion
became warm and red, his eyes (tarnished by tears of remorse) shone with
new radiance, and his features, so lately contracted with terror and
despair, expressed all the phases of the most ecstatic joy.  Advancing,
still on his knees, towards Adrienne, he lifted up to her his trembling
hands, and, too deeply affected to pronounce a word, he gazed on her with
so much amazement, love, adoration, gratitude, that the young lady,
fascinated by those inexplicable looks, remained mute also, motionless
also, and felt, by the precipitate beating of her heart, and by the
shudder which ran through her frame, that there was here some dreadful
mystery to be unfolded.

At last, Djalma, clasping his hands together, exclaimed with an accent
impossible to describe, "Thou art not dead!"

"Dead!" repeated the young lady, in amazement.

"It was not thou, really not thou, whom I killed?  God is kind and just!"

And as he pronounced these words with intense joy, the unfortunate youth
forgot the victim whom he had sacrificed in error.

More and more alarmed, and again glancing at the dagger en which she now
perceived marks of blood--a terrible evidence, in confirmation of the
words of Djalma--Mdlle. de Cardoville exclaimed, "You have killed some
one, Djalma! Oh! what does he say?  It is dreadful!"

"You are alive--I see you--you are here," said Djalma, in a voice
trembling with rapture.  "You are here--beautiful! pure! for it was not
you! Oh, no! had it been you, the steel would have turned back upon

"You have killed some one?" cried the young lady, beside her with this
unforeseen revelation, and clasping her hands in horror.  "Why? whom did
you kill?"

"I do not know.  A woman that was like you--a man that I thought your
lover--it was an illusion, a frightful dream--you are alive--you are

And the oriental wept for joy.

"A dream? but no, it is not a dream.  There is blood upon that dagger!"
cried the young lady, as she pointed wildly to the kandjiar.  "I tell you
there is blood upon it!"

"Yes.  I threw it down just now, when I took the poison from it, thinking
that I had killed you."

"The poison!" exclaimed Adrienne, and her teeth chattered convulsively.
"What poison?"

"I thought I had killed you, and I came here to die."

"To die?  Oh! wherefore? who is to die?" cried the young lady, almost in

"I," replied Djalma, with inexpressible tenderness, "I thought I had
killed you--and I took poison."

"You!" exclaimed Adrienne, becoming pale as death.  "You!"


"Oh! it is not true!" said the young lady, shaking her head.

"Look!" said the Asiatic.  Mechanically, he turned towards the bed--
towards the little ivory table, on which sparkled the crystal phial.

With a sudden movement, swifter than thought, swifter, it may be, than
the will, Adrienne rushed to the table, seized the phial, and applied it
eagerly to her lips.

Djalma had hitherto remained on his knees; but he now uttered a terrible
cry, made one spring to the drinker's side, and dragged away the phial,
which seemed almost glued to her mouth.

"No matter! I have swallowed as much as you," said Adrienne, with an air
of gloomy triumph.

For an instant, there followed an awful silence.  Adrienne and Djalma
gazed upon each other, mute, motionless, horror-struck.  The young lady
was the first to break this mournful silence, and said in a tone which
she tried to make calm and steady, "Well! what is there extraordinary in
this?  You have killed, and death most expiate your crime.  It is just.
I will not survive you.  That also is natural enough.  Why look at me
thus?  This poison has a sharp taste--does it act quickly! Tell me, my

The prince did not answer.  Shuddering through all his frame, he looked
down upon his hands.  Faringhea had told the truth; a slight violet tint
appeared already beneath the nails.  Death was approaching, slowly,
almost insensibly, but not the less certain.  Overwhelmed with despair at
the thought that Adrienne, too, was about to die, Djalma felt his courage
fail him.  He uttered a long groan, and hid his face in his hands.  His
knees shook under him, and he felt down upon the bed, near which he was

"Already?" cried the young lady in horror, as she threw herself on her
knees at Djalma's feet.  "Death already?  Do you hide your face from me?"

In her fright, she pulled his hands from before his face.  That face was
bathed in tears.

"No, not yet," murmured he, through his sobs.  "The poison is slow."

"Really!" cried Adrienne, with ineffable joy.  Then, kissing the hands of
Djalma, she added tenderly, "If the poison is slow, why do you weep?"

"For you! for you!" said the Indian, in a heart-rending tone.

"Think not of me," replied Adrienne, resolutely.  "You have killed, and
we must expiate the crime.  I know not what has taken place; but I swear
by our love that you did not do evil for evil's sake.  There is some
horrible mystery in all this."

"On a pretence which I felt bound to believe," replied Djalma, speaking
quickly, and panting for breath, "Faringhea led me to a certain house.
Once there, he told me that you had betrayed me.  I did not believe him,
but I know not what strange dizziness seized upon me--and then, through a
half-obscurity, I saw you--"


"No--not you--but a woman resembling you, dressed like you, so that I
believed the illusion--and then there came a man--and you flew to meet
him--and I--mad with rage--stabbed her, stabbed him, saw them fall--and
so came here to die.  And now I find you only to cause your death.  Oh,
misery! misery! that you should die through me!"

And Djalma, this man of formidable energy, began again to weep with the
weakness of a child.  At sight of this deep, touching, passionate
despair, Adrienne, with that admirable courage which women alone possess
in love, thought only of consoling Djalma.  By an effort of superhuman
passion, as the prince revealed to her this infernal plot, the lady's
countenance became so splendid with an expression of love and happiness,
that the East Indian looked at her in amazement, fearing for an instant
that he must have lost his reason.

"No more tears, my adored!" cried the young lady, exultingly.  "No more
tears--but only smiles of joy and love! Our cruel enemies shall not

"What do you say?"

"They wished to make us miserable.  We pity them.  Our felicity shall be
the envy of the world!"

"Adrienne--bethink you--"

"Oh! I have all my senses about me.  Listen to me, my adored!  I now
understand it all.  Falling into a snare, which these wretches spread for
you, you have committed murder.  Now, in this country, murder leads to
infamy, or the scaffold--and to-morrow--to-night, perhaps--you would be
thrown into prison.  But our enemies have said: `A man like Prince Djalma
does not wait for infamy --he kills himself.  A woman like Adrienne de
Cardoville does not survive the disgrace or death of her lover--she
prefers to die.  Therefore a frightful death awaits them both," said the
black-robed men; 'and that immense inheritance, which we covet--'"

"And for you--so young, so beautiful so innocent--death is frightful, and
these monsters triumph!" cried Djalma.  "They have spoken the truth!"

"They have lied!" answered Adrienne.  "Our death shall be celestial.
This poison is slow--and I adore you, my Djalma!"

She spoke those words in a low voice, trembling with passionate love,
and, leaning upon Djalma's knees, approached so near, that he felt her
warm breath upon his cheek.  As he felt that breath, and saw the humid
flame that darted from the large, swimming eyes of Adrienne, whose half-
opened lips were becoming of a still deeper and brighter hue, the Indian
started--his young blood boiled in his veins--he forgot everything--his
despair, and the approach of death, which as yet (as with Adrienne), only
showed itself in a kind of feverish ardor.  His face, like the young
girl's, became once more splendidly beautiful.

"Oh, my lover! my husband! how beautiful you are!" said Adrienne, with
idolatry.  "Those eyes--that brow--those lips--how I love them!--How many
times has the remembrance of your grace and beauty, coupled with your
love, unsettled my reason, and shaken my resolves--even to this moment,
when I am wholly yours!--Yes, heaven wills that we should be united.
Only this morning, I gave to the apostolic man, that was to bless our
union, in thy name and mine, a royal gift--a gift, that will bring joy
and peace to the heart of many an unfortunate creature.  Then what have
we to regret, my beloved?  Our immortal souls will pass away in a kiss,
and ascend, full of love, to that God who is all love!"



The light, transparent curtains fell like a cloud over that nuptial and
funereal couch.  Yes, funereal; for, two hours after, Adrienne and Djalma

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