List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V11, by Eugene Sue
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people who inspire us with such ideas."

"Good Dagobert, it is your affection for us that makes you so
suspicious," said Rose, in a coaxing tone; "it proves how much you love



Among a great number of temporary hospitals opened at the time of the
cholera in every quarter of Paris, one had been established on the
ground-floor of a large house in the Rue du Mont-Blanc.  The vacant
apartments had been generously placed by their proprietor at the disposal
of the authorities; and to this place were carried a number of persons,
who, being suddenly attacked with the contagion, were considered in too
dangerous a state to be removed to the principal hospitals.

Two days had elapsed since Rodin's visit to Marshal Simon's daughters.
Shortly after he had been expelled, the Princess de Saint-Dizier had
entered to see them, under the cloak of being a house-to-house visitor to
collect funds for the cholera sufferers.

Choosing the moment when Dagobert, deceived by her lady-like demeanor,
had withdrawn, she counselled the twins that it was their duty to go and
see their governess, whom she stated to be in the hospital we now

It was about ten o'clock in the morning.  The persons who had watched
during the night by the sick people, in the hospital established in the
Rue du Mont-Blanc, were about to be relieved by other voluntary

"Well, gentlemen," said one of those newly arrived, "how are we getting
on?  Has there been any decrease last night in the number of the sick?"

"Unfortunately, no; but the doctors think the contagion has reached its

Then there is some hope of seeing it decrease."

"And have any of the gentlemen, whose places we come to take, been
attacked by the disease?"

"We came eleven strong last night; we are only nine now."

"That is bad.  Were these two persons taken off rapidly?"

"One of the victims, a young man of twenty-five years of age, a cavalry
officer on furlough, was struck as it were by lightning.  In less than a
quarter of an hour he was dead.  Though such facts are frequent, we were
speechless with horror."

"Poor young man!"

"He had a word of cordial encouragement and hope for every, one.  He had
so far succeeded in raising the spirits of the patients, that some of
them who were less affected by the cholera than by the fear of it, were
able to quit the hospital nearly well."

"What a pity! So good a young man!  Well, he died gloriously; it requires
as much courage as on the field of battle."

"He had only one rival in zeal and courage, and that is a Young priest,
with an angelic countenance, whom they call the Abbe Gabriel.  He is
indefatigable; he hardly takes an hour's rest, but runs from one to the
other, and offers himself to everybody.  He forgets nothing.  The
consolation; which he offers come from the depths of his soul, and are
not mere formalities in the way of his profession.  No, no, I saw him
weep over a poor woman, whose eyes he had closed after a dreadful agony.
Oh, if all priests were like him!"

"No doubt, a good priest is most worthy of respect.  But! who is the
other victim of last night?"

"Oh! his death was frightful.  Do not speak of it.  I have still the
horrible scene before my eyes."

"A sudden attack of cholera?"

"If it had only been the contagion, I should not so shudder at the

"What then did he die of?"

"It is a string of horrors.  Three days ago, they brought here a man, who
was supposed to be only attacked with cholera.  You have no doubt heard
speak of this personage.  He is the lion-tamer, that drew all Paris to
the Porte-Saint-Martin."

"I know the man you mean.  Called Morok.  He performed a kind of play
with a tame panther."

"Exactly so; I was myself present at a similar scene, which a stranger,
an Indian, in consequence of a wager, was said at the time, jumped upon
the stage and killed the panther."

"Well, this Morok, brought here as a cholera-patient, and indeed with all
the symptoms of the contagion, soon showed signs of a still more
frightful malady."

"And this was--"


"Did he become mad?"

"Yes; he confessed, that he had been bitten a few days before by one of
the mastiffs in his menagerie; unfortunately, we only learnt this
circumstance after the terrible attack, which cost the life of the poor
fellow we deplore."

"How did it happen, then?"

"Morok was in a room with three other patients.  Suddenly seized with a
sort of furious delirium, he rose, uttering ferocious cries, and rushed
raving mad into the passage.  Our poor friend made an attempt to stop
him.  This kind of resistance increased the frenzy of Morok, who threw
himself on the man that crossed his path, and, tearing him with his
teeth, fell down in horrible convulsions."

"Oh! you are right.  'Twas indeed frightful.  And, not withstanding every
assistance this victim of Morok's--"

"Died during the night, in dreadful agony; for the shock had been so
violent, that brain-fever almost instantly declared itself."

"And is Morok dead?"

"I do not know.  He was to be taken to another hospital, after being fast
bound in the state of weakness which generally succeeds the fit.  But,
till he can be removed he has been confined in a room upstairs."

"But he cannot recover."

"I should think he must be dead by this time.  The doctors did not give
him twenty-four hours to live."

The persons engaged in this conversation were standing in an ante-chamber
on the ground-floor, in which usually assembled those who came to offer
their voluntary aid to the sick.  One door of this room communicated with
the rest of the hospital, and the other with the passage that opened upon
the courtyard.

"Dear me!" said one of the two speakers, looking through the window.
"See what two charming girls have just got out of that elegant carriage.
How much alike they are!  Such a resemblance is indeed extraordinary."

"No doubt they are twins.  Poor young girls! dressed in Mourning.  They
have perhaps lost father or mother."

"One would imagine they are coming this way."

"Yes, they are coming up the steps."

And indeed Rose and Blanche soon entered the antechamber, with a timid,
anxious air, though a sort of feverish excitement was visible in their
looks.  One of the two men that were talking together, moved by the
embarrassment of the girls, advanced toward them, and said, in a tone of
attentive politeness: "Is there anything I can do for you, ladies?"

"Is not this, sir," replied Rose, "the infirmary of the Rue du Mont-

"Yes, miss."

"A lady, called Madame Augustine du Tremblay, was brought here, we are
told, about two days ago.  Could we see her?"

"I would observe to you, miss, that there is some danger in entering the

It is a dear friend that we wish to see," answered Rose, in a mild and
firm tone, which sufficiently expressed that she was determined to brave
the danger.

"I cannot be sure, miss," resumed the other, "that the person you seek is
here; but, if you will take the trouble to walk into this room on the
left, you will find there the good Sister Martha; she has the care of the
women's wards, and will give you all the information you can desire."

"Thank you, sir," said Blanche, with a graceful bow; and she and her
sister entered together the apartment which had been pointed out to them.

"They are really charming," said the man, looking after the two sisters,
who soon disappeared from his view.  "It would be a great pity if--"

He was unable to finish.  A frightful tumult, mingled with cries of alarm
and horror, rose suddenly from the adjoining rooms.  Almost instantly,
two doors were thrown open, and a number of the sick, half-naked, pale,
fleshless, and their features convulsed with terror, rushed into the
antechamber, exclaiming: "Help! help! the madman!"  It is impossible to
paint the scene of despairing and furious confusion which followed this
panic of so many affrighted wretches, flying to the only other door, to
escape from the perils they dreaded, and there, struggling and trampling
on each other to pass through the narrow entrance.

At the moment when the last of these unhappy creatures succeeded in
reaching the door, dragging himself along upon his bleeding hands, for he
had been thrown down and almost crushed in the confusion--Morok, the
object of so much terror--Morok himself appeared.  He was a horrible
sight.  With the exception of a rag bound about his middle, his wan form
was entirely naked, and from his bare legs still hung the remnants of the
cords he had just broken.  His thick, yellow hair stood almost on end,
his beard bristled, his savage eyes rolled full of blood in their orbits,
and shone with a glassy brightness; his lips were covered with foam; from
time to time, he uttered hoarse, guttural cries.  The veins, visible on
his iron limbs were swollen almost to bursting.  He bounded like a wild
beast, and stretched out before him his bony and quivering hands.  At the
moment Morok reached the doorway, by which those he pursued made their
escape, some persons, attracted by the noise, managed to close this door
from without, whilst others secured that which communicated with the

Morok thus found himself a prisoner.  He ran to the window to force it
open, and threw himself into the courtyard.  But, stopping suddenly, he
drew back from the glittering panes, seized with that invincible horror
which all the victims of hydrophobia feel at the sight of any shining
object, particularly glass.  The unfortunate creatures whom he had
pursued, saw him from the courtyard exhausting himself in furious efforts
to open the doors that just had been closed upon him.  Then, perceiving
the inutility of his attempts, he uttered savage cries, and rushed
furiously round the room, like a wild beast that seeks in vain to escape
from its cage.

But, suddenly, those spectators of this scene, who had approached nearest
to the window, uttered a loud exclamation of fear and anguish.  Morok had
perceived the little door which led to the closet occupied by Sister
Martha, where Rose and Blanche had entered a few minutes before.  Hoping
to get out by this way, Morok drew the door violently towards him, and
succeeded in half opening it, notwithstanding the resistance he
experienced from the inside.  For an instant the affrighted crowd saw the
stiffened arms Of Sister Martha and the orphans, clinging to the door,
and holding it back with all their might.



When the sick people, assembled in the courtyard, saw the desperate
efforts of Morok to force the door of the room which contained Sister
Martha and the orphans, their fright redoubled.  "It is all over, Sister
Martha!" cried they.

"The door will give way."

"And the closet has no other entrance."

"There are two young girls in mourning with her."

"Come! we must not leave these poor women to encounter the madman.
Follow me, friends!" cried generously one of the spectators, who was
still blessed with health, and he rushed towards the steps to return to
the ante-chamber.

"It's too late! it's only exposing yourself in vain," cried many persons,
holding him back by force.

At this moment, voices were heard, exclaiming: "Here is the Abbe

"He is coming downstairs.  He has heard the noise."

"He is asking what is the matter."

"What will he do?"

Gabriel, occupied with a dying person in a neighboring room, had, indeed,
just learned that Morok, having broken his bonds, had succeeded in
escaping from the chamber in which he had been temporarily confined.
Foreseeing the terrible dangers which might result from the escape of the
lion-tamer, the missionary consulted only his courage, and hastened down,
in the hope of preventing greater misfortunes.  In obedience to his
orders, an attendant followed him, bearing a brazier full of hot cinders,
on which lay several irons, at a white heat, used by the doctors for
cauterizing, in desperate cases of cholera.

The angelic countenance of Gabriel was very pale; but calm intrepidity
shone upon his noble brow.  Hastily crossing the passage, and making his
way through the crowd, he went straight to the ante-chamber door.  As he
approached it, one of the sick people said to him, in a lamentable voice;
"Ah, sir! it is all over.  Those who can see through the window say that
Sister Martha is lost."

Gabriel made no answer, but grasped the key of the door.  Before entering
the room, however, he turned to the attendant, and said to him in a firm
voice: "Are the irons of a white heat?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then wait here, and be ready.  As for you, my friends," he added,
turning to some of the sick, who shuddered with terror, "as soon as I
enter shut the door after me.  I will answer for the rest.  And you;
friend, only bring your irons when I call."

And the young missionary turned the key in the lock.  At this juncture, a
cry of alarm, pity, and admiration rose from every lip, and the
spectators drew back from the door, with an involuntary feeling of fear.
Raising his eyes to heaven, as if to invoke its assistance at this
terrible moment, Gabriel pushed open the door, and immediately closed it
behind him.  He was alone with Morok.

The lion-tamer, by a last furious effort, had almost succeeded in opening
the door, to which Sister Martha and the orphans were clinging, in a fit
of terror, uttering piercing cries.  At the sound of Gabriel's footsteps,
Morok turned round suddenly.  Then, instead of continuing his attack on
the closet, he sprang, with a roar and a bound, upon the new-comer.

During this time, Sister Martha and the orphans, not knowing the cause of
the sudden retreat of their assailant, took advantage of the opportunity
to close and bolt the door, and thus placed themselves in security from a
new attack.  Morok, with haggard eye, and teeth convulsively clinched,
had rushed upon Gabriel, his hands extended to seize him by the throat.
The missionary stood the shock valiantly.  Guessing, at a glance, the
intention of his adversary, he seized him by the wrists as he advanced,
and, holding him back, bent him down violently with a vigorous hand.  For
a second, Morok and Gabriel remained mute, breathless, motionless, gazing
on each other; then the missionary strove to conquer the efforts of the
madman, who, with violent jerks, attempted to throw himself upon him, and
to seize and tear him with his teeth.

Suddenly the lion-tamer's strength seemed to fail, his knees quivered,
his livid head sank upon his shoulder, his eyes closed.  The missionary,
supposing that a momentary weakness had succeeded to the fit of rage, and
that the wretch was about to fall, relaxed his hold in order to lend him
assistance.  But no sooner did he feel himself at liberty, thanks to his
crafty device, than Morok flung himself furiously upon Gabriel.
Surprised by this sudden attack, the latter stumbled, and at once felt
himself clasped into the iron arms of the madman.  Yet, with redoubled
strength and energy, struggling breast to breast, foot to foot, the

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