List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V2, by Eugene Sue
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"P.S.--I send you draft on sight on my banker for all expenses.  Spare
nothing.  You know I am quite a grand seigneur.  I must use this
masculine expression, since your sex have exclusively appropriated to
yourselves (tyrants as you are) a term, so significant as it is of noble

"Now, Georgette," said Adrienne; "bring me an envelope, and the letter,
that I may sign it."  Mademoiselle de Cardoville took the pen that
Georgette presented to her, signed the letter, and enclosed in it an
order upon her banker, which was expressed thus:

"Please pay M. Norval, on demand without grace, the sum of money he may
require for expenses incurred on my account.

                                   "ADRIENNE DE CARDOVILLE."

During all this scene, while Georgette wrote, Florine and Hebe had
continued to busy themselves with the duties of their mistress's
toilette, who had put off her morning gown, and was now in full dress, in
order to wait upon the princess, her aunt.  From the sustained and
immovably fixed attention with which Florine had listened to Adrienne's
dictating to Georgette her letter to M. Norval, it might easily have been
seen that, as was her habit indeed, she endeavored to retain in her
memory even the slightest words of her mistress.

"Now, chit," said Adrienne to Hebe, "send this letter immediately to M.

The same silver bell was again rung from without.  Hebe moved towards the
door of the dressing-room, to go and inquire what it was, and also to
execute the order of her mistress as to the letter.  But Florine
precipitated herself, so to speak, before her, and so as to prevent her
leaving the apartment; and said to Adrienne:

"Will it please my lady for me to send this letter?  I have occasion to
go to the mansion."

"Go, Florine, then," said Adrienne, "seeing that you wish it.  Georgette,
seal the letter."

At the end of a second or two, during which Georgette had sealed the
letter, Hebe returned.

"Madame," said she, re-entering, "the working-man who brought back Frisky
yesterday, entreats you to admit him for an instant.  He is very pale,
and he appears quite sad."

"Would that he may already have need of me!  I should be too happy!"
said Adrienne gayly.  "Show the excellent young man into the little
saloon.  And, Florine, despatch this letter immediately."

Florine went out.  Miss de Cardoville, followed by Frisky, entered the
little reception-room, where Agricola awaited her.



When Adrienne de Cardoville entered the saloon where Agricola expected
her, she was dressed with extremely elegant simplicity.  A robe of deep
blue, perfectly fitted to her shape, embroidered in front with
interlacings of black silk, according to the then fashion, outlined her
nymph-like figure, and her rounded bosom.  A French cambric collar,
fastened by a large Scotch pebble, set as a brooch, served her for a
necklace.  Her magnificent golden hair formed a framework for her fair
countenance, with an incredible profusion of long and light spiral
tresses, which reached nearly to her waist.

Agricola, in order to save explanations with his father, and to make him
believe that he had indeed gone to the workshop of M. Hardy, had been
obliged to array himself in his working dress; he had put on a new blouse
though, and the collar of his shirt, of stout linen, very white, fell
over upon a black cravat, negligently tied; his gray trousers allowed his
well polished boots to be seen; and he held between his muscular hands a
cap of fine woolen cloth, quite new.  To sum up, his blue blouse,
embroidered with red, showing off the nervous chest of the young
blacksmith, and indicating his robust shoulders, falling down in graceful
folds, put not the least constraint upon his free and easy gait, and
became him much better than either frock-coat or dress-coat would have
done.  While awaiting Miss de Cardoville, Agricola mechanically examined
a magnificent silver vase, admirably graven.  A small tablet, of the same
metal, fitted into a cavity of its antique stand, bore the words--"Chased
by JEAN MARIE, working chaser, 1831."

Adrienne had stepped so lightly upon the carpet of her saloon, only
separated from another apartment by the doors, that Agricola had not
perceived the young lady's entrance.  He started, and turned quickly
round, upon hearing a silver and brilliant voice say to him--

"That is a beautiful vase, is it not, sir?"

"Very beautiful, madame," answered Agricola greatly embarrassed.

"You may see from it that I like what is equitable." added Miss de
Cardoville, pointing with her finger to the little silver tablet;--"an
artist puts his name upon his painting; an author publishes his on the
title-page of his book; and I contend that an artisan ought also to have
his name connected with his workmanship."

"Oh, madame, so this name?"

"Is that of the poor chaser who executed this masterpiece, at the order
of a rich goldsmith.  When the latter sold me the vase, he was amazed at
my eccentricity, he would have almost said at my injustice, when, after
having made him tell me the name of the author of this production, I
ordered his name to be inscribed upon it, instead of that of the
goldsmith, which had already been affixed to the stand.  In the absence
of the rich profits, let the artisan enjoy the fame of his skill.  Is it
not just, sir?"

It would have been impossible for Adrienne to commence the conversation
more graciously: so that the blacksmith, already beginning to feel a
little more at ease, answered:

"Being a mechanic myself, madame, I cannot but be doubly affected by such
a proof of your sense of equity and justice."

"Since you are a mechanic, sir," resumed Adrienne, "I cannot but
felicitate myself on having so suitable a hearer.  But please to be

With a gesture full of affability, she pointed to an armchair of purple
silk embroidered with gold, sitting down herself upon a tete-d-tete of
the same materials.

Seeing Agricola's hesitation, who again cast down his eyes with
embarrassment, Adrienne, to encourage him, showed him Frisky, and said to
him gayly: "This poor little animal, to which I am very much attached,
will always afford me a lively remembrance of your obliging complaisance,
sir.  And this visit seems to me to be of happy augury; I know not what
good presentiment whispers to me, that perhaps I shall have the pleasure
of being useful to you in some affair."

"Madame," said Agricola, resolutely, "my name is Baudoin: a blacksmith in
the employment of M. Hardy, at Pressy, near the city.  Yesterday you
offered me your purse and I refused it: to-day, I have come to request of
you perhaps ten or twenty times the sum that you had generously proposed.
I have said thus much all at once, madame, because it causes me the
greatest effort.  The words blistered my lips, but now I shall be more at

"I appreciate the delicacy of your scruples, sir," said Adrienne; "but if
you knew me, you would address me without fear.  How much do you

"I do not know, madame," answered Agricola.

"I beg your pardon.  You don't know what sum?"

"No madame; and I come to you to request, not only the sum necessary to
me, but also information as to what that sum is."

"Let us see, sir," said Adrienne, smiling, "explain this to me.  In spite
of my good will, you feel that I cannot divine, all at once, what it is
that is required."

"Madame, in two words, I can state the truth.  I have a food old mother,
who in her youth, broke her health by excessive labor, to enable her to
bring me up; and not only me, but a poor abandoned child whom she had
picked up.  It is my turn now to maintain her; and that I have the
happiness of doing.  But in order to do so, I have only my labor.  If I
am dragged from my employment, my mother will be without support."

"Your mother cannot want for anything now, sir, since I interest myself
for her."

"You will interest yourself for her, madame?"  said Agricola.

"Certainly," replied Adrienne.

"But you don't know her," exclaimed the blacksmith.

"Now I do; yes."

"Oh, madame!" said Agricola, with emotion, after a moment's silence.  "I
understand you.  But indeed you have a noble heart.  Mother Bunch was

"Mother Bunch?" said Adrienne, looking at Agricola with a very surprised
air; for what he said to her was an enigma.

The blacksmith, who blushed not for his friends, replied frankly.

"Madame, permit me to explain, to you.  Mother Bunch is a poor and very
industrious young workwoman, with whom I have been brought up.  She is
deformed, which is the reason why she is called Mother Bunch.  But
though, on the one hand, she is sunk, as low as you are highly elevated
on the other, yet as regards the heart--as to delicacy--oh, lady, I am
certain that your heart is of equal worth with hers!  That was at once
her own thought, after I had related to her in what manner, yesterday,
you had presented me with that beautiful flower."

"I can assure you, sir," said Adrienne, sincerely touched, "that this
comparison flatters and honors me more than anything else that you could
say to me,--a heart that remains good and delicate, in spite of cruel
misfortunes, is so rare a treasure; while it is very easy to be good,
when we have youth and beauty, and to be delicate and generous, when we
are rich.  I accept, then, your comparison; but on condition that you
will quickly put me in a situation to deserve it.  Pray go on,

In spite of the gracious cordiality of Miss de Cardoville, there was
always observable in her so much of that natural dignity which arises
from independence of character, so much elevation of soul and nobleness
of sentiment that Agricola, forgetting the ideal physical beauty of his
protectress, rather experienced for her the emotions of an affectionate
and kindly, though profound respect, which offered a singular and
striking contrast with the youth and gayety of the lovely being who
inspired him with this sentiment.

"If my mother alone, madame, were exposed to the rigor which I dread.  I
should not be so greatly disquieted with the fear of a compulsory
suspension of my employment.  Among poor people, the poor help one
another; and my mother is worshipped by all the inmates of our house, our
excellent neighbors, who would willingly succor her.  But, they
themselves are far from being well off; and as they would incur
privations by assisting her, their little benefit would still be more
painful to my mother than the endurance even of misery by herself.  And
besides, it is not only for my mother that my exertions are required, but
for my father, whom we have not seen for eighteen years, and who has just
arrived from Siberia, where he remained during all that time, from
zealous devotion to his former general, now Marshal Simon."

"Marshal Simon!" said Adrienne, quickly, with an expression of much

"Do you know the marshal, madame?"

"I do not personally know him, but he married a lady of our family."

"What joy!" exclaimed the blacksmith, "then the two young ladies, his
daughters, whom my father has brought from Russia, are your relations!"

"Has Marshal Simon two daughters?" asked Adrienne, more and more
astonished and interested.

"Yes, madame, two little angels of fifteen or sixteen, and so pretty, so
sweet; they are twins so very much alike, as to be mistaken for one
another.  Their mother died in exile; and the little she possessed having
been confiscated, they have come hither with my father, from the depths
of Siberia, travelling very wretchedly; but he tried to make them forget
so many privations by the fervency of his devotion and his tenderness.
My excellent father! you will not believe, madame, that, with the courage
of a lion, he has all the love and tenderness of a mother."

"And where are the dear children, sir?" asked Adrienne.

"At our home, madame.  It is that which renders my position so very hard;
that which has given me courage to come to you; it is not but that my
labor would be sufficient for our little household, even thus augmented;
but that I am about to be arrested."

"About to be arrested?  For what?"

"Pray, madame, have the goodness to read this letter, which has been sent
by some one to Mother Bunch."

Agricola gave to Miss de Cardoville the anonymous letter which had been
received by the workwoman.

After having read the letter, Adrienne said to the blacksmith, with
surprise, "It appears, sir, you are a poet!"

"I have neither the ambition nor the pretension to be one, madame.  Only,
when I return to my mother after a day's toil, and often, even while
forging my iron, in order to divert and relax my attention, I amuse
myself with rhymes, sometimes composing an ode, sometimes a song."

"And your song of the Freed Workman, which is mentioned in this letter,
is, therefore, very disaffected--very dangerous?"

"Oh, no, madame; quite the contrary.  For myself, I have the good fortune
to be employed in the factory of M. Hardy, who renders the condition of
his workpeople as happy as that of their less fortunate comrades is the
reverse; and I had limited myself to attempt, in favor of the great mass
of the working classes, an equitable, sincere, warm, and earnest claim--
nothing more.  But you are aware, perhaps, Madame, that in times of
conspiracy, and commotion, people are often incriminated and imprisoned
on very slight grounds.  Should such a misfortune befall me, what will
become of my mother, my father, and the two orphans whom we are bound to
regard as part of our family until the return of their father, Marshal
Simon?  It is on this account, madame, that, if I remain, I run the risk
of being arrested.  I have come to you to request you to provide surety
for me; so that I should not be compelled to exchange the workshop for
the prison, in which case I can answer for it that the fruits of my labor
will suffice for all."

"Thank the stars!"  said Adrienne, gayly, "this affair will arrange
itself quite easily.  Henceforth, Mr. Poet, you shall draw your
inspirations in the midst of good fortune instead of adversity.  Sad
muse!  But first of all, bonds shall be given for you."

"Oh, madame, you have saved us!"

"To continue," said Adrienne, "the physician of our family is intimately
connected with a very important minister (understand that, as you like,"
said she, smiling, "you will not deceive yourself much).  The doctor
exercises very great influence over this great statesman; for he has
always had the happiness of recommending to him, on account of his
health; the sweets and repose of private life, to the very eve of the day
on which his portfolio was taken from him.  Keep yourself, then,
perfectly at ease.  If the surety be insufficient, we shall be able to
devise some other means.

"Madame," said Agricola, with great emotion, "I am indebted to you for
the repose, perhaps for the life of my mother.  Believe that I shall ever
be grateful."

"That is all quite simple.  Now for another thing.  It is proper that
those who have too much should have the right of coming to the aid of

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