List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V2, by Eugene Sue
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these hesitations, he lost much precious time: at any moment, Djalma,
whose vigor, skill, and courage were known and feared, might awake from
his sleep, and, though unarmed, he would prove a terrible adversary.  At
length the Thug made up his mind; with a suppressed sigh of regret, he
set about accomplishing his task.

This task would have appeared impossible to any one else.  The reader may

Djalma, with his face turned towards the left, leaned his head upon his
curved arm.  It was first necessary, without waking him, to oblige him to
turn his face towards the right (that is, towards the door), so that, in
case of his being half-roused, his first glance might not fall upon the
Strangler.  The latter, to accomplish his projects, would have to remain
many minutes in the cabin.

The heavens became darker; the heat arrived at its last degree of
intensity; everything combined to increase the torpor of the sleeper, and
so favor the Strangler's designs.  Kneeling down close to Djalma, he
began, with the tips of his supple, well-oiled fingers, to stroke the
brow, temples, and eyelids of the young Indian, but with such extreme
lightness, that the contact of the two skins was hardly sensible.  When
this kind of magnetic incantation had lasted for some seconds, the sweat,
which bathed the forehead of Djalma, became more abundant: he heaved a
smothered sigh, and the muscles of his face gave several twitches, for
the strokings, although too light to rouse him, yet caused in him a
feeling of indefinable uneasiness.

Watching him with his restless and burning eye, the Strangler continued
his maneuvers with so much patience, that Djalma, still sleeping, but no
longer able to bear this vague, annoying sensation, raised his right hand
mechanically to his face, as if he would have brushed away an importunate
insect.  But he had not strength to do it; almost immediately after, his
hand, inert and heavy, fell back upon his chest.  The Strangler saw, by
this symptom, that he was attaining his object, and continued to stroke,
with the same address, the eyelids, brow, and temples.

Whereupon Djalma, more and more oppressed by heavy sleep, and having
neither strength nor will to raise his hand to his face, mechanically
turned round his head, which fell languidly upon his right shoulder,
seeking by this change of attitude, to escape from the disagreeable
sensation which pursued him.  The first point gained, the Strangler could
act more freely.

To render as profound as possible the sleep he had half interrupted, he
now strove to imitate the vampire, and, feigning the action of a fan, he
rapidly moved his extended hands about the burning face of the young
Indian.  Alive to a feeling of such sudden and delicious coolness, in the
height of suffocating heat, the countenance of Djalma brightened, his
bosom heaved, his half-opened lips drank in the grateful air, and he fell
into a sleep only the more invincible, because it had been at first
disturbed, and was now yielded to under the influence of a pleasing

A sudden flash of lightning illumined the shady dome that sheltered the
ajoupa: fearing that the first clap of thunder might rouse the young
Indian, the Strangler hastened to complete his Task.  Djalma lay on his
back, with his head resting on his right shoulder, and his left arm
extended; the Thug, crouching at his left side, ceased by degrees the
process of fanning; then, with incredible dexterity, he succeeded in
rolling up, above the elbow, the long wide sleeve of white muslin that
covered the left arm of the sleeper.

He next drew from the pocket of his drawers a copper box, from which he
took a very fine, sharp-pointed needle, and a piece of a black-looking
root.  He pricked this root several times with the needle, and on each
occasion there issued from it a white, glutinous liquid.

When the Strangler thought the needle sufficiently impregnated with this
juice, he bent down, and began to blow gently over the inner surface of
Djalma's arm, so as to cause a fresh sensation of coolness; then, with
the point of his needle, he traced almost imperceptibly on the skin of
the sleeping youth some mysterious and symbolical signs.  All this was
performed so cleverly and the point of the needle was so fine and keen,
that Djalma did not feel the action of the acid upon the skin.

The signs, which the Strangler had traced, soon appeared on the surface,
at first in characters of a pale rose-color, as fine as a hair; but such
was the slowly corrosive power of the juice, that, as it worked and
spread beneath the skin, they would become in a few hours of a violet
red, and as apparent as they were now almost invisible.

The Strangler, having so perfectly succeeded in his project, threw a last
look of ferocious longing on the slumbering Indian, and creeping away
from the mat, regained the opening by which he had entered the cabin;
next, closely uniting the edges of the incision, so as to obviate all
suspicion, he disappeared just as the thunder began to rumble hoarsely in
the distance.[4]

[4] We read in the letters of the late Victor Jacquemont upon India, with
regard to the incredible dexterity of these men: "They crawl on the
ground, ditches, in the furrows of fields, imitate a hundred different
voices, and dissipate the effect of any accidental noise by raising the
yelp of the jackal or note of some bird--then are silent, and another
imitates the call of the same animal in the distance.  They can molest a
sleeper by all sorts of noises and slight touches, and make his body and
limbs take any position which suits their purpose."  Count Edward de
Warren, in his excellent work on English India, which we shall have again
occasion to quote, expresses himself in the same manner as to the
inconceivable address of the Indians: "They have the art," says he, "to
rob you, without interrupting your sleep, of the very sheet in which you
are enveloped.  This is not `a traveller's tale.' but a fact.  The
movements of the bheel are those of the serpent.  If you sleep in your
tent, with a servant lying across each entrance, the bheel will come and
crouch on the outside, in some shady corner, where he can hear the
breathing of those within.  As soon as the European sleeps, he feels sure
of success, for the Asiatic will not long resist the attraction of
repose.  At the proper moment, he makes a vertical incision in the cloth
of the tent, on the spot where he happens to be, and just large enough to
admit him.  He glides through like a phantom, without making the least
grain of sand creak beneath his tread.  He is perfectly naked, and all
his body is rubbed over with oil; a two-edged knife is suspended from his
neck.  He will squat down close to your couch, and, with incredible
coolness and dexterity, will gather up the sheet in very little folds, so
as to occupy the least surface possible; then, passing to the other side,
he will lightly tickle the sleeper, whom he seems to magnetize, till the
latter shrinks back involuntarily, and ends by turning round, and leaving
the sheet folded behind him.  Should he awake, and strive to seize the
robber, he catches at a slippery form, which slides through his hands
like an eel; should he even succeed in seizing him, it would be fatal--
the dagger strikes him to the heart, he falls bathed in his blood, and
the assassin disappears."--E. S.



The tempest of the morning has long been over.  The sun is verging
towards the horizon.  Some hours have elapsed, since the Strangler
introduced himself into Djalma's cabin, and tattooed him with a
mysterious sign during his sleep.

A horseman advances rapidly down a long avenue of spreading trees.
Sheltered by the thick and verdant arch, a thousand birds salute the
splendid evening with songs and circlings; red and green parrots climb,
by help of their hooked beaks, to the top of pink-blossomed acacias;
large Morea birds of the finest and richest blue, whose throats and long
tails change in the light to a golden brown, are chasing the prince-
oriels, clothed in their glossy feathers of black and orange; Kolo doves,
of a changeable violet hue, are gently cooing by the side of the birds of
paradise, in whose brilliant plumage are mingled the prismatic colors of
the emerald and ruby, the topaz and sapphire.

This avenue, a little raised, commanded a view of a small pond, which
reflected at intervals the green shade of tamarind trees.  In the calm,
limpid waters, many fish were visible, some with silver scales and purple
fins, others gleaming with azure and vermilion; so still were they that
they looked as if set in a mass of bluish crystal, and, as they dwelt
motionless near the surface of the pool, on which played a dazzling ray
of the sun, they revelled in the enjoyment of the light and heat.  A
thousand insects--living gems, with wings of flame--glided, fluttered and
buzzed over the transparent wave, in which, at an extraordinary depth,
were mirrored the variegated tints of the aquatic plants on the bank.

It is impossible to give an adequate idea of the exuberant nature of this
scene, luxuriant in the sunlight, colors, and perfumes, which served, so
to speak, as a frame to the young and brilliant rider, who was advancing
along the avenue.  It was Djalma.  He had not yet perceived the indelible
marks, which the Strangler had traced upon his left arm.

His Japanese mare, of slender make, full of fire and vigor, is black as
night.  A narrow red cloth serves instead of saddle.  To moderate the
impetuous bounds of the animal, Djalma uses a small steel bit, with
headstall and reins of twisted scarlet silk, fine as a thread.

Not one of those admirable riders, sculptured so masterly on the frieze
of the Parthenon, sits his horse more gracefully and proudly than this
young Indian, whose fine face, illumined by the setting sun, is radiant
with serene happiness; his eyes sparkle with joy, and his dilated
nostrils and unclosed lips inhale with delight the balmy breeze, that
brings to him the perfume of flowers and the scent of fresh leaves, for
the trees are still moist from the abundant rain that fell after the

A red cap, similar to that worn by the Greeks, surmounting the black
locks of Djalma, sets off to advantage the golden tint of his complexion;
his throat is bare; he is clad in his robe of white muslin with large
sleeves, confined at the waist by a scarlet sash; very full drawers, in
white cotton stuff, leave half uncovered his tawny and polished legs;
their classic curve stands out from the dark sides of the horse, which he
presses tightly between his muscular calves.  He has no stirrups; his
foot, small and narrow, is shod with a sandal of morocco leather.

The rush of his thoughts, by turns impetuous and restrained, was
expressed in some degree by the pace he imparted to his horse--now bold
and precipitate, like the flight of unbridled imagination--now calm and
measured, like the reflection which succeeds an idle dream.  But, in all
this fantastic course, his least movements were distinguished by a proud,
independent and somewhat savage grace.

Dispossessed of his paternal territory by the English, and at first
detained by them as a state-prisoner after the death of his father--who
(as M. Joshua Van Dael had written to M. Rodin) had fallen sword in hand
--Djalma had at length been restored to liberty.  Abandoning the
of India, and still accompanied by General Simon, who had lingered hard
by the prison of his old friend's son, the young Indian came next to
Batavia, the birthplace of his mother, to collect the modest inheritance
of his maternal ancestors.  And amongst this property, so long despised
or forgotten by his father, he found some important papers, and a medal
exactly similar to that worn by Rose and Blanche.

General Simon was not more surprised than pleased at this discovery,
which not only established a tie of kindred between his wife and Djalma's
mother, but which also seemed to promise great advantages for the future.
Leaving Djalma at Batavia, to terminate some business there, he had gone
to the neighboring island of Sumatra, in the hope of finding a vessel
that would make the passage to Europe directly and rapidly; for it was
now necessary that, cost what it might, the young Indian also should be
at Paris on the 13th February, 1832.  Should General Simon find a vessel
ready to sail for Europe, he was to return immediately, to fetch Djalma;
and the latter, expecting him daily, was now going to the pier of
Batavia, hoping to see the father of Rose and Blanche arrive by the mail-
boat from Sumatra.

A few words are here necessary on the early life of the son of Kadja-

Having lost his mother very young, and brought up with rude simplicity,
he had accompanied his father, whilst yet a child, to the great tiger
hunts, as dangerous as battles; and, in the first dawn of youth, he had
followed him to the stern bloody war, which he waged in defence of his
country.  Thus living, from the time of his mother's death, in the midst
of forests and mountains and continual combats, his vigorous and
ingenuous nature had preserved itself pure, and he well merited the name
of "The Generous" bestowed on him.  Born a prince, he was--which by no
means follows--a prince indeed.  During the period of his captivity, the
silent dignity of his bearing had overawed his jailers.  Never a
reproach, never a complaint--a proud and melancholy calm was all that he
opposed to a treatment as unjust as it was barbarous, until he was
restored to freedom.

Having thus been always accustomed to a patriarchal life, or to a war of
mountaineers, which he had only quitted to pass a few months in prison,
Djalma knew nothing, so to speak, of civilized society.  Without its
exactly amounting to a defect, he certainly carried his good qualities to
their extreme limits.  Obstinately faithful to his pledged word, devoted
to the death, confiding to blindness, good almost to a complete
forgetfulness of himself, he was inflexible towards ingratitude,
falsehood, or perfidy.  He would have felt no compunction to sacrifice a
traitor, because, could he himself have committed a treason, he would
have thought it only just to expiate it with his life.

He was, in a word, the man of natural feelings, absolute and entire.
Such a man, brought into contact with the temperaments, calculations,
falsehoods, deceptions, tricks, restrictions, and hollowness of a refined
society, such as Paris, for example, would, without doubt, form a very
curious subject for speculation.  We raise this hypothesis, because,
since his journey to France had been determined on, Djalma had one fixed,
ardent desire--to be in Paris.

In Paris--that enchanted city--of which, even in Asia, the land of
enchantment, so many marvelous tales were told.

What chiefly inflamed the fresh, vivid imagination of the young Indian,
was the thought of French women--those attractive Parisian beauties,
miracles of elegance and grace, who eclipsed, he was informed, even the
magnificence of the capitals of the civilized world.  And at this very

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