List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V3, by Eugene Sue
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prince, her relation; she had also taken a noble resolution with regard
to the two orphans brought home by Dagobert; in her interview with Mme.
de Saint-Dizier, she had shown herself by turns proud and sensitive,
melancholy and gay, ironical and serious, loyal and courageous; finally,
she had come to this accursed house to plead in favor of an honest and
laborious artisan.

And now, in the evening delivered over by an atrocious piece of treachery
to the ignoble hands of two coarse-minded muses in a madhouse--Mdlle. de
Cardoville felt her delicate limbs imprisoned in that abominable garment,
which is called a strait-waistcoat.

Mdlle. de Cardoville passed a horrible night in company with the two
hags.  The next morning, at nine o'clock, what was the young lady's
stupor to see Dr. Baleinier enter the room, still smiling with an air at
once benevolent and paternal.

"Well, my dear child?" said he, in a bland, affectionate voice; "how have
we spent the night?"



The keepers, yielding to Mdlle. de Cardoville's prayers, and, above all,
to her promises of good behavior, had only left on the canvas jacket a
portion of the time.  Towards morning, they had allowed her to rise and
dress herself, without interfering.

Adrienne was seated on the edge of her bed.  The alteration in her
features, her dreadful paleness, the lurid fire of fever shining in her
eyes, the convulsive trembling which ever and anon shook her frame,
showed already the fatal effects of this terrible night upon a
susceptible and high-strung organization.  At sight of Dr. Baleinier,
who, with a sign, made Gervaise and her mate leave the room, Adrienne
remained petrified.

She felt a kind of giddiness at the thought of the audacity of the man,
who dared to present himself to her!  But when the physician repeated, in
the softest tone of affectionate interest: "Well, my poor child! how have
we spent the night?" she pressed her hands to her burning forehead, as if
in doubt whether she was awake or sleeping.  Then, staring at the doctor,
she half opened her lips; but they trembled so much that it was
impossible for her to utter a word.  Anger, indignation, contempt, and,
above all, the bitter and acutely painful feeling of a generous heart,
whose confidence has been basely betrayed, so overpowered Adrienne that
she was unable to break the silence.

"Come, come! I see how it is," said the doctor, shaking his head
sorrowfully; "you are very much displeased with me--is it not so?  Well!
I expected it, my dear child."

These words, pronounced with the most hypocritical effrontery, made
Adrienne start up.  Her pale cheek flushed, her large eyes sparkled, she
lifted proudly her beautiful head, whilst her upper lip curled slightly
with a smile of disdainful bitterness; then, passing in angry silence
before M. Baleinier, who retained his seat, she directed her swift and
firm steps towards the door.  This door, in which was a little wicket,
was fastened on the outside.  Adrienne turned towards the doctor, and
said to him, with an imperious gesture; "Open that door for me!"

"Come, my dear Mdlle. Adrienne," said the physician, "be calm.  Let us
talk like good friends--for you know I am your friend."  And he inhaled
slowly a pinch of snuff.

"It appears, sir," said Adrienne, in a voice trembling with indignation,
"I am not to leave this place to-day?"

"Alas! no.  In such a state of excitement--if you knew how inflamed your
face is, and your eyes so feverish, your pulse must be at least eighty to
the minute--I conjure you, my dear child, not to aggravate your symptoms
by this fatal agitation."

After looking fixedly at the doctor, Adrienne returned with a slow step,
and again took her seat on the edge of the bed.  "That is right," resumed
M. Baleinier: only be reasonable; and, as I said before, let us talk
together like good friends."

"You say well, sir," replied Adrienne, in a collected and perfectly calm
voice; "let us talk like friends.  You wish to make me pass for mad--is
it not so?"

"I wish, my dear child, that one day you may feel towards me as much
gratitude as you now do aversion.  The latter I had fully foreseen--but,
however painful may be the performance of certain duties, we must resign
ourselves to it."

M. Baleinier sighed, as he said this, with such a natural air of
conviction, that for a moment Adrienne could not repress a movement of
surprise; then, while her lip curled with a bitter laugh, she answered:
"Oh, it's very clear, you have done all this for my good?"

"Really, my dear young lady--have I ever had any other design than to be
useful to you?"

"I do not know, sir, if your impudence be not still more odious than your
cowardly treachery!"

"Treachery!" said M. Baleinier, shrugging his shoulders with a grieved
air; "treachery, indeed!  Only reflect, my poor child--do you think, if I
were not acting with good faith, conscientiously, in your interest, I
should return this morning to meet your indignation, for which I was
fully prepared?  I am the head physician of this asylum, which belongs to
me--but I have two of my pupils here, doctors, like myself--and might
have left them to take care of you but, no--I could not consent to it--I
knew your character, your nature, your previous history, and (leaving out
of the question the interest I feel for you) I can treat your case better
than any one."

Adrienne had heard M. Baleinier without interrupting him; she now looked
at him fixedly, and said: "Pray, sir, how much do they pay you to make me
pass for mad?"

"Madame!" cried M. Baleinier, who felt stung in spite of, himself.

"You know I am rich," continued Adrienne, with over, whelming disdain; "I
will double the sum that they give you.  Come, sir--in the name of
friendship, as you call it, let me have the pleasure of outbidding them."

"Your keepers," said M. Baleinier, recovering all his coolness, "have
informed me, in their report of the night's proceedings, that you made
similar propositions to them."

"Pardon me, sir; I offered them what might be acceptable to poor women,
without education, whom misfortune has forced to undertake a painful
employment--but to you, sir a man of the world, a man of science, a man
of great abilities--that is quite different--the pay must be a great deal
higher.  There is treachery at all prices; so do not found your refusal
on the smallness of my offer to those wretched women.  Tell me--how much
do you want?"

"Your keepers, in their report of the night, have also spoken of
threats," resumed M. Baleinier, with the same coolness; "have you any of
those likewise to address me?  Believe me, my poor child, you will do
well to exhaust at once your attempts at corruption, and your vain
threats of vengeance.  We shall then come to the true state of the case."

"So you deem my threats vain!" cried Mdlle. de Cardoville, at length
giving way to the full tide of her indignation, till then restrained.
"Do you think, sir, that when I leave this place--for this outrage must
have an end--that I will not proclaim aloud your infamous treachery?  Do
you think chat I will not denounce to the contempt and horror of all,
your base conspiracy with Madame de Saint-Dizier?  Oh! do you think that
I will conceal the frightful treatment I have received!  But, mad as I
may be, I know that there are laws in this country, by which I will
demand a full reparation for myself, and shame, disgrace, and punishment,
for you, and for those who have employed you!  Henceforth, between you
and me will be hate and war to the death; and all my strength, all my

"Permit me to interrupt you, my dear Mdlle. Adrienne," said the doctor,
still perfectly calm and affectionate: "nothing can be more unfavorable
to your cure, than to cherish idle hopes: they will only tend to keep up
a state of deplorable excitement: it is best to put the facts fairly
before you, that you may understand clearly your position.

"1. It is impossible for you to leave this house.  2. You can have no
communication with any one beyond its walls.  3. No one enters here that
I cannot perfectly depend upon.  4. I am completely indifferent to your
threats of vengeance because law and reason are both in my favor."

"What! have you the right to shut me up here?"

"We should never have come to that determination, without a number of
reasons of the most serious kind."

"Oh! there are reasons for it, it seems."

"Unfortunately, too many."

"You will perhaps inform me of them?"

"Alas! they are only too conclusive; and if you should ever apply to the
protection of the laws, as you threatened me just now, we should be
obliged to state them.  The fantastical eccentricity of your manner of
living, your whimsical mode of dressing up your maids, your extravagant
expenditure, the story of the Indian prince, to whom you offered a royal
hospitality, your unprecedented resolution of going to live by yourself,
like a young bachelor, the adventure of the man found concealed in your
bed-chamber; finally, the report of your yesterday's conversation, which
was faithfully taken down in shorthand, by a person employed for that

"Yesterday?" cried Adrienne, with as much indignation as surprise.

"Oh, yes! to be prepared for every event, in case you should misinterpret
the interest we take in you, we had all your answers reported by a man
who was concealed behind a curtain in the next room; and really, one day,
in a calmer state of mind, when you come to read over quietly the
particulars of what took place, you will no longer be astonished at the
resolution we have been forced to adopt."

"Go on, sir," said Adrienne, with contempt.

"The facts I have cited being thus confirmed and acknowledged, you will
understand, my dear Mdlle. Adrienne, that your friends are perfectly free
from responsibility.  It was their duty to endeavor to cure this
derangement of mind, which at present only shows itself in idle whims,
but which, were it to increase, might seriously compromise the happiness
of your future life.  Now, in my opinion, we may hope to see a radical
cure, by means of a treatment at once physical and moral; but the first
condition of this attempt was to remove you from the scenes which so
dangerously excited your imagination; whilst a calm retreat, the repose
of a simple and solitary life combined with my anxious, I may say,
paternal care, will gradually bring about a complete recovery--"

"So, sir," said Adrienne, with a bitter laugh, "the love of a noble
independence, generosity, the worship of the beautiful, detestation of
what is base and odious, such are the maladies of which you wish to cure
me; I fear that my case is desperate, for my aunt has long ago tried to
effect that benevolent purpose."

"Well, we may perhaps not succeed; but at least we will attempt it.  You
see, then, there is a mass of serious facts, quite enough to justify the
determination come to by the family-council, which puts me completely at
my ease with regard to your menaces.  It is to that I wish to return; a
man of my age and condition never acts lightly--in such circumstances,
and you can readily understand what I was saying to you just now.  In a
word, do not hope to leave this place before your complete recovery, and
rest assured, that I am and shall ever be safe from your resentment.
This being once admitted, let us talk of your actual state with all the
interest that you naturally inspire."

"I think, sir, that, considering I am mad, you speak to me very

"Mad! no, thank heaven, my poor child, you are not mad yet--and I hope
that, by my care, you will never be so.  It is to prevent your becoming
mad, that one must take it in time; and believe me, it is full time.  You
look at me with such an air of surprise--now tell me, what interest can I
have in talking to you thus?  Is it the hatred of your aunt that I wish
to favor?  To what end, I would ask?  What can she do for me or against
me?  I think of her at this moment neither more nor less than I thought
yesterday.  Is it a new language that I hold to yourself?  Did I not
speak to you yesterday many times, of the dangerous excitement of mind in
which you were, and of your singular whims and fancies?  It is true, I
made use of stratagem to bring you hither.  No doubt, I did so.  I
hastened to avail myself of the opportunity, which you yourself offered,
my poor, dear child; for you would never have come hither with your own
good will. One day or the other, we must have found some pretext to get
you here: and I said to myself; `Her interest before all!  Do your duty,
let whatever will betide!'--"

Whilst M. Baleinier was speaking, Adrienne's countenance, which had
hitherto expressed alternately indignation and disdain, assumed an
indefinable look of anguish and horror.  On hearing this man talk in such
a natural manner, and with such an appearance of sincerity, justice and
reason, she felt herself more alarmed than ever.  An atrocious deception,
clothed in such forms, frightened her a hundred times more than the
avowed hatred of Madame de Saint-Dizier.  This audacious hypocrisy seemed
to her so monstrous, that she believed it almost impossible.

Adrienne had so little the art of hiding her emotions, that the doctor, a
skillful and profound physiognomist, instantly perceived the impression
he had produced.  "Come," said he to himself, "that is a great step.
Fright has succeeded to disdain and anger.  Doubt will come next.  I
shall not leave this place, till she has said to me: `Return soon, my
good M. Baleinier!'  "With a voice of sorrowful emotion, which seemed to
come from the very depths of his heart, the doctor thus continued: "I
see, you are still suspicious of me.  All I can say to you is falsehood,
fraud, hypocrisy, hate--is it not so?--Hate you? why, in heaven's name,
should I hate you?  What have you done to me?  or rather--you will
perhaps attach more value to this reason from a man of my sort," added M.
Baleinier, bitterly, "or rather, what interest have I to hate you?--You,
that have only been reduced to the state in which you are by an over-
abundance of the most generous instincts--you, that are suffering, as it
were, from an excess of good qualities--you can bring yourself coolly and
deliberately to accuse an honest man, who has never given you any but
marks of affection, of the basest, the blackest, the most abominable
crime, of which a human being could be guilty.  Yes, I call it a crime;
because the audacious deception of which you accuse me would not deserve
any other name.  Really, my poor child, it is hard--very hard--and I now
see, that an independent spirit may sometimes exhibit as much injustice
and intolerance as the most narrow mind.  It does not incense me--no--it
only pains me: yes, I assure you--it pains me cruelly."  And the doctor
drew his hand across his moist eyes.

It is impossible to give the accent, the look, the gesture of M.
Baleinier, as he thus expressed himself.  The most able and practiced
lawyer, or the greatest actor in the world, could not have played this

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