List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V3, by Eugene Sue
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The arms, hands, and part of the face of Father Loriot were now of a
superb gold-color.  The sight of this yellow personage singularly
provoked My Lord, and at the moment the dyer rested his hand upon the
edge of the coach-window, the cur began to yelp frightfully, and bit him
in the wrist.

"Oh! gracious heaven!" cried Mrs. Grivois, in an agony, whilst Father
Loriot, withdrew his hand with precipitation; "I hope there is nothing
poisonous in the dye that you have about you--my dog is so delicate!"

So saying, she carefully wiped the pug-nose, spotted with yellow.  Father
Loriot, not at all satisfied with this speech, when he had expected to
receive some apology from Mrs. Grivois on account of her dog's behavior,
said to her, as with difficulty he restrained his anger: "If you did not
belong to the fair sex, which obliges me to respect you in the person of
that wretched animal I would have the pleasure of taking him by the tail,
and making him in one minute a dog of the brightest orange color, by
plunging him into my cauldron, which is already on the fire."

"Dye my pet yellow!" cried Mrs. Grivois, in great wrath, as she descended
from the hackney-coach, clasping My Lord tenderly to her bosom, and
surveying Father Loriot with a savage look.

"I told you, Mrs. Baudoin is not at home," said the dyer, as he saw the
pug-dog's mistress advance in the direction of the dark staircase.

"Never mind; I will wait for her," said Mrs. Grivois tartly.  "On which
story does she live?"

"Up four pair!" answered Father Loriot, returning abruptly to his shop.
And he added to himself, with a chuckle at the anticipation: "I hope
Father Dagobert's big prowler will be in a bad humor, and give that
villainous pug a shaking by the skin of his neck."

Mrs. Grivois mounted the steep staircase with some difficulty, stopping
at every landing-place to take breath, and looking about her with
profound disgust.  At length she reached the fourth story, and paused an
instant at the door of the humble chamber, in which the two sisters and
Mother Bunch then were.

The young sempstress was occupied in collecting the different articles
that she was about to carry to the pawnbroker's.  Rose and Blanche seemed
happier, and somewhat less uneasy about the future; for they had learned
from Mother Bunch, that, when they knew how to sew, they might between
them earn eight francs a week, which would at least afford some
assistance to the family.

The presence of Mrs. Grivois in Baudoin's dwelling was occasioned by a
new resolution of Abbe d'Aigrigny and the Princess de Saint-Dizier; they
had thought it more prudent to send Mrs. Grivois, on whom they could
blindly depend, to fetch the young girls, and the confessor was charged
to inform Frances that it was not to his housekeeper, but to a lady that
would call on her with a note from him, that she was to deliver the
orphans, to be taken to a religious establishment.

Having knocked at the door, the waiting-woman of the Princess de Saint-
Dizier entered the room, and asked for Frances Baudoin.

"She is not at home, madame," said Mother Bunch timidly, not a little
astonished at so unexpected a visit, and casting down her eyes before the
gaze of this woman.

"Then I will wait for her, as I have important affairs to speak of,"
answered Mrs. Grivois, examining with curiosity and attention the faces
of the two orphans, who also cast down their eyes with an air of

So saying, Madame Grivois sat down, not without some repugnance, in the
old arm-chair of Dagobert's wife, and believing that she might now leave
her favorite at liberty, she laid him carefully on the floor.
Immediately, a low growl, deep and hollow, sounding from behind the
armchair, made Mrs. Grivois jump from her seat, and sent the pug-dog,
yelping with affright, and trembling through his fat, to take refuge
close to his mistress, with all the symptoms of angry alarm.

"What! is there a dog here?" cried Mrs. Grivois, stooping precipitately
to catch up My Lord, whilst, as if he wished himself to answer the
question, Spoil-sport rose leisurely from his place behind the arm-chair,
and appeared suddenly, yawning and stretching himself.

At sight of this powerful animal, with his double row of formidable
pointed fangs, which he seemed to take delight in displaying as he opened
his large jaws, Mrs. Grivois could not help giving utterance to a cry of
terror.  The snappish pug had at first trembled in all his limbs at the
Siberian's approach; but, finding himself in safety on the lap of his
mistress, he began to growl insolently, and to throw the most provoking
glances at Spoil-sport.  These the worthy companion of the deceased
Jovial answered disdainfully by gaping anew; after which he went smelling
round Mrs. Grivois with a sort of uneasiness, turned his back upon My
Lord, and stretched himself at the feet of Rose and Blanche, keeping his
large, intelligent eyes fixed upon them, as if he foresaw that they were
menaced with some danger.

"Turn out that beast," said Mrs. Grivois, imperiously; "he frightens my
dog, and may do him some harm."

"Do not be afraid, madame," replied Rose, with a smile; "Spoil-sport will
do no harm, if he is not attacked."

"Never mind!" cried Mrs. Grivois; "an accident soon happens.  The very
sight of that enormous dog, with his wolf's head and terrible teeth, is
enough to make one tremble at the injuries he might do one.  I tell you
to turn him out."

Mrs. Grivois had pronounced these last words in a tone of irritation,
which did not sound at all satisfactory in Spoil-sport's ears; so he
growled and showed his teeth, turning his head in the direction of the

"Be quiet, Spoil-sport!" said Blanche sternly.

A new personage here entered the room, and put an end to this situation,
which was embarrassing enough for the two young girls.  It was a
commissionaire, with a letter in his hand.

"What is it, sir?" asked Mother Bunch.

"A very pressing letter from the good man of the house; the dyer below
stairs told me to bring it up here."

"A letter from Dagobert!" cried Rose and Blanche, with a lively
expression of pleasure.  "He is returned then? where is he?"

"I do not know whether the good man is called Dagobert or not," said the
porter; "but he is an old trooper, with a gray moustache, and may be
found close by, at the office of the Chartres coaches."

"That is he!" cried Blanche.  "Give me the letter."

The porter handed it to the young girl, who opened it in all haste.

Mrs. Grivois was struck dumb with dismay; she knew that Dagobert had been
decoyed from Paris, that the Abbe Dubois might have an opportunity to act
with safety upon Frances.  Hitherto, all had succeeded; the good woman
had consented to place the young girls in the hands of a religious
community--and now arrives this soldier, who was thought to be absent
from Paris for two or three days at least, and whose sudden return might
easily ruin this laborious machination, at the moment when it seemed to
promise success.

"Oh!" said Blanche, when she had read the letter.  "What a misfortune!"

"What is it, then, sister?" cried Rose.

"Yesterday, half way to Chartres, Dagobert perceived that he had lost his
purse.  He was unable to continue his journey; he took a place upon
credit, to return, and he asks his wife to send him some money to the
office, to pay what he owes."

"That's it," said the porter; "for the good man told me to make haste,
because he was there in pledge."

"And nothing in the house!" cried Blanche.  "Dear me! what is to be

At these words, Mrs. Grivois felt her hopes revive for a moment, they
were soon, however, dispelled by Mother Bunch, who exclaimed, as she
pointed to the parcel she had just made up: "Be satisfied, dear young
ladies! here is a resource.  The pawnbroker's, to which I am going, is
not far off, and I will take the money direct to M. Dagobert: in half an
hour, at latest, he will be here."

"Oh, my dear friend! you are right," said Rose.  "How good you are! you
think of everything."

"And here," said Blanche, "is the letter, with the address upon it.  Take
that with you."

"Thank you," answered Mother Bunch: then, addressing the porter, she
added: "Return to the person who sent you, and tell him I shall be at the
coach-office very shortly."

"Infernal hunchback!" thought Mrs. Grivois, with suppressed rage, "she
thinks of everything.  Without her, we should have escaped the plague of
this man's return.  What is to be done now?  The girls would not go with
me, before the arrival of the soldier's wife; to propose it to them would
expose me to a refusal, and might compromise all.  Once more, what is to
be done?"

"Do not be uneasy, ladies," said the porter as he went out; "I will go
and assure the good man, that he will not have to remain long in pledge."

Whilst Mother Bunch was occupied in tying her parcel, in which she had
placed the silver cup, fork, and spoon, Mrs. Grivois seemed to reflect
deeply.  Suddenly she started.  Her countenance, which had been for some
moments expressive of anxiety and rage, brightened up on the instant.
She rose, still holding My Lord in her arms, and said to the young girls:
"As Mrs. Baudoin does not come in, I am going to pay a visit in the
neighborhood, and will return immediately.  Pray tell her so!"

With these words Mr. Grivois took her departure, a few minutes before
Mother Bunch left.



After she had again endeavored to cheer up the orphans, the sewing-girl
descended the stairs, not without difficulty, for, in addition to the
parcel, which was already heavy, she had fetched down from her own room
the only blanket she possessed--thus leaving herself without protection
from the cold of her icy garret.

The evening before, tortured with anxiety as to Agricola's fate, the girl
had been unable to work; the miseries of expectation and hope delayed had
prevented her from doing so; now another day would be lost, and yet it
was necessary to live.  Those overwhelming sorrows, which deprive the
poor of the faculty of labor, are doubly dreaded; they paralyze the
strength, and, with that forced cessation from toil, want and destitution
are often added to grief.

But Mother Bunch, that complete incarnation of holiest duty, had yet
strength enough to devote herself for the service of others.  Some of the
most frail and feeble creatures are endowed with extraordinary vigor of
soul; it would seem as if, in these weak, infirm organizations, the
spirit reigned absolutely over the body, and knew how to inspire it with
a factitious energy.

Thus, for the last twenty-four hours, Mother Bunch had neither slept nor
eaten; she had suffered from the cold, through the whole of a frosty
night.  In the morning she had endured great fatigue, in going, amid rain
and snow, to the Rue de Babylone and back, twice crossing Paris and yet
her strength was not exhausted--so immense is the power of the human

She had just arrived at the corner of the Rue Saint Mery.  Since the
recent Rue des Prouvaires conspiracy, there were stationed in this
populous quarter of the town a much larger number of police-officers than
usual.  Now the young sempstress, though bending beneath the weight of
her parcel, had quickened her pace almost to a run, when, just as she
passed in front of one of the police, two five-franc pieces fell on the
ground behind her, thrown there by a stout woman in black, who followed
her closely.

Immediately after the stout woman pointed out the two pieces to the
policeman, and said something hastily to him with regard to Mother Bunch.
Then she withdrew at all speed in the direction of the Rue Brise-Miche.

The policeman, struck with what Mrs. Grivois had said to him ( for it was
that person), picked up the money, and, running after the humpback, cried
out to her: "Hi, there! young woman, I say--stop! stop!"

On this outcry, several persons turned round suddenly and, as always
happens in those quarters of the town, a nucleus of five or six persons
soon grew to a considerable crowd.

Not knowing that the policeman was calling to her, Mother Bunch only
quickened her speed, wishing to get to the pawnbroker's as soon as
possible, and trying to avoid touching any of the passers-by, so much did
she dread the brutal and cruel railleries, to which her infirmity so
often exposed her.

Suddenly, she heard many persons running after her, and at the same
instant a hand was laid rudely on her shoulder.  It was the policeman,
followed by another officer, who had been drawn to the spot by the noise.
Mother Bunch turned round, struck with as much surprise as fear.

She found herself in the centre of a crowd, composed chiefly of that
hideous scum, idle and in rags, insolent and malicious, besotted with
ignorance, brutalized by want, and always loafing about the corners.
Workmen are scarcely ever met with in these mobs, for they are for the
most part engaged in their daily labors.

"Come, can't you hear? you are deaf as Punch's dog," said the policeman,
seizing Mother Bunch so rudely by the arm, that she let her parcel fall
at her feet.

When the unfortunate girl, looking round in terror, saw herself exposed
to all those insolent, mocking, malicious glances, when she beheld the
cynical and coarse grimace on so many ignoble and filthy countenances,
she trembled in all her limbs, and became fearfully pale.  No doubt the
policeman had spoken roughly to her; but how could he speak otherwise to
a poor deformed girl, pale and trembling, with her features agitated by
grief and fear--to a wretched creature, miserably clad, who wore in
winter a thin cotton gown, soiled with mud, and wet with melted snow--for
the poor sempstress had walked much and far that morning.  So the
policeman resumed, with great severity, following that supreme law of
appearances which makes poverty always suspected: "Stop a bit, young
woman! it seems you are in a mighty hurry, to let your money fall without
picking it up."

"Was her blunt hid in her hump?" said the hoarse voice of a match-boy, a
hideous and repulsive specimen of precocious depravity.

This sally was received with laughter, shouts, and hooting, which served
to complete the sewing-girl's dismay and terror.  She was hardly able to
answer, in a feeble voice, as the policeman handed her the two pieces of
silver: "This money, sir, is not mine."

"You lie," said the other officer, approaching; "a respectable lady saw
it drop from your pocket."

"I assure you, sir, it is not so," answered Mother Bunch, trembling.

"I tell you that you lie," resumed the officer; "for the lady, struck
with your guilty and frightened air, said to me: `Look at yonder little
hunchback, running away with that large parcel, and letting her money
fall without even stopping to pick it up--it is not natural.'"

"Bobby," resumed the match-vendor in his hoarse voice, "be on your guard!
Feel her hump, for that is her luggage-van.  I'm sure that you'll find
boots, and cloaks, and umbrellas, and clocks in it--for I just heard the
hour strike in the bend of her back."

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