List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V4, by Eugene Sue
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"I will sell my costume, and some other clothes.  I will send you half
the money, and keep the rest.  That will last some days."

"And afterwards?--afterwards?"

"Afterwards?--why, then--I don't know--how can I tell you!  Afterwards--
I'll look about me."

"Hear me, Cephyse," resumed Jacques, with bitter agony.  "It is now that
I first know how mach I love you.  My heart is pressed as in a vise at
the thought of leaving you and I shudder to thinly what is to become of
you."  Then--drawing his hand across his forehead, Jacques added: "You
see we have been ruined by saying--"To-morrow will never come!"--for to-
morrow has come.  When I am no longer with you, and you have spent the
last penny of the money gained by the sale of your clothes--unfit for
work as you have become--what will you do next?  Must I tell you what you
will do!--you will forget me and--" Then, as if he recoiled from his own
thoughts, Jacques exclaimed, with a burst of rage and despair--"Great
Heaven! if that were to happen, I should dash my brains out against the

Cephyse guessed the half-told meaning of Jacques, and throwing her arms
around his neck, she said to him: "I take another lover?--never!  I am
like you, for I now first know how much I love you."

"But, my poor Cephyse--how will you live?"

"Well, I shall take courage.  I will go back and dwell, with my sister,
as in old times; we will work together, and so earn our bread.  I'll
never go out, except to visit you.  In a few days your creditor will
reflect, that, as you can't pay him ten thousand francs, he may as well
set you free.  By that time I shall have once more acquired the habit of
working.  You shall see, you shall see!--and you also will again acquire
this habit.  We shall live poor, but content.  After all, we have had
plenty of amusement for six month, while so many others have never known
pleasure all their lives.  And believe me, my dear Jacques, when I say to
you--I shall profit by this lesson.  If you love me, do not feel the
least uneasiness; I tell you, that I would rather die a hundred times,
than have another lover."

"Kiss me," said Jacques, with eyes full of tears.  "I believe you--yes, I
believe you--and you give me back my courage, both for now and hereafter.
You are right; we must try and get to work again, or else nothing remains
but Father Arsene's bushel of charcoal; for, my girl," added Jacques, in
a low and trembling voice, "I have been like a drunken man these six
months, and now I am getting sober, and see whither we are going.  Our
means once exhausted, I might perhaps have become a robber, and you--"

"Oh, Jacques! don't talk so--it is frightful," interrupted Cephyse; "I
swear to you that I will return to my sister--that I will work--that I
will have courage!"

Thus saying, the Bacchanal Queen was very sincere; she fully intended to
keep her word, for her heart was not yet completely corrupted.  Misery
and want had been with her, as with so many others, the cause and the
excuse of her worst errors.  Until now, she had at least followed the
instincts of her heart, without regard to any base or venal motive.  The
cruel position in which she beheld Jacques had so far exalted her love,
that she believed herself capable of resuming, along with Mother Bunch,
that life of sterile and incessant toil, full of painful sacrifices and
privations, which once had been impossible for her to bear, and which the
habits of a life of leisure and dissipation would now render still more

Still, the assurances which she had just given Jacques calmed his grief
and anxiety a little; he had sense and feeling enough to perceive that
the fatal track which he had hitherto so blindly followed was leading
both him and Cephyse directly to infamy.

One of the bailiffs, having knocked at the coach-door, said to Jacques:
"My lad, you have only five minutes left--so make haste."

"So, courage, my girl--courage!" said Jacques.

"I will; you may rely upon me."

"Are you going upstairs again?"

"No--oh no!" said Cephyse.  "I have now a horror of this festivity."

"Everything is paid for, and the waiter will tell them not to expect us
back.  They will be much astonished," continued Jacques, "but it's all
the same now."

"If you could only go with me to our lodging," said Cephyse, "this man
would perhaps permit it, so as not to enter Sainte-Pelagie in that

"Oh! he will not forbid you to accompany me; but, as he will be with us
in the coach, we shall not be able to talk freely in his presence.
Therefore, let me speak reason to you for the first time in my life.
Remember what I say, my dear Cephyse--and the counsel will apply to me as
well as to yourself," continued Jacques, in a grave and feeling tone--
"resume from to-day the habit of labor.  It may be painful, unprofitable-
-never mind--do not hesitate, for too soon will the influence of this
lesson be forgotten.  By-and-bye it will be too late, and then you will
end like so many unfortunate creatures--"

"I understand," said Cephyse, blushing; "but I will rather die than lead
such a life."

"And there you will do well--for in that case," added Jacques, in a deep
and hollow voice, "I will myself show you how to die."

"I count upon you, Jacques," answered Cephyse, embracing her lover with
excited feeling; then she added, sorrowfully: "It was a kind of
presentiment, when just now I felt so sad, without knowing why, in the
midst of all our gayety--and drank to the Cholera, so that we might die

"Well! perhaps the Cholera will come," resumed Jacques, with a gloomy
air; "that would save us the charcoal, which we may not even be able to

"I can only tell you one thing, Jacques, that to live and die together,
you will always find me ready."

"Come, dry your eyes," said he, with profound emotion.  "Do not let us
play the children before these men."

Some minutes after, the coach took the direction to Jacques's lodging,
where he was to change his clothes, before proceeding to the debtors'

Let us repeat, with regard to the hunchback's sister--for there are
things which cannot be too often repeated--that one of the most fatal
consequences of the Inorganization of Labor is the Insufficiency of

The insufficiency of wages forces inevitably the greater number of young
girls, thus badly paid, to seek their means of subsistence in connections
which deprave them.

Sometimes they receive a small allowance from their lovers, which, joined
to the produce of their labor, enables them to live.  Sometimes like the
sempstress's sister, they throw aside their work altogether, and take up
their abode with the man of their choice, should he be able to support
the expense.  It is during this season of pleasure and idleness that the
incurable leprosy of sloth takes lasting possession of these unfortunate

This is the first phase of degradation that the guilty carelessness of
Society imposes on an immense number of workwomen, born with instincts of
modesty, and honesty, and uprightness.

After a certain time they are deserted by their seducers--perhaps when
they are mothers.  Or, it may be, that foolish extravagance consigns the
imprudent lover to prison, and the young girl finds herself alone,
abandoned, without the means of subsistence.

Those who have still preserved courage and energy go back to their work--
but the examples are very rare.  The others, impelled by misery, and by
habits of indolence, fall into the lowest depths.

And yet we must pity, rather than blame them, for the first and virtual
cause of their fall has been the insufficient remuneration of labor and
sudden reduction of pay.

Another deplorable consequence of this inorganization is the disgust
which workmen feel for their employment, in addition to the insufficiency
of their wages.  And this is quite conceivable, for nothing is done to
render their labor attractive, either by variety of occupations, or by
honorary rewards, or by proper care, or by remuneration proportionate to
the benefits which their toil provides, or by the hope of rest after long
years of industry.  No--the country thinks not, cares not, either for
their wants or their rights.

And yet, to take only one example, machinists and workers in foundries,
exposed to boiler explosions, and the contact of formidable engines, run
every day greater dangers than soldiers in time of war, display rare
practical sagacity, and render to industry--and, consequently, to their
country--the most incontestable service, during a long and honorable
career, if they do not perish by the bursting of a boiler, or have not
their limbs crushed by the iron teeth of a machine.

In this last case, does the workman receive a recompense equal to that
which awaits the soldier's praiseworthy, but sterile courage--a place in
an asylum for invalids?  No.

What does the country care about it?  And if the master should happen to
be ungrateful, the mutilated workman, incapable of further service, may
die of want in some corner.

Finally, in our pompous festivals of commerce, do we ever assemble any of
the skillful workmen who alone have woven those admirable stuffs, forged
and damascened those shining weapons, chiselled those goblets of gold and
silver, carved the wood and ivory of that costly furniture, and set those
dazzling jewels with such exquisite art?  No.

In the obscurity of their garrets, in the midst of a miserable and
starving family, hardly able to subsist on their scanty wages, these
workmen have contributed, at least, one half to bestow those wonders upon
their country, which make its wealth, its glory, and its pride.

A minister of commerce, who had the least intelligence of his high
functions and duties, would require of every factory that exhibits on
these occasions, the selection by vote of a certain number of candidates,
amongst whom the manufacturer would point out the one that appeared most
worthy to represent the working classes in these great industrial

Would it not be a noble and encouraging example to see the master propose
for public recompense and distinction the workman, deputed by his peers,
as amongst the most honest, laborious, and intelligent of his profession?
Then one most grievous injustice would disappear, and the virtues of the
workman would be stimulated by a generous and noble ambition--he would
have an interest in doing well.

Doubtless, the manufacturer himself, because of the intelligence he
displays, the capital he risks, the establishment he founds, and the good
he sometimes does, has a legitimate right to the prizes bestowed upon
him.  But why is the workman to be rigorously excluded from these
rewards, which have so powerful an influence upon the people?  Are
generals and officers the only ones that receive rewards in the army?
And when we have remunerated the captains of this great and powerful army
of industry, why should we neglect the privates?

Why for them is there no sign of public gratitude?  no kind or consoling
word from august lips?  Why do we not see in France, a single workman
wearing a medal as a reward for his courageous industry, his long and
laborious career?  The token and the little pension attached to it, would
be to him a double recompense, justly deserved.  But, no! for humble
labor that sustains the State, there is only forgetfulness, injustice,
indifference, and disdain!

By this neglect of the public, often aggravated by individual selfishness
and ingratitude, our workmen are placed in a deplorable situation.

Some of them, notwithstanding their incessant toil, lead a life of
privations, and die before their time cursing the social system that
rides over them.  Others find a temporary oblivion of their ills in
destructive intoxication.  Others again--in great number--having no
interest, no advantage, no moral or physical inducement to do more or
better, confine themselves strictly to just that amount of labor which
will suffice to earn their wages.  Nothing attaches them to their work,
because nothing elevates, honors, glorifies it in their eyes.  They have
no defence against the reductions of indolence; and if, by some chance,
they find means of living awhile in repose, they give way by degrees to
habits of laziness and debauchery, and sometimes the worst passions soil
forever natures originally willing, healthy and honest--and all for want
of that protecting and equitable superintendence which should have
sustained, encouraged, and recompensed their first worthy and laborious

We now follow Mother Bunch, who after seeking for work from the person
that usually employed her, went to the Rue de Babylone, to the lodge
lately occupied by Adrienne de Cardoville.



While the Bacchanal Queen and Sleepinbuff terminated so sadly the most
joyous portion of their existence, the sempstress arrived at the door of
the summer-house in the Rue de Babylone.

Before ringing she dried her tears; a new grief weighed upon her spirits.
On quitting the tavern, she had gone to the house of the person who
usually found her in work; but she was told that she could not have any
because it could be done a third more cheaply by women in prison.  Mother
Bunch, rather than lose her last resource, offered to take it at the
third less; but the linen had been already sent out; and the girl could
not hope for employment for a fortnight to come, even if submitting to
this reduction of wages.  One may conceive the anguish of the poor
creature; the prospect before her was to die of hunger, if she would not
beg or steal.  As for her visit to the lodge in the Rue de Babylone, it
will be explained presently.

She rang the bell timidly; a few minutes after, Florine opened the door
to her.  The waiting-maid was no longer adorned after the charming taste
of Adrienne; on the contrary, she was dressed with an affectation of
austere simplicity.  She wore a high-necked dress of a dark color, made
full enough to conceal the light elegance of her figure.  Her bands of
jet-black hair were hardly visible beneath the flat border of a starched
white cap, very much resembling the head-dress of a nun.  Yet, in spite
of this unornamental costume, Florine's pale countenance was still
admirably beautiful.

We have said that, placed by former misconduct at the mercy of Rodin and
M. d'Aigrigny, Florine had served them as a spy upon her mistress,
notwithstanding the marks of kindness and confidence she had received
from her.  Yet Florine was not entirely corrupted; and she often suffered
painful, but vain, remorse at the thought of the infamous part she was
thus obliged to perform.

At the sight of Mother Bunch, whom she recognized--for she had told her,
the day before, of Agricola's arrest and Mdlle. de Cardoville's madness--
Florine recoiled a step, so much was she moved with pity at the
appearance of the young sempstress.  In fact, the idea of being thrown
out of work, in the midst of so many other painful circumstances, had
made a terrible impression upon the young workwoman, the traces of recent

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