List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V5, by Eugene Sue
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The Wandering Jew

by Eugene Sue


XIV.       The Eve of a Great Day
XV.        The Thug
XVI.       The Two Brothers of the Good Work
XVII.      The House in the Rue Saint-Francois
XVIII.     Debit and Credit
XIX.       The Heir
XX.        The Rupture
XXI.       The Change
XXII.      The Red Room
XXIII.     The Testament
XXIV.      The Last Stroke of Noon
XXV.       The Deed of Gift



About two hours before the event last related took place at St. Mary's
Convent, Rodin and Abbe d'Aigrigny met in the room where we have already
seen them, in the Rue du Milieu-des-Ursins.  Since the Revolution of
July, Father d'Aigrigny had thought proper to remove for the moment to
this temporary habitation all the secret archives and correspondence of
his Order--a prudent measure, since he had every reason to fear that the
reverend fathers would be expelled by the state from that magnificent
establishment, with which the restoration had so liberally endowed their

Rodin, dressed in his usual sordid style, mean and dirty as ever, was
writing modestly at his desk, faithful to his humble part of secretary,
which concealed, as we have already seen a far more important office--
that of Socius--a function which, according to the constitutions of the
Order, consists in never quitting his superior, watching his least
actions, spying into his very thoughts, and reporting all to Rome.

In spite of his usual impassibility, Rodin appeared visibly uneasy and
absent in mind; he answered even more briefly than usual to the commands
and questions of Father d'Aigrigny, who had but just entered the room.

"Has anything new occurred during my absence?" asked he.  "Are the
reports still favorable?"

"Very favorable."

"Read them to me."

"Before giving this account to your reverence," said Rodin, "I must
inform you that Morok has been two days in Paris."

"Morok?"  said Abbe d'Aigrigny, with surprise.  "I thought, on leaving
Germany and Switzerland, he had received from Friburg the order to
proceed southward.  At Nismes, or Avignon, he would at this moment be
useful as an agent; for the Protestants begin to move, and we fear a
reaction against the Catholics."

"I do not know," said Rodin, "if Morok may not have had private reasons
for changing his route.  His ostensible reasons are, that he comes here
to give performances."

"How so?"

"A dramatic agent, passing through Lyons, engaged him and his menagerie
for the Port Saint-Martin Theatre at a very high price.  He says that he
did not like to refuse such an offer."

"Well," said Father d'Aigrigny, shrugging his shoulders, "but by
distributing his little books, and selling prints and chaplets, as well
as by the influence he would certainly exercise over the pious and
ignorant people of the South or of Brittany, he might render services,
such as he can never perform in Paris."

"He is now below, with a kind of giant, who travels about with him.  In
his capacity of your reverence's old servant, Morok hoped to have the
honor of kissing your hand this evening."

"Impossible--impossible--you know how much I am occupied.  Have you sent
to the Rue Saint-Francois?"

"Yes, I have.  The old Jew guardian has had notice from the notary.  To-
morrow, at six in the morning, the masons will unwall the door, and, for
the first time since one hundred and fifty years, the house will be

Father d'Aigrigny remained in thought for a moment, and then said to
Rodin: "On the eve of such a decisive day, we must neglect nothing, and
call every circumstance to memory.  Read me the copy of the note,
inserted in the archives of the society, a century and a half ago, on the
subject of Rennepont."

The secretary took the note from the case, and read as follows:

"`This 19th day of February, 1682, the Reverend Father-Provincial
Alexander Bourdon sent the following advice, with these words in the
margin: Of extreme importance for the future.

"'We have just discovered, by the confession of a dying person to one of
our fathers, a very close secret.

"`Marius de Rennepont, one of the most active and redoubtable partisans
of the Reformed Religion, and one of the most determined enemies of our
Holy Society, had apparently re-entered the pale of our Mother Church,
but with the sole design of saving his worldly goods, threatened with
confiscation because of his irreligious and damnable errors.  Evidence
having been furnished by different persons of our company to prove that
the conversion of Rennepont was not sincere, and in reality covered a
sacrilegious lure, the possessions of the said gentleman, now considered
a relapsed heretic, were confiscated by our gracious sovereign, his
Majesty King Louis XIV, and the said Rennepont was condemned to the
galleys for life.[12]  He escaped his doom by a voluntary death; in
consequence of which abominable crime, his body was dragged upon a
hurdle, and flung to the dogs on the highway.

"`From these preliminaries, we come to the great secret, which is of such
importance to the future interests of our Society.

"`His Majesty Louis XIV., in his paternal and Catholic goodness towards
the Church in general, and our Order in particular, had granted to us the
profit of this confiscation, in acknowledgment of our services in
discovering the infamous and sacrilegious relapse of the said Rennepont.

"`But we have just learned, for certain, that a house situated in Paris,
No. 3, Rue Saint-Francois, and a sum of fifty thousand gold crowns, have
escaped this confiscation, and have consequently been stolen from our

"`The house was conveyed, before the confiscation, by means of a feigned
purchase, to a friend of Rennepont's a good Catholic, unfortunately, as
against him we cannot take any severe measures.  Thanks to the culpable,
but secure connivance of his friend, the house has been walled up, and is
only to be opened in a century and a half, according to the last will of
Rennepont.  As for the fifty thousand gold crowns, they have been placed
in hands which, unfortunately, are hitherto unknown to us, in order to be
invested and put out to use for one hundred and fifty years, at the
expiration of which time they are to be divided between the then existing
descendants of the said Rennepont; and it is calculated that this sum,
increased by so many accumulations, will by then have become enormous,
and will amount to at least forty or fifty millions of livres tournois.
From motives which are not known, but which are duly stated in a
testamentary document, the said Rennepont has concealed from his family,
whom the edicts against the Protestants have driven out of France, the
investment of these fifty thousand crowns; and has only desired his
relations to preserve in their line from generation to generation, the
charge to the last survivors, to meet in Paris, Rue Saint-Francois, a
hundred and fifty years hence, on February the 13th, 1832.  And that this
charge might not be forgotten, he employed a person, whose description is
known, but not his real occupation, to cause to be manufactured sundry
bronze medals, on which the request and date are engraved, and to deliver
one to each member of the family--a measure the more necessary, as, from
some other motive equally unknown, but probably explained in the
testament, the heirs are to present themselves on the day in question,
before noon, in person, and not by any attorney, or representative, or to
forfeit all claim to the inheritance.  The stranger who undertook to
distribute the medals to the different members of the family of Rennepont
is a man of thirty to thirty-six years of age, of tall stature, and with
a proud and sad expression of countenance.  He has black eyebrows, very
thick, and singularly joined together.  He is known as JOSEPH, and is
much suspected of being an active and dangerous emissary of the wretched
republicans and heretics of the Seven United Provinces.  It results from
these premises, that this sum, surreptitiously confided by a relapsed
heretic to unknown hands, has escaped the confiscation decreed in our
favor by our well-beloved king.  A serious fraud and injury has therefore
been committed, and we are bound to take every means to recover this our
right, if not immediately, at least in some future time.  Our Society
being (for the greater glory of God and our Holy Father) imperishable, it
will be easy, thanks to the connections we keep up with all parts of the
world, by means of missions and other establishments, to follow the line
of this family of Rennepont from generation to generation, without ever
losing sight of it--so that a hundred and fifty years hence, at the
moment of the division of this immense accumulation of property, our
Company may claim the inheritance of which it has been so treacherously
deprived, and recover it by any means in its power, fas aut nefas, even
by craft or violence--our Company not being bound to act tenderly with
the future detainers of our goods, of which we have been maliciously
deprived by an infamous and sacrilegious heretic--and because it is right
to defend, preserve, and recover one's own property by every means which
the Lord may place within one's reach.  Until, therefore, the complete
restitution of this wealth, the family of Rennepont must be considered as
reprobate and damnable, as the cursed seed of a Cain, and always to be
watched with the utmost caution.  And it is to be recommended, that,
every year from this present date, a sort of inquisition should he held
as to the situation of the successive members of this family.'"

Rodin paused, and said to Father d'Aigrigny: "Here follows the account,
year by year, of the history of this family, from the year 1682, to our
own day.  It will be useless to read this to your reverence."

"Quite useless," said Abbe d'Aigrigny.  "The note contains all the
important facts."  Then, after a moment's silence, he exclaimed, with an
expression of triumphant pride: "How great is the power of the
Association, when founded upon tradition and perpetuity!  Thanks to this
note, inserted in our archives a century and a half ago, this family has
been watched from generation to generation--our Order has always had its
eyes upon them, following them to all points of the globe, to which exile
had distributed them--and at last, to-morrow, we shall obtain possession
of this property, at first inconsiderable, but which a hundred and fifty
years have raised to a royal fortune.  Yes, we shall succeed, for we have
foreseen every eventuality.  One thing only troubles me."

"What is that?" asked Rodin.

"The information that we have in vain tried to obtain from the guardian
of the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.  Has the attempt been once more
made, as I directed?"

"It has been made."


"This time, as always before, the old Jew has remained impenetrable.
Besides he is almost in his second childhood, and his wife not much

"When I think," resumed Father d'Aigrigny, "that for a century and a
half, this house in the Rue Saint-Francois has remained walled up, and
that the care of it has been transmitted from generation to generation in
this family of the Samuels--I cannot suppose that they have all been
ignorant as to who were and are the successive holders of these funds,
now become immense by accumulation."

"You have seen," said Rodin, "by the notes upon this affair, that the
Order has always carefully followed it up ever since 1682.  At different
periods attempts have been made to obtain information upon subjects not
fully explained in the note of Father Bourdon.  But this race of Jew
guardians has ever remained dumb, and we must therefore conclude that
they know nothing about it."

"That has always struck me as impossible; for the ancestor of these
Samuels was present at the closing of the house, a hundred and fifty
years ago.  He was according to the file, a servant or confidential clerk
of De Rennepont.  It is impossible that he should not have known many
things, the tradition of which must have been preserved in the family."

"If I were allowed to hazard a brief observation," began Rodin, humbly.


"A few years ago we obtained certain information through the
confessional, that the funds were in existence, and that they had risen
to an enormous amount."

"Doubtless; and it was that which called the attention of the Reverend
Father-General so strongly to this affair."

"We know, then, what probably the descendants of the family do not--the
immense value of this inheritance?"

"Yes," answered Father d'Aigrigny, "the person who certified this fact in
confession is worthy of all belief.  Only lately, the same declaration
was renewed; but all the efforts of the confessor could not obtain the
name of the trustee, or anything beyond the assertion, that the money
could not be in more honest hands."

"It seems to me, then," resumed Rodin, "that we are certain of what is
most important."

"And who knows if the holder of this enormous sum will appear to-morrow,
in spite of the honesty ascribed to him?  The nearer the moment the more
my anxiety increases.  Ah!" continued Father d'Aigrigny, after a moment's
silence, "the interests concerned are so immense that the consequences of
success are quite incalculable.  However, all that it was possible to do,
has been at least tried."

To these words, which Father d'Aigrigny addressed to Rodin, as if asking
for his assent, the socius returned no answer.

The abbe looked at him with surprise, and said: "Are you not of my
opinion--could more have been attempted?  Have we not gone to the extreme
limit of the possible?"

Rodin bowed respectfully, but remained mute.

"If you think we have omitted some precaution," cried Father d'Aigrigny,
with a sort of uneasy impatience, "speak out!  We have still time.  Once
more, do you think it is possible to do more than I have done?  All the
other descendants being removed, when Gabriel appears to-morrow in the
Rue Saint-Francois, will he not be the only representative of this
family, and consequently the rightful possessor of this immense fortune?
Now, according to his act of renunciation, and the provisions of our
statutes, it is not to him, but to the Order, that these possessions must
fall.  Could I have acted better, or in any other manner?  Speak

"I cannot permit myself to offer an opinion on this subject," replied
Rodin, humbly, and again bowing; "the success of the measures taken must
answer your reverence."

Father d'Aigrigny shrugged his shoulders, and reproached himself for
having asked advice of this writing-machine, that served him for a
secretary, and to whom he only ascribed three qualities--memory,
discretion, and exactness.

[11] This was an idle fear, for we read in the Constitutionnel, Feb. 1st
1832, as follows: "When in 1822, M. de Corbiere abruptly abolished that
splendid Normal School, which, during its few years' existence, had
called forth or developed such a variety of talent, it was decided, as
some compensation, that a house in the Rue des Postes should be

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