List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V5, by Eugene Sue
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the intervention of an angelic woman, towards whom he felt an almost
religious veneration.

"`The portrait of this woman, whom I saw a few years ago, as well as that
of the man whom I hold in the greatest reverence, were painted by me from
memory, and have been placed in the Red Room in the Rue Saint-Francois--
to be gratefully valued, I hope, by the descendants of my family.'"

For some moments Gabriel had become more and more attentive to the
reading of this testament.  He thought within himself by how strange a
coincidence one of his ancestors had, two centuries before, broken with
the Society of Jesus, as he himself had just done; and that from this
rupture, two centuries old, dated also that species of hatred with which
the Society of Jesus had always pursued his family.  Nor did the young
priest find it less strange that this inheritance, transmitted to him
after a lapse of a hundred and fifty years, from one of his kindred (the
victim of the Society of Jesus), should return by a voluntary act to the
coffers of this same society.  When the notary read the passage relative
to the two portraits, Gabriel, who, like Father d'Aigrigny, sat with his
back towards the pictures, turned round to look at them.  Hardly had the
missionary cast his eyes on the portrait of the woman, than he uttered a
loud cry of surprise, and almost terror.  The notary paused in his
reading, and looked uneasily at the young priest.



At the cry uttered by Gabriel, the notary had stopped reading the
testament, and Father d'Aigrigny hastily drew near the young priest.  The
latter rose trembling from his seat and gazed with increasing stupor at
the female portrait.

Then he said in a low voice, as if speaking to himself.  "Good Heaven!
is it possible that nature can produce such resemblances?  Those eyes--so
proud and yet so sad--that forehead--that pale complexion--yes, all her
features, are the same--all of them!"

"My dear son, what is the matter?" said Father d'Aigrigny, as astonished
as Samuel and the notary.

"Eight months ago," replied the missionary, in a voice of deep emotion,
without once taking his eyes from the picture, "I was in the power of the
Indians, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  They had crucified, and
were beginning to scalp me; I was on the point of death, when Divine
Providence sent me unexpected aid--sent me this woman for a deliverer."

"That woman!" cried Samuel, Father d'Aigrigny, and the notary, all

Rodin alone appeared completely indifferent to this episode of the
picture.  His face contracted with angry impatience, he bit his nails to
the quick, as he contemplated with agony the slow progress of the hands
of his watch.

"What! that woman saved your life?" resumed Father d'Aigrigny.

"Yes, this woman," replied Gabriel, in a still lower and more trembling
voice; "this woman--or rather a woman so much resembling her, that if
this picture had not been here for a century and a half, I should have
felt sure it was the same--nor can I explain to myself that so striking a
resemblance could be the effect of chance.  Well," added he, after a
moment's silence, as he heaved a profound sigh, "the mysteries of Nature,
and the will of God, are impenetrable."

Gabriel fell back into his chair, in the midst of a general silence,
which was broken by Father d'Aigrigny saying, "It is a case of
extraordinary resemblance; that is all, my dear son.  Only, the natural
gratitude which you feel towards your benefactress, makes you take a deep
interest in this singular coincidence."

Rodin, bursting with impatience, here said to the notary, by whose side
he stood, "It seems to me, sir, that all this little romance has nothing
to do with the testament."

"You are right," answered the notary, resuming his seat; "but the fact is
so extraordinary, and as you say, romantic, that one cannot help sharing
in this gentleman's astonishment."

He pointed to Gabriel, who, with his elbow resting on the arms of the
chair, leaned his forehead upon his hand, apparently quite absorbed in
thought.  The notary continued the reading of the will, as follows:

"'Such are the persecutions to which my family has been exposed on the
part of the Society of Jesus.

"`The Society possesses at this hour the whole of my confiscated
property.  I am about to die.  May its hatred perish with me, and spare
my kindred, whose fate at this solemn moment is my last and only thought.

"`This morning I sent for a man of long tried probity Isaac Samuel.  He
owes his life to me, and every day I congratulate myself on having been
able to preserve to the world so honest and excellent a creature.

"`Before the confiscation of my property, Isaac Samuel had long managed
it with as much intelligence as uprightness.  I have entrusted him with
the fifty thousand crowns, returned to me by a faithful friend.  Isaac
Samuel, and his descendants after him, to whom he will leave this debt of
gratitude, will invest the above sum, and allow it to accumulate, until
the expiration of the hundred and fiftieth year from this time.

"`The amount thus accumulated may become enormous, and constitute a royal
fortune, if no unfavorable event should occur.  May my descendants attend
to my wishes, as to the division and employment of this immense sum!

"`In a century and a half, there happen so many changes, so many
varieties of fortunes, such a rise and fall in the condition of the
successive generations of a family, that probably, a hundred and fifty
years hence, my descendants will belong to various classes of society,
and thus represent the divers social elements of their time.

"`There may, perhaps, be among them men of great intelligence great
courage, or great virtue--learned men, or names illustrious in arts and
arms.  There may, perhaps, also be obscure workmen, or humble citizens--
perhaps, also, alas! great criminals.

"`However, this may be, my most earnest desire is that my descendants
should combine together, and, reconstituting one family, by a close and
sincere union, put into practice the divine words of Christ, "Love ye one

"`This union would have a salutary tendency; for it seems to me that upon
union, upon the association of men together, must depend the future
happiness of mankind.

"`The Company, which so long persecuted my family, is one of the most
striking examples of the power of association, even when applied to evil.

"`There is something so fruitful and divine in this principle, that it
sometimes forces to good the worst and most dangerous combinations.

"`Thus, the missions have thrown a scanty but pure and generous light on
the darkness of this Company of Jesus--founded with the detestable and
impious aim of destroying, by a homicidal education, all will, thought,
liberty, and intelligence, in the people, so as to deliver them,
trembling, superstitious, brutal, and helpless, to the despotism of
kings, governed in their turn by confessors belonging to the Society.'"

At this passage of the will, there was another strange look exchanged
between Gabriel and Father d'Aigrigny.  The notary continued:

"`If a perverse association, based upon the degradation of humanity, upon
fear and despotism, and followed by the maledictions of the people, has
survived for centuries, and often governed the world by craft and terror-
-how would it be with an association, which, taking fraternity and
evangelic love for its means, had for its end to deliver man and woman
from all degrading slavery, to invite to the enjoyment of terrestrial
happiness those who have hitherto known nothing of life but its sorrows
and miseries, and to glorify and enrich the labor that feeds the state?--
to enlighten those whom ignorance has depraved?--to favor the free
expansion of all the passions, which God, in His infinite wisdom, and
inexhaustible goodness, gave to man as so many powerful levers?--to
sanctify all the gifts of Heaven: love, maternity, strength,
intelligence, beauty, genius?--to make men truly religious, and deeply
grateful to their Creator, by making them understand the splendors of
Nature, and bestowing on them their rightful share in the treasures which
have been poured upon us?

"'Oh! if it be Heaven's will that, in a century and a half, the
descendants of my family, faithful to the last wishes of a heart that
loved humanity, meet in this sacred union!--if it be Heaven's will that
amongst them be found charitable and passionate souls, full of
commiseration for those who suffer, and lofty minds, ardent for liberty!
warm and eloquent natures! resolute characters! women, who unite beauty
and wit with goodness--oh! then, how fruitful, how powerful will be the
harmonious union of all these ideas, and influences, and forces--of all
these attractions grouped round that princely fortune, which,
concentrated by association, and wisely managed, would render practicable
the most admirable Utopias!

"`What a wondrous centre of fertile and generous thoughts! What precious
and life-giving rays would stream incessantly from this focus of charity,
emancipation, and love!  What great things might be attempted what
magnificent examples given to the world!  What a divine mission!  What an
irresistible tendency towards good might be impressed on the whole human
race by a family thus situated, and in possession of such means!

"`And, then, such a beneficent association would be able to combat the
fatal conspiracy of which I am the victim, and which, in a century and a
half, may have lost none of its formidable power.

"`So, to this work of darkness, restraint, and despotism, which weighs
heavily on the Christian world, my family would oppose their work of
light, expansion, and liberty!

"`The genii of good and evil would stand face to face.  The struggle
would commence, and God would protect the right.

"`And that these immense pecuniary resources, which will give so much
power to my family, may not be exhausted by the course of years, my
heirs, following my last will, are to place out, upon the same
conditions, double the sum that I have invested--so that, a century and a
half later, a new source of power and action will be at the disposal of
their descendants.  What a perpetuity of good!

"`In the ebony cabinet of the Hall of Mourning will be found some
practical suggestions on the subject of this association.

"`Such is my last will--or rather, such are my last hopes.

"`When I require absolutely that the members of my family should appear
in person in the Rue Saint-Francois, on the day of the opening of this
testament, it is so that, united in that solemn moment, they may see and
know each other.  My words may then, perhaps, have some effect upon them;
and, instead of living divided, they will combine together.  It will be
for their own interest, and my wishes will thus be accomplished.

"`When I sent, a few days ago, to those of my family whom exile has
dispersed over Europe, a medal on which is engravers the date of the
convocation of my heirs, a century and a half from this time, I was
forced to keep secret my true motive, and only to tell them, that my
descendants would find it greatly to their interest to attend this

"`I have acted thus, because I know the craft and perseverance of the
society of which I have been the victim.  If they could guess that my
descendants would hereafter have to divide immense sums between them, my
family would run the risk of much fraud and malice, through the fatal
recommendations handed down from age to age in the Society of Jesus.

"`May these precautions be successful!  May the wish, expressed upon
these medals, be faithfully transmitted from generation to generation!

"`If I fix a day and hour, in which my inheritance shall irrevocably fall
to those of my descendants who shall appear in the Rue Saint-Francois on
the 13th February, in 1832, it is that all delays must have a term, and
that my heirs will have been sufficiently informed years before of the
great importance of this meeting.

"`After the reading of my testament, the person who shall then be the
trustee of the accumulated funds, shall make known their amount, so that,
with the last stroke of noon, they may be divided between my heirs then
and there present.

"`The different apartments of the house shall then be opened to them.
They will see in them divers objects, well worthy of interest, pity, and
respect--particularly in the Hall of Mourning.

"`My desire is, that the house may not be sold, but that it may remain
furnished as it is, and serve as a place of meeting for my descendants,
if, as I hope, they attend to my last wishes.

"`If, on the contrary, they are divided amongst themselves--if, instead
of uniting for one of the most generous enterprises that ever signalized
an age, they yield to the influence of selfish passions--if they prefer a
sterile individuality to a fruitful association--if, in this immense
fortune, they see only an opportunity for frivolous dissipation, or
sordid interest--may they be accursed by all those whom they might have
loved, succored, and disfettered!--and then let this house be utterly
demolished and destroyed, and the papers, of which Isaac Samuel possesses
the inventory, as well as the two portraits in the Red Room, be burnt by
the guardian of the property.

"`I have spoken.  My duty is accomplished.  In all this, I have followed
the counsels of the man whom I revere and love as the image of God upon

"`The faithful friend, who preserved for me the fifty thousand crowns,
the wreck of my fortune, knows the use I mean to make of them.  I could
not refuse his friendship this mark of confidence.  But I have concealed
from him the name of Isaac Samuel--for to have mentioned it might have
exposed this latter and his descendants to great dangers.

"`In a short time, this friend, who knows not that my resolution to die
is so near its accomplishment, will come hither with my notary.  Into
their hands, after the usual formalities, I shall deliver my sealed

"`Such is my last will.  I leave its execution to the superintending care
of Providence.  God will protect the cause of love, peace, union, and

"`This mystic testament,[20] having been freely made by me, and written
entirely with my own hand, I intend and will its scrupulous execution
both in spirit and the letter.

"`This 13th day of February, 1682, at one o'clock in the
afternoon.  "'MARIUS DE RENNEPONT.'"

As the notary had proceeded with the reading of the testament, Gabriel
was successively agitated by divers painful impressions.  At first, as we
have before said, he was struck with the singular fatality which restored
this immense fortune, derived from a victim of the Society of Jesus, to
the hands of that very association, by the renewal of his deed of gift.
Then, as his charitable and lofty soul began fully to comprehend the
admirable tendency of the association so earnestly recommended by Marius
de Rennepont, he reflected with bitter remorse, that, in consequence of
his act of renunciation, and of the absence of any other heir, this great

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