List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V6, by Eugene Sue
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feeling of vengeance by which Adrienne was animated, but a legitimate
indignation, inspired by odious hypocrisy.  She would have thought it
cowardly not to unmask the criminals; but wishing to avoid compromising
others, she said to the magistrate, with an accent full of mildness and
dignity: "Permit me, sir, in my turn, rather to ask you a question."

"Speak, madame."

"Will the answer I make be considered a formal accusation?"

"I have come hither, madame, to ascertain the truth, and no consideration
should induce you to dissemble it."

"So be it, sir," resumed Adrienne; "but suppose, having just causes of
complaint, I lay them before you, in order to be allowed to leave this
house, shall I afterwards be at liberty not to press the accusations I
have made?"

"You may abandon proceedings, madame, but the law will take up your case
in the name of society, if its rights have been inured in your person."

"Shall I then not be allowed to pardon?  Should I not be sufficiently
avenged by a contemptuous forgetfulness of the wrongs I have suffered?"

"Personally, madame, you may forgive and forget; but I have the honor to
repeat to you, that society cannot show the same indulgence, if it should
turn out that you have been the victim of a criminal machination--and I
have every reason to fear it is so.  The manner in which you express
yourself, the generosity of your sentiments, the calmness and dignity of
your attitude, convince me that I have been well informed."

"I hope, sir," said Dr. Baleinier, recovering his coolness, "that you
will at least communicate the declaration that has been made to you."

"It has been declared to me, sir," said the magistrate, in a stern voice,
"that Mdlle. de Cardoville was brought here by stratagem."

"By stratagem?"

"Yes, sir."

"It is true.  The lady was brought here by stratagem," answered the
Jesuit of the short robe, after a moment's silence.

"You confess it, then?" said M. de Gernande.

"Certainly I do, sir.  I admit that I had recourse to means which we are
unfortunately too often obliged to employ, when persons who most need our
assistance are unconscious of their own sad state."

"But, sir," replied the magistrate, "it has also been declared to me,
that Mdlle. de Cardoville never required such aid."

"That, sir, is a question of medical jurisprudence, which has to be
examined and discussed," said M. Baleinier, recovering his assurance.

"It will, indeed, sir, be seriously discussed; for you are accused of
confining Mdlle. De Cardoville, while in the full possession of all her

"And may I ask you for what purpose?" said M. de Baleinier, with a slight
shrug of the shoulders, and in a tone of irony.  "What interest had I to
commit such a crime, even admitting that my reputation did not place me
above so odious and absurd a charge?"

"You are said to have acted, sir, in furtherance of a family plot,
devised against Mdlle. de Cardoville for a pecuniary motive."

"And who has dared, sir, to make so calumnious a charge?" cried Dr.
Baleinier, with indignant warmth.  "Who has had the audacity to accuse a
respectable, and I dare to say, respected man, of having been the
accomplice in such infamy?"

"I," said Rodin, coldly.

"You!" cried Dr. Baleinier, falling back two steps, as if thunderstruck.

"Yes, I accuse you," repeated Rodin, in a clear sharp voice.

"Yes, it was this gentleman who came to me this morning, with ample
proofs, to demand my interference in favor of Mdlle. de Cardoville," said
the magistrate, drawing back a little, to give Adrienne the opportunity
of seeing her defender.

Throughout this scene, Rodin's name had not hitherto been mentioned.
Mdlle. de Cardoville had often heard speak of the Abbe d'Aigrigny's
secretary in no very favorable terms; but, never having seen him, she did
not know that her liberator was this very Jesuit.  She therefore looked
towards him, with a glance in which were mingled curiosity, interest,
surprise and gratitude.  Rodin's cadaverous countenance, his repulsive
ugliness, his sordid dress, would a few days before have occasioned
Adrienne a perhaps invincible feeling of disgust.  But the young lady,
remembering how the sempstress, poor, feeble, deformed, and dressed
almost in rags was endowed notwithstanding her wretched exterior, with
one of the noblest and most admirable hearts, recalled this recollection
in favor of the Jesuit.  She forgot that he was ugly and sordid, only to
remember that he was old, that he seemed poor, and that he had come to
her assistance.  Dr. Baleinier, notwithstanding his craft,
notwithstanding his audacious hypocrisy, in spite even of his presence of
mind, could not conceal how much he was disturbed by Rodin's
denunciation.  His head became troubled as he remembered how, on the
first day of Adrienne's confinement in this house, the implacable appeal
of Rodin, through the hole in the door, had prevented him (Baleinier)
from yielding to emotions of pity, inspired by the despair of this
unfortunate young girl, driven almost to doubt of her own reason.  And
yet it was this very Rodin, so cruel, so inexorable, the devoted agent of
Father d'Aigrigny, who denounced him (Baleinier), and brought a
magistrate to set Adrienne at liberty--when, only the day before, Father
d'Aigrigny had ordered an increase of severity towards her!

The lay Jesuit felt persuaded that Rodin was betraying Father d'Aigrigny
in the most shameful manner, and that Mdlle. de Cardoville's friends had
bribed and bought over this scoundrelly secretary.  Exasperated by what
he considered a monstrous piece of treachery, the doctor exclaimed, in a
voice broken with rage: "And it is you, sir, that have the impudence to
accuse me--you, who only a few days ago--"

Then, reflecting that the retort upon Rodin would be self-accusation, he
appeared to give way to an excess of emotion, and resumed with
bitterness: "Ah, sir, you are the last person that I should have thought
capable of this odious denunciation.  It is shameful!"

"And who had a better right than I to denounce this infamy?" answered
Rodin, in a rude, overbearing tone.  "Was I not in a position to learn--
unfortunately, too late--the nature of the conspiracy of which Mdlle. de
Cardoville and others have been the victims?  Then, what was my duty as
an honest man?  Why, to inform the magistrate, to prove what I set forth,
and to accompany him hither.  That is what I have done."

"So, sir," said the doctor, addressing the magistrate, "it is not only
myself that this man accuses, but he dares also--"

"I accuse the Abbe d'Aigrigny," resumed Rodin, in a still louder and more
imperative tone, interrupting the doctor, "I accuse the Princess de
Saint-Dizier, I accuse you, sir--of having, from a vile motive of self-
interest, confined Mdlle. de Cardoville in this house, and the two
daughters of Marshal Simon in the neighboring convent.  Is that clear?"

"Alas! it is only too true," said Adrienne, hastily.  "I have seen those
poor children all in tears, making signs of distress to me."

The accusation of Rodin, with regard to the orphans, was a new and
fearful blow for Dr. Baleinier.  He felt perfectly convinced that the
traitor had passed clear over to the enemy's camp.  Wishing therefore to
put an end to this embarrassing scene, he tried to put a good face on the
matter, in spite of his emotion, and said to the magistrate:

"I might confine myself, sir, to silence--disdaining to answer such
accusations, till a judicial decision had given them some kind of
authority.  But, strong in a good conscience I address myself to Mdlle.
de Cardoville, and I beg her to say if this very morning I did not inform
her, that her health would soon be sufficiently restored to allow her to
leave this house.  I conjure her, in the name of her well-known love of
truth to state if such was not my language, when I was alone with her--"

"Come, sir!" said Rodin, interrupting Baleinier with an insolent air;
"suppose that, from pure generosity, this dear young lady were to admit
as much--what will it prove in your favor?--why, nothing at all."

"What, sir," cried the doctor, "do you presume -"

"I presume to unmask you, without asking your leave.  What have you just
told us?  Why, that being alone with Mdlle. de Cardoville, you talked to
her as if she were really mad.  How very conclusive!"

"But, sir--" cried the doctor.

"But, sir," resumed Rodin, without allowing him to continue, "it is
evident that, foreseeing the possibility of what has occurred to-day,
and, to provide yourself with a hole to creep out at, you have pretended
to believe your own execrable falsehood, in presence of this poor young
lady, that you might afterwards call in aid the evidence of your own
assumed conviction.  Come, sir! such stories will not go down with people
of common sense or common humanity."

"Come now, sir!" exclaimed Baleinier, angrily.

"Well, sir," resumed Rodin, in a still louder voice, which completely
drowned that of the doctor; "is it true, or is it not, that you have
recourse to the mean evasion of ascribing this odious imprisonment to a
scientific error?  I affirm that you do so, and that you think yourself
safe, because you can now say: `Thanks to my care, the young lady has
recovered her reason.  What more would you have?'"

"Yes, I do say that, sir, and I maintain it."

"You maintain a falsehood; for it is proven that the lady never lost her
reason for a moment."

"But I, sir, maintain that she did lose it."

"And I, sir, will prove the contrary," said Rodin.

"You?  How will you do that?" cried the doctor.

"That I shall take care not to tell you at present, as you may well
suppose," answered Rodin, with an ironical smile, adding with
indignation: "But, really, sir, you ought to die for shame, to dare to
raise such a question in presence of the lady.  You should at least have
spared her this discussion."


"Oh, fie, sir!  I say, fie!  It is odious to maintain this argument
before her--odious if you speak truth, doubly odious if you lie," said
Rodin, with disgust.

"This violence is inconceivable!" cried the Jesuit of the short robe,
exasperated; "and I think the magistrate shows great partiality in
allowing such gross calumnies to be heaped upon me!"

"Sir," answered M. de Gernande, severely, "I am entitled not only to
hear, but to provoke any contradictory discussion that may enlighten me
in the execution of my duty; it results from all this, that, even in your
opinion, sir, Mdlle. de Cardoville's health is sufficiently good to allow
her to return home immediately."

"At least, I do not see any very serious inconvenience likely to arise
from it, sir," said the doctor: "only I maintain that the cure is not so
complete as it might have been, and, on this subject, I decline all
responsibility for the future."

"You can do so, safely," said Rodin; "it is not likely that the young
lady will ever again have recourse to your honest assistance."

"It is useless, therefore, to employ my official authority, to demand the
immediate liberation of Mdlle. de Cardoville," said the magistrate.

"She is free," said Baleinier, "perfectly free."

"As for the question whether you have imprisoned her on the plea of a
suppositious madness, the law will inquire into it, sir, and you will be

"I am quite easy, sir," answered M. Baleinier, trying to look so; "my
conscience reproaches me with nothing."

"I hope it may turn out well, sir," said M. de Gernande.  "However bad
appearances may be, more especially when persons of your station in
society are concerned, we should always wish to be convinced of their
innocence."  Then, turning to Adrienne, he added: "I understand, madame,
how painful this scene must be to all your feelings of delicacy and
generosity; hereafter, it will depend upon yourself, either to proceed
for damages against M. Baleinier, or to let the law take its course.  One
word more.  The bold and upright man"--here the magistrate pointed to
Rodin--"who has taken up your cause in so frank and disinterested a
manner, expressed a belief that you would, perhaps, take charge for the
present of Marshal Simon's daughters, whose liberation I am about to
demand from the convent where they also are confined by stratagem."

"The fact is, sir," replied Adrienne, "that, as soon as I learned the
arrival of Marshal Simon's daughters in Paris, my intention was to offer
them apartments in my house.  These young ladies are my near relations.
It is at once a duty and a pleasure for me to treat them as sisters.  I
shall, therefore, be doubly grateful to you, sir, if you will trust them
to my care."

"I think that I cannot serve them better," answered M. de Gernande.
Then, addressing Baleinier, he added, "Will you consent, sir, to my
bringing these two ladies hither?  I will go and fetch them, while Mdlle.
de Cardoville prepares for her departure.  They will then be able to
leave this house with their relation."

"I entreat the lady to make use of this house as her own, until she
leaves it," replied M. Baleinier.  "My carriage shall be at her orders to
take her home."

"Madame," said the magistrate, approaching Adrienne, "without prejudging
the question, which must soon be decided by, a court of law, I may at
least regret that I was not called in sooner.  Your situation must have
been a very cruel one."

"There will at least remain to me, sir, from this mournful time," said
Adrienne, with graceful dignity, "one precious and touching remembrance--
that of the interest which you have shown me.  I hope that you will one
day permit me to thank you, at my own home, not for the justice you have
done me, but for the benevolent and paternal manner in which you have
done it.  And moreover, sir," added Mdlle. de Cardoville, with a sweet
smile, "I should like to prove to you, that what they call my cure is

M. de Gernande bowed respectfully in reply.  During the abort dialogue of
the magistrate with Adrienne, their backs were both turned to Baleinier
and Rodin.  The latter, profiting by this moment's opportunity, hastily
slipped into the doctor's hand a note just written with a pencil in the
bottom of his hat.  Baleinier looked at Rodin in stupefied amazement.
But the latter made a peculiar sign, by raising his thumb to his
forehead, and drawing it twice across his brow.  Then he remained
impassible.  This had passed so rapidly, that when M. de Gernande turned
round, Rodin was at a distance of several steps from Dr. Baleinier, and
looking at Mdlle. de Cardoville with respectful interest.

"Permit me to accompany you, sir," said the doctor, preceding the
magistrate, whom Mdlle. de Cardoville saluted with much affability.  Then
both went out, and Rodin remained alone with the young lady.

After conducting M. de Gernande to the outer door of the house, M.
Baleinier made haste to read the pencil-note written by Rodin; it ran as
follows: "The magistrate is going to the convent, by way of the street.
Run round by the garden, and tell the Superior to obey the order I have
given with regard to the two young girls.  It is of the utmost

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