List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V6, by Eugene Sue
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and stupor which still continued, slightly touched Father d'Aigrigny's
elbow, made him a sign of intelligence, and, tucking the cedar-wood chest
under his arm, was hastening towards the door.

"One moment, sir," said Samuel, rising, and standing in his path; "I
request M. Notary to examine the envelope, that has just been delivered
to him.  You may then go out."

"But, sir," said Rodin, trying to force a passage, "the question is
definitively decided in favor of Father d'Aigrigny.  Therefore, with your

"I tell you, sir," answered the old man, in a loud voice, "that this
casket shall not leave the house, until M. Notary has examined the
envelope just delivered to him!"

These words drew the attention of all,  Rodin was forced to retrace his
steps.  Notwithstanding the firmness of his character, the Jew shuddered
at the look of implacable hate which Rodin turned upon him at this

Yielding to the wish of Samuel, the notary examined the envelope with
attention.  "Good Heaven!" he cried suddenly; "what do I see?--Ah! so
much the better!"

At this exclamation all eyes turned upon the notary.  "Oh! read, read,
sir!" cried Samuel, clasping his hands together.  "My presentiments have
not then deceived me!"

"But, sir," said Father d'Aigrigny to the notary, for he began to share
in the anxiety of Rodin, "what is this paper?"

"A codicil," answered the notary; "a codicil, which reopens the whole

"How, sir?" cried Father d'Aigrigny, in a fury, as he hastily drew nearer
to the notary, "reopens the whole question!  By what right?"

"It is impossible," added Rodin.  "We protest against it.

"Gabriel! father! listen," cried Agricola, "all is not lost.  There is
yet hope.  Do you hear, Gabriel?  There is yet hope."

"What do you say?" exclaimed the young priest, rising, and hardly
believing the words of his adopted brother.

"Gentlemen," said the notary; "I will read to you the superscription of
this envelope.  It changes, or rather, it adjourns, the whole of the
testamentary provisions."

"Gabriel!" cried Agricola, throwing himself on the neck of the
missionary, "all is adjourned, nothing is lost!"

"Listen, gentlemen," said the notary; and he read as follows:

"'This is a Codicil, which for reasons herein stated, adjourns and
prorogues to the 1st day of June, 1832, though without any other change,
all the provisions contained in the testament made by me, at one o'clock
this afternoon.  The house shall be reclosed, and the funds left in the
hands of the same trustee, to be distributed to the rightful claimants on
the 1st of June, 1832.

"`Villetaneuse, this 13th of February, 1682, eleven o'clock at night.


"I protest against this codicil as a forgery!" cried Father d'Aigrigny
livid with rage and despair.

"The woman who delivered it to the notary is a suspicious character,"
added Rodin.  "The codicil has been forged."

"No, sir," said the notary, severely; "I have just compared the two
signatures, and they are absolutely alike.  For the rest--what I said
this morning, with regard to the absent heirs, is now applicable to you--
the law is open; you may dispute the authenticity of this codicil.
Meanwhile, everything will remain suspended--since the term for the
adjustment of the inheritance is prolonged for three months and a half."

When the notary had uttered these last words, Rodin's nails dripped
blood; for the first time, his wan lips became red.

"Oh, God! Thou hast heard and granted my prayer!" cried Gabriel, kneeling
down with religious fervor, and turning his angelic face towards heaven.
"Thy sovereign justice has not let iniquity triumph!"

"What do you say, my brave boy?" cried Dagobert, who, in the first tumult
of joy, had not exactly understood the meaning of the codicil.

"All is put off, father!" exclaimed the smith; "the heirs will have three
months and a half more to make their claim.  And now that these people
are unmasked," added Agricola, pointing to Rodin and Father d'Aigrigny,
"we have nothing more to fear from them.  We shall be on our guard; and
the orphans, Mdlle. de Cardoville, my worthy master, M. Hardy, and this
young Indian, will all recover their own."

We must renounce the attempt to paint the delight, the transport of
Gabriel and Agricola, of Dagobert, and Marshal Simon's father, of Samuel
and Bathsheba.  Faringhea alone remained in gloomy silence, before the
portrait of the man with the black-barred forehead.  As for the fury of
Father d'Aigrigny and Rodin, when they saw Samuel retake possession of
the casket, we must also renounce any attempt to describe it.  On the
notary's suggestion, who took with him the codicil, to have it opened
according to the formalities of the law, Samuel agreed that it would be
more prudent to deposit in the Bank of France the securities of immense
value that were now known to be in his possession.

While all the generous hearts, which had for a moment suffered so much,
were overflowing with happiness, hope, and joy, Father d'Aigrigny and
Rodin quitted the house with rage and death in their souls.  The reverend
father got into his carriage, and said to his servants: "To Saint-Dizier
House!"--Then, worn out and crushed, he fell back upon the seat, and hid
his face in his hands, while he uttered a deep groan.  Rodin sat next to
him, and looked with a mixture of anger and disdain at this so dejected
and broken-spirited man.

"The coward!" said he to himself.  "He despairs--and yet--"

A quarter of an hour later, the carriage stopped in the Rue de Babylone,
in the court-yard of Saint-Dizier House.



The carriage had travelled rapidly to Saint-Dizier House.  During all the
way, Rodin remained mute, contenting himself with observing Father
d'Aigrigny, and listening to him, as he poured forth his grief and fury
in a long monologue, interrupted by exclamations, lamentations, and
bursts of rage, directed against the strokes of that inexorable destiny,
which had ruined in a moment the best founded hopes.  When the carriage
entered the courtyard, and stopped before the portico, the princess's
face could be seen through one of the windows, half hidden by the folds
of a curtain; in her burning anxiety, she came to see if it was really
Father d'Aigrigny who arrived at the house.  Still more, in defiance of
all ordinary rules, this great lady, generally so scrupulous as to
appearances, hurried from her apartment, and descended several steps of
the staircase, to meet Father d'Aigrigny, who was coming up with a
dejected air.  At sight of the livid and agitated countenance of the
reverend father, the princess stopped suddenly, and grew pale.  She
suspected that all was lost.  A look rapidly exchanged with her old lover
left her no doubt of the issue she so much feared.  Rodin humbly followed
the reverend father, and both, preceded by the princess, entered the
room.  The door once closed, the princess, addressing Father d'Aigrigny,,
exclaimed with unspeakable anguish: "What has happened?"

Instead of answering this question, the reverend father, his eyes
sparkling with rage, his lips white, his features contracted, looked
fixedly at the princess, and said to her:  "Do you know the amount of
this inheritance, that we estimated at forty millions?"

"I understand," cried the princess; "we have been deceived.  The
inheritance amounts to nothing, and all you have dare has been in vain."

"Yes, it has indeed been in vain," answered the reverend father, grinding
his teeth with rage; "it was no question of forty millions, but of two
hundred and twelve millions.

"Two hundred and twelve millions!" repeated the princess in amazement, as
she drew back a step.  "It is impossible!"

"I tell you I saw the vouchers, which were examined by the notary."

"Two hundred and twelve millions?" resumed the princess, with deep
dejection.  "It is an immense and sovereign power--and you have
renounced--you have not struggled for it, by every possible means, and
till the last moment?"

"Madame, I have done all that I could!--notwithstanding the treachery of
Gabriel, who this very morning declared that he renounced us, and
separated from the Society."

"Ungrateful!" said the princess, unaffectedly.

"The deed of gift, which I had the precaution to have prepared by the
notary, was in such good, legal form, that in spite of the objections of
that accursed soldier and his son, the notary had put me in possession of
the treasure."

"Two hundred and twelve millions!" repeated the princess clasping her
hands.  "Verily it is like a dream!"

"Yes," replied Father d'Aigrigny, bitterly, "for us, this possession is
indeed a dream, for a codicil has been discovered, which puts off for
three months and a half all the testamentary provisions.  Now that our
very precautions have roused the suspicion of all these heirs--now that
they know the enormous amount at stake--they will be upon their guard;
and all is lost."

"But who is the wretch that produced this codicil?"

"A woman."

"What woman?"

"Some wandering creature, that Gabriel says he met in America, where she
saved his life."

"And how could this woman be there--how could she know the existence of
this codicil?"

"I think it was all arranged with a miserable Jew, the guardian of the
house, whose family has had charge of the funds for three generations; he
had no doubt some secret instructions, in case he suspected the detention
of any of the heirs, for this Marius de Rennepont had foreseen that our
Company would keep their eyes upon his race."

"But can you not dispute the validity of this codicil?"

"What, go to law in these times--litigate about a will--incur the
certainty of a thousand clamors, with no security for success?--It is bad
enough, that even this should get wind.  Alas! it is terrible.  So near
the goal! after so much care and trouble.  An affair that had been
followed up with so much perseverance during a century and a half!"

"Two hundred and twelve millions!" said the princess.  "The Order would
have had no need to look for establishments in foreign countries; with
such resources, it would have been able to impose itself upon France."

"Yes," resumed Father d'Aigrigny, with bitterness; "by means of
education, we might have possessed ourselves of the rising generation.
The power is altogether incalculable."  Then, stamping with his foot, he
resumed: "I tell you, that it is enough to drive one mad with rage! an
affair so wisely, ably, patiently conducted!"

"Is there no hope?"

"Only that Gabriel may not revoke his donation, in as far as concerns
himself.  That alone would be a considerable sum--not less than thirty

"It is enormous--it is almost what you hoped," said the princess; "then
why despair?"

"Because it is evident that Gabriel will dispute this donation.  However
legal it may be, he will find means to annul it, now that he is free,
informed as to our designs, and surrounded by his adopted family.  I tell
you, that all is lost.  There is no hope left.  I think it will be even
prudent to write to Rome, to obtain permission to leave Paris for a
while.  This town is odious to me!"

"Oh, yes!  I see that no hope is left- since you, my friend, have decided
almost to fly."

Father d'Aigrigny was completely discouraged and broken down; this
terrible blow had destroyed all life and energy within him.  He threw
himself back in an arm-chair, quite overcome.  During the preceding
dialogue, Rodin was standing humbly near the door, with his old hat in
his hand.  Two or three times, at certain passages in the conversation
between Father d'Aigrigny and the princess, the cadaverous face of the
socius, whose wrath appeared to be concentrated, was slightly flushed,
and his flappy eyelids were tinged with red, as if the blood mounted in
consequence of an interior struggle; but, immediately after, his dull
countenance resumed its pallid blue.

"I must write instantly to Rome, to announce this defeat, which has
become an event of the first importance, because it overthrows immense
hopes," said Father d'Aigrigny, much depressed.

The reverend father had remained seated; pointing to a table, he said to
Rodin, with an abrupt and haughty air:


The socius placed his hat on the ground, answered with a respectful bow
the command, and with stooping head and slanting walk, went to seat
himself on a chair, that stood before a desk.  Then, taking pen and
paper, he waited, silent and motionless, for the dictation of his

"With your permission, princess?" said Father d'Aigrigny to Madame de
Saint-Dizier.  The latter answered by an impatient wave of the hand, as
if she reproached him for the formal demand at such a time.  The reverend
father bowed, and dictated these words in a hoarse and hollow voice: "All
our hopes, which of late had become almost certainties, have been
suddenly defeated.  The affair of the Rennepont inheritance, in spite of
all the care and skill employed upon it, has completely and finally
failed.  At the point to which matters had been brought, it is
unfortunately worse than a failure; it is a most disastrous event for the
Society, which was clearly entitled to this property, fraudulently
withdrawn from a confiscation made in our favor.  My conscience at least
bears witness, that, to the last moment, I did all that was possible to
defend and secure our rights.  But I repeat, we must consider this
important affair as lost absolutely and forever, and think no more about

Thus dictating, Father d'Aigrigny's back was turned towards Rodin.  At a
sudden movement made by the socius, in rising and throwing his pen upon
the table, instead of continuing to write, the reverend father turned
round, and, looking at Rodin with profound astonishment, said to him:
"Well! what are you doing?"

"It is time to end this--the man is mad!" said Rodin to himself, as he
advanced slowly towards the fireplace.

"What! you quit your place--you cease writing?" said the reverend father,
in amazement.  Then, addressing the princess, who shared in his
astonishment, he added, as he glanced contemptuously at the socius, "He
is losing his senses."

"Forgive him," replied Mme. de Saint-Dizier; "it is, no doubt, the
emotion caused by the ruin of this affair."

"Thank the princess, return to your place, and continue to write," said
Father d'Aigrigny to Rodin, in a tone of disdainful compassion, as, with
imperious finger, he pointed to the table.

The socius, perfectly indifferent to this new order, approached the
fireplace, drew himself up to his full height as he turned his arched
back, planted himself firmly on his legs, stamped on the carpet with the
heel of his clumsy, greasy shoes, crossed his hands beneath the flaps of
his old, spotted coat, and, lifting his head, looked fixedly at Father
d'Aigrigny.  The socius had not spoken a word, but his hideous
countenance, now flushed, suddenly revealed such a sense of his
superiority, and such sovereign contempt for Father d'Aigrigny, mingled

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