List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V8, by Eugene Sue
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"You?  How so?"

"It matters little, as long as I feel obliged to you."


"Come, then; let us set out!"

"Bah! after all, they cannot eat me," said Rose-Pompon, resolutely.

With a skip and a jump, she went to fetch a rose-colored cap, and, going
up to a broken looking-glass, placed the cap very much cocked on one side
on her bands of light hair.  This left uncovered her snowy neck, with the
silky roots of the hair behind, and gave to her pretty face a very
mischievous, not to say licentious expression.

"My cloak!" said she to Ninny Moulin, who seemed to be relieved from a
considerable amount of uneasiness, since she had accepted his offer.

"Fie! a cloak will not do," answered her companion, feeling once more in
his pocket and drawing out a fine Cashmere shawl, which he threw over
Rose-Pompon's shoulders.

"A Cashmere!" cried the young girl, trembling with pleasure and joyous
surprise.  Then she added, with an air of heroism:  "It is settled! I
will run the gauntlet."  And with a light step she descended the stairs,
followed by Ninny Moulin.

The worthy greengrocer was at her post.  "Good-morning, mademoiselle; you
are early to-day," said she to the young girl.

"Yes, Mother Arsene; there is my key."

"Thank you, mademoiselle."

"Oh! now I think of it," said Rose Pompon, suddenly, in a whisper, as she
turned towards Ninny Moulin, and withdrew further from the portress,
"what is to became of Philemon?"


"If he should arrive--"

"Oh! the devil!" said Ninny Moulin, scratching his ear.

"Yes; if Philemon should arrive, what will they say to him? for I may be
a long time absent."

"Three or four months, I suppose."

"Not more?"

"I should think not."

"Oh! very good!" said Rose-Pompon.  Then, turning towards the
greengrocer, she said to her, after a moment's reflection: "Mother
Arsene, if Philemon should come home, you will tell him I have gone out--
on business."

"Yes, mademoiselle."

"And that he must not forget to feed my pigeons, which are in his study."

"Yes, mademoiselle."

"Good-bye, Mother Arsene."

"Good-bye, mademoiselle."  And Rose-Pompon entered the carriage in
triumph, along with Ninny Moulin.

"The devil take me if I know what is to come of all this," said Jacques
Dumoulin to himself, as the carriage drove rapidly down the Rue Clovis.
"I have repaired my error--and now I laugh at the rest."



The following scene took place a few days after the abduction of Rose-
Pompon by Ninny Moulin.  Mdlle. de Cardoville was seated in a dreamy
mood, in her cabinet, which was hung with green silk, and furnished with
an ebony library, ornamented with large bronze caryatides.  By some
significant signs, one could perceive that Mdlle. de Cardoville had
sought in the fine airs some relief from sad and serious thoughts.  Near
an open piano, was a harp, placed before a music-stand.  A little
further, on a table covered with boxes of oil and water-color, were
several brilliant sketches.  Most of them represented Asiatic scenes,
lighted by the fires of an oriental sun.  Faithful to her fancy of
dressing herself at home in a picturesque style, Mademoiselle de
Cardoville resembled that day one of those proud portraits of Velasquez,
with stern and noble aspect.  Her gown was of black moire, with wide-
swelling petticoat, long waist, and sleeve slashed with rose-colored
satin, fastened together with jet bugles.  A very stiff, Spanish ruff
reached almost to her chin, and was secured round her neck by a broad
rose-colored ribbon.  This frill, slightly heaving, sloped down as far as
the graceful swell of the rose-colored stomacher, laced with strings of
jet beads, and terminating in a point at the waist.  It is impossible to
express how well this black garment, with its ample and shining folds,
relieved with rose-color and brilliant jet, skin, harmonized with the
shining whiteness of Adrienne's and the golden flood of her beautiful
hair, whose long, silky ringlets descended to her bosom.

The young lady was in a half-recumbent posture, with her elbow resting on
a couch covered with green silk.  The back of this piece of furniture,
which was pretty high towards the fireplace, sloped down insensibly
towards the foot.  A sort of light, semicircular trellis-work, in gilded
bronze, raised about five feet from the ground, covered with flowering
plants (the admirable passiflores quadrangulatoe, planted in a deep ebony
box, from the centre of which rose the trellis-work), surrounded this
couch with a sort of screen of foliage enamelled with large flowers,
green without, purple within, and as brilliant as those flowers of
porcelain, which we receive from Saxony.  A sweet, faint perfume, like a
faint mixture of jasmine with violet, rose from the cup of these
admirable passiflores.  Strange enough, a large quantity of new books
(Adrienne having bought them since the last two or three days) and quite
fresh-cut, were scattered around her on the couch, and on a little table;
whilst other larger volumes, amongst which were several atlases full of
engravings, were piled on the sumptuous fur, which formed the carpet
beneath the divan.  Stranger still, these books, though of different
forms, and by different authors, alt treated of the same subject.  The
posture of Adrienne revealed a sort of melancholy dejection.  Her cheeks
were pale; a light blue circle surrounded her large, black eyes, now
half-closed, and gave to them an expression of profound grief.  Many
causes contributed to this sorrow--amongst others, the disappearance of
Mother Bunch.  Without absolutely believing the perfidious insinuations
of Rodin, who gave her to understand that, in the fear of being unmasked
by him, the hunchback had not dared to remain in the house, Adrienne felt
a cruel sinking of the heart, when she thought how this young girl, in
whom she had had so much confidence, had fled from her almost sisterly
hospitality, without even uttering a word of gratitude; for care had been
taken not to show her the few lines written by the poor needlewoman to
her benefactress, just before her departure.

She had only been told of the note of five hundred francs found on her
desk; and this last inexplicable circumstance had contributed to awaken
cruel suspicions in the breast of Mdlle. de Cardoville.  She already felt
the fatal effects of that mistrust of everything and everybody, which
Rodin had recommended to her; and this sentiment of suspicion and reserve
had the more tendency to become powerful, that, for the first time in her
life, Mdlle. de Cardoville, until then a stranger to all deception, had a
secret to conceal--a secret, which was equally her happiness, her shame,
and her torment.  Half-recumbent on her divan, pensive and depressed,
Adrienne pursued, with a mind often absent, one of her newly purchased
books.  Suddenly, she uttered an exclamation of surprise; the hand which
held the book trembled like a leaf, and from that moment she appeared to
read with passionate attention and devouring curiosity.  Soon, her eyes
sparkled with enthusiasm, her smile assumed ineffable sweetness, and she
seemed at once proud, happy, delighted--but, as she turned over the last
page, her countenance expressed disappointment and chagrin.  Then she
recommenced this reading, which had occasioned her such sweet emotion,
and this time she read with the most deliberate slowness, going over each
page twice, and spelling, as it were, every line, every word.  From time
to time, she paused, and in a pensive mood, with her forehead leaning on
her fair hand, she seemed to reflect, in a deep reverie, on the passages
she had read with such tender and religious love.  Arriving at a passage
which so affected her, that a tear started in her eye, she suddenly
turned the volume, to see on the cover the name of the author.  For a few
seconds, she contemplated this name with a singular expression of
gratitude, and could not forbear raising to her rosy lips the page on
which it was printed.  After reading many times over the lines with which
she had been so much struck, forgetting, no doubt, the letter in the
spirit, she began to reflect so deeply, that the book glided from her
hand, and fell upon the carpet.  During the course of this reverie, the
eyes of the young girl rested, at first mechanically, upon an admirable
bas-relief, placed on an ebony stand, near one of the windows.  This
magnificent bronze, recently cast after a plaster copy from the antique,
represented the triumph of the Indian Bacchus.  Never, perhaps, had
Grecian art attained such rare perfection.  The youthful conqueror, half-
clad in a lion's skin, which displayed his juvenile grace and charming
purity of form shone with divine beauty.  Standing up in a car, drawn by
two tigers, with an air at once gentle and proud, he leaned with one hand
upon a thyrsus, and with the other guided his savage steeds in tranquil
majesty.  By this rare mixture of grace, vigor, and serenity, it was easy
to recognize the hero who had waged such desperate combats with men and
with monsters of the forest.  Thanks to the brownish tone of the figure,
the light, falling from one side of the sculpture, admirably displayed
the form of the youthful god, which, carved in relievo, and thus
illumined, shone like a magnificent statue of pale gold upon the dark
fretted background of the bronze.

When Adrienne's look first rested on this rare assemblage of divine
perfections, her countenance was calm and thoughtful.  But this
contemplation, at first mechanical, became gradually more and more
attentive and conscious, and the young lady, rising suddenly from her
seat, slowly approached the bas-relief, as if yielding to the invincible
attraction of an extraordinary resemblance.  Then a slight blush appeared
on the cheeks of Mdlle. de Cardoville, stole across her face, and spread
rapidly to her neck and forehead.  She approached still closer, threw
round a hasty glance, as if half-ashamed, or as if she had feared to be
surprised in a blamable action, and twice stretched forth her hand,
trembling with emotion, to touch with the tips of her charming fingers
the bronze forehead of the Indian Bacchus.  And twice she stopped short,
with a kind of modest hesitation.  At last, the temptation became too
strong for her.  She yielded to it; and her alabaster finger, after
delicately caressing the features of pale gold, was pressed more boldly
for an instant on the pure and noble brow of the youthful god.  At this
pressure, though so slight, Adrienne seemed to feel a sort of electric
shock; she trembled in every limb, her eyes languished, and, after
swimming for an instant in their humid and brilliant crystal, were
raised, half-closed, to heaven.  Then her head was thrown a little way
back, her knees bent insensibly, her rosy lips were half opened, as if to
give a passage to her heated breath, for her bosom heaved violently, as
thought youth and life had accelerated the pulsations of her heart, and
made her blood boil in her veins.  Finally, the burning cheeks of
Adrienne betrayed a species of ecstasy, timid and passionate, chaste and
sensual, the expression of which was ineffably touching.

An affecting spectacle indeed is that of a young maiden, whose modest
brow flushes with the first fires of a secret passion.  Does not the
Creator of all things animate the body as well as the soul, with a spark
of divine energy?  Should He not be religiously glorified in the
intellect as in the senses, with which He has so paternally endowed His
creatures?  They are impious blasphemers who seek to stifle the celestial
senses, instead of guiding and harmonizing them in their divine flight.
Suddenly, Mdlle. de Cardoville started, raised her head, opened her eyes
as if awakening from a dream, withdrew abruptly from the sculptures, and
walked several times up and down the room in an agitated manner, pressing
her burning hands to her forehead.  Then, falling, as it were, exhausted
on her seat, her tears flowed in abundance.  The most bitter grief was
visible in her features, which revealed the fatal struggle that was
passing within her.  By degrees, her tears ceased.  To this crisis of
painful dejection succeeded a species of violent scorn and indignation
against herself, which were expressed by these words that escaped her:
"For the first time in my life, I feel weak and cowardly.  Oh yes!
cowardly--very cowardly!"

The sound of a door opening and closing, roused Mdlle. de Cardoville from
her bitter reflections.  Georgette entered the room, and said to her
mistress: "Madame, can you receive the Count de Montbron?"

Adrienne, too well-bred to exhibit before her women the sort of
impatience occasioned by this unseasonable visit, said to Georgette: "You
told M. de Montbron that I was at home?"

"Yes, Madame."

"Then beg him to walk in."  Though Mdlle. de Cardoville felt at that
moment much vexed at the arrival of Montbron, let us hasten to say, that
she entertained for him an almost filial affection, and a profound
esteem, though, by a not unfrequent contrast, she almost always differed
from him in opinion.  Hence arose, when Mdlle. de Cardoville had nothing
to disturb her mind, the most gay and animated discussions, in which M.
de Montbron, notwithstanding his mocking and sceptical humor, his long
experience, his rare knowledge of men and things, his fashionable
training, in a word, had not always the advantage, and even acknowledged
his defeat gayly enough.  Thus, to give an idea of the differences of the
count and Adrienne, before, as he would say laughingly, he had made
himself her accomplice, he had always opposed (from other motives than
those alleged by Madame de Saint-Dizier) Adrienne's wish to live alone
and in her own way; whilst Rodin, on the contrary, by investing the young
girl's resolve on this subject with an ideal grandeur of intention, had
acquired a species of influence over her.  M. de Montbron, now upwards of
sixty years of age, had been a most prominent character during the
Directory, Consulate, and the Empire.  His prodigal style of living, his
wit, his gayety, his duels, his amours, and his losses at play, had given
him a leading influence in the best society of his day; while his
character, his kind-heartedness, and liberality, secured him the lasting
friendship of nearly all his female friends.  At the time we now present
him to the reader, he was still a great gambler; and, moreover, a very
lucky gambler.  He had, as we have stated, a very lordly style; his
manners were decided, but polished and lively; his habits were such as
belong to the higher classes of society, though he could be excessively
sharp towards people whom he did not like.  He was tall and thin, and his
slim figure gave him an almost youthful appearance; his forehead was
high, and a little bald; his hair was gray and short, his countenance
long, his nose aquiline, his eyes blue and piercing, and his teeth white,
and still very good.

"The Count de Montbron," said Georgette, opening the door.  The count
entered, and hastened to kiss Adrienne's hand, with a sort of paternal

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