List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew, V9, by Eugene Sue
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luxury--you see the rags I wear--but to get bread and shelter for my
poor, sick sister--dying, and even more miserable than myself--would you
not have pity upon me?  Do you think one finds pleasure in one's infamy?"
cried the unfortunate, with a burst of frightful laughter; then she
added, in a low voice, and with a shudder, "Oh, if you knew, Jacques! it
is so infamous, so horrible, that I preferred death to falling so low a
second time.  I should have killed myself, had I not heard you were
here." Then, seeing that Jacques did not answer her, but shook his head
mournfully as he sank down though still supported by Ninny Moulin,
Cephyse exclaimed, as she lifted her clasped hands towards him, "Jacques!
one word--for pity's sake--forgive me!"

"Gentlemen, pray remove this woman," cried Morok; "the sight of her
causes my friend too painful emotions."

"Come, my dear child, be reasonable," said several of the guests, who,
deeply moved by this scene, were endeavoring to withdraw Cephyse from it;
"leave him, and come with us; he is not in any danger."

"Gentlemen! oh, gentlemen!" cried the unfortunate creature, bursting into
tears, and raising her hands in supplication; "listen to me--I will do
all that you wish me--I will go--but, in heaven's name, send for help,
and do not let him die thus.  Look, what pain he suffers! what horrible

"She is right," said one of the guests, hastening towards the door; "we
must send for a doctor."

"There is no doctor to be found," said another; "they are all too busy."

"We will do better than that," cried a third; "the Hospital is just
opposite, and we can carry the poor fellow thither.  They will give him
instant help.  A leaf of the table will make a litter, and the table-
cloth a covering."

"Yes, yes, that is it," said several voices; "let us carry him over at

Jacques, burnt up with brandy, and overcome by his interview with
Cephyse, had again fallen into violent convulsions.  It was the dying
paroxysm of the unfortunate man.  They were obliged to tie him with the
ends of the cloth, so as to secure him to the leaf which was to serve for
a litter, which two of the guests hastened to carry away.  They yielded
to the supplication of Cephyse, who asked, as a last favor, to accompany
Jacques to the Hospital.  When the mournful procession quitted the great
room of the eating-house, there was a general flight among the guests.
Men and women made haste to wrap themselves in their cloaks, in order to
conceal their costumes.  The coaches, which had been ordered in tolerable
number for the return of the masquerade, had luckily arrived.  The
defiance had been fully carried out, the audacious bravado accomplished,
and they could now retire with the honors of war.  Whilst a part of the
guests were still in the room, an uproar, at first distant, but which
soon drew nearer, broke out with incredible fury in the square of Notre-

Jacques had been carried to the outer door of the tavern.  Morok and
Ninny Moulin, striving to open a passage through the crowd in the
direction of the Hospital, preceded the litter.  A violent reflux of the
multitude soon forced them to stop, whilst a new storm of savage outcries
burst from the other extremity of the square, near the angle of the

"What is it then?" asked Ninny Moulin of one of those ignoble figures
that was leaping up before him.  "What are those cries?"

"They are making mince-meat of a poisoner, like him they have thrown into
the river," replied the man.  "If you want to see the fun, follow me
close," added he, "and peg away with your elbows, for fear you should be
too late."

Hardly had the wretch pronounced these words than a dreadful shriek
sounded above the roar of the crowd, through which the bearers of the
litter, preceded by Morok, were with difficulty making their way.  It was
Cephyse who uttered that cry.  Jacques (one of the seven heirs of the
Rennepont family) had just expired in her arms! By a strange fatality, at
the very moment that the despairing exclamation of Cephyse announced that
death, another cry rose from that part of the square where they were
attacking the poisoner.  That distant, supplicating cry, tremulous with
horrible alarm, like the last appeal of a man staggering beneath the
blows of his murderers, chilled the soul of Morok in the midst of his
execrable triumph.

"Damnation!" cried the skillful assassin, who had selected drunkenness
and debauchery for his murderous but legal weapons; "it is the voice of
the Abbe d'Aigrigny, whom they have in their clutches!"



It is necessary to go back a little before relating the adventure of
Father d'Aigrigny, whose cry of distress made so deep an impression upon
Morok just at the moment of Jacques Rennepont's death.  We have said that
the most absurd and alarming reports were circulating in Paris; not only
did people talk of poison given to the sick or thrown into the public
fountains, but it was also said that wretches had been surprised in the
act of putting arsenic into the pots which are usually kept all ready on
the counters of wine-shops.  Goliath was on his way to rejoin Morok,
after delivering a message to Father d'Aigrigny, who was waiting in a
house on the Place de l'Archeveche.  He entered a wine-shop in the Rue de
la Calandre, to get some refreshment, and having drunk two glasses of
wine, he proceeded to pay for them.  Whilst the woman of the house was
looking for change, Goliath, mechanically and very innocently, rested his
hand on the mouth of one of the pots that happened to be within his

The tall stature of this man and his repulsive and savage countenance had
already alarmed the good woman, whose fears and prejudices had previously
been roused by the public rumors on the subject of poisoning; but when
she saw Goliath place his hand over the mouth of one of her pots, she
cried out in dismay: "Oh! my gracious! what are you throwing into that
pot?" At these words, spoken in a loud voice, and with the accent of
terror, two or three of the drinkers at one of the tables rose
precipitately, and ran to the counter, while one of them rashly
exclaimed: "It is a poisoner!"

Goliath, not aware of the reports circulated in the neighborhood, did not
at first understand of what he was accused.  The men raised their voices
as they called on him to answer the charge; but he, trusting to his
strength, shrugged his shoulders in disdain, and roughly demanded the
change, which the pale and frightened hostess no longer thought of giving

"Rascal!" cried one of the men, with so much violence that several of the
passers-by stopped to listen; "you shall have your change when you tell
us what you threw in the pot!"

"Ha! did he throw anything into the wine-pot?" said one of the passers-

"It is, perhaps, a poisoner," said another.

"He ought to be taken up," added a third.

"Yes, yes," cried those in the house--honest people perhaps, but under
the influence of the general panic; "he must be taken up, for he has been
throwing poison into the wine-pots."

The words "He is a poisoner" soon spread through the group, which, at
first composed of three or four persons, increased every instant around
the door of the wine-shop.  A dull, menacing clamor began to rise from
the crowd; the first accuser, seeing his fears thus shared and almost
justified, thought he was acting like a good and courageous citizen in
taking Goliath by the collar, and saying to him: "Come and explain
yourself at the guard-house, villain!"

The giant, already provoked at insults of which he did not perceive the
real meaning, was exasperated at this sudden attack; yielding to his
natural brutality, he knocked his adversary down upon the counter, and
began to hammer him with his fists.  During this collision, several
bottles and two or three panes of glass were broken with much noise,
whilst the woman of the house, more and more frightened, cried out with
all her might; "Help! a poisoner! Help! murder!"

At the sound of the breaking windows and these cries of distress, the
passers-by, of whom the greater number believed in the stories about the
poisoners, rushed into the shop to aid in securing Goliath.  But the
latter, thanks to his herculean strength, after struggling for some
moments with seven or eight persons, knocked down two of his most furious
assailants, disengaged himself from the others, drew near the counter,
and, taking a vigorous spring, rushed head-foremost, like a bull about to
butt, upon the crowd that blocked up the door; then, forcing a passage,
by the help of his enormous shoulders and athletic arms, he made his way
into the street, and ran with all speed in the direction of the square of
Notre-Dame, his garments torn, his head bare, and his countenance pale
and full of rage.  Immediately, a number of persons from amongst the
crowd started in pursuit of Goliath, and a hundred voices exclaimed:
"Stop--stop the poisoner!"

Hearing these cries, and seeing a man draw near with a wild and troubled
look, a butcher, who happened to be passing with his large, empty tray on
his head, threw it against Goliath's shins, and taken by surprise, he
stumbled and fell.  The butcher, thinking he had performed as heroic an
action as if he had encountered a mad dog, flung himself on Goliath, and
rolled over with him on the pavement, exclaiming: "Help! it is a
poisoner! Help! help!"  This scene took place not far from the Cathedral,
but at some distance from the crowd which was pressing round the hospital
gate, as well as from the eating-house in which the masquerade of the
cholera then was.  The day was now drawing to a close.  On the piercing
call of the butcher, several groups, at the head of which were Ciboule
and the quarryman, flew towards the scene of the struggle, while those
who had pursued the pretended poisoner from the Rue de la Calandre,
reached the square on their side.

At sight of this threatening crowd advancing towards him, Goliath, whilst
he continued to defend himself against the butcher, who held him with the
tenacity of a bull-dog, felt that he was lost unless he could rid himself
of this adversary before the arrival of the rest; with a furious blow of
the fist, therefore, he broke the jaw of the butcher, who just then was
above him, and disengaging himself from his hold, he rose, and staggered
a few steps forward.  Suddenly he stopped.  He saw that he was
surrounded.  Behind him rose the walls of the cathedral; to the right and
left, and in front of him, advanced a hostile multitude.  The groans
uttered by the butcher, who had just been lifted from the ground covered
with blood, augmented the fury of the populace.

This was a terrible moment for Goliath: still standing alone in the
centre of a ring that grew smaller every second, he saw on all sides
angry enemies rushing towards him, and uttering cries of death.  As the
wild boar turns round once or twice, before resolving to stand at bay and
face the devouring pack, Goliath, struck with terror, made one or two
abrupt and wavering movements.  Then, as he abandoned the possibility of
flight, instinct told him that he had no mercy to expect from a crowd
given up to blind and savage fury--a fury the more pitiless as it was
believed to be legitimate.  Goliath determined, therefore, at least to
sell his life dearly; he sought for a knife in his pocket, but, not
finding it, he threw out his left leg in an athletic posture, and holding
up his muscular arms, hard and stiff as bars of iron, waited with
intrepidity for the shock.

The first who approached Goliath was Ciboule.  The hag, heated and out of
breath, instead of rushing upon him, paused, stooped down, and taking off
one of the large wooden shoes that she wore, hurled it at the giant's
head with so much force and with so true an aim that it struck him right
in the eye, which hung half out of its socket.  Goliath pressed his hands
to his face, and uttered a cry of excruciating pain.

"I've made him squint!" said Ciboule, with a burst of laughter.

Goliath, maddened by the pain, instead of waiting for the attack, which
the mob still hesitated to begin, so greatly were they awed by his
appearance of herculean strength--the only adversary worthy to cope with
him being the quarryman, who had been borne to a distance by the surging
of the crowd--Goliath, in his rage, rushed headlong upon the nearest.
Such a struggle was too unequal to last long; but despair redoubled the
Colossus's strength, and the combat was for a moment terrible.  The
unfortunate man did not fall at once.  For some seconds, almost buried
amid a swarm of furious assailants, one saw now his mighty arm rise and
fall like a sledge hammer, beating upon skulls and faces, and now his
enormous head, livid and bloody, drawn back by some of the combatants
hanging to his tangled hair.  Here and there sudden openings and violent
oscillations of the crowd bore witness to the incredible energy of
Goliath's defence.  But when the quarryman succeeded in reaching him,
Goliath was overpowered and thrown down.  A long, savage cheer in triumph
announced this fall; for, under such circumstances, to "go under" is "to
die."  Instantly a thousand breathless and angry voices repeated the
cry of "Death to the poisoner!"

Then began one of those scenes of massacre and torture, worthy of
cannibals, horrible to relate, and the more incredible, that they happen
almost always in the presence, and often with the aid, of honest and
humane people, who, blinded by false notions and stupid prejudices, allow
themselves to be led into all sorts of barbarity, under the idea of
performing an act of inexorable justice.  As it frequently happens, the
sight of the blood which flowed in torrents from Goliath's wounds
inflamed to madness the rage of his assailants.  A hundred fists struck
at the unhappy man; he was stamped under foot, his face and chest were
beaten in.  Ever and anon, in the midst of furious cries of "Death to the
poisoner!" heavy blows were audible, followed by stifled groans.  It was
a frightful butchery.  Each individual, yielding to a sanguinary frenzy,
came in turn to strike his blow; or to tear off his morsel of flesh.
Women--yes, women--mothers!--came to spend their rage on this mutilated

There was one moment of frightful terror.  With his face all bruised and
covered with mud, his garments in rags, his chest bare, red, gaping with
wounds--Goliath, availing himself of a moment's weariness on the part of
his assassins, who believed him already, finished, succeeded, by one of
those convulsive starts frequent in the last agony, in raising himself to
his feet for a few seconds; then, blind with wounds and loss of blood,
striking about his arms in the air as if to parry blows that were no
longer struck, he muttered these words, which came from his mouth,
accompanied by a crimson torrent: "Mercy! I am no poisoner.  Mercy!"
This sort of resurrection produced so great an effect on the crowd, that
for an instant they fell hack affrighted.  The clamor ceased, and a small
space was left around the victim.  Some hearts began even to feel pity;

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