The Wandering Jew, Entire
Part 21 out of 31
others, disencumbered of the paraphernalia of a kitchen--for the cooking
was done in common, and on a large scale, in another part of the
building--was kept extremely clean. A pretty large piece of carpet, a
comfortable arm-chair, some pretty-looking china on a stand of well-
polished wood, some prints hung against the walls, a clock of gilt
bronze, a bed, a chest of drawers, and a mahogany secretary, announced
that the inhabitants of this apartment enjoyed not only the necessaries,
but some of the luxuries of life. Angela, who, from this time, might be
called Agricola's betrothed, justified in every point the flattering
portrait which the smith had drawn of her in his interview with poor
Mother Bunch. The charming girl, seventeen years of age at most, dressed
with as much simplicity as neatness, was seated by the side of her
mother. When Agricola entered, she blushed slightly at seeing him.
"Mademoiselle," said Agricola, "I have come to keep my promise, if your
mother has no objection."
"Certainly, M. Agricola," answered the mother of the young girl
cordially. "She would not go over the Common Dwelling-house with her
father, her brother, or me, because she wished to have that pleasure with
you today. It is quite right that you, who can talk so well, should do
the honors of the house to the new-comer. She has been waiting for you
an hour, and with such impatience!"
"Pray excuse me, mademoiselle," said Agricola, gayly; "in thinking of the
pleasure of seeing you, I forgot the hour. That is my only excuse."
"Oh, mother!" said the young girl, in a tone of mild reproach, and
becoming red as a cherry, "why did you say that?"
"Is it true, yes or no? I do not blame you for it; on the contrary. Go
with M. Agricola, child, and he will tell you, better than I can, what
all the workmen of the factory owe to M, Hardy."
"M. Agricola," said Angela, tying the ribbons of her pretty cap, "what a
pity that your good little adopted sister is not with us."
"Mother Bunch?--yes, you are right, mademoiselle; but that is only a
pleasure put off, and the visit she paid us yesterday will not be the
Having embraced her mother, the girl took Agricola's arm, and they went
"Dear me, M. Agricola," said Angela; "if you knew how much I was
surprised on entering this fine house, after being accustomed to see so
much misery amongst the poor workmen in our country, and in which I too
have had my share, whilst here everybody seems happy and contented. It
is really like fairy-land; I think I am in a dream, and when I ask my
mother the explanation of these wonders, she tells me, 'M. Agricola will
explain it all to you.'"
"Do you know why I am so happy to undertake that delightful task,
mademoiselle?" said Agricola, with an accent at once grave and tender.
"Nothing could be more in season."
"Why so, M. Agricola?"
"Because, to show you this house, to make you acquainted with all the
resources of our association, is to be able to say to you: 'Here, the
workman, sure of the present, sure of the future, is not, like so many of
his poor brothers, obliged to renounce the sweetest want of the heart--
the desire of choosing a companion for life--in the fear of uniting
misery to misery."'
Angela cast down her eyes, and blushed.
"Here the workman may safely yield to the hope of knowing the sweet joys
of a family, sure of not having his heart torn hereafter by the sight of
the horrible privations of those who are dear to him; here, thanks to
order and industry, and the wise employment of the strength of all, men,
women, and children live happy and contented. In a ward, to explain all
this to you, mademoiselle," added Agricola, smiling with a still more
tender air, "is to prove, that here we can do nothing more reasonable
than love, nothing wiser than marry."
"M. Agricola," answered Angela, in a slightly agitated voice, and
blushing still more as she spoke, "suppose we were to begin our walk."
"Directly, mademoiselle," replied the smith, pleased at the trouble he
had excited in that ingenuous soul. "But, come; we are near the
dormitory of the little girls. The chirping birds have long left their
nests. Let us go there."
"Willingly, M. Agricola."
The young smith and Angela soon entered a spacious dormitory, resembling
that of a first-rate boarding school. The little iron bedsteads were
arranged in symmetrical order; at each end were the beds of the two
mothers of families, who took the superintendence by turns.
"Dear me! how well it is arranged, M. Agricola, and how neat and clean!
Who is it that takes such good care of it?"
"The children themselves; we have no servants here. There is an
extraordinary emulation between these urchins--as to who shall make her
bed most neatly, and it amuses them quite as much as making a bed for
their dolls. Little girls, you know, delight in playing at keeping
house. Well, here they play at it in good earnest, and the house is
admirably kept in consequence."
"Oh! I understand. They turn to account their natural taste for all such
kinds of amusement."
"That is the whole secret. You will see them everywhere usefully
occupied, and delighted at the importance of the employments given them."
"Oh, M. Agricola!" said Angela, timidly, "only compare these fine
dormitories, so warm and healthy, with the horrible icy garrets, where
children are heaped pell-mell on a wretched straw-mattress, shivering
with cold, as in the case with almost all the workmen's families in our
"And in Paris, mademoiselle, it is even worse."
"Oh! how kind, generous, and rich must M. Hardy be, to spend so much
money in doing good!"
"I am going to astonish you, mademoiselle!" said Agricola, with a smile;
"to astonish you so much, that perhaps you will not believe me."
"Why so, M. Agricola?"
"There is not certainly in the world a man with a better and more
generous heart than M. Hardy; he does good for its own sake and without
thinking of his personal interest. And yet, Mdlle. Angela, were he the
most selfish and avaricious of men, he would still find it greatly to his
advantage to put us in a position to be as comfortable as we are."
"Is it possible, M. Agricola? You tell me so, and I believe it; but if
good can so easily be done, if there is even an advantage in doing it,
why is it not more commonly attempted?"
"Ah! mademoiselle, it requires three gifts very rarely met with in the
same person--knowledge, power and will."
"Alas! yes. Those who have the knowledge, have not the power."
"And those who have the power, have neither the knowledge nor the will."
"But how does M. Hardy find any advantage in the good he does for you?"
"I will explain that presently, mademoiselle."
"Oh, what a nice, sweet smell of fruit!" said Angela, suddenly.
"Our common fruit-store is close at hand. I wager we shall find there
some of the little birds from the dormitory--not occupied in picking and
stealing, but hard at work."
Opening a door, Agricola led Angela into a large room, furnished with
shelves, on which the winter fruits were arranged in order. A number of
children, from seven to eight years old, neatly and warmly clad, and
glowing with health, exerted themselves cheerfully, under the
superintendence of a woman, in separating and sorting the spoiled fruit.
"You see," said Agricola, "wherever it is possible, we make use of the
children. These occupations are amusements for them, answering to the
need of movement and activity natural to their age; and, in this way, we
can employ the grown girls and the women to much better advantage."
"True, M. Agricola; how well it is all arranged."
"And if you saw what services the urchins in the kitchen render!
Directed by one or two women, they do the work of eight or ten servants."
"In fact," said Angela, smiling, "at their age, we like so much to play
at cooking dinner. They must be delighted."
"And, in the same way, under pretext of playing at gardening, they weed
the ground, gather the fruit and vegetables, water the flowers, roll the
paths, and so on. In a word, this army of infant-workers, who generally
remain till ten or twelve years of age without being of any service, are
here very useful. Except three hours of school, which is quite
sufficient for them, from the age of six or seven their recreations are
turned to good account, and the dear little creatures, by the saving of
full-grown arms which they effect, actually gain more than they cost; and
then, mademoiselle, do you not think there is something in the presence
of childhood thus mixed up with every labor--something mild, pure, almost
sacred, which has its influence on our words and actions, and imposes a
salutary reserve? The coarsest man will respect the presence of
"The more one reflects, the more one sees that everything here is really
designed for the happiness of all!" said Angela, in admiration.
"It has not been done without trouble. It was necessary to conquer
prejudices, and break through customs. But see, Mdlle. Angela! here we
are at the kitchen," added the smith, smiling; "is it not as imposing as
that of a barrack or a public school?"
Indeed, the culinary department of the Common Dwelling-house was immense.
All its utensils were bright and clean; and thanks to the marvellous and
economical inventions of modern science (which are always beyond the
reach of the poorer classes, to whom they are most necessary, because
they can only be practised on a large scale), not only the fire on the
hearth, and in the stoves, was fed with half the quantity of fuel that
would have been consumed by each family individually, but the excess of
the caloric sufficed, with the aid of well-constructed tubes, to spread a
mild and equal warmth through all parts of the house. And here also
children, under the direction of two women, rendered numerous services.
Nothing could be more comic than the serious manner in which they
performed their culinary functions; it was the same with the assistance
they gave in the bakehouse, where, at an extraordinary saving in the
price (for they bought flour wholesale), they made an excellent household
bread, composed of pure wheat and rye, so preferable to that whiter
bread, which too often owes its apparent qualities to some deleterious
"Good-day, Dame Bertrand," said Agricola, gayly, to a worthy matron, who
was gravely contemplating the slow evolution of several spits, worthy of
Gamache's Wedding so heavily were they laden with pieces of beef, mutton,
and veal, which began to assume a fine golden brown color of the most
attractive kind; good-day, Dame Bertrand. According to the rule, I do
not pass the threshold of the kitchen. I only wish it to be admired by
this young lady, who is a new-comer amongst us."
"Admire, my lad, pray admire--and above all take notice, how good these
brats are, and how well they work!" So saying, the matron pointed with
the long ladle, which served her as a sceptre, to some fifteen children
of both sexes, seated round a table, and deeply absorbed in the exercise
of their functions, which consisted in peeling potatoes and picking
"We are, I see, to have a downright Belshazzar's feast, Dame Bertrand?"
said Agricola, laughing.
"Faith, a feast like we have always, my lad. Here is our bill of fare
for to-day. A good vegetable soup, roast beef with potatoes, salad,
fruit, cheese; and for extras, it being Sunday, some currant tarts made
by Mother Denis at the bakehouse, where the oven is heating now."
"What you tell me, Dame Bertrand, gives me a furious appetite," said
Agricola, gayly. "One soon knows when it is your turn in the kitchen,"
added he, with a flattering air.
"Get along, do!" said the female Soyer on service, merrily.
"What astonishes me, so much, M. Agricola," said Angela, as they
continued their walk, "is the comparison of the insufficient, unwholesome
food of the workmen in our country, with that which is provided here."
"And yet we do not spend more than twenty-five sous a day, for much
better food than we should get for three francs in Paris."
"But really it is hard to believe, M. Agricola. How is it possible?"
"It is thanks to the magic wand of M. Hardy. I will explain it all
"Oh! how impatient I am to see M. Hardy!"
"You will soon see him--perhaps to-day; for he is expected every moment.
But here is the refectory, which you do not yet know, as your family,
like many others, prefer dining at home. See what a fine room, looking
out on the garden, just opposite the fountain!"
It was indeed a vast hall, built in the form of a gallery, with ten
windows opening on the garden. Tables, covered with shining oil-cloth,
were ranged along the walls, so that, in winter, this apartment served in
the evening, after work, as a place of meeting for those who preferred to
pass an hour together, instead of remaining alone or with their families.
Then, in this large hall, well warmed and brilliantly lighted with gas,
some read, some played cards, some talked, and some occupied themselves
with easy work.
"That is not all," said Agricola to the young girl; "I am sure you will
like this apartment still better when I tell you, that on Thursdays and
Sundays we make a ball-room of it, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays a
"Yes," continued the smith, proudly, "we have amongst us musicians, quite
capable of tempting us to dance. Moreover, twice a week, nearly all of
us sing in chorus--men, women, and children. Unfortunately, this week,
some disputes that have arisen in the factory have prevented our
"So many voices! that must be superb."
"It is very fine, I assure you. M. Hardy has always encouraged this
amusement amongst us, which has, he says--and he is right--so powerful an
effect on the mind and the manners. One winter, he sent for two pupils
of the celebrated Wilhelm, and, since then, our school has made great
progress. I assure you, Mdlle. Angela, that, without flattering
ourselves, there is something truly exciting in the sound of two hundred
voices, singing in chorus some hymn to Labor or Freedom. You shall hear
it, and you will, I think, acknowledge that there is something great and
elevating in the heart of man, in this fraternal harmony of voices,
blending in one grave, sonorous, imposing sound."
"Oh! I believe it. But what happiness to inhabit here. It is a life of
joy; for labor, mixed with recreation, becomes itself a pleasure."
"Alas! here, as everywhere, there are tears and sorrows," replied
Agricola, sadly. "Do you see that isolated building, in a very exposed
"Yes; what is it?"
"That is our hospital for the sick. Happily, thanks to our healthy mode
of life, it is not often full; an annual subscription enables us to have
a good doctor. Moreover, a mutual benefit society is arranged in such a
manner amongst us, that any one of us, in case of illness, receives two-
thirds of what he would have gained in health."
"How well it is all managed! And there, M. Agricola, on the other side
of the grass-plot?"
"That is the wash-house, with water laid on, cold and hot; and under
yonder shed is the drying-place: further on, you see the stables, and the
lofts and granaries for the provender of the factory horses."
"But M. Agricola, will you tell me the secret of all these wonders?"
"In ten minutes you shall understand it all, mademoiselle."
Unfortunately, Angela's curiosity was for a while disappointed. The girl
was now standing with Agricola close to the iron gate, which shut in the
garden from the broad avenue that separated the factory from the Common
Dwelling-house. Suddenly, the wind brought from the distance the sound
of trumpets and military music; then was heard the gallop of two horses,
approaching rapidly, and soon after a general officer made his
appearance, mounted on a fine black charger, with a long flowing tail and
crimson housings; he wore cavalry boots and white breeches, after the
fashion of the empire; his uniform glittered with gold embroidery, the
red ribbon of the Legion of Honor was passed over his right epaulet, with
its four silver stars, and his hat had a broad gold border, and was
crowned with a white plume, the distinctive sign reserved for the
marshals of France. No warrior could have had a more martial and
chivalrous air, or have sat more proudly on his war-horse. At the moment
Marshal Simon (for it was he) arrived opposite the place where Angela and
Agricola were standing, he drew up his horse suddenly, sprang lightly to
the ground, and threw the golden reins to a servant in livery, who
followed also on horseback.
"Where shall I wait for your grace?" asked the groom.
"At the end of the avenue," said the marshal.
And, uncovering his head respectfully, he advanced hastily with his hat
in his hand, to meet a person whom Angela and Agricola had not previously
perceived. This person soon appeared at a turn of the avenue; he was an
old man, with an energetic, intelligent countenance. He wore a very neat
blouse, and a cloth cap over his long, white hair. With his hands in his
pocket, he was quietly smoking an old meerschaum pipe.
"Good-morning, father," said the marshal, respectfully, as he
affectionately embraced the old workman, who, having tenderly returned
the pressure, said to him: "Put on your hat, my boy. But how gay we
are!" added he, with a smile.
"I have just been to a review, father, close by; and I took the
opportunity to call on you as soon as possible."
"But shall I then not see my granddaughters to-day, as I do every
"They are coming in a carriage, father, and Dagobert accompanies them."
"But what is the matter? you appear full of thought."
"Indeed, father," said the marshal, with a somewhat agitated air, "I have
serious things to talk about."
"Come in, then," said the old man, with some anxiety. The marshal and
his father disappeared at the turn of the avenue.
Angela had been struck with amazement at seeing this brilliant General,
who was entitled "your grace," salute an old workman in a blouse as his
father; and, looking at Agricola with a confused air she said to him:
"What, M. Agricola! this old workman--"
"Is the father of Marshal Duke de Ligny--the friend--yes, I may say the
friend," added Agricola, with emotion, "of my father, who for twenty
years served under him in war.'
"To be placed so high, and yet to be so respectful and tender to his
father!" said Angela. "The marshal must have a very noble heart; but why
does he let his father remain a workman?"
"Because Father Simon will not quit his trade and the factory for
anything in the world. He was born a workman, and he will die a workman,
though he is the father of a duke and marshal of France."
 See Adolphe Bobierre "On Air and Health," Paris, 1844.
When the very natural astonishment which the arrival of Marshal Simon had
caused in Angela had passed away, Agricola said to her with a smile: "I
do not wish to take advantage of this circumstance, Mdlle. Angela, to
spare you the account of the secret, by which all the wonders of our
Common Dwelling-house are brought to pass."
"Oh! I should not have let you forget your promise, M. Agricola,"
answered Angela, "what you have already told me interests me too much for
"Listen, then. M. Hardy, like a true magician, has pronounced three
cabalistic words: ASSOCIATION--COMMUNITY--FRATERNITY. We have understood
the sense of these words, and the wonders you have seen have sprung from
them, to our great advantage; and also, I repeat, to the great advantage
of M. Hardy."
"It is that which appears so extraordinary, M. Agricola."
"Suppose, mademoiselle, that M. Hardy, instead of being what he is, had
only been a cold-hearted speculator, looking merely to the profit, and
saying to himself: 'To make the most of my factory, what is needed? Good
work--great economy in the raw material--full employment of the workman's
time; in a word, cheapness of manufacture, in order to produce cheaply--
excellence of the thing produced, in order to sell dear.'"
"Truly, M. Agricola, no manufacturer could desire more."
"Well, mademoiselle, these conditions might have been fulfilled, as they
have been, but how? Had M. Hardy only been a speculator, he might have
said: 'At a distance from my factory, my workmen might have trouble to
get there: rising earlier, they will sleep less; it is a bad economy to
take from the sleep so necessary to those who toil. When they get
feeble, the work suffers for it; then the inclemency of the seasons makes
it worse; the workman arrives wet, trembling with cold, enervated before
he begins to work--and then, what work!'"
"It is unfortunately but too true, M. Agricola. At Lille, when I reached
the factory, wet through with a cold rain, I used sometimes to shiver all
day long at my work."
"Therefore, Mdlle. Angela, the speculator might say: 'To lodge my workmen
close to the door of my factory would obviate this inconvenience. Let us
make the calculation. In Paris the married workman pays about two
hundred and fifty francs a-year, for one or two wretched rooms and a
closet, dark, small, unhealthy, in a narrow, miserable street; there he
lives pell-mell with his family. What ruined constitutions are the
consequence! and what sort of work can you expect from a feverish and
diseased creature? As for the single men, they pay for a smaller, and
quite as unwholesome lodging, about one hundred and fifty francs a-year.
Now, let us make the addition. I employ one hundred and forty-six
married workmen, who pay together, for their wretched holes, thirty-six
thousand five hundred francs; I employ also one hundred and fifteen
bachelors, who pay at the rate of seventeen thousand two hundred and
eighty francs; the total will amount to about fifty thousand francs per
annum, the interest on a million."'
"Dear me, M. Agricola! what a sum to be produced by uniting all these
little rents together!"
"You see, mademoiselle, that fifty thousand francs a-year is a
millionaire's rent. Now, what says our speculator: To induce our workmen
to leave Paris, I will offer them, enormous advantages. I will reduce
their rent one-half, and, instead of small, unwholesome rooms, they shall
have large, airy apartments, well-warmed and lighted, at a trifling
charge. Thus, one hundred and forty-six families, paying me only one
hundred and twenty-five francs a-year, and one hundred and fifteen
bachelors, seventy-five francs, I shall have a total of twenty-six to
twenty-seven thousand francs. Now, a building large enough to hold all
these people would cost me at most five hundred thousand francs. I
shall then have invested my money at five per cent at the least, and with
perfect security, since the wages is a guarantee for the payment of the
"Ah, M. Agricola! I begin to understand how it may sometimes be
advantageous to do good, even in a pecuniary sense."
"And I am almost certain, mademoiselle, that, in the long run, affairs
conducted with uprightness and honesty turn out well. But to return to
our speculator. 'Here,' will he say, 'are my workmen, living close to my
factory, well lodged, well warmed, and arriving always fresh at their
work. That is not all; the English workman who eats good beef, and
drinks good beer, does twice as much, in the same time, as the French
workman, reduced to a detestable kind of food, rather weakening than
the reverse, thanks to the poisonous adulteration of the articles he
consumes. My workmen will then labor much better, if they eat much
better. How shall I manage it without loss? Now I think of it, what is
the food in barracks, schools, even prisons? Is it not the union of
individual resources which procures an amount of comfort impossible to
realize without such an association? Now, if my two hundred and sixty
workmen, instead of cooking two hundred and sixty detestable dinners,
were to unite to prepare one good dinner for all of them, which might be
done, thanks to the savings of all sorts that would ensue, what an
advantage for me and them! Two or three women, aided by children, would
suffice to make ready the daily repasts; instead of buying wood and
charcoal in fractions, and so paying for it double its value, the
association of my workmen would, upon my security (their wages would be
an efficient security for me in return), lay in their own stock of wood,
flour, butter, oil, wine, etc., all which they would procure directly
from the producers. Thus, they would pay three or four sous for a bottle
of pure wholesome wine, instead of paying twelve or fifteen sous for
poison. Every week the association would buy a whole ox, and some sheep,
and the women would make bread, as in the country. Finally, with these
resources, and order, and economy, my workmen may have wholesome,
agreeable, and sufficient food, for from twenty to twenty-five sous a
"Ah! this explains it, M. Agricola."
"It is not all, mademoiselle. Our cool-headed speculator would continue:
'Here are my workmen well lodged, well warmed, well fed, with a saving of
at least half; why should they not also be warmly clad? Their health
will then have every chance of being good, and health is labor. The
association will buy wholesale, and at the manufacturing price (still
upon my security, secured to me by their wages), warm, good, strong
materials, which a portion of the workmen's wives will be able to make
into clothes as well as any tailor. Finally, the consumption of caps and
shoes being considerable, the association will obtain them at a great
reduction in price.' Well, Mdlle. Angela! what do you say to our
"I say, M. Agricola," answered the young girl; with ingenuous admiration,
"that it is almost incredible, and yet so simple!"
"No doubt, nothing is more simple than the good and beautiful, and yet we
think of it so seldom. Observe, that our man has only been speaking with
a view to his own interest--only considering the material side of the
question--reckoning for nothing the habit of fraternity and mutual aid,
which inevitably springs from living together in common--not reflecting
that a better mode of life improves and softens the character of man--not
thinking of the support and instruction which the strong owe to the weak-
--not acknowledging, in fine, that the honest, active, and industrious
man has a positive right to demand employment from society, and wages
proportionate to the wants of his condition. No, our speculator only
thinks of the gross profits; and yet, you see, he invests his money in
buildings at five per cent., and finds the greatest advantages in the
material comfort of his workmen."
"It is true, M. Agricola."
"And what will you say, mademoiselle, when I prove to you that our
speculator finds also a great advantage in giving to his workmen, in
addition to their regular wages, a proportionate share of his profits?"
"That appears to me more difficult to prove, M. Agricola."
"Yet I will convince you of it in a few minutes."
Thus conversing, Angela and Agricola had reached the garden-gate of the
Common Dwelling-house. An elderly woman, dressed plainly, but with care
and neatness, approached Agricola, and asked him: "Has M. Hardy returned
to the factory, sir?"
"No, madame; but we expect him hourly."
"To-day or to-morrow, madame."
"You cannot tell me at what hour he will be here?"
"I do not think it is known, madame, but the porter of the factory, who
also belongs to M. Hardy's private house, may, perhaps, be able to inform
"I thank you, sir."
"Quite welcome, madame."
"M. Agricola," said Angela, when the woman who had just questioned him
was gone, "did you remark that this lady was very pale and agitated?"
"I noticed it as you did, mademoiselle; I thought I saw tears standing in
"Yes, she seemed to have been crying. Poor woman! perhaps she came to
ask assistance of M. Hardy. But what ails you, M. Agricola? You appear
Agricola had a vague presentiment that the visit of this elderly woman
with so sad a countenance, had some connection with the adventure of the
young and pretty lady, who, three days before had come all agitated and
in tears to inquire after M. Hardy, and who had learned--perhaps too
late--that she was watched and followed.
"Forgive me, mademoiselle," said Agricola to Angela; but the presence of
this old lady reminded me of a circumstance, which, unfortunately, I
cannot tell you, for it is a secret that does not belong to me alone."
"Oh! do not trouble yourself, M. Agricola," answered the young girl, with
a smile; "I am not inquisitive, and what we were talking of before
interests me so much, that I do not wish to hear you speak of anything
"Well, then mademoiselle, I will say a few words more, and you will be as
well informed as I am of the secrets of our association."
"I am listening, M. Agricola."
"Let us still keep in view the speculator from mere interest. 'Here are
my workmen, says he, 'in the best possible condition to do a great deal
of work. Now what is to be done to obtain large profits? Produce
cheaply, and sell dear. But there will be no cheapness, without economy
in the use of the raw material, perfection of the manufacturing process,
and celerity of labor. Now, in spite of all my vigilance, how am I to
prevent my workmen from wasting the materials? How am I to induce them,
each in his own province, to seek for the most simple and least irksome
"True, M. Agricola; how is that to be done?"
"'And that is not all,' says our man; 'to sell my produce at high prices,
it should be irreproachable, excellent. My workmen do pretty well; but
that is not enough. I want them to produce masterpieces.'"
"But, M. Agricola, when they have once performed the task set them what
interest have workmen to give themselves a great deal of trouble to
"There it is, Mdlle. Angela; what interest have they? Therefore, our
speculator soon says to himself: 'That my workmen may have an interest to
be economical in the use of the materials, an interest to employ their
time well, an interest to invent new and better manufacturing processes,
an interest to send out of their hands nothing but masterpieces--I must
give them an interest in the profits earned by their economy, activity,
zeal and skill. The better they manufacture, the better I shall sell,
and the larger will be their gain and mine also.'"
"Oh! now I understand, M. Agricola."
"And our speculator would make a good speculation. Before he was
interested, the workman said: 'What does it matter to me, that I do more
or do better in the course of the day? What shall I gain by it?
Nothing. Well, then, little work for little wages. But now, on the
contrary (he says), I have an interest in displaying zeal and economy.
All is changed. I redouble my activity, and strive to excel the others.
If a comrade is lazy, and likely to do harm to the factory, I have the
right to say to him: 'Mate, we all suffer more or less from your
laziness, and from the injury you are doing the common weal.'"
"And then, M. Agricola, with what ardor, courage, and hope, you must set
"That is what our speculator counts on; and he may say to himself,
further: 'Treasures of experience and practical wisdom are often buried
in workshops, for want of goodwill, opportunity, or encouragement.
Excellent workmen, instead of making all the improvements in their power,
follow with indifference the old jog-trot. What a pity! for an
intelligent man, occupied all his life with some special employment, must
discover, in the long run, a thousand ways of doing his work better and
quicker. I will form, therefore, a sort of consulting committee; I will
summon to it my foremen and my most skillful workmen. Our interest 1s
now the same. Light will necessarily spring from this centre of
practical intelligence.' Now, the speculator is not deceived in this,
and soon struck with the incredible resources, the thousand new,
ingenious, perfect inventions suddenly revealed by his workmen, 'Why' he
exclaims, 'if you knew this, did you not tell it before? What for the
last ten years has cost me a hundred francs to make, would have cost me
only fifty, without reckoning an enormous saving of time.' 'Sir, answers
the workman, who is not more stupid than others, "what interest had I,
that you should effect a saving of fifty per cent? None. But now it is
different. You give me, besides my wages, a share in your profits; you
raise me in my own esteem, by consulting my experience and knowledge.
Instead of treating me as an inferior being, you enter into communion
with me. It is my interest, it is my duty, to tell you all I know, and
to try to acquire more.' And thus it is, Mdlle. Angela, that the
speculator can organize his establishment, so as to shame his
oppositionists, and provoke their envy. Now if, instead of a cold-
hearted calculator, we tape a man who unites with the knowledge of these
facts the tender and generous sympathies of an evangelical heart, and the
elevation of a superior mind, he will extend his ardent solicitude; not
only to the material comfort, but to the moral emancipation, of his
workmen. Seeking everywhere every possible means to develop their
intelligence, to improve their hearts, and strong in the authority
acquired by his beneficence, feeling that he on whom depends the
happiness or the misery of three hundred human creatures has also the
care of souls, he will be the guide of those whom he no longer calls his
workmen, but his brothers, in a straightforward and noble path, and will
try to create in them the taste for knowledge and art, which will render
them happy and proud of a condition of life that is often accepted by
others with tears and curses of despair. Well, Mdlle. Angela, such a man
is--but, see! he could not arrive amongst us except in the middle of a
blessing. There he is--there is M. Hardy!"
"Oh, M. Agricola!" said Angela, deeply moved, and drying her tears; "we
should receive him with our hands clasped in gratitude."
"Look if that mild and noble countenance is not the image of his
A carriage with post horses, in which was M. Hardy, with M. de Blessac,
the unworthy friend who was betraying him in so infamous a manner,
entered at this moment the courtyard of the factory.
A little while after, a humble hackney-coach was seen advancing also
towards the factory, from the direction of Paris. In this coach was
 The average price of a workman's lodging, composed of two small
rooms and a closet at most, on the third or fourth story.
 This calculation is amply sufficient, if not excessive. A similar
building, at one league from Paris, on the side of Montrouge, with all
the necessary offices, kitchen, wash-houses, etc., with gas and water
laid on, apparatus for warming, etc., and a garden of ten acres, cost, at
the period of this narrative, hardly five hundred thousand francs. An
experienced builder less obliged us with an estimate, which confirms what
we advance. It is, therefore, evident, that, even at the same price
which workmen are in the habit of paying, it would be possible to provide
them with perfectly healthy lodgings, and yet invest one's money at ten
 The fact was proved in the works connected with the Rouen Railway.
Those French workmen who, having no families, were able to live like the
English, did at least as much work as the latter, being strengthened by
wholesome and sufficient nourishment.
 Buying penny-worths, like all other purchases at minute retail, are
greatly to the poor man's disadvantage.
During the visit of Angela and Agricola to the Common Dwelling-house, the
band of Wolves, joined upon the road by many of the haunters of taverns,
continued to march towards the factory, which the hackney-coach, that
brought Rodin from Paris, was also fast approaching. M. Hardy, on
getting out of the carriage with his friend, M. de Blessac, had entered
the parlor of the house that he occupied next the factory. M. Hardy was
of middle size, with an elegant and slight figure, which announced a
nature essentially nervous and impressionable. His forehead was broad
and open, his complexion pale, his eyes black, full at once of mildness
and penetration, his countenance honest, intelligent, and attractive.
One word will paint the character of M. Hardy. His mother had called him
her Sensitive Plant. His was indeed one of those fine and exquisitely
delicate organizations, which are trusting, loving, noble, generous, but
so susceptible, that the least touch makes them shrink into themselves.
If we join to this excessive sensibility a passionate love for art, a
first-rate intellect, tastes essentially refined, and then think of the
thousand deceptions, and numberless infamies of which M. Hardy must have
been the victim in his career as a manufacturer, we shall wonder how this
heart, so delicate and tender, had not been broken a thousand times, in
its incessant struggle with merciless self-interest. M. Hardy had indeed
suffered much. Forced to follow the career of productive industry, to
honor the engagements of his father, a model of uprightness and probity,
who had yet left his affairs somewhat embarrassed, in consequence of the
events of 1815, he had succeeded, by perseverance and capacity, in
attaining one of the most honorable positions in the commercial world.
But, to arrive at this point, what ignoble annoyances had he to bear
with, what perfidious opposition to combat, what hateful rivalries to
Sensitive as he was, M. Hardy would a thousand times have fallen a victim
to his emotions of painful indignation against baseness, of bitter
disgust at dishonesty, but for the wise and firm support of his mother.
When he returned to her, after a day of painful struggles with odious
deceptions, he found himself suddenly transported into an atmosphere of
such beneficent purity, of such radiant serenity, that he lost almost on
the instant the remembrance of the base things by which he had been so
cruelly tortured during the day; the pangs of his heart were appeased at
the mere contact of her great and lofty soul; and therefore his love for
her resembled idolatry. When he lost her, he experienced one of those
calm, deep sorrows which have no end--which become, as it were, part of
life, and have even sometimes their days of melancholy sweetness. A
little while after this great misfortune, M. Hardy became more closely
connected with his workmen. He had always been a just and good master;
but, although the place that his mother left in his heart would ever
remain void, he felt as it were a redoubled overflowing of the
affections, and the more he suffered, the more he craved to see happy
faces around him. The wonderful ameliorations, which he now produced in
the physical and moral condition of all about him, served, not to divert,
but to occupy his grief. Little by little, he withdrew from the world,
and concentrated his life in three affections: a tender and devoted
friendship, which seemed to include all past friendships--a love ardent
and sincere, like a last passion--and a paternal attachment to his
workmen. His days therefore passed in the heart of that little world, so
full of respect and gratitude towards him--a world, which he had, as it
were, created after the image of his mind, that he might find there a
refuge from the painful realities he dreaded, surrounded with good,
intelligent, happy beings, capable of responding to the noble thoughts
which had become more and more necessary to his existence. Thus, after
many sorrows, M. Hardy, arrived at the maturity of age, possessing a
sincere friend, a mistress worthy of his love, and knowing himself
certain of the passionate devotion of his workmen, had attained, at the
period of this history, all the happiness he could hope for since his
M. de Blessac, his bosom friend, had long been worthy of his touching and
fraternal affection; but we have seen by what diabolical means Father
d'Aigrigny and Rodin had succeeded in making M. de Blessac, until then
upright and sincere, the instrument of their machinations. The two
friends, who had felt on their journey a little of the sharp influence of
the north wind, were warming themselves at a good fire lighted in M.
"Oh! my dear Marcel, I begin really to get old," said M. Hardy, with a
smile, addressing M. de Blessac; "I feel more and more the want of being
at home. To depart from my usual habits has become painful to me, and I
execrate whatever obliges me to leave this happy little spot of ground."
"And when I think," answered M. de Blessac, unable to forbear blushing,
"when I think, my friend, that you undertook this long journey only for
"Well, my dear Marcel! have you not just accompanied me in your turn, in
an excursion which, without you, would have been as tiresome as it has
"What a difference, my friend! I have contracted towards you a debt that
I can never repay."
"Nonsense, my dear Marcel! Between us, there are no distinctions of meum
and tuum. Besides, in matters of friendship, it is as sweet to give as
"Noble heart! noble heart!"
"Say, happy heart!--most happy, in the last affections for which it
"And who, gracious heaven! could deserve happiness on earth, if it be not
you, my friend?"
"And to what do I owe that happiness? To the affections which I found
here, ready to sustain me, when deprived of the support of my mother, who
was all my strength, I felt myself (I confess my weakness) almost
incapable of standing up against adversity."
"You, my friend--with so firm and resolute a character in doing good--
you, that I have seen struggle with so much energy and courage, to secure
the triumph of some great and noble idea?"
"Yes; but the farther I advance in my career, the more am I disgusted
with all base and shameful actions, and the less strength I feel to
"Were it necessary, you would have the courage, my friend."
"My dear Marcel," replied M. Hardy, with mild and restrained emotion, "I
have often said to you: My courage was my mother. You see, my friend,
when I went to her, with my heart torn by some horrible ingratitude, or
disgusted by some base deceit, she, taking my hands between her own
venerable palms, would say to me in her grave and tender voice: 'My dear
child, it is for the ungrateful and dishonest to suffer; let us pity the
wicked, let us forget evil, and only think of good.'--Then, my friend,
this heart, painfully contracted, expanded beneath the sacred influence
of the maternal words, and every day I gathered strength from her, to
recommence on the morrow a cruel struggle with the sad necessities of my
condition. Happily, it has pleased God, that, after losing that beloved
mother, I have been able to bind up my life with affections, deprived of
which, I confess, I should find myself feeble and disarmed for you cannot
tell, Marcel, the support, the strength that I have found in your
"Do not speak of me, my dear friend," replied M. de Blessac, dissembling
his embarrassment. "Let us talk of another affection, almost as sweet
and tender as that of a mother."
"I understand you, my good Marcel," replied M. Hardy: "I have concealed
nothing from you since, under such serious circumstances, I had recourse
to the counsels of your friendship. Well! yes; I think that every day I
live augment my adoration for this woman, the only one that I have ever
passionately loved, the only one that I shall now ever love. And then I
must tell you, that my mother, not knowing what Margaret was to me, as
often loud in her praise, and that circumstance renders this love almost
sacred in my eyes."
"And then there are such strange resemblances between Mme. de Noisy's
character and yours, my friend; above all, in her worship of her mother."
"It is true, Marcel; that affection has often caused me both admiration
and torment. How often she has said to me, with her habitual frankness:
'I have sacrificed all for you, but I would sacrifice you for my
"Thank heaven, my friend, you will never see Mme. de Noisy exposed to
that cruel choice. Her mother, you say, has long renounced her intention
of returning to America, where M. de Noisy, perfectly careless of his
wife, appears to have settled himself permanently. Thanks to the
discreet devotion of the excellent woman by whom Margaret was brought up,
your love is concealed in the deepest mystery. What could disturb it
"Nothing--oh! nothing," cried M. Hardy. "I have almost security for its
"What do you mean, my friend?"
"I do not know if I ought to tell you."
"Have you ever found me indiscreet, my friend?"
"You, good Marcel! how can you suppose such a thing?" said M. Hardy, in a
tone of friendly reproach; "no! but I do not like to tell you of my
happiness, till it is complete; and I am not yet quite certain--"
A servant entered at this moment and said to M. Hardy: "Sir, there is an
old gentleman who wishes to speak to you on very pressing business."
"So soon!" said M. Hardy, with a slight movement of impatience. "With
your permission, my friend." Then, as M. de Blessac seemed about to
withdraw into the next room, M. Hardy added with a smile: "No, no; do not
stir. Your presence will shorten the interview."
"But if it be a matter of business, my friend?"
"I do everything openly, as you know." Then, addressing the servant, M.
Hardy bade him: "Ask the gentleman to walk in."
"The postilion wishes to know if he is to wait?"
"Certainly: he will take M. de Blessac back to Paris."
The servant withdrew, and presently returned, introducing Rodin, with
whom M. de Blessac was not acquainted, his treacherous bargain having
been negotiated through another agent.
"M. Hardy?" said Rodin, bowing respectfully to the two friends, and
looking from one to the other with an air of inquiry.
"That is my name, sir; what can I do to serve you?" answered the
manufacturer, kindly; for, at first sight of the humble and ill-dressed
old man, he expected an application for assistance.
"M. Francois Hardy," repeated Rodin, as if he wished to make sure of the
identity of the person.
"I have had the honor to tell you that I am he."
"I have a private communication to make to you, sir," said Rodin.
"You may speak, sir. This gentleman is my friend," said M. Hardy,
pointing to M. de Blessac.
"But I wish to speak to you alone, sir," resumed Rodin.
M. de Blessac was again about to withdraw, when M. Hardy retained him
with a glance, and said to Rodin kindly, for he thought his feelings
might be hurt by asking a favor in presence of a third party: "Permit me
to inquire if it is on your account or on mine, that you wish this
interview to be secret?"
"On your account entirely, sir," answered Rodin.
"Then, sir," said M. Hardy, with some surprise, "you may speak out. I
have no secrets from this gentleman."
After a moment's silence, Rodin resumed, addressing himself to M. Hardy:
"Sir, you deserve, I know, all the good that is said of you; and you
therefore command the sympathy of every honest man."
"I hope so, sir."
"Now, as an honest man, I come to render you a service."
"And this service, sir--"
"To reveal to you an infamous piece of treachery, of which you have been
"I think, sir, you must be deceived."
"I have the proofs of what I assert."
"The written proofs of the treachery that I come to reveal: I have them
here," answered Rodin "In a word, a man whom you believed your friend,
has shamefully deceived you, sir."
"And the name of this man?"
"M. Marcel de Blessac," replied Rodin.
On these words, M. de Blessac started, and became pale as death. He
could hardly murmur: "Sir--"
But, without looking at his friend, or perceiving his agitation, M. Hardy
seized his hand, and exclaimed hastily: "Silence, my friend!" Then,
whilst his eye flashed with indignation, he turned towards Rodin, who had
not ceased to look him full in the face, and said to him, with an air of
lofty disdain: "What! do you accuse M. de Blessac?"
"Yes, I accuse him," replied Rodin, briefly.
"Do you know him?"
"I have never seen him."
"Of what do you accuse him? And how dare you say that he has betrayed
"Two words, if you please," said Rodin, with an emotion which he appeared
hardly able to restrain. "If one man of honor sees another about to be
slain by an assassin, ought he not give the alarm of murder?"
"Yes, sir; but what has that to do--"
"In my eyes, sir, certain treasons are as criminal as murders: I have
come to place myself between the assassin and his victim."
"The assassin? the victim?" said M. Hardy more and more astonished.
"You doubtless know M. de Blessac's writing?" said Rodin.
"Then read this," said Rodin, drawing from his pocket a letter, which he
handed to M. Hardy.
Casting now for the first time a glance at M. de Blessac, the
manufacturer drew back a step, terrified at the death-like paleness of
this man, who, struck dumb with shame, could not find a word to justify
himself; for he was far from possessing the audacious effrontery
necessary to carry him through his treachery.
"Marcel!" cried M. Hardy, in alarm, and deeply agitated by this
unexpected blow. "Marcel! how pale you are! you do not answer!"
"Marcel! this, then, is M. de Blessac?" cried Rodin, feigning the most
painful surprise. "Oh, sir, if I had known--"
"But don't you hear this man, Marcel?" cried M. Hardy. "He says that you
have betrayed me infamously." He seized the hand of M. de Blessac. That
hand was cold as ice. "Oh, God! Oh God!" said M. Hardy, drawing back in
horror: "he makes no answer!"
"Since I am in presence of M. de Blessac," resumed Rodin, "I am forced to
ask him, if he can deny having addressed many letters to the Rue du
Milieu des Ursins, at Paris under cover of M. Rodin."
M. de Blessac remained dumb. M. Hardy, still unwilling to believe what
he saw and heard, convulsively tore open the letter, which Rodin had just
delivered to him, and read the first few lines--interrupting the perusal
with exclamations of grief and amazement. He did not require to finish
the letter, to convince himself of the black treachery of M. de Blessac.
He staggered; for a moment his senses seemed to abandon him. The
horrible discovery made him giddy, and his head swam on his first look
down into that abyss of infamy. The loathsome letter dropped from his
trembling hands. But soon indignation, rage, and scorn succeeded this
moment of despair, and rushing, pale and terrible, upon M. de Blessac:
"Wretch!" he exclaimed, with a threatening gesture. But, pausing as in
the act to strike: "No!" he added, with fearful calmness. "It would be
to soil my hands."
He turned towards Rodin, who had approached hastily, as if to interpose.
"It is not worth while chastising a wretch," said M. Hardy; "But I will
press your honest hand, sir--for you have had the courage to unmask a
traitor and a coward."
"Sir!" cried M. de Blessac, overcome with shame; "I am at your orders--
He could not finish. The sound of voices was heard behind the door,
which opened violently, and an aged woman entered, in spite of the
efforts of the servant, exclaiming in an agitated voice: "I tell you, I
must speak instantly to your master."
On hearing this voice, and at sight of the pale, weeping woman, M. Hardy,
forgetting M. de Blessac, Rodin, the infamous treachery, and all, fell
back a step, and exclaimed: "Madame Duparc! you here! What is the
"Oh, sir! a great misfortune--"
"Margaret!" cried M. Hardy, in a tone of despair.
"She is gone, sir!"
"Gone!" repeated M. Hardy, as horror-struck as if a thunderbolt had
fallen at his feet. "Margaret gone!"
"All is discovered. Her mother took her away--three days ago!" said the
unhappy woman, in a failing voice.
"Gone! Margaret! It is not true. You deceive me," cried M. Hardy.
Refusing to hear more, wild, despairing, he rushed out of the house,
threw himself into his carriage, to which the post-horses were still
harnessed, waiting for M. de Blessac, and said to the postilion: "To
Paris! as fast as you can go!"
As the carriage, rapid as lightning, started upon the road to Paris, the
wind brought nearer the distant sound of the war-song of the Wolves, who
were rushing towards the factory. In this impending destruction, see
Rodin's subtle hand, administering his fatal blows to clear his way up to
the chair of St. Peter to which he aspired. His tireless, wily course
can hardly be darker shadowed by aught save that dread coming horror the
Cholera, whose aid he evoked, and whose health the Bacchanal Queen wildly
That once gay girl, and her poor famished sister; the fair patrician and
her Oriental lover; Agricola, the workman, and his veteran father; the
smiling Rose-Pompon, and the prematurely withered Jacques Rennepont;
Father d'Aigrigny, the mock priest; and Gabriel, the true disciple; with
the rest that have been named and others yet to be pictured, in the blaze
of the bolts of their life's paths, will be seen in the third and
concluding part of this romance entitled, "THE WANDERING JEW:
THE WANDERING JEW
By Eugene Sue
PART THIRD.--THE REDEMPTION.
I. The Wandering Jew's Chastisement
II. The Descendants of the Wandering Jew
III. The Attack
IV. The Wolves and the Devourers
V. The Return
VI. The Go-Between
VII. Another Secret
VIII. The Confession
X. The Execution
XI. The Champs-Elysees
XII. Behind the Scenes
XIII. Up with the Curtain
PART THIRD.--THE REDEMPTION.
THE WANDERING JEW'S CHASTISEMENT.
'Tis night--the moon is brightly shining, the brilliant stars are
sparkling in a sky of melancholy calmness, the shrill whistlings of a
northerly wind--cold, bleak, and evil-bearing--are increasing: winding
about, and bursting into violent blasts, with their harsh and hissing
gusts, they are sweeping the heights of Montmartre. A man is standing on
the very summit of the hill; his lengthened shadow, thrown out by the
moon's pale beams, darkens the rocky ground in the distance. The
traveller is surveying the huge city lying at his feet--the City of
Paris--from whose profundities are cast up its towers, cupolas, domes,
and steeples, in the bluish moisture of the horizon; while from the very
centre of this sea of stones is rising a luminous vapor, reddening the
starry azure of the sky above. It is the distant light of a myriad lamps
which at night, the season for pleasure, is illuminating the noisy
"No!" said the traveller, "it will not be. The Lord surely will not
suffer it. Twice is quite enough. Five centuries ago, the avenging hand
of the Almighty drove me hither from the depths of Asia. A solitary
wanderer, I left in my track more mourning, despair, disaster, and death,
than the innumerable armies of a hundred devastating conquerors could
have produced. I then entered this city, and it was decimated. Two
centuries ago that inexorable hand which led me through the world again
conducted me here; and on that occasion, as on the previous one, that
scourge, which at intervals the Almighty binds to my footsteps, ravaged
this city, attacking first my brethren, already wearied by wretchedness
and toil. My brethren! through me--the laborer of Jerusalem, cursed by
the Lord, who in my person cursed the race of laborers--a race always
suffering, always disinherited, always slaves, who like me, go on, on,
on, without rest or intermission, without recompense, or hope; until at
length, women, men, children, and old men, die under their iron yoke of
self-murder, that others in their turn then take up, borne from age to
age on their willing but aching shoulders. And here again, for the third
time, in the course of five centuries, I have arrived at the summit of
one of the hills which overlooks the city; and perhaps I bring again with
me terror, desolation, and death. And this unhappy city, intoxicated in
a whirl of joys, and nocturnal revelries, knows nothing about it--oh! it
knows not that I am at its very gate. But no! no! my presence will not
be a source of fresh calamity to it. The Lord, in His unsearchable
wisdom, has brought me hither across France, making me avoid on my route
all but the humblest villages, so that no increase of the funeral knell
has, marked my journey. And then, moreover, the spectre has left me--
that spectre, livid and green, with its deep bloodshot eyes. When I
touched the soil of France, its moist and icy hand abandoned mine--it
disappeared. And yet I feel the atmosphere of death surrounding me
still. There is no cessation; the biting gusts of this sinister wind,
which envelop me in their breath, seem by their envenomed breath to
propagate the scourge. Doubtless the anger of the Lord is appeased.
Maybe, my presence here is meant only as a threat, intending to bring
those to their senses whom it ought to intimidate. It must be so; for
were it otherwise, it would, on the contrary, strike a loud-sounding blow
of greater terror, casting at once dread and death into the very heart of
the country, into the bosom of this immense city. Oh, no! no! the Lord
will have mercy; He will not condemn me to this new affliction. Alas! in
this city my brethren are more numerous and more wretched than in any
other. And must I bring death to them? No! the Lord will have mercy;
for, alas! the seven descendants of my sister are at last all united in
this city. And must I bring death to them? Death! instead of that
immediate assistance they stand so much in need of? For that woman who,
like myself, wanders from one end of the world into the other, has gone
now on her everlasting journey, after having confounded their enemies'
plots. In vain did she foretell that great evils still threatened those
who are akin to me through my sister's blood. The unseen hand by which I
am led, drives that woman away from me, even as though it were a
whirlwind that swept her on. In vain she entreated and implored at the
moment she was leaving those who are so dear to me.--At least, 0 Lord,
permit me to stay until I shall have finished my task! Onward! A few
days, for mercy's sake, only a few days! Onward! I leave these whom I
am protecting on the very brink of an abyss! Onward! Onward!! And the
wandering star is launched afresh on its perpetual course. But her voice
traversed through space, calling me to the assistance of my own! When
her voice reached me I felt that the offspring of my sister were still
exposed to fearful dangers: those dangers are still increasing. Oh, say,
say, Lord! shall the descendants of my sister escape those woes which for
so many centuries have oppressed my race? Wilt Thou pardon me in them?
Wilt Thou punish me in them? Oh! lead them, that they may obey the last
wishes of their ancestor. Guide them, that they may join their
charitable hearts, their powerful strength, their best wisdom, and their
immense wealth, and work together for the future happiness of mankind,
thereby, perhaps, enabled to ransom me from my eternal penalties. Let
those divine words of the Son of Man, "Love ye one another!" be their
only aim; and by the assistance of their all-powerful words, let them
contend against and vanquish those false priests who have trampled on the
precepts of love, of peace, and hope commanded by the Saviour, setting up
in their stead the precepts of hatred, violence, and despair. Those
false shepherds, supported ay the powerful and wealthy of the world, who
in all times have been their accomplices, instead of asking here below a
little happiness for my brethren, who have been suffering and groaning
for centuries, dare to utter, in Thy name, O Lord! that the poor must
always be doomed to the tortures of this world, and that it is criminal
in Thine eyes that they should either wish for or hope a mitigation of
their sufferings on earth, because the happiness of the few and the
wretchedness of nearly all mankind is Thine almighty will. Blasphemies!
is it not the contrary of these homicidal words that is more worthy of
the name of Divine will? Hear, me, O Lord! for mercy's sake. Snatch
from their enemies the descendants of my sister, from the artisan up to
the king's son. Do not permit them to crush the germ of a mighty and
fruitful association, which, perhaps, under Thy protection, may take its
place among the records of the happiness of mankind. Suffer me, O Lord!
to unite those whom they are endeavoring to divide--to defend those whom
they are attacking. Suffer me to bring hope to those from whom hope has
fled, to give courage to those who are weak, to uphold those whom evil
threatens, and to sustain those who would persevere in well-doing. And
then, perhaps, their struggles, their devotedness, their virtues, this
miseries might expiate my sin. Yes, mine--misfortune, misfortune alone,
made me unjust and wicked. O Lord! since Thine almighty hand hath
brought me hither, for some end unknown to me, disarm Thyself, I implore
Thee, of Thine anger, and let not me be the instrument of Thy vengeance!
There is enough of mourning in the earth these two years past--Thy
creatures have fallen by millions in my footsteps. The world is
decimated. A veil of mourning extends from one end of the globe to the
other. I have traveled from Asia even to the Frozen Pole, and death has
followed in my wake. Dost Thou not hear, O Lord! the universal wailings
that mount up to Thee? Have mercy upon all, and upon me. One day, grant
me but a single day, that I may collect the descendants of my sister
together, and save them!" And uttering these words, the wanderer fell
upon his knees, and raised his hands to heaven in a suppliant attitude.
Suddenly, the wind howled with redoubled violence; its sharp whistlings
changed to a tempest. The Wanderer trembled, and exclaimed in a voice of
terror, "O Lord! the blast of death is howling in its rage. It appears
as though a whirlwind were lifting me up. Lord, wilt Thou not, then,
hear my prayer? The spectre! O! do I behold the spectre? Yes, there it
is; its cadaverous countenance is agitated by convulsive throes, its red
eyes are rolling in their orbits. Begone! begone! Oh! its hand--its icy
hand has seized on mine! Mercy, Lord, have mercy! 'Onward!' Oh, Lord!
this scourge, this terrible avenging scourge! Must I, then, again carry
it into this city, must my poor wretched brethren be the first to fall
under it--though already so miserable? Mercy, mercy! 'Onward!' And the
descendants of my sister--oh, pray, have mercy, mercy! 'Onward!' O
Lord, have pity on me! I can no longer keep my footing on the ground,
the spectre is dragging me over the brow of the hill; my course is as
rapid as the death-bearing wind that whistles in my track; I already
approach the walls of the city. Oh, mercy, Lord, mercy on the
descendants of my sister--spare them! do not compel me to be their
executioner, and let them triumph over their enemies. Onward, onward!
The ground is fleeing from under me; I am already at the city gate; oh,
yet, Lord, yet there is time; oh, have mercy on this slumbering city,
that it may not even now awaken with the lamentations of terror, of
despair and death! O Lord, I touch the threshold of the gate; verily
Thou willest it so then. 'Tis done--Paris! the scourge is in thy bosom!
oh, cursed, cursed evermore am I. Onward! on! on!"
 In 1346, the celebrated Black Death ravaged the earth, presenting
the same symptoms as the cholera, and the same inexplicable phenomena as
to its progress and the results in its route. In 1660 a similar epidemic
decimated the world. It is well known that when the cholera first broke
out in Paris, it had taken a wide and unaccountable leap; and, also
memorable, a north-east wind prevailed during its utmost fierceness.
THE DESCENDANTS OF THE WANDERING JEW.
That lonely wayfarer whom we have heard so plaintively urging to be
relieved of his gigantic burden of misery, spoke of "his sister's
descendants" being of all ranks, from the working man to the king's son.
They were seven in number, who had, in the year 1832, been led to Paris,
directly or indirectly, by a bronze medal which distinguished them from
others, bearing these words:--
L. C. D. J.
Pray for me!
February the 13th, 1682.
Rue St. Francois, No. 3,
In a century and a half
you will be.
February the 13th, 1832.
PRAY FOR ME!
The son of the King of Mundi had lost his father and his domains in India
by the irresistible march of the English, and was but in title Prince
Djalma. Spite of attempts to make his departure from the East delayed
until after the period when he could have obeyed his medal's command, he
had reached France by the second month of 1832. Nevertheless, the
results of shipwreck had detained him from Paris till after that date. A
second possessor of this token had remained unaware of its existence,
only discovered by accident. But an enemy who sought to thwart the union
of these seven members, had shut her up in a mad-house, from which she
was released only after that day. Not alone was she in imprisonment. An
old Bonapartist, General Simon, Marshal of France, and Duke de Ligny, had
left a wife in Russian exile, while he (unable to follow Napoleon to St.
Helena) continued to fight the English in India by means of Prince
Djalma's Sepoys, whom he drilled. On the latter's defeat, he had meant
to accompany his young friend to Europe, induced the more by finding that
the latter's mother, a Frenchwoman, had left him such another bronze
medal as he knew his wife to have had.
Unhappily, his wife had perished in Siberia, without his knowing it, any
more than he did, that she had left twin daughters, Rose and Blanche.
Fortunately for them, one who had served their father in the Grenadiers
of the Guard. Francis Baudoin, nicknamed Dagobert, undertook to fulfil
the dying mother's wishes, inspired by the medal. Saving a check at
Leipsic, where one Morok the lion-tamer's panther had escaped from its
cage and killed Dagobert's horse, and a subsequent imprisonment (which
the Wandering Jew's succoring hand had terminated) the soldier and his
orphan charges had reached Paris in safety and in time. But there, a
renewal of the foe's attempt had gained its end. By skillful devices,
Dagobert and his son Agricola were drawn out of the way while Rose and
Blanche Simon were decoyed into a nunnery, under the eyes of Dagobert's
wife. But she had been bound against interfering by the influence of the
Jesuit confessional. The fourth was M. Hardy, a manufacturer, and the
fifth, Jacques Rennepont, a drunken scamp of a workman, who were more
easily fended off, the latter in a sponging house, the former by a
friend's lure. Adrienne de Cardoville, daughter of the Count of
Rennepont, who had also been Duke of Cardoville, was the lady who had
been unwarrantably placed in the lunatic asylum. The fifth, unaware of
the medal, was Gabriel, a youth, who had been brought up, though a
foundling, in Dagobert's family, as a brother to Agricola. He had
entered holy orders, and more, was a Jesuit, in name though not in heart.
Unlike the others, his return from abroad had been smoothed. He had
signed away all his future prospects, for the benefit of the order of
Loyola, and, moreover, executed a more complete deed of transfer on the
day, the 13th of February, 1832, when he, alone of the heirs, stood in
the room of the house, No. 3, Rue St. Francois, claiming what was a vast
surprise for the Jesuits, who, a hundred and fifty years before, had
discovered that Count Marius de Rennepont had secreted a considerable
amount of his wealth, all of which had been confiscated to them, in those
painful days of dragoonings, and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
They had bargained for some thirty or forty millions of francs to be
theirs, by educating Gabriel into resigning his inheritance to them, but
it was two hundred and twelve millions which the Jesuit representatives
(Father d'Aigrigny and his secretary, Rodin) were amazed to hear their
nursling placed in possession of. They had the treasure in their hands,
in fact, when a woman of strangely sad beauty had mysteriously entered
the room where the will had been read, and laid a paper before the
notary. It was a codicil, duly drawn up and signed, deferring the
carrying out of the testament until the first day of June the same year.
The Jesuits fled from the house, in rage and intense disappointment.
Father d'Aigrigny was so stupor-stricken at the defeat, that he bade his
secretary at once write off to Rome that the Rennepont inheritance had
escaped them, and hopes to seize it again were utterly at an end. Upon
this, Rodin had revolted, and shown that he had authority to command
where he had, so far, most humbly obeyed. Many such spies hang about
their superior's heels, with full powers to become the governor in turn,
at a moment's notice. Thenceforward, he, Rodin, had taken the business
into his own hands. He had let Rose and Blanche Simon out of the convent
into their father's arms. He had gone in person to release Adrienne de
Cardoville from the asylum. More, having led her to sigh for Prince
Djalma, he prompted the latter to burn for her.
He let not M. Hardy escape. A friend whom the latter treated as a
brother, had been shown up to him as a mere spy of the Jesuits; the woman
whom he adored, a wedded woman, alas! who had loved him in spite of her
vows, had been betrayed. Her mother had compelled her to hide her shame
in America, and, as she had often said--"Much as you are endeared to me,
I cannot waver between you and my mother!" so she had obeyed, without one
farewell word to him. Confess, Rodin was a more dextrous man than his
late master! In the pages that ensue farther proofs of his superiority
in baseness and satanic heartlessness will not be wanting.
On M. Hardy's learning from the confidential go-between of the lovers,
that his mistress had been taken away by her mother, he turned from Rodin
and dashed away in a post carriage. At the same moment, as loud as the
rattle of the wheels, there arose the shouts of a band of workmen and
rioters, hired by the Jesuit's emissaries, coming to attack Hardy's
operatives. An old grudge long existing between them and a rival
manufacturer's--Baron Tripeaud--laborers, fanned the flames. When M.
Hardy had left the factory, Rodin, who was not prepared for this sudden
departure, returned slowly to his hackney-coach; but he stopped suddenly,
and started with pleasure and surprise, when he saw, at some distance,
Marshall Simon and his father advancing towards one of the wings of the
Common Dwelling-house; for an accidental circumstance had so far delayed
the interview of the father and son.
"Very well!" said Rodin. "Better and better! Now, only let my man have
found out and persuaded little Rose-Pompon!"
And Rodin hastened towards his hackney-coach. At this moment, the wind,
which continued to rise, brought to the ear of the Jesuit the war song of
the approaching Wolves.
The workman was in the garden. The marshal said to him, in a voice of
such deep emotion that the old man started; "Father, I am very unhappy."
A painful expression, until then concealed, suddenly darkened the
countenance of the marshal.
"You unhappy?" cried father Simon, anxiously, as he pressed nearer to the
"For some days, my daughters have appeared constrained in manner, and
lost in thought. During the first moments of our re-union, they were mad
with joy and happiness. Suddenly, all has changed; they are becoming
more and more sad. Yesterday, I detected tears in their eyes; then
deeply moved, I clasped them in my arms, and implored them to tell me the
cause of their sorrow. Without answering, they threw themselves on my
neck, and covered my face with their tears."
"It is strange. To what do you attribute this alteration?"
"Sometimes, I think I have not sufficiently concealed from them the grief
occasioned me by the loss of their mother, and they are perhaps miserable
that they do not suffice for my happiness. And yet (inexplicable as it
is) they seem not only to understand, but to share my sorrow. Yesterday,
Blanche said to me: 'How much happier still should we be, if our mother
were with us!--'"
"Sharing your sorrow, they cannot reproach you with it. There must be
some other cause for their grief."
"Yes," said the marshal, looking fixedly at his father; "yes--but to
penetrate this secret--it would be necessary not to leave them."
"What do you mean?"
"First learn, father, what are the duties which would keep me here; then
you shall know those which may take me away from you, from my daughters,
and from my other child."
"What other child?"
"The son of my old friend, the Indian Prince."
"Djalma? Is there anything the matter with him?"
"Father, he frightens me. I told you, father, of his mad and unhappy
passion for Mdlle. de Cardoville."
"Does that frighten you, my son?" said the old man, looking at the
marshal with surprise. "Djalma is only eighteen, and, at that age, one
love drives away another."
"You have no idea of the ravages which the passion has already made in
the ardent, indomitable boy; sometimes, fits of savage ferocity follow
the most painful dejection. Yesterday, I came suddenly upon him; his
eyes were bloodshot, his features contracted with rage; yielding to an
impulse of mad furry, he was piercing with his poinard a cushion of red
cloth, whilst he exclaimed, panting for breath, 'Ha blood!--I will have
blood!' 'Unhappy boy!' I said to him, 'what means this insane passion?'
'I'm killing the man!' replied he, in a hollow and savage voice: it is
thus he designates his supposed rival."
"There is indeed something terrible," said the old man, "in such a
passion, in such a heart."
"At other times," resumed the marshal, "it is against Mdlle. de
Cardoville that his rage bursts forth; and at others, against himself. I
have been obliged to remove his weapons, for a man who came with him from
Java, and who appears much attached to him, has informed me that he
suspected him of entertaining some thoughts of suicide."
"Well, father," said Marshal Simon, with profound bitterness; "it is at
the moment when my daughters and my adopted son require all my
solicitude, that I am perhaps on the eve of quitting them."
"Of quitting them?"
"Yes, to fulfil a still more sacred duty than that imposed by friendship
or family," said the marshal, in so grave and solemn a tone, that his
father exclaimed, with deep emotion: "What can this duty be?"
"Father," said the marshal, after remaining a moment in thoughtful
silence, "who made me what I am? Who gave me the ducal title, and the
"For you, the stern republican, I know that he lost all his value, when
from the first citizen of a Republic he became an emperor.
"I cursed his weakness," said Father Simon, sadly; "the demi-god sank
into a man."
"But for me, father--for me, the soldier, who have always fought beside
him, or under his eye--for me, whom he raised from the lowest rank in the
army to the highest--for me, whom he loaded with benefits and marks of
affection--for me, he was more than a hero, he was a friend--and there
was as much gratitude as admiration in my idolatry for him. When he was
exiled, I would fain have shared his exile; they refused me that favor;
then I conspired, then I drew my sword against those who had robbed his
son of the crown which France had given him."
"And, in your position, you did well, Pierre; without sharing your
admiration, I understood your gratitude. The projects of exile, the
conspiracies--I approved them all--you know it."
"Well, then, that disinherited child, in whose name I conspired seventeen
years ago, is now of an age to wield his father's sword."
"Napoleon II!" exclaimed the old man, looking at his son with surprise
and extreme anxiety; "the king of Rome!"
"King? no; he is no longer king. Napoleon? no; he is no longer Napoleon.
They have given him some Austrian name, because the other frightened
them. Everything frightens them. Do you know what they are doing with
the son of the Emperor?" resumed the marshal, with painful excitement.
"They are torturing him--killing him by inches!"
"Who told you this?"
"Somebody who knows, whose words are but too true. Yes; the son of the
Emperor struggles with all his strength against a premature death. With
his eyes turned towards France, he waits--he waits--and no one comes--no
one--out of all the men that his father made as great as they once were
little, not one thinks of that crowned child, whom they are stifling,
till he dies."
"But you think of him?"
"Yes; but I had first to learn--oh! there is no doubt of it, for I have
not derived all my information from the same source--I had first to
learn the cruel fate of this youth, to whom I also swore allegiance; for
one day, as I have told you, the Emperor, proud and loving father as he
was, showed him to me in his cradle, and said: 'My old friend, you will
be to the son what you have been to the father; who loves us, loves our
"Yes, I know it. Many times you have repeated those words to me, and,
like yourself, I have been moved by them."
"Well, father! suppose, informed of the sufferings of the son of the
Emperor, I had seen--with the positive certainty that I was not deceived-
-a letter from a person of high rank in the court of Vienna, offering to
a man that was still faithful to the Emperor's memory, the means of
communicating with the king of Rome, and perhaps of saving him from his
"What next?" said the workman, looking fixedly at his son. "Suppose
Napoleon II. once at liberty--"
"What next?" exclaimed the marshal. Then he added, in a suppressed
voice: "Do you think, father, that France is insensible to the
humiliations she endures? Do you think that the memory of the Emperor is
extinct? No, no; it is, above all, in the days of our country's
degredation, that she whispers that sacred name. How would it be, then,
were that name to rise glorious on the frontier, reviving in his son? Do
you not think that the heart of all France would beat for him?"
"This implies a conspiracy--against the present government--with Napoleon
II. for a watchword," said the workman. "This is very serious."
"I told you, father, that I was very unhappy; judge if it be not so,"
cried the marshal. "Not only I ask myself, if I ought to abandon my
children and you, to run the risk of so daring an enterprise, but I ask
myself if I am not bound to the present government, which, in
acknowledging my rank and title, if it bestowed no favor, at least did me
an act of justice. How shall I decide?--abandon all that I love, or
remain insensible to the tortures of Emperor--of that Emperor to the son
of the whom I owe everything--to whom I have sworn fidelity, both to
himself and child? Shall I lose this only opportunity, perhaps, of
saving him, or shall I conspire in his favor? Tell me, if I exaggerate
what I owe to the memory of the Emperor? Decide for me, father! During
a whole sleepless night, I strove to discover, in the midst of this
chaos, the line prescribed by honor; but I only wandered from indecision
to indecision. You alone, father--you alone, I repeat, can direct me."
After remaining for some moments in deep thought, the old man was about
to answer, when some person, running across the little garden, opened the
door hastily, and entered the room in which were the marshal and his
father. It was Olivier, the young workman, who had been able to effect
his escape from the village in which the Wolves had assembled.
"M. Simon! M. Simon!" cried he, pale, and panting for breath. "They are
here--close at hand. They have come to attack the factory."
"Who?" cried the old man, rising hastily.
"The Wolves, quarrymen, and stone-cutters, joined on the road by a crowd
of people from the neighborhood, and vagabonds from town. Do you not
hear them? They are shouting, 'Death to the Devourers!'"
The clamor was indeed approaching, and grew more and more distinct.
"It is the same noise that I heard just now," said the marshal, rising in
"There are more than two hundred of them, M. Simon," said Olivier; "they
are armed with clubs and stones, and unfortunately the greater part of
our workmen are in Paris. We are not above forty here in all; the women
and children are already flying to their chambers, screaming for terror.
Do you not hear them?"
The ceiling shook beneath the tread of many hasty feet.
"Will this attack be a serious one?" said the marshal to his father, who
appeared more and more dejected.
"Very serious," said the old man; "there is nothing more fierce than
these combats between different unions; and everything has been done
lately to excite the people of the neighborhood against the factory."
"If you are so inferior in number," said the marshal, "you must begin by
barricading all the doors--and then--"
He was unable to conclude. A burst of ferocious cries shook the windows
of the room, and seemed so near and loud, that the marshal, his father,
and the young workman, rushed out into the little garden, which was
bounded on one side by a wall that separated it from the fields.
Suddenly whilst the shouts redoubled in violence, a shower of large
stones, intended to break the windows of the house, smashed some of the
panes on the first story, struck against the wall, and fell into the
garden, all around the marshal and his father. By a fatal chance, one of
these large stones struck the old man on the head. He staggered, bent
forward, and fell bleeding into the arms of Marshal Simon, just as arose
from without, with increased fury, the savage cries of, "Death to the
THE WOLVES AND THE DEVOURERS.
It was a frightful thing to view the approach of the lawless crowd, whose
first act of hostility had been so fatal to Marshal Simon's father. One
wing of the Common Dwelling-house, which joined the garden-wall on that
side, was next to the fields. It was there that the Wolves began their
attack. The precipitation of their march, the halt they had made at two
public-houses on the road, their ardent impatience for the approaching
struggle, had inflamed these men to a high pitch of savage excitement.
Having discharged their first shower of stones, most of the assailants
stooped down to look for more ammunition. Some of them, to do so with
greater ease, held their bludgeons between their teeth; others had placed
them against the wall; here and there, groups had formed tumultuously
round the principal leaders of the band; the most neatly dressed of these
men wore frocks, with caps, whilst others were almost in rags, for, as we
have already said, many of the hangers-on at the barriers, and people
without any profession, had joined the troop of the Wolves, whether
welcome or not. Some hideous women, with tattered garments, who always
seem to follow in the track of such people, accompanied them on this
occasion, and, by their cries and fury, inflamed still more the general
excitement. One of them, tall, robust, with purple complexion, blood-
shot eyes, and toothless jaws, had a handkerchief over her head, from
beneath which escaped her yellow, frowsy hair. Over her ragged gown, she
wore an old plaid shawl, crossed over her bosom, and tied behind her
back. This hag seemed possessed with a demon. She had tucked up her
half-torn sleeves; in one hand she brandished a stick, in the other she
grasped a huge stone; her companions called her Ciboule (scullion).
This horrible hag exclaimed, in a hoarse voice: "I'll bite the women of
the factory; I'll make them bleed."
The ferocious words were received with applause by her companions, and
with savage cries of "Ciboule forever!" which excited her to frenzy.
Amongst the other leaders, was a small, dry pale man, with the face of a
ferret, and a black beard all round the chin; he wore a scarlet Greek
cap, and beneath his long blouse, perfectly new, appeared a pair of neat
cloth trousers, strapped over thin boots. This man was evidently of a
different condition of life from that of the other persons in the troop;
it was he, in particular, who ascribed the most irritating and insulting
language to the workmen of the factory, with regard to the inhabitants of
the neighborhood. He howled a great deal, but he carried neither stick
nor stone. A full-faced, fresh-colored man, with a formidable bass
voice, like a chorister's, asked him: "Will you not have a shot at those
impious dogs, who might bring down the Cholera on the country, as the
curate told us?"
"I will have a better shot than you," said the little man, with a
singular, sinister smile.
"And with what, I'd like to see?"
"Probably, with this," said the little man, stooping to pick up a large
stone; but, as he bent, a well-filled though light bag, which he appeared
to carry under his blouse, fell to the ground.
"Look, you are losing both bag and baggage," said the other; "it does not
seem very heavy."
"They are samples of wool," answered the man with the ferret's face, as
he hastily picked up the bag, and replaced it under his blouse; then he
added: "Attention! the big blaster is going to speak."
And, in fact, he who exercised the most complete ascendency over this
irritated crowd was the terrible quarryman. His gigantic form towered so
much above the multitude, that his great head, bound in its ragged
handkerchief, and his Herculean shoulders, covered with a fallow goat-
skin, were always visible above the level of that dark and swarming
crowd, only relieved here and there by a few women's caps, like so many
white points. Seeing to what a degree of exasperation the minds of the
crowd had reached, the small number of honest, but misguided workmen, who
had allowed themselves to be drawn into this dangerous enterprise, under
the pretext of a quarrel between rival unions, now fearing for the
consequences of the struggle, tried, but too late, to abandon the main
body. Pressed close, and as it were, girt in with the more hostile
groups, dreading to pass for cowards, or to expose themselves to the bad
treatment of the majority, they were forced to wait for a more favorable
moment to effect their escape. To the savage cheers, which had
accompanied the first discharge of stones, succeeded a deep silence
commanded by the stentorian voice of the quarryman.
"The Wolves have howled," he exclaimed; "let us wait and see how the
Devourers will answer, and when they will begin the fight."
"We must draw them out of their factory, and fight them on neutral
ground," said the little man with the ferret's face, who appeared to be
the thieves' advocate; "otherwise there would be trespass."
"What do we care about trespass?" cried the horrible hag, Ciboule; "in or
out, I will tear the chits of the factory."
"Yes, yes," cried other hideous creatures, as ragged as Ciboule herself;
"we must not leave all to the men."
"We must have our fun, too!"
"The women of the factory say that all the women of the neighborhood are
drunken drabs," cried the little man with the ferret's face.
"Good! we'll pay them for it."
"The women shall have their share."
"That's our business."
"They like to sing in their Common House," cried Ciboule; "we will make
them sing the wrong side of their mouths, in the key of 'Oh, dear me!'"
This pleasantry was received with shouts, hootings, and furious stamping
of feet, to which the stentorian voice of the quarryman put a term by
"Silence! silence!" repeated the crowd. "Hear the blaster!"
"If the Devourers are cowards enough not to dare to show themselves,
after a second volley of stones, there is a door down there which we can
break open, and we will soon hunt them from their holes."
"It would be better to draw them out, so that none might remain in the
factory," said the little old man with the ferret's face, who appeared to
have some secret motive.
"A man fights where he can," cried the quarryman, in a voice of thunder;
"all, right, if we can but once catch hold. We could fight on a sloping
roof, or on the top of a wall--couldn't we, my Wolves?"
"Yes, yes!" cried the crowd, still more excited by those savage words;
"if they don't come out, we will break in."
"We will see their fine palace!"
"The pagans haven't even a chapel," said the bass voice. "The curate has
damned them all!"
"Why should they have a palace, and we nothing but dog-kennels?"
"Hardy's workmen say that kennels are good enough for such as you." said
the little man with the ferret's face.
"Yes, yes! they said so."
"We'll break all their traps."
"We'll pull down their bazaar."
"We'll throw the house out of the windows."
"When we have made the mealy-mouthed chits sing," cried Ciboule, "we will
make them dance to the clatter of stones on their heads."
"Come, my Wolves! attention!" cried the quarryman, still in the same
stentorian voice; "one more volley, and if the Devourers do not come out,
down with the door!"
This proposition was received with cheers of savage ardor, and the
quarryman, whose voice rose above the tumult, cried with all the strength
of his herculean lungs: "Attention, my Wolves. Make ready! all together.
Now, are you ready?"
"Yes, yes--all ready!"
"Then, present!--fire!" And, for the second time, a shower of enormous
stones poured upon that side of the Common Dwelling-house which was
turned towards the fields. A part of these projectiles broke such of the
windows as had been spared by the first volley. To the sharp smashing
and cracking of glass were joined the ferocious cries uttered in chorus
by this formidable mob, drunk with its own excesses: "Death to the
Soon these outcries became perfectly frantic, when, through the broken
windows, the assailants perceived women running in terror, some with
children in their arms, and others raising their hands to heaven, calling
aloud for help; whilst a few, bolder than the rest, leaned out of the
windows, and tried to fasten the outside blinds.
"There come the ants out of their holes!" cried Ciboule, stooping to pick
up a stone. "We must have a fling at them for luck!" The stone, hurled
by the steady, masculine hand of the virago, went straight to its mark,
and struck an unfortunate woman who was trying to close one of the
"Hit in the white!" cried the hideous creature.
"Well done, Ciboule!--you've rapped her coker-nut!" cried a voice.
"Come out, you Devourers, if you dare!"
"They have said a hundred times, that the neighbors were too cowardly
even to come and look at their house," squealed the little man with the
"And now they show the white feather!"
"If they will not come out," cried the quarryman, in voice of thunder,
"let us smoke them out!"
"Let's break open the door!"
"We are sure to find them!"
"Come on! come on!"
The crowd, with the quarryman at their head, and Ciboule not far from
him, brandishing a stick, advanced tumultously towards one of the great
doors. The ground shook beneath the rapid tread of the mob, which had
now ceased shouting; but the confused, and, as it were, subterraneous
noise, sounded even more ominous than those savage outcries. The Wolves
soon arrived opposite the massive oaken door. At the moment the blaster
raised a sledgehammer, the door opened suddenly. Some of the most
determined of the assailants were about to rush in at this entrance; but
the quarryman stepped back, extending his arm as if to moderate their
ardor and impose silence. Then his followers gathered round him.
The half-open door discovered a party of workmen, unfortunately by no
means numerous, but with countenances full of resolution. They had armed
themselves hastily with forks, iron bars, and clubs. Agricola, who was
their leader, held in his hand a heavy sledge-hammer. The young workman
was very pale; but the fire of his eye, his menacing look, and the
intrepid assurance of his bearing, showed that his father's blood boiled
in his veins, and that in such a struggle he might become fear-inspiring.
Yet he succeeded in restraining himself, and challenged the quarryman, in
a firm voice: "What do you want?"
"A fight!" thundered the blaster.
"Yes, yes! a fight!" repeated the crowd.
"Silence, my Wolves!" cried the quarryman, as he turned round, and
stretched forth his large hand towards the multitude. Then addressing
Agricola, he said: "The Wolves have come to ask for a fight."
"With the Devourers."
"There are no Devourers here," replied Agricola; "we are only peaceable
workmen. So begone."
"Well! here are the Wolves, that will eat your quiet workmen."
"The Wolves will eat no one here," said Agricola, looking full at the
quarryman, who approached him with a threatening air; "they can only
frighten little children."
"Oh! you think so," said the quarryman, with a savage sneer. Then
raising his weapon, he shook it in Agricola's face, exclaiming: "Is that
any laughing matter?
"Is that?" answered Agricola, with a rapid movement, parrying the stone-
sledge with his own hammer.
"Iron against iron--hammer against hammer--that suits me," said the
"It does not matter what suits you," answered Agricola, hardly able to
restrain himself. "You have broken our windows, frightened our women,
and wounded--perhaps killed--the oldest workman in the factory, who at
this moment lies bleeding in the arms of his son." Here Agricola's voice
trembled in spite of himself. "It is, I think, enough,"
"No; the Wolves are hungry for more," answered the blaster; "you must
come out (cowards that you are!), and fight us on the plain."
"Yes! yes! battle!--let them come out!" cried the crowd, howling,
hissing, waving their sticks and pushing further into the small space
which separated them from the door.
"We will have no battle," answered Agricola: "we will not leave our home;
but if you have the misfortune to pass this," said Agricola, throwing his
cap upon the threshold, and setting his foot on it with an intrepid air,
"if you pass this, you attack us in our own house, and you will be
answerable for all that may happen."
"There or elsewhere we will have the fight! the Wolves must eat the
Devourers. Now for the attack!" cried the fierce quarryman, raising his
hammer to strike Agricola.
But the latter, throwing himself on one side by a sudden leap, avoided
the blow, and struck with his hammer full at the chest of the quarryman,
who staggered for a moment, but instantly recovering his legs, rushed
furiously on Agricola, crying: "Follow me, Wolves!"
As soon as the combat had begun between Agricola and the blaster, the
general fight became terrible, ardent, implacable. A flood of
assailants, following the quarryman's steps, rushed into the house with
irresistible fury; others, unable to force their way through this
dreadful crowd, where the more impetuous squeezed, stifled, and crushed
these who were less so, went round in another direction, broke through
some lattice work, and thus placed the people of the factory, as it were,
between two fires. Some resisted courageously; others, seeing Ciboule,
followed by some of her horrible companions, and by several of the most
ill-looking ruffians, hastily enter that part of the Common-Dwelling-
house in which the women had taken refuge, hurried in pursuit of this
band; but some of the hag's companions, having faced about, and
vigorously defended the entrance of the staircase against the workmen,
Ciboule, with three or four like herself, and about the same number of no
less ignoble men, rushed through the rooms, with the intention of robbing
or destroying all that came in their way. A door, which at first
resisted their efforts, was soon broken through; Ciboule rushed into the
apartment with a stick in her hand, her hair dishevelled, furious, and,
as it were, maddened with the noise and tumult. A beautiful young girl
(it was Angela), who appeared anxious to defend the entrance to a second
chamber, threw herself on her knees, pale and supplicating, and raising
her clasped hands, exclaimed: "Do not hurt my mother!"
"I'll serve you out first, and your mother afterwards," replied the
horrible woman, throwing herself on the poor girl, and endeavoring to
tear her face with her nails, whilst the rest of the ruffianly band broke
the glass and the clock with their sticks, and possessed themselves of
some articles of wearing apparel.
Angela, struggling with Ciboule, uttered loud cries of distress, and
still attempted to guard the room in which her mother had taken refuge;
whilst the latter, leaning from the window, called Agricola to their
assistance. The smith was now engaged with the huge blaster. In a close
struggle, their hammers had become useless, and with bloodshot eyes and
clinched teeth, chest to chest, and limbs twined together like two
serpents, they made the most violent efforts to overthrow each other.
Agricola, bent forward, held under his right arm the left leg of the
quarryman, which he had seized in parrying a violent kick; but such was
the Herculean strength of the leader of the Wolves, that he remained firm
as a tower, though resting only on one leg. With the hand that was still
free (for the other was gripped by Agricola as in a vise), he endeavored
with violent blows to break the jaws of the smith, who, leaning his head
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