The Wandering Jew, Entire
Part 4 out of 31
grounds, that they are now detained in the neighborhood of
Rodin's master interrupted him, saying:
"Now, read the letter just received from Leipsic; it may complete the
Rodin read it, and exclaimed:
"Excellent news! The maidens and their guide had succeeded in escaping
during the night from the White Falcon Tavern, but all three were
overtaken and seized about a league from Mockern. They have been
transferred to Leipsic, where they are imprisoned as vagabonds; their
guide, the soldier, is accused and condemned of resisting the
authorities, and using violence to a magistrate."
"It is almost certain, then, considering the tedious mode of proceeding
in Germany (otherwise we would see to it), that the girls will not be
able to be here on the 13th February," added Rodin's master. "Append
this to the note on the back."
The secretary obeyed, and endorsed "An abstract of Morok's letter."
"It is written," he then added.
"Go on," resumed his master.
Rodin continued reading.
"'NOTE, No. II.
"'Francois Hardy, manufacturer at Plessis, near Paris, forty years old; a
steady, rich, intelligent, active, honest, well-informed man, idolized by
his workmen--thanks to numberless innovations to promote their welfare.
Never attending to the duties of our holy religion. Noted down as a very
dangerous man: but the hatred and envy he excites among other
manufacturers, especially in M. le Baron Tripeaud, his competitor, may
easily be turned against him. If other means of action on his account,
and against him, are necessary, the evidence may be consulted; it is very
voluminous. This man has been marked and watched for a long time.
"'He has been so effectually misguided with respect to the medal, that he
is completely deceived as to the interests it represents. He is,
however, constantly watched, surrounded, and governed, without suspecting
it; one of his dearest friends deceives him, and through his means we
know his secret thoughts.
"'NOTE, No. III.
"'Prince Djalma; eighteen; energetic and generous, haughty, independent
and wild; favorite of General Simon, who commanded the troops of his
father, Kadja-sing, in the struggle maintained by the latter against the
English in India. Djalma is mentioned only by way of reminder, for his
mother died young, while her parents were living. They resided at
Batavia. On the death of the latter, neither Djalma nor the king, his
father, claimed their little property. It is, therefore, certain that
they are ignorant of the grave interests connected with the possession of
the medal in question, which formed part of the property of Djalma's
Rodin's master interrupted him.
"Now read the letter from Batavia, and complete the information
Rodin read, and then observed:
"Good news again. Joshua Van Dael, merchant at Batavia (he was educated
in our Pondicherry establishment), learns from his correspondent at
Calcutta that the old Indian king was killed in the last battle with the
English. His son, Djalma, deprived of the paternal throne, is
provisionally detained as a prisoner of state in an Indian fortress."
"We are at the end of October," said Rodin's master. "If Prince Djalma
were to leave India now, he could scarcely reach Paris by the month of
"Van Dael," continued Rodin, "regrets that he has not been able to prove
his zeal in this case. Supposing Prince Djalma set at liberty, or having
effected his escape, it is certain he would come to Batavia to claim his
inheritance from his mother, since he has nothing else left him in the
world. In that case, you may rely on Van Dael's devotedness. In return,
he solicits very precise information, by the next post, respecting the
fortune of M. le Baron Tripeaud, banker and manufacturer, with whom he
has business transactions."
"Answer that point evasively. Van Dael as yet has only shown zeal;
complete the information respecting Djalma from these new tidings."
But in a few minutes his master said to him with a singular expression:
"Does not Van Dael mention General Simon in connection with Djalma's
imprisonment and his father's death?"
"He does not allude to him," said the secretary, continuing his task.
Rodin's master was silent, and paced the room.
In a few moments Rodin said to him: "I have done it."
"Go on, then."
"'NOTE, No. IV.
"'Jacques Rennepont, surnamed "Sleepinbuff," i.e. Lie naked, workman in
Baron Tripeaud's factory. This artisan is drunken, idle, noisy, and
prodigal; he is not without sense, but idleness and debauch have ruined
him. A clever agent, on whom we rely, has become acquainted with his
mistress, Cephyse Soliveau, nicknamed the Bacchanal Queen. Through her
means, the agent has formed such ties with him that he may even now be
considered beyond the reach of the interests that ought to insure his
presence in Paris on the 13th of February.
"'NOTE, No. V.
"'Gabriel Rennepont, priest of foreign missions, distant relation of the
above, but he is alike ignorant of the existence of his relative and the
relationship. An orphan foundling, he was adopted by Frances Baudoin,
the wife of a soldier going by the name Dagobert.
"'Should this soldier, contrary to expectation, reach Paris, his wife
would be a powerful means of influencing him. She is an excellent
creature, ignorant and credulous, of exemplary piety, over whom we have
long had unlimited control. She prevailed on Gabriel to take orders,
notwithstanding his repugnance.
"'Gabriel is five-and-twenty; disposition as angelic as his countenance;
rare and solid virtues; unfortunately he was brought up with his adopted
brother, Agricola, Dagobert's son. This Agricola is a poet and workman--
but an excellent workman; he is employed by M. Hardy; has imbibed the
most detestable doctrines; fond of his mother; honest, laborious, but
without religious feeling. Marked as very dangerous. This causes his
intimacy with Gabriel to be feared.
"'The latter, notwithstanding his excellent qualities, sometimes causes
uneasiness. We have even delayed confiding in him fully. A false step
might make him, too, one of the most dangerous. Much precaution must be
used then, especially till the 13th of February; since, we repeat it, on
him, on his presence in Paris at that time, depend immense hopes and
equally important interests.
"'Among other precautions, we have consented to his taking part in the
American mission, for he unites with angelic sweetness of character a
calm intrepidity and adventurous spirit which could only be satisfied by
allowing him to engage in the perilous existence of the missionaries.
Luckily, his superiors at Charlestown have received the strictest orders
not to endanger, on any account, so precious a life. They are to send
him to Paris, at least a month or two before February 13th."'
Rodin's master again interrupted him, and said: "Read the letter from
Charlestown, and see what it tells you in order to complete the
information upon this point also."
When he had read the letter, Rodin went on: "Gabriel is expected every
day from the Rocky Mountains, whither he had absolutely insisted on going
alone upon a mission."
"He has no doubt escaped all danger, as he himself announces his speedy
return to Charlestown. As soon as he arrives, which cannot (they write)
be later than the middle of this month, he will be shipped off for
"Add this to the note which concerns him," said Rodin's master.
"It is written," replied the secretary, a few moments later.
"Proceed, then," said his master. Rodin continued
"'NOTE, No. VI.
"'ADRIENNE RENNEPONT DE CARDOVILLE.
"'Distantly related (without knowing it) to Jacques Rennepont, alias
Sleepinbuff, and Gabriel Rennepont, missionary priest. She will soon be
twenty-one years of age, the most attractive person in the world--
extraordinary beauty, though red-haired--a mind remarkable for its
originality--immense fortune--all the animal instincts. The incredible
independence of her character makes one tremble for the future fate of
this young person. Happily, her appointed guardian, Baron Tripeaud (a
baron of 1829 creation, formerly agent to the late Count of Rennepont,
Duke of Cardoville), is quite in the interest, and almost in the
dependence, of the young lady's aunt. We count, with reason, upon this
worthy and respectable relative, and on the Baron Tripeaud, to oppose and
repress the singular, unheard-of designs which this young person, as
resolute as independent, does not fear to avow--and which, unfortunately,
cannot be turned to account in the interest of the affair in question--
Rodin was here interrupted by two discreet taps at the door. The
secretary rose, went to see who knocked, remained a moment without, and
then returned with two letters in his hand, saying: "The princess has
profited by the departure of a courier to--"
"Give me the letter!" cried his master, without leaving him time to
finish. "At length," he added, "I shall have news of my mother--"
He had scarcely read the first few lines of the letter, when he grew
deadly pale, and his features took an expression of painful astonishment
and poignant grief. "My mother!" he cried, "oh, heavens! my mother!"
"What misfortune has happened!" asked Rodin, with a look of alarm, as he
rose at the exclamation of his master.
"The symptoms of improvement were fallacious," replied the other,
dejectedly; "she has now relapsed into a nearly hopeless state. And yet
the doctor thinks my presence might save her, for she calls for me
without ceasing. She wishes to see me for the last time, that she may
die in peace. Oh, that wish is sacred! Not to grant it would be
matricide. If I can but arrive in time! Travelling day and night, it
will take nearly two days."
"Alas! what a misfortune!" said Rodin, wringing his hands, and raising
his eyes to heaven.
His master rang the bell violently, and said to the old servant that
opened tile door: "Just put what is indispensable into the portmanteau of
my travelling-carriage. Let the porter take a cab, and go for post-
horses instantly. Within an hour, I must be on the road. Mother!
mother!" cried he, as the servant departed in haste. "Not to see her
again--oh, it would be frightful!" And sinking upon a chair,
overwhelmed with sorrow, he covered his face with his hands.
This great grief was sincere--he loved tenderly his mother that divine
sentiment had accompanied him, unalterable and pure, through all the
phases of a too often guilty life.
After a few minutes, Rodin ventured to say to his master, as he showed
him the second letter: "This, also, has just been brought from M.
Duplessis. It is very important--very pressing--"
"See what it is, and answer it. I have no head for business."
"The letter is confidential," said Rodin, presenting it to his master.
"I dare not open it, as you may see by the mark on the cover."
At sight of this mark, the countenance of Rodin's master assumed an
indefinable expression of respect and fear. With a trembling hand he
broke the seal. The note contained only the following words: "Leave all
business, and without losing a minute, set out and come. M. Duplessis
will replace you. He has orders."
"Great God!" cried this man in despair. "Set out before I have seen my
mother! It is frightful, impossible--it would perhaps kill her--yes, it
would be matricide!"
Whilst he uttered these words, his eyes rested on the huge globe, marked
with red crosses. A sudden revolution seemed to take place within him;
he appeared to repent of the violence of his regrets; his face, though
still sad, became once more calm and grave. He handed the fatal letter
to his secretary, and said to him, whilst he stifled a sigh: "To be
classed under its proper number."
Rodin took the letter, wrote a number upon it, and placed it in a
particular box. After a moment's silence, his master resumed: "You will
take orders from M. Duplessis, and work with him. You will deliver to
him the note on the affair of the medals; he knows to whom to address it.
You will write to Batavia, Leipsic, and Charlestown, in the sense agreed.
Prevent, at any price, the daughters of General Simon from quitting
Leipsic; hasten the arrival of Gabriel in Paris; and should Prince Djalma
come to Batavia, tell M. Joshua Van Dael, that we count on his zeal and
obedience to keep him there."
And this man, who, while his dying mother called to him in vain, could
thus preserve his presence of mind, entered his own apartments; whilst
Rodin busied himself with the answers he had been ordered to write, and
transcribed them in cipher.
In about three quarters of an hour, the bells of the post-horses were
heard jingling without. The old servant again entered, after discreetly
knocking at the door, and said:
"The carriage is ready."
Rodin nodded, and the servant withdrew. The secretary, in his turn, went
to knock at the door of the inner room. His master appeared, still grave
and cold, but fearfully pale, and holding a letter in his hand.
"This for my mother," said he to Rodin; "you will send a courier on the
"On the instant," replied the secretary.
"Let the three letters for Leipsic, Batavia and Charlestown, leave to-day
by the ordinary channel. They are of the last importance. You know it."
Those were his last words. Executing merciless orders with a merciless
obedience, he departed without even attempting to see his mother. His
secretary accompanied him respectfully to his carriage.
"What road, sir?" asked the postilion, turning round on his saddle.
"The road to ITALY!" answered Rodin's master, with so deep a sigh that it
almost resembled a sob.
As the horses started at full gallop, Rodin made a low bow; then he
returned to the large, cold, bare apartment. The attitude, countenance,
and gait of this personage seemed to have undergone a sudden change. He
appeared to have increased in dimensions. He was no longer an automaton,
moved by the mechanism of humble obedience. His features, till now
impassible, his glance, hitherto subdued, became suddenly animated with
an expression of diabolical craft; a sardonic smile curled his thin, pale
lips, and a look of grim satisfaction relaxed his cadaverous face.
In turn, he stopped before the huge globe. In turn, he contemplated it
in silence, even as his master had done. Then, bending over it, and
embracing it, as it were, in his arms, he gloated with his reptile-eye on
it for some moments, drew his coarse finger along its polished surface,
and tapped his flat, dirty nail on three of the places dotted with red
crosses. And, whilst he thus pointed to three towns, in very different
parts of the world, he named them aloud, with a sneer. "Leipsic--
"In each of these three places," he added, "distant as they are from one
another, there exist persons who little think that here, in this obscure
street, from the recesses of this chamber, wakeful eyes are upon them--
that all their movements are followed, all their actions known--and that
hence will issue new instructions, which deeply concern them, and which
will be inexorably executed; for an interest is at stake, which may have
a powerful influence on Europe--on the world. Luckily, we have friends
at Leipsic, Charlestown, and Batavia."
This funny, old, sordid, ill-dressed man, with his livid and death-like
countenance, thus crawling over the sphere before him, appeared still
more awful than his master, when the latter, erect and haughty, had
imperiously laid his hand upon that globe, which he seemed desirous of
subjecting by the strength of his pride and courage. The one resembled
the eagle, that hovers above his prey--the other the reptile, that
envelops its victim in its inextricable folds.
After some minutes, Rodin approached his desk, rubbing his hands briskly
together, and wrote the following epistle in a cipher unknown even to his
"Paris, 3/4 past 9 A.M.
"He is gone--but he hesitated!
"When he received the order, his dying mother had just summoned him to
her. He might, they told him, save her by his presence; and he
exclaimed: 'Not to go to my mother would be matricide!'
"Still, he is gone--but he hesitated. I keep my eye upon him
continually. These lines will reach Rome at the same time as himself.
"P.S.--Tell the Cardinal-Prince that he may rely on me, but I hope for
his active aid in return."
When he had folded and sealed this letter, Rodin put it into his pocket.
The clock struck ten, M. Rodin's hour for breakfast. He arranged and
locked up his papers in a drawer, of which he carried away the key,
brushed his old greasy hat with his sleeve, took a patched umbrella in
his hand, and went out.
Whilst these two men, in the depths of their obscure retreat, were thus
framing a plot, which was to involve the seven descendants of a race
formerly proscribed--a strange mysterious defender was planning how to
protect this family, which was also his own.
 Having cited the excellent, courageous letters of M. Libri, and the
curious work edited by M. Paulin, it is our duty likewise to mention many
bold and conscientious writings on the subject of the "Society of Jesus,"
recently published by the elder Dupin, Michelet, Quinet, Genin, and the
Count de Saint Priest--works of high and impartial intellects, in which
the fatal theories of the order are admirably exposed and condemned. We
esteem ourselves happy, if we can bring one stone towards the erection of
the strong, and, we hope, durable embankment which these generous hearts
and noble minds are raising against the encroachments of an impure and
always menacing flood.--E. S.
THE WANDERING JEW
By Eugene Sue
INTERVAL.--THE WANDERING JEW'S SENTENCE.
XVII. The Ajoupa
XVIII. The Tattooing
XIX. The Smuggler
XX. M. Joshua Van Dael
XXI. The Ruins of Tchandi
XXII. The Ambuscade
XXIII. M. Rodin
XXIV. The Tempest
XXV. The Shipwrecked
XXVI. The Departure for Paris
XXVII. Dagobert's Wife
XXVIII. The Sister of the Bacchanal Queen
XXIX. Agricola Baudoin
XXX. The Return
XXXI. Agricola and Mother Bunch
XXXII. The Awakening
XXXIII. The Pavilion
XXXIV. Adrienne at her Toilet
XXXV. The Interview
THE WANDERING JEW'S SENTENCE.
The site is wild and rugged. It is a lofty eminence covered with huge
boulders of sandstone, between which rise birch trees and oaks, their
foliage already yellowed by autumn. These tall trees stand out from the
background of red light, which the sun has left in the west, resembling
the reflection of a great fire.
From this eminence the eye looks down into a deep valley, shady, fertile,
and half-veiled in light vapor by the evening mist. The rich meadows,
the tufts of bushy trees the fields from which the ripe corn has been
gathered in, all blend together in one dark, uniform tint, which
contrasts with the limpid azure of the heavens. Steeples of gray stone
or slate lift their pointed spires, at intervals, from the midst of this
valley; for many villages are spread about it, bordering a high-road
which leads from the north to the west.
It is the hour of repose--the hour when, for the most part, every cottage
window brightens to the joyous crackling of the rustic hearth, and shines
afar through shade and foliage, whilst clouds of smoke issue from the
chimneys, and curl up slowly towards the sky. But now, strange to say,
every hearth in the country seems cold and deserted. Stranger and more
fatal still, every steeple rings out a funeral knell. Whatever there is
of activity, movement, or life, appears concentrated in that lugubrious
and far-sounding vibration.
Lights begin to show themselves in the dark villages, but they rise not
from the cheerful and pleasant rustic hearth. They are as red as the
fires of the herdsmen, seen at night through the midst of the fog. And
then these lights do not remain motionless. They creep slowly towards
the churchyard of every village. Louder sounds the death-knell, the air
trembles beneath the strokes of so many bells, and, at rare intervals,
the funeral chant rises faintly to the summit of the hill.
Why so many interments? What valley of desolation is this, where the
peaceful songs which follow the hard labors of the day are replaced by
the death dirge? where the repose of evening is exchanged for the repose
of eternity? What is this valley of the shadow, where every village
mourns for its many dead, and buries them at the same hour of the same
Alas! the deaths are so sudden and numerous and frightful that there is
hardly time to bury the dead. During day the survivors are chained to
the earth by hard but necessary toil; and only in the evening, when they
return from the fields, are they able, though sinking with fatigue, to
dig those other furrows, in which their brethren are to lie heaped like
grains of corn.
And this valley is not the only one that has seen the desolation. During
a series of fatal years, many villages, many towns, many cities, many
great countries, have seen, like this valley, their hearths deserted and
cold--have seen, like this valley, mourning take the place of joy, and
the death-knell substituted for the noise of festival--have wept in the
same day for their many dead, and buried them at night by the lurid glare
For, during those fatal years, an awful wayfarer had slowly journeyed
over the earth, from one pole to the other--from the depths of India and
Asia to the ice of Siberia--from the ice of Siberia to the borders of the
seas of France.
This traveller, mysterious as death, slow as eternity, implacable as
fate, terrible as the hand of heaven, was the CHOLERA!
The tolling of bells and the funeral chants still rose from the depths of
the valley to the summit of the hill, like the complaining of a mighty
voice; the glare of the funeral torches was still seen afar through the
mist of evening; it was the hour of twilight--that strange hour, which
gives to the most solid forms a vague, indefinite fantastic appearance--
when the sound of firm and regular footsteps was heard on the stony soil
of the rising ground, and, between the black trunks of the trees, a man
passed slowly onward.
His figure was tall, his head was bowed upon his breast; his countenance
was noble, gentle, and sad; his eyebrows, uniting in the midst, extended
from one temple to the other, like a fatal mark on his forehead.
This man did not seem to hear the distant tolling of so many funeral
bells--and yet, a few days before, repose and happiness, health and joy,
had reigned in those villages through which he had slowly passed, and
which he now left behind him, mourning and desolate. But the traveller
continued on his way, absorbed in his own reflections.
"The 13th of February approaches," thought he; "the day approaches, in
which the descendants of my beloved sister, the last scions of our race,
should meet in Paris. Alas! it is now a hundred and fifty years since,
for the third time, persecution scattered this family over all the earth-
-this family, that I have watched over with tenderness for eighteen
centuries, through all its migrations and exiles, its changes of
religion, fortune, and name!
"Oh! for this family, descended from the sister of the poor shoemaker,
what grandeur and what abasement, what obscurity and what splendor, what
misery and what glory! By how many crimes has it been sullied, by how
many virtues honored! The history of this single family is the history
of the human race!
"Passing, in the course of so many generations, through the veins of the
poor and the rich, of the sovereign and the bandit, of the wise man and
the fool, of the coward and the brave, of the saint and the atheist, the
blood of my sister has transmitted itself to this hour.
"What scions of this family are now remaining? Seven only.
"Two orphans, the daughters of proscribed parents--a dethroned prince--a
poor missionary priest--a man of the middle class--a young girl of a
great name and large fortune--a mechanic.
"Together, they comprise in themselves the virtues, the courage, the
degradation, the splendor, the miseries of our species!
"Siberia--India--America--France--behold the divers places where fate has
"My instinct teaches me when one of them is in peril. Then, from the
North to the South, from the East to the West, I go to seek them.
Yesterday amid the polar frosts--to-day in the temperate zone--to-morrow
beneath the fires of the tropics--but often, alas! at the moment when my
presence might save them, the invisible hand impels me, the whirlwind
carries me away, and the voice speaks in my ear: 'GO ON! GO ON!'
"Oh, that I might only finish my task!--'GO ON!'--A single hour--only a
single hour of repose!--'GO ON!'--Alas! I leave those I love on the
brink of the abyss!--'GO ON! GO ON!'
"Such is my punishment. If it is great, my crime was greater still! An
artisan, devoted to privations and misery, my misfortunes had made me
"Oh, cursed, cursed be the day, when, as I bent over my work, sullen with
hate and despair, because, in spite of my incessant labor, I and mine
wanted for everything, the Saviour passed before my door.
"Reviled, insulted, covered with blows, hardly able to sustain the weight
of his heavy cross, He asked me to let Him rest a moment on my stone
bench. The sweat poured from His forehead, His feet were bleeding, He
was well-nigh sinking with fatigue, and He said to me, in a mild, heart-
piercing voice: 'I suffer!' 'And I too suffer,' I replied, as with harsh
anger I pushed Him from the place; 'I suffer, and no one comes to help
me! I find no pity, and will give none. Go on! go on!' Then, with a
deep sigh of pain, He answered, and spake this sentence: 'Verily, thou
shalt go on till the day of thy redemption, for so wills the Father which
art in heaven!'
"And so my punishment began. Too late I opened these eyes to the light,
too late I learned repentance and charity, too late I understood those
divine words of Him I had outraged, words which should be the law of the
whole human race. 'LOVE YE ONE ANOTHER.'
"In vain through successive ages, gathering strength and eloquence from
those celestial words, have I labored to earn my pardon, by filling with
commiseration and love hearts that were overflowing with envy and
bitterness, by inspiring many a soul with a sacred horror of oppression
and injustice. For me the day of mercy has not yet dawned!
"And even as the first man, by his fall, devoted his posterity to
misfortune, it would seem as if I, the workman, had consigned the whole
race of artisans to endless sorrows, and as if they were expiating my
crime: for they alone, during these eighteen centuries, have not yet been
"For eighteen centuries, the powerful and the happy of this world have
said to the toiling people what I said to the imploring and suffering
Saviour: 'Go on! go on!' And the people, sinking with fatigue, bearing
their heavy cross, have answered in the bitterness of their grief: 'Oh,
for pity's sake! a few moments of repose; we are worn out with toil.'--
Go on!'--'And if we perish in our pain, what will become of our little
children and our aged mothers?'--'Go on! go on!' And, for eighteen
centuries, they and I have continued to struggle forward and to suffer,
and no charitable voice has yet pronounced the word 'Enough!'
"Alas! such is my punishment. It is immense, it is two-fold. I suffer
in the name of humanity, when I see these wretched multitudes consigned
without respite to profitless and oppressive toil. I suffer in the name
of my family, when, poor and wandering, I am unable to bring aid to the
descendants of my dear sister. But, when the sorrow is above my
strength, when I foresee some danger from which I cannot preserve my own,
then my thoughts, travelling over the world, go in search of that woman
like me accursed, that daughter of a queen, who, like me, the son of a
laborer, wanders, and will wander on, till the day of her redemption.
"Once in a century, as two planets draw nigh to each other in their
revolutions, I am permitted to meet this woman during the dread week of
the Passion. And after this interview, filled with terrible remembrances
and boundless griefs, wandering stars of eternity, we pursue our infinite
"And this woman, the only one upon earth who, like me, sees the end of
every century, and exclaims: 'What another?' this woman responds to my
thought, from the furthest extremity of the world. She, who alone shares
my terrible destiny, has chosen to share also the only interest that has
consoled me for so many ages. Those descendants of my dear sister, she
too loves, she too protects them. For them she journeys likewise from
East to West and from North to South.
"But alas! the invisible hand impels her, the whirlwind carries her away,
and the voice speaks in her ear: 'Go on!'--Oh that I might finish my
sentence!' repeats she also,--Go on!'--'A single hour--only a single hour
of repose!'--Go on!'--'I leave those I love on the brink of the abyss.'--
'Go on! Go on!--'
Whilst this man thus went over the hill absorbed in his thoughts, the
light evening breeze increased almost to a gale, a vivid flash streamed
across the sky, and long, deep whistlings announced the coming of a
On a sudden this doomed man, who could no longer weep or smile, started
with a shudder. No physical pain could reach him, and yet he pressed his
hand hastily to his heart, as though he had experienced a cruel pang.
"Oh!" cried he; "I feel it. This hour, many of those whom I love--the
descendants of my dear sister--suffer, and are in great peril. Some in
the centre of India--some in America--some here in Germany. The struggle
recommences, the detestable passions are again awake. Oh, thou that
hearest me--thou, like myself wandering and accursed--Herodias! help me
to protect them! May my invocation reach thee, in those American
solitudes where thou now lingerest--and may we arrive in time!"
Thereon an extraordinary event happened. Night was come. The man made a
movement; precipitately, to retrace his steps--but an invisible force
prevented him, and carried him forward in the opposite direction.
At this moment, the storm burst forth in its murky majesty. One of those
whirlwinds, which tear up trees by the roots and shake the foundations of
the rocks, rushed over the hill rapid and loud as thunder.
In the midst of the roaring of the hurricane, by the glare of the fiery
flashes, the man with the black mark on his brow was seen descending the
hill, stalking with huge strides among the rocks, and between trees bent
beneath the efforts of the storm.
The tread of this man was no longer slow, firm, and steady--but painfully
irregular, like that of one impelled by an irresistible power, or carried
along by the whirl of a frightful wind. In vain he extended his
supplicating hands to heaven. Soon he disappeared in the shades of
night, and amid the roar of the tempest.
It is known that, according to the legend, the Wandering Jew was a
shoemaker at Jerusalem. The Saviour, carrying his cross, passed before
the house of the artisan, and asked him to be allowed to rest an instant
on the stone bench at his door. "Go on! go on!" said the Jew harshly,
pushing him away. "Thou shalt go on till the end of time," answered the
Saviour, in a stern though sorrowful tone. For further details, see the
eloquent and learned notice by Charles Magnin, appended to the
magnificent poem "Ahasuerus," by Ed. Quinet.--E. S.
According to a legend very little known, for we are indebted to the
kindness of M. Maury, the learned sub-librarian of the Institute,
Herodias was condemned to wander till the day of judgement, for having
asked for the death of John the Baptist--E. S.
While Rodin despatched his cosmopolite correspondence, from his retreat
in the Rue du Milieu des Ursins, in Paris--while the daughters of General
Simon, after quitting as fugitives the White Falcon, were detained
prisoners at Leipsic along with Dagobert--other scenes, deeply
interesting to these different personages, were passing, almost as it
were at the same moment, at the other extremity of the world, in the
furthermost parts of Asia--that is to say, in the island of Java, not far
from the city of Batavia, the residence of M. Joshua Van Dael, one of the
correspondents of Rodin.
Java! magnificent and fatal country, where the most admirable flowers
conceal hideous reptiles, where the brightest fruits contain subtle
poisons, where grow splendid trees, whose very shadow is death--where the
gigantic vampire bat sucks the blood of its victims whilst it prolongs
their sleep, by surrounding them with a fresh and balmy air, no fan
moving so rapidly as the great perfumed wings of this monster!
The month of October, 1831, draws near its close. It is noon--an hour
well nigh mortal to him who encounters the fiery heat of the sun, which
spreads a sheet of dazzling light over the deep blue enamel of the sky.
An ajoupa, or hut, made of cane mats, suspended from long bamboos, which
are driven far into the ground, rises in the midst of the bluish shadows
cast by a tuft of trees, whose glittering verdure resembles green
porcelain. These quaintly formed trees, rounded into arches, pointing
like spires, overspreading like parasols, are so thick in foliage, so
entangled one with the other, that their dome is impenetrable to the
The soil, ever marshy, notwithstanding the insupportable heat, disappears
beneath an inextricable mass of creepers, ferns, and tufted reeds, of a
freshness and vigor of vegetation almost incredible, reaching nearly to
the top of the ajoupa, which lies hid like a nest among the grass.
Nothing can be more suffocating than the atmosphere, heavily laden with
moist exhalations like the steam of hot water, and impregnated with the
strongest and sharpest scents; for the cinnamon-tree, ginger-plant,
stephanotis and Cape jasmine, mixed with these trees and creepers, spread
around in puffs their penetrating odors. A roof, formed of large Indian
fig-leaves, covers the cabin; at one end is a square opening, which
serves for a window, shut in with a fine lattice-work of vegetable
fibres, so as to prevent the reptiles and venomous insects from creeping
into the ajoupa. The huge trunk of a dead tree, still standing, but much
bent, and with its summit reaching to the roof of the ajoupa, rises from
the midst of the brushwood. From every crevice in its black, rugged,
mossy bark, springs a strange, almost fantastic flower; the wing of a
butterfly is not of a finer tissue, of a more brilliant purple, of a more
glossy black: those unknown birds we see in our dreams, have no more
grotesque forms than these specimens of the orchis--winged flowers, that
seem always ready to fly from their frail and leafless stalks. The long,
flexible stems of the cactus, which might be taken for reptiles, encircle
also this trunk, and clothe it with their bunches of silvery white,
shaded inside with bright orange. These flowers emit a strong scent of
A serpent, of a brick-red, about the thickness of a large quill, and five
or six inches long, half protrudes its flat head from one of those
enormous, perfumed calyces, in which it lies closely curled up.
Within the ajoupa, a young man is extended on a mat in a profound sleep.
His complexion of a clear golden yellow, gives him the appearance of a
statue of pale bronze, on which a ray of sun is playing. His attitude is
simple and graceful; his right arm sustains his head, a little raised and
turned on one side; his ample robe of white muslin, with hanging sleeves,
leaves uncovered his chest and arms worthy of the Antoinous. Marble is
not more firm, more polished than his skin, the golden hue of which
contracts strongly with the whiteness of his garments. Upon his broad
manly chest a deep scar is visible--the mark of the musket-ball he
received in defending the life of General Simon, the father of Rose and
Suspended from his neck, he wears a medal similar to that in the
possession of the two sisters. This Indian is Djalma.
His features are at once very noble and very beautiful. His hair of a
blue black, parted upon his forehead, falls waving, but not curled over
his shoulders; whilst his eyebrows, boldly and yet delicately defined,
are of as deep a jet as the long eyelashes, that cast their shadow upon
his beardless cheek. His bright, red lips are slightly apart, and he
breathes uneasily; his sleep is heavy and troubled, for the heat becomes
every moment more and more suffocating.
Without, the silence is profound. Not a breath of air is stirring. Yet
now the tall ferns, which cover the soil, begin to move almost
imperceptibly, as though their stems were shaken by the slow progress of
some crawling body. From time to time, this trifling oscillation
suddenly ceases, and all is again motionless. But, after several of
these alternations of rustling and deep silence, a human head appears in
the midst of the jungle, a little distance from the trunk of the dead
The man to whom it belonged was possessed of a grim countenance, with a
complexion the color of greenish bronze, long black hair bound about his
temples, eyes brilliant with savage fire, and an expression remarkable
for its intelligence and ferocity. Holding his breath, he remained quite
still for a moment; then, advancing upon his hands and knees, pushing
aside the leaves so gently, that not the slightest noise could be heard,
he arrived cautiously and slowly at the trunk of the dead tree, the
summit of which nearly touched the roof of the ajoupa.
This man, of Malay origin, belonging to the sect of the Lughardars
(Stranglers), after having again listened, rose almost entirely from
amongst the brushwood. With the exception of white cotton drawers,
fastened around his middle by a parti-colored sash, he was completely
naked. His bronze, supple, and nervous limbs were overlaid with a thick
coat of oil. Stretching himself along the huge trunk on the side
furthest from the cabin, and thus sheltered by the whole breadth of the
tree with its surrounding creepers, he began to climb silently, with as
much patience as caution. In the undulations of his form, in the
flexibility of his movements, in the restrained vigor, which fully put
forth would have been alarming, there was some resemblance to the
stealthy and treacherous advance of the tiger upon its prey.
Having reached, completely unperceived, the inclined portion of the tree,
which almost touched the roof of the cabin, he was only separated from
the window by a distance of about a foot. Cautiously advancing his head,
he looked down into the interior, to see how he might best find an
At sight of Djalma in his deep sleep, the Thug's bright eyes glittered
with increased brilliancy; a nervous contraction, or rather a mute,
ferocious laugh, curling the corners of his mouth, drew them up towards
the cheekbones, and exposed rows of teeth, filed sharp like the points of
a saw, and dyed of a shining black.
Djalma was lying in such a manner and so near the door of the ajoupa,
which opened inwards, that, were it moved in the least, he must be
instantly awakened. The Strangler, with his body still sheltered by the
tree, wishing to examine more attentively the interior of the cabin,
leaned very forward, and in order to maintain his balance, lightly rested
his hand on the ledge of the opening that served for a window. This
movement shook the large cactus-flowers, within which the little serpent
lay curled, and, darting forth it twisted itself rapidly round the wrist
of the Strangler. Whether from pain or surprise, the man uttered a low
cry; and as he drew back swiftly, still holding by the trunk of the tree,
he perceived that Djalma had moved.
The young Indian, though retaining his supine posture, had half opened
his eyes, and turned his head towards the window, whilst his breast
heaved with a deep-drawn sigh, for, beneath that thick dome of moist
verdure, the concentrated heat was intolerable.
Hardly had he moved, when, from behind the tree, was heard the shrill,
brief, sonorous note, which the bird of paradise titters when it takes
its flight--a cry which resembles that of the pheasant. This note was
soon repeated, but more faintly, as though the brilliant bird were
already at a distance. Djalma, thinking he had discovered the cause of
the noise which had aroused him for an instant, stretched out the arm
upon which his head had rested, and went to sleep again, with scarcely
any change of position.
For some minutes, the most profound silence once more reigned in this
solitude, and everything remained motionless.
The Strangler, by his skillful imitation of the bird, had repaired the
imprudence of that exclamation of surprise and pain, which the reptile
bite had forced from him. When he thought all was safe, he again
advanced his head, and saw the young Indian once more plunged in sleep.
Then he descended the tree with the same precautions, though his left
hand was somewhat swollen from the sting of the serpent, and disappeared
in the jungle.
At that instant a song of monotonous and melancholy cadence was heard in
the distance. The Strangler raised himself, and listened attentively,
and his face took an expression of surprise and deadly anger. The song
came nearer and nearer to the cabin, and, in a few seconds, an Indian,
passing through an open space in the jungle, approached the spot where
the Thug lay concealed.
The latter unwound from his waist a long thin cord, to one of the ends of
which was attached a leaden ball, of the form and size of an egg; having
fastened the other end of this cord to his right wrist, the Strangler
again listened, and then disappeared, crawling through the tall grass in
the direction of the Indian, who still advanced slowly, without
interrupting his soft and plaintive song.
He was a young fellow scarcely twenty, with a bronzed complexion, the
slave of Djalma, his vest of blue cotton was confined at the waist by a
parti-colored sash; he wore a red turban, and silver rings in his ears
and about his wrists. He was bringing a message to his master, who,
during the great heat of the day was reposing in the ajoupa, which stood
at some distance from the house he inhabited.
Arriving at a place where two paths separated, the slave, without
hesitation took that which led to the cabin, from which he was now scarce
forty paces distant.
One of those enormous Java butterflies, whose wings extend six or eight
inches in length, and offer to the eye two streaks of gold on a ground of
ultramarine, fluttering from leaf to leaf, alighted on a bush of Cape
jasmine, within the reach of the young Indian. The slave stopped in his
song, stood still, advanced first a foot, then a hand, and seized the
Suddenly he sees a dark figure rise before him; he hears a whizzing noise
like that of a sling; he feels a cord, thrown with as much rapidity as
force, encircle his neck with a triple band; and, almost in the same
instant, the leaden ball strikes violently against the back of his head.
This attack was so abrupt and unforseen, that Djalma's servant could not
even utter a single cry, a single groan. He tottered--the Strangler gave
a vigorous pull at the cord--the bronzed countenance of the slave became
purple, and he fell upon his knees, convulsively moving his arms. Then
the Strangler threw him quite down, and pulled the cord so violently,
that the blood spurted from the skin. The victim struggled for a moment
--and all was over.
During his short but intense agony, the murderer, kneeling before his
victim, and watching with ardent eye his least convulsions, seemed
plunged into an ecstasy of ferocious joy. His nostrils dilated, the
veins of his neck and temples were swollen, and the same savage laugh,
which had curled his lips at the aspect of the sleeping Djalma, again
displayed his pointed black teeth, which a nervous trembling of the jaws
made to chatter. But soon he crossed his arms upon his heaving breast,
bowed his forehead, and murmured some mysterious words, which sounded
like an invocation or a prayer. Immediately after, he returned to the
contemplation of the dead body. The hyena and the tiger-cat, who, before
devouring, crouch beside the prey that they have surprised or hunted
down, have not a wilder or more sanguinary look than this man.
But, remembering that his task was not yet accomplished tearing himself
unwillingly from the hideous spectacle, he unbound the cord from the neck
of his victim, fastened it round his own body, dragged the corpse out of
the path, and, without attempting to rob it of its silver rings,
concealed it in a thick part of the jungle.
Then the Strangler again began to creep on his knees and belly, till he
arrived at the cabin of Djalma--that cabin constructed of mats suspended
from bamboos. After listening attentively, he drew from his girdle a
knife, the sharp-pointed blade of which was wrapped in a fig-leaf, and
made in the matting an incision of three feet in length. This was done
with such quickness, and with so fine a blade, that the light touch of
the diamond cutting glass would have made more noise. Seeing, by means
of this opening, which was to serve him for a passage, that Djalma was
still fast asleep, the Thug, with incredible temerity, glided into the
The heavens, which had been till now of transparent blue, became
gradually of a greenish tint, and the sun was veiled in red, lurid vapor.
This strange light gave to every object a weird appearance, of which one
might form an idea, by looking at a landscape through a piece of copper-
colored glass. In those climates, this phenomenon, when united with an
increase of burning heat, always announces the approach of a storm.
From time to time there was a passing odor of sulphur; then the leaves,
slightly shaken by electric currents, would tremble upon their stalks;
till again all would return to the former motionless silence. The weight
of the burning atmosphere, saturated with sharp perfumes, became almost
intolerable. Large drops of sweat stood in pearls on the forehead of
Djalma, still plunged in enervating sleep--for it no longer resembled
rest, but a painful stupor.
The Strangler glided like a reptile along the sides of the ajoupa, and,
crawling on his belly, arrived at the sleeping-mat of Djalma, beside
which he squatted himself, so as to occupy as little space as possible.
Then began a fearful scene, by reason of the mystery and silence which
Djalma's life was at the mercy of the Strangler. The latter, resting
upon his hands and knees, with his neck stretched forward, his eye fixed
and dilated, continued motionless as a wild beast about to spring. Only
a slight nervous trembling of the jaws agitated that mask of bronze.
But soon his hideous features revealed a violent struggle that was
passing within him--a struggle between the thirst, the craving for the
enjoyment of murder, which the recent assassination of the slave had made
still more active, and the orders he had received not to attempt the life
of Djalma, though the design, which brought him to the ajoupa, might
perhaps be as fatal to the young Indian as death itself. Twice did the
Strangler, with look of flame, resting only on his left hand, seize with
his right the rope's end; and twice his hand fell--the instinct of murder
yielding to a powerful will, of which the Malay acknowledged the
In him, the homicidal craving must have amounted to madness, for, in
these hesitations, he lost much precious time: at any moment, Djalma,
whose vigor, skill, and courage were known and feared, might awake from
his sleep, and, though unarmed, he would prove a terrible adversary. At
length the Thug made up his mind; with a suppressed sigh of regret, he
set about accomplishing his task.
This task would have appeared impossible to any one else. The reader may
Djalma, with his face turned towards the left, leaned his head upon his
curved arm. It was first necessary, without waking him, to oblige him to
turn his face towards the right (that is, towards the door), so that, in
case of his being half-roused, his first glance might not fall upon the
Strangler. The latter, to accomplish his projects, would have to remain
many minutes in the cabin.
The heavens became darker; the heat arrived at its last degree of
intensity; everything combined to increase the torpor of the sleeper, and
so favor the Strangler's designs. Kneeling down close to Djalma, he
began, with the tips of his supple, well-oiled fingers, to stroke the
brow, temples, and eyelids of the young Indian, but with such extreme
lightness, that the contact of the two skins was hardly sensible. When
this kind of magnetic incantation had lasted for some seconds, the sweat,
which bathed the forehead of Djalma, became more abundant: he heaved a
smothered sigh, and the muscles of his face gave several twitches, for
the strokings, although too light to rouse him, yet caused in him a
feeling of indefinable uneasiness.
Watching him with his restless and burning eye, the Strangler continued
his maneuvers with so much patience, that Djalma, still sleeping, but no
longer able to bear this vague, annoying sensation, raised his right hand
mechanically to his face, as if he would have brushed away an importunate
insect. But he had not strength to do it; almost immediately after, his
hand, inert and heavy, fell back upon his chest. The Strangler saw, by
this symptom, that he was attaining his object, and continued to stroke,
with the same address, the eyelids, brow, and temples.
Whereupon Djalma, more and more oppressed by heavy sleep, and having
neither strength nor will to raise his hand to his face, mechanically
turned round his head, which fell languidly upon his right shoulder,
seeking by this change of attitude, to escape from the disagreeable
sensation which pursued him. The first point gained, the Strangler could
act more freely.
To render as profound as possible the sleep he had half interrupted, he
now strove to imitate the vampire, and, feigning the action of a fan, he
rapidly moved his extended hands about the burning face of the young
Indian. Alive to a feeling of such sudden and delicious coolness, in the
height of suffocating heat, the countenance of Djalma brightened, his
bosom heaved, his half-opened lips drank in the grateful air, and he fell
into a sleep only the more invincible, because it had been at first
disturbed, and was now yielded to under the influence of a pleasing
A sudden flash of lightning illumined the shady dome that sheltered the
ajoupa: fearing that the first clap of thunder might rouse the young
Indian, the Strangler hastened to complete his Task. Djalma lay on his
back, with his head resting on his right shoulder, and his left arm
extended; the Thug, crouching at his left side, ceased by degrees the
process of fanning; then, with incredible dexterity, he succeeded in
rolling up, above the elbow, the long wide sleeve of white muslin that
covered the left arm of the sleeper.
He next drew from the pocket of his drawers a copper box, from which he
took a very fine, sharp-pointed needle, and a piece of a black-looking
root. He pricked this root several times with the needle, and on each
occasion there issued from it a white, glutinous liquid.
When the Strangler thought the needle sufficiently impregnated with this
juice, he bent down, and began to blow gently over the inner surface of
Djalma's arm, so as to cause a fresh sensation of coolness; then, with
the point of his needle, he traced almost imperceptibly on the skin of
the sleeping youth some mysterious and symbolical signs. All this was
performed so cleverly and the point of the needle was so fine and keen,
that Djalma did not feel the action of the acid upon the skin.
The signs, which the Strangler had traced, soon appeared on the surface,
at first in characters of a pale rose-color, as fine as a hair; but such
was the slowly corrosive power of the juice, that, as it worked and
spread beneath the skin, they would become in a few hours of a violet
red, and as apparent as they were now almost invisible.
The Strangler, having so perfectly succeeded in his project, threw a last
look of ferocious longing on the slumbering Indian, and creeping away
from the mat, regained the opening by which he had entered the cabin;
next, closely uniting the edges of the incision, so as to obviate all
suspicion, he disappeared just as the thunder began to rumble hoarsely in
 We read in the letters of the late Victor Jacquemont upon India, with
regard to the incredible dexterity of these men: "They crawl on the
ground, ditches, in the furrows of fields, imitate a hundred different
voices, and dissipate the effect of any accidental noise by raising the
yelp of the jackal or note of some bird--then are silent, and another
imitates the call of the same animal in the distance. They can molest a
sleeper by all sorts of noises and slight touches, and make his body and
limbs take any position which suits their purpose." Count Edward de
Warren, in his excellent work on English India, which we shall have again
occasion to quote, expresses himself in the same manner as to the
inconceivable address of the Indians: "They have the art," says he, "to
rob you, without interrupting your sleep, of the very sheet in which you
are enveloped. This is not 'a traveller's tale.' but a fact. The
movements of the bheel are those of the serpent. If you sleep in your
tent, with a servant lying across each entrance, the bheel will come and
crouch on the outside, in some shady corner, where he can hear the
breathing of those within. As soon as the European sleeps, he feels sure
of success, for the Asiatic will not long resist the attraction of
repose. At the proper moment, he makes a vertical incision in the cloth
of the tent, on the spot where he happens to be, and just large enough to
admit him. He glides through like a phantom, without making the least
grain of sand creak beneath his tread. He is perfectly naked, and all
his body is rubbed over with oil; a two-edged knife is suspended from his
neck. He will squat down close to your couch, and, with incredible
coolness and dexterity, will gather up the sheet in very little folds, so
as to occupy the least surface possible; then, passing to the other side,
he will lightly tickle the sleeper, whom he seems to magnetize, till the
latter shrinks back involuntarily, and ends by turning round, and leaving
the sheet folded behind him. Should he awake, and strive to seize the
robber, he catches at a slippery form, which slides through his hands
like an eel; should he even succeed in seizing him, it would be fatal--
the dagger strikes him to the heart, he falls bathed in his blood, and
the assassin disappears."--E. S.
The tempest of the morning has long been over. The sun is verging
towards the horizon. Some hours have elapsed, since the Strangler
introduced himself into Djalma's cabin, and tattooed him with a
mysterious sign during his sleep.
A horseman advances rapidly down a long avenue of spreading trees.
Sheltered by the thick and verdant arch, a thousand birds salute the
splendid evening with songs and circlings; red and green parrots climb,
by help of their hooked beaks, to the top of pink-blossomed acacias;
large Morea birds of the finest and richest blue, whose throats and long
tails change in the light to a golden brown, are chasing the prince-
oriels, clothed in their glossy feathers of black and orange; Kolo doves,
of a changeable violet hue, are gently cooing by the side of the birds of
paradise, in whose brilliant plumage are mingled the prismatic colors of
the emerald and ruby, the topaz and sapphire.
This avenue, a little raised, commanded a view of a small pond, which
reflected at intervals the green shade of tamarind trees. In the calm,
limpid waters, many fish were visible, some with silver scales and purple
fins, others gleaming with azure and vermilion; so still were they that
they looked as if set in a mass of bluish crystal, and, as they dwelt
motionless near the surface of the pool, on which played a dazzling ray
of the sun, they revelled in the enjoyment of the light and heat. A
thousand insects--living gems, with wings of flame--glided, fluttered and
buzzed over the transparent wave, in which, at an extraordinary depth,
were mirrored the variegated tints of the aquatic plants on the bank.
It is impossible to give an adequate idea of the exuberant nature of this
scene, luxuriant in the sunlight, colors, and perfumes, which served, so
to speak, as a frame to the young and brilliant rider, who was advancing
along the avenue. It was Djalma. He had not yet perceived the indelible
marks, which the Strangler had traced upon his left arm.
His Japanese mare, of slender make, full of fire and vigor, is black as
night. A narrow red cloth serves instead of saddle. To moderate the
impetuous bounds of the animal, Djalma uses a small steel bit, with
headstall and reins of twisted scarlet silk, fine as a thread.
Not one of those admirable riders, sculptured so masterly on the frieze
of the Parthenon, sits his horse more gracefully and proudly than this
young Indian, whose fine face, illumined by the setting sun, is radiant
with serene happiness; his eyes sparkle with joy, and his dilated
nostrils and unclosed lips inhale with delight the balmy breeze, that
brings to him the perfume of flowers and the scent of fresh leaves, for
the trees are still moist from the abundant rain that fell after the
A red cap, similar to that worn by the Greeks, surmounting the black
locks of Djalma, sets off to advantage the golden tint of his complexion;
his throat is bare; he is clad in his robe of white muslin with large
sleeves, confined at the waist by a scarlet sash; very full drawers, in
white cotton stuff, leave half uncovered his tawny and polished legs;
their classic curve stands out from the dark sides of the horse, which he
presses tightly between his muscular calves. He has no stirrups; his
foot, small and narrow, is shod with a sandal of morocco leather.
The rush of his thoughts, by turns impetuous and restrained, was
expressed in some degree by the pace he imparted to his horse--now bold
and precipitate, like the flight of unbridled imagination--now calm and
measured, like the reflection which succeeds an idle dream. But, in all
this fantastic course, his least movements were distinguished by a proud,
independent and somewhat savage grace.
Dispossessed of his paternal territory by the English, and at first
detained by them as a state-prisoner after the death of his father--who
(as M. Joshua Van Dael had written to M. Rodin) had fallen sword in hand
--Djalma had at length been restored to liberty. Abandoning the
of India, and still accompanied by General Simon, who had lingered hard
by the prison of his old friend's son, the young Indian came next to
Batavia, the birthplace of his mother, to collect the modest inheritance
of his maternal ancestors. And amongst this property, so long despised
or forgotten by his father, he found some important papers, and a medal
exactly similar to that worn by Rose and Blanche.
General Simon was not more surprised than pleased at this discovery,
which not only established a tie of kindred between his wife and Djalma's
mother, but which also seemed to promise great advantages for the future.
Leaving Djalma at Batavia, to terminate some business there, he had gone
to the neighboring island of Sumatra, in the hope of finding a vessel
that would make the passage to Europe directly and rapidly; for it was
now necessary that, cost what it might, the young Indian also should be
at Paris on the 13th February, 1832. Should General Simon find a vessel
ready to sail for Europe, he was to return immediately, to fetch Djalma;
and the latter, expecting him daily, was now going to the pier of
Batavia, hoping to see the father of Rose and Blanche arrive by the mail-
boat from Sumatra.
A few words are here necessary on the early life of the son of Kadja-
Having lost his mother very young, and brought up with rude simplicity,
he had accompanied his father, whilst yet a child, to the great tiger
hunts, as dangerous as battles; and, in the first dawn of youth, he had
followed him to the stern bloody war, which he waged in defence of his
country. Thus living, from the time of his mother's death, in the midst
of forests and mountains and continual combats, his vigorous and
ingenuous nature had preserved itself pure, and he well merited the name
of "The Generous" bestowed on him. Born a prince, he was--which by no
means follows--a prince indeed. During the period of his captivity, the
silent dignity of his bearing had overawed his jailers. Never a
reproach, never a complaint--a proud and melancholy calm was all that he
opposed to a treatment as unjust as it was barbarous, until he was
restored to freedom.
Having thus been always accustomed to a patriarchal life, or to a war of
mountaineers, which he had only quitted to pass a few months in prison,
Djalma knew nothing, so to speak, of civilized society. Without its
exactly amounting to a defect, he certainly carried his good qualities to
their extreme limits. Obstinately faithful to his pledged word, devoted
to the death, confiding to blindness, good almost to a complete
forgetfulness of himself, he was inflexible towards ingratitude,
falsehood, or perfidy. He would have felt no compunction to sacrifice a
traitor, because, could he himself have committed a treason, he would
have thought it only just to expiate it with his life.
He was, in a word, the man of natural feelings, absolute and entire.
Such a man, brought into contact with the temperaments, calculations,
falsehoods, deceptions, tricks, restrictions, and hollowness of a refined
society, such as Paris, for example, would, without doubt, form a very
curious subject for speculation. We raise this hypothesis, because,
since his journey to France had been determined on, Djalma had one fixed,
ardent desire--to be in Paris.
In Paris--that enchanted city--of which, even in Asia, the land of
enchantment, so many marvelous tales were told.
What chiefly inflamed the fresh, vivid imagination of the young Indian,
was the thought of French women--those attractive Parisian beauties,
miracles of elegance and grace, who eclipsed, he was informed, even the
magnificence of the capitals of the civilized world. And at this very
moment, in the brightness of that warm and splendid evening, surrounded
by the intoxication of flowers and perfumes, which accelerated the pulses
of his young fiery heart, Djalma was dreaming of those exquisite
creatures, whom his fancy loved to clothe in the most ideal garbs.
It seemed to him as if, at the end of the avenue, in the midst of that
sheet of golden light, which the trees encompassed with their full, green
arch, he could see pass and repass, white and sylph-like, a host of
adorable and voluptuous phantoms, that threw him kisses from the tips of
their rosy fingers. Unable to restrain his burning emotions, carried
away by a strange enthusiasm, Djalma uttered exclamations of joy, deep,
manly, and sonorous, and made his vigorous courser bound under him in the
excitement of a mad delight. Just then a sunbeam, piercing the dark
vault of the avenue, shone full upon him.
For several minutes, a man had been advancing rapidly along a path,
which, at its termination, intersected the avenue diagonally. He stopped
a moment in the shade, looking at Djalma with astonishment. It was
indeed a charming sight, to behold, in the midst of a blaze of dazzling
lustre, this youth, so handsome, joyous, and ardent, clad in his white
and flowing vestments, gayly and lightly seated on his proud black mare,
who covered her red bridle with her foam, and whose long tail and thick
mane floated on the evening breeze.
But, with that reaction which takes place in all human desires, Djalma
soon felt stealing over him a sentiment of soft, undefinable melancholy.
He raised his hand to his eyes, now dimmed with moisture, and allowed the
reins to fall on the mane of his docile steed, which, instantly stopping,
stretched out its long neck, and turned its head in the direction of the
personage, whom it could see approaching through the coppice.
This man, Mahal the Smuggler, was dressed nearly like European sailors.
He wore jacket and trousers of white duck, a broad red sash, and a very
low-crowned straw hat. His face was brown, with strongly-marked
features, and, though forty years of age, he was quite beardless.
In another moment, Mahal was close to the young Indian. "You are Prince
Djalma?" said he, in not very good French, raising his hand respectfully
to his hat.
"What would you?" said the Indian.
"You are the son of Kadja-sing?"
"Once again, what would you?"
"The friend of General Simon?"
"General Simon?" cried Djalma.
"You are going to meet him, as you have gone every evening, since you
expect his return from Sumatra?"
"Yes, but how do you know all this?" said the Indian looking at the
Smuggler with as much surprise as curiosity.
"Is he not to land at Batavia, to-day or to-morrow?"
"Are you sent by him?"
"Perhaps," said Mahal, with a distrustful air. "But are you really the
son of Kadja-sing?"
"Yes, I tell you--but where have you seen General Simon?"
"If you are the son of Kadja-sing," resumed Mahal, continuing to regard
Djalma with a suspicious eye, "what is your surname?"
"My sire was called the 'Father of the Generous,'" answered the young
Indian, as a shade of sorrow passed over his fine countenance.
These words appeared in part to convince Mahal of the identity of Djalma;
but, wishing doubtless to be still more certain, he resumed: "You must
have received, two days ago, a letter from General Simon, written from
"Yes; but why so many questions?"
"To assure myself that you are really the son of Kadja-sing, and to
execute the orders I have received."
"From General Simon."
"But where is he?"
"When I have proof that you are Prince Djalma, I will tell you. I was
informed that you would be mounted on a black mare, with a red bridle.
"By the soul of my mother! speak what you have to say!"
"I will tell you all--if you can tell me what was the printed paper,
contained in the last letter that General Simon wrote you from Sumatra."
"It was a cutting from a French newspaper."
"Did it announce good or bad news for the general?"
"Good news--for it related that, during his absence, they had
acknowledged the last rank and title bestowed on him by the Emperor, as
they had done for others of his brothers in arms, exiled like him."
"You are indeed Prince Djalma," said the Smuggler, after a moment's
reflection. "I may speak. General Simon landed last night in Java, but
on a desert part of the coast."
"On a desert part?"
"Because he has to hide himself."
"Hide himself!" exclaimed Djalma, in amazement; "why?"
"That I don't know."
"But where is he?" asked Djalma, growing pale with alarm.
"He is three leagues hence--near the sea-shore--in the ruins of Tchandi."
"Obliged to hide himself!" repeated Djalma, and his countenance expressed
increasing surprise and anxiety.
"Without being certain, I think it is because of a duel he fought in
Sumatra," said the Smuggler, mysteriously.
"A duel--with whom?"
"I don't know--I am not at all certain on the subject. But do you know
the ruins of Tchandi?"
"The general expects you there; that is what he ordered me to tell you."
"So you came with him from Sumatra?"
"I was pilot of the little smuggling coaster, that landed him in the
night on a lonely beach. He knew that you went every day to the mole, to
wait for him; I was almost sure that I should meet you. He gave me
details about the letter you received from him as a proof that he had
sent me. If he could have found the means of writing, he would have
"But he did not tell you why he was obliged to hide himself?"
"He told me nothing. Certain words made me suspect what I told you--a
Knowing the mettle of General Simon, Djalma thought the suspicions of the
Smuggler not unfounded. After a moment's silence he said to him: "Can
you undertake to lead home my horse? My dwelling is without the town--
there, in the midst of those trees--by the side of the new mosque. In
ascending the mountain of Tchandi, my horse would be in my way; I shall
go much faster on foot."
"I know where you live; General Simon told me. I should have gone there
if I had not met you. Give me your horse."
Djalma sprang lightly to the ground, threw the bridle to Mahal, unrolled
one end of his sash, took out a silk purse, and gave it to the Smuggler,
saying: "You have been faithful and obedient. Here!--it is a trifle--but
I have no more."
"Kadja-sing was rightly called the 'Father of the Generous,'" said the
Smuggler, bowing with respect and gratitude. He took the road to
Batavia, leading Djalma's horse. The young Indian, on the contrary,
plunged into the coppice, and, walking with great strides, he directed
his course towards the mountain, on which were the ruins of Tchandi,
where he could not arrive before night.
M. JOSHUA VAN DAEL.
M. Joshua Van Dael a Dutch merchant, and correspondent of M. Rodin, was
born at Batavia, the capital of the island of Java; his parents had sent
him to be educated at Pondicherry, in a celebrated religious house, long
established in that place, and belonging to the "Society of Jesus." It
was there that he was initiated into the order as "professor of the three
vows," or lay member, commonly called "temporal coadjutor."
Joshua was a man of probity that passed for stainless; of strict accuracy
in business, cold, careful, reserved, and remarkably skillful and
sagacious; his financial operations were almost always successful, for a
protecting power gave him ever in time, knowledge of events which might
advantageously influence his commercial transactions. The religious
house of Pondicherry was interested in his affairs, having charged him
with the exportation and exchange of the produce of its large possessions
in this colony.
Speaking little, hearing much, never disputing, polite in the extreme--
giving seldom, but with choice and purpose--Joshua, without inspiring
sympathy, commanded generally that cold respect, which is always paid to
the rigid moralist; for instead of yielding to the influence of lax and
dissolute colonial manners, he appeared to live with great regularity,
and his exterior had something of austerity about it, which tended to
The following scene took place at Batavia, while Djalma was on his way to
the ruins of Tchandi in the hope of meeting General Simon.
M. Joshua had just retired into his cabinet, in which were many shelves
filled with paper boxes, and huge ledgers and cash boxes lying open upon
desks. The only window of this apartment, which was on the ground floor,
looked out upon a narrow empty court, and was protected externally by
strong iron bars; instead of glass, it was fitted with a Venetian blind,
because of the extreme heat of the climate.
M. Joshua, having placed upon his desk a taper in a glass globe, looked
at the clock. "Half-past nine," said he. "Mahal ought soon to be here."
Saying this, he went out, passing through an antechamber, opened a second
thick door, studded with nail-heads, in the Dutch fashion, cautiously
entered the court (so as not to be heard by the people in the house), and
drew back the secret bolt of a gate six feet high, formidably garnished
with iron spikes. Leaving this gate unfastened, he regained his cabinet,
after he had successively and carefully closed the two other doors behind
M. Joshua next seated himself at his desk, and took from a drawer a long
letter, or rather statement, commenced some time before, and continued
day by day. It is superfluous to observe, that the letter already
mentioned, as addressed to M. Rodin, was anterior to the liberation of
Djalma and his arrival at Batavia.
The present statement was also addressed to M. Rodin, and Van Dael thus
went on with it:
"Fearing the return of General Simon, of which I had been informed by
intercepting his letters--I have already told you, that I had succeeded
in being employed by him as his agent here; having then read his letters,
and sent them on as if untouched to Djalma, I felt myself obliged, from
the pressure of the circumstances, to have recourse to extreme measures--
taking care always to preserve appearances, and rendering at the same
time a signal service to humanity, which last reason chiefly decided me.
"A new danger imperiously commanded these measures. The steamship
'Ruyter' came in yesterday, and sails tomorrow in the course of the day.
She is to make the voyage to Europe via the Arabian Gulf; her passengers
will disembark at Suez, cross the Isthmus, and go on board another vessel
at Alexandria, which will bring them to France. This voyage, as rapid as
it is direct, will not take more than seven or eight weeks. We are now
at the end of October; Prince Djalma might then be in France by the
commencement of the month of January; and according to your instructions,
of which I know not the motive, but which I execute with zeal and
submission, his departure must be prevented at all hazards, because, you
tell me, some of the gravest interests of the Society would be
compromised, by the arrival of this young Indian in Paris before the 13th
of February. Now, if I succeed, as I hope, in making him miss this
opportunity of the 'Ruyter' it will be materially impossible for him to
arrive in France before the month of April; for the 'Ruyter' is the only
vessel which makes the direct passage, the others taking at least four or
five months to reach Europe.
"Before telling you the means which I have thought right to employ, to
detain Prince Djalma--of the success of which means I am yet uncertain--
it is well that you should be acquainted with the following facts.
"They have just discovered, in British India, a community whose members
call themselves 'Brothers of the Good Work,' or 'Phansegars,' which
signifies simply 'Thugs' or 'Stranglers;' these murderers do not shed
blood, but strangle their victims, less for the purpose of robbing them,
than in obedience to a homicidal vocation, and to the laws of an infernal
divinity named by them 'Bowanee.'
"I cannot better give you an idea of this horrible sect, than by
transcribing here some lines from the introduction of a report by Colonel
Sleeman, who has hunted out this dark association with indefatigable
zeal. The report in question was published about two months ago. Here
is the extract; it is the colonel who speaks:
"'From 1822 to 1824, when I was charged with the magistracy and civil
administration of the district of Nersingpore, not a murder, not the
least robbery was committed by an ordinary criminal, without my being
immediately informed of it; but if any one had come and told me at this
period, that a band of hereditary assassins by profession lived in the
village of Kundelie, within about four hundred yards of my court of
justice--that the beautiful groves of the village of Mundesoor, within a
day's march of my residence, formed one of the most frightful marts of
assassination in all India--that numerous bands of 'Brothers of the Good
Work,' coming from Hindostan and the Deccan, met annually beneath these
shades, as at a solemn festival, to exercise their dreadful vocation upon
all the roads which cross each other in this locality--I should have
taken such a person for a madman, or one who had been imposed upon by
idle tales. And yet nothing could be truer; hundreds of travellers had
been buried every year in the groves of Mundesoor; a whole tribe of
assassins lived close to my door, at the very time I was supreme
magistrate of the province, and extended their devastations to the cities
of Poonah and Hyderabad. I shall never forget, when, to convince me of
the fact, one of the chiefs of the Stranglers, who had turned informer
against them, caused thirteen bodies to be dug up from the ground beneath
my tent, and offered to produce any number from the soil in the immediate
"These few words of Colonel Sleeman will give some idea of this dread
society, which has its laws, duties, customs, opposed to all other laws,
human and divine. Devoted to each other, even to heroism, blindly
obedient to their chiefs, who profess themselves the immediate
representatives of their dark divinity, regarding as enemies all who do
not belong to them, gaining recruits everywhere by a frightful system of
proselytisin--these apostles of a religion of murder go preaching their
abominable doctrines in the shade, and spreading their immense net over
the whole of India.
"Three of their principal chiefs, and one of their adepts, flying from
the determined pursuit of the English governor-general, having succeeded
in making their escape, had arrived at the Straits of Malacca, at no
great distance from our island; a smuggler, who is also something of a
pirate, attached to their association, and by name Mahal, took them on
board his coasting vessel, and brought them hither, where they think
themselves for some time in safety--as, following the advice of the
smuggler, they lie concealed in a thick forest, in which are many ruined
temples and numerous subterranean retreats.
"Amongst these chiefs, all three remarkably intelligent, there is one in
particular, named Faringhea, whose extraordinary energy and eminent
qualities make him every way redoubtable. He is of the mixed race, half-
white and Hindoo, has long inhabited towns in which are European
factories and speaks English and French very well. The other two chiefs
are a Negro and a Hindoo; the adept is a Malay.
"The smuggler, Mahal, considering that he could obtain a large reward by
giving up these three chiefs and their adept, came to me, knowing, as all
the world knows, my intimate relations with a person who has great
influence with our governor. Two days ago, he offered me, on certain
conditions, to deliver up the Negro, the half-caste, the Hindoo, and the
Malay. These conditions are--a considerable sum of money, and a free
passage on board a vessel sailing for Europe or America, in order to
escape the implacable vengeance of the Thugs.
"I joyfully seized the occasion to hand over three such murderers to
human justice, and I promised Mahal to arrange matters for him with the
governor, but also on certain conditions, innocent in themselves, and
which concerned Djalma. Should my project succeed, I will explain myself
more at length; I shall soon know the result, for I expect Mahal every
"But before I close these despatches, which are to go tomorrow by the
'Ruyter'--in which vessel I have also engaged a passage for Mahal the
Smuggler, in the event of the success of my plans--I must include in
parentheses a subject of some importance.
"In my last letter, in which I announced to you the death of Djalma's
father, and his own imprisonment by the English, I asked for some
information as to the solvency of Baron Tripeaud, banker and manufacturer
at Paris, who has also an agency at Calcutta. This information will now
be useless, if what I have just learned should, unfortunately, turn out
to be correct, and it will be for you to act according to circumstances.
"This house at Calcutta owes considerable sums both to me and our
colleague at Pondicherry, and it is said that M. Tripeaud has involved
himself to a dangerous extent in attempting to ruin, by opposition, a
very flourishing establishment, founded some time ago by M. Francois
Hardy, an eminent manufacturer. I am assured that M. Tripeaud has
already sunk and lost a large capital in this enterprise: he has no doubt
done a great deal of harm to M. Francois Hardy; but he has also, they
say, seriously compromised his own fortune--and, were he to fail, the
effects of his disaster would be very fatal to us, seeing that he owes a
large sum of money to me and to us.
"In this state of things it would be very desirable if, by the employment
of the powerful means of every kind at our disposal, we could completely
discredit and break down the house of M. Francois Hardy, already shaken
by M. Tripeaud's violent opposition. In that case, the latter would soon
regain all he has lost; the ruin of his rival would insure his
prosperity, and our demands would be securely covered.
"Doubtless, it is painful, it is sad, to be obliged to have recourse to
these extreme measures, only to get back our own; but, in these days, are
we not surely justified in sometimes using the arms that are incessantly
turned against us? If we are reduced to such steps by the injustice and
wickedness of men, we may console ourselves with the reflection that we
only seek to preserve our worldly possessions, in order to devote them to
the greater glory of God; whilst, in the hands of our enemies, those very
goods are the dangerous instruments of perdition and scandal.
"After all it is merely a humble proposition that I submit to you. Were
it in my power to take an active part in the matter, I should do nothing
of myself. My will is not my own. It belongs, with all I possess, to
those whom I have sworn absolute obedience."
Here a slight noise interrupted M. Joshua, and drew his attention from
his work. He rose abruptly, and went straight to the window. Three
gentle taps were given on the outside of one of the slats of the blind.
"Is it you, Mahal?" asked M. Joshua, in a low voice.
"It is I," was answered from without, also in a low tone.
"And the Malay?"
"He has succeeded."
"Really!" cried M. Joshua, with an expression of great satisfaction;
"are you sure of it?"
"Quite sure: there is no devil more clever and intrepid."
"The parts of the letter, which I quoted, convinced him that I came from
General Simon, and that he would find him at the ruins of Tchandi."
"Therefore, at this moment--"
"Djalma goes to the ruins, where he will encounter the black, the half-
blood, and the Indian. It is there they have appointed to meet the
Malay, who tattooed the prince during his sleep."
"Have you been to examine the subterraneous passage?"
"I went there yesterday. One of the stones of the pedestal of the statue
turns upon itself; the stairs are large; it will do."
"And the three chiefs have no suspicion?"
"None--I saw them in the morning--and this evening the Malay came to tell
me all, before he went to join them at the ruins of Tchandi--for he had
remained hidden amongst the bushes, not daring to go there in the
"Mahal--if you have told the truth, and if all succeed--your pardon and
ample reward are assured to you. Your berth has been taken on board the
'Ruyter;' you will sail to-morrow; you will thus be safe from the malice
of the Stranglers, who would follow you hither to revenge the death of
their chiefs, Providence having chosen you to deliver those three great
criminals to justice. Heaven will bless you!--Go and wait for me at the
door of the governor's house; I will introduce you. The matter is so
important that I do not hesitate to disturb him thus late in the night.
Go quickly!--I will follow on my side."
The steps of Mahal were distinctly audible, as he withdrew precipitately,
and then silence reigned once more in the house. Joshua returned to his
desk, and hastily added these words to the despatch, which he had before
"Whatever may now happen, it will be impossible for Djalma to leave
Batavia at present. You may rest quite satisfied; he will not be at
Paris by the 13th of next February. As I foresaw, I shall have to be up
all night.--I am just going to the governor's. To-morrow I will add a
few lines to this long statement, which the steamship 'Ruyter' will
convey to Europe."
Having locked up his papers, Joshua rang the bell loudly, and, to the
great astonishment of his servants, not accustomed to see him leave home
in the middle of the night, went in all haste to the residence of the
governor of the island.
We now conduct the reader to the ruins of Tchandi.
 This report is extracted from Count Edward de Warren's excellent
work, "British India in 1831."--E. S.
THE RUINS OF TCHANDI.
To the storm in the middle of the day, the approach of which so well
served the Strangler's designs upon Djalma, has succeeded a calm and
serene night. The disk of the moon rises slowly behind a mass of lofty
ruins, situated on a hill, in the midst of a thick wood, about three
leagues from Batavia.
Long ranges of stone, high walls of brick, fretted away by time,
porticoes covered with parasitical vegetation, stand out boldly from the
sheet of silver light which blends the horizon with the limpid blue of
the heavens. Some rays of the moon, gliding through the opening on one
of these porticoes, fall upon two colossal statues at the foot of an
immense staircase, the loose stones of which are almost entirely
concealed by grass, moss, and brambles.
The fragments of one of these statues, broken in the middle, lie strewed
upon the ground; the other, which remains whole and standing, is
frightful to behold. It represents a man of gigantic proportions, with a
head three feet high; the expression of the countenance is ferocious,
eyes of brilliant slaty black are set beneath gray brows, the large, deep
mouth gapes immoderately, and reptiles have made their nest between the
lips of stone; by the light of the moon, a hideous swarm is there dimly
visible. A broad girdle, adorned with symbolic ornaments, encircles the
body of this statue, and fastens a long sword to its right side. The
giant has four extended arms, and, in his great hands, he bears an
elephant's head, a twisted serpent, a human skull, and a bird resembling
a heron. The moon, shedding her light on the profile of this statue,
serves to augment the weirdness of its aspect.
Here and there, enclosed in the half-crumbling walls of brick, are
fragments of stone bas-reliefs, very boldly cut; one of those in the best
preservation represents a man with the head of an elephant, and the wings
of a bat, devouring a child. Nothing can be more gloomy than these
ruins, buried among thick trees of a dark green, covered with frightful
emblems, and seen by the moonlight, in the midst of the deep silence of
Against one of the walls of this ancient temple, dedicated to some
mysterious and bloody Javanese divinity, leans a kind of hut, rudely
constructed of fragments of brick and stone; the door, made of woven
rushes, is open, and a red light streams from it, which throws its rays
on the tall grass that covers the ground. Three men are assembled in
this hovel, around a clay-lamp, with a wick of cocoanut fibre
steeped in palm-oil.
The first of these three, about forty years of age, is poorly clad in the
European fashion; his pale, almost white, complexion, announces that he
belongs to the mixed race, being offspring of a white father and Indian
The second is a robust African negro, with thick lips, vigorous
shoulders, and lank legs; his woolly hair is beginning to turn gray; he
is covered with rags, and stands close beside the Indian. The third
personage is asleep, and stretched on a mat in the corner of the hovel.
These three men are the three Thuggee chiefs, who, obliged to fly from
the continent of India, have taken refuge in Java, under the guidance of
Mahal the Smuggler.
"The Malay does not return," said the half-blood, named Faringhea, the
most redoubtable chief of this homicidal sect: "in executing our orders,
he has perhaps been killed by Djalma."
"The storm of this morning brought every reptile out of the earth," said
the negro; "the Malay must have been bitten, and his body ere now a nest
"To serve the good work," proceeded Faringhea, with a gloomy air, "one
must know how to brave death."
"And to inflict it," added the negro.
A stifled cry, followed by some inarticulate words, here drew the
attention of these two men, who hastily turned their heads in the
direction of the sleeper. This latter was thirty years old at most. His
beardless face, of a bright copper color, his robe of coarse stuff, his
turban striped brown and yellow, showed that he belonged to the pure
Hindoo race. His sleep appeared agitated by some painful vision; an
abundant sweat streamed over his countenance, contracted by terror; he
spoke in his dream, but his words were brief and broken, and accompanied
with convulsive starts.
"Again that dream!" said Faringhea to the negro. "Always the remembrance
of that man."
"Do you not remember, how, five years ago, that savage, Colonel Kennedy,
butcher of the Indians, came to the banks of the Ganges, to hunt the
tiger, with twenty horses, four elephants, and fifty servants?"
"Yes, yes," said the negro; "and we three, hunters of men, made a better
day's sport than he did. Kennedy, his horses, his elephants, and his
numerous servants did not get their tiger--but we got ours," he added,
with grim irony. "Yes; Kennedy, that tiger with a human face, fell into
our ambush, and the brothers of the good work offered up their fine prey
to our goddess Bowanee."
"If you remember, it was just at the moment when we gave the last tug to
the cord round Kennedy's neck, that we perceived on a sudden a traveller
close at hand. He had seen us, and it was necessary to make away with
him. Now, since that time," added Faringhea, "the remembrance of the
murder of that man pursues our brother in his dreams," and he pointed to
the sleeping Indian.
"And even when he is awake," said the negro, looking at Faringhea with a
"Listen!" said the other, again pointing to the Indian, who, in the
agitation of his dream, recommenced talking in abrupt sentences; "listen!
he is repeating the answers of the traveller, when we told him he must
die, or serve with us on Thuggee. His mind is still impressed--deeply
impressed--with those words."
And, in fact, the Indian repeated aloud in his sleep, a sort of
mysterious dialogue, of which he himself supplied both questions and
"'Traveller,' said he, in a voice broken by sudden pauses, 'why that
black mark on your forehead, stretching from one temple to the other? It
is a mark of doom and your look is sad as death. Have you been a victim?
Come with us; Kallee will avenge you. You have suffered?'--'Yes, I have
greatly suffered.'--'For a long time?'--'Yes, for a very long time.'--
'You suffer even now?'--'Yes, even now.'--What do you reserve for those
who injure you?'--'My pity.'--'Will you not render blow for blow?'--'I
will return love for hate.'--'Who are you, then, that render good for
evil?'--'I am one who loves, and suffers, and forgives.'"
"Brother, do you hear?" said the negro to Faringhea; "he has not
forgotten the words of the traveller before his death."
"The vision follows him. Listen! he will speak again. How pale he is!"
Still under the influence of his dream, the Indian continued:
"'Traveller, we are three; we are brave; we have your life in our hands--
you have seen us sacrifice to the good work. Be one of us, or die--die--
die! Oh, that look! Not thus--do not look at me thus!'" As he uttered
these last words, the Indian made a sudden movement, as if to keep off
some approaching object, and awoke with a start. Then, passing his hand
over his moist forehead, he looked round him with a bewildered eye.
"What! again this dream, brother?" said Faringhea. "For a bold hunter of
men, you have a weak head. Luckily, you have a strong heart and arm."
The other remained a moment silent, his face buried in his hands; then he
replied: "It is long since I last dreamed of that traveller."
"Is he not dead?" said Faringhea, shrugging his shoulders. "Did you not
yourself throw the cord around his neck?"
"Yes," replied the Indian shuddering.
"Did we not dig his grave by the side of Colonel Kennedy's? Did we not
bury him with the English butcher, under the sand and the rushes?" said
"Yes, we dug his grave," said the Indian, trembling; "and yet, only a
year ago, I was seated one evening at the gate of Bombay, waiting for one
of our brothers--the sun was setting behind the pagoda, to the right of
the little hill--the scene is all before me now--I was seated under a
figtree--when I heard a slow, firm, even step, and, as I turned round my
head--I saw him--coming out of the town."
"A vision," said the negro; "always the same vision!"
"A vision," added Faringhea, "or a vague resemblance."
"I knew him by the black mark on his forehead; it was none but he. I
remained motionless with fear, gazing at him with eyes aghast. He
stopped, bending upon me his calm, sad look. In spite of myself, I could
not help exclaiming: 'It is he!'--'Yes,' he replied, in his gentle voice,
'it is I. Since all whom thou killest must needs live again,' and he
pointed to heaven as he spoke, 'why shouldst thou kill?--Hear me! I have
just come from Java; I am going to the other end of the world, to a
country of never-melting snow; but, here or there, on plains of fire or
plains of ice, I shall still be the same. Even so is it with the souls
of those who fall beneath thy kalleepra; in this world or up above, in
this garb or in another, the soul must still be a soul; thou canst not
smite it. Why then kill?'--and shaking his head sorrowfully, he went on
his way, walking slowly, with downcast eyes; he ascended the hill of the
pagoda; I watched him as he went, without being able to move: at the
moment the sun set, he was standing on the summit of the hill, his tall
figure thrown out against the sky--and so he disappeared. Oh! it was
he!" added the Indian with a shudder, after a long pause: "it was none
In this story the Indian had never varied, though he had often
entertained his companions with the same mysterious adventure. This
persistency on his part had the effect of shaking their incredulity, or
at least of inducing them to seek some natural cause for this apparently
"Perhaps," said Faringhea, after a moment's reflection, "the knot round
the traveller's neck got jammed, and some breath was left him, the air
may have penetrated the rushes with which we covered his grave, and so
life have returned to him."
"No, no," said the Indian, shaking his head, "this man is not of our
"Now I know it!"
"What do you know?"
"Listen!" said the Indian, in a solemn voice; "the number of victims that
the children of Bowanee have sacrificed since the commencement of ages,
is nothing compared to the immense heap of dead and dying, whom this
terrible traveller leaves behind him in his murderous march."
"He?" cried the negro and Faringhea.
"Yes, he!" repeated the Hindoo, with a convinced accent, that made its
impression upon his companions. "Hear me and tremble!--When I met this
traveller at the gates of Bombay, he came from Java, and was going
towards the north, he said. The very next day, the town was a prey to
the cholera, and we learned sometime after, that this plague had first
broken out here, in Java."
"That is true," said the negro.
"Hear me still further!" resumed the other. "'I am going towards the
north, to a country of eternal snow,' said the traveller to me. The
cholera also went towards the north, passing through Muscat--Ispahan--
Tauris--Tiflis--till it overwhelmed Siberia."
"True," said Faringhea, becoming thoughtful:
"And the cholera," resumed the Indian, "only travelled its five or six
leagues a day--a man's tramp--never appeared in two places at once--but
swept on slowly, steadily,--even as a man proceeds."
At the mention of this strange coincidence, the Hindoo's companions
looked at each other in amazement. After a silence of some minutes, the
awe-struck negro said to the last speaker: "So you think that this man--"
"I think that this man, whom we killed, restored to life by some infernal
divinity, has been commissioned to bear this terrible scourge over the
earth, and to scatter round his steps that death, from which he is
himself secure. Remember!" added the Indian, with gloomy enthusiasm,
"this awful wayfarer passed through Java--the cholera wasted Java. He
passed through Bombay--the cholera wasted Bombay. He went towards the
north--the cholera wasted the north."
So saying, the Indian fell into a profound reverie. The negro and
Faringhea were seized with gloomy astonishment.
The Indian spoke the truth as to the mysterious march (still unexplained)
of that fearful malady, which has never been known to travel more than
five or six leagues a day, or to appear simultaneously in two spots.
Nothing can be more curious, than to trace out, on the maps prepared at
the period in question, the slow, progressive course of this travelling
pestilence, which offers to the astonished eye all the capricious
incidents of a tourist's journey. Passing this way rather than that--
selecting provinces in a country--towns in a province--one quarter in a
town--one street in a quarter--one house in a street--having its place of
residence and repose, and then continuing its slow, mysterious, fear-
The words of the Hindoo, by drawing attention to these dreadful
eccentricities, made a strong impression upon the minds of the negro and
Faringhea--wild natures, brought by horrible doctrines to the monomania
Yes--for this also is an established fact--there have been in India
members of an abominable community, who killed without motive, without
passion--killed for the sake of killing--for the pleasure of murder--to
substitute death for life--to make of a living man a corpse, as they have
themselves declared in one of their examinations.
The mind loses itself in the attempt to penetrate the causes of these
monstrous phenomena. By what incredible series of events, have men been
induced to devote themselves to this priesthood of destruction? Without
doubt, such a religion could only flourish in countries given up, like
India, to the most atrocious slavery, and to the most merciless iniquity
of man to man.
Such a creed!--is it not the hate of exasperated humanity, wound up to
its highest pitch by oppression?--May not this homicidal sect, whose
origin is lost in the night of ages, have been perpetuated in these
regions, as the only possible protest of slavery against despotism? May
not an inscrutable wisdom have here made Phansegars, even as are made
tigers and serpents?
What is most remarkable in this awful sect, is the mysterious bond,
which, uniting its members amongst themselves, separates them from all
other men. They have laws and customs of their own, they support and
help each other, but for them there is neither country nor family; they
owe no allegiance save to a dark, invisible power, whose decrees they
obey with blind submission, and in whose name they spread themselves
abroad, to make corpses, according to their own savage expression.
For some moments the three Stranglers had maintained a profound silence.
Outside the hut, the moon continued to throw great masses of white
radiance, and tall bluish shadows, over the imposing fabric of the ruins;
the stars sparkled in the heavens; from time to time, a faint breeze
rustled through the thick and varnished leaves of the bananas and the
The pedestal of the gigantic statue, which, still entire, stood on the
left side of the portico, rested upon large flagstones, half hidden with
brambles. Suddenly, one of these stones appeared to fall in; and from
the aperture, which thus formed itself without noise, a man, dressed in
uniform, half protruded his body, looked carefully around him, and
Seeing the rays of the lamp, which lighted the interior of the hovel,
tremble upon the tall grass, he turned round to make a signal, and soon,
accompanied by two other soldiers, he ascended, with the greatest silence
and precaution, the last steps of the subterranean staircase, and went
Back to Full Books