The Wandering Jew, v1
Part 1 out of 4
This etext was produced by David Widger
and Pat Castevens
THE WANDERING JEW
By Eugene Sue
A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR OF
The Wandering Jew
Time and again physicians and seamen have made noteworthy reputations as
novelists. But it is rare in the annals of literature that a man trained
in both professions should have gained his greatest fame as a writer of
novels. Eugene Sue began his career as a physician and surgeon, and then
spent six years in the French Navy. In 1830, when he returned to France,
he inherited his father's rich estate and was free to follow his
inclination to write. His first novel, "Plick et Plock", met with an
unexpected success, and he at once foreswore the arts of healing and
navigation for the precarious life of a man of letters. With varying
success he produced books from his inexhaustible store of personal
experiences as a doctor and sailor. In 1837, he wrote an authoritative
work on the French Navy, "Histoire de la marine Francaise".
More and more the novel appealed to his imagination and suited his gifts.
His themes ranged from the fabulous to the strictly historical, and he
became popular as a writer of romance and fictionized fact. His plays,
however, were persistent failures. When he published "The Mysteries of
Paris", his national fame was assured, and with the writing of "The
Wandering Jew" he achieved world-wide renown. Then, at the height of his
literary career, Eugene Sue was driven into exile after Louis Napoleon
overthrew the Constitutional Government in a coup d'etat and had himself
officially proclaimed Emperor Napoleon III. The author of "The Wandering
Jew" died in banishment five years later.
Part First.--The Transgression.
Prologue.--The Lands End of the World.
II. The Travellers
III. The Arrival
IV. Morok and Dagobert
V. Rose and Blanche
VI. The Secret
VII. The Traveller
VIII. Extracts from General Simon's Diary
IX. The Cages
X. The Surprise
XI. Jovial and Death
XII. The Burgomaster
XIII. The Judgment
XIV. The Decision
XV. The Despatches
XVI. The Orders
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 Shipwreck
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
XXXVI. A Female Jesuit
XXXVII. The Plot
XXXVIII. Adrienne's Enemies
XXXIX. The Skirmish
XL. The Revolt
XLII. The Snare
XLIII. A False Friend
XLIV. The Minister's Cabinet
XLV. The Visit
XLVII. The Letter
XLVIII. The Confessional
XLIX. My Lord and Spoil-sport
LI. The Convent
LII. The Influence of a Confessor
LIII. The Examination
Part Second.--The Chastisement.
Prologue.--The Bird's-Eye View of Two Worlds.
I. The Masquerade
II. The Contrast
III. The Carouse
IV. The Farewell
V. The Florine
VI. Mother Sainte-Perpetue
VII. The Temptation
VIII. Mother Bunch and Mdlle. De Cardoville
IX. The Encounters--The Meeting
XII. The Penal Code
XIV. The Eve of a Great Day
XV. The Thug
XVI. The Two Brothers of the Good Work
XVII. The House in the Rue Saint-Francois
XVIII. Debit and Credit
XIX. The Heir
XX. The Rupture
XXI. The Change
XXII. The Red Room
XXIII. The Testament
XXIV. The Last Stroke of Noon
XXV. The Deed of Gift
Part Second.--The Chastisement. (Concluded.)
XXVI. A Good Genius
XXVII. The First Last, And the Last First
XXVIII. The Stranger
XXIX. The Den
XXX. An Unexpected Visit
XXXI. Friendly Services
XXXII. The Advice
XXXIII. The Accuser
XXXIV. Father d'Aigrigny's Secretary
XXXIX. Pierre Simon
XL. The East Indian in Paris
XLIII. The Letter
XLIV. Adrienne and Djalma
XLV. The Consultation
XLVI. Mother Bunch's Diary
XLVII. The Diary Continued
XLVIII. The Discovery
XLIX. The Trysting-Place of the Wolves
L. The Common Dwelling-House
LI. The Secret
Part Third.--The Redemption.
I. The Wandering Jew's Chastisement
II. The Descendants of the Wandering Jew
III. The Attack
IV. The Wolves and the Devourers
V. The Return
VI. The Go-Between
VII. Another Secret
VIII. The Confession
X. The Execution
XI. The Champs-Elysees
XII. Behind the Scenes
XIII. Up with the Curtain
XV. The Constant Wanderer
XVI. The Luncheon
XVII. Rendering the Account
XVIII. The Square of Notre Dame
XIX. The Cholera Masquerade
XX. The Defiance
XXI. Brandy to the Rescue
XXIII. The Poisoner
XXIV. In the Cathedral
XXV. The Murderers
XXVI. The Patient
XXVII. The Lure
XXVIII. Good News
XXIX. The Operation
XXX. The Torture
XXXI. Vice and Virtue
XXXIV. More Confessions
XXXV. The Rivals
XXXVI. The Interview
XXXVII. Soothing Words
XXXVIII. The Two Carriages
XXXIX. The Appointment
XLI. Adrienne and Djalma
XLII. "The Imitation"
XLV. The Blockhead
XLVI. The Anonymous Letters
XLVII. The Golden City
XLVIII. The Stung Lion
XLIX. The Test
L. The Ruins of the Abbey of St. John the Baptist
LI. The Calvary
LII. The Council
LV. The Improvised Hospital
LVII. The Guardian Angel
LX. The Ordeal
LXII. To a Socius, a Socius and a Half
LXIII. Faringhea's Affection
LXIV. An Evening at St. Colombe's
LXV. The Nuptial Bed
LXVI. A Duel to the Death
LXVII. A Message
LXVIII. The First of June
I. Four Years After
II. The Redemption
The Wandering Jew.
First Part.--The Transgression.
The Land's End of Two Worlds.
The Arctic Ocean encircles with a belt of eternal ice the desert confines
of Siberia and North America--the uttermost limits of the Old and New
worlds, separated by the narrow, channel, known as Behring's Straits.
The last days of September have arrived.
The equinox has brought with it darkness and Northern storms, and night
will quickly close the short and dismal polar day. The sky of a dull
and leaden blue is faintly lighted by a sun without warmth, whose white
disk, scarcely seen above the horizon, pales before the dazzling,
brilliancy of the snow that covers, as far as the eyes can reach, the
To the North, this desert is bounded by a ragged coast, bristling with
huge black rocks.
At the base of this Titanic mass lied enchained the petrified ocean,
whose spell-bound waves appear fired as vast ranges of ice mountains,
their blue peaks fading away in the far-off frost smoke, or snow vapor.
Between the twin-peaks of Cape East, the termination of Siberia, the
sullen sea is seen to drive tall icebergs across a streak of dead green.
There lies Behring's Straits.
Opposite, and towering over the channel, rise the granite masses of Cape
Prince of Wales, the headland of North America.
These lonely latitudes do not belong to the habitable world; for the
piercing cold shivers the stones, splits the trees, and causes the earth
to burst asunder, which, throwing forth showers of icy spangles seems
capable of enduring this solitude of frost and tempest, of famine and
And yet, strange to say, footprints may be traced on the snow, covering
these headlands on either side of Behring's Straits.
On the American shore, the footprints are small and light, thus betraying
the passage of a woman.
She has been hastening up the rocky peak, whence the drifts of Siberia
On the latter ground, footprints larger and deeper betoken the passing of
a man. He also was on his way to the Straits.
It would seem that this man and woman had arrived here from opposite
directions, in hope of catching a glimpse of one another, across the arm
of the sea dividing the two worlds--the Old and the New.
More strange still! the man and the woman have crossed the solitudes
during a terrific storm! Black pines, the growth of centuries, pointing
their bent heads in different parts of the solitude like crosses in a
churchyard, have been uprooted, rent, and hurled aside by the blasts!
Yet the two travellers face this furious tempest, which has plucked up
trees, and pounded the frozen masses into splinters, with the roar of
They face it, without for one single instant deviating from the straight
line hitherto followed by them.
Who then are these two beings who advance thus calmly amidst the storms
and convulsions of nature?
Is it by chance, or design, or destiny, that the seven nails in the sole
of the man's shoe form a cross--thus:
Everywhere he leaves this impress behind him.
On the smooth and polished snow, these footmarks seem imprinted by a foot
of brass on a marble floor.
Night without twilight has soon succeeded day--a night of foreboding
The brilliant reflection of the snow renders the white steppes still
visible beneath the azure darkness of the sky; and the pale stars glimmer
on the obscure and frozen dome.
Solemn silence reigns.
But, towards the Straits, a faint light appears.
At first, a gentle, bluish light, such as precedes moonrise; it increases
in brightness, and assumes a ruddy hue.
Darkness thickens in every other direction; the white wilds of the desert
are now scarcely visible under the black vault of the firmament.
Strange and confused noises are heard amidst this obscurity.
They sound like the flight of large night--birds--now flapping now--
heavily skimming over the steppes-now descending.
But no cry is heard.
This silent terror heralds the approach of one of those imposing
phenomena that awe alike the most ferocious and the most harmless, of
animated beings. An Aurora Borealis (magnificent sight!) common in the
polar regions, suddenly beams forth.
A half circle of dazzling whiteness becomes visible in the horizon.
Immense columns of light stream forth from this dazzling centre, rising
to a great height, illuminating earth, sea, and sky. Then a brilliant
reflection, like the blaze of a conflagration, steals over the snow of
the desert, purples the summits of the mountains of ice, and imparts a
dark red hue to the black rocks of both continents.
After attaining this magnificent brilliancy, the Northern Lights fade
away gradually, and their vivid glow is lost in a luminous fog.
Just then, by a wondrous mirage an effect very common in high latitudes,
the American Coast, though separated from Siberia by a broad arm of the
sea, loomed so close that a bridge might seemingly be thrown from one
world to other.
Then human forms appeared in the transparent azure haze overspreading
On the Siberian Cape, a man on his knees, stretched his arms towards
America, with an expression of inconceivable despair.
On the American promontory, a young and handsome woman replied to the
man's despairing gesture by pointing to heaven.
For some seconds, these two tall figures stood out, pale and shadowy, in
the farewell gleams of the Aurora.
But the fog thickens, and all is lost in the darkness.
Whence came the two beings, who met thus amidst polar glaciers, at the
extremities of the Old and New worlds?
Who were the two creatures, brought near for a moment by a deceitful
mirage, but who seemed eternally separated?
The month of October, 1831, draws to its close.
Though it is still day, a brass lamp, with four burners, illumines the
cracked walls of a large loft, whose solitary window is closed against
outer light. A ladder, with its top rungs coming up through an open trap
leads to it.
Here and there at random on the floor lie iron chains, spiked collars,
saw-toothed snaffles, muzzles bristling with nails, and long iron rods
set in wooden handles. In one corner stands a portable furnace, such as
tinkers use to melt their spelter; charcoal and dry chips fill it, so
that a spark would suffice to kindle this furnace in a minute.
Not far from this collection of ugly instruments, putting one in mind of
a torturer's kit of tools, there are some articles of defence and offence
of a bygone age. A coat of mail, with links so flexible, close, and
light, that it resembles steel tissue, hangs from a box beside iron
cuishes and arm-pieces, in good condition, even to being properly fitted
with straps. A mace, and two long three-cornered-headed pikes, with ash
handles, strong, and light at the same time; spotted with lately-shed
blood, complete the armory, modernized somewhat by the presence of two
Tyrolese rifles, loaded and primed.
Along with this arsenal of murderous weapons and out-of-date instruments,
is strangely mingled a collection of very different objects, being small
glass-lidded boxes, full of rosaries, chaplets, medals, AGNUS DEI, holy-
water bottles, framed pictures of saints, etc., not to forget a goodly
number of those chapbooks, struck off in Friburg on coarse bluish paper,
in which you can hear about miracles of our own time, or "Jesus Christ's
Letter to a true believer," containing awful predictions, as for the
years 1831 and '32, about impious revolutionary France.
One of those canvas daubs, with which strolling showmen adorn their
booths, hangs from a rafter, no doubt to prevent its being spoilt by too
long rolling up. It bore the following legend:
"THE DOWNRIGHT TRUE AND MOST MEMORABLE CONVERSION OF IGNATIUS MOROK,
KNOWN AS THE PROPHET, HAPPENING IN FRIBURG, 1828TH YEAR OF GRACE."
This picture, of a size larger than natural, of gaudy color, and in bad
taste, is divided into three parts, each presenting an important phase
in the life of the convert, surnamed "The Prophet." In the first,
behold a long-bearded man, the hair almost white, with uncouth face, and
clad in reindeer skin, like the Siberian savage. His black foreskin cap
is topped with a raven's head; his features express terror. Bent
forward in his sledge, which half-a-dozen huge tawny dogs draw over the
snow, he is fleeing from the pursuit of a pack of foxes, wolves, and big
bears, whose gaping jaws, and formidable teeth, seem quite capable of
devouring man, sledge, and dogs, a hundred times over. Beneath this
"IN 1810, MOROK, THE IDOLATER, FLED FROM WILD BEASTS."
In the second picture, Morok, decently clad in a catechumen's white gown
kneels, with clasped hands, to a man who wears a white neckcloth, and
flowing black robe. In a corner, a tall angel, of repulsive aspect,
holds a trumpet in one hand, and flourishes a flaming sword with the
other, while the words which follow flow out of his mouth, in red
letters on a black ground:
"MOROK, THE IDOLATER, FLED FROM WILD BEASTS; BUT WILD BEASTS WILL FLEE
FROM IGNATIUS MOROK, CONVERTED AND BAPTIZED IN FRIBURG."
Thus, in the last compartment, the new convert proudly, boastfully, and
triumphantly parades himself in a flowing robe of blue; head up, left
arm akimbo, right hand outstretched, he seems to scare the wits out of a
multitude of lions, tigers, hyenas, and bears, who, with sheathed claws,
and masked teeth, crouch at his feet, awestricken, and submissive.
Under this, is the concluding moral:
"IGNATIUS MOROK BEING CONVERTED, WILD BEASTS CROUCH BEFORE HIM."
Not far from this canvas are several parcels of halfpenny books,
likewise from the Friburg press, which relate by what an astounding
miracle Morok, the Idolater, acquired a supernatural power almost
divine, the moment he was converted--a power which the wildest animal
could not resist, and which was testified to every day by the lion
tamer's performances, "given less to display his courage than to show
his praise unto the Lord."
Through the trap-door which opens into the loft, reek up puffs of a
rank, sour, penetrating odor. From time to time are heard sonorous
growls and deep breathings, followed by a dull sound, as of great bodies
stretching themselves heavily along the floor.
A man is alone in this loft. It is Morok, the tamer of wild beasts,
surnamed the Prophet.
He is forty years old, of middle height, with lank limbs, and an
exceedingly spare frame; he is wrapped in a long, blood-red pelisse,
lined with black fur; his complexion, fair by nature is bronzed by the
wandering life he has led from childhood; his hair, of that dead yellow
peculiar to certain races of the Polar countries, falls straight and
stiff down his shoulders; and his thin, sharp, hooked nose, and
prominent cheek-bones, surmount a long beard, bleached almost to
whiteness. Peculiarly marking the physiognomy of this man is the wide-
open eye, with its tawny pupil ever encircled by a rim of white. This
fixed, extraordinary look, exercises a real fascination over animals--
which, however, does not prevent the Prophet from also employing, to
tame them, the terrible arsenal around him.
Seated at a table, he has just opened the false bottom of a box, filled
with chaplets and other toys, for the use of the devout. Beneath this
false bottom, secured by a secret lock, are several sealed envelopes,
with no other address than a number, combined with a letter of the
alphabet. The Prophet takes one of these packets, conceals it in the
pocket of his pelisse, and, closing the secret fastening of the false
bottom, replaces the box upon a shelf.
This scene occurs about four o'clock in the afternoon, in the White
Falcon, the only hostelry in the little village of Mockern, situated
near Leipsic, as you come from the north towards France.
After a few moments, the loft is shaken by a hoarse roaring from below.
"Judas! be quiet!" exclaims the Prophet, in a menacing tone, as he turns
his head towards the trap door.
Another deep growl is heard, formidable as distant thunder.
"Lie down, Cain!" cries Morok, starting from his seat.
A third roar, of inexpressible ferocity, bursts suddenly on the ear.
"Death! Will you have done," cries the Prophet, rushing towards the trap
door, and addressing a third invisible animal, which bears this ghastly
Notwithstanding the habitual authority of his voice--notwithstanding his
reiterated threats--the brute-tamer cannot obtain silence: on the
contrary, the barking of several dogs is soon added to the roaring of
the wild beasts. Morok seizes a pike, and approaches the ladder; he is
about to descend, when he sees some one issuing from the aperture.
The new-comer has a brown, sun-burnt face; he wears a gray hat, bell-
crowned and broad-brimmed, with a short jacket, and wide trousers of
green cloth; his dusty leathern gaiters show that he has walked some
distance; a game-bag is fastened by straps to his back.
"The devil take the brutes!" cried he, as he set foot on the floor; "one
would think they'd forgotten me in three days. Judas thrust his paw
through the bars of his cage, and Death danced like a fury. They don't
know me any more, it seems?"
This was said in German. Morok answered in the same language, but with
a slightly foreign accent.
"Good or bad news, Karl?" he inquired, with some uneasiness.
"You've met them!"
"Yesterday; two leagues from Wittenberg."
"Heaven be praised!" cried Morok, clasping his hands with intense
"Oh, of course, 'tis the direct road from Russia to France, 'twas a
thousand to one that we should find them somewhere between Wittenberg
"And the description?"
"Very close: two young girls in mourning; horse, white; the old man has
long moustache, blue forage-cap; gray topcoat and a Siberian dog at his
"And where did you leave them?"
"A league hence. They will be here within the hour."
"And in this inn--since it is the only one in the village," said Morok,
with a pensive air.
"And night drawing on," added Karl.
"Did you get the old man to talk?"
"Him!--you don't suppose it!"
"Go, and try yourself."
"And for what reason?"
"You shall know all about it. Yesterday, as if I had fallen in with
them by chance, I followed them to the place where they stopped for the
night. I spoke in German to the tall old man, accosting him, as is usual
with wayfarers, 'Good-day, and a pleasant journey, comrade!' But, for
an answer, he looked askant at me, and pointed with, the end of his
stick to the other side of the road."
"He is a Frenchman, and, perhaps, does not understand German."
"He speaks it, at least as well as you; for at the inn I heard him ask
the host for whatever he and the young girls wanted."
"And did you not again attempt to engage him in conversation?"
"Once only; but I met with such a rough reception, that for fear of
making mischief, I did not try again. Besides, between ourselves, I can
tell you this man has a devilish ugly look; believe me, in spite of his
gray moustache, he looks so vigorous and resolute, though with no more
flesh on him than a carcass, that I don't know whether he or my mate
Giant Goliath, would have the best of it in a struggle. "I know not
your plans: only take care, master--take care!"
"My black panther of Java was also very vigorous and very vicious," said
Morok, with a grim, disdainful, smile.
"What, Death? Yes; in truth; and she is vigorous and vicious as ever.
Only to you she is almost mild."
"And thus I will break this tall old man; notwithstanding his strength
"Humph! humph! be on your guard, master. You are clever, you are as
brave as any one; but, believe me, you will never make a lamb out of the
old wolf that will be here presently."
"Does not my lion, Cain--does not my tiger, Judas, crouch in terror
"Yes, I believe you there--because you have means--"
"Because I have faith: that is all--and it is all," said Morok,
imperiously interrupting Karl, and accompanying these words with such a
look, that the other hung his head and was silent.
"Why should not he whom the Lord upholds in his struggle with wild
beasts, be also upheld in his struggle with men, when those men are
perverse and impious?" added the Prophet, with a triumphant, inspired
Whether from belief in his master's conviction, or from inability to
engage in a controversy with him on so delicate a subject, Karl answered
the Prophet, humbly: "you are wiser than I am, master; what you do must
be well done."
"Did you follow this old man and these two young girls all day long?"
resumed the Prophet, after a moment's silence.
"Yes; but at a distance. As I know the country well, I sometimes cut
across a valley, sometimes over a hill, keeping my eye upon the road,
where they were always to be seen. The last time I saw them, I was hid
behind the water-mill by the potteries. As they were on the highway for
this place, and night was drawing on, I quickened my pace to get here
before them, and be the bearer of what you call good news."
"Very good--yes--very good: and you shall be rewarded; for if these
people had escaped me--"
The Prophet started, and did not conclude the sentence. The expression
of his face, and the tones of his voice, indicated the importance of the
intelligence which had just been brought him.
"In truth," rejoined Karl, "it may be worth attending to; for that
Russian courier, all plastered with lace, who came, without slacking
bridle, from St. Petersburg to Leipsic, only to see you, rode so fast,
perhaps, for the purpose--"
Morok abruptly interrupted Karl, and said:
"Who told you that the arrival of the courier had anything to do with
these travellers? You are mistaken; you should only know what I choose
to tell you."
"Well, master, forgive me, and let's say no more about it. So! I will
get rid of my game-bag, and go help Goliath to feed the brutes, for
their supper time draws near, if it is not already past. Does our big
giant grow lazy, master?"
"Goliath is gone out; he must not know that you are returned; above all,
the tall old man and the maidens must not see you here--it would make
them suspect something."
"Where do you wish me to go, then?"
"Into the loft, at the end of the stable, and wait my orders; you may
this night have to set out for Leipsic."
"As you please; I have some provisions left in my pouch, and can sup in
the loft whilst I rest myself."
"Master, remember what I told you. Beware of that old fellow with the
gray moustache; I think he's devilish tough; I'm up to these things--
he's an ugly customer--be on your guard!"
"Be quite easy! I am always on my guard," said Morok.
"Then good luck to you, master!"--and Karl, having reached the ladder,
After making a friendly farewell gesture to his servant, the Prophet
walked up and down for some time, with an air of deep meditation; then,
approaching the box which contained the papers, he took out a pretty
long letter, and read it over and over with profound attention. From
time to time he rose and went to the closed window, which looked upon
the inner court of the inn, and appealed to listen anxiously; for he
waited with impatience the arrival of the three persons whose approach
had just been announced to him.
While the above scene was passing in the White Falcon at Mockern, the
three persons whose arrival Morok was so anxiously expecting, travelled
on leisurely in the midst of smiling meadows, bounded on one side by a
river, the current of which turned a mill; and on the other by the
highway leading to the village, which was situated on an eminence, at
about a league's distance.
The sky was beautifully serene; the bubbling of the river, beaten by the
mill-wheel and sparkling with foam, alone broke upon the silence of an
evening profoundly calm. Thick willows, bending over the river, covered
it with their green transparent shadow; whilst, further on, the stream
reflected so splendidly the blue heavens and the glowing tints of the
west, that, but for the hills which rose between it and the sky, the gold
and azure of the water would have mingled in one dazzling sheet with the
gold and azure of the firmament. The tall reeds on the bank bent their
black velvet heads beneath the light breath of the breeze that rises at
the close of day--for the sun was gradually sinking behind a broad streak
of purple clouds, fringed with fire. The tinkling bells of a flock of
sheep sounded from afar in the clear and sonorous air.
Along a path trodden in the grass of the meadow, two girls, almost
children--for they had but just completed their fifteenth year--were
riding on a white horse of medium size, seated upon a large saddle with a
back to it, which easily took them both in, for their figures were slight
A man of tall stature, with a sun-burnt face, and long gray moustache,
was leading the horse by the bridle, and ever and anon turned towards the
girls, with an air of solicitude at once respectful and paternal. He
leaned upon a long staff; his still robust shoulders carried a soldier's
knapsack; his dusty shoes, and step that began to drag a little, showed
that he had walked a long way.
One of those dogs which the tribes of Northern Siberia harness to their
sledges--a sturdy animal, nearly of the size, form, and hairy coat of the
wolf--followed closely in the steps of the leader of this little caravan,
never quitting, as it is commonly said, the heels of his master.
Nothing could be more charming than the group formed by the girls. One
held with her left hand the flowing reins, and with her right encircled
the waist of her sleeping sister, whose head reposed on her shoulder.
Each step of the horse gave a graceful swaying to these pliant forms, and
swung their little feet, which rested on a wooden ledge in lieu of a
These twin sisters, by a sweet maternal caprice, had been called Rose and
Blanche; they were now orphans, as might be seen by their sad mourning
vestments, already much worn. Extremely, like in feature, and of the
same size, it was necessary to be in the constant habit of seeing them,
to distinguish one from the other. The portrait of her who slept not,
might serve them for both of them; the only difference at the moment
being, that Rose was awake and discharging for that day the duties of
elder sister--duties thus divided between then, according to the fancy of
their guide, who, being an old soldier of the empire, and a martinet, had
judged fit thus to alternate obedience and command between the orphans.
Greuze would have been inspired by the sight of those sweet faces, coifed
in close caps of black velvet, from beneath which strayed a profusion of
thick ringlets of a light chestnut color, floating down their necks and
shoulders, and setting, as in a frame, their round, firm, rosy, satin-
like cheeks. A carnation, bathed in dew, is of no richer softness than
their blooming lips; the wood violet's tender blue would appear dark
beside the limpid azure of their large eyes, in which are depicted the
sweetness of their characters, and the innocence of their age; a pure and
white forehead, small nose, dimpled chin, complete these graceful
countenances, which present a delightful blending of candor and
You should have seen them too, when, on the threatening of rain or storm,
the old soldier carefully wrapped them both in a large pelisse of
reindeer fur, and pulled over their heads the ample hood of this
impervious garment; then nothing could be more lovely than those fresh
and smiling little faces, sheltered beneath the dark-colored cowl.
But now the evening was fine and calm; the heavy cloak hung in folds
about the knees of the sisters, and the hood rested on the back of their
Rose, still encircling with her right arm the waist of her sleeping
sister, contemplated her with an expression of ineffable tenderness, akin
to maternal; for Rose was the eldest for the day, and an elder sister is
almost a mother.
Not only, did the orphans idolize each other; but, by a psychological
phenomenon, frequent with twins, they were almost always simultaneously
affected; the emotion of one was reflected instantly in the countenance
of the other; the same cause would make both of them start or blush, so
closely did their young hearts beat in unison; all ingenuous joys, all
bitter griefs were mutually felt, and shared in a moment between them.
In their infancy, simultaneously attacked by a severe illness, like two
flowers on the same steam, they had drooped, grown pale, and languished
together; but together also had they again found the pure, fresh hues of
Need it be said, that those mysterious, indissoluble links which united
the twins, could not have been broken without striking a mortal blow at
the existence of the poor children?
Thus the sweet birds called love-birds, only living in pairs, as if
endowed with a common life, pine, despond, and die, when parted by a
The guide of the orphans, a man of about fifty-five, distinguished by
his military air and gait, preserved the immortal type of the warriors of
the republic and the empire--some heroic of the people, who became, in
one campaign, the first soldiers in the world--to prove what the people
can do, have done, and will renew, when the rulers of their choice place
in them confidence, strength, and their hope.
This soldier, guide of the sisters, and formerly a horse-grenadier of the
Imperial Guard, had been nicknamed Dagobert. His grave, stern
countenance was strongly marked; his long, gray, and thick moustache
completely concealed his upper lip, and united with a large imperial,
which almost covered his chin; his meagre cheeks, brick-colored, and
tanned as parchment, were carefully shaven; thick eyebrows, still black,
overhung and shaded his light blue eyes; gold ear-rings reached down to
his white-edged military stock; his topcoat, of coarse gray cloth, was
confined at the waist by a leathern belt; and a blue foraging cap, with a
red tuft falling on his left shoulder, covered his bald head.
Once endowed with the strength of Hercules, and having still the heart of
a lion--kind and patient, because he was courageous and strong--Dagobert,
notwithstanding his rough exterior, evinced for his orphan charges an
exquisite solicitude, a watchful kindness, and a tenderness almost
maternal. Yes, motherly; for the heroism of affection dwells alike in
the mother's heart and the soldiers.
Stoically calm, and repressing all emotion, the unchangeable coolness of
Dagobert never failed him; and, though few were less given to drollery,
he was now and then highly comic, by reason of the imperturbable gravity
with which he did everything.
From time to time, as they journeyed on, Dagobert would turn to bestow a
caress or friendly word on the good white home upon which the orphans
were mounted. Its furrowed sides and long teeth betrayed a venerable
age. Two deep scars, one on the flank and the other on the chest, proved
that his horse had been present in hot battles; nor was it without an act
of pride that he sometimes shook his old military bridle, the brass stud
of which was still adorned with an embossed eagle. His pace was regular,
careful, and steady; his coat sleek, and his bulk moderate; the abundant
foam, which covered his bit, bore witness to that health which horses
acquire by the constant, but not excessive, labor of a long journey,
performed by short stages. Although he had been more than six months on
the road, this excellent animal carried the orphans, with a tolerably
heavy portmanteau fastened to the saddle, as freely as on the day they
If we have spoken of the excessive length of the horse's teeth--the
unquestionable evidence of great age--it is chiefly because he often
displayed them, for the sole purpose of acting up to his name (he was
called Jovial), by playing a mischievous trick, of which the dog was the
This latter, who, doubtless for the sake of contrast, was called
Spoil-sport (Rabat-joie), being always at his master's heels, found
himself within the reach of Jovial, who from time to time nipped him
delicately by the nape of the neck, lifted him from the ground, and
carried him thus for a moment. The dog, protected by his thick coat, and
no doubt long accustomed to the practical jokes of his companion,
submitted to all this with stoical complacency; save that, when he
thought the jest had lasted long enough, he would turn his head and
growl. Jovial understood him at the first hint, and hastened to set him
down again. At other times, just to avoid monotony, Jovial would gently
bite the knapsack of the soldier, who seemed, as well as the dog, to be
perfectly accustomed to his pleasantries.
These details will give a notion of the excellent understanding that
existed between the twin sisters, the old soldier, the horse, and the
The little caravan proceeded on its ways anxious to reach, before night,
the village of Mockern, which was now visible on the summit of a hill.
Ever and anon, Dagobert looked around him, and seemed to be gathering up
old recollections; by degrees, his countenance became clouded, and when
he was at a little distance from the mill, the noise of which had
arrested his attention, he stopped, and drew his long moustache several
times between his finger and thumb, the only sign which revealed in him
any strong and concentrated feeling.
Jovial, having stopped short behind his master, Blanche, awakened
suddenly by the shock, raised her head; her first look sought her sister,
on whom she smiled sweetly; then both exchanged glances of surprise, on
seeing Dagobert motionless, with his hands clasped and resting on his
long staff, apparently affected by some painful and deep emotion.
The orphans just chanced to be at the foot of a little mound, the summit
of which was buried in the thick foliage of a huge oak, planted half way
down the slope. Perceiving that Dagobert continued motionless and
absorbed in thought, Rose leaned over her saddle, and, placing her little
white hand on the shoulder of their guide, whose back was turned towards
her, said to him, in a soft voice, "Whatever is the matter with you,
The veteran turned; to the great astonishment of the sisters, they
perceived a large tear, which traced its humid furrow down his tanned
cheek, and lost itself in his thick moustache.
"You weeping--you!" cried Rose and Blanche together, deeply moved.
"Tell us, we beseech, what is the matter?"
After a moments hesitation, the soldier brushed his horny hand across his
eyes, and said to the orphans in a faltering voice, whilst he pointed to
the old oak beside them: "I shall make you sad, my poor children: and yet
what I'm going to tell you has something sacred in it. Well, eighteen
years ago, on the eve of the great battle of Leipsic, I carried your
father to this very tree. He had two sabre-cuts on the head, a musket-
ball in his shoulder; and it was here that he and I--who had got two
thrust of a lance for my share--were taken prisoners; and by whom, worse
luck?--why, a renegado! By a Frenchman--an emigrant marquis, then
colonel in the service of Russia--and who afterwards--but one day you
shall know all."
The veteran paused; then, pointing with his staff to the village of
Mockern, he added: "Yes, yes, I can recognize the spot. Yonder are the
heights where your brave father--who commanded us, and the Poles of the
Guard--overthrew the Russian Cuirassiers, after having carried the
battery. Ah, my children!" continued the soldier, with the utmost
simplicity, "I wish you had, seen your brave father, at the head of our
brigade of horse, rushing on in a desperate charge in the thick of a
shower of shells!--There was nothing like it--not a soul so grand as he!"
Whilst Dagobert thus expressed, in his own way, his regrets and
recollections, the two orphans--by a spontaneous movement, glided gently
from the horse, and holding each other by the hand, went together to
kneel at the foot of the old oak. And there, closely pressed in each
other's arms, they began to weep; whilst the soldier, standing behind
them, with his hands crossed on his long staff, rested his bald
front upon it.
"Come, come you must not fret," said he softly, when, after a pause of a
few minutes, he saw tears run down the blooming cheeks of Rose and
Blanche, still on their knees. "Perhaps we may find General Simon in
Paris," added he; "I will explain all that to you this evening at the
inn. I purposely waited for this day, to tell you many things about your
father; it was an idea of mine, because this day is a sort of
"We weep because we think also of our mother," said Rose.
"Of our mother, whom we shall only see again in heaven," added Blanche.
The soldier raised the orphans, took each by the hand, and gazing from
one to the other with ineffable affection, rendered still the more
touching by the contrast of his rude features, "You must not give way
thus, my children," said he; "it is true your mother was the best of
women. When she lived in Poland, they called her the Pearl of Warsaw--it
ought to have been the Pearl of the Whole World--for in the whole world
you could not have found her match. No--no!"
The voice of Dagobert faltered; he paused, and drew his long gray
moustache between finger and thumb, as was his habit. "Listen, my
girls," he resumed, when he had mastered his emotion; "your mother could
give you none but the best advice, eh?"
"Well, what instructions did she give you before she died? To think
often of her, but without grieving?"
"It is true; she told us than our Father in heaven, always good to poor
mothers whose children are left on earth, would permit her to hear us
from above," said Blanche.
"And that her eyes would be ever fixed upon us," added Rose.
And the two, by a spontaneous impulse, replete with the most touching
grace, joined hands, raised their innocent looks to heaven, and
exclaimed, with that beautiful faith natural to their age: "Is it not so,
mother?--thou seest us?--thou hearest us?"
"Since your mother sees and hears you," said Dagobert, much moved, "do
not grieve her by fretting. She forbade you to do so."
"You are right, Dagobert. We will not cry any more."--And the orphans
dried their eyes.
Dagobert, in the opinion of the devout, would have passed for a very
heathen. In Spain, he had found pleasure in cutting down those monks of
all orders and colors, who, bearing crucifix in one hand, and poniard in
the other, fought not for liberty--the Inquisition had strangled her
centuries ago--but, for their monstrous privileges. Yet, in forty years,
Dagobert had witnessed so many sublime and awful scenes--he had been so
many times face to face with death--that the instinct of natural
religion, common to every simple, honest heart, had always remained
uppermost in his soul. Therefore, though he did not share in the
consoling faith of the two sisters, he would have held as criminal any
attempt to weaken its influence.
Seeing them this downcast, he thus resumed: "That's right, my pretty
ones: I prefer to hear you chat as you did this morning and yesterday--
laughing at times, and answering me when I speak, instead of being so
much engrossed with your own talk. Yes, yes, my little ladies! you seem
to have had famous secrets together these last two days--so, much the
better, if it amuses you."
The sisters colored, and exchanged a subdued smile, which contrasted with
the tears that yet filled their eyes, and Rose said to the soldier, with
a little embarrassment. "No, I assure you, Dagobert, we talk of nothing
"Well, well; I don't wish to know it. Come, rest yourselves, a few
moments more, and then we must start again; for it grows late, and we
have to reach Mockern before night, so that we may be early on the road
"Have we still a long, long way to go?" asked Rose.
"What, to reach Paris? Yes, my children; some hundred days' march. We
don't travel quick, but we get on; and we travel cheap, because we have a
light purse. A closet for you, a straw mattress and a blanket at your
door for me, with Spoil-sport on my feet, and a clean litter for old
Jovial, these are our whole traveling expenses. I say nothing about
food, because you two together don't eat more than a mouse, and I have
learnt in Egypt and Spain to be hungry only when it suits."
"Not forgetting that, to save still more, you do all the cooking for us,
and will not even let us assist."
"And to think, good Dagobert, that you wash almost every evening at our
resting-place. As if it were not for us to--"
"You!" said the soldier, interrupting Blanche, "I, allow you to chap your
pretty little hands in soap-suds! Pooh! don't a soldier on a campaign
always wash his own linen? Clumsy as you see me, I was the best
washerwoman in my squadron--and what a hand at ironing! Not to make a
brag of it."
"Yes, yes--you can iron well--very well."
"Only sometimes, there will be a little singe," said Rose, smiling.
"Hah! when the iron is too hot. Zounds! I may bring it as near my cheek
as I please; my skin is so tough that I don't feel the heat," said
Dagobert, with imperturbable gravity.
"We are only jesting, good Dagobert!"
"Then, children, if you think that I know my trade as a washerwoman, let
me continue to have your custom: it is cheaper; and, on a journey, poor
people like us should save where we can, for we must, at all events, keep
enough to reach Paris. Once there, our papers and the medal you wear
will do the rest--I hope so, at least."
"This medal is sacred to us; mother gave it to us on her death-bed."
"Therefore, take great care that you do not lose it: see, from time to
time, that you have it safe."
"Here it is," said Blanche, as she drew from her bosom a small bronze
medal, which she wore suspended from her neck by a chain of the same
material. The medal bore on its faces the following inscriptions:
L. C. D. J.
Pray for me!
February the, 13th, 1682.
Rue Saint Francois, No. 3,
In a century and a half
you will be.
February the 13th, 1832.
PRAY FOR ME!
"What does it mean, Dagobert?" resumed Blanche, as she examined the
mournful inscriptions. "Mother was not able to tell us."
"We will discuss all that this evening; at the place where we sleep,"
answered Dagobert. "It grows late, let us be moving. Put up the medal
carefully, and away!--We have yet nearly an hour's march to arrive at
quarters. Come, my poor pets, once more look at the mound where your
brave father fell--and then--to horse! to horse!"
The orphans gave a last pious glance at the spot which had recalled to
their guide such painful recollections, and, with his aid, remounted
This venerable animal had not for one moment dreamed of moving; but, with
the consummate forethought of a veteran, he had made the best use of his
time, by taking from that foreign soil a large contribution of green and
tender grass, before the somewhat envious eyes of Spoil-sport, who had
comfortably established himself in the meadow, with his snout protruding
between his fore-paws. On the signal of departure, the dog resumed his
post behind his master, and Dagobert, trying the ground with the end of
his long staff, led the horse carefully along by the bridle, for the
meadow was growing more and more marshy; indeed, after advancing a few
steps, he was obliged to turn off to the left, in order to regain the
On reaching Mockern, Dagobert asked for the least expensive inn, and was
told there was only one in the village--the White Falcon.
"Let us go then to the White Falcon," observed the soldier.
Already had Morok several times opened with impatience the window-
shutters of the loft, to look out upon the inn-yard, watching for the
arrival of the orphans and the soldier. Not seeing them, he began once
more to walk slowly up and down, with his head bent forward, and his arms
folded on his bosom, meditating on the best means to carry out the plan
he had conceived. The ideas which possessed his mind, were, doubtless,
of a painful character, for his countenance grew even more gloomy than
Notwithstanding his ferocious appearance, he was by no means deficient in
intelligence. The courage displayed in his taming exercises (which he
gravely attributed to his recent conversion), a solemn and mystical style
of speech, and a hypocritical affectation of austerity, had given him a
species of influence over the people he visited in his travels. Long
before his conversion, as may well be supposed, Morok had been familiar
with the habits of wild beasts. In fact born in the north of Siberia, he
had been, from his boyhood, one of the boldest hunters of bears and
reindeer; later, in 1810, he had abandoned this profession, to serve as
guide to a Russian engineer, who was charged with an exploring expedition
to the Polar regions. He afterwards followed him to St. Petersburg, and
there, after some vicissitudes of fortune, Morok became one of the
imperial couriers--these iron automata, that the least caprice of the
despot hurls in a frail sledge through the immensity of the empire, from
Persia to the Frozen Sea. For these men, who travel night and day, with
the rapidity of lightning there are neither seasons nor obstacles,
fatigues nor danger; living projectiles, they must either be broken to
pieces, or reach the intended mark. One may conceive the boldness, the
vigor, and the resignation, of men accustomed to such a life.
It is useless to relate here, by what series of singular circumstances
Morok was induced to exchange his rough pursuit for another profession,
and at last to enter, as catechumen, a religious house at Friburg; after
which, being duly and properly converted, he began his nomadic
excursions, with his menagerie of unknown origin.
Morok continued to walk up and down the loft. Night had come. The three
persons whose arrival he so impatiently expected had not yet made their
appearance. His walk became more and more nervous and irregular.
On a sudden he stopped abruptly; leaned his head towards the window; and
listened. His ear was quick as a savage's.
"They are here!" he exclaimed and his fox like eye shone with diabolic
joy. He had caught the sound of footsteps--a man's and a horse's.
Hastening to the window-shutter of the loft, he opened it cautiously, and
saw the two young girls on horseback, and the old soldier who served them
as a guide, enter the inn-yard together.
The night had set in, dark and cloudy; a high wind made the lights
flicker in the lanterns which were used to receive the new guests. But
the description given to Morok had been so exact, that it was impossible
to mistake them. Sure of his prey, he closed the window. Having
remained in meditation for another quarter of an hour--for the purpose,
no doubt, of thoroughly digesting his projects--he leaned over the
aperture, from which projected the ladder, and called, "Goliath!"
"Master!" replied a hoarse voice.
"Come up to me."
"Here I am--just come from the slaughter-house with the meat."
The steps of the ladder creaked as an enormous head appeared on a level
with the floor. The new-comer, who was more than six feet high, and
gifted with herculean proportions, had been well-named Goliath. He was
hideous. His squinting eyes were deep set beneath a low and projecting
forehead; his reddish hair and beard, thick and coarse as horse-hair,
gave his features a stamp of bestial ferocity; between his broad jaws,
armed with teeth which resembled fangs, he held by one corner a piece of
raw beef weighing ten or twelve pounds, finding it, no doubt, easier to
carry in that fashion, whilst he used his hands to ascend the ladder,
which bent beneath his weight.
At length the whole of this tall and huge body issued from the aperture.
Judging by his bull-neck, the astonishing breadth of his chest and
shoulders, and the vast bulk of his arms and legs, this giant need not
have feared to wrestle single-handed with a bear. He wore an old pair
of blue trousers with red stripes, faced with tanned sheep's-skin, and a
vest, or rather cuirass, of thick leather, which was here and there
slashed by the sharp claws of the animals.
When he was fairly on the floor, Goliath unclasped his fangs, opened his
mouth, and let fall the great piece of beef, licking his blood-stained
lips with greediness. Like many other mountebanks, this species of
monster had began by eating raw meat at the fairs for the amusement of
the public. Thence having gradually acquired a taste for this barbarous
food, and uniting pleasure with profit, he engaged himself to perform the
prelude to the exercises of Morok, by devouring, in the presence of the
crowd, several pounds of raw flesh.
"My share and Death's are below stairs, and here are those of Cain and
Judas," said Goliath, pointing to the chunk of beef. "Where is the
cleaver, that I may cut it in two?--No preference here--beast or man--
every gullet must have it's own."
Then, rolling up one of the sleeves of his vest, he exhibited a fore-arm
hairy as skin of a wolf, and knotted with veins as large as one's thumb.
"I say, master, where's the cleaver?"--He again began, as he cast round
his eyes in search of that instrument. But instead of replying to this
inquiry, the Prophet put many questions to his disciple.
"Were you below when just now some new travellers arrived at the inn?"
"Yes, master; I was coming from the slaughter-house."
"Who are these travellers?"
"Two young lasses mounted on a white horse, and an old fellow with a big
moustache. But the cleaver?--my beasts are hungry and so am I--the
"Do you know where they have lodged these travellers?"
"The host took them to the far end of the court-yard."
"The building, which overlooks the fields?"
"Yes, master--but the cleaver--"
A burst of frightful roaring shook the loft, and interrupted Goliath.
"Hark to them!" he exclaimed; "hunger has driven the beasts wild. If I
could roar, I should do as they do. I have never seen Judas and Cain as
they are to-night; they leap in their cages as if they'd knock all to
pieces. As for Death, her eyes shine more than usual like candles--poor
"So these girls are lodged in the building at the end of the court-yard,"
resumed Morok, without attending to the observations of Goliath.
"Yes, yes--but in the devil's name, where is the cleaver? Since Karl
went away I have to do all the work, and that makes our meals very late."
"Did the old man remain with the young girls?" asked Morok.
Goliath, amazed that, notwithstanding his importunities, his master
should still appear to neglect the animals' supper, regarded the Prophet
with an increase of stupid astonishment.
"Answer, you brute!"
"If I am a brute, I have a brute's strength," said Goliath, in a surly
tone, "and brute against brute, I have not always come the worst off."
"I ask if the old man remained with the girls," repeated Morok.
"Well, then--no!" returned the giant. "The old man, after leading his
horse to the stable, asked for a tub and some water, took his stand under
the porch--and there--by the light of a lantern--he is washing out
clothes. A man with a gray moustache!--paddling in soap-suds like a
washerwoman--it's as if I were to feed canaries!" added Goliath,
shrugging his shoulders with disdain. "But now I've answered you,
master, let me attend to the beasts' supper,"--and, looking round for
something, he added, "where is the cleaver?"
After a moment of thoughtful silence, the Prophet said to Goliath, "You
will give no food to the beasts this evening."
At first the giant could not understand these words, the idea was so
incomprehensible to him.
"What is your pleasure, master?" said he.
"I forbid you to give any food to the beasts this evening."
Goliath did not answer, but he opened wide his squinting eyes, folded his
hands, and drew back a couple of steps.
"Well, dost hear me?" said Morok, with impatience. "Is it plain enough?"
"Not feed? when our meat is there, and supper is already three hours
after time!" cried Goliath, with ever-increasing amazement.
"Obey, and hold your tongue."
"You must wish something bad to happen this evening. Hunger makes the
beasts furious--and me also."
"So much the better!"
"It'll drive 'em mad."
"So much the better!"
"How, so much the better?--But--"
"It is enough!"
"But, devil take me, I am as hungry as the beasts!"
"Eat then--who prevents it? Your supper is ready, as you devour it raw."
"I never eat without my beasts, nor they without me."
"I tell you again, that, if you dare give any food to the beasts--I will
turn you away."
Goliath uttered a low growl as hoarse as a bear's, and looked at the
Prophet with a mixture of anger and stupefaction.
Morok, having given his orders, walked up and down the loft, appearing to
reflect. Then, addressing himself to Goliath, who was still plunged in
deep perplexity, he said to him.
"Do you remember the burgomaster's, where I went to get my passport
signed?--To-day his wife bought some books and a chaplet."
"Yes," answered the giant shortly.
"Go and ask his servant if I may be sure to find the burgomaster early
"I may, perhaps, have something important to communicate; at all events,
say that I beg him not to leave home without seeing me."
"Good! but may I feed the beasts before I go to the burgomaster's?--only
the panther, who is most hungry? Come, master; only poor Death? just a
little morsel to satisfy her; Cain and I and Judas can wait."
"It is the panther, above all, that I forbid you to feed. Yes, her,
above all the rest."
"By the horns of the devil!" cried Goliath, "what is the matter with you
to-day? I can make nothing of it. It is a pity that Karl's not here;
he, being cunning, would help me to understand why you prevent the beasts
from eating when they are hungry."
"You have no need to understand it."
"Will not Karl soon come back?"
"He has already come back."
"Where is he, then?"
"What can be going on here? There is something in the wind. Karl goes,
and returns, and goes again, and--"
"We are not talking of Karl, but of you; though hungry as a wolf you are
cunning as a fox, and, when it suits you, as cunning as Karl." And,
changing on the sudden his tone and manner, Morok slapped the giant
cordially on the shoulder.
"What! am I cunning?"
"The proof is, that there are ten florins to earn to-night--and you will
be keen enough to earn them, I am sure."
"Why, on those terms, yes--I am awake," said the giant, smiling with a
stupid, self-satisfied air. "What must I do for ten florins?"
"You shall see."
"Is it hard work?"
"You shall see. Begin by going to the burgomaster's--but first light the
fire in that stove." He pointed to it with his finger.
"Yes, master," said Goliath, somewhat consoled for the delay of his
supper by the hope of gaining ten florins.
"Put that iron bar in the stove," added the Prophet, "to make it
"You will leave it there; go to the burgomaster's, and return here to
wait for me."
"You will keep the fire up in the stove."
Morok took a step away, but recollecting himself, he resumed: "You say
the old man is busy washing under the porch?"
"Forget nothing: the iron bar in the fire--the burgomaster--and return
here to wait my orders." So saying, Morok descended by the trap-door and
MOROK and DAGOBERT
Goliath had not been mistaken, for Dagobert was washing with that
imperturbable gravity with which he did everything else.
When we remember the habits of a soldier a-field, we need not be
astonished at this apparent eccentricity. Dagobert only thought of
sparing the scanty purse of the orphans, and of saving them all care and
trouble; so every evening when they came to a halt he devoted himself to
all sorts of feminine occupations. But he was not now serving his
apprenticeship in these matters; many times, during his campaigns, he had
industriously repaired the damage and disorder which a day of battle
always brings to the garments of the soldier; for it is not enough to
receive a sabre-cut--the soldier has also to mend his uniform; for the
stroke which grazes the skin makes likewise a corresponding fissure in
Therefore, in the evening or on the morrow of a hard-fought engagement,
you will see the best soldiers (always distinguished by their fine
military appearance) take from their cartridge-box or knapsack a
housewife, furnished with needles, thread, scissors, buttons, and other
such gear, and apply themselves to all kinds of mending and darning, with
a zeal that the most industrious workwoman might envy.
We could not find a better opportunity to explain the name of Dagobert,
given to Francis Baudoin (the guide of the orphans) at a time when he was
considered one of the handsomest and bravest horse-grenadiers of the
They had been fighting hard all day, without any decisive advantage. In
the evening, the company to which our hero belonged was sent as outliers
to occupy the ruins of a deserted village. Videttes being posted, half
the troopers remained in saddle, whilst the others, having picketed their
horses, were able to take a little rest. Our hero had charged valiantly
that day without receiving any wound--for he counted as a mere memento
the deep scratch on his thigh, which a kaiserlitz had inflicted in
awkwardly attempting an upward thrust with the bayonet.
"You donkey! my new breeches!" the grenadier had exclaimed, when he saw
the wide yawning rent, which he instantly avenged by running the Austrian
through, with a thrust scientifically administered. For, if he showed a
stoical indifference on the subject of injury to his skin, it was not so
with regard to the ripping up of his best parade uniform.
He undertook, therefore, the same evening, at the bivouac, to repair this
accident. Selecting his best needle and thread from the stores of his
housewife, and arming his finger with a thimble, he began to play the
tailor by the light of the watch-fire, having first drawn off his
cavalry-boots, and also (if it must be confessed) the injured garment
itself, which he turned the wrong side out the better to conceal the
This partial undress was certainly a breach of discipline: but the
captain, as he went his round, could not forbear laughing at the sight of
the veteran soldier, who, gravely seated, in a squatting position, with
his grenadier cap on, his regimental coat on his back, his boots by his
side, and his galligaskins in his lap, was sewing with all the coolness
of a tailor upon his own shop-board.
Suddenly, a musket-shot is heard, and the videttes fall back upon the
detachment, calling to arms. "To horse!" cries the captain, in a voice
In a moment, the troopers are in their saddles, the unfortunate clothes-
mender having to lead the first rank; there is no time to turn the
unlucky garment, so he slips it on, as well as he can, wrong side out,
and leaps upon his horse, without even stopping to put on his boots.
A party of Cossacks, profiting by the cover of a neighboring wood, had
attempted to surprise the detachment: the fight was bloody, and our hero
foamed with rage, for he set much value on his equipments, and the day
had been fatal to him. Thinking of his torn clothes and lost boots, he
hacked away with more fury than ever; a bright moon illumined the scene
of action, and his comrades were able to appreciate the brilliant valor
of our grenadier, who killed two Cossacks, and took an officer prisoner,
with his own hand.
After this skirmish, in which the detachment had maintained its position,
the captain drew up his men to compliment them on their success, and
ordered the clothes-mender to advance from the ranks, that he might thank
him publicly for his gallant behavior. Our hero could have dispensed
with this ovation, but he was not the less obliged to obey.
Judge of the surprise of both captain and troopers, when they saw this
tall and stern-looking figure ride forward at a slow pace, with his naked
feet in the stirrups, and naked legs pressing the sides of his charger.
The captain drew near in astonishment; but recalling the occupation of
the soldier at the moment when the alarm was given, he understood the
whole mystery. "Ha, my old comrade!" he exclaimed, "thou art like King
Dagobert--wearing thy breeches inside out."
In spite of discipline, this joke of the captain's was received with
peals of ill-repressed laughter. But our friend, sitting upright in his
saddle, with his left thumb pressing the well adjusted reins, and his
sword-hilt carried close to his right thigh, made a half-wheel, and
returned to his place in the ranks without changing countenance, after he
had duly received the congratulations of his captain. From that day,
Francis Baudoin received and kept the nickname of Dagobert.
Now Dagobert was under the porch of the inn, occupied in washing, to the
great amazement of sundry beer-drinkers, who observed him with curious
eyes from the large common room in which they were assembled.
In truth, it was a curious spectacle. Dagobert had laid aside his gray
top-coat, and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt; with a vigorous hand,
and good supply of soap, he was rubbing away at a wet handkerchief,
spread out on the board, the end of which rested in a tub full of water.
Upon his right arm, tattooed with warlike emblems in red and blue colors,
two scars, deep enough to admit the finger, were distinctly visible. No
wonder then, that, while smoking their pipes, and emptying their pots of
beer, the Germans should display some surprise at the singular occupation
of this tall, moustached, bald-headed old man, with the forbidding
countenance--for the features of Dagobert assumed a harsh and grim
expression, when he was no longer in presence of the two girls.
The sustained attention, of which he saw himself the object, began to put
him out of patience, for his employment appeared to him quite natural.
At this moment, the Prophet entered the porch, and, perceiving the
soldier, eyed him attentively for several seconds; then approaching, he
said to him in French, in a rather sly tone: "It would seem, comrade,
that you have not much confidence in the washerwomen of Mockern?"
Dagobert, without discontinuing his work, half turned his head with a
frown, looked askant at the Prophet, and made him no answer.
Astonished at this silence, Morok resumed: "If I do not deceive myself,
you are French, my fine fellow. The words on your arm prove it, and your
military air stamps you as an old soldier of the Empire. Therefore I
find, that, for a hero, you have taken rather late to wear petticoats."
Dagobert remained mute, but he gnawed his moustache, and plied the soap,
with which he was rubbing the linen, in a most hurried, not to say angry
style; for the face and words of the beast-tamer displeased him more than
he cared to show. Far from being discouraged, the Prophet continued: "I
am sure, my fine fellow, that you are neither deaf nor dumb; why, then,
will you not answer me?"
Losing all patience, Dagobert turned abruptly round, looked Morok full in
the face, and said to him in a rough voice: "I don't know you: I don't
wish to know you! Chain up your curb!" And he betook himself again to
"But we may make acquaintance. We can drink a glass of Rhine-wine
together, and talk of our campaigns. I also have seen some service, I
assure you; and that, perhaps, will induce you to be more civil."
The veins on the bald forehead of Dagobert swelled perceptibly; he saw in
the look and accent of the man, who thus obstinately addressed him,
something designedly provoking; still he contained himself.
"I ask you, why should you not drink a glass of wine with me--we could
talk about France. I lived there a long time; it is a fine country; and
when I meet Frenchmen abroad, I feel sociable--particularly when they
know how to use the soap as well as you do. If I had a housewife I'd
send her to your school."
The sarcastic meaning was no longer disguised; impudence and bravado were
legible in the Prophet's looks. Thinking that, with such an adversary,
the dispute might become serious, Dagobert, who wished to avoid a quarrel
at any price, carried off his tub to the other end of the porch, hoping
thus to put an end to the scene which was a sore trial of his temper.
A flash of joy lighted up the tawny eyes of the brute-tamer. The white
circle, which surrounded the pupil seemed to dilate. He ran his crooked
fingers two or three times through his yellow beard, in token of
satisfaction; then he advanced slowly towards the soldier, accompanied by
several idlers from the common-room.
Notwithstanding his coolness, Dagobert, amazed and incensed at the
impudent pertinacity of the Prophet, was at first disposed to break the
washing-board on his head; but, remembering the orphans, he thought
better of it.
Folding his arms upon his breast, Morok said to him, in a dry and
insolent tone: "It is very certain you are not civil, my man of suds!"
Then, turning to the spectators, he continued in German: "I tell this
Frenchman, with his long moustache, that he is not civil. We shall see
what answer he'll make. Perhaps it will be necessary to give him a
lesson. Heaven preserve me from quarrels!" he added, with mock
compunction; "but the Lord has enlightened me--I am his creature, and I
ought to make his work respected."
The mystical effrontery of this peroration was quite to the taste of the
idlers; the fame of the Prophet had reached Mockern, and, as a
performance was expected on the morrow, this prelude much amused the
company. On hearing the insults of his adversary, Dagobert could not
help saying in the German language: "I know German. Speak in German--
the rest will understand you."
New spectators now arrived, and joined the first comers; the adventure
had become exciting, and a ring was formed around the two persons most
The Prophet resumed in German: "I said that you were not civil, and I now
say you are grossly rude. What do you answer to that?"
"Nothing!" said Dagobert, coldly, as he proceeded to rinse out another
piece of linen.
"Nothing!" returned Morok; "that is very little. I will be less brief,
and tell you, that, when an honest man offers a glass of wine civilly to
a stranger, that stranger has no right to answer with insolence, and
deserves to be taught manners if he does so."
Great drops of sweat ran down Dagobert's forehead and cheeks; his large
imperial was incessantly agitated by nervous trembling--but he restrained
himself. Taking, by two of the corners, the handkerchief which he had
just dipped in the water, he shook it, wrung it, and began to hum to
himself the burden of the old camp ditty:
"Out of Tirlemont's flea-haunted den,
We ride forth next day of the sen,
With sabre in hand, ah!
Good-bye to Amanda," etc.
The silence to which Dagobert had condemned himself, almost choked him;
this song afforded him some relief.
Morok, turning towards the spectators, said to them, with an air of
hypocritical restraint: "We knew that the soldiers of Napoleon were
pagans, who stabled their horses in churches, and offended the Lord a
hundred times a day, and who, for their sins, were justly drowned in the
Beresino, like so many Pharaohs; but we did not know that the Lord, to
punish these miscreants, had deprived them of courage--their single gift.
"Here is a man, who has insulted, in me, a creature favored by divine
grace, and who affects not to understand that I require an apology; or
"What?" said Dagobert, without looking at the Prophet.
"Or you must give me satisfaction!--I have already told you that I have
seen service. We shall easily find somewhere a couple of swords, and to-
morrow morning, at peep of day, we can meet behind a wall, and show the
color of our blood--that is, if you have any in your veins!"
This challenge began to frighten the spectators, who were not prepared
for so tragical a conclusion.
"What, fight?--a very, fine idea!" said one. "To get yourself both
locked up in prison: the laws against duelling are strict."
"Particularly with relation to strangers or nondescripts," added another.
"If they were to find you with arms in your hands, the burgomaster would
shut you up in jail, and keep you there two or three months before
"Would you be so mean as to denounce us?" asked Morok.
"No, certainly not," cried several; "do as you like. We are only giving
you a friendly piece of advice, by which you may profit, if you think
"What care I for prison?" exclaimed the Prophet. "Only give me a couple
of swords, and you shall see to-morrow morning if I heed what the
burgomaster can do or say."
"What would you do with two swords?" asked Dagobert, quietly.
"When you have one in your grasp, and I one in mine, you'd see. The Lord
commands us to have a care of his honor!"
Dagobert shrugged his shoulders, made a bundle of his linen in his
handkerchief, dried his soap, and put it carefully into a little oil-silk
bag--then, whistling his favorite air of Tirlemont, moved to depart.
The Prophet frowned; he began to fear that his challenge would not be
accepted. He advanced a step or so to encounter Dagobert, placed himself
before him, as if to intercept his passage, and, folding his arms, and
scanning him from head to foot with bitter insolence, said to him: "So!
an old soldier of that arch-robber, Napoleon, is only fit for a
washerwoman, and refuses to fight!"
"Yes, he refuses to fight," answered Dagobert, in a firm voice, but
becoming fearfully pale. Never, perhaps, had the soldier given to his
orphan charge such a proof of tenderness and devotion. For a man of his
character to let himself be insulted with impunity, and refuse to fight
--the sacrifice was immense.
"So you are a coward--you are afraid of me--and you confess it?"
At these words Dagobert made, as it were, a pull upon himself--as if a
sudden thought had restrained him the moment he was about to rush on the
Prophet. Indeed, he had remembered the two maidens, and the fatal
hindrance which a duel, whatever might be the result, would occasion to
their journey. But the impulse of anger, though rapid, had been so
significant--the expression of the stern, pale face, bathed in sweat, was
so daunting, that the Prophet and the spectators drew back a step.
Profound silence reigned for some seconds, and then, by a sudden
reaction, Dagobert seemed to have gained the general interest. One of
the company said to those near him; "This man is clearly not a coward."
"Oh, no! certainly not."
"It sometimes requires more courage to refuse a challenge than to accept
"After all the Prophet was wrong to pick a quarrel about nothing--and
with a stranger, too."
"Yes, for a stranger, if he fought and was taken up, would have a good
"And then, you see," added another, "he travels with two young girls. In
such a position, ought a man to fight about trifles? If he should be
killed or put in prison, what would become of them, poor children?"
Dagobert turned towards the person who had pronounced these last words.
He saw a stout fellow, with a frank and simple countenance; the soldier
offered him his hand, and said with emotion:
"Thank you, sir."
The German shook cordially the hand, which Dagobert had proffered, and,
holding it still in his own, he added: "Do one thing, sir--share a bowl
of punch with us. We will make that mischief-making Prophet acknowledge
that he has been too touchy, and he shall drink to your health."
Up to this moment the brute-tamer, enraged at the issue of this scene,
for he had hoped that the soldier would accept his challenge, looked on
with savage contempt at those who had thus sided against him. But now
his features gradually relaxed; and, believing it useful to his projects
to hide his disappointment, he walked up to the soldier, and said to him,
with a tolerably good grace: "Well, I give way to these gentlemen. I own
I was wrong. Your frigid air had wounded me, and I was not master of
myself. I repeat, that I was wrong," he added, with suppressed vexation;
"the Lord commands humility--and--I beg your pardon."
This proof of moderation and regret was highly appreciated and loudly
applauded by the spectators. "He asks your pardon; you cannot expect
more, my brave fellow?" said one of them, addressing Dagobert. "Come,
let us all drink together; we make you this offer frankly--accept it in
the same spirit."
"Yes, yes; accept it, we beg you, in the name of your pretty little
girls," said the stout man, hoping to decide Dagobert by this argument.
"Many thanks, gentlemen," replied he, touched by the hearty advances of
the Germans; "you are very worthy people. But, when one is treated, he
must offer drink in return."
"Well, we will accept it--that's understood. Each his turn, and all
fair. We will pay for the first bowl, you for the second."
"Poverty is no crime," answered Dagobert; "and I must tell you honestly
that I cannot afford to pay for drink. We have still a long journey to
go, and I must not incur any useless expenses."
The soldier spoke these words with such firm, but simple dignity, that
the Germans did not venture to renew their offer, feeling that a man of
Dagobert's character could not accept it without humiliation.
"Well, so much the worse," said the stout man. "I should have liked to
clink glasses with you. Good-night, my brave trooper!--Good-night--for
it grows late, and mine host of the Falcon will soon turn us out of
"Good-night, gentlemen," replied Dagobert, as he directed his steps
towards the stable, to give his horse a second allowance of provender.
Morok approached him, and said in a voice even more humble than before:
"I have acknowledged my error, and asked your pardon. You have not
answered me; do you still bear malice?"
"If ever I meet you," said the veteran, in a suppressed and hollow tone,
"when my children have no longer need of me, I will just say two words to
you, and they will not be long ones."
Then he turned his back abruptly on the Prophet, who walked slowly out of
The inn of the White Falcon formed a parallelogram. At one end rose the
principal dwelling; at the other was a range of buildings, which
contained sundry chambers, let at a low price to the poorer sort of
travellers; a vaulted passage opened a way through this latter into the
country; finally, on either side of the court-yard were sheds and
stables, with lofts and garrets erected over them.
Dagobert, entering one of these stables, took from off a chest the
portion of oats destined for his horse, and, pouring it into a winnowing-
basket, shook it as he approached Jovial.
To his great astonishment, his old travelling companion did not respond
with a joyous neigh to the rustle of the oats rattling on the wicker-
work. Alarmed, he called Jovial with a friendly voice; but the animal,
instead of turning towards his master a look of intelligence, and
impatiently striking the ground with his fore-feet, remained perfectly
More and more surprised, the soldier went up to him. By the dubious
light of a stable-lantern, he saw the poor animal in an attitude which
implied terror--his legs half bent, his head stretched forward, his ears
down, his nostrils quivering; he had drawn tight his halter, as if he
wished to break it, in order to get away from the partition that
supported his rack and manger; abundant cold-sweat had speckled his hide
with bluish stains, and his coat altogether looked dull and bristling,
instead of standing out sleek and glossy from the dark background of the
stable; lastly, from time to time, his body shook with convulsive starts.
"Why, old Jovial!" said the soldier, as he put down the basket, in order
to soothe his horse with more freedom, "you are like thy master--afraid!
--Yes," he added with bitterness, as he thought of the offence he had
himself endured, "you are afraid--though no coward in general."
Notwithstanding the caresses and the voice of his master, the horse
continued to give signs of terror; he pulled somewhat less violently at
his halter, and approaching his nostrils to the hand of Dagobert, sniffed
audibly, as if he doubted it were he.
"You don't know me!" cried Dagobert. "Something extraordinary must be
The soldier looked around him with uneasiness. It was a large stable,
faintly lighted by the lantern suspended from the roof, which was covered
with innumerable cobwebs; at the further end, separated from Jovial by
some stalls with bars between, were the three strong, black, horses of
the brute-tamer--as tranquil as Jovial was frightened.
Dagobert, struck with this singular contrast, of which he was soon to
have the explanation, again caressed his horse; and the animal, gradually
reassured by his master's presence, licked his hands, rubbed his head
against him, uttered a low neigh, and gave him his usual tokens of
"Come, come, this is how I like to see my old Jovial!" said Dagobert, as
he took up the winnowing-basket, and poured its contents into the manger.
"Now eat with a good appetite, for we have a long day's march tomorrow;
and, above all, no more of these foolish fears about nothing! If thy
comrade, Spoil-sport, was here, he would keep you in heart; but he is
along with the children, and takes care of them in my absence. Come,
eat! Instead of staring at me in that way."
But the horse, having just touched the oats with his mouth, as if in
obedience to his master, returned to them no more, and began to nibble at
the sleeve of Dagobert's coat.
"Come, come, my poor Jovial! there is something the matter with you. You
have generally such a good appetite, and now you leave your corn. 'Tis
the first time this has happened since our departure," said the soldier,
who was now growing seriously uneasy, for the issue of his journey
greatly depended on the health and vigor of his horse.
Just then a frightful roaring, so near that it seemed to come from the
stable in which they were, gave so violent a shock to Jovial, that with
one effort he broke his halter, leaped over the bar that marked his
place, and rushing at the open door, escaped into the court-yard.
Dagobert had himself started at the suddenness of this wild and fearful
sound, which at once explained to him the cause of his horse's terror.
The adjoining stable was occupied by the itinerant menagerie of the
brute-tamer, and was only separated by the partition, which supported the
mangers. The three horses of the Prophet, accustomed to these howlings,
had remained perfectly quiet.
"Good!" said the soldier, recovering himself; "I understand it now.
Jovial has heard another such roar before, and he can scent the animals
of that insolent scoundrel. It is enough to frighten him," added he, as
he carefully collected the oats from the manger; "once in another stable,
and there must be others in this place, he will no longer leave his peck,
and we shall be able to start early to-morrow morning!"
The terrified horse, after running and galloping about the yard, returned
at the voice of the soldier, who easily caught him by the broken halter;
and a hostler, whom Dagobert asked if there was another vacant stable,
having pointed out one that was only intended for a single animal, Jovial
was comfortably installed there.
When delivered from his ferocious neighbors, the horse became tranquil as
before, and even amused himself much at the expense of Dagobert's top-
coat, which, thanks to his tricks, might have afforded immediate
occupation for his master's needle, if the latter had not been fully
engaged in admiring the eagerness with which Jovial dispatched his
provender. Completely reassured on his account, the soldier shut the
door of the stable, and proceeded to get his supper as quickly as
possible, in order to rejoin the orphans, whom he reproached himself with
having left so long.
ROSE AND BLANCHE.
The orphans occupied a dilapidated chamber in one of the most remote
wings of the inn, with a single window opening upon the country. A bed
without curtains, a table, and two chairs, composed the more than modest
furniture of this retreat, which was now lighted by a lamp. On the
table, which stood near the window, was deposited the knapsack of the
The great Siberian dog, who was lying close to the door, had already
twice uttered a deep growl, and turned his head towards the window--but
without giving any further affect to this hostile manifestation.
The two sisters, half recumbent in their bed, were clad in long white
wrappers, buttoned at the neck and wrists. They wore no caps, but their
beautiful chestnut hair was confined at the temples by a broad piece of
tape, so that it might not get tangled during the night. These white
garments, and the white fillet that like a halo encircled their brows,
gave to their fresh and blooming faces a still more candid expression.
The orphans laughed and chatted, for, in spite of some early sorrows,
they still retained the ingenuous gayety of their age. The remembrance
of their mother would sometimes make them sad, but this sorrow had in it
nothing bitter; it was rather a sweet melancholy, to be sought instead of
shunned. For them, this adored mother was not dead--she was only absent.
Almost as ignorant as Dagobert, with regard to devotional exercises, for
in the desert where they had lived there was neither church nor priest,
their faith, as was already said, consisted in this--that God, just and
good, had so much pity for the poor mothers whose children were left on
earth, that he allowed them to look down upon them from highest heaven--
to see them always, to hear them always, and sometimes to send fair
guardian angels to protect therein. Thanks to this guileless illusion,
the orphans, persuaded that their mother incessantly watched over them,
felt, that to do wrong would be to afflict her, and to forfeit the
protection of the good angels.--This was the entire theology of Rose and
Blanche--a creed sufficient for such pure and loving souls.
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