The Wandering Jew, v2
Part 2 out of 4
"I repeat, sir, that I hold these murderers in the greatest horror, and
that I came here--"
The negro, interrupting Djalma, said to the officer with a ferocious joy:
"You have hit it; the sons of the good work do know each other by marks
tattooed on their skin. For us, the hour has come--we give our necks to
the cord. Often enough have we twined it round the necks of those who
served not with us the good work. Now, look at our arms, and look at the
arms of this youth!"
The officer, misinterpreting the words of the negro, said to Djalma: "It
is quite clear, that if, as this negro tells us, you do not bear on your
arm the mysterious symbol--(we are going to assure ourselves of the
fact), and if you can explain your presence here in a satisfactory
manner, you may be at liberty within two hours."
"You do not understand me," said the negro to the officer; "Prince Djalma
is one of us, for he bears on his left arm the name of Bowanee."
"Yes! he is like us, a son of Kale!" added the Malay.
"He is like us, a Phansegar," said the Indian.
The three men, irritated at the horror which Djalma had manifested on
learning that they were Phansegars, took a savage pride in making it
believed that the son of Kadja-sing belonged to their frightful
"What have you to answer?" said the officer to Djalma. The latter again
gave a look of disdainful pity, raised with his right hand his long, wide
left sleeve, and displayed his naked arm.
"What audacity!" cried the officer, for on the inner part of the fore-
arm, a little below the bend, the name of the Bowanee, in bright red
Hindoo characters, was distinctly visible. The officer ran to the Malay,
and uncovered his arm; he saw the same word, the same signs. Not yet
satisfied, he assured himself that the negro and the Indian were likewise
"Wretch!" cried he, turning furiously towards Djalma; "you inspire even
more horror than your accomplices. Bind him like a cowardly assassin,"
added he to the soldiers; "like a cowardly assassin, who lies upon the
brink of the grave, for his execution will not be long delayed."
Struck with stupor, Djalma, who for some moments had kept his eye riveted
on the fatal mark, was unable to pronounce a word, or make the least
movement: his powers of thought seemed to fail him, in presence of this
"Would you dare deny this sign?" said the officer to him, with
"I cannot deny what I see--what is," said Djalma, quite overcome.
"It is lucky that you confess at last," replied the officer. "Soldiers,
keep watch over him and his accomplices--you answer for them."
Almost believing himself the sport of some wild dream. Djalma offered no
resistance, but allowed himself to be bound and removed with mechanical
passiveness. The officer, with part of his soldiers, hoped still to
discover Faringhea amongst the ruins; but his search was vain, and, after
spending an hour in fruitless endeavors, he set out for Batavia, where
the escort of the prisoners had arrived before him.
Some hours after these events, M. Joshua van Dael thus finished his long
despatch, addressed to M. Rodin, of Paris:
"Circumstances were such, that I could not act otherwise; and, taking all
into consideration, it is a very small evil for a great good. Three
murderers are delivered over to justice, and the temporary arrest of
Djalma will only serve to make his innocence shine forth with redoubled
"Already this morning I went to the governor, to protest in favor of our
young prince. 'As it was through me,' I said, 'that those three great
criminals fell into the hands of the authorities, let them at least show
me some gratitude, by doing everything to render clear as day the
innocence of Prince Djalma, so interesting by reason of his misfortunes
and noble qualities. Most certainly,' I added, 'when I came yesterday to
inform the governor, that the Phansegars would be found assembled in the
ruins of Tchandi, I was far from anticipating that any one would confound
with those wretches the adopted son of General Simon, an excellent man,
with whom I have had for some time the most honorable relations. We
must, then, at any cost, discover the inconceivable mystery that has
placed Djalma in this dangerous position;' and, I continued, 'so
convinced am I of his innocence, that, for his own sake, I would not ask
for any favor on his behalf. He will have sufficient courage and dignity
to wait patiently in prison for the day of justice.' In all this, you
see, I spoke nothing but the truth, and had not to reproach myself with
the least deception, for nobody in the world is more convinced than I am
of Djalma's innocence.
"The governor answered me as I expected, that morally he felt as certain
as I did of the innocence of the young prince, and would treat him with
all possible consideration; but that it was necessary for justice to have
its course, because it would be the only way of demonstrating the
falsehood of the accusation, and discovering by what unaccountable
fatality that mysterious sign was tattooed upon Djalma's arm.
"Mahal the Smuggler, who alone could enlighten justice on this subject,
will in another hour have quitted Batavia, to go on board the 'Ruyter,'
which will take him to Egypt; for he has a note from me to the captain,
to certify that he is the person for whom I engaged and paid the passage.
At the same time, he will be the bearer of this long despatch, for the
'Ruyter' is to sail in an hour, and the last letter-bag for Europe was
made up yesterday evening. But I wished to see the governor this
morning, before closing the present.
"Thus, then, is Prince Djalma enforced detained for a month, and, this
opportunity of the 'Ruyter' once lost, it is materially impossible that
the young Indian can be in France by the 13th of next February. You see,
therefore, that, even as you ordered, so have I acted according to the
means at my disposal--considering only the end which justifies them--for
you tell me a great interest of the society is concerned.
"In your hands, I have been what we all ought to be in the hands of our
superiors--a mere instrument: since, for the greater glory of God, we
become corpses with regard to the will. Men may deny our unity and
power, and the times appear opposed to us; but circumstances only change;
we are ever the same.
"Obedience and courage, secrecy and patience, craft and audacity, union
and devotion--these become us, who have the world for our country, our
brethren for family, Rome for our Queen!
About ten o'clock in the morning, Mahal the Smuggler set out with this
despatch (sealed) in his possession, to board the "Ruyter." An hour
later, the dead body of this same Mahal, strangled by Thuggee, lay
concealed beneath some reeds on the edge of a desert strand, whither he
had gone to take boat to join the vessel.
When at a subsequent period, after the departure of the steamship, they
found the corpse of the smuggler, M. Joshua sought in vain for the
voluminous packet, which he had entrusted to his care. Neither was there
any trace of the note which Mahal was to have delivered to the captain of
the "Ruyter," in order to be received as passenger.
Finally, the searches and bushwhacking ordered throughout the country for
the purpose of discovering Faringhea, were of no avail. The dangerous
chief of the Stranglers was never seen again in Java.
 It is known that the doctrine of passive and absolute obedience, the
main-spring of the Society of Jesus, is summed up in those terrible words
of the dying Loyola: "Every member of the Order shall be, in the hands of
his superiors, even as a corpse (Perinde ac Cadaver)."--E. S.
Three months have elapsed since Djalma was thrown into Batavia Prison
accused of belonging to the murderous gang of Megpunnas. The following
scene takes place in France, at the commencement of the month of
February, 1832, in Cardoville Manor House, an old feudal habitation
standing upon the tall cliffs of Picardy, not far from Saint Valery, a
dangerous coast on which almost every year many ships are totally
wrecked, being driven on shore by the northwesters, which render the
navigation of the Channel so perilous.
From the interior of the Castle is heard the howling of a violent
tempest, which has arisen during the night; a frequent formidable noise,
like the discharge of artillery, thunders in the distance, and is
repeated by the echoes of the shore; it is the sea breaking with fury
against the high rocks which are overlooked by the ancient Manor House.
It is about seven o'clock in the morning. Daylight is not yet visible
through the windows of a large room situated on the ground-floor. In
this apartment, in which a lamp is burning, a woman of about sixty years
of age, with a simple and honest countenance, dressed as a rich farmer's
wife of Picardy, is already occupied with her needle-work,
notwithstanding the early hour. Close by, the husband of this woman,
about the same age as herself, is seated at a large table, sorting and
putting up in bags divers samples of wheat and oats. The face of this
white-haired man is intelligent and open, announcing good sense and
honesty, enlivened by a touch of rustic humor; he wears a shooting-jacket
of green cloth, and long gaiters of tan-colored leather, which half
conceal his black velveteen breeches.
The terrible storm which rages without renders still more agreeable the
picture of this peaceful interior. A rousing fire burns in a broad
chimney-place faced with white marble, and throws its joyous light on the
carefully polished floor; nothing can be more cheerful than the old-
fashioned chintz hangings and curtains with red Chinese figures upon a
white ground, and the panels over the door painted with pastoral scenes
in the style of Watteau. A clock of Sevres china, and rosewood furniture
inlaid with green--quaint and portly furniture, twisted into all sorts of
grotesque shapes--complete the decorations of this apartment.
Out-doors, the gale continued to howl furiously, and sometimes a gust of
wind would rush down the chimney, or shake the fastenings of the windows.
The man who was occupied in sorting the samples of grain was M. Dupont,
bailiff of Cardoville manor.
"Holy Virgin!" said his wife; "what dreadful weather, my dear! This M.
Rodin, who is to come here this morning, as the Princess de Saint-
Dizier's steward announced to us, picked out a very bad day for it."
"Why, in truth, I have rarely heard such a hurricane. If M. Rodin has
never seen the sea in its fury, he may feast his eyes to-day with the
"What can it be that brings this M. Rodin, my dear?"
"Faith! I know nothing about it. The steward tells me in his letter to
show M. Rodin the greatest attention, and to obey him as if he were my
master. It will be for him to explain himself, and for me to execute his
orders, since he comes on the part of the princess."
"By rights he should come from Mademoiselle Adrienne, as the land belongs
to her since the death of the duke her father."
"Yes; but the princess being aunt to the young lady, her steward manages
Mademoiselle Adrienne's affairs--so whether one or the other, it amounts
to the same thing."
"May be M. Rodin means to buy the estate. Though, to be sure, that stout
lady who came from Paris last week on purpose to see the chateau appeared
to have a great wish for it."
At these words the bailiff began to laugh with a sly look.
"What is there to laugh at, Dupont?" asked his wife, a very good
creature, but not famous for intelligence or penetration.
"I laugh," answered Dupont, "to think of the face and figure of that
enormous woman: with such a look, who the devil would call themselves
Madame de la Sainte-Colombe--Mrs. Holy Dove? A pretty saint, and a
pretty dove, truly! She is round as a hogshead, with the voice of a
town-crier; has gray moustachios like an old grenadier, and without her
knowing it, I heard her say to her servant: 'Stir your stumps, my
hearty!'--and yet she calls herself Sainte-Colombe!"
"How hard on her you are, Dupont; a body don't choose one's name. And,
if she has a beard, it is not the lady's fault."
"No--but it is her fault to call herself Sainte-Colombe. Do you imagine
it her true name? Ah, my poor Catherine, you are yet very green in some
"While you, my poor Dupont, are well read in slander! This lady seems
very respectable. The first thing she asked for on arriving was the
chapel of the Castle, of which she had heard speak. She even said that
she would make some embellishments in it; and, when I told her we had no
church in this little place, she appeared quite vexed not to have a
curate in the village."
"Oh, to be sure! that's the first thought of your upstarts--to play the
great lady of the parish, like your titled people."
"Madame de la Sainte-Colombe need not play the great lady, because she is
"She! a great lady? Oh, lor'!"
"Yes--only see how she was dressed, in scarlet gown, and violet gloves
like a bishop's; and, when she took off her bonnet, she had a diamond
band round her head-dress of false, light hair, and diamond ear-drops as
large as my thumb, and diamond rings on every finger! None of your
tuppenny beauties would wear so many diamonds in the middle of the day."
"You are a pretty judge!"
"That is not all."
"Do you mean to say there's more?"
"She talked of nothing but dukes, and marquises, and counts, and very
rich gentlemen, who visit at her house, and are her most intimate
friends; and then, when she saw the summer house in the park, half-burnt
by the Prussians, which our late master never rebuilt, she asked, 'What
are those ruins there?' and I answered: 'Madame, it was in the time of
the Allies that the pavilion was burnt.'--'Oh, my clear,' cried she; 'our
allies, good, dear allies! they and the Restoration began my fortune!'
So you see, Dupont, I said to myself directly: 'She was no doubt one of
the noble women who fled abroad--'"
"Madame de la Sainte-Colombe!" cried the bailiff, laughing heartily.
"Oh, my poor, poor wife!"
"Oh, it is all very well; but because you have been three years at Paris,
don't think yourself a conjurer!"
"Catherine, let's drop it: you will make me say some folly, and there are
certain things which dear, good creatures like you need never know."
"I cannot tell what you are driving at, only try to be less slanderous--
for, after all, should Madame de la Sainte-Colombe buy the estate, will
you be sorry to remain as her bailiff, eh?"
"Not I--for we are getting old, my good Catherine; we have lived here
twenty years, and we have been too honest to provide for our old days by
pilfering--and truly, at our age, it would be hard to seek another place,
which perhaps we should not find. What I regret is, that Mademoiselle
Adrienne should not keep the land; it seems that she wished to sell it,
against the will of the princess."
"Good gracious, Dupont! is it not very extraordinary that Mademoiselle
Adrienne should have the disposal of her large fortune so early in life?"
"Faith! simple enough. Our young lady, having no father or mother, is
mistress of her property, besides having a famous little will of her own.
Dost remember, ten years ago, when the count brought her down here one
summer?--what an imp of mischief! and then what eyes! eh?--how they
sparkled, even then!"
"It is true that Mademoiselle Adrienne had in her look--an expression--a
very uncommon expression for her age."
"If she has kept what her witching, luring face promised, she must be
very pretty by this time, notwithstanding the peculiar color of her hair-
-for, between ourselves, if she had been a tradesman's daughter, instead
of a young lady of high birth, they would have called it red."
"There again! more slander."
"What! against Mademoiselle Adrienne? Heaven forbid--I always thought
that she would be as good as pretty, and it is not speaking ill of her to
say she has red hair. On the contrary, it always appears to me so fine,
so bright, so sunny, and to suit so well her snowy complexion and black
eyes, that in truth I would not have had it other than it was; and I am
sure, that now this very color of her hair, which would be a blemish in
any one else, must only add to the charm of Mademoiselle Adrienne's face.
She must have such a sweet vixen look!"
"Oh! to be candid, she really was a vixen--always running about the park,
aggravating her governess, climbing the trees--in fact, playing all
manner of naughty tricks."
"I grant you, Mademoiselle Adrienne was a chip of the old block; but then
what wit, what engaging ways, and above all, what a good heart!"
"Yes--that she certainly had. Once I remember she gave her shawl and her
new merino frock to a poor little beggar girl, and came back to the house
in her petticoat, and bare arms."
"Oh, an excellent heart--but headstrong--terribly headstrong!"
"Yes--that she was; and 'tis likely to finish badly, for it seems that
she does things at Paris--oh! such things--"
"Oh, my dear; I can hardly venture--"
"Fell, but what are they?"
"Why," said the worthy dame, with a sort of embarrassment and confusion,
which showed how much she was shocked by such enormities, "they say, that
Mademoiselle Adrienne never sets foot in a church, but lives in a kind of
heathen temple in her aunt's garden, where she has masked women to dress
her up like a goddess, and scratches them very often, because she gets
tipsy--without mentioning, that every night she plays on a hunting horn
of massive gold--all which causes the utmost grief and despair to her
poor aunt the princess."
Here the bailiff burst into a fit of laughter, which interrupted his
"Now tell me," said he, when this first access of hilarity was over,
"where did you get these fine stories about Mademoiselle Adrienne?"
"From Rene's wife, who went to Paris to look for a child to nurse; she
called at Saint-Dizier House, to see Madame Grivois, her godmother.--Now
Madame Grivois is first bedchamber woman to the princess--and she it was
who told her all this--and surely she ought to know, being in the house."
"Yes, a fine piece of goods that Grivois! once she was a regular bad 'un,
but now she professes to be as over-nice as her mistress; like master
like man, they say. The princess herself, who is now so stiff and
starched, knew how to carry on a lively game in her time. Fifteen years
ago, she was no such prude: do you remember that handsome colonel of
hussars, who was in garrison at Abbeville? an exiled noble who had served
in Russia, whom the Bourbons gave a regiment on the Restoration?"
"Yes, yes--I remember him; but you are really too backbiting."
"Not a bit--I only speak the truth. The colonel spent his whole time
here, and every one said he was very warm with this same princess, who is
now such a saint. Oh! those were the jolly times. Every evening, some
new entertainment at the chateau. What a fellow that colonel was, to set
things going; how well he could act a play!--I remember--"
The bailiff was unable to proceed. A stout maid-servant, wearing the
costume and cap of Picardy, entered in haste, and thus addressed her
mistress: "Madame, there is a person here that wants to speak to master;
he has come in the postmaster's calash from Saint-Valery, and he says
that he is M. Rodin."
"M. Rodin?" said the bailiff rising. "Show him in directly!"
A moment after, M. Rodin made his appearance. According to his custom,
he was dressed even more than plainly. With an air of great humility, he
saluted the bailiff and his wife, and at a sign from her husband, the
latter withdrew. The cadaverous countenance of M. Rodin, his almost
invisible lips, his little reptile eyes, half concealed by their flabby
lids, and the sordid style of his dress, rendered his general aspect far
from prepossessing; yet this man knew how, when it was necessary, to
affect, with diabolical art, so much sincerity and good-nature--his words
were so affectionate and subtly penetrating--that the disagreeable
feeling of repugnance, which the first sight of him generally inspired,
wore off little by little, and he almost always finished by involving his
dupe or victim in the tortuous windings of an eloquence as pliant as it
was honeyed and perfidious; for ugliness and evil have their fascination,
as well as what is good and fair.
The honest bailiff looked at this man with surprise, when he thought of
the pressing recommendation of the steward of the Princess de Saint-
Dizier; he had expected to see quite another sort of personage, and,
hardly able to dissemble his astonishment, he said to him: "Is it to M.
Rodin that I have the honor to speak?"
"Yes, sir; and here is another letter from the steward of the Princess de
"Pray, sir, draw near the fire, whilst I just see what is in this letter.
The weather is so bad," continued the bailiff, obligingly, "may I not
offer you some refreshment?"
"A thousand thanks, my dear sir; I am off again in an hour."
Whilst M. Dupont read, M. Rodin threw inquisitive glances round the
chamber; like a man of skill and experience, he had frequently drawn just
and useful inductions from those little appearances, which, revealing a
taste or habit, give at the same time some notion of a character; on this
occasion, however, his curiosity was at fault.
"Very good, sir," said the bailiff, when he had finished reading; "the
steward renews his recommendation, and tells me to attend implicitly to
"Well, sir, they will amount to very little, and I shall not trouble you
"It will be no trouble, but an honor."
"Nay, I know how much your time must be occupied, for, as soon as one
enters this chateau, one is struck with the good order and perfect
keeping of everything in it--which proves, my dear sir, what excellent
care you take of it."
"Oh, sir, you flatter me."
"Flatter you?--a poor old man like myself has something else to think of.
But to come to business: there is a room here which is called the Green
"Yes, sir; the room which the late Count-Duke de Cardoville used for a
"You will have the goodness to take me there."
"Unfortunately, it is not in my power to do so. After the death of the
Count-Duke, and when the seals were removed, a number of papers were shut
up in a cabinet in that room, and the lawyers took the keys with them to
"Here are those keys," said M. Rodin, showing to the bailiff a large and
a small key tied together.
"Oh, sir! that is different. You come to look for papers?"
"Yes--for certain papers--and also far a small mahogany casket, with
silver clasps--do you happen to know it?"
"Yes, sir; I have often seen it on the count's writing-table. It must be
in the large, lacquered cabinet, of which you have the key."
"You will conduct me to this chamber, as authorized by the Princess de
"Yes, sir; the princess continues in good health?"
"Perfectly so. She lives altogether above worldly things."
"And Mademoiselle Adrienne?"
"Alas, my dear sir!" said M. Rodin, with a sigh of deep contrition and
"Good heaven, sir! has any calamity happened to Mademoiselle Adrienne?"
"In what sense do you mean it?"
"Is she ill?"
"No, no--she is, unfortunately, as well as she is beautiful."
"Unfortunately!" cried the bailiff, in surprise.
"Alas, yes! for when beauty, youth, and health are joined to an evil
spirit of revolt and perversity--to a character which certainly has not
its equal upon earth--it would be far better to be deprived of those
dangerous advantages, which only become so many causes of perdition. But
I conjure you, my dear sir, let us talk of something else: this subject
is too painful," said M. Rodin, with a voice of deep emotion, lifting the
tip of his little finger to the corner of his right eye, as if to stop a
The bailiff did not see the tear, but he saw the gesture, and he was
struck with the change in M. Rodin's voice. He answered him, therefore,
with much sympathy: "Pardon my indiscretion, sir; I really did not
"It is I who should ask pardon for this involuntary display of feeling--
tears are so rare with old men--but if you had seen, as I have, the
despair of that excellent princess, whose only fault has been too much
kindness, too much weakness, with regard to her niece--by which she has
encouraged her--but, once more, let us talk of something else, my dear
After a moment's pause, during which M. Rodin seemed to recover from his
emotion, he said to Dupont: "One part of my mission, my dear sir--that
which relates to the Green Chamber--I have now told you; but there is yet
another. Before coming to it, however, I must remind you of a
circumstance you have perhaps forgotten--namely, that some fifteen or
sixteen years ago, the Marquis d'Aigrigny, then colonel of the hussars in
garrison at Abbeville, spent some time in this house."
"Oh, sir! what a dashing officer was there! It was only just now, that I
was talking about him to my wife. He was the life of the house!--how
well he could perform plays--particularly the character of a scapegrace.
In the Two Edmonds, for instance, he would make you die with laughing, in
that part of a drunken soldier--and then, with what a charming voice he
sang Joconde, sir--better than they could sing it at Paris!"
Rodin, having listened complacently to the bailiff, said to him: "You
doubtless know that, after a fierce duel he had with a furious
Bonapartist, one General Simon, the Marquis d'Aigrigny (whose private
secretary I have now the honor to be) left the world for the church."
"No, sir! is it possible? That fine officer!"
"That fine officer--brave, noble, rich, esteemed, and flattered--
abandoned all those advantages for the sorry black gown; and,
notwithstanding his name, position, high connections, his reputation as a
great preacher, he is still what he was fourteen years ago--a plain abbe
--whilst so many, who have neither his merit nor his virtues, are
archbishops and cardinals."
M. Rodin expressed himself with so much goodness, with such an air of
conviction, and the facts he cited appeared to be so incontestable, that
M. Dupont could not help exclaiming: "Well, sir, that is splendid
"Splendid? Oh, no!" said M. Rodin, with an inimitable expression of
simplicity; "it is quite a matter of course when one has a heart like M.
d'Aigrigny's. But amongst all his good qualities, he has particularly
that of never forgetting worthy people--people of integrity, honor,
conscience--and therefore, my dear M. Dupont, he has not forgotten you."
"What, the most noble marquis deigns to remember--"
"Three days ago, I received a letter from him, in which he mentions your
"Is he then at Paris?"
"He will be there soon, if not there now. He went to Italy about three
months ago, and, during his absence, he received a very sad piece of
news--the death of his mother, who was passing the autumn on one of the
estates of the Princess de Saint-Dizier."
"Oh, indeed! I was not aware of it."
"Yes, it was a cruel grief to him; but we must all resign ourselves to
the will of Providence!"
"And with regard to what subject did the marquis do me the honor to
mention my name?"
"I am going to tell you. First of all, you must know that this house is
sold. The bill of sale was signed the day before my departure from
"Oh, sir! that renews all my uneasiness."
"I am afraid that the new proprietors may not choose to keep me as their
"Now see what a lucky chance! It is just on that subject that I am going
to speak to you."
"Is it possible?"
"Certainly. Knowing the interest which the marquis feels for you, I am
particularly desirous that you should keep this place, and I will do all
in my power to serve you, if--"
"Ah, sir!" cried Dupont, interrupting Rodin; "what gratitude do I not owe
you! It is Heaven that sends you to me!'
"Now, my dear sir, you flatter me in your turn; but I ought to tell you,
that I'm obliged to annex a small condition to my support."
"Oh, by all means! Only name it, sir--name it!"
"The person who is about to inhabit this mansion, is an old lady in every
way worthy of veneration; Madame de la Sainte-Colombe is the name of this
"What, sir?" said the bailiff, interrupting Rodin; "Madame de la Sainte-
Colombe the lady who has bought us out?"
"Do you know her?"
"Yes, sir, she came last week to see the estate. My wife persists that
she is a great lady; but--between ourselves--judging by certain words
that I heard her speak--"
"You are full of penetration, my dear M. Dupont. Madame de la Sainte-
Colombe is far from being a great lady. I believe she was neither more
nor less than a milliner, under one of the wooden porticoes of the Palais
Royal. You see, that I deal openly with you."
"And she boasted of all the noblemen, French and foreign, who used to
"No doubt, they came to buy bonnets for their wives! However, the fact
is, that, having gained a large fortune and, after being in youth and
middle age--indifferent--alas! more than indifferent to the salvation of
her soul--Madame de la Sainte-Colombe is now in a likely way to
experience grace--which renders her, as I told you, worthy of veneration,
because nothing is so respectable as a sincere repentance--always
providing it to be lasting. Now to make the good work sure and
effectual, we shall need your assistance, my dear M. Dupont."
"Mine, sir! what can I do in it?"
"A great deal; and I will explain to you how. There is no church in this
village, which stands at an equal distance from either of two parishes.
Madame de la Sainte-Colombe, wishing to make choice of one of the two
clergymen, will naturally apply to you and Madame Dupont, who have long
lived in these parts, for information respecting them."
"Oh! in that case the choice will soon be made. The incumbent of
Danicourt is one of the best of men."
"Now that is precisely what you must not say to Madame de la Sainte-
"You must, on the contrary, much praise, without ceasing, the curate of
Roiville, the other parish, so as to decide this good lady to trust
herself to his care."
"And why, sir, to him rather than to the other?"
"Why?--because, if you and Madame Dupont succeed in persuading Madame de
la Sainte-Colombe to make the choice I wish, you will be certain to keep
your place as bailiff. I give you my word of it, and what I promise I
"I do not doubt, sir, that you have this power," said Dupont, convinced
by Rodin's manner, and the authority of his words; "but I should like to
"One word more," said Rodin, interrupting him; "I will deal openly with
you, and tell you why I insist on the preference which I beg you to
support. I should be grieved if you saw in all this the shadow of an
intrigue. It is only for the purpose of doing a good action. The curate
of Roiville, for whom I ask your influence, is a man for whom M.
d'Aigrigny feels a deep interest. Though very poor, he has to support an
aged mother. Now, if he had the spiritual care of Madame de la Sainte-
Colombe, he would do more good than any one else, because he is full of
zeal and patience; and then it is clear he would reap some little
advantages, by which his old mother might profit--there you see is the
secret of this mighty scheme. When I knew that this lady was disposed to
buy an estate in the neighborhood of our friend's parish, I wrote about
it to the marquis; and he, remembering you, desired me to ask you to
render him this small service, which, as you see, will not remain without
a recompense. For I tell you once more, and I will prove it, that I have
the power to keep you in your place as bailiff."
"Well, sir," replied Dupont, after a moment's reflection, "you are so
frank and obliging, that I will imitate your sincerity. In the same
degree that the curate of Danicourt is respected and loved in this
country, the curate of Roiville, whom you wish me to prefer to him, is
dreaded for his intolerance--and, moreover--"
"Well, and what more?"
"Why, then, they say--"
"Come, what do they say?"
"They say--he is a Jesuit."
Upon these words, M. Rodin burst into so hearty a laugh that the bailiff
was quite struck dumb with amazement--for the countenance of M. Rodin
took a singular expression when he laughed. "A Jesuit!" he repeated,
with redoubled hilarity; "a Jesuit!--Now really, my dear M. Dupont, for a
man of sense, experience, and intelligence, how can you believe such idle
stories?--A Jesuit--are there such people as Jesuits?--in our time, above
all, can you believe such romance of the Jacobins, hobgoblins of the old
freedom lovers?--Come, come; I wager, you have read about them in the
"And yet, sir, they say--"
"Good heavens! what will they not say?--But wise men, prudent men like
you, do not meddle with what is said--they manage their own little
matters, without doing injury to any one, and they never sacrifice, for
the sake of nonsense, a good place, which secures them a comfortable
provision for the rest of their days. I tell you frankly, however much I
may regret it, that should you not succeed in getting the preference for
my man, you will not remain bailiff here.
"But, sir," said poor Dupont, "it will not be my fault, if this lady,
hearing a great deal in praise of the other curate, should prefer him to
"Ah! but if, on the other hand, persons who have long lived in the
neighborhood--persons worthy of confidence, whom she will see every day--
tell Madame de la Sainte-Colombe a great deal of good of my friend, and a
great deal of harm of the other curate, she will prefer the former, and
you will continue bailiff."
"But, sir--that would be calumny!" cried Dupont.
"Pshaw, my dear M. Dupont!" said Rodin, with an air of sorrowful and
affectionate reproach, "how can you think me capable of giving you evil
counsel?--I was only making a supposition. You wish to remain bailiff on
this estate. I offer you the certainty of doing so--it is for you to
consider and decide."
"One word more--or rather one more condition--as important as the other.
Unfortunately, we have seen clergymen take advantage of the age and
weakness of their penitents, unfairly to benefit either themselves or
others: I believe our protege incapable of any such baseness--but, in
order to discharge my responsibility--and yours also, as you will have
contributed to his appointment--I must request that you will write to me
twice a week, giving the most exact detail of all that you have remarked
in the character, habits, connections, pursuits, of Madame de la Sainte-
Colombe--for the influence of a confessor, you see, reveals itself in the
whole conduct of life, and I should wish to be fully edified by the
proceedings of my friend, without his being aware of it--or, if anything
blameable were to strike you, I should be immediately informed of it by
this weekly correspondence."
"But, sir--that would be to act as a spy?" exclaimed the unfortunate
"Now, my dear M. Dupont! how can you thus brand the sweetest, most
wholesome of human desires--mutual confidence?--I ask of you nothing
else--I ask of you to write to me confidentially the details of all that
goes on here. On these two conditions, inseparable one from the other,
you remain bailiff; otherwise, I shall be forced, with grief and regret,
to recommend some one else to Madame de la Sainte-Colombe."
"I beg you, sir," said Dupont, with emotion, "Be generous without any
conditions!--I and my wife have only this place to give us bread, and we
are too old to find another. Do not expose our probity of forty years'
standing to be tempted by the fear of want, which is so bad a
"My dear M. Dupont, you are really a great child: you must reflect upon
this, and give me your answer in the course of a week."
"Oh, sir! I implore you--" The conversation was here interrupted by a
loud report, which was almost instantaneously repeated by the echoes of
the cliffs. "What is that?" said M. Rodin. Hardly had he spoken, when
the same noise was again heard more distinctly than before.
"It is the sound of cannon," cried Dupont, rising; "no doubt a ship in
distress, or signaling for a pilot."
"My dear," said the bailiffs wife, entering abruptly, "from the terrace,
we can see a steamer and a large ship nearly dismasted--they are drifting
right upon the shore--the ship is firing minute gulls--it will be lost."
"Oh, it is terrible!" cried the bailiff, taking his hat and preparing to
go out, "to look on at a shipwreck, and be able to do nothing!"
"Can no help be given to these vessels?" asked M. Rodin.
"If they are driven upon the reefs, no human power can save them; since
the last equinox two ships have been lost on this coast."
"Lost with all on board?--Oh, very frightful," said M. Rodin.
"In such a storm, there is but little chance for the crew; no matter,"
said the bailiff, addressing his wife, "I will run down to the rocks with
the people of the farm, and try to save some of them, poor creatures!--
Light large fires in several rooms--get ready linen, clothes, cordials--I
scarcely dare hope to save any, but we must do our best. Will you come
with me, M. Rodin?"
"I should think it a duty, if I could be at all useful, but I am too old
and feeble to be of any service," said M. Rodin, who was by no means
anxious to encounter the storm. "Your good lady will be kind enough to
show me the Green Chamber, and when I have found the articles I require,
I will set out immediately for Paris, for I am in great haste."
"Very well, sir. Catherine will show you. Ring the big bell," said the
bailiff to his servant; "let all the people of the farm meet me at the
foot of the cliff, with ropes and levers."
"Yes, my dear," replied Catherine; "but do not expose yourself."
"Kiss me--it will bring me luck," said the bailiff; and he started at a
full run, crying: "Quick! quick; by this time not a plank may remain of
"My dear madam," said Rodin, always impassible, "will you be obliging
enough to show me the Green Chamber?"
"Please to follow me, sir," answered Catherine, drying her tears--for she
trembled on account of her husband, whose courage she well knew.
The sea is raging. Mountainous waves of dark green, marbled with white
foam, stand out, in high, deep undulations, from the broad streak of red
light, which extends along the horizon. Above are piled heavy masses of
black and sulphurous vapor, whilst a few lighter clouds of a reddish
gray, driven by the violence of the wind, rush across the murky sky.
The pale winter sun, before he quite disappears in the great clouds,
behind which he is slowly mounting, casts here and there some oblique
rays upon the troubled sea, and gilds the transparent crest of some of
the tallest waves. A band of snow-white foam boils and rages as far as
the eye can reach, along the line of the reefs that bristle on this
Half-way up a rugged promontory, which juts pretty far into the sea,
rises Cardoville Castle; a ray of the sun glitters upon its windows; its
brick walls and pointed roofs of slate are visible in the midst of this
sky loaded with vapors.
A large, disabled ship, with mere shreds of sail still fluttering from
the stumps of broken masts, drives dead upon the coast. Now she rolls
her monstrous hull upon the waves--now plunges into their trough. A
flash is seen, followed by a dull sound, scarcely perceptible in the
midst of the roar of the tempest. That gun is the last signal of
distress from this lost vessel, which is fast forging on the breakers.
At the same moment, a steamer, with its long plume of black smoke, is
working her way from east to west, making every effort to keep at a
distance from the shore, leaving the breakers on her left. The dismasted
ship, drifting towards the rocks, at the mercy of the wind and tide, must
some time pass right ahead of the steamer.
Suddenly, the rush of a heavy sea laid the steamer upon her side; the
enormous wave broke furiously on her deck; in a second the chimney was
carried away, the paddle box stove in, one of the wheels rendered
useless. A second white-cap, following the first, again struck the
vessel amidships, and so increased the damage that, no longer answering
to the helm, she also drifted towards the shore, in the same direction as
the ship. But the latter, though further from the breakers, presented a
greater surface to the wind and sea, and so gained upon the steamer in
swiftness that a collision between the two vessels became imminent--a new
clanger added to all the horrors of the now certain wreck.
The ship was an English vessel, the "Black Eagle," homeward bound from
Alexandria, with passengers, who arriving from India and Java, via the
Red Sea, had disembarked at the Isthmus of Suez, from on board the
steamship "Ruyter." The "Black Eagle," quitting the Straits of
Gibraltar, had gone to touch at the Azores. She headed thence for
Portsmouth, when she was overtaken in the Channel by the northwester.
The steamer was the "William Tell," coming from Germany, by way of the
Elbe, and bound, in the last place, for Hamburg to Havre.
These two vessels, the sport of enormous rollers, driven along by tide
and tempest, were now rushing upon the breakers with frightful speed.
The deck of each offered a terrible spectacle; the loss of crew and
passengers appeared almost certain, for before them a tremendous sea
broke on jagged rocks, at the foot of a perpendicular cliff.
The captain of the "Black Eagle," standing on the poop, holding by the
remnant of a spar, issued his last orders in this fearful extremity with
courageous coolness. The smaller boats had been carried away by the
waves; it was in vain to think of launching the long-boat; the only
chance of escape in case the ship should not be immediately dashed to
pieces on touching the rocks, was to establish a communication with the
land by means of a life-line--almost the last resort for passing between
the shore and a stranded vessel.
The deck was covered with passengers, whose cries and terror augmented
the general confusion. Some, struck with a kind of stupor, and clinging
convulsively to the shrouds, awaited their doom in a state of stupid
insensibility. Others wrung their hands in despair, or rolled upon the
deck uttering horrible imprecations. Here, women knelt down to pray;
there, others hid their faces in their hands, that they might not see the
awful approach of death. A young mother, pale as a specter, holding her
child clasped tightly to her bosom, went supplicating from sailor to
sailor, and offering a purse full of gold and jewels to any one that
would take charge of her son.
These cries, and tears, and terror contrasted with the stern and silent
resignation of the sailors. Knowing the imminence of the inevitable
danger, some of them stripped themselves of part of their clothes,
waiting for the moment to make a last effort, to dispute their lives with
the fury of the waves; others renouncing all hope, prepared to meet death
with stoical indifference.
Here and there, touching or awful episodes rose in relief, if one may so
express it, from this dark and gloomy background of despair.
A young man of about eighteen or twenty, with shiny black hair, copper-
colored complexion, and perfectly regular and handsome features,
contemplated this scene of dismay and horror with that sad calmness
peculiar to those who have often braved great perils; wrapped in a cloak,
he leaned his back against the bulwarks, with his feet resting against
one of the bulkheads. Suddenly, the unhappy mother, who, with her child
in her arms, and gold in her hand, had in vain addressed herself to
several of the mariners, to beg them to save her boy, perceiving the
young man with the copper-colored complexion, threw herself on her knees
before him, and lifted her child towards him with a burst of
inexpressible agony. The young man took it, mournfully shook his head,
and pointed to the furious waves--but, with a meaning gesture, he
appeared to promise that he would at least try to save it. Then the
young mother, in a mad transport of hope, seized the hand of the youth,
and bathed it with her tears.
Further on, another passenger of the "Black Eagle," seemed animated by
sentiments of the most active pity. One would hardly have given him
five-and-twenty years of age. His long, fair locks fell in curls on
either side of his angelic countenance. He wore a black cassock and
white neck-band. Applying himself to comfort the most desponding, he
went from one to the other, and spoke to them pious words of hope and
resignation; to hear him console some, and encourage others, in language
full of unction, tenderness, and ineffable charity, one would have
supposed him unaware or indifferent to the perils that he shared.
On his fine, mild features, was impressed a calm and sacred intrepidity,
a religious abstraction from every terrestrial thought; from time to
time, he raised to heaven his large blue eyes, beaming with gratitude,
love, and serenity, as if to thank God for having called him to one of
those formidable trials in which the man of humanity and courage may
devote himself for his brethren, and, if not able to rescue them at all,
at least die with them, pointing to the sky. One might almost have taken
him for an angel, sent down to render less cruel the strokes of
Strange contrast! not far from this young man's angelic beauty, there was
another being, who resembled an evil spirit!
Boldly mounted on what was left of the bowsprit, to which he held on by
means of some remaining cordage, this man looked down upon the terrible
scene that was passing on the deck. A grim, wild joy lighted up his
countenance of a dead yellow, that tint peculiar to those who spring from
the union of the white race with the East. He wore only a shirt and
linen drawers; from his neck was suspended, by a cord, a cylindrical tin
box, similar to that in which soldiers carry their leave of absence.
The more the danger augmented, the nearer the ship came to the breakers,
or to a collision with the steamer, which she was now rapidly
approaching--a terrible collision, which would probably cause the two
vessels to founder before even they touched the rocks--the more did the
infernal joy of this passenger reveal itself in frightful transports. He
seemed to long, with ferocious impatience, for the moment when the work
of destruction should be accomplished. To see him thus feasting with
avidity on all the agony, the terror, and the despair of those around
him, one might have taken him for the apostle of one of those sanguinary
deities, who, in barbarous countries, preside over murder and carnage.
By this time the "Black Eagle," driven by the wind and waves, came so
near the "William Tell" that the passengers on the deck of the nearly
dismantled steamer were visible from the first-named vessel.
These passengers were no longer numerous. The heavy sea, which stove in
the paddle-box and broke one of the paddles, had also carried away nearly
the whole of the bulwarks on that side; the waves, entering every instant
by this large opening, swept the decks with irresistible violence, and
every time bore away with them some fresh victims.
Amongst the passengers, who seemed only to have escaped this danger to be
hurled against the rocks, or crushed in the encounter of the two vessels,
one group was especially worthy of the most tender and painful interest.
Taking refuge abaft, a tall old man, with bald forehead and gray
moustache, had lashed himself to a stanchion, by winding a piece of rope
round his body, whilst he clasped in his arms, and held fast to his
breast, two girls of fifteen or sixteen, half enveloped in a pelisse of
reindeer-skin. A large, fallow, Siberian dog, dripping with water, and
barking furiously at the waves, stood close to their feet.
These girls, clasped in the arms of the old man, also pressed close to
each other; but, far from being lost in terror, they raised their eyes to
heaven, full of confidence and ingenuous hope, as though they expected to
be saved by the intervention of some supernatural power.
A frightful shriek of horror and despair, raised by the passengers of
both vessels, was heard suddenly above the roar of the tempest. At the
moment when, plunging deeply between two waves, the broadside of the
steamer was turned towards the bows of the ship, the latter, lifted to a
prodigious height on a mountain of water, remained, as it were, suspended
over the "William Tell," during the second which preceded the shock of
the two vessels.
There are sights of so sublime a horror, that it is impossible to
describe them. Yet, in the midst of these catastrophes, swift as
thought, one catches sometimes a momentary glimpse of a picture, rapid
and fleeting, as if illumined by a flash of lightning.
Thus, when the "Black Eagle," poised aloft by the flood, was about to
crash down upon the "William Tell," the young man with the angelic
countenance and fair, waving locks bent over the prow of the ship, ready
to cast himself into the sea to save some victim. Suddenly, he perceived
on board the steamer, on which he looked down from the summit of the
immense wave, the two girls extending their arms towards him in
supplication. They appeared to recognize him, and gazed on him with a
sort of ecstacy and religious homage!
For a second, in spite of the horrors of the tempest, in spite of the
approaching shipwreck, the looks of those three beings met. The features
of the young man were expressive of sudden and profound pity; for the
maidens with their hands clasped in prayer, seemed to invoke him as their
expected Saviour. The old man, struck down by the fall of a plank, lay
helpless on the deck. Soon all disappeared together.
A fearful mass of water dashed the "Black Eagle" down upon the "William
Tell," in the midst of a cloud of boiling foam. To the dreadful crash of
the two great bodies of wood and iron, which splintering against one
another, instantly foundered, one loud cry was added--a cry of agony and
death--the cry of a hundred human creatures swallowed up at once by the
And then--nothing more was visible!
A few moments after, the fragments of the two vessels appeared in the
trough of the sea, and on the caps of the waves--with here and there the
contracted arms, the livid and despairing faces of some unhappy wretches,
striving to make their way to the reefs along the shore, at the risk of
being crushed to death by the shock of the furious breakers.
While the bailiff was gone to the sea-shore, to render help to those of
the passengers who might escape from the inevitable shipwreck, M. Rodin,
conducted by Catherine to the Green Chamber, had there found the articles
that he was to take with him to Paris.
After passing two hours in this apartment, very indifferent to the fate
of the shipwrecked persons, which alone absorbed the attention of the
inhabitants of the Castle, Rodin returned to the chamber commonly
occupied by the bailiff, a room which opened upon a long gallery. When
he entered it he found nobody there. Under his arm he held a casket,
with silver fastenings, almost black from age, whilst one end of a large
red morocco portfolio projected from the breast-pocket of his half-
buttoned great coat.
Had the cold and livid countenance of the Abbe d'Aigrigny's secretary
been able to express joy otherwise than by a sarcastic smile, his
features would have been radiant with delight; for, just then, he was
under the influence of the most agreeable thoughts. Having placed the
casket upon a table, it was with marked satisfaction that he thus
communed with himself:
"All goes well. It was prudent to keep these papers here till this
moment, for one must always be on guard against the diabolical spirit of
that Adrienne de Cardoville, who appears to guess instinctively what it
is impossible she should know. Fortunately, the time approaches when we
shall have no more need to fear her. Her fate will be a cruel one; it
must be so. Those proud, independent characters are at all times our
natural enemies--they are so by their very essence--how much more when
they show themselves peculiarly hurtful and dangerous! As for La Sainte-
Colombe, the bailiff is sure to act for us; between what the fool calls
his conscience, and the dread of being at his age deprived of a
livelihood, he will not hesitate. I wish to have him because he will
serve us better than a stranger; his having been here twenty years will
prevent all suspicion on the part of that dull and narrow-minded woman.
Once in the hands of our man at Roiville, I will answer for the result.
The course of all such gross and stupid women is traced beforehand: in
their youth, they serve the devil; in riper years, they make others serve
him; in their old age, they are horribly afraid of him; and this fear
must continue till she has left us the Chateau de Cardoville, which, from
its isolated position, will make us an excellent college. All then goes
well. As for the affair of the medals, the 13th of February approaches,
without news from Joshua--evidently, Prince Djalma is still kept prisoner
by the English in the heart of India, or I must have received letters
from Batavia. The daughters of General Simon will be detained at Leipsic
for at least a month longer. All our foreign relations are in the best
condition. As for our internal affairs--"
Here M. Rodin was interrupted in the current of his reflections by the
entrance of Madame Dupont, who was zealously engaged in preparations to
give assistance in case of need.
"Now," said she to the servant, "light a fire in the next room; put this
warm wine there; your master may be in every minute."
"Well, my dear madam," said Rodin to her, "do they hope to save any of
these poor creatures?"
"Alas! I do not know, sir. My husband has been gone nearly two hours. I
am terribly uneasy on his account. He is so courageous, so imprudent, if
once he thinks he can be of any service."
"Courageous even to imprudence," said Rodin to himself, impatiently; "I
do not like that."
"Well," resumed Catherine, "I have here at hand my hot linen, my
cordials--heaven grant it may all be of use!"
"We may at least hope so, my dear madam. I very much regretted that my
age and weakness did not permit me to assist your excellent husband. I
also regret not being able to wait for the issue of his exertions, and to
wish him joy if successful--for I am unfortunately compelled to depart,
my moments are precious. I shall be much obliged if you will have the
carriage got ready."
"Yes, Sir; I will see about it directly."
"One word, my dear, good Madame Dupont. You are a woman of sense, and
excellent judgment. Now I have put your husband in the way to keep, if
he will, his situation as bailiff of the estate--"
"Is it possible? What gratitude do we not owe you! Without this place
what would become of us at our time of life?"
"I have only saddled my promise with two conditions--mere trifles--he
will explain all that to you."
"Ah, sir! we shall regard you as our deliverer."
"You are too good. Only, on two little conditions--"
"If there were a hundred, sir we should gladly accept them. Think what
we should be without this place--penniless--absolutely penniless!"
"I reckon upon you then; for the interest of your husband, you will try
to persuade him."
"Missus! I say, missus! here's master come back," cried a servant,
rushing into the chamber.
"Has he many with him?"
"No, missus; he is alone."
"Quite alone, missus."
A few moments after, M. Dupont entered the room; his clothes were
streaming with water; to keep his hat on in the midst of the storm, he
had tied it down to his head by means of his cravat, which was knotted
under his chin; his gaiters were covered with chalky stains.
"There I have thee, my dear love!" cried his wife, tenderly embracing
him. "I have been so uneasy!"
"Up to the present moment--THREE SAVED."
"God be praised, my dear M. Dupont!" said Rodin; "at least your efforts
will not have been all in vain."
"Three, only three?" said Catherine. "Gracious heaven!"
"I only speak of those I saw myself, near the little creek of Goelands.
Let us hope there may be more saved on other parts of the coast."
"Yes, indeed; happily, the shore is not equally steep in all parts."
"And where are these interesting sufferers, my dear sir?" asked Rodin,
who could not avoid remaining a few instants longer.
"They are mounting the cliffs, supported by our people. As they cannot
walk very fast, I ran on before to console my wife, and to take the
necessary measures for their reception. First of all, my dear, you must
get ready some women's clothes."
"There is then a woman amongst the persons saved?"
"There are two girls--fifteen or sixteen years of age at the most--mere
children--and so pretty!"
"Poor little things!" said Rodin, with an affectation of interest.
"The person to whom they owe their lives is with them. He is a real
"Yes; only fancy--"
"You can tell me all this by and by. Just slip on this dry warm
dressing-gown, and take some of this hot wine. You are wet through."
"I'll not refuse, for I am almost frozen to death. I was telling you
that the person who saved these young girls was a hero; and certainly his
courage was beyond anything one could have imagined. When I left here
with the men of the farm, we descended the little winding path, and
arrived at the foot of the cliff--near the little creek of Goelands,
fortunately somewhat sheltered from the waves by five or six enormous
masses of rock stretching out into the sea. Well, what should we find
there? Why, the two young girls I spoke of, in a swoon, with their feet
still in the water, and their bodies resting against a rock, as though
they had been placed there by some one, after being withdrawn from the
"Dear children! it is quite touching!" said M. Rodin, raising, as usual,
the tip of his little finger to the corner of his right eye, as though to
dry a tear, which was very seldom visible.
"What struck me was their great resemblance to each other," resumed the
bailiff; "only one in the habit of seeing them could tell the
"Twin--sisters, no doubt," said Madame Dupont.
"One of the poor things," continued the bailiff, "held between her
clasped hands a little bronze medal, which was suspended from her neck by
a chain of the same material."
Rodin generally maintained a very stooping posture; but at these last
words of the bailiff, he drew himself up suddenly, whilst a faint color
spread itself over his livid cheeks. In any other person, these symptoms
would have appeared of little consequence; but in Rodin, accustomed for
long years to control and dissimulate his emotions, they announced no
ordinary excitement. Approaching the bailiff, he said to him in a
slightly agitated voice, but still with an air of indifference: "It was
doubtless a pious relic. Did you see what was inscribed on this medal?"
"No, sir; I did not think of it."
"And the two young girls were like one another--very much like, you say?"
"So like, that one would hardly know which was which. Probably they are
orphans, for they are dressed in mourning."
"Oh! dressed in mourning?" said M. Rodin, with another start.
"Alas! orphans so young!" said Madame Dupont, wiping her eyes.
"As they had fainted away, we carried them further on to a place where
the sand was quite dry. While we were busy about this, we saw the head
of a man appear from behind one of the rocks, which he was trying to
climb, clinging to it by one hand; we ran to him, and luckily in the nick
of time, for he was clean worn out, and fell exhausted into the arms of
our men. It was of him I spoke when I talked of a hero; for, not content
with having saved the two young girls by his admirable courage, he had
attempted to rescue a third person, and had actually gone back amongst
the rocks and breakers--but his strength failed him, and, without the aid
of our men, he would certainly have been washed away from the ridge to
which he clung."
"He must indeed be a fine fellow!" said Catherine.
Rodin, with his head bowed upon his breast, seemed quite indifferent to
this conversation. The dismay and stupor, in which he had been plunged,
only increased upon reflection. The two girls, who had just been saved,
were fifteen years of age; were dressed in mourning; were so like, that
one might be taken for the other; one of them wore round her neck a chain
with a bronze medal; he could scarcely doubt that they were the daughters
of General Simon. But how could those sisters be amongst the number of
shipwrecked passengers? How could they have escaped from the prison at
Leipsic? How did it happen, that he had not been informed of it? Could
they have fled, or had they been set at liberty? How was it possible
that he should not be apprise of such an event? But these secondary
thoughts, which offered themselves in crowds to the mind of M. Rodin,
were swallowed up in the one fact: "the daughters of General Simon are
here!"--His plan, so laboriously laid, was thus entirely destroyed.
"When I speak of the deliverer of these young girls," resumed the
bailiff, addressing his wife, and without remarking M. Rodin's absence of
mind, "you are expecting no doubt to see a Hercules?--well, he is
altogether the reverse. He is almost a boy in look, with fair, sweet
face, and light, curling locks. I left him a cloak to cover him, for he
had nothing on but his shirt, black knee-breeches, and a pair of black
worsted stockings--which struck me as singular."
"Why, it was certainly not a sailor's dress."
"Besides, though the ship was English, I believe my hero is a Frenchman,
for he speaks our language as well as we do. What brought the tears to
my eyes, was to see the young girls, when they came to themselves. As
soon as they saw him, they threw themselves at his feet, and seemed to
look up to him and thank him, as one would pray. Then they cast their
eyes around them, as if in search of some other person, and, having
exchanged a few words, they fell sobbing into each other's arms."
"What a dreadful thing it is! How many poor creatures must have
"When we quitted the rocks, the sea had already cast ashore seven dead
bodies, besides fragments of the wrecks, and packages. I spoke to some
of the coast-guard, and they will remain all day on the look-out; and if,
as I hope, any more should escape with life, they are to be brought here.
But surely that is the sound of voices!--yes, it is our shipwrecked
The bailiff and his wife ran to the door of the room--that door, which
opened on the long gallery--whilst Rodin, biting convulsively his flat
nails, awaited with angry impatience the arrival of the strangers. A
touching picture soon presented itself to his view.
From the end of the dark some gallery, only lighted on one side by
several windows, three persons, conducted by a peasant, advanced slowly.
This group consisted of the two maidens, and the intrepid young man to
whom they owed their lives. Rose and Blanche were on either side of
their deliverer, who, walking with great difficulty, supported himself
lightly on their arms.
Though he was full twenty-five years of age, the juvenile countenance of
this man made him appear younger. His long, fair hair, parted on the
forehead, streamed wet and smooth over the collar of a large brown cloak,
with which he had been covered. It would be difficult to describe the
adorable expression of goodness in his pale, mild face, as pure as the
most ideal creations of Raphael's pencil--for that divine artist alone
could have caught the melancholy grace of those exquisite features, the
serenity of that celestial look, from eyes limpid and blue as those of an
archangel, or of a martyr ascended to the skies.
Yes, of a martyr! for a blood-red halo already encircled that beauteous
head. Piteous sight to see! just above his light eyebrows, and rendered
still more visible by the effect of the cold, a narrow cicatrix, from a
wound inflicted many months before, appeared to encompass his fair
forehead with a purple band; and (still more sad!) his hands had been
cruelly pierced by a crucifixion--his feet had suffered the same injury--
and, if he now walked with so much difficulty, it was that his wounds had
reopened, as he struggled over the sharp rocks.
This young man was Gabriel, the priest attached to the foreign mission,
the adopted son of Dagobert's wife. He was a priest and martyr--for, in
our days, there are still martyrs, as in the time when the Caesars flung
the early Christians to the lions and tigers of the circus.
Yes, in our days, the children of the people--for it is almost always
amongst them that heroic and disinterested devotion may still be found--
the children of the people, led by an honorable conviction, because it is
courageous and sincere, go to all parts of the world, to try and
propagate their faith, and brave both torture and death with the most
How many of them, victims of some barbarous tribe, have perished, obscure
and unknown, in the midst of the solitudes of the two worlds!--And for
these humble soldiers of the cross, who have nothing but their faith and
their intrepidity, there is never reserved on their return (and they
seldom do return) the rich and sumptuous dignities of the church. Never
does the purple or the mitre conceal their scarred brows and mutilated
limbs; like the great majority of other soldiers, they die forgotten.
In their ingenuous gratitude, the daughters of General Simon, as soon as
they recovered their senses after the shipwreck, and felt themselves able
to ascend the cliffs, would not leave to any other person the care of
sustaining the faltering steps of him who had rescued them from certain
The black garments of Rose and Blanche streamed with water; their faces
were deadly pale, and expressive of deep grief; the marks of recent tears
were on their cheeks, and, with sad, downcast eyes, they trembled both
from agitation and cold, as the agonizing thought recurred to them, that
they should never again see Dagobert, their friend and guide; for it was
to him that Gabriel had stretched forth a helping hand, to assist him to
climb the rocks. Unfortunately the strength of both had failed, and the
soldier had been carried away by a retreating wave.
The sight of Gabriel was a fresh surprise for Rodin, who had retired on
one side, in order to observe all; but this surprise was of so pleasant a
nature, and he felt so much joy in beholding the missionary safe after
such imminent peril, that the painful impression, caused by the view of
General Simon's daughters, was a little softened. It must not be
forgotten, that the presence of Gabriel in Paris, on the 13th of
February, was essential to the success of Rodin's projects.
The bailiff and his wife, who were greatly moved at sight of the orphans,
approached them with eagerness. Just then a farm-boy entered the room,
crying: "Sir! sir! good news--two more saved from the wreck!"
"Blessing and praise to God for it!" said the missionary.
"Where are they?" asked the bailiff, hastening towards the door.
"There is one who can walk, and is following behind me with Justin; the
other was wounded against the rocks, and they are carrying him on a
litter made of branches."
"I will run and have him placed in the room below," said the bailiff, as
he went out. "Catherine, you can look to the young ladies."
"And the shipwrecked man who can walk--where is he?" asked the bailiff's
"Here he is," said the peasant, pointing to some one who came rapidly
along the gallery; "when he heard that the two young ladies were safe in
the chateau--though he is old, and wounded in the head, he took such
great strides, that it was all I could do to get here before him."
Hardly had the peasant pronounced these words, when Rose and Blanche,
springing up by a common impulse, flew to the door. They arrived there
at the same moment as Dagobert.
The soldier, unable to utter a syllable, fell on his knees at the
threshold, and extended his arms to the daughters of General Simon; while
Spoil-sport, running to them licked their hands.
But the emotion was too much for Dagobert; and, when he had clasped the
orphans in his arms, his head fell backward, and he would have sunk down
altogether, but for the care of the peasants. In spite of the
observations of the bailiff's wife, on their state of weakness and
agitation, the two young girls insisted on accompanying Dagobert, who was
carried fainting into an adjoining apartment.
At sight of the soldier, Rodin's face was again violently contracted, for
he had till then believed that the guide of General Simon's daughters was
dead. The missionary, worn out with fatigue, was leaning upon a chair,
and had not yet perceived Rodin.
A new personage, a man with a dead yellow complexion, now entered the
room, accompanied by another peasant, who pointed out Gabriel to him.
This man, who had just borrowed a smock-frock and a pair of trousers,
approached the missionary, and said to him in French but with a foreign
accent: "Prince Djalma has just been brought in here. His first word was
to ask for you."
"What does that man say?" cried Rodin, in a voice of thunder; for, at the
name of Djalma, he had sprung with one bound to Gabriel's side.
"M. Rodin!" exclaimed the missionary, falling back in surprise.
"M. Rodin," cried the other shipwrecked person; and from that moment, he
kept his eye fixed on the correspondent of M. Van Dael.
"You here, sir?" said Gabriel, approaching Rodin with an air of
deference, not unmixed with fear.
"What did that man say to you?" repeated Rodin, in an excited tone. "Did
he not utter the name of Prince Djalma?"
"Yes, sir; Prince Djalma was one of the passengers on board the English
ship, which came from Alexandria, and in which we have just been wrecked.
This vessel touched at the Azores, where I then was; the ship that
brought me from Charlestown having been obliged to put in there, and
being likely to remain for some time, on account of serious damage, I
embarked on board the 'Black Eagle,' where I met Prince Djalma. We were
bound to Portsmouth, and from thence my intention was to proceed to
Rodin did not care to interrupt Gabriel. This new shock had completely
paralyzed his thoughts. At length, like a man who catches at a last
hope, which he knows beforehand to be vain, he said to Gabriel: "Can you
tell me who this Prince Djalma is?"
"A young man as good as brave--the son of an East Indian king,
dispossessed of his territory by the English."
Then, turning towards the other shipwrecked man, the missionary said to
him with anxious interest: "How is the Prince? are his wounds dangerous?"
"They are serious contusions, but they will not be mortal," answered the
"Heaven be praised!" said the missionary, addressing Rodin; "here, you
see, is another saved."
"So much the better," observed Rodin, in a quick, imperious tone.
"I will go see him," said Gabriel, submissively. "You have no orders to
"Will you be able to leave this place in two or three hours,
notwithstanding your fatigue?"
"If it be necessary--yes."
"It is necessary. You will go with me."
Gabriel only bowed in reply, and Rodin sank confounded into a chair,
while the missionary went out with the peasant. The man with the sallow
complexion still lingered in a corner of the room, unperceived by Rodin.
This man was Faringhea, the half-caste, one of the three chiefs of the
Stranglers. Having escaped the pursuit of the soldiers in the ruins of
Tchandi, he had killed Mahal the Smuggler, and robbed him of the
despatches written by M. Joshua Van Dael to Rodin, as also of the letter
by which the smuggler was to have been received as passenger on board the
"Ruyter." When Faringhea left the hut in the ruins of Tchandi, he had
not been seen by Djalma; and the latter, when he met him on shipboard,
after his escape (which we shall explain by and by), not knowing that he
belonged to the sect of Phansegars, treated him during the voyage as a
Rodin, with his eye fixed and haggard, his countenance of a livid hue,
biting his nails to the quick in silent rage, did not perceive the half-
caste, who quietly approached him and laying his hand familiarly on his
shoulder, said to him: "Your name is Rodin?"
"What now?" asked the other, starting, and raising his head abruptly.
"Your name is Rodin?" repeated Faringhea.
"Yes. What do you want?"
"You live in the Rue du Milieu-des-Ursins, Paris?"
"Yes. But, once more, what do you want?"
"Nothing now, brother: hereafter, much!"
And Faringhea, retiring, with slow steps, left Rodin alarmed at what had
passed; for this man, who scarcely trembled at anything, had quailed
before the dark look and grim visage of the Strangler.
We always remember with emotion the end of a letter written, two or
three years ago, by one of these young and valiant missionaries, the son
of poor parents in Beauce. He was writing to his mother from the heart
of Japan, and thus concluded his letter: "Adieu, my dear mother! they say
there is much danger where I am now sent to. Pray for me, and tell all
our good neighbors that I think of them very often." These few words,
addressed from the centre of Asia to poor peasants in a hamlet of France,
are only the more touching from their very simplicity--E. S.
THE DEPARTURE FOR PARIS.
The most profound silence reigns throughout Cardoville House. The
tempest has lulled by degrees, and nothing is heard from afar but the
hoarse murmur of the waves, as they wash heavily the shore.
Dagobert and the orphans have been lodged in warm and comfortable
apartments on the first-floor of the chateau. Djalma, too severely hurt
to be carried upstairs, has remained in a room below. At the moment of
the shipwreck, a weeping mother had placed her child in his arms. He had
failed in the attempt to snatch this unfortunate infant from certain
death, but his generous devotion had hampered his movements, and when
thrown upon the rocks, he was almost dashed to pieces. Faringhea, who
has been able to convince him of his affection, remains to watch over
Gabriel, after administering consolation to Djalma, has rescinded to the
chamber allotted to him; faithful to the promise he made to Rodin, to be
ready to set out in two hours, he has not gone to bed; but, having dried
his clothes, he has fallen asleep in a large, high-backed arm-chair,
placed in front of a bright coal-fire. His apartment is situated near
those occupied by Dagobert and the two sisters.
Spoil-sport, probably quite at his ease in so respectable a dwelling, has
quitted the door of Rose and Blanche's chamber, to lie down and warm
himself at the hearth, by the side of which the missionary is sleeping.
There, with his nose resting on his outstretched paws, he enjoys a
feeling of perfect comfort and repose, after so many perils by land and
sea. We will not venture to affirm, that he thinks habitually of poor
old Jovial; unless we recognize as a token of remembrance on his part,
his irresistible propensity to bite all the white horses he has met with,
ever since the death of his venerable companion, though before, he was
the most inoffensive of dogs with regard to horses of every color.
Presently one of the doors of the chamber opened, and the two sisters
entered timidly. Awake for some minutes, they had risen and dressed
themselves, feeling still some uneasiness with respect to Dagobert;
though the bailiff's wife, after showing them to their room, had returned
again to tell them that the village doctor found nothing serious in the
hurt of the old soldier, still they hoped to meet some one belonging to
the chateau, of whom they could make further inquiries about him.
The high back of the old-fashioned arm-chair, in which Gabriel was
sleeping, completely screened him from view; but the orphans, seeing
their canine friend lying quietly at his feet, thought it was Dagobert
reposing there, and hastened towards him on tip-toe. To their great
astonishment, they saw Gabriel fast asleep, and stood still in confusion,
not daring to advance or recede, for fear of waking him.
The long, light hair of the missionary was no longer wet, and now curled
naturally round his neck and shoulders; the paleness of his complexion
was the more striking, from the contrast afforded by the deep purple of
the damask covering of the arm-chair. His beautiful countenance
expressed a profound melancholy, either caused by the influence of some
painful dream, or else that he was in the habit of keeping down, when
awake, some sad regrets, which revealed themselves without his knowledge
when he was sleeping. Notwithstanding this appearance of bitter grief,
his features preserved their character of angelic sweetness, and seemed
endowed with an inexpressible charm, for nothing is more touching than
suffering goodness. The two young girls cast down their eyes, blushed
simultaneously, and exchanged anxious glances, as if to point out to each
other the slumbering missionary.
"He sleeps, sister," said Rose in a low voice.
"So much the better," replied Blanche, also in a whisper, making a sign
of caution; "we shall now be able to observe him well."
"Yes, for we durst not do so, in coming from the sea hither."
"Look! what a sweet countenance!"
"He is just the same as we saw him in our dreams."
"When he promised he would protect us."
"And he has not failed us."
"But here, at least, he is visible."
"Not as it was in the prison at Leipsic, during that dark night."
"And so--he has again rescued us."
"Without him, we should have perished this morning."
"And yet, sister, it seems to me, that in our dreams his countenance
shone with light."
"Yes, you know it dazzled us to look at him."
"And then he had not so sad a mien."
"That was because he came then from heaven; now he is upon earth."
"But, sister, had he then that bright red scar round his forehead?"
"Oh, no! we should have certainly perceived it."
"And these other marks on his hands?"
"If he has been wounded, how can he be an archangel?"
"Why not, sister? If he received those wounds in preventing evil, or in
helping the unfortunate, who, like us, were about to perish?"
"You are right. If he did not run any danger for those he protects, it
would be less noble."
"What a pity that he does not open his eye!"
"Their expression is so good, so tender!"
"Why did he not speak of our mother, by the way?"
"We were not alone with him; he did not like to do so."
"But now we are alone."
"If we were to pray to him to speak to us?"
The orphans looked doubtingly at each other, with charming simplicity; a
bright glow suffused their cheeks, and their young bosoms heaved gently
beneath their black dresses.
"You are right. Let us kneel down to him."
"Oh, sister! our hearts beat so!" said Blanche, believing rightly, that
Rose felt exactly as she did. "And yet it seems to do us good. It is as
if some happiness were going to befall us."
The sisters, having approached the arm-chair on tip-toe, knelt down with
clasped hands, one to the right the other to the left of the young
priest. It was a charming picture. Turning their lovely faces towards
him, they said in a low whisper, with a soft, sweet voice, well suited to
their youthful appearance: "Gabriel! speak to us of our mother!"
On this appeal, the missionary gave a slight start, half-opened his eyes,
and, still in a state of semi-consciousness, between sleep and waking,
beheld those two beauteous faces turned towards him, and heard two gentle
voices repeat his name.
"Who calls me?" said he, rousing himself, and raising his head.
"It is Blanche and Rose."
It was now Gabriel's turn to blush, for he recognized the young girls he
had saved. "Rise, my sisters!" said he to them; "you should kneel only
The orphans obeyed, and were soon beside him, holding each other by the
hand. "You know my name, it seems," said the missionary with a smile.
"Oh, we have not forgotten it!"
"Who told it you?"
"Yes--when you came from our mother."
"I, my sisters?" said the missionary, unable to comprehend the words of
the orphans. "You are mistaken. I saw you to-day for the first time."
"But in our dreams?"
"Yes--do you not remember?--in our dreams."
"In Germany--three months ago, for the first time. Look at us well."
Gabriel could not help smiling at the simplicity of Rose and Blanche, who
expected him to remember a dream of theirs; growing more and more
perplexed, he repeated: "In your dreams?"
"Certainly; when you gave us such good advice."
"And when we were so sorrowful in prison, your words, which we
remembered, consoled us, and gave us courage."
"Was it not you, who delivered us from the prison at Leipsic, in that
dark night, when we were not able to see you?"
"What other but you would thus have come to our help, and to that of our
"We told him, that you would love him, because he loved us, although he
would not believe in angels."
"And this morning, during the tempest, we had hardly any fear."
"Because we expected you."
"This morning--yes, my sisters--it pleased heaven to send me to your
assistance. I was coming from America, but I have never been in Leipsic.
I could not, therefore, have let you out of prison. Tell me, my
sisters," added he, with a benevolent smile, "for whom do you take me?"
"For a good angel whom we have seen already in dreams, sent by our mother
from heaven to protect us."
"My dear sisters, I am only a poor priest. It is by mere chance, no
doubt, that I bear some resemblance to the angel you have seen in your
dreams, and whom you could not see in any other manner--for angels are
not visible to mortal eye.
"Angels are not visible?" said the orphans, looking sorrowfully at each
"No matter, my dear sisters," said Gabriel, taking them affectionately by
the hand; "dreams, like everything else, come from above. Since the
remembrance of your mother was mixed up with this dream, it is twice
At this moment a door opened, and Dagobert made his appearance. Up to
this time, the orphans, in their innocent ambition to be protected by an
archangel, had quite forgotten the circumstance that Dagobert's wife had
adopted a forsaken child, who was called Gabriel, and who was now a
priest and missionary.
The soldier, though obstinate in maintaining that his hurt was only a
blank wound (to use a term of General Simon's), had allowed it to be
carefully dressed by the surgeon of the village, and now wore a black
bandage, which concealed one half of his forehead, and added to the
natural grimness of his features. On entering the room, he was not a
little surprised to see a stranger holding the hands of Rose and Blanche
familiarly in his own. This surprise was natural, for Dagobert did not
know that the missionary had saved the lives of the orphans, and had
attempted to save his also.
In the midst of the storm, tossed about by the waves, and vainly striving
to cling to the rocks, the soldier had only seen Gabriel very
imperfectly, at the moment when, having snatched the sisters from certain
death, the young priest had fruitlessly endeavored to come to his aid.
And when, after the shipwreck, Dagobert had found the orphans in safety
beneath the roof of the Manor House, he fell, as we have already stated,
into a swoon, caused by fatigue, emotion, and the effects of his wound--
so that he had again no opportunity of observing the features of the
The veteran began to frown from beneath his black bandage and thick, gray
brows, at beholding a stranger so familiar with Rose and Blanche; but the
sisters ran to throw themselves into his arms, and to cover him with
filial caresses. His anger was soon dissipated by these marks of
affection, though he continued, from time to time, to cast a suspicious
glance at the missionary, who had risen from his seat, but whose
countenance he could not well distinguish.
"How is your wound?" asked Rose, anxiously. "They told us it was not
"Does it still pain?" added Blanche.
"No, children; the surgeon of the village would bandage me up in this
manner. If my head was carbonadoes with sabre cuts, I could not have
more wrappings. They will take me for an old milksop; it is only a blank
wound, and I have a good mind to--" And therewith the soldier raised one
of his hands to the bandage.
"Will you leave that alone?" cried Rose catching his arm. "How can you
be so unreasonable--at your age?"
"Well, well! don't scold! I will do what you wish, and keep it on."
Then, drawing the sisters to one end of the room, he said to them in a
low voice, whilst he looked at the young priest from the corner of his
eye: "Who is that gentleman who was holding your hands when I came in?
He has very much the look of a curate. You see, my children, you must be
on your guard; because--"
"He?" cried both sisters at once, turning towards Gabriel. "Without him,
we should not now be here to kiss you."
"What's that?" cried the soldier, suddenly drawing up his tall figure,
and gazing full at the missionary.
"It is our guardian angel," resumed Blanche.
"Without him," said Rose, "we must have perished this morning in the
"Ah! it is he, who--" Dagobert could say no more. With swelling heart,
and tears in his eyes, he ran to the missionary, offered him both his
hands, and exclaimed in a tone of gratitude impossible to describe: "Sir,
I owe you the lives of these two children. I feel what a debt that
service lays upon me. I will not say more--because it includes
Then, as if struck with a sudden recollection, he cried: "Stop! when I
was trying to cling to a rock, so as not to be carried away by the waves,
was it not you that held out your hand to me? Yes--that light hair--that
youthful countenance--yes--it was certainly you--now I am sure of it!"
"Unhappily, sir, my strength failed me, and I had the anguish to see you
fall back into the sea."
"I can say nothing more in the way of thanks than what I have already
said," answered Dagobert, with touching simplicity: "in preserving these
children you have done more for me than if you had saved my own life.
But what heart and courage!" added the soldier, with admiration; "and so
young, with such a girlish look!"
"And so," cried Blanche, joyfully, "our Gabriel came to your aid also?"
"Gabriel!" said Dagobert interrupting Blanche, and addressing himself to
the priest. "Is your name Gabriel?"
"Gabriel!" repeated the soldier, more and more surprised. "And a
priest!" added he.
"A priest of the foreign missions."
"Who--who brought you up?" asked the soldier, with increasing
"An excellent and generous woman, whom I revere as the best of mothers:
for she had pity on me, a deserted infant, and treated me ever as her
"Frances Baudoin--was it not?" said the soldier, with deep emotion.
"It was, sir," answered Gabriel, astonished in his turn. "But how do you
"The wife of a soldier, eh?" continued Dagobert.
"Yes, of a brave soldier--who, from the most admirable devotion, is even
now passing his life in exile--far from his wife--far from his son, my
dear brother--for I am proud to call him by that name--"
"My Agricola!--my wife!--when did you leave them?"
"What! is it possible! You the father of Agricola?--Oh! I knew not,
until now," cried Gabriel, clasping his hands together, "I knew not all
the gratitude that I owed to heaven!"
"And my wife! my child!" resumed Dagobert, in a trembling voice; "how are
they? have you news of them?"
"The accounts I received, three months ago, were excellent."
"No; it is too much," cried Dagobert; "it is too much!" The veteran was
unable to proceed; his feelings stifled his words, and fell back
exhausted in a chair.
And now Rose and Blanche recalled to mind that portion of their father's
letter which related to the child named Gabriel, whom the wife of
Dagobert had adopted; then they also yielded to transports of innocent
"Our Gabriel is the same as yours--what happiness!" cried Rose.
"Yes, my children! he belongs to you as well as to me. We have all our
part in him." Then, addressing Gabriel, the soldier added with
affectionate warmth: "Your hand, my brave boy! give me your hand!"
"Oh, sir! you are too good to me."
"Yes--that's it--thank me!--after all thou has done for us!"
"Does my adopted mother know of your return?" asked Gabriel, anxious to
escape from the praises of the soldier.
"I wrote to her five months since, but said that I should come alone;
there was a reason for it, which I will explain by and by. Does she
still live in the Rue Brise-Miche? It was there Agricola was born."
"She still lives there."
"In that case, she must have received my letter. I wished to write to
her from the prison at Leipsic, but it was impossible."
"From prison! Have you just come out of prison?"
"Yes; I come straight from Germany, by the Elbe and Hamburg, and I should
be still at Leipsic, but for an event which the Devil must have had a
hand in--a good sort of devil, though."
"What do you mean? Pray explain to me."
"That would be difficult, for I cannot explain it to myself. These
little ladies," he added, pointing with a smile to Rose and Blanche,
"pretended to know more about it than I did, and were continually
repeating: "It was the angel that came to our assistance, Dagobert--the
good angel we told thee of--though you said you would rather have Spoil-
sport to defend us--"
"Gabriel, I am waiting for you," said a stern voice, which made the
missionary start. They all turned round instantly, whilst the dog
uttered a deep growl.
It was Rodin. He stood in the doorway leading to the corridor. His
features were calm and impassive, but he darted a rapid, piercing glance
at the soldier and sisters.
"Who is that man?" said Dagobert, very little prepossessed in favor of
Rodin, whose countenance he found singularly repulsive. "What the
mischief does he want?"
"I must go with him," answered Gabriel, in a tone of sorrowful
constraint. Then, turning to Rodin, he added: "A thousand pardons! I
shall be ready in a moment."
"What!" cried Dagobert, stupefied with amazement, "going the very instant
we have just met? No, by my faith! you shall not go. I have too much
to tell you, and to ask in return. We will make the journey together.
It will be a real treat for me."
"It is impossible. He is my superior, and I must obey him."
"Your superior?--why, he's in citizen's dress."
"He is not obliged to wear the ecclesiastical garb."
"Rubbish! since he is not in uniform, and there is no provost-marshal in
your troop, send him to the--"
"Believe me, I would not hesitate a minute, if it were possible to
"I was right in disliking the phi of that man," muttered Dagobert between
his teeth. Then he added, with an air of impatience and vexation: "Shall
I tell him that he will much oblige us by marching off by himself?"
"I beg you not to do so," said Gabriel; "it would be useless; I know my
duty, and have no will but my superior's. As soon as you arrive in
Paris, I will come and see you, as also my adopted mother, and my dear
"Well--if it must be. I have been a soldier, and know what subordination
is," said Dagobert, much annoyed. "One must put a good face on bad
fortune. So, the day after to-morrow, in the Rue Brise-Miche, my boy;
for they tell me I can be in Paris by to-morrow evening, and we set out
almost immediately. But I say--there seems to be a strict discipline
with you fellows!"
"Yes, it is strict and severe," answered Gabriel, with a shudder, and a
"Come, shake hands--and let's say farewell for the present. After all,
twenty-four hours will soon pass away."
"Adieu! adieu!" replied the missionary, much moved, whilst he returned
the friendly pressure of the veteran's hand.
"Adieu, Gabriel!" added the orphans, sighing also, and with tears in
"Adieu, my sisters!" said Gabriel--and he left the room with Rodin, who
had not lost a word or an incident of this scene.
Two hours after, Dagobert and the orphans had quitted the Castle for
Paris, not knowing that Djalma was left at Cardoville, being still too
much injured to proceed on his journey. The half-caste, Faringhea,
remained with the young prince, not wishing, he said, to desert a fellow-
We now conduct the reader to the Rue Brise-Miche, the residence of
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