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About The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899 | View Entire Issue (June 10, 1898)
THE WANDERING JEW.
Baleinier, disconcerted for a moment by the
unexpected presence of a magistrate, and by
Rodin's inexplicable attitude, soon recovered bit
presence of mind, and addressing his colleague
of the longer robe, said to him; "If I made signs
to you, sir, it was that, while I wished to respect
the silence which this gentleman" glancing at
the magistrate "has preserved since bis en
trance, I desired to express my surprise at the
unexpected honor of this visit."
"It is lo the lady that I will expluin the reason
for my silenco, and beg her to excuse it," replied
the magistrate, as lie made a half-bow to Adri-
enne, whom he thus continued to address: "i
have just received so serious a declaration with
regard to you, madame, that I could not forbear
looking at you for a moment in silence, to see if
I could read in your countenance or in your atti
tude, tho truth or falsehood of the accusation
that has been placed in my bands; and I have
every reason to believe that it is but too well
"May I at length bo informed, sir," said Dr.
Baleinier, in a polite but firm tone, " to whom I
have the honor of speaking? "
" Sir, 1 am judge d'instruction, and I have
come to inform myself as lo a fact which has
been pointed out to mo "
"Will you do me the honor to explain your
self, sir?" said the doctor, bowing.
"Sir," resumed the magistrate, M. do Ger
nande, a man of about fifty years of age, full of
firmness and straightforwardness, and knowing
bow to unite the austere duties of his position
with benevolent politeness, "you are accused of
having committed a very great error, not to use
a harsher expression. As for the- nature of that
error, I prefer believing, sir, that you (a first
rate man of scienco) may have been deceived in
tho calculation of a medical case, rather than
suspect you of having forgotten all that is sacred
in the exercise of a profession that is almost a
"When you specify the facts, sir," answered
the Jesuit of the short robe, with a degree of
liaughtiuess, "it will be easy for me to prove that
my reputation as a man of scienco is no less from
reproach, than my conscience as a man of honor."
"Madame," said M. de Gernande, addressing
Adrienne, "is it true that you were conveyed to
this houso by stratagem?"
, " Sir," cried M. Baleinier, " permit me to observe,
that the manner in which you open this ques
tion is an insult to me."
" Sir, it is to the lady that I have the honor of
addressing myself," replied M. de Gernande,
sternly; "and I am the sole judge ofthe propriety
of my questions."
Adrienne was about to answer affirmatively to
the magistrate, when an expressive look from
Dr. Baleinier reminded her that she would per.
baps expose Dagobert and his son to cruel dan
gers. It was no base and vulgar feeling of ven
geance by which Adrienne was animated, but a
legitimate indignation, inspired by odious hypoc
risy. She would have thought it cowardly not
to unmask the criminals; but wishing to avoid
compromising others, she said to the magistrate,
with an accent full of mildness and dignity:
"Permit me, sir, in my turn, rather to ask you a
" Will the answer I make be considered a for
" I have come hither, madame, to ascertain the
truth, and no consideration should induce you to
"So be it, sir," resumed Adrienne; "but sup
pose, having just causes of complaint, I lay them
before you, in order to be allowed to leave this
bouse, shall I afterwards be at liberty not to press
tbe accusations I have made? "
, " You may abandon proceedings, madame, but
the law will take up your cause in the name of
society, if its rights have been injured in your
. " Shall I then not be allowed to pardon? Should
I not be sufficiently avenged by a contemptuous
forgetfulness of the wrongs I have suffered? "
"Personally, madame, you may forgive and
forget; but I have the honor to repeat to you, that
society cannot show the same indulgence, if it
should turn out that you have been the victim of
a criminal machination and I have every reason
to fear it is so. The manner in which you ex
press yourself, the generosity of your sentiments,
the calmness and dignity of your attitude, con
vince me that I have been well informed."
"I hope, sir," said Dr. Baleinier, recovering
bis coolness, "that you will at least communicate
the declaration that has been made to you."
" It has been declared to me, sir," said the
magistrate, in a stern voice, "that Mdlle. de Car
doville was brought here by stratagem."
"By stratagem?" "Yes, sir."
" It is true. The lady was brought here by
stratagem," answered the Jesuit of the short rode,
after a moment's silence.
"You confess it, then?" said M. de Gernande.
"Certainly I do, sir. I admit that I had re
course to means which we are unfortunately too
often obliged to employ, when persons who most
need our assistance are unconscious of their own
"But, sir," replied the magistrate, "it has also
been declared to me, that Mdlle. de Cardoville
never required such aid."
"That, sir, is a question of medical jurispru
deuce, which has to be examined and dis
cussed," said M. Baleinier, recovering bis assur
" It will, indeed, sir, be seriously discussed; for
you are accused of confining Mdlle. de Cardoville,
while in the full possession of all her faculties."
"And may I ask you for what purpose?" said
M. Baleinier, with a slight shrug of the should
ers, and in a tone of irony. " What interest had
I to commit such a crime, even admitting that
my reputation did not place me above so odious
and absurd a chaige?"
'Yes are said to have acted," sir, in further
ance of a family plot, devised against Mdlle. de
Cardoville for a pecuniary motive."
"And who has dared, sir, to make so calumni
ous a charge? " cried Dr. Baleinier, with indig
nant warmth. " Who has had the audacity to
accuse a respectable, and I dare to say, respected
man, of having been the accomplice in such in
"I," said Rodin, coldly. - -
" You cried Dr. Baleinier, falling back two
steps, as if thunderstruck. - '
" You, I accuse you," repeated Rodin, in a clear
"Yes, it was this gentleman who came to me
this morning, with ample proofs, to demand my
interference in favor of Mdlle. de Cardoville," said
the magistrate, drawing back a little, to give
Adrienne the opportunity of seeing her defender.
Throughout this scene, Rodin's name had not
hitherto been mentioned. Mdlle. de Cardoville
had often heard speak of the Abbe d'Aigrigny's
secretary in no very favorable terms; but, never
having seen him, she did not know that her lib
erator was this very Jesuit. She therefore looked
towards him, with a glance in which were min
gled curiosity, interest, surprise and gratitude.
Rodin's cadaverous countenance, his repulsive
ugliness, his sordid dress, would a few days be
fore have occasioned Adrienne a perhaps invin
cible feeling of disgust. But the young lady, re
membering how the sempstress, poor, feeble, de
formed and dressed almost in rags, was endowed,
notwithstanding her wretched exterior, with one
of the noblest and most admirable hearts, recalled
this recollection in favor ofthe Jesuit. She for
got that he was ugly and sordid, only to remem
ber that he was old, that he seemed poor, and
that he had come to her assistance. Dr. Balein
ier, notwithstanding his craft, notwithstanding
his audacious hypocrisy, in spite even of his pres
ence of mind, could not conceal how much he
was disturbed by Rodin's denunciation. His
head became troubled as he remembered how, on
the first day of Adrienne's confinement in this
house, the implacable appeal of Rodin, through
the hole in the door, had prevented him (Balein
ier) from yielding to emotions of pity, inspired
by the despair of this unfortunate young girl,
driven almost to doubt of her own reason. And
yet was this very Rodin, so cruel, so inexorable,
the devoted agent of Father d'Aigrigny, who de
nounced him (Baleinier), and brought a magis
trate to set Adrienne at liberty when, only the
day before, Father d'Aigrigny had ordered an
increase of severity towards her!
The lay Jesuit felt persuaded that Rodin was
betraying Father d'Aigrigny in the most shame
ful manner, and that Mdlle. de Cardoville's
friends had bribed and bought over this scound
relly secretary. Exasperated by what he consid
ered a monstrous piece of treachery, the
doctor exclaimed, in a voice broken with rage:
" And it is you, sir, that have the impudence to
accuse me you, who only a few days ago "
Then, reflecting that the retort upon Rodin
would be self-accusation, he appeared to give way
to an excess of emotion, and resumed with bitter
ness: "Ah, sir, you are the last person that I
should have thought capable of this odious de
nunciation. It is shameful! "
" And who had a better right thau I to de
nounce this infamy? " answered Rodin in a rude,
overbearing tone. "Was I not in position to
learn unfortunately, too late the nature of the
conspiracy of which Mdlle. de Cardoville and
others have been the victims? Then, what wa3
my duty as an honest man? Why, to inform
the magistrate, to prove what I set forth, and to
accompany him hither. Thatis what I have
"So, sir," 6aiJ the doctor, addressing the mag
istrate, "it is not only myself that this man ac
cuses, but be dares also "
" I accuse the Abbe d'Aigrigny," resumed Ro
din, in a still louder and more imperative tone,
interrupting the doctor, "I accuse the Princess
de Saint Dizier, I accuse you, sir of having,
from a vile motive of self-interest, confined Mdlle.
de Cardoville in this house, and the two daugh
ters of Marshall Simon in the neighboring con
vent. Is that clear? "
"Alas! it is only too true, said Adrienne,
hastily. "I have seen those po:r children all in
tears, making signs of distree to me."
The accusation of Rodin, with regard to .the
orphans, was a new and fearful blow of Dr. Ba
leinier. He fe't perfectly convinced tlut the
traitor had passed clear over to the enemy's
camp. Wishing therefore to put an end to this
embarrassing scene, he tried to put a good face
on the matter, in spite of his emotion, and said
to the magistrate: "I might confine myself, sir,
to silence disdaining to answer such accusa
tions, till a judicial decision had given them
some kind of authority. But, 6trong in a good
conscience I address myself to Mdlle. de Cardo
ville, and I beg her to say if this very morniug I
did not inform her, that her health would soon
be sufficiently restored to allow her to leave this
house. I conjure her, in the name of her well
known love of truth, to state if such was not my
language, when I was alone with her "
" Come, sirf " said Rodin, interrupting Balein
ier with an insolent air; "suppose that, from
pure generosity, this dear young lady were to
admit as much what will it prove in your favor?
why, nothing at all."
"What, sir," cried the doctor, "do you pre
" I presume, to unmask you, without asking
your leave. What have you just told us? Why,
that being alone with Mdlle de Cardoville, you
talked to her as if she were really mad. How
very conclusive! "
" But, sir " cried the doctor.
" But, sir," resumed Rodin, without allowing
him to continue, " it is evident that, forseeing
ihe possibility of what has occurred today, and,
to provide yourelf with a hole to creep out at,
you have pretended to believe your own execra
ble falsehood, in presence of this poor young lady,
that you might afterwards call in aid the evi
dence of your own assumed conviction. Come,
sir! such stories will not go down with people of
common sense or common humanity."
"Come now, sir! " exclaimed Baleinier, augri-
"Well, sir," resumed Rodin, in a still louder
voice, which completely drowned that of the doc
tor; "is it true, or is it not, that you have re
course to thejevasion of ascribing this odious
imprisonment to a scientific error. I affirm that
you do so, and that you think yourself safe, be
cause you can now ay: 'Thanks to my care,
the young lady has recovered her reason. What
more would you have? ' "
. " Yes, I do say that, sir, and I maintain it."
" You maintain a falsehood; for it is proven
that the lady never lost her reason for a mo
ment." " But I, sir, maintain that she did lose it."
" And I, sir, will prove the contrary," said Ro
din. " You? How will you do that?" said the doc
tor. " That I shall take care not to tell you at pres
ent, as you may well suppose," answered Rodin,
with an ironical smile, adding, with indignation;
" But, really, sir, you ought to die for shame, to
dare to raise such a question in presence of the
lady. AYou should at least have spared her this
discussion." "Sir! "
" Oh, fie, sir! I say, fiel It is odious to main
tain this argument before her odious if you
speak truth, doubly odious if you lie," said Ro
din, with disgust.
"This violence is inconceivable!" cried the
Jesuit of the short rpbe, exasperated; "and I
think the magistrate shows great partiality in
allowing such gross calumnies to be heaped upon
" Sir," answered M. de Germande, severely,
" I am entitled not only to hear, but to provoke
any contradictory discussion that may enlighten
me in the execution of my duty; it results from all
this, that, even in your opinion, sir, Mdlle. de
Cardoville's health is sufficiently good to allow
her to return home immediately."
" At least, I do not see any very serious incon
venience likely to arise from it, sir," said the
doctor; "only I maintain that the cure is not so
complete as it might have been, and, on this sub
ject, I decline all responsibility for the future."
" You san do so, safely," said Rodin; " it is not
likely that the young lady will ever again have
' recourse to your honest assistance."
"It is useless, therefore, to employ my official
authority, to demand the immediate liberation of
Mdlle. de Cardoville," said the magistrate.
"She is free," said Baleinier, "perfectly free.'
"As for the question whether you have im
prisoned her on the plea of a supposititious mad
ness, the law will inquire into it, sir, and you
will be beard."
" I am quite easy, sir," answered M. Baleinier,
trying to look so; "my conscience reproaches me
" I hope it may turn out well, sir," said M. de
Gernande. " However bad appearances may be,
more especially when persons of you station in
society are concerned, we should always wish to
be convinced of their innocence." Then, turn
ing to Adrienne, he added: "I understand,
madame, how painful this scene must be to all
your fellings of delicacy and generosity; hereafter,
it will depend upoa yourself, either to proceed
for damages against Mr. Baleinier, or to let the
law take its course. One word more. The bold
and upright man" here the magistrate pointed
to Rodin " who has taken up your cause in so
frank and disinterested a manner, expressed a
belief that you would, perhaps, take charge for
the present of Marshal Simon's daughters, whose
liberation I am about to demand from the con
vent where they also are confined by stratagem."
"The fact is, sir," replied Adrienne, "that, as
soon as I learned the arrival of Marshal Simon's
daughters in Paris, my intention wa3 to offer.,
them apartments in my house. These young
ladies are my near relations. It is at once a duty
and a pleasure for me to treat them as sisters.
I shall, therefore, be doubly grateful to you, sirj
if you will trust them to my care." v
" I think that I cannot serve them better,"
answered M. de Gernande. Then, addressing
Baleinier, he added, " Will you consent, sir, to
my bringing these two ladies hither? I will go
and fetch them, while Mdlle. de Cardoville pre
pares for her departure. They will then be able
to leave this house with their relation."
"I entreat the lady to make use of this house
as her own, until she leaves it," replied M. Ba
leinier. ' My carriage shall be at her orders to
take her bom e."
" Madame," said the magistrate, approaching
Adrienne, "without prejudging the ' question,
which must soon be decided by a court of law, I
may at least regret that I was not called in soon
er. Your situation must have been a very cruel
"Tliftrflwill nt. lens t. remnin to m fiir. from
this mournful time," said Adrienne, with grace
ful dignity, " one precious and touching remem
brance that of the interest which you have
shown me. I hope that you will one day permit
me to thank you, at my own home, not for the
justice you have done me, but for the benevolent
and paternal manner in which you have done it.
And moreover, sir," added Mdlle de Cardoville,
with a sweet smile, "I should like to prove to
you, that what they call my cure is complete."
M. de Gernande bawe.d respectfully in reply.
During the short dialogue of the magistrate with
Adrienne, their backs were both turned to Ba
leinier and Rodin. The latter, profiting by this
rnoment's opportunity, hastily slipped into the
doctor's hand a note just written with a pencil in
the bottom of his hat. Baleinier looked at Rodin
in stupefied amazement. But the latter made a
peculiar sign, by raising his thumb to his fore
head, and drawing it twice across his brow. Then
he remained impassible. This had passed so
rapidly, that when M. de Gernande turned round,
Rodin was at a distance of several steps from Dr.
Baleinier, and looking at Mdlle. de Cardoville
with respectful interest.
" Permit me to accompany you, sir," said the
doctor, preceding the magistrate, whom Mdlle. de
Cardoville saluted with much affability. Then
both went out, and Rodin remained alone with
the young lady.
After conducting M. de Gernande to the outer
door of the house, M. Baleinier made baste to
read the pencil-note written by Rodin; it ran as
follows: " The magistrate is going to, the con
vent, by way of the street. Run round by the
garden, and tell the superior to obey the
order I have given with regard to the two young
girls. It is of the utmost importance."
The peculiar sign which Rodin had made, and
the tenor of this note, proved to Dr. Baleinier,
who was passing from surprise to amazement,
that the secretary, far from betraying the rever
end father, was still acting for the GreaterGlory
of the Lord. However, whilst he obeyed the
orders, M. Baleinier sought in vain to penetrate
the motives of Rodin's inexplicable conduct, who
had himself informed the authorities of an affair
that was to have been hushed up, and that might
have the most disastrous consequence for Father
d'Aigrigny, Madame de Saint-Dizier, and Balein
ier himself. But let us return to Rodin, left
alone with Mdlle. do Cardoville.
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