The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899, June 10, 1898, Image 3

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Hardly had the magistrate and Dr. Baleinier
disappeared, than Mdl'e. de Curdoville, whose
countenance was beaming with joy, exclaimed, as
she looked at Rodin with a mixture of respect
and gratitude, " At length, thanks to you, sir, I
am free frte! Oh, I had never before felt how
much happiness, expans?on, delight, there is in
that'adorable word liberty! "
Her bosom rose and fell, her rosy nostrils dila
ted, her vermilion lips were half open, as if she
again inhaled with rapture pure and vivifying
" I have been only a few days in this horrible
place," she resumed, " but I have suffered enough
from my captivity to make me rfsolre never to
let a year pass without restoring to liberty some
poor prisoners for debt. Thi3 vow no doubt ap
pears to belong to the Middle Ages," added she,
uith a Rmilfi? "but I would fain borrow a little
from that noble epoch something more than its
old windows and furniture. So, doubly thanks,
sir! for I take you as a partner in that project
of deliverance, which has just (you see) unfolded
itself in the midst of the happiness I owe to you
and by which you seem so much affected. Oh!
let my joy speak my gratitude, and pay you for
your generous aid!" exclaimed the young girl,
with enthusiasm.
Mdlle. de Cardoville had truly remarked
complete transfiguration in the countenance of
Rodin. This man, lately so harsh, severe, , in
flexible, with regard to Dr. Baleinier, appeared
now under the influence of the mildest and most
tender sentiments. His little, half-veiled eyes
were fixed upon Adrienne with an expression of
ineffable interest. Then, as if he wished to tear
himself from these impressions, he said, speak
ing to himself, " Come, come, no weakness. Time
is too precious; my mission is not fulfilled. My
dear young lady," added he, addressing himself
to Adrienne, "believe what I say we will talk
hereafter of gratitude but we have now to talk
of the present so important, for you and your
family. Do you know what is taking place?
Adrienne looked at the Jesuit with surprise,
and said: " What is taking place, sir?
"Do you know the real motive of your impris
onment in this house? Do you know what in
fluenced the Princess de Saint-Dizer and Abbe
At the found of those detested names, Mdlle.
de Cardoville's face, now so full of happiness,
became suddenly sad. and she answered with
bitterness: " It is hatred, sir, that no doubt ani
mated Madame de Saint-Dizier against me.
"Yes, hatred; and, moreover, the desire to rob
you with impunity of an immense fortune."
"Me, sir! how?"
" You must be ignorant, my dear young lady,
of the interest you had to be in the Rue Saint
Francois on the 13th February, for an inheri
tance?" " I was ignorant, sir, of the date and details;
but I knew by some family papers, and thanks to
an extraordinary circumstance, that one of our
ancestors "
" Had left an enormous sum to be divided be
tween his descendants! is it not so?" "Yes,
"But what unfortunately you did not know,
my dear young lady, was that the heirs were all
bound to be present at a certain hour on the 13th
of February. This day and hour once past, the
absent would forfeit their claim. Do you now
understand why you have been imprisoned here,
my dear young lady?"
"Yes, yes; I understand it," cried Mdlle. de
Cardoville; "cupidity was added to the hatred
which my aunt felt for me. All is explained.
Marshal Simon's daughters, having the same
right as I had, have, like me, been imprisoned."
" And yet," cried Rodin, " you and they were
not the only victims."
" Who, then, are the others, sir?" " A young
East Indian."
"Prince Djalma?" said Adrienne, hastily.. .
"For the same reason he has been nearly
poisoned with a narcotic."
"Great God!" cried the young girl, clasping
her hands in horror. " It is fearful. That young
prince, who was said to have so noble and gener
ous a character! But I sent to Cardoville Cas
tle "
" A confidential person, to fetch the prince to
Paris I know it, my dear young lady; but, by
means of a trick, your friend was got out of the
and the young Oriental delivered to his
" And where is he now? "
I have only vague information on the sub
ject. I know that he is in Paris, and do not de
spair of finding him. I shall punue my re
searches with an almost paternal ardor, for we
cannot too much love the rare qualities of that
poor king's son. What a heart, my dear young
lady! what a heart! , Oh, it is a heart of gold,
pure and bright as the gold of his country! "
"We must find the prince, sir," said Adrienne
with emotion; "let me entreat you to neglect
nothing for that end. He is my relation alone
here without support without assistance.
"Certainly," replied Rodin, with cominisera-
tion. " Poor boy! for he is almost a boy eigh
teen or nineteen years of age thrown into the
heart of Paris, of this hell with his fresh, ar
dent, half-savage passious with his simplicity
and confidence to what perils may he not be
exposed? "
"Well, we must first find him, sir," said Adri
enne, hastily; "and then we will save him from
these dangers, Before I was confined here, I
learned bis arrival in France, and sent a confi
dential person to offer him the services of an un
known friend. I now see that this mad idea,
with which I have been so much reproached,
was a very sensible one. I am more convinced
of it than ever. The prince belongs to my fam
ily, and I owe him a generous hospitality. I had
destined for him the lodge I occupied at my
" And you, my dear young lady?"
"To-day, I shall remove to a house, which I
had prepared sometime ago, with the determina
tion of quiting Madame de Saint-Dizier, and liv
ing alone as I pleased, Then, sir, as you seem
bent upon being the good genius of our family,
be as generous with regard to Prince Djalma, as
you have been to me and Marshal Simon's
daughters. I entreat you to discover the hiding
place of this poor king's son, as you call him;
keen my secret for me, and conduct him to the
house offered by the unknown friend. Let him
not disquiet himself about anything;, all his
wants shall be provided for; he shall live like a
"Yes; he will indeed live like a prince, thanks
to your royal munificence. But never was such
kind interest better deserved. It is enough to
see (as I have seen) his fine, melancholy coun
tenance "
"You have seen him then, sir?" said Adrienne
interrupting Rodin.
" Yes, my dear young lady; I was with him for
about two hours. It was quite enough to judge
of him. His charming features are the mirror
of his soul."
"And where did you see him, sir?"
" At your old Chateau de Cardoville, my dear
young lady, near which he had been shipwrecked
in a storm, and whither I had gone to "
Rodin hesitated for a moment, and then, as if
yielding to the frankness of his disposition,
added: " Whither I had gone to commit a bad
action a shameful, miserable action, I must
confess !"
"You, sir? at Cardoville House to commit a
bad action?" cried Adrienne, much surprised
"Alas! yes, my dear young lady," answered
Rodin with simplicity. "In one word, I had
orders from Abbe d'Aigrigny, to place your form
er bailiff in the alternative either of losing his
situation or lendinc himself to mean action
something, in fact, that resembled spying and
calumny; out wie jiuuesi, wunujr mau iciuscu.
" Why, who are you, sir?" said Mdlle. de Car
doville, more and more astonished.
"I am Rodin, lately secretary of the Abbe
d'Aigrigny a person of very little importance,
as you see."
It is impossible to describe the accent, at once
humble and ingenuous, of the Jesuit, as he pro
nounced these words, which he accompanied with
a respectful bow. On this revelation, Mdlle. de
Cardoville drew back abruptly. We have said
that Adrienrie had sometimes heard talk of Ro
din, the humble secretary of the Abbe d'Aig
rigny, as a sort of obedient and passive machine
That was not all; the bailiff of Cardoville Manor,
writing to Adrienne on the subject of Prince
Djalma, had complained of the perfidious and
dishonest propositions of Rodin. She felt, there
fore, a vague suspicion, when she heard that her
liberator was the man who had played so odious
a part. Yet this unfavorable feeling was . bal
anced by the sense of what she owed to Rodin,
and by his frank denunciation of Abbe d'Aig
rigny before the magistrate. . And then the
Jesuit, by his own confession, had anticipated, as
it were, the reproaches that might have been
addressed to him. Still, it was with a kind of
cold reserve that Mdlle. de Cardoville resumed
this dialogue; which she had commenced with as
much frankness as warmth and sympathy.
Rodin perceived the impression he had made.
He expected it. He was not the least discon
certed when Mdlle. de Cardoville said to him, as
she fixed upon him a piercing glance, "Ah! you
are M. Rodin secretary to the Abbe d'Aig
rigny? "
"Say ex-secretary, if you please, my dear
young lady," answered the Jesuit; "for you see
clearly that I can never again enter the house of
the Abbe d'Aigrigny. I have made of him an
implacable enemy, and I am now without em
(Continued on page 5.)
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