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About The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899 | View Entire Issue (June 24, 1898)
THE WANDERING JEW.
HV M UKKK MI K
Mdlle tie Cardoville spang hastily to meet the
visitor, and said to her, in a voice of emotion, as
she extended her arms towards her: "Come
come there is no grating to separate us now! "
On this allusion, which reminded her how he
poor laborious hand had been respectfully kissed
ly the fair and rich patrician, the young work
woman felt a sentiment of gratitude, which was
at once ineffable and proud. But, as she hesitated
to respond to the cordial reception, Adrienne
embraced her touching affection. When Mother
Bunch found herself clasped in the fair arms of
Mdlle. de Cardoville, when she felt the fresh and
rosy lips of the young lady fraternally pressed to
her own pale aud sickly cheek, she buistinto
tears without being ablo to utter a word. Hod in,
retired in a corner of the chamber, looked on
this scene with secret uueasiness. Informed
of the refusal, so full of dignity, which Mother
Bunch had opposed to the perfidious temptations
of the superior of St. Mary's Convent, and know.
ing the deep devotion of this generous creature
for Agricola a devotion which for some days she
had so bravely extended to Mdlle. de Cardoville
the iesuit did not like to see the latter thus
laboring to increase that affection. He thought,
wisely, that oue should never despise friend or
enemy, however small they may appear. Now,
devotion to Mddlo. de Cardoville constituted an
enemy in his eyes; and we know, moreover, that
Hod in combined in his character rare firmness,
with a certain degree of superstitious weakness,
and he now felt uneasy at the singular impres
sion of fear which Mother Bunch inspired in
him. He determined to recollect this presents
Delicate natures sometimes display in. the
smallest things the most charming instincts cf
grace and goodness. Thus, when the sewing-girl
was shodding abundant and sweet tears of grati
tude, Adrienne took a richly embroidered hand-
kerchief, and dried the pale and melancholy face.
This action, so simple and spontaneous, spared
the work-girl one humiliation; for, alas! humilia
tion and suffering are the two gulfs, along the
edge of which misfortune continually passes.
Therefore, the least kindness is in general a
doublo benefit to the unfortunate. Tertians the
reader may smile in disdain at the puerile cir
cumstance we mention. But poor Mother Bunch,
not venturing to take from her pocket her old
ragged handkerchief, would long have remained
blinded by her tears, if Mdlle. de Cardoville had
not come to her aid.
"Oh! you are so good so nobly charitable
lady!" was all that the sempstress could say, in a
. tone of deeo emotion: for she was still more
touched by the attention of the young lady, than
8ho would perhaps have been by a service ren
dered. " Look there, sir," said Adrienne to Rodin,
who drew near hastily. " Yes," added the young
patrician, ' I have indeed discovered a treasure.
Look at her, sir; and love her as I love her, honor
as I honor. She has one of those hearts for which
we are seeking."
"And which, thank heaveu, we are still able to
find, my dear young lady!" said Rodin, as he
bowed to the needlewoman. ,
The latter raised her eyes slowly, and looked
at the jesuit. At sight of that cadaverous coun
tenance, which was smiling benignantly upon
her. the vounsr snrl started. It wa3 strange! she
i - 00 "
had never seen this man, and yet she felt in
stantly the same fear and repulsion that he had
felt with regard to her. Generally timid and
confused, the work-girl could not withdraw her
eyes from Rodin's; her heart beat violently, as at
the coming of some great danger, and, as the ex
cellent creature feared only for those she loved,
she approached Adrienne involuntarily, keeping
her eyes fixed on Rodin. The jesuit was too
good a physiognomist not to perceive the for
midable impression he had made, and he felt an
increase 01 ins lusuncuve uvtiaiuu iui tuc ocmj'
stress. Instead of casting down his eyes, he ap
peared to examine her with such sustained atten
tion, that Mdlle. de Cardoville was astonished at
" I beg your pardon, my dear girl,"'said Rodin,
as if recalling his recollections.and addressinghim
self to Mother Bunch, " I beg your pardon but I
think if I am not deceived did you not go a
few days since to St. Mary's Convent, hard by? "
" No doubt, it was you. Where then was my
head?" cried Rodin. "It was you I should
have guessed it sooner."
Of what do you speak, sir? " asked Adrienne.
" Oh! you are right, my dear young lady," said
i;.lin. iointinc to the hunchback
indeed a noble heart, such as we teek.
knew with what dignity, with what courage this
poor girl, who was out of work and, for her, to
want work is t want everything if you knew, I
say, with what dignity she rejected the shameful
wages, that the superior of the convent was un-
principled enough to offer, on condition of her
acting as a spy in a family where it was proposed
to place her."
"Oh, that is infamous! " cried Mdlle. de Oardo
ville, with disgust. "Such a proposal to this
poor girl to her!"
"Madame," said Mother Bunch, bitterly, "I
had no work, was por, they did not know me
and they thought they might propose anything
to the likes of me."
"And I tell you," said Rodin, "that it was a
double baseness on the part of the superior, to
offer such temptation to misery, and it was doubly
noble in you to refuse "
"Sir," said the sewing-girl, with modest em-barrassment.
"Oh! I am not to be intimitated," resumed
si. l.nalTr.rt.l rirl baa the modestv of a kind and tender
...... 1 e
iN-nn liiior far ft brother. hen vou iraise nun, sue
t VUIWiW'' -
fancies that she is herself praised."
"And she is as modest as she is excellent,"
added Adrienne, taking both of the girl'a hands,
'the hast praise, either of her adopted brother
or of herself, troubles her in this way. But it is
mere childishness, aud I must scold her for it."
Mdlle. de Cardoville spoke sincerely, for the
explanation given by Rodin appeared to her very
plausible. Like all other persons who, dreading
every moment me uisciery ui oumo j'un.iu.
secret have their courage as easily restored as
shaken, Mother Bunch persuaded herself (and
she needed to do so, to escape dying of shame),
that the last words of Rodin were sincere, and
that he had no idea of the love she felt for Agri
cola. So her agony diminished, and she found
words to reply to Mdlle. de Cardoville.
"Excuse me, madame," she taid timidly, "I
am so little accustomed to such kindness as that
with, which vou overwhelm me, that I make a
sorry return for all your goodness."
Kindness, my poor girl? " said Adrienne. " I
"Praise or blame, I speak out roughly have done nothing for you yet. But, thank hea-
think. Ask this dear young lady," he Ven! from this day I shall be able to keep my
added, with a glance at Adrienne. "1 tell you promise, and reward your devoti.n to me, your
plainly, that I think as well of you as she does courageous resignation, your sacred love of labor,
liArnolf " and the disrnitv of which you have given so
" Believe me, dear," said Adrienne, " there are many proofs, under the most cruel privations
some sorts of praise which honor, recompense,
and encourage; and M. Rodin's is of the number.
I know it yes, I know it."
" Nay, my dear young lady, you must not as-
cribe to me all the honor of the judgment."
"How so, sir?"
" Is not this dear girl the adopted sister of Agri-
In a word, from this day, if you do not object to
it, we will part no more
" Madame, vou are too kind," said Mother
Bunch, in a trembling voice; " but I "
"Oh! be satisfied," said Adrienne, anticipating
her meaning. "If you accept my offer, I shall
know how to reconcile with my desire (not a
cola Baudoin, Jhe gallant workman, the energetic little selfish) of having you near me, the inde
and popular poet? Is not the affection of such a pendence of you character, your habits of labor.
1 V - 1 A. P ..A.iAn nnWsls-vAait -tsvt n I . . t . X J - .'.1 AA
man me oesi 01 guaiauicco, uuu uwco m nui your taste lor retirement, aim your auxieiy iu
ble ua to judge, as it were, by the label?" added devote yourself to those who deserve commisera
Rodin, with a smile. tion; it is, I confess, by affording you the means
You are right, Bir," said Adrienne; "for, le- 0f satisfying these generous tendencies, that
fore knowing this dear girl, I began to feel deep- h10pe to seduce and keep you by me."
ly interested in her, from the day that her adopted But what have I done?" asked the other.
brother spoke to me about her. He expressed simply, "to merit any gratitude from you? Did
himself with so much warmth, so much enthus- vou not begin, on the contrary, by acting so
iasm.that I at once conceived an esteem for the generously to my adopted brother?
person capable of inspiring so noble an attach- - Qh! I do not speak of gratitude," said Adri
ment. nnc'wp rsniiit.s. I sneak of friendshiD and
. .... .. ,1 I v , - X
These words of Adrienne, joined to another . ncere aff ectioi u which I now offer you."
circumstance, had such an effect upon their
hearer, that her pale face became crimson. The
unfortunate hunchback loved Agricola, with a
love as passionate as it was secret and painful;
the most indirect allusion to this fatal sentiment
occasioned her the most cruel embarrassment
Now, the moment Mdlle. de Cardoville spoke of
Africohi's attachment for Mother Bunch, the
latter had encountered Rodin's observinj
penetrating look fixed upon her. Alone with
Adrienne, the sempstress would have felt only a
momentary confusion on hearing the name of the
smith; but unfortunately she fancied that the
jesuit, who already filled her with involuntary
fear, had seen into her heart, and read the secrets
of that fatal love, of which she was the victim
Thence the deep blushes of the poor girl, and the
embarrassment so painfully visible, that Adri
enne was struck with it.
A subtle and prompt mind, like Rodin's
perceiving the smallest effect, immediately seeks
the cause. Proceeding by comparison, the jes
uit saw on one side a deformed, but intelligent
young girl, cipable of passionate devotion; on
the other, a young workman, handsome, bold,
frank, and full of talent. " Brought up together,
sympathising with each other on many points,
there must be some fraternal affection between
them " said he to himself: "but fraterual aH'ec-
, - ,
" Friendship to me, madame? "
" Come, come," said Adrienne, with a charm
... .1 1 1 - .
ing smile, " uo not oe prouu oecause your posi
tion gives you the advantage. I have set my
heart on having you for a friend, and you will
eee that it shall be so. But now that I think of
it (a little late, you will say), what good wind
brings you hither?"
" This morning, M. Dagobert received a letter,
in which he was requested to come to this place,
to learn some news that would be of the greatest
interest to him. Thinking it concerned Marshal
Simon's daughters, he said to me: 'Mother
Bunch, you have taken so much interest in those
dear children, that you must come with me: you
shall witness my joy on finding them, and that
will be your reward '"
Adrienne glanced at Rodin. The latter made
an affirmative movement of the head, and an
swered: " Yes, yes, my dear young lady; it was
I who wrote to the brave soldier, but without
signing the letter, or giving any explanation.
You shall know why."
Then, my dear girl, why did you come alone? "
" Alas, madame! on arriving here, it was your
kind reception that made me forget my fears."
" What fears? " asked Rodin.
"Knowing that" you lived here, madame,
1 worst misfortune that will happen. Besides, the
I ..,..wr:t will soon be here with the tirls. I am
no longer wanted; other cares require my a'ten-
ion. I must seek out Prince Djalma. Only tell
i 1 . 1 .. ...1,aa I clwil! 11.4 vnn
me, my oedr young iauj, ucic suau mi
to keep you informed of my discoveries, and to
take measures with regard to the young prince,
if my inquiries, as I hope, shall be attended with
" You will find me in my new hou e, Rue
d'Anjou, formerly Beaulieu House. But now I
think of it," said Adrienne, suddenly, after some
moments of reflection, "it would not be prudent
or proper, on many accounts, to lodge the Prince
Djalma in the pavilion I occupied at Saint-Duier
louse. I saw, some time ago, a charming little
house, all furnished aud ready; it only requires
some embellishments, that could be completed in
wenty-four hours, to make it a delightful resi
dence. Yes, that will be a thousand times pre
ferable," added Mdlle. de Cardoville, after a new
interval of silence; "and I shall thus be able to
preserve the strictest incognito."
"What! " oried Rodin, whose projects would be
much impeded by this new resolution of the
young lady; "you do not wish him to know who
I w.sh Prince Djalma to know absolutely
nothing of the anonymous friend who comes to
his aid; I desire that my name should not be
pronounced before him, aud that he should not ,
even know of my existence at least, for the '
present. Hereafter in a month, perhaps I will
see; circumstances will guide me."
" But this incognito," said Rodin, hiding his
disappointment, " will be difficult to preserve."
" If the prince had inhabited the lodge, I agree
with you; the neighborhood of my aunt would
have enlightened him, and this fear is one of the
reasons that have induced me to renounce my
first project. But the prince will inhabit a dis
tant quarter the Rue Blanche. Who will in
form him of my secret? One of my old friends,
M. Norval you, sir and this dear girl," point
ing to Mother Bunch, "on whose discretion I
can cepend as on your own, will be my only
confidants. My secret will then be quite safe.
Besides, we will talk further on this unfortunate
Rodin, though much vexed at Adrienne's sub
tle determination with regard to Djalma, put the
best face on the matter, and replied: " Your in
tentions shall be scrupulously fulfilled, my dear
vouii!? ludv: and to-morrow, with vour leave, I
4 o tl t '
hope to give you a good account of what you are
pleased to call my providential mission."
"To-morrow, then, I shall expect you with im
patience, said Addnenne, to Kodin, htlection
ately. "Permit me always to rely upon you, as
from this day you may count upon me. You
must be indulgent with me, sir; for I see that I
shall yet have many counsels, many services to
ask of you though I already owe you so much."
'You will never owe me enough, my dear
yoimg lady, never enough," said Rodin, as he
moved discreetly towards the door, after bowing
to Adrienne. At the very moment he was going
out, he found himself face to face with Dagobert.
'Holloa! at last I have caught one!" shouted,
the soldier, as he seized the Jesuit by the collar
with a vigorous hand.
and grew troubled beneath my look; does she,
then, i.ovk Agricola?"
Once on the scent of this discovery, Rodin
wished to pursue the investigation. Remarking
the surprise the visible uneasiness that Mother
Bunch had caused in Adrienne, he said to the
latter, with a smile, locking significantly at the
needlewoman: " You see, my dear young lady,
how she blushes. The good girl is troubled by
what we said about the attachment of this gal
The needlewoman hung down her head, over-
come with confusion. Alter the pause of a
tion does not blush, and the hunchback blushed supposed the letter was from you; I told M. Dago
bert so, and he thought the same. When we
arrived, his impatience was so great, that he
asked at the door if the orphans were in this
house, and gave their description. They tol
him no. Then, in spite of my supplications, he
insisted on going to the convent to inquire about
'What imprudence" cried Adrienne.
'After what took place the other night, when
he broke in," added Rodin, shrugging his
" It was in vain to tell him," returned Mother
Bunch, "that the letter did not announce posi-
second, during which Rodin preserved silence, so tively, that the orphans would be delivered up to
as to give time for his cruel remark to pierce the
heart of the victim, the savage resumed: " Look
at the dear girl! how embarrassed she appears
Again, after another silence, perceiving that
Mother Bunch from crimson had become deadly
nale. and was trembling in all her limbs, the
jesuit feared he had gone too far, whilst Adri
enne said to her friend, with anxiety: "Why,
dear child, are you so agitated? "
" Oh! it is clear enough," resumed Rodin, with
an air of perfect simplicity; for, having discovered
what he wished to know, he now chose to appear
unconscious. "It is quite clear and plain. This
him; but that, no doubt, he would gain some in
formation about them. He refused to hear any
thing, but said to me: ' If I cannot find them, I
will rejoin you. But they were at the convent
the day before yesterday, and now that all is
discovered, they cannot refuse to give them up
And with such a man there is no disputing!"
said Rodin, with a smile.
"I hope they will not recognize him!" said
Adrienne, remembering Baleinier's threats.
"It is not likely," he said; "they will only re
fuse him admittance. That will be, I hope, the
On seeing Dagobert grasp Rodin so roughly
by the collar, Mdlle. de Cardoville exclaimed in
terror, as she advanced several steps towards the 1
soldier: " In the name of Heaven, sir! what are
" What am I doing? " echoed the soldier, harsh
ly, without relaxing his hold on Rodin, aud turn
ing his head towards Adrienne, whom he did not
know; " I take this opportunity to squeeze the
throat of one of the wretches in the band of that
renegade, until he tells me where my poor child
" YTou strangle me," said the Jesuit, in a stifled
voice, as he tried to escape from the soldier.
" Where are the orphans, since they are not
here, and the convent door has been closed
against me? cried Dagobert, in a voice of
" Help! help! " gasped Rodin.
" Oh! it is dreadfull " said Adrienne, as, pale
and trembling, she held up her clasped hands to
Dagobert. ',' Have mercy, sir! listen to me! listen
to him! "
" M. Dagobert! " cried Mother Bunch, teizing
with her weak hands the soldier's arm, and show
ing him Adrienne, "this is Mdlle. de Cardoville.
What violence in her presence! and then, you are
At the name of Mdlle. de Cardoville, the bene
factress of his son, the soldier turned round sud
denly, and loosened his hold on Rodin. The
latter, crimson with rage and suffocation, set
about adjusting his collar and his cravat.
" I beg your pardon, madame," said Dagobert,
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