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About The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899 | View Entire Issue (July 22, 1898)
H EE AMERICAN
world, it's just as well to enter by the best door,
as we say. One of the friends of your materal
proteetrf ss, the Count de Montbron, an old noble
man of the greatest experience, and belonging to
the first society, will introduce you in some of
the best houses in Paris."
"Will you not introduce me, father?"
"Alas! my dear prince, look at me. Tell me,
if you think I am fitted for such an oHice. No,
no; I live alone and retired from the world. And
then," added Rodin, after a short silence, fixing
a penetratiug, attentive, and curious look upon
the prince, as if he would have subjected him to
a sort of experiment by what follows; "and then,
you see, M. de Montbron will be better able than
I should, in the world you are about to enter, to
enlighten you as to the snares that will be laid
for you. For if you have friends, you have also
enemies cowardly enemies, as you know, who
have abused your confidence in an infamous
manner, and have made sport of you. And as,
unfortunately, their power is equal to their wick
edness, it would perhaps be more prudent in you
to try to avoid to fly, instead of resisting them
At the remembrance of his enemies, at the
thought of Hying from them, Djalma trembled in
every Hub; his features became of a livid paleness;
his eyes wide open, so that the pupil was encir
cled with white, sparkled with lurid fire; never
had scorn, hatred, and the desire of vengeance,
expressed themselves so terribly on a human
face. His upper lip, blood-red, was convulsively,
exposing a row of small, white and close-set
teeth, and giving to his countenance, lately so
charming, an air of such animal ferocity, that
Rodin started from his seat, exclaimed: "What
is the matter, prince? You frighten me."
Djalma did not answer. Half leaning forward,
with his hands clenched in rage, le seemed to
cling to one of the arms of the chair, for fear of
yielding to a burst of terrific fury. At this mo
ment, the amber mouthpiece of his pipe rolled,
by chance, under one of his feet; the violent ten
sion, which contracted all the muscles of the
young Indian, was so powerful, and, notwith
standing his youth and his light figure, he was
endowed with such vigor, that with one abrupt
stamp he powdered to dust the piece of amber, in
spite of its extreme hardness.
"In the name of heaven, what is the matter
price? " cried Rodin.
"Thus would I crush my cowardly enemies!"
exclaimed Djalma, with menacing and excited
look. Then, as if these words had brought his
rage to a climax, he bounded from his seat, and,
with haggard eyes, strode about the room for
some seconds in all directions, as if he sought for
some weapon, and uttered from time to time a
hoarse cry, which he endeavored to stifle by
thrusting his clenched fist against his mouth,
whilst his jaws moved convulsively. It was the
impotent rage of a wild beast, thirsting for blood.
Yet, in all this, the young Indian preserved a
great and savage beauty; it wa3 evident that
these instincts of sanguinary ardor and blind in
trepidity, now excited to this pitch by horror of
treachery and cowardice, when applied to war, or
to those gigantic Indian hunts, which are even
more bloody than a battle, must make of Djalma
what he really was a hero.
Rodin admired, with deep and ominous joy,
the fiery impetuosity of passion in the young
Indian, for, under various conceivable circum
stances, the effect must be .terrible. Suddenly,
to the jesuit's great surprise, the tempest was ap
peased. Djalma's fury was calmed thus instan
taneously, because reflection showed him how
vain it was. Ashamed of his childish violence,
he cast down his eyes. His countenance re
mained pale and gloomy; and, with a cold tran
quility, far more formidable than the violence to
which he had yielded, he said to Rodin: " Fath
er, you will this day lead me to meet my enem
ies." " In what end, my dear prince? What would
" Kill the cowards ! " " Kill them! you must
not think of it."
"Faringhea will aid me."
. "Remember, you are not on the banks of the
Ganges, and here one does not kill an enemy
like a hunted tiger."
" "One fights with a loyal enemy, but one kills
a traitor like an accursed dog," replied Djalma,
with as much conviction as tranquility.
"Ah, prince, whose father was the Father of
the Generous," said Rodin, in a grave voice;
" what pleasure can you find in striking down
creatures as cowardly as they are wicked?"
"To destroy what is dangerous, is a duty."
"So prince, you seek for revenge?"
" I do not revenge myself on a serpent," said
the Indian, with haughty bitterness; " I crush
" Rut, my dear prince, here we cannot get rid
of our enemies in that manner. If we have
cause of complaint "
"Women and children complain," said Djalma
interrupting Rodin, "men strike."
"Still on the banks of the Ganges, my dear
prince. Here, society takes your cause into its
own bauds, examines, judges, and if there be
good reason, punishes."
"In my own quarrel, I an both judge and ex
ecutioner." " Pray listen to me; you have escaped the odi
ous snares of your enemies, have you not? Well!
suppose it were thanks to the devction of the
venerable woman who has for you the tenderness
of a mother, and that she were to ask you to for
give them she, who save! you from their
hands what would you do then?"
The Indian hung his head, and was silent.
Profiting by his hesitation, Rodin continued: "I
might say to you that I know your enemies, but
that in the dread of seeing you commit some ter
rible imprudence, I would conceal their nomes
from you for ever. But no! I swear to you,that
if the respectable person, who loves you as her
son, should find it either right or useful that I
should tell you their names, I will do so until
she has pronounced, I must be silent."
Djalma looked at Rodin with a dark and wrath
ful air. At this moment, Faringhea entered, and
said to Rodin: "A man with a letter, not find
ing you at home, has been sent on here. Am I
to receive it? He says it comes from the Abbe
" Certainly," answered Rodin. "That is," he
added, " with the prince's permission." Djal
ma nodded in reply; Faringhea went out.
"You will excuse what I have done, dear
prince. I expected this morning a very import
ant letter. As it was late in coming to hand, I
ordered it to be sent on."
A few minutes after, Faringhea returned with
the letter, which he delivered to Rodin and the
half-caste again withdrew.
(To be continued.)
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