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The wandering Jew ; (Volume 5) online

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hold into the room, and, contemplating Rose
VOL. 5 O


arid Blanche by turns with admiration, he
resumed: "What happiness for me, to be
able to bring some pleasure to these dear
young ladies! They are even as I left
them, graceful, and fair, and charming
only less sad than on the day when I
fetched them from the gloomy convent in
which they were kept prisoners, to restore
them to the arms of their glorious father!"

"That was their place, and this is not
yours," said Dagobert, harshly, still hold-
ing the door open, behind Rodin.
- "Confess, at least, that I was not so
much out of place at Dr. Baleinier's, " said
the Jesuit, with a cunning air. "You
know, for it was there that I restored to
you the noble imperial cross you so much
regretted the day when that good Mdlle.
de Cardoville only prevented you from
strangling me by telling you that I was
her liberator. Ay! it was just as I have
the honor of stating, young ladies," added
Rodin, with a smile; "this brave soldier
was very near strangling me, for, be it said
without offense, he has, in spite of his age,
a grasp of iron. Ha, ha! the Prussians
and Cossacks must know that better than

These few words reminded Dagobert and
the twins of the service which Rodin had


really rendered them; and though the
marshal had heard Mdlle. de Cardoville
speak of Rodin as of a very dangerous
man, he had forgotten in the midst of so
many anxieties to communicate this cir-
cumstance to Dagobert. But this latter,
warned by experience, felt, in spite of
favorable appearances, a secret aversion
for the Jesuit; so he replied abruptly:
"The strength of my grasp has nothing
to do with the matter."

"If I allude to that little innocent play-
fulness on your part, my dear sir," said
Rodin in the softest tone, approaching the
two sisters with a wriggle which was pe-
culiar to him; "if I allude to it you see it
was suggested by the involuntary recol-
lection of the little services I was happy
enough to render you." Dagobert looked
fixedly at Rodin, who instantly veiled his
glance beneath his flabby eyelids.

"First of all," said the soldier after
a moment's silence, "a true man never
speaks of the services he has rendered,
and you come back three times to the

"But, Dagobert," whispered Rose, "if
he bring news of our father?"

The soldier made a sign, as if to beg the
girl to let him speak, and resumed, looking


full at Rodin: "You are cunning, but I'm
no raw recruit."

"I cunning?" said Rodin, with a sancti-
fied air.

"Yes, very. You think to puzzle me
with your fine phrases; but I'm not to be
caught in that way. Just listen to me.
Some of your band of black-gowns stole
my cross; you returned it to me. Some of
the same band carried off these children ;
you brought them back. It is also true
that you denounced the renegade D'Ai-
grigny. But all this only proves two
things: first, that you were vile enough
to be the accomplice of these scoundrels;
and secondly, that, having being their ac-
complice, you were base enough to betray
them. Now, those two facts are equally
bad, and I suspect you most furiously. So
march off at once; your presence is not
good for these children."

"But, my dear sir"

"I will have no buts," answered Dago-
bert, in an angry voice. "When a man of
your look does good, it is only to hide some
evil; and one must be on guard."

"I understand your suspicions," said
Rodin coolly, 'hiding his growing disap-
pointment, for he had hoped it would have
been easy to coax the soldier; "but, if you


reflect, what interest have I in deceiving
you? and in what should the deception

"You have some interest or other in per
sisting to remain here, when I tell you to
go away."

"I have already had the honor of in-
forming you of the object of my visit, my
dear sir."

"To bring news of Marshal Siman?"

"That is exactly the case. I am happy
enough to have news of the marshal. Yes,
my dear young ladies," added Rodin, as
he again approached the two sisters, to
recover, as it were, the ground he had lost,
"I have news of your glorious father!"

"Then come to 'my room directly, and
you can tell it to me," replied Dagobert.

"What! you would be cruel enough to
deprive these dear ladies of the pleasure "

"By heaven, sir!" cried Dagobert, in a
voice of thunder, "you will make me for-
get myself. I should be sorry to fling a
ma a of your age down the stairs. "Will
you begone?"

"Well, well," said Rodin, mildly, "do
not be angry with the poor old man. I
am really not worth the .trouble. I will
go with you to your room, and tell you
what I have to communicate. You will


repent not having let me speak before these
dear young ladies; but that will be your
punishment, naughty man!"

So saying, Rodin again bowed very low,
and, concealing his rage and vexation, left
the room before Dagobert, who made a
sign to the two sisters, and then followed,
closing the door after him.

"What news of our father?" said Rose
anxiously, when the soldier returned, after
a quarter of an hour's absence.

"Well, that old conjuror knows that the
marshal set out in good spirits, and he
seems acquainted with M. Robert. How
could he be informed of all this? I cannot
tell," added the soldier, with a thoughtful
air; "but it is only another reason to be on
one's guard 1 against him."

"But what news of our father?" asked

"One of that old rascal's friends (I think
him a rascal still) knows your father, he
tells me, and met him five-and-twenty
leagues from here. Knowing that this
man was coming to Paris, the marshal
charged him to let you know that he was
in perfect health, and hoped soon to see
you again."

"Oh, what happiness!" cried Rose.

"You see, you were wrong to suspect


the poor old man, Dagobert," added
Blanche. "You treated him so harshly!"

"Possibly so; but I am not sorry for it."

"And why?"

"I have good reasons; and one of the
best is that, when I saw him come in,
and go sidling and creeping round about
us, I felt chilled to the marrow of my
bones, without knowing why. Had I seen
a serpent crawling toward you, I should
not have been more frightened. I knew,
of course, that he could not hurt you in
my presence ; but I tell you, my children,
in spite of the services he has no doubt
rendered us, it was all I could do to re-
frain from throwing him out of window.
Now, this manner of proving my grati-
tude is not natural, and one must be on
one's guard against people who inspire us
with such ideas."

"Good Dagobert, it is your affection for
us that makes you so suspicious," said
Rose, in a coaxing tone; "it proves how
much you love us. ' '



AMONG a greater number of temporary
hospitals opened at the time of the cholera


in every quarter of Paris, one had. been
established on the ground floor of a large
house in the Rue du Mont-Blanc.

The vacant apartments had been gener-
ously placed by their proprietor at the dis-
posal of the authorities ; and to this place
were carried a number of persons, who,
being suddenly attacked with the contag-
ion, were considered in too dangerous a
state to be removed to the principal hos-

Two days had elapsed since Rodin's visit
to Marshal Simon's daughters. Shortly
after he had been expelled, the Princess de
Saint- Dizier had entered to see them, un-
der the cloak of being a house-to-house
visitor to collect funds for the cholera

Choosing the moment when Dagobert,
deceived. by her ladylike demeanor, had
withdrawn, she counseled the twins that
it was their duty to go and see their gov-
erness, whom she stated to be in the hos-
pital we now describe.

It was about ten o'clock in the morning.

The persons who had watched during
the night by the sick people, in the hos-
pital established in the Rue du Mont- Blanc,
were about to be relieved by other volun-
tary assistants.


"Well, gentlemen," said one of the new-
ly arrived, "how are we getting on? Has
there been any decrease last night in the
number of the sick?"

"Unfortunately, no; but the doctors
think the contagion has reached its

"Then there is some hope of seeing it
decrease. ' '

' ' And have any of the gentlemen, whose
places we come to take, been attacked by
the disease?"

"We came eleven strong last night; we
are only nine now."

"That is bad. Were these two persons
taken off rapidly?"

"One of the victims, a young man of
twenty-five years of age, a cavalry officer
on furlough, was struck as it were by
lightning. In less than a quarter of an
hour he was dead. Though such facts are
frequent, we were speechless with horror."
- "Poor young man!"

"He had a word of cordial encourage-
ment and hope for every one. He had so
far succeeded in raising the spirits of the
patients that some of them, who were less
affected by the cholera than by the fear of
it, were able to quit the hospital nearly


"What a pity! So good a young man!
Well, he died gloriously; it requires as
much courage as on the field of battle."

"He had only one rival in zeal and cour-
age, and that is a young priest, with an
angelic countenance, whom they call the
Abbe Gabriel. He is indefatigable; he
hardly takes an hour's rest, but runs from
one to the other, and offers himself to
everybody. He forgets nothing. The
consolations which he offers coine from
the depths of his soul, and are not mere
formalities in the way of his profession.
No, no, I saw him weep over a poor wo-
man, whose eyes he had closed after a
dreadful agony. Oh, if all priests were
like him!"

"No doubt, a good priest is most worthy
of respect. But who is the other victim of
last night?"

"Oh! his death was frightful. Do not
speak of it. I have still the horrible scene
before my eyes."

"A sudden attack of the cholera?"

"If it had only been the contagion, I
should not so shudder at the remembrance. "

"What then did he die of?"

"It is a string of horrors. Three days
ago, they brought here a man, who was
supposed to be only attacked with cholera.


You have no doubt heard speak of this
personage. He is the lion-tamer that
drew all Paris to the Porte Saint-Mar-

"I know the man you mean. Called
Morok. He performed a kind of play
with a tame panther."

"Exactly so; I was myself present at a
similar scene, in which a stranger, an In-
dian, in consequence of a wager, it was
said at the time, jumped upon the stage
and killed the panther."

"Well, this Morok, brought here as a
cholera patient, and indeed with all the
symptoms of the contagion, soon showed
signs of a still more frightful malady."

"And this was"


"Did he become mad?"

"Yes; he confessed that he had been
bitten a few days before by one of the
mastiffs of the menagerie; unfortunately,
we only learned this circumstance after the
terrible attack, which cost the life of the
poor fellow we deplore,"

"How did it happen, then?"

"Morok was in a room with three other
patients, Suddenly seized with a sort of
furious delirium, he rose, uttering fero-
cious cries, and rushed raving mad into


the passage. Our poor friend made an
attempt to stop him. This kind of resist-
ance increased the frenzy of Morok, who
threw himself on the man that crossed his
path, and, tearing him with his teeth, fell
down in horrible convulsions."

"Oh! you are right. 'Twas indeed
frightful. And, notwithstanding every
assistance, this victim of Morok's ;

"Died during the night, in dreadful
agony; for the shock had been so violent
that brain fever almost instantly declared

"And is Morok dead?"

"I do not know. He was to be taken
to another hsopital, after being fast bound
in the state of weakness which generally
succeeds the fit. But, till he can be TQ-
moved, he has been confined in a room

' ' But he cannot recover. ' '

"I should think he must be dead by this
time. The doctors did not give him twenty-
four hours to live."

The persons engaged in this conversation
were standing in an ante-chamber on the
ground-floor, in which usually assembled
those who came to offer their voluntary
aid to the sick. One door of this room
communicated with the rest of the hospital,


and the other with the passage that opened
upon the courtyard.

"Dear me!" said one of the two speak-
ers, looking through the window. "See
what two charming girls have just got
out of that elegant carriage. How much
alike they are ! Such a resemblance is in-
deed extraordinary."

"No doubt they are twins. Poor young
girls! dressed in mourning. They have
perhaps lost father or mother."

"One would imagine they were coming
this way."

"Yes, they are coming up the steps."

And indeed Rose and Blanche soon en.
tered the ante-chamber, with a timid,
anxious air, though a sort of feverish ex-
citement was visible in their looks. One
of the two men that were talking together,
moved by the embarrassment of the girls,
advanced toward them, and said, in a tone
of attentive politeness: "Is there anything
I can do for you, ladies?"

"Is not this, sir," replied Rose, "the
infirmary of the Rue du Mont-Blanc?"

"Yes, miss."

"A lady, called Madame Augustine du
Tremblay, was brought here, we are told,
about two days ago. Could we see her?"

"I would observe to you, miss, that there


is some danger in entering the sick-
wards. ' '

"It is a dear friend that we wish to see,"
answered Rose, in a mild and tirm tone,
which sufficiently expressed that she was .
determined to brave the danger.

"I cannot be sure, miss," resumed the
other, "that the person you seek is here;
but, if you will take the trouble to walk
into this room on the left, you will find
there ' the good sister Martha ; she has the
care of the women's wards, and will give
you all the information you can desire."

"Thank you, sir," said Blanche, with
a graceful bow ; and she and her sister en-
tered together the apartment which had
been pointed out to them.

"They are really charming," said, the
man, looking after the two sisters, who
soon disappeared from his view. "It
would be a great pity if"

He was unable to finish. A frightful
tumult, mingled with cries of alarm and
horror, rose suddenly from the adjoining
rooms. Almost instantly, two doors were
thrown open, and a number of the sick,
half-naked, pale, fleshless, and their feat-
ures convulsed with terror, rushed into the
;inte- chamber, exclaiming: "Help! help!
the madman!" It is impossible to paint


the scene of despairing and furious confu-
sion which followed this panic of so many
affrighted wretches, flying to the only other
door, -to escape from the peril they dreaded,
and there, struggling and trampling on
each other to pass through the narrow

At the moment when the last of these
unhappy creatures succeeded in reaching
the door, dragging himself along upon his
bleeding hands, for he had been thrown
down and almost crushed in the confusion
Morok, the object of so much terror
Morok himself appeared. He was a hor-
rible sight. With the exception of a rag
bound about his middle, his wan form was
entirely naked, and from his bare legs still
hung -the remnants of the cords he had
just broken. His thick, yellow hair stood
almost on end, his beard bristled, his sav-
age eyes rolled full of blood in their orbits,
and shone with a glassy brightness; his
lips were covered with foam; from time
to time he uttered hoarse, guttural cries.
The veins, visible on his iron limbs, were
swollen almost to bursting. He bounded
like a wild beast, and stretched out before
him his bony and quivering hands. At the
moment Morok reached the doorway, by
which those he pursued made their escape,


some persons, attracted by the noise, man-
aged to close this door from without, while
others secured that which communicated
with the sick- wards.

Morok thus found himself a prisoner.
He ran to the window to force it open, and
throw himself into the courtyard. But,
stopping suddenly, he drew back from the
glittering panes, seized with that invinci-
ble horror which all the victims of hydro-
phobia feel at the sight of any shining ob
ject, particularly glass. The unfortunate
creatures whom he had pursued saw him
from the courtyard exhausting himself in
furious efforts to open the doors that had
just been closed upon him. Then, per-
ceiving the inutility of his attempts, he
uttered savage cries and rushed furiously
round the room, like a wild beast that
seeks in vain to escape from its cage.

But, suddenly, those spectators of this
scene, who had approached nearest to the
window, uttered a loud exclamation of
fear and anguish. Morok had perceived
the little door which led to the closet occu-
pied by Sister Martha, where Rose and
Blanche had entered a few minutes before.
Hoping to get out by this way, Morok
drew the door violently toward him, and
succeeded in half opening it, not withstand-


ng the resistance he experienced from the
inside. For an instant, the affrighted
crowd saw the stiffened arms of Sister
Martha and the orphans, clinging to the
door, and holding it back with all their



WHEN the sick people, assembled in the
courtyard, saw the desperate efforts of
Morok to force the door of the room which
contained Sister Martha and the orphans,
their fright redoubled. "It is all over with
Sister Martha !" cried they.

"The door will give way."

"And the closet has no other entrance."

"There are two young girls in mourning
with her."

"Come! we must not leave these poor
women to encounter the madman. Follow
me, friends!" cried generously one of the
spectators, who was still blessed with
health, and he rushed toward the steps
to return to the ante-chamber.

"It's too late! it's only exposing your-
self in vain," cried many persons, holding
him back by force.


At this moment, voices were heard, ex-
claiming :

"Here is the Abbe Gabriel."

"He is coming downstairs. He has
heard the noise."

"He is asking what is the matter."

"What will he do?"

Gabriel, occupied with a dying person
in a neighboring room, had, indeed, just
learned that Morok, having broken his
bonds, had succeeded in escaping from the
chamber in which he had been temporarily
confined. Foreseeing the terrible dangers
which might result from the escape of the
lion-tamer, the missionary consulted only
his courage, and hastened down, in the
hope of preventing greater misfortunes.
In obedience to his orders, an attendant
followed him, bearing a brazier full of hot
cinders, on which lay several irons, at a
white heat, used by the doctors in cauter-
izing, in desperate cases of cholera.

The angelic countenance of Gabriel was
very pale ; but calm intrepidity shone upon
his noble brow. Hastily crossing the pas-
sage, and making his way through the
crowd, he went straight to the antecham-
l)er door. As he approached it, one of the
sick people said to him, in a lamentable
voice: "Ah, sir! it is all over. Those who


can see through the window say that Sis-
ter Martha is lost."

Gabriel made no answer, but grasped
the key of the door. Before entering the
room, however, he turned to the attendant,
and said to him in a firm voice: "Are the
irons of a white heat?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then wait here, and be ready. As for
you, my friends," he added, turning to
some of the sick, who shuddered with ter-
ror, "as soon as I enter shut the door after
me. I will answer for the rest. And you,
friend, only bring your irons when I call. "

And the young missionary turned the
key in the lock. A.t this juncture a cry
of alarm, pity and admiration rose from
every lip, and the spectators drew back
from the door, with an involuntary feeling
of fear. Raising his eyes to Heaven, as if
to invoke its assistance at this terrible mo-
ment, Gabriel pushed open the door, and
immediately closed it behind him. He was
alone with Morok.

The lion-tamer, by a last furious effort,
had almost succeeded in opening the door,
to which Sister Martha and the orphans
were clinging, in a fit of terror, uttering
piercing cries. At the sound of Gabriel's
footsteps, Morok turned round suddenly


Then, instead of continuing his attack on
the closet, he sprung, with a roar and a
bound, upon the newcomer.

During this time, Sister Martha and the
orphans, not knowing the cause of the sud-
den retreat of their assailant, took advan-
tage of the opportunity to close and bolt the
door, and thus placed themselves in secur-
ity from a new attack. Morok, with his
haggard eye, and teeth convulsively
clinched, had rushed upon Gabriel, his
hands extended to seize him by the throat.
The missionary stood the shock valiantly.
Guessing, at a glance, the intention of his
adversary, he seized him by the wrists as
he advanced, and, holding him back, bent
him down violently with a vigorous hand.
For a second, Morok and Gabriel remained
mute, breathless, motionless, gazing on
each other; then the missionary strove to
conquer the efforts of the madman, who,
with violent jerks, attempted to throw
himself upon him, and to seize and tear
him with his teeth.

Suddenly the lion - tamer's strength
seemed to fail, his knees quivered, his
livid head sunk upon his shoulder, his eyes
closed The missionary, supposing that a
momentary weakness had succeeded to the
fit of rage, and that the wretch was about


to fall, relaxed his hold in order to lend
him assistance. But no sooner did he feel
himself at liberty, thanks to his crafty de-
vice, than Morok flung himself furiously
upon Gabriel. Surprised by this sudden
attack, the latter stumbled, and at once
felt himself clasped in the iron arms of the
madman. Yet, with redoubled strength
and energy, struggling breast to breast,
foot to foot, the missionary in his turn suc-
ceeded in tripping up his adversary, and,
throwing him with a vigorous effort, again
seized his hands, and now held him down
beneath his knee. Having thus completely
mastered him, Gabriel turned his head to
call for assistance, when Morok, by a des-
perate strain, succeeded in raising himself
a little, and seized with his teeth the left
arm of the missionary. At this sharp, deep,
horrible bite, which penetrated to the very
bone, Gabriel could not restrain a scream
of anguish and horror. He strove in vain
to disengage himself, for his arm was held
fast, as in a vise, between the firm-set jaws
of Morok.

This frightful scene had lasted less time
than it has taken in the description, when
suddenly the door leading to the passage
was violently opened, and several coura-
geous men, who had learned from the pa-


tients to what danger the young priest was
exposed, came rushing to his assistance, in
spite of his recommendation not to enter
till he should call. The attendant was
among the number, with the brazier and
the hot irons. Gabriel, as soon as he per-
ceived him, said to him in an agitated
voice: "Quick, friend! your iron. Thank
God! I had thought of that."

One of the men who had entered the
room was luckily provided with a blanket;
and the moment the missionary succeeded
in wresting his arm from the clinched teeth
of Morok, whom he still held down with
his knee, this blanket was thrown ov^er the
madman's head, so that he could now be
held and bound without danger, notwith-
standing his desperate resistance. Then
Gabriel rose, tore open the sleeve of his
cassock, and laying bare his left arm, on
which a deep bite was visible, bleeding, of
a bluish color, he 'beckoned the attendant
to draw near, seized one of the hot irons,
and, with a firm and sure hand, twice ap-
plied the burning metal to the wound, with
a calm heroism which struck all the spec-
tators with admiration. But soon so many
various emotions, intrepidly sustained,
were followed by a natural reaction.
Large drops of sweat stood upon Gabriel's


brow; his long light hair clung to his
temples; he grew deadly pale, reeled, lost
his senses, and was carried into the next
room to receive immediate attention.

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