Eugène Sue.

The works of Eugene Sue (Volume 12) online

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In Twenty Folumes
Volume XII.

Limited to WOO copies
of which this is



PART XI. — The Cholera. — Continued.

I. Agricola Baudoin ..... 13

n. The Hiding-place 25

III. A Christian Priest 28

IV. The Confession 36

V. The Visit 45

VI. Prayer 52

VII. A Retrospective Glance .... 67


IX. The Anonymous Correspondents . . 81

X. The Golden City ,95

XI. The Wounded Lion 106

XII. The Test 116

Xni. The Ruins of the Abbey of St. John

the Decapitated .... 127

XIV. The Calvary 131

XV. R]SsuME 136


XVI. The Council 151

XVII. Happiness . 164

XVni. Duty 174




XIX. The Collection 185

XX. The Temporary Hospital .... 200

XXI. Hydrophobia 210

XXII. The Guardian Angel 220

XXni. Ruin 230

XXIV. Recollections 240

XXV. The Trial 251

XXVI. Ambition 259

XXVn. Set a Thief to Catch a Thief . . 269

XXVIII. Madame de la Sainte-Colombe . . 274

XXIX. Faringhea's Amour 280

XXX. An Evening at Madame de la Sainte-

Colombe's 292

XXXI. The Nuptial Couch 305

XXXII. A Rencontre 318

XXXIII. The Message * 330

XXXIV. The First op June 338


XXXV. Four Years Afterwards .... 353

XXXVI. Pardon 363

XXXVn. Conclusion 368




« « My friend,' said Adrienne to him " . Frontispiece
"Conducted the marechal to the cradle" . , 68
" Contemplated them with ineffable tenderness " 222
« ' Oh, how I LOVE YOU '" 317

Vol. VL

Part XL — Continued




The P^re d'Aigrigny could scarcely repress his spite
and rage, and cast not only angry and threatening looks
at Agricola, but from time to time glanced with unquiet
and irritated eye at the entrance of the door, as if he
feared at each moment to see some other person enter
whose coming he equally dreaded.

The smith, as soon as he saw the countenance of his
master, retreated, struck with painful surprise at the
sight of M. Hardy's features, so sad, so grief-worn. For
some seconds the three actors in this scene kept silence.
Agricola had no longer any doubt as to the moral weak-
ening of M. Hardy, accustomed as the artisan was to see
as much high spirit as kindness of heart in the worthy
man. ''

D'Aigrigny first broke silence, saying to the boarder,
and laying decided emphasis on each word :

" I should suppose, my dear son, that after the desire
so positive, so spontaneous, which you have just mani-
fested to me, not to see this gentleman, — I should sup-
pose, I say, that his presence now is painful to you ; and
1 trust, therefore, that out of defei-ence, or at least grati-



tude, to you, this gentleman," and he looked towards the
smith, " will at once retire, and terminate this unpleasant
situation, already too much prolonged."

Agricola made no reply to P^re d'Aigrigny, but, turn-
ing his back to him, addressed M. Hardy, whom he gazed
at for some moments with profound emotion, whilst the
big tears fell from his eyes :

" Ah, monsieur, it does me good to see you, although
you appear to be suffering so much! How my heart
grows calm, is reassured, rejoices ; my comrades would
be so happy to be in my place. If you but knew all they
have said to me about you ; for to cherish, venerate you,
we all have but one soul, one feeling."

D'Aigrigny gave Hardy a glance which meant —
What did I tell you ? Then addressing Agricola impa-
tiently, as he went up close to him :

" I have already told you that your presence here is

Agricola made no reply, did not even turn towards
Mm, but said :

" M. Hardy, have the goodness to desire this person to
leave the room. My father and I know him, as he knows
full well."

Then turning around towards the reverend father, the
smith added, scornfully, and measuring him from head
to foot with a look of indignation mingled with disgust :

" If you have any desire to hear what I have to say to
M. Hardy about you, return here by and by ; but at
present I wish to speak to my late employer on private
business, and give him a letter from Mile, de Cardoville,
who knows you also, unfortunately for her."

The Jesuit remained unmoved, and replied :

" I will allow myself, sir, to think you somewhat
invert our positions. I am here in my own house,
where I have the honour to receive M. Hardy. It is
I, therefore, who have the right and power to compel
you to quit this place instantly, and-—"



" Father, pray," said M. Hardy, witli deference, " ex-
cuse Agricola ; his attachment to me urges him some-
what too far ; but as he is here, and has private matters
to communicate to me, allow me, father, to converse with
him for a little while."

" Allow you, my dear son ? " replied D'Aigrigny, pre-
tending surprise, " why ask permission ? Are you not
perfectly free to do what you think best ? "Was it not you
who just now, and in spite of my observations begging
you to receive this individual, formally and decidedly
refused to grant him the interview?"

" Quite true, father."

After these words, D'Aigrigny could no longer resist
without want of tact, and he rose, therefore, and, squeez-
ing Hardy by the hand, said to him, with an expressive
gesture :

" Adieu, for the present, my dear son, but remember
our recent conversation, and what I foretold."

" Adieu, for the present, father ; make your mind
easy," replied M. Hardy, in a melancholy tone.

The reverend father left the room. Agricola, over-
come, amazed, asked himself if it were indeed his former
master whom he heard calling the P^re d'Aigrigny father
with so much deference and humility. Then as the smith
scrutinised the features of M. Hardy more attentively,
he remarked in his wasted countenance an expression of
exhaustion and lassitude, which equally alarmed and
affected him, and he therefore said to him, whilst
endeavouring to conceal his painful surprise :

" At length, sir, you will be restored to us ; we shall
then soon see you in the midst of us ! Ah, your return
will make many very happy, relieve much uneasiness ;
for, if it were possible, we have loved you still more
since we were afraid for an instant that we should lose

" Honest, worthy fellow ! " replied M. Hardy, with
a benevolent but melancholy smile, and holding out



his hand to Agricola, " I never for a moment doubted
you or your comrades ; their gratitude has always repaid
me for the good I was enabled to do them."

" And which you will do them again, sir, — for
you — "

Here M. Hardy interrupted Agricola by exclaiming :

" Before we continue this observation, my worthy
young friend, you must allow me to speak with perfect
frankness, so as to prevent yourself or your companions
from entertaining hopes that can never be realised. My
resolution is irrevocably taken to pass the remainder of
my days if not within tne walls of a cloister, at least in
absolute retirement ; for my soul sickens and is weary
— oh, how weary of this life ! "

" But we are not weary of honouring and cherishing
the warmest affection for you, my beloved master ! "
exclaimed the smith, more and more alarmed by the
tone and language of M. Hardy. " It is now our turn
to devote ourselves to you, and to prove our sincerity by
our zeal, our disinterested services, and our unanimous
and energetic aid, in rebuilding the manufactory, — that
monument of your generous goodness and noble desire
to befriend your fellow creatures."

M. Hardy mournfully shook his head.

" No," said he, " I repeat that the activity of life has
ceased for me ; I seem, during the last few weeks, to
have grown at least twenty years older, and I have
neither the strength, the courage, nor even the inclina-
tion, to recommence my past career. Thank God, while
I was able I did what I could for the interests of human-
ity. I have discharged my debt of social duty, and at
this moment I have but one wish, one desire, and that is,
to obtain peace and tranquillity from the consolations of

" And can you possibly, sir," inquired Agricola, with
utter amazement at these words, " can you prefer living
in this gloomy solitude to being among your own faithful



and attached people? Do you believe you should find
greater happiness here, amid these priests, than in your
manufactory raised from its present ruins, and become
more flourishing than ever ? "

" Happiness and I have for ever parted company upon
this earth," replied M. Hardy, bitterly.

After a momentary hesitation, Agricola quickly re-
sumed, in an agitated and unsteady voice:

" My honoured master, you are basely deceived, cheated,
duped ! "

" What mean you, my friend ?"

" I mean, M. Hardy, that the priests who surround
you are false and treacherous, and that they have the
blackest designs upon you. Oh, master, dear master,
you little know the wicked hands you have fallen into !
Are you aware with whom you are living ? "

" Yes, with good and holy men, belonging to the Com-
pany of Jesus."

" And your mortal enemies I "

" Enemies ? " cried M. Hardy, with a faint smile of
mournful impatience, " what have I to fear further from
the enmity of my most implacable foes? Where could
they find the means of inflicting any fresh wound ? "

" But, monsieur," exclaimed the smith, " it is not per-
sonal danger you need fear from the machinations of
these religious hypocrites. Their motive consists in en-
deavouring to dispossess you of your share in an immense
inheritance, and they have laid their plans with consum-
mate villainy. Not only yourself, but the daughters of
Mar^chal Simon, Mile, de Cardoville, and my adopted
brother, Gabriel, — in a word, all belonging to your
family have narrowly escaped becoming victims to their
infernal schemes. I tell you, these priests have no other
aim than to abuse your confidence, and that now their
sole motive in causing you to be transported hither half
dying as you were, and the reason why they wish to
keep all your faithful friends from seeing you — "



And M. Hardy again broke in upon Agricola's dis-
course :

" My worthy young friend," said he, with a smile of
gloomy indifference, " you are in error as to these pious
priests, whose care and attention to me have been un-
ceasingly great ; and as to this pretended inheritance,
what are all the riches of the world to me ? Oh, no,
henceforward the vain treasures of this valley of grief
and tears have no charms, no temptations for me. I
bow my spirit to the dust, humbly trusting that my
severe sufferings may be acceptable in the eyes of the
Lord, and plead in my favour, that I may as quickly as
possible be removed from the scene of my painful pil-

" Alas, dear master," urged Agricola, unable to believe
the reality of what he heard, "you cannot be thus
changed in so short a time ! You, to adopt such despair-
ing sentiments, who ever bade us love and admire the
inexhaustible goodness of our Heavenly Father ; and well
might we believe in the bounty, and love, and mercy you
spoke of, for had not that beneficent Protector and ever
watchful Guardian sent you to dwell among us ? "

" And the greater is it my duty to resign myself to his
will, since he has thought proper to withdraw me from
you, my friends ; doubtless because, spite of my wish to
serve him aright, I have failed in so doing. I fear me
much I have worshipped and loved the creature more
than the Creator."

" And how, dear master," cried the smith, into whose
heart fresh apprehensions as regarded the state of M.
Hardy's mind were rapidly gaining ground, " could you
better serve and honour God than by encouraging
industry and honesty ; rendering men better by secur-
ing their welfare ; treating your dependants as men
and brothers, by cultivating their understanding, and
giving them a taste for virtue and real love for goodness ;
by propagating among them, by your example, senti-



ments of equality, brotherhood, and to share all things
in common with a heavenly spirit. Ah, master, you
need but to remember the good you have done, — the
daily blessings breathed for you by the small world of
whom you were the sun, that bestowed the life and light
of happiness and content, to find consolation for the past
and hope for the future ! "

"Why recall the past?" replied M. Hardy, gently.
" Had my humble deeds been acceptable in the sight of
God, would he have punished me thus ? Far from re-
joicing in or vaunting of what I have done, I ought,
rather, to lament and bewail in sackcloth and ashes ;
for I much fear I walked in darkness and error, and had
wandered from his sacred fold ; perhaps I was led to
think my path a right one, and allowed myself to be
blinded by my foolish pride. I, a poor, unworthy worm,
to presume to differ from the many great and clever men
who have humbly bowed themselves in submission to the
strict forms I dared to consider unnecessary. Ah, now I
feel my crime ! I am conscious of my sin, and, with
tears and prayers, in solitude and mortifications, will I
endeavour to wash away my fault. Yes, I will humbly
trust that an avenging God will yet one day grant me
his pardon, and that my bitter sufferings may even be
accepted in favour of other sinners great as myself."

Agricola found not one word to reply, but contem-
plated M, Hardy with mute alarm, as he continued to
pour forth these melancholy, though hackneyed expres-
sions, in a feeble and tremulous tone ; and as he examined
the dejected, careworn countenance of the man once so
animated and energetic, he asked himself, with secret
dread, what could be the mysterious influence, the fasci-
nation possessed by these priests, by which they were
enabled to turn the sorrows and mental exhaustion of
this unfortunate individual to their own purpose, and to
dry and parch up one of the finest, noblest hearts that
ever beat in human breast ; to render barren and unpro-



ductive a beneficence that knew no bounds, and to anni-
hilate a mind the most enlightened that had ever devoted
itself to the happiness of the human race.

So great was the chagrin and astonishment of the
smith, that he felt neither strength nor courage to con-
tinue the conversation, which became so much the more
afflicting to him as at each fresh word and look from
M. Hardy he saw more clearly revealed the depth of the
abyss of incurable desolation into which the reverend
fathers had plunged his unhappy patron.

M. Hardy, meanwhile, preserved a gloomy silence ; he
had fallen back into his original apathy and listless
manner, while his eyes wandered to the various maxims
inscribed on the walls relative to the " Imitation."

At length, Agricola broke the dead silence which pre-
vailed, and drawing from his pocket the letter of Mile,
de Cardoville, which now formed his only hope, he pre-
sented it to M. Hardy, saying :

" Monsieur, a relation, at present unknown to you,
except by name, which you have doubtless heard, has
desired me to give you this letter."

" And what good can that letter do me, or indeed any
one, my young friend ? "

" Nay, master, I beseech of you to read it. Mile, de
Cardoville eagerly expects your reply. It refers to most
important matters."

" My friend," replied M. Hardy, raising towards
heaven his eyes red and swollen with weeping, " I know
but of one important matter, and it is there ! " pointing

" M. Hardy," continued the smith, more and more
affected, "I beseech you, in the name of our united
gratitude towards you, in that of the prayers we will
teach our children night and morning to offer for your
return to health and happiness, to read this letter. Yes,
master, dear, dear master, I implore of you to read
it ; and if, after that, your mind continues unchanged,



why — then — why then — I will urge you no more ; all
will be at an end for us poor workmen ; we shall have
lost our benefactor for ever ; he who treated us like
brothers, and cherished us like friends ; whose good
example would, sooner or later, have been followed by
others having hearts as noble and generous as his own,
so that, by your intervention, by degrees our working
brethren would have shared our blessings, and have had
to bless your name as we did. But it matters not ! To
us, your faithful, your devoted workmen, your memory
will be our most sacred treasure, and never will your
name escape our lips but with love and respect, mingled
with a grief that will not be consoled, for how can we
forget that we have lost you ? "

The voice of Agricola, which had been greatly inter-
rupted by his rising emotions, was here lost amid the
sighs and tears which, spite of his firm and manly
character, he found it impossible to repress.

" Excuse my weakness, dearest master," said he, " but
my tears fall not for myself alone. No, no, my heart
bleeds when I think of those that will long be shed by
brave and worthy men, as they mournfully repeat, ' We
shall see our M. Hardy no more, — never — never again.' "

The emotion and tone of Agricola were so natural
and unfeigned, his frank and noble countenance, bathed
in tears, expressed so deep, so touching a devotion, that
M. Hardy, for the first time during his abode among
the reverend fathers, felt a something like warmth re-
kindle around his heart, as though some revivifying
sunbeam had at length managed to pierce through the
thick, icy covering beneath which he had so long vege-

M. Hardy held out his hand to Agricola, and said to
him, in an altered voice :

" Thanks, my good friend, thanks. This fresh proof
of your devotion, these regrets, all move me ; and a
gentle emotion, unembittered, does me good."



" Ah, sir," exclaimed the smith, with a glimmer of
hope, " do not restrain yourself ; listen to the voice of
your heart; it will tell you to make the happiness
of those who cherish you, and for you to see people
happy is to be happy. Now, read this letter from the
generous young lady ; it may, perhaps, finish what I have
begun, and if it does not, then we shall see."

So saying, Agricola paused, and cast a glance of hope
towards the door ; then he added, again presenting the
letter to M. Hardy :

" Oh, sir, read, I entreat you ; Mile, de Cardoville has
desired me to confirm to you all there is in the letter."

" No, no, I must not — I ought not to read it," replied
Hardy, with hesitation. " Of what use would it be but
to revive my regrets ? For, alas ! it is true I loved you
all so much, I had formed so many projects for the
future," added poor Hardy, with involuntary emotion ;
then struggling against the feeling, he continued, " But
wherefore think of this ? The past can never return."

" Who knows, M. Hardy, who knows ? " observed
Agricola, more and more satisfied at the doubt of his
old master ; " first read Mile, de Cardoville's letter."

Hardy, yielding to Agricola's persuasion, took the
letter almost in spite of himself, broke the seal, and
read it; gradually his countenance expressed in turns
gratitude and admiration. Several times he interrupted
himself to say to Agricola, with a warmth of feeling
which seemed to astonish even himself :

" Oh, how good, how admirable ! "

Then having concluded the perusal of the letter,
Hardy, addressing the smith, said, with a melancholy

" What a heart is Mile, de Cardoville's ! What kind-
ness ! What a mind ! What elevation of mind ! Ah,
I shall never forget the noble feelings that have dictated
her generous offers to me. May she at least be happy
in this sad, sad world ! "



" Ah, believe me, sir," replied Agricola, with excite-
ment, " a world which comprises such creatures, and so
many others beside, who, without having the inestimable
worth of this excellent young lady, are yet worthy of
the attachment of honest people, — such a world is some-
thing more than dirt, corruption, and wickedness, and
proves, on the contrary, in favour of himianity. It is
such a world that summons, awaits you. Come, M.
Hardy, listen to the advice of Mile, de Cardoville, accept
the offers which she makes you ; return to us ; return
to life ; for it is death in this house ! "

" Return to a world wherein I have suffered so much ?
Quit the calm of this retreat ? " answered Hardy, with
hesitation. "No, no, I cannot — I ought not."

" Ah, I have not relied on myself alone to decide
you," cried the smith, with increasing hope, " I have
there a powerful auxiliary " — he pointed to the door —
" whom I have kept to strike the great blow, and who
will appear when you please."

" What mean you, my friend ? " inquired Hardy.

" Ah, it was another excellent idea of Mile, de Cardo-
ville, who always thinks rightly, knowing the dangerous
hands into which you had fallen. Knowing, also, the
perfidious cunning of those persons who desire to inveigle
you, she said to me, ' M. Agricola, the disposition of
M. Hardy is so frank and good that perhaps he will
easily allow his mind to be abused, for honest hearts
always refuse to believe in unworthy trickeries ; then he
may suppose that you are interested in having him
accept the offers I make to him ; but there is an indi-
vidual whose sacred character ought under such circum-
stances to inspire M. Hardy with entire confidence ; for
this admirable priest is our relation, and was very nearly
also a victim to the implacable enemies of our family.' "

" And this priest, who is he ? " inquired Hardy.

" The Abb^ Gabriel Rennepont, my adopted brother,'*
cried the smith, with pride. " He is a noble priest !



Ah, sir, if you had known him earlier, instead of despair-
ing, you would have hoped. Your grief would not have
resisted his consolations."

" Who is this priest ? Where is he ? " inquired Hardy,
equally surprised and curious.

"■ There — in your antechamber. When Pere d'Ai-
grigny saw him with me, he became furious, and ordered
lis to go away ; but my worthy, dear Gabriel replied that
he might have to converse with you on very important
interests, and that therefore he should stay. I, less
patient, gave the Abb^ d'Aigrigny, who sought to stop
my progress, a push, and rushed by him, sb anxious was
I to see you. Now, sir, then you will receive Gabriel,^
will you not ? He would not come in without your per-
mission ; I will now fetch him. You talk of religion ;
why, it is his that is the real one, for it does good, — it
encourages, consoles, you will see, and then, at last,
thanks to Mile, de Cardoville and him, you will be
restored to us ! " exclaimed the smith, unalale any longer
to repress his joyful hope.

" No, my friend, no ! I don't know. I am afraid,"
replied Hardy, with increasing hesitation, yet feeling, in
spite of himself, aroused, animated, excited, by the cordial
language of the smith. The latter, taking advantage of
the propitious hesitation of his old master, ran to the
door, opened it, and exclaimed :

" Gabriel, my brother, dear brother, come, come ; M.
Hardy wishes to see you."

" My friend," observed Hardy, still hesitating, but
nevertheless seeming quite satisfied to have his hesitation
taken advantage of, " my friend, what are you doing ? "

" I am calling your preserver and our own ! " replied
Agricola, overjoyed, and certain of the good success of
Gabriel's intervention with M. Hardy.

Appearing at the call of the smith, Gabriel quickly
entered M. Hardy's apartment.




We have said that in certain parts of most of the
apartments occupied by the boarders of the reverend
fathers certain spy-holes were formed, with the intention
of giving every facility to the incessant espionage with
which the Company environed those they desired to
watch ; and M. Hardy being one of these, there had been
contrived, adjacent to his apartment, a secret hiding-place
which could hold two persons. A kind of long funnel
aired and lighted up this closet, in which was a speaking-
pipe, arranged with so much skill that the least whisper
in the adjacent room was heard in this retreat as distinctly

Online LibraryEugène SueThe works of Eugene Sue (Volume 12) → online text (page 1 of 26)