The Wandering Jew— Volume 10

Contents:
Author: Eugène Sue

Chapter XLI. Adrienne and Djalma.

The prince had slowly approached Mdlle. de Cardoville. Notwithstanding the impetuosity of the Oriental’s passions, his uncertain and timid step- -timid, yet graceful—betrayed his profound emotion. He did not venture to lift his eyes to Adrienne’s face; he had suddenly become very pale, and his finely formed hands, folded over his bosom in the attitude of adoration, trembled violently. With head bent down, he remained standing at a little distance from Adrienne. This embarrassment, ridiculous in any other person, appeared touching in this prince of twenty years of age, endowed with an almost fabulous intrepidity, and of so heroic and generous a character, that no traveller could speak of the son of Kadjasing without a tribute of admiration and respect. Sweet emotion! chaste reserve! doubly interesting if we consider that the burning passions of this youth were all the more inflammable, because they had hitherto been held in check.

No less embarrassed than her cousin, Adrienne de Cardoville remained seated. Like Djalma, she cast down her eyes; but the burning blush on her cheeks, the quick heaving of her virgin bosom, revealed an emotion that she did not even attempt to hide. Notwithstanding the powers of her mind, by turns gay, graceful, and witty—notwithstanding the decision of her proud and independent character, and her complete acquaintance with the manners of the world—Adrienne shared Djalma’s simple and enchanting awkwardness, and partook of that kind of temporary weakness, beneath which these two pure, ardent, and loving beings appeared sinking—as if unable to support the boiling agitation of the senses, combined with the intoxicating excitement of the heart. And yet their eyes had not met. Each seemed to fear the first electric shock of the other’s glance—that invincible attraction of two impassioned beings—that sacred fire, which suddenly kindles the blood, and lifts two mortals from earth to heaven; for it is to approach the Divinity to give one’s self up with religious fervor to the most noble and irresistible sentiment that He has implanted within us—the only sentiment that, in His adorable wisdom, the Dispenser of all good has vouchsafed to sanctify, by endowing it with a spark of His own creative energy.

Djalma was the first to raise his eyes. They were moist and sparkling. The excitement of passionate love, the burning ardor of his age, so long repressed, the intense admiration in which he held ideal beauty, were all expressed in his look, mingled with respectful timidity, and gave to the countenance of this youth an undefinable, irresistible character. Yes, irresistible!—for, when Adrienne encountered his glance, she trembled in every limb, and felt herself attracted by a magnetic power. Already, her eyes were heavy with a kind of intoxicating languor, when, by a great effort of will and dignity, she succeeded in overcoming this delicious confusion, rose from her chair, and said to Djalma in a trembling voice: "Prince, I am happy to receive you here." Then, pointing to one of the portraits suspended above her, she added, as if introducing him to a living person: "Prince—my mother!"

With an instinct of rare delicacy, Adrienne had thus summoned her mother to be present at her interview with Djalma. It seemed a security for herself and the prince, against the seductions of a first interview— which was likely to be all the more perilous, that they both knew themselves madly loved that they both were free, and had only to answer to Providence for the treasures of happiness and enjoyment with which He had so magnificently endowed them. The prince understood Adrienne’s thoughts; so that, when the young lady pointed to the portrait, Djalma, by a spontaneous movement full of grace and simplicity, knelt down before the picture, and said to it in a gentle, but manly voice: "I will love and revere you as my mother. And, in thought, my mother too shall be present, and stand like you, beside your child!"

No better answer could have been given to the feeling which induced Mdlle. de Cardoville to place herself, as it were, under the protection of her mother. From that moment, confident in Djalma, confident in herself, the young lady felt more at her ease, and the delicious sense of happiness replaced those exciting emotions, which had at first so violently agitated her.

Then, seating herself once more, she said to Djalma, as she pointed to the opposite chair: "Pray take a seat, my dear cousin; and allow me to call you so, for there is too much ceremony in the word prince; and do you call me cousin also, for I find other names too grave. Having settled this point, we can talk together like old friends."

"Yes cousin," answered Djalma, blushing.

"And, as frankness is proper between friends," resumed Adrienne, "I have first to make you a reproach," she added, with a half-smile.

The prince had remained standing, with his arm resting on the chimneypiece, in an attitude full of grace and respect.

"Yes, cousin," continued Adrienne, "a reproach, that you will perhaps forgive me for making. I had expected you a little sooner."

"Perhaps, cousin, you may blame me for having come so soon."

"What do you mean?"

"At the moment when I left home, a man, whom I did not know, approached my carriage, and said to me, with such an air of sincerity that I believed him: `You are able to save the life of a person who has been a second father to you. Marshal Simon is in great danger, and, to rescue him, you must follow me on the instant—’"

"It was a snare," cried Adrienne, hastily. "Marshal Simon was here, scarcely an hour ago."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Djalma, joyfully, and as if he had been relieved from a great weight. "Then there will be nothing to sadden this happy day!"

"But, cousin," resumed Adrienne, "how came you not to suspect this emissary?"

"Some words, which afterwards escaped from him, inspired me with doubts," answered Djalma: "but at first I followed him, fearing the marshal might be in danger—for I know that he also has enemies."

"Now that I reflect on it, you were quite right, cousin, for some new plot against the marshal was probable enough; and the least doubt was enough to induce you to go to him."

"I did so—even though you were waiting for me."

"It was a generous sacrifice; and my esteem for you is increased by it, if it could be increased," said Adrienne, with emotion. "But what became of this man?"

"At my desire, he got into the carriage with me. Anxious about the marshal, and in despair at seeing the time wasted, that I was to have passed with you, cousin, I pressed him with all sorts of questions. Several times, he replied to me with embarrassment, and then the idea struck me that the whole might be a snare. Remembering all that they had already attempted, to ruin me in your opinion, I immediately changed my course. The vexation of the man who accompanied me then because so visible, that I ought to have had no doubt upon the subject. Still, when I thought of Marshal Simon, I felt a kind of vague remorse, which you, cousin, have now happily set at rest."

’Those people are implacable!" said Adrienne; "but our happiness will be stronger than their hate."

After a moment’s silence, she resumed, with her habitual frankness: "My dear cousin, it is impossible for me to conceal what I have at heart. Let us talk for a few seconds of the past, which was made so painful to us, and then we will forget it forever, like an evil dream."

"I will answer you sincerely, at the risk of injuring myself," said the prince.

"How could you make up your mind to exhibit yourself in public with—?"

"With that young girl?" interrupted Djalma.

"Yes, cousin," replied Mdlle. de Cardoville, and she waited for Djalma’s answer with anxious curiosity.

"A stranger to the customs of this country," said Djalma, without any embarrassment, for he spoke the truth, "with a mind weakened with despair, and misled by the fatal counsels of a man devoted to my enemies, I believed, even as I was told, that, by displaying before you the semblance of another love, I should excite your jealousy, and thus—"

"Enough, cousin; I understand it all," said Adrienne hastily, interrupting Djalma in her turn, that she might spare him a painful confession. "I too must have been blinded by despair, not to have seen through this wicked plot, especially after your rash and intrepid action. To risk death for the sake of my bouquet!" added Adrienne, shuddering at the mere remembrance. "But one last question," she resumed, "though I am already sure of your answer. Did you receive a letter that I wrote to you, on the morning of the day in which I saw you at the theatre?"

Djalma made no reply. A dark cloud passed over his fine countenance, and, for a second, his features assumed so menacing an expression, that Adrienne was terrified at the effect produced by her words. But this violent agitation soon passed away, and Djalma’s brow became once more calm and serene.

"I have been more merciful that I thought," said the prince to Adrienne, who looked at him with astonishment. "I wished to come hither worthy of you, my cousin. I pardoned the man who, to serve my enemies, had given me all those fatal counsels. The same person, I am sure, must have intercepted your letter. Just now, at the memory of the evils he thus caused me, I, for a moment, regretted my clemency. But then, again, I thought of your letter of yesterday—and my anger is all gone."

"Then the sad time of fear and suspicion is over—suspicion, that made me doubt of your sentiments, and you of mine. Oh, yes! far removed from us be that fatal past!" cried Adrienne de Cardoville, with deep joy..

Then, as if she had relieved her heart from the last thought of sadness, she continued: "The future is all your own—the radiant future, without cloud or obstacle, pure in the immensity of its horizon, and extending beyond the reach of sight!"

It is impossible to describe the tone of enthusiastic hope which accompanied these words. But suddenly Adrienne’s features assumed an expression of touching melancholy, and she added, in a voice of profound emotion: "And yet—at this hour—so many unfortunate creatures suffer pain!"

This simple touch of pity for the misfortunes of others, at the moment when the noble maiden herself attained to the highest point of happiness, had such an effect on Djalma, that involuntarily he fell on his knees before Adrienne, clasped his hands together, and turned towards her his fine countenance, with an almost daring expression. Then, hiding his face in his hands, he bowed his head without speaking a single word. There was a moment of deep silence. Adrienne was the first to break it, as she saw a tear steal through the slender fingers of the prince.

"My friend! what is the matter?" she exclaimed, as with a movement rapid as thought, she stooped forward, and taking hold of Djalma’s hands, drew them from before his face. That face was bathed in tears.

"You weep!" cried Mdlle. de Cardoville, so much agitated that she kept the hands of Djalma in her own; and, unable to dry his tears, the young Hindoo allowed them to flow like so many drops of crystal over the pale gold of his cheeks.

"There is not in this wide world a happiness like to mine!" said the prince, in his soft, melodious voice, and with a kind of exhaustion: "therefore do I feel great sadness, and so it should be. You give me heaven—and were I to give you the whole earth, it would be but a poor return. Alas! what can man do for a divinity, but humbly bless and adore? He can never hope to return the gifts bestowed: and this makes him suffer—not in his pride—but in his heart!"

Djalma did not exaggerate. He said what he really felt: and the rather hyperbolical form, familiar to Oriental nations, could alone express his thought. The tone of his regret was so sincere, his humility so gentle and full of simplicity, that Adrienne, also moved to tears, answered him with an effusion of serious tenderness, "My friend, we are both at the supreme point of happiness. Our future felicity appears to have no limits, and yet, though derived from different sources, sad reflections have come to both of us. It is, you see, that there are some sorts of happiness, which make you dizzy with their own immensity. For a moment, the heart, the mind, the soul, are incapable of containing so much bliss; it overflows and drowns us. Thus the flowers sometimes hang their heads, oppressed by the too ardent rays of the sun, which is yet their love and life. Oh, my friend! this sadness may be great, but it also sweet!"

As she uttered these words, the voice of Adrienne grew fainter and fainter, and her head bowed lower, as if she were indeed sinking beneath the weight of her happiness. Djalma had remained kneeling before her, his hands in hers—so that as she thus bent forward, her ivory forehead and golden hair touched the amber-colored brow and ebon curls of Djalma. And the sweet, silent tears of the two young lovers flowed together, and mingled as they fell on their clasped hands.

Whilst this scene was passing in Cardoville House, Agricola had gone to the Rue de Vaugirard, to deliver a letter from Adrienne to M. Hardy.

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Chicago: Eugène Sue, "Chapter XLI. Adrienne and Djalma.," The Wandering Jew— Volume 10, ed. CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb and trans. Stanley Young in The Wandering Jew—Volume 10 (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YFWZDI23EMD3RX.

MLA: Sue, Eugène. "Chapter XLI. Adrienne and Djalma." The Wandering Jew— Volume 10, edited by CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb, and translated by Stanley Young, in The Wandering Jew—Volume 10, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YFWZDI23EMD3RX.

Harvard: Sue, E, 'Chapter XLI. Adrienne and Djalma.' in The Wandering Jew— Volume 10, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, The Wandering Jew—Volume 10, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YFWZDI23EMD3RX.