The Wandering Jew— Volume 4

Contents:
Author: Eugène Sue

Prologue. The Bird’s-Eye View of Two Worlds.

As the eagle, perched upon the cliff, commands an all-comprehensive view —not only of what happens on the plains and in the woodlands, but of matters occurring upon the heights, which its aerie overlooks, so may the reader have sights pointed out to him, which lie below the level of the unassisted eye.

In the year 1831, the powerful Order of the Jesuits saw fit to begin to act upon information which had for some time been digesting in their hands.

As it related to a sum estimated at no less than thirty or forty millions of francs, it is no wonder that they should redouble all exertions to obtain it from the rightful owners.

These were, presumably, the descendants of Marius, Count of Rennepont, in the reign of Louis XIV. of France.

They were distinguished from other men by a simple token, which all, in the year above named, had in their hands.

It was a bronze medal, bearing these legends on reverse and obverse:

VICTIM
of
L. C. D. J.
Pray for me!

PARIS,
February the 13th, 1682.

IN PARIS
Rue St Francois, No. 3,
In a century and a half
you will be.

February the 13th, 1832.
PRAY FOR ME!

Those who had this token were descendants of a family whom, a hundred and fifty years ago, persecution scattered through the world, in emigration and exile; in changes of religion, fortune and name. For this family— what grandeur, what reverses, what obscurity, what lustre, what penury, what glory! How many crimes sullied, how many virtues honored it! The history of this single family is the history of humanity! Passing through many generations, throbbing in the veins of the poor and the rich, the sovereign and the bandit, the wise and the simple, the coward and the brave, the saint and the atheist, the blood flowed on to the year we have named.

Seven representatives summed up the virtue, courage, degradation, splendor, and poverty of the race. Seven: two orphan twin daughters of exiled parents, a dethroned prince, a humble missionary priest, a man of the middle class, a young lady of high name and large fortune, and a working man.

Fate scattered them in Russia, India, France, and America.

The orphans, Rose and Blanche Simon, had left their dead mother’s grave in Siberia, under charge of a trooper named Francis Baudoin, alias Dagobert, who was as much attached to them as he had been devoted to their father, his commanding general.

On the road to France, this little party had met the first check, in the only tavern of Mockern village. Not only had a wild beast showman, known as Morok the lion-tamer, sought to pick a quarrel with the inoffensive veteran, but that failing, had let a panther of his menagerie loose upon the soldier’s horse. That horse had carried Dagobert, under General Simon’s and the Great Napoleon’s eyes, through many battles; had borne the General’s wife (a Polish lady under the Czar’s ban) to her home of exile in Siberia, and their children now across Russia and Germany, but only to perish thus cruelly. An unseen hand appeared in a manifestation of spite otherwise unaccountable. Dagobert, denounced as a French spy, and his fair young companions accused of being adventuresses to help his designs, had so kindled at the insult, not less to him than to his old commander’s daughters, that he had taught the pompous burgomaster of Mockern a lesson, which, however, resulted in the imprisonment of the three in Leipsic jail.

General Simon, who had vainly sought to share his master’s St. Helena captivity, had gone to fight the English in India. But notwithstanding his drilling of Radja-sings sepoys, they had been beaten by the troops taught by Clive, and not only was the old king of Mundi slain, and the realm added to the Company’s land, but his son, Prince Djalma, taken prisoner. However, at length released, he had gone to Batavia, with General Simon. The prince’s mother was a Frenchwoman, and among the property she left him in the capital of Java, the general was delighted to find just such another medal as he knew was in his wife’s possession.

The unseen hand of enmity had reached to him, for letters miscarried, and he did not know either his wife’s decease or that he had twin daughters.

By a trick, on the eve of the steamship leaving Batavia for the Isthmus of Suez, Djalma was separated from his friend, and sailing for Europe alone, the latter had to follow in another vessel.

The missionary priest trod the war trails of the wilderness, with that faith and fearlessness which true soldiers of the cross should evince. In one of these heroic undertakings, Indians had captured him, and dragging him to their village under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, they had nailed him in derision to a cross, and prepared to scalp him.

But if an unseen hand of a foe smote or stabbed at the sons of Rennepont, a visible interpositor had often shielded them, in various parts of the globe.

A man, seeming of thirty years of age, very tall, with a countenance as lofty as mournful, marked by the black eyebrows meeting, had thrown himself—during a battle’s height—between a gun of a park which General Simon was charging and that officer. The cannon vomited its hail of death, but when the flame and smoke had passed, the tall man stood erect as before, smiling pityingly on the gunner, who fell on his knees as frightened as if he beheld Satan himself. Again, as General Simon lay upon the lost field of Waterloo, raging with his wounds, eager to die after such a defeat, this same man staunched his hurts, and bade him live for his wife’s sake.

Years after, wearing the same unalterable look, this man accosted Dagobert in Siberia, and gave him for General Simon’s wife, the diary and letters of her husband, written in India, in little hope of them ever reaching her hands. And at the year our story opens, this man unbarred the cell-door of Leipsic jail, and let Dagobert and the orphans out, free to continue their way into France.

On the other hand, when the scalping-knife had traced its mark around the head of Gabriel the missionary, and when only the dexterous turn and tug would have removed the trophy, a sudden apparition had terrified the superstitious savages. It was a woman of thirty, whose brown tresses formed a rich frame around a royal face, toned down by endless sorrowing. The red-skins shrank from her steady advance, and when her hand was stretched out between them and their young victim, they uttered a howl of alarm, and fled as if a host of their foemen were on their track. Gabriel was saved, but all his life he was doomed to bear that halo of martyrdom, the circling sweep of the scalper’s knife.

He was a Jesuit. By the orders of his society he embarked for Europe. We should say here, that he, though owning a medal of the seven described, was unaware that he should have worn it. His vessel was driven by storms to refit at the Azores, where he had changed ship into the same as was bearing Prince Djalma to France, via Portsmouth.

But the gales followed him, and sated their fury by wrecking the "Black Eagle" on the Picardy coast. This was at the same point as were a disabled Hamburg steamer, among whose passengers where Dagobert and his two charges, was destroyed the same night. Happily the tempest did not annihilate them all. There were saved, Prince Djalma and a countryman of his, one Faringhea, a Thuggee chief, hunted out of British India; Dagobert, and Rose and Blanche Simon, whom Gabriel had rescued. These survivors had recovered, thanks to the care they had received in Cardoville House, a country mansion which had sheltered them, and except the prince and the Strangler chief, the others were speedily able to go on to Paris.

The old grenadier and the orphans—until General Simon should be heard from—dwelt in the former’s house. His son had kept it, from his mother’s love for the life-long home. It was such a mean habitation as a workman like Agricola Baudoin could afford to pay the rent of, and far from the fit abode of the daughters of the Duke de Ligny and Marshal of France, which Napoleon had created General Simon, though the rank had only recently been approved by the restoration.

But in Paris the unknown hostile hand showed itself more malignant than ever.

The young lady of high name and large fortune was Adrienne de Cardoville, whose aunt, the Princess de Saint-Dizier, was a Jesuit. Through her and her accomplices’ machinations, the young lady’s forward yet virtuous, wildly aspiring but sensible, romantic but just, character was twisted into a passable reason for her immurement in a mad-house.

This asylum adjoined St. Mary’s Convent, into which Rose and Blanche Simon were deceitfully conducted. To secure their removal, Dagobert had been decoyed into the country, under pretence of showing some of General Simon’s document’s to a lawyer; his son Agricola arrested for treason, on account of some idle verses the blacksmith poet was guilty of, and his wife rendered powerless, or, rather, a passive assistant, by the influence of the confessional! When Dagobert hurried back from his wildgoose chase, he found the orphans gone: Mother Bunch (a fellow-tenant of the house, who had been brought up in the family) ignorant, and his wife stubbornly refusing to break the promise she had given her confessor, and acquaint a single soul where she had permitted the girls to be taken. In his rage, the soldier rashly accused that confessor, but instead of arresting the Abbe Dubois, it was Mrs. Baudoin whom the magistrate felt compelled to arrest, as the person whom alone he ventured to commit for examination in regard to the orphans’ disappearance. Thus triumphs, for the time being, the unseen foe.

The orphans in a nunnery; the dethroned prince a poor castaway in a foreign land; the noble young lady in a madhouse; the missionary priest under the thumb of his superiors.

As for the man of the middle class, and the working man, who concluded the list of this family, we are to read of them, as well as of the others, in the pages which now succeed these.

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Chicago: Eugène Sue, "Prologue. The Bird’s-Eye View of Two Worlds.," The Wandering Jew— Volume 4, ed. CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb and trans. Stanley Young in The Wandering Jew—Volume 4 (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed May 19, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F67LR1AHTW8DZSC.

MLA: Sue, Eugène. "Prologue. The Bird’s-Eye View of Two Worlds." The Wandering Jew— Volume 4, edited by CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb, and translated by Stanley Young, in The Wandering Jew—Volume 4, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 19 May. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F67LR1AHTW8DZSC.

Harvard: Sue, E, 'Prologue. The Bird’s-Eye View of Two Worlds.' in The Wandering Jew— Volume 4, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, The Wandering Jew—Volume 4, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 19 May 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=F67LR1AHTW8DZSC.