This powerful pressure, an imperious movement, as of one taking possession, seemed to indicate, that he felt sure of governing this globe, on which he looked down from the height of his tall figure, and on which he rested his hand with so lofty and audacious an air of sovereignty.
But now he no longer smiled. His eye threatened, and his large forehead was clad with a formidable scowl. The artist, who had wished to paint the demon of craft and pride, the infernal genius of insatiable domination, could not have chosen a more suitable model.
When Rodin returned, the face of his master had recovered its ordinary expression. “It is the postman,” said Rodin, showing the letters which he held in his hand; “there is nothing from Dunkirk.”
“Nothing?” cried his master—and his painful emotion formed a strange contrast to his late haughty and implacable expression of countenance—“nothing? no news of my mother?—Thirty-six hours more, then, of anxiety.”
“It seems to me, that, if the princess had bad news to give, she would have written. Probably the improvement goes on.”
“You are doubtless right, Rodin—but no matter—I am far from easy. If, to-morrow, the news should not be completely satisfactory, I set out for the estate of the princess. Why would my mother pass the autumn in that part of the country? The environs of Dunkirk do not, I fear, agree with her.”
After a few moments’ silence, he added, as he continued to walk: “Well—these letters—whence are they?”
Rodin looked at the post-marks, and replied: “Out of the four there are three relative to the great and important affairs of the medals.”
“Thank heaven!—provided the news be favorable,” cried his master, with an expression of uneasiness, which showed how much importance he attached to this affair.
“One is from Charlestown, and no doubt relative to Gabriel, the missionary,” answered Rodin; “this other from Batavia, and no doubt concerns the Indian, Djalma. The third is from Leipsic, and will probably confirm that received yesterday, in which the lion-tamer, Morok, informed us, that, in accordance with his orders, and without his being compromised in any way, the daughters of General Simon would not be able to continue their journey.”
At the name of General Simon, a cloud passed over the features of Rodin’s master.
The principal houses correspond with that in Paris; they are also in direct communication with the General, who resides at Rome. The correspondence of the Jesuits so active, various, and organized in so wonderful a manner, has for its object to supply the heads with all the information they can require. Every day, the General receives a host of reports, which serve to check one another. In the central house, at Rome, are immense registers, in which are inscribed