The Wandering Jew — Volume 03 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 03.

“That is what I wish, Sir; I am responsible for those young ladies to their father.  He may arrive at any moment, and I must be prepared to justify myself.”

“I understand all these reasons, sir; but still have a care you are not deceived by unfounded suspicions.  Your denunciation once made, I may have to act provisionally against the person accused.  Now, if you should be under a mistake, the consequences would be very serious for you; and, without going further,” said the magistrate, pointing to Mother Bunch, with emotion, “you see what are the results of a false accusation.”

“You hear, my dear,” cried Frances, terrified at the resolution of Dagobert to accuse Abbe Dubois; “do not say a word more, I entreat you.”

But the more the soldier reflected, the more he felt convinced that nothing but the influence of her confessor could have induced Frances to act as she had done; so he resumed, with assurance:  “I accuse my wife’s confessor of being the principal or the accomplice in the abduction of Marshal Simon’s daughters.”

Frances uttered a deep groan, and hid her face in her hands; while Mother Bunch, who had drawn nigh, endeavored to console her.  The magistrate had listened to Dagobert with extreme astonishment, and he now said to him with some severity:  “Pray, sir, do not accuse unjustly a man whose position is in the highest degree respectable—­a priest, sir?—­yes, a priest?  I warned you beforehand to reflect upon what you advanced.  All this becomes very serious, and, at your age, any levity in such matters would be unpardonable.”

“Bless me, sir!” said Dagobert, with impatience; “at my age, one has common sense.  These are the facts.  My wife is one of the best and most honorable of human creatures—­ask any one in the neighborhood, and they will tell you so—­but she is a devotee; and, for twenty years, she has always seen with her confessor’s eyes.  She adores her son, she loves me also; but she puts the confessor before us both.”

“Sir,” said the commissary, “these family details—­”

“Are indispensable, as you shall see.  I go out an hour ago, to look after this poor girl here.  When I come back, the young ladies have disappeared.  I ask my wife to whom she has entrusted them, and where they are; she falls at my feet weeping, and says:  ’Do what you will with me, but do not ask me what has become of the children.  I cannot answer you.’”

“Is thus true, madame?” cried the commissary, looking at Frances with surprise.

“Anger, threats, entreaties, had no effect,” resumed Dagobert; “to everything she answered as mildly as a saint:  ‘I can tell you nothing!’ Now, sir, I maintain that my wife has no interest to take away these children; she is under the absolute dominion of her confessor; she has acted by his orders and for his purposes; he is the guilty party.”

Whilst Dagobert spoke, the commissary looked more and more attentively at Frances, who, supported by the hunchback, continued to weep bitterly.  After a moment’s reflection, the magistrate advanced towards Dagobert’s wife, and said to her:  “Madame, you have heard what your husband has just declared.”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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