The Wandering Jew — Volume 05 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 114 pages of information about The Wandering Jew Volume 05.

At this moment, the sound of loud voices was heard from the garden.  Bathsheba entered hastily, and said to her husband with an agitated air:  “Samuel—­a soldier—­who insists—­”

She had not time to finish.  Dagobert appeared at the door of the Red Room.  The soldier was fearfully pale.  He seemed almost fainting; his left arm was in a sling, and he leaned upon Agricola.  At sight of Dagobert, the pale and flabby eyelids of Rodin were suddenly distended, as if all the blood in his body had flowed towards the head.  Then the socius threw himself upon the casket, with the haste of ferocious rage and avidity, as if he were resolved to cover it with his body, and defend it at the peril of his life.

[20] This term is sanctioned by legal usage.

CHAPTER XXV.

The deed of gift.

Father d’Aigrigny did not recognize Dagobert, and had never seen Agricola.  He could not therefore, at first explain the kind of angry alarm exhibited by Rodin.  But the reverend father understood it all, when he heard Gabriel utter a cry of joy, and saw him rush into the arms of the smith, exclaiming:  “My brother! my second father—­oh! it is heaven that sends you to me.”

Having pressed Gabriel’s hand, Dagobert advanced towards Father d’Aigrigny, with a rapid but unsteady step.  As he remarked the soldier’s threatening countenance, the reverend father, strong in his acquired rights, and feeling that, since noon, he was at home here; drew back a little, and said imperiously to the veteran:  “Who are you, sir!—­What do you want here?”

Instead of answering, the soldier continued to advance, then, stopping just facing Father d’Aigrigny, he looked at him for a second with such an astounding mixture of curiosity, disdain, aversion, and audacity, that the ex-colonel of hussars quailed before the pale face and glowing eye of the veteran.  The notary and Samuel, struck with surprise, remained mute spectators of this scene, while Agricola and Gabriel followed with anxiety Dagobert’s least movements.  As for Rodin, he pretended to be leaning on the casket, in order still to cover it with his body.

Surmounting at length the embarrassment caused by the steadfast look of the soldier, Father d’Aigrigny raised his head, and repeated.  “I ask you, sir, who you are, and what you want?”

“Do you not recognize me?” said Dagobert, hardly able to restrain himself.

“No, sir—­”

“In truth,” returned the soldier, with profound contempt, “You cast down your eyes for shame when, at Leipsic, you fought for the Russians against the French, and when General Simon, covered with wounds, answered you, renegade that you were, when you asked him for his sword, ’I do not surrender to a traitor!’—­and dragged himself along to one of the Russian grenadiers, to whom he yielded up his weapon.  Well! there was then a wounded soldier by the side of General Simon—­I am he.”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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