The Wandering Jew — Volume 08 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 08.

The workman was in the garden.  The marshal said to him, in a voice of such deep emotion that the old man started; “Father, I am very unhappy.”

A painful expression, until then concealed, suddenly darkened the countenance of the marshal.

“You unhappy?” cried father Simon, anxiously, as he pressed nearer to the marshal.

“For some days, my daughters have appeared constrained in manner, and lost in thought.  During the first moments of our re-union, they were mad with joy and happiness.  Suddenly, all has changed; they are becoming more and more sad.  Yesterday, I detected tears in their eyes; then deeply moved, I clasped them in my arms, and implored them to tell me the cause of their sorrow.  Without answering, they threw themselves on my neck, and covered my face with their tears.”

“It is strange.  To what do you attribute this alteration?”

“Sometimes, I think I have not sufficiently concealed from them the grief occasioned me by the loss of their mother, and they are perhaps miserable that they do not suffice for my happiness.  And yet (inexplicable as it is) they seem not only to understand, but to share my sorrow.  Yesterday, Blanche said to me:  ’How much happier still should we be, if our mother were with us!—­’”

“Sharing your sorrow, they cannot reproach you with it.  There must be some other cause for their grief.”

“Yes,” said the marshal, looking fixedly at his father; “yes—­but to penetrate this secret—­it would be necessary not to leave them.”

“What do you mean?”

“First learn, father, what are the duties which would keep me here; then you shall know those which may take me away from you, from my daughters, and from my other child.”

“What other child?”

“The son of my old friend, the Indian Prince.”

“Djalma?  Is there anything the matter with him?”

“Father, he frightens me.  I told you, father, of his mad and unhappy passion for Mdlle. de Cardoville.”

“Does that frighten you, my son?” said the old man, looking at the marshal with surprise.  “Djalma is only eighteen, and, at that age, one love drives away another.”

“You have no idea of the ravages which the passion has already made in the ardent, indomitable boy; sometimes, fits of savage ferocity follow the most painful dejection.  Yesterday, I came suddenly upon him; his eyes were bloodshot, his features contracted with rage; yielding to an impulse of mad furry, he was piercing with his poinard a cushion of red cloth, whilst he exclaimed, panting for breath, ‘Ha blood!—­I will have blood!’ ‘Unhappy boy!’ I said to him, ‘what means this insane passion?’ ’I’m killing the man!’ replied he, in a hollow and savage voice:  it is thus he designates his supposed rival.”

“There is indeed something terrible,” said the old man, “in such a passion, in such a heart.”

“At other times,” resumed the marshal, “it is against Mdlle. de Cardoville that his rage bursts forth; and at others, against himself.  I have been obliged to remove his weapons, for a man who came with him from Java, and who appears much attached to him, has informed me that he suspected him of entertaining some thoughts of suicide.”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 08 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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