“Yet this city, intoxicated with the sounds of its joys and its nocturnal revelries, does not know—oh! does not know that I am at its gates.
“But no, no! my presence will not be a new calamity. The Lord, in his impenetrable views, has hitherto led me through France, so as to avoid the humblest hamlet; and the sound of the funeral knell has not accompanied my passage.
“And, moreover, the spectre has left me—the green, livid spectre, with its hollow, bloodshot eyes. When I touched the soil of France, its damp and icy hands was no longer clasped in mine—and it disappeared.
“And yet—I feel that the atmosphere of death is around me.
“The sharp whistlings of that fatal wind cease not, which, catching me in their whirl, seem to propagate blasting and mildew as they blow.
“But perhaps the wrath of the Lord is appeased, and my presence here is only a threat—to be communicated in some way to those whom it should intimidate.
“Yes; for otherwise he would smite with a fearful blow, by first scattering terror and death here in the heart of the country, in the bosom of this immense city!
“Oh! no, no! the Lord will be merciful. No! he will not condemn me to this new torture.
“Alas! in this city, my brethren are more numerous and miserable than elsewhere. And should I be their messenger of death?”
“No! the Lord will have pity. For, alas! the seven descendants of my sister have at length met in this town. And to them likewise should I be the messenger of death, instead of the help they so much need?
“For that woman, who like me wanders from one border of the earth to the other, after having once more rent asunder the nets of their enemies, has gone forth upon her endless journey.
“In vain she foresaw that new misfortunes threatened my sister’s family. The invisible hand, that drives me on, drives her on also.
“Carried away, as of old, by the irresistible whirlwind, at the moment of leaving my kindred to their fate, she in vain cried with supplicating tone: `Let me at least, O Lord, complete my task!’—’Go on!—`A few days, in mercy, only a few poor days!’—’Go on’—’I leave those I love on the brink of the abyss!’—’Go on! Go on!’
“And the wandering star—again started on its eternal round. And her voice, passing through space, called me to the assistance of mine own.
“When that voice readied me, I knew that the descendants of my sister were still exposed to frightful perils. Those perils are even now on the increase.
“Tell me, O Lord! will they escape the scourge, which for so many centuries has weighed down our race?
“Wilt thou pardon me in them? wilt thou punish me in them? Oh, that they might obey the last will of their ancestor!
“Oh, that they might join together their charitable hearts, their valor and their strength, their noble intelligence, and their great riches!