The Wandering Jew — Volume 09 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 09.

“Oh, what torture!  I am dying by slow fire!” murmured Rodin.  “Since I have told all,” he resumed, “I have nothing more to tell.  You know it already.”

“I know all—­doubtless, I know all,” replied the prelate, in a voice of thunder; “but how have I learned it?  By confessions made in a state of unconsciousness.  Do you think they will avail you anything?  No; the moment is solemn—­death is at hand, tremble to die with a sacrilegious falsehood on your lips,” cried the prelate, shaking Rodin violently by the arm; “dread the eternal flames, if you dare deny what you know to be the truth.  Do you deny it?”

“I deny nothing,” murmured Rodin, with difficulty.  “Only leave me alone!”

“Then heaven inspires you,” said the cardinal, with a sigh of satisfaction; and, thinking he had nearly attained his object, he resumed, “Listen to the divine word, that will guide you, father.  You deny nothing?”

“I was—­delirious—­and cannot—­(oh! how I suffer!)” added Rodin, by way of parenthesis; “and cannot therefore—­deny—­the nonsense—­I may have uttered!”

“But when this nonsense agrees with the truth,” cried the prelate, furious at being again deceived in his expectation; “but when raving is an involuntary, providential revelation—­”

“Cardinal Malipieri—­your craft is no match—­for my agony,” answered Rodin, in a failing voice.  “The proof—­that I have not told my secret—­if I have a secret—­is—­that you want to make me tell it!” In spite of his pain and weakness, the Jesuit had courage to raise himself in the bed, and look the cardinal full in the face, with a smile of bitter irony.  After which he fell back on the pillow, and pressed his hands to his chest, with a long sigh of anguish.

“Damnation! the infernal Jesuit has found me out!” said the cardinal to himself, as he stamped his foot with rage.  “He sees that he was compromised by his first movement; he is now upon his guard; I shall get nothing more from him—­unless indeed, profiting by the state of weakness in which he is, I can, by entreaties, by threats, by terror—­”

The prelate was unable to finish.  The door opened abruptly, and Father d’Aigrigny entered the room, exclaiming with an explosion of joy:  “Excellent news!”


Good news.

By the alteration in the countenance of Father d’Aigrigny, his pale cheek, and the feebleness of his walk, one might see that the terrible scene in the square of Notre-Dame, had violently reacted upon his health.  Yet his face was radiant and triumphant, as he entered Rodin’s chamber, exclaiming:  “Excellent news!”

On these words, Rodin started.  In spite of his weakness, he raised his head, and his eyes shone with a curious, uneasy, piercing expression.  With his lean hand, he beckoned Father d’Aigrigny to approach the bed, and said to him, in a broken voice, so weak that it was scarcely audible:  “I am very ill—­the cardinal has nearly finished me—­but if this excellent news—­relates to the Rennepont affair—­of which I hear nothing—­it might save me yet!”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 09 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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