“’Out of all my fortune, there remains to me a sum of fifty thousand crowns, deposited in a friend’s hands.
“’I have no longer a son; but I have numerous relations, exiled in various parts of Europe. This sum of fifty thousand crowns, divided between them, would profit each of them very little. I have disposed of it differently.
“’In this I have followed the wise counsels of a man, whom I venerate as the image of God on earth, for his intelligence, wisdom, and goodness are almost divine.
“’Twice in the course of my life have I seen this man, under very fatal circumstances—twice have I owed him safety, once of the soul, once of the body.
“’Alas! he might perhaps have saved my poor child, but he came too late—too late.
“’Before he left me, he wished to divert me from the intention of dying—for he knew all. But his voice was powerless. My grief, my regret, my discouragement, were too much for him.
“’It is strange! when he was convinced of my resolution to finish my days by violence, some words of terrible bitterness escaped him, making me believe that he envied me—my fate—my death!
“’Is he perhaps condemned to live?
“’Yes; he has, no doubt, condemned himself to be useful to humanity, and yet life is heavy on him, for I heard him repeat one day, with an expression of despair and weariness that I have never forgotten: “Life! life! who will deliver me from it?”
“’Is life then so very burdensome to him?
“’He is gone. His last words have made me look for my departure with serenity. Thanks to him, my death shall not be without fruit.
“’Thanks to him, these lines, written at this moment by a man who, in a few hours, will have ceased to live, may perhaps be the parents of great things a century and a half hence—yes! great and noble things, if my last will is piously followed by my descendants, for it is to them that I here address myself.
“’That they may understand and appreciate this last will—which I commend to the care of the unborn, who dwell in the future whither I am hastening—they must know the persecutors of my family and avenge their ancestor, but by a noble vengeance.
“’My grandfather was a Catholic. Induced by perfidious counsels rather than religious zeal, he attached himself, though a layman, to a Society whose power has always been terrible and mysterious—the Society of Jesus—’”
At these words of the testament, Father d’Aigrigny, Rodin, and Gabriel looked involuntarily at each other: The notary, who had not perceived this action, continued to read:
“’After some years, during which he had never ceased to profess the most absolute devotion to this Society, he was suddenly enlightened by fearful revelations as to the secret ends it pursued, and the means it employed.
“’This was in 1510, a month before the assassination of Henry IV.