“In the name of heaven, what is the matter, prince?” cried Rodin.
“Thus would I crush my cowardly enemies!” exclaimed Djalma, with menacing and excited look. Then, as if these words had brought his rage to a climax, he bounded from his seat, and, with haggard eyes, strode about the room for some seconds in all directions, as if he sought for some weapon, and uttered from time to time a hoarse cry, which he endeavored to stifle by thrusting his clinched fist against his mouth, whilst his jaws moved convulsively. It was the impotent rage of a wild beast, thirsting for blood. Yet, in all this, the young Indian preserved a great and savage beauty; it was evident that these instincts of sanguinary ardor and blind intrepidity, now excited to this pitch by horror of treachery and cowardice, when applied to war, or to those gigantic Indian hunts, which are even more bloody than a battle, must make of Djalma what he really was a hero.
Rodin admired, with deep and ominous joy, the fiery impetuosity of passion in the young Indian, for, under various conceivable circumstances, the effect must be terrible. Suddenly, to the Jesuit’s great surprise, the tempest was appeased. Djalma’s fury was calmed thus instantaneously, because refection showed him how vain it was: ashamed of his childish violence, he cast down his eyes. His countenance remained pale and gloomy; and, with a cold tranquillity, far more formidable than the violence to which he had yielded, he said to Rodin: “Father, you will this day lead me to meet my enemies.”
“In what end, my dear prince? What would you do?”
“Kill the cowards!”
“Kill them! you must not think of it.”
“Faringhea will aid me.”
“Remember, you are not on the banks of the Ganges, and here one does not kill an enemy like a hunted tiger.”
“One fights with a loyal enemy, but one kills a traitor like an accursed dog,” replied Djalma, with as much conviction as tranquillity.
“Ah, prince, whose father was the Father of the Generous,” said Rodin, in a grave voice; “what pleasure can you find in striking down creatures as cowardly as they are wicked?”
“To destroy what is dangerous, is a duty.”
“So prince, you seek for revenge.”
“I do not revenge myself on a serpent,” said the Indian, with haughty bitterness; “I crush it.”
“But, my dear prince, here we cannot get rid of our enemies in that manner. If we have cause of complaint—”
“Women and children complain,” said Djalma, interrupting Rodin: “men strike.”
“Still on the banks of the Ganges, my dear prince. Here society takes your cause into its own hands, examines, judges, and if there be good reason, punishes.”
“In my own quarrel, I am both judge and executioner.”
“Pray listen to me; you have escaped the odious snares of your enemies, have you not?—Well! suppose it were thanks to the devotion of the venerable woman who has for you the tenderness of a mother, and that she were to ask you to forgive them—she, who saved you from their hands—what would you do then?”