The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,953 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Complete.
Adrienne, he looked disdainfully over his shoulder, without taking the least notice of the Jesuit’s low bow.  On the other hand, at sight of this man, Mdlle. de Cardoville almost felt surprise, that she should experience no movement of anger or hatred.  The brilliant flame which burned in her heart, purified it from every vindictive sentiment.  She smiled, on the contrary; for, glancing with gentle pride at the Indian Bacchus, and then at herself, she asked herself what two beings, so young, and fair, and free, and loving, could have to fear from this old, sordid man, with his ignoble and base countenance, now advancing towards her with the writhing of a reptile.  In a word, far from feeling anger or aversion with regard to Rodin, the young lady seemed full of the spirit of mocking gayety, and her large eyes, already lighted up with happiness, now sparkled with irony and mischief.  Rodin felt himself ill at ease.  People of his stamp greatly prefer violent to mocking enemies.  They can encounter bursts of rage—­sometimes by falling on their knees, weeping, groaning, and beating their breasts—­sometimes by turning on their adversary, armed and implacable.  But they are easily disconcerted by biting raillery; and thus it was with Rodin.  He saw that between Adrienne de Cardoville and M. de Montbron, he was about to be placed in what is vulgarly termed a “regular fix.”

The count opened the fire; still glancing over his shoulder, he said to Rodin:  ’Ah! you are here, my benevolent gentleman!”

“Pray, sir, draw a little nearer,” said Adrienne, with a mocking smile.  “Best of friends and model of philosophers—­as well as declared enemy of all fraud and falsehood—­I have to pay you a thousand compliments.”

“I accent anything from you, my dear young lady, even though undeserved,” said the Jesuit, trying to smile, and thus exposing his vile yellow teeth; “but may I be informed how I have earned these compliments?”

“Your penetration, sir, which is rare—­” replied Adrienne.

“And your veracity, sir,” said the count, “which is perhaps no less rare—­”

“In what have I exhibited my penetration, my dear young lady?” said Rodin, coldly.  “In what my veracity?” added he, turning towards M. de Montbron.

“In what, sir?” said Adrienne.  “Why, you have guessed a secret surrounded by difficulties and mystery.  In a word, you have known how to read the depths of a woman’s heart.”

“I, my dear young lady?”

“You, sir! rejoice at it, for your penetration has had the most fortunate results.”

“And your veracity has worked wonders,” added the count.

“It is pleasant to do good, even without knowing it,” said Rodin, still acting on the defensive, and throwing side glances by turns on the count and Adrienne; “but will you inform me what it is that deserves this praise—­”

“Gratitude obliges me to inform you of it,” said Adrienne, maliciously; “you have discovered, and told Prince Djalma, that I was passionately in love.  Well!  I admire your penetration; it was true.”

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The Wandering Jew — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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