List Of Contents | Contents of The Wandering Jew v11, by Eugene Sue
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By Eugene Sue


L.         The Ruins of the Abbey of St. John the Baptist
LI.        The Calvary
LII.       The Council
LIII.      Happiness
LIV.       Duty
LV.        The Improvised Hospital
LVI.       Hydrophobia
LVII.      The Guardian Angel
LVIII.     Ruin
LIX.       Memories
LX.        The Ordeal
LXI.       Ambition
LXII.      To a Socius, a Socius and a Half
LXIII.     Faringhea's Affection
LXIV.      An Evening at St. Colombe's
LXV.       The Nuptial Bed
LXVI.      A Duel to the Death
LXVII.     A Message
LXVIII.    The First of June


I.         Four Years After
II.        The Redemption



The sun is fast sinking.  In the depths of an immense piny wood, in the
midst of profound solitude, rise the ruins of an abbey, once sacred to
St. John the Baptist.  Ivy, moss, and creeping plants, almost entirely
conceal the stones, now black with age.  Some broken arches, some walls
pierced with ovals, still remain standing, visible on the dark background
of the thick wood.  Looking down upon this mass of ruins from a broken
pedestal, half-covered with ivy, a mutilated, but colossal statue of
stone still keeps its place.  This statue is strange and awful.  It
represents a headless human figure.  Clad in the antique toga, it holds
in its hand a dish and on that dish is a head.  This head is its own.  It
is the statue of St. John the Baptist and Martyr, put to death by wish of

The silence around is solemn.  From time to time, however, is heard the
dull rustling of the enormous branches of the pine-trees, shaken by the
wind.  Copper-colored clouds, reddened by the setting sun, pass slowly
over the forest, and are reflected in the current of a brook, which,
deriving its source from a neighboring mass of rocks, flows through the
ruins.  The water flows, the clouds pass on, the ancient trees tremble,
the breeze murmurs.

Suddenly, through the shadow thrown by the overhanging wood, which
stretches far into endless depths, a human form appears.  It is a woman.
She advances slowly towards the ruins.  She has reached them.  She treads
the once sacred ground.  This woman is pale, her look sad, her long robe
floats on the wind, her feet covered with dust.  She walks with
difficulty and pain.  A block of stone is placed near the stream, almost
at the foot of the statue of John the Baptist.  Upon this stone she sinks
breathless and exhausted, worn out with fatigue.  And yet, for many days,
many years, many centuries, she has walked on unwearied.

For the first time, she feels an unconquerable sense of lassitude.  For
the first time, her feet begin to fail her.  For the first time, she, who
traversed, with firm and equal footsteps, the moving lava of torrid
deserts, while whole caravans were buried in drifts of fiery sand--who
passed, with steady and disdainful tread, over the eternal snows of
Arctic regions, over icy solitudes, in which no other human being could
live--who had been spared by the devouring flames of conflagrations, and
by the impetuous waters of torrents--she, in brief, who for centuries had
had nothing in common with humanity--for the first time suffers mortal

Her feet bleed, her limbs ache with fatigue, she is devoured by burning
thirst.  She feels these infirmities, yet scarcely dares to believe them
real.  Her joy would be too immense!  But now, her throat becomes dry,
contracted, all on fire.  She sees the stream, and throws herself on her
knees, to quench her thirst in that crystal current, transparent as a
mirror.  What happens then?  Hardly have her fevered lips touched the
fresh, pure water, than, still kneeling, supported on her hands, she
suddenly ceases to drink, and gazes eagerly on the limpid stream.
Forgetting the thirst which devours her, she utters a loud cry--a cry of
deep, earnest, religious joy, like a note of praise and infinite
gratitude to heaven.  In that deep mirror, she perceives that she has
grown older.

In a few days, a few hours, a few minutes, perhaps in a single second,
she has attained the maturity of age.  She, who for more than eighteen
centuries has been as a woman of twenty, carrying through successive
generations the load of her imperishable youth--she has grown old, and
may, perhaps, at length, hope to die.  Every minute of her life may now
bring her nearer to the last home!  Transported by that ineffable hope,
she rises, and lifts her eyes to heaven, clasping her hands in an
attitude of fervent prayer.  Then her eyes rest on the tall statue of
stone, representing St. John.  The head, which the martyr carries in his
hand, seems, from beneath its half-closed granite eyelid, to cast upon
the Wandering Jewess a glance of commiseration and pity.  And it was she,
Herodias who, in the cruel intoxication of a pagan festival, demanded the
murder of the saint!  And it is at the foot of the martyr's image, that,
for the first time, the immortality, which weighed on her for so many
centuries, seems likely to find a term!

"Oh, impenetrable mystery! oh, divine hope!" she cries.  "The wrath of
heaven is at length appeased.  The hand of the Lord brings me to the feet
of the blessed martyr, and I begin once more to feel myself a human
creature.  And yet it was to avenge his death, that the same heaven
condemned me to eternal wanderings!

"Oh, Lord! grant that I may not be the only one forgiven.  May he--the
artisan, who like me, daughter of a king, wanders on for centuries--
likewise hope to reach the end of that immense journey!

"Where is he, Lord? where is he?  Hast thou deprived me of the power once
bestowed, to see and hear him through the vastness of intervening space?
Oh, in this mighty moment, restore me that divine gift--for the more I
feel these human infirmities, which I hail and bless as the end of my
eternity of ills, the more my sight loses the power to traverse
immensity, and my ear to catch the sound of that wanderer's accent, from
the other extremity of the globe?"

Night had fallen, dark and stormy.  The wind rose in the midst of the
great pine-trees.  Behind their black summits, through masses of dark
cloud, slowly sailed the silver disk of the moon.  The invocation of the
Wandering Jewess had perhaps been heard.  Suddenly, her eyes closed--with
hands clasped together, she remained kneeling in the heart of the ruins--
motionless as a statue upon a tomb.  And then she had a wondrous dream!



This was the vision of Herodias:  On the summit of a high, steep, rocky
mountain, there stands a cross.  The sun is sinking, even as when the
Jewess herself, worn out with fatigue, entered the ruins of St. John's
Abbey.  The great figure on the cross--which looks down from this
Calvary, on the mountain, and on the vast, dreary plain beyond--stands
out white and pale against the dark, blue clouds, which stretch across
the heavens, and assume a violent tint towards the horizon.  There, where
the setting sun has left a long track of lurid light, almost of the hue
of blood--as far as the eye can reach, no vegetation appears on the
surface of the gloomy desert, covered with sand and stones, like the
ancient bed of some dried-up ocean.  A silence as of death broods over
this desolate tract.  Sometimes, gigantic black vultures, with red
unfeathered necks, luminous yellow eyes, stooping from their lofty flight
in the midst of these solitudes, come to make their bloody feast on the
prey they have carried off from less uncultivated regions.

How, then, did this Calvary, this place of prayer, come to be erected so
far from the abodes of men?  This Calvary was prepared at a great cost by
a repentant sinner.  He had done much harm to his fellow-creatures, and,
in the hope of obtaining pardon for his crimes, he had climbed this
mountain on his knees, and become a hermit, and lived there till his
death, at the foot of this cross, only sheltered by a roof of thatch, now
long since swept away by the wind.  The sun is still sinking.  The sky
becomes darker.  The luminous lines on the horizon grow fainter and
fainter, like heated bars of iron that gradually grow cool.  Suddenly, on
the eastern side of the Calvary, is heard the noise of some falling
stones, which, loosened from the side of the mountain, roll down
rebounding to its base.  These stones have been loosened by the foot of a
traveller, who, after traversing the plain below, has, during the last
hour, been climbing the steep ascent.  He is not yet visible--but one
hears the echo of his tread--slow, steady, and firm.  At length, he
reaches the top of the mountain, and his tall figure stands out against
the stormy sky.

The traveller is pale as the great figure on the cross.  On his broad
forehead a black line extends from one temple to the other.  It is the
cobbler of Jerusalem.  The poor artisan, who hardened by misery,
injustice and oppression, without pity for the suffering of the Divine
Being who bore the cross, repulsed him from his dwelling, and bade him:
"Go ON! GO ON! GO ON!"  And, from that day, the avenging Deity has in his
turn said to the artisan of Jerusalem: "GO ON! GO ON! GO ON!"

And he has gone on, without end or rest.  Nor did the divine vengeance
stop there.  From time to time death has followed the steps of the
wanderer, and innumerable graves have been even as mile-stones on his
fatal path.  And if ever he found periods of repose in the midst of his
infinite grief, it was when the hand of the Lord led him into deep
solitudes, like that where he now dragged his steps along.  In passing
over that dreary plain, or climbing to that rude Calvary, he at least
heard no more the funeral knell, which always, always sounded behind him
in every inhabited region.

All day long, even at this hour, plunged in the black abyss of his
thoughts, following the fatal track--going whither he was guided by the
invisible hand, with head bowed on his breast, and eyes fixed upon the
ground, the wanderer had passed over the plain, and ascended the
mountain, without once looking at the sky--without even perceiving the
Calvary--without seeing the image upon the cross.  He thought of the last
descendants of his race.  He felt, by the sinking of his heart, that
great perils continued to threaten him.  And in the bitterness of a
despair, wild and deep as the ocean, the cobbler of Jerusalem seated
himself at the foot of the cross.  At this moment a farewell ray of the
setting sun, piercing the dark mass of clouds, threw a refection upon the
Calvary, vivid as a conflagration's glare.  The Jew rested his forehead
upon his hand.  His long hair, shaken by the evening breeze, fell over
his pale face--when sweeping it back from his brow, he started with
surprise--he, who had long ceased to wonder at anything.  With eager
glance he contemplated the long lock of hair that he held between his
fingers.  That hair, until now black as night, had become gray.  He also,
like unto Herodias, was growing older.

His progress towards old age, stopped for eighteen hundred years, had
resumed its course.  Like the Wandering Jewess, he might henceforth hope
for the rest of the grave.  Throwing himself on his knees, he stretched
his hands towards heaven, to ask for the explanation of the mystery which
filled him with hope.  Then, for the first time, his eyes rested on the
Crucified One, looking down upon the Calvary, even as the Wandering
Jewess had fixed her gaze on the granite eyelids of the Blessed Martyr.

The Saviour, his head bowed under the weight of his crown of thorns,
seemed from the cross to view with pity, and pardon the artisan, who for
so many centuries had felt his curse--and who, kneeling, with his body
thrown backward in an attitude of fear and supplication, now lifted
towards the crucifix his imploring hands.

"Oh, Messiah!" cried the Jew, "the avenging arm of heaven brings me back
to the foot of this heavy cross, which thou didst bear, when, stopping at
the door of my poor dwelling, thou wert repulsed with merciless
harshness, and I said unto thee: 'Go on!  go on!'--After my long life of
wanderings, I am again before this cross, and my hair begins to whiten.
Oh Lord! in thy divine mercy, hast thou at length pardoned me?  Have I
reached the term of my endless march?  Will thy celestial clemency grant
me at length the repose of the sepulchre, which, until now, alas! has
ever fled before me?--Oh! if thy mercy should descend upon me, let it
fall likewise upon that woman, whose woes are equal to mine own!  Protect
also the last descendants of my race!  What will be their fate?  Already,
Lord, one of them--the only one that misfortune had perverted--has
perished from the face of the earth.  Is it for this that my hair grows
gray?  Will my crime only be expiated when there no longer remains in
this world one member of our accursed race?  Or does this proof of thy
powerful goodness, Lord, which restores me to the condition of humanity,
serve also as a sign of the pardon and happiness of my family?  Will they
at length triumph over the perils which beset them?  Will they,
accomplishing the good which their ancestor designed for his fellow-
creatures, merit forgiveness both for themselves and me?  Or will they,
inexorably condemned as the accursed scions of an accursed stock, expiate
the original stain of my detested crime?

"Oh, tell me--tell me, gracious Lord! shall I be forgiven with them, or
will they be punished with me?"

The twilight gave place to a dark and stormy night, yet the Jew continued
to pray, kneeling at the foot of the cross.



The following scene took place at Saint-Dizier House, two days after the
reconciliation of Marshal Simon with his daughters.  The princess is
listening with the most profound attention to the words of Rodin.  The
reverend father, according to his habit, stands leaning against the
mantelpiece, with his hands thrust into the pockets of his old brown
great-coat.  His thick, dirty shoes have left their mark on the ermine
hearth-rug.  A deep sense of satisfaction is impressed on the Jesuit's
cadaverous countenance.  Princess de Saint-Dizier, dressed with that sort
of modest elegance which becomes a mother of the church, keeps her eyes
fixed on Rodin--for the latter has completely supplanted Father
d'Aigrigny in the good graces of this pious lady.  The coolness, audacity
lofty intelligence, and rough and imperious character of the ex-socius
have overawed this proud woman, and inspired her with a sincere
admiration.  Even his filthy habits and often brutal repartees have their
charm for her, and she now prefers them to the exquisite politeness and
perfumed elegance of the accomplished Father d'Aigrigny.

"Yes, madame," said Rodin, in a sanctified tone, for these people do not
take off their masks even with their accomplices, "yes, madame, we have
excellent news from our house at St. Herem.  M. Hardy, the infidel, the
freethinker, has at length entered the pale of the holy Roman Catholic
and Apostolic Church."  Rodin pronounced these last word with a nasal

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