The Wandering Jew — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 249 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 02.

He next drew from the pocket of his drawers a copper box, from which he took a very fine, sharp-pointed needle, and a piece of a black-looking root.  He pricked this root several times with the needle, and on each occasion there issued from it a white, glutinous liquid.

When the Strangler thought the needle sufficiently impregnated with this juice, he bent down, and began to blow gently over the inner surface of Djalma’s arm, so as to cause a fresh sensation of coolness; then, with the point of his needle, he traced almost imperceptibly on the skin of the sleeping youth some mysterious and symbolical signs.  All this was performed so cleverly and the point of the needle was so fine and keen, that Djalma did not feel the action of the acid upon the skin.

The signs, which the Strangler had traced, soon appeared on the surface, at first in characters of a pale rose-color, as fine as a hair; but such was the slowly corrosive power of the juice, that, as it worked and spread beneath the skin, they would become in a few hours of a violet red, and as apparent as they were now almost invisible.

The Strangler, having so perfectly succeeded in his project, threw a last look of ferocious longing on the slumbering Indian, and creeping away from the mat, regained the opening by which he had entered the cabin; next, closely uniting the edges of the incision, so as to obviate all suspicion, he disappeared just as the thunder began to rumble hoarsely in the distance.[4]

[4] We read in the letters of the late Victor Jacquemont upon India, with regard to the incredible dexterity of these men:  “They crawl on the ground, ditches, in the furrows of fields, imitate a hundred different voices, and dissipate the effect of any accidental noise by raising the yelp of the jackal or note of some bird—­then are silent, and another imitates the call of the same animal in the distance.  They can molest a sleeper by all sorts of noises and slight touches, and make his body and limbs take any position which suits their purpose.”  Count Edward de Warren, in his excellent work on English India, which we shall have again occasion to quote, expresses himself in the same manner as to the inconceivable address of the Indians:  “They have the art,” says he, “to rob you, without interrupting your sleep, of the very sheet in which you are enveloped.  This is not ‘a traveller’s tale.’ but a fact.  The movements of the bheel are those of the serpent.  If you sleep in your tent, with a servant lying across each entrance, the bheel will come and crouch on the outside, in some shady corner, where he can hear the breathing of those within.  As soon as the European sleeps, he feels sure of success, for the Asiatic will not long resist the attraction of repose.  At the proper moment, he makes a vertical incision in the cloth of the tent, on the spot where he happens to be, and just large enough to admit him.  He glides through like a phantom, without making the

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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