The Wandering Jew — Volume 05 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 05.
in that large, old noiseless, gloomy house, I felt that I became more and more isolated from the affections and the freedom of the world.  My time was divided between mutilated studies, without connection and without object, and long hours of minute devotional exercises.  I ask you, father, did they ever seek to warm our young souls by words of tenderness or evangelic love?  Alas, no!  For the words of the divine Saviour—­Love ye one another, they had substituted the command:  Suspect ye one another.  Did they ever, father, speak to us of our country or of liberty?—­No! ah, no! for those words make the heart beat high; and with them, the heart must not beat at all.  To our long hours of study and devotion, there only succeeded a few walks, three by three—­never two and two—­because by threes, the spy-system is more practicable, and because intimacies are more easily formed by two alone; and thus might have arisen some of those generous friendships, which also make the heart beat more than it should.15 And so, by the habitual repression of every feeling, there came a time when I could not feel at all.  For six months, I had not seen my adopted mother and brother; they came to visit me at the college; a few years before, I should have received them with transports and tears; this time my eyes were dry, my heart was cold.  My mother and brother quitted me weeping.  The sight of this grief struck me and I became conscious of the icy insensibility which had been creeping upon me since I inhabited this tomb.  Frightened at myself, I wished to leave it, while I had still strength to do so.  Then, father, I spoke to you of the choice of a profession; for sometimes, in waking moments, I seemed to catch from afar the sound of an active and useful life, laborious and free, surrounded by family affections.  Oh! then I felt the want of movement and liberty, of noble and warm emotions—­of that life of the soul, which fled before me.  I told it you, father on my knees, bathing your hands with my tears.  The life of a workman or a soldier—­anything would have suited me.  It was then you informed me, that my adopted mother, to whom I owed my life—­for she had taken me in, dying of want, and, poor herself, had shared with me the scanty bread of her child—­admirable sacrifice for a mother!—­that she,” continued Gabriel, hesitating and casting down his eyes, for noble natures blush for the guilt of others, and are ashamed of the infamies of which they are themselves victims, “that she, that my adopted mother, had but one wish, one desire—­”

“That of seeing you takes orders, my dear son,” replied Father d’Aigrigny; “for this pious and perfect creature hoped, that, in securing your salvation, she would provide for her own:  but she did not venture to inform you of this thought, for fear you might ascribe it to an interested motive.”

“Enough, father!” said Gabriel, interrupting the Abbe d’Aigrigny, with a movement of involuntary indignation; “it is painful for me to hear you assert an error.  Frances Baudoin never had such a thought.”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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