The Wandering Jew — Volume 06 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 06.
the strength of his mind and body upon a single point, remaining, like Rodin, obstinately chaste and frugal, and renouncing every gratification of the heart and the senses—­the man, who revolts against the sacred designs of his Creator, does so almost always in favor of some monstrous and devouring passion—­some infernal divinity, which, by a sacrilegious pact, asks of him, in return for the bestowal of formidable power, the destruction of every noble sentiment, and of all those ineffable attractions and tender instincts with which the Maker, in His eternal wisdom and inexhaustible munificence, has so paternally endowed His creatures.

During the scene that we have just described, Rodin had not perceived that the curtain of a window on the third story of the building opposite had been partially drawn aside, and had half-revealed the sprightly face of Rose-Pompon, and the Silenus-like countenance of Ninny Moulin.  It ensued that Rodin, notwithstanding his barricade of cotton handkerchiefs, had not been completely sheltered from the indiscreet and curious examination of the two dancers of the Storm-blown Tulip.

[22] According to the tradition, it was predicted to the mother of Sixtus V., that he would be pope; and, in his youth, he is said to have kept swine.


An unexpected visit.

Though Rodin had experienced much surprise on reading the second letter from Rome, he did not choose that his answer should betray any such amazement.  Having finished his frugal breakfast, he took a sheet of paper, and rapidly wrote in cipher the following note, in the short, abrupt style that was natural to him when not obliged to restrain himself: 

“The information does not surprise me.  I had foreseen it all.  Indecision and cowardice always bear such fruit.  This is not enough.  Heretical Russia murders Catholic Poland.  Rome blesses the murderers, and curses the victims.[23]

“Let it pass.

“In return, Russia guarantees to Rome, by Austria, the bloody suppression of the patriots of Romagna.

“That, too, is well.

“The cut-throat band of good Cardinal Albani is not sufficient for the massacre of the impious liberals.  They are weary of the task.

“Not so well.  They must go on.”

When Rodin had written these last words, his attention was suddenly attracted by the clear and sonorous voice of Rose-Pompon, who, knowing her Beranger by heart, had opened Philemon’s window, and, seated on the sill, sang with much grace and prettiness this verse of the immortal song-writer: 

   “How wrong you are!  Is’t you dare say
   That heaven ever scowls on earth? 
   The earth that laughs up to its blue,
   The earth that owes it joy and birth? 
   Oh, may the wine from vines it warms,
   May holy love thence fluttering down,
   Lend my philosophy their charms,
   To drive away care’s direful frown! 
   So, firm let’s stand,
   Full glass in hand,
   And all evoke
   The God of honest folk!”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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