The Wandering Jew — Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 07.

With diabolical skill and perseverance they succeeded in kindling the most evil passions.  By means of chosen emissaries, they applied to those quarrymen and stonecutters of the neighborhood, whose bad conduct had aggravated their misery.  Notorious for their turbulence, audacity, and energy, these men might exercise a dangerous influence on the majority of their companions, who were peaceful, laborious, and honest, but easily intimidated by violence.  These turbulent leaders, previously embittered by misfortune, were soon impressed with an exaggerated idea of the happiness of M. Hardy’s workmen, and excited to a jealous hatred of them.  They went still further; the incendiary sermons of an abbe, a member of the Jesuits, who had come expressly from Paris to preach during Lent against M. Hardy, acted powerfully on the minds of the women, who filled the church, whilst their husbands were haunting the taverns.  Profiting by the growing fear, which the approach of the Cholera then inspired, the preacher struck with terror these weak and credulous imaginations by pointing to M. Hardy’s factory as a centre of corruption and damnation, capable of drawing down the vengeance of Heaven, and bringing the fatal scourge upon the country.  Thus the men, already inflamed with envy, were still more excited by the incessant urgency of their wives, who, maddened by the abbe’s sermons, poured their curses on that band of atheists, who might bring down so many misfortunes upon them and their children.  Some bad characters, belonging to the factory of Baron Tripeaud, and paid by him (for it was a great interest the honorable manufacturer had in the ruin of M. Hardy), came to augment the general irritation, and to complete it by raising one of those alarming union-questions, which in our day have unfortunately caused so much bloodshed.  Many of M. Hardy’s workmen, before they entered his employ, had belonged to a society or union, called the Devourers; while many of the stonecutters in the neighboring quarries belonged to a society called the Wolves.  Now, for a long time, an implacable rivalry had existed between the Wolves and Devourers, and brought about many sanguinary struggles, which are the more to be deplored, as, in some respects, the idea of these unions is excellent, being founded on the fruitful and mighty principle of association.  But unfortunately, instead of embracing all trades in one fraternal communion, these unions break up the working-class into distinct and hostile societies, whose rivalry often leads to bloody collisions.[27] For the last week, the Wolves, excited by so many different importunities, burned to discover an occasion or a pretext to come to blows with the Devourers; but the latter, not frequenting the public-houses, and hardly leaving the factory during the week, had hitherto rendered such a meeting impossible, and the Wolves had been forced to wait for the Sunday with ferocious impatience.

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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