The Wandering Jew — Volume 10 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 167 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Volume 10.

“How so, Agricola?”

“My heart aches, when I think of the evil I have done you.”

“I do not understand you, my friend; you have never done me any evil.”

“What! never? even in little things? when, for instance, yielding to a detestable habit, I, who loved and respected you as my sister, insulted you a hundred times a day?”

“Insulted me!”

“Yes—­when I gave you an odious and ridiculous nickname, instead of calling you properly.”

At these words, Mother Bunch looked at the smith in the utmost alarm, trembling lest he had discovered her painful secret, notwithstanding the assurance she had received from Mdlle. de Cardoville.  Yet she calmed herself a little when she reflected, that Agricola might of himself have thought of the humiliation inflicted on her by calling her Mother Bunch, and she answered him with a forced smile.  “Can you be grieved at so small a thing?  It was a habit, Agricola, from childhood.  When did your good and affectionate mother, who nevertheless loved me as her daughter, ever call me anything else?”

“And did my mother consult you about my marriage, speak to you of the rare beauty of my bride, beg you to come and see her, and study her character, in the hope that the instinct of your affection for me would warn you—­if I made a bad choice?  Did my mother have this cruelty?—­No; it was I, who thus pierced your heart!”

The fears of the hearer were again aroused; there could be but little doubt that Agricola knew her secret.  She felt herself sinking with confusion; yet, making a last effort not to believe the discovery, she murmured in a feeble voice:  “True, Agricola!  It was not your mother, but yourself, who made me that request—­and I was grateful to you for such a mark of confidence.”

“Grateful, my poor girl!” cried the smith, whilst his eyes filled with tears; “no, it is not true.  I pained you fearfully—­I was merciless—­heaven knows, without being aware of it!”

“But,” said the other, in a voice now almost unintelligible, “what makes you think so?”

“Your love for me!” cried the smith, trembling with emotion, as he clasped Mother Bunch in a brotherly embrace.

“Oh heaven!” murmured the unfortunate creature, as she covered her face with her hands, “he knows all.”

“Yes, I know all,” resumed Agricola, with an expression of ineffable tenderness and respect:  “yes, I know all, and I will not have you blush for a sentiment, which honors me, and of which I feel so justly proud.  Yes, I know all; and I say to myself with joy and pride, that the best, the most noble heart in the world is mine—­will be mine always.  Come, Magdalen; let us leave shame to evil passions.  Raise your eyes, and look at me!  You know, if my countenance was ever false—­if it ever reflected a feigned emotion.  Then look and tell me, if you cannot read in my features, how proud I am, Magdalen, how justly proud of your love!”

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The Wandering Jew — Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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