The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,953 pages of information about The Wandering Jew — Complete.

On entering the Rue Saint-Gervais, by the Rue Dore (in the Marais), you would have found yourself, at the epoch of this narrative, directly opposite to an enormously high wall, the stones of which were black and worm-eaten with age.  This wall, which extended nearly the whole length of that solitary street, served to support a terrace shaded by trees of some hundred years old, which thus grew about forty feet above the causeway.  Through their thick branches appeared the stone front, peaked roof and tall brick chimneys of an antique house, the entrance of which was situated in the Rue Saint-Francois, not far from the Rue Saint Gervais corner.  Nothing could be more gloomy than the exterior of this abode.  On the entrance-side also was a very high wall, pierced with two or three loop-holes, strongly grated.  A carriage gateway in massive oak, barred with iron, and studded with large nail-heads, whose primitive color disappeared beneath a thick layer of mud, dust, and rust, fitted close into the arch of a deep recess, forming the swell of a bay window above.  In one of these massive gates was a smaller door, which served for ingress and egress to Samuel the Jew, the guardian of this dreary abode.  On passing the threshold, you came to a passage, formed in the building which faced in the street.  In this building was the lodging of Samuel, with its windows opening upon the rather spacious inner court yard, through the railing of which you perceived the garden.  In the middle of this garden stood a two-storied stone house, so strangely built, that you had to mount a flight of steps, or rather a double-flight of at least twenty steps, to reach the door, which had been walled up a hundred and fifty years before.  The window-blinds of this habitation had been replaced by large thick plates of lead, hermetically soldered and kept in by frames of iron clamped in the stone.  Moreover, completely to intercept air and light, and thus to guard against decay within and without, the roof had been covered with thick sheets of lead, as well as the vents of the tall chimneys, which had previously been bricked up.  The same precautions had been taken with respect to a small square belvedere, situated on the top of the house; this glass cage was covered with a sort of dome, soldered to the roof.  Only, in consequence of some singular fancy, in every one of the leaden plates, which concealed the four sides of the belvedere, corresponding to the cardinal points, seven little round holes had been bored in the form of a cross, and were easily distinguishable from the outside.  Everywhere else the plates of lead were completely unpierced.  Thanks to these precautions, and to the substantial structure of the building, nothing but a few outward repairs had been necessary; and the apartments, entirely removed from the influence of the external air, no doubt remained, during a century and a half, exactly in the same state as at the time of their being shut up.  The aspect of walls in

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The Wandering Jew — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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