The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,533 pages of information about The Wandering Jew Complete.

“It proves,” replied an illustrious painter of the romantic school, disguised like a Roman out of one of David’s pictures, “it proves that the Cholera is a wretched colorist, for he has nothing but a dirty green on his pallet.  Evidently he is a pupil of Jacobus, that king of classical painters, who are another species of plagues.”

“And yet, master,” added respectfully a pupil of the great painter, “I have seen some cholera patients whose convulsions were rather fine, and their dying looks first-rate!”

“Gentlemen,” cried a sculptor of no less celebrity, “the question lies in a nutshell.  The Cholera is a detestable colorist, but a good draughtsman.  He shows you the skeleton in no time.  By heaven! how he strips off the flesh!—­Michael Angelo would be nothing to him.”

“True,” cried they all, with one voice; “the Cholera is a bad colorist, but a good draughtsman.”

“Moreover, gentlemen,” added Ninny Moulin, with comic gravity, “this plague brings with it a providential lesson, as the great Bossuet would have said.”

“The lesson! the lesson!”

“Yes, gentlemen; I seem to hear a voice from above, proclaiming:  `Drink of the best, empty your purse, and kiss your neighbor’s wife; for your hours are perhaps numbered, unhappy wretch!’”

So saying, the orthodox Silenus took advantage of a momentary absence of mind on the part of Modeste, his neighbor, to imprint on the blooming cheek of love a long, loud kiss.  The example was contagious, and a storm of kisses was mingled with bursts of laughter.

“Ha! blood and thunder!” cried the great painter as he gayly threatened Ninny Moulin; “you are very lucky that to-morrow will perhaps be the end of the world, or else I should pick a quarrel with you for having kissed my lovely love.”

“Which proves to you, O Rubens!  O Raphael! the thousand advantages of the Cholera, whom I declare to be essentially sociable and caressing.”

“And philanthropic,” said one of the guests; “thanks to him, creditors take care of the health of their debtors.  This morning a usurer, who feels a particular interest in my existence, brought me all sorts of anti-choleraic drugs, and begged me to make use of them.”

“And I!” said the pupil of the great painter.  “My tailor wished to force me to wear a flannel band next to the skin, because I owe him a thousand crowns.  But I answered `Oh, tailor, give me a receipt in full, and I will wrap myself up in flannel, to preserve you my custom!’”

“O Cholera, I drink to thee!” said Ninny Moulin, by way of grotesque invocation.  “You are not Despair; on the contrary, you are the emblem of Hope—­yes, of hope.  How many husbands, how many wives, longed for a number (alas! too uncertain chance) in the lottery of widowhood!  You appear, and their hearts are gladdened.  Thanks to you, benevolent pest! their chances of liberty are increased a hundredfold.”

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