The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

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

“Forgive me,” replied Rodin, with a bitter smile.  “Thanks to the ghostly counsels of the angelic Abbe Gabriel, I have reached a sort of resignation.  Still, there are certain memories which affect me with the most acute pain.  I told you,” resumed Rodin, in a firmer voice, “or was going to tell you, that the very day after that on which I informed you of the treachery practised against you, I was myself the victim of a frightful deception.  An adopted son—­a poor unfortunate child, whom I had brought up—­” He paused again, drew his trembling hand over his eyes, and added:  “Pardon me, sir, for speaking of matters which must be indifferent to you.  Excuse the intrusive sorrow of a poor, broken hearted old man!”

“I have suffered too much myself, sir, to be indifferent to any kind of sorrow,” replied Hardy.  “Besides, you are no stranger to me—­for you did me a real service—­and we both agree in our veneration for the same young priest.”

“The Abbe Gabriel!” cried Rodin, interrupting Hardy; “ah, sir! he is my deliverer, my benefactor.  If you knew all his care and devotion, during my long illness, caused by intense grief—­if you knew the ineffable sweetness of his counsels—­”

“I know them, sir,” cried Hardy; “oh, yes!  I know how salutary is the influence.”

“In his mouth, sir, the precepts of religion are full of mildness,” resumed Rodin, with excitement.  “Do they not heal and console? do they not make us love and hope, instead of fear and tremble?”

“Alas, sir! in this very house,” said Hardy, “I have been able to make the comparison.”

“I was happy enough,” said Rodin, “to have the angelic Abbe Gabriel for my confessor, or, rather, my confidant.”

“Yes,” replied Hardy, “for he prefers confidence to confession.”

“How well you know him!” said Rodin, in a tone of the utmost simplicity.  Then he resumed:  “He is not a man but an angel.  His words would convert the most hardened sinner.  Without being exactly impious, I had myself lived in the profession of what is called Natural Religion; but the angelic Abbe Gabriel has, by degrees, fixed my wavering belief, given it body and soul, and, in fact, endowed me with faith.”

“Yes! he is a truly Christian priest—­a priest of love and pardon!” cried Hardy.

“What you say is perfectly true,” replied Rodin; “for I came here almost mad with grief, thinking only of the unhappy boy who had repaid my paternal goodness with the most monstrous ingratitude, and sometimes I yielded to violent bursts of despair, and sometimes sank into a state of mournful dejection, cold as the grave itself.  But, suddenly, the Abbe Gabriel appeared—­and the darkness fled before the dawning of a new day.”

“You were right, sir; there are strange coincidences,” said Hardy, yielding more and more to the feeling of confidence and sympathy, produced by the resemblance of his real position to Rodin’s pretended one.  “And to speak frankly,” he added, “I am very glad I have seen you before quitting this house.  Were I capable of falling back into fits of cowardly weakness, your example alone would prevent me.  Since I listen to you, I feel myself stronger in the noble path which the angelic Abbe Gabriel has opened before me, as you so well express it.”

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