The Wandering Jew — Complete eBook

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

How, then, did this Calvary, this place of prayer, come to be erected so far from the abodes of men?  This Calvary was prepared at a great cost by a repentant sinner.  He had done much harm to his fellow-creatures, and, in the hope of obtaining pardon for his crimes, he had climbed this mountain on his knees, and become a hermit, and lived there till his death, at the foot of this cross, only sheltered by a roof of thatch, now long since swept away by the wind.  The sun is still sinking.  The sky becomes darker.  The luminous lines on the horizon grow fainter and fainter, like heated bars of iron that gradually grow cool.  Suddenly, on the eastern side of the Calvary, is heard the noise of some falling stones, which, loosened from the side of the mountain, roll down rebounding to its base.  These stones have been loosened by the foot of a traveller, who, after traversing the plain below, has, during the last hour, been climbing the steep ascent.  He is not yet visible—­but one hears the echo of his tread—­slow, steady, and firm.  At length, he reaches the top of the mountain, and his tall figure stands out against the stormy sky.

The traveller is pale as the great figure on the cross.  On his broad forehead a black line extends from one temple to the other.  It is the cobbler of Jerusalem.  The poor artisan, who hardened by misery, injustice and oppression, without pity for the suffering of the Divine Being who bore the cross, repulsed him from his dwelling, and bade him:  “Go onGo onGo on!” And, from that day, the avenging Deity has in his turn said to the artisan of Jerusalem:  “Go onGo onGo on!”

And he has gone on, without end or rest.  Nor did the divine vengeance stop there.  From time to time death has followed the steps of the wanderer, and innumerable graves have been even as mile-stones on his fatal path.  And if ever he found periods of repose in the midst of his infinite grief, it was when the hand of the Lord led him into deep solitudes, like that where he now dragged his steps along.  In passing over that dreary plain, or climbing to that rude Calvary, he at least heard no more the funeral knell, which always, always sounded behind him in every inhabited region.

All day long, even at this hour, plunged in the black abyss of his thoughts, following the fatal track—­going whither he was guided by the invisible hand, with head bowed on his breast, and eyes fixed upon the ground, the wanderer had passed over the plain, and ascended the mountain, without once looking at the sky—­without even perceiving the Calvary—­without seeing the image upon the cross.  He thought of the last descendants of his race.  He felt, by the sinking of his heart, that great perils continued to threaten him.  And in the bitterness of a despair, wild and deep as the ocean, the cobbler of Jerusalem seated himself at the foot of the cross.  At this

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