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The Wandering Jew — Volume 02 by Eugène Sue

Produced by David Widger and Pat Castevens


By Eugene Sue



XVII. The Ajoupa XVIII. The Tattooing XIX. The Smuggler XX. M. Joshua Van Dael XXI. The Ruins of Tchandi XXII. The Ambuscade XXIII. M. Rodin XXIV. The Tempest XXV. The Shipwreck XXVI. The Departure for Paris XXVII. Dagobert's Wife XXVIII. The Sister of the Bacchanal Queen XXIX. Agricola Baudoin XXX. The Return XXXI. Agricola and Mother Bunch XXXII. The Awakening XXXIII. The Pavilion XXXIV. Adrienne at her Toilet XXXV. The Interview



The site is wild and rugged. It is a lofty eminence covered with huge boulders of sandstone, between which rise birch trees and oaks, their foliage already yellowed by autumn. These tall trees stand out from the background of red light, which the sun has left in the west, resembling the reflection of a great fire.

From this eminence the eye looks down into a deep valley, shady, fertile, and half-veiled in light vapor by the evening mist. The rich meadows, the tufts of bushy trees the fields from which the ripe corn has been gathered in, all blend together in one dark, uniform tint, which contrasts with the limpid azure of the heavens. Steeples of gray stone or slate lift their pointed spires, at intervals, from the midst of this valley; for many villages are spread about it, bordering a high-road which leads from the north to the west.

It is the hour of repose--the hour when, for the most part, every cottage window brightens to the joyous crackling of the rustic hearth, and shines afar through shade and foliage, whilst clouds of smoke issue from the chimneys, and curl up slowly towards the sky. But now, strange to say, every hearth in the country seems cold and deserted. Stranger and more fatal still, every steeple rings out a funeral knell. Whatever there is of activity, movement, or life, appears concentrated in that lugubrious and far-sounding vibration.

Lights begin to show themselves in the dark villages, but they rise not from the cheerful and pleasant rustic hearth. They are as red as the fires of the herdsmen, seen at night through the midst of the fog. And then these lights do not remain motionless. They creep slowly towards the churchyard of every village. Louder sounds the death-knell, the air trembles beneath the strokes of so many bells, and, at rare intervals, the funeral chant rises faintly to the summit of the hill.

Why so many interments? What valley of desolation is this, where the peaceful songs which follow the hard labors of the day are replaced by the death dirge? where the repose of evening is exchanged for the repose of eternity? What is this valley of the shadow, where every village mourns for its many dead, and buries them at the same hour of the same night?

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