Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

answer but by a low bow. “You look," continued the Venetian,“ like a man of fifty, and yet I know this picture to be of the hand of Titian, who has been dead one hundred and thirty years. How is this possible?” “It is not easy,” said Signor Gualdi gravely,“ to know all things that are possible; but there is certainly no crime in my being like a picture drawn by Titian.” The Venetian easily perceived, by his manner of speaking, that he had given the stranger offence, and therefore took his leave.' The issue of the affair was, that the Venetian told the matter to all his friends. Curiosity was aroused, and various parties went to call upon Gualdi. They were disappointed, however; the stranger had left the city, and was never seen again.

Of course, the world of Venice came to the conclusion, that this personage could be none else but the Wandering Jew, or a philosopher who had been fortunate enough to discover the elixir of life. The matter is certainly capable of a much easier solution, however, and Gualdi's own words afford a ready clue to it. It was on this story, Godwin tells us, that he founded his novel of St Leon, a work of great power and beauty. We have already mentioned the existence of numerous works of fiction which have a similar basis. Of all these, the most interesting, perhaps, is the Rev. George Croly's tale of Salathiel. Mrs Norton's poem of the Undying One deserves especial mention also among the compositions which this legend has suggested.

Those readers who are not wearied by this subject, will find other impostors who have personated this imaginary Wanderer, pointed out in Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible. In the meantime, we shall conclude by quoting a little piece upon this subject from the French poet Béranger, using a version which appears in the Minor Morals of Dr Bowring :

One glass of water, Christian true!

To him that's weary-gracious Heaven
Reward thee-I'm the Wandering Jew,
By the eternal whirlwind driven;

L

VOL. V.

By years not worn, but sore opprest,

And longing for the judgment-day,
Praying for rest, to find no rest,
Cursing each morn's returning ray.

Ever, ever,
Earth revolves, I rest me never-

Ever wandering-ever, ever.
And eighteen centuries now have sped

On the dark wrecks of Rome and Greece; I have seen the ashes scattered

Of thousand shifting dynasties : Seen good, unfruitful good, and ill

Prolific, while the tempest rolled;
Seen two new worlds the circle fill
Which one world occupied of old.

Ever, ever,
Earth revolves-I rest me never.

The ceaseless change is Heaven's decree

On dying things I fix my heart, And scarce I love them ardently

Ere the wild whirlwind cries: “ Depart The poor man asks relief-my hand

Is stretched the debt of love to pay-
But ere sweet Charity's demand
Is granted, I am whirled away-

Ever, ever.
On the soft grass, in flow'rets drest,

Near the fresh stream beneath the tree, If from my misery I would rest,

The whirlwind howls and summons me. O why should angry Heaven, deny

One moment-one of sweet repose ?
For were the grave eternity,
It would not rest me from my woes-

Ever, ever.
Those laughing girls, those sporting boys,

Remind me of mine own at play ; My heart would revel in their joys

The whirlwind hurries me away. Ye old, who die, O envy not

My miserable fate forlorn; For I must tread upon the spot Where yet shall sleep the child unborn

Ever, ever.

I seek the venerable walls

Which in my early youth I knewI stop-the eternal whirlwind calls,

Tyrannic: “Onwards, onwards, Jew!

Onwards! Exist while all around

Is perishing: in this thy home-
Where all thy forefathers have found
A tomb-for thee there is no tomb; "

Ever, ever.

A cruel smile of scorn and hate

I at the godlike Jesus threw.
The earth is shaking 'neath my feet,

The whirlwind drives me on-adieu!
Ye pitiless, O tremble when

Ye think of me-the wretched me!
God in my fate avenges men,
But not his own divinity-

Ever, ever
Earth revolves, I rest me never-
Ever wandering-ever, ever.'

REMARKABLE CONDUCT OF A LITTLE GIRL.

The following extraordinary act was performed by a child in Lyon not long ago, according to a continental paper.

An unfortunate artisan, the father of a family, was deprived of work by the depressed state of his trade during a whole winter. It was with great difficulty that he could get a morsel of food now and then for his famished wife and children. Things grew worse and worse with him, and at length, on attempting to rise one morning, for the purpose of going out, as usual, in quest of employment, he fell back in a fainting condition, beside his wife, who had already been confined to her bed by illness for two months. The poor man felt him. self ill, and his strength utterly gone. He had two boys, yet in mere childhood, and one girl, about twelve or thirteen years old. For a long time, the whole charge of the household had fallen on this girl. She had tended the sick-bed of her mother, and had watched over her little brothers with more than parental care. Now, when the father too was taken ill, there seemed to be not a vestige of hope for the family, excepting in the exertions which might be made by her, young as she was.

The first thought of the poor little girl was to seek for work proportioned to her strength. But that the family might not starve in the meantime, she resolved to go to one of the Houses of Charity, where food was given out, she had heard, to the poor and needy. The person to whom she addressed herself accordingly inscribed her name in the list of applicants, and told her to come back again in a day or two, when the case would have been deliberated upon. Alas, during this deliberation, her parents and brothers would starve! The girl stated this, but was informed that the formalities mentioned were indispensable. She came again to the streets, and, almost agonised by the knowledge how anxiously she was expected, with bread, at home, she resolved to ask charity from the passengers in the public ways.

No one heeded the modest, unobtrusive appeal of her outstretched hand. Her heart was too full to permit her to speak. Could any one have seen the torturing anxiety that filled her breast, she must have been pitied and relieved. As the case stood, it is not perhaps surprising that some rude being menaced her with the police. She was frightened. Shivering with cold, and crying bitterly, she fled homewards. When she mounted the stairs and opened the door, the first words that she heard were the cries of her brothers for something to eat Bread! bread !' She saw her father soothing and supporting her fainting mother, and heard him say: 'Bread !-- she dies for want of food.'

"I have no bread!' cried the poor girl with anguish in her tones.

The cry of disappointment and despair which came at these words from her father and brothers, caused her to recall what she had said, and conceal the truth. 'I have not got it yet, she exclaimed, but I will have it immediately. I have given the baker the money;

on.

he was serving some rich people, and he told me to wait or come back. I came to tell you that it would soon be here.'

After these words, without waiting for a reply, she left the house again. A thought had entered her head, and maddened by the distress of those she loved so dearly, she had instantaneously resolved to put it in execution. She ran from one street to another, till she saw a baker's shop in which there appeared to be no person, and then, summoning all her determination, she entered, lifted a loaf, and fled ! The shopkeeper saw her from behind his counter. He cried loudly, ran after her, and pointed her out to the people passing by. The girl ran

She was pursued, and finally a man seized the loaf which she carried. The object of her desires taken away, she had no motive to proceed, and was seized at once. They conveyed her towards the office of the police; a crowd, as usual, having gathered in attendance. The poor girl threw around her despairing glances, which seemed to seek some favourable object from whom to ask mercy. At last, when she had been brought to the court of the police-office, and was in waiting for the order to enter, she saw before her a little girl of her own age, who appeared to look on her with a glance full of kindness and compassion. Under the impulse of the moment, still thinking of the condition of her family, she whispered to the stranger the cause of her act of theft.

* Father and mother, and my two brothers, are dying for want of bread!' said she.

Where?' asked the strange girl anxiously. Rue No. 10' She had only time to add the name of her parents to this communication, when she was carried in before the commissary of police.

Meanwhile, the poor family at home suffered all the miseries of suspense. Fears for their child's safety were added to the other afflictions of the parents. At length, they heard footsteps ascending the stair. An eager cry of hope was uttered by all the four unfortunates, but,

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »