The Hebrew Talisman Part B
"Jew!" said the Nazarene warrior, and the whole fabric shook as he strode across the apartment, "Jew! I am not here to listen to your lying adjurations, I want gold, I will have gold; or, look you, not content with making you as bald and as blind as Samson; by the mother of God, I'll make you as dead as that stalwart worthy!"
"Now, as my soul liveth," replied the Hebrew, "I am spoiled to the last thaler, yea, for this whole day have my lips not tasted of bread, from my sheer and very poverty."
"Bah!" cried the Nazarene, "what be these? Sacre! why they're fine gold and weigh a French pound to a sous!" and so saying, he laid violent hand upon the teraphim, even the images which the heathen of the old day would have termed Lares. In the extremity of his grief, and in the delusive hope that the Nazarene plunderers had paid him their last visit, the unhappy young man of Israel had drawn the teraphim from their secure hiding place, and, lo! the hand of the spoiler was upon them, and the soul of the young man was bowed down, stricken to the very earth with this consummation of the calamity of his house. It was in vain that the pitiless plunderer blasphemed, and all in vain that he threatened many tortures, and even death; for the young man spoke truly in that he was verily and indeed despoiled of all that remained to him on earth, save the clothes he wore and the dismantled house which he inhabited.
Wearied at length with his unprofitable violence, and perhaps, for a desultory life of war and rapine makes the eye very skilful in discovering between truth and falsehood, convinced by the excess of the young man's agony, that the words which he spake were indeed the words of truth, the Nazarene cursing with many and deep curses, yet looking with no unpleased eyes upon the golden teraphim which he bore away, departed, and the young man found himself once more alone, and in the solitude of his sorrow he poured forth his unavailing lamentations and cursed the Nazarenes, and prayed in fervent tones that he might have power to crush them, and vowed by the ineffable name of Jehovah to lose no opportunity of despoiling their wealth, and trampling down, yea, utterly bruising, their black and unsparing, as unbelieving hearts.
That was a glad moment to me. I would suffer over again the most bitter misery of the most bitter of any of my many lives to enjoy but once in each day one such rapturous, such exulting moment. Here was a servant fit for the great master—here a champion fit for the great cause. His wrongs, his agony, his fervour, his utter and hopeless poverty; aye, his own passions and his own circumstances would make him a faithful and very zealous foeman to the Nazarene of whatever nation. Here was, at length, the man, the long hoped, the long sought, who should build up the temple of the Lord, and make Israel and Judah feared and obeyed in all the quarters of the earth.
As the young man prayed to the God of Abraham, and cursed the despoiling and tyrannous followers of the Nazarene, I observed that he kept his eyes constantly fixed upon the niche from which the man of blood had recently drawn the teraphim. Placing myself, therefore, while still invisible, immediately between him and that spot, I spake in my soul the words of power, and lo! on the instant I stood visible before him, tall in stature as Saul when he was singled forth from the young men, but pallid as a corpse, and with hoary hair and beard contrasting with ghastly effect the supernatural glare of great black eyes that shot forth lurid fires upon which no mortal could look and not tremble.
The sudden appearance of such a figure, clad in the flowing robes of the far East, and seeming to spring up from the bowels of the earth, might well appal even the most courageous, and the young man fell down before me, and exclaimed, "As my Lord liveth, his servant is despoiled, yea, utterly undone; as my soul liveth, I have not a coin; yea, even the bonds of parchment which bound many Nazarenes in the power of thy servant, behold, they also are stolen—gone—for ever gone!"
And, as he thus spake, he wrung his hands, and the big drops of perspiration burst forth from his agonized countenance. I raised him from the earth, and spake to him many comfortable words. He proposed to fly from the wretched city, but I forbade him; he spake in hopelessness—and I commanded him to hope; he spake in doubt—and I compelled him to believe. I spake the words of power, and the talisman was once more committed to a man of my persecuted race.
It chanced that there lay on the table before him a ring holding the keys of his rifled drawers; and having spoken the words of power, and adjured the demons by the ineffable name, I gave to that ring the influence and the might of the signet of the wise Solomon. Having done this, I commanded the young man to name some wish for instant accomplishment; and ere he had thrice, according to my instructions, whirled round the ring upon his forefinger, steps were heard as of one heavily laden, and I had scarcely become again invisible, when a man carefully disguised, and bearing a large and very heavy bag, laboured slowly and painfully into the room.
"Donner and Blitzen," said the new comer, as he threw down, with a mighty crash as of much gold, the bag he had so sorely travailed under, "I would scarcely play porter again to save my thalers! Time presses, the villains are on the search once more wherever they deem that they have left a coin or a coin's worth. You, I know, are for the present safe, for they are sure you are not worth their time. I know your honesty; and to your biding, until better times come, I commit all the cash I have within fifty leagues, save so much as will prevent the fellows from cutting my throat in sheer disappointment." And having thus spoken, while wiping the big drops from his forehead, he waved his hand and took his departure. The young man opened the bag, counted the several packets it contained and found the very sum for which he had wished aloud while making his first essay of the power of his talisman.
Men of the accursed and plundering race!—Ye, whose estates were within a brief space to have been within his grasp; ye whose equipages and whose liveried lacquies I so lately saw following to his premature grave the man of Israel whom I thus enabled to war upon ye in your most vulnerable quarter,—accursed and detested Nazarenes—the young Israelite, to whom I thus committed the Talisman, and who thus early and thus fully experienced its mighty power,—he who for years despoiled you of the gold which you make to yourselves, even as a god—that man whom ye fawned upon, even while you hated him, and knew that he despised you—that man was NATHAN MEYER ROTHSCHILD!
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Thus the man Nathan waxed wealthy, more wealthy than any who had gone before him, his riches astonished the gentiles, and very justly they said, such amazing wealth could not be amassed by one man, in so short a time by any human agency,—they were right, it was the agency of the talisman, directed for a high and holy purpose,—to redeem the holy land from the pollution of the infidel, and to raise thy fallen towers, O Zion, from the dust.
Carefully concealing the treasure thus entrusted to him, by burying it beneath a tree in his little garden, while the murderous and plundering French vexed the city with their presence, and using it subsequently for a brief space, with the certain and rapid success ensured to him by the talisman, the young man Rothschild waxed wealthy; and when he had restored the treasure to the prince who had reposed trust in him, he came by my direction, to this paradise of loan-contracting and speculating fools, and became the leviathan of the money markets of Europe. Thus Nathan became the loan contractor, the jobber, the money lender to the gentile kings.
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Leaving him to amass wealth, and devoutly praying that he might prove more worthy of the talisman than those who had before held it, I once again made my way to France, for there, too, I had most important work to do in forwarding the great cause.
Superior in other respects to all the men of his time, the Emperor Napoleon, so often favoured with what verily seemed to be a fated and inevitable good fortune, was much prone to belief in auguries and tokens, in predictions, and in the whole paraphernalia of the imperfect notions of fatality formed by the Nazarenes of an elder day, and still universally held by the bloody and brutal brood of Mahomet, whose name be anathema!
He held up to the admiration of the French people the phantom of military glory; he played upon their imaginations by the splendours of his intellectual despotism; he displayed the fire of genius and the cool collected judgment of a statesman; and with him seems to repose the secret of governing the restless Gauls.
Availing myself of this, I caused it to be made known, as if by accident; that in the Bois de Boulogne, a man of red skin and horribly huge bulk and tall stature, dressed in the garb of the wandering children of the Arabian deserts, was at times met with by benighted travellers on that road; and that to all whom he met he spake strange words of truth, both in narrating all that they had experienced, and predicting that which was about to come to pass.
The curiosity of the Emperor was excited, and, leaving his capital privately and by night, he repaired to the part of the wood which had been indicated to him, armed, indeed to the teeth, for he was sagacious as the hill fox, but unattended, for he was brave as the Nemæan lion.
That was a fatal interview for him. I found him of this world, worldly; crafty, bold, a lover to intensity of his own nation, a still more intense lover of his own power and his own fame;—all this was well; but so far from deeming the despised and long suffering Jews worthy to build their holy temple and re-establish their antique kingdom, that he, the Nazarene by birth, the infidel by election and in belief, he, HE! panted to possess and to colonise our Palestine! I discerned that and he was doomed. From that hour he was as virtually lost as was Belshazzar, the King of Chaldea, when the mystic writing gleamed forth, from the walls of the house of wassail and of revelry.
I poured forth into his astonished ear the most secret thoughts of his past life; I ministered to his pride, his ambition, his own impious confidence in his own power, and trust in his own fortune. I became his nightly visitant and his nightly counsellor. The result of my counsels was the march of four hundred thousand of the very flower of the French to attack the Scythian barbarians. Borodino was won; Moscow taken by the Gaul and burned by the patriotism or passion of Rostopschin; the retreat commenced, and—God is great!—fatigue, famine, and winter, the winter of the North! did all the rest of the business. Napoleon had accomplished his destiny. Rothschild was right speedily to make that ruin utter and inevitable—not to be repaired.
Though the ruin of Napoleon was decided, and inevitable from the very moment of his determining upon his mad, and thrice madly-timed expedition to Russia, it was by no means expected, or even deemed possible by his supporters, i.e., by nine of every ten of the adult men of France. His marvellous escape amid the hellish fire at the bridge of Lodi; his still more marvellous escape from Egypt, when he sailed through a fog which seemed as if made on purpose to hide him from his fierce and eager foemen of England; these and a thousand other seemingly fated occurrences of good fortune, and, to set aside all the REAL benefits which he conferred upon France, a tithe of which might have upheld the throne of even that honest bigot, Charles X.—his bombastic but felicitous eloquence, and the consummate tact with which he contrived to confirm the French in the notion which they were only too ready to indulge—that every Frenchman was a partner in the glory of Napoleon—made that most adroit as well as profound man the very Mahomet of France. The followers of the fierce and politic impostor of Araby did not more implicitly and entirely believe in the validity and sanctity of that impostor's pretensions than did the mass of the French people in the certainty, the FATED inevitability, of Napoleon's ultimate success. And, accordingly, the indescribable horrors and waste of blood and treasure at Moscow did not deprive him of their affections; nay, even the treaty of Fontainebleau, which consigned the Emperor to the petty island of Elba, and restored the incapable and gourmand Bourbon to the throne of France, could not abate one jot of heart or hope in the true Buonapartists of France. "He'll return with the violet," was the phrase; and the phrase gave vigour to old men, and increased hope and anticipative exultation to the young men.
He came, and the throne of France bid fair to be his until his death; by whom was his hope blasted? By the talents of Blucher and Wellington? By the boasted discipline of the Prussians? By the sheer, brute, dogged, unyielding bull-dogism of the soldiery of England? By the treachery of Grouchy (to whom the Aid-de-Camp never delivered the Emperor's order?) By the genius of the allied generals? By the strength of the allied troops? Not to any one or the other of these did the first warrior and statesman of modern times owe his ruin: but simply Nathan Meyer Rothschild—armed with the talisman!
The British minister was driven almost to distraction for money; the first houses in London refused to aid him with a shilling. They were doubtful of the success of the allied powers; and the very doubt was within a little of being, like many other auguries, the cause of its own completion, and its own justification. Without money from England, not a small portion of the troops which fought upon the blood-stained plains of Waterloo would have been unable to reach that scene of strife and carnage, in time to take part in the sanguinary business of the three days. This would have been something in favour of the Emperor. But even this was the smallest part of what England's want of money would have achieved in favour of "Le Petit Corporale;" but for the English minister obtaining gold, THE GENERALS AND THE SENATORS OF FRANCEWOULD HAVE GOT IMBRIBED: THEY WERE bribed,—(to the honour of the frequently shallow and flash, but always honest, Benjamin Constant, I must admit that he, and he alone, of all the Chamber of Deputies, refused and scorned the proffered gold); and Napoleon fell a victim to their cupidity. Where did the English minister obtain the means of bribing the constituted authorities of France, and of thus destroying a man, who, but for that bribery, would, to all human seeming, have beaten the armed hosts of his crowned foemen? There was but one man on earth who both COULD and would provide the millions of golden pounds, required for the instant purposes of the English minister. That man was ROTHSCHILD. By my instructions he let the Minister have the hard gold; he had my instructions at the same time to do so, only on one condition. Alas! that he should suppose that a half obedience would satisfy me! As if the wanderer of Jerusalem could know any medium; as if anything could satisfy ME but the full and zealous performance of the Jew's part in the re-establishment of Judah's kingdom—the rebuilding of thy Towers, oh, Jerusalem!
That most elaborate of bad jokes, history, will, no doubt, say that the jew Rothschild lent the Nazarene elder called Lord Liverpool, the sum necessary to crush Napoleon Buonaparte, in consideration of some such Judean motive as twenty-five per cent. interest. The writers of history, in that case, will, as usual, lie; the readers of it will, as is also usual, be very egregiously and very deservedly deceived. Rothschild was commanded to lend the money on terms very different indeed from exorbitant interest. Nazarenes! those terms were said in a few words! The restoration of Judea to our ancient race; the guarantee of England for the independence of the kingdom of Judea. Ruin stared the English minister in the face if he refused! but he hesitated; Rothschild knew that the minister had already been refused by Barings, Reid and Irving, and all the other chief capitalists, and, therefore, with an expressive sneer advised him to try them. The sneer struck home and the minister went to the council. In twelve hours the millions were in the possession of the minister, and a secret agreement, guaranteed by the sign manual of royalty, was in the possession of Rothschild, for the restoration of Judea in twenty-one years from the day on which Napoleon should be finally driven from France. This very year my task should have been completed; would have been completed; but he, Rothschild, who for six-and-twenty years had proved himself even as one of the elders in Israel for wisdom and faithfulness, he, HE, at the twelfth hour, proved false, deferred my hope yet once more, and compelled me, all reluctant as I was, to consign him to inevitable ruin of fortune, or to instant exile and speedy death. Though he originally obeyed my behest au pied de la lettre, his long round of success (unchecked save once when I reproved his presumption with the loss of a hundred thousand pounds in a single day's business in Spanish Stock, and then restored his lost talisman in such wise as to lead him to suppose he had merely mislaid it), and his profound ignorance of my having the power of, at any instant, recalling the talisman, made him more and more purse proud—more and more utterly and incurably devoted to the art of deluding the Nazarenes, not as a means to a high and hallowed end, but as a source of fortune and power to himself, that it was rather with grief than surprise that I recently heard from his own lips that he had basely sold the agreement for the restoration of Judea for the promise of a petty English Emancipation Bill for our people, and a petty English peerage for himself. This delectable job, this high-minded bargain, was to be completed in the ensuing years by which time the purse-proud, haughty renegade reckoned upon being worth £5,000,000 of money. He was already worth above four;—his talisman disappeared, and I took care he should know that it had disappeared for ever.
He never ventured upon the Exchange again, or the scribe who wrote his will should have been saved much trouble and time.
Did I give him the talisman, to enable him like Sampson Gideon to intrude his family and found a Peerage among the Normans? or to stifle his conscience with the weight of riches? or to flatter it with ostentatious charities? No Israelite can put his hand to the plough of this great work, look back and live!
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He returned to Germany and was stricken with disease at Frankfort, his recovery precluded, by his dread lest my resentment should involve his remaining property. He died within the walls of that very city which had witnessed his dawning fortunes.
For have I not in a nightdream seen Elias? and have I not been commanded to make a new talisman and to bear it to one shown to me and named to me by Elias? and has not this instrument, thus immediately appointed by heaven already made essay of the power of the talisman, and should not the vast fortune of Rothschild have swelled the already numerous triumphs of Israel's new and heaven appointed champion? Yea, verily.
Accursed Nazarenes! The issue is now no longer uncertain; even as the stars in their course fought against Sisera, even so henceforth, even until the restoration of Palestine, shall the course of seemingly human events fight against and weaken all Nazarene nations, and greatly strengthen and aggrandize my people. In the luxurious and inviting east, in the barbarous and revolting north; among the degenerate dwellers in Italy; among the senseless bigotry of Spain and Portugal; in every land and among every people the Jewish cause shall be unconsciously but potently forwarded; the cause of the Nazarene as unconsciously but as potently beaten backward. Selah, Selah, let it be; Jehovah! THOU hast said it SHALL be.