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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/540

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

or in 1800, the figure is always that of a typical Jew, wearing a large cloak, with curled beard and hair, downcast eye (Fig. 3), sadly contracted brow, etc.; with differences of the secondary order, according to the locality or the imagination of the designer. It is evident that historians and engravers have not conspired, from one end of Europe to the other, to talk about the Wandering Jew, or represent him. He has really existed, and those who talk of him do so in good faith. How then can we make the uniformity PSM V44 D540 Ahasuerus 1648.jpgFig. 1.—Ahasuerus. Facsimile of an old German engraving of 1618. (After Champfleury.) of the descriptions, that everlasting life and endless wandering, agree with the data of science? M. Meige assumes that there have been many wandering Jews, who have been taken for one and the same person, because they usually have the same general appearance and the same manner. These persons have been neuropathic Jews, possessed by an irresistible inclination to travel. Furthermore, such invalids still exist, and have been often seen at the Salpêtrière, attracted thither by the world-wide reputation of M. Charcot. When they are observed, even superficially, and are made to relate their history, one might really believe he had in his actual presence the hero of the well-known complaint:

"There is nothing on the earth
More cruelly piteous
Than the unceasing misery
Of the poor Wandering Jew!"

From M. Meige's collection of cases let us cite that of Moser B——, called Moses, aged thirty-eight years, a Polish Jew, born at Warsaw (Fig. 4). While still a child, he was drafted by the Russian military authorities and put into a special school, where