Part 4 out of 6
heads, breathing a soft pensiveness, begetting confused but sweet
reveries of an eternal movement under the sun. The wearied body
reposed sweetly, and thought was merged in something mystically great
and beautiful--and no one recalled Judas!
Judas went out, and then returned. Jesus was discoursing, and His
disciples were listening to Him in silence.
Mary sat at His feet, motionless as a statue, and gazed into His
face with upturned eyes. John had come quite close, and endeavoured
to sit so that his hand touched the garment of the Master, but
without disturbing Him. He touched Him and was still. Peter
breathed loud and deeply, repeating under his breath the words of
Iscariot had stopped short on the threshold, and contemptuously letting
his gaze pass by the company, he concentrated all its fire on Jesus.
And the more he looked the more everything around Him seemed to fade,
and to become clothed with darkness and silence, while Jesus alone
shone forth with uplifted hand. And then, lo! He was, as it were,
raised up into the air, and melted away, as though He consisted of
mist floating over a lake, and penetrated by the light of the setting
moon, and His soft speech began to sound tenderly, somewhere far, far
away. And gazing at the wavering phantom, and drinking in the tender
melody of the distant dream-like words, Judas gathered his whole soul
into his iron fingers, and in its vast darkness silently began building
up some colossal scheme. Slowly, in the profound darkness, he kept
lifting up masses, like mountains, and quite easily heaping them one
on another: and again he would lift up and again heap them up; and
something grew in the darkness, spread noiselessly and burst its bounds.
His head felt like a dome, in the impenetrable darkness of which the
colossal thing continued to grow, and some one, working on in silence,
kept lifting up masses like mountains, and piling them one on another
and again lifting up, and so on and on... whilst somewhere in the
distance the phantom-like words tenderly sounded.
Thus he stood blocking the doorway, huge and black, while Jesus went
on talking, and the strong, intermittent breathing of Peter repeated
His words aloud. But on a sudden Jesus broke off an unfinished
sentence, and Peter, as though waking from sleep, cried out
"Lord! to Thee are known the words of eternal life!"
But Jesus held His peace, and kept gazing fixedly in one direction.
And when they followed His gaze they perceived in the doorway the
petrified Judas with gaping mouth and fixed eyes. And, not
understanding what was the matter, they laughed. But Matthew, who
was learned in the Scriptures, touched Judas on the shoulder, and
said in the words of Solomon--
"'He that looketh kindly shall be forgiven; but he that is met
within the gates will impede others.'"
Judas was silent for a while, and then fretfully and everything
about him, his eyes, hands and feet, seemed to start in different
directions, as those of an animal which suddenly perceives the eye of
man upon him. Jesus went straight to Judas, as though words trembled
on His lips, but passed by him through the open, and now unoccupied,
In the middle of the night the restless Thomas came to Judas' bed,
and sitting down on his heels, asked--
"Are you weeping, Judas?"
"No! Go away, Thomas."
"Why do you groan, and grind your teeth? Are you ill?"
Judas was silent for a while, and then fretfully there fell from his
lips distressful words, fraught with grief and anger--
"Why does not He love me? Why does He love the others? Am I not
handsomer, better and stronger than they? Did not I save His life
while they ran away like cowardly dogs?"
"My poor friend, you are not quite right. You are not good-looking
at all, and your tongue is as disagreeable as your face. You lie and
slander continually; how then can you expect Jesus to love you?"
But Judas, stirring heavily in the darkness, continued as though he
heard him not--
"Why is He not on the side of Judas, instead of on the side of those
who do not love Him? John brought Him a lizard; I would bring him a
poisonous snake. Peter threw stones; I would overthrow a mountain
for His sake. But what is a poisonous snake? One has but to draw
its fangs, and it will coil round one's neck like a necklace. What
is a mountain, which it is possible to dig down with the hands, and
to trample with the feet? I would give to Him Judas, the bold,
magnificent Judas. But now He will perish, and together with him
will perish Judas."
"You are speaking strangely, Judas!"
"A withered fig-tree, which must needs be cut down with the axe,
such am I: He said it of me. Why then does He not do it? He dare
not, Thomas! I know him. He fears Judas. He hides from the bold,
strong, magnificent Judas. He loves fools, traitors, liars. You are
a liar, Thomas; have you never been told so before?"
Thomas was much surprised, and wished to object, but he thought that
Judas was simply railing, and so only shook his head in the darkness.
And Judas lamented still more grievously, and groaned and ground his
teeth, and his whole huge body could be heard heaving under the
"What is the matter with Judas? Who has applied fire to his body?
He will give his son to the dogs. He will give his daughter to be
betrayed by robbers, his bride to harlotry. And yet has not Judas a
tender heart? Go away, Thomas; go away, stupid! Leave the strong,
bold, magnificent Judas alone!"
Judas had concealed some denarii, and the deception was discovered,
thanks to Thomas, who had seen by chance how much money had been
given to them. It was only too probable that this was not the first
time that Judas had committed a theft, and they all were enraged.
The angry Peter seized Judas by his collar and almost dragged him to
Jesus, and the terrified Judas paled but did not resist.
"Master, see! Here he is, the trickster! Here's the thief. You
trusted him, and he steals our money. Thief! Scoundrel! If Thou
wilt permit, I'll--"
But Jesus held His peace. And attentively regarding him, Peter
suddenly turned red, and loosed the hand which held the collar, while
Judas shyly rearranged his garment, casting a sidelong glance on
Peter, and assuming the downcast look of a repentant criminal.
"So that's how it's to be," angrily said Peter, as he went out,
loudly slamming the door. They were all dissatisfied, and declared
that on no account would they consort with Judas any longer; but
John, after some consideration, passed through the door, behind which
might be heard the quiet, almost caressing, voice of Jesus. And when
in the course of time he returned, he was pale, and his downcast eyes
were red as though with recent tears.
"The Master says that Judas may take as much money as he pleases."
Peter laughed angrily. John gave him a quick reproachful glance, and
suddenly flushing, and mingling tears with anger, and delight with
tears, loudly exclaimed:
"And no one must reckon how much money Judas receives. He is our
brother, and all the money is as much his as ours: if he wants much
let him take much, without telling any one, or taking counsel with
any. Judas is our brother, and you have grievously insulted him--so
says the Master. Shame on you, brother!"
In the doorway stood Judas, pale and with a distorted smile on his
face. With a light movement John went up to him and kissed him three
times. After him, glancing round at one another, James, Philip and
the others came up shamefacedly; and after each kiss Judas wiped his
mouth, but gave a loud smack as though the sound afforded him
pleasure. Peter came up last.
"We were all stupid, all blind, Judas. He alone sees, He alone is
wise. May I kiss you?"
"Why not? Kiss away!" said Judas as in consent.
Peter kissed him vigorously, and said aloud in his ear--
"But I almost choked you. The others kissed you in the usual way,
but I kissed you on the throat. Did it hurt you?"
"I will go and tell Him all. I was angry even with Him," said Peter
sadly, trying noiselessly to open the door.
"And what are you going to do, Thomas?" asked John severely. He it
was who looked after the conduct and the conversation of the disciples.
"I don't know yet. I must consider."
And Thomas thought long, almost the whole day. The disciples had
dispersed to their occupations, and somewhere on the other side of the
wall, Peter was shouting joyfully--but Thomas was still considering.
He would have come to a decision more quickly had not Judas hindered
him somewhat by continually following him about with a mocking glance,
and now and again asking him in a serious tone--
"Well, Thomas, and how does the matter progress?"
Then Judas brought his money-box, and shaking the money and
pretending not to look at Thomas, began to count it--
"Twenty-one, two, three.... Look, Thomas, a bad coin again. Oh!
what rascals people are; they even give bad money as offerings.
Twenty-four... and then they will say again that Judas has stolen
it... twenty-five, twenty-six...."
Thomas approached him resolutely... for it was already towards
evening, and said--
"He is right, Judas. Let me kiss you."
"Will you? Twenty-nine, thirty. It's no good. I shall steal
"But how can you steal, when it is neither yours nor another's? You
will simply take as much as you want, brother."
"It has taken you a long time to repeat His words! Don't you value
time, you clever Thomas?"
"You seem to be laughing at me, brother."
"And consider, are you doing well, my virtuous Thomas, in repeating
His words? He said something of His own, but you do not. He really
kissed me--you only defiled my mouth. I can still feel your moist
lips upon mine. It was so disgusting, my good Thomas. Thirty-eight,
thirty-nine, forty. Forty denarii. Thomas, won't you check the sum?"
"Certainly He is our Master. Why then should we not repeat the
words of our Master?"
"Is Judas' collar torn away? Is there now nothing to seize him by?
The Master will go out of the house, and Judas will unexpectedly
steal three more denarii. Won't you seize him by the collar?"
"We know now, Judas. We understand."
"Have not all pupils a bad memory? Have not all masters been
deceived by their pupils? But the master has only to lift the rod,
and the pupils cry out, 'We know, Master!' But the master goes to
bed, and the pupils say: 'Did the Master teach us this?' And so, in
this case, this morning you called me a thief, this evening you call
me brother. What will you call me to-morrow?"
Judas laughed, and lifting up the heavy rattling money-box with
ease, went on:
"When a strong wind blows it raises the dust, and foolish people
look at the dust and say: 'Look at the wind!' But it is only dust,
my good Thomas, ass's dung trodden underfoot. The dust meets a wall
and lies down gently at its foot, but the wind flies farther and
farther, my good Thomas."
Judas obligingly pointed over the wall in illustration of his
meaning, and laughed again.
"I am glad that you are merry," said Thomas, "but it is a great pity
that there is so much malice in your merriment."
"Why should not a man be cheerful, who has been kissed so much, and
who is so useful? If I had not stolen the three denarii would John
have known the meaning of delight? Is it not pleasant to be a hook,
on which John may hang his damp virtue out to dry, and Thomas his
"I think that I had better be going."
"But I am only joking, my good Thomas. I merely wanted to know
whether you really wished to kiss the old obnoxious Judas--the thief
who stole the three denarii and gave them to a harlot."
"To a harlot!" exclaimed Thomas in surprise. "And did you tell the
Master of it?"
"Again you doubt, Thomas. Yes, to a harlot. But if you only knew,
Thomas, what an unfortunate woman she was. For two days she had had
nothing to eat."
"Are you sure of that?" said Thomas in confusion.
"Yes! Of course I am. I myself spent two days with her, and saw
that she ate and drank nothing except red wine. She tottered from
exhaustion, and I was always falling down with her."
Thereupon Thomas got up quickly, and, when he had gone a few steps
away, he flung out at Judas:
"You seem to be possessed of Satan, Judas."
And as he went away, he heard in the approaching twilight how
dolefully the heavy money-box rattled in Judas' hands. And Judas
seemed to laugh.
But the very next day Thomas was obliged to acknowledge that he had
misjudged Judas, so simple, so gentle, and at the same time so
serious was Iscariot. He neither grimaced nor made ill-natured
jokes; he was neither obsequious nor scurrilous, but quietly and
unobtrusively went about his work of catering. He was as active as
formerly, as though he did not have two feet like other people, but a
whole dozen of them, and ran noiselessly without that squeaking,
sobbing, and laughter of a hyena, with which he formerly accompanied
his actions. And when Jesus began to speak, he would seat himself
quickly in a corner, fold his hands and feet, and look so kindly with
his great eyes, that many observed it. He ceased speaking evil of
people, but rather remained silent, so that even the severe Matthew
deemed it possible to praise him, saying in the words of Solomon:
"'He that is devoid of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of
understanding holdeth his peace.'"
And he lifted up his hand, hinting thereby at Judas' former evil-speaking.
In a short time all remarked this change in him, and rejoiced at it: only
Jesus looked on him still with the same detached look, although he gave
no direct indication of His dislike. And even John, for whom Judas now
showed a profound reverence, as the beloved disciple of Jesus, and as
his own champion in the matter of the three denarii, began to treat
him somewhat more kindly, and even sometimes entered into conversation
"What do you think, Judas," said he one day in a condescending
manner, "which of us, Peter or I, will be nearest to Christ in His
Judas meditated, and then answered--
"I suppose that you will."
"But Peter thinks that he will," laughed John.
"No! Peter would scatter all the angels with his shout; you have
heard him shout. Of course, he will quarrel with you, and will
endeavour to occupy the first place, as he insists that he, too,
loves Jesus. But he is already advanced in years, and you are young;
he is heavy on his feet, while you run swiftly; you will enter there
first with Christ? Will you not?"
"Yes, I will not leave Jesus," John agreed.
On the same day Simon Peter referred the very same question to
Judas. But fearing that his loud voice would be heard by the others,
he led Judas out to the farthest corner behind the house.
"Well then, what is your opinion about it?" he asked anxiously.
"You are wise; even the Master praises you for your intellect. And
you will speak the truth."
"You, of course," answered Iscariot without hesitation. And Peter
exclaimed with indignation, "I told him so!"
"But, of course, he will try even there to oust you from the first
"But what can he do, when you already occupy the place? Won't you
be the first to go there with Jesus? You will not leave Him alone?
Has He not named you the ROCK?"
Peter put his hand on Judas' shoulder, and said with warmth: "I
tell you, Judas, you are the cleverest of us all. But why are you so
sarcastic and malignant? The Master does not like it. Otherwise you
might become the beloved disciple, equally with John. But to you
neither," and Peter lifted his hand threateningly, "will I yield my
place next to Jesus, neither on earth, nor there! Do you hear?"
Thus Judas endeavoured to make himself agreeable to all, but, at the
same time, he cherished hidden thoughts in his mind. And while he
remained ever the same modest, restrained and unobtrusive person, he
knew how to make some especially pleasing remark to each. Thus to
Thomas he said:
"The fool believeth every word: but the prudent taketh heed to his
While to Matthew, who suffered somewhat from excess in eating and
drinking, and was ashamed of his weakness, he quoted the words of
Solomon, the sage whom Matthew held in high estimation:
"'The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly
of the wicked shall want.'"
But his pleasant speeches were rare, which gave them the greater
value. For the most part he was silent, listening attentively to
what was said, and always meditating.
When reflecting, Judas had an unpleasant look, ridiculous and at the
same time awe-inspiring. As long as his quick, crafty eye was in
motion, he seemed simple and good-natured enough, but directly both
eyes became fixed in an immovable stare, and the skin on his
protruding forehead gathered into strange ridges and creases, a
distressing surmise would force itself on one, that under that skull
some very peculiar thoughts were working. So thoroughly apart,
peculiar, and voiceless were the thoughts which enveloped Iscariot in
the deep silence of secrecy, when he was in one of his reveries, that
one would have preferred that he should begin to speak, to move, nay,
even, to tell lies. For a lie, spoken by a human tongue, had been
truth and light compared with that hopelessly deep and unresponsive
"In the dumps again, Judas?" Peter would cry with his clear voice
and bright smile, suddenly breaking in upon the sombre silence of
Judas' thoughts, and banishing them to some dark corner. "What are
you thinking about?"
"Of many things," Iscariot would reply with a quiet smile. And
perceiving, apparently, what a bad impression his silence made upon
the others, he began more frequently to shun the society of the
disciples, and spent much time in solitary walks, or would betake
himself to the flat roof and there sit still. And more than once he
startled Thomas, who has unexpectedly stumbled in the darkness
against a grey heap, out of which the hands and feet of Judas
suddenly started, and his jeering voice was heard.
But one day, in a specially brusque and strange manner, Judas
recalled his former character. This happened on the occasion of the
quarrel for the first place in the kingdom of heaven. Peter and John
were disputing together, hotly contending each for his own place
nearest to Jesus. They reckoned up their services, they measured the
degrees of their love for Jesus, they became heated and noisy, and
even reviled one another without restraint. Peter roared, all red
with anger. John was quiet and pale, with trembling hands and biting
speech. Their quarrel had already passed the bounds of decency, and
the Master had begun to frown, when Peter looked up by chance on
Judas, and laughed self-complacently: John, too, looked at Judas,
and also smiled. Each of them recalled what the cunning Judas had
said to him. And foretasting the joy of approaching triumph, they,
with silent consent, invited Judas to decide the matter.
Peter called out, "Come now, Judas the wise, tell us who will be
first, nearest to Jesus, he or I?"
But Judas remained silent, breathing heavily, his eyes eagerly
questioning the quiet, deep eyes of Jesus.
"Yes," John condescendingly repeated, "tell us who will be first,
nearest to Jesus."
Without taking his eyes off Christ, Judas slowly rose, and answered
quietly and gravely:
Jesus let His gaze fall slowly. And quietly striking himself on the
breast with a bony finger, Iscariot repeated solemnly and sternly:
"I, I shall be nearest to Jesus!" And he went out. Struck by his
insolent freak, the disciples remained silent; but Peter suddenly
recalling something, whispered to Thomas in an unexpectedly gentle
"So that is what he is always thinking about! See?"
Just at this time Judas Iscariot took the first definite step
towards the Betrayal. He visited the chief priest Annas secretly.
He was very roughly received, but that did not disturb him in the
least, and he demanded a long private interview. When he found
himself alone with the dry, harsh old man, who looked at him with
contempt from beneath his heavy overhanging eyelids, he stated that
he was an honourable man who had become one of the disciples of Jesus
of Nazareth with the sole purpose of exposing the impostor, and
handing Him over to the arm of the law.
"But who is this Nazarene?" asked Annas contemptuously, making as
though he heard the name of Jesus for the first time.
Judas on his part pretended to believe in the extraordinary
ignorance of the chief priest, and spoke in detail of the preaching
of Jesus, of His miracles, of His hatred for the Pharisees and the
Temple, of His perpetual infringement of the Law, and eventually of
His wish to wrest the power out of the hands of the priesthood, and
to set up His own personal kingdom. And so cleverly did he mingle
truth with lies, that Annas looked at him more attentively, and
lazily remarked: "There are plenty of impostors and madmen in Judah."
"No! He is a dangerous person," Judas hotly contradicted. "He
breaks the law. And it were better that one man should perish,
rather than the whole people."
Annas, with an approving nod, said--
"But He, apparently, has many disciples."
"And they, it seems probable, have a great love for Him?"
"Yes, they say that they love Him, love Him much, more than
"But if we try to take Him, will they not defend Him? Will they not
raise a tumult?"
Judas laughed long and maliciously. "What, they? Those cowardly
dogs, who run if a man but stoop down to pick up a stone. They
"Are they really so bad?" asked Annas coldly.
"But surely it is not the bad who flee from the good; is it not
rather the good who flee from the bad? Ha! ha! They are good, and
therefore they flee. They are good, and therefore they hide
themselves. They are good, and therefore they will appear only in
time to bury Jesus. They will lay Him in the tomb themselves; you
have only to execute Him."
"But surely they love Him? You yourself said so."
"People always love their teacher, but better dead than alive.
While a teacher's alive he may ask them questions which they will
find difficult to answer. But, when a teacher dies, they become
teachers themselves, and then others fare badly in turn. Ha! ha!"
Annas looked piercingly at the Traitor, and his lips puckered--which
indicated that he was smiling.
"You have been insulted by them. I can see that."
"Can one hide anything from the perspicacity of the astute Annas?
You have pierced to the very heart of Judas. Yes, they insulted poor
Judas. They said he had stolen from them three denarii--as though
Judas were not the most honest man in Israel!"
They talked for some time longer about Jesus, and His disciples, and
of His pernicious influence on the people of Israel, but on this
occasion the crafty, cautious Annas gave no decisive answer. He had
long had his eyes on Jesus, and in secret conclave with his own
relatives and friends, with the authorities, and the Sadducees, had
decided the fate of the Prophet of Galilee. But he did not trust
Judas, who he had heard was a bad, untruthful man, and he had no
confidence in his flippant faith in the cowardice of the disciples,
and of the people. Annas believed in his own power, but he feared
bloodshed, feared a serious riot, such as the insubordinate,
irascible people of Jerusalem lent itself to so easily; he feared, in
fact, the violent intervention of the Roman authorities. Fanned by
opposition, fertilised by the red blood of the people, which vivifies
everything on which it falls, the heresy would grow stronger, and
stifle in its folds Annas, the government, and all his friends. So,
when Iscariot knocked at his door a second time Annas was perturbed
in spirit and would not admit him. But yet a third and a fourth time
Iscariot came to him, persistent as the wind, which beats day and
night against the closed door and blows in through its crevices.
"I see that the most astute Annas is afraid of something," said
Judas when at last he obtained admission to the high priest.
"I am strong enough not to fear anything," Annas answered haughtily.
And Iscariot stretched forth his hands and bowed abjectly.
"What do you want?"
"I wish to betray the Nazarene to you."
"We do not want Him."
Judas bowed and waited, humbly fixing his gaze on the high priest.
"But I am bound to return. Am I not, revered Annas?"
"You will not be admitted. Go away!"
But yet again and again Judas called on the aged Annas, and at last
Dry and malicious, worried with thought, and silent, he gazed on the
Traitor, and, as it were, counted the hairs on his knotted head.
Judas also said nothing, and seemed in his turn to be counting the
somewhat sparse grey hairs in the beard of the high priest.
"What? you here again?" the irritated Annas haughtily jerked out, as
though spitting upon his head.
"I wish to betray the Nazarene to you."
Both held their peace, and continued to gaze attentively at each
other. Iscariot's look was calm; but a quiet malice, dry and cold,
began slightly to prick Annas, like the early morning rime of winter.
"How much do you want for your Jesus?"
"How much will you give?"
Annas, with evident enjoyment, insultingly replied: "You are
nothing but a band of scoundrels. Thirty pieces--that's what we will
And he quietly rejoiced to see how Judas began to squirm and run
about--agile and swift as though he had a whole dozen feet, not two.
"Thirty pieces of silver for Jesus!" he cried in a voice of wild
madness, most pleasing to Annas. "For Jesus of Nazareth! You wish
to buy Jesus for thirty pieces of silver? And you think that Jesus
can be betrayed to you for thirty pieces of silver?" Judas turned
quickly to the wall, and laughed in its smooth, white fence, lifting
up his long hands. "Do you hear? Thirty pieces of silver! For
With the same quiet pleasure, Annas remarked indifferently:
"If you will not deal, go away. We shall find some one whose work
And like old-clothes men who throw useless rags from hand to hand in
the dirty market-place, and shout, and swear and abuse each other, so
they embarked on a rabid and fiery bargaining. Intoxicated with a
strange rapture, running and turning about, and shouting, Judas
ticked off on his fingers the merits of Him whom he was selling.
"And the fact that He is kind and heals the sick, is that worth
nothing at all in your opinion? Ah, yes! Tell me, like an honest
"If you--" began Annas, who was turning red, as he tried to get in a
word, his cold malice quickly warming up under the burning words of
Judas, who, however, interrupted him shamelessly:
"That He is young and handsome--like the Narcissus of Sharon, and
the Lily of the Valley? What? Is that worth nothing? Perhaps you
will say that He is old and useless, and that Judas is trying to
dispose of an old bird? Eh?"
"If you--" Annas tried to exclaim; but Judas' stormy speech bore
away his senile croak, like down upon the wind.
"Thirty pieces of silver! That will hardly work out to one obolus
for each drop of blood! Half an obolus will not go to a tear! A
quarter to a groan. And cries, and convulsions! And for the ceasing
of His heartbeats? And the closing of His eyes? Is all this to be
thrown in gratis?" sobbed Iscariot, advancing toward the high priest
and enveloping him with an insane movement of his hands and fingers,
and with intervolved words.
"Includes everything," said Annas in a choking voice.
"And how much will you make out of it yourself? Eh? You wish to
rob Judas, to snatch the bit of bread from his children. No, I can't
do it. I will go on to the market-place, and shout out: 'Annas has
robbed poor Judas. Help!'"
Wearied, and grown quite dizzy, Annas wildly stamped about the floor
in his soft slippers, gesticulating: "Be off, be off!"
But Judas on a sudden bowed down, stretching forth his hands
"But if you really.... But why be angry with poor Judas, who only
desires his children's good. You also have children, young and
"We shall find some one else. Be gone!"
"But I--I did not say that I was unwilling to make a reduction. Did
I ever say that I could not too yield? And do I not believe you,
that possibly another may come and sell Jesus to you for fifteen
oboli--nay, for two--for one?"
And bowing lower and lower, wriggling and flattering, Judas submissively
consented to the sum offered to him. Annas shamefacedly, with dry,
trembling hand, paid him the money, and silently looking round, as
though scorched, lifted his head again and again towards the ceiling,
and moving his lips rapidly, waited while Judas tested with his teeth
all the silver pieces, one after another.
"There is now so much bad money about," Judas quickly explained.
"This money was devoted to the Temple by the pious," said Annas,
glancing round quickly, and still more quickly turning the ruddy bald
nape of his neck to Judas' view.
"But can pious people distinguish between good and bad money! Only
rascals can do that."
Judas did not take the money home, but went beyond the city and hid
it under a stone. Then he came back again quietly with heavy,
dragging steps, as a wounded animal creeps slowly to its lair after a
severe and deadly fight. Only Judas had no lair; but there was a
house, and in the house he perceived Jesus. Weary and thin,
exhausted with continual strife with the Pharisees, who surrounded
Him every day in the Temple with a wall of white, shining, scholarly
foreheads, He was sitting, leaning His cheek against the rough wall,
apparently fast asleep. Through the open window drifted the restless
noises of the city. On the other side of the wall Peter was
hammering, as he put together a new table for the meal, humming the
while a quiet Galilean song. But He heard nothing; he slept on
peacefully and soundly. And this was He, whom they had bought for
thirty pieces of silver.
Coming forward noiselessly, Judas, with the tender touch of a
mother, who fears to wake her sick child--with the wonderment of a
wild beast as it creeps from its lair suddenly, charmed by the sight
of a white flowerlet--he gently touched His soft locks, and then
quickly withdrew his hand. Once more he touched Him, and then
silently crept out.
"Lord! Lord!" said he.
And going apart, he wept long, shrinking and wriggling and
scratching his bosom with his nails and gnawing his shoulders. Then
suddenly he ceased weeping and gnawing and gnashing his teeth, and
fell into a sombre reverie, inclining his tear-stained face to one
side in the attitude of one listening. And so he remained for a long
time, doleful, determined, from every one apart, like fate itself.
. . . . . . . .
Judas surrounded the unhappy Jesus, during those last days of His
short life, with quiet love and tender care and caresses. Bashful
and timid like a maid in her first love, strangely sensitive and
discerning, he divined the minutest unspoken wishes of Jesus,
penetrating to the hidden depth of His feelings, His passing fits of
sorrow, and distressing moments of weariness. And wherever Jesus
stepped, His foot met something soft, and whenever He turned His
gaze, it encountered something pleasing. Formerly Judas had not
liked Mary Magdalene and the other women who were near Jesus. He had
made rude jests at their expense, and done them little unkindnesses.
But now he became their friend, their strange, awkward ally. With
deep interest he would talk with them of the charming little
idiosyncrasies of Jesus, and persistently asking the same questions,
he would thrust money into their hands, their very palms--and they
brought a box of very precious ointment, which Jesus liked so much,
and anointed His feet. He himself bought for Jesus, after desperate
bargaining, an expensive wine, and then was very angry when Peter
drank nearly all of it up, with the indifference of a person who
looks only to quantity; and in that rocky Jerusalem almost devoid of
trees, flowers, and greenery he somehow managed to obtain young
spring flowers and green grass, and through these same women to give
them to Jesus.
For the first time in his life he would take up little children in
his arms, finding them somewhere about the courts and streets, and
unwillingly kiss them to prevent their crying; and often it would
happen that some swarthy urchin with curly hair and dirty little
nose, would climb up on the knees of the pensive Jesus, and
imperiously demand to be petted. And while they enjoyed themselves
together, Judas would walk up and down at one side like a severe
jailor, who had himself, in springtime, let a butterfly in to a
prisoner, and pretends to grumble at the breach of discipline.
On an evening, when together with the darkness, alarm took post as
sentry by the window, Iscariot would cleverly turn the conversation
to Galilee, strange to himself but dear to Jesus, with its still
waters and green banks. And he would jog the heavy Peter till his
dulled memory awoke, and in clear pictures in which everything was
loud, distinct, full of colour, and solid, there arose before his
eyes and ears the dear Galilean life. With eager attention, with
half-open mouth in child-like fashion, and with eyes laughing in
anticipation, Jesus would listen to his gusty, resonant, cheerful
utterance, and sometimes laughed so at his jokes, that it was
necessary to interrupt the story for some minutes. But John told
tales even better than Peter. There was nothing ludicrous, nor
startling, about his stories, but everything seemed so pensive,
unusual, and beautiful, that tears would appear in Jesus' eyes,
and He would sigh softly, while Judas nudged Mary Magdalene and
excitedly whispered to her--
"What a narrator he is! Do you hear?"
"No, be more attentive. You women never make good listeners."
Then they would all quietly disperse to bed, and Jesus would kiss
His thanks to John, and stroke kindly the shoulder of the tall Peter.
And without envy, but with a condescending contempt, Judas would witness
these caresses. Of what importance were these tales and kisses and sighs
compared with what he, Judas Iscariot, the red-haired, misshapen Judas,
begotten among the rocks, could tell them if he chose?
With one hand betraying Jesus, Judas tried hard with the other to
frustrate his own plans. He did not indeed endeavour to dissuade
Jesus from the last dangerous journey to Jerusalem, as did the women;
he even inclined rather to the side of the relatives of Jesus, and of
those amongst His disciples who looked for a victory over Jerusalem
as indispensable to the full triumph of His cause. But he kept
continually and obstinately warning them of the danger, and in lively
colours depicted the threatening hatred of the Pharisees for Jesus,
and their readiness to commit any crime if, either secretly or
openly, they might make an end of the Prophet of Galilee. Each day
and every hour he kept talking of this, and there was not one of the
believers before whom Judas had not stood with uplifted finger and
uttered this serious warning:
"We must look after Jesus. We must defend for Jesus, when the hour
But whether it was the unlimited faith which the disciples had in
the miracle-working power of their Master, or the consciousness of
their own uprightness, or whether it was simply blindness, the
alarming words of Judas were met with a smile, and his continual
advice provoked only a grumble. When Judas procured, somewhere or
other, two swords, and brought them, only Peter approved of them,
and gave Judas his meed of praise, while the others complained:
"Are we soldiers that we should be made to gird on swords? Is Jesus
a captain of the host, and not a prophet?"
"But if they attempt to kill Him?"
"They will not dare when they perceive how all the people follow Him."
"But if they should dare! What then?"
John replied disdainfully--
"One would think, Judas, that you were the only one who loved Jesus!"
And eagerly seizing hold of these words, and not in the least offended,
Judas began to question impatiently and hotly, with stern insistency:
"But you love Him, don't you?"
And there was not one of the believers who came to Jesus whom he did
not ask more than once: "Do you love Him? Dearly love Him?"
And all answered that they loved Him.
He used often to converse with Thomas, and holding up his dry,
hooked forefinger, with its long, dirty nail, in warning, would
"Look here, Thomas, the terrible hour is drawing near. Are you
prepared for it? Why did you not take the sword I brought you?"
Thomas would reply with deliberation:
"We are men unaccustomed to the use of arms. If we were to take
issue with the Roman soldiery, they would kill us all, one after the
other. Besides, you brought only two swords, and what could we do
with only two?"
"We could get more. We could take them from the Roman soldiers,"
Judas impatiently objected, and even the serious Thomas smiled
through his overhanging moustache.
"Ah! Judas! Judas! But where did you get these? They are like
"I stole them. I could have stolen more, only some one gave the
alarm, and I fled."
Thomas considered a little, then said sorrowfully--
"Again you acted ill, Judas. Why do you steal?"
"There is no such thing as property."
"No, but to-morrow they will ask the soldiers: 'Where are your
swords?' And when they cannot find them they will be punished though
The consequence was, that after the death of Jesus the disciples
recalled these conversations of Judas, and determined that he had
wished to destroy them, together with the Master, by inveigling them
into an unequal and murderous conflict. And once again they cursed
the hated name of Judas Iscariot the Traitor.
But the angry Judas, after each conversation, would go to the women
and weep. They heard him gladly. The tender womanly element, that
there was in his love for Jesus, drew him near to them, and made him
simple, comprehensible, and even handsome in their eyes, although, as
before, a certain amount of disdain was perceptible in his attitude
"Are they men?" he would bitterly complain of the disciples, fixing
his blind, motionless eye confidingly on Mary Magdalene. "They are
not men. They have not an oboles' worth of blood in their veins!"
"But then you are always speaking ill of others," Mary objected.
"Have I ever?" said Judas in surprise. "Oh, yes, I have indeed
spoken ill of them; but is there not room for improvement in them?
Ah! Mary, silly Mary, why are you not a man, to carry a sword?"
"It is so heavy, I could not lift it!" said Mary smilingly.
"But you will lift it, when men are too worthless. Did you give
Jesus the lily that I found on the mountain? I got up early to find
it, and this morning the sun was so beautiful, Mary! Was He pleased
with it? Did He smile?"
"Yes, He was pleased. He said that its smell reminded Him of
"But surely, you did not tell Him that it was Judas--Judas Iscariot--
who got it for Him?"
"Why, you asked me not to tell Him."
"Yes, certainly, quite right," said Judas, with a sigh. "You might
have let it out, though, women are such chatterers. But you did not
let it out; no, you were firm. You are a good woman, Mary. You know
that I have a wife somewhere. Now I should be glad to see her again;
perhaps she is not a bad woman either. I don't know. She said,
'Judas was a liar and malignant,' so I left her. But she may be a
good woman. Do you know?"
"How should I know, when I have never seen your wife?"
"True, true, Mary! But what think you, are thirty pieces of silver
a large sum? Is it not rather a small one?"
"I should say a small one."
"Certainly, certainly. How much did you get when you were a harlot,
five pieces of silver or ten? You were an expensive one, were you
Mary Magdalene blushed, and dropped her head till her luxuriant,
golden hair completely covered her face, so that nothing but her
round white chin was visible.
"How bad you are, Judas; I want to forget about that, and you remind
me of it!"
"No, Mary, you must not forget that. Why should you? Let others
forget that you were a harlot, but you must remember. It is the
others who should forget as soon as possible, but you should not.
Why should you?"
"But it was a sin!"
"He fears who never committed a sin, but he who has committed it,
what has he to fear? Do the dead fear death; is it not rather the
living? No, the dead laugh at the living and their fears."
Thus by the hour would they sit and talk in friendly guise, he--
already old, dried-up and misshapen, with his bulbous head and
monstrous double-sided face; she--young, modest, tender, and charmed
with life as with a story or a dream.
But time rolled by unconcernedly, while the thirty pieces of silver
lay under the stone, and the terrible day of the Betrayal drew
inevitably near. Already Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on the
ass's back, and the people, strewing their garments in the way, had
greeted Him with enthusiastic cries of "Hosanna! Hosanna! He that
cometh in the name of the Lord!"
So great was the exultation, so unrestrainedly did their loving
cries rend the skies, that Jesus wept, but His disciples proudly said:
"Is not this the Son of God with us?"
And they themselves cried out with enthusiasm: "Hosanna! Hosanna!
He that cometh in the name of the Lord!"
That evening it was long before they went to bed, recalling the
enthusiastic and joyful reception. Peter was like a madman, as
though possessed by the demon of merriment and pride. He shouted,
drowning all voices with his leonine roar; he laughed, hurling his
laughter at their heads, like great round stones; he kept kissing
John and James, and even gave a kiss to Judas. He noisily confessed
that he had had great fears for Jesus, but that he feared nothing
now, that he had seen the love of the people for Him.
Swiftly moving his vivid, watchful eye, Judas glanced in surprise
from side to side. He meditated, and then again listened, and
looked. Then he took Thomas aside, and pinning him, as it were, to
the wall with his keen gaze, he asked in doubt and fear, but with a
certain confused hopefulness:
"Thomas! But what if He is right? What if He be founded upon a
rock, and we upon sand? What then?"
"Of whom are you speaking?"
"How, then, would it be with Judas Iscariot? Then I should be
obliged to strangle Him in order to do right. Who is deceiving
Judas? You or he himself? Who is deceiving Judas? Who?"
"I don't understand you, Judas. You speak very unintelligently.
'Who is deceiving Jesus?' 'Who is right?'"
And Judas nodded his head and repeated like an echo:
"Who is deceiving Judas? Who?"
And the next day, in the way in which Judas raised his hand with
thumb bent back, and by the way in which he looked at Thomas,
the same strange question was implied:
"Who is deceiving Judas? Who is right?"
 Does our author refer to the Roman sign of disapprobation,
vertere, or convertere, pollicem?--Tr.
And still more surprised, and even alarmed, was Thomas, when
suddenly in the night he heard the loud, apparently glad voice of
"Then Judas Iscariot will be no more. Then Jesus will be no more.
Then there will be Thomas, the stupid Thomas! Did you ever wish to
take the earth and lift it? And then, possibly hurl it away?"
"That's impossible. What are you talking about, Judas?"
"It's quite possible," said Iscariot with conviction, "and we will
lift it up some day when you are asleep, stupid Thomas. Go to sleep.
I'm enjoying myself. When you sleep your nose plays the Galilean
But now the believers were already dispersed about Jerusalem, hiding
in houses and behind walls, and the faces of those that met them
looked mysterious. The exultation had died down. Confused reports
of danger found their way in; Peter, with gloomy countenance, tested
the sword given to him by Judas, and the face of the Master became
even more melancholy and stern. So swiftly the time passed, and
inevitably approached the terrible day of the Betrayal. Lo! the Last
Supper was over, full of grief and confused dread, and already had
the obscure words of Jesus sounded concerning some one who should
"You know who will betray Him?" asked Thomas, looking at Judas with
his straight-forward, clear, almost transparent eyes.
"Yes, I know," Judas replied harshly and decidedly. "You, Thomas,
will betray Him. But He Himself does not believe what He says! It
is full time! Why does He not call to Him the strong, magnificent
No longer by days, but by short, fleeting hours, was the inevitable
time to be measured. It was evening; and evening stillness and long
shadows lay upon the ground--the first sharp darts of the coming
night of mighty contest--when a harsh, sorrowful voice was heard. It
"Dost Thou know whither I go, Lord? I go to betray Thee into the
hands of Thine enemies."
And there was a long silence, evening stillness, and swift black
"Thou art silent, Lord? Thou commandest me to go?"
And again silence.
"Allow me to remain. But perhaps Thou canst not? Or darest not?
Or wilt not?"
And again silence, stupendous, like the eyes of eternity.
"But indeed Thou knowest that I love Thee. Thou knowest all things.
Why lookest Thou thus at Judas? Great is the mystery of Thy
beautiful eyes, but is mine less? Order me to remain! But Thou art
silent. Thou art ever silent. Lord, Lord, is it for this that in
grief and pains have I sought Thee all my life, sought and found!
Free me! Remove the weight; it is heavier than even mountains of
lead. Dost Thou hear how the bosom of Judas Iscariot is cracking
And the last silence was abysmal, like the last glance of eternity.
But the evening stillness woke not, neither uttered cry nor plaint,
nor did its subtle air vibrate with the slightest tinkle--so soft was
the fall of the retreating steps. They sounded for a time, and then
were silent. And the evening stillness became pensive, stretched
itself out in long shadows, and then grew dark;--and suddenly night,
coming to meet it, all atremble with the rustle of sadly brushed-up
leaves, heaved a last sigh and was still.
There was a bustle, a jostle, a rattle of other voices, as though
some one had untied a bag of lively resonant voices, and they were
falling out on the ground, by one and two, and whole heaps. It was
the disciples talking. And drowning them all, reverberating from the
trees and walls, and tripping up over itself, thundered the
determined, powerful voice of Peter--he was swearing that never would
he desert his Master.
"Lord," said he, half in anger, half in grief: "Lord! I am ready
to go with Thee to prison and to death."
And quietly, like the soft echo of retiring footsteps, came the
"I tell thee, Peter, the cock will not crow this day before thou
dost deny Me thrice."
The moon had already risen when Jesus prepared to go to the Mount of
Olives, where He had spent all His last nights. But He tarried, for
some inexplicable reason, and the disciples, ready to start, were
hurrying Him. Then He said suddenly:
"He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and
he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I
say unto you that this that is written must yet be accomplished in
me: 'And he was reckoned among the transgressors.'"
The disciples were surprised and looked at one another in confusion.
"Lord, we have two swords here."
He looked searchingly into their kind faces, lowered His head, and
"It is enough."
The steps of the disciples resounded loudly in the narrow streets,
and they were frightened by the sounds of their own footsteps; on the
white wall, illumined by the moon, their black shadows appeared--and
they were frightened by their own shadows. Thus they passed in
silence through Jerusalem, which was absorbed in sleep, and now they
came out of the gates of the city, and in the valley, full of
fantastic, motionless shadows, the stream of Kedron stretched before
them. Now they were frightened by everything. The soft murmuring
and splashing of the water on the stones sounded to them like voices
of people approaching them stealthily; the monstrous shades of the
rocks and the trees, obstructing the road, disturbed them, and their
motionlessness seemed to them to stir. But as they were ascending
the mountain and approaching the garden, where they had safely and
quietly passed so many nights before, they were growing ever bolder.
From time to time they looked back at Jerusalem, all white in the
moonlight, and they spoke to one another about the fear that had
passed; and those who walked in the rear heard, in fragments, the
soft words of Jesus. He spoke about their forsaking Him.
In the garden they paused soon after they had entered it. The
majority of them remained there, and, speaking softly, began to make
ready for their sleep, outspreading their cloaks over the transparent
embroidery of the shadows and the moonlight. Jesus, tormented with
uneasiness, and four of His disciples went further into the depth of
the garden. There they seated themselves on the ground, which had
not yet cooled off from the heat of the day, and while Jesus was
silent, Peter and John lazily exchanged words almost devoid of any
meaning. Yawning from fatigue, they spoke about the coolness of the
night; about the high price of meat in Jerusalem, and about the fact
that no fish was to be had in the city. They tried to determine the
exact number of pilgrims that had gathered in Jerusalem for the
festival, and Peter, drawling his words and yawning loudly, said that
they numbered 20,000, while John and his brother Jacob assured him
just as lazily that they did not number more than 10,000. Suddenly
Jesus rose quickly.
"My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here
and watch with Me," He said, and departed hastily to the grove and
soon disappeared amid its motionless shades and light.
"Where did He go?" said John, lifting himself on his elbow. Peter
turned his head in the direction of Jesus and answered fatiguedly:
"I do not know."
And he yawned again loudly, then threw himself on his back and
became silent. The others also became silent, and their motionless
bodies were soon absorbed in the sound sleep of fatigue. Through his
heavy slumber Peter vaguely saw something white bending over him,
some one's voice resounded and died away, leaving no trace in his
"Simon, are you sleeping?"
And he slept again, and again some soft voice reached his ear and
died away without leaving any trace.
"You could not watch with me even one hour?"
"Oh, Master! if you only knew how sleepy I am," he thought in his
slumber, but it seemed to him that he said it aloud. And he slept
again. And a long time seemed to have passed, when suddenly the
figure of Jesus appeared near him, and a loud, rousing voice
instantly awakened him and the others:
"You are still sleeping and resting? It is ended, the hour has come--
the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of the sinners."
The disciples quickly sprang to their feet, confusedly seizing their
cloaks and trembling from the cold of the sudden awakening. Through
the thicket of the trees a multitude of warriors and temple servants
was seen approaching noisily, illumining their way with torches. And
from the other side the disciples came running, quivering from cold,
their sleepy faces frightened; and not yet understanding what was
going on, they asked hastily:
"What is it? Who are these people with torches?"
Thomas, pale faced, his moustaches in disorder, his teeth chattering
from chilliness, said to Peter:
"They have evidently come after us."
Now a multitude of warriors surrounded them, and the smoky,
quivering light of the torches dispelled the soft light of the moon.
In front of the warriors walked Judas Iscariot quickly, and sharply
turning his quick eye, searched for Jesus. He found Him, rested his
look for an instant upon His tall, slender figure, and quickly
whispered to the priests:
"Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He. Take Him and lead Him
cautiously. Lead Him cautiously, do you hear?"
Then he moved quickly to Jesus, who waited for him in silence, and
he directed his straight, sharp look, like a knife, into His calm,
"Hail, Master!" he said loudly, charging his words of usual greeting
with a strange and stern meaning.
But Jesus was silent, and the disciples looked at the traitor with
horror, not understanding how the soul of a man could contain so much
evil. Iscariot threw a rapid glance at their confused ranks, noticed
their quiver, which was about to turn into a loud, trembling fear,
noticed their pallor, their senseless smiles, the drowsy movements of
their hands, which seemed as though fettered in iron at the shoulders
--and a mortal sorrow began to burn in his heart, akin to the sorrow
Christ had experienced before. Outstretching himself into a hundred
ringing, sobbing strings, he rushed over to Jesus and kissed His cold
cheek tenderly. He kissed it so softly, so tenderly, with such
painful love and sorrow, that if Jesus had been a flower upon a thin
stalk it would not have shaken from this kiss and would not have
dropped the pearly dew from its pure petals.
"Judas," said Jesus, and with the lightning of His look He illumined
that monstrous heap of shadows which was Iscariot's soul, but he
could not penetrate into the bottomless depth. "Judas! Is it with a
kiss you betray the Son of Man?"
And He saw how that monstrous chaos trembled and stirred.
Speechless and stern, like death in its haughty majesty, stood Judas
Iscariot, and within him a thousand impetuous and fiery voices
groaned and roared:
"Yes! We betray Thee with the kiss of love! With the kiss of love
we betray Thee to outrage, to torture, to death! With the voice of
love we call together the hangmen from their dark holes, and we place
a cross--and high over the top of the earth we lift love, crucified
by love upon a cross."
Thus stood Judas, silent and cold, like death, and the shouting and
the noise about Jesus answered the cry of His soul. With the rude
irresoluteness of armed force, with the awkwardness of a vaguely
understood purpose, the soldiers seized Him and dragged Him off--
mistaking their irresoluteness for resistance, their fear for
derision and mockery. Like a flock of frightened lambs, the
disciples stood huddled together, not interfering, yet disturbing
everybody, even themselves. Only a few of them resolved to walk and
act separately. Jostled from all sides, Peter drew out the sword
from its sheath with difficulty, as though he had lost all his
strength, and faintly lowered it upon the head of one of the priests--
without causing him any harm. Jesus, observing this, ordered him to
throw away the useless weapon, and it fell under foot with a dull
thud, and so evidently had it lost its sharpness and destructive
power that it did not occur to any one to pick it up. So it rolled
about under foot, until several days afterwards it was found on the
same spot by some children at play, who made a toy of it.
The soldiers kept dispersing the disciples, but they gathered
together again and stupidly got under the soldiers' feet, and this
went on so long that at last a contemptuous rage mastered the
soldiery. One of them with frowning brow went up to the shouting
John; another rudely pushed from his shoulder the hand of Thomas, who
was arguing with him about something or other, and shook a big fist
right in front of his straightforward, transparent eyes. John fled,
and Thomas and James fled, and all the disciples, as many as were
present, forsook Jesus and fled. Losing their cloaks, knocking
themselves against the trees, tripping up against stones and falling,
they fled to the hills terror-driven, while in the stillness of the
moonlight night the ground rumbled loudly beneath the tramp of many
feet. Some one, whose name did not transpire, just risen from his
bed (for he was covered only with a blanket), rushed excitedly into
the crowd of soldiers and servants. When they tried to stop him, and
seized hold of his blanket, he gave a cry of terror, and took to
flight like the others, leaving his garment in the hands of the
soldiers. And so he ran stark-naked, with desperate leaps, and his
bare body glistened strangely in the moonlight.
When Jesus was led away, Peter, who had hidden himself behind the
trees, came out and followed his Master at a distance. Noticing
another man in front of him, who walked silently, he thought that it
was John, and he called him softly:
"John, is that you?"
"And is that you, Peter?" answered the other, pausing, and by the
voice Peter recognised the traitor. "Peter, why did you not run away
together with the others?"
Peter stopped and said with contempt:
"Leave me, Satan!"
Judas began to laugh, and paying no further attention to Peter, he
advanced where the torches were flashing dimly and where the clanking
of the weapons mingled with the footsteps. Peter followed him
cautiously, and thus they entered the court of the high priest almost
simultaneously and mingled in the crowd of the priests who were
warming themselves at the bonfires. Judas warmed his bony hands
morosely at the bonfire and heard Peter saying loudly somewhere
"No, I do not know Him."
But it was evident that they were insisting there that he was one of
the disciples of Jesus, for Peter repeated still louder: "But I do
not understand what you are saying."
Without turning around, and smiling involuntarily, Judas shook his
head affirmatively and muttered:
"That's right, Peter! Do not give up the place near Jesus to any
And he did not see the frightened Peter walk away from the
courtyard. And from that night until the very death of Jesus, Judas
did not see a single one of the disciples of Jesus near Him; and amid
all that multitude there were only two, inseparable until death,
strangely bound together by sufferings--He who had been betrayed to
abuse and torture and he who had betrayed Him. Like brothers, they
both, the Betrayed and the betrayer, drank out of the same cup of
sufferings, and the fiery liquid burned equally the pure and the
Gazing fixedly at the wood-fire, which imparted a feeling of warmth
to his eyes, stretching out his long, shaking hands to the flame, his
hands and feet forming a confused outline in the trembling light and
shade, Iscariot kept mumbling in hoarse complaint:
"How cold! My God, how cold it is!"
So, when the fishermen go away at night leaving an expiring fire of
drift-wood upon the shore, from the dark depth of the sea might
something creep forth, crawl up towards the fire, look at it with
wild intentness, and dragging all its limbs up to it, mutter in
"How cold! My God, how cold it is!"
Suddenly Judas heard behind him a burst of loud voices, the cries
and laughter of the soldiers full of the usual sleepy, greedy malice;
and lashes, short frequent strokes upon a living body. He turned
round, a momentary anguish running through his whole frame--his very
bones. They were scourging Jesus.
Has it come to that?
He had seen the soldiers lead Jesus away with them to their
guardroom. The night was already nearly over, the fires had sunk
down and were covered with ashes, but from the guardroom was still
borne the sound of muffled cries, laughter, and invectives. They
were scourging Jesus.
As one who has lost his way, Iscariot ran nimbly about the empty
courtyard, stopped in his course, lifted his head and ran on again,
and was surprised when he came into collision with heaps of embers,
or with the walls.
Then he clung to the wall of the guardroom, stretched himself out to
his full height, and glued himself to the window and the crevices of
the door, eagerly examining what they were doing. He saw a confined
stuffy room, dirty, like all guardrooms in the world, with bespitten
floor, and walls as greasy and stained as though they had been
trodden and rolled upon. And he saw the Man whom they were
scourging. They struck Him on the face and head, and tossed Him
about like a soft bundle from one end of the room to the other. And
since He neither cried out nor resisted, after looking intently, it
actually appeared at moments as though it was not a living human
being, but a soft effigy without bones or blood. It bent itself
strangely like a doll, and in falling, knocking its head against the
stone floor it did not give the impression of a hard substance
striking against a hard substance, but of something soft and devoid
of feeling. And when one looked long, it became like some strange,
endless game--and sometimes it became almost a complete illusion.
After one hard kick, the man or effigy fell slowly on its knees
before a sitting soldier, he in turn flung it away, and turning over,
it dropped down before the next, and so on and on. A loud guffaw
arose, and Judas smiled too,--as though the strong hand of some one
with iron fingers had torn his mouth asunder. It was the mouth of
Judas that was deceived.
Night dragged on, and the fires were still smouldering. Judas threw
himself from the wall, and crawled to one of the fires, poked up the
ashes, rekindled it, and although he no longer felt the cold, he
stretched his slightly trembling hands over the flames, and began to
"Ah! how painful, my Son, my Son! How painful!"
Then he went again to the window, which was gleaming yellow with a
dull light between the thick grating, and once more began to watch
them scourging Jesus. Once before the very eyes of Judas appeared
His swarthy countenance, now marred out of human semblance, and
covered with a forest of dishevelled hair. Then some one's hand
plunged into those locks, threw the Man down, and rhythmically
turning His head from one side to the other, began to wipe the filthy
floor with His face. Right under the window a soldier was sleeping,
his open mouth revealing his glittering white teeth; and some one's
broad back, with naked, brawny neck, barred the window, so that
nothing more could be seen. And suddenly the noise ceased.
"What's that? Why are they silent? Have they suddenly divined the
Momentarily the whole head of Judas, in all its parts, was filled
with the rumbling, shouting and roaring of a thousand maddened
thoughts! Had they divined? They understood that this was the very
best of men--it was so simple, so clear! Lo! He is coming out, and
behind Him they are abjectly crawling. Yes, He is coming here, to
Judas, coming out a victor, a hero, arbiter of the truth, a god....
"Who is deceiving Judas? Who is right?"
But no. Once more noise and shouting. They are scourging Him again.
They do not understand, they have not guessed, they are beating Him
harder, more cruelly than ever. The fires burn out, covered with
ashes, and the smoke above them is as transparently blue as the air,
and the sky as bright as the moon. It is the day approaching.
"What is day?" asks Judas.
And lo! everything begins to glow, to scintillate, to grow young
again, and the smoke above is no longer blue, but rose-coloured. It
is the sun rising.
"What is the sun?" asks Judas.
They pointed the finger at Judas, and some in contempt, others with
hatred and fear, said:
"Look, that is Judas the Traitor!"
This already began to be the opprobrious title, to which he had
doomed himself throughout the ages. Thousands of years may pass,
nation may supplant nation, and still the air will resound with the
words, uttered with contempt and fear by good and bad alike:
"Judas the Traitor!"
But he listened imperturbably to what was said of him, dominated by
a feeling of burning, all-subduing curiosity. Ever since the morning
when they led forth Jesus from the guardroom, after scourging Him,
Judas had followed Him, strangely enough feeling neither grief nor
pain nor joy--only an unconquerable desire to see and hear
everything. Though he had had no sleep the whole night, his body
felt light; when he was crushed and prevented from advancing, he
elbowed his way through the crowd and adroitly wormed himself into
the front place; and not for a moment did his vivid quick eye remain
at rest. At the examination of Jesus before Caiaphas, in order not
to lose a word, he hollowed his hand round his ear, and nodded his
head in affirmation, murmuring:
"Just so! Thou hearest, Jesus?"
But he was a prisoner, like a fly tied to a thread, which, buzzing,
flies hither and thither, but cannot for one moment free itself from
the tractable but unyielding thread.
Certain stony thoughts lay at the back of his head, and to these he
was firmly bound; he knew not, as it were, what these thoughts were;
he did not wish to stir them up, but he felt them continually. At
times they would come to him all of a sudden, oppress him more and
more, and begin to crush him with their unimaginable weight, as
though the vault of a rocky cavern were slowly and terribly
descending upon his head.
Then he would grip his heart with his hand, and strive to set his
whole body in motion, as though he were perishing with cold, and
hasten to shift his eyes to a fresh place, and again to another.
When they led Jesus away from Caiaphas, he met His weary eyes quite
close, and, somehow or other, unconsciously he gave Him several
"I am here, my Son, I am here," he muttered hurriedly, and
maliciously poked to some gaper in the back who stood in his way.
And now, in a huge shouting crowd, they all moved on to Pilate for
the last examination and trial, and with the same insupportable
curiosity Judas searched the faces of the ever swelling multitude.
Many were quite unknown to him; Judas had never seen them before, but
some were there who had cried, "Hosanna!" to Jesus, and at each step
the number of them seemed to increase.
"Well, well!" thought Judas, and his head spun round as if he were
drunk, "the worst is over. Directly they will be crying: 'He is ours,
He is Jesus! What are you about?' and all will understand, and--"
But the believers walked in silence. Some hypocritically smiled, as
if to say: "The affair is none of ours!" Others spoke with
constraint, but their low voices were drowned in the rumbling of
movement, and the loud delirious shouts of His enemies.
And Judas felt better again. Suddenly he noticed Thomas cautiously
slipping through the crowd not far off, and struck by a sudden
thought, he was about to go up to him. At the sight of the traitor,
Thomas was frightened, and tried to hide himself. But in a little
narrow street, between two walls, Judas overtook him.
"Thomas, wait a bit!"
Thomas stopped, and stretching both hands out in front of him
solemnly pronounced the words:
Iscariot made an impatient movement of the hands.
"What a fool you are, Thomas! I thought that you had more sense
than the others. Satan indeed! That requires proof."
Letting his hands fall, Thomas asked in surprise:
"But did not you betray the Master? I myself saw you bring the
soldiers, and point Him out to them. If this is not treachery, I
should like to know what is!"
"Never mind that," hurriedly said Judas. "Listen, there are many of
you here. You must all gather together, and loudly demand: 'Give up
Jesus. He is ours!' They will not refuse you, they dare not. They
themselves will understand."
"What do you mean! What are you thinking of!" said Thomas, with a
decisive wave of his hands. "Have you not seen what a number of
armed soldiers and servants of the Temple there are here? Moreover,
the trial has not yet taken place, and we must not interfere with the
court. Surely he understands that Jesus is innocent, and will order
His release without delay."
"You, then, think so too," said Judas thoughtfully. "Thomas,
Thomas, what if it be the truth? What then? Who is right? Who has
"We were all talking last night, and came to the conclusion that the
court cannot condemn the innocent. But if it does, why then--"
"Why, then it is no court. And it will be the worse for them when
they have to give an account before the real Judge."
"Before the real! Is there any 'real' left?" sneered Judas.
"And all of our party cursed you; but since you say that you were
not the traitor, I think you ought to be tried."
Judas did not want to hear him out; but turned right about, and
hurried down the street in the wake of the retreating crowd. He
soon, however, slackened his pace, mindful of the fact that a crowd
always travels slowly, and that a single pedestrian will inevitably
When Pilate led Jesus out from his palace, and set Him before the
people, Judas, crushed against a column by the heavy backs of the
soldiers, furiously turning his head about to see something between
two shining helmets, suddenly felt clearly that the worst was over.
He saw Jesus in the sunshine, high above the heads of the crowd,
blood-stained, pale with a crown of thorns, the sharp spikes of
which pressed into His forehead.
He stood on the edge of an elevation, visible from His head to His
small, sunburnt feet, and waited so calmly, was so serene in His
immaculate purity, that only a blind man, who perceived not the very
sun, could fail to see, only a madman would not understand. And the
people held their peace--it was so still, that Judas heard the
breathing of the soldier in front of him, and how, at each breath, a
strap creaked somewhere about his body.
"Yes, it will soon be over! They will understand immediately,"
thought Judas, and suddenly something strange, like the dazzling joy
of falling from a giddy height into a blue sparkling abyss, arrested
Contemptuously drawing his lips down to his rounded well-shaven
chin, Pilate flung to the crowd the dry, curt words--as one throws
bones to a pack of hungry hounds--thinking to cheat their longing
for fresh blood and living, palpitating flesh:
"You have brought this Man before me as a corrupter of the people,
and behold I have examined Him before you, and I find this Man
guiltless of that of which you accuse Him...."
Judas closed his eyes. He was waiting.
All the people began to shout, to sob, to howl with a thousand
voices of wild beasts and men:
"Put Him to death! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" And as though in
self-mockery, as though wishing in one moment to plumb the very
depths of all possible degradation, madness and shame, the crowd
cries out, sobs, and demands with a thousand voices of wild beasts
"Release unto us Barabbas! But crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
But the Roman had evidently not yet said his last word. Over his
proud, shaven countenance there passed convulsions of disgust and
anger. He understood! He has understood all along! He speaks
quietly to his attendants, but his voice is not heard in the roar of
the crowd. What does he say? Is he ordering them to bring swords,
and to smite those maniacs?
"Water? What water? What for?"
Ah, lo! he washes his hands. Why does he wash his clean white hands
all adorned with rings? He lifts them and cries angrily to the
people, whom surprise holds in silence:
"I am innocent of the blood of this Just Person. See ye to it."
While the water is still dripping from his fingers on to the marble
pavement, something soft prostrates itself at his feet, and sharp,
burning lips kiss his hand, which he is powerless to withdraw, glue
themselves to it like tentacles, almost bite and draw blood. He
looks down in disgust and fear, and sees a great squirming body, a
strangely twofold face, and two immense eyes so queerly diverse from
one another that, as it were, not one being but a number of them
clung to his hands and feet. He heard a broken, burning whisper:
"O wise and noble... wise and noble."
And with such a truly satanic joy did that wild face blaze, that,
with a cry, Pilate kicked him away, and Judas fell backwards. And
there he lay upon the stone flags like an overthrown demon, still
stretching out his hand to the departing Pilate, and crying as one
"O wise, O wise and noble...."
Then he gathered himself up with agility, and ran away followed by
the laughter of the soldiery. Evidently there was yet hope. When
they come to see the cross, and the nails, then they will understand,
and then.... What then? He catches sight of the panic-stricken
Thomas in passing, and for some reason or other reassuringly nods to
him; he overtakes Jesus being led to execution. The walking is
difficult, small stones roll under the feet, and suddenly Judas feels
that he is tired. He gives himself up wholly to the trouble of
deciding where best to plant his feet, he looks dully around, and
sees Mary Magdalene weeping, and a number of women weeping--hair
dishevelled, eyes red, lips distorted--all the excessive grief of a
tender woman's soul when submitted to outrage. Suddenly he revives,
and seizing the moment, runs up to Jesus:
"I go with Thee," he hurriedly whispers.
The soldiers drive him away with blows of their whips, and squirming
so as to avoid the blows, and showing his teeth at the soldiers, he
"I go with Thee. Thither. Thou understandest whither."
He wipes the blood from his face, shakes his fist at one of the
soldiers, who turns round and smiles, and points him out to the
others. Then he looks for Thomas, but neither he nor any of the
disciples are in the crowd that accompanies Jesus. Again he is
conscious of fatigue, and drags one foot with difficulty after the
other, as he attentively looks out for the sharp, white, scattered
When the hammer was uplifted to nail Jesus' left hand to the tree,
Judas closed his eyes, and for a whole age neither breathed, nor saw,
nor lived, but only listened.
But lo! with a grating sound, iron strikes against iron, time after
time, dull, short blows, and then the sharp nail penetrating the soft
wood and separating its particles is distinctly heard.
One hand. It is not yet too late!
The other hand. It is not yet too late!
A foot, the other foot! Is all lost?
He irresolutely opens his eyes, and sees how the cross is raised,
and rocks, and is set fast in the trench. He sees how the hands of
Jesus are convulsed by the tension, how painfully His arms stretch,
how the wounds grow wider, and how the exhausted abdomen disappears
under the ribs. The arms stretch more and more, grow thinner and
whiter, and become dislocated from the shoulders, and the wounds of
the nails redden and lengthen gradually--lo! in a moment they will be
torn away. No. It stopped. All stopped. Only the ribs move up and
down with the short, deep breathing.
On the very crown of the hill the cross is raised, and on it is the
crucified Jesus. The horror and the dreams of Judas are realised, he
gets up from his knees on which, for some reason, he has knelt, and
gazes around coldly.
Thus does a stern conqueror look, when he has already determined in
his heart to surrender everything to destruction and death, and for
the last time throws a glance over a rich foreign city, still alive
with sound, but already phantom-like under the cold hand of death.
And suddenly, as clearly as his terrible victory, Iscariot saw its
ominous precariousness. What if they should suddenly understand? It
is not yet too late! Jesus still lives. There He gazes with
entreating, sorrowing eyes.
What can prevent the thin film which covers the eyes of mankind, so
thin that it hardly seems to exist at all, what can prevent it from
rending? What if they should understand? What if suddenly, in all
their threatening mass of men, women and children, they should
advance, silently, without a cry, and wipe out the soldiery, plunging
them up to their ears in their own blood, should tear from the ground
the accursed cross, and by the hands of all who remain alive should
lift up the liberated Jesus above the summit of the hill! Hosanna!
Hosanna? No! Better that Judas should lie on the ground. Better
that he should lie upon the ground, and gnashing his teeth like a
dog, should watch and wait until all these should rise up.
But what has come to Time? Now it almost stands still, so that one
would wish to push it with the hands, to kick it, beat it with a whip
like a lazy ass. Now it rushes madly down some mountain, and catches
its breath, and stretches out its hand in vain to stop itself. There
weeps the mother of Jesus. Let them weep. What avail her tears now?
nay, the tears of all the mothers in the world?
"What are tears?" asks Judas, and madly pushes unyielding Time,
beats it with his fists, curses it like a slave. It belongs to some
one else, and therefore is unamenable to discipline. Oh! if only it
belonged to Judas! But it belongs to all these people who are
weeping, laughing, chattering as in the market. It belongs to the
sun; it belongs to the cross; to the heart of Jesus, which is dying
What an abject heart has Judas! He lays his hand upon it, but it
cries out: "Hosanna," so loud that all may hear. He presses it to
the ground, but it cries, "Hosanna, Hosanna!" like a babbler who
scatters holy mysteries broadcast through the street.
"Be still! Be still!"
Suddenly a loud broken lamentation, dull cries, the last hurried
movements towards the cross. What is it? Have they understood at
No, Jesus is dying. But can this be? Yes, Jesus is dying. His
pale hands are motionless, but short convulsions run over His face,
and breast, and legs. But can this be? Yes, He is dying. His
breathing becomes less frequent. It ceases. No, there is yet one
sigh, Jesus is still upon the earth. But is there another? No, no,
no. Jesus is dead.
It is finished. Hosanna! Hosanna!
His horror and his dreams are realised. Who will now snatch the
victory from the hands of Iscariot?
It is finished. Let all people on earth stream to Golgotha, and
shout with their million throats, "Hosanna! Hosanna!" And let a sea
of blood and tears be poured out at its foot, and they will find only
the shameful cross and a dead Jesus!
Calmly and coldly Iscariot surveys the dead, letting his gaze rest
for a moment on that neck, which he had kissed only yesterday with a
farewell kiss; and slowly goes away. Now all Time belongs to him,
and he walks without hurry; now all the World belongs to him, and he
steps firmly, like a ruler, like a king, like one who is infinitely
and joyfully alone in the world. He observes the mother of Jesus,
and says to her sternly:
"Thou weepest, mother? Weep, weep, and long will all the mothers
upon earth weep with thee: until I come with Jesus and destroy death."
What does he mean? Is he mad, or is he mocking--this Traitor? He
is serious, and his face is stern, and his eyes no longer dart about
in mad haste. Lo! he stands still, and with cold attention views a
new, diminished earth.
It has become small, and he feels the whole of it under his feet.
He looks at the little mountains, quietly reddening under the last
rays of the sun, and he feels the mountains under his feet.
He looks at the sky opening wide its azure mouth; he looks at the
small round disc of the sun, which vainly strives to singe and
dazzle, and he feels the sky and the sun under his feet. Infinitely
and joyfully alone, he proudly feels the impotence of all forces
which operate in the world, and has cast them all into the abyss.
He walks farther on, with quiet, masterful steps. And Time goes
neither forward nor back: obediently it marches in step with him in
all its invisible immensity.
It is the end.
As an old cheat, coughing, smiling fawningly, bowing incessantly,
Judas Iscariot the Traitor appeared before the Sanhedrin. It was the
day after the murder of Jesus, about mid-day. There they were all,
His judges and murderers: the aged Annas with his sons, exact and
disgusting likenesses of their father, and his son-in-law Caiaphas,
devoured by ambition, and all the other members of the Sanhedrin,
whose names have been snatched from the memory of mankind--rich and
distinguished Sadducees, proud in their power and knowledge of the Law.
In silence they received the Traitor, their haughty faces remaining
motionless, as though no one had entered. And even the very least,
and most insignificant among them, to whom the others paid no
attention, lifted up his bird-like face and looked as though no one
Judas bowed and bowed and bowed, and they looked on in silence: as
though it were not a human being that had entered, but only an
unclean insect that had crept in, and which they had not observed.
But Judas Iscariot was not the man to be perturbed: they kept
silence, and he kept on bowing, and thought that if it was necessary
to go on bowing till evening, he could do so.
At length Caiaphas inquired impatiently:
"What do you want?"
Judas bowed once more, and said in a loud voice--
"It is I, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed to you Jesus of Nazareth."
"Well, what of that? You have received your due. Go away!" ordered
Annas; but Judas appeared unconscious of the command, and continued
bowing. Glancing at him, Caiaphas asked Annas:
"How much did you give?"
"Thirty pieces of silver."
Caiaphas laughed, and even the grey-bearded Annas laughed, too, and
over all their proud faces there crept a smile of enjoyment; and even
the one with the bird-like face laughed. Judas, perceptibly
blanching, hastily interrupted with the words:
"That's right! Certainly it was very little; but is Judas
discontented, does Judas call out that he has been robbed? He is
satisfied. Has he not contributed to a holy cause--yes, a holy? Do
not the most sage people now listen to Judas, and think: He is one
of us, this Judas Iscariot; he is our brother, our friend, this Judas
Iscariot, the Traitor! Does not Annas want to kneel down and kiss
the hand of Judas? Only Judas will not allow it; he is a coward, he
is afraid they will bite him."
"Drive the dog out! What's he barking about?"
"Get along with you. We have no time to listen to your babbling,"
said Annas imperturbably.
Judas drew himself up and closed his eyes. The hypocrisy, which he
had carried so lightly all his life, suddenly became an insupportable
burden, and with one movement of his eyelashes he cast it from him.
And when he looked at Annas again, his glance was simple, direct, and
terrible in its naked truthfulness. But they paid no attention to
"You want to be driven out with sticks!" cried Caiaphas.
Panting under the weight of the terrible words, which he was lifting
higher and higher, in order to hurl them hence upon the heads of the
judges, Judas hoarsely asked:
"But you know... you know... who He was... He, whom you condemned
yesterday and crucified?"
"We know. Go away!"
With one word he would straightway rend that thin film which was
spread over their eyes, and all the earth would stagger beneath the
weight of the merciless truth! They had a soul, they should be
deprived of it; they had a life, they should lose their life; they
had light before their eyes, eternal darkness and horror should cover
them. Hosanna! Hosanna!
And these words, these terrible words, were tearing his throat
"He was no deceiver. He was innocent and pure. Do you hear? Judas
deceived you. He betrayed to you an innocent man."
He waits. He hears the aged, unconcerned voice of Annas, saying:
"And is that all you want to say?"
"You do not seem to have understood me," says Judas, with dignity,
turning pale. "Judas deceived you. He was innocent. You have slain
He of the bird-like face smiles; but Annas is indifferent, Annas
yawns. And Caiaphas yawns, too, and says wearily:
"What did they mean by talking to me about the intellect of Judas
Iscariot? He is simply a fool, and a bore, too."
"What?" cries Judas, all suffused with dark madness. "But who are
you, the clever ones! Judas deceived you--hear! It was not He that
he betrayed--but you--you wiseacres, you, the powerful, you he
betrayed to a shameful death, which will not end, throughout the
ages. Thirty pieces of silver! Well, well. But that is the price
of YOUR blood--blood filthy as the dish-water which the women throw
out of the gates of their houses. Oh! Annas, old, grey, stupid Annas,
chock-full of the Law, why did you not give one silver piece, just
one obolus more? At this price you will go down through the ages!"
"Be off!" cries Caiaphas, growing purple in the face. But Annas
stops him with a motion of the hand, and asks Judas as unconcernedly
"Is that all?"
"Verily, if I were to go into the desert, and cry to the wild
beasts: 'Wild beasts, have ye heard the price at which men valued
their Jesus?'--what would the wild beasts do? They would creep out
of the lairs, they would howl with anger, they would forget their
fear of mankind, and would all come here to devour you! If I were to
say to the sea: 'Sea, knowest thou the price at which men valued
their Jesus?' If I were to say to the mountains: 'Mountains, know
ye the price at which men valued their Jesus?' Then the sea and the
mountains would leave their places, assigned to them for ages, and
would come here and fall upon your heads!"
"Does Judas wish to become a prophet? He speaks so loud!" mockingly
remarks he of the bird-like face, with an ingratiating glance at
"To-day I saw a pale sun. It was looking at the earth, and saying:
'Where is the Man?' To-day I saw a scorpion. It was sitting upon a
stone and laughingly said: 'Where is the Man?' I went near and
looked into its eyes. And it laughed and said: 'Where is the Man?
I do not see Him!' Where is the Man? I ask you, I do not see Him--
or is Judas become blind, poor Judas Iscariot!"
And Iscariot begins to weep aloud.
He was, during those moments, like a man out of his mind, and
Caiaphas turned away, making a contemptuous gesture with his hand.
But Annas considered for a time, and then said:
"I perceive, Judas, that you really have received but little, and
that disturbs you. Here is some more money; take it and give it to
He threw something, which rang shrilly. The sound had not died
away, before another, like it, strangely prolonged the clinking.
Judas had hastily flung the pieces of silver and the oboles into the
faces of the high priest and of the judges, returning the price paid
for Jesus. The pieces of money flew in a curved shower, falling on
their faces, and on the table, and rolling about the floor.
Some of the judges closed their hands with the palms outwards;
others leapt from their places, and shouted and scolded. Judas,
trying to hit Annas, threw the last coin, after which his trembling
hand had long been fumbling in his wallet, spat in anger, and went out.
"Well, well," he mumbled, as he passed swiftly through the streets,
scaring the children. "It seems that thou didst weep, Judas? Was
Caiaphas really right when he said that Judas Iscariot was a fool?
He who weeps in the day of his great revenge is not worthy of it--
know'st thou that, Judas? Let not thine eyes deceive thee; let not
thine heart lie to thee; flood not the fire with tears, Judas
The disciples were sitting in mournful silence, listening to what
was going on without. There was still danger that the vengeance of
Jesus' enemies might not confine itself to Him, and so they were all
expecting a visit from the guard, and perhaps more executions. Near
to John, to whom, as the beloved disciple, the death of Jesus was
especially grievous, sat Mary Magdalene, and Matthew trying to
comfort him in an undertone. Mary, whose face was swollen with
weeping, softly stroked his luxurious curling hair with her hand,
while Matthew said didactically, in the words of Solomon:
"'The long suffering is better than a hero; and he that ruleth his
own spirit than one who taketh a city.'"
At this moment Judas knocked loudly at the door, and entered. All
started up in terror, and at first were not sure who it was; but when
they recognised the hated countenance, the red-haired, bulbous head,
they uttered a simultaneous cry.
Peter raised both hands and shouted:
"Get out of here, Traitor! Get out, or I will kill you."
But the others looked more carefully at the face and eyes of the
Traitor, and said nothing, merely whispering in terror:
"Leave him alone, leave him alone! He is possessed with a devil."
Judas waited until they had quite done, and then cried out in a loud
"Hail, ye eyes of Judas Iscariot! Ye have just seen the cold-blooded