The Maggid felt so grateful he was almost ashamed to ask whether he could eat kosher there, but the Shalotten Shammos, who had the air of a tall encyclopaedia, set his soul at rest on all points.
SUGARMAN’S BAR-MITZVAH PARTY.
The day of Ebenezer Sugarman’s Bar-mitzvah duly arrived. All his sins would henceforth be on his own head and everybody rejoiced. By the Friday evening so many presents had arrived—four breastpins, two rings, six pocket-knives, three sets of Machzorim or Festival Prayer-books, and the like—that his father barred up the door very carefully and in the middle of the night, hearing a mouse scampering across the floor, woke up in a cold sweat and threw open the bedroom window and cried “Ho! Buglers!” But the “Buglers” made no sign of being scared, everything was still and nothing purloined, so Jonathan took a reprimand from his disturbed wife and curled himself up again in bed.
Sugarman did things in style and through the influence of a client the confirmation ceremony was celebrated in “Duke’s Plaizer Shool.” Ebenezer, who was tall and weak-eyed, with lank black hair, had a fine new black cloth suit and a beautiful silk praying-shawl with blue stripes, and a glittering watch-chain and a gold ring and a nice new Prayer-book with gilt edges, and all the boys under thirteen made up their minds to grow up and be responsible for their sins as quick as possible. Ebenezer walked up to the Reading Desk with a dauntless stride and intoned his Portion of the Law with no more tremor than was necessitated by the musical roulades, and then marched upstairs, as bold as brass, to his mother, who was sitting up in the gallery, and who gave him a loud smacking kiss that could be heard in the four corners of the synagogue, just as if she were a real lady.
Then there was the Bar-mitzvah breakfast, at which Ebenezer delivered an English sermon and a speech, both openly written by the Shalotten Shammos, and everybody commended the boy’s beautiful sentiments and the beautiful language in which they were couched. Mrs. Sugarman forgot all the trouble Ebenezer had given her in the face of his assurances of respect and affection and she wept copiously. Having only one eye she could not see what her Jonathan saw, and what was spoiling his enjoyment of Ebenezer’s effusive gratitude to his dear parents for having trained him up in lofty principles.
It was chiefly male cronies who had been invited to breakfast, and the table had been decorated with biscuits and fruit and sweets not appertaining to the meal, but provided for the refreshment of the less-favored visitors—such as Mr. and Mrs. Hyams—who would be dropping in during the day. Now, nearly every one of the guests had brought a little boy with him, each of whom stood like a page behind his father’s chair.