Children of the Ghetto eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about Children of the Ghetto.
a sense of the hollowness and uncertainty of existence.  What would her father say, whose triumphant conviction that Providence had provided for his Passover was to be so rudely dispelled at the eleventh hour.  Poor Moses!  He had been so proud of having earned enough money to make a good Yontov, and was more convinced than ever that given a little capital to start with he could build up a colossal business!  And now she would have to go home and spoil everybody’s Yontov, and see the sour faces of her little ones round a barren Seder table.  Oh, it was terrible! and the child wept piteously, unheeded in the block, unheard amid the Babel.

CHAPTER XXIII.

THE DEAD MONKEY.

An old Maaseh the grandmother had told her came back to her fevered brain.  In a town in Russia lived an old Jew who earned scarce enough to eat, and half of what he did earn was stolen from him in bribes to the officials to let him be.  Persecuted and spat upon, he yet trusted in his God and praised His name.  And it came on towards Passover and the winter was severe and the Jew was nigh starving and his wife had made no preparations for the Festival.  And in the bitterness of her soul she derided her husband’s faith and made mock of him, but he said, “Have patience, my wife!  Our Seder board shall be spread as in the days of yore and as in former years.”  But the Festival drew nearer and nearer and there was nothing in the house.  And the wife taunted her husband yet further, saying, “Dost thou think that Elijah the prophet will call upon thee or that the Messiah will come?” But he answered:  “Elijah the prophet walketh the earth, never having died; who knows but that he will cast an eye my way?” Whereat his wife laughed outright.  And the days wore on to within a few hours of Passover and the larder was still empty of provender and the old Jew still full of faith.  Now it befell that the Governor of the City, a hard and cruel man, sat counting out piles of gold into packets for the payment of the salaries of the officials and at his side sat his pet monkey, and as he heaped up the pieces, so his monkey imitated him, making little packets of its own to the amusement of the Governor.  And when the Governor could not pick up a piece easily, he moistened his forefinger, putting it to his mouth, whereupon the monkey followed suit each time; only deeming its master was devouring the gold, it swallowed a coin every time he put his finger to his lips.  So that of a sudden it was taken ill and died.  And one of his men said, “Lo, the creature is dead.  What shall we do with it?” And the Governor was sorely vexed in spirit, because he could not make his accounts straight and he answered gruffly, “Trouble me not!  Throw it into the house of the old Jew down the street.”  So the man took the carcass and threw it with thunderous violence into the passage of the Jew’s house and ran off as hard as he could.  And the good

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Children of the Ghetto from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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