The first number of The Flag of Judah appeared early in the afternoon.
THE TROUBLES OF AN EDITOR.
The new organ did not create a profound impression. By the rival party it was mildly derided, though many fair-minded persons were impressed by the rather unusual combination of rigid orthodoxy with a high spiritual tone and Raphael’s conception of Judaism as outlined in his first leader, his view of it as a happy human compromise between an empty unpractical spiritualism and a choked-up over-practical formalism, avoiding the opposite extremes of its offshoots, Christianity and Mohammedanism, was novel to many of his readers, unaccustomed to think about their faith. Dissatisfied as Raphael was with the number, he felt he had fluttered some of the dove-cotes at least. Several people of taste congratulated him during Saturday and Sunday, and it was with a continuance of Messianic emotions and with agreeable anticipations that he repaired on Monday morning to the little den which had been inexpensively fitted up for him above the offices of Messrs. Schlesinger and De Haan. To his surprise he found it crammed with the committee; all gathered round little Sampson, who, with flushed face and cloak tragically folded, was expostulating at the top of his voice. Pinchas stood at the back in silent amusement. As Raphael entered jauntily, from a dozen lips, the lowering faces turned quickly towards him. Involuntarily Raphael started back in alarm, then stood rooted to the threshold. There was a dread ominous silence. Then the storm burst.
“Du Shegetz! Du Pasha Yisroile!” came from all quarters of the compass.
To be called a graceless Gentile and a sinner in Israel is not pleasant to a pious Jew: but all Raphael’s minor sensations were swallowed up in a great wonderment.
“We are ruined!” moaned the furniture-dealer, who was always failing.
“You have ruined us!” came the chorus from the thick, sensuous lips, and swarthy fists were shaken threateningly. Sugarman’s hairy paw was almost against his face. Raphael turned cold, then a rush of red-hot blood flooded his veins. He put out his good right hand and smote the nearest fist aside. Sugarman blenched and skipped back and the line of fists wavered.
“Don’t be fools, gentlemen,” said De Haan, his keen sense of humor asserting itself. “Let Mr. Leon sit down.”
Raphael, still dazed, took his seat on the editorial chair. “Now, what can I do for you?” he said courteously. The fists dropped at his calm.
“Do for us,” said Schlesinger drily. “You’ve done for the paper. It’s not worth twopence.”
“Well, bring it out at a penny at once then,” laughed little Sampson, reinforced by the arrival of his editor.
Guedalyah the greengrocer glowered at him.
“I am very sorry, gentlemen, I have not been able to satisfy you,” said Raphael. “But in a first number one can’t do much.”