Children of the Ghetto eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 573 pages of information about Children of the Ghetto.
for her poems and pictures, and incarnated the undefined ideal of girlish day-dreams?  How could he ever have had other than an intellectual thought of her; how could any man, even the religious Raphael?  Sickly, ugly little thing that she was!  She got up and looked in the glass now to see herself thus, but the shadows had gathered too thickly.  She snatched up a newspaper that lay on a couch, lit it, and held it before the glass; it flared up threateningly and she beat it out, laughing hysterically and asking herself if she was mad.  But she had seen the ugly little face; its expression frightened her.  Yes, love was not for her; she could only love a man of brilliancy and culture, and she was nothing but a Petticoat Lane girl, after all.  Its coarseness, its vulgarity underlay all her veneer.  They had got into her book; everybody said so.  Raphael said so.  How dared she write disdainfully of Raphael’s people?  She an upstart, an outsider?  She went to the library, lit the gas, got down a volume of Graetz’s history of the Jews, which she had latterly taken to reading, and turned over its wonderful pages.  Then she wandered restlessly back to the great dim drawing-room and played amateurish fantasias on the melancholy Polish melodies of her childhood till Mr. and Mrs. Henry Goldsmith returned.  They had captured the Rev. Joseph Strelitski and brought him back to dinner, Esther would have excused herself from the meal, but Mrs. Goldsmith insisted the minister would think her absence intentionally discourteous.  In point of fact, Mrs. Goldsmith, like all Jewesses a born match-maker, was not disinclined to think of the popular preacher as a sort of adopted son-in-law.  She did not tell herself so, but she instinctively resented the idea of Esther marrying into the station of her patroness.  Strelitski, though his position was one of distinction for a Jewish clergyman, was, like Esther, of humble origin; it would be a match which she could bless from her pedestal in genuine good-will towards both parties.

The fashionable minister was looking careworn and troubled.  He had aged twice ten years since his outburst at the Holy Land League.  The black curl hung disconsolately on his forehead.  He sat at Esther’s side, but rarely looking at her, or addressing her, so that her taciturnity and scarcely-veiled dislike did not noticeably increase his gloom.  He rallied now and again out of politeness to his hostess, flashing out a pregnant phrase or two.  But prosperity did not seem to have brought happiness to the whilom, poor Russian student, even though he had fought his way to it unaided.

CHAPTER VI.

COMEDY OR TRAGEDY?

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Children of the Ghetto from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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