She sank against the table sobbing nervously. It was her first proposal! A Schnorrer and the daughter of a Schnorrer. Yes, that-was what she was. And she had even repaid her benefactors with deception! What hopes could she yet cherish? In literature she was a failure; the critics gave her few gleams of encouragement, while all her acquaintances from Raphael downwards would turn and rend her, should she dare declare herself. Nay, she was ashamed of herself for the mischief she had wrought. No one in the world cared for her; she was quite alone. The only man in whose breast she could excite love or the semblance of it was a contemptible cad. And who was she, that she should venture to hope for love? She figured herself as an item in a catalogue; “a little, ugly, low-spirited, absolutely penniless young woman, subject to nervous headaches.” Her sobs were interrupted by a ghastly burst of self-mockery. Yes, Levi was right. She ought to think herself lucky to get him. Again, she asked herself what had existence to offer her. Gradually her sobs ceased; she remembered to-night would be Seder night, and her thoughts, so violently turned Ghetto-wards, went back to that night, soon after poor Benjamin’s death, when she sat before the garret fire striving to picture the larger life of the future. Well, this was the future.
THE ENDS OF A GENERATION.
The same evening Leonard James sat in the stalls of the Colosseum Music Hall, sipping champagne and smoking a cheroot. He had not been to his chambers (which were only round the corner) since the hapless interview with Esther, wandering about in the streets and the clubs in a spirit compounded of outraged dignity, remorse and recklessness. All men must dine; and dinner at the Flamingo Club soothed his wounded soul and left only the recklessness, which is a sensation not lacking in agreeableness. Through the rosy mists of the Burgundy there began to surge up other faces than that cold pallid little face which had hovered before him all the afternoon like a tantalizing phantom; at the Chartreuse stage he began to wonder what hallucination, what aberration of sense had overcome him, that he should have been stirred to his depths and distressed so hugely. Warmer faces were these that swam before him, faces fuller of the joy of life. The devil take all stuck-up little saints!
About eleven o’clock, when the great ballet of Venetia was over, Leonard hurried round to the stage-door, saluted the door-keeper with a friendly smile and a sixpence, and sent in his card to Miss Gladys Wynne, on the chance that she might have no supper engagement. Miss Wynne was only a humble coryphee, but the admirers of her talent were numerous, and Leonard counted himself fortunate in that she was able to afford him the privilege of her society to-night. She came out to him in