The editor of The Flag of Judah stood for some minutes as if petrified; then he turned suddenly to the litter on his table and rummaged among it feverishly. At last, as with a happy recollection, he opened a drawer. What he sought was there. He started reading Mordecai Josephs, forgetting to close the drawer. Passage after passage suffused his eyes with tears; a soft magic hovered about the nervous sentences; he read her eager little soul in every line. Now he understood. How blind he had been! How could he have missed seeing? Esther stared at him from every page. She was the heroine of her own book; yes, and the hero, too, for he was but another side of herself translated into the masculine. The whole book was Esther, the whole Esther and nothing but Esther, for even the satirical descriptions were but the revolt of Esther’s soul against mean and evil things. He turned to the great love-scene of the book, and read on and on, fascinated, without getting further than the chapter.
No need to delay longer; every need for instant flight. Esther had found courage to confess her crime against the community to Raphael; there was no seething of the blood to nerve her to face Mrs. Henry Goldsmith. She retired to her room soon after dinner on the plea (which was not a pretext) of a headache. Then she wrote:
“DEAR MRS. GOLDSMITH:
“When you read this, I shall have left your house, never to return. It would be idle to attempt to explain my reasons. I could not hope to make you see through my eyes. Suffice it to say that I cannot any longer endure a life of dependence, and that I feel I have abused your favor by writing that Jewish novel of which you disapprove so vehemently. I never intended to keep the secret from you, after publication. I thought the book would succeed and you would be pleased; at the same time I dimly felt that you might object to certain things and ask to have them altered, and I have always wanted to write my own ideas, and not other people’s. With my temperament, I see now that it was a mistake to fetter myself by obligations to anybody, but the mistake was made in my girlhood when I knew little of the world and perhaps less of myself. Nevertheless, I wish you to believe, dear Mrs. Goldsmith, that all the blame for the unhappy situation which has arisen I put upon my own shoulders, and that I have nothing for you but the greatest affection and gratitude for all the kindnesses I have received at your hands. I beg you not to think that I make the slightest reproach against you; on the contrary, I shall always henceforth reproach myself with the thought that I have made you so poor a return for your generosity and incessant thoughtfulness. But the sphere in which you move is too high for me; I cannot assimilate with it and I return, not without gladness, to the humble sphere whence you took me. With kindest regards and best wishes,