knowing that the poor Jew never exchanges his self-respect for respect for his benefactor, but takes by way of rightful supplement to his income. She did not drive families into trickery, like ladies of the West, by being horrified to find them eating meat. If she presided at a stall at a charitable sale of clothing, she was not disheartened if articles were snatched from under her hand, nor did she refuse loans because borrowers sometimes merely used them to evade the tallyman by getting their jewelry at cash prices. She not only gave alms to the poor, but made them givers, organizing their own farthings into a powerful auxiliary of the institutions which helped them. Hannah’s sweet patience soothed Esther, who had no natural aptitude for personal philanthropy; the primitive, ordered pieties of the Reb’s household helping to give her calm. Though she accepted the inevitable, and had laughed in melancholy mockery at the exaggerated importance given to love by the novelists (including her cruder self), she dreaded meeting Raphael Leon. It was very unlikely her whereabouts would penetrate to the West; and she rarely went outside of the Ghetto by day, or even walked within it in the evening. In the twilight, unless prostrated by headache, she played on Hannah’s disused old-fashioned grand piano. It had one cracked note which nearly always spoiled the melody; she would not have the note repaired, taking a morbid pleasure in a fantastic analogy between the instrument and herself. On Friday nights after the Sabbath-hymns she read The Flag of Judah. She was not surprised to find Reb Shemuel beginning to look askance at his favorite paper. She noted a growing tendency in it to insist mainly on the ethical side of Judaism, salvation by works being contrasted with the salvation by spasm of popular Christianity. Once Kingsley’s line, “Do noble things, not dream them all day long,” was put forth as “Judaism versus Christianity in a nut-shell;” and the writer added, “for so thy dreams shall become noble, too.” Sometimes she fancied phrases and lines of argument were aimed at her. Was it the editor’s way of keeping in touch with her, using his leaders as a medium of communication—a subtly sweet secret known only to him and her? Was it fair to his readers? Then she would remember his joke about the paper being started merely to convert her, and she would laugh. Sometimes he repeated what he already said to her privately, so that she seemed to hear him talking.
Then she would shake her head, and say, “I love you for your blindness, but I have the terrible gift of vision.”
SIDNEY SETTLES DOWN.