“But you must have meant something by it,” she said gravely. “You know I’m not going to be married off to please other people.”
The Reb wriggled uncomfortably in his chair. “It was only a thought—an idea. If it does not come to you, too, it shall be nothing. I didn’t mean anything serious—really, my dear, I didn’t. To tell you the truth,” he finished suddenly with a frank, heavenly smile, “the person I had mainly in my eye when I spoke was your mother.”
This time his eye met hers, and they smiled at each other with the consciousness of the humors of the situation. The Rebbitzin’s broom was heard banging viciously in the passage. Hannah bent down and kissed the ample forehead beneath the black skull-cap.
“Mr. Levine also writes insisting that I must go to the Purim ball with him and Leah,” she said, glancing at the letter.
“A husband’s wishes must be obeyed,” answered the Reb.
“No, I will treat him as if he were really my husband,” retorted Hannah. “I will have my own way: I shan’t go.”
The door was thrown open suddenly.
“Oh yes thou wilt,” said the Rebbitzin. “Thou art not going to bury thyself alive.”
ESTHER AND HER CHILDREN.
Esther Ansell did not welcome Levi Jacobs warmly. She had just cleared away the breakfast things and was looking forward to a glorious day’s reading, and the advent of a visitor did not gratify her. And yet Levi Jacobs was a good-looking boy with brown hair and eyes, a dark glowing complexion and ruddy lips—a sort of reduced masculine edition of Hannah.
“I’ve come to play I-spy-I, Solomon,” he said when he entered “My, don’t you live high up!”
“I thought you had to go to school,” Solomon observed with a stare.
“Ours isn’t a board school,” Levi explained. “You might introduce a fellow to your sister.”
“Garn! You know Esther right enough,” said Solomon and began to whistle carelessly.
“How are you, Esther?” said Levi awkwardly.
“I’m very well, thank you,” said Esther, looking up from a little brown-covered book and looking down at it again.
She was crouching on the fender trying to get some warmth at the little fire extracted from Reb Shemuel’s half-crown. December continued gray; the room was dim and a spurt of flame played on her pale earnest face. It was a face that never lost a certain ardency of color even at its palest: the hair was dark and abundant, the eyes were large and thoughtful, the nose slightly aquiline and the whole cast of the features betrayed the Polish origin. The forehead was rather low. Esther had nice teeth which accident had preserved white. It was an arrestive rather than a beautiful face, though charming enough when she smiled. If the grace and candor of childhood could have been disengaged from the face, it would