“My step-mother is ecstatic over the success of her scheming, and even condescends to be kind to me,-to me, Lizzie, whom she has so long and so faithfully despised.
“My father, too, seems happy over this alliance, knowing Mark’s excellent character and business qualifications, and appreciating the connection with the rabbi’s family. Mark himself appears happy in the hope of securing Sarah for his wife. But as to Sarah, I can scarcely divine her feelings; she is too young and light-hearted fully to comprehend the step before her. She seems delighted with the occasion that bestows upon her so many handsome presents; and beyond this I think she scarcely casts a thought. The marriage will be solemnized at the synagogue, and the reception held here at home. Mark has given Sarah some elegant gifts, gifts that should be mine. Is it wrong to write those words—words that contain so much meaning? It may be; but as you know all, dear Lizzie, I shall not erase them. And this reminds me of something I must tell you, of another piece of double-dealing and treachery imposed upon me by Rebecca. Some weeks ago, my father’s cousin, Baron von Rosenberg, hearing of Sarah’s approaching marriage-I have told you of this cousin before-sent over a box of valuable presents for the children, all of us, including Sarah, of course. Among the articles sent, were an elegant crimson velvet mantle, and a diamond brooch. ‘These,’ wrote the baron, ‘are for your eldest daughter-Leah I believe.’
“My father gave the letter to his wife, supposing, of course, that I would be allowed a perusal of it. But instead she secreted the letter, and in disposing of the gifts, said to me ’Here, Leah, is a handsome necklace, sent to you by the baron, and this elegant velvet mantle and diamond brooch are for your sister Sarah-wedding presents. How kind of the baron to remember her so substantially!’ ‘Yes,’ said I, ’it was kind, and thoughtful too. I am glad that he has been so generous. I certainly thank him for his remembrance of me.’ I had no dream but that she was telling me the truth, nor should I have suspected the deception, but, unfortunately, I overheard my father one day say, ’Rebecca, how did Leah like the mantle and brooch the baron sent her?’
“‘Oh, she thought them beautiful, as they are,’ was the quick reply; ’but like a generous girl-there are few such-she begged her sister to keep them, as suitable bridal gifts from her, as well as tokens of her love.’
“‘She’s a dear unselfish creature,’ replied my father, with the credulity of a child; ’I never saw another young person just like her. She’s so deep and hidden in her nature, one cannot easily read her thoughts. I wish sometimes she was more open and confiding; but she is a darling, for all her reticence.’
“‘Yes, and loves Sarah to idolatry,’ was the smooth, well-put rejoinder.
“This much I heard, dear Lizzie, of the conversation, and then, with a horrified, sickening sensation, I flew away-flew away to solitude, and communion with myself.