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Title: Yekl - A tale of the New York ghetto
Author: Cahan, Abraham, 1860-1951
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Yekl

A Tale of the New York Ghetto


By

A. Cahan


New York
D. Appleton and Company
1896

COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER                                    PAGE


   I.--JAKE AND YEKL                          1

  II.--THE NEW YORK GHETTO                   25

 III.--IN THE GRIP OF HIS PAST               50

  IV.--THE MEETING                           70

   V.--A PATERFAMILIAS                       82

  VI.--CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES            112

 VII.--MRS. KAVARSKY'S COUP D'ÉTAT          136

VIII.--A HOUSETOP IDYL                      158

  IX.--THE PARTING                          175

   X.--A DEFEATED VICTOR                    185



YEKL.



CHAPTER I.

JAKE AND YEKL.


The operatives of the cloak-shop in which Jake was employed had been
idle all the morning. It was after twelve o'clock and the "boss" had
not yet returned from Broadway, whither he had betaken himself two
or three hours before in quest of work. The little sweltering
assemblage--for it was an oppressive day in midsummer--beguiled their
suspense variously. A rabbinical-looking man of thirty, who sat with
the back of his chair tilted against his sewing machine, was intent
upon an English newspaper. Every little while he would remove it from
his eyes--showing a dyspeptic face fringed with a thin growth of dark
beard--to consult the cumbrous dictionary on his knees. Two young lads,
one seated on the frame of the next machine and the other standing,
were boasting to one another of their respective intimacies with the
leading actors of the Jewish stage. The board of a third machine, in a
corner of the same wall, supported an open copy of a socialist magazine
in Yiddish, over which a cadaverous young man absorbedly swayed to and
fro droning in the Talmudical intonation. A middle-aged operative, with
huge red side whiskers, who was perched on the presser's table in the
corner opposite, was mending his own coat. While the thick-set presser
and all the three women of the shop, occupying the three machines
ranged against an adjoining wall, formed an attentive audience to an
impromptu lecture upon the comparative merits of Boston and New York by
Jake.

He had been speaking for some time. He stood in the middle of the
overcrowded stuffy room with his long but well-shaped legs wide apart,
his bulky round head aslant, and one of his bared mighty arms akimbo.
He spoke in Boston Yiddish, that is to say, in Yiddish more copiously
spiced with mutilated English than is the language of the metropolitan
Ghetto in which our story lies. He had a deep and rather harsh voice,
and his r's could do credit to the thickest Irish brogue.

"When I was in Boston," he went on, with a contemptuous mien intended
for the American metropolis, "I knew a _feller_,[1] so he was a
_preticly_ friend of John Shullivan's. He is a Christian, that feller
is, and yet the two of us lived like brothers. May I be unable to move
from this spot if we did not. How, then, would you have it? Like here,
in New York, where the Jews are a _lot_ of _greenhornsh_ and can not
speak a word of English? Over there every Jew speaks English like a
stream."

        [1] English words incorporated in the Yiddish of the characters
        of this narrative are given in Italics.

"_Say_, Dzake," the presser broke in, "John Sullivan is _tzampion_ no
longer, is he?"

"Oh, no! Not always is it holiday!" Jake responded, with what he
considered a Yankee jerk of his head. "Why, don't you know? Jimmie
Corbett _leaked_ him, and Jimmie _leaked_ Cholly Meetchel, too. _You
can betch you' bootsh!_ Johnnie could not leak Chollie, _becaush_ he is
a big _bluffer_, Chollie is," he pursued, his clean-shaven florid face
beaming with enthusiasm for his subject, and with pride in the
diminutive proper nouns he flaunted. "But Jimmie _pundished_ him. _Oh,
didn't he knock him out off shight!_ He came near making a meat ball of
him"--with a chuckle. "He _tzettled_ him in three _roynds_. I knew a
feller who had seen the fight."

"What is a _rawnd_, Dzake?" the presser inquired.

Jake's answer to the question carried him into a minute exposition of
"right-handers," "left-handers," "sending to sleep," "first blood," and
other commodities of the fistic business. He must have treated the
subject rather too scientifically, however, for his female listeners
obviously paid more attention to what he did in the course of the
boxing match, which he had now and then, by way of illustration, with
the thick air of the room, than to the verbal part of his lecture. Nay,
even the performances of his brawny arms and magnificent form did not
charm them as much as he thought they did. For a display of manly
force, when connected--even though in a purely imaginary way--with acts
of violence, has little attraction for a "daughter of the Ghetto." Much
more interest did those arms and form command on their own merits. Nor
was his chubby high-colored face neglected. True, there was a
suggestion of the bulldog in its make up; but this effect was lost upon
the feminine portion of Jake's audience, for his features, illuminated
by a pair of eager eyes of a hazel hue, and shaded by a thick crop of
dark hair, were, after all, rather pleasing than otherwise. Strongly
Semitic naturally, they became still more so each time they were
brightened up by his good-natured boyish smile. Indeed, Jake's very
nose, which was fleshy and pear-shaped and decidedly not Jewish
(although not decidedly anything else), seemed to join the Mosaic
faith, and even his shaven upper lip looked penitent, as soon as that
smile of his made its appearance.

"Nice fun that!" observed the side-whiskered man, who had stopped
sewing to follow Jake's exhibition. "Fighting--like drunken moujiks in
Russia!"

"Tarrarra-boom-de-ay!" was Jake's merry retort; and for an exclamation
mark he puffed up his cheeks into a balloon, and exploded it by a
"_pawnch_" of his formidable fist.

"Look, I beg you, look at his dog's tricks!" the other said in disgust.

"Horse's head that you are!" Jake rejoined good-humoredly. "Do you mean
to tell me that a moujik understands how to _fight_? A disease he does!
He only knows how to strike like a bear [Jake adapted his voice and
gesticulation to the idea of clumsiness], _an' dot'sh ull_! What does
he _care_ where his paw will land, so he strikes. _But_ here one must
observe _rulesh_ [rules]."

At this point Meester Bernstein--for so the rabbinical-looking man was
usually addressed by his shopmates--looked up from his dictionary.

"Can't you see?" he interposed, with an air of assumed gravity as he
turned to Jake's opponent, "America is an educated country, so they
won't even break bones without grammar. They tear each other's sides
according to 'right and left,'[2] you know." This was a thrust at
Jake's right-handers and left-handers, which had interfered with
Bernstein's reading. "Nevertheless," the latter proceeded, when the
outburst of laughter which greeted his witticism had subsided, "I do
think that a burly Russian peasant would, without a bit of grammar,
crunch the bones of Corbett himself; and he would not _charge_ him a
cent for it, either."

        [2] A term relating to the Hebrew equivalent of the letter
        _s_, whose pronunciation depends upon the right or left
        position of a mark over it.

"_Is dot sho?_" Jake retorted, somewhat nonplussed. "_I betch you_ he
would not. The peasant would lie bleeding like a hog before he had time
to turn around."

"_But_ they might kill each other in that way, _ain't it_, Jake?" asked
a comely, milk-faced blonde whose name was Fanny. She was celebrated
for her lengthy tirades, mostly in a plaintive, nagging strain, and
delivered in her quiet, piping voice, and had accordingly been dubbed
"The Preacher."

"Oh, that will happen but very seldom," Jake returned rather glumly.

The theatrical pair broke off their boasting match to join in the
debate, which soon included all except the socialist; the former two,
together with the two girls and the presser, espousing the American
cause, while Malke the widow and "De Viskes" sided with Bernstein.

"Let it be as you say," said the leader of the minority, withdrawing
from the contest to resume his newspaper. "My grandma's last care it is
who can fight best."

"Nice pleasure, _anyhull_," remarked the widow. "_Never min'_, we shall
see how it will lie in his head when he has a wife and children to
_support_."

Jake colored. "What does a _chicken_ know about these things?" he said
irascibly.

Bernstein again could not help intervening. "And you, Jake, can not do
without 'these things,' can you? Indeed, I do not see how you manage to
live without them."

"Don't you like it? I do," Jake declared tartly. "Once I live in
America," he pursued, on the defensive, "I want to know that I live in
America. _Dot'sh a' kin' a man I am!_ One must not be a _greenhorn_.
Here a Jew is as good as a Gentile. How, then, would you have it? The
way it is in Russia, where a Jew is afraid to stand within four ells of
a Christian?"

"Are there no other Christians than _fighters_ in America?" Bernstein
objected with an amused smile. "Why don't you look for the educated
ones?"

"Do you mean to say the _fighters_ are not _ejecate_? Better than you,
_anyhoy_," Jake said with a Yankee wink, followed by his Semitic smile.
"Here you read the papers, and yet _I'll betch you_ you don't know that
Corbett _findished college_."

"I never read about fighters," Bernstein replied with a bored gesture,
and turned to his paper.

"Then say that you don't know, and _dot'sh ull_!"

Bernstein made no reply. In his heart Jake respected him, and was now
anxious to vindicate his tastes in the judgment of his scholarly
shopmate and in his own.

"_Alla right_, let it be as you say; the _fighters_ are not _ejecate_.
No, not a bit!" he said ironically, continuing to address himself to
Bernstein. "But what will you say to _baseball_? All _college boys_ and
_tony peoplesh_ play it," he concluded triumphantly. Bernstein remained
silent, his eyes riveted to his newspaper. "Ah, you don't answer,
_shee_?" said Jake, feeling put out.

The awkward pause which followed was relieved by one of the playgoers
who wanted to know whether it was true that to pitch a ball required
more skill than to catch one.

"_Sure!_ You must know how to _peetch_," Jake rejoined with the cloud
lingering on his brow, as he lukewarmly delivered an imaginary ball.

"And I, for my part, don't see what wisdom there is to it," said the
presser with a shrug. "I think I could throw, too."

"He can do everything!" laughingly remarked a girl named Pessé.

"How hard can you hit?" Jake demanded sarcastically, somewhat warming
up to the subject.

"As hard as you at any time."

"_I betch you a dullar to you' ten shent_ you can not," Jake answered,
and at the same moment he fished out a handful of coin from his
trousers pocket and challengingly presented it close to his
interlocutor's nose.

"There he goes!--betting!" the presser exclaimed, drawing slightly
back. "For my part, your _pitzers_ and _catzers_ may all lie in the
earth. A nice entertainment, indeed! Just like little children--playing
ball! And yet people say America is a _smart_ country. I don't see it."

"_'F caush_ you don't, _becaush_ you are a bedraggled _greenhorn_,
afraid to budge out of Heshter Shtreet." As Jake thus vented his bad
humour on his adversary, he cast a glance at Bernstein, as if anxious
to attract his attention and to re-engage him in the discussion.

"Look at the Yankee!" the presser shot back.

"More of a one than you, _anyhoy_."

"He thinks that _shaving_ one's mustache makes a Yankee!"

Jake turned white with rage.

"_'Pon my vord_, I'll ride into his mug and give such a _shaving_ and
planing to his pig's snout that he will have to pick up his teeth."

"That's all you are good for."

"Better don't answer him, Jake," said Fanny, intimately.

"Oh, I came near forgetting that he has somebody to take his part!"
snapped the presser.

The girl's milky face became a fiery red, and she retorted in
vituperative Yiddish from that vocabulary which is the undivided
possession of her sex. The presser jerked out an innuendo still more
far-reaching than his first. Jake, with bloodshot eyes, leaped at the
offender, and catching him by the front of his waistcoat, was aiming
one of those bearlike blows which but a short while ago he had decried
in the moujik, when Bernstein sprang to his side and tore him away,
Pessé placing herself between the two enemies.

"Don't get excited," Bernstein coaxed him.

"Better don't soil your hands," Fanny added.

After a slight pause Bernstein could not forbear a remark which he had
stubbornly repressed while Jake was challenging him to a debate on the
education of baseball players: "Look here, Jake; since fighters and
baseball men are all educated, then why don't you try to become so?
Instead of _spending_ your money on fights, dancing, and things like
that, would it not be better if you paid it to a teacher?"

Jake flew into a fresh passion. "_Never min'_ what I do with my money,"
he said; "I don't steal it from you, do I? Rejoice that you keep
tormenting your books. Much does he know! Learning, learning, and
learning, and still he can not speak English. I don't learn and yet I
speak quicker than you!"

A deep blush of wounded vanity mounted to Bernstein's sallow cheek.
"_Ull right, ull right!_" he cut the conversation short, and took up
the newspaper.

Another nervous silence fell upon the group. Jake felt wretched. He
uttered an English oath, which in his heart he directed against himself
as much as against his sedate companion, and fell to frowning upon the
leg of a machine.

"Vill you go by Joe to-night?" asked Fanny in English, speaking in an
undertone. Joe was a dancing master. She was sure Jake intended to call
at his "academy" that evening, and she put the question only in order
to help him out of his sour mood.

"No," said Jake, morosely.

"Vy, to-day is Vensday."

"And without you I don't know it!" he snarled in Yiddish.

The finisher girl blushed deeply and refrained from any response.

"He does look like a _regely_ Yankee, doesn't he?" Pessé whispered to
her after a little.

"Go and ask him!"

"Go and hang yourself together with him! Such a nasty preacher! Did you
ever hear--one dares not say a word to the noblewoman!"

At this juncture the boss, a dwarfish little Jew, with a vivid pair of
eyes and a shaggy black beard, darted into the chamber.

"It is _no used_!" he said with a gesture of despair. "There is not a
stitch of work, if only for a cure. Look, look how they have lowered
their noses!" he then added with a triumphant grin. "_Vell_, I shall
not be teasing you, 'Pity living things!' The expressman is _darn
stess_. I would not go till I saw him _start_, and then I caught a car.
No other _boss_ could get a single jacket even if he fell upon his
knees. _Vell_, do you appreciate it at least? Not much, ay?"

The presser rushed out of the room and presently came back laden with
bundles of cut cloth which he threw down on the table. A wild scramble
ensued. The presser looked on indifferently. The three finisher women,
who had awaited the advent of the bundles as eagerly as the men, now
calmly put on their hats. They knew that their part of the work
wouldn't come before three o'clock, and so, overjoyed by the certainty
of employment for at least another day or two, they departed till that
hour.

"Look at the rush they are making! Just like the locusts of Egypt!" the
boss cried half sternly and half with self-complacent humour, as he
shielded the treasure with both his arms from all except "De Viskes"
and Jake--the two being what is called in sweat-shop parlance,
"_chance-mentshen_," i.e., favorites. "Don't be snatching and catching
like that," the boss went on. "You may burn your fingers. Go to your
machines, I say! The soup will be served in separate plates. Never
fear, it won't get cold."

The hands at last desisted gingerly, Jake and the whiskered operator
carrying off two of the largest bundles. The others went to their
machines empty-handed and remained seated, their hungry glances riveted
to the booty, until they, too, were provided.

The little boss distributed the bundles with dignified deliberation. In
point of fact, he was no less impatient to have the work started than
any of his employees. But in him the feeling was overridden by a kind
of malicious pleasure which he took in their eagerness and in the
demonstration of his power over the men, some of whom he knew to have
enjoyed a more comfortable past than himself. The machines of Jake and
"De Viskes" led off in a duet, which presently became a trio, and in
another few minutes the floor was fairly dancing to the ear-piercing
discords of the whole frantic sextet.

In the excitement of the scene called forth by the appearance of the
bundles, Jake's gloomy mood had melted away. Nevertheless, while his
machine was delivering its first shrill staccatos, his heart recited a
vow: "As soon as I get my pay I shall call on the installment man and
give him a deposit for a ticket." The prospective ticket was to be for
a passage across the Atlantic from Hamburg to New York. And as the
notion of it passed through Jake's mind it evoked there the image of a
dark-eyed young woman with a babe in her lap. However, as the sewing
machine throbbed and writhed under Jake's lusty kicks, it seemed to be
swiftly carrying him away from the apparition which had the effect of
receding, as a wayside object does from the passenger of a flying
train, until it lost itself in a misty distance, other visions emerging
in its place.

It was some three years before the opening of this story that Jake had
last beheld that very image in the flesh. But then at that period of
his life he had not even suspected the existence of a name like Jake,
being known to himself and to all Povodye--a town in northwestern
Russia--as Yekl or Yekelé.

It was not as a deserter from military service that he had shaken off
the dust of that town where he had passed the first twenty-two years of
his life. As the only son of aged parents he had been exempt from the
duty of bearing arms. Jake may have forgotten it, but his mother still
frequently recurs to the day when he came rushing home, panting for
breath, with the "red certificate" assuring his immunity in his hand.
She nearly fainted for happiness. And when, stroking his dishevelled
sidelocks with her bony hand and feasting her eye on his chubby face,
she whispered, "My recovered child! God be blessed for his mercy!"
there was a joyous tear in his eye as well as in hers. Well does she
remember how she gently spat on his forehead three times to avert the
effect of a possible evil eye on her "flourishing tree of a boy," and
how his father standing by made merry over what he called her crazy
womanish tricks, and said she had better fetch some brandy in honour of
the glad event.

But if Yekl was averse to wearing a soldier's uniform on his own person
he was none the less fond of seeing it on others. His ruling passion,
even after he had become a husband and a father, was to watch the
soldiers drilling on the square in front of the whitewashed barracks
near which stood his father's smithy. From a cheder[3] boy he showed a
knack at placing himself on terms of familiarity with the Jewish
members of the local regiment, whose uniforms struck terror into the
hearts of his schoolmates. He would often play truant to attend a
military parade; no lad in town knew so many Russian words or was as
well versed in army terminology as Yekelé "Beril the blacksmith's;" and
after he had left cheder, while working his father's bellows, Yekl
would vary synagogue airs with martial song.

        [3] A school where Jewish children are instructed in the Old
        Testament or the Talmud.

Three years had passed since Yekl had for the last time set his eyes on
the whitewashed barracks and on his father's rickety smithy, which, for
reasons indirectly connected with the Government's redoubled
discrimination against the sons of Israel, had become inadequate to
support two families; three years since that beautiful summer morning
when he had mounted the spacious _kibitka_ which was to carry him to
the frontier-bound train; since, hurried by the driver, he had leaned
out of the wagon to kiss his half-year old son good-bye amid the
heart-rending lamentations of his wife, the tremulous "Go in good
health!" of his father, and the startled screams of the neighbours who
rushed to the relief of his fainting mother. The broken Russian learned
among the Povodye soldiers he had exchanged for English of a
corresponding quality, and the bellows for a sewing machine--a change
of weapons in the battle of life which had been brought about both by
Yekl's tender religious feelings and robust legs. He had been shocked
by the very notion of seeking employment at his old trade in a city
where it is in the hands of Christians, and consequently involves a
violation of the Mosaic Sabbath. On the other hand, his legs had been
thought by his early American advisers eminently fitted for the
treadle. Unlike New York, the Jewish sweat-shops of Boston keep in
line, as a rule, with the Christian factories in observing Sunday as
the only day of rest. There is, however, even in Boston a lingering
minority of bosses--more particularly in the "pants"-making branch--who
abide by the Sabbath of their fathers. Accordingly, it was under one of
these that Yekl had first been initiated into the sweat-shop world.

Subsequently Jake, following numerous examples, had given up "pants"
for the more remunerative cloaks, and having rapidly attained skill in
his new trade he had moved to New York, the centre of the cloak-making
industry.

Soon after his arrival in Boston his religious scruples had followed in
the wake of his former first name; and if he was still free from work
on Saturdays he found many another way of "desecrating the Sabbath."

Three years had intervened since he had first set foot on American
soil, and the thought of ever having been a Yekl would bring to Jake's
lips a smile of patronizing commiseration for his former self. As to
his Russian family name, which was Podkovnik, Jake's friends had such
rare use for it that by mere negligence it had been left intact.



CHAPTER II.

THE NEW YORK GHETTO.


It was after seven in the evening when Jake finished his last jacket.
Some of the operators had laid down their work before, while others
cast an envious glance on him as he was dressing to leave, and fell to
their machines with reluctantly redoubled energy. Fanny was a week
worker and her time had been up at seven; but on this occasion her
toilet had taken an uncommonly long time, and she was not ready until
Jake got up from his chair. Then she left the room rather suddenly and
with a demonstrative "Good-night all!"

When Jake reached the street he found her on the sidewalk, making a
pretense of brushing one of her sleeves with the cuff of the other.

"So kvick?" she asked, raising her head in feigned surprise.

"You cull dot kvick?" he returned grimly. "Good-bye!"

"Say, ain't you goin' to dance to-night, really?" she queried
shamefacedly.

"I tol' you I vouldn't."

"What does _she_ want of me?" he complained to himself proceeding on
his way. He grew conscious of his low spirits, and, tracing them with
some effort to their source, he became gloomier still. "No more fun for
me!" he decided. "I shall get them over here and begin a new life."

After supper, which he had taken, as usual, at his lodgings, he went
out for a walk. He was firmly determined to keep himself from visiting
Joe Peltner's dancing academy, and accordingly he took a direction
opposite to Suffolk Street, where that establishment was situated.
Having passed a few blocks, however, his feet, contrary to his will,
turned into a side street and thence into one leading to Suffolk. "I
shall only drop in to tell Joe that I can not sell any of his ball
tickets, and return them," he attempted to deceive his own conscience.
Hailing this pretext with delight he quickened his pace as much as the
overcrowded sidewalks would allow.

He had to pick and nudge his way through dense swarms of bedraggled
half-naked humanity; past garbage barrels rearing their overflowing
contents in sickening piles, and lining the streets in malicious
suggestion of rows of trees; underneath tiers and tiers of fire
escapes, barricaded and festooned with mattresses, pillows, and
feather-beds not yet gathered in for the night. The pent-in sultry
atmosphere was laden with nausea and pierced with a discordant and, as
it were, plaintive buzz. Supper had been despatched in a hurry, and the
teeming populations of the cyclopic tenement houses were out in full
force "for fresh air," as even these people will say in mental
quotation marks.

Suffolk Street is in the very thick of the battle for breath. For it
lies in the heart of that part of the East Side which has within the
last two or three decades become the Ghetto of the American metropolis,
and, indeed, the metropolis of the Ghettos of the world. It is one of
the most densely populated spots on the face of the earth--a seething
human sea fed by streams, streamlets, and rills of immigration flowing
from all the Yiddish-speaking centres of Europe. Hardly a block but
shelters Jews from every nook and corner of Russia, Poland, Galicia,
Hungary, Roumania; Lithuanian Jews, Volhynian Jews, south Russian Jews,
Bessarabian Jews; Jews crowded out of the "pale of Jewish settlement";
Russified Jews expelled from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kieff, or
Saratoff; Jewish runaways from justice; Jewish refugees from crying
political and economical injustice; people torn from a hard-gained
foothold in life and from deep-rooted attachments by the caprice of
intolerance or the wiles of demagoguery--innocent scapegoats of a
guilty Government for its outraged populace to misspend its blind fury
upon; students shut out of the Russian universities, and come to these
shores in quest of learning; artisans, merchants, teachers, rabbis,
artists, beggars--all come in search of fortune. Nor is there a
tenement house but harbours in its bosom specimens of all the whimsical
metamorphoses wrought upon the children of Israel of the great modern
exodus by the vicissitudes of life in this their Promised Land of
to-day. You find there Jews born to plenty, whom the new conditions
have delivered up to the clutches of penury; Jews reared in the straits
of need, who have here risen to prosperity; good people morally
degraded in the struggle for success amid an unwonted environment;
moral outcasts lifted from the mire, purified, and imbued with
self-respect; educated men and women with their intellectual polish
tarnished in the inclement weather of adversity; ignorant sons of toil
grown enlightened--in fine, people with all sorts of antecedents,
tastes, habits, inclinations, and speaking all sorts of subdialects of
the same jargon, thrown pellmell into one social caldron--a human
hodgepodge with its component parts changed but not yet fused into one
homogeneous whole.

And so the "stoops," sidewalks, and pavements of Suffolk Street were
thronged with panting, chattering, or frisking multitudes. In one spot
the scene received a kind of weird picturesqueness from children
dancing on the pavement to the strident music hurled out into the
tumultuous din from a row of the open and brightly illuminated windows
of what appeared to be a new tenement house. Some of the young women on
the sidewalk opposite raised a longing eye to these windows, for
floating, by through the dazzling light within were young women like
themselves with masculine arms round their waists.

As the spectacle caught Jake's eye his heart gave a leap. He violently
pushed his way through the waltzing swarm, and dived into the half-dark
corridor of the house whence the music issued. Presently he found
himself on the threshold and in the overpowering air of a spacious
oblong chamber, alive with a damp-haired, dishevelled, reeking
crowd--an uproarious human vortex, whirling to the squeaky notes of a
violin and the thumping of a piano. The room was, judging by its
untidy, once-whitewashed walls and the uncouth wooden pillars
supporting its bare ceiling, more accustomed to the whir of sewing
machines than to the noises which filled it at the present moment. It
took up the whole of the first floor of a five-story house built for
large sweat-shops, and until recently it had served its original
purpose as faithfully as the four upper floors, which were still the
daily scenes of feverish industry. At the further end of the room there
was now a marble soda fountain in charge of an unkempt boy. A stocky
young man with a black entanglement of coarse curly hair was bustling
about among the dancers. Now and then he would pause with his eyes bent
upon some two pairs of feet, and fall to clapping time and drawling out
in a preoccupied singsong: "Von, two, tree! Leeft you' feet! Don' so
kvick--sloy, sloy! Von, two, tree, von, two, tree!" This was Professor
Peltner himself, whose curly hair, by the way, had more to do with the
success of his institution than his stumpy legs, which, according to
the unanimous dictum of his male pupils, moved about "like a _regely_
pair of bears."

The throng showed but a very scant sprinkling of plump cheeks and
shapely figures in a multitude of haggard faces and flaccid forms.
Nearly all were in their work-a-day clothes, very few of the men
sporting a wilted white shirt front. And while the general effect of
the kaleidoscope was one of boisterous hilarity, many of the individual
couples somehow had the air of being engaged in hard toil rather than
as if they were dancing for amusement. The faces of some of these bore
a wondering martyrlike expression, as who should say, "What have we
done to be knocked about in this manner?" For the rest, there were all
sorts of attitudes and miens in the whirling crowd. One young fellow,
for example, seemed to be threatening vengeance to the ceiling, while
his partner was all but exultantly exclaiming: "Lord of the universe!
What a world this be!" Another maiden looked as if she kept murmuring,
"You don't say!" whereas her cavalier mutely ejaculated, "Glad to try
my best, your noble birth!"--after the fashion of a Russian soldier.

The prevailing stature of the assemblage was rather below medium. This
does not include the dozen or two of undergrown lasses of fourteen or
thirteen who had come surreptitiously, and--to allay the suspicion of
their mothers--in their white aprons. They accordingly had only these
articles to check at the hat box, and hence the nickname of
"apron-check ladies," by which this truant contingent was known at
Joe's academy. So that as Jake now stood in the doorway with an
orphaned collar button glistening out of the band of his collarless
shirt front and an affected expression of _ennui_ overshadowing his
face, his strapping figure towered over the circling throng before him.
He was immediately noticed and became the target for hellos, smiles,
winks, and all manner of pleasantry: "Vot you stand like dot? You vont
to loin dantz?" or "You a detectiff?" or "You vont a job?" or, again,
"Is it hot anawff for you?" To all of which Jake returned an invariable
"Yep!" each time resuming his bored mien.

As he thus gazed at the dancers, a feeling of envy came over him. "Look
at them!" he said to himself begrudgingly. "How merry they are! Such
_shnoozes_, they can hardly set a foot well, and yet they are free,
while I am a married man. But wait till you get married, too," he
prospectively avenged himself on Joe's pupils; "we shall see how you
will then dance and jump!"

Presently a wave of Joe's hand brought the music and the trampling to a
pause. The girls at once took their seats on the "ladies' bench," while
the bulk of the men retired to the side reserved for "gents only."
Several apparent post-graduates nonchalantly overstepped the boundary
line, and, nothing daunted by the professor's repeated "Zents to de
right an' ladess to the left!" unrestrainedly kept their girls
chuckling. At all events, Joe soon desisted, his attention being
diverted by the soda department of his business. "Sawda!" he sang out.
"Ull kin's! Sam, you ought ashamed you'selv; vy don'tz you treat you'
lada?"

In the meantime Jake was the centre of a growing bevy of both sexes. He
refused to unbend and to enter into their facetious mood, and his
morose air became the topic of their persiflage.

By-and-bye Joe came scuttling up to his side. "Goot-evenig, Dzake!" he
greeted him; "I didn't seen you at ull! Say, Dzake, I'll take care dis
site an' you take care dot site--ull right?"

"Alla right!" Jake responded gruffly. "Gentsh, getch you partnesh,
hawrry up!" he commanded in another instant.

The sentence was echoed by the dancing master, who then blew on his
whistle a prolonged shrill warble, and once again the floor was set
straining under some two hundred pounding, gliding, or scraping feet.

"Don' bee 'fraid. Gu right aheat an' getch you partner!" Jake went on
yelling right and left. "Don' be 'shamed, Mish Cohen. Dansh mit dot
gentlemarn!" he said, as he unceremoniously encircled Miss Cohen's
waist with "dot gentlemarn's" arm. "Cholly! vot's de madder mitch
_you_? You do hop like a Cossack, as true as I am a Jew," he added,
indulging in a momentary lapse into Yiddish. English was the official
language of the academy, where it was broken and mispronounced in as
many different ways as there were Yiddish dialects represented in that
institution. "Dot'sh de vay, look!" With which Jake seized from Charley
a lanky fourteen-year-old Miss Jacobs, and proceeded to set an example
of correct waltzing, much to the unconcealed delight of the girl, who
let her head rest on his breast with an air of reverential gratitude
and bliss, and to the embarrassment of her cavalier, who looked at the
evolutions of Jake's feet without seeing.

Presently Jake was beckoned away to a corner by Joe, whereupon Miss
Jacobs, looking daggers at the little professor, sulked off to a
distant seat.

"Dzake, do me a faver; hask Mamie to gib dot feller a couple a
dantzes," Joe said imploringly, pointing to an ungainly young man who
was timidly viewing the pandemonium-like spectacle from the further end
of the "gent's bench." "I hasked 'er myself, but se don' vonted. He's a
beesness man, you 'destan', an' he kan a lot o' fellers an' I vonted
make him satetzfiet."

"Dot monkey?" said Jake. "Vot you talkin' aboyt! She vouldn't lishn to
me neider, honesht."

"Say dot you don' vonted and dot's ull."

"Alla right; I'm goin' to ashk her, but I know it vouldn't be of naw
used."

"Never min', you hask 'er foist. You knaw se vouldn't refuse _you_!"
Joe urged, with a knowing grin.

"Hoy much vill you bet she will refushe shaw?" Jake rejoined with
insincere vehemence, as he whipped out a handful of change.

"Vot kin' foon a man you are! Ulleways like to bet!" said Joe,
deprecatingly. 'F cuss it depend mit vot kin' a mout' you vill hask,
you 'destan'?"

"By gum, Jaw! Vot you take me for? Ven I shay I ashk, I ashk. You knaw
I don' like no monkey beeshnesh. Ven I promish anytink I do it shquare,
dot'sh a kin' a man _I_ am!" And once more protesting his firm
conviction that Mamie would disregard his request, he started to prove
that she would not.

He had to traverse nearly the entire length of the hall, and,
notwithstanding that he was compelled to steer clear of the dancers, he
contrived to effect the passage at the swellest of his gaits, which
means that he jauntily bobbed and lurched, after the manner of a
blacksmith tugging at the bellows, and held up his enormous bullet head
as if he were bidding defiance to the whole world. Finally he paused in
front of a girl with a superabundance of pitch-black side bangs and
with a pert, ill natured, pretty face of the most strikingly Semitic
cast in the whole gathering. She looked twenty-three or more, was
inclined to plumpness, and her shrewd deep dark eyes gleamed out of a
warm gipsy complexion. Jake found her seated in a fatigued attitude on
a chair near the piano.

"Good-evenig, Mamie!" he said, bowing with mock gallantry.

"Rats!"

"Shay, Mamie, give dot feller a tvisht, vill you?"

"Dot slob again? Joe must tink if you ask me I'll get scared, ain't it?
Go and tell him he is too fresh," she said with a contemptuous grimace.
Like the majority of the girls of the academy, Mamie's English was a
much nearer approach to a justification of its name than the gibberish
spoken by the men.

Jake felt routed; but he put a bold face on it and broke out with
studied resentment:

"Vot you kickin' aboyt, anyhoy? Jaw don' mean notin' at ull. If you
don' vonted never min', an' dot'sh ull. It don' cut a figger, shee?"
And he feignedly turned to go.

"Look how kvick he gets excited!" she said, surrenderingly.

"I ain't get ekshitet at ull; but vot'sh de used a makin' monkey
beesnesh?" he retorted with triumphant acerbity.

"You are a monkey you'self," she returned with a playful pout.

The compliment was acknowledged by one of Jake's blandest grins.

"An' you are a monkey from monkey-land," he said. "Vill you dansh mit
dot feller?"

"Rats! Vot vill you give me?"

"Vot should I give you?" he asked impatiently.

"Vill you treat?"

"Treat? Ger-rr oyt!" he replied with a sweeping kick at space.

"Den I von't dance."

"Alla right. I'll treat you mit a coupel a waltch."

"Is dot so? You must really tink I am swooning to dance vit you," she
said, dividing the remark between both jargons.

"Look at her, look! she is a _regely_ getzke[4]: one must take off
one's cap to speak to her. Don't you always say you like to _dansh_
with me _becush_ I am a good _dansher_?"

        [4] A crucifix.

"You must tink you are a peach of a dancer, ain' it? Bennie can dance a
---- sight better dan you," she recurred to her English.

"Alla right!" he said tartly. "So you don' vonted?"

"O sugar! He is gettin' mad again. Vell, who is de getzke, me or you?
All right, I'll dance vid de slob. But it's only becuss you ask me,
mind you!" she added fawningly.

"Dot'sh alla right!" he rejoined, with an affectation of gravity,
concealing his triumph. "But you makin' too much fush. I like to shpeak
plain, shee? Dot'sh a kin' a man _I_ am."

The next two waltzes Mamie danced with the ungainly novice, taking
exaggerated pains with him. Then came a lancers, Joe calling out the
successive movements huckster fashion. His command was followed by less
than half of the class, however, for the greater part preferred to
avail themselves of the same music for waltzing. Jake was bent upon
giving Mamie what he called a "sholid good time"; and, as she shared
his view that a square or fancy dance was as flimsy an affair as a
stick of candy, they joined or, rather, led the seceding majority. They
spun along with all-forgetful gusto; every little while he lifted her
on his powerful arm and gave her a "mill," he yelping and she squeaking
for sheer ecstasy, as he did so; and throughout the performance his
face and his whole figure seemed to be exclaiming, "Dot'sh a kin' a man
_I_ am!"

Several waifs stood in a cluster admiring or begrudging the antics of
the star couple. Among these was lanky Miss Jacobs and Fanny the
Preacher, who had shortly before made her appearance in the hall, and
now stood pale and forlorn by the "apron-check" girl's side.

"Look at the way she is stickin' to him!" the little girl observed with
envious venom, her gaze riveted to Mamie, whose shapely head was at
this moment reclining on Jake's shoulders, with her eyes half shut, as
if melting in a transport of bliss.

Fanny felt cut to the quick.

"You are jealous, ain't you?" she jerked out.

"Who, me? Vy should I be jealous?" Miss Jacobs protested, colouring.
"On my part let them both go to ----. _You_ must be jealous. Here,
here! See how your eyes are creeping out looking! Here, here!" she
teased her offender in Yiddish, poking her little finger at her as she
spoke.

"Will you shut your scurvy mouth, little piece of ugliness, you? Such a
piggish apron check!" poor Fanny burst out under breath, tears starting
to her eyes.

"Such a nasty little runt!" another girl chimed in.

"Such a little cricket already knows what 'jealous' is!" a third of the
bystanders put in. "You had better go home or your mamma will give you
a spanking." Whereat the little cricket made a retort, which had better
be left unrecorded.

"To think of a bit of a flea like that having so much _cheek_! Here is
America for you!"

"America for a country and '_dod'll do_' [that'll do] for a language!"
observed one of the young men of the group, indulging one of the
stereotype jokes of the Ghetto.

The passage at arms drew Jake's attention to the little knot of
spectators, and his eye fell on Fanny. Whereupon he summarily
relinquished his partner on the floor, and advanced toward his
shopmate, who, seeing him approach, hastened to retreat to the girls'
bench, where she remained seated with a drooping head.

"Hello, Fanny!" he shouted briskly, coming up in front of her.

"Hello!" she returned rigidly, her eyes fixed on the dirty floor.

"Come, give ush a tvisht, vill you?"

"But you ain't goin' by Joe to-night!" she answered, with a withering
curl of her lip, her glance still on the ground. "Go to your lady,
she'll be mad atch you."

"I didn't vonted to gu here, honesht, Fanny. I o'ly come to tell Jaw
shometin', an' dot'sh ull," he said guiltily.

"Why should you apologize?" she addressed the tip of her shoe in her
mother tongue. "As if he was obliged to apologize to me! _For my part_
you can _dance_ with her day and night. _Vot do I care?_ As if I
_cared_! I have only come to see what a _bluffer_ you are. Do you think
I am a _fool_? As _smart_ as your Mamie, _anyvay_. As if I had not
known he wanted to make me stay at home! What are you afraid of? Am I
in your way then? As if I was in his way! What business have I to be in
your way? Who is in your way?"

While she was thus speaking in her voluble, querulous, harassing
manner, Jake stood with his hands in his trousers' pockets, in an
attitude of mock attention. Then, suddenly losing patience, he said:

"_Dot'sh alla right!_ You will finish your sermon afterward. And in the
meantime _lesh have a valtz_ from the land of _valtzes_!" With which he
forcibly dragged her off her seat, catching her round the waist.

"But I don't need it, I don't wish it! Go to your Mamie!" she
protested, struggling. "I tell you I don't need it, I don't----" The
rest of the sentence was choked off by her violent breathing; for by
this time she was spinning with Jake like a top. After another moment's
pretense at struggling to free herself she succumbed, and presently
clung to her partner, the picture of triumph and beatitude.

Meanwhile Mamie had walked up to Joe's side, and without much
difficulty caused him to abandon the lancers party to themselves, and
to resume with her the waltz which Jake had so abruptly broken off.

In the course of the following intermission she diplomatically seated
herself beside her rival, and paraded her tranquillity of mind by
accosting her with a question on shop matters. Fanny was not blind to
the manoeuvre, but her exultation was all the greater for it, and she
participated in the ensuing conversation with exuberant geniality.

By-and-bye they were joined by Jake.

"Vell, vill you treat, Jake?" said Mamie.

"Vot you vant, a kish?" he replied, putting his offer in action as well
as in language.

Mamie slapped his arm.

"May the Angel of Death kiss you!" said her lips in Yiddish. "Try
again!" her glowing face overruled them in a dialect of its own.

Fanny laughed.

"Once I am _treating_, both _ladas_ must be _treated_ alike, _ain'
it_?" remarked the gallant, and again he proved himself as good as his
word, although Fanny struggled with greater energy and ostensibly with
more real indignation.

"But vy don't you treat, you stingy loafer you?"

"Vot elsh you vant? A peench?" He was again on the point of suiting the
action to the word, but Mamie contrived to repay the pinch before she
had received it, and added a generous piece of profanity into the
bargain. Whereupon there ensued a scuffle of a character which defies
description in more senses than one.

Nevertheless Jake marched his two "ladas" up to the marble fountain,
and regaled them with two cents' worth of soda each.

An hour or so later, when Jake got out into the street, his breast
pocket was loaded with a fresh batch of "Professor Peltner's Grand
Annual Ball" tickets, and his two arms--with Mamie and Fanny
respectively.

"As soon as I get my wages I'll call on the installment agent and give
him a deposit for a steamship ticket," presently glimmered through his
mind, as he adjusted his hold upon the two girls, snugly gathering them
to his sides.



CHAPTER III.

IN THE GRIP OF HIS PAST.


Jake had never even vaguely abandoned the idea of supplying his wife
and child with the means of coming to join him. He was more or less
prompt in remitting her monthly allowance of ten rubles, and the visit
to the draft and passage office had become part of the routine of his
life. It had the invariable effect of arousing his dormant scruples,
and he hardly ever left the office without ascertaining the price of a
steerage voyage from Hamburg to New York. But no sooner did he emerge
from the dingy basement into the noisy scenes of Essex Street, than he
would consciously let his mind wander off to other topics.

Formerly, during the early part of his sojourn in Boston, his landing
place, where some of his townsfolk resided and where he had passed his
first two years in America, he used to mention his Gitl and his Yosselé
so frequently and so enthusiastically, that some wags among the Hanover
Street tailors would sing "Yekl and wife and the baby" to the tune of
Molly and I and the Baby. In the natural course of things, however,
these retrospective effusions gradually became far between, and since
he had shifted his abode to New York he carefully avoided all reference
to his antecedents. The Jewish quarter of the metropolis, which is a
vast and compact city within a city, offers its denizens incomparably
fewer chances of contact with the English-speaking portion of the
population than any of the three separate Ghettos of Boston. As a
consequence, since Jake's advent to New York his passion for American
sport had considerably cooled off. And, to make up for this, his
enthusiastic nature before long found vent in dancing and in a general
life of gallantry. His proved knack with the gentle sex had turned his
head and now cost him all his leisure time. Still, he would
occasionally attend some variety show in which boxing was the main
drawing card, and somehow managed to keep track of the salient events
of the sporting world generally. Judging from his unstaid habits and
happy-go-lucky abandon to the pleasures of life, his present associates
took it for granted that he was single, and instead of twitting him
with the feigned assumption that he had deserted a family--a piece of
burlesque as old as the Ghetto--they would quiz him as to which of his
girls he was "dead struck" on, and as to the day fixed for the wedding.
On more than one such occasion he had on the tip of his tongue the
seemingly jocular question, "How do you know I am not married already?"
But he never let the sentence cross his lips, and would, instead,
observe facetiously that he was not "shtruck on nu goil," and that he
was dead struck on all of them in "whulshale." "I hate retail beesnesh,
shee? Dot'sh a' kin' a man _I_ am!" One day, in the course of an
intimate conversation with Joe, Jake, dropping into a philosophical
mood, remarked:

"It's something like a baker, _ain't it_? The more _cakes_ he has the
less he likes them. You and I have a _lot_ of girls; that's why we
don't _care_ for any one of them."

But if his attachment for the girls of his acquaintance collectively
was not coupled with a quivering of his heart for any individual Mamie,
or Fanny, or Sarah, it did not, on the other hand, preclude a certain
lingering tenderness for his wife. But then his wife had long since
ceased to be what she had been of yore. From a reality she had
gradually become transmuted into a fancy. During the three years since
he had set foot on the soil, where a "shister[5] becomes a mister and a
mister a shister," he had lived so much more than three years--so much
more, in fact, than in all the twenty-two years of his previous
life--that his Russian past appeared to him a dream and his wife and
child, together with his former self, fellow-characters in a charming
tale, which he was neither willing to banish from his memory nor able
to reconcile with the actualities of his American present. The question
of how to effect this reconciliation, and of causing Gitl and little
Yosselé to step out of the thickening haze of reminiscence and to take
their stand by his side as living parts of his daily life, was a
fretful subject from the consideration of which he cowardly shrank. He
wished he could both import his family and continue his present mode of
life. At the bottom of his soul he wondered why this should not be
feasible. But he knew that it was not, and his heart would sink at the
notion of forfeiting the lion's share of attentions for which he came
in at the hands of those who lionized him. Moreover, how will he look
people in the face in view of the lie he has been acting? He longed for
an interminable respite. But as sooner or later the minds of his
acquaintances were bound to become disabused, and he would have to face
it all out anyway, he was many a time on the point of making a clean
breast of it, and failed to do so for a mere lack of nerve, each time
letting himself off on the plea that a week or two before his wife's
arrival would be a more auspicious occasion for the disclosure.

        [5] Yiddish for shoemaker.

Neither Jake nor his wife nor his parents could write even Yiddish,
although both he and his old father read fluently the punctuated Hebrew
of the Old Testament or the Prayer-book. Their correspondence had
therefore to be carried on by proxy, and, as a consequence, at longer
intervals than would have been the case otherwise. The missives which
he received differed materially in length, style, and degree of
illiteracy as well as in point of penmanship; but they all agreed in
containing glowing encomiums of little Yosselé, exhorting Yekl not to
stray from the path of righteousness, and reproachfully asking whether
he ever meant to send the ticket. The latter point had an exasperating
effect on Jake. There were times, however, when it would touch his
heart and elicit from him his threadbare vow to send the ticket at
once. But then he never had money enough to redeem it. And, to tell the
truth, at the bottom of his heart he was at such moments rather glad of
his poverty. At all events, the man who wrote Jake's letters had a
standing order to reply in the sharpest terms at his command that Yekl
did not spend his money on drink; that America was not the land they
took it for, where one could "scoop gold by the skirtful;" that Gitl
need not fear lest he meant to desert her, and that as soon as he had
saved enough to pay her way and to set up a decent establishment she
would be sure to get the ticket.

Jake's scribe was an old Jew who kept a little stand on Pitt Street,
which is one of the thoroughfares and market places of the Galician
quarter of the Ghetto, and where Jake was unlikely to come upon any
people of his acquaintance. The old man scraped together his livelihood
by selling Yiddish newspapers and cigarettes, and writing letters for a
charge varying, according to the length of the epistle, from five to
ten cents. Each time Jake received a letter he would take it to the
Galician, who would first read it to him (for an extra remuneration of
one cent) and then proceed to pen five cents' worth of rhetoric, which
might have been printed and forwarded one copy at a time for all the
additions or alterations Jake ever caused to be made in it.

"What else shall I write?" the old man would ask his patron, after
having written and read aloud the first dozen lines, which Jake had
come to know by heart.

"How do _I_ know?" Jake would respond. "It is you who can write; so you
ought to understand what else to write."

And the scribe would go on to write what he had written on almost every
previous occasion. Jake would keep the letter in his pocket until he
had spare United States money enough to convert into ten rubles, and
then he would betake himself to the draft office and have the amount,
together with the well-crumpled epistle, forwarded to Povodye.

And so it went month in and month out.

The first letter which reached Jake after the scene at Joe Peltner's
dancing academy came so unusually close upon its predecessor that he
received it from his landlady's hand with a throb of misgiving. He had
always laboured under the presentiment that some unknown enemies--for
he had none that he could name--would some day discover his wife's
address and anonymously represent him to her as contemplating another
marriage, in order to bring Gitl down upon him unawares. His first
thought accordingly was that this letter was the outcome of such a
conspiracy. "Or maybe there is some death in the family?" he next
reflected, half with terror and half with a feeling almost amounting to
reassurance.

When the cigarette vender unfolded the letter he found it to be of such
unusual length that he stipulated an additional cent for the reading of
it.

"_Alla right_, hurry up now!" Jake said, grinding his teeth on a
mumbled English oath.

"_Righd evay! Righd evay!_" the old fellow returned jubilantly, as he
hastily adjusted his spectacles and addressed himself to his task.

The letter had evidently been penned by some one laying claim to Hebrew
scholarship and ambitious to impress the New World with it; for it was
quite replete with poetic digressions, strained and twisted to suit
some quotation from the Bible. And what with this unstinted verbosity,
which was Greek to Jake, one or two interruptions by the old man's
customers, and interpretations necessitated by difference of dialect, a
quarter of an hour had elapsed before the scribe realized the trend of
what he was reading.

Then he suddenly gave a start, as if shocked.

"Vot'sh a madder? Vot'sh a madder?"

"_Vot's der madder?_ What should be the _madder_? Wait--a--I don't know
what I can do"--he halted in perplexity.

"Any bad news?" Jake inquired, turning pale. "Speak out!"

"Speak out! It is all very well for you to say 'speak out.' You forget
that one is a piece of Jew," he faltered, hinting at the orthodox
custom which enjoins a child of Israel from being the messenger of sad
tidings.

"Don't _bodder_ a head!" Jake shouted savagely. "I have paid you,
haven't I?"

"_Say_, young man, you need not be so angry," the other said,
resentfully. "Half of the letter I have read, have I not? so I shall
refund you one cent and leave me in peace." He took to fumbling in his
pockets for the coin, with apparent reluctance.

"Tell me what is the matter," Jake entreated, with clinched fists. "Is
anybody dead? Do tell me now."

"_Vell_, since you know it already, I may as well tell you," said the
scribe cunningly, glad to retain the cent and Jake's patronage. "It is
your father who has been freed; may he have a bright paradise."

"Ha?" Jake asked aghast, with a wide gape.

The Galician resumed the reading in solemn, doleful accents. The
melancholy passage was followed by a jeremiade upon the penniless
condition of the family and Jake's duty to send the ticket without
further procrastination. As to his mother, she preferred the Povodye
graveyard to a watery sepulchre, and hoped that her beloved and only
son, the apple of her eye, whom she had been awake nights to bring up
to manhood, and so forth, would not forget her.

"So now they will be here for sure, and there can be no more delay!"
was Jake's first distinct thought. "Poor father!" he inwardly exclaimed
the next moment, with deep anguish. His native home came back to him
with a vividness which it had not had in his mind for a long time.

"Was he an old man?" the scribe queried sympathetically.

"About seventy," Jake answered, bursting into tears.

"Seventy? Then he had lived to a good old age. May no one depart
younger," the old man observed, by way of "consoling the bereaved."

As Jake's tears instantly ran dry he fell to wringing his hands and
moaning.

"Good-night!" he presently said, taking leave. "I'll see you to-morrow,
if God be pleased."

"Good-night!" the scribe returned with heartfelt condolence.

As he was directing his steps to his lodgings Jake wondered why he did
not weep. He felt that this was the proper thing for a man in his
situation to do, and he endeavoured to inspire himself with emotions
befitting the occasion. But his thoughts teasingly gambolled about
among the people and things of the street. By-and-bye, however, he
became sensible of his mental eye being fixed upon the big fleshy mole
on his father's scantily bearded face. He recalled the old man's
carriage, the melancholy nod of his head, his deep sigh upon taking
snuff from the time-honoured birch bark which Jake had known as long as
himself; and his heart writhed with pity and with the acutest pangs of
homesickness. "And it was evening and it was morning, the sixth day.
And the heavens and the earth were finished." As the Hebrew words of
the Sanctification of the Sabbath resounded in Jake's ears, in his
father's senile treble, he could see his gaunt figure swaying over a
pair of Sabbath loaves. It is Friday night. The little room, made tidy
for the day of rest and faintly illuminated by the mysterious light of
two tallow candles rising from freshly burnished candlesticks, is
pervaded by a benign, reposeful warmth and a general air of peace and
solemnity. There, seated by the side of the head of the little family
and within easy reach of the huge brick oven, is his old mother,
flushed with fatigue, and with an effort keeping her drowsy eyes open
to attend, with a devout mien, her husband's prayer. Opposite to her,
by the window, is Yekl, the present Jake, awaiting his turn to chant
the same words in the holy tongue, and impatiently thinking of the
repast to come after it. Besides the three of them there is no one else
in the chamber, for Jake visioned the fascinating scene as he had known
it for almost twenty years, and not as it had appeared during the short
period since the family had been joined by Gitl and subsequently by
Yosselé.

Suddenly he felt himself a child, the only and pampered son of a doting
mother. He was overcome with a heart-wringing consciousness of being an
orphan, and his soul was filled with a keen sense of desolation and
self-pity. And thereupon everything around him--the rows of gigantic
tenement houses, the hum and buzz of the scurrying pedestrians, the
jingling horse cars--all suddenly grew alien and incomprehensible to
Jake. Ah, if he could return to his old home and old days, and have his
father recite Sanctification again, and sit by his side, opposite to
mother, and receive from her hand a plate of reeking _tzimess_,[6] as
of yore! Poor mother! He _will_ not forget her--But what is the Italian
playing on that organ, anyhow? Ah, it is the new waltz! By the way,
this is Monday and they are dancing at Joe's now and he is not there.
"I shall not go there to-night, nor any other night," he commiserated
himself, his reveries for the first time since he had left the Pitt
Street cigarette stand passing to his wife and child. Her image now
stood out in high relief with the multitudinous noisy scene at Joe's
academy for a discordant, disquieting background, amid which there
vaguely defined itself the reproachful saintlike visage of the
deceased. "I will begin a new life!" he vowed to himself.

        [6] A kind of dessert made of carrots or turnips.

He strove to remember the child's features, but could only muster the
faintest recollection--scarcely anything beyond a general symbol--a red
little thing smiling, as he, Jake, tickles it under its tiny chin. Yet
Jake's finger at this moment seemed to feel the soft touch of that
little chin, and it sent through him a thrill of fatherly affection to
which he had long been a stranger. Gitl, on the other hand, loomed up
in all the individual sweetness of her rustic face. He beheld her
kindly mouth opening wide--rather too wide, but all the lovelier for
it--as she spoke; her prominent red gums, her little black eyes. He
could distinctly hear her voice with her peculiar lisp, as one summer
morning she had burst into the house and, clapping her hands in
despair, she had cried, "A weeping to me! The yellow rooster is gone!"
or, as coming into the smithy she would say: "Father-in-law,
mother-in-law calls you to dinner. Hurry up, Yekl, dinner is ready."
And although this was all he could recall her saying, Jake thought
himself retentive of every word she had ever uttered in his presence.
His heart went out to Gitl and her environment, and he was seized with
a yearning tenderness that made him feel like crying. "I would not
exchange her little finger for all the American _ladas_," he
soliloquized, comparing Gitl in his mind with the dancing-school girls
of his circle. It now filled him with disgust to think of the morals of
some of them, although it was from his own sinful experience that he
knew them to be of a rather loose character.

He reached his lodgings in a devout mood, and before going to bed he
was about to say his prayers. Not having said them for nearly three
years, however, he found, to his dismay, that he could no longer do it
by heart. His landlady had a prayer-book, but, unfortunately, she kept
it locked in the bureau, and she was now asleep, as was everybody else
in the house. Jake reluctantly undressed and went to bed on the kitchen
lounge, where he usually slept.

When a boy his mother had taught him to believe that to go to sleep at
night without having recited the bed prayer rendered one liable to be
visited and choked in bed by some ghost. Later, when he had grown up,
and yet before he had left his birthplace, he had come to set down this
earnest belief of his good old mother as a piece of womanish
superstition, while since he had settled in America he had hardly ever
had an occasion to so much as think of bed prayers. Nevertheless, as he
now lay vaguely listening to the weird ticking of the clock on the
mantelpiece over the stove, and at the same time desultorily brooding
upon his father's death, the old belief suddenly uprose in his mind and
filled him with mortal terror. He tried to persuade himself that it was
a silly notion worthy of womenfolk, and even affected to laugh at it
audibly. But all in vain. "Cho-king! Cho-king! Cho-king!" went the
clock, and the form of a man in white burial clothes never ceased
gleaming in his face. He resolutely turned to the wall, and, pulling
the blanket over his head, he huddled himself snugly up for
instantaneous sleep. But presently he felt the cold grip of a pair of
hands about his throat, and he even mentally stuck out his tongue, as
one does while being strangled.

With a fast-beating heart Jake finally jumped off the lounge, and
gently knocked at the door of his landlady's bedroom.

"_Eshcoosh me, mishesh_, be so kind as to lend me your prayer-book. I
want to say the night prayer," he addressed her imploringly.

The old woman took it for a cruel practical joke, and flew into a
passion.

"Are you crazy or drunk? A nice time to make fun!"

And it was not until he had said with suppliant vehemence, "May I as
surely be alive as my father is dead!" and she had subjected him to a
cross-examination, that she expressed sympathy and went to produce the
keys.



CHAPTER IV.

THE MEETING.


A few weeks later, on a Saturday morning, Jake, with an unfolded
telegram in his hand, stood in front of one of the desks at the
Immigration Bureau of Ellis Island. He was freshly shaven and clipped,
smartly dressed in his best clothes and ball shoes, and, in spite of
the sickly expression of shamefacedness and anxiety which distorted his
features, he looked younger than usual.

All the way to the island he had been in a flurry of joyous
anticipation. The prospect of meeting his dear wife and child, and,
incidentally, of showing off his swell attire to her, had thrown him
into a fever of impatience. But on entering the big shed he had caught
a distant glimpse of Gitl and Yosselé through the railing separating
the detained immigrants from their visitors, and his heart had sunk at
the sight of his wife's uncouth and un-American appearance. She was
slovenly dressed in a brown jacket and skirt of grotesque cut, and her
hair was concealed under a voluminous wig of a pitch-black hue. This
she had put on just before leaving the steamer, both "in honour of the
Sabbath" and by way of sprucing herself up for the great event. Since
Yekl had left home she had gained considerably in the measurement of
her waist. The wig, however, made her seem stouter and as though
shorter than she would have appeared without it. It also added at least
five years to her looks. But she was aware neither of this nor of the
fact that in New York even a Jewess of her station and orthodox
breeding is accustomed to blink at the wickedness of displaying her
natural hair, and that none but an elderly matron may wear a wig
without being the occasional target for snowballs or stones. She was
naturally dark of complexion, and the nine or ten days spent at sea had
covered her face with a deep bronze, which combined with her prominent
cheek bones, inky little eyes, and, above all, the smooth black wig, to
lend her resemblance to a squaw.

Jake had no sooner caught sight of her than he had averted his face, as
if loth to rest his eyes on her, in the presence of the surging crowd
around him, before it was inevitable. He dared not even survey that
crowd to see whether it contained any acquaintance of his, and he
vaguely wished that her release were delayed indefinitely.

Presently the officer behind the desk took the telegram from him, and
in another little while Gitl, hugging Yosselé with one arm and a
bulging parcel with the other, emerged from a side door.

"Yekl!" she screamed out in a piteous high key, as if crying for mercy.

"Dot'sh alla right!" he returned in English, with a wan smile and
unconscious of what he was saying. His wandering eyes and dazed mind
were striving to fix themselves upon the stern functionary and the
questions he bethought himself of asking before finally releasing his
prisoners. The contrast between Gitl and Jake was so striking that the
officer wanted to make sure--partly as a matter of official duty and
partly for the fun of the thing--that the two were actually man and
wife.

"_Oi_ a lamentation upon me! He shaves his beard!" Gitl ejaculated to
herself as she scrutinized her husband. "Yosselé, look! Here is
_taté_!"

But Yosselé did not care to look at taté. Instead, he turned his
frightened little eyes--precise copies of Jake's--and buried them in
his mother's cheek.

When Gitl was finally discharged she made to fling herself on Jake. But
he checked her by seizing both loads from her arms. He started for a
distant and deserted corner of the room, bidding her follow. For a
moment the boy looked stunned, then he burst out crying and fell to
kicking his father's chest with might and main, his reddened little
face appealingly turned to Gitl. Jake continuing his way tried to kiss
his son into toleration, but the little fellow proved too nimble for
him. It was in vain that Gitl, scurrying behind, kept expostulating
with Yosselé: "Why, it is taté!" Taté was forced to capitulate before
the march was brought to its end.

At length, when the secluded corner had been reached, and Jake and Gitl
had set down their burdens, husband and wife flew into mutual embrace
and fell to kissing each other. The performance had an effect of
something done to order, which, it must be owned, was far from being
belied by the state of their minds at the moment. Their kisses imparted
the taste of mutual estrangement to both. In Jake's case the sensation
was quickened by the strong steerage odours which were emitted by
Gitl's person, and he involuntarily recoiled.

"You look like a _poritz_,"[7] she said shyly.

        [7] Yiddish for nobleman.

"How are you? How is mother?"

"How should she be? So, so. She sends you her love," Gitl mumbled out.

"How long was father ill?"

"Maybe a month. He cost us health enough."

He proceeded to make advances to Yosselé, she appealing to the child in
his behalf. For a moment the sight of her, as they were both crouching
before the boy, precipitated a wave of thrilling memories on Jake and
made him feel in his old environment. Presently, however, the illusion
took wing and here he was, Jake the Yankee, with this bonnetless,
wigged, dowdyish little greenhorn by his side! That she was his wife,
nay, that he was a married man at all, seemed incredible to him. The
sturdy, thriving urchin had at first inspired him with pride; but as he
now cast another side glance at Gitl's wig he lost all interest in him,
and began to regard him, together with his mother, as one great
obstacle dropped from heaven, as it were, in his way.

Gitl, on her part, was overcome with a feeling akin to awe. She, too,
could not get herself to realize that this stylish young man--shaved
and dressed as in Povodye is only some young nobleman--was Yekl, her
own Yekl, who had all these three years never been absent from her
mind. And while she was once more examining Jake's blue diagonal
cutaway, glossy stand-up collar, the white four-in-hand necktie,
coquettishly tucked away in the bosom of his starched shirt, and, above
all, his patent leather shoes, she was at the same time mentally
scanning the Yekl of three years before. The latter alone was hers, and
she felt like crying to the image to come back to her and let her be
_his_ wife.

Presently, when they had got up and Jake was plying her with
perfunctory questions, she chanced to recognise a certain movement of
his upper lip--an old trick of his. It was as if she had suddenly
discovered her own Yekl in an apparent stranger, and, with another
pitiful outcry, she fell on his breast.

"Don't!" he said, with patient gentleness, pushing away her arms. "Here
everything is so different."

She coloured deeply.

"They don't wear wigs here," he ventured to add.

"What then?" she asked, perplexedly.

"You will see. It is quite another world."

"Shall I take it off, then? I have a nice Saturday kerchief," she
faltered. "It is of silk--I bought it at Kalmen's for a bargain. It is
still brand new."

"Here one does not wear even a kerchief."

"How then? Do they go about with their own hair?" she queried in
ill-disguised bewilderment.

"_Vell, alla right_, put it on, quick!"

As she set about undoing her parcel, she bade him face about and screen
her, so that neither he nor any stranger could see her bareheaded while
she was replacing the wig by the kerchief. He obeyed. All the while the
operation lasted he stood with his gaze on the floor, gnashing his
teeth with disgust and shame, or hissing some Bowery oath.

"Is this better?" she asked bashfully, when her hair and part of her
forehead were hidden under a kerchief of flaming blue and yellow, whose
end dangled down her back.

The kerchief had a rejuvenating effect. But Jake thought that it made
her look like an Italian woman of Mulberry Street on Sunday.

"_Alla right_, leave it be for the present," he said in despair,
reflecting that the wig would have been the lesser evil of the two.

                 *       *       *       *       *

When they reached the city Gitl was shocked to see him lead the way to
a horse car.

"_Oi_ woe is me! Why, it is Sabbath!" she gasped.

He irately essayed to explain that a car, being an uncommon sort of
vehicle, riding in it implied no violation of the holy day. But this
she sturdily met by reference to railroads. Besides, she had seen horse
cars while stopping in Hamburg, and knew that no orthodox Jew would use
them on the seventh day. At length Jake, losing all self-control,
fiercely commanded her not to make him the laughing-stock of the people
on the street and to get in without further ado. As to the sin of the
matter he was willing to take it all upon himself. Completely dismayed
by his stern manner, amid the strange, uproarious, forbidding
surroundings, Gitl yielded.

As the horses started she uttered a groan of consternation and remained
looking aghast and with a violently throbbing heart. If she had been a
culprit on the way to the gallows she could not have been more
terrified than she was now at this her first ride on the day of rest.

The conductor came up for their fares. Jake handed him a ten-cent
piece, and raising two fingers, he roared out: "Two! He ain' no maur as
tree years, de liddle feller!" And so great was the impression which
his dashing manner and his English produced on Gitl, that for some time
it relieved her mind and she even forgot to be shocked by the sight of
her husband handling coin on the Sabbath.

Having thus paraded himself before his wife, Jake all at once grew
kindly disposed toward her.

"You must be hungry?" he asked.

"Not at all! Where do you eat your _varimess_?"[8]

        [8] Yiddish for dinner.

"Don't say varimess," he corrected her complaisantly; "here it is
called _dinner_!"

"_Dinner?_[9] And what if one becomes fatter?" she confusedly ventured
an irresistible pun.

        [9] Yiddish for thinner.

This was the way in which Gitl came to receive her first lesson in the
five or six score English words and phrases which the omnivorous Jewish
jargon has absorbed in the Ghettos of English-speaking countries.



CHAPTER V.

A PATERFAMILIAS.


It was early in the afternoon of Gitl's second Wednesday in the New
World. Jake, Bernstein and Charley, their two boarders, were at work.
Yosselé was sound asleep in the lodgers' double bed, in the smallest of
the three tiny rooms which the family rented on the second floor of one
of a row of brand-new tenement houses. Gitl was by herself in the
little front room which served the quadruple purpose of kitchen, dining
room, sitting room, and parlour. She wore a skirt and a loose jacket of
white Russian calico, decorated with huge gay figures, and her dark
hair was only half covered by a bandana of red and yellow. This was
Gitl's compromise between her conscience and her husband. She panted to
yield to Jake's demands completely, but could not nerve herself up to
going about "in her own hair, like a Gentile woman." Even the
expostulations of Mrs. Kavarsky--the childless middle-aged woman who
occupied with her husband the three rooms across the narrow
hallway--failed to prevail upon her. Nevertheless Jake, succumbing to
Mrs. Kavarsky's annoying solicitations, had bought his wife a cheap
high-crowned hat, utterly unfit to be worn over her voluminous wig, and
even a corset. Gitl could not be coaxed into accompanying them to the
store; but the eloquent neighbour had persuaded Jake that her presence
at the transaction was not indispensable after all.

"Leave it to me," she said; "I know what will become her and what
won't. I'll get her a hat that will make a Fifth Avenue lady of her,
and you shall see if she does not give in. If she is then not
_satetzfiet_ to go with her own hair, _vell_!" What then would take
place Mrs. Kavarsky left unsaid.

The hat and the corset had been lying in the house now three days, and
the neighbour's predictions had not yet come true, save for Gitl's
prying once or twice into the pasteboard boxes in which those articles
lay, otherwise unmolested, on the shelf over her bed.

The door was open. Gitl stood toying with the knob of the electric
bell, and deriving much delight from the way the street door latch kept
clicking under her magic touch two flights above. Finally she wearied
of her diversion, and shutting the door she went to take a look at
Yosselé. She found him fast asleep, and, as she was retracing her steps
through her own and Jake's bedroom, her eye fell upon the paper boxes.
She got up on the edge of her bed and, lifting the cover from the
hatbox, she took a prolonged look at its contents. All at once her face
brightened up with temptation. She went to fasten the hallway door of
the kitchen on its latch, and then regaining the bedroom shut herself
in. After a lapse of some ten or fifteen minutes she re-emerged,
attired in her brown holiday dress in which she had first confronted
Jake on Ellis Island, and with the tall black straw hat on her head.
Walking on tiptoe, as though about to commit a crime, she crossed over
to the looking-glass. Then she paused, her eyes on the door, to listen
for possible footsteps. Hearing none she faced the glass. "Quite a
_panenke_!"[10] she thought to herself, all aglow with excitement, a
smile, at once shamefaced and beatific, melting her features. She
turned to the right, then to the left, to view herself in profile, as
she had seen Mrs. Kavarsky do, and drew back a step to ascertain the
effect of the corset. To tell the truth, the corset proved utterly
impotent against the baggy shapelessness of the Povodye garment. Yet
Gitl found it to work wonders, and readily pardoned it for the very
uncomfortable sensation which it caused her. She viewed herself again
and again, and was in a flutter both of ecstasy and alarm when there
came a timid rap on the door. Trembling all over, she scampered on
tiptoe back into the bedroom, and after a little she returned in her
calico dress and bandana kerchief. The knock at the door had apparently
been produced by some peddler or beggar, for it was not repeated. Yet
so violent was Gitl's agitation that she had to sit down on the
haircloth lounge for breath and to regain composure.

        [10] A young noblewoman.

"What is it they call this?" she presently asked herself, gazing at
the bare boards of the floor. "Floor!" she recalled, much to her
self-satisfaction. "And that?" she further examined herself, as she
fixed her glance on the ceiling. This time the answer was slow in
coming, and her heart grew faint. "And what was it Yekl called
that?"--transferring her eyes to the window. "Veen--neev--veenda," she
at last uttered exultantly. The evening before she had happened to call
it _fentzter_, in spite of Jake's repeated corrections.

"Can't you say _veenda_?" he had growled. "What a peasant head! Other
_greenhornsh_ learn to speak American _shtyle_ very fast; and she--one
might tell her the same word eighty thousand times, and it is _nu
used_."

"_Es is of'n veenda mein ich_,"[11] she hastened to set herself right.

        [11] It is on the window, I meant to say.

She blushed as she said it, but at the moment she attached no
importance to the matter and took no more notice of it. Now, however,
Jake's tone of voice, as he had rebuked her backwardness in picking up
American Yiddish, came back to her and she grew dejected.

She was getting used to her husband, in whom her own Yekl and Jake the
stranger were by degrees merging themselves into one undivided being.
When the hour of his coming from work drew near she would every little
while consult the clock and become impatient with the slow progress of
its hands; although mixed with this impatience there was a feeling of
apprehension lest the supper, prepared as it was under culinary
conditions entirely new to her, should fail to please Jake and the
boarders. She had even become accustomed to address her husband as Jake
without reddening in the face; and, what is more, was getting to
tolerate herself being called by him Goitie (Gertie)--a word
phonetically akin to Yiddish for Gentile. For the rest she was too
inexperienced and too simple-hearted naturally to comment upon his
manner toward her. She had not altogether overcome her awe of him, but
as he showed her occasional marks of kindness she was upon the whole
rather content with her new situation. Now, however, as she thus sat in
solitude, with his harsh voice ringing in her ears and his icy look
before her, a feeling of suspicion darkened her soul. She recalled
other scenes where he had looked and spoken as he had done the night
before. "He must hate me! A pain upon me!" she concluded with a fallen
heart. She wondered whether his demeanour toward her was like that of
other people who hated their wives. She remembered a woman of her
native village who was known to be thus afflicted, and she dropped her
head in a fit of despair. At one moment she took a firm resolve to
pluck up courage and cast away the kerchief and the wig; but at the
next she reflected that God would be sure to punish her for the
terrible sin, so that instead of winning Jake's love the change would
increase his hatred for her. It flashed upon her mind to call upon some
"good Jew" to pray for the return of his favour, or to seek some old
Polish beggar woman who could prescribe a love potion. But then, alas!
who knows whether there are in this terrible America any good Jews or
beggar women with love potions at all! Better she had never known this
"black year" of a country! Here everybody says she is green. What an
ugly word to apply to people! She had never been green at home, and
here she had suddenly become so. What do they mean by it, anyhow?
Verily, one might turn green and yellow and gray while young in such a
dreadful place. Her heart was wrung with the most excruciating pangs of
homesickness. And as she thus sat brooding and listlessly surveying her
new surroundings--the iron stove, the stationary washtubs, the window
opening vertically, the fire escape, the yellowish broom with its
painted handle--things which she had never dreamed of at her
birthplace--these objects seemed to stare at her haughtily and inspired
her with fright. Even the burnished cup of the electric bell knob
looked contemptuously and seemed to call her "Greenhorn! greenhorn!"
"Lord of the world! Where am I?" she whispered with tears in her voice.

The dreary solitude terrified her, and she instinctively rose to take
refuge at Yosselé's bedside. As she got up, a vague doubt came over her
whether she should find there her child at all. But Yosselé was found
safe and sound enough. He was rubbing his eyes and announcing the
advent of his famous appetite. She seized him in her arms and covered
his warm cheeks with fervent kisses which did her aching heart good.
And by-and-bye, as she admiringly watched the boy making savage inroads
into a generous slice of rye bread, she thought of Jake's affection for
the child; whereupon things began to assume a brighter aspect, and she
presently set about preparing supper with a lighter heart, although her
countenance for some time retained its mournful woe-begone expression.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile Jake sat at his machine merrily pushing away at a cloak and
singing to it some of the popular American songs of the day.

The sensation caused by the arrival of his wife and child had nearly
blown over. Peltner's dancing school he had not visited since a week or
two previous to Gitl's landing. As to the scene which had greeted him
in the shop after the stirring news had first reached it, he had faced
it out with much more courage and got over it with much less difficulty
than he had anticipated.

"Did I ever tell you I was a _tzingle man_?" he laughingly defended
himself, though blushing crimson, against his shopmates' taunts. "And
am I obliged to give you a _report_ whether my wife has come or not?
You are not worth mentioning her name to, _anyhoy_."

The boss then suggested that Jake celebrate the event with two pints of
beer, the motion being seconded by the presser, who volunteered to
fetch the beverage. Jake obeyed with alacrity, and if there had still
lingered any trace of awkwardness in his position it was soon washed
away by the foaming liquid.

As a matter of fact, Fanny's embarrassment was much greater than
Jake's. The stupefying news was broken to her on the very day of Gitl's
arrival. After passing a sleepless night she felt that she could not
bring herself to face Jake in the presence of her other shopmates, to
whom her feelings for him were an open secret. As luck would have it,
it was Sunday, the beginning of a new working week in the metropolitan
Ghetto, and she went to look for a job in another place.

Jake at once congratulated himself upon her absence and missed her. But
then he equally missed the company of Mamie and of all the other
dancing-school girls, whose society and attentions now more than ever
seemed to him necessities of his life. They haunted his mind day and
night; he almost never beheld them in his imagination except as
clustering together with his fellow-cavaliers and making merry over him
and his wife; and the vision pierced his heart with shame and jealousy.
All his achievements seemed wiped out by a sudden stroke of ill fate.
He thought himself a martyr, an innocent exile from a world to which he
belonged by right; and he frequently felt the sobs of self-pity
mounting to his throat. For several minutes at a time, while kicking at
his treadle, he would see, reddening before him, Gitl's bandana
kerchief and her prominent gums, or hear an un-American piece of
Yiddish pronounced with Gitl's peculiar lisp--that very lisp, which
three years ago he used to mimic fondly, but which now grated on his
nerves and was apt to make his face twitch with sheer disgust, insomuch
that he often found a vicious relief in mocking that lisp of hers
audibly over his work. But can it be that he is doomed for life? No!
no! he would revolt, conscious at the same time that there was really
no escape. "Ah, may she be killed, the horrid greenhorn!" he would gasp
to himself in a paroxysm of despair. And then he would bewail his lost
youth, and curse all Russia for his premature marriage. Presently,
however, he would recall the plump, spunky face of his son who bore
such close resemblance to himself, to whom he was growing more strongly
attached every day, and who was getting to prefer his company to his
mother's; and thereupon his heart would soften toward Gitl, and he
would gradually feel the qualms of pity and remorse, and make a vow to
treat her kindly. "Never min'," he would at such instances say in his
heart, "she will _oyshgreen_[12] herself and I shall get used to her.
She is a ---- _shight_ better than all the dancing-school girls." And
he would inspire himself with respect for her spotless purity, and take
comfort in the fact of her being a model housewife, undiverted from her
duties by any thoughts of balls or picnics. And despite a deeper
consciousness which exposed his readiness to sacrifice it all at any
time, he would work himself into a dignified feeling as the head of a
household and the father of a promising son, and soothe himself with
the additional consolation that sooner or later the other fellows of
Joe's academy would also be married.

        [12] A verb coined from the Yiddish _oys_, out, and the
        English _green_, and signifying to cease being green.

On the Wednesday in question Jake and his shopmates had warded off a
reduction of wages by threatening a strike, and were accordingly in
high feather. And so Jake and Bernstein came home in unusually good
spirits. Little Joey--for such was Yosselé's name now--with whom his
father's plays were for the most part of an athletic character,
welcomed Jake by a challenge for a pugilistic encounter, and the way he
said "Coom a fight!" and held out his little fists so delighted Mr.
Podkovnik, Sr., that upon ordering Gitl to serve supper he vouchsafed a
fillip on the tip of her nose.

While she was hurriedly setting the table, Jake took to describing to
Charley his employer's defeat. "You should have seen how he looked, the
cockroach!" he said. "He became as pale as the wall and his teeth were
chattering as if he had been shaken up with fever, _'pon my void_. And
how quiet he became all of a sudden, as if he could not count two! One
might apply him to an ulcer, so soft was he--ha-ha-ha!" he laughed,
looking to Bernstein, who smiled assent.

At last supper was announced. Bernstein donned his hat, and did not sit
down to the repast before he had performed his ablutions and whispered
a short prayer. As he did so Jake and Charley interchanged a wink. As
to themselves, they dispensed with all devotional preliminaries, and
took their seats with uncovered heads. Gitl also washed her fingers and
said the prayer, and as she handed Yosselé his first slice of bread she
did not release it before he had recited the benediction.

Bernstein, who, as a rule, looked daggers at his meal, this time
received his plate of _borshtch_[13]--his favourite dish--with a
radiant face; and as he ate he pronounced it a masterpiece, and
lavished compliments on the artist.

        [13] A sour soup of cabbage and beets.

"It's a long time since I tasted such a borshtch! Simply a vivifier! It
melts in every limb!" he kept rhapsodizing, between mouthfuls. "It
ought to be sent to the Chicago Exposition. The _missess_ would get a
medal."

"A _regely_ European borshtch!" Charley chimed in. "It is worth ten
cents a spoonful, _'pon mine vort_!"

"Go away! You are only making fun of me," Gitl declared, beaming with
pride. "What is there to be laughing at? I make it as well as I can,"
she added demurely.

"Let him who is laughing laugh with teeth," jested Charlie. "I tell you
it is a----" The remainder of the sentence was submerged in a mouthful
of the vivifying semi-liquid.

"_Alla right!_" Jake bethought himself. "_Charge_ him ten _shent_ for
each spoonful. Mr. Bernstein, you shall be kind enough to be the
_bookkeeper_. But if you don't pay, Chollie, I'll get out a _tzommesh_
[summons] from _court_."

Whereat the little kitchen rang with laughter, in which all
participated except Bernstein. Even Joey, or Yosselé, joined in the
general outburst of merriment. Otherwise he was busily engaged cramming
borshtch into his mouth, and, in passing, also into his nose, with both
his plump hands for a pair of spoons. From time to time he would
interrupt operations to make a wry face and, blinking his eyes, to lisp
out rapturously, "Sour!"

"Look--may you live long--do look; he is laughing, too!" Gitl called
attention to Yosselé's bespattered face. "To think of such a crumb
having as much sense as that!" She was positive that he appreciated his
father's witticism, although she herself understood it but vaguely.

"May he know evil no better than he knows what he is laughing at," Jake
objected, with a fatherly mien. "What makes you laugh, Joey?" The boy
had no time to spare for an answer, being too busy licking his emptied
plate. "Look at the soldier's appetite he has, _de feller_! Joey, hoy
you like de borshtch? Alla right?" Jake asked in English.

"Awrr-ra rr-right!" Joey pealed out his sturdy rustic r's, which he had
mastered shortly before taking leave of his doting grandmother.

"See how well he speaks English?" Jake said, facetiously. "A ----
_shight_ better than his mamma, _anyvay_."

Gitl, who was in the meantime serving the meat, coloured, but took the
remark in good part.

"_I tell ye_ he is growing to be Presdent 'Nited States," Charlie
interposed.

"_Greenhorn_ that you are! A President must be American born," Jake
explained, self-consciously. "Ain't it, Mr. Bernstein?"

"It's a pity, then, that he was not born in this country," Bernstein
replied, his eye envyingly fixed now on Gitl, now at the child, on
whose plate she was at this moment carving a piece of meat into tiny
morsels. "_Vell_, if he cannot be a President of the United States, he
may be one of a synagogue, so he is a president."

"Don't you worry for his sake," Gitl put in, delighted with the
attention her son was absorbing. "He does not need to be a pesdent; he
is growing to be a rabbi; don't be making fun of him." And she turned
her head to kiss the future rabbi.

"Who is making fun?" Bernstein demurred. "I wish I had a boy like him."

"Get married and you will have one," said Gitl, beamingly.

"_Shay_, Mr. Bernstein, how about your _shadchen_?"[14] Jake queried.
He gave a laugh, but forthwith checked it, remaining with an
embarrassed grin on his face, as though anxious to swallow the
question. Bernstein blushed to the roots of his hair, and bent an irate
glance on his plate, but held his peace.

        [14] A matrimonial agent.

His reserved manner, if not his superior education, held Bernstein's
shopmates at a respectful distance from him, and, as a rule, rendered
him proof against their badinage, although behind his back they would
indulge an occasional joke on his inferiority as a workman, and--while
they were at it--on his dyspepsia, his books, and staid, methodical
habits. Recently, however, they had got wind of his clandestine visits
to a marriage broker's, and the temptation to chaff him on the subject
had proved resistless, all the more so because Bernstein, whose leading
foible was his well-controlled vanity, was quick to take offence in
general, and on this matter in particular. As to Jake, he was by no
means averse to having a laugh at somebody else's expense; but since
Bernstein had become his boarder he felt that he could not afford to
wound his pride. Hence his regret and anxiety at his allusion to the
matrimonial agent.

After supper Charlie went out for the evening, while Bernstein retired
to their little bedroom. Gitl busied herself with the dishes, and Jake
took to romping about with Joey and had a hearty laugh with him. He was
beginning to tire of the boy's company and to feel lonesome generally,
when there was a knock at the door.

"Coom in!" Gitl hastened to say somewhat coquettishly, flourishing her
proficiency in American manners, as she raised her head from the pot in
her hands.

"Coom in!" repeated Joey.

The door flew open, and in came Mamie, preceded by a cloud of cologne
odours. She was apparently dressed for some occasion of state, for she
was powdered and straight-laced and resplendent in a waist of blazing
red, gaudily trimmed, and with puff sleeves, each wider than the vast
expanse of white straw, surmounted with a whole forest of ostrich
feathers, which adorned her head. One of her gloved hands held the huge
hoop-shaped yellowish handle of a blue parasol.

"Good-evenin', Jake!" she said, with ostentatious vivacity.

"Good-evenin', Mamie!" Jake returned, jumping to his feet and violently
reddening, as if suddenly pricked. "Mish Fein, my vife! My vife, Mish
Fein!"

Miss Fein made a stately bow, primly biting her lip as she did so.
Gitl, with the pot in her hands, stood staring sheepishly, at a loss
what to do.

"Say 'I'm glyad to meech you,'" Jake urged her, confusedly.

The English phrase was more than Gitl could venture to echo.

"She is still _green_," Jake apologized for her, in Yiddish.

"_Never min'_, she will soon _oysgreen_ herself," Mamie remarked, with
patronizing affability.

"The _lada_ is an acquaintance of mine," Jake explained bashfully, his
hand feeling the few days' growth of beard on his chin.

Gitl instinctively scented an enemy in the visitor, and eyed her with
an uneasy gaze. Nevertheless she mustered a hospitable air, and drawing
up the rocking chair, she said, with shamefaced cordiality: "Sit down;
why should you be standing? You may be seated for the same money."

In the conversation which followed Mamie did most of the talking. With
a nervous volubility often broken by an irrelevant giggle, and
violently rocking with her chair, she expatiated on the charms of
America, prophesying that her hostess would bless the day of her
arrival on its soil, and went off in ecstasies over Joey. She spoke
with an overdone American accent in the dialect of the Polish Jews,
affectedly Germanized and profusely interspersed with English, so that
Gitl, whose mother tongue was Lithuanian Yiddish, could scarcely catch
the meaning of one half of her flood of garrulity. And as she thus
rattled on, she now examined the room, now surveyed Gitl from head to
foot, now fixed her with a look of studied sarcasm, followed by a side
glance at Jake, which seemed to say, "Woe to you, what a rag of a wife
yours is!" Whenever Gitl ventured a timid remark, Mamie would nod
assent with dignified amiability, and thereupon imitate a smile, broad
yet fleeting, which she had seen performed by some uptown ladies.

Jake stared at the lamp with a faint simper, scarcely following the
caller's words. His head swam with embarrassment. The consciousness of
Gitl's unattractive appearance made him sick with shame and vexation,
and his eyes carefully avoided her bandana, as a culprit schoolboy does
the evidence of his offence.

"You mush vant you tventy-fife dollars," he presently nerved himself up
to say in English, breaking an awkward pause.

"I should cough!" Mamie rejoined.

"In a coupel a veeksh, Mamie, as sure as my name is Jake."

"In a couple o' veeks! No, sirree! I mus' have my money at oncet. I
don' know vere you vill get it, dough. Vy, a married man!"--with a
chuckle. "You got a ---- of a lot o' t'ings to pay for. You took de
foinitsha by a custom peddler, ain' it? But what a ---- do _I_ care? I
vant my money. I voiked hard enough for it."

"Don' shpeak English. She'll t'ink I don' knu vot ve shpeakin'," he
besought her, in accents which implied intimacy between the two of them
and a common aloofness from Gitl.

"Vot d'I care vot she t'inks? She's your vife, ain' it? Vell, she mus'
know ev'ryt'ing. Dot's right! A husban' dass'n't hide not'ink from his
vife!"--with another chuckle and another look of deadly sarcasm at Gitl
"I can say de same in Jewish----"

"Shurr-r up, Mamie!" he interrupted her, gaspingly.

"Don'tch you like it, lump it! A vife mus'n't be skinned like a strange
lady, see?" she pursued inexorably. "O'ly a strange goil a feller might
bluff dot he ain' married, and skin her out of tventy-five dollars." In
point of fact, he had never directly given himself out for a single man
to her. But it did not even occur to him to defend himself on that
score.

"Mamie! Ma-a-mie! Shtop! I'll pay you ev'ry shent. Shpeak Jewesh,
pleashe!" he implored, as if for life.

"You'r' afraid of her? Dot's right! Dot's right! Dot's nice! All
religious peoples is afraid of deir vifes. But vy didn' you say you vas
married from de sta't, an' dot you vant money to send for dem?" she
tortured him, with a lingering arch leer.

"For Chrish' shake, Mamie!" he entreated her, wincingly. "Shtop to
shpeak English, an' shpeak shomet'ing differench. I'll shee you--vere
can I shee you?"

"You von't come by Joe no more?" she asked, with sudden interest and
even solicitude.

"You t'ink indeed I'm 'frait? If I vanted I can gu dere more ash I
ushed to gu dere. But vere can I findsh you?"

"I guess you know vere I'm livin', don'ch you? So kvick you forget? Vot
a sho't mind you got! Vill you come? Never min', I know you are only
bluffin', an' dot's all."

"I'll come, ash sure ash I leev."

"Vill you? All right. But if you don' come an' pay me at least ten
dollars for a sta't, you'll see!"

In the meanwhile Gitl, poor thing, sat pale and horror-struck. Mamie's
perfumes somehow terrified her. She was racked with jealousy and all
sorts of suspicions, which she vainly struggled to disguise. She could
see that they were having a heated altercation, and that Jake was
begging about something or other, and was generally the under dog in
the parley. Ever and anon she strained her ears in the effort to fasten
some of the incomprehensible sounds in her memory, that she might
subsequently parrot them over to Mrs. Kavarsky, and ascertain their
meaning. But, alas! the attempt proved futile; "never min'" and "all
right" being all she could catch.

Mamie concluded her visit by presenting Joey with the imposing sum of
five cents.

"What do you say? Say 'danks, sir!'" Gitl prompted the boy.

"Shay 't'ank you, ma'am!'" Jake overruled her. "'Shir' is said to a
gentlemarn."

"Good-night!" Mamie sang out, as she majestically opened the door.

"Good-night!" Jake returned, with a burning face.

"Goot-night!" Gitl and Joey chimed in duet.

"Say 'cull again!'"

"Cullye gain!"

"Good-night!" Mamie said once more, as she bowed herself out of the
door with what she considered an exquisitely "tony" smile.

                 *       *       *       *       *

The guest's exit was succeeded by a momentary silence. Jake felt as if
his face and ears were on fire.

"We used to work in the same shop," he presently said.

"Is that the way a seamstress dresses in America?" Gitl inquired. "It
is not for nothing that it is called the golden land," she added, with
timid irony.

"She must be going to a ball," he explained, at the same moment casting
a glance at the looking-glass.

The word "ball" had an imposing ring for Gitl's ears. At home she had
heard it used in connection with the sumptuous life of the Russian or
Polish nobility, but had never formed a clear idea of its meaning.

"She looks a veritable _panenke_,"[15] she remarked, with hidden
sarcasm. "Was she born here?"

        [15] A young noblewoman.

"_Nu_, but she has been very long here. She speaks English like one
American born. We are used to speak in English when we talk _shop_. She
came to ask me about a _job_."

Gitl reflected that with Bernstein Jake was in the habit of talking
shop in Yiddish, although the boarder could even read English books,
which her husband could not do.



CHAPTER VI.

CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES.


Jake was left by Mamie in a state of unspeakable misery. He felt
discomfited, crushed, the universal butt of ridicule. Her perfumes
lingered in his nostrils, taking his breath away. Her venomous gaze
stung his heart. She seemed to him elevated above the social plane upon
which he had recently (though the interval appeared very long) stood by
her side, nay, upon which he had had her at his beck and call; while he
was degraded, as it were, wallowing in a mire, from which he yearningly
looked up to his former equals, vainly begging for recognition. An
uncontrollable desire took possession of him to run after her, to have
an explanation, and to swear that he was the same Jake and as much of a
Yankee and a gallant as ever. But here was his wife fixing him with a
timid, piteous look, which at once exasperated and cowed him; and he
dared not stir out of the house, as though nailed by that look of hers
to the spot.

He lay down on the lounge, and shut his eyes. Gitl dutifully brought
him a pillow. As she adjusted it under his head the touch of her hand
on his face made him shrink, as if at the contact with a reptile. He
was anxious to flee from his wretched self into oblivion, and his wish
was soon gratified, the combined effect of a hard day's work and a
plentiful and well-relished supper plunging him into a heavy sleep.

While his snores resounded in the little kitchen, Gitl put the child to
bed, and then passed with noiseless step into the boarders' room. The
door was ajar and she entered it without knocking, as was her wont. She
found Bernstein bent over a book, with a ponderous dictionary by its
side. A kerosene lamp with a red shade, occupying nearly all the
remaining space on the table, spread a lurid mysterious light. Gitl
asked the studious cloakmaker whether he knew a Polish girl named Mamie
Fein.

"Mamie Fein? No. Why?" said Bernstein, with his index finger on the
passage he had been reading, and his eyes on Gitl's plumpish cheek,
bathed in the roseate light.

"Nothing. May not one ask?"

"What is the matter? Speak out! Are you afraid to tell me?" he
insisted.

"What should be the matter? She was here. A nice _lada_."

"Your husband knows many nice _ladies_," he said, with a faint but
significant smile. And immediately regretting the remark he went on to
smooth it down by characterizing Jake as an honest and good-natured
fellow.

"You ought to think yourself fortunate in having him for your husband,"
he added.

"Yes, but what did you mean by what you said first?" she demanded, with
an anxious air.

"What did I mean? What should I have meant? I meant what I said. _'F
cou'se_ he knows many girls. But who does not? You know there are
always girls in the shops where we work. Never fear, Jake has nothing
to do with them."

"Who says I fear! Did I say I did? Why should I?"

Encouraged by the cheering effect which his words were obviously having
on the credulous, unsophisticated woman, he pursued: "May no Jewish
daughter have a worse husband. Be easy, be easy. I tell you he is
melting away for you. He never looked as happy as he does since you
came."

"Go away! You must be making fun of me!" she said, beaming with
delight.

"Don't you believe me? Why, are you not a pretty young woman?" he
remarked, with an oily look in his eye.

The crimson came into her cheek, and she lowered her glance.

"Stop making fun of me, I beg you," she said softly. "Is it true?"

"Is what true? That you are a pretty young woman? Take a looking-glass
and see for yourself."

"Strange man that you are!" she returned, with confused deprecation. "I
mean what you said before about Jake," she faltered.

"Oh, about Jake! Then say so," he jested. "Really he loves you as
life."

"How do you know?" she queried, wistfully.

"How do I know!" he repeated, with an amused smile. "As if one could
not see!"

"But he never told you himself!"

"How do you know he did not? You have guessed wrongly, see! He did,
lots of times," he concluded gravely, touched by the anxiety of the
poor woman.

She left Bernstein's room all thrilling with joy, and repentant for her
excess of communicativeness. "A wife must not tell other people what
happens to her husband," she lectured herself, in the best of humours.
Still, the words "Your husband knows many nice _ladas_," kept echoing
at the bottom of her soul, and in another few minutes she was at Mrs.
Kavarsky's, confidentially describing Mamie's visit as well as her talk
with the boarder, omitting nothing save the latter's compliments to her
looks.

Mrs. Kavarsky was an eccentric, scraggy little woman, with a vehement
manner and no end of words and gesticulations. Her dry face was full of
warts and surmounted by a chaotic mass of ringlets and curls of a faded
brown. None too tidy about her person, and rather slattern in general
appearance, she zealously kept up the over-scrupulous cleanliness for
which the fame of her apartments reached far and wide. Her neighbours
and townsfolk pronounced her crazy but "with a heart of diamond," that
is to say, the diametrical opposite of the precious stone in point of
hardness, and resembling it in the general sense of excellence of
quality. She was neighbourly enough, and as she was the most prosperous
and her establishment the best equipped in the whole tenement, many a
woman would come to borrow some cooking utensil or other, or even a few
dollars on rent day, which Mrs. Kavarsky always started by refusing in
the most pointed terms, and almost always finished by granting.

She started to listen to Gitl's report with a fierce mien which
gradually thawed into a sage smile. When the young neighbour had rested
her case, she first nodded her head, as who should say, "What fools
this young generation be!" and then burst out:

"Do you know what _I_ have to tell you? Guess!"

Gitl thought Heaven knows what revelations awaited her.

"That you are a lump of horse and a greenhorn and nothing else!" (Gitl
felt much relieved.) "That piece of ugliness should _try_ and come to
_my_ house! Then she would know the price of a pound of evil. I should
open the door and--_march_ to eighty black years! Let her go to where
she came from! America is not Russia, thanked be the Lord of the world.
Here one must only know how to handle a husband. Here a husband must
remember '_ladas foist_'--but then you do not even know what that
means!" she exclaimed, with a despairing wave of her hand.

"What does it mean?" Gitl inquired, pensively.

"What does it mean? What should it mean? It means but too well, _never
min'_. It means that when a husband does not _behabe_ as he should, one
does not stroke his cheeks for it. A prohibition upon me if one does.
If the wife is no greenhorn she gets him shoved into the oven, over
there, across the river."

"You mean they send him to prison?"

"Where else--to the theatre?" Mrs. Kavarsky mocked her furiously.

"A weeping to me!" Gitl said, with horror. "May God save me from such
things!"

In due course Mrs. Kavarsky arrived at the subject of head-gear, and
for the third or fourth time she elicited from her pupil a promise to
discard the kerchief and to sell the wig.

"No wonder he does hate you, seeing you in that horrid rag, which makes
a grandma of you. Drop it, I tell you! Drop it so that no survivor nor
any refugee is left of it. If you don't obey me this time, dare not
cross my threshold any more, do you hear?" she thundered. "One might as
well talk to the wall as to her!" she proceeded, actually addressing
herself to the opposite wall of her kitchen, and referring to her
interlocutrice in the third person. "I am working and working for her,
and here she appreciates it as much as the cat. Fie!" With which the
irate lady averted her face in disgust.

"I shall take it off; now for sure--as sure as this is Wednesday," said
Gitl, beseechingly.

Mrs. Kavarsky turned back to her pacified.

"Remember now! If you _deshepoitn_ [disappoint] me this time,
well!--look at me! I should think I was no Gentile woman, either. I am
as pious as you _anyhull_, and come from no mean family, either. You
know I hate to boast; _but_ my father--peace be upon him!--was fit to
be a rabbi. _Vell_, and yet I am not afraid to go with my own hair. May
no greater sins be committed! Then it would be _never min'_ enough.
Plenty of time for putting on the patch [meaning the wig] when I get
old; _but_ as long as I am young, I am young _an' dot's ull_! It can
not be helped; when one lives in an _edzecate_ country, one must live
like _edzecate peoples_. As they play, so one dances, as the saying is.
But I think it is time for you to be going. Go, my little kitten," Mrs.
Kavarsky said, suddenly lapsing into accents of the most tender
affection. "He may be up by this time and wanting _tea_. Go, my little
lamb, go and _try_ to make yourself agreeable to him and the Uppermost
will help. In America one must take care not to displease a husband.
Here one is to-day in New York and to-morrow in Chicago; do you
understand? As if there were any shame or decency here! A father is no
father, a wife, no wife--_not'ing_! Go now, my baby! Go and throw away
your rag and be a nice woman, and everything will be _ull right_." And
so hurrying Gitl to go, she detained her with ever a fresh torrent of
loquacity for another ten minutes, till the young woman, standing on
pins and needles and scarcely lending an ear, plucked up courage to
plead her household duties and take a hasty departure.

She found Jake fast asleep. It was after eleven when he slowly awoke.
He got up with a heavy burden on his soul--a vague sense of having met
with some horrible rebuff. In his semiconsciousness he was unaware,
however, of his wife's and son's existence and of the change which
their advent had produced in his life, feeling himself the same free
bird that he had been a fortnight ago. He stared about the room, as if
wondering where he was. Noticing Gitl, who at that moment came out of
the bedroom, he instantly realized the situation, recalling Mamie, hat,
perfumes, and all, and his heart sank within him. The atmosphere of the
room became stifling to him. After sitting on the lounge for some time
with a drooping head, he was tempted to fling himself on the pillow
again, but instead of doing so he slipped on his hat and coat and went
out.

Gitl was used to his goings and comings without explanation. Yet this
time his slam of the door sent a sharp pang through her heart. She had
no doubt but that he was bending his steps to another interview with
the Polish witch, as she mentally branded Miss Fein.

Nor was she mistaken, for Jake did start, mechanically, in the
direction of Chrystie Street, where Mamie lodged. He felt sure that she
was away to some ball, but the very house in which she roomed seemed to
draw him with magnetic force. Moreover, he had a lurking hope that he
might, after all, find her about the building. Ah, if by a stroke of
good luck he came upon her on the street! All he wished was to have a
talk, and that for the sole purpose of amending her unfavourable
impression of him. Then he would never so much as think of Mamie, for,
indeed, she was hateful to him, he persuaded himself.

Arrived at his destination, and failing to find Mamie on the sidewalk,
he was tempted to wait till she came from the ball, when he was seized
with a sudden sense of the impropriety of his expedition, and he
forthwith returned home, deciding in his mind, as he walked, to move
with his wife and child to Chicago.

Meanwhile Mamie lay brooding in her cot-bed in the parlour, which she
shared with her landlady's two daughters. She was in the most wretched
frame of mind, ineffectually struggling to fall asleep. She had made
her way down the stairs leading from the Podkovniks with a violently
palpitating heart. She had been bound for no more imposing a place than
Joe's academy, and before repairing thither she had had to betake
herself home to change her stately toilet for a humbler attire. For, as
a matter of fact, it was expressly for her visit to the Podkovniks that
she had thus pranked herself out, and that would have been much too
gorgeous an appearance to make at Joe's establishment on one of its
regular dancing evenings. Having changed her toilet she did call at
Joe's; but so full was her mind of Jake and his wife and, accordingly,
she was so irritable, that in the middle of a quadrille she picked a
quarrel with the dancing master, and abruptly left the hall.

                 *       *       *       *       *

The next day Jake's work fared badly. When it was at last over he did
not go direct home as usual, but first repaired to Mamie's. He found
her with her landlady in the kitchen. She looked careworn and was in a
white blouse which lent her face a convalescent, touching effect.

"Good-eveni'g, Mrs. Bunetzky! Good-eveni'g, Mamie!" he fairly roared,
as he playfully fillipped his hat backward. And after addressing a
pleasantry or two to the mistress of the house, he boldly proposed to
her boarder to go out with him for a talk. For a moment Mamie
hesitated, fearing lest her landlady had become aware of the existence
of a Mrs. Podkovnik; but instantly flinging all considerations to the
wind, she followed him out into the street.

"You'sh afraid I vouldn't pay you, Mamie?" he began, with bravado, in
spite of his intention to start on a different line, he knew not
exactly which.

Mamie was no less disappointed by the opening of the conversation than
he. "I ain't afraid a bit," she answered, sullenly.

"Do you think my _kshpenshesh_ are larger now?" he resumed in Yiddish.
"May I lose as much through sickness. On the countrary, I _shpend_ even
much less than I used to. We have two nice boarders--I keep them only
for company's sake--and I have a _shteada job_--_a puddin' of a job_. I
shall have still more money to _shpend outshite_," he added,
falteringly.

"Outside?"--and she burst into an artificial laugh which sent the blood
to Jake's face.

"Why, do you think I sha'n't go to Joe's, nor to the theatre, nor
anywhere any more? Still oftener than before! _Hoy much vill you bet?_"

"_Rats!_ A married man, a papa go to a dancing school! Not unless your
wife drags along with you and never lets go of your skirts," she said
sneeringly, adding the declaration that Jake's "bluffs" gave her a
"regula' pain in de neck."

Jake, writhing under her lashes, protested his freedom as emphatically
as he could; but it only served to whet Mamie's spite, and against her
will she went on twitting him as a henpecked husband and an
old-fashioned Jew. Finally she reverted to the subject of his debt,
whereupon he took fire, and after an interchange of threats and some
quite forcible language they parted company.

                 *       *       *       *       *

From that evening the spectre of Mamie dressed in her white blouse
almost unremittingly preyed on Jake's mind. The mournful sneer which
had lit her pale, invalid-looking face on their last interview, when
she wore that blouse, relentlessly stared down into his heart; gnawed
at it with tantalizing deliberation; "drew out his soul," as he once
put it to himself, dropping his arms and head in despair. "Is this what
they call love?" he wondered, thinking of the strange, hitherto
unexperienced kind of malady, which seemed to be gradually consuming
his whole being. He felt as if Mamie had breathed a delicious poison
into his veins, which was now taking effect, spreading a devouring fire
through his soul, and kindling him with a frantic thirst for more of
the same virus. His features became distended, as it were, and acquired
a feverish effect; his eyes had a pitiable, beseeching look, like those
of a child in the period of teething.

He grew more irritable with Gitl every day, the energy failing him to
dissemble his hatred for her. There were moments when, in his hopeless
craving for the presence of Mamie, he would consciously seek refuge in
a feeling of compunction and of pity for his wife; and on several such
occasions he made an effort to take an affectionate tone with her. But
the unnatural sound of his voice each time only accentuated to himself
the depth of his repugnance, while the hysterical promptness of her
answers, the servile gratitude which trembled in her voice and shone
out of her radiant face would, at such instances, make him breathless
with rage. Poor Gitl! she strained every effort to please him; she
tried to charm him by all the simple-minded little coquetries she knew,
by every art which her artless brain could invent; and only succeeded
in making herself more offensive than ever.

As to Jake's feelings for Joey, they now alternated between periods of
indifference and gusts of exaggerated affection; while, in some
instances, when the boy let himself be fondled by his mother or
returned her caresses in his childish way, he would appear to Jake as
siding with his enemy, and share with Gitl his father's odium.

                 *       *       *       *       *

One afternoon, shortly after Jake's interview with Mamie in front of
the Chrystie Street tenement house, Fanny called on Gitl.

"Are you Mrs. Podkovnik?" she inquired, with an embarrassed air.

"Yes; why?" Mrs. Podkovnik replied, turning pale. "She is come to tell
me that Jake has eloped with that Polish girl," flashed upon her
overwrought mind. At the same moment Fanny, sizing her up, exclaimed
inwardly, "So this is the kind of woman she is, poor thing!"

"Nothing. I _just_ want to speak to you," the visitor uttered,
mysteriously.

"What is it?"

"As I say, nothing at all. Is there nobody else in the house?" Fanny
demanded, looking about.

"May I not live till to-morrow if there is a living soul except my boy,
and he is asleep. You may speak; never fear. But first tell me who you
are; do not take ill my question. Be seated."

The girl's appearance and manner began to inspire Gitl with confidence.

"My name is Rosy--Rosy Blank," said Fanny, as she took a seat on the
further end of the lounge. "_'F cou'se_, you don't know me, how should
you? But I know you well enough, never mind that we have never seen
each other before. I used to work with your husband in one shop. I have
come to tell you such an important thing! You must know it. It makes no
difference that you don't know who I am. May God grant me as good a
year as my friendship is for you."

"Something about Jake?" Gitl blurted out, all anxiety, and instantly
regretted the question.

"How did you guess? About Jake it is! About him and somebody else. But
see how you did guess! Swear that you won't tell anybody that I have
been here."

"May I be left speechless, may my arms and legs be paralyzed, if I ever
say a word!" Gitl recited vehemently, thrilling with anxiety and
impatience. "So it is! they have eloped!" she added in her heart,
seating herself close to her caller. "A darkness upon my years! What
will become of me and Yosselé now?"

"Remember, now, not a word, either to Jake or to anybody else in the
world. I had a mountain of _trouble_ before I found out where you
lived, and I _stopped_ work on purpose to come and speak to you. As
true as you see me alive. I wanted to call when I was sure to find you
alone, you understand. Is there really nobody about?" And after a
preliminary glance at the door and exacting another oath of discretion
from Mrs. Podkovnik, Fanny began in an undertone:

"There is a girl; well, her name is Mamie; well, she and your husband
used to go to the same dancing school--that is a place where _fellers_
and _ladies_ learn to dance," she explained. "I go there, too; but I
know your husband from the shop."

"But that _lada_ has also worked in the same shop with him, hasn't
she?" Gitl broke in, with a desolate look in her eye.

"Why, did Jake tell you she had?" Fanny asked in surprise.

"No, not at all, not at all! I am just asking. May I be sick if I know
anything."

"The idea! How could they work together, seeing that she is a
shirtmaker and he a cloakmaker. Ah, if you knew what a witch she is!
She has set her mind on your husband, and is bound to take him away
from you. She hitched on to him long ago. But since you came I thought
she would have God in her heart, and be ashamed of people. Not she! She
be ashamed! You may sling a cat into her face and she won't mind it.
The black year knows where she grew up. I tell you there is not a girl
in the whole dancing school but can not bear the sight of that Polish
lizard!"

"Why, do they meet and kiss?" Gitl moaned out. "Tell me, do tell me
all, my little crown, keep nothing from me, tell me my whole dark lot."

"_Ull right_, but be sure not to speak to anybody. I'll tell you the
truth: My name is not Rosy Blank at all. It is Fanny Scutelsky. You
see, I am telling you the whole truth. The other evening they stood
near the house where she _boards_, on Chrystie Street; so they were
looking into each other's eyes and talking like a pair of little doves.
A _lady_ who is a _particla_ friend of mine saw them; so she says a
child could have guessed that she was making love to him and _trying_
to get him away from you. _'F cou'se_ it is none of my _business_. Is
it my _business_, then? What do _I care_? It is only _becuss_ I pity
you. It is like the nature I have; I can not bear to see anybody in
trouble. Other people would not _care_, but I do. Such is my nature. So
I thought to myself I must go and tell Mrs. Podkovnik all about it, in
order that she might know what to do."

For several moments Gitl sat speechless, her head hung down, and her
bosom heaving rapidly. Then she fell to swaying her frame sidewise, and
vehemently wringing her hands.

"_Oi! Oi!_ Little mother! A pain to me!" she moaned. "What is to be
done? Lord of the world, what is to be done? Come to the rescue!
People, do take pity, come to the rescue!" She broke into a fit of low
sobbing, which shook her whole form and was followed by a torrent of
tears.

Whereupon Fanny also burst out crying, and falling upon Gitl's shoulder
she murmured: "My little heart! you don't know what a friend I am to
you! Oh, if you knew what a serpent that Polish thief is!"



CHAPTER VII.

MRS. KAVARSKY's COUP D'ÉTAT.


It was not until after supper time that Gitl could see Mrs. Kavarsky;
for the neighbour's husband was in the installment business, and she
generally spent all day in helping him with his collections as well as
canvassing for new customers. When Gitl came in to unburden herself of
Fanny's revelations, she found her confidante out of sorts. Something
had gone wrong in Mrs. Kavarsky's affairs, and, while she was perfectly
aware that she had only herself to blame, she had laid it all to her
husband and had nagged him out of the house before he had quite
finished his supper.

She listened to her neighbour's story with a bored and impatient air,
and when Gitl had concluded and paused for her opinion, she remarked
languidly: "It serves you right! It is all _becuss_ you will not throw
away that ugly kerchief of yours. What is the use of your asking my
advice?"

"_Oi!_ I think even that wouldn't help it now," Gitl rejoined,
forlornly. "The Uppermost knows what drug she has charmed him with. A
cholera into her, Lord of the world!" she added, fiercely.

Mrs. Kavarsky lost her temper.

"_Say_, will you stop talking nonsense?" she shouted savagely. "No
wonder your husband does not _care_ for you, seeing these stupid
greenhornlike notions of yours."

"How then could she have bewitched him, the witch that she is? Tell me,
little heart, little crown, do tell me! Take pity and be a mother to
me. I am so lonely and----" Heartrending sobs choked her voice.

"What shall I tell you? that you are a blockhead? _Oi! Oi! Oi!_" she
mocked her. "Will the crying help you? _Ull right_, cry away!"

"But what shall I do?" Gitl pleaded, wiping her tears. "It may drive me
mad. I won't wear the kerchief any more. I swear this is the last day,"
she added, propitiatingly.

"_Dot's right!_ When you talk like a man I like you. And now sit still
and listen to what an older person and a business woman has to tell
you. In the first place, who knows what that girl--Jennie, Fannie,
Shmennie, Yomtzedemennie--whatever you may call her--is after?" The
last two names Mrs. Kavarsky invented by poetical license to complete
the rhyme and for the greater emphasis of her contempt. "In the second
place, _asposel_ [supposing] he did talk to that Polish piece of
disturbance. _Vell_, what of it? It is all over with the world, isn't
it? The mourner's prayer is to be said after it, I declare! A married
man stood talking to a girl! Just think of it! May no greater evil
befall any Yiddish daughter. This is not Europe where one dares not say
a word to a strange woman! _Nu, sir!_"

"What, then, is the matter with him? At home he would hardly ever leave
my side, and never ceased looking into my eyes. Woe is me, what America
has brought me to!" And again her grief broke out into a flood of
tears.

This time Mrs. Kavarsky was moved.

"Don't be crying, my child; he may come in for you," she said,
affectionately. "Believe me you are making a mountain out of a fly--you
are imagining too much."

"_Oi_, as my ill luck would have it, it is all but too true. Have I no
eyes, then? He mocks at everything I say or do; he can not bear the
touch of my hand. America _has_ made a mountain of ashes out of me.
Really, a curse upon Columbus!" she ejaculated mournfully, quoting in
all earnestness a current joke of the Ghetto.

Mrs. Kavarsky was too deeply touched to laugh. She proceeded to examine
her pupil, in whispers, upon certain details, and thereupon her
interest in Gitl's answers gradually superseded her commiseration for
the unhappy woman.

"And how does he behave toward the boy?" she absently inquired, after a
melancholy pause.

"Would he were as kind to me!"

"Then it is _ull right_! Such things will happen between man and wife.
It is all _humbuk_. It will all come right, and you will some day be
the happiest woman in the world. You shall see. Remember that Mrs.
Kavarsky has told you so. And in the meantime stop crying. A husband
hates a sniveller for a wife. You know the story of Jacob and Leah, as
it stands written in the Holy Five Books, don't you? Her eyes became
red with weeping, and Jacob, our father, did not _care_ for her on that
account. Do you understand?"

All at once Mrs. Kavarsky bit her lip, her countenance brightening up
with a sudden inspiration. At the next instant she made a lunge at
Gitl's head, and off went the kerchief. Gitl started with a cry, at the
same moment covering her head with both hands.

"Take off your hands! Take them off at once, I say!" the other
shrieked, her eyes flashing fire and her feet performing an Irish jig.

Gitl obeyed for sheer terror. Then, pushing her toward the sink, Mrs.
Kavarsky said peremptorily: "You shall wash off your silly tears and
I'll arrange your hair, and from this day on there shall be no
kerchief, do you hear?"

Gitl offered but feeble resistance, just enough to set herself right
before her own conscience. She washed herself quietly, and when her
friend set about combing her hair, she submitted to the operation
without a murmur, save for uttering a painful hiss each time there came
a particularly violent tug at the comb; for, indeed, Mrs. Kavarsky
plied her weapon rather energetically and with a bloodthirsty air, as
if inflicting punishment. And while she was thus attacking Gitl's
luxurious raven locks she kept growling, as glibly as the progress of
the comb would allow, and modulating her voice to its movements:
"Believe me you are a lump of hunchback, _sure_; you may--may depend
up-upon it! Tell me, now, do you ever comb yourself? You have raised
quite a plica, the black year take it! Another woman would thank God
for such beau-beautiful hair, and here she keeps it hidden and makes a
bu-bugbear of herself--a _regele monkey_!" she concluded, gnashing her
teeth at the stout resistance with which her implement was at that
moment grappling.

Gitl's heart swelled with delight, but she modestly kept silent.

Suddenly Mrs. Kavarsky paused thoughtfully, as if conceiving a new
idea. In another moment a pair of scissors and curling irons appeared
on the scene. At the sight of this Gitl's blood ran chill, and when the
scissors gave their first click in her hair she felt as though her
heart snapped. Nevertheless, she endured it all without a protest,
blindly trusting that these instruments of torture would help reinstall
her in Jake's good graces.

At last, when all was ready and she found herself adorned with a pair
of rich side bangs, she was taken in front of the mirror, and ordered
to hail the transformation with joy. She viewed herself with an
unsteady glance, as if her own face struck her as unfamiliar and
forbidding. However, the change pleased her as much as it startled her.

"Do you really think he will like it?" she inquired with piteous
eagerness, in a fever of conflicting emotions.

"If he does not, I shall refund your money!" her guardian snarled, in
high glee.

For a moment or so Mrs. Kavarsky paused to admire the effect of her
art. Then, in a sudden transport of enthusiasm, she sprang upon her
ward, and with an "_Oi_, a health to you!" she smacked a hearty kiss on
her burning cheek.

"And now come, piece of wretch!" So saying, Mrs. Kavarsky grasped Gitl
by the wrist, and forcibly convoyed her into her husband's presence.

                 *       *       *       *       *

The two boarders were out, Jake being alone with Joey. He was seated at
the table, facing the door, with the boy on his knees.

"_Goot-evenik_, Mr. Podkovnik! Look what I have brought you: a brand
new wife!" Mrs. Kavarsky said, pointing at her charge, who stood
faintly struggling to disengage her hand from her escort's tight grip,
her eyes looking to the ground and her cheeks a vivid crimson.

Gitl's unwonted appearance impressed Jake as something unseemly and
meretricious. The sight of her revolted him.

"It becomes her like a--a--a wet cat," he faltered out with a venomous
smile, choking down a much stronger simile which would have conveyed
his impression with much more precision, but which he dared not apply
to his own wife.

The boy's first impulse upon the entrance of his mother had been to run
up to her side and to greet her merrily; but he, too, was shocked by
the change in her aspect, and he remained where he was, looking from
her to Jake in blank surprise.

"Go away, you don't mean it!" Mrs. Kavarsky remonstrated distressedly,
at the same moment releasing her prisoner, who forthwith dived into the
bedroom to bury her face in a pillow, and to give way to a stream of
tears. Then she made a few steps toward Jake, and speaking in an
undertone she proceeded to take him to task. "Another man would
consider himself happy to have such a wife," she said. "Such a quiet,
honest woman! And such a housewife! Why, look at the way she keeps
everything--like a fiddle. It is simply a treat to come into your
house. I do declare you sin!"

"What do I do to her?" he protested morosely, cursing the intruder in
his heart.

"Who says you do? Mercy and peace! Only--you understand--how shall I
say it?--she is only a young woman; _vell_, so she imagines that you do
not _care_ for her as much as you used to. Come, Mr. Podkovnik, you
know you are a sensible man! I have always thought you one--you may ask
my husband. Really you ought to be ashamed of yourself. A prohibition
upon me if I could ever have believed it of you. Do you think a stylish
girl would make you a better wife? If you do, you are grievously
mistaken. What are they good for, the hussies? To darken the life of a
husband? That, I admit, they are really great hands at. They only know
how to squander his money for a new hat or rag every Monday and
Thursday, and to tramp around with other men, fie upon the
abominations! May no good Jew know them!"

Her innuendo struck Mrs. Kavarsky as extremely ingenious, and, egged on
by the dogged silence of her auditor, she ventured a step further.

"Do you mean to tell me," she went on, emphasizing each word, and
shaking her whole body with melodramatic defiance, "that you would be
better off with a _dantzin'-school_ girl?"

"_A danshin'-shchool_ girl?" Jake repeated, turning ashen pale, and
fixing his inquisitress with a distant gaze. "Who says I care for a
danshin'-shchool girl?" he bellowed, as he let down the boy and started
to his feet red as a cockscomb. "It was she who told you that, was it?"

Joey had tripped up to the lounge where he now stood watching his
father with a stare in which there was more curiosity than fright.

The little woman lowered her crest. "Not at all! God be with you!" she
said quickly, in a tone of abject cowardice, and involuntarily
shrinking before the ferocious attitude of Jake's strapping figure.
"Who? What? When? I did not mean anything at all, _sure_. Gitl _never_
said a word to me. A prohibition if she did. Come, Mr. Podkovnik, why
should you get _ektzited_?" she pursued, beginning to recover her
presence of mind. "By-the-bye--I came near forgetting--how about the
boarder you promised to get me; do you remember, Mr. Podkovnik?"

"Talk away a toothache for your grandma, not for me. Who told her about
_danshin'_ girls?" he thundered again, re-enforcing the ejaculation
with an English oath, and bringing down a violent fist on the table as
he did so.

At this Gitl's sobs made themselves heard from the bedroom. They lashed
Jake into a still greater fury.

"What is she whimpering about, the piece of stench! _Alla right_, I do
hate her; I can not bear the sight of her; and let her do what she
likes. _I don' care!_"

"Mr. Podkovnik! To think of a _sma't_ man like you talking in this
way!"

"Dot'sh alla right!" he said, somewhat relenting. "I don't _care_ for
any _danshin'_ girls. It is a ---- ---- lie! It was that scabby
_greenhorn_ who must have taken it into her head. I don't _care_ for
anybody; not for her certainly"--pointing to the bedroom. "I am an
_American feller_, a _Yankee_--that's what I am. What punishment is due
to me, then, if I can not stand a _shnooza_ like her? It is _nu ushed_;
I can not live with her, even if she stand one foot on heaven and one
on earth. Let her take everything"--with a wave at the household
effects--"and I shall pay her as much _cash_ as she asks--I am willing
to break stones to pay her--provided she agrees to a divorce."

The word had no sooner left his lips than Gitl burst out of the
darkness of her retreat, her bangs dishevelled, her face stained and
flushed with weeping and rage, and her eyes, still suffused with tears,
flashing fire.

"May you and your Polish harlot be jumping out of your skins and
chafing with wounds as long as you will have to wait for a divorce!"
she exploded. "He thinks I don't know how they stand together near her
house making love to each other!"

Her unprecedented show of pugnacity took him aback.

"Look at the Cossack of straw!" he said quietly, with a forced smile.
"Such a piece of cholera!" he added, as if speaking to himself, as he
resumed his seat. "I wonder who tells her all these fibs?"

Gitl broke into a fresh flood of tears.

"_Vell_, what do you want now?" Mrs. Kavarsky said, addressing herself
to her. "He says it is a lie. I told you you take all sorts of silly
notions into your head."

"_Ach_, would it were a lie!" Gitl answered between her sobs.

At this juncture the boy stepped up to his mother's side, and nestled
against her skirt. She clasped his head with both her hands, as though
gratefully accepting an offer of succour against an assailant. And
then, for the vague purpose of wounding Jake's feelings, she took the
child in her arms, and huddling him close to her bosom, she half turned
from her husband, as much as to say, "We two are making common cause
against you." Jake was cut to the quick. He kept his glance fixed on
the reddened, tear-stained profile of her nose, and, choking with hate,
he was going to say, "For my part, hang yourself together with him!"
But he had self-mastery enough to repress the exclamation, confining
himself to a disdainful smile.

"Children, children! Woe, how you do sin!" Mrs. Kavarsky sermonized.
"Come now, obey an older person. Whoever takes notice of such trifles?
You have had a quarrel? _ull right!_ And now make peace. Have an
embrace and a good kiss and _dot's ull_! _Hurry yup_, Mr. Podkovnik!
Don't be ashamed!" she beckoned to him, her countenance wreathed in
voluptuous smiles in anticipation of the love scene about to enact
itself before her eyes. Mr. Podkovnik failing to hurry up, however, she
went on disappointedly: "Why, Mr. Podkovnik! Look at the boy the
Uppermost has given you. Would he might send me one like him. Really,
you ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"Vot you kickin' aboyt, anyhoy?" Jake suddenly fired out, in English.
"Min' jou on businesh an' dot'sh ull," he added indignantly, averting
his head.

Mrs. Kavarsky grew as red as a boiled lobster.

"Vo--vo--vot _you_ keeck aboyt?" she panted, drawing herself up and
putting her arms akimbo. "He must think I, too, can be scared by his
English. I declare my shirt has turned linen for fright! I was in
America while you were hauling away at the bellows in Povodye; do you
know it?"

"Are you going out of my house or not?" roared Jake, jumping to his
feet.

"And if I am not, what will you do? Will you call a _politzman_? _Ull
right_, do. That is just what I want. I shall tell him I can not leave
her alone with a murderer like you, for fear you might kill her and the
boy, so that you might dawdle around with that Polish wench of yours.
Here you have it!" Saying which, she put her thumb between her index
and third finger--the Russian version of the well-known gesture of
contempt--presenting it to her adversary together with a generous
portion of her tongue.

Jake's first impulse was to strike the meddlesome woman. As he started
toward her, however, he changed his mind. "_Alla right_, you may remain
with her!" he said, rushing up to the clothes rack, and slipping on his
coat and hat. "_Alla right_," he repeated with broken breath, "we shall
see!" And with a frantic bang of the door he disappeared.

                 *       *       *       *       *

The fresh autumn air of the street at once produced its salutary effect
on his overexcited nerves. As he grew more collected he felt himself in
a most awkward muddle. He cursed his outbreak of temper, and wished the
next few days were over and the breach healed. In his abject misery he
thought of suicide, of fleeing to Chicago or St. Louis, all of which
passed through his mind in a stream of the most irrelevant and the most
frivolous reminiscences. He was burning to go back, but the nerve
failing him to face Mrs. Kavarsky, he wondered where he was going to
pass the night. It was too cold to be tramping about till it was time
to go to work, and he had not change enough to pay for a night's rest
in a lodging house; so in his despair he fulminated against Gitl and,
above all, against her tutoress. Having passed as far as the limits of
the Ghetto he took a homeward course by a parallel street, knowing all
the while that he would lack the courage to enter his house. When he
came within sight of it he again turned back, yearningly thinking of
the cosey little home behind him, and invoking maledictions upon Gitl
for enjoying it now while he was exposed to the chill air without the
prospect of shelter for the night. As he thus sauntered reluctantly
about he meditated upon the scenes coming in his way, and upon the
thousand and one things which they brought to his mind. At the same
time his heart was thirsting for Mamie, and he felt himself a wretched
outcast, the target of ridicule--a martyr paying the penalty of sins,
which he failed to recognise as sins, or of which, at any rate, he
could not hold himself culpable.

Yes, he will go to Chicago, or to Baltimore, or, better still, to
England. He pictured to himself the sensation it would produce and
Gitl's despair. "It will serve her right. What does she want of me?" he
said to himself, revelling in a sense of revenge. But then it was such
a pity to part with Joey! Whereupon, in his reverie, Jake beheld
himself stealing into his house in the dead of night, and kidnapping
the boy. And what would Mamie say? Would she not be sorry to have him
disappear? Can it be that she does not care for him any longer? She
seemed to. But that was before she knew him to be a married man. And
again his heart uttered curses against Gitl. Ah, if Mamie did still
care for him, and fainted upon hearing of his flight, and then could
not sleep, and ran around wringing her hands and raving like mad! It
would serve _her_ right, too! She should have come to tell him she
loved him instead of making that scene at his house and taking a
derisive tone with him upon the occasion of his visit to her. Still,
should she come to join him in London, he would receive her, he decided
magnanimously. They speak English in London, and have cloak shops like
here. So he would be no greenhorn there, and wouldn't they be
happy--he, Mamie, and little Joey! Or, supposing his wife suddenly
died, so that he could legally marry Mamie and remain in New York----

A mad desire took hold of him to see the Polish girl, and he
involuntarily took the way to her lodging. What is he going to say to
her? Well, he will beg her not to be angry for his failure to pay his
debt, take her into his confidence on the subject of his proposed
flight, and promise to send her every cent from London. And while he
was perfectly aware that he had neither the money to take him across
the Atlantic nor the heart to forsake Gitl and Joey, and that Mamie
would never let him leave New York without paying her twenty-five
dollars, he started out on a run in the direction of Chrystie Street.
Would she might offer to join him in his flight! She must have money
enough for two passage tickets, the rogue. Wouldn't it be nice to be
with her on the steamer! he thought, as he wrathfully brushed apart a
group of street urchins impeding his way.



CHAPTER VIII.

A HOUSETOP IDYL.


Jake found Mamie on the sidewalk in front of the tenement house where
she lodged. As he came rushing up to her side, she was pensively
rehearsing a waltz step.

"Mamie, come shomeversh! I got to shpeak to you a lot," he gasped out.

"Vot's de madder?" she demanded, startled by his excited manner.

"This is not the place for speaking," he rejoined vehemently, in
Yiddish. "Let us go to the Grand Street dock or to Seventh Street park.
There we can speak so that nobody overhears us."

"I bet you he is going to ask me to run away with him," she prophesied
to herself; and in her feverish impatience to hear him out she proposed
to go on the roof, which, the evening being cool, she knew to be
deserted.

When they reached the top of the house they found it overhung with rows
of half-dried linen, held together with wooden clothespins and
trembling to the fresh autumn breeze. Overhead, fleecy clouds were
floating across a starry blue sky, now concealing and now exposing to
view a pallid crescent of new moon. Coming from the street below there
was a muffled, mysterious hum ever and anon drowned in the clatter and
jingle of a passing horse car. A lurid, exceedingly uncanny sort of
idyl it was; and in the midst of it there was something extremely weird
and gruesome in those stretches of wavering, fitfully silvered white,
to Jake's overtaxed mind vaguely suggesting the burial clothes of the
inmates of a Jewish graveyard.

After picking and diving their way beneath the trembling lines of
underwear, pillowcases, sheets, and what not, they paused in front of a
tall chimney pot. Jake, in a medley of superstitious terror,
infatuation, and bashfulness, was at a loss how to begin and, indeed,
what to say. Feeling that it would be easy for him to break into tears
he instinctively chose this as the only way out of his predicament.

"_Vot's de madder_, Jake? Speak out!" she said, with motherly
harshness.

He now wished to say something, although he still knew not what; but
his sobs once called into play were past his control.

"She must give you _trouble_," the girl added softly, after a slight
pause, her excitement growing with every moment.

"Ach, Mamielé!" he at length exclaimed, resolutely wiping his tears
with his handkerchief. "My life has become so dark and bitter to me, I
might as well put a rope around my neck."

"Does she eat you?"

"Let her go to all lamentations! Somebody told her I go around with
you."

"But you know it is a lie! Some one must have seen us the other evening
when we were standing downstairs. You had better not come here, then.
When you have some money, you will send it to me," she concluded,
between genuine sympathy and an intention to draw him out.

"_Ach_, don't say that, Mamie. What is the good of my life without you?
I don't sleep nights. Since she came I began to understand how dear you
are to me. I can not tell it so well," he said, pointing to his heart.

"_Yes_, _but_ before she came you didn't _care_ for me!" she declared,
labouring to disguise the exultation which made her heart dance.

"I always did, Mamie. May I drop from this roof and break hand and foot
if I did not."

A flood of wan light struck Mamie full in her swarthy face, suffusing
it with ivory effulgence, out of which her deep dark eyes gleamed with
a kind of unearthly lustre. Jake stood enravished. He took her by the
hand, but she instantly withdrew it, edging away a step. His touch
somehow restored her to calm self-possession, and even kindled a
certain thirst for revenge in her heart.

"It is not what it used to be, Jake," she said in tones of complaisant
earnestness. "Now that I know you are a married man it is all gone.
_Yes_, Jake, it is all gone! You should have cared for me when she was
still there. Then you could have gone to a rabbi and sent her a writ of
divorce. It is too late now, Jake."

"It is not too late!" he protested, tremulously. "I will get a divorce,
_anyhoy_. And if you don't take me I will hang myself," he added,
imploringly.

"On a burned straw?" she retorted, with a cruel chuckle.

"It is all very well for you to laugh. But if you could enter my heart
and see how I _shuffer_!"

"Woe is me! I don't see how you will stand it," she mocked him. And
abruptly assuming a grave tone, she pursued vehemently: "But I don't
understand; since you sent her tickets and money, you must like her."

Jake explained that he had all along intended to send her rabbinical
divorce papers instead of a passage ticket, and that it had been his
old mother who had pestered him, with her tear-stained letters, into
acting contrary to his will.

"_All right_," Mamie resumed, with a dubious smile; "but why don't you
go to Fanny, or Beckie, or Beilké the "Black Cat"? You used to care for
them more than for me. Why should you just come to me?"

Jake answered by characterizing the girls she had mentioned in terms
rather too high-scented for print, protesting his loathing for them.
Whereupon she subjected him to a rigid cross-examination as to his past
conduct toward herself and her rivals; and although he managed to
explain matters to her inward satisfaction, owing, chiefly, to a
predisposition on her own part to credit his assertions on the subject,
she could not help continuing obdurate and in a spiteful, vindictive
mood.

"All you say is not worth a penny, and it is too late, _anyvay_," was
her verdict. "You have a wife and a child; better go home and be a
father to your _boy_." Her last words were uttered with some approach
to sincerity, and she was mentally beginning to give herself credit for
magnanimity and pious self-denial. She would have regretted her
exhortation, however, had she been aware of its effect on her listener;
for her mention of the boy and appeal to Jake as a father aroused in
him a lively sense of the wrong he was doing. Moreover, while she was
speaking his attention had been attracted to a loosened pillowcase
ominously fluttering and flapping a yard or two off. The figure of his
dead father, attired in burial linen, uprose to his mind.

"You don' vanted? Alla right, you be shorry," he said half-heartedly,
turning to go.

"_Hol' on!_" she checked him, irritatedly. "How are you going to _fix_
it? Are you _sure_ she will take a divorce?"

"Will she have a choice then? She will have to take it. I won't live
with her _anyhoy_," he replied, his passion once more welling up in his
soul. "Mamie, my treasure, my glory!" he exclaimed, in tremulous
accents. "Say that you are _shatichfied_; my heart will become
lighter." Saying which, he strained her to his bosom, and fell to
raining fervent kisses on her face. At first she made a faint attempt
at freeing herself, and then suddenly clasping him with mad force she
pressed her lips to his in a fury of passion.

The pillowcase flapped aloud, ever more sternly, warningly,
portentously.

Jake cast an involuntary side glance at it. His spell of passion was
broken and supplanted by a spell of benumbing terror. He had an impulse
to withdraw his arms from the girl; but, instead, he clung to her all
the faster, as if for shelter from the ghostlike thing.

With a last frantic hug Mamie relaxed her hold. "Remember now, Jake!"
she then said, in a queer hollow voice. "Now it is all _settled_. Maybe
you are making fun of me? If you are, you are playing with fire. Death
to me--death to you!" she added, menacingly.

He wished to say something to reassure her, but his tongue seemed grown
fast to his palate.

"Am I to blame?" she continued with ghastly vehemence, sobs ringing in
her voice. "Who asked you to come? Did I lure you from her, then? I
should sooner have thrown myself into the river than taken away
somebody else's husband. You say yourself that you would not live with
her, _anyvay_. But now it is all gone. Just try to leave me now!" And
giving vent to her tears, she added, "Do you think my heart is no
heart?"

A thrill of joyous pity shot through his frame. Once again he caught
her to his heart, and in a voice quivering with tenderness he murmured:
"Don't be uneasy, my dear, my gold, my pearl, my consolation! I will
let my throat be cut, into fire or water will I go, for your sake."

"Dot's all right," she returned, musingly. "But how are you going to
get rid of her? You von't go back on me, vill you?" she asked in
English.

"_Me?_ May I not be able to get away from this spot. Can it be that you
still distrust me?"

"Swear!"

"How else shall I swear?"

"By your father, peace upon him."

"May my father as surely have a bright paradise," he said, with a show
of alacrity, his mind fixed on the loosened pillowcase. "_Vell_, are
you _shatichfied_ now?"

"All right," she answered, in a matter-of-fact way, and as if only half
satisfied. "But do you think she will take money?"

"But I have none."

"Nobody asks you if you have. But would she take it, if you had?"

"If I had! I am sure she would take it; she would have to, for what
would she gain if she did not?"

"Are you _sure_?"

"_'F cush!_"

"Ach, but, after all, why did you not tell me you liked me before she
came?" she said testily, stamping her foot.

"Again!" he exclaimed, wincing.

"_All right_; wait."

She turned to go somewhere, but checked herself, and facing about, she
exacted an additional oath of allegiance. After which she went to the
other side of the chimney. When she returned she held one of her arms
behind her.

"You will not let yourself be talked away from me?"

He swore.

"Not even if your father came to you from the other world--if he came
to you in a dream, I mean--and told you to drop me?"

Again he swore.

"And you really don't care for Fanny?"

And again he swore.

"Nor for Beckie?"

The ordeal was too much, and he begged her to desist. But she wouldn't,
and so, chafing under inexorable cross-examinations, he had to swear
again and again that he had never cared for any of Joe's female pupils
or assistants except Mamie.

At last she relented.

"Look, piece of loafer you!" she then said, holding out an open bank
book to his eyes. "But what is the _use_? It is not light enough, and
you can not read, _anyvay_. You can eat, _dot's all_. _Vell_, you could
make out figures, couldn't you? There are three hundred and forty
dollars," she proceeded, pointing to the balance line, which
represented the savings, for a marriage portion, of five years' hard
toil. "It should be three hundred and sixty-five, but then for the
twenty-five dollars you owe me I may as well light a mourner's candle,
_ain' it_?"

When she had started to produce the bank book from her bosom he had
surmised her intent, and while she was gone he was making guesses as to
the magnitude of the sum to her credit. His most liberal estimate,
however, had been a hundred and fifty dollars; so that the revelation
of the actual figure completely overwhelmed him. He listened to her
with a broad grin, and when she paused he burst out:

"Mamielé, you know what? Let us run away!"

"You are a fool!" she overruled him, as she tucked the bank book under
her jacket. "I have a better plan. But tell me the truth, did you not
guess I had money? Now you need not fear to tell me all."

He swore that he had not even dreamt that she possessed a bank account.
How could he? And was it not because he had suspected the existence of
such an account that he had come to declare his love to her and not to
Fanny, or Beckie, or the "Black Cat"? No, may he be thunderstruck if it
was. What does she take him for? On his part she is free to give the
money away or throw it into the river. He will become a boss, and take
her penniless, for he can not live without her; she is lodged in his
heart; she is the only woman he ever cared for.

"Oh, but why did you not tell me all this long ago?" With which,
speaking like the complete mistress of the situation that she was, she
proceeded to expound a project, which had shaped itself in her lovelorn
mind, hypothetically, during the previous few days, when she had been
writhing in despair of ever having an occasion to put it into practice.
Jake was to take refuge with her married sister in Philadelphia until
Gitl was brought to terms. In the meantime some chum of his, nominated
by Mamie and acting under her orders, would carry on negotiations. The
State divorce, as she had already taken pains to ascertain, would cost
fifty dollars; the rabbinical divorce would take five or eight dollars
more. Two hundred dollars would be deposited with some Canal Street
banker, to be paid to Gitl when the whole procedure was brought to a
successful termination. If she can be got to accept less, so much the
better; if not, Jake and Mamie will get along, anyhow. When they are
married they will open a dancing school.

To all of which Jake kept nodding approval, once or twice interrupting
her with a demonstration of enthusiasm. As to the fate of his boy,
Mamie deliberately circumvented all reference to the subject. Several
times Jake was tempted to declare his ardent desire to have the child
with them, and that Mamie should like him and be a mother to him; for
had she not herself found him a bright and nice fellow? His heart bled
at the thought of having to part with Joey. But somehow the courage
failed him to touch upon the question. He saw himself helplessly
entangled in something foreboding no good. He felt between the devil
and the deep sea, as the phrase goes; and unnerved by the whole
situation and completely in the shop girl's power, he was glad to be
relieved from all initiative--whether forward or backward--to shut his
eyes, as it were, and, leaning upon Mamie's strong arm, let himself be
led by her in whatever direction she chose.

"Do you know, Jake?--now I may as well tell you," the girl pursued, _à
propos_ of the prospective dancing school; "do you know that Joe has
been _bodering_ me to marry him? And he did not know I had a cent,
either."

"_An you didn' vanted?_" Jake asked, joyfully.

"_Sure!_ I knew all along Jakie was my predestined match," she replied,
drawing his bulky head to her lips. And following the operation by a
sound twirl of his ear, she added: "Only he is a great lump of hog,
Jakie is. But a heart is a clock: it told me I would have you some day.
I could have got _lots_ of suitors--may the two of us have as many
thousands of dollars--and _business people_, too. Do you see what I am
doing for you? Do you deserve it, _monkey you_?"

"_Never min'_, you shall see what a _danshin' shchool_ I _shta't_. If I
don't take away every _shcholar_ from Jaw, my name won't be Jake. Won't
he squirm!" he exclaimed, with childish ardour.

"Dot's all right; but foist min' dot you don' go back on me!"

                 *       *       *       *       *

An hour or two later Mamie with Jake by her side stood in front of the
little window in the ferryhouse of the Pennsylvania Railroad, buying
one ticket for the midnight train for Philadelphia.

"Min' je, Jake," she said anxiously a little after, as she handed him
the ticket. "This is as good as a marriage certificate, do you
understand?" And the two hurried off to the boat in a meagre stream of
other passengers.



CHAPTER IX.

THE PARTING.


It was on a bright frosty morning in the following January, in the
kitchen of Rabbi Aaronovitz, on the third floor of a rickety old
tenement house, that Jake and Gitl, for the first time since his
flight, came face to face. It was also to be their last meeting as
husband and wife.

The low-ceiled room was fairly crowded with men and women. Besides the
principal actors in the scene, the rabbi, the scribe, and the
witnesses, and, as a matter of course, Mrs. Kavarsky, there was the
rabbi's wife, their two children, and an envoy from Mamie, charged to
look after the fortitude of Jake's nerve. Gitl, extremely careworn and
haggard, was "in her own hair," thatched with a broad-brimmed winter
hat of a brown colour, and in a jacket of black beaver. The rustic,
"greenhornlike" expression was completely gone from her face and
manner, and, although she now looked bewildered and as if
terror-stricken, there was noticeable about her a suggestion of that
peculiar air of self-confidence with which a few months' life in
America is sure to stamp the looks and bearing of every immigrant.
Jake, flushed and plainly nervous and fidgety, made repeated attempts
to conceal his state of mind now by screwing up a grim face, now by
giving his enormous head a haughty posture, now by talking aloud to his
escort.

The tedious preliminaries were as trying to the rabbi as they were to
Jake and Gitl. However, the venerable old man discharged his duty of
dissuading the young couple from their contemplated step as
scrupulously as he dared in view of his wife's signals to desist and
not to risk the fee. Gitl, prompted by Mrs. Kavarsky, responded to all
questions with an air of dazed resignation, while Jake, ever conscious
of his guard's glance, gave his answers with bravado. At last the
scribe, a gaunt middle-aged man, with an expression of countenance at
once devout and businesslike, set about his task. Whereupon Mrs.
Aaronovitz heaved a sigh of relief, and forthwith banished her two boys
into the parlour.

An imposing stillness fell over the room. Little by little, however, it
was broken, at first by whispers and then by an unrestrained hum. The
rabbi, in a velvet skullcap, faded and besprinkled with down, presided
with pious dignity, though apparently ill at ease, at the head of the
table. Alternately stroking his yellowish-gray beard and curling his
scanty side locks, he kept his eyes on the open book before him, now
and then stealing a glance at the other end of the table, where the
scribe was rapturously drawing the square characters of the holy
tongue.

Gitl carefully looked away from Jake. But he invincibly haunted her
mind, rendering her deaf to Mrs. Kavarsky's incessant buzz. His
presence terrified her, and at the same time it melted her soul in a
fire, torturing yet sweet, which impelled her at one moment to throw
herself upon him and scratch out his eyes, and at another to prostrate
herself at his feet and kiss them in a flood of tears.

Jake, on the other hand, eyed Gitl quite frequently, with a kind of
malicious curiosity. Her general Americanized make up, and, above all,
that broad-brimmed, rather fussy, hat of hers, nettled him. It seemed
to defy him, and as if devised for that express purpose. Every time she
and her adviser caught his eye, a feeling of devouring hate for both
would rise in his heart. He was panting to see his son; and, while he
was thoroughly alive to the impossibility of making a child the witness
of a divorce scene between father and mother, yet, in his fury, he
interpreted their failure to bring Joey with them as another piece of
malice.

"Ready!" the scribe at length called out, getting up with the document
in his hand, and turning it over to the rabbi.

The rest of the assemblage also rose from their seats, and clustered
round Jake and Gitl, who had taken places on either side of the old
man. A beam of hard, cold sunlight, filtering in through a grimy
window-pane and falling lurid upon the rabbi's wrinkled brow, enhanced
the impressiveness of the spectacle. A momentary pause ensued, stern,
weird, and casting a spell of awe over most of the bystanders, not
excluding the rabbi. Mrs. Kavarsky even gave a shudder and gulped down
a sob.

"Young woman!" Rabbi Aaronovitz began, with bashful serenity, "here is
the writ of divorce all ready. Now thou mayst still change thy mind."

Mrs. Aaronovitz anxiously watched Gitl, who answered by a shake of her
head.

"Mind thee, I tell thee once again," the old man pursued, gently. "Thou
must accept this divorce with the same free will and readiness with
which thou hast married thy husband. Should there be the slightest
objection hidden in thy heart, the divorce is null and void. Dost thou
understand?"

"Say that you are _saresfied_," whispered Mrs. Kavarsky.

"_Ull ride_, I am _salesfiet_" murmured Gitl, looking down on the
table.

"Witnesses, hear ye what this young woman says? That she accepts the
divorce of her own free will," the rabbi exclaimed solemnly, as if
reading the Talmud.

"Then I must also tell you once more," he then addressed himself to
Jake as well as to Gitl, "that this divorce is good only upon condition
that you are also divorced by the Government of the land--by the
court--do you understand? So it stands written in the separate paper
which you get. Do you understand what I say?"

"_Dot'sh alla right_," Jake said, with ostentatious ease of manner. "I
have already told you that the _dvosh_ of the _court_ is already
_fikshed_, haven't I?" he added, even angrily.

Now came the culminating act of the drama. Gitl was affectionately
urged to hold out her hands, bringing them together at an angle, so as
to form a receptacle for the fateful piece of paper. She obeyed
mechanically, her cheeks turning ghastly pale. Jake, also pale to his
lips, his brows contracted, received the paper, and obeying directions,
approached the woman who in the eye of the Law of Moses was still his
wife. And then, repeating word for word after the rabbi, he said:

"Here is thy divorce. Take thy divorce. And by this divorce thou art
separated from me and free for all other men!"

Gitl scarcely understood the meaning of the formula, though each Hebrew
word was followed by its Yiddish translation. Her arms shook so that
they had to be supported by Mrs. Kavarsky and by one of the witnesses.

At last Jake deposited the writ and instantly drew back.

Gitl closed her hands upon the paper as she had been instructed; but at
the same moment she gave a violent tremble, and with a heartrending
groan fell on the witness in a fainting swoon.

In the ensuing commotion Jake slipped out of the room, presently
followed by Mamie's ambassador, who had remained behind to pay the
bill.

                 *       *       *       *       *

Gitl was soon brought to by Mrs. Kavarsky and the mistress of the
house. For a moment or so she sat staring about her, when, suddenly
awakening to the meaning of the ordeal she had just been through, and
finding Jake gone, she clapped her hands and burst into a fit of
sobbing.

Meanwhile the rabbi had once again perused the writ, and having caused
the witnesses to do likewise, he made two diagonal slits in the paper.

"You must not forget, my daughter," he said to the young woman, who was
at that moment crying as if her heart would break, "that you dare not
marry again before ninety-one days, counting from to-day, go by; while
you--where is he, the young man? Gone?" he asked with a frustrated
smile and growing pale.

"You want him badly, don't you?" growled Mrs. Kavarsky. "Let him go I
know where, the every-evil-in-him that he is!"

Mrs. Aaronovitz telegraphing to her husband that the money was safe in
her pocket, he remarked sheepishly: "_He_ may wed even to-day."
Whereupon Gitl's sobs became still more violent, and she fell to
nodding her head and wringing her hands.

"What are you crying about, foolish face that you are!" Mrs. Kavarsky
fired out. "Another woman would thank God for having at last got rid of
the lump of leavened bread. What say you, rabbi? A rowdy, a sinner of
Israel, a _regely loifer_, may no good Jew know him! _Never min'_, the
Name, be It blessed, will send you your destined one, and a fine,
learned, respectable man, too," she added significantly.

Her words had an instantaneous effect. Gitl at once composed herself,
and fell to drying her eyes.

Quick to catch Mrs. Kavarsky's hint, the rabbi's wife took her aside
and asked eagerly:

"Why, has she got a suitor?"

"What is the _differentz_? You need not fear; when there is a wedding
canopy I shall employ no other man than your husband," was Mrs.
Kavarsky's self-important but good-natured reply.



CHAPTER X.

A DEFEATED VICTOR.


When Gitl, accompanied by her friend, reached home, they were followed
into the former's apartments by a batch of neighbours, one of them with
Joey in tow. The moment the young woman found herself in her kitchen
she collapsed, sinking down on the lounge. The room seemed to have
assumed a novel aspect, which brought home to her afresh that the bond
between her and Jake was now at last broken forever and beyond repair.
The appalling fact was still further accentuated in her consciousness
when she caught sight of the boy.

"Joeyelé! Joeyinké! Birdie! Little kitten!"--with which she seized him
in her arms, and, kissing him all over, burst into tears. Then shaking
with the child backward and forward, and intoning her words as Jewish
women do over a grave, she went on: "Ai, you have no papa any more,
Joeyelé! Yoselé, little crown, you will never see him again! He is
dead, _taté_ is!" Whereupon Yoselé, following his mother's example, let
loose his stentorian voice.

"_Shurr-r up!_" Mrs. Kavarsky whispered, stamping her foot. "You want
Mr. Bernstein to leave you, too, do you? No more is wanted than that he
should get wind of your crying."

"Nobody will tell him," one of the neighbours put in, resentfully.
"But, _anyhull_, what is the _used_ crying?"

"Ask her, the piece of hunchback!" said Mrs. Kavarsky. "Another woman
would dance for joy, and here she is whining, the cudgel. What is it
you are snivelling about? That you have got rid of an unclean bone and
a dunce, and that you are going to marry a young man of silk who is fit
to be a rabbi, and is as _smart_ and _ejecate_ as a lawyer? You would
have got a match like that in Povodye, would you? I dare say a man like
Mr. Bernstein would not have spoken to you there. You ought to say
Psalms for your coming to America. It is only here that it is possible
for a blacksmith's wife to marry a learned man, who is a blessing both
for God and people. And yet you are not _saresfied_! Cry away! If
Bernstein refuses to go under the wedding canopy, Mrs. Kavarsky will no
more _bodder_ her head about you, depend upon it. It is not enough for
her that I neglect _business_ on her account," she appealed to the
bystanders.

"Really, what are you crying about, Mrs. Podkovnik?" one of the
neighbours interposed. "You ought to bless the hour when you became
free."

All of which haranguing only served to stimulate Gitl's demonstration
of grief. Having let down the boy, she went on clapping her hands,
swaying in all directions, and wailing.

The truth must be told, however, that she was now continuing her
lamentations by the mere force of inertia, and as if enjoying the very
process of the thing. For, indeed, at the bottom of her heart she felt
herself far from desolate, being conscious of the existence of a man
who was to take care of her and her child, and even relishing the
prospect of the new life in store for her. Already on her way from the
rabbi's house, while her soul was full of Jake and the Polish girl,
there had fluttered through her imagination a picture of the grocery
business which she and Bernstein were to start with the money paid to
her by Jake.

                 *       *       *       *       *

While Gitl thus sat swaying and wringing her hands, Jake, Mamie, her
emissary at the divorce proceeding, and another mutual friend, were
passengers on a Third Avenue cable car, all bound for the mayor's
office. While Gitl was indulging herself in an exhibition of grief, her
recent husband was flaunting a hilarious mood. He did feel a great
burden to have rolled off his heart, and the proximity of Mamie, on the
other hand, caressed his soul. He was tempted to catch her in his arms,
and cover her glowing cheeks with kisses. But in his inmost heart he
was the reverse of eager to reach the City Hall. He was painfully
reluctant to part with his long-coveted freedom so soon after it had at
last been attained, and before he had had time to relish it. Still
worse than this thirst for a taste of liberty was a feeling which was
now gaining upon him, that, instead of a conqueror, he had emerged from
the rabbi's house the victim of an ignominious defeat. If he could now
have seen Gitl in her paroxysm of anguish, his heart would perhaps have
swelled with a sense of his triumph, and Mamie would have appeared to
him the embodiment of his future happiness. Instead of this he beheld
her, Bernstein, Yoselé, and Mrs. Kavarsky celebrating their victory and
bandying jokes at his expense. Their future seemed bright with joy,
while his own loomed dark and impenetrable. What if he should now dash
into Gitl's apartments and, declaring his authority as husband, father,
and lord of the house, fiercely eject the strangers, take Yoselé in his
arms, and sternly command Gitl to mind her household duties?

But the distance between him and the mayor's office was dwindling fast.
Each time the car came to a halt he wished the pause could be prolonged
indefinitely; and when it resumed its progress, the violent lurch it
gave was accompanied by a corresponding sensation in his heart.


THE END.



D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS.


STEPHEN CRANE'S BOOKS.

_MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS._ By STEPHEN CRANE, author of "The Red
Badge of Courage," etc. Uniform with "The Red Badge of Courage." 12mo.
Cloth, 75 cents.

    In this book the author pictures certain realities of city life,
    and he has not contented himself with a search for humorous
    material or with superficial aspects. His story lives, and its
    actuality can not fail to produce a deep impression and to point a
    moral which many a thoughtful reader will apply.


TENTH EDITION.

_THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. An Episode of the American Civil War._ By
STEPHEN CRANE. 12mo. Cloth, $1.00.

    "A strong book and a true book; true to life, whether it be taken
    as a literal transcript of a soldier's experiences in his first
    battle, or a great parable of the inner battle which every man must
    fight."--_The Critic._

    "Never before have we had the seamy side of glorious war so well
    depicted.... The action of the story throughout is splendid, and
    all aglow with color, movement, and vim. The style is as keen and
    bright as a sword blade, and a Kipling has done nothing better in
    this line."--_Chicago Evening Post._

    "Original, striking, astonishing, powerful; holding the attention
    with the force of genius."--_Louisville Post._

    "So vivid is the picture of actual conflict that the reader comes
    face to face with war."--_Atlantic Monthly._

    "Has been surpassed by few writers dealing with war."--_New York
    Mail and Express._

    "We have had many stories of the war; this stands absolutely
    alone."--_Boston Transcript._

    "There is nothing in American fiction to compare with it.... Mr.
    Crane has added to American literature something that has never
    been done before, and that is, in its own peculiar way,
    inimitable."--_Boston Beacon._

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue.



D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS.


_THE FOLLY OF EUSTACE._ By R. S. HICHENS, author of "An Imaginative
Man," "The Green Carnation," etc. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

"Mr. Hichens has proved himself to be a man of ready wit, plentiful
cleverness, and of high spirits; ... one of the most interesting
figures among contemporary _romanciers."--London Weekly Sun._

_SLEEPING FIRES._ By GEORGE GISSING, author of "In the Year of
Jubilee," "Eve's Ransom," etc. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

In this striking story the author has treated an original motive with
rare self-command and skill. His book is most interesting as a story,
and remarkable as a literary performance.

_STONEPASTURES._ By ELEANOR STUART. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

    "This is a strong bit of good literary workmanship.... The book has
    the value of being a real sketch of our own mining regions, and of
    showing how, even in the apparently dull round of work, there is
    still material for a good bit of literature."--_Philadelphia
    Ledger._

_COURTSHIP BY COMMAND_. By M. M. BLAKE. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

    "A bright, moving study of an unusually interesting period in the
    life of Napoleon, ... deliciously told; the characters are clearly,
    strongly, and very delicately modeled, and the touches of color
    most artistically done. 'Courtship by Command' is the most
    satisfactory Napoleon _bonne-bouche_ we have had."--_N.Y.
    Commercial Advertiser._

_THE WATTER'S MOU'._ By BRAM STOKER. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

    "Here is a tale to stir the most sluggish nature.... It is like
    standing on the deck of a wave-tossed ship; you feel the soul of
    the storm go into your blood."--_New York Home Journal._

_MASTER AND MAN._ By COUNT LEO TOLSTOY. With an Introduction by W. D.
HOWELLS. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cts.

    "Reveals a wonderful knowledge of the workings of the human mind,
    and it tells a tale that not only stirs the emotions, but gives us
    a better insight into our own hearts."--_San Francisco Argonaut._

_THE ZEIT-GEIST._ By L. DOUGALL, author of "The Mermaid," "Beggars
All," etc. 16mo. Cloth, 75 cents.

    "One of the most remarkable novels of the year."--_New York
    Commercial Advertiser._

    "Powerful in conception, treatment, and influence."--_Boston
    Globe._

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue.



D. APPLETON & CO.'S PUBLICATIONS.


GILBERT PARKER'S BEST BOOKS.

_THE SEATS OF THE MIGHTY._ Being the Memoirs of Captain Robert Moray,
sometime an Officer in the Virginia Regiment, and afterwards of
Amherst's Regiment. 12mo. Cloth, illustrated, $1.50.

    "Another historical romance of the vividness and intensity of 'The
    Seats of the Mighty' has never come from the pen of an American.
    Mr. Parker's latest work may, without hesitation, be set down as
    the best he has done. From the first chapter to the last word
    interest in the book never wanes; one finds it difficult to
    interrupt the narrative with breathing space. It whirls with
    excitement and strange adventure.... All of the scenes do homage to
    the genius of Mr. Parker, and make 'The Seats of the Mighty' one of
    the books of the year."--_Chicago Record._

    "Mr. Gilbert Parker is to be congratulated on the excellence of his
    latest story, 'The Seats of the Mighty,' and his readers are to be
    congratulated on the direction which his talents have taken
    therein.... It is so good that we do not stop to think of its
    literature, and the personality of Doltaire is a masterpiece of
    creative art."--_New York Mail and Express._

_THE TRAIL OF THE SWORD._ A Novel. 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, $1.00.

    "Mr. Parker here adds to a reputation already wide, and anew
    demonstrates his power of pictorial portrayal and of strong
    dramatic situation and climax."--_Philadelphia Bulletin._

    "The tale holds the reader's interest from first to last, for it is
    full of fire and spirit, abounding in incident, and marked by good
    character drawing."--_Pittsburg Times._

_THE TRESPASSER._ 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, $1.00.

    "Interest, pith, force, and charm--Mr. Parker's new story possesses
    all these qualities.... Almost bare of synthetical decoration, his
    paragraphs are stirring because they are real. We read at times--as
    we have read the great masters of romance--breathlessly."--_The
    Critic._

    "Gilbert Parker writes a strong novel, but thus far this is his
    masterpiece.... It is one of the great novels of the
    year."--_Boston Advertiser._

_THE TRANSLATION OF A SAVAGE._ 16mo. Flexible cloth, 75 cents.

    "A book which no one will be satisfied to put down until the end
    has been matter of certainty and assurance."--_The Nation._

    "A story of remarkable interest, originality, and ingenuity of
    construction."--_Boston Home Journal._

    "The perusal of this romance will repay those who care for new and
    original types of character, and who are susceptible to the
    fascination of a fresh and vigorous style."--_London Daily News._

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue.



BY S. R. CROCKETT.

_CLEG KELLY, ARAB OF THE CITY. His Progress and Adventures._ Uniform
with "The Lilac Sunbonnet" and "Bog-Myrtle and Peat." Illustrated.
12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "A masterpiece which Mark Twain himself has never rivaled.... If
    there ever was an ideal character in action it is this heroic
    ragamuffin."--_London Daily Chronicle._

    "In no one of his books does Mr. Crockett give us a brighter or
    more graphic picture of contemporary Scotch life than in 'Cleg
    Kelly.'... It is one of the great books."--_Boston Daily
    Advertiser._

    "One of the most successful of Mr. Crockett's works."--_Brooklyn
    Eagle._

_BOG-MYRTLE AND PEAT._ Third edition. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "Here are idyls, epics, dramas of human life, written in words that
    thrill and burn.... Each is a poem that has an immortal flavor.
    They are fragments of the author's early dreams, too bright, too
    gorgeous, too full of the blood of rubies and the life of diamonds
    to be caught and held palpitating in expression's grasp."--_Boston
    Courier._

    "Hardly a sketch among them all that will not afford pleasure to
    the reader for its genial humor, artistic local coloring, and
    admirable portrayal of character."--_Boston Home Journal._

    "One dips into the book anywhere and reads on and on, fascinated by
    the writer's charm of manner."--_Minneapolis Tribune._

_THE LILAC SUNBONNET._ Sixth edition. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "A love story pure and simple, one of the old-fashioned, wholesome,
    sunshiny kind, with a pure-minded, sound-hearted hero, and a
    heroine who is merely a good and beautiful woman; and if any other
    love story half so sweet has been written this year, it has escaped
    our notice."--_New York Times._

    "The general conception of the story, the motive of which is the
    growth of love between the young chief and heroine, is delineated
    with a sweetness and a freshness, a naturalness and a certainty,
    which places 'The Lilac Sunbonnet' among the best stories of the
    time."--_New York Mail and Express._

    "In its own line this little love story can hardly be excelled. It
    is a pastoral, an idyl--the story of love and courtship and
    marriage of a fine young man and a lovely girl--no more. But it is
    told in so thoroughly delightful a manner, with such playful humor,
    such delicate fancy, such true and sympathetic feeling, that
    nothing more could be desired."--_Boston Traveller._


BY A. CONAN DOYLE.

_THE EXPLOITS OF BRIGADIER GERARD. A Romance of the Life of a Typical
Napoleonic Soldier._ Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "The Brigadier is brave, resolute, amorous, loyal, chivalrous;
    never was a foe more ardent in battle, more clement in victory, or
    more ready at need.... Gallantry, humor, martial gayety, moving
    incident, make up a really delightful book."--_London Times._

    "May be set down without reservation as the most thoroughly
    enjoyable book that Dr. Doyle has ever published."--_Boston
    Beacon._

_THE STARK MUNRO LETTERS._ Being a Series of Twelve Letters written by
STARK MUNRO, M. B., to his friend and former fellow-student, Herbert
Swanborough, of Lowell, Massachusetts, during the years 1881-1884.
Illustrated. 12mo. Buckram, $1.50.

    "Cullingworth, ... a much more interesting creation than Sherlock
    Holmes, and I pray Dr. Doyle to give us more of him."--_Richard le
    Gallienne, in the London Star._

    "Every one who wants a hearty laugh must make acquaintance with Dr.
    James Cullingworth."--_Westminster Gazette._

    "Every one must read; for not to know Cullingworth should surely
    argue one's self to be unknown."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

    "One of the freshest figures to be met with in any recent
    fiction."--_London Daily News._

    "'The Stark Munro Letters' is a bit of real literature.... Its
    reading will be an epoch-making event in many a
    life."--_Philadelphia Evening Telegraph._

    "Positively magnetic, and written with that combined force and
    grace for which the author's style is known."--_Boston Budget._


SEVENTH EDITION.

_ROUND THE RED LAMP._ Being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life. 12mo.
Cloth, $1.50.

    "Too much can not be said in praise of these strong productions,
    that, to read, keep one's heart leaping to the throat and the mind
    in a tumult of anticipation to the end.... No series of short
    stories in modern literature can approach them."--_Hartford Times._

    "If Dr. A. Conan Doyle had not already placed himself in the front
    rank of living English writers by 'The Refugees,' and other of his
    larger stories, he would surely do so by these fifteen short
    tales."--_New York Mail and Express._

    "A strikingly realistic and decidedly original contribution to
    modern literature."--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._


MISS F. F. MONTRÉSOR'S BOOKS.

_FALSE COIN OR TRUE?_ 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

    "One of the few true novels of the day.... It is powerful, and
    touched with a delicate insight and strong impressions of life and
    character.... The author's theme is original, her treatment
    artistic, and the book is remarkable for its unflagging
    interest."--_Philadelphia Record._

    "The tale never flags in interest, and once taken up will not be
    laid down until the last page is finished."--_Boston Budget._

    "A well-written novel, with well-depicted characters and
    well-chosen scenes."--_Chicago News._

    "A sweet, tender, pure, and lovely story."--_Buffalo Commercial._

_THE ONE WHO LOOKED ON._ 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

    "A tale quite unusual, entirely unlike any other, full of a strange
    power and realism, and touched with a fine humor."--_London World._

    "One of the most remarkable and powerful of the year's
    contributions, worthy to stand with Ian Maclaren's."--_British
    Weekly._

    "One of the rare books which can be read with great pleasure and
    recommended without reservation. It is fresh, pure, sweet, and
    pathetic, with a pathos which is perfectly wholesome."--_St. Paul
    Globe._

    "The story is an intensely human one, and it is delightfully
    told.... The author shows a marvelous keenness in character
    analysis, and a marked ingenuity in the development of her
    story."--_Boston Advertiser._

_INTO THE HIGH WAYS AND HEDGES._ 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth, $1.00.

    "A touch of idealism, of nobility of thought and purpose, mingled
    with an air of reality and well-chosen expression, are the most
    notable features of a book that has not the ordinary defects of
    such qualities. With all its elevation of utterance and
    spirituality of outlook and insight it is wonderfully free from
    overstrained or exaggerated matter, and it has glimpses of humor.
    Most of the characters are vivid, yet there are restraint and
    sobriety in their treatment, and almost all are carefully and
    consistently evolved."--_London Athenæum._

    "'Into the Highways and Hedges' is a book not of promise only, but
    of high achievement. It is original, powerful, artistic, humorous.
    It places the author at a bound in the rank of those artists to
    whom we look for the skillful presentation of strong personal
    impressions of life and character."--_London Daily News._

    "The pure idealism of 'Into the Highways and Hedges' does much to
    redeem modern fiction from the reproach it has brought upon
    itself.... The story is original, and told with great
    refinement."--_Philadelphia Public Ledger._


"A better book than 'The Prisoner of Zenda.'"--_London Queen._

_THE CHRONICLES OF COUNT ANTONIO._ By ANTHONY HOPE, author of "The God
in the Car," "The Prisoner of Zenda," etc. With photogravure
Frontispiece by S. W. Van Schaick. Third edition. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "No adventures were ever better worth recounting than are those of
    Antonio of Monte Velluto, a very Bayard among outlaws.... To all
    those whose pulses still stir at the recital of deeds of high
    courage, we may recommend this book.... The chronicle conveys the
    emotion of heroic adventure, and is picturesquely
    written."--_London Daily News._

    "It has literary merits all its own, of a deliberate and rather
    deep order.... In point of execution 'The Chronicles of Count
    Antonio' is the best work that Mr. Hope has yet done. The design is
    clearer, the workmanship more elaborate, the style more colored....
    The incidents are most ingenious, they are told quietly, but with
    great cunning, and the Quixotic sentiment which pervades it all is
    exceedingly pleasant"--_Westminster Gazette._

    "A romance worthy of all the expectations raised by the brilliancy
    of his former books, and likely to be read with a keen enjoyment
    and a healthy exaltation of the spirits by every one who takes it
    up."--_The Scotsman._

    "A gallant tale, written with unfailing freshness and
    spirit."--_London Daily Telegraph._

    "One of the most fascinating romances written in English within
    many days. The quaint simplicity of its style is delightful, and
    the adventures recorded in these 'Chronicles of Count Antonio' are
    as stirring and ingenious as any conceived even by Weyman at his
    best."--_New York World._

    "Romance of the real flavor, wholly and entirely romance, and
    narrated in true romantic style. The characters, drawn with such
    masterly handling, are not merely pictures and portraits, but
    statues that are alive and step boldly forward from the
    canvas."--_Boston Courier._

    "Told in a wonderfully simple and direct style, and with the magic
    touch of a man who has the genius of narrative, making the varied
    incidents flow naturally and rapidly in a stream of sparkling
    discourse."--_Detroit Tribune._

    "Easily ranks with, if not above, 'A Prisoner of Zenda.'...
    Wonderfully strong, graphic, and compels the interest of the most
    _blasé_ novel reader."--_Boston Advertiser._

    "No adventures were ever better worth telling than those of Count
    Antonio.... The author knows full well how to make every pulse
    thrill, and how to hold his readers under the spell of his
    magic."--_Boston Herald._

    "A book to make women weep proud tears, and the blood of men to
    tingle with knightly fervor.... In 'Count Antonio' we think Mr.
    Hope surpasses himself, as he has already surpassed all the other
    story-tellers of the period."--_New York Spirit of the Times._


NOVELS BY HALL CAINE.

_THE MANXMAN._ 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "A story of marvelous dramatic intensity, and in its ethical
    meaning has a force comparable only to Hawthorne's 'Scarlet
    Letter.'"--_Boston Beacon._

    "A work of power which is another stone added to the foundation of
    enduring fame to which Mr. Caine is yearly adding."--_Public
    Opinion._

    "A wonderfully strong study of character; a powerful analysis of
    those elements which go to make up the strength and weakness of a
    man, which are at fierce warfare within the same breast; contending
    against each other, as it were, the one to raise him to fame and
    power, the other to drag him down to degradation and shame. Never
    in the whole range of literature have we seen the struggle between
    these forces for supremacy over the man more powerfully, more
    realistically delineated than Mr. Caine pictures it."--_Boston Home
    Journal._

_THE DEEMSTER. A Romance of the Isle of Man._ 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "Hall Caine has already given us some very strong and fine work,
    and 'The Deemster' is a story of unusual power.... Certain passages
    and chapters have an intensely dramatic grasp, and hold the
    fascinated reader with a force rarely excited nowadays in
    literature."--_The Critic._

    "One of the strongest novels which has appeared in many a
    day."--_San Francisco Chronicle._

    "Fascinates the mind like the gathering and bursting of a
    storm."--_Illustrated London News._

    "Deserves to be ranked among the remarkable novels of the
    day."--_Chicago Times._

_THE BONDMAN._ New edition. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "The welcome given to this story has cheered and touched me, but I
    am conscious that, to win a reception so warm, such a book must
    have had readers who brought to it as much as they took away.... I
    have called my story a saga, merely because it follows the epic
    method, and I must not claim for it at any point the weighty
    responsibility of history, or serious obligations to the world of
    fact. But it matters not to me what Icelanders may call 'The
    Bondman,' if they will honor me by reading it in the open-hearted
    spirit and with the free mind with which they are content to read
    of Grettir and of his fights with the Troll."--_From the Author's
    Preface._

_CAPT'N DAVY'S HONEYMOON. A Manx Yarn._ 12mo. Paper, 50 cents; cloth,
$1.00.

    "A new departure by this author. Unlike his previous works, this
    little tale is almost wholly humorous, with, however, a current of
    pathos underneath. It is not always that an author can succeed
    equally well in tragedy and in comedy, but it looks as though Mr.
    Hall Caine would be one of the exceptions."--_London Literary
    World._

    "It is pleasant to meet the author of 'The Deemster' in a brightly
    humorous little story like this.... It shows the same observation
    of Manx character, and much of the same artistic
    skill."--_Philadelphia Times._


BOOKS BY MRS. EVERARD COTES (SARA JEANNETTE DUNCAN).

_HIS HONOUR, AND A LADY._ Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "'His Honour, and a Lady' is a finished novel, colored with true
    local dyes and instinct with the Anglo-Indian and pure Indian
    spirit, besides a perversion by originality of created character
    and a crisp way of putting things."--_Chicago Times-Herald._

_THE STORY OF SONNY SAHIB._ Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth, $1.00

    "As perfect a story of its kind as can be imagined."--_Chicago
    Times-Herald._

_VERNON'S AUNT._ With many Illustrations. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

    "A most vivid and realistic impression of certain phases of life in
    India, and no one can read her vivacious chronicle without
    indulging in many a hearty laugh."--_Boston Beacon._

_A DAUGHTER OF TO-DAY._ A Novel. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "This novel is a strong and serious piece of work; one of a kind
    that is getting too rare in these days of universal
    crankiness."--_Boston Courier._

_A SOCIAL DEPARTURE: How Orthodocia and I Went Round the World by
Ourselves._ With 111 Illustrations by F. H. TOWNSEND. 12mo. Paper, 75
cents; cloth, $1.75.

    "A brighter, merrier, more entirely charming book would be, indeed,
    difficult to find."--_St. Louis Republic._

_AN AMERICAN GIRL IN LONDON._ With 80 Illustrations by F. H. TOWNSEND.
12mo. Paper, 75 cents; cloth, $1.50.

    "So sprightly a book as this, on life in London as observed by an
    American, has never before been written."--_Philadelphia Bulletin._

_THE SIMPLE ADVENTURES OF A MEMSAHIB._ With 37 Illustrations by _F. H.
Townsend_. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "It is like traveling without leaving one's armchair to read it.
    Miss Duncan has the descriptive and narrative gift in large
    measure, and she brings vividly before us the street scenes, the
    interiors, the bewilderingly queer natives, the gayeties of the
    English colony."--_Philadelphia Telegraph._


NOVELS BY MAARTEN MAARTENS.

_THE GREATER GLORY. A Story of High Life._ By MAARTEN MAARTENS, author
of "God's Fool," "Joost Avelingh," etc. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "Until the Appletons discovered the merits of Maarten Maartens, the
    foremost of Dutch novelists, it is doubtful if many American
    readers knew that there were Dutch novelists. His 'God's Fool' and
    'Joost Avelingh' made for him an American reputation. To our mind
    this just published work of his is his best.... He is a master of
    epigram, an artist in description, a prophet in insight."--_Boston
    Advertiser._

    "It would take several columns to give any adequate idea of the
    superb way in which the Dutch novelist has developed his theme and
    wrought out one of the most impressive stories of the period.... It
    belongs to the small class of novels which one can not afford to
    neglect."--_San Francisco Chronicle._

    "Maarten Maartens stands head and shoulders above the average
    novelist of the day in intellectual subtlety and imaginative
    power."--_Boston Beacon._

_GOD'S FOOL._ By MAARTEN MAARTENS. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "Throughout there is an epigrammatic force which would make
    palatable a less interesting story of human lives or one less
    deftly told."--_London Saturday Review._

    "Perfectly easy, graceful, humorous.... The author's skill in
    character-drawing is undeniable."--_London Chronicle._

    "A remarkable work."--_New York Times._

    "Maarten Maartens has secured a firm footing in the eddies of
    current literature.... Pathos deepens into tragedy in the thrilling
    story of 'God's Fool.'"--_Philadelphia Ledger._

    "Its preface alone stamps the author as one of the leading English
    novelists of to-day."--_Boston Daily Advertiser._

    "The story is wonderfully brilliant.... The interest never lags;
    the style is realistic and intense; and there is a constantly
    underlying current of subtle humor.... It is, in short, a book
    which no student of modern literature should fail to
    read."--_Boston Times._

    "A story of remarkable interest and point."--_New York Observer._

_JOOST AVELINGH._ By MAARTEN MAARTENS. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "So unmistakably good as to induce the hope that an acquaintance
    with the Dutch literature of fiction may soon become more general
    among us."--_London Morning Post._

    "In scarcely any of the sensational novels of the day will the
    reader find more nature or more human nature."--_London Standard._

    "A novel of a very high type. At once strongly realistic and
    powerfully idealistic."--_London Literary World._

    "Full of local color and rich in quaint phraseology and
    suggestion."--_London Telegraph._

    "Maarten Maartens is a capital story-teller."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

    "Our English writers of fiction will have to look to their
    laurels."--_Birmingham Daily Post._

_A JOURNEY IN OTHER WORLDS. A Romance of the Future._ By JOHN JACOB
ASTOR. With 9 full-page Illustrations by Dan Beard. 12mo. Cloth, $1.50.

    "An interesting and cleverly devised book.... No lack of
    imagination.... Shows a skillful and wide acquaintance with
    scientific facts."--_New York Herald._

    "The author speculates cleverly and daringly on the scientific
    advance of the earth, and he revels in the physical luxuriance of
    Jupiter; but he also lets his imagination travel through spiritual
    realms, and evidently delights in mystic speculation quite as much
    as in scientific investigation. If he is a follower of Jules Verne,
    he has not forgotten also to study the philosophers."--_New York
    Tribune._

    "A beautiful example of typographical art and the bookmaker's
    skill.... To appreciate the story one must read it."--_New York
    Commercial Advertiser._

    "The date of the events narrated in this book is supposed to be
    2000 A. D. The inhabitants of North America have increased mightily
    in numbers and power and knowledge. It is an age of marvelous
    scientific attainments. Flying machines have long been in common
    use, and finally a new power is discovered called 'apergy,' the
    reverse of gravitation, by which people are able to fly off into
    space in any direction, and at what speed they please."--_New York
    Sun._

    "The scientific romance by John Jacob Astor is more than likely to
    secure a distinct popular success, and achieve widespread vogue
    both as an amusing and interesting story, and a thoughtful endeavor
    to prophesy some of the triumphs which science is destined to win
    by the year 2000. The book has been written with a purpose, and
    that a higher one than the mere spinning of a highly imaginative
    yarn. Mr. Astor has been engaged upon the book for over two years,
    and has brought to bear upon it a great deal of hard work in the
    way of scientific research, of which he has been very fond ever
    since he entered Harvard. It is admirably illustrated by Dan
    Beard."--_Mail and Express._

    "Mr. Astor has himself almost all the qualities imaginable for
    making the science of astronomy popular. He knows the learned maps
    of the astrologers. He knows the work of Copernicus. He has made
    calculations and observations. He is enthusiastic, and the
    spectacular does not frighten him."--_New York Times._

    "The work will remind the reader very much of Jules Verne in its
    general plan of using scientific facts and speculation as a
    skeleton on which to hang the romantic adventures of the central
    figures, who have all the daring ingenuity and luck of Mr. Verne's
    heroes. Mr. Astor uses history to point out what in his opinion
    science may be expected to accomplish. It is a romance with a
    purpose."--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

    "The romance contains many new and striking developments of the
    possibilities of science hereafter to be explored, but the volume
    is intensely interesting, both as a product of imagination and an
    illustration of the ingenious and original application of
    science."--_Rochester Herald._


THE STORY OF THE WEST SERIES.

EDITED BY RIPLEY HITCHCOCK.

    "There is a vast extent of territory lying between the Missouri
    River and the Pacific coast which has barely been skimmed over so
    far. That the conditions of life therein are undergoing changes
    little short of marvelous will be understood when one recalls the
    fact that the first white male child born in Kansas is still
    living there; and Kansas is by no means one of the newer States.
    Revolutionary indeed has been the upturning of the old condition of
    affairs, and little remains thereof, and less will remain as each
    year goes by, until presently there will be only tradition of the
    Sioux and Comanches, the cowboy life, the wild horse, and the
    antelope. Histories, many of them, have been written about the
    Western country alluded to, but most if not practically all by
    outsiders who knew not personally that life of kaleidoscopic
    allurement. But ere it shall have vanished forever we are likely to
    have truthful, complete, and charming portrayals of it produced by
    men who actually know the life and have the power to describe
    it."--_Henry Edward Rood, in The Mail and Express._


_NOW READY._

_THE STORY OF THE INDIAN._ By GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL, author of "Pawnee
Hero Stories," "Blackfoot Lodge Tales," etc. 12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
$1.50.

    "A valuable study of Indian life and character.... An attractive
    book, ... in large part one in which Indians themselves might have
    written."--_New York Tribune._

    "Among the various books respecting the aborigines of America. Mr.
    Grinnell's easily takes a leading position. He takes the reader
    directly to the camp-fire and the council, and shows us the
    American Indian as he really is.... A book which will convey much
    interesting knowledge respecting a race which is now fast passing
    away."--_Boston Commercial Bulletin._

    "It must not be supposed that the volume is one only for scholars
    and libraries of reference. It is far more than that. While it
    is a true story, yet it is a story none the less abounding in
    picturesque description and charming anecdote. We regard it as a
    valuable contribution to American literature."--_N.Y. Mail and
    Express._

    "A most attractive book, which presents an admirable graphic
    picture of the actual Indian, whose home life, religious
    observances, amusements, together with the various phases of his
    devotion to war and the chase, and finally the effects of
    encroaching civilization, are delineated with a certainty and an
    absence of sentimentalism or hostile prejudice that impart a
    peculiar distinction to this eloquent story of a passing
    life."--_Buffalo Commercial._

    "No man is better qualified than Mr. Grinnell to introduce this
    series with the story of the original owner of the West, the North
    American Indian. Long acquaintance and association with the
    Indians, and membership in a tribe, combined with a high degree of
    literary ability and thorough education, has fitted the author to
    understand the red man and to present him fairly to others."--_New
    York Observer._


_IN PREPARATION._

    The Story of the Mine. By CHARLES HOWARD SHINN.
    The Story of the Trapper. By GILBERT PARKER.
    The Story of the Explorer.
    The Story of the Cowboy.
    The Story of the Soldier.
    The Story of the Railroad.

New York: D. APPLETON & CO., 72 Fifth Avenue.





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