Altneuland Book III
By Theodore Herzl
An enormous touring car stood before the Littwak home. It was a divine spring morning.
"Donnerwetter!" shouted Kingscourt, in high spirits. "That's a real Noah's ark, with room for every sinful man and beast!"
"There will be only eleven of us in all!" said David.
"Eleven? I see only nine," counted Kingscourt. "Unless you count little Fritzchen for three. It wouldn't be a bad idea to take him along."
The baby, on his nurse's arm, seemed to realize that he was the topic of conversation. "O-oh!" he crowed, and reached out for Kingscourt's white beard.
"We shall pick up two friends on the way to Tiberias," said Sarah. "Reschid Bey and the architect Steineck.
"In the meantime, the servants had stowed a mass of hand luggage under the seats. Only one basket, containing milk bottles and other provisions for the baby, was placed on top of a seat. The driver and a negro footman climbed up to their places at the rear of the car. On the upholstered seats in front sat Miriam, Sarah, and Friedrich. Kingscourt chose a place behind the glass shield, ostensibly to be sheltered from the wind, but really because he had overheard that Fritzchen was to be put there. He climbed in first, and let them hand the baby to him. Once, however, Fritzchen was in Kingscourt's arms, he refused absolutely to go back to his nurse. David, entering the car last, tried to exert his paternal authority. In vain.
Kingscourt was very angry-or said he was. "Such a naughty rascal! Leave me at once!"
"Please give him to me," begged David. "Even if he yells."
Kingscourt, however, had not the faintest idea of surrendering Fritzchen. He set the baby on his lap, and tickled his chin and chest until he laughed out loud. "Such a fellow! Doesn't care if he makes old Kingscourt the laughing stock of all Haifa! Lucky no one knows me here!"
As the car drove out through the gateway of Friedrichsheim, the negro played a jolly tune on his horn. Fritzchen clapped his hands delightedly.
"I say!" cried Kingscourt. "It's almost like the good old days. The position with his horn!"
"He's calling Reschid," explained David. "We don't want to lose any time." Reschid was already waiting in front of his house. They greeted him cordially. From behind an upper-story lattice a lovely feminine hand waved a handkerchief.
"Good-by, Fatma!" called Sarah smilingly to the invisible one. "We shall bring your husband back safely. Don't worry!"
"Kiss the children for me, Fatma" cried Miriam.
Reschid's bags were stowed in the car, and he took a seat beside David. The white hand waved a last farewell, and the motor ark wheezed forward.
Friedrich turned to Miriam. "So that poor lady must remain at home alone."
"She is a happy and contented woman," replied Miriam. "She wants her husband to enjoy this little trip, I'm sure. He would not have thought of coming with us if it had annoyed her. They are both very fine people."
"Nevertheless, I admire a woman who remains obediently behind her lattice. On a morning like this, ladies."
"Isn't it delightful?" beamed Sarah. "Spring days like these come nowhere but in Palestine. Life has a better savor here than anywhere else."
Friedrich was happy, inexplicably happy. He was young again, exuberant. He teased his charming companion. "How about your school, Miss Miriam? Have you hung your duties on a hook for a while?"
"He knows nothing!" laughed Miriam. "Absolutely nothing at all about Jewish things. Allow me to inform you sir, that our Passover vacation began today. We are going to visit my parents at Tiberias because we shall celebrate the Seder there. Didn't David tell you anything about it?"
"Your brother hinted to me several times that we should hear more about the Jewish exodus in Tiberias. So that was what he meant....Well, I still remember the Egyptian exodus from my childhood."
"He may have meant something else, too," said Mariam thoughtfully.
When the car reached the bottom of the road that ran down the side of the Carmel, it turned not toward the town, but to the right, heading for the suburb watered by the Kishon river. They made a halt in front of a charming little home on the tree-planted quay, where a gentleman with a gray mustache stood gesticulating violently. With head thrown back, he looked at them over the rims of his glasses, and shouted, "If I'd been you, I'd not have come at all. Here I've been standing for half an hour! Never again shall I be prompt!"
David held out his watch silently.
"That proves nothing!" cried Steineck. "Your watch is slow. I don't believe in watches, anyway. Here, take my plans. Don't crush them, please. So! Now we're ready!' He shoved three enormous rolls of carton which he had under his arm at David and Reschid, and climbed into the car panting. But hardly had the car started when he shouted anxiously, "Stop! Stop! I've forgotten my traveling bag."
"They'll send it along with your other luggage," replied David soothingly. "I've sent the large pieces to Tiberias by train, you know, because we're making a detour."
"Impossible!" lamented the architect. "My speech is in that traveling bag. We must go back for it."
And they had to turn back. The traveling bag was fetched and stowed in the car. Steineck heaved a sigh of relief, and suddenly became very cheerful. The touring car, with its comparatively limited space, now harbored two famous bawlers-Kingscourt and Steineck. Like the old misanthrope, Steineck made a frightful uproar in delivering himself of the most commonplace remarks. Hardly had they been introduced when they began to shout into each other's ears. David and Reschid were hugely amused. Suddenly Kingscourt stopped shouting and placed his forefinger on his lips.
"Mr. Steineck," he whispered, "you spoke very loudly, but Fritzchen fell asleep in spite of the noise." He carefully lifted the sleeping child from his lap and handed him to the nurse, while the others smiled broadly.
Steineck's feelings were hurt. "I don't believe, Mr.-'" Kingscourt," he whispered, "that I spoke any more loudly than you did."
The road along which they were traveling constantly gave the strangers occasion for surprised questioning. There was of course less traffic here than in the town, but numerous bicycles and motor cars speeded past them, and horseback riders appeared and disappeared on the soft bridle path which ran parallel with the road. Some of the riders wore the picturesque Arab costume, others the conventional European clothing. Occasionally, too, camels filed past, singly and in cavalcades-picturesque and primitive relics of an obsolete era. The car rolled along comfortably on the smooth roadway. To the left and to the right they saw small houses with garden plots, and behind them well-cultivated fields that now were freshly green. Kingscourt noticed that wires strung on poles along the road had extensions into the houses.
"Are those telephone wires?" he asked. "And what kind of people live here?"
Reschid enlightened him. "Most of them are artisans. This is a shoemakers' village. The wires carry power into their homes for their machines. Is that new to you?"
"Oh, no. The principle of power transmission was already well known in my time, but it had very little practical application. And where does the power come from, if I may ask?"
"There are several electric companies. The people here draw most of their power from the brooks of the Hermon and the Lebanon, or from the Dead Sea Canal."
"No!" roared Kingscourt, overwhelmed.
"Yesl" bellowed Steineck.
"These artisans are half-peasants," interposed David. "They are organized co-operatively in both capacities. They sell their products to large department stores, mail order houses, and export firms. Near the larger towns, industrial activities predominate and the farming is more or less incidental, the artisans raising little more than they need for their own households... just some fruits and vegetables for the city markets. In the coastal zone, which is very much like the Riviera, they grow (as in the vicinity of Nice) tomatoes, artichokes, melons, petits pois-, haricot vers, etc. Our early vegetables are shipped to all parts of Europe-to Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and St. Petersburg-by rail.
"In other districts, again, farming predominates, and there are only modest home industries...though these, too, are well equipped with modem technical facilities.
"Villages like this one are scattered all over our prosperous land. Up yonder, in the Valley of Jezreel, for example, you must not expect to see the filthy nests that used to be called villages in Palestine. Today you will see a new village which is typical of innumerable settlements both to the east and the west of the Jordan."
After crossing the Kishon Bridge, the car glided past luxuriant orange and lemon groves whose red and yellow fruit gleamed through the foliage.
"Devil take me!" cried Kingscourt. "But this is Italy!"
"Cultivation is everything!" roared Steineck aggressively, as if he were being contradicted. "We Jews introduced .cultivation here."
"Pardon me, sir!" cried Reschid Bey with a friendly smile. "But this sort of thing was here before you came-at least there were signs of it. My father planted oranges extensively." He turned to Kingscourt and pointed to a grove at the right of the road. "I know more about it than our friend Steineck, because this used to be my father's plantation. It's mine now."
The well-tended grove was a beautiful sight. The ever-blooming trees bore flowers, green and ripe fruit, simultaneously.
"I don't deny that you had orange groves before we came," thundered Steineck, "but you could never get full value out of them."
Reschid nodded. "That is correct. Our profits have grown considerably. Our orange transport has multiplied tenfold since we have had good transportation facilities to connect us with the whole world. Everything here has increased in value since your immigration."
"One question, Reschid Bey," interrupted Kingscourt. "These gentlemen will pardon me, but you are much too modest. Were not the older inhabitants of Palestine ruined by the Jewish immigration? And didn't they have to leave the country? I mean, generally speaking. That individuals here and there were the gainers proves nothing."
"What a question! It was a great blessing for all of us," returned Reschid. "Naturally, the land-owners gained most because they were able to sell to the Jewish society at high prices, or to wait for still higher ones. I, for my part, sold my land to our New Society because it was to my advantage to sell."
"Didn't you say a moment ago that those groves we passed were yours?':
"To be sure! After I had sold them to the New Society, I took them back on lease."
"Then you shouldn't have sold them in the first place."
"But it was more advantageous for me. Since I wished to join the New Society, I had to submit to its land regulations. Its members have no private property in land."
"Then Friedrichsheim does not belong to you, Mr. Littwak.'
"Not the plot. I leased it only till the next jubilee year, as my friend Reschid did his groves."
"Jubilee year? Please explain that. I really seem to have overslept myself on that island."
"The jubilee year," explained David, "is not a new but an ancient institution set up by our Teacher Moses. After seven times seven years, that is to say, in the fiftieth year, land which had been sold reverted back to its original owner without compensation. We, indeed, arrange it a bit differently. The land now reverts back to the New Society. Moses, in his day, wished to distribute the land so as to ensure the ends of social justice. You will see that our methods serve the purpose none the less. The increases in land values accrue not to the individual owner, but to the public."
Steineck anticipated a possible objection from Kingscourt. "You may perhaps say that no one will care to improve a plot that does not belong to him, or to erect fine buildings upon it."
"No, sir, I should not say that. I know that in London people build houses on other people's land on ninety-nine year leases. This is quite the same thing....But .I wanted to ask you, my dear Bey, how the former inhabitants fared -those who had nothing, the numerous Moslem Arabs."
"Your question answers itself, Mr. Kingscourt," replied Reschid. "Those who had nothing stood to lose nothing, and could only gain. And they did gain: Opportunities to work, means of livelihood, prosperity. Nothing could have been more wretched than an Arab village at the end of the nineteenth century. The peasants' clay hovels were unfit for stables. The children lay naked and neglected in the streets, and grew up like dumb beasts. Now everything is different. They benefited from the progressive measures of the New Society whether they wanted to or not, whether they joined it or not. When the swamps were drained, the canals built, and the eucalyptus trees planted to drain, and 'cure' the marshy soil, the natives (who, naturally, were well acclimatized) were the first to be employed, and were paid well for their work!
"Just look at that field! It was a swamp in my boyhood. The New Society bought up this tract rather cheaply, and turned it into the best soil in the country. It belongs to that tidy settlement up there on the hill. It is a Moslem village-you can tell by the mosque. These people are better off than at any time in the past. They support themselves decently, their children are healthier and are being taught something. Their religion and ancient customs have in no wise been interfered with. They have become more prosperous-that is all."
"You're queer fellows, you Moslems. Don't you regard these Jews as intruders?"
"You speak strangely, Christian," responded the friendly Reschid. "Would you call a man a robber who takes nothing from you, but brings you something instead? The Jews have enriched us. Why should we be angry with them? They dwell among us like brothers. Why should we not love them? I have never had a better friend among my co-religionists than David Littwak here. He may come to me, by day or night, and ask what he pleases. I shall give it him. And I know that I, too, may count upon him as upon a brother. He prays in a different house to the God who is above us all. But our houses of worship stand side by side, and I always believe that our prayers, when they rise, mingle somewhere up above, and then continue on their way together until they appear before Our Father."
Rechid's gentle words had moved everyone, Kingscourt included. That gentleman cleared his throat. "Hm-hm! Quite right. Very fine. Sounds reasonable. But you're an educated man, you've studied in Europe. I hardly think the simple country or town folk will be likely to think as you do."
"They more than anyone else, Mr. Kingscourt. You must excuse my saying so, but I did not learn tolerance in the Occident. We Moslems have always had better relations with the Jews than you Christians. When the first Jewish colonists settled here half a century ago, Arabs went to the Jews to judge between them, and often asked the Jewish village councils for help and advice. There was no difficulty in that respect. So long as the Geyer policy does not win the upper hand, all will be well with our common fatherland."
"Yes! Who's this Geyer I'm always hearing about?"
Steineck went purple as he shouted, "He's a cursed pope, a provocateur, a blasphemer who rolls up his eyes. He wants to bring intolerance into our country, the scamp! I am certainly a peaceful person, but I could cheerfully murder an intolerant fellow like that!"
"Oh, so you are a peaceful person," laughed Kingscourt. "Now I can imagine what your others are like."
"Of course they're much gentler," jested David.
The car had left the plain and was gliding eastward into rolling country. It took the upgrades as easily as the down. The hillsides everywhere were cultivated up to the very summits; every bit of soil was exploited. The steep slopes were terraced with vines, pomegranate and fig trees as in the ancient days of Solomon. Numerous tree nurseries bore witness to the intelligent efforts at forestation of the once barren tracts. Pines and cypresses on the ridges of the hills towered against the blue skies.
They drove through a lovely valley with an amazing profusion of flowers. It was covered with a brilliant carpet of white, red, yellow, blue and green. As the breeze carried the fragrance toward them, the travelers felt as if they had been plunged into a sea of perfume. This valley was the property of a great perfume industry they were told! Jasmine, tuberoses, geraniums, narcissus, violets and roses were grown there in immense quantities.
Men working by the roadside saluted Littwak, Reschid and Steineck as they drove past. All three seemed to know many of the obviously contented farmers.
At Sepphoris, the car stopped for the first time in front of the Greek church. David excused himself for a moment. He was going in to pay a brief call to the priest in his handsome parsonage.
The others also left the car and went a little way around the foot of the hill to see the ruins of an old church, from which there was a wide view over the fertile plain extending to the base of Mount Carmel. The ruins, explained Miriam, were those of a church dedicated to Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who had lived in the vicinity. The new Greek church was used by the colony of Russian Christians near Sepphoris. David was a friend of the priest's, and was inviting him to the Seder at Tiberias. Just then he appeared with the dignified clergyman, who regretted that he could not join them immediately. He would take the electric train that passed through Nazareth in the afternoon, and would probably reach the elder Littwaks' villa before the motor party.
They made their farewells to the priest, and the car continued northward toward the plain.
Outside of Sepphoris, they had to halt at a railway crossing because a train was due. It appeared presently, rushing southward at great speed. When the visitors remarked that the locomotive had no smokestack, they were told that this line, like most of the Palestinian railways, was operated by electric power. There was one of the great advantages of having begun from the beginning. Just because everything here had been in a primitive, neglected state, it had been possible to install the most up-to-date technical appliances at once. So it had been with the city planning, as they already knew; and so it had been with the construction of railways, the digging of canals, the establishment of agriculture and industry in the land. The Jewish settlers who streamed into the country had brought with them the experience of the whole civilized world. The trained men graduated from universities, technical, agricultural and commercial colleges had brought with them every type of skill required for building up the country. The penniless young intelligentsia, for whom there were no opportunities in the anti-Semitic countries and who there sank to the level of a hopeless, revolutionary-minded proletariat, these desperate, educated young men had become a great blessing for Palestine, for they had brought the latest methods of applied science into the country. So David related.
Friedrich pricked up his ears at a phrase which had played so decisive a role in his own life. He turned to his friend with a question that was incomprehensible to the others. "An 'educated, desperate young man.' Remember that, Kingscourt? No wonder a Jew applied. There were many of us like that in the old days. Most of us, in fact,"
But Kingscourt was too much engrossed in David's narrative to pay heed to Friedrich's sentimental recollections.
"You're a damned shrewd nation. Left us with the old scrap iron, while you travel about in the latest machines!"
"Were we to take obsolete stuff when we could have new things just as cheaply?" cried Steineck. "Moreover, everything you see here already existed in Europe and America a quarter of a century ago-especially in America. The latter had gone far ahead of the stick-in-the-mud Old World. Naturally we learned from America how to build electric railways and similar things."
"For us," added David, "the transition to the most up-to-date transportation facilities was not expensive, because we had no old stuff to amortize. We did not have to drag along worn out rolling stock until it was totally useless. Our railway coaches are very comfortable-well lighted and well ventilated, free from smoke and dust. There is practically no jolting despite the high speed. Workingmen no longer have to travel in cars like cattle pens. Of course, every precaution is taken on our railways for safeguarding the public health.
"You will also be interested to know that railway fares are very low here. We have adopted the system of fares in vogue in Baden during the reign of the kindly, wise Grand Duke Friedrich! From the viewpoint of the public interest, we have tried to make it as easy as possible for the workers to find employment. It does not happen here that railway coaches are shunted back and forth empty from a place where there is an acute shortage of labor to another where there is acute unemployment merely because railway fares are prohibitive. Our network of railways stretches from Mount Lebanon to the Dead Sea, and from the Mediterranean to the Hauran like a system of sluices for fertilizing the country with man power.
"Our freight traffic, both inland and transit, has grown very extensive because we have harbors and grain elevators, and our railways link up with the trunk lines of Asia Minor and Northern Africa. ...
"However, I don't want to go into the social and economic features of our railway system just now. You know all about these things, gentlemen, even though you were away from the world so long. They were commonplaces long ago.
"'But what was not recognized in those days," said David, turning aside from the railways, "was the beauty of our beloved land. The improvements we have made count for a great deal, of course. But the natural, God-given charm of Palestine lay unseen and forgotten for long centuries. Where in the world will you find a country where the springtime is so accessible at all times of the year? Palestine has warm, temperate and cool zones which lie not far apart from each other. In the southern part of the Jordan Valley, for instance, the country is almost tropical. The mild seacoast provides all the pleasures of the French and Italian Rivieras, while the 'majestic ranges of the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, the snow-covered Hermon are not far away. All these places can be reached by rail within a few hours. God has blessed our land."
"Yes," confirmed Reschid, "travel is really a great pleasure here. Sometimes I board an observation car without intending to go anywhere in particular. I do it just to enjoy the views."
"Honored host," said Kingscourt, "we ought to have been introduced to all that immediately, with all due respect to this very comfortable ark."
"I had two reasons, gentlemen," said David, justifying himself, "for not letting you travel by rail today. First, you see more of the country and of the people from an auto; second, the tourist traffic is very heavy just now on the Haifa-Nazareth- Tiberias line S (during the Easter season). It is true that the cosmopolitan pilgrimages to the holy places of Christendom are very fascinating, but I wanted first to show you the organized life of our commonwealth."
Ah, that reminds me," said Friedrich. "How did you solve the question of the Holy Places?"
"It was no great feat," replied David. "When, with the advent of Zionism at the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of the Holy Places came up, there were many Jews who, like yourself, thought it insoluble. Having been away so long, you still entertain this obsolete view. As a matter of fact, it soon became clear through public discussion and from the declarations of statesmen and princes of the church that the obstacle existed only in the imagination of over-timid Jews. The Christian Holy Places have been held by non-Christians from time immemorial. Centuries having passed since the crusades, a more enlightened view concerning these hallowed sites has gradually found acceptance. Geoffrey of Bouillon and his knights grieved because Palestine was held by the Moslems. But did the fin de siecle knights and noblemen harbor the same emotions? And their Governments? Would any Great Power have dared to ask its parliament for an extraordinary grant for the re-conquest of the Holy Land? The point was that such a war would have been waged less against the Turkish Empire than against other Christian powers; it would have been a crusade against the Cross rather than against the Crescent. The conclusion was thus reached that the status quo was the best possible status, for all concerned. However, that was what might be termed a utilitarian-political view. But parallel with it there is a higher and if I may use the term-an ideal-political point of view. The actual possession of the Holy Sites was not in question: religious susceptibilities were more at ease when the sites were not held by anyone temporal power. The Roman legal concept of res sacrae, extra commercium was applied to them. That was the safest and in fact the only means of retaining them permanently as the common possession of Christendom. When you visit Nazareth or Jerusalem or Bethlehem you will see peaceful processions of pilgrims of all the nations. Steadfast Jew though I am, these scenes of devotion stir me profoundly."
"At Nazareth or Bethlehem," added Steineck, "one is reminded of Lourdes in the Pyrenees. There is the same vast tourist traffic-the hotels, hospices, convents."
They had reached the extensive plain, which was thickly sown with wheat and oats, maize and hops, poppies and tobacco. There were trim villages and farmsteads in the valley and on the hillsides. Cows and sheep grazed ruminating in succulent meadows. Here and there great iron farm machines B gleamed in the sunshine. The whole landscape was peaceful and joyous.
They drove through several villages where men and women were at work in well-ordered farmyards, children played, and old men sunned themselves in front of the houses. The further they drove, the larger the number of pedestrians they saw on the roads. All were evidently bound for a common destination, which seemed to be a large village on an elevation to the south. As they overtook the pedestrians, some called after them. Others, however, removed their hats with ill grace or even glanced sullenly aside. The procession continued to swell in their wake. Hardly had the Littwak car passed when people jumped out of every farmyard in order to follow it. Some ran, others jumped into the saddle. Still others tried to overtake the auto on bicycles. The strangers gathered that their party was being expected.
So it turned out. A group of villagers was ready to receive them in front of the spacious community house. This settlement, with its fine farm buildings, cattle and fields, was known as "Neudorf" ("New Village").
A hundred-throated "Hedad!" greeted them as the car stopped.
"'Hedad!' means 'Hurrah' in Hebrew," explained Reschid to Kingscourt.
"Thought at once it must mean either 'Hurrah' or 'Down with them'!" chuckled the old man.
Before entering the community house, they listened to a Hebrew song of welcome sung by a moir of neat school children under the direction of their teacher. Fritzchen awoke, and crooned an inarticulate accompaniment from his nurse's arm.
Friedmann, the head of the community, was a sturdy farmer of about forty. He came forward and delivered a short speech of welcome to the visitors in the Russian-Yiddish dialect, addressing himself particularly to Littwak and Steineck as party leaders.
"Donnerwetter!" growled Kingscourt into David's ear. "I did not know you were a party leader."
"Only for the time being, Mr. Kingscourt. For a few weeks. It is not my vocation,"
A second farmer now stepped forward-a robust, sunburned man. He twisted his hat between his calloused palms, and spoke with some embarrassment. "Mr. Littwak, Mr. Steineck, you will permit me also to say something."
Arms were stretched out to restrain the unauthorized speaker. "Mendel must not speak!" "Mendel's not allowed to speak!" they cried.
Mendel, however, defiantly stood his ground, his determination growing as he was hindered. "I shall speak!"
Tumult. "No!" "No!" came cries from the majority of those present, but Mendel's supporters were angrily demanding a hearing for him.
David quieted them with a gesture. "Of course he must speak."
"You see...Mr. Littwak is cleverer than you donkeys," sneered Mendel at his opponents. "Well, then...What I want to say is that Friedman did not speak for the whole community."
More confusion. "Yes, yes! He did. He is our spokesman."
Mendel went on unperturbed. "He may greet our guests. Yes, he must do that....He spoke for the whole of Neudorf when he did that. We are not rude to our guests. But he has no right to welcome them as party leaders. There is a party here in Neudorf which does not follow Mr. Littwak. That is what I wanted to tell you, Mr. Littwak and Mr. Steineck."
"Indeed?" Kingscourt quizzed Steineck. "We seem to have come into the enemy's territory."
"They won't devour us," replied the architect. "We have come here to convert them. I shall soon set their peasant skulls to rights. But, for heaven's sake, where is my speech?" He searched through the traveling bag which the footman handed him. "It's not here."
"Didn't you have it in your suitcase?" asked Sarah, laughing.
"I remember now! I stuck it into my trunk!"
"Oh, speak ex tempore," suggested Miriam.
Steineck gave her a despairing glance. He was usually unlucky with improvised speeches.
The crowd of farmers opened passageway in their midst for a visitor. "Here comes Reb Shmuel!"
Reb Shmuel was an aged, bent man of most gentle demeanor. He took David's hand in both of his and greeted him cordially. Obviously, he did hot side with Mendel and the opposition.
Miriam told the strangers in an undertone that the white-bearded rabbi had come with the earliest group of immigrants. When he came this fertile plain was still waste land; the plain of Asochis over there-behind the mountain range to the north-was covered with swamps, and the broad Valley of Jezreel to the south still showed the effects of age-long neglect. Rabbi Shmuel was the comforter of the people of Neudorf, most of whom had come from Russia to take up the struggle with the ancient soil. He had been and remained a simple country rabbi, staying with his village congregation, though he had often been called by large urban communities. He was universally honored for his wise and God-fearing life. The eastern part of the village called the Garden of Samuel, where he had his little home, had been named in his honor. When he preached in Neudorf on festival days, people came long distances to hear him.
The guests were served with the drink of welcome and light refreshments. On the grounds behind the community center an airy assembly hall had been improvised by stretching long strips of sail cloth over poles and the tops of trees. Thither the crowd now made its way. A temporary platform had been put up, and a row of chairs arranged for the visitors. The villagers sat on long benches or stood.
Friedman was the first speaker. He enjoined the audience not to interrupt the visiting speakers even when they might not agree with all that was said. Neudorf's reputation for courtesy was at stake. He then called upon Steineck. That gentleman stepped up to the platform, cleared his throat several times and began to speak. He was rather halting in his manner at first, but warmed up as he developed his argument.
"Dear friends! I have had-hm-an accident-hm-hm-on my trip. That is-I have-hm-lost the prepared address I had intended to deliver here. It was a good speech-a fine one, in fact. You must take my word for it, since you will not hear it." A ripple of laughter passed through the audience. Steineck proceeded.
"In our New Society, we-hm-have come to a turning point-hm-I say to you only this-a turning point." Speaker paused to wipe the perspiration from his brow. "What does this turning point consist of, my dear friends? ...But before I turn to this-hm-turning point, I should like-hm-to touch on the past. What was that past-your past, our past? Hm? The Ghetto!"
"Very true!" came cries from the audience.
"Who brought you out of the Ghetto? Hm? Who?"
"We ourselves," called Mendel in a loud voice. The crowd hushed him to silence.
Steineck grew heated. "Who is that, we ourselves? Him? Is it Mendel, or someone else?"
"The people'" shouted Mendel.
"Please do not interrupt me! I accept Mendel's word. The people. Yes! Certainly, the people. Hm-but by itself-the people could not have done it. Hm. Our people were scattered allover the world, in small, helpless groups. They had to be gathered together before they could help themselves."
"Yes, yes!" bawled Mendel. "The leaders! We know all that!"
"Be silent, Mendel! At once!" thundered Friedman from the platform. "Mr. Steineck, please continue."
"Hm, yes. I continue. The leaders, says Mendel. I believe, hm-he means to be sarcastic. But it is true. Hm! Where was your Geyer, who now incites you, in those days? I shall tell you! He was an anti-Zionist rabbi! I knew him myself. He opposed us violently then also. But he gave other reasons. Oh, quite other reasons. But in one way he has remained the same. Hm. I shall tell you what he was, what he is, what he will remain. He is a rabbi of the immediate advantage. When we early Zionists began to seek out our land and our people, this Dr. Geyer abused us. Yes, he called us fools and swindlers."
A young farmer of about twenty-five came forward and spoke up respectfully. "Pardon me, Mr. Steineck. That is not possible. It was always known that we Jews are a people, and that Palestine is the land of our ancestors. Dr. Geyer could hardly have asserted the exact contrary in those days."
"But that is just what he did do," frothed Steineck. "He denied our people and our land. He read Zion out of the prayer book, and dared to tell the sheep who listened to him that it meant something else. Zion was everywhere but in Zion!"
"No, no!" cried several in the audience. "Geyer did not say that! Impossible!"
Rabbi Shmuel had arisen, supporting himself on his cane. He raised a hand for silence.
"It is true," said he. "There were such rabbis. Geyer may have been one of them. That I do not know. I have to take Steineck's word for it. But indeed there were such rabbis, there were such...." He sat down trembling.
Steineck, whose words had begun to overflow once he had got under steam, proceeded. "These rabbis who sought the immediate advantage made our lives a burden to us. Geyer is doing the same thing now. In those early, difficult days, he did not so much as want to hear the name of Palestine mentioned. Now he is more Palestinian than any of us. Now he is the patriot, the nationalist Jew. And we-we are the friends of the alien. If we listened to him, he would make us out to be bad Jews or even strangers in his Palestine. Yes, that's it. He wants to turn the public against us, to sow suspicion between you and I. This pious man rolls his eyes to heaven and all the time seeks his immediate advantage." In the old Ghetto days, when the rich men had all the influence, he talked to suit their notions. The nationalist-Palestinian idea made the rich men uncomfortable, and so he interpreted Judaism to suit them. He used to say then that the Jews ought not to return to their homeland, because it would upset the captains of industry and the great bankers. He and his ilk invented the myth of the Jewish mission. The function of the Jewish people was asserted to be to instruct the other peoples. Therefore, they alleged, we must live in the dispersion. Had not the other nations already hated and despised us, they would have ridiculed us for such arrogance. And Zion was not Zion! The fact was, of course, that we not only did not teach the other nations, but that they taught us-day by day and year by year-bloody, painful lessons. Finally, we roused ourselves and sought we way out of Egypt. And we found it. Then, to be sure, Dr. Geyer also came here, and brought with him all his old arrogance and hypocrisy.
"Nowadays, thank God, the Jews conduct their public affairs differently. It is not the rich alone who make the decisions, but the whole community. Communal leadership is no longer a reward for success in business. Leaders are chosen not for their wealth, but for their talent and their ability to command respect in the eyes of the public. Therefore, the instincts of the masses must be flattered. A theory for the immediate advantage of the masses must be found, or at least for what the masses imagine to be to their immediate advantage. Therefore, an anti-alien slogan is proclaimed. A non-Jew must not be accepted by the New Society. The fewer get a place near the platter, the larger the portion of each. Perhaps you believe that that is to your immediate advantage. But it is not. If you adopt that stupid, narrow-minded policy, the land will go to wrack and ruin. We stand and fall by the principle that whoever has given two years' service to the New Society as prescribed by our rules, and has conducted himself properly, are eligible to membership no matter what his race or creed.
"I say to you, therefore, that you must hold fast to the things that have made us great: to liberality, tolerance, love of mankind. Only then is Zion truly Zion! You will elect your delegate to the Congress. Choose one who thinks not of the immediate advantage, but of the lasting good. But if you choose a Geyer man, you will not deserve to have the sun of our Holy Land shine upon you. So! I have spoken."
The applause was slight. The speaker had scored several times with his audience, but his conclusion was obviously unfortunate. Only one person present was particularly pleased with the last words, and he said as much to the architect when the latter sat down beside him in a bath of perspiration. The pleased individual was Mr. Kingscourt, but he had no vote in Neudorf.
Altneuland - Book Three Part Two- The Prosperous Land
"Does anyone else wish to speak?" asked the chairman.
"I do!" shouted Mendel, and leaped up to the platform. "Mr. Steineck," he began, "has just delivered an address to us. You might say that it was good, and again you might say that it was insulting. I say it was insulting."
Friedmann interrupted him. "You, Mendel! I won't allow you to be insulting."
"Who's insulting?" retorted Mendel. " I say he is! He said we were not worthy to have the sun shine upon us. Because we don't want to let everyone in. Who toiled and moiled over the soil? We! Who pulled out the stones? We! Who drained the marshes! We! Who dug the canals, who planted the trees, who sweated and froze until all this was finished? We! We! We! And now, suddenly, it's not to belong to us. No...that's no way to talk. When we came here, there was nothing, nothing at all. Now Palestine is a model country. We've sunk our blood and sweat and toil into it!
"I don't understand that about the immediate and the permanent advantage. Perhaps you do. As for Dr. Geyer, he doesn't appeal to me much. I don't like what he said in the old days. But I do know that now he is right. What we made with our own hands must remain ours. We shall let no one take it away from us. So! .I have no more to say!"
Subdued applause greeted Mendel's words, but people were obviously restraining themselves out of respect to the visitors.
Mendel stepped down, and David ascended the platform. He was very grave as he began to speak in a clear, carrying voice.
"My friends! You will listen to me. You know I am one of yourselves. I worked in the fields just as you did, by my father's side. I have risen a bit in the world, but I know the joys and the pains of the farmer. I know how you feel. Nevertheless, I must say that Mendel is wrong.
"To begin with, no one wants to take away anything that belongs to you. I should fight beside you to the last breath against any such attempt. But there is no question of infringing upon your hard-earned rights. The fruits of your labors will remain your own, and be multiplied. The issue is quite different from what has been told you.
"Mendel means well, but he is mistaken. He is mistaken chiefly because he thinks that all we see here is the work of your hands. Your hands made it indeed, but your brains did not conceive it. You are not so ignorant, thank Heaven, as the peasants of other times and countries; but you do not know the origin of your own happier circumstances. What is Neudorf? A person who looks at the settlement for the first time without knowing its history will wonder-or rejoice-that so prosperous a village has been founded in the Vaadi Rumani, on the old Roman road to Tiberias. I have brought two strange gentlemen with me today, and I was proud to be able to show them many fine things on the way here-our fields with the ripening barley, our meadows, our tree nurseries, our well-built houses and blooded cattle and up-to-date machinery; our irrigation system and our reclaimed moors. I say 'our,' though I own no acre of land here nor a single head of cattle. Everything is yours, but I feel so much at home here that I venture to speak in this fashion. And if these gentlemen ask me who conjured up all this within twenty short years, I shall reply in Mendel's own words: 'We! We! We!'
"Yes, we. But how? Did we simply come here and work with our hands as Mendel says we did? With our unskilled hands that were so unaccustomed to work on the soil? How could we have achieved results that no one else had achieved here before? No one, I mean to say, except the German Protestant farmers who founded several colonies in this country toward the end of the last century. We not only kept pace with those highly efficient Germans, but outstripped them! How did that happen?
"True, you worked with all the fervor of Jewish love for the sacred soil. That soil was unproductive for others, but for us it was a good soil. Because we fertilized it with our love. Our first settlers had proven thirty years earlier what could be done here. Yet their settlements were worth little from the economic viewpoint because they were based on a false principle. With all their modern machinery, those settlers were able to create only the old type of village. But you have the New Village. And that, my friends, is not the work of your hands only.
"Don't imagine I am jesting when I say that Neudorf was built not in Palestine, but elsewhere. It was built in England, in America, in France and in Germany. It was evolved out of experiments, books, and dreams. The unsuccessful experiments of both practical men and dreamers were to serve you as object lessons, though you did not know it.
"In the old days there were peasants just as hardworking as yourselves, and yet they could make no headway. These old-time peasants did not know their own soil. They did not know what was in it, because they were too narrow-minded to have it chemically analyzed. They merely sweated over their land, and worked much harder than was necessary. They either worked the wrong fields or used wrong methods. They could not operate their farms economically because they were too befogged to see three feet in front of their noses. When they borrowed money for improvements, they became so deeply involved in usurious debts that the best crops could not extricate them. They had no insurance against hail or cattle plagues. No individual farmer could afford to have his land drained or irrigated. A bad crop ruined him; but good crops did not enrich him because he did not know how to reach the world markets. Of hired labor he had either too little or too much. He could not afford to educate his hungry children, and they grew up as ignorant as he himself and his ancestors. The new transportation facilities seemed to have been invented for his ruin. In virgin countries, agriculture was conducted as a large-scale industry. Machinery enriched the large landowners and still further impoverished the small ones. A new order of slavery was created. The free farmer became a serf, and his children drifted into the industrial wage slavery of the factory.
"The foundations of the old order were undermined through its peasantry. Many a noble soul sighed over the situation, studied and experimented in the hope of improvement. All the aids of science and experience were invoked. Everyone realized, however, that in an age of machinery the basic conditions of human life had to be adapted to our new knowledge of natural forces. The nineteenth century, however, was a curiously backward era.
"At the beginning of that era, muddle-headed visionaries were taken seriously, while sober, practical men were branded as lunatics. Napoleon the Great did not believe that Fulton's steamboat was practical. On the other hand, the absurd Fourier easily won adherents for his phalansteries, which were intended to provide homes and workshops for several hundred families. Stephenson, the inventor of the railway, and Cabet, the dreamer of Icaria, were contemporaries. I could mention many other names with which you may not be familiar."
David's words were listened to attentively, though he was delivering what was an academic lecture rather than a popular oration. As he stopped for breath, Mendel rose and said civilly, but loudly, "Come to the point! What has all that to do with our Neudorf?"
"Very much, my friends," responded David calmly. "A socialistic dream rose to answer every new machine invented during that peculiar nineteenth century, which has always seemed to me like a great factory where ingenious machinery was served by wretched human beings. Clouds of smoke ascended from the chimneys of that factory, and darkened the blue heavens. Those beautifully formed, dissolving smoke clouds, however, symbolized the socialistic promises for the society of the future. When the wishful human beings looked up, they no longer saw the heavens, but the factory-born clouds of a Utopia.
"But there were rosy clouds as well. Take the famous one of the American, Edward Bellamy, who outlined a noble communistic society in his Looking Backward. In that Utopia, all may eat as much as they please from the common platter. The lamb and the wolf feed in the same pasture. Fine. Very fine. Only then, the wolves are no longer wolves, and human beings no longer human. After Bellamy's book came Freiland, a utopian romance by the publicist Hertzka. Freiland is a brilliant bit of magic, which may well be compared with the juggler's inexhaustible hat. Beautiful dreams, indeed, or airships if you care to call them that-but not dirigible. Because these noble lovers of humanity based their ingenious schemes on a false premise. The scholars among you-and I know that in Neudorf today as in Katrah thirty years ago, there are educated peasants-will understand me when I say that they were guilty of a petitio princpii. They used as evidence something that still had to be proven, namely, that humanity had already achieved that degree of maturity and freedom of judgment which is necessary for the establishment of a new social order. Or, perhaps they were clear enough about it in their own minds, and lacked only the bit of solid ground that Archimedes needed for his lever. They believed that the most important factor in creating a new order of things was machinery. Machinery was their sine qua non. But that is not correct. No ...it is power that counts. Now and always, power is the thing. For, having power, I can exploit the newest inventions to the utmost. But we-we had the power that was needed. Whence did we have it? From the terrible pressure to which we were subjected on all sides, from poverty and persecution. That was the centripetal force that drew all our scattered forces to a focus, and strengthened a union that included not only the downtrodden, but the powerful; not only the young, but the wise; not only thoughtless enthusiasts, but cultured men and women. Not only hands, but heads...all together. A people, a whole people, found itself together-nay, found itself again.
"We made the New Society not because we were better than others, but simply because we were ordinary men with the ordinary human needs for air and light, health and honor, for the right to acquire property and security of possession. And since we were about to build ourselves a home, we chose a 1900 model, and not one of the year 1600 or 1800 or any other date. All this is certainly clear and obvious. We did nothing very meritorious. We achieved nothing extraordinary. We did only that which, under the given circumstances and at the given moment, was an historical necessity."
Mendel shouted an interruption again. "To the point! Get to the point!"
"I have almost finished," said David pleasantly. "I wish only to recall your beginnings to you. Without the gigantic social-economic labors of the nineteenth century, your beginnings would have been impossible. Individual Jews participated in those labors, but by no means Jews alone. What resulted from the common endeavors ought to be claimed by no one nation for itself. It belongs to all men. Anyone who is grateful to those old pathfinders, or even merely curious about them, will find it worth while to look into the subject. And in this connection, my friends, the Anglo-Saxon race deserves the highest praise. For it is among the English that we find the first traces of the co-operative social order, which we have taken over and adapted. German science, too, has added its profound word here. If anyone here cares to know more about this subject, I shall be glad to refer you to books on the co-operative movement in England, Germany, and France:'
A young peasant raised his hand. "What do you wish, Jacob?" inquired the chairman.
The youngster flushed, and spoke up modestly. "I merely wanted to tell Mr. Littwak that we have the history of the pioneers of Rochdale in our village library."
"Give it to Mr. Mendel to read," replied David. "It is a very beautiful, instructive story. The honest pioneers of Rochdale, as they are called, did much for you. That is to say, they achieved a great deal for the whole of humanity -though they were thinking of themselves alone.
"When you go to your consumers" co-operative societies and buy goods of the best quality and at the lowest prices, you have the pioneers of Rochdale to thank for it. And if your Neudorf is a prosperous producers' co-operative you owe it to the poor martyrs of Rahaline in Ireland. The peasants of Rahaline themselves did not know that they were performing an act of historic significance when, in 1831, they founded the first New Village in the world with the help of their landlord, Mr. Vandaleur. Yes, many decades were to pass before the most learned and cleverest of men grasped the idea of Rahaline. The consumers' co-operative society of Rochdale was understood much sooner than the Rahaline idea of the New Village based on cooperation in production. But, when we founded our New Society, we naturally began with the new type of village rather than with the wretched old one. There is nothing here in Neudorf that was not implied in Rahaline. The one difference is, that instead of a Mr. Vandaleur, we have a large association to which everyone belongs; that is, the New Society."
The young peasant once more raised his hand. The speaker came to a surprised halt. "Will you not tell us the story of Mr. Vandaleur and Rahaline, Mr. Littwak?" he asked shyly.
"Gladly, my friends. Ireland at that time was a poor country with a most wretched population. The agricultural tenants were a demoralized proletariat who had even become thieves and murderers. A squire named Vandaleur had a particularly violent set of tenants on his estates. At the beginning of 1831, the distress in Ireland was very great. The peasants, in their desperation, committed shocking crimes. Mr. Vandaleur had a steward whom the laborers hated for his severity; and in their desperation, they murdered him. What did Vandaleur do then? Something magnanimous. Instead of inflicting additional severities upon these people, he conceived the superhuman idea of being kind to them. He called the defiant, miserable men together, united them in a laborers' co-operative, and leased his estate of Rahaline to the new association. The aims of this co-operative were; to work with a common capital, to extend mutual aid to the members, to improve the standard of living, and to educate the children. The machinery and farm equipment were to belong to Mr. Vandaleur as landlord until the co-operative society had paid for them. It was to put its profits into a reserve fund for this purpose. The society managed its business without interference. A committee of nine was chosen from among the men themselves. Each member of this committee was responsible for a definite branch of the work-for the labor on the estate, home industries, the administrative business of the society, and so on. The daily tasks were assigned by the committee. Everyone had to do his share. The association paid its members at the prevailing scale of wages. The members were taxed with a small amount for a sick fund and similar purposes. The men of Rahaline were apparently laborers working for a landlord, but actually they were working for themselves, since Mr. Vandaleur reserved the right of supervision only. The enterprise was remarkably successful, and Mr. Vandaleur derived a larger income-in rent and in interest-from Rahaline than previously. And the laborers, who had been living in the deepest poverty, began to prosper suddenly, without any transition period at all, as if they had been touched by a magic wand. They worked well and vigorously. They knew that they were working for themselves; and the knowledge lent them more than human endurance. The men who had murdered their steward now carried out the most important tasks without supervision except from each other. A record was kept of the hours each man worked and of the amount of work accomplished; and at the end of the week, he received as much as he had actually earned. There was no parity of wages! The diligent worker received more, the slacker less."
"Bravo!" cried a voice in the crowd. (Laughter.)
"It was soon seen that the laborers of Rahaline worked twice as hard as any others in that district," continued David. "Yet it was the same soil; the people were the same. It was merely that they had discovered a saving principle: that of the agricultural producers' co-operative. They were paid not in cash, but in labor tickets, which were valid only at the general store of Rahaline. But at that store, which also belonged to the co-operative society, they could obtain everything they needed. The store carried goods of the best quality only, and sold them at wholesale prices. Historians estimate that the people of Rahaline saved fifty per cent on their purchases.
"Every member of that co-operative society, moreover, was certain of steady employment (and, in case of illness, of an equal allowance from the sick fund) for every day in the year. Sick and incapacitated members received medical attention and maintenance. When a father died, the children were supported....But I don't want to go on telling you about things that you can find better told in books. I should prefer to send you the works of Webb-potter, Oppenheimer, Seifert, Huber and others for your library."
The modest young peasant interrupted again. "How did it finally work out in Rahaline, Mr. Littwak?"
"After only two years of this system, Rahaline became very prosperous. Homes and furnishings, food and clothing, improved methods of education, and a general rise in the standard of living-all these attested to the well-being of the peasants. The net annual profits (exclusive of the rent on the leasehold) increased, and the co-operators would probably have taken over the estate after a few more years had not Mr. Vandaleur left his own project in the lurch. He gambled away his fortune in Dublin, and fled to America. His creditors sold Rahaline, the tenant co-operators were driven off the estate, and the blessed isle once more sank in a sea of misery....
"But the lesson of Rahaline was not lost. It was treasured by economists; and when we led our people back to the beloved soil of Palestine, we founded thousands of Rahalines. A Vandaleur would have been neither strong nor reliable enough for us. A powerful collective body was essential. That body is our New Society. It is the landlord which provided you with land and farm equipment, and to it you owe your present prosperity.
"The New Society, however, did not evolve all this by itself. It did not derive it either from the brains of its leaders or from the pockets of its founders alone. The New Society rests, rather, squarely on ideas which are the common stock of the whole civilized world. Now, my dear friends, do you understand what I mean? It would be unethical for us to deny a share in our commonwealth to any man, wherever he might come from, whatever his race or creed. For we stand on the shoulders of other civilized peoples. If a man joins us-if he accepts our institutions and assumes the duties of our commonwealth-he should be entitled to enjoy all our rights. We ought therefore to pay our debts. And that can be done in only one way-by the exercise of the utmost tolerance. Our slogan must be, now and always- 'Man, thou art my brother!' "
The aged rabbi arose and applauded with his trembling hands. The audience followed his example, and hailed David vociferously as he was about to step down from the platform. But Mendel roared in a mighty voice, "Then the aliens will take the bread out of our mouths!"
Whereupon David turned back and motioned that he had something more to say.
"No, Mendel," he replied. "That is an error. Those who come later will not make you poorer, but richer. The wealth of a land is in its workers. Your own experience has taught you that. The more workers come, the more bread there is in a just society like ours. Naturally, you are not being asked to give up your good fields, the rights you have won, to others. But, just as it is good for Neudorf when new settlements are founded on its outskirts, so it is good for the New Society as a whole to expand. Everyone must earn for himself the values he wishes to enjoy. And the more values are created in the country, the richer our commonwealth becomes. Your parents, who had an active share in creating the history of Neudorf, know that from their own experience. At first there were only twenty families here. I ask you: Did they become worse off when, gradually, thirty, fifty, a hundred families joined them? I ask you: Did the early settlers become poorer or richer?"
The audience now, for the first time, caught his full meaning, and applauded impetuously: "Littwak is right!" "We are all more prosperous now!" "Yes, yes!"
"There is your answer," concluded David. "What has held good hitherto will be equally true in the future. The more people come here to work, the better off everyone will be. It is not altruism alone that prompts me to proclaim: 'Man, thou art my brother!' Sheer self-interest, also, urges that we declare: 'Brother, thou art welcome here!'
"The elders among you remember this place twenty years ago-how desolate and deserted it was. The first settlers took the best land. Those who came after them took the next best, and improved that. Later comers found ever poorer soil, but they made it fruitful. Stony soil became fertile, swamps were thoroughly drained. Because land in the vicinity of a village, even when of poor quality, always attracts new settlers.
"Today Neudorf is a garden-an immense, splendid garden, where life is good. But all your cultivation is worthless and your fields will revert to barrenness unless you foster liberal ideas, magnanimity, and a love of mankind. These are the things you must cherish and nurture. And because I know that you will do as: I say, 'Hedad! Hedad! Hedad! for Neudorf!'"
"Hedad for Littwakl Hedad for Neudorfl" shouted men and women together. Despite his laughing protests, the speaker was lifted to their shoulders and carried in a procession.
That day Dr. Geyer lost the votes of Neudorf.
After the meeting the visitors observed the model agricultural equipment of Neudorf. Kingscourt was particularly interested in the chemical experiment station and the up-to-date engine house. Friedrich lingered for a while in the elementary school and the public library. The latter contained many popular scientific works. Miriam, as a teacher, answered all his questions. At first he was pleasantly surprised by the things she told him; but the more he heard about the physical and spiritual development of the growing generation, the more depressed he became. At last he sighed heavily.
"What's the matter?" Miriam asked sympathetically.
After the meeting the visitors observed the model agricultural equipment of Neudorf. Kingscourt was particularly interested in the chemical experiment station and the up-to-date engine house. Friedrich lingered for a while in the elementary school and the public library. The latter contained many popular scientific works. Miriam, as a teacher, answered all his questions. At first he was pleasantly surprised by the things she told him; but the more he heard about the physical and spiritual development of the growing generation, the more depressed he became. At last he sighed heavily.
"What's the matter?" Miriam asked sympathetically.
"My heart is heavy, Miss Miriam. I see now that I neglected a duty. I could have had, would have been obliged to have a share in all this wonderful work of national restoration. I was an educated man, and ought to have foreseen what was coming. But, no. I was absorbed in my own petty troubles. I ran away, and stupidly wasted twenty years. I can hardly tell you how all this I see affects me. I-I am ashamed of myself."
She tried to comfort him.
"No, Miss Miriam, you mustn't try to console me. Your own life is so useful that you can contradict me only out of the kindness of your heart, and not out of conviction. I am ashamed of my passivity, of my egotism. It was my duty as an educated man to have taken the part of my unfortunate people. I neglected that duty shamefully. Pity me if you can, Miss Miriam, but do not despise me!"
"Despise you! How could I do that?" she returned softly. "You, the benefactor of our house!"
"Please don't mention that again," he begged. "Your praise merely humiliates me. I know only too well that I do not deserve praise. The intellectuals of my time had the duty, similar to the noblesse oblige of earlier days, of working for the improvement of mankind. Each ought to have helped according to his ability and insight. Not all your kindness, Miss Miriam, can make me believe that I have no cause for self-reproach."
"Is it too late, then?" she asked. "You could still join the ranks of the New Society. You would be shown where you might be most useful. You have heard my brother say that we welcome all forces. And how glad we should be to have you!"
"You really think it is not too late, Miss Miriam?" He was overjoyed. "Could I still become a useful human being?"
"Of course!" she smiled.
Hope stirred within him. He felt suddenly rejuvenated. New perspectives opened before him. But after a moment he recalled his situation, and sighed once more.
"Ah, no, Miss Miriam. It would have been too beautiful, I cannot do as I choose. I cannot remain here. I am not free." She paled slightly as she repeated in a voice that trembled, "Not free?"
"No, I am tied to someone for life."
"To whom, if I may ask?" She spoke tonelessly.
"To Mr. Kingscount." He explained his relation to the old man. He had given his word of honor never to leave him. He could therefore remain in Palestine only as long as his friend chose to stay-and that would probably not be overlong.
Miriam's face brightened. "And if Mr. Kingscourt were to release you from your promise?" she asked.
"He would not if I did not ask him to. But the very request for release would be disloyal and ungrateful to the splendid old chap. He is the best friend I have in the world, and he has only me. What would become of him if I left him?"
"He would have to remain here too," she suggested.
Friedrich thought this quite out of the question, knowing the old man as he did. At best Kingscourt would travel about the country for a few days or weeks, and then there would be no holding him back. He would go on to Europe.
The others had finished their rounds by this time. A simple luncheon was served at Friedmann's house. They sat at table for a while after the end of the meal, talking of Neudorfs past and future. Most of the villagers had returned to their farms on the outskirts after the morning's meeting. There were therefore only a few-those who lived in the village proper-to see them off, which they did with much waving of caps and handkerchiefs.
On either side of the high road were well-tilled fields, vineyards, tobacco plantations, tree nurseries. Nowhere a rod of barren ground. A little way beyond the road a machine was mowing a field of clover. Wagons piled high with dried alfalfa for cattle fodder passed them in both directions.
Miriam explained the natural and agricultural features of the country to Friedrich, who knew little of such things. The summer crops were already peeping out of the ground -maize, sesame, lentils, vetches. Electric plows were being guided over fields still damp from the winter rains in preparation for the next sowing. Workers were carefully transplanting tobacco stalks from the seed beds, throwing away the weaker of the two plants set at each interval. The hop stalks were full grown, and the farmers were propping them up with eucalyptus branches or with wire netting. The branches were not pruned, so as to leave the blossoms protected against the rays of the sun.
Steineck suddenly broke into the conversation with praises of the eucalyptus, a splendid Australian tree of which hundreds of varieties had been brought to Palestine at the beginning of the systematic large-scale colonization. Nothing could have been begun without the eucalyptus, which grew rapidly, drained swamps as if by magic, and served many purposes of use and of ornament. Or, at least, the success achieved could not have come so quickly. Steineck's praises of the tree were unceasing.
"Yes," assented Sarah jestingly. "Mr. Steineck has expressed his gratitude to the eucalyptus by immortalizing it in stone. It is his favorite decoration for his buildings."
The joyousness of the landscape reflected itself in the mood of the party. The springtide was burgeoning on every side. Every meadow and every ditch was covered with a vivid tapestry of tiny blue iris, upstretching, rosy sword-lilies, sun-eyed tulips, gorgeous orchids. Here and there were orchards of apricot and mulberry trees.
The road ran through a romantic defile with weird, rocky caves where the defenders of the Jewish land had hidden from their enemies in the bitter days of the last struggle for independence. David spoke of those days feelingly.
A short distance beyond Neudorf, the roadway made a sudden turn-and the lovely plain and lake of Kinneret were revealed in the noon sunlight. Friedrich gave an involuntary cry of delight at catching his first glimpse of the unexpected, magnificent landscape.
Boats, large and small, furrowed the broad, gleaming surface of the lake. Sails shimmered, brass fittings glittered in the sunlight. On the farther shore numerous white villas nestled on green wooded heights. Here was Magdala, a sparkling, pretty new townlet with beautiful houses and gardens. But the car sped on to Tiberias without stopping, taking a southerly direction along the lake shore. The vivid pageant reminded them of the Riviera between Cannes and Nice at the height of the season. Fashionable folk were driving in elegant little equipages of all kinds-mostly motor cars with seats for two, three, or four passengers. But old-fashioned wagons, drawn by horses or mules, were not missing. Along the lake shore the travelers saw cyclists, horseback riders and gay strollers in the cosmopolitan mob that is so typical of fashionable bathing resorts. They were told that the medicinal hot springs and the beautiful situation of Tiberias attracted visitors from Europe and America who had always sought perennial spring in Sicily or Egypt. As soon as first-class hotel accommodations were available in Tiberias, the tourists had streamed thither. Experienced Swiss hotel-keepers had been the first to recognize the climatic advantages and scenic beauty of the spot, and prospered accordingly.
The car now passed some of these hotels. Men and women on the balconies were watching the kaleidoscopic traffic on the lake and the highroad. White-clad young men and girls played tennis in courts behind the hotels. Hungarian, Roumanian and Italian bands in national costume performed on several large terraces. All of which the travelers noted on the wing, their destination being somewhat beyond this point. They drove through Tiberias from north to south, glancing down neat little side streets which branched off from the main thoroughfare. There were vast, silent mansions in beautiful open squares, stately mosques, churches with Latin and Greek crosses, magnificent stone synagogues. The little Oriental harbor teemed with traffic. At the southern end of the town were more hotels and villas on a beautiful thoroughfare stretching along for a distance of half an hour's walk. Everywhere there were gardens. At the end of the thoroughfare at the hot springs came the bathing establishments.
Half-way between the town and the baths, the auto stopped before the trellised gate of a villa half-hidden in foliage.
"Here we are!" cried David, alighting.
The gate was opened, and an old gentleman appeared on the threshold. He raised his skull cap with a happy smile. "Where is he, David, my child?"
Friedrich was overcome, realizing that here, too, in the home of the elder Littwak, his arrival had been eagerly awaited. Nothing strange about it, of course. They had telephoned ahead to announce his coming.
This dignified old man who carried himself so well could he be the wretched peddler to whom he had once tried to give alms in a Viennese cafe! What a remarkable transformation! And yet it had all happened in the most natural way in the world. The Littwaks had been among the first to hasten to Palestine at the beginning of the great new national enterprise, and reaped the rewards of the prosperity they helped so faithfully to create.
Yet the house had its sorrow: Friedrich was immediately taken to an upper veranda overlooking the lake, where the invalid mother lay back in a wheel chair. She reached out her waxen, emaciated hand to Friedrich as he approached, and looked infinite gratitude at him out of her painstricken eyes.
"Yes," she said quavering after the greetings had been exchanged, "yes, dear Dr. Loewenberg, Tiberias is beautiful, and the baths are excellent. But one must come here while there is still time. I came too late. Too late."
Miriam stroked her mother's face. "You are looking better since you came here, Mother. The cure has done you good. You will realize it only after you come home."
Mrs. Littwak smiled wistfully. "Dear child, I am content. I am already at the gates of Paradise. Look at this view of mine, Dr. Loewenberg. The Garden of Eden, is it not?"
Friedrich stepped to the balustrade and looked out over the landscape. The shimmering blue waters of Lake Kinneret. The shores and distant heights softly outlined in the spring air. The steep declivities of the Jaulan hills on the farther side of the lake, mirrored in its depths. The Jordan flowing into the northern end of the lake. In the distance, the majestic, snow-crowned Hermon, a venerable giant overlooking the smaller ranges and the rejuvenated land. To the left, nearer the town, gentle inlets, lovely beaches, the plain of Kinneret, Magdala, Tiberias itself-a new gem set among the dark ruins of the fortress on the hillside. Verdure and bloom everywhere. A young world, and fragrant.
"The Garden of Eden, indeed!" murmured Friedrich to himself. As he felt Miriam standing beside him, he caught her hand and pressed it softly, as if to thank her that life could still be so beautiful.
The invalid saw from her chair, and her heart beat faster for joy.
"Children!" she murmured inaudibly, and sank into reverie.
The little villa which the Littwaks had rented for the period of the cure was too small to house all the guests. Miriam remained with her parents, while David reserved rooms for the rest of the party at a hotel near the baths. The baggage had been sent on ahead. After greeting the elder Littwaks, they drove to the hotel, where they found everything arranged for their convenience and comfort.
Entering the lobby, they were cordially greeted by an elderly lady and two gentlemen. David made the necessary introductions. The lady was Mrs. Gothland, an American Jewess, whose manner was so winning that people always took to her at once. Under its frame of gray hair, her face was still fascinating. The gentleman in the black Anglican clerical frock was the Reverend William H. Hopkins of the English church in Jerusalem. He had a long, patriarchal white beard, and dreamy blue eyes. To Kingscourt's astonishment, he felt complimented when the former took him for a Jew. The second gentleman was Professor Steineck, a bacteriologist, and brother of the architect of that name. The professor was a jolly, quick-tempered, absentminded scholar, who always spoke as if lecturing to an audience of partially deaf people. He and his brother idolized each other, but usually quarreled within five minutes after they met. So it was on this occasion. The architect had suggested that the strangers visit the Steineck Institute, his brother's famous laboratory.
The professor frowned. "I don't mind, understand," he shouted, "but there's nothing to see when you get there. Not worth the trouble. A house with some rooms and some hutches for guinea pigs. In each room, a worker making experiments. That's all. Understand? My brother always gets me into these dilemmas!"
Mrs. Gothland smiled. "The gentlemen don't believe you. Everyone knows that your Institute is one of the sights of this country."
Professor Steineck roared until the room re-echoed. "Nothing of the sort! Is it microbes you want to see? It's characteristic of microbes that they can't be seen. Not with the naked eye, at any rate. They're fine sights. Everyone knows I don't believe in microbes. I breed them with one hand and fight them with the other. Understand?"
"No!" roared Kingscourt, delighted. "Not a word. Seems to be some kind of chemical kitchen. What do you cook there, Professor?"
"Pest, cholera, diphtheria, childbed fever, tuberculosis, hydrophobia, malaria, smirked the Professor.
Mrs. Gothland explained. "The Professor refers to cures for all those enemies of mankind. Very well, then, we'll go without him. We'll not even ask him along. Admission is not denied to distinguished strangers, and someone will be there to show us around."
"Stop!" cried the Professor. "Then, in Heaven's name, I'll go with you. Otherwise, you'll jump into my stupidest assistant, who'll show you the streptococcus for the cholera bacillus. Understand?"
"Not one word," confessed Kingscourt.
The party dispersed for the moment. The architect had plans for a new English hospital near Jerusalem which he was to submit to the Reverend Mr. Hopkins. Sarah went off to provide for the baby's needs. David excused himself to fetch Father Ignaz, another Seder guest, from the Franciscan convent. They arranged to meet at the Littwak villa before dinner. Mrs. Gothland promised to bring the gentlemen on time, and drove off to the Steineck Institute with Kingscourt, Friedrich, Reschid Bey and the Professor. After a fifteen minute drive they reached an unpretentious building of moderate size on the south shore behind a promontory.
"We don't need a large building for our purpose," explained the Professor. "Microbes don't take up much room. My stables are in those annexes over there. I use many horses and other creatures. Understand?"
"Ah! You ride a great deal," said Kingscourt. "I can understand that-in this magnificent country."
"Country nothing! I use horses and donkeys and dogs in brief, the whole menagerie-for serum. I produce great quantities of it. My stables reach all the way down there, where you see the air factory."
"Wha-at!" shouted Kingscourt. "Most esteemed horse-poisoner, you're not trying to tell me that you manufacture air here, I hope! There's plenty. The air here is capital in fact!"
"I meant liquid air, of course. Understand?"
"Ah, yes! To be sure I understand. They had it in America in my time. So you have the liquid air industry in Palestine also?"
"Yes, and many other industries. All of them, as a matter of fact! We are quite famous for our refrigerating devices. This is a warm country. From here down along the Jordan, at any rate, the country is pretty well heated the year round. We have therefore developed the refrigerating industries. Understand? On the principle that the best stoves are to be found in the cold countries, while one freezes bitterly in an Italian winter. We, for our part, have provided ourselves with plenty of ice for the warm weather. In the heat of the summer, for instance, you will find blocks of ice even in the most modest homes. And anyone who wishes may buy wreaths of flowers in ice for the dinner table for a trifling sum."
"Oh, I know that stunt!" cried Kingscourt. "I saw a wreath of fresh flowers in ice at the world's fair in Paris in 1900."
"I was not trying to tell you anything new. We have merely used the existing devices. Cooling apparatus is a common necessity here, and is produced cheaply, since competition keeps the prices low. "People of moderate means cannot, of course, go off to the Lebanon in the summer any more than the same class in Europe can afford expensive vacations. However, through science we have learned how to make ourselves more comfortable and more healthy. Understand?
"Our enterprising business men and technically trained youth have transplanted all known industries to this country. The cosmopolitan drift of industry was already evident in your day. Why should we not have secured all these things, since it was to our advantage to do so? There were latent treasures in our land, if only we knew how to draw them forth. The chemical industries were the first to be developed here, being, so to speak, the most easily transportable. Did you ever happen to study chemistry, Mr. Kingscourt?"
"No, happens that I did not."
"Well, if you had studied chemistry, you would have known what learned circles in those days thought of the potential wealth of Palestine. Reschid Bey here took a doctor's degree in chemistry at a German university. He can tell you all about it."
"You embarrass me, Professor," said Reschid modestly, "when you ask me to show off my bits of learning in your presence. ...As a matter of fact, every young chemistry student twenty years ago knew that the Palestinian soil was potentially precious. The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea region were used as textbook examples. At the end of the nineteenth century, a German chemist wrote concerning the Dead Sea: "This water-filled valley, which lies farther below sea-level than any other in the world, contains an almost wholly concentrated salt of a lye composition not found elsewhere, and it throws off asphaltic masses which nowhere else appear in this form." When you see our water-power apparatus, you will realize that we have taken full advantage of the difference in levels between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. But that is something else. You will see it later. I merely want to tell you now that the Dead Sea water forms a saline lye whose like is to be found only at Stassfurt. You must have heard of the great Stassfurt potash works which dominated the world market. We have the same thing now at the Dead Sea, and on a much larger scale."
"Marvelous!" shouted Kingscourt.
"Not at all," smiled Reschild. "It's perfectly simple. What could be done in Stassfurt could be done just as well at the Dead Sea. Our water, in fact, was richer in chemical content than any other. It reminds me of the old legends about sunken treasures. Children imagine such treasures only in the form of golden bracelets, chains, and coins. But the Dead Sea salts, also, are golden. They are richer in brome than any other natural lye. And you know how expensive brome is.
"What was formerly the most barren, the most lifeless part of our country is now the most productive. In the Jordan Valley and-the Dead Sea there is bituminous lime from which we produce the best asphalt in the world. Eichner, a German chemist, said long ago that the geological character of the region indicated the presence of petroleum. Oil was in fact drilled for, and found. Sulphur and phosphate, too, exist there in inexhaustible quantities. You know as well as I how important phosphate is in the manufacture of artificial fertilizer. As a matter of fact, our phosphates compete successfully with those of Tunis and Algiers; and, at that, we produce more easily and cheaply than Florida. The artificial fertilizers which we have been able to produce in such great abundance have of course contributed immeasurably to the progress or our agriculture...But I fear I am boring Mrs. Gothland with all these dry details."
"Not at all," declared the lady amiably.
"There are connections of that sort between modem industry and agriculture," added the Professor. "Understand? Everything belongs with everything else. There must be only the knowledge and the business enterprise to make the contacts. I myself, as you see me, am only a learned ass; but I do my bit to foster industry and agriculture."
"Won't you explain that, most honored breeder of microbes?" begged Kingscourt.
"You shall have it," chuckled Steineck. "It is a familiar fact in bacteriology that various kinds of tobacco and cheese owe their aroma to some of the micro-organisms I'm always battling with. We have therefore tried to breed these for our tobacco planters and cheese manufacturers. And now our cheese competes with the best brands of France and Switzerland. In the Jordan Valley we grow weeds that are not inferior to Havana."
Steineck now led the way through his laboratories, which were patterned after those of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. His numerous assistants were not disturbed by the presence of visitors, and quietly went on with their work at test tubes, microscopes and crucibles after answering questions briefly and civilly. One, however, turned upon the Professor with rough good nature. "Leave us in peace, sir I have no time for all these catechisms. Else this fellow will escape me again!"
Steineck obediently marshaled the visitors out of the room. Outside, he remarked, "He was quite right. The fellow he referred to was his bacillus. Understand?"
"I work here," he added a moment later, showing them into his own laboratory, which was as simply equipped as those of his young assistants.
"At what, if I may ask?" inquired Friedrich.
"The scientist's eyes grew dreamy as he replied, "At the opening up of Africa."
The visitors mistrusted their ears. Was the seeker after scientific truth a bit mad?
"Did you say, 'at the opening up of Africa'?" asked Kingscourt, suspicion gleaming in his eye. "
Yes, Mr. Kingscourt. That is to say, I hope to find the lure for malaria. We have overcome it here in Palestine thanks to the drainage of the swamps, canalization, and the eucalyptus forests. But conditions are different in Africa. The same measures cannot be taken there because the prerequisite-mass immigration-is not present. The white colonist goes under in Africa. That country can be opened up to civilization only after malaria has been subdued. Only then will enormous areas become available for the surplus populations of Europe. And only then will the proletarian masses find a healthy outlet. Understand?"
Kingscourt laughed. "You want to cart off the whites to the black continent, you wonder-worker!"
"Not only the whites!" replied Steineck gravely. "The blacks as well. There is still one problem of racial misfortune unsolved. The depths of that problem, in all their horror, only a Jew can fathom. I mean the negro problem. Don't laugh, Mr. Kingscourt. Think of the hair-raising horrors of the slave trade. Human beings, because their skins are black, are stolen, carried off, and sold. Their descendants grow up in alien surroundings despised and hated because their skin is differently pigmented. I am not ashamed to say, though I be thought ridiculous, now that I have lived to see the restoration of the Jews, I should like to pave the way for the restoration of the Negroes."'
"You misjudge me, Professor," replied Kingscourt. "I am not laughing. On the contrary. It's splendid of you, Devil take me! You show me horizons I hadn't even dreamt of."
"That is why I am working to open up Africa. All human beings ought to have a home. Then they will be kinder to one another. Then they will understand and love one another more. Understand?"
Mrs. Gothland murmured the thought in the minds of all the others. "Professor Steineck, God bless you!"
The party had left the Steineck Institute in a solemn mood, but grew more light-hearted on the return journey to the town. As they were passing the bathing establishment, Reschid suggested that they get out for half an hour to listen to the music in the gardens. They rambled through the well-laid-out grounds, where they saw the usual Kurort crowd, sitting, strolling, listening to the orchestra. Gossiping, flirting, commenting on the passersby -as is their way in all the world-these people sat about in groups on wrought-iron benches beneath the palms.
"Ah, here they are at last!" jeered Kingscourt, grimly pleased. "The Jewesses with the diamonds, I mean! I really missed them. I had said to myself that this whole thing must be a hoax-that perhaps we were not really in Jewland at all. Now I see it's real. The ostrich feather hats, the gaudy silk dresses, the Israelitish women with their jewels...Don't mind what I say, Mrs. Gothland. You're different."
The lady assured him that she did not take offense. Steineck roared with laughter. "We don't mind at all, Mr. Kingscourt. There was a time when such remarks hurt our feelings. But not any more. Understand? Fops, upstarts, bejeweled women used to be regarded as representative Jews. Now people realize that there are other types of Jews also. Go ahead and criticize this riff-raff all you please, esteemed stranger! When night falls, I'll curse along with you!"
Their merry little group attracted attention. Many of the people in the gardens evidently knew the Professor, and there was much craning after his distinguished-looking companions. In trying to escape the stares of the curious, Steineck led his friends into a by-path, and there walked directly into the very thing he wished to avoid. In a circle of bushes sat a group of men and women engaged in lively chatter. One of the men jumped up boisterously and ran toward Friedrich. "Doctor Loewenberg! Doctor Loewenberg! Guess whom we've just been talking about? Yourself! I'm so happy!"
The happy gentleman was Schiffmann. He drew Friedrich into the circle, introduced him exuberantly, and pressed him into a chair. The whole thing happened so quickly that he had no chance to resist, even had he not been dumbfounded at suddenly seeing the love of his youth. Ernestine greeted him with a glance and a smile before she spoke. He himself found no words.
In the meantime, Schiffmann had hurried over to the Professor, whom he knew. He made the entire party to come forward, like a street barker forcing people to come into his shop. The Professor obviously did not care to accept the invitation, but Kingscourt pointed out that they could not leave Friedrich in the lurch. "Captured together, hang together!" he declared. Schiffmann, who was dragging chairs forward for the newcomers, laughed ingratiatingly at the ambiguous pleasantry. He introduced his friends: Mr., Mrs. and Miss Schlesinger, Dr. and Mrs. Walter, Mrs. Weinberger, Miss Weinberger, Messrs. Gruen and Blau, Mr. Weinberger.
Friedrich saw and heard everything as in a mist. Old times rose hazily to his mind. He saw himself again at the betrothal party at the Loefllers. Here were the same impossible people he had then fled from in desperation. All had aged, and yet all had remained the same. Only the presence of the two young girls indicated another generation. That dainty girl looking at him so blankly was the very image of the youthful Ernestine. He was so much enthralled by his old memories that only confused echoes of the talk reached his consciousness.
Gruen, the jester, was holding forth. "Well, Dr. Loewenberg, and how do you like it here? What! You find no words! Perhaps you think there are too many Jews here!"
Laughter. "I am frank to say," remarked Friedrich slowly, "that you are the first person to have made me think so."
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Very good!" neighed Schiffmann. The others joined in the merriment. Only then did Friedrich realize that his remark had been construed as one of the rude jests common in this set. Gruen, accustomed as he was to worse treatment, did not, take it amiss, But, the rival jester, grinningly followed up the persecution. "Gruen could make even the people here anti-Semitic."
"Your jokes are stale, Mr. Blau," interposed Dr. Walter. "Thank God, anti-Semitism has ceased to exist."
"If I could be sure of that," retorted Blau, "I should go into the business myself."
Kingscourt leaned over toward the Professor, and whispered, "Seems to me you couldn't tell these people anything about your project for the Negroes. They'd laugh at you."
"Proves nothing against it," rejoined Steineck in the same undertone. "They also ridiculed the Jewish nationalist idea in the old days. They are the last people to whom one could speak of something big."
Friedrich reverted to the remark of Dr. Walter. "Is it true," he asked, "that Jew-hatred has declined?"
"Declined, you say!" cried Schlesinger. "It's disappeared."
"No one," struck in Blau saucily, "can give you better information on that subject than Dr. Veiglstock. He behaved like a captain...the last to leave the ship."
The lawyer was vexed. "I shall have to pull you up by the ears, Mr. Blau, and tell you my name. It is Walter, once and for all. Just note that. Now, I've never been ashamed of my father's honest name. Everyone knows that. But formerly one had to make concessions to the prejudices of his environment in order to escape unpleasantness."
"And now it's no longer necessary?" probed Friedrich.
"No. But, for once, what Mr. Blau tried to say in his would-be humorous way is true. I came here to settle only recently. That, however, proves that I was not forced to do so by necessity, but obeyed my own impulses."
"Once a Jew, always a Jew!" bleated Gruen in support of the declaration. But Blau in an undertone inaudible to the lawyer muttered something about a dwindling clientele.
Dr. Walter assumed an air of importance, and launched on a description of the effects of the Jewish mass migration upon the Jews who had remained in Europe. He was bound to say for himself, it had always been clear to him that Zionism was bound to be as salutary for the Jews who remained in Europe as for those who emigrated. He had been among the first to recognize the significance of the movement. Though he had not then been able to give free rein to his ideas and impulses, he had done his modest bit for the national idea. As proof of this statement, he mentioned the fact that he had not dismissed a poor student then working in his law office, even though he knew the young man attended Zionist meetings. He had given his mite, also, to the National Fund, when it amounted t6 several million pounds sterling (that is to say, when its large capital was security for its success).
Blau sought a flippant revenge for his humiliation. "Mite? Pardon me, sir, if I ask, is that a new coin? Mite...mite...."
Dr. Walter refused to be upset by this fling. He merely shrugged contemptuously, looked past his interlocutor, and went on. Everyone today knows that Palestine is a happy domicile for all who have come here. And the condition of those who remained behind was improved. Ever since Jewish competition had either decreased or disappeared altogether, they were safe from attack. In the countries with too large a number of Jews-the Judaized countries, as the phrase went on those days-there was a remarkable amelioration socially.
The laboring classes and the poor had indeed been the first to migrate, but the effects of their going were soon felt by the middle and upper classes of Jews. The first to leave for the Old-New-Land were those who had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Since emigration was entirely voluntary, only those went who were certain of improving their condition. The unemployed and the despairing rushed to a land which opened up such broad vistas of work and of hope. That was a natural phenomenon. All the world knew that numerous successful enterprises in Palestine provided immigrants with the opportunity to earn their bread from the first, and later to achieve a certain degree of prosperity.
To all this, continued Dr. Walter, add the lure of freedom. No discrimination because of race or creed. That in itself was alluring enough.
Then, all the great Jewish philanthropic associations pooled their resources. They had been burdened with the co-religionists forced to wander from one country to another under the pressure of persecution and poverty. When the destitute Jews of some East European Country could endure their lot no longer and set out on their pathetic journeys, their brethren in the remoter communities had to extend a helping hand. They gave and gave to the wandering beggars, but it was never enough. Vast sums were spent without opportunity to investigate the merits of individual cases. There was, therefore, no way to make certain that only the deserving would receive aid. The result was that misery was not alleviated even temporarily, while pauperism was fostered.
The Zionist idea provided a base on which all humanitarian Jewish effort could unite. Jewish communities everywhere colonized their own poor in Palestine, and thus relieved themselves of these dependents. This method was cheaper than the former planless sending of wanderers to some foreign land or other; and there was the certainty that only willing workers and the deserving poor were receiving assistance. Anyone who wished to do honest work was certain of an opportunity in Palestine. If a man declared that he could not find work even there, he thereby stamped himself as a ne'er-do-well deserving of no sympathy.
In the early days there had been people who could not believe 'that colonization by the proletariat could be successful. But he, Dr. Walter, and others who, like himself, took a broad view of things, had always realized that this was an ignorant, stupid attitude. Had not new settlements always been founded by hungry people? The well-fed had no incentive to leave the confines of civilization.. They remained at home. The world therefore belonged to the hungry. The Puritans, persecuted for their religious beliefs, had colonized North America. South Africa and India had been settled by fortune-hunters. And where could a colony be found that had been established by worse elements than Australia, that great, proud, prosperous land? At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was a despised penal colony. Yet only a few decades later, it had grown into a great, sound commonwealth; and, before the century was out, it was a jewel in the British crown.
As he had said, he and other educated men had ridiculed the objection that proletarians could not found a colony. Surely, if convicts had been able to do so much in Australia, how much more could be achieved by Jewish pioneers, whose labors for the freedom and honor of the nation would be upheld by the whole House of Israel? In all modesty, Dr. Walter wished to point out that the event had justified his prevision.
The vast works of colonization had required a large staff of trained engineers, jurists and administrators. Large opportunities were suddenly opened to educated young men who in the anti-Semitic times had had no sphere for the exercise of their skill. Jewish university graduates, men trained in the technological institutes and commercial. colleges, used to flounder helplessly; but now there was ample room for them in the public and private undertakings so numerous in Palestine. The result was that Christian professional men no longer looked askance at their Jewish colleagues, for they were no longer annoying competitors. In such circumstances, commercial envy and hatred had gradually disappeared. Furthermore, the less Jewish abilities were offered in the marketplace, the more their value was appreciated. The value of services always increased with their scarcity. Everyone knew that. Why should not this rule have applied to Jews in commercial life?
And so the effects of the improved situation had made themselves felt on all sides. In countries where there was a tendency to restrict Jewish immigration, public opinion took a turn for the better. Jews were granted full citizenship rights not only on paper, but in everyday life. Compulsory measures could never have moved Jews to .Joyful participation in art, science, trade, commerce and every other sphere. But they had been won with kindness. Only after those Jews who were forced out of Europe had been settled in their own land, the well-meant measures of emancipation became effective everywhere.
Jews who wished to assimilate with other peoples now felt free to do so openly, without cowardice or deception. There were also some who wished to adopt the majority religion, and these could now do so without being suspected of snobbery or careerism, for it was no longer to one's advantage to abandon Judaism. Those Jews who felt akin to their fellow-citizens in everything but religion enjoyed undiminished esteem as adherents of a minority faith. Toleration can and must always rest on reciprocity. Only when the Jews, forming the majority in Palestine, showed themselves tolerant, were they shown more toleration in all other countries.
Dr. Walter concluded his little lecture with an ingratiating, sidelong glance at Professor Steineck, "Therefore I have come forward as an adherent and advocate of the Littwak-Steineck party. I shall defend their idea unflinchingly, to my last drop of blood!"
"You mustn't forget to tell that to your brother, Professor," cut in Blau witheringly. "With Dr. Walter on your side, you have the majority."
"What do you mean by that?" exploded the lawyer, growing purple in the face. "You-you!"
"Nothing at all," replied the jester with assumed naivete. "I have never seen you anywhere but with the majority. Therefore people must be congratulated when you support them."
"If you mean to insinuate by your nasty witticisms that I am in the habit of changing my convictions, I can afford to laugh. Every reasonable man grows wiser with time. What counts is, that once I am convinced of an idea, I hold to it unswervingly."
"Yes, yes!" said Gruen, rubbing his "unseamed" ear between thumb and forefinger. "I, understand that when Dr. Walter has a conviction, he' holds to it steadfastly, unflinchingly. But when he no longer entertains it, or prefers another conviction, it would not be ethical for him to hold fast to what he no longer believes in."
Schlesinger, who still enjoyed a certain prestige as the representative of the Baron von Goldstein, threw himself into the breach with authority. "But what does this mean, gentlemen? Are we at a mass meeting now? What care we for convictions? I know only two: Business and Pleasure!"
"Bravo!" shouted Kingscourt. "And Business first!"
"You see, this gentleman agrees with me," inferred Schlesinger. "This is out of business, hours. Therefore, let us leave ourselves in peace!"
"You always hit the nail on the head, Mr. Schlesinger," remarked Schiffmann flatteringly, and continued, in an undertone that all could hear, addressing himself to Kingscourt and Friedrich. "It's not for nothing that he enjoys the confidence of the Baroness von Goldstein! He's the Jaffa representative of that important firm."
"You don't say so!" remarked Kingscourt with an admiring mien.
Schlesinger gazed modestly before him, like a celebrity being shown off to the public.
The ladies in the meantime had resumed their discussion of the latest thing in Parisian millinery. Mrs. Laschner took the lead. She always ordered her things, she said, directly from the Rue de la Paix. But Mrs. Weinberger signaled to Friedrich to bring his chair nearer, and chatted in an undertone. "Yes, this is my daughter. What do you think of her? Pretty? Ugly?"
"The image of her mother," he replied mechanically. "Ugly, then. You naughty man!" She widened her eyes coquettishly. Friedrich was heavy at heart as he looked at the faded, would-be arch coquette. After twenty years, then, the causes of our bitterest griefs looked like this! How could he have suffered so acutely for such a reason. Alas, the wasted years!
Without any notion of what was in Friedrich's mind, the lady frisked on. What did he intend to do now? Was he remaining here, or going on to Europe? If he did stay, wouldn't he be thinking of settling down, courting a wife?
"I?" he answered in surprise. "At my age? I have missed all that, as I have missed many other more important things in life."
"That's not honest. You are still of marriageable age. You look much younger than you really are. Your solitary island preserved you well. ...Let me ask a candid child to guess your age...Fifi, guess how old Dr. Loewenberg is.
Fifi, the candid child, looked at him for a moment, dropped her eyelids and lisped, "In the early thirties, mama!"
"Ah, no, my dear young lady. You have not looked at me closely."
"Indeed I have," she lisped again. "I saw you at the opera with Miriam Littwak."
"Apropos," said Ernestine, "how do you like Miriam Littwak? I don't mean as to outward appearance. She's quite good-looking. But her manner-her pose. She's putting it on a bit thick with duties and all- that sort of thing. She plays at teaching. That's the latest here."
Friedrich was annoyed. "My dear lady, as far as I know, Miss Littwak does not play but actually works at teaching. She takes her duties as seriously as they deserve."
"See, see, how he defends Miss Littwak!" scoffed Ernestine.
"My friend is signaling me.," 'said Friedrich rising. He made his farewells.
When he rejoined the party, Kingscourt grasped his arm, saying, "Fritze, guess what I was thinking all the while we were with that delightful crew."
"I've no idea."
"That it's time we're moving on. We're not robbers or murderers to be ending up with the agent of the Baron von Goldstein. Or do you want to anchor here?"
"Why ask me, Kingscourt? You know very well that I belong to you, and go with you wherever and whenever you choose."
The old man stopped short and squeezed Friedrich's hand.
Source: Zionism and Israel Information Center