The Southern Israelite
determined against Sigmund we have
been before. He would not admit the
truth, however. Instead he said that
Sigmund, living in a large city, was
not religious enough for him. He
wanted a son-in-law who was strongly
Attached to the religion of his an
cestors. But soon it was learned that
Sigmund, in spite of his position and
his life in the German capital, was
very religious and was strongly at
tached to the faith in which he was
reared. In fact, it was known in the
little town that Sigmund’s employer,
a millionaire many times over, had
offered him the hand of his daughter
and a partnership in the business,
[providing he would become a Christ
ian. Sigmund refused the offer, say
ing that the faith of his childhood
was dearer to him than all else.
In spite of the fact that he knew •
he was not wanted by Reb Benzion,
Sigmund asked many of his friends
to intercede in his behalf. Esterka’s
mother, too, became more insistent
[that Sigmund would make the best
husband for her daughter. Reb Ben
zion felt that it would be hard for
him to hold out much longer, and in
order to put an end to it, he called
< n Benjamin Hoeker and asked him
to arrange a match for his daughter,
secretely. He was certain that once
[engaged, Esterka would not dare
think of any other man, and she would
have to “knock the foolish love affair
lout of her head.” Fortunately, Itzik
Ilersh began to suspect something
when he saw that Benjamin Hoeker
was on good terms with Reb Benzion.
He decided to find out why they were
so intimate, and to cross the plans
of his opponent no matter what these
plans might be. How he came to
find it out we know. From the mo
ment “Wisdom” was certain of his
ground, Reb Benzion was a mere
chess figure around which two power
ful opponents fought,
i When Esterka learned from Itzik
jHersh how her father plotted against
her. she felt helpless. She was ac
customed to her father’s rough treat
ment, to his outbursts of anger, but
that he should regard her as a bale
of goods to be dealt out to the first
man he met, that she had not expect
ed. But what was to be done? The
thought of speaking to her father
earnestly, telling him that she would
marry no one except Sigmund, was
pushed into the background by a feel
ing of childish timidity.
To allow it all to continue she knew
was dangerous, as her father could
c, >me to her one fine day and an
nounce that she was engaged. To
oppose his will then would result in
[public scandal, which she would rath-
not live to see.
Her mother, however, freed her
[from these despairing uncertainties, as
• s he took up the fight.
^ ou have rather numerous visitors
these days, Benzion,” said the clever
" ! l rn l in w ^ e they were at table.
^ hat visitors do you mean?”
Our clever Reb Benjamin Hoeker.”
These visits are of no importance
you, ’ grumbled Reb Benzion, who
"as becoming suspicious.
I am afraid they are of verv much
’importance to me,”
"In what way?”
Because they have something to
w ith our child.”
Ho not poke your nose every
where,” he snapped at her. “It is
,n y business.”
Mine also,” she whispered.
“What?” He sprang from his seat.
“Do you think I will allow this?”
Then turning to Esterka, he yelled:
“And you, my little daughter, per
haps you have something to say in
this matter, too?”
“And would I not have the right
to say something, my dear father?”
asked Esterka, who was encouraged
by this question.
“Ha, ha, ha,” laughed Reb Benzion
sardonically, as he fell back into his
chair, “that would be a fine story in
deed. And whom would you like to
have for a husband?”
Reb Benzion sprang from his chair
like a teased wolf.
“Sigmund Reifman!” he growled.
“If you pronounce his hateful name in
my presence, I will tear the hair out
of your head and beat you black and
blue, do you hear, you impudent
Esterka feared that her angry fa
ther might translate his words into
action and fled weeping into another
room. Her example was followed by
her mother, who feared no less her
Like one possessed, the angry man
rushed about the room, venting his
anger on his beard which he pressed
between his fingers and which he now
and then bit between his teeth. He
was not prepared for such stout op
position on the part of his wife and
daughter, whom he usually intimidated
with a harsh word. He understood
that a quick end must be thought
out. ... He was drumming on the
window-pane in anger when a cough
ing was heard in the hall, and in a
few minutes a shrivelled man with a
hunched shoulder appeared in the
“May the Lord give you a good
day,” whispered the little man, meekly.
“Good day!” thundered Reb Ben
zion in response.
“Why so indisposed, Reb Benzion?”
“Because I have good cause for it,”
“But, Reb Benzion, I should think
you have cause rather to be glad than
sad,” flattered “Piety”.
“Why should I be glad?”
“We shall soon celebrate in joy and
good fortune the betrothal of your
daughter. As far as Reb Leibish Reb-
huhn is concerned, everything is as
you wish it to be.”
“Not so here.”
“How is that, Reb Benzion?”
“This confounded Reifman sticks
like a bone in my throat. Women mix
into my affairs now.”
“We can easily get rid of him,” an
nounced the hunchbacked man with
his most pious smile.
“How, let us hear.”
“For the Glory of God and the Good
of the Community, why shall we not do
“Proceed with business, proceed,”
ordered Reb Benzion, w’ho was tired
of this phrase from hearing it so
And “for the glory of God and the
good of the community” whispered
his plans into the ear of Reb Benzion.
The latter was visibly astonished for
he listened to “Piety” interestedly un
til the plans were all revealed. He
then slapped him on the hunched
shoulder as he repeated several times:
“Good, very good, very good indeed.
But can it be done?”
“Why not? You go ahead and do
your part as I told you to. The rest,
leave to me.”
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