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The Grandchildren of the Ghetto   By: (1864-1926)

Book cover

First Page:

The Wayfarers Library

THE GRANDCHILDREN OF THE GHETTO

by

ISRAEL ZANGWILL

J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. London

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE CHRISTMAS DINNER 3

II. RAPHAEL LEON 24

III. 'THE FLAG OF JUDAH' 45

IV. THE TROUBLES OF AN EDITOR 63

V. A WOMAN'S GROWTH 77

VI. COMEDY OR TRAGEDY? 88

VII. WHAT THE YEARS BROUGHT 112

VIII. THE ENDS OF A GENERATION 122

IX. THE 'FLAG' FLUTTERS 126

X. ESTHER DEFIES THE UNIVERSE 137

XI. GOING HOME 150

XII. A SHEAF OF SEQUELS 161

XIII. THE DEAD MONKEY AGAIN 185

XIV. SIDNEY SETTLES DOWN 192

XV. FROM SOUL TO SOUL 200

XVI. LOVE'S TEMPTATIONS 219

XVII. THE PRODIGAL SON 232

XVIII. HOPES AND DREAMS 239

GLOSSARY 249

GRANDCHILDREN OF THE GHETTO

CHAPTER I

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER

Daintily embroidered napery, beautiful porcelain, Queen Anne silver, exotic flowers, glittering glass, soft rosy light, creamy expanses of shirt front, elegant low necked dresses all the conventional accompaniments of Occidental gastronomy.

It was not a large party. Mrs. Henry Goldsmith professed to collect guests on artistic principles, as she did bric à brac , and with an eye to general conversation. The elements of the social salad were sufficiently incongruous to night, yet all the ingredients were Jewish.

For the history of the Grandchildren of the Ghetto, which is mainly a history of the middle classes, is mainly a history of isolation. 'The Upper Ten' is a literal phrase in Judah, whose aristocracy just about suffices for a synagogue quorum. Great majestic luminaries, each with its satellites, they swim serenely in the golden heavens. And the middle classes look up in worship, and the lower classes in supplication. 'The Upper Ten' have no spirit of exclusiveness; they are willing to entertain royalty, rank, and the arts with a catholic hospitality that is only Eastern in its magnificence, while some of them remain Jews only for fear of being considered snobs by society. But the middle class Jew has been more jealous of his caste, and for caste reasons. To exchange hospitalities with the Christian when you cannot eat his dinners were to get the worst of the bargain; to invite his sons to your house when they cannot marry your daughters were to solicit awkward complications. In business, in civic affairs, in politics, the Jew has mixed freely with his fellow citizens; but indiscriminate social relations only become possible through a religious decadence which they in turn accelerate. A Christian in a company of middle class Jews is like a lion in a den of Daniels. They show him deference and their prophetic side.

Mrs. Henry Goldsmith was of the upper middle classes, and her husband was the financial representative of the Kensington Synagogue at the United Council; but her swan like neck was still bowed beneath the yoke of North London, not to say provincial, Judaism. So to night there were none of those external indications of Christmas which are so frequent at 'good' Jewish houses no plum pudding, snap dragon, mistletoe, not even a Christmas tree. For Mrs. Henry Goldsmith did not countenance these coquettings with Christianity. She would have told you that the incidence of her dinner on Christmas Eve was merely an accident, though a lucky accident, in so far as Christmas found Jews perforce at leisure for social gatherings... Continue reading book >>




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