THE MESSAGE OF ARCTURUS

David Adler sat at the open window gazing contemplatively at the sea of stars whose soft radiance filled the heavens. He was lonely. The stars were his friends. Particularly one bright star whose steadfastness, throughout his many night vigils, had arrested his attention. It seemed to twinkle less than the others, seemed more remote and purer. It was Arcturus. To a lonely person, fretting under the peevish worries of life,…

A DAUGHTER OF ISRAEL

There was a young man with a Christian heart and blue eyes—eyes that made you look at him again and smile at his earnestness—who went among the lowly Jews of the East Side to convert them to the faith of the Messiah whom they disowned. Those blue eyes fell, one day, upon a head of hair that gleamed like gold, fiery, red hair, silken and carelessly tangled, and shining in…

THE SUN OF WISDOM

“And therefore,” concluded Salvin, stroking his long, grey beard, “we are forced to accept the belief that the object of life is toil. We are the advance guard cutting out the road down which the next generation will travel, who, in turn, will carry the road further along. Our work done—our usefulness ends. We have accomplished our mission, and nothing remains but to make way for our successors.” Young Levine…

WITHOUT FEAR OF GOD

Be pleased to remember that this tale points no moral, that there is absolutely nothing to be deduced from it, and that in narrating it I am but repeating a curious incident that belongs to the East Side. It is a strange place, this East Side, with its heterogeneous elements, its babble of jargons. Its noise and its silence, its impenetrable mystery, its virtues, its romance, and its poverty—above all,…

UNCONVERTED

The Reverend Thomas Gillespie (it may have been William—I am not sure of his first name) noticed a tall old man with fierce brown eyes standing in the front of the crowd. Then a stone struck the Reverend Gillespie in the face. The crowd pressed in upon him, and it would have gone ill with the preacher if the tall, brown-eyed man had not turned upon the crowd and, in…

THE MURDERER

When Marowitz arrived at the station-house to report for duty, the sergeant gazed at him curiously. “You’re to report at headquarters immediately,” he said. “I don’t know what for. The Chief just sent word that he wants to see you.” Marowitz looked bewildered. Summons to headquarters usually meant trouble. Rewards usually came through the precinct Captain. Marowitz wondered what delinquency he was to be reprimanded for. He could think of…

AN INTERRUPTION

In the story books the tragedies of life work themselves out to more or less tragic conclusions. In real life the most tragic tragedies are those that have no conclusion—that can have no conclusion until death writes “Finis!” From which one might argue that many of us would be better off if we lived in novels. Chertoff, however, lived in Hester Street, and therefore had to abide by his destiny.…

DEBORAH

Her name was Deborah. When Hazard first saw her she was sitting on the steps of a tenement with Berman at her side, Berman’s betrothal ring on her finger, Berman’s arm around her waist. “Beauty and the beast!” Hazard murmured as he stood watching them. He was an artist, and a search for the picturesque had led him into Hester Street—where he found it. Presently Hazard crossed the street, and,…

A SWALLOW-TAILER FOR TWO

“Isidore? Bah! Never again do I want dot name to hear! “Isidore? A loafer he iss! Sure! Ve vas friends vunce, unt don’t I know vot a loafer he iss? Ven a man iss a loafer nobody knows it better as his best friend. “Don’t you remember by der night uf der two Purim balls? Vot? No? Yes! Dere vas two Purim balls by der same night; der one vas…

HANNUKAH LIGHTS

Somewhere in transit he had lost all his letters, papers, credentials, cards—all belongings, in fact, that might have established his identity. He said he was David Parnes, and that he had come from Pesth. And, as he was tall and straight, with fine black eyes and curling black hair, a somewhat dashing presence, and the most charming manners, he soon made friends, particularly among the women, for, in Houston Street,…