THE AMERICANISATION OF SHADRACH COHEN

There is no set rule for the turning of the worm; most worms, however, turn unexpectedly. It was so with Shadrach Cohen. He had two sons. One was named Abel and the other Gottlieb. They had left Russia five years before their father, had opened a store on Hester Street with the money he had given them. For reasons that only business men would understand they conducted the store in…

THE STORY OF SARAI

It was the idle hour of the mart, and the venders of Hester Street were busy brushing away the flies. Mother Politsky had arranged her patriarchal-looking fish for at least the twentieth time, and was wondering whether it might not be better to take them home than to wait another hour in the hope of a chance customer being attracted to her stand. Suddenly a shadow fell across the fish.…

A YIDDISH IDYLL

In German they call it “Die Liebe.” The French, as every school-girl knows, call it “L’Amour.” It is known to the Spanish and the Italians, and, unless I am greatly mistaken, it was known even in Ur of the Chaldeans, the city that was lost before the dawn of ancient Greece. The sky has sung of it, the bright stars have sung of it, the birds and the flowers and…

URIM AND THUMMIM

The hall was packed to the point of suffocation, with thousands of gaunt, hollow-eyed strikers, who hung upon the speaker’s impassioned words with breathless interest. He was an eloquent speaker, with a pale, delicate face, and dark eyes that shone like burning coals. He had been speaking for an hour, exhorting the strikers to stand firm, and to bear in patience their burden of suffering. When he dwelt on the…

THE POISONED CHAI

Bernstein sat in the furthest corner of the café, brooding. The fiercest torments that plague the human heart were rioting within him, as if they would tear him asunder. Bernstein was of an impulsive, overbearing nature, mature as far as years went, yet with the untrained, inexperienced emotions of a savage. To such natures the “no” from a woman’s lips comes like a blow; the sudden knowledge that those same…

OUT OF HIS ORBIT

In order to emphasise the moral of a tale, it is safer to state it at the very beginning. The moral of the story of Rosenstein is this: Woe be to the man who attempts to teach his wife a lesson! Woe be to him if he fail! Woe be to him if he succeed! Whatever happens, woe be to him! In witness whereof this tale is offered. Mrs. Rosenstein…

A RIFT IN THE CLOUD

Though the sky be grey and dreary, yet will the faintest rift reveal a vision of the dazzling brightness that lies beyond. So does a word, a look, a single act of a human being often reveal the glorious beauty of a soul. So is it written in the Talmud, and it needs no rabbi to expound it. What I am about to tell you is not a rounded tale;…

THE SADER GUEST

Rosnofsky was explaining to me his theory of the lost blue with which the ancient Hebrew priests dyed the talith, when the door opened and lanky Lazarus entered, hat in hand. He entered cautiously, keeping one hand on the doorknob, and one foot firmly planted for a backward spring. He seemed rather embarrassed to find a third person present, but the matter that he had on his mind was weighty—so…

THE END OF THE TASK

I The sewing-machines whirred like a thousand devils. You have no idea what a noise thirty sewing-machines will make when they are running at full speed. Each machine is made up of dozens of little wheels and cogs and levers and ratchets, and each part tries to pound, scrape, squeak and bang and roar louder than all the others. The old man who went crazy last year in this very…

RODERICK RETURNS, AND ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

The great day of Roderick’s home-coming dawned; and a glorious one it was, as if Nature were in harmony with our joy. The birds sang a perfect chorus in the early morning; the blossoming trees never smelled so sweet, the hills never blended light and shade more exquisitely, nor the streams reflected a bluer sky, than when the car containing Roderick O’Byrne drove up to the inn. He sprang out…