Puslapio vaizdai

for carfare and could not spare a dime for a lunch. Now my younger brother was soon to come from Russia. I had to provide something for him when he


swam up

The sun already hid her last golden rays. Twilight set upon the Hudson. I still sat on a bench and had no notion to move. It was a very warm evening. Everything around was so beautiful! It seemed to me a paradise-like, in comparison with my room, where the air was so choking in the July month. Boats - all kinds of them and down the river. The noise of the motor-boats allured me to the waters; it made me feel homesick. There on the river surrounded by willow trees we would row and sing. Sometimes our happy young voices would be heard for miles and appreciated by the old folks, who sat resting peacefully on the benches near their homes. How sweet those days passed! Now I sit here broken-hearted, disappointed, and tired out.

'Life, life O Happiness, where is thy sweetness!' murmured I, in such mortal anguish for life. A heavy melancholy took possession of me and dragged me, dragged me down to the waters where the many little fires of the Palisades took their evening dips in the dark, quiet waves of the Hudson River. I forgot everything. The choking shops, my home, everything passed away. I saw the spacious river below, I saw the graceful trees around me, and I was a little happy. Would not my stomach remind me of hunger, I would not have thought of leaving the park, so comfortable. I had had nothing to cat since early morning, and made my way towards home.

I walked along Riverside, looking into the windows of the colossal hotels and beautiful private palaces. No light was seen in any of them. The places were left by the people for their sum

mer resorts. It's a pity that such comfortable houses were empty the most of the year. Their dwellers flew around the country, from one resort to another to spend their time. They never worried for their to-morrow's bread, they never feared to lose their jobs, they never wandered in the parks with hungry stomachs. They had people, thousands of people, somewhere in mines, or factories, or stores, who starved for them, who hammered the gold for them. The only worry those dwellers have is how to spend the gold created by such hard labor of so many thousands of people, who part with their happiness and so often with their lives for the pleasure of those few idlers, who spend their life in continuous vacations and eternal luxury. How many people of the East Side, how many families of the cooped tenement-houses, enjoy these comfortable dwellings and lovely air of the Riverside Park and Hudson River?

Thought I, here the houses stood all locked up, of no use to anybody. They would only reopen for a month or so, when their landlord happens to come from Europe to make preparations for the next journey. Oh, how unfair, how unfair the present system of life is! thought I. Here am I, who want to work, who would gladly sell her hands for a decent wage, but gets nothing, and those who never think of work have too much.

Did I envy the rich that evening? Oh, no! I hated them, I hated them; for to me they seemed worse than highway robbers robbers who fear nobody in the world, who rule the world with their iron power.

Two years in the golden country! What did I accomplish? A weak stomach, headaches every other day, a paler face, inflamed eyes, and my nose - my nose began also to complain. It wanted a doctor and I could not afford to pay

any doctor bills. To a dispensary I had no time to go, and I would not, even if time I had, for they ignored the patient there too much. One dollar made a world of difference. For a dollar the doctor would gently open the door for the patient, would offer a thousand of smiles, take his time, and examine the patient thoroughly. In the dispensary one has to waste some time and all day to get his turn; and when at last one gets the chance to see the doctor, the latter treats him so indignantly and sends such looks, that it makes one feel as though one did not come to the doctor for advice but to spoil his good moods.

If my mother only could know, if she could only know! But never should she know! It is enough for her, when she had to part with us. As she wrote once to me, 'Another child left, another wound in mother's heart! Oh, where are my children, my little birds? Was mother's nest too small for them? Oh, if I only was a free bird now, if I only had wings, I would fly, fly, through night and day, through storm and sunshine, through oceans and forests and find my children, who left mother to find a better life, to build better nests. For so many years I struggled; in the long stormy winter nights, I watched over you, cherished you. With my tears and prayers to God I obtained your lives when death stood many a time at your bedside, waiting for mother to give you up. Never did I give you up. You were my pride, you were my light in the dark life of my struggle against poverty. And you gave up mother so easily! You left your home with no regret! You left your mother to her tears! Oh, where are you now? Are you happy, are you warm, are you fed? If I could only embrace you once more, feel you near my wounded heart! Other people have the pleasure to hear you talk, to hear

VOL. 121 - NO, 2

you laugh, to hear you sing! Are you still singing, my little daughter, or was your voice forgotten under the heavy burden of the new life?'

That letter made me hysterical for a few hours when I first received it, and long afterwards whenever I reread it, I could not control myself from crying. There is so much tragedy in each word of that letter. The tragedy of all the Jewish mothers, whose children escape from where they suffer. They escape from the Russian brutality, from the Galician poverty. The youth do not want to bow their heads as the parents do, to stand for so much misery. Oh, so much! Youth wants life, happiness. In the hunt for a better, more free life, they part with their dear parents; they part full of hope to be reunited in a better land in better circumstances. But more often the hopes are crushed, the lives are broken. Not all are able to reunite, and they remain parted far, far away from one another. The eternal anxiety for one another tears their hearts and souls in pieces. Neither the children in America nor the parents in the foreign lands can ever be happy when they are parted.

'Never should she know!' I repeated to myself; and to comfort her I immediately sat down to write a letter to my mother.

'Much beloved Mother, - First of all I want to inform you that I am in perfect health and happiness, wishing to hear the same from you.' Here I stopped. 'Wishing to hear the same from you?' Goodness, I surely do not wish to curse my mother! I tore the letter.

But what shall I tell her? What shall I write to her about? I started another


'My best of best Mothers, - With delight I read your last letter. I was so happy to learn that everything at home is in order. Please, mother, don't

cry. It worries me terribly. We are not dead, we are alive. We'll try our very best to have you all with us in the nearest future. Oh, how happy I shall be when I'll have you all with us. Sorrow will be forgotten and the guardian angels will spread their wings over us and watch over our happiness, and never, never again will we part! Tell the children that I will answer their letters some other time. Nathan's poem, which he dedicated to me, was very hearty, but I don't like his grammar in it. This was always his weak part. Tell him to pay more attention to the Russian grammar. You know, mother, I do think that he is an able little fellow. He is only sixteen now, and if he has good opportunities, he'll make success.

'With pride you tell me mother that little Eva is my double that physically and mentally she resembles me. I want to hope that she should be much better than I have been and more successful.

'How is Sarah? Is she diligent in her studies? Is Dora stronger now than she was? Have you any letters from Israel, or he writes only when he needs

money? Poor fellow, for two more years he must serve his country.'

He serves the country which rejected all his applications to enter any educational institution. His highest ambition since childhood was to enter a school of fine arts. The little portraits that he painted were very promising, but as a Jew only one in a thousand could ever have a chance to enter such schools, and mostly those who had the money; so that he, my brother Israel, never realized his wish. At present, when I write these lines, he is back home from the war with a wounded leg.

'Please, mother, send me his address. I want to write a letter to him. About us you should not worry. We are all right.

'My best regards to all the children and father-to him I'll write tomorrow. I have so much to tell him! Our correspondence discussions were stopped for quite a long time, and I want to begin again. Is he still working so hard?

'Mother dear, take care of yourself, father and children. Yours with love, 'LEEZA.'

(To be concluded)


I KNEW you glad to go; I envied you.
To pour the glory of your young life forth

In one libation — what more happy lot?

Be spared the slow, sad drip of dreams and hopes,
Of loves and memories, that leaves us dry
And bitter, seared and bleared with creeping age-
Who would not die in battle? Life cut short?
Nay, blossomed in a moment, rich with fruit,
Blossom and fruit together, which the years
Might never ripen, uneventful years

Of nursery-gardening one small, precious self,
Which seeds and dies and none knows why it was.

I knew you glad to go; you knew not why -
The sting of high adventure in your blood,

The salt of danger savoring nights and days;

And in your heart the wave of some unknown

Deep feeling shared with comrades, that bore you on

The tideways that the coward never knows,

Nor he who hoards his life for his own ends.

O happy boy, you have not lost your years!

You lived them through and through in those brief days When you stood facing death. They are not lost:

They rushed together as the waters rush

From many sources; you had all in one.

You filled your little cup with all experience,
And drank the golden foam, and left the dregs,
And tossed the cup away. Why should we mourn
Your happiness? You burned clear flame, while he

Who treads the endless march of dusty years
Grows blind and choked with dust before he dies,
And dying goes back to the primal dust,
And has not lived so long in those long years
As you in your few, vibrant golden months
When like a spendthrift you gave all you were.




I AM writing this article on the first anniversary of the death of Josiah Royce the philosopher of loyalty.' He was my teacher and a personal friend deeply beloved. For many years we saw each other only at rare intervals, but whenever we met, we seemed to take up our friendship from the point we had reached on the last occasion. Towards the end of his life, in 1913, we were together for two months, in Oxford. Day by day we talked of 'loyalty' and of the 'great community'; or, rather, he talked, for my part was mainly that of the listener. But I said enough to show that I agreed with him, not perhaps in the form he gave to his arguments, but in the aim to which his thought was directed and in the motive which inspired him. He knew that essentially we were of one heart in the matter, and almost the last thing he said to me was a kind of charge. 'Since you believe in loyalty,' he said, 'push it, make it known, give it currency.' I answered that I would, and this article, written on the anniversary of his death, is part of the fulfillment of my promise.

Loyalty, as I understand it, is not merely a philosophical conception, but a spirit, a temper, and a power. It is the secret of human fellowship and gives driving force to human ideals. You may see it at work in families and in groups of friends, where, without written law and almost without conscious design, men and women coöperate in a strenuous, fruitful, happy life, trusting each other and cheerfully making good each other's defects.

Loyalty has no 'definite programme,' and yet it is the mother of all the programmes that lead to good results. When it is absent, ideals are barren; they degenerate into themes for eloquence, they become literary properties, they are the stock-in-trade of talking men, they provoke wordy quarrels and end in phrasemongery and cant. Only when loyalty is present can we say that good ideas rule the world, or indeed that they have any chance of ruling it. The wisest scheme that was ever devised for insuring or enforcing an improvement in human affairs would founder inevitably unless the parties to it were loyal. A single traitor might wreck it or convert it to his own ends. All progress

« AnkstesnisTęsti »