Two Places Vacated

SET down by the omnibus at the corner of Saint Mary Axe, and trusting to her feet and her crutch-stick within its precincts, the dolls’ dressmaker proceeded to the place of business of Pubsey and Co. All there was sunny and quiet externally, and shady and quiet internally. Hiding herself in the entry outside the glass door, she could see from that post of observation the old man in his spectacles sitting writing at his desk.

“Boh!” cried the dressmaker, popping in her head at the glass-door. “Mr. Wolf at home?”

The old man took his glasses off, and mildly laid them down beside him. “Ah Jenny, is it you? I thought you had given me up.”

“And so I had given up the treacherous wolf of the forest,” she replied; “but, godmother, it strikes me you have come back. I am not quite sure, because the wolf and you change forms. I want to ask you a question or two, to find out whether you are really godmother or really wolf. May I?”

“Yes, Jenny, yes.” But Riah glanced towards the door, as if he thought his principal might appear there, unseasonably.

“If you’re afraid of the fox,” said Miss Jenny, “you may dismiss all present expectations of seeing that animal. He won’t show himself abroad, for many a day.”

“What do you mean, my child?”

“I mean, godmother,” replied Miss Wren, sitting down beside the Jew, “that the fox has caught a famous flogging, and that if his skin and bones are not tingling, aching, and smarting, at this present instant, no fox did ever tingle, ache, and smart.” Therewith Miss Jenny related what had come to pass in the Albany, omitting the few grains of pepper.

“Now, godmother,” she went on, “I particularly wish to ask you what has taken place here, since I left the wolf here? Because I have an idea about the size of a marble, rolling about in my little noddle. First and foremost, are you Pubsey and Co., or are you either? Upon your solemn word and honour.”

The old man shook his head.

“Secondly, isn’t Fledgeby both Pubsey and Co.?”

The old man answered with a reluctant nod.

“My idea,” exclaimed Miss Wren, “is now about the size of an orange. But before it gets any bigger, welcome back, dear godmother!”

The little creature folded her arms about the old man’s neck with great earnestness, and kissed him. “I humbly beg your forgiveness, godmother. I am truly sorry. I ought to have had more faith in you. But what could I suppose when you said nothing for yourself, you know? I don’t mean to offer that as a justification, but what could I suppose, when you were a silent party to all he said? It did look bad; now didn’t it?”

“It looked so bad, Jenny,” responded the old man, with gravity, “that I will straightway tell you what an impression it wrought upon me. I was hateful in mine own eyes. I was hateful to myself, in being so hateful to the debtor and to you. But more than that, and worse than that, and to pass out far and broad beyond myself — I reflected that evening, sitting alone in my garden on the housetop, that I was doing dishonour to my ancient faith and race. I reflected — clearly reflected for the first time — that in bending my neck to the yoke I was willing to wear, I bent the unwilling necks of the whole Jewish people. For it is not, in Christian countries, with the Jews as with other peoples. Men say, ‘This is a bad Greek, but there are good Greeks. This is a bad Turk, but there are good Turks.’ Not so with the Jews. Men find the bad among us easily enough — among what peoples are the bad not easily found? — but they take

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