The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Melting-Pot, by Israel Zangwill
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Title: The Melting-Pot
Author: Israel Zangwill
Release Date: December 18, 2007 [EBook #23893]
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WORKS OF ISRAEL ZANGWILL
THE AMERICAN JEWISH BOOK COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1909, 1914,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
THE LORD BALTIMORE PRESS
TO THEODORE ROOSEVELT
IN RESPECTFUL RECOGNITION OF HIS STRENUOUS STRUGGLE AGAINST THE
FORCES THAT THREATEN TO SHIPWRECK THE GREAT REPUBLIC WHICH
CARRIES MANKIND AND ITS FORTUNES, THIS PLAY IS, BY HIS KIND
PERMISSION, CORDIALLY DEDICATED
_The rights of performing or publishing this play in any country
or language are strictly reserved by the author._
[As first produced at the Columbia Theatre, Washington, on the fifth of
David Quixano WALKER WHITESIDE
Mendel Quixano HENRY BERGMAN
Baron Revendal JOHN BLAIR
Quincy Davenport, Jr. GRANT STEWART
Herr Pappelmeister HENRY VOGEL
Vera Revendal CHRYSTAL HERNE
Baroness Revendal LEONORA VON OTTINGER
Frau Quixano LOUISE MULDENER
Kathleen O'Reilly MOLLIE REVEL
Settlement Servant ANNIE HARRIS
Produced by HUGH FORD
[As first produced by the Play Actors at the Court Theatre, London on
the twenty-fifth of January 1914]
David Quixano HAROLD CHAPIN
Mendel Quixano HUGH TABBERER
Baron Revendal H. LAWRENCE LEYTON
Quincy Davenport, Jr. P. PERCEVAL CLARK
Herr Pappelmeister CLIFTON ALDERSON
Vera Revendal PHYLLIS RELPH
Baroness Revendal GILLIAN SCAIFE
Frau Quixano INEZ BENSUSAN
Kathleen O'Reilly E. NOLAN O'CONNOR
Settlement Servant RUTH PARROTT
Produced by NORMAN PAGE
_The scene is laid in the living-room of the small home of the
QUIXANOS in the Richmond or non-Jewish borough of New York, about
five o'clock of a February afternoon. At centre back is a double
street-door giving on a columned veranda in the Colonial style.
Nailed on the right-hand door-post gleams a_ Mezuzah, _a tiny
metal case, containing a Biblical passage. On the right of the
door is a small hat-stand holding MENDEL'S overcoat, umbrella,
etc. There are two windows, one on either side of the door, and
three exits, one down-stage on the left leading to the stairs and
family bedrooms, and two on the right, the upper leading to
KATHLEEN'S bedroom and the lower to the kitchen. Over the street
door is pinned the Stars-and-Stripes. On the left wall, in the
upper corner of which is a music-stand, are bookshelves of large
mouldering Hebrew books, and over them is hung a_ Mizrach, _or
Hebrew picture, to show it is the East Wall. Other pictures round
the room include Wagner, Columbus, Lincoln, and "Jews at the
Wailing place." Down-stage, about a yard from the left wall,
stands DAVID'S roll-desk, open and displaying a medley of music,
a quill pen, etc. On the wall behind the desk hangs a book-rack
with brightly bound English books. A grand piano stands at left
centre back, holding a pile of music and one huge Hebrew tome.
There is a table in the middle of the room covered with a red
cloth and a litter of objects, music, and newspapers. The
fireplace, in which a fire is burning, occupies the centre of the
right wall, and by it stands an armchair on which lies another
heavy mouldy Hebrew tome. The mantel holds a clock, two silver
candlesticks, etc. A chiffonier stands against the back wall on
the right. There are a few cheap chairs. The whole effect is a
curious blend of shabbiness, Americanism, Jewishness, and music,
all four being combined in the figure of MENDEL QUIXANO, who, in
a black skull-cap, a seedy velvet jacket, and red
carpet-slippers, is discovered standing at the open street-door.
He is an elderly music master with a fine Jewish face,
pathetically furrowed by misfortunes, and a short grizzled
Good-bye, Johnny!... And don't forget to practise your scales.
[_Shutting door, shivers._]
Ugh! It'll snow again, I guess.
[_He yawns, heaves a great sigh of relief, walks toward the
table, and perceives a music-roll._]
The chump! He's forgotten his music!
[_He picks it up and runs toward the window on the left,
Brainless, earless, thumb-fingered Gentile!
[_Throwing open the window_]
Here, Johnny! You can't practise your scales if you leave 'em here!
[_He throws out the music-roll and shivers again at the cold as
he shuts the window._]
Ugh! And I must go out to that miserable dancing class to scrape the
[_He goes to the fire and warms his hands._]
_Ach Gott!_ What a life! What a life!
[_He drops dejectedly into the armchair. Finding himself sitting
uncomfortably on the big book, he half rises and pushes it to the
side of the seat. After an instant an irate Irish voice is heard
from behind the kitchen door._]
Divil take the butther! I wouldn't put up with ye, not for a hundred
dollars a week.
MENDEL [_Raising himself to listen, heaves great sigh_]
_Ach!_ Mother and Kathleen again!
KATHLEEN [_Still louder_]
Pots and pans and plates and knives! Sure 'tis enough to make a saint
FRAU QUIXANO [_Equally loudly from kitchen_]
_Wos schreist du? Gott in Himmel, dieses Amerika!_
KATHLEEN [_Opening door of kitchen toward the end of FRAU QUIXANO'S
speech, but turning back, with her hand visible on the door_]
What's that ye're afther jabberin' about America? If ye don't like God's
own counthry, sure ye can go back to your own Jerusalem, so ye can.
One's very servants are anti-Semites.
KATHLEEN [_Bangs her door as she enters excitedly, carrying a folded
white table-cloth. She is a young and pretty Irish
Bad luck to me, if iver I take sarvice again with haythen Jews.
[_She perceives MENDEL huddled up in the armchair, gives a little
scream, and drops the cloth._]
Och, I thought ye was out!
And so you dared to be rude to my mother.
KATHLEEN [_Angrily, as she picks up the cloth_]
She said I put mate on a butther-plate.
Well, you know that's against her religion.
But I didn't do nothing of the soort. I ounly put butther on a
That's just as bad. What the Bible forbids----
KATHLEEN [_Lays the cloth on a chair and vigorously clears off the
litter of things on the table._]
Sure, the Pope himself couldn't remimber it all. Why don't ye have a
You are impertinent. Attend to your work.
[_He seats himself at the piano._]
And isn't it laying the Sabbath cloth I am?
[_She bangs down articles from the table into their right
Don't answer me back.
[_He begins to play softly._]
Faith, I must answer _somebody_ back--and sorra a word of English _she_
understands. I might as well talk to a tree.
You are not paid to talk, but to work.
[_Playing on softly._]
And who _can_ work wid an ould woman nagglin' and grizzlin' and faultin'
[_She removes the red table-cloth._]
Mate-plates, butther-plates, _kosher_, _trepha_, sure I've smashed up
folks' crockery and they makin' less fuss ouver it.
MENDEL [_Stops playing._]
Breaking crockery is one thing, and breaking a religion another. Didn't
you tell me when I engaged you that you had lived in other Jewish
And is it a liar ye'd make me out now? I've lived wid clothiers and
pawnbrokers and Vaudeville actors, but I niver shtruck a house where
mate and butther couldn't be as paceable on the same plate as eggs and
bacon--the most was that some wouldn't ate the bacon onless 'twas killed
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
KATHLEEN [_Furious, pauses with the white table-cloth half on._]
And who's ye laughin' at? I give ye a week's notice. I won't be the joke
of Jews, no, begorra, that I won't.
[_She pulls the cloth on viciously._]
MENDEL [_Sobered, rising from the piano_]
Don't talk nonsense, Kathleen. Nobody is making a joke of you. Have a
little patience--you'll soon learn our ways.
KATHLEEN [_More mildly_]
Whose ways, yours or the ould lady's or Mr. David's? To-night being yer
Sabbath, _you'll_ be blowing out yer bedroom candle, though ye won't
light it; Mr. David'll light his and blow it out too; and the misthress
won't even touch the candleshtick. There's three religions in this
house, not wan.
MENDEL [_Coughs uneasily._]
Hem! Well, you learn the mistress's ways--that will be enough.
KATHLEEN [_Going to mantelpiece_]
But what way can I understand her jabberin' and jibberin'?--I'm not a
[_She takes up a silver candlestick._]
Why doesn't she talk English like a Christian?
If you are going on like that, perhaps you had better _not_ remain here.
KATHLEEN [_Blazing up, forgetting to take the second candlestick_]
And who's axin' ye to remain here? Faith, I'll quit off this blissid
MENDEL [_Taken aback_]
No, you can't do that.
And why can't I? Ye can keep yer dirthy wages.
[_She dumps down the candlestick violently on the table, and exit
hysterically into her bedroom._]
MENDEL [_Sighing heavily_]
She might have put on the other candlestick.
[_He goes to mantel and takes it. A rat-tat-tat at street-door._]
Who can that be?
[_Running to KATHLEEN'S door, holding candlestick forgetfully
Kathleen! There's a visitor!
KATHLEEN [_Angrily from within_]
I'm not here!
So long as you're in this house, you must do your work.
[_KATHLEEN'S head emerges sulkily._]
I tould ye I was lavin' at wanst. Let you open the door yerself.
I'm not dressed to receive visitors--it may be a new pupil.
[_He goes toward staircase, automatically carrying off the
candlestick which KATHLEEN has not caught sight of. Exit on the
KATHLEEN [_Moving toward the street-door_]
The divil fly away wid me if ivir from this 'our I set foot again among
[_She throws open the door angrily and then the outer door. VERA
REVENDAL, a beautiful girl in furs and muff, with a touch of the
exotic in her appearance, steps into the little vestibule._]
Is Mr. Quixano at home?
Which Mr. Quixano?
Are there two Mr. Quixanos?
Didn't I say there was?
Then I want the one who plays.
There isn't a one who plays.
Ye're wrong entirely. They both plays.
Oh, dear! And I suppose they both play the violin.
Ye're wrong again. One plays the piano--ounly the young ginthleman plays
the fiddle--Mr. David!
Ah, Mr. David--that's the one I want to see.
[_She abruptly shuts the door._]
VERA [_Stopping its closing_]
Don't shut the door!
More chanst of seeing him out there than in here!
But I want to leave a message.
Then why don't ye come inside? It's freezin' me to the bone.
[_She comes in and closes the door_]
Will you please say Miss Revendal called from the Settlement, and we are
anxiously awaiting his answer to the letter asking him to play for us
What way will I be tellin' him all that? I'm not here.
I'm lavin'--just as soon as I've me thrunk packed.
Then I must _write_ the message--can I write at this desk?
If the ould woman don't come in and shpy you.
What old woman?
Ould Mr. Quixano's mother--she wears a black wig, she's that houly.
What?... But why should she mind my writing?
Look at the clock.
[_VERA looks at the clock, more puzzled than ever._]
If ye're not quick, it'll be _Shabbos_.
KATHLEEN [_Holds up hands of horror_]
Ye don't know what _Shabbos_ is! A Jewess not know her own Sunday!
I, a Jewess! How dare you?
Axin' your pardon, miss, but ye looked a bit furrin and I----
I am a Russian.
[_Slowly and dazedly_]
Do I understand that Mr. Quixano is a Jew?
Two Jews, miss. Both of 'em.
Oh, but it is impossible.
[_Dazedly to herself_]
He had such charming manners.
You seem to think everybody Jewish. Are you sure Mr. Quixano is not
Spanish?--the name sounds Spanish.
[_She picks up the old Hebrew book on the armchair._]
Look at the ould lady's book. Is that Shpanish?
[_She points to the Mizrach._]
And that houly picture the ould lady says her pater-noster to! Is that
Shpanish? And that houly table-cloth with the houly silver candle----
[_Cry of sudden astonishment_]
Why, I've ounly put----
[_She looks toward mantel and utters a great cry of alarm as she
drops the Hebrew book on the floor._]
Why, where's the other candleshtick! Mother in hivin, they'll say I
shtole the candleshtick!
[_Perceiving that VERA is dazedly moving toward door_]
Beggin' your pardon, miss----
[_She is about to move a chair toward the desk._]
Thank you, I've changed my mind.
That's more than I'll do.
VERA [_Hand on door_]
Don't say I called at all.
Plaze yerself. What name did ye say?
[_MENDEL enters hastily from his bedroom, completely
transmogrified, minus the skull-cap, with a Prince Albert coat,
and boots instead of slippers, so that his appearance is
gentlemanly. KATHLEEN begins to search quietly and
unostentatiously in the table-drawers, the chiffonier, etc.,
etc., for the candlestick._
I am sorry if I have kept you waiting----
[_He rubs his hands importantly._]
You see I have so many pupils already. Won't you sit down?
[_He indicates a chair._]
VERA [_Flushing, embarrassed, releasing her hold of the door handle_]
Thank you--I--I--I didn't come about pianoforte lessons.
MENDEL [_Sighing in disappointment_]
In fact I--er--it wasn't you I wanted at all--I was just going.
Perhaps I can direct you to the house you are looking for.
Thank you, I won't trouble you.
[_She turns toward the door again._]
[_He opens the door for her._]
VERA [_Hesitating, struck by his manners, struggling with her
It--it--was your son I wanted.
MENDEL [_His face lighting up_]
You mean my nephew, David. Yes, _he_ gives violin lessons.
[_He closes the door._]
Oh, is he your nephew?
I am sorry he is out--he, too, has so many pupils, though at the moment
he is only at the Crippled Children's Home--playing to them.
How lovely of him!
[_Touched and deciding to conquer her prejudice_]
But that's just what _I_ came about--I mean we'd like him to play again
at our Settlement. Please ask him why he hasn't answered Miss Andrews's
He hasn't answered your letter?
Oh, I'm not Miss Andrews; I'm only her assistant.
I see--Kathleen, whatever are you doing under the table?
[_KATHLEEN, in her hunting around for the candlestick, is now
stooping and lifting up the table-cloth._]
Sure the fiend's after witching away the candleshtick.
The candlestick? Oh--I--I think you'll find it in my bedroom.
[_She goes into his bedroom._]
MENDEL [_Turning apologetically to VERA_]
I beg your pardon, Miss Andrews, I mean Miss--er----
MENDEL [_Slightly more interested_]
Revendal? Then you must be the Miss Revendal David told me about!
Why, he has only seen me once--the time he played at our Roof-Garden
Yes, but he was so impressed by the way you handled those new
immigrants--the Spirit of the Settlement, he called you.
Ah, no--Miss Andrews is that. And you will tell him to answer her letter
at once, won't you, because there's only a week now to our Concert.
[_A gust of wind shakes the windows. She smiles._]
Naturally it will _not_ be on the Roof Garden.
MENDEL [_Half to himself_]
Fancy David not saying a word about it to me! Are you sure the letter
I mailed it myself--a week ago. And even in New York----
[_She smiles. Re-enter KATHLEEN with the recovered candlestick._]
Bedad, ye're as great a shleep-walker as Mr. David!
[_She places the candlestick on the table and moves toward her
KATHLEEN [_Pursuing her walk without turning_]
I'm not here!
Did you take in a letter for Mr. David about a week ago?
[_Smiling at MISS REVENDAL_]
He doesn't get many, you see.
A letter? Sure, I took in ounly a postcard from Miss Johnson, an' that
And you don't remember a letter--a large letter--last Saturday--with the
seal of our Settlement?
Last Saturday wid a seal, is it? Sure, how could I forgit it?
Then you _did_ take it in?
Ye're wrong entirely. 'Twas the misthress took it in.
MENDEL [_To VERA_]
I am sorry the boy has been so rude.
But the misthress didn't give it him at wanst--she hid it away bekaz it
Oh, dear--and she has forgotten to give it to him. Excuse me.
[_He makes a hurried exit to the kitchen._]
And excuse _me_--I've me thrunk to pack.
[_She goes toward her bedroom, pauses at the door._]
And ye'll witness I don't pack the candleshtick.
VERA [_Still dazed_]
A Jew! That wonderful boy a Jew!... But then so was David the shepherd
youth with his harp and his psalms, the sweet singer in Israel.
[_She surveys the room and its contents with interest. The
windows rattle once or twice in the rising wind. The light gets
gradually less. She picks up the huge Hebrew tome on the piano
and puts it down with a slight smile as if overwhelmed by the
weight of alien antiquity. Then she goes over to the desk and
picks up the printed music._]
Mendelssohn's Concerto, Tartini's Sonata in G Minor, Bach's Chaconne...
[_She looks up at the book-rack._]
"History of the American Commonwealth," "Cyclopaedia of History,"
"History of the Jews"--he seems very fond of history. Ah, there's
Shelley and Tennyson.
Nietzsche next to the Bible? No Russian books apparently----
[_Re-enter MENDEL triumphantly with a large sealed letter._]
Here it is! As it came on Saturday, my mother was afraid David would
But what _can_ you do with a letter except open it? Any more than with
MENDEL [_Smiling as he puts the letter on DAVID'S desk_]
To a pious Jew letters and oysters are alike forbidden--at least letters
may not be opened on our day of rest.
I'm sure I couldn't rest till I'd opened mine.
[_Enter from the kitchen FRAU QUIXANO, defending herself with
excited gesticulation. She is an old lady with a black wig, but
her appearance is dignified, venerable even, in no way comic. She
speaks Yiddish exclusively, that being largely the language of
the Russian Pale._]
_Obber ich hob gesogt zu Kathleen_----
MENDEL [_Turning and going to her_]
Yes, yes, mother, that's all right now.
FRAU QUIXANO [_In horror, perceiving her Hebrew book on the floor, where
KATHLEEN has dropped it_]
[_She picks it up and kisses it piously._]
MENDEL [_Presses her into her fireside chair_]
_Ruhig, ruhig, Mutter!_
She understands barely a word of English--she won't disturb us.
Oh, but I must be going--I was so long finding the house, and look! it
has begun to snow!
[_They both turn their heads and look at the falling snow._]
All the more reason to wait for David--it may leave off. He can't be
long now. Do sit down.
[_He offers a chair._]
FRAU QUIXANO [_Looking round suspiciously_]
_Wos will die Shikseh?_
What does your mother say?
Oh, only asking what your heathen ladyship desires.
Tell her I hope she is well.
_Das Fraeulein hofft dass es geht gut_----
FRAU QUIXANO [_Shrugging her shoulders in despairing astonishment_]
_Gut? Un' wie soll es gut gehen--in Amerika!_
[_She takes out her spectacles, and begins slowly polishing and
I understood that last word.
She asks how can anything possibly go well in America!
Ah, she doesn't like America.
Her favourite exclamation is "_A Klog zu Columbessen!_"
What does that mean?
Cursed be Columbus!
Poor Columbus! I suppose she's just come over.
Oh, no, it must be ten years since I sent for her.
Really! But your nephew was born here?
No, he's Russian too. But please sit down, you had better get his answer
I suppose _you_ taught him music.
I? I can't play the violin. He is self-taught. In the Russian Pale he
was a wonder-child. Poor David! He always looked forward to coming to
America; he imagined I was a famous musician over here. He found me
conductor in a cheap theatre--a converted beer-hall.
Was he very disappointed?
Disappointed? He was enchanted! He is crazy about America.
Ah, _he_ doesn't curse Columbus.
My mother came with her life behind her: David with his life before him.
Why do you say poor boy?
What is there before him here but a terrible struggle for life? If he
doesn't curse Columbus, he'll curse fate. Music-lessons and dance-halls,
beer-halls and weddings--every hope and ambition will be ground out of
him, and he will die obscure and unknown.
[_His head sinks on his breast, FRAU QUIXANO is heard faintly
sobbing over her book. The sobbing continues throughout the
VERA [_Half rising_]
You have made your mother cry.
Oh, no--she understood nothing. She always cries on the eve of the
VERA [_Mystified, sinking back into her chair_]
Always cries? Why?
Oh, well, a Christian wouldn't understand----
Yes I could--do tell me!
She knows that in this great grinding America, David and I must go out
to earn our bread on Sabbath as on week-days. She never says a word to
us, but her heart is full of tears.
Poor old woman. It was wrong of us to ask your nephew to play at the
Settlement for nothing.
MENDEL [_Rising fiercely_]
If you offer him a fee, he shall not play. Did you think I was begging
I beg your pardon----
There, _I_ am begging of _you_. Sit down, please.
MENDEL [_Walking away to piano_]
I ought not to have burdened you with our troubles--you are too young.
I young? If you only knew how old I am!
I left my youth in Russia--eternities ago.
You know our Russia!
[_He goes over to her and sits down._]
Can't you see I'm a Russian, too?
[_With a faint tremulous smile_]
I might even have been a Siberian had I stayed. But I escaped from my
You were a Revolutionist!
Who can live in Russia and not be? So you see trouble and I are not such
Who would have thought it to look at you? Siberia, gaolers, revolutions!
What terrible things life holds!
Yes, even in free America.
[_FRAU QUIXANO'S sobbing grows slightly louder._]
That Settlement work must be full of tragedies.
Sometimes one sees nothing but the tragedy of things.
[_Looking toward the window_]
The snow is getting thicker. How pitilessly it falls--like fate.
MENDEL [_Following her gaze_]
Yes, icy and inexorable.
[_The faint sobbing of FRAU QUIXANO over her book, which has been
heard throughout the scene as a sort of musical accompaniment,
has combined to work it up to a mood of intense sadness,
intensified by the growing dusk, so that as the two now gaze at
the falling snow, the atmosphere seems overbrooded with
melancholy. There is a moment or two without dialogue, given over
to the sobbing of FRAU QUIXANO, the roar of the wind shaking the
windows, the quick falling of the snow. Suddenly a happy voice
singing "My Country 'tis of Thee" is heard from without._]
FRAU QUIXANO [_Pricking up her ears, joyously_]
_Do ist Dovidel!_
[_He springs up._]
VERA [_Murmurs in relief_]
[_The whole atmosphere is changed to one of joyous expectation,
DAVID is seen and heard passing the left window, still singing
the national hymn, but it breaks off abruptly as he throws open
the door and appears on the threshold, a buoyant snow-covered
figure in a cloak and a broad-brimmed hat, carrying a violin
case. He is a sunny, handsome youth of the finest Russo-Jewish
type. He speaks with a slight German accent._]
Isn't it a beautiful world, uncle?
[_He closes the inner door._]
Snow, the divine white snow----
[_Perceiving the visitor with amaze_]
Miss Revendal here!
[_He removes his hat and looks at her with boyish reverence and
Don't look so surprised--I haven't fallen from heaven like the snow.
Take off your wet things.
Oh, it's nothing; it's dry snow.
[_He lays down his violin case and brushes off the snow from his
cloak, which MENDEL takes from him and hangs on the rack, all
without interrupting the dialogue._]
If I had only known you were waiting----
I am glad you didn't--I wouldn't have had those poor little cripples
cheated out of a moment of your music.
Uncle has told you? Ah, it was bully! You should have seen the cripples
waltzing with their crutches!
[_He has moved toward the old woman, and while he holds one hand
to the blaze now pats her cheek with the other in greeting, to
which she responds with a loving smile ere she settles
contentedly to slumber over her book._]
_Es war grossartig_, Granny. Even the paralysed danced.
Don't exaggerate, David.
Exaggerate, uncle! Why, if they hadn't the use of their legs, their arms
danced on the counterpane; if their arms couldn't dance, their hands
danced from the wrist; and if their hands couldn't dance, they danced
with their fingers; and if their fingers couldn't dance, their heads
danced; and if their heads were paralysed, why, their eyes danced--God
never curses so utterly but you've _something_ left to dance with!
[_He moves toward his desk._]
VERA [_Infected with his gaiety_]
You'll tell us next the beds danced.
So they did--they shook their legs like mad!
Oh, why wasn't I there?
[_His eyes meet hers at the thought of her presence._]
Dear little cripples, I felt as if I could play them all straight again
with the love and joy jumping out of this old fiddle.
[_He lays his hand caressingly on the violin._]
But in reality you left them as crooked as ever.
No, I didn't.
[_He caresses the back of his uncle's head in affectionate
I couldn't play their bones straight, but I played their brains
straight. And hunch-_brains_ are worse than hunch-_backs_....
[_Suddenly perceiving his letter on the desk_]
A letter for _me_!
[_He takes it with boyish eagerness, then hesitates to open it._]
Oh, you may open it!
Yes, and quick--or it'll be _Shabbos_!
[_DAVID looks up at her in wonder._]
You read your letter!
DAVID [_Opens it eagerly, then smiles broadly with pleasure._]
Oh, Miss Revendal! Isn't that great! To play again at your Settlement. I
_am_ getting famous.
But we can't offer you a fee.
MENDEL [_Quickly sotto voce to VERA_]
A fee! I'd pay a fee to see all those happy immigrants you gather
together--Dutchmen and Greeks, Poles and Norwegians, Welsh and
Armenians. If you only had Jews, it would be as good as going to Ellis
What a strange taste! Who on earth wants to go to Ellis Island?
Oh, I love going to Ellis Island to watch the ships coming in from
Europe, and to think that all those weary, sea-tossed wanderers are
feeling what _I_ felt when America first stretched out her great
mother-hand to _me_!
Were you very happy?
It was heaven. You must remember that all my life I had heard of
America--everybody in our town had friends there or was going there or
got money orders from there. The earliest game I played at was selling
off my toy furniture and setting up in America. All my life America was
waiting, beckoning, shining--the place where God would wipe away tears
from off all faces.
[_He ends in a half-sob._]
MENDEL [_Rises, as in terror_]
Now, now, David, don't get excited.
To think that the same great torch of liberty which threw its light
across all the broad seas and lands into my little garret in Russia, is
shining also for all those other weeping millions of Europe, shining
wherever men hunger and are oppressed----
Yes, yes, David.
[_Laying hand on his shoulder_]
Now sit down and----
Shining over the starving villages of Italy and Ireland, over the
swarming stony cities of Poland and Galicia, over the ruined farms of
Roumania, over the shambles of Russia----
Oh, Miss Revendal, when I look at our Statue of Liberty, I just seem to
hear the voice of America crying: "Come unto me all ye that labour and
are heavy laden and I will give you rest--rest----"
[_He is now almost sobbing._]
Don't talk any more--you know it is bad for you.
But Miss Revendal asked--and I want to explain to her what America means
You can explain it in your American symphony.
VERA [_Eagerly--to DAVID_]
Oh, uncle, why did you talk of--? Uncle always--my music is so thin and
tinkling. When I am _writing_ my American symphony, it seems like
thunder crashing through a forest full of bird songs. But next day--oh,
[_He laughs dolefully and turns away._]
So your music finds inspiration in America?
Yes--in the seething of the Crucible.
The Crucible? I don't understand!
Not understand! You, the Spirit of the Settlement!
[_He rises and crosses to her and leans over the table, facing
Not understand that America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot
where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming! Here you
stand, good folk, think I, when I see them at Ellis Island, here you
[_Graphically illustrating it on the table_]
in your fifty groups, with your fifty languages and histories, and your
fifty blood hatreds and rivalries. But you won't be long like that,
brothers, for these are the fires of God you've come to--these are the
fires of God. A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen,
Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians--into the Crucible with you
all! God is making the American.
I should have thought the American was made already--eighty millions of
[_He smiles toward VERA in good-humoured derision._]
Eighty millions! Over a continent! Why, that cockleshell of a Britain
has forty millions! No, uncle, the real American has not yet arrived. He
is only in the Crucible, I tell you--he will be the fusion of all races,
perhaps the coming superman. Ah, what a glorious Finale for my
symphony--if I can only write it.
But you have written some of it already! May I not see it?
DAVID [_Relapsing into boyish shyness_]
No, if you please, don't ask----
[_He moves over to his desk and nervously shuts it down and turns
the keys of drawers as though protecting his MS._]
Won't you give a bit of it at our Concert?
Oh, it needs an orchestra.
But you at the violin and I at the piano----
You didn't tell me you played, Miss Revendal!
I told you less commonplace things.
Miss Revendal plays quite like a professional.
I don't feel so complimented as you expect. You see I did have a
And I thought you came to _me_ for lessons!
No, I went to Petersburg----
Naturally. To the Conservatoire. There wasn't much music to be had at
Kishineff, a town where----
[_He begins to tremble._]
VERA [_Still smiling_]
MENDEL [_Coming toward him, protectingly_]
Calm yourself, David.
Yes, yes--so you are a Russian!
[_He shudders violently, staggers._]
You are ill!
It is nothing, I--not much music at Kishineff! No, only the
Death-March!... Mother! Father! Ah--cowards, murderers! And you!
[_He shakes his fist at the air._]
You, looking on with your cold butcher's face! O God! O God!
[_He bursts into hysterical sobs and runs, shamefacedly, through
the door to his room._]
What have I said? What have I done?
Oh, I was afraid of this, I was afraid of this.
FRAU QUIXANO [_Who has fallen asleep over her book, wakes as if with a
sense of the horror and gazes dazedly around, adding to the
thrillingness of the moment_]
_Dovidel! Wu is' Dovidel! Mir dacht sach_----
MENDEL [_Pressing her back to her slumbers_]
_Du traeumst, Mutter! Schlaf!_
[_She sinks back to sleep._]
VERA [_In hoarse whisper_]
His father and mother were massacred?
MENDEL [_In same tense tone_]
Before his eyes--father, mother, sisters, down to the youngest babe,
whose skull was battered in by a hooligan's heel.
How did _he_ escape?
He was shot in the shoulder, and fell unconscious. As he wasn't a girl,
the hooligans left him for dead and hurried to fresh sport.
[_Almost in tears._]
MENDEL [_Shrugging shoulders, hopelessly_]
It is only Jewish history!... David belongs to the species of _pogrom_
orphan--they arrive in the States by almost every ship.
Poor boy! Poor boy! And he looked so happy!
[_She half sobs._]
So he is, most of the time--a sunbeam took human shape when he was born.
But naturally that dreadful scene left a scar on his brain, as the
bullet left a scar on his shoulder, and he is always liable to see red
when Kishineff is mentioned.
I will never mention my miserable birthplace to him again.
But you see every few months the newspapers tell us of another _pogrom_,
and then he screams out against what he calls that butcher's face, so
that I tremble for his reason. I tremble even when I see him writing
that crazy music about America, for it only means he is brooding over
the difference between America and Russia.
But perhaps--perhaps--all the terrible memory will pass peacefully away
in his music.
There will always be the scar on his shoulder to remind him--whenever
the wound twinges, it brings up these terrible faces and visions.
Is it on his right shoulder?
No--on his left. For a violinist that is even worse.
Ah, of course--the weight and the fingering.
[_Subconsciously placing and fingering an imaginary violin._]
That is why I fear so for his future--he will never be strong enough for
the feats of bravura that the public demands.
The wild beasts! I feel more ashamed of my country than ever. But
there's his symphony.
And who will look at that amateurish stuff? He knows so little of
harmony and counterpoint--he breaks all the rules. I've tried to give
him a few pointers--but he ought to have gone to Germany.
Perhaps it's not too late.
Ah, if you and your friends could help him! See--I'm begging after all.
But it's not for myself.
My father loves music. Perhaps _he_--but no! he lives in Kishineff. But
I will think--there are people here--I will write to you.
Thank you! Thank you!
Now you must go to him. Good-bye. Tell him I count upon him for the
How good you are!
[_He follows her to the street-door._]
VERA [_At door_]
Say good-bye for me to your mother--she seems asleep.
MENDEL [_Opening outer door_]
I am sorry it is snowing so.
We Russians are used to it.
[_Smiling, at exit_]
Good-bye--let us hope your David will turn out a Rubinstein.
MENDEL [_Closing the doors softly_]
I never thought a Russian Christian could be so human.
[_He looks at the clock._]
_Gott in Himmel_--my dancing class!
[_He hurries into the overcoat hanging on the hat-rack. Re-enter
DAVID, having composed himself, but still somewhat dazed._]
She is gone? Oh, but I have driven her away by my craziness. Is she very
Quite the contrary--she expects you at the Concert, and what is more----
And she understood! She understood my Crucible of God! Oh, uncle, you
don't know what it means to me to have somebody who understands me. Even
you have never understood----
Nonsense! How can Miss Revendal understand you better than your own
DAVID [_Mystically exalted_]
I can't explain--I feel it.
Of course she's interested in your music, thank Heaven. But what true
understanding can there be between a Russian Jew and a Russian
What understanding? Aren't we both Americans?
Well, I haven't time to discuss it now.
[_He winds his muffler round his throat._]
Why, where are you going?
Where _should_ I be going--in the snow--on the eve of the Sabbath?
Suppose we say to synagogue!
Oh, uncle--how you always seem to hanker after those old things!
[_He takes his umbrella from the stand._]
I don't like to see our people going to pieces, that's all.
Then why did you come to America? Why didn't you work for a Jewish land?
You're not even a Zionist.
I can't argue now. There's a pack of giggling schoolgirls waiting to
The fresh romping young things! Think of their happiness! I should love
to play for them.
I can see you are yourself again.
[_He opens the street-door--turns back._]
What about your own lesson? Can't we go together?
I must first write down what is singing in my soul--oh, uncle, it seems
as if I knew suddenly what was wanting in my music!
Well, don't forget what is wanting in the house! The rent isn't paid
[_Exit through street-door. As he goes out, he touches and kisses
the_ Mezuzah _on the door-post, with a subconsciously
antagonistic revival of religious impulse. DAVID opens his desk,
takes out a pile of musical manuscript, sprawls over his chair
and, humming to himself, scribbles feverishly with the quill.
After a few moments FRAU QUIXANO yawns, wakes, and stretches
herself. Then she looks at the clock._]
[_She rises and goes to the table and sees there are no candles,
walks to the chiffonier and gets them and places them in the
candlesticks, then lights the candles, muttering a ceremonial
_Boruch atto haddoshem elloheinu melech hoolam assher kiddishonu
bemitzvosov vettzivonu lehadlik neir shel shabbos._
[_She pulls down the blinds of the two windows, then she goes to
the rapt composer and touches him, remindingly, on the shoulder.
He does not move, but continues writing._]
[_He looks up dazedly. She points to the candles._]
[_A sweet smile comes over his face, he throws the quill
resignedly away and submits his head to her hands and her
muttered Hebrew blessing._]
_Yesimcho elohim ke-efrayim vechimnasseh--yevorechecho haddoshem
veyishmerecho, yoer hadoshem ponov eilecho vechunecho, yisso hadoshem
ponov eilecho veyosem lecho sholom._
[_Then she goes toward the kitchen. As she turns at the door, he
is again writing. She shakes her finger at him, repeating_]
[_Puts down the pen and smiles after her till the door closes,
then with a deep sigh takes his cape from the peg and his
violin-case, pauses, still humming, to take up his pen and write
down a fresh phrase, finally puts on his hat and is just about to
open the street-door when KATHLEEN enters from her bedroom fully
dressed to go, and laden with a large brown paper parcel and an
umbrella. He turns at the sound of her footsteps and remains at
the door, holding his violin-case during the ensuing dialogue._]
You're not going out this bitter weather?
KATHLEEN [_Sharply fending him off with her umbrella_]
And who's to shtay me?
Oh, but you mustn't--_I'll_ do your errand--what is it?
Errand, is it, indeed! I'm not here!
I'm lavin', they'll come for me thrunk--and ye'll witness I don't take
But who's sending you away?
It's sending meself away I am--yer houly grandmother has me disthroyed
Why, what has the poor old la----?
I don't be saltin' the mate and I do be mixin' the crockery and----!
I know, I know--but, Kathleen, remember she was brought up to these
things from childhood. And her father was a Rabbi.
What's that? A priest?
A sort of priest. In Russia he was a great man. Her husband, too, was a
mighty scholar, and to give him time to study the holy books she had to
do chores all day for him and the children.
Oh, those priests!
No, _he_ wasn't a priest. But he took sick and died and the children
left her--went to America or heaven or other far-off places--and she was
left all penniless and alone.
Poor ould lady.
Not so old yet, for she was married at fifteen.
Poor young crathur!
But she was still the good angel of the congregation--sat up with the
sick and watched over the dead.
Saints alive! And not scared?
No, nothing scared her--except me. I got a broken-down fiddle and used
to play it even on _Shabbos_--I was very naughty. But she was so lovely
to me. I still remember the heavenly taste of a piece of _Motso_ she
gave me dipped in raisin wine! Passover cake, you know.
Oh, I know _Motso_.
DAVID [_Smacks his lips, repeats_]
Sure, I must tashte it.
DAVID [_Shaking his head, mysteriously_]
Only little boys get that tashte.
Very quare. And then one day my uncle sent the old lady a ticket to come
to America. But it is not so happy for her here because you see my uncle
has to be near his theatre and can't live in the Jewish quarter, and so
nobody understands her, and she sits all the livelong day alone--alone
with her book and her religion and her memories----
KATHLEEN [_Breaking down_]
Oh, Mr. David!
And now all this long, cold, snowy evening she'll sit by the fire alone,
thinking of her dead, and the fire will sink lower and lower, and she
won't be able to touch it, because it's the holy Sabbath, and there'll
be no kind Kathleen to brighten up the grey ashes, and then at last, sad
and shivering, she'll creep up to her room without a candlestick, and
there in the dark and the cold----
KATHLEEN [_Hysterically bursting into tears, dropping her parcel, and
untying her bonnet-strings_]
Oh, Mr. David, I won't mix the crockery, I won't----
Of course you won't. Good night.
[_He slips out hurriedly through the street-door as KATHLEEN
throws off her bonnet, and the curtain falls quickly. As it rises
again, she is seen strenuously poking the fire, illumined by its
_The same scene on an afternoon a month later. DAVID is
discovered at his desk, scribbling music in a fever of
enthusiasm. MENDEL, dressed in his best, is playing softly on the
piano, watching DAVID. After an instant or two of indecision, he
puts down the piano-lid with a bang and rises decisively._
DAVID [_Putting up his left hand_]
[_He writes feverishly._]
But I want to talk to you seriously--at once.
I'm just re-writing the Finale. Oh, such a splendid inspiration!
[_He writes on._]
MENDEL [_Shrugs his shoulders and reseats himself at piano. He plays a
bar or two. Looks at watch impatiently. Resolutely_]
David, I've got wonderful news for you. Miss Revendal is bringing
somebody to see you, and we have hopes of getting you sent to Germany to
[_DAVID does not reply, but writes rapidly on._]
Why, he hasn't heard a word!
DAVID [_Writing on_]
I can't, uncle. I _must_ put it down while that glorious impression is
What impression? You only went to the People's Alliance.
Yes, and there I saw the Jewish children--a thousand of 'em--saluting
[_He writes on._]
Well, what of that?
What of that?
[_He throws down his quill and jumps up._]
But just fancy it, uncle. The Stars and Stripes unfurled, and a thousand
childish voices, piping and foreign, fresh from the lands of oppression,
hailing its fluttering folds. I cried like a baby.
I'm afraid you _are_ one.
Ah, but if you had heard them--"Flag of our Great Republic"--the words
have gone singing at my heart ever since--
[_He turns to the flag over the door._]
"Flag of our Great Republic, guardian of our homes, whose stars and
stripes stand for Bravery, Purity, Truth, and Union, we salute thee. We,
the natives of distant lands, who find
rest under thy folds, do pledge our hearts, our lives, our sacred honour
to love and protect thee, our Country, and the liberty of the American
people for ever."
[_He ends almost hysterically._]
Quite right. But you needn't get so excited over it.
Not when one hears the roaring of the fires of God? Not when one sees
the souls melting in the Crucible? Uncle, all those little Jews will
grow up Americans!
MENDEL [_Putting a pacifying hand on his shoulder and forcing him into a
Sit down. I want to talk to you about your affairs.
_My_ affairs! But I've been talking about them all the time!
[_He sits beside him._]
Don't you think it's time you got into a wider world?
Eh? This planet's wide enough for me.
Do be serious. You don't want to live all your life in this room.
DAVID [_Looks round_]
What's the matter with this room? It's princely.
MENDEL [_Raising his hands in horror_]
Imperial. Remember when I first saw it--after pigging a week in the
rocking steerage, swinging in a berth as wide as my fiddle-case, hung
near the cooking-engines; imagine the hot rancid smell of the food, the
oil of the machinery, the odours of all that close-packed, sea-sick----
MENDEL [_Putting his hand over DAVID'S mouth_]
Don't! You make me ill! How could you ever bear it?
I was quite happy--I only had to fancy I'd been shipwrecked, and that
after clinging to a plank five days without food or water on the great
lonely Atlantic, my frozen, sodden form had been picked up by this great
safe steamer and given this delightful dry berth, regular meals, and the
spectacle of all these friendly faces.... Do you know who was on board
that boat? Quincy Davenport.
The lord of corn and oil?
Yes, even we wretches in the steerage felt safe to think the lord was up
above, we believed the company would never dare drown _him_. But could
even Quincy Davenport command a cabin like this?
[_Waving his arm round the room._]
Why, uncle, we have a cabin worth a thousand dollars--a thousand dollars
a _week_--and what's more, it doesn't wobble!
[_He plants his feet voluptuously upon the floor._]
Come, come, David, I asked you to be serious. Surely, some day you'd
like your music produced?
DAVID [_Jumps up_]
Wouldn't it be glorious? To hear it all actually coming out of violins
and 'cellos, drums and trumpets.
And you'd like it to go all over the world?
All over the world and all down the ages.
But don't you see that unless you go and study seriously in Germany----?
[_Enter KATHLEEN from kitchen, carrying a furnished tea-tray with
ear-shaped cakes, bread and butter, etc., and wearing a grotesque
false nose. MENDEL cries out in amaze._]
DAVID [_Roaring with boyish laughter_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
KATHLEEN [_Standing still with her tray_]
Sure, what's the matter?
Look in the glass!
KATHLEEN [_Going to the mantel_]
[_She drops the tray, which MENDEL catches, and snatches off the
Och, I forgot to take it off--'twas the misthress gave it me--I put it
on to cheer her up.
Is she so miserable, then?
Terrible low, Mr. David, to-day being _Purim_.
_Purim!_ Is to-day _Purim_?
[_Gives her the tea-tray back. KATHLEEN, to take it, drops her
nose and forgets to pick it up._]
But _Purim_ is a merry time, Kathleen, like your Carnival. Haven't you
read the book of Esther--how the Jews of Persia escaped massacre?
That's what the misthress is so miserable about. Ye don't _keep_ the
Carnival. There's noses for both of ye in the kitchen--didn't I go with
her to Hester Street to buy 'em?--but ye don't be axin' for 'em. And to
see your noses layin' around so solemn and neglected, faith, it nearly
makes me chry meself.
MENDEL [_Bitterly to himself_]
Who can remember about _Purim_ in America?
Poor granny, tell her to come in and I'll play her _Purim_ jig.
No, no, David, not here--the visitors!
Visitors? What visitors?
That's just what I've been trying to explain.
Well, I can play in the kitchen.
[_He takes his violin. Exit to kitchen. MENDEL sighs and shrugs
his shoulders hopelessly at the boy's perversity, then fingers
the cups and saucers._]
Is that the _best_ tea-set?
Can't you see it's the Passover set!
And shpiled intirely it'll be now for our Passover.... And the misthress
thought the visitors might like to thry some of her _Purim_ cakes.
[_Indicates ear-shaped cakes on tray._]
[_He turns his back on her and stares moodily out of the
KATHLEEN [_Mutters contemptuously_]
Call yerself a Jew and you forgettin' to keep _Purim_!
[_She is going back to the kitchen when a merry Slavic dance
breaks out, softened by the door; her feet unconsciously get more
and more into dance step, and at last she jigs out. As she opens
and passes through the door, the music sounds louder._]
FRAU QUIXANO [_Heard from kitchen_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Kathleen!!
[_MENDEL'S feet, too, begin to take the swing of the music, and
his feet dance as he stares out of the window. Suddenly the hoot
of an automobile is heard, followed by the rattling up of the
Ah, she has brought somebody swell!
[_He throws open the doors and goes out eagerly to meet the
visitors. The dance music goes on softly throughout the scene._]
QUINCY DAVENPORT [_Outside_]
Oh, thank you--I leave the coats in the car.
[_Enter an instant later QUINCY DAVENPORT and VERA REVENDAL,
MENDEL in the rear. VERA is dressed much as before, but with a
motor veil, which she takes off during the scene. DAVENPORT is a
dude, aping the air of a European sporting clubman. Aged about
thirty-five and well set-up, he wears an orchid and an
intermittent eyeglass, and gives the impression of a
coarse-fibred and patronisingly facetious but not bad-hearted
man, spoiled by prosperity._]
Won't you be seated?
First let me introduce my friend, who is good enough to interest himself
in your nephew--Mr. Quincy Davenport.
MENDEL [_Struck of a heap_]
Mr. Quincy Davenport! How strange!
What is strange?
David just mentioned Mr. Davenport's name--said they travelled to New
York on the same boat.
Impossible! Always travel on my own yacht. Slow but select. Must have
been another man of the same name--my dad. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ah, of course. I thought you were too young.
My dad, Miss Revendal, is one of those antiquated Americans who are
always in a hurry!
He burns coal and you burn time.
Precisely! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Won't you sit down--I'll go and prepare David.
You've not prepared him yet?
I've tried to more than once--but I never really got to----
Then prepare him for _three_ visitors.
You see Mr. Davenport himself is no judge of music.
QUINCY [_Jumps up_]
I beg your pardon.
Ah, of course not. Music should be heard, not seen--like that jolly jig.
Is that your David?
Oh, you mustn't judge him by that. He's just fooling.
Oh, he'd better not fool with Poppy. Poppy's awful severe.
Pappelmeister--my private orchestra conductor.
Is it _your_ orchestra Pappelmeister conducts?
Well, I pay the piper--and the drummer too!
_I_ wanted to play in it, but he turned me down.
I told you he was awful severe.
He only allows me comic opera once a week. My wife calls him the
Bismarck of the baton.
A great conductor!
Would he have a twenty-thousand-dollar job with me if he wasn't? Not
that he'd get half that in the open market--only I have to stick it on
to keep him for my guests exclusively.
[_Looks at watch._]
But he ought to be here, confound him. A conductor should keep time, eh,
I'll bring David. Won't you help yourselves to tea?
You see there's lemon for you--as in Russia.
[_Exit to kitchen--a moment afterwards the merry music stops in
the middle of a bar._]
[_Taking a cup._]
Do _you_ like lemon, Mr. Davenport?
That depends. The last I had was in Russia itself--from the fair hands
of your mother, the Baroness.
Please don't say my mother, my mother is dead.
QUINCY [_Fatuously misunderstanding_]
Oh, you have no call to be ashamed of your step-mother--she's a stunning
creature; all the points of a tip-top Russian aristocrat, or Quincy
Davenport's no judge of breed! Doesn't speak English like your
father--but then the Baron is a wonder.
VERA [_Takes up teapot_]
Father once hoped to be British Ambassador--that's why _I_ had an
English governess. But you never told me you met him in _Russia_.
Surely! When I gave you all those love messages----
VERA [_Pouring tea quickly_]
You said you met him at Wiesbaden.
Yes, but we grew such pals I motored him and the Baroness back to St.
Petersburg. Jolly country, Russia--they know how to live.
I saw more of those who know how to die.... Milk and sugar?
Oh, Miss Revendal! Have you forgotten?
VERA [_Politely snubbing_]
How should I remember?
You don't remember our first meeting? At the Settlement Bazaar? When I
paid you a hundred dollars for every piece of sugar you put in?
Did you? Then I hope you drank syrup.
Ugh! I hate sugar--I sacrificed myself.
To the Settlement? How heroic of you!
No, not to the Settlement. To you!
Then I'll only put milk in.
I hate milk. But from you----
Then we _must_ fall back on the lemon.
I loathe lemon. But from----
Then you shall have your tea neat.
I detest tea, and here it would be particularly cheap and nasty. But----
Then you shall have a cake!
[_She offers plate._]
QUINCY [_Taking one_]
Would they be eatable?
Humph! Not bad.
A little cake was all you would eat the only time you came to one of my
private concerts. Don't you remember? We went down to supper together.
VERA [_Taking his tea for herself and putting in lemon_]
I shall always remember the delicious music Herr Pappelmeister gave us.
How unkind of you!
[_She sips the tea and puts down the cup._]
To be grateful for the music?
You know what I mean--to forget _me_!
[_He tries to take her hand._]
Aren't you forgetting yourself?
You mean because I'm married to that patched-and-painted creature? She's
hankering for the stage again, the old witch.
Hush! Marriages with comic opera stars are not usually domestic idylls.
I fell a victim to my love of music.
VERA [_Murmurs, smiling_]
And I hadn't yet met the right breed--the true blue blood of Europe.
I'll get a divorce.
You will make me sorry I came to you.
No, don't say that--promised the Baron I'd always do all I could for----
You promised? You dared discuss my affairs?
It was your father began it. When he found I knew you, he almost wept
with emotion. He asked a hundred questions about your life in America.
His life and mine are for ever separate. He is a Reactionary, I a
But he loves you dreadfully--he can't understand why you should go
slaving away summer and winter in a Settlement--you a member of the
VERA [_With faint smile_]
I might say, _noblesse oblige_. But the truth is, I earn my living that
way. It would do _you_ good to slave there too!
Would they chain us together? I'd come to-morrow.
[_He moves nearer her. There is a double knock at the door._]
Bother Poppy--why is he so darned punctual?
[_Enter KATHLEEN from the kitchen._]
Ah, you're still here.
And why would I not be here?
[_She goes to open the door._]
Yes, come in.
[_Enter HERR PAPPELMEISTER, a burly German figure with a leonine
head, spectacles, and a mane of white hair--a figure that makes
his employer look even coarser. He carries an umbrella, which he
never lets go. He is at first grave and silent, which makes any
burst of emotion the more striking. He and QUINCY DAVENPORT
suggest a picture of "Dignity and Impudence." His English, as
roughly indicated in the text, is extremely Teutonic._]
You're late, Poppy!
[_PAPPELMEISTER silently bows to VERA._]
VERA [_Smilingly goes and offers her hand._]
Proud to meet you, Herr Pappelmeister!
Miss Revendal!--I forgot you and Poppy hadn't been introduced--curiously
enough it was at Wiesbaden I picked him up too--he was conducting the
opera--your folks were in my box. I don't think I ever met anyone so mad
on music as the Baron. And the Baroness told me he had retired from
active service in the Army because of the torture of listening to the
average military band. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Yes, my father once hoped _my_ music would comfort him.
[_She smiles sadly._]
Poor father! But a soldier must bear defeat. Herr Pappelmeister, may I
not give you some tea?
[_She sits again at the table._]
Tea! Lager's more in Poppy's line.
[_She pours out, he sits._]
Lemon. Four lumps.... _Nun_, five!... Or six!
[_She hands him the cup._]
[_As he receives the cup, he utters an exclamation, for KATHLEEN
after opening the door has lingered on, hunting around
everywhere, and having finally crawled under the table has now
brushed against his leg._]
What are you looking for?
KATHLEEN [_Her head emerging_]
[_They are all startled and amused._]
I forgot me nose!
Well, follow your nose--and you'll find it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
KATHLEEN [_Pouncing on it_]
Here it is!
[_Picks it up near the armchair._]
Sure, it's gotten all dirthy.
[_She takes out a handkerchief and wipes the nose carefully._]
But why do you want a nose like that?
Bekaz we're Hebrews!
What _do_ you mean?
It's our Carnival to-day! _Purim._
[_She carries her nose carefully and piously toward the
Oh! I see.
QUINCY [_In horror_]
Miss Revendal, you don't mean to say you've brought me to a Jew!
I'm afraid I have. I was thinking only of his genius, not his race. And
you see, so many musicians are Jews.
Not _my_ musicians. No Jew's harp in my orchestra, eh?
I wouldn't have a Jew if he paid _me_.
I daresay you have some, all the same.
Impossible. Poppy! Are there any Jews in my orchestra?
PAPPELMEISTER [_Removing the cup from his mouth and speaking with
Do you mean are dere any Christians?
QUINCY [_In horror_]
Gee-rusalem! Perhaps _you're_ a Jew!
I haf not de honour. But, if you brefer, I will gut out from my
brogrammes all de Chewish composers. _Was?_
Why, of course. Fire 'em out, every mother's son of 'em.
_Also_--no more comic operas!
Dey write all de comic operas!
[_PAPPELMEISTER'S chuckle is heard gurgling in his cup. Re-enter
MENDEL from kitchen._]
MENDEL [_To VERA_]
I'm so sorry--I can't get him to come in--he's terrible shy.
Won't face the music, eh?
Did you tell him _I_ was here?
But I've persuaded him to let me show his MS.
VERA [_With forced satisfaction_]
Oh, well, that's all we want.
[_MENDEL goes to the desk, opens it, and gets the MS. and offers
it to QUINCY DAVENPORT._]
Not for me--Poppy!
[_MENDEL offers it to PAPPELMEISTER, who takes it solemnly._]
MENDEL [_Anxiously to PAPPELMEISTER_]
Of course you must remember his youth and his lack of musical
_Bitte, das Pult!_
[_MENDEL moves DAVID'S music-stand from the corner to the centre
of the room. PAPPELMEISTER puts MS. on it._]
[_All eyes centre on him eagerly, MENDEL standing uneasily, the
others sitting. PAPPELMEISTER polishes his glasses with
irritating elaborateness and weary "achs," then reads in absolute
silence. A pause._]
QUINCY [_Bored by the silence_]
But won't you play it to us?
Blay it? Am I an orchestra? I blay it in my brain.
[_He goes on reading, his brow gets wrinkled. He ruffles his hair
unconsciously. All watch him anxiously--he turns the page._]
You don't seem to like it!
I do not comprehend it.
I knew it was crazy--it is supposed to be about America or a Crucible or
something. And of course there are heaps of mistakes.
That is why I am suggesting to Mr. Davenport to send him to Germany.
I'll send as many Jews as you like to Germany. Ha! Ha! Ha!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Absorbed, turning pages_]
I'd even lend my own yacht to take 'em back. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Sh! We're disturbing Herr Pappelmeister.
Oh, Poppy's all right.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Sublimely unconscious_]
_Ach so--so--SO! Das ist etwas neues!_
[_His umbrella begins to beat time, moving more and more
vigorously, till at last he is conducting elaborately, stretching
out his left palm for pianissimo passages, and raising it
vigorously for forte, with every now and then an exclamation._]
_Wunderschoen!... pianissimo!_--now the flutes! Clarinets! _Ach,
ergoetzlich_ ... bassoons and drums!... _Fortissimo!... Kolossal!
[_Conducting in a fury of enthusiasm._]
VERA [_Clapping her hands_]
Bravo! Bravo! I'm so excited!
Then it isn't bad, Poppy?
PAPPELMEISTER [_Not listening, never ceasing to conduct_]
_Und_ de harp solo ... _ach, reizend!_ ... Second violins----!
But Poppy! We can't be here all day.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Not listening, continuing pantomime action_]
Sh! Sh! _Piano._
Sh to _me_!
He doesn't know it's you.
But look here, Poppy----
[_He seizes the wildly-moving umbrella. Blank stare of
PAPPELMEISTER gradually returning to consciousness._]
We've had enough.
Enough? Enough? Of such a beaudiful symphony?
It may be beautiful to you, but to us it's damn dull. See here, Poppy,
if you're satisfied that the young fellow has sufficient talent to be
sent to study in Germany----
In Germany! Germany has nodings to teach him, he has to teach Germany.
[_She springs up._]
I always said he was a genius!
Well, at that rate you could put this stuff of his in one of my
programmes. _Sinfonia Americana_, eh?
Oh, that _is_ good of you.
I should be broud to indroduce it to de vorld.
And will it be played in that wonderful marble music-room overlooking
Sure. Before five hundred of the smartest folk in America.
Oh, thank you, thank you. That will mean fame!
And dollars. Don't forget the dollars.
I'll run and tell him.
[_He hastens into the kitchen, PAPPELMEISTER is re-absorbed in
the MS., but no longer conducting._]
You see, I'll help even a Jew for your sake.
Oh, Poppy's in the moon.
You must help him for his own sake, for art's sake.
And why not for heart's sake--for my sake?
[_He comes nearer._]
VERA [_Crossing to PAPPELMEISTER_]
Herr Pappelmeister! When do you think you can produce it?
[_Becoming half-conscious of VERA_]
How soon can you produce it?
How soon can he finish it?
Isn't it finished?
I see von Finale scratched out and anoder not quite completed. But
anyhow, ve couldn't broduce it before Saturday fortnight.
Saturday fortnight! Not time to get my crowd.
Den ve say Saturday dree veeks. Yes?
Yes. Stop a minute! Did you say Saturday? That's my comic opera night!
Somedings must be sagrificed.
But you _must_ come, David.
[_The kitchen door opens, and MENDEL drags in the boyishly
shrinking DAVID. PAPPELMEISTER thumps with his umbrella, VERA
claps her hands, QUINCY DAVENPORT produces his eyeglass and
surveys DAVID curiously._]
Oh, Mr. Quixano, I am so glad! Mr. Davenport is going to produce your
symphony in his wonderful music-room.
Yes, young man, I'm going to give you the smartest audience in America.
And if Poppy is right, you're just going to rake in the dollars. America
wants a composer.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Raises hands emphatically._]
_Ach Gott, ja!_
VERA [_To DAVID_]
Why don't you speak? You're not angry with me for interfering----?
I can never be grateful enough to you----
Oh, not to me. It is to Mr. Davenport you----
And I can never be grateful enough to Herr Pappelmeister. It is an
honour even to meet him.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Choking with emotion, goes and pats him on the back._]
_Mein braver Junge!_
But it is Mr. Davenport----
Before I accept Mr. Davenport's kindness, I must know to whom I am
indebted--and if Mr. Davenport is the man who----
Who travelled with you to New York? Ha! Ha! Ha! No, _I'm_ only the
Oh, I know, sir, you don't make the money you spend.
He means he knows you're not in business.
Yes, sir; but is it true you are in pleasure?
I beg your pardon?
Are all the stories the papers print about you true?
_All_ the stories. That's a tall order. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Well, anyhow, is it true that----?
Mr. Quixano! What _are_ you driving at?
Oh, it's rather fun to hear what the masses read about me. Fire ahead.
Is what true?
That you were married in a balloon?
Ho! Ha! Ha! That's true enough. Marriage in high life, they said, didn't
they? Ha! Ha! Ha!
And is it true you live in America only two months in the year, and then
only to entertain Europeans who wander to these wild parts?
Lucky for you, young man. You'll have an Italian prince and a British
duke to hear your scribblings.
And the palace where they will hear my scribblings--is it true that----?
VERA [_Who has been on pins and needles_]
Mr. Quixano, what possible----?
DAVID [_Entreatingly holds up a hand._]
[_To QUINCY DAVENPORT_]
Is this palace the same whose grounds were turned into Venetian canals
where the guests ate in gondolas--gondolas that were draped with the
most wonderful trailing silks in imitation of the Venetian nobility in
the great water fetes?
QUINCY [_Turns to VERA_]
Ah, Miss Revendal--what a pity you refused that invitation! It was a
fairy scene of twinkling lights and delicious darkness--each couple had
their own gondola to sup in, and their own side-canal to slip down. Eh?
Ha! Ha! Ha!
And the same night, women and children died of hunger in New York!
QUINCY [_Startled, drops eyeglass._]
And this is the sort of people you would invite to hear my
These magnificent animals who went into the gondolas two by two, to feed
I should be a new freak for you for a new freak evening--I and my dreams
and my music!
You low-down, ungrateful----
Not for you and such as you have I sat here writing and dreaming; not
for you who are killing my America!
_Your_ America, forsooth, you Jew-immigrant!
Yes--Jew-immigrant! But a Jew who knows that your Pilgrim Fathers came
straight out of his Old Testament, and that our Jew-immigrants are a
greater factor in the glory of this great commonwealth than some of you
sons of the soil. It is you, freak-fashionables, who are undoing the
work of Washington and Lincoln, vulgarising your high heritage, and
turning the last and noblest hope of humanity into a caricature.
QUINCY [_Rocking with laughter_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! Ho!
You never told me your Jew-scribbler was a socialist!
I am nothing but a simple artist, but I come from Europe, one of her
victims, and I know that she is a failure; that her palaces and peerages
are outworn toys of the human spirit, and that the only hope of mankind
lies in a new world. And here--in the land of to-morrow--you are trying
to bring back Europe----
I wish we could!----
Europe with her comic-opera coronets and her worm-eaten stage
decorations, and her pomp and chivalry built on a morass of crime and
QUINCY [_With sneering laugh_]
DAVID [_With prophetic passion_]
But you shall not kill my dream! There shall come a fire round the
Crucible that will melt you and your breed like wax in a blowpipe----
QUINCY [_Furiously, with clenched fist_]
America _shall_ make good...!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Who has sat down and remained imperturbably seated
throughout all this scene, springs up and waves his umbrella
_Hoch Quixano! Hoch! Hoch! Es lebe Quixano! Hoch!_
Poppy! You're dismissed!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Goes to DAVID with outstretched hand_]
[_They grip hands. PAPPELMEISTER turns to QUINCY DAVENPORT._]
Comic Opera! Ouf!
QUINCY [_Goes to street-door, at white heat._]
Are you coming, Miss Revendal?
[_He opens the door._]
VERA [_To QUINCY, but not moving_]
Pray, pray, accept my apologies--believe me, if I had known----
Then stop with your Jew!
But, Mr. Davenport--don't go! He is only a boy.
[_Exit after QUINCY DAVENPORT._]
You must consider----
Oh, Herr Pappelmeister, you have lost your place!
And saved my soul. Dollars are de devil. Now I must to an appointment.
_Auf baldiges Wiedersehen._
[_He shakes DAVID'S hand._]
[_He takes her hand and kisses it. Exit. DAVID and VERA stand
gazing at each other._]
What have you done? What have you done?
What else could I do?
I hate the smart set as much as you--but as your ladder and your
I would not stand indebted to them. I know you meant it for my good,
but what would these Europe-apers have understood of _my_ America--the
America of my music? They look back on Europe as a pleasure ground, a
palace of art--but I know
it is sodden with blood, red with bestial massacres----
VERA [_Alarmed, anxious_]
Let us talk no more about it.
[_She holds out her hand._]
DAVID [_Frozen, taking it, holding it_]
Ah, you are offended by my ingratitude--I shall never see you again.
No, I am not offended. But I have failed to help you. We have nothing
else to meet for.
[_She disengages her hand._]
Why will you punish me so? I have only hurt myself.
It is not a _punishment_.
What else? When you are with me, all the air seems to tremble with fairy
music played by some unseen fairy orchestra.
And yet you wouldn't come in just now when I----
I was too frightened of the others....
Yes, I know I became overbold--but to take all that magic sweetness out
of my life for ever--you don't call that a punishment?
How could I wish to punish you? I was proud of you!
[_Drops her eyes, murmurs_]
Besides it would be punishing _myself_.
DAVID [_In passionate amaze_]
Miss Revendal!... But no, it cannot be. It is too impossible.
Yes, too impossible. Good-bye.
But not for always?
[_VERA hangs her head. He comes nearer. Passionately_]
Promise me that you--that I----
[_He takes her hand again._]
VERA [_Melting at his touch, breathes_]
Yes, yes, David.
[_She falls into his arms._]
My dear! my dear!
It is a dream. You cannot care for me--you so far above me.
Above you, you simple boy? Your genius lifts you to the stars.
No, no; it is you who lift me there----
VERA [_Smoothing his hair_]
Oh, David. And to think that I was brought up to despise your race.
Yes, all Russians are.
But we of the nobility in particular.
DAVID [_Amazed, half-releasing her_]
You are noble?
My father is Baron Revendal, but I have long since carved out a life of
Then he will not separate us?
Nothing can separate us.
[_A knock at the street-door. They separate. The automobile is
heard clattering off._]
It is my uncle coming back.
VERA [_In low, tense tones_]
Then I shall slip out. I could not bear a third. I will write.
[_She goes to the door._]
Yes, yes ... Vera.
[_He follows her to the door. He opens it and she slips out._]
MENDEL [_Half-seen at the door, expostulating_]
You, too, Miss Revendal----?
Oh, David, you have driven away all your friends.
DAVID [_Going to window and looking after VERA_]
Not all, uncle. Not all.
[_He throws his arms boyishly round his uncle._]
I am so happy.
She loves me--Vera loves me.
Have you lost your wits?
[_He throws DAVID off._]
I don't wonder you're amazed. Maybe you think _I_ wasn't. It is as if an
angel should stoop down----
This is true? This is not some stupid _Purim_ joke?
True and sacred as the sunrise.
But you are a Jew!
Yes, and just think! She was bred up to despise Jews--her father was a
If she was the daughter of fifty barons, you cannot marry her.
DAVID [_In pained amaze_]
Then your hankering after the synagogue was serious after all.
It is not so much the synagogue--it is the call of our blood through
_You_ say that! You who have come to the heart of the Crucible, where
the roaring fires of God are fusing our race with all the others.
Not _our_ race, not your race and mine.
What immunity has our race?
The pride and the prejudice, the dreams and the sacrifices, the
traditions and the superstitions, the fasts and the feasts, things noble
and things sordid--they must all into the Crucible.
MENDEL [_With prophetic fury_]
The Jew has been tried in a thousand fires and only tempered and
Fires of hate, not fires of love. That is what melts.
So I see.
Your sneer is false. The love that melted me was not Vera's--it was the
love _America_ showed me--the day she gathered me to her breast.
MENDEL [_Speaking passionately and rapidly_]
Many countries have gathered us. Holland took us when we were driven
from Spain--but we did not become Dutchmen. Turkey took us when Germany
oppressed us, but we have not become Turks.
These countries were not in the making. They were old civilisations
stamped with the seal of creed. In such countries the Jew may be right
to stand out. But here in this new secular Republic we must look
MENDEL [_Passionately interrupting_]
We must look backwards, too.
To what? To Kishineff?
[_As if seeing his vision_]
To that butcher's face directing the slaughter? To those----?
Hush! Calm yourself!
DAVID [_Struggling with himself_]
Yes, I will calm myself--but how else shall I calm myself save by
forgetting all that nightmare of religions and races, save by holding
out my hands with prayer and music toward the Republic of Man and the
Kingdom of God! The Past I cannot mend--its evil outlines are stamped in
immortal rigidity. Take away the hope that I can mend the Future, and
you make me mad.
You are mad already--your dreams are mad--the Jew is hated here as
everywhere--you are false to your race.
I keep faith with America. I have faith America will keep faith with us.
[_He raises his hands in religious rapture toward the flag over
Flag of our great Republic, guardian of our homes, whose stars and----
Spare me that rigmarole. Go out and marry your Gentile and be happy.
You turn me out?
Would you stay and break my mother's heart? You know she would mourn for
you with the rending of garments and the seven days' sitting on the
floor. Go! You have cast off the God of our fathers!
And the God of our children--does _He_ demand no service?
[_Quieter, coming toward his uncle and touching him
affectionately on the shoulder._]
You are right--I do need a wider world.
[_Expands his lungs._]
I must go away.
Go, then--I'll hide the truth--she must never suspect--lest she mourn
you as dead.
FRAU QUIXANO [_Outside, in the kitchen_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_Both men turn toward the kitchen and listen._]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
FRAU QUIXANO AND KATHLEEN
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
A merry _Purim_!
[_The kitchen door opens and remains ajar. FRAU QUIXANO rushes
in, carrying DAVID'S violin and bow. KATHLEEN looks in,
FRAU QUIXANO [_Hilariously_]
_Nu spiel noch! spiel!_
[_She holds the violin and bow appealingly toward DAVID._]
MENDEL [_Putting out a protesting hand_]
No, no, David--I couldn't bear it.
But I must! You said she mustn't suspect.
[_He looks lovingly at her as he loudly utters these words, which
are unintelligible to her._]
And it may be the last time I shall ever play for her.
[_Changing to a mock merry smile as he takes the violin and bow
[_He starts the same old Slavic dance._]
FRAU QUIXANO [_Childishly pleased_]
He! He! He!
[_She claps on a false grotesque nose from her pocket._]
DAVID [_Torn between laughter and tears_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
_Un' du auch_!
[_She claps another false nose on MENDEL, laughing in childish
glee at the effect. Then she starts dancing to the music, and
KATHLEEN slips in and joyously dances beside her._]
DAVID [_Joining tearfully in the laughter_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_The curtain falls quickly. It rises again upon the picture of
FRAU QUIXANO fallen back into a chair, exhausted with laughter,
fanning herself with her apron, while KATHLEEN has dropped
breathless across the arm of the armchair; DAVID is still
playing on, and MENDEL, his false nose torn off, stands by,
glowering. The curtain falls again and rises upon a final tableau
of DAVID in his cloak and hat, stealing out of the door with his
violin, casting a sad farewell glance at the old woman and at the
home which has sheltered him._]
_April, about a month later. The scene changes to MISS REVENDAL'S
sitting-room at the Settlement House on a sunny day. Simple,
pretty furniture: a sofa, chairs, small table, etc. An open piano
with music. Flowers and books about. Fine art reproductions on
walls. The fireplace is on the left. A door on the left leads to
the hall, and a door on the right to the interior. A servant
enters from the left, ushering in BARON and BARONESS REVENDAL and
QUINCY DAVENPORT. The BARON is a tall, stern, grizzled man of
military bearing, with a narrow, fanatical forehead and martinet
manners, but otherwise of honest and distinguished appearance,
with a short, well-trimmed white beard and well-cut European
clothes. Although his dignity is diminished by the constant
nervous suspiciousness of the Russian official, it is never lost;
his nervousness, despite its comic side, being visibly the tragic
shadow of his position. His English has only a touch of the
foreign in accent and vocabulary and is much superior to his
wife's, which comes to her through her French. The BARONESS is
pretty and dressed in red in the height of Paris fashion, but
blazes with barbaric jewels at neck and throat and wrist. She
gestures freely with her hand, which, when ungloved, glitters
with heavy rings. She is much younger than the BARON and
self-consciously fascinating. Her parasol, which matches her
costume, suggests the sunshine without. QUINCY DAVENPORT is in a
smart spring suit with a motor dust-coat and cap, which last he
lays down on the mantelpiece_.
Miss Revendal is on the roof-garden. I'll go and tell her.
[_Exit, toward the hall._]
A marvellous people, you Americans. Gardens in the sky!
Gardens, forsooth! We plant a tub and call it Paradise. No, Baron. New
York is the great stone desert.
But ze big beautiful Park vere ve drove tru?
No taste, Baroness, modern sculpture and menageries! Think of the Medici
gardens at Rome.
[_With an ecstatic sigh, she drops into an armchair. Then she
takes out a dainty cigarette-case, pulls off her right-hand
glove, exhibiting her rings, and chooses a cigarette. The BARON,
seeing this, produces his match-box._]
And now, dear Baron Revendal, having brought you safely to the den of
the lioness--if I may venture to call your daughter so--I must leave
_you_ to do the taming, eh?
You are always of the most amiable.
[_He strikes a match._]
_Tout a fait charmant._
[_The BARON lights her cigarette._]
QUINCY [_Bows gallantly_]
Don't mention it. I'll just have my auto take me to the Club, and then
I'll send it back for you.
Ah, zank you--zat street-car looks horreeble.
[_She puffs out smoke._]
Quite impossible. What is to prevent an anarchist sitting next to you
and shooting out your brains?
We haven't much of that here--I don't mean brains. Ha! Ha! Ha!
But I saw desperadoes spying as we came off your yacht.
Oh, that was newspaper chaps.
BARON [_Shakes his head_]
No--they are circulating my appearance to all the gang in the States.
They took snapshots.
Then you're quite safe from recognition.
Didn't they ask you questions?
Yes, but I am a diplomat. I do not reply.
That's not very diplomatic here. Ha! Ha!
[_He claps his hand to his hip pocket, half-producing a pistol.
The BARONESS looks equally anxious._]
BARON [_Points to window, whispers hoarsely_]
Regard! A hooligan peeped in!
QUINCY [_Goes to window_]
Only some poor devil come to the Settlement.
But under his arm--a bomb!
QUINCY [_Shaking his head smilingly_]
A soup bowl.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
What makes you so nervous, Baron?
[_The BARON slips back his pistol, a little ashamed._]
Ze Intellectuals and ze _Bund_, zey all hate my husband because he is
faizful to Christ
and ze Tsar.
But the Intellectuals are in Russia.
They have their branches here--the refugees are the leaders--it is a
Well, anyhow, _we're_ not in Russia, eh? No, no, Baron, you're quite
safe. Still, you can keep my automobile as long as you like--I've
A thousand thanks.
[_Wiping his forehead._]
But surely no gentleman would sit in the public car, squeezed between
working-men and shop-girls, not to say Jews and Blacks.
It _is_ done here. But we shall change all that. Already we have a few
taxi-cabs. Give us time, my dear Baron, give us time. You mustn't judge
us by your European standard.
By the European standard, Mr. Davenport, you put our hospitality to the
shame. From the moment you sent your yacht for us to Odessa----
Pray, don't ever speak of that again--you know how anxious I was to get
you to New York.
Provided we have arrived in time!
That's all right, I keep telling you. They aren't married yet----
BARON [_Grinding his teeth and shaking his fist_]
Those Jew-vermin--all my life I have suffered from them!
We all suffer from them.
Zey are ze pests of ze civilisation.
But this supreme insult Vera shall not put on the blood of the
Revendals--not if I have to shoot her down with my own hand--and myself
No, no, Baron, that's not done here. Besides, if you shoot her down,
where do _I_ come in, eh?
Where _you_ come in?
Oh, Baron! Surely you have guessed that it is not merely Jew-hate,
but--er--Christian love. Eh?
BARONESS [_Clapping her hands_]
Oh, _charmant, charmant_! But it ees a romance!
But you are married!
_Ah, oui._ _Quel dommage_, vat a peety!
You forget, Baron, we are in America. The law giveth and the law taketh
It ees a vonderful country! But your vife--_hein?_--vould she consent?
She's mad to get back on the stage--I'll run a theatre for her. It's
your daughter's consent that's the real trouble--she won't see me
because I lost my temper and told her to stop with her Jew. So I look to
you to straighten things out.
BARON [_Frowning at her_]
You go too quick, Katusha. What influence have I on Vera? And _you_ she
has never even seen! To kick out the Jew-beast is one thing....
Well, anyhow, don't _shoot_ her--shoot the beast rather.
Shooting is too good for the enemies of Christ.
At Kishineff we stick the swine.
Ah! I read about that. Did you see the massacre?
Which one? Give me a cigarette, Katusha.
We've had several Jew-massacres in Kishineff.
Have you? The papers only boomed one--four or five years ago--about
Easter time, I think----
Ah, yes--when the Jews insulted the procession of the Host!
[_Taking a light from the cigarette in his wife's mouth._]
Did they? I thought----
I daresay. That's the lies they spread in the West. They have the Press
in their hands, damn 'em. But you see I was on the spot.
[_He drops into a chair._]
I had charge of the whole district.
Yes, and I hurried a regiment up to teach the blaspheming brutes
[_He puffs out a leisurely cloud._]
Whew!... I--I say, old chap, I mean Baron, you'd better not say that
Why not? I am proud of it.
My husband vas decorated for it--he has ze order of St. Vladimir.
Second class! Shall we allow these bigots to mock at all we hold sacred?
The Jews are the deadliest enemies of our holy autocracy and of the only
orthodox Church. Their _Bund_ is behind all the Revolution.
A plague-spot muz be cut out!
Well, I'd keep it dark if I were you. Kishineff is a back number, and we
don't take much stock in the new massacres. Still, we're a bit
Squeamish! Don't you lynch and roast your niggers?
Not officially. Whereas your Black Hundreds----
Black Hundreds! My dear Mr. Davenport, they are the white hosts of
and of the Tsar, who is God's vicegerent on earth. Have you not read the
works of our sainted Pobiedonostzeff, Procurator of the Most Holy Synod?
Well, of course, I always felt there was another side to it, but
Perhaps he has right, Alexis. Our Ambassador vonce told me ze Americans
are more sentimental zan civilised.
Ah, let them wait till they have ten million vermin overrunning _their_
country--we shall see how long they will be sentimental. Think of it! A
burrowing swarm creeping and crawling everywhere, ugh! They ruin our
peasantry with their loans and their drink shops, ruin our army with
their revolutionary propaganda, ruin our professional classes by
snatching all the prizes and professorships, ruin our commercial
classes by monopolising our sugar industries, our oil-fields, our
timber-trade.... Why, if we gave them equal rights, our Holy Russia
would be entirely run by them.
_Mon dieu! C'est vrai._ Ve real Russians vould become slaves.
Then what are you going to do with them?
One-third will be baptized, one-third massacred, the other third
[_He strikes a match to relight his cigarette._]
Thank you, my dear Baron,--you've already sent me one Jew too many.
We're going to stop all alien immigration.
To stop _all_ alien--? But that is barbarous!
Well, don't let us waste our time on the Jew-problem ... our own little
Jew-problem is enough, eh? Get rid of this little fiddler. Then _I_ may
have a look in. Adieu, Baron.
[_Holding his hand_]
But you are not really serious about Vera?
[_The BARONESS makes a gesture of annoyance._]
Not serious, Baron? Why, to marry her is the only thing I have ever
wanted that I couldn't get. It is torture! Baroness, I rely on your
[_He kisses her hand with a pretentious foreign air._]
BARONESS [_In sentimental approval_]
_Ah! l'amour! l'amour!_
[_Exit QUINCY DAVENPORT, taking his cap in passing._]
You might have given him a little encouragement, Alexis.
Silence, Katusha. I only tolerated the man in Europe because he was a
link with Vera.
You accepted his yacht and his----
If I had known his loose views on divorce----
I am sick of your scruples. You are ze only poor official in
Be silent! Have I not forbidden----?
Forbidden! Forbidden! All your life you have served ze Tsar, and you
cannot afford a single automobile. A millionaire son-in-law is just vat
you owe me.
What I owe you?
Yes, ven I married you, I vas tinking you had a good position. I did not
know you were too honest to use it. You vere not open viz me, Alexis.
You knew I was a Revendal. The Revendals keep their hands clean....
[_With a sudden start he tiptoes noiselessly to the door leading
to the hall and throws it open. Nobody is visible. He closes it
BARONESS [_Has shared his nervousness till the door was opened, but now
bursts into mocking laughter_]
If you thought less about your precious safety, and more about me and
Hush! You do not know Vera. You saw I was even afraid to give my name.
She might have sent me away as she sent away the Tsar's plate of
The Tsar's plate of----?
Did I never tell you? When she was only a school-girl--at the Imperial
High School--the Tsar on his annual visit tasted the food, and Vera, as
the show pupil, was given the honour of finishing his Majesty's plate.
BARONESS [_In incredulous horror_]
And she sent it avay?
Gave it to a servant.
And then you think I can impose a husband on her. No, Katusha, I have to
win her love for myself, not for millionaires.
BARONESS [_Angry again_]
Alvays so affrightfully selfish!
I have no control over her, I tell you!
I never could control my womenkind.
Because you zink zey are your soldiers. Silence! Halt! Forbidden! Right
I wish I did think they were my soldiers--I might try the lash.
BARONESS [_Springing up angrily, shakes parasol at him_]
You British barbarian!
VERA [_Outside the door leading to the interior_]
Yes, thank you, Miss Andrews. I know I have visitors.
[_The BARONESS lowers her parasol. He looks yearningly toward the
door. It opens. Enter VERA with inquiring gaze._]
VERA [_With a great shock of surprise_]
_Verotschka!_ My dearest darling!...
[_He makes a movement toward her, but is checked by her
Why, you've grown more beautiful than ever.
You in New York!
The Baroness wished to see America. Katusha, this is my daughter.
BARONESS [_In sugared sweetness_]
And mine, too, if she vill let me love her.
VERA [_Bowing coldly, but still addressing her father_]
But how? When?
We have just come and----
BARONESS [_Dashing in_]
Zat charming young man lent us his yacht--he is adorahble.
What charming young man?
Ah, she has many, ze little coquette--ha! ha! ha!
[_She touches VERA playfully with her parasol._]
We wished to give you a pleasant surprise.
It is certainly a surprise.
You are not very ... daughterly.
Do you remember when you last saw me? You did not claim me as a daughter
BARON [_Covers his eyes with his hand_]
Do not recall it; it hurts too much.
I was in the dock.
It was horrible. I hated you for the devil of rebellion that had entered
into your soul. But I thanked God when you escaped.
I think I was more sorry for you than for myself. I hope, at least, no
suspicion fell on you.
But it did--an avalanche of suspicion. He is still buried under it. Vy
else did they make Skovaloff Ambassador instead of him? Even now he
risks everyting to see you again. Ah, _mon enfant_, you owe your fazer a
What reparation can I possibly make?
You can love me again, Vera.
BARONESS [_Stamping foot_]
Alexis, you are interrupting----
I fear, father, we have grown too estranged--our ideas are so
But not now, Vera, surely not now? You are no longer
[_He lowers his voice and looks around_]
Not with bombs, perhaps. I thank Heaven I was caught before I had done
any _practical_ work. But if you think I accept the order of things, you
are mistaken. In Russia I fought against the autocracy----
[_He looks round nervously._]
Here I fight against the poverty. No, father, a woman who has once heard
the call will always be a wild creature.
[_Lowering his voice_]
those revolutionary Russian clubs here--you are not a member?
I do not believe in Revolutions carried on at a safe distance. I have
found my life-work in America.
I am enchanted, Vera, enchanted.
Permit me to kiss you, _belle enfant_.
I do not know you enough yet; I will kiss my father.
BARON [_With a great cry of joy_]
[_He embraces her passionately._]
At last! At last! I have found my little Vera again!
No, father, _your_ Vera belongs to Russia with her mother and the happy
days of childhood. But for their sakes----
[_She breaks down in emotion._]
Ah, your poor mother!
Alexis, I perceive I am too many!
[_She begins to go toward the door._]
No, no, Katusha. Vera will learn to love you, too.
VERA [_To BARONESS_]
What does my loving you matter? I can never return to Russia.
But ve can come here--often--ven you are married.
When I am married?
Ve know zat charming young man adores ze floor your foot treads on!
You have seen David?
[_He clenches his fist._]
BARONESS [_Half aside, as much gestured as spoken_]
Sh! Leave it to me.
Oh, no, ve have not seen David.
VERA [_Looking from one to the other_]
Not seen--? Then what--whom are you talking about?
About zat handsome, quite adorahble Mr. Davenport.
Who combines ze manners of Europe viz ze millions of America!
VERA [_Breaks into girlish laughter_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! So Mr. Davenport has been talking to you! But you all seem
to forget one small point--bigamy is not permitted even to millionaires.
Ah, not boz at vonce, but----
And do you think I would take another woman's leavings? No, not even if
she were dead.
You are insulting!
I beg your pardon--I wasn't even thinking of you. Father, to put an end
at once to this absurd conversation, let me inform you I am already
BARON [_Trembling, hoarse_]
By name, David.
How did you know? Yes, he is a Jew, a noble Jew.
A Jew noble!
[_He laughs bitterly._]
Yes--even as you esteem nobility--by pedigree. In Spain his ancestors
were hidalgos, favourites at the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella; but in
the great expulsion of 1492 they preferred exile in Poland to baptism.
And you, a Revendal, would mate with an unbaptized dog?
Dog! You call my husband a dog!
Husband! God in heaven--are you married already?
No! But not being unemployed millionaires like Mr. Davenport, we hold
even our troth eternal.
Our poverty, not your prejudice, stands in the way of our marriage. But
David is a musician of genius, and some day----
A fiddler in a beer-hall! She prefers a fiddler to a millionaire of ze
first families of America!
First families! I told you David's family came to Poland in 1492--some
months before America was discovered.
Christ save us! You have become a Jewess!
No more than David has become a Christian. We were already at one--all
honest people are. Surely, father, all religions must serve the same
God--since there is only one God to serve.
But ze girl is an ateist!
Silence, Katusha! Leave me to deal with my daughter.
[_Changing tone to pathos, taking her face between his hands_]
Oh, Vera, _Verotschka_, my dearest darling, I had sooner you had
remained buried in Siberia than that----
[_He breaks down._]
VERA [_Touched, sitting beside him_]
For you, father, I _was_ as though buried in Siberia. Why did you come
here to stab yourself afresh?
I wish to God I had come here earlier. I wish I had not been so nervous
of Russian spies. Ah, _Verotschka_, if you only knew how I have pored
over the newspaper pictures of you, and the reports of your life in this
You asked me not to send letters.
I know, I know--and yet sometimes I felt as if I could risk Siberia
myself to read your dear, dainty handwriting again.
VERA [_Still more softened_]
Father, if you love me so much, surely you will love David a little
too--for my sake.
I--love--a Jew? Impossible.
VERA [_Moving away, icily_]
Then so is any love from me to you. You have chosen to come back into my
life, and after our years of pain and separation I would gladly remember
only my old childish affection. But not if you hate David. You must make
Choice? I have no choice. Can I carry mountains? No more can I love a
[_He rises resolutely._]
BARONESS [_Who has turned away, fretting and fuming, turns back to her
husband, clapping her hands_]
VERA [_Going to him again, coaxingly_]
I don't ask you to carry mountains, but to drop the mountains you
carry--the mountains of prejudice. Wait till you see him.
I will not see him.
Then you will hear him--he is going to make music for all the world. You
can't escape him, _papasha_, you with your love of music, any more than
you escaped Rubinstein.
Rubinstein vas not a Jew.
Rubinstein was a Jewish boy-genius, just like my David.
But his parents vere baptized soon after his birth. I had it from his
patroness, ze Grande Duchesse Helena Pavlovna.
And did the water outside change the blood within? Rubinstein was our
Court pianist and was decorated by the Tsar. And you, the Tsar's
servant, dare to say you could not meet a Rubinstein.
I did not say I could not meet a _Rubinstein_.
You practically said so. David will be even greater than Rubinstein.
Come, father, I'll telephone for him; he is only round the corner.
Ve vill not see him!
VERA [_Ignoring her_]
He shall bring his violin and play to you. There! You see, little
father, you are already less frowning--now take that last wrinkle out of
[_She caresses his forehead._]
Never mind! David will smooth it out with his music as his Biblical
ancestor smoothed that surly old Saul.
Ve vill not hear him!
Silence, Katusha! Oh, my little Vera, I little thought when I let you
study music at Petersburg----
VERA [_Smiling wheedlingly_]
That I should marry a musician. But you see, little father, it all ends
in music after all. Now I will go and perform on the telephone, I'm not
angel enough to bear one in here.
[_She goes toward the door of the hall, smiling happily._]
BARON [_With a last agonized cry of resistance_]
VERA [_Turning, makes mock military salute_]
BARON [_Overcome by her roguish smile_]
You--I--he--do you love this J--this David so much?
VERA [_Suddenly tragic_]
It would kill me to give him up.
But don't let us talk of funerals on this happy day of sunshine and
[_She kisses her hand to him and exit toward the hall._]
You are in her hands as vax!
She is the only child I have ever had, Katusha. Her baby arms curled
round my neck; in her baby sorrows her wet face nestled against little
[_He drops on a chair, and leans his head on the table._]
BARONESS [_Approaching tauntingly_]
So you vill have a Jew son-in-law!
You don't know what it meant to me to feel her arms round me again.
And a hook-nosed brat to call you grandpapa, and nestle his greasy face
BARON [_Banging his fist on the table_]
Don't drive me mad!
[_His head drops again._]
Then drive me home--I vill not meet him.... Alexis!
[_She taps him on the shoulder with her parasol. He does not
Alexis Ivanovitch! Do you not listen!...
[_She stamps her foot._]
Zen I go to ze hotel alone.
[_She walks angrily toward the hall. Just before she reaches the
door, it opens, and the servant ushers in HERR PAPPELMEISTER with
his umbrella. The BARONESS'S tone changes instantly to a sugared
How do you do, Herr Pappelmeister?
[_She extends her hand, which he takes limply._]
You don't remember me? _Non?_
Ve vere with Mr. Quincy Davenport at Wiesbaden---ze Baroness Revendal.
[_He drops her hand._]
Yes, it vas ze Baron's entousiasm for you zat got you your present
PAPPELMEISTER [_Arching his eyebrows_]
Yes--zere he is!
[_She turns toward the BARON._]
Alexis, rouse yourself!
[_She taps him with her parasol._]
Zis American air makes ze Baron so sleepy.
BARON [_Rises dazedly and bows_]
Charmed to meet you, Herr----
Pappelmeister! You remember ze great Pappelmeister.
BARON [_Waking up, becomes keen_]
Ah, yes, yes, charmed--why do you never bring your orchestra to Russia,
Russia? It never occurred to me to go to Russia--she seems so
Uncivilised! Vy, ve have ze finest restaurants in ze vorld! And ze best
Yes, and the most beautiful ballets--Russia is affrightfully
[_She sweeps away in burning indignation. PAPPELMEISTER murmurs
in deprecation. Re-enter VERA from the hall. She is gay and
He is coming round at once----
[_She utters a cry of pleased surprise._]
Herr Pappelmeister! This is indeed a pleasure!
[_She gives PAPPELMEISTER her hand, which he kisses._]
BARONESS [_Sotto voce to the BARON_]
Let us go before he comes.
[_The BARON ignores her, his eyes hungrily on VERA._]
PAPPELMEISTER [_To VERA_]
But I come again--you have visitors.
Only my father and----
Your fader? _Ach so!_
[_He taps his forehead._]
BARONESS [_Sotto voce to the BARON_]
I vill not meet a Jew, I tell you.
But you vill vant to talk to your fader, and all _I_ vant is Mr.
Quixano's address. De Irish maiden at de house says de bird is flown.
I don't know if I ought to tell you where the new nest is----
But I will produce the bird.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Looks round_]
You vill broduce Mr. Quixano?
By clapping my hands.
I am a magician.
BARON [_Whose eyes have been glued on VERA_]
You are, indeed! I don't know how you have bewitched me.
[_The BARONESS glares at him._]
Dear little father!
[_She crosses to him and strokes his hair._]
Herr Pappelmeister, tell father about Mr. Quixano's music.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Shaking his head_]
Music cannot be talked about.
That's a nasty one for the critics. But tell father what a genius
Da--Mr. Quixano is.
BARONESS [_Desperately intervening_]
[_She thrusts out her hand, which VERA takes._]
I have a headache. You muz excuse me. Herr Pappelmeister, _au plaisir de
[_PAPPELMEISTER hastens to the door, which he holds open. The
BARONESS turns and glares at the BARON._]
Let me see you to the auto----
You could see me to ze hotel almost as quick.
BARON [_To VERA_]
I won't say good-bye, _Verotschka_--I shall be back.
[_He goes toward the hall, then turns._]
You will keep your Rubinstein waiting?
[_VERA smiles lovingly._]
You are keeping _me_ vaiting.
[_He turns quickly. Exeunt BARON and BARONESS._]
And now broduce Mr. Quixano!
Not so fast. What are you going to do with him?
Put him in my orchestra!
Oh, you dear!
[_Then her tone changes to disappointment._]
But he won't go into Mr. Davenport's orchestra.
It is no more Mr. Davenport's orchestra. He fired me, don't you
remember? Now I boss--how say you in American?
Your own show.
_Ja_, my own band. Ven I left dat comic opera millionaire, dey all
shtick to me almost to von man.
How nice of them!
All egsept de Christian--he vas de von man. He shtick to de millionaire.
So I lose my brincipal first violin.
And Mr. Quixano is to--oh, how delightful!
[_She claps her hands girlishly._]
PAPPELMEISTER [_Looks round mischievously_]
_Ach_, de magic failed.
You do not broduce him. You clap de hands--but you do not broduce him.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_He breaks into a great roar of genial laughter._]
VERA [_Chiming in merrily_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! But I said I have to know everything first. Will he get a
Enough to keep a vife and eight children!
But he hasn't a----
No, but de Christian had--he get de same--I mean salary, ha! ha! ha! not
children. Den he can be independent--vedder de fool-public like his
American symphony or not--_nicht wahr?_
You _are_ good to us----
[_Hastily correcting herself_]
to Mr. Quixano.
And aldough you cannot broduce him, I broduce his symphony. _Was?_
Oh, Herr Pappelmeister! You are an angel.
_Nein, nein, mein liebes Kind!_ I fear I haf not de correct shape for an
[_He laughs heartily. A knock at the door from the hall._]
_Now_ I clap my hands.
[_The door opens._]
[_She makes a conjurer's gesture. DAVID, bare-headed, carrying
his fiddle, opens the door, and stands staring in amazement at
I thought you asked me to meet your father.
She is a magician. She has changed us.
[_He waves his umbrella._]
Hey presto, _was_? Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_He goes to DAVID, and shakes hands._]
_Und wie geht's?_ I hear you've left home.
Yes, but I've such a bully cabin----
You are sailing avay?
No, no--that's only his way of describing his two-dollar-a-month garret.
Yes--my state-room on the top deck!
Six foot square.
But three other passengers aren't squeezed in, and it never pitches and
tosses. It's heavenly.
And from heaven you flew down to blay in dat beer-hall. _Was?_
[_DAVID looks surprised._]
_I_ heard you.
You! What on earth did you go _there_ for?
Vat on earth does one go to a beer-hall for? Ha! Ha! Ha! For vawter! Ha!
Ha! Ha! Ven I hear you blay, I dink mit myself--if my blans succeed and
I get Carnegie Hall for Saturday Symphony Concerts, dat boy shall be one
of my first violins. _Was?_
[_He slaps DAVID on the left shoulder._]
DAVID [_Overwhelmed, ecstatic, yet wincing a little at the slap on his
Be one of your first----
Oh, but it is impossible.
Mr. Quixano! You must not refuse.
But does Herr Pappelmeister know about the wound in my shoulder?
You haf been vounded?
Only a legacy from Russia--but it twinges in some weathers.
And de pain ubsets your blaying?
Not so much the pain--it's all the dreadful memories--
Don't talk of them.
I _must_ explain to Herr Pappelmeister--it wouldn't be fair. Even now
there comes up before me the bleeding body of my mother, the cold,
fiendish face of the Russian officer, supervising the slaughter----
Oh, that butcher's face--there it is--hovering in the air, that narrow,
fanatical forehead, that----
PAPPELMEISTER [_Brings down his umbrella with a bang_]
_Schluss!_ No man ever dared break down under me. My baton will beat
avay all dese faces and fancies. Out with your violin!
[_He taps his umbrella imperiously on the table._]
_Keinen Mut verlieren!_
[_DAVID takes out his violin from its case and puts it to his
shoulder, PAPPELMEISTER keeping up a hypnotic torrent of
encouraging German cries._]
_Also! Fertig! Anfangen!_
[_He raises and waves his umbrella like a baton._]
Von, dwo, dree, four----
DAVID [_With a great sigh of relief_]
Thanks, thanks--they are gone already.
Ha! Ha! Ha! You see. And ven ve blay your American symphony----
You will play my American symphony?
Don't you jump for joy?
DAVID [_Still dazed but ecstatic_]
[_Changing back to despondency_]
But what certainty is there your Carnegie Hall audience would understand
me? It would be the same smart set.
[_He drops dejectedly into a chair and lays down his violin._]
_Ach, nein._ Of course, some--ve can't keep peoble out merely because
dey pay for deir seats. _Was?_
It was always my dream to play it first to the new immigrants--those who
have known the pain of the old world and the hope of the new.
Try it on the dog. _Was?_
Yes--on the dog that here will become a man!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Shakes his head_]
I fear neider dogs nor men are a musical breed.
The immigrants will not understand my music with their brains or their
ears, but with their hearts and their souls.
Well, then, why shouldn't it be done here--on our Roof-Garden?
DAVID [_Jumping up_]
A _Bas-Kol_! A _Bas-Kol_!
What _are_ you talking?
Hebrew! It means a voice from heaven.
Ah, but will Herr Pappelmeister consent?
Who can disobey a voice from heaven?... But ven?
On some holiday evening.... Why not the Fourth of July?
DAVID [_Still more ecstatic_]
Another _Bas-Kol_!... My American Symphony! Played to the People! Under
God's sky! On Independence Day! With all the----
[_Waving his hand expressively, sighs voluptuously._]
That will be too perfect.
Dat has to be seen. You must permit me to invite----
DAVID [_In horror_]
Not the musical critics!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Raising both hands with umbrella in equal horror_]
_Gott bewahre!_ But I'd like to invite all de persons in New York who
really undershtand music.
Splendid! But should we have room?
Room? I vant four blaces.
You are severe! Mr. Davenport was right.
Perhaps de oders vill be out of town. _Also!_
[_Holding out his hand to DAVID_]
You come to Carnegie to-morrow at eleven. Yes? _Fraeulein._
[_Kisses her hand._]
On de Roof-Garden--_nicht wahr?_
Wind and weather permitting.
I haf alvays mein umbrella. _Was?_ Ha! Ha! Ha!
Isn't he a darling? Isn't he----?
PAPPELMEISTER [_Pausing suddenly_]
But ve never settled de salary.
[_He looks dazedly from one to the other._]
For the honour of playing in your orchestra!
Shylock!!... Never mind--ve settle de pound of flesh to-morrow. _Lebe
[_Exit, the door closes._]
VERA [_Suddenly miserable_]
How selfish of you, David!
Yes--not to think of your salary. It looks as if you didn't really love
Not love you? I don't understand.
VERA [_Half in tears_]
Just when I was so happy to think that now we shall be able to marry.
Shall we? Marry? On my salary as first violin?
Not if you don't want to.
Sweetheart! Can it be true? How do you know?
_I'm_ not a Jew. I asked.
My guardian angel!
[_Embracing her. He sits down, she lovingly at his feet._]
VERA [_Looking up at him_]
Then you _do_ care?
What a question!
And you don't think wholly of your music and forget me?
Why, you are behind all I write and play!
VERA [_With jealous passion_]
Behind? But I want to be before! I want you to love me first, before
I do put you before everything.
You are sure? And nothing shall part us?
Not all the seven seas could part you and me.
And you won't grow tired of me--not even when you are world-famous----?
DAVID [_A shade petulant_]
Sweetheart, considering I should owe it all to you----
VERA [_Drawing his head down to her breast_]
Oh, David! David! Don't be angry with poor little Vera if she doubts, if
she wants to feel quite sure. You see father has talked so terribly, and
after all I was brought up in the Greek Church, and we oughtn't to cause
all this suffering unless----
Those who love us _must_ suffer, and _we_ must suffer in their
suffering. It is live things, not dead metals, that are being melted in
Still, we ought to soften the suffering as much as----
Yes, but only Time can heal it.
VERA [_With transition to happiness_]
But father seems half-reconciled already! Dear little father, if only he
were not so narrow about Holy Russia!
If only _my_ folks were not so narrow about Holy Judea! But the ideals
of the fathers shall not be foisted on the children. Each generation
must live and die for its own dream.
Yes, David, yes. You are the prophet of the living present. I am so
[_She looks up wistfully._]
You are happy, too?
I am dazed--I cannot realise that all our troubles have melted away--it
is so sudden.
You, David? Who always see everything in such rosy colours? Now that the
whole horizon is one great splendid rose, you almost seem as if gazing
out toward a blackness----
We Jews are cheerful in gloom, mistrustful in joy. It is our tragic
But you have come to end the tragic history; to throw off the coils of
DAVID [_Smiling again_]
Yes, yes, Vera. You bring back my sunnier self. I must be a pioneer on
the lost road of happiness. To-day shall be all joy, all lyric ecstasy.
[_He takes up his violin._]
Yes, I will make my old fiddle-strings _burst_ with joy!
[_He dashes into a jubilant tarantella. After a few bars there is
a knock at the door leading from the hall; their happy faces
betray no sign of hearing it; then the door slightly opens, and
BARON REVENDAL'S head looks hesitatingly in. As DAVID perceives
it, his features work convulsively, his string breaks with a
tragic snap, and he totters backward into VERA'S arms. Hoarsely_]
The face! The face!
DAVID [_His eyes closed, his violin clasped mechanically_]
Don't be anxious--I shall be better soon--I oughtn't to have talked
about it--the hallucination has never been so complete.
Don't speak--rest against Vera's heart--till it has passed away.
[_The BARON comes dazedly forward, half with a shocked sense of
VERA'S impropriety, half to relieve her of her burden. She
motions him back._]
This is the work of your Holy Russia.
What is the matter with him?
[_DAVID'S violin and bow drop from his grasp and fall on the
[_He opens his eyes, stares frenziedly at the BARON, then
struggles out of VERA'S arms._]
VERA [_Trying to stop him_]
Let me go.
[_He moves like a sleep-walker toward the paralysed BARON, puts
out his hand, and testingly touches the face._]
BARON [_Shuddering back_]
DAVID [_With a great cry_]
A-a-a-h! It is flesh and blood. No, it is stone--the man of stone!
[_He raises his hand frenziedly._]
BARON [_Whipping out his pistol_]
[_VERA darts between them with a shriek._]
DAVID [_Frozen again, surveying the pistol stonily_]
Ha! You want _my_ life, too. Is the cry not yet loud enough?
Can you not hear it? The voice of the blood of my brothers crying out
against you from the ground? Oh, how can you bear not to turn that
pistol against yourself and execute upon yourself the justice which
Russia denies you?
[_Pocketing the pistol a little shamefacedly._]
Justice on himself? For what?
For crimes beyond human penalty, for obscenities beyond human utterance,
You are raving.
Would to heaven I were!
But this is my father.
Your father!... God!
BARON [_Drawing her to him_]
Come, Vera, I told you----
VERA [_Frantically, shrinking back_]
Don't touch me!
BARON [_Starting back in amaze_]
Say it's not true.
What is not true?
What David said. It was the mob that massacred--_you_ had no hand in it.
I was there with my soldiers.
DAVID [_Leaning, pale, against a chair, hisses_]
And you looked on with that cold face of hate--while my mother--my
I could not see everything.
Now and again you ordered your soldiers to fire----
VERA [_In joyous relief_]
Ah, he _did_ check the mob--he _did_ tell his soldiers to fire.
At any Jew who tried to defend himself.
[_She falls on the sofa and buries her head on the cushion,
Is there no pity in heaven?
There was no pity on earth.
It was the People avenging itself, Vera. The People rose like a flood.
It had centuries of spoliation to wipe out. The voice of the People is
the voice of God.
But you could have stopped them.
I had no orders to defend the foes of Christ and
the Tsar. The People----
But you could have stopped them.
Who can stop a flood? I did my duty. A soldier's duty is not so pretty
as a musician's.
But you could have stopped them.
BARON [_Losing all patience_]
Silence! You talk like an ignorant girl, blinded by passion. The
_pogrom_ is a holy crusade. Are we Russians the first people to crush
down the Jew? No--from the dawn of history the nations have had to stamp
upon him--the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Babylonians,
the Greeks, the Romans----
Yes, it is true. Even Christianity did not invent hatred. But not till
Holy Church arose were we burnt at the stake, and not till Holy Russia
arose were our babes torn limb from limb. Oh, it is too much! Delivered
from Egypt four thousand years ago, to be slaves to the Russian Pharaoh
[_He falls as if kneeling on a chair, and, leans his head on the
O God, shall we always be broken on the wheel of history? How long, O
Lord, how long?
Till you are all stamped out, ground into your dirt.
Look up, little Vera! You saw how _papasha_ loves you--how he was ready
to hold out his hand--and how this cur tried to bite it. Be calm--tell
him a daughter of Russia cannot mate with dirt.
Father, I will be calm. I will speak without passion or blindness. I
will tell David the truth. I was never absolutely sure of my love for
him--perhaps that was why I doubted his love for me--often after our
enchanted moments there would come a nameless uneasiness, some vague
instinct, relic of the long centuries of Jew-loathing, some strange
shrinking from his Christless creed----
BARON [_With an exultant cry_]
Ah! She is a Revendal.
[_She rises and walks firmly toward DAVID_]
now, David, I come to you, and I say in the words of Ruth, thy people
shall be my people and thy God my God!
[_She stretches out her hands to DAVID._]
[_He stops as he perceives DAVID remains impassive._]
VERA [_With agonised cry_]
DAVID [_In low, icy tones_]
You cannot come to me. There is a river of blood between us.
Were it seven seas, our love must cross them.
Easy words to you. You never saw that red flood bearing the mangled
breasts of women and the spattered brains of babes and sucklings. Oh!
[_He covers his eyes with his hands. The BARON turns away in
gloomy impotence. At last DAVID begins to speak quietly, almost
It was your Easter, and the air was full of holy bells and the streets
of holy processions--priests in black and girls in white and waving
palms and crucifixes, and everybody exchanging Easter eggs and kissing
one another three times on the mouth in token of peace and goodwill, and
even the Jew-boy felt the spirit of love brooding over the earth, though
he did not then know that this Christ, whom holy chants proclaimed
re-risen, was born in the form of a brother Jew. And what added to the
peace and holy joy was that our own Passover was shining before us. My
mother had already made the raisin wine, and my greedy little brother
Solomon had sipped it on the sly that very morning. We were all at
home--all except my father--he was away in the little Synagogue at which
he was cantor. Ah, such a voice he had--a voice of tears and
thunder--when he prayed it was like a wounded soul beating at the gates
of Heaven--but he sang even more beautifully in the ritual of home, and
how we were looking forward to his hymns at the Passover table----
[_He breaks down. The BARON has gradually turned round under the
spell of DAVID'S story and now listens hypnotised._]
I was playing my cracked little fiddle. Little Miriam was making her
doll dance to it. Ah, that decrepit old china doll--the only one the
poor child had ever had--I can see it now--one eye, no nose, half an
arm. We were all laughing to see it caper to my music.... My father
flies in through the door, desperately clasping to his breast the Holy
Scroll. We cry out to him to explain, and then we see that in that
beloved mouth of song there is no longer a tongue--only blood. He tries
to bar the door--a mob breaks in--we dash out through the back into the
street. There are the soldiers--and the Face----
[_VERA'S eyes involuntarily seek the face of her father, who
shrinks away as their eyes meet._]
VERA [_In a low sob_]
When I came to myself, with a curious aching in my left shoulder, I saw
lying beside me a strange shapeless Something....
[_DAVID points weirdly to the floor, and VERA, hunched forwards,
gazes stonily at it, as if seeing the horror._]
By the crimson doll in what seemed a hand I knew it must be little
Miriam. The doll was a dream of beauty and perfection beside the
mutilated mass which was all that remained of my sister, of my mother,
of greedy little Solomon-- Oh! You Christians can only see that rosy
splendour on the horizon of happiness. And the Jew didn't see rosily
enough for you, ha! ha! ha! the Jew who gropes in one great crimson
[_He breaks down in spasmodic, ironic, long-drawn, terrible
VERA [_Trying vainly to tranquillise him_]
Hush, David! Your laughter hurts more than tears. Let Vera comfort you.
[_She kneels by his chair, tries to put her arms round him._]
Take them away! Don't you feel the cold dead pushing between us?
VERA [_Unfaltering, moving his face toward her lips_]
I should feel the blood on my lips.
My love shall wipe it out.
Love! Christian love!
[_He unwinds her clinging arms; she sinks prostrate on the floor
as he rises._]
For this I gave up my people--darkened the home that sheltered me--there
was always a still, small voice at my heart calling me back, but I
heeded nothing--only the voice of the butcher's daughter.
Let me go home, let me go home.
[_He looks lingeringly at VERA'S prostrate form, but overcoming
the instinct to touch and comfort her, begins tottering with
uncertain pauses toward the door leading to the hall._]
BARON [_Extending his arms in relief and longing_]
And here is _your_ home, Vera!
[_He raises her gradually from the floor; she is dazed, but
suddenly she becomes conscious of whose arms she is in, and
utters a cry of repulsion._]
Those arms reeking from that crimson river!
[_She falls back._]
Don't echo that babble. You came to these arms often enough when they
were fresh from the battlefield.
But not from the shambles! You heard what he called you. Not
soldier--butcher! Oh, I dared to dream of happiness after my nightmare
of Siberia, but you--you----
[_She breaks down for the first time in hysterical sobs._]
Vera! Little Vera! Don't cry! You stab me!
You thought you were ordering your soldiers to fire at the Jews, but it
was my heart they pierced.
[_She sobs on._]
... And my own.... But we will comfort each other. I will go to the Tsar
myself--with my forehead to the earth--to beg for your pardon!... Come,
put your wet face to little father's....
VERA [_Violently pushing his face away_]
I hate you! I curse the day I was born your daughter!
[_She staggers toward the door leading to the interior. At the
same moment DAVID, who has reached the door leading to the hall,
now feeling subconsciously that VERA is going and that his last
reason for lingering on is removed, turns the door-handle. The
click attracts the BARON'S attention, he veers round._]
BARON [_To DAVID_]
[_DAVID turns mechanically. VERA drifts out through her door,
leaving the two men face to face. The BARON beckons to DAVID, who
as if hypnotised moves nearer. The BARON whips out his pistol,
slowly crosses to DAVID, who stands as if awaiting his fate. The
BARON hands the pistol to DAVID._]
You were right!
[_He steps back swiftly with a touch of stern heroism into the
attitude of the culprit at a military execution, awaiting the
DAVID [_Takes the pistol mechanically, looks long and pensively at it as
with a sense of its irrelevance. Gradually his arm droops and lets
the pistol fall on the table, and there his hand touches a string
of his violin, which yields a little note. Thus reminded of it, he
picks up the violin, and as his fingers draw out the broken string
I must get a new string.
[_He resumes his dragging march toward the door, repeating
I must get a new string.
[_The curtain falls._]
_Saturday, July 4, evening. The Roof-Garden of the Settlement
House, showing a beautiful, far-stretching panorama of New York,
with its irregular sky-buildings on the left, and the harbour
with its Statue of Liberty on the right. Everything is wet and
gleaming after rain. Parapet at the back. Elevator on the right.
Entrance from the stairs on the left. In the sky hang heavy
clouds through which thin, golden lines of sunset are just
beginning to labour. DAVID is discovered on a bench, hugging his
violin-case to his breast, gazing moodily at the sky. A muffled
sound of applause comes up from below and continues with varying
intensity through the early part of the scene. Through it comes
the noise of the elevator ascending. MENDEL steps out and hurries
Come down, David! Don't you hear them shouting for you?
[_He passes his hand over the wet bench._]
Good heavens! You will get rheumatic fever!
Why have you followed me?
Get up--everything is still damp.
DAVID [_Rising, gloomily_]
Yes, there's a damper over everything.
Nonsense--the rain hasn't damped your triumph in the least. In fact, the
more delicate effects wouldn't have gone so well in the open air.
Let them shout. Who told you I was up here?
Miss Revendal, of course.
Miss Revendal? How should _she_ know?
She seems to understand your crazy ways.
DAVID [_Passing his hand over his eyes_]
Ah, _you_ never understood me, uncle.... How did she look? Was she pale?
Never mind about Miss Revendal. Pappelmeister wants you--the people
insist on seeing you. Nobody can quiet them.
They saw me all through the symphony in my place in the orchestra.
They didn't know you were the composer as well as the first violin. Now
Miss Revendal has told them.
There! Eleven minutes it has gone on--like for an office-seeker. You
_must_ come and show yourself.
I won't--I'm not an office-seeker. Leave me to my misery.
Your misery? With all this glory and greatness opening before you? Wait
till you're _my_ age----
[_Shouts of "QUIXANO!"_]
You hear! What is to be done with them?
Send somebody on the platform to remind them this is the interval for
Don't be cynical. You know your dearest wish was to melt these simple
souls with your music. And now----
Now I have only made my own stony.
You are right. You are stone all over--ever since you came back home to
us. Turned into a pillar of salt, mother says--like Lot's wife.
That was the punishment for looking backward. Ah, uncle, there's more
sense in that old Bible than the Rabbis suspect. Perhaps that is the
secret of our people's paralysis--we are always looking backward.
[_He drops hopelessly into an iron garden-chair behind him._]
MENDEL [_Stopping him before he touches the seat_]
Take care--it's sopping wet. You don't look backward enough.
[_He takes out his handkerchief and begins drying the chair._]
DAVID [_Faintly smiling_]
I thought you wanted the salt to melt.
It _is_ melting a little if you can smile. Do you know, David, I haven't
seen you smile since that _Purim_ afternoon?
You haven't worn a false nose since, uncle.
[_He laughs bitterly._]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Fancy masquerading in America because twenty-five centuries
ago the Jews escaped a _pogrom_ in Persia. Two thousand five hundred
years ago! Aren't we uncanny?
[_He drops into the wiped chair._]
Better you should leave us altogether than mock at us. I thought it was
your Jewish heart that drove you back home to us; but if you are still
hankering after Miss Revendal----
I'd rather see you marry her than go about like this. You couldn't make
the house any gloomier.
Go back to the concert, please. They have quieted down.
Oh, I'm not playing in the popular after-pieces. Pappelmeister guessed
I'd be broken up with the stress of my own symphony--he has violins
Then you don't want to carry this about.
[_Taking the violin from DAVID'S arms._]
DAVID [_Clinging to it_]
Don't rob me of my music--it's all I have.
You'll spoil it in the wet. I'll take it home.
[_He suddenly catches sight of two figures entering from the
left--FRAU QUIXANO and KATHLEEN clad in their best, and wearing
tiny American flags in honour of Independence Day. KATHLEEN
escorts the old lady, with the air of a guardian angel, on her
slow, tottering course toward DAVID. FRAU QUIXANO is puffing and
panting after the many stairs. DAVID jumps up in surprise,
releases the violin-case to MENDEL._]
They at my symphony!
Mother _would_ come--even though, being _Shabbos_, she had to walk.
But wasn't she shocked at my playing on the Sabbath?
No--that's the curious part of it. She said that even as a boy you
played your fiddle on _Shabbos_, and that if the Lord has stood it all
these years, He must consider you an exception.
You see! She's more sensible than you thought. I daresay whatever I
were to do she'd consider me an exception.
MENDEL [_In sullen acquiescence_]
I suppose geniuses _are_.
KATHLEEN [_Reaching them; panting with admiration and breathlessness_]
Oh, Mr. David! it was like midnight mass! But the misthress was ashleep.
[_Laughs half-merrily, half-sadly._]
Ha! Ha! Ha!
FRAU QUIXANO [_Panting and laughing in response_]
He! He! He! _Dovidel lacht widder._ He! He! He!
[_She touches his arm affectionately, but feeling his wet coat,
utters a cry of horror._]
_Du bist nass!_
_Es ist gor nicht_, Granny--my clothes are thick.
[_She fusses over him, wiping him down with her gloved hand._]
But what brought you up here, Kathleen?
Sure, not the elevator. The misthress said 'twould be breaking the
_Shabbos_ to ride up in it.
But did---did Miss Revendal send you up?
And who else should be axin' the misthress if she wasn't proud of Mr.
David? Faith, she's a sweet lady.
Don't chatter, Kathleen.
But, Mr. Quixano----!
Please take your mistress down again--don't let her walk.
But _Shabbos_ isn't out yet!
There's no harm, Kathleen, in going _down_ in the elevator.
Troth, I'll egshplain to her that droppin' down isn't ridin'.
Yes, tell her dropping down is natural--not _work_, like flying up.
[_Kathleen begins to move toward the stairs, explaining to FRAU
And, Kathleen! You'll get her some refreshments.
KATHLEEN [_Turns, glaring_]
Refrishments, is it? Give her refrishments where they mix the mate with
the butther plates! Oh, Mr. David!
[_She moves off toward the stairs in reproachful sorrow._]
I'll get her some coffee.
Yes, that'll keep her awake. Besides, Pappelmeister was so sure the
people wouldn't understand me, he's relaxing them on Gounod and Rossini.
Pappelmeister's idea of relaxation! _I_ should have given them comic
[_With sudden call to KATHLEEN, who with her mistress is at the
Kathleen! The elevator's _this_ side!
What way can that be, when I came up _this_ side?
You chatter too much.
[_FRAU QUIXANO, not understanding, exit._]
Come this way. Can't you see the elevator?
KATHLEEN [_Perceives FRAU QUIXANO has gone, calls after her in
_Wu geht Ihr_, bedad?...
Houly Moses, _komm' zurick_!
[_Exit anxiously, re-enter with FRAU QUIXANO._]
Begorra, we Jews never know our way.
[_MENDEL, carrying the violin, escorts his mother and KATHLEEN to
the elevator. When they are near it, it stops with a thud, and
PAPPELMEISTER springs out, his umbrella up, meeting them face to
face. He looks happy and beaming over DAVID'S triumph._]
PAPPELMEISTER [_In loud, joyous voice_]
_Nun, Frau Quixano, was sagen Sie?_ Vat you tink of your David?
_Dovid? Er ist meshuggah._
[_She taps her forehead._]
PAPPELMEISTER [_Puzzled, to MENDEL_]
_Meshuggah!_ Vat means _meshuggah_? Crazy?
You've struck it. She says David doesn't know enough to go in out of the
But it's stopped raining, Herr Pappelmeister. You don't want your
[_Shuts it down._]
[_He pushes FRAU QUIXANO'S somewhat shrinking form into the
elevator. KATHLEEN follows, then MENDEL._]
Herr Pappelmeister, we are all your grateful servants.
[_PAPPELMEISTER bows; the gates close, the elevator descends._]
And you won't think _me_ ungrateful for running away--you know my thanks
are too deep to be spoken.
And zo are my congratulations!
Then, don't speak them, please.
But you _must_ come and speak to all de people in America who
To your four connoisseurs?
Oh, please! I really could not meet strangers, especially musical
PAPPELMEISTER [_Half-startled, half-angry_]
Vampires? Oh, come!
Voluptuaries, then--rich, idle aesthetes to whom art and life have no
connection, parasites who suck our music----
PAPPELMEISTER [_Laughs good-naturedly_]
Ha! Ha! Ha! Vait till you hear vat dey say.
I will wait as long as you like.
Den I like to tell you now.
[_He roars with mischievous laughter._]
Ha! Ha! Ha! De first vampire says it is a great vork, but poorly
De second vampire says it is a poor vork, but greatly performed.
De dird vampire says it is a great vork greatly performed.
And de fourz vampire says it is a poor vork poorly performed.
DAVID [_Angry and disappointed_]
You see you _have_ to go by the people after all.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Shakes head, smiling_]
_Nein._ Ven critics disagree--I agree mit mineself. Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_He slaps DAVID on the back._]
A great vork dat vill be even better performed next time! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ten dousand congratulations.
[_He seizes DAVID'S hand and grips it heartily._]
Don't! You hurt me.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Dropping DAVID'S hand,--misunderstanding_]
Pardon! I forgot your vound.
No--no--what does my wound matter? That never stung half so much as
these clappings and congratulations.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Puzzled but solicitous_]
I knew your nerves vould be all shnapping like fiddle-shtrings. Oh, you
You like neider de clappings nor de criticisms,--_was_?
They are equally--irrelevant. One has to wrestle with one's own art,
one's own soul, _alone_!
PAPPELMEISTER [_Patting him soothingly_]
I am glad I did not let you blay in Part Two.
Dear Herr Pappelmeister! Don't think I don't appreciate all your
kindnesses--you are almost a father to me.
And you disobey me like a son. Ha! Ha! Ha! Vell, I vill make your
excuses to de--vampires. Ha! Ha! _Also_, David.
[_He lays his hand again affectionately on DAVID'S right
_Lebe wohl!_ I must go down to my popular classics.
Truly a going down! _Was?_
Oh, it isn't such a descent as all that. Uncle said you ought to have
given them comic opera.
PAPPELMEISTER [_Shuddering convulsively_]
Comic opera.... Ouf!
[_He goes toward the elevator and rings the bell. Then he turns
Vat vas dat vord, David?
PAPPELMEISTER [_Groping for it_]
[_The elevator comes up; the gates open._]
_Megusshah!_ You know.
[_He taps his forehead with his umbrella._]
[_He gives a great roar of laughter._]
Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_He waves umbrella at DAVID._]
Well, don't be ... _meshuggah_.
[_He steps into the elevator._]
Ha! Ha! Ha!
[_The gates close, and it descends with his laughter._]
DAVID [_After a pause_]
Perhaps I _am_ ... _meshuggah_.
[_He walks up and down moodily, approaches the parapet at back._]
Dropping down is indeed natural.
[_He looks over._]
How it tugs and drags at one!
[_He moves back resolutely and shakes his head._]
That would be even a greater descent than Pappelmeister's to comic
opera. One _must_ fly upward--somehow.
[_He drops on the chair that MENDEL dried. A faint music steals
up and makes an accompaniment to all the rest of the scene._]
Ah! the popular classics!
[_His head sinks on a little table. The elevator comes up again,
but he does not raise his head. VERA, pale and sad, steps out and
walks gently over to him; stands looking at him with maternal
pity; then decides not to disturb him and is stealing away when
suddenly he looks up and perceives her and springs to his feet
with a dazed glad cry._]
VERA [_Turns, speaks with grave dignity_]
Miss Andrews has charged me to convey to you the heart-felt thanks and
congratulations of the Settlement.
Miss Andrews is very kind.... I trust you are well.
Thank you, Mr. Quixano. Very well and very busy. So you'll excuse me.
[_She turns to go._]
Certainly.... How are your folks?
VERA [_Turns her head_]
They are gone back to Russia. And yours?
You just saw them all.
Yes--yes--of course--I forgot! Good-bye, Mr. Quixano.
Good-bye, Miss Revendal.
[_He drops back on the chair. VERA walks to the elevator, then
just before ringing turns again._]
I shouldn't advise you to sit here in the damp.
My uncle dried the chair.
Curious how every one is concerned about my body and no one about my
Because your soul is so much stronger than your body. Why, think! It has
just lifted a thousand people far higher than this roof-garden.
Please don't you congratulate me, too! That would be too ironical.
VERA [_Agitated, coming nearer_]
Irony, Mr. Quixano? Please, please, do not imagine there is any irony in
The irony is in all the congratulations. How can I endure them when I
know what a terrible failure I have made!
Failure! Because the critics are all divided? That is the surest proof
of success. You have produced something real and new.
I am not thinking of Pappelmeister's connoisseurs--_I_ am the only
connoisseur, the only one who knows. And every bar of my music cried
"Failure! Failure!" It shrieked from the violins, blared from the
trombones, thundered from the drums. It was written on all the
VERA [_Vehemently, coming still nearer_]
Oh, no! no! I watched the faces--those faces of toil and sorrow, those
faces from many lands. They were fired by your vision of their coming
brotherhood, lulled by your dream of their land of rest. And I could see
that you were right in speaking to the people. In some strange,
beautiful, way the inner meaning of your music stole into all those
DAVID [_Springing up_]
And _my_ soul? What of _my_ soul? False to its own music, its own
mission, its own dream. That is what I mean by failure, Vera. I preached
of God's Crucible, this great new continent that could melt up all
race-differences and vendettas, that could purge and re-create, and God
tried me with his supremest test. He gave me a heritage from the Old
World, hate and vengeance and blood, and said, "Cast it all into my
Crucible." And I said, "Even thy Crucible cannot melt this hate, cannot
drink up this blood." And so I sat crooning over the dead past, gloating
over the old blood-stains--I, the apostle of America, the prophet of the
God of our children. Oh--how my music mocked me! And you--so fearless,
so high above fate--how you must despise me!
I? Ah no!
You must. You do. Your words still sting. Were it seven seas between
us, you said, our love must cross them. And I--I who had prated of seven
Not seas of blood--I spoke selfishly, thoughtlessly. I had not realised
that crimson flood. Now I see it day and night. O God!
[_She shudders and covers her eyes._]
There lies my failure--to have brought it to your eyes, instead of
blotting it from my own.
No man could have blotted it out.
Yes--by faith in the Crucible. From the blood of battlefields spring
daisies and buttercups. In the divine chemistry the very garbage turns
to roses. But in the supreme moment my faith was found wanting. You came
to me--and I thrust you away.
I ought not to have come to you.... I ought not to have come to you
to-day. We must not meet again.
Ah, you cannot forgive me!
Forgive? It is I that should go down on my knees for my father's sin.
[_She is half-sinking to her knees. He stops her by a gesture and
No! The sins of the fathers shall not be visited on the children.
My brain follows you, but not my heart. It is heavy with the sense of
unpaid debts--debts that can only cry for forgiveness.
You owe me nothing----
But my father, my people, my country....
[_She breaks down. Recovers herself._]
My only consolation is, you need nothing.
Nothing but your music ... your dreams.
And your love? Do I not need that?
VERA [_Shaking her head sadly_]
You say that because I have forfeited it.
It is my only consolation, I tell you, that you do not need me. In our
happiest moments a suspicion of this truth used to lacerate me. But now
it is my one comfort in the doom that divides us. See how you stand up
here above the world, alone and self-sufficient. No woman could ever
have more than the second place in your life.
But you have the _first_ place, Vera!
VERA [_Shakes her head again_]
No--I no longer even desire it. I have gotten over that womanly
You torture me. What do you mean?
What can be simpler? I used to be jealous of your music, your prophetic
visions. I wanted to come first--before them all! Now, dear David, I
only pray that they may fill your life to the brim.
But they cannot.
They will--have faith in yourself, in your mission--good-bye.
You love me and you leave me?
What else can I do? Shall the shadow of Kishineff hang over all your
years to come? Shall I kiss you and leave blood upon your lips, cling to
you and be pushed away by all those cold, dead hands?
DAVID [_Taking both her hands_]
Yes, cling to me, despite them all, cling to me till all these ghosts
are exorcised, cling to me till our love triumphs over death. Kiss me,
kiss me now.
VERA [_Resisting, drawing back_]
I dare not! It will make you remember.
It will make me forget. Kiss me.
[_There is a pause of hesitation, filled up by the Cathedral
music from "Faust" surging up softly from below._]
I will kiss you as we Russians kiss at Easter--the three kisses of
[_She kisses him three times on the mouth as in ritual
DAVID [_Very calmly_]
Easter was the date of the massacre--see! I am at peace.
God grant it endure!
[_They stand quietly hand in hand._]
Look! How beautiful the sunset is after the storm!
[_DAVID turns. The sunset, which has begun to grow beautiful just
after VERA'S entrance, has now reached its most magnificent
moment; below there are narrow lines of saffron and pale gold,
but above the whole sky is one glory of burning flame._]
DAVID [_Prophetically exalted by the spectacle_]
It is the fires of God round His Crucible.
[_He drops her hand and points downward._]
There she lies, the great Melting Pot--listen! Can't you hear the
roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth
[_He points east_]
--the harbour where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the
world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a
seething! Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian,--black and
VERA [_Softly, nestling to him_]
Jew and Gentile----
Yes, East and West, and North and South, the palm and the pine, the
pole and the equator, the crescent and the cross--how the great
Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they
all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God. Ah, Vera,
what is the glory of Rome and Jerusalem where all nations and races come
to worship and look back, compared with the glory of America, where all
races and nations come to labour and look forward!
[_He raises his hands in benediction over the shining city._]
Peace, peace, to all ye unborn millions, fated to fill this giant
continent--the God of our _children_ give you Peace.
[_An instant's solemn pause. The sunset is swiftly fading, and
the vast panorama is suffused with a more restful twilight, to
which the many-gleaming lights of the town add the tender poetry
of the night. Far back, like a lonely, guiding star, twinkles
over the darkening water the torch of the Statue of Liberty. From
below comes up the softened sound of voices and instruments
joining in "My Country, 'tis of Thee." The curtain falls
THE MELTING POT IN ACTION
ALIENS ADMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30TH, 1913
African (black) 9,734
Bohemian and Moravian 11,852
Bulgarian, Servian, Montenegrin 10,083
Croatian and Slavonian 44,754
Dalmatian, Bosnian, Herzegovinian 4,775
Dutch and Flemish 18,746
East Indian 233
Italian (north) 54,171
Italian (south) 264,348
Pacific Islander 27
Ruthenian (Russniak) 39,405
West Indian (except Cuban) 2,302
Other peoples 3,512
(I) A RUSSIAN ON ITS REASONS
[From _The Nation_, November 15, 1913]
It is now over thirty years since the crew of the sinking ship
of Russian absolutism first tried this unworthy weapon to save
their failing cause. This was when Plehve organised an anti-Semitic
agitation and Jewish pogroms in 1883 in South Russia,
where the Jews formed almost the only merchant class in the
villages, and where the ignorant peasants, together with some
crafty Russian tradesmen, had a natural grudge against them.
The result was that the prevailing discontent of the masses
was diverted against the Jews. A large public meeting of
protest was organised at that time in the London Mansion
House, the Lord Mayor taking the chair. English public
opinion rightly appreciated the value of this criminal method
of using Jews as scapegoats for political purposes. Now we see
merely a further, and let us hope a final, development of the
same tactics. They have been used on many occasions since
1883. One of the largest Jewish pogroms of the latest series
in Kishineff in 1903 has been clearly traced to the same experienced
hand of Plehve, when the passive attitude of the local
administration and the military was explained by the presence
in the town of a mysterious colonel of the Imperial Gendarmerie
who arrived with secret orders and a large supply of pogrom
literature from St. Petersburg, and who organised the scum of
the town population for the purpose of looting and killing Jews.
The repulsive stories of further pogroms all over the country
immediately after the issue of the constitutional manifesto of
October 17, 1905, are fresh in the memory of the civilised world.
At that time anti-Semitic doctrine was openly preached, not
only against Jews, but against the whole constitutional and
revolutionary upheaval. Pogroms against both were organised
under the same pretext of saving the Tsar, the orthodoxy, and
the Fatherland. Local police and military officials had secret
orders to abstain from interference with the looting and murdering
of Jews or "their hirelings." Processions of peaceful
citizens and children were trampled down by the Cossack
horses, and the Cossacks received formal thanks from high
quarters for their excellent exploits....
N. W. TCHAYKOVSKY.
(II) A NURSE ON ITS RESULTS
[From _Public Health_, Nurses' Quarterly, Cleveland, Ohio, October 1913]
I was a Red Cross nurse on the battlefield.
The words of the chief doctor of the Jewish Hospital of Odessa still
ring in my ears. When the telephone message came, he said, "Moldvanko is
running in blood; send nurses and doctors." This meant that the Pogrom
(massacre) was going on.
Dr. P---- came into the wards with these words: "Sisters, there is no
time for weeping. Those who have no one dependent upon them, come. Put
on your white surgical gowns, and the red cross. Make ready to go on the
battlefield at once. God knows how many of our sisters and brothers are
already killed." Tears were just running down his cheeks as he spoke. In
a minute twelve nurses and eight doctors had volunteered. There was one
Red Cross nurse who was in bed waiting to be operated on. She got up and
made ready too. Nobody could keep her from going with us. "Where my
sisters and brothers fall, there shall I fall," she said, and with these
words, jumped into the ambulance and went on to the City Hospital with
us. There they had better equipment, and they sent out three times as
many nurses as the Jewish Hospital. At the City Hospital they hung
silver crosses about our necks. We wore the silver crosses so that we
would not be recognised as Jewish by the Holiganes (Hooligans).
Then we went to Molorosiskia Street in the Moldvanko (slums). We could
not see, for the feathers were flying like snow. The blood was already
up to our ankles on the pavement and in the yards. The uproar was
deafening but we could hear the Holiganes' fierce cries of "Hooray, kill
the Jews," on all sides. It was enough to hear such words. They could
turn your hair grey, but we went on. We had no time to think. All our
thoughts were to pick up wounded ones, and to try to rescue some
uninjured ones. We succeeded in rescuing some uninjured who were in
hiding. We put bandages on them to make it appear that they were
wounded. We put them in the ambulance and carried them to the hospital,
too. So at the Jewish Hospital we had five thousand injured and seven
thousand uninjured to feed and protect for two weeks. Some were left
without homes, without clothes, and children were even without parents.
My dear reader, I want to tell you one thing before I describe the
scenes of the massacre any further; do not think that you are reading a
story which could not happen! No, I want you to know that everything you
read is just exactly as it was. My hair is a little grey, but I am
surprised it is not quite white after what I witnessed.
The procession of the Pogrom was led by about ten Catholic (Greek)
Sisters with about forty or fifty of their school children. They carried
ikons or pictures of Jesus and sang "God Save the Tsar." They were
followed by a crowd containing hundreds of men and women murderers
yelling "Bey Zhida," which means "Kill the Jews." With these words they
ran into the yards where there were fifty or a hundred tenants. They
rushed in like tigers. Soon they began to throw children out of the
windows of the second, third, and fourth stories. They would take a
poor, innocent six-months-old baby, who could not possibly have done any
harm in this world and throw it down on to the pavement. You can
imagine it could not live after it struck the ground, but this did not
satisfy the stony-hearted murderers. They then rushed up to the child,
seized it and broke its little arm and leg bones into three or four
pieces, then wrung its neck too. They laughed and yelled, so carried
away with pleasure at their successful work.
I do wish a few Americans could have been there to see, and they would
know what America is, and what it means to live in the United States. It
was not enough for them to open up a woman's abdomen and take out the
child which she carried, but they took time to stuff the abdomen with
straw and fill it up. Can you imagine human beings able to do such
things? I do not think anybody could, because I could not imagine it
myself when a few years before I read the news of the massacre in
Kishineff, but now I have seen it with my own eyes. It was not enough
for them to cut out an old man's tongue and cut off his nose, but they
drove nails into the eyes also. You wonder how they had enough time to
carry away everything of value--money, gold, silver, jewels--and still
be able to do so much fancy killing, but oh, my friends, all the time
for three days and three nights was theirs.
The last day and night it poured down rain, and you would think that
might stop them, but no, they worked just as hard as ever. We could wear
shoes no longer. Our feet were swollen, so we wore rubbers over our
stockings, and in this way worked until some power was able to stop
these horrors. They not only killed, but they had time to abuse young
girls of twelve and fourteen years of age, who died immediately after
being operated upon.
I remember what happened to my own class-mates. They were two who came
from a small town to Odessa to become midwives. These girls ran to the
school to hide themselves as it was a government school, and they knew
the Holiganes would not dare to come in there. But the dean of the
school had ordered they should not be admitted, because they were
Jewish, as if they had different blood running in their veins. So when
they came, the watchman refused to open the doors, according to his
instructions. The crowd of Holiganes found them outside the doors of the
hospital. They abused them right there in the middle of the street. One
was eighteen years old and the other was twenty. One died after the
operation and the other went insane from shame.
Some people ask why the Jews did not leave everything and go away. But
how could they go and where could they go? The murderers were scattered
throughout the Jewish quarters. All they could do was hide where they
were in the cellars and garrets. The Holiganes searched them out and
killed them where they were hidden. Others may ask, why did they not
resist the murderers with their knives and pistols? The grown men
organised by the second day. They were helped by the Vigilantes, too,
who brought them arms. The Vigilantes were composed of students at the
University and high-school boys, and also the strongest man from each
Jewish family. There were a good many Gentiles among the students who
belonged to the Vigilantes because they wanted justice. So on the second
day the Vigilantes stood before the doors and gave resistance to the
murderers. Some will ask where were the soldiers and the police? They
were sent to protect, but on arriving, joined in with the murderers.
However, the police put disguises on over their uniforms. Later, when
they were brought to the hospital with other wounded, we found their
uniforms underneath their disguises.
When the Vigilantes took their stations, the scene was like a
battlefield. Bullets were flying from both sides of the Red Cross
carriages. We expected to be killed any minute, but notwithstanding, we
rushed wherever there were shots heard in order to carry away the
wounded. Whenever we arrived we shouted "Red Cross, Red Cross," in order
to help make them realise we were not Vigilantes. Then they would stop
and let us pick up the wounded. They did this on account of their own
The Vigilantes could not stop the butchery entirely because they were
not strong enough in numbers. On the fourth day, the Jewish people of
Odessa, through Dr. P----, succeeded in communicating to the Mayor of a
different State. Soldiers from outside, strangers to the murderers, came
in and took charge of the city. The city was put under martial law until
order could be restored.
On the fifth day the doctors and nurses were called to the cemetery,
where there were four hundred unidentified dead. Their friends and
relatives who came to search for them were crazed and hysterical and
needed our attention. Wives came to look for husbands, parents hunting
children, a mother for her only son, and so on. It took eight days to
identify the bodies and by that time four hundred of the wounded had
died, and so we had eight hundred to bury. If you visit Odessa, you will
be shown two long graves, about one hundred feet long, beside the Jewish
Cemetery. There lie the victims of the massacre. Among them are Gentile
Vigilantes whose parents asked that they be buried with the Jews....
Another case I knew was that of a married man. He left his wife, who was
pregnant, and three children, to go on a business trip. When he got back
the massacre had occurred. His home was in ruins, his family gone. He
went to the hospital, then to the cemetery. There he found his wife with
her abdomen stuffed with straw, and his three children dead. It simply
broke his heart, and he lost his mind. But he was harmless, and was to
be seen wandering about the hospital as though in search of some one,
and daily he grew more thin and suffering.
This story is told in the hope that Americans will appreciate the safety
and freedom in which they live and that they will help others to gain
THE STORY OF DANIEL MELSA
Another example of Nature aping Art is afforded by the romantic story of
Daniel Melsa, a young Russo-Jewish violinist who has carried audiences
by storm in Berlin, Paris and London, and who had arranged to go to
America last November. The following extract from an interview in the
_Jewish Chronicle_ of January 24, 1913, shows the curious coincidence
between his beginnings and David Quixano's:
"Melsa is not yet twenty years of age, but he looks somewhat older. He
is of slight build and has a sad expression, which increased to almost a
painful degree when recounting some of his past experiences. He seems
singularly devoid of any affectation, while modesty is obviously the
keynote of his nature.
"After some persuasion, Melsa put aside his reticence, and, complying
with the request, outlined briefly his career, the early part of which,
he said, was overshadowed by a great tragedy. He was born in Warsaw,
and, at the age of three, his parents moved to Lodz, where shortly after
a private tutor was engaged for him.
"'Although I exhibited a passion for music quite early, I did not
receive any lessons on the subject till my seventh birthday, but before
that my father obtained a cheap violin for me upon which I was soon able
to play simple melodies by ear.'
"By chance a well-known professor of the town heard him play, and so
impressed was he with the talent exhibited by the boy that he advised
the father to have him educated. Acting upon this advice, as far as
limited means allowed, tutors were engaged, and so much progress did he
make that at the age of nine he was admitted to the local Conservatorium
of Professor Grudzinski, where he remained two years. It was at the age
of eleven that a great calamity overtook the family, his father and
sister falling victims to the pogroms.
"Melsa's story runs as follows:
"'It was in June of 1905, at the time of the pogroms, when one afternoon
my father, accompanied by my little sister, ventured out into the
street, from which they never returned. They were both killed,' he added
sadly, 'by Cossacks. A week later I found my sister in a Christian
churchyard riddled with bullets, but I have not been able to trace the
remains of my father, who must have been buried in some out-of-the-way
place. During this awful period my mother and myself lived in imminent
danger of our lives, and it was only the recollection of my playing that
saved us also falling a prey to the vodka-besodden Cossacks.'"
BEILIS AND AMERICA
The close relation in Jewish thought between Russo-Jewish persecution
and America as the land of escape from it is well illustrated by the
recent remarks of the _Jewish Chronicle_ on the future of the victim of
the Blood-Ritual Prosecution in Kieff. "So long as Beilis continues to
live in Russia, his life is unsafe. The Black Hundreds, he himself says,
have solemnly decided on his death, and we have seen, in the not distant
past, that they can carry out diabolical plots of this description with
complete immunity.... He would gladly go to America, provided he was
sure of a living. The condition should not be difficult to fulfil, and
if this victim of a barbarous _regime_--we cannot say latest victim,
for, as we write, comes the news of an expulsion order against 1200
Jewish students of Kieff--should find a home and place under the
sheltering wing of freedom, it would be a fitting ending to a painful
chapter in our Jewish history."
That it is the natural ending even the Jew-baiting Russian organ, the
_Novoe Vremya_, indirectly testifies, for it has published a sneering
cartoon representing a number of Jews crowded on the Statue of Liberty
to welcome the arrival of Beilis. One wonders that the Russian censor
should have permitted the masses to become aware that Liberty exists on
earth, if only in the form of a statue.
THE ALIEN IN THE MELTING POT
Mr. Frederick J. Haskin has recently published in the _Chicago Daily
News_ the following graphic summary of what immigrants have done and do
for the United States:
I am the immigrant.
Since the dawn of creation my restless feet have beaten new paths across
My uneasy bark has tossed on all seas.
My wanderlust was born of the craving for more liberty and a better wage
for the sweat of my face.
I looked towards the United States with eyes kindled by the fire of
ambition and heart quickened with new-born hope.
I approached its gates with great expectation.
I entered in with fine hopes.
I have shouldered my burden as the American man of all work.
I contribute eighty-five per cent. of all the labour in the slaughtering
and meat-packing industries.
I do seven-tenths of the bituminous coal mining.
I do seventy-eight per cent. of all the work in the woollen mills.
I contribute nine-tenths of all the labour in the cotton mills.
I make nine-twentieths of all the clothing.
I manufacture more than half the shoes.
I build four-fifths of all the furniture.
I make half of the collars, cuffs, and shirts.
I turn out four-fifths of all the leather.
I make half the gloves.
I refine nearly nineteen-twentieths of the sugar.
I make half of the tobacco and cigars.
And yet, I am the great American problem.
When I pour out my blood on your altar of labour, and lay down my life
as a sacrifice to your god of toil, men make no more comment than at the
fall of a sparrow.
But my brawn is woven into the warp and woof of the fabric of your
My children shall be your children and your land shall be my land
because my sweat and my blood will cement the foundations of the America
If I can be fused into the body politic, the Melting-Pot will have stood
the supreme test.
_The Melting Pot_ is the third of the writer's plays to be published in
book form, though the first of the three in order of composition. But
unlike _The War God_ and _The Next Religion_, which are dramatisations
of the spiritual duels of our time, _The Melting Pot_ sprang directly
from the author's concrete experience as President of the Emigration
Regulation Department of the Jewish Territorial Organisation, which,
founded shortly after the great massacres of Jews in Russia, will soon
have fostered the settlement of ten thousand Russian Jews in the West of
the United States.
"Romantic claptrap," wrote Mr. A. B. Walkley in the _Times_ of "this
rhapsodising over music and crucibles and statues of Liberty." As if
these things were not the homeliest of realities, and rhapsodising the
natural response to them of the Russo-Jewish psychology, incurably
optimist. The statue of Liberty is a large visible object at the mouth
of New York harbour; the crucible, if visible only to the eye of
imagination like the inner reality of the sunrise to the eye of Blake,
is none the less a roaring and flaming actuality. These things are as
substantial, if not as important, as Adeline Genee and Anna Pavlova, the
objects of Mr. Walkley's own rhapsodising. Mr. Walkley, never having
lacked Liberty, nor cowered for days in a cellar in terror of a howling
mob, can see only theatrical exaggeration in the enthusiasm for a land
of freedom, just as, never having known or never having had eyes to see
the grotesque and tragic creatures existing all around us, he has
doubted the reality of some of Balzac's creations. It is to be feared
that for such a play as _The Melting Pot_ Mr. Walkley is far from being
the [Greek: charieis] of Aristotle. The ideal spectator must have known and felt
more of life than Mr. Walkley, who resembles too much the library-fed
man of letters whose denunciation by Walter Bagehot he himself quotes
without suspecting _de te fabula narratur_. Even the critic, who has to
deal with a refracted world, cannot dispense with primary experience of
his own. For "the adventures of a soul among masterpieces" it is not
only necessary there should be masterpieces, there must also be a soul.
Mr. Walkley, one of the wittiest of contemporary writers and within his
urban range one of the wisest, can scarcely be accused of lacking a
soul, though Mr. Bernard Shaw's long-enduring misconception of him as a
brother in the spirit is one of the comedies of literature. But such
spiritual vitality as Oxford failed to sterilise in him has been largely
torpified by his profession of play-taster, with its divorcement from
reality in the raw. His cry of "romantic claptrap" is merely the
reaction of the club armchair to the "drums and tramplings" of the
street. It is in fact (he will welcome an allusion to Dickens almost as
much as one to Aristotle) the higher Podsnappery. "Thus happily
acquainted with his own merit and importance, Mr. Podsnap settled that
whatever he put behind him he put out of existence.... The world got up
at eight, shaved close at a quarter past, breakfasted at nine, went to
the City at ten, came home at half-past five, and dined at seven."
Mr. Roosevelt, with his multifarious American experience as soldier and
cowboy, hunter and historian, police-captain and President, comes far
nearer the ideal spectator, for this play at least, than Mr. Walkley.
Yet his enthusiasm for it has been dismissed by our critic as
"stupendous _naivete_." Mr. Roosevelt apparently falls under that class
of "people who knowing no rules, are at the mercy of their undisciplined
taste," which Mr. Walkley excludes altogether from his classification of
critics, in despite of Dr. Johnson's opinion that "natural judges" are
only second to "those who know but are above the rules." It is
comforting, therefore, to find Mr. Augustus Thomas, the famous American
playwright, who is familiar with the rules to the point of contempt,
chivalrously associating himself, in defence of a British rival, with
Mr. Roosevelt's "stupendous _naivete_."
"Mr. Zangwill's 'rhapsodising' over music and crucibles and statues of
Liberty is," says Mr. Thomas, "a very effective use of a most potent
symbolism, and I have never seen men and women more sincerely stirred
than the audience at _The Melting Pot_. The impulses awakened by the
Zangwill play were those of wide human sympathy, charity, and
compassion; and, for my own part, I would rather retire from the theatre
and retire from all direct or indirect association with journalism than
write down the employment of these factors by Mr. Zangwill as mere
"As a work of art for art's sake," also wrote Mr. William Archer, "the
play simply does not exist." He added: "but Mr. Zangwill would not dream
of appealing to such a standard." Mr. Archer had the misfortune to see
the play in New York side by side with his more cynical _confrere_, and
thus his very praise has an air of apologia to Mr. Walkley and the great
doctrine of "art for art's sake." It would almost seem as if he even
takes a "work of art" and a "work of art for art's sake" as synonymous.
Nothing, in fact, could be more inartistic. "Art for art's sake" is one
species of art, whose right to existence the author has amply recognised
in other works. (_The King of Schnorrers_ was even read aloud by Oscar
Wilde to a duchess.) But he roundly denies that art is any the less
artistic for being inspired by life, and seeking in its turn to inspire
life. Such a contention is tainted by the very Philistinism it would
repudiate, since it seeks a negative test of art in something outside
art--to wit, purpose, whose presence is surely as irrelevant to art as
its absence. The only test of art is artistic quality, and this quality
_occurs_ perhaps more frequently than it is achieved, as in the words of
the Hebrew prophets, or the vision of a slum at night, the former
consciously aiming at something quite different, the latter achieving
its beauty in utter unconsciousness.
It will be seen from the official table of immigration that the Russian
Jew is only one and not even the largest of the fifty elements that, to
the tune of nearly a million and a half a year, are being fused in the
greatest "Melting Pot" the world has ever known; but if he has been
selected as the typical immigrant, it is because he alone of all the
fifty has no homeland. Some few other races, such as the Armenians, are
almost equally devoid of political power, and, in consequence, equally
obnoxious to massacre; but except the gipsy, whose essence is to be
homeless, there is no other race--black, white, red, or yellow--that has
not remained at least a majority of the population in some area of its
own. There is none, therefore, more in need of a land of liberty, none
to whose future it is more vital that America should preserve that
spirit of William Penn which President Wilson has so nobly
characterised. And there is assuredly none which has more valuable
elements to contribute to the ethnic and psychical amalgam of the people
The process of American amalgamation is not assimilation or simple
surrender to the dominant type, as is popularly supposed, but an
all-round give-and-take by which the final type may be enriched or
impoverished. Thus the intelligent reader will have remarked how the
somewhat anti-Semitic Irish servant of the first act talks Yiddish
herself in the fourth. Even as to the ultimate language of the United
States, it is unreasonable to suppose that American, though fortunately
protected by English literature, will not bear traces of the fifty
languages now being spoken side by side with it, and of which this play
alone presents scraps in German, French, Russian, Yiddish, Irish,
Hebrew, and Italian.
That in the crucible of love, or even co-citizenship, the most violent
antitheses of the past may be fused into a higher unity is a truth of
both ethics and observation, and it was in order to present historic
enmities at their extremes that the persecuted Jew of Russia and the
persecuting Russian race have been taken for protagonists--"the fell
incensed points of mighty opposites."
The Jewish immigrant is, moreover, the toughest of all the white
elements that have been poured into the American crucible, the race
having, by its unique experience of several thousand years of exposure
to alien majorities, developed a salamandrine power of survival. And
this asbestoid fibre is made even more fireproof by the anti-Semitism of
American uncivilisation. Nevertheless, to suppose that America will
remain permanently afflicted by all the old European diseases would be
to despair of humanity, not to mention super-humanity.
Even the negrophobia is not likely to remain eternally at its present
barbarous pitch. Mr. William Archer, who has won a new fame as student
of that black problem, which is America's nemesis for her ancient
slave-raiding, and who favours the creation of a Black State as one of
the United States, observes: "It is noteworthy that neither David
Quixano nor anyone else in the play makes the slightest reference to
that inconvenient element in the crucible of God--the negro." This is an
oversight of Mr. Archer's, for Baron Revendal defends the Jew-baiting of
Russia by asking of an American: "Don't you lynch and roast your
niggers?" And David Quixano expressly throws both "black and yellow"
into the crucible. No doubt there is an instinctive antipathy which
tends to keep the white man free from black blood, though this antipathy
having been overcome by a large minority in all the many periods and all
the many countries of their contiguity, it is equally certain that there
are at work forces of attraction as well as of repulsion, and that even
upon the negro the "Melting Pot" of America will not fail to act in a
measure as it has acted on the Red Indian, who has found it almost as
facile to mate with his white neighbours as with his black. Indeed, it
is as much social prejudice as racial antipathy that to-day divides
black and white in the New World; and Sir Sydney Olivier has recorded
that in Jamaica the white is far more on his guard and his dignity
against the half-white than against the all-black, while in Guiana,
according to Sir Harry Johnston in his great work "The Negro in the New
World," it is the half-white that, in his turn, despises the black and
succeeds in marrying still further whitewards. It might have been
thought that the dark-white races on the northern shore of the
Mediterranean--the Spaniards, Sicilians, &c.--who have already been
crossed with the sons of Ham from its southern shore, would, among the
American immigrants, be the natural links towards the fusion of white
and black, but a similar instinct of pride and peril seems to hold them
back. But whether the antipathy in America be a race instinct or a
social prejudice, the accusations against the black are largely
panic-born myths, for the alleged repulsive smell of the negro is
consistent with being shaved by him, and the immorality of the negress
is consistent with her control of the nurseries of the South. The devil
is not so black nor the black so devilish as he is painted. This is not
to deny that the prognathous face is an ugly and undesirable type of
countenance or that it connotes a lower average of intellect and ethics,
or that white and black are as yet too far apart for profitable fusion.
Melanophobia, or fear of the black, may be pragmatically as valuable a
racial defence for the white as the counter-instinct of philoleucosis,
or love of the white, is a force of racial uplifting for the black. But
neither colour has succeeded in monopolising all the virtues and graces
in its specific evolution from the common ancestral ape, and a
superficial acquaintance with the work of Dr. Arthur Keith teaches that
if the black man is nearer the ape in some ways (having even the remains
of throat-pouches), the white man is nearer in other ways (as in his
And besides being, as Sir Sydney Olivier says, "a matrix of emotional
and spiritual energies that have yet to find their human expression,"
the African negro has obviously already not a few valuable ethnic
elements--joy of life, love of colour, keen senses, beautiful voice, and
ear for music--contributions that might somewhat compensate for the
dragging-down of the white and, in small doses at least, might one day
prove a tonic to an anaemic and art-less America. A musician like
Coleridge-Taylor is no despicable product of the "Melting Pot," while
the negroes of genius whom the writer has been privileged to know--men
like Henry O. Tanner, the painter, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the
poet--show the potentialities of the race even without white admixture;
and as men of this stamp are capable of attracting cultured white
wives, the fusing process, beginning at the top with types like these,
should be far less unwelcome than that which starts with the dregs of
both races. But the negroid hair and complexion being, in Mendelian
language, "dominant," these black traits are not easy to eliminate from
the hybrid posterity; and in view of all the unpleasantness, both
immediate and contingent, that attends the blending of colours, only
heroic souls on either side should dare the adventure of intermarriage.
Blacks of this temper, however, would serve their race better by making
Liberia a success or building up an American negro State, as Mr. William
Archer recommends, or at least asserting their rights as American
citizens in that sub-tropical South which without their labour could
never have been opened up. Meantime, however scrupulously and
justifiably America avoids physical intermarriage with the negro, the
comic spirit cannot fail to note the spiritual miscegenation which,
while clothing, commercialising, and Christianising the ex-African, has
given "rag-time" and the sex-dances that go to it, first to white
America and thence to the whole white world.
The action of the crucible is thus not exclusively physical--a
consideration particularly important as regards the Jew. The Jew may be
Americanised and the American Judaised without any gamic interaction.
Among the Jews _The Melting Pot_, though it has in some instances served
to interpret to each other the old generation and the new, has more
frequently been misunderstood by both. While a distinguished Christian
clergyman wrote that it was "calculated to do for the Jewish race what
'Uncle Tom's Cabin' did for the coloured man," the Jewish pulpits of
America have resounded with denunciation of its supposed solution of the
Jewish problem by dissolution. As if even a play with a purpose could do
more than suggest and interpret! It is true that its leading figure,
David Quixano, advocates absorption in America, but even he is speaking
solely of the American Jews and asks his uncle why, if he objects to the
dissolving process, he did not work for a separate Jewish land. He is
not offering a panacea for the Jewish problem, universally applicable.
But he urges that the conditions offered to the Jew in America are
without parallel throughout the world.
And, in sooth, the Jew is here citizen of a republic without a State
religion--a republic resting, moreover, on the same simple principles of
justice and equal rights as the Mosaic Commonwealth from which the
Puritan Fathers drew their inspiration. In America, therefore, the Jew,
by a roundabout journey from Zion, has come into his own again. It is by
no mere accident that when an inscription was needed for the colossal
statue of Liberty in New York Harbour, that "Mother of Exiles" whose
torch lights the entrance to the New Jerusalem, the best expression of
the spirit of Americanism was found in the sonnet of the Jewess, Emma
_Give me your tired, your poor,_
_Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,_
_The wretched refuse of your teeming shore._
_Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,_
_I lift my lamp beside the golden door._
And if, alas! passing through the golden door, the Jew finds his New
Jerusalem as much a caricature by the crumbling of its early ideals as
the old became by the fading of the visions of Isaiah and Amos, he may
find his mission in fighting for the preservation of the original
Hebraic pattern. In this fight he will not be alone, and intermarriage
with his fellow-crusaders in the new Land of Promise will naturally
follow wherever, as with David Quixano and Vera Revendal, no theological
differences divide. There will be neither Jew nor Greek. Intermarriage,
wherever there is social intimacy, will follow, even when the parties
stand in opposite religious camps; but this is less advisable as leading
to a house divided against itself and to dissension in the upbringing of
the children. It is only when a common outlook has been reached,
transcending the old doctrinal differences, that intermarriage is
denuded of those latent discords which the instinct of mankind divines,
and which keep even Catholic and Protestant wisely apart.
These discords, together with the prevalent anti-Semitism and his own
ingrained persistence, tend to preserve the Jew even in the "Melting
Pot," so that his dissolution must be necessarily slower than that of
the similar aggregations of Germans, Italians, or Poles. But the process
for all is the same, however tempered by specific factors. Beginning as
broken-off bits of Germany, Italy, or Poland, with newspapers and
theatres in German, Italian, or Polish, these colonies gradually become
Americanised, their vernaculars, even when jealously cherished, become a
mere medium for American conceptions of life; while in the third
generation the child is ashamed both of its parents and their lingo, the
newspapers dwindle in circulation, the theatres languish. The reality of
this process has been denied by no less distinguished an American than
Dr. Charles Eliot, ex-President of Harvard University, whose prophecy of
Jewish solidarity in America and of the contribution of Judaism to the
world's future is more optimistic than my own. Dr. Eliot points to the
still unmelted heaps of racial matter, without suspecting--although he
is a chemist--that their semblance of solidity is only kept up by the
constant immigration of similar atoms to the base to replace those
liquefied at the apex. Once America slams her doors, the crucible will
roar like a closed furnace.
Heaven forbid, however, that the doors shall be slammed for centuries
yet. The notion that the few millions of people in America have a moral
right to exclude others is monstrous. Exclusiveness may have some
justification in countries, especially when old and well-populated; but
for continents like the United States--or for the matter of that Canada
and Australia--to mistake themselves for mere countries is an
intolerable injustice to the rest of the human race.
The exclusion of criminals even is as impossible in practice as the
exclusion of the sick and ailing is unchristian. Infinitely more
important were it to keep the gates of _birth_ free from undesirables.
As for the exclusion of the able-bodied, whether illiterate or literate,
that is sheer economic madness in so empty a continent, especially with
the Panama Canal to divert them to the least developed States.
Fortunately, any serious restriction will avenge itself not only by the
stagnation of many of the States, but by the paralysis of the great
liners which depend on steerage passengers, without whom freights and
fares will rise and saloon passengers be docked of their sailing
facilities. Meantime the inquisition at Ellis Island has to its account
cruelties no less atrocious than the ancient Spanish--cruelties that
only flash into momentary prominence when some luxurious music-hall lady
of dubious morals has a taste of the barbarities meted out daily to
blameless and hard-working refugees from oppression or hunger, who,
having staked their all on the great adventure, find themselves hustled
back, penniless and heartbroken, to the Old World.
Whether any country will ever again be based like those of the Old World
upon a unity of race or religion is a matter of doubt. New England, of
course, like Pennsylvania and Maryland, owes its inception to religion,
but the original impulse has long been submerged by purely economic
pressures. And the same motley immigration from the Old World is
building up the bulk of the coming countries. At most, the dominant
language gives a semblance of unity and serves to attract a considerable
stream of immigrants who speak it, as of Portuguese to Brazil, Spaniards
to the Argentine. But the chief magnet remains economic, for Brazil
draws six times as many Italians as Portuguese, and the Argentine two
and a half times as many Italians as Spanish. It may be urged, of
course, that the Italian gravitation to these countries is still a
matter of race, and that, in the absence of an El Dorado of his own, the
Italian is attracted towards States that are at least Latin. But though
Brazil and the Argentine be predominantly Latin, the minority of
Germans, Austrians, and Swiss is by no means insignificant. The great
modern steamship, in fact--supplemented by its wandering and seductive
agent--is playing the part in the world formerly played by invasions and
crusades, while the "economic" immigrant is more and more replacing the
refugee, just as the purely commercial company working under native law
is replacing the Chartered Company which was a law to itself. How small
a part in the modern movement is played by patriotism proper may be seen
from the avidity with which the farmers of the United States cross the
borders to Canada to obtain the large free holdings which enable them to
sell off their American properties. How little the proudest tradition
counts against the environment is shown in the shame felt by
Argentine-born children for the English spoken by their British parents.
The difference in the method of importing the ingredients makes thus no
difference to the action of the crucible. Though the peoples now in
process of formation in the New World are being recruited by mainly
economic forces, it may be predicted they will ultimately harden into
homogeneity of race, if not even of belief. For internationalism in
religion seems to be again receding in favour of national religions (if,
indeed, these were ever more than superficially superseded), at any rate
in favour of nationalism raised into religion.
If racial homogeneity has not yet been evolved completely even in
England--and, of course, the tendency can never be more than
asymptotic--it is because cheap and easy transport and communication,
with freedom of economic movement, have been late developments and are
still far from perfect. Hence, there has never been a thorough shake-up
and admixture of elements, so that certain counties and corners have
retained types and breeds peculiar to them. But with the ever-growing
interconnection of all parts of the country, and with the multiplication
of labour bureaux, these breeds and types will be--alas, for local
colour!--increasingly absorbed in the general mass. For fusion and
unification are part of the historic life-process. "Normans and Saxons
and Danes" are we here in England, yes and Huguenots and Flemings and
Gascons and Angevins and Jews and many other things.
In fact, according to Sir Harry Johnston, there is hardly an ethnic
element that has not entered into the Englishman, including even the
missing link, as the Piltdown skull would seem to testify. The earlier
discovery at Galley Hill showed Britannia rising from the apes with an
extinct Tasmanian type, not unlike the surviving aboriginal Australian.
Then the west of Britain was invaded by a negroid type from France
followed by an Eskimo type of which traces are still to be seen in the
West of Ireland and parts of Scotland. Next came the true Mediterranean
white man, the Iberian, with dark hair and eyes and a white skin; and
then the round-headed people of the Bronze Age, probably Asiatic. And
then the Gael, the long-headed, fair-haired Aryan, who ruled by iron and
whose Keltic vocabulary was tinged with Iberian, and who was followed by
the Brython or Belgian. And, at some unknown date, we have to allow for
the invasion of North Britain by another Germanic type, the Caledonian,
which would seem to have been a Norse stock, foreshadowing the later
Norman Conquest. And, as if this mish-mash was not confusion enough,
came to make it worse confounded the Roman conquerors, trailing like a
mantle of many colours the subject-races of their far-flung Empire.
Is it wonderful if the crucible, capable of fusing such a motley of
types into "the true-born Briton," should be melting up its Jews like
old silver? The comparison belongs to Mr. Walkley, who was more moved by
the beauty of the old and the pathos of its passing than by the
resplendence of the new, and who seemed to forget that it is for the
dramatist to register both impartially--their conflict constituting
another of those spiritual duels which are peculiarly his affair. Jews
are, unlike negroes, a "recessive" type, whose physical traits tend to
disappear in the blended offspring. There does not exist in England
to-day a single representative of the Jewish families whom Cromwell
admitted, though their lineage may be traced in not a few noble
families. Thus every country has been and is a "Melting Pot." But
America, exhibiting the normal fusing process magnified many thousand
diameters and diversified beyond all historic experience, and fed not by
successive waves of immigration but by a hodge-podge of simultaneous
hordes, is, in Bacon's phrase, an "ostensive instance" of a universal
phenomenon. America is _the_ "Melting Pot."
Her people has already begun to take on such a complexion of its own, it
is already so emphatically tending to a new race, crossed with every
European type, that the British illusion of a cousinly Anglo-Saxon
people with whom war is unthinkable is sheer wilful blindness. Even
to-day, while the mixture is still largely mechanical not chemical, the
Anglo-Saxon element is only preponderant; it is very far from being the
While our sluggish and sensual English stage has resisted and even
burked the writer's attempt to express in terms of the theatre our
European problems of war and religion, and to interpret through art the
"years of the modern, years of the unperformed," it remains to be
acknowledged with gratitude that this play, designed to bring home to
America both its comparative rawness and emptiness and its true
significance and potentiality for history and civilisation, has been
universally acclaimed by Americans as a revelation of Americanism,
despite that it contains only one native-born American character, and
that a bad one. Played throughout the length and breadth of the States
since its original production in 1908, given, moreover, in Universities
and Women's Colleges, passing through edition after edition in book
form, cited by preachers and journalists, politicians and Presidential
candidates, even calling into existence a "Melting Pot" Club in Boston,
it has had the happy fortune to contribute its title to current thought,
and, in the testimony of Jane Addams, to "perform a great service to
America by reminding us of the high hopes of the founders of the
Printed in the United States of America.
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