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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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Friedrich, though he smiled, was touched by the maternal foolishness of the clever woman. He did not disturb her faith that no one could tear himself away from her baby. Fritzchen really was a sweet, merry little fellow; and it even seemed that Sarah had not in fact overestimated her son's hold on the old gentleman.

For, the very next morning Friedrich surprised Kingscourt in a shameful situation. The old man was crawling about the nursery on all fours with Fritzchen riding on his back. "That fellow will certainly become a cavalryman," he said in confusion, as Friedrich helped him to his feet. "And now go to your nurse, or I'll spank you until your hide cracks!"

Since the threat was accompanied by Kingscourt's friendliest grin, Fritzchen showed no fear, not knowing that he was having commerce with a most ferocious enemy of the human race. The little boy was about to be sent on a visit to his grandparents; but, because Kingscourt was remaining behind, he howled so frightfully that the desperate mother asked him to help her out. What was Kingscourt to do? He offered with a show of resignation to sacrifice himself, but smiled broadly when Fritzchen showed a sunny face again. Let the others follow later if they liked; he'd give in this once to the naughty young villain. A few moments later, Sarah, David and Friedrich followed them along the lake shore. Kingscourt was walking a step or two behind the nurse, who carried the child on her arm. Ignoring the passersby, he played the clown all along the road for the baby's amusement. Kingscourt had grown old without having known the tyrannical witchery of a little child, and had had no idea that a rosy baby could so endanger a man's peace of mind. Therefore he fell unsuspectingly and defensively into a very amusing serfdom. Fritzchenhad named him "Otto." The philologists of their circle derived the name from the "Huh! Hottoh.!" which had marked the beginning of friendly relations between Adalbert von Koenigshoff and Fritzchen Littwak. Be that as it may have been, old Kingscourt was "Otto!" to Fritzchen.

When Fritzchen was awake, "Otto" was not allowed to .concern himself with anything or anyone else. It was therefore not until the rosy cheeked despot had fallen asleep after his lunch that Kingscourt was free to ask for the continuation of Joe Levy's tale. Not all of last night's company were present. Mrs. Gothland, who was head of a nursing society, had gone to visit the sick. The Russian priest had returned to Sepphoris. Father Ignaz, too, was occupied. The Steinecks were to come later in the day. But, as the story could be repeated at any time, there was no need to wait for anyone's return.

David had the machine brought up to the first floor salon adjoining his mother's room. They wheeled in the invalid, who was feeling slightly better. She sat and listened with a wistful smile playing over her waxen features. Miriam squatted on a stool beside her, occasionally feeling her pulse. The older Littwak and Kingscourt made themselves comfortable in great easy chairs. Reschid helped David to adjust the machine, and then slid quietly into a chair. The Reverend Mr. Hopkins took a seat beside Friedrich. The latter, from where he sat, had a view of the lake and the mountains on the farther shore. In a line with the view was Miriam's figure outlined in light.

Joe Levy took up the thread of his story. "...my first measures. Alladino sent favorable reports about his land purchases. Steineck promised that by March he would have a new kind of brick kiln and cement factory going in Haifa. Leonkin and Warszawski reported a splendid spirit in the Zionist districts. Brownstone and Kohn had already arranged to have grain and cattle delivered by the spring.

"We had to think not only of the penniless masses, but of the more well-to-do elements whom we wanted to attract to Palestine. Offers of employment or of direct assistance would not tempt them, of course. Some other inducement had to be found. I followed in the steps of the Khedive Ismail of Egypt, who had offered a free building site to anyone pledging himself to erect a home costing no less than 30,000 francs. I did the same thing, but made the proviso that the land was to revert to the New Society after fifty years (since we had reinstituted the old jubilee year). As everyone knows, it was through the Khedive's clever device that the delightful city of Cairo sprang up. It worked equally well in our case.

"Hardly had our representatives abroad announced the offer than we were deluged with applications from all parts of the world. Wellner worked out a set of model plans for homes in consultation with Fischer. The town plans for Haifa, Jaffa, Tiberias and other places had been prepared by Steineck before he left London. Steineck had also made several model plans for pretty middle-class homes. Simultaneously with the announcement of the free building sites, we had large numbers of copies made of his plans and sent them to prospective home-builders. The latter were not obliged to follow these plans. It was only intended to show them what kind of homes could be put up in Palestine and at what cost.

The allotment of the sites was to take place on the twenty-first of March, the first day of spring. The application lists were closed on the first of March. Whoever was given a site was required to join the general co-operative association of our settlers, and to deposit one-third of the building costs in cash or securities with the New Society. Applicants were required, also, to appear in person or by proxy when the allocations were made. The deposits might be withdrawn as soon as building was actually begun.

"I had Wellner work out the method of allocating the plots. Officials of the New Society were to come to all places where would-be builders were reported, and to arrange for the formation of committees of three, five, or seven persons according to the length of the respective lists. Precedence was given to those willing to build immediately. When there was no difference in time, groups were given the preference over individuals. If all other conditions were equal, lots were cast.

"Our preference for groups was due to our desire everywhere to found strong colonizing nuclei, which would be expected to assume local communal responsibilities themselves. As it worked out, individuals attached themselves to groups even before the allotments were made; and the smaller groups attached themselves to the larger ones. In this way, controversies were avoided, while all due freedom of action was observed.

"There were also rules for the allotment of sites to individuals within the groups. Anyone who was willing to assume a larger share of the local responsibilities, such as laying of streets and roads, sewerage, lighting, water supply and so on, received a correspondingly better or larger site. These just, simple rules were easily observed. The New Society officials recorded the assignments, and their record was countersigned by each local committee.

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