Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
To get rid of him, Friedrich took a shin button from the basket. The peddler thanked him and went away. Indifferently Friedrich watched as he walked over to the waiter and handed him the recently acquired coin. The waiter pulled out a basket of stale rolls, and gave some to the peddler, who stuffed them hastily into his coat pocket.
Friedrich rose to go. As he passed through the doorway he noticed the freezing boy, who had now joined the peddler. The man gave him the hard rolls. Father and son evidently.
"What are you doing?" asked Friedrich.
"I am giving the boy bread to take home to my wife. This is the first sale I have made today."
"Are you telling the truth?" probed Friedrich.
"I wish it were not the truth," groaned the man. "Wherever I go, they put me out when I try to sell something. If you are a Jew, you might as well throw yourself into the Danube at once."
Though he had so recently resolved to have done with life, Friedrich was interested in this opportunity to be of some service. The affair would divert his thoughts. He posted his letter, and then walked along with the two. He asked the peddler to tell his story.
"We came here from Galicia," said the man. "In Cracow we lived in one room with three other families. We had no source of livelihood. Things can become no worse, I thought, and came here with my wife and children. Here it is no worse; neither is it better:'
"How many children have you?"
The man began to sob. "I had five, but three have died since we came here. Now I have only this boy here and a little girl still at the breast. ..David, don't run so fast!"
The boy turned his head. "Mother was so hungry when I brought her the three heller from this gentleman." "Oh, sir, you were the kind gentleman!"
The peddler tried to kiss Friedrich's hand.
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