Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
Kingscourt and Friedrich remained for a while to watch the merry, agile youngsters. Kingscourt who, in his youth, had been an excellent cricketer and football player, felt his old passion for games stirring within him, and shouted encouragement to the children. He would have liked best to take a hand himself in their play, but Friedrich drew him away. "Come, you old Ottoh crow! Let's go and see how Fritzchen is getting along. There may be some word about Dr. Eichenstamm at the hotel, too."
Fritzchen was well and cheerful, and greeted his friend with a song in which Kingscourt thought he detected his own "ia-i-a-i-a" of Rhodensteiner fame. The old man and the baby were soon engaged in an intimate conversation understood by no one but themselves.
The reports from the presidential mansion were not good. Steineck had sent a brief bulletin to David: "Hopeless!" When the Professor returned to the hotel in the evening, they read the news in his face.
"He died greatly," he told them. "I was with him to the end. He spoke of death. It was painless, he said, if one contemplated it long in advance. 'I feel,' said he, 'my consciousness gradually growing dimmer. I still hear myself speak, but always more feebly. Probably I shall still have blurred thoughts when I can no longer speak. I have already made my farewells to myself. Too bad that I cannot say a last word to all who were so kind to me.' Then he was silent for a while, staring into space. r had friends,' he began again, looking toward me, 'many friends. Friends are life's best treasures....Where are they now? I had many, many friends. Where are they?'...The end was coming. He murmured something with a wistful glance that seemed to say, 'You see, I cannot speak, but I can still think.' At the last he pulled himself together, and spoke the thought he had repeated so often: 'Let the stranger be at home among us!' His eyes glazed, and I closed them."
So died Eichenstamm, president of the New Society.
On the eighth day after President Eichenstamm's impressive funeral, the Congress was called into session to elect a new president.
Almost all of the four hundred men and women delegates had arrived in Jerusalem by the evening before the first session. Heated discussion was going on in numerous clubs and hotels. As far as could be guessed, the choice lay between Dr. Marcus, President of the Academy, and Joseph Levy, managing director of the New Society, whose chances were about equal. Assuming that minor candidates would divert a few votes on the first ballot-so that neither would receive an absolute majority-a second ballot would have to be taken.
Levy had not yet returned from Europe, but was expected hourly. Some said that he would refuse the nomination for the presidency. Others resented this as a prejudicial rumor spread by the partisans of Dr. Marcus. The usual election excitement was in full swing. And there was the usual partisan noise, quarrels, jests, tricks, etc.
On the morning of the opening of the Congress, David came into Friedrich's room much distressed. "You must go to the session without me," he said. "I have received a telegram calling me to Tiberias. My mother..." His eyes grew somber, and his voice caught, "Miriam and I are off at once. My wife and the baby will come later."
"Shall we go with you?" asked Friedrich, all sympathy.
"Ah, there's no help you can give. I fear no one can. Stay for the Congress. It will be an interesting experience for you. As for me, nothing matters now. Let them elect whom they please."
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