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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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Without speaking, Kingscourt handed the telegram to the elder Littwak, who took it listlessly and stared at it. The reading gave him a shock. He drew his hand across his eyes, and read again. Then he handed it to his daughter-in-law. "Read it to me, Sarah!" he asked, his voice in a quiver.

Sarah glanced over the telegram, and flushed deeply. Tears streamed from her eyes as she read it aloud to the old man. Then she jumped up and waved the paper as a signal to her husband.

David came out of the sickroom on tiptoe, and nodded gravely to the visitors, who were standing a little apart. Turning to Sarah, he asked with a slight show of displeasure, "What's the matter?"

The old father had risen, and was approaching David with faltering steps. "David, my child! David, my child!"

Sarah handed him the telegram. He read it calmly, and puckered his forehead. "I shouldn't have believed Reschid could play such pranks. I'm hardly in the mood for them."

"It's no prank," Friedrich assured him, and related the events at the congress to which he had been witness.

"No! No! That's not for me. Quite impossible. I was not even a candidate."

"That's just why they elected you," affirmed Kingscourt.

"I'm not fit for it. There are a hundred men better suited than I. I shall not accept. Please write Marcus at once that I decline.

"His father spoke up firmly. "You will accept, David. You must. ..for your mother's sake. It is the last pleasure you can give her."

David covered his eyes.

Miriam came out of the sickroom. "What's the matter?" she asked. "Mother is uneasy. She wants to know what is happening."

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