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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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"No, Kingscourt. It's all one to me. In those twenty years on our beloved island, I lost all interest in the doings of the outside world. I have not a friend or relative left alive. What could I inquire about?"

Kingscourt leaned back in his comfortable easy chair, and puffed at a large Havana. "Well, our island did not disagree with you, Fritz. What a green, hollow-chested Jewboy you were when I took you away. Now you are like an oak. You might still be dangerous to the women."

"You are quite mad, Kingscourt," laughed Friedrich. "I think too much of you to infer that you're dragging me to Europe to marry me off."

Kingscourt was convulsed with laughter. "Carrion! Marry you off! You don't think me that kind of an ass, I hope! What should I do with you then?"

"Well, it might be a delicate way of getting rid of me. Haven't you had enough of my society?"

"Now the carrion's fishing for compliments," shouted the old man, who expressed his good humor best through epithets. "You know very well, Fritzchen, that I can no longer live without you. Indeed, I arranged this whole trip for your sake. So that you would be patient with me a few years longer."

"I say, Kingscourt! You know I can't be vulgar-at least, not so vulgar as you can. But, mildly speaking, that is ..."

"Idiotic?"

"Something of the sort...When was I ever impatient? I was happy on our island, completely happy. The twenty years passed over me like a dream. Wasn't it only yesterday you delivered your farewell address to Time somewhere about here? I should never again have left our blessed island, not I. And now you try to make me think you're going to Europe to please me. Old man, you ought to be ashamed to offer such rotten pretexts! You're curious about things over there. It's you that want to go-not I. The best proof that I care no longer for the inhabited world is that during all those years I never once opened a newspaper."

"Nothing remarkable about that. My first rule of health was: No newspapers!"

"Indeed! A few years ago there was a shipment from Raratonga. All the things in the packing case were wrapped in French and English newspapers. For a moment I was tempted to read them. If they were months-or even years-old, they would still contain news for me. That was in 1917, and I had heard nothing from the world for fifteen years. But I rolled the papers into a bundle and burned them unread. And now you say that I yearn to go back to Europe!"

The old man smirked gleefully. "Now that you've exposed my lies, I'll confess. Yes, I should like to know what's become of the vile world-to see whether the human race is still as stupid and base as it was."

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