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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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The stranger impulsively fell upon Friedrich's neck and kissed him upon both cheeks. Then he released him and dried the tears from his face. He was a tall, vigorous man of thirty, whose sunburnt face was framed in a short black beard.

"And who are you, sir?" inquired Friedrich, when he had recovered from the impetuous greeting.

"I? Oh, you won't remember me. My name is David Littwak."

"The little fellow from the Cafe Birkenreis?"

"Yes, sir. He whom you rescued from starvation, with his parents and sister."

"Please don't mention it," parried Friedrich.

"On the contrary, it will be mentioned a great deal. Whatever I am and whatever I have, I owe to you. Now you are my guest. This gentleman as well, if he is a friend of yours."

"This is the best and only friend I have in the world. Mr. Kingscourt'"

II

Before they had fully realized what was happening, Kingscourt and Friedrich had let David lead them up from the dam to street level. Only then did they receive a full impression of the wonderful city and its traffic. Before them lay an immense square bordered by the high-arched arcades of stately buildings. In the middle of the square was a fenced-in garden of palm trees. Both sides of the streets running into the square were also bordered with palms, which seemed to be common in this region, the rows of trees served a double purpose. They gave shade by day, and at night shed light from electric lamps which hung from them like enormous glass fruits. This was the first detail which Kingscourt pointed out enthusiastically. Then he proceeded to ask many questions about the great edifices that surrounded the square. David replied that they housed colonial banks and the branch offices of European shipping companies. It was for that reason that the square was called "The Place of the Nations." The name was apt not only because the buildings were devoted to international commerce, but because the "Place of the Nations" was thronged with people from all parts of the world. Brilliant Oriental robes mingled with the sober costumes of the Occident, but the latter predominated. There were many Chinese, Persians and Arabs in the streets, but the city itself seemed thoroughly European. One might easily imagine himself in some Italian port. The brilliant blue of sky and sea was reminiscent of the Riviera, but the buildings were much cleaner and more modern. The traffic, though lively, was far less noisy. The quiet was due partly to the dignified behavior of the many Orientals, but also to the absence of draught animals from the streets. There was no hoof beat of horses, no crackling of whips, no rumbling of wheels. The pavements were as smooth as the footways. Automobiles speeded noiselessly by on rubber tires, with only occasional toots of warning. An overhead rumbling caused the travelers to glance upward.

"All the Devils!" shouted Kingscourt. "What's that?" He pointed to a large iron car running along the tops of the palms, whose passengers were looking down into the street. The wheels of the car were not underneath, but on its roof; it moved along a powerful iron rail.

"An electric overhead train," explained Littwak. "You must have seen them in Europe."

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