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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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III

Friedrichsheim was a large, pleasant mansion in the Moorish style, set in gardens. Before the entrance lay a stone lion. The cry of the little son of the peddler echoed back to Friedrich through the years. "What Judah once had, that he can have again! Our old God still lives!" And the dream had been fulfilled.

The gatekeeper rang a bell to announce David's arrival. Two footmen awaited them on the steps.

"Have Mrs. Littwak and Miss Miriam meet me downstairs in the drawing room, please," said David to one of the servants. The man hurried up the carpeted stairway of the great hall. The second servant opened the door of the drawing room for them. They entered a high-vaulted room containing magnificent works of art. Rose-colored silk covered the walls. The furniture was of the delicate English style. From the ceiling hung a shimmering electric chandelier of crystal and gold. Plate glass panes let in full daylight through a French door and four windows. The room overlooked a flower-covered parterre with a marble parapet, behind which one caught glimpses of the sapphire blue sea. At either side of the main doorway of the drawing room stood silver candelabra of a man's height. A large portrait of an elderly man and wife in simple, dark clothing hung in a narrow panel.

"My parents!" said David, seeing Friedrich glance at the portrait. "I should certainly not have recognized them," smiled Friedrich. "And who is this?" He pointed to a painting over the great chimney place which portrayed a slender, black-haired young woman of great beauty.

"My sister Miriam. You will judge for yourself in a moment whether it is a good likeness of her." Miriam entered with David's wife, a blooming young matron.

"Sarah! Miriam!" cried David, his voice breaking. "We have most welcome, most unexpected visitors. This day has brought me the greatest happiness of my life. You will never guess, never imagine whom we have the good fortune to entertain. Him we thought dead: our benefactor, our savior!'"

The young women looked bewildered. "But not Friedrich Loewenberg?" questioned the girl. "Even he, Miriam., even he! Here he stands before you!"

She hurried toward Friedrich with outstretched hands, greeting him joyously like an old friend.

He felt strangely moved at hearing his name pronounced in her charming voice. These delightful new people, the magnificent surroundings, threw a spell over him.

"And this gentleman is Mr. Kingscourt, Dr. Loewenberg's friend; therefore our own friend and guest." David told them briefly how he had spied the gentlemen at the quay, and at once recognized Friedrich. As a little boy he had deeply impressed the features of the friend in need upon his mind. Moreover, Friedrich had really changed but little. Of course he could not permit these gentlemen to go to a hotel. They must be his guests.

Sarah wished to have the visitors shown to their rooms immediately, but David undertook to escort them himself. "Let us go upstairs," he said. "I want to present to you a young man who bears the not uncommon name (in our home) of Friedrich."

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