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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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The whole party went up to the first landing, David leading the way. He stopped before a door at the end of the corridor. "This is where the individual makes his habitat," he said with a happy smile as he opened the door.

In the center of a white room, a round-faced baby sat enthroned on a high chair. He had worked off his shoes with his feet, and was now ridding himself of his socks by patiently rubbing his toes against his fat little calves. An elderly nurse stood before him with a bowl of milk porridge. The child beat the mixture merrily with his Spoon. Playing with the food seemed to him much more important than eating it.

"This blockhead is my son Friedrich," cried David. For the first time something like pride rang in his voice.

Young Friedrich let his spoon drop. Kingscourt's white beard had fascinated him. He crowed loudly, and reached out his little arms to the old man. Kingscourt held out his index finger, and the little fellow gripped it.

The others started to leave the room, but Kingscourt stood as if rooted. Friedrich turned at the door and called, "Aren't you coming, Kingscourt?"

"This fellow won't let me go," replied the flattered Kingscourt. And he remained in the nursery for a whole hour.

From that moment dated the friendship between the old misanthrope and the youngest Littwak. What they talked about no one knew, because little Friedrich had not yet learned to speak, and Kingscourt, with the most violent oaths, denied any love whatever for the child. But it leaked out through the servants that Kingscourt often sidled into the nursery when he knew no one would be there, and played the silliest pranks. He would set the child astride on his shoulder, or lie flat on the floor so that he might crawl over him safely. When the baby cried, Kingscourt performed the most amazing dances to entertain him, and sang antiquated German songs in a hoarse voice that he tried to soften. On the very first day of his acquaintance with the little one, Kingscourt seemed rather distraught. at the luncheon table; but with so much to ask and to tell about, his sudden weakness for Fritzchen went unnoticed for the moment.

A delicious luncheon was served in the paneled dining room. Kingscourt was especially taken with the wines. They were all Palestinian, he was told, some of them from David's own vineyards. The first Jewish villages, established in the early 1880's, had, as a matter of fact, begun with viniculture. The best .varieties of grape had been introduced into Palestine, and flourished.

Miriam excused herself before the end of the meal. She had to go to her class. After she had left the room, David replied to a question which Friedrich asked about her. "Yes, Miriam is a teacher at the girls' high school. Her subjects are French and English."

"So the poor girl has to drudge at giving lessons," growled Kingscourt.

David laughingly took up the implied reproach. "She does not do it for a livelihood. I don't have to let my sister starve, thank Heaven. But she has duties and performs them, because she also has rights. In our New Society the women have equal rights with the men."

"All the Devils!"

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