Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"Aisle seat, next to the last row. You can see her if you bend over the rail. I am going do now. When you see me in my seat. Her daughter is sitting next to me, and she is next to her daughter. ..It was a very great pleasure indeed to see you again. You are remaining with us, I hope. For some time at least?"
"I don't know. It depends upon circumstances, Mr. Schiffmann!" "Very good. If you want me, you need only send a telephone message. ...My respects, ladies and gentlemen."
He sidled out of the half-open door as he had come in.
"I don't care for that one at all," muttered Kingscourt to Friedrich. The latter shrugged.
The opening of the second act showed Sabbatai holding court in Egypt. There was a great feast, with singing and dancing. But Friedrich saw and heard very little of it all. He was absorbed in old dreams. There she sat, next to Schiffmann. At first he was under an odd illusion. Ernestine Loeffier had not changed in the least in twenty years. Was it possible? There were the same delicate young features, the same tender young form. But he realized his error after a moment. This young girl was not Ernestine, but Ernestine's daughter. Mrs. Weinberger was the fat, faded, gaudily dressed woman in the next seat. She was looking up to him, smiling an invitation, and nodded vigorously in response to his bow.
In that instant something crumbled to dust that had endured through twenty years. His first keen resentment had mellowed in the solitude of Kingscourt's island, and he had recalled her with a certain wistfulness. In the end, his love dissolved in a rosy twilight. But in his dreams he had always seen her in her youthful form. His sudden glimpse of the result of the natural process of aging was a shock. He felt a sense of shame, but also of relief. That he should have been heartsick over this woman! Was it possible!
He was awakened from his reverie by a gentle voice. "How did you like it?" Miriam was asking.
"Thank God it's over!" he replied absentmindedly.
"Did you think the second act as bad as all that?"
He was embarrassed. "No, Miss Miriam. I did not mean the second act. I was thinking of an old thing I had imagined to be still alive. But it is dead."
She gave him a surprised glance, but asked no more questions.
A gentleman entered the box, and was introduced to the newcomers as Dr. Werkin, secretary to the President. He was a slender man, with a short, brownish-gray beard. His keen eyes looked out from behind a pair of gleaming spectacles. He presented the President's compliments, with an invitation to Mr. Kingscourt and Dr. Loewenberg to visit him in his box.
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