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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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"To Mr. Kingscount." He explained his relation to the old man. He had given his word of honor never to leave him. He could therefore remain in Palestine only as long as his friend chose to stay-and that would probably not be overlong.

Miriam's face brightened. "And if Mr. Kingscourt were to release you from your promise?" she asked.

"He would not if I did not ask him to. But the very request for release would be disloyal and ungrateful to the splendid old chap. He is the best friend I have in the world, and he has only me. What would become of him if I left him?"

"He would have to remain here too," she suggested.

Friedrich thought this quite out of the question, knowing the old man as he did. At best Kingscourt would travel about the country for a few days or weeks, and then there would be no holding him back. He would go on to Europe.

The others had finished their rounds by this time. A simple luncheon was served at Friedmann's house. They sat at table for a while after the end of the meal, talking of Neudorfs past and future. Most of the villagers had returned to their farms on the outskirts after the morning's meeting. There were therefore only a few-those who lived in the village proper-to see them off, which they did with much waving of caps and handkerchiefs.

On either side of the high road were well-tilled fields, vineyards, tobacco plantations, tree nurseries. Nowhere a rod of barren ground. A little way beyond the road a machine was mowing a field of clover. Wagons piled high with dried alfalfa for cattle fodder passed them in both directions.

Miriam explained the natural and agricultural features of the country to Friedrich, who knew little of such things. The summer crops were already peeping out of the ground -maize, sesame, lentils, vetches. Electric plows were being guided over fields still damp from the winter rains in preparation for the next sowing. Workers were carefully transplanting tobacco stalks from the seed beds, throwing away the weaker of the two plants set at each interval. The hop stalks were full grown, and the farmers were propping them up with eucalyptus branches or with wire netting. The branches were not pruned, so as to leave the blossoms protected against the rays of the sun.

Steineck suddenly broke into the conversation with praises of the eucalyptus, a splendid Australian tree of which hundreds of varieties had been brought to Palestine at the beginning of the systematic large-scale colonization. Nothing could have been begun without the eucalyptus, which grew rapidly, drained swamps as if by magic, and served many purposes of use and of ornament. Or, at least, the success achieved could not have come so quickly. Steineck's praises of the tree were unceasing.

"Yes," assented Sarah jestingly. "Mr. Steineck has expressed his gratitude to the eucalyptus by immortalizing it in stone. It is his favorite decoration for his buildings."

The joyousness of the landscape reflected itself in the mood of the party. The springtide was burgeoning on every side. Every meadow and every ditch was covered with a vivid tapestry of tiny blue iris, upstretching, rosy sword-lilies, sun-eyed tulips, gorgeous orchids. Here and there were orchards of apricot and mulberry trees.

The road ran through a romantic defile with weird, rocky caves where the defenders of the Jewish land had hidden from their enemies in the bitter days of the last struggle for independence. David spoke of those days feelingly.

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