HotFreeBooks.com
The Melting-Pot
by Israel Zangwill
Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse

BARONESS Ah, not boz at vonce, but——

VERA And do you think I would take another woman's leavings? No, not even if she were dead.

BARONESS You are insulting!

VERA I beg your pardon—I wasn't even thinking of you. Father, to put an end at once to this absurd conversation, let me inform you I am already engaged.

BARON [Trembling, hoarse] By name, David.

VERA Yes—David Quixano.

BARON A Jew!

VERA How did you know? Yes, he is a Jew, a noble Jew.

BARON A Jew noble! [He laughs bitterly.]

VERA Yes—even as you esteem nobility—by pedigree. In Spain his ancestors were hidalgos, favourites at the Court of Ferdinand and Isabella; but in the great expulsion of 1492 they preferred exile in Poland to baptism.

BARON And you, a Revendal, would mate with an unbaptized dog?

VERA Dog! You call my husband a dog!

BARON Husband! God in heaven—are you married already?

VERA No! But not being unemployed millionaires like Mr. Davenport, we hold even our troth eternal. [Calmer] Our poverty, not your prejudice, stands in the way of our marriage. But David is a musician of genius, and some day——

BARONESS A fiddler in a beer-hall! She prefers a fiddler to a millionaire of ze first families of America!

VERA [Contemptuously] First families! I told you David's family came to Poland in 1492—some months before America was discovered.

BARON Christ save us! You have become a Jewess!

VERA No more than David has become a Christian. We were already at one—all honest people are. Surely, father, all religions must serve the same God—since there is only one God to serve.

BARONESS But ze girl is an ateist!

BARON Silence, Katusha! Leave me to deal with my daughter. [Changing tone to pathos, taking her face between his hands]

Oh, Vera, Verotschka, my dearest darling, I had sooner you had remained buried in Siberia than that—— [He breaks down.]

VERA [Touched, sitting beside him] For you, father, I was as though buried in Siberia. Why did you come here to stab yourself afresh?

BARON I wish to God I had come here earlier. I wish I had not been so nervous of Russian spies. Ah, Verotschka, if you only knew how I have pored over the newspaper pictures of you, and the reports of your life in this Settlement!

VERA You asked me not to send letters.

BARON I know, I know—and yet sometimes I felt as if I could risk Siberia myself to read your dear, dainty handwriting again.

VERA [Still more softened] Father, if you love me so much, surely you will love David a little too—for my sake.

BARON [Dazed] I—love—a Jew? Impossible. [He shudders.]

VERA [Moving away, icily] Then so is any love from me to you. You have chosen to come back into my life, and after our years of pain and separation I would gladly remember only my old childish affection. But not if you hate David. You must make your choice.

BARON [Pitifully] Choice? I have no choice. Can I carry mountains? No more can I love a Jew. [He rises resolutely.]

BARONESS [Who has turned away, fretting and fuming, turns back to her husband, clapping her hands] Bravo!

VERA [Going to him again, coaxingly] I don't ask you to carry mountains, but to drop the mountains you carry—the mountains of prejudice. Wait till you see him.

BARON I will not see him.

VERA Then you will hear him—he is going to make music for all the world. You can't escape him, papasha, you with your love of music, any more than you escaped Rubinstein.

BARONESS Rubinstein vas not a Jew.

VERA Rubinstein was a Jewish boy-genius, just like my David.

BARONESS But his parents vere baptized soon after his birth. I had it from his patroness, ze Grande Duchesse Helena Pavlovna.

VERA And did the water outside change the blood within? Rubinstein was our Court pianist and was decorated by the Tsar. And you, the Tsar's servant, dare to say you could not meet a Rubinstein.

BARON [Wavering] I did not say I could not meet a Rubinstein.

VERA You practically said so. David will be even greater than Rubinstein. Come, father, I'll telephone for him; he is only round the corner.

BARONESS [Excitedly] Ve vill not see him!

VERA [Ignoring her] He shall bring his violin and play to you. There! You see, little father, you are already less frowning—now take that last wrinkle out of your forehead. [She caresses his forehead.] Never mind! David will smooth it out with his music as his Biblical ancestor smoothed that surly old Saul.

BARONESS Ve vill not hear him!

BARON Silence, Katusha! Oh, my little Vera, I little thought when I let you study music at Petersburg——

VERA [Smiling wheedlingly] That I should marry a musician. But you see, little father, it all ends in music after all. Now I will go and perform on the telephone, I'm not angel enough to bear one in here. [She goes toward the door of the hall, smiling happily.]

BARON [With a last agonized cry of resistance] Halt!

VERA [Turning, makes mock military salute] Yes, papasha.

BARON [Overcome by her roguish smile] You—I—he—do you love this J—this David so much?

VERA [Suddenly tragic] It would kill me to give him up. [Resuming smile] But don't let us talk of funerals on this happy day of sunshine and reunion. [She kisses her hand to him and exit toward the hall.]

BARONESS [Angrily] You are in her hands as vax!

BARON She is the only child I have ever had, Katusha. Her baby arms curled round my neck; in her baby sorrows her wet face nestled against little father's. [He drops on a chair, and leans his head on the table.]

BARONESS [Approaching tauntingly] So you vill have a Jew son-in-law!

BARON You don't know what it meant to me to feel her arms round me again.

BARONESS And a hook-nosed brat to call you grandpapa, and nestle his greasy face against yours.

BARON [Banging his fist on the table] Don't drive me mad! [His head drops again.]

BARONESS Then drive me home—I vill not meet him.... Alexis! [She taps him on the shoulder with her parasol. He does not move.] Alexis Ivanovitch! Do you not listen!... [She stamps her foot.] Zen I go to ze hotel alone. [She walks angrily toward the hall. Just before she reaches the door, it opens, and the servant ushers in HERR PAPPELMEISTER with his umbrella. The BARONESS'S tone changes instantly to a sugared society accent.] How do you do, Herr Pappelmeister? [She extends her hand, which he takes limply.] You don't remember me? Non? [Exit servant.] Ve vere with Mr. Quincy Davenport at Wiesbaden—-ze Baroness Revendal.

PAPPELMEISTER So! [He drops her hand.]

BARONESS Yes, it vas ze Baron's entousiasm for you zat got you your present position.

PAPPELMEISTER [Arching his eyebrows] So!

BARONESS Yes—zere he is! [She turns toward the BARON.] Alexis, rouse yourself! [She taps him with her parasol.] Zis American air makes ze Baron so sleepy.

BARON [Rises dazedly and bows] Charmed to meet you, Herr——

BARONESS Pappelmeister! You remember ze great Pappelmeister.

BARON [Waking up, becomes keen] Ah, yes, yes, charmed—why do you never bring your orchestra to Russia, Herr Pappelmeister?

PAPPELMEISTER [Surprised] Russia? It never occurred to me to go to Russia—she seems so uncivilised.

BARONESS [Angry] Uncivilised! Vy, ve have ze finest restaurants in ze vorld! And ze best telephones!

PAPPELMEISTER So?

BARONESS Yes, and the most beautiful ballets—Russia is affrightfully misunderstood. [She sweeps away in burning indignation. PAPPELMEISTER murmurs in deprecation. Re-enter VERA from the hall. She is gay and happy.]

VERA He is coming round at once—— [She utters a cry of pleased surprise.] Herr Pappelmeister! This is indeed a pleasure! [She gives PAPPELMEISTER her hand, which he kisses.]

BARONESS [Sotto voce to the BARON] Let us go before he comes. [The BARON ignores her, his eyes hungrily on VERA.]

PAPPELMEISTER [To VERA] But I come again—you have visitors.

VERA [Smiling] Only my father and——

PAPPELMEISTER [Surprised] Your fader? Ach so! [He taps his forehead.] Revendal!

BARONESS [Sotto voce to the BARON] I vill not meet a Jew, I tell you.

PAPPELMEISTER But you vill vant to talk to your fader, and all I vant is Mr. Quixano's address. De Irish maiden at de house says de bird is flown.

VERA [Gravely] I don't know if I ought to tell you where the new nest is——

PAPPELMEISTER [Disappointed] Ach!

VERA [Smiling] But I will produce the bird.

PAPPELMEISTER [Looks round] You vill broduce Mr. Quixano?

VERA [Merrily] By clapping my hands. [Mysteriously] I am a magician.

BARON [Whose eyes have been glued on VERA] You are, indeed! I don't know how you have bewitched me. [The BARONESS glares at him.]

VERA Dear little father! [She crosses to him and strokes his hair.] Herr Pappelmeister, tell father about Mr. Quixano's music.

PAPPELMEISTER [Shaking his head] Music cannot be talked about.

VERA [Smiling] That's a nasty one for the critics. But tell father what a genius Da—Mr. Quixano is.

BARONESS [Desperately intervening] Good-bye, Vera. [She thrusts out her hand, which VERA takes.] I have a headache. You muz excuse me. Herr Pappelmeister, au plaisir de vous revoir. [PAPPELMEISTER hastens to the door, which he holds open. The BARONESS turns and glares at the BARON.]

BARON [Agitated] Let me see you to the auto——

BARONESS You could see me to ze hotel almost as quick.

BARON [To VERA] I won't say good-bye, Verotschka—I shall be back. [He goes toward the hall, then turns.] You will keep your Rubinstein waiting? [VERA smiles lovingly.]

BARONESS You are keeping me vaiting. [He turns quickly. Exeunt BARON and BARONESS.]

PAPPELMEISTER And now broduce Mr. Quixano!

VERA Not so fast. What are you going to do with him?

PAPPELMEISTER Put him in my orchestra!

VERA [Ecstatic] Oh, you dear! [Then her tone changes to disappointment.] But he won't go into Mr. Davenport's orchestra.

PAPPELMEISTER It is no more Mr. Davenport's orchestra. He fired me, don't you remember? Now I boss—how say you in American?

VERA [Smiling] Your own show.

PAPPELMEISTER Ja, my own band. Ven I left dat comic opera millionaire, dey all shtick to me almost to von man.

VERA How nice of them!

PAPPELMEISTER All egsept de Christian—he vas de von man. He shtick to de millionaire. So I lose my brincipal first violin.

VERA And Mr. Quixano is to—oh, how delightful! [She claps her hands girlishly.]

PAPPELMEISTER [Looks round mischievously] Ach, de magic failed.

VERA [Puzzled] Eh!

PAPPELMEISTER You do not broduce him. You clap de hands—but you do not broduce him. Ha! Ha! Ha! [He breaks into a great roar of genial laughter.]

VERA [Chiming in merrily] Ha! Ha! Ha! But I said I have to know everything first. Will he get a good salary?

PAPPELMEISTER Enough to keep a vife and eight children!

VERA [Blushing] But he hasn't a——

PAPPELMEISTER No, but de Christian had—he get de same—I mean salary, ha! ha! ha! not children. Den he can be independent—vedder de fool-public like his American symphony or not—nicht wahr?

VERA You are good to us—— [Hastily correcting herself] to Mr. Quixano.

PAPPELMEISTER [Smiling] And aldough you cannot broduce him, I broduce his symphony. Was?

VERA Oh, Herr Pappelmeister! You are an angel.

PAPPELMEISTER Nein, nein, mein liebes Kind! I fear I haf not de correct shape for an angel. [He laughs heartily. A knock at the door from the hall.]

VERA [Merrily] Now I clap my hands. [She claps.] Come! [The door opens.] Behold him! [She makes a conjurer's gesture. DAVID, bare-headed, carrying his fiddle, opens the door, and stands staring in amazement at PAPPELMEISTER.]

DAVID I thought you asked me to meet your father.

PAPPELMEISTER She is a magician. She has changed us. [He waves his umbrella.] Hey presto, was? Ha! Ha! Ha! [He goes to DAVID, and shakes hands.] Und wie geht's? I hear you've left home.

DAVID Yes, but I've such a bully cabin——

PAPPELMEISTER [Alarmed] You are sailing avay?

VERA [Laughing] No, no—that's only his way of describing his two-dollar-a-month garret.

DAVID Yes—my state-room on the top deck!

VERA [Smiling] Six foot square.

DAVID But three other passengers aren't squeezed in, and it never pitches and tosses. It's heavenly.

PAPPELMEISTER [Smiling] And from heaven you flew down to blay in dat beer-hall. Was? [DAVID looks surprised.] I heard you.

DAVID You! What on earth did you go there for?

PAPPELMEISTER Vat on earth does one go to a beer-hall for? Ha! Ha! Ha! For vawter! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ven I hear you blay, I dink mit myself—if my blans succeed and I get Carnegie Hall for Saturday Symphony Concerts, dat boy shall be one of my first violins. Was? [He slaps DAVID on the left shoulder.]

DAVID [Overwhelmed, ecstatic, yet wincing a little at the slap on his wound.] Be one of your first—— [Remembering] Oh, but it is impossible.

VERA [Alarmed] Mr. Quixano! You must not refuse.

DAVID But does Herr Pappelmeister know about the wound in my shoulder?

PAPPELMEISTER [Agitated] You haf been vounded?

DAVID Only a legacy from Russia—but it twinges in some weathers.

PAPPELMEISTER And de pain ubsets your blaying?

DAVID Not so much the pain—it's all the dreadful memories—

VERA [Alarmed] Don't talk of them.

DAVID I must explain to Herr Pappelmeister—it wouldn't be fair. Even now [Shuddering] there comes up before me the bleeding body of my mother, the cold, fiendish face of the Russian officer, supervising the slaughter——

VERA Hush! Hush!

DAVID [Hysterically] Oh, that butcher's face—there it is—hovering in the air, that narrow, fanatical forehead, that——

PAPPELMEISTER [Brings down his umbrella with a bang] Schluss! No man ever dared break down under me. My baton will beat avay all dese faces and fancies. Out with your violin! [He taps his umbrella imperiously on the table.] Keinen Mut verlieren! [DAVID takes out his violin from its case and puts it to his shoulder, PAPPELMEISTER keeping up a hypnotic torrent of encouraging German cries.] Also! Fertig! Anfangen! [He raises and waves his umbrella like a baton.] Von, dwo, dree, four——

DAVID [With a great sigh of relief] Thanks, thanks—they are gone already.

PAPPELMEISTER Ha! Ha! Ha! You see. And ven ve blay your American symphony——

DAVID [Dazed] You will play my American symphony?

VERA [Disappointed] Don't you jump for joy?

DAVID [Still dazed but ecstatic] Herr Pappelmeister! [Changing back to despondency] But what certainty is there your Carnegie Hall audience would understand me? It would be the same smart set. [He drops dejectedly into a chair and lays down his violin.]

PAPPELMEISTER Ach, nein. Of course, some—ve can't keep peoble out merely because dey pay for deir seats. Was? [He laughs.]

DAVID It was always my dream to play it first to the new immigrants—those who have known the pain of the old world and the hope of the new.

PAPPELMEISTER Try it on the dog. Was?

DAVID Yes—on the dog that here will become a man!

PAPPELMEISTER [Shakes his head] I fear neider dogs nor men are a musical breed.

DAVID The immigrants will not understand my music with their brains or their ears, but with their hearts and their souls.

VERA Well, then, why shouldn't it be done here—on our Roof-Garden?

DAVID [Jumping up] A Bas-Kol! A Bas-Kol!

VERA What are you talking?

DAVID Hebrew! It means a voice from heaven.

VERA Ah, but will Herr Pappelmeister consent?

PAPPELMEISTER [Bowing] Who can disobey a voice from heaven?... But ven?

VERA On some holiday evening.... Why not the Fourth of July?

DAVID [Still more ecstatic] Another Bas-Kol!... My American Symphony! Played to the People! Under God's sky! On Independence Day! With all the—— [Waving his hand expressively, sighs voluptuously.] That will be too perfect.

PAPPELMEISTER [Smiling] Dat has to be seen. You must permit me to invite——

DAVID [In horror] Not the musical critics!

PAPPELMEISTER [Raising both hands with umbrella in equal horror] Gott bewahre! But I'd like to invite all de persons in New York who really undershtand music.

VERA Splendid! But should we have room?

PAPPELMEISTER Room? I vant four blaces.

VERA [Smiling] You are severe! Mr. Davenport was right.

PAPPELMEISTER [Smiling] Perhaps de oders vill be out of town. Also! [Holding out his hand to DAVID] You come to Carnegie to-morrow at eleven. Yes? Fraeulein. [Kisses her hand.] Auf Wiedersehen! [Going] On de Roof-Garden—nicht wahr?

VERA [Smiling] Wind and weather permitting.

PAPPELMEISTER I haf alvays mein umbrella. Was? Ha! Ha! Ha!

VERA [Murmuring] Isn't he a darling? Isn't he——?

PAPPELMEISTER [Pausing suddenly] But ve never settled de salary.

DAVID Salary! [He looks dazedly from one to the other.] For the honour of playing in your orchestra!

PAPPELMEISTER Shylock!!... Never mind—ve settle de pound of flesh to-morrow. Lebe wohl! [Exit, the door closes.]

VERA [Suddenly miserable] How selfish of you, David!

DAVID Selfish, Vera?

VERA Yes—not to think of your salary. It looks as if you didn't really love me.

DAVID Not love you? I don't understand.

VERA [Half in tears] Just when I was so happy to think that now we shall be able to marry.

DAVID Shall we? Marry? On my salary as first violin?

VERA Not if you don't want to.

DAVID Sweetheart! Can it be true? How do you know?

VERA [Smiling] I'm not a Jew. I asked.

DAVID My guardian angel! [Embracing her. He sits down, she lovingly at his feet.]

VERA [Looking up at him] Then you do care?

DAVID What a question!

VERA And you don't think wholly of your music and forget me?

DAVID Why, you are behind all I write and play!

VERA [With jealous passion] Behind? But I want to be before! I want you to love me first, before everything.

DAVID I do put you before everything.

VERA You are sure? And nothing shall part us?

DAVID Not all the seven seas could part you and me.

VERA And you won't grow tired of me—not even when you are world-famous——?

DAVID [A shade petulant] Sweetheart, considering I should owe it all to you——

VERA [Drawing his head down to her breast] Oh, David! David! Don't be angry with poor little Vera if she doubts, if she wants to feel quite sure. You see father has talked so terribly, and after all I was brought up in the Greek Church, and we oughtn't to cause all this suffering unless——

DAVID Those who love us must suffer, and we must suffer in their suffering. It is live things, not dead metals, that are being melted in the Crucible.

VERA Still, we ought to soften the suffering as much as——

DAVID Yes, but only Time can heal it.

VERA [With transition to happiness] But father seems half-reconciled already! Dear little father, if only he were not so narrow about Holy Russia!

DAVID If only my folks were not so narrow about Holy Judea! But the ideals of the fathers shall not be foisted on the children. Each generation must live and die for its own dream.

VERA Yes, David, yes. You are the prophet of the living present. I am so happy. [She looks up wistfully.] You are happy, too?

DAVID I am dazed—I cannot realise that all our troubles have melted away—it is so sudden.

VERA You, David? Who always see everything in such rosy colours? Now that the whole horizon is one great splendid rose, you almost seem as if gazing out toward a blackness——

DAVID We Jews are cheerful in gloom, mistrustful in joy. It is our tragic history——

VERA But you have come to end the tragic history; to throw off the coils of the centuries.

DAVID [Smiling again] Yes, yes, Vera. You bring back my sunnier self. I must be a pioneer on the lost road of happiness. To-day shall be all joy, all lyric ecstasy. [He takes up his violin.] Yes, I will make my old fiddle-strings burst with joy! [He dashes into a jubilant tarantella. After a few bars there is a knock at the door leading from the hall; their happy faces betray no sign of hearing it; then the door slightly opens, and BARON REVENDAL'S head looks hesitatingly in. As DAVID perceives it, his features work convulsively, his string breaks with a tragic snap, and he totters backward into VERA'S arms. Hoarsely] The face! The face!

VERA David—my dearest!

DAVID [His eyes closed, his violin clasped mechanically] Don't be anxious—I shall be better soon—I oughtn't to have talked about it—the hallucination has never been so complete.

VERA Don't speak—rest against Vera's heart—till it has passed away. [The BARON comes dazedly forward, half with a shocked sense of VERA'S impropriety, half to relieve her of her burden. She motions him back.] This is the work of your Holy Russia.

BARON [Harshly] What is the matter with him? [DAVID'S violin and bow drop from his grasp and fall on the table.]

DAVID The voice! [He opens his eyes, stares frenziedly at the BARON, then struggles out of VERA'S arms.]

VERA [Trying to stop him] Dearest——

DAVID Let me go. [He moves like a sleep-walker toward the paralysed BARON, puts out his hand, and testingly touches the face.]

BARON [Shuddering back] Hands off!

DAVID [With a great cry] A-a-a-h! It is flesh and blood. No, it is stone—the man of stone! Monster! [He raises his hand frenziedly.]

BARON [Whipping out his pistol] Back, dog! [VERA darts between them with a shriek.]

DAVID [Frozen again, surveying the pistol stonily] Ha! You want my life, too. Is the cry not yet loud enough?

BARON The cry?

DAVID [Mystically] Can you not hear it? The voice of the blood of my brothers crying out against you from the ground? Oh, how can you bear not to turn that pistol against yourself and execute upon yourself the justice which Russia denies you?

BARON Tush! [Pocketing the pistol a little shamefacedly.]

VERA Justice on himself? For what?

DAVID For crimes beyond human penalty, for obscenities beyond human utterance, for——

VERA You are raving.

DAVID Would to heaven I were!

VERA But this is my father.

DAVID Your father!... God! [He staggers.]

BARON [Drawing her to him] Come, Vera, I told you——

VERA [Frantically, shrinking back] Don't touch me!

BARON [Starting back in amaze] Vera!

VERA [Hoarsely] Say it's not true.

BARON What is not true?

VERA What David said. It was the mob that massacred—you had no hand in it.

BARON [Sullenly] I was there with my soldiers.

DAVID [Leaning, pale, against a chair, hisses] And you looked on with that cold face of hate—while my mother—my sister——

BARON [Sullenly] I could not see everything.

DAVID Now and again you ordered your soldiers to fire——

VERA [In joyous relief] Ah, he did check the mob—he did tell his soldiers to fire.

DAVID At any Jew who tried to defend himself.

VERA Great God! [She falls on the sofa and buries her head on the cushion, moaning] Is there no pity in heaven?

DAVID There was no pity on earth.

BARON It was the People avenging itself, Vera. The People rose like a flood. It had centuries of spoliation to wipe out. The voice of the People is the voice of God.

VERA [Moaning] But you could have stopped them.

BARON I had no orders to defend the foes of Christ and [Crossing himself] the Tsar. The People——

VERA But you could have stopped them.

BARON Who can stop a flood? I did my duty. A soldier's duty is not so pretty as a musician's.

VERA But you could have stopped them.

BARON [Losing all patience] Silence! You talk like an ignorant girl, blinded by passion. The pogrom is a holy crusade. Are we Russians the first people to crush down the Jew? No—from the dawn of history the nations have had to stamp upon him—the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans——

DAVID Yes, it is true. Even Christianity did not invent hatred. But not till Holy Church arose were we burnt at the stake, and not till Holy Russia arose were our babes torn limb from limb. Oh, it is too much! Delivered from Egypt four thousand years ago, to be slaves to the Russian Pharaoh to-day. [He falls as if kneeling on a chair, and, leans his head on the rail.] O God, shall we always be broken on the wheel of history? How long, O Lord, how long?

BARON [Savagely] Till you are all stamped out, ground into your dirt. [Tenderly] Look up, little Vera! You saw how papasha loves you—how he was ready to hold out his hand—and how this cur tried to bite it. Be calm—tell him a daughter of Russia cannot mate with dirt.

VERA Father, I will be calm. I will speak without passion or blindness. I will tell David the truth. I was never absolutely sure of my love for him—perhaps that was why I doubted his love for me—often after our enchanted moments there would come a nameless uneasiness, some vague instinct, relic of the long centuries of Jew-loathing, some strange shrinking from his Christless creed——

BARON [With an exultant cry] Ah! She is a Revendal.

VERA But now—— [She rises and walks firmly toward DAVID] now, David, I come to you, and I say in the words of Ruth, thy people shall be my people and thy God my God! [She stretches out her hands to DAVID.]

BARON You shameless——! [He stops as he perceives DAVID remains impassive.]

VERA [With agonised cry] David!

DAVID [In low, icy tones] You cannot come to me. There is a river of blood between us.

VERA Were it seven seas, our love must cross them.

DAVID Easy words to you. You never saw that red flood bearing the mangled breasts of women and the spattered brains of babes and sucklings. Oh! [He covers his eyes with his hands. The BARON turns away in gloomy impotence. At last DAVID begins to speak quietly, almost dreamily.] It was your Easter, and the air was full of holy bells and the streets of holy processions—priests in black and girls in white and waving palms and crucifixes, and everybody exchanging Easter eggs and kissing one another three times on the mouth in token of peace and goodwill, and even the Jew-boy felt the spirit of love brooding over the earth, though he did not then know that this Christ, whom holy chants proclaimed re-risen, was born in the form of a brother Jew. And what added to the peace and holy joy was that our own Passover was shining before us. My mother had already made the raisin wine, and my greedy little brother Solomon had sipped it on the sly that very morning. We were all at home—all except my father—he was away in the little Synagogue at which he was cantor. Ah, such a voice he had—a voice of tears and thunder—when he prayed it was like a wounded soul beating at the gates of Heaven—but he sang even more beautifully in the ritual of home, and how we were looking forward to his hymns at the Passover table—— [He breaks down. The BARON has gradually turned round under the spell of DAVID'S story and now listens hypnotised.] I was playing my cracked little fiddle. Little Miriam was making her doll dance to it. Ah, that decrepit old china doll—the only one the poor child had ever had—I can see it now—one eye, no nose, half an arm. We were all laughing to see it caper to my music.... My father flies in through the door, desperately clasping to his breast the Holy Scroll. We cry out to him to explain, and then we see that in that beloved mouth of song there is no longer a tongue—only blood. He tries to bar the door—a mob breaks in—we dash out through the back into the street. There are the soldiers—and the Face—— [VERA'S eyes involuntarily seek the face of her father, who shrinks away as their eyes meet.]

VERA [In a low sob] O God!

DAVID When I came to myself, with a curious aching in my left shoulder, I saw lying beside me a strange shapeless Something.... [DAVID points weirdly to the floor, and VERA, hunched forwards, gazes stonily at it, as if seeing the horror.] By the crimson doll in what seemed a hand I knew it must be little Miriam. The doll was a dream of beauty and perfection beside the mutilated mass which was all that remained of my sister, of my mother, of greedy little Solomon— Oh! You Christians can only see that rosy splendour on the horizon of happiness. And the Jew didn't see rosily enough for you, ha! ha! ha! the Jew who gropes in one great crimson mist. [He breaks down in spasmodic, ironic, long-drawn, terrible laughter.]

VERA [Trying vainly to tranquillise him] Hush, David! Your laughter hurts more than tears. Let Vera comfort you. [She kneels by his chair, tries to put her arms round him.]

DAVID [Shuddering] Take them away! Don't you feel the cold dead pushing between us?

VERA [Unfaltering, moving his face toward her lips] Kiss me!

DAVID I should feel the blood on my lips.

VERA My love shall wipe it out.

DAVID Love! Christian love! [He unwinds her clinging arms; she sinks prostrate on the floor as he rises.] For this I gave up my people—darkened the home that sheltered me—there was always a still, small voice at my heart calling me back, but I heeded nothing—only the voice of the butcher's daughter. [Brokenly] Let me go home, let me go home. [He looks lingeringly at VERA'S prostrate form, but overcoming the instinct to touch and comfort her, begins tottering with uncertain pauses toward the door leading to the hall.]

BARON [Extending his arms in relief and longing] And here is your home, Vera! [He raises her gradually from the floor; she is dazed, but suddenly she becomes conscious of whose arms she is in, and utters a cry of repulsion.]

VERA Those arms reeking from that crimson river! [She falls back.]

BARON [Sullenly] Don't echo that babble. You came to these arms often enough when they were fresh from the battlefield.

VERA But not from the shambles! You heard what he called you. Not soldier—butcher! Oh, I dared to dream of happiness after my nightmare of Siberia, but you—you—— [She breaks down for the first time in hysterical sobs.]

BARON [Brokenly] Vera! Little Vera! Don't cry! You stab me!

VERA You thought you were ordering your soldiers to fire at the Jews, but it was my heart they pierced. [She sobs on.]

BARON ... And my own.... But we will comfort each other. I will go to the Tsar myself—with my forehead to the earth—to beg for your pardon!... Come, put your wet face to little father's....

VERA [Violently pushing his face away] I hate you! I curse the day I was born your daughter! [She staggers toward the door leading to the interior. At the same moment DAVID, who has reached the door leading to the hall, now feeling subconsciously that VERA is going and that his last reason for lingering on is removed, turns the door-handle. The click attracts the BARON'S attention, he veers round.]

BARON [To DAVID] Halt! [DAVID turns mechanically. VERA drifts out through her door, leaving the two men face to face. The BARON beckons to DAVID, who as if hypnotised moves nearer. The BARON whips out his pistol, slowly crosses to DAVID, who stands as if awaiting his fate. The BARON hands the pistol to DAVID.] You were right! [He steps back swiftly with a touch of stern heroism into the attitude of the culprit at a military execution, awaiting the bullet.] Shoot me!

DAVID [Takes the pistol mechanically, looks long and pensively at it as with a sense of its irrelevance. Gradually his arm droops and lets the pistol fall on the table, and there his hand touches a string of his violin, which yields a little note. Thus reminded of it, he picks up the violin, and as his fingers draw out the broken string he murmurs] I must get a new string. [He resumes his dragging march toward the door, repeating maunderingly] I must get a new string. [The curtain falls.]



Act IV

Saturday, July 4, evening. The Roof-Garden of the Settlement House, showing a beautiful, far-stretching panorama of New York, with its irregular sky-buildings on the left, and the harbour with its Statue of Liberty on the right. Everything is wet and gleaming after rain. Parapet at the back. Elevator on the right. Entrance from the stairs on the left. In the sky hang heavy clouds through which thin, golden lines of sunset are just beginning to labour. DAVID is discovered on a bench, hugging his violin-case to his breast, gazing moodily at the sky. A muffled sound of applause comes up from below and continues with varying intensity through the early part of the scene. Through it comes the noise of the elevator ascending. MENDEL steps out and hurries forward.

MENDEL Come down, David! Don't you hear them shouting for you? [He passes his hand over the wet bench.] Good heavens! You will get rheumatic fever!

DAVID Why have you followed me?

MENDEL Get up—everything is still damp.

DAVID [Rising, gloomily] Yes, there's a damper over everything.

MENDEL Nonsense—the rain hasn't damped your triumph in the least. In fact, the more delicate effects wouldn't have gone so well in the open air. Listen!

DAVID Let them shout. Who told you I was up here?

MENDEL Miss Revendal, of course.

DAVID [Agitated] Miss Revendal? How should she know?

MENDEL [Sullenly] She seems to understand your crazy ways.

DAVID [Passing his hand over his eyes] Ah, you never understood me, uncle.... How did she look? Was she pale?

MENDEL Never mind about Miss Revendal. Pappelmeister wants you—the people insist on seeing you. Nobody can quiet them.

DAVID They saw me all through the symphony in my place in the orchestra.

MENDEL They didn't know you were the composer as well as the first violin. Now Miss Revendal has told them. [Louder applause.] There! Eleven minutes it has gone on—like for an office-seeker. You must come and show yourself.

DAVID I won't—I'm not an office-seeker. Leave me to my misery.

MENDEL Your misery? With all this glory and greatness opening before you? Wait till you're my age—— [Shouts of "QUIXANO!"] You hear! What is to be done with them?

DAVID Send somebody on the platform to remind them this is the interval for refreshments!

MENDEL Don't be cynical. You know your dearest wish was to melt these simple souls with your music. And now——

DAVID Now I have only made my own stony.

MENDEL You are right. You are stone all over—ever since you came back home to us. Turned into a pillar of salt, mother says—like Lot's wife.

DAVID That was the punishment for looking backward. Ah, uncle, there's more sense in that old Bible than the Rabbis suspect. Perhaps that is the secret of our people's paralysis—we are always looking backward. [He drops hopelessly into an iron garden-chair behind him.]

MENDEL [Stopping him before he touches the seat] Take care—it's sopping wet. You don't look backward enough. [He takes out his handkerchief and begins drying the chair.]

DAVID [Faintly smiling] I thought you wanted the salt to melt.

MENDEL It is melting a little if you can smile. Do you know, David, I haven't seen you smile since that Purim afternoon?

DAVID You haven't worn a false nose since, uncle. [He laughs bitterly.] Ha! Ha! Ha! Fancy masquerading in America because twenty-five centuries ago the Jews escaped a pogrom in Persia. Two thousand five hundred years ago! Aren't we uncanny? [He drops into the wiped chair.]

MENDEL [Angrily] Better you should leave us altogether than mock at us. I thought it was your Jewish heart that drove you back home to us; but if you are still hankering after Miss Revendal——

DAVID [Pained] Uncle!

MENDEL I'd rather see you marry her than go about like this. You couldn't make the house any gloomier.

DAVID Go back to the concert, please. They have quieted down.

MENDEL [Hesitating] And you?

DAVID Oh, I'm not playing in the popular after-pieces. Pappelmeister guessed I'd be broken up with the stress of my own symphony—he has violins enough.

MENDEL Then you don't want to carry this about. [Taking the violin from DAVID'S arms.]

DAVID [Clinging to it] Don't rob me of my music—it's all I have.

MENDEL You'll spoil it in the wet. I'll take it home.

DAVID No—— [He suddenly catches sight of two figures entering from the left—FRAU QUIXANO and KATHLEEN clad in their best, and wearing tiny American flags in honour of Independence Day. KATHLEEN escorts the old lady, with the air of a guardian angel, on her slow, tottering course toward DAVID. FRAU QUIXANO is puffing and panting after the many stairs. DAVID jumps up in surprise, releases the violin-case to MENDEL.] They at my symphony!

MENDEL Mother would come—even though, being Shabbos, she had to walk.

DAVID But wasn't she shocked at my playing on the Sabbath?

MENDEL No—that's the curious part of it. She said that even as a boy you played your fiddle on Shabbos, and that if the Lord has stood it all these years, He must consider you an exception.

DAVID You see! She's more sensible than you thought. I daresay whatever I were to do she'd consider me an exception.

MENDEL [In sullen acquiescence] I suppose geniuses are.

KATHLEEN [Reaching them; panting with admiration and breathlessness] Oh, Mr. David! it was like midnight mass! But the misthress was ashleep.

DAVID Asleep! [Laughs half-merrily, half-sadly.] Ha! Ha! Ha!

FRAU QUIXANO [Panting and laughing in response] He! He! He! Dovidel lacht widder. He! He! He! [She touches his arm affectionately, but feeling his wet coat, utters a cry of horror.] Du bist nass!

DAVID Es ist gor nicht, Granny—my clothes are thick. [She fusses over him, wiping him down with her gloved hand.]

MENDEL But what brought you up here, Kathleen?

KATHLEEN Sure, not the elevator. The misthress said 'twould be breaking the Shabbos to ride up in it.

DAVID [Uneasily] But did—-did Miss Revendal send you up?

KATHLEEN And who else should be axin' the misthress if she wasn't proud of Mr. David? Faith, she's a sweet lady.

MENDEL [Impatiently] Don't chatter, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN But, Mr. Quixano——!

DAVID [Sweetly] Please take your mistress down again—don't let her walk.

KATHLEEN But Shabbos isn't out yet!

MENDEL Chattering again!

DAVID [Gently] There's no harm, Kathleen, in going down in the elevator.

KATHLEEN Troth, I'll egshplain to her that droppin' down isn't ridin'.

DAVID [Smiling] Yes, tell her dropping down is natural—not work, like flying up. [Kathleen begins to move toward the stairs, explaining to FRAU QUIXANO.] And, Kathleen! You'll get her some refreshments.

KATHLEEN [Turns, glaring] Refrishments, is it? Give her refrishments where they mix the mate with the butther plates! Oh, Mr. David! [She moves off toward the stairs in reproachful sorrow.]

MENDEL [Smiling] I'll get her some coffee.

DAVID [Smiling] Yes, that'll keep her awake. Besides, Pappelmeister was so sure the people wouldn't understand me, he's relaxing them on Gounod and Rossini.

MENDEL Pappelmeister's idea of relaxation! I should have given them comic opera. [With sudden call to KATHLEEN, who with her mistress is at the wrong exit.] Kathleen! The elevator's this side!

KATHLEEN [Turning] What way can that be, when I came up this side?

MENDEL You chatter too much. [FRAU QUIXANO, not understanding, exit.] Come this way. Can't you see the elevator?

KATHLEEN [Perceives FRAU QUIXANO has gone, calls after her in Irish-sounding Yiddish] Wu geht Ihr, bedad?... [Impatiently] Houly Moses, komm' zurick! [Exit anxiously, re-enter with FRAU QUIXANO.] Begorra, we Jews never know our way. [MENDEL, carrying the violin, escorts his mother and KATHLEEN to the elevator. When they are near it, it stops with a thud, and PAPPELMEISTER springs out, his umbrella up, meeting them face to face. He looks happy and beaming over DAVID'S triumph.]

PAPPELMEISTER [In loud, joyous voice] Nun, Frau Quixano, was sagen Sie? Vat you tink of your David?

FRAU QUIXANO Dovid? Er ist meshuggah. [She taps her forehead.]

PAPPELMEISTER [Puzzled, to MENDEL] Meshuggah! Vat means meshuggah? Crazy?

MENDEL [Half-smiling] You've struck it. She says David doesn't know enough to go in out of the rain. [General laughter.]

DAVID [Rising] But it's stopped raining, Herr Pappelmeister. You don't want your umbrella. [General laughter.]

PAPPELMEISTER So. [Shuts it down.]

MENDEL Herein, Mutter. [He pushes FRAU QUIXANO'S somewhat shrinking form into the elevator. KATHLEEN follows, then MENDEL.] Herr Pappelmeister, we are all your grateful servants. [PAPPELMEISTER bows; the gates close, the elevator descends.]

DAVID And you won't think me ungrateful for running away—you know my thanks are too deep to be spoken.

PAPPELMEISTER And zo are my congratulations!

DAVID Then, don't speak them, please.

PAPPELMEISTER But you must come and speak to all de people in America who undershtand music.

DAVID [Half-smiling] To your four connoisseurs? [Seriously] Oh, please! I really could not meet strangers, especially musical vampires.

PAPPELMEISTER [Half-startled, half-angry] Vampires? Oh, come!

DAVID Voluptuaries, then—rich, idle aesthetes to whom art and life have no connection, parasites who suck our music——

PAPPELMEISTER [Laughs good-naturedly] Ha! Ha! Ha! Vait till you hear vat dey say.

DAVID I will wait as long as you like.

PAPPELMEISTER Den I like to tell you now. [He roars with mischievous laughter.] Ha! Ha! Ha! De first vampire says it is a great vork, but poorly performed.

DAVID [Indignant] Oh!

PAPPELMEISTER De second vampire says it is a poor vork, but greatly performed.

DAVID [Disappointed] Oh!

PAPPELMEISTER De dird vampire says it is a great vork greatly performed.

DAVID [Complacently] Ah!

PAPPELMEISTER And de fourz vampire says it is a poor vork poorly performed.

DAVID [Angry and disappointed] Oh! [Then smiling] You see you have to go by the people after all.

PAPPELMEISTER [Shakes head, smiling] Nein. Ven critics disagree—I agree mit mineself. Ha! Ha! Ha! [He slaps DAVID on the back.] A great vork dat vill be even better performed next time! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ten dousand congratulations. [He seizes DAVID'S hand and grips it heartily.]

DAVID Don't! You hurt me.

PAPPELMEISTER [Dropping DAVID'S hand,—misunderstanding] Pardon! I forgot your vound.

DAVID No—no—what does my wound matter? That never stung half so much as these clappings and congratulations.

PAPPELMEISTER [Puzzled but solicitous] I knew your nerves vould be all shnapping like fiddle-shtrings. Oh, you cheniuses! [Smiling.] You like neider de clappings nor de criticisms,—was?

DAVID They are equally—irrelevant. One has to wrestle with one's own art, one's own soul, alone!

PAPPELMEISTER [Patting him soothingly] I am glad I did not let you blay in Part Two.

DAVID Dear Herr Pappelmeister! Don't think I don't appreciate all your kindnesses—you are almost a father to me.

PAPPELMEISTER And you disobey me like a son. Ha! Ha! Ha! Vell, I vill make your excuses to de—vampires. Ha! Ha! Also, David. [He lays his hand again affectionately on DAVID'S right shoulder.] Lebe wohl! I must go down to my popular classics. [Gloomily] Truly a going down! Was?

DAVID [Smiling] Oh, it isn't such a descent as all that. Uncle said you ought to have given them comic opera.

PAPPELMEISTER [Shuddering convulsively] Comic opera.... Ouf! [He goes toward the elevator and rings the bell. Then he turns to DAVID.] Vat vas dat vord, David?

DAVID What word?

PAPPELMEISTER [Groping for it] Mega—megasshu....

DAVID [Puzzled] Megasshu? [The elevator comes up; the gates open.]

PAPPELMEISTER Megusshah! You know. [He taps his forehead with his umbrella.]

DAVID Ah, meshuggah!

PAPPELMEISTER [Joyously] Ja, meshuggah! [He gives a great roar of laughter.] Ha! Ha! Ha! [He waves umbrella at DAVID.] Well, don't be ... meshuggah. [He steps into the elevator.] Ha! Ha! Ha! [The gates close, and it descends with his laughter.]

DAVID [After a pause] Perhaps I am ... meshuggah. [He walks up and down moodily, approaches the parapet at back.] Dropping down is indeed natural. [He looks over.] How it tugs and drags at one! [He moves back resolutely and shakes his head.] That would be even a greater descent than Pappelmeister's to comic opera. One must fly upward—somehow. [He drops on the chair that MENDEL dried. A faint music steals up and makes an accompaniment to all the rest of the scene.] Ah! the popular classics! [His head sinks on a little table. The elevator comes up again, but he does not raise his head. VERA, pale and sad, steps out and walks gently over to him; stands looking at him with maternal pity; then decides not to disturb him and is stealing away when suddenly he looks up and perceives her and springs to his feet with a dazed glad cry.] Vera!

VERA [Turns, speaks with grave dignity] Miss Andrews has charged me to convey to you the heart-felt thanks and congratulations of the Settlement.

DAVID [Frozen] Miss Andrews is very kind.... I trust you are well.

VERA Thank you, Mr. Quixano. Very well and very busy. So you'll excuse me. [She turns to go.]

DAVID Certainly.... How are your folks?

VERA [Turns her head] They are gone back to Russia. And yours?

DAVID You just saw them all.

VERA [Confused] Yes—yes—of course—I forgot! Good-bye, Mr. Quixano.

DAVID Good-bye, Miss Revendal. [He drops back on the chair. VERA walks to the elevator, then just before ringing turns again.]

VERA I shouldn't advise you to sit here in the damp.

DAVID My uncle dried the chair. [Bitterly] Curious how every one is concerned about my body and no one about my soul.

VERA Because your soul is so much stronger than your body. Why, think! It has just lifted a thousand people far higher than this roof-garden.

DAVID Please don't you congratulate me, too! That would be too ironical.

VERA [Agitated, coming nearer] Irony, Mr. Quixano? Please, please, do not imagine there is any irony in my congratulations.

DAVID The irony is in all the congratulations. How can I endure them when I know what a terrible failure I have made!

VERA Failure! Because the critics are all divided? That is the surest proof of success. You have produced something real and new.

DAVID I am not thinking of Pappelmeister's connoisseurs—I am the only connoisseur, the only one who knows. And every bar of my music cried "Failure! Failure!" It shrieked from the violins, blared from the trombones, thundered from the drums. It was written on all the faces——

VERA [Vehemently, coming still nearer] Oh, no! no! I watched the faces—those faces of toil and sorrow, those faces from many lands. They were fired by your vision of their coming brotherhood, lulled by your dream of their land of rest. And I could see that you were right in speaking to the people. In some strange, beautiful, way the inner meaning of your music stole into all those simple souls——

DAVID [Springing up] And my soul? What of my soul? False to its own music, its own mission, its own dream. That is what I mean by failure, Vera. I preached of God's Crucible, this great new continent that could melt up all race-differences and vendettas, that could purge and re-create, and God tried me with his supremest test. He gave me a heritage from the Old World, hate and vengeance and blood, and said, "Cast it all into my Crucible." And I said, "Even thy Crucible cannot melt this hate, cannot drink up this blood." And so I sat crooning over the dead past, gloating over the old blood-stains—I, the apostle of America, the prophet of the God of our children. Oh—how my music mocked me! And you—so fearless, so high above fate—how you must despise me!

VERA I? Ah no!

DAVID You must. You do. Your words still sting. Were it seven seas between us, you said, our love must cross them. And I—I who had prated of seven seas——

VERA Not seas of blood—I spoke selfishly, thoughtlessly. I had not realised that crimson flood. Now I see it day and night. O God! [She shudders and covers her eyes.]

DAVID There lies my failure—to have brought it to your eyes, instead of blotting it from my own.

VERA No man could have blotted it out.

DAVID Yes—by faith in the Crucible. From the blood of battlefields spring daisies and buttercups. In the divine chemistry the very garbage turns to roses. But in the supreme moment my faith was found wanting. You came to me—and I thrust you away.

VERA I ought not to have come to you.... I ought not to have come to you to-day. We must not meet again.

DAVID Ah, you cannot forgive me!

VERA Forgive? It is I that should go down on my knees for my father's sin. [She is half-sinking to her knees. He stops her by a gesture and a cry.]

DAVID No! The sins of the fathers shall not be visited on the children.

VERA My brain follows you, but not my heart. It is heavy with the sense of unpaid debts—debts that can only cry for forgiveness.

DAVID You owe me nothing——

VERA But my father, my people, my country.... [She breaks down. Recovers herself.] My only consolation is, you need nothing.

DAVID [Dazed] I—need—nothing?

VERA Nothing but your music ... your dreams.

DAVID And your love? Do I not need that?

VERA [Shaking her head sadly] No.

DAVID You say that because I have forfeited it.

VERA It is my only consolation, I tell you, that you do not need me. In our happiest moments a suspicion of this truth used to lacerate me. But now it is my one comfort in the doom that divides us. See how you stand up here above the world, alone and self-sufficient. No woman could ever have more than the second place in your life.

DAVID But you have the first place, Vera!

VERA [Shakes her head again] No—I no longer even desire it. I have gotten over that womanly weakness.

DAVID You torture me. What do you mean?

VERA What can be simpler? I used to be jealous of your music, your prophetic visions. I wanted to come first—before them all! Now, dear David, I only pray that they may fill your life to the brim.

DAVID But they cannot.

VERA They will—have faith in yourself, in your mission—good-bye.

DAVID [Dazed] You love me and you leave me?

VERA What else can I do? Shall the shadow of Kishineff hang over all your years to come? Shall I kiss you and leave blood upon your lips, cling to you and be pushed away by all those cold, dead hands?

DAVID [Taking both her hands] Yes, cling to me, despite them all, cling to me till all these ghosts are exorcised, cling to me till our love triumphs over death. Kiss me, kiss me now.

VERA [Resisting, drawing back] I dare not! It will make you remember.

DAVID It will make me forget. Kiss me. [There is a pause of hesitation, filled up by the Cathedral music from "Faust" surging up softly from below.]

VERA [Slowly] I will kiss you as we Russians kiss at Easter—the three kisses of peace. [She kisses him three times on the mouth as in ritual solemnity.]

DAVID [Very calmly] Easter was the date of the massacre—see! I am at peace.

VERA God grant it endure! [They stand quietly hand in hand.] Look! How beautiful the sunset is after the storm! [DAVID turns. The sunset, which has begun to grow beautiful just after VERA'S entrance, has now reached its most magnificent moment; below there are narrow lines of saffron and pale gold, but above the whole sky is one glory of burning flame.]

DAVID [Prophetically exalted by the spectacle] It is the fires of God round His Crucible. [He drops her hand and points downward.] There she lies, the great Melting Pot—listen! Can't you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth [He points east] —the harbour where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a seething! Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian,—black and yellow——

VERA [Softly, nestling to him] Jew and Gentile——

DAVID Yes, East and West, and North and South, the palm and the pine, the pole and the equator, the crescent and the cross—how the great Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God. Ah, Vera, what is the glory of Rome and Jerusalem where all nations and races come to worship and look back, compared with the glory of America, where all races and nations come to labour and look forward! [He raises his hands in benediction over the shining city.] Peace, peace, to all ye unborn millions, fated to fill this giant continent—the God of our children give you Peace. [An instant's solemn pause. The sunset is swiftly fading, and the vast panorama is suffused with a more restful twilight, to which the many-gleaming lights of the town add the tender poetry of the night. Far back, like a lonely, guiding star, twinkles over the darkening water the torch of the Statue of Liberty. From below comes up the softened sound of voices and instruments joining in "My Country, 'tis of Thee." The curtain falls slowly.]



APPENDIX A

THE MELTING POT IN ACTION

ALIENS ADMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30TH, 1913

African (black) 9,734 Armenian 9,554 Bohemian and Moravian 11,852 Bulgarian, Servian, Montenegrin 10,083 Chinese 3,487 Croatian and Slavonian 44,754 Cuban 6,121 Dalmatian, Bosnian, Herzegovinian 4,775 Dutch and Flemish 18,746 East Indian 233 English 100,062 Finnish 14,920 French 26,509 German 101,764 Greek 40,933 Hebrew 105,826 Irish 48,103 Italian (north) 54,171 Italian (south) 264,348 Japanese 11,672 Korean 74 Lithuanian 25,529 Magyar 33,561 Mexican 15,495 Pacific Islander 27 Polish 185,207 Portuguese 14,631 Roumanian 14,780 Russian 58,380 Ruthenian (Russniak) 39,405 Scandinavian 51,650 Scotch 31,434 Slovak 29,094 Spanish 15,017 Spanish-American 3,409 Syrian 10,019 Turkish 2,132 Welsh 3,922 West Indian (except Cuban) 2,302 Other peoples 3,512 ———— Total 1,427,227



APPENDIX B

THE POGROM

(I) A RUSSIAN ON ITS REASONS

[From The Nation, November 15, 1913]

It is now over thirty years since the crew of the sinking ship of Russian absolutism first tried this unworthy weapon to save their failing cause. This was when Plehve organised an anti-Semitic agitation and Jewish pogroms in 1883 in South Russia, where the Jews formed almost the only merchant class in the villages, and where the ignorant peasants, together with some crafty Russian tradesmen, had a natural grudge against them. The result was that the prevailing discontent of the masses was diverted against the Jews. A large public meeting of protest was organised at that time in the London Mansion House, the Lord Mayor taking the chair. English public opinion rightly appreciated the value of this criminal method of using Jews as scapegoats for political purposes. Now we see merely a further, and let us hope a final, development of the same tactics. They have been used on many occasions since 1883. One of the largest Jewish pogroms of the latest series in Kishineff in 1903 has been clearly traced to the same experienced hand of Plehve, when the passive attitude of the local administration and the military was explained by the presence in the town of a mysterious colonel of the Imperial Gendarmerie who arrived with secret orders and a large supply of pogrom literature from St. Petersburg, and who organised the scum of the town population for the purpose of looting and killing Jews.

The repulsive stories of further pogroms all over the country immediately after the issue of the constitutional manifesto of October 17, 1905, are fresh in the memory of the civilised world. At that time anti-Semitic doctrine was openly preached, not only against Jews, but against the whole constitutional and revolutionary upheaval. Pogroms against both were organised under the same pretext of saving the Tsar, the orthodoxy, and the Fatherland. Local police and military officials had secret orders to abstain from interference with the looting and murdering of Jews or "their hirelings." Processions of peaceful citizens and children were trampled down by the Cossack horses, and the Cossacks received formal thanks from high quarters for their excellent exploits....

N. W. TCHAYKOVSKY.

(II) A NURSE ON ITS RESULTS

[From Public Health, Nurses' Quarterly, Cleveland, Ohio, October 1913]

I was a Red Cross nurse on the battlefield.

The words of the chief doctor of the Jewish Hospital of Odessa still ring in my ears. When the telephone message came, he said, "Moldvanko is running in blood; send nurses and doctors." This meant that the Pogrom (massacre) was going on.

Dr. P—— came into the wards with these words: "Sisters, there is no time for weeping. Those who have no one dependent upon them, come. Put on your white surgical gowns, and the red cross. Make ready to go on the battlefield at once. God knows how many of our sisters and brothers are already killed." Tears were just running down his cheeks as he spoke. In a minute twelve nurses and eight doctors had volunteered. There was one Red Cross nurse who was in bed waiting to be operated on. She got up and made ready too. Nobody could keep her from going with us. "Where my sisters and brothers fall, there shall I fall," she said, and with these words, jumped into the ambulance and went on to the City Hospital with us. There they had better equipment, and they sent out three times as many nurses as the Jewish Hospital. At the City Hospital they hung silver crosses about our necks. We wore the silver crosses so that we would not be recognised as Jewish by the Holiganes (Hooligans).

Then we went to Molorosiskia Street in the Moldvanko (slums). We could not see, for the feathers were flying like snow. The blood was already up to our ankles on the pavement and in the yards. The uproar was deafening but we could hear the Holiganes' fierce cries of "Hooray, kill the Jews," on all sides. It was enough to hear such words. They could turn your hair grey, but we went on. We had no time to think. All our thoughts were to pick up wounded ones, and to try to rescue some uninjured ones. We succeeded in rescuing some uninjured who were in hiding. We put bandages on them to make it appear that they were wounded. We put them in the ambulance and carried them to the hospital, too. So at the Jewish Hospital we had five thousand injured and seven thousand uninjured to feed and protect for two weeks. Some were left without homes, without clothes, and children were even without parents.

My dear reader, I want to tell you one thing before I describe the scenes of the massacre any further; do not think that you are reading a story which could not happen! No, I want you to know that everything you read is just exactly as it was. My hair is a little grey, but I am surprised it is not quite white after what I witnessed.

The procession of the Pogrom was led by about ten Catholic (Greek) Sisters with about forty or fifty of their school children. They carried ikons or pictures of Jesus and sang "God Save the Tsar." They were followed by a crowd containing hundreds of men and women murderers yelling "Bey Zhida," which means "Kill the Jews." With these words they ran into the yards where there were fifty or a hundred tenants. They rushed in like tigers. Soon they began to throw children out of the windows of the second, third, and fourth stories. They would take a poor, innocent six-months-old baby, who could not possibly have done any harm in this world and throw it down on to the pavement. You can imagine it could not live after it struck the ground, but this did not satisfy the stony-hearted murderers. They then rushed up to the child, seized it and broke its little arm and leg bones into three or four pieces, then wrung its neck too. They laughed and yelled, so carried away with pleasure at their successful work.

I do wish a few Americans could have been there to see, and they would know what America is, and what it means to live in the United States. It was not enough for them to open up a woman's abdomen and take out the child which she carried, but they took time to stuff the abdomen with straw and fill it up. Can you imagine human beings able to do such things? I do not think anybody could, because I could not imagine it myself when a few years before I read the news of the massacre in Kishineff, but now I have seen it with my own eyes. It was not enough for them to cut out an old man's tongue and cut off his nose, but they drove nails into the eyes also. You wonder how they had enough time to carry away everything of value—money, gold, silver, jewels—and still be able to do so much fancy killing, but oh, my friends, all the time for three days and three nights was theirs.

The last day and night it poured down rain, and you would think that might stop them, but no, they worked just as hard as ever. We could wear shoes no longer. Our feet were swollen, so we wore rubbers over our stockings, and in this way worked until some power was able to stop these horrors. They not only killed, but they had time to abuse young girls of twelve and fourteen years of age, who died immediately after being operated upon.

I remember what happened to my own class-mates. They were two who came from a small town to Odessa to become midwives. These girls ran to the school to hide themselves as it was a government school, and they knew the Holiganes would not dare to come in there. But the dean of the school had ordered they should not be admitted, because they were Jewish, as if they had different blood running in their veins. So when they came, the watchman refused to open the doors, according to his instructions. The crowd of Holiganes found them outside the doors of the hospital. They abused them right there in the middle of the street. One was eighteen years old and the other was twenty. One died after the operation and the other went insane from shame.

Some people ask why the Jews did not leave everything and go away. But how could they go and where could they go? The murderers were scattered throughout the Jewish quarters. All they could do was hide where they were in the cellars and garrets. The Holiganes searched them out and killed them where they were hidden. Others may ask, why did they not resist the murderers with their knives and pistols? The grown men organised by the second day. They were helped by the Vigilantes, too, who brought them arms. The Vigilantes were composed of students at the University and high-school boys, and also the strongest man from each Jewish family. There were a good many Gentiles among the students who belonged to the Vigilantes because they wanted justice. So on the second day the Vigilantes stood before the doors and gave resistance to the murderers. Some will ask where were the soldiers and the police? They were sent to protect, but on arriving, joined in with the murderers. However, the police put disguises on over their uniforms. Later, when they were brought to the hospital with other wounded, we found their uniforms underneath their disguises.

When the Vigilantes took their stations, the scene was like a battlefield. Bullets were flying from both sides of the Red Cross carriages. We expected to be killed any minute, but notwithstanding, we rushed wherever there were shots heard in order to carry away the wounded. Whenever we arrived we shouted "Red Cross, Red Cross," in order to help make them realise we were not Vigilantes. Then they would stop and let us pick up the wounded. They did this on account of their own wounded.

The Vigilantes could not stop the butchery entirely because they were not strong enough in numbers. On the fourth day, the Jewish people of Odessa, through Dr. P——, succeeded in communicating to the Mayor of a different State. Soldiers from outside, strangers to the murderers, came in and took charge of the city. The city was put under martial law until order could be restored.

On the fifth day the doctors and nurses were called to the cemetery, where there were four hundred unidentified dead. Their friends and relatives who came to search for them were crazed and hysterical and needed our attention. Wives came to look for husbands, parents hunting children, a mother for her only son, and so on. It took eight days to identify the bodies and by that time four hundred of the wounded had died, and so we had eight hundred to bury. If you visit Odessa, you will be shown two long graves, about one hundred feet long, beside the Jewish Cemetery. There lie the victims of the massacre. Among them are Gentile Vigilantes whose parents asked that they be buried with the Jews....

Another case I knew was that of a married man. He left his wife, who was pregnant, and three children, to go on a business trip. When he got back the massacre had occurred. His home was in ruins, his family gone. He went to the hospital, then to the cemetery. There he found his wife with her abdomen stuffed with straw, and his three children dead. It simply broke his heart, and he lost his mind. But he was harmless, and was to be seen wandering about the hospital as though in search of some one, and daily he grew more thin and suffering.

This story is told in the hope that Americans will appreciate the safety and freedom in which they live and that they will help others to gain that freedom.



APPENDIX C

THE STORY OF DANIEL MELSA

Another example of Nature aping Art is afforded by the romantic story of Daniel Melsa, a young Russo-Jewish violinist who has carried audiences by storm in Berlin, Paris and London, and who had arranged to go to America last November. The following extract from an interview in the Jewish Chronicle of January 24, 1913, shows the curious coincidence between his beginnings and David Quixano's:

"Melsa is not yet twenty years of age, but he looks somewhat older. He is of slight build and has a sad expression, which increased to almost a painful degree when recounting some of his past experiences. He seems singularly devoid of any affectation, while modesty is obviously the keynote of his nature.

"After some persuasion, Melsa put aside his reticence, and, complying with the request, outlined briefly his career, the early part of which, he said, was overshadowed by a great tragedy. He was born in Warsaw, and, at the age of three, his parents moved to Lodz, where shortly after a private tutor was engaged for him.

"'Although I exhibited a passion for music quite early, I did not receive any lessons on the subject till my seventh birthday, but before that my father obtained a cheap violin for me upon which I was soon able to play simple melodies by ear.'

"By chance a well-known professor of the town heard him play, and so impressed was he with the talent exhibited by the boy that he advised the father to have him educated. Acting upon this advice, as far as limited means allowed, tutors were engaged, and so much progress did he make that at the age of nine he was admitted to the local Conservatorium of Professor Grudzinski, where he remained two years. It was at the age of eleven that a great calamity overtook the family, his father and sister falling victims to the pogroms.

"Melsa's story runs as follows:

"'It was in June of 1905, at the time of the pogroms, when one afternoon my father, accompanied by my little sister, ventured out into the street, from which they never returned. They were both killed,' he added sadly, 'by Cossacks. A week later I found my sister in a Christian churchyard riddled with bullets, but I have not been able to trace the remains of my father, who must have been buried in some out-of-the-way place. During this awful period my mother and myself lived in imminent danger of our lives, and it was only the recollection of my playing that saved us also falling a prey to the vodka-besodden Cossacks.'"



APPENDIX D

BEILIS AND AMERICA

The close relation in Jewish thought between Russo-Jewish persecution and America as the land of escape from it is well illustrated by the recent remarks of the Jewish Chronicle on the future of the victim of the Blood-Ritual Prosecution in Kieff. "So long as Beilis continues to live in Russia, his life is unsafe. The Black Hundreds, he himself says, have solemnly decided on his death, and we have seen, in the not distant past, that they can carry out diabolical plots of this description with complete immunity.... He would gladly go to America, provided he was sure of a living. The condition should not be difficult to fulfil, and if this victim of a barbarous regime—we cannot say latest victim, for, as we write, comes the news of an expulsion order against 1200 Jewish students of Kieff—should find a home and place under the sheltering wing of freedom, it would be a fitting ending to a painful chapter in our Jewish history."

That it is the natural ending even the Jew-baiting Russian organ, the Novoe Vremya, indirectly testifies, for it has published a sneering cartoon representing a number of Jews crowded on the Statue of Liberty to welcome the arrival of Beilis. One wonders that the Russian censor should have permitted the masses to become aware that Liberty exists on earth, if only in the form of a statue.



APPENDIX E

THE ALIEN IN THE MELTING POT

Mr. Frederick J. Haskin has recently published in the Chicago Daily News the following graphic summary of what immigrants have done and do for the United States:

I am the immigrant.

Since the dawn of creation my restless feet have beaten new paths across the earth.

My uneasy bark has tossed on all seas.

My wanderlust was born of the craving for more liberty and a better wage for the sweat of my face.

I looked towards the United States with eyes kindled by the fire of ambition and heart quickened with new-born hope.

I approached its gates with great expectation.

I entered in with fine hopes.

I have shouldered my burden as the American man of all work.

I contribute eighty-five per cent. of all the labour in the slaughtering and meat-packing industries.

I do seven-tenths of the bituminous coal mining.

I do seventy-eight per cent. of all the work in the woollen mills.

I contribute nine-tenths of all the labour in the cotton mills.

I make nine-twentieths of all the clothing.

I manufacture more than half the shoes.

I build four-fifths of all the furniture.

I make half of the collars, cuffs, and shirts.

I turn out four-fifths of all the leather.

I make half the gloves.

I refine nearly nineteen-twentieths of the sugar.

I make half of the tobacco and cigars.

And yet, I am the great American problem.

When I pour out my blood on your altar of labour, and lay down my life as a sacrifice to your god of toil, men make no more comment than at the fall of a sparrow.

But my brawn is woven into the warp and woof of the fabric of your national being.

My children shall be your children and your land shall be my land because my sweat and my blood will cement the foundations of the America of To-Morrow.

If I can be fused into the body politic, the Melting-Pot will have stood the supreme test.



Afterword

I

The Melting Pot is the third of the writer's plays to be published in book form, though the first of the three in order of composition. But unlike The War God and The Next Religion, which are dramatisations of the spiritual duels of our time, The Melting Pot sprang directly from the author's concrete experience as President of the Emigration Regulation Department of the Jewish Territorial Organisation, which, founded shortly after the great massacres of Jews in Russia, will soon have fostered the settlement of ten thousand Russian Jews in the West of the United States.

"Romantic claptrap," wrote Mr. A. B. Walkley in the Times of "this rhapsodising over music and crucibles and statues of Liberty." As if these things were not the homeliest of realities, and rhapsodising the natural response to them of the Russo-Jewish psychology, incurably optimist. The statue of Liberty is a large visible object at the mouth of New York harbour; the crucible, if visible only to the eye of imagination like the inner reality of the sunrise to the eye of Blake, is none the less a roaring and flaming actuality. These things are as substantial, if not as important, as Adeline Genee and Anna Pavlova, the objects of Mr. Walkley's own rhapsodising. Mr. Walkley, never having lacked Liberty, nor cowered for days in a cellar in terror of a howling mob, can see only theatrical exaggeration in the enthusiasm for a land of freedom, just as, never having known or never having had eyes to see the grotesque and tragic creatures existing all around us, he has doubted the reality of some of Balzac's creations. It is to be feared that for such a play as The Melting Pot Mr. Walkley is far from being the [Greek: charieis] of Aristotle. The ideal spectator must have known and felt more of life than Mr. Walkley, who resembles too much the library-fed man of letters whose denunciation by Walter Bagehot he himself quotes without suspecting de te fabula narratur. Even the critic, who has to deal with a refracted world, cannot dispense with primary experience of his own. For "the adventures of a soul among masterpieces" it is not only necessary there should be masterpieces, there must also be a soul. Mr. Walkley, one of the wittiest of contemporary writers and within his urban range one of the wisest, can scarcely be accused of lacking a soul, though Mr. Bernard Shaw's long-enduring misconception of him as a brother in the spirit is one of the comedies of literature. But such spiritual vitality as Oxford failed to sterilise in him has been largely torpified by his profession of play-taster, with its divorcement from reality in the raw. His cry of "romantic claptrap" is merely the reaction of the club armchair to the "drums and tramplings" of the street. It is in fact (he will welcome an allusion to Dickens almost as much as one to Aristotle) the higher Podsnappery. "Thus happily acquainted with his own merit and importance, Mr. Podsnap settled that whatever he put behind him he put out of existence.... The world got up at eight, shaved close at a quarter past, breakfasted at nine, went to the City at ten, came home at half-past five, and dined at seven."

Mr. Roosevelt, with his multifarious American experience as soldier and cowboy, hunter and historian, police-captain and President, comes far nearer the ideal spectator, for this play at least, than Mr. Walkley. Yet his enthusiasm for it has been dismissed by our critic as "stupendous naivete." Mr. Roosevelt apparently falls under that class of "people who knowing no rules, are at the mercy of their undisciplined taste," which Mr. Walkley excludes altogether from his classification of critics, in despite of Dr. Johnson's opinion that "natural judges" are only second to "those who know but are above the rules." It is comforting, therefore, to find Mr. Augustus Thomas, the famous American playwright, who is familiar with the rules to the point of contempt, chivalrously associating himself, in defence of a British rival, with Mr. Roosevelt's "stupendous naivete."

"Mr. Zangwill's 'rhapsodising' over music and crucibles and statues of Liberty is," says Mr. Thomas, "a very effective use of a most potent symbolism, and I have never seen men and women more sincerely stirred than the audience at The Melting Pot. The impulses awakened by the Zangwill play were those of wide human sympathy, charity, and compassion; and, for my own part, I would rather retire from the theatre and retire from all direct or indirect association with journalism than write down the employment of these factors by Mr. Zangwill as mere claptrap."

"As a work of art for art's sake," also wrote Mr. William Archer, "the play simply does not exist." He added: "but Mr. Zangwill would not dream of appealing to such a standard." Mr. Archer had the misfortune to see the play in New York side by side with his more cynical confrere, and thus his very praise has an air of apologia to Mr. Walkley and the great doctrine of "art for art's sake." It would almost seem as if he even takes a "work of art" and a "work of art for art's sake" as synonymous. Nothing, in fact, could be more inartistic. "Art for art's sake" is one species of art, whose right to existence the author has amply recognised in other works. (The King of Schnorrers was even read aloud by Oscar Wilde to a duchess.) But he roundly denies that art is any the less artistic for being inspired by life, and seeking in its turn to inspire life. Such a contention is tainted by the very Philistinism it would repudiate, since it seeks a negative test of art in something outside art—to wit, purpose, whose presence is surely as irrelevant to art as its absence. The only test of art is artistic quality, and this quality occurs perhaps more frequently than it is achieved, as in the words of the Hebrew prophets, or the vision of a slum at night, the former consciously aiming at something quite different, the latter achieving its beauty in utter unconsciousness.

II

It will be seen from the official table of immigration that the Russian Jew is only one and not even the largest of the fifty elements that, to the tune of nearly a million and a half a year, are being fused in the greatest "Melting Pot" the world has ever known; but if he has been selected as the typical immigrant, it is because he alone of all the fifty has no homeland. Some few other races, such as the Armenians, are almost equally devoid of political power, and, in consequence, equally obnoxious to massacre; but except the gipsy, whose essence is to be homeless, there is no other race—black, white, red, or yellow—that has not remained at least a majority of the population in some area of its own. There is none, therefore, more in need of a land of liberty, none to whose future it is more vital that America should preserve that spirit of William Penn which President Wilson has so nobly characterised. And there is assuredly none which has more valuable elements to contribute to the ethnic and psychical amalgam of the people of to-morrow.

The process of American amalgamation is not assimilation or simple surrender to the dominant type, as is popularly supposed, but an all-round give-and-take by which the final type may be enriched or impoverished. Thus the intelligent reader will have remarked how the somewhat anti-Semitic Irish servant of the first act talks Yiddish herself in the fourth. Even as to the ultimate language of the United States, it is unreasonable to suppose that American, though fortunately protected by English literature, will not bear traces of the fifty languages now being spoken side by side with it, and of which this play alone presents scraps in German, French, Russian, Yiddish, Irish, Hebrew, and Italian.

That in the crucible of love, or even co-citizenship, the most violent antitheses of the past may be fused into a higher unity is a truth of both ethics and observation, and it was in order to present historic enmities at their extremes that the persecuted Jew of Russia and the persecuting Russian race have been taken for protagonists—"the fell incensed points of mighty opposites."

The Jewish immigrant is, moreover, the toughest of all the white elements that have been poured into the American crucible, the race having, by its unique experience of several thousand years of exposure to alien majorities, developed a salamandrine power of survival. And this asbestoid fibre is made even more fireproof by the anti-Semitism of American uncivilisation. Nevertheless, to suppose that America will remain permanently afflicted by all the old European diseases would be to despair of humanity, not to mention super-humanity.

III

Even the negrophobia is not likely to remain eternally at its present barbarous pitch. Mr. William Archer, who has won a new fame as student of that black problem, which is America's nemesis for her ancient slave-raiding, and who favours the creation of a Black State as one of the United States, observes: "It is noteworthy that neither David Quixano nor anyone else in the play makes the slightest reference to that inconvenient element in the crucible of God—the negro." This is an oversight of Mr. Archer's, for Baron Revendal defends the Jew-baiting of Russia by asking of an American: "Don't you lynch and roast your niggers?" And David Quixano expressly throws both "black and yellow" into the crucible. No doubt there is an instinctive antipathy which tends to keep the white man free from black blood, though this antipathy having been overcome by a large minority in all the many periods and all the many countries of their contiguity, it is equally certain that there are at work forces of attraction as well as of repulsion, and that even upon the negro the "Melting Pot" of America will not fail to act in a measure as it has acted on the Red Indian, who has found it almost as facile to mate with his white neighbours as with his black. Indeed, it is as much social prejudice as racial antipathy that to-day divides black and white in the New World; and Sir Sydney Olivier has recorded that in Jamaica the white is far more on his guard and his dignity against the half-white than against the all-black, while in Guiana, according to Sir Harry Johnston in his great work "The Negro in the New World," it is the half-white that, in his turn, despises the black and succeeds in marrying still further whitewards. It might have been thought that the dark-white races on the northern shore of the Mediterranean—the Spaniards, Sicilians, &c.—who have already been crossed with the sons of Ham from its southern shore, would, among the American immigrants, be the natural links towards the fusion of white and black, but a similar instinct of pride and peril seems to hold them back. But whether the antipathy in America be a race instinct or a social prejudice, the accusations against the black are largely panic-born myths, for the alleged repulsive smell of the negro is consistent with being shaved by him, and the immorality of the negress is consistent with her control of the nurseries of the South. The devil is not so black nor the black so devilish as he is painted. This is not to deny that the prognathous face is an ugly and undesirable type of countenance or that it connotes a lower average of intellect and ethics, or that white and black are as yet too far apart for profitable fusion. Melanophobia, or fear of the black, may be pragmatically as valuable a racial defence for the white as the counter-instinct of philoleucosis, or love of the white, is a force of racial uplifting for the black. But neither colour has succeeded in monopolising all the virtues and graces in its specific evolution from the common ancestral ape, and a superficial acquaintance with the work of Dr. Arthur Keith teaches that if the black man is nearer the ape in some ways (having even the remains of throat-pouches), the white man is nearer in other ways (as in his greater hairiness).

And besides being, as Sir Sydney Olivier says, "a matrix of emotional and spiritual energies that have yet to find their human expression," the African negro has obviously already not a few valuable ethnic elements—joy of life, love of colour, keen senses, beautiful voice, and ear for music—contributions that might somewhat compensate for the dragging-down of the white and, in small doses at least, might one day prove a tonic to an anaemic and art-less America. A musician like Coleridge-Taylor is no despicable product of the "Melting Pot," while the negroes of genius whom the writer has been privileged to know—men like Henry O. Tanner, the painter, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the poet—show the potentialities of the race even without white admixture; and as men of this stamp are capable of attracting cultured white wives, the fusing process, beginning at the top with types like these, should be far less unwelcome than that which starts with the dregs of both races. But the negroid hair and complexion being, in Mendelian language, "dominant," these black traits are not easy to eliminate from the hybrid posterity; and in view of all the unpleasantness, both immediate and contingent, that attends the blending of colours, only heroic souls on either side should dare the adventure of intermarriage. Blacks of this temper, however, would serve their race better by making Liberia a success or building up an American negro State, as Mr. William Archer recommends, or at least asserting their rights as American citizens in that sub-tropical South which without their labour could never have been opened up. Meantime, however scrupulously and justifiably America avoids physical intermarriage with the negro, the comic spirit cannot fail to note the spiritual miscegenation which, while clothing, commercialising, and Christianising the ex-African, has given "rag-time" and the sex-dances that go to it, first to white America and thence to the whole white world.

The action of the crucible is thus not exclusively physical—a consideration particularly important as regards the Jew. The Jew may be Americanised and the American Judaised without any gamic interaction.



IV

Among the Jews The Melting Pot, though it has in some instances served to interpret to each other the old generation and the new, has more frequently been misunderstood by both. While a distinguished Christian clergyman wrote that it was "calculated to do for the Jewish race what 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' did for the coloured man," the Jewish pulpits of America have resounded with denunciation of its supposed solution of the Jewish problem by dissolution. As if even a play with a purpose could do more than suggest and interpret! It is true that its leading figure, David Quixano, advocates absorption in America, but even he is speaking solely of the American Jews and asks his uncle why, if he objects to the dissolving process, he did not work for a separate Jewish land. He is not offering a panacea for the Jewish problem, universally applicable. But he urges that the conditions offered to the Jew in America are without parallel throughout the world.

And, in sooth, the Jew is here citizen of a republic without a State religion—a republic resting, moreover, on the same simple principles of justice and equal rights as the Mosaic Commonwealth from which the Puritan Fathers drew their inspiration. In America, therefore, the Jew, by a roundabout journey from Zion, has come into his own again. It is by no mere accident that when an inscription was needed for the colossal statue of Liberty in New York Harbour, that "Mother of Exiles" whose torch lights the entrance to the New Jerusalem, the best expression of the spirit of Americanism was found in the sonnet of the Jewess, Emma Lazarus:

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

And if, alas! passing through the golden door, the Jew finds his New Jerusalem as much a caricature by the crumbling of its early ideals as the old became by the fading of the visions of Isaiah and Amos, he may find his mission in fighting for the preservation of the original Hebraic pattern. In this fight he will not be alone, and intermarriage with his fellow-crusaders in the new Land of Promise will naturally follow wherever, as with David Quixano and Vera Revendal, no theological differences divide. There will be neither Jew nor Greek. Intermarriage, wherever there is social intimacy, will follow, even when the parties stand in opposite religious camps; but this is less advisable as leading to a house divided against itself and to dissension in the upbringing of the children. It is only when a common outlook has been reached, transcending the old doctrinal differences, that intermarriage is denuded of those latent discords which the instinct of mankind divines, and which keep even Catholic and Protestant wisely apart.

These discords, together with the prevalent anti-Semitism and his own ingrained persistence, tend to preserve the Jew even in the "Melting Pot," so that his dissolution must be necessarily slower than that of the similar aggregations of Germans, Italians, or Poles. But the process for all is the same, however tempered by specific factors. Beginning as broken-off bits of Germany, Italy, or Poland, with newspapers and theatres in German, Italian, or Polish, these colonies gradually become Americanised, their vernaculars, even when jealously cherished, become a mere medium for American conceptions of life; while in the third generation the child is ashamed both of its parents and their lingo, the newspapers dwindle in circulation, the theatres languish. The reality of this process has been denied by no less distinguished an American than Dr. Charles Eliot, ex-President of Harvard University, whose prophecy of Jewish solidarity in America and of the contribution of Judaism to the world's future is more optimistic than my own. Dr. Eliot points to the still unmelted heaps of racial matter, without suspecting—although he is a chemist—that their semblance of solidity is only kept up by the constant immigration of similar atoms to the base to replace those liquefied at the apex. Once America slams her doors, the crucible will roar like a closed furnace.

Heaven forbid, however, that the doors shall be slammed for centuries yet. The notion that the few millions of people in America have a moral right to exclude others is monstrous. Exclusiveness may have some justification in countries, especially when old and well-populated; but for continents like the United States—or for the matter of that Canada and Australia—to mistake themselves for mere countries is an intolerable injustice to the rest of the human race.

The exclusion of criminals even is as impossible in practice as the exclusion of the sick and ailing is unchristian. Infinitely more important were it to keep the gates of birth free from undesirables. As for the exclusion of the able-bodied, whether illiterate or literate, that is sheer economic madness in so empty a continent, especially with the Panama Canal to divert them to the least developed States. Fortunately, any serious restriction will avenge itself not only by the stagnation of many of the States, but by the paralysis of the great liners which depend on steerage passengers, without whom freights and fares will rise and saloon passengers be docked of their sailing facilities. Meantime the inquisition at Ellis Island has to its account cruelties no less atrocious than the ancient Spanish—cruelties that only flash into momentary prominence when some luxurious music-hall lady of dubious morals has a taste of the barbarities meted out daily to blameless and hard-working refugees from oppression or hunger, who, having staked their all on the great adventure, find themselves hustled back, penniless and heartbroken, to the Old World.

V

Whether any country will ever again be based like those of the Old World upon a unity of race or religion is a matter of doubt. New England, of course, like Pennsylvania and Maryland, owes its inception to religion, but the original impulse has long been submerged by purely economic pressures. And the same motley immigration from the Old World is building up the bulk of the coming countries. At most, the dominant language gives a semblance of unity and serves to attract a considerable stream of immigrants who speak it, as of Portuguese to Brazil, Spaniards to the Argentine. But the chief magnet remains economic, for Brazil draws six times as many Italians as Portuguese, and the Argentine two and a half times as many Italians as Spanish. It may be urged, of course, that the Italian gravitation to these countries is still a matter of race, and that, in the absence of an El Dorado of his own, the Italian is attracted towards States that are at least Latin. But though Brazil and the Argentine be predominantly Latin, the minority of Germans, Austrians, and Swiss is by no means insignificant. The great modern steamship, in fact—supplemented by its wandering and seductive agent—is playing the part in the world formerly played by invasions and crusades, while the "economic" immigrant is more and more replacing the refugee, just as the purely commercial company working under native law is replacing the Chartered Company which was a law to itself. How small a part in the modern movement is played by patriotism proper may be seen from the avidity with which the farmers of the United States cross the borders to Canada to obtain the large free holdings which enable them to sell off their American properties. How little the proudest tradition counts against the environment is shown in the shame felt by Argentine-born children for the English spoken by their British parents.

The difference in the method of importing the ingredients makes thus no difference to the action of the crucible. Though the peoples now in process of formation in the New World are being recruited by mainly economic forces, it may be predicted they will ultimately harden into homogeneity of race, if not even of belief. For internationalism in religion seems to be again receding in favour of national religions (if, indeed, these were ever more than superficially superseded), at any rate in favour of nationalism raised into religion.

If racial homogeneity has not yet been evolved completely even in England—and, of course, the tendency can never be more than asymptotic—it is because cheap and easy transport and communication, with freedom of economic movement, have been late developments and are still far from perfect. Hence, there has never been a thorough shake-up and admixture of elements, so that certain counties and corners have retained types and breeds peculiar to them. But with the ever-growing interconnection of all parts of the country, and with the multiplication of labour bureaux, these breeds and types will be—alas, for local colour!—increasingly absorbed in the general mass. For fusion and unification are part of the historic life-process. "Normans and Saxons and Danes" are we here in England, yes and Huguenots and Flemings and Gascons and Angevins and Jews and many other things.

In fact, according to Sir Harry Johnston, there is hardly an ethnic element that has not entered into the Englishman, including even the missing link, as the Piltdown skull would seem to testify. The earlier discovery at Galley Hill showed Britannia rising from the apes with an extinct Tasmanian type, not unlike the surviving aboriginal Australian. Then the west of Britain was invaded by a negroid type from France followed by an Eskimo type of which traces are still to be seen in the West of Ireland and parts of Scotland. Next came the true Mediterranean white man, the Iberian, with dark hair and eyes and a white skin; and then the round-headed people of the Bronze Age, probably Asiatic. And then the Gael, the long-headed, fair-haired Aryan, who ruled by iron and whose Keltic vocabulary was tinged with Iberian, and who was followed by the Brython or Belgian. And, at some unknown date, we have to allow for the invasion of North Britain by another Germanic type, the Caledonian, which would seem to have been a Norse stock, foreshadowing the later Norman Conquest. And, as if this mish-mash was not confusion enough, came to make it worse confounded the Roman conquerors, trailing like a mantle of many colours the subject-races of their far-flung Empire.

Is it wonderful if the crucible, capable of fusing such a motley of types into "the true-born Briton," should be melting up its Jews like old silver? The comparison belongs to Mr. Walkley, who was more moved by the beauty of the old and the pathos of its passing than by the resplendence of the new, and who seemed to forget that it is for the dramatist to register both impartially—their conflict constituting another of those spiritual duels which are peculiarly his affair. Jews are, unlike negroes, a "recessive" type, whose physical traits tend to disappear in the blended offspring. There does not exist in England to-day a single representative of the Jewish families whom Cromwell admitted, though their lineage may be traced in not a few noble families. Thus every country has been and is a "Melting Pot." But America, exhibiting the normal fusing process magnified many thousand diameters and diversified beyond all historic experience, and fed not by successive waves of immigration but by a hodge-podge of simultaneous hordes, is, in Bacon's phrase, an "ostensive instance" of a universal phenomenon. America is the "Melting Pot."

Her people has already begun to take on such a complexion of its own, it is already so emphatically tending to a new race, crossed with every European type, that the British illusion of a cousinly Anglo-Saxon people with whom war is unthinkable is sheer wilful blindness. Even to-day, while the mixture is still largely mechanical not chemical, the Anglo-Saxon element is only preponderant; it is very far from being the sum total.

VI

While our sluggish and sensual English stage has resisted and even burked the writer's attempt to express in terms of the theatre our European problems of war and religion, and to interpret through art the "years of the modern, years of the unperformed," it remains to be acknowledged with gratitude that this play, designed to bring home to America both its comparative rawness and emptiness and its true significance and potentiality for history and civilisation, has been universally acclaimed by Americans as a revelation of Americanism, despite that it contains only one native-born American character, and that a bad one. Played throughout the length and breadth of the States since its original production in 1908, given, moreover, in Universities and Women's Colleges, passing through edition after edition in book form, cited by preachers and journalists, politicians and Presidential candidates, even calling into existence a "Melting Pot" Club in Boston, it has had the happy fortune to contribute its title to current thought, and, in the testimony of Jane Addams, to "perform a great service to America by reminding us of the high hopes of the founders of the Republic."

I. Z. January 1914.



Printed in the United States of America.

THE END

Previous Part     1  2
Home - Random Browse