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pity upon me! What ails you?" shouted Laizer, terror-stricken.
The parents sprang to her side. With the aid of ammonia, which the awe-stricken mother held to her nostrils, Dobbtsha soon recovered. A heavy sigh escaped her heaving breast, and she murmured:
“Itsle! Itsle! Woe, woe is to me!”
Laizer overheard only the last words, but they seemed to cut his heart in twò.
Dobbtsha begged to be allowed to retire, pleading the necessity of rest, and in her solitude she fought the fiercest battle of her humble life.
The agonized mother, with tears suppressed, bowed again over her “ TitsheChumish," the father turned once more to his tomes, while Laizer stood gloomily: gazing through the window where Dobbtsha had sat.
Dobbtsha arose at the usual hour Monday morning.
“Mother, dear, please prepare my lunch,” she said.
“You do not mean to go to work!” came simultaneously from the mouths of the amazed father, mother, and Laizer, who had stopped in on his way to the factory.
“You shall work no more!” emphatically continued Laizer. “My ‘Kalle' (fiancée), and four weeks before the wedding, work!”
After considerable coaxing Dobbtsha was persuaded to remain at home. She would explain all that evening, she thought.
“Great sorrow is awaiting me,” thought Laizer, as he worked with fierce rapidity at the cigar-rolling table that day. “I have presentiments! My soul is cast down! But ought I not be happy? Did not the lottery ticket help me to carry out my plans much sooner than I could otherwise have hoped for?” But his troubled mind gave him no rest, and he had to stop work for the balance of the day.
“'In three years I will have served my country! I shall then come, even to the end of the world, and claim you as mine!' How these words re-echo in my ears incessantly, the last he spoke to me with such ardor, with such pathos, when I took leave of him in Russia. His handsome eyes betrayed the courage of a lion! And his embrace — ah, that heavenly feeling!
“Laizer is an honest boy, industrious and kind, and I respect him; but that thrill — the sensation I felt at Itsle's touch I shall never feel in Laizer's arms. Grave duties! To fulfill the wish of my dear parents and marry Laizer; the duty not to marry a man whom I can never love when by so doing I would render him unhappy,
and, above all, the holiest of all duties, the silent promise of my heart which I gave to Itsle, its sole possessor, when he whispered to my loving soul, ‘In three years.'”
While so meditating in her chair at the window, her favorite retreat, Dobbtsha heard the janitor in the hallway calling:
“Not this door! To your right!” And immediately after, her perplexed eyes rested upon Itsle, who called with the same pathos, with the same ardor, his beautiful eyes betraying the courage of a lion:
“ The three years are over! I have come, even to the end of the world, to claim you as mine!”