« PreviousContinue »
household responsibilities will divert your thoughts and diminish your sorrow. Thus I will have cause to be doubly happy."
Grasping her hand he looked imploringly into her face. In vain Leah struggled for words. But tears, a woman's refuge in time of sorrow and in time of gladness, came to her rescue, enabling her after a short period to resume her speech. "I beseech you not to entertain such a thought. The soul of my sainted father and mine were and are so closely intertwined that the awful mishap which befell him is of such propensity to me that no change in my life can ever shed sunshine into my cast-down spirit. My unhappiness is so immeasurable that even were it greatly diminished by your noble efforts there would be abundant gloom left in my heart to darken your own life. One who is himself unhappy can never render happy any one else. You are seeking happiness. Have I a right to disappoint you in your cherished hopes? No, Mr. Brunoff. As I never expect to be happy myself, I must most thankfully decline your kind offer. I wish to devote my life entirely to the blessed memory of my father and thus try to pass the balance of the time allotted to me until the hour shall come when I will be united with him. For this — yes, for this alone my heart longs."
The pathos and fervor of her speech and the seriousness of her countenance admitted not the slightest doubt as to the firmness of her decision. Seeing this, Gdalya thought best not to press his suit for the present. He, however, prayed for grace and suggested that they leave it to fate to work out the salvation of both of them. His prayer was fervent and firm, bordering on command, and she had to promise him not to make her decision final. He also exacted from her the further promise never to fail to call on him should she be in need of aid. Though greatly perturbed, Gdalya nevertheless looked forward with certainty to the ultimate realization of his cherished desire. He argued that time would minimize her great sorrow and she would then yield to his pleadings.
Poor Leah was in a dilemma. Brunoff's confession of love and his marriage proposal were not altogether one of the disagreeable events in her young life, yet it weighed heavily on her mind. Try as she might to employ her thoughts in other directions, they always reverted to her grief and she always returned to the conclusion that she had no right to accept Gdalya's offer for his own sake. She continued to receive Gdalya in the same friendly manner. Usually their conversation led them to the lamentable state of affairs of their country, which was responsible for so horrible an end to her beloved father and to so many other innocent lives. Gdalya finally began to realize that there was no change in Leah's demeanor and he decided upon new tactics, the first one of which was to lead the trend of their conversation into new channels. Thus he might the easier broach to her again the theme of his love. This, too, failed of its purpose. Many were the plans his loving mind formulated, but all to no avail. How he wished for the wand of the magician, the lamp of Aladdin or the wishing-cap of the fairy. He saw Leah becoming more and more engrossed in her plans for a life of celibacy. Her pleadings to secure a position for her grew stronger. All his evasive excuses were exhausted. The thought of probably being compelled to relinquish her was unendurable to him. Search and muse as he might he could arrive at no tangible resolution and was near to distraction.
"Ellul," the sixth religious and the last civil month in the Jewish calendar, is of parallel, yea even of greater importance and gravity to the Jew than is to him the intervening time between " Purim," Feast of Esther, and "Pesakh," Passover, i. e., the last half of "Ador," the twelfth religious and the sixth civil month, and the first half of " Neesan," the first month of the religious, and the seventh of the civil year. While during the latter space of time he is diligently occupied in preparing for the feast commemorating the event of his deliverance from Egyptian bondage, most cheerfully sacrificing time, labor, and money in anticipation of the joy and happiness in recognition of the creation the proper celebration and observance of that feast will grant him, during the month of Ellul he gladly brings every leisure moment upon the altar of love and the fear of his God and Maker. Looking forward