Page images

now protect me? ” she was well-nigh overcome with fright when she heard a “Baskol” calling: “Weep not, my dear child. Thou art not forsaken. Thou shalt find solace and comfort in the arms of Gdalya Brunoff, who is so anxiously awaiting thy consent.”

Brunoff then at once hastily retreated through the bushes to the gate where the Khazan stood awaiting the orders of his clientele, and anxiously waited for Leah's return. Some time elapsed and he began to feel uneasy lest the shock had been too great for her, but at last he saw her approaching and he gave the reader a list of names, including that of Reb Khayim Sokoloff, for whom to chant the “Ayl molay rakhamim.” Leah's mind was in a state of chaos. The visit to her father's grave, opening anew the wound of her afflicted heart; the wonderful Baskol echoing in her ears; the immediate meeting


[ocr errors]

with Gdalya face to face; and last, but by no means least, his ordering of the prayer for the repose of her father's soul — all these in addition to her already general nervous condition - were too much for her. Gdalya, who was intently watching her, noticed with what unsteady steps she walked and hastened to her side, reaching her just in time to prevent her sinking to the ground. He procured a chair for her, and as she seated herself her sweet smile eloquently told him of her gratitude. Brunoff ordered a cab and as they sped along the busy streets, overcome by the rustle and bustle and the jolting of the vehicle, Leah offered no resistance when Gdalya drew her gently to him and pillowed her aching head upon his bosom.

If the embers of love for Gdalya Brunoff ever had been smoldering in the heart of Leah Sokoloff, the Baskol, the Ayl molay rakhamim and his chivalrous de

meanor amply sufficed to fan them into a flame that consumed all the previous resolutions and plans she had made for her future life. Whether either of them ever divulged the wonderful part the Baskol played in uniting them remains to be conjectured. Sufficient to know that when Gdalya and Leah Brunoff pastured their loving souls on their grandchildren they inwardly ascribed their bliss to a Baskol.



« PreviousContinue »