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'You did right.' Then there was silence in the room. Rachel proceeded with her work, but her mind was wandering from it evidently. She paused frequently, and her needle was often idle, as she listened for an expected sound. Presently there was a quick step upon the stairs, so quick and eager that Rachel made two or three false stitches-which perhaps was the cause of the blood rushing to her face. They are somewhat awkward, these sudden

interruptions to one's work. Old Moses Levy, also, heard the steps upon the stairs, and the sound brought a slight fluttering of pleasure to his heart. The door opened, after the most unceremonious of taps, and Leon Isaacs made his appearance. Rachel, who had started to her feet, smiled an affectionate welcome, and when Leon took her hand in his he did not let it go.

These two young persons were




RACHEL and Leon stood in 'How's business with you, Mr. silence, looking into each other's


'Ah, ah!' chuckled Moses Levy slyly, to himself; 'old Moses Levy is nobody now-nobody nobody now!'

But he did not seem pained by the reflection, for he said aloudthe old hypocrite !-in his most cordial tone,

'Glad to see you, Leon, glad to see you!'

'Thank you, Mr. Levy,' said Leon Isaacs, not casting a glance in the direction of the old man, and quite forgetting to relinquish Rachel's hand.


'Nothing to complain of, thank


'Leon, have you had tea?' asked


'No; I came home only five minutes ago, and I ran here at once.'

Rachel's eyes sparkled at this proof of eagerness on the part of her lover, and, without another word, she released her fingers, and taking a cloth from a drawer, spread it over a corner of the table. Leon's eyes followed her swift and clever movements with admiration. 'If we had known,' said Moses

'All well at home, Leon?' asked Levy, his loving heart stirred to Moses Levy.

'Quite well, thank you,' replied Leon, in an absent-minded way.

'Things right at the shop, Leon?' continued Moses Levy, deeming it necessary to make a show of


'Yes, Mr. Levy.' And then suddenly remembering himself,

deeper gratitude by Rachel's happy manner, 'we would have waited tea for you.'

'I am glad you did not put yourself out for me, Mr. Levy.'

The kettle was nearly boiling by the side of the fire, and within five minutes Leon was sitting down to tea, with Rachel sitting very close

to him. Rachel's hand cut the fresh loaf she had bought-it was evident now for whom-and Rachel's hand poured out the tea for him; and Moses Levy laughed silently as he saw Leon cutting, with great satisfaction, into a fine fried sole he and Rachel having had plain bread-and-butter for tea. Rachel, after placing the fried sole on the table, had, in passing to the cupboard, rested her hand lightly on her father's shoulder, and had given him an affectionate apologetic glance; and he, in response, had pressed his old brown palm on her small white hand, in loving approval. It was a slight action, but it was well understood between them.

Leon was the only son of Solomon Isaacs, whose name supplies the title to this story, and was employed in a fancy warehouse in Houndsditch. Commencing as an errand-boy, he had gradually risen to the position of salesman, and expected soon to be engaged as one of the commercial travellers of the firm, in which capacity he hoped to be able to save, in twelve months, sufficient money to furnish the nest which Rachel was to adorn. He was a handsome young fellow, with good manners and a good address. Here is his portrait, in brief: Short forehead, slightly projecting below; dark-brown eyes, neither small nor large, full of fire and vivacity; compressed eyebrows, clearly defined, near to the eyes; well-formed nose, with wide nostrils, breathing sensibility; large mouth, with well-proportioned lips, showing power; shapely teeth; firmly-moulded chin. Certainly, a well-looking man. All the marriageable females in Spitalfields

said Rachel was a lucky girl. Rachel thought so too.

Leon was also to be envied for having won the love of such a girl as Rachel Levy. She is not presented to you as a heroine, in the way that word is generally understood, or as a being possessing exceptional virtues. Nor is it desired that you should look upon Leon as a hero. It was his good fortune to be fitted for the sphere in which he was born, and to be able to adapt himself to any reasonable level to which he might raise himself; and if, in his career, he is guilty of an act of meanness, you must not judge him too harshly, remembering how liable human nature is to err; and if he commit himself to an act of unselfish generosity, or even to something higher, you must not lift him out of the ordinary scale of human beings. The commonest among us is equal to an act of nobility, should occasion call for it; the highest among us is equal to an act of baseness, should temptation assail him. To strive to keep in the right path-that is the duty of all; and those who best succeed, in the face of the miserable promptings and cravings of the spirit, are best entitled to our esteem. As for Rachel, she was simply an ordinary girl, pretty, good, and virtuous. I declare, upon my honour, in the teeth of the spreading heresy that folly, fashion, and frippery are making havoc in the character of the modern woman, that I believe such girls as Rachel abound, and move within the circle of every man's acquaintance. Vanities of course they have, and I don't envy the man who desires a woman without them. Heaven keep me from such a lump of per


fection! To be mated with a woman without whims and whams, without vanities and weaknesses, without human hankerings after this and that, without even a little bit of temper of her own, would render my life a misery. No perfect saint for me. Give me a woman, sweet and loving often, and sometimes wayward; a woman the sunshine of whose face is on just occasions clouded; a woman with a woman's heart in all its mortal imperfection. When my soul wends its way to another and, let us hope, a better world, I will put up with an angel. But down here, such a girl as Rachel is good enough for me or any man. was amiable and loving, and was fond of a new ribbon and a new dress; she liked amusement, and was proud of her white even teeth and of her white soft hands-she took infinite pains to keep them so, despite her work, and who shall blame her? She had a trick of smiling softly to herself when she was pleased-which was natural; and as she displayed her teeth when she smiled, she had a trick of being pleased at the opportunity of showing how beautiful they werewhich was natural also. She was pretty, and she knew it, and was glad of it; and the gladness that caused her heart to throb, and stirred her mind with innocent vanity, had so much of the quality of natural gratitude in it, that it was almost as good as a prayer.

With Rachel sitting close to him, and her little hand pleading for the shelter of his, Leon's meal was the sweetest he had ever tasted. And how the moments flew ! Tick-tick-tick! went the clock, and seemed to say, 'Be

happy, young people, be happy. Time flies. Be happy and true to each other.' Happiness was theirs, and no thought to dim the bright shield of truth and constancy disturbed their minds. There was no discord in their souls or their surroundings. Love made everything harmonious: the tick of the old clock, the humble room, the cat lying at full length on the faded hearthrug, blinking her eyes in solemn and sleepy approval, the sounds of the people in the streets calling out to each other-nothing was out of place or out of season. That such an old rabbi as Moses Levy looked, in his loose coat and long white beard, should know anything of the ins and outs of billing and cooing, and should so sympathise with such doings as to derive infinite delight from them, appeared inconceivable. But it was not, and sly Moses Levy knew perfectly well that the lovers' hands were locked in close embrace beneath the tablecloth, and his beaming face proclaimed that the proceeding met with his entire approval.

'Rachel fried that fish, Leon,' said the old man, without attempting to lead up to the subject.

Artful old fellow ! Cunning old patriarch! To so try to enhance the value of his one fair daughter in the eyes of her lover! But the Jews were ever an artful race.

'I know she did,' said Leon. Rachel looked up at him. She had not told him.

'I know by the taste,' he said, with a fond pressure of his girl's hand.

'Of course you do, Leon-of course you do,' rejoined Moses Levy, ready to agree to anything.

'When you get familiar with any one's frying,' said Leon, speaking with an air of authority, 'you can never mistake it. It is like a voice or a footstep one is in the habit of hearing. The moment I put a piece into my mouth, I say to myself, "Ah, that is Soand-so's frying, or So-and-so's." But I needn't wait to taste it. I know it by its very look.'

That is quite true, Leon,' acquiesced Moses Levy; it can be known so. I've remarked it myself.'

'There are so many different ways of frying,' continued Leon. 'Some women are born with a genius for it, while others could never learn. You can put a finer flavour into the fish, or take all the flavour out of it, even in the way you turn it in the pan.'

'It's the way the batter is mixed,' said Moses Levy, entering with zest into the subject. And the eggs there mustn't be any suspicion about the eggs!

One musty egg will spoil a whole frying.'

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Everything must be done perfectly. The very cloth in which the fish is dried before it is put in the pan must be newly washed and aired. It gives sweetness to the fish.' 'You are quite right, Leon. Rachel is very particular about these things.'

'Then you can't be too careful how you dip the slices in the batter, not to leave too much or too little on the skin. Then the proper way to lay it in the pan-it should be done gently, and even with delicacy.'

'Bravo, Leon, bravo! 'Then the hands that do all this,' said Leon, toying with Rachel's fingers, with a positive conviction that for the magical frying of fish,

or for any other magical operation, there were no fingers in the world to compare with hers-'they must be dainty hands, light, and soft, and nimble. There is a kind of spiritual influence in some finger-tips that can accomplish wonders.'

'And above all,' said Moses Levy, with enthusiasm, the oil! That is the grand secret of fryingthe oil!'

'But everything would be wasted without the right hands and the right spirit. One must really take pleasure in it to do it well, and to turn out the fish at last with the skin just enough browned, and not lying too close to the flesh. I do believe,' added Leon, with a light laugh, 'that the fish know when they are properly handled, and are grateful when they are served up in a handsome way as they deserve to be, for nothing in the world is sweeter than sweet fish sweetly cooked.'

His laugh was echoed by Moses Levy. Rachel took no part in the conversation, but had it been of a vital character she could not have listened with deeper gravity and


'I don't know,' said Leon, with satisfied nods, 'whose frying I like best, Rachel's or mother's. My mother, you know, Mr. Levy, is a famous cook.'

'Rachel's mother,' said Moses Levy, with a sigh, 'God rest her soul!

'God rest her soul!' murmured Leon; and Rachel also breathed a benediction.

Was the best cook in the world,' continued Moses Levy. 'That was admitted by everybody; she took a pride in it. And Rachel learnt from her. There were

some things she did that couldn't be approached, and she used to say, "My little Rachel's going to beat her mother when she gets to be a woman."-Rachel, I think Leon has never tasted your sweet and sour French beans.'

Leon answered for Rachel. 'No, Mr. Levy, I haven't.'

'It's wonderful wonderful! There's nothing in the world to compare with it. Leon, your

mother couldn't beat Rachel in that!'

Moses Levy smacked his lips, and his nostrils quivered. He had had a sufficient tea, but he was fond of good eating and drinking, and he would have dearly liked the dish he spoke of for sup

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'There are no cooks like Jewish cooks,' observed Leon. 'That's true,' acquiesced Moses Levy.

'There isn't a Christian woman in England,' pursued Leon, whose share in this dialogue proved that he also was fond of the good things of the table-as, indeed, all Jews are 'who knows how to treat fish as it ought to be treated. It is really sinful, the way they ill-use it. I tell you what, Rachel. There are two dishes I am very fond of that mother will teach you how to make-meat and boiled chestnuts, and meat cooked with raisins-a raisin stew. What do you say to that, Mr. Levy?'

A lovely dish!' exclaimed Moses Levy, with an enthusiastic sniff; 'a lovely dish! Rachel will be able to cook them beautifully. She only wants telling, Leon.'

Rachel smiled, and made mental notes. It was her way. Then, after quietly learning her lesson, she would make use of it, and, for reward, be satisfied with an affectionate look or word.



LEON having finished his meal, the tea-things were cleared away, and the lovers fell-to whispering, while Moses Levy reclined in his old armchair, and closed his eyes. As he lay thus, with the soft murmurs of the lovers' voices falling on his ears, his thoughts wandered back to his own courting-days, when, after the morning service on the Sabbath-day, he would wait within the Synagogue's gates in Duke's Place,

to press the hand of his Rebecca, and to walk home with her. Dressed most carefully in his best was he on those occasions; and his Rebecca, on her side, performed her part of looking her brightest as well as he, raising her eyes shyly from her prayer-book, as she sat in the gallery of the Great Synagogue, to see if Moses Levy were in his place. It may really be said that part of their courting was carried on

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