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Rachel and I,' says Leon; 'we shall not be gone long.'

'Very well, Leon, very well,' replies Moses Levy.

'I daresay, while we are away, father will come in for his game of cards.'

'Does he know, Leon?

'If he doesn't, he ought to, Mr. Levy. I think it has been pretty plain to everybody. I told mother before I came out that it might happen to-night.'

'Yes, yes, Leon; and what did she say?'

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That if it did, I was to bring Rachel round at once. We are

going to her now.'

'It is right-go, go at once.' But although he appears eager that they should leave him, Moses Levy's arm, which is round Rachel's waist, rather tightens in its clasp than otherwise.

'Mother will be very glad, Mr. Levy.'

'That is good-that is good! Your mother's a good creature.'

'She has been a good mother to me.'

'Well said, Leon. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee!'

One hand being disengaged, he holds it out to Leon, who presses it with affection and respect. Leon has a proper appreciation of the character of the good old man. 'Mr. Levy.'

'Yes, Leon.'

'There is no need to keep it

secret.'

'Surely not, surely not! There is nothing to keep secret.'

'I shall tell everybody.' 'That is as it should be, Leon. Let everybody know.'

Leon lingers a little, till Rachel says,

I will be with you presently,

Leon.'

He goes out of the room, leaving Rachel with her father, and stands on the dark staircase, waiting for her. In a few minutes she joins him. Her face is wet with tears. 'You are all my own, now,' he whispers, drawing her close to him. 'Are you happy?'

'Very happy.'

'I shall always love you, Rachel.' 'And I shall you, Leon.'

'I shall be able to work with a stouter heart, now that I have you to work for. Rachel, your father mustn't lead a lonely life. He would feel it too much; he has only us. A corner of our fireside shall always be his.'

'It is one of my dearest wishes.' 'And perhaps one day-who knows?—I may grow rich. Then he need not go out any more.'

She listens with heartfelt gratitude to the expression of these loving thoughts. They walk slowly down the dark stairs, he clasping her waist, and pressing her close to him. To Rachel there is no man in the world to compare with her hero, and her heart pulses with infinite love for him as he kisses her lips and dewy eyelashes.

Such a convenient staircase! Not a soul about!

Solomon Isaacs declares there is Nothing like Money. 23

CHAPTER V.

SOLOMON ISAACS DECLARES THAT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE MONEY.

THE Sound of Solomon Isaacs' heavy tread on the stairs aroused Moses Levy from the reverie into which he had fallen upon the departure of Rachel and Leon. He counted his old friend's footsteps with impatience, and it seemed to him that Solomon Isaacs tarried an unconscionable time on the wrong side of the door. But Solomon Isaacs was generally slow and wary in his movements, as became a man on the look-out for snares.

Full of the important event which had just taken place, Moses Levy peered eagerly into the hard-featured face of his visitor, who, scarcely looking at his host, gave a careless nod as he entered, and removing from his head a hat which, if it had ever seen better days, was by this time lost to shame, took from it an exceedingly snuffy bandanna pocket-handkerchief, and dabbed his forehead. He then applied his handkerchief to his nose, which he blew so loudly that a little ornament with bells which stood on the mantelshelf played music to the sound, and jingled in sympathy. Carefully returning the handkerchief to its shelter, he replaced the hat on his head, and drew from his pocket a large yellow wooden snuff-box, and stuffed an enormous pinch of brown rappee up his nose, closing the box with a loud snap. Having successfully gone through this programme of performances, Solomon Isaacs drew a chair to his accustomed place at the table, and mechanically stretched forth his hand,

in the expectation of meeting familiar objects.

'Where's the cards, Mo?' he demanded.

"Eh ?' exclaimed Moses Levy, with a bewildered air. Cards were the last things in his mind at that moment.

'The cards, Mo,' repeated Solomon Isaacs, impatiently drumming on the table; where's the cards?'

His voice was like the voice of a crow, or like a lock imperfectly oiled. Either simile, however, scarcely holds good, for his voice had not the merit of consistency. One spoken syllable out of every four or five was fairly smoothwhich made its general rustiness more conspicuous.

Moses Levy, recalled to himself by the harsh tones, rose hurriedly, and went to the cupboard.

'I beg you a thousand pardons, Ikey,' he said apologetically; 'I was almost forgetting.'

In this familiar style-Mo and Ikey-were they accustomed to address each other.

Solomon Isaacs did not reply, and Moses Levy produced from the cupboard a cribbage-board which had borne the brunt of a thousand fights, and a greasy pack of cards by which many a battle had been won and lost. These he placed on the table. Solomon Isaacs' fingers immediately closed upon the cards, and he commenced to shuffle them, with the air of a man whose thoughts were far away. For a moment or two, Moses Levy, who had returned to

the cupboard, stood by the open door discussing some important point with himself, which he soon settled by taking from a shelf two odd decanters, one, cracked, containing rum, the other, chipped, containing shrub; supplementing them with two odd glasses, one long and narrow, 'with lean and hungry look,' the other pot-bellied like an alderman. So engrossed in thought was Solomon Isaacs, that when his host placed the decanters and glasses close to his elbow he did not observe them; but he never ceased from shuffling the cards, mechanically recognising, with a curious kind of satisfaction, old friends, by marks on their backs.

It was the custom of these old men, two nights in every week, to meet in Moses Levy's room, and play cribbage for a penny a game. Many a friendly wrangle had they had over these contests, and often, when luck went against Solomon Isaacs, had he quitted the room in anger, vowing that he would never set foot in it again; but he invariably returned to win back the pennies he had left behind him. For twenty years had this been going on, until cribbage had become like meat and drink to them.

The shadow of Moses Levy, who seated himself opposite the absent-minded man, aroused Solomon Isaacs from his abstraction. Taking up the cribbage-board, he cried testily,

'No pegs, Mo! You're losing your 'ead. What's the matter with you to-night? Is things a-going wrong? Where's the pegs? Ah, ah! what's this?'

A pleasanter expression came

into his face as his eyes lighted on the decanters of spirits.

'I thought you would like a drop,' said Moses Levy, who had hastily commenced to fashion four pegs for the cribbageboard out of as many wooden matches. It'll warm you, Ikey ; let me fill your glass.'

With a shrewd eye for the main chance, Solomon Isaacs seized the pot-bellied glass, which was twice as large as the narrow one, and held it out to Moses Levy, who filled it to the brim, and filled his own afterwards. Then the two old men drank, Moses Levy, as he held his glass to his lips, saying in Hebrew, Peace be unto you,' and Solomon Isaacs responding with, 'Unto you be peace.' Solomon Isaacs smacked his lips with keen enjoyment. He dearly loved a glass of cheap liquor.

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'That's good,' said Solomon Isaacs amiably, holding out his glass, which Moses Levy refilled ; 'it goes right through one. Where do you buy your liquor, Mo? At Raphael's ?

Moses Levy nodded.

'It's the best place,' remarked Solomon Isaacs; Raphael must make a fortune every year out of Kosher rum.'

Moses Levy nodded again, and having finished cutting the pegs, signified that he was ready to commence the game.

'Cut for crib,' said Solomon Isaacs. Nine.'

'Ace,' said Moses Levy. 'Your crib. You're always in luck, Mo, always in luck!'

Moses Levy put down a bright penny, and proceeded to deal the cards. Solomon Isaacs, watching his adversary carefully the while,

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to see that he was dealing fairly, extracted from his pocket all the coppers it contained, and selecting an old halfpenny which had been beaten out so as to look

like a penny, carefully deposited his stake beneath Moses Levy's. To the secret delight of his friend, Moses Levy played with less than his usual skill, and the game proceeded in silence, until Solomon Isaacs cried triumphantly,

'Six !'

Moses Levy put down a four. 'Ten.'

Solomon Isaacs slapped down a

five.

'Fifteen two, and a run's

five. My game, Mo, my game!' 'So it is,' said Moses Levy, with a light laugh.

It pleased him that Solomon Isaacs was winning. He would have liked him to win every game.

Solomon Isaacs drew Moses Levy's bright penny from the stakes, and pocketed it, leaving his own doubtful one on the table. He gloated in secret over his cleverness, and the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes came out conspicuously.

'Leon's getting along well at

his shop,' remarked Moses Levy, nervously approaching his subject.

'Orfice, Mo, orfice,' said Solomon Isaacs in correction.

'It's all the same, Ikey-shop or office.'

'It ain't all the same,' contended Solomon Isaacs viciously. 'Well, it was when we were boys.'

'What was when we was boys,' said Solomon Isaacs, with a positive shake of his head, ' ain't now. Things is altered. When we was boys, we 'ad to go into the streets to get a living. Leon didn't 'ave to do nothing of the sort. He went to school. When we was boys, it was shop-now, it's orfice. Yes, he's getting on well, is Leon. If he behaves 'isself

But he suddenly paused, and left the sentence uncompleted.

'You ought to be proud of Leon, Ikey; he's quite a gentleman.'

'I've done my best for 'im, and I 'ope he'll remember it. He'll be proud of me one of these days. You'll live to see it, Mo. Yes, yes-one of these days, one of these days!'

Moses Levy looked into the face of his friend for an explanation of these enigmatical utterances, but none was given.

'Leon's been here to-night,' said Moses Levy, in the middle of the second game. Three, four, five, of a flush. Six.'

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'Yes; he's gone with Rachel to see Mrs. Isaacs,' said Moses Levy, scarcely knowing what cards he was playing, as he plunged desperately into the subject he wished to broach. 'Ikey, what's the very best thing in the world?'

'What a question, Mo! The very best thing in the world? Money, of course, money!'

'No, no, Ikey!' exclaimed Moses Levy, in an imploring tone. 'Yes, yes, Mo,' persisted Solomon Isaacs. 'Money. Another game to me.'

(Pocketing another of Moses Levy's good pennies, and ready by this time, in case of dispute, to swear that the beaten-out halfpenny had been staked by his opponent.) There's nothing like it, nothing! Money makes the mare to go. bagful

I wish you 'ad a

'I wish I had,' murmured Moses Levy.

-And that you couldn't move from your chair till you gave me 'arf! What do you mean by your No, no?' cried Solomon Isaacs, putting down his cards in his excitement. 'What do people bow down to? Money. What do people worship? Money. What are we trying all our lives to make? Money. What was the temple made of? Money. What'll buy fine 'ouses, fine clothes, fine dimonds? Money - money — money! There's nothing like money.'

Moses Levy sighed. 'There's

'You've taken seven!' cried So- love, Ikey.' lomon Isaacs.

'So I have. I didn't see it, Ikey, I give you my word.'

'You're an artful one, Mo; you want looking arter. Leon's been 'ere, you said.'

"Eh, eh? There's what?'
'Love, Ikey.'

Solomon Isaacs pushed his hat to the back of his head in astonishment.

'Love better than money, Mo?'

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