Nina Balatka; Linda Tressel

Nina Balatka; Linda Tressel

Nina Balatka; Linda Tressel

Nina Balatka; Linda Tressel

Excerpt

NINA BALATKA was a maiden of Prague, born of Christian parents, and herself a Christian -- but she loved a Jew; and this is her story.

Nina Balatka was the daughter of one Josef Balatka, an old merchant of Prague, who was living at the time of this story; but Nina's mother was dead. Josef, in the course of his business, had become closely connected with a certain Jew named Trendellsohn, who lived in a mean house in the Jews' quarter in Prague -- habitation in that one allotted portion of the town having been the enforced custom with the Jews then, as it still is now. In business with Trendellsohn, the father, there was Anton, his son; and Anton Trendellsohn was the Jew whom Nina Balatka loved. Now it had so happened that Josef Balatka, Nina's father, had drifted out of a partnership with Karil Zamenoy, a wealthy Christian merchant of Prague, and had drifted into a partnership with Trendellsohn. How this had come to pass needs not to be told here, as it had all occurred in years when Nina was an infant. But in these shiftings Balatka became a ruined man, and at the time of which I write he and his daughter were almost penniless. The reader must know that Karil Zamenoy and Josef Balatka had married sisters. Josef's wife, Nina's mother, had long been dead, having died -- so said Sophie Zamenoy, her sister -- of a broken heart; of a heart that had broken itself in grief, because her husband had joined his fortunes with those of a Jew. Whether the disgrace of the alliance or its disastrous result may have broken the lady's heart, or whether she may have died of a pleurisy, as the doctors said, we need not inquire here. Her soul had been long at rest, and her spirit, we may hope, had ceased to fret itself in horror at contact with a Jew. But Sophie Zamenoy was alive and strong, and could still hate a Jew as intensely as Jews ever were hated in those earlier days in which hatred could satisfy itself with persecution. In her time but little power was left to Madame Zamenoy to persecute the Trendellsohns . . .

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