Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
Rabinovitch

1

A gentleman encountered him and said, If my eyes don't deceive me, you are Mr. Kumer. Said Isaac, And what is your name, sir? Said that gentleman, The name of your “sir” you should know by yourself. Said Isaac, Your voice I do recognize, but your face I don't. Rabinovitch? Said Rabinovitch, Have I changed so much that it's hard to recognize me? Isaac looked at him and said, In fact, you haven't changed, but it seems to me you didn't use to smoke. Rabinovitch stretched and said, I didn't smoke? Said Isaac, At any rate, not black cigars. Said Rabinovitch, You are right about that, my friend. Isaac pondered, He says, You are right about that, which means I wasn't right about something else. At any rate, from his face it doesn't look like he has any grudge against me. On the contrary, he greeted me nicely and even gave me a friendly kiss.

Rabinovitch asked Isaac, Where are you going? He told him. Rabinovitch said to him, If I'm not mistaken, Lorentz's coffeehouse is near here, let's go in and have something cold to drink. Confound it, such a fat lizard I've never seen before, how nimble she is, hopping like a devil and hiding behind the shutter. And she doesn't know that when they open the shutter, she'll be crushed. Lorentz has enlarged his coffeehouse. Do you come here often? Said Isaac, Me? Said Rabinovitch, Who am I talking to? Not you? Said Isaac, I don't live in Jaffa. Said Rabinovitch, Where do you live? Said Isaac, In Jerusalem. Said Rabinovitch, Then you're a visitor here? What do you do there in Jerusalem? You paint to cover up? Will you smoke a cigar? Said Isaac, I don't smoke. Said Rabinovitch, Why not? Said Isaac, Because I don't get any pleasure from

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