An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant

By M. E. Ravage; Steven G. Kellman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Farewell Forever

I had given my word that I would not again ask to go with that group, and I had kept it, in spite of the fact that Monish Bachman had withdrawn his objections and allowed my friend Yankel to go. But when, several days later, the papers began to publish exciting accounts of the progress of the group I quite frankly began to be sorry for having been so good. It made me desperate to think that here I was condemned to inactivity, my hopes and my ambitions turning sour within me, while the boys who had been my friends and companions were plucking rich adventure, seeing the world, and daily drawing nearer to that magic city of promise, New York. They had, according to a letter to me from Yankel, reached Berlad; the whole town had turned out to welcome them, had fought for the privilege of entertaining them at their homes, and had banqueted them for three days as if they had been princes. From Berlad they had gone on to Tecuci, where their reception had been even more lavish than in Berlad. Can you wonder, after this glowing report, that I was getting restless and repenting of my good behavior?

Therefore, when, toward the middle of June, the second Vaslui group was organized, I returned to my attack on father. I threatened to run away and join the group at the next town. I reminded my parent of his ambitions for me, and asked him, after all the rebuffs his efforts had met, whether he could still hope to make anything of me in Vaslui. Just what did he expect to turn me into? I painted a gloomy picture of our life in Rumania—the poverty, the absence of every variety of opportunity, the discriminations of the Government against us. Whichever way one turned there were prohibitions and repressions. Supposing I wanted to study law, then “aliens” were not eligible to the bar. The ministry? Rumania forbade the establishment of rabbinical seminaries. Well, I could go in for medicine, if only the Government allowed him to earn the means of seeing me through. But justice had taken precious care that he should not. When he had engaged in storekeeping in the country and had, by hard toil, succeeded in making a comfortable liv-

-38-

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An American in the Making: The Life Story of an Immigrant
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chronology ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • A Note on the Text xxxiii
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction 7
  • Part One - The Alien at Home 11
  • Chapter I - The Prophet from America 13
  • Chapter II - The Gospel of New York 20
  • Chapter III - The Exodus 27
  • Chapter IV - To America on Foot 31
  • Chapter V - Farewell Forever 38
  • Part Two - The Alien Abroad 45
  • Chapter VI - First Impressions 47
  • Chapter VII - The Immigrant’s America 53
  • Chapter VIII - "How Do You like America?" 58
  • Chapter IX - Ventures and Adventures 66
  • Chapter X - Purifications 78
  • Chapter XI - The Ethics of the Bar 86
  • Part Three - The Education of an American 93
  • Chapter XII - Shirts and Philosophy 95
  • Chapter XIII - The Soul of the Ghetto 104
  • Chapter XIV - The Tragedy of Readjustment 110
  • Chapter XV - The Trials of Scholarship 118
  • Chapter XVI - Off to College 126
  • Part Four - America of the Americans 133
  • Chapter XVII - In the Mold 135
  • Chapter XVIII - The American as He Is 143
  • Chapter XIX - The Fruits of Solitude 151
  • Chapter XX - Harvey 159
  • Chapter XXI - The Romance of Readjustment 168
  • Part Five - Postscript- Twenty Years Later 175
  • Chapter XXII - Jeanne’s Sentimental Pilgrimage 177
  • Chapter XXIII - And My Own 189
  • About the Editor 213
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