be without crime to season it! It would be like a dinner of cold beef without pickles. There’d be no yellow novels on the railway bookstalls, no sensational dramas on the boards; nothing but politics in the papers. I believe there wouldn’t be any pawnshops. I’d like to know where we should be, we Jews, Joanna, in such a world as that. There would be no place for us at all. We must be thankful for things as we find them. The world without wickedness in it, and one with it, would be, to my taste, the difference between still hock and sparkling Moselle.’
‘I reckon,’ said Joanna, ‘that in such a place as Kingsbridge, where all is goodness and kindness, and thought of one another, you’d be out of place like a rook on a frosty morning when the worms are in their holes.’
‘They’ve hoodwinked you, like all those who come near them,’ said Lazarus. ‘But I can’t talk of them. I must think of Rachel. Give me the paper.’ He drew the bill from Joanna, who had smoothed it out on the counter, ‘Kaminski! What a name! to change the beautiful Lazarus for an outlandish name like that, and she was Moses before I married her. To my mind, Joanna, our British aristocracy is like a scene on a stage, very beautiful to look at, but there is a lot hid away behind very shabby and very bad, of which most folk see and know nothing. You’ve looked on the grand Kingsbridge House like a young playgoer; all is beautiful, and innocence, and splendour. I know the other side. There is the great burden of debt, fresh loans, that scandal of the Marquess and Rachel, The world knows nothing of all this, but there it is.’
‘I should like so much to go to a theatre,’ said Joanna with a sigh.
Lazarus considered a moment, then his face lightened; he passed his fingers through his hair, ruffling it on end, giving him a wild look. ‘You shall, Joanna; I promise you.’
‘The gallery is only sixpence.’
‘You shan’t go in the gallery.’
‘What? Stand outside, where a place costs nothing?’
‘No, Joanna, you shall have the most expensive place in the whole theatre, that will cost two or three pounds.’
The girl stared at him. Then he smoothed down his hair, and elaborately and noisily blew his nose. He was excited.
‘Yes, you shall. I will go also.’
‘When? At doomsday?’