Chapter 63622293

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleAN ARREST.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63622293
Full Date1889-11-28
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1169
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleIllustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 - 1872)
Trove TitleBy Order of the Czar. The Tragic Story of Anna Klosstock, The Queen of the Ghetto
article text

CHAPTER V.

AN ARREST.

While host «and guest were thus entertaining each other in Grunstein's remarkable retreat, the police were seeking Ferrari in every house of the Ghetto, and troops were scouring the country in all directions. Poor Anna was aroused from her dreams of bliss to be declared a prisoner in her father's house. The officer placed in charge had every room ransacked for seditious papers. Her own virgin chamber was not sacred from their prying eyes, Before it was well day the new governor, General Petronovitch, made his appear- ance. He sat in Nathan Klosstock's great room, and had the owner and his daughter brought before him as if they were criminals.

' So,' he said, ' you are the vile reptiles that have found so much favour with my predecessor ? -like Governor like subject.'

'We are no reptiles, may it please your Excel- lency,' Nathan Klosstock replied.

' Dog of a Jew !' exclaimed Petronovitch, ' how conies it then that my Imperial master's mandate is treated with contempt, and his trusted officer

N.

f " You are my prisoner-Come ! " said the first officer.'

murdered in thy house, and by the hands of thy guests, traitors to his Imperial Majesty ?'

' If I may be permitted to answer, I would say we are no traitors to His Imperial Majesty, but humble loving subjects.'

'Loving subjects? I spit upon thee, thou cursed Jew !' and he spat accordingly.

' Nay, six*, have mercy upon my daughter ; she has been trained to pray for His Imperial Majesty,

and to honour her father.'

'Has she so?' said Petronovitch, turning his cruel eyes upon her ; ' she does not honour thee in her handsome face, nor in her graceful figure. Stand up girl ! thou needst not fear ; where is the man to whom thou art'betrothed, as they tell me

thou art ?' .

'The rabbi Losinski, your Excellency,' said Anna, in a voice trembling with agony and dis- tress, ' was driven forth.'

' The Jew Losinski,' said thc officer, ' we thought it well, your Excellency, to keep apart from the other prisoners. He is without.'

' Bring him before us,' said Petronovitch. Two soldiers appeared with Losinski.

' The rabbi Losinski ?' said Petronovitch with a note of interrogation.

The rabbi bowed his head.

. The famous student of St. Petersburg ?'

' Your humble servant/ said the rabbi, ' and your Imperial Master's faithful subject.'

' For the present, to show that we are the merciful officers of a merciful Emperor and Father of his people,- be they Jew or Gentile, Turk or Persian, thou art released. Betake thee to thy

home.'

The rabbi lingered for a moment, and then advanced towards Anna.

' Begone, I say.'

Anna raised her eyes, full of appeal and tears.

' This woman is my betrothed,' said Losinski ; ' permit me to remain.'

' Ill-mannered cur !' said Petronovitch, ' out of my sight !'

Then, turning to the officers, he said, ' Thrust

him forth.'

And forthwith the rabbi was hustled into the

street, where the sun was finding its way into the dark corners of the Ghetto, and a wild song-bird, straying from the meadows by the river, was singing somewhere in the blue sky.

With what a heavy heart did Losinski turn towards his home ! As he appeared in the midst of the Jewish dwellings, men and women came out of their houses, and many were trooping in from their pleasant homes outside the Ghetto. They were making their way to the Synagogue, in re sjionse to the triple knock upon their doors-the usual call to prayer-at this time both a surprise and a warning.

' We need thy counsel,' said one of the foremost of his flock ; ' we need mutual advice.5

' And prayer,5 said the rabbi.

They pressed on their way, encompassing the burial ground of their race, and more than one of the aged people remembered the martyred dead who lay there. Czarovna had a history of cruel rule and bitter persecution ; and in more than one

breast of those who followed the rabbi arose the " fear that the peace and happiness of the past ten years was but a passing ray of light in the gloom of their ancient records, and that once more they were about to enter upon a period - of misery and

tribulation.

The news of the previous night had spread like wildfire ; reports of the massacre of Elizabethgrad had come in, and during the day strange men had taken up their quarters at the inns, without any apparent object of business or kinship, or for any purpose of pleasure. Occasionally a traveller would appear in the village, to inspect the old cathedral church and palace, or to wander over a strange group of rocks that rose in curious shape beyond the Ghetto and down to the river-as if they had been thrown up by some sudden revul-

sion of nature-and beneath which Grunstein had

made his interesting and useful discovery ; but

the newly arrived strangers seemed to have no business of any kind, and it was said by a traveller from the West that it was thus the troubles began at Elizabethgrad.

Arrived at the Synagogue, after an earnest prayer for guidance and help, the rabbi related to the people what had taken place at the house of Nathan Klosstock, and he advised his brethren to have a care how they conducted themselves and their affairs in presence of the affliction that had befallen them. He spoke with emotion of the arrest of the late Governor, Poltava, and of the hapless prospect that was before them under his successor. Passing over his own great trouble with much self denial, he warned his hearers with impressive eloquence to take care they gave the new Governor, His Excellency General Petronovitch, no excuse for afflicting them, no reason for professing to suspect their allegiance to the Czar, no opportunity for affording him a hasty conviction ; for they knew how great was his power, the more so in times of political excitement, and in presence of an active hostility of the Orthodox Christian against the Orthodox Jew. The reports which had preceded the new Governor provided him with a character exactly the opposite from that of General Poltava; and the rabbi gave point to its truth by telling his flock that he himself had already had bitter proof that neither in charity, religion, nor justice had they anything to hope from General Petronovitch. He did not say this in any bitter- ness of spirit ; he was content to leave himself in the hands of God ; but he said it that they might understand how they stood; that the reign of security was at an end, but that the day of tribulation might be at least "mitigated by circumspect conduct, patience, humility, and

nraver. -