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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="VIII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter VIII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Story of the Levinskys</h2> <p>As soon as public attention was brought to Philip in such a generous way, he received many offers to write for the press and magazines, and also to lecture.</p> <p>He did not wish to draw upon his father&#8217;s slender resources, and yet he must needs do something to meet his living expenses, for during the months of his inactivity, he had drawn largely upon the small sum which he had saved from his salary.</p> <p>The Strawns were insistent that he should continue to make their home his own, but this he was unwilling to do. So he rented an inexpensive room over a small hardware store in the East Side tenement district. He thought of getting in one of the big, evil-smelling tenement houses so that he might live as those he came to help lived, but he abandoned this because he feared he might become too absorbed in those immediately around him.</p> <p>What he wanted was a broader view. His purpose was not so much to give individual help as to formulate some general plan and to work upon those lines.</p> <p>And yet he wished an intimate view of the things he meant to devote his life to bettering. So the clean little room over the quiet hardware store seemed to suit his wants.</p> <p>The thin, sharp-featured Jew and his fat, homely wife who kept it had lived in that neighborhood for many years, and Philip found them a mine of useful information regarding the things he wished to know.</p> <p>The building was narrow and but three stories high, and his landlord occupied all of the second story save the one room which was let to Philip.</p> <p>He arranged with Mrs. Levinsky to have his breakfast with them. He soon learned to like the Jew and his wife. While they were kind-hearted and sympathetic, they seldom permitted their sympathy to encroach upon their purse, but this Philip knew was a matter of environment and early influence. He drew from them one day the story of their lives, and it ran like this:</p> <p>Ben Levinsky&#8217;s forebears had long lived in Warsaw. From father to son, from one generation to another, they had handed down a bookshop, which included bookbinding in a small way. They were self-educated and widely read. Their customers were largely among the gentiles and for a long time the anti-semitic waves passed over them, leaving them untouched. They were law-abiding, inoffensive, peaceable citizens, and had been for generations.</p> <p>One bleak December day, at a market place in Warsaw, a young Jew, baited beyond endurance, struck out madly at his aggressors, and in the general m&#234;l&#233;e that followed, the son of a high official was killed. No one knew how he became involved in the brawl, for he was a sober, high-minded youngster, and very popular. Just how he was killed and by whom was never known. But the Jew had struck the first blow and that was all sufficient for the blood of hate to surge in the eyes of the race-mad mob.</p> <p>Then began a blind, unreasoning massacre. It all happened within an hour. It was as if after nightfall a tornado had come out of the west, and without warning had torn and twisted itself through the city, leaving ruin and death in its wake. No Jew that could be found was spared. Saul Levinsky was sitting in his shop looking over some books that had just come from the binder. He heard shots in the distance and the dull, angry roar of the hoarse-voiced mob. He closed his door and bolted it, and went up the little stairs leading to his family quarters. His wife and six-year-old daughter were there. Ben, a boy of ten, had gone to a nobleman&#8217;s home to deliver some books, and had not returned.</p> <p>Levinsky expected the mob to pass his place and leave it unmolested. It stopped, hesitated and then rammed in the door. It was all over in a moment. Father, mother and child lay dead and torn almost limb from limb. The rooms were wrecked, and the mob moved on.</p> <p>The tempest passed as quickly as it came, and when little Ben reached his home, the street was as silent as the grave.</p> <p>With quivering lip and uncertain feet he picked his way from room to room until he came to what were once his father, mother and baby sister, and then he swooned away. When he awoke he was shivering with cold. For a moment he did not realize what had happened, then with a heartbreaking cry he fled the place, nor did he stop until he was a league away.</p> <p>He crept under the sheltering eaves of a half-burned house, and cold and miserable he sobbed himself to sleep. In the morning an itinerant tinker came by and touched by the child&#8217;s distress, drew from him his unhappy story. He was a lonely old man, and offered to take Ben with him, an offer which was gladly accepted.</p> <p>We will not chronicle the wanderings of these two in pursuit of food and shelter, for it would take too long to tell in sequence how they finally reached America, of the tinker&#8217;s death, and of the evolution of the tinker&#8217;s pack to the well ordered hardware shop over which Philip lived.</p>
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