"Er ist geheissen
Israel. Ihn hat verwandelt
Hexenspruch in elnen Hund.
* * * * * Aber jeden Freitag Abend,
In der Dämmrungstunde, plötzlich
Weicht der Zauber, und der Hund
Wird aufs Neu' ein menschlich Wesen."
--HEINE: Prinzessin Sabbaz.
When Deronda arrived at five o'clock, the shop was closed and the door was
opened for him by the Christian servant. When she showed him into the room
behind the shop he was surprised at the prettiness of the scene. The house was
old, and rather extensive at the back: probably the large room he how entered
was gloomy by daylight, but now it was agreeably lit by a fine old brass lamp with
seven oil-lights hanging above the snow-white cloth spread on the central table,
The ceiling and walls were smoky, and all the surroundings were dark enough to
throw into relief the human figures, which had a Venetian glow of coloring. The
grandmother was arrayed in yellowish brown with a large gold chain in lieu of the
necklace, and by this light her yellow face with its darkly-marked eyebrows and
framing roll of gray hair looked as handsome as was necessary for picturesque
effect. Young Mrs. Cohen was clad in red and black, with a string of large
artificial pearls wound round and round her neck: the baby lay asleep in the
cradle under a scarlet counterpane; Adelaide Rebekah was in braided amber,
and Jacob Alexander was in black velveteen with scarlet stockings. As the four
pairs of black eyes all glistened a welcome at Deronda, he was almost ashamed
of the supercilious dislike these happy-looking creatures had raised in him by
daylight. Nothing could be more cordial than the greeting he received, and both
mother and grandmother seemed to gather more dignity from being seen on the
private hearth, showing hospitality. He looked round with some wonder at the old
furniture: the oaken bureau and high side-table must surely be mere matters of
chance and economy, and not due to the family taste. A large dish of blue and
yellow ware was set up on the side-table, and flanking it were two old silver
vessels; in front of them a large volume in darkened vellum with a deep-ribbed
back. In the corner at the farther end was an open door into an inner room,
where there was also a light.
Deronda took in these details by parenthetic glances while he met Jacob's
pressing solicitude about the knife. He had taken the pains to buy one with the
requisites of the hook and white handle, and produced it on demand, saying,--
"Is that the sort of thing you want, Jacob?"