The Immigrant Jew in America

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The Russian Jew in Philadelphia*
by Mrs. Simon N. (Charlotte Kimball) Patten, A.M.
Former Headworker, Neighborhood House, Louisville, Ky.

* - From "The Immigrant Jew in America"-- issued by the National Liberal Immigration League, New York City, 1907.
Also included in earlier 1905 edition of "The Russian Jew in the United States."

Sharply contrasted with the middle aged, transplanted Russian Jews who accept even their pleasures sadly are the young immigrants, pioneers rather than refugees, and the native born, who seize eagerly on every social outlet offered by a niggardly environment. Unworn enthusiasms hurry them to tawdry American amusements while their fathers stand steadfastly by their old world observances. For of all the incoming peoples of European birth, the Russian Jew, after half a lifetime under religious and political ban, adjusts himself least easily to American forms. Fleeing from his dread birthplace, where home and synagogue trembled in every political breeze, to a strange unstudied land, his attention is held by the one great and splendid fact that home and synagogue are here secure as long as he and his can bear their share of the burden of the day. The logical centre of his pleasures as well as his pains is, then, chevra (synagogue) and home. Not infrequently a social evening is opened for him and his old wigged wife by the wedding of the child of a Ghetto neighbor who was also his neighbor in a little Lithuanian village before a ukase depopulated it. And the funerals of friends, who through a long life endured many things in both the old world and the new, take him with increasing frequency from his books and business.

There are, also, annual charity balls to which his ever ready generosity calls him and leaves him stranded, a quaint anachronism, an oriental patriarch awkwardly avoiding the rush of prize waltzes and Smoky Moke two-steps. Finally, he is a member of charitable lodges and beneficial associations, which hold semi-social dialectic business meetings.

But of amusement pure and simple, of seeking pleasure and jollity for their own sweet sake, without the base of a ramifying religious impulse, the Russian Jew of the passing generation has never learned. Body and mind have hungered and thirsted under conditions so wearisome that when ease comes he acquiesces to its circumstantial pleasures as an old person whose senses tire and dull, acquiesces to the fall of the cards in the palling game of life.

Against the parti-colored background of our city life he is a somewhat lonely and pathetic figure, in a free land still an exile by inheritance, unwilling to adopt and unable to understand new ways of life and happiness, and in the new ways the conduct of his own children most bewilders and alarms him; and his ignorance of English befogs his conjectures as to the meaning of their Americanisms. Their days he knows are long days, filled sometimes with the easy routine of school and oftener with hard work in tailor shop, department store or factory,-- in any niche of our more or less ramshackle foundations of industry. But their nights are most certainly not spent as his are, in the study of the Word, or even by the quiet light of the home lamp.

To the parents this is anxiety; to those who work for a more unified national life through the acquaintance of all the new elements of population with established manners and customs it is a hopeful sign. They find a richness of promise in the young Russian Jewish citizens, who, living under the severest economic pressure, in an environment which has received but a blurred impress from art and culture, have yet preserved serene good temper and a dauntless spirit. Given such natures, already equipped with a strong mentality, the lever of civic machinery by which the mass may raise itself to a higher social and ethetie plane is not hard to find or difficult to operate.

Some civic educators express the opinion that the uplift of the whole can be accomplished by a general system of extensive, organized, and endowed amusements, the programme which shall produce an ultimate art and culture as the school programme endeavors to produce them.

In the old world ostracism under which the Jew developed circumscribed his pleasures until they were nearly coincident, one may say, with the mental and moral activities which were intensely racial and aloof.

What opportunities for amusement does Philadelphia offer?

They are bounded by easy access to a few cheap theatres, many cheaper dance halls, and occasional rooms given over by scattered regenerative agencies to higher social purposes. First in its formative iinfluence is the theatre, after which comes that distinct class of pleasures clustering about the desolate dance hall: the Pleasure Social, the Hall Wedding, the Dancing Class, the Ball or Masquerade Dance for Charity, and the Literary Concert and Ball of the political and industrial bodies. About the last group are found debating, literary, and dramatic societies, dancing and social clubs, and Sunday school and philanthropic entertainments conducted by Jews of an uptown district.

There were three play houses patronized by Russian Jews, and by comparing the policies of these houses with those of neighboring theatres not frequented by the Jews it is easy to determine the quality which attracts the Ghetto population. The least successful of the three was the theatre on Arch Street, which was conducted as a Yiddish play house for a while, and the reason for this anomaly is due in part to its "old fashioned" plays and to the fact that the language used was Judeo-German, a jargon which the young people not only do not wish to remember but pretend they do not know. Many young men and women, whose weekly evenings at the theatre is as regular a function as their wage payments, expressed surprise and amusement when told that systematic visits had been paid to the Arch Street Theatre.2 They thought it all right for the "green-horn," but probably a mistake in judgment on the part of those of us sufticiently acclimated to "mow the ropes." "That? Why ain't it a rank play?" Something about Siberia, ain't it? Now, you ought to see 'The Electrician.' There's a great coon song in it; it goes this way • • • •'. If the older Jews were threatre-going and amusement-seeking people, a house so centrally located, offering plays based on the most vivid realities of racial and religious life, would do a thriving business.

The "Standard," centrally located at Twelfth and South Streets, the business section of the Ghetto, presents a weekly bill with afternoon and evening performances. A stock company has occupied it for several yeara, and its members are neighborhood exemplars and household names. The personal and stage morals of each player are weighed and pronounced upon, from the virtues of the leading woman to the dramatic atrocities of the villain, whose private career supposedly made a girl of fifteen remark: "Not one of our crowd would be found dead walking the street with him." It is, however, the custom of her coterie to follow him on the other side, drawn by the attraction of a bad name. On the whole, the stock company does better work than might be expected from its weekly change of bill and its double daily performance. Old popular plays of five acts, supplemented by long entre-acte vaudeville turns, often extend the matinee from two until six o'clock. "The Two Orphans," " The Three Musketeers" and the greatest "charmer" of them all, "The Black Flag," are given yearly to large audiences which can anticipate the details of every act. More recently, melodramas of American life, "Hero, the Warm Spring Indian Chief," "M'liss," "The Span of Life," and "The Fire Patrol," have been added to the repertoire and may be depended upon to furnish an appalling amount of misinformation concerning the manners and the customs of our country. But this failure to picture national characteristics is thrust into the background when the cunning of the playwright stirs the crowd to accurate and vehement reactions on all moral issues.

Ask the cynic and the doubter of his kind, he who has been saddened by the photographs of the seamy side of life shown by our first-rate theatres, to come to this theatre and buy a ten-cent seat beside the gallery loafers and unskilled working-boys. He will look down upon the ftoor crowded with young men and women, trouping in from nearby shops, markets and factories; clerks, and garment-workers of the upper class of industry,-- who can pay thirty cents for an orchestra seat, and an additional dime for the wares of refreshment vendors. He will note that the majority of the audience are Judeo-Americans of the first generation, and that they jump to their feet, not like the sons of their fathers, but with a native nervous thrill when virtue is for the moment overborne by vice or when real flames envelop the heroine. If the hero demands the whereabouts of the concealed heroine some self-forgetful person in the audience tells him. Applause, hisses, groans, advice, are heaped upon the stage folk. Given this hearty interest in simple old tales of love and hate, it is not necessary to touch the coarse or the immoral. Only once during the period of personal attendance did a performer do a turn based on dubious anecdotes, and his was the only act that day that did not receive hearty applause. The vaudeville is often horse-play and the songs are rank bathos and silliness murdered by ruined voices; the stage settings are drearily inadequate and the mechanisms creak; yet here an average number of eighteen hundred people daily run the gamut of human emotions and are molded by the deportment of the players.

We are proud of the marked compliment paid us by the management, whose playhouse in another part of the city is wholly vicious, in thus recognizing the sound morale in our district.

The "National" attracts a different patronage. It is ten squares north of the Standard, at Callowhill and Tenth Streets and outside of the geographical bounds occupied by the Russian Jews. Prices of admission range from 75 to 15 cents, and the plays are given by second rate and third rate road companies. Scenery and property are richer than they are at the Standard, and the place is sensational but not spectacular. There is little glare, glitter, or fanfare, but an abundance of the heavily tragic relieved by aeries of the lightly comic "The Man of Mystery" and "The Great Train Robbery" enjoyed long runs this season, and the "Acrobatic Farce" of "Eight Bells," with its tumbling fooleries, crowded the house to suffocation. A large share of its patronage is drawn from the down­town shop-keepers whose social aspirations point northward, warning them not to mingle with the democratic throngs at the Standard; from grammar and high school pupils; from the higher ranks of labor--the men who belong to unions and read the literature of their craft; and from the over-running swarms of boys who know every coign of fun from Kensington to Point Breeze. Traditions of intellectuality propelling this mass were revealed when the Jewish play "Zorah" was given here. By the low murmurs of sympathy and applause which greeted incidents of Russian autocracy, of hasty flight, of stern execution, persecution of the Jewish professional class, religious meekness and filial devotion, one knew that many of the audience criticised the verities at first hand. Threats of Siberian torture had sounded before, under different circumstances, in the ears of university-bred and professionally trained fathers of these auditors. It is an oversight on the part of our society that mental pabulum is not offered instead of the froth with which this strong body is fain to satisfy itself.

The Pleasure Social and its causes measure the lack of any adequate outlet for hospitable impulse and a gracious well-mannered expression of it. The Jew is instinctively hospitable and the quality enters into and complicates his confused attempt to solve the social problem of his life. He greatly desires to be entertained, to entertain, and to adjust to his persistent money stringency the degree of excitation made necessary by his early indulgence in highly spiced amusements.

His own home cannot meet his requirements in this direction. The rooms are seldom large enough to accommodate a number of his friends and the custom of inviting one or two of them to dine with him is almost unknown. Indeed, the formal sitting down to food is not usual enough to make a social function of the act.

There is in general but one small, poorly lighted room, common in the evening to the old people and the children, so that the sense of something different and brighter and dressed up is altogether missing. From these conditions has developed the Pleasure Social, which after Hall weddings is the most frequent form of social intercourse.

There are three distinct kinds of social. The first, as the name implies, is a friendly group of a dozen or more young men combined for pleasure with the sub-motive of pecuniary profit; the second is a business association of three or more men giving dances under club names for profit alone; and lastly the "chartered social," a gambling concern masquerading as "The Early Rose,"The Jolly Fifteen," The Jolly Bunch," or the "Ad Libitum." In order to rent a room where cards may be played regularly and without interruption it is necessary to hold a charter, and, by suggestion, clubs taking a charter may not be in good repute. Therefore, pleasure-seeking young people hesitate to do so even though it would be a step toward a more permanent organization than they usually succeed in maintaining without an assured meeting place. The leading spirits weigh the prospects, drop in to talk it over with the girls, canvass it with members of last winter's defunct clubs, and at length choose a name and elect officers. After a few weeks, if wages are good, they may hire a small, cheap, dirty hall. Each member invites a "lady friend," and they give a tentative private "spiel." However successful it may be it does not establish the Social. For if it rests its claim to recognition at this point, scoffers will say of it, "Them? nothin' but cheap lovers!" So an elaborate affair is projected by generalship and daring, at a date when the market does not seem to be overcrowded with big public balls. It is called to the attention of pleasure seekers by window placards, reading like this:

                ROUDIOS SOCIAL
                   December 2nd

                                        Kilgallon, America's White Champion CAKE WALKER
                                      Last Chance to see him prior to him going to NEW YORK

                                             PRIZE WALTZ for up-towners and down-towners
                                                                 GREAT SPORT

                        Ad. 15 cents.                                                                       Pennsylvania Hall

Sometimes a swell So
cial, a very aristocrat distinguished among its fellows because it is three or four years old, pays its heaviest expenses by the advertisements on its dance programmes. When the financial strain is thus relieved before the day arrives the occasion is a gala one, and the promoters exercise a simpler hospitality than is possible when it is necessary that strangers buy beer to pay for the orchestra. The larger halls, Pennsylvania or Washington, may be rented for $25.00; the orchestra hired for $12.00 or $15.00; and the bar stocked with multiple kegs of beer and bottles of soda, whiskey, wine, according to taste. To these expenses add the printing of window placards and a large number of tickets, prizes for cake walk and waltz, and it is evident that the expenditure is large and that possible loss may be heavy.

The assertion upon the tickets that admission will be fifteen cents is usually no more than current fiction, for the cards are distributed as advertisements, the profits being reckoned by the wardrobe fee levied upon all comers, and by the returns :from the bar. A movement toward higher prices is noted. It is possibly a desire to raise a barrier against the chance entrance of any passer-by. At any rate the members now give complimentary tickets in numbers to their acquaintances, whereas the total stranger is confronted with the admission fee of fifteen cents plus ten cents "ward-robe."

If this process of selection is more than a season's fashion it will in a measure arrest the worst tendency of the Social--the uncheeked publicity which kills the sense of personal responsibility in living up to any defined standards of behavior. On the other hand, if the Social's ball advances on its present lines a few years longer, the conditions it is creating by its entire lack of supervision by mature and steady people, its iindiscriminate contact with some vicious phases of our city life and--if the adjective is not too far fetched--by a touch of the French in masque dancing, all these will set a problem before the Jews which in the guarded Russian days they have been blessed in escaping.

In illustration of the occasional use of this freedom suddenly thrust upon young people strictly reared by parents and rabbis, one incident may serve. At a much heralded Fifth Annual Ball given by a Social whose boast it is that it has always barred the "hoboes" from its functions by high admission prices and that it never admits a "lobster" to membership, the president, a nineteen-year-old cutter in a fashionable tailor-shop, shook hands with his incoming acquaintances with a somewhat unusual manner of kindly interest. "I hope youse will enjoy the evening" was his formal welcome. Perhaps he had been drinking before he came, perhaps not, but half an hour later, dazed and wandering, he approached a guest and her escort and quavered, "If youse want a good time why don't you go to the bar, boy." He continued in this state, drinking with his "lady-friend" who, according to custom, ordered soda, until the girl decided to take him away. She was unwilling to expose him to the wrath of his people and guided him along the streets to her own home at four o'clock in the morning. Her parents sheltered him there until he was sober enough to take care of himself.

The occurrence is not usual, but it was not adversely criticised by the circle which heard of it. Some of the comments summed it up as a good joke on him and a bit of luck that the girl had a "good head on her."

Although the inducement to drink is always present, noticeable drunkenness is seldom seen. The racial temperateness bred by a stem environment has not yet been appreciably encroached upon by a laxer habit of life. Flushed faces, restless eyes, and stumbling sibilants are chiefly indicative of the frequent treats; even in the small hours the large majority is no more than merry. In the early part of the evening it seems searcely that. First impression are indeed dispiriting. The room is cold, half filled, and every sound echoes from its unclean, barren walls. There is a little desultory music which does not affect the young men huddled on one row of benches or the young women opposite one another. Spirits are apparently at a low ebb. Suddenly the big drum booms, the fiddle squalls horribly with every vocal cord, the clarinet playfully caterwauls, the piano emits fearful jangles, people jump into the air, electrified by this orchestral joke, and the dance begins. It moves easily without other diversions until midnight, when a Grand Prize Cake Walk is announced and babies of four years, with other contestants ranging to twenty-five years, gather at one end of the room.

They are fantastically and hideously dressed, the little girls in short fluffy skirts, soiled fancy shoes and stockings, hair floating or strangely coiffured, necks and arms bare, and prize medals won at cake walks of other socials, proudly decorating their little chests. The young men appear as darkies, Uncle Sam or vaudeville tramps, their faces grotesquely painted with ugly daubs. Pair by pair they go down the lines of clapping spectators, through the contortions of the cake walk. A child of ten years may dance with a young man of thirty. Many couples are, in fact, semi-professional walkers who go from one hall to another, competing for prizes. Such rounds are more frequently made by Italians and "Americans" than by Jews. The performance itself is a vulgar and debasing exhibition rapidly becoming worse. Its tendencies are vicious, and although the majority of onlookers, familiar with its easy descent, evidently enjoy it, yet expostulatory rnurmurs are heard here and there.

After the customary "walk," general dancing continues an hour or two, when the Prize Waltz, either double or single or both, is announced. Correct form, conventional steps, are not winning methods, but novelties are. The girl who can whirl pivot-like an incredible number of times is the "champion." Others who undulate with fewest points of contact with the floor also take prizes.

When the ball is a masquerade the fun naturally marches a little faster. More prizes are offered and "the most amusing, the most character, the most beautiful" and so on, being individually rewarded, makes it worth while for a minority to spend time and money on costumes.Fifty maskers among four hundred non-maskers can change the entire atmosphere of a night. To schottische against a clown walking across the dancing apace upon his hands, to dash him prone, to be pursued by him in gesticulating vengeance, to have your lancers set stampeded by a pair of Polish peasants, cracking their long whips about your ears and threatening you in an incomprehensible tongue,-- this makes all hail fellows very well met.

It is a picture tinted with an old world, continental tone, but emphatically there is among the Jews themselves no indecorum, no ever-present conscious principle of evil in the fun, which is but a coarser expression of the buffoonery that sometimes animates the New England husking bee. Judaism and Puritanism both are faithful watchdogs. But it is a certainty that the principle of evil is just at the door. On one Halloween, masked parties made the tour of public balls and after midnight began to arrive at a Jewish Pleasure Social Ball. One party not masked consisted of a number of women who came in quietly. They looked like American sales girls and were unobstrusively dressed in silk shirt waists and dark skirts. But they were slightly rouged, their eyes were darkened, and upon them was the indefinable stamp of the street. They ordered beer and fell into casual talk with young men at the same table. In pairs they joined the dancers and carelessly mingled with the Jewish maidens of the set They were invited to dance as often as was anybody else and, since an introduction to a partner is not a neeessary preliminary, there are no checks placed by custom upon the number of acquaintances these women of a separate world can make in a single evening. This is but one oj many indications that the younger American generation of Jews has neither the social desire nor the religious scruple to keep itself to itself which has been the basic principle with its Russian born parents.

The distinction between the ball given by the genuine Pleasure Social and the business ball of the pseudo-social is entirely economic. The business ball tends to manifest itself as an incipient trust, borrowing somewhat from the better developed corporate creature in the field of more material necessities and yet not tmtrained by standards of living or--of esthetic tastes. An analogy of the Businell Social may exist in the middle man who arranges for his employer the entertainments at a summer resort. The latter, however, acts upon instructions, whereas the manager of the Businelill Social reeeives no orders from society. He of!ers what he will and pockets the returns. If "the push" enjoys cake walks, he invites us to one gayer than that of last week; if we want a masquerade he advertises the article with more prizes, more promenades, more speeialties, and cheaper drinks than the less skilled promoter dares to promise. He is the "soulless corporation" entity, and his influence is felt.

The third class, the "Chartered Social," as a gambling club meeting behind closed doors in an unsocial fashion, is outside the legitimate fields of fun. It thrives on the gambling trait in the Jewish character, and manifests itself in raffles, lotteries, policy playing, and that elaborate underground system in chance which is a symptom of social disorder.

Hall Weddings outnumber the Social Balls nearly ten to one. The ancient Mosaic customs, the ceremonial dance, the tearful kissing, the cries of mazel tov (good luck), suggest permanence, privacy, affairs between friends, and family celebrations. But the impression is false and springs from the fact that the world-loved lover is here the centre of things, and belongs to the jovial stranger within the gates as well as to the numerically insignificant circle of personal acquaintances. To join a wedding party it sometimes costs nothing at all, sometimes ten cents, which is a low price to pay for the combined pleasures of a dance, a pageant, and a feast. None is denied admission. Neither the work-grimed boy, who, seekng what he may devour, drops in on his way home from his daily grind, is questioned, nor the society stranger who wears a celluloid, perhaps a linen collar, and also frankly exploits the oocasion.

The bride and groom, reckoning upon scores of such guests among the hundreds of friends' friends formally invited by card, often spend literally their last cent upon their entertainment. Yet it is cheerfully offered as a sacrifice to fate and enjoyed as an augury of future prosperity. Not long ago at the wedding of a daughter of a family desperately poor, the various sources of supply were drained to the bottom. The newly-made husband and wife were bankrupt, but every guest was fed with chicken, potatoes, bread, fruit and cake,. nor were the beer and whiskey allowed to ebb. The pair was radiant and yet--To-morrow loomed from the wreckage on the tables. The groom looked at his bride: "Well, girl, we got married on our nerve." She smiled and murmured, "Yes, something fierce, ain't it?"

A synagogue ceremony increases the wedding experience so heavily that the number of such ceremonies is falling off year by year. It is also necessary to approximate punctuality, an unlovely condition guests do not like to face. If a synagogue service is dated for six o'clock it must take place between that hour and eight when the wedding-party is expected at the Hall to receive its guests. The Hall wedding invitation announces that the wedding ceremony will take place at six. An hour later carriages call for the nearest friends of the pair and then proceeds to the groom's home. Thence in procession they go for the bride and escort her to the ball. There in front of a stage upon a raised platform painted with the immemorial sacred insignia of the Hebrew faith and punctuated with red, white and blue electric lights, the pair receive then friends. Women cry, men kiss each other and the bridal couple wait restive until the hall is full, frightened when it is, since this is an indication that the ceremony will soon take place. When the last stragglers presumably have arrived between ten and eleven o'clock, a large platform surmounted by the chuppah (marriage canopy) is pushed into the middle of the floor. Willing  hands are laid upon it, for whoever pushes is "forgiven many sins."

The orchestra plays the latest two-step and the groom followed by ten friends holding candles aloft, slowly goes to meet his bride. Half solemn, half laughing, the bridal party marches under the canopy. The rabbi lifts his voice in the strange wail of the ritual. The onlookers laugh and whisper, and some old man beside the groom flashes his sombre eyes upon the offenders. He lifts his candle and peers at them. "Be silent there," he cries.

The music begins again and frivoling couples, under its influence, break from the mass and dance enthusiastically, over the cleared space. When the glass is broken and the wine is drunk, the bridal party is kissed all around amid cries of "good luck" and the music of shear (a Bulgarian quadrille). All the guests form the wedding march round and round the hall, which terminates in the move towarcd the supper room. On the moment, the leisurely progress waxes without disguise into a rush for place and the feast beoomes a plunge for food. Instantly the food disappears from the plates, the bottled beer is seized, a dozen forks dive into the scattered platters of fish or chicken or potato, and supper is over in a twinkling. Healths are drunk, congratulatory telegrams are read (fakes, say the critics), and the wedded pair is taken to the rabbi's corner for a last word of blessing.

The guests dance till four o'clock,-- strange old world dances to tuneless music; peasant dances from Roumania, Austria and Russia; competitive dances between men, circling dances of women whirling, laughing and embracing each other. It is greatly enjoyed by all except the bride, who is often desperately tired and ill after her twenty-four hours' fast. But etiquette demands that she remain until the fun is abandoned, and che bravely keeps at her post. She goes at length to her new home and another day finds her going to market while her husband is at work again in the old place in shop or factory.

'The "Dancing Class" usually meets in a second story room over a shop or in a tenement. It is conducted by a man or men who may know how to dance but who do not know how to teach. There is evidently no appreciation of the value of etiquette and convention as supplements of the waltz step. The "class" does as it pleases and attends the "benefits" which the teacher gives his "colleague" and those which the "colleague" gratefully arranges for the teacher. The attendance on class nights, Friday by choice, is not very large, but there are many classes in the entire district. The same young people may be found in the same place night after night dancing for the entire evening with the same partner. In the course of time these partners develop specialties of their own which, when carried to a certain degree of perfection, promote them as prize waltzers at public balls or to the rank of cake walkers. The class may be mixed in its nationalities. Jews, Italians, Irish, and "Americans" meet amiably, waiving all differences of race and religion but clingng to personal differences in step and bearing.

In the amusements developed by industrial and political parties and literary and charitable societies, there is at length accented that intellectual quality, that spontaneous mental activity of the Russian Jewish mind, which reveals to the observation the scholar garbed as the factory band.

Here is higher thinking, frequently yoked with plainer living than that known to the theatre-going Pleasure social population. The distinction is not that named the economic "standard of living" which falls into the molds cast by the student of sociology, but rather that strong and intangible distinction between thoee individuals who spiritually aspire and those who do not.

In fact, the pleasure of material wants seems to bear more heavily upon these mentally active thousands than it does upon their fellows living upon the same economic plane. The latter spend the larger share of their wages upon personal decorations, the former upon the acquirement of invisible goods. They would rather engage a party leader to speak to them than to attract patrons with the glare of a hired band. They choose to pay the traveling expenses of an out-of-town "Yiddishe" poet rather than to put the money into the treasurer's hands whence it ultimately converts itself into neckties and cigars. In practice, the dancing half of "Concert and Ball" or ,"Speeches and Ball" is tacitly postponed until the long programme has been enjoyed to its final midnight number. Literary and charitable societies incline to addresses, recitations, songs, and piano and violin music, and legerdemain. The programmes of the two great parties, Social Labor and Social Democratic, are made of the sterner stuff of political and industrial agitation; the charitable and literary societies view our situation as less acutely seriois, and arrange their material without propaganda. If the material is original with the person who presents it so much more does the audience enjoy it. If not, it is received with sufficient attention, although the listeners also talk together with a free and easy appreciation of the social motive of the hour.

The programme of the Russian Tea Party given from time to time by unofficial individuals to aid persons or to further plans not falling under a formal charity, fairly represents this section of amusements. A home-sick, broken-down girl had been saying for some time that she would never be well unless she could go back to Odessa, and accordingly the proceeds of the next Russian Tea Party were given to her. The services of fifteen volunteer performers were accepted. The:first one came upon the stage at half past nine o'clock. Piano solos and duets, vocal solos and duets, legerdemain and recitation alternated with intermission, while tea was served from shining samovars, and bread and apples were piled again upon the ;abIes. There was some noise and confusion during the music, but when a vest-making poet recited a long poem in classical Hebrew, satirizing the poet's income from his verse and the comparative wealth of the tailoring trade, the house quieted to absorbed attention. They seized it hungrily, this product of mind, and they called the author back again and again. They received each new poem with lntuitive appreciation of a well turned phrase and a critical survey of the art for the art's sake. When the poet smiled and pointed to their "wounds," they smiled too; at a hint of playfulness mirth lightened grave faces. There were ripples of laughter here and there and it seemed as if sunlight had flashed across the room.

The labor parties and the labor unions attain perhaps the highest level of excellence. Native born men of reputation are asked to speak--a Socialist mayor was warmly welcomed--and there is a sustained interest in American civics and in practical and Utopian legislation leading to industrial relief.

Their balls are not so much balls as opportunities for general conversations, friendly smoking, and food. The anarchists, for several years, have varied the winter's routine by making of their Grand Annual Ball a visual satire upon the institutions of church and state. Young men dressed as Cossacks, policemen or Royal Guardsmen, patrol the hall and when "the people," armed with whistles, give shrill signals they throw themselves upon a bystander and drag him to a buffoon judge. He mouths at the offender and fines him five cents for the good of the anarchist propaganda. A priest of the Greek church marries couples for five cents under the Jewish chuppah, and these unions have in more than one case formed the sole ceremonial basis of an American home. There is much laughter and merriment as the anarchist "priest" goes through his mummery. It is a surprise to learn that his gibberish has in truth made a marriage. All the time while whistles and shrieks of soldiers and people fill the air and while the "priest" intones, persistent hawkers cry, "Buy bar tickets! Buy bar tickets!" and thrust forward checks entitling one to drink. Many buy, induced by a business trick of the management, which turns on the steam heat, closes the windows, and so generates an almost insufferable atmosphere with its concomitant thirst. The green-horn on these occasions is subjected to sore-throat, dizziness and general malaise until he ceases to be a green-horn.

From this gaiety that stings and fun brewed in bitterness, from the boisterous laughter of a group whose criticism of Society is anarchy, it is but a step to gaiety that seeks to soothe, to fun springing from sympathy and the disciplined quiet of another group whose criticism of Society is without a party name. Here and there and far apart are the regenerative agencies, the endowed club rooms, the social settlements, and the philanthropies, all overcrowded and closing their doors to those who would say "yes" to an invitation to enter. Everywhere are those other agencies which would make for the brutalization of their habitués were it not for the innate fineness of those habitués themselves. They are trained to the desire for better things and they do not know how to find them in America. Wherever they can gain a foothold, a corner for their debates, literary societies persevere and thrive. A rare evening of good music echoes for months in the memories of the young men and women who almost nightly hear the clattering discords of the dance-hall; a lecture on the unseen beauties of our environment arrests the gaze upon quaint doorways and curling smoke. In this great neglected garden of human-kind the gardeners are too few. Sometimes the greatest pity and pathos of it all seems to be the fertility of the field which awaits the seeds of Order, Beauty, and Knowledge so seldom flung within its boundaries.

 1 The data for this paper were gathered chiefly in 1900 when tile writer was a resident of the Philadelphia College Settlement.
 2 The Academy of Music is now used occasionally for a Yiddish performance. There is also an up-town Yiddish theatre of a lower grade.







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