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Tales and Novels - Volume 09

Maria Edgeworth

Book Overview: 

Harrington follows the protagonist of the same name who tries to explore his memories in order to understand his views on Jews. It begins with Harrington's early images of Jews, which are formed by a collection stories told by his maid, of Simon the Jew. His parents further strengthen this image by rewarding Harrington's antisemitism. Only after going to public school and coming face to face with the bully Mowbray are Harrington's views on Jews changed. Mowbray's tormenting of a Jewish peddler Jacob causes this sudden shift in thinking. Then with the introduction of Berenice Montenero, an American Jew who moved to England with her wealthy father, all does not run smoothly.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I had been so completely engrossed by my own feelings and imaginations, that I had never once thought of that which had previously excited our curiosity— the picture, till, as we were going into another room to drink coffee, Mowbray said to me, "We hear nothing of the dentition of the Jew: I can't put him in mind of it."

"Certainly not," said I. "There is a harp; I hope Miss Montenero will play on it," added I.

After coffee we had some good music, in different styles, so as to please, and interest, and join in one common sympathy, all the company, many of whom had never before heard each other's national music. Berenice was asked to play some Hebrew music, the good general reminding her that he knew she had a charming ear and a charming voice when she was a child. She had not, however, been used to sing or play before numbers, and she resisted the complimentary entreaties; but when the company were all gone, except the ge. . . Read More