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As it is well known to you dear brethern the distress position of our orphans and parantless children in Jerusalem, who have no one to care for them quite solitary in the world, who are short in almost every thing, as food drink clothing and hospitality, or to have one to look after them to bring them up in maneliness and education so that they should be of some use in the world and a relief to themselves: Alas; their extrem position in explaining to your ignorathy is quite unpossible to subscribe for like vagabonds
about the streets they may seem toiling, consequntly of not having any home we therefore
took the much trodble to do the best we can, and we have rented a place for them where they are taken good care of, and supplied with food dirnk and clothing in their lodgings. but the setlehment containing of one large appartment only, and the noumber of the poor orphans being 200, in which place it is very unpossible to hold the amount for it is difficult to breath even which was under the controlum J. L. Diskni the Rabbi of Brisk, who rented the place and did the best he could for them to bring them up in education by the holy Torah and manliness; also thous who are not fitfull seemingly le education; proffesions is learned to them of all kinds, such as smiths joiners tailors shoe makers etc. also from all the residence of Palestine the orphans and parantless are sent to us so the amount is presently above 200 of orphans who cry in distress in their solitation and for which the weekly expense is 1500 fr.
But the most sorrow and difhcultys the dispossing a setlement of our own for the much trouble of removing every year to new places.
inals to doormat thieves. Furthermore that they were members of organisations. bearing such names as:
Five Points gang.
The "Gas House" gang.
One of these gangs, we were informed, had its headquarters in a saloon on the Bowery known as the "Tub of Blood." We cannot see that the most dark and thrilling chapters of The Mysteries of Paris have anything on this.
A star arose o'er Bethlehem, and many paused to see
The wondrous light flood hill and vale so full of mystery:
The shepherds bowed their heads in prayer, the wicked stopped to pray
A star arose o'er Bethlehem, each rock and hill and tree
A star arose o'er Bethlehem, O lost and weak and bound!
(A description of the Manger Plays given at Christmas time by the children of Dachau, Bavaria, under the direction of Alois Fleischmann.)
SOFT snow was falling over the low red roofs Band the cap-shaped A church towers of Dachau, covering the village with Christmas whiteness. In a narrow street a child's face was pressed against the pane and two sad eyes looked out through the storm to the house across the way, where the needled boughs of a Christmas-tree were silhouetted against the drawn curtain. Now and again the curly head of a child danced by on the curtain, or a pair of tiny hands stretched up for a moment to light the candles, and each time the lump in the throat of the boy who stood looking out into the night grew larger, and at last the hot tears sprang to his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. This year it needs must be that there was no Christmas-tree in his home, and his heart rebelled against being robbed of its birthright, the joy of this season that belongs to every child born in Christian lands today. And the pain grew deeper and deeper, cutting more cruelly into his sensitive heart, until the next day, when, with his hand in his father's, he went out into the cold and stillness, followed the pathway down the village hillslope, and cut across the trackless fields to the woods. The storm had ceased, and the sunlight breaking through the clouds. suddenly caught up tree after tree, changing their snow-decked branches into a blaze of iridescent colour. A hundred, a thousand, Christmas-trees stretched out before the boy's eyes, and the pain in his heart was stilled.
The boy grew up in the little village, spending long afternoons perched on the wall of the Hofgarten, looking down over the unbroken moor to where the two towers of the Munich Frauen-Kirche rise grey against the horizon; swimming the zigzag course of the Amper River; hunting ghosts at midnight in the old castle on the hill; and wandering off for days at a time into the woods, where he told
his heart out to the trees, and wrote his first songs, which he sang only to the birds. There came the time when the music was laid before the master, Rheinburger; the years when each day found the boy before piano or organ for hours reaching into hours, and each night taking his place in the crowded ranks of the stehpläzer in concert hall or opera house, learning his Bach and Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and Brahms.
With the end of student days he went back to his home in Dachau to be the musical director and organist in the church of the little village, where spring and autumn, dawn and sunset, birth and death, were still miracles. The boy had grown to manhood, but much of the child lingered yet in his nature, and sent him tramping through the woods for the first spring wild flowers or skating at moonlight on the black ice of the forest pool. Thus it was that with the approach of Christmastide there came over him the memories of that night long ago, the dusk, the storm and the Christmas-tree across the way. The memory and the rebellion cost him sleep and long hours of dreaming, but finally from it was born the Kriepenspiele at Dachau-the Manger Plays for the children of this Bavarian village at Christmastide.
In the annals of the town in the tenth century it stands written that there was given yearly in Dachau a passion play, and perhaps it was but the reincarnation in Alois Fleischmann of this old dramatic spirit that led him to create his Manger Plays, and, quite unknown to himself, present them in the hall that stands now on the same spot where the Burger Theatre long since crumbled into ruins. This same dramatic spirit, Herr Fleischmann found, too, was dormant in the children of the village, and it is no small part of his genius that he has in no way sought to implant in his group of little players an outside polish, either of word or gesture, but rather to foster
the instinct that he found awaiting his chorus, humanity, calls again to ask the touch.
meaning of love and the meaning of mercy, while the heavenly voice replies. that in this night he who will open his eyes and ears shall learn what is this new power that has come to redeem the world.
Three years ago he called together a group of the village children, and, feeling his way, worked out with them the dramatisation of a fairy tale. The delight pictured on their faces, the response of their spirit to his, set his imagination afire, and the approach of the next Christmas found him again with the boys and girls about him listening as he read them the story of an old Miracle Play from out the sixteenth century, and played them his music, into which he had woven the old hymn "Heilige Nacht."
How contagious is the joy of children! The story of their Kriepenspiel that they were to give at Christmas time spread through the village. It stirred the art colony that has found in Dachau the Barbizon of Bavaria. Rumours of it even reached as far as Munich. Thus it was that the third year, the composer, seeing ever higher than he could build, looked about and found others awaiting to help him. When, after much research, he selected as a third play a single Christmas legend by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf, a Munich poet, Langheinrich, was ready to put it into dramatic form; two artists stood at hand to illustrate the text and help with costumes and scenery, and at all three performances of the play crowds came from Munich, until the road winding up the hill from the station was black with people, many of whom had to be turned from the door for lack of room in the hall.
The curtain rises, and one slowly distinguishes in the dim light a herdsman wrapped in his uncombed sheepskin sleeping before his fire. Three shepherd boys, whose brown legs and arms needed little or no make-up, have come together to while away the long winter evening. The most rebellious sheep of the flock has been gathered into the fold, and the herdsman's heavy breathing assures the lads that they have the night and the field to themselves. One boy raises his flute to his lips and blows a few minor notes. Far across the moor answers another flute in the same plaintive key, and its voice awakens another more distant yet. Then, as the sound dies, we hear the boys talking together in the soft Bavarian dialect.
"I don't know what it is about this night that makes me feel so happy and yet so restless," muses one half aloud. "The moon is red as a northern light, and I can't go to sleep. Come, let us set up our marbles and give riddles. Three guesses right and the marbles are won."
Very simple and primitive are the riddles that follow, but they are given with such natural and apparent delight that the audience is quite captivated.
Nine little hares on a beechwood tree,
"Six, of course," scornfully answer the others. "Do you think we cannot count?"
"Ah, but you are wrong," is the answer, none the less scornful. "Three were left there. The six live ones ran away;" and peals of laughter break from the three throats.
In the midst of guessing the fourth riddle another shepherd lad comes running in through the darkness, his hand at his throat as he struggles for breath to explain his flight.
"Oh, give heed, lads. I have been running about here, there and everywhere from sheer fright."