0n a spring day in the year 1764 a young man was seen going up the narrow, cobble-stoned Jews’-Street of Frankfort-on-the-Main. Tradesmen and market women paused in their bargaining to glance at him, but did not recognize him. Tall and spare, with marked Semitic features, a short, pointed black beard, and a rabbinical stoop in the shoulders, he was clearly a son of the Ghetto. A certain good-humored look around the eyes and mouth suggested something familiar about him, and from the unhesitating manner in which he walked straight on before him he seemed to be at home in the teeming street. He had entered by the south end, the one nearest the center of town, and was proceeding steadily northward in the direction of the Bornheimer Gate, which was the poorer section of the Judengasse. Not far from the gate he turned right, halted before a house which had a sign with a crudely painted saucepan on it, and disappeared into the yard. Then only, the curious who had been watching him from their doorways remembered. Why, it was Meyer, “the little Bauer,” the son of Amschel and Schoenche, the unfortunate couple who had died within a few months of each other now more than eight years ago, leaving five young children homeless, parentless and with barely enough means for their rearing.
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