A 'Schnorrer' (Beggar) of the Ghetto, by L. Raven-Hill

A 'Schnorrer' (Beggar) of the Ghetto

Leonard Raven-Hill


Walter Besant's East London (1901), p. 200.

This sketch of a cringing, Fagin-like figure seems cruel and quite unusual for Raven-Hill, though such a reaction may say more about our modern sensibility than his. As his Indian sketchbook shows, he sketched rapidly and accurately from life. Note that this is not a full plate. It is an illustration surrounded by Besant's text, the first paragraph of which reads:

You observe that the newly arrived Polish Jew is for the most part a man of poor physique; he is a small, narrow-chested, pasty-faced person. "Is this," you ask, "a descendant of Joshua's valiant captains? Is this the race which followed Judas Maccabæus? Is this the race which defied the legions of Titus?" "My friend," replies a kindly scholar, one of their own people, "these are the children of the Ghetto. For two thousand years they have lived in the worst parts of a crowded city; they have been denied work, except of the lowest; they have endured every kind of scorn and contumely. Come again in ten years' time. In the free air of Anglo-Saxon rule they will grow; you will not know them again." [199-200]