The King of Schnorrers, by Israel Zangwill
The hero of this picaresque tale dealing with the English Jewry of the late 18th century (now reprinted from the English edition of 1893) is the beggar Menasseh Bueno Barzillei Azevedo da Costa, whose name sufficiently indicates his distinguished Sephardic ancestry. He manages to live well not only by his wits, but by the truly Hidalgo pride with which he overawes his Ashkenazic victims—a choice collection of rich London stockbrokers and rabbis. He levies his tribute upon these wealthy unfortunates with the most insulting condescension; for the Schnorrer Menasseh is no less haughty than Proust’s Baron de Charlus. Like all natural aristocrats, he understands that great saying of Rabelais, that the worth of a man is exactly determined by the esteem in which he holds himself.
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