'A nearby gas lamp, sir,' Morrow spoke up.

'What sort of knot?'

'Bowline, I understand.'

'And was the rope tying Mr. Pokrzywa's body to the cross the same sort of rope as this?'

'Yes, sir. It's still in the other room. Shall I trot it out?'

'Aye, please do. This rope smells of animals. It may have come from one of the tanneries in Leadenhall Street, or a knacker's yard, or possibly a ship that transports livestock. Thank you, Constable. Yes, it is the same rope. Not as much blood on it as you would expect. He didn't bleed much from the hand wounds, since he was already dead. Thank you, Dr. Vandeleur, for your patience.'

I was relieved we were finally leaving. The strong odors were making me light-headed again. We almost made it out the door when we were stopped on both sides, me by the supercilious guard, who demanded we sign out, and Barker by the rabbi. I filled out the time of our departure, while Barker conversed in low tones with Mocatta, a salt-and-pepper-bearded scholar of perhaps fifty. There were nods all around, the guard included, and we finally left, stepping out into blessed fresh air again.

I took in several lungfuls. Granted, we were near the river and a block or two from the fish market, but compared to inside, we might have been standing on the cliffs of Dover. Barker, as usual, appeared unaffected.

We entered the four-wheeler again and headed north into Aldgate, the Jewish quarter. Every square foot of pavement space contained a sign in English and in Hebrew, a stall of some sort, or an individualЧ man, woman, or childЧ engaged in personal commerce. Match sellers, book dealers, clothing merchants, men selling jewelry from a suitcase, women hawking handmade silhouettes in paper. All this on a Sunday, when church-going Christians in London daren't even ride the 'Sabbath Breaker' to Brighton, for fear of breaking the Third Commandment.

Though it was a ghetto in name, Aldgate was not quite what I expected. One side of the quarter backed up onto the worst streets of Whitechapel, but we were just a few minutes' walk from Threadneedle Street and the Bank of England. Even as we drove, the streets began to improve, and within a few moments we were stopping in front of a prosperous-looking residence in Saint Swithen Lane.

A footman in powdered wig and breeches met us at the door. I noticed, just before we entered, that Barker set his walking stick against the wall, outside of the building. A small silver box attached to the doorframe glinted in the pale sunlight. It was my first glimpse of a mezuzah.

Inside, the hall was richly furnished in a somber and conservative style. Frosted globe lamps gleamed against mahogany paneling, and a rich Persian rug carpeted the floor. The footman led us down an opulent hallway lined with cases displaying relics of old Judaica. Silver menorahs, terra-cotta oil lamps, faded silk prayer shawls, ancient Hebrew coins and alms boxes caught my eye as I walked by. I wished I could have stayed a moment and inspected the small cards that told their histories, but Barker and the footman were pulling away, and I hurried to catch up.

We entered a room lit by two fires, so warm that it felt like a Turkish bath. An elderly man sat in a chair facing us, both hands resting on a cane between his feet. He wore a coat that may have fit him at one time, but which now threatened to engulf his frail frame, and a collar so high it looked like his head was resting on a marble pedestal. As I neared, his face seemed even older, his skin like parchment, but the eyes under the bushy brows glowed like coals. As we came up to him, he favored us with a gentle smile. I didn't have to ask if it was this man's note which had summoned us to Aldgate. Barker stopped and bowed low.

'Sir Moses,' he murmured.


Of course, I had read of sir Moses Montefiore. Who hadn't? He was the unofficial ambassador of his people to the world, unofficial only because the Jews had no country of their own. Among his titles were knight, baronet, sheriff of London, deputy lieutenant for Kent, magistrate for Middlesex and the Cinque Ports, and president of the Board of Deputies. Since the 1840s he had been crisscrossing Europe, getting Jews out of scrapes in Russia, Romania, Italy, and countless other countries. Now, it seemed, he was finding trouble closer to home.

'Mr. Barker,' he began, 'pray be seated. You, too, young fellow. Thank you for coming on such short notice, and forgive an old man for calling you away from your observation of the Sabbath. Your devotion does you credit. This is, I believe, the second time we have availed ourselves of your services, is it not?'

'It is,' Barker said, sitting relaxed but upright in his chair. 'We have just returned from the City Morgue, where we have been examining poor Mr. Pokrzywa.'

The old man stiffened. 'You have notЕ'

'Touched the body? No, sir, or I would not have entered this residence. The stick I used to examine the corpse is out on the curb.'

Sir Moses relaxed. 'You know your Jewish customs, Mr. Barker. So, was he literally crucified? I have not viewed the body.'

My employer tented his fingers in front of him. 'He was tied and nailed to a board that was hung from a telegraph pole.'

'Barbaric. A Gentile custom, despite our unwarranted title as 'Christ-killers.' Stoning is the only form of execution permitted to the Jews.'

'Perhaps,' my employer said, 'but Gentiles haven't used crucifixion as a means of execution for over a thousand years. This form of killing is an anachronism, and as such, anyone with enough motivation could have done it to prove a point, regardless of their race or religion.'

'Do you consider yourself a Christian apologist, Mr. Barker?' Montefiore asked, looking at him through shrewd eyes. 'If so, you have much to answer for.'

Barker gave a rare smile. 'I am but a humble Baptist, Sir Moses, and have enough to apologize for among my own people. I find that, like the Jews, we tend to divide the world between ourselves and everybody else.'

The old man tipped his head back and laughed. 'You argue well. You should have been a Torah scholar.'

'I read Torah as well as the next man, Sir Moses. But come, I believe we're dancing around the main issue. Are you engaging me to find the killer of Louis Pokrzywa?'

The elderly man knit his brow. 'There is more to it than that. Perhaps much more. In Germany the Anti- Semitic Party has been gobbling up parliamentary seats. There have been major pogroms in Kiev, Odessa, and several other Russian towns. Jews in Poland are starving or fleeing because of government sanctions in the Pale. And all of the refugees are coming here by the thousands, by the tens of thousands! We Jews take care of our own, but this is not a mere exodus, it is a deluge. Feeding and housing them all would beggar even a Rothschild. Hundreds are arriving in London by steamer every day. They are good people, though green to the ways of England. They don't speak English and have nothing but the clothes on their back. They want a place to live and employment, but they are taking work and housing from the English workers and from other immigrant groups, such as the Irish and Italians. They don't know any better.'

Barker moved forward to the edge of his seat. 'You think things will get out of hand? You fear a pogrom here in England?'

'I do, and I forbid it!' Sir Moses cried, punctuating his remark with a thump of his cane. 'I will not have a pogrom on my watch. I have not fought against anti-Semitism so long only to see my people evicted from my own country. We have come this far and shall go no further. Our backs are to the sea, gentlemenЕ and I do not believe the Almighty shall part the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the New World.'

The two men sat silent for a moment, and I pondered how history repeats itself. Here again a Moses was leading his people in the wilderness, making plans and trusting in his God to defend them. The old man thumped the arm of the chair and I saw, just for a second, the power and vitality he once possessed.

Barker shifted in his seat. 'A single dead Jew does not make a pogrom. Surely there is more that you have not told me.'

The old fellow nodded, swinging the silk tassel on the small velvet cap he wore. 'I must have my finger on the pulse of my people at all times. Anglo-Jewry has always been an uneasy alliance. I'm seeing warning signals

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