“Look, the father has no money.”
“How do you know?”
“The shadchan said ‘A poshiter yid.”
“That just means a normal person.”
“No. That’s the same as saying, ‘Somebody insignificant, I can think of nothing he is noteworthy of.”
“Then how do you know it is only money he doesn’t have? Maybe he has no brains either?”
“Or yichus or personality or looks?”
“So what else did he say?”
“He said the girl is sweet.” This is uttered with a smirk of distaste.
“Ah? And that’s not good?”
“Motty, I thought you were listening? What is sweet? Sweet is pretty? No. Pretty is pretty. So Miss Sweet is not pretty.”
Motty is used to the logic of the Talmud and he recognises a straight line when he sees one.
“Ok, so she’s not pretty. Vus noch?”
“She’s got ‘a good heart.” Again her words hang starkly in their inverted commas.
“OK a ‘good heart’ I know this one!” Motty shouts jubilantly. “A good heart is a laidigayer and a Shaigetz whom you can find nothing at all nice to say about.”
“No,” she says wearily, “that’s for a boy. When you say a girl has a good heart it means she has no personality. It is usually joined up with, ‘She always makes peace among all the other girls.’
She is the one nobody wants to be friends with and she has a good heart for not fighting back.”
“So what else do we know about her and her family?”
“They don’t have any friends.”
“Nu, how do you know that?”
“He described them as quiet people living simple lives and not showing off.”
“Ok. So that’s it? That’s all you know?”
“She is average height, she has brown hair and brown eyes and she is eighteen and a half.”
“Wow! How did you figure all that out?”
“The shadchan told me.”
“Oh. So then we should tell him, why should we take a girl with no family no money and no looks and who everybody bullies for our son?”
She stops him with a stern look and holds the silence for a moment.
“He will ask you, ‘You are selling any better?”
“Nu, I will say, ‘Yes. Maybe I am not Rothschild but I make a living.”
“If the shadchen knew what you are earning, he would tell them about you what he told us about them.”
“My father is an important man.”
“Important to whom? To your mother? To his tenants? To the people he owes money to?
Leave me alone with important. If they are as important as your father I will be happy.”
“Shoin. So I will say, ‘I want a girl mit a bissel character. More a leader.”
“Ovay! You know what you are saying? They will start bringing you all the chutzpah girls . The loud ones. A leader? What's a leader? A leader is the one who gets all the others in trouble. A troublemaker they call a leader. Azah leader, I would lead her to the prison.”
“You are so clever my neshamele. So what should I say to the man?”
“Tell him he should make a time and we will meet these people and see what they got.”
“You sure?” he asks earnestly, uncertainty evident in his voice.
“Yes, Motty dear. And do me a favour; the kids are running around upstairs, go up there and show them who the man is in this house.”