chapter  XII
6 Pages

Eleanor Marx and Amy Levy

Eleanor a legacy of about £3,000; she and her husband bought a house in Sydenham, and named it “ Jews’ Den.” They invited me to see them, but my unconquerable dislike of Dr. Edward Aveling made me decline it* As it turned out, he was the direct cause of Eleanor’s premature death. He was a fine speaker, an impressive elocutionist, and a man of considerable scientific attainments, but struck with moral blindness, utterly failing to perceive the difference between right and wrong. How she could go on living with this man for over fourteen years is a riddle which puzzled us all. Mr. Bernard Shaw explains it by Aveling’s attraction as a male. I, as a Jew, knowing the indestructible, age-long Jewish reverence for the sacred bond of wedded life, explain it by her Jewishness. She tried indefatigably to mend him, but, alas! he was past mending. Yet she clung to him with all the loyalty and devotion inherited from a long line of famous Rabbis on her father’s side. Her death saddened all Socialist

75 circles in London and exposed Aveling to public contempt. Mr. Bernard Shaw immortalized her beauty and goodness, her nobility of soul and body, in The Doctor's Dilemma under the name of Jennifer, and put her husband in the pillory-as only Shaw can-under the name of Louis Dubedat, an artist of ability, but of despicable character. Shaw slightly deviated from reality in making him die first. Actually she died first; and he, deprived of her constant care and having squandered on women all she had brought him, died soon after, a miserable and lonely death, from blood-poisoning.