A short story By Isabella Arkadyevna (Arkadievna) Grinevskaya (född Beila Friedberg, Jiddisch ביילע פֿרידבערג - Translated from Yiddish by Anita Norich - 2021
1864 to 1944
This was first published between 1888 and 1891
She was born in Russia. Her life history seems not definitely understood. She did live in Constantinople for a while.( There is bio data on The Yiddish Center Website.)
“Among Strangers” is a deeply moving story about what happens to a family living in a small eastern Russia
shtetl when the employer of the father goes bankrupt putting him out of work. The father had been making enough as a bookkeeper to comfortably support his large family. Sadly there is no other business in the shtetl that can pay him near the eighty rubles he was accustomed to receiving.
His wife starts a herring shop. Her husband tries to help out at home but as his wife comes home covered in herring brine and his are children forced to quit school he begins to feel a feel despair. When he tries to help out at the shop his wife tells him he is worth less to her than a one ruble a month helper.
He determines to go to a bigger city to find work, armed with letters of reference. He finds all the bookkeeping jobs filled by younger men. He even begs for work as a servant but can find nothing. He feels so sad and lonely, miserable without his family. He accepts the offer of a train ticket home given him by a rich man he applied for work with, given to him out of pity.
His train trips to and from home are very moving. For sure I would welcome the opportunity to read more of her work.