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Nina Balatka

Edinburgh and London, Blackwood and Sons, 1867. 2V. Originally published in Blackwood's Magazine, July 1866-Jan. 1867.

Nina Balatka, the beautiful daughter of a bankrupt merchant of Prague, was in love with the son of her father’s former Jewish partner, Stephen Trendellsohn, who had befriended them during her father’s long illness and owned the house in which they lived.

Nina’s wealthy relatives were determined to prevent her marriage to Anton and plotted to give him cause to doubt her devotion. The deeds to the Balatka house were in the possession of Karil Zamenoy, Nina’s uncle, and when Anton asked for them he was told that Nina held them. Nina denied this and to prove it asked Anton to search her desk. When he found them there, she was overwhelmed by his belief that she had attempted to cheat him, and tried to throw herself from the Karls-brucke, but was rescued.

Terrified by this near tragedy, a house servant confessed that he had been bribed to hide the deeds in the desk. Nina and Anton were reconciled and after their marriage moved to the more friendly atmosphere of Frankfurt.


"Its scene is laid in Prague, the old Bohemian capital. Here there exists a large Jewish colony. Among its members the distinction between Hebrew and Gentile is marked with such depth and bitterness that an intermarriage between the two races is considered degrading to each." - Escott

It seemed to me that a name once earned carried with it too much favour.... To test this ...I began a short story called Nina Balatka which in 1866 was published anonymously.... It never rose sufficiently high in reputation to make its detection a matter of any importance.