On Jews Walk

Andrew Saint

A sodden afternoon in Sydenham. A trickle of sober pensioners converges on Jews Walk, overhung with wet branches. They turn into a deep, unkempt front garden, dip their umbrellas diffidently at the gate, divide into huddles, converse in undertones and wait. There is the air of an impending religious service. A hallowing, almost an expiation, is about to take place: the unveiling of a blue plaque to Eleanor Marx, ablest and bravest of Marx’s daughters, on the suburban villa where she had lived for just over two years when, quite without warning, she took her own life.

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