It is dearly hoped that this is not a death mission for you.
Though if it should prove to be so, we are confident that you would not refuse the call of duty.
It is essential that it appear accidental.
Shooting is no good.
No one should discover that it was you.
You will be pleased to know that a plan has been devised.
Sergeant Mendoza has informed us of a Hebrew holiday several weeks from now.
The holiday coincides nicely with the navys plan to take New Orleans.
You would be a guest at his holiday table.
A dose of poison would be placed in his drink.
The effect would be gradual rather than immediate.
We would provide the lye, or whatever poison is deemed most suitable.
If you were to be captured, you might consider using the lye yourself.
You would never consider disgracing yourself by returning without success.
If you succeed, the entire Union will immortalize you.
Lincoln himself will thank you, on behalf of your entire race.
Imagine yourself written up in the history books.
You would be another Hebrew spy, like in Scripture.
Judas Benjamin has done your race a great disservice.
It can all be corrected with a little lye.
Later Jacob would not recall saying yes. But it did not matter. Their words enveloped him, became him. The curtain rose, and the old Jacob Rappaport disappeared.
Copyright 2009 Dara Horn. Reprinted with permission from W. W. Norton & Co.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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