Page 149 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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ANGEL /EL IA CARMONA: JUDEO-SPANISH AUTHOR
137
order to get more ideas. I took a little from here and a little from
there and put together stories. . . . For three years our partner­
ship went very well. One day, we submitted a new novel to the
censor and we were told that we had to wait perhaps three
months before it would be approved. What was I to do for three
months? I told my friend, Mr. Isaac Arditti that we had many
extra books in stock and that I would travel to Rodosto — and that
is what I did. In four days, I received a hundred liras of orders
for our printery and sold twenty liras of books of the stories.
From there I went to Corlu, where I did little business. Then I
went to Edirne. I was there for ten days and received eighty liras
for printery and printery jobs, and fifty liras for the books which I
sold.”
During this period (1901) Carmona’s father died. Shortly after
his father’s death, Elia finally got married. He tells us:
“A year after my marriage, the censors told me that from then
on I would not be allowed to write in my books about killing,
robbing or love. I thought of going to Alexandria to publish my
novels there. My mother and my wife finally agreed to this idea. I
arrived in Alexandria on the night of Purim,
5 6 6 2 ( 1 9 0 2 ) .”
Carmona was fascinated with Alexandria, where he saw for the
first time electric lights. He quickly made contact with Turkish
Jews who were living there, and arranged for a Sephardic printer
to issue his novels. But things did not go well. Carmona then went
to Cairo, also seeking assistance from his Sephardic co-relig­
ionists there. He received some encouragement, but no real help.
“For thirty nights, I had no place to go to sleep and practically
nothing to eat. I looked for food in the garbage. I had reached the
point where I seriously considered committing suicide. But as I
arrived at the river, I remembered the words of my mother who
told me that I should go in peace and return in peace and in good
health. This thought made me hesitate. I could not kill myself. I
would not cause my mother such pain. I turned back and began
walking.”
Fortunately, a certain philanthropist took an interest in
Carmona and gave him a considerable sum of money in order to
help him in his career. Carmona went into the costume jewelry
business in Alexandria, but within four months he was ruined
once again. He had just enough money to buy passage back to
Istanbul, where he was reunited with his wife and mother. Once
again, he decided to go back into the printing business, and once