|Rather more than twenty years ago, when feeling on the Dreyfus case was at its height and when the feeling of the French Army in particular was at white heat, I happened to be in the town of Nîmes, through which at the time, a body of troops was passing. The café in which I sat was filled with young sergeants. There were hardly any civilians present beside myself. There came into the place an elderly Jew, very short in stature, highly marked with the physical characteristics of his race, an unmistakable Jew. He was somewhat bent under the weight of his years, with fiery eyes and a singularly vibrating intonation of voice. He was selling broadsheets of the most violent kind, all of them insults against the Army. He came into this café with the sheets in his hand so that all could see the large capital letters of the headlines, and slowly went round the assembly ironically offering them to the lads in uniform with their swords at their side, for they were of the cavalry.|
Every one knows the French temper on such occasions — a complete silence which may at any moment be transformed into something very different. One sergeant after another politely waved him aside and passed him on. He went round the whole lot of them, gazing into their faces with his piercing eyes, wearing the whole time an ironical smile of insult, describing at intervals the nature of his goods, and when he had done that he went out unharmed.
It was an astonishing sight. I have seen many others as astonishing and as vivid, but for courage I have never seen it surpassed. Here was a man, old and feeble, the member of a very small minority which he knew to be hated, and particularly hated by the people whom he challenged. Because he held one of his own people to be injured, he took this tremendous risk and went through this self-imposed task with a sort of pleasure in that risk. You may call it insolence, offensiveness, what you will: but you cannot deny it the title of courage. It was courage of the very highest quality.
Hilaire Belloc, The Jews, Butler and Tanner, London, 1937, pp. 74-75.