Old Szlangbaum, Henryk’s father, runs the Promissory Notes & Lottery shop on Elektoralna Street. Prus portrays him as a stereotypical wealthy, religious, conservative Jew, bald with a grey beard. Szlangbaum speaks broken Polish and practices usury (he lends Baron Krzeszowski 10,000 roubles for six months and charges him 800 roubles in interest). He conducts large transactions, but he haggles with a cabby to save a few kopeks. He is the one that Wokulski enters into an agreement with regarding the purchase of the Łęcki house. Planted bidders raise the price to 90,000 roubles, which sum is lent by Wokulski to Szlangbaum, who buys the house only to hand it over to Wokulski to secure the debt he never intended to pay off. When Henryk Szlangbaum buys Wokulski’s shop and takes over the trade company, his father is triumphant. He reunites with his son, although he has previously intended to disinherit him for rejecting his Jewish heritage, and comes to the committee meeting to give a eulogy to his beloved boy Henryk and to announce cuts in the annual dividends for shareholders. This image of a Jewish usurer, however, also evokes the reader’s sympathy as Prus endows him with features such as wisdom, family affections, loyalty in business, and a passion for charades. He is a watchful observer of the surrounding world and has his own opinions about Jews and Poles. His diagnoses are incredibly insightful, but among them there is also the ominous claim about conquering the world: among us Jews, when young people meet together, they do not waste time as you do with dances, compliments, fine clothes or other nonsense, but they study accounts or learned books, or quiz one another or solve charades and chess problems. Among us, the intellect is always at work, and that is why we Jews have intellect and why – don’t be offended – we are conquering the world. Among you, everything is done by emotional excitement and wars, while we use wisdom and patience.