Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/23

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SPINOZA.


CHAPTER I.

ACOSTA.

ON a Friday afternoon at the end of April, 1647, in an obscure corner of the Jewish cemetery at Oudekerk, near Amsterdam, men were shovelling quickly to cover a sunken coffin with earth.

No mourners stood by. The people present stood in groups, and conversed on the events of the day or of the life and death of him now given to the earth, while the gravediggers hurried over their work in silence and indifference; for already the sun sinking in the west showed that it would soon be time "to greet the face of the Sabbath."

At the head of the grave stood a pale youth, who watched the brown clods fall into the hole with thoughtful looks. With his left hand he unconsciously plucked the buds from the well-cut beech hedge.

"Young friend," said a stranger to the youth in Spanish, "are you the only kinsman here of him