Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/24

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2
SPINOZA.

who rests beneath? I perceive that you knew him well, and could tell me who he is, that he should be shovelled over like one plague-stricken without a sigh or word of mourning or lamentation. I am a stranger—"

"I am no more related to him than you," said the youth with some hesitation, "in so far as you, I presume, are of the race of Israel. You must indeed be a stranger, and come from distant lands, not to have heard of the fate of this unhappy. God-forsaken man. Oh! he was great and glorious, and how is he fallen into the depths!"

"Pray," interrupted the stranger, "do not do as the others did whom I asked on turning in here from the street; tell me—"

"Do you know the family of Da Costa from Oporto?" asked the youth.

"Who has lived in Spain, and has not been impressed with the renown of that name? The most distinguished of knights bore it. Miguel da Costa, after whose death the family disappeared from Oporto, was one of the stateliest of the cavaliers, whom I saw at the tournament of Lisbon; he was once a zealous member of our secret community."

"He, who there finds rest at last," began the youth, "was his son, and, as my father often said, in figure and bearing the image of his sire. Gabriel, as he was named, was practised in all knightly exercises, deeply learned, especially in the law.