Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/25

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3
ACOSTA.

Though so early tortured by religious doubts, he accepted, in his twenty-fifth year, the office of treasurer to the cathedral charities. Then a desire awoke in him for the religion of his forefathers, and with his mother and brothers he left the land where rest the bones of so many slain for our faith, where Jews without number kneel, and kiss the pictures, which they—" Here the youth suddenly stopped, and listened to the conversation of the diggers at the grave.

"God forgive my sins," said one, "but I maintain this knave did not deserve to be buried on a Friday evening; because the Sabbath is coming in he is freed from the first torments of corruption. If his soul gets safe over, he will come to a spread table, and have no need to wander in Gehinom (Hell), for on the Sabbath all sinners rest from their torments. I told them they should have let him lie till Sunday morning: it was time enough for the fate that awaited him; and at least his death need not have led us to make a hole in the Sabbath. Make haste that we may finish."

"Ay, ay," responded the other, "he'll wonder when he gets over, and the destroying angel whips him with fiery rods; he'll believe then that there is another world that he did not see while living. Think you not so?"

"Pray tell me more," said the stranger.

"You have heard what they said," answered the