Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/27

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5
ACOSTA.

the persuasion of his former friend, the pious Rabbi Naphthali Pereira, he submitted to the sentence of the Beth-Din (the court of Rabbis), and bore all the hard penances to which they subjected him. My father often said, if Acosta had entered the field in defence of our religion he would have cheerfully and courageously gone to his death for it, but he could not live for it. Domestic disunion, the breaking off of his engagement to a daughter of Josua di Leon, disordered his mind entirely. He left as his last will the story of his life, wherein he sought to justify himself; if you remain in Amsterdam you may hear many other things about him. For a long time he had not spoken with any one, contrary to his former ways; men took it for repentance, but he brooded over new misdeeds. He shunned the Rabbi Naphthali Pereira, for he held him to be the first cause of his sorrows and misfortunes. Early yesterday, as the Rabbi passed Acosta's house on his return from the synagogue, the apostate shot at the holy man with a pistol. He was once a good shot, and renowned for it in his native town; but an angel from heaven must have held his arm, for it is wonderful that he did not wound the holy man! He seems to have premeditated the deed, for he immediately seized a second loaded pistol, and shot himself in the mouth, so that his brains are said to have been blown even to the roof. For this, therefore, is he now infamous—"