Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/38

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16
SPINOZA.

defined longings in her breast? A Sabbath stillness rested on all her fairy-like surroundings. "I believe you are tired, Miriam, and no wonder!" said a nasal voice as the door opened.

Miriam sprang up hastily, pushed back her hair from her brow, kissed the prayer-book fervently, laid it on the window-seat, and quickly smoothed the ottoman.

"Why, what a fright you are in! Did you think a witch was coming? I may be ugly enough for one, it is true; I have not had time to change my dress; but that was a piece of work," said old Chaje; and indeed her whole appearance verified her description of herself. A coif smoked by the fire covered her gray hair, except where some locks escaped, and strayed like cobwebs over her wrinkled face; a black streak of soot on her left cheek, and half over her nose was remarked upon by Miriam, and Chaje tried to wipe it off before the mirror.

"You were quite right," she continued as she wiped her face with her kitchen apron. "You were quite right to lie down a little. Why should that thing stand there the whole year round and never be used? I wish I could lie down on my bed for awhile; I want nothing to eat to-night, I am so weary. Ay! When one has been eighteen years in one service, one feels the toil does not only wear one's clothes out. You would be tired enough if you had been ten times up and down, cleaning