Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/43

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21
A FRIDAY EVENING.

last mouthful before I put my lighted cigar in my mouth, but on the Sabbath it is as if all our habits were changed; I do not desire to smoke, and it gives me no annoyance to practise the self-denial." The guest gave no response.

"Bless me," continued the host, "I notice now you still keep to our native custom of mixing wine with water. If you remain with us in the foggy north, where we force land from the sea, and guard it each hour; where half the year the earth is stiff, and the blue canopy of heaven hidden with clouds; where you breathe in mist and vapor, instead of clear air; here in our town, where no springs flow, and water for drinking must be brought from a distance; where men live as if imprisoned by the sea; where the climate itself compels men to be tranquil and composed, and the foresight and patience which have made the land, and still hold it, are the prime virtues of mankind: remain here, I say, and believe me, you will soon conform to our custom, and pour pure grape blood into your old veins to make yours circulate the faster. Ah, it is a glorious and precious country, our Spain! Our Eden inhabited by devils. Now when I must so soon lay my weary head in the bosom of the earth, I feel for the first time that it is not my native land that will receive me."

"You are unjust," replied the stranger. "You here sit at your table without fear: there your