Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/50

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28
SPINOZA.

softly. Only the slight breathing of the sick man and a light whisper of prayer spoke of life in this grave-like stillness.

"At last the sick man rose; I did not recognize him: he had deep-set eyes, hollow cheeks, blue lips, overhung by a long flowing white beard. Geronimo's appearance could not be so altered. He recognized me, however, immediately; and softly, with hardly a movement of his lips, said, 'Are you there, Daniel? It is well that you do not desert me; you need not be afraid; you too are in the lions' den; but God will help you to get out, as he did the prophet in Babylon; only from me they have sucked the blood and the life: I cannot get out. In truth, you will not leave me?'

"I had feared that the momentary joy of reunion might have hastened his death. I could hardly understand him when he acted as if we had been long together, as if we had never been parted. He signed to the brother praying beside him, who took his book under his arm and went out. As he went he whispered in my ear that I could ring if I required aid.

"'Has he gone?' then said Geronimo. 'Come quick: give me the pitch-smeared hoops you carry under your mantle; I will hide them in my bed. Tonight when they all sleep we will burn the nest over their heads: that will be a joyful sacrifice; the angels in heaven will laugh to see it; I am bound,