Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/51

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
20
THE JEWISH DOMINICAN.

I cannot get out. It must be kindled at all four sides at once; we must be quick, or the Guadalquivir itself will rise from its bed and extinguish the flames on the mount; they have it in pay. Help me! the water takes my life. Lord God! I have sinned, I have denied Thy holy name. Once Thou showedst Thyself in wonders; send down Thy lightnings, that they may destroy me—me also, me first. I have sinned, destroy me!'

"He spoke quickly, and beat his breast with his bony fists till it resounded; I could not restrain him. He sank back almost breathless; I feared that he would die then, and would have rung the bell, but he rose again, and said, weeping,

"'Come, give me your hand; it is pure—pure from the blood of your brethren: it was at the suggestion of Satan that I, a worm, tried to gnaw through this giant tree. I do penance for my pride; I have denied my God. I die useless, as I have lived useless. Do you not see my father there? He comes to help us. Have you pitched rings enough. Father? Do you hear the prisoners beneath singing Hallelujah? Ah, it is a beautiful song: Hallelujah, Hallelu El! We free you; you dare die. Do not look so reproachful; I am not in fault!'

"He sank back again, and stared at me with unearthly glassy eyes. I prayed him, for God's sake and our own, to be quiet: I told him how I