Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/53

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31
THE JEWISH DOMINICAN.

Children, it is terrible to pray for the death of a man, and that man the friend of your youth. But why should this soul undergo a longer martyrdom? It was, however, otherwise ordained; I must experience yet more terrible moments.

"I sat there, sunk in troubled thought, when a familiar entered, and ordered me to come to the Inquisitor. My heart beat loudly as I entered his presence; I threw myself on my knees, and asked his blessing. He gave it me, and said: 'You are a friend of Geronimo. In that you are a good Christian'—and here he gave me a piercing look—'take care that Geronimo is obstinate no longer, but takes the Sacrament once more before he dies; endeavor to do this, and let me know immediately; he must not die thus.'

"I returned to the sick man's cell; he still slept; I bent softly over him; he awoke.

"'Come,' he said, rising hastily, 'now is the time. Look! Gideon with his three hundred men come also; they carry the fire-filled pitchers into the camp of the Midianites. Hush! be still! do not blow the trumpets yet. Let us celebrate High Mass.' He folded his hands, and crossed himself three times. I prayed, I implored him, I wept for fear, and conjured him to be quiet. I spoke to him of our childhood's days, and how he himself now would murder me, if he did not take the Sacrament.

"'Why do they not give it me?' he said quietly.