Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/55

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33
THE JEWISH DOMINICAN.

by a sound or a sigh to disturb the deep emotion of the other. It was the silence of death. Outside something tapped as with ghostly fingers on the panes; all started; the stranger opened the window; nothing was to be seen. He sat down again at the table, and continued:

"I had sunk down almost unconscious at the bedside of Geronimo; the cup with the spilt wine lay near me on the floor. I did not venture to rise, for fear my first glance should read my fate.

"'Rise,' said a harsh voice near me. I rose; the Inquisitor stood before me, not another monk was present.

"'What is your name ?' he asked me sternly. I was in painful uncertainty; should I give my real name, or not? but perhaps he had already seen it, and a lie would make my death doubly certain. I told the truth; he asked for a guarantee.

"'No one knows me here,' I answered, 'but my brother-in-law, Don Juan Malveda in Cordova; he can bear me witness that the Casseres, in whose house at Segovia the first sitting of the Inquisition was held, was my ancestor.' I yet wonder at the courage with which I spoke to the Inquisitor in this decisive moment. 'Swear to me,' he said after a long and painful pause. 'No, swear not, but if you let one syllable of what you have seen here pass your lips, you and your two children die the death by fire. You are in my power; I hold