Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/75

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53
FATHER AND SON.

such writings. And now, have you no other wish?"

"Is it true," said Baruch, looking at the ground and blushing, "is it true what Rodrigo Casseres said yesterday evening about the Moorish origin of my mother?—blessed be her memory! Did I wrong Chisdai Astruk when I struck him in the face a year ago because he mocked me with it?"

The father's face changed suddenly at these words, he gazed before him, and pressed his lips together: at last he took a key from his pocket, opened a chest, and took out the death-gear that every pious Jew keeps ready, unrolled them, until he found a paper; this he handed to Baruch with these words: "Take and read it; you have heard of the death of my brother; you are the heir of all our traditions. Remember that. These words should have been yours when my mouth was mute, but it is better so. You are strong enough."

The father pushed the writing towards him with a trembling hand, and left the room to go with his guest to the harbor, the so-called Buitenkant, where the monotonous cry of the sailors echoed across the water, and his co-religionists passing in the enjoyment of the Sabbath repeatedly congratulated the happy father. He showed his guest the verdure of the reclaimed marshes; and to-day a certain pride in his new home, and in its position gained by unremitting energy, arose in him.