Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/105

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83
FATHER AND SON.

looked their best friend under their very noses. It is true they rewarded me at last with ingratitude—but that is nothing. 'If you give to-day, you are forgotten to-morrow,' so says the proverb; and a proverb is a true speech. If you had but given me a wink, I would have contrived it better. You may be good and brave enough, but—don't be offended, your Honor; I mean well, as sure as I am a sinner—you are not clever. For six long weeks you have sneaked round it like a cat after hot meat. Why, the very next day, the very next hour, you brought the old man home, you should have wooed my sweet little dove. Put it to yourself, could he have refused you? 'Press the lemon dry before it is rotten,' says the proverb; but 'in six weeks—St. James! what cannot be forgotten in six weeks! I don't wonder he wipes his mouth, and dismisses you with a mere Gratias! There is no one prouder than a knight of the hills, but I always thought he was half a heathen—I would not stay in the house if it were not for the good child, who is as dear to me as if she were my own babe. I tell you I have seen many lovers; I myself, stare as you will, was once young and charming, and had good reason to show myself. I was very fond of my first husband—very fond indeed; but I never thought to see any one in love as Manuela is, my whole life long. What does the old man care? For him she might wait till her hair was gray and her soft flesh