Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/115

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93
FATHER AND SON.

"That is beyond everything," she cried. "Look here! such a finely marked life-line I have only had to look at once before: a handsome knight will come and carry you over the sea; you may rely on it; it is as certainly true—as true as that I would I were as young and fair as you. Do you see that little line that goes across there? That means much sorrow and heartache. But wait a minute; you must listen to this: that is a fine boy that you will bear. You need not turn so red. There is a bold, widely famed knight, whom no one can stand against in the lists; he gives his strokes with such a sure, quiet aim, that all his adversaries are stretched on the sand; that circle outwards, that is a crown he refuses."

Such, and much more such, were the fool's jests that the garrulous old woman told us; I still wonder at myself for having retained such nonsense in my memory. Manuela seemed, however much she tried to hide it, to believe more than I; I never cared much for such things, and we have the clearest evidence now as to what they are worth. She would have prophesied for me also, but I had other things to do and think of. I gave her money, and told her to go on her way.

By this strange incident Manuela's extreme agitation, which had made me tremble, was happily diverted. I now quietly represented the case to her, and she, too, was quiet. I was obliged to promise