Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/121

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
99
FATHER AND SON.

Henrico fell head first overboard. I felt crushed by all that was around me; we were playthings in the hands of the storm.

My son, whoever would learn what is the good of his own life and of what, he knows of the world, and what is worthless in it, he will learn it best if he be placed with all he is and has on the boundless ocean. During that storm and the ensuing calm I saw deeper into the meaning of things than ever before. It was to me like the forty years' wandering in the wilderness of our forefathers; the old generation shall not enter into the promised land; it died out in me, and a new man saw the abode of freedom before him.

We landed at last in Antwerp, and it was in a season of mourning that I first learnt to love our new home.

For thirty days, as the law ordains, I mourned for my father; but for a much longer period I deplored my inability to carry out his last wishes. Manuela was meanwhile accepted as a member of the Jewish congregation, and at her side I found that peace and happiness for which I eternally thank God. We had both many hard struggles in life. We had both imagined the exercise of Judaism in a free community to be a very different thing; we did not know how strong the ties of habit were in us, and I especially could not reconcile myself to the mere freedom to live a life