Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/131

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109
TALMUD AND LATIN.

ingly. They talked of the approaching departure of Rodrigo Casseres, and the anticipated company of his family.

"What is the matter with you to-day, Baruch?" asked his father when the meal was over. "You used always to recollect the saying of 'the fathers': 'When three sit together at table and speak no godly word, it is as though they partook of a funeral feast.' Must I remind you to read a passage from the Mishna before grace?"

Baruch rose, fetched the handsome quarto, and repeated the paragraphs before him. To-day, for the first time, he found it tiresome that he could not put a bit between his teeth without some consideration of the old laws.

"I have already thought about your wishes today," said his father; "I have found you a Latin master. But go on reading; I will tell you afterwards."

Baruch read the appointed number of verses more quickly than usual, but not to betray to his father by ending too soon how much interested he was in the deferred information, he read two more paragraphs; his thoughts, however, did not follow the lines his eyes and mouth read. He ascribed this fault to his father's words, for he would not confess to himself, or was not fully conscious, what an immeasurable change had come over him. He closed the book, and looked expectantly at his father, who