Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/141

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
119
TALMUD AND LATIN.

verges on the incredible how little his requirements are; study as much as he will, he is the same one day as another, always gay and pleasant; but he knows nothing of the world. He is long past sixty, but he is as inexperienced as a child of ten years old; he can tell you easily enough how many sesterces Crassus had for his fortune; but if he possessed twenty stivers, and had to count them, he would not know what to do or say about it. It is well for him that he is in such an honest house; Klaas Ufmsand and his wife, good Gertrui, take care of everything for him. I tell you all this, Baruch, that you may never make fun of him, even if he is rather queer; he cannot bear ridicule. Even if he often thrashes empty straw, he is so thoroughly learned, and you can learn so much from him, that you must always treat him with respect,"

"Yes, yes," said his father, "if you do not learn Latin with him, you never will learn it."

From this time forth Baruch went to the Magister every day. He soon found out that he was not the man to introduce him to the famous temple of classical antiquity, but remembering his father's threat, he said nothing about the disappointment of his expectations.

He was obliged to gnaw at the hard shell of the rudiments of Latin grammar, while longing so earnestly to get at the nourishing kernel. Not even