Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/149

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127
THE TREATY OF PEACE.

seeing you march off with the wind in your ears. You herring-hearts, you think they ought to grease your dirty mouths with the news boiling hot. Go to! Eat your dinners, there is nothing here for such lubbers as you. Off with you; if I did not know my own place I should despise myself for having so much in common with you. That comes of being too good, and not keeping one's proper position continually before one's eyes. You have seen too much of me."

"Nay, nay, we did not mean that; you must not go away angry," they all cried. "If the little rat-catcher says a word against you we will stop his mouth so that it will bulge like a woolsack that has lost its hoop. Don't be cross, and tell us all about it; you surely know."

Thus invited and flattered he fell back into his former easy position, and began:

"Do you remember what I said when we went home yesterday evening, and saw fiery hosts fighting in the eastern heavens? You will soon see what will come of it. I did not forget it. When I went early this morning to rich Van Kampen, who lives near the Oude Kerk, to shave him, he made a face like a cat in thunder; he is always close, nothing to be got out of him; but I laid my plans and learned from him without his knowing it that the war is going well at last. As for the Spaniard, we have done with him long ago; he can say no more.