Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/166

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CHAPTER VIII.

THE CABBALIST.

AT dusk Baruch and Miriam sat together, while old Chaje told them a marvellous story.

"Do you know that our servant for the Sabbath, old Elsje, came to a terrible end this night? I see green and yellow before my eyes whenever I think of it, and of what might have happened to us all, and I have sat with her for hours by this fireside. In old times, though, we used to hear of far more wonderful things; my mother often used to tell me how the synagogue in Warsaw was on fire once, and the fire had nearly reached the windows, but the Rabbi, who was a great Baal Shem,[1] threw a parchment on which he had written some secret words into the flame, and it went out like a puffed-out candle. Thank God! there are some pious men left who can control the Schedim."[2]

"You talk such things that no one can tell what you mean," said Miriam, and Chaje replied:

"I heard the whole story at the butcher's from black Gudul; her sister is servant in the house of the pious Rabbi Isaak Aboab. What a sweet child

  1. Exorcist.
  2. Demon.