Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/187

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CHAPTER IX.

THE LUCIANIST.

A NEW reflection that now occurred to Baruch did not, however, alter his ordinary way of life. We bid adieu to many things, and the separation is hard, for in their absence the knowledge of how dear and true they were receives renewed force.

On the last day of Atonement Baruch had prayed with a contrite spirit, "Lord God! let me die rather than be a sinner, or one of the godless!" He yet lived, but had lost his truest friend, who had stood by him in need.

Three times a day in the synagogue and elsewhere, when he drank a glass of water or ate an apple or piece of bread, when he began or ended his studies, on every occasion of enjoyment, on every event of life, he had repeated the appointed prayers; and at night, as he lay alone in bed, he repeated the alphabetical list of sins, and at each word struck himself remorsefully on the breast; then slept peacefully and pleasantly till morning.

Now, however, in the stillness of the night, doubt approached him with soft footfalls, and whispered in his ear, "Why do you strike your breast for things that trouble you not? Have you ever