Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/203

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181
THE LUCIANIST.

Baruch would have conceded this, and allowed spiritual powers to the whole of nature's created beings; but he felt that he could not lay his own reflections in the scale against so rich a treasure of experience, where continual novelties were displayed before his eyes which he could not judge of in a moment. An inner voice opposed the views thus offered to him, but he did not know on what to ground his opposition. He was silent. His teacher did not doubt that he had won a proselyte, and invited Baruch to come the following evening, when he would reveal the secrets of a doctrine that would extort his astonishment and wonder.

Baruch appeared at the appointed hour. Van den Ende led him into his study and bolted the door behind them, closed the window-shutters, and listened to hear that no one was near the room. Baruch almost laughed at the comically serious manner of the physician as he placed a lighted candle in the fingers of the skeleton.

"Do you know the legend of the prior of St. Dominic at Tiel?" inquired the physician, as he sought for something in a chest.

"No!" answered Baruch.

"Listen," continued his companion. "The pious prior was once visited by the devil while he was engaged in reading a holy book. The devil wanted to distract the pious man's attention from his occupation; he jumped on the table and played all