Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/382

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360
SPINOZA.

"Benjamin."

"But he was not Jacob's youngest son. Jacob was a nice man. I should have been ashamed to have him for a grandfather; he deceived his brother Esau and his father-in-law Laban, and his descendants stole the Egyptians' gold and silver."

"Be so good as to give the boy a couple of sound slaps for me," said Klaas.

"Not I," answered Spinoza. "He is a little Bible hero. But don't forget, child, neither with Egyptian gold nor with Christ's crucifixion have the Jews anything more to do; and you must always remember that the apostles, too, were Jews."

"Geert, put the boy to bed, or else we shall never get rid of him." For once a highly reasonable speech of Klaas Ufmsand. Spinoza with difficulty obtained a hand from little Albert, but dare not kiss him for the world. For some time longer Spinoza sat talking with Master Klaas till he yawned more and more frequently and openly, then they separated.

"You have come to a capital punishment," said Spinoza one day at noon to Oldenburg, as he entered. "In that box I have been starving a folio edition of a garden spider for several days, and there is another empty wretch. I too have a talent for diplomacy, and mean to set a war of extermination going."

He half filled a bowl with water, unscrewed a