Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/390

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368
SPINOZA.

"Was your uncle, too, a priest of tobacco's vestal fire?" asked Spinoza.

"I remember quite well now a sermon he preached five years ago in the church of St. John. He was a zealous opponent of tobacco in both forms. 'They have noses, and smell not,' he cried with the psalmist from the pulpit; 'they have mouths, and taste not.'"

"'And speak not,' saith David," corrected Spinoza; but Olympia continued undisturbed:

"They offer their bodies to Moloch and Baal. Each one from early morning smokes his calf's, ox's, or sheep's tongue, and the vapor rises from his mouth like the reek of a sacrifice. That is why their tongues are dry when they should pray an 'Ave Maria.' They hourly chew the leaves of this plant of sin, as if it were heavenly manna that tasted like coriander in honeycomb; and in a while they tickle their noses with the stinking weed that Beelzebub sowed so that they can no longer smell the delightful odor of church incense. Woe! woe unto this Babylon, this Sodom and Gomorrah! But one day they will find their true reward, and will smoke merrily in hell, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth; and those who have tickled their noses will be salted with the leviathan and the other monsters in the depths of the lower world. The Lord preserve you from such chastisement. Amen!"