Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/401

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379
MISSIONARIES.

mute astonishment and left him. A few days afterwards, however, on the Sabbath, Spinoza was surprised by another visitor, a woman, carrying a baby hardly a year old in her arms, and leading a little girl by the hand. Spinoza advanced kindly towards her.

"I am glad you have come to me, dear Miriam," he said; "but how you have aged! Are you ill, or in trouble?"

"I am quite well, God be praised!" answered Miriam, sighing, "and could not complain otherwise. Yes, dear brother, 'marrying is marring;' two bad confinements, thirteen weeks in bed, and the household going to ruin all the time; no rest at night with the children, and trouble and care the whole year round—you would not laugh at me now for looking too often in the mirror; often I never look in it from one Sabbath to another."

"I am very sorry that I have seen so little of you, or been able to help, you so little; but leave the cares behind now," said Spinoza, "they will soon be less. You can hardly think what an infinite pleasure it is to have you with me again. Relations are naturally the best friends. Do you remember old Chaje's proverb? 'Bind me hand and foot, and throw me among my people, that will always be true.'"

"Ay! you will be thrown nicely among your people. O God! from the way you go on, we