Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/406

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384
SPINOZA.

that Miriam forgot her question in pacifying her children.

"Benjamin," she said to the boy, who was first pacified, "Benjamin, entreat your uncle not to leave us. Ah! the child has our late father's name, who would weep and wail too if he saw you; he cannot rest quietly in his grave if he hears what has become of you." Spinoza took the boy in his arms, and embraced and kissed him.

"As little as this child condemns me, as little would my father condemn me in eternity," he said. Little Sarah, too, played with her uncle's hand, and asked him, on her mother's bidding, to go with them. Spinoza repeated his assurance that he could defend himself; and Miriam with a heavy heart took her children away with her.

He had to sustain another conflict on account of his decision that day. Towards evening Rodrigo Casseres came to him.

"You have no father now," he said, "I must take his place. Do you remember the time you saw me first? You too will have a cur's burial like that renegade. Do you remember the evening when I told you of your uncle Geronimo's dreadful death? You too will die like that; only more God-forsaken, more torn by the devil, for you have trodden down the creed of your fathers of your own free-will. Your father, I and all of us, for what have we staked our lives day after day? For