Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/408

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386
SPINOZA.

entered the room. Spinoza drew a chair to the table for her, and asked:

"Have they sent you out too, to bring back the lost sheep to the flock?"

"No, as true as I wish God may let me see joy in him again, I came here of my own wish. I thought my old legs would break before I got up the stairs. I did not believe any of them. I wanted to hear with my own ears if it were true that he would reject our holy religion; he was once a brave, pious Jewish child."

Spinoza remarked in silence the influence that the report spread about him must have had, for old Chaje in her zeal almost forgot his presence, and appeared to talk to herself about him.

"Who knows that?" asked Spinoza.

"Who knows it? A fine secret! The children in the street talk about it. O Lord, how often have I carried him in my arms! Who would have thought then that he could become such a one as this? What is true, is true; the sister of Black Gudul, who was servant at Rabbi Aboab's, said long ago Baruch was a hypocrite; where he will be the Rabbi, the congregation will get baptized. I always thought, if I should close my eyes after living over a hundred years,—I have neither kith nor kin in the world, more's the pity,—I would leave Baruch my little bit of fortune that I have saved up, and that he would have said prayers for my soul;