Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/416

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394
SPINOZA.

"And I shall be disgraced in my own eyes."

Confusion and dejection were seen in Silva's face; everything, even just appreciation of his virtue, was in vain with Spinoza. The physician rose and cried:

"Alas! you are lost. I can only pray to God to let in the light of day on you, that the ignis fatuus which leads you into marsh and slough may vanish."

Tears stood in Silva's eyes as he spoke; he turned and went away. Spinoza was deeply moved by the conversation; he was much pained to have so grieved the reverend old man, and not to be able to obey him; but how otherwise could he or durst he act?

It was much easier for Spinoza to dismiss the last tempter. In the afternoon Chisdai came, and as soon as he had entered the door he threw himself on the floor and sat as if mourning.

"What is that for?" said Spinoza.

"Alas!" cried Chisdai, muttering to the floor, without raising his head, "has the unclean spirit in thee made thee forget everything? Do you no longer know the story of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos?"

"Very well; he wanted to prove his view of the permissible use of a baker's oven by miracles, and was excommunicated for it. No one would take him the news till Rabbi Akiba did as you are doing