Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/417

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395
MISSIONARIES.

here. Am I not still a good Talmudist? But get up; I can neither tell a tree to place itself elsewhere, nor water that it should flow backwards, nor the walls either that they should bend inward; they none of them obey me."

"So!" cried Chisdai, springing up, and shaking his fist fiercely, "so you mock at the Talmud too? You see I came here in peace; I would have warned you to fear God, and showed you that I did not oppose you in jealousy or any other base passion; but words are lost on you. Go thy ways! The carrion crows beside the stream will peck out thine eyes, and the young eagles devour them."

"You can pervert the Bible, like a good Talmudist as you are; the Scriptures only lay that curse on one who mocks at and scorns his father and mother."

"That you have done seventy times seven, you reprobate. But your punishment will not tarry; you will yet be stoned to death, and men will cast stones in heaps on thy carcass, for a warning to all coming generations. Take heed to thyself; if I get thee into my hands I will tear thee as men tear fish, until thy breath can no longer poison the air."

"Talmud again," laughed Spinoza; "but remember the Talmud also says, 'It is good that the ass hath no horns.'"

Chisdai foamed at the mouth with rage, but hearing some one on the stairs he went out.