Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/419

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397
MISSIONARIES.

"No."

"A Rabbi? A Pope?"

"No, you are not guessing now, I know. I saw you as Masaniello, with a fishing net on your back; your red embroidered cap with the long tassel suited your coal-black hair, and your sleeves were rolled up above your elbows. I saw you carried through the streets that way, by a crowd of Jews, to the new Town Hall; there you climbed up to the golden ship on the tower and cried: 'Fellow-citizens, you who, as Erasmus of Rotterdam says, live like crows on the tops of trees! I see your fork-like chimneys and your double-faced gables, I see the canals and dams that intersect your land, and your life that flows on as much contracted, and without free tide, in the preordained way. I tell you, this will all be changed. I erase the "You should" from your book of life, and in my doctrine write it, "You must, for you can." You think fish are mute? It is not true. I have caught a legion from the depth of the sea, who all speak wisdom.' Then you took your net from your back, it was empty; you turned it round, and an infinite number of fish fell out; they glittered beautifully in the sun, their fins became wings, and they fluttered away screaming. You, however, remained there, and uttered a Philippic against the legend that, on the day on which the envoys of the Seven United Provinces should go through the seven doors of the