Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/452

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430
SPINOZA.

As he returned alone over the Amstel bridge he met a funeral procession. Among the mourners he recognized his former master and fellow-workmen. One of them beckoned him to go with them; he joined the train and learned that they were bearing Peter Blyning to the grave. On the last harvest-home he had been at a dance with his comrades. His companions in jest sent all the girls to him, one after the other, to ask him to dance. He could hardly contain himself for rage and mortification; he poured wine and gin into a glass one after the other and drank them off. Then weeping bitterly he took his crutches and went out. Suddenly a terrific shriek was heard and they all hastened out. Peter having fallen down the steps and fractured his skull, lay there in his last agony.

Spinoza followed the procession much moved. On the way he encountered Chisdai. When he came near him he saw Chisdai spit towards him three times and say the Hebrew words, "But thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it, for it is a cursed thing" (Deut. vii. 26). Spinoza took no notice, and, sunk in his own thoughts, accompanied the corpse of the unhappy man to its last resting-place.

That evening he received another agitating visit. Closely wrapped in his mantle de Silva came to him, and in a stern voice began without other greeting: