Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/79

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57
FATHER AND SON.

convulsively clasped my hand, and when the familiar left the cell, fell on my neck weeping.

"Benjamin, my brother, it is thou, indeed; but I am no Joseph: I have sold myself. But no! no! I will be quiet. See! it is just as if we were at home—thou art the younger, and yet thou hast power over me. 'Oh how lovely is it when brethren are together!'" he said.

He saw how the marked contrast between this reception and the last surprised me, and prayed me to pardon him; he could not act otherwise, because the parlor was so built, that the slightest whisper could be heard by the prior, whose cell was above.

They always half mistrusted him, and he wished to show that he, if need be, could forcibly tear asunder all the bonds of nature, and look upon the priests alone as his brethren, the Church as his true mother. He described his daily life to me, and how he secretly prayed to the God of his fathers; the most cunning intrigues, the most ghastly tales of murder, he related with unmoved and pious mien; only sometimes a faint smile hovered round the corners of his mouth. I expressed my wonder at this blank want of expression.

"An expressive countenance," he said, "is our greatest enemy. Therefore with God's help I have made mine blank and dull. Within all may be rage and rebellion if you will, but on the surface