Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/83

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61
FATHER AND SON.

hell. Like an arrow shot swiftly from a bow, I sped on to support Manuela, whose trembling steps approached the gates. She recognized me, and stood still. I could not speak for gasping, and only grasped her hand.

"Leave me, I pray you," she said, but without withdrawing her hand. I swore to her—oh, then I felt how dreadful it was not to dare name the Holiest by which a man can swear! I thought my tongue would become incapable, when I, at the moment when I would have given the greatest assurance, was obliged to swear by St. Jago. I could not speak, my whole soul was so agitated. Manuela clasped my hand in both hers, her tearful eyes met mine confidingly.

"Yes," she said, "I will follow my impulse; unhappier than I am I cannot be; come with me, you shall hear all."

I offered her my arm, and with some hesitation she laid her trembling hand on it.

"These streets have never seen me thus," she said in a low voice as we turned into a side street from the gate.

I tried to soothe her; she was silent, and folded her mantilla closer. Without a word we went on, till in a narrow street, not far from the church of Our Lady of the Pillar, we entered an insignificant little house.

"Have you come at last, Manuela?" cried a loud