Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/85

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63
FATHER AND SON.

"That we love each other," I answered, kissing her hand.

"Yes, we love each other," said she. "God in heaven knows it, we love each other. O mother, mother, why must you die before seeing the infinite happiness of your child!"

The tears coursed down her glowing cheeks at these words.

"Dare I love you, Señor?" she whispered, and covered her eyes and cheeks with both hands; "do you know me? do I know you?"

"We knew each other," I answered, "the moment God kindled the spark of love in us; we love each other: is there a more intimate knowledge?"

Ah! it is but a feeble echo of that feeling that I can reawaken from the past; but even now, when I approach the grave, even now it thrills me like lightning, when I think how once almighty love exalted me. It was God's providence, this self-knowledge and comprehension without effort or search. Then, I confess, I felt nothing of this; sunk in unanticipated felicity I did not recognize the unseen hand which guided me as clearly as now it is evident to me it did.

In the midst of her joy, the memory of the joyless hours spent by her imprisoned father recurred to Manuela. I consoled her, promised my brother's aid; but she trusted little to that.

The old woman came in with the supper.