Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/93

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71
FATHER AND SON.

thank him, who was sent by God to deliver us in our need."

Manuela loosed her father. Her expressive eyes had again the same entreating yet defiant expression as when I first saw her; she threw herself on her knees before me, seized my hand, and covered it with tears and kisses.

"Pardon me, dear sir," she entreated; "I did not realize your power and greatness; pardon a poor inexperienced girl."

"Rise, Manuela, rise, I command you; that is not what I meant; that is not the way to give thanks," said Don Antonio; and Manuela obeyed.

From that time I visited Manuela daily. Her father was very ill. The muscular action that had been half destroyed by the rack the physician hoped he might be able to restore, but despaired of saving his sight.

Don Antonio had made them swear to conceal nothing from him regarding his state; and at this news inexpressible wrath filled his soul. "Man," he once said, "is the most abject creature on earth. What beast of prey would be so cruel—I will not say to those of his own species, but to such as it is born to lord it over—as one man is to another? The hungry tiger and the tearing wolf suck the blood from their prey, but that is mercy compared to men who kill by thousand-fold deaths. They have noble gifts, boldly inventive minds, and they