There was a short, sad silence. "I do not know what my neighbor'sthoughts may have been; it seemed to me that the strongest andbest-balanced brains had not escaped infection. There are two differentphases in history: one in which the best and cleverest man leads themass, and one in which the mass carries the best and cleverest alongwith it. The popular leader is a Columbus in search of new happiness, anew America for mankind; but no sooner is there scarcity of bread andwater on board than the men mutiny, and they lead. The first thing isto kill somebody, the next, to taste meat, and still their hatred."
Other days I was listless. I hung round with no energy and a pale facewith drooping eyelids. There was a rushing in my ears, my head washeavy, and life seemed so little worth living, it would be best to die.
He finds rest now at night in the house-of-study; when the others go,and he is left alone with the desks and chairs, he runs to the window,presses his burning forehead against the cold pane; it grows cool in hisbrain, his ideas move in order. If it is a clear night, he thinks themoon is making signs to him, that is, that Joshua, the son of Nun,says to him, in pantomime, yes or no, as he thinks best.
"What was to be done? They drove to lawyers. What could they advise in acase like that? The best thing would be to have an auction, theinspector would sell the things and the community buy them at any cost.The community was no community? The papers had been lost by the way?They must find another Gevir, and buy in his name! The great thing wasnot to wait till the Gevir should die or go away!
Perhaps he means to pray at the reading-desk during the Solemn Days. Whoknows? They are drawing near. Anything is possible in America. The worldhere is topsy-turvy. And the Lord knows best what is good for a man.
He once told me himself that the judge had frequently wished to imprisonme on some ridiculous pretext, such as tearing a girl's hair or givingher a slap! But he cannot do it, because my advocate has all thelaw-books in his head, knows all the laws, every single one, chooses outthe best for me, and flings them in the judge's face, so that he sitsthere like a dummy and, willy-nilly, has to write "Acquitted!"
"My father, of course, knows best! But one must move with the times!" Hecannot make up his mind to be left in the lurch by the times! "I onlybeg of you," he said to me, "don't make an unbeliever of the boy! I willgive you," he said, "as much as would pay for a whole lot of grammar,if you will not teach him that the earth goes round the sun!" 2b1af7f3a8