when he grows older, the long winter nights, what will he do to make them pass—why, he cannot even play cards! He is now enjoying a bit of popular favor—in truth, of all movable property the most movable—which in a trice may turn into an enormous popular hatred of him.—Join his company? No, thank you, I am still, thank God, in my right mind.
Or he may reason as follows: "That there is something exrtaordinary about this person—even if one reserves the right, both one's own and that of common sense, to refrain from venturing any opinion as to his claim of being God—about that there is really little doubt. Rather, one might be indignant at Providence's having entrusted such a person with these powers—a person who does the very opposite what he himself bids us do: that we shall not cast our pearls before the swine; for which reason he will, as he himself predicts, come to grief by their turning about and trampling him under their feet. One may always expect this of swine; but, on the other hand, one would not expect that he who had himself called attention to this likelihood, himself would do precisely what he knows one should not do. If only there were some means of cleverly stealing his wisdom—for I shall gladly leave him in indisputed possession of that very peculiar thought of his that he is God—if one could but rob his wisdom without, at the same time, becoming his disciple! If one could only steal up to him at night and lure it from him; for I am more than equal to editing and publishing it, and better than he, if you please. I undertake to astonish the whole world by getting something altogether different out of it; for I clearly see there is something wondrously profound in what he says, and the misfortune is only that he is the man he is. But perhaps, who knows, perhaps it is feasible, anyway, to fool him out of it. Perhaps in that respect too he is good—natured and simple enough to communicate it quite freely to me. It is not impossible; for it seems to me that the wisdom he unquestionably possesses, evidently has been entrusted to a fool, seeing there is so much contradiction in his life.—But
- The original here does not agree with the sense of the passage.