Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/211

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189
BENEDICTUS SIT.

her clear blue eyes sparkled, and her mouth, which usually had a certain austerity in its lines, smiled pleasantly and gently when she saw that her pupils had made no false quantities in their Latin verses.

Baruch sat before his instructress with some dissatisfaction in their first lessons, as she demonstrated the finer points of syntax in the periods of the "History of Alexander" by Curtius. Olympia was irritated at the awkward Jew, who answered all her questions as bashfully as possible; she stood up and paced the room thoughtfully. Baruch watched the tall, slender figure with its majestic movements, and instead of following the manoeuvres of Alexander, he studied the features of Olympia, the syntax of whose enthusiastic temper and acuteness of intellect he could as little decipher as the involved periods of Curtius.

The instruction at first was as unsatisfactory in this case as in that of the old Magister Nigritius; for Baruch, since their first meeting, had always approached Olympia with dislike. She soon, however, understood where to find points of agreement between their differently constituted minds, which made their meetings more agreeable to Baruch. He was happy soon to find their conversation of anything rather than Latin. He conversed with Olympia on the ruling laws of history, on the fate of men and nations; she found Baruch's ideas peculiar enough, often strange, for he was