Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/219

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197
BENEDICTUS SIT.

poor Matilda; follow my advice and take another name. Has this cry of woe a meaning?"

"Oh, yes! it means 'blessed.'"

"Bravo! Glorious!" cried Olympia, and clapped her hands. "Benedictus! that is a glorious name. If you were a pope you would be the XIV.; seventy-five years after your death you would be canonized, and people would make pilgrimages to the wonder-working tomb of St. Benedict. 'Dear Benedict,' listen how soft and tender that sounds; but Bahruch, brrr! Give me your hand, and promise me henceforth to be called Benedictus. You are a learned man, so you must have a Latin name. You will be very celebrated some day, and then I shall have handed down a name to posterity. You must leave some occasion for wit to your adversaries. I can see how an anathema against you would begin: 'Benedictus est Spinoza, quem recti us maledictum dixeris'[1] The Romans turned the town Malevent in Lower Italy into Benevent, and the wise Magister, who christened you so wittily, was after all only guilty of a plagiarism; but I can imagine how he would stroke his chin, the black cap on his learned head pushed back, simpering with satisfaction that he had branded you in a

  1. Blessed is Spinoza named, who should rather be called cursed.