Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/229

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207
A NEW MAN

usually not slow in his judgments, shrugged his shoulders when questioned. He had his reasons for not speaking out.

In three days Baruch again left his bed. He wished to go to Olympia.

"You shall never mention that house to me again," said his father in evident displeasure. "Fine tales I have heard of the little doctor. He is said to be the incarnation of Satan himself. The son of the indigo merchant, Grönhof, who died a week ago, confessed before his death that till then he had had no faith; the doctor had brought him to that pass. He has founded a whole sect. I did know the name; what is it called? But whether or no, you shall never cross his threshold again."

Baruch tried to dissuade his father, but he only went on: "The daughter is said to be worse than the father; she can talk the devil's ear off in seven different languages. I don't attend usually to common talk, but this lady is surrounded by a swarm of learned flatterers. Believe me, I know the world better than you; there all is jesting, laughter and song, witty dispute, rich fanciful ideas, in finely expressed trifling. A pure mind like yours sees nothing in it but the laudable freedom and gayety of the classic world. I have heard it called so too; but, properly looked at, it is frivolous mummery, that recognizes neither law nor limit. Have your parents left their fair native land for this—resign-