From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

much better. Look, his bows are so graceful that no dame of the court of Louis XIV. could excel them."

"Lord and master!" replied Spinoza; "that is too strong. I am neither his servant nor his pupil."

"What do I hear?" asked Meyer in astonishment. "How long is it since you began to study his system with me, and you already go beyond him, while I am only glad if I can understand him?"

"I fear for our friendship," interrupted Oldenburg. "You have so often said that a similarity of intellectual power must exist between friends, and I have never once been able to grasp the system. It was principally the astonishing externals that attracted me first to the new teaching of Descartes; I investigated the entrails of a calf with him willingly; he called it his library, and found surprising evidences therein; but to the vital principle of his philosophical system I never could attain. I bolted my door, I curtained my window, I sat down in a corner alone, and concentrated my mind on the book; for two or three sentences, for half an hour, even an hour, I followed him completely; then arose, without my knowing it, some strange thought between the lines: a former experience, a wish, above all, the memory of a girl whom I once fervently loved, intervened between the propositions, axioms, corollaries, and I saw at last that I wished to penetrate to the foundation of things, and yet could