Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/277

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CHAPTER XV.

THE UNEXPRESSED.

HOW do you like Kerkering?" inquired Olympia one day when he did not come to the lesson.

"As you do," retorted Spinoza.

"You build too much on our habit of taking the words out of each other's mouths," answered Olympia. "What fault do you find with him?"

Spinoza flushed red at having to answer this, partly because he had silently extended similar blame to Olympia, partly because he feared Olympia might misconstrue his words as jealousy. These contradictory thoughts flashed through his mind in a second, and after a short pause Olympia continued:

"Kerkering is thoroughly good-hearted; his loquacity is the national failing of the Hanseatic towns of Germany."

"Now I see," replied Spinoza, "that the Jews are not alone in having the fate to be judged in a body by the first and best individual that chance throws in the way. But consider the self-possession and calm judgment of ethical subjects that characterize our friend Oldenburg. Why not take him as a type of the Hanseatic townsmen?"