Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/281

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259
THE UNEXPRESSED.

of God and nature; we are never more than half understood, or are misunderstood."

Clearly he had comprehended Olympia, and wished to turn her thoughts into another channel.

"I shall not be able to come here to-morrow," continued Spinoza; "my sister is to be married to young Casseres. May she be truly happy! She understands me best; we often converse together half the night through."

This digression had not the desired effect.

"You are more fortunate than I," replied Olympia. "I am so lonely. I never knew my mother. You cannot imagine what it is for a girl never to have known her mother. I have often thought how very different I should have been if I had not grown up among men, and been educated almost entirely by my father. That dreadful war robbed me of my only brother; my cousin Cecilia, who has stayed here during my father's absence, was his betrothed. Ah! you would have been a dear friend to Cornelius, perhaps more so than to me."

"Certainly not that—but it is odd you should both have such heathenish names."

Did Olympia not agree to this, or did she really not hear him? Anyhow she continued in the same tone:

"I have often thought that, if one of us must die, would it not have been better if I had died? Cornelius could have been of use to and enjoyed the world; but I—what should I live for?"