Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/293

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271
PANTHEISM.

one's head; that is not friend Spinoza's fault, however."

Oldenburg had not intended his words to contain any double meaning, but they gave that impression. Olympia blushed, and a pause ensued; but, though embarrassed, she quickly tried to resume the thread of their discussion.

"You can hardly believe," she began, "how inexpressibly miserable I was, when, as a child of ten years old—you must not find out how long ago that is—I realized that there was no sky, and that the earth turned round in infinite space. It seemed as if I held my life in my hand, and might at any moment let it fall. My father soon set me at rest as to the movement of the earth, but I cannot endure the loss of the heavens yet. It was so beautiful when it was a firm canopy, and now the blue dome is nothing but refraction, the blue of the heavens nothing but the blue of the distant mountains, produced by light on one side, and dark bodies in the background on the other. Oh, our beautiful blue heavens!"

Spinoza thought of his grief at the death of his Uncle Immanuel; it was singularly fascinating to feel that Olympia had gone through the same struggle as himself. Oldenburg took it upon him to answer.

"I condole sincerely with you," he said, "to be robbed of the delicious hope of one day hearing