Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/295

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273
PANTHEISM.

shock which pervades a company when any one enters who has just been spoken of was deepened now by the singular apparition of Cecilia; with a rose-garland in her hand and that pious endurance in her countenance she looked like some beatified penitent. Olympia was secretly annoyed that she had—for which the two friends had already blamed her in their own minds—so publicly revealed the secrets of a broken heart. No one could find a word with which to resume the conversation; even Oldenburg, the sworn foe of all melancholy, could not suppress a shudder when he looked at Cecilia. She, too, felt that she had caused embarrassment, and soon excused herself on the pretext of having forgotten a visit.

"I often envy Cecilia the peacefulness of her faith," said Olympia.

"You can acquire it yourself," replied Spinoza.

"No, I cannot," replied Olympia hastily. "I once complained of my unhappiness to my uncle Boniface, who was priest of St. John's here. He advised me to read the Bible; I did, but it was of no use. He told me perpetually to read it with a believing mind, but that is what I was seeking in it; if I had it already I should not want the Bible. It seems so hard and difficult often, when I think that I cannot understand the reason and object of the world."

"I think Descartes could help you over your doubts."