Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/315

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293
PANTHEISM.

with inexpressible pleasure how completely Olympia had entered into the grounds of his views. This pleasure did not long remain undisturbed, for the laughter of old Van den Ende annoyed him extremely.

"Do you remember the saintly Christopher in the asylum at Milan, of whom I told you?" he said. "He would suit you very well; he, too, was of a piece with God. Ha, ha, ha! There is yet something excellent left to laugh at."

Spinoza's whole soul rose against these words. Mockery is the deadliest poison to kill the seed of life in a growing character or a growing idea. Our philosopher, however, was sufficiently strong already to blunt and turn off with little trouble all the pointed arrows that Van den Ende discharged at his speculations. Spinoza felt strangely touched when Olympia said to him at parting:

"I am now quite grateful to the rain for having confined us to four walls. I do not think such connected trains of thought as you have given us could arise, or be expressed, in the freedom of nature; color, sound and fragrance would protest against it, for that we must be alone and at home. The wise Greeks did not attain to it because they lived and taught in the open air. Come to-morrow to our Buiten; Socrates and Plato await you among the green bushes."

Spinoza had not time to explain what a singular