Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/317

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CHAPTER XVII.

PROSELYTES.

"DE LAGCHLUST" was the inscription over the entrance to the Van den Ende's country house outside the Utrecht Gate, with its freshly-painted doors and window shutters; it was neat and modest, and gave evidence, in the laying out of the garden, the well-covered espaliers, rich flower-beds and shady groves, of the Dutch character, which, failing in the beauties of mountainous country, found means by higher culture to give their plains a quiet beauty of their own.

We meet our familiar companions here in the open air at last, Olympic gods hidden in the bushes, and above them all on a soft green lawn the bust of Democritus attracted all eyes.

To-day the garden and house did not seem to answer to their name. No desire to laugh was apparent. A peculiar feeling of depression seemed to possess them all.

Kerkering and Van den Ende walked away to a distant path in animated conversation; the two friends joined Olympia and Cecilia. Olympia bade Spinoza lay his cares aside; his father's illness was