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"This diplomatic obtrusive mediation enrages me," she said after a pause, "that Oldenburg thought to effect so artfully to-day. A third, who disturbs a tender relation with a word, originates estrangements and misunderstandings which but for him would never have arisen, or would much sooner have been extinguished."

"I am glad you think so," said Spinoza, and bit his lips in violent mental conflict. "Dear Olympia," he continued, "I have struggled with all my might, but I am not so strong as you think. I fall if you do not grant me your hand, or rather if you do not withdraw it from me. I cannot say the word that my heart would speak to you, but I conjure you, send me from you; never, never must we belong to one another."

Olympia pressed his arm closer to her, her voice trembled, both hands were clasped.

"What!" she asked. "Why not? Have we nailed Christ to the cross? What does it matter to us what a fanatical crowd did thousands of years ago? Have you risen to such a height of intellect to be frightened by a form to which men have bound themselves? Have you not told me a hundred times you loved and reverenced the spirit of Christ as that of the Saviour of the world? Would to God our relative positions were reversed! Joyfully would I follow you to the altar. Where love is