Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/337

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315
KISSING AND DYING.

think Olympia faultless? Hast thou not, flattered by her wild charms, persuaded thyself into a connection that at first appeared to thee so objectionable? A love that must overcome doubt is greater and more enduring than that other that seems as if fallen from Heaven; it is intellectual love. Thou wouldst picture to thyself a life of self-denial. Away with it! She loves thee, and at her side thou wilt find renown and happiness, honor and joy. What will give me back the pleasures that I would cast from me for the sake of truth? Truth! But must I be her slave? I alone, of so many thousands, condemn myself to give up my inborn right to the gay pleasures of life? I will deck truth with the figleaf of orthodoxy, will choose words with double meanings to save superstition; should I not thus serve truth still more? Thou wouldst serve her by lies. No, I would never speak against my convictions, but only shut them close in my breast. And the Catholic confession of faith? Olympia loves me; must I not save her? Some day in happier times it may be otherwise, but now I must obey the times. And thy father and Geronimo—they were believing Jews, but thou?"

Such thoughts disturbed Spinoza's mind, to which the ever-returning chime at the quarter hours in the quiet night made a singular accompaniment. To him life was not measured by the notes from the church tower.