Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/343

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321
KISSING AND DYING.

first to enter the grave, and throw a handful of earth thereon. He did all this with uncertain step and trembling hand; Chisdai sprang forward to support him.

For seven long days Spinoza was obliged to sit on the ground with rent garments and without shoes, and for thirty days he was not permitted to shave his beard; but his outward appearance was not so uncared for and torn as his inward feelings. How often as he rested his elbows on his knees, his face covered with his hands, how often he thought of Olympia. What would become of them?

His greatest trial was a visit from Oldenburg and Meyer, who came just as he was sitting on the ground with his sisters, and the Rabbis were chanting a litany or sort of mass for the dead before the congregation.

He thought much about the free, unfettered life he would make for himself. Desire for rest and contemplative solitude often rose in him like an overwhelming homesickness; he felt imprisoned by the tumult of the world and its ways. And again he saw how his whole former life had been beset by difficulties. He would strive for consistency; should he find it in union with Olympia or not, it was at least a painful consolation that the unmitigated opposition of his father no longer stood between them.