Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/345

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323
STILL LIFE.

band—he is a queer fellow—who at last gave her notice. I never said anything to her, but said to my Klaas, 'She is a widow, we must excuse her.' The beautiful little room has now stood empty for half a year, and we. have just had it fresh painted; it is all fresh done up, and looks like a little chapel. I never like to go up the stairs to it."

"Geert, be so good as to shut the window, the bits all fly in my eyes. If you want to talk to the gentleman, go out and let him in," cried a gruff voice from inside the room.

"Come in for a bit," said Gertrui shutting the window. Spinoza went in and said he should be glad to take the room, as, to do his work, he must either be in an open place or high up for a good light. The good people thought at first he was jesting, and were greatly rejoiced when they found he was in earnest. Gertrui showed him the little room, on whose floor the fine sand was artistically sprinkled like a lace pattern. The little bed in a recess, like the berth of a ship, was empty.

"Look," said the woman, "that is the old Magister's armchair; I washed and dusted everything; there is not a speck on it now. I can find you everything but a bed; I use all my beds for the apprentices. Here the Magister kept his books; you can put your books there now. Have you the same bad habit as the blessed Magister of laying all your books in sight on the tables, chairs and