Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/349

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327
STILL LIFE

Good Gertrui was very uneasy about her new lodger.

"I don't know," she said, "whether you mean to accustom yourself to do without food, or whether the ravens from Heaven come to feed you, like the prophet in the wilderness; you cannot possibly have enough with what you have from me. Yesterday you had nothing all day long but milk soup, some butter and a little draught of beer which with the water and turf I bought comes to 4½ stivers, and to-day you have been satisfied the whole day with oat-meal porridge, raisins and butter, which have cost exactly the same. I calculated that in a whole month you have only at the most drunk two half pints of wine. That is neither living nor dying."

Spinoza tried to make the good dame understand that his earnings would not suffice for greater expense, and that he was quite satisfied with his manner of living.

"Yes," she said, "one ought only to stretch one's self according to one's counterpane, that is upright and honest; but if one can make the cover longer, is it not stupid to lie doubled under it like a shut-up clasp-knife? The many rich and great gentlemen who come in and out every day, I know well enough, would be well pleased to give you more money. It would not be like taking a present; they disturb you so often over your work that they ought