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Men are neither so happy in marriage as fancy hopes, nor so unhappy as it fears. I knew my second wife but little before our marriage. We learned to know each other and accommodate ourselves to one another afterwards. What men dream about harmony of minds is not practicable. My wife, for example, is truly pious, and yet we live united. Indeed, I should not like her not to be so. That quiet faith gives women a special charm. I have two fine, healthy boys, a well-ordered household, and may say that I live happily."

"You know I respect and honor Olympia," said Oldenburg, "but I must advise you against a union with her. I interfere in the affair most unwillingly, and would give it up now, if I did not know your enviable power of keeping yourself pure and uninfluenced by all opposition. Let yourself be dissuaded. It is not Olympia's first love affair. The first dew of heaven is gone, her lips have already kissed others, her heart has already throbbed for another, and—you must not be angry with me for saying it—what you feel for her is not true love; otherwise you could not possibly act with this peaceful equanimity."

"I must, however, repeat," replied Spinoza, "that there is nothing truly desirable which reasonable deliberation cannot comprehend as thoroughly and more permanently than enthusiasm and unrestrained passion."