Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/374

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CHAPTER XXI.

MICROCOSMOS.

A HEART accustomed to suppress all stormy ebullitions, to gain the even pulsation and moderation of expression that is as far removed from dull stupidity as from extremes of joy and sorrow, in such a life we do not meet with dizzy heights or dark depths that fill the sympathetic spectator sometimes with painful horror at the threatened ruin, and sometimes with quiet satisfaction at the safety gained.

Our hero has not lost himself for love of a woman, but his better life is endangered by it. He has no one to fight with but with himself, with his natural and acquired relations. Such noiseless combat, however, excites the pulses of the internal powers all the more that it is wanting in the tangible opposition that rouses combativeness. No visible kingdom will be revolutionized by the rise and fall of our hero, but a kingdom of the mind, with wide-spreading influence, is brought into jeopardy. In the quiet, unadorned garret in the Kalverstraat, Amsterdam, the conflict will be decided.

Work and quiet contemplation alone are what we shall observe. By earliest dawn we find our