Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/375

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
353
MICROCOSMOS.

philosopher awake at his bench. He has again, as Frau Gertrui expresses it, "taken the day in the eye;" he smiles at this remark, perhaps it means something else to him. If the wheel and the pencil are silent the room is as quiet as the grave, the world is shut out.

What raises expectation in his face to-day, and why does he look so often at the window corner?

He does not live so much alone as we supposed. He has a companion in a cell made by itself in a corner of his room, for whose daily bread he has to provide. Look, he has caught a fly; he takes his microscope, and going to the window throws the captured animal into the web. We too will look through the microscope; perhaps we shall be able thus to follow the observations of the philosopher.

Look how the lonely spider springs out of its den. In spite of its eight eyes its sense of sight must be imperfect, for it does not get out of the way, however near an object is placed to it; but it must have exceedingly fine sensation, for it feels the slightest movement of the net. Or, perhaps, the net still retains a living link with its spinner? Look how swiftly it throws itself on the struggling prey, surrounds it with long hairy legs, squeezes it and kisses it with the strong proboscis. "That is right, guard yourself, bravely done, but the web! The next crash it is through. There! the hind feet folded on the back and prepared for flight.