Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/378

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356
SPINOZA.

glad. I will not kill the spider—God forbid—only drive it away. I am quite ashamed when the good gentlemen come to see you; what will they think? It must be a fine housekeeper that never brushes the spiders' webs away."

For a neat Dutchwoman, in her care for the blank cleanliness of her house, you cannot easily find a greater enemy than a spider. It was very unwillingly that Frau Gertrui set any limits to her zeal for scouring. It was no use the philosopher explaining how very clean spiders were; and she was not even pacified by Spinoza telling her he would explain to all his visitors that it was he who kept the webs there. She maintained, moreover, that he could not be a true Dutchman if he could live in a room with a spider's web.

Let us see, meanwhile, how he ends his day. Till night he worked and then jotted down his worked-out thoughts on paper. He had strained both head and hands this day and felt the need of speech. He took his lamp in his hand and went down to his landlord. When he entered the room Klaas and Gertrui were sitting at the table with folded hands; their grandson, Albert Burgh, was reading the evening prayers aloud. Spinoza sat down in a corner till the prayers were finished, then drew his chair to the table and conversed with the rest. Klaas complained that the new fashions ruined everything; the button-makers were gradu-