Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/379

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357
MICROCOSMOS.

ally losing their livelihood because smaller and fewer buttons were worn. Spinoza had consolation for everything, and the people felt much comforted by his conversation.

"Tell me," asked Klaas, "how it is—you are not old in years and have not seen much of the world—how is it you know so well and so quickly what is in the hearts of common men? Before we had been a week here I felt as if we had eaten a bushel of salt together."

Spinoza explained that the human heart is the same in all circumstances, and that he who really knows himself can judge of and understand aright the movements of the hearts of other men in other circumstances.

"When you speak like that," said Frau Gertrui, "my mind feels as Sunday-like as if I were listening to a sermon; the blessed Domine Plancius used to preach just like you in the Oudekerk. Did he not, Klaas? I have often said so. Our dear Herr von Spinoza has such a Christian mind; he has nothing of the Jew about him; he is not a bit like the other Jews, and he is not a Jew."

"Geert, when your tongue is set going it chatters on whether it is wise or stupid," said Klaas. "You must not take it ill of her, sir; she does not mean ill."

"You know well enough how it is meant; I only say you are not what the Jews are; so—so—well, you know what I mean."