Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/393

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371
PECULIARITIES.

sword-hilt, and yet commits the deadly sin of smoking cigars all day long! I am delighted, however, to have found your weak point at last."

"You knew that long ago," replied Spinoza, and Kerkering nodded, and bit his lips in mental assent.

"You are very unjust to music," said Olympia, "when you compare it with your hobby. Your Descartes knew that music gave us many problems to solve; his book 'Compendium Musices' fascinated me very much. But the creation of music and its effects cannot be calculated and demonstrated in numbers. And yet music has some resemblance to mathematics, in that men created numbers, which did not exist in the world, but were imagined. And men created music, to which there was no parallel in the known world."

"The sounds we hear?"

"They have nothing to do with it. That men created and imagined a whole kingdom of inexhaustible sensations by tones makes music a miracle of the human mind as much as mathematics."

"Music moves in a course, uncircumscribed by fixed definitions," remarked Spinoza.

"How cold that sounds! When I shut my eyes and listen to good music I best comprehend myself, and men and circumstances that were before confused become clear to me. Imagine in harmony the spectacle of an endless succession of imprisoned