Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/421

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399
MISSIONARIES.

keep him jestingly at a distance. He even thought he perceived a secret understanding between them. When he left, Olympia said:

"Your sister Rebecca came to me to-day. I was to persuade you to submit to the Rabbis."

Spinoza bowed in silence. How could she relate her dream and carry on such jests, instead of imparting this circumstance? Must it not have made her heart full that his sister should come entreatingly to her? "You should not expect others to know an emotion which you suppress in yourself," he said to himself.

Miriam, who had lived with him in sisterly love from childhood, came to him, and only inquired shyly about his love; while Rebecca, the domineering, who had always been estranged from him, went straight to Olympia. What must she have appeared to her? Perhaps she had made his beloved one's heart doubtful, and given her a dislike to his family.

Spinoza felt his cheeks burn. He was on the point of cutting loose from all bonds of family and all chains of habit, but could never endure these to be despised.

Love and truth should have stood by him in the conflict now opening on him. Did truth alone remain to him?