Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/432

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410
SPINOZA.

thus and lend him some of his own strength. He felt what must agitate the heart of his friend, for, though long absent from the congregation of the synagogue, he must feel this rough rupture like a fatal fall come at last. Even if expected and known of for long beforehand, when death is at last brought decisively face to face the pain is quite new—quite different.

No sound was heard. Once only Oldenburg softly and with warning movement spoke a few words to Meyer when the latter had whispered something in his ear, for Meyer was inclined to treat the whole affair as hardly worth speaking of, or to make a jest of it.

Spinoza sat sunk in his own thoughts, his brow and eyes covered with his hands. The friends looked at him in silence, waiting the first word that he would say. At last he looked up, and as if answering an appeal he said:

"No, no! they shall not oblige me to oppose them in bitterness, hatred and injustice. This curse, too, is love. They would leave none to go wrong; they would frighten and chastise him who would renounce their association. And this horrible, elaborate curse! If praise has its allotted forms cursing must, have them also. They cannot convert my thoughts. If I act in opposition to them it is I no longer who live and act. No, I will live out my own life; the world shall not be my master!"