Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/436

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414
SPINOZA.

Nevertheless Kerkering threw troubled glances round; he thought every one must be looking at him to see what had happened. It was not till they turned round the church of St. Olave's to Van den Ende's house that the color returned to his cheeks. In the physician's study, where he drank to the new convert in "the mother's milk of alma mater nature," as he called it, Kerkering was warmed by the fiery wine, and joined in the jest on the childish sensations which he had experienced.

Van den Ende sent to desire an interview with Olympia, but she sent word that she was ill in bed. He hastened to her, leaving Kerkering alone.

"My child," said the father to his daughter, "I am going on a difficult, perhaps dangerous journey. It is a comfort to me that I leave you in good care."

"May I not know where and why? Why have I lost your confidence?" inquired Olympia.

"That you may not pine or be anxious unnecessarily. When it is over you will be the first to rejoice. I must play my part on a large stage. I do not know whether it will be to laugh or weep. In any case it is worth the trouble to prepare with hat and wig. You should remember that Lucian and Democritus fit themselves with courage, as well as their more dismal gods. But you shall know everything later. Now let me talk to you as a father, as a friend. Look, I come to you in gala-