Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/438

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416
SPINOZA.

"Dear Olympia," he said, "be open with me. Have you already confessed your love?"

"Yes."

"And do you expect my consent?"

"Certainly, for your free-thinking mind can admit of no prejudices."

"I will not. Let us look at the thing openly. What do you mean to live on? You know what I have is not really my own."

"Spinoza could have a chair of mathematics or philosophy at any university."

"That is not certain; he is rejected by the Jews as an infidel, and the priests of all confessions join hands when it is worth while to put down the common enemy. He can polish glass, and you earn something with organ playing or other instruction. It might be sufficient to ward off death by starvation, and if you have even pure water for broth you can steep your philosophy in it, and it will be nutritious food, but your children unfortunately will not be satisfied therewith. Your love is nothing but a false syllogism."

"Father, you are too hard."

"I am not. On your spiritual heights, where you let yourself be fluttered round by nothing but genii who have neither bone nor marrow, any one such as I am must appear a barbarian. You have solved the eternal problem of human fate and the existence of the world; what does it matter to you if