Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/440

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418
SPINOZA.

Spinoza in any way with Kerkering; his mind is great, and one minute in which your souls ring in celestial harmony together weighs against years of self-denial, weighs against all enjoyment of earthly pleasures. You love and honor him, you admire the majestic nature of his intellect. I do not believe that he will misuse this power over you; such things seldom happen. What is he compared to Kerkering? He has sealed his love by going over to your church; he has left a powerful and honorable association; he has not made you a partaker in the painful preliminaries, nor laid any responsibility on you that you might receive the fruit of his work without personal trouble, and it is thus that he will always act. You will be bound by no gratitude for his acts; he makes no pretension but that he loves you. He adores you, all your words are oracles to him, the lightest wish of your heart is a command to him which he fulfils with joy; but you are right, you would not have a husband whom you could rule; the wife's fairest ornament is obedience, obedience even to tyrannical oppression. What can Kerkering offer you? Nothing but a good, faithful heart that beats only for you. He can give you a life amid brilliant society, honor and pleasure. You will be an object of envy to all your friends. But what is all this to the enjoyment of perfect intellectual harmony? Truly, it is eternal, and your eternity will outlast a year, maybe two; is not that enough?"