Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/443

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421
WOOING BY PROXY.

hands and smiled as he paced the room. Olympia felt more and more at ease in Kerkering's company; indeed she found him so amiable that she blamed herself for not having given him her heart long before. Kerkering told her that he had bought a well-broken-in riding horse for her, and that again, as years before, she should sit proudly in her saddle, and ride through the streets with him. He spread a brilliant life of pleasure in entrancing colors before her eyes. Olympia's cheeks flushed rosy red, her heart beat loudly. Kerkering held her in his embrace. At an unusual hour and with unusual gravity Spinoza entered. Olympia tore herself from Kerkering's arms; for a second she pressed her hands to her eyes, then stood up and advanced to Spinoza.

"I know you do not like scenes any more than I," she said with a trembling voice. "I have no concealments from my father and Kerkering; we did love each other. Remember that sacred hour when you conjured me to forget what we were and wished to be. Now that time is come. Herr Kerkering is my betrothed."

She was obliged to support herself by her organ. Spinoza stood as if spellbound before her, gazing at her.

"I entreat you," began Olympia again, "do not withdraw your friendship from me."

"I hope Herr Kerkering may afford you the