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Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle.
Purgaterio, Canto xxxiii.
The sympathetic reader will easily understand that the following pages were never meant to be connected with any author’s name. They sprang out of those thoughts that arise in the heart, when the door of the Unseen has been suddenly opened close by us; and are little more than a wistful attempt to follow a gentle soul which never knew doubt into the New World, and to catch a glimpse of something of its glory through her simple and child-like eyes.
25Th February 1882
She had been talking of dying only the evening before, with a friend, and had described her own sensations after a long illness when she had been at the point of death. “I suppose,” she said, “that I was as nearly gone as any one ever was to come back again. There was no pain in it, only a sense of sinking down, down—through the bed as if nothing could hold me or give me support enough—but no pain.” And then they had spoken of another friend in the same circumstances, who also had come back from the very verge, and who described her sensations as those of one floating upon a summer sea without pain or suffering, in a lovely nook of the Mediterranean, blue as the sky. These soft and soothing images of the passage which all men dread had been talked over with low voices, yet with smiles and a grateful sense that “the warm precincts of the cheerful day” were once more familiar to both. And very cheerfully she went to rest that night, talking of what was to be done on the morrow, and fell asleep sweetly in her little room, with its shaded light and curtained window, and little pictures on the dim walls. All was quiet in the house: soft breathing of the sleepers, soft murmuring of the spring wind outside, a wintry moon very clear and full in the skies, a little town all hushed and quiet, everything lying defenceless, unconscious, in the safe keeping of God.
How soon she woke no one can tell. She woke and lay quite still, half roused, half hushed, in that soft languor that attends a happy waking. She was happy always in the peace of a heart that was humble and faithful and pure, but yet had been used to wake to a consciousness of little pains and troubles, such as even to her meekness were sometimes hard to bear. But on this morning there were none of these. She lay in a kind of hush of happiness and ease, not caring to make any further movement, lingering over the sweet sensation of that waking. She had no desire to move nor to break the spell of the silence and peace. It was still very early, she supposed,