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‘ [2294] whole. There needs no consecration to the wise heart, for all is pervaded by One Spirit, and the Soul of all existence is the Holy of Holies. I thought ages would pass, before I had this parent feeling, and then, that the desire would rise from my fulness of being. But now it springs up in my poverty and sadness. I am well aware that I ought not to be so happy. I do not deserve to be well beloved in any way, far less as the mother by her child. I am too rough and blurred an image of the Creator, to become a bestower of life. Yet, if I refuse to be anything else than my highest self, the true beauty will finally glow out in fulness.’

At what cost, were bought the blessings so long pined for! Early in the summer of 1848, Margaret left Rome for Aquila, a small, old town, once a baronial residence, perched among the mountains of Abruzzi. She thus sketches her retreat:—

‘I am in the midst of a theatre of glorious, snow-crowned mountains, whose pedestals are garlanded with the olive and mulberry, and along whose sides run bridle-paths, fringed with almond groves and vineyards. The valleys are yellow with saffron flowers; the grain fields enamelled with the brilliant blue corn-flower and red poppy. They are of intoxicating beauty, and like nothing in America. The old genius of Europe has so mellowed even the marbles here, that one cannot have the feeling of holy virgin loneliness, as in the New World. The spirits of the dead crowd me in most solitary paces. Here and there, gleam churches or shrines. The little town, much ruined, lies on the slope of a hill, with the houses of the barons gone to decay, and unused ’

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