Mrs. C. asked, if sculpture could express as well as painting the idea of immortality. Margaret thought the Greek art expressed immortality as much as Christian art, but did not throw it into the future, by preeminence. They expressed it in the present, by casting out of the mortal body every expression of infirmity and decay. The idealization of the human form makes a God. The fact that man can conceive and express this perfection of being, is as good a witness to immortality, as the look of aspiration in the countenance of a Magdalen. It is quite beyond the power of my memory to recall all the bright utterances of Margaret, in these conversations on Sculpture. It was a favorite subject with her. Then came two or three conversations on Painting, in which it seemed to be conceded that color expressed passion, whilst sculpture more severely expressed thought: yet painting did not exclude the expression of thought, or sculpture that of feeling,—witness Niobe,—but it must be an universal feeling, like the maternal sentiment.
March 22, 1841.—The question of the day was, What is life? Let us define, each in turn, our idea of living. Margaret did not believe we had, any of us, a distinct idea of life. A. S. thought so great a question ought to be given for a written definition.No,said Margaret,that is of no use. When we go away to think of anything, we never do think. We all talk of life. We all have some thought now. Let us tell it. C——, what is life?