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 a Bacchante,1 prompt for wild excitement, and fearless to tread by night the mountain forest, with song and dance of delirious mirth; yet constantly she wore the laurel in token of purification, and, with water from fresh fountains, cleansed the statue of Minerva. Stagnancy and torpor were intolerable to her free and elastic impulses; a brilliant fancy threw over each place and incident Arcadian splendor; and eager desire, with energetic purposes, filled her with the consciousness of large latent life; and yet the lower instincts were duly subordinated to the higher, and dignified self-control ordered her deportment. Somehow, according to the doctrine of the wise Jacob Boehme, the fierce, hungry fire had met in embrace the meek, cool water, and was bringing to birth the pleasant light-flame of love. The transformation, though not perfected, was fairly begun. Partly I could see how this change had been wrought. Ill health, pain, disappointment, care, had tamed her spirits. A wide range through the romantic literature of ancient and modern times had exalted while expending her passions. In the world of imagination, she had discharged the stormful energy which would have been destructive in actual life. And in thought she had bound herself to the mast while sailing past the Sirens. Through sympathy, also, from childhood, with the tragi-comedy
1 This sentence was written before I was aware that Margaret, as will be seen hereafter, had used the same symbol to describe Madame Sand. The first impulse, of course, when I discovered this coincidence, was to strike out the above passage; yet, on second thought, I have retained it, as indicating an actual resemblance between these two grand women. In Margaret, however, the benediction of their noble-hearted sister, Elizabeth Barrett, had already been fulfilled; for she to ‘woman's claim’ had ever joined ‘the angel-grace
Of a pure genius sanctified from blame.’
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