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is a very anxious uncertain state of existence, and you must make due allowances for the fickleness of poor human nature, when I confess to you that she sometimes looks back with a species of regretful longing to the peaceful old days amongst the green slopes of Nieder Brünnen, and wishes for the quiet calm of their monotonous routine. Her grandfather is getting very old, and she and Louis often say how they should like to take the farm at the old man's death, that so they might settle down for life and take care of Aunt Gretchen.
This is their day-dream at present. I do not know whether it will ever be realized, for somehow in this life things very rarely go on exactly as we would wish them to do; and perhaps it is well for us that it should be so. But whenever Natalie is in trouble of any kind, when things are going wrong, and all looks dark and gloomy around, she remembers the generous spirit that bore a life's disappointment with such patience and cheerfulness, and "taking heart again" from his example, she braces herself bravely to meet the future, believing that if she strives earnestly to do her duty, she will be brought "Durch Nacht zum Licht" indeed.1
A VISION OF ALL SAINTS'.
FAST spreads the winter o'er the darkening land :
Fast to its end goes on the Church's round:
Is there no joy, no comfort to be found?
No break in melancholy's boundless reign ?
I stood within a temple's hallowed bounds,
Above, around me, white-robed throngs are seen:
1 The idea and title of this story were suggested by a German motto round
The glorious forms of myriads who have been,
O that this mortal might put off its shroud,
O that this voice might join the tuneful lay,
The mist-wrapt one might see th' unclouded day!
Back rolled the throng innumerable in awe,
Loud swelled the anthem from unnumbered strings:
Stood the saints' LORD, th' eternal King of kings.
"Art weary, frail one ?" thus He spake, and clear
"Wait but a moment, and thou shalt be here,
H. R. J.
S. CECILIA'S DAY IN ROME.
"And Cecilia, Thy servant, serves Thee, O LORD, even as the bee that is never idle.
"I bless Thee, O FATHER of my LORD JESUS CHRIST, for through Thy Son the fire hath been quenched round about me.
"I asked of the LORD a respite of three days, that I might consecrate my house as a church."
Part of the Antiphon for S. Cecilia's Day.
SIXTEEN hundred and forty-nine years have passed away since November 22nd, A.D. 224, when the soul of S. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, took its flight to those heavenly regions of bliss, whose foretaste upon earth had strengthened her to bear a painful death, sooner than resign her faith in Him to whom she had dedicated herself.
Born of a noble family in Rome, in the time of the Emperor Septimius Severus, her position and wealth caused her to be eagerly sought in marriage, and at the age of sixteen her parents required her to become the wife of Valerian, a high-minded and excellent man, but a heathen. It is not certain to what religion the father and mother of Cecilia belonged, but she was a Christian, and had already vowed herself to a single life. As soon as the marriage ceremony was con
cluded she informed Valerian of this, telling him that an angel of GOD was ever watching over her, to which he replied by threatening to kill any earthly lover whom she might prefer to him; but if she were really protected by an angel, he desired that he, too, might behold him, and in that case, he promised to respect her vow. Cecilia answered, that he could not see the angel unless his eyes were illuminated with the gift of faith, through the Sacrament of Baptism, and desired him to go out of the city for two or three miles along the Appian Way, to a spot where he would see some beggars sitting by the wayside, and asking alms; to these he was to give money, to tell them Cecilia sent him, and bid them conduct him to the old man Urban. This he did, and was taken down into the Catacomb of S. Calixtus to S. Urban, who instructed and baptized him that same night. On his return "he found," says the legend, "Cecilia praying in her chamber and the angel by her side, and the angel crowned them both with red and white flowers. Presently Tiburtius, Valerian's brother, came in, and struck with the heavenly fragrance of these flowers, inquired concerning them; whereupon his brother told him what had happened, and conducted him in his turn into this same Catacomb, where he also was baptized."
Cecilia with her husband and brother-in-law lived happily in their palace, giving alms largely, and by their holy life and exhortations converting many to the one true faith. This in time reached the ears of the then Prefect of Rome, Almachius, who having long coveted their wealth, was only too glad to discover any pretext for abstracting it. Valerian and Tibertius were by his commands beheaded, for their refusal to sacrifice to the gods; and at the same time executioners were despatched to the palace, with orders to stifle Cecilia in her bath, as from her boundless liberality and goodness, she had made herself so beloved by the poor, that he feared an uproar were she to be put to death in public. She was therefore immured in one of her own baths, which was heated to excess in the hope of suffocating her, but this fiendish intention was miraculously frustrated. Almachius then ordered that she should have her head struck off, but the lictor not succeeding, although he attempted it thrice, was forced to throw down his weapon, as according to the Roman laws of that period, no victim could be stricken four times. "The Christians found her bathed in her blood, and during three days she still preached and taught, like a doctor of the Church, with such sweetness and eloquence, that four
hundred pagans were converted. S. Urban, to whose care she tenderly committed the poor whom she nourished, and to him she bequeathed the palace in which she had lived, that it might be consecrated as a temple to the SAVIOUR."
On the third day she was visited by
A church was accordingly built on the spot by S. Urban; but it was rebuilt in 821, and it was to this, or more correctly speaking, the remains of it, that we turned our steps on the morning of the 22nd of November. The outer court or atrium preserves some ancient features, but we experienced the disappointment, doubtless felt by many, at finding the interior wretchedly modernized. To Cardinal Doria, in 1725, this vandalism is principally owing: it is, alas! too common in several Roman churches. However, we may be thankful that though the debased style of the 18th century has laid its ruthless hand on S. Cecilia's, yet still much is left to excite admiration and interest. An English person will be surprised at finding close to the entrance the monument to a Bishop of London; for Adam of Hertford lies buried here, and his recumbent figure is seen above shields bearing the English arms of the period, three leopards and fleur-de-lys. His friendship with King John saved him from sharing the sentence of death, passed by Urban VI. on the other Cardinals who had conspired against him, and who were taken prisoners at Lucera.
Mass was to be celebrated at 10 a.m., and we had gone early, expecting to find a crowd, but there were hardly thirty people there when we entered, and at the service itself there could not have been more than a hundred. As the celebration did not actually begin until 10.30, we employed our spare time in walking round the church, and naturally proceeded first to the high altar, under which rests all that is mortal of the Saint. There are few who are not acquainted with the model or photograph of this exquisite white marble figure executed by Stefano Maderno, but no copy can give an adequate idea of the inimitable original, so touching in its simplicity. The inscription says: "Behold the body of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorrupt in her tomb. I have in this marble expressed for thee the same saint in the very same posture of body." Sir Charles Bell, the anatomist, thus describes the monument. "The body lies on its side, the limbs a little drawn up; the hands are delicate and fine,—they are not locked, but crossed at the wrists; the arms are stretched out. . . . The drapery is beautifully modelled, and modestly covers the limbs. It is the statue of a lady, perfect in form, and affecting from the re
semblance to reality in the drapery of white marble, and the unspotted appearance of the statue altogether. It lies as no one living could lie, and yet correctly, as the dead when left to expire-I mean in the gravitation of the limbs." The head is turned, and a necklet half conceals the wound in the throat, also accurately copied in the marble. I think what struck me most in the figure was the stamp of truth which it bore, for it gives not the repose of sleep, but of death, breathed on it by that angel, whose mark once seen, none can ever forget. Silver lamps burn constantly before it, and directly in front, in honour of the festival, was placed a large basket full of fresh flowers, a green creeper twining round the handle. At the side, huge bouquets of paper flowers offended eye and taste as much as did the tawdry red and white muslin hangings, bordered with tinsel, hanging from the pillars of the nave. A Gothic canopy of delicate work, with small figures of Cecilia, Valerian, Tiburtius, and Urban at the corners, surmounts the tomb. Mosaics of the 8th century decorate the tribune; in the centre is the SAVIOUR, the right hand raised in the act of benediction. He is surrounded by Saints, among whom are SS. Cecilia and Agatha. Beneath are seen the four rivers, the mystic palm-trees, the phoenix, and twelve sheep, symbolic of the Apostolic band. At the side are the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Lower down is a picture of the Saint's martyrdom by Guido, in so indifferent a light, it is difficult to see it well. A very ancient stone chair, brought from the Catacombs, and believed to have been an episcopal throne, stands immediately in the front of the altar, at which, as usual in a basilica, the celebrant faces the people.
In the right aisle is a curious old fresco, representing the legend of Pope Paschal, who dreamed that S. Cecilia appeared to him, saying that he had been close to her, when he was translating the bodies of the saints from the Catacombs. In consequence he returned there, found her body, and had it removed to its present resting-place. In the 16th century, Cardinal Sfondrati opened the tomb, and found her embalmed body in a perfect state of preservation: he it was who called in Maderno to execute an exact likeness in marble of it. Since then her remains have rested quietly in their shrine of cypress, wood, and silver.
Two small rooms of her palace still exist; they open into the right aisle, and are most interesting. In that which has an altar, Cecilia was shut up, and some of the actual bath-pipes are still to be seen, rising up through grated apertures in the pavement. Half obliterated frescoes of scenes in her life and death decorate the walls.