Romanes, Dr George John - The death of Edith
Type of Spiritual Experience
Edinburgh : Christmas Day, 1886.
My dearest Charlotte,-^ The time has come when it is some relief to write, but how shall I begin to tell the sadness of the saddest tragedy that has ever been put together ?
First the hours of fluctuating hope, and then the growing darkness of despair. She had previously asked whether Ethel and G. J. had come down from London, and on being told that we were in the house was so glad.
We were admitted at night, and only had to watch for three hours the peaceful breathing, slower, slower, slower, until the last.
Oh, the unearthly beauty of that face !
Nothing I have ever seen in flesh or in marble nothing I could have ever conceived could approach it. But try to picture it as you knew it in life changed into something so yet more beautiful that it seemed no longer human, but the face of the angel that she was.
Then in one room her little child, in another her mother, utterly broken by illness.
For my own part I have never had a grief so great as this. Even in our sister's case there were elements of mitigation ; but here absolutely none. Oh, it is bitter, bitter ; so much of life's happiness emptied out and Edith, our own Edith, no longer here !
A description of the experience
Romanes, George John -The Death of Edith
' Upon that Christmas Eve
We saw thee pass away,
We heard the music of thy parting breath ;
We saw a light of angels in thy face
A beauty so ineffable, that Death
Was changed into a minister of Grace :
The mountains in their autumn hues,
Of mountain reds and mountain blues,
With heather and with highland bells,
Await thy step on hills and fells ;
The spongy peat and dewy moss
Remember where we used to cross
Remember how they loved thy tread,
Make for thy steps their softest bed :
The murmuring streams are calling thee,
The woodlands sigh in every tree ;
Yet when I walk upon the shore,
The waves are whispering nevermore !
Mournfully, mournfully whispering, they,
Whispering, whispering every day,
Thy soul in their waters, thy breath in their spray,
Thy spirit still speaking in all that they say.
They knew thee well, those weedy rocks,
And now they rear their rugged blocks
When I pass by,
To ask me why
They never feel thy tender hands ;
And all the yellow of the sands
Is spread to greet
Thy tireless feet,
Which loved to walk them when the tide was low.
Now when I walk alone,
To hear the ocean moan,
The sea-birds circling round
Sweep almost to the ground,
And peep and pry above my head to know
Why thou dost never come,
To watch them flying home,
Upon the purple breast,
Where daylight sinks to rest.'