From: Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (1874).
Author: R.W. Emerson, W.H. Channing, J.F. Clarke
Published: Roberts Brothers 1874 Boston


  A terrible feeling in my head, but kept about my usual avocations. Read Ugo Foscolo’s Sepolcri, and Pindemonti’s answer, but could not relish either, so distressing was the weight on the top of the brain; sewed awhile, and then went out to get warm, but could not, though I walked to the very end of Hazel-grove, and the sun was hot upon me. Sat down, and, though seemingly able to think with only the lower part of my head, meditated literary plans, with full hope that, if I could command leisure, I might do something good. It seemed as if I should never reach home, as I was obliged to sit down incessantly. * *

  For nine long days and nights, without intermission, all was agony,—fever and dreadful pain in my head. Mother tended me like an angel all that time, scarcely ever leaving me, night or day. My father, too, habitually so sparing in tokens of affection, was led by his anxiety to express what he felt towards me in stronger terms than he had ever used in the whole course of my life. He thought I might not recover, and one morning, coming into my room, after a few moments’ conversation, he said: “My dear, I have been thinking of you “in the night, and I can not remember that you have any faults. You have defects, of course, as all mortal have, but I do not know that you have a single fault.” These words,—so strange from him, who had scarce ever in my presence praised me, and who, as I knew, abstained from praise as hurtful to his children,—affected me to tears at the time, although I could not foresee how dear and consolatory this extravagant expression of regard would very soon become. The family were deeply moved by the fervency of his prayer of thanksgiving, on the Sunday morning when I was somewhat recovered; and to mother he said, “I have no room for a painful thought now that our daughter is restored.”

  For myself, I thought I should die; but I was calm, and looked to God without fear. When I remembered how much struggle awaited me if I remained, and how improbable it was that any of my cherished plans would bear fruit, I felt willing to go. But Providence did not so will it. A much darker dispensation for our family was in store.

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