The grief of the keen is no personal complaint for the death of one woman over eighty years, but seems to contain the whole passionate rage that lurks somewhere in every native of the island. In this cry of pain the inner consciousness of the people seems to lay itself bare for an instant, and to reveal the mood of beings who feel their isolation in the face of a universe that wars on them with winds and seas.
He who sleeps here, when dying, mistaking the approach of death for the return of health, whispered with his latest breath, I am better now. Let us believe, in spite of doubts and dogmas, of fears and tears, that these dear words are true of all the countless dead.The record of a generous life runs like a vine around the memory of our dead, and every sweet, unselfish act is now a perfumed flower.
We have met with so overwhelming an affliction in the death of our beloved Willie, a being too precious for this earth. All that human skill could do, was done for our sainted boy. I fully believe the severe illness [scarlet fever], he passed through, now, almost two years since, was but a warning to us, that one so pure, was not to remain long here and at the same time, he was lent us a little longer to try us and wean us from a world whose chains were fastening around us; and when the blow came it found us so unprepared to meet it. He has fulfilled his mission and we are left desolate. When I think over his short but happy childhood, how much comfort, he always was to me, and how fearfully I always found my hopes concentrating on so good a boy as he was - when I can bring myself to realize that he has indeed passed away, my question to myself is, can life be endured?.
It is extraordinary how the house and the simplest possessions of someone who has been left become so quickly sordid. Even the stain on the coffee cup seems not coffee but the physical manifestation of one's inner stain, the fatal blot that from the beginning had marked one for ultimate aloneness.