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Old Lady Mary - A Story of the Seen and the Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant
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By Margaret O. (Wilson) Oliphant


She was very old, and therefore it was very hard for her to make up her
mind to die. I am aware that this is not at all the general view, but
that it is believed, as old age must be near death, that it prepares the
soul for that inevitable event. It is not so, however, in many cases. In
youth we are still so near the unseen out of which we came, that death is
rather pathetic than tragic,--a thing that touches all hearts, but to
which, in many cases, the young hero accommodates himself sweetly and
courageously. And amid the storms and burdens of middle life there are
many times when we would fain push open the door that stands ajar, and
behind which there is ease for all our pains, or at least rest, if
nothing more. But age, which has gone through both these phases, is apt,
out of long custom and habit, to regard the matter from a different view.
All things that are violent have passed out of its life,--no more strong
emotions, such as rend the heart; no great labors, bringing after them
the weariness which is unto death; but the calm of an existence which is
enough for its needs, which affords the moderate amount of comfort and
pleasure for which its being is now adapted, and of which there seems no
reason that there should ever be any end. To passion, to joy, to anguish,