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Two Souls In Heaven Remember The Life Lived On Earth
by [?]

He. Can you conceive of any heaven for which you would change this shameful world? Any heaven, I mean, of spirits, not merely an Italian palace of delights?

She. There is the heaven of the Pagans, the heaven of glorified earth, but—-

He. Would you like to dine without tasting the fruit and the wine? What attainment would it be to walk in fields of asphodel, when all the colors of all the empyrean were equally dazzling, and perceived by the mind alone? For my part, I should prefer to hold one human violet.

She. The heaven of the Christian to-day?

He. That may be interpreted in two ways: the heaven where we know nothing but God, and the heaven where we remember our former life. Let us pass the first, for the second is the heaven passionately desired by those who have suffered here, who have lost their friends.

Suppose that we two had finished with the episode of death, and had come out beyond into that tranquillity of spirit where sorrows change to harmony. You and I would go together, or, perhaps, less fortunate, one should wait the other, but finally both would experience this transformation from body into spirit. Should you like it? Would it fill your heart with content–if you remembered the past? I think not. Suppose we should walk out some fresh morning, as we love to do now, and look at that earth we had been compelled to abandon. Where would be that fierce joy of inrushing life? for, I fancy, we should ever have a level of contentment and repose. Indeed, there would be no evening with its comforting calm, no especially still nights, no mornings: nothing is precious when nothing changes, and where all can be had for eternity.

We should talk, as of old, but the conversation of old men and women would be dramatic and passionate to ours. For everything must needs be known, and there could be no distinctions in feeling. Should you see your sister dying in agony at sea, you would smile tranquilly at her temporary and childish sorrow. All the affairs of this life would not strike you, pierce your heart, or move your pulse. They would repeat themselves in your eyes with a monotonous precision, and they would be done almost before the actors had begun. Indeed, if you should not be incapable of blasphemy, you would rebel at this blind game, played out with such fever.

We must not forget that our creative force would be spent: planning, building, executing, toiling patiently for some end that is mirrored only in our minds–how much of our joy comes from these!–would be laid aside. We should have shaken the world as much as we could: now, peace…. Again, I say, peace is felt only after a storm. Like Ulysses, we should look wistfully out from the isolation of heaven to the resounding waves of this unconquered world.

Of course, one may say that the mind might fashion cures for all this; that a greater architect would build a saner heaven. But, remember, that we must not change the personal sense; in heaven, however you plan it, no mortal must lose that “I” so painfully built from the human ages. If you destroy his sense of the past life, his treasures acquired in this earth, you break the rules of the game: you begin again and we have nothing to do with it.

She. You have not yet touched upon the cruellest condition of the life of the spirit.

He. Ah, dearest, I know that. You mean the love of the person. Indeed, so quick it hurts me that I doubt if you would be walking that morning in heaven with me alone. Perhaps, however, the memories of our common life on earth would make you single me out. Let us think so. We should walk on to some secluded spot, apart from the other spirits, and with our eyes cast down so that we might not see that earth we were remembering. You would look up at last with a touch of that defiance I love so now, as if a young goddess were tossing away divine cares to shine out again in smiles. Ah, how sad!