Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/139

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67
OF VENERABLE BEDE.

kept him aloof from men, and put him to the proof by pains of the flesh, and still more violent encounters with the ancient enemy. At length there was a calm, and we went to the island, and found him away from his cell in the house where we were accustomed to reside. The brethren who came with me had some occasion to go back to the neighbouring shore, so that I was left alone on the island to minister to the holy father. I warmed some water and washed his feet, which had an ulcer from a long swelling; and from the quantity of blood that came from it, required to be attended to. I also warmed some wine which I had brought, and begged him to taste it: for I saw by his face that he was worn out with pain and want of food. When I had finished my service, he sat down quietly on the couch, and I sat down by his side.

§ 62. Seeing that he kept silence, I said, "I see, my Lord Bishop, that you have sufiered much from your complaint since we left you, and I marvel that you were so unwilling for us, when we departed, to send you some of our number to wait upon you." He replied, "It was done by the providence and the will of God, that I might be left without any society or aid of man, and suffer somewhat of affliction. For when you were gone, my languor began to increase, so that I left my cell and came hither to meet any one who might be on his way to see me, that he might not have the trouble of going further. Now, from the moment of my coming until the present time, during a space of five days and five nights, I have sat here without moving."—"And how have you supported life, my Lord Bishop?" asked I; "have you remained so long without taking food?" Upon which, turning up the couch on which he was sitting, he showed me five onions concealed therein, saying, His fasting and temptation "This has been His fasting my food for five days—for, whenever my mouth became dry and parched with thirst, I cooled and refreshed myself by tasting these;"—now one of the onions appeared to have been a little gnawed, but certainly not more than