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Of his bed.

AT this same period the Servitor procured an old castaway door, which he placed upon his bedstead in his cell, and he used to lie upon it at night without any bed-clothes to make him comfortable. He also made for himself a very thin mat of rushes, which he laid upon the door, and which reached only to his knees. He put under his head for a bolster a small sack filled with pea-stalks, and upon it a very small pillow. He had no bed-covering over him, and he lay at night just as he was clothed during the day; except only that he took off his shoes, and wrapped a thick cloak round him. He thus secured for himself a most miserable bed; for the hard pea-stalks lay in lumps under his head, the cross with the sharp nails stuck into his back, his arms were locked fast in bonds, the horsehair under-garment was round his loins, and the cloak too was very heavy, and the door hard. Thus he lay in wretchedness, afraid to stir, just like a log. Whenever he attempted to turn, the pain it caused him was very great; and if he fell back at all heavily upon the cross when 69asleep, the nails ran into his bones; and he would then send up many a sigh to God.

In winter he suffered very much from the frost, for if he stretched out his feet in sleep, as people do, they lay quite bare upon the door, and froze with the cold; and if he drew them in again, and kept them gathered up, the blood became all on fire in his legs, and this was great pain to him. His feet were full of sores; his legs swelled, as if they were growing dropsical; his knees were bloody and seared; his loins were covered with scars from the horsehair under garment; his back was wounded by the cross; his body wasted from excessive austerity; his mouth parched with intense thirst; and his hands tremulous from weakness. Amid these torments he spent his days and nights; and he endured them all out of the greatness of the love which he bore in his heart to the Divine and Eternal Wisdom, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose agonising sufferings he sought to imitate.

After a time he gave up this penitential exercise of the door, and instead of it he took up his abode in a very small cell, and used the bench, which was intended for a seat, as his bed. This bench was so narrow and short that he could not stretch himself out upon it. In this hole, 70and upon the above-mentioned door, he lay at night, in his usual bonds, for about eight years. It was also his custom during the space of five-and-twenty years, provided he was staying in the convent, never to go after compline in winter into any warm room, or to the convent-stove to warm himself, however cold it might be, unless he was obliged to do so for other reasons. Throughout all these years he never took a bath, either a water or a sweating bath; and this he did in order to mortify his comfort-seeking body.

For a long time he only ate once a day, both in summer and winter; and he not only fasted from meat, but also from fish and eggs. He practised during a long time such rigid poverty that he would neither receive nor touch a penny either with leave or without it. For a considerable space of time he strove to attain to such a high degree of purity that he would neither scratch nor touch any part of his body, save only his hands and feet.

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