He drew me close again, embracing me and pointing to the statue of the Virgin. "You must be introduced to the immaculate love. There is she in whom feminimity is sublimated. This is why you call her beautiful, like the beloved in the Song of Songs. In her," he said, his face carried away by an inner rapture, like the abbot's the day before when he spoke of gems and the gold of his vessels, "in her, even the body's grace is a sign of the beauties of heaven, and this is why the sculptor has portrayed her with all the graces that should adorn a woman." He pointed to the Virgin's slender bust, held high and tight by a cross-laced bodice, which the Child's tiny hands fondled. "You see? As the doctors have said: Beautiful also are the breasts, which protrude slightly, only faintly tumescent, and do not swell licentiously, supressed but not depressed. . . . What do you feel before this sweetest of all visions?"

I blushed violently, feeling myself stirred as if by an inner fire. Umbertino must have realized it, or perhaps he glimpsed my flushed cheeks, for he promptly added, "But you must learn to distinguish the fires of supernatural love from the ravings of the senses. It is difficult even for the saints."

The Name of the Rose, p. 230.

"When I talk with Umbertino I have the impression that hell is heaven seen from the other side."

Ibid., p. 65.

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