softening

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References in classic literature ?
The first part of his history had not yet reached him, for, had he read it, the amazement with which his words and deeds filled him would have vanished, as he would then have understood the nature of his madness; but knowing nothing of it, he took him to be rational one moment, and crazy the next, for what he said was sensible, elegant, and well expressed, and what he did, absurd, rash, and foolish; and said he to himself, "What could be madder than putting on a helmet full of curds, and then persuading oneself that enchanters are softening one's skull; or what could be greater rashness and folly than wanting to fight lions tooth and nail?"
The boy had, with the additional softening claim of a lingering illness of his mother's, been the means of a sort of reconciliation; and Mr.
Miss Polly said little; but even the softening waves of hair about her face, and the becoming laces at her throat, could not hide the fact that she was growing thin and pale.
Even supposing one parts from her, so as not to break up one's family life, still, can one help feeling for her, setting her on her feet, softening her lot?"