Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

his

eyes closed ;-the damp of death on his sunk temples ;-a breathing corpse but he had no struggles; that was some comfort. The wine we punctually administered each half hour, without his seeming sensible of its being poured down. I expected every breath would be his last. In this state he remained from the time of his being bled, between eight and nine in the morning, till two hours after midnight.

Totally exhausted by the ceaseless tears I had shed, I was persuaded by my servants to go to bed, upon their promise of giving the wine at the appointed intervals.

With all the sorrow which, I think, filial affection knows to feel, I took what I believed my everlasting leave; kissing repeatedly his cold lips and hands. Assured by every body around me, that he could not live till day-break, I bid them avoid coming to me till I rung, and desired that when they saw me, I might learn the event rather from their silence, than their words.

So many hours weeping procured a friendly stupor on pressing my pillow. I fell into an heavy desponding slumber, nor awoke till the clock struck six. Then, with a deep sense of woe, did I open my swoln eye-lids. Darkness and silence were around me, and sense of deprivation sat

heavy on my heart. Never more! said I aloud, never more!

During an whole hour I had not resolution to ring my bell for the fatal information. At length, and without any summons, I heard the sound of quick steps approaching my door. Strange, thought I, and unfeeling speed they have surely forgotten my injunctions. I lifted the drop-bolt. Madam, my master is alive, and much betterhe has spoken-he has asked for you, and for his breakfast.”

Up I started, and, huddling on a slight covering, hastened down to his apartment, my heart bounding to my very throat. O Friend,

“ Not thro’ the arch so hurries the blown tide
As I, recomforted, did pass that door."

The door, which I never again expected to open with the gladness of filial hope.—Yes, I beheld that beloved father, sitting nearly upright in his bed, supported by a back-chair, his eyes open, and a portion of intelligence, with a look of tender affection, lighting them up once more.

“ My dear Nancy, said he, in a faint voice, I am glad you are come to give me my breakfast. I feel hungry.” 0! what tears of transport did

[blocks in formation]

I pour on that extended hand, once more warm with life! with what unutterable delight did I lift the tea, and bits of toast to his lips !

When he had eaten his breakfast with liking and appetite, and was laid down again to dose, I learnt the particulars of this miraculous revival. His attendants said that he remained, in the state in which I left him, till between five and six, when, on giving him the wine, they perceived he swallowed it, though without moving his limbs, or opening his eyes. On repeating it, the next half hour, he expressed unwillingness to take it, and, lifting up his hand, tried to push it from him. However they persuaded, or rather half-forced him to take it. On the next attempt of that sort he opened his eyes, and said, with tolerable distinctness, “ No, no, not wine tea, and bread and butter;" — but they now, without attempting force, persuaded him to drink the wine, assuring him that he should have his breakfast the instant it could be procured. One of them ran up in that moment to impart the glad tidings to me.

He has continued slowly to amend from that time. His appetite is returned, and he sits up some hours every day in his arm-chair, and can converse a little himself, with some wanderings, that shew impaired memory rather than deranged intellect. He attends with pleasure to what we

[ocr errors]

say, and read, to amuse him. I am happier than I can express, though it is an apprehensive and tremulous delight.

But my friend, what a resurrection at seventyeight! Dr Jones is astonished, and says he shall never again despair while he sees a patient respire.

My thankfulness to that heaven, which has thus restored to my fond cares their thrice dear object, is boundless. O! that it may long be mine to screen his helpless age from every want, and every annoyance!

There is exquisite pathos in the just, though melancholy light in which you place the disadvantage of possessing a mind refined and exalted; so far beyond the class of beings with whom it is your fate to live. I wish that you had in your vicinity two or three friends, who could value your talents, and partake your sentiments,

“ Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
With whom you might converse, and by the fire
Help waste the sullen day.”

But as at present this must not be, I conjure you to avoid, as much as possible, fruitless longings, and to reflect that it may not be always thus ;that, by the cultivation of your naturally fine ta

lents, by the ideas your industry is every day accumulating from those silent, but unfailing friends, your books; you are laying up a stock of information, knowledge, science, and reasoning powers, which may one day render you the delight of people who shall better know and feel your value. Even should this never happen, should your expansive and expanded mind fade, as it has bloomed, in an intellectual desert, it cannot but be grateful in the sight of him, who endowed your spirit with uncommon gifts, that no indolence, or neglect on your part have rendered his bounty vain. And since you have added piety, and moral virtue, to mental industry, be assured that you have increased in your immortal soul its capacity of happiness against its entrance into that house, in which there are many mansions, and where, though all who are admitted shall be happy; there will be in that happiness very wide degrees.

Thank you for your mineral intelligence, unwelcome as in itself it proves. The value of Eyam living to my father, once near 700l. per annum, is not now more than 1501. So sink deeper and deeper, from year to year, our golden hopes in this watery mischief. Adieu !

« ZurückWeiter »