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sued the doctor, feeling for Flora's evident distress; "and Miss Lyddie will not quit the room for a moment.”
"Lyddie!" thought the miserable daughter, with a sharper pang of envy than her gentle bosom had ever before known; "and she may sit and watch where I dare not enter; she may look on that loved face which I have come so far to see; she is the comfort, and I
and I-!" Flora leant down her head upon her clasped hands and tried to stifle her sobs.
A miserable night was that for Lady Legrange, the most miserable which she had ever known. The cold became more and more piercing, yet no entreaties could induce her either to go to rest or to seek the comfort of a fire in one of the rooms below. She had a chair brought for her to the door of her mother's room, and there she sat, trembling and shivering, counting every stroke of the clock which at intervals,-oh! how long and weary, told the lapse of time. She heard the wind shaking the casements, as though fiercely demanding entrance, and shrieking aloft in the chimneys with a wild and wailing noise; and sometimes her painfully strained
ear could catch sounds from the sick-room,a light step, a soft rustle, a low voice, or, terrible to hear, the faint moans which told of irrepressible suffering. Flora also, as morning drew nigh, heard words, words from the lips of her parent, words which reason guided no longer, but not one word which it could have pained piety to hear. The unconscious sufferer uttered prayers for mercy, for pardon,prayers for those who were dear to her heart. Flora wept as she heard her own name repeated again and again in unconscious supplications. It seemed as though that which had been the habit of a life remained now as an instinct; the mind might be darkened, reason might have fled, but love and piety lingered yet in their accustomed home, the last to leave the sanctuary which had enshrined them so long. To apply to a nobler subject the beautiful simile of Moore,
"Like a vase in which roses have once been distilled,
And Flora also prayed; she besought the Lord with a fervour and depth of feeling beyond any which she ever before had known.
Her whole soul was poured out in prayer. Her self-righteousness crushed in the dust, she felt herself now to be a sinner indeed, and she came to the Friend of sinners with a broken and contrite heart. She implored the life of her mother; she besought the Almighty to grant her an opportunity of being once more a comfort and blessing to that cherished parent,―of repaying some portion, some little portion, of the deep debt of love which she owed to her. She prayed for herself, for grace and for strength,-alas! she had proved her own sinfulness and weakness. She had been weighed in the balance and found wanting; and it was almost with a sensation of despair that Flora now contemplated the difficulties of her position,-difficulties which had been of her own seeking, and which, however lightly she had once regarded them, now appeared almost insuperable. If heavenly love drew her onward and upward, she knew too well that earthly love would act as a clog on her soul. The partner whom she had chosen would never aid her weakness in the struggle against worldliness,-rather would he side with the enemy. He would never warm
the coldness of her devotion by the fervour of his own; his prayers and hers would never rise together to the throne of their Father in heaven. Flora's soul was full of anguish for her idolized Amery. If it was grief to think that her mother's gentle spirit might be now on the wing from this world of sorrow, what was it to think that the spirit of her husband might never rise to the bliss of the world which is to come! If affection shrinks from the death of the body, it shudders over the death of the soul. Separation in time is to the loving heart a trial almost too painful to contemplate; what then must be separation throughout eternity, the sole parting which is indeed for ever!
The only time that Flora quitted the door of her mother's apartment, was when she sought that which had once been her favourite sitting-room, to procure writing materials with which to pen a letter to her husband. The fast flowing tears which dimmed her eyes and blotted her page hardly suffered her to complete it. The letter gave a vivid and touching picture of all the emotions which were agitating her mind. Sorrow, contrition,
tenderness, were expressed in the unstudied language of the heart. Flora told him whom she dared not deem a Christian how a Christian could die. She dwelt on her mother's piety; she left her husband to draw the inferences which she longed to place before him in such a light as might strike conviction even on his prejudiced soul. She wept and she prayed over the letter, but the darkness before her was scarcely illumined by one ray of hope.
THE DARK JOURNEY.
"INDEED, aunt Flora, you must go to rest; you look so pale and ill, you almost frighten me," said Lyddie.
The appearance of the girl was much changed. She still looked sickly, from the effects of her own recent illness, and from her hair having been close cut during her fever; but the once wild, neglected weed, had not been cultivated in vain. Thought and sense were expressed in the large dark eyes beyond what might have been expected in a girl