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house with the fever patients; for her complaint was consumption,
not typhus: and by consumption I, in my ignorance, understood
something mild, which time and care would be sure to alleviate.

I was confirmed in this idea by the fact of her once or twice coming
downstairs on very warm sunny afternoons, and being taken by
Miss Temple into the garden; but, on these occasions, I was not
allowed to go and speak to her; I only saw her from the
schoolroom window, and then not distinctly; for she was much
wrapped up, and sat at a distance under the verandah.

One evening, in the beginning of June, I had stayed out very late
with Mary Ann in the wood; we had, as usual, separated ourselves
from the others, and had wandered far; so far that we lost our way,
and had to ask it at a lonely cottage, where a man and woman
lived, who looked after a herd of half-wild swine that fed on the
mast in the wood. When we got back, it was after moonrise: a
pony, which we knew to be the surgeon’s, was standing at the
garden door. Mary Ann remarked that she supposed some one
must be very ill, as Mr. Bates had been sent for at that time of the
evening. She went into the house; I stayed behind a few minutes to
plant in my garden a handful of roots I had dug up in the forest,
and which I feared would wither if I left them till the morning.
This done, I lingered yet a little longer: the flowers smelt so sweet
as the dew fell; it was such a pleasant evening, so serene, so warm;
the still glowing west promised so fairly another fine day on the
morrow; the moon rose with such majesty in the grave east. I was
noting these things and enjoying them as a child might, when it
entered my mind as it had never done before:‘How sad to be lying
now on a sick bed, and to be in danger of dying! This world is
pleasant-it would be dreary to be called from it, and to have to go
who knows where?’

And then my mind made its first earnest effort to comprehend
what had been infused into it concerning heaven and hell; and for
the first time it recoiled, baffled; and for the first time glancing
behind, on each side, and before it, it saw all round an unfathomed
gulf: it felt the one point where it stood-the present; all the rest
was formless cloud and vacant depth; and it shuddered at the
thought of tottering, and plunging amid that chaos. While
pondering this new idea, I heard the front door open; Mr. Bates
came out, and with him was a nurse. After she had seen him
mount his horse and depart, she was about to close the door, but I
ran up to her.

‘How is Helen Burns?’ ‘Very poorly,’ was the answer.
‘Is it her Mr. Bates has been to see?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And what does he say
about her?’ ‘He says she’ll not be here long.’ This phrase, uttered in
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