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a sneer. “Did she die like a saint? Come, give me a true history of
the event. How did--”
He endeavoured to pronounce the name, but could not manage
it; and compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his
inward agony, defying, meanwhile, my sympathy with an
unflinching, ferocious stare.
“How did she die?” he resumed at last--fain, notwithstanding
his hardihood, to have a support behind him; for, after the
struggle, he trembled, in spite of himself, to his very finger-ends.
“Poor wretch!” I thought; “you have a heart and nerves the
same as your brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal
them? Your pride cannot blind God! You tempt Him to wring
them, till He forces a cry of humiliation.”
“Quietly as a lamb!” I answered aloud. “She drew a sigh, and
stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep;
and five minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart, and
“And--did she ever mention me?” he asked, hesitating, as if he
dreaded the answer to his question would introduce details that he
could not bear to hear.
“Her senses never returned; she recognised nobody from the
time you left her,” I said. “She lies with a sweet smile on her face;
and her latest ideas wandered back to pleasant early days. Her life
closed in a gentle dream--may she wake as kindly in the other
“May she wake in torment!” he cried, with frightful vehemence,
stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of
ungovernable passion. “Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she?
Not there--not in heaven--not perished--where? Oh! you said you