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to nurse her in person, aided only by the medical knowledge which the Major had acquired amongst his sick and wounded comrades, and by the sweeter and more effectual balm of his supplications on behalf of her patient.
Seated beside the bed, gazing on the halfclosed eye, and convulsed visage, of the meek sufferer, she unconsciously gave utterance to her thoughts. "Poor Emily! now I perceive what has so long lain heavy on thy heart. Could I have imagined that in childhood thou hadst placed thine affections, whence thou couldst never recall them, I might have been able sooner to have afforded thee relief. But thy humility, thy meekness, thy resignation, may yet, I trust, not be without their reward." At this instant she was interrupted by observing the lips of her patient quivering. She listened, and heard her as if communing with herself, through her slumbers: .
"But, oh! why did I betray myself? I trusted I should have been enabled to meet him with more composure. But it was so unexpected .... I was quite unprepared. And yet—was it not the Divine peru»ission? I require the rod.... and it may, perhaps, be already suspended over me .... But, he could not have remembered me when far away! .... So many years have elapsed since! O no, it is impossible .... He would not have remained so long absent.... He would, at least, have sent me some slight token of remembrance... . But, I will carry Jhe secret unrevealed, till I am laid where
the weary rest O my God, sustain
me, that I may not dishonour thy holy religion." She now gradually became more composed. The concluding petition, offered on the altar of the Divine glory, seemed to have gone up as a memorial, and to have brought down an answer of peace. The Spirit appeared to move over the troubled waters of her heart, and they presently ceased their tumult, and the tempest died into a calm. Her muscles resumed their tone; her countenance relaxed into a smile: her bosom heaved more quietly; and she sunk into a deep sleep. From this she
VOL. I. . M
awoke towards evening; and after taking some slight nourishment, and being commended in prayer by her kind friend to the care of Him, who ' maketh darkness, and it is night,' and whose 'angels encamp about the bed of his saints,' she again sunk into a tranquil repose, when Mrs. Villaret, feeling that she might now leave her with safety, rejoined the Major, who had been waiting for her with considerable anxiety.
"Well, how is poor Emily?" said he, as Mrs. Villaret entered the room, where he was sitting with Desmaret's Annotations before him.
"Better, I hope. Her agitation seems to have subsided, and she has just dropped asleep. Poor thing! Though she and I have been so long on terms of the closest intimacy, it was only from the most casual expression, that I was ever led to believe that her affections were engaged.''
"Ah, my dear," replied the Major, resuming a conversation which had been interrupted; "I can feel for her, and pity her: but, possibly—"
"Nay, Louis," said Mrs. Villaret, "do not be too severe. Remember, we were once young ourselves."
"I do not forget it,'' rejoined the soldier; "but I am doubtful, whether the sober judgment of maturer years can sanction all that passes in the youthful breast, though connected with a subject, in which every child of Adam must more or less be interested; and that with the approval of Him who gave us being, and originally implanted in it the springs that move it."
"It may be so," replied Mrs. Villaret. "Yet, in a heart like Emily's, where, if I can at all discriminate 'between those who serve God, and those who serve him not,' every feeling centers in the desire to promote his glory, I cannot but retain the opinion I have already expressed, that she has watched over this growing attachment with many a secret supplication."
"AH true, my love," said the veteran; "but you are still wandering from my position. I am far from denying that our dear Emily may have often laid her sorrow* before a throne of grace, and sought the Divine blessing and direction in every step of life. Yet, is it not possible, that some subtile insinuations of our vigilant adversary may have escaped her observation? I have no doubt whatever of Emily's deep piety; but I should be rather more scrupulous in affirming, that her heart has forgotten its deceitfulness."
"That poor Emily's heart is, with our own, deceitful," replied Mrs. Villaret, " and that above all things, not only the voice of Inspiration, but melancholy experience, must constrain us to allow. Still, however, I must repeat my full persuasion, that a subject of such vital importance, not only to her usefulness, but to her welfare and happiness, must frequently, very frequently, have called forth her cries and tears before God."
"' Keep thy heart with all diligence,'" said the Major,''is an injunction of wide extent, and emanating from Him who knows what is in man. If, indeed, as is probable, Emily's affections were engaged before Religion had sown its regenerating principle in her breast,