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tleman, supposing that Miss Matilda had merely taken a cold from which she would soon recover. Her Mamma sat by her bed-side till near twelve o'clock, when she left her in a sweet sleep, having commissioned her favourite servant to watch her through the night. About three in the morning she became restless, and asked for some toast and water, which she drank with great eagerness, and then slumbered on for the space of another half hour. She arose again, and asked for more water; complained of its being bitter; and uttered some incoherent sentences, which induced the nurse to call up her parents. She became composed again; slept rather more soundly; but about five she awoke, and asked for more water; and when returning the cup to the hand of her mother, she said, “I have had a most strange night-I have seen strange sights - I am very ill-I ought not to have gone to the ball-I knew better
-I should not like to pass from the theatre to the judgment seat of Christ? "O my dear," said Mrs. Denham, “ do not suffer your mind to be distressed. It was a very unfavourable night; but I hope it will please the Almighty to restore you to health very soon. Your Papa has sent William for Dr. Bailey, and we, expect him here every minute."
At length, after two hours' long suspense, the trampling of the horses down the lane announced the approach of the Doctor, who was soon after introduced to her by her tender-hearted father. He instituted a few inquiries-examined her pulse--looked grave-and then abruptly retired below, followed by both her parents, who felt too anxious to know his opinion even to ask him for it. "Miss Matilda," he said," is very ill
she must be kept very composed. I will send her some · medicine, which she must take immediately, and I will see her again before noon."
These directions were strictly adhered to; but the fever raged with greater violence, and she became delirious. She occasionally gave utterance to half-formed sentences, which indicated that she sometimes thought herself listening to a sermon on the loss of the soul, and at other times enjoying the gaieties of fashionable' life. Often did the heart-struck father, with hurried steps walk up and down the lane, between the hours of ten and twelve,
to look for the Doctor; and just as he was sending William tò hasten his return, he saw him coming. After his second interview with his patient the mother ventured to say, “Do you think, Sir, the dear creature : is dying ?" "Why no," he replied, "she is still very ill, but no worse than when I saw her in the morning. She may recover, and I hope she will; but every thing depends on her being kept composed.” “But, Sir, she is at times very delirious; utters sayings frightful to the ear." “ That niust not astonish you, Madam; it proceeds from the nature of the complaint; it is a painful, but not' a dangerous symptom. I want to subdue her fever, and if I can do that, we have nothing to fear. I will see her again in the evening."
She continued during the afternoon much the same; but towards evening she was more composed; knew, and conversed a little with her mother; complained less of pain and of thirst; and was so much revived, that the Doctor said, on leaving her, that he had very little doubt but she would recover. She continued during the four following days much in the same state; but on the turn of the seventh day the fever left her. As the Doctor had been very particular in recommending her parents - to keep up her spirits, to prevent her ruminating on the subject of religion, her Mamma occasionally read to her some of the most amusing paragraphs from the most amusing novels which she could procure : and generally passed away the dull and tedious hours of the evening at cards. But though she had regained her vivacity, and talked with her accustomed ease on the past scenes of her life and the prospects which futurity exhibited to her ardent fancy, yet she gradually became weaker and weaker which convinced her physician that some incipient disease was undermining the native vigour of her constitution; but yet he did not despair of her final recovery.
She had passed through the dreary months of winter, and was fast hailing the opening spring, which they all thought would bring back her long lost health, when it became too evident that death was lurking in ambush, and that the gay and interesting Matilda must die. One physician was called in after another, and every expedient which human skill could devise was reserted
to ; but no power could arrest the progress of that flattering yet fatal disorder which gradually wastes away the health and the life of mortals. As soon as she was informed that there was no hope of her recovery, she requested to be eft alone till she rang the bell. This request was complied with, all went below, and sat for some time weeping together. “She is now," said the father, “ making her peace with God; let no noise be heard; this work requires stillness, may Heaven: bless hier in the act.” The bell rang, the anxi. ous mother was immediately with her, she was less composed, her voice faltered, as she said, “I fear Mamma, I am not fit to appear before the judgment seat of Christ; I wish to see some clergyman, and you will oblige me by sending for the venerable Mr. Ingleby." "Mr. Ingleby," my dear, said the astonished mother, “ do you not mean Mr. C.?!* No Mamma, I wish to see Mr. Ingleby, and I wish to see him immediately; I have not long to live, and I wish now to turn the current of my thoughts and feelings towards another world."
“I hope," said the weeping father, on Mrs. Denham's entrance into the parlour, “ our dear Matilda feels her soul happy." "Oh no! she is not happy. Her soul is in trouble. She wants à spiritual comforter. She says that she is not fit to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. She wishes to see the Rev. Mr. Ingleby, and requests that you will send for him immediately." He is a good man," said Mr. Denham," he has made many happy in their last hours, and I hope he will bring words of peace to the troubled spirit of our dear dying child." 1.. .
As the news of Miss Denham's approaching dissolution' spread through the parish, many wept, and many sent to inquire after her; but none were more deeply affected than the Stevens's and the Roscoe's; but though they had often sent, and often called, yet they had not been permitted to see her more than once, and then she was flushed with the high expectation of a speedy recovery. Mr. Ingleby was spending the afternoon at the Villa, when the servant brought him the following note. · Rey. Sir,
. . My dear child is very ill, and in great spiritual trouble, and she very much wishes to see you - this evening, if you can make it convenient to visit her; by so doing you will confer a lasting obligation on a deeply afflicted family.
They all wept as the note was read, and after the venerable man of God had sent back his answer, he said, “let us pray” He knelt down, and wrestled for her soul, as one who had often presented the fervent, and effectual prayer of faith; and then hastened to the chamber of affliction. He found Miss D. sitting in an arm chair beside the fire, with a Bible open before her, on the table. There was a melancholy cast on her countenance, which formed a very impres sive contrast to the brilliancy of her eye, and the beautiful though fatal hectic which fushed her cheek. On taking his seat opposite her, he saw the nurse cautiously removing the chess board, with a pack of cards on the top of it, which stood on a chest of drawers, behind the door. Having expressed a wish that she might be left alone with Mr. Ingleby, her parents withdrew, and she then informed him, that she had sent for him to give her the benefit of his instruction and his prayers. “I have lived, Sir," she said, " a gay and thoughtless life, but not a happy one. I have often felt disgusted with the sources of my amusements, and envious of the superior felicity of our mutual friends at the Villa, but never had resolution enough to abandon the objects of my pursuit, nor to seek theirs. It hath now pleased God to check me in my career, and I know that in a very few months, if not weeks, the awful realities of an eternal world will open upon me." “To enter the eternal world, said Mr. Ingleby,” in an unprepared state, would be more awful than the imagi. nation can conceive; but your present anxiety on this subject, may be regarded as a favourable symptom that God is dealing graciously with you; but as many are alarmed in the immediate prospect of death, and pray for mercy, when they can continue no longer in a course of sin; you will permit me to warn you against catching at a premature hope, which may prove more fatal, be
cause deceptive, than the most poignant feelings of anguish.” “Oh, Sir, Miss D. replied, I have no hope, my soul is deeply depressed, I cannot look back on the scenes of my past life without being amazed at my folly. I followed the multitude, because custom led the way; but now I must die alone. But I am not fit to die." “Why do you suppose,” said Mr. Ingleby, that you are not fit to die ?» “ Because, Sir," Miss D. replied, “I am a sinner; I always thought I was, when I ever thought on the subject, but now I feel that I am ?” “And how long," said Mr. Ingleby,“ have you felt yourself a sinner ?» « Oh, Sir," she replied, and wept as she spoke, “not till after I was informed of my danger; and this aggravates my misery, because I fear that it is a dread of punishment, which disturbs my false peace, rather than a pungent sorrow for my sins ?” “Had you ever any convictions,” said the good man,“ during your career of fashionable pleasure, that you were acting so unwise and dangerous a part ?” “ Oh yes,” she replied with strong emphasis, often Sir, very often ; conviction would sometimes flash over my mind, with the vividness of lightning ; but then, Sir, it would as suddenly go off; and though I could not forget the impressions which it produced, yet I soon ceased to feel them.” "You informed me just now," Mr. Ingleby remarked, "that while sometimes disgusted at your own pursuits, you often envied the superior felicity of our pious friends at the Villa; but why did you envy them their felicity, when you could form no just conception of the nature of it ? “ It is true, Sir," Miss D.replied, I could form no conception of the nature of their felicity, but I knew they were happy; more happy without our fantastic sources of amusement than we were with them. I never retired from their society without being convinced that there was a divine reality in personal religion, of which the majority have no more idea than I can form of the sublime felicities of a glorified spirit.” “Yes, my dear," said the holy man of God, “there is a divine reality in personal religion, which I hope you will live to feel ?” “I cannot live, Sir. I am not fit to die. My case is hopeless.” “No, my dear, it is not hopeless. I can repeat to you words which have comforted thousands, and I hope they will