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to exuberant spirits, that they soon ceased to wonder at her present animation. The time flew rapidly in conversation, and Sedley forgot the task he had resolved to perform this evening in announcing his intended departure to Teresa, and Teresa, in her turn, forgot the studied coldness she had determined to assume towards Sedley, as the only means left in her power to rid herself of his visits. She had concluded, in her own mind, that to continue her hitherto frank and familiar intercourse with him would be fatal to her own peace, and therefore had resolved to make a change in her deportment. But all coldness melted away in the sunshine of Jessy's gaiety, and these three beings, during this evening, were almost happy.
“Moments there are, and this was one,
Their conversation was at length interrupted by the entrance of Major Bently into the music
It was late, and he came to summon his wife to depart for the night. At sight of him Jessy's short-lived happiness filed, and she started at his voice and aspect, as though a venomous serpent had hissed in her ear; a dark shade again enveloped her features, and in sullen silence she prepared to follow him home.
Mortals, who like Jessy Bently, have given themselves up to the dominion of their own passions, and have neglected to seek the Divine assistance and protection, are thus left defenceless, and exposed to the horrible suggestions of the tempter, who sometimes seizes suddenly on his prey, and hurls them instantaneously into the abyss of crime. During her silent drive home, a terrible thought entered Jessy's soulshe knew not whence it came, but suddenly it was before her in hideous clearness, and she felt as though an unknown and mighty power had taken possession of her. Vainly did she struggle against the fearful dominion ;-vainly
attempt to shake off this appalling night-mare of the soul; there it remained in startling distinctness, till, hurried on by a mysterious impulse, she began to analyse it. A voice of unearthly sound seemed to whisper in her ear" Sedley loves you, and were you free, you might yet be blessed ;"—free-free- again and again did that word sound in her ear in hoarse murmurs, and haunt her brain to madness. Bently was the only bar between her and happiness, and were he dead, happiness would woo her with open arms. By degrees her mind was worked up to a pitch of frenzy, and a horrible design formed, with clearness and method often found in madness. They arrived at home at last, and the Major alighting from the carriage, offered his hand to Jessy to assist her in descending the steps, but, with violence she pushed it from her, and with a shuddering scream, fled rapidly into the house. Major Bently followed her in alarm, and found her sitting near a table, resting her head on her arms, and rocking her body to and fro, while she moaned as if in pain. Gently he approached her, and inquired if she felt ill.
At the sound of his voice, she again started from her position, and gazing wildly at him, repeated slowly, and in a deep, terrible voice -“ Ill !-- yes, - I, am ill indeed!” Bently was shocked to the utmost, as the light of a lamp revealed to him the expression of her countenance. A lock of her jet black hair hung wildly over her face, her eyes glittered with a cold, deadly look which curdled his blood, her cheeks were of an ashy paleness, and her thin, bloodless lips were closely comprest, while her hands were alternately firmly clenched or rapidly passed over her brow, on which stood the large drops of mental agony. The veins on her temples and in her throat were swelled almost to bursting, and her breath came with a hissing sound.
For some moments Major Bently stood appalled and in silence, contemplating this fearful spectacle ; at length he exclaimed in hurried accents—“For God's sake, Jessy, tell me what thus agitates you.” By & violent effort Jessy assumed a calm, quiet appearance, and assured her husband that it was nothing but a violent nervous headache to which he knew she was frequently a martyr; and she entreated him to leave her for the night, as she felt that nothing but perfect quiet would restore her. Major Bently felt reassured in some measure, and when it was arranged that she should pass the night on a couch in her dressing-room, and he had insisted on her taking a composing draught, he parted from her, and in the space of an hour slept the sleep of a tranquil conscience.
The whole house was hushed and still, and the only sound to be heard in it was the loud ticking of a large clock on one of the landings, which ever and anon chimed the quarters. All slept, save one, the frenzied Jessy. Fixed and motionless she sat in her dressing-room, having bolted the door; and her black velvet dress suited well with the tragical expression of her countenance and attitude, as the flickering light of a dim lamp fell on her. It seemed as though life had fled from