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The excitement of her feelings, and the powerful revulsion they had undergone, from despair and reprobation to pardon and peace, had been too much for her delicate frame, and had caused the rupture of a large vessel on the lungs.
Sedley raised her in his arms and carried her to a couch, on which he laid her gently, and was proceeding to summon assistance, when she opened her eyes languidly, and in a faint voice, said, “Do not leave me, I am dying, and this is the happiest death I could have chosen-I thank my Redeemer for this his last mercy I have been spared a dreadful and shameful end." Her voice grew weaker and weaker, and her hold on Sedley's hand relaxed-suddenly she clasped her hands together, and her eyes opened wide and fashed brightly as she exclaimed in a clear and distinct voice, “ This day shall I be with thee in Paradise.” The arms then fell heavily down, the light vanished from the eyes, which in dimness and death strove still to encounter Sedley's, and Jessy's spirit took flight from its polluted tenement,
Sedley remained motionless for some time, gazing on the inanimate form before him, which in the short space of a few hours had been shaken by fierce pangs, and warmed by redeeme ing mercy
He then knelt beside the couch, and prayed long and fervently that her soul might be found acceptable at that judgmentseat to whose bar she had so lately sent one unprepared.
Strange and awful was it to contemplate the stillness and repose of death on that countenance, which had known so little repose on earth; to compare the silence in that cold, deserted heart, with the stirring energies, the schemes, hopes, fears, passions, and sorrows which had filled it so lately. A calm smile sat on the features, and this her parting hour was more joyful than grievous to Sedley, for he felt that his prayers had been heard, his tears accepted, and that "she would rise again!" He felt that in the last great day, when the sound of the trumpet should fall on the ears of the self-righteous, and cause their hearts to die within them, and strike them dumb, depriving them of all their boasted pleas,--this poor, blood-stained, but penitent sinner, would be accepted and comforted, with the malefactor and the adultress, whilst the proud and presumptuous should be cast away and rejected.
In the indulgence of these reflections, Sedley felt his heart strengthened and renewed, and he resolved to root out from his bosom the unhappy attachment which had grown there for Teresa St. John. Before him lay a fearful warning against the indulgence of criminal feelings, and in view of this victim to her headlong passions, he felt strength sufficient to carry his good resolutions into execution. It is only by constant falls that we learn to fear our own poor, wavering resolves.
The fragrant breeze came in at the open window, and stirred the locks of Jessy's dishevelled hair, and played wooingly over the inanimate temples; the sun shone warmly on the pale lips and the half-closed eyes, imparting a false brilliancy to them, and mocking the beholder
by an appearance of life. The birds, perched on the adjacent trees, sang merrily and loudly, as though it were a festival, and not a day of horror and mourning, and Jessy's little spaniel, which had followed her to Sedley's room, licked the senseless hand which hung down from the couch, and by different signs and caresses strove to arouse the attention of his usually fond mistress; at length, finding himself unnoticed, he jumped up on the sopha, and nestling his little head in Jessy's cold bosom, composed himself to sleep.
Thus terminated the career of Jessy Bently, one intended by nature for something better, and who, under judicious management, might have proved an ornament to her sex. She had quali. ties calculated to form one of the highest order of characters : great feeling, generosity of disposition, candour, abhorrence of artifice, and warm affections, with a most forgiving nature. With such materials what might not have been done under a fostering hand ?
But unhappily the weeds had choked up the
good seed; her feeling had grown into a diseased sensibility, her generosity evinced itself in ill-directed charities and mistaken attachments, her candour amounted to rudeness at times, and an absence of that careful delicacy, which can be sincere without wounding or giving offence, and her affections were rendered null and void by the violence and waywardness of her temper, since she was continually laying up stores of remorse for herself, from the time when, with childish petulance, she had broken her playthings, till the hour she had witnessed her beloved mother's premature death, caused, in a great measure, by her unkindness and wil. fulness.
Her desires for earthly happiness had been keen, yet her search after it had proved ever fruitless ; she had found a shade of sorrow in fortune's brightest smiles, and a taste of bitterness in all her enjoyments, - the days of youth and imagination had Aed rapidly, and when the path of life appeared before her, divested of its fictitious beauties, and she gazed