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belonged to the landlady, she cast a scrutinizing glance towards the bed. An impulse of mingled suspicion and curiosity induced Jocelyn still to counterfeit sleep; she brought one of the candles close to his face, as if to assure herself of the fact, and again retired towards the fire-place, apparently convinced that she was unobserved.
Peering through his nearly-closed eyes, he now saw her take a key from the mantel-piece, unlock his portmanteau, and rummage amid its contents, whence she drew forth the purse of gold he had borrowed from the landlady, the miniature of the queen, and his diamondhilted sword, the two former of which she deposited upon the table, and held the latter to the light, as if to ascertain whether they were real brilliants. Alglare of horrid satisfaction passed over her features as she recognized the value of the prize, and Jocelyn, who began to think she meditated something more atrocious than robbery, was not at all dissatisfied at seeing her wrap up the weapon in a cloak, and hide it in the closet. He had not long, however, to congratulate himself, for she had no sooner gently shut the closetdoor, than she took up the pillow on which she had been sleeping, and, advancing two or three steps on tiptoe, she at length sprang, like a tigress, upon her prey, leaping upon the bed, and covering over Jocelyn's face with the pillow, upon which she then leant the whole weight of her body, with the intention of smothering him.
So sudden and unexpected was the assault, that he had not time to elude it, but, weakened as he
struggled violently for his life, and by a prodigious effort, in which nature summoned all her remaining energies, he succeeded in extricating himself from the pillow, crying out at the same time, as loudly as his strength permitted—« Help! murder! murder !»
« Noisy fool!» said the fury, renewing her attack« there is no one to hear you; and if there were, they have long ceased to notice such cries. Murder, indeed! when you are a dead man already! Here's a coil about two or three hours of life !»—Again she forced him down with the pillow-his struggles became fainter and fainter his groans and cries were no longer audible-she pressed with increased violence upon his mouth — respiration was stopped — and the beldame thought her fell purpose was accomplished; when the door opened, and a stately female figure, attired in black, and holding a lamp in her right hand, glided suddenly into the chamber.
At sight of this apparition, the hag, uttering a shout of terror, threw down the pillow, rushed through an opposite door, flew down the stairs, and burst out of the house.
This is a creature,
On recovering his senses, and again opening his eyes, Jocelyn beheld a beautiful vision standing by his bedside, and holding a cordial to his lips, which, with a dulcet voice, she entreated him to drink. Still bewildered in his faculties, he knew not at first whether he were under the influence of some delightful dream, or whether he had indeed passed through the gate of death, and was invited to quaff from the chalice of immortality by one of the angels of heaven. His lips moved in faint endeavours to speak, but finding himself too much exhausted to articulate a word, he obeyed in silence the behest of the ministering spirit. Invigorated by the cordial, he gathered strength enough to exclaim, as he again leant back
the pillow«Gracious Heaven! am I in a dream, or is it, indeed, Constantia Beverning?»
“Compose yourself,» replied Constantia, “and do
not attempt to speak. You have been wonderfully preserved. The band of the Lord has been stretched forth to save you: let us call upon him to complete the work of mercy, for no arm of flesh can turn aside the dart of death that is still hovering over you.»— Kneeling down by his bed-side, she drew forth a book of
prayer, and with a countenance irradiated by holy fervour, and a voice whose inimitable sweetness rendered the solemn earnestness of its expression still more emphatic, she proceeded to read extracts from the minety-first psalm :
« I will say unto the Lord, Thou art my hope and my strong hold, my God, in whom will I trust. For He shall deliver thee from the snare of the hunter, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall defend thee
under his wings, and thou shalt be safe under his : feathers: his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield
and buckler.- Thou shalt not be afraid for any terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.-For the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the sickness that destroyeth in noon day.-A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten thousand at thy right hand.—He shall call upon me, and I will hear him: yea, I am with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and bring him to honour.-With long life will I satisfy him, and show him
salvation.» She closed the book, and, casting up her large and glorious eyes to heaven, commenced an extempore prayer, which fell from her lips with a fine spontaneous eloquence, .that nothing but deep feeling and fervent piety could inspire. Jocelyn's right hand was extended,
powerless, upon the bed. She took it up in the midst of her supplications, pressed it between both of hers and, lifting it upwards, implored Heaven, with an in creased enthusiasm, to allay the disease that throbbed in its veins, and restore it to its strength. He thought that a tear glistened in her eye, as she felt the fever burning within him. At any other time, and in any other female, there might have appeared some im. propriety in the action; but the pure and sanctified thoughts of Constantia at that moment were unmixed with any earthly feeling; and Jocelyn knew that she was defying death, rather than courting any of the considerations of life, when in the sublime heroism of her devotion she pressed his infected hand. Not having, however, the power to withdraw it, he yielded it passively to her control, looking on, and listening to her accents, with a mingled impression of amazement at her presence, and of pious confidence in the efficacy of her intercessions. At the conclusion of her
and seeing Jocelyn about to speak, she laid her finger upon lips, to enjoin silence. She then placed a silver flask by his bed-side, of which she desired him to drink whenever he should awake in the night; and calling upon Heaven once more to bless and deliver him from the pestilence, she vanished from the room, promising however, to revisit him in the morning.
Jocelyn remained for a long time lost in the most perplexing and contradictory speculations. That she should be in England at all, when the two countries were involved in war-that she should have discovered