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Edward; and it put me in mind of what Aunt Polly said once, when Alks talked to her about what the world would say to her for tending her sweetheart in a fever. She said, I have long ago done caring for the asses, and care only for Saul ;' she was a master-hand for quoting Scripture. O, how she did take on when he died ! I was dreadful sorry for her; but it was a great comfort for her to know that she had done
every thing for him that mortal could do ; but man provides, and God decides ! But there's the bell; I must go to it.”
She returned to say that the doctor was at the door, and ready to attend Miss Weston to the boat.
As she put her keys into Ruth's hand, Amy said to her, “I know, Ruth, that you will take the best care of my
father. Be sure to remind him daily of his ride. Have no fear for me."
She could not speak to her father ; she kissed him and hurried off.
“The billows they tumble with might, with might,
She flings out her voice to the darksome night;
Amy was soon seated in the boat, by the side of the doctor, on her way to the island. After having ascertained from him everything she could, with regard to Edward's case, she sunk into a profound silence.
The air was balmy soft. Here and there a light, fleecy cloud floated in the blue depths of the quiet heavens. The boat, as it danced along, looked like a plaything upon the restless, trembling waves of the glad ocean. All around looked bright and glorious, but all was unheeded by Amy. She saw not the glittering spires, nor the bristling masts at the noble wharves of the city. The neighboring heights, the green islands, the white sails, were to her as if they were not. She heard not the occasional remarks of the doctor, kindly intended to interest her, and help her bear her anxious thoughts. There was an unutterable,
SKETCHES OF MARRIED LIFE.
an overwhelming feeling in her heart, that made her unconscious of everything around her. Deep called unto deep in her soul. She sat in silence, looking fixedly at the island which they were fast approaching, as though in that little spot was concentrated all that life could give her of joy or sorrow.
They arrived. The doctor introduced her to the kind matron of the hospital, and left her while he went to visit his patient, saying that he would soon be with her again. He returned with a smile on his face, that was like life to Amy's heart.
“ I find Mr. Selmar better,” he said ; " at least, as far as I can judge for the present; for he is asleep, which is a good symptom. If you can walk like a spirit, so as to be sure not to awake him, you can go and look at him ; but if he should awake, you must be sure that you leave him without his recognizing you, as he has no idea of seeing you, and it would be a dangerous cxcitement to him.”
Amy promised to obey his directions, and followed the doctor to the apartment of the patient. The door was open. She entered the darkened room on tiptoe, scarcely breathing, lest she should awake him. She came to the bedside. It was so dark she could not distinguish any thing; she must wait till her eye adapts its vision to the dim light. O, how her soul was agonized, lest he should awake before she had seen and been satisfied that it was indeed the face of her dearest earthly friend that she was gazing at! Presently, a shadowy outline seemed to emerge from the darkness. Still she could not recognize a single feature of the face. It grew a little more distinct. She stooped over him, straining every faculty to see. He moved his arm round, and his hand grasped a fold of her dress. She stood still as death, lest he should awake. He was quiet again, and his fingers relaxed their hold. Again she stooped over him, and her whole figure seemed instinct with the desire to see that beloved face. At last, deathly pale, and wasted, his eyes sunken in their sockets, she saw him distinctly — the same, only so changed by disease!
For many minutes, Amy stood breathless and motionless, gazing, with her whole soul, upon her sleeping lover, when he suddenly started, and awoke. She left the room before he perceived her. She met the physician at the door, who entered without speaking. With the most intense anxiety, Amy stood waiting in the passage-way for the return of the doctor. She saw, at the first glance that she caught of his face, as he
came from the apartment, that his decision was unfavorable to her hopes. She felt her lips and tongue grow rigid, as she attempted to speak and ask what her heart so trembled to know.
“ Cannot I go in ? Is he not better?
“I am disappointed," said the doctor, “ at the state in which I find him. I thought he would awake better; it is not so. I think it would not be well for him to see you now; any great excitement might injure him. I dare not venture it. He is more ill than he has been. There must be some change soon. We must hope for the best. To-night will be the critical time.”
“O! let me watch by him to-night,” said Amy.
“ I feel sure that he would recognize you ; for he has his senses perfectly.
He has a most excellent nurse; and I will be with him myself as much as possible, and you shall be kept informed of his state. Let me conduct you to the apartment which Mrs.
has appropriated to you."
Amy unconsciously suffered herself to be led to her room.
as she was alone, it seemed as if her overwrought spirit suddenly lost all possession of itself. Grief, fear, and despair, took alternate possession of her soul.
Why," cried she, “ did I submit so tamely