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with some difficulty, who announced herself to be "the sick gentleman's nurse," and proceeded to lead the way to the garret, muttering, as she went, something about having "just stepped out to buy a little bit of tea, and a candle." I followed with an aching heart, as I thought was this all the attendance he had? was this woman the only one to cheer him, to whisper comfort and hope to one who needed both so much? I bade her enter and ask if he were able to see me. She did as I desired, and I remained at the head of the stairs, awaiting his answer. Suddenly I heard her exclaim loudly; and hurrying back to the door, she cried, with a terrified look, "Gracious me! the poor soul's gone! and, all I could say, he wouldn't see no doctor."
Dead! and in this loneliness and desolation! I put some money into her hand, and desired her to run for the nearest medical assistance,though none could now avail him,—and, closing the door after her, I walked up to the bedside.
I should not have known him again. The
face was sunk and drawn, and the purple colour, which had rendered it so remarkable during life, had faded to a ghastly paleness His hand lay extended on the bed-clothes; and, as I involuntarily seized it, I felt some hard substance firmly held in it's cold grasp; it was the old watch which James had sent him. The low, close room was scantily furnished, and looked as if it had never been swept since the first entrance of its late posThe fire-place was choked up with ashes, torn papers, and pieces of orange-peel; and the same litter encumbered the floor in every direction. A coarse check curtain strove, with ostentatious raggedness, to shut out a beam of sunshine which struggled in through the broken window, displaying the thick and dusty atmosphere and dingy walls of this squalid habitation. Every article of furniture was of the meanest description, with the exception of a handsome rose-wood and glass case, in which were displayed, in every attitude of distorted grace, some bright-coloured tropical birds, whose brilliant plumage and glittering bead eyes looked strangely foreign to this dim chamber of poverty and death.
I recognised them again, as well as the beautiful shells, which were carefully arranged on the top of the case; they were his boy's legacy, and had long been the poor father's only riches opposite, and in view of the bed, hung a common black silhouetto, neatly framed and glazed. I could not mistake those plain and heavy features, nor the peculiarly slang expression of the head and attitude;-it was poor James, and as like as it was possible to be.
As I gazed at it, I thought of the many hours of fond, regretful contemplation, which had been wasted on that image, so plain and repulsive in my eyes-I thought of the old man's weary nights of pain and solitude in that wretched chamber,-of his untended sickness and forsaken death-bed-and then the remembrance of the father's broken pride and ill-requited affection,-his struggles to find excuses for the faults, and reasons for the neglect of his forgetful child,-his patience in sickness and poverty,-his kind feelings,-his honest heart, and old days, when he was the joyous "Ponty" of my childhood, rushed upon my soul-and I wept.
On examination of his papers, it appeared that he had sold his pension, his half-pay, every thing that he possessed, reserving only a wretched pittance on which, with difficulty, he contrived to exist. The money thus procured had been dedicated to the payment of James's debts in India after his death. He was determined that, if possible, none should have cause to blame or insult a memory so dear to him, and sacrificed the comforts of his old age to the good name of his dead child.
It was for this he had been called morose and miserly: but what was the world's blame or pity to him now? I know not why, but this silence and reserve, so foreign to the old man's nature, affected me more than all beside. He, who had shared his simple joys with all the world, with a child-like trust and confidence in their sympathy, demanded none for his sorrow: he had crept into a solitary hole to die, silently and patiently acquiescing in the unimportance of his obscure misery. "God careth for us." Oh words of comfort! which grow more precious to our hearts when none
are left in this wide world who care for us beside!
I closed the door softly and respectfully as I withdrew, as if I feared to waken again, to a world of anguish and disappointment, that kind and noble spirit that had so lately gained its freedom. But no! he was at peace for ever; and my heart felt lighter in the full security of that reflection, as I descended the narrow stair-case, and gained the street.
The day was beginning to decline; and I remembered I had an engagement at the other end of the town. I walked hastily on, and, in the act of crossing one of the angles of Cavendish Square, was nearly run over by a handsome carriage, which swung round the corner, and stopped just before me. A thundering rap at the door; the steps of the carriage were let down with a professional jerk by the powdered footman, and from it emerged, with dignified and deliberate movement, a reverend prelate in his wig and apron: I had but a momentary glance at his face, but I could not be mistaken: in the rich bishop I beheld my