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that his presence caused me the most poignant grief, and rather added than detracted from my sorrow, for he knew as well as I that he could do nothing, and his good, true, and warm heart was bleeding all the while for a lost cause.
A dull monotonous fixed stare, attended with calm, resolute, imperturbable silence, had been remarked for a few days as the most important change in my beloved Agnes' malady: this had attracted the attention of all about her, myself in particular, and was the cause of fresh speculation and surmise on the part of her physicians. It was evidently a new feature in this dire disease, and through it we were warned to expect a dénouement of a serious character. Poor soul, she was now insensible alike to the delicate attentions of her immediate atiendants, or the pressing affection and earnest persuasions of her doting mother and myself. It appears that this self-absorbtion must have been universally looked upon as a bad omen, and taken for the precursor of a coming outburst, as all of us were put doubly on the alert, and made more than ever mindful of her slightest movements. By day she was in the hands of the most observant and experienced watchers, whilst at night I undertook to superintend those duties which are the peculiar and special office allotted to a loving and attached husband. Alas! my unfortunate Agnes, how many and many a time has my heart beat for thee unknown, filed with anxiety and wretchedness! How many a sleepless night have I laid listening in sorrow to the quick and vacillating breathing which indicated the disturbances which haunted thy dark tormenting dreams! How have I watched and prayed that your clouded mind might be made bright and clear, and that it might receive again the warmth and sunlight of its celestial spirit! Alas, alas ! when I look back and think of those thrice happy days of my now for ever-vanished idol of love, I throw off all belief in purity and virtue, and begin to doubt the equivocation of those buman passions, which do but lie like truth, and show themselves, when stripped, the mere shadows of a cruel cheat.
Although I felt that my position in a pecuniary sense was, after all, a false and dependent one, and although I was as it were more than ever under the thumb and in the power of others—and those I despised -my sincere attachment to my suffering wife rather increased than otherwise from the extreme interest created by her deplorable afflictions. My affection for her knew no bounds, and I would willingly and gladly have sacrificed all that I possessed to have once more clasped her to my bosom free from her grievous affliction.
Such was the state of affairs in Brompton, and such were my own feelings, just previous to the following terrible and ever-memorable scene.
It was a beautiful warm evening in the latter part of May; the sun had set with a thunder-like aspect, and the atmosphere was unusually close - all indicating an approaching storm. I was sitting in the back drawing-room, soothing my mind by reading. I had had some refreshment, the wine and remains of which were still upon the table on a tray. In this dreamy, calm state of thought and repose, I was suddenly surprised by the entrance of Agnes : she was clad in a white dressing-gown of Indian muslin, which reached to her feet; behind her followed one of her attendants.
Upon perceiving that I was in the room and alone, she turned to her companion and requested her to withdraw.
“ Agnes, my dearest," I tenderly said, as I rose and approached her, “is there anything the matter ?"
There was something so unearthly, so supernatural in her appearance, that I confess that I felt my courage waver for an instant. She looked like a figure of alabaster or one risen from the dead, so deadly pale was she, and, being all in white, it added greatly to this delusion.
“ Don't call me dearest, Guy,” she mildly answered; “I am not worthy of such affection, I am not deserving so much love. You ask me, my husband, if anything is the matter? Yes, Guy, I answer you, there is—a great deal the matter; and I'have come, at God's command, to tell you all about it.'
Her eyes brightened as she spoke this last sentence and her manner became exceedingly excited, so much so that I felt an inward conviction that the long-dreaded crisis had at length arrived ; consequently I prepared with all the manliness I could to meet it. Gently taking her by the hand, I replied :
“Would it not be better, my own Agnes, to sit down, and before you speak more calm your feelings? You have been very very ill, and are weak, and should not do too much at first."
“Yes, Guy," responded the fair creature, her lips trembling with stifled emotion for utterance; “I have been very ill, but I shall not be so again; for when I have taken the weight off my soul (and which God has granted me strength and courage enough to do) then, and not till then, Guy, I shall die and be happy, and spared those tortures which are burning and writing within ine worse than the flames of hell.”
“But, dearest Agnes," I interrupted, attempting by all the means in my power to postpone the catastrophe, and if possible to persuade her into a more tranquil condition ; “don't tell me now—some future time we will talk it over. Besides," I added, placing my arms around her and caressing her, "you only imagine this terribly important secret, this serious information. Depend upon it, Agnes, my life, you have nothing to enlighten me on of any very great consequence; so I beseech you to be easy on that point.”
“Oh God! but I tell you that I have, Guy,” she exclaimed in a paroxysm of despair, at the same time rising'; 6 and in my case it is a long while getting to the truth, but you see it comes at last and when least expected.”
At this she fell upon her knees, and clung to me with that hysteric, nervous grip, which showed how nearly the avalanche of grief which overwhelmed her had prostrated her bodily as well as mental powers. I thought I had never seen anything so angelic as the expression of her countenance as, kneeling, she gazed with an intensity upon me which entered my very heart. It was nevertbeless painful in the extreme to behold her ; there was such a truly penitent appeal for mercy in her attitude and air that it was with the utmost difficulty I could control myself, and yet to have interfered or attempted to disturb her would have been running the risk of perhaps even a fatal outburst. It was with both of us a most critical moment.
"Guy, my own dear husband,” she commenced in a voice which had positively a heavenly sound in it,“ you
I know can never never forgive me,
but God will — he has told me so--if I confess to you my sin and misery and the wrong I have done you."
I covered my eyes with my hand and wept in silence. I answered her not, I could not ; I was spell-bound.
“But there where I have garner'd up my heart ;
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence !" Othello.
I almost wished myself blind, for how should we look again upon each other?
" Horrible! horrible!” I exclaimed as she finished.
“Oh, be merciful, Guy," she shrieked, as she clung closer to me; “forgive me—say that you forgive me! Oh, let me die, Guy, upon that one word, and God will be merciful to you !"
“I-do-forgive-you— Agnes,” I slowly answered,
The effort had been too much for her excited brain; she fell senseless to the floor. I could not witness her agony, although my own was more than I could bear. I rang violently, and her attendants, who were near at hand, after bathing her temples, bore her raving to her chamber. The forewarned paroxysm had arrived and insanity was at last triumphant.
Seizing the decanter, I swallowed its contents, and fled the house. What became of me I could never remember, but the next day I was carried back in a fit of delirium tremens.
“One after one the lords of Time advance
Here Stanley meets--how Stanley scorns, the glance !
like Gladstone and he fights like Spring.
The New Timon
The Right Hon. Edward Geoffrey Stanley, K.G., Earl of Derby, was born March 29, 1799, at Knowsley Park, Lancashire, and educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he obtained the Chancellor's prize for Latin verse, In 1821, Mr. Stanley was returned to the House of Commons for Stockbridge, and in 1826 for Preston. In the Canning and Goderioh administrations Mr. Stanley commenced official life as Under-Secretary for the Colonies, and on the formation of Lord Grey's government he was nominated to the then post of ChiefSecretary for Ireland. On seeking re-election at Preston he was defeated by Mr. Henry Hunt, but was returned for Windsor. In 1833