Week after week glided away in the St. Clare mansion, and the
waves of life settled back to their usual flow, where that little bark had gone
down. For how imperiously, how
coolly, in disregard of all one's feeling, does the hard, cold, uninteresting
course of daily realities move on! Still
must we eat, and drink, and sleep, and wake again,--still bargain, buy, sell,
ask and answer questions,--pursue, in short, a thousand shadows, though all
interest in them be over; the cold mechanical habit of living remaining, after
all vital interest in it has fled.
All the interests and hopes of St.
Clare's life had unconsciously wound themselves around this child.
It was for Eva that he had managed his property; it was for Eva that he
had planned the disposal of his time; and, to do this and that for Eva,--to buy,
improve, alter, and arrange, or dispose something for her,--had been so long his
habit, that now she was gone, there seemed nothing to be thought of, and nothing
to be done.
True, there was another life,--a life
which, once believed in, stands as a solemn, significant figure before the
otherwise unmeaning ciphers of time, changing them to orders of mysterious,
untold value. St. Clare knew this
well; and often, in many a weary hour, he heard that slender, childish voice
calling him to the skies, and saw that little hand pointing to him the way of
life; but a heavy lethargy of sorrow lay on him,--he could not arise.
He had one of those natures which could better and more clearly conceive
of religious things from its own perceptions and instincts, than many a
matter-of-fact and practical Christian. The
gift to appreciate and the sense to feel the finer shades and relations of moral
things, often seems an attribute of those whose whole life shows a careless
disregard of them. Hence Moore,
Byron, Goethe, often speak words more wisely descriptive of the true religious
sentiment, than another man, whose whole life is governed by it.
In such minds, disregard of religion is a more fearful treason,--a more
St. Clare had never pretended to govern
himself by any religious obligation; and a certain fineness of nature gave him
such an instinctive view of the extent of the requirements of Christianity, that
he shrank, by anticipation, from what he felt would be the exactions of his own
conscience, if he once did resolve to assume them.
For, so inconsistent is human nature, especially in the ideal, that not
to undertake a thing at all seems better than to undertake and come short.
Still St. Clare was, in many respects,
another man. He read his little
Eva's Bible seriously and honestly; he thought more soberly and practically of
his relations to his servants,--enough to make him extremely dissatisfied with
both his past and present course; and one thing he did, soon after his return to
New Orleans, and that was to commence the legal steps necessary to Tom's
emancipation, which was to be perfected as soon as he could get through the
necessary formalities. Meantime, he
attached himself to Tom more and more, every day. In all the wide world, there was nothing that seemed to
remind him so much of Eva; and he would insist on keeping him constantly about
him, and, fastidious and unapproachable as he was with regard to his deeper
feelings, he almost thought aloud to Tom. Nor
would any one have wondered at it, who had seen the expression of affection and
devotion with which Tom continually followed his young master.
"Well, Tom," said St. Clare,
the day after he had commenced the legal formalities for his enfranchisement,
"I'm going to make a free man of you;--so have your trunk packed, and get
ready to set out for Kentuck."
The sudden light of joy that shone in
Tom's face as he raised his hands to heaven, his emphatic "Bless the
Lord!" rather discomposed St. Clare; he did not like it that Tom should be
so ready to leave him.
"You haven't had such very bad
times here, that you need be in such a rapture, Tom," he said drily.
"No, no, Mas'r! 'tan't that,--it's
bein' a _freeman!_ that's what I'm joyin' for."
"Why, Tom, don't you think, for
your own part, you've been better off than to be free?"
"_No, indeed_, Mas'r St.
Clare," said Tom, with a flash of energy.
"Why, Tom, you couldn't possibly
have earned, by your work, such clothes and such living as I have given
"Knows all that, Mas'r St. Clare;
Mas'r's been too good; but, Mas'r, I'd rather have poor clothes, poor house,
poor everything, and have 'em _mine_, than have the best, and have 'em any man's
else,--I had _so_, Mas'r; I think it's natur, Mas'r."
"I suppose so, Tom, and you'll be
going off and leaving me, in a month or so," he added, rather
discontentedly. "Though why
you shouldn't, no mortal knows," he said, in a gayer tone; and, getting up,
he began to walk the floor.
"Not while Mas'r is in
trouble," said Tom. "I'll
stay with Mas'r as long as he wants me,--so as I can be any use."
"Not while I'm in trouble,
Tom?" said St. Clare, looking
sadly out of the window. . . . "And
when will _my_ trouble be over?"
"When Mas'r St. Clare's a
Christian," said Tom.
"And you really mean to stay by
till that day comes?" said St. Clare, half smiling, as he turned from the
window, and laid his hand on Tom's shoulder.
"Ah, Tom, you soft, silly boy!
I won't keep you till that day. Go
home to your wife and children, and give my love to all."
"I 's faith to believe that day
will come," said Tom, earnestly, and with tears in his eyes; "the Lord
has a work for Mas'r."
"A work, hey?" said St. Clare,
"well, now, Tom, give me your views on what sort of a work it is;--let's
"Why, even a poor fellow like me
has a work from the Lord; and Mas'r St. Clare, that has larnin, and riches, and
friends,--how much he might do for the Lord!"
"Tom, you seem to think the Lord
needs a great deal done for him," said St. Clare, smiling.
"We does for the Lord when we does
for his critturs," said Tom.
"Good theology, Tom; better than
Dr. B. preaches, I dare swear," said St. Clare.
The conversation was here interrupted by
the announcement of some visitors.
Marie St. Clare felt the loss of Eva as
deeply as she could feel anything; and, as she was a woman that had a great
faculty of making everybody unhappy when she was, her immediate attendants had
still stronger reason to regret the loss of their young mistress, whose winning
ways and gentle intercessions had so often been a shield to them from the
tyrannical and selfish exactions of her mother. Poor old Mammy, in particular, whose heart, severed from all
natural domestic ties, had consoled itself with this one beautiful being, was
almost heart-broken. She cried day
and night, and was, from excess of sorrow, less skilful and alert in her
ministrations of her mistress than usual, which drew down a constant storm of
invectives on her defenceless head.
Miss Ophelia felt the loss; but, in her
good and honest heart, it bore fruit unto everlasting life.
She was more softened, more gentle; and, though equally assiduous in
every duty, it was with a chastened and quiet air, as one who communed with her
own heart not in vain. She was more diligent in teaching Topsy,--taught her mainly
from the Bible,--did not any longer shrink from her touch, or manifest an
ill-repressed disgust, because she felt none.
She viewed her now through the softened medium that Eva's hand had first
held before her eyes, and saw in her only an immortal creature, whom God had
sent to be led by her to glory and virtue.
Topsy did not become at once a saint; but the life and death of Eva did
work a marked change in her. The
callous indifference was gone; there was now sensibility, hope, desire, and the
striving for good,--a strife irregular, interrupted, suspended oft, but yet
One day, when Topsy had been sent for by
Miss Ophelia, she came, hastily thrusting something into her bosom.
"What are you doing there, you
limb? You've been stealing
something, I'll be bound," said the imperious little Rosa, who had been
sent to call her, seizing her, at the same time, roughly by the arm.
"You go 'long, Miss Rosa!"
said Topsy, pulling from her; "'tan't none o' your business!"
"None o' your sa'ce!" said
Rosa, "I saw you hiding something,--I know yer tricks," and Rosa
seized her arm, and tried to force her hand into her bosom, while Topsy,
enraged, kicked and fought valiantly for what she considered her rights.
The clamor and confusion of the battle drew Miss Ophelia and St. Clare
both to the spot.
"She's been stealing!" said
"I han't, neither!"
vociferated Topsy, sobbing with passion.
"Give me that, whatever it
is!" said Miss Ophelia, firmly.
Topsy hesitated; but, on a second order,
pulled out of her bosom a little parcel done up in the foot of one of her own
Miss Ophelia turned it out.
There was a small book, which had been given to Topsy by Eva, containing
a single verse of Scripture, arranged for every day in the year, and in a paper
the curl of hair that she had given her on that memorable day when she had taken
her last farewell.
St. Clare was a good deal affected at
the sight of it; the little book had been rolled in a long strip of black crape,
torn from the funeral weeds.
"What did you wrap _this_ round the
book for?" said St. Clare, holding up the crape.
"Cause,--cause,--cause 't was Miss
Eva. O, don't take 'em away,
please!" she said; and, sitting flat down on the floor, and putting her
apron over her head, she began to sob vehemently.
It was a curious mixture of the pathetic
and the ludicrous,--the little old stockings,--black crape,--text-book,--fair,
soft curl,--and Topsy's utter distress.
St. Clare smiled; but there were tears
in his eyes, as he said,
"Come, come,--don't cry; you shall
have them!" and, putting them together, he threw them into her lap, and
drew Miss Ophelia with him into the parlor.
"I really think you can make
something of that concern," he said, pointing with his thumb backward over
his shoulder. "Any mind that
is capable of a _real sorrow_ is capable of good.
You must try and do something with her."
"The child has improved
greatly," said Miss Ophelia. "I
have great hopes of her; but, Augustine," she said, laying her hand on his
arm, "one thing I want to ask; whose is this child to be?--yours or
"Why, I gave her to you, "
"But not legally;--I want her to be
mine legally," said Miss Ophelia.
"Whew! cousin," said
Augustine. "What will the
Abolition Society think? They'll
have a day of fasting appointed for this backsliding, if you become a
I want her mine, that I may have a right to take her to the free States,
and give her her liberty, that all I am trying to do be not undone."
"O, cousin, what an awful `doing
evil that good may come'! I can't
"I don't want you to joke, but to
reason," said Miss Ophelia. "There
is no use in my trying to make this child a Christian child, unless I save her
from all the chances and reverses of slavery; and, if you really are willing I
should have her, I want you to give me a deed of gift, or some legal
"Well, well," said St. Clare,
"I will;" and he sat down, and unfolded a newspaper to read.
"But I want it done now," said
"What's your hurry?"
"Because now is the only time there
ever is to do a thing in," said Miss Ophelia. "Come, now, here's paper, pen, and ink; just write a
St. Clare, like most men of his class of
mind, cordially hated the present tense of action, generally; and, therefore, he
was considerably annoyed by Miss Ophelia's downrightness.
"Why, what's the matter?" said
he. "Can't you take my word?
One would think you had taken lessons of the Jews, coming at a fellow
"I want to make sure of it,"
said Miss Ophelia. "You may
die, or fail, and then Topsy be hustled off to auction, spite of all I can
"Really, you are quite provident.
Well, seeing I'm in the hands of a Yankee, there is nothing for it but to
concede;" and St. Clare rapidly wrote off a deed of gift, which, as he was
well versed in the forms of law, he could easily do, and signed his name to it
in sprawling capitals, concluding by a tremendous flourish.
"There, isn't that black and white,
now, Miss Vermont?" he said, as he handed it to her.
"Good boy," said Miss Ophelia,
smiling. "But must it not be
Here," he said, opening the door into Marie's apartment,
"Marie, Cousin wants your autograph; just put your name down here."
"What's this?" said Marie, as
she ran over the paper. "Ridiculous!
I thought Cousin was too pious for such horrid things," she added, as she
carelessly wrote her name; "but, if she has a fancy for that article, I am
sure she's welcome."
"There, now, she's yours, body and
soul," said St. Clare, handing the paper.
"No more mine now than she was
before," Miss Ophelia. "Nobody
but God has a right to give her to me; but I can protect her now."
"Well, she's yours by a fiction of
law, then," said St. Clare, as he turned back into the parlor, and sat down
to his paper.
Miss Ophelia, who seldom sat much in
Marie's company, followed him into the parlor, having first carefully laid away
"Augustine," she said,
suddenly, as she sat knitting, "have you ever made any provision for your
servants, in case of your death?"
"No," said St. Clare, as he
"Then all your indulgence to them
may prove a great cruelty, by and by."
St. Clare had often thought the same
thing himself; but he answered, negligently.
"Well, I mean to make a provision,
by and by."
"When?" said Miss Ophelia.
"O, one of these days."
"What if you should die
"Cousin, what's the matter?"
said St. Clare, laying down his paper and looking at her. "Do you think I show symptoms of yellow fever or
cholera, that you are making post mortem arrangements with such zeal?"
"`In the midst of life we are in
death,'" said Miss Ophelia.
St. Clare rose up, and laying the paper
down, carelessly, walked to the door that stood open on the verandah, to put an
end to a conversation that was not agreeable to him. Mechanically, he repeated the last word
again,--_"Death!"_--and, as he leaned against the railings, and
watched the sparkling water as it rose and fell in the fountain; and, as in a
dim and dizzy haze, saw flowers and trees and vases of the courts, he repeated,
again the mystic word so common in every mouth, yet of such fearful
power,--"DEATH!" "Strange that there should be such a word,"
he said, "and such a thing, and we ever forget it; that one should be
living, warm and beautiful, full of hopes, desires and wants, one day, and the
next be gone, utterly gone, and forever!"
It was a warm, golden evening; and, as
he walked to the other end of the verandah, he saw Tom busily intent on his
Bible, pointing, as he did so, with his finger to each successive word, and
whispering them to himself with an earnest air.
"Want me to read to you, Tom?"
said St. Clare, seating himself carelessly by him.
"If Mas'r pleases," said Tom,
gratefully, "Mas'r makes it so much plainer."
St. Clare took the book and glanced at
the place, and began reading one of the passages which Tom had designated by the
heavy marks around it. It ran as
"When the Son of man shall come in
his glory, and all his holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne
of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall
separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the
goats." St. Clare read on in
an animated voice, till he came to the last of the verses.
"Then shall the king say unto him
on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire: for I was an
hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was
a stranger, an ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: I was sick, and
in prison, and ye visited me not. Then
shall they answer unto Him, Lord when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he say unto them, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the
least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me."
St. Clare seemed struck with this last
passage, for he read it twice,--the second time slowly, and as if he were
revolving the words in his mind.
"Tom," he said, "these
folks that get such hard measure seem to have been doing just what I
have,--living good, easy, respectable lives; and not troubling themselves to
inquire how many of their brethren were hungry or athirst, or sick, or in
Tom did not answer.
St. Clare rose up and walked
thoughtfully up and down the verandah, seeming to forget everything in his own
thoughts; so absorbed was he, that Tom had to remind him twice that the teabell
had rung, before he could get his attention.
St. Clare was absent and thoughtful, all
tea-time. After tea, he and Marie
and Miss Ophelia took possession of the parlor almost in silence.
Marie disposed herself on a lounge,
under a silken mosquito curtain, and was soon sound asleep. Miss Ophelia silently busied herself with her knitting.
St. Clare sat down to the piano, and began playing a soft and melancholy
movement with the AEolian accompaniment. He
seemed in a deep reverie, and to be soliloquizing to himself by music.
After a little, he opened one of the drawers, took out an old music-book
whose leaves were yellow with age, and began turning it over.
"There," he said to Miss
Ophelia, "this was one of my mother's books,--and here is her
handwriting,--come and look at it. She
copied and arranged this from Mozart's Requiem." Miss Ophelia came
"It was something she used to sing
often," said St. Clare. "I
think I can hear her now."
He struck a few majestic chords, and
began singing that grand old Latin piece, the "Dies Irae."
Tom, who was listening in the outer
verandah, was drawn by the sound to the very door, where he stood earnestly.
He did not understand the words, of course; but the music and manner of
singing appeared to affect him strongly, especially when St. Clare sang the more
pathetic parts. Tom would have
sympathized more heartily, if he had known the meaning of the beautiful words:
Recordare Jesu pie
Quod sum causa tuar viae
Ne me perdas, illa die
Querens me sedisti lassus
Redemisti crucem passus
Tantus laor non sit cassus.
 These lines
have been thus rather inadequately translated:
Think, O Jesus, for what reason Thou
endured'st earth's spite and treason,
Nor me lose, in that dread season;
Seeking me, thy wom feet hasted,
On the cross thy soul death tasted,
Let not all these toils be wasted.
[Mrs. Stowe's note.]
St. Clare threw a deep and pathetic
expression into the words; for the shadowy veil of years seemed drawn away, and
he seemed to hear his mother's voice leading his. Voice and instrument seemed both living, and threw out with
vivid sympathy those strains which the ethereal Mozart first conceived as his
own dying requiem.
When St. Clare had done singing, he sat
leaning his head upon his hand a few moments, and then began walking up and down
"What a sublime conception is that
of a last judgment!" said he,--"a righting of all the wrongs of
ages!--a solving of all moral problems, by an unanswerable wisdom!
It is, indeed, a wonderful image."
"It is a fearful one to us,"
said Miss Ophelia.
"It ought to be to me, I
suppose," said St. Clare stopping, thoughtfully. "I
was reading to Tom, this afternoon, that chapter in Matthew that gives an
account of it, and I have been quite struck with it.
One should have expected some terrible enormities charged to those who
are excluded from Heaven, as the reason; but no,--they are condemned for _not_
doing positive good, as if that included every possible harm."
"Perhaps," said Miss Ophelia,
"it is impossible for a person who does no good not to do harm."
"And what," said St. Clare,
speaking abstractedly, but with deep feeling, "what shall be said of one
whose own heart, whose education, and the wants of society, have called in vain
to some noble purpose; who has floated on, a dreamy, neutral spectator of the
struggles, agonies, and wrongs of man, when he should have been a worker?"
"I should say," said Miss
Ophelia, "that he ought to repent, and begin now."
"Always practical and to the
point!" said St. Clare, his face breaking out into a smile.
"You never leave me any time for general reflections, Cousin; you
always bring me short up against the actual present; you have a kind of eternal
_now_, always in your mind."
"_Now_ is all the time I have
anything to do with," said Miss Ophelia.
"Dear little Eva,--poor
child!" said St. Clare, "she had set her little simple soul on a good
work for me."
It was the first time since Eva's death
that he had ever said as many words as these to her, and he spoke now evidently
repressing very strong feeling.
"My view of Christianity is
such," he added, "that I think no man can consistently profess it
without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of
injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society; and, if need be,
sacrificing himself in the battle. That
is, I mean that _I_ could not be a Christian otherwise, though I have certainly
had intercourse with a great many enlightened and Christian people who did no
such thing; and I confess that the apathy of religious people on this subject,
their want of perception of wrongs that filled me with horror, have engendered
in me more scepticism than any other thing."
"If you knew all this," said
Miss Ophelia, "why didn't you do it?"
"O, because I have had only that
kind of benevolence which consists in lying on a sofa, and cursing the church
and clergy for not being martyrs and confessors.
One can see, you know, very easily, how others ought to be martyrs."
"Well, are you going to do
differently now?" said Miss Ophelia.
"God only knows the future,"
said St. Clare. "I am braver
than I was, because I have lost all; and he who has nothing to lose can afford
"And what are you going to
"My duty, I hope, to the poor and
lowly, as fast as I find it out," said St. Clare, "beginning with my
own servants, for whom I have yet done nothing; and, perhaps, at some future
day, it may appear that I can do something for a whole class; something to save
my country from the disgrace of that false position in which she now stands
before all civilized nations."
"Do you suppose it possible that a
nation ever will voluntarily emancipate?" said Miss Ophelia.
"I don't know," said St.
Clare. "This is a day of great
deeds. Heroism and
disinterestedness are rising up, here and there, in the earth.
The Hungarian nobles set free millions of serfs, at an immense pecuniary
loss; and, perhaps, among us may be found generous spirits, who do not estimate
honor and justice by dollars and cents."
"I hardly think so," said Miss
"But, suppose we should rise up
tomorrow and emancipate, who would educate these millions, and teach them how to
use their freedom? They never would
rise to do much among us. The fact
is, we are too lazy and unpractical, ourselves, ever to give them much of an
idea of that industry and energy which is necessary to form them into men.
They will have to go north, where labor is the fashion,--the universal
custom; and tell me, now, is there enough Christian philanthropy, among your
northern states, to bear with the process of their education and elevation?
You send thousands of dollars to foreign missions; but could you endure
to have the heathen sent into your towns and villages, and give your time, and
thoughts, and money, to raise them to the Christian standard? That's what I want to know.
If we emancipate, are you willing to educate? How many families, in your town, would take a negro man and
woman, teach them, bear with them, and seek to make them Christians?
How many merchants would take Adolph, if I wanted to make him a clerk; or
mechanics, if I wanted him taught a trade?
If I wanted to put Jane and Rosa to a school, how many schools are there
in the northern states that would take them in? how many families that would
board them? and yet they are as white as many a woman, north or south.
You see, Cousin, I want justice done us.
We are in a bad position. We
are the more _obvious_ oppressors of the negro; but the unchristian prejudice of
the north is an oppressor almost equally severe."
"Well, Cousin, I know it is
so," said Miss Ophelia,--"I know it was so with me, till I saw that it
was my duty to overcome it; but, I trust I have overcome it; and I know there
are many good people at the north, who in this matter need only to be _taught_
what their duty is, to do it. It
would certainly be a greater self-denial to receive heathen among us, than to
send missionaries to them; but I think we would do it."
"_You_ would I know," said St.
Clare. "I'd like to see
anything you wouldn't do, if you thought it your duty!"
"Well, I'm not uncommonly
good," said Miss Ophelia. "Others
would, if they saw things as I do. I
intend to take Topsy home, when I go. I
suppose our folks will wonder, at first; but I think they will be brought to see
as I do. Besides, I know there are
many people at the north who do exactly what you said."
"Yes, but they are a minority; and,
if we should begin to emancipate to any extent, we should soon hear from
Miss Ophelia did not reply.
There was a pause of some moments; and St. Clare's countenance was
overcast by a sad, dreamy expression.
"I don't know what makes me think
of my mother so much, tonight," he said." I have a strange kind of feeling, as if she were near me.
I keep thinking of things she used to say.
Strange, what brings these past things so vividly back to us,
St. Clare walked up and down the room
for some minutes more, and then said,
"I believe I'll go down street, a
few moments, and hear the news, tonight."
He took his hat, and passed out.
Tom followed him to the passage, out of
the court, and asked if he should attend him.
"No, my boy," said St. Clare.
"I shall be back in an hour."
Tom sat down in the verandah.
It was a beautiful moonlight evening, and he sat watching the rising and
falling spray of the fountain, and listening to its murmur.
Tom thought of his home, and that he should soon be a free man, and able
to return to it at will. He thought
how he should work to buy his wife and boys.
He felt the muscles of his brawny arms with a sort of joy, as he thought
they would soon belong to himself, and how much they could do to work out the
freedom of his family. Then he
thought of his noble young master, and, ever second to that, came the habitual
prayer that he had always offered for him; and then his thoughts passed on to
the beautiful Eva, whom he now thought of among the angels; and he thought till
he almost fancied that that bright face and golden hair were looking upon him,
out of the spray of the fountain. And,
so musing, he fell asleep, and dreamed he saw her coming bounding towards him,
just as she used to come, with a wreath of jessamine in her hair, her cheeks
bright, and her eyes radiant with delight; but, as he looked, she seemed to rise
from the ground; her cheeks wore a paler hue,--her eyes had a deep, divine
radiance, a golden halo seemed around her head,--and she vanished from his
sight; and Tom was awakened by a loud knocking, and a sound of many voices at
He hastened to undo it; and, with
smothered voices and heavy tread, came several men, bringing a body, wrapped in
a cloak, and lying on a shutter. The
light of the lamp fell full on the face; and Tom gave a wild cry of amazement
and despair, that rung through all the galleries, as the men advanced, with
their burden, to the open parlor door, where Miss Ophelia still sat knitting.
St. Clare had turned into a cafe, to
look over an evening paper. As he
was reading, an affray arose between two gentlemen in the room, who were both
partially intoxicated. St. Clare
and one or two others made an effort to separate them, and St. Clare received a
fatal stab in the side with a bowie-knife, which he was attempting to wrest from
one of them.
The house was full of cries and
lamentations, shrieks and screams, servants frantically tearing their hair,
throwing themselves on the ground, or running distractedly about, lamenting.
Tom and Miss Ophelia alone seemed to have any presence of mind; for Marie
was in strong hysteric convulsions. At
Miss Ophelia's direction, one of the lounges in the parlor was hastily prepared,
and the bleeding form laid upon it. St.
Clare had fainted, through pain and loss of blood; but, as Miss Ophelia applied
restoratives, he revived, opened his eyes, looked fixedly on them, looked
earnestly around the room, his eyes travelling wistfully over every object, and
finally they rested on his mother's picture.
The physician now arrived, and made his
examination. It was evident, from
the expression of his face, that there was no hope; but he applied himself to
dressing the wound, and he and Miss Ophelia and Tom proceeded composedly with
this work, amid the lamentations and sobs and cries of the affrighted servants,
who had clustered about the doors and windows of the verandah.
"Now," said the physician,
"we must turn all these creatures out; all depends on his being kept
St. Clare opened his eyes, and looked
fixedly on the distressed beings, whom Miss Ophelia and the doctor were trying
to urge from the apartment. "Poor
creatures!" he said, and an expression of bitter self-reproach passed over
his face. Adolph absolutely refused
to go. Terror had deprived him of
all presence of mind; he threw himself along the floor, and nothing could
persuade him to rise. The rest
yielded to Miss Ophelia's urgent representations, that their master's safety
depended on their stillness and obedience.
St. Clare could say but little; he lay
with his eyes shut, but it was evident that he wrestled with bitter thoughts.
After a while, he laid his hand on Tom's, who was kneeling beside him,
and said, "Tom! poor fellow!"
"What, Mas'r?" said Tom,
"I am dying!" said St. Clare,
pressing his hand; "pray!"
"If you would like a
clergyman--" said the physician.
St. Clare hastily shook his head, and
said again to Tom, more earnestly, "Pray!"
And Tom did pray, with all his mind and
strength, for the soul that was passing,--the soul that seemed looking so
steadily and mournfully from those large, melancholy blue eyes.
It was literally prayer offered with strong crying and tears.
When Tom ceased to speak, St. Clare
reached out and took his hand, looking earnestly at him, but saying nothing.
He closed his eyes, but still retained his hold; for, in the gates of
eternity, the black hand and the white hold each other with an equal clasp.
He murmured softly to himself, at broken intervals,
"Recordare Jesu pie--
* * *
Ne me perdas--illa die
Querens me--sedisti lassus."
was evident that the words he had been singing that evening were passing through
his mind,--words of entreaty addressed to Infinite Pity.
His lips moved at intervals, as parts of the hymn fell brokenly from
"His mind is wandering," said
"No! it is coming HOME, at
last!" said St. Clare, energetically; "at last! at last!"
The effort of speaking exhausted him.
The sinking paleness of death fell on him; but with it there fell, as if
shed from the wings of some pitying spirit, a beautiful expression of peace,
like that of a wearied child who sleeps.
So he lay for a few moments.
They saw that the mighty hand was on him.
Just before the spirit parted, he opened his eyes, with a sudden light,
as of joy and recognition, and said _"Mother!"_ and then he was gone!