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trembling limbs could muster, hastened to the wood by another path.
Fears that had haunted her for months past, led her at once to a deep hollow at some distance from the road, where was a small circular pond without any apparent outlet one of those deposits of water called, in this country, cat holes,-completely imbedded in hills, and shaded by great overhanging trees.
Those fears, the result of perceptions rendered acute by a mother's anxious love, had not deceived her. Before she could reach the spot, she heard the piteous cries of her darling "Oh mother! mother! mother!" and Mary's voice replying, "You shall not live, little wretch, when my own baby is dead and buried!" then struggles and blows, and then a plunge into the still water.
With a piercing shriek she sprang forward, and, at the sound, the unhappy Mary, clasping her hands above her head, threw herself into the pond, before Mrs. Parshalls had gained the bank.
To rush down, to plunge into the slimy
water, and to draw to land both the victims, was the work of a moment. The little boy was able to stand, at once, but poor Mary was entirely insensible, and Mrs. Parshalls, knowing it would be in vain to call for help from that remote recess, bore her in her arms to the top of the bank, the child following, and thence, often resting on her weary way, succeeded in carrying her to the road side, where assistance was easily found.
Long did this death-like swoon hold the unfortunate creature; so long that almost all hope was exhausted but Aunty's. She ceased not for a moment to chafe the helpless limbs, and to try all her simple restoratives in succession, till, at length, returning life rewarded her efforts, though the stupor was still so heavy, that it seemed as if no ray of reason would ever be rekindled. The physician, when questioned by the wretched husband, declined giving a present opinion, but recommended rest and extreme quiet, and left the sufferer to Mrs. Parshalls.
It was midnight in that sad chamber, and
the dim light of a shaded candle scarcely reached the bed, when Mary, after some uneasy sighs and restless movements, suddenly started up, drew her hands across her brow, and looked around her as if bewildered.
"Where am I? Where is Alfred? Am I still in this weary world!" When seeing her faithful nurse at the bed side, she screamed, and covered her eyes with her hand.
"You here! go away! go away!" she exclaimed, in extreme agitation; then seeming gradually to recover her recollection, she asked again for Alfred.
"He is in his little bed, asleep, my darling," said Mrs. Parshalls; "lie down like a good girl now, and you shall see him in the morning."
Asleep, is he? Are you sure he is only asleep? Oh, mother, I was so afraid-but I have been in a dream Oh! is it all a
dream?" she asked almost gasping.
"You have been asleep a long time," said the good woman with the utmost tenderness; "but you are ill, my dear Mary, and you
must try to be very quiet. Alfred is quite well."
Mary gazed intently at the old woman, as if in deep thought, and then began searching in her bosom as if for something lost.
"I am undressed. Who undressed me? You? Where is it? Where is the the box she asked in the wildest tone.
"Here, Mary," said Mrs. Parshalls, approaching the bed-side with a mournful air; "this is the box, and I took it from your bosom. You don't want it again,
"Give it me! give it me! do you know what
"Hush, hush, my dear, do not be so violent."
"But do you know - tell me! did you open it? Ah! you do! you know what is in it, and you have told Henry! Say! tell me! you have told him, haven't you? You went right to him and told him what a poor creature his wife was an opium-eater."
Mary, my dear daughter," said the kind
soul, sobbing ready to break her heart, "you
old mother! You see me
don't know your a poor rough homely old woman, and you think I'm all through alike. I never told Henry, nor I never shall tell any living soul. But oh! my darling, how can you
But she could not finish, for Mary, struck at once with shame and remorse, burst into tears, and threw her white arms round poor Aunty's bony neck, and kissed again and again the withered bosom.
"Oh, mother! true mother! I see all now! you have been my guardian angel! I remember all that has happened! And you have not told Henry! but I will tell him myself! He shall know all my weakness, my wickedness. He little thinks that the six opium pills that Doctor left for me
before my baby was born were the beginning of all our misery! I never tasted it before, mother! but the relief — the delight - which followed the use of those fatal doses were my ruin! I have paid dearly for all since! But now after this awful day
you will let me live with you, won't you, mother? You will take care of me, you will