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baffled, thou hast ministered as to the happiest of thy children !-thou hast whispered tidings of unutterable comfort to a heart which the world sated while it deceived. Thou gavest me a music, sweeter than that of palaces, in the mountain wind - thou badest the flowers and the common grass smile up to me as children to the face of their father.” 1
One of the few visiters admitted to her room, after she became entirely confined to it, was that most gifted and gracious child (for such he then was, both in years and appearance), Giulio Regondi, in whose wonderful musical genius she had previously taken great delight, whilst his guileless and sensitive nature inspired her with a warm feeling of interest. The lines she had addressed to him in the preceding year, flowed from that well-spring of maternal kindliness which was ever gushing within her bosom, and which made every child-still more every loving and motherless child-an object towards which her heart yearned with tender sympathy. The little fellow showed the greatest anxiety during her illness, and was constant in his spontaneous enquiries. Sometimes he would call to ask for her on his way to play at the Castle concerts, or at some other evening party; and as he stood in the doorway, with his innocent face, his delicate form, his long fair hair streaming down his shoulders, and his whole air and bearing so different from the everyday beings around him, one might almost have taken him for a messenger from “ the better land.”
It is impossible to describe the considerate and un ceasing attentions which were continually bringing assurance to the patient sufferer, not merely of the watchful kindness of friends, but of the generous interest of strangers. All this she would acknowledge with the most grateful emotion, and even when unable to partake of the luxuries which poured in so lavishly from every imaginable quarter, they were still welcomed and appreciated as tokens of thoughtful recollection. But“ flowers, fresh flowers !"-these were ever hailed as things of “deep meaning” and happy omen; and never was her couch unblessed by their gentle presence. For this gratification she was more than once indebted to the kindness of a fellow sufferer, at that time under the care of her own friendly physician, Dr. Croker; this was the Rev. Hugh White (the author of Meditations and Addresses on Prayer, and of several other religious works), who was then considered to be in a state little less precarious than her own, though it pleased God, after long chastening, to “heal his sickness," and enable him to resume the duties of a “good and
This was particularly shown in the instance of one lady who was most assiduous in her personal enquiries, and was continually bringing some new delicacy to tempt the capricious appetite of the invalid. There was a sort of interesting mystery attached to these fairy favours, as it never could be discovered from whom they proceeded. The lady used to alight from an elegant equipage at the corner of the street, come up unattended to the door, and ask to see Anna Creer, whose entreaties to be told her name were proffered in vain, " That," she used to say, “was of no consequence; she only hoped that her attentions might be received as kindly as they were meant.”
faithful servant.” The impressions under which these tokens were sent and received, as from one dying Christian to another, invested them with a peculiar interest. Mrs. Hemans had desired that a copy of her sonnet to “Flowers in a Sick Room” should be sent to Mr. White, and was sensibly touched by the note in which he wrote to thank her for it, as “so sweetly expressing the pleasurable and pious feelings their pure and lovely forms' are calculated to awaken in the bosom of one who delights to be reminded, by every object in creation, of that most precious and consolatory truth, that God is love.'” Another passage from the same note, was equally in unison with her own feelings. “I have been sorry, in one sense, to hear that you have latterly been so great a sufferer, and I can indeed sympathize with you in many of the trying feelings attendant on a broken and declining state of health. But as I believe I am writing to one who has tasted that the Lord is gracious, and has been given to know something of that love which passeth knowledge, I almost feel as if it were wrong to say I am sorry, that a gracious, and compassionate, and faithful Saviour is fulfilling to you His own precious promise — As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.'”
The conviction of the inestimable value of such discipline, was, indeed, ever present to her mind, mingled with the deepest humility, the most entire resignation -- an equal readiness to live or die - a saying with the whole heart — “Behold the handmaid of the Lord - Be it unto me according to Thy word.”
“I feel,” she would say, “ as if hovering between heaven and earth;" and she seemed, in truth, so raised towards the sky, that all worldly things were obscured and diminished to her view, whilst the ineffable glories of eternity dawned upon it more and more brightly. Even her affections, warm and eager, and sensitive as they had been, were subdued into the same holy calm; and meetings and partings, which in other days would have thrilled her with joy, or wrung her very heart with grief, were now sustained with the sweet, yet solemn composure, of one whose hopes have “ surely there been fixed,” where meetings are for ever, and partings unknown. Of all she had ever done in the exercise of the talents with which it had pleased God to intrust her, she spoke in the meekest and lowliest spirit; often declaring how much more ardently than ever, had life been prolonged, her powers would have been consecrated to His service: and if a gentle regret would sometimes intrude, as she thought of the many literary designs on which her mind and heart had latterly been bent, but which were now dissipated for ever, she would console herself with the line dictated by Milton under analogous circumstances —
“Those also serve who only stand and wait.” 1 There was at times an affecting inconsistency in the words she would let fall to those around her-sometimes as if anticipating a renewal of their earthly intercourse; at others, revealing, by some allusion or
See Milton's Sonnet on his Blindness.
injunction fraught with farewell tenderness, how completely all idea of such a possibility had passed away from her mind. One day, when her sister was beside her, she repeated, with calm emphasis, the old homely verse
" Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Home art gone and ta'en thy wages.” adding—“Those words may soon be said for me.” And the circumstance of her sinking to rest on the Saturday night, brought them most touchingly back to remembrance.
On Sunday evening, the 15th of March, it had been arranged that she was to receive the sacrament from the hands of the Rev. Dr. Dickinson (one of the Archbishop's chaplains), who was in the habit of visiting and reading to her. Shortly before the appointed hour, she was seized with a paroxysm of coughing, so violent and prolonged, that those who stood around her bed, scarcely expected she could survive it; and the exhaustion which followed was most alarming. When a little revived, she desired that the sacred rite might still be performed. Sadly and solemnly did those holiest words fall on the hearts of the little group of mourners assembled in the quiet chamber—on one young heart, more especially, that of the dear, innocent boy, admitted to his first communion beside his mother's deathbed; while she alone was calm amongst the trembling, placid amidst the weeping. A night
1“I came again: the place was bright
• With something of celestial light'