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and then clasping them together, he burst into tears, exclaiming, “ Oh! Sally's cold, cold ! Oh, mammy, mammy! Oh, come back, mammy!"
Amherst approached the hamper, when he perceived that it contained an infant of three or four months old. The head appeared from amidst a heap of rags and straw; and an old torn jacket, that seemed to have belonged to the little boy, was laid over the body of the child. The boy looked anxiously in Amherst's face, as he lifted up the little coat.
“Don't ye take it off,” said he ; “ I put it on to make poor Sally warm.”
But, alas! no heat could now be imparted to the little innocent. Death's icy hand had already extinguished her feeble spark of life. What was Amherst's horror when he discovered this ? And how was it augmented, when, by moving the hamper a little towards the light, he surveyed the havock made on features naturally very lovely ? Disease, terminating in extreme exhaustion from lack of the warm life-draught the parched bosom of the mother could no longer supply, had finally brought on spasms ; and her eyes and mouth, open and contorted, were horri
bly fixed by the last terrible convulsion, that had liberated her guiltless spirit from its earthly pri
A faint, but lengthened groan, issuing from the heap of mingled straw and rushes in the obscurity at the farther end of the hovel, now informed him that something yet unseen remained of life within its walls. He hastened to ascertain from whom it proceeded. A ghastly eye, that seemed to have the settled glaze of death upon it, stared upon him from amongst the heaped up litter. He lifted a portion of it, and there, beneath a canvas sheet, he beheld the extenuated and livid body of a man, apparently of middle age, lying on an old horse-rug.
Gaunt famine seemed to have nearly completed its work upon him. The vital spark was still lingering there, however ; though all consciousness of existence seemed to be gone. Amherst's very soul was harrowed up with the sad spectacle he beheld, and he was so agitated and perplexed, that he knew not well what to do. He could not leave the miserable object before him to die without help; and yet, if he staid, what help could he afford, without the means ? Life ebbed fast
with the unfortunate man; his moans were now lower and less frequent, and occasionally interrupted by an involuntary effort to draw a deeper inspiration, which, when it took place, shook the whole frame. Amherst ran to the entrance, to see if any help was at hand; but no human being
He then walked about the hut with hurried strides, perfectly bewildered, and unable to think of any thing that could afford even temporary relief. Meantime, the paleness of the countenance became more intense, the skin tightened over the nose and cheekbones, the slight spasm of a moment convulsed the features, and the death-rattle in the throat announced that all
Footsteps were now heard approaching the hut; -they came slow and heavily. Amherst again hastened to the door, to call for assistance, forgetting, in his agitation, that aid, alas, now arrived too late! Two men appeared bearing the body of a female. It was the very woman he had so lately seen in the grounds of Broken
“ This way-this way ;-this is all the home the poor soul has now," said one of the men,
whose appearance and accent bespoke him an Irish labourer. Softly—softly with her; let us lay her down on this bank, with her head up 80—And, do you hear, little boy ?" addressing a lad, who had carried a small basket behind them; “ do ye run and fetch a drop of water-or stay, maybe there's something better there.” So saying, he rummaged hastily amongst the contents of the basket, and drew forth a pint bottle of wine, and after ineffectually trying to extract the cork with his teeth, he adroitly knocked off part of the neck of it with a smart blow on the edge of a great stone.
He then put it to the woman's mouth, and poured in a few drops of the liquid; and as he observed her to revive a little, he increased the quantity. He then busied himself in rubbing the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet, whilst Amherst and the other man gave him all the assistance in their power. .
Life was soon restored ; and, as recollection returned with it, she started up with an alacrity that in her weak state seemed miraculous.
“ Where am I?" she exclaimed, looking wildly around her. “Oh, I see! Now I remember
all." Then, seizing the basket from the ground, she rushed into the hut.
Amherst and the men followed. Ignorant of what had taken place during her absence, she had hastened to her husband's straw bed, and had already lifted up his head, and was trying to pour some of the wine into his mouth. The teeth were locked together by the last spasm.
"Oh, he will die !” she exclaimed in anguish ; "Oh, help me with him towards the light.”
The two men did so. Amherst. was too much overpowered by his feelings to be able to prevent them. They rested the body on their knees and on the floor. Again she in vain tried to insert the bottle. A deeper alarm seized her. Al. most breathless, she ran her hand rapidly over his breast, and put her lips to his, and then her ear to his mouth—and then she earnestly gazed for some minutes on his ghastly eyes, till the sad truth burst upon her at once--and then she threw herself on the body in a paroxysm of grief.
Her little boy, whose cries of “ Mammy! mammy!" had been hitherto disregarded, now came and pulled her by the sleeve. Still, overwhelmed in her present woe, 'she minded him not.