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and she sank against the bed. Emily caught her in her arms and Lydia shrieked with terror, while Helen hastily threw oper the window, and Louisa ran to fetch a glass of water. Caroline't senses, however, had not forsaken her, and she faintly raised her self; but when her friends sought, by anxious questions, to know the nature of her illness, the agitation that shook her frame was indiscribable. Her varying color rose and fell with every inquiry, her heart throbbed with alarming violence, and a sense of suffoca tion seemed raising to her throat. Emily proposed sending for Madame d'Elfort; but Caroline, with a convulsive effort, attempt ed to suppress her emotion, and entreated that she might be left alone, assuring her friends that she felt considerably better. She accordingly assumed a forced calmness of manner, and, laying down, as if to take some rest, the young people quitted the room, all but Emily, whose anxiety would not suffer her to leave her friend. She drew the curtains round the bed, and seated herself in a recess of the room. Here she ruminated on the strange effect that Lydia's narrative had produced on her sister; for her emotion was evidently not the result of indisposition. The piercing eye of affection saw something dark and painful in this occurrence, but could not find any clue to unravel the mystery. Indeed, there seemed to be nothing but mystery in Caroline's conduct, for the last few months; and while a feeling of undefined apprehension oppressed Emily, she could not avoid an involuntary recurrence to those days of unreserved confidence, when her friend's heart was at all times open to her. "Alas!" exclaimed she mentally, while the bitter tears of anguish bust from her eyes, "she would not then have entreated me to leave her! She would have freely imparted to me every feeling that distressed her. But now, her heart is estranged from me; she is unhappy, and I cannot comfort her! O heavenly Father! keep me from murmuring—but, if it be thy gracious will, remove this bitter trial !"
She had remained some time, absorbed in these painful ideas, when the bell rang for dinner, and Caroline started up. Emily approached her, and tenderly inquired how she felt. Her countenance bore striking marks of an inward conflict; she looked pale and exhausted, and scarcely answered her friend's question. Emily turned away, for she could not bear the sight; and as Caroline descended to the dining-room, she hurried into the garden, to conceal her gushing tears.
The afternoon passed sadly away, and another trial still awaited Emily. Louisa had been complained of, by one of her teachers, for her want of application to some of her studies. She had repeatedly neglected to learn several very long lessons of history and geography, and, on being threatened with punishment for her offence, had displayed a considerable degree of irritability and pas.
sion. She answered Emily's remonstrances, by affirming that she could not perform what was required of her; but Emily felt it her duty to admonish her seriously, on the impropriety of her conduct, and especially on her thus giving the reins to her passions. Louisa answered not, but turned away in sullen silence. This circumstance inflicted a fresh pang on the heart of Emily: but she had recourse to fervent prayer, and received strength equal
to her need.
The evening set in dark, cold, and wet; all nature seemed in unison with her dejected feelings. Caroline complained of a headache, and retired early to bed. Mademoiselle Laval was indisposed, and requested Emily, in whose prudence she reposed the most entire confidence, to extinguish the lights on her side of the house. The bustle of the evening ceased, and the different rooms became the abodes of silence. Emily sat at her writing-desk, with her Bible open before her; she leaned her forehead on her hand, and remained a long time absorbed in her own reflections. A gloomy feeling of apprehension pressed heavily on her mind; an undefined presentiment of something dreadful seemed to hover around her. The thought of writing to her father, on the subject of Caroline's unaccountable depression, for a moment presented itself; but what could she say? She herself knew not what to augur from it, and might only excite a groundless uneasiness. Besides, how could she describe her cousin's change of conduct? It was rather to be felt than expressed, for it consisted chiefly in those delicate shades which none but the watchful eye of affection can observe. Yet something there certainly was, and that something, so unaccountable, was evidently of a painful nature. Emily's heart was sad and oppressed; her tears unconsciously dropped through her fingers, and wetted the leaves of the Bible. She dried them with her pocket-handkerchief, and while doing so, her eyes fell on those sweet words of St. Peter," casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you." She felt cheered by the assurance they afforded, of a gracious Saviour's compassionate sympathy, and encouraged to bring her burden to him, with something like filial confidence.
She was alternately lost in thought, and engaged in mental supplication, when the great bell of the cathedral announced the hour of eleven. She started from her seat, and, recollecting Mademoiselle Laval's charge, hastened to extinguish the lights. She found most of the young ladies asleep, and, therefore, performed her task in silence. On entering Rose de Liancourt's room, she was surprised to find her still on her knees. She had a book before her, and a rosary in her hand, and appeared deeply engaged in some prescribed form of devotion. Emily stood a moment irresolute, unwilling to disturb her, yet not daring to leave the light. But Rose slightly turned her head, and held the candle towards
her; Emily approached to take it, and observed that her face was bathed in tears. She with difficulty repressed her emotion at the sight, but could not refrain from silently kissing the hand that was extended to her. It was hastily withdrawn, and, after extinguish ing the light, she left the room, mentally exclaiming, "Hear, O Lord! and accept her prayers, through the intercession of Jesus Christ!"
She passed from thence into Louisa's room, and found the light already extinguished. She was retiring to her own apartment, when the figure of some one, sitting in the window, somewhat startled her. She approached to see who it was, and found Louisa, completely dressed, and in an attitude of the deepest dejection. Her head was resting against the casement, and one hand concealed her eyes. She did not move when Emily approached, but seemed entirely unconscious of her presence.
"Louisa !" exclaimed Emily with astonishment, and shaking her gently," Louisa! are you asleep?"
A slight motion of the head, and a half-uttered "No," convinced her that this was not the case.
Why do you sit up so late, Louisa ?" she inquired. “Do you know that it is past eleven, and that you are not only injuring your health, but, if it were known to Madame d'Elfort or the teachers, you would justly incur their serious displeasure?"
"I know it," replied Louisa, sullenly, and without removing her hand from her eyes.
"But what can be your object ?" resumed Emily. "Your candle was out, and you therefore could neither read nor write. What pleasure or advantage, then, can you expect to derive, from sitting up in the dark?"
"I neither expect nor wish for any, but I dare not go to bed." "Dare not!" repeated Emily, with increasing astonishment. "What do you mean, my dear Louisa? Pray explain your mys
"I dare not go to bed, Miss Mortimer, because I have provoked God beyond all endurance; and as his vengeance will most certainly fall on me, I wish to await it with resignation, and in the full possession of my senses.'
This was uttered in a low voice, and with an appearance o calmness, or rather stupefaction, which certainly made it doubtful whether she was, at that moment, in the full possession of those senses. Emily shuddered at the words, and still more at the man ner in which they were pronounced. She scarcely knew how to answer them, but exclaimed, after a moment's pause,
"O Louisa! Louisa! and you can speak thus calmly on so dread ful a subject! Is it, then, so light a thing to 'fall into the hands of the living God?" You say you have offended him, and provoked his vengeance; why then oh! why do you not fly to the refuge
of sinners? Is there not an atonement for guilt; a fountain for sin and for uncleanliness?"
"Yes, there is, but not for me. I have sinned beyond the hope of pardon."
My dear Louisa," said Emily affectionately, setting down her candle on the table, and taking the hand which was listlessly resting on the window-seat, "You must not give way to this gloomy idea, indeed you must not! I have often observed the tendency of your mind to adopt the suggestions of despair, on every trying occasion. But these thoughts are the temptations of Satan, and if you indulge them, they will harden your heart in impenitence and unbelief. Look up, my dear girl, look to Jesus, whatever may have been your transgressions; however multiplied, however aggravated, they cannot place you beyond the reach of His mercy. There is hope in His cross for the most guilty,-salvation for the most vile and polluted of sinners. He is the propitiation for our sins,' and 'His blood cleanseth from all sin.'"
"But I have sinned against light, against knowledge, against conscience. I have professed love to God, while my heart was estranged from Him. I have resolved, and broken my resolutions; made vows against sin, and insulted the majesty of heaven by renouncing them. I am a hypocrite and a backslider, and there is no further hope for me; I may as well say with the rebellious Israelites, I have loved idols, and after them will I go," as attempt once more to mock God by ineffectual applications for mercy; for if I could even obtain forgiveness, it would only be to increase my condemnation tenfold, by relapsing into sin."
Emily was deeply affected by these expressions, and still more by the settled gloom of despondency which rested on the unhappy girl's countenance. She entreated her to look to the Saviour for pardon, and to the Holy Spirit for grace, to preserve her from falling again; assuring her, with the most affectionate earnestness, that the Lord Jesus would not cast her out, and that she would find His strength all-sufficient against the assaults of temptation. But her words appeared to make no impression whatever; and the precious promises of scripture she brought forward, were only received with a sullen shake of the head. Louisa persisted in the most obstinate silence, and resisted every endeavor which her friend used, to comfort her, or persuade her to go to bed.
Emily felt much perplexed, as to what measures she should adopt; for she could not think of leaving her in this situation, and all attempts at persuasion were evidently hopeless. With streaming eyes and uplifted heart, she implored direction and assistance from above; and a thought suggested itself, which she resolved to put in execution. She assumed an air of severity and determined resolution, and peremptorily commanded Louisa to kneel down and pray for mercy. There was a superiority in Emily's man
ner, whenever she chose to enforce respect, which had often been felt and acknowledged, by those who had incurred her serious rebuke. She perceived that Louisa was awed by the commanding tone of her voice; there was a moment of hesitation; but the order was emphatically repeated, and Louisa fell mechanically on her knees. Emily knelt by her side; she could not pray for her aloud, lest she should disturb the inhabitants of the adjoining rooms; but her full heart found utterance in silent supplications for mercy on her afflicted friend.
In about ten minutes she arose, and the still silent Louisa arose with her. Her eyes remained fixed on the ground, and the gloom had not departed from her countenance, Emily saw that entreaty would be fruitless, and therefore sternly directed her immediately to undress and go to bed. The order was received in silence, and mechanically obeyed.
“Good night, dear Louisa," said Emily, pressing her hand, as she was about to leave her. The hand was passively yielded, but the pressure was not returned, nor the farewell replied to. Emily paused a moment, then with a deep sigh left the room. She found abundant matter for reflection and prayer, in the incidents which had occurred that evening; and it was not till near one in the morning, that she returned to her own bed. Before she did so, however, she again stole softly to Louisa's room, and felt somewhat relieved by observing that she had fallen into a heavy slumber.
Emily's first care in the morning, was to inquire anxiously after her cousin's health. Caroline assured her she was quite well, but her looks contradicted the assertion. She appeared dissatisfied, restless, and unhappy, and her reserve was, if possible, augmented. Emily bent her way to Louisa's apartment, where she found the gay and dissipated Emma, who had just returned from a visit of two or three days to a French family in the neighborhood. Louisa looked the picture of wretchedness; she complained of a dreadful headache, and seemed anxious to avoid all conversation. She expressed her determination not to get up, and Emily went to fetch her some milk for breakfast, which, however, she refused to take. The traces of tears and sleeplessness were visible in the mild countenance of Rose de Liancourt. Emily and she embraced each other at meeting, but no notice was taken of the last night's incident, except by an affectionate pressure of the hand, which, however, seemed to speak volumes.