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Susan was leaving the cottage of the sick girl, she recollected another cottage, where her presence was hoped for by an afflicted family. “ We will return home,” said she to her servant, “ by the road. The distance is but little farther; and I wish to visit the widow Martin.” Although it was as dark as summer nights generally are, when she reached home, Susan did not regret her long dark walk, for she had made “ the widow's heart to sing for joy."
Susan's father had been vicar of Linthorn but a few months when she took the walk I have just mentioned. The character which their conduct has since established among the parishioners was then scarcely known. Susan Lee had resided at Linthorn about five years. She was sitting alone one cold autumn evening, when James Allen entered the room, and told her that a dying man had sent to entreat that she would come to him. Her father was in London : Susan went down to speak herself to the person who had brought the message ; he was an old white-headed man, his only son was dying; and while he spoke of his child's danger he wept. “ There were years in that child's life,” he said, “ which might have been, he feared, years of wickedness. He had left home a strong hearty man, he had come back changed indeed, and he cannot die, madam,” said the old man, “ he cannot die, till he has seen you.” Susąn hesitated and looked at James Allen; the old servant was taking down the lantern. " I will go instantly," said Susan. She went forth, in the dark cold night, to visit the hut of the dying man, One deep, dull mass of clouds skirted the horizon, and shrouded the whole sky: their path lay through the wood, and, although the trees were nearly leafless, the gloom of the wood seemed quite impenetrable. The narrow path was scarcely visible by the partial gleam of the lantern, and the cutting wind swept through the forest, while the very stems of the trees seemed to bend beneath its force : all around her was dreary and dismal, yet Susan walked calmly, but not cheerfully, for she was visiting a dying man. The path soon turned away by the banks of a rushing stream; they passed over a narrow foot bridge, and then walked about a quarter of a mile, over an open heath, and arrived at a lone hovel. A light twinkled faintly at the upper casement, and as Susan entered, she heard a faltering step descending the shattered stairs. A very infirm old woman appeared, and the light which she carried threw a fitful gleam on her thin and wrinkled face wet with tears.
Susan waited a few minutes, and then, at the old man's request, she followed him to the chamber of his son; she approached the low bed on which the dying man lay. “ Lift me up, father!" said he. The old man placed the candle on a table near the bed, and with difficulty raised his son, propping up his head with the tattered clothes which 'lay beside him. “ Now, father,” said the man, “ will you leave me alone with the lady ?” A slight feeling of horror crept through the gentle girl's heart, as she saw the old man quit the room, and listened to his feet, till they sounded on the last stair. The dying man looked round the room, and, in a low voice, requested Susan to close the door. She trembled as she did so, and half unwillingly, returned to his bedside. The man fixed his eyes earnestly on her face. Susan drew back, but looked up on the countenance before her. There was no particular expression on the features ; they were thick and heavy, and their expression was a dull blank. “ You wished to see me," said Susan, and knew not what more to say. “I did, I did,” said he.' “ Promise me, lady, not to leave me till I have told you what lies' so heavy on my heart. Promise do promise me !" " I do promise,” said Susan; and, putting down the Bible, which she held, on the table, she opened the sacred volume, and sat bending over it. She lifted up her eyes as the man began to speak :.“I cannot die in peace," said he,“ till you forgive me-- till you pray for me. Your forgiveness, and your prayers, may gain me some favour with God. No! no! nothing can save me now!” “ While life remains,” replied Susan, “ there is hope, through our Saviour, for the worst sinner; and as for me, you are mistaken, you never injured me.” The man, with an exertion of strength that astonished Susan, raised himself up in the bed, and, wiping away the cold 'sweat that hung on his forehead, stared again at her, and
said, “I can't be mistaken ; your name is—" “ Susan Lee," she replied. The man tried to speak, but his mouth opened widely, and for some moments he continued speechless. At length he said, with difficulty, “ you are in the same room with the man who once tried to murder you :" the terrified Susan felt unable to stir, and sat in breathless horror. “ It was a summer night,” he said, “ about five years ago, I jumped down from the hedge, in the Elms Lane.” “ I remember now," she said feebly. “Ah!" replied the man,'" I have not told you yet! I had watched you pass that way for many evenings : it was too early then, but I waited till midnight for your return. Thank God, thank God, you did not come back that way! I and another stood in that hedge, cursing you, and raising our guns, whenever we thought a footstep sounded near. Many a time did I lift that gun; and when the clock of the village struck twelve, we turned away, cursing you and swearing revenge!" “ Revenge !" inquired Susan, timidly but eagerly, “what had I done? How had I offended you ?” “ There was a house, where