’Tis evident that she went to bespeak her house that she talked of*—As soon as you can, Sir, were her words to him as she got into the chair. Mrs. Smith told me this with the same surprise and grief that I heard it.
* See Letter XXIII. of this volume.
She was very ill in the afternoon, having got cold either at St. Dunstan’s, or at chapel, and sent for the clergyman to pray by her; and the women, unknown to her, sent both for Dr. H. and Mr. Goddard: who were just gone, as I told you, when I came to pay my respects to her this evening.
And thus have I recounted from the good women what passed to this night since my absence.
I long for to-morrow, that I may see her: and yet it is such a melancholy longing as I never experienced, and know not how to describe.
TUESDAY, AUG. 29.
I was at Smith’s at half an hour after seven. They told me that the lady was gone in a chair to St. Dunstan’s: but was better than she had been in either of the two preceding days; and that she said she to Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith, as she went into the chair, I have a good deal to answer for to you, my good friends, for my vapourish conversation of last night.
If, Mrs. Lovick, said she, smiling, I have no new matters to discompose me, I believe my spirits will hold out purely.
She returned immediately after prayers.
Mr. Belford, said she, as she entered the back shop where I was, (and upon my approaching her,) I am very glad to see you. You have been performing for your poor friend a kind last office. ’Tis not long ago since you did the same for a near relation. Is it not a little hard upon you, that these troubles should fall so thick to your lot? But they are charitable offices: and it is a praise to your humanity, that poor dying people know not where to choose so well.
I told her I was sorry to hear she had been so ill since I had the honour to attend her; but rejoiced to find that now she seemed a good deal better.
It will be sometimes better, and sometimes worse, replied she, with poor creatures, when they are balancing between life and death. But no more of these matters just now. I hope, Sir, you’ll breakfast with me. I was quite vapourish yesterday. I had a very bad spirit upon me. Had I not, Mrs. Smith? But I hope I shall be no more so. And to-day I am perfectly serene. This day rises upon me as if it would be a bright one.
She desired me to walk up, and invited Mr. Smith and his wife, and Mrs. Lovick also, to breakfast with her. I was better pleased with her liveliness than with her looks.
The good people retiring after breakfast, the following conversation passed between us:
Pray, Sir, let me ask you, if you think I may promise myself that I shall be no more molested by your friend?
I hesitated: For how could I answer for such a man?