During all the years of my residence in Montreal, Mr. Baynard had enjoyed uninterrupted health, but he was now seized with a sudden and alarming illness; his disease was brain fever in its most violent form. His physician found it impossible to break up the fever, and with his afflicted family I anxiously awaited the result. A deep gloom overshadowed the dwelling, the family and servants moved with noiseless steps and hushed voices through the silent apartments. He was delirious most of the time. The doctor often tried to prevail upon Mrs. Baynard to leave him to the care of some other member of the family and seek rest, but she could not think of leaving his bedside even for a short time, and only did so when rest was an absolute necessity. The two daughters had been absent at school for two years, and just at this time they returned to their home, having finished their term of study, and they were almost heart-broken thus to find their father stretched upon a bed of sickness, and could not but entertain fears as to the result. All my attention during the day was required at the store, as the whole oversight of the extensive establishment devolved upon me.
The days that Mr. Baynard lay prostrated by suffering passed wearily by: the frequent visits of the physician, the perpetual silence, and the air of gloom which prevailed through the dwelling, told but too plainly that there was sorrow and suffering within its walls. His wife would often bend over the suffering form of her husband, and her tears would fall fast while he still lay unconscious of her presence or watchful care; and she feared he might in this state pass away and leave no token of recognition or remembrance. At length the time allotted for the disease to run its course arrived. This time had been anxiously waited for by the physician, and with much greater anxiety, by his sorrowing family. On the night of the crisis of the disorder, Mr. Baynard was so extremely weak that the question of life and death was evenly balanced, and it was hard to separate probabilities of the one from the other. Mrs. Baynard requested that I would not return to the place of business after tea, but remain with them. The physician never left the room during all that night; and O! what a long and dreary night it was: the house was silent as a tomb, even the ticking of the watch which lay upon the stand seemed too loud. Finally the breathing of the sick man seemed entirely to cease. The doctor stepped hastily forward, felt his pulse and placed his hand over his heart. “Is he dead?” said Mrs. Baynard, in a calm voice, but her face was pale as marble. The doctor made no reply but raised his hand as if to enjoin silence, and he quickly applied powerful draughts to the soles of his feet: if these took effect they might have hope. In a short time the patient made a slight movement as if from pain, and the physician hastily called for wine, saying, “Life is still there, and if it can for a short time be sustained by stimulants, he may rally.” Ere the morning sun rose, the doctor expressed a hope that the crisis was past, and that he would recover. For several days, he lay weak and helpless as an infant; but the doctor assured us that he was slowly but surely recovering. Soon after he was so far recovered as to spend a portion of each day at our place of business.