“Newland, excuse me. I do not refuse it out of disrespect, or because I do not believe in the tenets of Christianity; but I cannot believe that my repentance at this late hour can be of any avail. If I have not been sorry for the life I have lived—if I have not had my moments of remorse—if I have not promised to amend, and intended to have so done, and I trust I have—what avails my repentance now? No, no, Japhet, as I have sown so must I reap, and trust to the mercy of Heaven. God only knows all our hearts, and I would fain believe that I may find more favour in the eyes of the Almighty, than I have in this world from those who—but we must not judge. Give me to drink, Japhet—I am sinking fast. God bless you, my dear fellow.”
The Major sank on his pillow, after he had moistened his lips, and spoke no more. With his hand clasped in mine he gradually sank, and in a quarter of an hour his eyes were fixed, and all was over. He was right in his conjectures—an artery had been divided, and he had bled to death. The surgeon came again just before he was dead, for I had sent for him. “It is better as it is,” said he to me. “Had he not bled to death, he would have suffered forty-eight hours of extreme agony from the mortification which must have ensued.” He closed the Major’s eyes and took his leave, and I hastened into the drawing-room and sent for Timothy, with whom I sate in a long conversation on this unfortunate occurrence, and my future prospects.
My grief for the death of the Major was sincere; much may indeed be ascribed to habit, from our long residence and companionship; but more to the knowledge that the Major, with all his faults, had redeeming qualities, and that the world had driven him to become what he had been. I had the further conviction, that he was attached to me, and, in my situation, anything like affection was most precious. His funeral was handsome, without being ostentatious, and I paid every demand upon him which I knew to be just—many, indeed, that were not sent in, from a supposition that any claim made would be useless. His debts were not much above L200, and these debts had never been expected to be liquidated by those who had given him credit. The paper he had written, and had been witnessed by Timothy and another, was a short will, in which he left me his sole heir and executor. The whole of his property consisted of his house in St James’s Street, the contents of his pocket-book entrusted to my care, and his personal effects, which, especially in bijouterie, were valuable. The house was worth about L4000, as he had told me. In his pocket-book were notes to the amount of L3500, and his other effects might be valued at L400. With all his debts and funeral expenses liquidated, and with my own money, I found myself in possession of about L8000,—a sum which never could have been credited, for it was generally supposed that he died worth less than nothing, having lived for a long while upon a capital of a similar value.