He then strengthened her soul with a few words of exhortation, and having prescribed a few short, ejaculatory prayers, bidding her to have the name, as well as the image, of Jesus ever in her heart and lips, he departed, promising to call again as soon as possible, taking the precaution to leave two dollars in silver and a three dollar bill on the little stool that stood by her bed. He had now, he said, to go about forty miles into the country; and he would, after his return, call to see how she was, and to comply with her request about the children.
“I commend you now to the care of God and his angel. God bless you,” said he, departing.
“Into thy hands I commend my spirit. O Lord, receive my soul. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, have mercy on me. O God of love, goodness, and mercy, accept my imperfect thanksgiving; save my soul, redeemed by thy precious blood, and make me worthy to see thy glory. I believe in thee, O Lord, I hope in thee, and I love thee. O my God and my Lord, who am I that thou shouldst visit me!”
With these and other fervent aspirations, this pure and exalted soul prepared for the manifestation of the glory of her Lord, and sighed to be dissolved, and to fly to the beatific vision that faith promised her, and through the merits of Christ she expected to obtain. After this, the symptoms of her disease became sensibly less dangerous than before the visit of the priest; but this calm, this seeming relief, was only temporary. Presently the impress of pale death was unmistakably settled on her calm brow.
GETTING THE MOTHER’S BLESSING.
When the priest departed from the precincts of “Oil Mill House,” in company with the impatient messenger that required his services in the country, after a few words of encouragement and advice spoken to Paul, Bridget, Patrick, and Eugene,—for so were widow O’Clery’s children named,—they returned to the bedside of their dying mother. Little Bridget was the first to observe on the small bench by the bedside the money left there by Father O’Shane.
“Paul,” she whispered, “look here! This is money left, I suppose, by the priest.” Paul, who was acquainted with American coin, took up the eight pieces, or quarters, in silver, and the bill, and examining them by the candle, said, “O Bid, see how good the priest is! He has left us five dollars, or one pound, without saying a word about it. Mother, how do you feel? Look! the priest left us a deal of money here quietly.”
“God reward him for it,” answered she, with a hoarse and broken voice. “Paul, darling, go on your knees, you and your sister and brothers, till I give ye my blessing before I die. Quick, children, quick, while I have strength.”
“O mother! mother! sure you aren’t going to leave us orphans? May be you will get better now, after extreme unction.”
“Kneel down here by my side, my children,” said she, feeling that her time was now short. “Paul, do you promise me you will be a good boy, love God, and keep his commandments?”