“Come and sit near me, Clara, I have something to say to you.”
Obedient to her request, I drew my chair near to her bedside, and seated myself. She clasped my hand in both hers, as she said,—
“My dear Clara, I have long wished to ask you if you are aware that I must soon leave you?”
As she said these words the grief of my overburdened heart defied control, and, burying my face in her pillows I sobbed convulsively. This sudden near approach to death sent an icy chill over my whole being.
“You must endeavor to compose yourself, my daughter,” said my mother, “and listen to me.”
I tried to restrain my tears as my mother continued.
“I have long wished to talk with you, but have deferred it from time to time, through fear of giving you pain; but I now feel it an imperative duty to converse with you upon the subject. Allow me to tell you a dream which visited me in the slumber from which I awoke a few minutes since. In my dream I seemed to be walking alone on a calm summer’s evening, without any definite object in view. When I had walked for a considerable distance the scene suddenly changed, and I found myself walking by the banks of a placid river. Looking forward, I observed a person advancing to meet me, whom I at once knew to be your father. My joy was great at the prospect of meeting him; for in my dream I recollected that he had been long dead. I enquired of him how it happened that I met him there? He replied, ’I saw you coming when you were yet a long way off, and feared you might lose your way.’ Turning back in the direction from whence he had come, he turned towards me, with a pleasant smile, and said, ‘follow me.’ As we walked onward, I observed that the river by which we walked seemed gradually to become more narrow the further we advanced. He continued to walk onward for some time, a little in advance of me, when suddenly stopping, he turned to me and said, ’My dear Alice, look across to the other side of the river, and behold the place which is now my home.’ The breadth of the river had continued to lessen, till it was now only a narrow line of water which separated us from the opposite shore. I looked