Mr. Carlyle released one of his hands; she had taken them both; and with his own white handkerchief, wiped the death-dew from her forehead.
“It is no sin to anticipate it, Archibald, for there will be no marrying or giving in marriage in Heaven: Christ said so. Though we do not know how it will be, my sin will be remembered no more there, and we shall be together with our children forever and forever. Keep a little corner in your heart for your poor lost Isabel.”
“Yes, yes,” he whispered.
“Are you leaving me?” she uttered, in a wild tone of pain.
“You are growing faint, I perceive, I must call assistance.”
“Farewell, then; farewell, until eternity,” she sighed, the tears raining from her eyes. “It is death, I think, not faintness. Oh! but it is hard to part! Farewell, farewell my once dear husband!”
She raised her head from the pillow, excitement giving her strength; she clung to his arm; she lifted her face in its sad yearning. Mr. Carlyle laid her tenderly down again, and suffered his wet cheek to rest upon hers.
She followed him with her eyes as he retreated, and watched him from the room: then turned her face to the wall. “It is over. Only God now.”
Mr. Carlyle took an instant’s counsel with himself, stopping at the head of the stairs to do it. Joyce, in obedience to a sign from him, had already gone into the sick-chamber: his sister was standing at the door.
She followed him down to the dining-room.
“You will remain here to-night? With her?”
“Do you suppose I shouldn’t?” crossly responded Miss Corny; “where are you off to now?”
“To the telegraph office, at present. To send for Lord Mount Severn.”
“What good can he do?”
“None. But I shall send for him.”
“Can’t one of the servants go just as well as you? You have not finished your dinner; hardly begun it.”
He turned his eyes on the dinner-table in a mechanical sort of way, his mind wholly preoccupied, made some remark in answer, which Miss Corny did not catch, and went out.
On his return his sister met him in the hall, drew him inside the nearest room, and closed the door. Lady Isabel was dead. Had been dead about ten minutes.
“She never spoke after you left her, Archibald. There was a slight struggle at the last, a fighting for breath, otherwise she went off quite peacefully. I felt sure, when I first saw her this afternoon, that she could not last till midnight.”
I. M. V.
Lord Mount Severn, wondering greatly what the urgent summons could be for, lost no time in obeying it, and was at East Lynne the following morning early. Mr. Carlyle had his carriage at the station—his close carriage—and shut up in that he made the communication to the earl as they drove to East Lynne.