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of-fact. It was most amusing to witness their occasional collisions on subjects which developed their respective tastes and qualities; and interesting to note that the effect was invariably to raise the one in the other's estimation—as if each prized most the qualities of the other. Young N— had spent two days in London—the greater portion of them, I need hardly say, at my house-about a week before the period of which I am writing; and he and his fair mistress had disputed rather keenly on the topic of general discussion—the predicted event of the 10th of July. If she did not repose implicit faith in the prophecy, her belief had, somehow or another, acquired a most disturbing strength. He laboured hard to disabuse her of her awful apprehensions—and she as hard to overcome his obstinate incredulity. Each was a little too eager about the matter : and, for the first time since they had known each other, they parted with a little coldness-yes, although he was to set off the next morning for Oxford! In short, scarcely any thing was talked about by Agnes but the coming 10th of July; and if she did not anticipate the actual destruction of the globe, and the final judgment of mankind—she at least looked forward to some event, mysterious and tremendous. The eloquent enthusiastic creature almost brought over my placid, little matter-of-fact wife to her way of thinking !
To return from this long digression—which, however, will be presently found to have been not unnecessary. After staying a few minutes in the parlour, I retired to my library, for the purpose, among other things, of making those entries in my Diary, from which these “Passages” are taken-but the pen lay useless in my hand. With my chin resting on the palm of my left hand, I sat at my desk lost in a reverie; my eyes fixed on the tree which grew in the yard and overshadowed my windows. How still—how motionless was every leaf! What sultry—oppressive-unusual repose ! How it would have cheered me to hear the faintest “sough" of wind—to see the breeze sweep freshening through the leaves, rustling and stirring them into life! I opened my window, untied
my neckerchief, and loosened my shirt-collar—for I felt suffocated with the heat. I heard at length a faint pattering sound among the leaves of the tree—and presently there fell on
the window frame three or four large ominous drops of rain. After gazing upwards for a moment or two on the gloomy aspect of the sky-I once more settled down to writing; and was dipping my pen into the inkstand, when there blazed about me a flash of lightning, with such a ghastly, blinding splendour, as defies all description. It was like what one might conceive to be a glimpse of hell—and yet not a glimpse merely—for it continued, I think, six or seven seconds. It was followed, at scarce an instant's interval, with a crash of thunder as if the world had been smitten out of its sphere, and was rending asunder!—I hope these expressions will not be considered hyperbolical. No one, I am sure, who recollects the occurrence I am describing, will require the appeal !—May I never see or hear the like again! I leaped from my chair with consternation; and could think of nothing at the moment, but closing my eyes, and shutting out from my ears the stunning sound of the thunder.* For a moment I stood literally stupefied. On recovering myself, my first impulse was to spring to the door, and rush down stairs in search of my wife and children. I heard, on
• The following fine description of a storm at sea, is to be found in Mr James Montgomery's “ Pelican Island." I shall, I hope, be excused for transcribing it, as I believe it is not very generally known :
“ Dreary and hollow moans foretold a gale;
my way, the sound of shrieking proceed from the parlour in which I had left them. In a moment I had my wife folded in my' arms, and my children clinging with screams round my knees. My wife had fainted. While I was endeavouring to restore her, there came a second flash of lightning, equally terrible with the first—and a second explosion of thunder, loud as one could imagine the discharge of a thousand parks of artillery, directly over-head. The windows—in fact, the whole house quivered with the shock. The noise helped to recover my wife from her swoon.
“ Kneel down! Love! Husband !”—she gasped, endeavouring to drop upon her knees—“Kneel down! Pray—pray for us ! It is at hand !” After shouting several times pretty loudly, and pulling the bell repeatedly and violently, one of the servants made her appearance—but evidently terrified and bewildered. She and her mistress, however, recovered themselves in a few minutes, roused by the cries of the children.
6 Wait a moment, love," said I, “and I will bring you a little sal-volatile !” I stepped into the back room, where I generally kept a few phials of drugs—and poured out what I wanted. The thought then for the first time struck me, that I had not seen Miss P- in the parlour I had just quitted. Where was she? What would she say to all this ?—God bless me, where is she ?-I thought, with increasing trepidation.
“ Edward—Edward," I exclaimed, to a servant who happened to pass the door of the room where I was standing; “ where's Miss P-?”
“ Miss P- sir !—Why-I don't-oh, yes!" he replied, suddenly recollecting himself, “ about five minutes ago I saw her run very quickly up stairs, and haven't seen her since, sir.”
“ What!” I exclaimed with increasing trepidation, it about the time that the first flash of lightning came ? “ Yes, it was, sir !"_" Take this into your mistress, and say I'll be with her immediately,” said I, giving him what I had mixed. I rushed up stairs, calling out as I went, Agnes ! Agnes ! where are you?” I received no answer. At length I reached the floor where her bedroom lay. The door was closed, but not shut.
Agnes! Where are you?” I enquired, very agitatedly, at the same time knocking at her door. I received no answer.
Agnes! Agnes! For God's sake speak!—Speak, or I shall come into your room !” No reply was made; and I thrust open the door. Heavens! Can I describe what I saw ?
Within less than a yard of me stood the most fearful figure my eyes have ever beheld. It was Agnes !—She was in the attitude of stepping to the door, with both arms extended. Her hair was partially dishevelled. Her face seemed whiter than the white dress she wore. Her lips were of a livid hue. Her eyes, full of awful expression, were fixed with a petrifying stare on me. Oh, language fails me—utterly!—Those eyes have seldom since been absent from me when alone! I strove to speak-but could not utter a sound. My lips seemed rigid as those I looked at. The horrors of nightmare seemed upon me. My eyes at length closed; my head seemed turning round—and for a moment or two I lost all consciousness. I revived. There was the frightful thing still before me—nay, close to me! Though I looked at her, I never once thought of Agnes P- It was the tremendous appearance—the ineffable terror gleaming from her eyes, that thus overcame me. I protest I cannot conceive any thing more dreadful! Miss P
continued standing perfectly motionless; and while I was gazing at her in the manner I have been describing, a peal of thunder roused me to my
selfpossession. I stepped towards her, took hold of her hand, exclaiming, “Agnes—Agnes !" and carried her to the bed, where I laid her down. It required some little force to press down her arms; and I drew the eyelids over her staring eyes mechanically. While in the act of doing so, a flash of lightning flickered luridly over her—but her eye neither quivered nor blinked. She seemed to have been suddenly deprived of all sense and motion : in fact, nothing but her pulse—if pulse it should be called—and faint breathing, showed that she lived. My eye wandered over her whole figure, dreading to meet some scorching trace of lightning -but there was nothing of the kind. What had happened to her? Was she frightened—to death? I spoke to her; I called her by her name, loudly; I shook her, rather violently: I might have acted it all to a statue !-I rang the chamber-bell with
almost frantic violence: and presently my wife and a female servant made their appearance in the room; but I was far more embarrassed than assisted by their presence.
" Is she killed ?” murmured the former, as she staggered towards the bed, and then clung convulsively to me—“ Has the lightning struck her?”
I was compelled to disengage myself from her grasp, and hurry her into the adjoining room-whither I called a servant to attend her; and then returned to my hapless patient. But what was I to do? Medical man as I was, I never had seen a patient in such circumstances, and felt as ignorant on the subject as agitated. It was not epilepsy—it was not apoplexy—a swoon -nor any known species of hysteria. The most remarkable feature of her case, and what enabled me to ascertain the nature of her disease, was this; that if I happened accidentally to alter the position of her limbs, they retained, for a short time, their new position. If, for instance, I moved her arm- -it remained for a while in the situation in which I had last placed it, and gradually resumed its former one. If I raised her into an upright posture, she continued sitting so without the support of pillows, or other assistance, as exactly as if she had heard me express a wish to that effect, and assented to it; but—the horrid vacancy of her aspect! If I elevated one eyelid for a moment, to examine the state of the eye, it was some time in closing, unless I drew it over myself. All these circumstances—which terrified the servant who stood shaking at my elbow, and muttering, “She's possessed ! she's possessed !-Satan has her!”convinced me at length, that the unfortunate girl was seized with CATALEPSY ; that rare mysterious affection, so fearfully blending the conditions of life and death-presenting—so to speak-life in the aspect of death, and death in that of life! I felt no doubt, that extreme terror, operating suddenly on a nervous system most highly excited, and a vivid, active fancy, had produced the effects I saw. Doubtless the first terrible outbreak of the thunder-storm-especially the fierce splendour of that first flash of lightning which so alarmed myself—apparently corroborating and realizing all her awful apprehensions of the predicted event, overpowered her at once, and flung her into the