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“She went off much more quietly than I expected,” said the latter.
Cécile nodded a silent assent.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Bolus,” answered she ; “ but I should think not.”
A few minutes of silence succeeded his departure, after which our hero drew near Miss Basinstoke, and said :
“You seem much fatigued, Miss Cécile ; I trust that your painful task here is now accomplished.”
“It is,” said she. “I have one word more to say to the nurse, and then, I shall be quite ready to return home.”
She again withdrew for an instant, but when, on re-entering the outer room, she encountered St. Edmunds, she paused for a moment coloured slightly, and then whispered to him, not without some hesitation :
"I should almost wish you to see how calmly the sufferer sleeps now." He followed her to the all-stirless couch,
by which the priest alone was still kneeling. The rapture of repose was there, indeed!
“Death, that knows all, can have told her no tale of fear," muttered Cécile.
“No, in truth."
A STIRRING SCENE.
Though the little drama which had thus been enacted was, so far as its leading features were concerned, of anything but unfrequent occurrence, it had sufficiently engrossed the attention of all the witnesses to make them utterly unmindful, for the time, of what might be taking place without. St. Edmunds had observed, it is true, when he had last approached the outer door, that several persons, principally of the more communicative sex, were assembling there in earnest consultation. This circumstance however might, as he judged, be attributable merely to the interest which so sad
and early a fate as poor Mabel's could not but awaken among her neighbours and associates ; a surmise which, though very plausible, was not altogether correct.
It is by no means our purpose to attempt offering some explanation of our own for the long-studied phenomenon of the marvellous rapidity with which evil tidings will be borne, independently, it would appear, of any direct human agency. We, therefore, need not endeavour to illustrate how it was, that while Mrs. Hawthorne was perfectly convinced of having mentioned to no one, saving to Mrs. Cranberry, the fact that owing, as she conceived, to Miss Cécile Basinstoke's influence, Mabel had rejected the offices of Mr. Lewis ; and while Mrs. Cranberry was equally confident of having whispered the same merely to her husband and daughter, the said intelligence had, almost immediately, reached, not only every house in the village, but many which were not included in its precincts. Mr. Lewis was generally much respected and beloved by his parishioners : the notion that he had met with any slight or indignity would, in all seasons no doubt, have called forth an universal expression of their reprobation and resentment; but, on the present day, so especially consecrated to Protestant festivity, these feelings proved to be peculiarly fervent and expansive. Many persons at first could not credit the statement ; but when induced by others to draw near to Mrs. Hawthorne's house, and to interrogate those witnesses who had actually seen, with their own eyes, Mr. Lewis retiring from it, as Father Athanasius, whose horse was still there, had entered it, they were by no means the most remiss in giving vent to their proper sentiments. Thus had the small crowd that we have already alluded to originally congregated, and arrested, in its turn, the footsteps of many labourers, operatives, and other strangers, as they were proceeding into Glanford, to take a part there in the forthcoming demonstration.