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Helen was deeply touched, feeling that for her his heart clung to earth and to earthly affections, and that human jealousy for her future, when his mouldering form would be wasting in the tomb, had dictated his last words. His gold was as nothing ; aye, worse than nothing to her, for in it she saw the wages of iniquity; but the belief that he had loved her to the end was a legacy of great price; and the poor weak woman, weak with all her fancied strength, pledged her faith to him anew, while she gloried in this last proof of his affection.
After another pause, during which the nearly exhausted man lay with upturned eyes, breathing painfully, he spoke again.
Helen, are you near me? There is such life in your presence, that I almost feel as though to die were impossible with your breath upon my cheek, and your hand so near my heart.'
And full of life indeed did that woman seem, as, her nerves braced by the necessity for action, she stood there, firm and
vigorous, by the crushed man's dying bed; but with the healthy tone thus given to a mind but half-subdued by sorrow, came a full sense of the vast importance of her woman's mission, and, all unworthy as she deemed herself to speak of holy things, she did not shrink from the office that had devolved upon her.
Philip,' she whispered, your words shame me to the quick, for what am I, that you should turn to me for consolation in your need? Let me send for one from whose lips holy words of peace and pardon will not sound as a mockery to the Almighty; let me send for a pious man to kneel in prayer beside you: Mr. Annesley--surely you will not refuse to see him, for he is good and kind, and never speaks harshly even to me. Philip ! if you love me, grant my request.'
"No, Helen, this must not be: without God I have lived, and I will not insult Him with abject cries for mercy now, nor listen
to the Church's prayers for the dying, while my mind is full of earthly thoughts. No, dearest, I have no time to spare for lengthened services and for priestly mummeries : but do you pray for me ; and may the faith which God has given to you avail to remove the mountain of guilt that is weighing down my spirit.'
Many a year had elapsed since Helen had dared to kneel before her Maker and utter a supplication to our Father who is in heaven. Those sacred words refused to come at her bidding then, but in their stead the lowly and earnest exclaination, Lord have mercy upon me a sinner,' rose from her full heart, and she smote her breast as the cry of the repentant publican broke from her quivering lips.
*For me, Helen,' urged Philip, as the earnest voice seemed rising to Heaven ; ‘pray now for me, for surely I have need of pardon.
Yes, the depth and sincerity of her le
pentance had struck a chord upon the heart that God in his mercy had not utterly hardened, and it was with deep awe that he added, from the depths of his troubled heart, “I have heard of generous promises made to fallen sinners, and surely there will be joy in heaven when you repent.'
Then Helen fell upon her knees, and in a low and solemn voice, each word of which sank deeply into the heart of the dying man, she prayed 'Our Lord's Prayer. Philip had not listened to it since he was a child at his mother's knee, and when the words . Deliver us from Evil,' had been repeated mechanically, or as applicable only to the troubles and dangers of this world. He had no earthly evils to dread now; temptation could no longer assail him, and mortal enemies he had none to fear; but in the world of spirits to which he was hastening, what need might there not be for help when the cry for it would be unavailing, and when the prayer for Deliverance from Evil would be no longer heard in the kingdom that endureth for ever!
Through the gathering twilight, Helen's voice arose upon the hushed air; and when the last word was spoken, exceeding was her joy to hear from the white lips of him for whom she had so fervently supplicated, the dying entreaty (which, though uttered by one who had been a chief of sinners, was answered at the eleventh hour) of Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.'' - Again there was silence; and when Philip Thornleigh spoke again his voice was changed, and his words were scarcely intelligible.
'I hear strange noises in my ears,' he muttered, and my eyes are dim. Shall I see her again, think you ? She will not look with anger on me now, for I have done all I can. Surely there is some one near me-see, there! It is the face of a little child, and her long hair is on my face, and her hands upon my eyes! Oh, my pretty Marie-my