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his brow, he appeared to faint. “O my child! my child!” cried the miserable mother: “my boy will die! and there is no help to be expected but from God alone!” So saying, and gathering new strength from her fears, she took the path which led to the farm of her brother-in-law, and proceeded with her utmost speed.
As she passed along, her ears were assailed with the unwelcome sound of the pipe and tabor, and other musical instruments, from the Guinguette. She urged her way with a degree of rapidity acquired from a variety of dreadful feelings; and, arriving on the green in front of the farm-house, she beheld her mother, her sister, and her brother-in-law, sitting under the shade of an elm at some little distance before her; when, being utterly overcome, she sunk senseless on the ground, at the same time shielding her infant from the ill effects of her fall by clasping him instinctively more closely to her bosom.
There are certain scenes in real life which defy all the laboured efforts of the most skilful painter. Such was the scene of which I am now speaking.
The happy group who were sitting at the door of the farm had one addition, which the unhappy Annette could not distinctly observe. This was an infant of two months old, fair, plump, and quiet, sleeping in perfect enjoyment on the lap of its mother, and supplying a remarkable contrast with the little sufferer, not many months older, whose trials had commenced so early.
At the moment when the miserable wanderer appeared in view, Florimond had finished reading a portion of Scripture, on which the pious mother was about to offer her customary comment. Startled however by the melancholy appearance of the figure which presented itself at some distance before them, Florimond had shut his book; and Rosalie exclaimed, “She has an infant in her arms! and we must assist her without delay.”
It was while they were waiting her nearer approach, fully determined to relieve her present wants, that they saw her fall; when Rosalie exclaimed, “O the infant! the poor
infant! it will be hurt!” at the same time laying her arm over the little sleeper who reposed on her lap, as if it were threatened by the very same danger.
In the mean time, Florimond sprang forwards, and was, the next moment, at the side of the unhappy Annette. His first care was to lift up the infant, who appeared equally incapable of motion or observation; and it was at the instant in which he bent himself down for this purpose, that he first recognized the sister of his wife.
Rosalie had placed her little daughter on her mother's knee, and was ready to receive the fainting infant from her husband's arms, at the very moment in which he had succeeded in disengaging it from the convulsive grasp of its insensible parent. As Rosalie received it in her arms, her first impression was, that it was in the act of expiring. It appeared pale and cold, its eyes were closed, and its lips colourless and parched. Its little head sunk motionless on her bosom, while its dimpled hand hung lifeless by its side. Rosalie, absorbed by her feelings for this little unhappy one, could offer no attentions to the miserable mother. She pressed her lips on the infant's pale cheek, she addressed it in that tender language which they only who have a mother's feelings know how to use; and, while thus engaged, the name of Annette, repeated by her husband, added such an agony to her highly excited feelings, that nothing but the desire of giving assistance where assistance was so greatly needed could have supported her in this moment of perplexity. “Oh, iny Annette! my sister!" she exclaimed, as she cast one hasty glance towards her; and then devoting her attention again to the infant, she added, “but thy child shall never know what it is to want a mother. And now perceiving some faint symptoms of returning life in the languid little one, she put it to her breast, and solicited it to receive that sweet cordial which is always peculiarly acceptable and refreshing to the infant stomach.
While Rosalie was thus employed, enjoying the exquisite delight of seeing the little fainting one gradually restored to life, and at length eagerly engaged in inhaling from her new life and health in a form the most inviting to one of his tender age—the unhappy Annette was raised from the ground by Florimond assisted by one of his servants, and brought into the house; where, being laid on a bed, such cordials were administered as
speedily brought her to herself: when, upon opening her eyes, she saw her aged mother standing on one side of her, her brother Florimond on the other, and her sister sitting at the foot of the bed, holding her little Victor to her breast.
This last object was too much for Annette: love, gratitude,-a
--a mother's gratitude in behalf of a child-a suffering child,-shame, remorse, and contrition for the past,- these contending feelings were too much for her weak frame, and excited a temporary delirium; during which she sprang from her bed, and, falling on her knees at the feet of her sister, “0, Rosalie! my Rosalie!” she said, “let me henceforth devote my life, yea, the last effort of my strength, to your service. Beloved sister, friend of my heart, most excellent and tender of women, you have saved my boy! you have preserved him from death! And you, my mother, my honoured, my injured mother, you cannot forgive me: it is impossible. But pity my boy; and love that unoffending infant of your ruined Annette.” So saying, she alternately wrung her hands, and pressed her burning lips against that arm of her sister which supported her infant.
Madame de Foix was scarcely less agitated than her daughter; and the tears poured in torrents from the eyes of Rosalie; while Florimond alternately soothed and expostulated with Annette, till the poor young woman, at length being exhausted with her own efforts, consented to be undressed and put into bed. Rosalie then endeavoured to compose herself, for the sake of the two beloved little ones, who now depended upon her, being well assured that her affectionate and pious husband would permit her to take the care of her sister's child; and so withdrawing from poor Annette's apartment, she left her in the charge of Madame de Foix, assisted by a nurse who was speedily procured from a neighbouring cottage.
Annette continued for many days in a state of delirium, occasioned by fever. At length, however, as the fever abated, she recovered the use of her reason. Nevertheless, it appeared that her constitution had received such a shock as left no hope remaining of any thing like a complete recovery. But, inasmuch as she gave every
desirable proof of deep penitence, together with an entire acquiescence in the will of God, her pious mother and sister felt greatly consoled on her account; insomuch that Madame de Foix could even resign her beloved child unto death, under the cheering hope of meeting her again in a state of glory.
In the mean time, while the mother was gradually sinking into the grave, the little Victor was drawing new health and vigour from the bosom of his tenderly affectionate aunt, and reposing daily in the same cradle with his foster sister, the infant Rosalie. The two beloved babes early acquired such an affection for each other as rendered it painful to them ever afterwards to be separated.
Annette lingered some months; during which time she seemed wholly to submit herself to the direction of that Holy Spirit whose blessed work is to prepare the fallen creature for future blessedness. “I am brought to thee, O my God,” she would often
say, as a brand plucked from the burning. I have nothing to offer thee but my sins : nevertheless, I have hope, inasmuch as thou hast caused me to see and feel my utter weakness, and enabled me to place my whole dependence on the Saviour. He who appointed me to be born and educated under the roof of pious parents, must assuredly have had everlasting purposes of mercy towards me. But I long resisted his will; and, had flesh and blood been too hard for the hand of omnipotence, without all doubt I should have been for ever lost, eternally undone. But mercy and grace have proved stronger than sin. Grace has triumphed, and through all eternity I shall sing the victory of redeeming love. Welcome, then, afflictions of every kind, and sufferings of every degree. I shall yet behold the face of my Redeemer in peace; and I, who once despised the Sabbaths of my God upon earth, shall be permitted to enjoy that rest which remaineth for his people in heaven.
In this manner she frequently poured out her soul in praise; so entire a change had the Lord been pleased to operate on her heart, and so graciously was that change accompanied with an assurance of final salvation. There were times, indeed, in which she appeared to be weighed down with grief for the man she had once called her
husband, as well as for others whom she had known in the days of her vanity; and it is supposed that she was frequently engaged in earnest prayer and intercession for them. Shortly before her death, she very affectionately recommended her child to Florimond and her sister, though well assured that such recommendations were needless; for the smiling infant had already pleaded its own cause in such touching language as infants only know how to use. She was earnest with them especially to bring him up in the fear of God, and never to permit him to engage in the guilty pleasures by which too many of their countrymen pollute the Sabbath ; attributing all the afflictions she had endured to her shameful profanation of that holy day.
The death of Annette was full of hope; insomuch, that her pious mother was shortly enabled to say, “I am comforted concerning my child.”
And now we have little further to add, but that Florimond and Rosalie lived long together after the death of poor Annette, bringing up a large and lovely family in the fear of God, and, consequently, in pure and holy habits.
Victor and the younger Rosalie, finding such happiness in each other as they could nowhere else hope to meet with, obtained permission of their friends, when arrived at a proper age, to be united in holy wedlock; and they were still residing under their paternal roof when the anecdotes which make up the history of this family were collected. Neither was it till a few years after the union of these lovely young people, that Madame de Foix entered into that state of sacred repose to which she had long looked forward with holy hope.
My reader, love the day of the Lord upon earth, and be jealous of its privileges; for it is the type of that rest into which the saints are finally admitted, through the merits of Christ our Saviour.
A Prayer for the right Observance of the Sabbath.
“O MOST blessed and glorious Lord God, we thy sinful creatures, who have no hope but in the merits of our Redeemer, and no other prospect of entering into thy rest but through the efficacy of his death, do humbly