Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XI: The Crisis >> Page 107

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Page 107

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN107
where you cannot speak suffer agonies, yet watch on; this is woman's
work!�and O ! how beautiful does she appear when engaged in this
sad but holy service! Would you see woman when she is most beau-
tiful�when she is most worthy to be seen look in upon her, as
Martin Joscelyn does now, at midnight, and behold her as he sees
Annie Dunbar, unconscious of his presence, and ministering, as we
have shown, to the suffering brother, by whom she patiently sits, and
over whom she sadly weeps, but without daring once to sigh.
It is the fifth night of her watch, and it is felt that the crisis ap-
proaches of her brother's fate. The physicians have so pronounced.
For four days and nights he has slept never a wink. He has been all
that time a raver, in the wildest delirium, with every limb in spas-
modic motion, as we have already described. His few brief fleeting
intervals of consciousness have been those which were compelled, at
moments, by the stern eye and voice, and the tenacious grasp upon
the wrist, of Miss Janet. He must sleep to-night, or he must die!
Gradually, hour by hour, the relaxation of the nervous energies
seemed to increase. The limbs at length subsided along the couch.
The eyes became closed. Orly slight murmurs continued to escape
from his lips. He was at length silent. It might be the gentle repose
which promises recovery, or that exhaustion of all the powers which
can only terminate in death.
Did he now sleep, the enemy baffled, or did this repose imply that
exhaustion which must be fatal?
This was the fearful question that Annie Dunbar put to herself.
She was at this moment the sole watcher. Exhausted by her own
watch, Miss Janet had sunk to sleep in the easy chair. Trembling
with her doubts, yet unwilling to trouble her aunt, Annie suddenly
caught a glimpse of Martin Joscelyn at the entrance. He had entered
noiselessly, only in his stocking feet. She motioned to him, with
finger on her lips, to be silent; and, silently rising herself, she stole
to meet him at the door. In a whisper, she said :
"I know not, Martin, if he sleeps or not but it looks so like death,
He entered, noiselessly as before, stooped his ear down to the lips
of the sick man, and, after a brief pause, moved away himself, and
motioned her to follow. She did so, and he whispered her: