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Now I saw all this while that the poor doctor was in two minds whether he should not get up and be offbut because he was not compelled to drink the toast, and because Madame le Monde laid her hand upon his arm whenever she saw him about to move, and dropped some of her honeyed words into his ears, he kept his seat; and thus they carried their point as far as it would bear, for that time, that is, they kept him in the company, and made it appear in the eyes of others of the household, that he gave his countenance to all that was passing in the apartment: while, as I afterward found, those that were without were fully acquainted with all that was going on within, not excepting that daring proposition which I have mentioned above, viz. the putting out the name of the Lord from the papers and authoritative documents belonging to the estate. So, as I said, the poor doctor did not stir, though he looked this way and that way, as if he could have sunk into the earth, and as for myself, I was as unable to move as he was, for I had got close to the housekeeper's eldest daughter, and was as one bound in chains; I had no more strength in me than one dead, and so the time passed on. But as we were at our desert, the table being spread with every species of comfiture and sweetmeats prepared by the hand of the housekeeper (who, by-the-by, is very expert in compounding things sweet to the palate), and the company just filling their glasses again, the sound of the harp and viol being at that minute very loud,* suddenly two or three of the servants from without put their heads in at the door, all as it were in a terror and alarm, and looking more like corpses rising from the grave than living men. We all looked that way, our eyes being guided by that of the doctor, who was the first to see them, and the musicians at the same time, after having played some jarring notes, all at once coming to a stand.
*“Belshazzar the king made a gruat feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem: and the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines drank in them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrète.” Dan. v. 1, 3-5.
“What do you want there," said the steward, who by this time was warm with wine and good cheer, “ what do you come here for, troubling our pleasure? Away with you."
“ Speak,” said one of the servants, pushing another forward ; " speak, and tell him ; speak for the life of you”-and the man's teeth chattered frightfully.
“ Begone,” said Mr. Fitz-Adam, “and don't be troubling me now;" and he struck the table, and muttered words which I will not repeat.
“Oh! sir," was the answer, “help, help, or we are
The steward spoke again, and louder, and more fiercely; bidding them begone, and adding some furious threats-on which, as if with a great effort to bring out that which was almost too terrible to utter, the foremost came out with these words.
“Sir, there is a sound in the mountains ;" I did not at first take in the words of the man, and therefore was the more amazed at the effect this awful intelligence had on the company.
Mr. Fitz-Adam turned like a stone,*-horror and amazement seemed to fix his features, as if struck by death. Madame le Monde fell into a fainting fit,f of such sort as one would have supposed she never could recover from. I looked from her to her eldest daughter, and started with a feeling of loathing, such as I could hardly have imagined a moment before, at the effect which this strange communication had produced in her appearance.I I had never before suspected that her cheeks were loaded with artificial colours; but now that a deadly pallor had spread itself over her features, and the cold sweat was oozing from every pore, then I saw that she, whom I had hitherto thought a blooming beauty, was only a painted and made-up Jezebel, and an
*“But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone." 1 Sam. xxv. 37.
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John ii. 16, 17.
I“ Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise begone.” 2 Sam. xiii. 15.
object fit only to excite loathing and abhorrence.* But I had no time to think of these things. The librarian, who alone seemed able to speak or ask for farther information, was questioning the servants, and with that air of incredulity which I have always observed in him on any serious occasion.
“ Well, my brave fellows,” he said, “and what is this noise like, which seems to have put you into so much consternation? Do explain it for the good of the com
But I have no patience to repeat the words of this man, they are not fit to be put down on paper; neither did I stay to listen to any more that passed—but seeing the doctor rise to go out, I followed him, leaving the miserable company, of which I had so lately made a part, to make what they could of what had terrified them past all I had ever witnessed before, or could have conceived; and being on the threshold, I said to the doctor, “What is this? What has alarmed them all so much ?"
“Do not say them,” replied the doctor, “ do not blame these miserable ones only; are we not more to be condemned than they are ? And am not I more sinful than you are, young man ? Ought I not to have been in a state to rejoice when any tidings, however remote, of the coming of our Lord came to my ears? “Blessed is that servant who shall be found watching when his Lord comes.' But, what have we been doing? How have we spent this night? What were the motives which induced us to sit by and hear the authority of our Lord called in question ?" And the poor man wrung his hands, and fairly burst into a flood of tears, crying, “Lord, Lord, I have sinned against thy dominion, and against thee, and I am not worthy to be called thy servant.”+
We were in the great hall, into which there is a passage from that hateful room in which we had supped, and though the chaplain had not remarked it (not that I believe he would have cared if at that moment all the
* “ And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me : for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Isaiah lxvi. 24.
+ “And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” Luke xv. 19.
assembled world had witnessed his humiliation), the apartment was full of servants, some standing in attitudes of terror and amazement, and looking as if they would have been glad if the mountains could fall on them and hide them for ever,* and others eagerly gathering to the windows, and others exclaiming as if in solemn joy, “ Well, be it so—come Master, come; come and fulfil our hopes, our longing desires; come Lord, come quickly.”+ Still I was, as it were, partly in the dark, not exactly knowing what all this meant ; so loosing the arm of the doctor, whose agony of tears seemed rather to augment than to diminish, I questioned one and another of those who were terrified: but for a long time could get no answer from which I could make any thing out; till at length, seeing her whom they call Grace, and seeing that she was much in her usual frame, at least more so than many others, I put the question to her respecting this general disturbance.
“Follow me,” said she, and she led me out upon the platform before the chief door of the house. It was a night in which both moon and stars looked dim ;I neither was the air in motion :-it was indeed a night of awful stillness, excepting from the cries of those within the house, and these cries were mixed, some being those of distress, and some those of gladness. And she bade me look eastward towards the hills which I have spoken of before ; and there I saw, as it were, flickerings of light, just above where the outlines of the mountains marked the sky; and she bade me listen, and then I heard, though low, and as very far off, a sound of beating, as of the beating of hoofs of brass and iron on a hollow pavement.||
“Do you hear it?" she asked.
* “ Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.” Luke xxiii. 30.
+ “He which' testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. xxii. 30.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not ! be clear, nor dark.” Zech. xiv. 6.
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west ; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matt. xxiv. 27.
Il “At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands, Jer. xlvii. 3.
“I do," I replied.
“ We have heard it some hours, while you were at your impious regale,” she said. “Did you think that the Master would suffer his authority to be wholly despised ? Could you suppose that he would not visit for this?" and she looked nie hard in the face.
“ What are these awful sounds ?" I asked.
“ These are the signs,” she replied, “ by which those who desire his appearance, and those too who dread his appearance, might be warned of his approach ;* nevertheless, these last will not take warning. True it is, that they are now alarmed,—that they are terrified for the moment, but if space be given them, they will turn back to their offences, as a dog to his vomit; and when the Master comes, he will find these faithless ones eating and drinking, and following their own pleasures, as if no warning had been given them :t but is not even now the rushing of his chariot-wheels heard in the mountains ? and yet, who among them will take the warning ?"
“ Some will, I trust," I replied, for in truth I felt my. self, as I listened to the awful sounds, and saw the sparks struck, as I supposed, by the feet of the horses flashing in the air, such a feeling of terror as made me fall down upon my knees, praying that I might be forgiven for all the negligences and gross offences of which I had been guilty, in my service of this great Lord. And I felt especially cut to the heart, to think of my ingratitude to the Lord, who had called me into his
*" As a dog returneth to his vomit; so a fool returneth to his folly.” Prov. xxvi. 11.
"I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?" Luke xviü. 8.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke xvii. 26, 27.
1“For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire." Isaiah lxvi. 15.
" And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and
and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitternesss for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born." Zech, xii. 10.