All the restlessness gone then, and all the sweet patience of her natural disposition purified by the resignation of her soul, she lay upon her bed through the whole round of changes of the seasons. She lay upon her bed through fifteen months. In all that time, her old cheerfulness never quitted her. In all that time, not an impatient or a querulous minute can be remembered.
At length, at midnight on the second of February, 1864, she turned down a leaf of a little book she was reading, and shut it up.
The ministering hand that had copied the verses into the tiny album was soon around her neck, and she quietly asked, as the clock was on the stroke of one:
"Do you think I am dying, mamma?"
"I think you are very, very ill to-night, my dear!"
"Send for my sister. My feet are so cold. Lift me up?"
Her sister entering as they raised her, she said: "It has come at last!" And with a bright and happy smile, looked upward, and departed.
Well had she written:
Why shouldst thou fear the beautiful angel, Death, Who waits thee at the portals of the skies, Ready to kiss away thy struggling breath, Ready with gentle hand to close thine eyes?
Oh what were life, if life were all? Thine eyes Are blinded by their tears, or thou wouldst see Thy treasures wait thee in the far-off skies, And Death, thy friend, will give them all to thee.
CHAUNCEY HARE TOWNSHEND EXPLANATORY INTRODUCTION TO "RELIGIOUS OPINIONS" BY THE LATE REVEREND CHAUNCEY HARE TOWNSHEND
Mr. Chauncey Hare Townshend died in London, on the 25th of February 1868. His will contained the following passage:-
"I appoint my friend Charles Dickens, of Gad's Hill Place, in the County of Kent, Esquire, my literary executor; and beg of him to publish without alteration as much of my notes and reflections as may make known my opinions on religious matters, they being such as I verily believe would be conducive to the happiness of mankind."
In pursuance of the foregoing injunction, the Literary Executor so appointed (not previously aware that the publication of any Religious Opinions would be enjoined upon him), applied himself to the examination of the numerous papers left by his deceased friend. Some of these were in Lausanne, and some were in London. Considerable delay occurred before they could be got together, arising out of certain claims preferred, and formalities insisted on by the authorities of the Canton de Vaud. When at length the whole of his late friend's papers passed into the Literary Executor's hands, it was found that Religious Opinions were scattered up and down through a variety of memoranda and note-books, the gradual accumulation of years and years. Many of the following pages were carefully transcribed, numbered, connected, and prepared for the press; but many more were dispersed fragments, originally written in pencil, afterwards inked over, the intended sequence of which in the writer's mind, it was extremely difficult to follow. These again were intermixed with journals of travel, fragments of poems, critical essays, voluminous correspondence, and old school-exercises and college themes, having no kind of connection with them.
To publish such materials "without alteration", was simply impossible. But finding everywhere internal evidence that Mr.