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this breathing machine has been held by the sages of all nations; they have anticipated whatever can be said, and have left nothing for me to add. Let me, therefore, be silent, which will shew hat I have, at least, discretion if not invention.
Yet, I cannot help again asking, what is there in life more uncertain than life? Ezekiel, who had invited Caleb and his uncle to dinner; and Dorothea, who had dragged, into day-light the hidden treasures of the house, to grace the occasion, expected not that the morning sun would dawn upon the disappointment of the one and the death of the other. Little did they think that the grim king of terrors, in his devastating course through this planet, would so soon visit their humble dwelling ;
they prepared for the summons. In the moment of approaching felicity we shrink from that call to eternity, which even the wretched wish not for in the bit
terest consciousness of their state, and which the happy dread as the solemn knell which tolls them to the oblivion of past and of future happiness.
But Ezekiel had no friendly hint, no gentle warning, no kind admonition ; he went to bed as other men go to bed, intending to get up the next morning; and, as it was generally Dorothea's office to rouse him from his slumbers at the appointed time, she no sooner perceived that time to have arrived by the watch, than she gave him the accustomed preliminary jog, with “my dear, it is time to be up.” This done, she lay, between sleeping and waking for about ten minutes longer, but not finding that Ezekiel moved either leg or hand, she shook him a little harder, and bawled a little louder that it was time to be up: her husband was still motionless, and she still persevered in pushing and jogging. At length, she began to think that there must be something more than she was
aware of in this insensibility of Ezekiel : so springing up in bed she looked in his face, and saw certain characters marked upon his countenance which were unusual: she felt his cheeks, they were cold: she thrust her hands under the bed-clothes, and felt his feet, which were also cold, and then, like dame Quickly, she felt to his knees, and so upward and upward, and all was as cold as any stone
When she discovered this she uttered a loud scream, sprung out of bed, and called lustily for Sukey, who immediately attended the summons, and hearing the doleful tidings, soon joined her cries to those of her mistress, which union of dolorous sounds reached the ears of Paul, who rushed to the chamber, and stood confounded with grief when he heard his mother exclaim,“your father is dead!” Our affectionate hero immediately threw himself on his knees by the bed-side, and seizing his father's
hand covered it with his tears and kisses; sometimes looking wistfully in his face, sometimes calling him by name, and sometimes declaring that he was not dead. Dorothea was still more affected by this sorrow of her son; she leaned over him, joining her tears with his ; and these lamentations being audible in the shop, Scroggins and Bob hastened to the spot to learn the cause of so much wailing. When they entered the room they were not less astonished than the rest, and Scroggins was no less afflicted; but Bob, who had not even yet forgot the ambitious hopes he once cherished of making his mistress Mrs. Linkstink, looked now on the body of his breathless master without any other emotion than that of a sullen and gioomy joy, which filled his mind as he obscurely anticipated what might be the consequence of this mishap with regard to himself.
Dorothea was so overwhelmed with
sorrow and consternation, that she did not perceive her own plight at the moment when Bob and Scroggins entered, for she had nothing on her but her shift; and in the front of that she had torn a large hole, in her hurry to get out of bed when she discovered that
Ezekiel was a corpse. Bob, who had his wits more about him than
person in the room, could not avoid gazing at the various displays of person which it was impossible Dorothea could help making, as often as she moved about, or even when she stood still; and it is very probable that he might have enjoyed these views still longer, if his eagerness to possess them had not defeated itself, for when his mistress bade him fetch a doctor, he was motionless, and looking at him to enforce her command with a peremptory glance, she perceived that his eyes were fixed upon herself, which led her to make such an examination of her person as ended in no small confu