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"My poor girl, I told you not to hope,"
said the doctor, interrupting me. He went
to Mary, and lifted up her eyelids, and looked
at her eyes while he spoke, then added: "If
you still doubt how she came by that blow,
do not encourage the idea that any words of
hers will ever enlighten you. She will never
speak again."

"Not dead! O, sir, don't say she's
dead!"

"She is dead to pain and sorrowdead to
speech and recognition. There is more
animation in the life of the feeblest insect that
flies, than in the life that is left in her.
When you look at her now, try to think that
she is in Heaven. That is the best comfort I
can give you, after telling the hard truth."

I did not believe him. I could not believe
him. So long as she breathed at all, so long
I was resolved to hope. Soon after the
doctor was gone, Sally came in again, and
found me listening (if I may call it so) at
Mary's lips. She went to where my little
hand-glass hangs against the wall, took it
down, and gave it to me.

"See if the breath marks it," she said.

Yes; her breath did mark it, but very
faintly. Sally cleaned the glass with her
apron, and gave it back to me. As she did
so, she half stretched out her hand to Mary's
face, but drew it in again suddenly, as if she
was afraid of soiling Mary's delicate skin
with her hard, horny fingers. Going out,
she stopped at the foot of the bed, and
scraped away a little patch of mud that was
on one of Mary's shoes.

"I always used to clean 'em for her," said
Sally, "to save her hands from getting
blacked. May I take 'em off now, and clean
'em again?"

I nodded my head, for my heart was too
heavy to speak. Sally took the shoes off
with a slow, awkward tenderness, and went
out.

An hour or more must have passed, when,
putting the glass over her lips again, I saw
no mark on it. I held it closer and closer.
I dulled it accidentally with my own breath,
and cleaned it. I held it over her again.
O, Mary, Mary, the doctor was right! I
ought to have only thought of you in
Heaven!

Dead, without a word, without a sign,—
without even a look to tell the true story of the
blow that killed her! I could not call to
anybody, I could not cry, I could not so much
as put the glass down and give her a kiss for
the last time. I don't know how long I had
sat there with my eyes burning, and my
hands deadly cold, when Sally came in with
the shoes cleaned, and carried carefully in her
apron for fear of a soil touching them. At
the sight of that

I can write no more. My tears drop so
fast on the paper that I can see nothing.

March 12th. She died on the afternoon of
the eighth. On the morning of the ninth, I
wrote, as in duty bound, to her stepmother,
at Hammersmith. There was no answer.
I wrote again: my letter was returned to me
this morning, unopened. For all that woman
cares, Mary might be buried with a pauper's
funeral. But this shall never be, if I pawn
everything about me, down to the very gown
that is on my back. The bare thought of
Mary being buried by the workhouse gave
me the spirit to dry my eyes, and go to the
undertaker's, and tell him how I was placed.
I said, if he would get me an estimate of all
that would have to be paid, from first to last,
for the cheapest decent funeral that could be
had, I would undertake to raise the money.
He gave me the estimate, written in this
way, like a common bill:

A walking funeral complete     1      13  8
Vestry 0 44
Rector 0 44
Clerk 0 10
Sexton 0 10
Beadle 0 10
Bell 0 10
Six feet of ground 0 20
Total£2 84
If I had the heart to give any thought to
it, I should be inclined to wish that the
Church could afford to do without so many
small charges for burying poor people, to
whose friends even shillings are of consequence.
But it is useless to complain; the
money must be raised at once. The charitable
doctora poor man himself, or he would not
be living in our neighbourhoodhas subscribed
ten shillings towards the expenses;
and the coroner, when the inquest was over,
added five more. Perhaps others may assist
me. If not, I have fortunately clothes and
furniture of my own to pawn. And I must
set about parting with them without delay;
for the funeral is to be to-morrow, the
thirteenth. The funeralMary's funeral!
It is well that the straits and difficulties I
am in, keep my mind on the stretch. If I
had leisure to grieve, where should I find the
courage to face to-morrow?

Thank God, they did not want me at the
inquest. The verdict givenwith the doctor,
the policeman, and two persons from the
place where she worked, for witnesseswas
Accidental Death. The end of the cravat
was produced, and the coroner said that it
was certainly enough to suggest suspicion;
but the jury, in the absence of any positive
evidence, held to the doctor's notion that she
had fainted and fallen down, and so got the
blow on her temple. They reproved the
people where Mary worked for letting her go
home alone, without so much as a drop of
brandy to support her, after she had fallen
into a swoon from exhaustion before their
eyes. The coroner added, on his own
account, that he thought the reproof was
thoroughly deserved. After that, the cravat-
end was given back to me, by my own

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