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great joy, permitted me to leave the


"In some time after my departure, Maria took the veil, and the sisterhood were unanimous in their praises of her piety, and the strictness with which she performed the duties which she had. imposed upon herself. Her perseverance in the austerities of her profession, in a short time injured her health, but no intreaties could prevail upon her to relax from her severity. I frequently visited the convent, and I saw, with regret, that Maria grew every day weaker, and more languid; she always. appeared to receive me with pleasure, and I was delighted to find, that her mind grew more tranquil than it had been when I first knew her.

"Some time elapsed without my seeing her, and I heard that she was dangerously ill. I hastened to the convent, and the lady abbess informed me that the physician thought she had • She has not many days to live,.

mentioned you several times, daughter (cried she), and I think the sight of you will do her good, poor child! Her sufferings have been great, and she has borne them in the most exemplary manner. Never did. I witness, in one so young, such piety, such resignation! She is indeed an honour to our order."

"One of the sisterhood conducted me to the cell of Maria, who was unable, from extreme weakness, to leave her bed. On seeing me, she extended her hand, and a faint glow suffused her still lovely countenance.

"I thought you had quite forgot me' (said she, in a tone so hollow that I involuntarily started). I took the hand that she held out to me; but when I contemplated her pale and emaciated countenance, I could not repress my feelings, and I burst into


"Do not weep for me (said she, pressing my hand), my sufferings are near their close. Heaven only knows

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how severe they have been; but they are past, and I look forward in humble hope and confidence that my offences are forgiven.' She paused a few moments, and then continued: Perhaps we may not meet again; let me now thank you for that sympathy, which, though it has not been acknowledged, has been felt. When I entered this house, I thought my heart was shut against every human being; your kindness taught it once more to throb with gratitude towards a fellow creature. I reviewed my own conduct; the painful reflection burst in upon me, that all I suffered was my own fault. The natural pride of my character began to give way to the humiliating consciousness of error; yet the passion which made me fly from society, and which I still vainly endeavoured to subdue, preyed upon my heart; and even now it prevents my raising, as I ought, my whole soul to Heaven; but that Almighty Being, who expects not perfection from his creatures,

will, I trust, look down with an eye of pardon on the weak and erring being, who humbly supplicates that mercy, which she is conscious she has not deserved."

"Pardon me, dearest Maria (cried I), you judge yourself too severely; surely whatever errors you might have fallen into, your penitence must have more than expiated. Tranquillise your mind then, my friend, and if there is yet a ray of hope, if, as I would fain flatter myself your recovery is yet possible, your future days may yet be happy.'

"Hope (said she) is over; over did I say? no, my hope, my wish is death, Oh! I feel that life to me would be misery; but as I may not see you again, let me undeceive you in one point. I am free from what the world calls crime; I have done nothing to dishonour myself, or the noble family from which I sprung. From an unhappy want of stability in my character, the fatal error that poisoned my

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life has arisen. Bitterly, oh! how bitterly, has it been expiated.'

"She drew from beneath her pillow a case, from which she took this miniature. I have promised (said she). never to part with this while I exist, and my word shall be religiously kept, though the motives that influenced me to make that promise have long since ceased. After my death, I would wish it to be yours; it is the portrait of a man whom I once thought I loved, and while the delusion lasted, it was very dear to me; but it has long, long been as odious to my sight, as it was formerly pleasing, and my promise solemnly given to keep it has been the only reason why I have done so."

"She stopped, apparently exhaust-. ed, and, after sitting with her for some time, I took my leave. Poor Maria! she was indeed a prophet, for we met no more. That, night she ex

pired; and oh!

be like hers.

may my last moments; She met death with a

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