LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 477
" That's an old wish with me," said Cassy. " I 've got used to wishing that. I 'd die, if I dared to," she said, looking out into the darkness, with that still, fixed despair which was the habitual expression of her face when at rest.
"It would be wicked to kill one's self," said Emmeline.
" I don't know why, — no wickeder than things we live and do, day after day. But the sisters told me things, when I was in the convent, that make me afraid to die. If it would only be the end of us, why then " —
Emmeline turned away, and hid her face in her hands.
While this conversation was passing in the chamber, Legree, overcome with his carouse, had sunk to sleep in the room below. Legree.was not an habitual drunkard. His coarse, strong nature craved, and could endure, a continual stimulation that would have utterly wrecked and crazed a finer one. But a deep, underlying spirit of cautiousness prevented his often yielding to appetite in such measure as to lose control of himself.
This night, however, in his feverish efforts to banish from his mind those fearful elements of woe and remorse which woke within him, he had indulged more than common ; so that, when he had discharged his sable attendants, he fell heavily on a settle in the room, and was soon sound asleep.
Oh! how dares the bad soul to enter the shadowy world of sleep ? — that land whose dim outlines lie so fearfully near to the mystic scene of retribution ! Legree dreamed. In his heavy and feverish sleep, a veiled form stood beside him, and laid a cold, soft hand upon him. He thought he knew who it was; and shuddered, with creeping horror, though the face was veiled. Then he thought he felt that hair twining round his fingers ; and then, that it slid smoothly round his neck, and tightened and tightened, and he could not draw his breath; and then he thought voices whispered to him, — whispers that chilled him with horror. Then it seemed to him he was on the