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Chapter XX.

I KNOW not how long I have been in this place, but I know that I have long been sane. I care for no one now. Why did I ever care? Sane did I say? Would that I had murdered myself in my madness, rather than sunk into this lethargy of heart.

I set out with the intention of chronicling my life's great grief. I have hinted it, but I have, also, talked of other matters in a careless tone. God proffered balm for my wound, but I pushed aside his hand, and preferred the devil's stanching-iron; and life is now one dreary drab—never darker, never brighter. To outlive sorrow is a blighting curse.

It is Sunday evening, and through my barred lattice I see the setting sun. The old Pagan deity seems to remember the day of his worship, and, in spite of usurping Christianity, floods it with a peculiar, and yet a plaintive glory. I somehow pity him when I see him raining his generous beams upon those proud cathedral towers. I fancy him to be thinking of by-gone times and desolated temples. Fain would I have that sweet sadness when I look back upon the past, and as serenely sink into my rest: but the fountain of my tears is dry, and what remains for me beyond the grave?

The fruit outside my window ripens in its wreath of withered leaves. Girt with withered hopes, my soul but rots.

Would that I could once more cry Ai! ai! The sharpest pang were better than this sluggish calm.

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