The old doctor laid down her hand reverently, and said "She is with us no more." Then with many tears, "Oh, may we all meet where she is now, and may I go to her the first."
Richard Hardie was led from the room in a stupor.
Immediately after death all the disfiguring effect of pain retired, and the happy soul seemed to have stamped its own celestial rapture on the countenance at the moment of leaving it; a rapture so wonderful, so divine, so more than mortal calm, irradiated the dead face. The good Christians she left behind her looked on and feared to weep, lest they should offend Him, who had taken her to Himself, and set a visible seal upon the house of clay that had held her. "Oh, mamma," cried Julia with fervour, "look! look! Can we, dare we, wish that angel back to this world of misery and sin?" And it was some hours before she cooled, and began to hang on Edward's neck and weep his loss and hers, as weep we mortals must, though the angels of Heaven are rejoicing.
Thus died in the flower of her youth, and by what we call a violent death, the one child Richard Hardie loved; member of a religious party whose diction now and then offends one to the soul: but the root of the matter is in them; allowance made for those passions, foibles, and infirmities of the flesh, even you and I are not entirely free from, they live fearing God, and die loving Him.
There was an inquest next day, followed in due course by a public trial of James Maxley. But these are matters which, though rather curious and interesting, must be omitted, or touched hereafter and briefly.
The effect of Jane's death on Richard Hardie was deplorable. He saw the hand of Heaven; but did not bow to it: so it filled him with rage, rebellion, and despair. He got his daughter away and hid himself in the room with her; scarce stirring out by night or day. He spoke to no one; he shunned the Dodds: he hated them. He said it was through visiting their house she had met her death, and at their door. He would not let himself see it was he who had sent her there with his lie. He loathed Alfred, calling him the cause of all.
He asked nobody to the funeral: and, when Edward begged permission to come, he gave a snarl like a wild beast and went raging from him. But Edward would go: and at the graveside pitying Heaven relieved the young fellow's choking heart with tears. But no such dew came to that parched old man, who stood on its other side like the withered Archangel, his eyes gloomy and wild, his white cheek ploughed deep with care and crime and anguish, his lofty figure bowed by his long warfare, his soul burning and sickening by turns, with hatred and rebellion, with desolation and despair.
He went home and made his will; for he felt life hang on him like lead, and that any moment he might kill himself to be rid of it. Strange to say, he left a sum of money to Edward Dodd. A moment before, he didn't know he was going to do it: a moment after, he was half surprised he had done it, and minded to undo it; but would not take the trouble. He went up to London, and dashed into speculation as some in their despair take to drink. For this man had but two passions; avarice, and his love for his daughter. Bereaved of her, he must either die, or live for gain. He sought the very cave of Mammon; he plunged into the Stock Exchange.