Sheridan pp 55-57 | Cite as

An Agonising Scene

  • Stratford Canning


Our dear departed friend kept her bed only two days, and seemed to suffer less during that interval than for some time before. She was perfectly in her senses to the last moment, and talked with the greatest composure of her approaching dissolution; assuring us all that she had the most perfect confidence in the mercies of an all-powerful and merciful Being, from whom alone she could have derived the inward comfort and support she felt at that awful moment! She said, she had no fear of death, and that all her concern arose from the thoughts of leaving so many dear and tender ties, and of what they would suffer from her loss. Her own family were at Bath, and had spent one day with her, when she was tolerably well. Your poor brother now thought it proper to send for them, and to flatter them no longer. They immediately came;—it was the morning before she died. They were introduced one at a time at her bed-side, and were prepared as much as possible for this sad scene. The women bore it very well, but all our feelings were awakened for her poor father. The interview between him and the dear angel was afflicting and heart-breaking to the greatest degree imaginable. I was afraid she would have sunk under the cruel agitation:—she said it was indeed too much for her. She gave some kind injunction to each of them, and said everything she could to comfort them under this severe trial. They then parted, in the hope of seeing her again in the evening, but they never saw her more! Mr Sheridan and I sat up all that night with her—indeed he had done so for several nights before, and never left her one moment that could be avoided. About four o’clock in the morning we perceived an alarming change, and sent for her physician.1 She said to him, ‘If you can relieve me, do it quickly;—if not do not let me struggle, but give me some laudanum.’ His answer was, ‘Then I will give you some laudanum.’


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

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  • Stratford Canning

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