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recollecting herself, she put up a prayer to the Almighty for protection, and threw herself upon his providence, for “vain was the help of man." She immediately felt her courage revive, and looked stedfastly at the ruffian, who now drew a large claspknise from his pocket, opened it, and, with a murderous expression in his eyes, appeared ready to spring upon her. She, however, showed no visible emotion, but continued to pray earnestly, and to look on the man with calm seriousness. He rose, glanced first at her, then at the knife; again he seemed to hesitate, and wiped the weapon upon his hand; then once more glanced at her, she all the while continuing to sit calmly, calling earnestly upon God. Suddenly a panic appeared to seize him; he blenched beneath her still, fixed gaze, closed his knife, and went out. At a single spring she reached the door, shot the bolt with a convulsive rapidity, and fell senseless on the floor. When she recovered, she recognised her husband's well-known step at the door, and heard him calling out in surprise at finding it fastened. Rising, she admitted him, and in tones tremulous with agitation and gratitude, told him of her danger and deliverance.
The life of sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, so distinguished for natural courage and strong religious faith, affords many instances of presence of mind in danger, fearlessness in the discharge of duty, and providential deliverance from imminent peril. The following incident is taken from a letter written by himself to his
you must hear," he says,
" the story of our dog Prince, I may as well tell it you. On Thursday morning, when I got on my horse at S. Hoare's, David told ine that there was something the matter with Prince, that he had killed the cat, and almost killed the new dog, and had bit at him and Elizabeth. I ordered him to be tied up and taken care of, and then rode off to town. When I got into Hampstead, I saw Prince covered with mud and running furiously, and biting at everything. I saw him bite at least a dozen dogs, two boys, and a man.
“Of course I was exceedingly alarmed, being persuaded he was mad. I tried either to stop him or kill him, or to drive him into some outhouse, but in vain. At last he sprang up at a boy, and seized him by the breast; happily I was near him, and knocked him off with my whip. He then set off toward London, and I
rode by his side waiting for some opportunity of stopping him. I continually spoke to him, but he paid no regard to coaxing or scolding. You may suppose I was seriously alarmed, dreading the immense mischief he might do, having seen him do so much in the few preceding minutes. I was terrified at the idea of his getting into Camden Town and London; and at length, considering that if ever there was an occasion that justified a risk of life, this was it, I determined to catch him myself. Happily he ran up to Prior's Gate, and I threw myself from my horse upon him, and caught him by the neck; he bit at me and struggled, but without effect, and I succeeded in securing him. He died yesterday raving mad.
“ Was there ever a more merciful escape ? Think of the children being gone! I feel it most seriously, but I cannot write about it more fully. I have not been at all nervous about it, though certainly rather low, partly about this and partly about other things.”
Some time afterwards he gave the particulars more in detail than he could do in the hurricd letter, written immediately after the event. They show how frightful was the peril he had encountered :
" When I seized the dog, his struggles were so desperate that it seemed at first impossible for me to hold him, till I lifted him up in the air, when he was more easily managed, and I contrived to ring the bell. I was afraid that the foam, which was pouring from his mouth in his furious efforts to bite me, might get into some scratch, and do me injury; so, with great difficulty, I held him with one hand, while I put the other into my pocket and forced' on my glove; then I did the same with my other hand, and at last the gardener opened the door, saying, 'What do you want ?' 'I've brought you a mad dog,' replied I; and telling him to get a strong chain, I walked into the yard, carrying the dog by the neck. I was determined not to kill him, as I thought if he should prove not to be mad, it would be such a satisfaction to the three persons he had bitten. I made the gardener (who was in a terrible fright) secure the collar round his neck, and fix the other end of the chain to a tree, and walking to its furthest range, with all my force, which was exhausted by his frantic struggles, I flung him away from me and sprang back. He made a desperate bound at me, but finding himself foiled, he uttered the most fearful yell I ever heard. All
that day he did nothing but rush to and fro, champing the foam which gushed from his jaws; we threw him meat, and he snatched at it with fury, but instantly dropped it again. The next day when I went to see him, I thought the chain seemed worn, so I pinned him to the ground between the prongs of a pitchfork, and then fixed a much larger chain round his neck; when I pulled off the fork, he sprang up and made a dash at me, which snapped the old chain in two.
66 What a terrible business it was! You must not scold me for the risk I ran; what I did, I did from a clear conviction that it was my duty, and I never can think that an overcautious care of self, in circumstances where your risk may preserve others, is so great a virtue as you seem to think it.”
Heroic as Buxton's conduct was, it will probably, in the judgment of our readers, be considered to have been surpassed by the following incident, in which presence of mind, true heroism, self-devotion, resignation to the Divine will, (answered by a signal deliverance from danger,) all meet in one noble cluster. The narration of it will appropriately close a chapter dedicated to illustrations of the sustaining