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When Death is present in a household on a Christmas Day, the very
contrast between the time as it now is, and the day as it has often
been, gives a poignancy to sorrow--a more utter blankness to the
desolation. James Leigh died just as the far-away bells of Rochdale
Church were ringing for morning service on Christmas Day, 1836. A
few minutes before his death, he opened his already glazing eyes, and
made a sign to his wife, by the faint motion of his lips, that he had
yet something to say. She stooped close down, and caught the broken
whisper, "I forgive her, Annie! May God forgive me!"
"Oh, my love, my dear! only get well, and I will never cease showing
my thanks for those words. May God in heaven bless thee for saying
them. Thou'rt not so restless, my lad! may be--Oh, God!"
For even while she spoke he died.
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