Days of pain and nights of sleeplessness were his portion. A hard cough racked his frame. His strength failed him. Ulcerous sores broke out upon various parts of his body. A constant oppression at his chest rendered it impossible for him to lie down. Gout tortured him. His passage to the grave led through eighteen months of constant suffering. Dr. Zimmermann, in his diary of the 2d of August, writes:
"Bergan Hall," repeated the young man, in a tone of extreme surprise,¡ª"is this the way to Bergan Hall? I thought you came to the village first, from Savalla."
"Hush!" said the mother, softly, hearing the sound of Bergan's step.
Horses were now brought. The one assigned to Bergan was a superb blooded filly, full of life and fire. While he stood taking delighted note of her many fine points, she sniffed round him in half-wild, half-curious fashion,¡ªnow starting quickly back, now timidly drawing near,¡ªand ended by frankly putting her nose in his hand, as if in token of amity. Nor had he been long on her back, ere he felt, with an electric thrill of pleasure, that perfect sympathy between horse and rider, that singular blending of their identity, which is the purest delight of horsemanship, and best explains the fable of the Centaur.
From this terror and this necessity, the owner of Bergan Hall was free. His vast plantation stretched across the border-line which divides the pestilential rice-swamps from the healthful sea-islands; one extremity touching the river, and the other the ocean. At one time, its chief revenue was derived from the far-famed sea-island cotton, to the production of which its sea-board portion was well-adapted, but as that crop declined, and the rice-crop rose, in value, its neglected swamp-lands were gradually reclaimed and brought under cultivation; and were now the most valuable portion of the estate. Too remote from Bergan Hall to poison it, or its vicinity, with their malaria, they were yet quite near enough for necessary superintendence.
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