“Engagement,” said Pere Jerome.
“They would give him up to the Government. Oh, Pere Jerome, what shall I do? It is killing my mother!”
She bowed her head and sobbed.
“Where is your mother now?”
“She has gone to see Monsieur Jean Thompson. She says she has a plan that will match them all. I do not know what it is. I begged her not to go; but oh, sir, she is crazy,—and I am no better.”
“My poor child,” said Pere Jerome, “what you seem to want is not absolution, but relief from persecution.”
“Oh, father, I have committed mortal sin,—I am guilty of pride and anger.”
“Nevertheless,” said the priest, starting toward his front gate, “we will put off your confession. Let it go until to-morrow morning; you will find me in my box just before mass; I will hear you then. My child, I know that in your heart, now, you begrudge the time it would take; and that is right. There are moments when we are not in place even on penitential knees. It is so with you now. We must find your mother Go you at once to your house; if she is there, comfort her as best you can, and keep her in, if possible, until I come. If she is not there, stay; leave me to find her; one of you, at least, must be where I can get word to you promptly. God comfort and uphold you. I hope you may find her at home; tell her, for me, not to fear,”—he lifted the gate-latch,—“that she and her daughter are of more value than many sparrows; that God’s priest sends her that word from Him. Tell her to fix her trust in the great Husband of the Church and she shall yet see her child receiving the grace-giving sacrament of matrimony. Go; I shall, in a few minutes, be on my way to Jean Thompson’s, and shall find her, either there or wherever she is. Go; they shall not oppress you. Adieu!”
A moment or two later he was in the street himself.
BY AN OATH.
Pere Jerome, pausing on a street-corner in the last hour of sunlight, had wiped his brow and taken his cane down from under his arm to start again, when somebody, coming noiselessly from he knew not where, asked, so suddenly as to startle him:
“Miche, commin ye pelle la rie ici?—how do they call this street here?”
It was by the bonnet and dress, disordered though they were, rather than by the haggard face which looked distractedly around, that he recognized the woman to whom he replied in her own patois:
“It is the Rue Burgundy. Where are you going, Madame Delphine?”
She almost leaped from the ground.
“Oh, Pere Jerome! mo pas conne,—I dunno. You know w’ere’s dad ’ouse of Miche Jean Tomkin? Mo courri ’ci, mo courri la,—mo pas capabe li trouve. I go (run) here—there—I cannot find it,” she gesticulated.
“I am going there myself,” said he; “but why do you want to see Jean Thompson, Madame Delphine?”