Andrew must have caught her words, for he half raised his head, and his languid eye brightened.
‘Dear heart,’ he said feebly, ’thou knowest little yet. Thou hast seen my prison, thou didst not see the Heavenly Guest who made it a heaven to me; thou hast seen me lacking bread, thou knowest nought of the angels’ food with which He fed me.’
As he said this he sank down again, but Mary Giles caught him in her arms; and Harry said imperiously to Althea and me,—
’Leave him to us; it is best he should not speak; get you to your own rest, you need to renew your strength; so we went meekly enough, Althea saying when we were in our sleeping-room,—
’Harry hath got the trick of command very perfect, that’s certain; and I may say, Lucy, I am weary at last of ruling over you and Will; it’s not amiss there is one here who has a mind to rule me instead.’
Then we knelt down together and gave thanks for the great mercy of the day; and we implored passionately that the life of Andrew should be given back to us. Althea at the end of our prayer still remained kneeling; then beginning to weep she sobbed out, ’I think, I hope, I can say, “His will be done,” but oh, ‘tis hard, Lucy!’ And she was so torn and shaken with her passion that I thought she would take no rest that night. But in five minutes after our heads touched the pillow we were both sleeping soundly: and we woke not till there came a knocking at our door, very early in the morning, and Will’s voice praying us to descend and take some food.
HOW WE SAILED FOR FRANCE IN THE ‘MARIE-ROYALE.’
We found our friends where we had left them; the grey dawn glimmering in at the window showed us Andrew lying in a quiet slumber; and he looked nothing so death-like as the night before. But the others appeared haggard and weary, as well they might; for none of them had slept a wink the night through. Yet joy spoke from the poor wan faces of Mary Giles and her husband. They had helped in the tending of Andrew with wonderful skill and care, and now they were rejoicing in a good hope that he would yet recover.
There was a meal spread, of which they had already partaken; and we were now bidden to sit and eat also, as quickly as we might. It was Harry who gave us these orders, with a stern anxious look, which daunted me a little. When we had eaten,—
‘Now leave us with our friend, ladies,’ he said, ’and gather all together in readiness to depart; this house shall not hold us another hour;’ and Althea hesitating, and saying Andrew was hardly in case to depart, ‘That knave gaoler,’ he said, ’who had hid Andrew from you so long, had strong reasons for doing it; is there no fear, think you, that he may suspect there was life in the dead man whom we removed? Would you have our practice detected and the prisoner seized again?’