“It is too dark still,” said Madelaine, “he is not awake.”
Madame Tube said, in a displeased voice, “Yes, yes, his bird makes him forget every thing, even to say good morning to his mother.”
“Do not be angry,” answered the little boy as he approached the bed, “I did not know that you were awake, dear mother, and I dreamed such a sad dream—that some one had taken away our Jacot—and I was so very unhappy, forgive me, dear mother”—and saying this, he kissed her affectionately.
Meanwhile Madelaine had placed the mended cup and two others upon the table—then taking from her basket a penny loaf, she said, smiling, “The baker at the corner gave me that yesterday evening, because I helped his Christine to sweep the shop. It is true it is rather stale, but we can soon soften it in our coffee—and I have milk too, we want nothing but sugar.”
She drew the table close to her mother’s bedside, and the little family ate their poor breakfast with pleasure.
Take example from them ye rich ones of this world, who when you have every luxury spread before you, are nevertheless often dissatisfied.
Madelaine, joyous from the consciousness of having done her duty, amused even her suffering mother by her prattle. Thus the time passed quickly by, when suddenly a beautiful canary, yellow as gold, roused himself in his narrow cage and sent forth a loud and melodious song.
“Jacot, my Jacot!” cried Raphael, delighted.
His mother said, “The bird recalls us to our duty,—he praises his Creator before he breakfasts”—and with a weak and trembling voice she began, “May my first thoughts on this day be of praise to thee, O Lord!” Kneeling down, the two children joined her as she repeated her morning prayer, with deep devotion.
At last it grew light in the little room. Madelaine took a needle and thread and began to mend her frock. Raphael felt about for a heap of little pieces of silk, which he began to unravel. Both children were silent, for their mother had taken up a book. After about an hour thus spent, a loud knocking was heard at the door, and almost before Madelaine could say “Come in,” the door opened and a man entered, who was so much surprised at the darkness of the room, that at first he could see nothing. Looking quite embarrassed, he asked, “Is it here that Madame Tube lives?”
“Ah, it is good Mr. Teuzer, mother, who has come to see us,” said Madelaine, joyously.
Madame Tube tried, but in vain, to rise to salute him. As for Raphael, he ran to hide behind the stove.
“Well,” said Master Teuzer to Madelaine, “I thought you were very ill, for I have not seen you these four days. Where have you been?”
Madelaine looked quite astonished, and said, “I have been at your house, sir, and told your apprentice to excuse me to you, because my mother had a fresh attack of rheumatism, and could not spare me.”