“No, indeed, father.” And as I spoke I looked towards where the lamp-light (for we had no other) fell on the bending head of Madeleine, as she talked in a low voice to the children, and kept them amused. Not a glimpse of the sun’s light could penetrate our refuge, and thus it always seemed night with us when, in fact, it was bright day. Doubtless this was tedious to all; but no one, even the children, so much as murmured at it, except Gabrielle, who was inexpressibly wearied, and now and then gave a long yawn, which set others yawning, and procured her a good-humored rebuke.
“How long is this to last?” said she.
“Till the dragoons find us out, perhaps,” said my father, gravely; which silenced her for a little while.
“Our provisions will not last long,” said she presently.
“Then we must procure more,” said my mother. “We have enough for the present.”
“Yes, we have cheese and wine and flour; but what good is flour unless it is cooked?”
“Do not make mountains of molehills, Gabrielle,” said Madeleine, aside; “it is such a bad example for the children.”
“Well, but they are not molehills,” returned Gabrielle, in rather a lower tone, which, however, we could hear well enough. “I suppose we cannot starve.”
“Has your endurance so soon ceased, my dear girl?” said my father. “Think of the believers of old. They had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned; they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And yet none of these, though they obtained a good report in God’s own word for their faith, had received the explicit promises through Christ, God having provided those better things for us; wherefore we surely should be ashamed to show less constancy than they did.”
“Oh, of course,” said Gabrielle.
“Think of what Jacques is bearing without a murmur,” said Madeleine. “I’m sure he sets an example to us all.”
“And as to minding what we eat,” said little Charles, “I’m sure I don’t mind it a bit. Do I, mamma?”
“Oh, if you are all going to be against me, I shall say no more,” said Gabrielle.
“That’s right,” said my mother. “Put a brave heart on it, my dear; I know you have it in you.”
Gabrielle bit her lip, but took out a comb, and began to arrange little Louison’s hair. “Now,” she whispered, “I’ll make you as smart as the young lady we saw with Madame de Laccassagne;” and in this way she amused herself and the child, talking nonsense with her, and inventing imaginary scenes and people, all in a hushed voice, that my father might not hear.
Suddenly, some one at the entrance of our dungeon wishing us “Bon jour,” made us start violently and look towards him in alarm.