My uncle Nicolas received us most heartily; and, while my father and M. Bourdinave went about their affairs, I had the pleasing charge of the women, and showing them what was to be seen. My mother, with a child in each hand, Madeleine and I, each with another child, Gabrielle and old Alice close behind us, formed such a phalanx that we made way for ourselves, or had it made for us, wherever we went, and saw everything we wanted to see. We even saw the dentist, and Alice would not be foiled this time, but almost thrust herself on his notice. He made her sit on the ground, put her head between his knees and dragged out the tooth by main force. She screamed horribly, and said, “You engaged to give no pain!” “To myself,” said he, “but I could not engage for you.” So there was the laugh against her. However, the tooth was out, and he generously gave it to her; so we walked away laughing.
The feast of st. Magdalen.
We looked about us till dinner, and after dinner we looked about us again; for the women and children seemed as though they would never be sated with sightseeing; and as for me, I was never sated of going about with Madeleine. All at once she cried out in a frightened voice, “Where is Gabrielle?”
We looked about and could see neither her nor Alice; and as it was nearly the hour they call vesper, though the days were still pretty long, we were greatly alarmed at their disappearance. Little Louison, however, plucked my sleeve, and said, “I think they went in there,” pointing to a church-door; so, although my father specially objected to my setting foot within a Catholic place of worship, Madeleine and I went in to look for her sister; but my mother kept the children outside. As soon as we entered we found ourselves almost in darkness, what little light there was proceeding from great wax candles; and there was a good deal of tawdry finery and trumpery all about, and a strong smell of incense. I was looking about me with curiosity and interest, mixed with a certain repulsion, when Madeleine, in an eager undertone, exclaimed, “There she is!” and pressed forward, I close following, to a little side-altar, where Gabrielle and Alice were listening, with amused wonder, to a priest, who was telling a group of people about him that what he was exhibiting to them was one of Mary Magdalen’s bones; and that she and Lazarus, and Martha his sister, had put to sea in an old boat, and in process of time, after being sorely buffeted by winds and waves, had been cast ashore at Marseilles, where they preached the gospel to the natives, and converted them all.