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HOME > Short Stories > The Children's Pilgrimage > CHAPTER VIII. A FARM IN NORMANDY.
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 A Norman gentleman farmer and his wife sat together in their snug parlor. Their children had all gone to bed an hour ago. Their one excellent servant was preparing supper in the kitchen close by. The warmly-curtained room had a look of almost English comfort. Children's books and toys lay scattered about. The good house-mother, after putting these in order, sat down by her husband's side to enjoy the first quiet half hour of the day.  
"What a fall of snow we have had, Marie," said M. Dupois, "and how bitterly cold it is! Why, already the thermometer is ten degrees below zero. I hate such deep snow. I must go out with the sledge the first thing in the morning and open a road."
Of course this husband and wife conversed in French, which is here translated.
"Hark!" said Mme. Dupois, suddenly raising her forefinger, "is not that something like a soft knocking? Can anyone have fallen down in this deep snow at our door?"
M. Dupois rose at once and pushed aside the crimson curtain from one of the windows.
"Yes, yes," he exclaimed quickly, "you are right, my good wife; here is a lad lying on the ground. Run and get Annette to heat blankets and make the kitchen fire big. I will go round to the poor boy."
When M. Dupois did at last reach Joe Barnes, he had only strength to murmur in his broken French, "Go and save the others under the old wall—two children and dog"—before he fainted away.
But his broken words were enough; he had come to people who had the kindest hearts in the world.
It seemed but a moment before he himself was reviving before the blazing warmth of a great fire, while the good farmer with three of his men was searching for the missing children.
They were not long in discovering them, with the dog himself, now nearly frozen, stretched across Cecile's body.
Poor little starving lambs! they were taken into warmth and shelter, though it was a long time before either Cecile or Maurice showed the faintest signs of life.
Maurice came to first, Cecile last. Indeed so long was she unconscious, so unavailing seemed all the warm brandy that was poured between her lips, that Mme. Dupois thought she must be dead.
The farmer's children, awakened by the noise, had now slipped downstairs in their little nightdresses. And when at last Cecile's blue eyes opened once more on this world, it was to look into the bright black orbs of a little Norman maiden of about her own age.
"Oh, look, mamma! Look! her eyes open, she sees! she lives! she moves! Ah, mother! how pleased I am."
The little French girl cried in her joy, and Cecile watched her wonderingly, After a time she asked in a feeble, fluttering voice:
"Please is this heaven? Have we two little children really got to heaven?"
Her English words were only understood by Mme. Dupois, and not very perfectly by her. She told the child that she was not in heaven, but in a kind earthly home, where she need not think, but just eat something and then go to sleep.
"And oh, mamma! How worn her little shoes are! and may I give her my new hat, mamma?" asked the pretty and pitying little............
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