“Be quiet, Tirzah. They will come. God is good. We have been mindful of him, and forgotten not to pray at every sounding of the trumpets over in the Temple. The light, you see, is still bright; the sun is standing in the south sky yet, and it is hardly more than the seventh hour. Somebody will come to us. Let us have faith. God is good.”
Thus the mother. The words were simple and effective, although, eight years being now to be added to the thirteen she had attained when last we saw her, Tirzah was no longer a child.
“I will try and be strong, mother,” she said. “Your suffering must be great as mine; and I do so want to live for you and my brother! But my tongue burns, my lips scorch. I wonder where he is, and if he will ever, ever find us!”
There is something in the voices that strikes us singularly- an unexpected tone, sharp, dry, metallic, unnatural.
The mother draws the daughter closer to her breast, and says, “I dreamed about him last night, and saw him as plainly, Tirzah, as I see you. We must believe in dreams, you know, because our fathers did. The Lord spoke to them so often. in that way. I thought we were in the Women’s Court just before the Gate Beautiful; there were many women with us; and he came and stood in the shade of the Gate, and looked here and there, at this one and that. My heart beat strong. I knew he was looking for us, and stretched my arms to him, and ran, calling him. He heard me and saw me, but he did not know me. In a moment he was gone.”
“Would it not be so, mother, if we were to meet him in fact? We are so changed.”
“It might be so; but- ” The mother’s head droops, and her face knits as with a wrench of pain; recovering, however, she goes on- “but we could make ourselves known to him.”
Tirzah tossed her arms, and moaned again.
“Water, mother, water, though but a drop.”
The mother stares around in blank helplessness. She has named God so often, and so often promised in his name, the repetition is beginning to have a mocking effect upon herself. A shadow passes before her dimming the dim light, and she is brought down to think of death as very near, waiting to come in as her faith goes out. Hardly knowing what she does, speaking aimlessly, because speak she must, she says again- “Patience, Tirzah; they are coming- they are almost here.”
She thought she heard a sound over by the little trap in the partition-wall through which they held all their actual communication with the world. And she was not mistaken. A moment, and the cry of the convict rang through the cell. Tirzah heard it also; and they both arose, still keeping hold of each other.