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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/185

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153
THE HIGHEST RESOURCE.

peared. Nothing remained but the dense, unfathomable gloom. It was like the very grave itself.

In the darkness, the doctor was heard saying: "Let us pray."

All knelt down. It was no longer on the snow, but in the water, that they knelt. They had but a few minutes more to live. The doctor alone remained standing. The flakes of snow falling on him had sprinkled him as if with white tears, and made him plainly visible against the background of darkness. He made the sign of the cross and raised his voice, while beneath his feet he felt that almost imperceptible oscillation which precedes the moment in which a wreck is about to founder. He said:—

"Pater noster qui es in cœlis."

"Notre Père qui êtes aux cieux," the Provençal repeated in French.

"Ar nathair ata ar neamh," repeated the Irish woman in Gaelic, understood by the Basque woman.

"Sanctificetur nomen tuum," continued the doctor.

"Que votre nom soit sanctifié," said the Provençal.

"Naomhthar hainm," said the Irish woman.

"Adveniat regnum tuum," continued the doctor.

"Que votre règne arrive," said the Provençal.

"Tigeadh do rioghachd," said the Irish woman.

As they knelt, the water had risen to their shoulders.

"Fiat voluntas tua," the doctor went on.

"Que votre volonté soit faite," stammered the Provençal.

"Deuntar do thoil ar an Hhalàmb," cried the Irish woman and Basque woman.

"Sicut in cœlo, sicut in terra," said the doctor.

No voice answered him. He looked down. Every head was under water. They had allowed themselves to be drowned on their knees.