"The baby!" echoed Dame Brinker. "Oh, Gretel, that is you! And he calls Hans 'little Hans.' Ten years asleep! Oh, mynheer, you have saved us all. He has known nothing for ten years! Children, why don't you thank the meester?"
The good woman was beside herself with joy. Dr. Boekman said nothing, but as his eye met hers, he pointed upward. She understood. So did Hans and Gretel.
With one accord they knelt by the cot, side by side. Dame Brinker felt for her husband's hand even while she was praying. Dr. Boekman's head was bowed; the assistant stood by the hearth with his back toward them.
"Why do you pray?" murmured the father, looking feebly from the bed as they rose. "Is it God's day?"
It was not Sunday; but his vrouw bowed her head--she could not speak.
"Then we should have a chapter," said Raff Brinker, speaking slowly and with difficulty. "I do not know how it is. I am very, very weak. Mayhap the minister will read it to us."
Gretel lifted the big Dutch Bible from its carved shelf. Dr. Boekman, rather dismayed at being called a minister, coughed and handed the volume to his assistant.
"Read," he murmured. "These people must be kept quiet or the man will die yet."