`I am a Briton,' said Miss Pross, `I am desperate. I don't care an English Two-pence for myself. I know that the longer I keep you here, the greater hope there is for my Ladybird. I'll not leave a handful of that dark hair upon your head, if you lay a finger on me!'
Thus Miss Pross, with a shake of her head and a flash of her eyes between every rapid sentence, and every rapid sentence a whole breath. Thus Miss Pross, who had never struck a blow in her life.
But, her courage was of that emotional nature that it brought the irrepressible tears into her eyes. This was a courage that Madame Defarge so little comprehended as to mistake for weakness. `Ha, ha!' she laughed, `you poor wretch! What are you worth! I address myself to that Doctor.' Then she raised her voice and called out, `Citizen Doctor! Wife of Evrémonde! Child of Evrémonde! Any person but this miserable fool, answer the Citizeness Defarge!'
Perhaps the following silence, perhaps some latent disclosure in the expression of Miss Pross's face, perhaps a sudden misgiving apart from either suggestion, whispered to Madame Defarge that they were gone. Three of the doors she opened swiftly, and looked in.
`Those rooms are all in disorder, there has been hurried packing, there are odds and ends upon the ground. There is no one in that room behind you! Let me look.'
`Never!' said Miss Pross, who understood the request as perfectly as Madame Defarge understood the answer.
`If they are not in that room, they are gone, and can be pursued and brought back,' said Madame Defarge to herself.
`As long as you don't know whether they are in that room or not, you are uncertain what to do,' said Miss Pross to herself; `and you shall not know that, if I can prevent your knowing it; and know that, or not know that, you shall not leave here while I can hold you.'