“Do you see, Philip, that you can’t swim against the stream?” said Mrs. Maxa when she was sitting alone with her brother after dinner. “The best thing you can do is to pay your old friend a call; that would add you to the list of his admirers, instead of your bearing him a grudge.”
But Uncle Philip violently objected to this proposal.
“Baron Bruno spoke of you with a sincere feeling of attachment which you apparently don’t deserve,” his sister said. “He was afraid of your feeling towards him, though. Listen to what he said ’I fear that he won’t wish to have anything to do with me, and I shall be powerless in that case.’”
“I won’t refuse the hand of an old friend, though, Maxa,” said the brother now, “if he offers it to me to reestablish peace. What is he going to do for Salo’s son?”
“Salo has already been sent word that he is to have the castle of his ancestors for a home,” replied Mrs. Maxa.
“I am going out for a walk,” Uncle Philip said suddenly, taking down his hat from the peg, and Mrs. Maxa guessed quite well where he was going. He reappeared at supper time and sat down with merry eyes in the midst of them all.
“Leonore,” he began, “as soon as you are the mistress of the castle, I shall often be your guest. Your uncle and I have just done some business together. He told me how different everything used to be in the castle grounds and that he regretted not understanding about these matters. So he asked me to take charge of things, as they were in my special field. He hoped my old attachment to the place”—at these words Uncle Philip’s voice became quite hoarse suddenly—“Maxa, your plum-cake is so sweet it makes one hoarse,” he said, for he would never admit that he had been overcome by deep emotion. “So I have undertaken to attend to the matter and I shall often come to the castle.”
That Uncle Philip belonged to the castle, too, now awoke hearty outbursts from the children, which the mother happily joined, for it had been her greatest wish that the two should become friends again.
The last evening before Leonore was to move into the castle had come, and the children were all sitting in a little corner. They were in the most cheerful mood, busily making delightful plans for the future. Suddenly the door opened, and wild shrieks of joy burst from everybody. “Salo, Salo, Salo!” they all cried out. The boy had just arrived in time to have a last splendid evening with his friends before moving into his new home. The next day turned out more wonderful than they had ever dared to dream, and it was followed again by a succession of other days as delightful. Every time the children came together it seemed like a new party, and the Baron took great care that those parties did not end too quickly.
Kurt had soon informed Salo and Bruno that there was a large hall with weapons and armor at the ground floor of the castle. When the boys asked Apollonie to admit them, she opened a little side door for them, because Mr. Trius had hidden the other key. Salo lifted the armoured knight to his shoulders, and had the long, blue cloak draped around him. He looked like a frightful giant as he wandered up and down the big room, and Kurt recognized the ghost of Wildenstein he had seen that dreadful night.