“Yes, and why did it happen? Wasn’t it his own will?” the brother said harshly. “Whenever you speak about him, your voice takes on a tone as if you were speaking about a misunderstood angel. Why did the raging lion come back all of a sudden?”
“Please, Philip, don’t be so hard!” his sister said, “He is entirely left alone now. Is sorrow easier to bear when it is our own doing? I heard that he was ill. That is probably the reason why he has come home. I know all this from Apollonie, who is in communication with Mr. Trius. She keeps on scheming to find a way to set the rooms in order for her young master, as she still calls him. She knows how his mother would wish everything to be for her son. I understand quite well that she worries night and day about the state things are in at the castle. Her former master has for nurse, servant, cook and valet only that peculiar and ancient Mr. Trius. She can hardly think about it without wishing that she might do something for her old friend. The poor woman is so anxious to make his life at the castle a little more the way it used to be in the old times.”
“For heaven’s sake, Maxa, I hope you are not trying to interfere. Do you intend to undertake that, too?” the brother exclaimed in perturbation. “If he wanted things different, he certainly would find a way. Please have nothing to do with it, otherwise you’ll be sorry.”
“You can be perfectly reassured, for unfortunately nothing whatever can be done,” Mrs. Maxa replied. “If I had known a way to do something for him, I should have done it. My great wish is to let a little sunshine into the closed up, sombre rooms, and may be even a little deeper. I had great hopes of doing something through Apollonie, who knows so much about the castle, but she has explained the state of affairs to me. She was going to enter and take things in hand as soon as she heard from Mr. Trius that her master had returned, for she still considers herself his servant as in times gone by. It was her intention, naturally, to put everything into the usual order in the house. But Mr. Trius won’t even let her go into the garden. He let her know that he had received orders not to let anyone into the place. His master knew no one here and had no intention of meeting anyone. I know quite well, therefore, that I shall he unable to gratify my great desire of doing something for that miserable, lonely man.”
“So much the better,” the brother said, quite relieved. “I am glad that the villain has bolted you out himself. If I should have tried to keep you out, you certainly would have found means to resist me, I know.”
“I willingly admit it,” Mrs. Maxa replied with a smile. “But Philip, I should consider it wise for us to go to bed now, if we have to make an early start to Sils to-morrow.”
Brother and sister separated, but Mrs. Maxa had many arrangements to make before she came to rest. If the ladies would consent to put the little girl in her charge, she meant to bring her immediately home with her. Therefore everything had to be made ready for the little patient.