“No, no, no,” Maezli moaned, full of misery.
“Mea, give her some cake,” the uncle ordered, “then she’ll wake up.”
“We have no cake, uncle,” Mea replied.
“What, you don’t have a thing so necessary as that in a house full of children! Well, I shall get some to-morrow,” he said, quite agitated. “Do you want a candy, Maezli? Come, just taste how sweet it is.”
“No, no, no,” Maezli moaned again in such sorrowful tones as no one had ever heard from the energetic little child.
Suddenly a most disturbing thought shot through the uncle’s brain: “Suppose the child has already caught the fever? What should I do? What ought one to do?” he cried out with growing anxiety.
Kathy had entered the room in the meantime to see if anything more was needed.
“That is the way, Mr. Falcon,” she said, going up to Maezli, and quickly lifting her in her strong arms, she carried her upstairs. Despite all her lamenting the child was then undressed and put to bed. In the shortest time she was sound asleep again without a trace of fever.
“Well, that’s over now,” Uncle Philip said, quite relieved when Kathy came back with the news. “I really think that the time has come for us all to seek our beds. Lippo actually looks as if he could not stand on his little legs.”
The boy was as white as chalk from staying up so late. From time to time he tried to open his eyes, but they always fell shut again. The uncle, taking his hand, wanted to lead him away, but he fought against it.
“Uncle Philip, we have not sung the evening song yet,” he said, clutching the piano.
“Mercy!” the uncle cried out disturbed. “Is this going to start now? No, no, Lippo, it is much too late to-night. You can sing two songs to-morrow, then everything will be straightened out.”
“Then we shall have sung two songs to-morrow, but none to-day,” Lippo began in a complaining voice, holding on to the piano and pulling his uncle towards him.
“Nothing can be done, we have to do it,” Uncle Philip said with resignation, for he knew the obstinacy of his godson in regard to all customs.
“Kurt, you can tell me about the songs; please find the shortest in the song-book, or we shall have to sing till to-morrow morning. Please spare us such a miserable scene. But wait, Kurt! The song must have a tune I can sing, for as nobody plays the piano, I have to set the tune. Do you want to sing with us, too, Salo, or is it too late for you? You can retire if you prefer. You go upstairs to the room at the right corner.”
“Oh, no, I want to stay as long as anybody is left,” Salo replied. “I shall enjoy singing and doing everything with you. It is all so funny and strange.”
Kurt had chosen a suitable song and Uncle Philip began it so vigorously that everybody could join and a full-voiced chorus was formed. Lippo’s voice sounded dreadfully weak, but he sang every note to the last word, fighting mightily against his growing sleepiness. Now the little company could wander upstairs to their respective rooms without further obstacle.