When I expressed some of these opinions I discovered that both officers looked at me with undisguised sympathy. They themselves dared not put into words such incendiary thoughts, but they welcomed their expression from another. This was not the first time I had worded the inner thoughts of a company who dared not speak out themselves, but, as catspaws are invariably burned, I cannot lay to my soul the flattering unction that I have escaped their common lot. Bee says I am generally burned to a cinder.
We had just visited the last of the shrines, which were interesting only because erected by the Empress, when we were overtaken by a terrific mountain storm which broke over our heads without warning. The rain came down in torrents, but not even the officers got wet, for they instantly produced from some mysterious region rubber capes which completely enveloped their beautiful uniforms.
I was not sure, but, in the general confusion of closing the carriage top, I thought I saw Count Andreae whisper to Mrs. Jimmie. I am positive I heard Von Furzmann whisper to Bee. So, not to be outdone, I leaned over and whispered to Jimmie. I do so hate to be left out of a thing.
We had a gay little supper at the Kaiserin Elisabeth, but I could not see that Count Andreae “got any forrarder,” as Jimmie would say, for he literally could not concentrate his attention on Mrs. Jimmie on account of Bee’s attentions to him. Poor Von Furzmann had to content himself with Jimmie and me.
The next day being the Emperor’s birthday, the whole town was gloriously illuminated, and the splendid old Franz Josef—splendid in spite of his past irregularities—appeared before his adoring people, with Bee the most adoring of all his subjects.
There were any number of little parties made up after that, for, of course, we returned the civility of the officers. But after awhile Ischl, in spite of the bracing air, and bewitching drives, and occasional glimpses of royalty, and daily meetings with our beloved officers, Jimmie and I began to think longingly of green fields and pastures new. It was a little hard on Bee, and even on Mrs. Jimmie, to drag them away from the morning promenade, where they always saw the rank and fashion of Austria. I wondered what Bee’s feelings would be at parting with her loved ones, for most of our conversations lately had tended toward turning our journeyings aside from