“Why shouldn’t she?” replied the Justice. “Aren’t we grieving too? Come up to the granary—we’ll measure the oats.”
ADVICE AND SYMPATHY
As he turned around toward the house with the laborer, he saw that the place under the linden had already been reoccupied by new guests. The latter, however, had a very dissimilar appearance. For three or four peasants, his nearest neighbors, were sitting there, and beside them sat a young girl, as beautiful as a picture. This beautiful girl was the blond Lisbeth, who had passed the night at the Oberhof.
I shall not venture to describe her beauty; it would only result in telling of her red cheeks and blue eyes, and these things, fresh as they may be in reality, have become somewhat stale when put down in black and white.
The Justice, without paying any attention to his long-haired neighbors in blouses, approached his charming guest and said:
“Well, did you sleep all right, my little miss?” “Splendidly!” replied Lisbeth.
“What’s the matter with your finger?—you have it bandaged,” inquired the old man.
“Nothing,” answered the young girl, blushing. She wanted to change the subject, but the Justice would not allow himself to be diverted; grasping her hand, the one with the bandaged finger, he said: “It’s nothing serious, is it?”
“Nothing worth talking about,” answered Lisbeth. “Yesterday evening when I was helping your daughter with her sewing, the needle pricked my finger and it bled a little. That is all.”
“Oho!” exclaimed the Justice, smirking. “And I notice that it is the ring-finger too! That augurs something good. You doubtless know that when an unmarried girl helps an engaged one to sew her bridal linen, and in doing it pricks her ring-finger, it means that she herself is to become engaged in the same year? Well, you have my best wishes for a nice lover!”
The peasants laughed, but the blond Lisbeth did not allow herself to be disconcerted; she cried out joyfully: “And do you know my motto? It runs:
As far as God on lily fair
And raven young bestows his care,
Thus far runs my land;
And, therefore, he who seeks my hand
Must have four horses to his carriage
Before I’ll give myself in marriage.
“And,” broke in the Justice—
And he must catch me like a mouse,
And hook me like a fish,
And shoot me like a roe.
The report of a gun rang out nearby. “See, my little miss, it’s coming true!”