“You can tell her now—it’s John, the son of Farmer Landfried of Zumarshofen. Amrei, you’ve a keepsake from her, haven’t you?”
“Yes, yes,” replied Barefoot; and she was obliged to sit down by the hearth, for her knees trembled under her. How wonderful all this was! And so he was the son of her first benefactress! “Now he must be told! If the whole village stones me for it, I shan’t bear it!” she said to herself.
The stranger started to go, and his hosts escorted him to the door; but on the steps he turned about and said:
“My pipe has gone out—and I like best to light it for myself with a coal.”
He evidently wanted to see how things looked in the kitchen. Rose pushed in ahead of him and handed him a coal with the tongs, standing, as she did so, directly in front of Barefoot, who was still sitting on the hearth by the chimney.
[Late that night Barefoot went out to find somebody whom she could get to warn the stranger not to marry Rose. She knew of nobody to whom she dared intrust so delicate a commission; she thought of Damie, but remembered that he was not allowed to enter the village. Finally, wet and chilled, as a result of wandering about through the fields barefoot, she returned home and went to bed.]
BANISHED AND RELEASED
The following morning, when Barefoot awoke, she found the necklace that she had once received from Dame Landfried lying on her bed, and she had to think for some time before she remembered that she herself had taken it out the night before, and had looked at it a long, long time.
[Illustration: WHILE SHE WAS MILKING JOHN ASKED HER ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS]
When she started to get up, all her limbs felt numb; and clasping her hands with difficulty, she moaned:
“For Heaven’s sake let me not be ill now! I have no time for it—I mustn’t be ill now”—as if in anger at her bodily weakness.
Determined to overcome it by force, she got up; but how she started back when she looked at herself in the glass! Her whole face was swollen! “That’s your punishment,” she said, half-aloud, “for running about so last night, and wanting to call upon strangers, even bad people, to help you!” She beat her disfigured face as if to chastise herself, and then tied a cloth around it tightly and went about her work.
When the mistress saw her, she wanted to put her to bed again at once. Rose, on the other hand, scolded, and declared that it was a bit of spite on Barefoot’s part, this being ill just now—she had done it out of meanness, knowing that she would be wanted. Barefoot made no reply.
When she was out in the cow-shed, putting clover into the mangers, she heard a clear voice say:
“Good morning! At work so early?”
It was his voice.
“Not very hard,” replied Barefoot; and she ground her teeth with vexation, more on account of the tormenting demon who had disfigured her face, so that it was impossible that he should recognize her, than anything else.