“Your stupidity is beyond belief!” she said in the most spiteful way as we went along. I too was furious. “What the devil did you mean,” I said, “by telling me to come here?” “That’s just it!” exclaimed the girl. “My Countess favored you so—first threw flowers out of the window to you, sang songs—and this is her reward! But there is absolutely nothing to be done with you; you positively throw away your luck.” “But,” I rejoined, “I meant the Countess from Germany, the lovely Lady fair—” “Oh,” she interrupted me, “she went back to Germany long ago, with your crazy passion for her. And you’d better run after her! No doubt she is pining for you, and you can play the fiddle together and gaze at the moon, only for pity’s sake let me see no more of you!”
All was confusion about us by this time. People from the next garden were climbing over the fence armed with clubs, others were searching among the paths and avenues; frightened faces in nightcaps appeared here and there in the moonlight; it seemed as if the devil had let loose upon us a mob of evil spirits. The lady’s-maid was nowise daunted. “There, there goes the thief!” she called out to the people, pointing across the garden. Then she pushed me out of the gate and clapped it to behind me.
There I stood once more beneath the stars in the deserted Square, as forlorn as when I had seen it first the day before. The fountain, which had but now seemed to sparkle as merrily in the moonlight as if cherubs were flitting up and down in it, plashed on, but all joy and happiness were buried beneath its waters. I determined to turn my back forever on treacherous Italy, with its crazy painters, its oranges, and its lady’s-maids, and that very hour I wandered forth through the gate.
On guard the faithful mountains stand:
“Who wanders o’er the moorland there
From other climes, in morning fair?”
And as I look far o’er the land,
For very glee my heart laughs out.
The joyous “vivats” then I shout;
Watchword and battle-cry shall be:
Austria, for thee!
The landscape far and near I know;
The birds and brooks and forests fair
Send me their greetings on the air;
The Danube sparkles down below;
St. Stephen’s spire far in the blue
Seems waving me a welcome too.
Warm to its core my heart shall be,
Austria, for thee!
I was standing on the summit of a mountain whence the first view of Austria can be had, and I waved my hat joyfully in the air as I sang the last verse, when suddenly from the forest behind me some fine instrumental music joined in. I turned quickly and perceived three young fellows in long blue cloaks, one playing a hautboy, another a clarionet, and the third, who wore an old three-cornered hat, a horn. They played an accompaniment to my song, which made