Dearest Hansel in the valley,
I will tell you, tell you true,
Yes, my heart is ever loving,
True and loving unto you!
Suddenly she made a leap over the edge of the stage, and in the next moment the gorgeous Germania lay sobbing on the soldier’s bosom. It made a very touching tableau, and some of the male sceptics among the audience were inclined to view it in that light. Fritz Hahn, as soon as the idea was suggested to him, eagerly adopted it, and admitted in confidence to half a dozen friends, whom he had allowed to suspect the fair singer’s devotion to him, that it was all a pre-arranged effect, and that he was himself the author of it.
“Germania weeping on the breast of her returning son,” he said. “What could be more appropriate on a day like this?”
The maidens and matrons, however, would listen to no such theory; they wept openly at the sight of the reunited lovers, and have until this day maintained that the scene was too spontaneous and genuine to be a product of Mr. Hahn’s inventive genius.
The singing of “Die Wacht am Rhein,” although advertised on the programme, had to be indefinitely postponed, for Germania had suddenly disappeared, and was nowhere to be found. The Austrian soldier, however, was seen later in the evening, and some one heard him inquiring in a fierce tone for the junior Hahn; but the junior Hahn, probably anticipating some unpleasantness, had retired from the public gaze.
Six weeks after this occurrence—it was St. John’s day—there was a merry festival in the village of Mayrhofen. Ilka and Hansel were bride and groom, and as they returned from church the maidens of the village walked in the wedding procession and strewed flowers before them. And in the evening, when the singing and fiddling and dancing were at an end, and the guests had departed, Mother Uberta beckoned Hansel aside, and with a mysterious air handed him something heavy tied up in the corner of a handkerchief.
“There,” she said, “is eight hundred and fifty florins. It is Ilka’s own money which she earned in Berlin. Now you may pay off the mortgage, and the farm is yours.”
“Mother Uberta,” answered Hansel laughing, and pulling out a skin purse from his bosom. “Here is what I have been saving these many years. It is eight hundred and fifty florins.”
“Hansel, Hansel,” cried Mother Uberta in great glee, “it is what I have always said of you. You are a jewel of a lad.”