After a visit to the court-room, a brief examination, and the payment of a fine, we took our departure. Feeling in an exceptionally amiable mood, Dannevig offered me his arm, and as we again passed the group of policemen at the door he politely raised his dilapidated hat to them, and bade them a pleasant good-morning. The cross of Dannebrog, with its red ribbon, was dangling from the button-hole of his coat, the front of which was literally glazed with the stains of dried punch.
“My type of countenance, as you will observe,” he remarked, as we hailed a passing omnibus, “presents some striking deviations from the classic ideal; but it is a consoling reflection that it will probably soon resume its normal form.”
Of course, all the morning as well as the evening papers, recounted, with flaming headings, Dannevig’s oration, and his ignominious expulsion from the mass-meeting, and the most unsparing ridicule was showered both upon him and the journal which, for the time, he represented. One more experience of a similar nature terminated his career as a journalist; I dared no longer espouse his cause and he was dismissed in disgrace. For some weeks he vanished from my horizon, and I began to hope that he had again set his face toward the Old World, where talents of the order he possessed are at higher premium in the social market. But in this hope I was to be grievously disappointed.
One day, just as I had ordered my lunch at a restaurant much frequented by journalists, a German, named Pfeifer, one of the largest stockholders in our paper, entered and seated himself at the table opposite me. He was a somewhat puffy and voluminous man with a very round bald head, and an air of defiant prosperity about him. He had retired from the brewery business some years ago, with a very handsome fortune.
“I have been hunting for you high and low,” he began in his native tongue. “You know there is to be a ball in the Turnverein to-morrow night,—a very grand affair, they say. I suppose they have sent you tickets.”
“And are you going?”
“I had half made up my mind to send Fenner or some one else.”
Mr. Pfeifer here grew superfluously confidential and related to me in a mysterious whisper his object in seeking me. The fact was, he had a niece really ein allerliebstes Kind, who had come from Milwaukee to visit him and was to spend the winter with him. Now, to be honest, he knew very few young gentlemen whom he would be willing to have her associate with, and the poor child had set her heart on going to the Turn-ball to-morrow. Would I kindly overlook the informality of his request, and without telling the young lady of his share in the proceeding, offer her my escort to the ball? Would I be responsible for her and bring her home in good season? And to avert Fraulein Pfeifer’s possible suspicions, would I come and dine at his house to-night and make her acquaintance?