The robber placed the empty glass on the table, took up his hat, and walked with heavy steps toward the door. Here he halted to say:
“I must tell you that the touch-holes of all your firearms are filled with wax. Have them cleaned, or you will not be able to shoot with them.”
The count rose, and hastened to convince himself that this statement was true. He found that his firearms had indeed been rendered useless; the robber had taken good care to protect himself from an attack. When Vavel looked around again, Satan Laczi had disappeared.
The afternoon of the following day, Henry entered the count’s study to announce that a crazy person was below, who insisted on speaking to the lord of the castle. The stranger said he had invented a cannon that would at one shot destroy fifteen hundred men. He would take no denial, but insisted that Henry should tell the Herr Count that Master Matyas had arrived.
“Yes; I sent for him to come here,” answered the count. “Show him up.”
The appearance of the man whom Henry conducted to his master’s presence was certainly original. He wore a costume unlike any prevailing fashion. His upper garment was so made that it might be worn either as a coat or a mantle; if sleeves were desired there were sleeves, and none if none were required. Even his shoes were inventions of his own, for no regular shoemaker could have fashioned them. He held between the fingers of his right hand a bit of lead-pencil, with which he would illustrate what he described on the palm of his left hand.
“You come in good time, Master Matyas,” said the count.
“Yes—yes. If only I had been in good time at the battle of Marengo!” sighed the singular man.
“Too late now for regrets of that sort, Master Matyas,” smilingly responded Count Vavel. “Facts cannot be changed! I have a task for you which I desire to have completed as quickly as possible. Come, and I will show you what I want you to do.”
It was the hour Marie spent in her garden; consequently the count was at liberty to conduct the jack of all trades to the young girl’s apartment, and explain what he wished to have done.
Master Matyas listened attentively to what the count said, and took the necessary measurements. When he had done so, he turned toward his patron, and said in a serious tone: