The like of that song they had never heard, of course, and as soon as he had sung it through they wanted him to sing it again. He hesitated a good while—for one must never be too obliging in such matters—but they would not be satisfied until he had yielded to their importunities. And this time, when he came to the refrain, they all joined in, and when he got to the “boom, boom” the young barons beat time with their feet and the young Court ladies clapped their hands to the measure of the tune.
But that was a wonderful lay! As he sang it again and again, with so many smartly dressed people chiming in; so many pretty young ladies darting him glances of approval; so many young swains shouting bravo after every verse, he felt as dizzy as if he had been dancing. It was as if some one had taken him in their arms and lifted him into the air.
He did not lose his head, though, but knew all the while that his feet were still on the earth. Meantime, he had the pleasant sensation of being elevated far above every one. On the one hand, he was being borne up by the honour, on the other by the glory. They bore him away on strong wings and placed him upon an imperial throne, far, far away amongst the rosy evening clouds.
There was but one thing wanting. Think, if the great Empress, his little Glory Goldie, had only been there, too!
Instantly this thought flashed upon him, a red shimmer passed before his eyes. Gazing at it more intently, he saw that it emanated from a young girl in a red frock who had just come out from the house, and was then standing on the porch.
The young girl was tall and graceful and had a wealth of gold yellow hair. From where he stood he could not see her face, but he thought she could be none other than Glory Goldie. Then he knew why he had been so blissfully happy that evening; it was just a foretoken of the little girl’s nearness. Breaking off in the middle of his song and pushing aside all who stood in his way, he ran toward the house.
When he reached the steps he was obliged to halt. His heart thumped so violently it seemed ready to burst. But gradually he recovered just enough strength to be able to proceed. Very slowly he mounted step by step till at last he was on the porch. Then, spreading out his arms, he whispered:
Instantly the young girl turned round. It was not Glory Goldie! A strange woman stood there, staring at him in astonishment.
Not a word could he utter, but tears sprang to his eyes; he could not hold them back. Now he faced about and staggered down the steps. Turning his back upon all the merriment and splendour, he went on up the driveway.
The people kept calling for him. They wanted him to come back and sing to them again. But he heard them not. As fast as he could go he hurried toward the woods, where he could be alone with his grief.