“And so have I, Gretchen.”
He gained the street, but how he never knew. He floated. Objects near at hand were shadowy and unusual. A great calm suddenly winged down upon him, and the world became clear, clear as his purpose, his courage, his duty. They might shoot or hang him, as they saw fit; this would not deter him. It might be truthfully said that he blundered back to the Grand Hotel. He must lay the whole matter before Carmichael. There lay his one hope. Carmichael should be his ambassador. But, God in Heaven, where should he begin? How?
The Gipsy, standing in the center of the walk, did not see Grumbach, for he was looking toward the palaces, a kind of whimsical mockery in his dark eyes. Grumbach, even more oblivious, crashed into him.
Grumbach stammered an apology, and the other replied in his peculiar dialect that no harm had been done. The jar, however, had roused Hans out of his tragic musings. There was a glint of yellow in the Gipsy’s eye, a flaw in the iris. Hans gave a cry.
“You? I find you at this moment, of all others?”
The Gipsy retreated. “I do not know you. It is a mistake.”
“But I know you,” whispered Hans. “And you will know me when I tell you that I am the gardener’s boy you ruined some sixteen years ago!”
The office of the American consulate in the Adlergasse ran from the front to the rear of the building. Carmichael’s desk overlooked the street. But whenever a flying dream came to him he was wont to take his pipe to the chair by the rear window, whence he could view the lofty crests of the Jugendheit mountains. Directly below this window and running parallel with it was the Biergarten of the Black Eagle.
It is a quiet tonic to the mind to look off, to gaze at sunlit, cloud-embraced mountain peaks, Walter Pater to the contrary. Carmichael’s mind that morning needed quiet, and so he came to this window; and with a smoldering pipe let himself to dreams. He was still in the uniform of the royal hunt, a meet having taken place that morning. He saw darling faces in the rugged outlines of the mountains, in the white clouds billowing across, in the patches of dazzling blue in between. Such is the fancy of a man in love!
His letter of resignation was on its way, but it would be in November before he heard definitely from the department. By that time the great snows would have blanketed the earth, and the nadir of his discontent would be reached. But what to do till that time? He could ride for some weeks, but riding without companionship was rather a lonesome affair. His own defiance of the chancellor had erected an impassable barrier between her highness and himself. They would watch him now, evade him, put small obstacles in his path, obstacles against which he could enter no reasonable complaint. A withered leaf, a glove, and a fan; these represented the sum of his romance.