“Don’t go that way, mother dear; it is not much farther by the other road.”
Dietrich laughed aloud.
“Now there it is again. Do you know, mother, that I can never get Veronica to go past the Rehbock. She would rather go ten minutes farther round, and she will not say why either. To-day, Veronica, I am determined that you shall go this way or tell us why not.”
“No; to-day we will not quarrel, Dietrich, please;” said the girl entreatingly, but with a tone that showed no signs of yielding her point, “let us sing a song as we go; mother loves to hear us sing.”
As she spoke, she walked steadily along the road, and the others followed,
“Well then,” said the lad, “let’s sing ‘Gladly and merrily’”—and he began to sing the familiar tune.
“To-night I should rather sing the Fisher-boat,” said Veronica, and without demur the good-natured boy dropped his song, and joined his clear tones with Veronica’s steady voice, the two harmonizing perfectly as they sang:
“A tiny boat, a fisher-boat,
Tossed lightly on the silver sea;
Around the rocks, in air, afloat
The white gulls circle lazily.
A tiny boat, a fisher-boat—
The fisher draws his slender line;
He half in dream-land seems to float.
Saying, ‘to-morrow will be fine.’”
Softly singing, in the soft falling shadows of evening, the happy trio drew towards their home, and disappeared within the cottage door.
All at home.
Dietrich had already worked for some time in his father’s business. It was all in the best possible condition; the work shop, the tools and materials had been carefully kept up, and everything was fresh and in good working order. The old customers had not withdrawn their custom, for the former workman who had served under Steffan for many years had continued his deceased master’s methods, so that the reputation of the work was sustained, and as Fohrensee grew, so also the saddler’s orders grew, and the business flourished. So Dietrich found his trade ready made to his hand, and as good a prospect lay before him as heart could wish. He took hold with a good will, and being his own master did not make him the less diligent. He was determined first to work faithfully till he had thoroughly learned the business, and then to travel for a while. When he had seen the world a bit he would come back, go on with the business farther and farther, and become a gentleman; and then—then—where could a happier man be found than he should be, living with his mother and Veronica in peace and plenty. His mother should pass her days in happy idleness if she wished, without care, without sorrow, in wealth and comfort, and Veronica! Yes, he would give Veronica a life far happier and more beautiful than she had ever dreamed of for herself! While his brain teemed with these pleasant thoughts, Dietrich sang and whistled at his work all day long, and did good work, too. He had a skilful hand and a clear head, and his work went successfully on.