“I’ve known her longer.”
“Perhaps when you’ve known me as long as Chris, you shall be as fond of me.”
“When I’ve known you as long—may be.”
“While I am gone, Uncle Nic, you are to get well, you are not very well, you know.”
“What put that into your head?”
“If you were well you would be smoking a cigar—it is just three o’clock. This kiss is for myself, this is for Scruff, and this is for Miss Naylor.”
She stood upright again; a tremulous, joyful gravity was in her eyes and on her lips.
“Good-bye, my dear; take care of yourselves; and don’t you have a guide, they’re humbugs.”
“No, Uncle Nic. There is the carriage! To Vienna, Uncle Nic!” The dead gold of her hair gleamed in the doorway. Mr. Treffry raised himself upon his elbow.
“Give us one more, for luck!”
Greta ran back.
“I love you very much!” she said, and kissing him, backed slowly, then, turning, flew out like a bird.
Mr. Treffry fixed his eyes on the shut door.
After many days of hot, still weather, the wind had come, and whirled the dust along the parched roads. The leaves were all astir, like tiny wings. Round Villa Rubein the pigeons cooed uneasily, all the other birds were silent. Late in the afternoon Christian came out on the veranda, reading a letter:
“Dear Chris,—We are here now six days, and it is a very large place with many churches. In the first place then we have been to a great many, but the nicest of them is not St. Stephan’s Kirche, it is another, but I do not remember the name. Papa is out nearly all the night; he says he is resting here, so he is not able to come to the churches with us, but I do not think he rests very much. The day before yesterday we, that is, Papa, I, and Miss Naylor, went to an exhibition of pictures. It was quite beautiful and interesting (Miss Naylor says it is not right to say ‘quite’ beautiful, but I do not know what other word could mean ‘quite’ except the word ‘quite,’ because it is not exceedingly and not extremely). And O Chris! there was one picture painted by him; it was about a ship without masts—Miss Naylor says it is a barge, but I do not know what a barge is—on fire, and, floating down a river in a fog. I think it is extremely beautiful. Miss Naylor says it is very impressionistick—what is that? and Papa said ‘Puh!’ but he did not know it was painted by Herr Harz, so I did not tell him.
“There has also been staying at our hotel that Count Sarelli who came one evening to dinner at our house, but he is gone away now. He sat all day in the winter garden reading, and at night he went out with Papa. Miss Naylor says he is unhappy, but I think he does not take enough exercise; and O Chris! one day he said to me, ’That is your sister, Mademoiselle, that young lady in the white