“No,” answered Wilhelm.
“But it would be better if he did so, in case any letters might come. And it will surely interest monsieur to know how things go on in the house. Monsieur need only confide it to me. I would not tell it to a single soul, not even if le bon Dieu himself came down with all his saints.”
Wilhelm was weak enough to form a fresh link between himself and Pilar, when he had just severed the old one. He wrote Schrotter’s address on a leaf of his pocketbook and gave it to Auguste, saying:
“Anything will reach me safely under that address.”
They reached the cab stand in the Avenue de Villiers; Wilhelm got into one, took the portmanteau inside, and pressed a sovereign into Auguste’s hand, who thanked him and asked where the cabman was to drive to.
“First of all, just along the avenue,” answered Wilhelm.
Auguste grinned as he repeated this order to the driver, and was just closing the door, when there was a yelp of pain.
“Infamous beast!” cried Auguste, and gave Fido, who had followed them unperceived, a kick. The poor animal had always been accustomed to going with them when Wilhelm and Pilar drove out, and now was preparing to jump into the vehicle, when he just escaped being crushed in the door. Wilhelm stooped to give the puffing, affectionate creature a farewell pat.
“Monsieur should take him as a souvenir,” said Auguste, with thinly-veiled sarcasm. “Nobody will take any notice of him now, in any case.”
“You are quite right,” said Wilhelm, and let the dog come in. The fiacre moved off, and Auguste looked after it for a long time, as he whistled the latest popular air.
It wanted but little to midday when Wilhelm came out of a hotel on the Neuer Jungfernstieg in Hamburg, and made his way toward the Alster, Fido trotting behind him, whose coat, for want of its accustomed daily washing and brushing, looked sadly neglected.
The sky was thickly overcast, the air unusually mild, on account of the prevailing west wind, and the pavement of the Jungfernstieg damp and muddy. A thin veil of yellow fog lay over the Binnen Alster, giving the objects far and near the indefinite, wavering appearance of a mirage. Above the dark masses of houses to the right rose four sharp spires, from the points of which, smoke-wreaths seemed to rise and trail away. Far away in front the Lombardsbrucke was just distinguishable, its three arches apparently hung with gray draperies. Swans glided lazily in groups or singly over the muddy-looking surface of the water, or came under the open windows of the Alster Pavilion, through which late breakfasting guests threw them crumbs.