‘My father is in Sarkeld, mademoiselle. I am told he is at the palace.’
‘Indeed; and he is English, your fater?’
‘Yes. I have not seen him for years; I have come to find him.’
’Indeed; it is for love of him, your fater, sir, you come, and not speak German?’
I signified that it was so.
’She stroked her pony’s neck musing.
‘Because, of love is not much in de family in England, it is said,’ she remarked very shyly, and in recovering her self-possession asked the name of my father.
‘His name, mademoiselle, is Mr. Richmond.’
‘Mr. Richmond Roy.’
She sprang in her saddle.
‘You are son to Mr. Richmond Roy? Oh! it is wonderful.’
‘Mademoiselle, then you have seen him lately?’
’Yes, yes! I have seen him. I have heard of his beautiful child, his son; and you it is?’
She studied my countenance a moment.
‘Tell me, is he well?’ mademoiselle, is he quite well?’
‘Oh, yes,’ she answered, and broke into smiles of merriment, and then seemed to bite her underlip. ’He is our fun-maker. He must always be well. I owe to him some of my English. You are his son? you were for Sarkeld? You will see him up at our Bella Vista. Quick, let us run.’
She put her pony to a canter up the brown path between the fir-trees, crying that she should take our breath; but we were tight runners, and I, though my heart beat wildly, was full of fire to reach the tower on the height; so when she slackened her pace, finding us close on her pony’s hoofs, she laughed and called us brave boys. Temple’s being no more than my friend, who had made the expedition with me out of friendship, surprised her. Not that she would not have expected it to be done by Germans; further she was unable to explain her astonishment.
At a turning of the ascent she pointed her whip at the dark knots and lines of the multitude mounting by various paths to behold the ceremony of unveiling the monument.
I besought her to waste no time.
‘You must, if you please, attend my pleasure, if I guide you,’ she said, tossing her chin.
‘I thank you, I can’t tell you how much, mademoiselle,’ said I.
She answered: ‘You were kind to my two pet lambs, sir.’
So we moved forward.
THE STATUE ON THE PROMONTORY
The little lady was soon bowing to respectful salutations from crowds of rustics and others on a broad carriage-way circling level with the height. I could not help thinking how doubly foreign I was to all the world here—I who was about to set eyes on my lost living father, while these people were tip-toe to gaze on a statue. But as my father might also be taking an interest in the statue, I got myself round to a moderate sentiment of curiosity and a partial