The voices held long on the last note, and let it die in a forest cadence.
’’Fore Gad! well done. Hurrah! Tra-ra, ha-ha, tra-ra! That’s a trick we’re not half alive to at home,’ said Guy. ’I feel friendly with these German lads.’
The Goshawk’s disposition toward German lads was that moment harshly tested by a smart rap on the shoulder from an end of German oak, and a proclamation that he was prisoner of the hand that gave the greeting, in the name of the White Rose Club. Following that, his staff was wrested from him by a dozen stout young fellows, who gave him no time to get his famous distance for defence against numbers; and he and Farina were marched forthwith to the chorusing body in front of Gottlieb Groschen’s house.
Of all the inmates, Gottlieb had slept most with the day on his eyelids, for Werner hung like a nightmare over him. Margarita lay and dreamed in rose-colour, and if she thrilled on her pillowed silken couch like a tense-strung harp, and fretted drowsily in little leaps and starts, it was that a bird lay in her bosom, panting and singing through the night, and that he was not to be stilled, but would musically utter the sweetest secret thoughts of a love-bewitched maiden. Farina’s devotion she knew his tenderness she divined: his courage she had that day witnessed. The young girl no sooner felt that she could love worthily, than she loved with her whole strength. Muffed and remote came the hunting-song under her pillow, and awoke dreamy delicate curves in her fair face, as it thinned but did not banish her dream. Aunt Lisbeth also heard the song, and burst out of her bed to see that the door and window were secured against the wanton Kaiser. Despite her trials, she had taken her spell of sleep; but being possessed of some mystic maiden belief that in cases of apprehended peril from man, bed was a rock of refuge and fortified defence, she crept back there, and allowed the sun to rise without her. Gottlieb’s voice could not awaken her to the household duties she loved to perform with such a doleful visage. She heard him open his window, and parley in angry tones with the musicians below.
‘Decoys!’ muttered Aunt Lisbeth; ‘be thou alive to them, Gottlieb!’
He went downstairs and opened the street door, whereupon the scolding and railing commenced anew.
‘Thou hast given them vantage, Gottlieb, brother mine,’ she complained; ’and the good heavens only can say what may result from such indiscreetness.’
A silence, combustible with shuffling of feet in the passage and on the stairs, dinned horrors into Aunt Lisbeth’s head.
‘It was just that sound in the left wing of Hollenbogenblitz,’ she said: ‘only then it was night and not morning. Ursula preserve me!’
‘Why, Lisbeth! Lisbeth!’ cried Gottlieb from below. ’Come down! ’tis full five o’ the morning. Here’s company; and what are we to do without the woman?’