‘Shameful!’ exclaimed Margarita. ’I will speak to Berthold as he descends. I hear him coming. He shall do what I wish.’
’Call it dreadful, Grete! Dreadful it was. If Berthold would like to sit and hear—Ah! she is gone. A good girl! and of a levity only on the surface.’
Aunt Lisbeth heard Margarita’s voice rapidly addressing Berthold. His reply was low and brief. ‘Refuses to listen to anything of the sort,’ Aunt Lisbeth interpreted it. Then he seemed to be pleading, and Margarita uttering short answers. ’I trust ’tis nothing a maiden should not hear,’ the little lady exclaimed with a sigh.
The door opened, and Lieschen stood at the entrance.
‘For Fraulein Margarita,’ she said, holding a letter halfway out.
‘Give it,’ Aunt Lisbeth commanded.
The woman hesitated—’’Tis for the Fraulein.’
‘Give it, I tell thee!’ and Aunt Lisbeth eagerly seized the missive, and subjected it to the ordeal of touch. It was heavy, and contained something hard. Long pensive pressures revealed its shape on the paper. It was an arrow. ‘Go!’ said she to the woman, and, once alone, began, bee-like, to buzz all over it, and finally entered. It contained Margarita’s Silver Arrow. ‘The art of that girl!’ And the writing said:
’By this arrow of our betrothal, I conjure thee to meet me in all haste without the western gate, where, burning to reveal to thee most urgent tidings that may not be confided to paper, now waits, petitioning the saints, thy
Aunt Lisbeth placed letter and arrow in a drawer; locked it; and ’always thought so.’ She ascended the stairs to consult with Gottlieb. Roars of laughter greeted her just as she lifted the latch, and she retreated abashed.