‘I had expected a message from Lisbeth,’ said Frau Farina; ’but thou, good heart! thou wilt help us?’
‘All that may be done by me I will do,’ replied Margarita; ’but his mother yearns to see him, and I have come to bear her company.’
The old lady clasped her hands and wept.
’Has he found so good a friend, my poor boy! And trust me, dear maiden, he is not unworthy, for better son never lived, and good son, good all! Surely we will go to him, but not as thou art. I will dress thee. Such throngs are in the streets: I heard them clattering in early this morning. Rest, dear heart, till I return.’
Margarita had time to inspect the single sitting-room in which her lover lived. It was planted with bottles, and vases, and pipes, and cylinders, piling on floor, chair, and table. She could not suppress a slight surprise of fear, for this display showed a dealing with hidden things, and a summoning of scattered spirits. It was this that made his brow so pale, and the round of his eye darker than youth should let it be! She dismissed the feeling, and assumed her own bright face as Dame Farina reappeared, bearing on her arm a convent garb, and other apparel. Margarita suffered herself to be invested in the white and black robes of the denial of life.
‘There!’ said the Frau Farina, ’and to seal assurance, I have engaged a guard to accompany us. He was sorely bruised in a street combat yesterday, and was billeted below, where I nursed and tended him, and he is grateful, as man should be-though I did little, doing my utmost—and with him near us we have nought to fear.’
‘Good,’ said Margarita, and they kissed and departed. The guard was awaiting them outside.
’Come, my little lady, and with thee the holy sister! ’Tis no step from here, and I gage to bring ye safe, as sure as my name’s Schwartz Thier!— Hey? The good sister’s dropping. Look, now! I’ll carry her.’
Margarita recovered her self-command before he could make good this offer.
‘Only let us hasten there,’ she gasped.
The Thier strode on, and gave them safe-conduct to the prison where Farina was confined, being near one of the outer forts of the city.
‘Thank and dismiss him,’ whispered Margarita.
’Nay! he will wait-wilt thou not, friend! We shall not be long, though it is my son I visit here,’ said Frau Farina.
’Till to-morrow morning, my little lady! The lion thanked him that plucked the thorn from his foot, and the Thier may be black, but he’s not ungrateful, nor a worse beast than the lion.’
They entered the walls and left him.