When Fru Kaas re-entered her room, she was greeted by the scent of flowers. Many of their friends who had not till now known when they were to leave had wished to pay them some compliment. Indeed, the maid said that the bell had been ringing the whole morning. A little later Rafael and Hans Ravn came in with one or two friends. They proposed to dine together. The sale of the last patent seemed to be assured, and they wished to celebrate the event. Fru Kaas was in excellent spirits, so off they went.
They dined in the open air with a number of other people round them. There was music and merriment, and the subdued hum of distant voices rose and fell in the twilight. When the lamps were lighted, they had on one side the glare of a large town, on the other the semi-darkness was only relieved by points of light; and this was made the subject of poetical allusions in speeches to the friends who were so soon to leave them.
Just then two ladies slowly passed near Rafael’s chair. Fru Kaas, who was sitting opposite, noticed them, but he did not. When they had gone a short distance they stood still and waited, but did not attract his attention. Then they came slowly back again, passing close behind his chair, but still in vain. This annoyed Fru Kaas. Her individuality was so strong that her silence cast a shadow over the whole party; they broke up.
The next morning Rafael was out again on business connected with the patent. The bell rang, and the maid came in with a bill; it had been brought the previous day as well, she said. It was from one of the chief restaurateurs of the town, and was by no means a small one. Fru Kaas had no idea that Rafael owed money—least of all to a restaurateur. She told the maid to say that her son was of age, and that she was not his cashier. There was another ring— the maid reappeared with a second bill, which had also been brought the day before. It was from a well-known wine merchant; this, too, was not a small one. Another ring; this time it was a bill for flowers and by no means a trifle. This, too, had been brought the day before. Fru Kaas read it twice, three times, four times: she could not realise that Rafael owed money for flowers— what did he want them for? Another ring; now it was a bill from a jeweller. Fru Kaas became so nervous at the ringing and the bills that she took to flight. Here, then, was the explanation of their postponed departure: he was held captive; this was the reason for all his anxiety about selling the patent. He had to buy his freedom. She was hardly in the street when an unpretending little old woman stepped up to her, and asked timidly if this might be Frau von Kas? Another bill, thought Fru Kaas, eyeing her closely. She reminded one of a worn-out rose-bush with a few faded blossoms on it: she seemed poor and inexperienced in all save humility.
“What do you want with me?” inquired Fru Kaas sympathetically, resolved to pay the poor thing at once, whatever it might be.