The little woman begged “Tausend Mal um Verzeihung,” but she was “Einer Beamten-Wittwe” and had read in the paper that the young Von Kas was leaving, and both she and her daughter were in such despair that she had resolved to come to Frau von Kas, who was the only one—and here she began to cry.
“What does your daughter want from me?” asked Fru Kaas rather less gently.
“Ach! tausend Mal um Verzeihung gnadige Frau,” her daughter was married to Hofrath von Rathen—“ihrer grossen Schonheit wegen”— ah, she was so unhappy, for Hofrath von Rathen drank and was cruel to her. Herr von Kas had met her at the artists’ fete—“Und so wissen Sie zwei so junge, reizende Leute.” She looked up at Fru Kaas through her tears—looked up as though from a rain-splashed cellar window; but Fru Kaas had reverted to her abrupt manner, and as if from an upper storey the poor little woman heard, “What does your daughter want with my son?”
“Tausend Mal um Verzeihung,” but it had seemed to them that her daughter might go with them to Norway, Norway was such a free country. “Und die zwei Jungen haben sich so gern.”
“Has he promised her this?” said Fru Kaas, with haughty coldness.
“Nein, nein, nein,” was the frightened reply. They two, mother and daughter, had thought of it that day. They had read in the paper that the young Von Kas was going away. “Herr Gott in Himmel!” if her daughter could thus be rid at once of all her troubles! Frau von Kas had not an idea of what a faithful soul, what a tender wife her daughter was.
Fru Kaas crossed hastily over to the opposite pavement. She did not go quite so fast as a person in chase of his hat, but it seemed to the poor little creature, left in the lurch, with folded hands and frightened eyes, that she had vanished faster than her hopes. On the other side of the waystood a pretty young flower-girl who was waiting for the elegant lady hurrying in her direction. “Bitte, gnadige Frau.” Here is another, thought the hunted creature. She looked round for help, she flew up the street, away, away—when another lady popped up right in front of her, evidently trying to catch her eye. Fru Kaas dashed into the middle of the street and took refuge in a carriage.
“Where to?” asked the driver.
This she had not stopped to consider, but nevertheless answered boldly, “The Bavaria!”
In point of fact she had had an idea of seeing the view of the city and its environs from “Bavaria’s” lofty head before leaving. There were a great many people there, but Fru Kaas’s turn to go up soon came; but just as she had reached the head of the giantess and was going to look out, she heard a lady whisper close behind her, “That is his mother.” It was probable that there were several mothers up there in “Bavaria’s” head beside Fru Kaas, nevertheless she gathered her skirts together and hurried down again.
Rafael came home to dine with his mother; he was in the highest spirits—he had sold his patent. But he found her sitting in the farthest corner of the sofa, with her big binocular glass in her hand. When he spoke to her she did not answer, but turned the glass with the small end towards him; she wished him to look as far off as possible.