He submitted as if dazed, and did not even regain his senses sufficiently to profit by what she had granted him with such unexpected liberality. Nor did she allow him to speak as she loosed her arms from his neck, for, with a bewitching light in her large, blue eyes, fairly overflowing with grateful tenderness, she cried:
“You dear, dear, kind little Wolf! To think that you should have remembered me so generously! And how rich you must be! If I had become so before you, I should have given myself a dress exactly like this. Now it’s mine, just as though it had dropped from the sky. Wine-coloured Flanders velvet, with a border of dark-brown marten fur! I’ll parade in it like the Duchess of Bavaria or rich Frau Fugger. Holy Virgin! if that isn’t becoming to my golden hair! Doesn’t it just suit me, you little Wolf and great spendthrift? And when I wear it at the dance in the New Scale or sing in it at the Convivium musicum, my Woller cousins and the Thun girl will turn yellow with envy.”
Wolf had only half listened to this outburst of delight, for he had reserved until the last his best offering—a sky-blue turquoise breastpin set with small diamonds. It brought him enthusiastic thanks, and Barbara even allowed him to fasten the magnificent ornament with his own fingers, which moved slowly and clumsily enough.
Then she hurried into her chamber to bring the hand-mirror, and when in an instant she returned and, at her bidding, he held the shining glass before her, she patted his cheeks with their thin, fair, pointed beard, and called him her faithful little Wolf, her clear, stupid pedant and Satan in person, who would fill her mind with vanity.
Finally, she laid the piece of velvet over the back of a chair, let it fall down to the floor, and threw the bands of fur upon it. Every graver word, every attempt to tell her what he expected from her, the girl cut short with expressions of gratitude and pleasure until her father returned from the suffering Ursel.
Then, radiant with joy, she showed the old man her new treasures, and the father’s admiration and expressions of gratitude were not far behind the daughter’s.
It seemed as though Fate had blessed the modest rooms in Red Cock Street with its most precious treasures.
It might be either Wolf’s return, the hopes for his daughter which were associated with it in the crippled old warrior’s heart, or the unexpected costly gifts, to which Wolf had added for his old friend a Netherland drinking vessel in the form of a silver ship, which had moved the old gentleman so deeply, but at any rate he allowed himself to be tempted into an act of extravagance, and, in an outburst of good spirits which he had not felt for a long time, he promised Wolf to fetch from the cellar one of the jugs of wine which he kept there for his daughter’s wedding.
“Over this liquid we will open our hearts freely to each other, my boy,” he said. “The night is still long, and even at the Emperor’s court there is nothing better to be tasted. My dead mother used to say that there are always more good things in a poor family which was once rich than in a rich one which was formerly poor.”