During this conversation? Master Adrian had gone to her side; but as soon as Blomberg had retired, he informed Barbara, in his master’s name, that he should expect her after vespers in the apartments of the Queen of Hungary. He longed to hear her voice. The regent desired to know whether she had any special wishes concerning the Prebrunn house. She need not restrict herself on the score of expense; the Prebrunn steward would be authorized to pay everything. True, most of the furniture was supplied and the necessary servants had been obtained, but her Majesty the Queen advised her to take with her a maid or companion whom she personally liked.
Barbara’s face crimsoned as she listened, and then asked anxiously whether the Emperor Charles knew of these arrangements.
He had no doubt of it, the man replied, for he had heard his Majesty remark that, if the marquise’s companion was not to become the toy of her caprices, she must be enabled to obtain what she desired independently of the old lady. He was anxious to make Barbara’s life in Prebrunn a pleasant one.
The latter, with downcast eyes, thanked Master Adrian and turned away; but he detained her with the inquiry whether he should probably find Sir Wolf Hartschwert at home, and received the answer that he had gone to Syndic Hiltner’s.
The valet then hastily took his leave, because just at that time his royal master needed him. Any one else could summon the knight to the regent in his place.
In the corridor of the Golden Cross he met Brother Cassian, the body servant of the Confessor de Soto, a middle-aged Swabian, who had formerly as a lay brother worked as a bookbinder in the Dominican monastery at Cologne. He was clad in a half-secular, half-priestly garb, and was an humble, extremely devout man, whose yielding nature had rendered him popular among the servants at the court. His bullet-shaped head was unusually large, and his face, with its narrow brow and small, lustreless eyes, showed that he was not prone to thinking. Yet he fulfilled every order precisely according to directions, and possessed his full share of the cunning which is often a characteristic of narrow minds.
He willingly undertook to summon Sir Wolf Hartschwert, whom he knew, to the presence of the Queen of Hungary. No special haste was needful, and, as he loved good wine and did not lack gifts from those who desired an audience with his master, he went first to the English Greeting, where the travelling clergy lodged and often deigned to accost him.
Barbara had returned home with bowed head, and threw herself into her father’s arm-chair in his workshop. She gazed into vacancy with a sore and anxious heart, and, as an insane violinist lures the same tone from the instrument again and again, she constantly returned to the same thought, “Lost! lost!—too late! too late!”
Barbara gave herself up to this mood for several minutes, but at last she remembered her lover’s summons for that evening.