Barbara, still with quickened breathing, then put the question how she could know this; and Adrian, with a significant smile, replied that her heart would tell her, and if it should ever err—of this he was certain —the Emperor Charles.
With these words he took leave of her to go, on behalf of his master, to the marquise, and Barbara stood motionless for some time, gazing after him.
In the Golden Cross Quijada asked Adrian what he thought of the singer, and it was some time ere he answered deliberately: “If only I knew exactly myself, your lordship—I am only a plain man, who wishes every one the best future. Here I do so out of regard for his Majesty, Sir Wolf Hartschwert, and the inexperienced youth of this marvellously beautiful creature. But if you were to force me by the rack to form a definite opinion of her, I could not do it. The most favourable would not be too good, the reverse scarcely too severe. To reconcile such contrasts is beyond my power. She is certainly something unusual, that will fit no mould with which I am familiar.”
“If you had a son,” asked Don Luis, “would you receive her gladly as a daughter-in-law?”
A gesture of denial from the valet gave eloquent expression of his opinion; but Quijada went on in a tone of anxious inquiry: “Then what will she whom he loves be to the master whose happiness and peace are as dear to you as to me?”
Adrian started, and answered firmly: “For him, it seems to me, she will perhaps be the right one, for what power could she assert against his? And, besides, there is something in his Majesty, as well as in this girl, which distinguishes them from other mortals. What do I mean by that? I see and hear it, but I can neither exactly understand nor name it.”
“That might be difficult even for a more adroit speaker,” replied Quijada; “but I think I know to what you allude. You and I, Master Adrian, have hearts in our breasts, like thousands of other people, and in our heads what is termed common sense. In his Majesty something else is added. It seems as though he has at command a messenger from heaven who brings him thought and decisions.”
“That’s it!” exclaimed Adrian eagerly; “and whenever she raises her voice to sing, a second one stands by the side of this Barbara Blomberg.”
“Only we do not yet know,” observed Quijada anxiously, “whether this second one with the singer is a messenger from heaven, like his Majesty’s, or an emissary of hell.”
The valet shrugged his shoulders irresolutely, and said quietly: “How could I venture to express an opinion about so noble an art? But when I was listening to the hymn to the Virgin yesterday, it seemed as if an angel from heaven was singing from her lips.”
“Let us hope that you may be right,” replied the other. “But no matter! I think I know whence comes the invisible ally his Majesty has at his disposal. It is the Holy Ghost that sends him—there is no doubt of it! His control is visible everywhere. With miraculous power he urges him on in advance of all others, and even of himself. This becomes most distinctly perceptible in war.”