The winter came and passed. Instead of leaving the Netherlands, the Emperor Charles remained nearly a year in Brussels. He lived in a modest house in Lion Street and, although he had resigned the sovereignty, nothing was done in the domain of politics to which he had not given his assent.
Barbara, more domestic than ever before, was leading a dream life, in which she dwelt more with her beloved dead and her child in Spain than with her family at home. She thought of the boy’s father sometimes with bitter resentment, sometimes with quiet pity. Outward circumstances rendered it easier for her to conceal these feelings, for Pyramus attributed the melancholy mood which sometimes overpowered her to grief for her father.
Her husband left the settlement of the business connected with her inheritance solely to her. There were many letters to be written and, as she had become unfamiliar with this art, Hannibal faithfully aided her.
Dr. Hiltner, of Ratisbon, to whom, in spite of his heretical belief, she intrusted the legal business of the estate, acted wisely and promptly in her behalf. Thus the sale of the house which she had purchased for the dead man, and the disposal of her father’s share in the Blomberg business, brought her far more money than she had expected.
It seemed as though Fate desired to compensate her by outward prosperity for the secret sorrow which, in spite of her husband’s affectionate solicitude and the thriving growth of her two boys, she could not shake off.
In one respect she regarded the money which this winter brought her as a genuine blessing, for it seemed to invite her to go to Ems and do all in her power for the restoration of her voice. The hoarseness was now barely perceptible in her speech, and Dr. Mathys, whom she visited in April, encouraged her, and told her of really marvellous cures wrought by the famous old springs.
When May came and the trees and shrubs in leafy Brussels adorned themselves with new buds, she could not help thinking more frequently, as usual in this month, of her wasted love and of the man for whom it had bloomed and who had destroyed it. So she liked to pass through Lion Street in her walks, for it led her by his house. She might easily meet him again there, and she longed to see his face once more before the departure for Spain, which would remove him from her sight forever.
And behold! One sunny noon he was borne toward her in a litter. She stopped as though spellbound, bowing profoundly; her glance as he passed met his, and he waved his emaciated hand—yes, she was not mistaken—he waved it to her.
For an instant it seemed as if a crimson rose had bloomed in the midst of winter snows. She had been as sure that he had not forgotten her as that she herself had not ceased to think of him.
Now her confidence was, as it were, confirmed by letter and seal, and this made her happy.