The Emperor, after he had finished his meal, heard it also, and listened to Barbara as if enraptured when, in Hobrecht’s motet for five voices, Salve crux arbor vitae, in the sublime O crux lignum triumphale, she raised her voice with a power, a wealth of pious devotion which he had never before heard in the execution of this forceful composition.
The little Maltese Hannibal again acquitted himself admirably, and in one of the duets in the second part Johannes of Cologne could prove that he had recovered.
His young companion in illness had also escaped lasting injury.
Appenzelder, too, showed himself fully satisfied with Barbara’s execution. Something new and powerful, rising from the inmost depth of the soul, a passion of devout exaltation, rang in her voice which he had not perceived during the first rehearsals. Her art seemed to him to grow under his eyes like a wonderful plant, and the quiet, reserved man expressed his delight so unequivocally that the Emperor beckoned to him and asked his opinion of the singer’s performance.
The musician expressed with unreserved warmth the emotions that filled his honest heart; but the monarch listened approvingly, and drew from his finger a costly ring to bestow it upon the discoverer of this glorious jewel.
The leader of the choir, it is true, declined this title of honour to award it to Sir Wolf Hartschwert; but the Emperor asserted that he was grateful to him also for many a service, and then ordered the gold chain, which had long been intended for him, to be brought for Maestro Gombert.
After these tokens of favour, which awakened the utmost surprise in those who were present, as the Emperor very rarely yielded to such impulses of generosity, the monarch’s eyes sought Barbara’s, and his glance seemed to say: “For your sake, love. Thus shall those who have deserved it from you be rewarded.”
Finally he accosted her, intentionally raising his voice as he did so.
Word for word was intended to be heard by every one, even the remark that he wished to make the acquaintance of her father, whom he remembered as a brave comrade. Barbara would oblige him if she would request him to call upon him that afternoon. It was his duty to thank the man through whose daughter he enjoyed such lofty pleasure.
A short time after, the Emperor Charles, accompanied by the Queen of Hungary and several lords and ladies, took a ride in the open air for the first time after long seclusion.
According to his custom, he had spent Passion week in the monastery. Easter had come on the latest day possible—the twenty-fifth of April—and when he bade farewell to the monks the gout had already attacked him again.
Now he rode forth into the open country and the green woods like a rescued man; the younger Granvelle, long as he had been in his service, had never seen him so gay and unconstrained. He could now understand his father’s tales of his Majesty’s better days, his vigorous manly strength and eager delight in existence.