He had hoped to find Wolf in Ursel’s room, but he had already been away some time, and had told the old woman that he was going to the Hiltners, and should probably remain there a long while, as his schoolmate, Erasmus Eckhart, the nephew and adopted son of the syndic and his wife, had returned home from Wittenberg.
To find Wolf and deliver the important message Blomberg would have been obliged to enter the accursed heretic’s house, and, rather than do it, he protested he would inflict this and that upon himself.
But whom should he trust to represent him? The best plan would be for Barbara to write to the young knight, informing him of the honour in store for him.
He himself wielded the sword so much better than the pen.
The obliging daughter put a speedy end to her father’s embarrassment by offering to go in search of Wolf in person; she by no means shunned the Hiltners. In fact, the doctor’s wife had always been especially kind to her at the Convivium musicum, and her young daughter Martina, during the months in which she, too, was permitted to sing in the chorus, had displayed, whenever opportunity offered, an admiration for Barbara which bordered on enthusiasm. Besides, there was no obligation to keep Barbara from this errand; the removal to Prebrunn to join the marquise was not to take place until noon of the following day.
The pious captain, it is true, was as reluctant to let his daughter go to the heretic’s as to a pesthouse, but Wolf’s notification permitted no delay, so he consented, and expressed his willingness to accompany her.
Barbara had scarcely entered the street with her father when they were stopped by Master Adrian, the Emperor’s valet. He came from his Majesty to inform Blomberg that the regent could not spare Sir Wolf Hartschwert, and the captain might choose another companion for his ride. The Emperor expected him to select only a loyal, trustworthy, and vigorous nobleman who had taken the oath of fealty to his Majesty. If he should be in the military service, the necessary leave of absence was granted in advance; only he must present himself to the Lord Bishop of Arras that very day. Sir Wolf Hartschwert must depart for Brussels in the regent’s train early the next morning.
This news by no means pleased the old soldier, yet, before the valet had finished the message, his features smoothed—he thought he had already found the right man.
After assuring himself that the imperial messenger had fulfilled his commission, he took a hasty leave of him and his daughter.
His kind heart impelled him to show his chosen companion his friendly remembrance of him, and thereby atone for the offence which had been inflicted upon him in his house. To Barbara’s inquiry whom he would take with him, he hurriedly replied that he should not decide until he joined his military comrades in the Black Bear. As soon as this important matter was settled he would return home, for it had now become unnecessary to inform Wolf. The maid-servant could be sent to summon him to the Golden Cross. Barbara might go herself at once to Ursel and soothe her—anxiety about her beloved young knight weighed heavily upon her soul.