Massi noticed that the articles taken out could scarcely be intended for a man’s use, and, pointing to a piece of Flanders velvet, he gaily remarked:
“So my guess was correct. Here, too, the verdict is to be pronounced by beardless lips.” Wolf blushed like a girl, but, after the violinist had waited a short time for the confirmation of his conjecture, he continued more gravely:
“It ill befits me to intrude upon your secret. Every one must go his own way, and I have wondered why a person who so readily renders a service to others pursues his own path so unsocially. Will you ever let your friend know what stirs your heart?”
“I should often have confided in you gladly,” replied Wolf, “but a certain shyness always restrained me. How can others be interested in what befalls a lonely, quiet fellow like me? It is not my habit to talk much, but you will always find me ready to use hand and brain in behalf of one who is as dear to me as you, Massi.”
“You have already given me proof of that,” replied the violinist, “and I often marvel how you find time, without neglecting your own business, to do so much for others with no payment except thanks. I thought you would accomplish something great, because you paid no heed to women; but probably you depend on other powers, for if it is a pair of beautiful eyes whose glance is to decide so important a matter——”
“Never mind that,” interrupted Wolf beseechingly, raising his hand soothingly. “I confess with Terentius that nothing human is strange to me. As soon as the decision comes, I will tell you—but you alone—several particulars. Now accept my thanks for your well-meant counsel and the use of your room. I’ll see you again early to-morrow. I promised Gombert and the leader of the boy choir to lend them a helping hand, so we shall probably meet at the rehearsal.—Go to the stable, Janche, and see that the groom has rubbed the bay down thoroughly. As for the rolls and packages here——”
“I’ll help you carry them,” said the violinist, seizing his shoes; but Wolf eagerly declined his assistance, and went out to ask the landlord to let him have one of his men.
But the servants of the overcrowded Red Cock all had their hands full, so the nine-year-old son of the Leitgeb couple and the cellar man’s two somewhat younger boys, who had not yet gone to bed, were made bearers of the parcels.
How eager they were to do something which suited grown people, and, when Wolf described the place where they were to carry the articles, Fran Leitgeb sympathizingly helped him, and charged the children to hold the valuable packages very carefully. They must not spare the knocker in the second story of the cantor house, for old Ursula’s hearing was no longer the best, and since the day before yesterday—Kathl had brought the news home—she had been ill. “Some rare luck,” the landlady continued, “will surely follow the knight up to the Blombergs. The same old steep path, leads there; but as to Wawer!—it would be improper to say Jungfrau Barbara—you will surer open your eyes—” Here she was summoned to the kitchen, and Wolf followed his little assistants into the street.