At last, at last the most ardent desire of the mother’s heart was to be fulfilled. She saw in the codicil the bridge which would lead her son to splendour and magnificence, and up to the last hour of his life the Emperor Charles had also remembered her.
She felt not only relieved of a burden, but as if borne on wings. Which of these two pieces of news rendered her the happier, she could not have determined. Yet she did not once think of the addition to her income. What was that in comparison to the certainty that to the last Charles did not forget her!
It made her husband happy to see her sunny cheerfulness. Never had she played and romped with the children in such almost extravagant mirth. Nay, more! For the first time the officer’s modest house echoed with the singing of its mistress.
Though her voice was no longer so free from sharpness and harshness as in the old days, it by no means jarred upon the ear; nay, every tone revealed its admirable training. She had broken the long silence with Josquin’s motet, “Quia amore langueo,” and in her quiet chamber dedicated it, as it were, to the man to whom this cry of longing had been so dear. Then, in memory of and gratitude to him, other religious songs which he had liked to hear echoed from her lips.
The little German ballads which she afterward sang, to the delight of her boys, deeply moved her husband’s heart, and she herself found that it was no insult to art when, with the voice that she now possessed, she again devoted herself to the pleasure of singing.
If the codicil brought her son what she desired, she could once more, if her voice lost the sharpness which still clung to it, serve her beloved art as a not wholly unworthy priestess, and then, perchance, she would again possess the right, so long relinquished, of calling herself happy.
She would go the next day to Appenzelder, who always greeted her kindly when they met in the street, and ask his advice.
If only Wolf had been there!
He understood how to manage women’s voices also, and could have given her the best directions how to deal with the new singing exercises.
It seemed as though in these days not one of her wishes remained unfulfilled, for the very next afternoon, just as she was dressing to call upon the leader of the boy choir, the servant announced a stranger.
A glad presentiment hurried her into the vestibule, and there stood Sir Wolf Hartschwert in person, an aristocratic cavalier in his black Spanish court costume. He had become a man indeed, and his appearance did not even lack the “sosiego,” the calm dignity of the Castilian noble, which gave Don Louis Quijada so distinguished an appearance.
True, his greeting was more eager and cordial than the genuine “sosiego”—which means “repose”—would have permitted. Even the manner in which Wolf expressed his pleasure in the new melody of Barbara’s voice, and whispered an entreaty to send the children and Frau Lamperi—who came to greet him—away for a short time, was anything but patient.