Here her cheeks glowed so hotly that Frau Kastenmayr noticed it, and with maternal solicitude asked, from her heavy, steady bay horse:
“Is the gray too gay for you, my darling?”
Shortly after sunset Appenzelder received the order to have the boy choir sing before the Emperor.
During the noon hour, which the monarch had spent alone, thoughts so sad, bordering upon melancholy, had visited him, although for several hours he had been free from pain, that he relinquished his resentful intention of showing his undutiful sister how little he cared for her surprise and how slight was his desire to enjoy music.
In fact, he, too, regarded it as medicine, and hoped especially for a favourable effect from the exquisite soprano voice in the motet “Tu pulchra es.”
He still had some things to look over with Granvelle, but the orchestra and the boy choir must be ready by ten o’clock.
Would it not have been foolish to bear this intolerable, alarming mood until the midnight meal? It must be dispelled, for he himself perceived how groundless it was. The pain had passed away, the despatches contained no bad news, and Dr. Mathys had permitted him to go out the next day. When Adrian already had his hand on the door knob, he called after him, “And Appenzelder must see that the exquisite new voice—he knows—is heard.”
Soon after, when Granvelle had just left him, the steward, Malfalconnet, entered, and, in spite of the late hour—the Nuremberg clock on the writing table had struck nine some time before—asked an audience for Sir Wolf Hartschwert, one of her Highness the regent’s household, to whom she committed the most noiseless and the most noisy affairs, namely, the secret correspondence and the music.
“The German?” asked Charles, and as the baron, with a low bow, assented, the Emperor continued: “Then it is scarcely an intrigue, at any rate a successful one, unless he is unlike the usual stamp. But no! I noticed the man. There is something visionary about him, like most of the Germans. But I have never seen him intoxicated.”
“Although he is of knightly lineage, and, as I heard, at home in the neighbourhood of the Main, where good wine matures,” remarked Malfalconnet, with another bow. “At this moment he looks more than sober, rather as though some great fright had roused him from a carouse. Poor knight!”
“Ay, poor knight!” the Emperor assented emphatically. “To serve my sister of Hungary in one position may be difficult for a man who is no sportsman, and now in two! God’s death! These torments on earth will shorten his stay in purgatory.”
The Emperor Charles had spoken of his sister in a very different tone the day before, but now she remained away from him and kept with her a friend whom he greatly needed, so he repaid her for it.
Therefore, with a shrug of the shoulders expressive of regret, he added, “However badly off we may be ourselves, there is always some one with whom we would not change places.”