The Burgomaster's Wife — Volume 04 eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 70 pages of information about The Burgomaster's Wife Volume 04.

CHAPTER XX.

The burgomaster’s wife had been anxious about Henrica, but the latter greeted her with special cheerfulness and met her gentle reproaches with the assurance that this morning had done her good.  Fate, she said, was just, and if it were true that confidence of recovery helped the physician, Doctor Bontius would have an easy task with her.  The dead Castilian must be the wretch, who had plunged her sister Anna into misery.  Maria, surprised, but entirely relieved, left her and sought her husband to tell him how she had found the invalid, and in what relation the Spanish officer, slain by Allertssohn, seemed to have stood to Henrica and her sister.  Peter only half listened to her, and when Barbara brought him a freshly-ironed ruff, interrupted his wife in the middle of her story, gave her the dead man’s letter-case, and said: 

“There, let her satisfy herself, and bring it to me again in the evening, I shall hardly be able to come to dinner; I suppose you’ll see poor Allertssohn’s widow in the course of the day.”

“Certainly,” she answered eagerly.  “Whom will you appoint in his place?”

“That is for the Prince to decide.”

“Have you thought of any means of keeping the communication with Delft free from the enemy?”

“On your mother’s account?”

“Not solely.  Rotterdam also lies to the south.  We can expect nothing from Haarlem and Amsterdam, that is, from the north, for everything there is in the hands of the Spaniards.”

“I’ll get you a place in the council of war.  Where do you learn your wisdom?”

“We have our thoughts, and isn’t it natural that I should rather follow you into the future with my eyes open, than blindly?  Has the English troop been used to secure the fortifications on the old canal?  Kaak too is an important point.”

Peter gazed at his wife in amazement, and the sense of discomfort experienced by an unskilful writer, when some one looks over his shoulder, stole over him.  She had pointed out a bad, momentous error, which, it is true, did not burden him alone, and as he certainly did not wish to defend it to her, and moreover might have found justification difficult, he made no reply, saying nothing but:  “Men’s affairs!  Good-bye until evening.”  With these words he walked past Barbara, towards the door.

Maria did not know how it happened, but before he laid his hand on the latch she gained sufficient self-command to call after him: 

“Are you going so, Peter!  Is that right?  What did you promise me on your return from the journey to the Prince?”

“I know, I know,” he answered impatiently.  “We cannot serve two masters, and in these times I beg you not to trouble me with questions and matters that don’t concern you.  To direct the business of the city is my affair; you have your invalid, the children, the poor; let that suffice.”

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The Burgomaster's Wife — Volume 04 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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