The young wife gazed out of the window. Henrica watched her silently for a time and then exclaimed:
“One word, Frau Maria. What is going on in the court-yard? Nothing? And what has become of the happy light in your eyes? Your house isn’t swarming with guests; why did you wait for Bessie to tell me about Junker Georg, the German, the old acquaintance?”
“Let that subject drop, Henrica.”
“No, no! Do you know what I think? The storm of war has blown to your house the young madcap, with whom you spent such happy hours at your sister’s wedding. Am I right or wrong? You needn’t blush so deeply.”
“It is he,” replied Maria gravely. “But if you love me, forget what I told you about him, or deny yourself the idle amusement of alluding to it, for if you should still do so, it would offend me.”
“Why should I! You are the wife of another.”
“Of another whom I honor and love, who trusts me and himself invited the Junker to his house. I have liked the young man, admired his talents, been anxious when he trifled with his life as if it were a paltry leaf, which is flung into the river.”
“And now that you have seen him again, Maria?”
“Now I know, what my duty is. Do you see, that my peace here is not disturbed by idle gossip.”
“Certainly not, Maria; yet I am still curious about this Chevalier Georg and his singing. Unfortunately we shan’t be long together. I want to go home.”
“The doctor will not allow you to travel yet.”
“No matter. I shall go as soon as I feel well enough. My father is refused admittance, but your husband can do much, and I must speak with him.”
“Will you receive him to-morrow?”
“The sooner the better, for he is your husband and, I repeat, the ground is burning under my feet.”
“Oh!” exclaimed Maria.
“That sounds very sad,” cried Henrica. “Do you want to hear, that I shall find it hard to leave you? I shouldn’t go yet; but my sister Anna, she is now a widow—Thank God, I should like to say, but she is suffering want and utterly deserted. I must speak to my father about her, and go forth from the quiet haven into the storm once more.”
“My husband will come to you,” said Maria.
“That’s right, that’s right! Come in, children! Put the flowers on the table yonder. You, little elf, sit down on the stool and you, Salvatore, shall give me the flowers. What does this mean? I really believe the scamp has been putting perfumed oil on his curly head. In honor of me, Salvatore? Thank you!—We shall need the hoops later. First we’ll make bouquets, and then bind them with the leaves to the wood. Sing me a song while we are working, Maria. The first one! I can bear it to-day.”
Half Leyden had followed the brave captain’s coffin, and among the other soldiers, who rendered the last honors to the departed, was Georg von Dornburg. After the funeral, the musician Wilhelm led the son of the kind comrade, whom so many mourned, to his house. Van der Werff found many things to be done after the burial, but reserved the noon hour; for he expected the German to dine.