At the end of an hour she bade the boy farewell, and when again walking towards the Achtergracht with Herr von Warmond, he asked joyously:
“How shall I get to the Beggars?”
“You?” asked the captain in astonishment.
“Yes, I!” replied the Junker eagerly. “I shall soon be seventeen, and when I am—Wait, just wait—you’ll hear of me yet.”
“Right, Nicolas, right,” replied the other. “Let us be Holland nobles and noble Hollanders.”
Three hours later, Junker Matanesse Van Wibisma rode into the Hague with Belotti, whom he had loved from childhood. He brought his father nothing but a carefully-folded and sealed letter, which Janus Dousa, with a mischievous smile, had given him on behalf of the citizens of Leyden for General Valdez, and which contained, daintily inscribed on a large sheet, the following lines from Dionysius Cato:
“Fistula dulce canit volucrem dum decipit auceps.”
["Sweet are the notes
of the flute, when the fowler lures the bird
to his nest.”]
The first week in June and half the second had passed, the beautiful sunny days had drawn to a close, and numerous guests sought the “Angulus” in Aquarius’s tavern during the evening hours. It was so cosy there when the sea-breeze whistled, the rain poured, and the water fell plashing on the pavements. The Spanish besieging army encompassed the city like an iron wall. Each individual felt that he was a fellow-prisoner of his neighbor, and drew closer to companions of his own rank and opinions. Business was stagnant, idleness and anxiety weighed like lead on the minds of all, and whoever wished to make time pass rapidly and relieve his oppressed soul, went to the tavern to give utterance to his own hopes and fears, and hear what others were thinking and feeling in the common distress.
All the tables in the Angulus were occupied, and whoever wanted to be understood by a distant neighbor was forced to raise his voice very loud, for special conversations were being carried on at every table. Here, there, and everywhere, people were shouting to the busy bar-maid, glasses clinked together, and pewter lids fell on the tops of hard stone-ware jugs.
The talk at a round table in the end of the long room was louder than anywhere else. Six officers had seated themselves at it, among them Georg von Dornburg. Captain Van der Laen, his superior officer, whose past career had been a truly heroic one, was loudly relating in his deep voice, strange and amusing tales of his travels by sea and land, Colonel Mulder often interrupted him, and at every somewhat incredible story, smilingly told a similar, but perfectly impossible adventure of his own. Captain Van Duivenvoorde soothingly interposed, when Van der Laen, who was conscious of never deviating far from the truth, angrily repelled the old man’s jesting insinuations. Captain Cromwell, a grave man with a round head and smooth long hair, who had come to Holland to fight for the faith, rarely mingled in the conversation, and then only with a few words of scarcely intelligible Dutch. Georg, leaning far back in his chair, stretched his feet out before him and stared silently into vacancy.