The Burgomaster's Wife — Complete eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 285 pages of information about The Burgomaster's Wife Complete.

“And they are Englishmen, Frau Margret, Englishmen,” said the Receiver-General’s wife.  “They don’t eat, they don’t consume, they devour.  We supply our troops; but Herr von Nordwyk—­I mean the younger one, who has been at the Queen’s court as the Prince’s ambassador, told my Wilhelm what a British glutton can gobble.  They’ll clear off your beef like cheese, and our beer is dish-water compared with their black malt brew.”

“All that might be borne,” replied Barbara, “if they were stout soldiers.  We needn’t mind a hundred head of cattle more or less, and the glutton becomes temperate, when a niggard rules the house.  But I wouldn’t take one of our Adrian’s grey rabbits for these runaways.”

“It would be a pity,” said Frau de Haes.  “I shall go home now, and if I find my husband, he’ll learn what sensible people think of the Englishmen.”

“Gently, my friend, gently,” said Burgomaster Van Swieten’s wife, who had hitherto been playing quietly with the cat.  “Believe me, it will be just the same on the whole, whether we admit the auxiliaries or not, for before the gooseberries in our gardens are ripe, all resistance will be over.”

Maria, who was passing cakes and hippocras, set her waiter on the table and asked: 

“Do you wish that, Frau Magtelt?”

“I do,” replied the latter positively, “and many sensible people wish it too.  No resistance is possible against such superior force, and the sooner we appeal to the King’s mercy, the more surely it will be granted.”

The other women listened to the bold speaker in silence, but Maria approached and answered indignantly: 

“Whoever says that, can go to the Spaniards at once; whoever says that, desires the disgrace of the city and country; whoever says that—­”

Frau Magtelt interrupted Maria with a forced laugh, saying: 

“Do you want to school experienced women, Madam Early-Wise?  Is it customary to attack a visitor?”

“Customary or not,” replied the other, “I will never permit such words in our house, and if they crossed the lips of my own sister I would say to her Go, you are my friend no longer!”

Maria’s voice trembled, and she pointed with outstretched arm towards the door.

Frau Magtelt struggled for composure, but as she left the room found nothing to say, except:  “Don’t be troubled, don’t be troubled—­you won’t see me again.”

Barbara followed the offended woman, and while those who remained fixed their eyes in embarrassment upon their laps, Wilhelm’s mother exclaimed: 

“Well said, little woman, well said!”

Herr Van Hout’s kind wife threw her arm around Maria, kissed her forehead, and whispered: 

“Turn away from the other women and dry your eyes.”

CHAPTER XXI.

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