“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.
The burgomaster, as usual, sat at the head of the table; the Junker had taken his place between him and Maria, opposite to Barbara and the children.
The widow never wearied of gazing at the young man’s fresh, bright face, for although her son could not compare with him in beauty, there was an honest expression in the Junker’s eyes, which reminded her of her Wilhelm.
Many a question and answer had already been exchanged between those assembled round the board, many a pleasant memory recalled, when Peter, after the dishes had been removed and a new jug with better wine placed on the table, filled the young nobleman’s glass again, and raised his own.
“Let us drink this bumper,” he cried, gazing at Georg with sincere pleasure in his eyes, “let us drink to the victory of the good cause, for which you too voluntarily draw your sword. Thanks for the vigorous pledge. Drinking is also an art, and the Germans are masters of it.”