Just before sunrise Georg sprang from his couch, drew out his knapsack, and filled it with his few possessions; but this time the little book found no place with the other articles.
The musician Wilhelm also entered the court-yard at a very early-hour, just as the first workmen were going to the shops. The Junker saw him coming, and met him at the door.
The artist’s face revealed few traces of the want he had endured, but his whole frame was trembling with excitement and his face changed color every moment, as he instantly, and in the utmost haste, told Georg the purpose of his early visit.
Shortly after the arrival of the city messengers, a Spanish envoy had brought Burgomaster Van der Werff a letter written by Junker Nicolas Matanesse, containing nothing but the tidings, that Henrica’s sister had reached Leyderdorp with Belotti and found shelter in the elder Baron Matanesse’s farm-house. She was very ill, and longed to see her sister. The burgomaster had given this letter to the young lady, and Henrica hastened to the musician without delay, to entreat him to help her escape from the city and guide her to the Spanish lines. Wilhelm was undergoing a severe struggle. No sacrifice seemed too great to see Anna again, and what the messenger had accomplished, he too might succeed in doing. But ought he to aid the flight of the young girl detained as hostage by the council, deceive the sentinels at the gate, desert his post?
Since Henrica’s request that Georg would escort her sister from Lugano to Holland, the young man had known everything that concerned the latter, and was also aware of the state of the musician’s heart.
“I must, and yet I ought not,” cried Wilhelm. “I have passed a terrible night; imagine yourself in my place, in the young lady’s.”
“Get a leave of absence until to-morrow,” said Georg resolutely. “When it grows dark, I’ll accompany Henrica with you. She must swear to return to the city in case of a surrender. As for me, I am no longer bound by any oath to serve the English flag. A month ago we received permission to enter the service of the Netherlands. It will only cost me a word with Captain Van der Laen, to be my own master.”
“Thanks, thanks; but the young lady forbade me to ask your assistance.”
“Folly, I shall go with you, and when our goal is reached, fight my way through to the Beggars. Our departure will not trouble the council, for, when Henrica and I are outside, there will be two eaters less in Leyden. The sky is grey; I hope we shall have a dark night. Captain Van Duivenvoorde commands the guard at the Hohenort Gate. He knows us both, and will let us pass. I’ll speak to him. Is the farm-house far inside the village?”
“No, outside on the road to Leyden.”
“Well then, we’ll meet at Aquanus’s tavern at four o’clock.”