Nicolas showed the captain his treasure, and then exclaimed:
“Now forward, Junker von Dornburg, I know where we shall find them; and you, Captain Van Duivenvoorde, tell the burgomaster and Janus Dousa what has become of me.”
A week had elapsed since Henrica’s flight, and with it a series of days of severe privation. Maria knew from the musician, that young Matanesse had accompanied Georg, and that the latter was on his way to the Beggars. This was the right plan. The bubbling brook belonged to the wild, rushing, mighty river. She wished him happiness, life and pleasure; but—strange—since the hour that she tore his verses, the remembrance of him had receded as far as in the day: before the approach of the Spaniards. Nay, after her hard-won conquest of herself and his departure, a rare sense of happiness, amid all her cares and troubles, had taken possession of the young wife’s heart. She had been cruel to herself, and the inner light of the clear diamond first gleams forth with the right brilliancy, after it has endured the torture of polishing. She now felt with joyous gratitude, that she could look Peter frankly in the eye, grant him love, and ask love in return. He scarcely seemed to notice her and her management under the burden of his cares, but she felt, that many things she said and could do for him pleased him. The young wife did not suffer specially from the long famine, while it caused Barbara pain and unstrung her vigorous frame. Amid so much suffering, she often sunk into despair before the cold hearth and empty pots, and no longer thought it worth while to plait her large cap and ruffs. It was now Maria’s turn to speak words of comfort, and remind her of her son, the Beggar captain, who would soon enter Leyden.
On the sixth of September the burgomaster’s wife was returning home from an early walk. Autumn mists darkened the air, and the sea-breeze drove a fine, drizzling spray through the streets. The dripping trees had long since been robbed of their leaves, not by wind and storm, but by children and adults, who had carried the caterpillars’ food to their kitchens as precious vegetables.
At the Schagensteg Maria saw Adrian, and overtook him. The boy was sauntering idly along, counting aloud. The burgomaster’s wife called to him, and asked why he was not at school and what he was doing there.
“I’m counting,” was the reply. “Now there are nine.”
“I’ve met nine dead bodies so far; the rector sent us home. Master Dirks is dead, and there were only thirteen of us to-day. There are some people bringing another one.”
Maria drew her kerchief tighter and walked on. At her left hand stood a tall, narrow house, in which lived a cobbler, a jovial man, over whose door were two inscriptions. One ran as follows:
are shoes for sale,
Round above and flat below;
If David’s foot they will not fit,
Goliath’s sure they’ll suit, I know.”