Dirk thought a while, resting his head upon his hand. Then he lifted it and said:
“I am very glad that I sent the money to Munt and Brown, Heaven gave me that thought. Well, wife, what is your counsel now?”
“My counsel is that we should fly from Leyden—all of us, yes, this very night before worse happens.”
He smiled. “That cannot be; there are no means of flight, and under the new laws we could not pass the gates; that trick has been played too often. Still, in a day or two, when I have had time to arrange, we might escape if you still wish to go.”
“To-night, to-night,” she urged, “or some of us stay for ever.”
“I tell you, wife, it is not possible. Am I a rat that I should be bolted from my hole thus by this ferret of a Montalvo? I am a man of peace and no longer young, but let him beware lest I stop here long enough to pass a sword through him.”
“So be it, husband,” she replied, “but I think it is through my heart that the sword will pass,” and she burst out weeping.
Supper that night was a somewhat melancholy meal. Dirk and Lysbeth sat at the ends of the table in silence. On one side of fit were placed Foy and Elsa, who were also silent for a very different reason, while opposite to them was Adrian, who watched Elsa with an anxious and inquiring eye.
That the love potion worked he was certain, for she looked confused and a little flushed; also, as would be natural under the circumstances, she avoided his glance and made pretence to be interested in Foy, who seemed rather more stupid than usual. Well, so soon as he could find his chance all this would be cleared up, but meanwhile the general gloom and silence were affecting his nerves.
“What have you been doing this afternoon, mother?” Adrian asked presently.
“I, son?” she replied with a start, “I have been visiting the unhappy Vrouw Jansen, whom I found very sick.”
“What is the matter with her, mother?”
Lysbeth’s mind, which had wandered away, again returned to the subject at hand with an effort.
“The matter? Oh! she has the plague.”
“The plague!” exclaimed Adrian, springing to his feet, “do you mean to say you have been consorting with a woman who has the plague?”
“I fear so,” she answered with a smile, “but do not be frightened, Adrian, I have burnt my clothes and fumigated myself.”
Still Adrian was frightened. His recent experience of sickness had been ample, and although he was no coward he had a special dislike of infectious diseases, which at the time were many.
“It is horrible,” he said, “horrible. I only hope that we—I mean you—may escape. The house is unbearably close. I am going to walk in the courtyard,” and away he went, for the moment, at any rate, forgetting all about Elsa and the love potion.