When that mysterious sound was followed by no other she doubtless threw a shawl over her gray braids and running to the cottage across the way, met its occupant and read on her lips the same question her own were forming: “What happened to old Foltyn that he finished his afternoon artistic perform-ance with such an unheard of turn?”
It happened thus: If you had stood in Foltyn’s place at the stated moment and if you had had his falcon eyes you would have descried beyond the wood at the turn of the wagon-road some sort of dark object which with magic swiftness approached the village. Later you would have distinguished a pair of horses and a carriage of a type never before seen in those regions.
When the gate-keeper had arrived at this result of his observation, he recovered suddenly from the absolute petrifaction into which he had been bewitched by the appearance of the object and raced as fast as his legs would allow back to the castle.
BeruSka, the steward’s assistant, was just bidding a painful farewell to a beautiful cut of the roast over which the fork of his chief was ominously hovering when Foltyn with his drum burst into the room without even rapping.
He presented a remarkable appearance. He was as white as chalk, his eyes were staring blankly, on his forehead were beads of sweat, while he moved his lips dumbly and waved his drumstick in the air. With astonishment all turned from the table toward him and were terrified in advance at the news whose dreadful import was clearly manifested in the features of the old man.
“The nob—nobility!” he stuttered after a while.
“Wh—what?” burst forth the steward, dropping his fork on the plate.
“The nobility—beyond the wood—” answered Foltyn with terrible’ earnestness.
Looking with quiet satisfaction
The steward leaped from his place at the table, seized his Sunday coat and began, in his confusion, to draw it on over his striped dressing- gown. His wife, for some unaccountable reason, began to collect the silver from the table. Miss Melanie swished as she fled across the room. BeruSka, alone stood unmoved, looking with quiet satisfaction at his chief, whom Nemesis had suddenly overtaken at his customary culling of the choicest pieces of the roast.
In order to interpret these events I must explain that our castle, possibly for its distance and lack of conveniences, was very little in favor with its proprietors. From the period of the now deceased old master, who sojourned here a short time before his death, it had not beheld a single member of the noble family within its weatherbeaten walls.