Several days passed. The baroness continued enthusiastic about the delights of country life and devoted herself with great eagerness to the education of Marietta as a lady’s maid. Marietta often stood in front of the mirror wearing the coquettish cap and holding in her soft hand the large tuft of many-colored feathers which the mistress had purchased for her for brushing off the dust.
Often, too, she sat on the low stool, her eyes gazing dreamily somewhere into the distance, where, in imagina-tion, she saw tall buildings, beautifully dressed people, and splendid equipages. Frequently she would bury her head in her hands, and lose herself in deep thought. The baron would sit idly in the easy- chair, smoking and yawning. The steward and his wife rid themselves of all fears of their eminent guests. Beruska made friends with the purple footman, playing “Twenty-six” with him in the office behind closed doors when they lighted their pipes.
Once towards evening the baroness, with her beautifully bound “Burns,” stepped out into the flower-covered arbor in the park from which place there was a distant and varied view and where she hoped to await the nightingale concert which for several evenings had echoed in the neighborhood of the castle. The baron rebuked the footman for his fatness and ordered him to begin reducing by taking a walk out into the fields. The steward and his wife were putting up fruit behind closed doors. Melanie had a toothache.
In this idyllic, peaceful moment it occurred to old Foltyn that Marianka was lingering an unusually long time in the apartments of the nobility. He disposed of the thought, but it returned soon again. The thought became every moment more and more obtrusive.
“What is she doing there so long?” he growled into his mustaches. “The mistress is not in the house.”
Involuntarily he went into the gallery and walked about a while, listening intently to sounds from above. Then he ventured on the steps, urged by an irresistible force. On tiptoes he reached the corridor of the first floor. He stole to the footman’s door and pressed the knob. It was closed. He crept to the door of the reception-room. Suddenly he paused. Within could be heard a voice—the voice of the baron.
Get beautiful clothes
Distinctly he heard these words: “Don’t be childish! Foolish whims! The world is different from what the priests and your simple-minded parents have painted it for you. I will make you happy. Whatever you wish, you will get—beautiful clothes, jewels, money—all. I will make your father a butler, steward, maybe even something higher. You will be in the city yourself. Now, my little dove, don’t be ashamed, lift up your lovely eyes. God knows I never saw more beautiful ones!”