"Yes, master--A PIG," repeated the landlord, puffing at his pipe with an injured air. "Bah! If he did not pay fine prices and bring customers to my house, I would sooner see him in the Vleit Canal than give him lodging."
Perhaps mine host felt that he was speaking too openly to a stranger, or it may be he saw a smile lurking in Peter's face, for he added sharply, "Come, now, what more do you wish? Supper? Beds?"
"No, mynheer, I am but searching for Dr. Boekman."
"Go find him. He is not in Leyden."
Peter was not to be put off so easily. He succeeded in obtaining permission to leave a note for the famous surgeon, or rather, he BOUGHT from his amiable landlord the privilege of writing it there, and a promise that it should be promptly delivered when Dr. Boekman arrived. This accomplished, Peter and Jacob returned to the Red Lion.
This inn had once been a fine house, the home of a rich burgher, but having grown old and shabby, it had passed through many hands, until finally it had fallen into the possession of Mynheer Kleef. He was fond of saying as he looked up at its dingy, broken walls, "Mend it and paint it, and there's not a prettier house in Leyden." It stood six stories high from the street. The first three were of equal breadth but of various heights, the last three were in the great, high roof, and grew smaller and smaller like a set of double steps until the top one was lost in a point. The roof was built of short, shining tiles, and the windows, with their little panes, seemed to be scattered irregularly over the face of the building, without the slightest attention to outward effect. But the public room on the ground floor was the landlord's joy and pride. He never said, "Mend it and paint it," there, for everything was in the highest condition of Dutch neatness and order. If you will but open your mind's eye, you may look into the apartment.
Imagine a large, bare room, with a floor that seemed to be made of squares cut out of glazed earthen pie-dishes, first a yellow piece, then a red, until the whole looked like a vast checkerboard. Fancy a dozen high-backed wooden chairs standing around; then a great hollow chimney place all aglow with its blazing fire, reflected a hundred times in the polished steel firedogs; a tiled hearth, tiled sides, tiled top, with a Dutch sentence upon it; and over all, high above one's head, a narrow mantleshelf, filled with shining brass candlesticks, pipe lighters, and tinderboxes. Then see, in one end of the room, three pine tables; in the other, a closet and a deal dresser. The latter is filled with mugs, dishes, pipes, tankards, earthen and glass bottles, and is guarded at one end by a brass-hooped keg standing upon long legs. Everything is dim with tobacco smoke, but otherwise as clean as soap and sand can make it.
Next, picture two sleepy, shabby-looking men, in wooden shoes, seated near the glowing fireplace, hugging their knees and smoking short, stumpy pipes; Mynheer Kleef walking softly and heavily about, clad in leather knee breeches, felt shoes, and a green jacket wider than it is long; then throw a heap of skates in the corner and put six tired well-dressed boys, in various attitudes, upon the wooden chairs, and you will see the coffee room of the Red Lion just as it appeared at nine o'clock upon the evening of December 6, 184--. For supper, gingerbread again, slices of Dutch sausage, rye bread sprinkled with anise seed, pickles, a bottle of Utrecht water, and a pot of very mysterious coffee. The boys were ravenous enough to take all they could get and pronounce it excellent. Ben made wry faces, but Jacob declared he had never eaten a better meal. After they had laughed and talked awhile, and counted their money by way of settling a discussion that arose concerning their expenses, the captain marched his company off to bed, led on by a greasy pioneer boy who carried skates and a candlestick instead of an ax.