"The father must have meat and wine at once," he muttered, "but how can I earn the money in time to buy them today? There is no other way but to go, as I PROMISED, to Master Peter. What would a gift of meat and wine be to him? When the father is once fed, I can rush down to Amsterdam and earn the morrow's supply."
Then came other thoughts--thoughts that made his heart thump heavily and his cheeks burn with a new shame. It is BEGGING, to say the least. Not one of the Brinkers has ever been a beggar. Shall I be the first? Shall my poor father just coming back into life learn that his family has asked for charity--he, always so wise and thrifty? "No," cried Hans aloud, "better a thousand times to part with the watch."
I can at least borrow money on it, in Amsterdam! he thought, turning around. That will be no disgrace. I can find work at once and get it back again. Nay, perhaps I can even SPEAK TO THE FATHER ABOUT IT!
This last thought made the lad dance for joy. Why not, indeed, speak to the father? He was a rational being now. He may wake, thought Hans, quite bright and rested--may tell us the watch is of no consequence, to sell it of course! And Hans almost flew over the ice.
A few moments more and the skates were again swinging from his arm. He was running toward the cottage.
His mother met him at the door.
"Oh, Hans!" she cried, her face radiant with joy, "the young lady has been here with her maid. She brought everything--meat, jelly, wine, and bread--a whole basketful! Then the meester sent a man from town with more wine and a fine bed and blankets for the father. Oh! he will get well now. God bless them!"
"God bless them!" echoed Hans, and for the first time that day his eyes filled with tears.