The newly awakened man bowed his head.
"Aye, well enough, mine vrouw," he said after a moment's silence, "but my brain turns somehow like a spinning wheel. It will not be right till I get on the dikes again. When shall I be at work, think you?"
"Hear the man!" cried Dame Brinker, delighted, yet frightened, too, for that matter. "We must get him on the bed, Hans. Work indeed!"
They tried to raise him from the chair, but he was not ready yet.
"Be off with ye!" he said with something like his old smile (Gretel had never seen it before). "Does a man want to be lifted about like a log? I tell you before three suns I shall be on the dikes again. Ah! There'll be some stout fellows to greet me. Jan Kamphuisen and young Hoogsvliet. They have been good friends to thee, Hans, I'll warrant."
Hans looked at his mother. Young Hoogsvliet had been dead five years. Jan Kamphuisen was in the jail at Amsterdam.
"Aye, they'd have done their share no doubt," said Dame Brinker, parrying the inquiry, "had we asked them. But what with working and studying, Hans has been busy enough without seeking comrades."
"Working and studying," echoed Raff, in a musing tone. "Can the youngsters read and cipher, Meitje?"