THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE 111
himself had become another and a better man. He felt himself not unworthy to enter into the* next sanctuary, which showed itself in the form of a poor garret, containing a sick mother. But through the window the warm sun streamed in, beautiful roses nodded from the little wooden box on the roof, and two sky-blue birds sang full of childlike joj7-, while the sick mother prayed for a blessing on her daughter.
Now he crept on his hands and knees through an overfilled butcher's shop. There was meat, and nothing but meat, wherever he went. It was the heart of a rich respectable man, whose name is certainly to be found in the directory.
Now he was in the heart of this man's wife : this heart was an old dilapidated pigeon-house. The husband's portrait was used as a mere weathercock : it stood in connexion with the doors, and these doors opened and shut according as the husband turned.
Then he came into a cabinet of mirrors, such as we find in the castle of Rosenborg ; but the mirrors magnified in a great degree. In the middle of the floor sat, like a Grand Lama, the insignificant / of the proprietor, astonished in the contemplation of his own greatness.
Then he fancied himself transported into a narrow needle-case full of pointed needles ; and he thought, ' This must decidedly be the heart of an old maid ! ' But that was not the case. It was a young officer, wearing several orders, and of whom one said, ' He 's a man of intellect and heart.'
Quite confused was the poor volunteer when he emerged from the heart of the last person in the first row. He could not arrange his thoughts, and fancied it must be his powerful imagination which had run away with him.
1 Gracious powers ! ' he sighed, ' I must certainly have a great tendency to go mad. It is also unconscionably hot in here : the blood is rising to my head ! '
And now he remembered the great event of the last evening, how his head had been caught between the iron rails of the hospital.
' That's where I must have caught it,' thought he. ' I must do something at once. A Russian bath might be