THE GOLDEN TREASURE 891
knows what he said ; but we may be allowed to guess at it. Charlotte blushed to guess at it. She reddened from brow to neck, and answered not a single word ; and then strangers came into the room, and one of them was the state councillor's son : he had a lofty white forehead, and carried it so high that it seemed to go back into his neck. And Peter sat with them a long time, and she looked at him with gentle eyes.
At home that evening he spoke of travel in the wide world, and of the golden treasure that lay hidden for him in his violin.
' To be famous !'
' Tum-me-lum, tum-me-lum, tum-me-lum !' said the Fire-drum. ' Peter has gone clean out of his wits. I think there must be a fire in the house.'
Next day the mother went to market.
' Shall I tell you news, Peter ? ' she asked when she came home. * A capital piece of news. Burgomaster's Charlotte has engaged herself to the state councillor's son ; the betrothal took place yesterday evening.'
1 No ! ' cried Peter, and he sprang up from his chair. But his mother persisted in saying 'Yes'. She had heard it from the barber's wife, whose husband had it from the burgomaster's own mouth.
And Peter became as pale as death, and sat down again.
1 Good Heaven ! what's the matter with you ?' asked his mother.
' Nothing, nothing; only leave ire to myself,' he answered, but the tears were running down his cheeks.
1 My sweet child, my golden treasure ! ' cried the mother, and she wept; but the Fire-drum sang—not out loud, but inwardly,
' Charlotte's gone ! Charlotte 's gone ! and now the song is done.'
But the song was not done ; there were many more verses in it, long verses, the most beautiful verses, the golden treasures of a life.
' She behaves like a mad woman,' said the neighbour's wife. ' All the world is to see the letters she gets from her golden treasure, and to read the words that are written in