Seite - 119 - in The Forest Farm - Tales of the Austrian Tyrol
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All that Egg Mary could get out in her wrath was: “You’re a pack of scoundrels!” “Never mind,” answered Zedel-Zenz. “We’ll pay as soon as we have any money.” Then she went back with an empty basket, grumbling and uttering her various views of us and our behaviour. We started singing again, and the eggs did their duty. At Stocker’s inn we once more gave rein to our spirits. I did not fail to renew my inquiries about my benefactress with the ribbons and was firmly determined, if ever I came across the girl, to love her with all my heart and soul. The old hostess blinked significantly with her little grey eyes, but I got nothing more out of her. We lads parted outside the inn in the steadfast belief that, after these days spent in one another’s company, we would remain the firmest of mutual friends. A farewell feast was ordered of the innkeeper for the day when the two who had been kept were to join the colours. When the spree was over, I felt a sinking inside, as I wended my way home. A laughing face looked out at me from every window. My father walked slowly up to me and knocked the hat off my head with his arm, so that the ribbons rustled against the frozen snow. For the moment I did not know what this meant; but my father did not leave me long in ignorance. “Is it all the same to you,” he said, “that you come home with a blazing lie on your hat? As to who gave you that besom, we’ll talk about that later. All I ask you now is, how can you do a thing like that to your mother? I dare say you don’t know—you blackguard young puppy you!—how her heart is torn with anxiety at the thought of losing a child. But that you could give her such a fright! I wouldn’t have thought it of you! If Egg Mary hadn’t happened to come and tell us that you had a lucky escape this time, you might have had a nice business to answer for, with that damned rosette of yours. And your mother so poorly this long while past and all!” I trembled in every limb. My recruiting giddiness was gone; I suddenly saw my whole baseness. My heart cried out for my mother. And that same Egg Mary, whom we—not to mince matters—had robbed on the high-road, had gone on ahead, in her good nature, to tell my people, to whom she owed many a little kindness, that they must not be frightened at the soldier’s favour with which I should most likely come home, and that I had come out of it with luck. My mother’s joyful, loving grip of my hand only deepened my contrition.