"Eight!" thundered the greybeard, with pristine freshness.
We felt very sobered, and did not recover until we reached a white signpost which entreated us to leave the road and walk through the field path-- without trampling down more of the grass than was necessary. Being interpreted, it meant "single file", which was distressing for Elsa and Fritz. Karl, like a happy child, gambolled ahead, and cut down as many flowers as possible with the stick of his mother's parasol--followed the three others--then myself--and the lovers in the rear. And above the conversation of the advance party I had the privilege of hearing these delicious whispers.
Fritz: "Do you love me?" Elsa: "Nu--yes." Fritz passionately: "But how much?" To which Elsa never replied--except with "How much do YOU love ME?"
Fritz escaped that truly Christian trap by saying, "I asked you first."
It grew so confusing that I slipped in front of Frau Kellermann--and walked in the peaceful knowledge that she was blossoming and I was under no obligation to inform even my nearest and dearest as to the precise capacity of my affections. "What right have they to ask each other such questions the day after letters of blessing have been received?" I reflected. "What right have they even to question each other? Love which becomes engaged and married is a purely affirmative affair--they are usurping the privileges of their betters and wisers!"
The edges of the field frilled over into an immense pine forest--very pleasant and cool it looked. Another signpost begged us to keep to the broad path for Schlingen and deposit waste paper and fruit peelings in wire receptacles attached to the benches for the purpose. We sat down on the first bench, and Karl with great curiosity explored the wire receptacle.
"I love woods," said the Advanced Lady, smiling pitifully into the air. "In a wood my hair already seems to stir and remember something of its savage origin."
"But speaking literally," said Frau Kellermann, after an appreciative pause, "there is really nothing better than the air of pine-trees for the scalp."