Two days passed, and I perceived another change in Mr. Engelman.
He was now transformed into a serious and reticent man. Had he committed indiscretions
which might expose him to ridicule if they were known? Or had the widow warned him
not to be too ready to take me into his confidence? In any case, he said not one word to
me about Madame Fontaine's reception of him, and he left the house secretly when he
paid his next visit to her. Having no wish to meet him unexpectedly, and feeling (if the
truth be told) not quite at ease about the future, I kept away from Minna and her mother,
and waited for events.
On the third day, an event happened. I received a little note from Minna:--
"Dear Mr. David,--If you care to see mamma and me, stay at home this evening. Good
Mr. Engelman has promised to show us his interesting old house, after business hours."
There was nothing extraordinary in making an exhibition of "the old house." It was one
among the many picturesque specimens of the domestic architecture of bygone days, for
which Frankfort is famous; and it had been sketched by artists of all nations, both outside
and in. At the same time, it was noticeable (perhaps only as a coincidence) that the
evening chosen for showing the house to the widow, was also the evening on which Mr.
Keller had an engagement with some friends in another part of the city.
As the hour approached for the arrival of the ladies, I saw that Mr. Engelman looked at
me with an expression of embarrassment.
"Are you not going out this evening, David?" he asked.
"Am I in the way, sir?" I inquired mischievously.
"In that case then, I think I shall stay at home."
He said no more, and walked up and down the room with an air of annoyance. The bell of
the street-door rang. He stopped and looked at me again.
"Visitors?" I said.
He was obliged to answer me. "Friends of mine, David, who are coming to see the
I was just sufficiently irritated by his persistence in keeping up the mystery to set him the
example of speaking plainly.
"Madame Fontaine and her daughter?" I said.