The Black Tulip
20. The Events Which Took Place During Those Eight Days
On the following evening, at the usual hour, Van Baerle heard some one scratch at the
grated little window, just as Rosa had been in the habit of doing in the heyday of their
Cornelius being, as may easily be imagined, not far off from the door, perceived Rosa,
who at last was waiting again for him with her lamp in her hand.
Seeing him so sad and pale, she was startled, and said, --
"You are ill, Mynheer Cornelius?"
"Yes, I am," he answered, as indeed he was suffering in mind and in body.
"I saw that you did not eat," said Rosa; "my father told me that you remained in bed all
day. I then wrote to calm your uneasiness concerning the fate of the most precious
object of your anxiety."
"And I," said Cornelius, "I have answered. Seeing your return, my dear Rosa, I thought
you had received my letter."
"It is true; I have received it."
"You cannot this time excuse yourself with not being able to read. Not only do you read
very fluently, but also you have made marvellous progress in writing."
"Indeed, I have not only received, but also read your note. Accordingly I am come to see
whether there might not be some remedy to restore you to health."
"Restore me to health?" cried Cornelius; "but have you any good news to communicate
Saying this, the poor prisoner looked at Rosa, his eyes sparkling with hope.
Whether she did not, or would not, understand this look, Rosa answered gravely, --
"I have only to speak to you about your tulip, which, as I well know, is the object
uppermost in your mind."
Rosa pronounced those few words in a freezing tone, which cut deeply into the heart of
Cornelius. He did not suspect what lay hidden under this appearance of indifference
with which the poor girl affected to speak of her rival, the black tulip.