The boys were back safe and sound, and they found all well at home. Even the sick lady at neighbor Van Stoepel's was out of danger.
But the next morning! Ah, how stupidly school bells will ding-dong, ding-dong, when one is tired.
Ludwig was sure that he had never listened to anything so odious. Even Peter felt pathetic on the occasion. Carl said it was a shameful thing for a fellow to have to turn out when his bones were splitting. And Jacob soberly bade Ben "Goot-pye!" and walked off with his satchel as if it weighed a hundred pounds.
While the boys are nursing their fatigue, we will take a peep into the Brinker cottage.
Can it be that Gretel and her mother have not stirred since we saw them last? That the sick man upon the bed has not even turned over? It was four days ago, and there is the sad group just as it was before. No, not precisely the same, for Raff Brinker is paler; his fever is gone, though he knows nothing of what is passing. Then they were alone in the bare, clean room. Now there is another group in an opposite corner.
Dr. Boekman is there, talking in a low tone with a stout young man who listens intently. The stout young man is his student and assistant. Hans is there also. He stands near the window, respectfully waiting until he shall be accosted.
"You see, Vollenhoven," said Dr. Boekman, "it is a clear case of--" And here the doctor went off into a queer jumble of Latin and Dutch that I cannot conveniently translate.
After a while, as Vollenhoven looked at him rather blankly, the learned man condescended to speak to him in simpler phrase.