"Well, I don't, either, that is, not definitely. But there was something of that kind in his adventures, and if there wasn't, there should have been. Look at them, how frantically they whirl their great arms--just the thing to excite the crazy knight to mortal combat. It bewilders one to look at them. Help me to count all those we can see, Van Mounen. I want a big item for my notebook." And after a careful reckoning, superintended by all the party, Master Ben wrote in pencil, "Saw, Dec., 184--, ninety-eight windmills within full view of Leyden."
He would have been glad to visit the old brick mill in which the painter Rembrandt was born, but he abandoned the project upon learning that it would take them out of their way. Few boys as hungry as Ben was by this time would hesitate long between Rembrandt's home a mile off and tiffin close by. Ben chose the latter.
After tiffin, they rested awhile, and then took another, which, for form's sake, they called dinner. After dinner the boys sat warming themselves at the inn; all but Peter, who occupied the time in another fruitless search for Dr. Boekman.
This over, the party once more prepared for skating. They were thirteen miles from The Hague and not as fresh as when they had left Broek early on the previous day, but they were in good spirits and the ice was excellent.
As the boys skated onward, they saw a number of fine country seats, all decorated and surrounded according to the Dutchest of Dutch taste, but impressive to look upon, with their great, formal houses, elaborate gardens, square hedges, and wide ditches--some crossed by a bridge, having a gate in the middle to be carefully locked at night. These ditches, everywhere traversing the landscape, had long ago lost their summer film and now shone under the sunlight like trailing ribbons of glass.
The boys traveled bravely, all the while performing the surprising feat of producing gingerbread from their pockets and causing it to vanish instantly.
Twelve miles were passed. A few more long strokes would take them to The Hague, when Van Mounen proposed that they should vary their course by walking into the city through the Bosch.
"Agreed!" cried one and all--and their skates were off in a twinkling.