The Bottle Neck
The furrier's boy had been sent to fetch a bottle of the best wine; and then it was packed into a large basket, together with ham, cheese, sausages, the best butter, and the finest bread. The furrier's daughter herself packed the basket. She was so young, so pretty; her brown eyes laughed, and there was a smile on her lips, which seemed as expressive as her eyes. Her hands were small, soft, and white, but not so white as her forehead and throat. You could see at once that she was one of the prettiest girls in the village, and still she was not yet betrothed.
When the party drove out into the woods, the basket lay in her lap. The neck of the Bottle peeped out from the folds of the white tablecloth; the red sealing wax on the cork looked right in the face of the young girl and looked also at the young sailor who sat beside her. He had been her friend since childhood, and was a portrait painter's son. He had recently passed his examination for the navel service with high honors, and on the next day he was to sail away, far away, to foreign lands. This had been spoken of during the packing of the basket, and it hadn't been quite so pleasant to look at the eyes and lips of the furrier's pretty daughter while there'd been talk of that.
The two young people went for a walk in the green forest, talking - and what did they talk about? The Bottle couldn't hear that, for it was left in the basket. A long time passed before the basket was unpacked, but when it was, it was apparent that some pleasant thing had happened in the meantime, for all eyes were filled with happiness, particularly those of the furrier's daughter, though she said less than the others, and her cheeks blushed like two red roses.
The father unwrapped the Bottle and took up the corkscrew. Yes, it was a strange sensation that the Bottle felt when, for the first time, the cork was drawn! The Bottleneck could never forget that solemn moment; it said "pop!" as the cork was pulled out, and then the wine gurgled when it flowed into the glasses.