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Title: King Eric and the Outlaws, Vol. 3 - or, the Throne, the Church, and the People in the Thirteenth - Century. Vol. I.
Author: Ingemann, Bernhard Severin, 1789-1862
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "King Eric and the Outlaws, Vol. 3 - or, the Throne, the Church, and the People in the Thirteenth - Century. Vol. I." ***

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Transcriber's Notes:

   1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/kingericandoutl01chapgoog

   2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].



                               KING ERIC

                                  AND

                              THE OUTLAWS.

                               VOL. III.



                                London:
                       Printed by A. Spottiswoode,
                           New-Street-Square.



                               KING ERIC

                                  AND

                              THE OUTLAWS;


                THE THRONE, THE CHURCH, AND THE PEOPLE,

                       IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY.



                                   BY
                                INGEMANN


                     TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH BY
                         JANE FRANCES CHAPMAN.



                              *  *   *   *
                           IN THREE VOLUMES.
                               VOL. III.
                             *   *   *   *



                                LONDON:
                   LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS,
                            PATERNOSTER-ROW.
                                 1843.



                               CHAPTER I.


As soon as they reached the quay, Sir Helmer put his head out of the
hatchway, and beheld a man jump on shore in great haste from the
forecastle. Helmer had only seen his back; he was clad like a German
grocer's apprentice; but he felt pretty certain it was the outlawed
Kaggé. The mantle of the order of the Holy Ghost lay under the
foremost rowing bench. With his drawn sword in his hand. Sir Helmer
now sprang upon deck, together with the Drost's squire, whose left
hand was wrapped in his mantle. Their attire was somewhat rent and
blood-stained, yet they appeared to have found time to bind up each
other's wounds, and even to arrange their dress. Without saying a word,
they passed the armed crew of the vessel, with a salutation of defiance
to Henrik Gullandsfar, and a jeering smile at the heavy and wrathful
Rostocker, whose broad visage glowed with anger. Helmer and the squire
sheathed their swords on the quay, and those who saw them come up from
thence, without noticing the spots of blood upon their clothes, took
them for fellow-travellers, who, in all peacefulness, had arrived in
the Rostock vessel.

"The 'prentice! mark him, Canute!" whispered Sir Helmer to the squire
as they both left the quay with hasty steps, and looked around them on
all sides. "What hath become of him? There!--no--that is another--ha,
there!--no, another again!"

At every turn they fancied they saw the disguised outlaw, but were
frequently deceived by a similar dress and figure. The German grocer's
apprentices thronged in busy crowds on the quay, and near the vessels
in the haven, where they were in constant occupation, and had a number
of porters at work.

These foreign mercantile agents were usually elderly single men, most
frequently with sour, unpleasant countenances, and maintaining much
spruce neatness in their dress, and preciseness in their deportment. As
pepper was the chief article sold in their grocers' booths, they were
usually called pepper 'prentices[1], not without a design to jeer at
their peevishness and irritability. They made themselves conspicuous by
large silver buttons on their long-skirted coats of German cloth; a
woollen cap from Garderige[2], and a long Spanish gold-headed cane,
which served them at the same time for an ell measure, formed part of
their finery; and they were so remarkable for the sameness of their
appearance and deportment, the effect of their living apart from
others, and pursuing a uniform occupation, that they were often exposed
to the jibes and jeers of the people, especially on account of their
celibacy, which was enjoined them by their Hanseatic masters, and was a
necessary consequence of their position as traders in a foreign city,
where they were not privileged to become residents with families.

Sir Helmer stared attentively at every German grocer's apprentice he
met, and became at last so wroth at his frequent mistakes that he was
ready to insult those personages, who in their busy vocation frequently
jostled him in the crowd, "Those accursed pepper-'prentices, they drive
me mad!" he exclaimed at length, and stamped on the ground. "I will
break the neck of the first that brushes against my arm!"

"That is just and reasonable, noble Sir," said the squire; "my fingers
itch every time I see such a fellow. If they will be monks, they should
not be running here and staring every maiden in the face in broad day
light. They are as soon enamoured as any shaven crown--I had well nigh
said--St. Antony forgive me my wicked thought! Look! here we have one
again I saw ye how he twisted his eyes in his head to goggle at that
pretty kitchen maid with the cabbage basket? Shall I buffet him down to
the Catsound, noble Sir?"

"No, surely not, crack-brains!" answered Sir Helmer, sharply; "let us
behave reasonably. Do thou stay here in the ale-house near the haven,
and keep an eye on the outlaw, that he slinks not back to the vessel;
if there is law and justice in the town, he 'scapes us not. Thou dost
surely know him well?"

"Yes, assuredly! Kaggé with the scar; him from whom they scalded off
his knightly honour on the scaffold. I should know him among a thousand
scoundrels, and his black horse to boot. 'Tis a sin such a handsome
beast----"

"Perhaps it was a God's Providence we came here against our will,"
interrupted Helmer. "The red hat from Rome wants to negotiate a treaty
here betwixt the king and the run-away bishop from Hammershuus; they
are now at the castle, and have got the little bishop Johan in their
clutches. It will doubtless end in nothing; but comes the king hither
where the Roskild bishop rules, he may chance to need both our eyes and
our swords. But, what in all the world is the matter here? Look, how
the people flock together!"

Sir Helmer now, for the first time, remarked a singular stir and
disturbance among the inhabitants of the town; there were far greater
numbers of persons in the street than were usually to be seen in the
most populous towns. He went onward, still looking around in search of
the outlawed fugitive; he now heard loud talk among the burghers and
mechanics who passed him, and expressions of wild wrath against the
Lord Bishop Johan and his ecclesiastical guests at Axelhuus. The people
assembled in groups in the streets, and only dispersed, grumbling and
murmuring on the appearance of a troop of men-at-arms. "The provost's
people! The bishop's men!" they muttered one to another, by way of
warning. "Aside! make way, comrades! as yet it is not time. Down to the
old strand!"

"What means this?" said Helmer to the squire, who still followed him on
the quay, alongside the ships in the harbour, staring around with
surprise and curiosity. "It looks like sedition and mutiny."

"Who are ye who bear arms in the bishop's town? Know ye not the rights
and town-law of Copenhagen?" said a powerful voice behind them. They
turned round and saw a man who from his attire seemed to be a burgher,
but who wore a kind of herald's mantle over his long coat, and held a
white staff in his hand, on which were painted the arms of the Bishop
of Roskild. He was accompanied by a crowd of the bishop's retainers.

"I am the king's knight and halberdier, as you see well enough,"
answered Helmer. "What hath your bishop and his town-law to do with
me?"

"Ho! ho, my bold sir!--stick your finger in the ground, and smell where
ye are! You surely come from worldly towns and castles where neither
order nor discipline are kept. What's your name, Sir Halberdier?"

"Helmer Blaa," answered the knight, laying his hand on the hilt of his
sword. "You have perhaps heard that name before?--or shall I teach you
to know it?"

"By your favour, noble sir!" answered the herald in a lowered tone, and
looking at him with surprise; "are you the renowned knight, Helmer, who
beat all the six brothers at once, and of whom the whole town sings the
ballad--


                   "He rides in the saddle so free."


"That I will never deny," answered Helmer, with a nod of satisfaction;
"he that made that ballad about me hath not lied. I will not pride
myself on that account," he added, "it concerned but my own life and
fortune. You brave Copenhageners have won full as much honour in Marsk
Stig's feud, and we shall soon come to an understanding I think."

"I think so too, by my troth, Sir Helmer," said the burgher herald with
cheerfulness, frankly giving him his hand at the same time. "I would
just as little insult you as your master, our excellent young king. As
free as you ride in the saddle by his side, so frank and free for aught
I would hinder it, may you walk here; but the service is strict at this
time. Here's mutiny as you see against our lord, the bishop. I must in
the council's name summon every man bearing arms to the lay court, and
to the council in 'Endaboth.' With the king's knights, especially with
a man like you, I think, however, the lord bishop would make a
difference."

"If the bishop wills to keep his beard, he will doubtless allow the
knight to keep his sword," said Helmer. "If he hath appointed you to
hinder misdeed and crime then help me rather to seize an outlawed
criminal who has been set on shore here from yonder Rostocker. He hath
crept into a German pepper-'prentice coat; he seeks after the king's
life--he is easy to know, it is Kaggé with the scar. If you catch him
dead or alive, I will laud you as a true Danish man, and brave subject
of the king."

"That are we all here at heart, noble Sir," answered the herald,
lowering his voice, and looking cautiously around him while he made a
signal to his armed followers to fall back. "Our loyalty to the king we
have, as you say yourself, shewn right honestly in Marsk Stig's feud;
the king also hath recompensed us for that; he hath honourably helped
us with the fortifications of our good town, and with the new palisade.
Every honest man in Copenhagen would rather obey him than the priestly
rulers; but if we would speak out aloud of any other master here than
the bishop, we must give all our chattels to his treasury, and wander
houseless out of the town. Go in peace, Sir Helmer; but hide your sword
under your mantle! If I light upon the evil doer ye seek, I shall
assuredly seize him and summon him in your name to the council. Where
may you be found yourself?"

"Here, in the inn, close to St. Clement's church--you are an honest man
I perceive--tell me frankly, countryman! would it avail were I to speak
to the provost, or to your bishop touching yon miscreant? He is one of
those impudent regicides. I have my eye also on that braggart
Rostocker; he brings false coin into the country, and hath threatened
the king. What I know further about him I have promised not to speak
of--but wherever I meet him--I am his man!"

"You will surely get no justice here on the king's enemies, Sir
Knight!" whispered the herald. "If ye will take my advice ye will keep
as far off from our bishop and his provost as possible! The king's
friends are not exactly theirs, and must not, either, seem to be ours.
Had I not a good dame and children, you would hardly have seen me with
this staff in hand. If you would catch hold of the pepper 'prentices,"
he added, shutting one eye, "you must seek them at the dice boards in
the ale-house! What may chance there, none need do penance for--but in
the harbour and on the quay none dare touch them. On, fellows! The
stranger knight hath given account of himself like an honourable man,"
cried the herald, with a voice of authority, and proceeded onwards with
his armed train.

Helmer looked after him, and nodded to the squire. "Brisk fellows,
these Copenhageners!" said he. "It is shameful they are forced
to be under the bishop's thumb! That counsel about the taverns and
draught-boards suits not my humour either. We will seek the foe in the
straight path. First, however, let us thank St. George and St. Clement
for our deliverance, and then we can with a good conscience despatch
the rascals wherever we light on them." He approached St. Clement's
church, but found the church door locked, and marked with a large black
cross. "What means this?" he exclaimed. "Is there pestilence in God's
house?"

"Prohibition, interdict, son! according to the enactment 'cum ecclesiâ
Dacianâ,'" answered an old Dominican monk, who was kneeling before a
stone crucifix without the closed church door, and now arose slowly.
"The sins of the high-born are about to be visited upon those of low
degree; our most pious bishop hath no longer dared to withhold the
great national punishment which the holy Father hath commanded on
account of the presumptuous imprisonment of the archbishop, contrary to
the constitution of all holy laws. Virgo amata! ora pro nobis!" he
muttered, and folded his hands.

"The devil take those Latin laws, with reverence be it spoken,
venerable father!" answered the knight. "The archbishop is at liberty;
and is it now the time to punish a nation and country for that old sin
of the king's, if it really was a sin?"

"Assuredly it was a heavy sin and injustice," answered the monk; "but
the chastisement is too hard--that is the truth--and it falls on the
souls of the innocent--the people are only made ungodly and uproarious
by it; as we have proofs daily. If the king is not come hither to
bethink himself, and do penance, the prospect may be a drear one for us
all."

"Is he come?" asked Helmer hastily.

"Not here to the town--but to the royal castle at Sorretslóv; his
plenipotentiaries are already at Axelhuus. Alas! yes! it is high time
he should give in, ere the interdict drives the whole nation to
rebellion and destruction.--Ora pro nobis!" he muttered again, and
turned towards the crucifix.

"Believe ye he hath come hither to humble himself, and crouch at the
bishop's feet? venerable father?" answered the knight; "then you will
find your belief to fail you in this matter, as I observe this tumult
concerns not the king, but your own little bishop and his overbearing
guests. Against this stupid church-shutting, a remedy will surely be
found at home. The nation is pitiful indeed which would let itself be
shut out from God's house while there are sturdy axes and iron crows in
the country."

"Alas, ye children of the world! ye worldly lords! ye will ever forward
with might and violence,--ye would at last storm heaven's gates if ye
were able," groaned the monk; "from the great and mighty doth all that
defiance and scandal proceed; and the poor, deluded people! _they_
listen but too willingly to such wild and ungodly counsel. Look! yonder
comes another flock of erring sheep, who have turned into wolves! There
they come, with spears and staves, like those who followed Judas, that
child of wrath. Hear how they bluster and storm. God be merciful! They
are surely rushing hither; they will assuredly open the church by
force."

The dismayed Dominican was preparing to fly, but the insurgents placed
themselves in his way. "Tarry a little, pious father!" shouted the
ringleader of the troop, a tall carpenter, with a large axe in his
hand. "Thou shalt read us the Holy Scripture before St. Clement's
altar; we have heard neither vespers nor mass for three days. Force the
church door, comrades!"

"Are ye distraught?" cried the monk; "will ye do violence to the house
of God!"

"No chattering! Force the door, countrymen!" shouted the leader.
"Neither St. Peter nor our Lady have taken it amiss of us. Mass goes on
cheerily in all the churches. We will hear our vespers at St. Nicholas.
Well done my lads! Look! now is the interdict ended! The church door
gave way before the ponderous strokes; the insurgents poured into the
church with a wild shout of victory, dragging the Dominican along with
them.

"That will be but a disturbed worship, noble sir," said the squire; "we
had better reserve our piety for another time. Look, yonder comes a
fresh troop! Nay, look! They have balista and cross-bows with them;
they will now surely assault Axelhuus."

"That hits my fancy!" exclaimed Sir Helmer, joyfully. "This prelatical
tyranny should not be tolerated by any Danish man. I come at the right
time; there may be something to take a hand in here. If they will
besiege the bishop's nest, I Will teach them at least to do it briskly.
Stay thou on the quay, and watch the pepper 'prentices, Canute! I must
set the honest burghers a little to rights with the balista." So saying
Sir Helmer hastened with rapid strides down to the old strand, where
the restless crowds of insurgents flocked together in wild tumult.



                               CHAP. II.


The inmates of Axelhuus appeared to feel sufficiently secure to despise
these disturbances which had commenced, though in a less degree, some
days before.

The bishop's well-fortified castle was situated on an island, the
ferry-boats that usually plied there lay, during these commotions, in
the harbour, under the high walls of the castle, by which means all
communication between the town and the castle Island was cut off. The
distance from the town, however, was not so great, but that Axelhuus
might be reached from the strand by arrows, and especially by balista,
when these dangerous engines of war were worked with proper skill. In
the upper hall at Axelhuus, sat the spiritual and temporal ruler of the
town, the little authoritative bishop Johan of Roskild, in solemn
council, between his guests Archbishop Grand and Cardinal Isarnus. At
the archbishop's right hand sat his faithful friend, the haughty abbot
from the forest monastery. Grand's agent, the canon Nicholas from
Roskild, was also present, as well as the canon Hans Rodis, who had
assisted his flight from Sjöberg. At the great hall table sat also the
cardinal's famulus and his secretary, with two Italian ecclesiastics
belonging to his train. For the convenience of the foreign cardinal,
the conversation was chiefly carried on in Latin. The lord of the
castle, the little bishop Johan, seemed to have assumed a determined
and authoritative deportment in imitation of the archbishop, by whose
side, however, he appeared wholly insignificant, although he now acted
as the protector both of the powerful Grand, and of the cardinal. He
now and then cast an observant glance out of the window towards the
town and the increasing crowd on the strand, yet without betraying fear
or uneasiness. Archbishop Grand had not yet overcome the consequences
of his severe imprisonment. He rested his swollen feet on a soft
stuffed foot-stool. There was a look of gloomy asperity on his pale,
emaciated countenance. Every movement appeared to cost him an effort,
while all his vital energy seemed as if concentrated in his large
flashing eye. He sat lost in reverie, gazing before him in silence,
while the cardinal, with a lurking smile in his small crafty eye,
perused a document which his secretary had just drawn up.

"Trust him not, venerable brother," whispered the abbot from the forest
monastery in the archbishop's ear; "he secretly sides with the king: I
know it; he aims at your archbishopric."

Grand changed colour and clenched his hands convulsively, but was
silent, and cast a searching look at the papal nuncio.

"In the name and on the behalf of the holy father!" commenced the
cardinal, in Latin, ridding himself of the red cap which covered his
tonsure; "ere the royal ambassadors come into our presence, I once more
counsel my aggrieved brother to submission and a wise resignation. In
this treaty which I have here caused to be cursorily drawn up, and the
contents of which you already know Archbishop Grand! I have at your own
request, according to the strict principles of ecclesiastical law,
enjoined the King of Denmark to make such a considerable compensation
for towns, villages, castles, and temporal offices, that I see
beforehand he will reject the negociation."

"I now reject it also, even on these conditions," answered the
Archbishop impetuously, "That in which King Eric hath sinned against me
and my holy office, he can never fully atone for, even with the loss of
his--crown!"

"You surely would not, however, strain the bow still tighter, venerable
brother! and at last insist on your king being punished by loss of
honour, life, and possessions, like a criminal by temporal justice?"
asked the cardinal, with a crafty smile on his unruffled countenance,
"in the matter of soul and salvation, you have dealt as hardly with him
as possible. Forget not, my venerable brother! That your opponent is a
crowned and anointed monarch, at the head of a brave and loyal people,
and with many mighty princes for his friends! Every spiritual decree to
which a temporal potentate will not _voluntarily_ submit out of
christian piety and humility, will be ineffectual, and become the scoff
of the children of this world, especially here in the north, where even
the holy lightnings, as I perceive, fall somewhat cooled and weakened.
The king's charges against my venerable brother in Christ are, besides,
very grave and heavy, and," added the Cardinal with a thoughtful look,
"if the royal advocate in Rome can but prove the half of what is
alleged, you will assuredly act most wisely in lowering your demands
somewhat, and will even desire yourself that the whole unhappy affair
should be hushed up. This, at all events, is my brotherly counsel, and
if you could master yourself so far as to follow it, an honourable
treaty will doubtless be possible. It is my heartfelt wish, as well for
your peace as that of the church, and to prevent all scandal and
dissension for the future--that you, with consent of the holy father,
should exchange the archbishopric of Lund for another (perhaps of more
importance, and more worthy of your merits) without these northern
lands, where your personal misunderstanding with temporal authorities
will hardly ever be wholly removed. I say this with kindly concern for
my excellent brother's peace and safety. Even at this moment we are
both, in some sort, in the power of the temporal ruler, of whose
impetuosity you have had such sensible proofs."

"Ay indeed, your eminence!" exclaimed Grand in the greatest
exasperation, as he kicked the footstool from him, and rose, "Speak ye
now to me in this tone? Was it for this you summoned me from my secure
Hammershuus, and bade me trust to the passport of my deadly foe? You
think, perhaps, to have trapped me into a snare I cannot escape from!
You imagine, perhaps, that my pious colleague, our mutual and venerable
host, who here sways town and castle, will, out of base and cowardly
fear, betray his friend and guest, and lawful archbishop, to flatter
the temporal tyrant, who already, as I perceive, hath rendered a papal
nuncio his spiritual slave? No, lord Cardinal! In that case, you know
neither me, nor the meritorious servant of the Lord here, at our side.
If he hath already for my sake, and that of the church, with courageous
energy exposed himself to the tyrant's wrath, and even to tumult and
sedition in his own town, he will surely not now stoop to degrade
himself by an act of treachery which would brand him as a dastardly
traitor. My safety and freedom are provided for; any moment I please I
can embark, and neither the king nor the seditious burgher-pack shall
forbid me to wend free from hence, and seek justice before St. Peter's
judgment seat. Here I dare speak out freely that which I deem of you,
as well as of that presumptuous and ungodly king. You have not
fulfilled your duty here as papal nuncio.--Instead of confirming ban
and interdict with the holy Father's authority----"

"That is my own affair, my brother!" interrupted Isarnus, with cool
calmness, "Since your own counsellors have enforced the interdict
according to the constitution of Veilé no confirmation was needed. We
speak now only of the king, and whether you will be reconciled to him
and recall the ban."

"No, never! To all eternity!" cried Grand, impetuously; "and I laugh at
his accusations: that which I once spoke of his father's murder, and
which he now makes the plea for his tyrannical conduct, I dare repeat
here, and before the highest judgment seat. If the king's murder was
_destined_ to take place, it was unfortunate that it did _not_ take
place sixteen years before, then that wretched monarch would have left
no posterity behind him, and the descendants of Eric Glipping would
never have dishonoured Denmark's throne. Yes! I made that intrepid
speech, and I repeat it now; but I deny all share in the tyrant's
murder, and all connection with Duke Valdemar and the outlaws. It
matters not to me, henceforth, who reigns in Denmark, be it Duke
Valdemar or a Jew, a Saracen or a heathen, or--the devil himself, if
only King Eric and his wretched brother may never be obeyed here as
kings and lieges."

"Will you also defend what you _now_ say, before the highest judgment
seat? venerable brother!" asked Isarnus, with unruffled calmness, and
with an almost imperceptible smile. "Your bodily weakness is, however,
reasonable excuse for your not being always master of your mind and
tongue. Now I have heard your declaration, despite the exaggeration of
feeling it betrays, it still in some sort agrees, both with the will of
the Holy Father and of the king. Your cause immediately depends upon
the papal see; nevertheless, let the king's ambassadors appear, my
worthy brother!" he said to Bishop Johan, who instantly rose and left
the hall.

There was a silence of a few moments. Grand had resumed his seat; he
rested his long chin upon his clenched hand, and seemed angry, both at
his own vehemence, and the calmness of the cardinal. Shortly afterwards
Bishop Johan entered, accompanied by two ecclesiastics. They were the
king's ambassadors; the provincial prior of the Dominicans, the
venerable Master Olaus, with his handsome snow-white head, and Esger
Iuul, the canon of Ribé--a young priest, well versed in law, and of a
bold, intelligent countenance. They had been waiting for admission some
hours in an antechamber. They now greeted the prelates with reverence,
and the cardinal half rose from his seat to return their salutation;
but the Archbishop remained seated in gloomy reverie. Bishop Johan
requested the king's plenipotentiaries to seat themselves. The
provincial prior sat down, but the canon remained standing, and began,
"Pardon me, your eminence! and you, most learned lord archbishop! and
all ye reverend ecclesiastics! if I am here necessitated to say what
displeases you I stand forth here, not as the church's, but as the
king's, my temporal master's, servant and spokesman. What he hath
ordered me to propound, I must utter, even though I may not dare to
attribute to myself the thoughts and opinions which I have taken on
myself to expound."

"Speak boldly, brother Canonicus! I have been advised of your
authority," interrupted the cardinal, with a gracious nod, and the
canon continued, "My lord and king hath three hours ago arrived at his
royal castle here in the village of Sorretslóv, without the town of
Copenhagen, in order personally to confirm and sign what may be here,
with his consent, agreed upon; and, in case of need, with his royal
power and authority to hinder the breach of the public peace, with
which state and kingdom are threatened by the presence of Bishop Grand,
and the enforcement of the interdict. He desires not to see _that_ man
in his presence whom he considers as an accomplice in the murder of his
royal father of blessed memory, and who hath also dared to pronounce
the church's ban on his own royal head; but the peace and safe conduct
he hath promised his opponent, he will honourably and chivalrously
observe. The King hath expressly enjoined me to declare, that he comes
hither in no wise to excuse and defend that, which, compelled by
necessity, he hath been forced to enact against canonical law and the
constitution of Veilé, by the personal imprisonment of Archbishop
Grand. This affair he confidently trusts to justify before the highest
tribunal in Christendom; but he comes hither as lord of the land, for
the restoration of public peace, and as the accuser of the fugitive
archbishop before his eminence the papal nuncio. All reconciliation in
this kingdom with this prelate, charged as he is with treason, my
liege, the king, decidedly rejects; but he promises him free and safe
departure for Rome, whither he hath already expedited his ambassadors,
and whence he awaits a righteous sentence upon the accused. Till this
sentence is awarded, he demands to be freed from the unlawful ban
pronounced upon him by a prisoned traitor. (These are not my words, but
the king's.) He demands likewise that the kingdom be freed from the
interdict, which the councils of Veilé, Roskild, and Lund, have
announced to his loyal and innocent people. Against the right of the
councils and bishops therein assisting, to take this step without
consent of their chapter and the rest of the clergy, the chapter of the
cathedral of Roskild hath solemnly protested--and the provincial prior
of the Dominicans, the venerable Master Olaus, is here present in
person to confirm the protest."

The aged provincial prior now rose--"In the name of my holy order, and
that of the chapter of Roskild cathedral, I declare the conduct of the
councils in this matter to be unlawful and invalid," he said in a clear
and calm voice, "I consider not the chapters and the Danish clergy to
be under the necessity of giving up the performance of divine worship,
and I require you, Bishop Johan of Roskild! as speedily as possible to
recall the unhappy church interdict, which hath already caused such
great disturbance here in the town, where you, yourself, meanwhile,
bear rule. If God's service is to cease, Satan's service will soon
commence, with all manner of dissoluteness and profligacy; of discord
and variance between the shepherd and his flock; spiritual, as well as
all temporal peace and security will be at an end, and no priest will
be sure of his life. Enthusiasts and sectarians, atheists and Leccar
brothers, will inundate the land, and mislead the people; laymen and
drunken guild-brethren will preside in the congregation, as they have
already begun to do here. Neither the church nor the holy father can
desire that we, to maintain the stern and impracticable constitution of
Veilé, should overthrow all order and fear of God in Denmark, and
suffer the people to fall into barbarism, and into the greatest
errors--ay, even into heathenism and devil-worship. In the name of the
Danish clergy, I solemnly protest against the interdict; but in thus
protesting against it, I consider that I in nowise encroach on the
churches freedom, or attack you, most learned archbishop!--or any other
spiritual authority. The church but uses its freedom and power in such
wise, that we, its servants, should not corrupt and destroy the souls
entrusted to us, instead of leading them to the peace of God and
eternal salvation! Dixi et liberavi animam. Now act as you can answer
to God and your conscience, venerable sirs! but you will be responsible
in this world and the next for the consequences! They might prove
bloody and terrible."

He hardly finished speaking, ere a shower of stones and arrows struck
against the wall with great noise, forced in the windows, and poured
into the midst of the hall, among the dismayed ecclesiastics, who
started from their seats, and sought safety between the massive window
pillars, and behind the thick walls of the hall; the cardinal also
quitted his seat, but the archbishop remained seated with an air of
defiance.

"Doth he break his promise of safe conduct? the godless king of
Belial!" cried Grand. "Shall I and my faithful friends be stoned here
like prophets and martyrs, that our blood may cry to Heaven and call
down the lightnings of eternal damnation upon his head?"

"I witness before the Lord and our Holy Lady! The king hath no share in
this attack," resumed the provincial prior, who remained standing.
"When he hears of it, he will assuredly highly disapprove this unlawful
and presumptuous breach of peace: but here, venerable sirs! you already
see the consequences of the interdict; the whole town is in uproar; the
mob was storming against the closed churches of St. Peter and Our Lady,
as we were on our way hither, and threatened with fire and sword. If
you do not now yield to necessity. Bishop Johan! Axelhuus will be
perhaps taken by storm, or laid in ashes ere midnight."

A fresh shower of stones and arrows interrupted the provincial prior's
speech; he crossed himself and retreated. A large stone from a balista
fell just before the archbishop's face, and split the table. Grand
arose, with a look which flashed fire, and quitted his dangerous
position.

"Follow me, my guests!" said the little Bishop Johan in a squeaking
voice, and hastily opening a door,--"Could we but pass unharmed through
the north corridor to the tower, no arrow or balista stone shall reach
us. The castle can stand both siege and storm. I will show you that I
suffer not myself to be thus mastered by my rebellious flock; but we
must hasten--here we are still exposed to the greatest danger." So
saying, he himself quitted the hall in great trepidation; all followed
him through a long corridor to a more secure retreat. Meanwhile, the
attack upon the castle increased in vigour every moment, and the
whole northern wing, which looked upon the town, was everywhere
exposed to arrows and showers of stones. Some exclaimed that they were
wounded--they rushed forward headlong, and jostled each other without
ceremony. Care for personal safety had nearly chased away all regard to
rank and position and decorum--most of the ecclesiastics ran past the
archbishop and the cardinal. The papal nuncio, however, passed hastily
and unharmed through the corridor, accompanied by the provincial prior
and Esger Iuul. Grand's slow and laboured step was alone supported by
the abbot from the forest monastery, whose heavy-built person permitted
him not to haste. The long corridor, through the whole length of which
they were forced to pass, had, on the one side, open gothic arches over
a walled parapet. Here at every moment poured in a number of arrows and
stones, which forced the fugitive prelates to pursue their way,
stooping, and almost creeping under the parapet.

"God's judgment upon the presumptuous, and upon their traitorous king!"
panted forth the archbishop. "It is his creatures who stir up the
people. Now he rejoices over our distress, and would make use of it for
our humiliation."

"St. Bent and St. Peter assist us! Stoop your head!" cried the heavy
Abbot, creeping under the parapet. "Yonder comes another balista stone!
Merciful heaven, what a swarm of people!" he continued, looking out
cautiously towards the town. "Hear how they bluster! They utter your
name, venerable brother, with ungodly oaths; they are busy with
boats--they are dragging more balista forward. I see one of the king's
halberdiers among them."

"Mark! _he_ is the ring-leader, the faithless despot!" cried the
archbishop, "from him comes all our tribulation, and the country's
misery! Send forth thy destroying angel, righteous Lord! root out the
perjurer! Pluck him up by the roots!"

"This way, venerable sirs! and ye are safe!" said a hollow voice from
the end of the corridor, and a tall manly form with a wild pallid
countenance, appeared at the door; he was clad like a German pepper
'prentice, and had a large red scar on his forehead.

"My guest of the sanctuary! your persecuted friend and avenger!"
whispered the abbot from the forest monastery. "St. Peter and St. Bent
be thanked--the All-righteous hath heard your prayer, the destroying
angel is come."

The tall form in the door-way laid his finger on his lips, and
disappeared with the two prelates, while the door of the corridor
closed after them.



                               CHAP. III.


The attack upon Axelhuus had thrown the whole town into the greatest
agitation. Even the most quiet and peaceable burghers could not conceal
their satisfaction on the occasion, and many of them took an open share
in the insurrection. The wild shouts of exultation which were heard
each time a shower of stones poured into the castle, sufficiently
showed the general feeling of indignation, not alone against prelatical
rule but chiefly against the archbishop, for whose sake, and by whose
powerful influence, the exasperating interdict had been enforced.
Grand's name was the watchword on the commencement of every fresh
attack. The provost, with his armed attendants, vainly strove to
restore order and quietness; wherever he appeared with the bishop's
men-at-arms, he was instantly driven back by the enraged populace. The
report of the king's arrival at Sorretslóv, and the uneasy terms he was
on with the inmates of Axelhuus, had given a new and loyal impulse to
the insurrection; as the mob now believed that, by their attack on the
ecclesiastical dignitaries, they were making common cause with the
king, against his and the kingdom's arrogant foes. The provost had
ordered all the gates of the town to be locked, but the insurgents had
forced them, and a great number of people, among whom were some of the
richest and most peaceable inhabitants, hastened out of the north gate
of Sorretslóv to see the king and intreat his support. Another crowd
flocked to the tower of St. Mary's church, and rang the alarm bell.
"Away with the holy wolves at the castle!" was the cry throughout the
streets. Without the well-lighted council-house, where the council was
assembled, and whither several captive insurgents had been brought,
there was a fearful uproar. The mob demanded the liberation of the
prisoners and threatened to fire the council-house. There was a great
tumult also at the Catsound:--"Out with all the boats!" was the cry of
the mob, "Throw the grocer-wares overboard! Drive the pepper 'prentices
to the devil! Let's fire the castle! Let no soul escape! Death to the
foes of king and country!"

Meanwhile there were more cries and shouts than deeds in most places,
and the wild alarmists were in motion in the most opposite directions,
but, on the old strand, a person was seen who had brought order and
plan into the attack; it was Sir Helmer Blaa, who, with warlike
eagerness, posted the balista on the strand, and instructed the
burghers how to use these engines with force and effect. For some hours
he stood unwearied at this his favourite occupation, and where he led
the attack the castle sustained considerable damage.

The captive insurgents meanwhile had been liberated at the
council-house. A great number of the council had joined the insurgents'
party, and taken up arms against the bishop. The rest of the
counsellors had escaped at the imminent peril of their lives, and some
of them had succeeded in getting out amongst the crowd through the
north gate, and reaching the king's castle at Sorretslóv, where they
found the king already on horseback, at the head of his knights and
spearmen, in readiness to enter the town himself and quell the
insurrection.

The evening was closing in. The insurrection had already risen to such
a height that most of the burghers had become alarmed at their own
undertaking, and every resident inhabitant began to fear for the safety
of his property and family; while the unbridled mob considered
themselves freed from all laws of decency and order. The king now
galloped in through the north gate, by Count Henrik's side, at
the head of his troop of knights, and followed by the tall, handsome,
lance-bearers who formed his body guard.

At St. Peter's church, close to the northern gate of the town, and at
St. Mary's, his progress was almost hindered by the thronging crowds.
At both places the insurgents had forced the church doors and compelled
the priests to perform mass. The pious chaunts from the churches
sounded strange and mournful, amid the wild shouts of the mutineers.

"That devotion doubtless proceeds more from defiance that piety," said
the king to Count Henrik, "yet assuredly, none shall hinder them from
God's worship, provided it be conducted with decency and order." He
ordered a guard to be stationed by both churches to check all
disturbances, and rode on. Wherever he appeared he was received with
the most devoted homage, and with joyous acclamations; which were,
however, somewhat subdued in those who were most obstreperous, on
seeing the provost and two of the council among the king's nearest
followers. An uneasy murmur was heard, here and there, and the people
gradually began to comprehend that the king came not hither to take
part with the insurgents against their rulers, but to maintain the
lawful government of the town, and restore public tranquillity.

"Silence, good people! Let every one go to his home! Lay down your
arms!" said the king, in a grave but kindly tone, as he returned the
greetings of the people and stopped his horse.

A silence ensued and the crowd thronged around him with attention to
hear what he said. "I come as your protector, and the upholder of law
and justice in my kingdom," he continued. "That which you can
reasonably demand of the bishop he shall grant you. The shutting
of the churches shall be at an end--the church-doors shall be thrown
open--that I promise you. As to the rest, you must obey your rulers,"
he added sternly. "What hath happened here shall be narrowly inquired
into. There shall be peace and order in the town; he who from this hour
takes the law into his own hands, shall lose his life and reap the
reward of his deeds." An instant stillness prevailed wherever these
words were heard. The insurgents, and all who bore arms, decamped; but
a great crowd of unarmed burghers followed the king with loud
acclamations through the streets.

At the old strand the bombardment of Axelhuus was still carried on with
great zeal. The castle island was surrounded by boats filled with
bowmen and torch-bearers. Preparations were already begun for storming
and firing Axelhuus, The fight was now maintained on both sides, and
arrows and stones from balista were shot from the towers and
battlements of the castle.

"The king!--the king! with the provost and council," was re-echoed from
mouth to mouth, and it seemed as if a stroke of lightning had lamed
every arm. "Long live the king!" shouted the insurgents, and many threw
down their weapons. "No more war!--the king will judge between us and
the bishop!" The clattering of the horses' hoofs was already heard; the
crowd gave way on all sides to make room for the king and his knights.
The people shouted and made signals to the bowmen and brandmen in the
numerous boats which surrounded the castle island; in an instant nearly
all the brands and torches were extinguished in the water, and the
assailants rowed hastily back from the besieged castle. The shooting,
however, still continued from a battery of balista on the shore: it was
here Sir Helmer had stationed himself. His whole attention was so
engrossed in the working of the balista, that he was unconscious of
what was passing around him; he thought the bowmen and torch-throwers
had been put to flight, but observed not the general cessation of the
attack, nor the arrival of the king. "Go on, go on, countrymen!" he
shouted. "Cheerily! brave Danish men! Will you let yourselves be
worsted by the bishop's slaves? Down with their towers and walls!" He
was still issuing the word of command to the balista slingers, when, to
his dismay, he heard the king's voice over head.

"What see I? Sir Helmer! you here! and in the midst of rebels? Is this
accompanying the Drost to Stockholm? Is it thus you serve and obey your
king? He is your prisoner, Count Henrik!"

"My liege and sovereign!" exclaimed Sir Helmer, stretching out his arms
towards the king, who halted before him on his tall white charger, with
a look of stern menace. "Hear me, I conjure you!"

"Not a word!" interrupted the king, with vehemence; "would you make me
a faithless perjurer? In the castle you are besieging I have promised
peace and safety to my deadly foe. I break not my word, even were it
pledged to the devil. If a hair of his head hath been injured it shall
cost you dear. Take my halberdier with you, Count Henrik--put him under
knightly arrest at the castle! To-morrow he shall be judged for his
lawless conduct. Take my greeting and assurance of peace to the bishop
and cardinal," he added in a lower tone. "Take to Grand my last behest
and warning! You are responsible for the observance of our passport!"

"Your will shall be obeyed, my liege!" answered Count Henrik, springing
from his horse. "Follow me quietly, Sir Helmer," he whispered to the
restless and impetuous captain of the balista slingers, "to-morrow you
can justify yourself--now you must be silent and obey."

Helmer bit his lip in wrath as he gave up his sword to Henrik, and
followed him in silence. Count Henrik, with a considerable train of
knights and squires, took instant possession of a barge which the
insurgents had just deserted. He caused a white flag to be hoisted, and
made preparations for crossing over to the castle island, while the
king furthermore enjoined peace and quietness in the town, and rode
with the rest of his train the whole length of the strand, amid the
vast concourse of people, who partly from curiosity, partly from
attachment, continued to accompany him. The balista were instantly
dragged off the shore, from whence the armed insurgents had also
decamped, awed apparently by the king's severity towards one of his
favourite knights.

By the church of St. Nicolas, opposite the little island called "The
Skipper's Ground," the king was again stopped by a numerous and unruly
mob, in which there were many armed men of a gloomy and wild
appearance, who were muttering prayers and psalms, interlarded with
imprecations and threats against all priests and bishops. On the king's
appearance the uproar was hushed, and most of the weapons disappeared
at his command. The church doors were also forced here; all the
ecclesiastics and their attendants had fled. The people themselves had
rung the bell for vespers, and had dragged a monk into the church in
order to compel him to sing the Avé, despite the interdict of bishop
and pope.

The king instantly dismounted and entered the church. Half dead with
terror, and as it were with his life in his hands, an aged Dominican
stood before the altar with rent garments, and strove in vain to chaunt
the customary evening prayers with calmness and dignity, while the
turbulent crowd surrounded him with looks of wild menace, and with
torches, axes, and glittering swords in their hands. A group of
butchers and half-drunken mechanics, headed by a tall carpenter, stood
nearest the altar, and frequently interrupted the monk with scoffs and
threats.

"Peace here, in the Lord's house!" said the king in a loud voice, as he
entered the church. "Bend the knee, all of ye, and pray the merciful
God to pardon you! Go in peace, pious father!--if thou darest not to
pray for our souls.--God hears us, however, despite the ban, if we are
but sincere. The All-righteous be gracious to us all, and pardon us our
sins!" So saying, the king bent his knee before the altar, and all
fell, as if struck by lightning, on the floor. A deathlike silence
prevailed for a moment.

It now appeared as if the aged Dominican was suddenly inspired by a
feeling of lofty and intrepid enthusiasm. In a solemn voice he chaunted
a "Gloria," and afterwards an "Ave," in which he was followed by the
king and the whole congregation. The king then arose, and calm and
silent quitted the church. He mounted his horse and rode onwards. "Holy
Virgin, pray for us!" still resounded with calm solemnity from the
kneeling congregation in St. Nicolas church; and when the king again
returned through the strand street opposite Axelhuus, to repair to his
castle at Sorretslóv, tranquillity appeared to be fully restored.
Lights gleamed in the calm spring eve in most of the windows; at
Axelhuus also, all now seemed tranquil. Count Henrik had sent the
provost and two counsellors on before him in a small boat to announce
his coming to the bishop, while the Count himself with his train in the
great barge approached the castle island with tardy strokes of the oar.
Sir Helmer stood silent and thoughtful, as a disarmed captive, in the
barge by Count Henrik's side, indignant at being now carried to
imprisonment in that castle which he had recently, as a conquering
general, assisted the burghers to besiege. He now, indeed, perceived
that he had acted rashly in taking a part in the insurrection; but he
thought, nevertheless, that the king's conduct towards him was much too
severe; his looks and glowing cheek betrayed that his pride was deeply
wounded. As he revolved these thoughts a boat from the castle island
rowed rapidly towards them, and glided close past the barge. "Ha! the
pepper 'prentice!" exclaimed Sir Helmer, suddenly springing like a
madman into the boat. Count Henrik saw with surprise that his captive
commenced wrestling on the gunwale with a German pepper 'prentice, and
plunged with his antagonist into the deep stream, while the boat
disappeared with the speed of an arrow in the twilight.

"Save him, save him!" shouted Count Henrik, and stopped the rowers. Sir
Helmer's plumed hat floated on the water at some distance; it was taken
up; but neither himself nor his unknown adversary were to be seen. The
rapid current appeared to have instantly borne them away, and all
search after them with oars and boat-hooks proved fruitless.

"The Lord have mercy on his soul!" said Count Henrik with a sigh. "He
was the boldest knight I ever knew--but a thoughtless madcap he ever
was. He hath escaped captivity though, and perhaps a stern sentence
to-morrow; but the king hath lost a true friend. On, fellows! We find
him not--perhaps he hath helped himself; he was a good swimmer."

In the boat which shot past, and which had been nearly upset by the
sudden and violent struggle, two persons attired as ecclesiastics had
been seen, and the rowers thought they recognised in one of them the
archbishop's crafty friend Johan Rodis.

In the harbour of Axelhuus lay the royal vessel "Waldemar the
Victorious," on board of which the archbishop, through the mediation of
the cardinal, had been brought from Hammershuus, under royal convoy.
According to the tenor of the passport, the captain with all his crew
had been sworn by the archbishop, and had bound themselves to convey
him from Axelhuus at a moment's warning, in case he should not believe
himself safe, and also to bring him and the papal nuncio to whatever
foreign port they chose. Just as Count Henrik was about to land on the
castle island a large rowing boat approached the royal vessel.

"Our lord bishop, with the archbishop, and the red hat!" said the
boatmen; "they are making for the Waldemar."

"Then row after them with all your might!" ordered Count Henrik; "there
is no time to lose; haste!" Ere they reached the ship, the cardinal and
the archbishop were already on board, and the sails were about to be
hoisted. In the boat stood Bishop Johan with a number of clerks, and
was wishing his exalted guests a safe and fortunate passage.

"I bring you the same good wishes from my liege and sovereign, most
venerable sirs!" cried County Henrik, taking off his hat. "Your safe
departure hath been cared for. As soon as the king learnt your
distress, and the insurrection of the mob, he hasted hither in person
to your protection. I have commands to escort you out of the harbour,
and see you safe from all possible danger."

"Bring the King of Denmark my farewell, and my thanks for his support,"
answered the cardinal, through his interpreter. "I have been myself a
witness to it, and I must see justice done to his generosity towards
his foe, as well as to his kingly temper, and his strict keeping of
promise. I now quit the country without having succeeded in
establishing here the peace I desired; but I trust once again to see
King Eric and Denmark under happier auspices."

"When you come with peace and blessing, your eminence will be welcome!"
answered Count Henrik; "but you have already seen solemn proofs of the
temper with which the Danish people put up with ban and interdict. My
liege the king prays your eminence to bring the holy father tidings of
this, together with his humble and filial greeting; he places with
confidence his own and his people's just cause before the judgment seat
of his holiness; but whatever the sentence may prove to be, according
to ecclesiastical and canonical law, my liege, King Eric of Denmark, as
the temporal ruler of this land and the protector of public peace, is
necessitated in the most peremptory manner to declare Archbishop Grand
of Lund for ever banished from these kingdoms and lands."

"Banished!" repeated a hollow voice from the vessel, and the tall
Archbishop Grand appeared at the gangway. "Who dares pronounce that
sentence upon an anointed prince of the church? For this no king on
earth hath power. That king's servant who hath dared to bring me such a
message, I declare to be under the ban of the church."

Count Henrik started, but still stood calm and courteous with hat in
hand waiting to hear what the bishop had further to say.

"Whether I again set foot on Danish ground," continued Grand, "depends
upon myself and the holy father. I now shake off the dust from my
martyred feet, and quit my ungrateful father-land; but ere the fullest
compensation hath been made me for all I have here suffered contrary to
the laws of God and man, there shall no blessing come upon state and
country, and upon Denmark's excommunicated king--that I swear by the
Almighty and all the saints! Tell the tyrant who sent you--from me, the
church's primate in the north--should King Eric Erieson now dare,
without dispensation and consent of the church, to complete his ungodly
espousals in forbidden consanguinity, it shall surely be to the eternal
damnation of himself and kingdom. Amen!"

At these words Count Henrik stamped in the barge, without however
vouchsafing an answer to the incensed prelate. "Captain!" he called to
the commander of the ship, who stood with his hat in his hand at the
forecastle; "you will convey Archbishop Grand, in the king's name and
under his convoy, safe on shore wherever he chooses, excepting only the
king's states and kingdom. Whoever should dare to bring back this
disturber of the peace to Denmark shall be judged as a traitor and
rebel."

At Count Henrik's signal, the sails were hoisted, and the vessel sailed
out of port with the dangerous prelate, whose last words to his native
land were those of the so oft-repeated ban.

Count Henrik now greeted the lord of the castle of Axelhuus, the little
bishop Johan, and delivered the king's message of peace and protection;
under conditions, however, which he was invited to consider in an
interview with the king at his castle of Sorretslóv. Count Henrik then
gave a parting salutation to this friend and unsuccessful imitator of
the archbishop, who seemed to meditate a haughty and impressive reply;
but without awaiting it, Henrik made a signal to his boatmen to row
forward, and followed the departing vessel at some distance, until it
was seen to be fairly out of port and in open sea. The count then
returned with his train to the town, where he instantly mounted his
horse, and rode in silent and serious thought, but with cheerful looks
and at a brisk trot through the town, and from thence on the road to
Sorretslóv.



                               CHAP. IV.


At night there were great rejoicings in Copenhagen. The king's presence
seemed to secure the peaceable part of the community against further
disturbance of the public tranquillity.

The occurrences of the day had given satisfaction, and there was a
general feeling of enthusiasm respecting the fortunate issue of the
insurrection. That which had been aimed at was attained. The shutting
of the churches was at an end, and the stern prelatical government of
the town had been cowed. After this violent outbreak of the people's
wrath, it was now hoped that no interdict would ever be carried into
effect in Denmark. The report that the archbishop and the cardinal had
quitted Axelhuus, and that the archbishop was banished for life, was
spread throughout the whole town, ere midnight, and increased the
general rejoicing. Where the lights had been extinguished in the
windows after the king's departure, they were now re-lighted. The
archbishop's flight and banishment were thus celebrated throughout the
town as an important victory over ecclesiastical tyranny, and as a
happy consequence of the public spirit of the burghers, and of the
king's high courage. In the tavern near the Catsound, in the vicinity
of St. Clement's church, sat the Drost's squire Canute, late at night,
merrily carousing with a number of young Copenhageners, who had eagerly
taken part in the besieging of Axelhuus. In the midst of the group sat
an elderly burgher, with a full cup of mead in his hand drinking with
them, amid songs and bold scoffs, at the strict law which prohibited
late tavern keeping and nightly intemperance, which they now regarded
as a dead letter. It was the same personage who at noon had
peregrinated the town as an official authority, and who, as the
summoning herald of the council, had forbidden every one to bear arms
in the streets. His herald's mantle, and the white staff bearing the
bishop's arms, had been thrown under the drinking table; he now
appeared in the usual burgher's dress, and had himself a warlike sword
at his side. From his talk it could be gathered that he had also joined
in the siege of Axelhuus.

The carousers spoke openly and boldly against prelatical government, to
which they believed they had given a good fillip. They lauded the king
and the brisk Sir Helmer, and opined that the king had only feignedly,
and for the sake of appearances, caused that brave knight to be placed
under arrest. They unanimously agreed, also, that the king's stern
words to the balista slingers, and those who were storming the castle,
could not have come much further than from between his teeth, since,
after all, it was but his worst foe they had attacked.

There were bursts of exultation at the flight and exile of the
archbishop, which had been related to them by two newly-arrived guests,
and the party took credit to themselves for having stoned Master Grand
out of the country.

"Ay, laud us Copenhageners!" said the herald, with a self-satisfied
nod; "we have helped the king before at a pinch."

"What can the pope and all the world's bishops do to him _now_?" said
the squire, draining his cup. "The game is won, comrades, provided all
we Danes from this day forward act like you, brave Copenhageners of
this town. Against those Latin curses we have arrows, swords, and
balista, and good Danish granite stone; and if they lock us up the
church doors again, we have, the Lord be thanked, iron crows and axes,
and men who can lift a church door as easy as a barrel of wheat. Now is
my master the Drost over in Sweden to fetch the king's betrothed," he
continued; "had I been with him there the arrogant Hanse would not have
pounced on me. Matters may go hard enough with the king's marriage;
they say these priests would fain put a spoke in the wheel, and shut
all Heaven's gates on us; but what shall we wager, comrades, that the
king snaps his fingers at them, touching the dispension, or whatever it
is called, and keeps his bridal, when the Lord and he himself pleases?
Then will there be sport and jollity over all the country. Long live
the king's true love!"

"But she is a Swede," objected one of the young fellows.

"Pah! hereafter will Swede and Dane be good and boon companions,"
continued Canute, with a jolly flourish of his cup. "When our kings
give each other their sisters we will dance with the Swedish maidens,
and their young fellows again with ours, and no one shall look sour on
the other, because we have tried our strength before in another sort of
game. The Swedish princess, they say, is the fairest king's daughter in
the world, as fair and straight as a lily, and as pious and mild as the
blessed Queen Dagmar. Long life to her, by my soul and honour, and to
our excellent young king besides, and to all frank and free men, and
all pretty maidens, both here and in Sweden's land! Hurra for the king
and his true love! He is a scoundrel who drinks not with me."

All the jolly carousers joined in the toast; but the merriment in the
tavern-room was now interrupted by the noise of an eager scuffle in the
chamber above, where several guests of higher rank were playing at
draughts. The squire and his comrades crowded inquisitively to the
door, and looked into the chamber. "Ay, indeed! my fat Rostocker here!"
exclaimed Canute; "would he tweak the Copenhageners by the nose also? I
should think he would come badly off at that game." He now related to
his companions what had happened at Skanör fair--how the arrogant
traders, who were now in the fray, had brought the false coin of the
outlaws into the country--and how the Rostocker, with his crafty
comrade, had dared to threaten the king at Sjöborg.

"Let's have at him!" shouted all with one accord, and rushed into the
chamber, where Berner Kopmand and Henrik Gullandsfar, with a crowd of
foreign merchants and agents, were engaged in fierce dispute with two
of the richest burghers of the town, who accused them of dishonest
play, and of cheating with false money. The squire and his young
comrades took the part of the Copenhageners, and a wild and bloody
fray, with pitchers and cans, sticks and clenched fists, soon
commenced. The Rostocker and Henrik Gullandsfar first drew their
swords; they laid about them with courage and valour. The pepper
'prentices cried and shouted desperately, but were unable to defend
themselves with their long ell measures; at last they all took to
flight, with Henrik Gullandsfar at their head. Berner Kopmand would
have followed them, but the incensed squire placed himself in his way,
and forced him into a desperate encounter. "Out of the way, comrades!"
he shouted; "leave me to deal alone with this fellow; I have a little
reckoning to settle with him!"

All gave way, and formed a ring round the combatants; the heavy-built
hot-headed Rostocker laid frantically about him, but was wounded every
moment by the man-at-arms, who, though far less in stature, was his
superior in swordsmanship. "Take that for thy false money, good fellow,
and that for thy false play, and that for thy shameless arrogance!"
shouted the squire at every wound he gave his antagonist; "that because
thou wouldest hang Sir Helmer and me, and that because thou hast
threatened our king, thou grocer hero!" This last thrust ended the
fight. The merchant fell mortally wounded to the ground, among the
overturned wine-flasks and draught-boards. Meanwhile the routed pepper
'prentices had given the alarm in the streets, and, with a fearful cry
of murder, assembled the night-watch, and as many of the provost's men,
who, as yet, had sufficient courage to maintain order in the town. The
bishop's famulus had arrived with some men-at-arms, on the part of the
provost, and when Berner Kopmand fell the tavern of St. Clement's was
already surrounded by a guard. The famulus made his way into the tavern
with his men, and surrounded the squire, who stood in silence with the
bloody sword in his hand, gazing on the dying Rostocker.

"Seize him! Shackle him! The godless murderer, in the name of the
bishop and council!" cried the famulus, in a screeching voice,
springing up on a bench to bring himself into notice. He was a little
man, clad in a short black cloak over a blue lay brother's dress, with
a roll of parchment in his hand, which he flourished like a commander's
staff. All the jolly revellers had retreated, and the Drost's squire
stood alone by the Rostocker's body in the faint light of the oil-lamp,
which was suspended from the roof. He menacingly brandished his bloody
sword, and no one dared to approach him.

"Let him go; he is guiltless!" cried a powerful but stuttering voice,
and the burgher herald stepped forward half intoxicated, with glowing
cheeks and reeling steps, from a corner of the apartment. He had again
attired himself in his herald's mantle, and brandished the white staff
with the bishop's arms in his hand. He elbowed his way through the
crowd, and placed himself, with solemn, official mien, between the
squire and the provost's men, directly opposite the little famulus on
the bench. "Let none touch this fellow; he is guiltless!" he continued:
"the other drunken guest hath got his deserts; he has fallen, as was
meet and fit in a regular tavern brawl, and at the dice-board; that _I_
can witness--he is to get no chastisement, according to the law and
right of our good city, that you must know full as well as I, Master
Famulus."

"Believe him not, he is drunk!" cried the bishop's famulus with
eagerness; "the ale speaks through him; he exercises his office, and
expounds law and justice like a toper and partizan. The law he prates
about concerns but fisty-cuffs and pulling of hair; but a murder hath
been committed within the town paling; it should at least be punished
with perpetual imprisonment, according to the town law. Seize the
murderer instantly, say I!"

"Touch him not, say I," resumed the herald, "he hath slain a cheat, a
false player, a shameless scoundrel, who had defied the king; it was
done in honourable fight; it was in self-defence,--that I saw myself;
the fat Rostocker struck the first blow with a sharp weapon, although
he got the first cuff, but from an wholly unarmed fist; _that_ I can
take my oath of, let me be ever so drunk. He is a knave and a sorry
Christian who gets not honestly drunk to-night, now that we have forced
the shut gate of heaven. This brave young fellow is, besides, the
Drost's squire, and my good friend. We have no right to imprison him, I
will stand security for him, with all my substance!"

"But what are ye thinking of?" bawled the famulus, stamping on the
bench, "he hath certainly slain a man here."

"Even so! naught else! Know ye not better our pious Lord Bishop's
orders! Master Famulus!" shouted the burgher herald in an overpowering
voice, as he leaned on his staff of office. "_This_ is a worldly tavern
and place of entertainment--_here_, where gaming, pastime, and toping
have full swing from morning to night--none hath a right to require
safety for life and limb, it is all in due order; and a very wise and
reasonable regulation; mad cats get torn skins, and where one sets
aside the law, every one must take the damage as wages. The scoundrel
who lies there fell at the forbidden draught-board; if there is law and
justice in the town, he shall never be laid in christian ground. That I
will uphold, as surely as I bear this sacred staff." As he, at the
conclusion of his speech, was about again to brandish the herald's
staff over his head, he had nearly lost his balance; but his
authoritative conduct, and stern official deportment, seemed, however,
not without its effect upon the provost's men, especially as the
bishop's famulus was forced to allow the justice of his protest against
the burial of the slain in christian ground.

While they were yet disputing, whether they had or had not the right of
imprisoning the murderer, the squire rushed out of the door, with his
drawn sword in his hand, and none dared to stop him.

As soon as he found himself in the open air, he concealed his sword
under his mantle, slouched his hat over his brow, and mingled in the
throng which surrounded the house, and had thrust the guard aside. It
appeared, even to him, somewhat doubtful and improbable that persons
might thus be slain with perfect impunity at the gaming table; what he
had heard respecting perpetual imprisonment in the bishop's city, still
sounded very unpleasantly in his ear, and he thought it most advisable
to decamp as soon as possible; but in order not to excite suspicion, he
walked on quietly, and whistled a blithe drinking song. "There's
desperate work in the house between the pepper 'prentices and the
king's men," he said aloud, "the devil take me if I stand here gaping
any longer." As soon as he was fairly out of the crowd, he quickened
his steps and hastened down past the Catsound towards the old strand.
He went onward without knowing whither, and often looked behind to see
whether any one pursued him. He saw lights in all the houses on the
strand--mirth and song resounded, contrary to usage, in many quarters
of the generally quiet town, in defiance of the strict regulations of
the bishop and archbishop; but all was gloomy and still at Axelhuus. He
pursued his way along the level shore, and approached the church of St.
Nicholas. In the churchyard he saw a crowd of people assembled. A
strange, half devout, half seditious murmur, was heard in the crowd,
and a solemn council appeared to be held. He hastened past the sullen
muttering assemblage, and reached the ferry opposite Bremen-island.
Here all the great warehouses were desolate and deserted; he sat down
quite breathless on the quay to recover himself, and think of the means
of escape. It was past midnight. The moon shone upon the broad stream
and the tall warehouses on Bremen island. He felt oppressed by the
death-like stillness around him. The wild scene of the murder in the
alehouse was now solemnly and fearfully present to his imagination--he
heard his heart beat; he wiped the blood from off his sword, and put it
into the sheath. He perceived spots of blood upon his clothes, and was
about to go down to the water to wash them out, but he now heard a
sound near him like the gasping of a dying man; he looked around him
with uneasiness, but no human being was to be seen. The singular sound
still fell on his ear, and mingled with his vivid recollection of the
death-rattle of the slain Rostocker. He had felt no dread of the living
adversary,--now he shuddered at the thought of the dead. The hair of
the fugitive squire stood on end; he hastily started off from the quay,
and would have fled further; but he now distinctly heard that the sound
which terrified him proceeded from the sea-shore. The faint ray of the
moon now lit up the beach, on which he beheld a man lying stretched at
full length. "The pepper 'prentice! What became of him?"--he heard the
voice gasp forth, and recognised its tones. "Our Lady be merciful to
us! Sir Helmer! what hath happened you?" exclaimed Canute, aghast, and
hasted down to the half-expiring knight, who was utterly exhausted by
fighting and swimming, and whom, with much difficulty, he raised on his
legs, and in some degree restored to consciousness. His drenched
clothes were rent and bloody; his long brown locks clung to his swollen
cheeks, and in his left hand, which was convulsively clenched, he held
a thick tuft of reddish hair. "Look! look!" he said, "it was all I got
hold of, the rest the devil hath taken. He twined round me like a
water-snake. He bit and tore like the devil. The stream put an end to
our embrace, it had well nigh put an end to my life, I perceive."

"Our Lady and St. George help you, noble sir!" said the squire,
crossing himself, as he reached him a small flask. "Take something to
strengthen your heart after that joust! If you have fought with the
evil one at the bottom of the sea you have surely had to stand a hard
encounter."

"I hope it was the right one," said Helmer, and drained the flask,
"Thanks, countryman! it hath helped me! Now I have got my strength
again. I ail nothing in reality; my limbs are sound; I am but a little
bruised, and dizzy in my head."

"But what in all the world have you been about? Have you been seeking
the pepper 'prentice, or Satan himself, at the bottom of the sea, and
know not rightly yourself whether you found him?"

"I was hard pressed for time, thou must know. The king rode quietly
past the beach. I was somewhat wrath with him, I must needs confess. I
was on the way to the bishop's dungeon, on account of my having taken
the balista a little in hand; but then I caught a sight of that devil
of a pepper 'prentice; he stood not a yard from me in a boat, and would
have pushed past us; it seemed to me that he stared after the king, and
fumbled with his hand in his breast, as if after a dagger. Whether it
was the right rascal or not, there was not time to discover. The fellow
looked confoundedly suspicious, and one pepper 'prentice, more or less,
of what consequence was it, when the king's life was in question? so I
jumped into the boat. Ere I wast fully sensible of it I had the fellow
by the throat, and had tumbled blithely with him into the stream."

"Have you sent the pepper 'prentice down to his home, noble sir?" said
Canute with restored cheerfulness, and somewhat proudly,--"then I have
sent a bottle-nosed Hanse grocer to hell, from an ale tavern. None can
say we have been idle here in Copenhagen. We serve the king as well as
we can--although we may have come a little out of the way he sent us.
If you only have but hit on the right man! your exploit was far more
daring and dangerous than mine, noble sir! But in two particulars I
have been more lucky, however; I _know_ I hit on the right person, and
know also I mastered the rascal to some purpose. It was he who would
have hung us in the morning, and who would have taken the king's life,
had he had power and courage to do so."

"The Rostocker! Berner Kopmand?"

"The same! He now lies dead as a herring, in the ale-house; he will
never be laid in Christian ground, if my honest friend the herald is in
the right. But come, sir!--if you can bestir yourself, let's get out of
the bishop's town, and the sooner the better! If the provost or the
bishop's men pounce on us, we shall not 'scape from their dungeons all
our life-time."

With some difficulty the wounded knight followed the squire, and they
soon reached the east gate at the end of East Street. The gate was
shut, but its lock and bolts had been forced in the insurrection. The
fugitives opened it without difficulty, and entered into the large
grass-grown marketplace, where the Halland vegetable vendors especially
had their landing-places and stalls. Meanwhile, Sir Helmer felt weaker
at every step. With the help of the squire he dragged himself with
difficulty to the chapel by St. Anna's bridge; here he sank down
powerless before the chapel door;--all grew dark before his eyes, and
he was near falling into a swoon.

"The Lord and St. Anna assist us!" said the squire, hastily seizing a
wooden bowl which stood near the chapel; he sprang with it to the
running stream under the bridge, and soon returned with the bowl full
of clear, pure water.

"Drink, sir! drink in St. Anna's blessed name!" he said, eagerly, "and
then I will bathe you on the head, and on every part where you feel
pain. If St. Anna's stream hath the wondrous healing power it is said
to have you will assuredly soon feel yourself strengthened, provided
you are a good Christian, as I surely hope."

The knight drank, and washed the blood from his face, which, as well as
his neck, was scratched and lacerated; he was besides bruised all over
his body, and exhausted to a great degree. The cold water refreshed and
strengthened him, as he fancied, in a wonderful and incomprehensible
manner. Around the chapel lay a number of crutches and rags, cast aside
by the sick and paralytic who had here been healed. Inspired with
sudden enthusiasm by his regained strength, and by the miracle he
believed he had here experienced, Sir Helmer sprang up and knelt before
the image of St. Anna over the chapel door. "Thanks and honour, holy
Anna!" he exclaimed in a lowered voice, and with clasped hands, "it was
nobly done of thee; it was doubtless for the sake of my fair young
wife--for the sake of my Anna's pious prayers! When we meet again in
health, we will assuredly not forget the wax lights and purple velvet
for thine altar." He then arose, and exulting in his strength, flapped
his arms around him, as if to certify himself of the fact of this
restoration; he embraced the squire, and then flung him off to some
distance on the grass, with as much ease as he would have flung his
glove. "Look, there lies my crutch also, to thy thanks and honour, holy
Anna!" he exclaimed in a loud voice, "he is a rascal who doubts of thy
wondrous power; thou hast given me strength and vigour again."

"Ay, indeed! thanks and honour be to St. Anna for it!" panted the
squire, as he rose half in alarm. "You are now, by my troth, in full
vigour. Sir Helmer! as I can testify; but you are somewhat strange and
violent in your devotion; you must excuse my not continuing to lie here
among the other crutches!"

Helmer bounded blithely on the green sward, to try whether his legs
also stood him in good stead; he seemed again preparing to wrestle with
the squire, but Canute sprang aside. "Keep your devotion within bounds,
noble sir! and listen to a word of sense!" he said, seizing the
intractable knight by the arm. "A boat lies unmoored here, let's take
possession of it, and row up the great canal!--then perhaps we may slip
whole-skinned out of the town, and get to Sorretslóv. If there is any
reasonableness whatever in the king, he will not cause us to be hanged,
because we have chastised his enemies and persecutors; but if they get
hold of us here he will find it hard, despite all his power, to save
us."

"Had I but my good sword!"--said Helmer. "Lend me thine, brisk
countryman! Do thou row the boat! and I will defend us both."

"Yes, if you will be mannerly, Sir Knight, and not try your sword on
me, in honour of St. Anna!"

Helmer laughed, and clapped him on the shoulder. They were soon both
seated in the boat, and pondering how best to provide for their safety.
Helmer sat sword in hand at the rudder, and the squire, despite the
pain of his lacerated hand, rowed with powerful strokes of the oar up
the stream which enclosed the town on the north-east. They stopped not
until they reached the fishermen's houses at Pustervig. Here the
northern boundary of the town was protected by a new fortification of
palisades. While the squire rested his wearied arms, they consulted
together whether they should now row to the left, through the canal, to
get out through the north gate, where, however, it was uncertain
whether they would not be stopped and seized,--or whether they might
not with greater safety, although with more difficulty, pursue their
flight up the stream to Sorretslóv lake. This last plan they considered
to be the most expedient. Helmer now seized the one oar, and they began
to row briskly forward. The night was calm, and during the whole
passage from St. Anna's bridge they had not seen a single human being.
But an arrow from a cross-bow now suddenly whistled over the heads of
the fugitives; they heard a splashing of oars behind them, and saw two
boats push off from the beach at Pustervig.

"The murderer! stop him, shoot him! a hundred silver crowns to the man
who seizes him!" called a loud voice from one of the boats.

Helmer and the squire recognised the voice of Henrik Gullandsfar, and
kept on rowing. The one boat lay to behind them to stop the way in case
they should retreat. The other, which was manned with the provost's
men, and was steered by Henrik Gullandsfar himself, pursued them with
four oars up the river. In the bow stood two cross-bowmen, who
constantly aimed and shot, but as it appeared without real skill in the
management of this dangerous weapon, with which the strongest armour
might be pierced, and people wounded almost without perceiving it.

"You shoot badly, knaves!" shouted Helmer. "Is that the way to hold a
cross-bow? Come but nearer, and I will teach ye to handle it!" he
continued, letting go the oar and brandishing his sword over his
uncovered head, as he stood in the stern of the boat. "As surely as St.
Anna hath given me my strength again, it shall not fare a hair better
with ye than with my departed brothers-in-law." Another cross-bow bolt
whistled over his head, but without injuring a hair of it--another
split the gunwale and broke the tiller. Helmer seized the harmless
bolt, and just as he was about to be overtaken, flung it back with all
his might whence it came. It whistled past both the cross-bowmen, but
hit Henrik Gullandsfar on the forehead, and the merchant fell backwards
without life sufficient to utter a cry.

"Death and misfortune! 'Twas Helmer Blaa who threw!" cried one of the
provost's men. "The devil a bit will I fight with _him_.--Let's be
off!"

The provost's men and the cross-bow shooters now took to flight down
the stream with the body of Gullandsfar. Sir Helmer again seized the
one oar, and the two bold fugitives rowed unmolested up to Sorretslóv
lake. Here they sprang ashore on the green sward, leaving the boat to
float back with the current.

"We have got thus far on dry land," said Helmer, looking around him;
"we are without the town paling, and are scarce a hundred paces distant
from the king's castle. When the king hears of our exploits, perhaps he
will say, it was bravely done, but will cause us to be bound and thrown
into the tower, according to strict law, and there we may be suffered
to lie until his council and the bishops are agreed whether we are to
be punished with death or only with imprisonment for life."

"Would you scare me, Sir Helmer?" exclaimed Canute, in dismay. "As soon
as we reach the king's castle yonder, we surely stand under the king's
protection."

"But here he is on the bishop's preserve as well as we. We have
forgotten that in our hurry," observed Helmer; "the sixteen villages in
this neighbourhood belong to the little Roskild bishop. Bishop law and
church law are valid here; and this I know beforehand, the king will
not swerve a hair's-breadth from what is lawful for _our_ sake, even
though we were his best friends, and had saved his life an hundred
times over."

"Death and confusion! What shall we do then? In that case we were mad
should we take refuge with him here?"

"So I think, countryman! But help us he _shall_, whether he will it or
no. Knowest thou the two white horses here in the meadow? Look! how
they dance in the tether and snort towards the dawn."

"The king's tournament prancers!--the very apple of his eye! Every
knights' squire knows _them_. You have surely not lost your wits, Sir
Helmer! What would you be at?"

"Thou shalt soon see," said Helmer, approaching the starting and
rearing steeds. "So! ho! old fellows! stand still!--if we have risked
our lives for the king, he can doubtless lend us a pair of horses. Had
I my good Arab it should fly with us both faster than the wind. The
pepper 'prentice I answer for," he continued, still enticing the
horses. "I have soused and pumelled him so soundly, that he will do no
mischief again in a hurry, if there is life in him yet--and I dare
wager my head it was the right one. If thou hast made an end of Berner
Kopmand, countryman, I answer for Henrik Gullandsfar, and the
archbishop hath gone to the devil; there is now no great danger astir,
and the king needs us no longer here. I am no great lover of trial and
imprisonment, seest thou? and if the king does not need my life, I know
of one who will give me a kiss for saving it.--So ho, there! That's
right, my lad!--a noble animal, by my soul! I desert not from the
service to run home to my young wife,--that none shall say of me. Do
thou like me, countryman! I will now ride on the king's prancer as his
bridesman to Sweden, to perform what I have neglected. If thou wilt
come with me, come then!" Meanwhile Helmer had caught one of the
spirited steeds. In an instant he was upon its back, and galloped away
over hedge and ditch with the swiftness of a deer. The Drost's squire
did not long hesitate; he was soon seated on the back of the other, and
followed Sir Helmer at a brisk gallop.



                                CHAP. V.


When the sun rose over the Sound, signs of cheerful animation and
active stir were already perceptible in the village of Sorretslóv,
while the bishop's town still lay shrouded in fog, ensconced behind its
trenches and palisades, and seemed to slumber after the wild revels of
the preceding night. Peasants were seen removing cattle on the
pastures, between the village and the northern gate of the town. The
grooms of the king's household were riding the horses to water from the
farms and meadows of the royal castle, at the large pool in the midst
of the village; but around the pasture near Sorretslóv lake, where the
king's trained tournament-steeds had grazed, two grooms were running in
despair, vainly seeking the fine horses which were entrusted to their
charge.

"Help us, St. Alban! and all saints!" cried the younger groom. "If the
Marsk comes home he will slay us, at the least."

"And the king!" groaned the other--"the king will be wrath; and that is
even far worse. We must find them though we should have to run to the
world's end. Come!"--They sprang away over hedge and ditch, where they
saw the dew brushed off from the grass, and fresh traces of galloping
horses' feet on the meadow; at last they recognised the well-known
trained step of the steeds on the road between the two lakes, and were
soon far away.

It was a fine spring morning;--the king was, as usual, stirring at an
early hour. Accompanied by Count Henrik, he had mounted the flat-roofed
tower of the castle, from whence there was an extensive and noble
prospect over the whole adjacent country. Count Henrik had been
required, circumstantially to repeat his account of the flight of the
cardinal and the archbishop, and the very different greeting of the
prelates. The king was grave, but in good spirits; even the last threat
of the archbishop had not discouraged him.

"With God's blessing," he said with emphasis, "I await my chief
happiness from the hand of the Almighty, and the heart of my pious
Ingeborg, but neither from the mercy of the pope nor the archbishop.
Were my hope and success in love really sin and ungodliness, no
dispensation could ever sanctify it before Heaven and to myself."--He
paused, and gazed with a calm and enthusiastic look on the rising sun,
and a heartfelt prayer seemed as it were to beam from his bright eye.
"My deadly foe went hence alive," he continued;--"well! I have now
performed my promise to him. I let him 'scape hence alive. More none
can ask of a frail mortal; but it is the last time I promise peace and
respite of life to the enemy of my soul. So long as the Lord grants me
life and crown the presence of Grand shall never more infect the air I
breathe."

"This insurrection was quite opportune for us, my liege," observed
Count Henrik, with a confidential smile--"the foe you came hither to
banish hath been as good as stoned out of this country by the brisk men
of Copenhagen, on their own responsibility."

"That _I_ asked them not to do," answered the king, with proud
eagerness; "had I willed to use temporal power, against my
ecclesiastical foes here, I should not have needed the help of a
mutinous mob. The town hath suffered wrong; but mutiny is, and ever
will be, mutiny; and, _as such_, deserving of punishment, whether it
happens to suit my convenience or not. I consider the conduct of the
bishop and council to be arbitrary and illegal," he continued. "I hate
ban and interdict as I do the plague, as is well known; but it shall
not therefore be believed I favour revolt and rebellion against any
lawful authority. It was well done to force the locked churches. No
Roskild bishop shall place bars and bulwarks between us and our Lord;
but it was not for the Lord's sake they besieged the bishop's castle:
their devotion was also very moderate; it was more like howling wolves
singing 'credo,' than christianly-baptized people. Had you seen, with
me, the riots yesterday evening, in St. Nicholas church. Count Henrik!
you would hardly take on yourself the defence of these insurgents."

"I rode past St. Nicholas church-yard in the night, my liege!" answered
Count Henrik. "What was doing there pleased me but little, it is true.
It seemed as though a crowd of spirits moved among the graves, in the
moonshine: there was a strange muttering. I heard shouts and prayers,
which sounded to me like curses. It was St. Erik's Guild brethren, who
were chaunting prayers, it was said, and taking counsel against the
bishop. Those good people I will no longer defend; there must be wild
fanatics and turbulent spirits among them. But chastise them not too
hardly, in your wrath, my liege!--even though you should now be forced
to lend a helping hand to prelatical government. When the Lord's
servants shut the Lord's house themselves, and hinder all orderly
worship, it is surely no wonder that the plain man seeks to edify
himself as well as he can in his own way: a mixture of defiance and
ferocious fanaticism with this species of devotion is inevitable, but
whose is the blame, your grace? Where God's word is silent, the evil
one instantly sends forth his priests among the people, and drives them
mad."

"Ay indeed! those are true words. Count! It is usually the fault of the
shepherd when the flock strays. Spiritual government is a matter I dare
not much intermeddle with, but this I have promised, and I shall
honestly keep my promise: every church door in the country which they
would hereafter shut, I will cause myself without further ado to be
forced with the staff of the spear; and every priest or bishop who
hinders my, or my people's lawful and orderly devotion, I banish from
state and country, as I have banished Archbishop Grand--let the pope
excommunicate me a thousand times over for it! Look! in this I am
agreed with my brave and loyal people, and with these rather too brisk
Copenhageners. What I here tell you, I cannot give any one under sign
and seal," he added, "but I will whisper it in confidence into the ear
of every Danish bishop and future archbishop; none shall say, however,
I side with rebels. If authority is to be used, that is my affair; but
there _shall_ be peace and order here. I will uphold the rights of
every lawful authority, whether it be spiritual or temporal, our
highest rights, as God's children, and the rights and authority of the
crown, unimpaired."

The king was silent--his cheek glowed, and an expression of fervid
energy beamed in his countenance, as he turned from the fair spectacle
of the rising sun, and looked out upon the fog-enveloped town, the
church towers of which glittered in the dawn of morning. He now opened
a letter and a small packet, which a skipper from Skanör had brought
him from Drost Aagé. He read the letter with attention. It contained an
account of the Drost's meeting with the Hanseatic merchants and Thrand
Fistlier at Kjöge, and at Skanör fair, as well as of the disturbance
which had been caused by this mountebank, and the Hanseatic forgers;
and also how the Drost, partly to save the artist's life, had been
under the necessity of sending him prisoner to Helsingborg. In the
packet was one of Master Thrand's optic tubes, and some polished
glasses, which Aagé had bought at Skanör fair, and which he now
presented to the king as extraordinary rarities. In the letter, Aagé
had not been able to conceal his suspicion of the wonderful mountebank,
and the singular uneasiness which this man's operations and expressions
had caused him.

Count Henrik also, had lately received and read a secret epistle from
the Drost, in which Aagé conjured him to caution the king respecting
the captive Icelander, and above all to keep a watchful eye on whoever
approached him. "Trust not the junker!" Aagé wrote, "God forgive me if
I do him injustice! Kaggé is alive and under convoy of the foreign
merchants, who threatened the king at Sjöborg; Helmer and my bravest
squire are in their power. The revenge of the outlaws is unwearied.
Stir not from the king's side! watch over his life, while I care for
his happiness."

"Truly! my good Drost Aagé is a strange visionary," said the King,
shaking his head with a smile, as he tried the glasses with a feeling
of wonder at the power of these instruments; "my much-loved Aagé is
ready to side with the ignorant mob, and regard the fruits of the noble
arts and sciences as the work of the evil one."

"How! my liege!" asked Count Henrik, in surprise.

"That good friend of mine is still somewhat weak both in mind and body;"
continued the king, "he is afraid our whole fair world will perish,
because here and there people get their eyes opened, and learn to see
things better and more justly in nature. The Lord knows what new danger
he can now be dreaming of from this artist. Just look here. Count!" The
king reached Henrik the optic tube. "It is one of the discoveries of
the great Roger Bacon, the wise English monk we have heard so much
of--a skilful Icelander hath arrived here in the country, who hath
known him, and learned the art from him. These kind of things he brings
with him; he is said to understand many wonderful arts, and knows
secrets in nature which may be of importance, as well in war as in the
general advancement of the country; Aagé, I suppose, means only we
should be cautious and not trust him over much. I will see and know
that man; he certainly doth honour to our northern lands, and he shall
not have visited me in vain;--now what say you, Count? Such glass eyes
may be useful, I think, both for a king and a general, when he should
take a wide survey!"

"Noble! astonishing!" exclaimed Count Henrik, "the town, the river, the
whole of Solbierg, seem as near as if close at hand."

"And a skilful coiner, and a rare judge of metals, is this Icelander
besides," resumed the king with satisfaction, as he glanced over the
letter, "he is just the man we need, now that the land is inundated
with the false coin of the outlaws; if he were in league with my foes,
as Aagé fears, he would hardly venture into my sight; as yet no enemy
hath faced me, unpunished. He is reported to hold many erring opinions
in matters of faith; but what is that to me? If he be a heretic, so
much the worse for himself; in what concerns temporal things he is apt,
I must confess."

"If he be a Leccar brother, as Drost Aagé thinks, then beware of him,
my liege!" observed Count Henrik. "I thought that sect was banished in
all Christian lands, and in Denmark also, on account of their dangerous
opinions."

"On account of opinions, I have never banished any living soul," said
the king: "for ought I care, every man may think and believe what he
will, provided he obeys but the laws of the land, and seduces not the
people to insurrection and ungodliness. One description of madmen I
once banished, however--it is true," he added, recollecting himself:
"what they called themselves I have now forgot; but the madness I
remember well enough--they were self-appointed priests, without a
consecrated church or true doctrine. They scoured the country round,
and preached both to high and low, and would, in short, have made us
all heathens. They denied both our Lord and our blessed Lady, and all
the saints and martyrs besides; they would have nought to do either
with church or pope; and in fact, just as little with kings and
princes, or any temporal government; they zealously affirmed that we
should obey our Lord only--but when it came to the point, their Lord
was but their own ignorant and perverted will. From such mad doctrine
we may well pray our Lord to preserve us and all Christian lands."

"But that is exactly, as far as I know, the creed of the Leccar
brethren," observed Count Henrik. "We have chased the sect from
Mecklenborg also, and the pope hath doomed them to fire and faggot."

"You are right, they are called Leccarii in Latin," answered the king:
"the holy father's caring for their _souls_, by burning their _bodies_,
suits me just as little as his excommunicating, and giving us over to
the devil. That mistakes may be made in Rome we are all agreed. If the
learned Icelander belongs to yon sect, he must doubtless decamp," he
added, "and that I should be sorry for; but I must hear it from
himself, ere I will believe it; it is inconceivable to me how madness
and learning can dwell together in one brain."

"Look once again, my liege!" said Count Henrik, handing the optic tube
to the king. "Yonder comes a boat up the canal towards St. George's
hospital; if I am not mistaken it is steered by a couple of clerks;
perhaps the bishop would now vouchsafe us tidings, and put up with your
protection."

From St. George's lake flowed a broad rivulet, which bounded the
pasture ground of Sorretslóv and divided it from the meadows of the
village of Solbierg. This rivulet, which widened into a canal, flowed
down under the west gate of the town, and ended its course in the
Catsound. Between the stream and the town of Sorretslóv lay St.
George's Hospital. A large boat came slowly up the river, in which the
forms of two men, attired in black, were discernible. They rowed with
unsteady strokes of the oar, and with great exertion, against the
stream. The boat put ashore at the pasture ground opposite St. George's
hospital. The sable-clad personages sprang out of the boat and drew it
on land. The king and Count Henrik thought they recognised the
archbishop's confidential friends, Hans Rodis and the canon Nicolaus,
and paid close attention to their proceedings. A large loose sail was
taken from the boat, from under which four ecclesiastics rose up, one
after another, and stepped on shore. They looked around on all sides
with caution, and proceeded along a by-path, with slow and uncertain
steps towards the royal castle. They were all four soon recognised. It
was the domineering little Bishop Johan, with the haughty abbot from
the forest monastery, accompanied by the provincial prior, and the
inspector of the Copenhagen chapter. They seemed to have secretly taken
flight from Axelhuus in the morning fog, to place themselves under the
king's protection, and perhaps to demand the help of arms against the
mutinous town.

When the king recognised them he became grave, and fell into a reverie.
He reached the optic tube to Count Henrik, and seated himself in
silence on a bench on the southern side of the tower, whence he had a
view of the town and the north gate. Count Henrik remarked that the two
suspicious-looking canons had yet another person in the boat, whom they
carried on shore; he appeared to be either sick or dead, and was
closely shrouded in a mantle. The canons looked around on all sides,
and bore, seemingly with doubtful and anxious steps, the sick or dead
man up to St. George's Hospital, where they were instantly admitted.
Count Henrik considered their conduct most suspicious; he determined,
however, not to name it to the king; and resolved to examine himself
into the affair, and to inspect the hospital that very day.

The town was by no means so tranquil as was supposed. The nocturnal
assemblage in the churchyard of St. Nicholas had not dispersed until
near daybreak. The bishop's men had heard wild threats of fire and
murder, and taunting speeches against their master. A new and bloody
outbreak of the insurrection was feared whereupon the bishop had not
deemed it advisable to await the dawn of day at Axelhuus, although it
was probable that he most unwillingly took refuge with the king, who he
knew was incensed at the enforcement of the interdict.

The bishop's stern protest against the demi-ecclesiastical assemblies
of the guild-brethren of St. Canute, had rendered that fraternity his
bitterest and most dangerous foes. During the shutting of the churches,
the devotion of the guild-brethren, which was almost always blended
with fanaticism and intemperance, had assumed a wild and desperate
character. They were charged with the most licentious impiety, it was
believed there were atheists and Leccar brethren among them, who sought
to sever them from the church and from Christendom, as well as from
burgher-rule and obedience. A secret dread of the extravagancies and
gloomy deportment of these persons prevailed among the best-informed
and better class of burghers, who, however, had themselves, on
account of the shutting of the churches, made common cause with the
guild-brethren, and deemed a general revolt against prelatic tyranny to
be necessary.

Ere the sun had dispersed the thick morning mist which lay over
the town, the burghers of Copenhagen thronged in crowds to the
council-house, where they assembled a council, though it was not the
usual day of meeting.

Meanwhile, mattins were performed in all the churches in the town, and
no priest dared any longer to observe the interdict. All the churches
were unusually crowded, but no disturbances took place. It was only
from the stone-built houses, where St. Canute's and St. Eric's
guild-brethren had rung their bells ere daylight, and were now
performing their morning's devotions, before full goblets and with
locked doors, that wild cries and sounds of tumult proceeded. As soon
as early mass was ended, a great procession passed through North Street
and through the north gate. It was the deputies of the town and
council, who had drawn up at the council-house a long list of
complaints against the bishop, and as long a justification of the
recently-suppressed insurrection. This document they now intended to
present to the king, as they were willing to enter into any treaty with
the spiritual Lord of the town, which their sovereign might consider
just and reasonable. A continually increasing crowd accompanied this
procession. None of the guild-brethren were to be seen among the
deputies of the town; but a number of these gloomy agitators soon
joined themselves to the train, and sought to excite suspicion in the
populace respecting this negotiation of peace. The guild-brethren,
meanwhile, seemed at variance among themselves; the king's presence had
struck terror into many, and their wild plans of overthrowing all
spiritual and temporal rule lacked concert and counsel. Hardly had they
quitted their guild houses ere the provost's men and the bishop's
retainers, assisted even by the burghers, took possession of these
buildings, and stationed guards before them. The dispersion of this
degenerate and dangerous fraternity was now become one of the most
earnest wishes of the council and burghers.

The king had not left the tower of Sorretslóv when the throng hastened
forward towards the village and his unfortified castle, in the
direction of the southern gate; while the bishop and the three
prelates, with their slow and dubious pace, had not as yet reached the
approach from the by-path to the western castle gate. Count Henrik's
attention had been wholly engrossed in watching the tardy and undecided
movements of the ecclesiastics, and the king had been so lost in
thought that he did not observe the crowd until the distant murmur of
many thousand voices reached his ear. He rose hastily, with a quick
glance on both sides, and appeared wroth, but undecided only for a
moment. "The gate shall be barred. Count! the black snails shall be
brought up here!" he exclaimed impetuously in a loud voice to Count
Henrik, pointing to the ecclesiastics below, who again paused on the
by-path, and seemed to hesitate. "Let them be brought to my private
chamber instantly, even though it should be by force. They are my
prisoners."

Count Henrik started.

"Look!" continued the king, pointing towards the village and the road.
"They flock out hither by thousands; but, by all the holy men! whoever
disturbs the peace of the royal castle shall be chastised as he
deserves. Ride to meet the throng. Count! announce my will to them--say
their bishop is in my power. Every fitting proposition I will listen
to; but every agitator shall instantly be banished; whoever obeys not
shall be punished as a rebel."

"Now I understand you, my liege," said Count Henrik, and instantly
departed.

The king's command was immediately put into execution. With great fear
and dismay, the bishop and his three ecclesiastical companions beheld a
troop of horsemen gallop out of the castle towards them, while a willow
hedge hid the main road and the concourse of people from their sight,
and they still stood close to the meadow gate, debating whether they
had not acted with precipitation, and were not about to encounter a
still greater danger here than that from which they had fled.

"Treachery!" cried the bishop, drawing back. "I feared it would be so.
Fools that we are to trust to the generosity of an excommunicated
tyrant! Now we may all fare as did Grand, and may come to rot alive in
his dungeons."

"I will answer for the king's justice, even should he imprison us,"
said the general superior of the chapter.

"Ha! you betray me! you side with the tyrant! _you_ counselled me to
this step."

"Look, my brother!" cried the abbot of the forest monastery, pointing
in dismay to the right, where but a single-fenced meadow separated them
from the road and the concourse of people which now came in view. "The
whole town is flocking hither. They have spied us--hear how they howl
and bluster! They are springing over hedge and ditch towards us. Let us
thank God and our guardian saint for the king's horsemen; it is better
after all to fall into the hands of one tyrant than into those of a
thousand."

At this moment the king's horsemen surrounded them, and saluted them
with courtesy. "Follow us, venerable sirs," said their leader, a brisk
young halberdier. "We have orders to bring you to the king's castle."

"In the name of the Lord and all the saints we accept the king's
convoy!" said the bishop, looking around with uneasiness, while his
cheeks glowed, and he seemed but half to trust to this unexpected safe
conduct.

"The bishop! the bishop! Seize him! stone him!" shouted a whole crowd
of the excited rabble, who, headed by some guild-brethren, had quitted
the burgher procession, and ran, with weapons and stones in their
hands, over the meadow towards the ecclesiastics.

"Back, countrymen!" shouted the leader of the horsemen, brandishing his
sword. "We lead him captive to the king."

"Captive! the bishop captive!" exclaimed the insurgents with joyous
shouts. "That's right!--long live the king!--to the dungeon with
Grand's friends and all king-priests!"

"Captive!" repeated the bishop, clasping his hands; "ha, the
presumptuous traitors!"

"Compose yourselves, venerable sirs," said the young halberdier, in a
lowered tone. "I obey the commands of my sovereign; if you refuse to
comply I shall be compelled to use force; but whether you are the
king's guests or his prisoners you will assuredly be treated as beseems
your rank and condition."

The ecclesiastics were soon within the gates of the king's castle, and
looked doubtfully at each other, as one door after another was with
much deference shut behind them, and they stood at last in anxious
expectation in a vaulted chamber, which, with its high windows and the
little iron-cased door, which was also secured behind them, bore a
greater resemblance to a prison than an apartment destined for the
reception of guests. There was no want, however, of furniture or
comfort; there were writing materials as well as both edifying and
entertaining books. It was the king's private chamber.

The deputies of the burghers and counsel started almost in as great
dismay as the bishop and his clerical companions, when they beheld
themselves surrounded on a sudden by royal halberdiers and horsemen
before the castle gate. The captain of halberdiers dismissed the
half-armed mob, who had followed the procession with shouts and threats
against the bishop, and with frequent acclamations for the king, on
occasion of his having (according to report) thrown the bishop into
prison.

"In the name of my liege and sovereign!" called Count Henrik, on
horseback, as he waved his hat, "the castle is open to the deputies of
the loyal burghers; but every one who bears arms here, or combines to
cause riot and uproar disturbs the peace of the king's castle, and is
guilty of treason. Your lord bishop is at this moment in the king's
power, but he is also his guest and under his protection. Every insult
to the bishop here is an insult to the ruler of the land. The king will
judge justly, and negociate a peace between you and your lord. Ere the
sun goes down the result of his mediation shall be made known. Now,
back! all here who would not pass for rebels!"

The restless crowd returned silent and downcast to the town. The
arrogant bravado of the insurgents that they had the king on their
side, had been suddenly put down. Their confidence in his presumed
wrath against the bishop, and his partiality to the burghers of
Copenhagen, appeared to have given way to a reasonable apprehension of
his justice and known severity. It even seemed to them no good sign
that the bishop, in his distress, had sought shelter at the royal
castle--and the guild-brethren muttered that when it came to the push,
the powerful and the great ever sided together after all; even though
they were deadly foes at heart, and that every thing was visited upon
those of low degree whether they were guilty or not.



                               CHAP. VI.


During the whole day an anxious stillness prevailed in the town. The
crowds indeed still continued to pour like a tide through the streets,
but with order, and in silent expectation. The sun was about to set,
and, as yet, no tidings had been received of the issue of the royal
negociation. Meanwhile, an unusual procession attracted the attention
of the restless and fickle populace. A funeral train proceeded past St.
Clement's church down to the old Strand, but without chaunting and
ringing of bells, and without being accompanied by any choristers or
ecclesiastics. This procession consisted of a great number of foreign
merchants and skippers, and all the pepper 'prentices, who (several
hundreds in number, and clad in precise and rich mourning attire)
followed two large coffins covered with costly palls of black velvet.
The coffins were borne by Hanseatic seamen; over them waved the Rostock
and Visbye flags. The train halted at the church of St. Nicholas. They
would have pursued their way across the church-yard, and requested to
have a mass chaunted over the dead in the church; but this was denied.
The bishop's servants shut the gates of the church-yard and forbade the
corpse-bearers to approach the church, or tread on consecrated ground,
as one of the coffins they carried contained the body of a man who had
been slain in the ale-house at the draught board. Amid wrathful
muttering against the hard-hearted prelatical government, the
procession proceeded past the outside of the church-yard wall to the
quay on Bremen Island, where a number of boats with rowers, clad in
white, received the coffins and the whole troop of mourners. They
landed on the island, and here, where the Hanseatic merchants alone
governed, the train burst forth into a solemn German funeral hymn,
while the bodies of Berner Kopmand and Henrik Gullandsfar were carried
on board two Hanseatic vessels, which were to convey them to Christian
burial in Rostock and Visbye. As soon as the ships were under
weigh the funeral train was received in a large warehouse, where three
ale-barrels and two keys over a cross were carved in stone over the
door. Here the whole party of seamen and trading agents were served out
of huge barrels of the famous Embden ale, the intoxicating properties
of which soon changed the funeral feast into a wild and mirthful
carouse. There was no lack either of wine or mead, and the large dish
of salted meat, which was constantly replenished, increased the thirst
of the funeral guests. The rabble who had followed the train through
the streets, long remained standing on the beach and the quay to hear
and watch the intoxicated pepper 'prentices, who here, with none but
countrymen and boon companions beside them, seemed determined to
indemnify themselves for the restraint to which they were subjected in
the foreign town. Some wept, while they reeled, and held moving
discourses on the mournful fate of the rich Berner Kopmand and Henrik
Gullandsfar, and on the mutability of all power and wealth in this
world; while others sung drinking songs and piping love-ditties by way
of accompaniment to the pathetic funeral speeches.

At last, attention was withdrawn from these riotous revels by the cry
of "The herald! The herald!" and the people thronged in dense crowds
down towards the north gate. A herald with a large sheet of parchment
and a white staff in his hand, rode, accompanied by a halberdier and a
numerous troop of horsemen, through the gate. The train halted at the
corners of all the streets, and at all the public squares; two
trumpeters on white horses made a signal for silence, whereupon the
herald read aloud a treaty between the lord of the town, Bishop Johan,
and the council and congregation of Copenhagen. The burghers admitted
in this treaty that they had, as well in deed as in word, grossly
misbehaved towards their spiritual and temporal lord the bishop, and
that they had been implicated in an unlawful and criminal insurrection,
the circumstances of which were enumerated. Meanwhile the bishop
pardoned them these trespasses at the king's intercession, in return
for which the deputies of the council and congregation promised, on the
part of the town and of the burghers, that each burgher should
instantly return to his duty, and obey all the laws and regulations
which the bishop, "_with consent of the chapter_," had given or
hereafter might give them, which they would publicly and solemnly swear
to do at the council-house, with laying on of hands on the holy
Gospels. No one dared to protest against the validity of this treaty;
as the herald displayed the round seal of the town with the three
towers, which was suspended to the document by a green silken string,
together with the seal of the Copenhagen chapter.

As soon as the inhabitants of the town were informed of this treaty,
and it was understood what had thereby been tacitly conceded to them,
and with how much leniency this untoward affair had been adjusted,
alarm and anxiety were succeeded by still greater and more general
satisfaction; but the guild-brethren were displeased and murmured.

At the market-place without the east gate, where the herald had read
the treaty for the last time, the numbers of the mob which had followed
the procession through the town were considerably augmented, chiefly by
day-labourers and ale-house frequenters, who felt that the treaty was
an obstacle to the disorder and licentious liberty for which the revolt
had given them opportunity. Here discontent was openly manifested; and
it was muttered aloud that the bishop after all had got justice in
everything, and that the burghers had suffered injustice. But a man now
stepped forward who was held in high esteem among these people; he was
a remarkably fat and sturdy ale-house keeper, with a large red nose and
a pair of hands like bears paws; he was known as the greatest toper and
brawler in the town, and his tavern was the resort of the wildest and
most turbulent revellers. He mounted upon the great ale barrel which
stood before his door, and which served the house for a sign.

"It is altogether right and reasonable, my excellent friends and
customers!--my honest and highly esteemed fellow burghers!" he shouted,
with his powerful well-known voice, and a round oath. "The bishop hath
but got justice for appearance sake; he is, besides, the lord of our
good town, and hath a right to require that one should drink one's ale
in peace, and pay every man that which is his. When he will grant us
what we need both for soul and body, we have surely nought to complain
of. When he lets priests sing mass for you, and me tap good ale for you
from morn till even, and somewhat past at times--then he is, by my
soul! as excellent a bishop and lord as we can ask for, and I will pay
without grumbling my yearly tax. For soul and salvation ye need not
hereafter to fear, comrades! That matter the king hath taken upon
himself, like an honest man. Heard ye not what he promised us
yesterday, and what there stood in the treaty? _Without consent of the
chapter the bishop_ can command us nothing, and praised be the chapter!
They are a wise set: they will just as little deny you absolution every
day, for your little bosom sins, as I would deny you what you may
stand in need of and can pay for on opportunity! Let rascals and
guild-brothers grumble as they may!" he continued, as he clenched his
broad fist, "we will keep those fellows in check;--I will wager a
drinking match to-day, with every honest man, to the king's and the
bishop's prosperity; but those who would stir up strife and wrangling
between us peaceable people shall feel our fists. Come in now,
comrades! and get something to keep up your hearts! Long live the king!
and our lord the bishop besides!"

"Long live the king and the bishop!" cried a great number of the
influential tavern-keeper's friends and customers; and the malcontents
slunk off.

"They come! they come! The king and bishop are here!" was now echoed
from mouth to mouth,--and the crowd again poured in through East
Street, towards the quarter where all the butchers of the place had
their dwellings, and where some murmurs against the treaty had also
been heard. Every burst of dissatisfaction was meanwhile kept down by
the opposite feeling which prevailed among the town's most influential
burghers, and yet more by the spectacle of the king's entry, and of the
crushed pride and dejected deportment of the little bishop Johan. With
downcast eyes and manifest signs of fear, this prelate rode, with his
ecclesiastical train, at the king's right hand, through his own town,
guarded by Count Henrik of Mecklenborg, and the knight-halberdiers. The
king met everywhere with a favourable reception; the bishop was
received with no demonstrations of welcome, but there was order and
peace;--no agitator dared to scoff at him by the king's side, and
no voice of discontent was heard. The procession stopped at the
council-house, where the treaty was solemnly ratified.

The public tranquillity was thus restored. The dignity of the
prelatical government was upheld, and the arrogance of the insurgents
subdued. The turbulent guild-brethren had dispersed, and there was no
reason to apprehend a fresh outbreak of the revolt, as the burghers
themselves, with the permission of the bishop, had agreed with the
provost's men and the bishop's retainers to observe the treaty and
prevent all disturbances. Despite this apparent victory, the bishop was
notwithstanding extremely pensive and taciturn. The king's generous
protection appeared to have confounded him, and he seemed to experience
a feeling of painful humiliation, by the side of his temporal
protector. The revolt, and the danger which had menaced his life, had
taught him to know his own powerlessness. The king had indeed treated
him, while at Sorretslóv castle, as a distinguished guest, but with
cold courtesy, without even giving vent to his displeasure by a
single word; it was those words only in the treaty relating to the
bishop's dependence on the assent of the chapter, which the king had
ordered to be inserted, in an emphatic tone (with the approval of the
general-superior there present), and in a voice of command, which
admitted of no contradiction. The bishop of Roskild, lately so
confident and haughty, who a few days since sat between a cardinal and
an archbishop in his fortified castle, and had, for the first time,
issued the exasperating church interdict in his own town, was now
forced to acknowledge, in silent anger, that since, the cardinal's
departure, the banishment of the archbishop, and his having himself
been subjected to the scoffs of the lowest rabble, he would be able to
maintain the authority of the church in Denmark only so far as the
Danish clergy considered it expedient, and as the king himself would
support ecclesiastical government.

During the whole of the transaction at the council-house, the bishop
was quiet and dejected. The king treated him here also with cold
courtesy. His looks were stern and grave; another important and serious
matter seemed to have weighed on his heart since he heard the last
words of the archbishop to Count Henrik.

From the council-house the whole procession rode to St. Mary's church,
where, besides the customary Avé, a Te Deum was sung on occasion of the
treaty. The king then immediately rode back to Sorretslóv, from whence
he purposed to set out on his journey the following morning. The
bishop, with the abbot of the Forest Monastery, and the other
ecclesiastics, accompanied him (in compliance with customary courtesy),
besides the deputies of the town and the burghers.

The bishop desired not to return to Axelhuus ere every trace of hostile
attack on the castle was effaced, and the humiliating insurrection
forgotten. He purposed to accompany the king, the following day, to
Roskild, where some disturbances had taken place on the occasion of
their rulers' attempt to enforce the interdict.

The bishop was thus, in some sort, houseless on this evening, and
accepted, as an attention which was his due, the king's invitation to
him and his train to take up their quarters for the night at his
castle, where all who had accompanied the king were also invited to a
festive supper.

The sun had just set as the train reached Sorretslóv, and Count Henrik
proposed to the king that they should now, ere it grew dark, inspect
the bishop's charitable institution at St. George's hospital, for
lepers and those who were sick of pestilential disorders, since it lay
but a stone's throw from the castle. At this proposal the bishop, and
the abbot of the Forest Monastery, became evidently uneasy; but this
was remarked by no one except Count Henrik, who watched them closely,
and had on their account proposed aloud this plan, which he readily
conjectured the king would reject.

"It is top late. Count! and I have guests besides," answered the king.
"If you desire it, inspect the hospital yourself, and describe the
establishment to me! I know it doth honour to the bishop's
philanthropy!--although I should have deemed it more fitting had that
lazzaretto been erected elsewhere. That there is no one sick of the
plague there at the present moment I know," Count Henrik bowed in
silence, and instantly rode, with a couple of young knights, across
Sorretslóv meadow, towards the hospital.

"Permit me to accompany you. Sir knights! I desire also to see this
pious institution," said the abbot of the Forest Monastery,
endeavouring to overtake them on his palfrey; but they heard him not,
and ere the abbot reached St. George's hospital. Count Henrik stood
already in the chamber of the sick, gazing with a look of sharp
scrutiny on a man who seemed to sleep, but whose head was so closely
muffled that he might be considered as masked. On the upper part of the
sick man's forehead the beginning of a large scar was visible. "What is
the name of this man?" inquired Count Henrik, in a stern tone, of the
alarmed and embarrassed brethren of St. George.

"No one knows him, gracious sir!" answered the guardian; "he was
brought bruised and wounded hither yesterday, by two stranger canons
from the town; they had found him half dead on the beach: we were
forced instantly to lay a plaster over his whole face and we cannot now
remove it without endangering his life."

"As I live! it is the outlawed Kaggé," said Count Henrik, and all gave
way in consternation. "You have housed and healed a regicide,"
continued the count; "they who brought him hither were traitors: all
are such who hide an outlaw."

"Outlaw or not, here he hath peace to die or recover, if it be the will
of the Lord and St. George;--that shall not be denied him by any king
or king's servant," said an authoritative voice behind them, and the
tall abbot of the Forest Monastery stood in the door-way of the
chamber. "No tyrant's hand reaches unto this sanctuary of compassion,"
continued the prelate. "I command you, brother-guardian, and every
charitable brother who here serves St. George, I command ye, in the
name of the bishop, and our heavenly Lord, to cherish this sick man as
your redeemed brother, without fear of man, and without asking of his
name and calling in the world! Perhaps he now suffers for his sins; but
of that the All-righteous must judge: if he hath fallen by the hand of
Divine chastisement he will indeed soon stand before his Judge; in such
case, pray for his soul, and give him Christian burial! but if he is
healed by the help and prayers of man, or by the merits and miracles of
any saint, then let him wander forth free in St. George's name, whether
he goes to friend or foe--whether he goes to life and happiness in the
world, or to ignominy and death on the scaffold--ye are set here to
heal and comfort;--to wound and vex the wretched, there are tyrants
enough in the world."

Count Henrik looked in astonishment at the dignified prelate, who spoke
with authoritative firmness, and really seemed actuated by pious zeal
and compassion; a transient flush passed over the countenance of the
proud warrior; it seemed as though he blushed at having persecuted this
miserable being, who appeared unable to move a limb, and looked more
dead than alive. "In the name of the Lord and St. George," he said,
stepping back, "fulfil your duty to the criminal as unto my saint, and
the saint of all knights! I require not you nor any one to be
merciless; but this I will say once again, you shelter an outlawed and
dishonoured traitor. You must yourselves be answerable for the
consequences." He cast another glance at the object of his suspicions,
who lay immovable, and without any discernible expression in his
frightful and shrouded countenance. The count then quitted the
hospital, and allowed the abbot to precede him. On the way back to the
king's castle he exchanged not a word with the ecclesiastic, who,
haughty and silent, gazed on him with a triumphant mien. Count Henrik
said nothing of his discovery to the king; he was not, indeed,
perfectly certain that he had not been mistaken; but during the whole
evening he was in an unusually silent and thoughtful mood. The unhappy
criminal now appeared to him so wretched and insignificant that he
began to regard all dread of such a foe as contemptible. At the evening
repast the king principally conversed with the deputies of the council
and the burghers of Copenhagen. It was the first time they sat at the
table with the king and their ruler the bishop, and at the commencement
of the repast appeared somewhat abashed by this unwonted honour. The
king repeated his commendation of the loyalty and bravery of the
Copenhageners in Marsk Stig's feud, and the war with Norway; he
promised them compensation for every loss they might sustain hereafter
for his and the kingdom's sake, so long as the outlaws disquieted the
country, and soon contrived to induce the plain, straight-forward
citizens to express themselves freely and frankly respecting the
advantages and disadvantages of their town in regard to its trade
and commerce. They thanked the bishop and the king for their wise
town-laws, and for the many liberties and privileges which the town
already enjoyed; but they hesitated not to mention how important it
might be for the public revenue if the monopolies of the towns could be
curtailed, and the burghers allowed at least the same privileges as
those granted to foreigners.

"Truly! I have long thought of that," said the king; "this matter
deserves to be thought upon. I shall await further proposals and
consideration of the subject from your Lord the bishop and your
assembled council."

Great joy was manifest in the countenances of the burgers at this
speech; but the bishop appeared little pleased with the king's zealous
interest in the town and its concerns. The conversation between the
ecclesiastics from Axelhuus was reserved and laconic. The king himself
was often silent and abstracted; at times he appeared striving to
repress the expression of his wrath against the bishop, and the abbot,
who he knew, was one of the most devoted friends of Grand. After the
repast the burghers took a cheerful and hearty farewell of the king,
whom they once more thanked for the rescue and peace of their good
town; after which they returned to Copenhagen, with high panegyrics on
the king's mildness and favour. Count Henrik and the knights repaired
to the chess-table in the upper hall, and Eric remained almost alone
among the ecclesiastics. With an air of mysterious confidence the abbot
and the provincial prior drew closer to the bishop, whose authority and
drooping courage they strove to sustain in the king's presence.

The two ecclesiastics who had principally conducted the treaty, and had
impartially defended the rights of the bishop, as well as the liberties
of the people, kept nearest the king, and strove furthermore to prevent
every outbreak of his anger against the friends of the banished
archbishop: they were the provincial prior of the Dominicans, Master
Olans (who, as the king's counsellor in this important affair, had
accompanied him from Wordingborg), and the general-superior of the
Copenhagen chapter, who belonged to the bishop's train, but was
secretly devoted to the king, and had even dared to protest against the
interdict. To these personages the king, shortly before retiring to
rest, addressed a question which had been weighing on his heart the
whole day, and which he seemed desirous should be answered in the
presence of the bishop, ere he retired to rest.

"Tell me, venerable sirs," said Eric, "how far the canonical law
reasonably extends with regard to marriage within the ties of
consanguinity, and how far the dispensation of the church can really be
consisted as necessary, according to the law of God, when the
relationship is so distant that it is hardly remembered?"

"It is a prolix and difficult question, your grace," answered the
general-superior of the chapter, evasively, with a dubious side-glance
at the bishop and the abbot of the Forest Monastery. "I must crave some
time for reflection in order to answer it rightly."

"If the prevailing senseless law is followed," said the aged provincial
prior in a firm tone, and with an undaunted glance at the attentive
prelates, "almost every computable degree of relationship may be an
impediment, and may call for an indulgence; but when this is carried
out too far I believe the church's holy father will agree with me that
such an extreme doth but uselessly burden the conscience, just as it
also may lightly become a subject for scoffing and scandal, instead of
being a means of edification to Christian and reasonable persons. If
one were to be consistent in these matters, no marriage would at last
take place in Christendom without dispensation from the papal see,
seeing that all persons are kindred in the flesh, inasmuch as they all
descend from old Adam and Eve."

"That is precisely my own opinion," said the king, with a smile of
satisfaction; "it would take a tolerably long reckoning.--What is
_your_ opinion of this, pious Bishop Johan?"

The bishop appeared confused, at the half-jesting tone with which the
king asked his opinion; he was not prepared for this, and seemed to
wish just as little to tread on the heels of papal authority, as to
dare at this moment to rouse the anger of the king--he stammered out a
few words, and strove to evade a decided declaration.

"Permit me, venerable brother! To answer this question," began the
abbot, with a proud and collected deportment:--"an example will best
explain the case," he continued, addressing himself to the king; "no
case is more in point than that of your grace's relationship to your
young kinswoman, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden."

"Truly!" exclaimed the king, with a start, "you use no circumlocution,
Sir Abbot! you go straight to the point. It suits me best, however. Let
us keep to that example! I am more, every way, interested in it than in
any other!"

"Ere the church can bless your meditated marriage union with this your
high-born relative," continued the abbot, with calm coldness, "the holy
father's dispensation and indulgence are altogether necessary, and this
on a two-fold account; pro primo,--because of the tie of relationship
by marriage; and pro secundo,--because of the taint of relationship by
blood. As regards the first point, royal sir! the aforesaid Princess
Ingeborg's uncle, Count Gerhard of Holstein, is, as is well known, by
his marriage with your most royal mother, the dowager Queen Agnes, your
grace's present step-father. Count Gerhard's fatherly relationship, as
well to that noble princess, as to your Grace! causes an almost
brotherly and sisterly connection between you and the young
princess;--and marriage between brother and sister, or between those
who may be considered as such, is sternly forbidden by every law of God
and man----"

"You have made us out brother and sister in a trice; it is a singular
way of bringing people into near relationship," interrupted the king,
"yet pass but over the relationship by marriage, with my stepfather's
niece, venerable sir!--there is not a single drop of the same blood
therein. Nought but a near and actual blood relationship do I
acknowledge to be so real a hindrance that it can only be removed by
God's vicegerent upon earth."

"Your grace is right in some respects," answered the abbot, "inasmuch
as it _is_ the tie of blood, which in this instance constitutes the
sin, and makes every marriage union between relations, which hath not
been sanctified by the indulgence of the church, an unholy act, a
deadly sin, and a damnable connection."

"Ha! do you rave?" cried the king: his brow flushed; anger glowed in
his cheek and on his lofty brow, but he subdued his rising ire. "If
terrible words, without truth or reason, had power to slay the soul, I
should long since have been spiritually murdered," he continued in a
lower tone. "Now, say on, Sir Abbot!--how near reckon you, then, the
blood relationship, which, according to your bold assertion, may plunge
me into deadly sin, and into a gulf of horror and ignominy, if I await
not a permit from Rome to perpetrate such crime?"

"It is easy to reckon up the degrees of forbidden affinity," answered
the abbot, with imperturbable coolness. "The high-born Princess
Ingeborg is, as is known, a legitimate daughter of King Magnus, who was
a legitimate son of the high-born Birger Jarl, whose consort, the lady
Ingeborg, was a legitimate daughter of King Eric the tenth, whose Queen
Regizé was, lastly, a legitimate daughter of your grace's departed
royal father's--father's--father's father;--ergo, the princess is a
great-great grandchild of your grace's grandfather's departed royal
father, Waldemar the Great, of blessed memory!"

"Perfectly right, grand-children's grand-children's children then, of
my great-great grandfather--a near relationship, doubtless!" said the
king, bursting into a laugh. "I now wish you a good and quiet night,
venerable and most learned sirs!" he added, apparently with a lightened
heart, and with a cheerful and determined look: "I never rightly
considered the matter before; now it is perfectly clear to me; I can
sleep as quietly as in Abraham's bosom, when I think on the sin which I,
with mature deliberation and full resolve, purpose to perpetrate as
soon as possible. I could wish no one among you may ever have a heavier
sin on his conscience." So saying, he bowed with a smile, and departed.

The king's eager talk with the ecclesiastics had attracted the
attention of Count Henrik and his companions, who had approached, and
heard the subject of the conversation. On the king's laughingly
repeating the abbot's calculation, some of the young knights had
laughed right heartily also. The abbot was crimson with rage. "It is
the mark of eye-servants," he said aloud, "to vie with each other in
laughing at what their gracious lords consider to be absurd, even
though such merriment doth but disgrace them and their short-sighted
masters. This scoffing and contempt shall be avenged, my brother," he
whispered in the bishop's ear, with a significant look. The bishop
started, and looked anxiously around; he winked at his incensed
colleague, and observed aloud, that it was high time to retire to rest,
and bid good-night to all discord and worldly thoughts. The master of
the household now appeared with a number of torch-bearers, and the
knights, as well as the ecclesiastics, repaired to the chambers
assigned to them, in the knights' story in the western wing of the
castle.



                               CHAP. VII.


Towards midnight, Count Henrik stood in his apartment, next the
king's chamber, in the upper story of the castle. He had extinguished
his light, in order to retire to rest, but remained standing
half-undressed, at the high arched-window, which looked towards the
east, and from which he gazed out in the moonlight upon the Sound,
watching the distant vessels gliding away over the glittering mirror of
the waters. Since his visit to St. George's hospital, he had been
silent and pensive. At the evening repast he had constantly drained his
cup, for the purpose of raising his spirits. His pulse beat hard;
recollections of the past, and hopes for the future, passed rapidly
through his mind, in fair and vivid imagery. At the sight of the ocean
and the distant prospect, he gave himself up to visionary longings
after his distant fatherland, and a beloved form seemed to flit before
him, as he pressed the blue shoulder-scarf to his lips, and hung it
carefully over a high-backed chair. He took a gold chain, which the
king had lately given him, from his breast, and laid his sword aside.
"Deeds, achievements, honour, first!" he said to himself, "and then
love will surely also twine me a wreath. Now that _his_ life and
happiness are at stake, he shall not have called me his friend in vain.
Let him become a Waldemar the Victorious! and Henrik of Mecklenborg's
name shall be famed like that of Albert of Orlamund[oe]. But another
sort of fellow, and a right merry one, will _I_ be." He now heard the
weapons of the bodyguard clashing in the antechamber, where a young
halberdier kept guard, with twelve spearmen. It was not, however, usual
for the king to be surrounded by a guard, when he made a progress
through the country, and passed the night at any of the royal mansions;
but here, where the banished archbishop and the outlaws still had their
numerous friends, and where the ecclesiastical rulers of the town were
on doubtful terms with the king, Count Henrik had counselled this
precaution as in some degree necessary, after so recent an
insurrection, and where the king's mediation had not been able to
satisfy all the discontented. While Count Henrik was undressing
himself, the Drost's letter dropped from his vest, and he pondered
thoughtfully over the solemn warnings it contained. "Hum! The junker,"
he said to himself "his own brother--and yet surely a traitor--never
shall I forget his countenance that night at Kallundborg--the blood of
the unhappy commandant was surely upon his head--_he_ will be no joyous
wedding guest--he would assuredly rather stand by the bridegroom's
grave;--then might a crown yet fall upon his raven's head. Hum! They
are murky, these Danish royal castles," he continued, looking around
the dark gothic chamber, with its arched roof and walls, a fathom
thick, "Is he safe here among his guests? The little spying bishop was
Grand's good friend. I like him not; the haughty, gloomy abbot still
less--they are dangerous people, those holy men of God, when they will
have a finger in state affairs. Here he sleeps under the same roof with
his enemies to-night; and yonder, in the hospital, lies a disguised
regicide; perhaps he was only deadly sick for appearance sake, and my
compassion was ill bestowed." As Count Henrik was revolving these
thoughts, and delayed retiring to rest, there was a low knocking at the
door. It opened, and an ecclesiastic entered; he was a quiet, serious
old man. The moonlight fell on a pale and somewhat melancholy face, and
the Count recognised the general-superior of the Copenhagen chapter. "A
word in confidence, noble knight," he whispered mysteriously; "I come
like Nicodemus; yet it is not spiritual things, but temporal, which
have disturbed my night's rest. Your liege the king hath this day
generously saved my life and the lives of my colleagues, although he
does not regard us all as his friends, and with some reason: perhaps I
may now be able to requite him."

"How?" exclaimed Count Henrik: "say on, venerable sir! What have you to
confide to me?"

"When we fled from Axelhuus at break of day," continued the
ecclesiastic, "I was well nigh sick of fear and alarm, and gave but
little heed to what passed around me. A half-dead man had been found on
the beach, and out of compassion taken into the boat. I saw not his
face, and his voice was strange to me; of that I can take my oath. He
was afterwards carried to St. George's Hospital here, close by the
king's meadows. While we lay hidden under the thwarts in the boat, for
fear of the insurgents, the sick man had come to himself: and exchanged
many strange, enigmatical words with my colleague, the abbot of the
Forest Monastery. What it was I heard but half, and cannot remember;
but there must be some mystery about that person which makes me
apprehensive; deadly sick he seemed to me in no wise to be, and
appeared least of all prepared for his _own_ departure from this world.
My lord, the bishop seemed neither to know him nor his dark projects;
but as I said, the abbot knew him, and had assuredly before
administered to him the most holy Sacrament. More have I not to say;
but I felt compelled to seek you out, however late it was: I could not
sleep for disquiet thoughts. The guard without, here, I found in a deep
slumber, I know not whether it is with your knowledge."

"How? Impossible!" exclaimed Count Henrik, in great consternation,
hastily stepping into the antechamber, where he found all the twelve
spearmen lying asleep on the floor. On the table stood an empty wine
flask and some goblets. The young halberdier, who had the command of
the guard, sat likewise asleep in a corner. Count Henrik shook them;
but they were all in a deep sleep. "Treachery!" he exclaimed, in
dismay, and hastily snatched a lance from one of the sleeping guards.
"Haste to the knights' story, venerable sir! Wake all the king's men,
and call them instantly hither! I cannot now myself quit the king's
door. I will fasten the door after you: knock three soft strokes when
you return! For the Lord's sake, haste!"

The ecclesiastic nodded in silence, and departed. Count Henrik locked
the door of the upper story after him, and barricadoed it with tables
and benches--he strove again to waken the sleeping guards, but it was
in vain: they seemed not intoxicated by ordinary wine; their sleep
rather resembled that caused by a soporific draught.

Count Henrik stood alone among the sleepers, and waited long in a state
of painful anxiety; there was a deathlike stillness around him: he
heard but the deep-drawn breathings of the sleepers; but the king's men
from the knights' story did not arrive, and the ecclesiastic returned
not either. He stood for full an hour, listening with lance in hand.
All was still. At last he thought he heard a noise, as if some one was
scraping the wall, or creeping to the window over the projecting
battlements near the staircase of the upper story. He cast a hasty
glance at the window, and saw a horrible and deadly pale face, which he
could not recognise, pressed flat to one of the window panes. He rushed
forward with raised lance, but when he reached the window the face had
disappeared. Count Henrik stepped back, thrilled by a feeling of horror
which he had never before experienced. It seemed as if the prostrate
warriors around him mocked his growing uneasiness by the profound
indifference of their slumbers. He felt as if secret doors were about
to open in all the old panels, and the outlawed regicides of Finnerup
were ready to rush forth masked from every corner to renew the bloody
scenes of St. Cecilia's eve, and avenge Marsk Stig and their slain
kinsmen. He kept his lance in the one hand and held his knight's sword
unsheathed in the other. Thus armed, he stationed himself without the
king's door, and just before the open door between his own chamber and
the landing of the upper story, every moment expecting an attack from
the foe, who were probably many in number. It was useless to give an
alarm; the wing containing the knights' story, where all the king's men
slept, was at too great a distance for his voice to reach thither, and
if the traitors were nigh, a shout of distress might embolden them. He
thought of waking the king; but all as yet was quiet, and he was
ashamed of showing fear in Eric's presence, where there was no enemy
either to be seen or heard. To the king's sleeping chamber there was no
other entrance than through the antechamber of the upper story and the
count's apartment. The windows of the king's chamber were furnished
with iron bars: but in the antechamber the high arched windows were
without any defence, and they looked out on the other side to the open
field. From this quarter he expected the attack would be made, and he
feared, with reason, that some mishap must have chanced to the
ecclesiastic on the way to the knights' story. The longer he pondered
over his situation, the more alarming it appeared. An idea now suddenly
struck him, which he instantly hastened to put into execution. After
he had once more unsuccessfully attempted to arouse the slumbering
men-at-arms he raised them up one by one from the floor and bound them
tight by their shoulder-scarfs, in an almost upright position, to the
strong iron hooks in the window pillars, which were used for hanging
weapons upon. In this attitude they turned their backs towards the
windows looking upon the fields, and would, therefore, appear to those
without to be awake and at their posts. Hardly had he completed this
laborious task ere he heard whispering voices, and a low clashing of
arms under the windows. He sprang suddenly forward with raised lance
and sword, to that window, which was most strongly lighted up by the
moonshine, and shouted in a loud triumphant voice, "Now's the time,
guard! Here we have them in the field."

"Fly! fly! We are betrayed!--they are all on their legs!" said a hoarse
voice without; and Count Henrik saw in the clear moonshine a whole
troop of masked persons, in the mantles of Dominican monks, take flight
over the meadow. "St. George be praised!" he exclaimed, once more
breathing freely. "I should hardly have been able to master so many."

The spearmen and the young halberdier still slept soundly in their
hanging position. Count Henrik bound them yet faster, and left them
in this attitude. When the king stepped forth from his chamber at
sun-rise, he beheld, to his surprise. Count Henrik pacing up and down,
half-dressed, on the landing, with weapons in both hands, while the
guard hung snoring in their shoulder-scarfs among the untenanted suits
of armour on the window pillars. At this sight he burst into a hearty
laugh, and on hearing the strange adventure shook his head and smiled.
"You have dreamed, my good Count Henrik; or, to speak plainly, you have
had a goblet of wine too much in your head," he said, gaily. "I noticed
that last night, indeed; but compared with these fellows you have
assuredly been sober: you have made rare game of them in your
merriment."

"As I live, my liege, it was no joke," began Count Henrik eagerly; but
the lancers now began, one after another, to gape and to stretch
themselves. When they found, however, how they were bound to the
armour-hooks, and beheld the king with Count Henrik just opposite them,
they demeaned themselves most strangely, betwixt fear and bashfulness.
The king turned away to repress his laughter, as he was now compelled
to be stern; but Count Henrik was indignant at his incredulity and gay
humour.

"Throw the whole of that dormouse guard into the tower," commanded the
king; "they can sleep themselves sober, and so be better able to keep
their eyes open another time. You yourself shall get off by putting up
with my laughter," he added, and went with the count into another
apartment. "Henceforth I can believe neither what you nor my dear Drost
Aagé see and hear in the moonshine. Out of pure love to me you spy
traitors in every corner, and vie with each other in playing mad
pranks. Hath any one ever known the like of the halberdier guard!" When
the door of the guard-room was shut, the king gave vent to his
laughter; his opinion of the real state of the case was strengthened by
observing that Count Henrik was only half-dressed, and by his disturbed
looks.

"You wound me by your doubts, my liege," resumed Count Henrik, with
subdued vehemence, and casting his mantle around him; "but so long as
you can make laughing-stocks of your true servants; thank God, it is a
proof at least that you are of good cheer, my liege, and that should
vex no loyal subject. You can witness, fellows," he continued eagerly,
again opening the door of the guard-chamber upon the dismayed spearmen.
"No! That is true; you saw nothing of it, ye drowsy pates!" he cried in
wrath. "To the tower with you instantly! and you besides, vigilant Sir
halberdier! You never more deserve to be trusted with the guarding of
the king's person."

The young halberdier, who had awoke in fear and dismay, and had now
extricated himself from his humiliating position, related in his excuse
how he had lost his consciousness in an unaccountable manner, after
having only drunk a single cup of the evening draught which had been
brought to them. They had all fared in the same manner. The king at
last became serious, and caused the matter to be strictly inquired
into. It could not be discovered who had brought the soporific draught.
None of the kin's attendants knew any thing of it. No one had been
roused in the knights' story. The old general-superior must have been
carried off by the traitors: he was nowhere to be found. When the
bishop and the abbot of the Forest Monastery heard what had been done
they appeared to be in the greatest consternation. The bishop loudly
expressed it as his opinion that it must have been the discontented
guild-brethren from the town, and that the attack, in all probability,
had concerned him. Since his last conversation with these
ecclesiastical dignitaries the king had altered the plan of his
journey, and determined instantly to repair to Helsingborg, there to
expedite his marriage, and prepare every thing for the reception of his
bride.

He excused himself with cold courtesy from all further companionship
with bishop Johan and the abbot, who, silent and thoughtful, set out on
the road to Roskild; but the aged provincial prior Olaus accompanied
the king, by his desire, to supply the place of the absent chancellor,
in conducting correspondence and matters of a similar nature.

When the king, a few hours after sunrise, was about to leave
Sorretslóv, and traversed the ante-chamber where Count Henrik had kept
his singular night-watch, he took the count's hand and pressed it with
warmth, "If you have been able to put my enemies to flight, here, with
snoring fellows on hooks, you must be able to crush them with waking
men in coats of mail. From this hour you are my Marsk, Count Henrik of
Mecklenborg, with the same authority in peace and war as Marsk
Olufsen," So saying, the king handed him a roll of parchment, with sign
and seal of this high dignity. "When I laugh another time at your
heroic deeds, brave count, and call them dreams and visions, you may
call me an unbelieving Thomas," he continued. "From my childhood
upwards I have had as many deadly foes as my father had murderers," he
added, solemnly, and with a tremulous voice; "yet truly, I thank the
Lord and our holy Lady for my foes; they teach me almost daily to know
my true friends."

Count Henrik's eyes beamed with joy; he heartily thanked the king, and
followed him down the staircase to the court of the castle, where
Eric's numerous train already awaited his coming, on horseback. Count
Henrik sprang gaily into the saddle, with his new commission in his
hand, and instantly issued, as Marsk, the necessary orders for pursuing
and tracking the traitors.

As they rode out of the court-yard, the king missed his two favourite
tournament steeds, and became highly displeased. "Truly this is worse
than all the rest," he said, looking around him with so stern a glance
and so clouded a countenance that the young knights looked at each
other in surprise; and a word of soothing or admonition seemed to hover
on the lips of the aged provincial prior.

"The handsome, spirited prancers, they should have danced before
Princess Ingeborg's car on our bridal day," continued the king, turning
to Master Olaus. "This is no good omen for me. They might sooner have
burned the castle over my head than robbed me of those noble animals."

It was now discovered that the horses were already missing in the
morning of the day preceding, together with both the grooms who had the
charge of them, and that they had been sought for everywhere in vain.

"They shall and must be found; I will answer for that," said Count
Henrik, and instantly despatched a couple of his own grooms to look for
them. The party rode on; but the king's good humour was disturbed for
some time. "I shall never be able to find such another pair," he said
at last, in a milder tone, looking out across the Sound on the
picturesque road to Elsinore, while the larks carolled gaily above his
head, and his long fair locks floated on the spring breeze. "I always
fancied them dancing before her car every time I thought on her bridal
day; eager wishes may make us superstitious and childish, I believe.
Had we but the bride in the car we should assuredly get it drawn to
church."

"You would have twice as many hands to draw it as there are hearts in
Denmark's kingdom," said Count Henrik, placing a green sprig of beech
in his hat. "We bring summer with us to Helsingborg, my sovereign--Look!
Denmark's forests already arch themselves into a vast Gothic church and
bridal hall."

"_That_ church and bridal hall they shall at any rate leave wide open
to me," exclaimed the king, with some bitterness, as he raised his
glance above the woods to the clear heavens. "Yon eternal church of
God, besides," he continued, "however matters may stand with her image
here in the dust. Is it not so, Master Olaus?"

"The true temple of God's spirit is a pious and loving heart, my
liege," answered the mild, calm, provincial prior. "Where there is love
and living faith, with the Lord's help, there will be no lack of
blessing."

The king nodded kindly to them both, and they now rode briskly forward
on the road to Elsinore.



                              CHAP. VIII.


While in Sweden as in Denmark, in the loveliest season of the year, the
old favourite national songs, with the burden,--"The woods are decked
in leafy green," and "The birds are warbling now their song," were sung
as well in castles as behind the plough, and the court rejoiced with
the minnesingers over "the very green and lovely May," and "the mighty
power of love," couriers were constantly passing between the Swedish
and Danish courts at Stockholm and Helsingborg; and a feeling of joyous
expectation pervaded all Denmark. Drost Aagé in conjunction with the
learned and eloquent Master Petrus de Dacia, had succeeded in
overcoming the immediate scruples of the Swedish state council,
respecting the marriage of the Danish King with Princess Ingeborg.
Without in the least betraying with what ardent impetuosity their
chivalrous young king seemed willing to stake life and crown to win his
bride, and without the most distant allusion to the possibility of a
breach of peace being caused by the failure of a negociation, which had
for its object the most peaceable relations, and the most loving ties,
these faithful servants of the king, had, by adducing wise and politic
reasons, first brought the wise Regent Thorkild Knudsen over to their
side, and, despite all the hindrances which the malicious Drost Bruncké
placed in their way, at last carried their point so far as to divest
the idea of the excommunication at Sjöborg, and the enforcement of the
interdict at Copenhagen, of its paralysing and terrifying influence,
at the Swedish court. From the showing of the learned Master Petrus,
and the king's own letters, and clear explanation of the matter, the
want of dispensation from the papal court, came at last to be regarded
as the omission of an insignificant formality, afterwards to be
remedied through negotiation. The flight and formal banishment of
Archbishop Grand from Denmark, as well as the insurrection caused by
the execution of the interdict in Copenhagen, had rejoiced every brave
and free-minded man, as well in Sweden, as in Denmark, and considerably
diminished the dread entertained by the Swedish court and council of
the consequences of a possible breach with the papal see. A new and
overawing proof had been displayed of the courage of the young Danish
king, and of the unanimity with which his loyal people joined him in
opposing the usurpation of the hierarchy. Daring politicians were even
found who hoped the time might not be far distant when the free
national spirit of the north would render people, and princes,
independent of the interference of the papal see in state matters, and
the rights of citizenship. Many bold and manly speeches were uttered in
the Swedish state-council on this occasion, which did honour to
Thorkild Knudsen and his countrymen, but which were reprobated, by the
opposite party, as open heresy and ungodliness, which would be visited
upon Sweden as well as Denmark with heavy chastisement.

Drost Bruncké, and his adherents, despised no means which might tend to
stop or protract the negotiations; he had many able prelates on his
side, but the majority of voices were against him, and he sought in
vain, by reviving the remembrance of the wrongs and animosities of the
two nations, to rekindle the ancient national hate, which now seemed
forgot, and which it was hoped a mutual alliance between the royal
houses, would entirely eradicate.

The eager opposition party in the Swedish council, which was headed by
Drost Bruncké, and in which many were disposed to think that Prince
Christopher took a secret but important part, was calculated rather to
forward than hinder the final decision of the affair. Sweden's greatest
statesman, Marsk Thorkild Knudsen, was on this occasion called on to
display his mental superiority. He disdained having recourse to his
authority as regent, and to his influence as the guardian of King
Birger, and the darling of the Swedish nation. The opinion which he
declared from full conviction, he wished to see prevail by its own
weight, and by its accordance with the mutual feeling of both nations.
Thorkild Knudsen now stood forth in council with an address which
appealed as well to the hearts as to the sober judgment of his
countrymen.

After a clear and calm representation of the political relations of
Sweden and Denmark, and the original affinity of the Scandinavian
people, besides what they could and might effect by alliance and
friendship for their mutual security, and the development of their
powers. Thorkild also pourtrayed, with enthusiastic and glowing
eloquence, the greatness and devotion of love's triumph over petty
scruples and national prejudices. He gave an equally true and
favourable portraiture of the constant and loveable character of the
young Danish king, as well as of the charms of the noble Princess
Ingeborg, and the mutual attachment that had subsisted between the
betrothed pair from their childhood. He finally contrived, with as much
sagacity as eloquence, to put down the objections of the opposite
party, and bring the negotiation of the Danish ambassadors to the
happiest issue; the greater number of his opponents being at last
animated by a warm feeling of enthusiasm for the royal pair, which was
mingled by the soul-enlarging feeling of the union of two nations in
that of their fairest and noblest representatives.

The espousals were, therefore, according to the ardent wish of King
Eric and with the consent of the princess, fixed for the first of June,
which was already near at hand; and a courier from Drost Aagé was
instantly despatched with the glad tidings to Eric. The whole of the
Swedish royal family were to accompany the princess to Helsingborg,
where splendid preparations were making for the marriage, and the
chivalrous King Eric now only awaited the dawning of that happy day to
set out at the head of the chivalry of Denmark, with all the courtly
state suited to the occasion, to meet his beautiful bride and her royal
relatives.

Towards the close of May, Helsingborg castle, together with the town
and its vicinity became daily the resort of all who were most
distinguished in Denmark and Sweden. The fair gothic castle, with its
circular walls, its bastions, and high towers, rose proudly over the
town on the summit of the steep rock or hill above. The castle was
surrounded by deep moats, and was considered to be an impregnable
fortress; but at this time the drawbridge was let down, and the great
iron-cased castle-gate, on the southern side, stood open to admit the
coming guests. The old town, which dated its origin from the days of
King Frodé[3], and was so pleasantly and advantageously situated on the
narrowest part of the Sound, owed its present prosperity to its
considerable trade, and great horse and cattle fairs. It was tolerably
extensive, but was, however, by no means, capable of accommodating so
great a concourse of strangers. The great market-place, close to the
council-house, and the handsome church of St. Mary's (the central point
of the town where many streets met), were now daily as much thronged
with people as on the great fair-days. Besides the king's nearest
relatives, and the wedding guests invited by the Marsk, from the lordly
manors and knightly castles of both kingdoms; a great crowd of curious
and sympathising persons of all ranks flocked to Helsingborg, even from
the most distant provinces, to witness the intended festival, and
partake of the public amusements, which, on this occasion, were to
render this celebration of royal nuptials a national festival for both
Denmark and Sweden.

The king had already held his court, for some weeks, at Helsingborg.
Marsk Oluffsen had returned from Jutland, where he had been fortunate
enough to put an end to all disturbances by capturing the daring
partizans, Niels Brock and Johan Papæ, with some other friends of
the archbishop's and the outlaws. The insurgents were led to the
prison-tower at Flynderborg, but the stern Marsk Oluffsen was
personally so incensed at these state prisoners, who had long plagued
and defied him, that he thought no punishment was adequate to their
deserts. At the present moment nothing was thought of at court but joy
and festivity. The king's stepfather, Count Gerhard, had arrived from
Nykiöping with his consort, the dowager queen Agnes. Next to the king
himself no one seemed more to rejoice at his marriage than his politic
and dignified mother. In her first unhappy marriage, Agnes, as
Denmark's queen, had held that wedded happiness, among royal
personages, was only the dream of visionaries. After the death of her
unhappy consort she had sacrificed the title of queen, and changed this
dream into truth and reality, in her own lot, under a humbler name.
Amid her own happiness she had often thought, with uneasiness and
regret, on having made a treaty, involving the future destiny of her
children by their betrothal in early childhood, and now saw, with
thankfulness, that a union, projected from motives of state policy, had
grown into the natural tie of kindred hearts.

It appeared that the brave Duke of Langeland had forgotten all former
disputes with the king, at the treaty of Wordingborg, but his brother,
Duke Valdemar of Slesvig, who had also been invited out of courtesy,
had excused himself on plea of illness.

Three days before that fixed for the bridal, Junker Christopher arrived
with a numerous train from Kallundborg. The king received him with his
wonted courtesy on the quay of Helsingborg, whither he had gone to meet
him with his new Marsk, Count Henrik, and his halberdiers; but there
was a painful expression of suppressed anger in the king's generally
joyous and kindly countenance as he gave his hand to his sullen brother
in token of welcome. It was pretty openly said that the junker lately,
by means of secret cabals, had placed obstacles in the way of the
marriage, and it was believed the king had painful conjectures on the
subject, although no proofs of this presumable treachery were
forthcoming. The junker himself had appeared latterly to suffer from a
corroding melancholy, which was often succeeded by bursts of wild
merriment,--since the storming of Kallundborg castle especially, and
the execution of his unhappy commandant, the restless and gloomy
disposition of the prince had assumed this fierce character; even those
few of his courtiers who were really devoted to him, and regarded his
gloomy reserved deportment as an effect of the wrestlings of a great
spirit with its destiny often complained of his caprices; and though
they still adhered to him, it was, however, with a species of fear,
mixed with an undefined hope of one day arriving with him at honours
and fortune.

The mutual greeting of the brothers on Helsingborg quay was strikingly
cold, although the junker seemed desirous by his congratulations
and expressions of courtesy to do away with all appearance of
misunderstanding. To this Count Henrik in particular paid special
attention. In the king's train were seen the German professors of
minstrelsy, who had abandoned their researches at Wordingborg castle to
enliven the festival by their lays. The papers and documents which
Junker Christopher had removed from the sacristy chest at Lund, on the
archbishop's imprisonment, and brought, as it was said, to the state
archives at Wordingborg castle, had been sought for in vain by the
learned friends of the king. These documents might even yet become of
great importance to the king in the suit against the banished
archbishop; but they had disappeared at the time when matters had come
to an open breach with the junker, and the king suspected his brother
of having destroyed them, or even of having returned them to the
archbishop.

The king's train had been also joined by the young Iceland bard, the
priest of St. Olaf, Master Laurentius of Nidaros, who had now exchanged
his layman's red mantle for the more reputable black dress of a canon;
and beside the king walked the little deformed Master Thrand Fistlier,
with a consequential deportment, and displaying on his finger a large
diamond ring, which the king had presented to him in acknowledgement of
his superior learning. On the king's arrival at Helsingborg the
scientific mountebank had been set at liberty. He instantly contrived
to arrest the attention of the king (eager as he was in the pursuit of
knowledge), after he had with dexterity and keen ability repelled every
charge against himself, as well of the Leccar heresy as of witchcraft.
This last accusation, which had drawn upon him the persecution and
peril he underwent at Skänor, he alluded to with exultation, as a
striking testimony to his own astonishing arts, and a ludicrous proof
of the dulness of the age and the absurdities of popular ignorance. The
king now presented him to his brother as a rare scholar and an
extraordinary artist. The significant look with which Junker
Christopher greeted this far-travelled adventurer seemed to betray an
earlier acquaintanceship, which, however, was acknowledged by neither.
Count Henrik placed but little reliance on Prince Christopher's
congratulations and measured courtesy. He narrowly watched the junker,
as well as the foreign mountebank, about whom Aagé had expressed
himself so dubiously. He thought he more and more perceived a secret
understanding between the prince and the mysterious scholar, and
resolved to be at his post. He ventured not, however, to grieve the
king by disclosing it, or increasing his suspicion of his brother,
which evidently pained him, and which he seemed desirous to exert
himself to the utmost to shake off. Neither on this nor the two
following days was there any nearer approach to confidence between the
brothers. Courteous phrases and stiff court etiquette were resorted to,
by way of compensation for the want of cordiality. It was only when
Junker Christopher was at the chase, or seated at the draught-board or
the drinking-table, that the king was seen to converse joyously with
his mother and Count Gerhard, or jest merrily with Count Henrik and his
knights: the German professors of minstrelsy and the learned Icelanders
exerted all their powers to while away the evenings preceding his
marriage-day, when his ardent and impatient spirit was not engrossed by
important affairs of state. But when he seemed at times in the happiest
mood he often grew suddenly silent and thoughtful at the mere sound of
his brother's voice, or on observing his wild uncertain glance from
under his dark and knitted brow.

The evening before the impatiently expected first of June the king sat
in the upper hall of Helsingborg castle, at the chess-table, where he
was usually the victor. On this occasion, however, he had found an
almost invincible opponent in the learned Iceland philosopher, who
appeared able beforehand to calculate the plans of his adversary, and
only to need a single move in order to frustrate them. Notwithstanding
Master Thrand's decided superiority, the king had, however, won every
game; but he seemed to regard this with indifference; he was absent,
and often forgot to make his moves. At the opposite end of the hall he
heard his brother talking of hunting and horses, with Count Gerhard;
his mother was listening to the poems of the German minstrels and
Master Laurentius; while the young knights discoursed with animation of
the next day's festivities and tournament.

"Tell me, Master Thrand," said the king to his learned antagonist, with
a thoughtful glance out of the window at the star-lit heavens, "what is
your opinion of omens, and of the wondrous art of astrology, to which
so many learned men are devoted in our time. Believe you the life and
actions of men and the changeable fortunes of this world can be so
considerable and important in the eyes of the Almighty that higher
powers should care for them, or intermeddle with them?--and think ye
the position and movements of the heavenly bodies stand in any real
relation to our life and destiny?"

"That is almost more than science can be said as yet to have fathomed
with certainty, most gracious king!" answered the artist, with a
subtle, satirical smile on his lips, while his head almost disappeared
between his shoulders; "but if any science is to bring clearness and
demonstration into the speculations of the learned and the mysteries of
astrology, it must be that exalted science of sciences whose poor
worshipper I am. Assuredly, your grace, nothing happens in the world
but what is natural, that is to say, a necessary consequence of
foregoing causes; but it is precisely the great problem of the
mysterious and hidden causes of these things and events which it is the
province of human wisdom to solve. '_Beatas qui potuit rerum cognoscere
causas_' hath been said already by the wise heathen. Theologians and
poets indeed picture to themselves a nearer and safer road by which to
reach the same goal as ourselves, or even a far higher one," he
continued, with a scornful self-satisfied smile; "but they deceive
themselves in their simplicity and enthusiasm by looking for a kind of
supernatural influence of the Divine wisdom which in fact is the life
and soul of nature, yet which but partially discloses itself to us in
its workings, according as these by degrees unfold themselves to us in
their essences through the sacred optic tubes of science and research."

"Now you mix up too many things together for me, Master Thrand!" said
the king, shaking his head. "You seem to me almost to confound the
great living God and Lord with his creation, or what you call nature.
With all my respect for human wisdom--for all wise and useful learning
which man may attain by the examination of earthly things, I think,
nevertheless, that the spirit of truth and beauty, commonly called
'genius' by our scholars and the poets of olden times, as also 'the
prophetic vision,' soar far above the ken of human intellect; and for
what is of paramount importance for us to see, we have most assuredly
the holiest and noblest optic tube in God's own revealed word." The
king paused a moment and gazed on the strange deportment of the little
philosopher, with a sharp and scrutinising look, "You smile as if you
pitied me for this my sincere opinion. I am a layman, but all the pious
and learned men I have known agreed with me; nor can I perceive that
our theologians err in considering the spirit of God as a surer guide
to true knowledge of divine things than all human subtlety and wisdom."

"Far be it from me to contradict my most gracious Lord, or the pious
scholars of our time on this point," resumed Master Thrand, looking
around him with a repressed smile, and a cunning, cautious glance, "but
of this I would rather talk with your grace in your private chamber! I
doubt not that with your clear and unprejudiced views, (soaring as your
mind does above the ignorance of our age) you will understand me
rightly. I dare almost unconditionally subscribe to all that the holy
church, it is said, considers needful for him who would be called a
true believer, provided I may be allowed to interpret the words of
ancient writings and symbols according to their true and reasonable
signification;--meanwhile there is, however, much in our science which
must as yet be a mystery to the great majority, and even to the
scholars of our time, who are too but much inclined to discern heresy
and ungodliness in every free thought. Noble King!" he added, in a low,
mysterious tone, "I read no longer with the learned in the small
written volumes (out of which, as you yourself have experienced, curses
are as often quoted as blessings) but I read much more in the great
book that was not writ by the hand of man, and whose words sound forth
eternal wisdom in the din of the storm and the roaring of the ocean, in
the course of the stars above the thunder clouds, and in voices of
flame from the depths of the abyss. Mark well, my deep-thinking
king!--you the young Solomon of our north!--the holy Spirit of God, of
which so many and so foolish words are spoken, is precisely that
mainspring of forces we seek for in the great workshop of nature's
sanctuary, in the depths of our own souls, and in the philosopher's
stone, which we call the quintessence of creation. To him who but
catches a glimpse of it, (of which, however, we can but boast in
certain great moments) to him, the deepest and highest things are
revealed; the future as the past is clear before him; he is the master
and lord of nature, and of eternal power--for him life hath only limits
in his will."

The king looked in grave silence on the singular little man's visage,
every muscle of which quivered with emotion, while sparks seemed to
flash as it were from his small deep-set eyes. "Follow me afterwards to
my private chamber," said the king rising. Meanwhile Count Henrik had
approached and heard part of this conversation; he thought he observed
a kind of triumphant smile in Master Thrand's self-satisfied
countenance; but he sought in vain for an opportunity of cautioning the
king, who quitted Thrand in a very thoughtful mood, and went to join
his mother and the three stranger bards.

Master Laurentius had related to the Countess Agnes much of the
grandeur of Norway and Iceland, and of the remarkable bards and Saga
writers of his fatherland; he made special mention of the great
Snorro[4] and his learned nephews, who had given such a preponderance
to Saga literature, as almost to throw poetry entirely into the shade.
In order, however, to prove to Countess Agnes and the German minstrels
that poetic inspiration in his fatherland had not altogether died away,
as they believed, with heathenism and the gifted Skalds of the Edda, he
had recited several poems and heroic lays, to which they could not
refuse their approbation.

When the king joined them, Laurentius was reciting some strophes of
Einar Skulesen's famous epic poem, "Geisli," or "The Ray," in honor of
St. Olaf. The king stopped and listened. In this poem St. Olaf was
called, "A ray of light from God's kingdom, a beam or glimmer of the
glorious Son of Grace;" and Christ was described as the light of the
world, and the Lord of Heaven, who, as "a ray from a bright star (the
Virgin Mary) manifested himself on earth for our ineffable good." The
king nodded with satisfaction; he seemed to find a consoling
counterpoise in the pious lay to what had disturbed and alarmed him in
the discourse of the wise Master Thrand. "Go on!" he said
encouragingly, to Master Laurentius. The young priest of St. Olaf, who
had been inspired with lively enthusiasm by the praises in honor of his
saint, repeated in his musical and declamatory tones some more strophes
of the beginning of the poem, touching the glory of the Saviour and of
his kingdom. From this he passed on to the praise of St. Olaf, "as the
saint confirmed by miracles;" but when he came to that passage in the
poem where the bard exclaims, that "Deceit and treachery caused King
Olaf's fall at Stiklestad[5]--" the king suddenly interrupted the
enthusiastic Master Laurentius. "Thanks!" he said, "the poem is
beautiful and edifying; but deceit and treachery I will hear nought of
the day before my bridal. Norway's sovereign and Duke Haco have
defended a bad cause against me," he continued, "but I highly esteem
the brave Northmen, notwithstanding; they deserved a king and guardian
saint like St. Olaf; he hath well merited to be called a ray from
heaven in the north; the circumstances of his downfal I will not now
think on. Sing rather of constancy and of beauty, and of that which is
the ornament and honour of our age."

"Permit me a poor attempt to dilate upon that theme, my most gracious
lord and patron!" began Master Rumelant, hastily, and instantly
commenced a German lay in honour of the beauty and constancy of the
northern fair, in which he forgot not the praises of the still youthful
and beautiful Countess Agnes, and still less of the king's absent
bride; but the lay also included a secret defence of Marsk Stig's
daughters, whose beauty and unhappy fate had made a deep impression on
both the minstrels. Master Poppé chimed in also, and did not lose this
opportunity of putting in his good word for the captive maidens. They
could especially not sufficiently praise the piety and amiability of
the meek Margaretha in her captivity.

The king's countenance grew dark. He had referred the cause of the
captives to the law and justice of the land; he would hear nothing of
it himself: he knew they had accused themselves before their judges of
being privy to the treasonable sojourn of Kaggé at Wordingborg. He was
silent; but it was evident that the thought of Marsk Stig and of his
father's death was again fearfully present to Eric's mind, and disposed
him but little to favour the race of the regicide or any friend of the
outlaws;--the minstrels looked doubtfully at each other, and no one
dared to say a word more on this subject.



                               CHAP. IX.


It was late, and every one retired to rest. The king repaired to his
private chamber. Count Henrik saw with uneasiness that Master Thrand
followed him. The king's chamber was immediately adjoining the library,
to which Count Henrik had access. He hesitated a moment; it seemed to
him degrading, without the king's knowledge and consent, to become a
concealed witness to his conversation with the mysterious scholar; but
his anxiety and care for the king's safety at last overcame every
scruple. He took a light with him and went to the library. The light
went out in the passage, which he deemed fortunate, as his presence
might otherwise be easily betrayed if there was the least chink in the
door between the library and the private chamber. He stepped softly
into the vaulted and flagged apartment, where a pair of bookshelves
with wire grating, together with some chairs and a reading table, were
the only furniture. The moon shone brightly through the small bow
window; he seated himself at the table close by the door of the private
chamber, fixed his eyes on an open manuscript, and listened.

"Here we are now alone, and wholly undisturbed," he heard the king say,
and the chivalrous Count Henrik felt he blushed for himself; he made a
movement to depart, but put a constraint on his feelings and kept his
seat on hearing Master Thrand's whispering voice, but in so low and
mysterious a tone that he could not understand a word.

"I know it all," continued the king, "and it is useless for you to deny
it, learned Master Thrand! You are what is called a heretic and Leccar
brother; as such you are doomed to fire and faggot, by the pope, with
your whole sect, and proscribed by all Christian kings; according to my
decree, and at the requirement of the papal court you are banished from
my state and country also. Yet if you can prove to me you have found
the philosopher's stone, as you seem yourself to imagine, and that
there exists a higher truth and wisdom than the revealed Word, I will
acquit you, and in defiance of pope and clergy will recal the decree of
banishment against your sect."

"Most mighty sovereign!" now said the mountebank, distinctly, though in
a hesitating tone;--"what you know of me I have myself confided to you;
had I not known your generosity and reverence for the laws of
hospitality, and had I not known you were elevated far above this
ignorant and narrow-minded age, such a confidence in a ruler would have
stamped me as the most contemptible of fools. You have spoken truth,
great sovereign!" he continued, as it seemed with assumed firmness. "_I
am_ a heretic and Leccar brother; but, to be such I esteem a higher
honour (even should I at last die at the stake for it) than if all
blinded, gulled Christendom were to worship me as the greatest and most
admirable of saints."

"Truly!" answered the king, sternly, "that is a bold speech, Master
Thrand; if it contain not loftier wisdom than hath yet been known to
the best and wisest scholars during the space of thirteen centuries, I
must regard it as the most mad and presumptuous declaration that hath
ever passed the lips of man. I stand myself, as you know, in dangerous
and daring strife with that power which in the church's name would rule
princes as well as people, and enslave our souls. I defy every decree
of man which would drive us to despair and ungodliness, and give over
our souls to the destroyer; but notwithstanding, I deem the church and
the divine Word on which it is founded not the less sure and stedfast,
and I would fain see that philosopher--or fool, who would cause me to
swerve a hair's breath from this belief."

"As soon as your grace understands me fully," answered Master Thrand,
with calmness, "you will see that is nowise my aim: the real church of
truth is the invisible one which I also worship in spirit, and the true
eternal Word of God is that which hath never been wholly revealed, but
to which I hearken with reverence, and appropriate through the medium
of science, by searching into yon great book of revelation, which can
only be unlocked by the wakened power of divinity within us. Hear ye
not yourself, noble king! the mighty voice of divinity in the thunders
of heaven? See ye not the finger of the Almighty in the destructive
lightning? And must you not confess that he who is ruler over those
mighty forces of nature, is the only true powerful God whom we must
worship and adore?"

"Well! that is a matter of course, but what of that?" asked the king,
in an impatient tone.

"If I now could show you," continued Master Thrand, with rising zeal,
"that the same power lies in _my_ hand and in _my_ will--that _I_
by a nod can force the voice of Omnipotence to speak and announce in
shouts of thunder, that _I_ am the Lord and master of those godlike
powers--will you then deny my right to publish the divine word, which
speaks through my will as it does through nature? Will you then any
longer doubt my having found and possessed myself of the essence of
things,--the source of power,--which shall hereafter change the form of
the world and throw down the idol temples of prejudice, and the
fortified castles of tyrants? Will you then believe I have found the
key to the great mystery of life; and that the voice of deity, which
speaks through _my_ will and _my_ works, is able to say--_Live!_ when
time, sickness, and age,--when sword and poison,--when war, pestilence,
and hunger,--when stake and executioners,--when popes and tyrants, and
all the foes of life, shout--_Die!_"

There was a moment's silence in the private chamber, and Count Henrik
drew breath with difficulty. "Strange!" said the king's voice again;
"but no--it is impossible. I will defer forming an opinion of your
wisdom, Master Thrand, until I have seen the marvellous things you
speak of. As far as I understand you, you seem to consider yourself not
only as the lord and master of nature, but of Deity itself: such
discourse sounds to me like the greatest and most presumptuous
madness."

"Madness and wisdom, lying and truth, evil and good, darkness and
light, border closely on each other, noble king," again whispered the
well-oiled tongue of Thrand. "This must especially be the case in all
transitions from night to day, from error to truth, from one age to
another. That which I have here dared to whisper to you in this private
chamber, in reliance on the strength of your royal mind, will one day
be openly announced from the lowest seat of learning, and seem but as
the pastime of children to the mature in spirit. How each one of us
will picture to himself the divinity is in fact his own affair; that
will depend on his own individual mental vision; and will be a
necessity like all other things. What is divine is, and must ever
partly remain, a mystery to the majority; but we can all attain clear
views of time and its mutable concerns: this lies within the sphere of
our common vision, and so far I flatter myself I shall be able to open
your penetrating eyes, great king, that no part of time shall be wholly
hidden from you, and that you may be able to look as clearly into the
future as back upon the past perishable world of things and actions."

"Well then," said the king, impatiently, "teach me to see more clearly
with the mind's eye, if you are able. I have all reverence for your
bodily glass eyes, and you have certainly opened to me a wider view of
the outer world. One mirror of the past I know already in the study of
our chronicles; if there is also a natural mirror of the future, show
it me."

"There are _two_, gracious king!" answered Master Thrand, with
emphasis; "we call them providence and divination: we can possess
ourselves of both by keen wisdom, and awakened inner sense. With the
first you can see much; with the second more; with both almost every
thing. Of the highly-important step you are about to take to-morrow
your grace can only judge by means of such a twofold insight."

"What!" exclaimed the king, with vehemence; "think ye I am now about to
use my understanding for the first time, and consider the step which,
with well-advised purpose and with the help of God, I have already
taken, and which is my highest happiness? Be the consequences what they
may, and whatever the Almighty Ruler of the world hath ordained for me
and my kingdom, on this point the clearest insight into futurity cannot
change my will or extinguish the fairest hope of my life."

"But look, great sovereign!" continued Master Thrand, with eagerness;
"cast an unprejudiced and dispassionate glance into those person's
souls which you would link with yours. Three royal brothers--your
future brothers-in-law--stand yonder beside a throne; the weakest, the
least gifted, hath been chosen to fill it; but the superior mind and
power and courage of his brothers increase mightily. The nobler spirit
can never bow before its inferior; the fermenting forces must develope
themselves; opposing ones must separate; those of close affinity must
combine; what hath been arbitrarily joined must be forcibly severed;
and he who plunges into the wild tumultuous stream must be swept along
with it and perish."

"Silence! With thy presumptuous talk," interrupted the king, in a loud
voice, and stamping hard on the ground; "no contemptible calculation
and dread of the future shall stop my progress, or disquiet my soul.
Whatever may be working in the minds of those princes, crowns are not
left to be the sport of wild passions; justice and the highest power
are not subject to the will and authority of man, but to that of the
Almighty. A royal sceptre may repose secure in the hand of a child when
God is with him, even though that child stands surrounded by traitors
and murderers. This I have myself experienced."

"But, your royal grace, when the minor, as yonder, never attains to
majority in mind," objected Thrand, "when the power proceeding from the
will of a free and powerful nation is, through foolish superstition and
misconception, linked to the phantom which theologians call God's
grace--an idea which only hath meaning and significance when we see
that grace revealed in the great and noble, though mutable, will of the
people, to which all connection with the weaker unapt spirit is
destruction----"

"By all the holy men, the highest might and authority comes from
above!" interrupted the king, with vehemence, "In man's will only, not
in the Lord's, is there vacillation and change; he who justly wears a
crown hath a power in the will of God, which no mortal shall defy
unpunished. But enough of this. I called you not hither to consult with
you on state affairs. Knew I not you were a philosopher who takes but
little interest in worldly government, I should be tempted to believe
you were a wily emissary from my foes, and those who secretly strive to
undermine my happiness."

"Heaven forefend! your grace," exclaimed Master Thrand, in dismay.

"I called you hither to warn you--not to receive warnings," continued
the king, with stern vehemence. "I have perceived that your opinions on
spiritual things are dangerous and misleading. Keep them to yourself,
or I shall be necessitated to banish you from the country. I have all
due respect for your knowledge in worldly matters," he added; "it may
prove useful to me. My master of the mint, however, you cannot be at
present, and my spiritual adviser still less. If the wise Roger Bacon
was your teacher and master I would willingly know what he hath taught
you that is good and reasonable; but I will not hear a word more of the
philosopher's stone. I ask not to look into futurity; if you understand
that art, keep it to yourself. I regard it, if not as witchcraft, as
equally sinful and unwise. Such faculty hath as yet never made any
human being happy.

"If you can (which, however, I much doubt) protract human life beyond
its natural limits, keep such knowledge to yourself also: it seems to
me not less presumptuous and irrational. I desire not to live an hour
longer in this world than the Almighty hath ordained; but if you can,
by natural means and without sin unveil to me the secrets of nature--if
you can imitate the thunders of heaven as you assume--then show me and
our philosophers the art, and explain it to us, at whatever price you
deem fitting; but how far soever your mastery over the powers of nature
may extend, imagine not you have usurped the power from Him, in
comparison of whom the wisest and mightiest man on earth is but a
miserable impotent worm. Go hence and pray our Lord and the holy Virgin
to pardon you the presumptuous words you have here uttered. Would that
you might one day gain a better insight into what is of higher
importance to soul and salvation than all your temporal learning!"

Count Henrik could not hear what answer was made by Master Thrand to
this severe reproof; the words "to-morrow, noble king!" were all he
thought he understood, besides some common-place and obsequious
expressions of respect, and it seemed to him that the artist's voice
sounded hollow and hardly audible. The door of the private door opened
and shut again; Count Henrik perceived that the king was alone, and
heard him open the door to his sleeping chamber. The Count stepped
softly out of the library; he heard footsteps before him in the dark
passage. It was Master Thrand coming from the king's private chamber.
Count Henrik stood still on remarking that the little juggler often
paused in the passage, as if in secret deliberation; he muttered to
himself, and was busied with something in the dark; his whimsical gait
and figure was now suddenly lit up by a bright light, which instantly
vanished again; Master Thrand at last stopped at a private door which
led to Junker Christopher's apartments, but to which none had access
beside. The door opened and closed again, and Thrand disappeared.

"What was that?" said Count Henrik to himself, with a start, "a spirit
of darkness lurks between the royal brothers!" He left not the passage
ere he had seen the pyrotechnic artist steal back from the junker's
apartments, and repair to the knights' story in the opposite wing of
the castle, where all the stranger guests were assigned their quarters
for the night. Count Henrik did not betake himself to rest, but watched
this night as captain of the halberdiers, without the door of the
king's sleeping apartment.



                                CHAP. X.


By the first peep of dawn, all was joyous commotion at Helsingborg
Castle. Every Danish courtier and knight knew the punctuality and
impetuosity of the young king, when it was necessary to be stirring at
an early hour, even only on occasion of a hunting expedition. Every
knight and squire who had not foot in stirrup, when the king was in the
saddle, might expect a stern glance or a serious rebuke. On this solemn
and important day, to which the attention of both kingdoms was turned,
and which had been so ardently desired by Eric, it seemed as if the sun
alone dared to put his patience to the proof. Ere day-break, the king's
handsome horses, with their silken coverings and caparisons, stood
already saddled in the court-yard of the castle; the richly-attired
knights, clad in silk or plush, thronged gaily together, and hardly had
the sun-beams of the first day of June shone upon the glittering bridal
train, before Eric, leading his royal mother by the hand, stepped forth
on the staircase of the upper story, and bowed courteously on all
sides. He followed Countess Agnes to the ladies' car, with his head
uncovered, and then vaulted into the saddle. His handsome and youthful
countenance beamed with hope and heartfelt joy, and he seemed to have
slept off every gloomy and disquieting thought. Arrayed in his most
splendid knight's attire, with a rose-coloured shoulder-scarf over his
shoulder, and with white ostrich feathers in his hat, he rode a
spirited milk-white palfrey. His blithe stepfather, Count Gerhard, rode
at his right hand, and Junker Christopher at his left. Even the junker
seemed in a gay mood, but became grave, and coloured when the king
waved his hand and greeted him with a cordiality of look and gesture
which appeared to surprise and humble him. The gilded car, drawn by six
iron-grey Andalusian horses, in which sat the king's dignified mother,
with her ladies, rolled over the castle bridge at the head of the
train, but the king soon rode impatiently past it, with a courteous
apology, which was gladly received. Count Henrik accompanied him with
the half of the knightly train, while the ladies' car and the rest of
the numerous cavalcade found it difficult to keep up with the hastening
bridegroom. All the pathways and banks on the road to Stockholm were
crowded with a countless concourse of people, who shouted with joy at
the splendid procession, and greeted the king with sympathising homage.

While the king thus rode to meet his bride, the most magnificent
preparations were made at Helsingborg for the reception of the royal
bridal pair. St. Mary's church was decorated with garlands and
carpetted with flowers; the provincial prior of the Dominicans already
officiated at early mass, as well as the venerable bishop of Aarhuus
and Ribé, who with calm courage had supported the king in his bold
strife with the archbishop and the papal court. They had been standing
at the high altar since daybreak, in readiness to preside over the
sacred ceremonial of the day, and were accompanied by a great number of
monks, canons, and priests from all the parishes of the kingdom, who
intended by their united prayers and benedictions to consecrate this
day as an auspicious festival for two nations and two royal houses.

On the greensward below the castle hill, lists and galleries were
erected for the tournament, and tents were pitched with refreshments
for the spectators. The whole household of the castle was in full
activity; tables were spread in the lofty halls, and barrels with mead,
ale, and wine were hoisted from the cellars. The cooks were busily
employed in the kitchen. A number of musicians tuned and tried their
instruments; pipers, lute-players, fiddlers and trumpeters, were
stationed upon the balcony of the upper story, from whence they were to
greet the bridal guests, and enliven the thronging crowds. In the
spacious gardens on the rocky steep overlooking the Sound, the trees of
the long avenues had been hung at an early hour with coloured lamps,
for the evening festivity. In a separate part of the gardens
preparations were making for exhibiting the hitherto unknown art of
fire-works, with which the mysterious Thrand Fistlier purposed to
surprise the king and court, and with which he himself and his
amanuensis, the youthful Master Laurentius, were zealously busied;
while Master Rumelant and Master Poppé wandered among the tall
yew-hedges, and practised their festal lays. The concourse of curious
guests and spectators was constantly increasing. All the ships in the
harbour were hung with wreaths and flags, and the Sound was almost
hidden by the fleet of ships arriving from Zealand and the isles. On
the quay, in the town, and on the road to Stockholm, crowds of knights,
priests, and town's-people, mingled with fishermen and Scanian peasants
with their families--there were national costumes to be seen from the
farthest Danish isles, and from many Swedish provinces. The streets
were strewed with flowers. All the windows were hung with garlands and
silken carpets, and occupied by gaily-dressed ladies. There was a
continued murmur from the many thousand voices, and a general gaze of
expectation towards that quarter from whence the bridal procession was
expected. At last it was echoed from mouth to mouth, "The procession!
The procession! now they are come! There they are!" The multitude moved
onward in one vast wave, and the provost with his men found it
difficult to keep a space clear for the entrance of the train.

Upon a large kerb stone, in the vicinity of the drawbridge beside the
southern gate of the castle, stood a strongly-built man, in a coarse
pilgrim's cloak, with muscle shells on the cape over his broad
shoulders, and with his broad-brimmed hat, half slouched over a pair of
round sun-burnt cheeks. At his side stood an old fisherman, and a
pretty little fishermaiden in a north Zealand costume, from the
district of Gilleleié. The pilgrim was Morten the cook, who, with his
betrothed and her father, had just landed from a fishing yawl, on a
remote spot under the sand-stone cliff. The day preceding, Morten had
been set on shore at Gilleleié, from a foreign vessel, with a red sail,
which had suffered damage at sea, and had been compelled to put in
under the Kohl for repairs; of which he talked in a mysterious manner.
Although, as a party to the archbishop's flight from Sjöborg, he had
been outlawed by the king, he had not only succeeded in quieting
the fears of old Jeppé, the fisherman, and his daughter, at his
re-appearance in the country, but had even prevailed on them to
accompany him hither, where he meant to show them, he said, that, by
his pilgrimage, he had obtained peace both with God and man, and that
he now, with a bran new and clean conscience, could dare to face the
king on his bridal day.

"Come hither. Father Jeppé! Come little Karen! let me lift thee up
here!" said Morten, jumping down from the stone--"now ye can see all
the finery and splendour. _I_ shall do most wisely in keeping within my
pilgrim's skin at first, on account of my bit of a head and neck."

"Alack, yes! for the Lord's sake, dearest Morten!" whispered the
fishermaiden, anxiously, patting his cheek while she suffered his
strong arm to lift her, like a puppet, upon the kerb stone; "hide
thyself behind my back and my father's! I shall die of fear, if the
king sees thee!"

"Trouble not thyself about anything, and look cheerfully at the fine
doings, little sweetheart," whispered the blithe pilgrim; "he hath but
seen me once in his life and hardly knows me; to-day he hath also
something else to think of than of hanging his dear faithful subjects."

"He is a scoundrel who says he hath ever done _that!_" exclaimed old
Jeppé, the fisherman, with repressed vehemence. "Should he cause _thee_
now to be hanged, thou knave! thou hast, doubtless, honestly deserved
it. If thou canst not speak and clear thyself like an honest fellow and
as thou gavest me hand and word thou wouldst ere thou left the country,
then didst thou journey to Rome like a fool, and art come home like a
simpleton."

"Come, come, Father Jeppé!" continued Morten, "let's see the finery in
peace! Whether I am to be hanged or no can be settled time enough
to-morrow; there is no need to hurry the matter."

"Thou art a desperate rogue, Morten!" growled the old man--"hast thou
'ticed us hither that we might have the sorrow to see thee dangle? Then
thou shalt never have my daughter--I had well nigh said--but that
follows of itself, I trow. What hath got the great lords who were to
help thee? 'Tis all chatter and bragging, we shall find, and thou art
as yet but an impudent madcap, as thou ever wast."

"Hush, Father Jeppé! Look! yonder come great lords and knights enow;
who knows whether one of them will not break a lance with the king in
honour of Morten the cook?--And look--there he comes himself."

"Out of the way, madcap! _him_ thou art not worthy to look on," said
the fisherman, pushing back the outlawed pilgrim with violence, while
he carefully concealed him. "_I_ dare, the Lord be thanked and praised
for it, look our noble king in the face without creeping to hide behind
an honest fellow's back."

All eyes were now turned only upon the procession, and the air rang
with loyal acclamations for the king and his beautiful bride.

However high expectation had been raised, and however greatly report
had exalted the beauty and loveable deportment of the noble Princess
Ingeborg, all who now beheld her seemed to be struck with her
appearance, even in a greater degree than they had anticipated. She sat
between her own mother. Queen Helvig, and the king's mother, Countess
Agnes, in the large, open ladies' car; she was as yet only attired in a
simple but tasteful travelling dress; no showy pomp and splendour
heightened her beauty; but none inquired who was the bride.

By the side of the two elder ladies (who both, however, inspired
respect, and attracted the attention of the people, by their dignified
mien), youthful beauty still maintained its supremacy, and awakened an
admiration, which, associated with the idea of her being the king's
bride, and of her becoming, this day, Denmark's queen, asked not for a
more majestic presence. By the side of her mother, the sister of the
noble Count Gerhard, it might be seen from whom she had inherited the
innocent, good-natured smile, and the engaging expression of heartfelt
kindliness which was the very essence of her nature; and those who had
seen her renowned father. King Magnus Ladislaus, could account for the
dignity and ingenuous frankness which was combined with so much
mildness and condescension in the countenance of the lovely princess.
Opposite the princess and the two royal mothers sat two younger ladies,
belonging to the train of the princess and the Swedish queen dowager;
the younger was the fair lady Christiné, Thorkild Knudsen's daughter,
who had lately been betrothed to King Birger's younger brother, Duke
Valdemar of Finland; the elder was the instructress of the princess's
childhood, and her faithful friend, the Lady Ingé. This noble lady,
next to the pious, benevolent Queen Helvig, had exercised a real
influence on the formation of the princess's character, and early
awakened in her heart a warm affection for Denmark. She had made the
future queen of the Danes acquainted with the spirit and usages of the
nation; with its past achievements, its national ballads, and noble
traditions; and she had seen, with pleasure and enthusiasm, how the
spirit of a whole nation seemed to breathe forth from the innocent and
pious mind of Princess Ingeborg, in the tenderest affection for the
young Danish king.

The Lady Ingé was still a young and very attractive woman, with much
determination and energy in her look and deportment; she was known and
appreciated by the people, but now seemed to rejoice at being eclipsed
by the radiance of that youthful beauty, which justly rendered Princess
Ingeborg the queen of the day and the festival.

The princess returned the greeting and enthusiastic acclamations of the
people with the kindliest expression in her countenance and deportment.
Each time she turned her joyous glance to the right from the car it met
the king's; he rode by the side of the ladies' car on his white steed,
with his plumed hat in his hand, and, almost overwhelmed with joy,
appeared to divide his affection between his loyal people and his
bride, while his whole soul's happiness seemed to beam forth from his
eye, whether it rested on the car or on the acclaiming crowds. Yet even
in this happy mood it was not possible for him to repress a fleeting
sigh, and a cloud seemed as it were to pass over the clear heaven in
his face whenever he heard his brother's hollow voice from the opposite
side of the ladies' car, and discerned a manifest expression of rancour
and wounded pride in the restless look and passionate glow of Junker
Christopher's countenance. Christopher rode between the brothers of the
Swedish King Birger, the brave, chivalrous Duke Eric of Sudermania, and
Duke Valdemar of Finland, who both attracted much attention by their
manly beauty, their courteous bearing, and splendid attire. Each time
Christopher heard them addressed by the title of duke, and himself only
as the "high-born junker," he apparently strove, but in vain, to hide,
by a bitter smile, how deeply he felt himself aggrieved and neglected
by his brother, who had not raised him in rank and title, although he
stood in the same relative position to the King of Denmark as the
Swedish dukes[6] to the King of Sweden.

The young King Birger himself, who could as little vie with his
chivalrous brothers in presence and dignity as in mind and bodily
strength, followed the queen's car in an easy travelling vehicle, in
which he sat, in his costly purple mantle, by a young lady's side. It
was his betrothed bride, Princess Mereté of Denmark, King Eric's
sister, who, according to the early contract of betrothal, had, while
yet a child, been received into the royal family of Sweden as Queen
Helvig's foster-daughter, and had not seen her mother or brothers since
the marriage of Queen Agnes with Count Gerhard. The Danish princess now
spoke the Swedish language like her mother tongue, and appeared already
conscious of her dignity as Sweden's future queen; she possessed,
however, neither the beauty nor the attractive mildness of Princess
Ingeborg, and it was remarked she bore a greater resemblance to the
junker and her unhappy father than to King Eric and the fair Queen
Agnes.

The Swedish regent, Marsk Thorkild Knudsen, accompanied his sovereign
on horseback with almost regal splendour. He rode between Drost Aagé
and Count Henrik of Mecklenborg, who often nodded gaily to each other;
and the festive rejoicing of the fair summer's day was not less evident
among the gallant train of knights which followed the Swedish monarch.

At the head of the Danish chivalry rode the powerful, but little
popular, Marsk Oluffsen. With his rough austere visage and blunt
bearing he formed a striking contrast to the agile, slender knight
Helmer Blaa, who gaily bestrode his favourite re-found Arabian, and
often unconsciously nodded assent, by way of confirmation, when he
heard the populace laud him or his horse; occasionally, however, he
glanced rather doubtfully towards the king, as if he desired not as yet
to be noticed by him, and occasionally gave Drost Aagé a monitory look.
Beside him rode a quiet ecclesiastic on a palfrey; it was the king's
confessor. Master Petrus de Dacia; his eye often dwelt on the cloudless
summer heaven, and he seemed, in his calm satisfaction, to think more
of heavenly and godly things, and of a distant unseen beauty, than of
the worldly pomp by which he was surrounded.

Helsingborg castle could hardly accommodate the numerous trains and
wedding guests. A couple of hours after the entrance of the procession
the bridal train was seen to proceed with still greater splendour to
the church. Before the six white horses of the princess's gilded car
pranced the two white tournament steeds which the king had been so
displeased at missing from Sorretslóv castle. The two stable boys who
had unweariedly tracked the steps of the horses down to Stockholm, now
skipped joyously by the side of the noble animals. When the king beheld
the two well-known palfreys perform their trained step before the
bride's car, he was heartily pleased and surprised. Drost Aagé
instantly informed him, in a few words, of Sir Helmer's bold adventure
in Copenhagen, and that he was here among his bridegroom's-men. The
king looked back, and recognised his briskest knight. "In the saddle he
rides so free," he said, with a menacing gesture, to Sir Helmer, but
with a gay smile and a nod of approbation.

In the church the marriage was solemnised, with all the rites of the
Romish church, by the Bishops of Aarhuus and Ribé, while the provincial
prior Olaus, together with the assembled monks, chaunted with their
deep-toned voices in full chorus a "Gloria in excelsis." While the one
bishop joined the hands of the royal pair, and pronounced upon them the
church's benediction, the other placed the queenly crown of Denmark on
the light, beautiful tresses of the bride, and now a mighty tide of
trumpet sound poured into the choral song, and the people joined in the
solemn chorus. A fairer sight had never been beheld by Danish or
Swedish man than when the royal pair, with tears of devotion and joy in
their eyes, and hand in hand, sank down, kneeling on the bridal stool
before the high and brilliantly-lighted altar, and nearly the whole
bridal train, together with the enthusiastic crowd of spectators, knelt
down, as if moved by one common impulse, in audible prayer and
devotion.

The trumpets ceased and there was a breathless silence, while the
bridal pair, in clear and distinct tones, pronounced the vow of
unalterable love and constancy to the end of their lives. The deep amen
of the aged provincial prior was re-echoed by the monks and by many
among the people. A "Te Deum," with an accompaniment of bassoons and
trumpets, concluded the church's festival.

After the blessing, the deeply affected pair were embraced by their
nearest relatives in the high choir. At last Prince Christopher also
approached his royal brother, and seemed preparing for a cold and
forced salutation; but at this moment it seemed as if the spirit of
darkness which had so long threatened the brothers from afar had
suddenly come between them, and shot up into a giant. They gazed in
silence, almost in dismay, upon each other, and let their arms sink; it
seemed as though the gentle tear in the king's eye congealed and froze
at his brother's frightful coldness.

"No falsehood in this holy hour, Christopher, if thy soul and thy
salvation are dear to thee!" he whispered in a tone of stern
admonition; "brothers now in the sight of God! or--may God forgive
me!--enemies to death!"

Christopher bowed in silence, and turned pale; his lips appeared to
move, but no sound issued from them. The king turned from him with a
flashing glance; but it seemed as if a glimpse in the open heaven
suddenly extinguished the fearful gleam of rising wrath and grief in
the king's expressive countenance as he turned round and beheld his
gently agitated bride tenderly stretch out her arms towards him; he
pressed her eagerly to his heart, and the mild tear again glistened in
his eye. "This heart, however, thou hast given me, all-merciful
Creator!" he whispered, "and I have a brother at thy right hand who
hates me not."

"My Eric! what is this?" asked the bride in astonishment, and gazing
into his eyes; but she observed his uplifted eye resting in confidence
on the crucifix over the door of the choir, and proceeded in silence
and in tranquil joy through the aisle of the church, leaning on Eric's
arm at the head of the bridal train. The king was afterwards calm and
cheerful, but unusually pensive. No one, however, appeared to have
remarked the painful feeling which had disturbed his happiness.



                               CHAP. XI.


The attention of the people, was now turned to the tournament, which
was to commence a few hours after the ceremonies of the church were
ended. The spacious lists were surrounded by a countless crowd, and the
whole castle-hill was equally thronged with spectators. The raised
benches placed in the form of stairs around the lists were occupied
with gaily-attired ladies, rejoicing in eager anticipation of the
spectacle. At last the clang of trumpets announced the arrival of the
royal party. All the royal ladies, with their distinguished train, took
their seats in the gallery, which was hung with scarlet. There the
queen of the feast, the lovely and royal bride, again appeared, with
the diadem encircling her fair tresses; she took her place on the seat
of honour, between her mother and Queen Helvig, amid the joyous
acclamations of the people. King Birger sat at his mother's side beside
Princess Mérété; he was present only as a spectator of the tournament,
in which he purposed not to take a part. Thorkild Knudsen and a number
of elderly Swedish courtiers stood near him, with Count Gerhard, who no
longer partook in this diversion; but the young Danish sovereign, with
the Swedish dukes and other princely guests, remained on horseback
without the lists among the knights of the tournament. On a raised seat
under the royal gallery sat the judges of the combat, who were all old
and experienced knights; and within the lists walked the heralds and
pursuivants in their festal attire, with white staves in their hands,
to watch over the observance of order and usage. A large band of
trumpeters and horn-players opened the chivalrous diversion with the
music of the national tournament song.

Amid the chorus in which the people joined,


     "When the Danish knights ride o'er the ground,
      Their horses tramp with a thund'ring sound."


all the knights galloped briskly into the lists, and ranged themselves
for the encounter. The tournament then commenced. Many lances were
broken amid the shouts of the bystanders. Dangerous accidents seldom
occurred in this combat with blunt lances, although a knight might
easily indeed sprain an arm or a leg by a too headlong fall from the
saddle. Many knights displayed great agility and dexterity in the
management of horse and lance; but Marsk Oluffsen, Count Henrik of
Mecklenborg, and Sir Helmer Blaa, bore off every prize. A veiled lady
often waved encouragement and approbation to Sir Helmer; she threw
gloves, kerchiefs, and silk ribands down to him from the ladies'
gallery. He bowed courteously. His shield bore the motto, "For St. Anna
and St. Eric," the guardian saints of his beloved wife and his
sovereign, in whose honour he wielded his lance on this occasion. In
his last career he unhorsed the Marsk;--the lady now threw her veil
down to him. It was his young and beautiful wife, the Lady Anna, who,
by her unlooked-for presence here, surprised and delighted him beyond
expression; as soon as he recognised her he flung up his lance high in
the air in a transport of joy. He forgot to receive the prize he had
won, but rushed like the stormer of a castle up into the gallery to
embrace her, to the great amusement of the spectators, and even of the
grave judges of the tournament, who readily forgave him this little
deviation from due order and usage.

Among the Swedish nobles and knights who took a part in the tournament,
Duke Eric of Sudermania was pre-eminent; no knight could keep his seat
before his lance; and his sister, the young queen of the festival,
rejoiced greatly at the honour won here by her best-loved and most
chivalrous brother. Duke Valdemar of Finland also shone in this
diversion, and especially sought to display his boldness and daring
when the fears of Thorkild Knudsen's fair daughter were excited for
him. Each time a combatant fell on the sand the trumpets sounded in
honour of the victor, and the people shouted, while the vanquished
knight hastened to salute his conqueror with a courteous bow, without
complaining or showing any sign of vexation. Drost Aagé, who was wont
to be a victor at all these sports of arms, had not as yet sufficiently
recovered his strength, after his dangerous fall at Kallundborg, to be
able to take a share in this day's tournament; he was besides, even
amid his joy, at the king's successful love, in an unusually pensive
mood; he had now renounced all hope of seeing Marsk Stig's unfortunate
daughters released from their state imprisonment. The king appeared
also remarkably thoughtful, although deep and heart-felt joy beamed in
his countenance each time his eye met Queen Ingeborg's loving glance
from the gallery. His thoughts seemed often to wander from the scene
before him, and he looked not with his customary eagerness and interest
on this his favourite diversion, at which he this day, as bridegroom
and awarder of the prizes, only purposed to be a spectator. Duke Eric
of Langeland, who was celebrated as one of the most invincible
tournament knights, appeared not to have found any opponent among the
younger lords and knights against whom he cared to enter the lists
since Duke Eric of Sudermania had quitted them, having already broken
the full number of lances necessary for gaining the highest prize.
Junker Christopher looked, with gloomy disdain, on a spectacle which he
regarded as the worn-out pastime of childish vanity. He knew himself
how to wield his lance with power and skill, but seemed to consider it
beneath his dignity to contend for a tournament prize, which was to be
awarded by his brother, or to measure himself with any one below the
rank of king. By degrees King Eric's youthful countenance became
animated as he looked on the encounters. His white steed curvetted
under him; and as soon as the last prize was awarded he briskly seized
a gilded lance, and cleared the lists by a daring leap, to the great
delight of the admiring spectators. "Shall we venture a tilt together
in honour of our ladies, sir cousin?" he called gaily to Duke Eric of
Langeland. The gigantic Duke of Langeland bowed courteously, and rode
into the lists.

"Zounds! Longshanks! Longshanks!" was re-echoed from one to the other,
among the curious bystanders, and all stood in breathless expectation.
The king caused his helmet and cuirass to be brought; a rose-coloured
silk riband fluttered down to him from the queen's gallery; he fastened
it to his helmet, gaily waved his hand to his young queen, and
gallopped to his station. The Duke fastened a knot of blue riband on
his helmet. With great dexterity and martial skill the two royal
combatants now rushed towards each other, lance in rest, at full
gallop. The king wielded his lance adroitly and parried his adversary's
thrust. The Duke's lance flew from his hand, and was driven far forward
on the course; but the king's lance broke against the duke's
breastplate, without shaking his seat in the saddle.

The duke's as well as the king's skill and dexterity were greatly
admired; but many expressions of the people's partiality for their
chivalrous young monarch were distinctly heard. "Had but the king's
lance stood the shock," said one young fellow, "we should surely have
seen Longshanks bite the dust."

"No wonder yon fellow kept his seat," growled a seaman, "he can
well-nigh anchor in the sand with his long shanks."

The trumpets sounded, the combatants saluted each other with courtesy,
and the diversion now seemed to be ended; but the music continued, amid
general acclamation and a hum of voices.

"See whether the junker dares risk his jerkin! No, _he_ does wisest in
looking on," said a bold, loud-tongued voice close behind Junker
Christopher.

"_He_ Would sooner let his true men break their necks in earnest, than
venture his own in jest," muttered another.

Junker Christopher appeared to have heard these speeches, for his face
flushed crimson. While the trumpets were still sounding, and the king
was about to quit the lists, the junker suddenly set spurs to his heavy
horse, and rode towards him, with lance in hand.

"If I see aright, my brother would also try a tilt with me," said the
king starting, "Well then, strike up the tournament song, herald!--a
new lance, pursuivant!--but not of glass like the first!"

The horn-players struck up the ancient, well-known strain. The
pursuivant presented the king a lance with a broad piece of board at
the end. Attention was again anxiously excited, and the young queen
appeared somewhat uneasy. The king had taken his place; his countenance
was not so placid and cheerful as before; his white steed snorted and
pranced impatiently. The junker had retired to some distance, and
seemed not as yet to have completed his preparations.

"Now haste, Christopher!" called the king; "let us be brisk, as beseems
our festival!" They now quitted their respective stations. The king
rode forward in a stately ambling pace, apparently that he might not
avail himself of his superiority and greater experience; but the junker
dashed his spurs into his horse's side, and rushed forward with wild
impetuosity. The king stood almost still, on perceiving with
astonishment that his brother's lance was couched directly against his
uncovered face. "Where would'st thou strike? against the breast!
between the four limbs!" he shouted, but it seemed as though the junker
neither heard nor saw; he continued to rush forward in the same
direction, with flushed cheek and staring eye. But it was now remarked
that the king became greatly incensed,--"Down then!" cried Eric,
and at the same moment Christopher's lance was dashed aside, and the
junker himself fell backwards out of the saddle. The king instantly
sprang from his horse, and assisted him to rise, while the trumpets
sounded and the air re-echoed with the shouts of the exulting
spectators--"Thou art not bruised?" asked the king. "In what fashion
dost thou couch thy lance?"

"Ill against you my mighty liege and vanquisher!" muttered Christopher,
"but that is all in due order--hear how the people screech for joy at
the fair spectacle you have afforded them," he added with bitterness
and in a lowered tone, "had I broken my neck the festivity would have
been complete."

"Let not this little mischance vex thee," said the king, "such may
happen to the best of us--another time I may have a worse fate."

"That is very possible, your grace!" answered the junker in a deep and
almost choking voice, greeting the king with measured courtesy, as he
retreated and retired. He instantly vaulted upon his horse, and rode
off through the noisy crowds, who laughed loudly, and made merry over
the ridiculous position in which the junker had thrown his legs in the
air, on receiving the thrust of the king's lance.

Thus ended the tournament; but the acclamations with which the king was
followed to the castle bridge, appeared this time to please him but
little. He thought he had seen a fire in his brother's eye which filled
him with horror.



                               CHAP. XII.


After the tournament, the king bestowed in the knights' hall, with the
usual ceremonies, the honour of knighthood on some squires, who had
distinguished themselves in Marsk Stig's feud, and the Norwegian war.
Palfreys, splendid aims, and other honourable gifts, were also
distributed to the princely wedding guests, and some of the Swedish
nobles who had accompanied Princess Ingeborg from Stockholm. The king
was particularly desirous on this occasion to give Marsk Thorkild
Knudsen a proof of his special regard, and presented him with the
knightly sword of state, which he had this day worn himself. "Wear this
at your country's high festivals, noble Sir Marsk," he said, "but
should I ever--which the Almighty forbid!--forget the compact and the
friendship with the noble Swedish nation and its king, of which this
day hath given me and Denmark the fairest pledge! then turn it against
me, as you turned your own good sword against the heathen Kareles."
Thorkild[7] acknowledged this mark of royal favour, in an animated and
enthusiastic speech; he congratulated Denmark, as well as Sweden, on a
new and happy era, when the swords of their princes and knights should
only be drawn on each other in the honourable rivalry of the tilt and
tournay, but when required, flash like the northern lights and flaming
comets, against the common foes of the north.

At last, the king produced a document, to which, by a green silken
string, was attached the great royal seal in wax impression, with the
three crowned leopards in the shield, on one side, and the king's image
on the throne and in royal robes, on the other. Without turning to that
side of the throne which was Junker Christopher's station, and towards
which Eric, during the whole ceremony, had not once glanced, he said in
a loud voice, and apparently with effort, "Junker Christopher Ericson
of Denmark! step forth and receive a commemorative gift from my hand,
on this the happiest day of my life! I have, out of sincere brotherly
love and good-will, and with the assent of my council, three weeks
since, signed and sealed this document, which is now for the first time
made public, and which nominates thee, Duke of Estland, with all feudal
rights and privileges. May the Lord grant his blessing on it!" After he
had pronounced these words in a clear and audible voice, it seemed as
though an oppressive weight had been removed from his spirits, and he
looked calmly and cheerfully to the side from whence he expected to see
his brother step forward; but the junker's place was vacant, none of
those present had seen him since the tournament. The junker's master of
the household, therefore, stepped forth on the part of his lord, and
received the royal investiture, while he bent his knee before the king;
he then rose, bowed low, and departed to seek the prince.

Prince Christopher did not appear at the marriage feast. Some reported
they had seen him ride like a madman, at full gallop, through the
chase, immediately after the tournament.

The prince had not returned as yet on the commencement of the evening
festivities. The castle resounded with music and mirth. The doors of
the knights' hall and the great antechamber were thrown open to admit
persons of all ranks to the dance and masque. The amusements here, as
at the merry carnival, consisted in whimsical mummings, and scenic
representations, in which the spectators beheld, without displeasure,
the most grotesque mixture of sacred, and profane, subjects. Even a
number of disguised ecclesiastics took part in this diversion, and
enacted what was called "a mystery," or a biblical farce; in which a
German harlequin constantly cracked his jests, while the fight between
David and Goliath was represented, to the great delight of the
populace, who thought to discern, in King David, an allusion to the
king, and in the gigantic Goliath recognized a resemblance, now to Duke
Longshanks, now to the Junker; but as soon as the Drost noticed the
unlucky interpretation of the farce, he ordered these masks away. When
Eric stepped forth among the dancers in the antechamber, the young
maidens sang the ballad, with which he was usually greeted, and which
had now become a kind of a national song. With a feeling of enthusiasm
for their youthful sovereign, and allusion to one of the most romantic
adventures which had occurred in his childhood--they sang gaily:


           "O'er Ribé's bridge the dance is led,
              The castle it is won!
            In broidered shoe the knights they tread,
              For young Eric this feat is done!"[8]


The king listened with pleasure to the lay, and talked with Aagé of his
beloved Drost Peter Hessel, of whom this song always reminded him; and
when Count Gerhard heard the ballad of Ribéhuus, he tramped gaily into
the ranks of the dancers, in joyous remembrance of that event, at which
he had himself been present.

The king's mother and Queen Helvig now entered the antechamber, with
the young and lovely bride, and the joy of the people was uttered yet
more loudly. The ballad-singers instantly began the ballad of Queen
Dagmar's bridal; all the maidens joined in it, and the dancers moved to
the tune. The king stepped forward, with his bride, at the head of the
troop of dancers. At last the maidens sang:


            "'Great joy there was o'er Denmark's land,
            When Dagmar stepped upon the strand;
            Both burgher and peasant then lived in peace,
            From tax and ploughpenny-yoke had ease,
            From Bohmerland[9] the lady crossed the seas!"


But as they were going to sing the last verse, the ballad-singers took
up the lay and sang:


            "'Again there's joy o'er Denmark's land,'
            Fair Ingeborg comes unto our strand!
            Like Waldemar Seier, King Eric hath found
            A Dagmar to bring us on Danish ground;
            From Sweden's land so far renowned!"


This verse was repeated amid loud and joyous acclamations.

"Thanks, good people! thanks!" said the king, with pleased emotion; "if
it please the Lord, and our blessed Lady, Valdemar's and Dagmar's days
shall return."

The young queen feelingly greeted the many loyal persons who surrounded
her.

Amid the general rejoicing and festive stir, there was no one beside
Drost Aagé who saw anything suspicious in the continuance of the mask;
but among the great number of maskers, he had especially noticed two,
who frequently made their way nearly up to the king, and disappeared
again. They were dressed up according to the ideas which the lower
classes entertained of mermen; their painted faces were hidden by green
silken hair, and they wore coats of glittering silver scales. Their
restless deportment appeared suspicious to Aagé, who paid close
attention to every movement of these masks--but his suspicion soon
vanished; a pretty little fishermaiden came to meet the second mask and
the pair soon danced so lovingly together, that Aagé conjectured a
little love affair was in progress. "Why cannot I thus dance here with
_her_?" he sighed, and his thoughts travelled to the maiden's tower at
Wordinborg. He looked with interest on the fair fisher-maiden, who with
her long hair, and her joyous sparkling eyes, bore a faint resemblance
to the Lady Margaretha's capricious sister Ulrica. "Alas, no! poor
maidens!" sighed the Drost, stepping out into the hall balcony--"they
are now in the gloomy tower over yonder; _they_ hear and see nought of
these rejoicings--and yet they are innocent--it is injustice; crying
injustice--in this matter he is stern and unyielding. To-night,
however, he is mild, and joyous, and happy--who knows----." It seemed
as if Aagé was suddenly inspired by a bold hope; he returned into the
antechamber, and approached the king, who took greater pleasure in
being a spectator of the merriment of the lower orders in the
antechamber than in looking on the more graceful and skilful dancing in
the knights' hall. But the Drost presently once more beheld one of the
frightful mermen figures near the king; his suspicions of this mask
were again awakened, and he observed the glittering handle of a dagger
between the silver scales on the merman's breast, on which his hand
often rested when he approached Eric. Aagé placed himself between the
king and the intrusive mask, and asked, "Who art thou?"

"Rosmer[10]," said a strange, unknown voice--"ho, ho, ho!"--and the
merman now sang in a hoarse tone:


           "Home came Rosmer from the sea,
              To curse he did begin:
            My right hand's scent it warneth me
              A christian man's within."


He then once more seized the hand of the fisher-maiden, and joined in
the dance. The Drost looked after him with suspicion; he thought of the
outlaws, and of the dishonoured Knight Kaggé. The idea of this
dangerous and audacious miscreant became so vivid in his imagination,
that he seemed to recognise him in the merman, and almost in every
mask. He made a signal to some halberdiers to keep an eye on the mask,
and followed the king into the knights' hall. Here he also gave Count
Henrik a hint of what he dreaded, and a numerous troop of halberdiers
was soon stationed near the king; but neither he nor any of his guests
observed that this was done with any special design. The Drost's
scrutinising looks and the precautions which had been taken, did not,
however, seem to have escaped all the guests. Shortly afterwards the
well-known ballad of the "Merman and Agneté" was heard in the
antechamber, and a dance was performed to it, in which the merman mask
and the fisher-maiden were the principal performers. The merman only
chimed in with the burden of the song, and repeated, in a wild, hoarse
voice,


                   "Ho! ho! ho!
            To the depths of the sea then lead her did he."


At last this masker and his partner departed: they danced out of the
door, and down the great staircase into the court-yard of the castle,
amid a crowd of disguised personages, who belonged to their party, and
represented all kinds of sea-monsters. No one knew what had become of
them: another dance began, and none concerned themselves any longer
about these unsocial maskers; but the report afterwards spread among
the people, that the masker was a real merman, who had carried off a
maiden. Some even would have it that they had seen the glittering
merman swim off with the maiden in his arms, in the clear moonlight.



                              CHAP. XIII.


It was a beautiful, calm summer evening. The dance and the mask were
confined to the antechamber and the knights' hall. The national
festival was celebrated with bonfires and torch-lights, with music and
feasting, in the court-yard of the castle and the orchard, in the chase
and on the tournament ground. The king showed himself wherever there
was a joyous group assembled, most frequently conducting his lovely
bride by the hand, and accompanied by his princely guests and several
courtiers. They were everywhere welcomed with festive songs and
acclamations. In the castle garden they were greeted by Master Rumelant
and Master Poppé the strong, who, with solemn pathos, recited an
elaborate and carefully-composed poem, in which they praised by turns
the royal bridegroom and his bride, with the royal relatives of both,
and all the nobles there present. The king thanked them with kindness
for this well-meant homage, although the exaggerated praise and trite
compliments did not suit his taste. But they were now surprised by a
new and splendid spectacle--the bridal pair, and a number of children
with wings fastened to their shoulders, who were to represent genii or
angels, were led through the illuminated avenues to a remote part of
the garden, from whence there was the most beautiful prospect over the
Sound; here many hundred vessels burst on the sight, hung with lights
in the form of crowns upon the masts. All that had excited so much
astonishment at Skänor fair, and had been regarded by the people as the
work of witchcraft and sorcery, was also to be seen here, but exhibited
with far more dazzling effect. Superstitious fear was banished by the
report of the innocence of these artists, and all were prepared to view
the spectacle as a display worthy of the festival. A number of rockets
of different and beautiful colours were let off from boats and floating
rafts; the air glittered with artificial suns, stars, and flaming
wheels, which were mirrored in the calm expanse of the sea.

It was a new and wonder-stirring sight, and afforded great delight to
the spectators. All ceremony and court etiquette were forgotten; each
one eagerly sought that place from whence he could best behold the
dazzling pageant.

Eric had retired with his bride to a shady spot in the garden, where
the fair aerial spectacle appeared to the greatest advantage. The
number of guests he had to entertain, as well as the festivities, had
had hitherto prevented him from exchanging a single word with her
without witnesses, and it was more than a year since they had last met.
He now found himself for a moment alone with her, under the mild and
lovely summer sky, in which the flaming stars seemed to dance round
them in the air, while the festive din was hushed, and nothing was
heard but the deep solemn notes of the horn-players, floating over the
Sound from a distant hill. A torrent of thought and feeling seemed
ready to gush from the king's heart. "My Ingeborg! my soul's beloved!"
he exclaimed, embracing her, "now hath the merciful Lord heard my
inmost prayer; he hath himself united us with an inviolable sacrament;
no power in heaven or earth can part us now. I am indeed the happiest
of human beings; were I omnipotent I would this hour make every soul
around me happy."

"Eric! my beloved Eric!" answered Ingeborg, throwing her arms around
his neck, "I have this day seen with thee into the Lord's clear heaven;
the troth I plighted thee at the altar I shall repeat in my dying hour;
my angel shall wake me with it at the last day----"

"Think not now of death," interrupted Eric, tenderly: "our life begins
but now."

"One moment may contain a thousand lives," she continued, with,
heartfelt emotion; "even were one of yon flying stars to crush me in
thine arms I still should deem myself happy; thou wouldest still be
mine, although mine eyes should close upon all the glories of this
world."

They thus talked confidentially together, and poured out their inmost
souls to each other, undisturbed by their princely guests, whose whole
attention was turned upon the aerial spectacle. The happy bridal pair
sank, with deep emotion, into each other's arms, and appeared to forget
themselves and the whole world in a silent embrace. They were suddenly
aroused by a loud explosion and a hissing sound in the air; they raised
their eyes and saw with astonishment the mild beams of the star-light
dimmed by the brightness of a large ball of fire, which ascended
hissing in the air as though it would reach the heavens. It shone clear
and bright above their heads; but as they were looking at it with
admiration it exploded, and dispersed into many thousand small stars,
which gradually waned and disappeared.

"Noble! beautiful!" said the king. "What cannot human wisdom and art
effect! The learned artist who hath prepared us this show is certainly
right in some things; the deep insight into human nature, which the
great Pater Roger hath attained unto in our time, will probably in
after times actually change the aspect of the world, and all which we
now deem great and noble will perhaps seem but as dreaming and child's
play to posterity: but how mutable all things are, my Ingeborg!" he
added, almost with melancholy; "even the surpassing splendour of this
evening will soon fade and vanish like yon dazzling aerial vision."

"But what there hath been of life and truth and soul, my Eric,"
answered Ingeborg, looking tenderly into his eyes; "is it not so, my
heart's beloved? All which love hath brightened will surely never seem
but as an idle dream. The world will surely never be so changed that
all which is sacred and divine shall fade away like an airy vision."

"No assuredly, by all the holy men, no sound wisdom can ever lead to
_that!_" said the king eagerly, and gazed awhile in thoughtful reverie
on the serene and unchanging heaven. "Tell me, my beloved Ingeborg," he
resumed again with tenderness, as he looked with calm delight on his
lovely bride, and pressed her hand to his lips, "wilt thou not miss thy
mother and thy brothers sadly here?"

"My mother and my brother Eric, most----," answered Ingeborg, with a
gentle sigh; "but I am still with thee and my dear faithful Ingé. My
mother and brothers will often visit us, and we them--Shall we not? and
thou wilt aid me and my mother in preserving love and peace between the
brothers?"

"Truly! This I know," said the king, pressing her hand warmly; "love
and peace between brothers are precious jewels, my Ingeborg; no crown
outweighs their loss." He paused suddenly, as though he would not
grieve his bride by uttering what clouded his happiness, even in this
moment of bliss.

"Thou wouldest this day make every one happy if thou couldst,"
continued Ingeborg; "grant, then, in this fair hour, the first boon I
would ask of thy heart!"

"Name it, my Ingeborg, and it is granted," said the king. "What
couldest _thou_ ask of me which I could deny thee? What is thy
wish?--say on!"

"Freedom for every sorrowing captive in thy kingdom who at this hour
repent their crime, or suffer while innocent."

"Innocent!" repeated the king hastily; "none who are innocent suffer in
chains and in prison here--that I know. What can inspire thee with such
thoughts?"

"Guilty or guiltless!" answered Ingeborg, taking his hand. "In the
sight of the All-righteous no one is wholly guiltless, and yet he
pardons us all for his dear Son's sake, and for the sake of his eternal
mercy. Pardon thy foes, my Eric--pardon them for the sake of God's
infinite love! Give the unhappy captives freedom for the sake of
eternal freedom! Give peace to the outlaws for the sake of everlasting
peace in God's kingdom!"

There was a crimson flush on the king's cheek--his eyes flashed--his
breast heaved violently--he abruptly dropped the hand of his bride, and
clenched his own, almost convulsively, against his breast. "I swore an
oath, by my father's bloody head, in Viborg church," he said, in a
deep, low tone, "that oath I must keep, or perish eternally; my
father's murderers I can never pardon--to none of _them_ can I grant
peace while mine eyes behold the light of day!"

"Not even their kindred and children, who have had no share in their
crime?" asked Ingeborg, anxiously. "Be not severe! be not unmerciful!
Liberate Marsk Stig's daughters from the prison at Wordingborg, for my
prayers' sake!"

"Thou hast named a name which stirs up my inmost soul, from whomsoever
I may hear it," said the king gloomily, with his eyes fixed on the
ground; "the offspring of that traitor are my deadly foes as he was my
father's; yet," he continued, and raised his head, "for my _own_ sake I
will not hate and persecute any one; for thy prayers' sake, I can show
mercy to those who do but hate and conspire against _me_; but, by all
that is holy! those who laid bloody hands on my father, yon dark St.
Cecilia's night, may God forgive if it be possible--_I_ never can!"

Ingeborg stood almost dismayed at his vehemence, and scarcely dared to
look at him.

"Have I frighted thee, my Ingeborg!" continued Eric, with more
calmness, again taking her hand. "Forgive me! There is one chord in my
soul which sounds terrible when struck, wake it not again! Marsk Stig's
daughters shall be liberated tomorrow, at thy entreaty; but Denmark
they must leave.--Come, let us join the others!"

"Thanks, thanks! Thou dear, impetuous Eric!" exclaimed Ingeborg,
joyfully, once more throwing her arms tenderly and confidingly around
his neck; "they may then wend free out of thy kingdom? They look not
for aught beside. More no one can reasonably demand. Thou dost not only
gladden me by this on my bridal day; but a noble and faithful soul
besides, whom thou truly lovest."

"Who?"

"The Drost, the quiet, melancholy Aagé!"

"Did he entreat thee to ask that boon?"

"Yes!--but he entreated me not _exactly_ to tell thee he had."

"Hum! Aagé! should he?--yet no! in love he can scarcely be--he dreams
more of heavenly angels than earthly ones--and truly! for _that_
description of angels he is too good. Come, my Ingeborg! They will have
missed us!"

They returned to the company, who were still admiring the beautiful
illumination on board the vessels, and the fireworks, which became more
and more brilliant.

While the king and his guests repaired to the gardens of the castle,
Drost Aagé stood on Helsingborg quay, and beheld three large boats,
filled with maskers in the most grotesque costumes, row off with all
possible speed towards a foreign ship which lay in the harbour, and
which soon hoisted sail and disappeared in the moonlight with the
adventurous wedding guests. When the Drost afterwards joined the
company in the castle garden, he missed the king and his bride, and
searched for them in great uneasiness, in the dusky avenues. Near to
the spot where Eric stood with the princess, he saw one of the two
suspicious merman maskers lurking among the trees, with a cross-bow in
his hand. At the same moment, in which the great ball of fire had
exploded in the air, the Drost saw this mysterious personage station
himself with his cross-bow behind a tree, and take aim. In one and the
same instant, Aagé had discovered the object of the assassin's aim, and
cleft his head with his sword. The dangerous bow was still drawn, when
the miscreant fell dead on the spot without uttering a sound. Aagé took
the mask from his face, and recognised the notorious deserter--the
one-eyed Johan Kysté, who was known to have assisted the archbishop in
his flight from Sjöberg. "God mend his soul!" said Aagé, turning away
with horror from the fearful sight; and on seeing Eric still standing
on the same spot in confidential converse with his bride, he discreetly
withdrew.

When the king returned to the company, Aagé also stepped forth from a
dark avenue. The anxiety he had undergone, and the fatal deed which he
had secretly been forced to commit in self-defence, had chased the
blood from his cheeks. He now stood in the light of the fireworks pale
as death, yet looking on the king with loving sympathy.

"Aagé! what ails thee? Art thou ill?" asked the king, laying his hand
on his shoulder.

"I ail nothing on my sovereign's happiest day," answered Aagé; "those
strange blue lights yonder, make us all look somewhat pale."

"If thou art well, I will encumber thee with a journey," continued the
king; "thou shalt announce to Marsk Stig's daughters that they are
free."

"My liege and sovereign!" exclaimed Aagé, with heartfelt delight, and
the blood suddenly rushed back to his cheek. "Thanks! heartfelt thanks
for those words! Let me hasten even this very hour!"

"When thou wilt," continued the king, and a stern gravity was again
perceptible in his looks and deportment. "Thou wilt announce their
freedom to them, not from me, but from my queen, though with my
approbation; but within three days they must be out of my state and
kingdom. Thou may'st escort them out of the land, my Drost! I give thee
leave of absence, with full salary, as long as thou wilt, yes--even
though it should be for thy whole lifetime," he added, in a lower tone;
"but by all the holy men! ere I see thee again, Marsk Stig's race must
be beyond Denmark's boundaries."

Aagé gazed on the king with a strange expression of countenance; a
whole world and a whole life seemed to pass in review before his eyes;
while a desperate struggle agitated his inmost soul. "I haste, my
liege!" he said, at last, as if starting from a dream. "I follow _her_.
I follow the defenceless sisters out of the country," he paused again,
and his voice seemed almost choked, "and--I soon return to your
service," he added, with regained firmness. "May the Lord keep his hand
over you so long!"

The king extended his hand to Aagé; he pressed it with deep emotion to
his lips. "Thanks! heartfelt thanks for your clemency to the
unfortunate," he whispered, with a faltering voice, and rushed away.

"What is this?" said the king to himself, as he observed a tear on his
hand; "who claims this precious gem? my Aagé!---hum! poor visionary,
what thought'st thou of!--yet--his choice is free, I cannot act
otherwise, and you, Marsk Oluffsen!" he continued aloud, turning to his
warrior-like Marsk, "the rebels you have lately captured and thrown
into prison, Niels Brock and Johan Papæ----"

"Will you grant me a pleasure on your bridal day, my liege?"
interrupted the Marsk, in his rough voice, and rubbing his large hands.
"Then permit me, with my own hand, to give those fellows their
quietus."

"What! Do you rave, Marsk!" exclaimed the king, greatly incensed; "are
you my knight and Marsk, and would you turn executioner? You will lead
the captive rebels in chains out of the country, and declare them
outlawed in my name! You will not yourself appear in our sight until,
by noble deed of knighthood, you have washed out the blot which you
have cast on yourself, and on our chivalry, by your blood-thirsty
wish."

The Marsk was thunderstruck; he stood in the greatest astonishment,
with wide oped eyes. "Now, by all the martyrs!" he muttered to himself;
but he saw by the king's stern look this was no fitting time to speak:
he bowed in silence, and retired.



                               CHAP. XIV.


The fireworks were now ended, and much admiration was expressed by the
spectators. The king roused himself from the mood into which he had
been thrown by the faithful Aagé's farewell, and the Marsk's sternness.

"Where is the master of that fair pageant?" he said aloud; "where is
the learned Thrand Fistlier?"

"Here, most gracious sovereign!" said a discordant self-satisfied
voice, close beside the king; and Master Thrand stepped forth from the
dark avenue, with his amanuensis, the youthful Master Laurentius, by
his side--

"If my poor skill hath pleased the royal and lordly company, I esteem
it a high pleasure and honour."

"You have surprised us in the most agreeable manner;" said the king,
"but what I have seen will please me still more, if you will explain to
us the ways and means by which such beautiful results are produced."

"The whole is insignificant, in comparison with what I yet purpose,
according to promise, to show your grace!" answered the artist, bowing
humbly; "it is a masterpiece that requires but a moment's time. The
ways and means by which I produce it belong partly to one of my great
Master Bacon's most important discoveries, which he hath indeed named
in his writings, but hath not clearly and minutely explained. It is a
discovery which may easily be abused, and therefore can only be
entrusted to the initiated. I am the only one of his pupils who fully
comprehend it. I have myself considerably extended and substantiated
what was to my master rather a profound conjecture, than an actual
discovery, and I trust I shall not be deemed vain, if I expect, even in
preference to my great master, to be immortalised by it in the history
of science----"

"Well, well!" interrupted the king, "what is it?"

"The only person to whom I have imparted something of this important
secret," continued Master Thrand, with a proud look, without suffering
himself to be abashed, "is my pupil Master Laurentius; but I have not
as yet been able to initiate him in the deepest mysteries of an art
which will perhaps require centuries ere it be fully revealed to the
prejudiced human race. With you wise king! and with these enlightened
nobles and scholars, I make honourable exception, in showing you what I
have not even as yet shown my pupil, and what I now, for the first
time, and in an altogether novel manner, am about to reduce from theory
to a decisive practical result. If this marvellous art is not to die
with me----"

"You expect to become immortal, no doubt. Master Thrand!" interrupted
the king again, somewhat impatiently, "and if I understand you aright,
even in the proper signification of the word; if your art enables you
to set even death at defiance, your important invention can never be in
danger of perishing from the world. Let us now see what you laud so
highly, and keep not our expectation longer on the stretch! You
diminish by it even the surprise you have perhaps intended us."

"Instantly! most mighty king!" answered the artist in a lowered tone,
and produced a calf-skin, which he rolled up and placed on the ground.
He then took out of his pocket a small, unknown substance, of some few
inches thickness, which he placed under it, and commenced several other
preparations, seemingly just as simple and trivial. "Now place yourself
there, your grace!" he resumed, "and give close heed! Quit not your
place until you see me withdraw. Let the ladies step aside, it might
perhaps alarm those who are weakly, although there is no danger
whatever. As soon as I light this torch and bring it into contact with
this simple apparatus, you will hear a voice like that which nature's
great spirit sends forth from the clouds of heaven, to announce his
sovereignty over all the earth, as lord of life and death; but _this_
voice obeys _my_ bidding and _my_ will--now mark!" The ladies stepped
aside and looked inquisitively towards the artist. Some of the noble
guests drew nearer; others drew back with suspicion. The king stood
silent and attentive, on the spot assigned him. The learned Master
Petrus de Dacia stood nearest him; his eyes were raised towards the
clear bright stars, and he appeared occasionally to look on the little
mountebank and his whole proceedings, with a kind of contemptuous pity.
Count Henrik was not present; at the Drost's suggestion he had employed
himself in securing the castle against every possible attack of the
outlaws, some of whom were supposed to have been recognised among the
masked wedding guests who, however, had already escaped.

The expectation of the whole assemblage was now turned towards the
exhibition of art, which had been so pompously announced. The
mysterious artist was still busied with his preparations, and appeared
himself somewhat thoughtful and hesitating. He lighted a torch at some
distance, and took a book out of his pocket, which he appeared to
consult. He had placed a pair of large spectacles before his eyes, and
as he thus stood in the torch-light, with his deformed figure and fiery
red mantle, he resembled a goblin or a fire-gnome, rather than a human
being. He presently replaced the book in his pocket, and lighted
another torch.

"Stop your ears with this, your grace!" whispered the considerate
Master Laurentius, handing a couple of wax-balls to the king, "from
what I know of this specimen of art, it may have a stunning and
injurious effect on the hearing." The king nodded and followed his
advice. The artist now held the lighted torch in his hand; the red
flame lit up his face--it was expressive of a fearful degree of
agitation--every muscle was horribly, almost convulsively,
distorted--He approached slowly with the torch towards the mysterious
apparatus, and most of the spectators drew back with apprehension. The
king stood calm and attentive in his place, by the side of Master
Petrus de Dacia, with his foot on the rolled-up hide.

"Hence! back! life is at stake!" said a voice behind him in a frantic
tone. The king felt himself forcibly grasped by a powerful hand, and at
the same moment a fearful explosion, resembling a clap of thunder, was
heard, with a flash as of a thousand combined lightnings; many persons
fell to the ground with a cry of horror. The ladies swooned--a cloud of
smoke encompassed them, with a suffocating sulphureous vapour. The
terrible artist himself lay mangled and lifeless on the grass, with the
extinguished torch in his hand. Master Laurentius threw himself upon
the body in grief; there was a fearful panic and confusion.

The king stood unscathed a few steps from the corpse of the wretched
Thrand, and now first perceived who had dragged him from his dangerous
position. It was his own brother Christopher, who, with his Duke's
diploma crumpled in his left hand, and with his right still
convulsively grasping the king's arm, stood pale as death gazing on the
lifeless philosopher. "The judgment of God!" he said in a deep and
scarcely audible voice. He quitted his hold of his brother's arm, and
then, as if pursued by evil spirits, rushed into the dark avenue, and
disappeared.

"Christopher! What is this?" said the king in a low voice, as he looked
after him, with a horrible conjecture, but he quickly recovered
himself, and hastened to attend his bride and the terrified ladies.
"The danger is over," he said with calmness, "but this specimen of art
hath cost the artist his life. If he hath spoken truth, his dangerous
art hath perished with him, and the whole world is lapsed into
barbarism and ignorance. He was a wise and learned man," he added, as
he saw most of the company tranquillised, but heard the suspicion of
treachery loudly expressed--"Let us not judge his intentions! perhaps
he hath sacrificed life as a martyr to his science--'twas pity,
however, he would personate our Lord; the Almighty lets himself not be
mocked."

None were injured but the hapless artist, and the company soon returned
composed and thoughtful to the illuminated avenues in the garden.
Ingeborg's fears were calmed and she clung tenderly to her bridegroom's
arm. It appeared to her and to all, as if an inconceivable miracle had
saved the king's life and crushed his treacherous foes. The report of
the king's peril had interrupted the bridal festivities; but wherever
he showed himself the music and merriment again commenced, and the
royal bridal pair were followed back to the castle, with almost
deafening acclamations.

While the bridemaids conducted the bride to the bridal chamber the king
repaired to his private apartment. He went in silence to his prie-dieu,
bent his knee before the holy crucifix, and became absorbed in silent
prayer. He had shut the door after him, and believed he was alone with
God on this spot, to which none beside himself and his confessors had
access; but he presently heard some one moving behind him, and he
arose. Junker Christopher stood before him, with his wild countenance
bathed in tears. "My brother!" he exclaimed, with outstretched arms, "I
have sinned against the Lord and against thee; I am not worthy to be
called thy brother. Canst _thou_ forgive me what _I_ cannot name? Canst
thou forgive me for the sake of our murdered father's soul, and for the
sake of the All-merciful, who blots out every transgression?"

"Christopher!" said the king, in a tone of the greatest consternation,
gazing fixedly on him with a piercing look, "thou wouldest--thou
knewest----"

"Say not what I willed--say not what I knew!" interrupted the junker,
in a choking voice, and covering his face with both his hands; "but
give me thy hand, if thou canst, and say.--'I am reconciled,' and by
the Almighty, who hath struck me with horror, thou shalt see this face
no more ere I can say, 'Brother! now hath the great and terrible God
forgiven me, as thou hast forgiven me!'"

"Christopher! brother! my father's son!" exclaimed Eric; the tears
gushed from his eyes, and he hastened towards his humbled brother with
open arms. "Come to my heart! may the merciful Lord forgive thee as I
have forgiven thee!" and the brothers sank in each other's arms.
"Amen!" said a friendly voice beside them. The king's confessor, the
pious Master Petrus de Dacia, who had led the despairing Christopher
hither, stepped forth from a niche in the chamber, and laid his hand on
their heads in token of blessing.

"This day hath now become the happiest of my life," said Eric, and went
arm-in-arm with the junker out of the private chamber.



                              CONCLUSION.


Among the crowd of knights and courtiers who waited the next morning in
the antechamber of Helsingborg castle to offer their congratulations to
the king and the young queen, were present two influential and well
known persons, who had recently landed on the quay. The one was an aged
personage of short stature, with an extraordinary degree of energy and
determination in his stern yet animated countenance; he was the
renowned statesman John Little, who had made so long a sojourn at the
Romish court. A tall powerful man stood at his side, in a splendid
knight's dress, with a roll of documents in his hand. He was the king's
former master in arms, Drost Peter Hessel. They had both arrived from
Rome, with important tidings for the king. They were instantly
admitted, and those without heard that they were most joyously
welcomed. Among the glad voices in the king's chamber were recognised
those of the queen and the Drost's noble consort, the Lady Ingé.

Close to the door of the antechamber stood Morten the cook, in his
pilgrim's dress, with old Jeppé the fisherman and his daughter at his
side. He was regarded with curiosity. At first he appeared somewhat
uneasy and dejected; but when the king was heard to speak with
animation, and in a tone of satisfaction, Morten drew himself up
fearlessly, and paced up and down with an air of importance among the
distinguished assemblage.

The papers which Drost Hessel had under his arm contained proofs of
Archbishop Grand's treachery and connection with the outlaws; they were
copies of the same important documents which Junker Christopher, at the
time of the archbishop's imprisonment, had removed from the sacristy
chest of Lund and brought to Wordingborg. There the dexterous cook had
contrived to possess himself of them shortly before he abetted the
archbishop's flight from Sjöborg. His object had been to restore them
to Grand; but as the archbishop had broken the promise he had made to
his deliverer while on the rope-ladder of freeing the king and country
from ban and interdict, Morten determined to retain these documents,
and while on his pilgrimage to bring them to Chancellor Martinus and
the Danish embassy at Rome, where they mainly contributed to justify,
or at least excuse the king's conduct towards Grand, and ultimately to
depose him from the Archbishopric of Lund.

Morten was soon summoned to the king. When he returned he gaily threw
aside his pilgrim's mantle, seized the pretty fishermaiden with the one
hand and Jeppé with the other, and skipped with them down the hall
staircase, as a free and wealthy man, to celebrate his wedding at
Gilléleié.

Notwithstanding that the suit against Archbishop Grand, and the
dangerous differences with the Romish see, were not adjusted until
after the lapse of several years, and at the cost of considerable
sacrifices, King Eric succeeded at length in obtaining the deposition
of Grand, and the instalment of another and more peaceable prelate in
the archiepiscopal chair of Lund; in the person of the formerly dreaded
Isarnus, who had now, however, learned from the fate of his predecessor
how to use his spiritual authority with moderation, and wisely
refrained from all interference with state affairs. By the final treaty
with the papal court the wanting dispensation of kindred was granted to
the king, and his marriage with the noble Princess Ingeborg of Sweden
declared to be perfectly valid.

Three weeks after the king's nuptials, the faithful Drost Aagé was
again seen at his side; but he was unalterably grave and pensive. It
was not until some years afterwards that he was freed from the ban,
together with the king. He never alluded to his journey with Marsk
Stig's daughters. Some affirmed that he had only found the elder sister
in the prison-tower of Wordingborg, but that the younger had fled.
Others insisted they had seen her among the masquers at Helsingborg
castle, on the evening of the king's bridal. It was also rumoured that
she had been carried off by a merman. A ballad, relating this supposed
adventure, has been preserved among the people. The merman was affirmed
by some to have been the outlawed Kaggé, who was shortly afterwards
seized and slain by the burghers at Viborg. Meanwhile the beautiful and
pathetic ballad, which still preserves the memory of these sisters,
bears witness to their having traversed Sweden as fugitives, and having
found protection, for the first time, at the court of Norway. According
to this ballad the youngest of these exiled sisters was afterwards
married to a Norwegian prince; probably an illegitimate son of King
Haco.

This popular ballad, as well as many obscure traditions, and what the
chronicles record of the latter part of the thirteenth century, bear
striking testimony to that troublous time, in which the unhappy
consequences of the last regicide in Denmark, hovered, like restless
demons, over throne and country, and cast so deep a shade even over the
happiest days of the upright King Eric Ericson.



                                THE END.


[Footnote 1: Pebersvend (literally pepper 'prentice) is the term still
jocosely applied to elderly bachelors in Denmark.]

[Footnote 2: The name of a part of Russia in the middle ages.]

[Footnote 3: Frodé according to the Icelandic historians, the third
king of Denmark, surnamed "The Peaceful," although he seems rather to
have deserved the title of "The Victorious," as he is said to have
brought Sweden, Hungary, England, and Ireland under his sway. The
history of Frodé as related by the marvel-loving Saxo Grammaticus,
contains, as might be expected from the writer and the age, no slight
mixture of fable.--_Translator_.]

[Footnote 4: Snorro Sturlesen, born 1178, died 1241, the author of the
"Heims Kringla," or the history of the Norwegian kings, and the
compiler of the Younger Edda, also called "Snorro's Edda." The Elder
Edda is the compilation of Sæmund Frodé, or "the learned," who
was born in Iceland, 1054, and died a priest at Oddé, in his 78th year.
Both the Eddas are collections of religious and mythic poems, and the
chief sources whence the knowledge of the northern mythology is
derived. The Elder Edda was first known in the middle of the 17th
century. It has been translated into Danish by Professor Finn
Magnussen.--_Translator_.]

[Footnote 5: Snorro Sturlesen, the Norwegian historian, thus pourtrays
the character of this monarch,--"King Olaf was a noble prince,
possessed of shining virtues and great piety. When driven by Knud
(Canute the Great) from Norway, and compelled to take refuge with
Jarislaf of Moscow, he bore his exile with patience, and spent his time
in prayer and acts of devotion. While in this situation his peace of
mind was only disturbed by the apprehension lest the Christian faith,
which he had so carefully implanted in Norway, should suffer from the
kingdom having passed into the hands of other rulers, and it was
chiefly on this account that he made an attempt to regain his crown,
and with that purpose once more repaired to Norway, where he was
received by many good and true men who desired his return, and were
ready to sacrifice their lives in his service. The armies of Canute and
Olaf met at Sticklestad in the year 1030. Ere the engagement began,
Olaf addressed his troops in a pious and touching discourse. He ordered
them to make use of one common watchword, and shout when they attacked
the enemy, 'On! Christian men! Chosen men! Kings men!' The battle was
fought with equal bravery and obstinacy on both sides, but at last Olaf
was slain by one of his own traitorous subjects, who had deserted to
Canute's army. Vide _Holberg's Hist. of Denmark_, vol. i.--_Translator_.]

[Footnote 6: An old Danish ballad entitled "King Birger and his
brothers," records the crimes of the former, and the melancholy fate of
the Swedish dukes. After years of strife between the brothers, Sweden
was at last partitioned off into three kingdoms, and possessed three
sovereigns and three distinct courts. In 1317, King Birger invited his
brothers to visit him at the castle of Nykioping, on the plea of
renewing the fraternal intercourse which had been so unhappily
interrupted, and the dukes unsuspectingly accepted the king's
invitation. On the evening of their arrival, however, after being
received with the greatest cordiality by the king, and sumptuously
entertained, they were seized by his order, bound hand and foot, and
thrown into the dungeon of the castle. This act of treachery soon
became known, and the king, fearing the interference of the people in
behalf of the dukes, fled from the castle, having first thrown the keys
of the dungeon into the deepest part of the river, and given orders
that the doors of the dungeon should not be opened until he returned.
On his departure Nykioping was instantly besieged, and crowds flocked
thither from all quarters, but ere the castle was taken the dukes had
expired. Eric died on the third day of his captivity, from the wounds
he had received in defending himself against his captors; but Valdemar
lived till the twelfth day without food.--_Translator_.]

[Footnote 7: Holberg thus relates the fate of this able and upright
statesman:--"After a long period of civil war and discord, the feud
between King Birger and his brothers was at last accommodated, through
the mediation of their mutual counsellors; but on the conclusion of the
treaty, the Swedish dukes did their utmost to bring Thorkild Knudsen
into discredit with the king, to whom he was represented by them as
having been the instigator of the disturbances which had prevailed
throughout the country, as well as having stirred up strife among the
members of the royal family, and as having abused the confidence of the
crown. King Birger, who was glad of any pretext for escaping the blame
he himself deserved, turned his back upon his faithful servant, and
permitted him to be brought to trial. Thorkild ably defended his
rightful cause, but his innocence and eloquence were of no avail. He
had been marked out as a victim, was doomed to death as a traitor, and
beheaded at Stockholm in the year 1306. It was not without difficulty
that his friends obtained permission to inter the body in consecrated
ground. Thorkild's treacherous foe, Drost Johan Brunké, continued his
career of political intrigue until the year 1318, when he and his
partizans were seized in the king's absence, by the opposite faction,
and put to death. Brunké's body was exposed on the wheel on a hill
without the city, which since that time has borne the name of Brunké's
Hill." Vide _Holberg's Hist. of Denmark_, vol. i.--_Trans_.]

[Footnote 8: The subject of the ballad of Ribéhuus is the taking of the
castle of Ribé, which had fallen into the hands of the outlaws during
the minority of Eric, by a party of fifty loyal knights, headed by
Count Gerhard and Drost Hessel. In the middle ages it was not unusual
for the knights to join in the public festivities of the burghers. At
one of these, the king's knights took the opportunity of joining a
dance by torch lights to be led according to usage through the streets
up to the castle. The ballad describes the long row of dancers, as
being kept in a straight file by a chain of wreathed green leaves and
roses. Each knight held a lady in his left hand and a lighted torch in
the right, their drawn swords being carefully concealed under their
scarlet mantles. The castle bridge was lowered and the gates thrown
open to admit the dancers by permission of the commandant, who in a few
minutes found himself a prisoner, and the castle (which was wholly
unprepared for the attack) in the hands of King Eric's adherents. The
ballad concludes as follows;--


           "Thus danced we into the castle hall,
            With unsheathed sword 'neath scarlet pall,
              The castle it is won!
            Ne'er saw I before a castle by chance,
            Won by rose-wreaths and the knightly dance,
              For young Eric the feat was done!"--_Translator_.]

[Footnote 9: Bohemia.]

[Footnote 10: Rosmer. An allusion to an old Danish ballad, the hero of
which is called "Rosmer the Merman."--_Translator_.]



                                London:
                      Printed by A. Spottiswoode,
                           New-Street-Square.





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