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Title: Barbara Blomberg — Volume 08
Author: Ebers, Georg
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Barbara Blomberg — Volume 08" ***

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BARBARA BLOMBERG

By Georg Ebers

Volume 8.


CHAPTER V.

Everything in Barbara's residence had remained as it was when she
arrived, only the second story, since the departure of the marquise, had
stood empty.  Two horses had been left in the stable, the steward
performed his duties as before, the cook presided in the kitchen, and
Frau Lamperi attended to Barbara's rooms.

Nevertheless, at Wolf's first visit he was obliged to exert all his
powers of persuasion to induce his miserable friend to give up her
resolution of moving into her former home.  Besides, after the
conversation with Charles's messenger, she had felt so ill that no
visitor except himself had been received.

When, a few days later, she learned that the Emperor had set out for
Landshut, she entreated Wolf to seek out Pyramus Kogel, for she had just
learned that during her illness her father's travelling companion had
asked to see her, but, like every one else, had been refused.  She
grieved because they had forgotten to tell her this; but when she
discovered that the same stately officer had called again soon after the
relapse, she angrily upbraided, for the first time, Frau Lamperi, who was
to blame for the neglect, and her grief increased when, on the same day,
a messenger brought from the man who had twice been denied admittance a
letter which inclosed one from her father, and briefly informed her that
he should set out at once for Landshut.  As she would not receive him,
he must send her the captain's messages in this way.

It appeared from the old man's letter that, while leaving the ship at
Antwerp, he had met with an accident, and perhaps might long be prevented
from undertaking the toilsome journey home.  But he was well cared for,
and if she was still his clear daughter, she must treat Herr Pyramus
Kogel kindly this time, for he had proved a faithful son and good
Samaritan to him.

A stranger's hand had written this letter, which contained nothing more
about the old soldier's health, but reminded her of a tin tankard which
he had forgotten to deliver, and urged her to care for the ever-burning
lamp in the chapel.  It closed with the request to offer his profound
reverence at the feet of his Majesty, the most gracious, most glorious,
and most powerful Emperor, and the remark that there was much to say
about the country of Spain, but the best was certainly when one thought
of it after turning the back upon it.

As a postscript, he had written with his own hand, as the crooked letters
showed: "Mind what I told you about Sir Pyramus, without whom you would
now be a deserted orphan.  Can you believe that in all Spain there is no
fresh butter to be had, either for bread or in the kitchen for roast
meat, but instead rancid oil, which we should think just fit for
burning?"

With deep shame Barbara realized through this letter how rarely she
remembered her father.  Only since she knew positively what joy and what
anxiety awaited her had she again thought frequently of him, but always
with great fear of the old man whose head had grown gray in an honourable
life.  Now the hour was approaching when she would be obliged to confess
to him what she still strove to deem a peerless favour of Fate, for which
future generations would envy her.  Perhaps he who looked up to the
Emperor Charles with such enthusiastic devotion would agree with her;
perhaps what she must disclose to him would spoil the remainder of his
life.  The image of the aged sufferer, lying in pain and sorrow far from
her old his home, in a stranger's house, constantly forced itself upon
her, and she often dwelt upon it, imagining it with ingenious self-
torture.

Love for another had estranged her from him who possessed the first claim
to every feeling of tenderness and gratitude in her heart.  The thought
that she could do nothing for him and give him no token of her love
pierced deep into her soul.  Every impulse of her being urged her to
learn further details of him and his condition.  As Pyramus Kogel was
staying in Landshut, she wrote a note entreating him, if possible, to
come to Ratisbon to tell her about her father, or, if this could not be,
to inform her by letter how he fared.

There was no lack of messengers going to Landshut, and the answer was not
delayed.  During these war times, Pyramus answered, he was not his own
master even for a moment; therefore he must deny himself a visit to her,
and he also lacked time for a detailed account by letter.  If, however,
she could resolve to do him the honour of a visit, he would promise her a
more cordial reception than he had experienced on her side.  For the
rest, her father was being carefully nursed, and his life was no longer
in danger.

At first Barbara took this letter for an ungenerous attempt of the
insulted man to repay the humiliation which he had received from her; but
the news from the throngs of troops pouring into the city made the
officer's request appear in a milder light, and the longing to ascertain
her father's condition daily increased.

At the end of the first week in August her strength would have sufficed
for the short drive to Landshut.  True, she was as hoarse as when she
gave the physician a disinclination to return, but she had regained her
physical vigour, and had taken walks, without special fatigue, sometimes
with Wolf, sometimes with Gombert.  The latter, as well as Appenzelder,
still frequently called upon her, and tried to diminish her grief over
the injury to her voice by telling her of hundreds of similar cases which
had resulted favourably.

The musicians were to return to Brussels the next day.  Appenzelder would
not leave his boy choir, but Gombert had accepted an invitation from
the Duke of Bavaria, at whose court in Munich the best music was eagerly
fostered.  His road would lead him through Landshut, and how more than
gladly Barbara would have accompanied him there!

She must now bid farewell to Appenzelder and Massi, and it was evident
that the parting was hard for them also.  The eyes of the former even
grew dim with tears as he pressed a farewell kiss upon Barbara's brow.
The little Maltese, Hannibal Melas, would have preferred to stay with
her--nay, he did not cease entreating her to keep him, though only as
a page; but how could he have been useful to her?

Finally, she was obliged to bid Wolf, too, farewell, perhaps for many
years.

During the last few days he had again proved his old friendship in the
most loyal manner.  Through Quijada he had learned everything which
concerned her and the Emperor Charles, and this had transformed his
former love for Barbara, which was by no means dead, into tender
compassion.

Not to serve the monarch or the husband of his new mistress in
Villagarcia, but merely to lighten her own hard fate, he had not ceased
to represent what consequences it might entail upon her if she should
continue to defy the Emperor's command so obstinately.

He, too, saw in the convent the fitting place for her future life, now
bereft of its best possessions; but although she succeeded in retaining
her composure during his entreaties and warnings, she still most
positively refused to obey the Emperor's order.

Her strong desire to visit Landshut was by no means solely from the
necessity of hearing the particulars about her father, and the wish to
see so brilliant an assemblage of troops from all countries, but
especially the consuming longing to gaze once more into the face of the
lover who was now making her so miserable, yet to whom she owed the
greatest joy of her life.

And more!

She thought it would restore her peace of mind forever if she could
succeed in speaking to him for even one brief moment and telling him what
a transformation his guilt had wrought in her ardent love and her whole
nature.

Wolf's representations and imploring entreaties remained as futile as
those of Sister Hyacinthe and the abbesses of the Clare Sisters and the
Convent of the Holy Cross, who had sought her by the confessor's wish.
None of these pious women, except her nurse, knew the hope she cherished.
They saw in her only the Emperor's discarded love; yet as such it seemed
to them that Barbara was bidden to turn her back upon the world, which
had nothing similar to offer her, in order, as the Saviour's bride, to
seek a new and loftier happiness.

But Barbara's vivacious temperament shrank from their summons as from the
tomb or the dungeon and, with all due reverence, she said so to the
kindly nuns.

She desired no new happiness, nay, she could not imagine that she would
ever again find joy in anything save the heavenly gift which she expected
with increasing fear, and yet glad hope.  Yet they wished to deprive her
of this exquisite treasure, this peerless comfort for the soul!  But she
had learned how to defend herself, and they should never succeed in
accomplishing this shameful purpose.  She would keep her child, though it
increased the Emperor's resentment to the highest pitch, and deprived her
of every expectation of his care.

Eagerly as Wolf praised Quijada's noble nature, she commanded him to
assure the Castilian, whose messenger he honestly confessed himself to
be, that she would die rather than yield to the Emperor's demands.

When the time at last came to part from Wolf also, and he pressed his
lips to her hand, she felt that she could rely upon him, no matter how
sad her future life might be.  He added many another kind and friendly
word; then, in an outburst of painful emotion, cried: "If only you had
been contented with my faithful love, Wawerl, how very different, how
much better everything would have been, how happy I might be!  and, if
loyal love possesses the power of bestowing happiness, you, too----"

Here Barbara pointed mournfully to her poor aching throat and, while he
earnestly protested that, deeply as he lamented the injury to her voice,
this cruel misfortune would by no means have lessened his love, her eyes
suddenly flashed, and there was a strange quiver around the corners of
her mouth as she thought: "Keep that opinion.  But I would not exchange
for a long life, overflowing with the happiness which you, dear, good
fellow, could offer me, the brief May weeks that placed me among the few
who are permitted to taste the highest measure of happiness."

Yet she listened with sincere sympathy to what he had heard of
Villagarcia and Magdalena de Ulloa, Quijada's wife, and what he expected
to find there and in Valladolid.

It pleased her most to know that he would be permitted to return
sometimes to the Netherlands.  When once there, he must seek her out
wherever her uncertain destiny had cast her.

When, in saying this, her hoarse voice failed and tears of pain and
sorrow filled her eyes, emotion overpowered him also and, after he had
again urged her to submit to the will of their imperial master, he tore
himself away with a last farewell.

The ardent, long-cherished passion which had brought the young knight
full of hope to Ratisbon had changed to compassion.  With drooping head,
disappointed, and heavily burdened with anxiety for the future of the
woman who had exerted so powerful an influence upon his fate, he left the
home of his childhood; but Barbara saw him go with the sorrowful fear
that, in the rural solitude which awaited him in Spain, her talented
friend would lose his art and every loftier aspiration; yet both felt
sure that, whatever might be the course of their lives, each would hold
a firm place in the other's memory.

A few hours after this farewell Barbara received a letter from the
Council, in which Wolf Hartschwert secured to her and her father during
their lives the free use of the house which he had inherited in Red Cock
Street, with the sole condition of allowing his faithful Ursula to occupy
the second story until her death.

The astonished girl at once went to express her thanks for so much
kindness; but Wolf had left Ratisbon a short time before, and when
Barbara entered the house she found old Ursula at the window with her
tear-stained face resting on her clasped hands.  When she heard her name
called, she raised her little head framed in the big cap, and as soon as
she recognised the unexpected visitor she cast so malevolent a glance at
her that a shiver ran through the girl's frame.

After a few brief words of greeting, Barbara left the old woman,
resolving not to enter the house soon again.

In passing the chapel she could and would not resist its strong power of
attraction.  With bowed head she entered the quiet little sanctuary,
repeated a paternoster, and prayed fervently to the Mother of God to
restore the clearness of her voice once more.  While doing so, she
imagined that the gracious intercessor gazed down upon her sometimes
compassionately, sometimes reproachfully, and, in the consciousness of
her guilt, she raised her hands, imploring forgiveness, to the friendly,
familiar figure.

How tenderly the Christ-child nestled to the pure, exalted mother!
Heaven intended to bestow a similar exquisite gift upon her also, and
already insolent hands were outstretched to tear it from her.  True, she
was determined to defend herself bravely, yet her best friend advised her
to yield without resistance to this unprecedented demand.

What should she do?

With her brow pressed against the priedieu, she strove to attain calm
reflection in the presence of the powerful and gracious Queen of Heaven.
If she yielded the child to its cruel father, she would thereby surrender
to him the only happiness to which she still possessed a claim; if she
succeeded in keeping it for herself, she would deprive it of the favour
of the mighty sovereign, who possessed the power to bestow upon it
everything which the human heart craves.  Should she persist in
resistance or yield to the person to whom she had already sacrificed so
much the great blessing which had the ability to console her for every
other loss, even the most cruel?

Then her refractory heart again rebelled.  This was too much; Heaven
itself could not require it of her, the divine Mother who, before her
eyes, was pressing her child so tenderly to her bosom, least of all.
Hers, too, would be a gift of God, and, while repeating this to herself,
it seemed as though a voice cried out: "It is the Lord himself who
intends to confide this child to you, and if you give it up you deprive
it of its mother and rob it--you have learned that yourself--of its best
possession.  What was given to you to cherish tenderly, you can not
confide to another without angering him who bestowed the guerdon upon
you."

Just at that moment she thought of the star, her lover's first memento,
with which she had parted from weakness, though with a good intention.

The misfortune which she was now enduring had grown out of this
lamentable yielding.  No!  She would not, ought not to allow herself to
be robbed of her precious hope.  One glance at the Mother and Child put
an end to any further consideration.

Comforted and strengthened, she went her way homeward, scarcely noticing
that Peter Schlumperger and his sister, whom she met, looked away from
her with evident purpose.



CHAPTER VI.

That night Barbara dreamed of her father.  Birds of prey were attacking
his body as it lay upon the ground, and she could not drive them off.
The terror with which this spectacle had disturbed her sleep could not be
banished during the morning.  Now, whatever it cost, she must go to
Landshut and hear some tidings of him.

Maestro Gombert would set out for Munich the next day, and in doing so
must pass the neighbouring city.  If he would carry her with him, she
would be safe.  He came at twilight to take leave of her, and with
genuine pleasure gave her the second seat in his travelling carriage.

Early the following morning the vehicle, drawn by post horses, stopped
before the little Prebrunn castle, and Barbara was soon driving with the
musician through the pleasant country in the warm August day.

Sister Hyacinthe and Fran Lamperi had tried to prevent her departure by
entreaties and remonstrances, for both feared that the long ride might
injure her; and, moreover, the latter had been charged by Quijada, in the
Emperor's name, to keep her in the castle and, if she left it, to inform
him at once by a mounted messenger.

As Barbara could not be detained, Frau Lamperi, though reluctantly,
obeyed this command.

Before leaving Prebrunn Barbara had warned Gombert that he would find her
a very uninteresting companion, since it was still impossible to talk
much; but Gombert would not admit this.  To a true friend, the mere
presence of the other gives pleasure, even though he should not open his
lips.

The girl had become very dear to him, and her presence made time pass
swiftly, for the great musician liked to talk and conversed bewitchingly,
and he had long since discovered that Barbara was a good listener.

Besides, the motley life on the road attracted his attention as well as
his travelling companion's, for the war had begun, and already would have
resulted in a great victory for the Smalcalds, at the foot of the
Bavarian Alps, had not the Augsburg Military Council prevented the able
commander in chief Schartlin von Burtenbach and his gallant lieutenant
Schenkwitz from profiting by the advantage won.  The way to Italy and
Trent, where the Council was in session, was already open to the allied
Protestants, but they were forbidden from the green table to follow it.
It would have led them through Bavarian territory, and thereby perhaps
afforded Duke William, the ruler of the country, occasion to abjure his
neutrality and turn openly against the Smalcalds.

The shortsightedness with which the Protestants permitted the Emperor to
remain so long in Ratisbon unmolested, and gather troops and munitions of
war, Gombert had heard termed actually incomprehensible.

The travellers might expect to find a large force in Landshut, among the
rest ten thousand Italians and eight thousand Spaniards.  This, the
musician explained to his companion, was contrary to the condition of his
Majesty's election, which prohibited his bringing foreign soldiers into
Germany; but war was a mighty enterprise, which broke even Firmer
contracts.

A bitter remark about the man who, even in peace, scorned fidelity and
faith, rose to Barbara's lips; but as she knew the warm enthusiasm which
Gombert cherished for his imperial master, she controlled herself, and
continued to listen while he spoke of the large re-enforcements which
Count Buren was leading from the Netherlands.

A long and cruel war might be expected, for, though his Majesty assumed
that religion had nothing to do with it, the saying went--here Catholics,
here Protestants.  The Pope gave his blessing to those who joined
Charles's banner, and wherever people had deserted the Church they said
that they were taking the field for the pure religion against the
unchristian Council and the Romish antichrist.

"But it really can not be a war in behalf of our holy faith," Barbara
here eagerly interposed, "for the Duke of Saxony is our ally, and Oh,
just look! we must pass there directly."

She pointed as she spoke to a peasant cart just in front of them, whose
occupants had been hidden until now by the dust of the road.  They were
two Protestant clergymen in the easily recognised official costume of
their faith--a long, black robe and a white ruff around the neck.

Gombert, too, now looked in surprise at the ecclesiastical gentlemen, and
called the commander of the four members of the city guard who escorted
his carriage.

The troops marching beside them were the soldiers of the Protestant
Margrave Hans von Kustrin who, in spite of his faith, had joined the
Emperor, his secular lord, who asserted that he was waging no religious
war.  The clergymen were the field chaplains of the Protestant bands.

When the travellers had passed the long baggage train, in which women and
children filled peasant carts or trudged on foot, and reached the
soldiers themselves, they found them well-armed men of sturdy figure.

The Neapolitan regiment, which preceded the Kustrin one, presented an
entirely different appearance with its shorter, brown-skinned, light-
footed soldiers.  Here, too, there was no lack of soldiers' wives and
children, and from two of the carts gaily bedizened soldiers' sweethearts
waved their hands to the travellers.  In front of the regiment were two
wagons with racks, filled with priests and monks bearing crosses and
church banners, and before them, to escape the dust, a priest of higher
rank with his vicar rode on mules decked with gay trappings.

On the way to Eggmuhl the carriage passed other bodies of troops.  Here
the horses were changed, and now Gombert walked with Barbara in front of
the vehicle to "stretch their legs."

A regiment from the Upper Palatinate was encamped outside of the village.
The prince to whom it belonged had given it a free ration of wine at
the noonday rest, and the soldiers were now lying on the grass with
loosened helmets and armour, feeling very comfortable, and singing in
their deep voices a song newly composed in honour of the Emperor Charles
to the air, "Cheer up, ye gallant soldiers all!"

The couple so skilled in music stopped, and Barbara's heart beat quicker
as she listened to the words which the fair-haired young trooper close
beside her was singing in an especially clear voice:

                   "Cheer up, ye gallant soldiers all!
                    Be blithe and bold of mind
                    With faith on God we'll loudly call,
                    Then on our ruler kind.
                    His name is worthy of our praise,
                    Since to the throne God doth him raise;
                    So we will glorify him, too,
                    And render the obedience due.
                    Of an imperial race be came,
                    To this broad empire heir;
                    Carolus is his noble name,
                    God-sent its crown to wear.
                    Mehrer is his just title grand,
                    The sovereign of many a land
                    Which God hath given to his care
                    His name rings on the air!"


     [Mehrer--The increaser, an ancient title of the German emperors]

How much pleasure this song afforded Barbara, although it praised the man
whom she thought she hated; and when the third verse began with the
words,

                   "So goodly is the life he leads
                    Within this earthly vale,"

oh, how gladly she would have joined in!

That could not be, but she sang with them in her heart, for she had long
since caught the tune, and how intently the soldiers would have listened
if it had been possible for her to raise her voice as usual!  Amid the
singing of all these men her clear, bell-like tones would have risen like
the lark soaring from the grain field, and what a storm of applause would
have greeted her from these rough throats!

Grief for the lost happiness of pouring forth her feelings in melody
seized upon her more deeply than for a long time.  She would fain have
glided quietly away to escape the cause of this fresh sorrow.  But
Gombert was listening to the young soldier's song with interest, so
Barbara continued to hear the young warrior as, with evident enthusiasm,
he sang the verse:

                   "Patient and tolerant is he,
                    Nor vengeance seeks, nor blood;
                    E'en though he errs, as well may be,
                    His heart is ever good."

She, too, had deemed this heart so, but now she knew better.  Yet it
pleased her that the fair-haired soldier so readily believed the poet
and, obeying a hasty impulse, she put her hand into the pouch at her belt
to give him a gold piece; but Gombert nudged her, and in his broken
Netherland German repeated the verse which he had just heard:

              "'Tis stern necessity that forced
               The sword into his hand;
               'Tis not for questions of the faith
               That he doth make his stand."

So the soldiers believed that their commander had only grasped the sword
when compelled to do so, and that religion had nothing to do with the
war, but the leader of the orchestra knew better.  The conversations of
the Spaniards at the court, and the words which De Soto had uttered
lauding the Emperor, "Since God placed my foes in my hands, I must wage
war upon his enemies," were plain enough.

Gombert repeated this remark in a low tone but, ere Barbara could answer
him, the carriage, with its fresh relay of horses, stopped in the road.

It was time to get in again, but Barbara dreaded the ride over the rough,
crowded highway, and begged her companion to pursue their journey a
little farther on foot.  He consented and, as the girl now flung a gold
gulden to the blond leader of the voices, cheers from the soldiers
followed them.

Leaning on Gombert's arm, Barbara now moved on more cheerfully until they
were stopped by the vivandiere's counter.

The portly woman stood comfortably at ease behind her eatables and
drinkables, rested her fists on her hips, and glanced toward her
assistant, who stared boldly into the musician's face, and asked him to
take some refreshment for himself and his sweetheart.

She was a young creature, with features prematurely haggard, cheeks
scarlet with rouge, and eyebrows and lashes dyed black.  The infant which
a pale little girl nine years old was tending belonged to her.  She had
had her hair cut close, and her voice was so discordantly hoarse that it
hurt Barbara's ears.

As the bold young woman tapped Gombert lightly on the arm and, with fresh
words of invitation, pointed toward the counter, a shiver ran through
Barbara's limbs.  Even her worst enemy would not have ventured to compare
her with this outcast, but she did herself as she thought of her own
cropped hair and injured voice.  Perhaps the child in the arms of the
pale nine-year-old nurse was disowned by its father, and did not the
greatest of sovereigns intend to do the same to his, if the mother
refused to obey him?

These disagreeable thoughts fell upon her soul like mildew upon growing
grain, and after Gombert had helped her into the carriage again she
begged him to let her rest in silence for a while.  The Netherlander, it
is true, had no suspicion of her condition, but he knew that she had not
yet wholly recovered, and carefully pushed his own knapsack under her
feet.

Barbara now closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep, yet she tortured
her mind with the same question which she had vainly tried to decide in
the chapel of Wolf's house.  Besides, she was troubled about the
information which the recruiting officer might give her concerning her
father.  And suppose she should meet the Emperor Charles in Landshut, and
be permitted to speak to him?

The blare of trumpets and a loud shout of command roused her from this
joyless reverie.  The carriage was passing some squads of Hungarian
cavalry moving at a walk toward Landshut.

Their gay, brilliant appearance scattered the self-torturing thoughts.
Why should she spoil the delightful drive with her friend, which,
besides, was nearly over?  Even if the worst happened, it would come
only too soon.

So drawing a long breath, she again turned to her companion, and Gombert
rejoiced in the refreshing influence which, as he supposed, her sleep
had exerted upon her.  In an hour he must part from the artist to whom he
owed so much pleasure, whose beauty warmed his aging heart, and who he
frequently wished might regain the wonderful gift now so cruelly lost.
Her fiery vivacity, her thoroughly natural, self-reliant unconcern, her
fresh enthusiasm, the joyousness and industry with which she toiled at
her own cultivation, and the gratitude with which any musical instruction
had been received, had endeared her to him.  It would be a pleasure to
see her again, and a veritable banquet of the soul to hear her sing in
the old way.

He told her this with frank affection, and represented to her how much
better suited she was to Brussels than to her stately but dull and quiet
Ratisbon.

With enthusiastic love for his native land, he described the bustling
life in his beautiful, wealthy home.  There music and every art
flourished; there, besides the Emperor and his august sister, were great
nobles who with cheerful lavishness patronized everything that was
beautiful and worthy of esteem; thither flocked strangers from the whole
world; there festivals were celebrated with a magnificence and joyousness
witnessed nowhere else on earth.  There was the abode of freedom, joy,
and mirth.

Barbara had often wished to see the Netherlands, which the Emperor
Charles also remembered with special affection, but no one had ever thus
transported her to the midst of these flourishing provinces and this
blithesome people.

During the maestro's description her large eyes rested upon his lips as
if spellbound.  She, too, must see this Brabant, and, like every newly
awakened longing, this also quickly took possession of her whole nature.
Only in the Netherlands, she thought, could she regain her lost
happiness.  But what elevated this idea to a certainty in her mind was
not only the fostering of music, the spectacles and festivals, the
magnificent velvet, the rustling silk, and the gay, varied life, not only
the worthy Appenzelder and the friend at her side, but, far above all
other things, the circumstance that Brussels was the home of the Emperor
Charles, that there, there alone, she might be permitted to see again and
again, at least from a distance, the man whom she hated.

Absorbed in the Netherlands, she forgot to notice the nearest things
which presented themselves to her gaze.

The last hour of the drive had passed with the speed of an arrow, both to
her and her travelling companion, and just as they were close to the left
bank of the Isar, which was flowing toward them, Gombert's old servant
turned and, pointing before him with his outstretched hand, exclaimed,
"Here we are in Landshut!" she perceived that the goal of their journey
was gained.

Barbara was familiar with this flourishing place, above which proudly
towered the Trausnitzburg, for here lived her uncle Wolfgang Lorberer,
who had married her mother's sister, and was a member of the city
Council.  Two years before she had spent a whole month as a guest in his
wealthy household, and she intended now to seek shelter there again.
Fran Martha had invited her more than once to come soon, and meanwhile
her two young cousins had grown up.

Two arms of the Isar lay before her, and between them the island of
Zweibrucken.

Before the coach rolled across the first, Barbara gathered her luggage
together and told the postboy where he was to drive.  He knew the
handsome Lorberer house, and touched his cap when he heard its owner's
name.  Barbara was glad to be brought to her relatives by the famous
musician; she did not wish to appear as though she had dropped from the
clouds in the house of the aunt who was the opposite of her dead mother,
a somewhat narrow-minded, prudish woman, of whom she secretly stood in
awe.



CHAPTER VII.

Progress was very slow, for many peasants and hogs were coming toward
them from the Schweinemarkt at their right.

The gate was on the second bridge, and here the carriage was compelled to
stop on account of paying the toll.  But it could not have advanced in
any case; a considerable number of vehicles and human beings choked the
space before and beyond the gate.  Horsemen of all sorts, wagons of
regiments marching in and out, freight vans and country carts, soldiers,
male and female citizens, peasants and peasant women, monks, travelling
journeymen, and vagrants impeded their progress, and it required a long
time ere the travelling carriage could finally pass the gate and reach
the end of the bridge.

There the crowd between it, the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, and the
church belonging to it seemed absolutely impenetrable.  The vehicle was
forced to stop, and Gombert stood up and overlooked the motley throng
surrounding it.

Barbara had also risen from her seat, pointed out to her companion one
noteworthy object after another, and finally a handsome sedan chair which
rested on the ground beside the hospital.

"His Majesty's property," she said eagerly; "I know it well."

Here she hesitated and turned pale, for she had just noticed what Gombert
now called to her attention.

Don Luis Quijada, with the haughty precision of the Castilian grandee,
was passing through the humble folk around him and advancing directly
toward her.

All who separated him from the carriage submissively made way for the
commander of the Lombard regiment; but Barbara looked toward the right
and the left, and longed to spring from the vehicle and hide herself amid
the throng.

But it was too late for that.

She could do nothing except wait to learn what he desired, and yet she
knew perfectly well that Don Luis was not coming to the musician, but to
her, and that he was bringing some startling, nay, probably some terrible
news.

She had not met him since she had poured forth the indignation of her
heart.  Now he was standing close beside the carriage, but his grave face
looked less stern than it did at that time.

After he had bent his head slightly to her and held out his hand to
Gombert with friendly condescension, he thanked him for the kindness with
which he had made room for his travelling companion, and then, with quiet
courtesy, informed Barbara that he had come on behalf of his Majesty, who
feared that she might not find suitable lodgings in overcrowded Landshut.
The sedan chair stood ready over there by the hospital.

The longing to escape this fresh outrage from the mighty despot seized
upon Barbara more fiercely than ever, but flight in this crowd was
impossible, and as she met Quijada's grave glance she forced herself to
keep silence.  She could not endure to make the Netherland maestro, who
was kindly disposed toward her, and whom she honoured, a witness of her
humiliation.  So she was compelled to reserve what she wished to say to
the Spaniard until later, and therefore only bade her friend farewell
and, scarcely able to control her voice, expressed her regret that she
could not take him to the Lorberers, since his Majesty was making other
arrangements for her.

Another clasp of the Netherlander's hand, a questioning glance into the
Castilian's calm face, and she was forced to consider herself the Emperor
Charles's prisoner.

True, her captor studiously showed her every attention; he helped her out
of the carriage with the utmost care, and then led her through the moving
throng of people to the sedan chair, behind which a mounted groom was
holding Quijada's noble steed by the bridle.

While Don Luis was helping Barbara into the chair, she asked in a low
tone what she was to think of this act of violence, and where she was
being taken.

"His Majesty's command," was the reply.  "I think you will be satisfied
with your lodgings here."  The girl shrugged her shoulders indignantly,
and asked if she might only know how it had been discovered that she was
on her way to Landshut; but Don Luis, in a gayer manner than his usual
one, answered, "A little bird sang it to us, and I waited for you just
here because, at the end of the bridge, we are most certain to meet
whoever is obliged to cross either branch of the river."  Then, in a tone
so grave as to exclude any idea of mockery, he added, "You see how
kindly his Majesty has provided for your welfare."

Closing the sedan chair as he spoke, he rode on before her.

Meanwhile contradictory emotions were seething and surging in Barbara's
breast.

Where were they taking her?

Did the Emperor intend to make her a prisoner?  He certainly possessed
the power.  Who would dare to resist him?

She could attain no clearness of thought, for, while giving free course
to the indignation of her soul, she was gazing out at the open sides of
the sedan chair.

Every house, every paving stone here was familiar and awakened some
memory.  A crowd of people surrounded her, and among them appeared many a
foreign soldier on foot and on horseback, who would have been well worthy
of an attentive glance.  But what did she care for the Italians in
helmets and coats of mail who filled the Altstadt--the main business
street of Landshut--through which she was being carried?  She doubtless
cast a glance toward the Town Hall, where her uncle was now devising
means to provide shelter for this legion of soldiers and steeds,
doubtless put her head a little out of the window as she approached the
houses and arcades in the lower stories, and the Lorberer mansion, with
the blunt gable, where she had spent such happy days, appeared.  But she
quickly drew it back again; if any of her relatives should see her, what
answer could she make to questions?

But no one perceived her, and who knows whether they would not have
supposed the delicate, troubled face, short locks of hair, and
unnaturally large eyes to be those of another girl who only resembled
the blooming, healthful Barbara of former days?

She also glanced toward the richly decorated portal of St. Martin's
Church, standing diagonally opposite to the sedan chair, and tried to
look up to the steeple, which was higher than almost any other in the
world.

Even in Ratisbon there was not a handsomer, wider street than this
Altstadt, with its stately gable-roofed houses, and certainly not in
Munich, where her uncle had once taken her, and the Bavarian dukes now
resided.

But where, in Heaven's name, would she be borne?

The sedan chair was now swaying past the place where the "short cut" for
pedestrians led up to the Trausnitzburg, the proud citadel of the dukes
of Bavarian Landshut.  She leaned forward again to look up at it as it
towered far above her head on the opposite side of the way; the powerful
ruler whose captive she was probably lodged there.

But now!

What did this mean?

The sedan chair was set down, and it was just at the place where the road
at her left, leading to the citadel, climbed the height where rose the
proud Trausnitz fortress.

Perhaps she might now find an opportunity to escape.

Barbara hastily opened the door, but one of her attendants closed it
again, and in doing so pressed her gently back into the chair.  At the
same time he shook his head, and, while his little black eyes twinkled
slyly at her, his broad, smiling mouth, over which hung a long black
mustache, uttered a good-natured "No, no."

Now the ascent of the mountain began.  A wall bordered the greater
portion of the road, which often led through a ravine overgrown with
brushwood and past bastions and other solid masonry.

The bearers had already mounted to a considerable height, yet there was
no view of the city and the neighbouring country.  But even the loveliest
prospect would not have induced Barbara to open her eyes, for the
indignation which overpowered her had increased to fierce rage, blended
with a fear usually alien to her courageous soul.

In the one tower of the citadel there were prisons of tolerably pleasant
aspect, but she had heard whispers of terrible subterranean dungeons
connected with the secret tribunal.

Suppose the Emperor Charles intended to lock her in one of these dungeons
and withdraw her from the eyes of the world?  Who could guard her from
this horrible fate? who could prevent him from keeping her buried alive
during her life?

Shuddering, she looked out again.  If she was not mistaken, they were
nearing the end of the road, and she would soon learn what was before
her.  Perhaps the Emperor Charles himself was awaiting her up there.  But
if he asked her whether she intended always to defy him, she would show
him that Barbara Blomberg was not to be intimidated; that she knew how to
defend herself and, if necessary, to suffer; that she would be ready to
risk everything to baffle his design and carry out her own resolve.  Then
he should see that nations and kings, nay, even the Holy Father in Rome-
as Charles had once sacrilegiously done--may be vanquished and humbled;
that the hard, precious stone may be crushed and solid metal melted, but
the steadfast will of a woman battling for what she holds dearest can not
be broken.

The sedan chair had already passed through half a dozen citadel gates and
left one solid wall behind it, but now a second rose, with a lofty door
set in its strong masonry.

When Barbara had formerly ascended the Trausnitz, with what pleasure she
had gazed at the deep moat at her left, the pheasants, the stately
peacocks, and other feathered creatures, as well as a whole troop of
lively monkeys; but this time she saw nothing except that the heavy iron-
bound portals of the entrance opened before her, that the drawbridge,
though the sun was close to the western horizon, was still lowered, and
that Quijada stood at the end, motioning to the bearers to set the sedan
chair on the ground.

Now the major-domo opened the door, and this time he was not alone;
Barbara saw behind him a woman whose appearance, spite of her angry
excitement, inspired confidence.

The questions which, without heeding his companion, she now with crimson
cheeks poured upon Don Luis as if fairly frantic, he answered in brief,
businesslike words.

The Emperor Charles wished to place her in safe quarters up here, while
he himself had taken lodgings in the modest house of a Schwaiger--a
small farmer who tilled his own garden and land in the valley below.

For the present, some of the most distinguished officers were here in the
citadel as guests of the Duke of Bavaria.  Barbara was to live in the
ladies' apartments of the fortress, under the care of the worthy woman at
his side.

"His Majesty could not have provided for you more kindly," he concluded.

"Then may the Virgin preserve every one from such kindness!" she
impetuously exclaimed.  "I am dragged to this citadel against my will---"

"And that irritates your strong feeling of independence, which we know,"
replied the Spaniard quietly.  "But when you listen to reason, fairest
lady, you will soon be reconciled to this wise regulation of his Majesty.
If not, it will be your own loss.  But," he added in a lowered tone,
"this is no fitting place for a conversation which might easily
degenerate into a quarrel.  It can be completed better in your own
apartments."

While speaking he led the way, and Barbara followed without another word
of remonstrance, for soldiers of all ages and other gentlemen were
walking in the large, beautiful courtyard which she overlooked; a group
of lovers of horseflesh were examining some specially fine steeds, and
from several of the broad windows which surrounded the Trausnitz
courtyard on all sides men's faces were looking down at her.

This courtyard had always seemed to her a stage specially suitable for
the display of royal magnificence, and yet, in spite of its stately size,
it would be difficult to imagine anything more pleasant, more thoroughly
secluded.

It had formerly witnessed many brilliant knightly games and festal
scenes, but even now it was the favourite gathering place for the
inhabitants of the citadel and the guests of the ducal owner, though
the latter, it is true, had ceased to live here since Landshut had become
the heritage of the Munich branch of the Wittelsbach family, and the
Bavarian dukes resided in Munich, the upper city on the Isar.

Just as Barbara entered the castle the vesper bell rang, and Quijada
paused with bared head, his companions with clasped hands.

The girl prisoner felt little inclination to pray; she was probably
thinking of a dance given here by torchlight, in which, as her uncle's
guest, she had taken part until morning began to dawn.

While they were walking on again, she also remembered the riding at the
ring in the Trausnitz courtyard, which she had been permitted to witness.

The varied, magnificent spectacle had made her almost wild with delight.
The dance in this square had been one of her fairest memories.  And with
what feelings she looked down into this courtyard again!  What could such
an amusement be to her now?  Yet it roused a bitter feeling that, in
spite of her youth, such scenes should be closed to her forever.

She silently followed the others into an airy room in the third story,
whose windows afforded a beautiful view extending to the Bohemian
forests.

But Barbara was too weary to bestow more than a fleeting glance upon it.

Paying no heed to the others, she sank down upon the bench near one of
the walls of the room, and while she was still talking with Don Luis her
new companion, of whose name she was still ignorant, brought several
cushions and silently placed them behind her back.

This chamber, Quijada explained, he had selected for her by his Majesty's
permission.  The adjoining room would be occupied by this good lady--he
motioned to his companion--the wife of Herr Adrian Dubois, his Majesty's
valet.  Being a native of Cologne, she understood German, and had offered
to bear her company.  If Barbara desired, she could also summon the
garde-robiere Lamperi from Ratisbon to the Trausnitz.

Here she interrupted him with the question how long the Emperor intended
to detain her here.

"As long as it suits his imperial pleasure and the physician deems
advisable," was the reply.  Barbara merely shrugged her shoulders again;
she felt utterly exhausted.  But when Quijada, who perceived that she
needed rest, was about to leave her, she remembered the cause of her
drive to Landshut, and asked whether she might speak to her father's
travelling companion, who could give her information about the health of
the old man who, after the Emperor had sent him out into the world, had
fallen ill in Antwerp.

This was willingly granted, and Don Luis even undertook to send Sir
Pyramus Kogel, whom he knew by sight, to her.  Then commending her to
the care of Fran Dubois, who was directed to gratify every reasonable
wish, he left the room.  Meanwhile Barbara desired nothing except rest,
but she studiously refrained from addressing even a word to her new
companion.  Besides, there was little time to do so, she was soon sound
asleep.

When at the end of two hours she awoke, she found herself lying at full
length upon the bench, while a careful hand had removed her shoes, and
the pillows which had supported her weary back were now under her head.

During her slumber it had grown dark, and a small lamp, whose rays a
handkerchief shielded from her eyes, was standing on the stove in one
corner of the room.

Yet she was alone; but she had scarcely stirred when Frau Dubois
appeared with a maid-servant bearing a candelabrum with lighted candles.
The careful nurse asked in brief but pleasant words whether she felt
stronger, if it would be agreeable to her to have supper served in
fifteen minutes, and if she would allow her to help her.

"Willingly," replied Barbara, very pleasantly surprised.  Her companion,
as it were, anticipated her strongest wishes--to satisfy her hunger and
to change her dress.

She must be capable and, moreover, a woman of kindly, delicate feelings,
and it certainly was no fault of hers that she was intrusted with her
guardianship and that she belonged to no higher station in life.  She was
only punishing herself by persisting in her silence and, as Frau Dubois
tended her like a watchful mother, though without addressing a single
word to her unasked, Barbara's grateful heart and the satisfaction which
the valet's wife inspired silenced her arrogance.

When an attendant laid the table for only one person, the girl kindly
invited Frau Dubois to dine with her; the former, however, had already
had her meal, but she said that she would be very glad to bear the young
lady company if she desired.

The first long conversation between the two took place at the table.

The pretty face of the native of the Rhine country, with its little snub
nose, which in youth must have lent a touch of gay pertness to the well-
formed features, was still unwrinkled, though Frau Dubois was nearer
fifty than forty.  Her gray, nearly white hair, though ill-suited to her
almost youthful features, lent them a peculiar charm, and how brightly
her round, brown eyes still sparkled!  The plain gown of fine Brabant
stuff fitted as if moulded to her figure, and it was difficult to imagine
anything neater than her whole appearance.

Adrian had certainly attained an exceptional position among his class,
yet Barbara wondered how he had won this woman, who apparently belonged
to a far higher station.  And then what had brought her to this place and
her companionship?

She was to learn during the meal, for Frau Dubois not only answered her
questions kindly, but in a manner which showed Barbara sincere sympathy
for her position.

She was the daughter of a captain who had fallen in the Emperor Charles's
service before Padua.  The pension granted to his widow had not been
paid, and when, with her daughter, she sought an audience with the
commander in chief, the influential valet had seen the blooming girl,
and did not seek her hand in vain.  Maternal joys had been denied her;
besides, Frau Dubois thought it hard that her husband was obliged to
accompany the Emperor, who could not spare him for a single day, on his
long and numerous journeys.  Even the very comfortable life secured to
her by the distinguished valet, who was respected by men of the highest
rank, by no means consoled her for it.

The Emperor Charles knew this, and had given Adrian a pretty house in the
park of the Brussels palace, besides favouring him in other ways.  Now he
had allowed him, before setting out for the war, to send for his wife.
On reaching Landshut, she had shared during a few hours the little house
which the monarch and general had chosen for his lodgings.  The imperial
commander had not gone up to the citadel because he wished to remain
among his troops.

True, the little farmhouse on the "hohen Gred" which he occupied was
anything but a suitable abode for a powerful sovereign, for above the
ground floor it had only a single story with five small windows and an
unusually high roof.  But, on the other hand, the regiments lying
encamped near it could be quickly reached.  Another reason for making the
choice was that he could obtain rest here better than on the Trausnitz,
for his health was as bad as his appearance and his mood.  He intended to
break up the headquarters on the day after to-morrow, so another
separation awaited the valet and his wife.

When the mounted messenger sent by Frau Lamperi reached Landshut, and it
was necessary to find a suitable companion for Barbara, the Emperor
himself had thought of Fran Dubois.

There had been no opposition to his wish.  Besides, she said, his Majesty
meant kindly by Barbara and, so far as her power extended, everything
should be done to soften her hard destiny.

She knew the whole history of the girl intrusted to her care, yet she
would scarcely have undertaken the task committed to her had she not been
aware that every determination of the Emperor was immovable.  Besides,
she could also strive to render the hard fate imposed upon the poor girl
more endurable.

Barbara had listened eagerly to the story without interrupting her; then
she desired to learn further particulars concerning the health of the man
from whom even now her soul could not be sundered and, finally, she urged
her to talk about herself.

So time passed with the speed of the wind.  The candles in the
candelabrum were already half burned down when Fran Dubois at last urged
going to rest.

Barbara felt that she was fortunate to have found so kind and sensible a
companion and, while the Rhinelander was helping her undress, she begged
her in future to call her by her Christian name "Gertrud," or, as people
liked to address her, "Frau Traut."



CHAPTER VIII.

When Barbara rose from her couch the next morning it was no longer early
in the day.  She had slept soundly and dreamlessly for several hours,
then she had been kept awake by the same thoughts which had pressed upon
her so constantly of late.

She would defy Charles's cruel demand.  The infuriating compulsion
inflicted upon her could only strengthen her resolve.  If she was dragged
to a convent by force, she would refuse, at the ceremony of profession,
to become a nun.

She thought of a pilgrimage to induce Heaven to restore the lost melody
of her voice.  But meanwhile the longing to see the Emperor Charles's
face once more again and again overpowered her.  On the other hand, the
desire to speak to him and upbraid him to his face for the wrong he had
done her was soon silenced; it could only spoil his memory of her if he
should hear the discordant tones which inflicted pain on her own ear.

Another train of thoughts had also kept her awake.  How was her father
faring?  Had he learned what she feared to confess to him?  What had
befallen him, and what had the recruiting officer to tell of his fate?

She was to know soon enough, for she had scarcely risen from breakfast
when a ducal servant announced Sir Pyramus.

Barbara with anxious heart awaited his entrance, and as she stood there,
her cheeks slightly flushed and her large, questioning eyes fixed upon
the door, she seemed to Frau Traut, in spite of her short hair and the
loss of the rounded oval of her face, so marvellously beautiful that she
perfectly understood how she had succeeded in kindling so fierce a flame
in the Emperor's heart, difficult as it was to fire.

Frau Traut did not venture to determine what made the blood mount into
Pyramus's cheeks when Barbara at his entrance held out her slender white
hand, for she had left the room immediately after his arrival.  But she
did not need to remain absent long; the interview ended much sooner than
she expected.

This young officer was certainly a man of splendid physique, with
handsome, manly features, yet she thought she perceived in his manner an
air of constraint which repelled her and, in fact, this gigantic soldier
was conscious that if, for a single moment, he relinquished the control
he imposed upon himself his foolish heart would play him a trick.

Barbara had seemed more beautiful than ever as she greeted him with
almost humble friendliness, instead of her former defiance.  The hoarse
tone of her voice, once so musical, caused him so much pain that he was
on the verge of losing his power to keep his resolve to conceal the
feelings which, in spite of the insults she had heaped upon him, he still
cherished for her.  While he allowed himself to look into her face, he
realized for the first time how difficult a task he had undertaken, and
therefore tried to assume an expression of indifference as he began the
conversation with the remark that the ride to the citadel was detaining
him from his duties longer than he could answer for in such a stress of
military business and, moreover, under the eyes of his Majesty.
Therefore it would only be possible to talk a very short time.

He had hurled forth this statement rather than spoken it; but Barbara,
smiling mournfully, replied that she could easily understand his
reluctance to lose so much time merely on her account.

"For your sake, my dear lady," he replied with an acerbity which sounded
sufficiently genuine, "it might scarcely have seemed feasible to go so
far from the camp; but for the brave old comrade who was intrusted to my
care I would have made even more difficult things possible--and you are
his daughter."

The girl nodded silently to show that she understood the meaning of his
words, and then asked how the journey had passed and what was the cause
of her father's illness.

Everything had gone as well as possible, he replied, until they reached
Spain; but there the captain was tortured by homesickness.  Nothing had
pleased him except the piety of the people.  The fiery wine did not suit
him, the fare seemed unbearable, and the inability to talk with any one
except himself had irritated him to actual outbursts of rage.  On the
neat Netherland ship which bore him homeward matters were better; nay,
while running into the harbour of Antwerp he had jested almost in his old
reckless manner.  But when trying to descend the rope-ladder from the
high ship into the skiff in which sailors had rowed from the land, he
made a misstep with his stiff leg and fell into the boat.

A low cry of terror here escaped the lips of the deeply agitated
daughter, and Pyramus joined in her expressions of grief, declaring that
a chill still ran down his back whenever he thought of that fall.  The
captain had been saved as if by a miracle.  Yet the consequences were by
no means light, for when he, Pyramus, left him, he was barely able to
totter from one chair to another.  A journey on horseback, the physician
said, would kill him, and a ride in a carriage over the rough roads would
also endanger his life.  Several months must pass ere he could think of
returning home.

In reply to Barbara's anxious question how the impatient man bore the
inactivity imposed upon him, her visitor answered, "Rebelliously enough,
but he has already grown quieter, and my sister is fond of him and takes
the best care of him."

"Your sister?" asked Barbara abashed, holding out her hand again; but he
pretended not to notice it, and merely explained curtly that she had
come to the Netherlands with her husband.  This enterprising man, like
himself, was a native of the principality of Grubenhagen in the Hartz
Mountains.  At sixteen the wild fellow went out into the world to seek
his fortune, and had found it as a daring sailor.  He returned a rich man
to seek a wife in his old home.  Now he had gone on a voyage to the
Indies, and while his wife awaited his return she had gladly received her
brother's old comrade.  Nursing him would afford her a welcome occupation
during her loneliness.  Her house lacked nothing, and Barbara might
comfort herself with the knowledge that the captain would have the best
possible care.

With these words he seemed about to leave her; but she stopped him with
the question, "And when the service summoned you away from him, had he
heard what his daughter----"

Here, flushing deeply, she paused with downcast eyes.  Pyramus feasted a
short time on the spectacle of her humbled pride, but soon he could no
longer bear to see her endure such bitter suffering, and therefore
answered hastily, "If you mean what is said about you and his Majesty the
Emperor, he was told of it by an old comrade from this neighbourhood."

"And he?" she asked anxiously.

"He wrathfully ordered him out of the door," replied the officer, and he
saw how her eyes filled with tears.

Then feeling how soft his own heart was also growing, he hurriedly said
farewell.  Again she gratefully extended her hand, and he clasped it and
allowed himself the pleasure of holding it in his a short time.  Then
bowing hastily, he left her.

She had been the Emperor's toy, her voice had lost its melting melody,
and yet he thought there was no woman more to be desired, far as his
profession of recruiting had led him through all lands.  This iron no
longer needed bending; but how fiercely the flames of suffering which
melted her obstinate nature must have burned!  Surely he had not seen her
for the last time, and perhaps Fate would now help him to perform the vow
that he had made before her door in the dark entry of the house in
Ratisbon.

While Sir Pyramus was leaving her Barbara had heard a man's voice in Frau
Traut's room, but she scarcely noticed it.  What she had learned weighed
heavily upon her soul.

Her father would not believe what was, nevertheless, the full, undeniable
truth.  How would he deal with the certainty that he had showed his old
comrade the door unjustly when he at last came home and she confessed
all, all that she had sinned and suffered?  She was sure of one thing
only--he, too, would not permit her child to be taken from her; and she
cherished a single hope--the blow which Fate had dealt by destroying her
tuneful voice would force him to pity, and perhaps induce him to forgive
her.  Oh, if she could only have conjured him here, opened her heart
fully, freely to him, and learned from his own lips that he approved of
her resistance!

During this period of quiet reflection many sounds and shouts which she
had not heard before reached her room.

As they grew louder and more frequent, Barbara rose to approach the open
window, but ere she reached it Frau Taut returned.

The visitor whom she had received was Adrian, her husband.  He had come
up the Trausnitz to make all sorts of arrangements, for something unusual
was to happen which would bring even his Majesty the Emperor here.

These tidings startled Barbara.

Suppose that Charles was now coming to influence her by the heavy weight
of his personality; suppose he----

But Frau Traut gave her no time to yield to these and other fears and
hopes; she added, in a quiet tone, that his Majesty merely intended to
invest his son-in-law, Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, with the Order of
the Golden Fleece in the Trausnitz courtyard.  It would be a magnificent
spectacle, and Barbara could witness it if she desired.  One of the rooms
in the second story of the ladies' wing where she lodged was still
untenanted, and her husband would be responsible if she occupied it, only
Barbara must promise not to attract attention to herself by any sound or
gesture.

She yielded to this demand with eager zeal, and when Frau Traut
perceived the girl's pale cheeks again flushed she wondered at the rapid
excitability of this singular creature, and willingly answered the
long series of questions with which she assailed her.

Barbara especially desired to hear particulars about the mother of
Margaret of Parma, the wife of Ottavio Farnese, that Johanna Van der
Gheynst who gave this daughter to the Emperor.

Then Barbara learned that she was a Netherland girl of respectable
family, but of scarcely higher rank than her own; only she had been
adopted by Count Bon Haagestraaten before the Emperor made her
acquaintance.

"Was Johanna beautiful?" Barbara eagerly interrupted.

"I think you are far handsomer," was the reply, "though she, too, was a
lovely creature."

Then Barbara wished to learn whether she was fair or dark, lively or
quiet, and, finally, whether she had consented to give up her child; and
Frau Traut answered that Johanna had done this without resistance, and
her daughter was afterward reared first by the Duchess of Savoy, and
later by Queen Mary, the regent of the Netherlands.

"How wisely the young lady acted," Frau Dubois concluded, "you yourself
know.  A crown now adorns her child's head for the second time, and you
will soon see how the Emperor Charles bestows honours upon her husband.
His Majesty understood how to provide for his daughter, who is his first
child.  Her former marriage, it is true, was short.  Alessandro de'
Medici, to whom she was wedded at almost too early an age, was murdered
scarcely a year after their nuptials.  Her present husband, the Duke of
Parma, whom you will see, is, on the contrary, younger than she, but
since the unfortunate campaign against Algiers, in which he participated,
and after his recovery from the severe illness he endured after his
return home, they enjoy a beautiful conjugal happiness.  His Majesty is
warmly attached to his daughter, and the great distinction which he will
bestow upon her husband to-day is given by no means least to please his
own beloved child, though her mother was only a Jollanna van der
Gheynst."

Barbara had listened to these communications with dilated eyes, but the
speaker was now interrupted; the leech, Dr. Matthys, was announced, and
immediately entered the room.

Barbara's outburst of rage had not lessened his sympathy for her, and in
the interest of science he desired to learn what effect his remedies had
had.  Unfortunately, in spite of their use, no improvement was visible.

The strange absence of mind with which the girl, who usually answered
questions so promptly and decidedly, now seemed scarcely to hear them, he
attributed to the painful remembrance of her unseemly behaviour at their
last meeting, and therefore soon left her, by no means satisfied with his
visit.  On the way, however, he told himself that it was unfair to blame
the bird which had just been captured for fluttering.

When the leech had retired, Barbara regretted that she had answered him
so indifferently.  But the anticipation of seeing her imperial lover
again dominated every thought and feeling.  Besides, she again and again
saw before her the figure of the young duke, whom she had never beheld,
but whom Charles had married to the daughter of that Johanna who was said
to have been neither more beautiful nor more aristocratic than she
herself.

Frau Traut saw compassionately that she could not remain long quietly in
any place, and that when the noon meal was served she scarcely tasted
food.

As soon as the first blast of the horns rose from the gate of the citadel
she urged departure like an impatient child, and her indulgent companion
yielded, though she knew that the stately ceremonial would not begin for
a long time.

The window which Adrian had assigned to the two women in a room which was
to be occupied by them alone afforded a view of the entire courtyard, and
from the arm-chair which Frau Traut had had brought for her Barbara gazed
down into it with strained attention.

The first sound of the horns had saluted Ottavio Farnese.

Mounted on a spirited charger, he held aloft, as gonfaloniere of the
Church, the proud banner to be whose bearer was deemed by the Dukes of
Parma one of their loftiest titles of honour.

He was greeted by the nobles present with loud acclamations, but was
still booted and attired as beseemed a horseman.  The cavaliers,
officers, and pages who attended him entered the citadel in no regular
order.  But as Ottavio swung himself from his magnificently formed,
cream-coloured steed, and issued orders to his train, Barbara could look
him directly in the face and, though she thought him neither handsome nor
possessed of manly vigour, she could not help admitting that she had
rarely seen a young man of equally distinguished bearing.  His every
movement bore the impress of royal self-confidence, yet at the same time
was unconstrained and graceful.

Now he disappeared in the wing of the building that united the ladies'
rooms with the main structure opposite.

The Emperor Charles could not be here yet.  His arrival would not have
been passed by so quietly, and the imperial banner did not float either
from the many-sided turret at the left end of the main building nor from
the lofty roof of the ancient Wittelsbach tower.  Great nobles, mounted
on splendid chargers, constantly rode into the citadel, sometimes in
groups, and were saluted by the blast of horns; nimble squires led the
horses away, while ducal councillors, nobles, chamberlains, and ushers
received the distinguished guests of the citadel and conducted them to
the Turnitz, the huge banquet hall in the lower story of the main
building, where the best of everything undoubtedly stood ready for them.

But every arrangement had already been made for the approaching ceremony
--a broad wooden estrade was erected in the centre of the courtyard, and
richly decorated with garlands of flowers, blossoming branches, flags,
and streamers.  At the back stood the Emperor's throne, covered with
purple damask, and beside it numerous velvet cushions lay piled one upon
another, waiting to be used.

Barbara's vivid imagination already showed her the course of this rare
spectacle, and she gladly and confidently expected that the Emperor must
turn his face toward her during the principal portion of the ceremony.

Now the carpet on the stage was drawn tighter by lackeys in magnificent
liveries, and the final touches were given to its decorations; now
priests entered the smaller building at the left of the courtyard.
The balcony on one of these buildings was adorned with flowers, and the
singers of St. Martin's Church in Landshut gradually filled it.  Now--
but here Barbara's quiet observation suddenly ended; the air was shaken
by the roar of cannon from the bastions of the citadel, and the signals
of the warders' horns blended with the thunder of the artillery.  At the
same time the banners and streamers on every flagpole, stirred by a light
breeze from the east, began to wave in the sunny August air.  Then the
blare of trumpets echoed, and a few minutes later from the Turnitz and
the covered staircase between the main building and the right win; of the
citadel the most brilliant body of men that Barbara had ever seen poured
into the courtyard.  They were the Knights of the Golden Fleece and the
princes, counts, barons and knights, generals and colonels whom the
Emperor Charles had invited to the Trausnitz citadel to attend the
approaching solemn ceremonial.

What did she care for these dignitaries in gold, silver, and steel,
velvet and silk, gems and plumes, when the enthusiastic cheers of this
illustrious assemblage, the blare of trumpets, the thunder of cannon, and
the ringing of bells loudly proclaimed the approach of him who, as their
lord and master, stood far above them all?  Would he appear on horseback,
or had he dismounted at the gate and was advancing on foot?  Neither.
He was borne in a sedan chair.  It was covered with gilding, and the top
of the arched roof and each of the four corners were adorned with bunches
of red and gold plumes, the colours of Philip of Burgundy, who more than
a hundred years before had founded the order of the Golden Fleece.

Instead of lackeys, strong sergeants, chosen from the different
regiments, bore the sedan chair.  The gentlemen of the court--Prince
Henry of Nassau, Baron Malfalconnet, and Don Luis Quijada, with Generals
Furstenberg and Mannsfeld, Count Hildebrand Madrucci, the Master of the
Teutonic Order, the Marchese Marignano, and others--were preceded by the
stiff, grave, soldierly figure of the Duke of Alba, and, by the side of
the platform, grandees and military commanders, Netherland lords,
Italian, German, and Austrian princes, counts, barons, and knights had
taken their places.

When the sedan chair was at last set on the ground in front of the lowest
step of the platform, Barbara thought that her heart would burst; for
while the singers in the balcony began the "Venite populi mundi," so
familiar to her, and the cheers redoubled, Charles descended, and in what
a guise she saw him again!  He looked ten years older, and she felt with
him the keen suffering which every step must cause.

This time it was not Quijada, but the Duke of Alba, who offered him the
support of his mailed arm, and, leaning on it, he ascended the low stage.

While doing so he turned his back to Barbara, and as with bent figure
and outstretched head he wearily climbed the two stairs leading to the
platform, he presented a pitiable spectacle.

And have you loved this wreck of a man with all the fervour of your
heart?  the girl asked herself; does it still throb faster for him?
could you even now expect from him a fairer happiness than from all these
handsome warriors and nobles in the pride of their manly vigour?  To this
old man you have sacrificed happiness and honour, given up your father
and the noblest, best of friends!

Fierce indignation for her own folly suddenly seized upon her with such
overmastering power that she looked away from the sovereign toward the
singers, who were summoning the whole world to pay homage to yonder
broken-down man, as though he were a demigod.

A bitter smile hovered around her lips as she did so, but it vanished as
swiftly as it had come; for when she again fixed her eyes upon the
monarch, she would gladly have joined in the mighty hymn.  As if by a
miracle, he had become an entirely different person.  Now he stood before
the throne in the full loftiness and dignity of commanding majesty.  A
purple mantle fell from his shoulders, and the Duke of Alba was placing
the crown on his head instead of the velvet cap.

Oh, no, she need not be ashamed of having loved this man, and she was
not; for she loved him still, and was fully and joyously aware that
whatever he suffered, whatever tortured and prematurely aged the man
still in his fourth decade, no one on earth equalled him in intellect
and grandeur.

And as pages then placed the velvet cushions on the carpet; as the Duke
of Parma, the gonfaloniere on whose head rested the blessing of the
representative of Christ, bent the knee before his imperial father-in-
law, and the proud Alba and the other Knights of the Golden Fleece who
were present did the same; as Charles, the grand master of the order,
took from the cushion the symbol of honour which Count Henry of Nassau
handed to him, and placed the golden sheepskin with the red ribbon around
Duke Ottavio's neck, while the plaudits, the ringing of bells, and the
thunder of the artillery echoed more loudly than ever from the stone
walls of the courtyard, tears filled Barbara's eyes and, as when the
Emperor passed at the head of the bridal procession in Prebrunn, her
voice again blended with the enthusiastic shouts of homage to the man
standing in majestic repose before the throne, the man who was the most
exalted of human beings.

She understood only a few words of the brief speech which the monarch
addressed to the new Knight of the Golden Fleece.  She saw for the first
time the dignitaries of so many different nations upon whom she was
gazing down, and most of whom she did not even know by name.  But what
did she care how they were called and who they were?  Her eyes were fixed
only on Charles and the young man in the armour artistically inlaid with
gold, peach-coloured silver brocade, and white silk, who was kneeling
before him.

Suppose that a son of hers should be permitted to share such an honour;
suppose that Charles should some day bend down to her child and kiss
his brow with the paternal affection which he had just showed to the
young duke whom he had wedded to his daughter?  And this daughter was the
child of a mother who was her sister in sorrow, and had been her superior
in nothing, neither in birth nor in beauty.

She said this to herself while she was intently watching the progress of
the solemn ceremonial.  How lovingly and with what enthusiastic reverence
Ottavio was now gazing up into the face of his imperial father-in-law,
and with what grateful fervour, as the youngest Knight of the Fleece,
he kissed his hand!  Not only outwardly but in heart--the warm light of
their eyes revealed it--these men, so unlike in age and gifts, were
united; yet Ottavio was not Charles's own son, as another would have been
whom she wished to withhold from such a father, and in her selfish
blindness to withdraw from the path to the summit of all earthly
splendour and honour.

Who gave her the right to commit so great, so execrable a robbery?

What could she, the poor, deserted, scorned toy of a king--give to her
child, and what the mightiest of the mighty yonder?

If he was ready to claim as his own the young life which she expected
with hopeful yearning, it would thereby receive a benefit so vast, a gift
so brilliant that all the wealth of love and care which she intended to
bestow upon it vanished in darkness by comparison.  Charles's resolve,
which she had execrated as cruel, was harsh only against her who had
angered him, and who could give him so little more; for her child it
meant grandeur and splendour, and thereby, she thought in her vain folly,
the highest happiness attainable for human beings.

Still she gazed as though spellbound at the decorated stage, but the
ceremony was already rapidly approaching its close.  The great nobles
surrounded the new Knight of the Fleece to congratulate him, the Duke of
Alba first; but vouchsafed a few brief, gracious words only to a few
dignitaries, and then, this time assisted by Quijada, descended to the
sedan chair.

Barbara had learned from Frau Traut that his Majesty knew that she was
here in the ladies' apartments.  Would he now raise his eyes to her,
though but for a brief space?

He was already standing at the door of the sedan chair, and until now had
kept his gaze bent steadily upon the ground.  Meanwhile he must be
experiencing severe pain; she saw it by the lines around the corners of
his mouth.  Now he placed his sound right foot upon the little step; now,
before drawing the aching left one after it, he turned toward Quijada,
whose hand was supporting him under the arm; and now--no, she was not
mistaken--now he raised his eyes with the speed of lightning toward the
ladies' apartments, and for one short second his glance met hers.  Then
his head vanished in the sedan chair.

Nevertheless, he had looked toward her, and this was a great boon.  With
all her strength she made it her own, and soon she felt absolutely sure
that when he knew she was so near him he had been unable to resist the
desire to gaze once more into her face.  Perhaps it was intended for a
precious farewell gift.

As soon as the sedan chair, amid cheers and the blare of trumpets,
had disappeared in the direction of the drawbridge and the great main
entrance, Barbara retired to her room.  Frau Traut knew not whether she
ought to bless or bewail having obtained permission for her to witness
the bestowal of the Fleece.

At any rate, another great transformation had taken place in this
extremely impressionable young creature.  Barbara's impetuous nature
seemed destroyed and crushed, and the bright gaiety which had pleased
Frau Dubois so much the first day of their meeting had greatly
diminished.  Only on special occasions her former fiery vivacity burst
forth, but the sudden flame expired as quickly as it had blazed and,
dreamily absorbed in her own thoughts, she obeyed her with the docility
of a child.

This swift and marked change in the disposition of her charge, whom
Quijada and her own husband had described as so totally different,
awakened her anxiety; yet it was easy to perceive that the volcano had
not burned out, but was merely quiescent for the time.

During the night the dull indifference which she showed in the day
abandoned her, and her attentive companion often heard her sobbing aloud.

It did not escape Frau Tract's notice that since Barbara had seen the
Emperor again in the Trausnitz courtyard a mental conflict had begun
which absorbed her whole being, but the girl did not permit her any
insight into her deeply troubled soul.



CHAPTER IX.

The Emperor Charles departed on the morning after the bestowal of the
Golden Fleece, and two days later Barbara willingly obeyed the leech's
prescription to seek healing at the springs of Abbach on the Danube,
a few miles south of Ratisbon, which was almost in the way of those
returning thither from Landshut.  The waters there had benefited the
Emperor Charles fourteen years before, and Barbara remained there with
Frau Traut and Lamperi, who had returned to her, until the trees had put
on their gay autumn robes and were casting them off to prepare for the
rest of winter.

The hope of regaining the melody of her voice induced her conscientiously
to follow the physician's prescriptions but, like the sulphur spring of
Abbach,[??] they produced no considerable effect.

Barbara's conduct had also altered in many respects.

The girl who had formerly devoted great attention to her dress, now often
needed to be reminded by Frau Dubois of her personal appearance when she
went with her to walk or to church.

She avoided all intercourse with other visitors to the spring after
Ratisbon acquaintances had intentionally shunned her.

The Wollers' country residence, where she had formerly been a welcome
guest for weeks every summer, was near Abbach.  Anne Mirl was betrothed,
and Nandl was on the eve of accepting a young suitor.  Both were still
warmly attached to their cousin, although they had been told that, by an
open love intrigue, she had forfeited the right to visit the respectable
home of modest maidens.  But the man who had honoured her with his love
was no less a personage than the Emperor Charles, and this circumstance
only increased the sympathy which the sisters felt for their much-admired
friend.

In spite of their mother's refusal to permit them to ride to the
neighbouring town and visit Barbara, they did so, that they might try
to comfort her; but though their unfortunate cousin received them and
listened to them a short time, she earnestly entreated them to obey
their mother and not come again.

Frau Traut perceived that she not only desired to guard the inexperienced
girls from trouble, but that their visit disturbed her.  The thoughts
which were in her mind so completely absorbed her that she now studiously
sought the solitude which she had formerly shunned like a misfortune.

Even Pyramus Kogel's short letter, informing her of her father's
convalescence, and the news from the seat of war which Frau Traut
communicated to her to divert her thoughts, and which she had usually
anticipated with impatient expectation, awakened only a fleeting
interest.  Toward the end of the first week in September her companion
could inform her that the Emperor Charles had met the Smalcalds at
Ingolstadt and, in spite of a severe attack of the gout, had ridden--
with his aching foot in linen bandages instead of in the stirrup--from
regiment to regiment, kindling the enthusiasm of his troops by fiery
words.

Then Barbara at last listened with more interest, and asked for other
details.

Frau Dubois, to whom her husband from time to time sent messengers from
the camp, now said that the encounter had not come to an actual battle
and a positive decision, but his Majesty had heeded the shower of bullets
less than the patter of a hailstorm, and had quietly permitted Appian,
the astronomer, to explain a chart of the heavens in his tent, though the
enemy's artillery was tearing the earth around it.

But even this could not reanimate the extinguished ardour of Barbara's
soul; she had merely said calmly: "We know that he is a hero.  I had
expected him to disperse the heretics as the wolf scatters the sheep
and destroy them at a single blow."

Then taking her rosary and prayer book, she went to church, as she did
daily at this time.  She spent hours there, not only praying, but holding
intercourse with the image of the Madonna, from which she dill not avert
her eyes, as though it was a living being.  The chaplain who had been
given to her associated with this devout tendency of his penitent the
hope that Barbara would decide to enter a convent; but she rebuffed in
the firmest manner every attempt to induce her to form this resolve.

In October the northeast wind brought cold weather, and Frau Traut feared
that remaining for hours in the chilly brick church would injure her
charge's health, so she entreated Barbara to desist.  But when the
latter, without heeding her warning, continued to visit the house of God
as before, and to stay the same length of time, Frau Dubois interposed a
firm prohibition, and on this occasion she learned for the first time to
what boundlessly vehement rebellion her charge could allow passion to
carry her.  True, soon after Barbara, with winning tenderness, besought
her forgiveness, and it was readily granted, but Frau Traut knew of no
other expedient than to fix the first of November, which would come in a
few days, for their return to Ratisbon.

Barbara was startled.

During the night her companion heard her weeping vehemently, and her kind
heart led her to her bedside.

With the affectionate warmth natural to her, she entreated the unhappy
girl to calm herself, and to open her troubled heart to one who felt as
kindly toward her as a mother; and before these friendly words the
defiance, doubts, and fear which had closed Barbara's heart melted.

"You may take it from me," she cried, amid her streaming tears.  "What
can a poor girl give it save want and shame?  Its father, on the
contrary--If he adopts and rears it as his child--O Frau Traut! dare I,
who already love it more than my own life, rob it of the happiness to
which it has a right?  If the Emperor acknowledges it, whether it is a
boy or a girl, merciful Heaven, to what Magnificence, what splendour,
what honour my child may attain!  My brain often reels when I think of
it.  The little daughter of Johanna Van der Gheynst a Duchess of Parma,
and why should he place the girl whom I shall perhaps give him in a more
humble position?  Or if Heaven should grant me a son, his father will
raise him to a still greater height, and I have already seen him before
me a hundred times as he hangs the Fleece on the red ribbon round his
neck."

Here her voice, still uncertain, failed, but she allowed Frau Traut to
clasp her to her heart and, in her joy at this decision, which relieved
her of a grave anxiety, to kiss her brow and cheeks.  She had at last
perceived, the kindly consoler assured the weeping girl, what the most
sacred duty commanded, and the course that promised to render her, after
so much suffering, one of the happiest of mothers.  All that had hovered
before her as glittering dreams would be fulfilled, and when her child,
as the Emperor's, took precedence of the highest and greatest in the
land, she could say to herself that it owed this to the sacrifice which
she, its mother, had voluntarily made for its sake.

Barbara had told herself the same thing in many lonely hours, and most
frequently in the brick church at Abbach, opposite to the image of the
Mater dolorosa.  She whose intercession never remained unheard had
yielded up, with an aching heart, her divine son, and she must imitate
her.  And how much easier was her fate than that of the stainless virgin,
who beheld her child, the Redeemer of the world, die upon the cross,
while hers, if she resigned him, would attain the highest earthly
happiness!

Frau Traut by no means overlooked the vanity of these motives.  She was
only too well aware that there is no greater boon for a child than the
mother's loyal, anxious love, and Barbara's delusion grieved her.  She
would gladly have cried: "Keep your child, overwhelm it with love, be
good and unselfish, so that, in spite of your disgrace, it must honour
you."  But the Emperor's command and her husband's wish were paramount.
Besides, as Barbara was situated, it could not help being better for the
child if the father provided for its education.

The soul of her charge now lay before her like an open book.  The
spectacle of the brilliant honour bestowed upon Duke Ottavio Farnese had
sowed in her heart the seeds which had now ripened to resolution.  She
could not know that the vivandiere's assistant on the highway, with her
abandoned child, had cast the first germ into Barbara's mind.  Moreover,
she was content to be able to send such welcome tidings to the camp.
The disclosure of the resolve which she had reached after such severe
conflicts exerted a beneficial influence upon Barbara.  Her eyes again
sparkled brightly, and the indifference with which she had regarded
everything that happened to herself and those about her vanished.

For the first time she asked where she was to find shelter in Ratisbon;
the Emperor's command closed Wolf's house against her; the Prebrunn
castle was only a summer residence, unfit for winter use.  So it was
necessary to seek new quarters, and Barbara did not lack proposals.  But
the answer from camp must be awaited, and it came sooner than Frau Dubois
expected.  The messenger who brought it was her husband.  His Majesty,
he said, rejoiced at Barbara's decision, and had commissioned him to take
her at once to Ratisbon and lodge her in the Golden Cross.  The imperial
apartments were still at the monarch's disposal, and the owner of the
house, whom Barbara did not wish to meet, had gone to Italy to spend the
winter.

Herr Adrian did not mention what a favour the sovereign was showing
Barbara by parting with his trusted servant for several days, but she
told herself so with joyful pride, for she had learned how greatly
Charles needed this man.

The Emperor had dismissed Quijada from attendance on his person.
He knew the Castilian's value as a soldier, and would have deemed himself
forgetful of duty had he withheld so able an assistant from the great
cause which he was leading.

At the end of the first week in November Barbara again entered the Golden
Cross in Ratisbon.  The great house seemed dead, but Adrian, in his royal
master's name, provided for the comfort of the women, who had been joined
by Sister Hyacinthe.

In the name of Frau Dubois, to whom his Majesty gave it up, Adrian took
possession of the Golden Cross, and as such Barbara was presented to the
newly engaged servants, while his wife was known by them as a Frau Traut
from the Netherlands.

No inhabitant of Ratisbon was informed of the return of their young
fellow-citizen, and Barbara only went out of doors with her companion
early in the morning or in the twilight, and always closely veiled.
But few persons had seen her after her illness, and on returning home she
often mentioned the old acquaintances whom she had met without being
recognised by them.  The apartments she occupied were warm and
comfortable.  The harp and lute had been sent from Prebrunn with the rest
of her property, and though she would not have ventured to sing even a
single note, she resolved to touch their chords again.  Playing on the
harp afforded her special pleasure, and Frau Traut fancied she could
understand her thoughts while doing so.  The tones often sounded as
gentle as lullabies, often as resonant and impetuous as battle songs.
In reply to a question from her companion, Barbara confessed that while
playing she sometimes imagined that she beheld a lovely girl, sometimes a
young hero clad in glittering armour, with the Golden Fleece on his neck,
rushing to battle against the infidels.

When the women were sitting together in the evening, Barbara urged her
companion, who was familiar with the court and with Charles's former
life, to tell her about the Netherlands and Spain, Brussels and
Valladolid, the wars, the monarch's wisdom, the journeys of Charles, his
intercourse with men and women, his former love affairs, his married
life, his relatives and children, and again and again of Johanna Van der
Gheynst, the mother of the Duchess Margaret of Parma.  In doing so the
clever native of Cologne never failed to draw brilliant pictures of the
splendour of the imperial court.  As a matter of course, Brussels, the
favourite residence of the Dubois couple, was most honoured in the
narrative, and Barbara could never hear enough of this superb city.
Maestro Gombert had already aroused her longing for it, and Frau Traut
made her, as it were, at home there.

So December and Christmas flew by.  New Year's and Epiphany also passed,
and when January was over and the month of February began, a guest
arrived in Ratisbon from the household of the Emperor, who was now
holding his court at Ulm.  It was Dr. Mathys, the leech, who readily
admitted that he had come partly by his Majesty's desire, partly from
personal interest in Barbara's welfare.

The physician found her in the same mood as after the relapse.  Obedient,
calm, yielding, only often overpowered by melancholy and bitter thoughts
and feelings, yet, on the other hand, exalted by the fact that the
Emperor Charles, for her sake, was now depriving himself also of this
man, whom he so greatly needed.

She awaited the fateful hour with anxious expectation.  The twenty-fourth
of February was the Emperor's birthday, and if it should come then, if
the father and child should see the light of the world on the same day
of the almanac, surely it must seem to Charles a favourable omen.

And behold!

On the day of St. Matthias--that is, the twenty-fourth of February,
Charles's birthday-at noon, Frau Traut, radiant with joy, could despatch
the waiting messenger to Ulm with the tidings that a son had just been
born to his Majesty.

The next morning the child was baptized John by the chaplain who
accompanied the women, because this apostle had been nearest to the
Saviour's heart.

The young mother was not permitted to rejoice at the sight of her babe.
Charles had given orders in advance what should be done hour by hour, and
believed he was treating the mother kindly by refusing to allow her to
enjoy the sight of the newborn child which could not remain with her.

This caused much weeping and lamenting, and such passionate excitement
that the bereaved mother nearly lost her life; but Dr. Mathys devoted the
utmost care to her, and did not leave Ratisbon until after three weeks,
when he could commit the nursing to the experienced Sister Hyacinths.

But for the trouble in her throat, Barbara would have been physically as
well as ever; her mental suffering was never greater.

She felt robbed and desolate, like the bird whose nestlings are stolen by
the marten; for all that might have made her ruined life precious had
been taken, and the man to whom she had surrendered her dearest treasure
did not even express, by one poor word, his gratitude and joy.  No, he
seemed to have forgotten her as well as her future.

Frau Traut had left her with the promise that she would sometimes send
her news of her boy's health, yet she, too, remained silent, and was
deceiving her confidence.  She could not know that the promise-breaker
thought of her often enough, but that she had been most strictly
forbidden by her imperial master to tell the boy's mother his abode
or to hold any further intercourse with her.

How little Charles must care for her, since he now showed such deep
neglect and found no return for all that she had sacrificed to him save
cruel sternness!  Yet the precious gift for which he was indebted to her
must have afforded special pleasure to the man who attached such great
value to omens, for it gave him the right to cherish the most daring
hopes for the future of his boy.  The fact that he was born on his
father's birthday seemed to her an especial favour of heaven, and the
old chaplain, who still remained with her, had discovered other singular
circumstances which foreshadowed that the son would become the father's
peer; for on the twenty-fourth of February Charles V had been crowned,
and on the same day he had won at Pavia his greatest victory.

This had been the most brilliant day in the ruler's life, so rich in
successes, and now it had also become the birthday of the boy whom she
had given him and resigned that he might lead it to grandeur, splendour,
and magnificence.

Nothing was more improbable than that the man whose faithful memory
retained everything, and whose active mind discovered what escaped the
notice of others, should have overlooked this sign from heaven.  And yet
she vainly waited for a token of pleasure, gratitude, remembrance.  How
this pierced the soul and corroded the existence of the poor deserted
girl, the bereaved mother, the unfortunate one torn from her own sphere
in life!

At last, toward the end of March, the message so ardently desired
arrived.  A special courier brought it, but how it was worded!

A brief expression of his Majesty's gratification at the birth of the
healthy, well-formed boy; then, in blunt words, the grant of a small
annual income and an additional gift, with the remark that his Majesty
was ready, to increase both generously, and, moreover, to give her
ambition every support, if Barbara would enter a convent.  If she should
persist in remaining in the world, what was granted must be taken from
her as soon as she broke her promise to keep secret what his Majesty
desired to have concealed.

The conclusion was: "And so his Majesty once more urges you to renounce
the world, which has nothing more important to offer you than memories,
which the convent is the best place to cherish.  There you will regain
the favour of Heaven, which it so visibly withdrew from you, and also the
regard of his Majesty, which you forfeited, and he in his graciousness,
and in consequence of many a memory which he, too, holds dear, would
gladly show you again."

This letter bore the signature of Don Luis Quijada, and had been written
by a poor German copyist, a wretched, cross-eyed fellow, whom Wolf had
pointed out to her, and whose hand Barbara knew.  From his pen also came
the sentence under the major-domo's name, "The Golden Cross must be
vacated during the month of April."

When Barbara had read these imperial decisions for the second and the
third time, and fully realized the meaning of every word, she clinched
her teeth and gazed steadily into vacancy for a while.  Then she laughed
in such a shrill, hoarse tone that she was startled at the sound of her
own voice, and paced up and down the room with long strides.

Should she reject what the most powerful and wealthy sovereign in the
world offered with contemptible parsimony?  No!  It was not much, but
it would suffice for her support, and the additional gift was large
enough to afford her father a great pleasure when he came home.

Pyramus Kogel's last letter reported that his condition was improving.
Perhaps he might soon return.  Then the money would enable her to weave
a joy into the sorrow that awaited him.  It had always been a humiliating
thought that he had lost his own house and was obliged to live in a hired
one, and at least she could free him from that.

It was evident enough that her pitiful allowance did not proceed from the
Emperor's avarice; Charles only wished to force her to obey his wish to
shut her for the rest of her life in a cloister.  The mother of his son
must remain concealed from the world; he desired to spare him in after
years the embarrassment of meeting the woman whose birth was so much more
humble than his own and his father's.  Want should drive her from the
world, and, to hasten her flight, the shrewd adept in reading human
nature showed her in the distance the abbess's cross, and tried thereby
to arouse her ambition.

But in her childhood and youth Barbara had been accustomed to still
plainer living than she could grant herself in future, and she would have
been miserable in the most magnificent palace if she had been compelled
to relinquish her independence.  Rather death in the Danube than to
dispense with it!

She was young, healthy, and vigorous, and it seemed like voluntary
mutilation to resign her liberty at twenty-one.  But even had she felt
the need of the lonely cell, quiet contemplation, and more severe penance
than had been imposed upon her in the confessional, she would still have
remained in the world; for the more plainly the letter showed how eagerly
Charles desired to force her out of it, the more firmly she resolved to
remain in it.  How many hopes this base epistle had destroyed; it seemed
as though it had killed the last spark of love in her soul!

Too much kindness leads to false paths scarcely more surely than the
contrary, and the Emperor's cruel decision destroyed and hardened many of
the best feelings in Barbara's heart, and prepared a place for resentment
and hatred.

The great sovereign's love, which had been the sunshine of her life, was
lost; her child had been taken from her; even the home that sheltered
her, and which hitherto she had regarded as a token of its father's
kindly care, was now withdrawn.  A new life path must be found, but
she would not set out upon it from the Golden Cross, where her brief
happiness had bloomed, but from the place where she had experienced
the penury of her childhood and early youth.

The very next afternoon she moved into Wolf's house.  Sister Hyacinthe
was obliged to return to her convent, so no one accompanied her except
Frau Lamperi.  She had become attached to Barbara, and therefore remained
in her service instead of returning to the Queen of Hungary.  True, she
had not determined to do so until her mistress had promised to remain
only a few weeks in Ratisbon at the utmost, and then move to Brussels,
where she longed to be.

Ratisbon was no home for the Emperor's former favourite.  Life in her
native city would have been one long chain of humiliations, now that she
had nothing to offer her fellow-citizens except the satisfaction of a
curiosity which was not always benevolent.

But where should she go, if not to the country where her child's father
lived, where, she had reason enough to believe, the infant would be
concealed, and where she might hope to see again and again at a distance
the man to whom hate united her no less firmly than love?

This prospect offered her the greatest attraction, and yet she desired
nothing, nothing more from him except to be permitted to watch his
destiny.  It promised to be no happy one, but this fact robbed the wish
of no charm.

Besides, the desire for a richer life again began to stir within her
soul, and what sustenance for the eye and ear Gombert, Frau Traut, and
now also Lamperi promised her in Brussels!

Her means would enable her to go there with the maid and live in a quiet
way.  If her father forgave her and would join her in the city, she would
rejoice.  But he was bound to Ratisbon by so many ties, and had so many
new tales to relate in its taprooms, that he would certainly return to
it.  So she must leave him; it was growing too hot for her here.

She found old Ursel cheerful, and was less harshly received than at her
last visit.  True, Barbara came when she was in a particularly happy
mood, because a letter from Wolf stated that he already felt perfectly at
home in Quijada's castle at Villagarcia, and that Dona Magdalena de Ulloa
was a lady of rare beauty and kindness of heart.  Her musical talent was
considerable, and she devoted every leisure hour to playing on stringed
instruments and singing.  True, there were not too many, for the
childless woman had made herself the mother of the poor and sick upon her
estates, and had even established a little school where he assisted her
as singing-master.

So Barbara was at least relieved from self-reproach for having brought
misfortune upon this faithful friend.  This somewhat soothed her sorely
burdened heart, and yet in her old, more than plain lodgings, with their
small, bare rooms, she often felt as though the walls were falling upon
her.  Besides, what she saw from the open window in Red Cock Street was
disagreeable and annoying.

When evening came she went to rest early, but troubled dreams disturbed
her sleep.

The dawn which waked her seemed like a deliverance, and directly after
mass she hurried out of the gate and into the open country.

On her return she found a letter from her father.

Pyramus Kogel was its bearer, and he had left the message that he would
return the next day.  This time her father had written with his own hand.
The letters were irregular and crooked enough, but they were large, and
there were not too many of them.  He now knew what people were saying
about her.  It had pierced the very depths of his old heart and darkened
his life.  But he could not curse her, because she was his only child,
and also because he told himself how much easier her execrable vanity had
made the Emperor Charles's game.  Nor would he give her up as lost, and
his travelling companion.  Pyramus, who was like a son to him, was ready
to aid him, for his love was so true and steadfast that he still wished
to make her his wife, and offered through him to share everything with
her, even his honourable name.

If misfortune had made her modest, if it had crushed her wicked
arrogance, and she was still his own dear child, who desired her father's
blessing, she ought not to refuse the faithful fellow who would bring her
this letter, but accept his proposal.  On that, and upon that alone, his
forgiveness would depend; it was for her to show how much or how little
she valued it.

Barbara deciphered this epistle with varying emotions.

Was there no room for unselfish love in the breast of any man?

Her father, even he, was seeking to profit by that which united him to
his only child.  To keep it, and to secure his blessing, she must give
her hand to the unloved soldier who had shown him kindness and won his
affection.

She again glanced indignantly over the letter, and now read the
postscript also.  "Pyramus," it ran, "will remain only a short time in
Germany, and go from there directly to Brussels, where he is on duty, and
thence to me in Antwerp."

Barbara started, her large eyes sparkled brightly, and a faint flush
suddenly suffused her cheeks.  The "plus ultra" was forever at an end for
her.  Her boy was living in Brussels near his father; there she belonged,
and she suddenly saw herself brought so near this unknown, brilliant city
that it seemed like her real home.  Where else could she hope to rid
herself of the nightmares that oppressed her except where she was
permitted to see the man from whom nothing could separate her,
no matter how cruelly he repulsed her?

The only suitable place for her, he thought, was the cloister.  No man,
he believed in his boundless vanity, could satisfy the woman who had once
received in his love.

He should learn the contrary!  He should hear--nay, perhaps he should
see--that she was still desired, in spite of the theft which he had
committed, in spite of the cruelty with which Fate had destroyed the
best treasure that it had generously bestowed.

The recruiting officer was certainly a handsome man and, moreover, of
noble birth.  Her father wished to have him for a son, and would forgive
her if she gave him the hand for which he shed.

So let him be the one who should take her to Brussels, and to whom she
would give the right of calling himself her husband.

Here her brow contracted in a frown, for the journey on which she was to
set out with him would lead not only to the Netherlands, but through her
whole life, perhaps to the grave.

Deep resentment seized upon her, but she soon succeeded in conquering it;
only the question what she had to give her suitor in return for his loyal
love could not be silenced.  Yet was it she who summoned him?  Did he not
possess the knowledge of everything that might have deterred another from
wooing her?  Had she not showed him more than plainly how ill he had
succeeded in gaining her affection?  If, nevertheless, he insisted upon
winning her, he must take her as she was, though the handsome young man
would have had a good right to a heart full of love.  Hers, so long as
the gouty traitor lived who had ruined her whole existence, could never
belong entirely to another.

Once she had preferred the handsome, stately dancer to all other men.
Might not this admiration of his person be revived?  No--oh, no!  And it
was fortunate that it was so, for she no longer desired to love--neither
him nor any one else.  On the other hand, she resolved to make his life
as pleasant as lay in her power.  When what she granted him had
reconciled her father to her, and she was in Brussels, perhaps she
would find strength to treat Pyramus so that he would never repent
his fidelity.

In the afternoon she longed to escape from the close rooms into the fresh
air, and turned her steps toward Prebrunn, in order to see once more the
little castle which to her was so rich in beautiful and terrible
memories.

On the way she met Frau Lerch.  The old woman had kept her keenness of
vision and, though Barbara tried to avoid her, the little ex-maid stopped
her and asked scornfully:

"Here in Ratisbon again, sweetheart?  How fresh you look after your
severe illness!--yet you're still on shank's mare, instead of in the gold
coach drawn by white horses."

Barbara abruptly turned her back upon her and went home.

As she was passing the Town Hall Pyramus Kogel left it, and she stopped
as he modestly greeted her.

Very distinguished and manly he looked in his glittering armour, with the
red and yellow sash and the rapier with its large, flashing basket-hilt
at his side; yet she said to herself: "Poor, handsome fellow!  How many
would be proud to lean on your arm!  Why do you care for one who can
never love you, and to whom you will appear insignificant to the end?"

Then she kindly clasped the hand which he extended, and permitted him to
accompany her home.  On the Haidplatz she asked him whether he had read
the letter which he brought from her father.

He hesitatingly assented.  Barbara lowered her eyes, and added softly:

"It is my own dear father to whom you have been kind, and my warmest
gratitude is due to you for it."

The young officer's heart throbbed faster; but as they turned into Red
Cock Street she asked the question:

"You are going from here to Brussels, are you not?"

"To Brussels," he repeated, scarcely able to control his voice.

She raised her large eyes to him, and, after a hard struggle, the words
escaped her lips:

"I learned in Landshut, and it was confirmed by my father's letter, that
you are aware of what I am accused, and that you know--I committed the
sin with which they charge me."

In the very same place where, on an evening never to be forgotten, he had
received the first sharp rebuff from Barbara, she now confessed her guilt
to him--he doubtless noticed it.  It must have seemed like a sign from
heaven that it was here she voluntarily approached him, nay, as it were,
offered herself to him.  But he loved her, and he would have deemed it
unchivalrous to let her feel now that their relation to one another had
changed.  So he only exclaimed with joyous confidence:

"And yet, Barbara, I trustfully place happiness and honour in your
beloved hands.  You have long been clear to me, but now for the first
time I believe confidently and firmly that I have found in you the very
wife for me.  The bitter trial imposed upon you--I knew it in Landshut--
bowed your unduly obstinate nature, and if you only knew how well your
modest manner becomes you!  So I entreat permission to accompany you
home."

Barbara nodded assent, and when he had mounted the steep staircase of
the house before her he stopped in front of the narrow door, and a proud
sense of satisfaction came over him at the thought that the vow which he
had made in this spot was now fulfilled.

Her father had failed to bend this refractory, wonderfully beautiful
iron; he had hoped to try with better fortune, but Fate had anticipated
him, and he was grateful.

Full of blossoming hopes, he now asked, with newly awakened confidence,
whether she would permit him to cross her threshold as a suitor and
become his dear and ardently worshipped wife, and the low "Yes" which he
received in response made him happy.

A few days after he married her, and journeyed with her on horseback to
the Netherlands.

On the way tidings of the battle of Muhlberg reached them.  The Emperor
Charles had utterly routed the Protestants.  He himself announced his
great victory in the words, "I came, I saw, and God conquered."

When Pyramus told the news to his young wife, she answered quietly, "Who
could resist the mighty monarch!"

In Brussels she learned that the Emperor had taken the Elector of Saxony
captive on the battlefield, but the Landgrave of Hesse had been betrayed
into his power by a stratagem which the Protestants branded as base
treachery, and used to fill all Germany with the bitterest hatred against
him; but here Barbara's wrath flamed forth, and she upbraided the
slanderous heretics.  It angered her to have the great sovereign denied
his due reverence in her own home; but secretly she believed in the
breach of faith.





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