Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Barbara Blomberg — Volume 02
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 02" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



BARBARA BLOMBERG

By Georg Ebers

Volume 2.



CHAPTER VI.

The old captain blew the dust from the wine flagon and carefully removed
the seal.  His presence prevented Wolf from renewing the interrupted
conversation.

Reflection doubtless warned him that it would be a dangerous venture to
enter the same life-boat with this woman, yet how bewitchingly beautiful
she had seemed to him in her proud superiority, in the agitation of soul
aroused by the yearning for a fairer fate!  Have her he must, even though
he was permitted to call her his own but for a year, a month, an hour.

Many of her words had been harsh and apparently unfeeling, yet how noble
must be the soul of this young creature who, for the sake of being loyal
to truth, the pure source of everything grand and lofty, paid no heed to
much that is usually sacred to human beings!

But Barbara's conduct during the next hour appeared to belie this opinion
of the man who loved her, for scarcely had her father sat down with the
knight before the venerable wine flagon than she flung down the smoothing
iron, hastily piled the finished articles one above another, and then,
without heeding the parchment on which Wolf's verses were written, rolled
up the ruby velvet.  Directly after, with the package under her arm, she
wished the men a merry drinking bout, and added that poor Ursel might
need her.  Besides, she wanted to show her the beautiful material, which
would please the faithful soul.

Then, without even pausing at the rooms in the second story, she hurried
swiftly down the stairs into the street.

She was carrying Wolf's gift to Frau Lerch, her dressmaker.

The Grieb, where the latter lived as wife of the keeper of the house, was
only a few steps distant.  If the skilful woman, who was indebted to her
for many a customer, began the work of cutting at once, her cousins, the
Wollers, could help her the next day with the sewing.  True, these were
the very girls who would "turn yellow with rage" at the sight of the
velvet, but precisely because these rich girls had so many things of
which she was deprived she felt that, in asking their aid, she was
compelling Fate to atone for an injustice.

Haste was necessary for, at the first glance at the velvet, she had
determined to wear it at the next dance in the New Scales, and she also
saw distinctly in imagination the person whose attention she desired to
attract.

True, the recruiting officer sent to Ratisbon, of whom she was thinking,
was by no means a more acceptable suitor, but a handsome fellow, a scion
of a noble family, and, above all, an excellent dancer.

She did not love him--nay, she was not even captivated by him like so
many others.  But, if his heart throbbed faster for any one, it was
Barbara.  Yet perhaps his glances strayed almost as frequently to one
other maiden.  The velvet gown should now decide whether he gave the
preference to her or to pretty Elspet Zohrer--of course, only in the
dance--for she would never have accepted him as a serious suitor.

Besides, the young noble, Pyramus Kogel, himself probably thought of no
such folly.

It was very different with Wolf Hartschwert.  She had been told the small
amount of his inheritance long before, and on that account she would have
been obliged to refuse him positively at once, yet the affectionate
relations existing between them must not be clouded.  He might still
become very useful to her and, besides, the modest companion of her
childhood was dear to her.  She would have sincerely regretted an
irreparable breach with him.

Her father indulged her in every respect, only he strictly forbade his
beautiful child to leave the house alone after sunset.  Therefore Barbara
had not told him the real object of her visit.  She now had no occasion
to fear his following her.

Yet she made all possible haste, and, as she found Frau Lerch at home,
and the skilful little woman was instantly at her service, she crowded
into the space of an hour the many points about the cutting which were to
be discussed.

Then she set out on her way home, expecting to traverse the short
distance swiftly and without delay; but, when she had gone only a few
paces from the Grieb, a tall man came toward her.

To avoid him she crossed nimbly to the other side of the dark little
street, but just where it turned into Red Cock Street he suddenly barred
her way.  She was startled, but the oft-proved courage of the Blomberg
race, to which she had just alluded, really did animate her, and, with
stern decision, she ordered her persecutor to stand aside.

He, however, was not to be intimidated, but exclaimed as joyously as
though some great piece of good fortune had befallen him:

"Thanks for accosting me, Jungfrau Barbara, for, though the words are
harsh, they prove that, in spite of the darkness here, my eyes did not
deceive me.  Heaven be praised!"

Then the girl recognised the recruiting officer and excellent dancer of
whom she had just been thinking in connection with the velvet upper robe,
and answered sharply:

"Certainly it is I; but if you are really a nobleman, Sir Pyramus, take
care that I am not exposed by your fault to evil gossip, and can not
continue to hold my head erect as I now do."

"Who will see us in this little dark street?"  he asked in low,
persuasive tones.  "May all the saints guard me from assailing the honour
of a modest maiden, fairest Barbara; yet, if you fear that I might
prevent your remaining in the future what the favour of the Most High
permits you to be, I shall rather accuse you of having inflicted upon me
what you fear may befall you; for, since the last dance, I am really no
longer myself, and can never become so until I have received from your
beautiful lips the modest consolation for which this poor, tortured,
loyal soul is yearning.  May I not linger at your side long enough to ask
you one question, you severe yet ardently beloved maiden?"

"Certainly not," replied Barbara with repellent harshness.  "I never gave
you a right to speak to me of love; but, above all, I shall not seek the
sharer of a game of question and answer in the street."

"Then name a place," he whispered with passionate ardour, trying
meanwhile to clasp her hand, "where I may be permitted, in broad sunlight
and before the eyes of the whole world, to say to you what robs me of
rest by day and sleep by night.  Drop the cruel harshness which so
strangely and painfully contradicts the language of your glances the
evening of the last dance.  Your eyes have kindled these flames, and this
poor heart will consume in their glow if I am not suffered to confess to
you that I love you with more ardour than was ever bestowed on any
maiden.  This place--I will admit that it is ill-chosen--but what other
was open to me?  After all, here, too, a bit of the sky with its many
stars is looking down upon us.  But, if you still unkindly refuse me, or
the dread of crossing the barrier of strict decorum forbids you to listen
to me here, you can mercifully name another spot.  Allow me to go to your
father and beg him for the clear hand which, in a happier hour, by not
resisting the pressure of mine, awakened the fairest hopes in my heart."

"This is too much," Barbara indignantly broke in.  "Make way for me at
once, and, if you are well advised, you will spare yourself the visit to
my father; for, even if you were in earnest with your love and came as an
honest suitor to our modest house, it might easily happen that you would
descend the staircase, which is very steep and narrow, in as sorrowful a
mood as you climbed it secure of victory."

Then Pyramus Kogel changed his tone, and said bitterly:

"So your victorious eyes were only carrying on an idle game with my
unsuspecting heart?  You laugh!  But I expected to find in my German
native land only girls whose chaste reserve and simple honesty could be
trusted.  It would be a great sorrow if I should learn through you,
Jungfrau Barbara, that here, too, it would have been advisable to arm
myself against wanton deception.  True, the French chansons you sing
sound unlike our sincere German songs.  And then you, the fairest of the
fair, can choose at will among men; but the Emperor's service carries me
from one country to another.  I am only a poor nobleman--"

"I care not," she interrupted him here with icy coldness; "you might be
just good enough for the daughter of another nobleman, who has little
more to call his own than you, Sir Knight, but nevertheless far too
little for me to grant you permission to load me with unjust reproaches.
Besides, you wholly lack the one advantage which the man to whom I am
willing to betroth myself must possess."

"And what is that?"  he asked eagerly.

"Neither gold nor lands, rank nor splendour," she answered proudly, "but
changeless fidelity of the heart.  Remember your fluttering from lovely
Elspet Zohrer to me, and from me to Elspet, Sir Pyramus, and ask yourself
what reason you would give me to expect the fulfilment of such a demand.
Your fine figure and gay manner please us girls very well at a dance,
but, though you should possess the wealth of the Fuggers and the power of
the Sultan, it would be useless trouble to seek my consent.  Stand out of
my path at once!  There come the Emperor's body guards, and, if you do
not obey me, as surely as I hope for salvation I will call them!"

The last words had escaped her lips in a raised voice, and vibrated with
such honest indignation that the recruiting officer yielded; but a
triumphant smile flitted over her beautiful face.

Had she known before how complete a victory he had already won over
pretty Elspet Zohrer, her most dangerous rival, this late errand would
have been unnecessary.

Yet she did not regret it; true, she cared no more for Pyramus Kogel than
for any one else--the certainty that he, too, had succumbed to the spell
of her beauty was associated with a feeling of pleasure whose charm she
knew and valued.



CHAPTER VII.

Every one in Ratisbon or at the court who spoke of Sir Wolf Hartschwert
called him an excellent fellow.  In fact, he had so few defects and
faults that perhaps it might have been better for his advancement in life
and his estimation in the circle of society to which he belonged if more
of them had clung to him.

Hitherto the vice of avarice was the last with which he could have been
reproached.  But, when his old friend filled his glass with wine, the
desire that the property left to him might prove larger than he had
expected overpowered every other feeling.

Formerly it had been welcome mainly as a testimonial of his old friend's
affection.  He did not need it for his own wants; his position at court
yielded him a far larger income than he required for the modest life to
which he was accustomed.  For Barbara's sake alone he eagerly hoped that
he had greatly underestimated his foster parents' possessions.

Ought he to blame her because she desired to change the life of poverty
with her father for one which better harmonized with her worth and
tastes?  He himself, who had lived years in a Roman palace, surrounded by
exquisite works of the gloriously developed Italian art, and then in the
one at Brussels, furnished with imperial splendour, did not feel
perfectly content in the more than simple room which Blomberg called his
"artist workshop."

A few rude wooden chairs, a square table with clumsy feet, and an open
cupboard in which stood a few tin cups, were, the sole furniture of the
narrow, disproportionately long room, whose walls were washed with gray.
The ceiling, with its exposed beams, was blackened by the pine torches
which were often used for lights.  Pieces of board were nailed over the
defective spots in the floor, and the lines where the walls met rarely
showed a right angle.

The window disappeared in the darkness.  It was in the back of the niche
formed by the unusually thick walls.  During the day its small, round
panes gave the old gentleman light while he guided his graving tool.  A
wooden tripod supported the board on which his tools lay.  The stool,
which usually stood on a wooden trestle opposite to it, now occupied a
place before the table bearing the flagon of wine, and was intended for
Barbara.

After the torches had ceased to burn, a single tallow candle in a
wrought-iron candlestick afforded the two men light, and threatened to go
out when, in the eagerness of their conversation, they forgot to use the
snuffers.

Neither curtain, carpet, nor noteworthy work of art pleased the eye in
this bare, strangely narrow room.  The weapons and pieces of armour of
the aged champion of the faith, which hung high above the window, made no
pretension to beauty.  Besides, the rays of the dim candle did not extend
to them any more than to the valueless pictures of saints and virgins on
the wall.

The door of Barbara's little bow-window room stood open.  Nothing but a
small oil lamp was burning there.  But the articles it contained, though
dainty in themselves, were standing and lying about in such confusion
that it also presented an unpleasant aspect.

Yet Barbara's beauty had shed such radiance upon this hideous environment
that the scene of her industry had seemed to Wolf like an Eden.

Now he could scarcely understand this; but he found it so much the easier
to comprehend that these wretched surroundings no longer suited such a
pearl, and that it behooved him to procure it a worthier setting.

Still, it was by no means easy to ask the captain what he desired to
know, for during the young knight's absence a great many important things
had happened which Blomberg was longing to tell.

He was in such haste to do this that he detained Wolf, who wanted to
speak to old Ursel before he began to drink the wine, by the statement
that she suffered from wakefulness, and he would disturb her just as she
was falling asleep.

The account of the property bequeathed to the young knight was only too
quickly completed, for, though the precentor's will made his foster son
the sole heir, the legacy consisted only of the house, some portable
property, and scarcely more than a thousand florins.

Yet perhaps something else was coming to Wolf; early yesterday
Dr. Hiltner, the syndic of the city, had asked his place of residence,
and added that he had some news for him which promised good fortune.

After these communications Blomberg hoped to be able to mention the
important events which had occurred in Ratisbon during his young friend's
absence; but Wolf desired with such eager curiosity to hear the syndic's
news first that it vexed the captain, and he angrily told him that he
would bite off his tongue before he would even say "How are you?" to that
man, and to play eavesdropper to any one was not at all in his line.

Here his companion interrupted with the query, What had caused the
learned scholar, whom every one, as well as the precentor, had highly
esteemed, to forfeit his friend's good opinion?

Blomberg had waited for such a question.

He had been like a loaded culverin, and Wolf had now touched the burning
match to the powder.  To understand why he, Blomberg, who wished only the
best fortune to every good Christian, would fain have this thorough
scoundrel suffer all the torments of hell, the young knight must first
learn what had happened in Ratisbon since the last Reichstag.

Until then the good city had resisted the accursed new religious
doctrines which had gained a victory in Nuremberg and the other cities
of the empire.

Here also, as Wolf himself had probably experienced, there had been no
lack of inclination toward the Lutheran doctrine.  It was certainly
natural, since it suited the stomach better to fill itself, even during
Lent, than to renounce meat; since there were shameless priests who would
rather embrace a woman than to remain unmarried; since the Church
property bestowed by pious souls was a welcome morsel to princes and
to cities, and, finally, because licentiousness was more relished than
wholesome discipline.  The wicked desires inspired by all the evil
spirits and their tool, the Antichrist Luther, had gained the upper hand
here also, and Dr. Hiltner, above all others, had prepared the way for
them in Ratisbon.  Even at the last Reichstag his Majesty the Emperor had
earnestly, but with almost too much gracious forbearance, endeavoured to
effect a union between the contending parties, but directly after his
departure from the city rebellion raised its head with boundless
insolence.  The very next year the Council formally introduced the evil
which they called ecclesiastical reformation.  The blinded people flocked
to the new parish church to attend the first service, which they called
"Protestant."  Then the mischief hastened forward with gigantic strides.

"Last year," cried the old gentleman, hoarse with indignation, striking
the table with his clenched fist as if he were in camp, "I saw them with
my own eyes throw down and drag away, I know not where, the pillar with
the beautiful image of Mary, the masterpiece of Erhard Heydenreich, the
architect of the cathedral, which stood in front of the new parish
church.  Songs had been composed in her honour, and she was dear and
precious to you from early childhood, as well as to every native of
Ratisbon; the precentor--God rest his soul!--read to me from your letter
from Rome what exquisite works of art you saw there every day, but that
you still remembered with pleasure the beautiful Virgin at home.

"But what do these impious wretches care about beautiful and sacred
things?  The temple desecrators removed and destroyed one venerable, holy
image after another.  True, they did not venture into the cathedral,
probably from fear of his Majesty the Emperor, and whoever had undertaken
to lay hands upon the altar painting and the Madonna in our chapel would
have paid for it--I am not boasting--with his life.  Though 'the
beautiful Mary,' in her superabundant mercy, quietly endured the affront
offered, our Lord himself punished it, for he inspired the illustrious
Duke of Bavaria to issue an edict which forbids his subjects to trade
with Ratisbon.  Whoever even enters the city must pay a heavy fine.  This
set many people thinking.  Ursel will tell you what sinful prices we have
paid since for butter and meat.  Even the innocent are obliged to buckle
their belts tighter.  Those who wished to escape fasting are now
compelled by poverty to practise abstinence.  It is said the Roman King
Ferdinand is urging the revocation of the order.  If I were in his place,
I would advise making it more stringent till the rebels sweat blood and
crept to the cross."

Then Blomberg bewailed the untimely leniency of the Emperor, for there
was not even any rumour of a serious assault upon the Turks.  And yet,
if only he, Blomberg, was commissioned to raise an army of the cross,
Christianity would soon have rest from its mortal foe!  But if it should
come to fighting--no matter whether against the infidels or the heretics
--in spite of Wawerl and his lame leg, he would take the field again.
No death could be more glorious than in battle against the destrover of
souls.  The scoundrels were flourishing like tares among the wheat.  At
the last Reichstag the Electors of Brandenburg and Saxony, as well as the
Landgrave Philip of Hesse, brought their own preachers, whose sermons
turned many heads, even the pastor of St. Emmeran's, Zollern, who was a
child of Ratisbon.  At Staufferhof Baron von Stauff, formerly a man
worthy of all honour, had opened his chapel of St. Ann to all the
citizens to permit them to participate in the Lutheran idolatry.  Two
Protestant ministers, one of whom, Dr. Forster, Luther himself had
brought to Ratisbon, were liberally paid by the Council.  Whether Wolf
believed it or not, Father Hamberger, whom he surely remembered as Prior
of the Minorites, and who at that time enjoyed universal esteem, had
taken a wife, and the rest of the monks had followed the iniquitous
example.  Many other priests had married if it suited them, and, instead
of the cowl, wore secular garments.  The instruction given in the school
of poets was perfectly abominable, as he heard from Councillor Steuerer,
who was faithful to the Catholic Church, and strove to induce the Duke of
Bavaria to adopt still sterner measures against all this disorder.

Very recently men hitherto blameless, like Andreas Weinzierl and Georg
Seidl, had sent their eighteen-year-old sons to the University of
Wittenberg, where the Lutheran heresies were flourishing most
luxuriantly.

But the worst of all was that even faithful sons and daughters of Holy
Church could not keep themselves wholly untouched by such mischief.
Among these, alas! were he and his Wawerl, for he had been obliged to
allow the girl to join the choristers who sang in the Convivium Musicum,
which the Council had established in the summer three years before.  Two
councillors were assigned to each Convivium, and thus these arrangements
were in Protestant hands.

"Of course," he added dejectedly, "I wished to forbid her taking part in
them, but, though with me it is usually bend or break, what can a man do
when a woman is pestering him day and night, sometimes begging with
tears, sometimes with caresses?

"Besides, many a good Catholic entreated me to give up my opposition.
They, do not grudge the girl her progress, and how much she already owes
to the music teacher who now directs the Collegium Musicuin!  Singing is
everything to her, and what else can I give the poor child?  At any rate,
the Netherlander whom the Council brought here three years ago--so
connoisseurs say--scarcely has his equal anywhere in knowledge and
ability.  The man came to me and frankly said that he needed the girl's
voice for the Convivium, and, if I refused to let Wawerl take part, he
would stop teaching her.  As he is a just man of quiet temperament and
advanced in years."

"Where is he from, and what is his name?"  Wolf eagerly interrupted.

"Damian Feys," replied the captain, "and he is a native of Ghent in the
Netherlands.  Although he is in the pay of the city, he has remained--he
told me so himself--a good Catholic.  There was nothing to be feared for
the child on the score of religion.  The anxieties which are troubling me
on her account come from another source."

Then, with a mischievous mirthfulness usually foreign to his nature, Wolf
raised his goblet, exclaiming:

"Cast them upon me, Father Blomberg!  I will gladly help you bear them as
your loyal son-in-law."

"So that's the way of it," was the captain's answer, his honest eyes
betraying more surprise than pleasure.

Yet he pledged Wolf, and, touching his glass to his, said:

"I've often thought that this might happen if you should see how she has
grown up.  If she consents, nothing could please me better; but how many
lovers she has already encouraged, and then, before matters became
serious, dismissed!  I have experienced it.  If you succeed in putting an
end to such trifling, may this hour be blessed!  But do you know the huge
maggots she keeps under her golden hair?"

"Both large and small ones," cried Wolf, with glowing cheeks.  "Truthful
as she is, she did not conceal from the playmate of her youth a single
impulse of her ambitious soul."

"And did she give you hope?"  asked the captain, thrusting his head
eagerly forward.

"Yes," replied the youth firmly; but he quickly corrected himself, and,
in a less confident tone, added, "That is, if I could offer her a care-
free life."

"There it is," sighed the old man.  "She knows what she wants, and holds
firmly to it.  You are the son of a knight, and on account of the music
which you can pursue together--With her everything is possible and
little is impossible.  In any case, you will have no easy life with her,
and, ere you order the wedding ring----" Here he suddenly stopped, for a
bird-song, high, clear, and yet as insinuatingly sweet as though, on this
evening in late April, the merriest and most skilful feathered songsters
which had recently found their way home to the fresh green leafage on the
shore of the Danube had made an appointment on the steps of the gloomy
house in Red Cock Street, rose nearer and nearer to the two men who were
sitting over their wine.

It was difficult to believe that this whistling and chirping, trilling
and cuckoo calling, came from the same throat; but when the bird notes
ceased just outside the door, and Barbara, with bright mirthfulness and
the airiest grace, sang the refrain of the Chant des Oiseaux, 'Car la
saison est bonne', bowing gracefully meanwhile, the old enemy of the
Turks fairly beamed with delight.

His eyes, wet with tears of grateful joy, sought the young man's, and,
though he had just warned him plainly enough against courting his
daughter, his sparkling gaze now asked whether he had ever met an equally
bewitching marvel.

"The deuce!"  he cried out to his daughter when she at last paused and
extended her hand to him.  He leaned comfortably farther back in his arm-
chair as he spoke, but she kissed him lightly on the forehead, while her
large blue eyes shone with cheerful content.

She had gained her object.

When she sang this song she was safe from any troublesome questions.
Besides, Gombert, of Bruges, the director of the imperial orchestra, who
had arrived in Ratisbon that very day, was the composer of the charming
bird-song, and she knew from her singing master that, though her voice
was best adapted to solemn hymns, nothing in the whole range of secular
music suited it better than this "Car la saison est bonne."  She longed
for the praise of such a musician, and Wolf must accompany her to him.

The young knight had not only been joyfully surprised, but most deeply
delighted by the bewitching execution of this most charmingly arranged
refrain.

Maestro Gombert and his colleague Appenzelder, the conductor of the boy
choir, must hear it on the morrow.  And how gladly Barbara consented to
fulfil this wish!

She had received the greatest praise, she said, in the motet of the
Blessed Virgin, by Josquin de Pres, in the noble song 'Ecce tu pulchra
es'.  Her teacher specially valued this master and his countryman
Gombert, and his exquisite compositions were frequently and gladly sung
at the Convivium.

This pleased Wolf, for he had a right to call himself, not only the
pupil, but the friend of the director of the orchestra.  As, seizing the
lute, he began Gombert's Shepherd and Shepherdess, Barbara, unasked,
commenced the song.

When, after Barbara's bell-like, well-trained voice had sung many other
melodies, the young knight at last took leave of his old friends, he
whispered that he had not expected to find home so delightful.

She, too, went to rest in a joyous, happy mood, and, as she lay in her
narrow bed, asked herself whether she could not renounce her ardent
longing for wealth and splendour and be content with a modest life at
Wolf's side.

She liked him, he would cherish her, and lovingly devote the great skill
which he had gained in Italy and the Netherlands to the final cultivation
of her voice.  Her house would become a home of art, her life would be
pervaded and ennobled by song and music.  What grander existence could
earth offer?

Before she found an answer to this question, sleep closed her weary eyes.
But when, the next morning, the cobbler's one-eyed daughter, who, since
old Ursel's illness, had done the rough work in the chambers and kitchen,
waked her, she speedily changed her mind.  It was hard to rise early
after the day's ironing and the late hour at which she had retired, and,
besides, when Barbara returned from mass, the maid reported that Frau
Lerch had been there and left the message that Fran Itzenweck wanted the
laces which had been promised to her early that day.

So Barbara was obliged to go to work again immediately after the early
breakfast.  But, while she was loosening the laces from the pins and
stirring her slender white fingers busily for the wretched pittance, her
soul was overflowing with thoughts of the most sublime works of music,
and the desire for success, homage, and a future filled with happiness
and splendour.

Vehement repugnance to the humble labour to which necessity forced her
was like a bitter taste in her mouth, and, ere she had folded the last
strips of lace, she turned her back to the work-table and pressed both
hands upon her bosom, while from the inmost depths of her tortured soul
came the cry: "I will never bear it!  In one way or another I will put an
end to this life of beggary."

Thanks to old Ursel's care, Wolf had found his bed made and everything
he needed at hand in his foster parents' deserted lodging.  To avoid
disturbing the sick woman, he removed his shoes in the entry, and then
glided into his former little room.  Weariness had soon closed his eyes
also, but only for a few hours.  His fevered blood, fear, and hope drove
him from his couch at the first dawn of morning.

Ere returning to the two men the evening before, Barbara had hastily
spoken to Ursula, and brought her whatever she preferred to receive from
her hands rather than those of the one-eyed maid who spent the night with
her--her Sunday cap and a little sealed package which she kept in her
chest.  When Wolf tapped at her door early the next morning, she was
already up, and had had her cap put on.  This was intended to give her a
holiday appearance, but the expression of her faithful eyes and the smile
upon her sunken mouth showed her darling that his return was a festival
to her.

The stroke of apoplexy which had attacked the woman of seventy had been
slight, and merely affected her speech a little.  But she found plenty of
words to show Wolf how happy it made her to see him again, and to tell
him about his foster parents' last illness and death.

The precentor and organist, aided by Bishop Pangraz Sinzenhofer and
Blasius, the captain of the city guard, had endeavoured to collect the
papers which proved Wolf's noble birth.  The package that Barbara handed
to her the evening before contained the patent of nobility newly
authorized by King Frederick at Vienna and the certificate of baptism
which proved him to be the only son of the Frank Knight Ullmann
Hartschwert and the Baroness Wendula Sandhof.

His mother's family died with her; on his father's side, as the precentor
had learned, he still had an uncle, his father's older brother, but his
castle had been destroyed during the Peasant War.  He himself had
commanded for several years a large troop of mercenaries in the service
of the Queen of England, and his three children, a son and two daughters,
had entered monastic and conventual life.

The contents of the package confirmed all these statements.
Moreover, the very Dr. Hiltner, of whom Barbara's father had spoken so
disagreeably, had paid a visit the day before to Ursel, who had won the
esteem of the preceptor's old friend, and told her that he wished to talk
with Wolf about an important matter.

It afforded the young man genuine pleasure to wait upon the faithful old
woman and give her her medicine and barley-gruel.  His mother had brought
him to Ratisbon when he was a little boy four years old, and Ursel at
that time had been his nurse.  She had clung more closely to him than the
woman to whom he owed his life, for his mother had deserted him to take
the veil in the convent of the Sisters of St. Clare, but her maid-servant
Ursel would not part from him.  So she was received by his foster parents
when they adopted him, and had served them faithfully until their deaths.

The wrinkled countenance of the old woman, who, even on her sick-bed,
retained her neat appearance, expressed shrewdness and energy.

Wolf's services were a pleasure and an honour.  A grateful, affectionate
glance acknowledged each, and meanwhile he became clearly aware of the
treasure which he, the orphaned youth, possessed in this faithful old
friend.

If he saw aright, she might yet live a long time, and this gave him
heartfelt joy.  With her he would lose the last witness of his childhood,
the chronicle, as it were, of his earliest youth.  He could not
understand why he had never before induced her to tell him her
recollections.

During his boyhood, which was crowded with work, he had been content when
she told him in general outlines that, during the Peasant War, fierce
bands had attacked his father's castle, that one of his own bondmen had
slain him with an axe, and that his mother had fled with Wolf to
Ratisbon, where her brother lived as provost of the cathedral.  He had
invited her, at the outbreak of the peasant insurrection, to place
herself under his protection.

The old woman had also described to him how, amid great hardships, they
had reached the city in midwinter, and finally that his mother found
Baron Sandhof, her brother, at the point of death, and, after her hope of
having a home with the provost of the cathedral was baffled, she had
taken the veil in the convent of the Dominicans, called here the Black
Penitents.  Wolf's foster father, the organist Stenzel, who was closely
connected with his uncle, had rendered this step easier for the deserted
widow by receiving the little boy in his childless home.

Ursel must give him more minute particulars concerning all these things.

His mother, who knew that he was well cared for, had troubled herself
very little about him, and devoted her life to the care of her own
salvation and that of her murdered husband, who had died without the
benefit of the holy sacrament.

When he was fifteen, she closed her eyes on the world, and the hour
when, on her death bed, she had asked of him a vow to be faithful to the
Catholic Church and shut his heart against heresy, was as vividly before
his memory as if she had just passed away.

He did not allude to these things now, for his heart urged him to confide
to the faithful old woman what he thought of Barbara, and the beautiful
hopes with which he had left her.

Ursel closed her eyes for a while and twirled the thumb of the hand she
could use around the other for some time; but at last she gently nodded
the little head framed in her big cap, and said carelessly:

"So you would like to seek a wife, child?  Well, well!  It comes once to
every one.  And you are thinking of Wawerl?  It would certainly be
fortunate for the girl.  Marriages are made in heaven, and God's mills
grind slowly.  If the result is not what you expect, you must not murmur,
and, above all things, don't act rashly.  But now I can use my heavy
tongue no longer.  Remember Dr. Hiltner.  When duty will permit, you'll
find time for another little chat with old Ursel."

Casting a loving farewell glance at Wolf as she spoke, she turned over on
the other side.

As his footsteps receded from her bedside, she pressed her lips more
firmly together, thinking: "Why should I spoil his beautiful dream of
happiness?  What Wawerl offers to the eyes and ears of men is certainly
most beautiful.  But her heart!  It is lacking!  Unselfish love would be
precisely what the early orphaned youth needs, and that Wawerl will never
give him.  Yet I wish no heavier anxieties oppressed me!  One thing is
certain--the husband of the girl upstairs must wear a different look from
my darling, with his modest worth.  The Danube will flow uphill before
she goes to the altar with him!  So, thank Heaven, I can console myself
with that!"

But, soon after, she remembered many things which she had formerly
believed impossible, yet which, through unexpected influence, had
happened.

Then torturing uneasiness seized her.  She anxiously clasped her
emaciated hands, and from her troubled bosom rose the prayer that the
Lord would preserve her darling from the fulfilment of the most ardent
desire of his heart.



CHAPTER VIII.

Wolf's first walk took him to the Golden Cross, the lodgings of the
Emperor Charles and his court.  The sky had clouded again, and a keen
northwest wind was blowing across the Haidplatz and waving the banner on
the lofty square battlemented tower at the right of the stately old
edifice.

It had originally belonged to the Weltenburg family as a strong offensive
and defensive building, then frequently changed hands.

The double escutcheon on the bow-window was that of the Thun and Fugger
von Reh families, who had owned it in Wolf's childhood.

Now he glanced up to see whether young Herr Crafft, to whom the building
now belonged, had not also added an ornament to it.  But when Wolf's gaze
wandered so intently from the tower to the bow-window, and from the bow-
window to the great entrance door, it was by no means from pleasure or
interest in the exterior of the Golden Cross, but because Barbara had
confessed that the nineteen-year-old owner of the edifice, who was still
a minor, was also wooing her.

What was the probable value of this stately structure, this aristocratic
imperial abode?  How rich its owner was!  yet she, the brilliant young
beauty who had grown up in poverty, disdained young Crafft because her
heart did not attract her to him.

So, in this case, faithful Ursel must deceive herself and misjudge the
girl, for the old woman's strangely evasive words had revealed plainly
enough that she did not consider Barbara the right wife for him.

The good people of Ratisbon could not understand this rare creature!  Her
artist nature gave her peculiar, unusual traits of character, which were
distasteful to the ways of German burghers.  Whatever did not fit the
usual forms, whatever surpassed ordinary models, was regarded with
distrust.  He himself had scarcely been able to understand how a girl so
free and independent in her feelings, and probably also in her actions,
such a mistress of the art of singing, whose performances fulfilled the
highest demands, could have bloomed and matured in this environment.

Old Ursel's evasion had wounded and troubled him; the thoughts associated
with the double escutcheon on the bow-window, however, revived the
clouded feeling of happiness, and, with head erect, he passed the guards
at the entrance and went into the corridor, which was again crowded with
lords and ladies of the court, priests of all ranks, knights, pages, and
servants.

His position gave him access to the Queen of Hungary's apartments without
delay--nay, he might hope to be received by her Majesty sooner than many
of the knights, lords and ladies, ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries
who were waiting there; the stewards, chamberlains and heralds, the
ladies of the court, pages, and lackeys knew that the royal lady not only
summoned Sir Wolf Hartschwert frequently, but welcomed his presence.

Nearly all were Spaniards or natives of the Netherlands, and it was
fortunate for Wolf, on the one hand, that he had learned their language
quickly and well in Italy and Brussels, and, on the other, that his birth
entitled him to a place with nobles who had the rank of knights.

How formal and stiffly precise everything was here!  How many backs bowed
low, how softly bombastic, high-sounding words were murmured!  It seemed
as if every free, warm impulse would lapse into stiffness and coldness;
moreover, those assembled here were not the poor petitioners of other
antechambers, but lords and ladies who belonged to the most illustrious
and aristocratic families, while among the waiting ecclesiastics there
was many a prelate with the dignified bearing of a bishop.

Some of the Netherlanders alone frequently threw off the constraint which
fettered all, and one even turned with the gayest ease from one person to
another.  This was Baron Malfalconnet, one of the Emperor's major-domos.
He was permitted to do what no one else ventured, for his cheerfulness
and wit, his gift of story-telling, and sharp tongue often succeeded in
dispelling the clouds of melancholy from the brow of his imperial master.

At Wolf's entrance the baron greeted him with merry banter, and then
whispered to him that the regent was expecting him in her private room,
where the leaders of the newly arrived musicians had already gone.  As
Wolf belonged to the "elect," he would conduct him to her Majesty before
"the called" who were here in the waiting room.

As he spoke he delivered him to the Emperor's confidential secretary,
Gastelu, whom Wolf had often aided in the translation of German letters,
and the latter ushered him into the Queen's reception room.

It was the royal lady's sleeping apartment, a moderately wide, unusually
deep chamber, looking out upon the Haidplatz.  The walls were hung with
Flanders Gobelin tapestry, whose coloured pictures represented woodland
landscapes and hunters.  The Queen's bed stood halfway down the long wall
at the right.

Little could be seen of her person, for heavy gold-embroidered damask
curtains hung around the wide, lofty bedstead, falling from the canopy
projecting, rootlike, above the top, where gilded child genii bore a
royal crown.  On the side toward the room the curtains were drawn back
far enough to allow those who were permitted to approach the regent to
see her head and the upper portion of her body, which was wrapped in an
ermine cape.

She leaned in a sitting posture against a pile of white satin pillows,
and her thick locks, interwoven with strings of pearls, bore witness to
the skill of the maid who had combed and curled them so artistically and
adorned them with a heron's plume.  Two beautiful English pointers and a
slender hound were moving about and sometimes disturbed the repose of the
two Wachtersbach badger dogs, who were trained to keep side by side
everywhere--in the room as well as in hunting.  When the door opened they
only raised their sagacious little heads with a low growl.

The other living beings who had obtained admittance to the Queen's
chamber at so early an hour were constrained by etiquette to formal,
silent quiescence.  Only the ladies in waiting and the chamberlains moved
to and fro unasked, but they also stepped lightly and graduated the depth
of the bow with which they greeted each individual to suit his or her
rank, while the pages used their nimble feet, whose tread silken shoes
rendered noiseless, lightly and carelessly.

The features of most of the persons present expressed reverence and
expectation.  But although, on account of the clouded sky and the small
window panes, the rear of the deep apartment especially was only dimly
lighted, the impression produced was neither gloomy nor depressing.  This
was prevented by the swift movements of the pages, the shrill screams of
the gay parrots at the window, the paraphernalia of the chase hung on the
wall, and especially by the regent herself, whose clear voice broke the
silence with gay unconcern, and exerted a redeeming influence upon the
constraint of the listeners.

She had just received the Bishop of Hildesheim, the Prince of Savoy, and
the Countess Tassis, but gave each only a brief audience, for the
entrance of the conductor of the orchestra had not escaped her attention.

Several other personages of the highest rank were still among the waiting
group, and her chamberlain, Count Hochstraaten, asked in a low tone
whether she would deign to receive the Count Palatine von Simmern; but
she was determined to close the audience, for Wolf Hartschwert had
entered the room, and the subjects which she desired to discuss with him
and the musicians would permit no witnesses.

So, without answering Hochstraaten's question, she turned her face toward
the chamber, and said, loudly enough to be heard by all present:

"This reception must suffice for to-day!  Whoever does not know that I
used last night in his Majesty's service for a better purpose than sleep
will deem me a lazy sluggard.  Would to Heaven I had no worse fault!  The
rising sun sees me more frequently at my station in the hunting grounds
than it does many of you, my honoured friends, at the breakfast table.
So, Hochstraaten, be kind enough to tell the ladies and gentlemen who
have given me the pleasure of their visits, that their patience shall be
less severely tried this evening before vespers."

While speaking, she beckoned to the Marquise de Leria, her oldest lady in
waiting, and, as the latter bent her aged back to adjust the pillows, the
Queen whispered to her to detain the conductor of the orchestra and Sir
Wolf Hartschwert.

The order was instantly obeyed, but some time elapsed ere the last of
those who had sought an audience left the room, for, although the regent
vouchsafed no one a glance, but turned the pages of a note-book which had
been lying on the little table at the head of her bed, each person,
before crossing the threshold, bowed toward the couch in the slow, formal
manner which etiquette dictated.

As soon as Queen Mary found herself alone with the musicians and the
marquise, she beckoned graciously to the former, but with familiar
kindness to Wolf, and asked for a brief account of his journey.  Then she
confessed that the Emperor's sufferings and melancholy mood had induced
her to subject them to the discomforts of the trip to Ratisbon.  His
Majesty was ignorant of their presence, but she anticipated the most
favourable result upon her royal brother, who so warmly loved and keenly
appreciated music, if he could hear unexpectedly the finest melodies,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes cheering in tone.

Her inquiry whether his Majesty's orchestra and her own boys would be
able to give a performance that evening was eagerly answered in the
affirmative by Maestro Gombert, the conductor of the orchestra, and
Benedictus Appenzelder, conductor of the boy choir, who was in her
personal service.  She expressed her pleasure in the knowledge, and then
proposed to surprise the Emperor at the principal meal, about midnight,
with Jacob Hobrecht's Missa Graecorum, whose magnificent profundity his
Majesty especially admired.

Gombert forced himself to keep silence, but the significant smile on his
delicate, beardless lips betrayed what he thought of this selection.  The
conductor of the boy choir was franker.  He slightly shook his ponderous
head, whose long, gray hair was parted in the middle, and then honestly
admitted, in his deep tones, that the Missa Graecorum seemed to him too
majestic and gloomy for this purpose.  Wolf, too, disapproved of the
Queen's suggestion for the same reason, and, though she pointed out that
she had chosen this composition precisely on account of its deep
religious earnestness, the former persisted in his opposition, and
modestly mentioned the melody which would probably be best suited for a
surprise at his imperial Majesty's repast.

Maestro Gombert had recently composed a Benedictio Mensae for four
voices, and, as it was one of his most effective creations, had never
been executed, and therefore would be entirely new to the Emperor, it was
specially adapted to introduce the concert with which the monarch was to
be surprised at table.

The Queen would have preferred that a religious piece should commence the
musical performance, but assented to Wolf's proposal.  Gombert himself
dispelled her fear that his composition would be purely secular in
character, and Wolf upheld him by singing to the musical princess,
to the accompaniment of the lute, snatches of the principal theme of
the Benedictio, which had impressed itself upon his faithful memory.

Gombert assisted him, but Appenzelder stroked his long beard, signifying
his approval by nods and brief exclamations of satisfaction.  The Queen
was now sincerely glad that this piece of music had been brought to her
notice; certainly nothing more suitable for the purpose could have been
found.  Besides, her kindly nature and feminine tact made her grateful to
Wolf for his hint of distinguishing, by the first performance of one of
his works, the able conductor and fine composer upon whom she had imposed
so fatiguing a journey.

She would gladly have given Appenzelder also some token of her favour,
but she could not have used any of his compositions--the most famous of
which was a dirge--upon this occasion, and the blunt long-beard frankly
admitted this, and declared unasked that he desired nothing better than
to offer his Majesty, with the Benedictio, the first greeting of
Netherland music.

Gombert's bearing was that of an aristocrat, his lofty brow that of a
thinker, and his mobile mouth rendered it easy to perceive what a wealth
of joyous mirth dwelt within the soul of this artist, who was equally
distinguished in grave and gay moods.

Queen Mary was by no means blind to these merits, and lamented the
impossibility of being on more familiar terms of intercourse with him and
his colleague of the boy choir.  But both were of humble birth, and from
childhood custom had prohibited her, as well as the other female members
of her family, from associating with persons who did not belong to the
nobility.  So there was no place for either in her household.

Rough Appenzelder regarded this as fortunate; Gombert thought it a matter
of course because custom so ordained.

The stimulus which the Queen could expect from Wolf Hartschwert was
certainly far less deep and varied; yet to him who, as a knight, belonged
to her train, she granted many favours which she denied the famous
Gombert.  Besides, Wolf's musical knowledge was as remarkable as his
usefulness as a secretary.  Lastly, his equable disposition, his unerring
sense of propriety, and his well-proved fidelity had gained the full
confidence of the royal lady.

By the side of the two composers and leaders of the musicians he looked
almost boyish, yet, as the regent was overburdened with affairs of state,
she confided to him alone the care of the further success of the
surprise.

He was familiar with the rooms of the Golden Cross, and before midnight
would have posted the singers and musicians so that his Majesty would
first learn through his ears the pleasure which they intended to bestow
upon him.



CHAPTER IX.

The Queen's commission imposed upon Wolf a long series of inspections,
inquiries, orders, and preparations, the most important of which detained
him a long time at the Golden Cross.

After he had done what was necessary there, he hastily took a lunch, and
then went to the house of the Golden Stag.  The steward of the Schiltl
family, to whom the house belonged, but who were now in the country, had
given the boy choir shelter there, and Wolf was obliged to inform the
leader of his arrangements.  Appenzelder had intended to practise
exercises with his young pupils in the chapel belonging to this old
house, familiar to all the inhabitants of Ratisbon, but Wolf found it
empty.  On the other hand, young, clear voices echoed from a room in the
lower story.

The door stood half open, and, before he crossed the threshold, he had
heard with surprise the members of the boy choir, lads ranging from
twelve to fifteen, discussing how they should spend the leisure time
awaiting them.

The ringleader, Giacomo Bianchi, from Bologna, was asserting that "the
old bear"--he meant Appenzelder--"would never permit the incomplete choir
to sing before the Emperor and his royal sister."

"So we shall have the afternoon," he exclaimed.  "The grooms will give me
a horse, and after dinner I, and whoever cares to go with me, will ride
back to the village where we last stopped.  What do I want there?  I'll
get the kiss which the tavernkeeper's charming little daughter owes me.
Her sweet mouth and fair braids with the bows of blue ribbon--I saw
nothing prettier anywhere!"

"Yes, these blondes!" cried Angelo Negri, a Neapolitan boy of thirteen,
rolling his black eyes upward enthusiastically, and kissing, for lack of
warm lips, the empty air.

"Sweet, sweet, sweet," sighed Giacoma Bianchi.

"Sweet enough," remarked little thick-set Cornelius Groen from Breda, in
broken Italian.  "Yet you surely are not thinking of that silly girl,
with her flaxen braids, but of the nice honey and the light white pastry
she brought us.  If we can get that again, I'll ride there with you."

"I won't," protested Wilhelm Haldema, from Leuwarden in Friesland.
"I shall go down to the river with my pole.  It's swarming with fish."

Wolf had remained concealed until this moment.  Now he entered the huge
apartment.

The boys rushed toward him with joyous ease, and, as they crowded around
him, asking all sorts of questions, it was evident that he possessed
their affection and confidence.

He kindly motioned to them to keep silence, and asked what induced them
to expect leisure time on that day, when, by the exertion of all their
powers, they were to display their skill in the presence of their
mistress and the Emperor.

The answer was not delayed--nay, it sprang from many young lips at the
same time.  Unfortunately, its character was such that Wolf scarcely
ventured to hope for the full success of the surprise.

Johann of Cologne and Benevenuto Bosco of Catania, in Sicily, the two
leaders and ornaments of the choir, were so very ill that their recovery
could scarcely be expected even within the next few days.  The native of
Cologne had been attacked on the way by a hoarseness which made the
fifteenyear-old lad uneasy, because signs of the approaching change of
voice had already appeared.

The break meant to the extremely musical youth, who had been
distinguished by the bell-like purity of his tones, the loss of his
well-paid position in the boy choir, which, for his poor mother's sake,
he must retain as long as possible.  So, with mingled grief and hope, he
dipped deeply into his slender purse when, at Neumarkt, where the
travelling musicians spent the night just at the time the annual fair was
held, he met a quack who promised to help him.

This extremely talkative old man, who styled himself "Body physician to
many distinguished princes and courts," boasted of possessing a secret
remedy of the famous Bartliolomaus Anglicus, which, besides other merits,
also had the power of bestowing upon a harsh voice the melody of David's
harp.

Still, the young native of Cologne delayed some time before using the
nostrum.  Not until the hoarseness increased alarmingly did he in his
need take the leech's prescription, and Benevenuto Bosco, whom he had
admitted to his confidence, and who also felt a certain rawness in his
throat, since beyond Nuremberg one shower of rain after another had
drenched the travellers, asked him to let him use the medicine also.

At first both thought that they felt a beneficial result; but soon their
condition changed for the worse, and their illness constantly increased.

On reaching Ratisbon they were obliged to go to bed, and a terrible night
was followed by an equally bad morning.

When Appenzelder returned from the audience at the Golden Cross, he found
his two best singers in so pitiable a condition that he was obliged to
summon the Emperor's leech, Dr. Mathys, to the sufferers.

The famous physician was really under obligations to remain near the
sovereign at this time of day.  Yet he had gone at once to the Stag, and
pronounced the patients there to be the victims of severe poisoning.

A Ratisbon colleague, whom he found with the sufferers, was to
superintend the treatment which he prescribed.

He had left the house a short time before.  Master Appenzelder, Wolf
heard from the choir boys, was now with the invalids, and the knight set
off to inquire about them at once.

He had forbidden the idle young singers who wanted to go with him to
follow, but one had secretly slipped after, and, in one of the dark
corridors of the big house, full of nooks and corners, he suddenly heard
a voice call his name.  Ere he was aware of it, little Hannibal Melas, a
young Maltese in the boy choir, whose silent, reserved nature had
obtained for him from the others the nickname Tartaruga, the tortoise,
seized his right hand in both his own.

It was done with evident excitement, and his voice sounded eagerly urgent
as he exclaimed:

"I fix my last hope on you, Sir Knight, for you see there is scarcely one
of the others who would not have an intercessor.  But I!  Who would
trouble himself about me?  Yet, if you would only put in a good word, my
time would surely come now."

"Your time?" asked Wolf in astonishment; but the little fellow eagerly
continued:

"Yes, indeed!  What Johann of Cologne or at least what Benevenuto can do,
I can trust myself to do too.  The master need only try it with me, and,
now that both are ill, put me in place of one or the other."

Wolf, who knew what each individual chorister could do, shook his head,
and began to tell the boy from Malta for what good reason the master
preferred the two sick youths; but little Hannibal interrupted by
exclaiming, in tones of passionate lamentation:

"So you are the same?  The master having begun it, all misjudge and crush
me!  Instead of giving me an opportunity to show what I can do in a solo
part, I am forced back into the crowd.  My best work disappears in the
chorus.  And yet, Sir Wolf, in spite of all, I heard the master's own
lips say in Brussels--I wasn't listening--that he had never heard what
lends a woman's voice its greatest charm come so softly and tenderly from
the throat of a boy.  Those are his own words.  He will not deny them,
for at least he is honest.  What is to become of the singing without
Johann and Benevenuto?  But if they would try me, and at least trust a
part of Bosco's music to me--"

Here he stopped, for Master Appenzelder was just coming from the door of
the sick-room into the corridor; but Wolf, with a playful gesture, thrust
his fingers through the lad's bushy coal-black hair, turned him in the
direction from which he came, and called after him, "Your cause is in
good hands, you little fellow with the big name."

Then, laying his hand on the arm of the deeply troubled musician, and
pointing to the boy who was trotting, full of hope, down the corridor, he
said: "'Hannibal ante portas!'  A cry of distress that is full of terror;
but the Maltese Hannibal who is vanishing yonder gave me an idea which
will put an end to your trouble, my dear Maestro.  The sooner the two
poisoned lads recover the better, of course; yet the Benedictio Mensae
need not remain unsung on account of their heedlessness, for little
Hannibal showed me the best substitute."

This promise flowed from Wolf's lips with such joyous confidence that the
grave musician's sombre face brightened; but it swiftly darkened again,
and he exclaimed, "We don't give such hasty work!"  When the knight tried
to tell him what he had in mind, the other brusquely interrupted with the
request that he would first aid him in a more important matter.  Wolf was
acquainted with the city, and perhaps would spare him a walk by informing
him where the sick lads would find the best shelter.  The Stag was
overcrowded, and he was reluctant to leave the poor fellows in the little
sleeping room which they shared with their companions.  The Ratisbon
physician had ordered them to be sent to the hospital; but the boy from
Cologne opposed it so impetuously that he, Appenzelder, thought it his
duty to seek another shelter for the sufferers.

When Wolf with the older man entered the low, close chamber, he found the
lad, a handsome, vigorous boy, with his fair, curling hair tossed in
disorder around his fevered face, standing erect in his bed.  While the
doctor was trying to compel him to obey and enter the litter which stood
waiting for him, he beat him back with his strong young fists.  He would
rather jump into the open grave or into the rushing river, he shrieked to
the corpulent leech, than be dragged into the hospital, which was the
plague, death, hell.

He emphasized his resistance with heavy blows, while his Italian
companion in suffering, livid, ashen-gray, with bowed head and closed
lids, permitted himself to be placed in the litter without moving.

At Wolf's entrance the German youth, like a drowning man who sees a
friend on the shore, shrieked an entreaty to save him from the murderers
who wanted to drag him to death.  The young knight gazed compassionately
at the lad's flushed face, and, after a brief pause of reflection,
proposed committing the sufferers to the care of the Knights
Hospitallers.

This removed the burden from the young Rhinelander's tortured soul, yet
he insisted, with passionate impetuosity, upon having his master and the
nobleman accompany him, that the physician whom, in his fevered fancy, he
regarded as his mortal foe, should not drag him to the pest-house after
all.

Both musicians yielded to his wish.  On the way Appenzelder held the
lad's burning hand in his own, and never wearied of talking
affectionately to him.  Not until after he had seen his charges, with the
physician's assistance, comfortably lodged, and had left the house of the
Hospitallers, did he permit himself to test the almost incredible news
which Sir Wolf Hartschwert had brought him.

With what fiery zeal Wolf persuaded him, how convincing was his assurance
that a substitute for Johann of Cologne, and a most admirable one, was
actually to be found here in Ratisbon!

He had no need to seek for fitting words in the description of Barbara
Blomberg, the melody of her voice, and her admirable training.  The fact
that she was a woman, he protested, need not be considered, nay, it might
be kept secret.  The Church, it is true, prohibited the assistance of
women, but the matter here was simply the execution of songs in a private
house.

At first Appenzelder listened grumbling, and shaking his head in dissent,
but soon the proposal seemed worth heeding; nay, when he heard that the
singer, whose talent and skill the quiet, intelligent German praised so
highly, owed her training to his countryman, Damian Feys, whom he knew,
he began to ask questions with, increasing interest.  But, ere Wolf had
answered the first queries, some one else made his appearance on the
Haid, and the very person who was best fitted to give information about
Barbara--her teacher, Feys, who had sought Gombert, his famous Brussels
companion in art, and was just taking him to a rehearsal of the Convivium
musicum.  At this meeting the leader of the boy choir, in spite of his
pleasure at seeing his valued countryman and companion in art, showed far
less patience than before, for, after the first greeting, he at once
asked Feys what he thought of his pupil Barbara.  The answer was so
favourable that Appenzelder eagerly accepted the invitation to attend the
rehearsal also.  So the four fellow-artists crossed the Haidplatz
together, and Maestro Gombert was obliged to remind his colleague of the
boy choir that people who occupied the conductor's desk forgot to run on
a wager.

Wolf's legs were by no means so long as those of the tall, broad
musician, yet, in his joyous excitement, it was an easy matter to keep
pace with him.  In the happy consciousness of meriting the gratitude of
the woman whom he loved, he gazed toward the New Scales, the large
building beneath whose roof she whose image filled his heart and mind
must already have found shelter.

Did she see him coming?  Did she suspect who his companions were, and
what awaited her through them?

Yet, sharply as he watched for her, he could discover no sign of her fair
head behind any of the windows.

Yet Barbara, from the little room where the singers laid aside their
cloaks and wraps, had seen Wolf, with her singing master Feys and two
other gentlemen, coming toward the New Scales, and correctly guessed the
names of the slender, shorter stranger in the sable-trimmed mantle and
the big, broad-shouldered, bearded one who accompanied her friend.  Wolf
had described them both, and a presentiment told her that something great
awaited her through them.

Gombert was the composer of the bird-song, and, as she remembered how the
refrain of this composition had affected Wolf the day before, she heard
the door close behind the group.

Then the desire to please, which had never left her since she earned the
first applause, seized upon her more fiercely than ever.

Of what consequence were the listeners before whom she had hitherto sung
compared with those whose footsteps were now echoing on the lowest
stairs?  And, half animated by an overpowering secret impulse, she sang
the refrain "Car la saison est bonne" aloud while passing the stairs on
her way into the dancing hall, where the rehearsal was to take place.

What an artless delight in the fairest, most pleasing thing in Nature to
a sensitive young human soul this simple sentence voiced to the
Netherland musicians!  It seemed to them as if the song filled the dim,
cold corridor with warmth and sunlight.  Thus Gombert had heard within
his mind the praise of spring when he set it to music, but had never
before had it thus understood by any singer, reproduced by any human
voice.

The excitable man stood as if spellbound; only a curt "My God! my God!"
gave expression to his emotion.  The blunter Appenzelder, on the
contrary, when the singer suddenly paused and a door closed behind her,
exclaimed: "The deuce, that's fine!--If that were your helper in need,
Sir Wolf, all would be well!"

"It is," replied Wolf proudly, with sparkling eyes; but the honest old
fellow rushed after Barbara, held out both hands to her in his frank,
cordial way, and cried:

"Thanks, heartfelt thanks, my dear, beautiful young lady!  But if you
imagine that this drop of nectar will suffice, you are mistaken.  You
have awakened thirst!  Now see--and Gombert will thank you too--that it
is quenched with a fuller gift of this drink of the gods."

The Netherlanders found the table spread, and this rehearsal of the
Convivium musicum brought Barbara Blomberg the happiest hours which life
had ever bestowed.

She saw with a throbbing heart that her singing not only pleased, but
deeply stirred the heart of the greatest composer of his time, whose name
had filled her with timid reverence, and that, while listening to her
voice, the eyes of the sturdy Appenzelder, who looked as if his broad
breast was steeled against every soft emotion, glittered with tears.

This had happened during the execution of Josquin de Pres's "Ecce tu
pulchra es'."

Barbara's voice had lent a special charm to this magnificent motet, and,
when she concluded the "Quia amore langueo"--"Because I yearn for love"
--to which she had long given the preference when she felt impelled to
relieve her heart from unsatisfied yearning, she had seen Gombert look at
the choir leader, and understood the "inimitable" which was not intended
for her, but for his fellow-artist.

Hitherto she had done little without pursuing a fixed purpose, but this
time Art, and the lofty desire to serve her well, filled her whole being.
In the presence of the most famous judges she imposed the severest
demands upon herself.  Doubtless she was also glad to show Wolf what she
could do, yet his absence would not have diminished an iota of what she
gave the Netherlanders.  She felt proud and grateful that she belonged to
the chosen few who are permitted to express, by means of a noble art, the
loftiest and deepest feelings in the human breast.  Had not Appenzelder
been compelled to interrupt the rehearsal, she would gladly have sung on
and on to exhaustion.

She did not yet suspect what awaited her when, in well-chosen yet cordial
words, Gombert expressed his appreciation.

She neither saw nor heard the fellow-singers who surrounded her; nay,
when Dr. Hiltner, the syndic's, daughter, seventeen years old, who had
long looked up to her with girlish enthusiasm, pressed forward to her
side, and her charming mother, sincerely pleased, followed more quietly,
when others imitated their example and expressed genuine gratification or
made pretty speeches, Barbara scarcely distinguished the one from the
other, honest good will from bitter envy.

She did not fully recover her composure until Appenzelder came up to her
and held out his large hand.

Clasping it with a smile, she permitted the old musician to hold her
little right hand, while in a low tone, pointing to Wolf, who had
followed him, he said firmly:

"May I believe the knight?  Would you be induced to bestow your
magnificent art upon an ardent old admirer like myself, though to-day
only as leader of the voices in the boy choir--"

Here Wolf, who had noticed an expression of refusal upon Barbara's lips,
interrupted him by completing the sentence with the words, addressed to
her, "In order to let his Majesty the Emperor enjoy what delights us
here?"

The blood receded from Barbara's cheeks, and, as she clung to the window-
sill for support, it seemed as though some magic spell had conveyed her
to the summit of the highest steeple.  Below her yawned the dizzy gulf of
space, and the air was filled with a rain of sceptres, crowns, and golden
chains of honour falling upon ermine and purple robes on the ground
below.

But after a few seconds this illusion vanished, and, ere Wolf could
spring to the assistance of the pallid girl, she was already passing her
kerchief across her brow.

Then, drawing a long breath, she gave the companion of her childhood a
grateful glance, and said to Appenzelder:

"Dispose of my powers as you deem best," adding, after a brief pause,
"Of course, with my father's consent."

Appenzelder, as if rescued, shook her hand again, this time with so
strong a pressure that it hurt her.  Yet her blue eyes sparkled as
brightly as if her soul no longer had room for pain or sorrow.  After
Barbara had made various arrangements with the choir leader, it seemed to
her as though the sunny, blissful spring, which her song had just
celebrated so exquisitely, had also made its joyous entry into the narrow
domain of her life.

On the way home she thanked the friend who accompanied her with the
affectionate warmth of the days of her childhood, nay, even more eagerly
and tenderly; and when, on reaching the second story of the cantor house,
he took leave of her, she kissed his cheek, unasked, calling down the
stairs as she ran up:

"There is your reward!  But, in return, you will accompany me first to
the rehearsal with the singing boys, and then--if you had not arranged it
yourself you would never believe it--go to the Golden Cross, to the
Emperor Charles."



CHAPTER X.

The Emperor's table was laid in one of the lower rooms of the Golden
Cross.  The orchestra and the boy choir had been stationed in Saint
Leonhard's chapel.  A wide door led from the consecrated chamber, spanned
by a vaulted roof, into the dining-room.  When it was opened, the music
and singing would pour in a full flood to those seated around the board.

Shortly before midnight everything in kitchen and cellar was ready for
the royal couple.  The wax candles and lamps were already lighted when
Queen Mary prepared to bring her imperial brother to the surprise which
she had planned, and whose influence she eagerly anticipated.

The Emperor had received the last report half an hour before, and then
commissioned his physician, who had again warned him against the excess
of work, to protect him from interruption--he desired to have an hour
alone.

Dr. Mathys had fulfilled this order with the utmost strictness.  Even the
English ambassador was dismissed.  The members of the royal household and
the nobles who during their stay in Ratisbon crowded around the royal
brother and sister, and even at this late hour filled the rooms and
corridors of the spacious building with busy life, had been commanded to
step lightly and keep silent.

The lord chamberlain, Count Heinrich of Nassau, saw that nothing was
stirring near the apartment of his imperial master, and the stewards,
Quijada and Malfalconnet, aided him.  But they could not prevent the
barking of Queen Mary's hunting dogs, and when their royal mistress
followed them to accompany her illustrious brother to the dining-hall,
Malfalconnet ventured to remark that the lion, when he retires to
solitude, sometimes values rest more than the presence of even the most
beloved and adorable member of his noble race; but the regent quickly
retorted that she had not yet reached lion hunting, but she knew that
even the king of beasts possessed a stomach, and would be glad to have
rest seasoned with dainty food.

"The banquet is ready," added Count Buren, and Malfalconnet, with a low
bow, said:

"And a portion of it is the covered chiming dish with which your
Majesty's love and wisdom intends to surprise the illustrious epicure."

While speaking, he cautiously opened the door of the royal apartment, but
the dogs were held back by the pages who had carried the train of the
festal robe.  Two others zealously aided her to throw the trailing
brocade across her arm, and in this manner she entered her distinguished
brother's chamber.

This was so deep that a short walk was necessary to reach the window near
which the Emperor sat.  The office of lighting the vast room was assigned
to a dozen wax candles in a silver candelabrum, but they were so
inadequate to the task that neither the mythological scenes on the
Brabant Gobelin curtains with which the walls were hung, nor the very
scanty furniture of the remainder of the long chamber could be seen from
the door.

Thus the prevailing dusk concealed the surroundings of the great monarch
who was resting there, and the only object visible to the entering Queen
was his figure illumined by the light.  In her soul everything else
receded far behind the person, welfare, and pleasure of this mighty
sovereign.  Yet she had already crossed half the room, and her entrance
still remained unnoticed.

The Emperor Charles, with his forehead resting on his hand, sat absorbed
in thought before the papers which had occupied his attention.  How
mournful he looked, what sorrowful thoughts were doubtless again
burdening that anxious brain!  Never before had he seemed to his sister
so old.

Perhaps it was the ceaseless planning and pondering of the statesman and
general which, during the last few years, had thinned the light-brown
hair at the corners of the brow.

The resting ruler now seemed to have brought his mind to repose also,
for every emotion had vanished from his pallid face.  Even the sharply
cut nostrils of the long nose, which usually moved swiftly, were
perfectly still.  The heavy chin, framed by a thin, closely clipped
beard, had sunk upon the high ruff as if for support, and the thick,
loosely hanging lower lip appeared to have lost its elasticity.

In this hour of rest and relaxation this tireless and successful
sovereign, utterly exhausted, had even relinquished seeming what he was;
his brown hair framed his brow and temples in a tangled, disordered mass;
the lacings of his velvet doublet were loosened; a shabby woollen
coverlet of anything but imperial appearance was wound around his lower
limbs, and the foot in which the gout throbbed and ached rested on his
sleeping hound, and was wrapped in the cloths which his valet Adrian
found at hand after the Venetian ambassador, the confessor, and the leech
had left his master.

It pierced his sister to the heart to see her mighty brother, upon whose
dominions, it was said, the sun never set, in this guise.

Her glance rested sorrowfully upon him a long time, but even when she
moved several paces nearer he retained the same motionless rigidity which
had seized upon him and even communicated itself to the dog.  The animal
knew the regent, and did not let her disturb its repose.

Then a terrible fear assailed her, and the image of the Cid Campeador
who, mounted on horseback, went swaying on his steed to meet the foe,
rose before her.

"Your Majesty," then again "Your Majesty," she called in a low tone,
that she might not startle him; but the answer for which she waited in
breathless suspense did not come, and now the anxious dread that filled
her sisterly heart forced from her lips the cry, "Carlos!" and once more
"Carlos!"

The dog stirred, and at the same time the Emperor raised his bowed head
and turned toward his sister.

Drawing a long breath, as if relieved from a heavy burden, she hastened
to his side, and, clasping his delicately formed hand, kissed it with
passionate tenderness; but the Emperor withdrew it, saying with a
mournful smile, which gave his rigid countenance a new and more winning
expression, in the Castilian language in which he always addressed her:

"Why are you so agitated, Querida?  Did the sight of the silent brother
alarm the sister?  Ay, darling, there are some things more terrible than
the wild boar at which the brave huntress hurls her spear.  Our mother's
bequest----"

Queen Mary, with hands outstretched beseechingly, bowed the knee before
him; but he raised her with more strength than would have been expected
from him just before, and, sighing faintly, continued:

"There are hours, Mary, when the demon that overpowered the mother
stretches his talons toward the son also.  But, in spite of his satanic
origin, he is a cowardly wight, and a loving face, a tender word, drives
him away."

"Then may my coming be blessed!" she answered warmly.  "Yet it can
scarcely be a demon or any being of mortal mould that is spoiling the
life happiness of my beloved brother and sovereign lord.  After all, they
are tolerably alike in the main point, and what semblance would the son
of hell wear that dares to assail the most powerful and vigorous mind of
all the ages, and yet is seized with panic terror at the glance of a
feeble woman?  Whoever knows the anxieties which have recently burdened
your Majesty, and the wide range of the decision to which the course of
events is urging you, can not wonder if, as just now, your cheerful
spirits desert you.  No demons or evil creatures of that sort, Heaven
knows, are needed to accomplish it."

"Certainly not," replied the Emperor.  "Yet it does not matter what name
is borne by the unconquerable power which poisons with horrible images
the few hours of repose allotted to the solitary man who is bereft of
love and joy.  But let us drop the subject!  When you appear and raise
your voice, it seems as though all gloomy thoughts heard the view hallo
which drives your stags and roes back into their coverts, Mary.  I
suppose you have come to summon me to the table?"

The Queen assented, and now he could not prevent her kissing his hand.
Then she seized the dainty little bell on the table to ring for the valet
Adrian; but the Emperor Charles stopped her with the exclamation:

"Never mind him.  I will go with you as I am, if you do not object to
sharing your meal with such a scarecrow of a man.  Only permit me to lock
up these papers."

"From Rome?"  asked the regent eagerly.

"That is easily discerned," replied the Emperor.  "New and amazingly
favourable promises.  Nothing is required of me except the trifling
obligation to allow the Protestants nothing in religious affairs which
the Pope or the Council do not approve.  If I agree to accept the
promises, every one will think that I have the advantage, and yet, if the
contract is made, it is tearing from the sky the political polestar of
many a lustrum, and burying one of my clearest, ripest, most sacred
hopes."

Here the startled Queen interrupted him: "That would surely, inevitably
be the evil fruit which would grow from such a treaty.  It would deliver
to the Pope, with fettered hands, this very Council which your Majesty so
confidently expected would remove or diminish, in orderly methods, the
abuses which are urging so many Christians to abandon the Catholic
Church.  How often I have heard even her most faithful sons acknowledge
that such abuses exist!  But if you make the alliance, the self-interest
of the hierarchy will know how to prevent the introduction of even a
single vigorous amendment, and, instead of the conqueror of the hydra of
abuse, your Majesty will render yourself its guardian."

"And," added the Emperor affectionately--he still retained his seat at
the writing table--"this alliance, moreover, would force me to the
painful necessity of opposing the earnest wish of the dearest, fairest,
and wisest of my sisters."

"Because it would render war with the evangelical princes inevitable,"
cried the Queen excitedly.  "Oh, your Majesty, you know that the
heretical movement, which is making life a burden to me in my provinces,
is going much too far for me, as well as for you here in Germany; nay,
that it is hateful to me, because I value nothing more than our holy
Church, her greatness and unity.  But would it really redound to her
welfare if the schism now existing, and which you yourself expected to
heal through the Council, should by this very Council be embittered and
even perhaps perpetuated?  For a long time nothing has seemed to me more
execrable than this war.  Your Majesty knows that, and therefore my lord
and brother can not be vexed with me if I remind him of the hour when, a
few months ago, he promised to avoid it and do all in his power to bring
what relates to religious matters in these German countries to a peaceful
conclusion."

The Emperor looked his sister full in the face, and, while struggling to
his feet, said with majestic dignity:

"And I have never given your Highness occasion to doubt my word."  Then,
changing his tone, he continued kindly: "No means--I repeat it--shall
remain untried to preserve peace.  I am in earnest, child, though there
are now many reasons for breaking the promise.  I put them together on
the long list yonder, and the Spaniards at the court add new ones every
hour.  If you care to know them----"

Here he hesitated, because the gout in his foot gave him a sharper
twinge; but the Queen availed herself of the pause to exclaim: "I think
I am aware of them.  It is especially hard just now for the statesman and
soldier to keep the sword in the sheath, because Rome offers more than
ever, because at the present time no serious opposition is to be feared
from the most important states, and because the princes of the empire
have neglected nothing which could rouse the resentment of my imperial
brother.  I know all this, and yet it is as firmly established as Alpine
mountains----"

Here a low laugh escaped the Emperor's lips.

"The political course which could be thus firmly established is to be
found, you experienced regent, only in one place--the strong imagination
of a high hearted woman, who desires to accomplish what she deems right.
I, too, you may believe me, am opposed to this war, and, as matters stand
now, the German renegades, rather than we, may expect a glorious result.
But, nevertheless, it may happen that I shall be compelled to ask you to
give me back my promise."

"I should like to see the person who could compel my august brother to
undertake anything against his imperial will," the Queen passionately
interrupted.

"We will hope that this superior being may not appear only too soon,"
replied the Emperor, smiling bitterly.  "The invincible oppressor bears
the name of unexpected circumstances; I encountered one of his harbingers
to-day.  There lie the documents.  Do you know to what those miserable
papers force me, the Emperor?--ay, force, I repeat it.  To nothing less,
Mary, than consciously to deal a blow in the face of justice, whose
defender I ought and desire to be.  I am not exaggerating, for I am
withdrawing a fratricide from the courts, nay, am paving the way for him
to evade punishment."

"You mean Alfonso Diaz, who had his brother murdered by a hired assassin
because he abandoned the holy Church and accepted the Lutheran religion,"
said the Queen sorrowfully.  "Malvenda was just telling me----"

"He was the instigator of the crime," interrupted the Emperor.  "Now he
rejoices in it as a deed well pleasing to God, and many thousands, I
know, agree with him.  And I?  Had Juan Diaz been a German Johannes or
Hans, the Emperor Charles would have made Alfonso expiate his crime upon
the block this very day.  But the brothers were Spaniards, and that
alters the case."

With this sentence, which fell from his lips in firm, resolute tones, his
bearing regained its old decision, and his eyes met his sister's with a
flashing glance as he continued:

"The seed which here in the North, in carefully prepared soil and under
the fostering care of men only too skilful and ready for conflict, took
deep root in the domain of religion, which we were obliged to tolerate
because it grew too rapidly and strongly for us to extirpate or crush it
without depopulating a great empire and jeopardizing other very important
matters, would mean ruin to our Spain.  Whoever dared to transplant the
heresy to her soil would be the most infamous of the corrupters of a
nation, for the holy Church and the kingdom of Spain are one.  The mere
thought of a Juan Diaz, who had absorbed the heretical Lutheran doctrine
here, returning home to infect the hearts of the Castilians with its
venom, makes my blood boil also.  Therefore, for the sake of Spain, a
higher justice compels me to offend the secular one.  The people beyond
the Pyrenees shall learn that, even for the brother, it is no sin, but a
duty, to shorten the life of the brother who abandoned the holy Church.
Let Alfonso Diaz strive to obtain absolution.  It will not be difficult.
He can sleep calmly, so far as the judges are concerned who dispense
justice in the name of Charles V."

As he spoke he waved his hand to repel the hound which, when he raised
his voice, had pressed closer to him, and glanced at the artistically
wrought Nuremberg clocks on the writing table, two of which struck the
hour at the same time.  Then he himself seized the little bell, rang it,
and permitted the valet Adrian to brush his hair and make the necessary
changes in his dress.

Then he invited his sister to accompany him to the table.

Walking without a shoe was difficult, and, when he saw the Queen look
down sorrowfully at the cloths which swathed the foot, he said while
toiling on:

"Imagine that we have been hunting and the boot remained stuck in the
mud.  I am sure of indulgence from you.  As to the others, even with only
one shoe I am still the Emperor."

He opened the door as he spoke, and, while the valet held the hound back,
the Emperor, with chivalrous courtesy, insisted that his sister should
precede him, though she resisted until Baron Malfalconnet, with a low bow
to the royal dame, said:

"The meal is served, your Majesty, and if you lead the way you will
protect our Emperor and sovereign lord from the unworthy suspicion of
wishing to be first at the trencher."

He motioned toward the threshold as he uttered the words, but Charles,
who often had a ready answer for the baron's jests, followed his sister
in silence with a clouded brow.

Leaning on her arm and the crutch which Quijada had mutely presented to
him, Charles cautiously descended the stairs.  He had indignantly
rejected the leech's proposal to use a litter in the house also, if the
gout tortured him.



CHAPTER XI.

Majesty, whose nature demands that people should look up to it, shuns the
downward glance of compassion.  Yet during this walk the Emperor Charles,
even at the risk of presenting a pitiable spectacle, would gladly have
availed himself of the litter.

He, who had cherished the proud feeling of uniting in himself, his own
imperial power, the temporal and ecclesiastical sovereignty over all
Christendom, would now willingly have changed places with the bronzed,
sinewy halberdiers who were presenting arms to him along the sides of the
staircase.  Yet he waved back Luis Quijada with an angry glance and the
sharp query, "Who summoned you?" when, in an attitude of humble entreaty,
he ventured to offer him the support of his strong arm.  Still, pain.
compelled him to pause at every third step, and ever and anon to lean
upon the strong hip of his royal sister.

Queen Mary gladly rendered him the service, and, as she gazed into his
face, wan with anxiety and suffering, and thought of the beautiful
surprise which she had in store, she waved back, unnoticed by her royal
brother, the pages and courtiers who were following close behind.  Then
looking up at him, she murmured:

"How you must suffer, Carlos!  But happiness will surely follow the
martyrdom.  Only a few steps, a few minutes more, and you will again look
life in the face with joyous courage.  You will not believe it?  Yet it
is true.  I would even be inclined to wager my own salvation upon it."

The Emperor shook his head dejectedly, and answered bitterly:

"Such things should not be trifled with; besides, you would lose your
wager.  Joyous courage, Querida, was buried long ago, and too many cares
insure its having no resurrection.  The good gifts which Heaven formerly
permitted me to enjoy have lost their zest; instead of bread, it now
gives me stones.  The best enjoyment it still grants me--I am honest and
not ungrateful in saying so--is a well-prepared meal.  Laugh, if you
choose!  If moralists and philosophers heard me, they would frown.  But
the consumption of good things affords them pleasure too.  It's a pity
that satiety so speedily ends it."

While speaking, he again descended a few steps, but the Queen, supporting
him with the utmost solicitude, answered cheerily:

"The baser senses, with taste at their head, and the higher ones of sight
and hearing, I know, are all placed by your Majesty in the same regiment,
with equal rank; your obedient servant, on the contrary, bestows the
commissions of officers only on the higher ones.  That seems to me the
correct way, and I don't relinquish the hope of winning for it the
approval of the greatest general and most tasteful connoisseur of life."

"If the new cook keeps his promise, certainly not," replied Charles,
entering into his sister's tone.  "De Rye asserts that he is peerless.
We shall see.  As to the senses, they all have an equal share in enabling
us to receive our impressions and form an opinion from them.  Why should
the tongue and the palate--But stay!  Who the devil can philosophize with
such twinges in the foot?"

"Besides, that can be done much better," replied the Queen, patting the
sufferer's arm affectionately, "while the five unequal brothers are
performing the duties of their offices.  The saints be praised!  Here we
are at the bottom.  No, Carlos, no!  Not through the chapel!  The stone
flags there are so hard and cold."

As she spoke she guided him around it into the dining-room, where a large
table stood ready for the monarch's personal suite and a smaller one for
his sister and himself.

The tortured sovereign, still under the influence of the suffering which
he had endured, crossed himself and sat down.  Quijada and young Count
Tassis, the Emperor's favourite page, placed the gouty foot in the most
comfortable position, and Count Buren, the chamberlain, presented the
menu.  Charles instantly scanned the list of dishes, and his face clouded
still more as he missed the highly seasoned game pasty which the culinary
artist had proposed and he had approved.  Queen Mary had ordered that it
should be omitted, because Dr. Mathys had pronounced it poison for the
gouty patient, and she confessed the offence.

This was done with the frank affection with which she treated her
brother, but Charles, after the first few words, interrupted her, harshly
forbidding any interference, even hers, in matters which concerned
himself alone, and in the same breath commanded Count Buren to see that
the dish should still be made.  Then, as if to show his sister how little
he cared for her opposition, he seized the crystal jug with his own hand,
without waiting for the cup-bearer behind him, filled the goblet with
fiery Xeres wine, and hurriedly drained it, though the leech had
forbidden him, while suffering from the gout, to do more than moisten his
lips with the heating liquor.

The eyes of the royal huntress, though she was by no means unduly soft-
hearted, grew dim with tears.  This was her brother's gratitude for the
faithful care which she bestowed upon him!  Who could tell whether her
surprise, instead of pleasing him, might not rouse his anger?  He was
still frowning as though the greatest injury had been inflicted upon him,
and his sister's tearful eyes led him to exclaim wrathfully, as if he
wished to palliate his unchivalrous indignation to a lady:

"I am deprived of one pleasure after another, and the little enjoyment
remaining is lessened wherever it can be.  Who has heavier loads of
anxiety to endure?--yet you spoil my recreation during the brief hours
when I succeed in casting off the burden."

Here he paused and obstinately grasped the golden handle of the pitcher
again.  The Queen remained silent.  Contradiction would have made the
obdurate sovereign empty another goblet also.  Even a look of entreaty
would have been out of place on this occasion.  So she fixed her eves
mutely and sadly upon her silver plate; but even her silence irritated
the Emperor, and he was about to give fresh expression to his ill-humour,
when the doors of the chapel opposite to him opened, and the surprise
began.

The signal for the commencement of the singing had been the delivery of
the first dish from the steward to one of the great nobles, who presented
it to their Majesties.

The Queen's face brightened, and tears of heartfelt joy, instead of grief
and disappointment, now moistened her eyes, for if ever a surprise had
accomplished the purpose desired it was this one.

Charles was gazing, as if the gates of Paradise had opened before him,
toward the chapel doors, whence Maestro Gombert's Benedictio Mensae, a
melody entirely new to him, was pouring like a holy benediction, devout
yet cheering, sometimes solemn, anon full of joy.

The lines of anxiety vanished from his brow as if at the spell of a
magician.  The dull eyes gained a brilliant, reverent light, the bent
figure straightened itself.  He seemed to his sister ten years younger.
She saw in his every feature how deeply the music had affected him.

She knew her imperial brother.  Had not his heart and soul been fully
absorbed by the flood of pure and noble tones which so unexpectedly
streamed toward him, his eves would have been at least briefly attracted
by the dish which Count Krockow more than once presented, for it
contained an oyster ragout which a mounted messenger had brought that
noon from the Baltic Sea to the city on the Danube.

Yet many long minutes elapsed ere he noticed the dish, though it was one
of his favourite viands.  Barbara's song stirred the imperial lover of
music at the nocturnal banquet just as it had thrilled the great
musicians a few hours before.  He thought that he had never heard
anything more exquisite, and when the Benedictio Mensa: died away he
clasped his sister's hand, raised it two or three times to his lips, and
thanked her with such affectionate warmth that she blessed the
accomplishment of her happy idea, and willingly forgot the unpleasant
moments she had just undergone.

Now, as if completely transformed, he wished to be told who had had the
lucky thought of summoning his orchestra and her boy choir, and how
the plan had been executed; and when he had heard the story, he fervently
praised the delicacy of feeling and true sportsmanlike energy of her
strong and loving woman's heart.

The court orchestra gave its best work, and so did the new head cook.
The pheasant stuffed with snails and the truffle sauce with it seemed
delicious to the sovereign, who called the dish a triumph of the culinary
art of the Netherlands.  The burden of anxieties and the pangs inflicted
by the gout seemed to be forgotten, and when the orchestra ceased he
asked to hear the boy choir again.

This time it gave the most beautiful portion of Joscluin de Pres's hymn
to the Virgin, "Ecce tu pulchra es"; and when Barbara's "Quia amore
langueo" reached his ear and heart with its love-yearning melody, he
nodded to his sister with wondering delight, and then listened, as if
rapt from the world, until the last notes of the motet died away.

Where had Appenzelder discovered the marvellous boy who sang this
"Quia amore langueo"?  He sent Don Luis Quijada to assure the leader and
the young singer of his warmest approbation, and then permitted the Queen
also to seek the choir and its leader to ask whom the latter had
succeeded in obtaining in the place of the lad from Cologne, whom he had
often heard sing the "tu pulchra es," but with incomparably less depth of
feeling.

When she returned she informed the Emperor of the misfortune which had
befallen the two boys, and how successful Appenzelder had been in the
choice of a substitute.  Yet she still concealed the fact that a girl was
now the leader of his choir, for, kindly as her brother nodded to her
when she took her place at the table again, no one could tell how he
would regard this anomaly.

Besides, the next day would be the 1st of May, the anniversary of the
death of his wife Isabella, who had passed away from earth seven years
before, and the more she herself had been surprised by the rare and
singular beauty of the fair-haired songstress, the less could she venture
on that day or the morrow to blend with the memories of the departed
Queen the image of another woman who possessed such unusual charms.  The
Emperor had already asked her a few questions about the young singers,
and learned that the bell-like weaker voice, which harmonized so
exquisitely with that of the invalid Johannes's substitute, belonged to
the little Maltese lad Hannibal, whose darling wish, through Wolf's
intercession, had been fulfilled.  His inquiries, however, were
interrupted by a fresh performance of the boy choir.

This again extorted enthusiastic applause from the sovereign, and when,
while he was still shouting "Brava!" the highly seasoned game pasty which
meanwhile, despite the regent's former prohibition, had been prepared,
and now, beautifully browned, rose from a garland of the most tempting
accessories, was offered, he waved it away.  As he did so his eyes sought
his sister's, and his expressive features told her that he was imposing
this sacrifice upon himself for her sake.

It was long since he had bestowed a fairer gift.  True, in this mood, it
seemed impossible for him to refrain from the wine.  It enlivened him and
doubled the unexpected pleasure.  Unfortunately, he was to atone only too
speedily for this offence against medical advice, for his heated blood
increased the twinges of the gout to such a degree that he was compelled
to relinquish his desire to listen to the exquisite singing longer.

Groaning, he suffered himself--this time in a litter--to be carried back
to his chamber, where, in spite of the pangs that tortured him, he asked
for the letter in which Granvelle informed his royal master every evening
what he thought of the political affairs to be settled the nextday.
Master Adrian, the valet, had just brought it, but this time Charles
glanced over the important expressions of opinion given by the young
minister swiftly and without deeper examination.  The saying that the
Emperor could not dispense with him, but he might do without the Emperor,
had originally applied to his father, whose position he filled to the
monarch's satisfaction in every respect.

The confessor had reminded the sovereign of the anniversary which had
already dawned, and which he was accustomed to celebrate in his own way.

Very early in the morning, after a few hours spent in suffering, he heard
mass, and then remained for hours in the sable-draped room where he
communed with himself alone.

The regent knew that on this memorable day he would not be seen even by
her.  The success of the surprise afforded a guarantee that music would
supply her place to him on the morrow also, and ere she left him she
requested a short leave of absence to enjoy the hunting for which she
longed, and permission to take his major-domo Quijada with her.

An almost unintelligible murmur from the sufferer told her that he had
granted the petition.  It was done reluctantly, but the Queen departed at
dawn with Don Luis and a small train of attendants, while the Emperor
retired into the black-draped chamber.

The gout would really have prohibited him from kneeling before the altar,
whence the agonized face of the crucified Redeemer, carved in ivory by a
great Florentine master, gazed at him, but he took this torture upon
himself.

Even in the period of health and happiness when, at the age of twenty-
three, besides the great boon of health, besides fame, power, and woman's
love, he had enjoyed in rich abundance all the gifts which Heaven bestows
on mortals, his devout nature had led him to retreat into a gloomy,
solitary apartment.

The feeling that constantly drew him thither again was akin to the dread
which the ancients had of the envy of the gods, and, moreover, the
admonition of his pious teacher who afterward became Pope Adrian, that
the less man spares hiniself the more confidently he can rely upon the
forbearance of God.

And, in truth, this mighty sovereign, racked by almost unendurable pain,
dealt cruelly enough with himself when he compelled his aching knee to
bend until consciousness threatened to fail under the excess of agony.

Nowhere did he find more complete calmness than here, in no spot could he
pray more fervently, and the boon which he most ardently besought from
Heaven was that it would spare him the fate of his insane mother, hold
aloof the fiend which in many a gloomy hour he saw stretching a hand
toward him.

Here, too, he sought to penetrate the nature of death.  In this room,
clothed with the sable hue of mourning, he felt that alreadv, while on
earth, he had fallen into its all-levelling power.  Here his mind, like
that of a dying man's, grasped for brief intervals what life had offered
and what awaited him bevond the confines of this short earthly existence,
in eternity.

While thus occupied, the sovereign, accustomed to speculation,
encountered many a dangerous doubt, but he only needed to gaze at the
crucified Saviour to find the way again to the promises of his Church.

The last years had deprived him of so large a portion of the most
valuable possessions and the best ornaments of his life, and inflicted,
both in wardly and outwardly, such keen suffering, that it was easy for
him to perceive what a gain death would bring.

What it could take from him was easilv lost; the relief it promised to
afford no power, science, or art here on earth could procure for him--
release from cruel suffering and oppressive cares.

While he was learning the German language the name "Friend Hein," which
he heard applied to death, perplexed him; now he thought that he
understood it, for the man with the scythe wore to him also the face of a
friend, who when the time had come would not keep him waiting long.  As
he thought of his wife, of whose death this day was the anniversary, he
felt inclined to envy her.  What he had lost by her decease seemed very
little to others who were aware of the long periods of time during which,
separated from each other, they had gone their own ways; but he knew
that it was more than they supposed, for with Isabella he had lost the
certainty that the sincere, nay, perhaps affectionate interest of a being
united to him by the sacrament of marriage accompanied his every step.

His pleasure in life had withered with the growth of the harsh conviction
that he was no longer loved by any one for his own sake.

In this chamber, draped with sable hangings, his own heart seemed dead,
like dry wood from which only a miracle could lure green leafage again.
With the only real pity which was at his command, compassion on himself,
he rose from the kneeling posture which had become unbearable.

With difficulty he sank into the arm-chair which stood ready for him,
and, panting for breath, asked himself whether every joy had indeed
vanished.  No!

Music still stirred his benumbed heart to swifter throbbing.  He thought
of the pleasure which the previous evening had afforded, and suddenly it
seemed as if he again heard the "Quia amore langueo"--"Because I long for
love"--that had touched his soul the day before.

Yes, he, too, still longed for love, for a different, a warmer feeling
than the lukewarm blood of his royal mother had bestowed upon her
children, or the devotion of the sister to whom the chase was dearer than
aught else, certainly than his society.

But such thoughts did not befit this room, which was consecrated to
serious reflections.  The anniversary summoned him to far different
feelings.  Yet, powerfully as he resisted them, his awakened senses
continued to demand their rights, and, while he closed his eyes and
pressed his brow against the base of the altar covered with black cloth,
changeful images of happier days rose before him.  He, too, had rejoiced
in a vigorous, strong, and pliant body.  In the jousts he had been sure
of victory over even dreaded opponents; as a bull-fighter he had excelled
the matador; as a skilful participant in riding at the ring, as well as a
tireless hunter, he had scarcely found his equal.  In the prime of his
youth the hearts of many fair women had throbbed warmly for him, but he
had been fastidious.  Yet where he had aimed at victory, he had rarely
failed.

The sensuous, fair-haired Duchess of Aerschot, the dark-eyed Cornelia
Annoni of Milan, the devout Dolores Gonzaga, with her large, calm,
enthusiastic eyes, and again and again, crowding all the others into the
background, the timid Johanna van der Gheynst, who under her delicate
frame concealed a volcano of ardent passion.  She had given him a
daughter whose head was now adorned by a crown.  In spite of the brief
duration of their love bond, she had been clearer to him than all the
rest--clearer even than the woman to whom the sacrament of marriage
afterward united him.  And she of whom seven years ago death had bereft
him?

At this question a bitter smile hovered around his full lips.  How much
better love than hers he had known!  And how easy Isabella had rendered
it not to weary of her, for during his long journeys and frequent
dangerous campaigns, instead of accompanying him, she had led in some
carefully guarded castle a life that suited her quiet tastes.

A sorrowful smile curled his lips as he recalled the agreement which they
had made just before a separation.  At that time both were young, yet how
willingly she had accepted his proposal that, when age approached, they
should separate forever, that she in one cloister and he in another might
prepare for the end of life!

What reply would a woman with true love in her heart have made to such a
demand?

No, no, Isabella had felt as little genuine love for him as he for her!
Her death had been a sorrow to him, but he had shed no tears over it.

He could not weep.  He no longer knew whether he was able to do so when a
child.  Since his beard had grown, at any rate, his eyes had remained
dry.  The words of the Roman satirist, that tears were the best portion
of all human life, returned to his memory.  Would he himself ever
experience the relief which they were said to afford the human heart?

But who among the living would he have deemed worthy of them?  When his
insane mother died, he could not help considering the poor Queen
fortunate because Heaven had at last released her from such a condition.
Of the children whom his wife Isabella and Johanna van der Gheynst had
given him, he did not even think.  An icy atmosphere emanated from his
son Philip which froze every warm feeling that encountered it.  He
remembered his daughter with pleasure, but how rarely he was permitted to
enjoy her society!  Besides, he had done enough for his posterity, more
than enough.  To increase the grandeur of his family and render it the
most powerful reigning house in the world, he had become prematurely old;
had undertaken superhuman tasks of toil and care; even now he would
permit himself no repose.  The consciousness of having fulfilled his duty
to his family and the Church might have comforted him in this hour, but
the plus ultra--more, farther--which had so often led him into the
conflict for the dream of a world sovereignty, the grandeur of his own
race, and against the foes of his holy faith, now met the barrier of a
more powerful fate.  Instead of advancing, he had seemed, since the
defeat at Algiers, to go backward.

Besides, how often the leech threatened him with a speedy death if he
indulged himself at table with the viands which suited his taste!  Yet
the other things that remained for him to enjoy scarcely seemed worth
mentioning.  To restore unity to the Church, to make the crowns which he
wore the hereditary possessions of his house, were two aims worthy of the
hardest struggles, but, unless he deceived himself, he could not hope to
attain them.  Thus life, until its end--perhaps wholly unexpectedly--
arrived within a brief season, offered him nothing save suffering and
sacrifice, disappointment, toil, and anxieties.

With little cheer or elevation of soul, he looked up and rang the
bell.  Two chamberlains and Master Adrian appeared, and while Baron
Malfalconnet, who did not venture to jest in this spot, offered him his
arm and the valet the crutch, his confessor, Pedro de Soto, also entered
the black-draped room.

A single glance showed him that this time the quiet sojourn in the gloomy
apartment, instead of exerting an elevating and brightening influence,
had had a depressing and saddening effect upon the already clouded spirit
of his imperial penitent.  In spite of the most zealous effort, he had
not succeeded in finding his way into the soul-life of this sovereign,
equally great in intellect and energy, but neither frank nor truthful,
yet, on the other hand, his penetration often succeeded in fathoming the
causes of the Emperor's moods.

With the quiet firmness which harmonized so perfectly with a personal
appearance that inspired confidence, the priest now frankly but
respectfully expressed what he thought he had observed.

True, he attributed the Emperor's deep despondency to totally different
causes, but he openly deplored the sorrowful agitation which the memories
of the beloved dead had awakened in his Majesty.

In natural, simple words, the learned man, skilled in the art of
language, represented to the imperial widower how little reason he had to
mourn his devout wife.  He was rather justified in regarding her death
hour as the first of a happy birthday.  For the sleeper whose dream here
on earth he, Charles, had beautified in so many ways, a happy waking had
long since followed in the land for which she had never ceased to yearn.
For him, the Emperor, Heaven still had great tasks in this world, and
many a victory awaited him.  If his prayer was heard, and his Majesty
should decide to battle for the holiest cause, sorrowful anxieties would
vanish from his pathway as the mists of dawn scatter before the rising
sun.  He well knew the gravity of the demands which every day imposed
upon his Majesty, but he could give him the assurance that nothing could
be more pleasing to Heaven than that he, who was chosen as its champion,
should, by mastering them, enjoy the gifts with which Eternal Love set
its board as abundantly for the poorest carter as for the mightiest
ruler.

Then he spoke of the surprise of the night before, and how gratefully he
had heard that music had once more exerted its former magic power.  Its
effect would be permanent, even though physical suffering and sorrowful
memories might interrupt it for a few brief hours.

"That," he concluded, "Nature herself just at this season teaches us to
hope.  This day of fasting and sadness will be followed by a series of
the brightest weeks--the time of leafage, blossom, and bird songs, which
is so dear to the merciful mother of God.  May the month of May, called
by the Germans the joy month, and which dawns to-day with bright sunshine
and a clear, blue sky, be indeed a season of joy to your Majesty!"

"God grant it!" replied the Emperor dully, and then, with a shrug of
the shoulders, added: "Besides, I can not imagine whence such joy should
come to me.  A boy's bell-like voice sang to me yesterday, 'Quia amore
langueo.'  This heart, too, longs for love, but it will never find it on
earth."

"Why not, if your Majesty sends forth to seek it?" replied the confessor
eagerly.  "The Gospel itself gives a guarantee of success.  'Seek, and ye
shall find,' it promises.  To the heart which longs for love the all-
bountiful Father sends that for which it longs to meet it halfway."

"When it is young," added the Emperor, shrugging his shoulders
impatiently."  But when the soul's power of flight has failed, who
will bestow the ability to traverse the half of the way allotted to it?"

"The omnipotence which works greater miracles," replied the priest in a
tone of the most ardent conviction, pointing upward.

Charles nodded a mournful assent, and, after a sign which indicated to
the confessor that he desired the interview to end, he continued his
painful walk.

He had waved aside the litter which the lord chamberlain, Count Heinrich
of Nassau, had placed ready for him, and limped, amid severe suffering,
to his room.

There the Bishop of Arras awaited him with arduous work, and the Emperor
did not allow himself a moment's rest while his sister was using the
beautiful first of May to ride and hunt.  Charles missed her, and still
more the faithful man who had served him as a page, and whom he had been
accustomed since to have in close attendance upon him.

To gratify his sister's passion for the chase he had given Quijada leave
of absence, and now he regretted it.  True, he told no one that he missed
Don Luis, but those who surrounded him were made to feel his ill-humour
plainly enough.  Only he admitted to the Bishop of Arras that the radiant
light which was shining into his window was disagreeable.  It made too
strong a contrast to his gloomy soul, and it even seemed as though the
course of the sun, in its beaming, unattainably lofty path, mocked the
hapless, painful obstruction to his own motion.

At noon he enjoyed very little of the meal, prepared for a fast day,
which the new cook had made tempting enough.

In reply to the Count of Nassau's inquiry whether he wished to hear any
music, he had answered rudely that the musicians and the boy choir could
play and sing in the chapel for aught he cared.  Whether he would listen
to the performance was doubtful.

Single tones had reached his ears, but he did not feel in the mood to
descend the stairs.

He went to rest earlier than usual.  The next morning, after mass, he
himself asked for Josquin's "Ecce tu pulchra es."  It was to be sung
during the noonday meal.  But when, instead of the Queen and Quijada,
a little note came from his sister, requesting, in a jesting tone, an
extension of the leave of absence because she trusted to the healing
power of the sun and the medicine "music" upon her distinguished brother,
and the chase bound her by a really magic spell to the green May woods,
he flung the sheet indignantly away, and, just before the beginning of
the meal, ordered the singing to be omitted.

Either in consequence of the fasting or the warm sunshine, the pangs of
the gout began to lessen; but, nevertheless, his mood grew still more
melancholy, for he had believed in the sincere affection of two human
beings, and Queen Mary left him alone in his misery, while his faithful
Luis, to please the female Nimrod, did the same.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Dread which the ancients had of the envy of the gods
Shuns the downward glance of compassion
That tears were the best portion of all human life





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Barbara Blomberg — Volume 02" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home