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Title: A Word, Only a Word — Volume 04
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 "A Word, Only a Word — Volume 04" ***

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A WORD, ONLY A WORD

By Georg Ebers

Volume 4.


CHAPTER XXI.

The admiral's ship, which bore King Philip's ambassador to Venice,
reached its destination safely, though it had encountered many severe
storms on the voyage, during which Ulrich was the only passenger, who
amid the rolling and pitching of the vessel, remained as well as an old
sailor.

But, on the other hand his peace of mind was greatly impaired, and any
one who had watched him leaning over the ship's bulwark, gazing into the
sea, or pacing up and down with restless bearing and gloomy eyes, would
scarcely have suspected that this reserved, irritable youth, who was only
too often under the dominion of melancholy moods, had won only a short
time before a noble human heart, and was on the way to the realization of
his boldest dreams, the fulfilment of his most ardent wishes.

How differently he had hoped to enter "the Paradise of Art!"

Never had he been so free, so vigorous, so rich, as in the dawn of the
day, at whose close he was to unite Isabella's life with his own--and
now--now!

He had expected to wander through Italy from place to place as
untrammelled, gay, and free as the birds in the air; he had desired to
see, admire, en joy, and after becoming familiar with all the great
artists, choose a new master among them.  Sophonisba's home was to have
become his, and it had never entered his mind to limit the period of his
enjoyment and study on the sacred soil.

How differently his life must now be ordered!  Until he went on board of
the ship in Valencia, the thought of calling a girl so good, sensible and
loving as Isabella his own, rejoiced and inspired him, but during the
solitary hours a sea-voyage so lavishly bestows, a strange transformation
in his feelings occurred.

The wider became the watery expanse between him and Spain, the farther
receded Isabella's memory, the less alluring and delightful grew the
thought of possessing her hand.

He now told himself that, before the fatal hour, he had rejoiced at the
anticipation of escaping her pedantic criticism, and when he looked
forward to the future and saw himself, handsome Ulrich Navarrete, whose
superior height filled the smaller Castilians with envy, walking through
the streets with his tiny wife, and perceived the smiles of the people
they met, he was seized with fierce indignation against himself and his
hard fate.

He felt fettered like the galley-slaves, whose chains rattled and
clanked, as they pulled at the oars in the ship's waist.  At other times
he could not help recalling her large, beautiful, love-beaming eyes, her
soft, red lips, and yearningly confess that it would have been sweet to
hold her in his arms and kiss her, and, since he had forever lost his
Ruth, he could find no more faithful, sensible, tender wife than she.

But what should he, the student, the wandering disciple of Art, do with a
bride, a wife?  The best and fairest of her sex would now have seemed to
him an impediment, a wearisome clog.  The thought of being obliged to
accomplish some fixed task within a certain time, and then be subjected
to an examination, curbed his enjoyment, oppressed, angered him.

Grey mists gathered more and more densely over the sunny land, for which
he had longed with such passionate ardor, and it seemed as if in that
luckless hour, he had been faithless to the "word,"--had deprived himself
of its assistance forever.

He often felt tempted to send Coello his ducats and tell him he had been
hasty, and cherished no desire to wed his daughter; but perhaps that
would break the heart of the poor, dear little thing, who loved him so
tenderly!  He would be no dishonorable ingrate, but bear the consequences
of his own recklessness.

Perhaps some miracle would happen in Italy, Art's own domain.  Perhaps
the sublime goddess would again take him to her heart, and exert on him
also the power Sophonisba had so fervently praised.

The ambassador and his secretary, de Soto, thought Ulrich an unsocial
dreamer; but nevertheless, after they reached Venice, the latter invited
him to share his lodgings, for Don Juan had requested him to interest
himself in the young artist.

What could be the matter with the handsome fellow?  The secretary tried
to question him, but Ulrich did not betray what troubled him, only
alluding in general terms to a great anxiety that burdened his mind.

"But the time is now coming when the poorest of the poor, the most
miserable of all forsaken mortals, cast aside their griefs!" cried de
Soto.  "Day after to morrow the joyous Carnival season will begin!  Hold
up your head, young man!  Cast your sorrows into the Grand Canal, and
until Ash-Wednesday, imagine that heaven has fallen upon earth!"

Oh! blue sea, that washes the lagunes, oh!  mast-thronged Lido, oh!
palace of the Doges, that chains the eye, as well as the backward gazing,
mind, oh! dome of St. Mark, in thy incomparable garb of gold and
paintings, oh!  ye steeds and other divine works of bronze, ye noble
palaces, for which the still surface of the placid water serves as a
mirror, thou square of St. Mark, where, clad in velvet, silk and gold,
the richest and freest of all races display their magnificence, with just
pride!  Thou harbor, thou forest of masts, thou countless fleet of
stately galleys, which bind one quarter of the globe to another,
inspiring terror, compelling obedience, and gaining boundless treasures
by peaceful voyages and with shining blades.  Oh! thou Rialto, where gold
is stored, as wheat and rye are elsewhere;--ye proud nobles, ye fair
dames with luxuriant tresses, whose raven hue pleases ye not, and which
ye dye as bright golden as the glittering zechins ye squander with such
small, yet lavish hands!  Oh!  Venice, Queen of the sea, mother of
riches, throne of power, hall of fame, temple of art, who could escape
thy spell!

What wanton Spring is to the earth, thy carnival season is to thee!  It
transforms the magnificence of color of the lagune-city into a dazzling
radiance, the smiles to Olympic laughter, the love-whispers to exultant
songs, the noisy, busy life of the mighty commercial city into a mad
whirlpool, which draws everything into its circle, and releases nothing
it has once seized.

De Soto urged and pushed the youth, who had already lost his mental
equipoise, into the midst of the gulf, ere he had found the right
current.

On the barges, amid the throngs in the streets, at banquets, in ball-
rooms, at the gaming-table, everywhere, the young, golden-haired,
superbly-dressed artist, who was on intimate terms with the Spanish
king's ambassador, attracted the attention of men, and the eyes,
curiosity and admiration of the women; though people as yet knew not
whence he came.

He chose the tallest and most stately of the slender dames of Venice
to lead in the dance, or through the throng of masks and citizens
intoxicated with the mirth of the carnival.  Whithersoever he led the
fairest followed.

He wished to enjoy the respite before execution.  To forget--to forget--
to indemnify himself for future seasons of sacrifice, dulness, self-
conquest, torment.

Poor little Isabella!  Your lover sought to enjoy the sensation of
showing himself to the crowd with the stateliest woman in the company on
his arm!  And you, Ulrich, how did you feel when people exclaimed behind
you: "A splendid pair!  Look at that couple!"

Amid this ecstasy, he needed no helping word, neither "fortune" nor "art;
"without any magic spell he flew from pleasure to pleasure, through every
changing scene, thinking only of the present and asking no questions
about the future.

Like one possessed he plunged into passion's wild whirl.  From the
embrace of beautiful arms he rushed to the gaming-table, where the ducats
he flung down soon became a pile of gold; the zechins filled his purse to
overflowing.

The quickly-won treasure melted like snow in the sun, and returned again
like stray doves to their open cote.

The works of art were only enjoyed with drunken eyes--yet, once more the
gracious word exerted its wondrous power on the misguided youth.

On Shrove-Tuesday, the ambassador took Ulrich to the great Titian.

He stood face to face with the mighty monarch of colors, listened to
gracious words from his lips, and saw the nonogenarian, whose tall figure
was scarcely bowed, receive the king's gifts.

Never, never, to the close of his existence could he forget that face!

The features were as delicately and as clearly outlined, as if cut with
an engraver's chisel from hard metal; but pallid, bloodless, untinged by
the faintest trace of color.  The long, silver-white beard of the tall
venerable painter flowed in thick waves over his breast, and the eyes,
with which he scanned Ulrich, were those of a vigorous, keen-sighted man.
His voice did not sound harsh, but sad and melancholy; deep sorrow
shadowed his glance, and stamped itself upon the mouth of him, whose
thin, aged hand still ensnared the senses easily and surely with gay
symphonies of color!

The youth answered the distinguished Master's questions with trembling
lips, and when Titian invited him to share his meal, and Ulrich, seated
at the lower end of the table in the brilliant banqueting-hall, was told
by his neighbors with what great men he was permitted to eat, he felt so
timid, small, and insignificant, that he scarcely ventured to touch the
goblets and delicious viands the servants offered.

He looked and listened; distinguishing his old master's name, and hearing
him praised without stint as a portrait-painter.  He was questioned about
him, and gave confused answers.

Then the guests rose.

The February sun was shining into the lofty window, where Titian seated
himself to talk more gaily than before with Paolo Cagliari, Veronese, and
other great artists and nobles.

Again Ulrich heard Moor mentioned.  Then the old man, from whom the youth
had not averted his eyes for an instant, beckoned, and Cagliari called
him, saying that he, the gallant Antonio Moor's pupil, must now show what
he could do; the Master, Titian, would give him a task.

A shudder ran through his frame; cold drops of perspiration, extorted by
fear, stood on his brow.

The old man now invited him to accompany his nephew to the studio.
Daylight would last an hour longer.  He might paint a Jew; no usurer nor
dealer in clothes, but one of the noble race of prophets, disciples,
apostles.

Ulrich stood before the easel.

For the first time after a long period he again called upon the "word,"
and did so fervently, with all his heart.  His beloved dead, who in the
tumult of carnival mirth had vanished from his memory, again rose before
his mind, among them the doctor, who gazed rebukingly at him with his
clear, thoughtful eyes.

Like an inspiration a thought darted through the youth's brain.  He could
and would paint Costa, his friend and teacher, Ruth's father.

The portrait he had drawn when a boy appeared before his memory, feature
for feature.  A red pencil lay close at hand.

Sketching the outlines with a few hasty strokes, he seized the brush, and
while hurriedly guiding it and mixing the colors, he saw in fancy Costa
standing before him, asking him to paint his portrait.

Ulrich had never forgotten the mild expression of the eyes, the smile
hovering about the delicate lips, and now delineated them as well as he
could.  The moments slipped by, and the portrait gained roundness and
life.  The youth stepped back to see what it still needed, and once more
called upon the "word" from the inmost depths of his heart; at the same
instant the door opened, and leaning on a younger painter, Titian, with
several other artists, entered the studio.

He looked at the picture, then at Ulrich, and said with an approving
smile: "See, see!  Not too much of the Jew, and a perfect apostle!  A
Paul, or with longer hair and a little more youthful aspect, an admirable
St. John.  Well done, well done! my son!"

Well done, well done!  These words from Titian had ennobled his work;
they echoed loudly in his soul, and the measure of his bliss threatened
to overflow, when no less a personage than the famous Paolo Veronese,
invited him to come to his studio as a pupil on Saturday.

Enraptured, animated by fresh hope, he threw himself into his gondola.

Everyone had left the palace, where he lodged with de Soto.  Who would
remain at home on the evening of Shrove-Tuesday?

The lonely rooms grew too confined for him.

Quiet days would begin early the next morning, and on Saturday a new,
fruitful life in the service of the only true word, Art, divine Art,
would commence for him.  He would enjoy this one more evening of pleasure,
this night of joy; drain it to the dregs.  He fancied he had won a
right that day to taste every bliss earth could give.

Torches, pitch-pans and lamps made the square of St. Mark's as bright as
day, and the maskers crowded upon its smooth pavement as if it were the
floor of an immense ball-room.

Intoxicating music, loud laughter, low, tender whispers, sweet odors from
the floating tresses of fair women bewildered Ulrich's senses, already
confused by success and joy.  He boldly accosted every one, and if he
suspected that a fair face was concealed under a mask, drew nearer,
touched the strings of a lute, that hung by a purple ribbon round his
neck, and in the notes of a tender song besought love.

Many a wave of the fan rewarded, many an angry glance from men's dark
eyes rebuked the bold wooer.  A magnificent woman of queenly height now
passed, leaning on the arm of a richly-dressed cavalier.

Was not that the fair Claudia, who a short time before had lost enormous
sums at the gaming-table in the name of the rich Grimani, and who had
invited Ulrich to visit her later, during Lent?

It was, he could not be mistaken, and now followed the pair like a
shadow, growing bolder and bolder the more angrily the cavalier rebuffed
him with wrathful glances and harsh words; for the lady did not cease to
signify that she recognized him and enjoyed his playing.  But the
nobleman was not disposed to endure this offensive sport.  Pausing in the
middle of the square, he released his arm with a contemptuous gesture,
saying: "The lute-player, or I, my fair one; you can decide----"

The Venetian laughed loudly, laid her hand on Ulrich's arm and said: "The
rest of the Shrove-Tuesday night shall be yours, my merry singer."

Ulrich joined in her gayety, and taking the lute from his neck, offered
it to the cavalier, with a defiant gesture, exclaiming:

"It's at your disposal, Mask; we have changed parts.  But please hold it
firmer than you held your lady."  High play went on in the gaming hall;
Claudia was lucky with the artist's gold.

At midnight the banker laid down the cards.  It was Ash-Wednesday, the
hall must be cleared; the quiet Lenten season had begun.

The players withdrew into the adjoining rooms, among them the much-envied
couple.

Claudia threw herself upon a couch; Ulrich left her to procure a gondola.

As soon as he was gone, she was surrounded by a motley throng of suitors.

How the beautiful woman's dark eyes sparkled, how the gems on her full
neck and dazzling arms glittered, how readily she uttered a witty
repartee to each gay sally.

"Claudia unaccompanied!" cried a young noble.  "The strangest sight at
this remarkable carnival!"

"I am fasting," she answered gaily; "and now that I long for meagre food,
you come!  What a lucky chance!"

"Heavy Grimani has also become a very light man, with your assistance."

"That's why he flew away.  Suppose you follow him?"

"Gladly, gladly, if you will accompany me."

"Excuse me to-day; there comes my knight."

Ulrich had remained absent a long time, but Claudia had not noticed it.
Now he bowed to the gentlemen, offered her his arm, and as they descended
the staircase, whispered: "The mask who escorted you just now detained
me;--and there....see, they are picking him up down there in the court-
yard.--He attacked me...."

"You have--you...."

"'They came to his assistance immediately.  He barred my way with his
unsheathed blade."

Claudia hastily drew her hand from the artist's arm, exclaiming in a low,
anxious tone: "Go, go, unhappy man, whoever you may be!  It was Luigi
Grimani; it was a Grimani!  You are lost, if they find you.  Go, if you
love your life, go at once!"

So ended the Shrove-Tuesday, which had begun so gloriously for the young
artist.  Titian's "well done" no longer sounded cheerfully in his ears,
the "go, go," of the venal woman echoed all the more loudly.

De Soto was waiting for him, to repeat to him the high praise he had
heard bestowed upon his art-test at Titian's; but Ulrich heard nothing,
for he gave the secretary no time to speak, and the latter could only
echo the beautiful Claudia's "go, go!"  and then smooth the way for his
flight.

When the morning of Ash-Wednesday dawned cool and misty, Venice lay
behind the young artist.  Unpursued, but without finding rest or
satisfaction, he went to Parma, Bologna, Pisa, Florence.

Grimani's death burdened his conscience but lightly.  Duelling was a
battle in miniature, to kill one's foe no crime, but a victory.  Far
different anxieties tortured him.

Venice, whither the "word" had led him, from which he had hoped and
expected everything, was lost to him, and with it Titian's favor and
Cagliari's instruction.

He began to doubt himself, his future, the sublime word and its magic
spell.  The greater the works which the traveller's eyes beheld, the more
insignificant he felt, the more pitiful his own powers, his own skill
appeared.

"Draw, draw!"  advised every master to whom he applied, as soon as he had
seen his work.  The great men, to whom he offered himself as a pupil,
required years of persevering study.  But his time was limited, for the
misguided youth's faithful German heart held firmly to one resolve; he
must present himself to Coello at the end of the appointed time.  The
happiness of his life was forfeited, but no one should obtain the right
to call him faithless to his word, or a scoundrel.

In Florence he heard Sebastiano Filippi--who had been a pupil of Michael
Angelo-praised as a good drawer; so he sought him in Ferrara and found
him ready to teach him what he still lacked.  But the works of the new
master did not please him.  The youth, accustomed to Moor's wonderful
clearness, Titian's brilliant hues, found Filippi's pictures indistinct,
as if veiled by grey mists.  Yet he forced himself to remain with him for
months, for he was really remarkably skilful in drawing, and his studio
never lacked nude models; he needed them for the preliminary studies for
his "Day of Judgment."

Without satisfaction, without pleasure in the wearisome work, without
love for the sickly master, who held aloof from any social intercourse
with him when the hours of labor were over, he felt discontented, bored,
disenchanted.

In the evening he sought diversion at the gaming-table, and fortune
favored him here as it had done in Venice.  His purse overflowed with
zechins; but with the red gold, Art withdrew from him her powerful ally,
necessity, the pressing need of gaining a livelihood by the exertion of
his own strength.

He spent the hours appointed for study like a careless lover, and worked
without inclination, without pleasure, without ardor, yet with visible
increase of skill.

In gambling he forgot what tortured him, it stirred his blood, dispelled
weariness; the gold was nothing to him.

The lion's share of his gains he loaned to broken gamblers, without
expectation of return, gave to starving artists, or flung with lavish
hand to beggars.

So the months in Ferrara glided by, and when the allotted time was over,
he took leave of Sebastiano Filippi without regret.  He returned by sea
to Spain, and arrived in Madrid richer than he had gone away, but with
impoverished confidence in his own powers, and doubting the omnipotence
of Art.



CHAPTER XXII.

Ulrich again stood before the Alcazar, and recalled the hour when, a poor
lad, just escaped from prison, he had been harshly rebuffed by the same
porter, who now humbly saluted the young gentleman attired in costly
velvet.

And yet how gladly he would have crossed this threshold poor as in those
days, but free and with a soul full of enthusiasm and hope; how joyfully
he would have effaced from his life the years that lay between that time
and the present.

He dreaded meeting the Coellos; nothing but honor urged him to present
himself to them.

Yes--and if the old man rejected him?--so much the better!

The old cheerful confusion reigned in the studio.  He had a long time to
wait there, and then heard through several doors Senora Petra's scolding
voice and her husband's angry replies.

At last Coello came to him and after greeting him, first formally, then
cordially, and enquiring about his health and experiences, he shrugged
his shoulders, saying:

"My wife does not wish you to see Isabella again before the trial.  You
must show what you can do, of course; but I.....  you look well and
apparently have collected reales.  Or is it true," and he moved his hand
as if shaking a dice-box.  "He who wins is a good fellow, but we want no
more to do with such people here!  You find me the same as of old, and
you have returned at the right time, that is something.  De Soto has told
me about your quarrel in Venice.  The great masters were pleased with you
and this, you Hotspur, you forfeited!  Ferrara for Venice!  A poor
exchange.  Filippi--understands drawing; but otherwise....  Michael
Angelo's pupil!  Does he still write on his back?  Every monk is God's
servant, but in how few does the Lord dwell!  What have you drawn with
Sebastiano?"

Ulrich answered these questions in a subdued tone; and Coello listened
with only partial attention, for he heard his wife telling the duenna
Catalina in an adjoining room what she thought of her husband's conduct.
She did so very loudly, for she wished to be overheard by him and Ulrich.
But she was not to obtain her purpose, for Coello suddenly interrupted
the returned travellers story, saying:

"This is getting beyond endurance.  If she does her utmost, you shall see
Isabella.  A welcome, a grasp of the hand, nothing more.  Poor young
lovers!  If only it did not require such a confounded number of things to
live....Well, we will see!"

As soon as the artist had entered the adjoining room, a new and more
violent quarrel arose there, but, though Senora Petra finally called a
fainting-fit to her aid, her husband remained firm, and at last returned
to the studio with Isabella.

Ulrich had awaited her, as a criminal expects his sentence.  Now she
stood before him led by her father's hand-and he, he struck his forehead
with his fist, closed his eyes and opened them again to look at her--to
gaze as if he beheld a wondrous apparition.  Then feeling as if he should
die of shame, grief, and joyful surprise, he stood spellbound, and knew
not what to do, save to extend both hands to her, or what to say, save
I....I--I," then with a sudden change of tone exclaimed like a madman:

"You don't know!  I am not....  Give me time, master.  Here, here, girl,
you must, you shall, all must not be over!"

He had opened his arms wide, and now hastily approached her with the
eager look of the gambler, who has staked his last penny on a card.

Coello's daughter did not obey.

She was no longer little, unassuming Belita; here stood no child, but a
beautiful, blooming maiden.  In eighteen months her figure had gained
height; anxious yearning and constant contention with her mother had
wasted her superabundance of flesh; her face had become oval, her bearing
self-possessed.  Her large, clear eyes now showed their full beauty, her
half-developed features had acquired exquisite symmetry, and her raven-
black hair floated, like a shining ornament, around her pale, charming
face.

"Happy will be the man, who is permitted to call this woman his own!"
cried a voice in the youth's breast, but another voice whispered "Lost,
lost, forfeited, trifled away!"

Why did she not obey his call?  Why did she not rush into his open arms?
Why, why?

He clenched his fists, bit his lips, for she did not stir, except to
press closely to her father's side.

This handsome, splendidly-dressed gentleman, with the pointed beard,
deep-set eyes, and stern, gloomy gaze, was an entirely different person
from the gay enthusiastic follower of art, for whom her awakening heart
had first throbbed more quickly; this was not the future master, who
stood before her mind as a glorious favorite of fortune and the muse,
transfigured by joyous creation and lofty success--this defiant giant
did not look like an artist.  No, no; yonder man no longer resembled the
Ulrich, to whom, in the happiest hour of her life, she had so willingly,
almost too willingly, offered her pure lips.

Isabella's young heart contracted with a chill, yet she saw that he
longed for her; she knew, could not deny, that she had bound herself to
him body and soul, and yet--yet, she would so gladly have loved him.

She strove to speak, but could find no words, save "Ulrich, Ulrich," and
these did not sound gay and joyous, but confused and questioning.

Coello felt her fingers press his shoulder closer and closer.  She was
surely seeking protection and aid from him, to keep her promise and
resist her lover's passionate appeal.

Now his darling's eyes filled with tears, and he felt the tremor of her
limbs.

Softened by affectionate weakness and no longer able to resist the
impulse to see his little Belita happy, he whispered:

"Poor thing, poor young lovers!  Do as you choose, I won't look."

But Isabella did not leave him; she only drew herself up higher, summoned
all her courage and looking the returned traveller more steadily in the
face, said:

"You are so changed, so entirely changed, Ulrich I cannot tell what has
come over me.  I have anticipated this hour day and night, and now it is
here;--what is this?  What has placed itself between us?"

"What, indeed!"  he indignantly exclaimed, advancing towards her with a
threatening air.  "What?  Surely you must know!  Your mother has destroyed
your regard for the poor bungler.  Here I stand!  Have I kept my promise,
yes or no?  Have I become a monster, a venomous serpent?  Do not look at
me so again, do not!  It will do no good; to you or me.  I will not allow
myself to be trifled with!"

Ulrich had shouted these words, as if some great injustice had been done
him, and he believed himself in the right.

Coello tried to release himself from his daughter, to confront the
passionately excited man, but she held him back, and with a pale face and
trembling voice, but proud and resolute manner, answered:

"No one has trifled with you, I least of all; my love has been earnest,
sacred earnest."

"Earnest!" interrupted Ulrich, with cutting irony.

"Yes, yes, sacred earnest;--and when my mother told me you had killed a
man and left Venice for a worthless woman's sake, when it was rumored,
that in Ferrara you had become a gambler, I thought: 'I know him better,
they are slandering him to destroy the love you bear in your heart.'
I did not believe it; but now I do.  I believe it, and shall do so, till
you have withstood your trial.  For the gambler I am too good, to the
artist Navarrete I will joyfully keep my promise.  Not a word, I will
hear no more.  Come, father!  If he loves me, he will understand how to
win me.  I am afraid of this man."

Ulrich now knew who was in fault, and who in the right.  Strong impulse
urged him away from the studio, away from Art and his betrothed bride;
for he had forfeited all the best things in life.

But Coello barred his way.  He was not the man, for the sake of a brawl
and luck at play, to break friendship with the faithful companion, who
had shown distinctly enough how fondly he loved his darling.  He had
hidden behind these bushes himself in his youth, and yet become a skilful
artist and good husband.

He willingly yielded to his wife in small matters, in important ones he
meant to remain master of the house.  Herrera was a great scholar and
artist, but an insignificant man; and he allowed himself to be paid
like a bungler.  Ulrich's manly beauty had pleased him, and under his,
Coello's teaching, he would make his mark.  He, the father knew better
what suited Isabella than she herself.  Girls do not sob so bitterly as
she had done, as soon as the door of the studio closed behind her, unless
they are in love.

Whence did she obtain this cool judgment?  Certainly not from him, far
less from her mother.

Perhaps she only wished to arouse Navarrete to do his best at the trial.
Coello smiled; it was in his power to judge mildly.

So he detained Ulrich with cheering words, and gave him a task in which
he could probably succeed.  He was to paint a Madonna and Child, and two
months were allowed him for the work.  There was a studio in the Casa del
Campo, he could paint there and need only promise never to visit the
Alcazar before the completion of the work.

Ulrich consented.  Isabella must be his.  Scorn for scorn!

She should learn which was the stronger.

He knew not whether he loved or hated her, but her resistance had
passionately inflamed his longing to call her his.  He was determined,
by summoning all his powers, to create a masterpiece.  What Titian had
approved must satisfy a Coello! so he began the task.

A strong impulse urged him to sketch boldly and without long
consideration, the picture of the Madonna, as it had once lived in his
soul, but he restrained himself, repeating the warning words which had so
often been dinned into his ears: Draw, draw!

A female model was soon found; but instead of trusting his eyes and
boldly reproducing what he beheld, he measured again and again, and
effaced what the red pencil had finished.  While painting his courage
rose, for the hair, flesh, and dress seemed to him to become true to
nature and effective.  But he, who in better times had bound himself
heart and soul to Art and served her with his whole soul, in this picture
forced himself to a method of work, against which his inmost heart
rebelled.  His model was beautiful, but he could read nothing in the
regular features, except that they were fair, and the lifeless
countenance became distasteful to him.  The boy too caused him great
trouble, for he lacked appreciation of the charm of childish innocence,
the spell of childish character.

Meantime he felt great secret anxiety.  The impulse that moved his brush
was no longer the divine pleasure in creation of former days, but dread
of failure, and ardent, daily increasing love for Isabella.

Weeks elapsed.

Ulrich lived in the lonely little palace to which he had retired,
avoiding all society, toiling early and late with restless, joyless
industry, at a work which pleased him less with every new day.

Don Juan of Austria sometimes met him in the park.  Once the Emperor's
son called to him:

"Well, Navarrete, how goes the enlisting?"

But Ulrich would not abandon his art, though he had long doubted its
omnipotence.  The nearer the second month approached its close, the more
frequently, the more fervently he called upon the "word," but it did not
hear.

When it grew dark, a strong impulse urged him to go to the city, seek
brawls, and forget himself at the gaming-table; but he did not yield, and
to escape the temptation, fled to the church, where he spent whole hours,
till the sacristan put out the lights.

He was not striving for communion with the highest things, he felt no
humble desire for inward purification; far different motives influenced
him.

Inhaling the atmosphere laden with the soft music of the organ and the
fragrant incense, he could converse with his beloved dead, as if they
were actually present; the wayward man became a child, and felt all the
gentle, tender emotions of his early youth again stir his heart.

One night during the last week before the expiration of the allotted
time, a thought which could not fail to lead him to his goal, darted into
his brain like a revelation.

A beautiful woman, with a child standing in her lap, adorned the canvas.

What efforts he had made to lend these features the right expression.

Memory should aid him to gain his purpose.  What woman had ever been
fairer, more tender and loving than his own mother?

He distinctly recalled her eyes and lips, and during the last few days
remaining to him, his Madonna obtained Florette's joyous expression,
while the sensual, alluring charm, that had been peculiar to the mouth of
the musician's daughter, soon hovered around the Virgin's lips.

Ay, this was a mother, this must be a true mother, for the picture
resembled his own!

The gloomier the mood that pervaded his own soul, the more sunny and
bright the painting seemed.  He could not weary of gazing at it, for it
transported him to the happiest hours of his childhood, and when the
Madonna looked down upon him, it seemed as if he beheld the balsams
behind the window of the smithy in the market-place, and again saw the
Handsome nobles, who lifted him from his laughing mother's lap to set him
on their shoulders.

Yes! In this picture he had been aided by the "joyous art," in whose
honor Paolo Veronese, had at one of Titian's banquets, started up,
drained a glass of wine to the dregs, and hurled it through the window
into the canal.

He believed himself sure of success, and could no longer cherish anger
against Isabella.  She had led him back into the right path, and it would
be sweet, rapturously sweet, to bear the beloved maiden tenderly and
gently in his strong arms over the rough places of life.

One morning, according to the agreement, he notified Coello that the
Madonna was completed.

The Spanish artist appeared at noon, but did not come alone, and the man,
who preceded him, was no less important a personage than the king
himself.

With throbbing heart, unable to utter a single word, Ulrich opened the
door of the studio, bowing low before the monarch, who without
vouchsafing him a single glance, walked solemnly to the painting.

Coello drew aside the cloth that covered it, and the sarcastic chuckle
Ulrich had so often heard instantly echoed from the king's lips; then
turning to Coello he angrily exclaimed, loud enough to be heard by the
young artist:

"Scandalous!  Insulting, offensive botchwork!  A Bacchante in the garb
of a Madonna!  And the child! Look at those legs!  When he grows up, he
may become a dancing-master.  He who paints such Madonnas should drop his
colors!  His place is the stable--among refractory horses."

Coello could make no reply, but the king, glancing at the picture again,
cried wrathfully:

"A Christian's work, a Christian's!  What does the reptile who painted
this know of the mother, the Virgin, the stainless lily, the thornless
rose, the path by which God came to men, the mother of sorrow, who bought
the world with her tears, as Christ did with His sacred blood.  I have
seen enough, more than enough!  Escovedo is waiting for me outside!  We
will discuss the triumphal arch to-morrow!"

Philip left the studio, the court-artist accompanying him to the door.

When he returned, the unhappy youth was still standing in the same place,
gazing, panting for breath, at his condemned work.

"Poor fellow!"  said Coello, compassionately, approaching him; but Ulrich
interrupted, gasping in broken accents:

"And you, you?  Your verdict!"

The other shrugged his shoulders and answered with sincere pity:

"His Majesty is not indulgent; but come here and look yourself.  I will
not speak of the child, though it....  In God's name, let us leave it as
it is.  The picture impresses me as it did the king, and the Madonna--
I grieve to say it, she belongs anywhere rather than in Heaven.  How
often this subject is painted!  If Meister Antonio, if Moor should see
this...."

"Then, then?" asked Ulrich, his eyes glowing with a gloomy fire.

"He would compel you to begin at the beginning once more.  I am sincerely
sorry for you, and not less so for poor Belita.  My wife will triumph!
You know I have always upheld your cause; but this luckless work..."

"Enough!" interrupted the youth.  Rushing to the picture, he thrust his
maul-stick through it, then kicked easel and painting to the floor.

Coello, shaking his head, watched him, and tried to soothe him with
kindly words, but Ulrich paid no heed, exclaiming:

"It is all over with art, all over.  A Dios, Master!  Your daughter does
not care for love without art, and art and I have nothing more to do with
each other."

At the door he paused, strove to regain his self-control, and at last
held out his hand to Coello, who was gazing sorrowfully after him.

The artist gladly extended his, and Ulrich, pressing it warmly, murmured
in an agitated, trembling voice:

"Forgive this raving....It is only....I only feel, as if I was bearing
all that had been dear to me to the grave.  Thanks, Master, thanks for
many kindnesses.  I am, I have--my heart--my brain, everything is
confused.  I only know that you, that Isabella, have been kind to me.
and I, I have--it will kill me yet!  Good fortune gone!  Art gone!  A
Dios, treacherous world!  A Dios, divine art!"

As he uttered the last sentence he drew his hand from the artist's grasp,
rushed back into the studio, and with streaming eyes pressed his lips to
the palette, the handle of the brush, and his ruined picture; then he
dashed past Coello into the street.

The artist longed to go to his child; but the king detained him in the
park.  At last he was permitted to return to the Alcazar.

Isabella was waiting on the steps, before the door of their apartments.
She had stood there a long, long time.

"Father!" she called.

Coello looked up sadly and gave an answer in the negative by
compassionately waving his hand.

The young girl shivered, as if a chill breeze had struck her, and when
the artist stood beside her, she gazed enquiringly at him with her dark
eyes, which looked larger than ever in the pallid, emaciated face, and
said in a low, firm tone:

"I want to speak to him.  You will take me to the picture.  I must see
it."

"He has thrust his maul-stick through it.  Believe me, child, you would
have condemned it yourself."

"And yet, yet!  I must see it," she answered earnestly, "see it with
these eyes.  I feel, I know--he is an artist.  Wait, I'll get my
mantilla."

Isabella hurried back with flying feet, and when a short time after,
wearing the black lace kerchief on her head, she descended the staircase
by her father's side, the private secretary de Soto came towards them,
exclaiming:

"Do you want to hear the latest news,  Coello?  Your pupil Navarrete has
become faithless to you and the noble art of painting.  Don Juan gave him
the enlistment money fifteen minutes ago.  Better be a good trooper, than
a mediocre artist!  What is the matter, Senorita?"

"Nothing, nothing,"  Isabella murmured gently, and fell fainting on her
father's breast.



CHAPTER XXIII.

Two years had passed.  A beautiful October day was dawning; no cloud
dimmed the azure sky, and the sun's disk rose, glowing crimson, behind
the narrow strait, that afforded ingress to the Gulf of Corinth.

The rippling waves of the placid sea, which here washed the sunny shores
of Hellas, yonder the shady coasts of the Peloponnesus, glittered like
fresh blooming blue-bottles.

Bare, parched rocks rise in naked beauty at the north of the bay, and the
rays of the young day-star shot golden threads through the light white
mists, that floated around them.

The coast of Morea faces the north; so dense shadows still rested on the
stony olive-groves and the dark foliage of the pink laurel and oleander
bushes, whose dense clumps followed the course of the stream and filled
the ravines.

How still, how pleasant it usually was here in the early morning!

White sea-gulls hovered peacefully over the waves, a fishing-boat or
galley glided gently along, making shining furrows in the blue mirror of
the water; but today the waves curled under the burden of countless
ships, to-day thousands of long oars lashed the sea, till the surges
splashed high in the air with a wailing, clashing sound.  To-day there
was a loud clanking, rattling, roaring on both sides of the water-gate,
which afforded admittance to the Bay of Lepanto.

The roaring and shouting reverberated in mighty echoes from the bare
northern cliffs, but were subdued by the densely wooded southern shore.

Two vast bodies of furious foes confronted each other like wrestlers, who
stretch their sinewy arms to grasp and hurl their opponents to the
ground.

Pope Pius the Fifth had summoned Christianity to resist the land-
devouring power of the Ottomans.  Cyprus, Christian Cyprus, the last
province Venice possessed in the Levant, had fallen into the hands of the
Moslems.  Spain and Venice had formed an alliance with Christ's
vicegerent; Genoese, other Italians, and the Knights of St. John were
assembling in Messina to aid the league.

The finest and largest Christian armada, which had left a Christian port
for a long time, put forth to sea from this harbor.  In spite of all
intrigues, King Philip had entrusted the chief command to his young half-
brother, Don Juan of Austria.

The Ottomans too had not been idle, and with twelve myriads of soldiers
on three hundred ships, awaited the foe in the Gulf of Lepanto.

Don Juan made no delay.  The Moslems had recently murdered thousands of
Christians at Cyprus, an outrage the fiery hero could not endure, so he
cast to the winds the warnings and letters of counsel from Madrid, which
sought to curb his impetuous energy, his troops, especially the
Venetians, were longing for vengeance.

But the Moslems were no less eager for the fray, and at the close of his
council-of-war, and contrary to its decision, Kapudan Pacha sailed to
meet the enemy.

On the morning of October 7th every ship, every man was ready for battle.

The sun appeared, and from the Spanish ships musical bell-notes rose
towards heaven, blending with the echoing chant: "Allahu akbar, allahu
akbar, allahu akbar," and the devout words: "There is no God save Allah,
and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah; to prayer!"

"To prayer!"  The iron tongue of the bell uttered the summons, as well
as the resonant voice of the Muezzin, who to-day did not call the
worshippers to devotion from the top of a minaret, but from the masthead
of a ship.  On both sides of the narrow seagate, thousands of Moslems and
Christians thought, hoped and believed, that the Omnipotent One heard
them.

The bells and chanting died away, and a swift galley with Don Juan on
board, moved from ship to ship.  The young hero, holding a crucifix in
his hand, shouted encouraging words to the Christian soldiers.

The blare of trumpets, roll of drums, and shouts of command echoed from
the rocky shores.

The armada moved forward, the admiral's galley, with Don Juan, at its
head.

The Turkish fleet advanced to meet it.

The young lion no longer asked the wise counsel of the experienced
admiral.  He desired nothing, thought of nothing, issued no orders,
except "forward," "attack," "board," "kill," "sink," "destroy!"

The hostile fleets clashed into the fight as bulls, bellowing sullenly,
rush upon each other with lowered heads and bloodshot eyes.

Who, on this day of vengeance, thought of Marco Antonio Colonna's plan of
battle, or the wise counsels of Doria, Venieri, Giustiniani?

Not the clear brain and keen eye--but manly courage and strength would
turn the scale to-day.  Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, had joined
his young uncle a short time before, and now commanded a squadron of
Genoese ships in the front.  He was to keep back till Doria ordered him
to enter the battle.  But Don Juan had already boarded the vessel
commanded by the Turkish admiral, scaled the deck, and with a heavy
sword-stroke felled Kapudan Pacha.  Alexander witnessed the scene, his
impetuous, heroic courage bore him on, and he too ordered: "Forward!"

What was the huge ship he was approaching?  The silver crescent decked
its scarlet pennon, rows of cannon poured destruction from its sides, and
its lofty deck was doubly defended by bearded wearers of the turban.

It was the treasure-galley of the Ottoman fleet.  It would be a gallant
achievement could the prince vanquish this bulwark, this stronghold of
the foe; which was three times greater in size, strength, and number of
its crew, than Farnese's vessel.  What did he care, what recked he of the
shower of bullets and tar-hoops that awaited him?

Up and at them.

Doria made warning signals, but the prince paid no heed, he would neither
see nor hear them.

Brave soldiers fell bleeding and gasping on the deck beside him, his mast
was split and came crashing down.  "Who'll follow me?"  he shouted,
resting his hand on the bulwark.

The tried Spanish warriors, with whom Don Juan had manned his vessel,
hesitated.  Only one stepped mutely and resolutely to his side, flinging
over his shoulder the two-handed sword, whose hilt nearly reached to the
tall youth's eyes.

Every one on board knew the fair-haired giant.  It was the favorite of
the commander in chief--it was Navarrete, who in the war against the
Moors of Cadiz and Baza had performed many an envied deed of valor.
His arm seemed made of steel; he valued his life no more than one of the
plumes in his helmet, and risked it in battle as recklessly as he did his
zechins at the gaming-table.

Here, as well as there, he remained the winner.

No one knew exactly whence he came as he never mentioned his family,
for he was a reserved, unsocial man; but on the voyage to Lepanto he had
formed a friendship with a sick soldier, Don Miguel Cervantes.  The
latter could tell marvellous tales, and had his own peculiar opinions
about everything between heaven and earth.

Navarrete, who carried his head as high as the proudest grandee, devoted
every leisure hour to his suffering comrade, uniting the affection of a
brother, with the duties of a servant.

It was known that Navarrete had once been an artist, and he seemed one
of the most fervent of the devout Castilians, for he entered every church
and chapel the army passed, and remained standing a long, long time
before many a Madonna and altar-painting as if spellbound.

Even the boldest dared not attack him, for death hovered over his sword,
yet his heart had not hardened.  He gave winnings and booty with lavish
hand, and every beggar was sure of assistance.

He avoided women, but sought the society of the sick and wounded, often
watching all night beside the couch of some sorely-injured comrade, and
this led to the rumor that he liked to witness death.

Ah, no!  The heart of the proud, lonely man only sought a place where it
might be permitted to soften; the soldier, bereft of love, needed some
nook where he could exercise on others what was denied to himself:
"devoted affection."

Alexander Farnese recognized in Navarrete the horse-tamer of the picadero
in Madrid; he nodded approvingly to him, and mounted the bulwark.  But
the other did not follow instantly, for his friend Don Miguel had joined
him, and asked to share the adventure.  Navarrete and the captain strove
to dissuade the sick man, but the latter suddenly felt cured of his
fever, and with flashing eyes insisted on having his own way.

Ulrich did not wait for the end of the dispute, for Farnese was now
springing into the hostile ship, and the former, with a bold leap,
followed.

Alexander, like himself, carried a two-Banded sword, and both swung them
as mowers do their scythes.  They attacked, struck, felled, and the
foremost foes shrank from the grim destroyers.  Mustapha Pacha, the
treasurer and captain of the galley, advanced in person to confront the
terrible Christians, and a sword-stroke from Alexander shattered the hand
that held the curved sabre, a second stretched the Moslem on the deck.

But the Turks' numbers were greatly superior and threatened to crush the
heroes, when Don Miguel Cervantes, Ulrich's friend, appeared with twelve
fresh soldiers on the scene of battle, and cut their way to the hard-
pressed champions.  Other Spanish and Genoese warriors followed and the
fray became still more furious.

Ulrich had been forced far away from his royal companion-in-arms, and was
now swinging his blade beside his invalid friend.  Don Miguel's breast
was already bleeding from two wounds, and he now fell by Ulrich's side; a
bullet had broken his left arm.

Ulrich stooped and raised him; his men surrounded him, and the Turks were
scattered, as the tempest sweeps clouds from the mountain.

Don Miguel tried to lift the sword, which had dropped from his grasp, but
he only clutched the empty air, and raising his large eyes as if in
ecstasy, pressed his hand upon his bleeding breast, exclaiming
enthusiastically: "Wounds are stars; they point the way to the heaven of
fame-of-fame...."

His senses failed, and Ulrich bore him in his strong aims to a part of
the treasure-ship, which was held by Genoese soldiers.  Then he rushed
into the fight again, while in his ears still rang his friend's fervid
words:

"The heaven of fame!"

That was the last, the highest aim of man!  Fame, yes surely fame was the
"word"; it should henceforth be his word!

It seemed as if a gloomy multitude of heavy thunderclouds had gathered
over the still, blue arm of the sea.  The stifling smoke of powder
darkened the clear sky like black vapors, while flashes of lightning and
peals of thunder constantly illumined and shook the dusky atmosphere.

Here a magazine flew through the air, there one ascended with a fierce
crash towards the sky.  Wails of pain and shouts of victory, the blare of
trumpets, the crash of shattered ships and falling masts blended in
hellish uproar.

The sun's light was obscured, but the gigantic frames of huge burning
galleys served for torches to light the combatants.

When twilight closed in, the Christians had gained a decisive victory.
Don Juan had killed the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman force, Ali
Pacha, as Farnese hewed down the treasurer.  Uncle and nephew emerged
from the battle as heroes worthy of renown, but the glory of this victory
clung to Don Juan's name.

Farnese's bold assault was kindly rebuked by the commander-in-chief,
and when the former praised Navarrete's heroic aid before Don Juan, the
general gave the bold warrior and gallant trooper, the honorable
commission of bearing tidings of the victory to tile king.  Two galleys
stood out to sea in a westerly direction at the same time: a Spanish one,
bearing Don Juan's messenger, and a Venetian ship, conveying the courier
of the Republic.

The rowers of both vessels had much difficulty in forcing a way through
the wreckage, broken masts and planks, the multitude of dead bodies and
net work of cordage, which covered the surface of the water; but even
amid these obstacles the race began.

The wind and sea were equally favorable to both galleys; but the
Venetians outstripped the Spaniards and dropped anchor at Alicante
twenty-four hours before the latter.

It was the rider's task, to make up for the time lost by the sailors.
The messenger of the Republic was far in advance of the general's.
Everywhere that Ulrich changed horses, displaying at short intervals the
prophet's banner, which he was to deliver to the king as the fairest
trophy of victory--it was inscribed with Allah's name twenty-eight
thousand nine hundred times--he met rejoicing throngs, processions, and
festal decorations.

Don Juan's name echoed from the lips of men and women, girls and
children.  This was fame, this was the omnipresence of a god; there could
be no higher aspiration for him, who had obtained such honor.

Fame, fame!  again echoed in Ulrich's soul; if there is a word, which
raises a man above himself and implants his own being in that of millions
of fellow-creatures, it is this.

And now he urged one steed after another until it broke down, giving
himself no rest even at night; half an hour's ride outside of Madrid he
overtook the Venetian, and passed by him with a courteous greeting.

The king was not in the capital, and he went on without delay to the
Escurial.

Covered with dust, splashed from head to foot with mud, bruised, tortured
as if on the rack, he clung to the saddle, yet never ceased to use whip
and spur, and would trust his message to no other horseman.

Now the barren peaks of the Guadarrama mountains lay close before him,
now he reached the first workshops, where iron was being forged for the
gigantic palace in process of building.  How many chimneys smoked, how
many hands were toiling for this edifice, which was to comprise a royal
residence, a temple, a peerless library, a museum and a tomb.

Numerous carts and sledges, on which blocks of light grey granite had
been drawn hither, barred his way.  He rode around them at the peril of
falling with his horse over a precipice, and now found himself before a
labyrinth of scaffolds and free-stone, in the midst of a wild, grey,
treeless mountain valley.  What kind of a man was this, who had chosen
this desert for his home, in life as well as in death!  The Escurial
suited King Philip, as King Philip suited the Escurial.  Here he felt
most at ease, from here the royal spider ceaselessly entangled the world
in his skilful nets.

His majesty was attending vespers in the scarcely completed chapel.  The
chief officer of the palace, Fray Antonio de Villacastin, seeing Ulrich
slip from his horse, hastened to receive the tottering soldier's tidings,
and led him to the church.

The 'confiteor' had just commenced, but Fray Antonio motioned to the
priests, who interrupted the Mass, and Ulrich, holding the prophet's
standard high aloft, exclaimed: "An unparalleled victory!--Don Juan....
October 7th....! at Lepanto--the Ottoman navy totally destroyed....!"

Philip heard this great news and saw the standard, but seemed to have
neither eyes nor ears; not a muscle in his face stirred, no movement
betrayed that anything was passing in his mind.  Murmuring in a
sarcastic, rather than a joyous tone: "Don Juan has dared much," he gave
a sign, without opening the letter, to continue the Mass, remaining on
his knees as if nothing had disturbed the sacred rite.

The exhausted messenger sank into a pew and did not wake from his stupor,
until the communion was over and the king had ordered a Te Deum for the
victory of Lepanto.

Then he rose, and as he came out of the pew a newly-married couple passed
him, the architect, Herrera, and Isabella Coello, radiant in beauty.

Ulrich clenched his fist, and the thought passed through his mind, that
he would cast away good-fortune, art and fame as carelessly as soap-
bubbles, if he could be in Herrera's place.



CHAPTER XXIV.

What fame is--Ulrich was to learn!

He saw in Messina the hero of Lepanto revered as a god.  Wherever the
victor appeared, fair hands strewed flowers in his path, balconies and
windows were decked with hangings, and exulting women and girls, joyous
children and grave men enthusiastically shouted his name and flung
laurel-wreaths and branches to him.  Messages, congratulations and gifts
arrived from all the monarchs and great men of the world.

When he saw the wonderful youth dash by, Ulrich marvelled that his steed
did not put forth wings and soar away with him into the clouds.  But he
too, Navarrete, had done his duty, and was to enjoy the sweetness of
renown.  When he appeared on Don Juan's most refractory steed, among the
last of the victor's train, he felt that he was not overlooked, and often
heard people tell each other of his deeds.

This made him raise his head, swelled his heart, urged him into new paths
of fame.

The commander-in-chief also longed to press forward, but found himself
condemned to inactivity, while he saw the league dissolve, and the fruit
of his victory wither.  King Philip's petty jealousy opposed his wishes,
poisoned his hopes, and barred the realization of his dreams.

Don Juan was satiated with fame.  "Power" was the food for which he
longed.  The busy spider in the Escurial could not deprive him of the
laurel, but his own "word," his highest ambition in life, his power, he
would consent to share with no mortal man, not even his brother.

"Laurels  are  withering leaves,  power is arable land," said Don Juan to
Escovedo.

It befits an emperor's son, thought Ulrich, to cherish such lofty wishes;
to men of lower rank fame can remain the guiding star on life's pathway.

The elite of the army was in the Netherlands; there he could find what he
desired.

Don Juan let him go, and when fame was the word, Ulrich had no cause to
complain of its ill-will.

He bore the standard of the proud "Castilian" regiment, and when strange
troops met him as he entered a city, one man whispered to another: "That
is Navarrete, who was in the van at every assault on Haarlem, who, when
all fell back before Alkmaar, assailed the walls again, it was not his
fault that they were forced to retreat....he turned the scale with his
men on Mook-Heath....have you heard the story?  How, when struck by two
bullets, he wrapped the banner around him, and fell with, and on it, upon
the grass."

And now, when with the rebellious army he had left the island of Schouwen
behind him and was marching through Brabant, it was said:

"Navarrete!  It was he, who led the way for the Spaniards with the
standard on his head, when they waded through the sea that stormy night,
to surprise Zierikzee."

Whoever bore arms in the Netherlands knew his name; but the citizens also
knew who he was, and clenched their fists when they spoke of him.

On the battle-field, in the water, on the ice, in the breaches of their
firm walls, in burning cities, in streets and alleys, in council-chambers
and plundered homes, he had confronted them as a murderer and destroyer.
Yet, though the word fame had long been embittered to him, the inhumanity
which clung to his deeds had the least share in it.

He was the servant of his monarch, nothing more.  All who bore the name
of Netherlander were to him rebels and heretics, condemned by God,
sentenced by his king; not worthy peasants, skilful, industrious
citizens, noble men, who were risking property and life for religion and
liberty.

This impish crew disdained to pray to the merciful mother of God and the
saints, these temple violaters had robbed the churches of their statues,
driven the pious monks and nuns from their cloisters!  They called the
Pope the Anti-Christ, and in every conquered city he found satirical
songs and jeering verses about his lord, the king, his generals and all
Spaniards.

He had kept the faith of his childhood, which was shared by every
one who bore arms with him, and had easily obtained absolution, nay,
encouragement and praise, for the most terrible deeds of blood.

In battle, in slaughter, when his wounds burned, in plundering, at the
gaming-table, everywhere he called upon the Holy Virgin, and also, but
very rarely, on the "word," fame.

He no longer believed in it, for it did not realize what he had
anticipated.  The laurel now rustled on his curls like withered
leaves.  Fame would not fill the void in his heart, failed to satisfy
his discontented mind; power offered the lonely man no companionship of
the soul, it could not even silence the voice which upbraided him--the
unapproachable champion, him at whom no mortal dared to look askance--
with being a miserable fool, defrauded of true happiness and the right
ambition.

This voice tortured him on the soft down beds in the town, on the straw
in the camp, over his wine and on the march.

Yet how many envied him.  Ay! when he bore the standard at the head of
the regiment he marched like a victorious demi-god!  No one else could
support so well as he the heavy pole, plated with gold, and the large
embroidered silken banner, which might have served as a sail for a
stately ship; but he held the staff with his right hand, as if the burden
intrusted to him was an easily-managed toy.  Meantime, with inimitable
solemnity, he threw back the upper portion of the body and his curly
head, placing his left hand on his hip.  The arch of the broad chest
stood forth in fine relief, and with it the breast-plate and points of
his armor.  He seemed like a proud ship under swelling sails, and even in
hostile cities, read admiration in the glances of the gaping crowd.  Yet
he was a miserable, discontented man, and could not help thinking more
and more frequently of Don Juan's "word."

He no longer trusted to the magic power of a word, as in former times.
Still, he told himself that the "arable field" of the emperor's son,
"power," was some thing lofty and great-ay, the loftiest aim a man could
hope to attain.

Is not omnipotence God's first attribute?  And now, on the march from
Schouwen through Brabant, power beckoned to him.  He had already tasted
it, when the mutinous army to which he belonged attempted to pillage a
smithy.  He had stepped before the spoilers and saved the artisan's life
and property.  Whoever swung the hammer before the bellows was sacred to
him; he had formerly shared gains and booty with many a plundered member
of his father's craft.

He now carried a captain's staff, but this was mere mummery, child's
play, nothing more.  A merry soldier's-cook wore a captain's plume on the
side of his tall hat.  The field-officer, most of the captains and the
lieutenants, had retired after the great mutiny on the island of Schouwen
was accomplished, and their places were now occupied by ensigns,
sergeants and quartermasters.  The higher officers had gone to Brussels,
and the mutinous army marched without any chief through Brabant.

They had not received their well-earned pay for twenty-two months, and
the starving regiments now sought means of support wherever they could
find them.

Two years since, after the battle of Mook-Heath, the army had helped
itself, and at that time, as often happened on similar occasions, an
Eletto--[The chosen one.  The Italian form is used, instead of the
Spanish 'electo'.]--had been chosen from among the rebellious subaltern
officers.  Ulrich had then been lying seriously wounded, but after the
end of the mutiny was told by many, that no other would have been made
Eletto had he only been well and present.  Now an Eletto was again to be
chosen, and whoever was elected would have command of at least three
thousand men, and possibly more, as it was expected that other regiments
would join the insurrection.  To command an army!  This was power, this
was the highest attainment; it was worth risking life to obtain it.

The regiments pitched their camp at Herenthals, and here the election was
to be held.

In the arrangement of the tents, the distribution of the wagons which
surrounded the camp like a wall, the stationing of field-pieces at the
least protected places, Ulrich had the most authority, and while
exercising it forced himself, for the first time in his life, to appear
gentle and yielding, when he would far rather have uttered words of
command.  He lived in a state of feverish excitement; sleep deserted his
couch, he imagined that every word he heard referred to himself and his
election.

During these days he learned to smile when he was angry, to speak
pleasantly while curses were burning on his lips.  He was careful not to
betray by look, word, or deed what was passing in his mind, as he feared
the ridicule that would ensue should he fail to achieve his purpose.

One more day, one more night, and perhaps he would be commander-in-chief,
able to conquer a kingdom and keep the world in terror.  Perhaps, only
perhaps; for another was seeking with dangerous means to obtain control
of the army.

This was Sergeant-Major and Quartermaster Zorrillo, an excellent and
popular soldier, who had been chosen Eletto after the battle of Mook-
Heath, but voluntarily resigned his office at the first serious
opposition he encountered.

It was said that he had done this by his wife's counsel, and this woman
was Ulrich's most dangerous foe.

Zorrillo belonged to another regiment, but Ulrich had long known him and
his companion, the "campsibyl."

Wine was sold in the quartermaster's tent, which, before the outbreak of
the mutiny, had been the rendezvous of the officers and chaplains.

The sibyl entertained the officers with her gay conversation, while they
drank or sat at the gaining-table; she probably owed her name to the
skill she displayed in telling fortunes by cards.  The common soldiers
liked her too, because she took care of their sick wives and children.

Navarrete preferred to spend his time in his own regiment, so he did not
meet the Zorrillos often until the mutiny at Schouwen and on the march
through Brabant.  He had never sought, and now avoided them; for he knew
the sibyl was leaving no means untried to secure her partner's election.
Therefore he disliked them; yet he could not help occasionally entering
their tent, for the leaders of the mutiny held their counsels there.
Zorrillo always received him courteously; but his companion gazed at him
so intently and searchingly, that an anxious feeling, very unusual to the
bold fellow, stole over him.

He could not help asking himself whether he had seen her before, and when
the thought that she perhaps resembled his mother, once entered his mind,
he angrily rejected it.

The day before she had offered to tell his fortune; but he refused point-
blank, for surely no good tidings could come to him from those lips.

To-day she had asked what his Christian name was, and for the first time
in years he remembered that he was also called "Ulrich."  Now he was
nothing but "Navarrete," to himself and others.  He lived solely for
himself, and the more reserved a man is, the more easily his Christian
name is lost to him.

As, years before, he had told the master that he was called nothing but
Ulrich, he now gave the harsh answer: "I am Navarrete, that's enough!"



CHAPTER XXV.

Towards evening, the members of the mutiny met at the Zorrillos to hold a
council.

The weather outside was hot and sultry, and the more people assembled,
the heavier and more oppressive became the air within the spacious tent,
the interior of which looked plain enough, for its whole furniture
consisted of some small roughly-made tables, some benches and chairs, and
one large table, and a superb ebony chest with ivory ornaments, evidently
stolen property.  On this work of art lay the pillows used at night,
booty obtained at Haarlem; they were covered with bright but worn-out
silk, which had long shown the need of the thrifty touch of a woman's
hand.  Pictures of the saints were pasted on the walls, and a crucifix
hung over the door.

Behind the great table, between a basket and the wine cask, from which
the sibyl replenished the mugs, stood a high-backed chair.  A coarse
barmaid, who had grown up in the camp, served the assembled men, but she
had no occasion to hurry, for the Spaniards were slow drinkers.

The guests sat, closely crowded together, in a circle, and seemed grave
and taciturn; but their words sounded passionate, imperious, defiant, and
the speakers often struck their coats of mail with their clenched fists,
or pounded on the floor with their swords.

If there was any difference of opinion, the disputants flew into a
furious rage, and then a chorus of fierce, blustering voices rose like a
tenfold echo.  It often seemed as if the next instant swords must fly
from their sheaths and a bloody brawl begin; but Zorrillo, who had been
chosen to preside over the meeting, only needed to raise his baton and
command order, to transform the roar into a low muttering; the weather-
beaten, scarred, pitiless soldiers, even when mutineers, yielded willing
obedience to the word of command and the iron constraint of discipline.

On the sea and at Schouwen their splendid costumes had obtained a
beggarly appearance.  The velvet and brocade extorted from the rich
citizens of Antwerp, now hung tattered and faded around their sinewy
limbs.  They looked like foot-pads, vagabonds, pirates, yet sat, as
military custom required, exactly in the order of their rank; on the
march and in the camp, every insurgent willingly obeyed the orders of
the new leader, who by the fortune of war had thrown pairs-royal on the
drumhead.

One thing was certain: some decisive action must be taken.  Every one
needed doublets and shoes, money and good lodgings.  But in what way
could these be most easily procured?  By parleying and submitting on
acceptable conditions, said some; by remaining free and capturing a city,
roared others; first wealthy Mechlin, which could be speedily reached.
There they could get what they wanted without money.  Zorrillo
counselled  prudent  conduct;  Navarrete impetuously advised bold action.
They, the insurgents, he cried, were stronger than any other military
force in the Netherlands, and need fear no one.  If they begged and
entreated they would be dismissed with copper coins; but if they enforced
their demands they would become rich and prosperous.

With flashing eyes he extolled what the troops, and he himself had done;
he enlarged upon the hardships they had borne, the victories won for the
king.  He asked nothing but good pay for blood and toil, good pay, not
coppers and worthless promises.

Loud shouts of approval followed his speech, and a gunner, who now held
the rank of captain, exclaimed enthusiastically:

"Navarrete, the hero of Lepanto and Haarlem, is right!  I know whom I
will choose."

"Victor, victor Navarrete!"  echoed from many a bearded lilt.

But Zorrillo interrupted these declarations, exclaiming, not without
dignity, while raising his baton still higher.  "The election will take
place to-morrow, gentlemen; we are holding a council to-day.  It is very
warm in here; I feel it as much as you do.  But before we separate,
listen a few minutes to a man, who means well."  Zorrillo now explained
all the reasons, which induced him to counsel negotiations and a friendly
agreement with the commander-in-chief.  There was sound, statesmanlike
logic in his words, yet his language did not lack warmth and charm.  The
men perceived that he was in earnest, and while he spoke the sibyl went
behind him, laid her hand on his shoulder, and wiped the perspiration
from his brow with her handkerchief.  Zorrillo permitted it, and without
interrupting himself, gave her a grateful, affectionate glance.

The bronzed warriors liked to look at her, and even permitted her to
utter a word of advice or warning during their discussions, for she was a
wise woman, not one of the ordinary stamp.  Her blue eyes sparkled with
intelligence and mirth, her full lips seemed formed for quick, gay
repartee, she was always kind and cheer ful in her manner even to the
most insignificant.  But whence came the deep lines about her red mouth
and the outer corners of her eyes?  She covered them with rouge every
day, to conceal the evidence of the sorrowful hours she spent when alone?
The lines were well disguised, yet they increased, and year by year grew
deeper.

No wrinkle had yet dared to appear on the narrow forehead; and the
delicate features, dazzlingly-white teeth, girlish figure, and winning
smile lent this woman a youthful aspect.  She might be thirty, or perhaps
even past forty.

A pleasure made her younger by ten summers, a vexation transformed her
into a matron.  The snow white hair, carefully arranged on her forehead,
seemed to indicate somewhat advanced age; but it was known that it had
turned grey in a few days and nights, eight years before, when a
discontented blackguard stabbed the quartermaster, and he lay for weeks
at the point of death.

This white hair harmonized admirably with the red cheeks of the camp-
sibyl, who appreciating the fact, did not dye it.

During Zorrillo's speech her eyes more than once rested on Ulrich with a
strangely intense expression.  As soon as he paused, she went back again
behind the table to the crying child, to cradle it in her arms.

Zorrillo--perceiving that a new and violent argument was about to break
forth among the men--closed the meeting.  Before adjourning, however, it
was unanimously decided that the election should be held on the morrow.

While the soldiers noisily rose, some shaking hands with Zorrillo, some
with Navarrete, the stately sergeant-major of a German lansquenet troop,
which was stationed in Antwerp, and did not belong to the insurgents,
entered the wide open door of the tent.  His dress was gay and in good
order; a fine Dalmatian dog followed him.

A thunder-storm had begun, and it was raining violently.  Some of the
Spaniards were twisting their rosaries, and repeating prayers, but
neither thunder, lightning, nor water seemed to have destroyed the
German's good temper, for he shook the drops from his plumed hat with a
merry "phew," gaily introducing himself to his comrades as an envoy from
the Pollviller regiment.

His companions, he said, were not disinclined to join the "free army"--
he had come to ask how the masters of Schouwen fared.

Zorrillo offered the sergeant-major a chair, and after the latter had
raised and emptied two beakers from the barmaid's pewter waiter in quick
succession, he glanced around the circle of his rebel comrades.  Some he
had met before in various countries, and shook hands with them.  Then he
fixed his eyes on Ulrich, pondering where and under what standard he had
seen this magnificent, fair-haired warrior.

Navarrete recognizing the merry lansquenet, Hans Eitelfritz of Colln on
the Spree, held out his hand, and cried in the Spanish language, which
the lansquenet had also used:

"You are Hans Eitelfritz!  Do you remember Christmas in the Black Forest,
Master Moor, and the Alcazar in Madrid?"

"Ulrich, young  Master Ulrich!  Heavens and earth!"  cried Eitelfritz;--
but suddenly interrupted himself; for the sibyl, who had risen from the
table to bring the envoy, with her own hands, a larger goblet of wine,
dropped the beaker close beside him.

Zorrillo and he hastily sprung to support the tottering woman, who was
almost fainting.  But she recovered herself, waving them back with a mute
gesture.

All eyes were fixed upon her, and every one was startled; for she stood
as if benumbed, her bright, youthful face had suddenly become aged and
haggard.  "What is the matter?"  asked Zorrillo anxiously.  Recovering
her self-control, she answered hastily "The thunder, the storm...."

Then, with short, light steps, she went back to the table, and as she
resumed her seat the bell for evening prayers was heard outside.

Most of the company rose to obey the summons.

"Good-bye till to-morrow morning, Sergeant!  The election will take place
early to-morrow."

"A Dios, a Dios, hasta mas ver, Sibila, a Dios!"  was loudly shouted, and
soon most of the guests had left the tent.

Those who remained behind were scattered among the different tables.
Ulrich sat at one alone with Hans Eitelfritz.

The lansquenet had declined Zorrillo's invitation to join him; an old
friend from Madrid was present, with whom he wished to talk over happier
days.  The other willingly assented; for what he had intended to say to
his companions was against Ulrich and his views.  The longer the
sergeant-major detained him the better.  Everything that recalled Master
Moor was dear to Ulrich, and as soon as he was alone with Hans
Eitelfritz, he again greeted him in a strange mixture of Spanish and
German.  He had forgotten his home, but still retained a partial
recollection of his native language.  Every one supposed him to be a
Spaniard, and he himself felt as if he were one.

Hans Eitelfritz had much to tell Ulrich; he had often met Moor in
Antwerp, and been kindly received in his studio.

What pleasure it afforded Navarrete to hear from the noble artist, how he
enjoyed being able to speak German again after so many years, difficult
as it was.  It seemed as if a crust melted away from his heart, and none
of those present had ever seen him so gay, so full of youthful vivacity.
Only one person knew that he could laugh and play noisily, and this one
was the beautiful woman at the long table, who knew not whether she
should die of joy, or sink into the earth with shame.

She had taken the year old infant from the basket.  It was a pale, puny
little creature, whose father had fallen in battle, and whose mother had
deserted it.

The handsome standard-bearer yonder was called Ulrich!  He must be her
son!  Alas, and she could only cast stolen glances at him, listen by
stealth to the German words that fell from the beloved lips.  Nothing
escaped her notice, yet while looking and listening, her thoughts
wandered to a far distant country, long vanished days; beside the bearded
giant she saw a beautiful, curly-haired child; besides the man's deep
voice she heard clear, sweet childish tones, that called her "mother" and
rang out in joyous, silvery laughter.

The pale child in her arms often raised its little hand to its cheek,
which was wet with the tears of the woman; who tended it.  How hard, how
unspeakably, terribly hard it was for this woman, with the youthful face
and white locks, to remain quiet!  How she longed to start up and call
joyously to the child, the man, her lover's enemy, but her own, own
Ulrich:

"Look at me, look at me!  I am your mother.  You are mine!  Come, come to
my heart!  I will never leave you more!"

Ulrich now laughed heartily again, not suspecting what was passing in a
mother's heart, close beside him; he had no eyes for her, and only
listened to the jests of the German lansquenet, with whom he drained
beaker after beaker.

The strange child served as a shield to protect the camp-sibyl from her
son's eyes, and also to conceal from him that she was watching,
listening, weeping.  Eitelfritz talked most and made one joke after
another; but she did not laugh, and only wished he would stop and let
Ulrich speak, that she might be permitted to hear his voice again.

"Give the dog Lelaps a little corner of the settle," cried Hans
Eitelfritz.  "He'll get his feet wet on the damp floor--for the rain is
trickling in--and take cold.  This choice fellow isn't like ordinary
dogs."

"Do you call the tiger Lelaps?"  asked Ulrich.  "An odd name."

"I got him from a student at Tubingen, dainty Junker Fritz of Hallberg,
in exchange for an elephant's tusk I obtained in the Levant, and he owes
his name to the merry rogue.  I tell you, he's wiser than many learned
men; he ought to be called Doctor Lelaps."

"He's a pretty creature."

"Pretty!  More, far more!  For instance, at Naples we had the famous
Mortadella sausage for breakfast, and being engaged in eager
conversation, I forgot him.  What did my Lelaps do?  He slipped quietly
into the garden, returned with a bunch of forget-me-nots in his mouth,
and offered it to me, as a gallant presents a bouquet to his fair one.
That meant: dogs liked sausage too, and it was not seemly to forget him.
What do you say to that show of sense?"

"I think your imagination more remarkable than the dog's sagacity."

"You believed in my good fortune in the old days, do you now doubt this
true story?"

"To be sure, that is rather preposterous, for whoever loyally and
faithfully trusts good-fortune--your good fortune--is ill-advised.  Have
you composed any new songs?"

"'That is all over now!"  sighed the trooper.  "See this scar!  Since an
infidel dog cleft my skull before Tunis, I can write no more verses; yet
it hasn't grown quiet in my upper story on that account.  I lie now,
instead of composing.  My boon companions enjoy the nonsensical trash,
when I pour it forth at the tavern."

"And the broken skull: is that a forget-me-not story too, or was it...."

"Look here!  It's the actual truth.  It was a bad blow, but there's a
grain of good in everything evil.  For instance, we were in the African
desert just dying of thirst, for that belongs to the desert as much as
the dot does to the letter i.  Lelaps yonder was with me, and scented a
spring.  Then it was necessary to dig, but I had neither spade nor
hatchet, so I took out the loose part of the skull, it was a hard piece
of bone, and dug with it till the water gushed out of the sand, then I
drank out of my brain-pan as if it were a goblet."

"Man, man!"  exclaimed Ulrich, striking his clenched fist on the table.

"Do you suppose a dog can't scent a spring?"  asked Eitelfritz, with
comical wrath.  "Lelaps here was born in Africa, the native land of
tigers, and his mother...."

"I thought you got him in Tubingen?"

"I said just now that I tell lies.  I imposed upon you, when I made you
think Lelaps came from Swabia; he was really born in the desert, where
the tigers live.

"No offence, Herr Ulrich!  We'll keep our jests for another evening.  As
soon as I'm knocked down, I stop my nonsense.  Now tell me, where shall I
find Navarrete, the standard-bearer, the hero of Lepanto and Schouwen?
He must be a bold fellow; they say Zorrillo and he...."

The lansquenet had spoken loudly; the quartermaster, who caught the name
Navarrete, turned, and his eyes met Ulrich's.

He must be on his guard against this man.

The instant Zorrillo recognized him as a German, he would hold a powerful
weapon.  The Spaniards would give the command only to a Spaniard.

This thought now occurred to him for the first time.  It had needed the
meeting with Hans Eitelfritz, to remind him that he belonged to a
different nation from his comrades.  Here was a danger to be encountered,
so with the rapid decision, acquired in the school of war, he laid his
hand heavily on his countryman's, saying in a low, impressive tone: "You
are my friend, Hans Eitelfritz, and have no wish to injure me."

"Zounds, no!  What's up?"

"Well then, keep to yourself where and how we first met each other.
Don't interrupt me.  I'll tell you later in my tent, where you must take
up your quarters, how I gained my name, and what I have experienced in
life.  Don't show your surprise, and keep calm.  I, Ulrich, the boy from
the Black Forest, am the man you seek, I am Navarrete."

"You?"  asked the lansquenet, opening his eyes in amazement.  "Nonsense!
You're paying me off for the yarns I told you just now."

No, Hans Eitelfritz, no!  I am not jesting, I mean it.  I am Navarrete!
Nay more!  If you keep your mouth shut, and the devil doesn't put his
finger into the pie, I think, spite of all the Zorrillos, I shall be
Eletto to-morrow.

"You know the Spanish temper!  The German Ulrich will be a very different
person to them from the Castilian Navarrete.  It is in your power to
spoil my chance."

The other interrupted him by a peal of loud, joyous laughter, then
shouted to the dog: "Up, Lelaps!  My respects to Caballero Navarrete."

The Spaniards frowned, for they thought the German was drunk, but Hans
Eitelfritz needed more liquor than that to upset his sobriety.

Flashing a mischievous glance at Ulrich from his bright eyes, he
whispered: "If necessary, I too can be silent.  You man without a
country!  You soldier of fortune!  A Swabian the commander of these
stiffnecked braggarts.  Now see how I'll help you."

"What do you mean to do?" asked Ulrich; but Hans Eitelfritz had already
raised the huge goblet, banging it down again so violently that the table
shook.  Then he struck the top with his clenched fist, and when the
Spaniards fixed their eyes on him, shouted in their language: "Yes,
indeed, it was delightful in those days, Caballero Navarrete.  Your
uncle, the noble Conde in what's its name, that place in Castile, you
know, and the Condesa and Condesilla.  Splendid people!  Do you remember
the coal-black horses with snow-white tails in your father's stable, and
the old servant Enrique.  There wasn't a longer nose than his in all
Castile!  Once, when I was in Burgos, I saw a queer, longish shadow
coming round a street corner, and two minutes after, first a nose and
then old Enrique appeared."

"Yes, yes," replied Ulrich, guessing the lansquenet's purpose.  "But it
has grown late while we've been gossiping; let us go!"

The woman at the table had not heard the whispers exchanged between the
two men; but she guessed the object of the lansquenet's loud words.  As
the latter slowly rose, she laid the child in the basket, drew a long
breath, pressed her fingers tightly upon her eyes for a short time, and
then went directly up to her son.

Florette did not know herself, whether she owed the name of sibyl to her
skill in telling fortunes by cards, or to her wise counsel.  Twelve years
before, while still sharing the tent of the Walloon captain Grandgagnage,
it had been given her, she could not say how or by whom.  The fortune-
telling she had learned from a sea-captain's widow, with whom she had
lodged a long time.

When her voice grew sharp and weaker, in order to retain consideration
and make herself important, she devoted herself to predicting the future;
her versatile mind, her ambition, and the knowledge of human-nature
gained in the camp and during her wanderings from land to land, aided
her to acquire remarkable skill in this strange pursuit.

Officers of the highest rank had sat opposite to her cards, listening to
her oracular sayings, and Zorrillo, the man who had now been her lover
for ten years, owed it to her influence, that he did not lose his
position as quartermaster after the last mutiny.

Hans Eitelfritz had heard of her skill and when, as he was leaving, she
approached and offered to question the cards for him, he would not allow
Ulrich to prevent him from casting a glance into the future.

On the whole, what was predicted to him sounded favorable, but the
prophetess did not keep entirely to the point, for in turning the cards
she found much to say to Ulrich, and once, pointing to the red and green
knaves, remarked thoughtfully: "That is you, Navarrete; that is this
gentleman.  You must have met each other on some Christmas day, and not
here, but in Germany; if I see rightly, in Swabia."

She had just overheard all this.

But a shudder ran through Ulrich's frame when he heard it, and this
woman, whose questioning glance had always disturbed him, now inspired
him with a mysterious dread, which he could not control.  He rose to
withdraw;  but she detained him, saying: "Now it is your turn, Captain."

"Some other time,"  replied  Ulrich,  repellently.  Good fortune always
comes in good time, and to know ill-luck in advance, is a misfortune I
should think."

"I can read the past, too."

Ulrich started.  He must learn what his rival's companion knew of his
former life, so he answered quickly, "Well, for aught I care, begin."

"Gladly, gladly, but when I look into the past, I must be alone with the
questioner.  Be kind enough to give Zorrillo your company for quarter of
an hour, Sergeant."

"Don't believe everything she tells you, and don't look too deep into her
eyes.  Come, Lelaps, my son!"  cried the lansquenet, and did as he was
requested.

The woman dealt the cards silently, with trembling hands, but Ulrich
thought: "Now she will try to sound me, and a thousand to one will do
everything in her power to disgust me with desiring the Eletto's baton.
That's the way blockheads are caught.  We will keep to the past."

His companion met this resolution halfway; for before she had dealt the
last two rows, she rested her chin on the cards in her hands and, trying
to meet his glance, asked:

"How shall we begin?  Do you still remember your childhood?"

"Certainly."

"Your father?"

"I have not seen him for a long time.  Don't the cards tell you, that he
is dead?"

"Dead, dead:--of course he's dead.  You had a mother too?"

"Yes, yes," he answered impatiently; for he was unwilling to talk with
this woman about his mother.

She shrank back a little, and said sadly:  "That sounds very harsh.  Do
you no longer like to think of your mother?"

"What is that to you?"

"I must know."

"No, what concerns my mother is....I will--is too good for juggling."

"Oh," she said, looking at him with a glance from which he shrank.  Then
she silently laid down the last cards, and asked: "Do you want to hear
anything about a sweetheart?"

"I have none.  But how you look at me!  Have you grown tired of Zorrillo?
I am ill-suited for a gallant."

She shuddered slightly.  Her bright face had again grown old, so old and
weary that he pitied her.  But she soon regained her composure, and
continued:

"What are you saying?  Ask the questions yourself now, if you please."

"Where is my native place?"

"A wooded, mountainous region in Germany."

"Ah, ha!  and what do you know of my father?"

"You look like him, there is an astonishing resemblance in the forehead
and eyes; his voice, too, was exactly like yours."

"A chip of the old block."

"Well, well.  I see Adam before me...."

"Adam?"  asked Ulrich, and the blood left his cheeks.

"Yes, his name was Adam," she continued more boldly, with increasing
vivacity: "there he stands.  He wears a smith's apron, a small leather
cap rests on his fair hair.  Auriculas and balsams stand in the bow-
window.  A roan horse is being shod in the market-place below."

The soldier's head swam, the happiest period of his childhood, which he
had not recalled for a long time, again rose before his memory; he saw
his father stand before him, and the woman, the sibyl yonder, had the
eyes and mouth, not of his mother, but of the Madonna he had destroyed
with his maul-stick.  Scarcely able to control himself, he grasped her
hand, pressing it violently, and asked in German:

"What is my name?  And what did my mother call me?"

She lowered her eyes as if in shame, and whispered softly in German:
"Ulrich, Ulrich, my darling, my little boy, my lamb, Ulrich--my child!
Condemn me, desert me, curse me, but call me once more "my mother."

"My mother," he said gently, covering his face with his hands--but she
started up, hurried back to the pale baby in the cradle, and pressing her
face upon the little one's breast, moaned and wept bitterly.

Meantime, Zorrillo had not averted his eyes from Navarrete and his
companion.  What could have passed between the two, what ailed the man?

Rising slowly, he approached the basket before which the sibyl was
kneeling, and asked anxiously: "What was it, Flora?"

She pressed her face closer to the weeping child, that he might not see
her tears, and answered quickly "I predicted things, things....go, I will
tell you about it later."

He was satisfied with this answer, but she was now obliged to join the
Spaniards, and Ulrich took leave of her with a silent salutation.





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