Infomotions, Inc.— Volume 01 / Ebers, Georg, 1837-1898

Author: Ebers, Georg, 1837-1898
Title: — Volume 01
Date: 2002-08-02
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Title: Margery, Volume 1.

Author: Georg Ebers

Release Date: April, 2004  [EBook #5552]
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[This file was first posted on August 2, 2002]

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MARGERY, BY GEORG EBERS, V1 ***



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[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them.  D.W.]





MARGERY

By Georg Ebers

Volume 1.




TRANSLATOR'S NOTE:

In translating what is supposed to be a transcript into modern German of
the language of Nuremberg in the fifteenth century, I have made no
attempt to imitate English phraseology of the same date. The difficulty
would in fact be insuperable to the writer and the annoyance to the
reader almost equally great.

I have merely endeavored to avoid essentially modern words and forms of
speech.




INTRODUCTION:

"PIETRO GIUSTINIANI, merchant, of Venice."  This was the signature
affixed to his receipt by the little antiquary in the city of St. Mark,
from whom I purchased a few stitched sheets of manuscript.  What a name
and title!

As I remarked on the splendor of his ancestry he slapped his pocket, and
exclaimed, half in pride and half in lamentation:

"Yes, they had plenty of money; but what has become of it?"

"And have you no record of their deeds?"  I asked the little man, who
himself wore a moustache with stiff military points to it.

"Their deeds!"  he echoed scornfully.  "I wish they had been less zealous
in their pursuit of fame and had managed their money matters better!--
Poor child!"

And he pointed to little Marietta who was playing among the old books,
and with whom I had already struck up a friendship.  She this day
displayed some strange appendage in the lobes of her ears, which on
closer examination I found to be a twist of thread.

The child's pretty dark head was lying confidentially against my arm and
as, with my fingers, I felt this singular ornament, I heard, from behind
the little desk at the end of the counter, her mother's shrill voice in
complaining accents: "Aye, Sir, it is a shame in a family which has given
three saints to the Church--Saint Nicholas, Saint Anna, and Saint
Eufemia, all three Giustinianis as you know--in a family whose sons have
more than once worn a cardinal's hat--that a mother, Sir, should be
compelled to let her own child--But you are fond of the little one, Sir,
as every one is hereabout.  Heh, Marietta!  What would you say if the
gentleman were to give you a pair of ear-rings, now; real gold ear-rings
I mean?  Thread for ear-rings, Sir, in the ears of a Giustiniani!  It is
absurd, preposterous, monstrous; and a right-thinking gentleman like you,
Sir, will never deny that."

How could I neglect such a hint; and when I had gratified the antiquary's
wife, I could reflect with some pride that I might esteem myself a
benefactor to a family which boasted of its descent from the Emperor
Justinian, which had been called the 'Fabia gens' of Venice, and, in its
day had given to the Republic great generals, far-seeing statesmen, and
admirable scholars.

When, at length, I had to quit the city and took leave of the curiosity-
dealer, he pressed my hand with heartfelt regret; and though the Signora
Giustiniani, as she pocketed a tolerably thick bundle of paper money,
looked at me with that kindly pity which a good woman is always ready to
bestow on the inexperienced, especially when they are young, that, no
doubt, was because the manuscript I had acquired bore such a dilapidated
appearance.  The margins of the thick old Nuremberg paper were eaten into
by mice and insects, in many places black patches like tinder dropped
away from the yellow pages; indeed, many passages of the once clear
writing had so utterly faded that I scarcely hoped to see them made
legible again by the chemist's art.  However, the contents of the
document were so interesting and remarkable, so unique in relation to the
time when it was written, that they irresistibly riveted my attention,
and in studying them I turned half the night into day.  There were nine
separate parts.  All, except the very last one, were in the same hand,
and they seemed to have formed a single book before they were torn
asunder.  The cover and title-page were lost, but at the head of the
first page these words were written in large letters: "The Book of my
Life."  Then followed a long passage in crude verse, very much to this
effect.

              "What we behold with waking Eye
               Can, to our judgment, never lie,
               And what through Sense and Sight we gain.
               Becometh part of Soul and Brain.
               Look round the World in which you dwell
               Nor, Snail-like, live within your Shell;
               And if you see His World aright
               The Lord shall grant you double Sight.
               For, though your Mind and Soul be small,
               If you but open them to all
               The great wide World, they will expand
               Those glorious Things to understand.
               When Heart and Brain are great with Love
               Man is most like the Lord above.
               Look up to Him with patient Eye
               Not on your own Infirmity.
               In pious Trust yourself forget
               For others only toil and fret,
               Since all we do for fellow Men
               With right good Will, shall be our Gain.
               What if the Folk should call you Fool
               Care not, but act by Virtue's Rule,
               Contempt and Curses let them fling,
               God's Blessing shields you from their Sting.
               Grey is my Head but young my Heart;
               In Nuremberg, ere I depart,
               Children and Grandchildren, for you
               I write this Book, and it is true."

                                        MARGERY SCHOPPER.


Below the verses the text of the narrative began with these words: "In
the yere of our Lord M/CCCC/lx/VI dyd I begynne to wrtre in thys lytel
Boke thys storie of my lyf, as I haue lyued it."

It was in her sixty-second year that the writer had first begun to note
down her reminiscences.  This becomes clear as we go on, but it may be
gathered from the first lines on the second page which begins thus:

     "I, Margery Schopper, was borne in the yere of our Lord M/CCCC/IV on
     a Twesday after 'Palmarum' Sonday, at foure houris after mydnyght.
     Myn uncle Kristan Pfinzing was god sib to me in my chrystening.  My
     fader, God assoyle his soul, was Franz Schopper, iclyped the Singer.
     He dyed on a Monday after 'Laetare'--[The fourth Sunday in Lent.]--
     Sonday M/CCCC/IV.  And he hadde to wyf Kristine Peheym whyche was my
     moder.  Also she bare to hym my brethren Herdegen and Kunz Schopper.
     My moder dyed in the vigil of Seint Kateryn M/CCCC/V.  Thus was I
     refte of my moder whyle yet a babe; also the Lord broughte sorwe
     upon me in that of hys grace He callyd my fader out of thys worlde
     before that ever I sawe the lyght of dai."

These few lines, which I read in the little antiquary's shop, betrayed me
to my ruin; for, in my delight at finding the daily journal of a German
housewife of the beginning of the fifteenth century my heart overflowed;
forgetting all prudence I laughed aloud, exclaiming "splendid,"
"wonderful," "what a treasure!"  But it would have been beyond all human
power to stand speechless, for, as I read on, I found things which far
exceeded my fondest expectations.  The writer of these pages had not been
content, like the other chroniclers of her time and of her native town-
such as Ulman Stromer, Andres Tucher and their fellows--to register
notable facts without any connection, the family affairs, items of
expenditure and mercantile measures of her day; she had plainly and
candidly recorded everything that had happened to her from her childhood
to the close of her life.  This Margery had inherited some of her
father's artistic gifts; he is mentioned in Ulman Stromer's famous
chronicle, where he is spoken of as "the Singer."  It was to her mother,
however, that she owed her bold spirit, for she was a Behaim, cousin to
the famous traveller Behaim of Schwarzbach, whose mother is known to have
been one of the Schopper family, daughter to Herdegen Schopper.

In the course of a week I had not merely read the manuscript, but had
copied a great deal of what seemed to me best worth preservation,
including the verses.  I subsequently had good reason to be glad that I
had taken so much pains, though travelling about at the time; for a cruel
disaster befel the trunk in which the manuscript was packed, with other
books and a few treasures, and which I had sent home by sea.  The ship
conveying them was stranded at the mouth of the Elbe and my precious
manuscript perished miserably in the wreck.

The nine stitched sheets, of which the last was written by the hand of
Margery Schopper's younger brother, had found their way to Venice--as was
recorded on the last page--in the possession of Margery's great-grandson,
who represented the great mercantile house of Im Hoff on the Fondaco, and
who ultimately died in the City of St. Mark.  When that famous firm was
broken up the papers were separated from their cover and had finally
fallen into the hands of the curiosity dealer of whom I bought them.  And
after surviving travels on land, risk of fire, the ravages of worms and
the ruthlessness of man for four centuries, they finally fell a prey to
the destructive fury of the waves; but my memory served me well as to the
contents, and at my bidding was at once ready to aid me in restoring the
narrative I had read.  The copied portions were a valuable aid, and
imagination was able to fill the gaps; and though it failed, no doubt, to
reproduce Margery Schopper's memoirs phrase for phrase and word for word,
I have on the whole succeeded in transcribing with considerable
exactitude all that she herself had thought worthy to be rescued from
oblivion.  Moreover I have avoided the repetition of the mode of talk in
the fifteenth century, when German was barely commencing to be used as a
written language, since scholars, writers, and men of letters always
chose the Latin tongue for any great or elegant intellectual work.  The
narrator's expressions would only be intelligible to a select few, and,
I should have done my Margery injustice, had I left the ideas and
descriptions, whose meaning I thoroughly understood, in the clumsy form
she had given them.  The language of her day is a mirror whose uneven
surface might easily reflect the fairest picture in blurred or distorted
out lines to modern eyes.  Much, indeed which most attracted me in her
descriptions will have lost its peculiar charm in mine; as to whether I
have always supplemented her correctly, that must remain an open
question.

I have endeavored to throw myself into the mind and spirit of my Margery
and repeat her tale with occasional amplification, in a familiar style,
yet with such a choice of words as seems suitable to the date of her
narrative.  Thus I have perpetuated all that she strove to record for her
descendants out of her warm heart and eager brain; though often in mere
outline and broken sentences, still, in the language of her time and of
her native province.




MARGERY

CHAPTER I.

I, MARGERY SCHOPPER, was born in the year of our Lord 1404, on the
Tuesday after Palm Sunday.  My uncle Christan Pfinzing of the Burg, a
widower whose wife had been a Schopper, held me at the font.  My father,
God have his soul, was Franz Schopper, known as Franz the Singer.  He
died in the night of the Monday after Laetare Sunday in 1404, and his
wife my mother, God rest her, whose name was Christine, was born a
Behaim; she had brought him my two brothers Herdegen and Kunz, and she
died on the eve of Saint Catharine's day 1404; so that I lost my mother
while I was but a babe, and God dealt hardly with me also in taking my
father to Himself in His mercy, before I ever saw the light.

Instead of a loving father, such as other children have, I had only a
grave in the churchyard, and the good report of him given by such as had
known him; and by their account he must have been a right merry and
lovable soul, and a good man of business both in his own affairs and in
those pertaining to the city.  He was called "the Singer" because, even
when he was a member of the town-council, he could sing sweetly and
worthily to the lute.  This art he learned in Lombardy, where he had been
living at Padua to study the law there; and they say that among those
outlandish folk his music brought him a rich reward in the love of the
Italian ladies and damsels.  He was a well-favored man, of goodly stature
and pleasing to look upon, as my brother Herdegen his oldest son bears
witness, since it is commonly said that he is the living image of his
blessed father; and I, who am now an old woman, may freely confess that
I have seldom seen a man whose blue eyes shone more brightly beneath his
brow, or whose golden hair curled thicker over his neck and shoulders
than my brother's in the high day of his happy youth.

He was born at Eastertide, and the Almighty blessed him with a happy
temper such as he bestows only on a Sunday-child.  He, too, was skilled
in the art of singing, and as my other brother, my playmate Kunz, had
also a liking for music and song, there was ever a piping and playing in
our orphaned and motherless house, as if it were a nest of mirthful
grasshoppers, and more childlike gladness and happy merriment reigned
there than in many another house that rejoices in the presence of father
and mother.  And I have ever been truly thankful to the Almighty that
it was so; for as I have often seen, the life of children who lack a
mother's love is like a day when the sun is hidden by storm-clouds.
But the merciful God, who laid his hand on our mother's heart, filled
that of another woman with a treasure of love towards me and my brothers.

Our cousin Maud, a childless widow, took upon herself to care for us.
As a maid, and before she had married her departed husband, she had been
in love with my father, and then had looked up to my mother as a saint
from Heaven, so she could have no greater joy than to tell us tales about
our parents; and when she did so her eyes would be full of tears, and as
every word came straight from her heart it found its way straight to
ours; and as we three sat round, listening to her, besides her own two
eyes there were soon six more wet enough to need a handkerchief.

Her gait was heavy and awkward, and her face seemed as though it had been
hewn out of coarse wood, so that it was a proper face to frighten
children; even when she was young they said that her appearance was too
like a man and devoid of charms, and for that reason my father never
heeded her love for him; but her eyes were like open windows, and out of
them looked everything that was good and kind and loving and true, like
angels within.  For the sake of those eyes you forgot all else; all that
was rough in her, and her wide nose with the deep dent just in the
middle, and such hair on her lip as many a young stripling might envy
her.

And Sebald Kresz knew very well what he was about when he took to wife
Maud Im Hoff when he was between sixty and seventy years of age; and she
had nothing to look forward to in life as she stood at the altar with
him, but to play the part of nurse to a sickly perverse old man.  But to
Maud it seemed as fair a lot to take care of a fellow-creature as it is
to many another to be nursed and cherished; and it was the reward of her
faithful care that she could keep the old man from the clutch of Death
for full ten years longer.  After his decease she was left a well-to-do
widow; but instead of taking thought for herself she at once entered on a
life of fresh care, for she undertook the duty of filling the place of
mother to us three orphans.

As I grew up she would often instruct me in her kind voice, which was as
deep as the bass pipe of an organ, that she had set three aims before her
in bringing us up, namely: to make us good and Godfearing; to teach us to
agree among ourselves so that each should be ready to give everything up
to the others; and to make our young days as happy as possible.  How far
she succeeded in the first I leave to others to judge; but a more united
family than we ever were I should like any man to show me, and because it
was evident from a hundred small tokens how closely we clung together
folks used to speak of us as "the three links," especially as the arms
borne by the Schoppers display three rings linked to form a chain.

As for myself, I was the youngest and smallest of the three links, and
yet I was the middle one; for if ever it fell that Herdegen and Kunz had
done one thing or another which led them to disagree and avoid or defy
each other, they always came together again by seeking me and through my
means.  But though I thus sometimes acted as peacemaker it is no credit
to me, since I did not bring them together out of any virtue or
praiseworthy intent, but simply because I could not bear to stand alone,
or with only one ring linked to me.

Alas! how far behind me lies the bright, happy youth of which I now
write!  I have reached the top of life's hill, nay, I have long since
overstepped the ridge; and, as I look back and think of all I have seen
and known, it is not to the end that I may get wisdom for myself whereby
to do better as I live longer.  My old bones are stiff and set; it would
be vain now to try to bend them.  No, I write this little book for my own
pleasure, and to be of use and comfort to my children and grandchildren.
May they avoid the rocks on which I have bruised my feet, and where I
have walked firmly on may they take example by an old woman's brave
spirit, though I have learned in a thousand ways that no man gains profit
by any experience other than his own.

So I will begin at the beginning.

I could find much to tell of my happy childhood, for then everything
seems new; but it profits not to tell of what every one has known in his
own life, and what more can a Nuremberg child have to say of her early
growth and school life than ever another.  The blades in one field and
the trees in one wood share the same lot without any favour.  It is true
that in many ways I was unlike other children; for my cousin Maud would
often say that I would not abide rule as beseems a maid, and Herdegen's
lament that I was not born a boy still sounds in my ears when I call to
mind our wild games.  Any one who knows the window on the first floor,
at the back of our house, from which I would jump into the courtyard to
do as my brothers did, would be fairly frightened, and think it a wonder
that I came out of it with whole bones; but yet I was not always minded
to riot with the boys, and from my tenderest years I was a very
thoughtful little maid.  But there were things; in my young life very apt
to sharpen my wits.

We Schoppers are nearly allied with every worshipful family in the town,
or of a rank to sit in the council and bear a coat of arms; these being,
in fact, in Nuremberg, the class answering to the families of the
Signoria in Venice, whose names are enrolled in the Libro d'Oro.  What
the Barberighi, the Foscari, the Grimaldi, the Giustiniani and the like,
are there, the families of Stromer, Behaim, Im Hoff, Tucher, Kresz,
Baumgartner, Pfinzing, Pukheimer, Holzschuher, and so forth, are with us;
and the Schoppers certainly do not rank lowest on the list.  We who hold
ourselves entitled to bear arms, to ride in tournaments, and take office
in the Church, and who have a right to call ourselves nobles and
patricians, are all more or less kith and kin.  Wherever in Nuremberg
there was a fine house we could find there an uncle and aunt, cousins
and kinsmen, or at least godparents, and good friends of our deceased
parents.  Wherever one of them might chance to meet us, even if it were
in the street, he would say: "Poor little orphans!  God be good to the
fatherless!" and tears would sparkle in the eyes of many a kindhearted
woman.  Even the gentlemen of the Council--for most of the elders of our
friends were members of it--would stroke my fair hair and look at me as
pitifully as though I were some poor sinner for whom there could be no
mercy in the eyes of the judges of a court of justice.

Why was it that men deemed me so unfortunate when I knew no sorrow and my
heart was as gay as a singing bird?  I could not ask cousin Maud, for she
was sorely troubled if I had but a finger-ache, and how could I tell her
that I was such a miserable creature in the eyes of other folks?  But I
presently found out for myself why and wherefore they pitied me; for
seven who called me fatherless, seventy would speak of me as motherless
when they addressed me with pity.  Our misfortune was that we had no
mother.  But was there not Cousin Maud, and was not she as good as any
mother?  To be sure she was only a cousin, and she must lack something of
what a real mother feels.

And though I was but a heedless, foolish child I kept my eyes open and
began to look about me.  I took no one into the secret but my brothers,
and though my elder brother chid me, and bid me only be thankful to our
cousin for all her goodness, I nevertheless began to watch and learn.

There were a number of children at the Stromers' house--the Golden Rose
was its name--and they were still happy in having their mother.  She was
a very cheerful young woman, as plump as a cherry, and pink and white
like blood on snow; and she never fixed her gaze on me as others did,
but would frolic with me or scold me sharply when I did any wrong.
At the Muffels, on the contrary, the mistress was dead, and the master
had not long after brought home another mother to his little ones, a
stepmother, Susan, who was my maid, was wont to call her; and such a
mother was no more a real mother than our good cousin--I knew that much
from the fairy tales to which I was ever ready to hearken.  But I saw
this very stepmother wash and dress little Elsie, her husband's youngest
babe and not her own, and lull her till she fell asleep; and she did it
right tenderly, and quite as she ought.  And then, when the child was
asleep she kissed it, too, on its brow and cheeks.

And yet Mistress Stromer, of the Golden-Rose House, did differently; for
when she took little Clare that was her own babe out of the water, and
laid it on warm clouts on the swaddling board, she buried her face in the
sweet, soft flesh, and kissed the whole of its little body all over,
before and behind, from head to foot, as if it were all one sweet, rosy
mouth; and they both laughed with hearty, loving merriment, as the mother
pressed her lips against the babe's white, clean skin and trumpeted till
the room rang, or clasped it, wrapped in napkins to her warm breast, as
if she could hug it to death.  And she broke into a loud, strange laugh,
and cried as she fondled it: "My treasure, my darling, my God-sent jewel!
My own, my own--I could eat thee!"

No, Mistress Muffel never behaved so to Elsie, her husband's babe.
Notwithstanding I knew right well that Cousin Maud had been just as fond
of me as Dame Stromer of her own babes, and so far our cousin was no way
different from a real mother.  And I said as much to myself, when I laid
me down to sleep in my little white bed at night, and my cousin came and
folded her hands as I folded mine and, after we had said the prayers for
the Angelus together, as we did every evening, she laid her head by the
side of mine, and pressed my baby face to her own big face.  I liked this
well enough, and I whispered in her ear: "Tell me, Cousin Maud, are you
not my real, true mother?"

And she hastily replied, "In my heart I am, most truly; and you are a
very lucky maid, my Margery, for instead of only one mother you have two:
me, here below, to care for you and foster you, and the other up among
the angels above, looking down on you and beseeching the all-gracious
Virgin who is so nigh to her, to keep your little heart pure, and to
preserve you from all ill; nay, perhaps she herself is wearing a glory
and a heavenly crown.  Look at her face."  And Cousin Maud held up the
lamp so that the light fell on a large picture.  My eyes beheld the
lovely portrait in front of me, and meseemed it looked at me with a deep
gaze and stretched out loving arms to me.  I sat up in my bed; the
feelings which filled my little heart overflowed my lips, and I said in a
whisper: "Oh, Cousin Maud!  Surely my mammy might kiss me for once, and
fondle me as Mistress Stromer does her little Clare."

Cousin Maud set the lamp on the table, and without a word she lifted me
out of bed and held me up quite close to the face of the picture; and I
understood.  My lips softly touched the red lips on the canvas; and, as I
was all the happier, I fancied that my mother in Heaven must be glad too.

Then my cousin sighed: "Well, well!"  and murmured other words to
herself; she laid me in the bed again, tucked the coverlet tightly round
me as I loved to have it, gave me another kiss, waited till I had settled
my head on the pillow, and whispered: "Now go to sleep and dream of your
sainted mother."

She quitted the room; but she had left the lamp, and as soon as I was
alone I looked once more at the picture, which showed me my mother in
right goodly array.  She had a rose on her breast, her golden fillet
looked like the crown of the Queen of Heaven, and in her robe of rich,
stiff brocade she was like some great Saint.  But what seemed to me more
heavenly than all the rest was her rose and white young face, and the
sweet mouth which I had touched with my lips.  Oh if I had but once had
the happiness of kissing that mouth in life!  A sudden feeling glowed
in my heart, and an inward voice told me that a thousand kisses
from Cousin Maud would never be worth one single kiss from that lovely
young mother, and that I had indeed lost almost as much as my pitying
friends had said.  And I could not help sorrowing, weeping for a long
time; I felt as though I had lost just what was best and dearest, and
for the first time I saw that my good cousin was right ugly as other
folks said, and my silly little head conceived that a real mother must be
fair to look upon, and that however kind any one else might be she could
never be so gracious and lovable.

And so I fell asleep; and in my dreams the picture came towards me out of
the frame and took me in her arms as Madonna takes her Holy Child, and
looked at me with a gaze as if all the love on earth had met in those
eyes.  I threw my arms round her neck and waited for her to fondle and
play with me like Mistress Stromer with her little Clare; but she gently
and sadly shook her head with the golden crownlet, and went up to Cousin
Maud and set me in her lap.

"I have never forgot that dream, and often in my prayers have I lifted up
my heart to my sainted mother, and cried to her as to the blessed Virgin
and Saint Margaret, my name-saint; and how often she has heard me and
rescued me in need and jeopardy!  As to my cousin, she was ever dearer to
me from that night; for had not my own mother given me to her, and when
folks looked at me pitifully and bewailed my lot, I could laugh in my
heart and think: 'If only you knew!  Your children have only one mother,
but we have two; and our own real mother is prettier than any one's,
while the other, for all that she is so ugly, is the best.'"

It was the compassion of folks that first led me to such thoughts, and as
I grew older I began to deem that their pity had done little good to my
young soul.  Friends are ever at hand to comfort every job; but few are
they who come to share his heaviness, all the more so because all men
take pleasure in comparing their own fair lot with the evil lot of
others.  Compassion--and I am the last to deny it--is a noble and right
healing grace; but those who are so ready to extend it should be cautious
how they do so, especially in the case of a child, for a child is like a
sapling which needs light, and those who darken the sun that shines on it
sin against it, and hinder its growth.  Instead of bewailing it, make it
glad; that is the comfort that befits it.

I felt I had discovered a great and important secret and I was eager to
make our sainted mother known to my brothers; but they had found her
already without any aid from their little sister.  I told first one and
then the other all that stirred within me, and when I spoke to Herdegen,
the elder, I saw at once that it was nothing new to him.  Kunz, the
younger, I found in the swing; he flew so high that I thought he would
fling himself out, and I cried to him to stop a minute; but, as he
clutched the rope tighter and pulled himself together to stand firm on
the board, he cried: "Leave me now, Margery; I want to go up, up; up to
Heaven--up to where mother is!"

That was enough for me; and from that hour we often spoke together of our
sainted mother, and Cousin Maud took care that we should likewise keep
our father in mind.  She had his portrait--as she had had my mother's--
brought from the great dining-room, where it had hung, into the large
children's room where she slept with me.  And this picture, too, left
its mark on my after-life; for when I had the measles, and Master Paul
Rieter, the town physician and our doctor, came to see me, he stayed a
long time, as though he could not bear to depart, standing in front of
the portrait; and when he turned to me again, his face was quite red with
sorrowful feeling--for he had been a favorite friend of my father, at
Padua--and he exclaimed: "What a fortunate child art thou, little
Margery!"

I must have looked at him puzzled enough, for no one had ever esteemed me
fortunate, unless it were Cousin Maud or the Waldstromers in the forest;
and Master Paul must have observed my amazement, for he went on.  "Yea,
a happy child art thou; for so are all babes, maids or boys, who come
into the world after their father's death."  As I gazed into his face,
no less astonished than before, he laid the gold knob of his cane against
his nose and said: "Remember, little simpleton, the good God would not be
what he is, would not be a man of honor--God forgive the words--if he did
not take a babe whom He had robbed of its father before it had seen the
light or had one proof of his love under His own special care.  Mark what
I say, child.  Is it a small thing to be the ward of a guardian who is
not only Almighty but true above all truth?"  And those words have
followed me through all my life till this very hour.




CHAPTER II.

Thus passed our childhood, as I have already said, in very great
happiness; and by the time that my brothers had left the leading strings
far behind them, and were studying their 'Donatus', Cousin Maud was
teaching me to read and write, and that with much mirth and the most
frolicsome ways.  For instance, she would stamp four copies of each
letter out of sweet honey-cakes, and when I knew them well she gave me
these tiny little A. B. C. cakes, and one I ate myself, and gave the
others to my brothers, or Susan, or my cousin.  Often I put them in my
satchel to carry them into the woods with me, and give them to my Cousin
Gotz's favorite hound or his cross-beak; for he himself did not care for
sweets.  I shall have many things to tell of him and the forest; even
when I was very small it was my greatest joy to be told that we were
going to the woods, for there dwelt the dearest and most faithful of all
our kinsmen: my uncle Waldstromer and his family.  The stately hunting-
lodge in which he dwelt as head forester of the Lorenzerwald in the
service of the Emperor and of our town, had greater joys for me than any
other, since not only were there the woods with all their delights and
wonders, but also, besides many hounds, a number of strange beasts, and
other pastimes such as a town child knows little of.

But what I most loved was the only son of my uncle and aunt Waldstromer,
for whose dog I kept my cake letters; for though Cousin Gotz was older
than I by eleven years, he nevertheless did not scorn me, but whenever I
asked him to show me this or that, or teach me some light woodland craft,
he would leave his elders to please me.

When I was six years old I went to the forest one day in a scarlet velvet
hood, and after that he ever called me his little "Red riding-hood," and
I liked to be called so; and of all the boys and lads I ever met among my
brothers' friends or others I deemed none could compare with Gotz; my
guileless heart was so wholly his that I always mentioned his name in my
little prayers.

Till I was nine we had gone out into the forest three or four times in
each year to pass some weeks; but after this I was sent to school, and
as Cousin Maud took it much to heart, because she knew that my father had
set great store by good learning, we paid such visits more rarely; and
indeed, the strict mistress who ruled my teaching would never have
allowed me to break through my learning for pastime's sake.

Sister Margaret, commonly called the Carthusian nun, was the name of the
singular woman who was chosen to be my teacher.  She was at once the most
pious and learned soul living; she was Prioress of a Carthusian nunnery
and had written ten large choirbooks, besides others.  Though the rule of
her order forbade discourse, she was permitted to teach.

Oh, how I trembled when Cousin Maud first took me to the convent.

As a rule my tongue was never still, unless it were when Herdegen sang to
me, or thought aloud, telling me his dreams of what he would do when he
had risen to be chancellor, or captain-in chief of the Imperial army, and
had found a count's or a prince's daughter to carry home to his grand
castle.  Besides, the wild wood was a second home to me, and now I was
shut up in a convent where the silence about me crushed me like a too
tight bodice.  The walls of the vast antechamber, where I was left to
wait, were covered with various texts in Latin, and several times
repeated were these words under a skull.

"Bitter as it is to live a Carthusian, it is right sweet to die one."

There was a crucifix in a shrine, and so much bright red blood flowed
from the Crown of Thorns and the Wounds that the Sacred Body was half
covered with it, and I was sore afraid at the sight--oh I can find no
words for it!  And all the while one nun after another glided through the
chamber in silence, and with bowed head, her arms folded, and never so
much as lifting an eye to look at me.

It was in May; the day was fine and pleasant, but I began to shiver,
and I felt as if the Spring had bloomed and gone, and I had suddenly
forgotten how to laugh and be glad.  Presently a cat stole in, leapt on
to the bench where I sat, and arched her back to rub up against me; but I
drew away, albeit I commonly laved to play with animals; for it glared at
me strangely with its green eyes, and I had a sudden fear that it would
turn into a werewolf and do me a hurt.

At length the door opened, and a woman in nun's weeds came in with my
cousin; she was the taller by a head.  I had never seen so tall a woman,
but the nun was very thin, too, and her shoulders scarce broader than my
own.  Ere long, indeed, she stooped a good deal, and as time went on I
saw her ever with her back bent and her head bowed.  They said she had
some hurt of the back-bone, and that she had taken this bent shape from
writing, which she always did at night.

At first I dared not look up in her face, for my cousin had told me that
with her I must be very diligent, that idleness never escaped her keen
eyes; and Gotz Waldstromer knew the meaning of the Latin motto with which
she began all her writings: "Beware lest Satan find thee idle!"  These
words flashed through my mind at this moment; I felt her eye fixed upon
me, and I started as she laid her cold, thin fingers on my brow and
firmly, but not ungently, made me lift my drooping head.  I raised my
eyes, and how glad I was when in her pale, thin face I saw nothing but
true, sweet good will.

She asked me in a low, clear voice, though hardly above a whisper, how
old I was, what was my name, and what I had learnt already.  She spoke in
brief sentences, not a word too little or too many; and she ever set me
my tasks in the same manner; for though, by a dispensation, she might
speak, she ever bore in mind that at the Last Day we shall be called to
account for every word we utter.

At last she spoke of my sainted parents, but she only said: "Thy father
and mother behold thee ever; therefore be diligent in school that they
may rejoice in thee.--To-morrow and every morning at seven."  Then she
kissed me gently on my head, bowed to my cousin without a word, and
turned her back upon us.  But afterwards, as I walked on in the open air
glad to be moving, and saw the blue sky and the green meadows once more,
and heard the birds sing and the children at play, I felt as it were a
load lifted from my breast; but I likewise felt the tall, silent nun's
kiss, and as if she had given me something which did me honor.

Next morning I went to school for the first time; and whereas it is
commonly the part of a child's godparents only to send it parcels of
sweetmeats when it goes to school, I had many from various kinsfolks and
other of our friends, because they pitied me as a hapless orphan.

I thought more of my riches, and how to dispense them, than of school and
tasks; and as my cousin would only put one parcel into my little satchel
I stuffed another--quite a little one, sent me by rich mistress Grosz,
with a better kind of sweeties--into the wallet which hung from my
girdle.

On the way I looked about at the folks to see if they observed how I had
got on, and my little heart beat fast as I met my cousin Gotz in front of
Master Pernhart's brass-smithy.  He had come from the forest to live in
the town, that he might learn book-keeping under the tax-gatherers.  We
greeted each other merrily, and he pulled my plait of hair and went on
his way, while I felt as if this meeting had brought me good luck indeed.

In school of course I had to forget such follies at once; for among
Sister Margaret's sixteen scholars I was far below most of them, not,
indeed in stature, for I was well-grown for my years, but in age and
learning and this I was to discover before the first hour was past.

Fifteen of us were of the great city families, and this day, being the
first day of the school-term, we were all neatly clad in fine woollen
stuffs of Florence or of Flanders make, and colored knitted hose.  We all
had fine lace ruffs round the cuffs of our tight sleeves and the square
cut fronts of our bodices; each little maid wore a silken ribbon to tie
her plaits, and almost all had gold rings in her ears and a gold pin at
her breast or in her girdle.  Only one was in a simple garb, unlike the
others, and she, notwithstanding her weed was clean and fitting, was
arrayed in poor, grey home spun.  As I looked on her I could not but mind
me of Cinderella; and when I looked in her face, and then at her feet to
see whether they were as neat and as little as in the tale, I saw that
she had small ankles and sweet little shoes; and as for her face, I
deemed I had never seen one so lovely and at the same time so strange to
me.  Yea, she seemed to have come from another world than this that I and
the others lived in; for we were light or brown haired, with blue or grey
eyes, and healthy red and white faces; while Cinderella had a low
forehead and with big dark eyes strange, long, fine silky lashes; and
heavy plaits of black hair hung down her back.

Ursula Tetzel was accounted by the lads the comeliest maiden of us all;
and I knew full well that the flower she wore in her bodice had been
given to her by my brother Herdegen early that morning, because he had
chosen her for his "Lady," and said she was the fairest; but as I looked
at her beside this stranger I deemed that she was of poorer stuff.

Moreover Cinderella was a stranger to me, and all the others I knew well,
but I had to take patience for a whole hour ere I could ask who this fair
Cinderella was, for Sister Margaret kept her eye on us, and so long as I
was taught by her, no one at any time made so bold as to speak during
lessons or venture on any pastime.

At last, in a few minutes for rest, I asked Ursula Tetzel, who had come
to the convent school for a year past.  She put out her red nether-lip
with a look of scorn and said the new scholar had been thrust among us
but did not belong to the like of us.  Sister Margaret, though of a noble
house herself, had forgot what was due to us and our families, and had
taken in this grey bat out of pity.  Her father was a simple clerk in the
Chancery office and was accountant to the convent for some small wage.
His name was Veit Spiesz, and she had heard her father say that the
scribe was the son of a simple lute-player and could hardly earn enough
to live.  He had formerly served in a merchant's house at Venice.  There
he had wed an Italian woman, and all his children, which were many, had,
like her, hair and eyes as black as the devil.  For the sake of a "God
repay thee!" this maid, named Ann, had been brought to mix with us
daughters of noble houses.  "But we will harry her out," said Ursula,
"you will see!"

This shocked me sorely, and I said that would be cruel and I would have
no part in such a matter; but Ursula laughed and said I was yet but a
green thing, and turned away to the window-shelf where all the new-comers
had laid out their sweetmeats at the behest of the eldest or first of the
class; for, by old custom, all the sweetmeats brought by the novices on
the first day were in common.

All the party crowded round the heap of sweetmeats, which waxed greater
and greater, and I was standing among the others when I saw that the
scribe's daughter Ann, Cinderella, was standing lonely and hanging her
head by the tiled stove at the end of the room.  I forthwith hastened to
her, pressed the little packet which Mistress Grosz had given me into her
hand--for I had it still hidden in my poke--and, whispered to her: "I had
two of them, little Ann; make haste and pour them on the heap."

She gave me a questioning look with her great eyes, and when she saw that
I meant it truly she nodded, and there was something in her tearful look
which I never can forget; and I mind, too, that when I passed the little
packet into her hand it seemed that I, and not she, had received the
favor.

She gave the sweetmeats she had taken from me to the eldest, and
spoke not a word, and did not seem to mark that they all mocked at the
smallness of the packet.  But soon enough their scorn was turned to glee
and praises; for out of Cinderella's parcel such fine sweetmeats fell on
to the heap as never another one had brought with her, and among them was
a little phial of attar of roses from the Levant.

At first Ann had cast an anxious look at me, then she seemed as though
she cared not; but when the oil of roses came to light she took it firmly
in her hand to give to me.  But Ursula cried out: "Nay.  Whatsoever the
new-comers bring is for all to share in common!"  Notwithstanding, Ann
laid her hand on mine, which already held the phial, and said boldly: "I
give this to Margery, and I renounce all the rest."

And there was not one to say her nay, or hinder her; and when she refused
to eat with them, each one strove to press upon her so much as fell to
her share.

When Sister Margaret came back into the room she looked to find us in
good order and holding our peace; and while we awaited her Ann whispered
to me, as though to put herself right in my eyes: "I had a packet of
sweetmeats; but there are four little ones at home."

Cousin Maud was waiting at the convent gate to take me home.  As I was
setting forth at good speed, hand in hand with my new friend, she looked
at the little maid's plain garb from top to toe, and not kindly.  And she
made me leave hold, but yet as though it were by chance, for she came
between us to put my hood straight.  Then she busied herself with my
neckkerchief and whispered in my ear: "Who is that?"

So I replied: "Little Ann;" and when she went on to ask who her father
might be, I told her she was a scrivener's daughter, and was about to
speak of her with hearty good will, when my cousin stopped me by saying
to Ann: "God save you child; Margery and I must hurry."  And she strove
to get me on and away; but I struggled to be free from her, and cried out
with the wilful pride which at that time I was wont to show when I
thought folks would hinder that which seemed good and right in my eyes:
"Little Ann shall come with us."

But the little maid had her pride likewise, and said firmly: "Be dutiful,
Margery; I can go alone."  At this Cousin Maud looked at her more
closely, and thereupon her eyes had the soft light of good will which I
loved so well, and she herself began to question Ann about her kinsfolk.
The little maid answered readily but modestly, and when my Cousin
understood that her father was a certain writer in the Chancery of whom
she had heard a good report, she was softer and more gentle, so that when
I took hold again of Ann's little hand she let it pass, and presently, at
parting, kissed her on the brow and bid her carry a greeting to her
worthy father.

Now, when I was alone with Cousin Maud and gave her to understand that
I loved the scribe's little daughter and wished for no dearer friend,
she answered gravely; "Little maids can hold no conversation with any
but those whose mothers meet in each other's houses.  Take patience till
I can speak to Sister Margaret."  So when my Cousin went out in the
afternoon I tarried in the most anxious expectation; but she came home
with famous good tidings, and thenceforward Ann was a friend to whom I
clung almost as closely as to my brothers.  And which of us was the chief
gainer it would be hard to say, for whereas I found in her a trusted
companion to whom I might impart every thing which was scarce worthy of
my brothers' or my Cousin's ears, and foremost of all things my childish
good-will for my Cousin Gotz and love of the Forest, to her the place in
my heart and in our house were as a haven of peace when she craved rest
after the heavy duties which, for all she was so young, she had already
taken upon herself.




CHAPTER III.

True it is that the class I learnt in at the convent was under the
strictest rule, and that my teacher was a Carthusian nun; and yet I take
pleasure in calling to mind the years when my spirit enjoyed the benefit
of schooling with friendly companions and by the side of my best friend.
Nay, even in the midst of the silent dwelling of the speechless Sisters,
right merry laughter might be heard during the hours of rest, and in
spite of the thick walls of the class-room it reached the nuns' ears.
Albeit at first I was stricken with awe, and shy in their presence,
I soon became familiar with their strange manner of life, and there was
many an one whom I learnt truly to love: with some, too, we could talk
and jest right merrily, for they, to be sure, had good ears, and we,
were not slow in learning the language of their eyes and fingers.

As concerning the rule of silence no one, to my knowledge, ever broke it
in the presence of us little ones, save only Sister Renata, and she was
dismissed from the convent; yet, as I waxed older, I could see that the
nuns were as fain to hear any tidings of the outer life that might find a
way into the cloister as though there was nothing they held more dear
than the world which they had withdrawn from by their own free choice.

For my part, I have ever been, and remain to the end, one of those least
fitted for the Carthusian habit, notwithstanding that Sister Margaret
would paint the beatitudes and the purifying power of her Order in fair
and tempting colors.  In the hours given up to sacred teaching, when she
would shed out upon us the overflowing wealth and abundant grace of her
loving spirit--insomuch that she won not less than four souls of our
small number to the sisterhood--she was wont and glad to speak of this
matter, and would say that there was a heavenly spirit living and moving
in every human breast.  That it told us, with the clear and holy voice
of angels, what was divine and true, but that the noise of the world and
our own vain imaginings sounded louder and would not suffer us to hear.
But that they who took upon them the Carthusian rule and hearkened to
it speechless, in a silent home, lending no ear to distant outer voices,
but only to those within, would ere long learn to mark the heavenly voice
with the inward ear and know its warning.  That voice would declare to
them the glory and the will of the Most High God, and reveal the things
that are hidden in such wise as that even here below he should take part
in the joys of paradise.

But, for all that I never was a Carthusian nun, and that my tongue was
ever apt to run too freely, I conceive that I have found the Heavenly
Spirit in the depths of my own soul and heard its voice; but in truth
this has befallen me most clearly, and with most joy, when my heart has
been most filled with that worldly love which the Carthusian Sisters shut
out with a hundred doors.  And again, when I have been moved by that love
towards my neighbor which is called Charity, and wearied myself out for
him, sparing nothing that was my own, I have felt those divine emotions
plainly enough in my breast.

The Sister bid us to question her at all times without fear, and I was
ever the foremost of us all to plague her with communings.  Of a
certainty she could not at all times satisfy my soul, which thirsted for
knowledge, though she never failed to calm it; for I stood firm in the
faith, and all she could tell me of God's revelation to man I accepted
gladly, without doubt or cavil.  She had taught us that faith and
knowledge are things apart, and I felt that there could be no more peace
for my soul if I suffered knowledge to meddle with faith.

Led by her, I saw the Saviour as love incarnate; and that the love which
He brought into the world was still and ever a living thing working after
His will, I strove to confess with my thinking mind.  But I beheld even
the Archbishops and Bishops go forth to battle, and shed the blood of
their fellow men with vengeful rage; I saw Pope excommunicate Pope--for
the great Schism only came to an end while I was yet at school; peaceful
cities in their sore need bound themselves by treaties, under our eyes,
for defence against Christian knights and lords.  The robber bands of the
great nobles plundered merchants on the Emperor's highway, though they
were of the same creed, while the citizens strove to seize the
strongholds of the knights.  We heard of many more letters of defiance
than of peacemaking and friendship.  Even the burgesses of our good
Christian town--could not the love taught by the Redeemer prevail even
among them?  And as with the great so with the simple; for was it love
alone that reigned among us maidens in a Christian school?  Nay, verily;
for never shall  I forget how that Ursula Tetzel, and in fellowship with
her a good half of the others, pursued my sweet, sage Ann, the most
diligent and best of us all, to drive her out of our midst; but in vain,
thanks to Sister Margaret's upright justice.  Nay, the shrewish plotters
were fain at last to see the scrivener's daughter uplifted to be our
head, and this compelled them to bend their pride before her.

All this and much more I would say to the good Sister; nay, and I made so
bold as to ask her whether Christ's behest that we should love our enemy
were not too high for attainment by the spirit of man.  This made her
grave and thoughtful; yet she found no lack of comforting words, and said
that the Lord had only showed the way and the end.  That men had turned
sadly from both; but that many a stream wandered through divers windings
from the path to its goal, the sea, before it reached it; and that
mankind was wondrous like the stream, for, albeit they even now rend each
other in bloody fights, the day will come when foe shall offer to foe the
palm of peace, and when there shall be but one fold on earth and one
Shepherd.

But my anxious questioning, albeit I was but a child, had without doubt
troubled her pure and truthful spirit.  It was in Passion week, of the
fifth year of my school-life--and ever through those years she had become
more bent and her voice had sunk lower, so that many a time we found it
hard to hear her--that it fell that she could no longer quit her cell;
and she sent me a bidding to go to her bedside, and with me only two of
us all: to wit my Ann, and Elsa Ebner, a right good child and a diligent
bee in her work.

And it befell that as Sister Margaret on her deathbed bid us farewell for
ever, with many a God speed and much good council for the rest likewise,
her heart waxed soft and she went on to speak of the love each Christian
soul oweth to his neighbor and eke to his enemy.  She fixed her eye in
especial on me, and confessed with her pale lips that she herself had
ofttimes found it hard to love evil-minded adversaries and those whose
ways had been contrary to hers, as the law of the Saviour bid her.
To those young ones among us who had made their minds up to take the veil
she had, ere this, more especially shown what was needful; for their way
lay plain before them, to walk as followers of Christ how bitter soever
it might be to their human nature; but we were bound to live in the
world, and she could but counsel us to flee from hate as the soul's worst
foe and the most cunning of all the devils.  But an if it should befall
that our heart could not be subdued after a brave struggle to love such
or such an one, then ought we to strive at least to respect all that was
good and praiseworthy in him, inasmuch as we should ever find something
worthy of honor even in the most froward and least pleasing to ourselves.
And these words I have ever kept in mind, and many times have they given
me pause, when the hot blood of the Schoppers has bid me stoop and pick
up a stone to fling at my neighbor.

No longer than three days after she had thus bidden us to her side,
Sister Margaret entered into her rest; she had been our strait but gentle
teacher, and her learning was as far above that of most women of her time
as the heavens are high; and as her mortal body lay, no longer bent, but
at full length in the coffin, the saintly lady, who before she took the
vows had been a Countess of Lupfen, belonged, meseemed, to a race taller
than ours by a head.  A calm, queenlike dignity was on her noble thin
face; and, this corpse being the first, as it fell, that I had ever
looked on, it so worked on my mind that death, of which I had heretofore
been in terror, took the image in my young soul of a great Master to whom
we must indeed bow, but who is not our foe.

I never could earn such praise as Ann, who was by good right at our head;
notwithstanding I ever stood high.  And the vouchers I carried home were
enough to content Cousin Maud, for her great wish that her foster-
children should out-do others was amply fulfilled by Herdegen, the
eldest.  He was indeed filled with sleeping learning, as it were, and I
often conceived that he needed only fitting instruction and a fair start
to wake it up.  For even he did not attain his learning without pains,
and they who deem that it flew into his mouth agape are sorely mistaken.
Many a time have I sat by his side while he pored over his books, and I
could see how he set to work in right earnest when once he had cast away
sports and pastime.  Thus with three mighty blows he would smite the nail
home, which a weaker hand could not do with twenty.  For whole weeks he
might be idle and about divers matters which had no concern with
schooling; and then, of a sudden, set to work; and it would so wholly
possess his soul that he would not have seen a stone drop close at his
feet.

My second brother, Kunz, was not at all on this wise.  Not that he was
soft-witted; far from it.  His head was as clear as ever another's for
all matters of daily life; but he found it hard to learn scholarship, and
what Herdegen could master in one hour, it took him a whole livelong day
to get.  Notwithstanding he was not one of the dunces, for he strove hard
with all diligence, and rather would he have lost a night's sleep than
have left what he deemed a duty only half done.  Thus there were sore
half-hours for him in school-time; but he was not therefor to be pitied,
for he had a right merry soul and was easily content, and loved many
things.  Good temper and a high spirit looked out of his great blue eyes;
aye, and when he had played some prank which was like to bring him into
trouble he had a look in his eyes--a look that might have melted a stone
to pity, much more good Cousin Maud.

But this did not altogether profit him, for after that Herdegen had
discovered one day how easily Kunz got off chastisement he would pray him
to take upon himself many a misdeed which the elder had done; and Kunz,
who was soft-hearted, was fain rather to suffer the penalty than to see
it laid on his well-beloved brother.  Add to this that Kunz was a well-
favored, slender youth;  but as compared with Herdegen's splendid looks
and stalwart frame he looked no more than common.  For this cause he had
no ill-wishers while our eldest's uncommon beauty in all respects, and
his hasty temper, ever ready to boil over for good or evil, brought upon
him much ill-will and misliking.

When Cousin Maud beheld how little good Kunz got out of his learning, in
spite of his zeal, she was minded to get him a private governor to teach
him; and this she did by the advice of a learned doctor of Church-law,
Albrecht Fleischmann, the vicar and provost of Saint Sebald's and member
of the Imperial council, because we Schoppers were of the parish of Saint
Sebald's, to which church Albrecht and Friedrich Schopper, God rest their
souls, had attached a rich prebendary endowment.

His Reverence the prebendary Fleischmann, having attended the Council at
Costnitz, whither he was sent by the town elders with divers errands to
the Emperor Sigismund, who was engaged in a disputation with John Huss
the Bohemian schismatic, brought to my cousin's knowledge a governor
whose name was Peter Pihringer, a native of Nuremberg.  He it was who
brought the Greek tongue, which was not yet taught in the Latin schools
of our city, not in our house alone, but likewise into others; he was not
indeed at all like the high-souled men and heroes of whom his Plutarch
wrote; nay, he was a right pitiable little man, who had learnt nothing of
life, though all the more out of books.  He had journeyed long in Italy,
from one great humanistic doctor to another, and while he had sat at
their feet, feeding his soul with learning, his money had melted away in
his hands--all that he had inherited from his father, a worthy tavern-
keeper and master baker.  Much of his substance he had lent to false
friends never to see it more, and it would scarce be believed how many
times knavish rogues had beguiled this learned man of his goods.  At
length he came home to Nuremberg, a needy traveller, entering the city by
the same gate as that by which Huss had that same day departed, having
tarried in Nuremberg on his way to Costnitz and won over divers of our
learned scholars to his doctrine.  Now, after Magister Peter had written
a very learned homily against the said Hans Huss, full of much Greek--
of which, indeed, it was reported that it had brought a smile to the
dauntless Bohemian's lips in the midst of his sorrow--he found a patron
in Doctor Fleischmann, who was well pleased with this tractate, and he
thenceforth made a living by teaching divers matters.  But he sped but
ill, dwelling alone, inasmuch as he would forget to eat and drink and
mislay or lose his hardly won wage.  Once the town watch had to see him
home because, instead of a book, he was carrying a ham which a gossip had
given him; and another day he was seen speeding down the streets with his
nightcap on, to the great mirth of the lads and lasses.

Notwithstanding he showed himself no whit unworthy of the high praise
wherewith his Reverence the Prebendary had commended him, inasmuch as he
was not only a right learned, but likewise a faithful and longsuffering
teacher.  But his wisdom profited Herdegen and Ann and me rather than
Kunz, though it was for his sake that he had come to us; and as, touching
this strange man's person, my cousin told me later that when she saw him
for the first time she took such a horror of his wretched looks that she
was ready to bid him depart and desire the Reverend doctor to send us
another governor.  But out of pity she would nevertheless give him a
trial, and considering that I should ere long be fully grown, and that a
young maid's heart is a strange thing, she deemed that a younger teacher
might lead it into peril.

At the time when Master Pihringer came to dwell with us, Herdegen was
already high enough to pass into the upper school, for he was first in
his 'ordo'; but our guardian, the old knight Hans Im Hoff, of whom I
shall have much to tell, held that he was yet too young for the risks of
a free scholar's life in a high school away from home, and he kept him
two years more in Nuremberg at the school of the Brethren of the Holy
Ghost, albeit the teaching there was not of the best.  At any rate Master
Pihringer avowed that in all matters of learning we were out of all
measure behind the Italians; and how rough and barbarous was the Latin
spoken by the reverend Fathers and taught by them in the schools, I
myself had later the means of judging.

Their way of imparting that tongue was in truth a strange thing; for to
fix the quantity of the syllables in the learners' mind, they were made
to sing verses in chorus, while one of them, on whose head Father
Hieronymus would set a paper cap to mark his office, beat the measure
with a wooden sword; but what pranks of mischief the unruly rout would be
playing all the time Kunz could describe better than I can.

The great and famous works of the Roman chroniclers and poets, which our
Master had come to know well in Italy--having besides fine copies of
them--were never heard of in the Fathers' school, by reason, that those
writers had all been mere blind heathen; but, verily, the common school
catechisms which were given to the lads for their instruction, contained
such foolish and ill-conceived matters, that any sage heathen would have
been ashamed of them.  The highest exercise consisted of disputations on
all manner of subtle and captious questions, and the Latin verses which
the scholars hammered out under the rule of Father Jodocus were so vile
as to rouse Magister Peter to great and righteous wrath.  Each morning,
before the day's tasks began, the fine old hymn Salve Regina was chanted,
and this was much better done in the Brothers' school than in ever
another, for those Monks gave especial heed to the practice of good
music.  My Herdegen profited much thereby, and he was the foremost of all
the singing scholars.  He likewise gladly and of his own free will took
part in the exercises of the Alumni, of whom twelve, called the Pueri,
had to sing at holy mass, and at burials and festivals, as well as in the
streets before the houses of the great city families and other worthy
citizens.  The money they thus earned served to help maintain the poorer
scholars, and to be sure, my brother was ready to forego his share; nay,
and a great part of his own pocket-money went to those twelve, for among
them were comrades he truly loved.

There was something lordly in my elder brother, and his fellows were ever
subject to his will.  Even at the shooting matches in sport he was ever
chosen captain, and the singing pueri soon would do his every behest.
Cousin Maud would give them free commons on many a Sunday and holy-day,
and when they had well filled their hungry young crops at our table for
the coming week of lean fare, they went out with us into the garden, and
it presently rang with mirthful songs, Herdegen beating the measure,
while we young maids joined in with a will.

For the most part we three: Ann, Elsa Ebner, and I--were the only maids
with the lads, but Ursula Tetzel was sometimes with us, for she was ever
fain to be where Herdegen was.  And he had been diligent enough in
waiting upon her ere ever I went to school.  There was a giving and
taking of flowers and nosegays, for he had chosen her for his Lady, and
she called him her knight; and if I saw him with a red knot on his cap I
knew right well it was to wear her color; and I liked all this child's-
play myself right well, inasmuch as I likewise had my chosen color:
green, as pertaining to my cousin in the forest.

But when I went to the convent-school all this was at an end, and I had
no choice but to forego my childish love matters, not only for my tasks'
sake, but forasmuch as I discerned that Gotz had a graver love matter on
hand, and that such an one as moved his parents to great sorrow.

The wench to whom he plighted his love was the daughter of a common
craftsman, Pernhart the coppersmith, and when this came to my ears it
angered me greatly; nay, and cost me bitter tears, as I told it to Ann.
But ere long we were playing with our dollies again right happily.

I took this matter to heart nevertheless, more than many another of my
years might have done; and when we went again to the Forest Lodge and I
missed Gotz from his place, and once, as it fell, heard my aunt lamenting
to Cousin Maud bitterly indeed of the sorrows brought upon her by her
only son--for he was fully bent on taking the working wench to wife in
holy wedlock--in my heart I took my aunt's part.  And I deemed it a
shameful and grievous thing that so fine a young gentleman could abase
himself to bring heaviness on the best of parents for the sake of a
lowborn maid.

After this, one Sunday, it fell by chance that I went to mass with Ann to
the church of St. Laurence, instead of St. Sebald's to which we belonged.
Having said my prayer, looking about me I beheld Gotz, and saw how, as he
leaned against a pillar, he held his gaze fixed on one certain spot.  My
eyes followed his, and at once I saw whither they were drawn, for I saw a
young maid of the citizen class in goodly, nay--in rich array, and she
was herself of such rare and wonderful beauty that I myself could not
take my eyes off her.  And I remembered that I had met the wench erewhile
on the feast-day of St. John, and that uncle Christian Pfinzing, my
worshipful godfather, had pointed her out to Cousin Maud, and had said
that she was the fairest maid in Nuremberg whom they called, and rightly,
Fair Gertrude.

Now the longer I gazed at her the fairer I deemed her, and when Ann
discovered to me, what I had at once divined, that this sweet maid was
the daughter of Pernhart the coppersmith, my child's heart was glad, for
if my cousin was without dispute the finest figure of a man in the whole
assembly Fair Gertrude was the sweetest maid, I thought, in the whole
wide world.

If it had been possible that she could be of yet greater beauty it would
but have added to my joy.  And henceforth I would go as often as I might
to St. Laurence's, and past the coppersmith's house to behold Fair
Gertrude; and my heart beat high with gladness when she one day saw me
pass and graciously bowed to my silent greeting, and looked in my face
with friendly inquiry.

After this when Gotz came to our house I welcomed him gladly as
heretofore; and one day, when I made bold to whisper in his ear that I
had seen his fair Gertrude, and for certain no saint in heaven could have
a sweeter face than hers, he thanked me with a bright look and it was
from the bottom of his soul that he said: "If you could but know her
faithful heart of gold!"

For all this Gotz was dearer to me than of old, and it uplifted me in my
own conceit that he should put such trust in a foolish young thing as I
was.  But in later days it made me sad to see his frank and noble face
grow ever more sorrowful, nay, and full of gloom; and I knew full well
what pained him, for a child can often see much more than its elders
deem.  Matters had come to a sharp quarrel betwixt the son and the
parents, and I knew my cousin well, and his iron will which was a by-word
with us.  And my aunt in the Forest was of the same temper; albeit her
body was sickly, she was one of those women who will not bear to be
withstood, and my heart hung heavy with fear when I conceived of the
outcome of this matter.

Hence it was a boon indeed to me that I had my Ann for a friend, and
could pour out to her all that filled my young soul with fears.  How our
cheeks would burn when many a time we spoke of the love which was the
bond between Gotz and his fair Gertrude.  To us, indeed, it was as yet
a mystery, but that it was sweet and full of joy we deemed a certainty.
We would have been fain to cry out to the Emperor and the world to take
arms against the ruthless parents who were minded to tread so holy a
blossom in the dust; but since this was not in our power we had dreams of
essaying to touch the heart of my forest aunt, for she had but that one
son and no daughter to make her glad, and I had ever been her favorite.

Thus passed many weeks, and one morning, when I came forth from school,
I found Gotz with Cousin Maud who had been speaking with him, and her
eyes were wet with tears; and I heard him cry out:

"It is in my mother's power to drive me to misery and ruin; but no power
in heaven or on earth can drive me to break the oath and forswear the
faith I have sworn!"

And his cheeks were red, and I had never seen him look so great and tall.

Then, when he saw me, he held out both hands to me in his frank, loving
way, and I took them with all my heart.  At this he looked into my eyes
which were full of tears, and he drew me hastily to him and kissed me on
my brow for the first time in all his life, with strange passion; and
without another word he ran out of the house-door into the street.  My
cousin gazed after him, shaking her head sadly and wiping her eyes; but
when I asked her what was wrong with my cousin she would give me no
tidings of the matter.

The next day we should have gone out to the forest, but we remained at
home; Aunt Jacoba would see no one.  Her son had turned his back on his
parents' dwelling, and had gone out as a stranger among strangers.  And
this was the first sore grief sent by Heaven on my young heart.




CHAPTER IV.

Many of the fairest memories of my childhood are linked with the house
where Ann's parents dwelt.  It was indeed but a simple home and not to be
named with ours--the Schopperhof--for greatness or for riches; but it was
a snug nest, and in divers ways so unlike ever another that it was full
of pleasures for a child.

Master Spiesz, Ann's father, had been bidden from Venice, where he had
been in the service of the Mendel's merchant house, to become head clerk
in Nuremberg, first in the Chamber of Taxes, and then in the Chancery,
a respectable post of much trust.  His father was, as Ursula Tetzel had
said in the school, a luteplayer; but he had long been held the head and
chief of teachers of the noble art of music, and was so greatly respected
by the clergy and laity that he was made master and leader of the church
choir, and even in the houses of the city nobles his teaching of the lute
and of singing was deemed the best.  He was a right well-disposed and
cheerful old man, of a rare good heart and temper, and of wondrous good
devices.  When the worshipful town council bid his son Veit Spiesz come
back to Nuremberg, the old man must need fit up a proper house for him,
since he himself was content with a small chamber, and the scribe was by
this time married to the fair Giovanna, the daughter of one of the
Sensali or brokers of the German Fondaco, and must have a home and hearth
of his own.

     [Sensali--Agents who conducted all matters of business between the
     German and Venetian merchants.  Not even the smallest affair was
     settled without their intervention, on account of the duties
     demanded by the Republic.  The Fondaco was the name of the great
     exchange established by the Republic itself for the German trade.]

The musician, who had as a student dwelt in Venice, hit on the fancy that
he would give his daughter-in-law a home in Nuremberg like her father's
house, which stood on one of the canals in Venice; so he found a house
with windows looking to the river, and which he therefore deemed fit to
ease her homesickness.  And verily the Venetian lady was pleased with the
placing of her house, and yet more with the old man's loving care for
her; although the house was over tall, and so narrow that there were but
two windows on each floor.  Thus there was no manner of going to and fro
in the Spiesz's house, but only up and down.  Notwithstanding, the
Venetian lady loved it, and I have heard her say that there was no spot
so sweet in all Nuremberg as the window seat on the second story of her
house.  There stood her spinning-wheel and sewing-box; and a bright
Venice mirror, which, in jest, she would call "Dame  Inquisitive," showed
her all that passed on the river and the Fleisch-brucke, for her house
was not far from those which stood facing the Franciscan Friars.  There
she ruled in peace and good order, in love and all sweetness, and her
children throve even as the flowers did under her hand: roses, auriculas,
pinks and pansies; and whosoever went past the house in a boat could hear
mirth within and the voice of song.  For the Spiesz children had a fine
ear for music, both from their grandsire and their mother, and sweet,
clear, bell-like voices.  My Ann was the queen of them all, and her
nightingale's throat drew even Herdegen to her with great power.

Only one of the scribe's children, little Mario, was shut out from the
world of sound, for he was a deaf-mute born; and when Ann tarried under
our roof, rarely indeed and for but a short while, her stay was brief for
his sake; for she tended him with such care and love as though she had
been his own mother.  Albeit she thereby was put to much pains, these
were as nothing to the heartfelt joys which the love and good speed of
this child brought her; for notwithstanding he was thus born to sorrow,
by his sister's faithful care he grew a happy and thankful creature.
Ofttimes my Cousin Maud was witness to her teaching of her little
brother, and all Ann did for the child seemed to her so pious and so
wonderful, that it broke down the last bar that stood in the way of our
close fellowship.  And Ann's well-favored mother likewise won my cousin's
good graces, albeit she was swift to mark that the Italian lady could
fall in but ill with German ways, and in especial with those of
Nuremberg, and was ever ready to let Ann bear the burthen of the
household.

All our closest friends, and foremost of these my worshipful godfather
Uncle Christian Pfinzing, ere long truly loved my little Ann; and of all
our fellows I knew of only one who was ill-disposed towards her, and that
was Ursula Tetzel, who marked, with ill-cloaked wrath, that my brother
Herdegen cared less and less for her, and did Ann many a little courtesy
wherewith he had formerly favored her.  She could not dissemble her
anger, and when my eldest brother waited on Ann on her name day with the
'pueri' to give her a 'serenata' on the water, whereas, a year agone, he
had done Ursula the like honor, she fell upon my friend in our garden
with such fierce and cruel words that my cousin had to come betwixt them,
and then to temper my great wrath by saying that Ursula was a motherless
child, whose hasty ways had never been bridled by a loving hand.

As I mind me now of those days I do so with heartfelt thankfulness and
joy.  To be sure it but ill-pleased our grand-uncle and guardian, the
knight Im Hoff, that Cousin Maud should suffer me, the daughter of a
noble house, to mix with the low born race of a simple scrivener; but
in sooth Ann was more like by far to get harm in our house, among my
brethren and their fellows, than I in the peaceful home by the river,
where none but seemly speech was ever heard and sweet singing, nor ever
seen but labor and good order and content.

Right glad was I to tarry there; but yet how good it was when Ann got
leave to come to us for the whole of Sunday from noon till eventide; when
we would first sit and chatter and play alone together, and talk over all
we had done in school; thereafter we had my brothers with us, and would
go out to take the air under the care of my cousin or of Magister Peter,
or abide at home to sing or have merry pastime.

After the Ave Maria, the old organist, Adam Heyden, Ann's grand uncle,
would come to seek her, and many sweet memories dwell in my mind of that
worthy and gifted man, which I might set down were it not that I am Ann's
debtor for so many things that made my childhood happy.  It was she, for
a certainty, who first taught me truly to play; for whereas my dolls, and
men-at-arms and shop games, albeit they were small, were in all points
like the true great ones, she had but a staff of wood wrapped round with
a kerchief which she rocked in her arms for a babe; and when she played a
shop game with the little ones, she marked stones and leaves to be their
wares and their money, and so found far greater pastime than we when we
played with figs and almonds and cloves out of little wooden chests and
linen-cloth sacks, and weighed them with brass weights on little scales
with a tongue and string.  It was she who brought imagination to bear on
my pastimes, and many a time has she borne my fancy far enough from the
Pegnitz, over seas and rivers to groves of palm and golden fairy lands.

Our fellowship with my brethren was grateful to her as it was to me; but
meseems it was a different thing in those early years from what it was in
later days.  While I write a certain summer day from that long past time
comes back to my mind strangely clear.  We had played long enough in our
chamber, and we found it too hot in the loft under the roof, where we had
climbed on to the beams, which were great, so we went down into the
garden.  Herdegen had quitted us in haste after noon, and we found none
but Kunz, who was shaping arrows for his cross-bow.  But he ere long
threw away his knife and came to be with us, and as he was well-disposed
to Ann as being my friend, he did his best to make himself pleasing, or
at least noteworthy in her sight.  He stood on his head and then climbed
to the top of the tallest fruit-tree and flung down pears, but they smote
her head so that she cried out; then he turned a wheel on his hands and
feet, and a little more and his shoe would hit her in the face; and when
he marked that he was but troubling us, he went away sorrowful, but only
to hide behind a bush, and as we went past, to rush out on a sudden and
put us in fear by wild shouting.

My eldest brother well-nigh affrighted us more when he presently joined
us, for his hair was all unkempt and his looks wild.  He was now of an
age when men-children deem maids to be weak and unfit for true sport, but
nevertheless strive their utmost to be marked and chosen by them.  Hence
Ursula's good graces, which she had shown right openly, had for a long
while greatly pleased him, but by this time he was weary of her and began
to conceive that good little Ann, with her nightingale's voice, was more
to his liking.

After hastily greeting us, he forthwith made us privy to an evil matter.
One of his fellowship, Laurence Abenberger, the son of an apothecary, who
was diligent in school, and of a wondrous pious spirit, gave up all his
spare time to all manner of magic arts, and albeit he was but seventeen
years of age, he had already cast nativities for many folks and for us
maids, and had told us of divers ill-omens for the future.  This
Abenberger, a little fellow of no note, had found in some ancient papers
a recipe for discovering treasure, and had told the secret to Herdegen
and some other few.  To begin, they went at his bidding to the graveyard
with him, and there, at the full moon, they poured hot lead into the left
eye-hole of a skull and made it into arrow-heads.  Yesternight they had
journeyed forth as far as Sinterspuhel, and there, at midnight, had stood
at the cross-roads and shot with these same arrow-heads to the four
quarters, to the end that they might dig for treasure wheresoever the
shafts might fall.  But they found no treasure, but a newly-buried body,
and on this had taken to their heels in all haste.  Herdegen only had
tarried behind with Abenberger, and when he saw that there were deep
wounds on the head of the dead man his intent was to carry the tidings to
the justices in council; nevertheless he would delay a while, because
Abenberger had besought him to keep silence and not to bring him to an
evil end.  But as he had gone past the school of arms he had learnt that
an apprentice was missing, and that it was feared lest he had been
waylaid by pillagers, or had fallen into evil hands; so he now deemed it
his plain duty to keep no longer silence concerning the finding of the
body, and desired to be advised by me and Ann.  While I, for my part,
shortly and clearly declared that information must at once be laid
before his worship the Mayor, a strange trembling fell on Ann, and
notwithstanding she could not say me nay, she was in such fear that grave
mischief might overtake Herdegen by reason of his thoughtless deed, that
tears ran in streams down her cheeks, and it cost me great pains or ever
I could comfort her, so brave and reasonable as she commonly was.  But
Herdegen was greatly pleased by her too great terrors; and albeit he
laughed at her, he called her his faithful, fearful little hare, and
stuck the pink he wore in his jerkin into her hair.  At this she was soon
herself again; she counselled him forthwith to do that it was his duty to
do; and when thereafter the authorities had made inquisition, it came to
light that our lads had in truth come upon the body of the slain
apprentice.  And though Herdegen did his best to keep silence as touching
Abenberger's evildoings, they nevertheless came out through other ways,
and the poor wight was dismissed from the school.

By the end of two years after this, matters had changed in our household.

The twelve 'pueri' had been our guests at dinner, and were in the garden
singing merry rounds well known to us, and I joined in, with Ann and
Ursula Tetzel.  Now, while Herdegen beat the time, his ear was intent on
Ann's singing, as though there were revelation on her lips; and his well-
beloved companion, Heinrich Trardorf, who erewhile had, with due modesty,
preferred me, Margery, seemed likewise well affected to her singing; and
when we ceased he fell into eager talk with her, for he had bewailed to
her that, albeit he loved me well, as being the son of simple folk he
might never lift up his eyes so high.

Herdegen's eyes rested on the twain with some little wrath; then he
hastily got up!  He snatched the last of Cousin Maud's precious roses
from her favorite bush and gave them to Ursula, and then waited on her as
though she were the only maid there present.  But ere long her father
came to fetch her, and so soon as she had departed, beaming, with her
roses, Herdegen hastily came to me and, without deeming Ann worthy to be
looked at even, bid me good even.  I held his hand and called to her to
come to me, to help me hinder him from departing, inasmuch as one of the
pueri was about to play the lute for the rest to dance.  She came forward
as an honest maid should, looked up at him with her great eyes, and
besought him full sweetly to tarry with us.

He pointed with his hand to Trardorf and answered roughly: "I care not to
go halves!"  And he turned to go to the gate.

Ann took him by the hand, and without a word of his ways with Ursula,
not in chiding but as in deep grief, she said: "If you depart, you do me
a hurt.  I have no pleasure but when you are by, and what do I care for
Heinrich?"

This was all he needed; his eye again met hers with bright looks, and
from that hour of our childhood she knew no will but his.

From that hour likewise Ann held off from all other lads, and when he was
by it seemed as though she had no eyes nor ears save for him and me
alone.  To Kunz she paid little heed; yet he never failed to wait on her
and watch to do her service, as though she were the daughter of some
great lord, and he no more than her page.

Ann freely owned to me that she held Herdegen to be the noblest youth
on earth, nor could I marvel, when I was myself of the same mind.  What
should I know, when I was still but fourteen and fifteen years old, of
love and its dangers?  I had felt such love for Gotz as Ann for my elder
brother, and as I had then been glad that my dear Cousin had won the love
of so fair a maid as Gertrude, I likewise believed that Ann would some
day be glad if Herdegen should plight his troth to a fair damsel of high
degree.  Hence I did all that in me lay to bring them together whenever
it might be, and in truth this befell often enough without my aid; for
not music alone was a bond between them, nor yet that Herdegen and I
taught her to ride on a horse, on the sandy way behind our horse-stalls
--the Greek lessons for which Magister Peter had come into the household
were a plea on which they passed many an hour together.

I was slow to learn that tongue; but Ann's head was not less apt than my
brother's, and he was eager and diligent to keep her good speed at the
like mark with his own, as she was so quick to apprehend.  Thus both were
at last forward enough to put Greek into German, and then Magister Peter
was bidden to lend them his aid.  Now, the change in the worthy man,
after eating for four years at our table, was such that many an one would
have said it was a miracle.  At his first coming to us he himself said he
weened he was a doomed son of ill-luck, and he scarce dared look man or
woman in the face; and what a good figure he made now, notwithstanding
the divers pranks played on his simplicity by my brothers and their
fellows, nay, and some whiles by me.

Many an one before this has marked that the god Amor is the best
schoolmaster; and when our Magister had learnt to stoop less, nay almost
to hold himself straight, when as now, he wore his good new coat with
wide hanging sleeves, tight-fitting hose, a well-stiffened, snow-white
collar, and even a smart black feather in his beretta, when he not alone
smoothed his hair but anointed it, all this, in its beginnings, was by
reason of his great and true love for my Ann, while she was yet but a
child.

My cautious Cousin Maud had, it is true, done the blind god of Love good
service; for many a time she would, with her own hand, set some matter
straight which the Magister had put on all askew, and on divers occasions
would give him a piece of fine cloth, and with it the cost of the
tailor's work, in bright new coin wrapped in colored paper.  She brought
him to order and to keep his hours, and when grave speech availed not she
could laugh at him with friendly mockery, such as hurts no man, inasmuch
as it is the outcome of a good heart.  Thus it was, that, by the time
when Herdegen was to go to the high school at Erfurt, Magister Peter was
not strangely unlike other learned men of his standing; and when it fell
that he had to discourse of the great masters of learning in Italy, or of
the glorious Greek writers, I have seen his eye light up like that of a
youth.

Our guardian kept watch over my brothers' speed in learning.  The old
knight Im Hoff was a somewhat stern man and shy of his kind, but scarce
another had such great wealth, or was so highly respected in our town.
He was our grand-uncle, as old Adam Heyden was Ann's, and two men less
alike it would be hard to find.

When we were bid to pay our devoir to my guardian it was seldom done but
with much complaining and churlishness; whereas it was ever a festival to
be suffered to go with Ann to the organist's house.  He dwelt in a fine
lodging high up in the tower above the city, and he could look down from
his windows, as God Almighty looks down on the earth from the bright
heavens, over Nuremberg, and the fortress on the hill, the wide ring of
forest which guards it on the north and east and south, the meadows and
villages stretching between the woods, and the walls and turrets of our
good city, and the windings of the river Pegnitz.  He loved to boast that
he was the first to bid the sun welcome and the last to bid it good-
night; and perchance it was to the light, of which he had so goodly a
share, that his spirit owed its ever gay good-cheer.  He was ever ready
with a jest and some little gift for us children; and, albeit these were
of little money's worth, they brought us much joy.  And indeed there was
never another man in Nuremberg who had given away so many tokens and made
so many glad hearts and faces thereby as Adam Heyden.  True, indeed,
after a short but blessed wedded life he had been left a widower and
childless, and had no care to save for his heirs; and yet Gottfried
Spiesz, Ann's grandfather, was in the right when he said that he had more
children than ever another in Nuremberg, inasmuch as that he was like a
father to every lad and maid in the town.

When he walked down the street all the little ones were as glad though
they had met Christ the Lord or Saint Nicholas; and as they hung on to
his long gown with the left hand, with the right they crammed their
mouths with the apples or cakes whereof his pockets seemed never to be
empty.

But Master Adam had his weak side, and there were many to blame him for
that he was over fond of good liquor.  Albeit he did his drinking after a
manner of his own, in no unseemly wise.  To wit, on certain year-days he
would tarry alone in his tower, and his lamp might be seen gleaming till
midnight.  There he would sit alone, with his wine jar and cup, and he
would drink the first and second and third in silence, to the good speed
of Elsa, his late departed wife.  After that he began to sing in a low
voice, and before each fresh cup as he raised it he cried aloud "Prosit,
Adam!"  and when it was empty: "I Heartily thank you, Heyden!"

Thus would he go on till he had drunk out divers jugs, and the tower
seemed to be spinning round him.  Then to his bed, where he would dream
of his Elsa and the good old days, the folks he had loved, his youthful
courtships, and all the fine and wondrous things which his lonely
drinking bout had brought to his inward eye.  Next morning he was
faithfully at his duty.  Common evenings, which were of no mark to him,
he spent with the Spiesz folks in the little house by the river, or else
in the Gentlemen's tavern in the Frohnwage; for albeit none met there but
such as belonged to the noble families of the town, and learned men, and
artists of mark, Adam Heyden the organist was held as their equal and a
right welcome guest.

And now as touching our grand-uncle and guardian the Knight Sir Sebald
Im Hoff.

Many an one will understand how that my fear of him grew greater after
that I one evening by mishap chanced to go into his bed chamber, and
there saw a black coffin wherein he was wont to sleep each night, as it
were in a bed.  It was easy to see in the man himself that some deep
sorrow or heavy sin gnawed at his heart, and nevertheless he was one of
the stateliest old gentlemen I have met in a long life.  His face seemed
as though cast in metal, and was of wondrous fine mould, but deadly and
unchangefully pale.  His snowy hair fell in long locks over his collar of
sable fur, and his short beard, cut in a point, was likewise of a silver
whiteness.  When he stood up he was much taller than common, and he
walked with princelike dignity.  For many years he had ceased to go to
other folks' houses, nevertheless many others sought him out.  In every
family of rank, excepting in his own, the Im Hoff family, wherever there
was a manchild or a maid growing up they were brought to him; but of them
all there were but two who dare come nigh him without fear.  These were
my brother Herdegen and Ursula Tetzel; and throughout my young days she
was the one soul whom mine altogether shut out.

Notwithstanding I must for justice sake confess that she grew up to be a
well-favored damsel.  Besides this, she was the only offspring of a rich
and noble house.  She went from school a year before Ann and I did, and
after that her father, a haughty and eke a surly man, who had long since
lost his wife, her mother, prided himself on giving her such attires as
might have beseemed the daughter of a Count or a Prince-Elector.  And the
brocades and fine furs and costly chains and clasps she wore graced her
lofty, round shape exceeding well, and she lorded it so haughtily in them
that the worshipful town-council were moved to put forth an order against
over much splendor in women's weed.

She was, verily and indeed, the last damsel I could have wished to see
brought home as mistress of the "Schopperhof," and nevertheless I knew
full well, before my brother went away to the high school, that our grand
uncle was counting on giving her and him to each other in marriage.
Master Tetzel likewise would point to them when they stood side by side,
so high and goodly, as though they were a pair; and this old man, whose
face was as grey and cold and hueless as all about his daughter was
bright and gay, would demean himself with utter humbleness and homage to
the lad who scarce showed the first down on his lip and chin, by reason
that he looked upon him, who was his granduncle's heir, as his own son-
in-law.

It was, to be sure, known to many that rich old Im Hoff was minded to
leave great endowments to the Holy Church, and meseemed that it was
praiseworthy and wise that he should do all that in him lay to gain the
prayers of the Blessed Virgin and the dear Saints; for the evil deed
which had turned him from a dashing knight into a lonely penitent might
well weigh in torment on his poor soul.  I will here shortly rehearse all
I myself knew of that matter.

In his young days my grand uncle had carried his head high indeed, and
deemed so greatly of his scutcheon and his knightly forbears that be
scorned all civic dignities as but a small matter.  Then, whereas in the
middle of the past century all towns were forbid by imperial law to hold
tournaments, he went to Court, and had been dubbed knight by the Emperor
Charles, and won fame and honor by many a shrewd lance-thrust.  His more
than common manly beauty gained him favor with the ladies, and since he
preferred what was noble and knightly to all other graces he would wed no
daughter of Nuremberg but the penniless child of Baron von Frauentrift.
But my grand-uncle had made an evil choice; his wife was high-tempered
and filled full of conceits.  When princes and great lords came into our
city, they were ever ready to find lodging in the great and wealthy house
of the Im Hoffs; but then she would suffer them to pay court to her, and
grant them greater freedom than becomes the decent honor of a Nuremberg
citizen's hearth.  Once, then, when my lord the duke of Bavaria lay at
their house with a numerous fellowship, a fine young count, who had
courted my grand uncle's wife while she was yet a maid, fanned his
jealousy to a flame; and, one evening, at a late hour, while his wife was
yet not come home from seeing some friends, as it fell he heard a noise
and whispering of voices, beneath their lodging, in the courtyard wherein
all these folks' chests and bales were bestowed.  He rushed forth, beside
himself; and whereas he shouted out to the courtyard and got no reply, he
thrust right and left at haphazard with his naked sword among the chests
whence he had heard the voices, and a pitiful cry warned him that he had
struck home.  Then there came the wailing of a woman; and when the
squires and yeomen came forth with torches and lanterns, he could see
that he had slain Ludwig Tetzel, Ursula's uncle, a young unwedded man.
He had stolen into the courtyard to hold a tryst with the fair daughter
of the master-weigher in the Im Hoffs' house of trade, and the loving
pair, in their fear of the master, had not answered his call, but had
crept behind the baggage.  Thus, by ill guidance, had my grand-uncle
become a murderer, and the judges broke their staff over him; albeit,
since he freely confessed the deed of death, and had done it with no evil
intent, they were content to make him pay a fine in money.  But some said
that they likewise commanded the hangman to nail up a gallows-cord behind
his house door; others, rather, that he had taken upon himself the
penance of ever wearing such a cord about his neck day and night.

As touching the Tetzels themselves, they made no claim for blood; and for
this he was so thankful to them, all his life through, that he gave them
his word that he would name Ursula in his testament; whereas he ever
hated the Im Hoffs to the end, after that they, on whom he had brought so
much vexation by his wilful and haughty temper, took counsel after the
judgment as to whether it behooved them not to strip him of their good
old name and thrust him forth from their kinship.  Four only, as against
three, spoke in his favor, and this his haughty spirit could so ill
endure that never an Im Hoff dared cross his threshold, though one and
another often strove to win back his favor.

He had little comfort from his wife in his grief, for when he was found
guilty of manslaughter she quitted him to return to the Emperor's court
at Prague, and there she died after a wild hunt which she had followed in
King Wenzel's train, while she was not yet past her youth.




CHAPTER V.

Three years were past since Herdegen had first gone to the High School,
and we had never seen him but for a few weeks at the end of the first
year, when he was on his way from Erfurt to Padua.  In the letters he
wrote from thence there was ever a greeting for Mistress Anna, and often
there would be a few words in Greek for her and me; yet, as he knew full
well that she alone could crack such nuts, he bid me to the feast only as
the fox bid the stork.  While he was with us he ever demeaned himself
both to me and to her as a true and loving brother, when he was not at
the school of arms proving to the amazement of the knights and nobles his
wondrous skill in the handling of the sword, which he had got in the High
School.  And during this same brief while be at divers times had speech
of Ursula, but he showed plainly enough that he had lost all delight in
her.

He had found but half of what he sought at Erfurt, but deemed that he was
ripe to go to Padua; for there, alone, he thought--and Magister Peter
said likewise--could he find the true grist for his mill.  And when he
told us of what he hoped to gain at that place we could but account his
judgment good, and wish him good speed and that he might come home from
that famous Italian school a luminary of learning.  When, at his
departing, I saw that Ann was in no better heart than I was, but looked
right doleful, I thought it was by reason of the sickness which for some
while past had now and again fallen on her good father.  Kunz likewise
had quitted school, and be could not complain that learning weighed too
heavily on his light heart and merry spirit.  He was now serving his
apprenticeship in our grand uncle's business, and whereas the traffic was
mainly with Venice he was to learn the Italian tongue with all diligence.
Our Magister, who was well-skilled in it, taught him therein, and was, as
heretofore, well content to be with us.  Cousin Maud would never suffer
him to depart, for it had grown to be a habit with her to care for him;
albeit many an one can less easily suffer the presence of a man who needs
help, than of one who is himself of use and service.

Master Peter himself, under pretence of exercising himself in the Italian
tongue, would often wait upon Dame Giovanna.  We on our part would
remember the fable of the Sack and the Ass and laugh; while Ann slipped
off to her garret chamber when the Magister was coming; and she could
never fail to know of it, for no son of man ever smote so feebly as he
with the knocker on the door plate.

Thus the years in which we grew from children into maidens ran past in
sheer peace and gladness.  Cousin Maud allowed us to have every pastime
and delight; and if at times her face was less content, it was only by
reason that I craved to wear a longer kirtle than she deemed fitting for
my tender years, or that I proved myself over-rash in riding in the
riding school or the open country.

My close friendship with Ann brought me to mark and enjoy many other and
better things; and in this I differed from the maidens of some noble
families, who, to this day, sit in stalls of their own in church, apart
from such as have no scutcheon of arms.  But indeed Ann was an honored
guest in many a lordly house wherein our school and playmates dwelt.

In summer days we would sometimes go forth to the farm belonging to us
Schoppers outside the town, or else to Jorg Stromer our worthy cousin at
the mill where paper is made; and at holy Whitsuntide we would ride forth
to the farm at Laub, which his sister Dame Anna Borchtlin had by
inheritance of her father.  Nevertheless, and for all that there was to
see and learn at the paper-mill, and much as I relished the good fresh
butter and the black home-bread and the lard cakes with which Dame
Borchtlin made cheer for us, my heart best loved the green forest where
dwelt our uncle Conrad Waldstromer, father to my cousin Gotz, who still
was far abroad.

Now, since I shall have much to tell of this well-beloved kinsman and of
his kith and kin, I will here take leave to make mention that all the
Stromers were descended from a certain knight, Conrad von Reichenbach,
who erewhile had come from his castle of Kammerstein, hard by Schwabach,
as far forth as Nuremberg.  There had he married a daughter of the
Waldstromers, and the children and grandchildren, issue of this marriage,
were all named Stromer or Waldstromer.  And the style Wald--or wood--
Stromer is to be set down to the fact that this branch had, from a long
past time, heretofore held the dignity of Rangers of the great forest
which is the pride of Nuremberg to this very day.  But at the end of the
last century the municipality had bought the offices and dignities which
were theirs by inheritance, both from Waldstromer and eke from Koler the
second ranger; albeit the worshipful council entrusted none others than a
Waldstromer or a Koler with the care of its woods; and in my young days
our Uncle Conrad Waldstromer was chief Forester, and a right bold hunter.

Whensoever he crossed our threshold meseemed as though the fresh and
wholesome breath of pine-woods was in the air; and when he gave me his
hand it hurt mine, so firm and strong and loving withal was his grip, and
that his heart was the same all men might see.  His thick, red-gold hair
and beard, streaked with snowy white, his light, flax-blue eyes and his
green forester's garb, with high tan boots and a cap of otter fur
garnished with the feather of some bird he had slain--all this gave him a
strange, gladsome, and gaudy look.  And as the stalwart man stepped forth
with his hanger and hunting-knife at his girdle, followed by his hounds
and badger-dogs, other children might have been affrighted, but to me,
betimes, there was no dearer sight than this of the terrible-looking
forester, who was besides Cousin Gotz's father.

Well, on the second Sunday after Whitsunday, when the apple blossoms were
all shed, my uncle came in to town to bid me and Cousin Maud to the
forest lodge once more; for he ever dwelt there from one Springtide till
the next, albeit he was under a bond to the Council to keep a house in
the city.  I was nigh upon seventeen years old; Ann was past seventeen
already, and I would have expressed my joy as freely as heretofore but
that somewhat lay at my heart, and that was concerning my Ann.  She was
not as she was wont to be; she was apt to suffer pains in her head, and
the blood had fled from her fresh cheeks.  Nay, at her worst she was all
pale, and the sight of her thus cut me to the heart, so I gladly agreed
when Cousin Maud said that the little house by the river was doing her a
mischief, and the grievous care of her deaf-mute brother and the other
little ones, and that she lacked fresh air.  And indeed her own parents
did not fail to mark it; but they lacked the means to obey the leech's
orders and to give Ann the good chance of a change to fresh forest air.

When my uncle had given his bidding, I made so bold as to beseech him
with coaxing words that he would bid her go with me.  And if any should
deem that it was but a light matter to ask of a good-hearted old man that
he should harbor a fair young maid for a while, in a large and wealthy
house, he will be mistaken, inasmuch as my uncle was wont, at all times
and in all places, to have regard first to his wife's goodwill and
pleasure.

This lady was a Behaim, of the same noble race as my mother, whom God
keep; and what great pride she set on her ancient and noble blood she had
plainly proven in the matter of her son's love-match.  This matter had in
truth no less heavily stricken his father's soul, but he had held his
peace, inasmuch as he could never bring himself to play the lord over his
wife; albeit he was in other matters a strict and thorough man; nay a
right stern master, who ruled the host of foresters and hewers, warders
and beaters, bee-keepers and woodmen who were under him with prudence and
straitness.  And yet my aunt Jacoba was a feeble, sickly woman, who
rarely went forth to drink in God's fresh air in the lordly forest,
having lost the use of her feet, so that she must be borne from her couch
to her bed.

My uncle knew her full well, and he knew that she had a good and pitiful
heart and was minded to do good to her kind; nevertheless he said his
power over her would not stretch to the point of making her take a
scrivener's child into her noble house, and entertaining her as an equal.
Thus he withstood my fondest prayers, till he granted so much as that Ann
should come and speak for herself or ever he should leave the house.

When she had hastily greeted my cousin and me, and Cousin Maud had told
her who my uncle was, she went up to him in her decent way, made him a
curtsey, and held out her hand, no whit abashed, while her great eyes
looked up at him lovingly, inasmuch as she had heard all that was good of
him from me.

Thereupon I saw in the old forester's face that he was "on the scent" of
my Ann--to use his own words--so I took heart again and said: "Well,
little uncle?"

"Well," said he slowly and doubtingly.  But he presently uplifted Ann's
chin, gazed her in the face, and said: "To be sure, to be sure!  Peaches
get they red cheeks better where we dwell than here among stone walls."
And he pulled down his belt and went on quickly, as though he weened that
he might have to rue his hasty words: "Margery is to be our welcome guest
out in the forest; and if she should bring thee with her, child, thou'lt
be welcome."

Nor need I here set down how gladly the bidding was received; and Ann's
parents were more than content to let her go.  Thenceforth had Cousin
Maud, and our house maids, and Beata the tailor-wife, enough on their
hands; for they deemed it a pleasure to take care to outfit Ann as well
as me, since there were many noble guests at the forest lodge, especially
about St. Hubert's day, when there was ever a grand hunt.

Dame Giovanna, Ann's mother, was in truth at all times choicely clad,
and she ever kept Ann in more seemly and richer habit than others of her
standing; yet she was greatly content with the summer holiday raiment
which Cousin Maud had made for us.  Likewise, for each of us, a green
riding habit, fit for the forest, was made of good Florence cloth; and if
ever two young maids rode out with glad and thankful hearts into the
fair, sunny world, we were those maids when, on Saint Margaret's day in
the morning--[The 13th July, old style.]--we bid adieu and, mounted on
our saddles, followed Balzer, the old forester, whom my uncle had sent
with four men at arms on horseback to attend us, and two beasts of
burthen to carry Susan and the "woman's gear."

As we rode forth at this early hour, across the fields, and saw the lark
mount singing, we likewise lifted up our voices, and did not stop singing
till we entered the wood.  Then in the dewy silence our minds were turned
to devotion and a Sabbath mood, and we spoke not of what was in our
minds; only once--and it seems as I could hear her now--these simple
words rose from Ann's heart to her lips: "I am so thankful!"

And I was thankful at that hour, with my whole heart; and as the great
hills of the Alps cover their heads with pure snow as they get nearer to
heaven, so should every good man or woman, when in some happy hour he
feels God's mercy nigh him, deck his heart with pure and joyful
thanksgiving.

At last we drew up on a plot shut in by tall trees, in front of a bee-
keeper's hut, and while we were there, refreshing on some new milk and
the store Cousin Maud had put into our saddle bags, we heard the barking
of hounds and a noise of hoofs, and ere long Uncle Conrad was giving us a
welcome.

He was right glad to let us wait upon him and fell to with a will; but
he made us set forth again sooner than was our pleasure, and as we fared
farther the old forest rang with many a merry jest and much laughter.
To Ann it seemed that my uncle was but now opening her eyes and ears to
the mystery of the forest, which Gotz had shown me long years ago.  How
many a bird's pipe did he teach her to know which till now she had never
marked!  And each had its special significance, for my uncle named them
all by their names and described them; whereas his son could copy them so
as to deceive the ear, twittering, singing, whistling and calling, each
after his kind.  To the end that Ann and my uncle should learn to come
together closely I put no word into his teaching.

Not till we came to the skirts of the clearing, where the forest lodge
came in sight against the screen of trees, was my uncle silent; then,
while he lifted me from the saddle, he asked me in a low tone if I had
already warned Ann of my aunt's strange demeanor.  This I could tell him
I had indeed done; nevertheless I saw by his face that he was not easy
till he could lead Ann to his wife, and had learnt that the maid had
found such favor in her eyes as, in truth, nor he nor I were so bold as
to hope.  But with what sweet dignity did the clerk's daughter kiss the
somewhat stern lady's hand--as I had bidden her, and how modestly, though
with due self-respect, did she go through Dame Jacoba's inquisition.  For
my part I should have lost patience all too soon, if I had thus been
questioned touching matters concerning myself alone; but Ann kept calm
till the end, and at the same time she spoke as openly as though the
inquisitor had been her own mother.  This, in truth, somewhat moved me to
fear; for, albeit I likewise cling to the truth, meseemed it showed it a
lack of prudence and foresight to discover so freely and frankly all that
was poor or lacking in her home; inasmuch as there was much, even there,
which could not be better or more seemly in the richest man's dwelling.
In truth, to my knowledge there was not the smallest thing in the little
house by the river of which a virtuous damsel need feel ashamed.  But at
night, in our bed-chamber, Ann confessed to me that she had taken it as a
favor of fortune that she should be allowed, at once, to lay bare to the
great lady who had been so unwilling to open her doors to her, exactly
what she was and to whom she belonged.

"To be deemed unworthy of heed by my lady hostess," said she, "would have
been hard to bear; but whereas she truly cared to question me, a simple
maid, and I have nothing hid, all is clear and plain betwixt us."

My aunt doubtless thought in like manner; for she was a truthful woman,
and Ann's honest, firm, and withal gentle way had won her heart.  And
yet, since she was strait in her opinions, and must deem it unseemly in
me and my kinsfolk to receive a maid of lower birth as one of ourselves,
she stoutly avowed that Ann's worthy father, as being chief clerk in the
Chancery, might claim to be accounted one of the Council.  Never, as she
said to my uncle, would she have suffered a workingman's daughter to
cross her threshold, whereas she had a large place, not alone at her
table but in her heart, for this gentle daughter of a worthy member of
the worshipful Council.

And such speech was good to my ears and to my uncle Conrad's; but the
best of all was that already, by the end of a week or two, Ann seemed
likely to supplant me wholly in the love my aunt had erewhile shown to
me; Ann thenceforth was diligent in waiting on the sick lady, and such
loving duty won her more and more of my uncle's love, who found his
weakly, suffering wife much on his hands, and that in the plainest sense
of the words, since, whenever he might be at home, she would allow no
other creature to lift her from one spot to another.

Now, whereas Uncle Conrad had taught Ann to mark the divers voices of the
forest, so did she open my eyes to the many virtues of my aunt, which,
heretofore, I had been wont to veil from my own sight out of wrath at her
hardness to my cousin Gotz.

Ann, in her compassion and thankfulness, had truly learnt to love her,
and she now led me to perceive that she was in many ways a right wise and
good woman.  Her low, sheltered couch in the peaceful chimney-corner was,
as it were, the centre of a wide net, and she herself the spider-wife who
had spun it, for in truth her good counsel stretched forth over the whole
range of forest, and over all her husband's rough henchmen.  She knew the
name of every child in the furthest warders' huts, and never did she
suffer one of the forest folks to die unholpen.  She was, indeed, forced
to see with other eyes and give with other hands than her own, and
notwithstanding this she ever gave help where it was most needed, since
she chose her messengers well and lent an ear to all who sought her.

She soon found work for us, making us do many a Samaritan-task; and many
a time have we marvelled to mark the skill with which she wove her web,
and the wisdom coupled with her open-handed bounty.

No one else could have found a place in the great books which she filled
with her records; but to her they were so clear that the craft of the
most cunning was put to shame when she looked into them.  Never a soul,
whether master or man, said her nay in the lightest thing, to my
knowledge, and this was a plea for the one fault which had hitherto set
me against her.

Everything here was new to Ann; and what could be more delightful, what
could give me greater joy than to be able to show all that was noteworthy
and pleasant, and to me well-known, to a well-beloved friend, and to tell
her the use and end of each thing.  In this two men were ever ready to
help me: Uncle Conrad and the young Baron von Kalenbach, a Swabian who
had come to be my uncle's disciple and to learn forestry.

This same young Baron was a slender stripling, well-grown and not ill-
favored; but it seemed as though his lips were locked, and if a man was
fain to hear the sound of his voice and get from him a "yea" or "nay"
there was no way but by asking him a plain question.  His eye, on the
other hand, was full of speech, and by the time I had been no more than
three weeks at the Lodge it told me, as often as it might, that he was
deeply in love with me; nay, he told the reverend chaplain in so many
words that his first desire was that he might take me home as his wife
to Swabia, where he had rich estates.

Never would I have said him yea, albeit I liked him well; nor did I hide
it from him; nay indeed, now and again I may have lent him courage,
though truly with no evil intent, since I was not ill pleased with the
tale his eyes told me.  And I was but a young thing then, and wist not as
yet that a maid who gives hope to a suitor though she has no mind to hear
him, is guilty of a sin grievous enough to bring forth much sorrow and
heart-ache.  It was not till I had had a lesson which came upon me all
too soon, that I took heed in such matters; and the time was at hand when
men folks thought more about me than I deemed convenient.

As I have gone so far as to put this down on paper, I, an old woman now,
will put aside bashfulness and freely confess that both Ann and I were at
that time well-favored and good to look upon.

I was of the greater height and stouter build, while she was more slender
and supple; and for gentle sweetness I have never seen her like.  I was
rose and white, and my golden hair was no whit less fine than Ursula
Tetzel's; but whoso would care to know what we were to look upon in our
youth, let him gaze on our portraits, before which each one of you has
stood many a time.  But I will leave speaking of such foolish things and
come now to the point.

Though for most days common wear was good enough at the Forest Lodge,
we sometimes had occasion to wear our bravery, for now and again we went
forth to hunt with my uncle or with the Junker, on foot or on horseback,
or hawking with a falcon on the wrist.  There was no lack of these noble
birds, and the bravest of them all, a falcon from Iceland beyond seas,
had been brought thence by Seyfried Kubbeling of Brunswick.  That same
strange man, who was my right good friend, had ere now taught me to
handle a falcon, and I could help my uncle to teach my friend the art.

I went out shooting but seldom, by reason that Ann loved it not ever
after she had hit one of the best hounds in the pack with her arrow;
and my uncle must have been well affected to her to forgive such a shot,
inasmuch as the dogs were only less near his heart than his closest kin.
They had to make up to him for much that he lacked, and when he stood in
their midst he saw round him, yelping and barking on four legs, well nigh
all that he had thought most noteworthy from his childhood up.  They bore
names, indeed, of no more than one or two syllables, but each had its
sense.  They were for the most part the beginning of some word which
reminded him of a thing he cared to remember.  First he had, in sport,
named some of them after the metrical feet of Latin verse, which had been
but ill friends of his in his school days, and in his kennel there was a
Troch, Iamb, Spond and Dact, whose full names were Trochee, Iambus,
Spondee and Dactyl.  Now Spond was the greatest and heaviest of the
wolfhounds; Anap, rightly Anapaest, was a slender and swift greyhound;
and whereas he found this pastime of names good sport he carried it
further.  Thus it came to pass that the witless creatures who shared his
loneliness were reminders of many pleasant things.  One of a pair of
fleet bloodhounds which were ever leashed together was named Nich, and
the other Syn, in memory that he had been betrothed on the festival of
Saint Nicodemus and wedded on Saint Synesius' day.  A noble hound called
Salve, or as we should say Welcome, spoke to him of the birth of his
first born, and every dog in like manner had a name of some
signification; thus Ann took it not at all amiss that he should call a
fine young setter after her name.  There had long been a Gred, short for
Margaret.

Nevertheless we spent much more time in seeing the sick to whom my aunt
sent us on her errands, than we did in shooting or heron-hawking.  She
ever packed the little basket we were to carry with her own hands, and
there was never a physic which she did not mingle, nor a garment she had
not made choice of, nor a victual she had not judged fit for each one it
was sent to.

Thus many a time our souls ached to see want and pain lying in darksome
chambers on wretched straw, though we earned thanks and true joy when we
saw that healing and ease followed in our steps.  And whatever seemed to
me the most praiseworthy grace in my Aunt Jacoba, was, that albeit she
could never hear the hearty thanksgiving of those she had comforted and
healed, she nevertheless, to the end of her days, ceased not from caring
for the poor folks in the forest like a very mother.

My Ann was never made for such work, inasmuch as she could never endure
to see blood or wounds; yet was it in this tending of the sick that I had
reason to mark and understand how strong was the spirit of this frail,
slender flower.

Since a certain army surgeon, by name Haberlein, had departed this life,
there was no leech at the Forest lodge, but my aunt and the chaplain, a
man of few words but well trained in good works and a right pious servant
of the Lord, were disciples of Galen, and the leech from Nuremberg came
forth once a week, on each Tuesday; and since the death of Doctor Paul
Rieter, of whom I have made mention, it was his successor Master
Ulsenius.  His duty it was to attend on the sick mistress, and on any
other sick folks if they needed it; and then it was our part to wait on
the leech, and my aunt would diligently instruct us in the right way to
use healing drugs, or bandages.

The first time we were bidden to a woman who gathered berries, who had
been stung in the toe by an adder; and when I set to work to wash the
wound, as my aunt had taught me, Ann turned as white as a linen cloth.
And whereas I saw that she was nigh swooning I would not have her help;
but she gave her help nevertheless, though she held her breath and half
turned away her face.  And thus she ever did with sores; but she ever
paid the penalty of the violence she did herself.  As it fell Master
Ulsenius came to the Forest one day when my aunt's waiting-woman had
fared forth on a pilgrimage to Vierzelmheiligen, and my uncle likewise
being out of the way, the leech called us to him to lend him a helping
hand.  Then I came to know that a fall unawares with her horse had been
the beginning of my aunt's long sickness.  She had at that time done her
backbone a mischief, and some few months later a wound had broken forth
which was part of her hurt.

Now when all was made ready Aunt Jacoba begged of Ann that she should
hold the sore closed while Master Ulsenius made the linen bands wet.  I
remembered my friend's weakness and came close to her, to take her place
unmarked; but she whispered: "Nay, leave me," in a commanding voice, so
that I saw full well she meant it in earnest, and withdrew without a
word.  And then I beheld a noble sight; for though she was pale she did
as she was bidden, nor did she turn her eyes off the wound.  But her
bosom rose and fell fast, as if some danger threatened her, and her
nostrils quivered, and I was minded to hold out my arms to save her from
falling.  But she stood firm till all was done, and none but I was aware
of her having defied the base foe with such true valor.

Thenceforth she ever did me good service without shrinking; and
whensoever thereafter I had some hateful duty to do which meseemed I
might never bring myself to fulfil, I would remember Ann holding my
aunt's wound.  And out of all this grew the good saying, "They who will,
can"--which the children are wont to call my motto.




ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

As every word came straight from her heart
Be cautious how they are compassionate
Beware lest Satan find thee idle!
Brought imagination to bear on my pastimes
Comparing their own fair lot with the evil lot of others
Faith and knowledge are things apart
Flee from hate as the soul's worst foe
For the sake of those eyes you forgot all else
Her eyes were like open windows
Last Day we shall be called to account for every word we utter
Laugh at him with friendly mockery, such as hurts no man
Maid who gives hope to a suitor though she has no mind to hear
May they avoid the rocks on which I have bruised my feet
Men folks thought more about me than I deemed convenient
No man gains profit by any experience other than his own
One of those women who will not bear to be withstood
The god Amor is the best schoolmaster
They who will, can
When men-children deem maids to be weak and unfit for true sport





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