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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 4
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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 4 Post by :ba001 Category :Long Stories Author :Henryk Sienkiewicz Date :July 2011 Read :2363

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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 4

PART SIXTH: CHAPTER IV

After a mild and foggy night, a windy and gloomy day came. At times the sky was bright, at others it was covered with broken clouds which were driven before the wind like flocks of sheep. Macko ordered the train to move by daybreak. The pitch-burner, who was hired as guide to Buda, affirmed that the horses could pass everywhere, but as to the wagons, provisions and baggage, it would be necessary in some places to take them apart and carry them piecemeal, and that could not be done without tedious work. But people accustomed to hard labor preferred hardship to lounging in the deserted inn. Therefore they moved on willingly. Even the timid Wit was not scared by the words and presence of the pitch-burner.

They left the inn and entered at once between high-trunked forest trees, free from undergrowth. They led their horses, and could pass along without taking the wagons to pieces. Occasionally a storm arose, and at times it increased to such extraordinary force that it struck the branches of the bending pines as with gigantic wings, bending, twisting and shaking and breaking them as it were with the fans of a windmill. The forest bent under the unchained elements. Even in the intervals between the gusts it did not cease to howl and thunder, as if angry with their rest at the inn, and the forced march they had undertaken. Now and then the clouds entirely obscured the daylight. Drenching rain mingled with hail came down in torrents, and it became as dark as nightfall. Wit was short of breath, and shouted that "evil was bent to do harm and is doing it." But nobody paid attention to it, even the timid Anulka did not take his words to heart because the Bohemian was so near that her stirrup touched his, and he looked ahead with such a brave air that he seemed to want to challenge the very devil.

Behind the tall pine trees where the undergrowth began, the thickets were impassable. There they were obliged to take the wagons in sections; they did it dexterously and quickly. The strong servants transported the wheels, axle-tree, front of the wagon, packages and stores, upon their shoulders. The bad road continued about three furlongs. However they arrived at Buda about nightfall; there the pitch-burner received them as his guests, and they were assured by him that along the Devil's Hollow, correctly speaking, they could reach the town. These people, inhabitants of the pathless forest seldom saw bread or flour, yet they were not starving. Because all kinds of smoked meat, especially eels, which abounded in all swamps and mud holes, they had in plenty. They treated them liberally, in exchange, holding out greedy hands for the biscuits. There were among them women and children, all blackened from the smoke. There was also a peasant, more than one hundred years old, who remembered the massacre of Lenczyca, which happened in 1331, and the complete destruction of the town by the "Knights of the Cross." Although Macko, the Bohemian, and the two girls, had already heard the narrative from the prior of Sieradz, nevertheless they listened with much interest to the tale of the old man who was sitting at the fireside scraping in the cinders. It seemed as if he discovered among them the events of his earlier days. At Lenczyca, as well as at Sieradz, they spared not even the churches and clergy, and the knives of the conquerors were covered with the blood of old men, women and children. Always the Knights of the Cross, the everlasting Knights of the Cross! The thoughts of Macko and Jagienka were constantly directed toward Zbyszko, who was living in the very jaws of the wolves, in the midst of a hardened clan who knew neither pity nor the laws of hospitality. Sieciechowa was faint at heart, because she feared that their hunt after the abbot might lead them among those terrible Knights of the Cross.

But the old man, to counteract the unfavorable impression which the stories made upon the women, told them of the battle near Plowce, which put an end to the incursions of the Knights of the Cross, and in which he took part as a soldier in the infantry raised by the peasants, and armed with an iron flail. In that battle perished almost the whole clan of the Gradys; Macko knew all the particulars of it, nevertheless he listened now as though it were a recital of a new terrible calamity caused by the Germans, when like cornfields before the storm they were mowed down by the sword in the hands of the Polish knighthood and the forces of King Lokietek....

"Ha! I just recollect," said the old man, "when they invaded this country, they burned the town and castles. Yes, they even massacred the infants in the cradles, but their terrible end came. Hey! It was a fine fight. I can see the battle now with my eyes closed...."

He closed his eyes and was silent, gently moving the ashes until Jagienka, who could wait no longer, asked:

"How was it?"

"How was it?..." repeated the old man. "I remember the battlefield, it seems that I am now looking at it; there were bushes, and patches of stubble to the right. But after the battle nothing was visible but swords, axes, pikes and fine armor, one upon another, as though the whole blessed land was covered with them.... I have never seen so many slain in one heap, and so much human blood shed...."

Macko's heart was strengthened anew by the recollection of these events, then he said:

"True. Merciful Lord Jesus! They had then encompassed the kingdom like a conflagration or like a plague. Not only Sieradz and Lenczyca, but they destroyed many other towns. What now? Are not our people mighty and indestructible? And although those dog-brothers, the Knights of the Cross, were severely chastised, yet if you cannot crush them they will attack you and break your teeth.... Only see, King Kazimierz rebuilt Sieradz and Lenczyca so that they are better now than ever before, yet the incursions occur there as of old, and the Knights of the Cross are laid low and rot there as they were at the battle of Plowce. May God always grant them such an end!"

When the old peasant heard these words he nodded assent; finally he said:

"Perhaps they don't lie and rot. We of the infantry were ordered by the king, after the battle was over, to dig ditches; the peasants from the neighborhood came to assist us in our labor. We worked industriously, so that the spades groaned. Then we laid the Germans in trenches and covered them well, to avoid pestilence. But they did not remain there."

"What happened? Why did they not remain there?"

"I did not see it, but the people said afterward that after the battle there came a fierce storm which lasted about twelve weeks, but only at night-time. The sun shone during the daytime, but at night the wind was so fierce that it almost tore the hair from off the head. The devils, like thick clouds, came down in great numbers, whirling like a hurricane; every one of them held a pitchfork, and as soon as one of them reached the earth he thrust the pitchfork into the ground and carried off one Knight of the Cross to hell. At Plowce they heard a hurly-burly of human voices which sounded like the howling of whole packs of dogs, but they did not know what it all meant, whether it were the noise of the Germans, who were howling with terror and pain, or the devils with joy. That continued as long as the trenches were not consecrated by the priest, and the ground was not frozen, so that there was no need even for pitchforks."

Silence followed for a moment, then the old man added:

"But God grant, Sir Knight, such an end to them as you said, and although I shall not live to see it, but such young lasses as these two will live, but they shall not see what mine eyes have seen."

Then he turned his head, now looking at Jagienka, now at Sieciechowa, wondering at their marvelous faces and shaking his head.

"Like poppies in corn," he said. "Such beautiful faces I have never seen."

Thus they chattered during a part of the night. Then they went to sleep in the shanties and lay down upon mosses as soft as down and covered themselves with warm fur; then after a refreshing sleep, they arose early in the morning and continued their journey. The road along the hollow was not an easy passage, but it was not a very bad road. So that before sunset they descried the castle of Lenczyca. The city had arisen from its ashes, it was rebuilt; part of it was built of brick and part of stone, its walls were high, the towers armed. The churches were even larger than those of Sieradz. There they had no difficulty in getting information from the Dominican friars concerning the abbot. He was there, he said that he felt better, and he hoped to recover his health entirely; and only a few days ago he left for his onward journey. Macko was not bent on overtaking him on the road, so he had already procured conveyance for both girls to Plock, where the abbot himself would have taken them. But Macko was much concerned about Zbyszko, and other news distressed him. The rivers had arisen after the departure of the abbot, and it was impossible to continue the journey. Seeing that the knight was accompanied by a considerable retinue and was proceeding to the court of Prince Ziemowit, the Dominicans offered him their hospitality; they had even provided him with an olive-wood tablet upon which there was inscribed a Latin prayer to the angel Raphael, the patron of travelers.

Their compulsory sojourn at Lenczyca lasted a fortnight, during which time a servant of the castle discovered that the two young pages accompanying the knight were females in disguise, and at once fell deeply in love with Jagienka. The Bohemian was about to challenge him at once, but as it happened on the eve of their departure Macko dissuaded him from taking such a step.

When they moved on toward Plock, the wind had already somewhat dried the road, and although it rained often, yet the rainfall, as is usual in the spring, consisted of larger drops, but warm, and of short duration. The furrows upon the fields glistened with water. The moist, sweet smell from the cultivated fields was wafted by the strong wind. The marshes were covered with buttercups and the violets blossomed in the woods, and the grasshoppers joyfully chirped among the branches. The hearts of the travelers were also filled with new hope and longing, especially as they were now progressing well. After sixteen days' travel they were at the gates of Plock.

But they arrived at night, when the gates of the city were closed. They were obliged to pass the night with a weaver outside the wall.

The girls retired late, and after the fatigue of the long journey they fell sound asleep, but Macko, who was not troubled by fatigue, got up early; he did not wish to wake them and he entered the town by himself at the opening of the gates. He found the cathedral and the bishop's residence without difficulty. There he was informed that the abbot had died a week ago, but according to the prevailing custom they had celebrated mass before the coffin from the sixth day, and the funeral was to take place on the day of Macko's arrival, after which would be obsequies and last honors in memory of the defunct.

Owing to intense grief, Macko did not even look about the town, but he knew something already from that time when he had passed through that city with a letter from the princess Alexandra to the grand master. He returned to the weaver's place as fast as he could, and on his way home he said to himself:

"Ha! He is dead. Eternal repose to him. There is nothing in the world to remedy it. But now what shall I do with the girls?"

Then he reflected whether it were not better to leave them with the princess Alexandra, or with the princess Anna Danuta, or to take them to Spychow. It struck him more than once, that if Danuska were dead, it would be advisable to have Jagienka close to Zbyszko at Spychow, since Zbyszko, who loved Danuska above all other things would greatly mourn after his beloved. He was also sure that Jagienka's presence at Zbyszko's side would have the desired effect. He also remembered that Zbyszko in his boyhood, although his heart was after the woods in Mazowsze, was constantly longing for Jagienka. For these reasons, and fully believing that Danusia was lost, he often thought that in case of the abbot's demise, he would not send Jagienka to any other place; but as he was greedy to acquire landed property, he was therefore concerned about the property of the abbot. Surely, the abbot was displeased with them and promised to bequeath nothing to them; but after that he must have felt sorry and, before he died left something for Jagienka. He was sure that the abbot had bequeathed something to her, because he frequently spoke about it at Zgorzelice, and he would not overlook Zbyszko on account of Jagienka. Macko was also thinking of remaining for sometime at Plock, so as to investigate the will and attend to the matter, but other thoughts crossed his mind, and he said: "Should I longer be here looking after property, whilst my boy yonder is stretching out his hand and waiting for my help from some Knight of the Cross dungeon?"

In truth, there was only one course, and that was: to leave Jagienka under the care of the princess and the bishop, and beg them to look after her interest. But that plan did not please Macko. The girl has already considerable property of her own, and when her estate is increased by that which the abbot has bequeathed her, then as sure as there is a God some Mazur will take her, for she cannot hold out any longer. Zych, her defunct father, used to say of her, that she was in danger(112) even then. In such case, the old knight thought that both Danusia and Jagienka might fail Zbyszko. That of course was not to be thought of.

(Footnote 112: Lit., She was walking on live coals.)


He will take one of the two, whichever God had decreed. Finally that plan to rescue Zbyszko he preferred to the others; and as to Jagienka, he resolved either to leave her in the care of Princess Danuta, or at Spychow, but not at the court at Plock where there was much glitter, and which was filled with handsome knights.

Overwhelmed with these thoughts, he proceeded quickly to the dwelling of the weaver, to inform Jagienka of the abbot's death. He was determined not to break the news to her suddenly, as it might greatly endanger her health. When he reached home both ladies were properly dressed and appeared as gay as birds; he sat down and ordered the servants to bring him a jug of brown beer; then he assumed a doleful air, and said:

"Do you hear the bells ringing in town? Guess, why are they ringing, since to-day is not Sunday, and you slept during matins. Would you like to see the abbot?"

"Surely! What a question?" answered Jagienka.

"Well, you shall see him as the king sees Cwiek."(113)

(Footnote 113: Meaning never.)

 

"Has he left the city?"

"He has left, but do you not hear the bells ringing?"

"Is he dead?" exclaimed Jagienka.

"Yes! say 'God rest his soul.' ..."

Both ladies knelt down and began to chant: "God rest his soul," in a bell-like voice. Then tears streamed down Jagienka's cheeks, for she was very fond of the abbot, who, though of a violent temper, never harmed anybody, but did much good; he specially loved Jagienka, for he was her godfather, he loved her as one loves his own daughter. Macko remembered that the abbot was related to him and Zbyszko; he was also moved to tears and even cried. After his grief had subsided a little, he took the ladies and the Bohemian with him and went to the funeral services in the church.

It was a magnificent funeral. The bishop himself, Jacob of Kurdwanow, conducted it. There were present all the priests and monks of the diocese of Plock, all the bells were ringing, and prayers were said which none else but the clergy understood, for they were said in the Latin. Then the clergy and the laity went to the banquet at the bishop's palace.

Macko and his two girls (disguised as boys) also went to the banquet; he, as a relative of the deceased, and known to the bishop, was fully entitled to be present. The bishop also willingly received him as such, but immediately after the invitation he said to Macko:

"There is here a bequest of some forests for the Gradys of Bogdaniec. The rest he did not bequeath to the abbey and the cloister, but to his goddaughter, a certain Jagienka of Zgorzelice."

Macko, who did not expect much, was glad for the woodlands. The bishop did not observe that one of the youths accompanying the old knight at the mentioning of the name of Jagienka of Zgorzelice lifted up her tearful eyes, and said:

"May God recompense him, but I wish he were alive."

Macko turned and said angrily:

"Be silent, otherwise you will shame yourself."

But he suddenly stopped, his eyes glistened with amazement, then his face assumed wolfish fierceness, when at a distance from him opposite the door, through which the princess Alexandra had just entered, he observed the figure, dressed in court uniform, of Kuno of Lichtenstein, the very man by whom Zbyszko had nearly lost his life in Krakow.

Jagienka had never seen Macko in such a condition. His face was contracted like the jaws of a fierce dog, his teeth glistened beneath his moustache, and in a moment he tightened his belt and moved toward the hateful Knight of the Cross.

But when about midway he checked himself and began to pass his broad hands through his hair; he reflected in time, that Lichtenstein might only be a guest in the court of Plock, or an envoy, therefore, if he were to strike him without apparent reason, the very thing which happened to Zbyszko on his way from Tyniec to Krakow might be repeated here.

Thus possessing more reason than Zbyszko, he restrained himself, adjusted the belt to its previous place, relaxed the muscles of his face and waited, and when the princess, after greeting Lichtenstein, entered into a conversation with the bishop, Macko approached her and bowed deeply. He reminded her who he was, and that he had been once engaged in the service of his benefactress as the carrier of letters.

The princess did not recognize him at first, but she remembered the letters and the whole affair. She also was acquainted with the occurrences in the neighboring Mazovian court. She had heard of Jurand, of the imprisonment of his daughter, of Zbyszko's marriage, and of his deadly fight with Rotgier. These things interested her greatly, so much so that it seemed to her one of those knight-errant stories or one of the minstrel songs in Germany, and the _rybalt songs in Mazowsze. Indeed, the Knights of the Cross were not inimical to her, as they were to princess Anna Danuta, the wife of Prince Janusz, more especially because they wished to get her on their side, they strove to outvie each other in rendering her homage and adulation, and overwhelmed her with munificent gifts, but in the present case her heart beat for her favorite, whom she was ready to help; above all, she was glad that she had before her a man who could give her an accurate account of the events.

But Macko, who had already resolved to obtain, by whatever means possible, the protection and the princely influence, seeing that she was listening attentively, told her Zbyszko's and Danusia's ill luck. The narrative brought tears to her eyes, specially when she felt more than anybody the misfortune of her niece, and from her very soul she pitied her.

"I have never heard a more woeful story," said the princess, at last, "the greatest sorrow to my mind is, that he has married her, that she was already his, yet he knew no happiness. However, are you sure that he knew her not."

"Hey! Almighty God!" exclaimed Macko. "If he only knew her, he was bed-ridden when he married her in the evening, and the following morning she was carried off."

"And, do you think that the Knights of the Cross did it? It was said here, that those who actually did it were robbers, and the Knights of the Cross recaptured her, but it turned out to be another girl. They also spoke of a letter which Jurand had written...."

"Human justice did not decide it, but divine. That was a great thing, that knight Rotgier, who conquered the strongest, fell by the hand of a comparative child."

"Well, a fine child he is," said the princess, with a smile, "his valor is a safeguard in his travels. It is a grievance, true, and your complaints are just, but three out of those four opponents are dead, and the remaining old one has also, according to the information I have received, been nearly killed."

"And Danuska? And Jurand?" replied Macko. "Where are they? God only knows whether something ill has happened to Zbyszko, who was on the road to Malborg."

"I know, but the Knights of the Cross are not such out-and-out dog-brothers as you think them to be. In Malborg nothing evil can happen to your nephew, whilst he is at the side of the grand master and his brother Ulrych, who is an honorable knight. Your nephew undoubtedly is provided with letters from Prince Janusz. Unless whilst there he challenged one of the knights and succumbed. At Malborg there are always present a great number of the most valorous knights from all parts of the world."

"Ay! My nephew does not fear them much," said the old knight. "If they only did not cast him in prison, or kill him treacherously, as long as he has an iron weapon in his hand he is not afraid of them. Only once he found himself facing one stronger than himself, but he stretched him in the lists, and that was the Mazovian Prince Henryk who was bishop here and who was enamored of the handsome Ryngalla. But Zbyszko was then a mere youth. For this reason he would be the only one, as sure as amen in prayer, to challenge this one whom I also have vowed to challenge and who is present here."

Saying this, he glanced in the direction of Lichtenstein, who was conversing with the governor (Waywode) of Plock.

But the princess wrinkled her brow and said in stern and dry tones, as she always did when in an angry mood:

"Whether you vowed or not, you must remember that he is our guest and whosoever wishes to be our guest must observe decorum."

"I know, most gracious lady," replied Macko. "For that reason when I adjusted my belt and went to meet him, I restrained myself and thought of obedience."

"He will obey. He is important among his own people, even the master builds upon his counsel and nothing is denied to him. May God grant that your nephew does not meet him at Malborg, especially as Lichtenstein is a determined and revengeful person."

"He could not well recognize me because he did not see me often. We had helmets on when we were at Tyniec, after that I went only once to see him in the Zbyszko affair and that was in the evening. I observed just now that he looked at me, but seeing that I was engaged in a lengthy conversation with Your Grace, he turned his eyes in an opposite direction. He would have recognized Zbyszko, but he only looked at me and very likely he did not hear of my vow, and has to think of more important challenges."

"How so?"

"Because it may be that other powerful knights challenged him, such as Zawisza of Garbow, Powala of Taczew, Marcin of Wrocimowice, Paszko Zlodziej, and Lis of Targowisko. Every one of those, gracious lady, and ten like them. So much the more so if they are numerous. It would be better for him not to have been born, than to have one of those swords over his head. I shall not only try to forget the challenge, but I have resolved to endeavor to go with him."

"Why?"

Macko's face assumed a cunning expression like that of a fox.

"That he might give me a safe conduct to travel through the country belonging to the Knights of the Cross, that will enable me to render assistance to Zbyszko in case of need."

"Does such proceeding deserve praise?" inquired the princess with a smile.

"Yes! It does," replied Macko. "If for instance in time of war I were to attack him from the rear without warning him to face me I should disgrace myself; but in time of peace if one hangs the enemy upon a hook no knight need be reproached for such an act."

"Then I will introduce you," replied the princess. She beckoned to Lichtenstein and introduced Macko; she was of opinion that even if Lichtenstein should recognize Macko nothing serious would result.

But Lichtenstein did not recognize him, because when he had seen him at Tyniec he had his helmet on, and after that he had spoken to Macko only once, and that in the evening, when Macko had begged him to forgive Zbyszko.

However he bowed proudly, the more so because when he saw the two exquisitely dressed youths, he thought that they were not Macko's, his face brightened up a little and he assumed a haughty demeanor as he always did when he spoke to inferiors.

Then the princess pointing at Macko, said: "This knight is going to Malborg. I have given him a recommendation to the grand master, but he heard of your great influence in the Order; he would also like to have a note from you."

Then she went to the bishop, but Lichtenstein fixed his cold, steely eyes upon Macko, and asked:

"What motive induces you, sir, to visit our religious and sober capital?"

"An upright and pious motive," replied Macko, looking at Lichtenstein. "If it were otherwise the gracious princess would not have vouched for me. But apart from pious vows, I wish also to know your grand master, who causes peace in the land and who is the most celebrated knight in the world."

"Those whom your gracious and beneficent princess recommends will not complain of our poor hospitality. Nevertheless, as far as your wishes to know the master is concerned, it is not an easy matter. About a mouth ago, he left for Danzig, thence he was to go to Koenigsberg, and from that place proceed to the frontier, where, although a lover of peace, he is obliged to defend the property of the Order against the violence of the treacherous Witold."

Hearing this, Macko was apparently so much grieved, that Lichtenstein, who noticed it, said:

"I see that you were quite as anxious to see the grand master as to fulfil your religious vows."

"Yes! I am, I am," replied Macko. "Is war against Witold a sure thing?"

"He, himself, began it; he has sworn to help the rebels."

There was silence for a moment.

"Ha! May God help the Order as it deserves!" said Macko. "I see I cannot make the grand master's acquaintance; let me at least fulfil my vow."

But in spite of these words, he did not know what to do, and with deep grief he asked himself:

"Where shall I look for Zbyszko, and where shall I find him?"

It was easy to foresee that if the grand master had left Malborg and gone to war, it was useless to look for Zbyszko there. In any case it was necessary to get the most accurate information of his whereabouts. Old Macko was very anxious about it, but he was a man of ready resource, and he resolved to lose no time, but continue his march next morning. Having obtained a letter from Lichtenstein with the aid of Princess Alexandra in whom the _comthur had boundless confidence, it was not a difficult task to obtain. He therefore received a recommendation to the _starosta of Brodnic, and to the Grand Szpitalnik of Malborg, for which he presented a silver goblet to Lichtenstein, a treasure procured in Breslau, like that which the knights were accustomed to have near their beds filled with wine, so that in case of sleeplessness they might have at hand a remedy for sleep and at the same time pleasure. This act of Macko's liberality somewhat astonished the Bohemian, who knew that the old knight was not too eager to lavish presents on anybody, especially on Germans, but Macko said:

"I did it because I have vowed, and must fight him, and by no means could I do it to one who has done me some service. To recompense good with evil is not our custom."

"But such a magnificent goblet! It is a pity," replied the Bohemian, apparently vexed.

"Don't fear. I do nothing without premeditation," said Macko; "for if the Lord enables me to overthrow (kill) that German, I shall get back not only the goblet, but a great many good things I shall acquire with it."

Then they, including Jagienka, began to take counsel among themselves concerning further action. Macko thought of leaving Jagienka and Sieciechowa with Princess Alexandra at Plock, owing to the abbot's will, which was in the possession of the bishop. But Jagienka was entirely opposed to it; she was even determined to travel by herself; there was no necessity to have a separate room for night quarters, neither to observe politeness, nor safety, and various other causes. "Surely I did not leave Zgorzelice to rusticate at Plock. The will is at the bishop's and cannot be lost, and as far as they are concerned, when it will be shown that there is need to remain on the road, it will be of greater advantage to be left in the care of Princess Anna, than with Princess Alexandra, because at the former court the Knights of the Cross are not frequent visitors, and Zbyszko is more appreciated there." Upon that Macko truly observed that reason does not belong to women, and that it is unbecoming for a girl "to command" as though she possessed reason. Nevertheless he did not persist in his opposition, and relented entirely when Jagienka had taken him aside and, with tears in her eyes, said:

"You know!... God sees my heart, that every morning and evening I pray for that young lady, Danuska, and for Zbyszko's welfare. God in heaven knows it best. But you and Hlawa said that she had perished already, that she would never escape the hands of the Knights of the Cross alive. Therefore if this has to be so, then I...."

Here she somewhat hesitated and tears streamed down her cheeks and she became silent.

"Then I want to be near Zbyszko...."

Macko was moved by the tears and words, yet he replied:

"If Danusia is lost, Zbyszko will be so much grieved, that he will care for none else."

"I don't wish that he should care for me, but I would like to be near him."

"You know well that I should like to be myself near him as well as you do, but he would in the first instance be unmindful of you."

"Let him be unmindful. But he will not be," she replied, with a smile, "for he will not know that it was myself."

"He will recognize you."

"He will not know me. You did not recognize me. You will tell him too that it was not I but Jasko, and Jasko is exactly like myself. You will tell him that I have grown up and it will never occur to him that it is anybody else but Jasko...."

Then the old knight remembered somebody upon his knees before him and that kneeling one had the appearance of a boy; then there was no harm in it, specially that Jasko really had exactly the same face, and his hair after the last cutting had again grown up and he carried it in a net just as other noble young knights. For this reason Macko gave way, and the conversation turned to matters concerning the journey. They were to start on the following day. Macko decided to enter into the country of the Knights of the Cross, to draw near to Brodnic to get information there, and if the grand master was still, in spite of Lichtenstein's opinion, at Malborg, to proceed there, and if not there, to push on along the frontiers of the country of the Knights of the Cross in the direction of Spychow, inquiring along the road about the Polish knight and his suit. The old knight even expected that he would easily get more information of Zbyszko at Spychow, or at the court of Prince Janusz of Warsaw, than elsewhere.

Accordingly, they moved on the following day. Spring was fully ushered in, so that the floods of the Skrwy and Drwency obstructed the way, so much so that it took them ten days to travel from Plock to Brodnic. The little town was orderly and clean. But one could see at a glance the German barbarity by the enormously constructed gallows,(114) which was erected out of town on the road to Gorczenice, and which was occupied by the hanging corpses of the executed, one of which was the body of a woman. Upon the watch-tower and upon the castle floated the flag with the red hand on a white field. The travelers did not find the count at home, because he was at the head of the garrison which was drafted of the neighboring noblemen, at Malborg. That information Macko got from a blind old Knight of the Cross, who was formerly the count of Brodnic, but later on he attached himself to the place and castle, and he was the last of his line. When the chaplain of the place read Lichtenstein's letter to the count, he invited Macko as his guest; he was very familiar with the Polish language, because he lived in the midst of a Polish population, and they easily carried on their conversation in that language. In the course of their conversation Macko was informed that the count had left for Malborg six weeks before, being summoned as an experienced knight to a council of war. Moreover he knew what happened in the capital. When he was asked about the young Polish knight, he had heard of such a one, he said, who at first had roused admiration because, in spite of his youthful appearance, he already appeared as a belted knight. Then he was successful at a tourney which, according to custom, the grand master ordained, for foreign guests, before his departure for the war. Little by little he even remembered that the manly and noble, yet violent brother of the master, Ulrych von Jungingen, had become very fond of the young knight and had taken him under his care, provided him with "iron letters," after which the young knight apparently departed toward the east. Macko was overjoyed at the news, because he had not the slightest doubt that the young knight was Zbyszko. It was therefore useless to go to Malborg, for although the grand master, as well as other officials of the Order, and knights who remained at Malborg might furnish more accurate information, they could by no means tell where Zbyszko actually was. On the other hand Macko himself knew better where Zbyszko might be found, and it was not difficult to suppose that he was at that moment somewhere in the neighborhood of Szczytno; or in case he had not found Danusia there, he was making research in distant eastern castles and county seats.

(Footnote 114: Relics of the gallows were preserved down to the year 1818.)


Without losing any more time, they also moved toward the east and Szczytno. They progressed well on the road, the towns and villages were connected by highways which the Knights of the Cross, or rather the merchants of the towns, kept in good condition, and which were as good as the Polish roads, which were under the care of the thrifty and energetic King Kazimierz. The weather was excellent, the nights were serene, the days bright, and about noon a dry and warm zephyr-like wind blew which filled the human breast with health-giving air. The cornfields assumed a green hue, the meadows were covered with abundant flowers, and the pine forests began to emit a smell of rosin. Throughout the whole journey to Lidzbark, thence to Dzialdowa, and further on to Niedzborz, they did not see a single cloud. But at Niedzborz they encountered a thunderstorm at night, which was the first one of the spring, but it lasted only a short time, and in the morning it cleared up and the horizon was brightened with rosy golden hues. It was so brilliant that the land, as far as the eye could reach, appeared like one carpet brocaded with jewels. It seemed as though the whole country smiled back to the sky and rejoiced because of abundant life.

In such a pleasant morning they wended their course from Niedzborz to Szczytno. It was not far from the Mazovian frontier. It was an easy matter to return to Spychow. There was a moment when Macko wanted to do it, but considering the whole matter he desired to push onward toward the terrible nest of the Knights of the Cross, in which Zbyszko's loss was terribly guarded. He then engaged a guide and ordered him to lead them directly to Szczytno; although there was no need of a guide, because the road from Niedzborz was a straight one, marked with white milestones.

The guide was a few steps in advance. Behind him were Macko and Jagienka on horseback; some distance behind them were the Bohemian and Sieciechowa, and farther back were the wagons surrounded by armed men. It was an exquisite morning. The rosy glow had not yet disappeared from the horizon, although the sun had already risen and changed into opals the dewdrops upon the trees and grasses.

"Are you not afraid to go to Szczytno?" asked Macko.

"I am not afraid," replied Jagienka, "God is with me, because I am an orphan."

"There is no faith there. The worst dog was Danveld whom Jurand killed together with Godfried.... The Bohemian told me so. The second after Danveld, was Rotgier, who succumbed by Zbyszko's axe, but the old man is a ruthless tyrant, and is sold to the devil.... They know not kindness. However, I am of opinion that if Danuska has perished she did so by his own hands. They also say that something happened to her. But the princess said in Plock that she extricated herself. It is with him that we shall have to contend at Szczytno.... It is well that we have a letter from Lichtenstein, and as it appears they, the dog-brothers, are afraid of him more than they are of the master himself.... They say that he has great authority and is particularly strict, and is very revengeful, he never forgives even the slightest offence.... Without this safe conduct I would not travel so peacefully to Szczytno...."

"What is his name?"

"Zygfried von Loeve."

"God grant that we may manage him too."

"God grant it!"

Macko smiled for a moment and then said:

"The princess also told me in Plock: 'Ye grieve and complain like lambs against wolves, but in this instance three of the wolves are dead, because the innocent lambs strangled them.' She spoke the truth; it is actually so."

"What about Danuska and her father?"

"I told the princess the very same thing. But I am really glad, since it is demonstrated that it is not safe to harm us. We know already how to handle the helve of an axe, and fight with it. As to Danuska and Jurand, it is true, I think, and so does the Bohemian, that they are no more in this world, but in reality nobody can tell. I am very sorry for Jurand, for he grieved very much for his daughter, and if he perished, it was a hard death."

"If such a thing is mentioned to me," said Jagienka, "I always think of papa, who also is no more."

Then she lifted up her eyes and Macko nodded his head and said:

"He rests with God in everlasting bliss, for there is not a better man than he was in our whole kingdom...."

"Oh there was none like him, none!" sighed Jagienka.

Further conversation was interrupted by the guide, who suddenly checked his stallion, turned and galloped toward Macko and shouted in a strange and frightened voice:

"O, for God's sake! Look there, Sir Knight; who is there on the hillside advancing toward us?"

"Who? Where?" asked Macko.

"Look there! A giant or something of that kind...."

Macko and Jagienka reined in their horses, looked in the direction indicated by the guide, and they indeed descried, about the middle of the hill, a figure, which appeared to be of more than human proportions.

"To tell the truth the man seems to be huge," murmured Macko.

Then he frowned, and suddenly spat and said:

"Let the evil charm be upon the dog."

"Why are you conjuring?" asked Jagienka.

"Because I remember that it was on just such a fine morning when Zbyszko and I were on the road from Tyniec to Krakow we saw such a giant. They said then that it was Walgierz Wdaly. Bah! It was shown afterward that it was the lord of Taczew. Still, nothing good resulted from it. Let the evil charm be upon the dog."

"This one is not a knight, because he is not on horseback," said Jagienka, straining her eyes. "I even see that he is not armed, but holds a staff in his left hand...."

"And he is groping in front of him, as though it were night."

"And can hardly move; surely he must be blind?"

"As sure as I live, he is blind--blind!"

They urged their horses forward, and in a little while they halted in front of the beggar who was slowly coming down the hill and feeling his way with his staff. He was indeed an immense old man, and appeared to them, even when they were near him, a giant. They were convinced that he was stone blind. Instead of eyes he had two red hollows. His right hand was wanting; instead of it he carried a bandage of dirty rags. His hair was white and falling down upon his shoulders, and his beard reached his belt.

"He has neither food, nor companion, not even a dog, but is feeling the way by himself," exclaimed Jagienka. "For God's sake, we cannot leave him here without assistance. I do not know whether he will understand me, but I shall try to talk to him in Polish."

Then she jumped from her horse and approached the beggar, and began to look for some money in her leather pouch which was suspended from her belt.

The beggar, when he heard the noise and tramping of the horses, stretched his staff in front of him and lifted up his head as blind men do.

"Praised be Jesus Christ," said the girl. "Do you understand, little grandfather, in the Christian fashion?"

But on hearing her sweet, young voice, he trembled; a strange flush appeared on his face as though from tender emotion; he covered his hollow orbits with his eyebrows, and suddenly threw down his staff and fell on his knees, with outstretched arms, in front of her.

"Get up! I will assist you. What ails you?" asked Jagienka in astonishment.

But he did not reply, but tears rolled down his cheeks, and he groaned:

"A!--a!--a!..."

"For the love of God--Can you not say something?"

"A!--a!"

Then he lifted up his hand, with which he made first the sign of the cross, then passed his left hand over his mouth.

Jagienka understood it not, and she looked at Macko, who said:

"He seems to indicate that his tongue has been torn out."

"Did they tear out your tongue?" asked the girl.

"A! a! a! a!" repeated the beggar several times, nodding his head.

Then he pointed with his fingers to his eyes; then he moved his left hand across his maimed right, showing that it was cut off.

Then both understood him.

"Who did it?" inquired Jagienka.

The beggar again made signs of the cross repeatedly in the air.

"The Knights of the Cross," shouted Macko.

As a sign of affirmation the old man let his head drop upon his chest again.

There was silence for a moment. Macko and Jagienka looked at each other with alarm, because they had now before them sufficient proof of their cruelty and the lack of means to chastise those knights who style themselves "the Knights of the Cross."

"Cruel justice!" said Macko, finally. "They punished him grievously, and God knows whether deservedly. If I only knew where he belongs, I would lead him there, for surely he must be from this neighborhood. He understands our language, for the common people here are the same as in Mazowsze."

"Did you understand what we said?" asked Jagienka.

The beggar nodded his head.

"Are you of this neighborhood?"

"No!" The beggar shook his head.

"Perhaps he comes from Mazowsze?"

"Yes!" he nodded.

"Under Prince Janusz?"

"Yes!"

"But what were you doing among the Knights of the Cross?"

The old man could give no answer, but his face assumed an air of intense suffering, so much so that Jagienka's heart beat with greater force out of sympathy. Even Macko who was not subject to emotion, said:

"I am sure the dog-brothers have wronged him. May be he is innocent."

Jagienka meanwhile put some small change in the beggar's hand.

"Listen," she said, "we will not abandon you. Come with us to Mazowsze, and in every village we will ask you whether it is yours. May be we shall guess it. Meanwhile, get up, for we are no saints."

But he did not get up, nay, he even bowed lower and embraced her feet as much as to place himself under her protection and show his gratitude. Yet there were marks of certain astonishment, yea even disappointment on his face. May be that from the voice he thought he was in the presence of a young woman; but his hand happened to touch the cowskin gaiters which the knights and armor-bearers were accustomed to wear.

But she said:

"It shall be so; our wagons will soon be here, then you will rest and refresh yourself. But we are not going to take you now to Mazowsze because we must first go to Szczytno."

When the old man heard this, he jumped straight up, terror and amazement were depicted on his face. He opened his arms as though desiring to obstruct their way, and strange, wild ejaculations proceeded from his throat, full of terror and dismay.

"What is the matter with you?" exclaimed Jagienka, much frightened.

But the Bohemian, who had already arrived with Sieciechowa, and for some time had his eyes riveted upon the old beggar, suddenly turned to Macko, and with a countenance changed, and in a strange voice, said:

"For God's sake, permit me, sir, to speak to him, for you do not know who he may be."

After this he begged for no further permission, but rushed toward the old man, placed his hands upon his shoulders, and asked him:

"Do you come from Szczytno?"

The old man appeared to be struck by the sound of his voice, quieted himself and nodded affirmatively.

"Did you not look there for your child? ..."

A deep groan was the only reply to this question.

Then the Bohemian's face paled a little, he looked sharply for a moment at the outlines of the old man's face, then he said slowly and composedly:

"Then you are Jurand of Spychow."

"Jurand!" shouted Macko.

But Jurand was overcome at that moment and fainted. Protracted torture, want of nourishment, fatigue of the road, swept him from his feet. The tenth day had now passed since he left, groping his way, erring and feeling his way with his stick, hungry, fatigued and not knowing where he was going, unable to ask the way, during the daytime he turned toward the warm rays of the sun, the night he passed in the ditches along the road. When he happened to pass through a village, or hamlet, or accidentally encountered people on the road, he only could beg with his hand and voice, but seldom a compassionate hand helped him, because as a rule he was taken for a criminal whom law and justice had chastised. For two days he had lived on bark and leaves of trees; he was already giving up all hope of reaching Mazowsze, when suddenly compassionate voices and hearts of his own countrymen surrounded him; one of whom reminded him of the sweet voice of his own daughter; and, when at last his own name was mentioned, he was greatly agitated and unable to bear it any longer; his heart broke. His thoughts whirled through his head; and, were it not for the strong arms of the Bohemian which supported him, he would have fallen with his face in the dust of the road.

Macko dismounted, then both took hold of him, and carried him to the wagons and laid him upon the soft hay. There, Jagienka and Sieciechowa nursed him. Jagienka observed that he could not carry the cup of wine to his lips by himself so she helped him. Immediately after this he fell into a profound sleep, from which he did not awake till the third day.

Meanwhile they sat down to deliberate.

"To be brief," said Jagienka, "we must go now to Spychow instead of Szczytno, so that by all means we place him in security among his own people."

"Look, how can that be carried out," replied Macko. "It is true that we must send him to Spychow, but there is no necessity for all of us to accompany him, one wagon is enough to carry him there."

"I do not order it, I only think so, because there we might get much information from him about Zbyszko, and Danusia."

"But how can you procure information from one who has no tongue?"

"But the very information that he has no tongue, we got from himself. Do you not see that even without speech we got all that information necessary. How much more shall we derive when we communicate with him by motions of the head and hands? Ask him, for instance, whether Zbyszko has returned from Malborg to Szczytno. You will then see that he will either nod assent, or deny it."

"It is true," said the Bohemian.

"I too do not dispute it," said Macko. "I know it myself, but I am accustomed to think first and then talk."

Then he ordered the train to return to the Mazovian frontier. On the way Jagienka visited now and then the wagon where Jurand slept, fearing that death might ensue.

"I did not recognize him," said Macko, "but it is no wonder. He was as strong as an auroch! They said of him that he was among those who could fight with Zawisza, and now he is reduced to a skeleton."

"We are accustomed to hear all sorts of things," said the Bohemian, "but nobody would believe it if they were told that Christians had acted thus with a belted knight, whose patron is also Saint Jerzy."

"God grant that Zbyszko may at least avenge part of his wrongs. Now, look what a difference there is between them and us. It is true, that three out of those four dog-brothers are dead, but they died in fight, and none of them had his tongue or his eyes plucked out in captivity."

"God will punish them," said Jagienka.

But Macko turned to the Bohemian and said:

"How did you recognize him?"

"I did not recognize him at first, although I saw him later than you did. But it struck me, and the more I looked at him the more so.... Though when I first saw him he had neither beard nor white hair; he was then a very powerful lord. How then could I recognize him in the old beggar. But when the young lady said that we were going to Szczytno, and he began to howl my eyes were opened at once."

Macko was absorbed in thought, then he said:

"From Spychow, it is necessary to take him to the prince, who will not leave the wrong perpetrated on such an important person, unpunished."

"They will excuse themselves. They treacherously abducted his child and they defended themselves. And as to the lord of Spychow they will say that he lost his tongue, eyes and hand in the fight."

"You are right," said Macko. "They once carried off the prince himself. He cannot fight them, because he is no match for them; perhaps our king will assist him. The people talk and talk of a great war, but here we don't even have a little one."

"He is with Prince Witold."

"Thank God, that at least he thinks that they are worthless. Hey! Prince Witold is my prince! In craftiness he is unsurpassable. He is more crafty than all of them together. Those dog-brothers had him cornered once, the sword was over his head and he was about to perish, but, like a serpent, he slipped from their hands and bit them.... Be on your guard when he strikes, but be exceedingly careful when he is patting you."

"Is he so with everybody?"

"He is only so with the Knights of the Cross, but he is a kind and liberal prince with everybody else."

At this Macko pondered, as though making an effort to recall Prince Witold.

"He is an entirely different man to the prince here," he said, suddenly. "Zbyszko ought to have joined him, for under him and through him, one might achieve the most against the Knights of the Cross."

Then he added:

"Both of us might be found there. Who can tell? For it is there where we can revenge ourselves most properly."

Then he spoke of Jurand, of his misfortunes and of the unheard of injuries, inflicted upon him by the Knights of the Cross, who first, without any cause, murdered his beloved wife, then, revenge for revenge, they carried off his child, and then mangled him in such a cruel manner, that even the Tartars could not invent worse torture. Macko and the Bohemian gnashed their teeth at the thought that even when they set him free it was with malicious intent of inflicting additional cruelty in order to frustrate the old knight's intention, who most likely promised himself that when he was free he would take proper steps to make an inquest and get information of the whole affair, and then pay them out with interest.

On the journey to Spychow they passed their time in such dialogues and thoughts. The clear fine day was succeeded by a quiet starry night; they therefore did not halt for night quarters, but stopped thrice to feed the horses. It was yet dark when they passed the frontier, and in the morning, led by the hired guide, they arrived upon the land of Spychow.

There Tolima apparently held everything with an iron hand, for no sooner did they enter the forest of Spychow, than two armed men advanced against them. These, seeing that the newcomers were not soldiers, but a simple train, not only let them pass without questioning, but placed themselves in front to show the way, which was inaccessible to those unacquainted with the moats and marshes.

Tolima and the priest Kaleb received the guests when they arrived in town. The news that the lord had arrived, and was brought back by pious people spread like lightning through the garrison. But when they saw him in the condition as he looked when he left the Knights of the Cross, there was such an outburst of raging and wild threatening that if there had yet been any Knights of the Cross confined in the prison of Spychow, no human power would have been able to save them from a terrible death.

The retainers wished to mount their horses at once and start to the frontier to capture any Germans and cut off their heads and throw them under the feet of the master. But Macko restrained them because he knew that the Germans lived in the towns and cities, whilst the country people were of the same blood, but lived against their own will under foreign superior force. But neither the din and noise nor the creaking of the well-sweeps could awake Jurand, who was carried upon a bearskin into his own house and put to bed. Father Kaleb was Jurand's intimate friend; they grew up together and loved each other like brothers; he remained with him, and prayed that the Redeemer of the world might restore to the unfortunate Jurand, his eyes, tongue, and hand.

The fatigued travelers went to bed also. Macko who awoke about noon, ordered Tolima to be called.

He knew from the Bohemian that Jurand, before his departure, had ordered all his servants to obey their young master, Zbyszko, and that the priest had informed him of his ownership of Spychow. Macko therefore spoke to the old man with the voice of a superior:

"I am the uncle of your young master, and as long as he is away, I am the commander here."

Tolima bowed his grey head, which had something wolfish, and surrounding his ear with his hand, asked:

"Then you are, sir, the noble knight from Bogdaniec?"

"Yes!" replied Macko. "How do you know it?"

"Because the young master Zbyszko expected and inquired after you here."

Hearing this, Macko stood up straight, and forgetting his dignified manner, he exclaimed:

"What, Zbyszko in Spychow?"

"Yes, he was here, sir; only two days ago since be left."

"For the love of God! Whence did he come and where did he go?"

"He came from Malborg, and on the road he was at Szczytno. He did not say where he was going."

"He did not say, eh?"

"May be he told the priest Kaleb."

"Hey! Mighty God, then we crossed each other on the road," he said, putting his hands on his ribs.

But Tolima put his hand to the other ear:

"What did you say, sir?"

"Where is Father Kaleb?"

"He is at the bedside of the old master."

Call him, but stop ... I will go myself to see him."

"I will call him," said Tolima, and he left. But before he brought the priest, Jagienka entered.

"Come here," said Macko. "Do you know the news? Zbyszko was here only two days ago."

Her face changed in a moment and she almost tottered.

"He was, and left?" she asked, with quickly beating heart. "Where to?"

"It is only two days since he left, but where to I do not know. May be the priest knows."

"We must go after him," she said, peremptorily.

After a while Father Kaleb entered. Thinking that Macko wanted him for information concerning Jurand, he anticipated his question by saying:

"He is still asleep."

"I heard that Zbyszko was here?" said Macko.

"He was, but he left two days ago."

"Where to?"

"He did not know himself.... Searching.... He left for the frontier of Zmudz, where there is war now."

"For the love of God, tell us, father, what you know about him!"

"I only know what I heard from himself. He was at Malborg. May be he obtained protection there. Because with the order of the master's brother, who is the first among the knights, Zbyszko could search in all castles."

"For Jurand and Danuska?"

"Yes; but he does not search for Jurand, because he was told that he was dead."

"Tell us from the beginning."

"Immediately, but let me first catch breath and regain presence of mind, for I come from another world."

"How so?"

"From that world which cannot be reached on horseback, but through prayer.... I prayed at the feet of the Lord Jesus that He may have mercy upon Jurand."

"You have asked for a miracle. Have you that power?" asked Macko, with great curiosity.

"I have no power whatever, but I have a Saviour, who, if He wished, could restore to Jurand his eyes, tongue and hand...."

"If He only wanted to do so He could," replied Macko. "Nevertheless you asked for an impossible thing."

Father Kaleb did not reply; possibly because he did not hear it; his eyes were still closed, as if absent-minded, and in reality it was obvious that he was meditating on his prayer.

Then he covered his eyes with his hands and remained so for a while in silence. Finally he shook himself, rubbed his eyes with his hands, and said:

"Now, ask."

"In what manner did Zbyszko attack the Justice of Sambinsk?"

"He is no more the Justice of Sambinsk...."

"Never mind that.... You understand what I am asking; tell me what you know about it."

"He fought at a tourney. Ulrych liked to fight in the arena. There were many knights, guests at Malborg, and the master ordered public games. Whilst Ulrych was on horseback the strap of the saddle broke and it would have been an easy matter for Zbyszko to throw him from his horse; but he lowered his spear to the ground and even assisted him."

"Hey! You see!" exclaimed Macko, turning toward Jagienka. "Is this why Ulrych likes him?"

"This is the reason of his love for Zbyszko. He refused to tilt against him with sharp weapons, neither with the lance, and has taken a liking to him. Zbyszko related his trouble to him, and he, being zealous of his knightly honor, fell into a great passion and led Zbyszko to his brother, the master, to lodge a complaint. May God grant him redemption for this deed, for there are not many among them who love justice. Zbyszko also told me that de Lorche, owing to his position and wealth, was of much help to him, and testified for him in everything."

"What was the result of that testimony?"

"It resulted in the vigorous order of the grand master to the _comthur of Szczytno, to send at once to Malborg all the prisoners who were confined in Szczytno, including even Jurand. Concerning Jurand, the _comthur replied that he had died from his wounds and was buried there in the church-yard. He sent the other prisoners, including a milkmaid, but our Danusia was not among them."

"I know from the armor-bearer Hlawa," said Macko, "that Rotgier, whom Zbyszko killed whilst at the court of Prince Janusz, also spoke in the same manner about a certain milkmaid whom they captured whom they took for Jurand's daughter, but when the princess asked: 'How could they mistake Danusia for a common girl, since they knew and had seen the true one, Danusia?'" "You are right," he replied, "but I thought they had forgotten the real Danusia." "This same thing the _comthur had written to the master that that girl was not a prisoner but she was under their care, that they had at first rescued her from the robbers, who had sworn that she was Jurand's daughter, but transformed."

"Did the master believe it?"

"He did not know whether to believe or not, but Ulrych was more incensed than ever, and influenced his brother to send an official of the Order with Zbyszko to Szczytno, which was done. When they arrived at Szczytno, they did not find the old _comthur_, because he had departed to the eastern strongholds against Witold, to the war; but a subordinate, whom the magistrate ordered to open all prisons and underground dungeons. They searched and searched, but found nothing. They even detained people for information. One of them told Zbyszko that he could get much information from the chaplain, because the chaplain understood the dumb executioner. But the old _comthur had taken the executioner with him, and the chaplain left for Koenigsberg to attend a religious gathering.... They met there often in order to lodge complaints against the Knights of the Cross to the pope, because even the poor priests were oppressed by them...."

"I am only surprised that they did not find Jurand," observed Macko.

"It is obvious that the old _comthur let him go. There was more wickedness in that than if they had cut his throat. They wished that he should suffer excruciatingly more than a man of his standing could endure.--Blind, dumb and maimed.--For God's sake!... He could neither find his home, nor the road, not even ask for a morsel of bread.... They thought that he would die somewhere behind a fence from hunger, or be drowned in some river.... What did they leave him? Nothing, but the means of discerning the different degrees of misery. And this meant torture upon torture.... He might have been sitting somewhere near the church, or along the road, and Zbyszko passed by without recognizing him. May be he even heard Zbyszko's voice, but he could not hail him.... Hey!... I cannot keep myself from weeping!... God wrought a miracle, and that is the reason why I think that He will do a great deal more, although this prayer proceeds from my sinful lips."

"What else did Zbyszko say? Where did he go to?" asked Macko.

"He said: 'I know that Danuska was at Szczytno, but they have carried her off, or starved her. Old von Loeve did it, and so help me God, I will not rest until I get him.'"

"Did he say so? Then it is sure that the _comthur left for the east, but now there is war."

"He knew that there was a war, and that is the cause why he left for the camp of Prince Witold. He also said, he would succeed sooner in scoring a point against the Knights of the Cross through him, than through the king."

"So, to Prince Witold!" exclaimed Macko.

Then he turned to Jagienka.

"Did I not tell you the very same thing. As I live, I said: 'that we should also have to go to Witold.' ..."

"Zbyszko hoped," said Father Kaleb, "that Prince Witold would make an inroad into Prussia and take some of the castles there."

"If time were given to him, he would not delay," replied Macko. "Praise God now, we know at least where to look for Zbyszko."

"We must press on at once," said Jagienka.

"Silence!" said Macko. "It is not becoming for a boy to interrupt the council."

Then he stared at her, as though to remind her that she was a boy; she remembered and was silent.

Macko thought for awhile, and said:

"Now we shall surely find Zbyszko, for he is not moving aimlessly; he is at the side of Prince Witold. But it is necessary to know whether he is still searching for something in this world, besides the heads of the Knights of the Cross which he vowed to get."

"How can that be ascertained?" asked Father Kaleb.

"If we knew that the priest of Szczytno had already returned from the synod. I should like to see him," said Macko. "I have letters from Lichtenstein to Szczytno and I can go there without fear."

"It was not a synod gathering, but a congress," replied Father Kaleb, "and the chaplain must have returned long ago."

"Very well. Everything is upon my own shoulders. I shall take Hlawa with me, and two servants, with proper horses and go."

"Then to Zbyszko?" asked Jagienka.

"Then to Zbyszko," replied Macko. "But you must wait for me here until I return. I also think that I shall not be detained there for more than three or four days. I am accustomed to mosquitoes and fatigue. Therefore, I ask you, Father Kaleb, to give me a letter to the chaplain of Szczytno. He will believe me without hesitation if I show your letter, for there is always great confidence among the clergy."

"The people speak well of that priest," said Father Kaleb, "and if there is one who knows something, it is he."

He prepared a letter in the evening, and in the morning, before sunrise, old Macko left Spychow.

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PART SIXTH: CHAPTER V Jurand awoke from his long sleep in the presence of the priest; he forgot what had happened to him and where he was; he began to feel around in bed and at the wall. The priest caught him in his arms and wept, tenderly kissing him, and said: "It is I! You are at Spychow! Brother Jurand!... God tried you.... But you are now among your own.... Good people brought you here. Brother, dear brother, Jurand." Then he repeatedly pressed him to his breast, kissed his brow and his hollow eyes; but Jurand appeared to be stupefied
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PART SIXTH: CHAPTER III >After the destruction, conflagration and slaughter which the Knights of the Cross had committed in 1331, at Sieradz, Casimir the Great rebuilt the razed town. The place, however, was not exceedingly splendid and could not keep pace with the other towns of the realm. But Jagienka, who hitherto had spent her time among the people of Zgorzelice and Krzesnia, was beside herself with admiration and astonishment at the sight of the houses, towers, town hall, and especially the churches; the wooden structure at Krzesnia could not be compared with them. At first she lost her wonted resolution,
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