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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 5
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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 5 Post by :John_ward Category :Long Stories Author :Henryk Sienkiewicz Date :July 2011 Read :1340

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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 5

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 and unconscious. At last he moved his left hand toward his head and brow as though wishing to dispel the cloud of sleep and stupor from his mind.

"Do you hear and understand me?" asked Father Kaleb.

Jurand moved his head affirmatively. Then he stretched his hand toward the silver crucifix on the wall which he had once taken from the neck of a powerful German knight, pressed it to his lips and heart and then gave it to Father Kaleb.

"I understand you, brother!" said the priest. "He remained with you. He is able to restore to you all you lost, just as He delivered you from captivity."

Jurand pointed with his hand heavenward, a sign that all will there be returned to him. Then his hollow eyes were filled with tears, and an indescribable pain was depicted upon his tortured face.

Father Kaleb having observed his painful emotion concluded that Danuska was dead. He therefore knelt at the bedside and said:

"O Lord! Grant her eternal rest in peace, and everlasting bliss be hers. Amen."

Then Jurand lifted himself up and began to twist his head and move his hand as though wishing to check the priest, but the priest did not understand. At that moment old Tolima entered, and with him were the garrison of the town, the former and present elders of the peasants of Spychow, foresters, fishermen, etc., because the news of Jurand's return had rapidly spread throughout Spychow. They embraced his feet, kissed his hand and bitterly wept when they saw the old and maimed cripple who looked like another being, not in the least the once invincible knight, the terror of the Knights of the Cross. But some of them, especially those who used to accompany him on his expeditions, were enraged; their faces grew pale and determined. After a while they crowded together and whispered, pulled, and pushed each other. Finally, a certain Sucharz, a member of the garrison and village blacksmith, approached Jurand, clasped his feet and said:

"We intended to go to Szczytno, as soon as they brought you here, but that knight, who brought you, hindered us. Permit us, sir, now. We cannot leave them unpunished. Let it be now as it was long ago. They shall not disgrace us and remain scathless. We used to fight them under your command. Now we will march under Tolima, or without him. We must conquer Szczytno and shed the dog-blood. So help us God!"

"So help us God!" repeated several voices.

"To Szczytno!"

"We must have blood!"

Forthwith a burning fire took hold of the inflammable Mazur hearts, their brows began to wrinkle, their eyes to glisten. Here and there was heard the sound of gnashing teeth. But in a moment the noise ceased, and all eyes were turned toward Jurand, whose cheeks reddened and he assumed his wonted warlike appearance. He rose and again felt for the crucifix upon the wall. The people thought that he was looking for a sword. He found it and took it down. His face paled, he turned toward the people, lifted his hollow eyes heavenward and moved the crucifix in front of him.

Silence reigned. It was beginning to get dark; the twittering of birds retiring upon the roofs and trees of the village, penetrated through the open windows. The last red rays of the setting sun penetrated into the room and fell upon the raised cross and upon Jurand's white hair.

Sucharz, the blacksmith, looked at Jurand, glanced at his comrades and looked again at Jurand. Finally, he bid them good-bye and left the room on tiptoe. The others followed suit. When they reached the courtyard they halted, and the following whispered conversation ensued:

"What now?"

"We are not going. How then?"

"He did not permit."

"Leave vengeance with God. It is obvious that even his soul has undergone a change."

It was so indeed.

Those who remained were Father Kaleb and old Tolima. Jagienka with Sieciechowa, who were attracted by the armed crowd in the courtyard, came to learn what was the matter.

Jagienka, who was more daring and sure of herself than her companion, approached Jurand.

"God help you, Knight Jurand," she said. "We are those who brought you here from Prussia."

His face brightened at the sound of her young voice. It was obvious that it brought back to his mind in proper order all the events which had happened upon the road from Szczytno, because he showed his thankfulness by inclining his head and placing his hand upon his chest several times. Then she related to him how they first met him, how Hlawa, the Bohemian, who was Zbyszko's armor-bearer, recognized him, and finally how they brought him to Spychow. She also told him about herself, that she and her companion bore a sword, helmet and shield for the knight Macko of Bogdaniec, the uncle of Zbyszko, who left Bogdaniec to find his nephew, and now he had left for Szczytno and would return to Spychow within three or four days.

At the mention of Szczytno, Jurand did not fall down nor was he overcome as he was when upon the road to that place, but great trouble was depicted upon his face. But Jagienka assured him that Macko was as clever as he was manly, and would not let himself be fooled by anybody. Besides that, he possessed letters from Lichtenstein, which enabled him to travel in safety everywhere.

These words quieted him considerably. It was obvious that he wished to get information about many other things. But as he was unable to do it, he suffered in his soul. This the clever girl at once observed and said;

"We shall often, talk about things. Then everything will be told."

Then he smiled and stretched out his hand and placed it upon her head for a while; it seemed he was blessing her. He thanked her indeed very much, but as a matter of fact he was touched by the youthful voice like the warbling of a bird.

When he was not engaged in prayer, as he was almost all day, or asleep, he wished to have her near him, and when she was not there, he yearned to hear her speak, and endeavored by all means in his power to call the attention of the priest and Tolima that he wished to have that delightful boy near him.

She came often, because her tender heart sincerely pitied him. Besides that, she passed the time in waiting for Macko, whose stay at Szcytno seemed to her uncommonly long.

He was to return within three days, and now the fourth and fifth have passed by and it is already the evening of the sixth, and he has not yet returned. The alarmed girl was ready to ask Tolima to send a searching party, when suddenly the guard upon the watch-oak signalled the approach of some horsemen, and in a few moments was heard the tramp of the horses upon the drawbridge, and Hlawa accompanied by a courier appeared in the courtyard. Jagienka who had left her room, to watch in the courtyard before their arrival, rushed toward Hlawa before he dismounted.

"Where is Macko?" she asked, with beating heart and alarmed.

"He went to Prince Witold, and he ordered you to stay here."

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PART SIXTH: CHAPTER VI When Jagienka realized the import of Macko's message, that she was to remain at Spychow, she was almost stunned. Grief and anger rendered her speechless for a while, and with wide opened eyes she stared at the Bohemian, which told him how unwelcome was the information he brought her. He therefore said: "I should also like to inform you, what we heard at Szczytno. There is much and important news." "Is it from Zbyszko?" "No, from Szczytno. You know...." "Let the servant unsaddle the horses, and you come with me." The order was executed and they went
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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
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