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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 7
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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 7 Post by :ed_shaw Category :Long Stories Author :Henryk Sienkiewicz Date :July 2011 Read :2758

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The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 7

PART SIXTH: CHAPTER VII

But she wiped away her tears, took the armor-bearer with her and went to Jurand to tell him the news. She found him in a bright room, the tame she-wolf at his feet, sitting with Father Kaleb, old Tolima and Sieciechowa. Supporting their heads with their hands, absorbed in thought, and sorrowful, they were listening to a poem which the village beadle, who was also the _rybalt_, accompanied by his lute, sang of Jurand's former exploits against the "abominable Knights of the Cross." The room was lit up by the moon. A very warm and quiet night followed a scorching day. The windows were open, and beetles from the linden in the courtyard, were seen crawling upon the floor. In front of the fireplace, where there were yet glimmering a few embers, sat the servant sipping a mixture of hot mead, wine and spices.

The _rybalt_, or beadle, and servant of Father Kaleb, was about to begin another song, entitled "The Happy Encounter." "Jurand is riding, riding, upon a chestnut-colored horse," when Jagienka entered and said:

"The Lord Jesus be praised!"

"Forever and ever," replied Father Kaleb. Jurand sat in an armchair, with his elbows upon the arms, but when he heard her voice he immediately turned toward her, and began to greet her, nodding his milk white head.

"Zbyszko's armor-bearer has arrived from Szczytno," said the girl, "and has brought news from the priest. Macko will not return to this place. He went to Prince Witold."

"Why will he not return here?" asked Father Kaleb.

Then she told all she had heard from the Bohemian. She related how Zygfried avenged himself for Rotgier's death; how the old _comthur intended to destroy Danusia for Rotgier to drink her innocent blood; and how the executioner defended her. She even told them of Macko's hopes to find Danusia, with Zbyszko's assistance, rescue her, bring her to Spychow; and for that very reason he had gone to Zbyszko and ordered her to remain here.

Be it from grief or sorrow her voice trembled at the end. When she finished, silence prevailed for a while in the room and only the chirping of the crickets, from the linden in the courtyard, penetrated through the open windows and sounded like a heavy rainfall. All eyes were directed toward Jurand, who with closed eyelids and head bent backward, showed no sign of life.

"Do you hear?" finally asked the priest.

But Jurand kept on bending his head, lifted up his left hand and pointed toward the sky. The light of the moon fell directly upon his face, upon the white hair, upon the blind eyes; and there was depicted in that face such indescribable suffering, together with complete hope and resignation in God's will, that it appeared to all present that he only saw with his soul which was freed from the fetters of the body, and had renounced once for all earthly life, in which nothing was left for him.

Silence again reigned and the noise of the crickets was still audible.

But almost with filial love, Jagienka was suddenly overcome with great pity for the unhappy old man. At the first impulse she rushed to his side, grasped his hand and covered it with kisses and tears.

"And I too am an orphan!" she exclaimed, with swelling heart. "I am not a boy, but am Jagienka of Zgorzelice. Macko took me in order to protect me from bad people. Now I shall remain with you until God restores Danusia to you."

Jurand was not at all surprised; he seemed to know it already; he only took hold of her and pressed her to his breast, and she continued to kiss his hand and spoke in a broken and sobbing voice:

"I will remain with you. Danuska will return.... Then I shall return to Zgorzelice. God protects the orphans! The Germans have also killed my father. But your beloved one is alive and will return. Grant this, O most merciful God! Grant this, O most holy and compassionate Mother!..." Then Father Kaleb suddenly knelt and with a solemn voice began to pray:

"Lord have mercy upon us!"

"Christ have mercy upon us!" immediately responded the Bohemian and Tolima. Then all knelt down, because it was the Litany, which is not only said at the moment of death, but also for the delivery of dear and near persons from the danger of death. Jagienka knelt; Jurand slipped down from his seat and knelt, and all began to pray in chorus:

"Lord have mercy upon us!"

"Christ have mercy upon us!"

"O God the Father in Heaven, have mercy upon us!"

"Son of God, Redeemer of the world, have mercy upon us!"

Their praying voices, "Have mercy upon us!" were mingled with the chirping of the crickets.

The tame she-wolf suddenly got up from the bearskin upon which she was crouching, in front of Jurand, approached the open window, supported herself upon the sill, turned her triangular jaws toward the moon and howled in a low and plaintive voice.


END OF PART SIXTH.

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NEXT BOOKS

The Knights Of The Cross - Part 7 - Chapter 1 The Knights Of The Cross - Part 7 - Chapter 1

The Knights Of The Cross - Part 7 - Chapter 1
PART SEVENTH: CHAPTER I To a certain extent the Bohemian adored Jagienka, but his love for the charming Sieciechowna was on the increase, nevertheless his young and brave heart caused him to be eager above all for war. He returned to Spychow with Macko's message, in obedience to his master, and therefore he felt a certain satisfaction that he would be protected by both masters, but when Jagienka herself told him what was the truth, that there was none to oppose him in Spychow and that his duty was to be with Zbyszko, he gladly assented. Macko was not his immediate
PREVIOUS BOOKS

The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 6 The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 6

The Knights Of The Cross - Part 6 - Chapter 6
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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