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The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade

Part 10 out of 18

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They all rose but Kate, and remained mute and staring.

"Be seated, mistress," said Eli gravely, and motioned to a seat
that had been set apart for her.

She inclined her head, and crossed the apartment; and in so doing
her condition was very visible, not only in her shape, but in her

Cornelis and Sybrandt hated her for it. Richart thought it spoiled
her beauty.

It softened the women somewhat.

She took her letter out of her bosom, and kissed it as if she had
been alone; then disposed herself to read it, with the air of one
who knew she was there for that single purpose.

But as she began, she noticed they had seated her all by herself
like a leper. She looked at Denys, and putting her hand down by
her side, made him a swift furtive motion to come by her.

He went with an obedient start as if she had cried "March!" and
stood at her shoulder like a sentinel; but this zealous manner of
doing it revealed to the company that he had been ordered thither;
and at that she coloured. And now she began to read her Gerard,
their Gerard, to their eager ears, in a mellow, clear voice, so
soft, so earnest, so thrilling, her very soul seemed to cling
about each precious sound. It was a voice as of a woman's bosom
set speaking by Heaven itself.

"I do nothing doubt, my Margaret, that long ere this shall meet
thy beloved eyes, Denys, my most dear friend, will have sought
thee out, and told thee the manner of our unlooked for and most
tearful parting. Therefore I will e'en begin at that most doleful
day. What befell him after, poor faithful soul, fain, fain would I
hear, but may not. But I pray for him day and night next after
thee, dearest. Friend more stanch and loving had not David in
Jonathan, than I in him. Be good to him, for poor Gerard's sake."

At these words, which came quite unexpectedly to him, Denys leaned
his head on Margaret's high chair, and groaned aloud.

She turned quickly as she sat, and found his hand, and pressed it.

And so the sweetheart and the friend held hands while the
sweetheart read.

"I went forward all dizzied, like one in an ill dream; and
presently a gentleman came up with his servants, all on horseback,
and had liked to have rid o'er me. And he drew rein at the brow of
the hill, and sent his armed men back to rob me. They robbed me
civilly enough and took my purse and the last copper, and rid
gaily away. I wandered stupid on, a friendless pauper.

There was a general sigh, followed by an oath from Denys.

"Presently a strange dimness came o'er me; I lay down to sleep on
the snow. 'Twas ill done, and with store of wolves hard by. Had I
loved thee as thou dost deserve, I had shown more manhood. But oh,
sweet love, the drowsiness that did crawl o'er me desolate, and
benumb me, was more than nature. And so I slept; and but that God
was better to us, than I to thee or to myself, from that sleep I
ne'er had waked; so all do say. I had slept an hour or two, as I
suppose, but no more, when a hand did shake me rudely. I awoke to
my troubles. And there stood a servant girl in her holiday suit.
'Are ye mad,' quoth she, in seeming choler, 'to sleep in snow, and
under wolves' nosen? Art weary o' life, and not long weaned? Come,
now, said she, more kindly, 'get up like a good lad;' so I did
rise up. 'Are ye rich, or are ye poor?' But I stared at her as one
amazed. 'Why, 'tis easy of reply,' quoth she. 'Are ye rich, or are
ye poor?' Then I gave a great, loud cry; that she did start back.
'Am I rich, or am I poor? Had ye asked me an hour agone, I had
said I am rich. But now I am so poor as sure earth beareth on her
bosom none poorer. An hour agone I was rich in a friend, rich in
money, rich in hope and spirits of youth; but now the Bastard of
Burgundy hath taken my friend, and another gentleman my purse; and
I can neither go forward to Rome nor back to her I left in
Holland. I am poorest of the poor.' 'Alack!' said the wench.
'Natheless, an ye had been rich ye might ha' lain down again in
the snow for any use I had for ye; and then I trow ye had soon
fared out o' this world as bare as ye came into it. But, being
poor, you are our man: so come wi' me.' Then I went because she
bade me, and because I recked not now whither I went. And she took
me to a fine house hard by, and into a noble dining-hall hung with
black; and there was set a table with many dishes, and but one
plate and one chair. 'Fall to!' said she, in a whisper. 'What,
alone?' said I. 'Alone? And which of us, think ye, would eat out
of the same dish with ye? Are we robbers o' the dead?' Then she
speered where I was born. 'At Tergou,' said I. Says she, 'And when
a gentleman dies in that country, serve they not the dead man's
dinner up as usual, till he be in the ground, and set some poor
man to it?' I told her, 'nay.' She blushed for us then. Here they
were better Christians.' So I behoved to sit down. But small was
my heart for meat. Then this kind lass sat by me and poured me out
wine; and tasting it, it cut me to the heart Denys was not there
to drink with me. He doth so love good wine, and women good, bad,
or indifferent. The rich, strong wine curled round my sick heart;
and that day first I did seem to glimpse why folk in trouble run
to drink so. She made me eat of every dish. ''Twas unlucky to pass
one. Nought was here but her master's daily dinner.' 'He had a
good stomach, then,' said I. 'Ay, lad, and a good heart.
Leastways, so we all say now he is dead; but, being alive, no word
on't e'er heard I.' So I did eat as a bird, nibbling of every
dish. And she hearing me sigh, and seeing me like to choke at the
food, took pity and bade me be of good cheer. I should sup and lie
there that night. And she went to the hind, and he gave me a right
good bed; and I told him all, and asked him would the law give me
back my purse. 'Law!' quoth he; 'law there was none for the poor
in Burgundy. Why, 'twas the cousin of the Lady of the Manor, he
that had robbed me. He knew the wild spark. The matter must be
judged before the lady; and she was quite young, and far more like
to hang me for slandering her cousin, and a gentleman, and a
handsome man, than to make him give me back my own. Inside the
liberties of a town a poor man might now and then see the face of
justice; but out among the grand seigneurs and dames - never.' So
I said, 'I'll sit down robbed rather than seek justice and find
gallows.' They were all most kind to me next day; and the girl
proffered me money from her small wage to help me towards Rhine."

"Oh, then, he is coming home! he is coming home!" shouted Denys,
interrupting the reader. She shook her head gently at him, by way
of reproof.

"I beg pardon, all the company," said he stiffly.

"'Twas a sore temptation; but being a servant, my stomach rose
against it. 'Nay, nay,' said I. She told me I was wrong. ''Twas
pride out o' place; poor folk should help one another; or who on
earth would?' I said if I could do aught in return 'twere well;
but for a free gift, nay: I was overmuch beholden already. Should
I write a letter for her? 'Nay, he is in the house at present,'
said she. 'Should I draw her picture, and so earn my money?'
'What, can ye?' said she. I told her I could try; and her habit
would well become a picture. So she was agog to be limned, and
give it her lad. And I set her to stand in a good light, and soon
made sketches two, whereof I send thee one, coloured at odd hours.
The other I did most hastily, and with little conscience daub, for
which may Heaven forgive me; but time was short. They, poor
things, knew no better, and were most proud and joyous; and both
kissing me after their country fashion, 'twas the hind that was
her sweetheart, they did bid me God-speed; and I towards Rhine."

Margaret paused here, and gave Denys the coloured drawing to hand
round. It was eagerly examined by the females on account of the
costume, which differed in some respects from that of the Dutch
domestic: the hair was in a tight linen bag, a yellow half
kerchief crossed her head from ear to ear, but threw out a
rectangular point that descended the centre of her forehead, and
it met in two more points over her bosom. She wore a red kirtle
with long sleeves, kilted very high in front, and showing a green
farthingale and a great red leather purse hanging down over it;
red stockings, yellow leathern shoes, ahead of her age; for they
were low-quartered and square-toed, secured by a strap buckling
over the instep, which was not uncommon, and was perhaps the rude
germ of the diamond buckle to come.

Margaret continued:-

"But oh! how I missed my Denys at every step! often I sat down on
the road and groaned. And in the afternoon it chanced that I did
so set me down where two roads met, and with heavy head in hand,
and heavy heart, did think of thee, my poor sweetheart, and of my
lost friend, and of the little house at Tergou, where they all
loved me once; though now it is turned to hate.

Catherine. "Alas! that he will think so."

Eli. "Whisht, wife!"

"And I did sigh loud, and often. And me sighing so, one came
carolling like a bird adown t' other road. 'Ay, chirp and chirp,'
cried I bitterly. 'Thou has not lost sweetheart, and friend, they
father's hearth, thy mother's smile, and every penny in the
world.' And at last he did so carol, and carol, I jumped up in ire
to get away from his most jarring mirth. But ere I lied from it, I
looked down the path to see what could make a man so lighthearted
in this weary world; and lo! the songster was a humpbacked
cripple, with a bloody bandage o'er his eye, and both legs gone at
the knee."

"He! he! he! he! he!" went Sybrandt, laughing and cackling.

Margaret's eyes flashed: she began to fold the letter up.

"Nay, lass," said Eli, "heed him not! Thou unmannerly cur, offer't
but again and I put thee to the door."

"Why, what was there to gibe at, Sybrandt?" remonstrated Catherine
more mildly. "Is not our Kate afflicted? and is she not the most
content of us all, and singeth like a merle at times between her
pains? But I am as bad as thou; prithee read on, lass, and stop
our gabble wi' somewhat worth the hearkening."

"'Then,' said I, 'may this thing be?' And I took myself to task.
'Gerard, son of Eli, dost thou well to bemoan thy lot, thou hast
youth and health; and here comes the wreck of nature on crutches,
praising God's goodness with singing like a mavis?'"

Catherine. "There you see."

Eli. "Whisht, dame, whisht!"

"And whenever he saw me, he left carolling and presently hobbled
up and chanted, 'Charity, for love of Heaven, sweet master,
charity,' with a whine as piteous as wind at keyhole. 'Alack, poor
soul,' said I, 'charity is in my heart, but not my purse; I am
poor as thou.' Then he believed me none, and to melt me undid his
sleeve, and showed a sore wound on his arm, and said he, 'Poor
cripple though I be, I am like to lose this eye to boot, look
else.' I saw and groaned for him, and to excuse myself let him wot
how I had been robbed of my last copper. Thereat he left whining
all in a moment, and said, in a big manly voice, 'Then I'll e'en
take a rest. Here, youngster, pull thou this strap: nay, fear
not!' I pulled, and down came a stout pair of legs out of his
back; and half his hump had melted away, and the wound in his eye
no deeper than the bandage.

"Oh!" ejaculated Margaret's hearers in a body.

"Whereat, seeing me astounded, he laughed in my face, and told me
I was not worth gulling, and offered me his protection. 'My face
was prophetic,' he said. 'Of what?' said I. 'Marry,' said he,
'that its owner will starve in this thievish land.' Travel teaches
e'en the young wisdom. Time was I had turned and fled this
impostor as a pestilence; but now I listened patiently to pick up
crumbs of counsel. And well I did: for nature and his adventurous
life had crammed the poor knave with shrewdness and knowledge of
the homelier sort - a child was I beside him. When he had turned
me inside out, said he, 'Didst well to leave France and make for
Germany; but think not of Holland again. Nay, on to Augsburg and
Nurnberg, the Paradise of craftsmen: thence to Venice, an thou
wilt. But thou wilt never bide in Italy nor any other land, having
once tasted the great German cities. Why, there is but one honest
country in Europe, and that is Germany; and since thou art honest,
and since I am a vagabone, Germany was made for us twain.' I bade
him make that good: how might one country fit true men and knaves!
'Why, thou novice,' said he, 'because in an honest land are fewer
knaves to bite the honest man, and many honest men for the knave
to bite. I was in luck, being honest, to have fallen in with a
friendly sharp. Be my pal,' said he; 'I go to Nurnberg; we will
reach it with full pouches. I'll learn ye the cul de bois, and the
cul de jatte, and how to maund, and chaunt, and patter, and to
raise swellings, and paint sores and ulcers on thy body would take
in the divell.' I told him shivering, I'd liever die than shame
myself and my folk so."

Eli. "Good lad! good lad!"

"Why, what shame was it for such as I to turn beggar? Beggary was
an ancient and most honourable mystery. What did holy monks, and
bishops, and kings, when they would win Heaven's smile? why, wash
the feet of beggars, those favourites of the saints. 'The saints
were no fools,' he told me. Then he did put out his foot. 'Look at
that, that was washed by the greatest king alive, Louis, of
France, the last Holy Thursday that was. And the next day, Friday,
clapped in the stocks by the warden of a petty hamlet.' So I told
him my foot should walk between such high honour and such low
disgrace, on the same path of honesty, please God. Well then,
since I had not spirit to beg, he would indulge my perversity. I
should work under him, he be the head, I the fingers. And with
that he set himself up like a judge, on a heap of dust by the
road's side, and questioned me strictly what I could do. I began
to say I was strong and willing. 'Ba!' said he, 'so is an ox. Say,
what canst do that Sir Ox cannot?' I could write; I had won a
prize for it. 'Canst write as fast as the printers?' quo' he,
jeering. 'What else?' I could paint. 'That was better.' I was like
to tear my hair to hear him say so, and me going to Rome to write.
I could twang the psaltery a bit. 'That was well. Could I tell
stories?' Ay, by the score. 'Then,' said he, 'I hire you from this
moment.' 'What to do?' said I. 'Nought crooked, Sir Candour,' says
he. 'I will feed thee all the way and find thee work; and take
half thine earnings, no more.' 'Agreed,' said I, and gave my hand
on it, 'Now, servant,' said he, 'we will dine. But ye need not
stand behind my chair, for two reasons - first I ha' got no chair;
and next, good fellowship likes me better than state.' And out of
his wallet he brought flesh, fowl, and pastry, a good dozen of
spices lapped in flax paper, and wine fit for a king. Ne'er
feasted I better than out of this beggar's wallet, now my master.
When we had well eaten I was for going on. 'But,' said he,
'servants should not drive their masters too hard, especially
after feeding, for then the body is for repose, and the mind turns
to contemplation;' and he lay on his back gazing calmly at the
sky, and presently wondered whether there were any beggars up
there. I told him I knew but of one, called Lazarus. 'Could he do
the cul de jatte better than I?' said he, and looked quite jealous
like. I told him nay; Lazarus was honest, though a beggar, and fed
daily of the crumbs fal'n from a rich man's table, and the dogs
licked his sores. 'Servant,' quo' he, 'I spy a foul fault in thee.
Thou liest without discretion: now the end of lying being to gull,
this is no better than fumbling with the divell's tail. I pray
Heaven thou mayest prove to paint better than thou cuttest whids,
or I am done out of a dinner. No beggar eats crumbs, but only the
fat of the land; and dogs lick not a beggar's sores, being made
with spearwort, or ratsbane, or biting acids, from all which dogs,
and even pigs, abhor. My sores are made after my proper receipt;
but no dog would lick e'en them twice. I have made a scurvy
bargain: art a cozening knave, I doubt, as well as a nincompoop.'
I deigned no reply to this bundle of lies, which did accuse
heavenly truth of falsehood for not being in a tale with him. He
rose and we took the road; and presently we came to a place where
were two little wayside inns, scarce a furlong apart. 'Halt,' said
my master. 'Their armories are sore faded - all the better. Go
thou in; shun the master; board the wife; and flatter her inn sky
high, all but the armories, and offer to colour them dirt cheap.'
So I went in and told the wife I was a painter, and would revive
her armories cheap; but she sent me away with a rebuff. I to my
master. He groaned. 'Ye are all fingers and no tongue,' said he;
'I have made a scurvy bargain. Come and hear me patter and
flatter.' Between the two inns was a high hedge. He goes behind it
a minute and comes out a decent tradesman. We went on to the other
inn, and then I heard him praise it so fulsome as the very wife
did blush. 'But,' says he, 'there is one little, little fault;
your armories are dull and faded. Say but the word, and for a
silver franc my apprentice here, the cunningest e'er I had, shall
make them bright as ever. Whilst she hesitated, the rogue told her
he had done it to a little inn hard by, and now the inn's face was
like the starry firmament. 'D'ye hear that, my man?' cries she,
'"The Three Frogs" have been and painted up their armories; shall
"The Four Hedgehogs" be outshone by them?' So I painted, and my
master stood by like a lord, advising me how to do, and winking to
me to heed him none, and I got a silver franc. And he took me back
to 'The Three Frogs,' and on the way put me on a beard and
disguised me, and flattered 'The Three Frogs,' and told them how
he had adorned 'The Four Hedgehogs,' and into the net jumped the
three poor simple frogs, and I earned another silver franc. Then
we went on and he found his crutches, and sent me forward, and
showed his "cicatrices d'emprunt," as he called them, and all his
infirmities, at 'The Four Hedgehogs,' and got both food and money.
'Come, share and share,' quoth he: so I gave him one franc. 'I
have made a good bargain,' said he. 'Art a master limner, but
takest too much time.' So I let him know that in matters of honest
craft things could not be done quick and well. 'Then do them
quick,' quoth he. And he told me my name was Bon Bec; and I might
call him Cul de Jatte, because that was his lay at our first
meeting. And at the next town my master, Cul de Jatte, bought me a
psaltery, and set himself up again by the roadside in state like
him that erst judged Marsyas and Apollo, piping for vain glory. So
I played a strain. 'Indifferent well, harmonious Bon Bec,' said he
haughtily. 'Now tune thy pipes.' So I did sing a sweet strain the
good monks taught me; and singing it reminded poor Bon Bec, Gerard
erst, of his young days and home, and brought the water to my een.
But looking up, my master's visage was as the face of a little boy
whipt soundly, or sipping foulest medicine. 'Zounds, stop that
bellyache blether,' quoth he, 'that will ne'er wile a stiver out
o' peasants' purses; 'twill but sour the nurses' milk, and gar the
kine jump into rivers to be out of earshot on't. What, false
knave, did I buy thee a fine new psaltery to be minded o' my
latter end withal? Hearken! these be the songs that glad the
heart, and fill the minstrel's purse.' And he sung so blasphemous
a stave, and eke so obscene, as I drew away from him a space that
the lightning might not spoil the new psaltery. However, none
came, being winter, and then I said, 'Master, the Lord is
debonair. Held I the thunder, yon ribaldry had been thy last, thou
foul-mouthed wretch.'

"'Why, Bon Bec, what is to do?' quoth he. 'I have made an ill
bargain. Oh, perverse heart, that turneth from doctrine.' So I
bade him keep his breath to cool his broth, ne'er would I shame my
folk with singing ribald songs. 'Then,' says he sulkily, 'the
first fire we light by the wayside, clap thou on the music box! so
'twill make our pot boil for the nonce; but with your
Good people, let us peak and pine,
Cut tristful mugs, and miaul and whine
Thorough our nosen chaunts divine
never, never, never. Ye might as well go through Lorraine crying,
Mulleygrubs, Mulleygrubs, who'll buy my Mulleygrubs!' So we fared
on, bad friends. But I took a thought, and prayed him hum me one
of his naughty ditties again. Then he brightened, and broke forth
into ribaldry like a nightingale. Finger in ears stuffed I. 'No
words; naught but the bare melody.' For oh, Margaret, note the sly
malice of the Evil One! Still to the scurviest matter he wedded
the tunablest ditties."

Catherine. "That is true as Holy Writ."

Sybrandt. "How know you that, mother?"

Cornelis. "He! he! he!"

Eli. "Whisht, ye uneasy wights, and let me hear the boy. He is
wiser than ye; wiser than his years."

"'What tomfoolery is this,' said he; yet he yielded to me, and
soon I garnered three of his melodies; but I would not let Cul de
Jatte wot the thing I meditated. 'Show not fools nor bairns
unfinished work,' saith the byword. And by this time 'twas night,
and a little town at hand, where we went each to his inn; for my
master would not yield to put off his rags and other sores till
morning; nor I to enter an inn with a tatterdemalion. So we were
to meet on the road at peep of day. and indeed, we still lodged
apart, meeting at morn and parting at eve outside each town we lay
at. And waking at midnight and cogitating, good thoughts came down
to me, and sudden my heart was enlightened. I called to mind that
my Margaret had withstood the taking of the burgomaster's purse.
''Tis theft,' said you; 'disguise it how ye will.' But I must be
wiser than my betters; and now that which I had as good as stolen,
others had stolen from me. As it came so it was gone. Then I said,
'Heaven is not cruel, but just;' and I vowed a vow, to repay our
burgomaster every shilling an' I could. And I went forth in the
morning sad, but hopeful. I felt lighter for the purse being gone.
My master was at the gate becrutched. I told him I'd liever have
seen him in another disguise. 'Beggars must not be choosers,' said
he. However, soon he bade me untruss him, for he felt sadly. His
head swam. I told him forcefully to deform nature thus could
scarce be wholesome. He answered none; but looked scared, and hand
on head. By-and-by he gave a groan, and rolled on the ground like
a ball, and writhed sore. I was scared, and wist not what to do,
but went to lift him; but his trouble rose higher and higher, he
gnashed his teeth fearfully, and the foam did fly from his lips;
and presently his body bended itself like a bow, and jerked and
bounded many times into the air. I exorcised him; it but made him
worse. There was water in a ditch hard by, not very clear; but the
poor creature struggling between life and death, I filled my hat
withal, and came flying to souse him. Then my lord laughed in my
face. 'Come, Bon Bec, by thy white gills, I have not forgotten my
trade.' I stood with watery hat in hand, glaring. 'Could this be
feigning?' 'What else?' said he. 'Why, a real fit is the sorriest
thing; but a stroke with a feather compared with mine. Art still
betters nature.' 'But look, e'en now blood trickleth from your
nose,' said I. 'Ay, ay, pricked my nostrils with a straw.' 'But ye
foamed at the lips.' 'Oh, a little soap makes a mickle foam.' And
he drew out a morsel like a bean from his mouth. 'Thank thy stars,
Bon Bec,' says he, 'for leading thee to a worthy master. Each day
his lesson. To-morrow we will study the cul de bois and other
branches. To-day, own me prince of demoniacs, and indeed of all
good fellows.' Then, being puffed up, he forgot yesterday's
grudge, and discoursed me freely of beggars; and gave me, who
eftsoons thought a beggar was a beggar, and there an end, the
names and qualities of full thirty sorts of masterful and crafty
mendicants in France and Germany and England; his three provinces;
for so the poor, proud knave yclept those kingdoms three; wherein
his throne it was the stocks I ween. And outside the next village
one had gone to dinner, and left his wheelbarrow. So says he,
'I'll tie myself in a knot, and shalt wheel me through; and what
with my crippledom and thy piety, a-wheeling of thy poor old dad,
we'll bleed the bumpkins of a dacha-saltee.' I did refuse. I would
work for him; but no hand would have in begging. 'And wheeling an
"asker" in a barrow, is not that work?' said he; 'then fling yon
muckle stone in to boot: stay, I'll soil it a bit, and swear it is
a chip of the holy sepulchre; and you wheeled us both from
Jerusalem.' Said I, 'Wheeling a pair o' lies, one stony, one
fleshy, may be work, and hard work, but honest work 'tis not. 'Tis
fumbling with his tail you wot of. And,' said I, 'master, next
time you go to tempt me to knavery, speak not to me of my poor old
dad.' Said I, 'You have minded me of my real father's face, the
truest man in Holland. He and I are ill friends now, worse luck.
But though I offend him shame him I never will.' Dear Margaret,
with this knave' saying, 'your poor old dad,' it had gone to my
heart like a knife. ''Tis well,' said my master gloomily; 'I have
made a bad bargain.' Presently he halts, and eyes a tree by the
wayside. 'Go spell me what is writ on yon tree.' So I went, and
there was nought but a long square drawn in outline. I told him
so. 'So much for thy monkish lore,' quoth he. A little farther,
and he sent me to read a wall. There was nought but a circle
scratched on the stone with a point of nail or knife, and in the
circle two dots. I said so Then said he, 'Bon Bec, that square was
a warning. Some good Truand left it, that came through this
village faring west; that means "dangerous." The circle with the
two dots was writ by another of our brotherhood; and it signifies
as how the writer, soit Rollin Trapu, soit Triboulet, soit Catin
Cul de Bois, or what not, was becked for asking here, and lay two
months in Starabin.' Then he broke forth. 'Talk: of your little
snivelling books that go in pouch. Three hooks have I, France,
England, and Germany; and they are writ all over in one tongue,
that my brethren of all countries understand; and that is what I
call learning. So sith here they whip sores, and imprison
infirmities, I to my tiring room.' And he popped behind the hedge,
and came back worshipful. We passed through the village, and I sat
me down on the stocks, and even the barber's apprentice whets his
razor on a block, so did I flesh my psaltery on this village,
fearing great cities. I tuned it, and coursed up and down the
wires nimbly with my two wooden strikers; and then chanted loud
and clear, as I had heard the minstrels of the country,
'Qui veut ouir qui veut Savoir,'
some trash, I mind not what. And soon the villagers, male and
female, thronged about me; thereat I left singing, and recited
them to the psaltery a short but right merry tale out of 'the
lives of the saints,' which it is my handbook of pleasant figments
and this ended, instantly struck up and whistled one of Cul de
Jatte's devil's ditties, and played it on the psaltery to boot.
Thou knowest Heaven hath bestowed on me a rare whistle, both for
compass and tune. And with me whistling bright and full this
sprightly air, and making the wires slow when the tune did gallop,
and tripping when the tune did amble, or I did stop and shake on
one note like a lark i' the air, they were like to eat me; but
looking round, lo! my master had given way to his itch, and there
was his hat on the ground, and copper pouring in. I deemed it
cruel to whistle the bread out of poverty's pouch; so broke off
and away; yet could not get clear so swift, but both men and women
did slobber me sore, and smelled all of garlic. 'There, master,'
said I, 'I call that cleaving the divell in twain and keeping his
white half.' Said he, 'Bon Bec, I have made a good bargain.' Then
he bade me stay where I was while he went to the Holy Land. I
stayed, and he leaped the churchyard dike, and the sexton was
digging a grave, and my master chaffered with him, and came back
with a knuckle bone. But why he clept a churchyard Holy Land, that
I learned not then, but after dinner. I was colouring the armories
of a little inn; and he sat by me most peaceable, a cutting, and
filing, and polishing bones, sedately; so I speered was not honest
work sweet? 'As rain water,' said he, mocking. 'What was he a
making?' 'A pair of bones to play on with thee; and with the
refuse a St. Anthony's thumb and a St. Martin's little finger, for
the devout.' The vagabone! And now, sweet Margaret, thou seest our
manner of life faring Rhineward. I with the two arts I had least
prized or counted on for bread was welcome everywhere; too poor
now to fear robbers, yet able to keep both master and man on the
road. For at night I often made a portraiture of the innkeeper or
his dame, and so went richer from an inn; the which it is the lot
of few. But my master despised this even way of life. 'I love ups
and downs,' said he. And certes he lacked them not. One day he
would gather more than I in three; another, to hear his tale, it
had rained kicks all day in lieu of 'saltees,' and that is
pennies. Yet even then at heart he despised me for a poor
mechanical soul, and scorned my arts, extolling his own, the art
of feigning.

"Natheless, at odd times was he ill at his ease. Going through the
town of Aix, we came upon a beggar walking, fast by one hand to a
cart-tail, and the hangman a lashing his bare bloody back. He,
stout knave, so whipt, did not a jot relent; but I did wince at
every stroke; and my master hung his head.

"'Soon or late, Bon Bec,' quoth he. 'Soon or late.' I, seeing his
haggard face, knew what he meaned. And at a town whose name hath
slipped me, but 'twas on a fair river, as we came to the foot of
the bridge he halted, and shuddered. 'Why what is the coil?' said
I. 'Oh, blind,' said he, 'they are justifying there.' So nought
would serve him but take a boat, and cross the river by water. But
'twas out of the frying-pan, as the word goeth. For the boatman
had scarce told us the matter, and that it was a man and a woman
for stealing glazed windows out of housen, and that the man was
hanged at daybreak, and the quean to be drowned, when lo! they did
fling her off the bridge, and fell in the water not far from us.
And oh! Margaret, the deadly splash! It ringeth in mine ears even
now. But worse was coming; for, though tied, she came up. and
cried 'Help! help!' and I, forgetting all, and hearing a woman's
voice cry 'Help!' was for leaping in to save her; and had surely
done it, but the boatman and Cul de Jatte clung round me, and in a
moment the bourreau's man, that waited in a beat, came and
entangled his hooked pole in her long hair, and so thrust her down
and ended her. Oh! if the saints answered so our cries for help!
And poor Cul de Jatte groaned; and I sat sobbing, and beat my
breast, and cried, 'Of what hath God made men's hearts?'"

The reader stopped, and the tears trickled down her cheeks. Gerard
crying in Lorraine, made her cry at Rotterdam. The leagues were no
more to her heart than the breadth of a room.

Eli, softened by many touches in the letter, and by the reader's
womanly graces, said kindly enough, "Take thy time, lass. And
methinks some of ye might find her a creepie to rest her foot, and
she so near her own trouble."

"I'd do more for her than that an I durst," said Catherine. "Here,
Cornelis," and she held out her little wooden stool, and that
worthy, who hated Margaret worse than ever, had to take the
creepie and put it carefully under her foot.

"You are very kind, dame," she faltered. "I will read on; 'tis all
I can do for you in turn.

"Thus seeing my master ashy and sore shaken, I deemed this
horrible tragic act came timeously to warn him, so I strove sore
to turn him from his ill ways, discoursing of sinners and their
lethal end. 'Too late!' said he, 'too late!' and gnashed his
teeth. Then I told him 'too late' was the divell's favourite
whisper in repentant ears. Said I -
'The Lord is debonair,
Let sinners nought despair.'

'Too late!' said he, and gnashed his teeth, and writhed his face,
as though vipers were biting his inward parts. But, dear heart,
his was a mind like running water. Ere we cleared the town he was
carolling, and outside the gate hung the other culprit, from the
bough of a little tree, and scarce a yard above the ground. And
that stayed my vagabone's music. But ere we had gone another
furlong, he feigned to have dropped his, rosary, and ran back,
with no good intent, as you shall hear. I strolled on very slowly,
and often halting, and presently he came stumping up on one leg,
and that bandaged. I asked him how he could contrive that, for
'twas masterly done. 'Oh, that was his mystery. Would I know that,
I must join the brotherhood.' And presently we did pass a narrow
lane, and at the mouth on't espied a written stone, telling
beggars by a word like a wee pitchfork to go that way. ''Tis yon
farmhouse,' said he: 'bide thou at hand.' And he went to the
house, and came back with money, food, and wine. 'This lad did the
business,' said he, slapping his one leg proudly. Then he undid
the bandage, and with prideful face showed me a hole in his calf
you could have put your neef in. Had I been strange to his tricks,
here was a leg had drawn my last penny. Presently another
farmhouse by the road. He made for it. I stood, and asked myself,
should I run away and leave him, not to be shamed in my own
despite by him? But while I doubted, there was a great noise, and
my master well cudgelled by the farmer and his men, came towards
me hobbling and holloaing, for the peasants had laid on heartily.
But more trouble was at his heels. Some mischievous wight loosed a
dog as big as a jackass colt, and came roaring after him, and
downed him momently. I, deeming the poor rogue's death certain,
and him least fit to die, drew my sword and ran shouting. But ere
I could come near, the muckle dog had torn away his bad leg, and
ran growling to his lair with it; and Cul de Jatte slipped his
knot, and came running like a lapwing, with his hair on end, and
so striking with both crutches before and behind at unreal dogs as
'twas like a windmill crazed. He fled adown the road. I followed
leisurely, and found him at dinner. 'Curse the quiens,' said he.
And not a word all dinner time but 'Curse the quiens!'

"I said, I must know who' they were, before I would curse them.

"'Quiens? why, that was dogs. And I knew not even that much? He
had made a bad bargain. Well, well,' said he, 'to-morrow we shall
be in Germany. There the folk are music bitten, and they molest
not beggars, unless they fake to boot, and then they drown us out
of hand that moment, curse 'em!' We came to Strasbourg. And I
looked down Rhine with longing heart. The stream how swift! It
seemed running to clip Sevenbergen to its soft bosom. With but a
piece of timber and an oar I might drift at my ease to thee,
sleeping yet gliding still. 'Twas a sore temptation. But the fear
of an ill welcome from my folk, and of the neighbours' sneers, and
the hope of coming back to thee victorious, not, as now I must,
defeated and shamed, and thee with me, it did withhold me; and so,
with many sighs, and often turning of the head to look on beloved
Rhine, I turned sorrowful face and heavy heart towards Augsburg."

"Alas, dame, alas! Good master Eli, forgive me! But I ne'er can
win over this part all at one time. It taketh my breath away.
Welladay! Why did he not listen to his heart? Had he not gone
through peril enow, sorrow enow? Well-a-day! well-a-day!"

The letter dropped from her hand, and she drooped like a wounded

Then there was a clatter on the floor, and it was little Kate
going on her crutches, with flushed face, and eyes full of pity,
to console her. "Water, mother," she cried. "I am afeared she
shall swoon."

"Nay, nay, fear me not," said Margaret feebly. "I will not be so
troublesome. Thy good-will it maketh me stouter hearted, sweet
mistress Kate. For, if thou carest how I fare, sure Heaven is not
against me."

Catherine. "D'ye hear that, my man!"

Eli. "Ay, wife, I hear; and mark to boot."

Little Kate went back to her place, and Margaret read on.

"The Germans are fonder of armorials than the French. So I found
work every day. And whiles I wrought, my master would leave me,
and doff his raiment and don his rags, and other infirmities, and
cozen the world, which he did clepe it 'plucking of the goose:'
this done, would meet me and demand half my earnings; and with
restless piercing eye ask me would I be so base as cheat my poor
master by making three parts in lieu of two, till I threatened to
lend him a cuff to boot in requital of his suspicion; and
thenceforth took his due, with feigned confidence in my good
faith, the which his dancing eye belied. Early in Germany we had a
quarrel. I had seen him buy a skull of a jailer's wife, and mighty
zealous a polishing it. Thought I, 'How can he carry yon memento,
and not repent, seeing where ends his way?' Presently I did catch
him selling it to a woman for the head of St. Barnabas, with a
tale had cozened an Ebrew. So I snatched it out of their hands,
and trundled it into the ditch. 'How, thou impious knave,' said I,
'wouldst sell for a saint the skull of some dead thief, thy
brother?' He slunk away. But shallow she did crawl after the
skull, and with apron reverently dust it for Barnabas, and it
Barabbas; and so home with it. Said I, 'Non vult anser velli, sed
populus vult decipi.'"

Catherine. "Oh, the goodly Latin!"

Eli. "What meaneth it?"

Catherine. "Nay, I know not; but 'tis Latin; is not that enow? He
was the flower of the flock."

"Then I to him, 'Take now thy psaltery, and part we here, for art
a walking prison, a walking hell.' But lo! my master fell on his
knees, and begged me for pity's sake not turn him off. 'What would
become of him? He did so love honesty.' 'Thou love honesty?' said
I. 'Ay,' said he, 'not to enact it; the saints forbid. But to look
on. 'Tis so fair a thing to look on. Alas, good Bon Bec,' said he;
'hadst starved peradventure but for me. Kick not down thy ladder!
Call ye that just? Nay, calm thy choler! Have pity on me! I must
have a pal; and how could I bear one like myself after one so
simple as thou? He might cut my throat for the money that is hid
in my belt. 'Tis not much; 'tis not much. With thee I walk at mine
ease; with a sharp I dare not go before in a narrow way. Alas!
forgive me. Now I know where in thy bonnet lurks the bee, I will
ware his sting; I will but pluck the secular goose. 'So be it,'
said I. 'And example was contagious: he should be a true man by
then we reached Nurnberg. 'Twas a long way to Nurnberg.' Seeing
him so humble, I said, 'well, doff rags, and make thyself decent;
'twill help me forget what thou art.' And he did so; and we sat
down to our nonemete. Presently came by a reverend palmer with hat
stuck round with cockle shells from Holy Land, and great rosary of
beads like eggs of teal, and sandals for shoes. And he leaned
a-weary on his long staff, and offered us a shell apiece. My
master would none. But I, to set him a better example, took one,
and for it gave the poor pilgrim two batzen, and had his blessing.
And he was scarce gone, when we heard savage cries, and came a
sorry sight, one leading a wild woman in a chain, all rags and
howling like a wolf. And when they came nigh us, she fell to
tearing her rags to threads. The man sought an alms of us, and
told us his hard case. 'Twas his wife stark raving mad; and he
could not work in the fields, and leave her in his house to fire
it, nor cure her could be without the Saintys' help, and had vowed
six pounds of wax to St. Anthony to heal her, and so was fain beg
of charitable folk for the money. And now she espied us, and flew
at me with her long nails, and I was cold with fear, so devilish
showed, her face and rolling eyes and nails like birdys talons.
But he with the chain checked her sudden, and with his whip did
cruelly lash her for it, that I cried, 'Forbear! forbear! She
knoweth not what she doth;' and gave him a batz. And being gone,
said I, 'Master, of those twain I know not which is the more
pitiable.' And he laughed in my face, 'Behold thy justice, Bon
Bec,' said he. 'Thou railest on thy poor, good, within an ace of
honest master, and bestowest alms on a "vopper."' 'Vopper,' said
I, 'what is a vopper?' 'why, a trull that feigns madness. That was
one of us, that sham maniac, and wow but she did it clumsily. I
blushed for her and thee. Also gavest two batzen for a shell from
Holy Land, that came no farther than Normandy. I have culled them
myself on that coast by scores, and sold them to pilgrims true and
pilgrims false, to gull flats like thee withal.' 'What!' said I;
'that reverend man?' 'One of us!' cried Cul de Jatte; 'one of us!
In France we call them "Coquillarts," but here "Calmierers."
Railest on me for selling a false relic now and then, and wastest
thy earnings on such as sell nought else. I tell thee, Bon Bec,'
said he, 'there is not one true relic on earth's face. The Saints
died a thousand years agone, and their bones mixed with the dust;
but the trade in relics, it is of yesterday; and there are forty
thousand tramps in Europe live by it; selling relics of forty or
fifty bodies; oh, threadbare lie! And of the true Cross enow to
build Cologne Minster. Why, then, may not poor Cul de Jatte turn
his penny with the crowd? Art but a scurvy tyrannical servant to
let thy poor master from his share of the swag with your whoreson
pilgrims, palmers and friars, black, grey, and crutched; for all
these are of our brotherhood, and of our art, only masters they,
and we but poor apprentices, in guild.' For his tongue was an ell
and a half.

"'A truce to thy irreverend sophistries,' said I, 'and say what
company is this a coming.' 'Bohemians,' cried he, 'Ay, ay, this
shall be the rest of the band.' With that came along so motley a
crew as never your eyes beheld, dear Margaret. Marched at their
head one with a banner on a steel-pointed lance, and girded with a
great long sword, and in velvet doublet and leathern jerkin, the
which stuffs ne'er saw I wedded afore on mortal flesh, and a gay
feather in his lordly cap, and a couple of dead fowls at his back,
the which, an the spark had come by honestly, I am much mistook.
Him followed wives and babes on two lean horses, whose flanks
still rattled like parchment drum, being beaten by kettles and
caldrons. Next an armed man a-riding of a horse, which drew a cart
full of females and children; and in it, sitting backwards, a
lusty lazy knave, lance in hand, with his luxurious feet raised on
a holy water-pail, that lay along, and therein a cat, new
kittened, sat glowing o'er her brood, and sparks for eyes. And the
cart-horse cavalier had on his shoulders a round bundle, and
thereon did perch a cock and crowed with zeal, poor ruffler, proud
of his brave feathers as the rest, and haply with more reason,
being his own. And on an ass another wife and new-born child; and
one poor quean a-foot scarce dragged herself along, so near her
time was she, yet held two little ones by the hand, and helplessly
helped them on the road. And the little folk were just a farce;
some rode sticks, with horses' heads, between their legs, which
pranced and caracoled, and soon wearied the riders so sore, they
stood stock still and wept, which cavaliers were presently taken
into cart and cuffed. And one, more grave, lost in a man's hat and
feather, walked in Egyptian darkness, handed by a girl; another
had the great saucepan on his back, and a tremendous three-footed
clay-pot sat on his head and shoulders, swallowing him so as he
too went darkling led by his sweetheart three foot high. When they
were gone by, and we had both laughed lustily, said I, 'Natheless,
master, my bowels they yearn for one of that tawdry band, even for
the poor wife so near the downlying, scarce able to drag herself,
yet still, poor soul, helping the weaker on the way.

Catherine. "Nay, nay, Margaret. Why, wench, pluck up heart. Certes
thou art no Bohemian."

Kate. "Nay, mother, 'tis not that, I trow, but her father. And,
dear heart, why take notice to put her to the blush?"

Richart. "So I say."

"And he derided me. 'Why, that is a "biltreger,"' said he, 'and
you waste your bowels on a pillow, or so forth.' I told him he
lied. 'Time would show,' said he, 'wait till they camp.' And
rising after meat and meditation, and travelling forward, we found
them camped between two great trees on a common by the wayside;
and they had lighted a great fire, and on it was their caldron;
and one of the trees slanting o'er the fire, a kid hung down by a
chain from the tree-fork to the fire, and in the fork was wedged
an urchin turning still the chain to keep the meat from burning,
and a gay spark with a feather in his cap cut up a sheep; and
another had spitted a leg of it on a wooden stake; and a woman
ended chanticleer's pride with wringing of his neck. And under the
other tree four rufflers played at cards and quarrelled, and no
word sans oath; and of these lewd gamblers one had cockles in his
hat and was my reverend pilgrim. And a female, young and comely,
and dressed like a butterfly, sat and mended a heap of dirty rags.
And Cul de Jatte said, 'Yon is the "vopper,"' and I looked
incredulous and looked again, and it was so, and at her feet sat
he that had so late lashed her; but I ween he had wist where to
strike, or woe betide him; and she did now oppress him sore, and
made him thread her very needle, the which he did with all
humility; so was their comedy turned seamy side without; and Cul
de Jatte told me 'twas still so with 'voppers' and their men in
camp; they would don their bravery though but for an hour, and
with their tinsel, empire, and the man durst not the least gainsay
the 'vopper,' or she would turn him off at these times, as I my
master, and take another tyrant more submissive. And my master
chuckled over me. Natheless we soon espied a wife set with her
back against the tree, and her hair down, and her face white, and
by her side a wench held up to her eye a newborn babe, with words
of cheer, and the rough fellow, her husband, did bring her hot
wine in a cup, and bade her take courage. And just o'er the place
she sat, they had pinned from bough to bough of those neighbouring
trees two shawls, and blankets two, together, to keep the drizzle
off her. And so had another poor little rogue come into the world;
and by her own particular folk tended gipsywise, but of the
roasters, and boilers, and voppers, and gamblers, no more noticed,
no, not for a single moment, than sheep which droppeth her lamb in
a field, by travellers upon the way. Then said I, 'What of thy
foul suspicions, master? over-knavery blinds the eye as well as
over-simplicity.' And he laughed and said, 'Triumph, Bon Bec,
triumph. The chances were nine in ten against thee.' Then I did
pity her, to be in a crowd at such a time; but he rebuked me. 'I
should pity rather your queens and royal duchesses, which by law
are condemned to groan in a crowd of nobles and courtiers, and do
writhe with shame as, well as sorrow, being come of decent
mothers, whereas these gipsy women have no more shame under their
skins than a wolf ruth, or a hare valour. And, Bon Bec,' quoth he,
'I espy in thee a lamentable fault. Wastest thy bowels. wilt have
none left for thy poor good master which doeth thy will by night
and day.' Then we came forward; and he talked with the men in some
strange Hebrew cant whereof no word knew I; and the poor knaves
bade us welcome and denied us nought. With them, and all they had,
'twas lightly come and lightly go; and when we left them, my
master said to me 'This is thy first lesson, but to-night we shall
lie at Hansburgh. Come with me to the "rotboss" there, and I'll
show thee all our folk and their lays, and especially "the
lossners," "the dutzers," "the schleppers," "the gickisses," "the
schwanfelders, whom in England we call "shivering Jemmies," "the
suntvegers," "the schwiegers," "the joners," "the sesseldegers,"
"the gensscherers," in France "marcandiers or rifodes," "the
veranerins," "the stabulers," with a few foreigners like
ourselves, such as "pietres," "francmitoux," "polissons"
"malingreux," "traters," "rufflers," "whipjalks," "dommerars,"
"glymmerars," "jarkmen," "patricos," "swadders," "autem morts,"
"walking morts" 'Enow,' cried I, stopping him, 'art as gleesome as
the Evil One a counting of his imps. I'll jot down in my tablet
all these caitiffs and their accursed names: for knowledge is
knowledge. But go among them, alive or dead, that will I not with
my good will. Moreover,' said I, 'what need? since I have a
companion in thee who is all the knaves on earth in one?' and
thought to abash him but his face shone with pride, and hand on
breast he did bow low to me. 'If thy wit be scant, good Bon Bec,
thy manners are a charm. I have made a good bargain.' So he to the
'rotboss,' and I to a decent inn, and sketched the landlord's
daughter by candle-light, and started at morn batzen three the
richer, but could not find my master, so loitered slowly on, and
presently met him coming west for me, and cursing the quiens. Why
so? Because he could blind the culls but not the quiens. At last I
prevailed on him to leave cursing and canting, and tell me his
adventure. Said he, 'I sat outside the gate of yon monastery, full
of sores, which I sho'ed the passers-by. Oh, Bon Bec, beautifuller
sores you never saw; and it rained coppers in my hat. Presently
the monks came home from some procession, and the convent dogs ran
out to meet them, curse the quiens!' 'What, did they fall on thee
and bite thee, poor soul?' 'Worse, worse, dear Bon Bec. Had they
bitten me I had earned silver. But the great idiots, being, as I
think, puppies, or little better, fell on me where I sat, downed
me, and fell a licking my sores among them. As thou, false knave,
didst swear the whelps in heaven licked the sores of Lazybones, a
beggar of old.' 'Nay, nay,' said I, 'I said no such thing. But
tell me, since they bit thee not, but sportfully licked thee, what
harm?' 'What harm, noodle; why, the sores came off.' 'How could
that be?' 'How could aught else be? and them just fresh put on.
Did I think he was so weak as bite holes in his flesh with
ratsbane? Nay, he was an artist, a painter, like his servant, and
had put on sores made of pig's blood, rye meal, and glue. So when
the folk saw my sores go on tongues of puppies, they laughed, and
I saw cord or sack before me. So up I jumped, and shouted, "A
miracle a miracle! The very dogs of this holy convent be holy, and
have cured me. Good fathers," cried I, "whose day is this?" "St.
Isidore's," said one. "St. Isidore," cried I, in a sort of
rapture. "Why, St. Isidore is my patron saint: so that accounts."
And the simple folk swallowed my miracle as those accursed quiens
my wounds. But the monks took me inside and shut the gate, and put
their heads together; but I have a quick ear, and one did say,
"Caret miraculo monasterium," which is Greek patter, leastways it
is no beggar's cant. Finally they bade the lay brethren give me a
hiding, and take me out a back way and put me on the road, and
threatened me did I come back to the town to hand me to the
magistrate and have me drowned for a plain impostor. "Profit now
by the Church's grace," said they, "and mend thy ways." So
forward, Bon Bec, for my life is not sure nigh hand this town.' As
we went he worked his shoulders, 'Wow but the brethren laid on.
And what means yon piece of monk's cant, I wonder?' So I told him
the words meant 'the monastery is in want of a miracle,' but the
application thereof was dark to me. 'Dark,' cried he, 'dark as
noon. Why, it means they are going to work the miracle, my
miracle, and gather all the grain I sowed. Therefore these blows
on their benefactor's shoulders; therefore is he that wrought
their scurry miracle driven forth with stripes and threats. Oh,
cozening knaves!' Said I, 'Becomes you to complain of guile.'
'Alas, Bon Bec,' said he, 'I but outwit the simple, but these
monks would pluck Lucifer of his wing feathers.' And went a league
bemoaning himself that he was not convent-bred like his servant
'He would put it to more profit;' and railing on quiens. 'And as
for those monks, there was one Above.' 'Certes,' said I, 'there is
one Above. What then?' 'Who will call those shavelings to compt,
one day,' quoth he. 'And all deceitful men' said I. At one that
afternoon I got armories to paint: so my master took the yellow
jaundice and went begging through the town, and with his oily
tongue, and saffron-water face, did fill his hat. Now in all the
towns are certain licensed beggars, and one of these was an old
favourite with the townsfolk: had his station at St. Martin's
porch, the greatest church: a blind man: they called him blind
Hans. He saw my master drawing coppers on the other side the
street, and knew him by his tricks for an impostor, so sent and
warned the constables, and I met my master in the constables'
hands, and going to his trial in the town hall. I followed and
many more; and he was none abashed, neither by the pomp of
justice, nor memory of his misdeeds, but demanded his accuser like
a trumpet. And blind Hans's boy came forward, but was sifted
narrowly by my master, and stammered and faltered, and owned he
had seen nothing, but only carried blind Hans's tale to the chief
constable. 'This is but hearsay,' said my master. 'Lo ye now, here
standeth Misfortune backbit by Envy. But stand thou forth, blind
Envy, and vent thine own lie.' And blind Hans behoved to stand
forth, sore against his will. Him did my master so press with
questions, and so pinch and torture, asking him again and again,
how, being blind, he could see all that befell, and some that
befell not, across a way; and why, an he could not see, he came
there holding up his perjured hand, and maligning the
misfortunate, that at last he groaned aloud and would utter no
word more. And an alderman said, 'In sooth, Hans, ye are to blame;
hast cast more dirt of suspicion on thyself than on him.' But the
burgomaster, a wondrous fat man, and methinks of his fat some had
gotten into his head, checked him, and said, 'Nay, Hans we know
this many years, and be he blind or not, he hath passed for blind
so long, 'tis all one. Back to thy porch, good Hans, and let the
strange varlet leave the town incontinent on pain of whipping.'
Then my master winked to me; but there rose a civic officer in his
gown of state and golden chain, a Dignity with us lightly prized,
and even shunned of some, but in Germany and France much courted,
save by condemned malefactors, to wit the hangman; and says he,
'Ant please you, first let us see why he weareth his hair so thick
and low.' And his man went and lifted Cul de Jatte's hair, and lo,
the upper gristle of both ears was gone. 'How is this knave? quoth
the burgomaster. My master said carelessly, he minded not
precisely: his had been a life of misfortunes and losses. When a
poor soul has lost the use of his leg, noble sirs, these more
trivial woes rest lightly in his memory.' When he found this would
not serve his turn, he named two famous battles, in each of which
he had lost half an ear, a fighting like a true man against
traitors and rebels. But the hangman showed them the two cuts were
made at one time, and by measurement. ''Tis no bungling soldiers'
work, my masters,' said he, ''tis ourn.' Then the burgomaster gave
judgment: 'The present charge is not proven against thee; but, an
thou beest not guilty now, thou hast been at other times, witness
thine ears. Wherefore I send thee to prison for one month, and to
give a florin towards the new hall of the guilds now a building,
and to be whipt out of the town, and pay the hangman's fee for the
same.' And all the aldermen approved, and my master was haled to
prison with one look of anguish. It did strike my bosom. I tried
to get speech of him, but the jailer denied me. But lingering near
the jail I heard a whistle, and there was Cul de Jatte at a narrow
window twenty feet from earth. I went under, and he asked me what
made I there? I told him I was loath to go forward and not bid him
farewell. He seemed quite amazed; but soon his suspicious soul got
the better. That was not all mine errand. I told him not all: the
psaltery: 'Well, what of that?' 'Twas not mine, but his; I would
pay him the price of it. 'Then throw me a rix dollar,' said he. I
counted out my coins, and they came to a rix dollar and two
batzen. I threw him up his money in three throws, and when he had
got it all he said, softly, 'Bon Bec.' 'Master,' said I. Then the
poor rogue was greatly moved. 'I thought ye had been mocking me,'
said he; 'oh, Bon Bec, Bon Bec, if I had found the world like thee
at starting I had put my wit to better use, and I had not lain
here.' Then he whimpered out, 'I gave not quite a rix dollar for
the jingler;' and threw me back that he had gone to cheat me of;
honest for once, and over late; and so, with many sighs, bade me
Godspeed. Thus did my master, after often baffling men's justice,
fall by their injustice; for his lost ears proved not his guilt
only, but of that guilt the bitter punishment: so the account was
even; yet they for his chastisement did chastise him. Natheless he
was a parlous rogue. Yet he holp to make a man of me. Thanks to
his good wit I went forward richer far with my psaltery and brush,
than with yon as good as stolen purse; for that must have run dry
in time, like a big trough, but these a little fountain."

Richart. "How pregnant his reflections be; and but a curly pated
lad when last I saw him. Asking your pardon, mistress. Prithee
read on."

"One day I walked alone, and sooth to say, lighthearted, for mine
honest Denys sweetened the air on the way; but poor Cul de Jatte
poisoned it. The next day passing a grand house, out came on
prancing steeds a gentleman in brave attire and two servants; they
overtook me. The gentleman bade me halt. I laughed in my sleeve;
for a few batzen were all my store. He bade me doff my doublet and
jerkin. Then I chuckled no more. 'Bethink you, my lord,' said I,
''tis winter. How may a poor fellow go bare and live? So he told
me I shot mine arrow wide of his thought, and off with his own gay
jerkin, richly furred, and doublet to match, and held them forth
to me. Then a servant let me know it was a penance. 'His lordship
had had the ill luck to slay his cousin in their cups.' Down to my
shoes he changed with me; and set me on his horse like a popinjay,
and fared by my side in my worn weeds, with my psaltery on his
back. And said he, 'Now, good youth, thou art Cousin Detstein; and
I, late count, thy Servant. Play the part well, and help me save
my bloodstained soul! Be haughty and choleric, as any noble; and I
will be as humble as I may.' I said I would do my best to play the
noble. But what should I call him? He bade me call him nought but
Servant. That would mortify him most, he wist. We rode on a long
way in silence; for I was meditating this strange chance, that
from a beggar's servant had made me master to a count, and also
cudgelling my brains how best I might play the master, without
being run through the body all at one time like his cousin. For I
mistrusted sore my spark's humility; your German nobles being, to
my knowledge, proud as Lucifer, and choleric as fire. As for the
servants, they did slily grin to one another to see their master
so humbled

"What is that?"

A lump, as of lead, had just bounced against the door, and the
latch was fumbled with unsuccessfully. Another bounce, and the
door swung inwards with Giles arrayed in cloth of gold sticking to
it like a wasp. He landed on the floor, and was embraced; but on
learning what was going on, trumpeted that he would much liever
hear of Gerard than gossip.

Sybrandt pointed to a diminutive chair.

Giles showed his sense of this civility by tearing the said
Sybrandt out of a very big one, and there ensconced himself
gorgeous and glowing. Sybrandt had to wedge himself into the one,
which was too small for the magnificent dwarf's soul, and Margaret
resumed. But as this part of the letter was occupied with notices
of places, all which my reader probably knows, and if not, can
find handled at large in a dozen well-known books, from Munster to
Murray, I skip the topography, and hasten to that part where it
occurred to him to throw his letter into a journal. The personal
narrative that intervened may be thus condensed.

He spoke but little at first to his new companions, but listened
to pick up their characters. Neither his noble Servant nor his
servants could read or write; and as he often made entries in his
tablets, he impressed them with some awe. One of his entries was,
"Le peu que sont les hommes." For he found the surly innkeepers
licked the very ground before him now; nor did a soul suspect the
hosier's son in the count's feathers, nor the count in the
minstrel's weeds.

This seems to have surprised him; for he enlarged on it with the
naivete and pomposity of youth. At one place, being humbly
requested to present the inn with his armorial bearings, he
consented loftily; but painted them himself, to mine host's
wonder, who thought he lowered himself by handling brush. The true
count stood grinning by, and held the paint-pot, while the sham
count painted the shield with three red herrings rampant under a
sort of Maltese cross made with two ell-measures. At first his
plebeian servants were insolent. But this coming to the notice of
his noble one, he forgot what he was doing penance for, and drew
his sword to cut off their ears, heads included. But Gerard
interposed and saved them, and rebuked the count severely. And
finally they all understood one another, and the superior mind
obtained its natural influence. He played the barbarous noble of
that day vilely. For his heart would not let him be either
tyrannical or cold. Here were three human beings. He tried to make
them all happier than he was; held them ravished with stories and
songs, and set Herr Penitent and Co. dancing with his whistle and
psaltery. For his own convenience he made them ride and tie, and
thus pushed rapidly through the country, travelling generally
fifteen leagues a day.


"This first day of January I observed a young man of the country
to meet a strange maiden, and kissed his hand, and then held it
out to her. She took it with a smile, and lo! acquaintance made;
and babbled like old friends. Greeting so pretty and delicate I
ne'er did see. Yet were they both of the baser sort. So the next
lass I saw a coming, I said to my servant lord, 'For further
penance bow thy pride; go meet yon base-born girl; kiss thy
homicidal hand, and give it her, and hold her in discourse as best
ye may.' And my noble Servant said humbly, 'I shall obey my lord.'
And we drew rein and watched while he went forward, kissed his
hand and held it out to her. Forthwith she took it smiling, and
was most affable with him, and he with her. Presently came up a
band of her companions. So this time I bade him doff his bonnet to
them, as though they were empresses; and he did so. And lo! the
lasses drew up as stiff as hedgestakes, and moved not nor spake."

Denys. "Aie! aie! aie Pardon, the company."

"This surprised me none; for so they did discountenance poor
Denys. And that whole day I wore in experimenting these German
lasses; and 'twas still the same. An ye doff bonnet to them they
stiffen into statues; distance for distance. But accost them with
honest freedom, and with that customary, and though rustical, most
gracious proffer, of the kissed hand, and they withhold neither
their hands in turn nor their acquaintance in an honest way.
Seeing which I vexed myself that Denys was not with us to prattle
with them; he is so fond of women." ("Are you fond of women,
Denys?") And the reader opened two great violet eyes upon him with
gentle surprise.

Denys. "Ahem! he says so, she-comrade. By Hannibal's helmet, 'tis
their fault, not mine. They will have such soft voices, and white
skins, and sunny hair, and dark blue eyes, and

Margaret. (Reading suddenly.) "Which their affability I put to
profit thus. I asked them how they made shift to grow roses in
yule? For know, dear Margaret, that throughout Germany, the baser
sort of lasses wear for head-dress nought but a 'crantz,' or
wreath of roses, encircling their bare hair, as laurel Caesar's;
and though of the worshipful, scorned, yet is braver, I wist, to
your eye and mine which painters be, though sorry ones, than the
gorgeous, uncouth, mechanical head-gear of the time, and adorns,
not hides her hair, that goodly ornament fitted to her head by
craft divine. So the good lasses, being questioned close, did let
me know, the rosebuds are cut in summer and laid then in great
clay-pots, thus ordered:- first bay salt, then a row of buds, and
over that row bay salt sprinkled; then, another row of buds placed
crosswise; for they say it is death to the buds to touch one
another; and so on, buds and salt in layers. Then each pot is
covered and soldered tight, and kept in cool cellar. And on
Saturday night the master of the house, or mistress, if master be
none, opens a pot, and doles the rosebuds out to every female in
the house, high or low, withouten grudge; then solders it up
again. And such as of these buds would full-blown roses make, put
them in warm water a little space, or else in the stove, and then
with tiny brush and soft, wetted in Rhenish wine, do coax them
till they ope their folds. And some perfume them with rose-water.
For, alack, their smell it is fled with the summer; and only their
fair bodyes lie withouten soul, in tomb of clay, awaiting

"And some with the roses and buds mix nutmegs gilded, but not by
my good will; for gold, brave in itself, cheek by jowl with roses,
is but yellow earth. And it does the eye's heart good to see these
fair heads of hair come, blooming with roses, over snowy roads,
and by snow-capt hedges, setting winter's beauty by the side of
summer's glory. For what so fair as winter's lilies, snow yclept,
and what so brave as roses? And shouldst have had a picture here,
but for their superstition. Leaned a lass in Sunday garb, cross
ankled, against her cottage corner, whose low roof was snow-clad,
and with her crantz did seem a summer flower sprouting from
winter's bosom. I drew rein, and out pencil and brush to limn her
for thee. But the simpleton, fearing the evil eye, or glamour,
claps both hands to her face and flies panic-stricken. But indeed,
they are not more superstitious than the Sevenbergen folk, which
take thy father for a magician. Yet softly, sith at this moment I
profit by this darkness of their minds; for, at first, sitting
down to write this diary, I could frame nor thought nor word, so
harried and deaved was I with noise of mechanical persons, and
hoarse laughter at dull jests of one of these particoloured
'fools,' which are so rife in Germany. But oh, sorry wit, that is
driven to the poor resource of pointed ear-caps, and a green and
yellow body. True wit, methinks, is of the mind. We met in
Burgundy an honest wench, though over free for my palate, a
chambermaid, had made havoc of all these zanies, droll by brute
force. Oh, Digressor! Well then, I to be rid of roaring
rusticalls, and mindless jests, put my finger in a glass and drew
on the table a great watery circle; whereat the rusticalls did
look askant, like venison at a cat; and in that circle a smaller
circle. The rusticalls held their peace; and besides these circles
cabalistical, I laid down on the table solemnly yon parchment deed
I had out of your house. The rusticalls held their breath. Then
did I look as glum as might be, and muttered slowly thus 'Videamus
- quam diu tu fictus morio - vosque veri stulti- audebitis - in
hac aula morari, strepitantes ita - et olentes: ut dulcissimae
nequeam miser scribere.' They shook like aspens, and stole away on
tiptoe one by one at first, then in a rush and jostling, and left
me alone; and most scared of all was the fool: never earned jester
fairer his ass's ears. So rubbed I their foible, who first rubbed
mine; for of all a traveller's foes I dread those giants twain,
Sir Noise, and eke Sir Stench. The saints and martyrs forgive my
peevishness. Thus I write to thee in balmy peace, and tell thee
trivial things scarce worthy ink, also how I love thee, which
there was no need to tell, for well thou knowest it. And oh, dear
Margaret, looking on their roses, which grew in summer, but blow
in winter, I see the picture of our true affection; born it was in
smiles and bliss, but soon adversity beset us sore with many a
bitter blast. Yet our love hath lost no leaf, thank God, but
blossoms full and fair as ever, proof against frowns, and jibes,
and prison, and banishment, as those sweet German flowers a
blooming in winter's snow.

"January 2. - My servant, the count, finding me curious, took me
to the stables of the prince that rules this part. In the first
court was a horse-bath, adorned with twenty-two pillars, graven
with the prince's arms; and also the horse-leech's shop, so
furnished as a rich apothecary might envy. The stable is a fair
quadrangle, whereof three sides filled with horses of all nations.
Before each horse's nose was a glazed window, with a green curtain
to be drawn at pleasure, and at his tail a thick wooden pillar
with a brazen shield, whence by turning of a pipe he is watered,
and serves too for a cupboard to keep his comb and rubbing
clothes. Each rack was iron, and each manger shining copper, and
each nag covered with a scarlet mantle, and above him his bridle
and saddle hung, ready to gallop forth in a minute; and not less
than two hundred horses, whereof twelve score of foreign breed.
And we returned to our inn full of admiration, and the two varlets
said sorrowfully, 'Why were we born with two legs?' And one of the
grooms that was civil and had of me trinkgeld, stood now at his
cottage-door and asked us in. There we found his wife and children
of all ages, from five to eighteen, and had but one room to bide
and sleep in, a thing pestiferous and most uncivil. Then I asked
my Servant, knew he this prince? Ay, did he, and had often drunk
with him in a marble chamber above the stable, where, for table,
was a curious and artificial rock, and the drinking vessels hang
on its pinnacles, and at the hottest of the engagement a statue of
a horseman in bronze came forth bearing a bowl of liquor, and he
that sat nearest behoved to drain it. ''Tis well,' said I: 'now
for thy penance, whisper thou in yon prince's ear, that God hath
given him his people freely, and not sought a price for them as
for horses. And pray him look inside the huts at his horse-palace
door, and bethink himself is it well to house his horses, and
stable his folk.' Said he, ''Twill give sore offence.' 'But,' said
I, 'ye must do it discreetly and choose your time.' So he
promised. And riding on we heard plaintive cries. 'Alas,' said I,
'some sore mischance hath befallen some poor soul: what may it
be?' And we rode up, and lo! it was a wedding feast, and the
guests were plying the business of drinking sad and silent, but
ever and anon cried loud and dolefully, 'Seyte frolich! Be merry.'

"January 3. - Yesterday between Nurnberg and Augsburg we parted
company. I gave my lord, late Servant, back his brave clothes for
mine, but his horse he made me keep, and five gold pieces, and
said he was still my debtor, his penance it had been slight along
of me, but profitable. But his best word was this: 'I see 'tis
more noble to be loved than feared.' And then he did so praise me
as I blushed to put on paper; yet, poor fool, would fain thou
couldst hear his words, but from some other pen than mine. And the
servants did heartily grasp my hand, and wish me good luck. And
riding apace, yet could I not reach Augsburg till the gates were
closed; but it mattered little, for this Augsburg it is an
enchanted city. For a small coin one took me a long way round to a
famous postern called der Einlasse. Here stood two guardians, like
statues. To them I gave my name and business. They nodded me leave
to knock; I knocked; and the iron gate opened with a great noise
and hollow rattling of a chain, but no hand seen nor chain; and he
who drew the hidden chain sits a butt's length from the gate; and
I rode in, and the gate closed with a clang after me. I found
myself in a great building with a bridge at my feet. This I rode
over and presently came to a porter's lodge, where one asked me
again my name and business, then rang a bell, and a great
portcullis that barred the way began to rise, drawn by a wheel
overhead, and no hand seen. Behind the portcullis was a thick
oaken door studded with steel. It opened without hand, and I rode
into a hall as dark as pitch. Trembling there a while, a door
opened and showed me a smaller hall lighted. I rode into it: a tin
goblet came down from the ceiling by a little chain: I put two
batzen into it, and it went up again. Being gone, another thick
door creaked and opened, and I rid through. It closed on me with a
tremendous clang, and behold me in Augsburg city. I lay at an inn
called 'The Three Moors,' over an hundred years old; and this
morning, according to my way of viewing towns to learn their
compass and shape, I mounted the highest tower I could find, and
setting my dial at my foot surveyed the beautiful city: whole
streets of palaces and churches tiled with copper burnished like
gold; and the house fronts gaily painted and all glazed, and the
glass so clean and burnished as 'tis most resplendent and rare;
and I, now first seeing a great city, did crow with delight, and
like cock on his ladder, and at the tower foot was taken into
custody for a spy; for whilst I watched the city the watchman had
watched me. The burgomaster received me courteously and heard my
story; then rebuked he the officers. 'Could ye not question him
yourselves, or read in his face? This is to make our city stink in
strangers' report.' Then he told me my curiosity was of a
commendable sort; and seeing I was a craftsman and inquisitive,
bade his clerk take me among the guilds. God bless the city where
the very burgomaster is cut of Soloman's cloth!

"January 5. - Dear Margaret, it is a noble city, and a kind mother
to arts. Here they cut in wood and ivory, that 'tis like spider's
work, and paint on glass, and sing angelical harmonies. Writing of
books is quite gone by; here be six printers. Yet was I offered a
bountiful wage to write fairly a merchant's accounts, one Fugger,
a grand and wealthy trader, and hath store of ships, yet his
father was but a poor weaver. But here in commerce, her very
garden, men swell like mushrooms. And he bought my horse of me,
and abated me not a jot, which way of dealing is not known in
Holland. But oh, Margaret, the workmen of all the guilds are so
kind and brotherly to one another, and to me. Here, methinks, I
have found the true German mind, loyal, frank, and kindly,
somewhat choleric withal, but nought revengeful. Each mechanic
wears a sword. The very weavers at the loom sit girded with their
weapons, and all Germans on too slight occasion draw them and
fight; but no treachery: challenge first, then draw, and with the
edge only, mostly the face, not with Sir Point; for if in these
combats one thrust at his adversary and hurt him, 'tis called ein
schelemstucke, a heinous act, both men and women turn their backs
on him; and even the judges punish thrusts bitterly, but pass over
cuts. Hence in Germany be good store of scarred faces, three in
five at least, and in France scarce more than one in three.

"But in arts mechanical no citizens may compare with these.
Fountains in every street that play to heaven, and in the gardens
seeming trees, which being approached, one standing afar touches a
spring, and every twig shoots water, and souses the guests to
their host's much delectation. Big culverins of war they cast with
no more ado than our folk horse-shoes, and have done this
fourscore years. All stuffs they weave, and linen fine as ours at
home, or nearly, which elsewhere in Europe vainly shall ye seek.
Sir Printing Press - sore foe to poor Gerard, but to other humans
beneficial - plieth by night and day, and casteth goodly words
like sower afield; while I, poor fool, can but sow them as I saw
women in France sow rye, dribbling it in the furrow grain by
grain. And of their strange mechanical skill take two examples.
For ending of exemplary rogues they have a figure like a woman,
seven feet high, and called Jung Frau; but lo, a spring is
touched, she seizeth the poor wretch with iron arms, and opening
herself, hales him inside her, and there pierces him through and
through with two score lances. Secondly, in all great houses the
spit is turned not by a scrubby boy, but by smoke. Ay, mayst well
admire, and judge me a lying knave. These cunning Germans do set
in the chimney a little windmill, and the smoke struggling to wend
past, turns it, and from the mill a wire runs through the wall and
turns the spit on wheels; beholding which I doffed my bonnet to
the men of Augsburg, for who but these had ere devised to bind ye
so dark and subtle a knave as Sir Smoke, and set him to roast Dame

"This day, January 8, with three craftsmen of the town, I painted
a pack of cards. They were for a senator, in a hurry. I the
diamonds. My queen came forth with eyes like spring violets, hair
a golden brown, and witching smile. My fellow-craftsmen saw her,
and put their arms round my neck and hailed me master. Oh, noble
Germans! No jealousy of a brother-workman: no sour looks at a
stranger; and would have me spend Sunday with them after matins;
and the merchant paid me so richly as I was ashamed to take the
guerdon; and I to my inn, and tried to paint the queen of diamonds
for poor Gerard; but no, she would not come like again. Luck will
not be bespoke. Oh, happy rich man that hath got her! Fie! fie!
Happy Gerard that shall have herself one day, and keep house with
her at Augsburg.

"January 8. - With my fellows, and one Veit Stoss, a wood-carver,
and one Hafnagel, of the goldsmiths' guild, and their wives and
lasses, to Hafnagel's cousin, a senator of this free city, and his
stupendous wine-vessel. It is ribbed like a ship, and hath been
eighteen months in hand, and finished but now, and holds a hundred
and fifty hogsheads, and standeth not, but lieth; yet even so ye
get not on his back, withouten ladders two, of thirty steps. And
we sat about the miraculous mass, and drank Rhenish from it, drawn
by a little artificial pump, and the lasses pinned their crantzes
to it, and we danced round it, and the senator danced on its back,
but with drinking of so many garausses, lost his footing and fell
off, glass in hand, and broke an arm and a leg in the midst of us.
So scurvily ended our drinking bout for this time.

"January 10. - This day started for Venice with a company of
merchants, and among them him who had desired me for his
scrivener; and so we are now agreed, I to write at night the
letters he shall dict, and other matters, he to feed and lodge me
on the road. We be many and armed, and soldiers with us to boot,
so fear not the thieves which men say lie on the borders of Italy.
But an if I find the printing press at Venice, I trow I shall not
go unto Rome, for man may not vie with iron.

"Imprimit una dies quantum non scribitur anno. And, dearest,
something tells me you and I shall end our days at Augsburg,
whence going, I shall leave it all I can - my blessing.

"January 12. - My master affecteth me much, and now maketh me sit
with him in his horse-litter. A grave good man, of all respected,
but sad for loss of a dear daughter, and loveth my psaltery: not
giddy-faced ditties, but holy harmonies such as Cul de Jatte made
wry mouths at. So many men, so many minds. But cooped in
horse-litter and at night writing his letters, my journal halteth.

"January 14. - When not attending on my good merchant, I consort
with such of our company as are Italians, for 'tis to Italy I
wend, and I am ill seen in Italian tongue. A courteous and a
subtle people, at meat delicate feeders and cleanly: love not to
put their left hand in the dish. They say Venice is the garden of
Lombardy, Lombardy the garden of Italy, Italy of the world.

"January 16.-Strong ways and steep, and the mountain girls so
girded up, as from their armpits to their waist is but a handful.
Of all the garbs I yet have seen, the most unlovely.

"January 18.-In the midst of life we are in death. Oh! dear
Margaret, I thought I had lost thee. Here I lie in pain and dole,
and shall write thee that, which read you it in a romance ye
should cry, 'Most improbable!' And so still wondering that I am
alive to write it, and thanking for it God and the saints, this is
what befell thy Gerard. Yestreen I wearied of being shut up in
litter, and of the mule's slow pace, and so went forward; and
being, I know not why, strangely full of spirit and hope, as I
have heard befall some men when on trouble's brink, seemed to
tread on air, and soon distanced them all. Presently I came to two
roads, and took the larger; I should have taken the smaller. After
travelling a good half-hour, I found my error, and returned; and
deeming my company had long passed by, pushed bravely on, but I
could not overtake them; and small wonder, as you shall hear. Then
I was anxious, and ran, but bare was the road of those I sought;
and night came down, and the wild beasts a-foot, and I bemoaned my
folly; also I was hungered. The moon rose clear and bright
exceedingly, and presently a little way off the road I saw a tall
windmill. 'Come,' said I, 'mayhap the miller will take ruth on
me.' Near the mill was a haystack, and scattered about were store
of little barrels; but lo they were not flour-barrels, but
tar-barrels, one or two, and the rest of spirits, Brant vein and
Schiedam; I knew them momently, having seen the like in Holland. I
knocked at the mill-door, but none answered. I lifted the latch,
and the door opened inwards. I went in, and gladly, for the night
was fine but cold, and a rime on the trees, which were a kind of
lofty sycamores. There was a stove, but black; I lighted it with
some of the hay and wood, for there was a great pile of wood
outside, and I know not how, I went to sleep. Not long had I
slept, I trow, when hearing a noise, I awoke; and there were a
dozen men around me, with wild faces, and long black hair, and
black sparkling eyes."

Catherine. "Oh, my poor boy! those black-haired ones do still
scare me to look on."

"I made my excuses in such Italian as I knew, and eking out by
signs. They grinned. 'I had lost my company.' They grinned. 'I was
an hungered.' Still they grinned, and spoke to one another in a
tongue I knew not. At last one gave me a piece of bread and a tin
mug of wine, as I thought, but it was spirits neat. I made a wry
face and asked for water: then these wild men laughed a horrible
laugh. I thought to fly, but looking towards the door it was
bolted with two enormous bolts of iron, and now first, as I ate my
bread, I saw it was all guarded too, and ribbed with iron. My
blood curdled within me, and yet I could not tell thee why; but
hadst thou seen the faces, wild, stupid, and ruthless. I mumbled
my bread, not to let them see I feared them; but oh, it cost me to
swallow it and keep it in me. Then it whirled in my brain, was
there no way to escape? Said I, 'They will not let me forth by the
door; these be smugglers or robbers.' So I feigned drowsiness, and
taking out two batzen said, 'Good men, for our Lady's grace let me
lie on a bed and sleep, for I am faint with travel.' They nodded
and grinned their horrible grin, and bade one light a lanthorn and
lead me. He took me up a winding staircase, up, up, and I saw no
windows, but the wooden walls were pierced like a barbican tower,
and methinks for the same purpose, and through these slits I got
glimpses of the sky, and thought, 'Shall I e'er see thee again?'
He took me to the very top of the mill, and there was a room with
a heap of straw in one corner and many empty barrels, and by the
wall a truckle bed. He pointed to it, and went downstairs heavily,
taking the light, for in this room was a great window, and the
moon came in bright. I looked out to see, and lo, it was so high
that even the mill sails at their highest came not up to my window
by some feet, but turned very slow and stately underneath, for
wind there was scarce a breath; and the trees seemed silver
filagree made by angel craftsmen. My hope of flight was gone.

"But now, those wild faces being out of sight, I smiled at my
fears: what an if they were ill men, would it profit them to hurt
me? Natheless, for caution against surprise, I would put the bed
against the door. I went to move it, but could not. It was free at
the head, but at the foot fast clamped with iron to the floor. So
I flung my psaltery on the bed, but for myself made a layer of
straw at the door, so as none could open on me unawares. And I
laid my sword ready to my hand. And said my prayers for thee and
me, and turned to sleep.

"Below they drank and made merry. And hearing this gave me
confidence. Said I, 'Out of sight, out of mind. Another hour and
the good Schiedam will make them forget that I am here.' And so I
composed myself to sleep. And for some time could not for the
boisterous mirth below. At last I dropped off. How long I slept I
knew not; but I woke with a start: the noise had ceased below, and
the sudden silence woke me. And scarce was I awake, when sudden
the truckle bed was gone with a loud clang all but the feet, and
the floor yawned, and I heard my psaltery fall and break to atoms,
deep, deep, below the very floor of the mill. It had fallen into a
well. And so had I done, lying where it lay."

Margaret shuddered and put her face in her hands. But speedily

"I lay stupefied at first. Then horror fell on me, and I rose, but
stood rooted there, shaking from head to foot. At last I found
myself looking down into that fearsome gap, and my very hair did
bristle as I peered. And then, I remember, I turned quite calm,
and made up my mind to die sword in hand. For I saw no man must
know this their bloody secret and live. And I said, 'Poor
Margaret!' And I took out of my bosom, where they lie ever, our
marriage lines, and kissed them again and again. And I pinned them
to my shirt again, that they might lie in one grave with me, if
die I must. And I thought, 'All our love and hopes to end thus!'"

Eli. "Whisht all! Their marriage lines? Give her time! But no
word. I can bear no chat. My poor lad!"

During the long pause that ensued Catherine leaned forward and
passed something adroitly from her own lap under her daughter's
apron who sat next her.

"Presently thinking, all in a whirl, of all that ever passed
between us, and taking leave of all those pleasant hours, I called
to mind how one day at Sevenbergen thou taughtest me to make a
rope of straw. Mindest thou? The moment memory brought that happy
day hack to me, I cried out very loud: 'Margaret gives me a chance
for life even here.' I woke from my lethargy. I seized on the
straw and twisted it eagerly, as thou didst teach me, but my
fingers trembled and delayed the task. Whiles I wrought I heard a
door open below. That was a terrible moment. Even as I twisted my
rope I got to the window and looked down at the great arms of the
mill coming slowly up, then passing, then turning less slowly
down, as it seemed; and I thought, 'They go not as when there is
wind: yet, slow or fast, what man rid ever on such steed as these,
and lived. Yet,' said I, 'better trust to them and God than to ill
men.' And I prayed to Him whom even the wind obeyeth.

"Dear Margaret, I fastened my rope, and let myself gently down,
and fixed my eye on that huge arm of the mill, which then was
creeping up to me, and went to spring on to it. But my heart
failed me at the pinch. And methought it was not near enow. And it
passed calm and awful by. I watched for another; they were three.
And after a little while one crept up slower than the rest
methought. And I with my foot thrust myself in good time somewhat
out from the wall, and crying aloud 'Margaret!' did grip with all
my soul the wood-work of the sail, and that moment was swimming in
the air."


Motion I felt little; but the stars seemed to go round the sky,
and then the grass came up to me nearer and nearer, and when the
hoary grass was quite close I was sent rolling along it as if
hurled from a catapult, and got up breathless, and every point and
tie about me broken. I rose, but fell down again in agony. I had
but one leg I could stand on."

Catherine. "Eh! dear! his leg is broke, my boy's leg is broke."

"And e'en as I lay groaning, I heard a sound like thunder. It was
the assassins running up the stairs. The crazy old mill shook
under them. They must have found that I had not fallen into their
bloody trap, and were running to despatch me. Margaret, I felt no
fear, for I had now no hope. I could neither run nor hide; so wild
the place, so bright the moon. I struggled up all agony and
revenge, more like some wounded wild beast than your Gerard.
Leaning on my sword hilt I hobbled round; and swift as lighting,
or vengeance, I heaped a great pile of their hay and wood at the
mill door; then drove my dagger into a barrel of their smuggled
spirits, and flung it on; then out with my tinder and lighted the
pile. 'This will bring true men round my dead body,' said I.
'Aha!' I cried, 'think you I'll die alone, cowards, assassins!
reckless fiends!' and at each word on went a barrel pierced. But
oh, Margaret! the fire fed by the spirits surprised me: it shot up
and singed my very hair, it went roaring up the side of the mill,
swift as falls the lightning; and I yelled and laughed in my
torture and despair, and pierced more barrels and the very
tar-barrels, and flung them on. The fire roared like a lion for
its prey, and voices answered it inside from the top of the mill,
and the feet came thundering down, and I stood as near that awful
fire as I could, with uplifted sword to slay and be slain. The
bolt was drawn. A tar-barrel caught fire. The door was opened.
What followed? Not the men came out, but the fire rushed in at
them like a living death, and the first I thought to fight with
was blackened and crumpled on the floor like a leaf. One fearsome
yell, and dumb for ever. The feet ran up again, but fewer. I heard
them hack with their swords a little way up at the mill's wooden
sides; but they had no time to hew their way out: the fire and
reek were at their heels, and the smoke burst out at every
loophole, and oozed blue in the moonlight through each crevice. I
hobbled back, racked with pain and fury. There were white faces up
at my window. They saw me. They cursed me. I cursed them back and
shook my naked sword: 'Come down the road I came,' I cried. 'But
ye must come one by one, and as ye come, ye die upon this steel.'
Some cursed at that, but others wailed. For I had them all at
deadly vantage. And doubtless, with my smoke-grimed face and
fiendish rage, I looked a demon. And now there was a steady roar
inside the mill. The flame was going up it as furnace up its
chimney. The mill caught fire. Fire glimmered through it. Tongues
of flame darted through each loophole and shot sparks and fiery
flakes into the night. One of the assassins leaped on to the sail,
as I had done. In his hurry he missed his grasp and fell at my
feet, and bounded from the hard ground like a ball, and never
spoke, nor moved again. And the rest screamed like women, and with
their despair came back to me both ruth for them and hope of life
for myself. And the fire gnawed through the mill in placen, and
shot forth showers of great flat sparks like flakes of fiery snow;
and the sails caught fire one after another; and I became a man
again and staggered away terror-stricken, leaning on my sword,
from the sight of my revenge, and with great bodily pain crawled
back to the road. And, dear Margaret, the rimy trees were now all
like pyramids of golden filagree, and lace, cobweb fine, in the
red firelight. Oh! most beautiful! And a poor wretch got entangled
in the burning sails, and whirled round screaming, and lost hold
at the wrong time, and hurled like stone from mangonel high into
the air; then a dull thump; it was his carcass striking the earth.
The next moment there was a loud crash. The mill fell in on its
destroyer, and a million great sparks flew up, and the sails fell
over the burning wreck, and at that a million more sparks flew up,
and the ground was strewn with burning wood and men. I prayed God
forgive me, and kneeling with my back to that fiery shambles, I
saw lights on the road; a welcome sight. It was a company coming
towards me, and scarce two furlongs off. I hobbled towards them.
Ere I had gone far I heard a swift step behind me. I turned. One
had escaped; how escaped, who can divine? His sword shone in the
moonlight. I feared him. Methought the ghosts of all those dead
sat on that glittering glaive. I put my other foot to the ground,
maugre the anguish, and fled towards the torches, moaning with
pain, and shouting for aid. But what could I do He gained on me.
Behooved me turn and fight. Denys had taught me sword play in
sport. I wheeled, our swords clashed. His clothes they smelled all
singed. I cut swiftly upward with supple hand, and his dangled
bleeding at the wrist, and his sword fell; it tinkled on the
ground. I raised my sword to hew him should he stoop for't. He
stood and cursed me. He drew his dagger with his left; I opposed
my point and dared him with my eye to close. A great shout arose
behind me from true men's throats. He started. He spat at me in
his rage, then gnashed his teeth and fled blaspheming. I turned
and saw torches close at hand. Lo, they fell to dancing up and
down methought, and the next-moment-all-was-dark. I had - ah!"

Catherine. "Here, help! water! Stand aloof, you that be men!"

Margaret had fainted away.


When she recovered, her head was on Catherine's arm, and the
honest half of the family she had invaded like a foe stood round
her uttering rough homely words of encouragement, especially
Giles, who roared at her that she was not to take on like that.
"Gerard was alive and well, or he could not have writ this letter,
the biggest mankind had seen as yet, and," as he thought, "the
beautifullest, and most moving, and smallest writ."

"Ay, good Master Giles," sighed Margaret feebly, "he was alive.
But how know I what hath since befallen him? Oh, why left he
Holland to go among strangers fierce as lions? And why did I not
drive him from me sooner than part him from his own flesh and
blood? Forgive me, you that are his mother!"

And she gently removed Catherine's arm, and made a feeble attempt
to slide off the chair on to her knees, which, after a brief
struggle with superior force, ended in her finding herself on
Catherine's bosom. Then Margaret held out the letter to Eli, and
said faintly but sweetly, "I will trust it from my hand now. In
sooth, I am little fit to read any more-and-and - loth to leave my
comfort;" and she wreathed her other arm round Catherine's neck.

"Read thou, Richart," said Eli: "thine eyes be younger than mine."

Richart took the letter. "Well," said he, "such writing saw I
never. A writeth with a needle's point; and clear to boot. Why is
he not in my counting-house at Amsterdam instead of vagabonding it
out yonder!"

"When I came to myself I was seated in the litter, and my good
merchant holding of my hand. I babbled I know not what, and then
shuddered awhile in silence. He put a horn of wine to my lips."

Catherine. "Bless him! bless him!"

Eli. "Whisht!"

"And I told him what had befallen. He would see my leg. It was
sprained sore, and swelled at the ankle; and all my points were
broken, as I could scarce keep up my hose, and I said, 'Sir, I
shall be but a burden to you, I doubt, and can make you no harmony
now; my poor psaltery it is broken;' and I did grieve over my
broken music, companion of so many weary leagues. But he patted me
on the cheek, and bade me not fret; also he did put up my leg on a
pillow, and tended me like a kind father.

"January 19. - I sit all day in the litter, for we are pushing
forward with haste, and at night the good, kind merchant sendeth
me to bed, and will not let me work. Strange! whene'er I fall in
with men like fiends, then the next moment God still sendeth me
some good man or woman, lest I should turn away from human kind.
Oh, Margaret! how strangely mixed they be, and how old I am by
what I was three months agone. And lo! if good Master Fugger hath
not been and bought me a psaltery."

Catherine. "Eli, my man, an yon merchant comes our way let us buy
a hundred ells of cloth of him, and not higgle."

Eli. "That will I, take your oath on't!"

While Richart prepared to read, Kate looked at her mother, and
with a faint blush drew out the piece of work from under her
apron, and sewed with head depressed a little more than necessary.
On this her mother drew a piece of work out of her pocket, and
sewed too, while Richart read. Both the specimens these sweet
surreptitious creatures now first exposed to observation were
babies' caps, and more than half finished, which told a tale.
Horror! they were like little monks' cowls in shape and delicacy.

"January 20. - Laid up in the litter, and as good as blind, but
halting to bait, Lombardy plains burst on me. Oh, Margaret! a land
flowing with milk and honey; all sloping plains, goodly rivers,
jocund meadows, delectable orchards, and blooming gardens; and
though winter, looks warmer than poor beloved Holland at
midsummer, and makes the wanderer's face to shine, and his heart
to leap for joy to see earth so kind and smiling. Here be vines,
cedars, olives, and cattle plenty, but three goats to a sheep. The
draught oxen wear white linen on their necks, and standing by dark
green olive-trees each one is a picture; and the folk, especially
women, wear delicate strawen hats with flowers and leaves fairly
imitated in silk, with silver mixed. This day we crossed a river
prettily in a chained ferry-boat. On either bank was a windlass,
and a single man by turning of it drew our whole company to his
shore, whereat I did admire, being a stranger. Passed over with us
some country folk. And an old woman looking at a young wench, she
did hide her face with her hand, and held her crucifix out like
knight his sword in tourney dreading the evil eye.

"January 25. - Safe at Venice. A place whose strange and passing
beauty is well known to thee by report of our mariners. Dost mind
too how Peter would oft fill our ears withal, we handed beneath
the table, and he still discoursing of this sea-enthroned and
peerless city, in shape a bow, and its great canal and palaces on
piles, and its watery ways plied by scores of gilded boats; and
that market-place of nations, orbis, non urbis, forum, St. Mark,
his place? And his statue with the peerless jewels in his eyes,
and the lion at his gate? But I, lying at my window in pain, may
see none of these beauties as yet, but only a street, fairly
paved, which is dull, and houses with oiled paper and linen, in
lieu of glass, which is rude; and the passers-by, their habits and
their, gestures, wherein they are superfluous. Therefore, not to
miss my daily comfort of whispering to thee, I will e'en turn mine
eyes inward, and bind my sheaves of wisdom reaped by travel. For I
love thee so, that no treasure pleases me not shared with thee;
and what treasure so good and enduring as knowledge? This then
have I, Sir Footsore, learned, that each nation hath its proper
wisdom, and its proper folly; and methinks, could a great king, or
duke, tramp like me, and see with his own eyes, he might pick the
flowers, and eschew the weeds of nations, and go home and set his
own folk on Wisdom's hill. The Germans in the north were churlish,
but frank and honest; in the south, kindly and honest too. Their
general blot is drunkenness, the which they carry even to mislike
and contempt of sober men. They say commonly, 'Kanstu niecht
sauffen und fressen so kanstu kienem hern wol dienen.' In England,
the vulgar sort drink as deep, but the worshipful hold excess in
this a reproach, and drink a health or two for courtesy, not
gluttony, and still sugar the wine. In their cups the Germans use
little mirth or discourse, but ply the business sadly, crying
'Seyte frolich!' The best of their drunken sport is
'Kurlemurlehuff,' a way of drinking with touching deftly of the
glass, the beard, the table, in due turn, intermixed with
whistlings and snappings of the finger so curiously ordered as
'tis a labour of Hercules, but to the beholder right pleasant and
mirthful. Their topers, by advice of German leeches, sleep with
pebbles in their mouths. For, as of a boiling pot the lid must be
set ajar, so with these fleshy wine-pots, to vent the heat of
their inward parts: spite of which many die suddenly from drink;
but 'tis a matter of religion to slur it, and gloze it, and charge
some innocent disease therewith. Yet 'tis more a custom than very
nature, for their women come among the tipplers, and do but stand
a moment, and as it were, kiss the wine-cup; and are indeed most
temperate in eating and drinking, and of all women, modest and
virtuous, and true spouses and friends to their mates; far before
our Holland lasses, that being maids, put the question to the men,
and being wived, do lord it over them. Why, there is a wife in
Tergou, not far from our door. One came to the house and sought
her man. Says she, 'You'll not find him: he asked my leave to go
abroad this afternoon, and I did give it him.'"

Catherine. "'Tis sooth! 'tis sooth! 'Twas Beck Hulse, Jonah's
wife. This comes of a woman wedding a boy."

"In the south where wine is, the gentry drink themselves bare; but
not in the north: for with beer a noble shall sooner burst his
body than melt his lands. They are quarrelsome, but 'tis the
liquor, not the mind; for they are none revengeful. And when they
have made a bad bargain drunk, they stand to it sober. They keep
their windows bright; and judge a man by his clothes. Whatever
fruit or grain or herb grows by the roadside, gather and eat. The
owner seeing you shall say, 'Art welcome, honest man.' But an, ye
pluck a wayside grape, your very life is in jeopardy. 'Tis eating
of that Heaven gave to be drunken. The French are much fairer
spoken, and not nigh so true-hearted. Sweet words cost them
nought. They call it payer en blanche."

Denys. "Les coquins! ha! ha!"

"Natheless, courtesy is in their hearts, ay, in their very blood.
They say commonly, 'Give yourself the trouble of sitting down.'
And such straws of speech show how blows the wind. Also at a
public show, if you would leave your seat, yet not lose it, tie
but your napkin round the bench, and no French man or woman will
sit here; but rather keep the place for you."

Catherine. "Gramercy! that is manners. France for me!"

Denys rose and placed his hand gracefully to his breastplate.

"Natheless, they say things in sport which are not courteous, but
shocking. 'Le diable t'emporte!' 'Allez au diable!' and so forth.
But I trow they mean not such dreadful wishes: custom belike.
Moderate in drinking, and mix water with their wine, and sing and
dance over their cups, and are then enchanting company. They are
curious not to drink in another man's cup. In war the English gain
the better of them in the field; but the French are their masters
in attack and defence of cities; witness Orleans, where they
besieged their besiegers and hashed them sore with their double
and treble culverines; and many other sieges in this our century.
More than all nations they flatter their women, and despise them.
No. She may be their sovereign ruler. Also they often hang their
female malefactors, instead of drowning them decently, as other
nations use. The furniture in their inns is walnut, in Germany
only deal. French windows are ill. The lower half is of wood, and
opens; the upper half is of glass, but fixed; so that the servant
cannot come at it to clean it. The German windows are all glass,
and movable, and shine far and near like diamonds. In France many
mean houses are not glazed at all. Once I saw a Frenchman pass a
church without unbonneting. This I ne'er witnessed in Holland,
Germany, or Italy. At many inns they show the traveller his
sheets, to give him assurance they are clean, and warm them at the
fire before him; a laudable custom. They receive him kindly and
like a guest; they mostly cheat him, and whiles cut his throat.
They plead in excuse hard and tyrannous laws. And true it is their
law thrusteth its nose into every platter, and its finger into
every pie. In France worshipful men wear their hats and their furs
indoors, and go abroad lighter clad. In Germany they don hat and
furred cloak to go abroad; but sit bareheaded and light clad round
the stove.

"The French intermix not the men and women folk in assemblies, as
we Hollanders use. Round their preachers the women sit on their
heels in rows, and the men stand behind them. Their harvests are
rye, and flax, and wine. Three mules shall you see to one horse,
and whole flocks of sheep as black as coal.

"In Germany the snails be red. I lie not. The French buy
minstrelsy, but breed jests, and make their own mirth. The Germans
foster their set fools, with ear-caps, which move them to laughter
by simulating madness; a calamity that asks pity, not laughter. In
this particular I deem that lighter nation wiser than the graver
German. What sayest thou? Alas! canst not answer me now.

"In Germany the petty laws are wondrous wise and just. Those
against criminals, bloody. In France bloodier still; and executed
a trifle more cruelly there. Here the wheel is common, and the
fiery stake; and under this king they drown men by the score in
Paris river, Seine yclept. But the English are as peremptory in
hanging and drowning for a light fault; so travellers report.
Finally, a true-hearted Frenchman, when ye chance on one, is a man
as near perfect as earth affords; and such a man is my Denys,
spite of his foul mouth."

Denys. "My foul mouth! Is that so writ, Master Richart?"

Richart. "Ay, in sooth; see else."

Denys (inspecting the letter gravely). "I read not the letter so."

Richart. "How then?"

Denys. "Humph! ahem why just the contrary." He added: "'Tis kittle
work perusing of these black scratches men are agreed to take for
words. And I trow 'tis still by guess you clerks do go, worthy
sir. My foul mouth! This is the first time e'er I heard on't. Eh,

But the females did not seize the opportunity he gave them, and
burst into a loud and general disclaimer. Margaret blushed and
said nothing; the other two bent silently over their work with
something very like a sly smile. Denys inspected their
countenances long and carefully. And the perusal was so
satisfactory, that he turned with a tone of injured, but patient
innocence, and bade Richart read on.

"The Italians are a polished and subtle people. They judge a man,
not by his habits, but his speech and gesture. Here Sir Chough may
by no means pass for falcon gentle, as did I in Germany, pranked
in my noble servant's feathers. Wisest of all nations in their
singular temperance of food and drink. Most foolish of all to
search strangers coming into their borders, and stay them from
bringing much money in. They should rather invite it, and like
other nations, let the traveller from taking of it out. Also here
in Venice the dames turn their black hair yellow by the sun and
art, to be wiser than Him who made them. Ye enter no Italian town
without a bill of health, though now is no plague in Europe. This
peevishness is for extortion's sake. The innkeepers cringe and
fawn, and cheat, and in country places murder you. Yet will they
give you clean sheets by paying therefor. Delicate in eating, and
abhor from putting their hand in the plate; sooner they will apply
a crust or what not. They do even tell of a cardinal at Rome,
which armeth his guest's left hand with a little bifurcal dagger
to hold the meat, while his knife cutteth it. But methinks this,
too, is to be wiser than Him, who made the hand so supple and

Eli. "I am of your mind, my lad."

"They are sore troubled with the itch. And ointment for it,
unguento per la rogna, is cried at every corner of Venice. From
this my window I saw an urchin sell it to three several dames in
silken trains, and to two velvet knights."

Catherine. "Italy, my lass, I rede ye wash your body i' the tub o'
Sundays; and then ye can put your hand i' the plate o' Thursday
withouten offence."

"Their bread is lovely white. Their meats they spoil with
sprinkling cheese over them; O, perversity! Their salt is black;
without a lie. In commerce these Venetians are masters of the
earth and sea; and govern their territories wisely. Only one flaw
I find; the same I once heard a learned friar cast up against
Plato his republic: to wit, that here women are encouraged to
venal frailty, and do pay a tax to the State, which, not content
with silk and spice, and other rich and honest freights, good
store, must trade in sin. Twenty thousand of these Jezebels there
be in Venice and Candia, and about, pampered and honoured for
bringing strangers to the city, and many live in princely palaces
of their own. But herein methinks the politic signors of Venice
forget what King David saith, 'Except the Lord keep the city, the
watchman waketh but in vain.' Also, in religion, they hang their
cloth according to the wind, siding now with the Pope, now with
the Turk; but aye with the god of traders, mammon hight. Shall
flower so cankered bloom to the world's end? But since I speak of
flowers, this none may deny them, that they are most cunning in
making roses and gilliflowers to blow unseasonably. In summer they
nip certain of the budding roses and water them not. Then in
winter they dig round these discouraged plants, and put in cloves;
and so with great art rear sweet-scented roses, and bring them to
market in January. And did first learn this art of a cow. Buds she
grazed in summer, and they sprouted at yule. Women have sat in the
doctors' chairs at their colleges. But she that sat in St. Peter's
was a German. Italy too, for artful fountains and figures that
move by water and enact life. And next for fountains is Augsburg,
where they harness the foul knave Smoke to good Sir Spit, and he
turneth stout Master Roast. But lest any one place should vaunt,
two towns there be in Europe, which, scorning giddy fountains,
bring water tame in pipes to every burgher's door, and he filleth
his vessels with but turning of a cock. One is London, so watered
this many a year by pipes of a league from Paddington, a
neighbouring city; and the other is the fair town of Lubeck. Also
the fierce English are reported to me wise in that they will not
share their land and flocks with wolves; but have fairly driven
those marauders into their mountains. But neither in France, nor
Germany, nor Italy, is a wayfarer's life safe from the vagabones
after sundown. I can hear of no glazed house in all Venice; but
only oiled linen and paper; and behind these barbarian eyelets, a
wooden jalosy. Their name for a cowardly assassin is 'a brave
man,' and for an harlot, 'a courteous person,' which is as much as
to say that a woman's worst vice, and a man's worst vice, are
virtues. But I pray God for little Holland that there an assassin
may be yclept an assassin, and an harlot an harlot, till domesday;
and then gloze foul faults with silken names who can!"

Eli (with a sigh). "He should have been a priest, saving your
presence, my poor lass."

"January 26. - Sweetheart, I must be brief, and tell thee but a
part of that I have seen, for this day my journal ends. To-night
it sails for thee, and I, unhappy, not with it, but to-morrow, in
another ship, to Rome.

"Dear Margaret, I took a hand litter, and was carried to St. Mark
his church. Outside it, towards the market-place, is a noble
gallery, and above it four famous horses, cut in brass by the
ancient Romans, and seem all moving, and at the very next step
must needs leap down on the beholder. About the church are six
hundred pillars of marble, porphyry, and ophites. Inside is a
treasure greater than either, at St. Denys, or Loretto, or Toledo.
Here a jewelled pitcher given the seigniory by a Persian king,
also the ducal cap blazing with jewels, and on its crown a diamond
and a chrysolite, each as big as an almond; two golden crowns and
twelve golden stomachers studded with jewels, from Constantinople;
item, a monstrous sapphire; item, a great diamond given by a
French king; item, a prodigious carbuncle; item, three unicorns'
horns. But what are these compared with the sacred relics?

"Dear Margaret, I stood and saw the brazen chest that holds the
body of St. Mark the Evangelist. I saw with these eyes and handled
his ring, and his gospel written with his own hand, and all my
travels seemed light; for who am I that I should see such things?
Dear Margaret, his sacred body was first brought from Alexandria,
by merchants in 810, and then not prized as now; for between 829,
when this church was builded, and 1094, the very place where it
lay was forgotten. Then holy priests fasted and prayed many days
seeking for light, and lo! the Evangelist's body brake at midnight
through the marble and stood before them. They fell to the earth;
but in the morning found the crevice the sacred body had burst
through, and peering through it saw him lie. Then they took and
laid him in his chest beneath the altar, and carefully put back
the stone with its miraculous crevice, which crevice I saw, and
shall gape for a monument while the world lasts. After that they
showed me the Virgin's chair, it is of stone; also her picture,
painted by St. Luke, very dark, and the features now scarce
visible. This picture, in time of drought, they carry in
procession, and brings the rain. I wish I had not seen it. Item,
two pieces of marble spotted with John the Baptist's blood; item,
a piece of the true cross, and of the pillar to which Christ was
tied; item, the rock struck by Moses, and wet to this hour; also a
stone Christ sat on, preaching at Tyre; but some say it is the one

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