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  • 1900
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“There are also servants, women, in the Order, who, although they do not make any vows, and are allowed to marry, are obliged to perform certain duties for the Order, according to the brothers’ commands. The one who meets such favor and honor, receives a pious kiss from a brother-knight as a sign that from that moment she is to serve the Order with words and deeds. Ah! _panienko_!–I was going to receive that great favor, but in sinful obduracy instead of receiving it with gratitude, I committed a great sin and was punished for it.”

“What did you do?”

“Brother Danveld came to me and gave me the kiss of the Order; but I, thinking that he was doing it from pure license, raised my wicked hand against him—-“

Here she began to strike her breast and repeated several times:

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

“What happened then?” asked Danusia.

“Immediately my hand became motionless, and from that moment I have been crippled. I was young and stupid–I did not know! But I was punished. If a woman fears that a brother of the Order wishes to do something wicked, she must leave the judgment to God, but she must not resist herself, because whosoever contradicts the Order or a brother of the Order, that one will feel God’s anger!”

Danusia listened to these words with fright and uneasiness; the sister began to sigh and to complain.

“I am not old yet,” said she; “I am only thirty years old, but besides the hand, God has taken from me my youth and beauty.”

“If it were not for the hand,” said Danusia, “you need not complain.”

Then there was silence. Suddenly the sister, as if she had just remembered something, said:

“I dreamed that some knight wrapped you with a white mantle on the snow. Perhaps it was a Krzyzak! They wear white mantles.”

“I want neither Krzyzaks nor their mantles,” answered the girl.

But further conversation was interrupted by the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek, who entering the room, nodded to Danusia and said:

“Praise God and come to Zbyszko! He has awakened and has asked for something to eat. He is much better.”

In fact it was so. Zbyszko was a great deal better, and the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek was almost sure that he would recover, when an unexpected accident upset all his expectations. There came envoys from Jurand with a letter to the princess, containing dreadful news. In Spychow, half of Jurand’s _grodek_ had been burned, and he himself during the rescue was struck by a beam. It is true that the _ksiondz_ Kaleb, who wrote the letter, said that Jurand, would recover, but that the sparks had burned his remaining eye so badly that there was very little sight left in it, and he was likely to become blind.

For that reason, Jurand asked his daughter to come to Spychow as soon as possible, because he wished to see her once more, before he was entirely encompassed by darkness. He also said that she was to remain with him, because even the blind, begging on the roads, had some one to lead them by the hand and show them the way; why should he be deprived of that pleasure and die among strangers? There were also humble thanks for the princess, who had taken care of the girl like a mother, and finally Jurand promised that, although blind, he would go to Warszawa once more, in order to fall at the lady’s feet and beg her for further favor for Danusia.

The princess, when the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek had finished reading the letter, could not say a word for some time. She had hoped that when Jurand came to see his daughter and her, she would be able by the prince’s and her own influence to obtain his consent for the wedding of the young couple. But this letter, not only destroyed her plans, but in the meanwhile deprived her of Danusia whom she loved as well as she did her own children. She feared that Jurand would marry the girl to some neighbor of his, so as to spend the rest of his life among his own people. It was no use to think about Zbyszko–he could not go to Spychow, and then who knew how he would be received there. The lady knew that Jurand had refused to give him Danusia; and he had said to the princess herself that on account of some secret reason, he would never consent to their marriage. Therefore in great grief she ordered the principal messenger to be brought to her, as she desired to ask him about the Spychowski misfortune, and also to learn something about Jurand’s plans.

She was very much surprised when a stranger came instead of the old Tolima, who used to bear the shield after Jurand and usually carried his messages; but the stranger told her that Tolima had been seriously injured in the last fight with the Germans and that he was dying in Spychow; Jurand being very ill himself, asked her to send his daughter immediately, because every day he saw less and less, and perhaps in a few days he would become blind. The messenger begged the princess to permit him to take the girl immediately after the horses were rested, but as it was already dusk she refused; especially as she did not wish to distress Zbyszko and Danusia by such a sudden separation.

Zbyszko already knew all about it, and he was lying like one stricken by a heavy blow; when the princess entered, and wringing her hands, said from the threshold:

“We cannot help it; he is her father!” he repeated after her like an echo: “We cannot help it—-” then closed his eyes, like a man who expects death immediately.

But death did not come; but in his breast there gathered a still greater grief and through his head ran sad thoughts, like the clouds which driven by the wind, obstruct the sun and quench all joy in the world. Zbyszko understood as well as the princess did, that if Danusia were once in Spychow, she would be lost to him forever. Here everybody was his friend; there Jurand might even refuse to receive him, or listen to him, especially if he were bound by a vow, or some other unknown reason as strong as a religious vow. Then how could he go to Spychow, when he was sick and hardly able to move in bed. A few days ago, when the prince rewarded him with the golden spurs, he had thought that his joy would conquer his illness, and he had prayed fervently to God to be permitted to soon rise and fight with the Krzyzaks; but now he had again lost all hope, because he felt that if Danusia were not at his bedside, then with her would go his desire for life and the strength to fight with death. What a pleasure and joy it had been to ask her several times a day: “Do you love me?” and to see how she covered her smiling and bashful eyes, or bent and answered: “Yes, Zbyszko.”

But now only illness, loneliness and grief would remain, and the happiness would depart and not return.

Tears shone in Zbyszko’s eyes and rolled slowly down on his cheeks; then he turned to the princess and said:

“Gracious lady, I fear that I shall never see Danusia again.”

And the lady being sorrowful herself, answered:

“I would not be surprised if you died from grief; but the Lord Jesus is merciful.”

After a while, however, wishing to comfort him, she added:

“But if Jurand die first, then the tutelage will be the prince’s and mine, and we will give you the girl immediately.”

“He will not die!” answered Zbyszko.

But at once, evidently some new thought came to his mind, because he arose, sat on the bed and said in a changed voice:

“Gracious lady—-“

At that moment Danusia interrupted him; she came crying and said from the threshold:

“Zbyszku! Do you know about it already! I pity _tatus_, but I pity you also, poor boy!”

When she approached, Zbyszko encircled his love with his well arm, and began to speak:

“How can I live without you, my dearest? I did not travel through rivers and forest, I did not make the vow to serve you, that I might lose you. Hej! sorrow will not help, crying will not help, bah! even death itself, because even if the grass grow over me, my soul will not forget you, even if I am in the presence of the Lord Jesus or of God the Father–I say, there must be a remedy! I feel a terrible pain in my bones, but you must fall at the lady’s feet, I cannot–and ask her to have mercy upon us.”

Danusia hearing this, ran quickly to the princess’ feet, and having seized them in her arms, she hid her face in the folds of the heavy dress; the lady turned her compassionate but also astonished eyes to Zbyszko, and said:

“How can I show you mercy? If I do not let the child go to her sick father, I will draw God’s anger on myself.”

Zbyszko who had been sitting on the bed, slipped down on the pillows and did not answer for a time because he was exhausted. Slowly, however, he began to move one hand toward the other on his breast until he joined them as in prayer.

“Rest,” said the princess; “then you may tell me what you wish; and you, Danusia, arise and release my knees.”

“Relax, but do not rise; beg with me,” said Zbyszko.

Then he began to speak in a feeble and broken voice:

“Gracious lady–Jurand was against me in Krakow–he will be here also, but if the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek married me to Danusia, then–afterward she may go to Spychow because there is no human power that could take her away from me—-“

These words were so unexpected to the princess, that she jumped from the bench; then she sat down again and as if she had not thoroughly understood about what he was talking, she said:

“For heaven’s sake! the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek.”

“Gracious lady! Gracious lady!” begged Zbyszko.

“Gracious lady!” repeated Danusia, embracing the princess’ knees.

“How could it be done without her father’s permission?”

“God’s law is the stronger!” answered Zbyszko.

“For heaven’s sake!”

“Who is the father, if not the prince? Who is the mother, if not you, gracious lady?”

And Danusia added:

“Dearest _matuchna_!”[104]

“It is true, that I have been and am still like a mother to her,” said the princess, “and Jurand received his wife from my hand. It is true! And if you are once married–everything is ended. Perhaps Jurand will be angry, but he must be obedient to the commands of the prince, his lord. Then, no one need tell him immediately, only if he wanted to give the girl to another, or to make her a nun; and if he has made some vow, it will not be his fault that he cannot fulfill it. Nobody can act against God’s will–perhaps it is God’s will!”

“It cannot be otherwise!” exclaimed Zbyszko.

But the princess, still very much excited, said:

“Wait, I must collect my thoughts. If the prince were here, I would go to him immediately and would ask him: ‘May I give Danusia to Zbyszko or not?’ But I am afraid without him, and there is not much time to spare, because the girl must go to-morrow! Oh, sweet Jesus, let her go married–then there will be peace. But I cannot recover my senses again–and then I am afraid of something. And you Danusia, are you not afraid?–Speak!”

“I will die without that!” interrupted Zbyszko.

Danusia arose from the princess’ knees; she was not only really on confidential terms with the good lady, but also much spoiled by her; therefore she seized her around the neck, and began to hug her.

But the princess said:

“I will not promise you anything without Father Wyszoniek. Run for him immediately!”

Danusia went after Father Wyszoniek; Zbyszko turned his pale face toward the princess, and said:

“What the Lord Jesus has destined for me will happen; but for this consolation, may God reward you, gracious lady.”

“Do not bless me yet,” answered the princess, “because we do not know what will happen. You must swear to me upon you honor, that if you are married, you will not prevent the girl from going to her father, or else you will draw his curse upon her and yourself.

“Upon my honor!” said Zbyszko.

“Remember then! And the girl must not tell Jurand immediately. We will send for him from Ciechanow, and make him come with Danusia, and then I will tell him myself, or I will ask the prince to do it. When he sees that there is no remedy, he will consent. He did not dislike you?”

“No,” said Zbyszko, “he did not dislike me; perhaps he will be pleased when Danusia is mine. If he made a vow, it will not be his fault that he could not keep it.”

The conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Danusia and the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek. The princess immediately asked his advice and began to tell him with great enthusiasm about Zbyszko’s plan; but as soon as he heard about it, he made the sign of the cross from astonishment and said:

“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost! How can I do it? It is advent!”

“For God’s sake! That is true!” exclaimed the princess.

Then there was silence; only their sorrowful faces showed what a blow those words of the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek were to all of them.

Then he said after a while:

“If you had a dispensation, then I would not oppose it, because I pity you. I would not ask for Jurand’s permission, because our gracious lady consents and, vouches for the prince’s consent–well! they are the mother and the father for the whole of Mazowsze. But without a bishop’s dispensation, I cannot. Bah! if the _ksiondz_ bishop of Kurdwanow were with us, he would not refuse a dispensation, although he is a severe priest, not like his predecessor, Bishop Mamphiolus, who used always to answer: _Bene! Bene!_”

“Bishop Jacob of Kurdwanow loves the prince and myself very much,” said the lady.

“Therefore I say he would not refuse a dispensation, more so because there are some reasons for one: the girl must go to her father and that young man is ill and may die–Hm! _in articulo mortis!_ But without a dispensation I cannot.”

“I could obtain it afterward from Bishop Jacob; no matter how severe he may be, he will not refuse me this favor. I guarantee, he will not refuse,” said the princess.

To this the _ksiondz_ Wjszoniek who was a good and easy man, replied:

“A word of the Lord’s anointed is a great word. I am afraid of the _ksiondz_ bishop, but that great word! Then the youth could promise something to the cathedral in Plock. Well, as long as the dispensation will not come, there will be a sin–and nobody’s but mine. Hm! It is true that the Lord Jesus is merciful and if any one sin not for his own benefit, but on account of mercy for human misery, he forgives more easily! But there will be a sin, and suppose the bishop should refuse, who will grant me pardon?”

“The bishop will not refuse!” exclaimed Princess Anna.

And Zbyszko said:

“That man Sanderus, who came with me, has pardons ready for everything.”

The _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek probably did not believe entirely in Sanderus’ pardons; but he was glad to have even a pretext so that he could help Danusia and Zbyszko, because he loved the girl, whom he had known from childhood. Then he remembered that at the worst, he would be punished with church penitence, therefore turning toward the princess he said:

“It is true, I am a priest, but I am also the prince’s servant. What do you command, gracious lady?”

“I do not wish to command but to beg,” answered the lady. “If that Sanderus has pardons—-“

“Sanderus has. But there is the question about the bishop. He is very severe with the canons in Plock.”

“Do not be afraid of the bishop. I have heard that he has forbidden the priest to carry swords and crossbows and has forbidden different licenses, but he has not forbidden them to do good.”

The _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek raised his eyes and his hands, and said:

“Let it be according to your wish!”

At this word, joy filled their hearts. Zbyszko again sat on the bed and the princess, Danusia and Father Wyszoniek sat round it and began to plan how they should act.

They decided to keep it secret so that not a soul in the house should know anything about it; they also decided that Jurand must not know until the princess herself told him in Ciechanow about everything.

In the meanwhile, the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek was to write a letter from the princess to Jurand and ask him to come to Ciechanow, where he could find better medicine and where he will not weary. Finally, they decided, that Zbyszko and Danusia will go to confession, that the wedding ceremony will be performed during the night, when everybody will retire.

The thought came to Zbyszko to have his shield-bearer, the Czech, as a witness of the wedding; but he gave up the idea when he remembered that he had received him from Jagienka. For a moment she stood in his memory as though present, so that it seemed to him that he saw her blushing face and her eyes full of tears, and heard her pleading voice say: “Do not do that! Do not repay me with evil for good, nor with misery for love!” Then at once great compassion for her seized him, because he felt that a great wrong would be done her, after which she would find no consolation under the roof of Zgorzelice, nor in the depths of the forest, nor in the fields, nor in the abbot’s gifts, nor in Cztan and Wilk’s courtship. Therefore he said inwardly: “Girl, may God give you the best of everything, for although I am willing to bend the sky for you, I cannot.” In fact, the thought that he could not help it, immediately brought him relief, and tranquillity returned, so that immediately he began to think only about Danusia and the wedding.

But he was obliged to call the Czech to help him; therefore although he determined not to say a word to him about what was going to happen, he summoned him and said:

“To-day I am going to confession as well as to the Lord’s table; therefore you must dress me in my best clothing as if I were going to the king’s palace.”

The Czech was a little afraid and began to look into his face; Zbyszko having noticed this, said:

“Do not be alarmed, people do not go to confession only when they expect to die; the holy days are coming, Father Wyszoniek and the princess are going to Ciechanow, and then there will be no priest nearer than in Przasnysz.”

“And are you not going?” asked the shield-bearer.

“If I recover my health, then I will go; but that is in God’s hands.”

Therefore the Czech was quieted; he hurried to the chests, and brought that white _jaka_ embroidered with gold, in which the knight used to dress for great occasions, and also a beautiful rug to cover the bed; then having lifted Zbyszko, with the help of the two Turks, he washed him, and combed his long hair on which he put a scarlet zone; finally he placed him on red cushions, and satisfied with his own work, said:

“If Your Grace were able to dance, you could celebrate even a wedding!”

“It will be necessary to celebrate it without dancing,” answered Zbyszko, smiling.

In the meanwhile the princess was also thinking how to dress Danusia, because for her womanly nature it was a question of great importance, and under no consideration would she consent to have her beloved foster child married in her everyday dress. The servants who were also told that the girl must dress in the color of innocence for confession, very easily found a white dress, but there was great trouble about the wreath for the head. While thinking of it, the lady became so sad that she began to complain:

“My poor orphan, where shall I find a wreath of rue for you in this wilderness? There is none here, neither a flower, nor a leaf; only some green moss under the snow.”

And Danusia, standing with loosened hair, also became sorrowful, because she wanted a wreath; after awhile, however, she pointed to the garlands of immortelles, hanging on the walls of the room, and said:

“We must weave a wreath of those flowers, because we will not find anything else, and Zbyszko will take me even with such a wreath.”

The princess would not consent at first, being afraid of a bad omen; but as in this mansion, to which they came only for hunting, there were no flowers, finally the immortelles were taken. In the meanwhile, Father Wyszoniek came, and received Zbyszko’s confession; afterwards he listened to the girl’s confession and then the gloomy night fell. The servants retired after supper, according to the princess’ order. Some of Jurand’s men lay down in the servants’ room, and others slept in the stables with the horses. Soon the fires in the servants’ room became covered with ashes and were quenched; finally everything became absolutely quiet in the forest house, only from time to time the dogs were heard howling at the wolves in the direction of the wilderness.

But in the princess’, Father Wyszoniek’s and Zbyszko’s rooms, the windows were shining, throwing red lights on the snow which covered the court-yard. They were waiting in silence, listening to the throbbing of their own hearts–uneasy and affected by the solemnity of the moment which was coming. In fact, after midnight, the princess took Danusia by the hand and conducted her to Zbyszko’s room, where Father Wyszoniek was waiting for them. In the room there was a great blaze in the fireplace, and by its abundant but unsteady light, Zbyszko perceived Danusia; she looked a little pale on account of sleepless nights; she was dressed in a long, stiff, white dress, with a wreath of immortelles on her brow. On account of emotion, she closed her eyes; her little hands were hanging against the dress, and thus she appeared like some painting on a church window; there was something spiritual about her; Zbyszko was surprised when he saw her, and thought that he was going to marry not an earthly, but a heavenly being. He still thought this when she kneeled with crossed hands to receive the communion, and having bent her head, closed her eyes entirely. In that moment she even seemed to him as if dead, and fear seized his heart. But it did not last long because, having heard the priest’s voice repeat: “_Ecce Agnus Dei_,” his thoughts went toward God. In the room there were heard only the solemn voice of Father Wyszoniek: “_Domine, non sum dignus_,” and with it the crackling of the logs in the fireplace and the sound of crickets playing obstinately, but sadly, in the chinks of the chimney. Outdoors the wind arose and rustled in the snowy forest, but soon stopped.

Zbyszko and Danusia remained sometime in silence; the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek took the chalice and carried it to the chapel of the mansion. After a while he returned accompanied by Sir de Lorche, and seeing astonishment on the faces of those present, he placed his finger on his mouth, as if to stop the cry of surprise, then he said:

“I understand; it will be better to have two witnesses of the marriage; I warned this knight who swore to me on his honor and on the relics of Aguisgranum to keep the secret as long as necessary.”

Then Sir de Lorche first kneeled before the princess, then before Danusia; then he arose and stood silently, clad in his armor, on which the red light of the fire was playing. He stood motionless, as if plunged in ecstasy, because for him also, that white girl with a wreath of immortelles on her brow seemed like the picture of an angel, seen on the window of a Gothic cathedral.

The priest put her near Zbyszko’s bed and having put the stole round their hands, began the customary rite. On the princess’ honest face the tears were dropping one after another; but she was not uneasy within, because she believed she was doing well, uniting these two lovely and innocent children. Sir de Lorche kneeled again, and leaning with both hands on the hilt of his sword, looked like a knight who beholds a vision. The young people repeated the priest’s words: “I … take you …” and those sweet quiet words were accompanied again by the singing of the crickets in the chimney and the crackling in the fireplace. When the ceremony was finished, Danusia fell at the feet of the princess who blessed them both, and finally intrusted them to the tutelage of heavenly might; she said to Zbyszko:

“Now be merry, because she is yours, and you are hers.”

Then Zbyszko extended his well arm to Danusia, and she put her little arms round his neck; for a while one could hear them repeat to each other:

“Danuska, you are mine!”

“Zbyszku, you are mine!”

But soon Zbyszko became weak, because there were too many emotions for his strength, and having slipped on the pillow, he began to breathe heavily. But he did not faint, nor did he cease to smile at Danusia, who was wiping his face which was covered with a cold perspiration, and he did not stop repeating:

“Danuska, you are mine!” to which every time she nodded her fair head in assent.

This sight greatly moved Sir de Lorche, who declared that in no other country had he seen such loving and tender hearts; therefore he solemnly swore that he was ready to fight on foot or on horseback with any knight, magician or dragon, who would try to prevent their happiness. The princess and Father Wyszoniek were witnesses of his oath.

But the lady, being unable to conceive of a marriage without some merriment, brought some wine which they drank. The hours of night were passing on. Zbyszko having overcome his weakness, drew Danusia to him and said:

“Since the Lord Jesus has given you to me, nobody can take you from me; but I am sorry that you must leave me, my sweetest berry.”

“We will come with _tatulo_ to Ciechanow,” answered Danusia.

“If only you do not become sick–or–God may preserve you from some bad accident.–You must go to Spychow–I know! Hej! I must be thankful to God and to our gracious lady, that you are already mine–because we are married and no human force can break our marriage.”

But as this marriage was performed secretly during the night and separation was necessary immediately afterward, therefore from time to time, not only Zbyszko, but everybody was filled with sadness. The conversation was broken. From time to time, also the fire was quenched and plunged all heads in obscurity. Then the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek threw fresh logs on the charcoal and when something whined in the wood, as happens very often when the wood is fresh, he said:

“Penitent soul, what do you wish?”

The crickets answered him and the increasing flames which brought out from the shadow the sleepless faces, were reflected in Sir de Lorche’s armor, lighting in the meanwhile Danusia’s white dress and the immortelles on her head.

The dogs outside again began to howl in the direction of the forest, as they usually do, when they scent wolves.

As the hours of the night flew on, oftener there was silence; finally the princess said:

“Sweet Jesus! We had better go to bed if we are going to sit like this after a wedding, but as it was determined to watch until morning, then play for us, my little flower, for the last time before your departure, on the little lute–for me and for Zbyszko.”

“What shall I play?” asked she.

“What?” said the princess. “What else if not the same song which you sang in Tyniec, when Zbyszko saw you for the first time.”

“Hej! I remember–and shall never forget it,” said Zbyszko. “When I heard that song somewhere else–I cried.”

“Then I will sing it!” said Danusia.

And immediately she began to thrum on the lute; then, having raised her little head, she sang:

“If I only could get
The wings like a birdie,
I would fly quickly
To my dearest Jasiek!
I would then be seated
On the high enclosure;
Look, my dear Jasiulku,
Look on me, poor orphan.”

But at once her voice broke, her mouth began to tremble and from beneath the closed eyelids the tears began to flow down her cheeks. For a moment she tried not to let them pass the eyelashes, but she could not keep them back and finally she began to cry, exactly as she did the last time she sang that song to Zbyszko in the prison in Krakow.

“Danuska! what is the matter, Danuska?” asked Zbyszko.

“Why are you crying? Such a wedding!” exclaimed the princess. “Why?”

“I do not know,” answered Danusia, sobbing. “I am so sad! I regret Zbyszko and you so much.”

Then all became very sorrowful; they began to console her, and to explain to her that she was not going to remain in Spychow a long time, but that they would surely be with Jurand in Ciechanow for the holy days. Zbyszko again encircled her with his arm, drew her to his breast and kissed the tears from her eyes; but the oppression remained in all hearts, and thus the hours of night passed.

Finally from the court-yard there resounded such a sudden and dreadful noise, that all shivered. The princess, having rushed from the bench, exclaimed:

“For God’s sake. The sweeps of the wells! They are watering the horses!”

And the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek looked through the window, in which the glass balls were growing gray and said:

“The night grows white and the day is coming. _Ave Maria, gratia plena_—-“

Then he left the room but having returned after a while, he said:

“The day breaks, but the day will be dark. Jurand’s people are watering their horses. Poor girl, you must be ready!”

The princess and Danusia began to cry very loudly and both, together with Zbyszko, began to lament, as simple people do when they have to separate; it was half lamenting and half singing, which flowed from full souls, in a natural way, as the tears flow from the eyes.

“Hej! there is no use of lamenting,
We must separate, my darling,

Zbyszko nestled Danusia for the last time on his breast and kept her for a long time, as long as he could breathe and until the princess drew her from him, in order to dress her for the journey.

In the meanwhile it was broad daylight.

In the mansion everybody was up and moving round. The Czech came to Zbyszko to ask about his health and to ascertain what were his orders.

“Draw the bed to the window,” said the knight to him.

The Czech drew the bed to the window, very easily; but he was surprised when Zbyszko told him to open it. He obeyed, however, only he covered his master with his own fur coat, because it was cold outside, although cloudy, and snow was falling.

Zbyszko began to look; in the court-yard, through the flakes of the falling snow, one could see lights, and round them, on steaming horses, Jurand’s people were standing. All were armed. The forest was entirely covered with the snow; one could hardly see the enclosures and the gate.

Danusia, all wrapped up in furs, rushed once more into Zbyszko’s room; once more she put her arms around his neck and bade him farewell:

“Although I am going, still I am yours.”

He kissed her hands, her cheeks and her eyes, and said:

“May God protect you! May God lead you! You are mine, mine until death!”

When they again separated them, he raised himself as much as he could, leaned his head on the window and looked out; consequently, through the flakes of the snow, as through a veil, he saw Danusia sitting in the sleigh, the princess holding her a long time in her arms, the ladies of the court kissing her and the _ksiondz_ Wyszoniek making the sign of the cross for the journey. Before the departure, she turned once more toward him, stretched out her arms and exclaimed:

“Zbyszku, remain with God!”

“May God permit me to see you in Ciechanow!”

But the snow was falling abundantly, as though to deaden every sound, and to cover everything; therefore those last words came muffled to their ears, so that it seemed to each of them that they were already calling to each other from afar.




After abundant snowfalls, heavy frost and dry, clear days set in. By day the wood sparkled in the rays of the sun, the ice fettered the rivers and hardened the marshes; serene nights followed in which the frost was intensified to such a degree that the wood in the forest cracked loudly. The birds approached the dwelling-places. Wolves rendered the roads unsafe, gathering in packs and attacking not only solitary people, but also villages. The people however enjoyed themselves at the firesides in their smoky shanties, presaging from the intensely cold winter an abundant year, and they waited gladly for the approaching holidays. The princely Forest Court was deserted. The princess with the court and priest Wyszoniek left for Ciechanow. Zbyszko, who, though considerably improved, was not yet strong enough to ride on horseback, remained in the Forest Court together with Sanderus, his Bohemian armor-bearer and the servants of the place, who were under the superintendence of a noble-woman fulfilling the household duties.

But the knight greatly yearned after his young wife. It is true, it was an immensely consoling thought to him that Danusia was already his, and that no human power could take her from him; but, on the other hand, that same thought intensified his longing. For whole days he hoped for that moment when he should be able to leave the court, and pondered on what he should then do, where to go, and how to appease Jurand. He had, likewise, bad and restless moments. But on the whole the future appeared joyful to him. To love Danusia and pluck peacock plumes from helmets–such a life would he lead. Many a time he desired to speak of it to his Bohemian whom he loved, but he reflected, since the Bohemian, he thought, was with his whole soul Jagienka’s, it would be imprudent to speak to him about Danusia, but he, bound to secrecy, could not tell everything that happened.

However, his health improved daily. A week before Vigil (Christmas Eve) he mounted his horse for the first time, and although he felt that he could not do this in his armor, nevertheless he gathered confidence. Besides, he did not expect soon to be obliged to put on the coat of mail and helmet. At the worst he hoped soon to be strong enough to do that too. Indoors, in order to kill time, he attempted to lift up the sword, which he accomplished well, but the wielding of the axe seemed to him yet a difficult task. Nevertheless, he believed that if he grasped the axe with both hands he would be able to wield it effectively.

Finally, two days before the Vigil, he gave orders to repair the carriage, saddle the horses, and notified the Bohemian that they were going to Ciechanow. The faithful armor-bearer was somewhat anxious, the more so on account of the intense frost out-of-doors. But Zbyszko said to him:

“Glowacz,[105] it concerns not your head, there is nothing for us in this court, and even should I happen to be sick, I would not miss seeing the old gentleman in Ciechanow. Moreover, I shall not ride on horseback, but in a sleigh, up to the neck in hay and under furs, and only when quite near Ciechanow shall I mount my horse.”

And so it happened. The Bohemian knew his young master and was aware that it was not good to oppose him, and still worse not to attend scrupulously to his orders. Therefore they started at an early hour. At the moment of departure, Zbyszko seeing Sanderus placing himself and his boxes in the sleigh, said to him: “Why are you sticking to me like burs to sheep’s wool?… You told me you wished to go to Prussia.”

“Yes, I said so,” Sanderus replied. “But can I get there alone in such snows? The wolves would devour me before the first star made its appearance, and I have nothing to stay here for. I prefer the town, to edify the people in godliness, and bestow upon them my holy wares and rescue them from the devil’s grasp, as I have sworn to the father of all Christendom in Rome. Besides this, I am exceedingly attached to your grace, whom I shall not leave before my return to Rome, for it may happen that I may be enabled to render you some service.”

“He is always for you, sir! He is ready to eat and drink for you,” said the Bohemian. “Such service he would be too glad to render, but if a pack of wolves should happen to attack us in the forests near Przasnysz then I shall feed the wolves with him, for he is unfit for anything else.”

“Better take care that the sinful words don’t freeze to your moustache,” replied Sanderus, “for such icicles can only melt in hellfire.”

“Owa!” replied Glowacz, reaching with his gauntlet to his incipient moustache, “I shall first try to warm some beer for refreshment, but I’ll give none to you.”

“But it is forbidden there to give drink to the thirsty,–another sin.”

“I shall give you a pail full of water, but meanwhile take what I have in my hand!” Thus saying he gathered as much snow as he could hold with both gauntlets and threw it at Sanderus’ beard, but the latter bent aside and said:

“There is nothing for _you_ in Ciechanow, for there is already a grown-up bear that plays with snow.”

Thus they loved to tease each other. But Zbyszko did not forbid Sanderus to ride with him because that strange man amused him, and at the same time it seemed to him that the man was really attached to him.

They moved from the Forest Court in the bright morning. The frost was so intense that they had to cover the horses. The whole landscape was under snow. The roofs of the cottages were covered and hardly visible. Smoke seemed to issue directly from white hills, shooting up skyward, red-hued in the morning, widening out on the roof like a brush, and looking like the plumes on helmets.

Zbyszko sat in the sleigh, first to gather strength, secondly on account of the severe cold, against which it was easy to protect oneself; he commanded Glowacz to sit down beside him so as to be ready with the crossbow against an attack of wolves, meanwhile he chatted with him merrily.

“In Przasnysz, we shall only feed the horses and warm ourselves a little and then immediately continue our journey.”

“To Ciechanow?”

“First to Ciechanow, to pay homage to the court and attend worship.”

“After that?” inquired Glowacz.

Zbyszko smiled and replied,

“Afterward, who knows, may be to Bogdaniec.”

The Bohemian looked at him with astonishment, the thought crossed his mind: Maybe he has quarrelled with Jurandowna, and this seemed to him most likely, because she had gone away. The Bohemian had also heard in the Forest Court that the lord of Spychow was opposed to the young knight, therefore the honest armor-bearer was glad although he loved Jagienka, but he looked upon her as upon a star in heaven for whose happiness he was willing even to shed his blood. He therefore loved Zbyszko, and from his very soul he longed to serve both of them even unto death.

“Then your grace thinks to settle down on the estate,” he exultingly said.

“How can I settle down on my estate,” replied Zbyszko, “when I challenged those Knights of the Cross, and even before that, I challenged Lichtenstein. De Lorche said that the Master would invite the king to visit Torun. I shall attach myself to the king’s retinue, and I think that at Torun, either _Pan_ Zawisza of Garbow or Powala of Taczew will ask permission from our lord to allow me to fight those monks. They will certainly come to fight accompanied by their armor-bearers; in that case you will also have to meet them.”

“If I were to kill any one, I should like him to be a monk,” said the Bohemian.

Zbyszko looked at him with satisfaction. “Well, he will not fare well who happens to feel your steel. God has given you great strength, but you would act badly if you were to push it to excess, because humility is becoming in the worthy armor-bearer.”

The Bohemian shook his head as a sign that he would not waste his strength, but would not spare it against the Germans.

Zbyszko smiled, not on account of what the armor bearer had said, but at his own thoughts.

“The old gentleman will be glad when we return, and in Zgorzelice there will also be joy.”

Jagienka stood before Zbyszko’s eyes as though she were sitting with him in the sleigh. That always happened, whenever he thought of her he saw her very distinctly.

“Well,” he said to himself, “she will not be glad, for when I shall return to Bogdaniec it will be with Danusia. Let her take somebody else….” Here, the figures of Wills of Brzozowa, and young Cztan of Rogow passed through his mind, and suddenly a disagreeable feeling crept over him, because the girl might fall into the hands of one of them, and he said to himself: “I wish I could find some better man, for those fellows are beer-gulpers and gourmands, and the girl is upright.” And he thought of this and of that; of his uncle when he should learn what had happened, it would be irksome, no matter how it turned out; but he immediately consoled himself with the thought that with his uncle, matters concerning kinship and wealth were always paramount, and these could advance the interest of the family. Jagienka was indeed nearer, but Jurand was a greater land owner than Zych of Zgorzelice. Moreover the former could easily foresee that Macko could not be long opposed to such a liaison, the more so when he should behold his nephew’s love for Danusia and her requital. He would grumble for a while, then he would be glad and begin to love Danuska as his own daughter.

Suddenly his heart was moved with tenderness and yearning toward that uncle who although a severe man, loved him like the pupil of his own eye; that uncle cared for him on the battlefield more than for himself, he took booty for him, and for his sake he was driven out from his estate. Both of them were lonely in the world without near relatives, with only distant ones like the abbot. Moreover, when the time arrived to separate from each other, neither of them knew what to do, particularly the older one, who no more desired anything for himself.

“Hej! he will be glad, he will be glad!” repeated Zbyszko to himself. “Only one thing I should like,–that he should receive Jurand and me as well as he would receive me by myself.”

Then he attempted to imagine what Jurand would say and do when he learned of the marriage. There was some alarm in this thought, but not too much of it, for the simple reason that it was an accomplished fact. It would not do for Jurand to challenge him to fight, and even should Jurand oppose, Zbyszko could answer him thus: “Forbear, I ask you; your right to Danuska is human, but mine is divine; she is therefore no more yours, but mine.” He once heard from a certain clergyman who was versed in the Scriptures that the woman must leave her father and mother and go with her husband. He felt therefore that the greater part of strength was in his favor; nevertheless he did not expect that intense strife and passion would arise between Jurand and himself, for he counted upon Danusia’s petition which would be granted, and quite as much, if not more, upon that which would be obtained by the intercession of the prince under whom Jurand was serving and that of the princess whom Jurand loved as the protectress of his child.

Owing to the severe frosts, wolves appeared in such great packs, that they even attacked people traveling together. Zbyszko was advised to remain over night at Przasnysz, but he took no notice of it, because it happened that, at the inn, they met some Mazovian knights with their trains who were also on their way to meet the prince at Ciechanow, and some armed merchants from that very place convoying loaded wagons from Prussia. There was no danger to travel with such a great crowd; they therefore started toward evening, although a sudden wind arose after nightfall which chased the clouds, and snow began to fall. They traveled keeping close to one another, but they advanced so slowly that it occurred to Zbyszko that they would not arrive in time for the Vigil. They were obliged to dig through the drift in some places where it was impossible for the horses to pass through. Fortunately the road in the woods was not obliterated. It was already dusk when they saw Ciechanow.

Were it not for the fire on the heights where the new castle stood, they would not have known that they were so close to town, and would have strayed much longer in the midst of the blinding snowstorm and gust of wind. They were not sure whether fire was burning there in honor of the guests at Christmas Eve, or whether it was put there according to some ancient custom. But none of Zbyszko’s companions thought about it, for all were anxious to find a place of shelter in town as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile the snowstorm constantly increased, the keen, freezing wind carried immense snowclouds; it dragged at the trees, it howled, maddened, it tore whole snowdrifts, carrying them upward, it shifted, heaved up, and almost covered the sleighs and horses and struck the faces of the occupants like sharp gravel; it stifled their breath and speech. The sound of the bells fastened to the poles of the sleighs could not be heard at all, but instead of it there were audible, in the midst of the howling and whistling of the whirlwind, plaintive voices like the howling of wolves, like distant neighing of horses, and at times like human voices in great distress, calling for help. The exhausted horses began to pant, and gradually slacken their pace.

“Hej! what a blizzard! what a blizzard!” said the Bohemian in a choking voice. “It is fortunate, sir, that we are already near the town, and that yonder fires are burning; if it were not for that we should fare badly.”

“There is death for those who are in the field,” answered Zbyszko, “but even the fire I don’t see there any more. The gloom is so thick that even the fire is invisible; perhaps the wood and coal were swept away by the wind.”

The merchants and knights in the other wagons were saying: that should the snowstorm carry off anybody from the seat, that one would never hear the morning bell. But Zbyszko became suddenly alarmed and said:

“God forbid that Jurand should be anywhere on the road!”

The Bohemian, although entirely occupied in looking toward the fire, on hearing the words of Zbyszko, turned his head and asked:

“Is the knight of Spychow expected?”


“With the young lady?”

“And the fire is really gone,” answered Zbyszko.

And indeed the fire was extinguished, but, instead, several horsemen appeared immediately in front of the horses and sleighs.

“Why dost thou follow?” cried the watchful Bohemian, grasping his crossbow; “Who are you?”

“The prince’s people, sent to assist the travelers.”

“Jesus Christ be praised!”

“Forever and ever.”

“Lead us to town,” said Zbyszko.

“Is there nobody left behind?”


“Whence do you come?”

“From Przasnysz.”

“Did you not meet other travelers on the road?”

“We met nobody, but they may be on other roads.”

“People are searching on all roads, come with us, you lost your route! To the right.”

They turned the horses, and for some time nothing was perceptible but the blast of the storm.

“Are there many guests in the castle?” asked Zbyszko, after a while.

The nearest horseman, who did not hear the question bent toward him.

“What did you say, sir?”

“I asked whether there were many guests at the prince’s?”

“As customary: there are enough.”

“But is the lord of Spychow there?”

“He is not there, but they expect him. People ware dispatched to meet him too.”

“With torches?”

“If the weather permits.”

They were unable to continue their conversation, for the boisterous snowstorm was increasing in force.

“Quite a devil’s marriage,” said the Bohemian. Zbyszko, however, told him to keep quiet, and not to conjure up the evil name.

“Dost thou not know,” he said, “that on such a Holy Day, the devil’s power is subdued, and the devils hide themselves in the ice-holes? Once the fishermen near Sandomierz on Christmas Eve found him in their net, he had a pike in his mouth, but when the sound of the bells reached his ears, he immediately fainted; they pounded him with their clubs till the evening. The tempest is certainly vehement, but it is with the permission of the Lord Jesus, who desires that the morrow shall be the more joyful.”

“Bah! we were quite near the city,” said Glowacz. “Yet if it were not for these people, we should have strayed till midnight, since we had deviated from the right path.”

“Because the fire was extinguished.”

Meanwhile they arrived in town. The snowdrifts in the streets were larger, so big that in some places they even covered the windows, so much so that the wayfarers could not see the light from within. But the storm was not so much felt here. The streets were deserted. The inhabitants were already celebrating the Christmas Eve festival. In front of some houses, boys with small cribs and goats, in spite of the snowstorm, were singing Christmas hymns. In the market-place there were seen men wrapped up in pease straw imitating bears; otherwise the streets were deserted. The merchants who accompanied Zbyszko and the noblemen on the road, remained in town, but they continued their journey toward the prince’s residence in the old castle, and, as the windows of the castle were made of glass, the bright light, notwithstanding the blizzard, cast its rays upon the advancing party.

The drawbridge over the moat was lowered, because the Lithuanian incursions of old had diminished, and the Knights of the Cross, who carried on war against the King of Poland, were now themselves seeking the friendship of the Prince of Mazowsze. One of the prince’s men blew the horn and immediately the gate was opened. There were in it several archers, but upon the walls and palisades there was not a living soul when the prince permitted the guard to go out. Old Mrokota, who had arrived two days before, went out to meet the guests, and greeted them in the name of the prince and brought them into the house where they could prepare themselves properly for table.

Zbyszko immediately asked him for news of Jurand of Spychow, but he replied that he had not arrived, but was expected because he promised to come, and that if he were very ill he would send word. Nevertheless several horsemen were sent out to meet him, for even the oldest men did not remember such a blizzard.

“Then he may soon be here.”

“I believe he will soon be here. The princess ordered dishes for them near the common table.”

But Zbyszko, although he was somewhat anxious about Jurand, was nevertheless glad in his heart, and said to himself: “Though I do not know what to do, yet one thing is certain, my wife is coming, my woman, my most beloved Danuska.” When he repeated those words to himself, he could hardly believe his own happiness. Why, he reflected, it may be that she has already confessed all to her father, she may have moved him to pity and begged him to give her up at once. “In truth, what else could he do? Jurand is a clever fellow, he knows, that although he keeps her from me, I shall nevertheless take her away, for my right is stronger.”

Whilst he was dressing himself he conversed with Mrokota, inquiring after the prince’s health and specially that of the princess, whom he loved like his mother since that time when he sojourned in Krakow. He was glad to learn that everybody in the castle was well and cheerful, although the princess greatly yearned after her beloved songstress. Jagienka now played the lute for her and the princess loved her much, but not as much as the songstress.

“Which Jagienka?” inquired Zbyszko with astonishment.

“Jagienka of Wielgolasu, the granddaughter of the old lord of Wielgolasu. She is a fine girl. The Lotarynczyk[106] fell in love with her.”

“Then is Sir de Lorche here?”

“Where then should he be? He has been here since he arrived from the Forest Court, for it is well to be here. Our prince never lacks guests.”

“I shall be glad to see him, he is a knight with whom none can find fault.”

“And he also loves you. But let us go, their Highnesses will soon be at the table.”

They went into the dining hall where big fires burned in the two fireplaces and they were taken care of by the servants.

The room was already filled with guests and courtiers. The prince entered first accompanied by the Voyevode and several life guards. Zbyszko knelt and kissed his hands.

The prince pressed Zbyszko’s head, then he took him aside and said:

“I know it all already, I was displeased at first, because it was done without my permission, but there was no time, for I was then in Warsaw where I intended to spend the holidays. It is a well-known fact that, if a woman desires anything, opposition is useless, and you gain nothing by it. The princess wishes you well like a mother, and I always desire to please rather than to oppose her wishes, in order to spare her trouble and tears.”

Zbyszko bowed again to the prince’s knees.

“God grant that I may requite your princely love.”

“Praise His name that you are already well. Tell the princess how I received you with good wishes, so that she may be pleased. As I fear God, her joy is my joy! I shall also say a good word in your behalf to Jurand, and I think that he will consent, for he too loves the princess.”

“Even if he refused to give her to me, my right stands first.”

“Your right stands first and must be acknowledged, but a blessing might fail you. Nobody can forcibly wrest her from you, but without a father’s blessing God’s is also lacking.”

Zbyszko felt uneasy on hearing these words, for he had never before thought about it; but at that moment the princess entered, accompanied by Jagienka of Wielgolasu and other court ladies; he hastened to bow before her, but she greeted him even more graciously than the prince had done, and at once began to tell him of the expectation of Jurand’s arrival. “Here are the covers ready for him, and people have been dispatched to guide them through the snowdrifts. We shall not wait any longer for them with the Christmas Eve supper, for the prince does not approve of it, but they will be here before supper is over.”

“As far as Jurand is concerned,” continued the princess, “he will be here in God’s good time. But I shall tell him all to-day or to-morrow after the shepherd service (pasterce), and the prince also promised to say a word in your behalf. Jurand is obstinate but not with those whom he loves, nor those to whom he owes obedience.”

Then she began to instruct Zbyszko how he should act with his father-in-law, and that God forbid he should anger him or rouse his obstinacy. It was apparently good advice, but an experienced eye looking at Zbyszko and then at her could discern in her words and looks a certain alarm. It may be because the lord of Spychow was not an accommodating man, and it may also be that the princess was somewhat uneasy at his non-appearance. The storm increased in strength, and all declared that if any one were caught in the open country he would not survive. The princess, however, concluded that Danuska had confessed to her father her marriage to Zbyszko, and he being offended, was resolved not to proceed to Ciechanow. The princess however, did not desire to reveal her thoughts to Zbyszko; there was not even time to do so, for the servants brought in the viands and placed them on the table. Nevertheless Zbyszko endeavored to follow her up and make further inquiries.

“And if they arrive, what will happen then, beloved lady? Mrokota told me that there are special quarters set apart for Jurand; there will be hay enough for bedding for the chilled horses. How then will it be?”

The princess laughed and tapped him lightly on the face with her glove and said: “Be quiet, do you see him?”

And she went toward the prince and was assisted to a chair. One of the attendants placed before the prince a flat dish with thin slices of cake, and wafers, which he was to distribute among the guests, courtiers and servants. Another attendant held before the prince a beautiful boy, the son of the castellan of Sokhochova. On the other side of the table stood Father Wyszoniek who was to pronounce a benediction upon the fragrant supper.

At this moment, a man covered with snow entered and cried: “Most Gracious Prince!”

“What is it?” said the prince. “Is there no reverence; they have interrupted him in his religious ceremonies.”

“Some travelers are snowbound on the road to Radzanow, we need people to help us to dig them out.”

On hearing this all were seized with fear–the prince was alarmed, and turning toward the castellan of Sokhochova, he commanded:

“Horses and spades! Hasten!”

Then he said to the man who brought the news: “Are there many under the snow?”

“I could not tell, it blew terribly; there are a considerable number of horses and wagons.”

“Do you not know who they are?”

“People say that they belong to Jurand of Spychow.”


When Zbyszko heard the ill tidings, he did not even ask the prince’s permission, but hastened to the stable and ordered his horse to be saddled. The Bohemian, being a noble-born armor-bearer, met Zbyszko in the hall before he returned to the house, and brought him a warm fur coat, yet he did not attempt to detain his young master, for he possessed strong natural sense; he knew that detention would be of no avail, and only loss of time, he therefore mounted the second horse and seized some torches from the guard at the gate, and started at once together with the prince’s men who were under the management of the old castellan. Impenetrable darkness enveloped them beyond the gate, but the storm seemed to them to have moderated; were it not for the man who notified them of the accident, they would have lost their way at once; but he had a trained dog with him which being acquainted with the road, enabled him to proceed safely and quickly. In the open field the storm again increased and began to cut their faces. It may be because they galloped. The road was filled with snow, so much so that in some places they were obliged to slacken their speed, for the horses sank up to their bellies in snow. The prince’s people lighted their torches and fire-pots and moved on amid smoke and flames; the wind blew with such force as though it endeavored to tear the flames from the torches and carry them over the field and forest. It was a long journey. They passed the settlement near Ciechanow, then they passed Niedzborz, then they turned toward Radzanow.

The storm began really to subside beyond Niedzborz; the gusts of wind were less frequent and no longer carried immense snowclouds. The sky cleared. Some snow yet drifted from the hills, but it soon ceased. The stars appeared here and there between the broken clouds. The horses began to snort, the horsemen breathed freely. The stars came out by degrees and it began to freeze. In a short time the storm subsided entirely.

Sir de Lorche who rode beside Zbyszko began to comfort him, saying, that Jurand undoubtedly in moments of peril thought of his daughter’s safety above everything, and although all those buried in the snow should be found dead, she undoubtedly would be discovered alive, probably sleeping in her fur robes. But Zbyszko understood him not, in fact he had no time to listen to him. When, after a little while, the guide who was riding in front of them turned from the road, the young knight moved in front and inquired:

“Why do we deviate from the road?”

“Because they are not covered up on the road, but yonder! Do you observe that clump of alders?”

And he pointed with his hand to the darkening in the distant thicket which could be seen plainly on the white snow-covered expanse, when the clouds unveiled the moon’s disk and the night became clear.

“They have apparently wandered from the road; they turned aside and moved in a small circle along the river; in the wind and drifting snow, it is quite easy to go astray. They moved on and on as long as the horses did not give out.”

“How did you find them?”

“The dog led us.”

“Are there any huts near here?”

“Yes, but they are on the other side of the river. Close here is Wkra.”

“Whip up the horses,” commanded Zbyszko.

But the command was easier than the execution of the order. The piled up snow upon the meadow was not yet frozen firm, and the horses sank knee-deep in the drifts; they were therefore obliged to move slowly. Suddenly they heard the barking of a dog; directly in front of them there was the deformed thick stump of a willow-tree upon which glistened in the light of the moon a crown of leafless twigs.

“They are farther off,” said the guide, “they are near the alder clump, but it seems that here also there might be something.”

“There is much drift under the willow-tree. Bring a light.”

Several attendants dismounted and lit up the place with their torches. One of them soon exclaimed:

“There is a man under the snow, his head is visible. Here!”

“There is also a horse,” said another.

“Dig them out!”

They began to remove the snow with their spades and throw it aside.

In a moment they observed a human being under the tree, his head upon his chest, and his cap pulled down over his face. One hand held the reins of the horse that lay beside him with its nostrils buried in the snow. It was obvious that the man must have left the company, probably with the object of reaching a human habitation as quickly as possible in order to secure help, and when the horse fell he had then taken refuge under the lee of the willow-tree.

“Light!” shouted Zbyszko.

The attendant brought the torch near the face of the frozen man, but his features could not be distinguished. Only when a second attendant lifted the head from the chest, they all exclaimed with one accord:

“It is the lord of Spychow!”

Zbyszko ordered two of his men to carry him to the nearest hut and try to resuscitate him, but himself lost no time but hastened with the rest of the attendants and the guide to rescue the rest of the retinue. On the way it crossed Zbyszko’s mind that perhaps he might find his wife Danuska dead, and he urged on his horse who waded up to his breast in snow, to his last breath.

Fortunately it was not distant, a few furlongs at most. In the darkness voices were heard exclaiming: “_Byway_.”[107] They were those who had been left with the snow-covered people.

Zbyszko rushed in and jumped from his horse and shouted:

“To the spades!”

Two sleighs were dug out before they reached those in the rear. The horses and the people in the sleighs were frozen to death, and past all hope of reviving. The place where the other teams were could be recognized by the heaps of snow, though not all the sleighs were entirely covered with snow; in front of some of the sleighs were the horses up to their bellies, in the posture of their last effort to run. In front of one team there stood a man up to his belt in snow, holding a lance and motionless as a post; in front of the others were dead attendants holding the horses by their muzzles. Death had apparently overtaken them at the moment when they attempted to extricate the horses from the drifts. One team, at the very end of the train, was not at all in the drift. The driver sat in front bent, his hands protecting his ears, but in the rear lay two people, who, owing to the continuous, long snow-fall, were completely covered. On their breasts, to escape the drift, they lay closely side by side, and the snow covered them like a blanket. They seemed to be sleeping peacefully. But others perished, struggling hard with the snow-drift to the last moment, their benumbed position demonstrated the fact. A few sleighs were upset, others had their poles broken. The spades now and then uncovered horses’ backs, bent like bows, and jaws biting the snow. People were within and beside the sleighs. But there was no woman in any of the sleighs. At times even Zbyszko labored with the spade till his brow was covered with perspiration, and at others he looked with palpitating heart into the eyes of the corpses, perchance to discover the face of his beloved. But all in vain. The faces which the torchlight revealed were those of whiskered soldiers of Spychow. Neither Danusia nor any other woman was there.

“What does it mean?” the young knight asked himself with astonishment.

He hailed those working at a distance and inquired whether they had come across anything else, but they too only found the corpses of men. At last the work was finished. The servants hitched their own horses to the sleighs, placed the corpses in them and drove to Niedzborz, to make an attempt there in the warm mansion, to restore some of the dead to life. Zbyszko, the Bohemian and two attendants remained. It crossed his mind that the sleigh containing Danusia might have separated from the train, or that Jurand’s sleigh, as might be supposed, was drawn by his best horses and had been ordered to drive in front; and it might also be that Jurand had left her somewhere in one of the huts along the road. Zbyszko did not know what to do. In any case he desired to examine closely the drifts and grove, and then return and search along the road.

But nothing was found in the drifts. In the grove he only saw several glistening wolves’ eyes, but nowhere discovered any traces of people or horses. The meadow between the woods and road now sparkled in the shiny light of the moon, and upon its white mournful cover he really espied dark spots, but those were only wolves that quickly vanished at the approach of people.

“Your grace!” finally said the Bohemian. “Our search is in vain, for the young lady of Spychow was not in the train.”

“To the road!” replied Zbyszko.

“We shall not find her there either. I looked well in the sleighs for any baskets containing ladies’ finery, but I discovered none. The young lady remained in Spychow.”

This supposition struck Zbyszko as correct, he therefore said:

“God grant it to be as you say!”

But the Bohemian penetrated further into his thoughts, and proceeded with his reasoning.

“If she were in one of the sleighs the old gentleman would not have separated from her, or when he left the train he would have taken her with him on horseback, and we should have found her with him.”

“Come, let us go there once more,” said Zbyszko, in a restless voice. It struck him that the Bohemian might be right, perhaps they had not searched enough where the old man was discovered, perhaps Jurand had taken Danusia with him on horseback, and when the horse fell, she had left her father in search of assistance, in that case she might be somewhere under the snow in the neighborhood.

But Glowacz as though divining his thoughts, said:

“In such a case ladies’ apparel would have been found in the sleighs, because she would not have left for the court with only her traveling dress.”

In spite of these reasonable suppositions they returned to the willow-tree, but neither there nor for a furlong around did they discover anything. The prince’s people had already taken Jurand to Niedzborz, and the whole neighborhood was a complete desolation. The Bohemian observed further, that the dog that ran ahead of the guide and found Jurand would also have discovered the young lady. Then Zbyszko breathed freely, for he was almost sure that Danusia had remained at home. He was even able to explain why she did so. Danusia had confessed all to her father, and he was not satisfied with the marriage, and so purposely left her at home, and went by himself to see the prince and bring an action, and ask for his intercession with the bishop. At this thought Zbyszko could not help feeling a certain sense of relief, and even gladness, when he comprehended that by reason of Jurand’s death all hindrances had vanished. “Jurand was unwilling, but the Lord Jesus wants it,” said the young knight to himself, “and God’s will is always the strongest.” Now, he had only to go to Spychow and fetch Danuska as his own and then complete the nuptials. It is even easier to marry her on the frontier than there in the distant Bogdaniec. “God’s will! God’s will!” he repeated in his soul. But suddenly he felt ashamed of this premature joy and turned to the Bohemian and said:

“Certainly I am sorry for him and I proclaim it aloud.”

“They say that the Germans feared him like death,” replied the Bohemian.

Presently he inquired:

“Shall we now return to the castle?”

“By way of Niedzborz,” answered Zbyszko. When they called at Niedzborz and then left for the court, where the old proprietor Zelech received them, they did not find Jurand, but Zelech told them good news.

“They first rubbed him with snow almost to the bones, then poured wine into his mouth and then put him in a scalding bath where he began to breathe.”

“Is he alive?” joyfully asked Zbyszko, who on hearing the news forgot his own interests.

“He lives, but as to his continuing to live God only knows, for the soul that has arrived half way is unwilling to return.”

“Why did they remove him?”

“The prince sent for him, and they have wrapped him up in as many feather blankets as they could find in the house and carried him away.”

“Did he say anything about his daughter?”

“He only began to breathe but did not recover speech.”

“And the others?”

“They are already with God, and the poor fellows will no more be able to attend the _pasterce_ (Christmas Eve feast) unless at that which the Lord Jesus Himself will prepare in heaven.”

“None else survived?”

“None. Come into the entrance hall, the place to converse, and if you wish to see them, they lie along the fireside in the servants’ room. Come inside.”

But they were in a hurry and did not wish to enter, although old Zelech insisted, for he was glad to get hold of people in order to chat with them. There was yet, quite a considerable distance from Niedzborz to Ciechanow, and Zbyszko was burning like fire to see Jurand as soon as possible and learn something from him.

They therefore rode as fast as they could along the snow-covered road. When they arrived it was already after midnight, and the Christmas feast (lit-Shepherd ceremony) was just ended in the castle chapel. Zbyszko heard the lowing of oxen and the bleating of goats, which voices were produced in accordance with the ancient religious custom, in remembrance that the nativity took place in a stable. After the mass, the princess came to Zbyszko. She looked distressed and frightened, and began to question him:

“And Danuska?”

“Is she not here, has Jurand said nothing, for according to what I gathered she lives?”

“Merciful Jesus!… God’s punishment and woe to us! Jurand has not spoken and he lies like a log.”

“Fear not, gracious lady. Danuska remained in Spychow.”

“How do you know?”

“Because there is no trace of ladies’ apparel found in any of the sleighs; she could not have left with only her traveling dress.”

“True, as God is dear to me!”

Her eyes immediately were lit up with joy and after a while she exclaimed:

“Hej! It seems that Christ the Infant, who was born to-day is not angry with you, but has a blessing upon us!”

The only thing which surprised her was the presence of Jurand without his daughter. Then she continued questioning him:

“What caused him to leave her at home?”

Zbyszko explained to her his own reason, which seemed to her just, but she did not comprehend it sufficiently.

“Jurand will now be thankful to us for his life,” she said, “and forsooth he owes it to you because you went to dig him out. His heart would be of stone if he were still to continue his opposition to you. In this there is also God’s warning to him not to oppose the holy sacrament. I shall tell him so as soon as he comes to his senses and is able to speak.”

“It is necessary for him first to recover consciousness, because we do not yet know why he has not brought Danuska with him. Perhaps she is sick?”

“Do not say that something has happened I I feel so much troubled that she is not here. If she were sick he would not have left her.”

“True!” said Zbyszko.

They went to Jurand. The heat in the room was intense, as in a bath. It was light, because there were big pine logs in the fireplace. Father Wyszoniek kept watch over the patient, who lay in bed, covered with a bear-skin; his face was pale, his hair matted with perspiration, and his eyes closed. His mouth was open, and his chest laboring with difficulty, but with such force that his breathing moved the bear-skin covering up and down.

“How is he doing?” inquired the princess.

“I poured a mug of hot wine into his mouth,” replied the priest, “and perspiration ensued.”

“Is he asleep, or not?”

“Probably not, for he labors heavily.”

“Did you try to speak to him?”

“We tried, but he did not answer, and I believe that he will not speak before dawn.”

“We will wait till the dawn,” said the princess.

The priest insisted that she should retire but she paid no attention, for she always in everything wished not to fall short of the late Queen Jadwiga, in Christian virtues, in caring for the sick and to redeem with her merits her father’s soul; she therefore did not omit any opportunity to make the old Christian country appear no worse than others, and by this means to obliterate the remembrance that she was born in a heathen land.

Besides that, she was burning with desire to hear from Jurand’s own lips about Danusia, for she was much concerned about her. She therefore sat by his bedside and began to tell her beads, and then dozed. Zbyszko who had not yet entirely recovered and was moreover greatly fatigued by the night journey, followed her example; and as the hours passed on, both fell asleep, so soundly that they might have slept on till daylight, if they had not awakened by the ringing of the bell of the castle chapel.

But the same sound also awoke Jurand, who opened his eyes and suddenly sat up in bed and began to stare about him with blinking eyes.

“Praised be Jesus Christ!… How do you feel?” said the princess.

But he apparently had not yet regained consciousness, for he looked at her as though he knew her not, and after awhile he exclaimed:

“Hurry! Be quick! Dig open the snowdrift.”

“In the name of God, you are already in Ciechanow!” again replied the princess.

Jurand wrinkled his brow like one who with difficulty tries to collect his thoughts, and replied:

“In Ciechanow?… The child is waiting … and … principality … Danuska! Danuska!”

Suddenly, he closed his eyes and again fell back on the pillow. Zbyszko and the princess feared lest he was dead, but at the same moment his breast began to heave and he breathed deeply like one who is fast asleep.

Father Wyszoniek put his finger to his lips and motioned not to awake him, then he whispered:

“He may sleep thus a whole day.”

“So, but what did he say?” asked the princess.

“He said that the child waits in Ciechanow,” Zbyszko replied.

“Because he does not remember,” explained the priest.


Father Wyszoniek feared that even at Jurand’s next awakening, he might be stupefied and might not recover consciousness for a long time. Meanwhile he promised the princess and Zbyszko to let them know when the old knight could speak, and himself retired after they left. In fact Jurand first awoke on the second Holy Day just before noon, but fully conscious. The princess and Zbyszko were present. Therefore, sitting on the bed, he looked at and recognized her and said:

“Your Highness … for God’s sake, am I in Ciechanow?”

“And you overslept the Holy Day,” replied the lady.

“The snows covered me. Who saved me?”

“This knight: Zbyszko of Bogdaniec. You remember him in Krakow….”

And Jurand gazed with his sound eye at the youth for a moment and said:

“I remember … but where is Danusia?”

“She did not ride with you?” anxiously inquired the princess.

“How could she ride with me, when I did not go to her?”

Zbyszko and the princess looked at each other, believing him to be still speaking under the influence of the fever. Then the lady said: “Wake up, for God’s sake! There was no girl with, you?”

“Girl? With me?” inquired Jurand in amazement.

“Because your people perished, but she could not be found among them.”

“Why did you leave her in Spychow?”

He then again repeated, but now with alarm in his voice:

“In Spychow? Why, she is with you, Your Highness, not with me!”

“However you sent a letter for her to the Forest Court.”

“In the name of the Father and Son!” replied Jurand. “I did not send for her at all.”

Then the princess suddenly became pale:

“What is that?” she said, “are you positive that you are speaking in your right senses?”

“For God’s mercy, where is the child?” exclaimed Jurand, starting up.

Father Wyszoniek, on hearing this, quickly left the room, while the princess continued:

“Listen: There arrived an armed retinue and a letter from you to the Forest Court, for Danusia. The letter stated that you were knocked down in a conflagration by a falling beam … that you were half blinded and that you wished to see the child…. They took Danusia and rode away….”

“My head swims!” exclaimed Jurand. “As there is a God in Heaven, there was no fire in Spychow, nor did I send for her!”

At that moment Father Wyszoniek returned with the letter, which he handed to Jurand and inquired: “Is not this your clerkly writing?”

“I do not know.”

“And the seal?”

“It is mine.”

“What does the letter say?”

Father Wyszoniek read the letter while Jurand listened, tearing his hair and finally saying: “The writing is counterfeited! … the seal is false!… my soul! They have captured my child and will destroy her!”

“Who are they?”

“The Teutons!”

“For God’s sake! The prince must be informed! He shall send messengers to the master!” exclaimed the princess. “Merciful Jesus, save her and help!” … and she left the room screaming.

Jurand jumped out of bed and began hurriedly to clothe his gigantic frame. Zbyszko sat as if petrified, but in a few moments his tightly set teeth began to gnash with rage.

“How do you know that the Teutons captured her?” asked Father Wyszoniek.

“By the Passion of our Lord, I’ll swear!”

“Wait! … It may be so. They came to complain about you to the Forest Court.”

“They wanted to take revenge on you…”

“And they captured her!” suddenly exclaimed Zbyszko. Then he hurried out of the room, and running to the stables he ordered horses to be saddled and harnessed to wagons, not knowing well himself why he did so. He only knew that it was necessary to go to Danusia’s assistance–at once–and as far as Prussia–and there to tear her out of the foe’s hands or perish.

He then returned to the room to tell Jurand that the weapons and horses would soon be ready. He was sure that Jurand would accompany him. His heart was burning with rage, pain and sorrow,–but at the same time he did not lose hope; it seemed to him that he and the formidable knight of Spychow together would be able to accomplish everything–and that they were equal to attacking the whole Teutonic force.

In the room, besides Jurand, he met Father Wyszoniek and the princess, also the prince and de Lorche, as well as the old knight of Dlugolas, whom the prince, having heard of the affair, summoned also to council on account of his wisdom and extensive knowledge of the Teutons, who had kept him for a number of years in slavery.

“It is necessary to set about it prudently, so as not to commit a sin in blind fury and so lose the girl,” said the knight of Dlugolas.

“A complaint must be instantly filed with the master and I will ride thither, if His Highness will give me a letter to him.”

“I will give the letter, and go with it,” said the prince. “We will not allow the child to be lost, so help me God and Holy Cross! The master dreads war with the Polish king, and he is anxious to win over Semka, my brother and myself…. They did not capture her at his command–and he will order her return.”

“And if it was by his orders?” inquired Father Wyszoniek.

“Although he is a Teuton, there is more honesty in him than in the others,” replied the prince; “and, as I told you, he would rather accommodate me than make me angry now. The Jagiellonian power is no laughter. Hej! They poured hog’s grease under our skin as long as they could, but they did not perceive that if also we Mazurs should assist Jagiello, then it would be bad….”

But the knight of Dlugolas said, “That is true. The Teutons do nothing foolishly; therefore, I think that if they have captured the girl, it is either to disarm Jurand, or to demand a ransom, or to exchange her.” Here he turned to the knight of Spychow:

“Whom have you now among your prisoners of war?”

“Herr von Bergow,” replied Jurand.

“Is he important?”

“It seems so.”

De Lorche, hearing the name von Bergow, began to inquire about him, and, having found out, said: “He is a relative of the Duke of Geldryi, a great benefactor of the Order, and devoted to the Order from his birth.”

“Yes,” said the knight of Dlugolas, translating his words to those present. “Von Bergow held high rank in the Order.”

“Danveld and von Loeve strongly demanded him,” remarked the prince.

“Whenever they opened their mouths, they said that von Bergow must be free. As God is in Heaven they undoubtedly captured the girl, in order to liberate von Bergow.”

“Hence they will return her,” said the prince.

“But it would be better to know where she is,” replied the knight of Dlugolas. “But suppose the master asks: ‘Whom shall I order to return her?’ what shall we say then?”

“Where is she?” said Jurand, in a hollow voice. “They certainly are not keeping her on the border, for fear that I might recover her, but they have taken her somewhere to a far secret hold or to the sea.”

But Zbyszko said: “I will find and recover her.”

The prince now suddenly burst out with suppressed anger: “Villains carried her off from my court, disgracing me as well, and this shall not be forgiven as long as I live. I have had enough of their treacheries! enough of their assaults! I would rather have wolves for neighbors! But now the master must punish these lords and return the girl, and send messengers with apologies to me, otherwise I will send out a call to arms!”

Here he struck the table with his fist and added:

“Owa! The lord of Plock will follow me, and Witold and King Jagiello’s forces! Following enough! Even a saint would snort away his patience. I have had enough!”

All were silent, waiting until his anger had quieted down; but Anna Danuta rejoiced that the prince took Danusia’s affair so to heart; she knew that he was long-suffering, but stubborn also, and when he once undertook anything he never relinquished it until he attained his object.

Then Father Wyszoniek rose to speak. “There was of old a rule in the Order,” he said, “that no lord was permitted to do anything on his own responsibility without the permission of the assembly or the master. Therefore God gave them such extensive territories that they almost exceed all other earthly powers. But now they know neither obedience, truth, honesty, nor belief. Nothing but greed and such ravage as if they were wolves and not human beings. How can they obey the master’s commands or those of the assembly, if they do not even obey God’s commandments? Each one resides in his castle like an independent prince–and one assists another in doing evil. I shall complain to the master–but they will deny it. The master will order them to restore the girl, but they will refuse to do so, or they will say: ‘She is not here, because we have not captured her.’ He will command them to take oath and they will do so. What shall we do then?”

“What to do?” rejoined the knight of Dlugolas. “Let Jurand go to Spychow. If they did carry her off for ransom, or to exchange her for von Bergow, then they must and will inform no one but Jurand.”

“Those who used to visit the Forest Court captured her,” said the priest.

“Then the master will submit them to trial, or order them to give Jurand the field.”

“They must give me the field,” exclaimed Zbyszko, “because I challenged them first!”

And Jurand removed his hands from his face and inquired: “Which of them were in the Forest Court?”

“There were Danveld, old von Loeve, and two brethren, Godfried and Rotgier,” replied the priest.

“They made complaint and wished the prince to order you to release von Bergow from imprisonment. But the prince, being informed by de Fourcy that the Germans were the first to attack you, rebuked and dismissed them without satisfaction.”

“Go to Spychow,” said the prince, “because they will apply to you there. They failed to do it till now, because this young knight’s follower crushed Danveld’s arm when bearing the challenge to them. Go to Spychow, and if they apply, inform me. They will send your daughter back in exchange for von Bergow, but I shall nevertheless take vengeance, because they disgraced me also by carrying her off from my court.”

Here the prince began to get angry again, for the Teutons had entirely exhausted his patience, and after a moment he added:

“Hej! They blew and blew the fire, but they will end by burning their mouths.”

“They will deny it,” repeated the priest Wyszoniek.

“If they once inform Jurand that the girl is with them, then they will not be able to deny it,” somewhat impatiently replied Mikolaj of Dlugolas. “He believes that they are not keeping her on the border, and that, as Jurand has justly pointed out, they have carried her to some distant castle or to the seashore, but if there be proof that they are the perpetrators, then they will not disclaim it before the master.”

But Jurand said in a strange and, at the same time, terrible tone: “Danveld, von Loeve, Godfried and Rotgier.”

Mikolaj of Dlugolas also recommended that experienced and shrewd people be sent to Prussia, to find out whether Jurand’s daughter was there, and if not, whither she had been taken; then the prince took the staff in his hand and went out to give the necessary orders; the princess again turned to Jurand to speak encouraging words:

“How are you?” she inquired.

He did not reply for a moment, as if he had not heard the question, but then he suddenly said:

“As if one had struck me in an old wound.”

“But trust in God’s mercy; Danusia will come back as soon as you return von Bergow to them. I would willingly sacrifice my own blood.”

The princess hesitated whether to say anything about the marriage now, but, considering a little, she did not wish to add new worries to Jurand’s already great misfortunes, and at the same time she was seized with a certain fear. “They will look for her with Zbyszko; may he find an occasion to tell him,” she said to herself, “otherwise he may entirely lose his mind.” She therefore preferred to discuss other matters.

“Do not blame us,” she said. “People wearing your livery arrived with a writing under your seal, informing us that you were ill, that your eyes were closing, and that you wished to look once more upon your child. How could we oppose it and not obey a father’s command?”

But Jurand embraced her feet. “I do not blame anybody, gracious lady.”

“And know also that God will return her to you, because His eye is upon her. He will send her succor, as He did at the last hunt, when a fierce wild bull attacked us–and Jesus inspired Zbyszko to defend us. He almost lost his own life, and was ill for a long time afterward, but he saved Danusia and me, for which he received a girdle and spurs from the prince. You see!… God’s hand is over her. Surely, the child is to be pitied! I, myself, am greatly grieved. I thought she would arrive with you, and that I should see the dear child, but meanwhile” … and her voice trembled, tears fell from her eyes, and Jurand’s long repressed despair burst out for a moment, sudden and terrible as a tempest. He took hold of his long hair, and began to beat his head against the wall, groaning and repeating in husky tones: “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

But Zbyszko sprang to his side, and shaking him by the shoulders with all his might, exclaimed:

“We must go! To Spychow!”


“Whose retinue is this?” inquired Jurand, suddenly starting from musing, as if from sleep, beyond Radzanow.

“Mine,” replied Zbyszko.

“And did all my people perish?”

“I saw them dead in Niedzborz.”

“Have you no old comrades?”

Zbyszko made no reply, and they traveled on in silence, but hurriedly, because they wanted to get to Spychow as quickly as possible, hoping possibly to meet some Teutonic messengers there. To their good fortune the frosts set in again, and the highways were firm, so that they could make haste.

Toward evening Jurand spoke again, and began to inquire about those brethren of the Order who were at the Forest Court, and Zbyszko narrated everything–their complaints, their departure, the death of de Fourcy, his follower’s action in crushing Danveld’s arm so terribly, and, as he spoke, one circumstance recurred strikingly to his mind, namely the presence in the Forest Court of that woman who brought the healing balsams from Danveld. During the bait, he commenced therefore to inquire of the Bohemian and Sanderus about her, but neither knew exactly what had become of her. It seemed to them, that she had left either in company with those people, who came for Danusia, or soon after them. It now occurred to Zbyszko’s mind, that this might have been some one sent for the purpose of warning the people in case Jurand should happen to be at the court in person. In that case they would not claim to have come from Spychow, but could have prepared another missive to give to the princess instead of Jurand’s fictitious letter. All this had been arranged with hellish dexterity, and the young knight, who so far had known the Teutons only from the battlefield, thought for the first time, that the fist was not sufficient for them, but that they must be overcome with the head as well. This was a sullen thought for him, because his great sorrow and pain had become concentrated into a desire for fight and blood. Even help for Danusia in his mind took the form of a series of battles either in troops or singly; and now he perceived that it might be necessary to restrain his desire for revenge and splitting of heads, like a bear on a chain, and seek new means of saving and recovering Danusia. While thinking of this, he felt sorry that Macko was not with him. Macko was as cunning as he was brave. He secretly determined to send Sanderus from Spychow to Szczytno, in order to find that woman and to try to learn from her what had happened to Danusia. He said to himself that, even if Sanderus wished to betray him, he could do little harm in the matter, and on the contrary might render great service, because his trade gained admittance for him everywhere. However, he wished to consult Jurand first, but postponed it until their arrival in Spychow, the more so because night came on, and it seemed to him, that Jurand, sitting on a knight’s high saddle, had fallen asleep from fatigue, exhaustion and great anxiety. But Jurand rode with a bowed head only because misfortune weighed it down. And it was apparent that he was constantly thinking of it, with a heart full of terrible dread, because he finally said:

“I would rather be frozen under Niedzborz! It was you that dug me out?”

“I, with others.”

“And at the hunt, you saved my child?”

“What should I have done?”

“Will you help me now, too?”

And there burst forth in Zbyszko at the same time such love for Danusia and such great hatred toward the Teuton wrongdoers, that he rose in his saddle and began to speak through tightly set teeth, as though with difficulty:

“Listen to what I say: even if I have to bite the Prussian castles with my teeth, I will do it and get her.”

Then followed a moment’s silence.

The vengeful and uncontrollable nature of Jurand also seemed to awake in full force under the influence of Zbyszko’s words, because he began to gnash his teeth in the darkness and after a while to repeat again the names: Danveld, von Loeve, Rotgier and Godfried! And he thought in his

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