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CHAPTER XXIX.

Of our next great sorrow, and final joy.

AND now might we have been at rest, and have thanked God on our knees by day and night. For, besides mercifully saving us out of such great tribulation, he turned the hearts of my beloved flock, so that they knew not how to do enough for us. Every day they brought us fish, meat, eggs, sausages, and whatsoe'er besides they could give me, and which I have since forgotten. Moreover, they, every one of them, came to church the next Sunday, great and small (except goodwife Kliene of Zempin, who had just got a boy, and still kept her bed), and I preached a thanksgiving sermon on Job v. 17, 18, and 19 verses, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up; and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” And during my sermon I was oft-times forced to stop by reason of all the weeping, and to let them blow their noses. And I might truly have compared myself to Job, after that the Lord had mercifully released him from his troubles, had it not been for my child, who prepared much fresh grief for me. She had wept when the young lord would not dismount, and now that he came not again, she grew more uneasy from day to day. She sat and read first the Bible, then the hymn-book, item, the history of Dido in Virgilius, or she climbed up the mountain to fetch flowers (likewise sought after the vein of amber there, but found it not, which shows the cunning and malice of Satan). I saw this for a while with many sighs, but spake not a word (for, dear reader, what could I say?) until it grew worse and worse; and as she now recited her carmina more than ever both at home and abroad, I feared lest the people should again repute her a witch, and one day I followed her up the mountain. Well-a-day, she sat on the pile which still stood

there, but with her face turned towards the sea, reciting the Versus where Dido mounts the funeral pile in order to stab herself for love of Æneas,

“At trepida et coeptis immanibus effera Dido -
Sanguineam volvens aciem, maculisque trementes
Interfusa genas, et pallida morte futurá
Interiora domus irrumpit limina et altos
Conscendit furibunda rogos . . . .”.”

When I saw this, and heard how things really stood with her, I was affrighted beyond measure, and cried, “Mary, my child, what art thou doing?” She started when she heard my voice, but sat still on the pile, and answered, as she covered her face with her apron, “Father, I am burning my heart.” I drew near to her and pulled the apron from her face, saying, “Wilt thou then again kill me with grief?” whereupon she covered her face with her hands, and moaned, “Alas, father, wherefore was I not burned here? My torment would then have endured but for a moment, but now it will last as long as I live l’” I still did as though I had seen naught, and said, “Wherefore, dear child, dost thou suffer such torment?” whereupon she answered, “I have long been ashamed to tell you; for the young lord, the young lord, my father, do I suffer this torment ' He no longer thinks of me; and albeit he saved my life he scorns me, or he would surely have dismounted and come in awhile; but we are of far too low degree for him l’” Hereupon I indeed began to comfort her and to persuade her to think no more of the young lord, but the more I comforted her the worse she grew. Nevertheless I saw that she did yet in secret cherish a strong hope by reason of the patent of nobility which he had made me give him. I would not take this hope from her, seeing that I felt the same myself, and to comfort her I flattered her hopes, whereupon she was more quiet for some days, and did not go up the mountain, the which I had forbidden her. Moreover, she began again to teach little Paasch, her god-daughter, out of whom, by the help of the all-righteous God, Satan was now altogether departed. But she still pined, and was as white as a sheet; and when soon after a report came that none in the castle at Mellenthin knew what was become of the young lord, and that they thought he had been killed, her grief became so great that I had to send my ploughman on horseback to Mellenthin to gain tidings of him. And she looked at least twenty times out of the door and over the paling to watch for his return; and when she saw him coming she ran out to meet him as far as the corner by Pagels. But, blessed God! he brought us even worse news than we had heard before, saying, that the people at the castle had told him that their young master had ridden away the self-same day whereon he had rescued the maiden. That he had, indeed, returned after three days to his father's funeral, but had straightway ridden off again, and that for five weeks they had heard nothing further of him, and knew not whither he was gone, but supposed that some wicked ruffians had killed him. And now my grief was greater than ever it had been before ; so patient and resigned to the will of God as my child had shown herself heretofore, and no martyr could have met her last hour stronger in God and Christ, so impatient and despairing was she now. She gave up all hope, and took it into her head that in these heavy times of war the young lord had been killed by robbers. Nought availed with her, not even prayer, for when I called upon God with her, on my knees, she straightway began so grievously to bewail that the Lord had cast her off, and that she was condemned to nought save misfortunes in this world; that it pierced through my heart like a knife, and my thoughts forsook me at her words. She lay also at night, and “like a crane or a swallow so did she chatter; she did mourn like a dove; her eyes did fail with looking upward,” because no sleep came upon her eye-lids. I called to her from my bed, “Dear child, wilt thou then never cease? sleep, I pray thee!” and she answered and said, “Do you sleep, dearest father; I cannot sleep until I sleep the sleep of death. Alas, my father; that I was not burned P’ But how could Isleep when she could not? I, indeed,

* But furious Dido, with dark thoughts involv’d,
Shook at the mighty mischief she resolv’d.
With livid spots distinguish’d was her face,
Red were her rolling eyes, and discompos'd her pace;
Ghastly she gazed, with pain she drew her breath,
And nature shiver'd at approaching death.
Then swiftly to the fatal place she pass'd,
And mounts the funeral pile with furious haste.

DRYDEN's Virgil.

* Isa. xxxviii. 14.

would pray

66 The young

said, each morning, that I had slept awhile, in order to content her; but it was not so; but, like David, “ all the night made I my bed to swim ; I watered my couch with my tears.” Moreover I again fell into heavy unbelief, so that I neither could nor

Nevertheless the Lord “ did not deal with me after my sins, nor reward me according to mine iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so was his mercy toward” me, miserable sinner !|

For mark what happened on the very next Saturday! Behold, our old maid-servant came running in at the door quite out of breath, saying that a horseman was coming over the Master's Mount, with a tall plume waving on his hat ; and that she believed it was the young lord. When my child, who sat upon the bench combing her hair, heard this, she gave a shriek of joy, which would have moved a stone under the earth, and straightway ran out of the room to look over the paling. She presently came running in again, fell upon my neck, and cried without ceasing,

lord! the

young lord !” whereupon she would have run out to meet him, but I forbade her, saying she had better first bind up her hair, which she then remembered, and laughing, weeping, and praying, all at once, she bound up her long hair. And now the young lord came galloping round the corner, attired in a green velvet doublet with red silk sleeves, and a gray hat with a heron's feather therein ; summa, gaily dressed as beseems a wooer. And when we now ran out at the door, he called aloud to my child in the Latin, from afar off, “Quomodo stat dulcissima virgo?" Whereupon she gave answer, saying, “ bene, te aspecto.He then sprang smiling off his horse and gave it into the charge of my ploughman, who meanwhile had come up together with the maid ; but he was affrighted when he saw my child so pale, and taking her hand spake in the vulgar tongue, “My God! what is it ails you, sweet maid ? you look more pale than when about to go to the stake.” Whereupon she answered, “ I have been at the stake daily since you left us, good my lord, without coming into our house, or so much as sending us tidings of whither you were gone."

This pleased him well, and he said, “ Let us first of all go into the chamber, and you shall hear all.” And when he had wiped the * Ps. vi. 6.

† Ps. ciii. 10, 11.

the which I had forbidden her. Moreover, she began again to teach little Paasch, her god-daughter, out of whom, by the help of the all-righteous God, Satan was now altogether departed. But she still pined, and was as white as a sheet; and when soon after a report came that none in the castle at Mellenthin knew what was become of the young lord, and that they thought he had been killed, her grief became so great that I had to send my ploughman on horseback to Mellenthin to gain tidings of him. And she looked at least twenty times out of the door and over the paling to watch for his return; and when she saw him coming she ran out to meet him as far as the corner by Pagels. But, blessed God! he brought us even worse news than we had heard before, saying, that the people at the castle had told him that their

young master had ridden away the self-same day whereon he had rescued the maiden. That he had, indeed, returned after three days to his father's funeral, but had straightway ridden off again, and that for five weeks they had heard nothing further of him, and knew not whither he was gone, but supposed that some wicked ruffians had killed him.

And now my grief was greater than ever it had been before ; so patient and resigned to the will of God as my child had shown herself heretofore, and no martyr could have met her last hour stronger in God and Christ, so impatient and despairing was she

She gave up all hope, and took it into her head that in these heavy times of war the young lord had been killed by robbers. Nought availed with her, not even prayer, for when I called upon God with her, on my knees, she straightway began so grievously to bewail that the Lord had cast her off, and that she was condemned to nought save misfortunes in this world ; that it pierced through my heart like a knife, and my thoughts forsook me at her words. She lay also at night, and “ like a crane or a swallow so did shę chatter; she did mourn like a dove; her eyes did fail with looking upward,”* because no sleep came upon her eye-lids. I called to her from my bed, “Dear child, wilt thou then never cease? sleep, I pray thee !” and she answered and said, “ Do you sleep, dearest father; I cannot sleep until I sleep the sleep of death. Alas, my father ; that I was not burned !" But how could I sleep when she could not? I, indeed,

* Isa. xxxviii. 14.

now.

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