MARGERY - VOLUME 6.
MARGERY - VOLUME 6.
Shall I now set forth how that Ann and I found Herdegen in his hiding-
place a simple little beekeeper's but in the most covert part of the
Lorenzer wald a spot whither no horseman might pass; how that even in
his poor peasant's weed my brother was yet a goodly man and clasped his
sweetheart in his arms as ardently as in that first day on his homecoming
from Italy--and how that the dear hunted fellow beholding me in
mourning dress took his sister to his heart as soon as his plighted love
had left the place free? Yea for the dead had been dear to him
likewise and his love for me had never failed.
When we presently gave ourselves up in peace to the joy of being all
together once more I weened that his eye was more steadfast and his
voice graver and calmer than of old; and whensoever he spoke to me it was
in a soft and heartfelt tone which gave me comforting assurance that he
grieved for my grief. And how sweetly and gravely did he beguile Ann to
make the most of this sad meeting wherein welcome and God-speed so
closely touched. In the house once more I rejoiced in the lofty flight
which lifted this youth's whole spirit above all things common or base;
and his sweetheart's eyes rested on him in sheer delight as he talked
with my uncle or with the magistrate who had come forth with us to the
Forest. And albeit it was in truth his duty to the Emperor his master
to fulfil his behest nevertheless he gave us his promise that he would
put off the announcement of the sentence till we should return to the
town next day and prolong our time together and with Cousin Maud as much
as in him lay.
My aunt's eyes shone with sheer joy when they fell on her darling with
Herdegen at her side and she could say to herself no doubt that these
two who as she conceived were made for each other would hardly have
come together again but for her help. Or ever we set forth on the
morrow she called Herdegen to her once more to speak with him privily
and bid him bear in mind that if ever in his wanderings he should meet
another youth--and he knew who--he might tell him that at home in the
Lorenzerwald a mother's heart was yet beating which could never rest
till his presence had gladdened it once more.
My uncle rode with us into the town. It was at the gate that the
magistrate told Herdegen what his fate should be: that he must leave
Nuremberg on the morrow at the same hour; and to my dying day I shall
ever remember with gladness and regret the meal we then sat down to with
our nearest and dearest.
Cousin Maud called it her darling's condemnation supper. She had watched
the cooking of every dish in the kitchen and chosen the finest wine out
of the cellar. Yet the victual might have been oatmeal porridge and the
noble liquor the smallest beer and it would have been no matter to our
great albeit melancholy gladness. And indeed no man could have gazed
at the pair now come together again after so many perils and not have
felt his heart uplifted. Ah! and how dear to me were those twain! They
had learnt that life was as nothing to either of them without the other
and their hearts meseemed were henceforth as closely knit as two streams
which flow together to make one river and whose waters no power on earth
can ever sunder. They sat with us but behind great posies of flowers
as it were in an isle of bliss; yet were they in our midst and showed
how glad it made them to have so many loving hearts about them.
Notwithstanding her joy and trouble Ann forgot not her duty as
"watchman" and threatened Uncle Christian when he would take more than
he should of the good liquor. He however declared that this day was
under the special favor of the Saints and that no evil could in any wise
befall him. My Forest-uncle and Master Pernhart had been found in
discourse together and the matter of which they spoke was my Cousin
Gotz. And how it gladdened the father to speak of his far-off son!
More especially when Pernhart's lips overflowed with praise of the
youth to whom his only child owed her early death.
Most marvellous of all was the Magister. Herdegen's return to his
beloved robbed Master Peter of his last hope; nevertheless his eyes had
never rested on her with fonder rapture. Verily his faithful heart was
warmed as it were by the happiness which surrounded her as with a glory
and indeed it was not without some doubts that I saw the worthy man who
was wont to be so sober raise his glass again and again to drink to Ann
whether she marked him or not and drain his glass each time in her
honor. My Uncle Christian likewise filled his cup right diligently
and seeing him quaff it with such lusty good will I feared lest he should
keep us all night at table when the time was short for Ann and my
brother to have any privy speech together. But that good man forgot not
even over the wine-jar what might pleasure other folks; and albeit it
was hard for him to quit a merry drinking-bout he was the first to move
away. We were alone by sundown. The Magister had been carried to bed
and woke not till noon on the morrow.
The plighted couple sat once more in the oriel where they had so often
sat in happier days and seeing them talking and fondling in the
gathering dusk meseemed for a while that that glad winter season had
come again in which they had rejoiced in the springtide of their love.
Thus the hours passed and I was in the very act of enquiry whether it
were not time to light the lamps when we heard voices on the stairs and
Cousin Maud came in saying that Sir Franz had made his way into the
house and that he declared that his weal or woe nay and his life lay in
Herdegen's hand so that she had not the heart to refuse to suffer him to
come in. Hereupon my brother started up in a rage but the chamber door
was opened and with the maid who brought the lamp in the Bohemian
crossed the threshold. We maids would fain have quitted them; but the
knight besought us to remain saying as his eyes humbly sued to mine
that rather should I tarry and speak a good word for him. Then when
Herdegen called upon him to speak but did not hold forth his hand Sir
Franz besought him to suffer him to be his comrade in his pilgrimage.
Howbeit so doleful a fellow was by no means pleasing in my brother's
eyes and so he right plainly gave him to understand; then the Bohemian
called to mind their former friendship and entreated him to put himself
in his place and not to forget that he as a man sound of limb would
have avenged the scorn put on him by Rochow in fair fight instead of with
a dagger-thrust. They were condemned to a like penance and if Herdegen
would not suffer him and give him his company this would be the death-
blow to his blighted honor.
Hereupon I appealed to my brother right earnestly beseeching him not to
reject his former friend if it were only for love of me. And inasmuch as
on that day his whole soul was filled with love his hardness was
softened and how gladly and thankfully my heart beat when I beheld him
give his hand to the man who had endured so much woe for my sake.
Presently while they were yet speaking of their departing again there
were voices without; and albeit I could scarce believe my ears I mistook
not and knew the tones for Ursula's. Ann likewise heard and knew
them and she quitted the chamber saying: "None shall trouble me in such
an hour least of all shall Ursula!" The angelus had long since been
tolled and somehap of grave import must have brought us so rare a guest
at so late an hour. My cousin who would fain have hindered her from
coming in held her by the arm; and her efforts to shake off the old
lady's grasp were all in vain till she caught sight of Herdegen. Then at
length she freed herself and albeit she was gasping for breath her
voice was one of sheer triumph as she cried: "I had to come and here I
"Aye but if you come as a Mar-joy I will show you the way out my word
for that!" my cousin panted; but the maid heeded her not but went
straight toward Herdegen and said: "I felt I must see you once more ere
you depart--I must! Old Jorg attended me and when I am gone forth again
Dame Maud will speak my 'eulogium'. Only look at her! But it is all one
to me. Find me a place Herdegen where I may speak with you and Ann
Spiesz alone. I have a message for you."
Hereupon my cousin broke in with a scornful laugh such as I could never
have looked to hear from her with her kind and single heart; and my
brother told Ursula shortly and plainly that with her he had no more to
do. To this she made answer that it would be a sin to doubt that
inasmuch as he was now a pious pilgrim and honorably betrothed
nevertheless she craved to see Ann. That too was denied her and she
did but shrug her shoulders; then she turned to the Bohemian who had
gone towards her and asked him with icy politeness to remove from her
presence inasmuch as he was an offence to her. Hereupon I saw the last
drop of red blood fade away from the young Knight's sickly cheek and it
went to my heart to see him uplift his hands and implore her right
humbly: "You know Ursula all that hath befallen me for your sake and
how hard a lot awaits me. Three times have I been plighted to you my
promised bride and as many times cast off...."
"To spare you the like fate a fourth time; all good things being in
threes!" she put in mocking him. "Verily you have cured me of any
desire ever to be your Dame Sir Knight. And since meseems this day our
speech is free and truthful I am fain to confess that such a wish was
ever far enough from me and even when we stood betrothed. A strange
thing is love! 'Here's to fair Margery!' one day on every noble
gentleman's lips; and on the morrow: 'Here's to sweet Ursula!' In some
folks it grows inwardly as it were a polypus and of such woe is me
am I. My love if you would know the truth my lord Baron von Welemisl
love such I have known I gave once for all to that man Herdegen Schopper;
it has been his from the time when in my short little skirts I learnt
to write; and so it has ever been till the hour when worthy Dame
Henneleinlein the noble Junker's new cousin--it is enough to make one
die of laughing!--when that illustrious lady whispered the truth in my
ear that her intending kinsman had thrown me over and with me old Im
Hoff's wealth for the sake of a scrivener's wench. And to think that as
a boy he was wont to bring me posies and wear my colors! Nay and since
that time he has shot many a fiery glance at me. Only lately he wrote to
his uncle from Paris that he was minded to make me his wife. Ah you may
open your eyes wide most respected every-one's-cousin Maud and you
likewise prim and spotless Mistress Margery! Cross yourselves in the
name of all the Saints! A dead wolf cannot bite and as for my love for
that man I may boldly declare that it is dead and buried. But mark me"
and she clapped her hand to her heaving bosom "mark me somewhat else
hath made entrance here with drums and trumpets and high jubilee: Hate!
--I hate you Herdegen as I hate death pestilence and hell; and I hate
you twice as much since your skill with the rapier brought the combat
with the Brandenburger into which I entrapped you to so perverse an
Hereupon Cousin Maud wild with rage herself gripped her again by the
arm to draw her forth from the chamber but Ursula went on in a milder
"Only a few moments longer I pray you; for by the Blessed Virgin and all
the Saints I swear that I would not have come hither at so late an hour
but to deliver my message to Herdegen."
My cousin released her and she drew forth a written paper and again
enquired for Ann; howbeit my brother said that he did not purpose to call
her in and desired that she would give him the paper if indeed it
concerned him. To this she answered that he would presently know that
much inasmuch as it was her intent to read it to the company only she
would fain have had his fair mistress among the hearers. Howbeit she had
a good loud voice she thanked the Saints and the doors in the
Schoppers' house were scarce thicker than in other folks' houses. The
letter in her hand had been given to her to deliver to Herdegen by the
newlymade vicar of his Highness the Elector and Archbishop of Treves who
was lodged with the Tetzels. He had not been able to find him no more
than the Emperor's men-at-arms; so he had bidden her take good heed that
she gave it into Junker Schopper's own hand. But verily she would do yet
more and spare him the pains of reading it.
Hereupon my brother in great ire bid her no longer keep that which was
not her own; yet she refused and whereas Herdegen seized her hand to
wrench away the paper she shrieked out to the Bohemian: "Give him his
due for a knave who offends maidens; that outcast for whom I scorned
and misprized you! Help help if you are no churl!"
My brother nevertheless had already snatched the letter from her and the
Bohemian who had laid his hand on his dagger thought better of it as
his eye met my look of warning.
It was a fearful moment of terror and Ursula whose hair had fallen
loose while her flashing blue eyes full of hate shot lightnings on one
and another stood clinging to the heavy dresser whereon our silver and
glass vessels were displayed and cried out as loudly as she could shout:
"The letter is from his lady-love in Padua the Marchesa Bianca Zorzi.
That cunning swordsman's blade made her a widow and now she bids him
return to her embrace. The fond and ardent lady is in Venice and her
intent is to revel there in love and pleasure with her husband's
murderer. And he--though he may have sworn a thousand vows to the
scrivener's hussy--he will do the Italian Circe's bidding and if he may
escape her snares he will fall into those of another. Oh! I know him;
and I feel in my soul that his fate will be to dally with one and another
in delights and raptures till the Saints fulfil my heart's chiefest
desire and he comes to despair and anguish and want and the scrivener's
wench breaks her heart under my very eyes with pining and sheer shame.
Away away Herdegen Schopper! Go forth to joy and to misery! Go-with
your pale black-haired mate. Revel and wallow till you who have
trampled on this heart's true love are brought low--as loathsome in the
eyes of men as a leper and a beggar."
And she shook the dresser so that the precious glass cup which the German
merchants of the Fondaco at Venice had given to my father at his
departing fell to the floor and was broken to pieces with a loud crash.
We had hearkened to her ravings as though spellbound and frozen; and when
we at last took heart to put an end to her wild talk lo she was gone
and flying down the stairs with long strides.
Herdegen who had turned pale struggled to command himself. Cousin
Maud who had lost her breath with dismay burst into loud weeping; the
wild maid's curse had fallen heavy on her soul. I alone kept my senses
so far as to go to the window and look out at her. I saw her walking
along hanging her head; the serving man carried the lantern before her
and the Bohemian was speaking close in her ear.
When I came back into the chamber Cousin Maud had her arm round Herdegen
and was saying to him with many tears that the curse of the wicked had
no power over a pious and faithful Christian; yet he quitted her in haste
to seek Ann who doubtless would have stayed in the next chamber and
perchance needed his succor. Howbeit the door was opened and we could
scarce believe our eyes when she came in with that same roguish smile
which she was wont to wear when in playing hide-and-seek she had stolen
home past the seeker and she cried: "Thank the Virgin that the air is
clear once more! You may laugh but in truth I fled up to the very
garret for sheer dread of Mistress Tetzel. Did she come to fetch her
Herdegen could not refrain from smiling at this question and we likewise
did the same; even Cousin Maud who till this moment had sat on the couch
like one crushed with her feet stretched out before her made a face and
cried: "To fetch him! Ursula who has caught the Bohemian! She is a
monster! Were ever such doings seen in our good town?--And her mother
was so wise so worthy a woman! And the hussy is but nineteen!--Merciful
Father what will she be at forty or fifty when most women only begin to
be wicked!" And thus she went on for some while.
Ere long we forgot Ursula and all the hateful to-do and passed the
precious hours in much content till after midnight when the Pernharts
sent to fetch Ann home. Herdegen and I would walk with her. After a
grievous yet hopeful leave-taking I came home again leaning on his arm
through the cool autumn night.
When I now admonished Herdegen as we walked as to the fair Marchesa and
her letter he declared to me that in those evil weeks he had spent in
bitter yearning as a serving man in the bee-keeper's hut he had learned
to know his own mind. Neither the Marchesa whom he scorned from the
bottom of his heart inasmuch as with all her beauty she was full of
craft and lies no nor event Dame Venus herself could now turn him aside
from the love and duty he had sworn to Ann. He would indeed take ship
from Genoa rather than from Venice were it not for shame of such fears
of his own weakness and that he longed once more to set eyes on our
brother Kunz whom he had not seen for so long a space.
I found it hard to see clear in this matter. Yet could I not deem it
wise to deny him the first chance of proving himself true and honest;
likewise meseemed that our younger brother's presence would be a safe
guard against temptation. Under the eye of our parent's pictures I bid
him good night for the few hours till he should depart and when I
pointed up to them he understood me and clasped me fondly in his arms
saying: "Never fear little mother Margery!"
We were with Herdegen again or ever it was morning. While we had been
sleeping he had written a loving letter to my grand-uncle who had
yesterday forbidden him his presence to bear witness to his duty and
The cocks still were crowing in the yards and the country-folk were
coming into town with asses and waggons when I mounted my horse to ride
forth with my brother. He was busied in the courtyard with the new
serving-man he had hired by reason that Eppelein who for safety's sake
had not been suffered to go with him into hiding had vanished as it were
from the face of the earth. Nay and we knew for what cause and reason
for Dame Henneleinlein had counselled the King's men to seize him to the
end that he might be put on the rack to give tidings of where his master
lay hid. If they had caught him his stout limbs would have fared ill
indeed; but the light-hearted varlet was a favorite with the serving men
and wenches of the court-folk jolly at the wine cup and all manner of
sport and thus they had bestowed him away. And so while we were living
from day to day in great fear an old charcoal wife would come in from
the forest twice or thrice in every week and bring charcoal to the
kitchen wench to sell and albeit she was ever sent away yet would she
come again and ask many questions.
While we were yet tarrying for Herdegen to be ready the old wife came by
with her cart and when she had asked of some needful matters she pulled
off her kerchief with a loud laugh and lo in her woman's weed there
stood Eppelein and none other. Hereupon was much rejoicing and in a few
minutes the crafty fellow was turned again into a sturdy riding man
Eppelein's return helped Cousin Maud over the grief of leave-taking.
Yet when at last we must depart it went hard with her. At the gate we
were met by the Pernharts with Ann and Uncle Christian. My lord the
chief magistrate likewise was there to bear witness to Herdegen's
departing; also Heinrich Trardorf his best beloved schoolmate who had
ever been his faithful friend.
We had left the walls and moat of the town far behind us when we heard
swift horses at our heels and Sir Franz with two serving-men joined
the fellowship. My brother had soon found a place at Ann's side and we
went forward at an easy pace; and if they were minded to kiss bending
from their saddles they need fear no witness for the autumn mist was so
thick that it hid every one from his nearest neighbor.
Thus we went forth as far as Lichtenhof and while we there made halt to
take a last leave meseemed that Heaven was fain to send us a friendly
promise. The mist parted on a sudden as at the signal of a magician
and before us lay the city with its walls and towers and shining roofs
over-topped by the noble citadel. Thus we parted in better cheer than we
had deemed we might and the lovers might yet for a long space signal to
each other by the waving of hat and of kerchief.
Herdegen's departing marks my life's way with another mile-stone. All
fears about him were over and a great peace fell upon me.
I had learnt by experience that it was within my power to be mistress of
any heart's griefs and I could tell myself that dull sufferance of woe
would have ill-pleased him whose judgment I most cared for. To remember
him was what I best loved and I earnestly desired to guide my steps as
would have been his wish and will. In some degree I was able to do so
and Ann was my great helper.
My eyes and ears were opened again to what should befall in the world in
which my lover had lived; all the more so as matters now came about in
the land and on its borders which deeply concerned my own dear home and
threatened it with great peril.
After the Diet was broken up the Elector Frederick of Brandenburg was
forced to take patience till the princes lords and mounted men-at-arms
sent forth by the townships five or six from each could muster at his
bidding to pursue the Hussites in Bohemia. One year was thus idly spent;
albeit the Bohemian rebels meanwhile could every day use their weapons
and instead of waiting to be attacked marched forward to attack. Certain
troops of the heretics had already crossed the borders and our good town
had to strengthen its walls and dig its moat deeper to make ready for
storm and siege. Or ever the Diet had met many hands had already been
at work on these buildings; and in these days every man soul in
Nuremberg from the boys even to the grey-haired men wielded the spade
or the trowel. Every serving-man in every household whether artisan or
patrician--and ours with the rest--was bound to toil at digging and our
fine young masters found themselves compelled to work in sun or rain or
to order the others; and it hurt them no more than it did the Magister
whose feebleness and clumsiness did the works less benefit than the labor
did to his frail body.
Wheresoever three men might be seen in talk for sure it was of state-
matters and mostly of the Hussites. At first it would be of the King's
message of peace; of the resistance made by the Elector Palatine Ludwig
in the matter of receiving the ecclesiastical Elector of Mainz as Vicar-
general of the Empire; of the same reverend Elector's loss of dignity at
Boppard and of the delay and mischief that must follow. Then it was
noised abroad that the Margrave Frederick of Meissen who now held the
lands of the late departed Elector Albrecht of Saxony in fief from the
King and whose country was a strong bulwark against the Bohemians was
about to put an end to the abomination of heresy. Howbeit neither he
nor Duke Albrecht of Austria did aught to any good end against the foe;
and matters went ill enough in all the Empire.
The Electors assembled at Bingen made great complaints of the King
tarrying so far away and with reason; and when he presently bid them to
a Diet at Vienna they would not obey. The message of peace was laughed
to scorn; and how much blood was shed to feed the soil of the realm in
many and many a fight!
And what fate befell the army whereon so great hopes had been set? The
courage and skill of the leader were all in vain; the vast multitude of
which he was captain was made up of over many parts all unlike and each
with its own chief; and the fury of the heretics scattered them abroad.
Likewise among our peaceful citizens there was no small complaining
and with good cause that a King should rule the Empire whose Realm of
Hungary with the perils that beset it from the Ottoman Turks the
Bohemians and other foes so filled his thoughts that he had neither
time nor mind nor money to bestow due care on his German States. His
treasury was ever empty; and what sums had the luckless war with Venice
alone swallowed up! He had not even found the money needful to go to
Rome to be crowned Emperor. He had failed to bring the contentious
Princes of the Empire under one hat so to speak; and whereas his father
Charles IV. had been called the Arch-stepfather of the German Empire
Sigismund albeit a large-hearted shrewd and unresting soul deserved a
scarce better name inasmuch as that he like the former sovereign when
he fell heir to his Bohemian fatherland knew not how to deal even with
that as a true father should.
Not a week passed after Herdegen's departing but a letter by his own hand
came to Ann and all full of faithful love. I likewise had not so
long since had such letters from another and so it fell that these
which brought great joy to Ann did but make my sore heart ache the more.
And when I would rise from table silent and with drooping head the
Magister would full often beg leave to follow me to my chamber and
comfort me after his own guise. In all good faith would he lay books
before my eyes and strive to beguile me to take pleasure in them as the
best remedy against heaviness of soul. The lives of the mighty heathen
as his Plutarch painted them would he said raise even a weak soul to