BARBARA BLOMBERG - VOLUME 5.
BARBARA BLOMBERG - VOLUME 5.
The Emperor Charles loved his sister Mary and he now desired to show her
how dear she was to his heart. She had been obliging to him and he had
in mind the execution of a great enterprise which she had hitherto
zealously opposed yet for which he needed her co-operation.
It satisfied him to know that the father of his love would be absent from
Ratisbon for the present. He did not care who accompanied him.
When the regent reproached him for having taken Sir Wolf Hartschwert from
her without a word of consultation although she was unwilling to spare
him he had instantly placed Wolf at her disposal again.
The simplest and cheapest plan would have been to let Blomberg pursue his
journey alone; but the monarch feared that the despatch might not be
quickly delivered if anything happened to the old man on the way and
he had said before witnesses that he would not allow him to go without
He scarcely thought of Barbara's filial feeling. She loved him and the
place which she gave to any one else in her heart could and must
therefore be extremely small.
How powerfully the passionate love for this girl had seized him he dared
not confess to himself. But he rejoiced in the late love which
rejuvenated him and filled him with a joy in existence whose fresh
blossoming would have seemed impossible a few days before.
How superb a creature he had found in this German city from which since
its change of religion he had withdrawn his former favour! In his youth
his heart had throbbed ardently for many a fair woman but she surpassed
in beauty in swift intelligence in fervour in artistic ability and
above all in sincere unfeigned devotion every one whom his faithful
He would hold fast to the loved one who bestowed this happiness and
fresh vigour of youth. To make warm the nest which was to receive his
dear nightingale he had conquered the economy which was beginning to
degenerate into avarice and also intended to accomplish other sacrifices
in order to procure her the position which she deserved.
He no longer knew that he had wounded her deeply the night before. He
was in the habit of casting aside whatever displeased him unless it
appeared advantageous to impose restraint upon himself; and who would
ever have dared to resist the expression of his indignation? Had Barbara
obeyed her hasty temper and returned him a sharp answer he certainly
would not have forgotten it. The bare thought of her dispelled
melancholy thoughts from his mind; the hope of soon seeing and hearing
her again rendered him friendly and yielding to those about him. The
trivial sin which this sweet love secret contained had been pardoned in
the case of the man bound by no older obligation after a slight penance
and now for the first time he fully enjoyed the wealth of the unexpected
new happiness. It must also be acceptable to Heaven for this was
distinctly shown by the more and more favourable turn of politics
and he held the return gift.
That it was the right one was proved by the nature of the gratifying news
brought by the very last despatches. They urged him directly toward
the war which hitherto from the most serious motives he had avoided
and as his royal sister correctly saw would destroy a slowly matured
earnest purpose; for it forced him to renounce the hope of effecting at
Trent a reformation of the Church according to his own ideas and a
restoration of the unity of religion in a peaceful manner by yielding
on one side and reasonable concessions on the other. He had long
since perceived that many things in the old form of religion needed
reformation. If war was declared he would be compelled to resign the
hope that these would be undertaken by Rome and the opposition the
defiance the bold rebellion of the Protestant princes destroyed every
hope of propitiation on their part. They were forcing him to draw the
sword and he might venture to do so at this time for he need now feel
no fear of serious opposition from any of the great powers around him.
Maurice of Saxony too was on the point of withdrawing from the
Smalkalds and becoming his ally; so with the assistance of Heaven he
might hope to win the victory for the cause of the Church and with it
also that of the crown.
With regard to the probability of this war he had much to expect from
the activity of his sister in the Netherlands and though she now
advocated peace in the twelfth hour which must soon strike he could
rely upon her. Yet she was a woman and it was necessary to bind her
to him by every tie of the heart and intellect.
He loved Barbara as warmly as he was capable of loving; but had Mary that
evening required his separation from the singer as the price of her
assistance in promoting his plans the desire of the heart would perhaps
have yielded to the wishes of the statesman.
But the regent did not impose this choice; she did not grudge him his
late happiness and gratefully appreciated the transformation which
Barbara's rare gifts had wrought.
The affectionate sister's heart wished that the bond which produced so
favourable a result might be of the longest possible duration and she
had therefore personally attended to the furnishing of the Prebrunn
house and made all sorts of arrangements to render Barbara's life with
the marquise not only endurable but pleasant.
The Emperor had allowed a considerable sum for this purpose but she did
not trouble herself about the amount allotted. If she exceeded it
Charles must undertake the payment whether he desired it or not.
Her vivid imagination had showed her how she in the Emperor's place
would treat the object of his love and she acted accordingly without
questioning him or the girl for whom her arrangements were made.
Nothing was too expensive for the favoured being who dispelled the
Emperor's melancholy and she had proved how much can be accomplished in
a brief space where there is good will on all sides.
By her orders entirely separate suites of apartments had been prepared
for Barbara and the marquise. Quijada had selected four of her own
saddle horses for the stable of the little castle and supplied it with
the necessary servants. Her steward had been commissioned to provide the
servants wanted in the kitchen and one of her Netherland officials had
received orders to manage the household of the marquise and her
companion and in doing so to anticipate Barbara's wishes in the most
attentive manner. One of her best maids the worthy and skilful Frau
Lamperi though she was reluctant to part with her had been sent to
Prebrunn to serve Barbara as garde-robiere. The advice that the
Emperor's love should take her own waiting maid also came from her. She
knew the value amid new circumstances of a person long known and
trusted. The idea that Barbara would take her own maid with her rested
it is true on the supposition that so well-dressed a young lady who
belonged to an ancient family must as surely possess such a person as
eyes and hands.
Barbara had just induced Frau Lerch to accompany her to Prebrunn. The
old woman's opposition had only been intended to extort more favourable
terms. She knew nothing of the regent's arrangements.
Queen Mary was grateful to Charles for so readily restoring the useful
Sir Wolf Hartschwert and when the latter presented himself he was
received even more graciously than usual.
She had some work ready for him. A letter in relation to the betrothal
of her nieces the daughters of King Ferdinand was to be sent to the
Imperial Councillor Schonberg at Vienna. It must be written in German
because the receiver understood no other language.
After she had told the knight the purpose of the letter she left him;
the vesper service summoned her and afterward Barbara detained her as
she sang to the Emperor alone and accompanied by Appenzelder's boy
choir several songs and in a manner so thoroughly artistic that the
Queen lingered not only in obedience to her brother's wish but from
pleasure in the magnificent music until the end of the concert.
Just as Wolf seated in the writing room which was always at his
disposal finished the letter the major-domo Don Luis Quijada sought
He had already intimated several times that he had something in view for
him which promised to give Wolf's life in his opinion a new and
favourable turn. Now he made his proposal.
The duties imposed upon him by the service compelled him to live apart
from his beloved young and beautiful wife Dona Magdalena de Ulloa who
had remained at his castle Villagarcia in Spain. She possessed but one
true comforter in her solitude--music. But the person who had hitherto
instructed her--the family chaplain--was dead. So far as his ability and
his taste were concerned it would have been easy to replace him but
Quijada sought in his successor qualities which rarely adorned a single
individual but which he expected to find united in the knight.
In the first place the person he desired must be like the chaplain
of noble birth; for to see his wife closely associated with a man of
inferior station was objectionable to the Spanish grandee who was
perhaps the most popular of all the officers in the army not only on
account of his valour in the field but also for the kindly good will
and absolute justice which he bestowed upon even the humblest soldier.
That the chaplain's successor must be a good artist thoroughly familiar
with Netherland and Italian music was a matter of course. But Don Luis
also demanded from Dona Magdalena's new teacher and household companion
graceful manners a modest disposition and above all things
a character on which he could absolutely rely. Not that he would have
cherished any fears of the fidelity of the wife whom he honoured as the
purest and noblest of her sex and of whom he spoke to the knight with
reverence and love; he desired only to guard her from any occurrence that
might offend her.
Wolf listened in surprise. He had firmly resolved that on no account
would he stay in Ratisbon. What could he find save fresh anxiety and
never-ending anguish of the heart if he remained near Barbara who
disdained his love?
He possessed little ambition. It was only for the sake of the woman he
loved that he had recently made more active exertions but with his
excellent acquirements and the fair prospects which were open to him at
the court it seemed even to his modest mind too humble a fate to bury
himself in a Spanish castle in order to while away with music the lonely
hours of a noblewoman no matter how high her rank how beautiful and
estimable she might be or how gladly he would render her admirable
husband a favour.
Quijada had said this to himself and perceived plainly enough what was
passing in the young knight's thoughts.
So he frankly confessed that he was well aware how few temptations his
invitation offered a man endowed with Wolf's rare advantages but he came
by no means with empty hands--and he now informed the listening musician
what he could offer him.
This certainly gave his proposal a different aspect.
The aristocratic Quijada family--and as its head he himself--had in its
gift a rich living which annually yielded thousands of ducats in the
great capital of Valladolid. Many a son of a distinguished race sought
it but he wished to bestow it upon Wolf. It would insure him more than
a comfortable support permit him to marry the woman of his choice and
if he remained several years in Villagarcia afford him the possibility
of accumulating a neat little property as he would live in Quijada's
castle as a welcome guest and scarcely ever be obliged to open his purse
strings. Besides music was cultivated in Valladolid and if Don Luis
introduced him to the clergy there it might easily happen that they
would avail themselves of his great knowledge and fine ability and
intrust to him the amendment and perhaps finally the direction of the
As Dona Magdalena often spent several months with her brother the
Marquis Rodrigo de la Mota Wolf could from time to time be permitted to
visit the Netherlands or Italy to participate in the more active musical
life of these countries.
Wolf listened to this explanation with increasing attention.
The narrow path which buried itself in the sand was becoming a
thoroughfare leading upward. He was glad that he had withheld his
refusal; but this matter was so important that the prudent young man
after warmly thanking Don Luis for his good opinion requested some time
True Quijada could assure him that for the sake of his wife Dona
Magdalena de Ulloa whom from childhood she had honoured with her special
favour the regent would place no obstacle in the way of his retirement
from her service. But Wolf begged him to have patience with him. He was
not a man to make swift decisions and nowhere could he reflect better
than in the saddle during a long ride. He would inform him of his
determination by the first messenger despatched from Brussels to the
Emperor. Even now he could assure him that this generous offer seemed
very tempting since solitude always had far more charm for him than the
noisy bustle of the court.
Quijada willingly granted the requested delay and before bidding him
farewell Wolf availed himself of the opportunity to deliver into his
hands the papers collected by his adopted father which he had on his
person. They contained the proof that he was descended from the legal
marriage of a knight and a baroness; and Don Luis willingly undertook to
have them confirmed by the Emperor and his patent renewed in a way
which if he accepted his proposal might also be useful to him in Spain.
So Wolf took leave of the major-domo with the conviction that he
possessed a true friend in this distinguished man. If the regent did not
arbitrarily detain him he would show himself in Villagarcia to be worthy
of his confidence.
On the stairs he met the Emperor's confessor Don Pedro de Soto.
Wolf bowed reverently before the dignified figure of the distinguished
Dominican and the latter as he recognised him paused to request curtly
that he would give him a few minutes the following day.
"If I can be of any service to your Reverence" replied Wolf taking the
prelate's delicate hand to kiss it; but the almoner with visible
coldness withdrew it repellently interrupting him: "First Sir Knight
I must ask you for an explanation. Where the plague is raging in every
street we ought to guard our own houses carefully against it."
"Undoubtedly" replied Wolf unsuspiciously. "But I shall set out early
to-morrow morning with her Majesty."
"Then" replied the Dominican after a brief hesitation "then a word with
He continued his way to the second story and Wolf with an anxious mind
followed him into a waiting room now empty near the staircase.
The deep seriousness in the keen eyes of the learned confessor which
could look gentle indulgent and sometimes even merry revealed that he
desired to discuss some matter of importance; but the very first question
which the priest addressed to him restored the young man's composure.
The confessor merely desired to know what took him to the house of the
man who must be known to him as the soul of the evangelical innovations
in his native city and the friend of Martin Luther.
Wolf now quietly informed him what offer Dr. Hiltner as syndic of
Ratisbon had made him in the name of the Council.
"And you?" asked the confessor anxiously.
"I declined it most positively" replied Wolf "although it would have
suited my taste to stand at the head of the musical life in my native
"Because you prefer to remain in the service of her Majesty Queen Mary?"
asked De Soto.
"No your Eminence. Probably I shall soon leave the position near her
person. I rather feared that as a good Catholic I would find it
difficult to do my duty in the service of an evangelical employer."
"There is something in that. But what led the singer--you know whom I
mean--to the same house?"
Wolf could not restrain a slight smile and he answered eagerly: "The
young lady and I grew up together under the same roof your Eminence and
she came for no other purpose than to bid me farewell. A lamb that
clings more firmly to the shepherd and more strongly abhors heresy
could scarcely be found in our Redeemer's flock."
"A lamb!" exclaimed the almoner with a slight touch of scorn. "What
are we to think of the foe of heresy who exchanges tender kisses with the
wife of the most energetic leader of Protestantism?"
"By your permission your Eminence" Wolf asserted "only the daughter
offered her her lips. She and her mother made the singer's acquaintance
at the musical exercises established here by the Council. Music is
the only bond between them."--"Yet there is a bond" cried De Soto
suspiciously. "If you see her again before your departure advise her
in my name to sever it. She found a friendly welcome and much kindness
in that house and here at least--tell her so--only one faith exists. A
prosperous journey Sir Knight."
The delay caused by this conversation induced Wolf to quicken his pace.
It had grown late and Erasmus Eckhart had surely been waiting some time
for his school friend in the old precentor's house.
This was really the case but the Wittenberg theologian whose course of
study had ended only a fortnight before and who with his long brown
locks and bright blue eyes still looked like a gay young student had
had no reason to lament the delay.
He was first received by Ursel who had left her bed and was moving
slowly about the room and how much the old woman had had to tell her
young fellow-believer from Wittenberg about Martin Luther who was now
no longer living and Professor Melanchthon; but Erasmus Eckhart liked to
talk with her for as a schoolmate and intimate friend of Wolf he had
paid innumerable visits to the house and received in winter an apple
in summer a handful of cherries from her.
The young man was still less disposed to be vexed with Wolf for his delay
when Barbara appeared in Ursel's room. Erasmus had played with her too
when he was a boy and they shared a treasure of memories of the fairest
portion of life.
When Wolf at last returned and Barbara gave him her hand Erasmus envied
him the affectionate confidence with which it was done. She was charged
with the warmest messages from her father to the knight and
conscientiously delivered them. The old gentleman's companion had
advised starting that evening because experience taught that on a long
ride it was better for man and beast to spend the night outside the
They were to put up at the excellent tavern in Winzer an hour's journey
from Ratisbon and continue the ride from that point.
Wolf knew that many couriers did the same thing in order to avoid delay
at the gate and only asked whom her father had chosen for a companion.
"A young nobleman who was here as a recruiting officer" replied Barbara
She had not heard until the last moment whom her father had selected and
had only seen Pyramus Kogel again while the captain's groom was buckling
his knapsack upon the saddle. He had ridden to the house and while she
gazed past him as though an invisible cap concealed him from her eyes
he asked whether she had no wish concerning her father at heart.
"That some one else was to accompany him" came her sharp reply.
Then before the captain put his foot into the stirrup she threw her
arms around the old man's neck kissed him tenderly and uttered loving
wishes for him to take with him on his way.
Her father deeply moved at last swung himself into the saddle
commending her to the protection of the gracious Virgin. It was not
wholly easy for him to part with her but the prospect of riding out
into the world with a full purse highly honoured by his imperial master
gratified the old adventure-loving heart so much that he could feel
no genuine sympathy. Too honest to feign an emotion which he did not
experience he behaved accordingly; and besides he was sure of leaving
his child in the best care as in her earlier years when glad to leave
the dull city business and his arrogant never-satisfied wife behind
he had gone with a light heart to war.
While pressing the horse's flanks between his legs and forcing the
spirited animal which went round and round with him in a circle to
obedience he waved his new travelling hat; but Barbara meanwhile was
thinking that he could only leave her with his mind thus free from care
because she was deceiving him and as her eyes rested on her father's
wounded limb projecting stiffly into the air bitter grief overwhelmed
How often the old wounds caused him pain! Other little infirmities too
tortured him. Who would bind them up on the journey? who would give him
the medicine which afforded relief?
Then pity affected her more deeply than ever before and it was with
difficulty that she forced back the rising tears. Her father might
perhaps have noticed them for one groom carried a torch and the one-
eyed maid's lantern was shining directly into her face.
But while she was struggling not to weep aloud emotion and anxiety for
the old man who through her fault would be exposed to so much danger
extorted the cry: "Take care of him Herr Pyramus! I will be grateful
"That shall be a promise lovely ungracious maiden" the recruiting
officer quickly answered. But the old man was already waving his hat
again his horse dashed upon the Haidplatz at a gallop and his
companion with gallant bearing followed.
Barbara had then gone back into the house and the maid-servant lighted
It had become perfectly dark in her rooms and the solitude and silence
there oppressed her like a hundredweight burden. Besides terrible
thoughts had assailed her showing her herself in want and shame
despised disdained begging for a morsel of bread and her father
under his fallen horse on his lonely couch of pain in his coffin.
Then her stay in her lonely rooms seemed unendurable. She would have
lost her reason ere Quijada came at midnight to conduct her for a short
time to the Golden Cross. She could not remain long with her lover
because the servants were obliged to be up early in the morning on
account of the regent's departure.
With Ursel she would be protected from the terrors of solitude for
besides the old woman's voice a man's tones also reached her through the
open window. It was probably the companion of her childhood. In his
society she would most speedily regain her lost peace of mind.
In his place she had at first found only Erasmus Eckhart.