ceeded, now well armed, with several violent assaults
in driving them over the low half-finished walls.
This was only a prelude to the real play, one that
had a more precious object in view. At the first out-
cry Bertelskold started for the main entrance, intending
to crowd into the house and decide the destiny of the
day before the guards could come to their senses. But
here he met a gigantic guard who was posted in the
vestibule and stopped the passage. A strife of doubt-
ful issue arose between him and Bertelskold, a strife
between Titans, both equal in hight and bodily vigor.
Finally, the count's more practiced fencing prevailed ;
the faithful guard fell at his post like an honest soldier,
and Bertelskold pressed on.
He met new obstacles. The doors were locked on
the inside, an evidence that those within had presence
of mind enough to make use of the seconds.
" In through the windows ! " shouted Luukkonen.
They had no time to break in the doors.
L&ngstrom was the first who jumped in. The rich
roasts were still fragrant, as were also other remains of
the repast, but no one had time to enjoy them.
Langstrom burst open the nearest door and found
himself in the midst of a group of weeping female ser-
vants. But as courtesy to the fair sex was no affair of
the valiant captain's, he was less than ever in his place
here. He tried to push ahead, with harsh gestures on
every side; but it was impossible. The faithfulness of
these serfs to their master was no less determined than
that of the giant in the vestibule. They clung fast to
the freebooter's limbs, they threw themselves at his feet,
he could only move by passing over them. His pow-
erful sword he had no heart to use, and so several
minutes were lost,
180 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
In the meantime, and before the attacking party
were able to guard all sides of the house, several per-
sons had jumped out of the windows and fled to the
field. One among these, of uncommon strength and
agility, had made his way through Luukkonen's men,
and given Toivonen, his nearest opponent, a mark to
carry to his dying day.
Some thought they recognized the czar, and were
inclined to follow him. But others insisted that they
had seen the czar at the window of the innermost room,
and knew him by his ornamented hat and his dark-
green coat embroidered with gold. The partisans did
not dare divide their strength, and therefore hastened
to force the door to the inner room, which the prince
used as a work-shop when he stayed at the country-
The resistance at this point was extremely vigorous.
The door was found to be barricaded with all the fur-
niture in the room, and when it was at last broken
from its hinges, the invaders were received with pistol
shots. Two of them were wounded; the room was
filled with smoke. But through the smoke they dis-
covered the czar and one of his chamberlains, half
shielded by an upturned writing-table, with swords
drawn ready to defend themselves to the uttermost.
" Surrender, sire ! " shouted Bertelskcld in German;
" opposition is useless, and your majesty shall be treated
with all respect, as is becoming to your royal person."
The czar was silent, but his chamberlain replied.
" On your knees, slave, when you address the emperor
of all the Russians ! " cried he. "The great czar does
not surrender to robbers; it becomes them to beg for
" We are neither slaves nor robbers," proudly
replied Bertelskold, " but officers and soldiers in his
Swedish majesty's service. I pray you, sire, do not
compel us to use force, for I swear by your crown that
you must follow us, and that immediately ! "
THE FUGITIVE. 181
" His imperial majesty consents to listen to your
terms," said the chamberlain, after a few whispered
words with his master.
" He wastes time ! " said Luukkonen. " His men
gather from all sides. Seize him ! "
Bertelskold saw too well that every second was
precious, and therefore without further negotiation
sprang over the table upon the czar, while Langstrom,
with a stroke of his fearful sword, stretched the cham-
berlain upon the floor. The sword was wrenched from
the struggling prince's hand, and Bertelskold bore him,
in spite of his determined resistance, unhurt to the
" Death and hell! " screamed Langstrom, when they
were out of the smoke and the clear sunshine fell upon
their prisoner's countenance; " it is not the czar !"
" It is he ! " shouted the others. " We know his em-
broidered coat and his hat ! "
Luukkonen, who had so lately had personal deal-
ings with the formidable ruler, pressed forward and
stroked aside the hair from the prisoner's brow. " No,"
said he, in an angry tone of disappointed expectation,
" it is not the czar ! God help us, the czar has
escaped ! "
" I told you so!" cried a Kivekat! " It was the czar
that leaped through the window and cleft poor Toivo-
And so it was, in fact. The prisoner had only put
on the czar's well-known hat and cloak and stationed
himself at the window, in order to mislead the assail-
ants and detain them as long as possible while his mas-
ter gained time to reach a place of safety. Menschikoff
also had escaped. The bold experiment had totally
" You shall pay for this, you crafty dog ! " said
Langstrom, in a rage, and lifted his deadly weapon
over the prisoner's head.
" Strike, if it please you," said the Russian defi-
182 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
antly. " I am only my master's and sovereign's most
insignificant slave, but I know how to die for him if it
be the will of the saints, and he will take care of my
wife and children. Why do you delay, man of the
bloody hand ? Do you not see that the czar has
escaped your ambush and will return to avenge me ?
Therefore strike ! "
Langstrom did not strike. " No," said Bertelskold,
"this man has only done his duty and acted by his mas-
ter as every one of us would have done by ours. Let
The prisoner was set at liberty. These rude parti-
sans, who, faithful to the death, strove for their king,
even during the first vexation occasioned by the failure
of their undertaking, knew how to respect the fidelity
with which the Russians at all times gave their blood
for their ruler. It is true that these people acted under
the influence of an unreasoning emotion, while the free
men of the west acted from conviction; but the sacri-
fices of both, their devotion, and their mode of action,
were at the last the same.
" To horse, comrades ! To horse ! " sounded
Luukkonen's voice. And it was in truth high time.
The scattered guards had united with the advancing
Cossacks and threatened to cut off retreat. The labor-
ers, armed with axes and iron bars, surrounded the
yard. From all sides men were seen hastening to the
place, and in the distance a moving cloud of dust, raised
by the Preobraschian guard, probably led by the czar
himself, showed that they were marching up to scourge
the bold assailants.
The contest had lasted hardly twenty minutes, but
with every minute the danger was doubled. The little
Finnish troop had one dead and two wounded. For-
tunately, ten men had been left behind to watch the
horses. These, too, were only ten in number and with-
out saddles, and about forty were needed. Even with
two upon each horse, half their force would have been
THE FUGITIVE. 183
lost if the Cossacks had not brought with them the
horses and carts they had just taken from Miltopoeus.
Luukkonen saw them, and sent his ten mounted men,
under Bertelskold and L&ngstrom, to attack the Cos-
sacks, while the rest on foot pushed headlong upon the
conspiring laborers, scattered them without much diffi-
culty, and took the horses and carts, with which they
soon reached the highway, and afterwards, by hard
driving, the border and the Finnish woods.
Bertelskold and L&ngstrom, with eight comrades
mounted on unsaddled horses, had, with no hope of
assistance, to cut their way through more than a hun-
dred soldiers and farmers on foot, and from thirty to
forty Cossacks, while the guard at double-quick ap-
proached the place. Their destruction seemed cer-
tain; but these brave partisans, experienced in all kinds
of danger, did not despair. Instead of awaiting
attack they resolutely took the offensive, and made for
the Cossacks, their most dangerous enemies.
But the Cossacks, equally courageous and equally
desirous of strife, took advantage of their long pikes
and their excellent horses, and wheeled aside to attack
their adversaries in the flank and rear. The conflict
became unfavorable to the partisans. Two of them
fell before the pikes, and a third, Miltopoeus, thrown
from his horse, was, amid tumultuous shouts, taken
prisoner by those on foot.
Bertelskold was almost frantic at this misfortune.
He was, as will be remembered, a man of giant strength,
and, besides, one of the boldest horsemen of his time,
from childhood, as it were, fast-grown to a horse's back.
He had noticed that the leader of the Cossacks rode a
most excellent horse, far better than any of the others,
but dangerous to the partisans because he would sud-
denly wheel and take them in the rear. Bertelskold
rode towards him, and at the same time, making it ap-
pear to be accidental, he slipped to his horse's side, so
that he hung there holding fast by the mane. The Cos-
184 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
sack was at once beside him, and raised his long pike
over him, but at that very moment Bertelskold was again
on his horse, grasped the Cossack in front with his right
hand and lifted him out of the saddle, while with his left
hand he seized the loosened horse by the bridle and
drew him away. In this strange position, with his
floundering antagonist lifted at arm's length before him
and followed by his captured horse, the powerful Caro-
lin rode in among the people who were on foot, without
heeding their bullets or their sabers, and cast his prison-
er loose into the thickest crowd. The terrified group
scattered in all directions, believing nothing else than
that the devil himself rode in among them ; and not
the least astonished was Miltopoeus, whom they were
just about to bind with his hands behind his back.
Bertelskold gave him his own horse and took the Cos-
sack's himself, and they both hastened to the assistance
of L&ngstrom, who, about to be overpowered, hewed
about him like a madman with his well-known and dan-
Once again in the saddle, and with an impassioned
horseman's perfect fascination at having under him a
charger breathing like a flaming fire and strong as a
tempest, Bertelskold seemed quite another man, and his
opponents soon found it out. Now it was he that with
the lightning's speed was on every side of them, always
attacking them at exposed points ; and rider after rider
fell heels over head to the earth before his destroying
steel. Like the champions of old, he seemed to wear
a charmed corselet ; pikes and swords appeared to re-
bound from this raging Hercules, who overthrew all
who came in his way, and victory soon turned on the
side of the partisans. Every man took new courage
and fought like four. " King Charles ! King Charles!"
their war-cry sounded, and the enemy, uncertain
whether they had not the fearful Finnish sorcery to deal
with, scattered in wild flight just as the guards came
almost within musket-shot of the grounds.
THE FUGITIVE. 185
Bertelskold and his men did not think it best -to
await their coming. Two men less in number, and with
several wounded, they galloped away towards their own
inaccessible forests, leaving on the field, besides
Toivonen and the two horsemen, a larger number of
fallen and wounded foes than one now-a-days hears of
in a modern war-bulletin. They were also compelled
to leave their hope of that precious booty which would
have had such an immeasurable influence upon the
whole war ; but they took with them the proud recol-
lection that they had once more come forth from an
unequal fight as conquerors, and that, few as they were,
they had at least undertaken an achievement upon
which whole armies had turned their backs.
~T1TT~HAT could easily be foreseen, had happened.
VV Lybecker's retreat to Pelkane left the coast
and all the southern portion of the country open to the
enemy, who did not delay to take possession of it. As
soon as he had secured Helsingfors, he advanced with-
out delay on Abo, attacked Colonel Stjernschantz, who
with eight hundred men sought to stop him at Kare's
bridge, and marched into the city on the 28th day of
August, the last thanksgiving day of the year. All the
civil officers, together with the members of the univer-
sity and the greater number of the inhabitants, had fled
before the dreaded enemy, who found the town aban-
doned and half in ashes. For Abo had in 1711 been
visited by a great conflagration the first fulfillment of
the witch Inkeri's prophecies of disaster. The Russian
186 TIMES OF CHARLES XI L
troops therefore encamped in the castle grounds. The
czar arrived soon after, and took up his abode in Witt-
footh's house, near the bridge. In commemoration of
his entrance into Abo, he had a medal struck, the face
of which bore his bust, and the reverse, Hercules with
his club driving Neptune from his chariot out into the
sea. Under this was inscribed : Abo, Sept. 8th, 1713.
And now we are carried back to one of those
minor battles which blazed up in every Finnish neigh-
borhood, while the enemy was advancing and the regu-
lar army of the country was falling back, and to Maj-
niemi castle, concerning which our story has been silent
ever since the spring of 1697, when the castle was con-
fiscated on account of the Reduction. The propo-
sition to appropriate this great estate, with its sightly
buildings, to the use of the Abo regiment, for the colo-
nel's residence, seems not to have been acted on, for we
find that Kunsto manor, thereafter, as well as before,
served this end. Instead of this, the extreme pe-
cuniary embarrassment experienced by the crown as
the result of the long continued war had compelled the
government to offer for sale, together with many other
estates, the reduced Majniemi. But the Finnish nobility
were also so impoverished by the Reduction and the
war, that none of them in those uncertain times had a
mind to appear as buyers, and so the property was
managed for the use of the crown by a man whom the
reader will remember from the foregoing story, namely,
the honest and gentle Master Pehr, whom Count Bern-
hard Bertelskold selected as manager and steward of
his father's estate the same Pehr who in his childhood
received a present of an Oland pony from Charles XI
at the famous hunt in the vicinity of the priest's resi-
dence at Saltvik.
This Pehr, a man of honor, who now at forty-six
years of age had many cares upon him during these
times of distress, sat one evening in his simple dwell-
ing by the side of the castle, engrossed with his ac-
THE FUGITIVE. 187
counts, while his wife and children about him were
shelling beans lately gathered from the great garden
now half overgrown, when a knocking was heard at the
closed door. The whole family started up and turned
pale at the sound, for they every day expected the
enemy that had already marched by to Abo, only twen-
ty-five or thirty miles away ; but as Majniemi lay on one
side, it had hitherto been saved from the dreaded
Master Pehr went with beating heart to ascertain if
their apprehensions were well grounded, and saw from
the gate-keeper's window some twenty horsemen halted
outside the gate. It was already rather dark, but he
thought he could see that the men did not have long
pikes nor tall hats as he apprehended, but looked more
like hunters in civil attire and his own countrymen.
With a somewhat quieted mind, therefore, he determined
to open the window and enquire who they were, that so
late in the evening came to ask the hospitality of the
castle, at the present time so scantily supplied.
" Good friends ! " was the answer from without.
" Present our compliments to Master Pehr, and tell him
that Gosta Bertelskold, who was formerly called Count
of Majniemi, is here with some of his friends to ask
Pehr did not give himself time to answer, but went
with huge strides to the gate. " God forbid ! " said
he, with tears in his honest grey eyes, " God forbid
that Majniemi's gate should ever be closed to my
beloved master's son, or to any that he calls his
"Yes, make haste, my good Pehr," said the count.
" Make haste to get us a good fire and a little fodder
for our horses. We have ridden more than forty miles
over infamous forest roads and with the Russians at
our heels. We intended to help Stjernschantz defend
Abo, but I hear we have come too late. Well, now, you
and yours are well ? "
188 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
" As well as can be in these deplorable times," an-
swered the steward, as he showed the company the way.
" My old mother desired me to greet your grace. She
fell asleep last spring. She left this evil world in good
time, at seventy-four years of age, pious and accepted
of God, as she had lived."
"So good old mother Greta has left this world!"
said Bertelskold, greatly moved. " She was my sainted
father's childhood friend, and a ray of light in this
world's darkness. But let us not disturb you in your
home, my good man. Can you not quarter us in some
wing of the castle ? "
" Your grace must make the best of it here with me,"
said the steward; " it is warmer. As to your friends, I
can fit up for them the big hall in the first story. I
think a fire can still be made in the chimney. Alas,
your grace, the castle looks quite different now from
what it did when you left it eighteen years ago ! "
With these words the steward hastened to make the
necessary preparations for the reception of the guests,
and Bertelskold, thoughtful, remained in the great dark
castle yard. The moon, which just then broke through
the autumnal clouds shone with a melancholy light
upon the high faade of his ancestral castle, which he
had not seen since the days of its prosperity. Storms
had torn loose a part of its roof plates, broken in pieces
the panes of its high windows, and sadly disfigured the
great statues of the champions in basso-relievo that were
placed upon the walls. The castle had been built with
the forced tributes of the Thirty-years' war. The heir
of the iron warrior who perhaps had stained these trib-
utes with much blood and many curses, now stood with
gloomy sensations before these ruined walls, within
which he trod as a stranger this dark evening. His own
adventurous life had taught him how men enrich them-
selves in war, and involuntarily he recalled the old
proverb: "Ill-gotten, ill-spent."'
Bertelskold delayed so long, absorbed in these sor-
THE FUGITIVE. 189
rowful reflections, that the steward was finally obliged
to remind him that the fire and a hastily prepared meal
awaited him within. " You must see my good wife,"
said he. " An excellent woman, though now a little
way on the wrong side of the flower months ! She is a
Larsson; her father is a merchant in Wasa; and we
became acquainted sixteen years ago, when I went there
with the lamented count, your father, to buy grain in
the great famine year."
They went into the simple but thrifty dwelling,
where Bertelskold was received with a respect and
cordiality that went to his heart. It was a long time
since the valiant Carolin he who had no home in the
wide world had seen himself surrounded by the quiet
happiness of home. His exiled spirit had so long been
driven about on life's stormy wave that he had nearly
forgotten what peace and contentment, what the smile
of affection and the light of one's own fireside, signify
to the human heart. A feeling of being once more at
home took possession of him, and he listened with
friendly sympathy to the good steward's stories of all
that had befallen Majniemi during these sixteen years
since it passed out of the possession of its former
owner ; how the crown had appropriated nothing to
keep up the castle and the grounds, leaving them to go
to ruin ; how the extensive acreage had been mostly
brought under cultivation ; how the condition of the
people had been improved by means of the blessed
count's village school and other wise institutions, until
the war and the plague had taken more than half the
hands from the plow ; and how the people still blessed
the memory of the sainted count for the help with
which he saved them from death by starvation in
the dreadful famine.
The narration of these incidents was broken off by
a new knocking at the door, and Master Pehr, feeling
secure in the thought that he now had brave defend-
ers, went to open it. He soon returned, conducting a.
190 TIMES OF CHARLES XII.
young man in peasant's dress, whose sinewy frame
betokened strength as much as his twinkling eyes in-
dicated shrewdness and judgment.
" Lofving ! " cried Bertelskold in glad surprise.
" You here, my brisk boy ? And we believed that
long before this you were dangling at the end of a
" Not yet ! " cheerfully replied the renowned parti-
san and spy, Stephen Lofving, for it was indeed he. " I
came from Abo, where I was in the czar's own kitchen
and sold fourscore eggs. From the cook and the
kitchen boys I found out something about the condition
of-affairs in the city, where we for the present cannot
accomplish anything ; but I sent word to Taube at
Oland that he could pay his respects with his galleys,
for I had spread the rumor that I had seen the whole
Swedish fleet on the reefs. And as I thought one
might earn a little on his own account, I played the
role of simplicity, and dropped a word or two about the
fat calves which the peasants were taking away to an
island in Pargas. They at once began to press me to
show them the way thither, which I did with many
objections, and they sent the under-cook and two men
with me to seize the roasts. Whereupon I led them to
an out-of-the way cliff and drew my pistols from under
my jacket, saying to them : " Here with the dengi! "
This they understood at once, and fell to their prayer-
books. Thus I captured two guns and two sabers,
which, as they were of no particular use to me, I sold
to the peasants for eight dollars, and I captured
besides a neat purse of rubles. But the prisoners I
left on the cliff to find out about the calves. Thanks
for the pleasure of our last meeting, Master Pehr.
Here are the ten dollars I owe you for keeping me
away from the Cossack's pikes in a load of straw. I
have something to tell you, but it will do no harm to
let the major hear it. We have the enemy three
hundred paces from here,"
THE FUGITIVE, ] 91
"The enemy!" cried -Master Pehr. This single
word had frightened the color from the cheek of every
one in this thrifty family, and, like a hurricane, had
blown away the mirage of quiet happiness which had so
lately fascinated Bertelskold.
"I tell you," resumed Lofving, "that when I was
going along a by-path not far from the great lane, I
saw by the road a Cossack on watch. There were
certainly more of them in the village."
" You are right," said Bertelskold. " I ought to
have expected it. We noticed a wandering party at
our heels this afternoon ; but as we wanted to reach
the castle before night, we did not stop to chastise
them. If I know you aright, you let the Cossack follow
your lead ?"
" I sprang for his waist, so that he could not use his
long pike, and tried to snatch him off his horse, but as
he would not surrender I was obliged to cleave his
head. Well, he did not say any more then. It is too
bad that his horse got away; he might tell tales out of
" We must not lose a moment in putting ourselves
in a condition for defense ! " exclaimed Bertelskold, an-
imated by the danger. " All the powder and all the
weapons you can procure, my good Pehr, take to the
great hall. Let the servants sleep in their clothes to-
night. Be of good cheer; the women and children
may sleep in quiet. Lofving, take two men with you
and go out and reconnoitre, while I post guards about
His commands were executed. There was soon a
lively stir everywhere at Majniemi. Lanterns flew
across the yard and lights shone in deserted windows.
When Bertelskold entered the great hall he found his
faithful comrades enjoying the meal which Pehr had
hastily prepared. Once more the beaker passed around
the company at Majniemi castle. It was the last