dred recruits regarded with mingled curiosity, fear,
and pride, the vessel which was to take them from
their fatherland, perhaps forever; and behind them
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 175
stood a large group of mothers, sisters, and sweet-
hearts, shedding bitter tears at the thought of the
The governor, Ulfsparre, was away in Sweden.
His lieutenant, Steward Peder Thun, with his gar-
rison, received the new-comers; the recruits formed
a row on both sides, and the captain of the " Maria
Eleonora " offered his arm politely to Lady Regina,
to escort her to Korsholm. But at this moment
the proud young girl remembered that she was a
prisoner; she refused the officer's arm, and walked
alone, with a princely bearing, followed by her old
serva'nt, through the ranks of the recruits and the
Such an unusual sight put all Wasa in a terri-
ble state of curiosity. In an instant there arose
and spread the strangest reports about her.
"She is a princess of Austria," said some; "the
emperor's daughter, taken prisoner during the war,
and sent here for safety." Others pretended to
recognize in her the Queen Maria Eleonora; but
why did she come to Korsholm?
" I will tell you," whispered a tinker, with an
important air. "She is in league with her German
countrvmen against the king and the country, and
therefore she is to be imprisoned in this remote
and secure fortress of Korsholm."
"That is not true," rejoined another, who had
received from returning soldiers a vague idea of
the conspiracies against the king's life. "It is,"
added he, with a shy voice, as if fearing to be
heard by the object of his story, " it is a nun from
Walskland, hired by the Jesuits to make away
with the king. Six times has she given him
deadly poison, and six times has he been warned
in dreams not to drink. When for the seventh
176 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
time she offered him the draught, the king drew his
sword and forced her to swallow her own poison."
"But how can she then be here alive?" re-
marked an elderly lady, innocently.
"Alive?" repeated the story-teller, without
being disconcerted. "Oh, that is a question.
Those creatures can dissemble wonderfully. . . .
Yes, indeed, do you remember the Dutchman last
year who swallowed melted lead ? I do not wish
to say too much â€” but just look! The black-haired
nun is as pale as a corpse! "
" Has she given the king poison?" exclaimed a
trembling female voice close by. It was Meri,
who, with bated breath, drank every word.
"What nonsense!" replied a sea-captain, with
the air of knowing more than all the rest. " When
I was in Stralsund last spring, I saw those same
eyes, which one cannot easily forget. The girl
was then brought to Stockholm, and one of the
guards told me the whole story. She is a Spanish
witch, who has sold herself to the evil one, to be
for seven years the most beautiful woman on earth.
Only look at her: do vou not see that the devil has
kept his word? But see, in those eyes is something
dark that burns and bewitches. When she became
so handsome, she went to the Swedish camp and
gave the king a love-potion, so that he neither
heard nor saw anybody but her for seven whole
weeks. This seemed to his generals a sin and a
shame, as the enemy pressed them hard; and so
they took her secretly one night and sent her here,
to spend the seven j'ears of beauty at Korsholm."
" Did the king love her? "asked Meri, in agita-
" I think he did," answered the sea-captain,
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 177
"Did she also love the king?"
" There surely are in the whole world no more
curious people than women. How the deuce can
you expect me to know all about it? the evil one is
smarter than other folks, that is certain. She gave
the king a copper ring . . ."
" With seven circles inside each other, and
three letters, engraved on the plate?"
"What the deuce! â€” do you know that already?
I have heard of the seven circles, but not of the
plate . . ."
Meri took a deep breath: " He wears it still ! "
said she to herself, with a secret joy. Meri was
superstitious, like all the people of her time. It
never entered her mind to doubt the possibility of
witches, enchantments, and love potions; but this
strange dark girl, who loved the king and was
loved by him in return . . . could she not be
innocent of the horrible things they said about
her? The poor forgotten one was seized with a
violent desire to approach this mysterious being
who had stood so near the great king. The mo-
ments were precious; in a few hours she must
return to Storkyro. She took courage, and fol-
lowed the stranger to Korsholm.
The old residence within the ramparts of the
castle was, in spite of its fine prospect, more gloomy
than magnificent. Frequent changes of governors,
who only lived there a little while at a time, had
given to the two-story granite building, with its
side wings for prisoners, a dreary and deserted ap-
pearance. It resembled a jail more than a mighty
chieftain's castle. The gloominess was increased
by its present inmates â€” the stern Lady Martha,
with her old maid servants, some invalid soldiers,
and the bearded jailors. Had Gustav Adolf recol-
178 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
lected the condition of the place, he would proba-
bly not have sent his young prisoner to such a
Lady Miirtlia was prepared for her young g-uest,
whom they had described toher as a dangerous and
depraved person, for whose cunning no bar was
strono- enouo-h, no wall thick enou2;h. She had
therefore had a little dark chamber within her own
bedroom prepared for Lady Regina and her duenna,
and made up her mind to watch the wild girl's
slightest motions like an Argus. Lady Martha was
in reality a good honest soul but a sharp and stiff-
necked lady of the old school, who had brought up
all her children with the rod, and never considered
them too old to receive a merited chastisement. It
never entered her mind that a lonely, defenceless
and forsaken young girl, far away in a strange land,
needed a comforting hand, a motherly kindness ;
Lady Martha held that a spoiled child should be
tamed by discipline, and then, as she believed, it
would be time enough to think of a milder mode of
When Lady Regina, accustomed to the freedom
of the sea, entered this gloomy dwelling, an invol-
untary shudder passed through her slender frame.
Her spirits were not ligiitened when she was re-
ceived on the steps by the old lady herself, in a
, close linen cap and a long dark woolen cloak.
It is possible that Regina's bow was somewhat
stiff, and her whole bearing somewhat proud, when
she greeted the old Lady Martha on the castle steps.
But [yady Martha did not allow herself to be intim-
idated by it. She took the young girl by both her
hands, shook them vigorously, and nodded a greet-
ing, about midway between a welcome and a threat.
Then she surveyed her guest from top to toe, and
THE SWORD AMD THE PLOUGH. 179
the result of this survey fell in low-spoken words
from her lips :
" Stature like a princess ... no harm ; eyes
black as a gypsy's . . .no harm ; skin white as
milk . . .no harm; haughty . . .-ah, all, that
is bad ; we will see about that, my sweet friend."
Regina. impatient, made a motion to ])roceed.
But Lady Miirtiia was not one to let go her hold.
" Wait a bit, my dear," said the stern dame, as
she tried to collect the little stock of German
words which still remained in her memory's scrap-
bag ; " with patience, one may go a long way. One
who crosses my threshold must not be a head high-
er than the door-post. Better to bend in youth
than creep in old age. There . . . that's the
way for a young person to greet one who is older
and wiser . . ." x\nd before Regina was aware,
the sti'ong old lady had put her right hand on her
neck, her left against her waist, and, with a hasty
pressure, forced her proud guest to bow as pro-
foundly as one could reasonably ask.
Lady Regina's pale cheeks were covered with a
flush as red as the evening sky that precedes a
storm. Higher and prouder than ever rose the
girl's slender form, and her dark eyes shot forth a
flash, which did not, however, frighten Lady Mar-
tha. Reariiia, said nothino-, but old Dorthe un-
doubtedly felt disposed to give Lady Martha a les-
son in civility in her mistress's behalf, for she, with
her lively southern gesticulations, ascended two
steps higher on the stairs, and screamed, beside
herself with anger :
'â€¢ Miserable Finnish witch! how dare you treat
a high-born lady so shamefully? Do you really
know, base jailor, whom you have the honor of
receiving in your house? You do not? Then I
180 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
will tell you. This is the high-born gracious Lady
Regina von Emmeritz, born Princess of Emmeritz,
Hohenlohe, and Saalfeld, Countess of Wertheim
and Bischoffshohe, heiress of Dettelsbach and Kis-
singen, and more. Her father was His Highness
the Prince of Emmeritz, who owned more castles
than you, ragged witch, have huts in your town.
Her mother was Princess of Wurtemberg, related
to the Electoral House of Bavaria; and her still
living uncle. His Highness, worthy of honor and
glory, the Prince Bishop of Wiirtzburg, is lord of
Marienburg, and the town of Wiirtzburg, with all
the lands belong-ino- to it. You take advantagre
because your heretic king has seized our land and
city and made us prisoners, but the day will come
when Saint George and the Holy Virgin will de-
scend and destroy you, ye heathen; and if you dare
to harm a hair of our heads, we will raze this castle
to the ground, and exterminate you, miserable
witch, and your whole town . . ."
It IS probable that old Dorthe's eloquence would
not have come to an end for some time yet, had not
Lady Martha made a sign to her servants, at which
they, without any ceremony, took the old woman,
and carried her off, in spite of her resistance, to
one of the small rooms on the lower floor, where
she was left to herself, to reflect further upon her
lady's aristocratic lineage. But Lady Martha took
the amazed Regina, half by force, half willingly,
by the arm, and led her to the room allotted for
her, adjoining her own, and commanding a view of
the town. Here the stern lady left her for the
present, yet not without adding the following ad-
monition at the door:
"I will tell you, my friend: to obey is better
than to weep; the bird that sings too early in the
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 181
mornino: is before evening: in the claws of the
hawk. Follow the habits of the country you are
in. It is now seven o'clock. At eight, supper is
brought in; at nine, you go to bed; at four in the
morning you get up; and if you don't know how
to card and spin, I will provide you some sewing,
so that time shall not hang heavy on your hands.
Then we will talk together again; and when your
vraiting-woman learns to hold her tongue you may
have her back. Good-night; don't forget to say
your prayers; a psalm-book lies on the dressing-
With these words Lady Martha closed the door
and Regina found herself alone. Solitary, impris-
oned, far away in a foreign land, unprotected, left
to the mercy of a hard keeper, â€” her thoughts were
not the most cheerful. She fell on her knees, and
prayed to the saints, not the prayers of the heretic
psalm-book, but according to the rosary of rubies
which her uncle, the bishop, had given her at her
christening. What were her prayers? Only
heaven and the dark walls of Korsholm know
that, but a sym|)athizing heart can imagine. She
prayed for the saints' assistance, for the victory of
her faith, and the downfall of the heretics; she
prayed also that the saints might convert King
Gustaf Adolf to the only saving church; that he,
another Saul, might become another Paul. Finally
she prayed for freedom and protection, . . . And
the hours went by; her supper was brought in, and
she perceived it not.
Lady Regina looked out of the little window,
where lay a landscape in the sunset glow â€” a quiet
bay, with its golden water-mirror; it was not the
luxuriantly-blooming Franconia, with its ripening
vineyards; it was not the rushing Main; and the
183 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
town over there was not the rich Wurtzburg, with
its rows of cloisters and its lofty spires. It was
the poor, bleak Fiiilaiul, and an arm of its sea; it
was the newly built Wasa, with its church, Musta-
saari, the oldest in East Bothnia; one could plainly
see the reflection of the sun on the small Gc thic
windows with stained glass from Catholic time;^,
and it seemed to Regina that she saw the trans-
figured saints looking out from this, their former
temple. And was not the eye of the setting sun
itself, at this moment, the look of such a saint, who,
with beatific serenity, gazed down on the world's
strife? All was so still, so atoningly placid; the
evening radiance, the landscape's pretty verdure,
the freshly mowed fields with their rows of
sheaves, the small red houses with their shining
windows, all invoked devotion and peace.
Then Lady Regina heard in the distance a
mild, melancholy song, simple and unaffected, but
sung as though from nature's own heart, on a
lonely evening, with a setting sun, by the shore of
a resting sea, when all sweet memories waken in a
yearning breast. At first, she did not listen to it;
but the song came nearer; . . . now it was ob-
structed by" a cottage wall, now by a group of
hanging birches; now it was heard again, free,
loud, and clear, and finally one could distinguish
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 183
LOVES OF THE SOUTH AND NORTHo
AS the lonely voice came nearer, the words of
the soiio; couhl gradually be distinguished.
It was a gentle heart which sang, in uneven but
impassioned strains, its sorrows and its yearnings,
by the shore of the sea, in the glory of a beauteous
Auoust evening;, in the far off regions of ttie
The sunshine over the round woi'ld lies â€”
Over hind and ocean's surge ;
And the moon sails up through the evening skies,
Above the horizon's verge ; â€”
But never on maiden forgotten and lone
Sliallfall the sun's clear light.
And never the blithe moon shall look down
On the faith of a faithless kniglit.
For the friend â€” the only one I held dear â€”
Dwells far in his castle of stone ;
He walks in glory, but leaves me here
With all my griefs alone ;
He has friends an hundred, and I but one;
He has palace and towns and land :
I scatter my pearls in the setting sun,
I sing to the sea and strand.
At his castle the bird rests in her flight,
Under the southern sky,
And sits in a tree top and sings all night
Of solitude's woe â€” as I.
He listens ; for strangely the little bird's tone
Thrills the proud heart of the knight ;
And ere he guesses, the night has flown.
As vanishes love's delight.
18^ TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
Tne loDfj-er Ladv Retina listened to these sim-
pie tones, which were to her at once so strange and
yet in their deep melancholy so familiar, the more
was she moved by the echo of a regret that so near-
ly resembled her own. She was seized with a
lono-iiio- to breathe the fresh evening air ; the little
window long resisted her efforts to open it, but all
Lady Martha's prudence had not been able to pre-
vent the hinges from becoming so old and rusty
that they finally yielded to the young girl's repeat-
ed attempts. Only two or three hours had she
been an inmate of this prison, and yet she inhaled
the evening fragrance as a life-prisoner breathes
the air of freedom. Her heart expanded, her eyes
regained their fire, her thoughts were filled with
dreamy ecstacy, and she sang, softly, so as not to
be heard by her jailor, but clearly and melodious-
ly, a song which can be but imperfectly reproduced
in the following words :
So deep my smart,
Thus I impart
To thee, O Virgin, all my heart ;
For honor dear.
My soul's wish e'er "
Is but to die, without a fear.
Amidst earth's kings
My loved one flings
His javelins, like the Lord's lightnings ;
Great when in wrath
All in his path
He crushes â€” yet he mercy hath.
But all denied :
If thou decide,
My dagger in his heart I hide ;
Holy One â€” thou
God's Mother !â€” Oh,
Protect him from the deadly blow !
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 185
Let him but see
And I will ask no more of thee ;
Oh, guard his throne,
His life, his crown,
And let my soul his sins atone.
The solitary person who had sung the first song
slowly approached tlie castle walls. It was a peas-
ant woman, wliose pale yet once beautiful features
wore an expression of winning gentleness. She
was apparently trying to catch the song of the
stranger; but she did not succeed, on account of
the suppressed tones and the unknown language.
She seated herself on a stone, at a little distance
from the wall, and bent her mild gaze steadily to-
ward the prisoner in the castle window, who in turn
regarded her with dark penetrating eyes. These
two seemed to understand each other perfectly ;
for the lanouage of song needs no other lexicon
than the heart. Or did a presentiment tell them,
the girl of seventeen and the woman of thirty-six,
that they both loved the same man, that both sang
their ship-wrecked love on a far distant strand, but
in so infinitely different a manner?
Up in the north the summer nights are clear
until the besfinnino- of Autrust, when a light trans-
parent veil spreads itself over land and sea as soon
as the sun goes down. By the middle of August
(the time of which we are speaking) this veil has
grown thicker, and casts a mild, soft shade over the
leaves and groves of summer. Then the moon rises
upon this world of vanishing green ; and there is
nothing more sadly beautiful to be found in all na-
ture than such an Ausfust evening, when the eve,
accustomed to three months' unbroken dav, shrinks
from the darkness, though seeing this darkness in
186 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
its loveliest aspects, like a mild sorrow irradiated
by a heavenly glory. This impression returns every
year, even though one lives to be a hundred ; it is
liglit and darkness which struggle at tiie same time
for the world and the human heart.
The two singers felt tlie power of this impres-
sion; they both sat mute and motionless, quietly re-
garding each other in the deepening twilight ;
neither said a word, yet each understood the other's
Suddenly the pale woman outside rose, turned
toward the town, and seemed to be listening to
some sounds which disturbed the holy peace of
Laciv Resfina followed the motions of the un-
known attentively, leaning out of the window that
she mio-ht see better. All nature was silent and
calm ; only in the distance was heard the stroke of
oars on the sea, or the melancholy, prolonged tone
oF a shepherd's horn. This stillness, increased by
the first darkness of the autumn, had in it some-
thing at once holy and solemn. Jarring strangely
upon the peace and quiet came the indistinct noise
from the distant town. It was not the surge of the
sea, or the roar of the rapids, or the crackling of
wood fires ; although it resembled all these sounds.
It was rather the murmur of an enrasced mob, ac-
tuated at once bv furv and want. . . In a short
time the reflection of a fire was seen afar off in the
northern part of the town.
With the speed of the wind the lonely figure
outside the wall hurried away in the direction of
the threatenina: danoer. . . . We will, for a mo-
ment, precede her.
The ai'rival of the man-of-war for the trans-
portation of the recruits had placed these in a
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 187
state of excitement which had been iieiglitened by
sorrow, pride, and ale. With their uiider-officers
at the head, they liad thronged around the drain-
shops; and at this time, when the soldier was
all-important, it was often necessary to overlook
his license, in order to keep him in good humor.
The superior officers consequently pretended not
to notice that two hundred young men, with the
combative disposition of the East Bothnians, in-
toxicated themselves to excess; and it is possible
that this policy would have been the right one, had
not a peculiar circumstance, dangerous to peace,
brought their unrestrained passions to a full blaze.
The brave sergeant, Bengt Kristerson, had not
neglected this opportunity to do himself all possi-
ble credit. Inflated with the thouarht of his
own dignity, he had jumped up on a table and
thoroughly demonstrated to his new comrades: â€”
first, that it was really he who had conquered Ger-
many; secondly, that he would long ago have
driven Emperor Ferdinand, alive, into the river
Danube, had the latter not been in league with
Satan, and bewitched the whole Swedish army, the
king hrst of all; thirdly, that on the night of tiie
Frankfort ball, he, Bengt, had stood on guard out-
side the king's bedchamber, and plainly seen Beel-
zebub, in the form of a young girl, occasion a
terrible commotion there; and fourthly (and to
*Jiis conclusion the sergeant came quite naturally,
in the inspiration of the moment), that the weal or
woe of the whole kingdom and of the world de-
pended upon tlie witch who was now imprisoned
within Korsholin's walls.
"You will see that the black-haired witch
brings the plague to the town," observed, thought-
188 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
fully, a Malax peasant, with a shaggy appearance
and very light hair.
" The kino-'s murderess! "
" Shall we endure it to have her sit in peace and
quiet, and destroy both king and country with her
witcheries?" cried a drunken recorder who had
joined the company.
" Let us duck lier in the sea! " shrieked a Nerpes
"Let us club her on the spot!" exclaimed a
Lappo peasant, with an eagle nose and dark
"And if they don't give her into our hands we
will set fire to Korsholm, and burn the owl and the
nest at the same time," said a ferocious Laihela
" Better that than to have the kingdom ruined,"
remarked a grave-looking seal-hunter from Replot.
" Torches! " shrieked a W5ra. peasant.
" To Korsholm ! " howled the whole crowd. And
excited, as is usually the case, by their own words,
the horde rushed to the large open fire-place of the
dram-shop, and snatched up all the burning brands
that were to be found. But as ill-luck would have
it, there was a great quantity of flax hanging in
bundles on the walls of the room. One of the
recruits, in his drunkenness, swung his brand too
high, the flax took fire, the strong draft from the
open door fanned the flame, and in a few moments
the ale-house was in full blaze. All rushed out.
Nobody had time to realize how it happened.
" It is witchcraft! " shrieked some.
" The witch at Korsholm will have to pay for
this!" cried others; and the whole raging mob
hastened at full speed to the old castle.
THE SWORD AND THE PLOUGH. 189
THE SIEGE OF KORSHOLM.
MERI (for the solitary singer was none other
than she) had scarcely realized the purpose
of the mad crowd, before she hurried with the
speed of the wind, and by the shortest wav, back
to Korsholm. In the moonlight, which shed its
silver rays over the landscape, slie could plainly
distinguish Regina's dark locks, which, blacker than
the night, stood in relief from the room in the back-
ground, like a shadow in the midst of shade. And
under these locks shone two eyes, dreamy, deep,
like the glimmer of the stars in the dusky mirror
of a lake. The words died on Meri's lips; all the
strange reports rose like spectres before her
imagination. She who sat so lonely up there
at the window, was she not, after all, a southern
witch, a transformed sorceress, weeping over her
fate in being compelled to spend the seven years
of her beauty within these walls, and then again
become what she had been before â€” a frightful
monster, half woman and half serpent?
Meri stood as if petrified at the foot of the
But nearer and nearer was heard the murmur
of the wild crowd, and the lights of the brands
began to be reflected on the castle. Then the su-
perstitious peasant-woman took courage, and raised
her voice so that it could be heard at the window.
" Fly, your grace! " said she, rapidly, in Swedish.
190 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
" Fly! A great danger threatens you; the soldiers
are wild and frantic; they say that you have tried
to murder the king, and they demand your life."
Regina saw the pale shape in the moonlight,