pale face brightened perceptibly. Bertei was
pushed aside, and Larsson leaned forward, so as to
see better; for the light of the single lamp was
quite dim. But the result of his survey did not
seem especially satisfactory.
"iV nun! Ah, by Heaven .. . . to convert
" Peace be with you," sounded a youthful voice,
of fresh and agreeable tone, from under the
230 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
veil. "I am sent here by the reverend prioress
of the convent of Our Lady, to bind your
wounds, and, if it is the will of the saints, to heal
"Upon my honor, beautiful friend, I am very
much obli,^ed; let us then become a little better
acquainted," replied the captain, somewhat more
mildly disposed, and stretched out his hand with
the intention of raising the nun's veil. Instantly
the latter drew back a few steps; and just then
two soldier.-, of forbidding aspect, appeared at the
"Ah, I understand!" exclaimed Larsson,
startled. " The devil! what proud nuns they have
here! When I was in Franconia, at Wurtzburg, I
used to get at least half a dozen kisses a day from
the young sisters in the convent; for such sins are
never refused absolution. Well," continued the
brave captain, when the nun still lingered, hesitat-
ing, at the door, " your reverence must not take
offence at a soldier's freedom of speech. Nun-
quam Jiemo no sit ur caballerus, ^?iy?> the Spaniard;
an honest soldier is born a gallant. Your reverence
sees that I, although an unbelieving heretic, can
talk Latin like a true monk. When we were at
Munich I lived in intimate friendship with a gen-
uine Bavarian nun, twenty-seven years old, brown
eyes, Roman nose ..."
"Hold your tongue!" whispered Bertel, impa-
tiently. "You will drive the nun away."
" I haven't said a word. Walk in, your rever-
ence; don't be frightened. I wager it is a good
while since your reverence was twenty-seven.
Fosito., as the Frenchman says, that your reverence
is an old granny."
The nun returned in silence, accompanied by
FIRE AND WATER. 221
two sisters-in-waiting, and began to examine the
wound on Bertel's liead, which had been badly
dressed. A delicate white hand drew out a pair of
scissors and cut oiF the youth's hair at each side of
the broad mark left by Pappenheim's sword. Within
twenty minutes Bertel's wounds were dressed by
a skilful hand. The youth, touched by this com-
passion, raised the nun's hand to his lips and kissed
" Upon my honor, beautiful matron," cried the
voluble captain, "I feel half inclined to be jealous
of my friend, who is fifteen years younger than I.
Now deign to stretch out your gentle hand and
plaster this brave arm, which has conquered the
piety of so many pious sisters."
The nun, still without speaking, began to undo
the ragged scarf which covered Larssoii's wounds.
Her hand, in doing this, happened to touch his.
'■'■ Potz donnenceiier I ^' burst out the captain,
with a connoisseur's surprise. "What a fine, soft
little hand! I beg your pardon, amiable lady doc-
tor; ex tingua leonem, says Saint Homer, one of
the fathers of the church . . . for I also have
studied the fathers of the church . . . that is
to say, in good Swedish, by the paw one knows the
lion. I wager ten bottles of old Rhine wine
against a cast-off stirrup, that this little white hand
is much better fitted to caress a cavalier's cheek
than to finger rosaries night and day."
The nun drew her hand away for an instant, and
seemed to hesitate. The gallant captain began to
fear the consequences of his gallantry. " I will
say nothing more; 1 am as silent as a Carthusian
monk. But I do say, that one who dares to pre-
sume that such a soft hand belongs to an old
222 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
granny . . . well, well, your lovely reverence
hears that I am silent."
" Tempus est consummatum^ itur in missam,''^
said a sepulchral voice at the door, and the nun
hastened to finish dressing the wound. In a few
moments the two prisoners were again alone.
" I have heard that voice before," remarked
Bertel, thoughtfully. " Are we then surrounded
by nothing but mysteries?"
" Bah! " replied the captain, "it was a bald-
headed, jealous monk. Bless me, what a sweet
little hand! "
TWO OLD ACQUAINTANCES.
THE following morning, as the late autumn sun
sent its first rays into the turret-room, Bertel
arose and went to take a look out of the narrow
grated window. It was a glorious prospect. Be-
low him wound a magnificent stream, on whose
further shore lay a town with thirty spires, and
beyond were seen a number of still verdant vine-
At the first glance, Bertel recognized Wiirtz-
burg. Castle Marienburg, where the prisoners were
cotifined, had, at the Swedes' re'treat, fallen again
into the bishop's hands; but on account of the in-
security of the times, his princely grace had not
returned there himself, but remained most of the
time in Vienna. The castle had suifered much
from the last conquest and the attendant plunder-
ing; one tower had been destroyed, and the moat
FIRE AMD WATER. 223
was filled up in several places. At present there
were only fifty men in the garrison, but there were
sick and wounded, nursed by the sisters of charity
from tiie convent in the town. When Bertel in-
spected his prison more closely, he thought he re-
coo-nized Regina's chamber, the same one where
the beautiful lady with her maid contemplated the
strife, and where the Swedish cannon-ball shattered
the image of the saint in the window.* This dis-
covery seemed beyond value to the romantic youth.
Here had she stood, the wondrously beautiful un-
happy daughter of the prince; here had she slum-
bered the last night before the assault. It was in
Bertel's eyes a sacred place; when he pressed his
lips to the cold walls, he fancied that he kissed the
traces of Regina's tears.
Like a flash, a strange thought ran through his
mind. If the nun who visited them yesterday
could have been a disguised princess ! . . if the
delicate white hand belonged to — Regina ! That
would be a miracle, but . . . love believes in
miracles. Bertel's heart beat violently. The
gentle nurse's care had already greatly improved
his neglected wounds. He felt twice as strong
His companions in misfortune, tired from the
journey, were still asleep. Then the door opened
softly, and with noiseless step the nun entered, to
bring the wounded men a healing draught. Bertel
felt his head swim. Overcome by his violent emo-
tion, he fell on his knees before her.
" Your name, you angel of mercy, who remem-
ber the imprisoned ! " exclaimed he. "Tell me
your name, reveal your face ! . . . Ah, I should
* Here the Surgeon seems to have forgotten that Regina's room was In
the tower shot down at tl*e seige. — The A utiior.
224 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
recognize you among a thousand. . . . You are
Regina herself ! "
" You are mistaken," said the same fresh
voice which Bertel had heard yesterday. It was
not Regina's voice, and yet it was a very familiar
one; but whose ?
Bertel sprang up, and snatched the veil from
the nun's head. Before him stood the pretty and
gentle Katclien, with a smiling face. Bertel
stepped back, bewildered.
"]mp\ident one!" said KStchen, and hastily
covered her face. " T had desired to have you
under my charge, and you force me to leave my
place to another."
Kiitchen disappeared. That same day, in the
afternoon, a nyn again entered the room. Larsson
delivered an eloquent harangue, raised her hand
to his lips, and pressed upon it a resounding kiss.
Then he swore by a million devils, he had kissed
an old withered hand, whose surface was like hun-
" Verily, my dear Bertel," said the deceived
captain, with philosophic resignation, "there are
things in nature which must eternally remain an
enigma to human sagacity. This hand, for ex-
ample . . . ma/iws, mana^ manum., hand, as the
old Roman so truly expressed himself . . . this
hand, my friend, would undoubtedly occupy a con-
spicuous place in the Greek poet Ovid's Metamor-
phoses, which we formerlv studied in the cathedral
school at Abo, the time my father wanted to make
me a priest. Yesterday 1 could have pledged my
soul that it was a delicate lady's hand; and to-day
I will let them shave me into a monk if this hand
docs not belong to a seventy-year-old washerwo-
man. Sic unde uhi apud unquani post, as they
FIRE AND WATER. 225
expressed themselves in olden times. That is to
say : so can a pretty girl become a witch before
any one knows it."
The prisoners' wounds healed rapidly under the
careful nursino- of the nuns. The dark autumn
storm roared around the castle turrets, and the
heavy rains beat against the small windows. The
vineyards withered; a tln'ck and chilling- mist arose
from the Main, and obscured the view of the
'' I can't stand it any longer," grumbled Larsson.
" These wretches give us neither wine nor dice.
And may Saint Brita forgive me, but the devil
may kiss their nuns; I will neither kiss hand nor
mouth, for habeo multum respecUmi pro tnatvoni-
bics, — I have much respect for old women. No, I
can't stand it, ] will jump out of the window . . ."
" Do it," said Bertel, provoked.
" No, I will not jump out of the window," re-
joined the captain. "No my friend, micus ameus^
as we used to express ourselves. ... I shall in-
stead honor this fellow-prisoner of ours with a game
of pitch and toss."
And the captain, fertile in resources, was pleas-
ed to honor Pekka for the thirtieth time with the
monotonous game which constituted his diversion,
and which was played with a six ore piece of
" Tell me, rather," resumed Bertel, "what they
are building there on the square in Wurtzburg
" A tavern," answered Larsson. " Heads !"
" Tt seems to me to look more like a pyre."
"Tails!" repeated Larsson, mechanically.
" Plague on it, what ill-luck I have! That cursed
226 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
Litningo peasant wins from me horse, saddle, and
" The first morning of our imprisonment," con-
tinued Bertel, "1 heard them say something about
an auto-da fe\ in celebration of the battle of Liitzen.
What do you think of it?"
" 1 ? What should I have against burning a
dozen witches, much to our amusement ?"
" But if it now concern us? If they were only
waiting for the bishop's arrival?"
Larsson opened his small gray eyes, and stroked
his goatee. " BUtzdonnerkreutzl . . . the
miserable Jesuits! They would roast us like tur-
keys — us, the conquerors of the holy Roman em-
pire! . . It seems to me, friend Bertel, that in
such desperate circumstances, in rebus desperatus,
an honest soldier could not be blamed if he should
quietly steal away — for examjole, through the win-
dow . . ."
" It is seventy feet above the Main, and the
flood is straight beneath."
"The door?" . . . continued the captain,
"It is guarded night and day by two armed
The honest captain sank into melancholy reflec-
tions. Time passed; it became afternoon; it be-
came night. The nun with the evening repast was
not heard from.
" Festivities begin with fasting," muttered the
captain, gruffly. " May I turn into a fish if I don't
wring the neck of our neglectful nun the first time
she shows herself."
At that instant the door opened and the nun
entered, but this time without attendants. Larsson
exchanged an expressive glance with his comrades.
FIRE AND WATER. 227
approached the nun hastily, seized her by the neck,
and held her fast against the wall.
" Keep still, like a good child, most reverend
abbess," mocked the captain. ^ If you make a
sound, it is all over with you. I ought really to
throw you out of the window to swim in the Main,
so as to teach you puncUnn preciosum., that is to
say, a precise punctuality in your attendance upon
us. But I will let grace prevail instead of justice.
Tell me only, you most miserable of all meal-bring-
ers, miserahile pecorale., what is the meaning of that
fire they are preparing on the square, and who is
going to be roasted there? "
"For the sake of all the saints, speak low!"
whispered the nun, in a scarcely audible voice. "I
am Katchen, and have come to save you. A great
danger threatens you. The prince bishop is ex-
pected to-morrow, and Father Hieronymus, the
implacable enemy of you and all other Finns, has
sworn to burn you alive in honor of the saints."
"The little, delicate, soft hand!" exclaimed
Larsson, in delight. "Upon my honor, if I was not
a booby not to recognize it immediately. Well,
then, my charming friend, to Saint Brita's honor I
will take a kiss on the spot . . ."
And the captain kept his word. But Katchen
tore herself from him, and said rapidly:
" If you do not behave yourself, young man,
you will furnish fuel to the flame, that is certain.
Quick, bind me fast to the bed-post and tie a hand-
kerchief over my mouth."
" Bind you fast . . ." replied the captain
"Quick! The guards have had wine and are
asleep, but in twenty minutes they will be visited
by the father himself. Take their cloaks and
228 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
hasten out. The watchword is ' Peter and
"And you, yourself ?" demurred the captain.
"They will find me bound; I iiave been over-
powered and gaoged."
"Noble 2;irl! Crown amono: all Franconia's
sisters of charity! Had I not sworn never to
marry . . Well, hurry up, Bertel! Hurry,
Pekka, vou lazy doa:! Farewell, "little roarue! One
mure kiss . . . good-by!"
And the three prisoners hastened out.
But scarcely were they outside the door, on the
dark spiral staircase, before they felt tiiemselves
seized by iron hands, thrown down and bound.
"Take the dogs down to the treasure-room!"
said a well-known voice.
It was the voice of the Jesuit Hieronvmus.
OVERPOWERED and bound hand and foot,
the prisoners soon found themselves in the
dark, damp dungeon, hewn deep in tiie rock, where
the bishop of Wiirtzburg had kept Ins treasure
before the Swedes saved him the trouble. No r;iy
of light penetrated into this musty vault, and the
moisture from the rocks trickled througli the crev-
ices and dripped monotonously on the ground.
"Lightning and Croats! may all demons take
you, cursed earless monk!" yelled the captain,
when he again felt the firm ground under his feet.
FIRE AND WATER. 229
" ro shut us up, the officers of his royal majesty
and tlie crown, in such a rat-trap! Diabolus in-
feriuiiis ))ndti/»i j^^tis 2)lurimuml . . Are you
" Yes. In order to be burned alive to-morrow."
" Do you think so, Bertel?" asked the captain,
'' I know this treasure-room. On three sides is
the rock, on the I'ourth a door of iron, and the man
who guards us is iiarder than rock and iron. Never
shall we see Finland a<?ain. Never shall I see her
more , . ."
" Listen to me, Bertel ; you are a sensible fel-
low, but that does not hinder you from sometimes
ta knig like a milksop. You are in love with the
black-haired Regina; well, well, I will say nothing
about that: Amor est valde lurifaxius, — love is a
bandit, — as Ovid so truly expresses himself. But I
cannot stand wtiimpering. If we live, there are
enough other girls to kiss; if we die, then we will
say good-riddance to them. So you really think
that they intend to roast us like plucked wood-
"That depends upon yourselves!" answered
a voice from the darkness. All three prisoners
started with affright.
"The evil one is amongst us! " exclaimed Lars-
Pekka began to say his prayers. Then the
clear i-ays of a dark-lantern pierced the gloom, and
all perceived the Jesuit Hieronytnus standing
alone near the captives.
" It depends upon you," repeated he. "To fly
is impossible. Your king is dead, your army is
beaten, the whole world acknowledges the power
of the church and the emperor. The pile is readj
230 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
for your bodies to be burned in honor of the saints.
But the holy church, in its clemency, has thought
of a way of still sparing you, and has sent me here
to offer you mercy."
"Indeed!" exclaimed Larsson, mockingly.
" Come, reverend father, loose my bonds and let
me embrace you. I offer you my friendship, and
of course you believe me. How says Seneca? —
homo homini lujyus^ toir Wolfe sind alle Briider.'''' *
" I offer you mercy," continued the Jesuit,
coldly, " on three conditions, which you certainly
will not refuse. The first is, that you abjure your
heretic faith and publicly join the only saving
" Never! " exclaimed Bertel, fiercely.
"Be still!" said the captain. "Well, posito
that we abjure the Lutheran faith?"
" Then," continued the Jesuit, "you shall, as
prisoners of war, be exchanged for the high-born
lady and princess Retina von Emmeritz, whom
your king tyrannically sent in captivity to the
" It shall be done!" answered Bertel, eagerly.
"Be still!" cried Larsson. "Well, go on \ posito
that we accomplish the high-born lady's deliver-
" Then there remains but a trifle. I demand of
Lieutenant Bertel King Gustaf Adolf's ring."
" Your purse or your life, in highwayman fash-
ion! " said Larsson, derisively.
" You ask what I do not possess," answered
The .lesuit looked at him distrustfully.
"The king commanded Duke Bernhard to give
you the ring, and you must have received it."
* We wolves are all brothers.
FIRE AND WATER. 231
" All this is entirely unkiiowii to me," said
Bertel, with perfect truth, but feeling surprised
and overjoyed at the unexpected intelligence.
The Jesuit resumed his smiling composure.
" If tliat is the way tiie case stands, my dear
sons," said he, " let us talk no more about the
ring. As far as your conversion to the true church
is concerned . . ."
Bertel was about to answer, but was interrupted
by the captain, wlio for some moments had been
engaged in a certain rubbing motion with that part
of his body not reached by the light of the lantern.
" Yes, so far as that matter is concerned,"
Larsson hastened to interpose, "you know, rever-
end father, that there are two sides to it: questio
an and questio quomodo. Now to speak first of
questio aa^ my late rector Vincentius Flachsenius
used to say, in his time, always place negare as
prima r eg ida juris. Your reverence will undoubt-
edly find it unexpected and pleasant to hear a royal
captain talk Latin like a cardinal. Your reverence
ought, therefore, to know that we, in Abo Cathe-
dral school, studied both Cicero, Seneca, and Ovid,
also called Naso. For my part, I have always con-
sidered Cicero a great talker, and Seneca a block-
head; but as for Ovid . . ."
The Jesuit moved toward the door, and said,
" Thus you choose the stake?"
" Rather that than the disgrace of an apostacy! "
exclaimed Bertel, who had not noticed Larsson's
hints and siyns.
" My friend," the captain hastened to add, " my
friend thinks, quite sensibly and naturally, that the
ugly part of the matter would be the public scan-
dal. Thus, reverend father, let us confer about
232 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
giiestio quomodo. Posito that we become good
Catholics, and enter into the emperor's service
But deign to come a little nearer; my
friend Bertel is rather hard of hearinor ever since
he had the pleasure of making the acquaintance
of the great Pappenheim."
Tlie Jesuit cautiously advanced a few steps
closer, yet not without convincing himself by a
glance that retreat stood open.
"It is I who decide the manner," said he,
hauo-htilv. "Yes or no?"
"Yes, yes, of course," replied Larsson, quickly,
as he continued to rub himself. "Consequently
we are in clear waters both with guestio an and
qnestio quomodo. Your reverence has a most per-
suasive eloquence. We now come to questio ubi
and questio quando^ for according to logicarn and
metap/njsicam . . Pardon me, worthy father,
I don't have a word of objection; I consent to it
all. But," continued the captain, as he lowered
his voice, " deign to cast a glance at my friend
Bertel's right forefinger. I will tell your reverence,
my friend is a great rogue; I am very mucli mis-
taken if he does not have the king-'s rino^ on at this
The Jesuit, carried away by his curiosity, came
a few steps nearer. Swift as an eel, Larsson, un-
able to rise on account of his bonds, rolleii himself
between the Jesuit and the door, and when the
monk wished to retreat, he found that the captain
had scraped against a sharp stone the ligatures
which held his right arm, with which he suddeidy
embraced the Jesuit's leo-s, and drew him down
over him. Fatlier Hieronymus made desperate
efforts to free himself; the lantern was broken into
fragments, the ligiit extinguished, and a thick
PIRE AND WATER. 233
darkness enveloped the wrestlers. Bertel and
Pekka, both unable to get up and help, rolled
themselves toward the spot, but without reaching
it. Then the brave captain felt a sharp pain in his
shoulder, and directly afterwards a warm stream of
blood. With a Blitzdonnerkreutzl he wrenched
the dagger from his enemy's hand and returned the
stab. The Jesuit now sued for mercy in his turn.
" With the greatest pleasure, my son! " answered
the captain, mockingly. " But only on three con-
ditions: the first is, that you abjure Loyola, your
lord and master, and declare him a great milksop.
Do you agree to it?"
"I agree to everything," sighed the father.
" Tlie second is, that you start off and hang
yourself to the first hook you find in the ceiling."
" Yes, yes, only let go of me."
"The tliird is, that vou travel to Beelzebub,
your patron saint," . . . and with these words,
Larsson flung his enemy violently against the
rocky wall, after which the place became quite
silent. The dagger was now used hastily to cut
the prisoners' bonds, and then it only remained to
find tlie door.
When the three fuoritives, after havino- bolted
the door of the treasure-room from without, reach-
ed the dark narrow staircase wiiich led to the
upper regions of the castle, they stopped a moment
to consult together. Their situation was anything
but enviable, for they knew of old that the stairs
led to the bishop's former bedchamber, from
whence two or three parlors had to be crossed be-
fore they came to the large armory, and through
that to the castle-yard, after which they still had
to pass the chised drawbridge and the guard. All
the rooms except the bedchamber, which the
834 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
Jesuit himself seemed to have taken possession of,
had only two hours before, when the prisoners
were brought down, been filled partly with soldiers,
partly with the sick and their nurses.
"One thing grieves me," whispered Larsson,
"and that is that I did not draw the fur off the fox
when I held him by the ears. In the garments of
piety I could have gone scot-free through purga-
tory, like another &aidus inter 2)i'ophetas. But as
it is, my friend Bertel, I ask, in my simplicity: how
shall we get away from here?"
" We will fight our way through. The garri-
son are asleep; the darkness of night favors us."
" I confess, my fi'iend, that if anybody, even
were it 1, Larsson himself, should call you a
coward, I would call that fellow a liar. It is true
that you once, as good as solo., alone, aliejius, all by
yourself, took this castle; but you had then at
least a sword in your hand and a few thousand
brave boys in the rear. . . . Hush! I hear a tread
on the stairs; — no, it was nothing. Let us push
on cautiously. Here it stands one in need to tread
like a maiden: that stupid Limingo peasant tramps
as if we had a squadron of cavalry at our heels."
The fuQ^itives had ascended about thirty or
forty steps, and the way still led upward, when a
faint ray of light glimmered at the top of the pas-
sage. They came tea door, which stood ajar. They
stopped and held their breath; not a sound was
heard. The brave captain now ventured to push in
his head, then his foot, and finally his whole stout
"We are on the right track," whispered he;
"boots off! the whole company must march in
stockings — jt?os^<o that the company has stockings.
FIRE AND WATER. 235
The bishop's bedchamber, which the tliree now
entered on tip-toe, was a large and once magiiifi-
cent room. A flickering lamp dimly illumined the
precious Gobelin tapestry,the gilded images of the
saints, Mnd the ebony bedstead, inlaid with pearl,
where the rich prelate used to fall asleep with his
goblet of Rhine wine beside him. No living crea-