ture was to be seen; but from one of the windows
which overlooked the court-vard thev could seethe
castle chapel opposite brilliantly lighted, and filled
with people. Even the castle-yard, which was
lighted by the reflection from the windows, was
thronged with people, many of whom carried
candles in their hands,
"I will let them salt and pickle me like cucum-
bers in a jar, if I understand what all those people
are doing here in the middle of the nio-ht," inut-
tered the captain testily. Perhaps they have come
to see three honest Finnish soldiers roasted by a
slow fire like Aland herrings!"
" We must look for weapons, and die like men,"
said Bertel, as he searched through the room.
"Hurrah ! " exclaimed he, " here are three swords,
just what we need."
"And three daggers," added Larsson, who, in
a large niche behind the image of a saint, had
found a small arsenal of all sorts of weapons. "The
reverend fathers have a weakness for daggers, as
the East Bothnians have for their sheath-knives."
"I think," joined in the close-moutlied Pekka,
as he caught sight of a good-sized flask in a cor-
ner, " I think that as it is Christmas night . . . . "
" Brave boy ! " interrupted the captain, ins|)ired
by this prospect; "you have a remarkable scent
when it is a question of something to drink. Pious
Jesuit ! you have accomplished some good in the
336 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
world ! Christmas nicrht, did you say ? Bloclthead!
why didn't you tell us at once? It is as clear
as day, that half Wiirtzburg is streaming to
the castle to hear Father Hieronymus say mass.
By my honor, I am afraid he will make them wait
some time, the good pater. Here goes, my friend;
I driidc to you; an otBcer ought always to set his
troops a good example. Your health my boys. . .
Damnation ! . . . the miserable moidi has cht^ated
us ; I have swallowed poison; I am a dead man !"
And the honest captain became pale as a corpse.
But both Bertel and Pekka liad hard work to
restrain tiieir laughter, notv/ithstanding their
dangerous situation, when they saw Larsson at once
white from fright and black from the fluid he had
drank and spilled over himself.
" Be more moderate another time," said Bertel,
" and you will avoid drinking ink."
"Ink! I might have known that the earless
scrawler would be up to some deviltry. Two
things trouble me to-night more than all inUos-da-
fe: that the sweet Kiitchen, with the soft hand,
deceived us, and that I have swallowed the most
useless stuff in the world â€” ink. Bah ! "
" If we had nothing else to do, I could show
you something that ink has done," rejoined Bertel,
as he hastily turued over a pile of papers on the
writing-table. " Here is a letter from the princely
bishop ... he is coming to-morrow . . . we are
to be solemnly burned . . . they will tempt us
to abjure our faith, and promise us grace , . . but
burn us, nevertheless ! Infamous !"
" Roman fashion !" observed the captain, phleg-
In the meantime Larsson had drawn out three
FIRE AND WATER. 337
monks' cloaks; thev put them on, and now ven-
tured to proceed farther in the dangerous regions.
'JMie next two rooms were empty. Two rude
beds oave evidence that some serving brothers had
their abode liere, and were now gone to mass.
" Bravo !" whispered Larsson, "they will take
us for sheep in wolves' clothing, and believe that
we also are Q:oin<j to attend mass. . . . Hark !
didn't you hear something ? â€” a woman's voice ?
Be quiet !"
They stopped, and heard in the darkness a
young female voice, praying :
" Holy Virgin, forgive ine this time, and save
me froM) death; I will to-morrow take the veil,
and serve vou all my life !"
" It is Kjitchen's voice !" said the captain. "Can
it be that she is innocent, poor child ? Upon my
honor, it would be base of a cavalier not to rescue
a sweet girl with such a soft hand ! "
" Let us he off !" whispered Bertel, in vexation.
But the captain had already found a litile door,
bolted on the outside; beyond the door was a cell,
and in that cell was a tremblino^ girl. Her eves,
accustomed to the darkness, distinguished the
monk's garb; she threw herself at the captain's feet,
"Grace, my father, grace ! I will confess all; I
have favored the prisoners' flight, I have given
wine to the guard. But spare my life, have mercy
upon me for the saints' sake ! I am so young. I
do not wish to die yet ! "
" Who the devil has said that you shall die, my
brave girl ?" imerrupted the captain. "No, you
shall live, with your soft hand and your warm lips,
as true as 1 am not a Jesuit, but Lars Larsson,
captain in the service of his royal majesty and the
238 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
crown and herewith take you ... as my wedded
wife, for better or for worse, " continued the cap-
tain, undoubtedly because he considered that tlie
well-known formula must be said to an end when
he once bea^an it.
"Away, away! with or without the girl, but
away ! â€” they are coming, and we still have to pass
the large armory !"
" Allow me to tell you, my friend, Bertel, that
you are the greatest ticldle-faddle 1 know; maximus
Jiescus, as the ancients so truly expressed tliem-
selves. How is it, my girl, you are not a nun, but
only a novice ? Well, it is all the same to me.
You shall be my wedded wife, in case I ever marry.
Here is a cloak; there now, put that on and look
" It is no cloak, it is a mass-robe," whispered
Katchen, who had scarcely time to recover from
" The deuce ! a mass-robe ! Wait; ynu take
my cloak and I will take the robe. I will chant
dies ircB, in their ears so that they all will be aston-
The sound of several voices in the armory out-
side interrupted the captain in his priestly medi-
" They have missed the Jesuit; they are looking
for him, and we are lost throuiih your silly non-
sense," whispered Bertel, in exasperation. "We
must now be careful not to betray ourselves.
Come along, all of you."
"And the Latinist first ! " exclaimed the cap-
All four went out. In the armory were some
thirty sick-beds, but only two sisters in attendance.
This sight was reassuring, but all the more danger-
FIRE AND WATER. 239
ous was the meeting with the two monks, who
stood in excited altercatioti close by the door.
Wl)eii they saw Larsson in the mass-robe, and be-
hind him tliree figures in cloaks, the pious fathers
were greatly startled. The captain raised his arms
to bless them, uttered a solemn pax vohiscum^ and
was about to steal by with a grave step when he
was checked by the foremost monk.
" Reverend father," said the latter, as he closely
eyed the unknown prelate from head to foot,
" what procures our castle this honor at so unusual
" Pax vobiscum P'' repeated the captain de-
voutly. " The pious Father Hieronymus com-
mands you to say mass the best you know how.
. . . His reverence is sick ... he has toothache."
" Let us seek his reverence," said one of the
monks, entering the smaller room. But the other
seized Larsson by the robe, and looked at him in
a way which did not at all please the brave cap-
" Quis vus e, quid eltis f'' repeated the captain,
nonplussed. " Qui quoe qxiod., meus tuus suns . . .
go to the devil, you bald-headed baboons ! " roared
Larsson, unable to restrain himself longer, and
pushed the resisting monks into the chamber and
bolted the door. Then all four hastened down to
the court-yard. Behind them arose a great outcry;
the monks shouted with all their might, the nuns
joined in, and soon the attention of the crowd of
people who thronged the court-yard began to be
" We are lost," whispered Katchen, " unless we
can reach the drawbridge by the back way."
They hastened there. The tumult increased.
They passed the guard at the large sally-port.
240 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
"Halt ! Who croes there ?"
" Peter and Paul^'' answered Bertel, promptly.
Tiiey passed out. Foituiiately tlie drawbridge
was dovvii. But the whole castle was now in alarm.
"Let us jump into the river; the night is dark;
they will not find us !" cried Bertel.
"No," said Larsson, " I will not leave ray girl,
if it should cost me my neck."
"Here staiul three saddled horses ! Be quick !"
" Up, you sweetest of all the nuns in Franco-
nia ! up in the saddle !" and the agile captain
swunix the trembling Kiitchen before iiim on tlie
horse's back. They all galloped away in the dark-
ness. But behind them was tumult and uproai-; the
alarm-bells sounded in ali the turrets, and the
whole of Wiirtzburg wondered wliat could have
happened on this Christmas night.
THE DUKE AND THE LIEUTENANT.
ONE spring day in March, 1G33, â€” three months
after the events rarrated in the last chapter
â€” we find Lieutenant Bertel in an ante-chamber of
the little military conrt which the Duke Bernhnrd
of Weimar held sometimes at Cassel, sometimes at
Nassau, or at other places where the cares of war
brought him. Adjutants came and went, orders
flew in all directions, for the duke had a large por-
tion of southern and western Germanv as his de-
partment, and the times were very troublous.
After waiting a long time, the young officer
FIRE AND WATER. 241
was conducted to the duke. The hitter looked up
distractedly from his charts and papers, and seemed
to expect to bo addressed. But Bertel kept silent.
" Wlio are vou ? " said Duke Bernhard, ab-
ruptly and harshly.
" Gustaf Bertel, lieutenant in his royal majesty's
" What do you want ?"
The youth colored, and made no reply. The
duke perceived tiiis, and regarded him with dis-
"I understand," said the latter at length; " you
have, as usual, been duelling with the German
officers on account of the girls. I will not toler-
ate such things. A soldier should reserve his
weapon for his fatherland."
" 1 have not been fighting, your highness."
" So much the worse. Then you come to ask a
furlough to Finland. You remain, lieutenant. Good-
" I do not come to ask a furlough."
" Indeed ; then what the deuce do you come for?
Can you not speak out, sir, quicl< and short ! Leave
it to priests to make prayers, and to girls to blush."
" Your hio-hness has received a ring: from his
majesty the late king ..."
" I do not remember it."
"... which his majesty requested your high-
ness to deliver to an officer of his life-guard."
The duke passed his hand over his high brow.
" The officer is dead," said he.
"That officer am I, your highness. Wounded
at Liitzen, I was directly afterwards taken prisoner
by the Imperialists."
Duke Bernhard beckoned Bertel nearer, looked
242 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
at him searchingly, and seemed satisfied with his
" Close the door," said he, "and seat yourself
here at my side."
Bertel obeyed. His cheeks orJowed with anxiety.
" Young man," said the duke, " on your brow
you bear witness of your origin, and I ask no
further proof. Your mother is a peasant's daugh-
ter, of Storkyro, in Finland, called Emerentia
" No, your highness. The person you mention
is my elder sister, born of my father's first marriage.
I have never seen my mother."
The duke looked at him with surprise.
"Very well," said he, doubtfully, as he hastily
glanced through some papers in his portfolio; " we
will, however, speak of this sister of yours, Emer-
entia Aronsdotter. Her father had rendered great
service to King Charles IX., and was urged to
request some sign of favor. He asked to be al-
lowed to send his dauo-hter, then his onlv child, to
Stockholm, in order to be educated with young
ladies of rank at the court."
" I know little about that."
" At thirteen years of age, the young peasant
girl was sent to Stockholm, where her father's
vanity and wealth procured her a residence, dress,
and education, far above her rank. He burned
with ambition ; and as he himself could not gain a
noble crest, he depended upon his daughter's high
birth on her mother's side, for Bertila's first wife was
an orphan girl of the family Stjernkors, deprived
of her inheritance through the war, and then dis-
owned by her haughty family on account of her
marriage with the rich peasant Bertila."
"All this is unknown to me."
FIRE AND WATER. 243
" The young Einerentia suffered very much in
Stockholm from the envy and derision of her aris-
tocratic companions, for many of them were poorer
than she and could not endure to see a ph^beian
placed at their side as an equal. But her beauty
was as extraordinary as her goodness and intelli-
gence. Within two years she had acquired the
refined habits of the best circles, while she pre-
served the rustic simplicity of her heart. This
rare union of mental and physical graces reminded
old persons of a lovely image from their youth
At these words the duke o-ave tlie vouno; man
a sharp glance. But Bertel's expression did not
change. All this was to him new and incompre-
"Well," continued the duke, after apause, "tnis
beauty was not long unobserved. A very young
man of high birth speedily fell in love with the
beautiful maiden, who was then only fifteen, and
she returned his attachment with all the devotion
of first love. This attachment did not long: remain
unobserved by those around the patrician youth;
policy trembled, and the pride of the nobility felt
itself offended by this distinction bestowed upon a
girl of low birth. They resolved to marry the
young girl to an officer, like herself of humble
orio;in, but distiiiQ-uished for his valor in the Danish
war. This intellig:ence came to the ears of the
young couple. Poor children! they were so young,
he seventeen, she fifteen, both inexperienced, and
in love. Shortly afterward the young man went to
the war in Poland; the vouno- o-irl's marriaa^e came
to naught, and she was sent back by the offended
aiobility to her cabins in Finland, in disgrace. Do
244 TIME'S OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
you wish to know anything more, Lieutenant
" I do not understand, your highness, what the
account of my sister's life has to do with . . ."
" â€¢ . the ring you ask for? Patience.
When the young man left for the war, and for the
last time had a secret meeting with his beloved,
she gave hmi a ring, whose earlier history I do not
know, but which was supposed to have been forged
by a Finnish sorcerer, and to have all the qualities
of an amulet. She conjured her lover to constantly
wear this ring on his finger in danger and in war,
as he would thus become invulnerable. Twice was
this warning forgotten; oncG at Dirschau . . ."
" . . â€¢ and the second time at Liitzen."
Bertel's emotion was so violent that the blood
all left his cheeks, and he stood pale as a marble
" Young man, you now know a part of what
you ought to know, but you do not yet know all.
We have hitherto spoken of your sister; we will
now speak of you. It was his majesty's intention
to offer you a nobleman's coat of arms, which your
brave sword had so well earned. But the old
Aaron Bertila, actuated by his hatred of the
nobility, solicited as a favor that the king would
give you opportunity of gaining any otlier dis-
tinction, but not allow you to accept a noble name.
The king could not refuse this entreaty from a
father . . . and therefore. you are still a com-
moner by name. But I, who am not bound by any
promise to your father, I offer you, young man,
what has heretofore been refused you â€” the spur
and escutcheon of a knig-ht."
FIRE AND WATER. 245
"' Your hig-hness . . . this favor makes me
dumb; how have I deserved it?"
Duke Bertihard smiled with a strange expres-
" How? My friend, you have only half under-
Bertel said nothing.
" Very well; with or without your knowledge
or will, 1 rea:ard vou alreadv as a nobleman. We
will talk together about it another time. Your
ring . . ah . . I have forgotten it. Do you
remember how it looked?" And the duke looked
zealously in his portfolio.
" They say that the king wore a copper ring, on
the inside of which were engraved magic signs,
and the letters R. R. R."
" It is possible that I have mislaid it, for I can-
not find it. But who the deuce has time to think
about such childish things? The ring must have
been stolen from my private casket. If I find it
again, you shall have it. If not, you know that
which is worth more. Go, young man; be worthy
my confidence and the great king's memory! No
one ought to know what I have told you. Fare-
well; we shall see each other again."
ONCE more we hasten from spring in Germany
back to winter in the North. Before we
proceed farther in the bloody path of the Thirty
Years' War, we will make a visit to two of the
246 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
chief persons in this narrative, high up in East
It was at Advent time, 1632. A violent storm,
mino-led with flurries of snow, beat a2:ainst the old
ramparts of Korsliolm, and drove the autumnal
waves of the Baltic against the ice-bound shore.
Navio-ation for the year was over: no one crossed
that stormy sea. The newly conscripted recruits
had, at the end of. July, left for Stralsund, by way
of Stockholm. News from the seat of war was im-
patiently awaited. Suddenly, in the middle of
November, a rumor spread through the country
that the king was dead. Such rumors fly through
the air, no one knows how or from whence: great
misfortunes, like presentiments, are known at a
long distance; as a remote earthquake, far beyond
its circle, causes a qualm in the mind. But this
report had more than once before been both circu-
lated and refuted; people relied on King Gustaf
Adolf's good fortune; and as corroboration failed
to come, they forgot the story in the belief that it
It is a common experience in life, that, as we
hate those to whom we have done a wrong, we feel
kindly disposed toward persons to whom we have
had an opportunity of doing good. Lady Martha
was not a little proud of her brave defence of
Korsholm against the drunken soldiers, and did
not neglect to attribute the preservation of the
castle to the heroism she had then displayed. That
she had saved Regina's life, gave the latter a great
importance in her eyes; but neither could she re-
fuse her admiration to the courage and self-sacri-
fice which the young girl had shown on that occa-
sion. The liigh-born prisoner was her pride; she
did not omit to watch all her steps like an Argus,
FIRE AND WA TER. 247
but she gave Regina a finer room, let her have old
Dorthe again as a waiting woman, and provided
her with an abundance of good food. Regina had
grown somewliat less proud and cold; she could
sometimes answer Laciy Martha with a word or a
nod; but of all the nice things that were offered
her â€” the choice meats and beer, and many other
delicacies â€” she took little or nothing. She had
sunk into an apparent indifference; she told her
beads devoutly, but in other respects let one day
pass like another.
Lady Martha held the deep conviction that her
prisoner, if not exactly the Roman emperor's own
daughter, was yet a princess of the highest birth.
She therefore hit upon the unlucky idea of trying
to convert so distinguished a person from her
papist heresy, in the supposition that she would
thereby accomplish sometliing very remarkable
when the war ended and Regina was exchanged.
Thus Regina became exposed to the same proselyt-
ing attempts which she herself had undertaken
with the great Gustaf Adolf, but Lady Martha's
zeal was of a grosser and more awkward sort. She
overwhelmed the poor girl with Lutheran sermons,
psalm-books, and tracts, occasionally made her long
speeches interspersed with proverbs, and when
she found this was without avail she sent the castle
chaplain to preach to the prisoner. Of course all
this fell upon deaf ears. Regina was sufficiently
firm in her faith to listen with patience, but she
suffered from it; her stav at Korsholm became each
day more unendurable; and who can blame her if
she sighed with secret longing for the day when
she should regain her freedom?
Dorthe, on the contrary, flamed up every time\
the heretic preacher or the plucky old lady began
248 TIMES OF GUST A F ADOLF.
with their sermons, and rattled tlirough a wliole
string of prayers and maledictions both in Latin
and Low Dutch, the result of which was usually
that she was shut up for two or three days in the
dunsreon of the castle, until the lono-ino- for her
mistress made her manageable. And so passed a
half year of Reg-ina's captivity.
A better result of Lady ISIiirtha's good-will was
that Regina was allowed to embroider, and that
fine materials were ordered for her in the autumn
from Stockholm. Thus it became possible for her
to embroider a large piece of silk with the Virgin
Mary and the Infant Christ in silver and gold.
Martha, in her innocence, considered the work an
altar-cloth, which Regina possibly might present
to Wasa church, as a proof of her change of senti-
ments. A warrior's eyes, on the other iiand, would
have discerned in it an intended flag, a banner of
the Catholic faith, which the imprisoned girl quietly
prepared, in expectation of the day when it should
wave at the head of the Catholic hosts.
Still, Lady Martha was not quite satisfied with
the Holv Viro-in Mary's ima2:e, which seemed to
her surrounded by too large a halo to be truly
Lutheran. She was therefore considering how
she could find for her prisoner a more suitable oc-
cupation. It happened now and then that Meri,
the daughter of the Storkyro peasant king, when
â€¢she was in town, made an errand to Korsholm, and,
in order to gain the favor of the lady of the castle,
presented her with several skeins of the silkiest
linen floss, which none in the whole region could
spin so well as Meri. Lady Martha consequently
took the notion one fine day to permit her prisoner
to learn to spin, and gave her Meri as a teacher in
this art. Meri in her heart desired nothing better.
FIRE AND WATER. 249
The near connection in which the imprisoned lady
had stood to the king, gave her an unsurpassable
interest in Meri's eyes. She wished to hear some-
thing about him â€” the hero, the king, the great,
never-to-be-forgotten man, who stood before her
memory in more than earthly splendor. She
wished to know what he had said, what he had done,
what he had loved and what hated on earth; she
wished for once to feel herself transported by his
glory, and then die herself, forgotten. PoorMeri!
So Meri made her second acquaintance with
Lady Regina in the castle. She was at first re-
ceived with coldness and indifference, and her
spinning scarcely pleased the proud young lady.
But gradually her mild and submissive demeanor
won Regina's good-will, and a captive's natural
desire to communicate with beings outside the pri-
son walls finally caused her heart to open. They
spun very little, it is true, but they talked together
like mistress and servant, especially during the days
when Dorthe was shut up for her vicious tongue;
and it was quite opportune that Meri recalled from
former and brighter days some knowledge of the
German tongue. Meri well knew how to lead the
conversation toward one subject â€” the king; and
Meri was quick-sighted; she soon divined Regina's
enthusiastic love. But Regina was far from having
any suspicion of Meri's earlier life; she attributed
her questions to the natural curiosity which such
lofty objects always excite in the uncultivated.
Sometimes she seemed astonished at the delicacy
and nobility of the simple peasant woman's expres-
sions and views. There were moments when
Meri's personality appeared to her an enigma full
of contradictions; and then she asked herself
whether she oua-ht not to consider this woman a
250 TIMES OF GUSTAF ADOLF.
spy. But the next instant slie repented this
thouglit; when the spinner looked at her with her
clear, mild, penetrating gaze, something convinced
Regina's heart of her sincerity.
They were both sitting thus one day in the
beginning of December, while Dorthe was again
locked up for unseasonable remarks to the chap-
lain. There was a bright contrast between these
two beings, whom fate had brought together from
such difierent spheres, but who on one point shared
the same interest. The first, young, beautiful,
proud, dark, flashing, a princess even in her cap-
tivity; the other, of middle age, blond, pale, deli-
cate, mild, humble, free, yet submissive. Regina,