Monday, September 1, 2008

1.15 (Chap. 15)

After the conversation with Zbyszko, Jagienka did not appear in Bogdaniec for three days; but on the third day she hurried in with the news that the abbot had arrived at Zgorzelice. Macko received the news with some emotion. It was true he had enough money to pay the amount for which the estate was pledged, and he calculated that he would have enough left to induce settlers to come, to buy herds and to make other improvements; but in the whole transaction, much depended on the disposition of the rich relative, who for instance, could take or leave the peasants settled by him on the land, and in that way increase or diminish the value of the estate.

Therefore Macko asked Jagienka about the abbot; how he was; if he was in a good humor or gloomy; what he had said about them; when he was coming to Bogdaniec? She gave him sensible answers, trying to encourage and calm him in every respect.

She said that the abbot was in good health and good humor; that he was accompanied by a considerable retinue in which, besides the armed servants, there were several clerics and musicians; that he sang with Zych and that he listened gladly not only to the spiritual but to the worldly songs also. She also noticed that he asked about Macko, and that he listened eagerly to Zych's narration of Zbyszko's adventure in Krakow.

"You know best what you ought to do," finally the girl said; "but I think that Zbyszko ought to go immediately and greet his elder relative, and not wait until the abbot comes to Bogdaniec."

Macko liked the advice; therefore he called Zbyszko and said to him:

"Dress yourself nicely; then go and bow to the abbot, and pay him respect; perhaps he will take a fancy to you."

Then he turned to Jagienka:

"I am astonished to find that you have such good sense. Tell me then, the best way to receive the abbot when he comes here."

"As for food, he will tell you himself what he wishes to have; he likes to feast well, but if there be a great deal of saffron in the food, he will eat anything."

Macko hearing this, said:

"How can I get saffron for him!"

"I brought some," said Jagienka.

"Give us more such girls!" exclaimed the overjoyed Macko. "She is pretty, a good housekeeper, intelligent and good-hearted! Hey! if I were only younger I would take her immediately!"

Here Jagienka glanced at Zbyszko, and having sighed slightly, she said further:

"I also brought the dices, the goblet and the cloth, because after his meal, the abbot likes to play dices."

"He had the same habit before, and he used to get very angry."

"He gets angry sometimes now; then he throws the goblet on the ground and rushes from the room into the fields. Then he comes back smiling, and laughs at his anger. You know him! If one does not contradict him, you cannot find a better man in the world."

"And who would contradict him; is he not wiser and mightier than others?"

Thus they talked while Zbyszko was dressing in the alcove. Finally he came out, looking so good that he dazzled Jagienka, as much as he did the first time he went to Zgorzelice. She regretted that this handsome knight was not hers, and that he was in love with another girl.

Macko was pleased because he thought that the abbot could not help liking Zbyszko and would be more lenient during their business transaction. He was so much pleased with this idea that he decided to go too.

"Order the servants to prepare a wagon," he said to Zbyszko. "If I could travel from Krakow to Bogdaniec with an iron in my side, surely I can go now to Zgorzelice."

"If you only will not faint," said Jagienka.

"I will be all right, because I feel stronger already. And even if I faint, the abbot will see that I hastened to meet him, and will be more generous."

"I prefer your health to his generosity!" said Zbyszko.
But Macko was persistent and started for Zgorzelice. On the road he moaned a little, but he continued to give Zbyszko advice; he told him how to act in Zgorzelice, and especially recommended him to be obedient and humble in the presence of their mighty relative, who never would suffer the slightest opposition.

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