Sunday, September 7, 2008

1.15.3


"But righteously!" shouted the abbot, "because he had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost. What do you think? Is a layman able to interpret any of God's secrets?"

"He cannot by any means!" exclaimed the wandering clerics.

"Keep quiet!" said the abbot "you are not members of clergy, although your heads are shaved."

"We are courtiers of Your Grace," answered one of them, looking into a large bucket from which the smell of hops and malt was filling the air.

"Look! He is talking from a barrel!" exclaimed the abbot. "Hey, you shaggy one! Why do you look at the bucket? You will not find any Latin at the bottom of that."

"I am not looking for Latin, but for beer; but I cannot find any."

The abbot turned toward Zbyszko, who was looking with astonishment at such courtiers as these, and said:

"They are Wandering Scholars but every one of them prefers to throw his books aside, and taking his lute, wander through the world. I shelter and nourish them; what else can I do? They are good for nothing, but they know how to sing and they are familiar with God's service; therefore I have some benefit out of them in my church, and in case of need, they will defend me, because some of them are fierce fellows! This pilgrim says that he was in the Holy Land; but I have asked him in vain about some of the seas and countries; he does not know even the name of the Greek emperor nor in what city he lives."

"I did know," said the pilgrim, in a hoarse voice; "but the fever I caught at the Danube, shook everything out of me."

"What surprises me most is, that they wear swords, being wandering clerics," said Zbyszko.

"They are allowed to wear them," said the abbot, "because they have not received orders yet; and there is no occasion for anyone to wonder because I wear a sword even though I am an abbot. A year ago I challenged Wolf of Brzozowa to fight for the forests which you passed; but he did not appear."

"How could he fight with one of the clergy?" interrupted Zych.

At this the abbot became angry, struck the table with his fist, and exclaimed:

"When I wear armor, then I am not a priest, but a nobleman! He did not come because, he preferred to have his servants attack me in Tulcza. That is why I wear a sword. Omnes leges, omniaque iura vim vi repellere cunctisque sese defensare permittunt. And, that is why I gave them their swords."

Hearing the Latin, Zych, Macko and Zbyszko became silent and bent their heads before the abbot's wisdom, because they did not understand a word of it; as for the abbot, he looked very angry for a while, and then he said:

"Who knows but what he will attack me even here?"

" Let him come!" exclaimed the wandering clerics, seizing the hilts of their swords.

"I would like to have him attack me! I am longing for a fight."

"He will not do that," said Zych. "It is more likely that he will come to bow to you. He gave up the forests, and now he is anxious about his son. You know! But he can wait a long time!"

Meanwhile the abbot became quiet and said:

"I saw young Wolf drinking with Cztan of Rogow in an inn in Krzesnia. They did not recognize us at once, because it was dark; they were talking about Jagienka."

Here he turned to Zbyszko:

"And about you, too."

"What do they want from me?"

"They do not want anything from you; but they do not like it that there is a third young man near Zgorzelice. Cztan told Wolf: 'After I take care of him, his skin will not be so smooth.' And Wolf said: 'Perhaps he will be afraid of us; if not, I will break his bones!' Then they assured each other that you would be afraid of them."

Hearing this Macko looked at Zych, and Zych looked at him; their faces expressed great cunning and joy. Neither of them was sure whether the abbot had really heard such a conversation, or whether he was only saying this to excite Zbyszko; but they both knew, and Macko especially, that there was no better way to incite Zbyszko to try to win Jagienka.

The abbot added deliberately:

"It is true, they are fierce fellows!"

Zbyszko did not show any excitement; but he asked in a strange tone that did not sound like his voice:

"Tomorrow is Sunday?"

"Yes, Sunday."

"You will go to church?"

"Yes!"

"Where to, Krzesnia?"

"That is the nearest!"

"Well, all right then!"

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