Thursday, September 18, 2008

1.16.2


Further conversation was interrupted by the sound of the wooden knockers; there were no bells in Krzesnia yet. After a few moments they arrived at the church. From the crowd in front, waiting for mass, young Wolf and Cztan came forward immediately; but Zbyszko jumped from his horse, and before they could reach her, seized Jagienka and lifted her down from her horse; then he took her by the hand, and looking at them threateningly, led her to the church.

In the vestibule of the church, they were again disappointed. Both rushed to the font of holy water, plunged their hands in, and then stretched them toward the girl. But Zbyszko did the same, and she touched his fingers; then having made the sign of the cross, she entered the church with him. Both young men understood that this had been done purposely, and both were very angry. Wolf rushed out of the vestibule and ran through cemetery like a madman, not knowing where he was going. Cztan rushed after him, although not knowing why.

They stopped at the corner of the fence where there were some large stones ready for the foundation of the tower that was to be built. Then, Wolf wishing to assuage the wrath that raged in his chest, seized one of these stones, and began to shake it; Cztan seized it too, and both began to roll it toward the church gate.

The people looked at them with amazement, thinking that they had made some vow, and that in this way they wished to contribute to the building of the tower. This effort gave them relief and they came to their senses; then they stood, pale from their exertion, puffing and looking at each other.

Cztan was the first to break the silence.

"What now?" he asked.

"What?" answered Wolf.

"Shall we attack him immediately?"

"How can we do that in the church?"

"Not in the church, but after mass."

"He is with Zych and the abbot. And have you forgotten that Zych said that if there were a fight, he would refuse to let either of us visit Zgorzelice. If it wasn’t for that I would have broken your bones long time ago."

"Or I, yours!" answered Cztan, clinching his powerful fists.

And their eyes began to sparkle threateningly; but soon they both realized that now, more than ever, they needed to have a good understanding. They often fought together; but after each fight, they always reconciled, because although they were divided by their love for Jagienka, they could not live without each other. Now they had a common foe and they understood that the enemy was a dangerous one.

After a while Cztan said:

"What shall we do? Shall we send him a challenge?"

Wolf, although he was wiser, did not know what to do. Fortunately the knockers resounded to notify the people that mass would begin. When he heard them he said:

"What shall we do? Go to church now and after that, we will do whatever pleases God."

Cztan was pleased with this answer.

"Perhaps the Lord Jesus will send us an inspiration," he said.

"And will bless us," added Wolf.

"According to justice."

They went to the church, and after listening devoutly to the mass, they grew more hopeful. They did not lose their temper after mass, when Jagienka again accepted holy water from Zbyszko. In the court-yard they bowed to Zych, to Jagienka and even to the abbot, although he was an enemy of Wolf. They scowled at Zbyszko, but did not attempt to touch him, although their hearts were throbbing with grief, anger and jealousy; never before had Jagienka seemed to them to be as beautiful as she was then. When the retinue moved on and when from afar they heard the singing of the clerics, Cztan began to wipe the perspiration from his unshaved cheeks and to snort like a horse; as for Wolf, he said, gnashing his teeth:

"To the inn! To the inn! Woe to me!" Afterward remembering what had relieved them before, they again seized the stone and rolled it back to its former place.

Zbyszko rode beside Jagienka, listening to the abbot's men singing; but after a while he suddenly reined-in his horse, and said:

"Oh! I intended to pay for a mass to be said for uncle's health and I forgot it; I must return."

"Do not go back!" exclaimed Jagienka; "we will send from Zgorzelice."

"No, I will return, and you must not wait for me. With God!"

"With God," said the abbot. "Go!" And his face brightened; when Zbyszko disappeared, he touched Zych with his elbow and said:

"Do you understand?"

"What?"

"He will surely fight with Wolf and Cztan; but I wished for it and I am glad."
"They are dreadful boys! If they wound him, then what of it?"

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