Monday, September 22, 2008

1.18 (Chap. 18)

Macko waited patiently for several days, hoping to receive some news from Zgorzelice, or to hear that the abbot's anger had been appeased; finally he became impatient and determined to go personally to see Zych.

Everything that had happened was not his fault, so he was anxious to know whether Zych was angry with him. He was afraid that the abbot would never be reconciled with Zbyszko and him. He wanted, however, to do everything he could, to soften that anger; therefore while riding, he was thinking what he would say in Zgorzelice, to palliate the offence and preserve the old friendship with his neighbor. He could not, however, think clearly, therefore he was glad to find that Jagienka was alone. The girl received him as usual with a bow and kissed his hand, - in a word, she was friendly, but a little sad.

"Is your father home?" asked he.

"He went out hunting with the abbot. They may be back at any moment."

Having said this, she led him into the house, where they both sat in silence for a long time; the girl spoke first, and said:

"Are you lonely now in Bogdaniec?"

"Very lonely," answered Macko. "Then you know that Zbyszko had gone away?"

Jagienka sighed softly:

"Yes, I knew it the very same day; I thought he would come here to bid me good-bye, but he did not."

"How could he come!" said Macko. "The abbot would have torn him to pieces; neither would your father have welcomed him."

She shook her head and said:

"I would not allow anybody to injure him."

Upon this Macko hugged the girl and said:

"God be with you, girl! You are sad, but I also am sad. Let me tell you that neither the abbot nor your own father loves you more than I do. I wish that Zbyszko had chosen you, and not another."

Jagienka could not conceal her feelings anymore:

"I shall never see him again, or if I see him, it will be with Jurand's daughter, and then I will cry my eyes out."

She raised her apron and covered her eyes, which were filled with tears.

Macko said:

"Stop crying! He has gone, but with God's grace, he will not come back with Jurand's daughter."

"Why not?" said Jagienka, from behind her apron.

"Because Jurand does not want to give him the girl."

Jagienka suddenly uncovered her face, and having turned toward Macko, said to him:

"Zbyszko told me that; but is it true?"

"As true as that God is in heaven."

"But why?"

"Who knows why. Some vow, or something like that, and there is no remission for vows! He liked Zbyszko, because the boy promised to help him in his vengeance; but even that was useless.

Jurand would listen neither to persuasion, nor to command, nor to prayers. He said he could not. Well, there must be some reason why he could not do it, and he will not change his mind, because he is stern and unyielding. Don't lose hope but cheer up.

Rightly speaking, the boy was obliged to go, because he had sworn in the church to secure three peacocks' crests. Then, also, the girl covered him with her veil, which was a sign that she would take him for her husband; otherwise they would have beheaded him; for that, he must be grateful to her--one cannot deny that.

With God's help, she will not be his; but according to the law, he is hers. Zych is angry with him; the abbot has sent a plague upon him, so that his skin shivers; I am angry too, but if one thinks carefully, what else could he do?
Since he belonged to the other girl, he was obliged to go. He is a nobleman. But I tell you this; if the Germans do not kill him, then he will come back; and he will come back not only to me an old man, not only to Bogdaniec, but to you, because he was very fond of you."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I enjoy the story, and I like this translation better than the other one I was reading. Keep it up.