Monday, September 22, 2008


"I don't believe he was!" said Jagienka.

But she drew near Macko, and poking him with her elbow, asked:

"How do you know that? I am sure that is not true."

"How do I know?" answered Macko. "I saw how difficult it was for him to go away. When it was decided that he must go, I asked him: 'Do you not regret Jagienka?' and he said: 'May God give her health and the best of everything.' Then immediately he began to sigh."

"I am sure that it is not true!" said Jagienka, softly; "but tell me more..."

"As God is dear to me, it is true! After seeing you, he will not care for the other girl, because you know yourself that there is no girl more beautiful than you in the whole world. He has felt God's will toward you--do not fear--perhaps even more than you have felt it toward him."

"Not at all!" exclaimed Jagienka. Then she again covered her face, which was as red as an apple, with her sleeve; Macko smiled, passed his hand over his moustache and said:

"Hey, if I were younger. But you must comfort yourself, because I see how it will be. He will get his spurs at the Masovian court, because it is near the boundary and it is not difficult to kill a Teutonic Knight there. I know that there are good knights among the Germans; but I think that it will take a very good one to defeat Zbyszko. See how he routed Cztan and Wolf, although they are said to be dreadful boys and as strong as bears. He will bring his crests, but he will not bring Jurand's daughter."

"But when will he return?"

"If you are not willing to wait, then you will not be wronged. Repeat what I have told you to the abbot and to Zych; perhaps they will not be so angry with Zbyszko."

"How can I tell them anything? Daddy is more sorrowful than angry; but it is dangerous even to mention Zbyszko's name to the abbot. He scolded me because I sent Zbyszko a servant."

"What servant?"

"We had a Czech, whom dad captured at war, a good, faithful man. His name was Hlawa. Dad gave him to my service, because he claimed to be a knight; I gave him a worthy armor and sent him to Zbyszko, to serve and protect him. I also gave him a purse with some money for the journey. He promised me that he would serve Zbyszko faithfully until death."

"My dear girl! May God bless you! Was Zych opposed to your doing it?"

"Yes, at first daddy did not want to let me do it; but when I began to beg him, he consented. When the abbot heard about it from his clerics, he immediately started yelling and swearing; there was such a disturbance, that dad escaped to the barn. Toward evening, the abbot took pity on my tears and even gave me some beads as a gift."

"As God is dear to me, I do not know whether I love Zbyszko any more than I love you; but he had a worthy retinue. I also gave him money, although he did not want to take it. Well, the Masovia is not beyond the seas."

The conversation was interrupted by the barking dogs, by shouting and by the sounds of brass trumpets in front of the house. Hearing that, Jagienka said:

"Father and the abbot have returned from hunting. Let us go outside; it will be better for the abbot to see you there, and not to meet you unexpectedly in the house."

She led Macko to the porch from which they saw in the courtyard a throng of men, horses and dogs, also elks and wolves pierced with spears or shot with crossbows. The abbot saw Macko before he dismounted, and hurled a spear toward him, not to strike him, but to show in that way, his great anger against the inhabitants of Bogdaniec. But Macko uncovered and bowed to him as if he didn’t notice anything; Jagienka, however, had not noticed the abbot's action, because she was very much surprised to see her two wooers in the retinue.

"Cztan and Wolf are here!" she exclaimed; "I presume they met dad in the forest."

Seeing them Macko felt pain in his old wound. Immediately the thought ran through his mind, that perhaps one of them would get Jagienka, and with her the Moczydoly estate, the abbot's lands, forests and money. The grief and anger filled his heart, especially when he saw what occurred. Behold, Wolf, although only a short time before the abbot wanted to fight with his father, sprang to the abbot's stirrups, and helped him to dismount; and the abbot leaned in a friendly manner on the young nobleman's shoulder.

"In that way, the abbot will become reconciled with old Wolf," thought Macko, "and he will give the forests and the lands with the girl."

Jagienka interrupted his thoughts:

"They are cured after Zbyszko's beating; but even if they come here every day, they can forget it!"
Macko looked and saw that the girl's face was red with anger, and that her blue eyes sparkled with indignation, although she knew very well that Cztan and Wolf had taken her part in the inn, and had been beaten on her account.
Therefore Macko said:

"You will do as the abbot commands."

She immediately retorted:

"The abbot will do what I wish."

"Gracious Lord!" thought Macko, "and that stupid Zbyszko left such a girl!"

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