Tuesday, September 23, 2008

1.19 (Chap. 19)


Zbyszko had left Bogdaniec with a heavy heart indeed. In the first place he felt strange without his uncle, from whom he had never been separated before, and to whom he was so accustomed, that he did not know how he would get along without him during the journey, as well as in the war.

Then he regretted Jagienka. Although he was going to Danusia whom he loved dearly, still he had been so comfortable and happy with Jagienka, that now he felt sad without her.

He was surprised himself at his grief, and even somewhat alarmed about it. He would not have minded if he longed for Jagienka only as a brother longs for a sister; but he noticed that he longed to embrace her, to put her on horseback, to carry her over the brooks, to wring the water from her tress, to wander with her in the forest, to gaze at her, and to converse with her.

He was so accustomed to doing all this and it was so pleasant, that when he began to think about it, he forgot that he was going on a long journey; instead, he remembered the moment when Jagienka helped him in the forest, when he was struggling with the bear. It seemed to him as though it happened only yesterday; also as though it were only yesterday when they went to the lake for beavers. And although he didn’t see her swimming for the shot beaver he now saw her in his imagination. He had the same thoughts now as he had them when the wind played with her dress. Then he recalled how beautifully she was dressed when going to church in Krzesnia, and how surprised he was that such a simple girl should appear like the daughter of a mighty lord.

All these thoughts filled his heart with desire, uneasiness, sweetness, and sadness. And when he thought the he could do with her whatever he wanted, and she also was attracted to him he could barely sit in his saddle.

"Had I only bid her good-bye, and hugged her,” he said to himself, "perhaps I would feel easier now" but he felt right away that it was not true and the thought itself made him hot all over despite frost on the ground.

Finally he became afraid of these reminiscences, and he shook them from his soul like dry snow from his mantle.

"I am going to Danusia, to my dearest," he said to himself.

He noticed that this was a different love, more serious, more holy love. Gradually his feet grew colder in the stirrups, and the cold wind cooled his blood. All his thoughts now turned to Danusia.

He belonged to her without any doubt; if it wasn’t for her, his had would have fallen on the Krakow’s town square. When she said in the presence of the knights and burghers: "He is mine!" she rescued him from the hands of the executioners; from that time, he belonged to her, as a slave to his master. Jurand's opposition was useless. She alone could drive him away; and even then he would not go far, because he was bound by his vow.

He thought, however, that she would not drive him away; but rather follow him from the Masovia court, even to the end of the world. Then he began to praise her to Jagienka's disadvantage, as if it were her fault, that temptations assailed him and his heart was divided.

He forgot that Jagienka cured old Macko; he forgot that without her help, the bear would have torn him to pieces; and he became upset with her, hoping in this way to justify himself in his own eyes.

At this moment the Czech Hlawa, sent by Jagienka, arrived, leading a horse with supplies.

"God be blessed!" said he, with a low bow.

Zbyszko had seen him once or twice in Zgorzelice, but he did not recognize him; therefore he said:

"Be blessed for ages and ages! Who are you?"

"Your servant, famous lord."

"What do you mean? These are my servants," said Zbyszko, pointing to the two Turks, given to him by Sulimczyk Zawisza, and to two sturdy men who were leading the knight's stallions; "these are mine; who sent you?"

"Lady Jagienka of Zgorzelice."

"Lady Jagienka?"

Just a while ago, Zbyszko had been angry with her and his heart was still full of those thoughts; therefore he said:

"Return home and thank the Lady for the favor; I do not want you."

But the Czech shook his head.

"I cannot return. They have given me to you; besides that, I have sworn to serve you until death."

"If they gave you to me, then you are my servant."

"Yours, sir."

"Then I command you to return."

"I have sworn and although I am a prisoner of war and a poor boy, still I am a knight."

Zbyszko became angry:

"Go away! What, are you going to serve me against my will? Go away, before I order my servants to load their crossbows."

But the Czech quietly untied a broadcloth mantle, lined with wolf-skins, handed it to Zbyszko and said:

"Lady Jagienka sent you this, too, sir."

"Do you wish me to break your bones?" asked Zbyszko, taking a spear from an attendant.

No comments: