Monday, December 22, 2008

1.20.3


In the meanwhile he led de Lorche into the large hall decorated with the bison horns and elk and deer antlers, and was lighted by the large logs burning in the fireplace. In the middle of the hall stood a table covered with dishes for breakfast; there were only a few courtiers present, with whom Zbyszko was talking. Macko introduced de Lorche to them. More courtiers were coming with each moment; the majority of them were hard looking men, with broad shoulders and fallow hair; all were dressed for hunting. Those who knew Zbyszko and knew about his adventures in Krakow greeted him like an old friend. It was evident that they liked him. One of them said to him:

"The duchess is here and Jurand’s daughter too. You will see her soon, my dear boy, then you will go with us to hunt."

At that moment the two guests of the prince entered: brother Hugo von Danveld from Ortelsburg, and Zygfried von Löve from Jansbork. The first was quite a young man, but fat, with a His face of a drunkard, with thick, moist lips. The other was tall with stern but noble features. Zbyszko thought that he had seen Danveld before at the court of Prince Witold. He also remembered that Henryk, bishop of Plock, had thrown him from his horse during the combat in the lists. These thought were disturbed by the entrance of Prince Janusz to whom the Teutonic Knights and the courtiers have bowed.

De Lorche, the Teutonic Knights and Zbyszko approached him, and he welcomed them cordially but with dignity. Immediately the trumpets resounded, announcing that the prince was going to breakfast; they resounded three times; and the third time, a large door to the right was opened and Duchess Anna appeared, accompanied by the beautiful blonde girl who had a lute hanging on her shoulder.

At their sight Zbyszko stepped forward and touching his lips with both hands kneeled on both knees in a position full of admiration. Seeing this people began to whisper, because Zbyszko's action surprised Mazurs and some of them were even scandalized. Some of the older ones said: "Surely he learned such customs from some knights living beyond the sea, or perhaps even from the pagans, because there is no such custom even among the Germans." But the younger ones said: "No wonder, she saved his life." But neither the duchess nor Jurand’s daughter did recognize Zbyszko right away, because he kneeled with his back toward the fire and his face was in the shadow. The duchess thought that it was some courtier, who, having been guilty of some offence, sought her intervention with the prince. But Danusia having keener sight, advanced one step, and having bent her fair head, cried suddenly:

"Zbyszko!"

Then forgetting that the whole court and the foreign guests were looking at her, she sprang toward the young knight. Encircling his neck with her arms she began to kiss his mouth and his cheeks. She nestled to him and caressed him so long that the Mazurs started to laugh and the duchess had to pull her back. Just then she looked around and with shame hid behind the duchess.

Then Zbyszko embraced duchess’ feet. She welcomed him, and asked about Macko, whether he was alive or not, and if alive whether he had accompanied Zbyszko. Finally when the servants brought in warm dishes, she said to Zbyszko:

"Serve us, dear, and perhaps not only now at the table, but forever."

Then to Danusia: “Stop hiding and come out.”

Danusia came to the front blushing and embarrassed, but looked so beautiful, that not only Zbyszko’s heart melted but hearts of other men too. The mayor of Szczytno, put the hand on his thick, moist lips. De Lorche was amazed, and asked:

"By Saint Jacob, who is that girl?"

To this the lord of Szczytno, who was short, stood on his toes and whispered in the ear of the man from Lorraine:

"The devil's daughter."

De Lorche looked at him, then frowned and said:

"A knight who talks against beauty is not gallant."

"I wear golden spurs, and I am a monk," answered Hugo von Danveld, proudly.

Out of respect the man from Lorraine dropped his head; but after awhile he said:

"I am a relative of the princess of Brabant."

"Alright! Alright!" answered the Knight of the Cross. "I honor the mighty knights and friends of the Order from whom, sir, you shall soon receive your golden spurs. I do not disparage the beauty of that girl. But listen, I will tell you who is her father."

But he did not have time to tell him, because at that moment, Prince Janusz seated himself at the table. After learning from the bailiff of Jansbork about the mighty relatives of Sir de Lorche, he invited him to sit beside him. The duchess and Danusia were seated opposite. Zbyszko stood as he did in Krakow, behind their chairs, to serve them.

Danusia held her head as low as possible over the plate, because she was embarrassed but tilted so Zbyszko could see her face. He looked with hunger and amazement at her little head and pink cheeks and he felt his love, like a river, overflowing his whole chest. He could also feel her fresh sweet kisses on his face, his eyes and his mouth. Before she used to kiss him as a sister kisses a brother, and he received the kisses as from a child.
Now just a memory of her kisses was stirring something in him and it was like a heat in the ashes of just extinguished fire. Now Danusia seemed to him more mature, in fact she had grown and blossomed. Love was so much talked about in her presence, that like a flower her eyes opened to it. There was certain charm in her now, which formerly she lacked, and a strong intoxicating attraction beamed from her like the warm beams from the sun, or the fragrance from the rose.

Zbyszko didn’t realize that he was deeply affected by it. He even forgot that at the table one must serve. He did not see that the courtiers were looking at him and Danusia, commenting and smiling. Neither did he notice Sir de Lorche's face frozen in astonishment, nor the angry red eyes of the mayor of Szczytno, who was gazing constantly at Danusia. He came out of it only when the trumpets sounded giving notice that it was time to go hunting, and when the duchess Anna Danuta, turning toward him said:

"You will accompany us so you can have an opportunity to speak to Danusia about your love."

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