Barbara Blomberg — Volume 01

Barbara Blomberg — Volume 01

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The Project Gutenberg EBook Barbara Blomberg, by Georg Ebers, Vol. 1. #122 in our series by Georg EbersCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom ofthis file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. Youcan also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: Barbara Blomberg, Volume 1.Author: Georg EbersRelease Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5561] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on August 6, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BARBARA BLOMBERG, BY EBERS, V1 ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample theauthor's ideas before making an entire ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook Barbara Blomberg,by Georg Ebers, Vol. 1. #122 in our series byGeorg Ebers
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.
This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts**
**EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971**
*****These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****
Title: Barbara Blomberg, Volume 1.
Author: Georg Ebers
Release Date: April, 2004 [EBook #5561] [Yes, weare more than one year ahead of schedule] [Thisfile was first posted on August 6, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK BARBARA BLOMBERG, BY EBERS, V1***
This eBook was produced by David Widger<widger@cecomet.net>
[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, orpointers, at the end of the file for those who maywish to sample the author's ideas before makingan entire meal of them. D.W.]
BARBARA BLOMBERG
By Georg Ebers
Volume 1.
Translated from the German by Mary J. Safford
CHAPTER I.
The sun sometimes shone brightly upon the littleround panes of the ancient building, the GoldenCross, on the northern side of the square, whichthe people of Ratisbon call "on the moor";sometimes it was veiled by gray clouds. A party ofnobles, ecclesiastics, and knights belonging to theEmperor's train were just coming out. The springbreeze banged behind them the door of the littleentrance for pedestrians close beside the largemain gateway.
The courtiers and ladies who were in the chapel atthe right of the corridor started. "April weather!"growled the corporal of the Imperial Halberdiers tothe comrade with whom he was keeping; guard atthe foot of the staircase leading to the apartmentsof Charles V, in the second story of the huge oldhouse.
"St. Peter's day," replied the other, a Catalonian.
"At my home fresh strawberries are now growing inthe open air and roses are blooming in thegardens. Take it all in all, it's better to be dead inBarcelona than alive in this accursed land ofheretics!"
"Come, come," replied the other, "life is life! 'A livedog is better than a dead king,' says a proverb inmy country."
"And it is right, too," replied the Spaniard. "But eversince we came here our master's face looks as ifimperial life didn't taste exactly like mulled wine,either."
The Netherlander lowered his halberd andanswered his companion's words first with a heavysigh, and then with the remark: "Bad weatherupstairs as well as down—the very worst! I've beenin the service thirteen years, but I never saw himlike this, not even after the defeat in Algiers. Thatmeans we must keep a good lookout. Presenthalberds! Some one is coming down."
Both quickly assumed a more erect attitude, butthe Spaniard whispered to his comrade: "It isn't he.His step hasn't sounded like that since the gout—"
"Quijada!" whispered the Netherlander, and bothhe and the man from Barcelona presentedhalberds with true military bearing; but the stavesof their descending weapons soon struck the flagsof the pavement again, for a woman's voice haddetained the man whom the soldiers intended tosalute, and in his place two slender lads rushed
salute, and in his place two slender lads rusheddown the steps.
The yellow velvet garments, with ash-gray facings,and cap of the same material in the same colours,were very becoming to these youths—theEmperor's pages—and, though the first two weresons of German and Italian counts, and the thirdwho followed them was a Holland baron, thesentinels took little more notice of them than ofQueen Mary's pointers following swiftly at theirheels.
"Of those up there," observed the halberdier fromHaarlem under his breath, "a man would mostwillingly stiffen his back for Quijada."
"Except their Majesties, of course," added theCatalonian with dignity.
"Of course," the other repeated. "Besides, theEmperor Charles himself bestows every honour onDon Luis. I was in Algiers at the time. A hundredmore like him would have made matters different, Ican tell you. If it beseemed an insignificant fellowlike me, I should like to ask why his Majesty tookhim from the army and placed him among thecourtiers ".
Here he stopped abruptly, for, in spite of the gailydressed nobles and ladies, priests, knights, andattendants who were passing up and down thecorridor, he had heard footsteps on the stairswhich must be those of men in high position. Hewas not mistaken—one was no less a personage
than the younger Granvelle, the Bishop of Arras,who, notwithstanding his nine-and-twenty years,was already the favourite counsellor of Charles V;the other, a man considerably his senior, Dr.Mathys, of Bruges, the Emperor's physician.
The bishop was followed by a secretary clad inblack, with a portfolio under his arm; the leech, byan elderly assistant.
The fine features of the Bishop of Arras, whichrevealed a nature capable of laughter andenjoyment, now looked as grave as hiscompanion's—a fact which by no means escapedthe notice of the courtiers in the corridor, but noone ventured to approach them with a question,although—it had begun to rain again—theystopped before going out of doors and stoodtalking together in low tones.
Many would gladly have caught part of theirconversation, but no one dared to move nearer,and the Southerners and Germans among themdid not understand the Flemish which they spoke.
Not until after the leech had raised his tall, pointedhat and the statesman had pressed his prelate'scap closer upon his short, wavy dark hair anddrawn his sable-trimmed velvet cloak around himdid several courtiers hasten forward with officiouszeal to open the little side door for them.
Something must be going wrong upstairs.
Dr. Mathys's jovial face wore a very different
expression when his imperial patient was doingwell, and Granvelle always bestowed a friendly nodon one and another if he himself had cause to becontent.
When the door had closed behind the pair, thetongues of the ecclesiastics, the secular lords, andthe ladies in the corridor were again loosed; butthere were no loud discussions in the variouslanguages now mingling in the Golden Cross, farless was a gay exclamation or a peal of laughterheard from any of the groups who stood waiting forthe shower to cease.
Although each individual was concerned about hisown affairs, one thought, nevertheless, ruled themall—the Emperor Charles, his health, and hisdecisions. Upon them depended not only thedestiny of the world, but also the weal and woe ofthe greatest as well as the humblest of thoseassembled here.
"Emperor Charles" was the spell by which theinhabitants of half the world obtained prosperity orill-luck, war or peace, fulfilment or denial of thewishes which most deeply stirred their souls. Eventhe highest in the land, who expected from hisjustice or favour fresh good-fortune or the avertingof impending disasters, found their way to himwherever, on his long and numerous journeys, heestablished his court.
Numerous petitioners had also flocked to Ratisbon,but the two great nobles who now entered the
Golden Cross certainly did not belong to theirnumber. One shook the raindrops from his richlyembroidered velvet cloak and the plumes in hiscap, the other from his steel helmet and suit ofMilan mail, inlaid with gold. Chamberlain de Praetaccosted the former, Duke Peter of Columna, inItalian; the latter, the Landgrave of Leuchtenberg,in a mixture of German and his Flemish nativetongue. He had no occasion to say much, for theEmperor wished to be alone. He had ordered evencrowned heads and ambassadors to be deniedadmittance.
The Duke of Columna gaily begged for a dryshelter until the shower was over, but theLandgrave requested to be announced to theQueen of Hungary.
The latter, however, had also declined to grant anyaudiences that afternoon. The royal lady, theEmperor's favourite sister, was in her own room,adjoining her imperial brother's, talking with DonLuis Quijada, the brave nobleman of whom theSpanish and the Netherland soldiers had spokenwith equal warmth.
His personal appearance rendered it an easymatter to believe in the sincerity of their words, forthe carriage of his slender, vigorous form revealedall the pride of the Castilian noble. His face, with itsclosely cut pointed beard, was the countenance ofa true warrior, and the expression of his black eyesshowed the valiant spirit of a loyal, kind, and simpleheart.
The warm confidence with which Mary, the widowof the King of Hungary, who fell in the Turkish war,gazed into Quijada's finely modelled, slightlybronzed countenance proved that she knew how toestimate his worth aright. She had sent for him toopen her whole heart.
The vivacious woman, a passionate lover of thechase, found life in Ratisbon unendurable. Shewould have left the city long ago to perform herduties in the Netherlands—which she ruled asregent in the name of her imperial brother—anddevote herself to hunting, to her heart's content, ifthe condition of the monarch's health had notdetained her near him.
She pitied Charles because she loved him, yet shewas weary of playing the sick nurse.
She had just indignantly informed Quijada what animmense burden of work, in spite of the pangs ofthe gout, her suffering brother had imposed uponhimself ever since the first cock-crow. But he wouldtake no better care of himself, and therefore it wasdifficult to help him. Was it not utterlyunprecedented? Directly after mass he hadexamined dozens of papers, made notes on themargins, and affixed his signature; then hereceived Father Pedro de Soto, his confessor, thenuncio, the English and the Venetianambassadors; and, lastly, had an interview withyoung Granvelle, the Bishop of Arras, which hadcontinued three full hours, and perhaps might begoing on still had not Dr. Mathys, the leech, put an
end to it.
Queen Mary had just found him utterly exhausted,with his face buried in his hands.
"And you, too," she added in conclusion, "can nothelp admitting that if this state of things continuesthere must be an evil end."
Quijada bent his head in assent, and thenanswered modestly:
"Yet your Majesty knows our royal master's nature.He will listen calmly to you, whom he loves, or tome, who was permitted to remain at his side as apage, or probably to the two Granvelles,Malfalconnet, and others whom he trusts, whenthey venture to warn him—"
"And yet keep on in his mad career," interruptedQueen Mary with an angry gesture of the hand.
"Plus ultra—more, farther—is his motto," observedQuijada in a tone of justification.
"Forward ceaselessly, for aught I care, so long asthe stomach and the feet are sound!" replied theQueen, raising her hand to the high lace ruff, whichoppressed the breathing of one so accustomed tothe outdoor air. "But when, like him, a man mustgive up deer-stalking and at every movementmakes a wry face and can scarcely repress agroan—it might move a stone to pity!—he ought tochoose another motto. Persuade him to do so,Quijada, if you are really his friend."