Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ter, and my information is of the best. What boots it that I wear silver butI was up there, bargaining with the tons on my doublet, and may soon Swedish Rittmeister Kron for his gray wear gold ones? what avails it that mare, and doctoring one of his troop. I own fields and garden, cows and horses which had broken his fore-foot, horses, if I have not a nice young and I heard the gossip of the grooms wife to share my prosperity ?". She and soldiers, and all manner of curious will be well cared for, and as comstories.”

fortable as if she lay in Abraham's “Of course," said Thor Hansen, bosom.” shaking his head incredulously ; “ if “ He is old enough, certainly,” mutlies were Latin, I too might turn tered Hans with a smile. preacher.”

“ Hans, my boy, just run out and The horse jockey looked Hansen give Black Captain a handful of hay, hard in the face, whilst the young will you? Go, my son, go.” Hans people exchanged signs of intelli- obeyed, and Martin continued.

“I gence.

have only this to tell you; beware of “I tell

you

what it is, neighbour," the sergeant! Trust him not! Svartcontinued Thy; “I am a tolerably berg means the maiden no good. Do well-broken nag, and can keep a not ask how I know it, but the fact straight road of my own. There's is certain. Do as you like, however. no shying or stumbling in me-I go a If you have courage to risk it, you are steady even trot, and aint vicious, so right to do so." you may take my word when I give Ay, but what would poor Hans it. Yes,” addeu he, slowly and signifi- say?" quoth the old man musingly. cantly, and with a glance at Christina, ** Hans !" cried the horse-dealer, " it might well happen that others be- much surprised; “I thought it was sides yourself found cause to repent all off long ago, between Hans and your mistrust.”

Christina. They never whinny after At these words the old man grew each other, and she seems ready to thoughtful, and listened attentively. lash out whenever he comes near

“ Have you not heard of the many her.” He paused for a minute, and pretty country lasses made to serve then drew Thor Hansen aside, and this year at Raskenbjerg, when young spoke to him in an under tone. “It Count Magnus lay there in quarters? is only for appearance sake,” said he ; Know ye not how it fared there with “ you don't suppose I am serious ? your own wife's nieces ? If you A' rusty old roadster like myself fancy they left the place as they went would never suit to run in harness to it, you are mightily mistaken. The with so frisky a filly.

What say Swede does not handle such wares so you, my child ? Will you not for a tenderly. Count Magnus has his while make believe to be Martin Thy's spies every where — he well knows sweetheart ?" whom to choose for such work; your Have done with such nonsense," house may have its turn. The girl has said the young girl, repulsing the a comely face and a while neck, a jockey's advances. He ran round smart walk and a bright eye, and those the after her, caught, and are hard to hide at this time, and in would have kissed her, but she slipthis island."

ped through his hands like an eel, “ Nonsense !" said Thor Hansen, and made for the kitchen. Just then “ More noise than mischief. And the door opened, and Sergeant Svartwho would do so ill a turn ?"

berg who had entered the court un“I name no names," replied the heard, strode into the room, his horse-dealer. “ You know him as heavy sleel spurs jingling at every

well as I do. But I have a means of step. The sort of scuffle between - protecting you and Christina from him, the young girl and the horse-dealer

and all other blood-hounds of his attracted bis notice. breed. If you are wise you will avail “ What's up now, in the devil's yourself of it. Give her me to wife. name?" he cried, taking off his heavy And when any look after her, tell helmet. them she is Martin Thy's betrothed, “ Nothing, sergeant,” replied Marand you will soon see the difference! tin Thy, in no way disconcerted.

[ocr errors]

room

[ocr errors]

A very small matter, at least. I countenance wearing, its usual sly wanted to steal the first kiss from my quick expression ; the tall sergeant bride that is to be, and she would not with less decision in his gait, and with a allow it."

mixture of vexation and mistrust upon “ Your bride, fat paunch!” cried his features. When Martin Thy look Svartberg, in extreme wonderment; his leave and departed, he followed “ what the devil is all this? This bim with a sort of constrained courwill never do. Harkye, old curry. tesy as far as the courtyard, and did comb, no one has a right to take any noi re-enter the house till the horse's thing here. not so much as a kiss, hoofs were heard trotting along the without my leave. D'ye hear that?" narrow road.

“Gently, gently,” retorted Martin Meanwhile the father and son bad Thy in a jesting tone ; “ I am cer- gone out to fodder the cattle. With tainly a mere David in comparison folded arms Svartberg walked for a with such a Goliath as you, but I am while up and down the room.

On a more active than I look-can jump sudden 'he stopped short in front of higher than any one would think - Christina, who sat spinning as usual, bigh enough, perhaps, to catch you and gazed at her long and tenderly. by the flaxen curls upon your fore. At last he broke silence. head, if you meddle with the best

Fye upon you, my pretty Chris. horse in my stable. But you can tina !” he said, “you surely do not take a joke, serjeant dear?” con- seriously mean to throw yourself cluded he, with a sly side-glance at away on yon black-bearded monster ?" the Swede.

“ You must not take for earnest all “ No, no, jockey, not I indeed, Marlin Thy says,” replied the.maiden, you are a deal too cunning for me, - blushing; “ you know what a strange one never finds you where one leaves creature be is.” you. When I sent for you the other “Oh certainly,” replied the soldier day for my horse, they said you were in a sharper tone, “I know devilish sick, but it seems you were on the well what he is, and I also know what road. Where have you been ?” I am myself. Better I certainly might

“ Westward,” replied the horse- be ; but you, Christina, your father dealer quietly, “on my own honest busi. and all belonging 10 you, know well ness. I came home this evening, and that I am none of the worst.” the first person I cared to see was my

That we do, Svartberg,-you little girl here—besides that, I have a have been a belp, and protection so word or two to say to the worship- long as you have dwelt in our house ; ful sergeant.”

and, without you, Heaven knows how “ To me ? Come then, and be it might have fared with us." quick about it, and have a care that “ Once for all, then, Christina, tell my sabre does not take a fancy to me how I stand with you; for curse speak a word or two to your shoul. me if I can make out. You know I ders.” And with this uncivil warning, love you,—I have never concealed it, Svartberg took the little man by the and I did think you looked kindly collar, and pushed bim before him into upon me; but here comes this poithe adjoining room.

bellied horse-dealer, and says you are Thor Hansen and the young people to marry him! Tell me honesily, is it had listened in silence to this short true?” and sharp dialogue. Out of prudence Whilst the young girl with natural they abstained from interrupting the bashfulness, hesitated to reply to this horse-dealer, although his bold asser. home question, the sergeant seated tions were not very pleasing 10 them. himself by her side, and, in bis softest Now they stood embarrassed and at. tones and sweetest words, told her tentive, trying to catch something of how ardently he loved her. He strove what passed in the next apartment, to rouse her gratitude by reminding -but without success, for the Swede her of the beneficial influence of his and his companion spoke in low tones presence in the house, how he had deand in short broken sentences. In a fended and saved her and hers from short time the two men returned to the plunder and ill-treatment they the sitting-room, the borse-dealer's would otherwise inevitably have suf

fered. In glowing colours he depicted ventured even to tell him, he must the happy and prosperous life they have a very poor opinion of her if he would lead together, if she would fol. thought to lead her astray by honied low him to Sweden when his term of words and fine manners. All this she service expired. He had a farm in said to the young Swede in plain Dalecarlia, he said, and she should be language, and in tones earnest, al. his wife and its mistress. Then he though gentle; and the whole expresdrew from his finger a broad gold ring, sion of her countenance and manner with his name upon it, and endea- gave evidence of so much strength of voured, but in vain, to prevail upon will that Svartberg, after having her to accept it. And many times he once or twice more passionately conasked, with mournful earnestness, if jured her to tell him the truth about what Master Thy bad told him were Martin Thy-betraying each time he true; betraying in his manner, each mentioned the name, the same kind time he mentioned the name of this of confused manner as before-grasped man, previously so indifferent to him, helm and sabre, and with an exclama. an unusual reserve and circumspec- tion of disappointment and vexation, tion. At last, as Christina, although hurried into his apartment. with eyes full of tears, still persisted It had rained and blown the entire in her silence, he rose from his seat. night, the sky was gray and dreary,

“ I have opened my whole heart to the first glimpse of dawn scarce apyou, Christina,” said he, “and I have peared in the cast. Christina had too good an opinion of you to suppose milked the cows, but still she lingered for an instant you would, without in the stable awaiting her lover. Her compulsion, prefer that litde punchy heart was very heavy; the peace and hedgehog of a Jutlander to a gallant safety in which the family bad bitherto Swede and smart soldier like myself. lived seemed suddenly to have fled, Perhaps you are afraid of your faiher? and that she should be the innocent or of your dwarf of a bridegroom? If cause of its departure forced many a 80, I promise you efficient protection. sigh from her gentle bosom. She had I have at Raskenbjerg ”-here the not wailed long when there was a young girl looked up from her work cautious tap at the back door leading with à terrified glance,—“a good into the field; she opened it quickly, comrade, who has married a country- and Hans entered. Christina threw woman of yours. With your consent, her arms round his neck. I will conduct you thither, and there “ At last, dear Hans !” said she you shall remain, in all safety, until tenderly: “How anxiously I have we leave the country ;-—and that will waited for you!” not be long," added he, sinking his “ I come from the horse-dealer's," voice, and with a cautious glance replied Hans, breathing short, like around him.

one who had made speed.

“ He was The mere name of Raskenbjerg had in bed and fast asleep, and was almost upon Christina an effect of which angry with me for awaking him. He Svarlberg

dreamed. She told me, however, that he had heard, thought with a shudder of the tales God knows from whom, that Danish she had often heard related, and to troops had attempted a night-landing which the horse-dealer had so re near Nyeborg, but had been prevented cently referred. She remembered the by the storm, and had sailed northblunt cordiality with which Martin wards. He pretends also that Danish Thy had promised her projection, and and German reinforcements are off suspected Svartberg of evil designs, the west coast of the island. With which he proposed carrying out by respect to you, and the proposal he craft rather ihan by violence. Full of made last night, he maintains it is the this idea, she told ihe sergeant plainly only safe means of escaping Svartthat she really was betrothed io berg's designs. Whether the offer Martin Thy, entreated him to show was serious or sham, he wouid not himself as generous in this matter as distinctly say: it was no business of he had always previously been, and mine, he said; it might be joke, or it declared firmly and positively she might be earnest. And when I would adhere to her promise. She solemnly swore to him that I would

never

any moment

endure neither the one nor the other, the lad go,” exclaimed a voice behind he laughed at me, and bid me go Svartberg. Surely you are not going home and let him go to sleep. As I to turn restive! You kick out a little, stole through the village, the trumpet- but I am certain a mouthful of hay ers blew the alarm, and the troopers be- will pacify you. Come, a word with gan to mount. So we are not safe you !" here; the sergeant may surprise us at The horse.dealer, for he it was, look

the angry Swede by the bandelier, and And having concluded his parting Svartberg followed him, although with narrative, Hans prepared to quit his manifest unwillingness, to the further mistress for the day. So engrossed side of the court. Here Martin Thy were the young people by a long fare. deliberately unbuttoned his brown well kiss, that they were unaware of doublet and three or four waistcoats, the entrance of sergeant Svartberg, produced, from the inmost recesses of till be bad gazed at them for some his attire, a small greasy leather book, seconds in a state of seeming petrifac- and thence extracied a scrap of parchtion.

ment. This be placed before the eyes “ Hell and the devil!” was the of the sergeant, following the lines profane exclamation of the gallant with his finger as Svartberg read, and sergeant, on recovering his powers of pausing now and then at particular speech. Pretty work this, by my words, as if they were talismanic chahonour ! So so, my coy beauty,” con- racters, intended to allay the soldier's tinued he, his lips trembling, bis cheeks irritation. This, whatever they were, pale, his eyes ominously Aashing, and they appeared to do. More calmly, with bitter irony in his voice, “js it but with a harsh and sullen expression the custom in this country to marry of countenance, and like a man yielding iwo busbands, one young and the with an ill grace to a power he dares other old ? Now I know the meaning not resist, Svartberg approached Hans of your shyness, and what your inten- Thorsen, who stood in gloomy silence tions are; oh! I see through the whole between the two dragoons. conspiracy.

But wait a bit, I'll pay “Let the fellow go,” he cried, “and you all off. Hallo! Olof and Peter !” to horse! You tell me we shall not cried he to two dragoons in the stable. come back, Thy. I neither know nor yard, “ dismount, and tie this yonker care how you learned it, but rememupon the ammunition-wagon you have ber I make you responsible for both to take to Nyeborg."

of them. If I do return, I will claim Wbilst the bearded horsemen got out both her and him at your hands and of their saddles to obey their sergeant's God help you if they are not forthcommands, the latter turned once inore coming." to the trembling Christina.

He spoke thus whilst tightening his “So this was your game, my horse's girths, and when he turned his charmer!" said he scornfully. Have head the horse.dealer had already you already forgotten what you told disappeared. With a muttered oath, me last evening, when you had me Svarıberg sprang into the saddle, and, sighing like an old woman? I never without bestowing another glance upon felt so soft in my life, not since my the young people, galloped out of the mother first laid' me in the cradle, court, quite forgetting to bequeath with a pap-spoon in my mouth. Ha? Christina one of ihose graceful salutait shall be the last time I waste fair tions with which it was his wont to bid words when force will gain my end. her adieu. No, no !” he shouted, as Chrisina, with Field-marshal Shack had landed his tearsul eyes and speechless with grief, troops without accident at Kjerteextended her clasped hands in sup- minde, and Lieutenant-general Eberplication, “you won't get him off, I stein, with equal good fortune, had can tell you, not if you were an angel got his little army on shore at Middelfrom heaven. Why don't you inter- fahrt. The young prince of Sulzbach cede for your other lover, the old at first advanced against the latter one ? No, no, neither mercy nor general ; but then, afraid of being cut pardon,"

off and surrounded by the former, he “Ah! sergeant, be not so cruel ; let changed his plan, and drew back his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

whole forces to a stronger position at tion. “Do you come to renew your Nyeborg. The entire Swedish army recent cruelty, or to atone for it?” Jay either in this town, or encamped “ What I would replied the ser. in its front; their previous quarters geant. “ You know, Christina, that were vacant. Consequently, in the iny heart is not a hard one, but quite village of Vinding all was still and the contrary, soft as can be, and you quiet as in the grave. It was evening. it is, my angel, who have made it so. Thor Hansen and his son had betaken Frankly and plainly, however, do I tell themselves to the tavern, where a great you, that without you it will harden number of peasants, retainers of the again, ay, as marble. Without you I lord of the soil, travellers, and others, cannot live: you must away with me were assembled, discussing the latest on the instant !" news. These seemed important, judg “ Alas, Svartberg, have I not already ing from the noise and excitement told you I am betrothed to Martin that prevailed: all spoke at once, Tny!” cried the alarmed maiden anx. none listened, and, as if all danger iously. were now over, none troubled their Pshaw !" cried Svartberg, “ you heads about what passed out of doors. do not expect me to swallow that But in the little room at Thor Han- fable ? All lie and deception, as sure sen's house, Christina sat at work, as there is a God in heaven. I have full of melancholy thoughts. She cer- long seen through the old fox, but now tainly understood little about the I know him, and he shall not stand long march of events and prospects of the in any body's way. As to any harm he country, but love and sorrow had so far may have told you of me, the knave quickened her perceptions of political lies in his throat.” matters, that she foresaw much evil to "Svartberg !” exclaimed Christina, herself and Hans if the Swedes got tbe terrified at the increasing vebemence of upper hand. Another of her subjects the Swede's tone and manner, “ you of meditation was the strange influence have power the horse-dealer exercised over Svart “ Ha!” interrupted the soldier, berg. Upon wbat was it founded ? “that have I, and know how to use Would it last ? And, even if it did, it. Christina, I cannot exist without and she was thereby delivered from you—by the living God I cannot! and the sergeant's importunities, might though you were betrothed to Sweden's not Martin Thy press his own claims, king, to me you must belong—mine claims which her own and her father's you shall be! I have here," he conconsent, admitted to Svartberg, and iinued, in a hurried and passionate whereon was based the protection they whisper, “ two comrades, and a cart enjoyed, rendered in some sort valid ? to convey you to Nyeborg. I shall These, and similar reflections, always soon have served my time, and then ending in fears for Hans, drew bitier will I take you home to my old mother tears from her eyes, and so absorbed in Dalecarlia, and there you shall live her mind that she was as unconscious like a queen, or my name is no: Jon as the noisy party at the tavern of Svartberg ! Come ! every moment is wbat occurred without. Suddenly the precious !" latch was lifted, the house-door gently The stalwart sergeant seized the opened, and Svartberg stood before fainting girl by the waist, raised her her.

in his arms, regardless of her feeble “ You weep, dearest!" he said, as struggles, and hurried to the door. he slowly approached the table beside Just then a loud uproar arose outside which Christina sat, whilst an ex. the house. Svariberg started, laid pression of mingled irony and grief Christina in an arm-chair, and lis. passed across his martial features; tened. The noise increased ; shouts is do those precious tears flow, per- and cries, and two pistol-shots, reached chance, for me? By the cross ! how his ear; and then Hans Thorsen and pale and moist are those pretty Martin Thy, followed by a legion of cheeks.”

rustics armed with axes and bay-forks, “ What would you, sergeant ?” said poured into the room through both its the maiden, recovering from her first doors. Surprised, but no way dissurprise, and in accents of deep afflic. concerted, by their sudden appearance

« AnteriorContinuar »