Barbara Blomberg by Georg Ebers
The Emperor Charles departed on the morning after the bestowal of the Golden Fleece, and two days later Barbara willingly obeyed the leech's prescription to seek healing at the springs of Abbach on the Danube, a few miles south of Ratisbon, which was almost in the way of those returning thither from Landshut. The waters there had benefited the Emperor Charles fourteen years before, and Barbara remained there with Frau Traut and Lamperi, who had returned to her, until the trees had put on their gay autumn robes and were casting them off to prepare for the rest of winter.
The hope of regaining the melody of her voice induced her conscientiously to follow the physician's prescriptions but, like the sulphur spring of Abbach,[??] they produced no considerable effect.
Barbara's conduct had also altered in many respects.
The girl who had formerly devoted great attention to her dress, now often needed to be reminded by Frau Dubois of her personal appearance when she went with her to walk or to church.
She avoided all intercourse with other visitors to the spring after Ratisbon acquaintances had intentionally shunned her.
The Wollers' country residence, where she had formerly been a welcome guest for weeks every summer, was near Abbach. Anne Mirl was betrothed, and Nandl was on the eve of accepting a young suitor. Both were still warmly attached to their cousin, although they had been told that, by an open love intrigue, she had forfeited the right to visit the respectable home of modest maidens. But the man who had honoured her with his love was no less a personage than the Emperor Charles, and this circumstance only increased the sympathy which the sisters felt for their much-admired friend.
In spite of their mother's refusal to permit them to ride to the neighbouring town and visit Barbara, they did so, that they might try to comfort her; but though their unfortunate cousin received them and listened to them a short time, she earnestly entreated them to obey their mother and not come again.
Frau Traut perceived that she not only desired to guard the inexperienced girls from trouble, but that their visit disturbed her. The thoughts which were in her mind so completely absorbed her that she now studiously sought the solitude which she had formerly shunned like a misfortune.
Even Pyramus Kogel's short letter, informing her of her father's convalescence, and the news from the seat of war which Frau Traut communicated to her to divert her thoughts, and which she had usually anticipated with impatient expectation, awakened only a fleeting interest. Toward the end of the first week in September her companion could inform her that the Emperor Charles had met the Smalcalds at Ingolstadt and, in spite of a severe attack of the gout, had ridden--with his aching foot in linen bandages instead of in the stirrup--from regiment to regiment, kindling the enthusiasm of his troops by fiery words.
Then Barbara at last listened with more interest, and asked for other details.
Frau Dubois, to whom her husband from time to time sent messengers from the camp, now said that the encounter had not come to an actual battle and a positive decision, but his Majesty had heeded the shower of bullets less than the patter of a hailstorm, and had quietly permitted Appian, the astronomer, to explain a chart of the heavens in his tent, though the enemy's artillery was tearing the earth around it.
But even this could not reanimate the extinguished ardour of Barbara's soul; she had merely said calmly: "We know that he is a hero. I had expected him to disperse the heretics as the wolf scatters the sheep and destroy them at a single blow."
Then taking her rosary and prayer book, she went to church, as she did daily at this time. She spent hours there, not only praying, but holding intercourse with the image of the Madonna, from which she dill not avert her eyes, as though it was a living being. The chaplain who had been given to her associated with this devout tendency of his penitent the hope that Barbara would decide to enter a convent; but she rebuffed in the firmest manner every attempt to induce her to form this resolve.
In October the northeast wind brought cold weather, and Frau Traut feared that remaining for hours in the chilly brick church would injure her charge's health, so she entreated Barbara to desist. But when the latter, without heeding her warning, continued to visit the house of God as before, and to stay the same length of time, Frau Dubois interposed a firm prohibition, and on this occasion she learned for the first time to what boundlessly vehement rebellion her charge could allow passion to carry her. True, soon after Barbara, with winning tenderness, besought her forgiveness, and it was readily granted, but Frau Traut knew of no other expedient than to fix the first of November, which would come in a few days, for their return to Ratisbon.
Barbara was startled.
During the night her companion heard her weeping vehemently, and her kind heart led her to her bedside.
With the affectionate warmth natural to her, she entreated the unhappy girl to calm herself, and to open her troubled heart to one who felt as kindly toward her as a mother; and before these friendly words the defiance, doubts, and fear which had closed Barbara's heart melted.
"You may take it from me," she cried, amid her streaming tears. "What can a poor girl give it save want and shame? Its father, on the contrary--If he adopts and rears it as his child--O Frau Traut! dare I, who already love it more than my own life, rob it of the happiness to which it has a right? If the Emperor acknowledges it, whether it is a boy or a girl, merciful Heaven, to what Magnificence, what splendour, what honour my child may attain! My brain often reels when I think of it. The little daughter of Johanna Van der Gheynst a Duchess of Parma, and why should he place the girl whom I shall perhaps give him in a more humble position? Or if Heaven should grant me a son, his father will raise him to a still greater height, and I have already seen him before me a hundred times as he hangs the Fleece on the red ribbon round his neck."
Here her voice, still uncertain, failed, but she allowed Frau Traut to clasp her to her heart and, in her joy at this decision, which relieved her of a grave anxiety, to kiss her brow and cheeks. She had at last perceived, the kindly consoler assured the weeping girl, what the most sacred duty commanded, and the course that promised to render her, after so much suffering, one of the happiest of mothers. All that had hovered before her as glittering dreams would be fulfilled, and when her child, as the Emperor's, took precedence of the highest and greatest in the land, she could say to herself that it owed this to the sacrifice which she, its mother, had voluntarily made for its sake.
Barbara had told herself the same thing in many lonely hours, and most frequently in the brick church at Abbach, opposite to the image of the Mater dolorosa. She whose intercession never remained unheard had yielded up, with an aching heart, her divine son, and she must imitate her. And how much easier was her fate than that of the stainless virgin, who beheld her child, the Redeemer of the world, die upon the cross, while hers, if she resigned him, would attain the highest earthly happiness!
Frau Traut by no means overlooked the vanity of these motives. She was only too well aware that there is no greater boon for a child than the mother's loyal, anxious love, and Barbara's delusion grieved her. She would gladly have cried: "Keep your child, overwhelm it with love, be good and unselfish, so that, in spite of your disgrace, it must honour you." But the Emperor's command and her husband's wish were paramount. Besides, as Barbara was situated, it could not help being better for the child if the father provided for its education.
The soul of her charge now lay before her like an open book. The spectacle of the brilliant honour bestowed upon Duke Ottavio Farnese had sowed in her heart the seeds which had now ripened to resolution. She could not know that the vivandiere's assistant on the highway, with her abandoned child, had cast the first germ into Barbara's mind. Moreover, she was content to be able to send such welcome tidings to the camp. The disclosure of the resolve which she had reached after such severe conflicts exerted a beneficial influence upon Barbara. Her eyes again sparkled brightly, and the indifference with which she had regarded everything that happened to herself and those about her vanished.
For the first time she asked where she was to find shelter in Ratisbon; the Emperor's command closed Wolf's house against her; the Prebrunn castle was only a summer residence, unfit for winter use. So it was necessary to seek new quarters, and Barbara did not lack proposals. But the answer from camp must be awaited, and it came sooner than Frau Dubois expected. The messenger who brought it was her husband. His Majesty, he said, rejoiced at Barbara's decision, and had commissioned him to take her at once to Ratisbon and lodge her in the Golden Cross. The imperial apartments were still at the monarch's disposal, and the owner of the house, whom Barbara did not wish to meet, had gone to Italy to spend the winter.
Herr Adrian did not mention what a favour the sovereign was showing Barbara by parting with his trusted servant for several days, but she told herself so with joyful pride, for she had learned how greatly Charles needed this man.
The Emperor had dismissed Quijada from attendance on his person. He knew the Castilian's value as a soldier, and would have deemed himself forgetful of duty had he withheld so able an assistant from the great cause which he was leading.
At the end of the first week in November Barbara again entered the Golden Cross in Ratisbon. The great house seemed dead, but Adrian, in his royal master's name, provided for the comfort of the women, who had been joined by Sister Hyacinthe.
In the name of Frau Dubois, to whom his Majesty gave it up, Adrian took possession of the Golden Cross, and as such Barbara was presented to the newly engaged servants, while his wife was known by them as a Frau Traut from the Netherlands.
No inhabitant of Ratisbon was informed of the return of their young fellow-citizen, and Barbara only went out of doors with her companion early in the morning or in the twilight, and always closely veiled. But few persons had seen her after her illness, and on returning home she often mentioned the old acquaintances whom she had met without being recognised by them. The apartments she occupied were warm and comfortable. The harp and lute had been sent from Prebrunn with the rest of her property, and though she would not have ventured to sing even a single note, she resolved to touch their chords again. Playing on the harp afforded her special pleasure, and Frau Traut fancied she could understand her thoughts while doing so. The tones often sounded as gentle as lullabies, often as resonant and impetuous as battle songs. In reply to a question from her companion, Barbara confessed that while playing she sometimes imagined that she beheld a lovely girl, sometimes a young hero clad in glittering armour, with the Golden Fleece on his neck, rushing to battle against the infidels.
When the women were sitting together in the evening, Barbara urged her companion, who was familiar with the court and with Charles's former life, to tell her about the Netherlands and Spain, Brussels and Valladolid, the wars, the monarch's wisdom, the journeys of Charles, his intercourse with men and women, his former love affairs, his married life, his relatives and children, and again and again of Johanna Van der Gheynst, the mother of the Duchess Margaret of Parma. In doing so the clever native of Cologne never failed to draw brilliant pictures of the splendour of the imperial court. As a matter of course, Brussels, the favourite residence of the Dubois couple, was most honoured in the narrative, and Barbara could never hear enough of this superb city. Maestro Gombert had already aroused her longing for it, and Frau Traut made her, as it were, at home there.
So December and Christmas flew by. New Year's and Epiphany also passed, and when January was over and the month of February began, a guest arrived in Ratisbon from the household of the Emperor, who was now holding his court at Ulm. It was Dr. Mathys, the leech, who readily admitted that he had come partly by his Majesty's desire, partly from personal interest in Barbara's welfare.
The physician found her in the same mood as after the relapse. Obedient, calm, yielding, only often overpowered by melancholy and bitter thoughts and feelings, yet, on the other hand, exalted by the fact that the Emperor Charles, for her sake, was now depriving himself also of this man, whom he so greatly needed.
She awaited the fateful hour with anxious expectation. The twenty-fourth of February was the Emperor's birthday, and if it should come then, if the father and child should see the light of the world on the same day of the almanac, surely it must seem to Charles a favourable omen.
On the day of St. Matthias--that is, the twenty-fourth of February, Charles's birthday-at noon, Frau Traut, radiant with joy, could despatch the waiting messenger to Ulm with the tidings that a son had just been born to his Majesty.
The next morning the child was baptized John by the chaplain who accompanied the women, because this apostle had been nearest to the Saviour's heart.
The young mother was not permitted to rejoice at the sight of her babe. Charles had given orders in advance what should be done hour by hour, and believed he was treating the mother kindly by refusing to allow her to enjoy the sight of the newborn child which could not remain with her.
This caused much weeping and lamenting, and such passionate excitement that the bereaved mother nearly lost her life; but Dr. Mathys devoted the utmost care to her, and did not leave Ratisbon until after three weeks, when he could commit the nursing to the experienced Sister Hyacinths.
But for the trouble in her throat, Barbara would have been physically as well as ever; her mental suffering was never greater.
She felt robbed and desolate, like the bird whose nestlings are stolen by the marten; for all that might have made her ruined life precious had been taken, and the man to whom she had surrendered her dearest treasure did not even express, by one poor word, his gratitude and joy. No, he seemed to have forgotten her as well as her future.
Frau Traut had left her with the promise that she would sometimes send her news of her boy's health, yet she, too, remained silent, and was deceiving her confidence. She could not know that the promise-breaker thought of her often enough, but that she had been most strictly forbidden by her imperial master to tell the boy's mother his abode or to hold any further intercourse with her.
How little Charles must care for her, since he now showed such deep neglect and found no return for all that she had sacrificed to him save cruel sternness! Yet the precious gift for which he was indebted to her must have afforded special pleasure to the man who attached such great value to omens, for it gave him the right to cherish the most daring hopes for the future of his boy. The fact that he was born on his father's birthday seemed to her an especial favour of heaven, and the old chaplain, who still remained with her, had discovered other singular circumstances which foreshadowed that the son would become the father's peer; for on the twenty-fourth of February Charles V had been crowned, and on the same day he had won at Pavia his greatest victory.
This had been the most brilliant day in the ruler's life, so rich in successes, and now it had also become the birthday of the boy whom she had given him and resigned that he might lead it to grandeur, splendour, and magnificence.
Nothing was more improbable than that the man whose faithful memory retained everything, and whose active mind discovered what escaped the notice of others, should have overlooked this sign from heaven. And yet she vainly waited for a token of pleasure, gratitude, remembrance. How this pierced the soul and corroded the existence of the poor deserted girl, the bereaved mother, the unfortunate one torn from her own sphere in life!
At last, toward the end of March, the message so ardently desired arrived. A special courier brought it, but how it was worded!
A brief expression of his Majesty's gratification at the birth of the healthy, well-formed boy; then, in blunt words, the grant of a small annual income and an additional gift, with the remark that his Majesty was ready, to increase both generously, and, moreover, to give her ambition every support, if Barbara would enter a convent. If she should persist in remaining in the world, what was granted must be taken from her as soon as she broke her promise to keep secret what his Majesty desired to have concealed.
The conclusion was: "And so his Majesty once more urges you to renounce the world, which has nothing more important to offer you than memories, which the convent is the best place to cherish. There you will regain the favour of Heaven, which it so visibly withdrew from you, and also the regard of his Majesty, which you forfeited, and he in his graciousness, and in consequence of many a memory which he, too, holds dear, would gladly show you again."
This letter bore the signature of Don Luis Quijada, and had been written by a poor German copyist, a wretched, cross-eyed fellow, whom Wolf had pointed out to her, and whose hand Barbara knew. From his pen also came the sentence under the major-domo's name, "The Golden Cross must be vacated during the month of April."
When Barbara had read these imperial decisions for the second and the third time, and fully realized the meaning of every word, she clinched her teeth and gazed steadily into vacancy for a while. Then she laughed in such a shrill, hoarse tone that she was startled at the sound of her own voice, and paced up and down the room with long strides.
Should she reject what the most powerful and wealthy sovereign in the world offered with contemptible parsimony? No! It was not much, but it would suffice for her support, and the additional gift was large enough to afford her father a great pleasure when he came home.
Pyramus Kogel's last letter reported that his condition was improving. Perhaps he might soon return. Then the money would enable her to weave a joy into the sorrow that awaited him. It had always been a humiliating thought that he had lost his own house and was obliged to live in a hired one, and at least she could free him from that.
It was evident enough that her pitiful allowance did not proceed from the Emperor's avarice; Charles only wished to force her to obey his wish to shut her for the rest of her life in a cloister. The mother of his son must remain concealed from the world; he desired to spare him in after years the embarrassment of meeting the woman whose birth was so much more humble than his own and his father's. Want should drive her from the world, and, to hasten her flight, the shrewd adept in reading human nature showed her in the distance the abbess's cross, and tried thereby to arouse her ambition.
But in her childhood and youth Barbara had been accustomed to still plainer living than she could grant herself in future, and she would have been miserable in the most magnificent palace if she had been compelled to relinquish her independence. Rather death in the Danube than to dispense with it!
She was young, healthy, and vigorous, and it seemed like voluntary mutilation to resign her liberty at twenty-one. But even had she felt the need of the lonely cell, quiet contemplation, and more severe penance than had been imposed upon her in the confessional, she would still have remained in the world; for the more plainly the letter showed how eagerly Charles desired to force her out of it, the more firmly she resolved to remain in it. How many hopes this base epistle had destroyed; it seemed as though it had killed the last spark of love in her soul!
Too much kindness leads to false paths scarcely more surely than the contrary, and the Emperor's cruel decision destroyed and hardened many of the best feelings in Barbara's heart, and prepared a place for resentment and hatred.
The great sovereign's love, which had been the sunshine of her life, was lost; her child had been taken from her; even the home that sheltered her, and which hitherto she had regarded as a token of its father's kindly care, was now withdrawn. A new life path must be found, but she would not set out upon it from the Golden Cross, where her brief happiness had bloomed, but from the place where she had experienced the penury of her childhood and early youth.
The very next afternoon she moved into Wolf's house. Sister Hyacinthe was obliged to return to her convent, so no one accompanied her except Frau Lamperi. She had become attached to Barbara, and therefore remained in her service instead of returning to the Queen of Hungary. True, she had not determined to do so until her mistress had promised to remain only a few weeks in Ratisbon at the utmost, and then move to Brussels, where she longed to be.
Ratisbon was no home for the Emperor's former favourite. Life in her native city would have been one long chain of humiliations, now that she had nothing to offer her fellow-citizens except the satisfaction of a curiosity which was not always benevolent.
But where should she go, if not to the country where her child's father lived, where, she had reason enough to believe, the infant would be concealed, and where she might hope to see again and again at a distance the man to whom hate united her no less firmly than love?
This prospect offered her the greatest attraction, and yet she desired nothing, nothing more from him except to be permitted to watch his destiny. It promised to be no happy one, but this fact robbed the wish of no charm.
Besides, the desire for a richer life again began to stir within her soul, and what sustenance for the eye and ear Gombert, Frau Traut, and now also Lamperi promised her in Brussels!
Her means would enable her to go there with the maid and live in a quiet way. If her father forgave her and would join her in the city, she would rejoice. But he was bound to Ratisbon by so many ties, and had so many new tales to relate in its taprooms, that he would certainly return to it. So she must leave him; it was growing too hot for her here.
She found old Ursel cheerful, and was less harshly received than at her last visit. True, Barbara came when she was in a particularly happy mood, because a letter from Wolf stated that he already felt perfectly at home in Quijada's castle at Villagarcia, and that Dona Magdalena de Ulloa was a lady of rare beauty and kindness of heart. Her musical talent was considerable, and she devoted every leisure hour to playing on stringed instruments and singing. True, there were not too many, for the childless woman had made herself the mother of the poor and sick upon her estates, and had even established a little school where he assisted her as singing-master.
So Barbara was at least relieved from self-reproach for having brought misfortune upon this faithful friend. This somewhat soothed her sorely burdened heart, and yet in her old, more than plain lodgings, with their small, bare rooms, she often felt as though the walls were falling upon her. Besides, what she saw from the open window in Red Cock Street was disagreeable and annoying.
When evening came she went to rest early, but troubled dreams disturbed her sleep.
The dawn which waked her seemed like a deliverance, and directly after mass she hurried out of the gate and into the open country.
On her return she found a letter from her father.
Pyramus Kogel was its bearer, and he had left the message that he would return the next day. This time her father had written with his own hand. The letters were irregular and crooked enough, but they were large, and there were not too many of them. He now knew what people were saying about her. It had pierced the very depths of his old heart and darkened his life. But he could not curse her, because she was his only child, and also because he told himself how much easier her execrable vanity had made the Emperor Charles's game. Nor would he give her up as lost, and his travelling companion. Pyramus, who was like a son to him, was ready to aid him, for his love was so true and steadfast that he still wished to make her his wife, and offered through him to share everything with her, even his honourable name.
If misfortune had made her modest, if it had crushed her wicked arrogance, and she was still his own dear child, who desired her father's blessing, she ought not to refuse the faithful fellow who would bring her this letter, but accept his proposal. On that, and upon that alone, his forgiveness would depend; it was for her to show how much or how little she valued it.
Barbara deciphered this epistle with varying emotions.
Was there no room for unselfish love in the breast of any man?
Her father, even he, was seeking to profit by that which united him to his only child. To keep it, and to secure his blessing, she must give her hand to the unloved soldier who had shown him kindness and won his affection.
She again glanced indignantly over the letter, and now read the postscript also. "Pyramus," it ran, "will remain only a short time in Germany, and go from there directly to Brussels, where he is on duty, and thence to me in Antwerp."
Barbara started, her large eyes sparkled brightly, and a faint flush suddenly suffused her cheeks. The "plus ultra" was forever at an end for her. Her boy was living in Brussels near his father; there she belonged, and she suddenly saw herself brought so near this unknown, brilliant city that it seemed like her real home. Where else could she hope to rid herself of the nightmares that oppressed her except where she was permitted to see the man from whom nothing could separate her, no matter how cruelly he repulsed her?
The only suitable place for her, he thought, was the cloister. No man, he believed in his boundless vanity, could satisfy the woman who had once received in his love.
He should learn the contrary! He should hear--nay, perhaps he should see--that she was still desired, in spite of the theft which he had committed, in spite of the cruelty with which Fate had destroyed the best treasure that it had generously bestowed.
The recruiting officer was certainly a handsome man and, moreover, of noble birth. Her father wished to have him for a son, and would forgive her if she gave him the hand for which he shed.
So let him be the one who should take her to Brussels, and to whom she would give the right of calling himself her husband.
Here her brow contracted in a frown, for the journey on which she was to set out with him would lead not only to the Netherlands, but through her whole life, perhaps to the grave.
Deep resentment seized upon her, but she soon succeeded in conquering it; only the question what she had to give her suitor in return for his loyal love could not be silenced. Yet was it she who summoned him? Did he not possess the knowledge of everything that might have deterred another from wooing her? Had she not showed him more than plainly how ill he had succeeded in gaining her affection? If, nevertheless, he insisted upon winning her, he must take her as she was, though the handsome young man would have had a good right to a heart full of love. Hers, so long as the gouty traitor lived who had ruined her whole existence, could never belong entirely to another.
Once she had preferred the handsome, stately dancer to all other men. Might not this admiration of his person be revived? No--oh, no! And it was fortunate that it was so, for she no longer desired to love--neither him nor any one else. On the other hand, she resolved to make his life as pleasant as lay in her power. When what she granted him had reconciled her father to her, and she was in Brussels, perhaps she would find strength to treat Pyramus so that he would never repent his fidelity.
In the afternoon she longed to escape from the close rooms into the fresh air, and turned her steps toward Prebrunn, in order to see once more the little castle which to her was so rich in beautiful and terrible memories.
On the way she met Frau Lerch. The old woman had kept her keenness of vision and, though Barbara tried to avoid her, the little ex-maid stopped her and asked scornfully:
"Here in Ratisbon again, sweetheart? How fresh you look after your severe illness!--yet you're still on shank's mare, instead of in the gold coach drawn by white horses."
Barbara abruptly turned her back upon her and went home.
As she was passing the Town Hall Pyramus Kogel left it, and she stopped as he modestly greeted her.
Very distinguished and manly he looked in his glittering armour, with the red and yellow sash and the rapier with its large, flashing basket-hilt at his side; yet she said to herself: "Poor, handsome fellow! How many would be proud to lean on your arm! Why do you care for one who can never love you, and to whom you will appear insignificant to the end?"
Then she kindly clasped the hand which he extended, and permitted him to accompany her home. On the Haidplatz she asked him whether he had read the letter which he brought from her father.
He hesitatingly assented. Barbara lowered her eyes, and added softly:
"It is my own dear father to whom you have been kind, and my warmest gratitude is due to you for it."
The young officer's heart throbbed faster; but as they turned into Red Cock Street she asked the question:
"You are going from here to Brussels, are you not?"
"To Brussels," he repeated, scarcely able to control his voice.
She raised her large eyes to him, and, after a hard struggle, the words escaped her lips:
"I learned in Landshut, and it was confirmed by my father's letter, that you are aware of what I am accused, and that you know--I committed the sin with which they charge me."
In the very same place where, on an evening never to be forgotten, he had received the first sharp rebuff from Barbara, she now confessed her guilt to him--he doubtless noticed it. It must have seemed like a sign from heaven that it was here she voluntarily approached him, nay, as it were, offered herself to him. But he loved her, and he would have deemed it unchivalrous to let her feel now that their relation to one another had changed. So he only exclaimed with joyous confidence:
"And yet, Barbara, I trustfully place happiness and honour in your beloved hands. You have long been clear to me, but now for the first time I believe confidently and firmly that I have found in you the very wife for me. The bitter trial imposed upon you--I knew it in Landshut--bowed your unduly obstinate nature, and if you only knew how well your modest manner becomes you! So I entreat permission to accompany you home."
Barbara nodded assent, and when he had mounted the steep staircase of the house before her he stopped in front of the narrow door, and a proud sense of satisfaction came over him at the thought that the vow which he had made in this spot was now fulfilled.
Her father had failed to bend this refractory, wonderfully beautiful iron; he had hoped to try with better fortune, but Fate had anticipated him, and he was grateful.
Full of blossoming hopes, he now asked, with newly awakened confidence, whether she would permit him to cross her threshold as a suitor and become his dear and ardently worshipped wife, and the low "Yes" which he received in response made him happy.
A few days after he married her, and journeyed with her on horseback to the Netherlands.
On the way tidings of the battle of Muhlberg reached them. The Emperor Charles had utterly routed the Protestants. He himself announced his great victory in the words, "I came, I saw, and God conquered."
When Pyramus told the news to his young wife, she answered quietly, "Who could resist the mighty monarch!"
In Brussels she learned that the Emperor had taken the Elector of Saxony captive on the battlefield, but the Landgrave of Hesse had been betrayed into his power by a stratagem which the Protestants branded as base treachery, and used to fill all Germany with the bitterest hatred against him; but here Barbara's wrath flamed forth, and she upbraided the slanderous heretics. It angered her to have the great sovereign denied his due reverence in her own home; but secretly she believed in the breach of faith.