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Chapter 22 The Revellers

Cade. -- Where's Dick, the butcher of Ashford? Dick. -- Here, sir. Cade. -- They fell before thee like sheep and oxen, and thou behavedst thyself as if thou hadst been in thine own slaughter house.

SECOND PART OF KING HENRY V.

There could hardly exist a more strange and horrible change than had taken place in the castle hall of Schonwaldt since Quentin had partaken of the noontide meal there, and it was indeed one which painted, in the extremity of their dreadful features, the miseries of war -- more especially when waged by those most relentless of all agents, the mercenary soldiers of a barbarous age -- men who, by habit and profession, had become familiarized with all that was cruel and bloody in the art of war, while they were devoid alike of patriotism and of the romantic spirit of chivalry.

Instead of the orderly, decent, and somewhat formal meal, at which civil and ecclesiastical officers had, a few hours before, sat mingled in the same apartment, where a light jest could only be uttered in a whisper, and where, even amid superfluity of feasting and of wine, there reigned a decorum which almost amounted to hypocrisy, there was now such a scene of wild and roaring debauchery as Satan himself, had he taken the chair as founder of the feast, could scarcely have improved.

At the head of the table sat, in the Bishop's throne and state, which had been hastily brought thither from his great council chamber, the redoubted Boar of Ardennes himself, well deserving that dreaded name in which he affected to delight, and which he did as much as he could think of to deserve.

His head was unhelmeted, but he wore the rest of his ponderous and bright armour, which indeed he rarely laid aside. Over his shoulders hung a strong surcoat, made of the dressed skin of a huge wild boar, the hoofs being of solid silver and the tusks of the same. The skin of the head was so arranged, that, drawn over the casque, when the Baron was armed, or over his bare head in the fashion of a hood, as he often affected when the helmet was laid aside, and as he now wore it, the effect was that of a grinning, ghastly monster, and yet the countenance which it overshadowed scarce required such horrors to improve those which were natural to its ordinary expression.

The upper part of De la Marck's face, as Nature had formed it, almost gave the lie to his character, for though his hair, when uncovered, resembled the rude and wild bristles of the hood he had drawn over it, yet an open, high, and manly forehead, broad ruddy cheeks, large, sparkling, light coloured eyes, and a nose which looked like the beak of the eagle, promised something valiant and generous. But the effect of these more favourable traits was entirely overpowered by his habits of violence and insolence, which, joined to debauchery and intemperance, had stamped upon the features a character inconsistent with the rough gallantry which they would otherwise have exhibited. The former had, from habitual indulgence, swollen the muscles of the cheeks and those around the eyes, in particular the latter; evil practices and habits had dimmed the eyes themselves, reddened the part of them that should have been white, and given the whole face a hideous likeness of the monster which it was the terrible Baron's pleasure to resemble. But from an odd sort of contradiction, De la March, while he assumed in other respects the appearance of the Wild Boar, and even seemed pleased with the name, yet endeavoured, by the length and growth of his beard, to conceal the circumstance that had originally procured him that denomination. This was an unusual thickness and projection of the mouth and upper jaw, which, with the huge projecting side teeth, gave that resemblance to the bestial creation, which, joined to the delight that De la Marck had in hunting the forest so called, originally procured for him the name of the Boar of Ardennes. The beard, broad, grisly, and uncombed, neither concealed the natural horrors of the countenance, nor dignified its brutal expression.

The soldiers and officers sat around the table, intermixed with the men of Liege, some of them of the very lowest description, among whom Nikkel Blok the butcher, placed near De la Marck himself, was distinguished by his tucked up sleeves, which displayed arms smeared to the elbows with blood, as was the cleaver which lay on the table before him. The soldiers wore, most of them, their beards long and grisly, in imitation of their leader, had their hair plaited and turned upwards, in the manner that ought best improve the natural ferocity of their appearance, and intoxicated, as many of them seemed to be, partly with the sense of triumph, and partly with the long libations of wine which they had been quaffing, presented a spectacle at once hideous and disgusting. The language which they held, and the songs which they sang, without even pretending to pay each other the compliment of listening, were so full of license and blasphemy, that Quentin blessed God that the extremity of the noise prevented them from being intelligible to his companion.

It only remains to say of the better class of burghers who were associated with William de la Marck's soldiers in this fearful revel that the wan faces and anxious mien of the greater part showed that they either disliked their entertainment, or feared their companions, while some of lower education, or a nature more brutal, saw only in the excesses of the soldier a gallant bearing, which they would willingly imitate, and the tone of which they endeavoured to catch so far as was possible, and stimulated themselves to the task, by swallowing immense draughts of wine and schwarzbier (black beer) -- indulging a vice 'which at all times was too common in the Low Countries.

The preparations for the feast had been as disorderly as the quality of the company. The whole of the Bishop's plate -- nay, even that belonging to the service of the Church -- for the Boar of Ardennes regarded not the imputation of sacrilege -- was mingled with black jacks, or huge tankards made of leather, and drinking horns of the most ordinary description.

One circumstance of horror remains to be added and accounted for, and we willingly leave the rest of the scene to the imagination of the reader. Amidst the wild license assumed by the soldiers of De la Marck, one who was excluded from the table (a lanzknecht, remarkable for his courage and for his daring behaviour during the storm of the evening), had impudently snatched up a large silver goblet, and carried it off declaring it should atone for his loss of the share of the feast. The leader laughed till his sides shook at a jest so congenial to the character of the company, but when another, less renowned, it would seem, for audacity in battle, ventured on using the same freedom, De la Marck instantly put a check to a jocular practice, which would soon have cleared his table of all the more valuable decorations.

"Ho! by the spirit of the thunder!" he exclaimed, "those who dare not be men when they face the enemy, must not pretend to be thieves among their friends. What! thou frontless dastard, thou -- thou who didst wait for opened gate and lowered bridge, when Conrade Horst forced his way over moat and wall, must thou be malapert? -- Knit him up to the stanchions of the hall window! -- He shall beat time with his feet, while we drink a cup to his safe passage to the devil."

The doom was scarce sooner pronounced than accomplished, and in a moment the wretch wrestled out his last agonies, suspended from the iron bars. His body still hung there when Quentin and the others entered the hall, and, intercepting the pale moonbeam, threw on the castle floor an uncertain shadow, which dubiously, yet fearfully, intimated the nature of the substance that produced it.

When the Syndic Pavillon was announced from mouth to mouth in this tumultuous meeting, he endeavoured to assume, in right of his authority and influence, an air of importance and equality, which a glance at the fearful object at the window, and at the wild scene around him, rendered it very difficult for him to sustain, notwithstanding the exhortations of Peter, who whispered in his ear with some perturbation, "Up heart, master, or we are but gone men!"

The Syndic maintained his dignity, however, as well as he could, in a short address, in which he complimented the company upon the great victory gained by the soldiers of De la Marck and the good citizens of Liege.

"Ay," answered De la Marck, sarcastically, "we have brought down the game at last, quoth my lady's brach to the wolf hound. But ho! Sir Burgomaster, you come like Mars, with Beauty by your side. Who is this fair one? -- Unveil, unveil -- no woman calls her beauty her own tonight."

"It is my daughter, noble leader," answered Pavillon, "and I am to pray your forgiveness for her wearing a veil. She has a vow for that effect to the Three Blessed Kings."

"I will absolve her of it presently," said De la Marck, "for here, with one stroke of a cleaver, will I consecrate myself Bishop of Liege, and I trust one living bishop is worth three dead kings."

There was a shuddering and murmur among the guests, for the community of Liege, and even some of the rude soldiers, reverenced the Kings of Cologne, as they were commonly called, though they respected nothing else.

"Nay, I mean no treason against their defunct majesties," said De la Marck, "only Bishop I am determined to be. A prince both secular and ecclesiastical, having power to bind and loose, will best suit a band of reprobates such as you, to whom no one else would give absolution. -- But come hither, noble Burgomaster -- sit beside me, when you shall see me make a vacancy for my own preferment. -- Bring in our predecessor in the holy seat."

A bustle took place in the hall, while Pavillon, excusing himself from the proffered seat of honour, placed himself near the bottom of the table, his followers keeping close behind him, not unlike a flock of sheep which, when a stranger dog is in presence, may be sometimes seen to assemble in the rear of an old bell wether, who is, from office and authority, judged by them to have rather more courage than themselves. Near the spot sat a very handsome lad, a natural son, as was said, of the ferocious De la Marck, and towards whom he sometimes showed affection, and even tenderness. The mother of the boy, a beautiful concubine, had perished by a blow dealt her by the ferocious leader in a fit of drunkenness or jealousy, and her fate had caused her tyrant as much remorse as he was capable of feeling. His attachment to the surviving orphan might be partly owing to these circumstances. Quentin, who had learned this point of the leader's character from the old priest, planted himself as close as he could to the youth in question, determined to make him, in some way or other, either a hostage or a protector, should other means of safety fail them.

While all stood in a kind of suspense, waiting the event of the orders which the tyrant had issued, one of Pavillon's followers whispered Peter, "Did not our master call that wench his daughter? -- Why, it cannot be our Trudchen. This strapping lass is taller by two inches, and there is a black lock of hair peeps forth yonder from under her veil. By Saint Michael of the Marketplace, you might as well call a black bullock's hide a white heifer's!

"Hush! hush!" said Peter, with some presence of mind. "What if our 'master hath a mind to steal a piece of doe venison out of the Bishop's parks here, without our good dame's knowledge? And is it for thee or me to be a spy on him?"

"That will not I," answered the other, "though I would not have thought of his turning deer stealer at his years. Sapperment -- what a shy fairy it is! See how she crouches down on yonder seat, behind folks' backs, to escape the gaze of the Marckers. -- But hold, hold, what are they about to do with the poor old Bishop?"

As he spoke, the Bishop of Liege, Louis of Bourbon, was dragged into the hall of his own palace by the brutal soldiery. The dishevelled state of his hair, beard, and attire bore witness to the ill treatment he had already received, and some of his sacerdotal robes, hastily flung over him, appeared to have been put on in scorn and ridicule of his quality and character. By good fortune, as Quentin was compelled to think it, the Countess Isabelle, whose feelings at seeing her protector in such an extremity might have betrayed her own secret and compromised her safety, was so situated as neither to hear nor see what was about to take place, and Durward sedulously interposed his own person before her, so as to keep her from observing alike and from observation.

The scene which followed was short and fearful. When the unhappy Prelate was brought before the footstool of the savage leader, although in former life only remarkable for his easy and good natured temper, he showed in this extremity a sense of his dignity and noble blood, well becoming the high race from which he was descended. His look was composed and undismayed, his gesture, when the rude hands which dragged him forward were unloosed, was noble, and at the same time resigned, somewhat between the bearing of a feudal noble and of a Christian martyr and so much was even De la Marck himself staggered by the firm demeanour of his prisoner and recollection of the early benefits he had received from him, that he seemed irresolute, cast down his eyes, and it was not until he had emptied a large goblet of wine, that, resuming his haughty insolence of look and manner, he thus addressed his unfortunate captive.

"Louis of Bourbon," said the truculent soldier, drawing hard his breath, clenching 'his hands, setting his teeth, and using the other mechanical actions to rouse up and sustain his native ferocity of temper, "I sought your friendship, and you rejected mine. What would you now give that it had been otherwise? -- Nikkel, be ready."

The butcher rose, seized his weapon, and stealing round behind De la Marck's chair, stood with it uplifted in his bare and sinewy hands.

"Look at that man, Louis of Bourbon," said De la Marck again, -- "What terms wilt thou now offer, to escape this dangerous hour?"

The Bishop cast a melancholy but unshaken look upon the grisly satellite, who seemed prepared to execute the will of the tyrant, and then he said with firmness, "Hear me, William de la Marck, and good men all, if there be any here who deserve that name, hear the only terms I can offer to this ruffian.

"William de la Marck, thou hast stirred up to sedition an imperial city -- hast assaulted and taken the palace of a Prince of the Holy German Empire -- slain his people -- plundered his goods -- maltreated his person, for this thou art liable to the Ban of the Empire (to put a prince under the ban of the empire was to divest him of his dignities, and to interdict all intercourse and all offices of humanity with the offender) -- hast deserved to be declared outlawed and fugitive, landless and rightless. Thou hast done more than all this. More than mere human laws hast thou broken, more than mere human vengeance hast thou deserved. Thou hast broken into the sanctuary of the Lord -- laid violent hands upon a Father of the Church -- defiled the house of God with blood and rapine, like a sacrilegious robber --"

"Hast thou yet done?" said De la Marck, fiercely interrupting him, and stamping with his foot.

"No," answered the Prelate, "for I have not yet told thee the terms which you demanded to hear from me."

"Go on," said De la Marck, "and let the terms please me better than the preface, or woe to thy gray head!"

And flinging himself back in his seat, he grinded his teeth till the foam flew from his lips, as from the tusks of the savage animal whose name and spoils he wore.

"Such are thy crimes," resumed the Bishop, with calm determination, "now hear the terms, which, as a merciful Prince and a Christian Prelate, setting aside all personal offence, forgiving each peculiar injury, I condescend to offer. Fling down thy heading staff -- renounce thy command -- unbind thy prisoners -- restore thy spoil -- distribute what else thou hast of goods, to relieve those whom thou hast made orphans and widows -- array thyself in sackcloth and ashes -- take a palmer's staff in thy hand, and go barefooted on pilgrimage to Rome, and we will ourselves be intercessors for thee with the Imperial Chamber at Ratisbon for thy life, With our Holy Father the Pope for thy miserable soul."

While Louis of Bourbon proposed these terms, in a tone as decided as if he still occupied his episcopal throne, and as if the usurper kneeled a suppliant at his feet, the tyrant slowly raised himself in his chair, the amazement with which he was at first filled giving way gradually to rage, until, as the Bishop ceased, he looked to Nikkel Blok, and raised his finger, without speaking a word. The ruffian struck as if he had been doing his office in the common shambles, and the murdered Bishop sunk, without a groan, at the foot of his own episcopal throne. The Liegeois, who were not prepared for so horrible a catastrophe, and who had expected to hear the conference end in some terms of accommodation, started up unanimously, with cries of execration, mingled with shouts of vengeance.

(In assigning the present date to the murder of the Bishop of Liege, Louis de Bourbon, history has been violated. It is true that the Bishop was made prisoner by the insurgents of that city. It is also true that the report of the insurrection came to Charles with a rumour that the Bishop was slain, which excited his indignation against Louis, who was then in his power. But these things happened in 1468, and the Bishop's murder did not take place till 1482. In the months of August and September of that year, William de la Marck, called the Wild Boar of Ardennes, entered into a conspiracy with the discontented citizens of Liege against their Bishop, Louis of Bourbon, being aided with considerable sums of money by the King of France. By this means, and the assistance of many murderers and banditti, who thronged to him as to a leader befitting them, De la Marck assembled a body of troops, whom he dressed in scarlet as a uniform, with a boar's head on the left sleeve. With this little army he approached the city of Liege. Upon this the citizens, who were engaged in the conspiracy, came to their Bishop, and, offering to stand by him to the death, exhorted him to march out against these robbers. The Bishop, therefore, put himself at the head of a few troops of his own, trusting to the assistance of the people of Liege. But so soon as they came in sight of the enemy, the citizens, as before agreed, fled from the Bishop's banner, and he was left with his own handful of adherents. At this moment De la Marck charged at the head of his banditti with the expected success. The Bishop was brought before the profligate Knight, who first cut him over the face, then murdered him with his own hand, and caused his body to be exposed naked in the great square of Liege before Saint Lambert's Cathedral. S.)

But William de la Marck, raising his tremendous voice above the tumult, and shaking his clenched hand and extended arm, shouted aloud, "How now, ye porkers of Liege! ye wallowers in the mud of the Maes! -- do ye dare to mate yourselves with the Wild Boar of Ardennes? -- Up, ye Boar's brood!" (an expression by which he himself, and others, often designated his soldiers) "let these Flemish hogs see your tusks!"

Every one of his followers started up at the command, and mingled as they were among their late allies, prepared too for such a surprisal, each had, in an instant, his next neighbour by the collar, while his right hand brandished a broad dagger that glimmered against lamplight and moonshine. Every arm was uplifted, but no one struck, for the victims were too much surprised for resistance, 'and it was probably the object of De la Marck only to impose terror on his civic confederates.

But the courage of Quentin Durward, prompt and alert in resolution beyond his years, and stimulated at the moment by all that could add energy to his natural shrewdness and resolution, gave a new turn to the scene. Imitating the action of the followers of De la Marck, he sprang on Carl Eberson, the son of their leader, and mastering him with ease, held his dirk at the boy's throat, while he exclaimed, "Is that your game? then here I play my part."

"Hold! hold!" exclaimed De la Marck, "it is a jest -- a jest. -- Think you I would injure my good friends and allies of the city of Liege! -- Soldiers, unloose your holds, sit down, take away the carrion" (giving the Bishop's corpse a thrust with his foot) "which hath caused this strife among friends, and let us drown unkindness in a fresh carouse."

All unloosened their holds, and the citizens and the soldiers stood gazing on each other, as if they scarce knew whether they were friends or foes. Quentin Durward took advantage of the moment.

"Hear me," he said, "William de la Marck, and you, burghers and citizens of Liege -- and do you, young sir, stand still" (for the boy Carl was attempting to escape from his grip) - "no harm shall befall you unless another of these sharp jests shall pass around."

"Who art thou, in the fiend's name," said the astonished De la Marck, "who art come to hold terms and take hostages from us in our own lair -- from us, who exact pledges from others, but yield them to no one?"

"I am a servant of King Louis of France," said Quentin, boldly, "an Archer of his Scottish Guard, as my language and dress may partly tell you. I am here to behold and to report your proceedings, and I see with wonder that they are those of heathens, rather than Christians -- of madmen, rather than men possessed of reason. The hosts of Charles of Burgundy will be instantly in motion against you all, and if you wish assistance from France, you must conduct yourself in a different manner.

"For you, men of Liege, I advise your instant return to your own city, and if there is any obstruction offered to your departure, I denounce those by whom it is so offered, foes to my master, his Most Gracious Majesty of France."

"France and Liege! France and Liege!" cried the followers of Pavillon, and several other citizens whose courage began to rise at the bold language held by Quentin.

"France and Liege, and long live the gallant Archer! We will live and die with him!"

William de la Marck's eyes sparkled, and he grasped his dagger as if about to launch it at the heart of the audacious speaker, but glancing his eye around, he read something in the looks of his soldiers which even he was obliged to respect. Many of them were Frenchmen, and all of them knew the private support which William had received, both in men and in money, from that kingdom, nay, some of them were rather startled at the violent and sacrilegious action which had been just committed. The name of Charles of Burgundy, a person likely to resent to the utmost the deeds of that night, had an alarming sound, and the extreme impolicy of at once quarrelling with the Liegeois and provoking the Monarch of France, made an appalling impression on their minds, confused as their intellects were. De la Marck, in short, saw he would not be supported, even by his own band, in any farther act of immediate violence, and relaxing the terrors of his brow and eye, declared that he had not the least design against his good friends of Liege, all of whom were at liberty to depart from Schonwaldt at their pleasure, although he had hoped they would revel one night with him, at least, in honour of their victory. He added, with more calmness than he commonly used, that he would be ready to enter into negotiation concerning the partition of spoil, and the arrangement of measures for their mutual defence, either the next day, or as soon after as they would. Meantime he trusted that the Scottish gentleman would honour his feast by remaining all night at Schonwaldt.

The young Scot returned his thanks, but said his motions must be determined by those of Pavillon, to whom he was directed particularly to attach himself, but that, unquestionably, he would attend him on his next return to the quarters of the valiant William de la Marck.

"If you depend on my motions," said Pavillon, hastily and aloud, "you are likely to quit Schonwaldt without an instant's delay -- and, if you do not come back to Schonwaldt, save in my company, you are not likely to see it again in a hurry."

This last part of the sentence the honest citizen muttered to himself, afraid of the consequences of giving audible vent 'to feelings which, nevertheless, he was unable altogether to suppress.

"Keep close about me, my brisk Kurschner (a worker in fur) lads." he said to his bodyguard, "and we will get as fast as we can out of this den of thieves."

Most of the better classes of the Liegeois seemed to entertain similar opinions with the Syndic, and there had been scarce so much joy amongst them at the obtaining possession of Schonwaldt as now seemed to arise from the prospect of getting safe out of it. They were suffered to leave the castle without opposition of any kind, and glad was Quentin when he turned his back on those formidable walls.

For the first time since they had entered that dreadful hall, Quentin ventured to ask the young Countess how she did.

"Well, well," she answered, in feverish haste, "excellently well -- do not stop to ask a question, let us not lose an instant in words. -- Let us fly -- let us fly!"

She endeavoured to mend her pace as she spoke, but with so little success that she must have fallen from exhaustion had not Durward supported her. With the tenderness of a mother, when she conveys her infant out of danger, the young Scot raised his precious charge in his arms, and while she encircled his neck with one arm, lost to every other thought save the desire of escaping, he would not have wished one of the risks of the night unencountered, since such had been the conclusion.

The honest Burgomaster was, in his turn, supported and dragged forward by his faithful counsellor Peter, and another of his clerks, and thus, in breathless haste, they reached the banks of the river, encountering many strolling bands of citizens, who were eager to know the event of the siege, and the truth of certain rumours already afloat that the conquerors had quarrelled among themselves.

Evading their curiosity as they best could, the exertions of Peter and some of his companions at length procured a boat for the use of the company, and with it an opportunity of enjoying some repose, equally welcome to Isabelle, who continued to lie almost motionless in the arms of her deliverer, and to the worthy Burgomaster, who, after delivering a broken string of thanks to Durward, whose mind was at the time too much occupied to answer him, began a long harangue, which he addressed to Peter, upon his own courage and benevolence, and the dangers to which these virtues had exposed him, on this and other occasions.

"Peter, Peter," he said, resuming the complaint of the preceding evening, "if I had not had a bold heart, I would never have stood out against paying the burghers twentieths, when every other living soul was willing to pay the same. -- Ay, and then a less stout heart had not seduced me into that other battle of Saint Tron, where a Hainault man at arms thrust me into a muddy ditch with his lance, which neither heart nor hand that I had could help me out of till the battle was over. -- Ay, and then, Peter, this very night my courage seduced me, moreover, into too strait a corselet, which would have been the death of me, but for the aid of this gallant young gentleman, whose trade is fighting, whereof I wish him heartily joy. And then for my tenderness of heart, Peter, it has made a poor man of me, that is, it would have made a poor man of me, if I had not been tolerably well to pass in this wicked world -- and Heaven knows what trouble it is likely to bring on me yet, with ladies, countesses, and keeping of secrets, which, for aught I know, may cost me half my fortune, and my neck into the bargain!"

Quentin could remain no longer silent, but assured him that whatever danger or damage he should incur on the part of the young lady now under his protection should be thankfully acknowledged, and, as far as was possible, repaid.

"I thank you, young Master Squire Archer, I thank you," answered the citizen of Liege "but who was it told you that I desired any repayment at your hand for doing the duty of an honest man? I only regretted that it might cost me so and so, and I hope I may have leave to say so much to my lieutenant, without either grudging my loss or my peril."

Quentin accordingly concluded that his present friend was one of the numerous class of benefactors to others, who take out their reward in grumbling, without meaning more than, by showing their grievances, to exalt a little the idea of the valuable service by which they have incurred them, and therefore prudently remained silent, and suffered the Syndic to maunder on to his lieutenant concerning the risk and the loss he had encountered by his zeal for the public good, and his disinterested services to individuals, until they reached his own habitation.

The truth was, that the honest citizen felt that he had lost a little consequence, by suffering the young stranger to take the lead at the crisis which had occurred at the castle hall of Schonwaldt, and, however delighted with the effect of Durward's interference at the moment, it seemed to him, on reflection, that he had sustained a diminution of importance, for which he endeavoured to obtain compensation by exaggerating the claims which he had upon the gratitude of his country in general, his friends in particular, and more especially still, on the Countess of Croye, and her youthful protector.

But when the boat stopped at the bottom of his garden, and he had got himself assisted on shore by Peter, it seemed as if the touch of his own threshold had at once dissipated those feelings of wounded self opinion and jealousy, and converted the discontented and obscured demagogue into the honest, kind, hospitable, and friendly host. He called loudly for Trudchen, who presently appeared, for fear and anxiety would permit few within the walls of Liege to sleep during that eventful night. She was charged to pay the utmost attention to the care of the beautiful and half fainting stranger, and, admiring her personal charms, while she pitied her distress, Gertrude discharged the hospitable duty with the zeal and affection of a sister.

Late as it now was, and fatigued as the Syndic appeared, Quentin, on his side, had difficulty to escape a flask of choice and costly wine, as old as the battle of Azincour, and must have submitted to take his share, however unwilling, but for the appearance of the mother of the family, whom Pavillon's loud summons for the keys of the cellar brought forth from her bedroom. She was a jolly little roundabout, woman, who had been pretty in her time, but whose principal characteristics for several years had been a red and sharp nose, a shrill voice, and a determination that the Syndic, in consideration of the authority which he exercised when abroad, should remain under the rule of due discipline at home.

So soon as she understood the nature of the debate between her husband and his guest, she declared roundly that the former, instead of having occasion for more wine, had got too much already, and, far from using, in furtherance of his request, any of the huge bunch of keys which hung by a silver chain at her waist, she turned her back on him without ceremony, and ushered Quentin to the neat and pleasant apartment in which he was to spend the night, amid such appliances to rest and comfort as probably he had till that moment been entirely a stranger to, so much did the wealthy Flemings excel, not merely the poor and rude Scots, but the French themselves in all the conveniences of domestic life.

凯德:阿希福德的屠夫狄克在哪儿?

狄克:主帅,我在这儿。

凯德:他们就像牛羊似的在你面前倒了下去,你干得就像在你

自己的屠宰场里一样出色。

《亨利六世》第二部分

自从昆丁在索恩瓦尔德堡的大厅里吃过那顿午餐以后,这里所发生的变化也许是最为离奇和恐怖的。这种变化的确以最可怕的色彩描绘出了战争的灾难——特别是因为这次战斗是由野蛮时代的雇佣军这样一些最残酷无情的家伙来进行的。他们的职业和习性已使他们对战争中一切残暴、血腥的东西习以为常,而他们既没有爱国爱民之心,也没有骑士的罗曼蒂克精神。

在这同一个大厅里,几小时以前文职和圣职官员还曾坐在一起规矩而体面地,甚至有点拘泥地吃着饭,只容许轻声谈笑;即使酒肴异常丰富,也存在着一种近乎虚伪的客气和礼貌。但眼下却是一种狂野、嚣张的放荡迹象。即便撒旦亲自来主持这个欢宴,也未必能更胜一筹。

在餐桌的上席坐着那可畏的“阿登内斯野猪”。他坐的是人们为他匆忙从会议厅抬来的主教专用宝座。“野猪”这个名字他真受之无愧,而且他也深表欣赏,并尽他所能想到的一切来使自己名实相符。他解掉了头盔,但仍然穿着他那很少脱掉的沉重而明亮的铠甲;肩上披着一张大野猪皮做的结实的披风;野猪蹄和獠牙都是纯银做的。野猪的头皮在“爵爷”全副武装时被拉在他的头盔上,而在他经常脱掉头盔或像它现在这样系在脑后时,则像个兜帽罩在他的光头上,给人的印象真像个狰狞可怕的怪兽。但这野猪皮罩着的面孔也毋须此种恐怖的装饰来增加其天生就具有的恐怖表情。

大自然创造出来的德拉马克的上半部面孔几乎使人看不出他的真实性格。他的头发在没戴帽子时固然很像罩在上面的野猪皮那粗糙的鬃毛,但他那颇有大丈夫气概的高而开阔的前额、宽大而红润的面颊、大而明亮的淡色眼睛和鹰钩鼻子却给人一种勇敢而豪侠的感觉。不过这些有利的特征早已被他横蛮残暴的习性所抵消。这些习性加上放荡和纵欲,已使得他的面貌打上了与它本有可能表现出的勃勃英气毫不相容的性格烙印。由于经常沉溺于酒色之中,面部肌肉,特别是眼睛周围的肌肉已显浮肿,罪恶的习性也使得眼睛黯淡无光,白的部分过早地变红,令人感觉他面目可惜,很像可怕的“爵爷’嘻欢模拟的那个猛兽。然而,矛盾得有点出奇的是,尽管德拉马克在其他方面都装出野猪的模样,甚至对野猪这个绰号似乎还感到满意,但另一方面他却利用他那一大把长胡子来掩盖那原来为他赢得了这一绰号的面部特征。这指的是他那异常肥厚和突出的嘴唇和上颚,以及他那突出的大獠牙。这一切配在一起使他很像一头野猪;加上德拉马克常出没于“野猪林”,并以此为家,这就为他博得了“阿登内斯野猪”的鼎鼎大名。他那不常梳理的吓人的大胡子既不能掩盖他面孔上天然的阴森恐怖表情,也不能使这一野蛮的表情增加点威严的色彩。

强盗官兵和一些地位卑下的列日市民围着桌子并肩坐在一起。屠夫尼克尔·布洛克坐在德拉马克旁边。他把袖子卷得高高的,露出两只齐肘部全沾满了鲜血的胳膊,可以和他面前摆着的血污的屠刀媲美。当兵的大多数都模仿他们的头头蓄着长得吓人的胡子,并将他们编成辫子的头发朝上竖着,以增强其面貌给人的凶恶印象。也许是由于陶醉于胜利的骄傲和长时间灌酒的缘故吧,许多人都已显得酩酊大醉了。所有这一切都叫人看起来既丑恶又可憎。他们使用的语言和唱的歌(连他们自己都无心装出听别人唱的客气样子)全都极其淫荡和狠押。昆丁不禁要感谢上帝,幸亏声音十分嘈杂,使他的女伴听不清他们的说说唱唱。

至于在这个可怕的欢宴上和威廉·德拉马克的士兵同席而坐的出身较好的市民们,我们只需指出,他们大多数人的脸上呈现出的失魂落魄的神情说明,他们要么是不喜欢这种款待,要么是害怕他们的伙伴。然而那些教养较差、天性更为野蛮的市民则把丘八们的放肆看作是一种他们很愿意模仿的洒脱表现,竭力想领略其特有的情趣,并喝下大口大口的黑啤酒——一种低地人民当中十分普遍的恶习——给自己增加所需的刺激。

宴会的筹备也是杂乱无章的,和赴宴者的性格如出一辙。“阿登内斯野猪”不顾亵渎圣器的罪名,竟叫人把主教家的餐具,甚至教堂用于圣餐的用具全都拿来使用,与黑酒罐、皮制大酒杯以及最常见的一些角制酒壶优劣不分地混在一起。

我们还想补充一个恐怖的情节并进行一番解说,而把其余的部分留给读者自己去想象。在德拉马克士兵们疯狂地饮酒作乐之际,一个被逐出酒席的长矛手(在今晚的攻城当中表现得很勇敢)公然拿起一个大银酒杯就跑,说这是为了补偿他未能参加宴会的损失。看到与宴会的性质和气氛如此协调的这一玩笑,那首领不禁捧腹大笑起来。但当另一个在作战勇敢方面默默无闻的家伙也妄图采取这一行动时,德拉马克马上沉下脸来进行干涉,因为这种开心事要是不及时刹车,桌上的宝贵餐具很快就会被一扫而光。“嗬!雷神爷在上!”他大声吼道,“那些在敌人面前不敢当英雄的人休想在自己人中间当小偷!怎么!你这胆小鬼,当康拉德过河翻墙,冲锋陷阵时,你在等着开城门,放吊桥,你也胆敢乱来吗?把他吊在窗子上!让他两只脚打拍子,我们将在一边为他干杯,祝他一帆风顺进地狱。”

死刑刚一宣判,便马上兑现了。转瞬之间那可怜的家伙便被吊在铁棒上断了气。当昆丁一行进入大厅时,他的尸体还吊在那儿,由于挡住了苍白的月光,在地板上投下一团模糊的阴影,使人疑惑而恐惧地猜想到产生这阴影的是个什么性质的东西。

当行会主席巴维翁的大名在这狂嚣的聚会上被通报上去时,他竭力装出一副权威和影响都使他有权和他们平起平坐的要人气派。但一看到窗子上吊着的那吓人的东西,以及他周围那放荡不羁的情景,他就感到很难把这个角色坚持下去——虽然彼得在他耳边不安地连连告诫他:“老爷,鼓起勇气,要不我们就完蛋了。”

这位行会主席在他庆祝德拉马克的士兵和列日市民取得巨大胜利的简短贺词中还是尽其所能地维护了他应有的尊严。

“不错,”德拉马克挖苦地说道,“我女人的母狼犬对狼犬说:我们终归还是把那猎物杀死了。嗬,市长先生,您真像战神驾到,还有美女陪伴!这美人是谁?取下面纱,取下面纱——今晚任何女人也不得把自己的美丽作为私有。”

“高贵的首领,这可是我的女儿,”巴维翁说道,“我求您原谅她戴面纱,因为她曾对得福的三王许过愿。”

“我可以替她马上解除许下的愿,”德拉马克说道,“因为我只消屠刀一劈,就可以把自己奉为列日主教。我想一个活着的主教总配得上死去的三王吧。”

一听这话,在座的来宾不禁微微颤栗,窃窃私语起来,因为列日的市民,甚至包括粗鲁的士兵,尽管别的概不尊敬,却十分尊崇所谓的“科隆三王”。

“别误会。我并不是想背叛已故的三位国王陛下,”德拉马克说,“不过,我已决心当这个主教。能有一个既有俗权又有神权并有聚散人马能力的王子,再配上你们这样一帮浪荡子,应当是最适合不过,因为别人谁也不会给你们赦罪的好处——高贵的市长,请你过来,坐在我旁边。为了我的荣升,你会看到我亲手创造一个缺额。带那坐过这个神圣席位的前任主教进来。”

大厅里呈现出一阵忙乱活跃的气氛。巴维翁退出了给他的上席,坐在餐桌的下首。他的随从们则紧紧站在他后面,此刻就像一群羊见到一只陌生的狗,赶忙聚在带头羊的后面,因为带头羊的职务和权威使得别的羊都认为它要比它们自己更为勇敢。他们附近坐着一个英俊的小伙子,据说是凶恶的德拉马克的私生子。有时他显得很喜欢这个儿子,甚至表现出某种疼爱,因为这孩子的母亲原是德拉马克的一个美丽的情妇,由于这凶狠的首领大发酒疯或大发醋意而被他活活打死。她的悲惨命运使得这残暴的丈夫感到了他所能感到的某些悔恨。他对这个活着的孤儿怀有的感情可能有一部分正是出于这种原因。昆丁曾从年老的牧师那儿了解到这个情况。此刻他尽力挨近这小伙子,决心在别的防卫措施不解决问题时,通过某种方式抓住他当人质或给自己当盾牌。

正当人们全都急切地等着,看这暴君发出的命令如何执行时,一个巴维翁的随从对彼得耳语道:“我们老爷不是把那姑娘称作他女儿么?嘿,她不可能是我们的特鲁德珍。这高个子的姑娘要比她高两英寸。面纱底下还露出一束黑头发。市场的圣米林在上,这等于是把一张黑公牛皮叫作白母牛皮!”

“住嘴!住嘴!”彼得镇静地说道,“万一是老爷想瞒住太太,从主教的花园里偷走一头小母鹿呢?难道你我该告他的密吗?”

“老兄,我才不会哩,”那人说道,“但我可没想到在他这把年纪还会偷小母鹿。好家伙——瞧她是个多害羞的美人!她蹲下来坐在那张椅子上,躲在别人背后,想逃避德拉马克这帮人射向她的目光。瞧,瞧他们打算怎样对付那可怜的老主教!”

正当他这么说着的时候,列日主教——波旁·路易被一伙野蛮的匪兵拽进了他自己宫廷的大厅。乱七八糟的头发、胡须和长袍,说明他遭受了虐待。那匆忙给他披上的僧袍似乎是为了故意嘲弄他的身份而硬套在他身上的。昆丁不能不想到,幸好伊莎贝尔小姐所在的位置听不见,也看不见将要发生的情况,否则,看到她那善良的保护人遭到不幸而流露出的感情可能会暴露她的秘密,危及她的安全。达威特体贴地挡在她前面,好让她看不见别的人,也让别人看不见她。

紧接着出现了一个短暂而恐怖的情景。不幸的主教被带到那野蛮的首领的脚凳跟前。从前人们只知道他平易近人,和蔼可亲,但在这个危急关头他还表现出与其高贵的血统十分相称的尊严感和优越感。他从容不迫。在把他拽向前去的粗暴匪徒松开手时,他的态度既高贵,又显得泰然自若,看起来既有些像封建贵族,又有些像基督教殉道者。这位阶下国的仪态如此坚定,甚至使德拉马克也大吃一惊。这时他又回想起他早年给他的一些恩惠,于是显得有些犹豫不决,把头低了下来。他把一大杯酒一饮而尽,最后才恢复他那傲慢无礼的态度和表情,面对那不幸的囚徒讲了起来:“波旁·路易!”凶恶的匪首例抽口气,握紧拳头,咬紧牙关,并通过他所能使用的别的机械动作来刺激和保持他那天生的残暴性格。他往下继续说道:“过去我争取过你的友谊,而你拒绝了我的友谊。现在情况不同了,你该怎么办?尼克尔,准备好。”

那屠夫站起来,拿起屠刀,悄悄走到德拉马克的椅子后面,卷起袖子,露出他那肌腱发达的胳膊,然后高举屠刀站着待命。

“波旁·路易,你瞧这个人,”德拉马克继续说道,“你想提出什么条件以避免这危险的时刻到来呢?”

主教向那准备好随时执行暴君命令的凶恶奴才忧伤而坚定地看了一眼,然后毫不动摇地说道:“威廉·德拉马克,你听我说。所有善良的人们(如果在场的人有谁不愧这个称呼的话),也请听我讲讲我能给这个暴徒什么样的条件。威廉·德拉马克,你煽动一个君主管辖的城市起来叛乱,攻占了神圣德意志帝国一个王子的宫廷,杀了他的人,抢了他的财产,对他进行了人身侮辱——仅此你就罪该受到帝国的通缉,被宣布为不受法律保护的化外之民,被剥夺田产和权利。当然,你所干的远远不止这些。你所破坏的不仅是人类的法律——你该受到的也不仅是人类的报复和惩罚。你闯进了上帝的圣坛,以暴力对待教会的神父,以杀戮和抢劫来玷污上帝的神殿,与一个亵渎神明的强盗毫无区别——”

“你还没个完吗?’德拉马克狠狠打断他,顿足说道。

“还没说完,”主教说,“我还没说出你要求我告诉你的条件。”

“继续讲吧,’德拉马克说道,“你得把你的条件讲得比你在开场白里讲的更叫我满意一些,否则当心你的花白的脑袋!”他咬牙切齿地说完了,往椅背上一倒,唇间渗着白沫——颇像他取其名。披其毛皮的野猪从獠牙里吐出的白沫。

“既然你的罪行如此,”主教宁静而果决地说道,“那你就听我的条件吧。我是作为一个慈善的王子、基督教会的主教,不计个人恩怨,不计一切具体损失,宽宏大量地提出的条件:扔掉你的‘王笏’,放弃你的指挥权,释放你的俘虏,交回你的赃物。把你抢来的其他财物用来救济你一手制造出来的孤儿寡妇;披着表示忏悔的麻布衣,拿着香客的根杖,赤着脚去罗马朝圣,这样,我将向雷根斯堡的帝国法庭为你的生命求情,向神圣的教皇为你可悲的灵魂求情。”

波旁·路易以一种坚决的口吻提出这些条件,俨然他自己仍然占据着主教的宝座,而篡位者正跪在他脚下求饶。但这时暴君已从椅子上慢慢站了起来,原先所感到的惊异已逐渐代之以愤怒。当主教话一停,他便转身对着尼克尔·布洛克,默默地举起一个指头。那暴徒就像在普通屠宰场干活计似的砍了一刀,被杀害的主教便无声无息地倒在他自己的宝座跟前。列日市民对这恐怖的灾祸事前毫无心理准备,原先还指望最后达成某种妥协,这时都不约而同地跳了起来,大声咒骂,并发出要为主教复仇的怒吼声。

威廉·德拉马克提起他的大嗓门压过这一片喧哗声,伸开手,挥着拳头大声吼道:“列日城的猪崽子们,在马埃斯河的淤泥里打滚的家伙!你们竟敢和‘阿登内斯野猪’争个高低?站起来,我的野猪秽!”(这是他自己和别的人称他部下的一种叫法)“让这些弗兰德阉猪看看你们的獠牙!”

一听见这声命令,每个匪兵都刷地站了起来。他们既然和先前的盟友错开坐着,自然早已为这种突然行动作好了准备。顷刻之间各人都抓住旁边一个列日人的衣领,右手则挥动着一把被月光映照得明晃晃的匕首。他们都高抬着手臂,但没有人真动手,因为受威胁的对方都惊恐得不敢稍有反抗。而德拉马克的目的,也可能只是想对他的市民盟友进行一番恫吓而已。

然而,迅速果断远远超过其年龄的昆丁·达威特,在足以激励他固有的聪明和魄力的各种因素影响下,此刻勇气倍增,突然扭转了整个局面。他仿效德拉马克手下人的做法,跳起来抓住了匪首的儿子卡尔·艾伯森,轻易地制服了他。他把匕首对准这小伙子的喉咙,一边吼道:“你要玩这套把戏,那我也不客气。”

“住手!住手!”德拉马克喊道,“这是开的玩笑——开的玩笑。你以为我真会伤害我列日城的好盟友吗?士兵们,快松手,坐下来。把这尸首(说着用脚踢踢主教的尸体)——把这在朋友之间制造不和的尸首抬出去。让我们再痛快地喝吧,用酒来洗刷这场争吵。”

所有的野猪秒都松了手。市民和匪兵面面相觑地站着,他们似乎给搞糊涂了,不明白究竟是敌是友。昆丁·达威特抓住了这个时机。

“听我说,”他讲道,“威廉·德拉马克和各位列日市民,你们都听我说说——你这年轻的先生,也请你乖乖站住,”什尔正企图摆脱他的控制)“除非再开那么个厉害的玩笑,否则你用不着害怕。”

“看在魔鬼的分上,你说说你究竟是谁,”德拉马克惊奇地说道,“竟敢跑到太岁头上动土,跑到我们窝里来抓我们的人质,和我们谈判?要知道,我们是只抓别人的人质而从来没有让别人抓我们的人质。”

“我是法国路易王的臣仆,”昆丁大胆地说道,“正如我的口音和服装能部分说明的那样是个苏格兰近卫军射手。我是来观察并了解你们的所作所为的。我惊奇地看到,你们表演的是异教徒的行径,而不是基督徒的行径——是疯子的行径而不是有理性的人的行径。勃艮第·查尔斯的大军马上就会开来对付你们。如果你们指望得到法国的援助,你们就必须改弦易辙。列日市民们,我建议你们马上回城里去。有谁胆敢阻挠你们离开,我就指控进行阻挠的人是我的主人——最仁慈的法王陛下的敌人。”

“法兰西——列日!法兰西——列日!”巴维翁的部下及其他几个市民齐声喊道,因为他们听到昆丁的大胆陈词已逐渐鼓起勇气。

“法兰西——列日!英勇的射手万岁!我们愿与他同生死共患难!”

威廉·德拉马克的眼睛炯炯发光,他握紧匕首,像要朝那不畏强暴的年轻人的胸口投掷过去。但他用眼睛向周围一扫,看出在他自己部下的表情当中也有某种甚至连他也不得不考虑的东西。他们当中有许多法国人,他们也全都知道威廉在人力和财力方面得到了法国的暗中支持。再说,某些部下对刚犯下的亵渎神明的暴行也颇感吃惊。勃艮第·查尔斯的大名具有使他们惊惶不安的威力,而这位公爵对今晚的事件可能极为愤怒。在同一时间内既和列日市民闹翻,又惹怒法国国王这种极不策略的做法,尽管这帮人思想糊涂,也不能不在他们心中产生可怕的印象。总之,德拉马克已看出,要是他想立刻再采取任何暴力行动,连他自己的部下也不会给他支持。于是他一展他那阴森恐怖的眉毛说:“我丝毫没有意思加害我列日城的好朋友。你们全都可以自由自在地离开索恩瓦尔德堡。不过,我原指望你们至少和我畅饮一个通宵来庆祝我们的胜利。”他还比往常更心平气和地补充说:“我准备在明天,或你们所希望的尽快的一个时间,就分享战利品和组织共同防御的问题马上进行磋商。不过,我希望这位苏格兰绅士能在城堡里过夜,给我的宴会赏个光。”

年轻的苏格兰人推辞说,他必须按照巴维翁的行动来决定自己的行动,因为路易王指示他要特别和他保持接触,不过他肯定下次会光临骁勇的威廉·德拉马克的营部,去看望他。

“如果你按我的行动来决定你的行动,”巴维翁赶忙大声说道,“那你得毫不迟延地马上离开索恩瓦尔德,而如果你要在我的陪伴下才肯回到这里来,那你就休想在短期内再回来。”

这诚实的市民说后半句话时压低了嗓门,因为他害怕大声会流露自己的感情而带来严重后果,但他又无法完全抑制住自己的愤怒。

“制革业的健儿们,紧紧跟着我,”他对他的保镖们说道,“我们将尽快离开这个土匪窝。”

出身高贵的大多数列日人似乎和这行会主席抱有相同的看法。他们在攻占索恩瓦尔德时感到的快乐未必能超过此刻看到有可能安全离开的前景时所产生的快乐。最后匪徒们终于让他们顺利地离开了城堡。当那阴森可怕的城墙被远远抛在身后时,昆丁由衷地感到喜悦。

从他们进入那恐怖的大厅的那一刻起,昆丁第一次有了机会问伯爵小姐感觉如何。

“好,好,”她急忙回答道,“非常好。别停下来问我了。别浪费时间讲话——让我们快逃——快逃!”

她边说边加快步伐。但这一努力收效甚微。要不是达威特扶住她,她肯定会精疲力竭地倒在地上。年轻的苏格兰人怀着一种使婴儿渡过了危险期的慈母所感到的柔情把这受他保护的、无限珍爱的少女抱在怀里。她用一只手搂着他的脖子,脑子里只有一个逃跑的念头。既然事情以这样一个结局告终,想必这年轻人并不后悔今晚所冒的种种危险。

诚实的市长本人则由他忠诚的参谋彼得及另外一个僚属半搀半扶半拽着往前走,一口气赶到了河岸。他们碰到一群群游荡的市民急切地向他们打听围城的经过以及他们听说到的征服者发生内让的真实情况。

他们尽量回避人们好奇的询问。彼得和几个同伴费了一番功夫终于找到了一条船供大伙使用。有了船也有了休息的机会。这对那仍然静静地躺在救命恩人怀里的伊莎贝尔和那可敬的市长真是再美不过。市长对达威特说了一连串感激的话,但年轻人此刻思绪万千,顾不上回答。他便转过身来对彼得发表长篇议论,评述他自己的勇敢和仁慈以及在很多场合下这些美德给他带来的危险。

“彼得,彼得,”他又重弹起前晚自我抱怨的老调说了起来,“要不是我这人胆子太大,我肯定不会在别人都愿交二十文市政税时,还硬顶住拒绝交纳。另外,要是我这人意志不那么坚强,我也不至于参加那场圣特隆战役,结果被一个埃洛武士用长矛把我捅进了一条稀泥沟,直到战事结束以前,无论是我的意志还是我的手劲都无法使我从沟里爬出来。还有,彼得,今晚又是我的勇气诱使我穿上了一件过分紧身的铠甲,差点把我活活憋死,多亏这位勇敢的年轻绅士救了我。他是来吃打仗这碗饭的,我衷心祝他走运。至于说我的好心肠,那么,它已经——应该说它本有可能——把我搞成一个穷光蛋。好在在这个罪恶的世界上我日子也还温得过去。不过,假如老要对付一些仕女、伯爵小姐和一些保守秘密的鬼事,天知道还会给我带来多少麻烦;我敢担保,准会报销掉我一半的财产,外加我的脑袋!”

昆丁无法再沉默下去,只好安慰他说,不管他为了保护这位年轻少女承担何种损失和风险,他将来都会得到感激,并会得到不少的报酬。

“谢谢你,年轻的射手扈从先生,谢谢你,”那列日市民回答说,“不过,谁告诉你,就因为我尽了一个老实人的义务指望得到你的报酬呢?我只是遗憾地说,我可能失去这失去那。我想我有权对我的副官这么说说,而并不意味着抱怨我受到的损失或危险。”

昆丁只好断定,他现在这位朋友也是一个喜欢通过发发牢骚来取得行善报酬的好人。这些好人为数众多。他们无非是想抱怨几句来稍稍抬高使得他们蒙受损失的功德所具有的价值。所以他决定审慎地保持缄默,让这位行会主席继续对他的副官唠叨,诉说他热心为公众谋福利,无私为别人效劳使他蒙受到的危险和损失;他这样说着来到了他家的门口。

事情原来是这样的:这诚实的市民看到自己不得不让一个年轻的外乡人在索恩瓦尔德城堡的大厅里扮演处理危机的主角,感到有失身份。尽管他对达威特当时的干预十分满意,但想想还是觉得这贬损了他的重要地位,所以他竭力想获得一些补偿;办法就是吹嘘吹嘘他对整个国家,特别是对他的朋友,尤其是对克罗伊埃伯爵小姐及其年轻的保护人给予的好处,夸大一下人们对他感恩图报的必要性。

然而,当小船停在他家的花园后面,彼得把他扶上岸,他一碰到他家门槛的时候,他那因自尊心受到伤害而嫉妒别人的情绪便仿佛顿时烟消云散,并使一个心怀忿懑的失意政客一下子变成了诚实、和善、好客、友好的主人。他大声呼唤特鲁德珍。那姑娘马上走了过来,因为那天晚上列日城里的人都很焦急害怕,很少有人睡得着觉。他爹嘱咐她好好照料那半昏迷的美丽的女客人。特鲁德珍姑娘既赞赏客人的美丽,又同情她的不幸,所以她怀着姊妹般的热情和爱心来尽地主之谊。

尽管时间已经很晚,行会主席也显得很疲乏,昆丁仍很难回避主人敬上的一瓶历史有阿津古尔战役那么悠久的名贵陈年老酒。要不是巴维翁大声要酒窖钥匙把女主人从卧室里叫了出来,昆丁本会感到盛情难却,不得不喝上几口。女主人是个圆滚滚的开心的小妇人,年轻时也曾长得很漂亮,但近几年来构成她主要特点的却是尖尖的红鼻子、尖尖的声音,以及要好好管住这位行会主席的决心——尽管他在外面掌有权力,但必须乖乖地服从必要的家规。

当她一明白是她丈夫争着要客人喝酒时,便毫不客气地告诉她丈夫,他不是酒喝得不够而是已经喝得太多。她不但不拿出那用银链子挂在腰上的一大串钥匙打开酒窖来进一步满足他的要求,而且不客气地转过身来,对他不予理睬。她立即把昆丁引到留他过夜的那间整洁舒适的卧室。室内那些供人休憩的陈设也许昆丁从没见过,因为论讲究家庭生活的舒适,那些富有的弗兰德人不但远远超过了贫穷原始的苏格兰人,就连法国人也望尘莫及。



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