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some of our wealthiest citizens offered to give up all their property with the promise never to ask for it again ; in vain have others sought death rather than a continuance of their suffer ings. That is not the object of our oppressors, whose only answer to all our prayers is, ‘you must embrace our faith.'”
“I have heard enough,” cried Dorn, with bursting rage. Say no more, or, unable to restrain my wrath, I shall strike some of the hounds to the earth and thereby bring my life to a sudden end. Farewell, Frau Katharine,-) return to my hiding place ; but shall not be far off, and most joyfully will I lay down my life, if need be, in defence of you and yours.”
He strode forth,—the parson stepped to the window, through which the bright moon was pouring its silver light, and, while watching Dorn's retreating steps, convulsively pressed his hands across his breast and gave frightful utterance to the following imprecations : “Thy hand shall find all thine enemies. Thy right hand shall find them that hate thee. Thou wilt melt them as in a furnace when thou lookest upon them; the Lord will consume them in his anger, fire shall devour them. Their seed wilt thou destroy from the face of the earth, and their names from among the children of men.
“God preserve us, reverend sir,” interposed Katharine. “How can you offer up such a horrible prayer ? Rather should you remember and imitate the forgiving spirit of our Saviour when he prayed : “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” he tremblingly repeated after her, his anger rebuked by the divine sentiment, and submissively raised his eyes toward the exhaustless source of love and mercy.
The next morning Katharine was sitting in her closet, with her infant at her breast. Over its rosy cheeks rolled the mother's tears in quick succession. Her other children were pressing around her, like chickens who seek to hide themselves under the mother's sheltering wings, and all were tremblingly and silently listening to the cries of lamentation which occasionally arose from the neighbouring dwellings, evincing the activity of the tormentors.
The clattering of spurs was heard at the door, which was immediately thrown open, and the captain entered the room accompanied by a file of soldiers.
“I am now satisfied !" cried he. “I have subjected your cook to a sharp examination. You have more food prepared daily than is necessary for the family. Dishes are secretly con
" Will you
veyed away full and returned empty. "I am therefore satisfied that your relatives bave not departed; but are yet in the city, perhaps in this very house, and my duty requires me to insist on their immediate appearance, that they may become participants in the reformation which we bring to this deluded city.”
“I have nothing more to answer upon that subject," said Katharine with firmness.
“ No ?” asked the captain, grating his teeth. bring me a certificate of confession ?"
“ Not to all is given such greatness of mind 'as to enable them to change their faith according to the emergencies of the moment,” said Katharine, with a bitterness which the unworthiness of the tempter forced from her naturally mild heart. “Still scornful !" growled the captain. “The cup now runs
To the cellar with this brood of young heretics !" thun. dered he to his soldiers, who immediately forced the children from the room, “My children !” shrieked Katharine, making an effort to rush after them; but the captain dragged the unhappy mother back.
“The sands of mercy have run out,” he exclaimed ; and the hour of vengeance approaches. It is now no longer question of the runaway girl. I have torn from my heart my sin. ful passion for the heretic, and have to do only with you and your heterodoxy. I give you an hour to consider whether you will return to the bosom of the mother church. If you then obstinately choose to adhere to your erroneous belief, I will probe your breast yet deeper, and by all the saints I swear to you that I will find your heart."
He left the room. “ Preserve me from desperation, O God!” cried Katharine, pressing her infant to her bosom and sinking powerless to the earth.
When she awoke she was sitting in a chair with her slum. bering babe in her arms, and before her stood, with weeping eyes, an old Franciscan monk belonging to the city convent, upon whom she stared with wondering and uncertain glances.
“ Calm yourself, dear lady,” said the old man in a friendly tone. “The cowl I wear may be doubly hateful to you in this heavy hour; but it covers a heart that feels kindly and truly for you. I have heard of your sufferings and have come to bring you succour. I have not forgotten the kind attention and care
I received in your house when, six years ago, I came here from Breslau as a mendicant lay brother, and fell fainting before your door. There were indeed hard-hearted Lutherans who chid you for your charity, and said you ought not to trouble yourself about the beggarly papist priest, but you answered that it was your christian duty to succour a fellow christian, That was a noble sentiment, and has ever since remained engraved upon my heart, and I have daily offered up my prayers that God would bless you for it through time and eternity. It is true that by some of my brethren this prayer for a heretic has been considered sinful ; but I have answered them, • Solum de salute Diaboli desperandum,' and that it may please the Lord in his mercy to bring this good woman one day, if even upon her death bed, into the embrace of the only saving church."
May God reward your love, my good father," said Katharine with a feeble utterance. “A kindly human heart is al. ways deserving of respect and esteem, even though it wander in error."
The infant was still slumbering upon Katharine's bosom. The door was again thrown open and the captain entered, this time without attendants, bolting the door after him.
“The hour is past,' said he with a demoniac smile. “ Have you a certificate?"
“ No," answered she, and at that moment the child in her arms awoke and cried for its nourishment. “Poor thing," said she, bearing it towards an alcove.
“Where are you going ?” asked the captain, seizing her arm as though he would crush it in his ferocious grasp.
“To nurse my child," answered Katharine. " You cannot wish that I should do it in the presence of a stranger ?”
Some one knocked loudly at the door. “ Are you here, Frau Katharine ?” asked a voice which the captain recognized with terror.
“ Back !" cried the sentinel without. “ The captain is with the lady."
“ The captain ! and she answers not, and the child is screaming !” exclaimed the same voice, with wild alarm,and powerful blows thundered upon the door.
“Back !" again cried the sentinel, and immediately afterwards, with the exclamation, “ Jesus Maria !” a heavy fall was heard near the door, which now flew in fragments. Dorn rushed into the room over the body of the wounded sentinel, who lay
groaning upon the floor, with a drawn sword in his hand. The captain sprang to meet the intruder, but shrunk back, pale and trembling, the moment he recognized him.
“ Cut him down from behind !" cried he to his soldiers who now came rushing into the room.
“Down to bell!" thundered Dorn, thrusting the captain through the body. With a frightful death-cry he fell to the earth, and Dorn threw down his bloody weapon. your prisoner,” said he with imposing dignity to the soldiers, and took the child from the floor. “ Call the maidens to take care of the mother and infant, and then lead me to your colonel, to whom I have something of importance to say.”
Hardly knowing what they were about, the astonished and confounded soldiers obeyed the bold youth. With loud cries the maidens rushed in to assist their adored mistress and quiet the screaming infant. Dorn impressed a last kiss upon the hand of the insensible Katharine, and then in a commanding tone he cried to the soldiers, “now forward !” leading them off with a step as proud and as confident as if he were marching to battle and victory.
The generalissimo of the converters, count Karl Hannibal von Dohna, with the governor, baron von Bibran, the jesuit, Lamormaine, and some field officers, were sitting at a table, in the quarters of colonel von Goes. A large pile of ready prepared tickets, for quarters, were lying upon the table, among flasks and goblets, and the gloves and swords of the officers. A crucifix, kept upon the table for momentary use, seemed to look sorrowfully upon the horrors which were here perpetrated under its sanction. At the door stood colonel von Goes, to whom a deputation of the inhabitants of the suburbs were complaining with trembling humility, that his quarter-master had exempted each householder among them, for the sum of two dollars each, from having troops quartered in their houses, and now he had compelled them to receive two squadrons, who were allowed to oppress them with every species of cruelty.
“ If the quarter-master has deceived you,” answered the colonel, “ he will not escape due punishment.'
The poor denizens departed with heavy hearts. “ Inquire into this villany,” said the colonel to a subaltern officer, “and if you detect a rogue, let him be arrested and reported.
The officer went in obedience to the command. The colo. nel seated himself with the others, drained a goblet, and striking his fist upon the table, exclaimed, “a curse upon this whole expedition !”
" Jesus Maria !" cried Bibran and Lamormaine, crossing themselves, while Dohna earnestly inquired why he uttered such an imprecation.
“ Because so much baseness, sir count,” fiercely answered Goes, mingles with the performance of our great and holy duty. Our people plainly show, that they are more anxious about the gold than the souls of the citizens. Every thief in the regiment will become a rich man in Schweidnitz. In the end it will become a disgrace to be a Lichtensteiner, and I have a hundred times regretted, that in my pious zeal I opened a path for the entrance of these vagabonds into the poor city.'
* It could be wished," interposed father Lamormaine, in a conciliatory manner, “ that the business had been undertaken in a less public and violent manner, and I have heretofore expressed the same opinion to the count. This open and public assault upon these people will serve as a warning to the others, and enable them to rally in their own defence. By rallying their forces they will learn their strength ; their courage and obstinacy will increase, all who suffer for their erro. neous belief will be considered martyrs, and in the end they will make many converts. We should have operated cautiously and quietly; commencing with them softly, we should have increased the pressure by slow degrees, and should have thus avoided every open scandal. A constant dropping will wear a stone, and I am confident that we could easily and quietly have converted all Silesia in the course of a year.
Yes, that is the way with you gentleman with shaven crowns, cried the count with a savage laugh.
“ You step very softly by nature, but when you have an object to attain, you also bind felt upon the soles of your shoes, Not so with me. My motto is bend or break,'--and so far I have found it a very good one, I can boast of having accomplished more than the apostle Peter. He indeed, upon one occasion, converted three thousand souls by preaching a sermon; but I have many times converted a greater number in a day, and that too without preaching. One year for Silesia ! Give me soldiers enough, and I will convert all Europe for you in a year, by my method."
6. What sort of a conversion would it be?" asked Lamor. maine, shrugging his shoulders. At that moment Dobna's adjutant entered the room.
“The rich Heinze," whispered he to his chief, “ will make a present to you of that costly writing table, if you will allow